Inside Baseball news and notes from around all 15 NL teams. For notes on all 15 AL teams, click here. To read about the Tigers upcoming rebuild and recent August trades, click here.
- The Diamondbacks continue to roll. No one has played better in recent weeks. They’ve won 14 in a row.
- New GM Mike Hazen had high praise for past regimes’ role in building this current winner.
- They do have one concern with Paul Goldschmidt going back to Arizona to get an MRI on his elbow – though it was determined there’s no structural damage, which is a big relief.
- Among other highlights, Patrick Corbin is back in form.
- Tony DeMarco of FanRag Sports wrote a nice piece about the D-backs’ fantastic year.
- J.D. Martinez is going to hit it big on the free agent market, so big it might be difficult for the D-backs to keep him.
- The Braves look like they may have enough prospects to fill two great rotations of the future.
- Joey Wentz, a sandwich pick in 2016, has pitched like a high first-rounder, and had 152 strikeouts this year in 131.2 innings.
- Max Fried and Rio Ruiz played against each other as kids, Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote.
- Javy Baez suffered blurred vision and a jammed thumb after he was kneed while diving into a base head first. So naturally, there was an outcry in Chicago to ban head-first slides.
- Willson Contreras should be ready to play soon, right on schedule.
- Anthony Rizzo joined Hack Wilson as the only Cubs with three straight years of 30 homers, 30 doubles and 100 RBI. Pretty good accomplishment. Wilson did it four straight years (1927-30).
- Kris Bryant became the first Cub to homer 25 times in each of his first three seasons.
- With Mike Montgomery looking good, they are using a six-man rotation.
- There’s minimal concern about Jake Arrieta’s leg, as he’s believed to have a bad cramp. He may miss a start or two, however.
- The Reds compromised and picked up Bryan Price’s option for 2018 but didn’t extend him further. He seemed to understand that while it was certainly a positive to be given another chance, it wasn’t the strong vote of confidence it could have been. Meanwhile, one former executive suggested he believes time should have been up, saying “I guess if you’ve never had success it’s OK to be bad and keep a job.” Others see the one-year compromise as appropriate.
- Amir Garrett just got back. It’s still hard to understand why he was demoted after a few great starts to begin the year, when the Reds were 19-15 and in first place. One rival called it “the strangest decision of the year.” Sometimes teams out-think themselves.
- Homer Bailey’s $100 million contact never made any sense. But now that he has a 7.24 ERA it looks particularly bad.
- Not only did the Reds have a great draft this year (Hunter Greene, Jeter Downs, Stuart Fairchild), they look like they scored big in 2016, as well. Nick Senzel looks like he’s almost ready to go at third base, and Taylor Trammell also has outperformed, John Sickels Of Baseball America pointed out.
- The Reds have done a lot of very good drafting over the years. Sometimes we forget they picked Yasmani Grandal, Didi Gregorius and so many others.
- Some execs envision Carlos Gonzalez taking a one-year deal, and re-setting things, a la Adrian Beltre in Boston several years back (It worked out great for Beltre, obviously). His agent Scott Boras got good one-year deals last year for Carlos Gomez and Matt Holliday, but word is, he sees the situation differently, since CarGo is a star in in his prime who’s had a rough year (he’s actually been good the last month-plus but still clearly isn’t having his usual year). One plus to a one-year deal over a deal of say four years, though, is that a four-year deal would leave him as a free agent at 35.
- The Rockies are believed to love the idea of bringing back closer Greg Holland, who brings an amazing intensity and professionalism to the job. And Holland is thought to like the Rockies, as well. He’ll surely opt out of his $15 million 2018 salary that’s already been guaranteed. But that doesn’t mean he won’t consider a return to the Rockies. The Holland deal has been great for both sides so far. So why not see if they can continue the relationship?
- Charlie Blackmon, MVP candidate, has 122 runs, which is 16 more than second-place Giancarlo Stanton, whose 106 runs are attributable by half to his 53 home runs.
- Blackmon is also second to Stanton in slugging (.622) while the Rockies’ other MVP candidate, Nolan Arenado, is seventh (.580).
- Jonathan Lucroy says German Marquez is “the best pitcher I’ve caught at his age.”
- Ian Desmond played a game at shortstop this week when he returned but is playing mostly left field. Trevor Story just isn’t having the same season he had as a rookie, but has been very good in the field.
- Ryan Howard’s 497th pro homer was a walk-off job for the Albuquerque Isotopes.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- Note to Dodgers fans: calm down. Their mini slump is no great cause for concern. Jeremy Dorn of FanRag Sports agrees, saying there’s no great reason to worry.
- Forget the few losses. Clayton Kershaw has a 0.00 ERA after two starts back.
- Cody Bellinger has the Dodgers rookie record for homers, with 36.
- Alex Verdugo looks good in the early going.
- Julio Urias’s shoulder surgery is said to have gone better than expected, and word is Dr. Neal El Attrache expects a full recovery.
- Corey Seager (elbow) pinch hit Tuesday night and could be back playing shortstop by Friday if all goes well.
- Dave Roberts and Torey Lovullo – two UCLA men – are probably atop the Manager of the Year derby.
- Will the new ownership group look to shed payroll by trading Giancarlo Stanton? And if so, which teams make the most sense?
- Derek Jeter has a big day coming up, but questions about his bid to buy the Marlins still exist.
- Outgoing David Samson found out the hard way he won’t be returning following the sale of the team.
