With just a few deals completed this July 31st, a recap of some prior deals on this date in MLB

Another July 31st MLB trade deadline has come and gone. A couple of moves were made with the San Diego Padres acquiring RHP Ian Kennedy from the Arizona Diamondbacks for LHP Joe Thatcher, Baltimore adding RHP Bud Norris, the Royals adding OF Justin Maxwell. Yesterday, the Boston Red Sox added RHP Jake Peavy in a deal that sent SS Jose Iglesias to the Tigers and OF Avasial Garcia to the White Sox and the Oakland Athletics got infielder Alberto Callaspo in a separate deal with the Angels. Over the past several seasons, the trade deadline has been a busy affair, since more teams consider themselves in a race for a potential playoff berth. In spite of three top starting pitchers being moved, it was has to be a deadline that has to be considered slow in regards to trades.
Perhaps a bigger issue could be the deals that were not made. The Phillies still have 3B Michael Young, the Giants still have OF Hunter Pence, the White Sox still have OF Alex Rios and 2B Gordon Beckham and the Mets still have OF Marlon Byrd. And, as expected pitchers Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum are exacty where they expected to be: in Philadelphia and San Francisco, respectively. Potential moves regarding these players did not happen for a number of reasons. While we look ahead to the month of August, where players can be traded once they clear waivers, here is a little excerpt from a post I made at last year’s trading deadline.
July 31st has only been a landmark day since really 1989; prior to that, many deals were completed before that. The trading deadline was started by Kenesaw Landis after a late season 1922 trade brought Joe Dugan to the Yankees which allowed them to win the AL Pennant. The deadline was originally June 15th and it stayed that way from 1923-1985. It became July 31st for the 1986 season.
The first major July 31st trade was when the New York Mets acquired LHP Frank Viola from the Minnesota Twins for five players, including RHP Rick Aguilera and Kevin Tapani. While the Mets were making a push to return to the postseason, it was the Twins who reaped the benefits of this trade, winning the World Series just two years later.
Just five years ago, one of the more significant trades was made with time winding down. The Atlanta Braves added 1B Mark Teixeira from the Texas Rangers, giving up SS Elvis Andrus, LHP Matt Harrison, RHP Neftali Feliz and C Jarrod Saltalamacchia in a 5 for 1 trade. The Rangers owe part of the credit for their consecutive World Series appearances to that trade. In 1997, the Boston Red Sox acquired RHP Heathcliff Slocomb from the Mariners for C Jason Varitek and RHP Derek Lowe. It is possible the Red Sox do not have their success for the next 10 + seasons without that trade, among other things.
While the last trade gave the Red Sox two important pieces for their championship runs, it was the 2004 trade of star SS Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs; the four team deal that brought the Red Sox SS Orlando Cabrera and 1B Doug Mientkiewicz, that may have been the turning point of the Red Sox fortune.
Several sluggers have been moved on July 31st. The Yankees acquired Cecil Fielder from the Tigers in 1996, and Greg Vaughn was moved from the Brewers to the Padres on the same day. Mark McGwire was moved from Oakland to St Louis exactly one year later. 2008 saw Ken Griffey, Jr move from the Reds to the White Sox and Manny Ramirez move from the Red Sox to the Dodgers. And for good measure, Seattle traded future HOF LHP Randy Johnson to the Astros for INF Carlos Guillen, RHP Freddy Garcia and LHP John Halama on July 31st of 1998.
Another interesting trade was made in 1997, when the Chicago White Sox threw up the white flag when they traded LHP Wilson Alvarez, RHP Roberto Hernandez and RHP Danny Darwin to the San Francisco Giants for six players, including Bob Howry and Keith Foulke. This resulted in 3B and current White Sox manager Robin Ventura to say, “I didn’t know the season ended August 1st!”
Many teams have made minor tweaks on the last day before players have to clear waivers before they can be traded. This works until August 31, afterwards no player added can be part of a team’s postseason roster. As the time runs down today, it will be interesting to see what deals, if any will be made today.

