Trade… & tight pennant races…
The biggest news is probably the big trade of Aroldis Chapman to the Cubbies but there was a whole lot more going on in baseball… tightening pennant races, beating the shift… and the crew is at the roundtable discussing some of latest baseball news…
1) In the Yankees vs Orioles game last Wednesday (7/20) night, with the score 2-0 in the 6th inning in favor of the Yankees… no one out, man on 1st and Carlos Beltran, the leader on the Yanks in HRs with 20, the Orioles put on the shift to “protect “ against his left hand power. Beltran pushed a bunt down the 3rd base line that stayed fair and he, essentially (he did stumble out of the box), crawled to 1st. Now the situation is men on 2nd and 3rd nobody out… pic.twitter.com/1re7X8zLVf
Here’s the question: It’s a wise move by Beltran… take what they give you… or… he gets paid to hit HRs; not get singles. Which side are you on?
Archie: I have always been a proponent for taking what the defense gives you. I wish McCann had done more of the same when in Atlanta. NOW, the defense has two men on, no one out. He PUT A MAN in scoring position.
As a Manager I will take that anytime.
Dan: I’m going to keep Beltran in and let him get a base hit. If, he gets a single, I can have my team score runs. I don’t care what he does at the plate as long as it’s contributing to the success of the team.
I think it was a wise move by Beltran. He took what they gave him and he was able to help out his team. I have no problem with what he did.
Earl: Beltran made the smart veteran move there. He moved the runners along and took what the Orioles were giving him. It’s a smart play considering he could have tried to hit a home run and either popped up or into a double play therefore killing the momentum.
What he did was smart, very smart.
I know its easier said than done, but, I have always been amazed that more players don’t do what Beltran did.
Beltran absolutely did the right thing by trying to get on base. I don’t have any problem with a power hitter making the defense pay for utilizing the shift. It was awesome to see and really made the Orioles look ridiculous.
Every player gets paid to do a job, and that is to help their team win. Whether, he hits a home run or is able to keep the inning alive by getting on base, that is ultimately what will help his team win.
2) What a difference a week or two makes in MLB… not that long ago with almost every division leader in their respective divisions in first place comfortably, the discussion centered on if anyone thought any of the division races would be in question as the season crept to the playoffs or were the other teams just playing for wild card spots.
As of this Monday morning… AL East is as tight as can be with Boston trailing the Orioles by just 1 ½ games and Toronto is back of the Orioles by just 3. The AL West is tightening up, too. Houston who looked dead in the water, not that long ago, now, trails Texas by just 2 ½ games. And, in the NL West the Dodgers are 3 back of the Giants, who stumbled hard coming out of the All-Star break.
Even the NL East is sort of tighter than it was with Miami just 4 ½ games behind Washington and the Mets only a ½ game behind Miami.
Simply put, now, how do you see these divisions shaking out by season’s end?
Washington will win the NL East and I will maintain that San Francisco is the team to beat in the NL West.
Dan: In the AL East, I see the Red Sox taking the division. They have a great offense this season as it’s clicking up and down their lineup. They also have had some solid pitching performances. With how good they’ve been playing all season without them taking a break or cooling off too much, I think they can definitely take the division.
In the AL West, I believe Texas will win the battle over Houston but it will come close. While Prince Fielder wasn’t doing much, he still was contributing. Him being out for the rest of the season due to neck surgery is going to hurt their offensive production, but I don’t think they will have too many problems filling in the role he was playing this season.
Earl: The AL East will remain tight to the end with the Orioles, Red Sox, and Jays chasing each other and the AL West should remain competitive too now that the Astros are climbing and the Rangers are stumbling. One of those five teams I just mentioned is going to be sitting home in October and that’s going to be a shame but that is how tight the AL East and West are.
Houston can catch Texas mainly because Texas has injuries up the wazoo and needs to inject some new energy quick or they maybe soon looking at Houston’s tail lights.
In the NL East… sooner or later Washington is going to hit a slump and leave the door open for either the Marlins or the Mets to make a move… maybe even both . I see that division tightening up before all is said and done.
And, in the NL West… I expect the Giants to get it together real soon and put some distance between them and the Dodgers. I just don’t see the Dodgers making the playoffs this year forget about winning the division… especially, if Kershaw is on the DL for any extended period of time.
Steve: The Mets are not going away, I think they may try and land a starter to replace Harvey, and, if, Matz and Syndergaard’s arms can stay arm healthy, they can lead this team to a playoff berth again. I still think Washington holds on to the lead, but, it will come down to the last week of the season.
The Cubs are going to win the NL Central and the Giants should keep their lead in the West, but, I like the Dodgers to come out with the wild card berth.
Over in the AL… I think Boston and Toronto will get their stuff together and overtake Baltimore. I don’t trust the Orioles starting pitching after Chris Tillman, they cannot survive a second half surge by heavy powered Boston and Toronto, especially since the Jays will get Bautista back soon.
