Gregg Hoffmann

Midwest Diamond Report - 7/6

The success the Brewers have had in the first half of the season was reflected in their number of All Star selections Sunday night.

Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Gomez were voted in as starters at 3B and in the outfield. Jonathan Lucroy was selected as a reserve at catcher, and Francisco Rodriguez as a reliever.

Ramirez probably should have been a reserve, if for no other reason the fact he was on the DL for a considerable amount of time. But, in some ways his first selection as a starter can be seen as a career honor, since he has been one of the most productive third basemen in the game for several years.

“The All Star break has given me a chance to be with my family for a few days in the past, but it is an honor to be selected,” Ramirez said several days ago in an interview.

Gomez has become one of the most dynamic players in the game. Some will argue that Giancarlo Stanton should have started ahead of him, but the Marlins’ star can serve as DH since the game is at Target Field, an AL location.

Lucroy should have been the starter, but is undoubtedly fine with his selection as the backup to the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina. As reported last week, Lucroy was a bit embarrassed by a Fox Sports Wisconsin promo that hyped him over Molina.

For Rodriguez, his selection marks a comeback for the guy who once earned the nickname K-Rod. Just a couple years ago, he was considered done by many.

The Brewers could make an argument for Kyle Lohse and Will Smith to be selected as pitchers, but both have struggled somewhat in recent outings.

Instead, the Brewers should probably concentrate on not taking a dive in the week left before the ASG. In years past, after getting off to a good start, they somewhat stumbled right before the break. They’ve lost five of their last six and should concentrated on finishing strong.

The other MDR teams All Stars include the Cubs’ Starlin Castro, Twins’ Glen Perkins and Kurt Suzuki and the White Sox’s Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez.

Jeff Samardzija actually was picked an All Star before he was traded by the Cubs to Oakland and could still make an appearance. The Sox probably have the most legitimate beef with Chris Sale not on the AL team.

Two-For Deal

Most people expected the Cubs to trade RHPs Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but not necessarily to the same team in the same deal. The pair was sent packing to Oakland in exchange for prospects SS Addison Russell and OF Bill McKinney, and veteran pitcher Dan Straily.

The deal comes at a time when the Cubs were playing much better, and tells fans they have to wait until next year or beyond. Russell and McKinney are considered top prospects, but also are a couple years away.

Russell also is a shortstop which gives the Cubs Castro and prospect Javier Baez at the same position. It makes it very likely Castro could be traded in the future, or he or Baez could change positions.

Player of the Week

The White Sox’s Abreu extended his hitting streak to 19 games. He also hit his MLB-leading 27th homer. That gave him the MDR Player of the Week honor.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Brewers’ Ryan Braun, who hit .368 for the week with six RBIs.

** the Cubs’ Justin Ruggiano, who had consecutive three-hit games and drove in seven runs in those two games.

** the Twins’ Suzuki, who hit .350 in a six game stretch.

Updated Notes


** RHP Matt Garza retired the first 12 Reds he faced and allowed only two hits over all nine innings of the Brewers' 1-0 win Saturday.

** Braun suffered from back spasms over the weekend. OF Logan Schafer was called up and started in LF for the injured Khris Davis. Utility player Elian Herrera was sent down to make roster space. Davis returned to the lineup when Braun had to be removed from Saturday’s game.

** The Brewers have agreed to sign international prospect Gilbert Lara, reports Enrique Rojas of (via Twitter). Lara will receive a $3.2MM bonus, according to colleague Dionisio Soldevila (via Twitter).


** The trade of Samardzija and Hammel left Edwin Jackson, Jake Arrieta and Travis Wood in the rotation. Tsuyushi Wada will be called up from the minors to start Tuesday and could stay in the rotation. Carlos Villanueva made a spot start Saturday and was the loser in a 13-0 decision to the Nationals.

** Before departing to Oakland, Hammel held the Nationals to two runs and five hits in six innings of a 7-2 win on Friday.

** Rooftop owners apparently have decided to accept the Cubs' plan of installing two outfield signs at Wrigley Field, including a video scoreboard in left, and drop their threatened lawsuit.


** RHP Mike Pelfrey, who underwent elbow surgery in early June, isn't expected to start throwing again until September and could miss the rest of the season, Twins general manager Terry Ryan said.

** 1B Joe Mauer was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique. First baseman Chris Colabello was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take his place on the roster.

** The Twins have reached agreement on a $800K bonus with righty Huascar Ynoa. The younger brother of record-holding international signee Michael Ynoa, the Dominican landed at 17th among available prospects on the list and 14th in the eyes of Baseball America, which credits him with outstanding stuff but streaky control.

White Sox

** Dayan Viciedo, who is involved in trade rumors with Seattle, went 4-for-4 in a 7-1 win over the Mariners, and belted his 10th home run of the season.

** The White Sox have made several big-dollar signings: shortstop Ricardo Mota has signed for $750K, second baseman Felix Mercedes will receive a $950K bonus, and catcher Jhoandro Alfaro (brother of Rangers’ prospect Jorge) will get $750K

** The Sox have claimed righty Angel Sanchez off waivers from the Rays. He will join the club’s Class-A affiliate.

What’s Ahead

The Brewers will host their closest NL Central rival, the Cardinals, in a three-game series next weekend before breaking for the All Star Game.

Northwoods League teams have started their second half. Willmar won the first half North Division title, and the Lakeshore Chinooks took the South Division.

The Keltner Chapter of SABR will meet at Major Goolsby’s on Aug. 9 and take a tour of the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame. More details will follow.


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