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1:25 PM ET, July 28, 2021


 Top News: 
Jeff Passan / ESPN:
MLB trade deadline: Surprising teams that could go all-in and new names to watch as July 30 nears  —  Perhaps it should be no surprise that the San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays, two of the most aggressive teams in baseball at improving their rosters, have placed themselves squarely …
Patrick Mooney / The Athletic:
It would be ‘naive’ to think the Cubs haven't been distracted by a season set up for the trade deadline
Discussion: Cubs Insider and Bleacher Nation
Ken Rosenthal / The Athletic:
Concerns about Trevor Story; what Max Scherzer's unique contract means; more trade deadline notes  —  Rockies shortstop Trevor Story is one of the biggest names on the trade market, but mostly by reputation.  Story, 28, is in the middle of his worst offensive season, and some baseball people are alarmed by his poor throwing.
Ryan Divish / The Seattle Times:
Mariners players feel ‘betrayed’ after team trades Kendall Graveman to Astros  —  Marco Gonzales stared at the concrete floor of the Mariners dugout, occasionally lifting his gaze to the field of T-Mobile Park and revealing puffy eyes red from tears.  —  He appeared to be listening …
The Athletic:
Padres on pace to exceed luxury tax threshold for first time; Eric Hosmer trade among the possible options  —  With A.J. Preller, the Padres' unrelenting head of baseball operations, virtually everyone is in play at all times.  Almost nothing can be ruled out, though that does not mean Preller operates without parameters.
Associated Press:
Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg to have season-ending neck surgery  —  PHILADELPHIA — Stephen Strasburg will have season-ending neck surgery, ending another frustrating year for the Washington Nationals' 2019 World Series hero.  —  The three-time All-Star right-hander felt discomfort …
Discussion: UPI
Ken Rosenthal / The Athletic:
Max Scherzer prefers NL West contenders, sources say, and pace of talks accelerating  —  Padres manager Jayce Tingler and Max Scherzer just missed overlapping at the University of Missouri.  Scherzer was teammates at Missouri with Padres bullpen catcher Brad Flanders for one season.  All three remain friends.
Ken Davidoff / New York Post:
Mets' agreement with Kumar Rocker suddenly in jeopardy  —  The Mets' agreement with their first-round draft pick Kumar Rocker is in limbo after the team expressed concerns with the right-hander's pitching elbow during his physical examination, multiple industry sources told The Post.
Tom Haudricourt / USA Today:
Milwaukee Brewers leftfielder Christian Yelich has been placed in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19  —  PITTSBURGH - Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns announced Tuesday afternoon that leftfielder Christian Yelich had tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed …
Jim McBride Globe / The Boston Globe:
Patriots tight end Devin Asiasi tests positive for COVID despite vaccination and is out indefinitely  —  The Patriots will be without Devin Asiasi for an undetermined amount of time after the second-year tight end tested positive for COVID-19, a league source confirmed Tuesday.
Discussion: and
Gabe Lacques / USA Today:
5 MLB trade deadline deals we'd like to see: Kris Bryant, Craig Kimbrel would supercharge Dodgers  —  With a majority of teams still considering themselves contenders and franchises holding an ever-tightening grip on their top prospects, it will be tight maneuvering around Major League Baseball before Friday's trade deadline.
Eno Sarris / The Athletic:
Eleven MLB trades the numbers say need to be made this week  —  This is not a collection of rumors.  Though some rumors turn out to be true, the method here is to look for the biggest holes on teams that are headed to close battles down the stretch.  Add in a nod to the team's finances and past strategies …
Discussion: Rox Pile and Bluebird Banter
Tim Healey / Newsday:
Jerad Eickhoff struggles as Mets get routed by Atlanta  —  The Mets lost to Atlanta, 12-5, on Tuesday after fill-in starter Jered Eickhoff allowed 10 runs, all earned, in 3 1⁄3 innings.  He re-signed with them two days prior after being cut — for the second time in a month — last week.
Ronald Blum / Associated Press:
Japan beats U.S. 2-0, turns incredible double play to win Olympic softball gold  —  YOKOHAMA, Japan — Japan won its second straight Olympic softball gold medal, beating the United States 2-0 Tuesday in an emotional repeat of its 2008 victory in Beijing that again left the Americans in tears.
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 More News: 
Deesha Thosar / New York Daily News:
Mets split doubleheader with Braves to start huge five-game series
JB Bird / UT News:
Joint Statement from The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Oklahoma
Discussion: FanSided, Slate, The Athletic and UPI
Stefan Stevenson / Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
‘Keep it light.’ As Texas Rangers losing streak hits 12 games, manager, radio team adapt
 Earlier Picks: 
Chris McCosky / Detroit News:
Tigers players shutting out the noise as trade deadline draws near
Dennis Young / New York Daily News:
Taijuan Walker has come back to Earth at the worst time for the Mets