Inside Baseball MLB Notes: Devers isn't going anywhere

Taking a weekly trip around the majors …
 
Arizona Diamondbacks
— Shelby Miller and Robbie Ray are back. A.J. Pollock is ready to begin baseball activity, and Steven Souza is getting closer (h/t Zach Buchanan, The Athletic). So all that should help …
— Paul Goldschmidt’s slump is long over, and he is all the way up to eighth in OPS in the NL …
— Ketel Marte has a .631 slugging and .968 OPS in June. Maybe his early-year struggles are attributable to pressure he felt after signing his long contract …
— Clay Buchholz is nursing an oblique. Signing him was a worthwhile endeavor, but even in his prime he looked somewhat fragile. It will be a surprise if the D-Backs don’t need another starter.
 
Atlanta Braves
— Arodys Vizcaino (shoulder) landing on the DL just reinforces the need for back-end bullpen help. The Braves did check in on Kelvin Herrera, but didn’t like the price …
— Mike Foltynewicz is back pitching. That’s big …
— Nick Markakis is the first MLB player to reach 100 hits (h/t Mark Bowman, MLB.com) …
— Anibal Sanchez has been terrific …
— Pitching phenom Mike Soroka is on the 60-day DL while positional phenom Ronald Acuña is on his way back from his knee/back issues …
— Starting Thursday, Braves Hall of Famer John Smoltz will be playing in the U.S. Senior Open at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. He is paired with the great Fred Couples on Friday. Fox will be following his progress.
 
Baltimore Orioles
— The Braves, Cardinals, Indians and Red Sox are among teams beyond the leading contenders we wrote about here in the race for Manny Machado, one of the game’s very best players …
— As much as the focus has been on Chris Davis, Jonathan Schoop has also struggled (of course, he doesn’t have a $161-million contract) …
— Davis is at .140 for the month …
— Davis said before Monday’s game he felt “totally different.” Then he whiffed three times in the game (via Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com)
— But Davis has eight RBI in his last six games since returning following some time off. He went to Brady Anderson's "boot camp" and it paid off, a friend says.

 
Boston Red Sox
— They are being asked about Rafael Devers, but one source insists: “He’s not going anywhere.” And a rival agrees. “If Boston traded Devers, they should immediately report to a psychiatrist.” That exec also put  it this way: “He’s just a puppy,” he said of the 21-year-old. “He’s done well. He’s done OK at third base. And he will hit 35 or 40 home runs someday.”  …
— The Red Sox are said not to be concerned about their limited offensive production at catcher. They like the defense and game calling they get from Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon, who have practically the same stats (2 HR, 11 RBI, 29 K’s) …
— They could take a look at second base, however, especially if they don’t get encouraging reports on Dustin Pedroia’s knee …
— Chris Sale is a marvel. He hit 100.5 mph on his final pitch of a game, the fastest pitch of his career. He was fantastic in college but lasted until pick No. 13 due to the fact he was so unorthodox in his delivery and thin in his frame that scouts wondered whether he’d last ….
— MLB is worried about a lack of triples (and other action). But somehow Mitch Moreland had two triples …
— That Hanley Ramirez story never made any sense. Beyond that he’s a great guy (the rumor about him being bad in the clubhouse is total bunk, a Red Sox person agrees), he’s made $159 million in his career. He tweeted thanks to those who didn’t repeat the bad rumor and said he isn’t playing by his choice …
— David Price seems to be a target for fans in Boston, but he’s been pitching superbly and living up to his contract. Still can’t see him opting out of $127 million and four years.
 
Chicago Cubs
— Javier Baez is looking like a superstar again …
— He is 6-for-6 with five extra-base hits vs. the Dodgers’ Ross Stripling (four doubles and a homer) …
— Kris Bryant’s shoulder might have bene bothering him longer than he’s let on, as evidenced by his career low one home run every 29.3 at-bats. So it’s probably wise to go on the 10-day DL now and take care of the issue. Joe Girardi had an interesting theory about the cause being his swing and his one-handed follow through on MLB Network …
— Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic has the story on the Cubs refusing to give up on Duane Underwood Jr.
— Joe Maddon defended Willson Contreras over his failure to give a “thank you” to umpire Greg Gibson, who granted him time out, as Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune writes. Politeness apparently counts. A lot …
— Rick Morrissey wrote in the Sun-Times about a fanciful scenario where Maddon isn’t retained by the Cubs and replaces Rick Renteria with the White Sox, which has happened before. It’s all in fun, but that seems like fantasyland, to steal a word from a noted Cubs person …
— We agree with this part: no manager is safe, especially veteran managers. But it was just a fun column …
— David Kaplan, Chicago broadcast personality, wasn’t happy about a failure to lay down a bunt, tweeting, “Bunting practice. Tomorrow! Brutal.” …
— Yu Darvish told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he feared for his children had he re-signed in L.A. (My take: it made no sense for the Dodgers either) …
— Nice guy Darvish treated all his minor-league teammates after his rehab start to Ruth’s Chris (and also the other team) …
— RIP, legendary clubhouse man Yosh Kawano.
   
