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Data: FanGraphs; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

"The holiday shopping season is upon us, and what better way to bring cheer than by signing a free agent." MLB teams will be looking to do just that in the coming weeks.

Yes, but: We could be in for another long, cold winter, as many of the same forces that made last year's free agency so frustratingly slow are still at play.

  • Last week, Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos made some questionable comments on a conference call, saying that Atlanta "had time to connect with 27 of the clubs … to get a sense of what [they] are going to look to do in free agency." (He later said he misspoke.)
  • MLBPA boss Tony Clark fired back, saying that Anthopoulos' comments "call[ed] into question the integrity of the entire free-agency system. The clear description of club coordination is egregious."
  • Meanwhile, baseball's current labor agreement is set to expire after the 2021 season and a work stoppage feels imminent given the relations between the union and management.

The bottom line: "It is within this strained atmosphere that baseball's offseason talent marketplace will play out," writes WashPost's Dave Sheinen.

  • "Business will go on, with 30 teams still hoping to address various needs and dozens of players still in need of new homes by Opening Day. But the labor unrest will never be far from the surface."

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 11,288,094 — Total deaths: 531,244 — Total recoveries — 6,075,489Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 2,839,917 — Total deaths: 129,676 — Total recoveries: 894,325 — Total tested: 34,858,427Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.

Protester dies after car drives through closed highway in Seattle

Protesters gather on Interstate 5 on June 23, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

One person is dead and another is in serious condition after a car drove onto a closed freeway in Seattle early Saturday and into protesters against police brutality, AP reports.

  • "Summer Taylor, 24, of Seattle died in the evening at Harborview Medical Center, spokesperson Susan Gregg said."

Where it stands: The suspect, Dawit Kelete of Seattle, fled the scene after hitting the protesters, and was later put in custody after another protester chased him for about a mile. He was charged with two counts of vehicular assault. Officials told the AP they did not know whether it was a targeted attack, but the driver was not impaired.

Trump's failing culture wars

Data: Google; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

President Trump built his political brand by stoking the nation's culture wars, but search data is showing us how much harder it's been for him to replicate that success while running against another white man in his 70s — and while there's a coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: Google Trends data shows Trump's "Sleepy Joe" name-calling isn't generating nearly the buzz "Crooked Hillary" (or "Little Marco") did in 2016. Base voters who relished doubting President Obama's birth certificate aren't questioning Biden's.