Inside Baseball MLB Notes: Both sides could win in Machado trade

Taking our weekly trip around MLB: 
 
Arizona Diamondbacks
— The Diamondbacks seemed to try to rekindle Manny Machado talks Tuesday, soon after it was reported the Dodgers were the front-runners. Coincidence? …
— Brian Dozier could be a fit for them …
— The D-Backs are going to be at a disadvantage going for a big star like that, as their prospect ranks are down …
— Free agent to be Patrick Corbin said. “I would love to stay in Arizona. I’ve enjoyed it. We have a house there. It’s been a special place for me.” …
— There’s significant question whether the D-Backs can afford him, however. The Yankees would seem to be a possibility for the Syracuse. He said flattering things about the Yankees in an interview with Bob Nightengale in USA Today. The D-Backs didn’t love those quotes, but they do love Corbin, understandably so …
— It was interesting to see righthander Yoan Lopez throwing 100 mph in the Futures Game. He was supposedly one of the “mistakes” made by Dave Stewart – though he is now a prospect at age 25, and he is certainly no mistake. While it’s too late to save Stewart’s job, there was a consolation prize: Lopez is now represented by Stewart’s wonderful wife Lonnie, who’s running the agency her husband used to run.
 
Atlanta Braves
— The Braves’ biggest need is in the bullpen, according to rivals. So they will investigate Zach Britton, Brad Hand and presumably Jeurys Familia, Joakim Soria and others …
— A Braves person also said they could use one more starting pitcher since Brandon McCarthy is out …
— To that end, they were linked by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe to Nate Eovaldi, who’s been pitching superbly …
— They keep getting connected to Mike Moustakas, though they act like they are OK with Johan Camargo manning third. Another big threat would be nice, though …
— Good to see Nick Markakis make his first All-Star team in a year where several over-30 players made their first team …
— Nice guy Danny Knobler of Bleacher Report produced a story on nice guy Freddie Freeman's amazing loyalty. Make sure to check it out here ...
— Chipper Jones’ wife is due around the time of his Hall of Fame induction speed. Cool that he’s naming the boy “Cooper” after Cooperstown, N.Y.
 
Baltimore Orioles
— The Orioles did superbly to get OF prospect Yusniel Diaz in the Manny Machado deal. Some might say that the outfield is the least of their worries – behind pitching, the infield and a catcher (in that order). But when you have a chance to get a special player, you should go for it. And that is what they did. “A stud,” one scout called Diaz, who homered twice in the Futures Game, which may have cemented this deal …
— GM Dan Duquette did a very good job with the deal, and it’s interesting to see that he led the trade talk …
— Zach Pop, also acquired for Machado, has a 0.33 ERA at his latest stop in the Dodgers minors and throws 96-98 mph with sink …
— Zach Britton has a big market, between the Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox and likely also the Indians, Braves and several others. “He looks like the Britton of old,” one scout who saw a recent save said.


 
Boston Red Sox
— The Red Sox are concentrating on relievers in trade talks, almost exclusively relievers. Zach Britton, Joakim Soria and Jeurys Famila are among the better ones who would fit Boston, which has few trade chips …
— The lack of chips means good relievers under control, such as Brad Hand and Raisel Iglesias, are pretty much off the board for them …
— They talked to the Padres last year about Hand, and the price was way too high for their liking when they had the pieces. So he’s out entirely as an option …  
— Mookie Betts has the best numbers in the AL, better even than Mike Trout, Jose Ramirez and J.D. Martinez. Betts should be the MVP leader, it says here, because he’s also the best in the game at his position and his team is the best in the game. But it seems to be all WAR in the MVP race, which could put Trout ahead. Betts didn’t want to weigh in on the emphasis on WAR that cost him two years ago – and could cost him again. But generally speaking he said, “The most important thing is winning games.” For MVP that doesn’t seem to count …
— Star closer Craig Kimbrel’s  coming free agency has been an under-the-radar event, and he said, “Let’s hope it stays that way.” …
— The Red Sox were never serious about Manny Machado. Their check-in was probably just in case. Or maybe just to see what the Yankees were up to …
— The second base/third base issues could be solved by someone like Asdrubal Cabrera, though Rafael Devers isn’t expected out long, and right now the total focus is on the bullpen.
 
