couple of additional thoughts swirling around as the days go by,
baseball moves well beyond my 100-game reviews, and the trade
deadline approaches three weeks in the rearview mirror…
interleague play? You’re kidding… I hope. Seriously. 30 interleague
games per team? What kind of stupid idea is that?
general, yeah, I understand this response to my suggestion.
many ways, I wish the days of my youth… where American League
and National League differences mattered and the lines were not
crossed except in October… still existed. (They don’t.)
I look back and recall that, despite flaws, the rotating of home
field year to year for the World Series seemed like the best solution
to an unbalanced and conflict-filled dilemma. (But now… yeah…
the mid-summer coin-flip counts!)
suggestion comes from trying to address as many problems as possible
from a checklist of thoughts and headaches. For instance…
don’t appreciate a team basically benching its designated hitter
for a week or more solely because of the schedule. There is a
routine to the game… a flow… and being removed from that flow
has consequences. I have no horse in the race. I prefer the designated
hitter… but… you could eliminate the designated hitter… keep the
designated hitter… or keep it separated as it currently is… and
honestly, I’m not sure I care. But there are teams… fewer and
fewer every year it seems, but there are teams… that carry a designated
hitter on their roster. Adam Dunn, Jim Thome, Hideki Matsui, Vladimir
Guerrero, Travis Hafner, and, of course, David Ortiz all come
to mind… without checking stats to see how often any of these
guys may have taken the field in 2011. And I think if you played
five interleague road series in a year… with say one or maybe
two set up per month (depending on travel demands and scheduling
needs)… you could space those out so they didn’t really break
hate seeing New York play New York six times a year. Same in Chicago
and Los Angeles. And I think it’s silly to say one year that Philadelphia
is Boston’s rival… so let’s set that up and create some history…
only to the next year shift it to Atlanta being the rival. I think
a system that allows the Yankees and Mets to play six games every
three years works just fine.
while we could continue on with other items, here’s the biggest
thing for me… I despise… loathe… hate… the unbalanced leagues.
Six teams in the National League Central and four teams in the
American League West makes zero sense to me. I try to not think
about it… but when I see the standings or consider one of those
divisions, I take a deep breath and shake my head. And I believe
there are only three options to fix that…
number one – Add two more teams. Now, come on, is expansion really
an option right now? Of course it isn’t.
number two – Eliminate two teams. Interesting… but geez, think
about that one. Minnesota and Washington (then Minnesota and Montreal)
would have been the choices when this was being discussed several
years ago. Tampa wasn’t out of consideration, and Florida was
in there too. Now… Minnesota has a new stadium… Washington has
moved and opened a new stadium, while also recently increasing
their spending and gaining notoriety as a team moving in the right
direction… Tampa scares the pants off of Boston and New York,
has won the division, and has recently played in the World Series…
and Florida will open a new stadium next season. Who would you
so, we move on to option number three – Move one team over to
the American League and go with interleague play every day.
the NFL, teams play four games… a quarter of their schedule… against
a division from the other conference. And we get told over and
over again how important those games are because there are so
few to a season. 30 games comes out to just over 18% of the baseball
scheduling is honestly a non-factor. Sure… I understand people
talking about a team facing an interleague opponent in the last
days of the year and how that might be an advantage. But really…
other than expanded rosters in September… if everyone is playing
the same base schedule it’s kind of irrelevant when you are playing
someone. Let’s say San Francisco was finishing the year against
San Diego… both last year and this year. That’s a divisional contest.
And in 2010 the story was much different than it could have been
in 2011. Is there really much of a difference playing San Diego,
Houston, Kansas City or Seattle, regardless of who you are? Can
you know that when preparing the schedule? The answer is no… because
when the schedules are made, while we know certain teams are likely
to be very good and others not so good, the reality is we don’t
know: (1) Which teams might play Cinderella… (2) which teams might
have things wrapped up and are fine tuning rosters… (3) what injuries
or other circumstances might factor into any particular time of
so, with three divisions in each league, and five teams in each
division, the schedule can be set up so that every team in a division
plays the same idea of a schedule for the year…
games, fifteen home and fifteen away played against a full division
from the other league… 30 games. (Each division from the other
league would be rotated around once every three seasons.)
games, fifteen home and fifteen away played against the ten teams
of the full divisions the club is not a part of… 60 games. (Play
all league opponents every season.)
games, nine home and nine away against every divisional opponent,
creating thirty-six home dates and thirty-six road dates… 72 games.
sure… Boston and New York… Boston and New York… other clubs exist
I know. But once again, these two teams provided a huge chunk
of the storylines from the trade deadline.
love that Cleveland is hanging close… just a couple of games out…
and appear to be in the race to stay. (Compare that to Pittsburgh…
a club that has dropped out of sight over the past couple of weeks.)
Obtaining Ubaldo Jimenez and trading Orlando Cabrera are interesting
moves. Applause to the Indians for being involved.
long and short of it though is this… are you really interested
in hearing about David Pauley, Doug Fister and Wilson Betemit?
