Well, it's that time of year. With two days to go before Friday's non-waiver trade deadline, the rumors and news are reaching a fever pitch. Today's (special evening edition) box score looks at the mad-dogs-and-Englishmen month of July.
The other big trade today saw the Pirates send SS Jack Wilson and Ian Snell to Seattle for C?/1B Jeff Clement, SS Ronny Cedeno and three pitching prospects with back of the rotation potential. At Inside the Majors, Zach Sanders likes the deal for the Mariners:
Overall, I like the deal for the M’s. It gives them a shortstop that they have needed, and a starter who could regain form and help out the major league club soon. They didn’t give up any big parts, and added without subtracting at all. Great job, again, by Jack Z.
Let's discuss this trade, as well as the rest of today's hot sheet items, in the comments.
If you're about ready to go insane with all these rumors, trust you're not alone. My Twitter finger is getting tired. But it's not just us fans--it's also the front offices, players and agents who are getting fed up, reports USA Today:
"I can't keep up with all of it myself, and we're the ones who are making the decision," says Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi. "It's crazy what's going on out there. There are rumors, atop of rumors, atop of rumors, atop of rumors.
"We know what the truth is, and we can laugh about it. But when it gets it out there, now you've got to explain to the player why it's not true. Why that team never called. You spend half of the time putting out fires and never getting anything done."
As he's now lost the partner that perhaps represented his best chance of a good return on his ace, you have to wonder if perhaps Ricciardi should have done a better job trying to keep up.
For a more humorous slant on the trade deadline, an obscure Craig Calcaterra Star Wars reference sparks one of the best comment threads I have ever seen:
You know, even as a small child I was always surprised by the Jawas willingness to allow the Skywalkers to replace the busted red one for R2. I mean it’s not like we’re talking about Best Buy here, these were thieving little scrap dealers, not really the type of folks to have a particularly consumer friendly return policy. Just consider the baseball equivalent. When the Yankees trade for Bronson Arroyo and he immediately reveals himself to be the classic example of a salted mine (his occasional brilliance and his "experience with pitching in the AL East" make him look a lot shinier and more useful than he really is) and he very quickly starts sputtering and smoking, Walt Jocketty isn’t going to say to Brian Cashman, "ok fine you can have Johnny Cueto instead." No, Cashman will have to live with the mistake he made. Just as Uncle Owen should have had to.
Amen. Uncle Owen never quite had the vision of his brother, though. There's a Hal/Hank joke there somewhere.
Speaking of jokes about Hal and Hank Steinbrenner, River Ave. Blues takes a look back at the folly of trading a player with the name Drabek on the back of his jersey:
In trading Doug Drabek, the Yankees made a clear mistake, and everyone knew it at the time. Dave Anderson, writing in The Times during Thanksgiving, called out the Yanks for "acquiring an older pitcher more susceptible to arm trouble rather than having the patience to let a younger, sturdier pitcher develop." That criticism would become more apt after Drabek won his 1990 Cy Young Award. The Yanks sure could have used that.
I guess Ruben Amaro, Jr. was listening.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that a streak was broken yesterday. Mark Buehrle followed up his perfect game with another 5+ perfect innings, and set the record for most consecutive batters retired in the process:
Jim Barr of the Giants and Buehle's teammate Bobby Jenks had the old record with 41 straight batters. Buehrle's 42nd out, to break the record, came against former teammate Joe Crede.
Jenks looked on from the bullpen as Buehrle broke his record. Over at Fangraphs, Dave Allen works his PitchF/X magic on the streak:
If you are going to go 15 innings without walking anyone, this is what it looks like. Beyond that though, against RHBs, he stayed out of the heart of the plate. One lonely curve down the middle, and everything else in this donut shaped area along the edges of the strike zone. Tons of pitches in the zone, but nothing in the heart, that is a recipe for success. Against righties you can see Buehrle’s plan, cutters and fastballs up and in and changeups low-and-away. That is just a beautiful pattern of pitch types and locations.
As you would expect from Allen, there are some pretty heat maps to look at over at the link.
Buehrle threw 116 pitches in his perfect game, but just 97 last night in 6.1 innings as he lost the streak. Tim Kurkjian takes a look at the magic number 100 when it comes to pitch counts. He draws a parallel between low pitch counts and time spent on the DL:
More pitchers are on the disabled list today than ever before. It's a paradox: The less they throw, the more often they get hurt. Long before 2000, there were cases in which pitchers perhaps threw too much and got hurt, including the young A's staff in the early 1980s (Mike Norris, Rick Langford, et al.), followed by the Mets' young trio of Paul Wilson, Bill Pulsipher and Jason Isringhausen. In 1998, sensational Cubs rookie Kerry Wood won 13 games and had a 20-strikeout game, but he broke down the following spring training and missed the 1999 season. That seemed to start making teams be even more cautious with young pitchers.
Despite some pretty neato graphs in the article, I wonder if this is really true about injury rates. What's your read?
In some sad news, Vin Scully has told BIll Plaschke that he plans to retire from broadcasting following the 2010 season. Say it ain't so, Scully.
Finally, for some entertainment, Plunk Everyone describes Mark Loretta's HBP of Matt Holliday:
[Loretta] became the first position player to plunk a batter in a pitching appearance since Aaron Miles (of the Cards) hit Astro Cody Ransom on September 20, 2007. Loretta has been hit 71 times himself, which puts him in the HBP lead among active players who have also hit a batter.
Congratulations to Mark on this achievement!