- Wei-Yin Chen is the most expensive reliever in baseball, with a backloaded deal that will pay him $20 million, then $22 million in his final two years.
- Domingo Santana has been killing it on – you guessed it – Sundays. He has 10 home runs on the day named for him.
- As great as their prospect stash is, Corey Ray hasn’t matched the hype – yet, anyway. He has struck out 153 times in 494 at-bats, John Sickels of Baseball America recently pointed out.
New York Mets
- David Wright opted to get rotator cuff surgery, to try again. “He wants to give it one more shot,” someone close to Wright said. “He doesn’t want to go out like this.” Of course, Wright is a fighter, so that isn’t a surprise.
- The Mets’ daily medical update was particularly depressing the other day, with four surgeries listed; Wright, Michael Conforto (shoulder capsule), T.J. Rivera (Tommy John surgery) and Josh Edgin (knee cleanup).
- The Mets haven’t said anything regarding long-time manager Terry Collins, but if they do make a change, insiders believe GM Sandy Alderson will prioritize experience. Two guys with connections to Alderson and/or the A’s are Bob Geren and Chip Hale, who also happen to be former Mets coaches. Geren is currently the Dodgers’ bench coach and Hale is the A’s’ 3B coach.
- Matt Harvey requested to start on short rest, and the Mets accepted his suggestion.
- Asdrubal Cabrera has looked pretty decent at third base. “Third is his best spot,” opined one AL scout, and with Wright’s status for next year up in the air, the Mets seem to be considering picking up Cabrera’s $8.5 million option, something Cabrera asked about in the winter (and was turned down). Marc Carig of Newsday first reported the Mets were leaning that way.
- Kevin Plawecki looks much better in his latest callup.
- Good news dept: Rafael Montero has been impressing lately.
- The Mets did show significant interest in signing Tim Lincecum much earlier in the year. However, the deal didn’t come together. It hasn’t been explained exactly what happened, but Lincecum is a perfectionist who doesn’t want to return unless he knows he can be a close approximation to what he was.
- Nori Aoki gets bonus points for using the theme to “Ghostbusters” as his walkup music. Somehow it seemed appropriate with the Mets. Something spooky has been going on there.
- Mike Puma of the New York Post: “The Mets should look on the bright side this season. They won’t be accused of stealing signs.”
- Quite a year for Rhys Hoskins: He had 29 home runs in the minors, garnering International League Player of the Year honors before making his splash in MLB.
- Mickey Moniak, the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, was struggling at Class-A Lakewood with a .237 batting average and .281 on-base percentage.
- There are some who believe that some folks are getting impatient in Philly. But it isn’t known whether this will result in many or even any changes. They extended manager Pete Mackanin through 2018, so he should be safe.
- One of the oddest plays of the year was the non-contending Phillies claiming Juan Nicasio (and frankly the Pirates letting him go). But the Phillies wound up making a clever play by trading him to the Cardinals for Eliezer Alvarez. The claim raised eyebrows, but the Phils turned it into a positive.
- It’s nice to see good guy Clint Hurdle be rewarded with a four-year deal. This off year was clearly not his doing.
- No surprise Neal Huntington is back, as well. They generally have done a pretty good job piecing things together on a limited budget.
- Juan Nicasio was originally claimed on revocable waivers, but when he was claimed by a division rival (either the Cubs or Brewers, apparently), the Pirates decided not to accept a small offer. They ended up getting less when he was claimed off irrevocable waivers, but by then they were out of it.
St. Louis Cardinals
- Mike Matheny opened up about his concussion history and other subjects with @GackloReport.
- Surprise bullpen stalwart Tyler Lyons has a 0.49 ERA in the second half.
- The pickup of Juan Nicasio is a good one. He has a very nice arm.
San Diego Padres
- The Padres took three of four from the Dodgers, which had to feel pretty good. The one loss was a 1-0 affair with Clayton Kershaw topping Dinelson Lamet.
- Robbie Erlin and Colin Rea, who haven’t figured in things this year, give the Padres two more candidates for their 2018 rotation, MLB.com’s A.J. Cassavell points out.
- Jose Pirela, a nice pickup in trade from the Yankees, has shown good power.
- Manny Margot is turning into a great player.
San Francisco Giants
- The Giants keep making noise about adding more power, and while they are light in the power department, it says here they should concentrate on their strengths, and not worry so much about their lack of home runs. They’ve won without big-time power, and with their knack for finding pitching, they should aim to do that again. In their expansive park, that makes more sense (to me, anyway).
- They’ve been hurt by off years from nearly everyone but Buster Posey.
- The Giants talked briefly about bringing back Tim Lincecum. It isn’t certain why it didn’t work out. But Lincecum is believed to prefer to start rather than relieve.
- Pablo Sandoval, the other former Giants great, needs to get going as he’s hitless in his last 38 plate appearances.
- Bryce Harper hasn’t started running yet, but there’s still hope he will be ready for the first round of the playoffs, and may even get in a few regular-season games before. However, since he hasn’t been able to run yet, there are no guarantees. He suffered a bad bone bruise in his knee when he slipped on first base while trying to beat out a hit.
- Stephen Strasburg looks to be in his finest form and carries the potential to make up for past playoffs lost.
- As Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post notes, the Nats have three of the top four ERAs in the NL.
- Carter Kieboom looks like a big-time shortstop prospect.
- Sean Doolittle continues to thrive as a closer, and Ryan Madson has a 0.00 ERA in the second half. So that trade looks great.