The Phils’ bullpen let one get away in extra-innings, as they lost to the Giants, 4-3.

kevin frandsenThe Phils’ bullpen allows one to get away in extra-innings, after the offense tied it up in the ninth, as the Phils lose to the Giants, 4-3.

The Giants took the lead in the bottom of the second as Hunter Pence hits a lead-off home run, his seventh home run of the season. The Phils tied it up at one-all in the top of the fourth as Kevin Frandsen hits a lead-off home run, his first home run of the season. The Giants retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth as, with a runner on second, and with two men out, Marco Scutaro hits an RBI single, scoring Gregor Blanco, who had earlier singled, then stole second base, giving the Giants a 2-1 lead. The Giants increased their lead in the sixth as, with runners on the corners, and with two men out, Barry Zito hits an RBI single, knocking in Brandon Belt, who had started the inning off with a walk, moved up to second base on Francisco Peguero’s ground out, 5-3, and then went to third on Brandon Crawford’s ground out, 3-unassisted, giving the Giants a 3-1 lead, while sending Guillermo Quiroz, who had just been intentionally walked, up to second base. The Phils cut the Giants’ lead to 3-2 in the top of the ninth as, with runners on the corners, and with one man out, Chase Utley hits an RBI single, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who had started the inning off with a double, then stopped at third base on Frandsen’s fly out, while sending Michael Young, who had just walked, over to third base, while Utley would move up to second base on the throw to third. The Phils then tied the score up at three-all as Delmon Young hits a sacrifice fly to right, knocking in M. Young, while sending Utley over to third base. The Giants would win the game in the bottom of the tenth as, with runners on the corners, and with two men out, Andres Torres hits a walk-off single, knocking in pinch-hitter Buster Posey, who had started the inning off with a single, moved up to second base on Joaquin Arias’ sacrifice bunt, 2-3, then moved up to third base on Antonio Bastardo’s wild pitch, giving the Giants a 4-3 walk-off win.

Jonathan Pettipone received a no-decision as he threw five and two-thirds innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and four walks, while striking out a batter. Jeremy Horst pitched a third of an inning, walking a batter. Phillippe Aumont, Chad Durbin and Mike Adams combined for three scoreless innings, giving up two hits (Adams) and a walk (Horst) between them, while striking out three (Aumont (1), Durbin (2)). Antonio Bastardo (1-1, 1.69) took the lost as he pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on two hits, a walk, and a wild pitch, while striking out one. Barry Zito also received a no-decision as he pitched seven strong innings plus one batter, as he gave up a run on four hits, striking out three. Santiago Casilla collected his sixth hold of the season by pitching two-thirds of an inning, getting out both men whom he would face, striking out one. Jeremy Affeldt received his fifth hold of the year as he pitched a third of an inning, getting out the one man who he would face. Sergio Romo received his second blow save of the season as he pitched an inning, giving up two runs on two hits and a walk. Javier Lopez (1-0, 3.24) picked up the win by pitching a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while striking out a batter.

The Phils had seven hits in the game, with Jimmy Rollins (Doubles) and Ben Revere (Single, Double) both leading the team with two hits each. Kevin Frandsen (Home Run, RBI), Chase Utley (Single, RBI) and Carlos Ruiz (Single) had the other three Phils’ hits. Delmon Young knocked in the final Phil run with a sac fly. The Phils also had a walk (Michael Young) in the game.

The Phils (16-19, 3rd NL East) will start a four-games series with the D-backs (19-15, 3rd NL West) starting with a night game tonight. The game will be played at Chase Field and will start at 9:40 pm EDT (6:40 PDT). The Phils will send to the mound Cole Hamels (1-4, 4.34), who is coming off a lost against the Marlins on May 4, as he went eight innings, giving up two runs on four hits, while he struck out six, in the Phils’ 2-0 lost. He will be trying to win his second game of the season. The D-backs will counter with Patrick Corbin (4-0, 1.80), who is coming off a win against the Padres on May 4, as he went seven innings, giving up a run on five hits and three walks, while striking out seven, in the D-backs’ 8-1 rout. He will be going for his fifth win of the season. The Phils will be trying to start off their second series out west with a win.

