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Tag:Michael Pineda
Posted on: September 23, 2011 3:31 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 4:58 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Seattle Mariners

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Seattle Mariners
Record: 66-90, 24 games back in AL West
Manager: Eric Wedge
Best hitter: Dustin Ackley -- .283/.359/.431, 6 HR, 35 RBI, 37 R, 14 2B, 6 SB
Best pitcher: Felix Hernandez -- 14-13, 3.32 ERA, 1.181 WHIP, 220 K, 230 1/3 IP

The Mariners aren't going to lose 100 games, so there's that. The team has done that in two of the last four seasons, so at least that's not going to happen in 2011. But for a team that was in contention through the first three months of the season, 2011 will be a disappointment, regardless of the final tally.

2011 SEASON RECAP

No matter what else happened in 2011, the Mariners' season will be most remembered for a 17-game losing streak in July, sandwiched around the All-Star break. The Mariners were at .500, 43-43 and just 2.5 games out of first place after beating the A's on July 5. After their next win they were 14.5 games out and held just a 44-60 record.

Even when the Mariners were a half-game behind the Rangers in June, nobody expected it to last. It was more of a nice surprise than any kind of real run toward the playoffs.

However, there were two huge positives -- the performances of rookies Ackley and Michael Pineda. Pineda opened the season in the team's rotation and immediately appeared to be the prince to King Felix. Pineda, 22, is 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA, but started the season 8-5 with a 2.58 ERA in his first 17 starts. He had some struggles, but the talent is obvious and even had some people even mentioning the possibility of a trade of Hernandez. That's not going to happen, instead the team will have a fearsome front of the rotation for years to come.

Ackley came up later in the season, but has done nothing but hit since singling off of Roy Oswalt in his first big-league at-bat.

While the kids impressed, the veterans were another story. Even the incomparable Ichiro Suzuki struggled in 2011, as it appears he'll fall short of 200 hits for the first time in his MLB career. Suzuki had a career .331 batting average coming into the season in which he's hit just .274/.312/.340. Chone Figgins continues to be a disaster, hitting .188/.241/.243, and is under contract through 2013. While Figgins is still around, Milton Bradley isn't, as the team designated him for assignment in May after he removed himself from a game and left the stadium. Franklin Guitierrez has never recovered from a stomach ailment, hitting just .224/.261/.273.

2012 AUDIT

The Mariners have the start of a good rotation, with Hernandez, Pineda and 22-year-old right-hander Blake Beavan. Charlie Furbush, 25, could surprise.

It appears the 2012 lineup is set -- or at least it is contractually. That's the good news. The bad news is that it's pretty much the same as it was this year when the team had the worst offense in the American League by just about any measurable statistic.

At this point, it seems like the best chance the Mariners have is hoping their pitching is good enough to carry them for most of the year and the likes of Justin Smoak, Trayvon Robinson, Casper Wells and Mike Carp. Yeah, that's not a lot to hang your hat on, but that's about where we are.

FREE AGENTS

RHP Chris Ray
2B Adam Kennedy
RHP Jamey Wright

OFFSEASON FOCUS

The team needs more offense, that's for sure. But where does it come from? The team has Bradley, Yuniesky Betancourt and Carlos Silva coming off the books -- but that's enough to make any GM balk at bringing in another big free-agent contract. And that doesn't even mention the $18 million still owed to Figgins. Ichiro will be in his last year under contract at $18 million and nobody's going to take him off their hands.

But the team still needs offensive help, so here's some suggestions that could help out the Mariners:

  • Sign Prince Fielder. It'd help, and when Fielder hits the ball, not even Safeco Field can hold his bombs. But with the ghosts of Figgins and the warning sign of Adam Dunn still out there, It may be tough for Jack Zduriencik to convince ownership to open their pocketbook to sign the 27-year-old Fielder. Unlike Dunn, though, Fielder is still under 30 and has several big years ahead of him. It will be tough to get Fielder to come to Safeco, but maybe he's heard Seattle has some amazing vegetarian restaurants. There aren't many quick fixes for an offense, but it's a heck of a start.
  • Try to deal Gutierrez. Yeah, it's selling low, and that's never a good thing -- and the Mariners would have to eat some salary, but he's still a defensive presence and can have a decent shot at bring back at least some bullpen help.
  • And why bullpen help? Because closer Brandon League could bring back a bat. To get something in return, you've got to give something up. And the All-Star closer is in his last year of arbitration, so it's better to get rid of him now and get something in return rather than run the risk of losing him in free agency (and wait for draft picks to develop). And at this point, a closer is a luxury, not a necessity. You have to score runs and get a lead before you can close one out.

