As of last night’s games, the Chicago Cubs stand in a percentage points lead for first place in the National League Central, and subsequently two games out of the Wild Card race.
Based on head-to-head schedules, as well as remaining schedules for both the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, it is my prediction that the Cardinals will come out on top of the division victorious.
Despite the two teams being stuck together in the standings, the Cardinals’ sailing has been much smoother on their way to a 59-51 record. They have been consistent all year in a division that has not seen any team take advantage of the other’s struggles. Their longest winning streak and longest losing streak on the year is five in both categories, and they have not had many negative headlines.
One question mark that arose for the Cardinals early in the year was the question of who would protect slugger Albert Pujols in the batting order. Ryan Ludwick and Rick Ankiel have not been up to the task of doing so in trying to repeat their breakout performances of last year.
To ignite the offense and protect the best hitter in baseball, the Cardinals added a couple of veteran pieces that are sure to help mightily during the stretch run. First, Mark DeRosa was acquired for a couple of mid-level prospects, and he has done a solid job batting in the two spot.
After starting his Cardinals career out 0-for-15, DeRosa has batted .242 since with seven homers, 12 runs batted in and an .891 OPS. He has batted all over the lineup, anywhere from the two spot to the seven spot, and he has shown his versatility by playing first, second, and third base in the field while still having the capability to play outfield.
For as average as DeRosa has been since coming to the Cards, Matt Holliday has picked him up and then some. Since putting on a Cardinals jersey, Holliday has batted a blistering .477 with three home runs, 11 runs batted in, and an on-base percentage of .549 in just 11 games.
Along with the new and improved offense, the Cardinals’ starters have been outstanding this year, and the defense has been superb. The Cards’ starters rank tied for second with the Cubs in the National League in ERA at 3.67, and they have walked just 192 batters, which is good for third in the majors.
Ryan Franklin has been about as shut-down of a closer as there is possible, and the bullpen, while having an average season statistically, has thrown the second-least amount of innings this year, which is always important for a stretch run in September.
But enough about that. It’s time to focus on the North Siders.
That team with the “C” on the helmet that has been tricking you and deceiving you for the past 106 games. Oh, don’t worry Cubbie fans. You will probably make it to the postseason this year for reasons that we will go over in just a second.
But once you are there, it’ll be the third year in a row that you don’t even sniff the “W” column during the second season.
In case you haven’t heard, the National League Central is one of the the worst divisions in all of baseball. As a division, it has a .485 winning percentage and is the only division in baseball to have four teams at .500 or below.
It has the lowly Pirates, who are setting up to look really good in 2014. It has the Reds, who seemingly fell off the map without anyone noticing.
It has the God-awful starting pitching of the Milwaukee Brewers and the ever-fading Houston Astros.
Yes, for the Chicago Cubs, it’s almost too much fun to be in the National League Central and get to feast on some of the worst teams in the league this year. And feast they have, as we get to the first reason why the Cubs’ record and production is tainted.
They have played 55 games against the National League Central this year and will wind up playing a total of 80 against the worst division in the NL. In those 55 games, they have gone a solid 32-23, and the 32 wins are the most by any team against their own division in all of baseball.
Sounds pretty good, right?
But realize that the Cubs are 11-12 against the other top two teams in the division, Milwaukee and St. Louis, as opposed to the 21-11 record they sport against the cellar dwellers of the Central in Houston, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh.
Even better, they still have nine games left against Pittsburgh and a combined six against the other two teams at the bottom. Tell me those numbers won’t end up looking good on a playoff resume. I hope the Cubs can pull the Pirates or Reds in the NLDS.
Meanwhile, over on the West Coast, the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies are slaving away as they battle in the deepest division not named the AL East. With three teams as legitimate contenders to make the playoffs, including the best team in all of baseball in the Los Angeles Dodgers, times are not easy over there.
Thus far, the Rockies and Giants have had the 16th- and 17th-toughest schedules in the majors, while the Cubs have relaxed with the 24th-easiest in all of baseball.
If you think that kind of stuff always evens out at the end of the year, think again.
To end the year, the Cubs will play 38 games against teams with losing records and just 19 games against teams with winning records.
To put that in comparison, the Giants will play 28 games against teams with losing records and 26 games against .500 or better teams.
The Rockies have it even worse, playing 27 games against teams with losing records and 30 against teams with winning records.
Simply put, there is a very good chance that the Cubs get into the playoffs while the Giants and Rockies beat each other up. San Francisco and Colorado will play each other 10 times before the end of the year in what will either decide the Wild Card race or let a Central team in.
Let’s say, for a moment, that the Chicago Cubs make the playoffs as the National Leauge Wild Card representative. Let’s say that the easy schedule was just easy enough and that the Giants and Rockies could never pull away from each other. In all honesty, there’s a good chance it happens.
San Francisco will get the Dodgers nine times before season’s end, and the Rockies get to face them six times.
Now the real question: Would the Cubs stand any kind of chance in the playoffs against, more than likely, the Los Angeles Dodgers?
