How about that All-Star Game? Wasn’t it amazing when that one guy got that big hit? And that amazing catch in the outfield by whatshisname? And that pitcher really had his best stuff going. He struck out all those batters. I’m so glad that league won.
As you can tell, from my travel schedule, I’m having to write this up just as the All-Star Game got underway. So any news that actually came out during that game will have to wait until Friday.
- Nationals slugger Juan Soto won the Home Run Derby. Juan Toribio has details, including that Soto was the second-youngest winner ever. He’s one day older than Juan Gonzalez was in 1993.
- Here are 18 facts and stats about the Home Run Derby.
- It is probably a little late for any of you planning to compete this year, but for next year, here are Mets’ two-time winner Pete Alonso’s tips for winning the Derby, as shared to Jeff Passan.
- Michael Baumann writes that the past (Albert Pujols), the present (Soto) and the future (Julio Rodriguez) of the Home Run Derby (and baseball) grabbed the spotlight in this year’s Derby.
- Soto won this as the trade rumors swirl around him after he rejected a contract extension from the Nationals. Soto said the rumors make him “uncomfortable” but it’s “out of my hands” what happens to him.
- To show that the Nats aren’t exactly trying to make Soto change his mind, they made him fly commercial to LA and Soto arrived at 1:30 in the morning the day of the Home Run Derby. Whereas the Astros let Athletics All-Star Paul Blackburn hitch a ride on their charter. Blackburn said it was “awkward” at first, but the Astros players made him feel welcome and he had a great time.
- Jorge Castillo reports that trade rumors on Soto are the talk of the All-Star Festivities.
- Ben Clemens looks at Soto’s situation and thinks the Nats would do best to trade him now.
- Alex Kirschner, on the other hand, writes that the Nats should increase their offer and if they really don’t want to, wait until the offseason when more teams would be interested.
- Bradford Doolittle ran the numbers for every contender to figure out who would benefit the most by trading for Soto. (ESPN+ sub. req.)
- Before we forget, I mentioned Paul Blackburn earlier. John Shea writes that the A’s pitcher is pitching not just for his teammates, but for a new ballpark in Oakland. The Bay Area native is passionate about the A’s staying in Oakland.
- Zach Crizer asks the All-Star players which statistics do they pay attention to.
- Yesterday was also the 100th birthday of the great Rachel Robinson. David Robinson, Rachel and Jackie’s youngest child, writes about what makes his mom so special, both publicly and in private.
- Commissioner Rob Manfred gave his All-Star Game news conference and he stressed the need for new stadiums for the A’s and the Rays. Manfred argued that solutions for the two teams need to be found soon.
- But the big news Manfred made was when Hannah Keyser asked him about minor league players not making a living wage, Manfred rejected the notion that $4,800 to $14,700 a year was not a “living wage.”
Today, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred rejected “the premise … that Minor Leaguers are not paid a living wage.”— Advocates for Minor Leaguers (@MiLBAdvocates) July 19, 2022
Our response: pic.twitter.com/LXAcdxy2zE
- Manfred is probably also nervous because the Senate Judiciary Committee has requested that MLB explain what impact stripping MLB of its antitrust exemption would have on the Minor Leagues.
- Manfred also reiterated that Cuban defectors will not be allowed to play in the World Baseball Classic. That’s really not something MLB can allow and have the WBC keep its international certification, which is crucial in many countries for funding and support.
- More WBC news. Or maybe Marvel news. Mike Trout announced that he is the new “Captain America,” or rather, that he will be the captain for Team USA in the 2023 WBC. Trout skipped the last WBC in 2017, but he’s committed to playing this time.
- I’ve been doing so much draft stuff that I’m sick of it. (And I have more to do.) But Mike Axisa has some winners and losers from the first round. Cade Horton is a “winner.”
- Gentry Estes writes that as it turned out, Rangers first-round pick Kumar Rocker got lucky when the Mets declined to offer him a contract last year.
- Levi Weaver writes that the Rangers believe Rocker is worth the risk. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- In the 13th-round, the Orioles picked St. Leo right-hander Jared Beck. If Beck makes the majors, Beck will be the tallest player ever at 7-feet even.
- Hannah Keyser has some suggestions to get fans more excited about the MLB Draft.
- Keyser also notes that the Orioles are the surprise team of MLB this year, and she argues that this could be the start of a long period of winning in Baltimore.
- Bill Shaikin spoke with Cardinals All-Star Ryan Helsley, who, as a member of the Cherokee Nation, is asking the Atlanta Braves to stop the Tomahawk Chop.
- Bill Shea notes that the libel lawsuit filed by agent Casey Close against radio personality Doug Gottlieb may hinge on the definition of the phrase “public figure” and whether Close qualifies. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale, fresh off the injured list, underwent hand surgery after he was hit by a line drive in the finger on Saturday.
- And finally, check out this monster 527-foot home run by Diamondbacks prospect and Amarillo Sod Poodle Leandro Cedeno.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.