Cokin’s Corner, Monday 7/31/16
It was a surprisingly quiet Sunday in the MLB trade department, with just a few deals consummated. One fell into the major category.
The big deal was between the Yankees and Indians, with Andrew Miller heading to Cleveland for four minor league prospects. The Indians were rebuffed by Jonathan Lucroy in a proposed deal with Milwaukee, but they landed one of the game’s best bullpen aces in Miller.
The cost was high, no question about that. Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Ben Heller and JP Feyereisen are all now property of the Yankees. Frazier is considered as the hopeful future star of this quartet. He has yet to break out in the minors, but he has also continued to make progress and was recently promoted to AAA. The general consensus is that the best is definitely yet to come for Frazier, especially in the power department. Sheffield has been projected as a middle of the rotation lefty starter, although I think that’s probably his ceiling. I’m probably not as high as some on Sheffield, but at worst he should become a bullpen piece down the road. Feyereisen has been outstanding as a minor league relief piece, and I would not be surprised if he gets a September look with the Yankees. So could Heller, who has a pretty big arm and could eventually be a late-inning bullpen cog.
The Tribe are definitely going for it now with this move. But it’s not in any way a short-term gamble. Miller, plus the heart of the Cleveland rotation, should be together for the next few years thanks to their contract status, so this is now a team with the power pitching to contend for some time in the AL Central, and perhaps end up dominating the division. So I certainly have no problems with the trade for the Indians. I also like this swap quite a bit for the Yankees, who immediately transformed their organizational depth chart for the better.
One quick comparison here. I understand the Pirates weren’t in the same bargaining position with Mark Melancon due to his contract status. But they also were dealing with a Nationals team desperate for a closer. That’s why I thought they came up way short in terms of what they received from the Nats for Melancon. They had the Nats by the nuts and should have insisted on a more blue-chip prospect, someone like Erick Fedde. It’s a seller’s market and I will continue to steadfastly believe Pittsburgh didn’t max out, and instead settled.
I had just one Sunday baseball play and it was a dreadfully tough loser. Tyler Skaggs pitched very well again, and so did the Angels setup relievers. Huston Street then arrived to save the game with a 3-0 lead, and a handful of minutes later it was 5-3 Red Sox. I don’t know why Street is still closing for the Halos. He’s about as far removed from the prototype for a closer as it’s possible to be. I don’t want to turn this into a lengthy diatribe, so I’ll save my angst for another column, probably tomorrow.
In any event, I’m posting my first football play as the Monday free selection, and football is now officially back. Note that I’ve been playing the CFL with a great deal of success thus far, but the Hall Of Fame game is more the “official” starting point, right? For info on what I’ve got available for the coming season, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday’s free play was the Angels, and looked great for eight innings until the Red Sox blew up Huston Street in the ninth. Daily free plays produced a nice return in July, so let’s hope August continues the upward mobility. I’m tabbing next week’s Hall of Fame game as the Monday free play.
PACKERS vs. COLTS (Sunday, 8/7/16)
Take: PACKERS pk
I decided to go ahead and post this now, as I suspect Green Bay could go off the small favorite based on a couple of conversations with Las Vegas bookmakers.
Note this will not be a full unit play for me. I rarely do anything of substance with this game or the opening week exhibition slate as these games are almost all about evaluation, particularly for those on the deep end of the respective depth charts.
But there is one key that I like in this game on the Green Bay side, and that would be QB Brett Hundley. He is now the clear cut #2 behind Aaron Rodgers, and let’s just say that Hundley is very serious about improving as an NFL QB in hopes of eventually getting a chance to be a starter. Hundley was spectacular in his 2015 debut during the pre-season and I expect him to be ever better this summer.
It’s interesting to note that the Indy #2 QB is now Scott Tolzien, who was let go by the Packers after last season. So he’ll get to log some snaps against his former team in this game.
One of my pre-season checklist highlights are gauging the backup quarterbacks, as they’re the ones who will be on the field most of the time, especially in the early going. Hundley is very high on my rankings, based on what he did in August last year as a raw rookie playing an offense he was completely unfamiliar with. I have no idea whether he’ll be a guy who can contribute significantly in regular season play should the situation arise anytime soon. But I like him to be among the best players on any team this August, and it sure sounds like he can’t wait to get on the football field next Monday at Canton.
Obviously, if the betting line on this game goes the other way, I’ll have made an error in gauging the market. But based on what I’ve heard from behind the counter, it’s more likely Green Bay will go off the small chalk here. Since I want to back Hundley and the Packers, I’ll go ahead and do so now. Bear in mind I’m only wagering a half unit here, but my play is on the Green Bay side.