If the Mariners get close to .500 and the rest of the division struggles (it could happen), things could get much better -- or at least more interesting in Seattle in 2012. But it's not until 2013 when Ichiro and others come off the books that the next generation of Mariners can take over.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 8, 2011 2:03 pm
 

AL Rookie of the Year race wide open



By Matt Snyder


During the week, Eye on Baseball will be profiling candidates to win baseball's major awards after the season. Today: the AL Rookie of the Year.

View contenders for the: AL MVP | NL MVP | AL Cy Young | NL Cy Young

Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who get to vote for the Rookie of the Year in either respective league are forced to narrow the field to three players. In looking at the American League rookies in 2011, that's not a simple task. It seems like the three best at the moment haven't been up for long. Others were stellar for a stretch but have also suffered through rough patches. It's a subjective award, so let's throw some names out there.

Here are seven players who have a realistic shot and three more who could have had one -- if they were recalled from the minors earlier (denoted by an asterisk).

*Dustin Ackley, Mariners. One of the future anchors to the Mariners lineup has only been up for 71 games, which likely isn't enough to garner tons of support here. He is hitting .300 with 13 doubles, seven triples and six home runs and an .845 OPS. He scores well in WAR (wins above replacement player), but he probably needed to be overly spectacular to win the award with what will be just over a half season.

J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays. Big power (21 home runs) at a tough defensive position is a plus. It would be awfully difficult to overcome the .221 batting average and .281 on-base percentage to win the award in a crowded field, though.

Jeremy Hellickson, Rays. It feels like he'll have a good shot, depending on how the rest of the season goes. Hellickson is currently 12-10 with a 2.90 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. He also has two complete games and is averaging 6 2/3 innings per start. It's been a very solid rookie campaign, even if not spectacular.

Eric Hosmer, Royals. The 21-year-old first baseman has been very good since getting his call in May. He's hitting .285/.335/.458 with 16 home runs, 66 RBI, 55 runs and nine stolen bases. Like Hellickson, though, Hosmer's been more steady than spectacular. The next two guys have been spectacular, but only for a short time ...

*Desmond Jennings, Rays. He's only been up for 44 games, but he's hitting .302 with nine home runs, 15 stolen bases and a .936 OPS. He also passes the eye test, as he comes through in the clutch and has made a few highlight-reel defensive plays. The talent is immense, but the service time probably keeps him off most ballots.

*Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays. In just 32 games, Lawrie is hitting .324 with eight homers, 21 RBI, 19 runs, six steals and a 1.076 OPS. He also has a few clutch home runs (see the picture to the right) and plays the game with a youthful enthusiasm (again, see right). Had he not broken his hand on a hit-by-pitch earlier this summer in the minors, a promotion was likely to come earlier and he'd probably have a real shot at the award, Instead, he's going to have enough service time to qualify as a rookie, yet probably not near enough to gather many, if any, votes.

Ivan Nova, Yankees. Do you like win-loss record in judging pitchers? If so, Nova's your guy here in a no-brainer. He entered Thursday 15-4 for the first-place Yankees. If you don't love win-loss record, he probably doesn't win the award. He has a 3.89 ERA and 1.34 WHIP with a low strikeout rate (again, these numbers are prior to Thursday's start).