The Phils begin their first trip to the west coast by beating the Giants, 6-2.

Michael YoungThe Phils’ offense return after being missing for two games as they support Cliff Lee’s good start by beating the Giants, 6-2.

The Phils tried to get on the scoreboard in the top of the first as they loaded up the bases, via singles by Michael Young and Ryan Howard, with M. Young stopping at second base, and a walk to Delmon Young, with both M. Young and Howard moving up a base, and with two men out, before Dom Brown ended the threat by grounding out, 1-3. The Phils then took the lead in the top of the second as they loaded up the bases again, this time via singles by John Mayberry, Jr. and Erik Kratz, with Mayberry stopping at second base, a sacrifice bunt by Cliff Lee, 1-4, for the inning’s first out, moving both men up a base, and then a two-out walk to Chase Utley, and with two men out, M. Young hits a two-run double, knocking in Mayberry and Kratz, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead, and sending Utley over to third base. One batter later, with Howard batting, the Phils took a 3-o lead as Madison Bumgarner threw a wild pitch, allowing Utley to score, while M. Young would move up to third base. The Giants would get a run back in their half of the second as, with one man out, Hunter Pence hits a solo home run, his sixth home run of the season. The Phils increased their lead in the top of the fifth as, now with a runner on third, and with one man out, D. Young hits a sacrifice fly, scoring M. Young, who had started the inning off with a double, then moved up to third base on Howard’s ground out, 4-3, giving the Phils a 4-1 lead. The Phils then took a 5-1 lead as, with two men out, Brown hits a solo blast to right field, his sixth home run of the season. The Giants got a run back in the bottom of the eighth as, with a man on second, and with nobody out, Pence, who had started the inning off with a double, would score on Jimmy Rollins’ throwing error of Francisco Peguero’s infield single, as he threw the ball past Howard, making it a 5-2 Phils’ lead. The Phils would get that run back in the top of the ninth as, with runners on second and third, and with nobody out, Rollins redeemed himself by hitting a sacrifice fly, knocking in Kratz, who had started the inning off with a walk, then stopped at third base on pinch-hitter Freddy Galvis’ double, giving the Phils a 6-2 lead. That would end up being the final score as Jonathan Papelbon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

Cliff Lee (3-2, 3.26) got the win as he threw eight strong innings, giving up two runs on five hits, while striking out six. Jonathan Papelbon pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Madison Bumgarner (3-1, 2.31) took the lost as he went six innings, giving up five runs on eight hits, two walks and two wild pitches, while striking out seven. Chad Gaudin pitched two scoreless innings, giving up a hit, while striking out a batter. Jean Machi pitched a third of an inning, giving up a run on a hit and a walk. Javier Lopez pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a walk, while striking out one.

The Phils collected ten hits in the game, with Michael Young (Single, 2 Doubles, 2 RBIs) leading the team with three hits, raising his average to .333. Chase Utley (Single), Ryan Howard (Single), Dom Brown (Home Run, RBI), John Mayberry, Jr. (Single), Eric Kratz (Single), Cliff Lee (Single) and pinch-hitter Freddy Galvis (Double), had the other seven Phils’ hits. The other two Phils’ RBIs (Jimmy Rollins, Delmon Young) came in on sacrifice flies, while the final Phil run would come in on a wild pitch. The Phils also had four walks (Utley, M. Young, D. Young, Kratz) in the game.

The Phils (15-18, 3rd NL East) will continue their three-games series with the Giants (19-13, 1st NL West) with a night game tonight. The game will start at 10:15 pm and will be played at AT&T Park. The Phils will send to the mound Kyle Kendrick (3-1, 2.43), who is coming off a win against the Marlins on May 2, as he went seven strong innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks, while he struck out five, in the Phils’ 7-2 win. He will be going for his fourth straight win, and his sixth straight quality start. The Giants will counter with Tim Lincecum (2-1, 4.41), who is coming off a no-decision against the D-backs on May 1, where he went five innings, giving up five runs on ten hits, while striking out six, in the Giants’ 9-6 come from behind win. He will be trying for his third win of the season. The Phils will be trying to see if they can get the better of Lincecum tonight.

