2015 Trade Deadline (Updated 3:36 PM CT)

The Cubs acquired RP Tommy Hunter late at the deadline.

The Cubs acquired RP Tommy Hunter late at the deadline.

A couple of last minute deals in.

The Pittsburgh Pirates dealt with the Los Angeles Dodgers, acquiring 1B/LF Michael Morse in exchange for OF Jose Tabata.

The Bucs also dealt with the Seattle Mariners, acquiring SP J.A. Happ.

The Chicago Cubs dealt with the Baltimore Orioles, acquiring RP Tommy Hunter in exchange for OF Junior Lake.

Also, check out Fangraphs.com for a look at the Milwaukee Brewers haul of prospects. Read it here.

Here’s an updated list of deals made this past week:

St. Louis Cardinals
Traded for RF/1B Brandon Moss with the Cleveland Indians.
Traded for RP Steve Cishek with the Miami Marlins, sending #88 prospect LHP Rob Kaminsky.
Traded for RP Jonathan Broxton with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Traded for 3B Aramis Ramirez with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Purchased P Joe Blanton from the Kansas City Royals.
Traded for RP Joakim Soria with the Detroit Tigers.
Traded for 1B/LF Michael Morse with the Los Angeles Dodgers, sending OF Jose Tabata.
Traded for SP J.A. Happ with the Seattle Mariners.

Chicago Cubs
Traded for SP Dan Haren with the Miami Marlins.
Traded for RP Tommy Hunter with the Baltimore Orioles, sending Junior Lake.

Cincinnati Reds
Traded SP Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals for LHP Brandon Finnegan.
Traded SP Mike Leake to the San Francisco Giants.

Milwaukee Brewers
Traded CF Carlos Gomez and SP Mike Fiers to the Houston Astros for #39 prospect OF Brett Phillips and #88 prospect OF Domingo Santana.
Traded OF Gerardo Parra to the Baltimore Orioles.
Traded RP Jonathan Broxton to the St. Louis Cardinals.

2015 Trade Deadline Update (1 PM)

Dan Haren came in just under the amount the Chicago Cubs had available to add to their payroll.

Dan Haren came in just under the amount the Chicago Cubs had available to add to their payroll.

The Chicago Cubs dealt with the Miami Marlins, picking up SP Dan Haren.

Here’s an updated list of deals made this past week.

St. Louis Cardinals
Traded for RF/1B Brandon Moss with the Cleveland Indians.
Traded for RP Steve Cishek with the Miami Marlins, sending #88 prospect LHP Rob Kaminsky.
Traded for RP Jonathan Broxton with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Traded for 3B Aramis Ramirez with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Purchased P Joe Blanton from the Kansas City Royals.
Traded for RP Joakim Soria with the Detroit Tigers.

Chicago Cubs
Traded for SP Dan Haren with the Miami Marlins.

Cincinnati Reds
Traded SP Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals for LHP Brandon Finnegan.
Traded SP Mike Leake to the San Francisco Giants.

Milwaukee Brewers
Traded CF Carlos Gomez and SP Mike Fiers to the Houston Astros for #39 prospect OF Brett Phillips and #88 prospect OF Domingo Santana.
Traded OF Gerardo Parra to the Baltimore Orioles.
Traded RP Jonathan Broxton to the St. Louis Cardinals.

2015 Trade Deadline Update (Noon)

Another day, another Milwaukee outfielder sent away.  This time Gerardo Parra, who heads to B-More.

Another day, another Milwaukee outfielder sent away. This time Gerardo Parra, who heads to B-More.

The Milwaukee Brewers subtracted another outfielder (Gerardo Parra) and reliever Jonathan Broxton, who headed over to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Chicago Cubs are rumored to be working on a deal for SP Dan Haren.

Here’s an updated list of deals made this past week.

St. Louis Cardinals
Traded for RF/1B Brandon Moss with the Cleveland Indians.
Traded for RP Steve Cishek with the Miami Marlins, sending #88 prospect LHP Rob Kaminsky.
Traded for RP Jonathan Broxton with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Traded for 3B Aramis Ramirez with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Purchased P Joe Blanton from the Kansas City Royals.
Traded for RP Joakim Soria with the Detroit Tigers.

Chicago Cubs
No moves

Cincinnati Reds
Traded SP Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals for LHP Brandon Finnegan.
Traded SP Mike Leake to the San Francisco Giants.

