MLB News & Views @ MLBRT 7/20

This weeks MLB news and views from the MLBRT…

1) The Cubs and the White Sox made a trade where the White Sox sent lhp Jose Quintana to the Cubs for the Cubs top hitting prospect Eloy Jimenez as well as top pitching prospect Dylan Cease plus two Single A players.  

A) Who wins the trade? 

B) Are the Cubs now finished “fixing” the team or is this just the beginning?

Quintana strikes out 12 in sparkling Cubs debut

Joe: I kinda think its a tie.

At first, I wasn’t sure if Quintana was worth the prospects (two top prospects) that the Cubs gave up, but if he can keep pitching as he has in his last few starts before the trade as well as his first start… 7 shutout innings, 3 hits and striking out 12… for the Cubs, then maybe they actually stole him from the Sox.  Or, at least paid a fair price for him.

As far as are they finished with fixing their roster? Not by a long shot. I expect then to make at lest one more trade and probably two, before the deadline. Who they wind up going after  beats the heck out of me, but I seriously suspect Theo Epstein ain’t done tinkering with the present makeup of the Cubs’ roster.

Steve: They both won the trade. Both teams got exactly what they wanted.

The Cubs got the starter they were looking for, and the Sox went for youth to rebuild their club to compete for 2020.

As far as the Cubs go, they are not finished, and I look for them to acquire yet another starter. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a push for Verlander.

2) The Washington Nationals bullpen has blown more than one-third of its save chances in 2017. In an effort to fix that problem, the Nationals’ recently acquired relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from the Oakland Athletics for right-hander Blake Treinen and a pair of prospects. Neither of the Nats’ minor leaguers are considered to be top prospects. 

Did this trade fix the Nationals bullpen issues or do they need to look for another bullpen person, preferably with extensive closer experience? 

Joe: I guess this trade helps the Nats’ bullpen but truthfully… they need more than these two guys if they are looking  to advance further than the first round in the playoffs. But like the old saying goes.. ya get what ya pay off. They didn’t exactly give up anyone that they are probably gonna miss all that much and they got the same in return… two players who might help and then again they might not. Or… no one the Athletics will miss that much; just some payroll cutting fodder and who knows the prospects might actually turn out good.

What they need is a proven closer who doesn’t blow saves. And for that they need to give up some prospects who have more potential than what they gave up in this trade.

Steve: It’s not enough.

It is a step in the right direction, but they need a few more pieces, and a solid closer in order to really claim stake to the top team in the National League. 

3) The Panda… Pablo Sandoval… reign at 3rd base for the Boston Red Sox is essentially over as the team designated him for assignment on Friday. Since then rumors have been heard that Sandoval could return to the San Francisco Giants, where he was a member of the 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Series champion teams. When Giants’ GM Bobby Evans was asked about the possibility of the team reuniting with Sandoval he answered, “I can’t get into speculation one way or other on a player under contract elsewhere.” 

Boston has until July 24 to either trade or release him. 

Does a Giant/Sandoval reunion make sense for the Giants in any way, shape or form? Why or why not?

According to multiple reports Pablo Sandoval has struck a minor league deal to return to the San Francisco Giants, pending a physical

Joe: If I’m part of the Giants’ braintrust, my vote says don’t bother.

They got too many other issue to worry about than considering taking on  the Panda and his bad habits.

Steve: The project for Panda in Boston was an epic fail.

I would jump on it if I were the Giants because I think he may feel more comfortable in San Francisco.

The Giants honestly have nothing to lose to re-acquire him, as it will cost them virtually nothing.

4) As of July 6th, the New York Yankees 1st basemen have combined for a miserable .200/.292/.377 line in 343 plate appearances … the lowest batting average and second-lowest OPS (.668) at that position in the majors. 1st base is usually regarded as a power hitters position but the Yankees’ 1st basemen have combined to hit just 13 home (24th in MLB) and have 109 strikeouts (5th most in the AL.)

Their attempts to fix the problem through their minor league teams or by acquiring another team’s minor league player have obviously come to naught. 

Should the Yankees eventually make a move by the trade deadline to fix that problem, and if so, who do you see theme most likely trying to get?  

Or, should they stay the course (they were supposed to be rebuilding this year anyway) and don’t overpay with prospects to acquire what could wind up being an expensive fix? 