Cincinnati Reds
— Matt Harvey is trending up. But his trade market may not reflect his recent performance. One scout suggested an issue for team: “Too much drama.” (Me: In this shallow market I wouldn’t worry so much about that.) …
— Scooter Gennett sounds like he wants to stay in Cincinnati with an extension. “I’m living my dream playing for the Reds,’ Gennett said. His favorite player growing up was Barry Larkin (who incidentally has been mentioned as a possible Reds manager …
— Raisel Iglesias told the Cincy press he wants to stay. People seem to love Cincinnati …  
— Taylor Trammell was quite impressive in the All-Star Game, homering and tripling (he was so convinced the triple was going out, he flashed the “two” signal for a second home run to the dugout as he approached first, triggering massive kidding from teammates), and so was Hunter Greene, who dialed it up to 103 …
— Later, at the Adidas party, Greene showed his artistic talents, which apparently are impressive as well. And then he barely escaped serious injury when a wall fell right near him. One witness exclaimed, “He was an inch from dying.” In any case, he suffered no injury, and only one person suffered so much as a scrape on his arm.
 
Cleveland Indians
— The Indians absolutely had to beef up their bullpen even with an AL Central lead of 9 games, so the move to acquire Brad Hand and Adam Cimber from the Padres was a huge addition. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN first connected them to Brad Hand ...
— The cost for Hand and Cimber was significant: Catching prospect Francisco Mejia, one of the most sought after young catching pieces in the game, but Hand could be an Andrew Miller-like addition to this Indians team, which has played with one of the worst bullpens in baseball to this point ...
— The Indians also previously inquired on Orioles reliever Mychal Givens, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported. It's unclear if they might continue to pursue Givens now that Hand and Cimber are both on the roster.
 
Colorado Rockies
— Charlie Blackmon was back as an All-Star but he has no regrets about signing a $94-million, five-year extension before the year. “I made the right decision with the information I had,” he said. “I’m not looking back.” …
— More proof that WAR is less than perfect: All-Star Blackmon has a -0.7 WAR this year despite decent stats …
— Trevor Story seems to be emerging as a star. He has a nice speed-power combo, manager Buck Black said …
— The team was rising at the end of the first half. Story said they still need to find “consistency” to reach their goal …
— A multi-city pitching meeting saved the Rockies, Nick Groke wrote in The Athletic
— Jon Gray pitched a gem, providing hope. Afterward Gray admitted he wasn’t sure he’d ever “have that feeling again.


Detroit Tigers
— It was reported that the Tigers are interested in Clint Frazier and Tyler Wade for Michael Fulmer. Frazier is a great trade chip for the Yankees since he’s a talented player with no room there …
— The Tigers don’t have to make deals so the price tags are expected to be enormous on both Fulmer and right fielder Nick Castellanos …
— Francisco Liriano is drawing some interest, especially as a reliever. He helped Houston last year. Maybe they’d like him back? …
— Mike Fiers could get some interest …
— Shane Greene came back recently and is another trade candidate …
— Leonys Martin is about to go on a Triple-A rehab assignment soon.
 
Houston Astros
— The Astros could use a back-end reliever, executives say, but to this point they have not been heavily involved with Zach Britton, the closer they traded for last year. Perhaps that’s because the Orioles backed out last year, and they don’t want to go through it again with them. Or perhaps it’s because they believe manager A.J. Hinch will figure it out, as he did last year …
— Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe suggested Raisel Iglesias could be a fit …  
— If they are relying on Hinch again, perhaps they should give him an extension. The team holds an option on him for next year, and hasn’t even picked that up …
— The team hasn’t been “hot and heavy” on any reliever yet. But there are still two weeks to go, and that’s their obvious need, especially with Ken Giles in the minors …
— They are using rookie Kyle Tucker in left field, but once Carlos Correa returns, Marwin Gonzalez will get some time there. Some see Tucker (below Forrest Whitley and Yordan Alvarez on their prospect list) as potential trade bait …
— Charlie Morton isn’t after every last dollar as a free agent. “My focus as a free agent would be to end up somewhere I fit in, somewhere there’s good chemistry. Right now I’m feeling that here.” There’d been some speculation early that Morton – obviously not a money-first guy – might just walk away after the season. But he only said, “I won’t be playing another four, five, six years.” …
— Morton was one of a nice group of 30-something first-time All-Stars, along with J.A. Happ, Nick Markakis, Shin-Soo Choo and Jed Lowrie …
— So proud, my prediction that Alex Bregman would win the AL portion of the Home Run Derby came true. I did not have him winning the All-Star Game MVP, though, about which he said he was “on cloud nine.”
 