30-1 MLB countdown previews: #6 Phillies


The Phillies finished the 2012 season with an 81-81 record, while going 35-24 in their last 59 games. The Phillies had ruled the NL East for the past couple season, winning the last five titles. But, 2012 was a disappointment as they went just 33-39 in games within the division. While the teams may be on different levels, the Phillies off season was very similar to that of the Boston Red Sox. The Phillies made many moves, none considered to be “blockbuster”. The Phillies addressed needs at 3B (Michael Young), OF (Ben Revere, Delmon Young), and the bullpen (Mike Adams, Chad Durbin).
The Phillies 2012 season got off to a rough start when former All Star 1B Ryan Howard and 2B Chase Utley were forced to miss the start of the season due to injuries. Many expected Utley to be back sooner than June 27th and in the meantime, ace RHP Roy Halliday went down with a significant injury. Halliday was on the DL from May 28th to July 16th. Howard made his season debut on July 7th. It was no coincidence that the Phillies played their best baseball in August and September.
The Phillies moved CF Shane Victorino and RF Hunter Pence as they gave up on their season at the end of July. They have essentially replaced them with Revere, who was acquired from Minnesota in a trade for RHP Vance Worley, and Young, who was signed to a ridiculously team friendly contract. Young will start the season on the disabled list, giving Domonic Brown a chance to play every day. Brown (.235, 5, 26 in 56 games) has gotten small samples of opportunity to play and is still thought of to be a core type player. This will be the season we either see it or see that Brown is not that type of player. Revere is a younger, better defensive version of Juan Pierre. Fans will find quickly that Pierre’s 2012 season (.307, 1, 25, 37 SB in 130 games) could be a tall order for Revere to equal. However, Revere had a breakout season in 2012 (.294, 0, 32, 40 SB) and will be just 25 this year. Young could be the biggest bargain signing of the entire off season, coming off (.267, 18, 74) a good season with an even better postseason (+.300 AVG, 3 HRs).
Michael Young came over from Texas in a trade for very little. Young had a historically bad season in 2012 (.682 OPS), but is just a year removed from a .338, 11, 106 season in 2011 with 41 2Bs and 213 hits. Playing 3B could be an issue for Young, who has spent most of the past two seasons as a DH. Catcher Carlos Ruiz will start the season suspended, with SS Jimmy Rollins (.250, 23, 68, 37 SB) the lone starter from last season who played the entire season (156 games). With OF Darin Ruf starting the season in AAA to work on his defense, the Phillies could start the season with John Mayberry Jr and Laynce Nix in LF. If Delmon Young is not ready soon enough, expect Ruf to be on the big league roster sooner rather than later. I’d line the Phillies up like this: Revere CF, Utley 2B, Rollins SS, Howard 1B, M Young 3B, Brown RF, Mayberry/ Nix LF, Eric Kratz C. Delmon Young and Ruiz make the lineup much deeper and gives manager Charlie Manuel more flexibility. Freddy Galvis, Kevin Frandsen and perhaps Ender Inciarte will be important members of the team’s bench, with Mayberry, Nix and Ruf playing a huge role when Delmon Young returns.
I know the Phillies have at least another year or two out of their big three of Halliday (11-8, 4.49), Cole Hamels (17-6, 3.05, 216 Ks in 215 1/3 IP) and Cliff Lee (6-9, 3.16, 207 Ks in 211 IP). Kyle Kendrick pitched well down the stretch of last season and finished 11-12, 3.90 in 37 games, 25 starts. In doing so, for the first time, Kendrick will have a spot in the rotation to start the season. John Lannan comes over as a free agent from Washington, where he was forced to spend a lot of time in the minors last year just because he had minor league options left. Lannan made 30 plus starts three out of four seasons (from 2008-2011). Top pitching prospects Jesse Biddle and Ethan Martin could get a look in 2013, but are more likely to debut in 2014.
The Phillies middle relief was atrocious in 2013. Getting the ball to closer Jonathan Papelbon (5-6, 2.44, 38 saves) seemed like an impossible task at times. Outside of Papelbon and Jeremy Horst (1.15 ERA), the Phillies had no relief pitchers pitch in over 31 IP and have an ERA less than 4.33. They should expect a bounce back season from Antonio Bastardo (2-5, 4.33 in 65 games). However, Bastardo did strike out 81 batters in 52 IP last season. Mike Adams (5-3, 3.27 in 61 games) comes over from Texas to solidify the 8th inning. Chad Durbin (4-1, 3.10 in 76 games) returns to Philadelphia after a 2 year hiatus. Bastardo and Horst will return. Phillippe Aumont (0-1, 3.68 in 18 games) and Jake Diekman (1-1, 3.95 in 32 games) will round out the bullpen. Michael Stutes is also an option.
I thought Vegas was very down on the Phillies, putting their over/ under at 81 1/2. To me, it is an easy over. Though the division will be very competitive (in my opinion, the only division with three 90+ win teams), I see the Phillies and their leadership prevailing. They will win 94 games, 2 more than the Nationals for 1st place in the NL East.

