Tick Tick Tick Tick and Finally Some Action: Archer to Pirates Biggest of Many Deals

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Tuesday, July 31. Before we get to my scheduled main theme, it’s just been proven that the Red Sox are human!  Chris Sale went on the DL with shoulder trouble, joining Rafael Devers who went on the shelf a few days ago.  Devers was no big loss, but having this particular Sale washed overboard might leave the Red Sox facing stormy seas. Now back to your regularly scheduled column.

 

the hours crawled  by to the 4 PM trade deadline and  numerous small pebbles (baseball players)  started moving but until the last possible second no large boulders were dropped on anybody.  At long last, one was but it didn’t fall in the direction a lot of honks had considered. Bryce Harper and his anemic batting average remain in Washington.  Chris Archer  is no longer a Tampa Bay Ray.  He became a Pirate and not a Yankee, but anything’s an improvement in his case. He turned out to be this year’s Yoenis Cespedes.   The losers in that deal are former Pirates’ outfielder Austin Meadows and pitcher Tyler Glasnow who have to play their home games at Tropicana Field going forward.
For what they’re worth, here are the small pebbles that moved before the Archer trade went down.  The Yankees have sent Tyler Austin to the Twins and Adam Warren to Seattle.  Seattle didn’t give up any player, no matter how insignificant.  They gave the Yankees money to sign international players down the road.  Austin, an infielder in a crowded house in the Bronx didn’t net the Yanks the outfielder they need with Aaron Judge on the shelf. Nobody had a suitable outfielder to spare.  Instead the Bronx Bombers got Lance Lynn.  As a free agent he couldn’t get a job until the Twins signed him March 12.  It’s pretty clear why nobody snapped him up before then. He hasn’t been the pitcher he was before having Tommy John surgery. He was 11-8 with the Cards a year ago and 7–8 this year with an ERA north of 5, and he’s  coming into a park with a short right field porch. Is he better than Sonny Gray?
As for Adam Warren, he’s pitched 30 innings in 24 games.  A crowded bull pen became overloaded when Zach Britton came to town, so both Warren and Chasten Shreve were asked out of the Bronx.
The most controversial move has been Houston sending a struggling Ken Giles to Toronto for Roberto Osuna who is presently under suspension for domestic abuse. This should surprise nobody.  The Astros until recently allowed a gun shop to advertise on their radio broadcasts, proving that  they have questionable principles. At least, if the Astros return to the postseason Osuna won’t be allowed to take part.
That’s an MLB rule and as of now the ruling is non-negotiable, though I expect Houston execs to plead Osuna’s case at some point.

Beyond the Bronx, Keone Kela, the Rangers’ closer has been rescued from that team and moved to the Pirates along with Archer who hope to make a playoff run. He has saved what few opportunities he’s gotten in Texas and only blown one I’m aware of.  That was against Oakland who was on a major roll at the time.

The Red Sox got second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Angels, so it’s a fair bet you won’t hear from Dustin Pedroia this year.  At 36, Kinsler wouldn’t be a permanent replacement in case Pedroya recovers for 2019, though the little guy has played all of 3 games this year due to a cranky knee.  Kinsler was an All-Star 4 times, the last in 2014.

The braintrust at MLB.com shows the trade of Tommy Phamm to the Rays as “breaking news.”  It may well break his heart.  In St. Louis, hot as the climate was, the stands usually were packed with fans both passionate and knowledgeable.  Now, he’s off to the hideous Rays playing in the worst ball park at any level in the land and playing before … silence.  Their attendance is so bad that even if they win it has the atmosphere of a snappy funeral.  Though I know he won’t do this, Pham should be the first Cardinal since Curt Flood to refuse to report following a trade. Pham would have a better excuse to do something so radical.  Flood was at least traded to a city that was about to replace its stadium and his employers would in future years acquire his old teammates Steve Carlton and Tim McCarver. But alas, Pham won’t do a Curt Flood though the Rays deserve somebody to refuse to play for them at any price.

In a surprising move, the Braves acquired a downward-sliding Adam Duvall from the Reds for 3 reasonably good young players. The Braves who are trying to keep the Phillies at bay in the NL East parted with pitchers Lucas Sims and Matt Wisler along with outfielder Preston Tucker.  Though it took a while to be confirmed, Brad Ziegler is headed to the D-Backs where he has pitched before.  He’ll be joining a crowded house with Brad Boxberger, Archie Bradley and others.

An odd trade occurred  near the deadline.  The Rays traded injured catcher Wilson Ramos to the Phillies.  It surprises me that a team is allowed to trade an injured player.  Injuries have a way of not healing when they’re supposed to-just ask Dustin Pedroia and Yoenis Cespedes.  The Phillies are being led to believe the catcher’s hamstring injury will be healed enough for him to play in a month’s time.  But if he goes into his first squat coming off the DL and the thing gives out again, (again see both Cespedes and Pedroia) where are the Phillies?  They’re not the circus act they were the last few seasons.  The Phillies and the Braves are the top two contenders in the NL East.  Talk about flipping the script.

The Dodgers and Twins got a deal done as the clock wound down.  The Twins are sending Brian Dozier to Chavez Ravine in exchange for infielder Logan Forsythe. With Manny Machado moving west, the Dodgers had an overcrowded infield-Chris Taylor, Chase Utley, Justin Turner  among others and they’ll have Corey Seager back next year. Dozier, a Mississippi native has only played for the Twins since coming to the show in 2012. He was an All-Star in 2015 and took home a gold glove a year ago. On July 15, just over two weeks ago now, Dozier hit a 10th-inning walk-off grand slam for the Twins.  The day before, the Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts had also hit one.  Dozier’s blast marked the first time two extra-inning walk-off grand slams were hit on back-to-back days.  You could say his trade to Los Angeles is a reward, considering the Dodgers are in first place and the Twins most definitely aren’t.  I guess it’s a reward if he and his wife don’t mind the smog, the insane traffic on the equally loony freeway system, the occasional earthquakes and wildfires.

At last we come to the Orioles.  They’ve been garbage from the beginning and could have challenged the Mets’ record of 120 losses even before the moves they made today.  They had already sent Manny Machado and his mighty machete to Los Angeles. Two days ago they unloaded Brad Brach, who grew up not 20 miles from where I write my pieces.  His destination, Atlanta. Today, two of his old Orioles’ playmates have joined him in Cobb County where the Braves now play.  They got starter Kevin Gausman and reliever Darren O’Day from the O’s.  Why the Yankees had to settle for Lance Lynn instead of Gausman is beyond me. Gausman has only pitched for the Orioles since making his 2013 debut. His 39–51 record says more about his supporting cast than about him. Pitching for LSU, his competition was so stiff the Orioles considered him ready for AA ball to start his career. His first two MLB wins were against the Yankees-one each in Baltimore and the Bronx. He has postseason experience which is a feather in his cap as he joins the Braves. The O’s beat the Tigers in the 2014 ALDS, then lost to the Royals in the ALCS. O’Day was also a 2014 Oriole and an All-Star a year later. He’s also injured and done for the year.  Again, the idea of trading an injured man is problematic to me, if nobody else.

 

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