Kansas City Royals
— Mike Moustakas should have some trade value, and the Phillies, Braves and perhaps the Red Sox could be fits …
— Danny Duffy is pitching more like himself lately, so perhaps he can be dealt …

 
Los Angeles Angels
— Albert Pujols tied Ken Griffey Jr. with 630 home runs before going on the DL with knee inflammation …
— No one can see the Angels trading kid pitchers Tyler Skaggs or Andrew Heaney. It makes no sense to deal young viable starting pitchers when the other starters are mostly hurt. Skaggs in particular has looked great this year ….
— All-Star postgame snub thoughts: The Angels had the two biggest snubs, shortstop Andrelton Simmons and pitcher-hitter Shohei Ohtani. Skaggs could have made it, too.


 
Los Angeles Dodgers
— The Dodgers gave up a lot to get Manny Machado by today’s standards, but he’s a transformational player and they are hungry to get back to the World Series for another shot at a ring. They did the right thing. And what’s also key, the Dodgers will be able to stay below the $197-million luxury tax threshold …
— One question arising from a rival: Are they going to be able to land the reliever they need, too? The guess here is, somehow they will make it work, because they could use another reliever …
— One Dodgers person called Yusniel Diaz a “stud.” He has lots of tools, and potential. But the Dodgers have been very good about trading the right prospects before. In this case, they held tight to right-handed pitcher Dustin May, who throws 99 and has risen up the prospect lists, and also young shortstop Gavin Lux …
— Their reputation as stingy with prospects is out the window with this 5-for-1 trade …
— The expectation that, with Machado, Chris Taylor could switch to second base, Max Muncy to first base and Cody Bellinger to the outfield. They could also just use Taylor back in the outfield. Manager Dave Roberts wouldn’t say anything about Machado but he said one great thing is they have a lot of players who are versatile. For his part, Machado told Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi that he is willing to shift between shortstop and third base to maximize the team's flexibility. The same versatility will be expected of Taylor and Bellinger …
— The Orioles sought right-handed pitcher Dustin May and Lux , but the Dodgers declined to include either early on …
— One report had the Dodgers sending May and a prospect by the name of Errol Robinson in the deal. As any older Angeleno would tell you, trading a Robinson and a May simultaneously would quite be a coincidence. Look it up …  
— Kenley Jansen credits manager Dave Roberts for keeping the team together during their awful start. “Dave Roberts and the coaching staff remained positive,” Jansen said. “They could have gone negative in so many ways.” …
— Former Dodgers scouting director Logan White was yelled at by a boss for passing on Michael Wacha in a recent draft. “We could have had Wacha!” bellowed one higher-up. The player the Dodgers took in the first round instead was Corey Seager, who’s an even better player. And as it turned out, White picked Wacha’s Texas A&M teammate Ross Stripling in the fifth round. And Stripling became an All-Star, for a $155,000 signing bonus …

 
Miami Marlins
— J.T. Realmuto, who sought a trade in the winter, didn’t rule out listening if the Marlins approached him about an extension – though it’s possible he was just being polite. “I wouldn’t be opposed to having that conversation,” Realmuto said. “But for me it’s more important to focus on the season.” …
— As for a trade possibility—that probably has a slightly better chance of happening. Though, baseball president Michael Hill still said it is “very unlikely J.T. moves anywhere.” …
— The team that remains interested is the Nats, as we reported here, and this time the Nats might be willing to include Victor Robles, which would only be a start …
— Don Mattingly is doing a great job there. No way they should be tied with the Mets.
 
Milwaukee Brewers
— Jeff Passan always writes well on these sort of subjects, and here is what he had to say on Josh Hader's social media situation
— The Brewers are disappointed not to have landed Manny Machado, who would have fit them perfectly. Maybe they could consider the Twins’ Eduardo Escobar for shortstop. His teammate Brian Dozier is another one the’ve been connected to …
— The Brewers’ bigger needs may be for a starting pitcher. Nick Cafardo from the Boston Globe has linked them to Nathan Eovaldi. They’d be linked for years to Chris Archer, but Eovaldi makes more sense at the moment …
— The Brewers had a wonderful first half and a terrible final week. (the ended the first half by being swept by the Pirates) “There’s definitely a lot of frustration,” Lorenzo Cain said. It’s tough to go through. We have to find a way.” …
— The Brewers also have some key pieces on the DL at a time they’d like to add a shortstop and a starting pitcher. So there are finally some issues there …  
— Jeremy Jeffress is maybe the most appreciative All-Star after fighting drug problems. “I’m loving it, man,” he said. “To be on all the roads I’ve been on … it’s great.”
 
