Baseman Cesar Hernandez Signs with Cleveland Indians ; One Year $6.25 Million Contract

Cesar Hernandez Joins Indians

Philadelphia Phillies’ second Baseman Cesar Hernandez has agreed to a one year contract with the Cleaveland Indians for $6.25 Million . Hernandez , 29, became a free agent when he wasn’t tendered a contract by the Phillies after a season in which he hit .279 with 14 home runs and a career high 71 RBIs.


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All Star Game sets record with 10 homers – Eleven takeaways as AL wins

All Star Game sets record with 10 homers - Eleven takeaways as AL wins

All Star Game sets record with 10 homers – Eleven takeaways as AL wins

The 89th annual MLB All-Star Game turned into a Home Run Derby at Nationals Park on Tuesday.

An All-Star Game record 10 home runs — 10 home runs! — were hit Tuesday night, and, when it was all said and done, the American League outlasted the National League in 10 innings (AL 8, NL 6). Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was named All-Star Game MVP after hitting the go-ahead homer in the 10th inning.

Here are 11 things to know about the homer-happy 2018 MLB All-Star Game.

1. Nats fans still love Ramos

Hands down, Rays catcher Wilson Ramos received the largest ovation among non-Nationals players during pregame introductions. Ramos, of course, played seven seasons with the Nationals from 2010-16 before signing with Tampa Bay as a free agent.

Athletics closer Blake Treinen also received a nice hand during pregame introductions. He played parts of four seasons in Washington before being traded away at last year’s deadline.

2. Scherzer lit up the radar gun

Think Max Scherzer was pumped to start the All-Star Game in his home ballpark? He threw his four fastest pitches of the season Tuesday night. Here are his five fastest pitches of the year:

98.5 mph in All-Star Game
98.2 mph in All-Star Game
98.0 mph in All-Star Game
97.9 mph in All-Star Game
97.3 mph on May 30 vs. Orioles
All those high-octane heaters allowed Scherzer to fan four batters in his two innings of work.

3. A Yankee homered and a Yankee caught it

The first run of the 2018 All-Star Game came courtesy of Yankees slugger Aaron Judge. He turned around a a 95 mph Scherzer fastball for a solo home run in the second inning.

The cool part? Yankees teammate Luis Severino caught the home run ball between warm-up pitches in the bullpen.

Judge is the first Yankee with a hit in the All-Star Game since Derek Jeter went 2 for 2 in his final All-Star Game in 2014. He’s the first Yankee to hit a home run in the All-Star Game since Jason Giambi took Billy Wagner deep in 2003.

4. Machado took a selfie with (future teammate?) Kemp

Matt Kemp, an All-Star for the first time since 2012, doubled to left field in his first at-bat Tuesday night. And, when he got to second base, Manny Machado pulled his phone out of his pocket and took a selfie with him.

Machado has been the focus of countless trade rumors the last few days and weeks, and the most recent rumors have him possibly landing with the Dodgers before the end of the week. So I guess Machado was preparing for the move by taking a selfie with a future teammate? Not a bad idea.

5. Trout continued to crush All-Star pitching

Another All-Star Game, another hit for the amazing Mike Trout. This year’s All-Star hit was a solo home run against Mets righty Jacob deGrom.

That is Trout’s second career All-Star Game home run. I would’ve guessed he had more. In his six career All-Star Games played — Trout was selected to the game last season but did not play due to a thumb injury — Trout has gone 6 for 13 with two doubles, a triple, two home runs, three walks, and two strikeouts. That’s a cool .467/.556/1.133 batting line against the best pitchers in the world.

6. Votto’s error lets Segura play hero

The AL took an early 2-0 lead thanks to the Judge and Trout home runs. The NL rallied to tie the game on solo home runs from Cubs catcher Willson Contreras and Rockies shortstop Trevor Story.

