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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Today in Baseball History: The White Sox trade Sammy Sosa to the Cubs

In July of 1985 the Texas Rangers signed Sammy Sosa out of the Dominican Republic. He was just one of many rising young talents that rebuilding Rangers team would develop in the mid-to-late 80s. By the dawn of the 1989 season he, along with an about-to-truly-break-out Ruben Sierra, the recently-acquired Rafael Palmerio, and young pitchers Kenny Rogers, Kevin Brown, and Wilson Alvarez were all poised to be a part of the next good Rangers club.

And that 1989 club — which also featured veteran pitchers Nolan Ryan and Charlie Hough, veteran hitter Julio Franco and a powerful young slugger named Pete Incaviglia — was good, at least for a little while. The powerful Oakland A’s owned the AL West at the time, but Texas broke out pretty quickly, fell back a bit, but by late June had climbed to within two games of the Bash Brothers. That inspired General Manager Tom Grieve to add a bat. He found a trading partner in Larry Himes, GM for the Chicago White Sox.

The bat he added: Harold Baines, who had been raking for the White Sox in the first 96 games of the season. The price for Baines: young Sammy Sosa, who had gotten his first taste of the big leagues in June and early July. He wasn’t ready for it and was a liability in 88 plate appearances. Years later, President George W. Bush, who was the owner of the Rangers at the time of the trade, would cite his approval of the Baines-Sosa deal as his biggest regret, but it made a good deal of short-term sense at the time. Unfortunately for the Rangers Baines was pretty average in the season’s final couple of months. The Rangers faded badly in the dog days of August and finished the season 16 games back of the eventual World Series champ Athletics.

The White Sox were quite high on their new young, toolsy prospect at first. After the trade in 1989 Sosa put up a decent .273/.351/.414 (118 OPS+), which was certainly promising. In 1990, however, he’d falter, batting .233/.282/.404 with 15 homers in 579 plate appearances in his first full year in the bigs. He flashed some of the speed he had shown in the Rangers’ system — he stole 32 bases — but he was also caught stealing 16 times which was less-than-ideal. The next year he declined sharply, hitting only .203/.240/.335 with 10 homers. That July he’d earn a demotion to Triple-A. It was pretty clear he had played his way out of the White Sox’ future plans, even if he was only 22.

 

 

QLE Posted: March 31, 2020 at 12:41 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, history, sammy sosa, trades, white sox

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Kenta Maeda requested trade from Dodgers

New Twins starter Kenta Maeda posted a video on YouTube in which he says that he asked the Dodgers for a trade (h/t to Dylan Hernandez for the translation). Maeda eventually got his wish when he was traded to Minnesota just before the start of camp.

The news is hardly shocking. Maeda had been with the Dodgers since 2016, when he made the jump to MLB from the Japanese league. He signed an eight-year deal with a base salary of just $25 million, with a lot more money being tied up in performance incentives. The full details of Maeda’s deal can be found here at Cot’s Baseball Contracts (a fantastic resource) but basically, Maeda gets fairly substantial bonuses tied to both the number of games he starts and the amount of innings he pitches. It’s exactly the sort of contract that the MLBPA doesn’t like to see. Baseball money is guaranteed, except in deals like this one.

So, lo and behold, the Dodgers started limiting the number of games Maeda worked as a starter, instead deploying him more and more often as a reliever. And to be clear, Maeda’s damn good when he’s coming out of the bullpen. He’s been used that way in the playoffs for the last few years, and he’s been great. Yet by all accounts, Maeda made it clear to the Dodgers that he wanted to be a starter. Being a starter is a point of pride for pitchers, and moreover, that’s how he gets his money.

Players are expected to do what’s necessary for the team to win, but there’s also an expected amount of good faith that goes into the relationships between players and teams. It sure looks like the uber-wealthy Dodgers jerked Maeda around to save some cash. It’s no wonder that he was unhappy there, and it’s no wonder that he requested a trade.

Well, this explains a bit more about the big trade of the off-season.

 

QLE Posted: March 01, 2020 at 12:37 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: kenta maeda, trades

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Ringer: The Myths Behind Boston’s Mookie Betts Trade Justification

“Boston did really well,” one executive told ESPN’s Buster Olney. “The Red Sox will reset fast,” said another, adding, “they’ll have money to spend in the next offseason.”

Many of these optimistic interpretations of Boston’s side of the trade are centered more in myth than reality. So as spring training begins and Betts prepares for the first non–Red Sox camp of his career, let’s tackle some of those myths and expose the rotten underbelly of Boston’s trade.

A deep dive into the financials behind the trade.


Monday, February 10, 2020

Joc Pederson trade to Angels reportedly off | MLB.com

If the Angels nixed the deal out of impatience, it was a dumb decision.

