Madison Bumgarner submits eight-team no-trade list

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With the Giants floundering in last place and the July 31 trade deadline on the horizon, veteran lefty and soon-to-be free agent Madison Bumgarner submitted his eight-team no-trade list. Per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Bumgarner’s strategically-chosen teams are the Braves, Red Sox, Cubs, Astros, Brewers, Yankees, Phillies, and Cardinals.

One might be quick to notice those are all contending teams. Bumgarner chose those teams in order to gain leverage over the Giants, as is his right. Some took it to mean that Bumgarner has no interest in pitching for a contender, which is not the case. What this means is that the Giants can trade Bumgarner without his prior approval to any of the 22 other teams. If the Giants happen to be negotiating with a team on that list, the Giants must seek Bumgarner’s approval first. If he agrees, great, off he goes. If he says no, then it’s back to the drawing board. The no-trade list doesn’t mean the Giants are unable to negotiate with any of those teams, nor does it mean Bumgarner is unable to approve a trade to any of those teams.

Bumgarner, 29, entered Sunday afternoon’s start against the Reds with a 3.99 ERA and a 51/8 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. The lefty’s peripherals had been trending in the wrong direction in recent seasons, but his 25.1 percent strikeout rate so far this season would be his highest since 2016. His 3.9 percent walk rate would be a career-low if the season were to end today. Bumgarner has a lot of innings under his belt with his 30th birthday coming up in August, but there’s reason to think he has plenty left in the tank. Contending teams, on the list or not, should be very interested in acquiring his services.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.