I Can’t Have the Steak? Then Give Me 3 Bowls of Soup

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It seems to me, the Braves got an absurdly small return when they traded Andrelton Simmons to the Angels last night. In negotiations with the Mets back in July, the Braves wanted Steven Matz and Michael Conforto, which might have been acceptable. Yesterday the Braves demanded either Matt Harvey or Jacob DeGrom. That was a move the Mets were understandably unwilling to make. Both are stud starting pitchers and you can’t have enough of those on hand. Meantime, the one major up side to Simmons is his age-26.  While Simmons is an upgrade as a fielder,with two golden gloves to his name  he can’t hit enough by modern standards to bring an ace pitcher with a “get tough” attitude like Harvey.  The day is gone when a Mark Belanger,.228 or   Eddie Brinkman .224 can stay in the bigs with his glove and not hit .230. The Angels will have to pay 10.6 million per year for the next five years for Simmons’ ability to flash the leather.

When it became clear they couldn’t have Harvey, DeGrom, Matz or Conforto from the Mets,  the Braves lowered their price to an amazing degree when approaching the Angels.  They accepted  an older shortstop Erick  Aybar, 31 and two prospects-Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis. Aybar has one golden glove to his name, which he won in 2011. Newcomb, 22 is a lefty pitcher from Massachusetts, who played college ball at University of Hartford, as Jeff Bagwell of Killer B’s fame did. HE is considered the 19th best prospect in the game. The Angels took him in the first round in 2014. Between 3 teams he was 9-3 with a 2.38 ERA. The highest level he reached was AA.  Ellis, 23 is also a pitcher who played at University of Mississippi. He was a third-round draft pick in the same year. He pitched in AA this season.     As good as these two appear, any baseball fan knows how many prospects fizzle compared to the amount who make it big. If Sean Newcomb turns out to be a lefthanded Don Newcombe, the Braves are in business. But their days of incredibly dominant pitching are fading further into the past every year, and they clearly took the first available deal for Simmons rather than holding out for more immediate major league help.

Mel Stottlemyre is 74 today. He joined the Yankees in mid-season 1964, won 9 games and 1 in the World Series. He faced Bob Gibson 3 times in that Fall Classic, winning 1, with one no-decision and a loss in game 7. The Yankees crashed like an old computer after that. As awful as they were, Stottlemyre ended up 164-139 with them in spite of losing 20 in 1966. He was an All-Star 5 times. From there he was a coach for 23 years, claiming five World Series rings in that role: one with the Mets in 1986, 4 with the Yankees-1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000. His two sons-Mel Jr. and Todd were also pitchers in the majors. Happy Birthday, Mel.



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