Chicago White Sox
— The White Sox have come under fire from some quarters for a question of fundamentals. But White Sox leadership continues to have full faith in manager Rick Renteria. They see the issues as typical growing pains associated with ultra young teams and love that Renteria’s background is in player development …
— They also take exception with the narrative that their rebuild is behind schedule. And the reality is, they are only 18 months into it. So we’d agree …
— Yoan Moncada became the first White Sox player to have a six-RBI game since Rip Radcliff in 1936 (via @ckamka) …
— Eloy Jimenez hit his first home run in Triple-A. He looks closer than ever …
— Their positional prospect stars appear on track while there are more questions surrounding the pitchers. Michael Kopech’s last start was encouraging in that he found his command again, Lucas Giolito has looked better lately and Dylan Cease has been very good. But Dane Dunning, who had been off to a great start, has an elbow concern …  
— Folks love Oregon State infielder Nick Madrigal, the No. 4 pick overall. In fact, some Phillies people even preferred him to Alec Bohm, who they picked No. 3 overall …
— “He’s going to be really, really good,” one scout says of Madrigal …
— Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press has the story of White Sox employee Nevest Coleman, who was exonerated after spending 23 years in prison.
 
Cincinnati Reds
— Reds higher ups have said all along that they intend to conduct managerial interviews when the season is over. At this point, it seems silly. Could anyone do a better job than Jim Riggleman, who took over a dead team and has them competing at a shocking level? As one rival executive says: “They have a perfect manager right under their nose. He deserves it.” …
— Under Riggleman, they have swept at Dodger Stadium and against the Cubs at Great American Ballpark and are now 31-31 (compared to 3-18 when he took over) …
— The Reds have the batting average leader (Scooter Gennett), the on-base leader (Joey Votto) and the second-place person in slugging (Eugenio Suarez). Who would have thought it? …
— Michael Lorenzen, who may be the best hitting pitcher (non Shohei Ohtani category), hit a pinch hit home run. “He’s legit (as a hitter),” says one scout …
— Anthony DeSclafani has done OK since he returned but he’s not satisfied, according to Bobby Nightengale
— Top prospect Nick Senzel (finger) is out for the year …
— Hunter Greene is thriving again. The Reds are very good at drafting …
— Good thing they never traded Gennett. In fact, he seems to deserve a long-term deal. The Reds have made some errors with long deals in recent years, but this guy – a local, no less – should get one.
 
Cleveland Indians
— The Indians, despite playing less than their best for most of the season, quickly forged an eight-game. A recent seven-game winning streak will do that …
— The bullpen remains their big need …
— Jason Kipnis is performing much better with the bat lately …
— Ethan Hankins, No. 35 pick overall, has reportedly signed with Chipola JC in Georgia, which would allow him to re-enter the draft next year should he not come to an agreement with the Indians. The slot is $2M there, but Cleveland doesn’t exactly throw money around.
 
Colorado Rockies
— The Rockies’ issue is simple: They are being beaten at their own game. The Rockies are being outslugged, and they are particularly being outslugged at home, having been outscored by 244 to 196 at Coors Field. While the 196 runs is good for fourth best in baseball in terms of scoring at home, the 244 is by far the worst …
— The Rockies have given up 68 home runs, the most in the majors (h/t Patrick Saunders, the Denver Post). That’s not good considering all the trouble they’ve had with the bullpen …
— Other than the Denver-raised Kyle Freeland, the young starters have taken a step back this year. Jon Gray is extremely talented but hasn’t shown it yet this year …
— Bryan Shaw has to go on the DL. He threw so many games over the past few years for the Indians, folks figured it could go either way: either he has a rubber arm, or he’s only got so many pitches in him …
— Nolan Arenado leads the NL in OPS, on-base percentage, BA and slugging percentage vs. lefthanders …
— Trevor Story always has had a huge power-speed combo, and he appears to be putting it all together …
— Ian Desmond is coming on, as well.
 