Michael Pineda, Mariners. The gargantuan starting pitcher was the easy favorite to win the award at the All-Star break. He was 8-6 with a 3.03 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 113 strikeouts in 113 innings at the time. Since then, he's 1-3 with a 5.48 ERA. Still, did he do enough to hold on? His full season numbers: 9-9, 3.74 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 163 strikeouts in 159 innings. It will be interesting to see how the early stretch of dominance (6-2, 2.16 ERA through nine starts) plays in the minds of the voters.

Mark Trumbo, Angels. His power numbers look great -- 26 homers, 80 RBI, 28 doubles -- and he's playing in a pennant race. He's also had the job since opening day and has admirably filled in at first for injured Kendrys Morales. Trumbo also had some clutch moments of his own. Do the average (.256), on-base percentage (.295) and strikeout-to-walk (102 to 24) rates hurt him? We'll see.

Jordan Walden, Angels. The 23-year-old closer made the All-Star team, but he's faltered in several rough stretches. What looks good: 29 saves, 2.55 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 59 strikeouts in 53 innings. What doesn't: Nine blown saves out of 38 chances. That's awfully high. So do the positives outweigh the negatives? There's sure to be some disagreement among voters.

So who is the best candidate? What would be your top three? Let us know below ...

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 30, 2011 4:03 pm
 

Mariners' Pineda to make just 3 more starts

Michael PinedaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Mariners right-hander Michael Pineda will have just three more starts this season. The 22-year-old will make just three more starts this season, Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis told KJR 950-AM in Seattle (via Twitter).

Pineda will start Saturday at Oakland, Sept. 10 against the Royals and Sept. 21 at Minnesota.

Pineda was 8-5 with a 2.58 ERA through July 4 and looked to be a shoe-in for the American League Rookie of the Year, but in his last eight starts he's gone 2-6 with a 6.40 ERA. He's now 9-8 with a 3.71 ERA and has thrown 153 innings -- three more starts would put him somewhere around 170 innings -- in 25 starts. Last season, he threw 139 1/3 innings at Double-A and Triple-A, but elbow issues limited him to 47 1/3 innings in 2009. 

H/T Hardball Talk

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 10, 2011 2:42 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 7:51 pm
 

Several more All-Star replacements made

By C. Trent Rosecrans and Matt Snyder

David RobertsonPHOENIX -- The revolving door that is the 2011 All-Star Game rosters keeps spinning, as we've got wholesale roster changes to report.

Rays starter David Price is the latest player to pull out of Tuesday's game. He will be replaced by Yankees reliever David Robertson.

Price will be at the game here, but will be inactive for Tuesday's game because of turf toe. Because Price was a manager's selection, American League manager Ron Washington was able to select his replacement.

Alexi OgandoAlso, CC Sabathia was officially removed from the active roster because he started Sunday. His spot goes to the Rangers' Alexi Ogando. Sabathia wasn't an original selection; instead, he was a replacement for the Rays' James Shields, who was also disqualified because he started Sunday -- against Sabathia. Sabathia earned the nod -- which will count on his career ledger as an All-Star selection when Hall of Fame voting comes around -- because he was the next player on the players' ballot.

Likewise, Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander and Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez were also starting Sunday. Both were player elected, so the next two in line were Michael Pineda of the Mariners and Jon Lester of the Red Sox. So they are both All-Stars. Of course, Lester's on the DL, so he is now replaced by Ricky Romero of the Blue Jays

On the National League side of things, Mets' shortstop Jose Reyes is on the disabled list, and his replacement will be Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Reyes was voted as the starter at shortstop, so manager Bruce Bochy got to pick the replacement. Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco was elected as the starter at third base. He is injured, and he has been replaced by Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero. In turn, Bochy will get to name a starter at third, so it looks as if Sandoval might get the nod there -- though nothing has been made official yet.

Also, Cole Hamels of the Phillies started Sunday, so he is now ineligible to play Tuesday. The next highest vote-getter on the players' ballot is Kevin Correia of the Pirates, so he's in.

Braves closer Craig Kimbrel is also apparently headed to Phoenix, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Kimbrel will be taking the place of the Giants' Matt Cain, who is starting for San Francisco on Sunday night, making him ineligible for Tuesday's game.