In the top of the eighth, the AL regained the lead thanks to Mariners shortstop Jean Segura, who walloped a three-run home run against Brewers southpaw Josh Hader, who basically has the nastiest stuff in baseball. Hader left a fastball out over the plate and Segura banged it into the bullpen for a 5-2 lead.

It should be noted that, on the pitch immediately prior to the home run, Reds first baseman Joey Votto dropped a pop-up along the first base dugout railing. It was not a routine catch — Votto had to check to make sure he didn’t run into the railing — but it did clank in and out of his glove. The at-bat continued and Segura went deep.

7. Gennett saves the day … temporarily

Down two with two outs in the ninth? Scooter Gennett to the rescue. The Reds second baseman swatted a game-tying two-run home run against Mariners closer Edwin Diaz to knot the All-Star Game up at five apiece Tuesday night.

I hereby declare Gennett has too much power for a player to be named Scooter. He has 16 regular season home runs this year, and of course he had the four-homer game last year. A game-tying two-run shot against an all-world closer in the All-Star Game is quite the moment.

8. The ‘Stros give the AL the win

Astros hitters taking Dodgers pitchers deep in extra innings? Feels like we’re back in the World Series.

After Gennett tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, Bregman and George Springer hit back-to-back solo home runs against Ross Stripling in the top of the tenth to give the AL a 7-5 lead. The AL added another run later in the inning on a non-homer, if you can believe that. A sacrifice fly, specifically.

Bregman and Springer hit the sixth set of back-to-back home runs in All-Star Game history. Believe it or not, they are not the first set of teammates to go back-to-back in the All-Star Game. Dodgers teammates Steven Garvey and Jimmy Wynn hit back-to-back homers in the 1975 All-Star Game.

Of course, the Giants took the opportunity to burn their rivals after the back-to-back homers.

9. Happ records his first pro save

With Diaz having been used and Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel apparently unavailable, AL manager A.J. Hinch turned to Blue Jays southpaw J.A. Happ to close out the All-Star Game. He allowed a solo homer to Votto but otherwise slammed the door.

Happ, who is very likely to be dealt before the July 31 trade deadline, recorded his first professional save Tuesday night. He’d never picked up a save at any level, majors or minors. Then he got one in the All-Star Game. Pretty cool.

Perhaps the Blue Jays will try to use that to pump up his trade value at the deadline. Worth a shot!

10. Three true outcomes ruled the All Star Game

The All-Star Game perfectly encapsulated baseball in the year 2018. There were lots of homers and lots of strikeouts. Also lots of walks too. The three true outcomes ruled the game.

Some numbers:

Plate appearances (Total): 90
Homers (Total): 10 (11.1 percent of plate appearances)
Strikeouts (Total): 25 (27.8 percent)
Walks (Total): 9 (10 percent)
48.9 percent of the plate appearances in the All-Star Game ended in a walk, a strikeout, or a homer. That is the highest three true outcome rate in All-Star Game history. The three true outcome rate is 33.8 percent for the 2018 regular season.

Love it or hate it, this is baseball in 2018. Lots of dingers and lots of whiffs, which a few walks mixed in.

11. AL continues recent All-Star dominance

For the sixth straight year and the 18th time in the last 22 years, the American League won the All-Star Game. Things have been extremely lopsided the last two decades. Here are the last five All-Star Game results:

2014 Target Field AL 5, NL 3 Mike Trout, Angels
2015 Great American Ball Park AL 6, NL 3 Mike Trout, Angels
2016 Petco Park AL 4, NL 2 Eric Hosmer, Royals
2017 Marlins Park AL 2, NL 1 Robinson Cano, Mariners
2018 Nationals Park AL 8, NL 6 Alex Bregman, Astros

Now, that said, the all-time series is basically tied. The AL leads 44-43-2 and they’ve outscored the NL only 369-367. It is the first time the AL has led the all-time All-Star Game series since 1963. Pretty cool!