Minnesota Twins
— The trade of Manny Machado could trigger more trade talk, involving the losing teams and the remaining players. The Twins have two infielders who are free agents, and could go – Eduardo Escobar and Brian Dozier …
— The Phillies are looking at Escobar, and the Diamondbacks and Brewers are logical spots for Dozier …
— Dozier was surely expecting a qualifying offer at the start of the season, but after an uncharacteristic first half, that seems pretty iffy ….
— Willens Astudillo has manned these positions in his brief time in the majors: P, CF, LF, 2B and 3B. His pitching didn’t go as hoped (as you’d expect, many position players struggle; the collective ERA of position players is over 11).


New York Mets
— Jacob deGrom’s agent Brodie Van Wagenen in quotes first given to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic said deGrom would like to be extended, but barring that, the Mets should “consider” a trade for deGrom. The team’s lack of support on the field has been remarkable, and at the negotiating table, the same thing. Mets higher-ups before the comments were made suggested it wasn’t the right time to extend deGrom, who has two years to go before free agency and will be 32 then …
— Mets people at one time didn’t want to talk extension with one or two of their top pitchers but not the others, it seemed partly because they didn’t want to create hard feelings. But at this point, no one could argue with an extension for deGrom. The Mets may also be a little gun-shy since their record with long deals is almost completely awful after the very productive first extensions for Jose Reyes and David Wright, which paid off nicely. Unfortunately for them, the signing of Johan Santana and the second signing of Wright did not pay off (though they had insurance on both contracts, which meant they recovered significant monies). The second signing of Yoenis Cespedes is threatening to become regrettable as well …
— Omar Minaya, while himself not a likely GM candidate, is expected to have big say in who might be the next GM. That could bode well for interest in Indians GM Mike Chernoff. Minaya has been close to the Cleveland guys (and a lot of other folks) over the years …
— Andy Martino of SNY suggested that barring something unforeseen manager Mickey Callaway would make it back for his second year. That isn’t surprisingly really. Though the reviews have bene decidedly mixed, the Mets don’t like the first folks wo were just hired …  
— Dom Smith was quoted somewhere saying he didn’t need more minor-league seasoning. Judge for yourself; here are some of his numbers – one RBI, one walks, 26 strikeouts …
— Meanwhile, Peter Alonso is hitting some bombs, including one in the Futures Games that he admired lustily. Torii Hunter compared Alonso to Mark McGwire …
— K-Rod is getting people out for the Long Island Ducks, and while he’s been touching 90-91, he isn’t getting any Triple-A offers yet …
— Mike Puma in the New York Post wrote about why they let go of Nick Francona. I like Nick …
— Tim Tebow will make it to the majors at some point. I am more convinced than ever.
 


New York Yankees
— “Manny Machado to the Yankees never made any sense,” one scout said. With Miguel Andujar at third and Didi Gregorius at shortstop, at the very least their need was less than that of the others …
— GM Brian Cashman denied that they are down on Andujar in this piece in the New York Post by Joel Sherman. We believe him; after all Cashman held Andujar out of Gerrit Cole talks. The Yankees do like on-base percentage and fielding metrics, and he need a little work in both areas. Overall though it’s hard to be down on him …
— The Yankees are determined to add a starter, and they have the prospects, and without Machado they have the money under the threshold, too …
— The Mets’ guys are the ones they’d like most, and perhaps they will wait until later in hopes they can land someone great (they doubt the Mets would trade with them, but what if Carlos Martinez of the Cardinals becomes available?) …
— J.A. Happ is also an option, but apparently not so much Cole Hamels.
 
Oakland Athletics
— Jed Lowrie didn’t provide an update on any extension talks (first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic). But he did say, “I’m certainly open to it.” …
— Good to hear the A’s are going to buy, not sell. And they have an excellent farm system if they really want to make a splash. Of course, it’s hard to go crazy when you’re only hoping for an outside chance at the Wild Card – they are four games behind the Mariners for that second spot now – but their fans deserve it. Their miniscule revenue stream has led to too many sales of great players in the past, which every A’s fan could tell you about …
— Tyler Kepner of the failing New York Times has a nice story of the surging A’s.