If there's any confusion as to why the formality is done to elect players when they can't play (Lester, Sabathia, etc.), it's because of salary bonuses for making the team and also resume-building -- for example, Sabathia's case for the Hall of Fame one day will include number of times he was an All-Star.

Finally, Josh Beckett will be available for the All-Star Game. There had been questions on if he'd go due to a recent, minor injury.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 6, 2011 10:02 am
Edited on: July 6, 2011 3:54 pm
 

Pepper: Harper was 'bored' in Class A



What is the latest with Jon Lester? What will the Yankees get out of the return of Phil Hughes? Tony Lee of NESN.com joins Lauren Shehadi to answer those questions and more.

By Evan Brunell


BORED: Bryce Harper admitted he was "bored" in Class A in a CSN Washington interview, as the Washington Post recaps. The 2010 No. 1 pick said he had developed bad habits over his last 20 games with Hagerstown. Those 20 games represent 25 percent of Hagerstown's entire season.

“Those last 20 games, I was really, you know, really not too focused,” Harper said. “You know, I was wanting to get out of there, doing things that I shouldn’t have been doing. And once I got [to Harrisburg Monday night], baseball was fun again. It was a lot of fun being out here, being in this kind of crowd, this type of atmosphere. You know, that’s what you live for.”

Harper hit .318/.423/.554 in 72 games for Hagerstown before the promotion and had 14 home runs. On one hand, it's understandable that Harper got bored with the level as the 18-year-old really didn't have much left to prove. One could also argue the Nationals shouldn't have left him in Hagerstown so long. Even a high-Class A promotion could have sparked Harper's interest. On the other hand, it's a sobering revelation that Harper fell into bad habits because he was bored. Again, he's only 18 and was playing in Class A, so no sweeping proclamations should be made here that would follow Harper for the rest of his career. But unless he matures in this area he could face sticky situations in the future. What if Harper, expected to be a perennial MVP candidate in Washington, gets bored after his second MVP award, falling into bad habits and tailing off? What if the Nationals aren't contenders? Will this be Zack Greinke all over again?

Harper did say that he won't pressure Washington for a promotion to the majors, but he also didn't publicly lobby for a promotion out of Class A and instead got bored over his last 20 games. The outfielder has said in the past that he hopes to reach the majors by the end of the year, but GM Mike Rizzo has already flatly ruled out any big-league promotion.

“I’m gonna let them make that decision,” Harper said. “I’m not gonna force the issue or anything. I’m just gonna go out and I’m gonna play my game like I can. ... I’m here right now, and we’re trying to win a championship here. That’s what I want to do.” (Washington Post)

HUGHES IS BACK: Phil Hughes is finally back and will start for New York on Wednesday. After a mysterious loss of velocity that saw him placed on the disabled list after just three starts on the season, Hughes' velocity has returned and he's ready to move on. "It's not like I'm towards the end of my career; I knew I have a few good years left in me," Hughes said. "I figured it didn't just go away, that something had to be up. That's why I went and got it checked out. And ever since I took that rest and the cortisone, it's been a different story." Hughes will be facing Cleveland and Justin Masterson at 7:05 p.m. (New York Daily News)

BURGLAR PASSES ON TICKETS
: A car burglar stole an Apple iPod in a town outside of Chicago. There were also two tickets to a Cubs game in the car, but the burglar passed. Ladies and gentlemen, your Chicago Cubs! (Chicago Tribune)

END OF SEASON FOR CUBS
: The Cubs better just pack it in, right? That's what Gordon Wittenmyer writes, noting that no club has ever come back from 16 games below .500 to eventually reach October. The Cubbies are now at 17 games under. (Chicago Sun-Times)

TICKETS RISING: As Derek Jeter chases hit No. 3,000, Yankees tickets on the resale market have spiked. On June 29, you could have gotten a July 9th ticket for an average price of $117. Now, it's all the way up to $188. (BizofBaseball.com)

