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Who will clinch the second NL Wild Card spot?
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- The Blue Jays have placed Hyun Jin Ryu on the 10-day IL, reports The Athletic’s Kaitlyn McGrath. Ryu reported neck tightness to the team, and Tayler Saucedo will take his roster spot while he recovers. The southpaw has had some difficulty over his past few starts, nudging his ERA up to 4.34 over 159.2 innings pitched. Ryu pulled off a complete game shutout this year, an echo of his impressive past two seasons as an ace. This resent should give him time to get his bearings back together.
- MLB is set to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all non-playing personnel this postseason.
- While we saw a unique situation with the All-Star Game moved out of Atlanta this season, generally the venue for the ASG is set well in advance and it stays that way. The league announced yesterday that Seattle will be be host of the 2023 All-Star Game.
- The Orioles have been legendarily, historically awful, so if you were hoping this was the season they turn this car around, my deepest apologies.
- The Royals became the latest MLB organization to adopt a more modern front office structure on Tuesday, promoting longtime GM Dayton Moore to president of baseball operations while elevating assistant GM JJ Picollo to general manager. While Moore will still oversee day-to-day operations, this move will give Picollo, who has drawn interest from other clubs in recent offseasons, more authority and keeps him in Kansas City for the long term.
- Ryan Braun hadn’t played all season and was presumed retired, though he hadn’t made an official announcement until Tuesday. While Braun’s career will forever be tainted by a pair of suspensions — one that was overturned — for using performance enhancing drugs during his MVP season in 2011, there’s no denying that he had a successful 14-year career, played entirely for the Brewers. Braun, the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year, was a six-time All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger and retires with a .296/.358/.532 slash line.
- The Dodgers became the second team to clinch a spot in the postseason on Tuesday night, beating the Diamondbacks to reserve their spot in the playoffs for a ninth straight season. Now they’ll aim to supplant the Giants for the NL West title over the final two weeks of the season.
- We officially have started the part of the season when the playoff field starts to get set. The surprising San Francisco Giants, who basically no one picked to be in realistic contention in the National League West, became the first team in the league to clinch a playoff spot yesterday. The NL West continues to be a dog fight between the Giants and Dodgers, but even if they don’t win the division, the Giants will be playing baseball in October.
- The Dodgers are hoping their chances of running down the Giants for the division crown just got a little better. Clayton Kershaw, arguably the best pitcher of this generation, had been out since the beginning of July with soreness in his elbow but was activated from the injured list yesterday.
- Meanwhile, the Padres, who have struggled mightily after being seen by many as the Dodgers’ biggest challenge in the NL West for some time to start the season, are down another starting pitcher as Chris Paddack is hitting the injured list with inflammation in his right elbow.
- The Rays have placed Chris Archer on the IL. The veteran has been reporting discomfort in his left hip, leading to his 10-day IL stint. Hopefully this needed rest gives Archer time to reset. The right-hander has has a rough go thus far—in 19.1 innings he’s posted a 4.66 ERA but with a halfway decent 25.9% strikeout rate. Fingers crossed this is all just due to his nagging hip issue, because everybody loves a comebacks story, right?
- Dodgers right-hander Trevor Bauer will remain on administrative leave through rest of season. The real issue that remains is that this is a paid administrative leave. The police and MLB are still working on their own investigations, and it’s very possible that Bauer could face criminal charges. Bauer has not thrown a pitcher in a major league game since June 28th of this year.
- While it was known that Yankees’ reliever Zack Britton had been dealing with elbow issues that were going to require surgery, there was some optimism that he could avoid major surgery and the subsequent recovery period up until recently. Unfortunately for Britton and the Yankees, he was unable to dodge that bullet as he underwent UCL reconstructive surgery that will keep him out for the rest of this season and most of the 2022 season at least.
- Given the team’s recent run of success with very limited payroll, a lot of teams have expressed interest in the availability of Rays’ VP and GM Erik Neander to help run their own teams. Those teams were unable to pry him away and now it looks like he will be with Tampa for the foreseeable future as Neander received a promotion to president of baseball operations.
- Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom has been dealing with a partial tear in his UCL, though team president Sandy Alderson says the situation “resolved itself” and his elbow ligament is “perfectly intact.” There should be more clarity on the situation once deGrom begins to ramp up his throwing program, but it’d be a surprise if he returns before the end of the 2021 season.
- The Braves have signed right-hander Charlie Morton to a one-year, $20 million extension with a $20 million club option for 2023. In an amazing testament to the fact that Morton is getting better with age, he’ll earn the highest single-season salary of his career next year at 38 years old.
- Jonathan Loaisiga has been placed on the injured list with a strained rotator cuff. Pretty much the last thing the Yankees needed in this AL Wild Card race right now.
- Mets acting general manager Zack Scott was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. The team placed him on administrative leave, assigning his responsibilities to Alderson, who had already taken on a bigger-than-expected role this season following the firing of GM Jared Porter.
- The Giants claimed former All-Star lefty José Quintana off waivers from the Angels — a move that could be particularly important considering that starter Alex Wood tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after the transaction was announced.
- The forgotten tale of Harry Colliflower, baseball’s worst ever pitcher. So next time you proclaim this title for someone on your team, at least be a little more informed.
- The Rays have been putting on quite the show in the second half and, so far at least, have been able to hold off the New York Yankees in the AL East. Unfortunately, they did get some bad news as top prospect Brendan McKay was all but ruled out for the rest of the 2021 season with a flexor strain. This makes two seasons in a row that we can now chalk up as lost for McKay, as he missed 2020 with a shoulder injury.
- The remainder of Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty’s season is in question after he was placed on the injured list with shoulder tightness. Flaherty has a 3.08 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP this season but has been limited to 14 starts due to an oblique injury that cost him over two months.
- Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina announced after agreeing to a one-year, $10 million extension with St. Louis that he will retire following the 2022 season.
- Diamondbacks lefty Caleb Smith is the second pitcher to be busted under MLB’s more stringent foreign substance policy. He received a 10-game suspension Tuesday, and Arizona will have to play shorthanded in his absence.
- The Braves know not to let a good thing go. Atlanta has signed Travis d’Arnaud to a two-year extension with a club option for 2024. He’ll earn $16M over the next two years with the team, while his 2024 option does not include a buyout.
- The negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA over the new CBA seem to be being productive in the early going, as the league came to the table with a proposal regarding new parameters for salary limitations in baseball. While it would lower the luxury tax threshold to $180 million, it would also impose a $100 million salary floor, which seems like a good starting point for discussion.
- The Dodgers made news yet again, deciding to take a flyer on 37-year-old lefty Cole Hamels, who they signed to a one-year, $1 million deal. However, Hamels suffered a season-ending shoulder surgery while ramping up and won’t throw a pitch for Los Angeles this season. An interesting way to earn $1 million, for sure.
- With Yu Darvish, Dinelson Lamet, and Chris Paddack on the IL, the Padres went out and added a veteran starter (albeit one who has struggled significantly in recent years), signing recently released former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta.
- Encouraging news for baseball fans who don’t like the major rule changes instituted over the last two seasons: Rob Manfred says that seven-inning doubleheaders and the runner-on-second rule in extra innings are unlikely to survive beyond the 2021 season, with Manfred saying those changes were instituted for the purpose of limiting time at the ballpark during the COVID-19 pandemic — something that isn’t expected to be a factor in future seasons.