And so ends an era. Johnny Cueto was traded to the Kansas City Royals today for three pitchers; the most notable being Brandon Finnegan.
It’s funny – we had this blog going when Cueto began his Reds career. They were coming out of the darkness, over a decade of futility. You knew you were on the ride up. Today, it’s like the organization admitting that this current core and guys on the 25-man roster will never win a title or play in a World Series. I mean, it was official before today of course. But this makes the probability meter of that ever happening absolute zero.
Right down to the very end; right down to his very last start as a Red, Johnny Cueto was awesome. We kind of eulogized him after his gem in Washington a few outings ago. The bottom line is he’s the best homegrown pitcher the Reds have put in a uniform since Mario Soto. Who knows when we’ll have another true ace like Cueto or how it will go when it happens. I may be a very old man.
It’s really hard saying goodbye to the players you love, the players you’ve grown so attached to. The players you’ve spent so many evenings in your living room living and dying with through the eb and flow of a baseball game and season.
While the Reds prepare to mire in obscurity, Cueto will write a new chapter and start more games in the postseason and probably reach incredible heights yet in his career. The book on this chapter has sadly closed. I’ll really miss Johnny Cueto.
Last night, the Cubs dealt Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics for highly touted minor-league prospect Addison Russell. The Cubs are entirely loaded, flush with top prospects and youth heading into the future.
One Cubs fan over at World Series Dreaming breaks it down this morning for us more eloquently than we could. It’s a great post. Read it.
The reactions that have been flying around FaceBook and Twitter have been quite amusing, and have flown across the entire spectrum from “Theo is an idiot” to “greatest trade ever made”. With this deal standing alone, I am not sure I can give either one of those comments any more merit than simply mentioning that they were made. This trade does not make Theo Epstein an idiot, and this is so far from the greatest trade ever made that I cannot imagine how this was said with a straight face.
For the ‘right now’ this trade immediately shifts the balance of power in the American League West heavily to the Athletics. So what do the Angels do to combat this?
They trade for a little pinch-runner and lefty bullpen help. On Campana (BBREF page here), one of our friends coached him one summer in college and wondered ‘how the Hell did this guy make it to the big leagues’ when it came up in conversation.
If you follow @Ken_Rosenthal, you can see that the trade market is really heating up all around baseball with the Blue Jays sizing up Martin Prado and the Cardinals are in the market for a bat.
You have to love this time of year when everyone is on the lookout for a hired gun and spare pieces are changing teams quicker than you can keep track of.
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 was Hanley Ramirez’s first big league game in a uniform other than the Marlins. The Dodgers lost 3-2 in extra innings in his debut. I spent the evening playing cards with my good friend (and Dodgers fan) Dave Franco from Next Level Ballplayer. He had great cards.
Ultimately, I think this proves to be a huge move for the Dodgers who appear serious once again about spending the big dollars to win. He hasn’t been great this season, but he’s still Hanley Ramirez. If he decides he wants to do this, he’s a really dangerous bat to add to the heart of the order. I look for the Dodgers to make one more move to acquire an arm and be one of the teams who sneak into the playoffs on a dangerous run.
And people will probably look back on this Ramirez trade and say the Dodgers came out on top. I think people around baseball were surprised at how little it took to acquire the former batting champion.
Only in American baseball can a guy walk across the other side of the field and into the dugout that belonged to opponents moments earlier and call it home.
It was a strange scene that the baseball world didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for. I never pictured Ichiro Suzuki in anything other than a Mariners uniform. And if it was going to happen it would be okay; we would all have a long off-season to place in him in a Giants uniform or whatever team he ends up with as a free agent.
Except it happened quickly. We got the text that Ichiro had been dealt to the Yankees for just the price of two nameless minor league pitchers. After twelve years and 2,533 hits as a Mariner the ’51’ was gone and he was wearing a strange number and hitting towards the bottom of the
Seattle New York lineup. And I really did mis-type that last sentence, my brain wasn’t adjusted.
He got a standing ovation. He singled, of course; stole second and the Yankees rolled on to a ho-hum victory.
The baseball world is a crazy place of existence. Ichiro in the Pacific Northwest was about as perfect a marriage as there could have been. This transaction is evidence that nothing is sacred in the baseball world, and the Yankees can still have whatever they want for the price of just a few nameless minor leaguers despite having a ‘depleted’ farm system for the past decade. Will someone just tell them ‘no’ sometime?
The Reds traded Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez, and former 1st round picks Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger for Mat Latos this afternoon.
Can you tell we’re less than thrilled?
There are two ways to look at this trade. One is that basically in return for Josh Hamilton, we have now just Latos to show for it. We also threw in Yonder Alonso and two promising first round prospects just to sweeten the deal for the Padres.
The other way to look at it is the Reds traded a surplus to fill a need–and acquired the only proven Major Leaguer in the deal. I choose not to look at it that way because I felt Alonso shows more at the plate than Jay Bruce or Drew Stubbs or any other young Reds player. Now what will they do when Joey Votto skips town?
While I like Latos’ stuff, his numbers aren’t that impressive when you factor in that he’s been pitching in a pitcher-friendly ballpark his entire career. He’ll only be 24, but I would expect his numbers to and productivity to decline in Great American Ball Park.