 
Philadelphia Phillies
— After losing out on Manny Machado, the Phillies are said to be determined to acquire a shortstop, and not just any slick fielder out there, either. Eduardo Escobar’s name has come up. The other potentially available shortstops are mostly glove specialist: Jose Iglesias, old friend Freddy Galvis, Adeiny Hechavarria, Miguel Rojas …
— One scout had some praise for the young Philly pitchers, singling out Zach Eflin and JoJo Romero …
— The Phillies were always offering pitching prospect Adonis Medina in the Manny Machado deal …
— By all accounts, Phillies people are very disappointed not to have gotten Machado …
— The Phillies are in on Brad Hand, Dennis Lin of The Athletic reports …  
— The Phillies people are also known to love Orioles closer Zach Britton who they had in Baltimore too while they were there …
— Another player they are familiar with, Cole Hamels, said it would be a “blessing” to be traded back to the Phillies. The man loves his cheesesteaks.
 
Pittsburgh Pirates
— If the Pirates sell, folks figure Felipe Vazquez could be out there – but at a very high price. So it’s probably a long shot that he goes anywhere …
— Congrats to Pirates beat writer Liz Bloom, who decide to go to Harvard for a double degree over Pirates beat writing. Strange, but true!
 

St. Louis Cardinals
— The Cardinals are focused on the manager situation now. They open with eight of 11 games against the rival, first-place Cubs, and that could tell the story of whether organization man Mike Shildt gets to stay. He has a rapport with baseball president John Mozeliak, so it can’t be ruled out. Lots of big names have been mentioned speculatively, including Joe Girardi and Mark McGwire, who is thought to like his gig as bench coach with the Padres in his native Southern California (he’s from the San Gabriel Valley area of L.A.) …
— Catcher Yadier Molina was asked about the firing of Mike Matheny, and he said, “The franchise, they demand winning. We were up and down the last couple of months. As a professional, I’ve got to turn the page. I’m glad Mike Matheny was my manager. I learned a lot of things from him. But as a player, I turn the page.” …
— Joe Girardi is smart enough not to campaign for the Cardinals job. But he made clear in a phone interview he’d like to manage. “I’m definitely interested to managing,’ Girardi said …
— One possible roadblock to the Cardinals hiring Girardi is that they don't pay salaries like he's used to. Matheny earned $1.35 million base as recently as 2017 (his 2018 salary isn't know but was presumably somewhat higher). Girardi earned $4 million annually with the Yankees. The trend is to pay less for managers now, not more, and it's unknown if St. Louis would buck that to land Girardi ...
— Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wondered what happened to the Cardinals’ "stability."
— If the Cardinals should be wiped out in those first 11 games, they could easily become sellers. They have several quality young players (Triple-A Memphis is dominating) so they could afford to trade some vets. Long-time Cardinals who’d be coveted include Matt Carpenter, Michael Wacha (once off the DL; oblique) and ace pitcher Carlos Martinez, as Goold first reported. Obviously Dexter Fowler has no trade value at the moment, and they’d be selling low on Marcell Ozuna, who was much better last year in Miami.

 
San Diego Padres
— The Padres consider Brad Hand one of the seven best relievers in the game (they are probably right) and they had a high price tag on him. “They don’t expect a team’s No. 1 prospect, but they are not settling for a No. 5 or 6,” said one person involved in the talks. Well, they got pretty close to a number one in Francisco Mejia, who will likely be eyed as their catcher of the future ...
— The deal has a certain Addison Russell-to-the-Cubs feel to it; like that trade, in which Chicago sent a pair of major leaguers for a top prospect, the Padres gave up a pair of relievers (including a great one in Hand) for a prospect they feel can't miss. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Robert Murray were first with news of the trade ...
— Hand honestly didn't think he would move in recent days. “It feels like there was more talked about with me last year … And I didn’t end up getting traded,” Hand said …
— The Padres have been getting hits on all their relievers. Many are having big years, Kirby Yates especially. Would San Diego consider trading Yates as well after already giving up Hand and Cimber? It's worth monitoring.
 
San Francisco Giants
— In what could be a very weird turn, the Giants are thought to have had at least one conversation about bringing back Austin Jackson. Jackson was traded to Texas for money reasons. They apparently liked him, though …
— Brandon Crawford has moved up a notch on the list of top MLB shortstops with his performance this year. One NL manager says it will be him and Trevor Story at the top of the NL list in coming years (not counting Manny Machado since he’s a free agent).
 
Seattle Mariners
— The Mariners’ five All-Stars show how far they’ve come. Now they have to hold off a spirited A’s team …
— The key trade for GM Jerry Dipoto was the one with Arizona where he got Mitch Haniger and Jean Segura, both All-Stars …
— The Mariners have an increasing sense of urgency, writes Greg Johns of MLB.com …
— Matt Festa became the first player to make it to the majors from Jerry Dipoto’s drafts.