Milwaukee Brewers
Traded CF Carlos Gomez and SP Mike Fiers to the Houston Astros for #39 prospect OF Brett Phillips and #88 prospect OF Domingo Santana.
Traded OF Gerardo Parra to the Baltimore Orioles.
Traded RP Jonathan Broxton to the St. Louis Cardinals.

2015 Trade Deadline

Carlos Gomez finally got out of Milwaukee.

Carlos Gomez finally got out of Milwaukee.

Yesterday we saw the Milwaukee Brewers get a deal done for Carlos Gomez, finally shipping one of their few assets for future prospects, hauling in a couple of nice pieces from the Houston Astros.

We’re heading towards the trade deadline later this afternoon – one of the more exciting times of the year for fans of Major League Baseball.

Let’s play a little catch up on what’s happened in the last week!

St. Louis Cardinals
Traded for RF/1B Brandon Moss with the Cleveland Indians.
Traded for RP Steve Cishek with the Miami Marlins, sending #88 prospect LHP Rob Kaminsky.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Traded for 3B Aramis Ramirez with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Purchased P Joe Blanton from the Kansas City Royals.
Traded for RP Joakim Soria with the Detroit Tigers.

Chicago Cubs
No moves

Cincinnati Reds
Traded SP Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals for LHP Brandon Finnegan.
Traded SP Mike Leake to the San Francisco Giants.

Milwaukee Brewers
Traded CF Carlos Gomez and SP Mike Fiers to the Houston Astros for #39 prospect OF Brett Phillips and #88 prospect OF Domingo Santana.

Other players were involved in some of these deals, but I’ve only noted them if they are either current/former Major Leaguers or among MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects.

The Brewers, for example, received four prospects from the ‘stros, but those two mentioned were the big haul.

The Reds’ Leake was dealt for the #1 prospect in the Giants’ system, but he wasn’t currently considered a Top 100 prospect in all of baseball, so I skipped mention of him as well.

And, of course, it’s interesting that (so far) the Cubs have chosen to stand pat, although there have been plenty of rumors involving them over the last couple of days.

Let’s see what happens these last few hours.  Should be interesting.

Pirates Deal For A Familiar Face

Aramis Ramirez is coming home.

Aramis Ramirez is coming home.

The St. Louis Cardinals held off the Kansas City Royals, 4-3, in a tight victory at home.

The Cards put Trevor Rosenthal on the mound with a 4-2 lead in the 9th. He gave up a leadoff single to Alex Rios and RBI triple to Omar Infante, making it a one-run game with a man on 3rd and nobody out.

Jarrod Dyson walked, then moved up to second on defensive indifference. So that put the tying run at 3rd and go-ahead run at second. Still nobody out.

Rosenthal then struck out pinch-hitter Dusty Coleman for the first out.

The next one was the big play, as Alcides Escobar grounded to Matt Carpenter at the hot corner. Infante was off on contact and Carpenter easily gunned him down at the plate by a good 10 feet.

Mike Moustakas grounded out to second – game over.

Game Highlights

* * * * * * * * *

Andrew McCutchen connected for his 13th homer as the Pittsburgh Pirates cruised to a 7-3 win at home over the Washington Nationals.

Francisco Liriano improved to 6-6, going 6 innings and allowing 1 run on 3 hits and 3 walks, striking out 11 Nats.

The Bucs’ big story of the day came off the field, as they traded for a little help on that battered left side of the infield, bringing third baseman Aramis Ramirez back where his career started.

No, Aramis isn’t the terror at the plate that he was in his younger days, but he’s still a step up from what the Pirates have been throwing out there.

At age 37, Ramirez has announced this will be his final season. He has a slash line of .247/.295/.430 across 302 plate appearances this season.

Jung Ho Kang can now act as the full-time shortstop until Jordy Mercer returns in early September.

