Yadier Molina
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Yadier Molina makes splash in Japan All-Star Series

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While the 2018 MLB season has officially come to a close, thanks to the Red Sox’ championship win last month, there’s no shortage of baseball to watch these days. The Arizona Fall League is still in full swing, with no plans to wrap up until next Saturday, and over in Tokyo, the MLB All-Star team is taking on Samurai Japan in the seven-game Japan All-Star Series.

Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina made a big impact for the team on Sunday, collecting three hits en route to the MLB All-Stars’ first win of the series. He led with a base hit off of right-hander Shinsaburo Tawata in the first inning, then returned in the fourth to leg out another broken-bat single. In the fifth, however, he hit his stride with a powerful three-run homer, scoring the Dodgers’ Kiké Hernández and Royals’ Whit Merrifield to boost the team to a 5-1 lead.

It was a triumphant follow-up to a strong season for the 36-year-old catcher, who completed his 15th campaign with the Cardinals in 2018. While his best days are well behind him, he turned in an All-Star worthy performance after batting .261/.314/.436 with 20 home runs, a .750 OPS, and 2.2 fWAR through 503 plate appearances.

Following a four-run rally in the fifth, helped along by both Merrifield’s go-ahead bunt single and Molina’s home run, Reds third baseman Eugenio Suárez and Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger tacked on a pair of back-to-back RBI hits in the seventh. In the bottom of the ninth, Japan staged a rally of their own with two run-scoring doubles off of the Cardinals’ John Brebbia, but couldn’t quite catch the MLB All-Stars as they coasted to a 7-3 win.

With three games left to play, the series will pick up again in Hiroshima on Tuesday before concluding with its final two games in Nagoya. Samurai Japan currently leads 2-1.

White Sox won’t make bid for Bryce Harper

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The White Sox won’t make a bid for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports. Believed to be the favorites to land shortstop Manny Machado in free agency, the White Sox watched him ink a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres. The club is apparently content with its roster otherwise.

Harper would certainly be an upgrade in the outfield, which currently features Adam Engel, Nicky Delmonico, and Jon Jay. It will soon feature prospects Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert.

Last season, Harper hit .249/.393/.496 with 34 hom eruns, 100 RBI, 103 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances. He led all of baseball, drawing 130 walks. Harper is also a six-time All-Star who won the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2015 NL Most Valuable Player Award.

The Phillies are still believed to be the favorites to sign Harper and the club is confident it will land him, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports.