Associated Press

Jose Abreu is on fire

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Jose Abreu has had a pretty darn nice couple of days.

  • On Saturday the White Sox’ first baseman hit for the cycle, going 4-for-5 with three RBI;
  • On Sunday he hit two homers, going 2-for-3, drawing a walk and driving in three;
  • Last night he fell a homer short of the cycle, walking in his final plate appearance instead, finishing the night 4-for-5 with two driven in.

Over those three games the White Sox have outscored their opponent, the Giants and Royals, 32-5. Abreu has upped his line from .295/.347/.531 to .306/.358/.564. That’s an OPS increase of .044, which is pretty dang impressive for three games.

All of this comes after he spent the latter half of last week worrying that his family and friends in Cuba were in danger from Hurricane Irma. Indeed, after his cycle on Saturday he said that he hadn’t slept well for days. He heard over the weekend, however, that his loved ones were safe, so perhaps this is what relief looks like.

Report: Padres interested in Maikel Franco

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals
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The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.

Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.

Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.