SOX ON THE HUNT: In a TV interview with NESN, Theo Epstein admitted that the Red Sox were eyeing trading for a "complementary" position player (likely a right-handed backup outfielder), feeling that the pitching depth is strong enough, as WEEI transcribes. Epstein also notes that Lackey is running out of time to turn his season around, and his rotation spot would be in danger if he continues to pitch poorly. (WEEI)

DELAYING PINEDA: The Mariners are trying to figure out a way to delay Michael Pineda's second-half debut to keep his workload light, but it all depends on whether he gets elected to the All-Star Game. Teammate Felix Hernandez pitches Sunday, so is ineligible to play in the All-Star Game. If Pineda is named as Hernandez's replacement, he will likely not pitch until June 19 in Toronto, which would be his 10th day of inactivity, All-Star Game excluded. (Seattle Times)

BEDARD CLOSE: The Mariners expect to have Erik Bedard back shortly after the All-Star break. Bedard is having a fine comeback season but just landed on the 15-day DL. While the M's haven't set their rotation in stone, it's looking like Bedard will be healthy enough to return during the Texas series that begins the second half of the season.

BATTERED: Brian Matusz was one of the Orioles' best pitchers last year. This year? After missing the start of the season with an injury, he was rocked to the tune of a 8.77 ERA in six starts, earning a demotion to Triple-A. Alas, his first start down there went just 5 2/3 innings, coughing up four runs. (Baltimore Sun)

GARLAND DONE: The end of the season for Jon Garland is here, as he will undergo shoulder surgery with an expected recovery time of six months. That means the impending free agent has an outside shot at breaking camp next season. (Los Angeles Times)

ADVICE, PLEASE: For Toronto's minor leaguers in Lance Durham and K.C. Hobson, their travails through the minor leagues are affected by the fact they are the son of a major leaguer (Leon and Butch, respectively). These players lean on their dads for advice as they fight to reach the majors. (Slam! Sports)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: June 29, 2011 1:44 am
Edited on: June 29, 2011 9:40 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Lee dominates Red Sox

Lee

By Evan Brunell


3 UpCliff Lee, Phillies -- Lee is so dominant, he befuddled the best offense in baseball. The lefty gave up two hits and walked one while punching out five in a complete-game shutout, his third straight. As Jayson Stark reports, Lee is just the third Phillies starter to ever run up a 30-plus inning scoreless streak -- Robin Roberts in 1950 and Grover C. Alexander twice, setting the record at 41 1/3. James Shields also has three complete games, but not shutouts, which pushed Lee's overall June ERA to a scorching 0.21 and Lee is proving once again why he is one of the best players in the game.

Jose Reyes, Mets -- Reyes has appeared often in this space, and for good reason. He had a 4-for-4 night, contributing a double and triple. The triple was his 15th on the year, which @dte421 notes would have led baseball in 20 of the past 25 seasons, and he's in his 67th game. Reyes was hitting .300 mere days ago and is all the way up to .349 now.

Gio Gonzalez, Athletics -- Gio Gonzalez tossed a one-hitter over eight innings, and if he had some luck against Emilio Bonifacio to lead off the game, could have entered the ninth with a chance for a no-hitter. Instead, after Bonifacio's single to right, Gonzalez held hitters to 0-for-23 with three walks, throwing 106 pitches, which no doubt contributed to him not coming out for the ninth. Gio still has shaky command, but it's progressed dramatically and he's having a fine year with a 2.38 ERA. The Marlins have now dropped 13 in a row and are 3-22 in June.



3 DownZack Greinke, Brewers -- Greinke had a scintillating 80/9 K/BB ratio, but somehow a 4.77 ERA. That pointed to better things ahead, but Tuesday, Greinke collapsed entirely by walking three batters and not striking a single Yankee out in being crushed over two innings. He gave up five hits and seven earned runs, including a Nick Swisher blast. Greinke's peripherals still point to a great season, but he's clearly not right.

Jo-Jo Reyes, Blue Jays -- In 282 2/3 innings as a major leaguer, Jo-Jo Reyes has given up 44 homers. One of those was Tuesday when he was rocked in 3 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on nine hits with one walk and five strikeouts in a loss to the Pirates. But that walk number is misleading as to how his command was -- just six of his 30 four-seam fastballs hit the strike zone, as The Score notes.