According to Rosenthal, it’s not clear why the trade fell through, but two potential explanations have been raised by his sources—the first is that the Dodgers decided to go a different way after the initial three-team Mookie Betts deal between the Dodgers, Red Sox and Twins was held up, and the other is that Angels owner Arte Moreno grew impatient while waiting for the Betts deal to be completed.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 10, 2020 at 08:27 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, dodgers, trades

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Mookie Betts on way to L.A.—again (source)

DODGERS GET: OF Mookie Betts, LHP David Price, cash (all from BOS); RHP Brusdar Graterol, 67th pick in 2020 Draft (both from MIN)
RED SOX GET: OF Alex Verdugo, SS Jeter Downs, C Connor Wong (all from LA)
TWINS GET: RHP Kenta Maeda, cash (both from LA)


Rays trade Emilio Pagán to Padres for Manuel Margot and a prospect

TAMPA (WFLA) – The Tampa Bay Rays have traded reliever Emilio Pagán to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Manuel Margot and catcher/outfielder Logan Driscoll, according to The Athletic.

Pagan had a breakout season with the Rays in 2019 appearing in a career-high 66 games, and had a team-high 20 saves with 96 strikeouts to 13 walks.

Margot will be the second Padres outfielder added to the Rays this offseason following a trade back in December that sent Tommy Pham to San Diego in exchange for Hunter Renfroe, Xavier Edwards & a player to be named later.

There’s no chance this trade will also end up baroque as all get out, is there?

 

QLE Posted: February 09, 2020 at 12:41 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: emilio pagan, manuel margot, padres, rays, trades

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Tony Clark says held-up Mookie Betts trade putting ‘players’ lives in state of limbo’

Tonight, on As The Mookie Turns:

The Major League Baseball Players Association had a strong message Friday for the teams involved in the held-up Mookie Betts blockbuster deal: Resolve it quickly.

Those were the words of executive director Tony Clark, who in a statement told the teams to conclude talks or move on.

“The proposed trades between the Dodgers, Red Sox, Twins, and Angels need to be resolved without further delay,” Clark said. “The events of this last week have unfairly put several Players’ lives in a state of limbo. The unethical leaking of medical information as well as the perversion of the salary arbitration process serve as continued reminders that too often Players are treated as commodities by those running the game.”

The blockbuster three-way trade, sources previously told ESPN, would send Red Sox right fielder Betts and starter David Price to the Dodgers; Dodgers outfielder Alex Verdugo and Twins pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol to the Red Sox; and Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda to the Twins.

 

QLE Posted: February 08, 2020 at 12:42 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mlbpa, mookie betts, tony clark, trades

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Angels To Acquire Joc Pederson

Jumping to the original announcement:

The Angels are set to acquire outfielder Joc Pederson from the Dodgers, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported. The Dodgers will get infielder Luis Rengifo in the deal, per Jeff Passan of ESPN.

This has been a wild night for the Dodgers, who previously struck an absolute blockbuster delivering former Red Sox superstar Mookie Betts and lefty David Price to LA. The Dodgers let go of outfielder Alex Verdugo in the deal and sent righty Kenta Maeda to the Twins in what will go down as one of the most memorable trades in recent baseball history.

This move’s quite an encore for the Dodgers, whose outfield has undergone massive changes in a small amount of time. Pederson and Verdugo were regulars last season, a 106-win campaign for the club, but now the unit’s fronted by two MVP winners in Betts and Cody Bellinger. There’s also the well-compensated A.J. Pollock and depth on hand in Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez and Matt Beaty.

To at least some extent, the Dodgers will miss the 27-year-old Pederson, who has been an easily above-average hitter since his first full season in 2015. Pederson’s now coming off a typically productive showing in 2019, when he slashed .249/.339/.538 with 3.0 fWAR and a a career-high 36 home runs in 514 plate appearances. If there’s one major knock on Pederson’s offense, it’s that the left-hander has struggled versus southpaws, who have held him to an awful .188/.263/.310 line during his time in the bigs.

QLE Posted: February 05, 2020 at 12:44 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, joc pederson, trades

Sources: Red Sox agree to trade Mookie Betts, David Price to Dodgers

The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to a blockbuster deal that will send former MVP Mookie Betts and left-hander David Price to Los Angeles for a package that includes outfielder Alex Verdugo, sources tell ESPN.

The trade includes a third team, the Minnesota Twins, with the Dodgers sending starter Kenta Maeda to Minnesota, which in turn will ship hard-throwing pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol to Boston, sources said, confirming a report by The Athletic.

The deal is pending medical reviews.

With the bidding for Betts heating up between the Dodgers and the National League West rival San Diego Padres in recent days, Boston chose to deal with Los Angeles and improve the team that lost in the division series to the Washington Nationals, the eventual World Series champions.

You know, it isn’t every day that a team with four World Series wins in the last sixteen years abruptly decides to tank for reasons that no one can understand…..

 

 

QLE Posted: February 05, 2020 at 12:24 AM | 68 comment(s)
  Beats: david price, dodgers, dollah dollah bills, y'all, greed, mookie betts, trades, white flag

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Ten Questions for the Unofficial Start of Baseball Season

The most important moment of the Super Bowl had nothing to do with football. When the game clock hit zero, baseball season began.

