Quick takes on the two deals consummated Friday in Major League Baseball.
The Giants pried Eduardo Nunez away from the Twins, and it'll be interesting to see how Nunez gets used by San Francisco. Nunez is not a good defender, but that's not why the Giants went after him. They're hoping he can maintain the surprising offense he's generated all season. Nunez has, in fact, been one of the bigger surprises in baseball from this vantage point. There's pretty much no way I could have envisioned him making the All-Star team.
I like this deal for Minnesota. Adalberto Mejia is a lefty who has probably seen his stock go up this season. Mejia was very effective at AA, and while the numbers haven't been as impressive at AAA, he's been winning games and he's missing his share of bats. Mejia profiled as a back of the rotation type prior to this season, but he might possibly be a bit better than that.
I would say the Twins did okay in terms of value for Nunez, and the trade also should ...
Quick blog today, with just tonight's free play on the diamond.
CARDINALS (Leake) at MARLINS (Urena)
Take: CARDINALS +108
The Redbirds are starting to heat up. They're in good form now, and have moved to within shouting distance of the Cubs in the NL Central.
I don't use pitcher career records as a jumping off point when breaking down a game. But there's no getting around the immense success Mike Leake has had against the Marlins. He's 5-1 in his six starts against Miami, and that ERA is a real eye popper at just 1.33.
Jose Urena will throw for the Marlins tonight, and he has thrown it very well in back to back starts. But there's also not a great deal to suggest this is anything more than a blip of sorts, as Urena hadn't been especially impressive at New Orleans before getting recalled. Urena is also not a big innings eater, and I'd be surprised if he goes much past five tonight.
Two other notes of interest here. One is that the St. Louis bullpen is on a roll ...
I could be mistaken, but I don't believe I've devoted even one solitary edition of this blog to bad umpiring. At least not this season. That changes today.
Let me make it clear there aren't any sour grapes at issue here. I had no involvement in Wednesday evening's game between the Angels and Royals. So this is a totally unbiased observation.
The umpires that worked this game or at least one of them, should be forced to take about one week off without pay. Yeah, I know that won't happen, as their union would never stand for it, and I don't think there's any chance MLB would issue such an edict.
But when the umpires either don't know the rules, or simply refuse to enforce them, there has to be some consequence.
In case you missed it, here's what happened on what turned out to be the biggest play of the game. Bottom of the seventh inning. KC's Raul Mondesi, Jr attempted a sacrifice bunt, Halos pitcher Matt Shoemaker fielded the ball and Mondesi impeded Shoemaker's throw to ...
Due to time constraints this evening, I'm going the ultra-brief route with the blog this time. Just a quick recap of Tuesday's plays and my Wednesday comp selection.
I split on Tuesday, losing a Red Sox/Blue Jays parlay, but winning in a breeze with Tyler Skaggs and the Angels, The Halos were also the daily free play. Wish they were all that easy! Here's my Wednesday comp, and note this is a day game at Fenway Park.
TIGERS (Fulmer) at RED SOX (Rodriguez)
Take: TIGERS +105
There's a pretty definite starting pitcher edge for the Tigers with star rookie Michael Fulmer going against Boston lefty Eduardo Rodriguez.
Fulmer should be the favorite here based on my work. He'll still occasionally make a mistake that costs him, but his stuff is good enough so that even when he misses the target, he's often able to get by regardless.
Rodriguez is showing signs of life after struggling badly returning from his leg injury. I don't think he was at full strength, as he seemed to ...
New blood! Two exciting newcomers made their big league debuts on Monday evening. Alex Bregman, who has skyrocketed through the Astros system, narrowly missed a grand slam in his first major league game. David Dahl registered the first hit of his career as the Rockies lost in extras to the Orioles.
These two have future star labels firmly in place, and there's no need for me to extol their virtues here. Instead, I'll focus on what the presence of each player means right now.
Bregman is going to get time at third base right now, but the anticipation is that he'll be patrolling left field once Yulieski Gourriel finishes shaking off the rust in his minor league rehab. I have no idea how long that will take as he hasn't played competitively for some time now. But once he's ready, Gourriel figures to be playing for Houston on an everyday basis, and third base looks like the only open spot.
That Houston lineup is going to be downright frightening down the stretch, and if the Astros ...
If the reports are on target, a big deal between the Yankees and Cubs is about to take place. Aroldis Chapman, clearly the top closer on the market, appears to be heading to the Cubs with the Yankees obtaining perhaps the top Cubs prospect and more in return.
