Around the League...
Some quick hits...
- Frankly, i have no idea what effect this has on anything, but the Cubs are one of three teams to have opted out of the MLB/StubHub agreement that was recently renewed. I imagine tickets for Wrigley will still be available on StubHub, but not in some official capacity. I also imagine the Ricketts didn't like seeing tickets going for $2 on game day on StubHub that still cost $20 or more if you purchased from MLB.com.
- Jason Grilli ended up officially resigning with the Pittsburg Pirates today, although it was rumored last week that would be the case. It was claimed he had a better offer that he turned down to return to Pittsburgh, which may or may not have been the Cubs offer.
- Zack Greinke, a good, but not great pitcher, got great pitcher money from the Dodgers to the tune of 6/147M. While the Yankees West should certainly be competitive next year (if for any reason that Kemp and Kershaw are on the right side of 30), I sure hope they're committed to blowing through the luxury tax every year, because that's what it's going to take to stay competitive and continue to hand out absurd deals. Once you decide you're going to be the big spenders, the only way to stay successful is to ALWAYS be the big spender. As for the anti-Hendry deal, it's actually front-loaded with a player opt-out after 3 years and Greinke did not get a no-trade clause (other than the automatic 10/5 that would kick in for the final season). I've always wondered why teams did not do that more often, paying upfront for what are likely the better years and making the backend of the contract more affordable in case of a trade. Of course it takes two and players are probably not as keen on the idea, but this deal certainly shows that it's possible. Overall, really dumb deal for a good, but not great pitcher, but the structure may mitigate some of the risk.
- Then there was the blockbuster Royals/Rays trade. Rany Jazayerli has a take I mostly agree with essentially raking the Royals over the coals for the short-sighted deal. Baseball America has a more neutral approach quoting the infamous anonymous sources that generally grade the trade as positive for the Royals. I mostly disagree there, but it did provide for this quote from the author JJ Cooper on twitter.
Much more reason to be nuanced when you work inside game then writing from outside. Hyperbole on outside more valuable than nuance.
Much like the Cubs trade for Garza, the Royals gave up some of their best prospect talent for someone that isn't one of the best talents at his position at the major league level. On a risk/reward basis, it's undoubtedly a trade in the favor of the Rays. They stocked up the system with 4 good prospects (one elite) and considering their budgetary woes, it's what they have to do and they're very good at doing it. It's essentially a no-brainer deal for them, gain more players of what they certainly deem as equal if not better talent, for more years and less money. I's their business model and it works, even if not every asset in that portfolio turns green for them.
For the Royals, it was a big price to pay for some starting pitching they desperately needed. The risk is that it ends up like the Cubs did with Garza, a desperate trade that barely makes the team better now and just further hinders them in the future. The other risk is in believing James Shields is an ace, just waiting to leave the AL East, but hope we all learned our lesson on that after Garza.
There's obviously some upside as well, Shields and Davis (along with Ervin Santana) take the Royals rotation from worst thing ever this side of the Cubs rotation to the middle of the pack and IF all that young offensive talent explodes, the Royals will be sitting pretty. But that's placing all your bets on the upside and not factoring in any downside. It may work, but the odds aren't great. It seems the Rays made the smart move, the Royals made the riskier move and only time will tell us who "won" out.
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.