30-1 MLB countdown previews: #12 Giants

giants logo

The San Francisco Giants are coming off their 2nd World Series Championship in the last 3 years and deserve all the credit in the world for it. But, just because they won, it does not mean they should be the favorites to win again this season. However, they have a couple things going right for them as far as chemistry is concerned. Players like Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro, who jelled with this team so perfectly last season, cannot be expected to perform at the same level now that they have signed new contracts.
For example, Scutaro hit .362 with the Giants after he was acquired from the Colorado Rockies. Melky Cabrera, as artificially enhanced as it was, carried the team in the 1st half of the season with his .346 average. Buster Posey (.336, 24, 105) was every bit the MVP we saw last season. Pablo Sandoval (.283, 12, 63) had the 3 HR game in game one of the World Series and is hoping to be healthy this entire season. Hunter Pence struggled in the regular season after he was acquired from the Phillies hitting just .219, but was a force in the postseason and is playing for a contract after this year. Pagan (.288, 8, 56, 29 SB) should remain on about the same level. Having Scutaro playing every day at 2B should give the team more offensive production than they got from Ryan Theriot. Scutaro enjoyed his best season in 2012, hitting .306, 7, 74 with 190 hits. While the 1-5 in the lineup is solid, the same cannot be said about 6-8. The team is hoping for a lot out of Brandon Belt (.275, 7, 56 in 145 games). I think he can have that breakout season especially with the depth throughout the first 5 in the order. Gregor Blanco (.244, 5, 36) and Brandon Crawford (.248, 4, 45) are just in to play defense. Expect the Giants to look for a LF at the deadline like they did in RF the past two season with Carlos Beltran and Pence. As I said, Pagan CF, Scutaro 2B, Posey C, Sandoval 3B, Pence RF, Belt 1B, Blanco LF, Crawford SS is one of the more set lineups in MLB. Belt will be the key for how dominant the offense can perform.
The bench will be led by their backup catcher Henry Sanchez (.280, 3, 34). The switch hitter will spell Posey and allow Posey to play 1B. Ideally, the Giants would like to increase the offense by catching Sanchez, playing Posey at 1B and using Belt in LF. Joaquin Arias and Andres Torres will be on the bench with veteran Wilson Valdez having a chance to make the team. OF prospect Gary Brown is probably a year away from joining the show while trying to make his presence felt in big league camp.
While it does not come as a surprise, the Giants only used two additional pitchers, Eric Hacker and Yosmeiro Petit (1 games each) outside of their five regular starters. Matt Cain (16-5, 2.79) and Madison Bumgarter (16-11, 3.37) anchor the staff going into this season. Two time NL Cy Young Winner Tim Lincecum (10-15, 5.18) is coming off a terrible season but is poised for a rebound. Barry Zito (15-8, 4.15) is on the final year of his 7 yr, $126 million contract. I disagree with the thought that it was a bad signing being the Giants won 2 WS during his time here. Ryan Vogelsong (14-9, 3.37) rounds out what usually is one of the top rotations in the game.
The pen has finally become Sergio Romo’s. He got the last out in the World Series, after having taken the closer spot from Santiago Casilla, who had taken over from the injured Brian Wilson. Left handers Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez and Jose Mijares team with hard throwing RHP Greg Kontos to form the pen. Ramon Ramirez stands a chance to grab a spot in the Giants bullpen.
I like this team, but not as much as most. Vegas agrees with me, setting their over/ under at 86. Kind of low for the defending WS Champs. I see them finishing the season under, but close, at 85-77, 2nd place in the NL West.

