Category Archives: Trades

MLB Teams That Could Surprise in 2018

FINALLY this offseason is starting to heat up a little. I’ve been dying to write about baseball, but literally nothing has happened. A few free agents remain unsigned, but the bulk of the “big names” have found a home. Teams, for the most part, have their rosters ready to go into Spring Training.

Obviously this year you are going to have the powerhouse teams, and the bottom-of-the-barrel rebuild teams, but what about the dark horses? The ones that have always found themselves somewhere in the middle, but never leaned one way or the other, and now they have a legitimate chance to contend for a playoff spot.


Key Additions: SS Freddy Galvis, 1B Eric Hosmer, 3B Chase Headley

The San Diego Padres have been a joke for a really, really long time.  I’ve watched the sport since I was six, and I honestly cannot remember a time they were even close to good. But I think 2018 might be their year to be slightly above average! Adding some depth to their lineup in Hosmer, Galvis, and Headley (his name still sends chills down my spine), in addition to their talented young outfielders (Margot, Renfroe), can actually make them a threat on the offensive side of things. But their rotation lacks any consistency, so don’t expect them to be making a wild card push this season. I’d consider anything over .500 a wildly successful season for the Padres.

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This just felt like it needed to be here


Key Additions: SP/OF Shohei Otani, SS/3B Zack Cozart, 2B Ian Kinsler

With the Messiah in center field (others call him Mike Trout), the Angels are always going to contend in some way. But I’m legitimately excited to see them contend in the AL West this year. They are getting a full season out of slugger Justin Upton and added All-Star infielders, in addition to already having defensive wiz Andrelton Simmons and Albert Pujols.

But, of all the teams in this blog, they have the highest chance of failure. With the exception of Otani, they are bringing in old, declining talent, with the hopes they are the players their reputation holds them to. Upton could begin to lose power like Pujols has already done, as could Kinsler. Cozart is no sure thing, especially while playing a new position (3B). And what if Otani isn’t ready? What if he pitches like a 24 year old is supposed to. They could fly high, or they could fall hard. It’ll be very intriguing to see what happens.


Key Additions: OF Marcell Ozuna, RP Luke Gregorson, RP Dominic Leone

After falling for the good ol’ “Have Derek Jeter become the owner so he can trade that team’s best player to his former team” trick, the Cardinals recovered quickly and added Marcel Ozuna to an already stacked outfield. With Dexter Fowler, Tommy Pham, and now Ozuna, their lineup is scary. They were already on the verge of being a playoff team, but with ace Carlos Martinez a year older, and a few added pieces to the bullpen, this squad could be ready for the postseason once more.


Key Additions: OF Lorenzo Cain, OF Christian Yelich

The theme of a “stacked outfield” continues here, but like the Cardinals, this team wasn’t missing a whole lot. I don’t think they’re championship caliber, but a few midseason moves could direct them towards the promised land. They have some great prospects to dish out at the deadline, and Jake Arrieta still remains unsigned.  With the Cubs and the Cardinals both getting better this offseason, be on the look out for the NL Central to be best division in baseball.

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Key Additions: 3B Evan Longoria, OF Andrew McCutchen

It’s an even year, so the Giants are automatically a contender. Minus the weirdest trend in sports, the Giants actually made significant moves to be a better team. Longoria and McCutchen are veteran players that still have something to offer, and getting Mad-Bum healthy already gives them a few more wins. I can see them switching between the 2nd and 3rd spot in the NL West throughout the year with the Rockies, and the Diamondbacks falling into mediocrity.


Key Additions: 1B Carlos Santana, RP Pat Neshek

The Phillies didn’t make a huge splash this offseason, but they are a young team that continues to get older, and this season could finally be the year they breakout as a unit. Fans got a glimpse of what OF Rhys Hoskins can do last season, and as their rising stars continue their gradual pace towards becoming All-Star caliber players, the Phillies have a chance to compete for a wild card spot come October.


Just kidding, they’re a dumpster fire

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After a Thrilling Weekend of Football, Let’s Discuss the MLB Trade Deadline

We are coming off an epic weekend of playoff football.  While I hate when people try to put things in historical context immediately after the events happen, any non-Saints fans can agree that the end of the Saints/Vikings game was one of the greatest moments in NFL history.  However, many people have many great things to say about this past weekend of three fantastic football games.  I do not have anything novel to add.  Therefore, while everyone else zigs, I will zag and say something I have wanted to say for six months about the MLB Trade Deadline.