 
Tampa Bay Rays
— Nathan Eovaldi has become a valuable trade chip …  
— Wilson Ramos will be on the DL past July 31, so the chances for him to be traded are probably diminished. Though it’s possible he could get through waivers …
— As much as we criticize the Rays here for all their cost cutting, they need to get credit for their baseball acumen. Even after all the spring trades, Rays people were saying behind the scenes that they’d be better than anyone expected. And to this point, they absolutely have been …
— “The opener,” as my colleague Brian Kenny has dubbed it, seems to have some place in the game – though long-term we still question whether it makes sense. Ryne Stanek hasn’t given up a run in the starter’s role, so he makes it work big-time. It’s certainly a plus to have a lefty-righty advantage in inning one.
 
Texas Rangers
— One person close to the situation predicted: “Adrian Beltre isn’t going anywhere.” …
— Bobby Witt Jr. put on quite a display in the high school Home Run Derby. It’s easy to see why he’s a consideration for the No. 1 overall pick. He will be repped by his father Bobby Whit. The former Rangers pitcher is now an agent with Octagon ….
— Shin-Soo Choo’s streak is quite impressive. And I don’t count it against him that he didn’t play against Chris Sale – or pinch hit – to help preserve the streak that deserves more attention. The Rangers aren’t in the race, and to kill the streak in order to improve their chances to win on one particular day by five percent didn’t seem worth it.
 
Toronto Blue Jays
— GM Ross Atkins sat down with Jays All-Star J.A. Happ (said as Jay, just like a member of his team) to give him the lay of the land on the trade front even though he has no no-trade and it really isn’t necessary …
— Happ was a Cubs fan growing up (he’s from Peru, Ill. 90 miles to the west), and they seem possible …
— The Yankees are still seen as the likeliest landing spot …
— Kevin Pillar is going to be out for a while after injuring himself with his latest acrobatic move in the outfield. No one can discourage him from his outfield gymnastics, as that is his game. And, as Happ told me, “As a pitcher, you appreciate it.”


Washington Nationals
— The Nats are said ready to make another run at J.T. Realmuto, and word is they might consider parting with top outfield prospect Victor Robles. The Marlins are understandably not anxious to trade Realmuto, of whom one scout says, “He’s going to be the best catcher in the game for the next five years.” …
— The Nats held Robles out of Gerrit Cole trade talks. But it seems they are willing to discuss him now …
— The Nats need some sort of spark. Davey Martinez may not be getting raves from scouts yet (and Mets announcer Keith Hernandez observed on SNY, “The Nats aren’t playing with much energy”), but the players, including Bryce Harper, seem to like him very much …
— One high-ranking Nats person referred to Dusty Baker as a “great” manager. It is obvious now his firing was totally driven by an ownership group that’s driven to win but a bit hard on managers. Baker became the only manager to post consecutive 95-win seasons and still be axed …
— Daniel Murphy still isn’t 100 percent, but the Nats to continue to hope for improvement in his knee because his bat would be huge once he gets his leg right. The man is one of the best hitters in the game when healthy …
— Bryce Harper put on quite a show at the Home Run Derby, hitting nine straight homers to win it over the Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber. He also showed what kind of star power he has, as Ken Davidoff of the New York Post wrote. There were a couple whispers he broke a tiny rule a time or two by swinging slightly before the previous ball had landed, and while that may be so, Harper had the handicap of using his father Ron as his pitcher. And besides that, it is an exhibition of an exhibition! While Ron obviously has a good arm, some of his pitches were so far inside they nearly hit Harper. A professional BP pitcher is an edge Harper didn’t have…
— Harper, kindly, admitted Mike Trout’s the best player in the game on social media. Good for him …
— Ex-Nat Blake Treinin, one of the nicer guys in the game, nearly “choked up” when he received a warm greeting from his old crowd at Nationals Park. He said he figured the reaction could be mixed for him …
— The revelation that Ryan Zimmerman had a calf issue in spring training and during the year, written in this space last week, is still being debated in the D.C. area. Here’s Chelsea Janes’ story in the Washington Post …  
— Sean Doolittle, beloved in Washington, wore a T-shirt that said “Love Wins” on the Red Carpet walk. And it was a lot more controversial than he expected, he said.

Jon Heyman is Fancred's baseball insider. He publishes his weekly Inside Baseball column each Thursday on the App and FancredSports.com. You can download the App here and interact with Jon by following him right here.

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