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So is born the legend of Sergio Mitre. A simple man born in a distant land (all right, Los Angeles), Mitre arrived in the biggest city in the kingdom accompanied by whispers of miracles performed in the hinterlands (or more accurately, a 2.40 ERA at Triple-A Scranton). And with him came sunshine and bountiful harvests. Or at least first place in the American League East.

The Yankees' new fifth starter, and a veteran of a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs and 53 unremarkable starts in the majors, Mitre actually didn't have nearly as much to do with the Yankees claiming sole possession of first place as Robinson Cano or Alex Rodriguez, right, who drove in two and walked twice. And considering this is the latest in the season the Yankees have been alone in first since 2006, it's kind of a big deal.

As recently as two weeks ago, SportsNation voters were still sold on the Red Sox winning the division, but that support appears to be disappearing, albeit not as quickly as balls hit off John Smoltz.

bosox1045k

The Sox need a bat they have lacked offense all season. Lets see if Theo makes a move, I doubt he does though. Shorstop has to be top priority, Nick Green was a good story for a few months but let be real here.....Lowrie and Green dont scare anyone and neither of them are gold glove shortstops either...Tejada can be had for a reasonable trade and can still hit, something needs to be done.

-- BoSox1045K
paulc1955

Who cares. I hate first place until the end of September anyway. It is what it is. 2+ months to go. I wish we were hitting better but it is what it is. Go Yanks. NOT.

-- paulc1955
bryanv21

Yankee fans need to chill out a bit. It's July 21st. There is a lot of baseball to be played, so don't get ahead of yourselves celebrating the Yanks being in 1st and the Sox in a bit of a funk. I have confidence in the Yanks, but at the same time I'm not getting all crazy over their current streak.

-- BryanV21

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Michelle Beadle and Colin Cowherd have been cleared to play and are in the starting lineup today on "SportsNation" TV.

Discuss the hot topics, vote on the biggest stories of the day and chat during the show on ESPN2 at 4 p.m. ET. And if you miss that, there's a second helping of "SportsNation" at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Michael Vick

Should the Patriots pursue Michael Vick?
New England has a system and has a good track record of taking in troubled players who have made surprisingly few waves once in the fold.

Roy Halladay

Do the Phillies need to upgrade by adding Roy Halladay?
The rest of the National League East is fading fast, but Peter Gammons argues Philly could write in several years of championships by adding the pitcher.

Umpire

Where do you stand on instant replay in baseball?
Michael Cuddyer sure looked safe in the replay, but instead of tying the game, he was called out at home last night in Oakland.

Manny Ramirez

Who is the better player?
Manny Ramirez and Mickey Mantle both put up incredible offensive stats on some of the best teams in baseball in their given eras.

Chris Henry

Is Chris Henry on the verge of a Randy Moss-type career?
Carson Palmer believes in second acts, and he says his wayward Bengals teammate is poised to provide some noncontroversial offense in Cleveland.

What is "SportsNation" TV and how do you make your voice heard on the broadcast? Read about the new ESPN show that features fan opinions with calls, tweets, polls, rankers and more.

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Brett Favre missed his calling. Day by day, it becomes more and more evident that the best way to make sure your name never leaves the headlines is to be a talented veteran pitcher at the forefront of a weak trade market.

From the All-Star festivities in St. Louis through the resumption of regular-season play, the most frequent question in SportsNation this week was which uniform Roy Halladay will be wearing after the deadline.

So as the 'Nation heads off into the weekend, we close with a few Halladay-related queries that Jerry Crasnick fielded Friday.

Greg (LA)

Assuming that you have to add 3 or 4 years at $20M per to Halladay to make it worth your while - how many teams have room for $95M in salary for a 33 year old pitcher? And give up all of your best young prospects? For example, Kershaw will probably earn $10M in the same time frame that Halladay earns $95M. Who would you rather have for the next 5 years - Kershaw at $10M or Halladay at $95M? that's why I wouldn't trade Kershaw for Halladay even up.

Jerry Crasnick
Jerry Crasnick

Greg, That's what I hear a lot of front office people saying. Teams are very hesitant to trade prospects these days, and they're hesitant to commit to huge long-term deals in this economic climate. The fact that the Jays are getting so much interest in Halladay is a testament to what a special guy he is.