Game Highlights

* * * * * * * * *

The Milwaukee Brewers lost 8-3 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Game Highlights

* * * * * * * * *

Division Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 60 34 W2
Pittsburgh Pirates 54 40 6.0 L2
Chicago Cubs 51 43 9.0 W1
Cincinnati Reds 42 51 17.5 L1
Milwaukee Brewers 42 53 18.5 L1

Wild Card Standings

W L GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 54 40 +3.0
Chicago Cubs 51 43
San Francisco Giants 51 44 0.5
New York Mets 49 46 2.5

* * * * * * * * *

Schedule

51-42 Nationals Firster (3-5, 4.30)
54-40 PIRATES Liriano (5-6, 2.98)
6:05 PM CT
57-36 Royals Young (8-5, 3.03)
60-34 CARDINALS Lackey (8-5, 2.90)
6:15 PM CT
42-53 BREWERS Fiers (5-7, 3.79)
43-50 Diamondbacks Godley (NR)
8:40 PM CT

* * * * * * * * *

NL Central Leaders

WAR (fielders)
Todd Frazier (CIN) 3.9
Joey Votto (CIN) 3.6
Andrew McCutchen (PIT) 3.5
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) 3.5
Kris Bryant (CHC) 3.3
WAR (pitchers)
Jake Arrieta (CHC) 3.7
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 3.0
Lance Lynn (STL) 2.9
Johnny Cueto (CIN) 2.6
3-way tie 2.5

Yadi’s Triple Brings Win to Cards

Yadier Molina's base-clearing triple lifted the St. Louis Cardinals to comeback win over the Chicago White Sox.

Yadier Molina’s base-clearing triple lifted the St. Louis Cardinals to comeback win over the Chicago White Sox.

With his team down 2-0 and the bases loaded in the 8th inning, Yadier Molina ripped a David Robertson pitch into the right field corner for a stand-up triple, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.

It was the Cards’ 4th win in 5 games since the All-Star Break, as they improved their lead in the NL Central to 6 games.

Yadi had a three-hit game, but none was as big as that 3-RBI three-bagger.

Lance Lynn had a nice start, going 6 innings and allowing a pair of runs on 5 hits and a walk, striking out 8.

Game Highlights

* * * * * * * * *

On the flip side of the Second Half Coin, the Pittsburgh Pirates have lost 5 of 6 after being swept by the Milwaukee Brewers and losing 2 of 3 against the Kansas City Royals.

The series loss came after dropping the rubber game of the series, 5-1, yesterday.

Starling Marte had three hits for the Bucs.

The team is reeling behind injuries to the left side of the infield, with both Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer most likely out until September.

Game Highlights

* * * * * * * * *

With the San Francisco Giants having won 8 of their last 9, the Chicago Cubs are going to have to do a lot better than splitting a 4-game series with teams like the Cincinnati Reds.

That came on the heels of winning a series in Atlanta, so they are still a respectable 4-3 since the All-Star Break. But with more series coming up against teams that are ripe for the picking – at home against the Philadelphia Phillies and Colorado Rockies, then visiting the Brewers and battered Pirates – they really need to start stepping things up.

Yesterday, the Cubs split a day-night double-header.

In the afternoon game, they were owned by Mike Leake, who went 8 innings and allowed 1 run on 4 hits allowed with 6 strikeouts against no walks. The Cincy offense was also on, as they pounded the Cubs 9-1.

Game two went 6-5 to the Cubs, who narrowly held on. The big play came in the 8th when the Reds loaded the bases in a tie game and Todd Frazier at the plate. Frazier ripped a Hector Rondon pitch up the middle that bounced off the pitcher, directly to first baseman Anthony Rizzo who came home for a 1-3-2 force out at the plate. Jay Bruce then flew out to left to end the inning with the game still tied.

In his last 10 games, Joey Votto has a .609 on-base percentage and is batting .455. In his last 7 games, his slash line is .538/.647/.846 for a 1.493 OPS.

Game 1 Highlights
Game 2 Highlights

* * * * * * * * *

The Brewers fell 7-5 to the Cleveland Indians.

Adam Lind went 4-for-5 with a homer (16th), double and 4 RBI in the loss.

Scooter Gennett had a three-hit day, including a double.