Heck… can you tell me what team was involved in the transactions
to obtain those three players between July 20th and July 30th?
admit it… the Red Sox… the Yankees… and, for now, the Giants and
the Phillies… are some of the clubs the media tends to focus on.
With my main interests involving the Red Sox, that certainly doesn’t
help the focus expand beyond the usual suspects around here. However…
I’m guessing more people know the Yankees didn’t make any trades…
or that the Red Sox obtained Bedard… than the number that know
Pauley, Fister and Betemit went to the Tigers.
looking a bit more deeply at Milwaukee as the Brewers once again
make a somewhat decent-sized move deserves more from me. (I don’t
consider getting Francisco Rodriguez a huge acquisition… but then
again, considering what he did for the Angels in that World Series
run, he absolutely could contribute to another run for a team.)
said… let’s not pretend we have equals among equals here. Boston
and New York get a huge amount of attention… some of it earned,
some by circumstance, some random and bias based. Until there
are compelling stories that are time and again being lost in the
wake of big city, east coast mania though… well… Pauley and Fister
and Betemit and the Tigers. Did I really miss all that much? I
don’t think so.
that we’ve had a couple of weeks, what trades that were made matter?
And what moves that weren’t made will hurt?
more ways than I can imagine or investigate, I think the Hunter
Pence trade made the most sense of those we saw. Philadelphia
identified a need, and they found an almost picture-perfect piece
to complete their puzzle. He provides short-term help, while also
looking everything like a longer-term addition to their roster.
It’s a beautiful job. (On paper.)
still hesitating at saying everything Cleveland did mattered,
but man Jimenez could be big for them. He’s likely joining the
Indians for more than just the remainder of this season. The way
they are pitching (or have shown they can pitch), he teams up
with a guy like Masterson to form a nice postseason pair. (Josh
Tomlin is pretty good as well this year. And think about that
for a second… go three deep and you could argue (maybe not win
the argument, but you could argue) that the Indians are sending
better starters to the mound than the Yankees.) I suppose I should
be more sold on them than I am… but in the end, simply put, Jimenez
could be a really great acquisition for them.
love what Mike Adams means for the Texas Rangers. Not only does
it line up things nicely in the bullpen for 2011… and it does…
it adds some interesting thoughts for the future. The Rangers
have toyed with the idea of trying Neftali Feliz as a starter
before… but never had someone remotely strong enough to think
of as a no-brainer closer to replace him if they tried the move.
Adams either provides a nice duo with Feliz in the bullpen for
the foreseeable future, or a possible option as a closer so they
can move Feliz.
three trades I thought were very, very good.
the looks good, but I’m not sold front… I wonder if Carlos Beltran
will mean much for San Francisco. And I ask this in two ways…
first, for 2011… and second, as an answer to where Beltran might
play in 2012. The Twins are paying Thome $3 million this year
to Cot’s. The Orioles are paying Guerrero
$8 million. Granted… designated hitters being compared to an outfielder…
but in reality I think fair as comparable older, come with some
injury risk, and I think we’re in the neighborhood of a Beltran-type
discussion. Heck…. Freddy Sanchez is getting $6 million next year
from the Giants. Sure… all it takes is one team… but Beltran for
two years, perhaps plus an option, at something around $8 to $10
million per season at least sounds reasonable when you consider
what some players are getting. San Francisco is a great place
to play… likely to be a division contender for every year remaining
in his career… as likely to be as good a suitor for him as any
team in the majors… I could see him staying. Now… if we can get
Buster Posey back, and sign Beltran, the Giants are suddenly only
a piece or two away from establishing an interesting batting order
for 2012. (Of course, bringing Beltran back is virtually an identical
argument to the one that resulted with Miguel Tejada being signed
by the Giants for $6.5 million. Fool me twice becomes the saying
there. And, honestly, the Giants are always one or two pieces
away from an interesting batting order.) So that’s 2012 and beyond,
and a story to be decided later. For 2011… well… we’re seeing
the Giants having trouble hold off the Diamondbacks. They could
still win it… but they might need more than Beltran. And isn’t
that the same lesson the Mets learned? …that Beltran doesn’t like
being the main performer in the spotlight?
the past ten years or so, I recall two interesting pitching matchups
that always seemed strange, but proved about as reliable as can
be. The first was Randy Johnson against the Mets. New York always
seemed to be able to beat him. The second was Roy Halladay against
the Red Sox. Same idea. As of right now, Boston doesn’t seem afraid
of any pitcher New York has on their roster. Say whatever you
want… I do believe New York will end up short on starting pitching
when the playoffs roll around. And Boston isn’t the only possible
opponent that matches up nicely against them.
had some interesting opportunities to add to their roster, and
I honestly can’t figure out what they did. They didn’t add a shortstop
or right fielder… they didn’t add a reliever… they didn’t add
a difference-making starter. And before you spend too much time
arguing the moves they did make, and whether or not they qualify
as a shortstop or starting pitcher… I think there’s a chance that
both Mike Aviles and Erik Bedard are missing from Boston’s postseason
roster. If the playoffs start and Bedard isn’t on the roster,
does the trade still make a sound?
also don’t like the Mets and their moves. I guess you can’t argue
too much about it. But everything seemed so safe and predictable.
