The Dodgers and the Orioles have negotiated a “blockbuster trade”. The Orioles – a team mired in a season that is a disastrous disappointment when compared to pre-season expectations will get 5 “prospects” from the Dodgers’ farm system. The Dodgers get Manny Machado who – I believe – is the second-best young player in MLB at the moment behind Mike Trout. And that last statement intends to throw exactly no shade on Kris Bryant or Bryce Harper or a bunch of other young stars of the game. The surprise element in this trade to me is this:
- The Dodgers are well represented on the left side of their infield for the future with Justin Turner at third abase and Corey Seager at shortstop when he returns from Tommy John surgery next season. Machado can play shortstop this year but if the Dodgers seek to sign him to a long-term deal at the end of this season, that will create a logjam at shortstop/third base. This can only mean that the Dodgers are going all out to win the World Series this year – – and they just might do that.
On the flip side of this trade, the Orioles have to be the most disappointing team in MLB when compared to what they thought they could do this season. I doubt that any of their fans seriously thought they could beat out the Yankees or Red Sox in the AL East, but a solid third-place finish was certainly not out of the question – – until about the first of June. At the All-Star break, the only team in MLB with a worse record than the Orioles would be the KC Royals – and just about everyone knew that the Royals were going to stink out the joint in 2018. The Orioles of 2018 look as if they are a team that is tanking to restructure their roster; indeed, that may be the strategy as of July 2018, but it was not the plan as of March 2018.
The Orioles will get 5 “prospects” from the Dodgers’ farm system in the trade. Let me translate that for you:
- The Orioles are getting 5 players who have never shown the ability to play baseball at the MLB level. Their scouts have identified these prospects as “MLB-ready” or “developmental players with a high upside”. The team needs to hope that those scouts are really close to accurate on those projections because in baseball the definition of a “Prospect” is “Someone who has achieved nothing to date”.
Regarding next season for the Dodgers, Justin Turner is signed for $18M in 2019 and then $19M in 2020. Corey Seager is on a 1-year deal for $605K making him a ginormous bargain even with his injury. He is not eligible for free agency yet, so he will be a huge bargain for the Dodgers again next year. My point here is how does the team fit those two high quality players in with free-agent-to-be Manny Machado. It will not be easy…
Let me make one more comment about the World Cup tournament here. If all one did in the US was to tune in to see the final game between France and Croatia and all that one brought to the game was the press coverage of the tournament to date, I think that viewer/casual fan would have been confused and disappointed. The game on the pitch was plenty interesting; the announcing that accompanied the game was pretty bleak.
- Far too much air time was taken up by the announcers regaling folks with the myriad storylines that came from this World Cup tournament. Big Bleeping Deal! No one tuned in to see/hear the storylines; people tuned in to see and hear about the game on the pitch.
- There had to be at least a half-dozen [I am being generous here with such a small number.] of references to lightening and thunder and a storm in the area of the stadium. So, what? Soccer is an outdoor sport; weather conditions are not always ideal; players routinely play through the weather conditions. If I need or want weather updates and/or commentary on the position of lightening/thunder events, I can check out the Weather Channel App on my phone. Cut that nonsense out of the coverage of the game on the pitch; it is irrelevant.
- For TV coverage of major soccer events, US networks need to hire announcers from the EPL. Those announcers know the game; they know how to let the pictures on the screen speak for the action on the pitch; put simply, they know when to shut up or to minimize the duration of their speech. My all-time favorite soccer announcer is Ian Darke; I never heard his voice on any of the World Cup games that I saw this time around. Sad for me; a black mark for FOX.
Here is another international soccer note… It is not all that surprising to find a bad team that churns through coaches/managers at a blinding clip. Palermo has been relegated from Serie A to Serie B in Italy and in the process of falling down the Serie Table to the point where they were relegated, Palermo ran though 13 coaches/managers between November 2015 and April 2018. Bad teams lose games and it is easier for owners to fire a coach/manager than it is to fire an entire team and that is what happens to bad teams.
It is a bit less common to see a good soccer team grind its way through coaches/managers at an accelerated clip. But to check that out, look at Chelsea in the English Premier League:
- Chelsea recently fired its manager, Antonio Conte. It was not a huge surprise but given the Chelsea record over the past decade, this firing makes the managerial situation there a bit out of the ordinary.
- With Conte gone, that means Chelsea will start the next season with their 11th manager since 2007. In that last decade, Chelsea has spent most of the time in the top quartile of the EPL.
Finally, Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times had this observation regarding the English side in the World Cup Tournament:
“England not only lost 2-1 to Croatia in the semifinals but the team was fined $70,000 for wearing ‘unauthorized socks.’
Since when has Roger Goodell been in charge of the World Cup?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………