I will admit that I am a baseball geek. An old school baseball geek not the new fangled cyber stat-o-matic baseball. So these last couple of days have been crazy fun for me in the baseball world as yesterday was the trading deadline. Teams can still make trades but now the players that they want to trade have to go on the waiver wire first and any team can claim them. It is harder to trade now but not impossible.
This years trading deadline was both boring and at the same time filled with monumental trades. We saw things that have never happened before and we saw the usual big, rich teams, stealing players from weaker, bad teams. Kind of like armed robbery without the possible prison sentence.
Last week the rankings of best teams in each league looked something like this.
American League National League
Seattle New York Mets/Atlanta
Twins San Diego
Toronto/Cleveland Milwaukee/St. Louis
Other lists might have the bottom three teams in each league in a slightly different order but basically this is how teams were looking pre-trade week. It was looking like the winner of the Yankees-Houston series would face the Dodgers for the World Series crown. Then came the trade deadline and today things look like this.
American League National League
Seattle/Twins San Diego/Atlanta
Toronto New York Mets/St. Louis
It doesn't look that much different but the gaps have closed dramatically between teams now. In the National League, the Padres were the clear winners on trade deadline week and have now gotten into the conversation of who do you not want to play in the play-offs. Same goes for the Seattle Mariners in the American League who struck early and got he biggest name available in pitching in Luis Castillo.
The American League will still go through the Yankees and Houston and the Dodgers are still the team to beat in the National League but some teams are gaining on them with the moves made. I won't bore you with all the moves, you can go to ESPN and click on the MLB page and then the story of the trade deadline tracker to see all the trades made but here are the highlights.
San Diego won the week with their trade with Washington for Juan Soto and Josh Bell. The Padres gave up a kings ransom but there has never been a 23 year old future Hall of Famer being traded like Soto in the games history. And, oh by the way, Josh Bell is included too who currently has the second highest OPS in the National League behind Soto.
San Diego also, the day before, traded closers with the Milwaukee Brewers and got in return the best closer in baseball in Josh Hader. Another unprecedented trade in baseball history as never before have two teams in the thick of the pennant race traded top line players. The Friars also picked up Brandon Drury late on Tuesday and it looks like their franchise player, Fernando Tatis is headed out for a rehab assignment and will be back playing soon. This is now a dangerous team.
Meanwhile up in Seattle, the Mariners, as I mentioned, got Luis Castillo and immediately improved their rotation dramatically, but they also improved their already solid offense by adding Jake Lamb and Carlos Santana. The Twins looked like they were going to sit out trade deadline week until the last hour of the day when they added closer Jorge Lopez, starter Tyler Mahle, and bullpen stalwart Michael Fulmer, three top end pitchers that they desperately needed.
Back in the senior circuit, the Mets made some noise by adding Daniel Vogelbach, Tyler Naquin, Darrin Ruf, and Phillip Diehl and oh by the way, Jacob DeGrom came off the IL last night too. St. Louis added needed pitching, Atlanta added a closer. Houston added some bats, and the Dodgers, well they are still the Dodgers.
Now starts the race to the World Series as teams see how all these moves translate into wins and who did the best to make themselves better, and good enough, to go all the way. It should be a wild last two months.
One of the most exciting players in baseball today is the Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. He is a hitting machine and a wizard defensively and may be one of the top five players to watch in baseball. Unfortunately he has a major anger issue that he cannot keep under control.
Last week he had a pitch called a strike, that he thought was a ball, and proceeded to bump the home plate umpire as he was arguing with him. While it was an accident, it was not the first time this has happened to him, and the league slapped him with a quick three game suspension.
The Sox are floundering this season and to have your best player out, for the second time this season due to his anger issues, should give Rick Hahn some pause about his value going forward. This just can't keep happening or he will get himself in some real trouble.
Finally, the world lost a great human last night as the voice of the Dodgers for 67 years. Vin Scully died, he was 94.
Growing up in Chicago we had some world class announcers who went on to be enshrined in their sports hall of fames. Lloyd Petit, Jack Brickhouse, Jack Quinlan, Bob Elson, Pat Foley, Hawk Harrelson, and of course, Harry Caray. It wasn't until he started doing national TV, mainly golf and football, that I was able to hear Scully broadcast anything.
In 1985 Linda and I moved to the LA area and for the first time I was able to hear him broadcast Dodger games on radio and TV. It was a revelation. I had never heard a sporting event broadcasted like he was doing the games.
He was alone in the booth, no color analyst to interrupt him, and he gave you the details of what was happening while telling you stories of the players, the team, and the experience of baseball games.
Vin Scully was, without a doubt, the greatest baseball broadcaster of all time and I am damn happy that I had the opportunity to listen to him daily for as long as I was able to. More importantly, as many will say, was that he was a fantastic human being as well. I defy you to find one person that will say anything bad about him.
A very sad day for his family, the Dodgers, and all his fans. Rest in Peace Vin.