Jack (CA)

Aren't the Jays making a huge mistake if they decide against trading Halladay now, then trade him in the offseason or at next season's deadline? The dropoff in the return they would get would be huge.

Jerry Crasnick
Jerry Crasnick

Jack, I'm not sure about that. Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro apparently is willing to hang onto Cliff Lee because he thinks he can get a similar haul at the trade deadline next year. Shapiro just went through the process with CC Sabathia last year, and he doesn't think waiting is a bad idea. I agree it's preferable for JP Ricciardi to move Halladay now, but there's nothing wrong with waiting until the off-season and taking a more deliberate approach. Full transcript.

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We should be careful what we wish for. Running through National League reviews and predictions, we lamented the lack of sports on the day after the All-Star Game. But how could we be so foolish as to think Brett Favre wouldn't sniff out the opportunity and announce that he is definitely, positively, beyond a shadow of a doubt ... going to tell the Vikings whether or not he's coming back ... at some point between now and the start of the team's training camp. Whew, glad we've got that on the record.

Games not involving Favre's mind resume on baseball diamonds Thursday, but we're taking a look back at the American League before we get there. And compared to the projected runaways in the NL, the division races on this side of the ledger look like they could keep us entertained well into the fall.

American League Team MVP
Red Sox: Jason Bay
Yankees: Mark Teixeira
Angels: Torii Hunter
Tigers: Miguel Cabrera
Rangers: Ian Kinsler
Rays: Evan Longoria
Mariners: Ichiro
White Sox: Jermaine Dye
Twins: Joe Mauer
Blue Jays: Roy Halladay
Orioles: Adam Jones
Athletics: Matt Holliday
Royals: Mark Teahan (Offensive MVP)
Indians: Grady Sizemore (Least Valuable Player)

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video

All-Stars are relaxing in St. Louis. Non-All-Stars are relaxing with their families/friends/agents. The only people in baseball who aren't on break are those who work in the front offices. We don't know if you've been paying attention or not, but the Theo Epsteins and Kenny Williamses of the world have been a bit ... busy.

The main prize is Toronto Blue Jays hurler Roy Halladay, whose Cy Young candidacy and trade potential we discussed less than a week ago. Halladay is on the record as wanting to go to either the National League or a contending team. For all his excellence, Halladay has never pitched in the postseason. Staying in Toronto gives him little chance to change that, as the AL East changes from a two-team duel to a three-team melee. He could definitely help a contending team -- 80 percent of SportsNation expects him to win 20 or more games, and he came in second place in our midseason Cy Young ranker.

Doc Halladay's not the only gunslinger on the market, however. The long-dormant Pedro Martinez could be a factor if the Phillies decide to sign him. Martinez was the author of one of the greatest pitching seasons ever, but that was nine years and many injuries ago. SportsNation thinks he'll help the Phillies a little bit, but is he just a fifth starter, or something more? With Pedro, you really do never know.

rodeojones000

You guys are crazy to suggest that Halladay will go to the Yankees. The reason Toronto would trade him would be to get some pieces to make them more capable of competing in the AL East in the future. Sending Halladay to the Yankees (or Boston) would make it even more difficult than it already is for them to be competitive. In fact, I highly doubt they'll send him to any American League team. Either he's going to Philly or he's staying in Toronto. He's not going to the Cubs (he wants to win, remember) or to St. Louis or LA. Philly has the pieces to match any offer another team makes and they will not allow Halladay to go to a team they'll possibly be facing in October.

-- rodeojones000
Rmack1115

Does anyone else think Halladay was dropping a hint that he wants to play for the Yankees when he said "I'd rather have to hit than face Jeter, Matsui, Arod, Teixeira" - maybe I'm reading too much into his quote but it's noteworthy that he named 4 Yankees that he doesn't want to face anymore instead of saying something like "Pena, Youkilis, Bay, and A-rod"

-- Rmack1115
nspe33

they might a s well get brett favre to pitch for them.he would probably be just as effective.pedro is DONE.why cant these people see that?

-- nspe33

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