Ballroom Notoriety: Our trade deadline recap
Well, that was fun. Another trade deadline in the books means another opportunity to celebrate/deride general managers (GMs) for moves that probably won’t mean all that much come October. And besides, anything that takes a swipe at the game’s widespread nepotism can’t be all that bad. Here we go:
Texas Rangers: They improved one of the American League’s best offenses while also helping their defense with the pick-up of catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Carlos Beltran is a future Hall of Famer with tons of experience dominating postseasons. Jeremy Jeffress is a solid bullpen option with closing experience. Losing Lewis Brinson hurts, but they managed to hold onto all of their other top prospects. This is the second straight trade deadline where GM Jon Daniels has dusted his peers.
Chicago Cubs: Why mess with a good thing? The Cubs are stacked at just about every position on the field, so they addressed their one area of weakness by acquiring the hardest throwing pitcher ever. If that wasn’t enough, they also picked up former top prospect Mike Montgomery to plug-in as a lefty specialist and veteran Joe Smith, he of the funky sidearm delivery. Theo Epstein isn’t afraid of taking risks and that’s why he’s going to the Hall of Fame wearing Red Sox and Cubs World Series rings.
Cleveland Indians: A small market team usually cannot afford the luxuries of a shutdown reliever, but the Indians pulled the trigger on late-inning stud Andrew Miller. The cost wasn’t nearly as painful as “experts” would like you to think (more on that later) and Miller provides Cleveland the late-inning option all great teams need in October (Sorry, Scott). Miller strikes guys out, doesn’t give up homers and will pitch anytime, anywhere. If things don’t work out this year, he remains under contract for 2017 and 2018, so he can be used for another run or flipped for farm system replenishment.
Washington Nationals: Come on, we all knew they’d end up here. Mike Rizzo should be fired and replaced with a GM who actually wants to win a playoff series. Mark Melancon is a perfectly fine bullpen piece, but he’s the Honda Civic in a garage full of Porsches. While passing on Chapman and Miller, Rizzo also failed to address the Nats’ offensive black holes at first base and center field. Meanwhile, the Cubs picked up Chapman, the Giants swooped in for Matt Moore and Will Smith, and the Mets snagged slugger Jay Bruce. Nats players and fans deserve better. They don’t give World Series trophies for most prospects hoarded.
New York Yankees: GM Brian Cashman finally convinced Little Stein to sell, and he’ll get lots of back slaps for acquiring plenty of prospects in the Baseball America/Keith Law/MLB.com/Bleacher Report/SB Nation/FanRag/Boost Mobile Top 100, but none of them are particularly exciting. Gleyber Torres is only 19 years-old and already overweight, Clint Frazier grounds out in 75% of his at bats and has stupid hair, Dillon Tate is a bust with no velocity and Justus Sheffield isn’t even related to Gary. If Cashman turned down Lucas Giolito for Miller, he deserves the same fate as Rizzo. Also, this is the dumbest baseball tweet ever:
Somehow, this guy got a book deal. There’s hope for me yet.
St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros: Since these teams basically share a scouting database and an organizational philosophy, it makes sense to group them together. I’m not sure if it’s arrogance or just inability to make a deal, but the Astros and Cardinals are two teams with glaring weaknesses and yet came up with nothing but Zach Duke. Really?
Baltimore Orioles: I understand they’re limited by budget and a shoddy farm system, but does Buck really think Wade Miley and Steve Pearce are difference-makers against the Blue Jays and Red Sox? Pearce and Miley are fine additions, but the Orioles have needed a front-line starter for years; that predicament isn’t going to change any time soon.
Los Angeles Dodgers: This is probably worth a long-form post, but when Andrew Friedman and his front office dream team took over the Dodgers in 2014, everyone thought the Dodgers would be unstoppable. Two years later, they’re bailing on established stars, throwing money away on unproven Cuban players, and struggling to remain relevant in the NL West. Maybe they’ll turn it around with the younger guys they’ve held on to, but it’s taking way longer than anyone thought.
Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Angels: I guess they were bored.