The Los Angeles Dodgers made the first big move of the July trading season on Wednesday, acquiring shortstop Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles. The season-ending injury to star shortstop, Corey Seager, made a move like this foreseeable for months. Yet it represents the first big deal of any kind in recent weeks. With only 12 days remaining until the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline, it figures to be a busy period of deal-making.
The Dodgers got themselves a major upgrade offensively for the rest of the season, and didn’t exactly give away the house. Yusniel Diaz, the key piece in the trade is a lower tier top 100 outfielder, but the other four prospects acquired aren’t notable and don’t hurt the Dodgers much by their absence. FanGraphs broke down the prospects the Orioles acquired, and it’s not that great a haul. That they managed to pick up Machado while keeping their four top prospects makes this a perfect deal for them. They also took on Machado’s money, without going over the salary cap.
Bill Plaschke at the LA Times writes that with Machado in house, the Dodgers still need to bolster their pitching in the weeks to come. Jeff Sullivan says the Dodgers got the only star on the rental market.
For the Orioles, this is finally an acceptance of the reality of their situation. They simply haven’t been able to develop enough starting pitching to help out a faded offense weighed down by the Chris Davis contract. With Machado headed to free agency, a barren farm system, and a team in a battle for the bottom in all of baseball, the writing has been on the wall all along. In a division that quite likely holds two of the best three teams in baseball, and with no sign of any slowdown in the future, the future is bleak in Baltimore.
For Orioles’ fans, this is hard medicine. The player that fans once hoped would return the franchise to the glory days is now a Dodger. I feel ya. Read this generally positive article from the Baltimore Sun on the prospects the Orioles received back, and keep your chin up.
For Tigers fans, general manager Dan Duquette’s words will sound pretty familiar.
Duquette said all the upgrades to analytics, international scouting, facilities, the draft, etc, are part of a longer-term plan that's received ownership commitment. Not just a reaction to start of rebuild.— Jon Meoli (@JonMeoli) July 19, 2018
Duquette also mentions rebuilding professional scouting and international scouting staffs as part of this process.— Jon Meoli (@JonMeoli) July 19, 2018
The All-Star game looked an awful lot like baseball does
The 2018 All-Star Game played out like a microcosm of the league on Tuesday. Home runs and strikeouts were the order of the day. We got Aaron Judge bombing on Max Scherzer. Mike Trout homered off of Jacob DeGrom. Good times. Things went on like this most of the game. However with the outcome in doubt and into extra innings, AL manager A.J. Hinch’s guys put on a short play based the 2017 World Series as Alex Bregman and George Springer went yard in back-to-back fashion. The American League held on to win 8-6. All totaled there were 10 home runs hit, shattering the previous record of six set in 1951, and tied in 1954, and 1971.
The mic’d up segments were a particular highlight, as the players tried to stay focused and alert with Joe Buck in their ear. Among other things we learned, was the fact that a lot of major league players get lonely and mumble to themselves on the field. The usual All-Star Game hijinks made appearances, including Nelson Cruz asking Yadi Molina to take a picture of he and home plate umpire Country Joe West among other photo ops taken at the game.
For the Tigers, the highlight was short and sweet. Reliever Joe Jimenez came on in the fourth and struck out Brandon Crawford to end the inning. With that much talent on the roster, it was just good to see Jimenez get in the game and contribute. Beyond that he appeared to have a great time. Hopefully there are many All-Star Games to come from the young bullpen ace. Anthony Fenech of the Freep documented the journey Jimenez has been on over the last year to get to this point.
Here’s Joe dealing with the adoring public.
Joe on the red carpet.
Hanging in good company.
Joe Jimenez has nearly the same spin rate, movement, and spin efficiency as Justin Verlander. Fastballs should look very similar on TV.— Brian Bannister (@RealBanny) July 18, 2018
Eh, not quite, Brian, but close enough...
Buyers and Sellers
The New York Post looks at teams the New York Mets should emulate to escape the quicksand the organization is perennially trapped in. The Ringer checks in with its mid-season power rankings. The Phillies missed out on Manny Machado, and still need a shortstop. But at the moment they’re keying in on the Padres excellent lefty reliever, Brad Hand. The Brewers focus may shift to the Twins’ Brian Dozier with Machado gone, but they’ll have some competition there as well. MLB.com has a complete rundown of each team’s position as July 31 nears. And Jacob DeGrom’s agent is trying to leverage either a long term deal or a trade from the New York Mets.