Detroit Tigers
— Pitching coach Chris Bosio’s tenure was short. He was fired for making insensitive comments, but defended himself to USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale. “Someone in our coaches’ room asked me (Monday afternoon) about (injured pitcher Daniel) Stumpf,’’ Bosio told Nightengale. “And I said, 'Oh, you mean, 'Spider Monkey.'' That’s his nickname. He’s a skinny little white kid who makes all of these funny faces when he works out." The issue is that Stumpf told the Detroit Free Press he didn't recognize that nickname at all. Others who know Bosio well describe him as a "tough guy" who'll "talk trash." But they don't recall him every saying anything racist. 
— Leonys Martin, who’s having a nice year, could be a trade candidate …
— Folks are expecting OF Parker Meadows to sign. One estimate suggests he’ll get $2-million plus, well over slot …
— That would be made possible by Casey Mize signing for $7.5 million. While that was easily the top bonus of the year, it was nearly $600,000 below the generous slot for the No 1 pick ($8.1 million).
 
Houston Astros
— Charlie Morton struck out 13 batters to improve to 10-1 with a 2.5 ERA. He doesn’t seem like someone about to retire, but he told Jon Morosi of MLB.com it’s possible, and perhaps if he doesn’t continue to feel great that could be the case. But on the open market, there’s plenty of reason to think he could score big. Rich Hill, a fine pitcher with a bit if injury history who was a year older, got $16 million a year, while Jake Arrieta, off a decent year with decreased velocity, got $25 million a year. He could fall between those two. In any case, expect the Astros to make the $18-million qualifying offer …
— The Astros’ stack of starting pitchers is so good, they have extras. Collin McHugh has been brilliant out of the pen this year …
— Alex Bregman garnered some pub when he shaved his moustache between at-bats. Big week for ‘staches (see Mariners notes) …
— Maybe it sparked Bregman because he is on fire now, with an .887 OPS and a walk-off homer vs. the Jays Wednesday …
— First-round pick Seth Beer, a 1B from the University of Tennessee, was promoted from Tri-Cities to Quad Cities. Which means he gained a city.
 
Kansas City Royals
— It's said Mike Moustakas expects to be traded. The Braves are the most logical landing spot at present …
— The long-heard rumor that the Royals were considering controversial Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich reached the papers when the Kansas City Star reported the news in what seemed like a trial balloon. Vahe Gregorian, the paper’s columnist, wrote that they should not sign him
— Brad Keller looks like a smart Rule 5 pickup.
 
Los Angeles Angels
— The Angels are looking, and one rival scout says “they need pitching in the worst way.” …
— Tyler Skaggs has looked very good lately. But health remains an issue for most of the rotation, as it has for a few years in Anaheim. “They’re really good. They just can’t stay healthy,” one rival exec said …  
— Garrett Richards should be back soon, which will be a lift …
— Mike Trout is DHing due to an injured finger. He doesn’t love it …
— Hansel Robles’ debut didn’t go exactly as hoped; he allowed a game-winning home run to Kendrys Morales, then allowed another run in his next outing the very next day. Robles wasn’t great with the Mets. But one scout understood the move. “He’s as good or better than the guys they’ve got back there.” …
— Considering all the injuries, manager Mike Scioscia has done “amazing” in “cobbling together as many wins as he has,” one scout says.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers
— The Dodgers had what an insider termed a “serious” discussion about whether to send Cody Bellinger to the minors when he was struggling early. Good thing they didn’t. Bellinger (1.121 OPS this month) is an absolute star, on offense and defense. He can play CF, as he has, and he could even pitch. He throws 92-93 mph. “And he can spin it,” remarked manager Dave Roberts …
— Chase Utley is eight for 18 as a pinch hitter …
— Joc Pederson has a 1.332 OPS this month …
— Ross Stripling has 30 strikeouts and just one walk this month …
— Max Muncy has been amazing, seemingly out of nowhere. “He doesn’t go outside the strike zone,” one scout marveled …
— Kenley Jansen was up around 93, 94 mph in his recent outing in New York, which is more like it for him.
 