Sure, there’s plenty of time to get mad in March while watching college basketball, but nothing gets us through the final weeks of winter quite like the anticipation of baseball. We’ve got 10 big questions leading up to the 2020 season.

1. Will the Yankees run away with the AL East?
The Yankees signed Gerrit Cole at the winter meetings and immediately became World Series favorites. Giving $324 million to the best pitcher on the planet is the most Yankees way to fix their rotation, and their lineup should be as good, if not better than it was last season.

Still, the AL East isn’t an easy division to win. The Rays have mastered winning on a small budget and should be good again this year. The Blue Jays should be better in their second season of Vlad Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio. And the Red Sox will still be a threat as long as they don’t trade Mookie Betts (more on that later).

So, what questions do you have that aren’t asked here?


Tuesday, January 28, 2020


Monday, January 27, 2020

Where a Mookie Betts, Nolan Arenado or Francisco Lindor trade would rank among winter blockbusters

The trade: Clemens for David Wells, Homer Bush and Graeme Lloyd

The New York Times headline said it all: “Yankees Subtract a Star but Add a Legend.” This shocking trade came in mid-February, after spring training had started and after Clemens had dominated the American League in 1997 and 1998, going 41-13 with a 2.33 ERA, leading the league both seasons in wins, ERA and strikeouts. The Yankees had just come off their historic 114-win season and added the best pitcher in the game. In fact, Clemens is the only player on our post-1950 trade list who ranks first in two-season WAR as either a pitcher or position player.

“You can equate this with getting a Michael Jordan,” George Steinbrenner said in Buster Olney’s story in the Times. “We’re getting a man who makes it a notable day in Yankee history.” According to the story, the trade came together in less than 10 hours. Clemens, who had two years remaining on his deal, had demanded a trade earlier in the offseason but withdrew the demand before Christmas. Still, Blue Jays general manager Gord Ash was determined to trade him and made the offer to Brian Cashman, who immediately called Steinbrenner.

“Run that by me again,” Steinbrenner said, in apparent shock that the asking price wasn’t higher than Wells and two players of little consequence.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 27, 2020 at 03:43 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: trades

Friday, January 10, 2020

Cardinals Acquire Matt Liberatore

6:16PM: Harrison Bader and Lane Thomas aren’t expected to be part of the trade, Passan reports.  Fowler also isn’t thought to be part of this deal, though he could eventually be on the move elsewhere since the Cardinals have been discussing him in other trade negotiations.

5:37PM: The trade is shaping up as a multi-player blockbuster, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (Twitter links) reports that the Cardinals and Rays are each sending three “pieces” to the other in the deal.  “At least two of those pieces are draft picks,” Rosenthal notes, indicating that Competitive Balance Round selections (the only type of draft picks that can be traded) are in play.  The Cards are slated to pick in Competitive Balance Round A following the first round of the draft, whereas the Rays draw after the second round in Competitive Balance Round B, so there is roughly a 30-slot gap between the two picks.

4:57PM: The Cardinals have discussed Tyler O’Neill with the Rays and other teams this offseason, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, though there isn’t yet any indication that O’Neill could be involved in the Liberatore trade.

3:53PM: The Cardinals have acquired left-hander Matthew Liberatore from the Rays, ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan reports (Twitter link).  The return headed back to Tampa Bay is expected to include at least one player from the Cards’ Major League roster, and hints at a very notable trade given Liberatore’s status as one of the top prospects in the Rays’ system.

Other sources are indicating that Jose Martinez is also part of this trade.

 

QLE Posted: January 10, 2020 at 01:34 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, jose martinez, matt liberatore, trades

Friday, December 06, 2019

Ahoy, San Diego: 2019 Winter Meetings Preview

Commentary on what to expect from the Winter Meetings- here is a sample of this approach:

Major League Baseball vs. Minor League Baseball

One thing a lot of people don’t know about the Winter Meetings is that it’s put on, primarily, by Minor League Baseball as an organization and the vast majority of the people on the ground at the Winter Meetings either run or work for or are trying to sell stuff to minor league teams. Almost every team’s owner comes and brings along some staffers. Coaches, trainers, scouts, and other team employees who spend most of their year out in the bushes as opposed to back at the big club’s home base attend meetings and hobnob with one another.

Normally that’s all pretty routine. This year, however, it probably won’t be thanks to Rob Manfred’s plan to contract 42 minor league clubs and rearrange a great many more of them across levels and leagues.

As we noted earlier today, that scheme has set off a political firestorm and is no doubt the top agenda item and point of concern for every single minor league official and employee at the Winter Meetings. There are, reportedly, already meetings going on in San Diego about all of this. Expect some news about it at any point in the next week. At this point I’d expect anything from Manfred totally scrapping the plan, to him doubling down on it, to reports of general acrimony and possible legal action and everything in between.

 

QLE Posted: December 06, 2019 at 11:21 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: business, free agents, hall of fame, managers, minor leagues, rule 5 draft, trades, winter meetings

 

 

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