Michael Pineda, Mariners -- Apparently it was a bad night for good pitchers. The rookie Pineda, who has absolutely dazzled this year and is in pole position for Rookie of the Year, gave up four runs in 6 1/3 innings to the Braves. Not great, but he walked five and gave up a homer. Those looking on the bright side will note just four hits allowed and five strikeouts. That's all well and good, but it was a bizarre loss of command for Pineda. For now, chalk it up to an off night.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: June 28, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2011 5:22 pm
 

On Deck: BoSox, Phils headline marquee matchups

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


Red SoxPhilliesMARQUEE MATCHUP: The highly anticipated series between possible World Series contenders is finally here, and there's a marquee matchup to kick things off with Josh Beckett and Cliff Lee dueling. Beckett has been otherworldly in the early going, a stark reversal from his forgettable 2010 season. He hasn't pitched since June 15 because of the flu, but is coming off a one-hitter and has a 1.86 ERA on the year. Cliff Lee, meanwhile, is striking out batters like never before and has been just what Philly wanted. "Anytime the Red Sox come in, it's big for us," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told the AP. "It's big for our fans. ..."It's good for us to play Boston. I think we're going to get a good look at some good pitching and also a good team, a very good hitting team. That's good for us. That's a good test for us." Red Sox at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

Hanson
PinedaYOUNG PHENOMS: Twenty four-year-old Tommy Hanson is a spring chicken, but he's two years older than his competition this evening. Hanson, who is one of the better young pitchers in the league no one really talks about, is being activated off the disabled list and will have high expectations heaped on him after Braves starters posted a 1.80 ERA over the last eight games. Hanson missed time with right shoulder tendinitis and has a 2.48 ERA on the season. Pretty good, but Michael Pineda has a sparkling 1.99 ERA in seven home starts and boasts his own 2.45 ERA. This should be quite a duel to see. (Now watch it turn into a slugfest.) Braves at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)

GreinkeBRIGHT LIGHTS:
Zack Greinke will make his first appearance against the Yankees since 2008, but will come in with a less than impressive 4.77 ERA. And yet, once you strip out luck and defense, it would be at 1.84 as xFIP reveals. That's nasty, and that's on the strength of 80 strikeouts and just nine walks in 60 1/3 innings. The ERA may not reflect it yet, but Greinke has been incredible. He's coming off a seven-inning win over the Rays, allowing just one run and punching out 10 -- his second game in a row with 10 strikeouts. He'll oppose Freddy Garcia, who continues to defy logic with a 3.30 ERA. That would be a career low if he sustains it. (He won't.) Brewers at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: June 27, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: June 27, 2011 10:31 am
 

Pepper: Is the trade deadline too soon?

By C. Trent Rosecrans


BASEBALL TODAY: Are the Nationals headed in the right direction with Davey Johnson? MLB.com's Tom Bororstein joins Lauren Shihadi to discuss the Nationals, as well as the upcoming Reds-Rays series, the Indians-Diamondbacks and more.

PUSH IT BACK: In a month, we here at Eye On Baseball will be churning out rumors and speculation left and right -- who has interest in whom, which team is a buyer and which is a seller and what backup second baseman has some trade value. It's part of the baseball calendar, the last weekend of July. But is that too early?

Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune says it is, and I'm not sure he's wrong.

The nonwaiver trade deadline is at the two-thirds mark of the season, and that may be too soon for teams to decide just exactly what their chances are to make the best decision about folding or going all in on a postseason run.

The best reason to change it is that it forces too many teams -- especially those without a high payroll flexibility -- to give up too soon. Who wants to pay to see 25 games or so to see a team that has given up hope? Push the trade deadline back and lie to us a little longer, we like that.

