MLB Trading Deadline

Photo: ESPN

The Major League Baseball Trade Deadline is just two days away and speculation about who is going to be traded to where has taken main stage across the sport. There have already been a couple of minor trades as well as two big ones (C.C. Sabathia and Rich Harden). Harden and Sabathia have already paid huge dividends for the Cubs and Brewers respectively. Though winless in the NL, Harden has struck out 30 batters in 17 1/3 innings, possessing a 1.04ERA. Sabathia is 4-0 with three complete games and a 1.82 ERA. Those were two of the biggest names on the market and the fact that they have already been traded may mean that this year’s Trading Deadline may be uneventful, but anything could happen. Here is a look at a couple of interesting players:

Mark Teixeira: Look who is back on the market. The hottest free agent right now, Teixeira finds himself in an identical situation as last year when he was traded from the Texas Rangers to the Atlanta Braves. This time the Braves are shopping him around. The Diamondbacks seem to be the strongest pursuer of Teixeira, but there are plenty of other offers. The Braves are looking for a big-league bat and a strong pitching prospect for their star first baseman, whose stats speak for themselves (.280 avg, 20 hr, 78 rbi). Arizona is also joined by the Angels, Red Sox, and Rays in pursuit of Teixeira. I think the Braves will move Teixeira and that the offer by the D’backs will trump all other offers Atlanta will receive. Continue reading “MLB Trading Deadline”

Does Money Ball Work?

For years now, Oakland Athletics’ general manager Billy Beane has been hailed the king of GMs, but is he worthy of this title? The Athletics have a resolute philosophy of developing talent in their farm system and not wasting money on over-priced free agents. Beane brought this system to the A’s and it seemed to work, but as A’s fans look back over the last decade, how much success has this philosophy really brought them? Since Beane took over in 1997, Oakland has won a total of one playoff series. If the goal was to reach and win a World Series, then Beane has certainly come up short. That’s not to say Beane’s strategy did not pay dividends. From 2000-2004, the Athletics won at least 91 games every season and made the playoffs four out of those five years. They lost in the first round every one of those years, but nonetheless, they made the playoffs. They developed strong starting pitching from their farm system and they used every inning out of those young arms. Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, and Barry Zito are three of the most notable pitchers to come through the A’s system and subsequently be traded away as their free agency approached. Beane knew he could not compete with teams like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, who have nearly unlimited funds. Thus he did the smart thing and traded his pitchers away right before they hit the open market. He wasn’t going to be able to sign them, but by trading them, at least he got something in return. Continue reading “Does Money Ball Work?”

Red Sox vs Rays: Battle For The AL East

The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays are currently doing battle for first place in the AL East. The Rays entered the three game series against Boston up .5 game, but things could be quite different after these three games. In game one, a late rally by the Red Sox came up short as they stranded the tying run on third in the ninth and fell to the Rays 5-4. Even though a simple flyout hit a catwalk and turned into a double and Rays’ closer Troy Percival hurt himself backing up third base, Boston could not get the big hits and could not take advantage of those strokes of luck. Unlike, previous seasons the Sox can no longer consider Tampa Bay as “Fenway South”. For the first time in their history, the Ray fans outnumber the Sox fans in Tampa Bay. The Ray fans are finally proud of their team and showing up to the ballpark. They had a record crowd yesterday and had the best ratings for Rays’ TV in their history. It’d be tough to find a person who is unhappy with Tampa’s new-found success. The team struggled for so long and they played day after day without fans and without hope, but now that they have finally broken through, I don’t seem them going away anytime soon.

They have a young pitching staff and a solid bullpen. That’s not to mention their lineup, which though not overpowering, does pack a punch. Carl Crawford is still young and his best years are yet to come, though he seems to have gotten a step slower. BJ Upton and Evan Longoria are both terrific and are extremely young. The team is inexperienced so I’m not sure they can play this well for a 162 game season or handle pressure late-game situations in September. I think the Red Sox will win the AL East eventually, but not easily. If they don’t win the AL East, the Rays have a great shot at the Wild Card. I don’t see any other non-division winner really giving the Rays a run in the Wild Card. First off though, they are shooting for the AL East and that begins with the Red Sox and this three game series in Tampa Bay. Continue reading “Red Sox vs Rays: Battle For The AL East”