What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Thanks to the Discovery Channel, Shark Week has become a phenomenon. Also, thanks to the Discovery Channel, their decision to move Shark Week from the beginning of August to July really threatened to seriously monkey-wrench our annual salute to giant predatory fish and how they compare to the shark-tank that is the baseball trading deadline. Frankly, we didn’t want to lose a classic Dubsism bit, so we said “fuck it, we’re doing it anyway.”
This proves to me that the people at SyFy are with us. Last year, we introduced the Sharknado category, and this year they released a new installment in that series right as the trading deadline approached. As you read this list, it works from the top down; from apex predator to bottom-feeding scavenger. But the Sharknado category is a “wild-card,” meaning we really aren’t sure what to make of a team’s moves at the deadline. It could be chain-saw wielding proof of great whites raining from the sky, or it could be a storm of future cat food. We simply don’t have a fucking clue.
The bottom line is trading in baseball 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.
New York Yankees:
Got: RHP Tyler Clippard, RHP Nick Green, RHP Erik Swanson, RHP Dillon Tate, RHP Adam Warren, SS prospect Gleyber Torres, OF prospect Billy McKinney, OF prospect Rashad Crawford, OF prospect Clint Frazier, LHP prospect Justus Sheffield, RHP prospect Ben Heller, RHP prospect J.P. Feyereisen, and 2 players to be named later
We had to create this category to describe what the Yankees did at the deadline. When you picture Shark Week, you think of gargantuan beasts with jaws full of razor-sharp teeth devouring anything in their path in a bloody, carnivorous frenzy. Other than the gargantuan part, that isn’t at all what happened in the Bronx.
Like the whale shark, the Yankees floated along, gobbling up every little creature in the sea; nobody realizing the staggering tonnage it actually consumed. Two weeks ago, the Yankees had no farm system to speak of; now they are bursting at the gills with top-level prospects. We all know the Bronx Bombers are headed for a rebuilding phase, but the future just got a hell of a lot closer with these deals.
Great White Shark:
Got: C Jonathan Lucroy, OF/DH Carlos Beltran, RHP Jeremy Jeffress, RHP Lucas Harrell, LHP Dario Alvarez
This was the teeth-sawing-through-the-seal style carnage we expect from Shark Week. By sinking their teeth into a veteran bat with play-off experience and one the best catchers in the game, Texas is telling the baseball world they are opting for the proverbial “bigger boat” right now, especially when you add a hefty dose of bullpen depth.
Toronto Blue Jays:
Got: RHP Scott Feldman, RHP Francisco Liriano, RHP Mike Bolsinger, C prospect Reese McGuire, OF prospect Harold Ramirez
Tiger sharks are notorious for eating anything they can get their mouths around, and when you look at what the Jays have added not just at the deadline, it becomes clear they were here to eat. Since the beginning of the season, they’ve also added RHP Jason Grilli, RHP Joaquin Benoit, and OF Melvin Upton, Jr. That makes the Rangers and the Jays the two most dangerous sharks in the American League pond.
New York Mets:
Got: LHP Jonathon Niese, OF Jay Bruce
Bull sharks are underappreciated for the fact they actually account for the most attacks on humans. There’s not much in the way of “sex appeal” in these deals, but they went right to the heart of the Mets’ needs.
San Francisco Giants:
Got: RHP Matt Moore, LHP Will Smith, UT Eduardo Nunez
Look at that fucking thing. If you had that on your hook, you’d pre-shit your pants the first time you saw it breach the surface. Then when you got it into the boat, you would finish the job. Granted, the Giants are in a bit of a slump since the All-Star break, but with this re-load, and the fact they are getting healthy again, the Giants’ become the scariest side in the National League…once the starters snap out of their current funk.
Got: RHP Pat Light, LHP Hector Santiago, RHP Alan Busenitz, LHP prospect Adalberto Mejia
The hammerhead scans the sea floor feeding on crabs and other creatures found on the bottom. The Twins find themselves now at the bottom of the AL, but these moves are designed for a time sometime after 2019 when they are out from under the crushing Joe Mauer contract and can begin a Phoenician rise.
Blacktip Reef Shark:
Got: RHP Andrew Cashner, RHP Colin Rea (Rea was sent back to Padres after injury in first Marlins game)
Reef sharks don’t get a lot of time during Shark Week, but they serve a necessary purpose. In other words, this trade doesn’t mean much, but it gives us something to write about.
Los Angeles Dodgers:
Got: OF Josh Reddick, LHP Rich Hill, RHP Josh Fields, cash from Blue Jays
Yes, stingrays are a member of the shark family, and thanks to Steve “The Crocodile Hunter” Irwin, they’ve got a confirmed kill. While having human blood on your barb is not a requirement to be on this list, there’s something oddly fitting about a guy who wrestled 20-foot crocodiles being killed by an aquatic flying carpet and the Dodgers being a team who can’t even get on television in two-thirds of the televisions in their home market, flat-out releasing a guy they paid $100+ million, sending another they paid $42 million to the minors, and topping that by trading for an injured Rich Hill.
