Cokin’s Corner, Monday 7/23/18
There’s a first time for everything. Yes, it’s true. The Royals are no sweepless in Kansas City. The Royals scored their first series sweep since last summer by knocking off the reeling Minnesota Twins on Sunday. On the other hand, the Miami Marlins missed out on their initial sweep of the campaign (only series of three or more games) in spectacular loss at Tampa Bay. The Rays rallied in the bottom of the ninth and got the win on the first walk-off grand slam in franchise history.
Focusing on these two entries for a moment, each team has a trade piece of note that could be in play shortly. Mike Moustakas seems likely to be dealt by the Royals. But KC is unlikely to reap much of a reward in return. He’s a rental. Moustakas is earning “only” $5.5 million this season, so paying the balance of his current salary is no big deal. But the team obtaining him would then be faced with either exercising a $15 million option for 2019 or paying him $1 million to become a free agent once again.
The teams reportedly showing the most interest in Moustakas are the Red Sox and Braves. Moustakas makes some sense for Boston, in spite of his poor history at Fenway Park. Moose is an upgrade for now over Rafael Devers. Devers remains a very high end prospect. But he’s not having a good season, particularly with the glove. The Red Sox are obviously serious contenders to get to the World Series and could use a better hot corner defender, who also happens to have a very nice post-season resume.
On to the Marlins, and what might be the biggest burning question of all as the trade deadline approaches. What is this franchise going to do with JT Realmuto? Make no mistake, Realmuto is a player every team in baseball would like on its roster. He’s the runaway WAR leader among catchers. If the Marlins make Realmuto available, they’re going to get some big offers.
Thus the quandary for Miami. This franchise is pretty much, by MLB standards, light years away from legitimate contention. By the time the Marlins get to that level, Realmuto might already be in his 30’s. But the flip side, and the more important side to me, is that this is the one player on the roster the franchise might be able to build around. Considering the state of the franchise in the community, and its almost unbelievably horrible attendance, I think the Marlins have to send a positive message by at least making a real effort to sign Realmuto to a long term contract. If they get a monster offer they can’t pass on, so be it. But the one thing the Marlins simply cannot do is to sell Realmuto for less than he’s worth.
I had a lousy baseball weekend, losing four of six selections. I did manage to remove some of the sting with an easy CFL winner. But I’m certainly not happy with the recent MLB results, especially after grinding out two really good months to start the season.
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Pretty good story takes place on the diamond tonight. Daniel Poncedeleon will make his big league debut. He’ll be on the mound for the Cardinals as they open a series at Cincinnati. The fact Poncedeleon has made it this far is huge. He came perilously close to losing more than just his baseball career last season when he got hit in the head by a line drive. I think it’s safe to say emotions will be running high tonight as Poncedeleon faces the Reds.
As for the Reds, they got cooled off in big way out of the break. The Pirates scored the series sweep and the Cincinnati bats were nearly completely silenced. Luis Castillo will be facing St. Louis for the second straight time as he matched up with them in his final start prior to the break. Castillo was okay in that five inning effort. But okay has been about as good as it’s gotten for the Cincy righty, who has been a substantial disappointment this season.
The Cardinals are off another series loss, dropping three of five at Wrigley against the Cubs, and continue to play poor fundamental baseball on a far too frequent basis. But I expect the Redbirds to be a focused entry tonight as they try to help Poncedeleon win his big league debut. I’ll take the Cardinals at plus money in this one.
CARDINALS (Poncedeleon) at REDS (Castillo)
Take: CARDINALS +110