Joe: My gut instinct is that they should stand pat unless someone comes in and overwhelms them. The George Steinbrenner style of baseball management, where he threw millions at so-called star players and won a grand total of 7 World championships for all of that money spent, is best left in the rear view mirror.

Having said all this, news comes down Tuesday night that the Yanks and the White Sox made a trade with the Yankees getting former All-Star closer David Robertson, former All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier and reliever Tommy Kahnle and the White Sox getting prized outfield prospect Blake Rutherford, veteran reliever Tyler Clippard, and two other minor leaguers. So, as a Yankee fan let me review the trade…

I really like getting the two relievers, they are needed arms in a bullpen that was underperforming. But, to be truthful… I didn’t like getting Frazier and his .207 BA. Then I read about his home and away splits and it was like the difference between night and day.. at his home field, US Cellular Field he hit about .142… and away from from his home field he hit he hit about .270. I just hope he leaves his home field problems in Chicago.

By itself, getting rid of relief pitcher Clippard might have been worth making the trade. He single handedly probably cost the Yankees at least 3 to 5 losses during their recent downspin. Right now, that is the difference from them being in a tie for first place or leading the East by two games. Losing Rutherford hurts. His ceiling is real high… plus, he is an excellent fielder at all three outfield positions. In short he is a top prospect. The other two minor leaguers? They may pan out for the White Sox and they may not, but they were not likely to be in the Yankees’ future plans.

Bottom line… I think this was a good trade that the Yanks didn’t over pay for. Rutherford’s loss hurts but the Yanks are stacked at the outfield position with Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier already in the bigs and others chomping at the bit down on the farm.

Steve: Before I saw the last part of this question. I immediately said leave it alone! They are going to be fine and just because they have struggles at first base, they still have a great farm system, and can likely find a First Baseman out of that. Don’t spend unnecessary money if you don’t have to.

5) The Red Sox have the same problem at 3rd base as the Yanks do at first base. The team has already taken steps towards fixing the problem when they DFAed Pablo Sandoval. Rumors are that they will not fix the problem through their minor league system but by acquiring a starting 3rd baseman by the trade deadline. 

Who do you see the Red Sox most likely trying to get and why? 

Joe: Guess what? Their rumored number one choice… Todd Frazier… is off the board.

Media scuttlebutt is saying that the A’s Jed Lowrie and the Giants Eduardo Nunez are now two players they are looking at. However, since their rumored number one choice… one vaunted media head, who shall be left unnamed, was saying it “was inevitable” that Frazier would be changing Sox… is now off the board, I don’t look for them to go small… rather I expect them to start calling the Orioles about Manny Machado and the Jays about Josh Donaldson.

Steve: Assuming they are going to be sellers, and this is debatable. I could see them making a play for Mike Moustakas of the Royals. He would have an immediate impact for the Red Sox. However, I think the more realistic choice is going to be Todd Frazier of the White Sox. The Sox have proven they will deal with the White Sox, and the White Sox are in full rebuild mode. They could get a few minor leaguers and draft picks from Boston for a slugger like Frazier.

Extra Innings…

On this day in MLB history there have been two no-hitters…

In 1958, Jim Bunning of the Detroit Tigers threw a  no-hit game and the Tigers beat the Boston Red Sox 3-0 in the first game of a doubleheader.

Later in his career, as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, Bunning threw a perfect game in a 6-0 win against the New York Mets on  June 21, 1964.

Bunning is also unique in that he is the only MLB player to have been elected to both the U.S. Senate and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

In 1970, Bill Singer of the Los Angeles Dodgers threw a no-hit game and the Dodgers  beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0.

Singer lost more games than he won (118-127) in his carrier and the no-hitter along with two All-Star game selections are his biggest career highlights.

One other notable piece of MLB history and trivia attached to Bill Singer is that on April 7, 1969 Singer was credited with MLB’s first official save when the LA Dodgers beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 on Opening Day.

In game that Don Drysdale had started, Dodgers manager Walter Alston called Singer into the game in the 7th inning. Singer faced ten batters and only allowed one walk as he threw the final 3 innings of the game and preserved the win for Drysdale.

The first official save in the Major Leagues was now a matter of Baseball history.

 

 

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