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 for moving Shark Week back to the end of July so we didn’t have to go through a lot of gymnastics to keep doing our annual salute to giant predatory fish and how they compare to the shark-tank that is the baseball trading deadline.
The problem is this year Shark Week coincided with my vacation. Let’s face it, I’m just a blogger…not Sports Fucking Illustrated. That’s means I don’t get paid for my blogging hobby; it’s just an outlet so I don’t end up as that guy who goes to work with an AK-47 in his lunch bag. While it goes a long way toward that, without the accompaniment from, it could still fall short.
Besides, after a week in a “boutique” hotel getting drunk with Oscar Robertson and eating sandwiches the size of a Second World War aircraft carrier, not only have I dropped my stress level by orders of magnitude, I’ve been able to digest completely the smorgåsbord that was this year’s trading season.
In other words, while Shark Week and the trading deadline have come and gone, and now that the “waiver wire” deals in August are a thing of the past, it’s still better late than never to take a full look at who fed and who bled in the feeding frenzy known as baseball’s trading season.
How fitting is it that the Pirates are represented by a fish the size of a pirate ship? The Bucs floated through the Gulf Stream waters known as the trading season gobbling up every little creature in the sea while nobody realized the staggering tonnage they actually consumed. If for no other reason, the law of averages says Pittsburgh should see at least a few major league fish spring from a plankton haul of this size.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Carcharodon carcharias, a.k.a the Great White Shark, is the “star” of Shark Week, and this distinction goes to the team which gave us the “razor-teeth-sawing-through-the-seal” style carnage we expect. There’s really no denying the Dodgers did just that by landing a future Hall-of-Famer, another legitimate front-of-the-rotation guy, and an All-Star shortstop…all while gutting Mrs. J-Dub, who had to watch her two favorite Washington Nationals get dealt to the “evil empire.”
Tiger sharks are known to eat just about anything, and despite having a filter-feeder as a mascot, that seems to be the approach Tampa took. It doesn’t take long looking at lists like this to understand that pitching is what moves the most at the deadline, and while the Rays did snap up some arms, they also got a bit of everything else. But they are also the only contender who traded away a big-time starting pitcher. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, but neither does a tiger shark eating license plates…but that’s what they do.
Having said that, the theme for this category for 2021 seems to be giving up pitching to get pitching, which was clearly Philadelphia’s approach heading into the trade deadline. Only time will tell if it was a successful strategy in a National League East which is clearly up for grabs.
Chicago White Sox
Bull sharks are underappreciated for the fact they actually account for the most attacks on humans. While what the Braves did during this trading season may lack the “seal carnage” of the moves made by the Dodgers…and despite the fact this team is currently trailing in the standings…the Braves are still dangerous, even if they can’t seem to find first place.
As for the Brew Crew and the Mighty Whiteys, don’t sleep on either of them simply because they both lead divisions stocked with underachievers. Coming into the trade deadline, they were both doing everything right, and they both got better.
The Oakland Athletics are the only other team in this category who currently are not leading their division, but that’s only a function of the fact they are chasing arguably the best team in baseball. But that also makes them no less dangerous.
New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays
Look at that fucking thing. If you saw that on your hook, you’d pre-shit your pants the first time you saw it breach the surface. Then once you got it into the boat, you would finish the job. On top of that, the Mako is the fastest shark in the sea, and the Yanks seem primed to get the quickest bounce from these moves. They added another 40-HR bat to their oft-injured outfield, and despite Anthony Rizzo’s lack-luster numbers in 2021, he still represents a serious upgrade for the Bronx Bombers at first base.
The same applies to Toronto and Houston, as they both addressed their biggest needs by giving their bullpens a major upgrade, with the Blue Jays also adding a solid front/middle of the rotation guy.
St. Louis Cardinals
The hammerhead scans the bottom feeding on crabs and other creatures found on the sea floor. That may not seem like much, but hammerheads reach 15 feet in length and can be seriously fearsome. There is almost no better description for the Nats, who while giving up a ton of established talent still netted a feast of sea-floor crabs, mollusks, and other delights certain to return Washington from being a bottom-feeder to a titan of the major-league sea.
