Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that, back in June, the Braves and Indians discussed a trade that would have swapped expensive veterans Chris Johnson and Nick Swisher. However, that was before Swisher hit the disabled list with a knee injury. Rosenthal adds that the Braves backed away from the trade due to the disparity in the players’ salaries, as Swisher is the more expensive of the two.
Johnson, 30, has struggled this season, hitting .252/.294/.333 with one home run and seven RBI in 119 plate appearances. He spent about a month on the disabled list between the ends of April and May due to a fracture and bone bruises in his left hand. He’s owed the remainder of $6 million for the 2015 season, plus $7.5 million in ’16, $9 million in ’17, and a $1 million buyout for ’18.
Swisher, 34, has hit worse, compiling a .198/.261/.297 batting line with two home runs and eight RBI in 111 plate appearances. The veteran is owed the remainder of $15 million this season plus $15 million in ’16 and a vesting option could be worth $14 million in ’17.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.