I considered this trade to be huge news, so the fact that I’m not getting around to writing a take on it until the week after should tell you that something pretty monumental was going on in my away-from-blogging life I try to have every once in a while.
In actuality, nothing monumental really was going on. I went with my company from my real job to Las Vegas. I gambled on Canadian hockey, saw a guy offering to be kicked in the nuts for $20 (he told me he had been kicked over 5,000 times for those of you wondering how it’s possible), and generally just did some people watching in a city that offers you a little of everything. Playing blackjack at Belagio beats the heck out of the online casinos.
The day I left, Justin Upton was dealt to Atlanta (we told you that’s where he was headed on this episode of The Baseball Show Podcast) for a package of players valued a lot less than a package for Justin Upton should have yielded.
I cannot wait to hear why Kevin Towers is the smartest man in the room on this one. Can’t. Wait. And mark my words, it will make it’s way out into the media. We’re going to know almost every juicy detail of this. Someone’s going to have some ‘splaining to do. And it’s going to be Towers.
It works out perfectly for Atlanta. They’ve now got just enough ammo to challenge the once thought to be invincible Nationals. You can just about count on Justin Upton to go off, stay free of nagging injuries, and generally be the MVP candidate he was always supposed to be. I’ve got nothing against the Braves, but no one deserves Justin Upton for a small price like that.
No. Recently Frank Thomas said he thinks he should be a first ballot hall of famer. He says that he did things the right way and has done enough to be in the first time. For reference here is a short list of first ballot hall of famers: Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron. The worst player to ever be voted in the first time according the WAR was Lou Brock at 43 career WAR. Thomas’s is 69.7 which is better than 10-15 first timers. Of course that is ignoring the massive steroid cloud hanging over everyone who has played in the past 20 years. I’ve already written that steroids use, especially when speculated, shouldn’t be considered, but it is. I think Thomas will get in easily. But he’ll have to wait it out just like most everyone else.
One big move and a few middling ones has kept the hot stove burning warm through the end of January. Let’s review:
Justin Upton was trade to the Atlanta Braves along with Chris Johnson for Martin Prado, Randall Delgado and some minor leaguers including Zeke Spruill and Brandon Drury. Upton had previously invoked his no trade clause on a deal to the Mariners which would have netted the Diamond a much nicer haul.
The whole thing was a bit weird. I’m not going to go into stats that say Upton was declining or he isn’t as good of an OF as he should be – there’s plenty of that. What other team traded a 25 year old superstar for a consistent .300 hitter and some other pieces. Upton was a fairly popular pick for MVP last year. Some say that the Dbacks knew something others teams don’t. I don’t buy that at all. Upton must have rubbed someone the wrong way, because I don’t see how this makes great baseball sense. Chemistry is overrated. You know what players are good chemistry guys? The ones on teams that are winning.
In other news, the Mets signed Shaun Marcum to a one year deal which I think could be good for him. There wasn’t a huge market and he can try and regain his old form pitching in an average division in a pitcher friendly park. Maybe next year he can go out and get more money or more years. Why would the Mets do it? Why not? It’s only one year.
Finally, Kelly Johnson signed with the Rays. That is all I can say about that.
It’s just the hot stove season right now, but it’s never too early to begin looking at 2013 MLB All Star Game ticket prices. The weather will be warming up before we know it and if you plan on attending the Midsummer’s classic, it’s never too early to start looking.
Somehow it’s a vintage YouTube baseball clip we’ve never seen before. If you haven’t either, you’re in for a treat.
Earl Weaver really gets his money worth here, and the crowd eventually gets into it. He eventually wins when he gets the umpire to verbally retaliate. “Law enforcement” should be above that. But the umpire mocks Weaver’s saying that he will be in the Hall of Fame and asks ‘For what? For fucking up the World Series?’. Also don’t sleep on the fact that the video begins with a boyish Eddie Murray talking jive to the blue.
This is a hell of a managerial ejection. They don’t make them like this anymore.