Proposition for a 2013 Phillies outfield

   The Philadelphia Phillies are coming off a very disappointing 2012 season as their expectations were very similar to the past five seasons where they won the National League East division. Among reasons for the teams lack of success was he lack of situational hitting. In particular, their offense struggled to live up to the hype as they ranked toward the bottom of the National League in several important categories. They started the season behind the eight ball as stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley missed significant parts of the early season. Despite a stronger second half, it became too much of an uphill climb for them to become a factor in the NL East race. 
    As the team struggled toward the July 31 st trading deadline, decision was made to trade OFs Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, despite the latter having another year remaining on his contract. While the Phillies played better ball towards the end of the season, it is clearly obvious they need a new plan when it comes to their outfield. 
    The offseason did not get off to the best of starts for them as LF Juan Pierre signed with the Miami Marlins. Pierre was part of the options the Phillies were considering moving forward with. Much talk has been about the Phillies potential interest in free agents Josh Hamilton and BJ Upton, with the Phillies discussing numbers with Upton. In my crystal ball though, I see Upton in Atlanta and Hamilton in San Diego.
    So where does that leave Philadelphia? I understand the importance in a centerfielder, but they should not over react if they do not land Upton. I suggest they focus on the corners, upgrading both leaving money available to address other needs such as 3B and the bullpen. In my opinion, the first player they should sign is a guy the Phillies remember very well from his 2010 postseason success against them. Cody Ross had a breakout season in Boston and has proven he can play every day. His power would work well with the dimensions at Citizens Bank Park. The only thing is, he earned himself a two year deal which should pay him about $14 million total as he just played out a 1 year, $3 million deal with Boston. 
    For the other corner outfield spot, they should make an offer to Nick Swisher. Yes he will be looking for a long term deal, but he will soon realize he is not getting a 4 year contract. I am thinking two years, $24 million with an option for a third season. Swisher can bat in a number of spots in the order and will have a good presense in the clubhouse. Playing the last several seasons at Yankees Stadium should allow him to continue to put up the regular season numbers he put up with the Yankees. 
    As for centerfield, I am proposing a trade. The Angels are looking to move Peter Bourjos, who is an excellent defensive CF with a lot of speed. The Phillies can bat him leadoff. Though he has not hit for a tremendously high average, he will give them a leadoff batter and should be able to put up numbers similar to what Pierre gave them last season. If the Phillies traded Domonic Brown to LA, they would likely get another piece back. With the prospects of adding a thirdbaseman ahead, the lineup could be Bourjos-Swisher-Rollins-Howard-Ross-Utley-3B-Ruiz-P. Add in a Kevin Youkilis type in the 3B spot, that lineup becomes much more balanced than it was this past season.

