The trade market got started recently with Arizona's trade of Mark Trumbo to Seattle (predictably, Trumbo has done squat with the Mariners). Now there are rumors that the Mets are looking at Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez. That would make sense. Ramirez is 36 and hitting just .211 with seven homers and 19 RBIs, but he's going to retire after this season and generally is a better second-half hitter. So the Mets could probably just send the Brewers a bucket of balls as Milwaukee would be happy to get some salary relief (Ramirez owed about $8.8 million rest of the way). The Mets need an upgrade at third because David Wright's return from back problems is not clear.
Free $60 in Member MLB Picks No Obligation Click Here
Nationals at Brewers (-130, 8)
You knew Washington first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was going to land on the disabled list at some point this season because he always does at least once a year. He was placed on the 15-day DL on Thursday with plantar fasciitis. Zimmerman is hitting .209 with five home runs and 34 RBIs in 56 games this season. Some combination of Clint Robinson and Tyler Moore will mostly fill-in. The Nats start Joe Ross in this one, and he's only in the rotation because of injuries to Stephen Strasburg and Doug Fister. Ross, 22, made his big-league debut on June 6 at the Cubs and took the loss, allowing three runs and six hits over five innings. He had a career 3.74 ERA in the minors. Milwaukee's Jimmy Nelson (3-6, 4.05) comes off his best start of the season, shutting out the Pirates on four hits over six innings, striking out seven. He has never faced the Nationals.
Key trends: The Nats are 3-7 in their past 10 Saturday games. Milwaukee is 0-4 in Nelson's past four at home. The "over/under" is over in six of Nelson's past eight vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Nationals and over.
Reds at Cubs (-140, TBA)
I mentioned the other day that the Reds had put shortstop Zack Cosart on the 15-day disabled list with a knee injury. It was much worse than that as Cosart tore ligaments and a tendon in his right knee. He will have surgery Monday and is out nine months, meaning he might be back midway through spring training. This might be the final straw for the Reds, who need to punt on the season. They may wait until after hosting the All-Star Game, however. Mike Leake (3-4, 4.29), one guy who definitely could be traded, starts here. He faced the Cubs twice in April and had a 4.50 ERA with 11 hits, four home runs and 13 strikeouts in 14 innings against them. Anthony Rizzo hits .400 off him with two homers and five RBIs in 25 at-bats. Chris Coghlan destroys the guy, going 9-for-11 with three doubles and two solo homers. Chicago's Kyle Hendricks (2-2, 3.96) comes off a win over Washington where he allowed two earned over five innings. He hasn't faced the Reds in 2015.
Key trends: The Reds are 0-8 in Leake's past eight road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The Cubs are 8-1 in Hendricks' past nine at home. The over is 6-2 in Leake's past eight vs. teams with a winning record. The Reds are 6-2 in his past eight vs. the Cubs.
Early lean: Cubs.
Indians at Tigers (-126, 8.5)
An important day Saturday -- will Kate Upton be there? -- for the Tigers' hopes of winning a fifth straight AL Central title as Justin Verlander makes his season debut. The 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner has been sidelined all season after leaving a March 27 spring training game with a strained right triceps. He went 15-12 with a 4.54 ERA last year, his highest ERA since 2008. I happen to think he will never dominate again with all those innings on his right arm. Michael Bourn hits him very well, batting .364 with four RBIs in 33 at-bats. Jason Kipnis definitely does not, going 3-for-34 with 13 strikeouts. Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco (7-5, 4.35) had a three-start winning streak snapped last time out, allowing five runs in four innings vs. the Orioles. He gave up five runs and nine hits over 4.1 innings in his lone start vs. Detroit this season. Miguel Cabrera is 8-for-21 with a homer off him. Ian Kinsler hits .368 against Carrasco with three RBIs.
Key trends: The Indians are 1-5 in Carrasco's past six on Saturday. The Tigers are 5-0 in Verlander's past five vs. teams with a losing record (last year obviously). The under is 8-3 in Carrasco's past 11 road starts.
Early lean: Tigers and over.
White Sox at Rays (-151, 7)
The Pale Hose will be without Manager Robin Ventura all weekend as he's attending the college graduation of his daughter. Bench coach Mark Parent will serve as the White Sox's manager against the Rays. Let's see if Chicago's Jeff Samardzija (4-4, 4.93) can shake out of his funk here. He has allowed 15 runs and 22 hits over 12.1 innings in losing his past two starts. He's costing himself some money as a free-agent-to-be. Not many Rays have seen him. Evan Longoria is 1-for-3 with a solo homer. It's outstanding Chris Archer (7-4, 1.84) for Tampa. He has now gone five straight starts not allowing more than an earned run. He has struck out at least 11 in each of his past three. In two career starts against the White Sox, he is 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA. Jose Abreu is 3-for-6 with a homer off him. Melky Cabrera is 4-for-17 with two RBIs.
Key trends: The Sox are 2-5 in Samardzija's past seven on the road. The Rays are 4-1 in Archer's past five on Saturday. The over is 4-1 in Samardzija's past five on the road.
Early lean: Rays and under.
Rockies at Marlins (-135, 8)
Colorado will have back outfielder Corey Dickerson and reliever LaTroy Hawkins for this series. Dickerson was hitting .306 with five home runs in 33 games before his DL stint. Hawkins began the year as the team's closer but was yanked quickly. He was put on the DL on April 21. David Hale (2-0, 4.12) starts for the Rockies here. He apparently has earned a permanent spot in the rotation after the team recently demoted top prospect Eddie Butler to Triple-A. Hale was acquired from Atlanta this offseason. Miami's Giancarlo Stanton is 0-for-3 against him. Adeiny Hechavarria is 3-for-5 with a double and RBI. The Marlins' Mat Latos (1-4, 6.12) will be making his first start since landing on the disabled list May 23 with left knee inflammation. He has been terrible at home, going 0-2 with a 10.18 ERA in five starts. Troy Tulowitzki is just 2-for-16 off him with a solo homer.
Key trends: Colorado is 4-1 in its past five on Saturday. The over is 4-1 in Latos' past five at home.
Early lean: Marlins and under.
Get free picks from any of Doc's Sports Advisory Board of expert handicappers - and with no obligation or credit card. You can use these free picks for any sport, and you will never deal with a salesman. Click here for your free Doc's Sports picks.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping Articles
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Thursday, June 21, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Wednesday, June 20, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Tuesday, June 19, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Expert MLB Handicapping: Can Los Angeles Dodgers Turn it Around?
- Expert Baseball Betting Advice: Are Seattle Mariners for Real?
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Saturday, June 16, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Baseball Betting Expert Advice: MLB Underrated Pitchers
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Friday, June 15, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Expert MLB Betting Advice: Disappointing Marquee Pitchers
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Thursday, June 14, 2018, Opening Line Report