In the case of the Marlins, yeah…they gave up a lot, but they got two proven major-leaguers in return, which is rare for a deadline “seller.” While it may have been in the odd season which was 2020, don’t forget the Marlins were a play-off team, and record notwithstanding, they still aren’t far from that now (like having a healthy Sixto Sanchez).
That whole “getting two proven major leaguers” thing also applies to the Red Birds, except they fortified their rotation with theirs…which is never a bad thing.
Blacktip Reef Shark:
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
Reef sharks don’t get a lot of time during Shark Week, but they serve a necessary purpose. In other words, the deals the Giants made may not mean much as I don’t think they have the sharks to swim with the Dodgers or the Padres, yet here were are in the second week of August and San Francisco is still setting the pace in the National League West.
Speaking of the Padres, while San Diego made some nice moves, and while they entered deadline week with no glaring needs, the fact the Dodgers out-paced everybody in the NL West in terms of mid-season improvements, it’s even money the Friars could be the guest of honor at a September fish-fry.
The only question for Seattle is: Did they do enough to swim into October?
Boston Red Sox
New York Mets
This is a new category for 2021. In short, nobody really knows much about Greenland sharks because they live in deep water near the Arctic Circle; two places people really don’t want to be. But that lack of knowledge makes them the perfect representative for teams we really don’t know that much about. This year, we have two teams which meet such criteria.
There weren’t many people who saw either the Mets or the Red Sox being contenders at this point in the season, and I think that includes many in either franchises’ front office.
Indians Guardians Foster Parents
This fish gets it name from the Latin term “remora” meaning “delay, hindrance, passive resistance.” The naming stems from the fact these fish attach themselves to larger sharks and live off the remnants of the larger fish’s feedings. For purposes of this discussion, our remoras for 2021 are teams clearly in “re-building” mode.
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels
The Royals and the Angels represent this year’s bathtub squeaky toy, these trades really didn’t help these teams, but they didn’t really hurt them either. Realistically, squeezing the squeaky rubber shark toy is the only noise these teams will be making in 2021.
If you’ve followed this feature over that last few seasons, you may have noticed certain categories regularly containing certain franchises. This is becoming one of them.
The only way to be more insignificant than a bathtub toy shark is to be one that completely disintegrates the minute it touches water. Sadly for them, the Orioles really don’t have much left to give.
If you aren’t familiar, CPO Sharkey was a short-lived 1970’s sit-com featuring one of my comedic heroes, Don Rickles. How could you have a show featuring the king of “insult” comedy surrounded by a cast of perfectly insult-able characters and it doesn’t work? That’s the distinction for this category; teams which could have done so much more with what they had, and putted completely short of the cup.
In 2021, this is all about the Colorado Rockies and Trevor Story. He was easily one of the most sought-after commodities in this trading season, and yet the Rockies didn’t collect the king’s ransom they could have received for him. That’s just a lot of missed opportunity for a team with a roster full of glaring holes to fill many of them.
The Chum Bucket:
This is a tale of teams who really didn’t do anything, positive or negative. Nothing the Reds or the Tigers did will get either of them out of chasing division leader they likely aren’t going to catch.
As mentioned when this category was introduced la few years back, the “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.
To be fair, at least in 2021 the Cubs grasped the concept of the “fire sale” better than anybody else…with the possible exception of the Nationals. But the difference is Washington didn’t let their “stars” go for “garage sale” prices. For what they got for both Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, the Cubs had them sitting in their front yard adorned with with a piece of masking tape which read “50¢ or best offer.”
That’s why yet again, the Chicago Cubs end up right back here. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again because now I’m convinced of it; the Cubs have no idea what the trade deadline is all about.
But on the other hand, it might just work. That’s why we don’t know.
Those unknowns are why we call it the “Sharknado,” sports fans.
*Future considerations includes, but is not limited to cash and/or the proverbial “player to be named later.”
All transaction details from Sportrac.com
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