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#pounditSaturday, July 31, 2021

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Kris Bryant traded to Giants as Cubs blow up roster

Kris Bryant

The Chicago Cubs blew up their roster leading up to Friday’s MLB trade deadline, and the San Francisco Giants emerged victorious in the Kris Bryant sweepstakes.

Bryant has been traded to the Giants, ESPN’s Jeff Passan first reported.

The Cubs were by far the biggest sellers at the trade deadline, so it’s no surprise they parted ways with Bryant. They had been shopping the star third baseman in trade talks dating back to last offseason. It looked at one point like the New York Mets were the most likely suitor, but they instead acquired shortstop Javier Baez from Chicago on Friday.

Bryant is hitting .267 with 18 home runs, 51 RBI and an .861 OPS. The 29-year-old has bounced back after batting just .206 in last year’s pandemic-shortened season.

Chicago appears to have entered total rebuild mode. In addition to Baez and Bryant, they also traded closer Craig Kimbrel to the cross-town rival Chicago White Sox. The Cubs are 50-54 and not in the playoff hunt, so they have decided to restock their farm system. Their 2016 World Series champion team seems like a distant memory.

Video: Did Tom Verducci drop S-bomb on MLB Network?

Kendall Graveman stat

Tom Verducci was so blown away when pointing out an impressive statistic from Kendall Graveman that he may have dropped an S-bomb on live TV.

MLB Network was running its MLB trade deadline special show on Friday. They brought up the Seattle Mariners’ surprising trade of Graveman to the Astros. Then they showed a graphic of the pitchers with the best sinkers this season.

Graveman leads MLB for the lowest opponent slugging percentage against a sinker (minimum 300 sinkers). Opponents are slugging just .113 against his sinker. The next closest are Adam Wainwright (.241) and Jose Berrios (.289).

Verducci was so blown away by how dominant Graveman’s sinker has been that he said “are you —-ing me?” when he showed the stat. It sounded a lot like he said “s—-ing me,” though it’s possible he gave a very muffled version of “are you kidding me?”

Either way, that was great.

Now you have an idea about why so many Mariners players were ticked off about the trade.

Carson Wentz to see foot specialist, may need surgery

Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz left practice on Thursday with a foot injury, and the Indianapolis Colts quarterback may need to undergo a minor surgical procedure.

The Colts are sending Wentz to be evaluated by foot specialist Robert Anderson, according to Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. It’s possible that Wentz could need a minor surgical procedure, but he is not expected to miss many games, if any.

Wentz has six weeks to get healthy before the start of the regular season. The Colts will likely play it safe with him until then, but it is an obvious concern that he is in his first season with the team. Wentz is trying to prove he is still capable of winning games as an NFL starter. He needs all the reps he can get.

Wentz arrived in Indy via a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason. He has been reunited Frank Reich, who served as the offensive coordinator with the Eagles when Wentz was an MVP candidate. Wentz recently explained why the trade has reignited his passion for football. The Colts are hoping he can avoid surgery and return sooner rather than later.

Phillies add pitching with Kyle Gibson, Ian Kennedy from Rangers

Philadelphia Phillies logo

MLB contenders are loading up and adding to their rosters ahead of the trade deadline. Even the Philadelphia Phillies decided they would not be left behind.

The Phillies added starting pitcher Kyle Gibson and reliever Ian Kennedy in a trade with Texas on Friday. They are sending Spencer Howard and two other prospects.

Gibson is 6-3 with a 2.87 ERA this season and actually made his first ever All-Star team. He has a career 4.42 ERA. Kennedy is a former longtime starter who was converted to a reliever in 2019. Kennedy has 16 saves with a 2.51 ERA this season.

Howard was the No. 45 overall pick in 2017. The 25-year-old pitcher made his MLB debut last year. He is 1-4 with an ERA approaching 6.00 in brief MLB action.

The Phillies entered Friday 51-51, but they’re only 3.5 games back in the weak NL East.

Javy Baez traded to Mets as part of Cubs fire sale

Javy Baez taunting

The Chicago Cubs held a fire sale at the MLB trade deadline on Friday, and the New York Mets came away with shortstop Javier Baez.

The Mets acquired Baez in a deal with the Cubs, according to multiple reports. Starting pitcher Trevor Williams is also headed to New York in the trade. Outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong, one of New York’s top prospects and their first-round pick last year, will go to Chicago.

Baez has been a fan favorite in Chicago for several years. He’s hitting .248 this season with 22 home runs and 65 RBI.

The Mets were said to be motivated to make a big splash at the deadline, especially with Francisco Lindor out nursing an oblique injury. Baez will take over at shortstop until Lindor returns, at which point the Mets will have one of the best middle infields in baseball.