Miami Marlins
— Caleb Smith may miss the year after being diagnosed with a Grade 3 (the worst on the scale) lat strain. Smith, who came from the Yankees (new Marlins execs know that system), has been one of the great discoveries by the Marlins this year …
— J.T. Realmuto has 31 extra-base hits, most among NL catchers. Yet, he is till well behind in All-Star voting. Might have something to do with a lack of attendance …
— The price tag on Realmuto is high, and should be high. He may be the best catcher in the game …
— Derek Dietrich homered in three straight games …
— Cameron Maybin continues to struggle. He was brought in for leadership but isn’t performing well enough to be playing.
 
Milwaukee Brewers
— The Brewers are playing themselves into the same position as last year, with a slight lead over the favored Cubs …
— A starting pitcher remains the obvious need, though they are hopeful a returning Jimmy Nelson will help …
— The other focus has been second base, but the reality is that, at least offensively, they have gotten less out of shortstop …
— Travis Shaw (wrist) is on the DL, and that’s a big loss.

 
Minnesota Twins
— Eddie Rosario is a great All-Star candidate, as Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes
— So is Eduardo Escobar, for that matter …
— Dan Hayes of The Athletic has the story of how the Twins want Max Kepler to be more aggressive. Kepler has a .471 OPS this month …
— One rival predicts the Twins will be “opportunistic” this trading season. Which fits their style. From here, they look like more seller than buyer (last year they were a little of each).
 
New  York Mets
— Some Mets people appear to have lost a little faith in Amed Rosario, who had been their top prospect. Rosario was bench recently to play Jose Reyes, who had a .517 OPS at the time, and it was explained that Reyes was swinging it well. One Mets person said that no one should give up on Rosario (we agree) …
— Jose Bautista, by virtue of many walks, has a .912 OPS this month and even recently batted leadoff …
— Bill James chimed in on the Mets. When they used reliever Jerry Blevins to start, @BillJamesOnline wrote: “If the Mets are using this strategy I’d say it has NO chance …” Harsh …  
— The Mets have used 46 players already, their record high by the end of June (h/t Gary Cohen on SNY) …
— Brandon Nimmo has the OPS to go with his enthusiasm now. Good for him …
— Zack Wheeler remains a bit of a mystery, a great arm who always seems to have a bad pitch or inning. “The one constant about successful pitchers is they can command the fastball, whether they throws 95 or 85. Wheeler doesn’t command it, and never could,” one scout says …
— Tim Tebow says he’s going to “keep swinging it.” …
— Wilmer Flores has become the walk-off king. He owns the Mets’ three walk-off RBI his year …
— Best wishes to great baseball man Sandy Alderson in his battle with cancer.
 
New York Yankees
— Dellin Betances was determined to regain his form, and he has. While he still walks more than you’d like, no one hits him. In his most recent appearances totaling 14 innings, he’s allowed one hit, no runs and 10 walks while striking out 24 (via Katie Sharp) …
— As a hitter, Betances proved very entertaining. He did the Gary Sheffield batt wiggle, looked at a strike and then took two monster hacks to the delight of teammates. Betances clearly wanted to enjoy the experience since he hadn’t batted since high school in Brooklyn 12 years ago. Adrian Garro of MLB.com said he was at-bat was “essentially the opposite” of Santiago Casilla’s. Casilla, of the A’s, stood on the edge of the box, and looked at four straight balls for a walk …
— Yankee fans have been complaining about Gary Sanchez all year, so now they’ll get a chance to see how life is without him. Sanchez had to go on the DL after pulling a hamstring legging out a grounder. Austin Romine has been fantastic in the backup role …
— Tyler Wade was the latest Yankees’ Triple-A Scranton infielder to pine for the majors. We’ll say this: the Yankees continue to have the best infield in the minors, with Brandon Drury still there, Ronald Torreyes up and down and even Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres there to start the year …
— Neil Walker, meanwhile, is struggling at the major league level …
— For all the complaints about Giancarlo Stanton, he has a .602 slugging percentage and 0.975 OPS this month …
— We’ve questioned not doing the deal for Gerrit Cole here before. But if it took Andujar, it is perfectly understandable (and perhaps the right call) …  
— Aaron Boone has the right kind of even temperament for the job. But he did react strongly to a question about whether the Yankees might be too dependent on the home run …
— According to David Adler of MLB.com, Stanton has the most balls hit 115-plus mph this year with 11, and Aaron Judge is second with eight. Joey Gallo is third with seven and Daniel Palka (White Sox) fourth with six, and no one else has more than more …
— Sonny Gray is back on his game …
— Jonathan Holder has the second longest streak of scoreless games (three plus batters), tied with Mariano Rivera, who also had 22 straight in 2005. Betances has the team record 26 in 2015 (via Katie Sharp) …
— Holder has a fantastic name for what he does …
— Rookie Jonathan Loaisiga has looked very good. One scout says they have four or five just like him in the minors …
— Luis Severino is a star. 