The Central is intriguing. I like the Indians to keep that lead but the Royals will make a push, and, don’t count out the Tigers.
The Wild, Wild West… this is going to Houston. After a horrid start, the Astros are playing better than anyone right now. Texas is hurt and hurt bad, it seems as if 60% of their roster is now on the DL, and, Houston is capitalizing on it. I think Houston takes this division by a few games, but, if, they get healthy, Texas gets a wild card spot.
3) If, the Yankees do trade Aroldis Chapman as everything seems to indicate, and, in lieu of the team having gone 8-5 against 4 first place teams (Orioles and Red Sox keep trading first in the AL East) East) do you think they continue working the phone lines to trade off more of the team or do they stand pat and try and make a run for a wild card?
(Editors’ note… Chapman was traded to the Cubs after this question was posed to the Round Table participants. However, the gist of the question is still valid… do the Yanks sell or do they try and go for it with what they have.)
Archie: It would be an indicator to me that the Yankees would be looking to next year IF they trade Chapman. I mean, why WOULD you trade one of the best in the business, IF, you are still serious about the season?
Sometimes making a move just for the sake of making a move MAKES NO sense at all.
This organization needs to start building a solid farm system and growing from home grown talent. Stop wasting overly huge enormous contracts on players who are old or aren’t performing like how they used to be. Keep trading, toss the season as a poor performance overall and look towards next year.
Earl: The Yankees trading Chapman to the Cubs was smart. They traded four non prospects to the Reds just to get Chapman and they got a good return on their investment. The Yankees are too far out of the AL East to make a run, and they should try to trade players for prospects. Trading Andrew Miller would make sense because he should return some prospects that are closer to the Major League level. Trading Beltran to a contender would also make sense at this point.
By now it is apparent that Chapman was traded for four players from the Cubs… Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren and two other minor leaguers who have a shot to someday contribute to the major league roster. Torres is supposed to be the best prospect in the Cubs system and from all that I read, it appears he has great potential. As a Yankee fan I hope that someday we get to see that great potential realized into at least a steady every day fielder who can hit close to, or above, .300 at the minimum. They also got back Adam Warren. Warren wasn’t doing so great in Chicago but the thing is he was one of the players that the Yanks (the other was minor leaguer who as far as I know is not considered to be a prospect of any importance) Starlin Castro and he WAS doing pretty decent as a long reliever and spot starter for the Yanks last year. Castor is now the present Yanks’ second baseman and is not too shabby in the field and doing fair to middling as a hitter… in other words, he’s doing better than a lot of other so-called stars that are presently clogging up the Yankees batting order. So, the final tally is this… the Yanks essentially get Starlin Castro and Torres, plus two other minor league players for Aroldis Chapman. Warren is a wash. That’s a damn good trade in my book.
Now… considering all of that… I don’t think any Yankee is an untouchable except for players who are up and coming stars… such as Didi Gregorious. Some players can get you more than others and some players you just want to find a team “dumb” enough to take them off your hands (Gardner, Sabathia, Ellsbury and Teixeira anybody?) Other players (Carlos Beltran or Andrew Miller), on the hand, you had better get overwhelmed with an offer before they are traded. And, when I say overwhelmed I mean overwhelmed… for instance, if the Yankees were to trade Miller… a ready made major leaguer who can get plugged into the everyday lineup right now and some real good minor league prospects. If, you don’t get overwhelmed then just stay the course and hope somehow, some way you climb up the standings and make the playoffs.
Steve: Good move by the Yankees to give him to the Cubs. Okay, I’m a little biased because as a Cubs fan, I love this move. The Yankees did the right think in keeping Miller in their bullpen, as he will have more long term success and Chapman was likely leaving after this season anyway. So, they did a nice job on keeping a fairly inexpensive top tier reliever and letting the higher priced Chapman go, and, also, really helped their system long term.
I think they are still in it right now, but really need a starting pitcher or two to really make a difference in a post season appearance.
4) Time to play GM… In light of Chris Sale having his “fit” about wearing a White Sox throw back uniform that resulted in a 5 day suspension (he misses a start just before the trade deadline) would you still try to trade for him and how much of your prospect bankroll would you be willing to expend to get him?
Archie: AS good as he is, a club house CANCER is not always worth the risk of upsetting the apple cart. IF, I were in a rebuilding stage, like Atlanta, I might take him in a trade package looking to the ’17 season. However, IF, I am a contender this season and have no Clubhouse issues, I might think twice before taking on a prima dona.
And, let’s face it, IF, the Steelers can wear their god awful Bumble Bee uniforms in front of 60K+, Chris could wear that throwback without any fuss IMO.
Dan: If, I was playing GM of the Brewers, I’m not giving up anybody for him. While he would be a great addition to the roster as the Brewers are one of the worst pitching teams in the league as a whole, the prospects the White Sox would try to acquire isn’t worth it. Arcia isn’t being touched, a couple catchers won’t be touched, and I wouldn’t want to give up any other top minor leaguers either at this point in time.