There isn't any question Chapman would be a huge boost to the Cubs bullpen. He is as dominant as it gets with the triple digit heat and Chapman would immediately shore up one of the very few potential liabilities for the Cubs come playoff time.
The Yankees being in sell mode is strange to be sure, but it's absolutely necessary. This is not a playoff team presently, and the farm system continues to be less than formidable in terms of legit major league prospects. Gleyber Torres would likely ascend to the very top of the organization's top prospect list, ahead of both Jorge Mateo and Gary Sanchez. Interestingly, Torres and Mateo are each at shortstop in Hi-A ball this season, so one would assume that a position change will ...
The Del Mar vacation has concluded, and it was mission accomplished as far as getting refreshed from the daily grind is concerned. I even managed to garner a net profit at the racetrack, although I think it's safe to say the small plus on the ponies wasn't exactly life changing. Great trip, can't wait to visit that wonderful little slice of heaven on earth again soon.
Meanwhile, we're closing in on the non-waiver trading deadline in baseball, and things got really weird on Saturday evening. Chris Sale was a late scratch from his scheduled start for the White Sox against the Tigers. The initial explanation was that he was a flu bug victim, but no one seemed to believe that. Speculation then began that the Chisox might have a deal pending, as it's no secret that GM Rick Hahn has gone into sell mode and no one on the roster is untouchable.
But what turned out to be the apparent actual reason Sale was scratched and banished from the clubhouse was downright bizarre. Sale allegedly ...
I'll be heading to Del Mar for my annual summer sojourn where the surf meets the turf. Regular blogs will return on Saturday, July 23 or Sunday, July 24 at the latest. In the interim, I will still be posting my daily free plays here, but will not be including any analysis. My keyboard rates a vacation as well.
Free play for Saturday 7/23/16
METS (deGrom) at MARLINS (Fernandez)
Take: MARLINS -1 (-153 ML/+155 RL)
Good luck! Regular blog returns late Saturday evening.
And the winners are...the Houston Astros. The Yulieski Gourriel sweepstakes was concluded on Friday as the Astros signed the coveted Cuban star to a five year deal for a whole bunch of money.
I really don't know where Gourriel will end up playing for Houston. His best position is third base, currently the domain of Luis Valbuena. Alex Bregman's rapid ascension through the farm system further complicates matters, as he looks to be big league ready already. Carlos Correa is currently at shortstop, and he's obviously staying in the lineup, although there's some question as to whether it'll be Bregman or Correa at shortstop long term. One or the other will slide over to third base.
So the question now is what do the Astros do with Valbuena. I guess he's either going to move across the diamond to first base or get traded. As for Gourriel, once Bregman is with the big club, logic suggests Yulieski heads to a corner outfield spot. AJ Reed would probably end up platooning with Evan ...
The Boston Red Sox are one of several teams vying for a spot in the playoffs come October. Whether or not they make it remains to be seen. But if the team falls short, it won't be for lack of effort by the front office.
Dave Dombrowski has been dealing, and if nothing else, he has certainly beaten his rivals to the punch in terms of making what were deemed necessary maneuvers. Boston had already added a platoon infielder and a veteran bullpen piece prior to the All-Star break.
Obtaining Aaron Hill and Brad Ziegler turned out to be little more than a prelude for the first big deal of the pre-deadline trading period. Boston pulled the trigger on a significant swap on Thursday, moving prized prospect Anderson Espinoza to the Padres in return for lefty hurler Drew Pomeranz.
Espinoza is extremely well regarded among those who grade prospects. The numbers at Greenville in the Sally League aren't especially impressive, but Espinoza is only 18 years old and his stuff has drawn rave ...
Next edition will be this Friday, July 15 as baseball action returns following the All-Star break.
Hers's a quick rundown on the blog schedule for the next two weeks. I've got my Home Run Derby guess in this edition. Next blog will be available late Thursday evening, as baseball action resumes following the All-Star break.
Next week is my annual Del Mar journey, where I will undoubtedly contribute to the local economy, but will do so with a smile. I will be posting daily free plays here, but there won't be any writeups, just the plays.
Regular columns will begin again on Saturday, July 23, and at that point I'll start to do some college football previews in addition to the daily free play.
Feel free to email me anytime regarding personal service inquiries at email@example.com.
Meanwhile, here's the Home Run Derby play.
WIL MYERS +600
Myers is the sixth seed in this eight-man event. There's no analysis here, other than that he's obviously familiar with the surroundings. Maybe that's a plus, as Todd Frazier was a home town hero in this event last year.
That's it for ...