Game Highlights

* * * * * * * * *

Division Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 60 34 W2
Pittsburgh Pirates 54 40 6.0 L2
Chicago Cubs 51 43 9.0 W1
Cincinnati Reds 42 51 17.5 L1
Milwaukee Brewers 42 53 18.5 L1

Wild Card Standings

W L GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 54 40 +3.0
Chicago Cubs 51 43
San Francisco Giants 51 44 0.5
New York Mets 49 46 2.5

* * * * * * * * *

Schedule

51-42 Nationals Firster (3-5, 4.30)
54-40 PIRATES Liriano (5-6, 2.98)
6:05 PM CT
57-36 Royals Young (8-5, 3.03)
60-34 CARDINALS Lackey (8-5, 2.90)
6:15 PM CT
42-53 BREWERS Fiers (5-7, 3.79)
43-50 Diamondbacks Godley (NR)
8:40 PM CT

* * * * * * * * *

NL Central Leaders

On-Base Percentage
Joey Votto (CIN) .413
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) .402
Andrew McCutchen (PIT) .388
Adam Lind (MIL) .374
Kris Bryant (CHC) .367
WHIP
Johnny Cueto (CIN) 0.95
Jason Hammel (CHC) 0.98
Jake Arrieta (CHC) 0.98
Francisco Liriano (PIT) 1.03
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 1.09

What Just Happened?

Carlos Gomez and the Milwaukee Brewers upended Jordy Mercer and the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend.

Carlos Gomez and the Milwaukee Brewers upended Jordy Mercer and the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend.

I understand that baseball is a funny game and pretty much anything can happen at any time, but how did the Milwaukee Brewers sweep the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend?

I’m still in a state of shock.

Still a lot of baseball to be played, but the St. Louis Cardinals opened up a 4.5 game lead over the Bucs by taking 2 of 3 against the New York Mets while the Brew Crew took care of business. The Cards had a shot at the sweep, only to watch their offense falter in a 3-1, 18-inning loss yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs managed to pretty much tread water in the Wild Card race, taking 2 of 3 against the Atlanta Braves while the San Francisco Giants swept the Arizona Diamondbacks.

* * * * * * * * *

Division Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 58 34 L1
Pittsburgh Pirates 53 38 4.5 L3
Chicago Cubs 49 41 8.0 W2
Cincinnati Reds 40 49 16.5 L2
Milwaukee Brewers 41 52 17.5 W3

Wild Card Standings

W L GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 53 38 +3.5
Chicago Cubs 49 41
San Francisco Giants 49 43 1.0
New York Mets 48 44 2.0

* * * * * * * * *

Schedule

49-41 CUBS Richard (1-0, 5.79)
40-49 REDS Lorenzen (3-4, 3.53)
6:10 PM CT
53-38 PIRATES Burnett (7-3, 2.11)
55-35 Royals Ventura (4-6, 4.73)
7:10 PM CT

* * * * * * * * *

National League Ranks

Looking Back

It’s hard to look at our standings at the All-Star Break and really be too surprised by anything.

Coming into the 2015 season, we figured it would be a fight at the top of the division between the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Check.

The Chicago Cubs figured to be an entertaining team to watch, but going through growing pains and not quite ready to contend for the division title.

Check.

The Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers both looked awful on paper and figured to be battling for the bottom of the division.

Check.

So, really, nothing surprising. But it’s been entertaining as hell, none the less.

We’ve had a manager losing his job because of the awful roster he was given in Milwaukee, we’ve gotten to watch Todd Frazier and Johnny Cueto in Cincinnati and wonder how long it will be until the latter is dealt, we’ve seen the kids in Chi-town, and we’ve seen the Cards run away with it early only to see the Bucs and Andrew McCutchen rebound from a rough first month and eventually catch up.

It hasn’t been boring.

Let’s see where these final two and a half months take us.

* * * * * * * * *

Division Standings

Batting Pitching
St. Louis 7th 1st
Pittsburgh 8th 2nd
Chicago 12th 5th
Cincinnati 10th 11th
Milwaukee 6th 12th
W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 56 33 L3
Pittsburgh Pirates 53 35 2.5 W3
Chicago Cubs 47 40 8.0 W1
Cincinnati Reds 39 47 15.5 L2
Milwaukee Brewers 38 52 18.5 L1

Wild Card Standings

W L GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 53 35 +5.5
Chicago Cubs 47 40
New York Mets 47 42 1.0
San Francisco Giants 46 43 2.0

* * * * * * * * *

Schedule

42-46 Indians Bauer (8-5, 3.76)
39-47 REDS Leake (6-5, 4.08)
6:10 PM CT
47-40 CUBS Hendricks (4-4, 3.55)
42-47 Braves Teheran (6-4, 4.56)
6:35 PM CT
53-35 PIRATES Morton (6-2, 4.15)
38-52 Brewers Fiers (4-7, 3.96)
7:10 PM CT
47-42 Mets Syndergaard (4-4, 3.11)
56-33 CARDINALS Lynn (6-5, 2.90)
7:15 PM CT

