Mike Trout finally got an MVP trophy.
After being snubbed the last two seasons in the American League MVP voting, Trout took home MVP honors in Tuesday’s 5-3 All-Star Game victory over the National League. It was well-deserved, as the 22-year-old wunderkind tripled off the right-field wall in the first inning to score the first run of the game before doubling in a run in the fifth for what turned out to be the game-winning RBI.
No one scored after that fateful fifth inning, as the two bullpens combined to toss 7 1/3 scoreless frames following Jose Altuve’s sac fly. The big damage was done off of two Cardinals hurlers, as Adam Wainwright allowed three runs in the first inning and Pat Neshek allowed two runs in his one-third of an inning of work.
In addition to Trout, Miguel Cabrera and Derek Jeter were the offensive stars for the AL. Cabrera turned on an inside fastball from Wainwright in the first inning and hit it over the boards for a two-run shot, while Jeter doubled and scored in the first before singling in the third. He also made a nifty diving stop on the first play of the game before Andrew McCutchen narrowly legged out an infield single. Jonathan Lucroy led the offense for the NL, collecting a pair of RBI doubles.
While Trout deservedly took home the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player trophy, the night undoubtedly belonged to Jeter. Playing in his 14th and final All-Star Game, Jeter received a warm ovation during pre-game introductions, an extended standing ovation before his plate appearance and another one when he was removed from the game. It was all handled with class, which was befitting the future Hall of Famer.
Thanks to Jeter, Trout and many others, when the World Series begins in October, Game 1 will be played in an AL park for the second straight season.
Astros at Odds with No. 1 Pick
Brady Aiken was the No. 1 overall pick in the MLB Draft just over a month ago, but negotiations between his advisor, Casey Close, and the Astros have been anything but smooth so far.
The two sides originally agreed upon a $6.5 million bonus, which is significantly lower than the assigned slot value of $7.9221 million for the No. 1 pick. However, the ‘Stros are saying that Aiken’s physical revealed a “significant abnormality” near his left elbow ligament (the Houston Chronicle says it’s a “cut-and-dry” issue with the UCL). The health concern has resulted in Houston wanting to cut the bonus down to $3.16884 million, which is the minimum amount required to ensure that they would receive the No. 2 pick in 2015 as compensation if they fail to sign Aiken. It would seem to be a reasonable request, but the problem is that Close is saying his client is perfectly healthy.
“Brady has been seen by some of the most experienced and respected orthopedic arm specialists in the country, and all of those doctors have acknowledged that he’s not injured and that he’s ready to start his professional career,” Close said.
Close didn’t stop there, saying, “We are extremely disappointed that Major League Baseball is allowing the Astros to conduct business in this manner with a complete disregard for the rules governing the draft and the 29 other clubs who have followed those same rules.”
It does appear that the Astros might be trying to be a little sneaky here, but it’s impossible to know for sure from the outside looking in. Ultimately, the two sides seem likely to come together on a deal, likely somewhere in between the two numbers. They have until Friday afternoon to work something out.
Gattis Nears Rehab Assignment
“El Oso Blanco” is on his way back.
The Braves have been without slugging catcher Evan Gattis since late last month due to a bulging thoracic disc in his back, but it appears that he’ll return to their lineup soon. Gattis has been taking batting practice over the last few days and could begin a rehab assignment as soon as Wednesday.
Gattis was batting .290/.342/.558 with 16 homers and 39 RBI across 63 games before going down with the injury. Gerald Laird and Christian Bethancourt combined to hit a respectable .274 over 16 contests while Gattis was on the shelf and most certainly offered a defensive upgrade over Gattis. However, they had just three extra-base hits (no homers), so the Braves will welcome El Oso Blanco’s pop back into the lineup.
National League Quick Hits: Aroldis Chapman tweaked his left hamstring during the All-Star Game but said he’ll be fine to pitch by Friday ... The Nationals are at a stalemate in negotiations with first-round pick Erick Fedde. They have until Friday afternoon’s deadline to close the gap ... The Mets have reportedly placed Bartolo Colon on the trade block, but Mike Puma of the New York Post says no team has called yet ... Clint Robinson was outrighted to Triple-A by the Dodgers after clearing waivers ... Brandon Hicks was outrighted to Triple-A by the Giants after clearing waivers ...
American League Quick Hits: The Indians optioned Zach McAllister to Triple-A Columbus. The club hasn’t announced who will replace him in the rotation, but Danny Salazar is an option ... ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners have talked to the Royals about a possible trade for Billy Butler. They were also connected to Butler over the winter. The M’s are monitoring Marlon Byrd, as well, in their quest for a right-handed bat ... The Mariners released John Buck after he cleared waivers. He should catch on as a backup somewhere ...