The Indians dropped their 4th of July contest against the Royals, treating a crowd of 39,000 at Progressive Field to an ugly 7-1 defeat that dropped them 8 games back in the Central and 4 games behind Kansas City for 2nd place. Things are starting to get grim.
Terry Francona looking forward to serving as a coach for the American League All-Star team. Obviously he'd prefer to be managing the team himself, but maybe his relationship with Boston manager John Ferrell will helpt the Tribe get more than one player named to the team.
It's been a rough stretch for the Tribe's Double-A affiliate in Akron, as top prospect Francisco Lindor suffered a broken nose (though he returned after missing only a week) and Tyler Naquin and Joe Wendle each suffered hand injuries. They won't be back nearly as quickly as Lindor was:
Terry Pluto takes a spur-of-the-moment trip to watch the Captains - A columnist looking for some material decides to check out the Tribe's Single-A affiliate and comes away with 1,500 words on the experience, including his take on Clint Frazier.
The Cubs and A's pulled off a blockbuster trade Friday night: The Cubs will send Jeff Samardzija (their best pitcher) and Jason Hammel (their second best pitcher) to Oakland, and in exchange the A's will send their top two prospects to Chicago. Those prospects are 2012 1st-round pick Addison Russell who is the closest match their is to Francisco Lindor anywhere else in the minors, and 2013 1st-round pick Billy McKinney, a 19-year old outfielder, very similar in many ways to Clint Frazier. Oakland has the best record and run differential in baseball, and has clearly decided to go "all in" this season. This move clearly improves their chances this season.
Even if the Indians were in contention though, if they'd traded Lindor and Frazier for these two pitchers (Hammel will be a free agent at the end of this season; Samardzija has one more year to wait), I may have had a heart attack.
Speaking of trading season, the it's the biggest story around MLB during July, and Grantland's Jonah Keri runs through the ten biggest story lines involving it. (#5 has already sort of taken care of itself with the above-mentioned trade.)
Former player Dirk Hayhurst says marijuana is a huge part of life for tons of players (in MLB and the minor leagues). In case you're wondering, the team he won't name in the story about the pillowcase-sized bag of weed getting stolen, it was the Rays. David Price and Evan Longoria were among the players living at that house at the time.
Last week I linked to a post that featured video of some of the best outfield throws of the last 15 years or so, along with a physics breakdown that determined how fast each ball was thrown. This week the same author (Eric Lang at the Hardball Times) runs through the same process with some older throws, including ones by Roberto Clemente, Dave Parker, and Bo Jackson. Check it out!