News Source:,

Azad Hind News

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Golden State Warriors Enter NBA Free Agency

Golden State Warriors Enter NBA Free Agency

Golden State Warriors Enter NBA Free Agency

The Golden State Warriors are the cream of the NBA crop after winning their third title in four years. Looming over the league with four All-Stars in their prime, including two recipients of the MVP award and a Defensive Player of the Year, the Warriors sure don’t seem like they’re under threat.

So when you’ve got an embarrassment of riches like that, how much does NBA free agency really matter?

Well, quite a lot actually. The NBA never rests, and other teams are always coming for that crown. While the games are won and lost on the hardwood between October and June, it’s often the NBA’s annual free agency bonanza in July that decides who is left standing when the confetti and streamers pour down.

For the Warriors, this is another big summer. Although they are restricted by the NBA’s salary-cap system, they’ll still look for ways to be creative and stay one step ahead of the competition. It’s their last year playing in Oakland before their big move to the Chase Center, so they’ll want to go out with a bang.

It’s also their last year before they collide head first with the dreaded “repeater tax,” where the luxury-tax payments teams operating over the cap have to pay are multiplied exponentially. Any value they can extract from a tight free agent market will pay off double later down the line.

So what’s their order of business?

Kevin Durant Is Back

The most important piece of business was taken care of early. Before free agency even officially began, reports leaked that Kevin Durant would be re-signing on a two-year deal starting at $30.5 million, with a player option in the second year.

Durant’s return was never in doubt, despite LeBron James’ equivalent of the phone call from the parking lot. What was in question, though, was the amount and the number of years. By taking this one-plus-one deal, Durant effectively took around $5 million less this year than he could have if he’d taken a longer-term deal. It does, however, set him up to sign a monster five-year, $221 million deal next summer, when he will be 30.

For the Warriors, the savings this year may make it easier to stomach the luxury-tax penalties for using the main tool at their disposal: the taxpayer Mid Level Exception, which starts at just over $5.3 million. The consequence is that the bills will rack up later on as they try to juggle paying all those All-Stars while operating deep in the repeater tax.

Changing of the Guard

Following on from the NBA Finals, General Manager Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr telegraphed their strategy to avoid the malaise that plagued a frankly bored Warriors team throughout the regular season.

That strategy? Drinking the elixir of youth. Older veterans such as Zaza Pachulia, David West, Javale McGee and Nick Young are expected to give way to younger models in Jordan Bell, Damian Jones and new draft pick Jacob Evans.

It’s an interesting inflection point where the core All-Stars begin to take on the role of wise sages on the team. The hope is that this youth movement can provide more energy and enthusiasm during the regular season while still being signed to good-value contracts.

Tied to this is a concern exposed by the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals, as the Warriors were almost caught out by a strange roster construction that left them with six centers in a series where Draymond Green was the best option to man the middle. Their vaunted small ball really suffered as an injury to Andre Iguodala forced them to hand crucial minutes to the mercurial Nick Young.

In the end they escaped the danger, but there’s no question that the league is trending more toward the versatile, switching defenses and the emphasis on speed, skill and shooting that the Warriors themselves pioneered. The need for players who can credibly stay on the floor against James Harden and Chris Paul — or, for that matter, a healthy Boston Celtics team boasting several top-tier prospects on the wings — is acute.

Young Free Agents

Two of the young players the Warriors hope to hand over the reins to are themselves free agents: Pat McCaw and Kevon Looney.

McCaw is perhaps the easier of the two to keep. He is a restricted free agent, meaning that the Warriors can match offer sheets he gets from the market. McCaw had a strong rookie season, but 2017-18 was not kind to him. He struggled throughout the year and then suffered a potentially devastating injury when he was undercut while in the air. Fortunately he recovered and made some cameo appearances toward the end of the playoffs, but his value this summer is likely fairly limited around the league.

Kevon Looney is a trickier situation. The third-year forward had a breakout year and led the Warriors centers in minutes throughout the playoffs. However, all this came after the Warriors declined to pick up his option following a slow start because of injuries in his first couple of years. It was an understandable decision at the time, but they are now limited to what his option would have been, around $2.2 million.

