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Bryce Harper, Jesus Aguilar and Max Muncy highlight the Home Run Derby bracket

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I don’t much care about the Home Run Derby, but I talk about it whenever possible if for no other reason than to remind people that I perfectly predicted last year’s Derby, matchup-by-matchup, including a first round upset. I’m usually wrong about everything, but that’s one I’m never gonna let people forget about.

I doubt I’ll have such luck, er, I mean insight this year, but it’s worth a shot. I’ll give it a couple of days before I pick who I think will win, but for now know that this is how the 2018 Home Run Derby is gonna go down:

I haven’t seen the odds yet, but I suspect Harper and Aguilar will be favorites to meet in the final. I also figure that the folks behind it all will be pushing a Max Muncy narrative hard. There’s a lot of storyline to this stuff.

Anyway, we’ll give our predictions before it tees off on Monday night.

Padres sign Aaron Loup to a one-year deal

Aaron Loup
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Free agent lefty reliever Aaron Loup has been given a locker in the Padres’ clubhouse, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reported Sunday. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Loup received a one-year MLB deal with a club option for 2020. The Padres will shift right-hander Garrett Richards to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.

Loup, 31, began the 2018 season with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Phillies for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack at the midseason deadline. The veteran left-hander pitched just two innings in Philadelphia before hitting the injured list with a forearm strain and returned for a handful of appearances at the end of the year, bringing him up to a 4.54 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 10.0 SO/9, and 0.3 fWAR across 39 2/3 combined innings.

Assuming health issues don’t complicate his next campaign in San Diego, Loup will be added to the bullpen alongside fellow left-handers Matt Strahm and José Castillo (with the possible late addition of southpaw reliever Brad Wieck, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this year). There are worse places to be — according to FanGraphs, the Padres’ ‘pen jumped from second-worst in 2017 to second-best in the league with a cumulative 3.53 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 8.7 fWAR in 2018.