If, I was a team that needed an extra boost on the staff, or a for sure to help bolster their World Series run, yes, I would definitely give up what I need to in order to win the World Series and acquire Chris Sale. I really don’t have a problem with the overall situation, I think he went a little far, but he was upset about the jerseys. The pitcher always gets to pick the jerseys and it sounded like they didn’t let him. That’s not very fair but I do believe he took it too far. He could’ve just accepted it for the one time and pitched in the throwbacks
Earl: Ever since the Adam and Drake LaRoche incident in spring training, I’m still surprised Sale got off to a hot start and that he’s still an integral part of this White Sox team. White Sox management are far more patient than I am because I would have traded Sale months ago. I don’t care how good he is, because you can’t have someone that volatile in your clubhouse (even if he is a good teammate). So I wouldn’t trade for him to be honest, but if I were the White Sox I would deal him ASAP. They need to rebuild and he would be a big piece in making that rebuild process go smoother.
Joe: I wouldn’t over pay for Sale but I would make a fair enough offer of maybe two or three decent minor league players and a starter for him. a far as his being a problem in the clubhouse… winning solves a lot of problems.
I’m still not convinced he’s the real deal and that this season isn’t an anomaly to his career. He just seems to have one good year; then one so-so year. But, I would take a flyer on him if I could do it without trading away my top prospects in the minors.
Chris Sale needs a change of scenery. He is clearly upset with the franchise, and, despite that, is still probably one of the three best pitchers in baseball. Put him on a contending team and if someone uses him properly, he can be a consistent 20 game winner and rack up many awards.
If, I were the GM of the Sox, I would identify with this, and, realize that the team can get a lot for him right now. So, deal him to help your team win in the next couple years.
5) Who watched the All-Star festivities and/or game, and who didn’t? If, you did what was the best moment of the event for you; if you didn’t, then was there any special reason why not?
Archie: Special Reason why I did not: IT has become a “Non-Event” for me. I don’t like the format for voting. I don’t like the format for selecting the pitching staff. I don’t like the last minute voting for the final spots. And, I, especially, don’t care for the winning team’s league gets home field advantage in the WS. To me, one does not have anything to do with the other.
Dan: I watched some. I didn’t get to see the whole All-Star Game due to me being at work and not exactly having all that much time to watch it. But, I did watch the entire HR Derby and to me, that was by far the best part of All-Star week. It was fantastic watching Giancarlo Stanton mash on each pitch. It’s one thing to hit home run after home run out of Petco Park. It’s another to average higher than the 30-second bonus mark. I believe his average was 445+ while the 30-second bonus requirements state two home runs over 440 feet. Stanton’s top 5 home runs were all over 490 feet, with two being 497. It’s crazy power and was absolutely awesome to watch.
One more crazy fact to share before this week’s roundtable ends… Stanton had 61 HR in the derby. That was 6 more than Braves had the entire first half.
I can’t say I have any favorites since I barely watched.
Joe: This is interesting from my perspective because I didn’t watch a lot of any part of the All-Star festivities… but, I did watch some of the Home Run Derby and was amazed by some of the “HRs” that were blasted but then soon tired of that. I mean after a while its just a bunch of superior baseball players hitting a baseball and nothing else… so I turned it off.
And as far as the All-Star game… I had just turned the game on when Dick Enberg was beginning to make an on-field announcement. And, what an announcement it turned out to be… the winner of the American League batting title will be called the Rod Carew AL Batting Champion in honor of his .328 lifetime batting average, 7 batting average titles and 3,053 career hits and the winner of the National League batting title will be called the Tony Gwynn Batting Champion in honor of his .338 lifetime batting average, 8 batting titles and 3,141 hits. So that was real cool and probably the highlight of the little of the midsummer break highlights that I did see.
As for the game itself… I watched until the 5th inning… so, I got to see all the scoring in the game, which was won by AL 4-2. But, by that point they were making so many changes in the field, on the mound and the batting order that the game itself was turning into a joke. So, I went to bed.
MLB needs to face reality… the game as it is now played is nothing more than an exhibition game for fans, so they can see their favorite players all play in one spot. And, for that reason alone, it should never be what decides who gets home field advantage in the World Series. Personally, that should be given to the team who has the best record in the regular season in my book.
I did enjoy the Home Run derby, as it was a good story with Todd Frazier, who came close to going back to back. Gio just crushed the ball with insane power, so, that was fun to watch. Other than that, the game itself was not too entertaining.
On July 28, 1971, sixteen time Gold Glove winner Brooks Robinson, very arguably the best fielding third baseman of all time, committed 3 errors, not just in one game, but, in one inning! His errors allowed 2 unearned runs to score for the Oakland A’s.
However, with the score 2-0 in the 9th, Frank Robinson slugged a three-run homer bailing his teammate out of wearing the goat horns and the Orioles wound up winning 3-2.
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