Acquiring “Prospects” in a deal the same as not citing anonymous sources

Rebuilding a team is one of the hardest things for an organization. Yet fans think it is so easy. Winning is the most important thing when it comes to fans. They expect their teams to win, at all costs. Lead a respective division for a good part of the season, then add the final pieces at the trading deadline. Seems to work in all sports, not just baseball. When winning is no longer a possibility, the priority switches to rebuilding. And it is usually a drastic one. “Trade key players for prospects!” That is heard once it has become clear a season has become a disappointment. That is what the Phillies did this season when they traded Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino. The Mets did the same with Carlos Beltran in 2011.
While it is not a bad idea since the Mets got back Zack Wheeler and the Phillies Tommy Joseph, fans tend to thing these moves always work out. So with the latest rumor from the Wall Street Journal that the Mets, Fred and Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz are broke (to me, it is just a repetition of the same thing that circulates when there is nothing else to talk about), those who can easily say to trade David Wright and RA Dickey should feel like they can get what they want. Prospects.
Nothing makes a trade proposal for an average and ordinary fan easier than saying they want to see their team get prospects back in a deal. It gives them a warm and cosy feeling, like their team will be fine in the near future. Yet one thing seems to always be missing when one of these trades are proposed… THE NAMES OF THE PLAYERS COMING BACK IN THE PROPOSED DEAL! Do you not care who you get back in the trade? Is it more important to move a key player than actually get back something of equal value? Or are you just too lazy to do the necessary research to gauge the market value?
Something tells me it is none of the three questions I just asked. Simply because the “trading for prospects” has taken the place of trading for specific players. I know what most mean, they want to get star young players who will help out within the next year or two. But, why can’t people making these proposals simply state the names of the prospects they want to see their team get back? Instead of “prospects”, why not name players like Manny Machado, Trevor Bauer, Mike Montgomery, Adam Eaton, Gary Brown, Nick Castellanos, Billy Hamilton, etc. At least you look like you did the research.
But to some, it does not matter. Some Mets fans would be happy with a trade of Wright for four players to be named later. Simply because they would be happy with four players who are age 24 and under. They have to be good, right? So who cares who they are? As silly of an attitude as that seems, it is the exact one that is expressed when somebody says “trade David Wright for prospects.”
The main reason Jose Reyes was not traded during the 2011 season was the fact that Reyes was testing the free agent waters regardless of where he was playing. The Mets were never getting fair market value for Reyes, since the trading team would never give up to prospects such as Brown, Jarred Cosart, Jacob Turner or Zack Cox in such a deal. Kevin Plawecki, the catcher the Mets drafted with the draft pick they got for losing Reyes, has more of an upside that the A to AA level minor leaguer(s) the Mets could have gotten for dumping Reyes.
Is it necessary to name the “prospects” you want to see a team acquire for trading a player? Or does the research take away from rooting for your favorite football team? I am all in favor of the fair trade. The next time you suggest a trade of a key player, or even that of a player who you would like to see moved because of the amount of money he is making, finish the whole trade instead of saying for “prospects”.

Phillies now over .500, are they a contender?

With the Philadelphia Phillies 3-1 win over the Miami Marlins, they have officially moved over the .500 mark at 72-71. Looking back to last year, two playoff teams, the Tampa Bay Rays and the eventual World Series Champion St Louis Cardinals, made September runs similar to what the Phillies have done within the last couple weeks. They, just like the Phillies, needed help from seemingly playoff locks in Boston and Atlanta collapsing down the stretch.
The Phillies still have the big three at the top of the rotation. Roy Halliday, despite a 10-7 record still strikes fear in the opposition. Cliff Lee has 14 no decisions and just 4 wins, put owns a 3.50 ERA. Cole Hamels has been the team’s best starter, earning his contract extension with his 14 wins and is on pace for 200 strikeouts.
The key for the Phillies return to prominence is the fact that they are somewhat healthy. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard have returned from injuries that cost them large chunks of the season. Halliday and Lee have both missed time with injuries, though Lee’s was not very serious and did not cost him much time. They are dealing with some injuries though. Catcher Carlos Ruiz may not return this season and 3B Kevin Frandsen has a stress fracture in his tibula. Frandsen’s replacement, the well compensated Placido Polanco, is out for the season.
Remember in 2006 when the Phillies traded OF Bobby Abreu and RHP Cory Lidle to the Yankees after they conceded the race. It resulted in a run that almost got them into the postseason as a Wild Card. This season, seemingly down the tubes, caused them to move outfielders Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino. The results are remarkably similar, with the team taking off in September. I think its just a coincidence.
The Phillies have done their part over the better part of the past month. Is it too late? If it is, many will point to the larger part of the season where the Phillies underperformed. They are certainly at a point where they can be considered to be back in the playoff race. Especially with the two Wild Card spots to shoot for. Atlanta seems like they learned from the collapse of last September. St Louis, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles are still ahead of them in the standings. The Phillies have no margin for error, something that tends to hurt teams in their position. But, if the 2009 Rockies could do it, why can’t the Phillies? It will certainly take that kind of run for them to make a postseason game, even with the extra team.
For more on the Phillies comeback, tune into John Pielli’s Passed Ball Show live Thursday 9/13 from 5-7 pm eastern on www.mtrradio.com.