 

Oakland Athletics
— Edwin Jackson made it 13 teams he’s played for, tying Octavio Dotel’s record. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote about Jackson’s long and winding road. It’s been noted that Dotel also played with the A’s, though that obviously isn’t such a coincidence since he played for nearly half the teams …
— The A’s set the record for most consecutive road games in which they homered, at 25, when Mark Canha homered at Guaranteed Rate Field on Chicago’s South Side …
— Liam Hendricks, a longtime reliever, was DFA’ed. 
 
Philadelphia Phillies
— The Phillies love Alec Bohm, the Wichita State 3B who they signed for $5.95 million, as first reported at FRSBaseball (which is now part of Fancred). But the call “wasn’t unanimous.” They also considered Oregon State SS Nick Madrigal, who went fourth, and University of Florida 3B Jonathan India who went No. 5. Everyone loves Madrigal but some see a 5-foot-7 player as a risk (though obviously Jose Altuve and Dustin Pedroia both became MVPs). Maybe they want to leave shortstop open in case they sign Manny Machado too? Machado has made clear he wants to play SS long-term …
— The Phillies are seen as among the early favorites for Machado, which you'll read more about here later.
 
Pittsburgh Pirates
— Francisco Cervelli was on the DL for a concussion again. There have been many (four is the official count). Cervelli is an amazing story. Guys who played with him in the minors have so much admiration for him for making it despite not standing out in terms of talent …
— Starling Marte is really good in center …
— One rival suggested they send down Gregory Polanco, who needs to get back on track …
— Josh Harrison’s slide into Asdrubal Cabrera was absolutely clean, as Asdrubal showed when he hugged him (following Jeurys Familia’s silly mini-tantrum over it) ...
 
St. Louis Cardinals
— Michael Wacha is expected to be out a significant period of time, which could inspire the Cardinals to look for a starter …
— While Manny Machado would fit the Cardinals (who talked about him and Josh Donaldson this winter), there’s no way they’d part with top young starter Jack Flaherty. They have some other pitching prospects, however, as they are very good at developing pitchers …
— Jon Gant took a nice step when he threw seven one-hit innings against the Indians. He is developing the “Vulcan change” under pitching coach Mike Maddux …
— Paul DeJong is believed to be ahead of schedule …
— Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the story of Greg Garcia, the grandson of baseball lifer Dave Garcia, who recently passed away …
— Greg Holland is back, and looks like himself now that he’s commanding his breaking stuff. The late start was his downfall early …
— Rookie center fielder Harrison Bader (five OF assists) draws oohs and ahhs with his majestic throws …
— Tyler Kepner of the failing New York Times writes about how Jordan Hicks throws 105 after being pick No. 105 …
— The Cardinals are having their big test now, with 13 straight games against first-place teams (Brewers, Indians, Braves, Diamondbacks).
 
San Diego Padres
— The Padres have interest in Maikel Franco, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and MLB Network reported …
— Ty Webb was DFA’ed. Instead of the pool or the pond, it’s been the majors or the minors. We think he can help someone in the majors …
— As Andrew Baggarly said, the appearance of Robert Stock, a journeyman who’s 28 and came in throwing 98 mph, summed up the state of baseball. Hard throwers all around. (Stock was a pitcher-catcher at USC, recalls Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News) …
— Rookie starter Eric Lauer looks awfully good …  
— Freddy Galvis remains fantastic defensively ...
— Don't worry, we'll have more on the Brad Hand sweepstakes here soon as well.
 