There is a report out of a local Cincinnati affiliate that the Reds have a good shot to host the All-Star game – the first since 1988. If true, it would be great for the city. As a historic baseball town with a great fan base (for the most part) Cincinnati will be a great host to the game of baseball.
I may start checking out flights in early July 2015 soon.
UPDATE 9:45 PM ET: Hardball Talk is acting like it’s a done deal. Rejoice!
The Man. What a nickname. Can there be a better one? Stan Musial was one of the best baseball players in the history of the game and pretty much defines what it means to be a St. Louis Cardinal. A 1969 Hall of Fame inductee, a 3 time MVP, and a 24 time All-Star, he was consistently great for so long, that sometimes his name can get lost in when mentioning the all-time greats – don’t make that mistake. Musial didn’t just fade into the sunset after his playing career, but proved in his post playing career that he was as good of a man as ball player. A great Musial quote?
“You wait for a strike, then you knock the shit out of it.”
So simple, so great.
Baseball is a little worse off today. Rest in peace Stan.
I’ve always thought arbitration was a little funny. My twitter feed was bombarded today with the awkward numbers of a player asking for 1 billion dollars and the club offering 100k. In most cases, especially in other sports, this is done behind closed doors in some office with floor to ceiling glass or via Blackberry.
This strange negotiation can by made more familiar with a common story from home. At the end of the week my kid comes to me and says that he thinks he should get $10 for allowance. I say I think he should only get $5. He then goes on to explain how all his other friends are little jerks and he is much better than them – plus he vacuumed. I then tell him how he disappointed me this week by not handing me the remote when I asked and by accidentally punching me in balls. We go back and forth a bit while his mother listens. After 15 minutes she walks over and hands him $7.
Some of the more interesting arbitration numbers:
Reds pitchers: Mat Latos-$4.7M v $4.15M, Mike Leake-$3.5M v $2.65, Homer Bailey-$5M v $4.75M
Chase Headley: $10.3M v $7.075M
David Freese: $3.75M v $2.4M
Max Scherzer: $7.4M v $6.05M
Sergio Romo: $4.5M v $2.675M
Murphy’s: David $6.5M v $5.05M Daniel $3.4M v $2.55M
Good luck to all the playersowners agents and lawyers.
Yes, the Mariners added some much needed power in Michael Morse. Did they pay too much in John Jaso? Maybe. Jaso had a 3.4 oWAR this year. Morse had 3.8 in his “breakout” year. When you can trade three more years of control at a premium position for one of a pending FA at a position pretty much every player with power can play, you have do to it, right?
Whatever, the real news here is the major hole that Jaso will leave the Mariners in the facial hair department. His beard blows that weak stuff on Morse’s face out of the water. See for yourself.
It’s a good thing Jaso is moving to Oakland. The Bay Area seems to be where weirdly bushy facial hair goes to prosper.
Good luck to Jaso and Morse. I think both cities will be happy to welcome them to the city.
We had a feeling that this would be the last Take on Me ever heard at Nationals Park.
Today was another day that the Nationals were in the thick of things, highlighting a three-team trade that sent Micheal Morse to Seattle and A.J. Cole to Washington. The trade also involved the Oakland Athletics picking up catcher John Jaso.
The Nationals will receive right-handed pitching prospects A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen along with a player to be named later from the A’s, according to CBSSports.com baseball insider Danny Knobler.
As part of the deal, the A’s will receive catcher John Jaso from the Mariners. The A’s also announced that catcher George Kottaras has been designated for assignment.
Cole was rated the A’s third best prospect and performed well at class-A before struggling in high-A ball. This trade was a return home of sorts, as the Nationals originally drafted Cole in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. Morse originally broke into the big leagues with the Mariners in 2005 and was in Seattle until 2009.
We always liked Morse. Later on it was for the A-ha batter walk-up song. Any guy who digs 80’s music that much and flaunts it is okay in our book. But our mind always shifts back to a night in Cincinnati in 2010 when we saw him take batting practice before the game. He was just a reserve then. We noticed how big he was. We noticed how he seemed to lace balls and there was a different sound off the bat compared to other guys. We thought the guy could play if given the chance as a full-time regular. The rest is history, and when it happened we always had a soft spot for Morse.
