The Red Sox got second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Angels. The Braves picked up outfielder Adam Duvall from the Reds. The Astros acquired closer Roberto Osuna from Toronto. The Yankees added Minnesota starter Lance Lynn. The Mariners got two relievers—one from the Twins, and one from the Yankees. And all of that is just tonight!
Just a few shopping hours remain for contending teams to pick up a new addition to their roster, and every contending team has made at least one deal. It's called the non-waiver trade deadline, and it's at 1pm Pacific Time July 31 (tomorrow). If your team is in it, they are looking to add. If your out, you're selling. And then there are those teams in the middle.
The Washington Nationals began the night six games out of first place in the National League East. The San Francisco Giants are 6˝ games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. They are a little closer in the Wild Card race for the playoffs, but not much. They have to figure out fast if they are buyers or sellers.
The Dodgers got an early start on the feeding frenzy by acquiring Manny Machado from Baltimore during the All-Star Break. Machado will be a free agent at the end of the year, and Baltimore figures to lose him anyway, so why not get something? The Dodgers gave up five minor leaguers for Machado, even though he may only be a Dodger for three months. If he helps the Dodgers win, they'll think its worth it. And Baltimore gets five players for the future.
That's the dilemma facing teams like Washington and San Francisco. The Nationals have mega-star Bryce Harper, but he's kind of like Machado. He may sign a 400-million dollar contract with someone next year. If he's going to leave D.C., why not at least get some young players for him? If you do it, though, you are pretty much giving up on the season. The Giants are in the same boat with Andrew McCutchen.
It's an interesting dynamic. Both teams have more than a mathematical shot of making the playoffs. General managers have to determine the likelihood. It's pragmatic to let your star go and build for the future, but you risk alienating your fans, and even your players by appearing to give up. The St. Louis Cardinals are also in that 'in between mode', and also could deal away a major player. All three of those teams are used to winning, which makes the decision even tougher. Other franchises do this every year.
Another thing that should be mentioned is teams aren't just trading free agents to be anymore. Tampa Bay pitcher Chris Archer has what is called a 'team friendly' contract. The Rays aren't going anywhere, and other teams are inquiring about players like that. The urgency for the Rays to trade him isn't there, but he could move if they are wowed with an offer.
And this just in. The Pittsburgh Pirates have traded for Texas close Keone Kela. As Kenny Rogers once sang. “there'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.”
Character counts?: Hours after appearing in the All-Star game, old racist tweets from Brewers pitcher Josh Hader emerged. He apologized, cried a little, and got a standing ovation in his next home outing. Seemingly minutes after almost no-hitting the Dodgers yesterday, Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb's old hateful tweets were found. Nationals shortstop Trea Turner apologized in advance of some tweets coming out. Other than some 'sensitivity training', it appears nothing is going to happen to these guys. Adding to it, Houston just traded for Roberto Osuna, who has been suspended 75 games for domestic abuse. His suspension ends Sunday, and he can pitch in the playoffs. That's all that seems to matter.
Classy class: There is some class left in baseball, and there was loads of it on display Sunday when six players entered the Hall of Fame, In order of their induction speeches, they are Chipper Jones, Alan Trammell, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Jack Morris, and Jim Thome. All of the speeches were humble and great, but my favorite was Hoffman's. Not just because he went to the University of Arizona with former Gold Sox manager Jack Johnson, but because he used several John Wooden quotes. One was, “Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” Hadn't heard that one before.
What if?...: It has been widely assumed (and reported) that Manny Machado's stay in Los Angeles will be a brief one. He will be a free agent at the end of the year, and the Dodgers expect to have a healthy Corey Seager at shortstop next season. But what if Machado helps propel the Dodgers to another World Series appearance, and wants to stay? The Dodgers have been good at moving guys to different positions. Third baseman Justin Turner played second when he was with the Mets. He could go there or maybe move to first. That would allow Seager and Machado to play on the left side, and make Cody Bellinger a permanent outfielder. Not too far fetched.
No respect: You would think a rematch of last year's epic World Series would garner some national attention. Wrong. The Dodgers host the Houston Astros in a three-game interleague series this weekend, and none of the games will be on national TV. The Red Sox and Yankees are playing each other this weekend, so they get the nod. Fox doesn't have a game this Saturday, but FS1 has two games—Yankees-Red Sox and Angels-Indians. The ESPN Sunday night game is, of course, Yankees-Red Sox, so TBS does Angels-Indians (why?) as its game of the week. MLB Network is actually carrying Saturday's LA-Houston game (joined in progress at 7pm, staying out of the FS1 window), and Sunday's game in its entirety, but how the big boys pass on this series is baffling.
I was on vacation today, but found out that one of my co-workers (and a friend of mine) was let go. It was a cost-cutting move for the station, and had nothing to do with his performance. The truth is, he was one of the hardest working people on the staff. Sales have been slow, we're told, and that's the reason--although the Sales Manager gets to stay. This exact thing happened to me by the same company (different location) several years ago. Ownership has the right to do what they want with their employees, but this absolutely sucks. It won't make working there any easier, not knowing what may happen next.