The Baez trade is one of several the Cubs made this week. They also sent Craig Kimbrel to the cross-town rival White Sox, who now have arguably the best bullpen in baseball.

Craig Kimbrel trade gives White Sox arguably best bullpen in baseball

Craig Kimbrel

The Chicago White Sox already have one of the best closers in baseball in right-hander Liam Hendriks, but that did not stop them from making a massive bullpen splash at Friday’s trade deadline.

The White Sox have acquired Craig Kimbrel in a deal with the Chicago Cubs, according to multiple reports. The Cubs will get second baseman Nick Madrigal and pitcher Codi Heuer in the trade.

Kimbrel, 33, has been one of the best relievers in baseball for the last decade. He is having one of his best seasons ever this year. The right-hander had a 0.49 ERA in 39 appearances with the White Sox. He has 64 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings.

Kimbrel will now join Liam Hendriks to give the White Sox easily the best closer-setup combination in baseball. Hendriks has a 2.58 ERA with 71 strikeouts and 25 saves in 45 appearances. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic says both Kimbrel and Hendriks will be used in save situations.

In addition to Kimbrel, the White Sox also acquired right-hander Ryan Tepera in a separate deal with their cross-town rivals on Thursday. Tepera has a 2.91 ERA in 43 appearances this year.

The White Sox are 60-43 and have an 8-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central. They clearly feel they have a real chance to win the World Series, and adding bullpen arms at the trade deadline is one of the best ways to bolster a playoff contender. They’re easily one of the big winners of the trade deadline.

Braves prove they are not quitting on season with two more trades

Atlanta Braves logo

The Atlanta Braves were dealt a major blow earlier this month when they lost star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. to a torn ACL, but they continued to show on Friday that they are not simply going to punt on the 2021 season.

The Braves acquired two more outfielders at the trade deadline. They landed Adam Duvall in a deal with the Miami Marlins and Eddie Rosario from the Cleveland Indians.

Duvall is a right-handed slugger who is hitting just .229 this season, but he has 22 home runs and 68 RBI. Rosario is a career .275 hitter who hit .254 in 78 games with Cleveland.

The Braves also acquired Joc Pederson earlier in the month, so they have now revamped their entire outfield since Acuna went down.

Atlanta entered Friday with a record of 51-52, but they are just four games back of the New York Mets in a weak NL East division. While they have struggled without Acuna, they clearly feel they can still contend for a postseason spot.

Carson Wentz out indefinitely with foot injury

Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz sat out practice with the Indianapolis Colts on Friday due to a foot injury, and it is unclear when the quarterback will be able to return.

Wentz will undergo further testing on his foot and be held out indefinitely, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Mike Wells. Second-year quarterback Jacob Eason took first-team reps on Friday with rookie Sam Ehlinger serving as his backup.

The Colts could be simply playing it safe with Wentz, but it is never a good sign when your starting quarterback is out indefinitely during training camp. Wentz needs all the reps he can get this offseason as he tries to prove he can get his career back on track. Any time he misses could be a major issue heading into the season.

Wentz arrived in Indy via a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason. He has been reunited Frank Reich, who served as the offensive coordinator with the Eagles when Wentz was an MVP candidate. Wentz recently explained why the trade has reignited his passion for football.

Jose Berrios traded to Blue Jays from Twins

Jose Berrios

The Toronto Blue Jays made a major move to beef up their starting rotation on Friday, as they have acquired right-hander Jose Berrios in a trade with the Minnesota Twins.

The Blue Jays have agreed to send multiple prospects to Minnesota for Berrios, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported. Toronto has one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, and two of their top-five prospects are involved in the deal.

Berrios, 27, is a two-time All-Star. He is 7-5 with a 3.48 ERA this season and known for his excellent curveball. He is not scheduled to become a free agent until 2023.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were said to have interest in Berrios, but they instead landed Max Scherzer on Thursday in a monster deal.

Video: Megan Rapinoe did new celebration after winning PK goal

Megan Rapinoe celebration

The United States Women’s National Team defeated the Netherlands on Friday to clinch a spot in the Olympic semifinals, and Megan Rapinoe broke out a new celebration after icing the win.

Rapinoe buried a shot in the upper right corner of the goal with the US leading 3-2 in penalty kicks. She immediately turned to her teammates and crossed her arms as if to say, “What did you expect?”

That was a different celebration pose from the one Rapinoe became known for during the World Cup two years ago, so perhaps she is trying something new.

The USWNT got off to a rough start at the Olympics with a stunning 3-0 loss to Sweden, but they still managed to advance to the semifinals. They’ll play Canada with a trip to the gold medal game on the line.