There has been a lot of activity in the Hot Stove League already this year and I would like to comment on a small part of the player exchanges. I wonder what the Atlanta Braves are thinking/doing.
Last year, the Braves lost 95 games which is bad enough; moreover, their run differential for the season was minus-187 which was 4 runs worse than the Phillies’ run differential. That means they got blown out more than once in a while. There is no question the Braves need a rebuild. And that sets the stage…
First the Braves traded Andrelton Simmons who was the best defensive shortstop in the National League and who was not an embarrassment at the plate. In exchange, they got a replacement shortstop in Erick Aybar who hits a bit better but who is several notches below Simmons in the field. The Braves also acquired 2 minor league pitchers in that deal.
Then, the Braces sent Cameron Maybin off to the Tigers and acquired 2 more minor league pitchers. So, it would seem as if the idea is to shore up the pitching staff, right? After all, with that negative run differential, one has to look at the team pitching and say to oneself:
We ought to be able to upgrade that…
However, the next trade was to ship out their single best starting pitcher – Shelby Miller – to acquire Ender Inciarte (a good young outfielder), Dansby Swanson (a shortstop who was the overall #1 pick in last year’s draft), and 2 more minor league pitchers. In this series of moves, the Braves subtracted three solid major league players to acquire one good young outfielder, a journeyman shortstop, a top draft pick and 6 minor league pitchers.
If Dansby Swanson does not become a solid major league player and at least 2 if not 3 of those minor league pitchers make it to the majors, one has to wonder how long it might be for the Braves to recover.
What the Braves seem to be doing is to trade off their valuable assets to accumulate numbers of young prospects in the hope that they will all mature together and become the nucleus of a strong contending team. That is not a bad idea when it works. There are two potential problems here:
1. It may not work. The players they acquired may not pan out.
2. There should be some anxious times in store for Braves’ fans. If you think I am exaggerating, talk to some Philadelphia 76ers fans; they are in medias res as we speak.
Another Hot Stove League trade of interest is the one that is limbo at the moment between the Dodgers and the Reds involving Aroldis Chapman and allegations that he was involved in a domestic violence incident several months ago where shots were fired although no one was injured. I have no idea what actually happened there so I shall reserve all judgments regarding that matter except to wonder:
Do you think that Jerry Jones might sign Chapman for the Cowboys? He can throw a baseball 100 mph; I wonder if he can throw a football…
In other baseball news, Commissioner Rob Manfred said that he will not lift Pete Rose’s lifetime ban from baseball. Given that Manfred is only 57 years old, it would seem as if he is going to be in that position for a while; that means Pete Rose’s lifetime ban could likely extend to the end of Rose’s lifetime. According to this report by Matt Snyder on CBSSports.com, Rose told Manfred when the two met that he (Rose) continues “to bet on horse racing and professional sports including baseball.” Rose lives in Nevada where those activities are perfectly legal and millions (literally) of people go to Nevada every year to do just those sorts of things. Notwithstanding the legalities here, Pete Rose has to be dumber than a bag of hair. The thing that got him in the situation he is in now is “betting on baseball”. He is seeking clemency and redemption; so how can he still be betting on baseball and hope to obtain said clemency and redemption?
It would be even better if he stopped gambling on the horses and other sporting events and focused his gambling energies on things like poker or blackjack or roulette. It would be difficult for an objective observer to say that those activities might affect the “integrity of the game” when the person involved is not going to be a player or manager any time soon. So, Rose came to the Commish with a weak case for clemency/redemption to start with and then sealed his fate by doing something even more stupid. According to Snyder’s story, there is a footnote in Manfred’s report regarding his decision:
“Even more troubling, in our interview, Rose initially denied betting on baseball currently and only later in the interview did he ‘clarify’ his response to admit such betting.”
So, Rose is still betting on baseball and – after getting an interview with the Commish that he has been seeking for years to plead his case – what he did was to lie about his continued betting on baseball. Given those circumstances, I now pronounce Pete Rose as
The Bull-Goose Looney.
In the Ken Kesey novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Randall Patrick McMurphy wanted to know which of the inmates in the asylum was “the bull-goose looney”. Well, now we know who it is…
Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times regarding another baseball issue:
Joe Posnanski of NBCsports.com, on MLB traditionalists’ aversion to bat-flipping: ‘If Neil Armstrong had played by baseball’s stupid unwritten rules of decorum, he would have whispered, ‘Yeah, I’m on the moon.’”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………