In some ways, the week of baseball’s trading deadline kind of mirrors finals week at colleges and universities throughout the country. There’s the anxiety, the pressure to do well and of course, a lot of work that probably could have been completed much earlier. But students have excuses for waiting until the very last minute to show signs of life – they’re busy playing flip cup or groping women or they’re in work study thinking about flip cup and groping women.
So what’s a baseball team’s excuse? Why do so many teams wait until the very end to bolster their rosters? Surely Theo Epstein realized his team needed a bat long before this week. The Tigers must have known they’d need another pitcher if they want to remain atop the AL Central. And weren’t teams paying attention last year when Milwaukee traded for C.C. Sabathia three weeks before the deadline? All he did is win his first four starts (all before July 31) and lead the Brewers to the Wild Card.
This year, it appears the Seattle Mariners were the biggest losers for waiting to make a move. A month ago, they were 3 ½ back in the AL West and looking like they could actually make a run. By Friday, they had become sellers, officially throwing in the towel on 2009 by dealing Jarrod Washburn to Tigers. Couldn’t they have made an offer for Victor Martinez or Cliff Lee in June? It’s not as though the Indians, Pirates or Royals were planning on making a playoff run by that point. Certainly some team must have been willing to deal early with M’s.
Instead, they’ll join about half the teams in baseball in playing irrelevant games for the next two months. It’s as though they skipped their finals and moved right back to flip cup and groping women, which are probably the only things that will keep Ichiro and Co. interested the rest of the season.
- Look, I realize the Red Sox had to make a splash at the deadline to both strengthen their lineup and take the spotlight off David Ortiz, and Victor Martinez was one of the best guys available. But let’s not act like he’s the next Manny or Ortiz or even Jason Bay.
Martinez gets a lot of credit for being a great hitter simply because he qualifies as a catcher in fantasy baseball, a position that typically sees about three productive players per season. Martinez, 30, has never hit more than 25 homeruns in a season or had an OPS above .879.
Considering that Adrian Gonzalez probably could have been had for a few more prospects, I can’t help but be underwhelmed by Martinez.
- This was the first Twitter-fied trading deadline and it brought me back to my middle school days when AOL chat rooms were all the rage. Nothing like a bunch of random people posting rumors nonstop for hours on end.
The biggest Twitter controversy of the day? The fake Buster Olney, who broke the news that Dennis Eckersley was the Hall of Famer who used steroids.
- Off the top of my head, Zach Duke is the only player I know that still plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- It seems like everyone gets it wrong when grading teams during the trading deadline. The teams that deserve failing grades are the teams that didn’t make any moves. The Yankees Rays, Angels and Rangers all expect to be there in the end and none of them got better on Friday.
- Under/over on the number of playoff games Roy Halladay pitches in his career. I say 1.5 and I take the under.