MLB News: The Weekend Recap

The Reds, Dodgers Blockbuster:

Over the weekend, we saw a few relatively high-profile trades, but none bigger than this one. The Reds and Dodgers agreed to terms to send OF Yasiel Puig, OF Matt Kemp, LHP Alex Wood, C Kyle Farmer, and $7M in cash to Cincinnati in exchange for SP Homer Bailey, and Minor Leaguers Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray.

Many sources agree that this particular trade feels rather lopsided, seeing as the Reds were able to ship off Homer Bailey’s albatross of a contract while giving up minimal talent in the process (though both prospects were held quite high in scouts’ eyes) for four very solid major league pieces — though two of said players hit the open market next year.

The motivation for the Dodgers in this trade resides in the salary flexibility. After receiving Homer Bailey, the Dodgers are expected to release him, making him a free agent while the Dodgers pay the remainder of his salary — a whopping $23 Million. They, in turn, shed any money owed to either of their former major leaguers, allowing them to assess any holes that they currently desire to fill, especially those behind the plate, as well as at second base. It is also of popular opinion that the Dodgers are now even more well positioned to make a run at superstar Bryce Harper, though, even after trading two of their prominent outfielders, the Dodgers still have the likes of Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Alex Verdugo, and Andrew Toles available to play the field, giving them quite a few viable options that don’t cost $30 Million+.

The Three Team Trade for Profar:

This trade was certainly the most interesting of the three that took place this weekend. The Oakland Athletics, in absence of infielder Jed Lowrie, received a former number one MLB prospect, INF Jurickson Profar, from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Minor League infielder Eli White and international bonus slot money. The Athletics also sent minor league RHP Emilio Pagan and a 2019 first-round pick to the Tampa Bay Rays in the trade. The Rangers then shipped Minor League RHP Rollie Lacey to the Rays in exchange for Minor League pitchers Kyle Bird, Yoel Espinal, and Brock Burke, thus completing the complex transaction.

The A’s received their controllable utility infielder, while the other two teams involved bolstered their systems, and shuffled around a few prospects.

Swapping Santana For Gamel:

A few weeks back, the Mariners traded one Santana away, only now to receive another Santana from the Milwaukee Brewers this past weekend.

Domingo Santana was once a very well regarded threat within the MLB, mashing 30 dingers over 151 games in 2017, while also stealing 15 bases. However, the limited power that he showcased in 2018 after hitting only 5 home runs over 85 games raised some questions about the young outfielders’ consistency. Yet, he seemed to catch the Mariners eye, and they decided to send OF Ben Gamel, as well as Minor League pitcher Noah Zavalos to the Milwaukee Brewers for control of the young slugger.

This adds a necessary power bat to the Mariners question-filled lineup, and also gives them a piece in which they can speculate on, and possibly dish for an inflated price down the line. As for the Brewers, they receive a corner outfielder with an impressive ability to create contact, as well as a minor league pitcher with upside.


MLB: An Ode to the Retirees

Recently, the world of Major League Baseball bid ‘adieu’ to two more all time greats, Joe Mauer and Adrian Beltre, who announced their individual exits from the game of professional baseball this winter. It’s startling to me that only one player from the 20th Century remains active in baseball, that player being Bartolo ‘Big Sexy’ Colon.

As somebody who began following baseball vigorously as a young boy, I have outstanding memories of both of these players, and am heartbroken to see their careers come to an end. However, it is exceedingly exciting to look back at the careers they have led, and to know that each of them will undoubtably receive Hall of Fame honors one day.

Joe Mauer – A Lifelong Twin

I remember being obsessed with Joe Mauer’s statistics as a kid. I had never seen somebody, especially a catcher achieve such high batting averages in my lifetime. Mauer was, for most of his career, the best in the game. In his age 23 season, Mauer hit a major league leading .347 in 140 games played. That kind of average was unheard of for a player at his position — unless you’re Mike Piazza that is. However, even Mike Piazza couldn’t believe his eyes when Mauer fever struck in 2009, and he bat an absolutely insane .365 with 28 home runs, his career high.

Over the span of his career, Mauer had seven seasons of a .300 average or higher. He easily inserted his name among some of the greatest catchers of all time, joining the likes of Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, and more. Sadly, concussion issues would inhibit his ability to continue to play at the catcher position and, as such, he transitioned to first base, where he would finish his career.

Joe Mauer was a breath of fresh air in a world of increasing strikeout rates and decreasing averages. His ability to produce quality at-bats and make solid contact with the ball was unparalleled for most of his career. He was a natural hitter, a great person, and, unquestionably, a future Hall of Famer. He will be severely missed in the world of America’s Pastime.

Adrian Beltre – An Infinite Source of Joy

Beltre is, flat out, one of the greatest players to ever emerge from the Dominican Republic. Over a 21 year career, Beltre amassed 477 long balls, 3,166 hits, and played in 2,933 games. He is an indisputable member of the Hall of Fame, but that’s not the reason people loved him.

Adrian Beltre lived for the game of baseball. Any time the camera would catch him, Beltre would always have a smile on his face and a joke on his mind. Whether he was busting the opposing pitchers chops, moving the on deck circle, or getting his head touched by his long time neighbor, Elvis Andrus, Beltre was always about having fun on the diamond.

Some of my favorite moments of his, and these are just a few.

Both of these dignified players will be severely missed, both by myself and by their fans. Personally, I wish them all the happiness in the world with their futures. They both were one-of-a-kind, and are irreplaceable pinnacles of baseball.