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2018 All-Star Game: American League wins home run extravaganza

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The 2018 All-Star Game was a reflection of its time. It was full of homers and devoid of most other action. In the end, though, it was a baseball game, and when the dust settled the American League prevailed 8-6, taking its sixth Midsummer Classic in a row and taking the all-time All-Star Game lead, 44-43-2 against the Senior circuit.

Every run save one scored on a homer. Ten were hit, in fact, shattering an All-Star Game record set back in 1971, when six were hit. The men going deep in this one: Aaron Judge, Mike Trout, Willson Contreras, Trevor Story, Jean Segura, Christian Yellich, Scooter Gennett, Alex Bregman, George Springer and Joey Votto. All were solo shots except for Segura’s and Gennett’s, with the former being three-run shot off of Josh Hader in the eighth and Gennett’s a two-run shot off of Edwin Diaz which sent things into extra innings.

The American League struck back quickly in the 10th, however, with Alex Bregman and George Springer hitting solo shots to lead off the inning. They were both hit off of Ross Stipling, pitching in his second inning, under the supervision of his own manager, Dave Roberts. One wonders how much of Roberts’ decision to keep Stripling in was a function of him not wanting to anger his fellow NL managers by using their pitchers’ arms in an extra inning contest. No one wants a pitcher overworked, but Roberts sticking with his own guy is something that would be worth questioning if someone cared enough to question strategy in an All-Star Game.

The American league scored a final run off of Stripling, this off of a Michael Brantley sac fly following a couple of singles. Who knew you could score by means other than the long ball?

In the bottom of the tenth the American League sent J.A. Happ to the mound to save it. Joey Votto led things off with a first pitch homer to right field to bring the Nationals to within two. That was all they’d get, however, as Happ retired Yelich, Charlie Blackmon and Lorenzo Cain to close it out.

Alex Bregman won the All-Star Game Ted Williams MVP Award, by virtue of his homer being the one that put the A.L. ahead for good. It would’ve been Segura’s for that three-run dinger if it had ended up being decisive, but those are the breaks in the All-Star Game. Bregman had a choice of a Chevy Truck or a Camaro for the All-Star Game prize. He picked the Camaro and said he’d give it to his mom. I sorta wanna meet Bregman’s mom now. That’s probably another blog post.

In any event, eleven runs were scored after the seventh inning. Some of the best drama of the night involved a transaction, not game action. It was a weird night of baseball, frankly, but if you dig the longball, it was right up your alley.

Report: Padres acquire Tommy Pham from Rays

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Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres have acquired outfielder Tommy Pham from the Rays in exchange for outfielder Hunter Renfroe and Single-A middle infielder Xavier Edwards. The Padres are also expected to receive an as yet unknown prospect from the Rays.

Pham, 31, is entering his second year of arbitration eligibility and is projected to earn $8.6 million for the 2020 season. This past season with the Rays, Pham was valued at 3.7 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball Reference, playing solid defense while batting .273/.369/.450 with 21 home runs, 68 RBI, 77 runs scored, and 25 stolen bases over 654 plate appearances.

Renfroe, 27, is entering his first year of arbitration eligibility as a Super Two player. MLB Trade Rumors projects him to earn a $3.4 million salary in 2020. He’s coming off of a campaign in which he set a career-high in home runs with 33 while batting .216/.289/.489 with 64 RBI and 64 runs scored across 494 trips to the plate.

Edwards, 20, was selected by the Padres in the first round (38th overall) of the 2018 draft and was ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the organization, per MLB Pipeline. He spent 2019 between Single-A Fort Wayne and High-A Lake Elsinor, batting a combined .322/.375/.396 with 27 extra-base hits, 43 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 34 stolen bases in 561 PA.

The Padres needed to upgrade the offense in the outfield as the club ranked in the bottom-third of the league with an aggregate .740 OPS from all three outfield spots. The club sent Franmil Reyes, who put up an .849 OPS for the Padres over the first four months of 2019, to the Indians at the trade deadline. Wil Myers put up a slightly below average .739 OPS and Manuel Margot posted a light .691 OPS.

It will be interesting to see if the Rays can level up Renfroe. He certainly hits for power but he will need to work on his on-base skills if he is going to help this trade pan out well for the Rays. Edwards will help as well, as he is rated No. 72 overall among prospects across the league, according to MLB Pipeline. Along with the talent acquired in the trade, the Rays save a bit of money swapping Pham for Renfroe.