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Tampa Bay Rays news and links: Explaining Snell’s improvements

The wildcard race gets tougher.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

There was a big trade late last night that changed the dynamics in the American League. The Chicago Cubs acquired outfielder Leonys Martin from the Seattle Mariners for either a player to be named later or cash.

With that move, the Mariners will now be slightly less able to pinch run and make defensive outfield replacements late in games. It’s a puzzling move, with rosters expanding.

Speaking of rosters expanding Mark Topkin wrote about who will be the initial callups today, as rosters expand: Relievers Adam Kolarek and Ryne Stanek, and third catcher Curt Casali. More players are expected as Durham winds down its season.

Topkin wrote a good article on Blake Snell’s improvements late in the season and what’s brought them about. This is interesting, from a section titled “Working Harder Between Starts:”

Veteran starter Alex Cobb said the difference is obvious, "basically a 180 since the last time he got sent down (mid May) and called up (late June)."

Other trades, or wherein several wildcard hopefuls got better and drove traffic to MLBTrade Rumors:

Other links: