Archive for July, 2017

Scouting Willie Calhoun and the Yu Darvish Return

Yu Darvish was traded to Los Angeles ahead of the deadline. In return, Texas got three good pieces, including one very entertaining one who will be ready to contribute to the big club soon.

Dodgers get
RHP Yu Darvish

Rangers get
DH Willie Calhoun
RHP A.J. Alexy
INF Brendon Davis

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With Sonny Gray, the Yankees Are World Series-Ready

The A’s were never going to hold. There was simply too much for them to lose. Sure, the rumors flew around, but they never made sense, as the A’s aren’t stupid. The A’s were never going to hold, and the Yankees were always the obvious match. They stood to gain the most in the short-term, and they stood to gain the most in the long-term. An agreement felt virtually inevitable, and while there were tugs on either side, there’s nothing like a deadline to push negotiators toward a decision. As time ran out, the A’s and the Yankees finally came together, as one would’ve figured they would.

Yankees get:

  • Sonny Gray
  • $1.5 million in international bonus money

A’s get:

The Yankees get to sell it as a move for a good starting pitcher in which they didn’t have to give up their absolute top-tier prospects. The A’s get to sell it as a move for three talented young players, each of whom could make a big-league splash. Neither interpretation would be incorrect — that’s how the spin goes when you’re dealing with a system as deep as New York’s. The A’s did well to get what they did, and there’s something to dream on with all of these players, yet the bigger takeaway for now is that the Yankees have taken another step forward. Their transition period is complete, and they’re now ready to try for a title.

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Scouting Dustin Fowler, James Kaprielian and Jorge Mateo

After months of scouring the market for another starting pitcher and weeks of industry chatter suggesting it would likely, eventually, be Sonny Gray, the Yankees have acquired the righty shortly before the trade deadline. It came at a fairly steep price. Below is analysis of the prospects sent to Oakland in the deal.

Yankees get

  • RHP Sonny Gray
  • International bonus slot

Athletics get

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The Best Reliever Traded at the Deadline

Evaluating relievers is difficult given their small sample of work in any given year and their volatility from year to year. But, given the fact that the most active sector of the trade deadline ended up being relievers, it makes sense to put them all in one place and wonder who got the best one. Might there be a surprising answer since the Padres ended up holding Brad Hand’s production on their roster?

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Projecting Dustin Fowler and Jorge Mateo

The Yankees traded for Sonny Gray. Below are the projections for the prospects the Athletics received in exchange for Gray’s services. Although he is a major part of this trade, I do not have a projection for James Kaprielian, who has thrown just 29 innings as a professional and zero since April 2016. WAR figures account for the player’s first six major-league seasons. KATOH denotes the stats-only version of the projection system, while KATOH+ denotes the methodology that includes a player’s prospect rankings.

Dustin Fowler, OF (Profile)

KATOH: 9.0 WAR (28th)

KATOH+: 8.8 WAR (18th)

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Astros Add Francisco Liriano, Plan an Experiment

For a second straight deadline period, Francisco Liriano is reportedly on the move. This time the lefty is heading from the Blue Jays to the Astros for outfielder Nori Aoki and a outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez

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The Red Sox Now Have a Second Good Reliever

Although the Red Sox have been stuck in a slump, they’re still hanging onto a playoff position, and they’re barely behind the Yankees for first. The Sox have a bullpen that ranks third in baseball in WAR, and, even better than that, they have a bullpen that ranks first in baseball in Win Probability Added. The bullpen, you could say, has been the least of Boston’s problems, and yet, we say it every deadline — every good team could use another reliever. And in Boston’s case, their success has been primarily driven by the almost literally unhittable Craig Kimbrel. What the Red Sox haven’t had so much of is reliever depth, being without both Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith. And so, Monday has brought the following move:

Red Sox get:

Mets get:

(Note: pending medicals!)

The Mets recently picked up A.J. Ramos, signaling that they intend to try to contend again next season. Moving Reed is hardly surprising, then — he’s a 28-year-old stretch-run rental. What the Mets have received is a trio of right-handed minor-league relievers measuring at 6-foot-2. As usual, any one of these young players could suddenly emerge to become a relevant big-leaguer. Yet the Sox haven’t subtracted from the top of the farm, and now they’ve grabbed one of the more extreme relievers around.

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2017 Trade Deadline Day Chat

Travis Sawchik: Happy Trade Deadline Day, folks

Travis Sawchik: T-minus four hours until the non-waiver deadline …

The String Cheese Incident: Think the Tigers are done, or do you see another piece (Kinsler, Iglesias, etc.) moving today?

Travis Sawchik: Tigers seem committed to moving pieces so I could see another trade or two … not sure what the market is like for Kinsler. …. They need to do better than the J.D. Martinez return

Benny from the Glock: Would Yankees push for Darvish if Gray fell through?

Travis Sawchik: Darvish is a shorter-term option, of course, but it seems logical that they would target him if Gray fell through

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Adrian Beltre Joins the 3,000-Hit Club

Take a knee for a minute to appreciate just how great Adrian Beltre is. (Photo: Keith Allison)

When you think of Adrian Beltre, the first thought that comes to mind might just be his defense. In the early parts of his career, that was his bread and butter. He does, after all, rank 19th all-time in Def, and 10th since the color barrier was broken in 1947. By the time he retires, top 15 in Def is well within his reach.

And yet, Beltre is just as prolific as a hitter! He’s been one of the best players ever on both sides of the ball. Yesterday, he became just the 31st member of the 3,000-hit club. That’s pretty amazing. It’s pretty much an automatic ticket to the Hall of Fame (don’t worry, Rafael Palmeiro will get there some day via some Veteran’s Committee). Beltre also ranks 15th in doubles, 38th in home runs, 21st in total bases and 21st in extra-base hits.

He doesn’t rank quite as high in rate statistics — his .195 ISO ranks 308th out of 3,953 qualified players, for instance. That’s still really, really good, but it doesn’t stand out quite as much. But he has been really good for a really long time. And he’s still playing well. If he’s not at the top of his game, he’s pretty close, and doing a lot better than a lot of other players at the time of their 3,000th hit. Let’s take a look:
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The Trade Deadline Isn’t As Important As We Think

My first year covering Major League Baseball was in 2013, when I reported on the Pirates for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. If you recall, that was also the year that the Pirates ended the longest consecutive stretch of losing seasons — 20 of them — in major North American professional sports history.

Immediately after the non-waiver trade deadline passed that season, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington arrived at a makeshift podium in a conference room in the depths of PNC Park. He was asked to explain why he had not executed a trade to strengthen a club trying to secure not only its first winning season since 1992, but also its first playoff appearance since that season. Read the rest of this entry »