* * * * * * * * *

NL Central Leaders

WAR (fielders)
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) 4.0
Todd Frazier (CIN) 3.7
Andrew McCutchen (PIT) 3.2
Kris Bryant (CHC) 2.9
2 tied 2.8
WAR (pitchers)
A.J. Burnett (PIT) 3.5
Carlos Martinez (STL) 3.0
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 2.8
Jake Arrieta (CHC) 2.7
Johnny Cueto (CIN) 2.6

All-Star Game Results

Andrew McCutchen hit a line drive over the left field wall for a solo homer in last night's All-Star Game.

Andrew McCutchen hit a line drive over the left field wall for a solo homer in last night’s All-Star Game.

The American League was a 6-3 winner over the National League in the All-Star Game.

Here are the lines for players from the NL Central:

Chicago Cubs
Kris Bryant: 0-for-1, BB
Anthony Rizzo: 0-for-2

Cincinnati Reds
Aroldis Chapman: 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 SO
Todd Frazier: 0-for-3

Milwaukee Brewers
Ryan Braun: 1-for-1, 3B, R
Francisco Rodriguez: 1 IP, 2 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 SO

Pittsburgh Pirates
Gerrit Cole: 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 SO
Andrew McCutchen: 1-for-3, HR, R, RBI, SO
Mark Melancon: 1 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 SO

St. Louis Cardinals
Yadier Molina: 1-for-1
Jhonny Peralta: 1-for-1, RBI, BB

Your highlights were McCutchen with a solo homer in the 6th inning and Chapman striking out the side in the 9th. The American League bench’s reaction to Chapman’s 103 mph fastball was pretty great.

Back to business on Thursday!

All-Star Game Tonight

Todd Frazier won the 2015 Home Run Derby.

Todd Frazier won the 2015 Home Run Derby.

Cincinnati Reds slugger Todd Frazier won the Home Run Derby last night in front of the home crowd.

Frazier, who currently has 25 homers this season, bested Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson in the finals to win the contest.

The field of 8 included two other members of the NL Central, with the Chicago Cubs Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant each losing in the 1st round.

* * * * * * * *

I really can’t wrap my mind around this, but there are 38 members of the National League All-Star team tonight. How can that be? Is my memory faulty? I swear it used to be a pretty standard 25-man roster, not 38.

The NL Central players who I suppose might show up in tonight’s exhibition game:

Chicago Cubs – 1B Anthony Rizzo, 3B Kris Bryant

Cincinnati Reds – 3B Todd Frazier, RP Aroldis Chapman

Milwaukee Brewers – RP Francisco Rodriguez, OF Ryan Braun

Pittsburgh Pirates – OF Andrew McCutchen, SP A.J. Burnett, SP Gerrit Cole, RP Mark Melancon

St. Louis Cardinals – SS Jhonny Peralta, SP Carlos Martinez, RP Trevor Rosenthal, SP Michael Wacha, OF Matt Holliday, C Yadier Molina

The division has four players who are in the starting lineup, with McCutchen leading off in center, Frazier batting 2nd and playing third, Rizzo 6th and acting as the designated hitter, and Peralta batting 7th at short.

There’s a weird part of me that still enjoys the All-Star Game.

I think too much is made of trying to make it mean anything. The idea that it affects World Series home field advantage is ludicrous. Every other sport that has inter-league play as MLB finally does just has home-field advantage going to the team with the better regular season record and there’s no reason for baseball to be any different.

And too much is made of complaints about players just don’t care anymore. They do. They totally do. The season is a grind and I can’t fault players for wanting 3 days off rather than taking part. I think when I was a kid I thought it was kind of weak to ask out of playing. But being a parent, I get it. Being away from my family for over 7 straight months, I think I’d welcome a chance to get 3 days off in the middle of the season.

But at the end of the day, it’s still the best of the four major sports’ mid-season breaks. The NFL is a total after thought. The NBA is a joke. The NHL skills competition is pretty damned fun and I’d love to see baseball come up with something similar to that; the home run derby is only scratching the surface. But the MLB game itself is still pretty entertaining.

Enjoy the game, everybody. We’ve got a heck of a second half coming our way in the NL Central.

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