Looney has earned whatever contract offers he gets this year. After an impressive display in a very close Western Conference Finals where he used his length and smarts to great effect, you’d expect the offers to come rolling in.

Can the Warriors leverage a tight free-agent market?

However, the Warriors may be helped by the very tight free agent market this year.

The new TV deal led to a huge increase in the NBA salary cap in 2016. A splurge in spending followed that summer, and humongous contracts were handed out to mediocre players. League-wide, books are now clogged up with overinflated contracts until next year at the earliest.

Coupled with the cap rising more slowly than originally anticipated, there’s really not a lot of money around this year. This pressure in the market could help the Warriors both retain their younger free agents and allow them a real opportunity to extract greater value for their taxpayer mid-level exception.

And now that the Warriors have tied up Durant early, they can enter the free agent market with some clear goals: get younger, shift the balance on the roster, and extract as much value as possible from the limited tools at their disposal.

News Source:

Azad Hind News

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NBA Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers to challenge Pelicans to sign DeMarcus Cousins

NBA Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers to challenge Pelicans to sign DeMarcus Cousins

NBA Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers to challenge Pelicans to sign DeMarcus Cousins

The Lakers have been adamant about signing stars in this free agency period. They’ve been strongly connected to LeBron James so far, but there’s another player they could possibly make a run at: DeMarcus Cousins. The big man is coming off a solid year with the Pelicans that had a tragic ending.

NBA Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers to challenge Pelicans to sign DeMarcus Cousins

Cousins and the Pelicans seemed destined for the playoffs, but in January he had what is considered by many to be the NBA’s most devastating injury. Cousins blew out his Achilles, sidelining him for the season, and putting into question his effectiveness for the future. Players don’t easily come back from this kind of injury, especially big men, but Cousins will try to do just that.

NBA Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers to challenge Pelicans to sign DeMarcus CousinsCousins will need to find a team that’s willing to take a risk on him for a lot of money. The Lakers could maybe be that team. According to Marc Spears of The Undefeated, both the Pelicans and Lakers have scheduled meetings with Cousins.

Would the Lakers take a chance on Cousins? He would be an interesting option for the Lakers, and at his best, he’s arguably the best big man in the NBA, thanks to his varied skillset, especially on offense. However. with such a devastating injury, any contract he signs could prove to be harmful to the Lakers’ long-term goals. That’s why it would need to be a short-term deal as mentioned in the report.

The Pelicans, on the other hand, will need to enter this meeting with Cousins asking themselves a few questions. Do they believe that Cousins can play like he did before the Achilles injury, and is that worth the money he’ll be asking for? New Orleans went on an incredible second half run without Cousins. Nobody in the Pelicans organization believes they’re better without Cousins, but they have to know they can still find success if he walks.

It’s been heavily speculated that LeBron James could end up with the Lakers and several reports have surfaced of Los Angeles pursuing other star players around the NBA to build its roster to help land James. Cousins could be a part of that plan.

The report also notes that the Pelicans are still very interested in re-signing Cousins as the two are expected to meet as well. It’s not clear at this time whether the meetings would be in person or over the phone as Cousins is currently in his hometown of Mobile, Ala., according to ESPN.

NBA Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers to challenge Pelicans to sign DeMarcus Cousins

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters in May that the team will do everything it can to keep Cousins. He said, ““There’s not one single person, player, coach or in the basketball ops department or ownership that doesn’t want him back.”

Cousins also told ESPN in May that he was open to re-signing with the Pelicans, but he wants to ultimately go to a team that’s “ready to contend.”

The 27-year-old is coming off a 2017-18 season cut short by a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered Jan. 26 in a game against the Rockets. Despite the injury, he is still expected to be highly sought after in free agency. He told ESPN that he expects to be ready to play by the start of training camp.

Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 48 games last season as he was named an All-Star for the fourth consecutive year.

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