A friend of mine, a Phillies fan, emailed me last night to tell me he heard that a Tampa news station reported that the Rays are talking to the Phillies about dealing starter James Shields for Hunter Pence. Why the Phillies would do this is beyond me, unless they have another deal in the works for a bat. And that leads to the next Phillies trade rumor.
MLB.com's Peter Gammons opines that the Phillies could actually trade Cliff Lee, and not Cole Hamels, by the trade deadline. Gammons stated that there would be a significant market for Lee, which is like saying the sun is hot. Of course there would be a significant market for Lee. All this leads me to change my stance on the Phillies dealing Cole Hamels. It appears the Phillies are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to sign Cole Hamels to an extension. A few days ago, we heard that the Dodgers are interested in Jimmy Rollins. Why? I have no idea, but maybe they are not sold on Dee Gordon as their long term shortstop. The Phillies are also shopping Shane Victorino, and it appears he will definitely be traded by July 31st. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. always make things interesting, doesn't he?
There is no stopping Angels outfielder Mike Trout. Forget the AL Rookie of the Year award, just submit your ballots now. If any other player gets one vote, it will be a crime. We REALLY need to start thinking seriously about him winning the AL MVP this season. Trout went 4-6 with a HR, 3 runs and 2 RBI last night, raising his triple slash line to .355-.408-.582 with 13 HRs, 64 runs, 44 RBI and 30 stolen bases. In 69 games!!!
More Roundup after the jump:
Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie was having a solid season in his first year in Houston before landing on the DL with an ankle injury. Reports last night stated that he has a nerve issue in his right leg and will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks, and possibly more. The 4-6 weeks is just a guess, so Lowrie could be out for the season. No use bringing him back in mid-September and risk another injury,
Yankees ace CC Sabathia returned from the DL last night and shut out the Blue Jays for 6 innings, giving up just 4 hits, a walk and 6 strikeouts to win his 10th game of the season. He is now 10-3 with a 3.27 ERA, 3.12 FIP and 3.25 xFIP, with a 1.25 WHIP and a 111-30 strikeout to walk ratio in 113 innings. Sabathia is striking out almost 9 batters per nine, walking about 2.5 batters per nine, and inducing ground balls at a 49% rate this season, and is about as steady as they come.
Giants catcher Buster Posey is quietly having a very good season at the plate in 2012. He went 3-5 with 2 doubles and 5 RBI last night and is now hitting .302-.374-.479 with 11 HRs, 18 doubles, 36 runs and 52 RBI this season. He has hit better than I thought he would returning from the terrible leg injury, and is on pace for 20 HRs and 90+ RBI. He now leads all catchers in RBI and is 4th in BA, OBP and SLG amongst qualifying catchers.
Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford has come off the DL hitting like it was 2010. Crawford went 3-4 with 2 runs, an RBI and 3 stolen bases last night . If he keeps hitting, and Adrian Gonzalez can get it going at the plate, and David Ortiz isn't out too long, the Red Sox lineup could be dangerous in the second half of the season. Oh, and Dustin Pedroia should be returning to the lineup soon as well.
What the heck happened to Red Sox starter Jon Lester this season. Wow. Lester was one of the top 15-20 starting pitchers in many pre-season rankings, but he has underperformed in a big way this season. Lester was roughed up for 6 runs on 7 hits, 3 walks and 4 strikeouts in 4 innings last night, and is now 5-7 with a 4.80 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 3.62 xFIP, a 1.39 WHIP and a 98-33 strikeout to walk ratio in 116.1 innings pitched. His strikeout rate is down to 7.58 per nine innings vs 8.55 last season, and his walk rate is down from 3.52 per nine to 2.55, so his K/BB rate is actually up vs 2011, even with the drop in the K rate. It appears he has just been unlucky as his strand rate is just 66% and his BABIP is slightly high at .331.
Another guy who is scorching at the plate since returning from the DL is Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis. Markakis went 3-4 with a walk and two runs scored last night,. Since his return from the DL last Friday, he is 10-23 with 4 doubles and 5 runs scored in 5 games. His breakout 2007 season was a tease for fantasy owners, as he never was able to repeat it, but he is a steady hitter who will hit double digit home runs, steal double digit bases, and score and drive in around 80 runs per season.
Mariners catcher Jesus Montero has disappointed fantasy owners in his first full season in the big leagues, especially hitting in the pitchers park in Seattle. He had a big game last night, going 3-4 with a double, a walk, 2 runs and 2 RBI, raising his triple slash line to .253-.294-.384 with just 8 HRs, 27 runs and 30 RBI this season. Montero is a better hitter than he has shown thus far, so keeper league owners should hold onto him. I know I am.
Cubs rookie first baseman Anthony Rizzo is off to a fast start since his call up a few weeks ago. He went 2-5 last night and is hitting .359-.379-.609 with 4 HRs, 9 runs, 10 RBI and a 6-2 strikeout to walk rate in his first 60+ at bats this season. He has hit in 14 of his first 16 games, and has 7 multi-hit games so far. He won't hit .350 but will hit for a solid BA with plenty of power.