NEW YORK TRADE TIME?: Could this be the year the Mets and Yankees make a big trade with each other? The two teams have only made nine trades with each other in their history. It's unlikely Jose Reyes will go across town, but Francisco Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, Jason Isringhausen and Tim Byrdak could help the Yankees. [Wall Street Journal]

STRETCHING PINEDA: While nobody gave it any consideration when Michael Pineda broke the Mariners' camp in the rotation, it's now going to become an issue -- will the Mariners allow the rookie starter to add innings to his arm if the Mariners stick in the American League West race?

Seattle manager Eric Wedge says the team has a plan, not just for Pineda but the team's other pitchers as well, to try to limit innings, but still have his starters ready for September. The biggest thing is not limiting innings, but his game-to-game pitch count, Wedge said. [Seattle Times]

BARNEY SAYS IT GETS BETTER: Cubs rookie Darwin Barney not only participated in the "It Gets Better" project aimed at gay teens, but also said he was "honored" to ask. A cool deal for both Barney and an ever better deal for the campaign started by Cubs fan Dan Savage. The Giants have also shot a spot for the project. [Chicago Tribune]

HARANG STILL OUT: Padres starter Aaron Harang is unlikely to return from a stress fracture in his right foot until after the All-Star break. Harang leads the Padres' staff with a 7-2 record and 3.71 ERA. He's been on the DL since June 13. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

SORIA BACK: Since being reinstated as the Royals' closer, Joakim Soria hasn't allowed a run in 10 games (12 innings). He's only allowed four hits and two walks while striking out 12 and notching six saves. [Kansas City Star]

WE'RE GOING STREAKING!: Who is the streakiest team in baseball? Beyondtheboxscore.com has done the math and it's the Boston Red Sox. The least streaky? Well, that would be the consistently bad Chicago Cubs. The Cubs, amazingly enough, haven't won three games in a row all season.

JENKS BACK SOON: Red Sox reliever Bobby Jenks is expected to join the team Monday in Philadelphia and could be activated on Tuesday. [Boston Herald]

Marlins STILL WOOING BIG NAMES: Nobody expects Jack McKeon to manager the Marlins next season. Florida hired its interim manager after last season and look at how that turned out. Apparently owner Jeffrey Loria wants a big-name manager, and that's likely Bobby Valentine or Ozzie Guillen. [Palm Beach Post]

BYRD'S FACEMASK: Bringing flashbacks of Terry Steinbach, Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd will wear a helmet with extra protection in his rehab start at Triple-A Iowa. Byrd was hit in the face last month and suffered facial fractures. [Chicago Tribune]

FINDING NIMMO: The Mets made Brandon Nimmo the first-ever first-round draft pick from the state of Wyoming. Wyoming hasn't had a first-rounder before because of its combination of low population and harsh climate. Nimmo's dad, Ron, has helped on both causes, raising his sons there and building a barn where they could hone their baseball skills year-round. [New York Post]

CHANGEUP PITCHES: The Brewers want right-hander Yovani Gallardo to throw more changeups. Gallardo is 9-4 with a 3.92 ERA this season, but is throwing the changeup just 1.6 percent of the time and none in his last two starts. The Brewers believe the pitch could help him lower his pitch counts and go deeper into games. [MLB.com]

HANLEY TO STAY AT CLEANUP: The Marlins new regime is going to continue using shortstop Hanley Ramirez as the team's cleanup hitter. Ramirez was hitting .200/.298/.295 overall when he was put in the fourth spot by new manager Jack McKeon and in five games in that spot, he's hitting .400/.429/.450 with four RBI, raising his overall line to .218/.309/.309. [Palm Beach Post]

SMALL GESTURE, BIG DEAL: Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune writes a really neat tale of Curt Schilling and a World War II veteran who recently passed away.

ROSE BRINGS 'EM IN: There's apparently not a whole lot going on in the greater Bristol area of Virginia and Tennessee, because Pete Rose is bringing in the fans. No, not the Hit King, but Pete Rose Jr., manager of the Bristol White Sox of the short-season Class A Appalachian League. Still, it's cool Rose is chasing his dream. If there's one thing when you look at his career path, he may not have his father's talent, but he does have his drive. [Bristol Herald Courier]

THIS IS WRONG: That's it. Just wrong. [Yahoo!'s Big League Stew]

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