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MLBits: Harper is “A Long Way from Running,” Pirates Waive a Great Reliever, Games in Houston, More

MLB News and Rumors

Earlier today, the Cardinals all but threw in the towel on 2017 when they traded starting pitcher Mike Leake to the Mariners for basically nothing.


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Well, not nothing. The Cardinals got about $38 million in salary space, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch – plus, you know, a minor league infielder, Rayder Ascanio – but he was hardly the point.

What the Cardinals really got was even more financial room to maneuver in the upcoming free agent classes. And, hey, who knows – if they don’t feel like waiting for someone like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado in 2018-2019, they can still go after a star like Giancarlo Stanton and the $295 million he’s owed after this season …

  • You can read comments about the move from GM John Mozeliak here at the St. Louis Post Dispatch and here at Cardinals.com. But what you’ll really want to see is what Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn had to say about it. Because he … didn’t sound thrilled: “If you look at everything that’s happened so far, there’ve been no acquisitions (by the Cardinals). There’s been taking away …. So we’re five back in both and we’re taking away a pitcher who can pitch 200 innings and get outs at a high level,” said Lynn to reporters. “That’s tough.” He went on to say that there haven’t been any talks on an extension, either. Lynn is a free agent after this season.

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  • Speaking of interesting roster moves out of the NL Central, the Pittsburgh Pirates have placed 31-year-old reliever Juan Nicasio on irrevocable waivers. Unlike the waivers you usually hear of – like the ones Giancarlo Stanton was put on and cleared – irrevocable waivers means that any team in baseball can have Nicasio for the roughly $600,000 remaining on his deal for the rest of this season. Apparently, Nicasio was put on regular revocable waivers earlier this month, but was ultimately claimed, and pulled back. And now, the Pirates would rather have the $600K than whatever Nicasio was going to give in performance the rest of the year.
  • Oh, and before you go thinking there must be 1) something wrong with him physically, 2) an impending suspension, or 3) some sort of bad performance, stop. Keith Law ruled out the first two on Twitter, and on as for the numbers, well (2017): 60.0 IP, 2.85 ERA, 2.99 FIP. So … wuh?
  • Houston is getting back on its feet:

  • Remember Bryce Harper’s crazy tumble at first base? At the time, you’ll recall, it looked like he’d be out for at least a year, but we quickly learned he’d actually be back this season. However, according to Dusty Baker, Harper is still “a long way from running,” and the Nationals are getting Jayson Werth time in right, just in case Harper can’t make it back in time for the postseason. Harper was having a really excellent season, before going down with a “significant bone bruise,” and the Nationals would certainly miss his bat in the playoffs. I’d imagine they remain hopeful he’ll be back by then.

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(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
  • Here’s a friendly reminder that, as of today, the Cubs would play the Nationals in the first round of the playoffs.
  • At CBS Sports, Dayn Perry considers four separate races up for grabs, and the NL Central, of course, is one of them. So he took a closer look at the remaining strength of schedule for each contender and discovered that, in the NL Central, it’s actually the Cardinals with the easiest remaining schedule (by opposition winning percentage), but the fewest remaining home games:
    • Cubs: .481, 18 home games
    • Brewers: .504, 16 home games
    • Cardinals: .469, 13 home games
  • Another article at CBS discusses the home run spike, and how rare a 5,000 HR season is (which was just accomplished last night, in case you missed it). The current record stands at 5,693 homers, while the 2017 season has already seen 5,014 with about a month to go. And here’s the thing: the league has been averaging about 1,000 homers a month this season, so they’ll almost certainly set a new record this year and could even hit 6,000. You’ll want to give this one a read.

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  • At FanGraphs, Eno Sarris has some fun taking an analytical look at the chances MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes could record a single hit in a full MLB season’s worth of plate appearances (or, well, any regular ole person like us – it just happened to have started with a Hayes tweet). I’m not going to spoil the fun for you by giving you the answer, so go give it a read. Before you look, do you think you could get a hit over a FULL season worth of plate appearances?
  • At ESPN, David Schoenfield asked what World Series match-ups would everyone most like to see in 2017? Separating them into groups, he decides that, for the Cubs, a rematch with the Indians would be among the most exciting. In my opinion, that would be a (very, very) close second to a Cubs/Yankees World Series. I know these two teams don’t have a ton of history together, but they certainly have a ton of history, period. I’d very much like to see them square up. After Cubs/Yankees, and Cubs/Indians, it would have to be Cubs/Red Sox, for me, but Schoenfield thinks that might actually be one of the least exciting match-ups. Shrug. What do you think?
  • And finally, great catch, young man:


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Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami.