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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Stories by Grey Papke:

Nationals’ Juan Soto homers in game that started before his MLB debut

Washington Nationals

Thanks to a truly unique series of events, Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto homered Monday in a game that will go down as having been played before he had made his major league debut.

The Nationals restarted a game against the New York Yankees that had been started and suspended on May 15, tied at 3. The Nationals were able to use their current roster to finish the game, which meant Soto, who was called up on May 20, was able to play.

Play he did. He hit a two-run home run to put the Nationals ahead, prompting some serious confusion.

Fear not, though. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Soto’s big league debut will not be backdated, though it will undoubtedly throw off an entire future generation of baseball historians.

Soto has done some incredible things since his call-up. Transcending space-time and hitting a home run in a game that happened before he played in the big leagues is just the latest example.

No structural damage to Carlos Carrasco’s elbow

Carlos Carrasco Indians

The Cleveland Indians got good news on starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco on Monday.

According to manager Terry Francona, all tests on Carrasco’s right elbow came back clean after he was hit by a line drive during Saturday’s game. With no structural damage, he will be re-evaluated on Wednesday.

It sounds entirely possible that Carrasco’s stay on the disabled list could turn out to be a somewhat short one. With no serious injury, he could respond well to the treatment and be off the DL around the time he’s eligible to be, which will be just before the end of June. It’s about the best possible news from Cleveland’s point of view.

Report: Raptors hoping to acquire draft pick to select Kentucky standout

The Toronto Raptors don’t have a draft pick right now, but they’re trying to change that to get a shot at a player they apparently covet.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Raptors are willing to make anyone on their roster available to trade into the top ten to draft Kentucky guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

That’s a big statement considering the Raptors have stars such as DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. Obviously parting with either for only a draft pick is probably not going to happen, but they’ve thought about it before, so perhaps it’s not quite as unlikely as it seems at first glance.

Moreover, this is a clear indication that the Raptors think they need to change some things. Despite winning 59 games, Toronto was swept in the Eastern Conference Finals, and now they’ve fired their coach and appear willing to make major changes to their roster.

Barry Trotz stepping down as Capitals coach

Barry Trotz

In a surprising development, the Washington Capitals will be looking for a new head coach less than a month after winning the Stanley Cup.

The Capitals announced Monday that Barry Trotz would resign as coach, an abrupt shift after the Stanley Cup win.

It had been previously thought that Trotz’s contract was expiring this summer, but according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, that was not the case. Trotz had a clause in his contract that would extend it for two years if he won the Stanley Cup, but the extension was well below market value and the two sides failed to agree on a new deal.

Trotz had been optimistic about finding an agreement with Washington, but things obviously didn’t work out. It’s been heavily speculated that he’ll be a target of the New York Islanders, who currently have a vacancy.

Knicks player thinks team has ‘good chance’ of landing LeBron James

LeBron James

One New York Knicks player is feeling quite optimistic about his team’s chances of landing LeBron James in free agency.

Center Enes Kanter is ready to recruit James to the Knicks, and he thinks the team has a real chance due to the stage they can provide.

“I’m trying,” Kanter said, via Mike Vorkunov of the Athletic. “I don’t want to say it’s possible, whatever, but I’m trying. Let’s give him a shot. Why not? Might just get him. Never know.

“I’m working, man. I need some help. I’m working on it. I think just because it’s New York. If he wins here he is the G.O.A.T. No question, he is the G.O.A.T. I think we have a good chance to get him, I guess.”

Kanter and James have some history, and the Turkish center openly challenged James to become “king of New York” by joining the team. Is it unlikely? Almost certainly, but Kanter is right. It can’t hurt to try.

Report: Manny Machado may consider re-signing with one potential trade partner

Manny Machado

One potential factor in any Manny Machado trade is the fact that he’s poised to become a free agent at the end of the year, and any team trading for him may get a rental. Thus, any acquiring team would have to consider whether they think they can sign Machado to an extension before he fits free agency.

The answer for most teams is reportedly no, with one exception. According to Robert Murray of FanRag Sports, a source close to the Baltimore Orioles shortstop believes the Chicago Cubs are the only team Machado might consider committing to long-term.

Otherwise, Machado appears likely to test the open market, where he will likely be in line for a massive payday.

To be clear, there is a long way to go before any Machado trade is realistic, and the Orioles might not even move him. The Cubs have been frequently linked to the shortstop, though the braintrust in Chicago has been quick to try and quiet talk of a potential deal.

Brewers honor Bob Uecker with themed road trip

Bob Uecker is one of baseball’s most iconic figures, and the Milwaukee Brewers never fail to recognize that.

We got another example of it Sunday night, when the Brewers decided to give their road trip a dress code — a Uecker-themed one. Players and coaches were encouraged to wear rather gaudy sport coats as a nod to some of their longtime broadcaster’s more curious fashion choices.

Manager Craig Counsell and coach Ed Sedar even had custom t-shirts for the occasion.

Themed road trips have been a thing for a while, with Joe Maddon’s Tampa Bay Rays really kickstarting them back in the day. They’ve since spread to other teams and taken on a life of their own, and this is one of the better ones.

Odell Beckham reportedly winning over Giants with conduct in camp

Odell Beckham

Odell Beckham Jr. is reportedly giving the New York Giants every reason he can to invest in him long-term.

Beckham has been impressing the team’s coaching staff with his conduct during the offseason, according to Albert Breer of the MMQB. Beckham has texted regularly with new head coach Pat Shurmur and has been a steady hand with the team’s new talent.

“Odell’s been awesome,” one Giants coach told Breer regarding his work with the team’s incoming players.

This should all reflect very well on Beckham in contract negotiations. Though the two sides aren’t close right now, Beckham is more or less taking away as many reasons as possible for the Giants to avoid committing to him long-term. He’s apparently winning a lot of support in the organization through his actions as well. If Beckham is a model citizen off the field and is healthy and playing to his standards on it, he’ll be in an exceptional negotiating position.

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