Cokin’s Corner, Sunday 7/31/16

  • July 30, 2016

There were a few deals on Saturday as we head toward the non-waiver trading deadline in Major League Baseball. Here’s a quick assessment on each of them.

The deal likely to generate the most discussion is the one between the Pirates and Nationals. Washington solved its closer issue by snaring Mark Melancon from the Bucs. Melancon has been one of the best closers in the game for four years now, and the likelihood is that he was done as a Pirate after this season.

But I thought this was a shaky deal for the Pirates. Here’s why. First off, the team made the deal while residing just three games out of the wild card in the National League. That means the Pirates are a contender right now, and decided to trade for the future, which makes little sense to me. Secondly, I don’t think they got much in return. Felipe Rivero is a big arm who can get swings and misses and he might end up being an effective reliever. He also might not. Rivero was moved to the pen after failing as a minor league starter. There’s no disputing his fastball, but his command is a question as are his slider and change. I won’t argue with those who like Rivero’s upside, but he’s no sure thing.

Neither is Taylor Hearn, a tall lefty who has been pitching well, albeit in a very small sample this season at Low-A. I’ve seen mixed reports on Hearn as far as what the scouts are saying. His increased velocity is a plus, but the consensus seems to be that he projects more as a bullpen piece than a major league starter. Look, scouting reports are educated guesses, so maybe he turns into a future star. But based on his prospect ranking, he’s not even a lock to make it all the way to the majors. Regardless, he’s not going to be a part of the Pittsburgh picture for at least 2-3 years, so no need to judge now.

My problem with this trade is that I hate seeing a legitimate contender trading away one of its best assets for question marks. It’s as simple as that. Yes, if the Pirates wait and don’t deal Melancon, they run the risk of basically getting blanked when he leaves. But my way of thinking is that if you’re a contender, you don’t send off one of your stars unless you score something in the blue chip class in return. The Pirates did not do that, and I therefore feel this was a bad trade.

Next up, a money deal between the Padres and Braves. Matt Kemp goes to Atlanta, and the Padres save some money. I’m not sure how long Kemp remains with the Braves, as his defense is now pretty hideous, his OBP is getting worse with each passing year, and from what I gather through the grapevine, the clubhouse leadership a veteran is supposed to provide just hasn’t been there. I would expect the Braves to try and move Kemp to the American League in the off season. As for Olivera, he might not even fly to San Diego as he will only be with the Padres until August 2, as that’s the earliest date they can get rid of him. Olivera will then be designated for assignment or released. Olivera was signed out of Cuba for a bundle, turned out to be an absolutely horrible third baseman, got moved to the outfield, didn’t hit much, got in legal trouble, and is now a guy no one appears to want. Maybe he gets signed by someone in the off season, or maybe we’ve seen the last of Olivera. Either way, this was a clerical deal done for financial reasons, and that’s it.

There was also a minor deal between Oakland and Kansas City. Brett Eibner went to the A’s for Billy Burns, and both players were then immediately optioned to the minors. I like KC’s end of this a little better, as I can see Burns in a speed platoon with Jarrod Dyson at some point. Neither is good enough to be a full timer, but as a tandem they might work out reasonably well. Eibner has a swing that has been described as high maintenance, so the opinion among scouts is that he needs regular AB’s to succeed. But as he doesn’t really profile as more than a fourth outfielder, that’s not likely to happen. Obviously, this is not a deal of significance, but I found it kind of interesting anyway.

Finally, there appears to be a deal consummated between the Brewers and Indians with Jonathan Lucroy as the centerpiece assuming he waives his limited no-trade clause. Since that’s not official as I’m writing this and I also have not had time to check out the Cleveland prospects heading to Milwaukee, I’ll hold off on any assessments until tomorrow.

I played two underdogs on Saturday, and each game ended up being decided on a walk off home run. I won with the Padres, lost with the Royals and ended up with a very small net profit. No problem with that, I’m thrilled when I can break even on the coin flip finishes.

Can you believe it? The NFL Hall of Fame game kickoff is now eight days away. I cannot believe how quickly the pages on the calendar are flipping. Time takes on a far different perspective as one ages. In any event, my early signup rates for football are now in effect. Feel free to email me at for all the pertinent information.

Adam Rosales was the hero as he walked off Jumbo Diaz and got me a free play winner as the Padres edged the Reds. I’m following a play I made earlier this week and won with for the Sunday comp.

RED SOX (Wright) at ANGELS (Skaggs)

Take: ANGELS +104

Tyler Skaggs, part two for me today. I played on Skaggs and the Angels in his return to the majors earlier this week, and I want to ride the talented southpaw again in this spot.

Skaggs, who had been nothing short of brilliant in his final two AAA rehab starts, looked outstanding in handling the Royals on Tuesday night. Granted, the Red Sox lineup is vastly superior to that of the Royals, and there’s always the chance of the bounce effect coming into play off such a sensational first game back for Skaggs.

But I think it’s fair to say that Skaggs is catching Boston at the right time. The Red Sox offense isn’t in hibernation, but it’s definitely snoozing. If I’m going to try and beat the Bosox, I’d certainly rather try to do so when they’re not mashing.

Steven Wright will be on the mound for the Red Sox, and the knuckleballer is off a very bad outing where he appeared to be bothered by the heat and humidity. Wright could not get a good grip and therefore could not command his best pitch. That meant he had to rely on his other offerings more, and let’s just say those aren’t big league level pitches. I think Wright has a good chance to bounce back in this game against a so-so Halos lineup.

I definitely input current team form into my numbers, and with the Red Sox in a funk while the Angels are playing well, I made the Halos -110 in this game. So I feel like I’m getting okay value and with a definite desire to follow Skaggs for at least one more start, I’m taking the Angels in this series finale.