Is it sensible for Mets/ Phillies to trade Hairston/ Pierre this late in the season?

As we enter the second week of September, several teams are making their postseason push. Despite all the outcry by Phillies and Mets fans to “traid e’rybody,” for the exception of Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino, the teams have stayed in tact. With teams such as the Pirates, Athletics and Orioles sticking around, would they consider trading for an outfielder even though they would not be eligible for postseason play?

First, lets talk about whether it makes sense for a team to add a player like the Mets Scott Hairston or the Phillies Juan Pierre this late in the season. With the Orioles Nick Markakis out, should they look to add at this point? I think it should be considered even though the player(s) added would not be eligible for postseason play. Nobody gave the Orioles a chance to be in the race at this point. They have, despite an inferior run differential, proven they can be a playoff team, regardless of the nay sayers. If it takes a player like Hairston or Pierre to better their chances to make the postseason, I say do it. I think the Pirates and Athletics have had their chances to make an addition or two if needed, and the Pirates did with Wandy Rodriguez. The Athletics added Stephen Drew. If Markakis is going to be out for a while, I find it necessary for the Orioles to make a move.
On the other side, I think its a touchy subject suggesting either team moving said player. I think its reasonable that both players could be part of the 2013 version of their respective teams. A trade this late in the season could effect the players’ interest in returning, though its happened before. One advantage both the Mets and Phillies have with Hairston and Pierre is the tie breaker in free agent advantage. What I mean is, if another team makes a similar offer, there is a good chance both players take the offer from their current team. That advantage goes out the window once the player is traded. Add in the fact that the return will be a minimal player, if anything at all, and it makes little sense for either the Mets or Phillies to trade Hairston or Pierre.
Yes to the Orioles for wanting to make a trade and no to the Mets and Phillies. If the Orioles become desperate and decide to part with something of value, I’d reconsider. But thats unlikely to happen.

If Astros are blaming Mills, club’s future is worse than we think




    I think the Houston Astros showed how little clue they have by firing manager Brad Mills. The firing itself was not a surprise, with the Astros sitting at 39-83, worst record in the major leagues. On the surface, it seems just that a manager who has guided his team to that bad of a record deserves such a fate. Especially this is his third straight losing season, starting out 76-86 in 2010 and going 56-106 in 2011. So its safe to say the team has done worse since he took the helm after being Terry Francona’s bench coach in Boston.

    The honest truth is the Astros first hired Mills, then took his team away. First they moved Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman in 2010. Then they traded Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn in 2011. They finished off with getting rid of Brandon Lyon, Brett Myers, Chris Johnson and Wandy Rodriguez in 2012. Is that Mills fault? Was he supposed to talk the front office into keeping his good nad even marginal players? A fair case could be made that the Astros were going nowhere whether they moved these players or not. Touche’ but its a steep challenge to make a stripped team overachieve. I doubt John McGraw, Joe McCarthy, Bobby Cox or Tony LaRussa would have done any better with this mix. Even Casey Stengel could not make the 1962 Mets into winners.
     Maybe the Astros took their stand by blaming Mills. The Houston Astros will not stand for this kind of losing and its time to change the manager. Managers get fired all the time. I can’t make a fair assessment of how Brad Mills is as a manager. Sure he showed some flaws, but most managers do when their team stinks. Hopefully he gets another chance somewhere, then a better conclusion could be made. But to inply that he is directly 100 % responsible for this terrible record and team is a dillusional statement. If the current Houston Astros team was playing a AAA schedule, it would still not be very good. 
    I think it is more of a joke that the Astros have stopped competing to get ready for a move to the AL. They will essentially move into the other league as an expansion team. They deserve to be treated as one. While we all remember the Pittsburgh Pirates last making it to the postseason in 1992, we will all point to 2005 as the last time the Astros made the postseason. Hopefully, it won’t be 2025.

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