Last night would have been my first night watching an entire episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live. It started at 11:30 PM ET, and I was already struggling. I wanted to have a post up about this last night, but I did the smart thing and called it quits just before midnight. I figured the show’s producer would keep me up at least another hour and send Rob Lowe on stage before Harper got anywhere near it. I did the right thing in folding my cards when I became sleepy it appears.
Kimmel lobbed a few humor softballs at Harper last night, including his experience of getting called up that first night in Los Angeles, the fan that mooned the camera when he doubled off the wall for his first big league knock, and superstitions.
Here’s whathe said about his superstitions–something I’ve never heard him really talk about–and it involved Eggo Waffles.
“I get to the field at 12:00 for a 7:05 game, and it starts from there. I shower seven times while I’m at the field and I don’t even need too. Yeah, it’s bad. As long as … I’m doing good or my team’s winning, I’m gonna keep doing the same thing. Wearing the same undershirt, I mean, I eat Eggo waffles. It has to be Eggo before the game. I mean, it’s really weird. PB and honey, I mean, I’m really superstitious.”
I like Eggo Waffles though I don’t know how peanut butter and honey would do with them. You had to figure Harper was a pretty superstitious guy being of the throwback mold. This is probably the first of many late-night television appearances for him.
The snow has melted at least for now, and I’ve had MLB Network on just about every night. With just four NFL teams left in play to determine who will win the Super Bowl, baseball season looms just ten short weeks away. Okay, who are we kidding? February will be a bear even with the NHL back in action. The only cure for a baseball fix is baseball.
Here are some daily links that we found interesting:
-Have the Arizona Diamondbacks lost their leverage with any Justin Upton trade? [Grantland]
-Nyjer Morgan is one crazy individual. [Deadspin]
-#MLB13Cutch takes the cover of MLB 13 the Show. [Big League Stew]
-Every MLB team’s top untouchable prospect. [Bleacher Report Prospect Pipeline]
-A look at the Pirates probable opening day roster. [PBC Blog]
-Fangraph’s take on Rafael Soriano ending up in D.C. [Fangraphs]
ESPN Releases it’s Sunday Night Baseball Schedule: Honestly, it’s not worth a full post. ESPN turned around and loaded the schedule for the first-half of the season with a bunch of large market teams. The Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds, two teams who are talented and will be very competitive did not crack it one time. Yes, there are a lot of ways to watch your team if you want to see them. But it’s still nice to close out a weekend with someone other than the Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, Mets, Red Sox, Braves, White Sox or Cardinals involved. [Hardball Talk]
I am probably one of the few people out there who admires what the Nationals are doing on a few fronts.
1. They’re clearly going ‘all in’ right now and spending the money to do it. The loss that will sting forever–game five of the NLDS against the Cardinals–is something that they’re going to take all measures to make sure it never happens again. Soriano got closer money, and this allows more flexibility for the electric arms with less closing experience (Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Henry Rodriguez) to set him up. When you can play match-ups with electric arms like that, good things will probably follow. This is the ultimate hedging of bets at the back end of the Nationals bullpen.
2. The Nationals continue to play nicely with super agent Scott Boras. It’s only my opinion, but the Nationals could be trying to earn brownie points with Boras so that Bryce Harper never hits the open market and signs a contract extension with Washington with the time comes (that time being 2018). Other theories out there say that the Nationals are one of the only avenues that Boras can even go through anymore to get a deal done because most organizations won’t bother negotiating with him. I think it’s the former. The Nationals are paying Scott Boras a lot of money with every client they sign. When the time comes to offer Harper a long-term extension, it’s possible that if Harper wants to stay with Washington and they’re willing to pay what Boras perceives a fair deal that Harper never tests the market.
No matter the reason, I think Soriano will pay huge dividends and sponge up the saves in the nation’s capital this upcoming season. When he’s healthy, he’s got electric stuff.
As Jim Bowden said; and forgive me for letting kindling near a bonfire, it’s the cherry on top of what has been a monster off-season for the Nats.