'Michael Morse' photo (c) 2013, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/Friday has turned exciting with a myriad of minor deals in baseball. Heck, this is more exciting than the MLB Trade Deadline.

THE DEALS

The Cardinals added depth to their bullpen Friday when the acquired John Axford from the Brewers for a PTBNL. Axford has had stretches of ineffectiveness this season, just look at his 4.45 ERA and 1.55 WHIP, and it's shocking to see a guy who averaged 10.51 or more Ks per nine innings his first four seasons currently residing with a mark under one per inning (8.89 per nine). His biggest issue this season is that when he's leaving the ball up in the zone, it's getting blasted – kind of like last year. Over his first two seasons he permitted five homers. Last year he allowed 10 in 69.1 innings, and this season he's also allowed 10 in a mere 54.2 innings leading to a massive 1.65 HR/9 mark (he's given up four big flies in 16 second half innings). He's no threat to be working the 9th inning any time soon in St. Louis.

The Indians added Jason Kubel and cash from the D'Backs in exchange for cash & a PTBNL. I know, how exciting. The Indians will pay the majority of the $2.5 million he's due this season, and they are also responsible for the $1 million buyout on his contract. Kubel is a solid add in AL-only leagues, the guy did hit 30 homers with 90 RBIs last season even if he's been a dead fish this season hitting .220 with five homers and 32 RBIs in 241 at-bats. Pay him no mind in mixed leagues.

The Orioles added Michael Morse from the Mariners in a waiver-wire deal sending Xavier Avery to the club from the Pacific Northwest (Avery is a superb physical specimen, but his baseball acumen has always lagged behind his physical gifts). For my thoughts on Morse see my Rounding The Bases column. Oh yeah, the Orioles also signed Mr. Clutch Dan Johnson to a minor league deal after he was released by the Yankees. He'll likely be up in early September.

AROUND THE HORN

Jacoby Ellsbury swiped his 50th bag Thursday night. It's the third time he's reached that mark in his career. He's also scored 83 runs this season and he's just a hit away from a .300 average at .299. Those that took a gamble on the talent on draft day have received a massive reward for their faith in him.

Dexter Fowler had an MRI on his knee that came back showing some minor wonkiness. He might sit out through the weekend, but the hope is that he will be good to go next week. What started out so well for Dexter has devolved into a standard Dexter Fowler season. He does have 18 steals after averaging 12 the past three years, but he's hitting .263 which would be his 4th season in five years in the .260's (he can thank a .216 average in the second half). He's also seen his power vanish. Fowler has 12 homers on the year. He hit eight by the end of April. He's a totally different hitter based on who is on the mound as well. Against righties he has hit .236 but has 10 bombs. Against lefties he's stroking hits to the tune of a .323 average but he has only two big flies. Maybe he'll never find the consistency to be anything more than a solid outfielder in fantasy baseball.

Took a couple of steam baths the last few days. Never done that before. Good times. I even met a foxy volleyball player in there this morning. And yes, she was a woman.

Matt Kemp was 0-for-5 in his first rehab game. He might be up on September 1st as his body finally seems to be healed up. He could be a huge producer in September... if he remembers he's a superstar that is.

Kris Medlen was never going to match the 1.57 ERA and 0.91 WHIP from last season. Hopefully you weren't expecting a Cy Young season out of him. He's pitched well overall though with 11 wins, a 3.58 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. He also had a strong August with a 3.00 ERA and .663 OPSA. He's been pretty damn tough at home this season as well with a 2.78 ERA over 81 innings.

Erasmo Ramirez has a 5.18 ERA and 1.34 WHIP through 48.2 outings with the Mariners but at least he's gone 5-1. The folks over at Fleaflicker.com aren't sold though as his ownership rate is very low. His teammate, Danny Farquhar, continues to pitch well in the 9th inning as he pitched up his 10th save Thursday night.

Has anyone noticed that Chris Tillman is 15-4 for the Orioles? I'm the first to admit that wins don't really do it for me, but you have to be impressed nonetheless. The fact that he's sporting a 3.61 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, while pitching in the AL East means that he's finally arrived.

 

ROUND 2 – OF THE NFL CHALLENGE

Whose draft was better, Man or Machine in Round 2? Click on the link to read the story and to vote.

 

By Ray Flowers




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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

Ray Flowers on Twitter

Fiers. See - http://t.co/zz7kyrnrZC RT @GatorBigD: who is better to own for the rest of the season: Pineda or Fiers?