What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Last year, there was such a dearth of trade deadline moves in baseball that I skipped my annual Shark Week Trade Deadline comparison. That is certainly not the case this year. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, the premise is that in baseball, trading is a shark-eat-shark world; some sharks do the eating, and some sharks get eaten. It is along those lines that I draw comparisons to the moves made by baseball teams at the trading deadline.
Why such a comparison? Because no matter what, one thing is certain. Where there is trading , there is bleeding, and nothing draws the sharks like blood in the water.
The bottom line is I’m just not willing to wait for two years to see who are the bleeders and who are the eaters. As the format suggests, there is obviously a “food chain” involved here, so why not give the rating of trading winners and losers a ”swim with the sharks” twist?
Great White Shark:
The popular phrase to describe the A’s has been to say they are “all in.” By popular, I mean “more overused than Lindsay Lohan’s rehab counselor.” Not to mention, I hate televised poker more than toothaches and John Legend combined. Despite that, there’s really no doubt the A’s became the big fish in the Major League pond with the deals they made.
Losing budding superstar Yoenis Cespedes will hurt their offense, but now they are the kind of team that can win 3-2 ballgames largely because their pitching staff is now top-to-bottom the best in baseball.
Before the usual deadline feeding frenzy, the A’s acquired Jeff Samardzija; a move that made that pitching staff the best in the AL West and the likely route to a division title. But the Cespedes-for-Jon Lester/Jonny Gomes deal was made to win the World Series now.
The A’s saw the same numbers I’m about to show you, and combined them with the fact Jon Lester has the talent to be an ace. He’s got an ERA right around 2.5o, which is impressive for the slug-happy American League. Not to mention he was instrumental in getting the Red Sox two World Series titles.
FACT: Jon Lester has the lowest ERA in the World Series of any starting pitcher with at least 20 innings pitched.
Yeah, I know…I would have never guessed that either.
On the other hand, the loss of Cespedes may not hurt the offense as much as one might think. Jonny Gomes gives the Athletics a player who can punish left-handed pitching, and actually has a higher on-base percentage than Cespedes. The A’s also acquired an interesting platoon partner for Gomes in Sam Fuld.
Boston Red Sox:
It’s a bit strange to rate a team this high on the food chain which is clearly not competing this year. But it is obvious Boston is just lurking near the coral reef, waiting for the impending end of the Yankees’ Derek Jeter era. In addition to getting Cespedes from Oakland, they also picked up a solid pitcher in Joe Kelly and a a guy with more upside than down in outfielder Allen Craig. It only gets better for Boston when you consider they got those two for John Lackey, which in and of itself is addition by subtraction. I’ll have more to say about John “Slackey” later.
It isn’t a surprise that a team would rate high in any trade discussion for picking up a recent Cy Young award winner. The addition of David Price gives Detroit that last three AL winners, but that doesn’t make it all happiness and sunshine for the Tigers. Price may need to be the leader of a rotation that features a Justin Verlander who hasn’t been the same since he started firing his best stuff into Kate Upton; besides that he’s hurt now anyway. Max Scherzer is a mystery to me; every single time I see him pitch it’s like he starts every inning with two guys on base, and he very well may be taking the free-agent road out of the Motor City. Not to mention, the Tigers bullpen is still thinner than Nicole Richie on horse amphetamines; getting Joakim Soria from the Rangers isn’t enough to fix that.
Tampa Bay Rays:
The Rays are the converse of the Tigers, it is hard for a team to end up high in a trade ranking conversation when they just gave up a recent Cy Young winner. But let’s be honest; David Price was going to the highest bidder after 2015 anyway, and the Rays picked up some nice young talent for him; a solid left-handed starter in Drew Smyly and two promising middle infielders in Willy Adames and Nick Franklin.
Let’s be even more honest; despite what anybody tells you, the Rays are not now, nor will they soon be contenders. This year and next, .500 is this team’s upside and there’s no point in pretending any differently. People point to the fact the Rays came out of the All-Star break with a 9-2 run, and that they were only 5.5 games back in the wild card race. That ignores the fact this team sucks buttermilk offensively; in Mid-August, they don’t have a single player within a sniff of 20 home runs, 70 RBI or runs scored, or a .300 batting average. James Loney is leading this team with 127 hits…James fucking Loney. Let that sink in for a minute.
The Mariners needed a right-handed bat in the outfield, and it is very possible that once he learns how to produce consistently, Austin Jackson could be that guy. Jackson will be a free agent after 2016, which means to acquire that time, the M’s only gave up Nick Franklin, who wasn’t likely to get out of the minors on a regular basis anytime soon. For that, they got a guy who should do nothing but get better over the next two and a half years.