San Francisco Giants
— For all the speculation, the Giants will not be a seller. No way …
— Buster Posey has a .270 batting average after falling behind 0-2 according to Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic …
— Tony Watson has been absolutely brilliant. It looks like he’ll make his incentives, which will significantly increase his pay …
— Johnny Cueto needs one more rehab start …
— Hunter Pence had the game-winning hit (off Padres star Brad Hand) that made it five of six wins for the Giants. Everyone seemed thrilled for Pence, who’s been struggling …
— Pablo Sandoval is happy back in the Bay Area. And he’s playing well enough to extend his career beyond the contract that was signed with Boston and didn’t work (at least not for Boston) …
— Word is, Tim Lincecum hasn’t given up on playing next year.

 
Seattle Mariners
— Mitch Haniger told Jon Morosi of MLB Network that he asked for a demotion in 2015 with the Mariners, from Double-A to Class-A, for more playing time …
— Haniger got out to a sizzling start for the second straight year. And he's still having a massive impact as Seattle sticks in the AL West and Wild Card races ...
— Ichiro gets props for his funny moustache in the dugout. But he needs to tip his ‘stache to Bobby Valentine, whose moustache was funnier and who had the gall to do it in a game where he was booted.
 
Tampa Bay Rays
— A Rays sell off is coming, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. Many may ask: Hasn’t it already come? …
— The Rays have a 2.98 ERA, best in the bigs, since starting their “opener” experiment, wherein a reliever starts the game …
— Jonny Venters, who’s made it back from three Tommy John surgeries, went out with a hamstring issue after covering first …
— Wilmer Font is a Yankee killer …
— The Rays were the first team to sweep the Yankees this year …
— Speaking up: Clint Frazier’s shot off the speaker at the Trop that became an out when Adeiny Hechavarria caught it, but perhaps they need a rule change. Particularly since velocities and angles can be figured now …
— Blake Snell looks like a star …
— The Trop remains a pit.
 
Texas Rangers
— Future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre has told the Rangers he’s willing to consider trades to some teams, but he wants to play next year again for the Rangers, so he may not be so anxious to prove deals. It would have to be exactly the right situation. “I don’t think he’s going anywhere,” one person close to him said …
— Meanwhile, Beltre keeps racking up hits and he’s up to 3,105. As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News points out, he’s closing in on Dave Winfield (3,110) and Alex Rodriguez (3,115) …
— Shin-Soo Choo has reached base in 40 straight games (Ted Williams has the all-time record at 84) …
— Rougned Odor is showing signs of regaining his form. Which would be big …
— Cole Hamels has recently faced Gerrit Cole and Jason Hammel …
— Hamels has looked good overall but has given up an MLB-worst 20 home runs (h/t Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News) …
— Some believe Hamels would prefer to have his $20-million option picked up to approve a trade, as is contractually permitted, though that may be depend on a case-by-case basis. "Yes, he does have options and they will be addressed when and if we are put in a position to actually have to make decisions," his agent John Boggs said. "I am sure they will vary on the team and the set of circumstances at that time."
— Shifts are really fouling up Joey Gallo. He has struck out half the time and is hitting .125 in June …
— Rangers people know they aren’t great but figure they have underachieved to this point.
 
Toronto Blue Jays
— Ex-Angel Kendrys Morales had to feel good hitting a game-winning homer against his former team ...
— The victim in extra innings was new Angel reliever Hansel Robles …
— Marcus Stroman (shoulder) returned with five shutout innings.
 
Washington Nationals
— The Nats’ two areas of interest for acquisition are a starting pitcher and a catcher. The Nats could consider bringing back old friend Wilson Ramos. They’ve also shown interest in Jonathan Lucroy at a couple points over the past couple years, but while Lucroy has done a nice job with the A’s’ pitching staff, his power deficit has carried over from a year ago …
— GM Mike Rizzo said they aren’t going to pay the asking price for J.T. Realmuto, which has consistently been one of Juan Soto or Victor Robles. Meanwhile, Pedro Severino is 3-for-49 in June …
— The Nats’ offense has hit the skids in recent days …
— Bryce Harper will take part in the Home Run Derby as long as he makes the All-Star team, he told Barry Svrluga, a big relief to MLB which had concerns about the field after hearing word that Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge may not participate. Harper appears in line to make the team (he’s currently running second among NL outfielders), and MLB people will keep their fingers crossed. Improvements in the Derby (the clock was the biggest one) have made the event much better. Harper had only entered once before, losing in the finals in San Diego …
— Harper “has his swing back” one scout said. He was “all messed up … pulling off the ball” ...
— The highest OPS for a teenager was .922 by Mel Ott, then 19, in 1928. Juan Soto, also 19, is currently at 1.008.

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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