I am a purist when it comes to sports.  If you have read some of my other blog entries, you might have picked up on this.  At the same time, I am an Economics teacher who majored in Mathematical Economics in college.  Therefore, in previous blog entries, I have preached of purist ideas only if there is economic defense for them.  For example, I hate the NHL’s 3-on-3 overtime and shootouts, but I do not push for the NHL to eliminate these occurrences.  I know that enough people like these things.  Thus, the league would be making an economic mistake to get rid of them.  That is why I instead proposed the 3-2-1-0 point system as a sound way to improve the 3-on-3/shootout situation.  It satisfies both the NHL’s purists and the NHL’s profits.

That said, today I am going to deviate from my usual rule of advocating change only if it makes economic sense.  I am going to speak of a change that the purist in me would love but that the economist in me would hate.  Here it goes: I wish that MLB would move its trade deadline to its former date of June 15.

Because of economic reasons, this change will never happen, but I am going to discuss my purist desire for the change anyway.  It is my understanding that the spirit of a trade deadline is that leagues do not want teams who are out of playoff contention to unload all of their top players during the last week of the season.  It would not seem right to have the top teams in a league suddenly get an influx of great players during the last week.  However, bad teams would be inclined to make such deals, in that they could receive prospects and salary relief in exchange for players who would be of little-to-no value when that team becomes good again.

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Actually, I assume that this is the logic that led Major League Baseball to the June-15 trade deadline in days of yore.  Back then, the league was likely very concerned about teams unloading their top players for prospects as soon as the teams were to fall out of playoff contention.  Back then, MLB probably did not like the idea of subpar teams trotting out minor-league lineups in August and September after having traded so many top players.  Then again, in those days, there were fewer entertainment options in this world.  Therefore, fans were happier to keep watching their non-playoff teams until the end of September.  In fact, during that time, only 4 teams made the playoffs each season, so many fans never even had expectations of their teams qualifying for the postseason.  It is a psychological truth that lower expectations can often lead people to greater happiness than higher expectations.

Anyway, in 1986, MLB moved the trade deadline to July 31.  Actually, that is and was the waiver trade deadline.  Teams could and may continue to trade players who have passed through waivers until August 31.  (Technically, trades can happen after this point, but traded players are ineligible for playoff rosters.)

As a result, in modern baseball; by late August, bad teams have unloaded most of their good players.  Meanwhile, good teams have loaded up on players from bad teams.  I hate this.  I know that this will not change because of economic reasons, but I still hate this.  The New York Mets are a professional baseball team, but they traded Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson, Addison Reed, Jay Bruce, and Neil Walker last July and August.  Based upon the trade deadline, those were all wise decisions by the Mets.  Most fans nowadays stop watching when a team becomes bad, so the Mets might as well have traded those expiring contracts for prospects.  That said, the purist in me believes that those five players should have stayed on the Mets until the end of the season.  The purist in me hates that top teams like the Cubs and Nationals were gifted September games against the Mets with a bunch of minor-leaguers playing.  The purist in me says that this is the whole reason why the trade deadline used to be June 15.

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Granted, full disclosure: the Mets greatly benefited in 2015 and 2016 from such trade-deadline moves.  During both seasons, the Mets beat up on teams like the Phillies and Reds – teams who were already bad but who became worse in August after trading top players.  I was happy to see the Mets win those games, and I was ecstatic for the Mets to ride 2015-deadline-acquisition Yoenis Cespedes to an NL-East title.  As a Mets fan, I loved all of that.  However, today, in the dead of winter two years later, I can sit back and concede that my inner purist wishes that baseball were not this way.

I wish that teams had to decide by June 15, when no more than 2 or 3 teams are “out of playoff contention”, what trades they were going to make.  This way, you would not have traditional “buyers” and “sellers”.  Instead, you would have teams making “baseball” trades – current talent for current talent.  Sure, you would have rare cases where atrocious teams would already be unloading good players on June 15.  However, it would take a really bad team and a general manager who is willing to admit defeat to his or her fan base in June for this to happen.  Meanwhile, the best result of this deadline change would be that bad teams would no longer suddenly get worse during the last two months – and the most important games for good teams – of the season.  This would make the last two months of the season more competitive across MLB.

At the same time, good teams would not be able to improve suddenly with a month left in the season.  It was a great story to see Justin Verlander help Houston win the World Series, but the purist in me has trouble with the star of a championship team arriving a month before the playoffs.  Likewise, good teams with bad bullpens in July never need to worry, because they can always poach good relievers off bad teams.  Look at Robertson, Kahnle, Doolittle, Madson, etc.  We saw the Yankees and Nationals have no trouble acquiring quality relievers last summer, a year after the Yankees traded Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman to the ultimate pennant-winning teams.  Look at the rosters of any playoff team, and you are likely to find a reliever or two poached from a bad team in July or August.  I do not like this.