Blacktip Reef Shark:
The conventional wisdom is that you trade away your strength to fix your weakness. The Orioles certainly did that, even if they may have overpaid. While giving up reliever Eduardo Rodriguez was a steep price, Andrew Miller is one of the top lefty starters in baseball, and adding a starting pitcher was a necessity for Baltimore. Miller is likely just a rental for now because as a top leftie, he is going to command a king’s ransom in free agency. But for the time being, his 14.7 strikeout rate per nine innings will definitely help in that Greyhound Bus bathroom with sky-boxes known as Camden Yards.
When the Snakes traded Brandon McCarthy to the Yankees, all they got was a mediocre southpaw named Vidal Nuno. That deal must have left a sour taste on their fangs, because when they sent Martin Prado to the Bronx, they got the highly-coveted catcher prospect Pete O’Brien. O’Brien already has over 30 home runs down on the farm, and its pretty obvious that a move out from behind the plate is in his future. Some like to compare him to the 35-HR, 200 K Mark Reynolds. If he can produce 30+ taters in “The Show,” no one will care about the strikeouts. That’s what baseball is today.
Addressing your need for relief pitching by acquiring Jeff Russell from the Cubs is like going to a dentist who sells miniature ivory statues. Don’t hand me this bullshit about his ~3.50 era in 33 innings. Find me a Cubs fan who is sad to see him go. Cubs fans were lining up to pack this guy’s bags to get his ass out of town that much faster. Russell proves that left-handed pitchers never have to say they are sorry; they can suck infected monkey nuts and still get jobs.
On top of that, los Bravos knew this was a shit deal, which is exactly why they tried to salvage it by getting the utilitarian Emilio Bonifacio. He can play many positions and has 14 steals in 69 games. But unless he can come out of the bullpen, he isn’t helping the Braves much.
Injuries and inconsistent play left the Nationals with a need at the deadline. Danny Espinoza headlined the ineffective play part, Ryan Zimmerman‘s chronic hamstring issues are featured in the injury portion, and Bryce Harper plays a starring role in both. This is how Asdrubal Cabrera ends up in a Nationals uniform; Cabrera will slide into second base while future all-star Anthony Rendon will move to third to be the permanent replacement for Zimmerman.
St. Louis Cardinals:
At first glance, you looked at what the Cardinals did at the deadline and wondered “What are they doing? Then you realized how shitty their rotation is beyond Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn. Then you realized they gave away a solid young pitcher in Joe Kelly and a potential all-star in Allen Craig, and in return they got John Lackey.
Then your brain exploded.
Lackey might easily be the most over-rated pitcher in the last ten years. Except for his performance in last year’s play-offs, he’s never added anything to anything in terms of baseball. There was even a “John Lackey Sucks” group on Facebook, but even they caved after last year. Personally, as an Angels fan, there’s no fire in hell hot enough for John Lackey. His time in California was marked by one blown big game after another, and I’m glad the Red Sox got to pay for all his arm surgeries.
The Cards also picked up Justin Masterson, and that should help a rotation missing Michael Wacha and waiting for consistency from Shelby Miller.
But not as much as “Slackey” will fuck it all up.
The Astros have spent the last few years stockpiling what they believe are high-end prospects. Like I said earlier, the whole point of this “Shark” silliness is not to wait the requisite two or three years its takes to tell if these deals were worth a shit or not. So, we really have no way to determine if Houston’s acquisition of Jake Marisnick and Colin Moran from the Marlins for what may very well be the real-life “Nuke” LaLoush is good move or not. Marisnick has yet to make an impact at a level that matters, and Moran is still in single-A.
So, who the fuck knows? The only certainty is the Astros are sucking onto the bigger shark in the hopes it will take them to their next meal.
Bathtub Toy Shark:
New York Yankees:
The reality is the Yankees should have been sellers rather than buyers, but I don’t think reality is a big hit in the Bronx right now. This team has the unfortunate combination of many holes to fill and a mediocre record. Offensively, they have more holes in the outfield than a brick of Swiss cheese after shooting it with a 12-gauge. They finally realized the Alfonso Soriano experiment wasn’t going to work, and the 67-year old Ichiro Suzuki broke down from playing every day in the wake of Soriano’s release.
Given that, the addition of Martin Prado makes sense, considering he is .270 and can play multiple positions, which was even more important before the Yanks picked up Stephen Drew in the wake of another failed experiment in the form of Brian Roberts. Drew couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a fucking boat, but he is still an upgrade over Roberts because he adds defense. The problem is that none of this addresses the Yankees real need, pitching in any and all forms.
The Chum Bucket:
In a move that won’t really matter for several reasons. the Marlins mad a deal with the Houston Astros. First of all, any deal involving those two teams isn’t going to matter to anybody for quite some time. Secondly, the Marlins are already long on starting pitching, and by acquiring adding hard-throwing Jarred Cosart from the Astros, they get a guy who is locked up until 2019, a guy who ERA is almost that high, and yet still shows flashes of brilliance.
No matter what anybody wants to say, at some point the Marlins will need a bigger boat.