UPDATE: FanGraphs likes the trade. I will still resume crybabying.
And he’s right. It really didn’t matter who we got in return, even though Aaron Miles is a pretty good guy to have coming off of the bench. He was born to play in the NL Central.
But Rosales isn’t a guy who is ever going to do a lot at the Major League Level. Really nice kid. Just not a big leaguer.
And Willy Taveras?
Taveras would have been the whipping boy all year long. It’s clear that the Reds told Oakland if they wanted to complete the deal, they had to take Taveras off their hands. And Oakland complied. And then hours later they designated him for assignment. That’s how highly Oakland thought of Willy ‘automatic leadoff out’ Taveras.
The Reds just keep making good moves. Maybe a new era really is upon us.
Dodgers acquire Jim Thome. The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired one of the most prolific power hitters in baseball history last night, re-uniting him with Manny Ramirez to give them two active players with over 500 home runs. We have to say we like the move quite a bit, although unless you’re going to sit James Loney, where will Thome play? Possibly more of a move to acquire a veteran winner then to add much statistically. [Chicago Tribune Hardball]
Dukes optioned to AAA to make room for Nyjer Morgan. “The Washington Nationals sent Elijah Dukes to AAA Syracuse Wednesday morning, saying Dukes was not a “finished product” and needed to play every day rather than sit on the bench in the majors. The move came in response to the team’s acquisition of middle reliever Sean Burnett and center fielder Nyjer Morgan in Tuesday’s trade that sent Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan to the Pittsburgh Pirates.” [WaPo]
Credit ESPN with breaking this story first, and Bucs Dugout not far behind. Nate McLouth has been traded to the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Charlie Morton, minor league outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and minor league pitcher Jeff Locke.
This comes as a surprise for a few reasons. Just a few days ago we mentioned that trades in June probably wouldn’t happen because teams would be reluctant to show their fan base that they were giving up and raising the white flag. Well, we forget that MLB unfortunately houses the Pirates; who need something done for them for being a putrid organization.
The Pirates also locked up McLouth to a 3-year contact earlier this year. Something about his solid numbers (9 HR, 34 RBI, .258) made them ready to give him up after making him look like he was going to be a guy they built around. This move is puzzling to say the least.
On the other hand, McLouth is 27 and the Pirates are in a constant state of rebuilding. That isn’t a young age when you are an organization like the Pirates. And although the Reds aren’t far behind them in futility; I thank God everyday that I’m not a Pirates fan because of stuff like this.
“This may be the toughest decision we have made in my time with the organization. Nate is a quality player and person but, as we have said several times, tough decisions will need to be made as we build and sustain a championship-caliber organization. Nate has worked as hard as any player to become a starting major league Player, proving wrong anyone who may have doubted him. When we signed Nate to a long-term contract, we did so with the intent on having him remain part of our core of homegrown talent. But the quality and quantity of talent we are receiving in this trade moves us closer to our goal of building that sustainable championship-caliber club and compelled us to move a very good player and an outstanding young man.”
Don’t expect any June trades just yet. “Rarely will you find a significant deal in early June. Why? Again, teams are reluctant to make a move that will be interpreted as a public surrender, even when the odds suggest it might be the prudent thing to do. “There is very little [trade talk] going on now,” said another GM.” [Sports Illustrated]
This morning we open up with some pretty big news concerning a possible trade of one of the finest power pitchers in all of baseball:
According to Padres personnel, Peavy met with Padres manager Bud Black late Wednesday night to discuss a trade overture from the Sox.
Peavy, whose consent would be needed for a trade to any club, declined all comment after meeting with Black.
Within the clubhouse, though, Peavy referred to the situation as “something to think about” yet also restated his desire to stay in the National League. One of Peavy’s teammates said he believes Peavy respects the Sox’s aggressiveness in pushing for him but may have reservations about pitching for Ozzie Guillen, the White Sox’s volatile manager.
This would be the first blockbuster of the season. Jake Peavy is perhaps the most prestigous Padres player since Tony Gwynn and maybe their finest starting pitcher ever when you take into consideration stuff and age (he’s only 27). They’re talking just two White Sox prospects in this deal to get it done. It’s obvious that because of his salary number, Peavy is going to go somewhere. We’re hearing the latest is that it’s a done deal and Peavy just needs to waive his no-trade clause. More as it develops.
Peavy trade to White Sox may be near [San Diego Union Tribune]
We always liked scrappy Jeff Keppinger. Guy was never highly hyped or touted, but he hit at every level he’d ever played at including the Major Leagues. Keppinger was traded to the Houston Astros today as a result of a clog of Reds middle infielders.
“I’m just glad they didn’t release me,” Keppinger said. “I was going to ask if they were going to release me just because of my spring numbers.”
“It’s good,” Keppinger said. “Maybe the opportunity’s better for me over there. I might get a chance to play. Looking around here, it didn’t look like I would play too much. That’s kind of how my career has been. I always get roadblocked somewhere, and I go to a team that kind of needs something. Before you know it, they give me my shot to play.”
So we’ll miss those high socks and that closed stance. We’re fairly certain the guy will hit .350 against the Reds for the next 5 years in Houston. They’re getting a nice player.
Update: The Reds have until May 1 to select a Minor Leaguer to complete the deal.