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Again, this will never change.  The trade deadline will never move forward.  Why won’t it change?  This is how business is done now.  With 10 playoff teams, it is now easier than ever to improve from being a 90-loss team one season to being a playoff team the next, as I hope the Mets will do this season.  Gone are the days when teams needed to build great rosters over several years with the hope of someday reaching the 95-win plateau.  That was in the 4-playoff-team era, when only the elite teams played in October.  Now, fewer than 90 wins is often good enough for a playoff berth.  Now, if you are a bad team, you might as well unload your top players for prospects and salary relief.  In the offseason, you can sign free agents, and, if your team is good enough as of late July, you can add rentals for a championship run.  Moreover, with 10 playoff teams, “good enough as of late July” can often mean “a few games below .500”.

This is the logical way to run a baseball team nowadays.  Furthermore, the month of July is super-exciting because of all the trade possibilities.  While the purist in me dislikes the current deadlines, the Mets fan in me loves spending all summer on Metsblog looking at trade rumors.  MLB knows that I am not the only person like this.  People spend a lot of time watching baseball, MLB TV, and team websites monitoring potential trade activity.  Plus, in a league with 10 playoff teams and in a world with endless forms of entertainment, fans do not have time to watch teams with no playoff chances.  Therefore, the combination of having 10 playoff teams and July 31/August 31 trade deadlines is best for the overall interest in MLB and thus for MLB’s and teams’ bottom lines.  Therefore, the July 31/August 31 trade deadlines are here to stay.  However, the purist in me will never like this.

Can the Yankees Land Another Top Player This Offseason?


I don’t mean to brag, but I predicted this. In my coaches office, my friend and I were discussing the Yankees next steps, and realized Gerrit Cole was on the trade block. However, we did argue which outfield pieces would be best to trade away for Cole.

With an abundance of outfield talent, the Yankees have to get rid of somebody this offseason. Ideally, it is Jacoby Ellsbury, but he has a no-trade clause that he does not want to use. Plus, nobody really wants him due to his massive contract and sub-par play…not a great combo.

In second place is Aaron Hicks. He is one of the better defensive center fielders in the game with a rocket of an arm.

He is also coming off the best season of his career. His intake will never be higher, so sell on him now.

Brett Gardner is a leader in the clubhouse, and he was an essential part in the Yankees’ success in 2017. In my opinion, these young hitters still need guidance, and a familiar role model to shadow their at-bats over the next few years will help them tremendously. Gardner is that dude, and needs to remain at the top of the lineup at all costs.

Lastly, Clint Frazier is a potential superstar, and we all saw what he was capable of during the summer.

He was always thought to be the future of left field in New York ever since he was the centerpiece of the Andrew Miller deal. But now, we have Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton manning the corner spots for the next ten years.  He is also the most appealing asset out of the Yankee outfielders the Pirates could receive in this deal. So my question is, do we need Frazier?

My answer is yes, but it is also no. Is our window for a championship now? Yes. Is our window also in five or six years from now? Yes. That seems to be the dilemma. Do the Yankees want to solidify their offense for the next decade, or do they want to fix their one problem remaining and be the favorite World Series contender right now. Are we still rebuilding, or are we officially rebuilt? I’d argue our work is done, and it is time to focus on the now.

Sending Red Thunder to Pittsburgh for an ace-caliber pitcher is something that is mouth-watering to think about.

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A 98 MPH two-seam fastball that moves like a lefty slider. I could definitely get used to that. 

Frazier will not reach his max potential for another 3-4 years, and frankly, the Yankees window for a title is open now. Who knows if we will have the same bullpen in four years, or if Sonny Gray will stick around.  Will we be able to resign all these young, budding superstars?

Brett Gardner is the third outfielder right now, he has earned that. Clint is going to be stuck in Triple-A, or be the 5th man up after Hicks. It really hurts trading away somebody with so much talent and “legendary bat speed”, but that’s the price of becoming a complete team.

In my opinion, acquiring Gerrit Cole now makes them by far the most complete team in baseball. Here’s a look at the rotation (assuming C.C. Sabathia is signed and this trade is made):

  1. Luis Severino
  2. Gerrit Cole
  3. Sonny Gray
  4. Masahiro Tanaka
  5. C.C. Sabathia
  6. Jordan Montgomery

Having six capable starters is a luxury, for multiple reasons:

  1. Tanaka is injury prone, and most effective on an extra day of rest. Giving him that added time every week will save him this season, and hopefully avoid another disastrous summer.
  2. Severino and Montgomery are still young, and could benefit from throwing less innings to help their arm in the future. This applies more to Montgomery, considering Sevy is the ace and will need to hold down the fort, but is still an added bonus.
  3. C.C. Sabathia is old as fuck, and those legs holding up 300 lbs can’t trot out there every 5th day.
  4. If somebody does get hurt, we are good to go with five capable starters, as well as Triple-A guys that are able to jump in if the 6-man rotation is working out.

