We’re still days away from the MLB trade deadline, yet we’ve already seen some huge deals go down this week. Ichiro being traded to the Yankees was a surprise to almost everyone, and he wasn’t even the biggest name moved.
The biggest surprise trade came in last night, with the Brewers dealing Zack Grienke to the Angels. The surprise wasn’t the Brewers trading Grienke, their GM has made it clear for weeks now that Grienke would be moved – the Angels were the surprise. Man, I would not want to mess with that team. Talk about investing in your team, Grienke adds to the many new faces in the Angels org, including the obvious offseason pickups of Pujols and Wilson, and MVP candidate (and almost a shoe-in for ROY) Mike Trout. This team is serious about winning their division and beyond. Hopefully someone knocks them out of the playoffs before the Yankees have to play them.
In other Los Angeles news, The Dodgers, in their continuing efforts to sign disgruntled players named Ramirez, gave up a couple of pitching prospects to the Marlins to acquire their newest malcontent, Hanley Ramirez. I had a feeling that Ramirez would be gone before the deadline, I just guessed the wrong California NL team. Just about the same time Ham-Ram was traded, the Marlins also
dumped the salaries of traded Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers, for (you guessed it), more prospects. Now there’s talk of dealing homegrown ace Josh Johnson.
You might think to yourself, the Marlins aren’t exactly out of it yet, why the selloff? It’s because the Marlins are owned by the stingiest man in all of baseball, Jeffrey Loria. If you haven’t stumbled across the Jeff Passan (of Yahoo Sports) article on what a piece of crap Loria is, check it out here, it’s very well detailed. In one evening, by dealing the 3 players mentioned above, the Marlins dumped almost $34M in salary. If you remember a few years back when Loria was crying poverty because he couldn’t afford to build a new stadium (even though the team was making boatloads of cash due to low on-field payroll and revenue sharing), he swindled the taxpayers into believing he would invest in his club if he got a new stadium. That lasted about 45 home games.
The Fish have mustered up 1 sellout this season. Can you guess what day that was? If you guessed opening day, you would be correct. They suggested their abysmal attendance was due to the NBA playoffs. The playoffs ended, and attendance didn’t change. Maybe now they’ll blame it on the Olympics. I think the fans recognize a bait and switch when they see it, and they don’t want to support a team owned by a scumbag that cares more about lining his own pockets than winning. Maybe it’s a bit naive to think that winning should be paramount in sports (and sports ownership), but then again, what do I know? I grew up watching an organization invest into their on-field talent every single season, and all that did was help the Yankees win 5 world championships in my lifetime. If a team wins, fans will come out and support, no matter the team. There’s plenty of money to be made in baseball, and it starts with investing in your on-field product – not pocketing every nickel and dime that comes your way.
On the other hand, It’s great to see the new ownership group in LA investing into their club. The Dodgers’ ownership situation was a mess for years, and now Magic Johnson is there to make it all better. I mean this is the same guy who bought his way out of being HIV positive, so you know he’s willing to spend money.
Speaking of spending money, I couldn’t believe that the Phillies extended Cole Hamels for another 6 years (at $140M+). Hamels becomes the 2nd highest paid pitcher in the bigs (behind Sabathia), and will be a fixture in Philly for years to come. I have to think that after making this move, trading Cliff Lee now becomes a priority. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Lee get shipped off to any number of clubs that are in need of starting pitching. The south side of Chicago would be a great landing spot, as would Atlanta, Pittsburgh, or a return to Cleveland. I would also expect the Phillies to deal some of their lower-end talent too. I think Wiggington to the Yankees would be a smart move for both teams. With that, I have to apologize to my buddy Mike, who’s arch nemesis in life is Ty Wiggington. I’ll spare you the details.
Aside from Josh Johnson and Cliff Lee, the Padres have a couple of pieces that could generate some major interest around the league. Both Carlos Quentin and Chase Headley should get a look from quite a few teams.
There are a a bunch of teams that are looking to make some moves, so this could be one of the most exciting years for trades in recent memory. Check back for a full recap after the deadline hits.