They certainly didn’t want Rodriguez earning his option for 2012…
traded. Carlos Beltran wasn’t coming back and wouldn’t be offered
arbitration, so trade him or watch him leave with nothing in return…
traded. Might be able to pick up two draft picks for Reyes, and
he could still sign and stay… not traded. Safe… predictable… easy.
The trouble is, I keep wondering if they did it because it was
the safe, but potentially right thing to do… or… if they did it
because the club without Reyes would give fans zero reason to
buy a ticket in September. I think there is plenty of reason to
believe this organization is being run in a way designed to consider
expenses so the current ownership can hold on. (And I do mean
that as a very bad thing instead of some “every team tries to
make money-generating business decisions” statement.)
called baseball the big winner. Do you really believe that?
jump into a bit of a time machine… head back to July of 2008.
Los Angeles and Pittsburgh complete a trade that sends Jason Bay
to Boston and Manny Ramirez to Los Angeles. Remember?
did that work out?
Los Angeles has been a mess since that season ended, with Ramirez
a part of that mess. That said, he did help LA make it to the
playoffs… and the Dodgers in the postseason hasn’t been a given
for quite some time.
rode Bay for a couple of years… eventually making him an offer
after the 2009 season that led to him joining the Mets for 2010.
And… look at the results... their loss of Bay was also their gain.
Bay hasn’t been too healthy, and he hasn’t played all that well,
since leaving Boston.
those clubs out of the way… what about Pittsburgh? Because, if
you recall, they had the major piece in the trade… Jason Bay.
Boston was looking to dump Ramirez for anything. There were other
offers for Bay. How did the Pirates do?
so hot. The big three names they obtained were Andy LaRoche, Brandon
Moss and Craig Hansen. LaRoche stayed with the Pirates through
2010, but never materialized into a full-time player. His career
batting average is .226, and he hit .206 for the Pirates in 2010.
Honestly… that sums things up pretty well. Moss never came close
to the numbers he put up in 49 games wearing a Boston uniform.
He played 133 games in 2009… 17 games in 2010… and in 2011 he’s
not playing major league ball. Hansen? Well… he was a darling
prospect with the big future when Boston drafted him. He finished
2008, pitched 6.1 innings in 2009, and hasn’t pitched for a big
league club since.
don’t always work out badly. We know that. But this idea that
both teams could win seldom goes as planned. Pittsburgh traded
Jason Bay for a young pitcher… for everyday players that had been
on major league rosters and were not long-term prospects… and
all three of them are gone. They likely would have lost Bay after
2009 anyway… but would have received draft picks to use. (Like
Boston did.) Perhaps they could have explored the other trade
options a bit more closely.
been conditioned by the media to think of ideas like buyers and
sellers and major league ready prospects… but the reality is,
that’s bull. And I don’t mean that the ideas are that wrong… because
they do summarize the situation pretty well. But they don’t truly
capture what is going on. Everyone knew New York was trading Francisco
Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran if they had any opportunity to do
so. We knew it last season. The only way those moves weren’t happening
essentially involved the Mets getting a 5-game divisional lead
by the end of April and extending it to 10-games ahead for the
division or wild card by the end of June. In other words… postseason
effectively secured. There was no buyer or seller label needed.
The Mets wanted no part of Rodriguez’s 2012 option, and they were
getting nothing in return when Beltran departed after the 2011
Boston trades a Hanley Ramirez to obtain players… and it works
for both sides. Occasionally they trade David Murphy for Eric
Gagne… and look like fools. Occasionally they trade Brandon Moss,
Craig Hansen and Manny Ramirez… and end up being the only team
out of three involved that can claim in the end to have benefitted
both at that time and after.
try and bring this back on track though… we know who most of the
supposed buyers will be… we know who most of the sellers will
be… and major league ready talent, well, maybe that’s true and
maybe it isn’t, but go ahead and try to name some of the players
Cliff Lee was traded for in recent years. (My guess is you might
know one or two names… and that’s about it.)
after year though… it seems so predictable. What free-agents-to-be
are there or bad contracts to trade off? What teams are out of
the race? Again… fed the media line.
to see Cleveland involved in trades this July was great. And that
they were attempts to compete in 2011 which also seem to have
next year in mind as well is even better.
Pittsburgh? Well… they took a shot. Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick
were interesting moves, and you can’t really say they were bad
moves. Certainly not Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss and Andy LaRoche
nice to see Milwaukee making trades… Cleveland and Pittsburgh
getting involved… and… hold on… this one is a good one too…
Blue Jays would be defined as sellers… right? They weren’t catching
Boston or New York… or even Tampa. Well there they are, in the
middle of several deals, and ultimately adding Colby Rasmus. And
their trade partners were Chicago (out of it) and St. Louis (in
it at the time… now struggling to even be a factor until the end
I believe baseball was a winner this year during July trading.