Got: LHP Wade Miley, OF/1B Steve Pearce
Most shark experts will tell you nurse sharks are nothing to be afraid of. Most major league hitters will say the same about Wade Miley.
Got: RHP Mark Melancon and cash
Nurse sharks can be scary-looking, but they really aren’t, unlike some real nurses who can be Adolf Eichmann in scrubs. Sharks jokes aside, I really don’t get this deal from the Pirates perspective; they fucking paid to get rid of one of the best relief pitchers in baseball.
Got: LHP Andrew Miller, OF Brandon Guyer, cash from the A’s
While I really don’t have an issue with what the Indians did, I think we all want to know why Jonathan Lucroy nixed a deal to Cleveland. Had they landed him, they wouldn’t be the stingray’s slow cousin.
Kansas City Royals:
Got: OF Billy Burns
Much like the dogfish looks like a some kind of real shark, this deal looks like a contender giving itself a shot to repeat as World Series champs.
St. Louis Cardinals:
Got: LHP Zach Duke
To White Sox: OF prospect Charlie Tilson
The Cards have been trailing the Cubs all season, and this move does nothing to upgrade them from “hanger-on” status.
Bathtub Toy Shark:
Got: LHP Ross Detweiler, RHP prospect Jharel Cotton, RHP prospect Frankie Montas, RHP prospect Grant Holmes, OF Brett Eibner, cash from Blue Jays
Once again, Billy Beane’s “Moneyball” means gutting your team for prospects so that you have guys to get rid of at clearance prices three years from now…except now the “Moneyball” guy is having to sweeten these deals with cash of his own. It can’t be much longer A’s fans will tolerate this nonsense.
Japanese Paper Lantern Shark:
Got: 2B Travis Demeritte, OF Matt Kemp, cash from Padres
The only way to be more insignificant than a bathtub toy shark is to be one that completely disintegrates the minute it touches water. The Braves are now that team which will take money to take your bad contract and/or washed-up guys. See the “Dave Justice” scene in the movie “Moneyball.”
The Chum Bucket:
Got: RHP Ivan Nova, RHP Drew Hutchison, LHP Antonio Bastardo
Down at this end of the list is where to find teams who really don’t understand how the whole “deadline” thing works. Generally, teams are either “buying,” meaning they are looking to add veterans for a play-off run, and they pay with prospects. On the other side, “sellers” look to part with expiring contract/high-dollar in return for young, developing players. This season, the Pirates played both roles. That means nobody really understand what they were trying to do. If the goal was to gear up for the homestretch, then why did they “trade down” on pitching. If the idea was to build for another day, then why did they deal away young talent (which is almost always what “players to be named later” are)?
Got: RHP Joe Smith, LHP Mike Montgomery, LHP Aroldis Chapman, RHP prospect Jordan Pries
As mentioned when this category was introduced last year, “Sharknado” is a “wild-card” category. The strength of those movies is in the cameo appearances; you never really know who is going to show up. When it comes to baseball, teams end up here because we really have no idea how their deals are going to work.
That’s why in a lot of respects, this is where we have to talk about the Chicago Cubs. Firs t of all, when you look simply at the balance of what they got versus what they paid for it, it seems exceptionally out of whack…and it is. The only name which means anything for a World Series run is Aroldis Chapman. I get that the majority of what the Cubs paid at the deadline went for Chapman, and I also get that if the Cubs actually win the World Series, nobody in Chicago will give a shit if the Cubs had traded their entire farm system for Charles Manson.
But what if they don’t? Chapman solves a need for a dominant arm at the back of the bullpen, but that’s not the only need the Cubs have. Not even the most ardent North Siders can believe that Ben Zobrist is a long-term solution for another bat in the heart of the order. After what they saw the other night, there can’t can’t be many Cub fans comfortable with the back of the rotation and the bullpen until you get to Chapman. When you look at the talent that changed hands in terms of bats and arms, one really has to wonder why the Cubs didn’t send some of their wealth that way?
I hear a lot of Cub fans talking about “going all in” to get that first championship since the year they would rather not mention. Does Joe Smith scream “all in” at you? After all, it only took him less than ten pitches to give up his first homer as a Cub. There was more lumber available than a clearance event at Home Depot, yet no pursuit from the “all in” Cubs.
I’ve already discussed “best case scenario…” Cubs win, and “1908” gets sent to the dustbin of history. But the “worst case scenario” is the Cubs don’t win, Chapman becomes a two-month rental, and by parceling out their future in unfulfilling drops, the Cubs take one giant baleen-filled leap to becoming a future version of this year Yankees.
That’s why we call it the “Sharknado,” sports fans.