Dallas Keuchel
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Braves reportedly emerge as favorites for Dallas Keuchel

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UPDATE: While Braves reporters have poured cold water on Keuchel-to-Atlanta talk, a well-connected national reporter is hearing differently. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Braves have emerged as the “frontrunners” to sign him.

They could certainly use him. At the moment they have only three reliable starters in Mike Soroka, Max Fried and Julio Teherán, and Soroka and Fried are likely to need to have their workload eased up on in the second half. Getting a workhorse like Keuchel is probably their greatest need at the moment and bringing him in would be a boon to their chances at catching the Phillies.

Rumors, rumors, rumors, but it’s starting to feel like Keuchel will have a home soon.

2:38 PM: Earlier this week we heard that the Yankees are making a strong push for free agent Dallas Keuchel. Most still expect Keuchel to be in pinstripes soon, but Andy Martino of SNY is reporting that the Yankees are “facing late competition” from the Cardinals.

He also says that the Braves and Twins are in the picture though, but as we’ve noted many times recently, no one who reports on the Braves regularly thinks Atlanta is truly in the running. Which I guess means all of this can and should be taken with a grain of salt, but until Keuchel signs with the Yankees he’s free to sign anyplace else, right?

As we’ve also noted several times recently, Keuchel is no longer tied to draft-pick compensation. The lefty posted a 3.74 ERA and 153/58 K/BB ratio over 204.2 innings last year.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.