Two things are simultaneously true about the American League wild-card race. One, none of the teams, outside of the Yankees, are particularly good. Even the Yankees have their own flaws, but the rest of the teams in the mix are even weaker. One could argue whether any of them will deserve to be playoff teams at all. Two, there will be playoff teams. There will be, probably, the Yankees and someone else. No matter what you might think about team quality, playoff positions are at stake, and a playoff spot, for any club, holds considerable value. We don’t actually know how the playoffs will ever go. The biggest thing is just making it there. Plenty of AL teams are trying to make it there.
It’s with this year’s playoff race in mind that we’ve got the following trade:
- Justin Upton
- moderate 2017 salary relief
- Grayson Long
- a player to be named later
The Angels are not a good baseball team, relative to other baseball teams. However, they don’t need to be good — rather, they just need to be good enough. Upton could well make them good enough, and because this trade was made official today, Upton, of course, would be eligible for the playoff roster. Upton’s contract does have another four years, but this trade is very much about today, tomorrow, and the weeks a little after that.