These are luxuries indeed, but this depth is something that is required for a championship team. The last weakness the Yankees find is the rotation, but with the addition of Gerrit Cole and the probable signing of C.C., it could quickly become a strength. The only downside…is parting with Clint Frazier and his wealth of potential. I think that is worth a ring.




The Mariners Have Placed Themselves Right Back into Playoff Contention in 2018

Last night, the Mariners completed a trade for 2-time All Star second baseman Dee Gordon.

With Cano obviously locked in at second base, their plan is to move the speedy Gordon to center field, a position he will have to learn in the next four months. In my opinion, this is a dumb, yet exciting, move defensively, because speed does not always translate to being a good outfielder. He will have to learn how to track balls, get good reads, hit cut-off men, proper decision making, throwing ahead of the runners, and so many other things that go into being an effective center fielder. Can he do it? I believe so. He’s a talented guy, and the Mariners have a plethora of good center fielders who are still heavily involved in the organization to help him out (See below).

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The reason why I really like this move is what it does for the Mariners from a talentperspective. Baseball will never be like basketball, where players can essentially be “positionless”, but it’s turning into a game where athletes are capable of doing a little bit of everything.

Trading for an All-Star, regardless of his baggage (heavy contract and an 80 game suspension in 2016), and only giving up your #7 prospect and another pitcher in return is a steal, I don’t care what anyone says. Dee Gordon is one of the more talented players in baseball, and at 29 years old, still has 4-5 really good years left.

Here’s my projected lineup for them next year, with a few key stats to show they now have some decent depth:

  1. Dee Gordon (.308 BA, 60 SB, 201 H)
  2. Jean Segura (.300 BA, .349 OBP, 157 H)
  3. Robinson Cano (.280 BA, 23 HR, 97 RBI)
  4. Nelson Cruz (.288 BA, 39 HR, 119 RBI-also a man who I thought should have gotten more MVP consideration)
  5. Kyle Seager (27 HR, 88 RBI)
  6. Ryon Healy (see article as he was traded earlier this offseason)
  7. Mitch Haniger (.282 BA)
  8. Mike Zunino (25 HR)
  9. Ben Gamel (.275 BA, .322 OBP)

I think the Mariners are really going to surprise some people next year. Not only this trade, but they are currently in the running for Japanese superstar Shohei Otani, especially since in this trade they also acquired $1 million in international money.

Don’t expect them to be the Mariners of the late 90s/early 2000s, but in an AL West that belongs to the Astros for the next few years, the Mariners will make a strong case for that second wild card spot after finishing a rough 7.0 games out in 2017.

Trade Alert: MLB Offseason Kicks Off with a BANG

I really hate doing this to you guys…but that right there is Clickbait 101.

Did Giancarlo Stanton get traded? Christian Yelich? Jacoby Ellsbury? Zach Britton? Nope, nope, only in my fantasies, and nope. But let me tell you who just bought a one-way ticket to a lifetime supply of free Starbucks.

Put your motherfuggin hands up Seattle, you just traded for Ryon “Explosively Average” Healy.

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Not impressed? What about now?!

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San Francisco Examiner Photo

That’s right, folks. That is two, count them TWO, rock-star hand signals. Elite.

Wednesday night, CBS MLB reported that the Mariners traded RHP Emilio Pagan and INF Alexander Campos to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Healy. An actually somewhat decent player, Healy hit .271 with 25 HR and 78 RBI in 2017, and the Mariners plan to insert that stat-line into the middle of their lineup next season.

This is definitely something I’d consider a “Moneyball” move. Seattle is on the smaller market side of the MLB, despite what Robinson Cano’s “Shut Up and Take My Money” contract implies, so the front office has to get scouts working overtime to ensure they have a decent team on the field in 2018. They need to look at the little things and small-name players, then find the nearest religious center and pray it works out.

Is Ryon Healy the answer to Seattle’s playoff drought? Absolutely not.

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Doesn’t exactly look like he has that “IT” factor, but he is only 26. In a season in a half in the minors, he hit 38 dingers, so that could be cool. Something to keep an eye on, maybe he has a Yonder Alonso-type season and everything works out nicely in Seattle for once.

Regardless…trades, free agency, and all the exciting moves of the offseason are underway, with Ryon Healy and Co. as the headliners. It’s a fun time to be a GM, unless you screw up really bad and get fired.  Good luck!