The simple answer to this question is no, but because it’d be a lame ending to this article, I’ll explain why.
This season, the Cubs have played 18 different ballclubs. They have played every team in the National League other than the Mets (14) and have played four American League teams as well.
The Cubs have played 27 games against the top six teams on their schedule and have won just 10 of those games. The middle six of their schedule has seen the Cubs go 24-21. And right on cue, the Cubs are 22-13 against the worst six teams on their schedule this season.
Against teams with winning records this season, the Cubs are a dismal 19-29, which is good for a .395 winning percentage. Compare that record against other clubs’ results against .500 or better teams such as the Cardinals (.545 win percentage), the Giants (.528), the Rockies (.490), and the Dodgers (.566), and you see a huge disparity.
The numbers don’t lie, and what they show is that the Cubs do not fare well against good teams but do very well against the lower-tier teams. Because they are in one of the worst divisions in baseball, that trait is magnified, and it makes the Cubs look better than they really are.
The Giants are 16-11 against teams in the Central, and the Rockies are 17-8 against those same ballclubs.
In reverse effect, the Cubs are just 8-9 against the National League West this year. This clearly shows how much easier it is to play in the National League Central and indicates that the Giants and Rockies have outperformed the Cubs this year by more than the two games the standings say.
Other indicators that spell doom for the Cubs if they make it to the playoffs are the bullpen woes. The Cubs have the fourth-most blown saves in the National League with 16, and their bullpen has walked more batters than any other team in the NL. Walks might fly against the Astros and Diamondbacks, but when it comes time to play against the big boys, you’d better not give up any free passes.
When thinking about teams in the National League getting ready to make their stretch runs, the word “aggressive” came to mind this year. The Phillies went out and got Cliff Lee, the reigning Cy Young award winner and new ace for the next two years.
The Giants obtained Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Garko to add some good solid bats to help support the best pitching staff in the league.
The Dodgers helped their shaky bullpen out by getting one of the best, if not the best, lefty specialists in the game in George Sherill.
The Cardinals traded their top prospect and other first-round draft picks in order to get their hands on a guy that could drive in Albert Pujols instead of stranding him on second.
With the Cubs and their acquisitions of John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny, you didn’t get the sense that they were making that “push” to reach the pennant or beat out the Cardinals. They got what they needed in another lefty arm, but it didn’t put them over the edge.
The sale of the team hurt them, as Jim Hendry was advised not to increase payroll, but something a little more spicy would have been nice. Grabow is an average arm in the bullpen, and Gorzelanny does not give the Cubs anything that Kevin Hart was not already giving them.
With the best record in the National League, it’s all but set that the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to obtain the top seed in the National League playoffs this year. It will be an award well-deserved, and there is no doubt they will honor that title and back it up as best as can.
Standing in their way, if they get there, will probably be the Chicago Cubs.
If the Cubs win the National League Central and the Wild Card comes from the National League West, or if the Cubs win the Wild Card, they will visit Chavez Ravine to start the playoffs.
Not only do the Cubs struggle mightily on the road with a record of 24-30, but the Dodgers are a National League-best 35-19 when playing in “Mannywood.”
Clayton Kershaw has a 2.06 ERA at home this year, Jonathon Broxton has allowed just one earned run all year there, and a ridiculous eight Dodgers are batting over .265 when at home.
When looking at the schedules of all contenders in the National League, the Cubs have a very good shot at contending with other squads in the Wild Card race. As easy as their schedule is, the Cardinals have an even easier schedule, as St. Louis will play the Padres seven times, the Pirates six times, and the Reds six times.
However, the Cubs’ inconsistent and struggling play against the good teams this year is that will be their downfall in the playoffs. It’s no secret that whoever comes out of the Central will have a tough time competing, but that statement applies even moreso to the Cubs.
Heading into tonight’s action in the National Leauge, it has become apparent that just six teams are left in the league that have a shot at competing for the playoffs, and ultimately the NL pennant.
The Pirates, Reds, Brewers, and Astros really have no shot at winning the Central this year. The Astros and Brewers are within reaching distance but trends say they are out of it.
In the East, the Florida Marlins and Atlanta Braves are both inside seven games of the Philadelphia Phillies, but with the acquisition of Cliff Lee to the pitching staff, I will go ahead and say the Phillies are rolling to the playoffs.
In the West, the Diamondbacks are too far out of it and the Padres have officially begun to rebuild and stand no chance in what is easily the toughest division in the National League.
With those ten teams all but out of any race heading into the stretch run of the season, six teams remain that include the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Philadelphia Phillies, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Chicago Cubs, the San Francisco Giants, and the Colorado Rockies.
To get the easy stuff out of the way that really does not even need to be broken down, the Dodgers will win the division because they are the deepest team in the league and have one of the best managers in the game.
Joe Torre has his team absolutely rolling on all cylinders and the team is taking care of both the weak competition and the tough. What’s amazing about the Dodgers best record in baseball is that they also have had the toughest schedule to date in the National League, with an opponent’s win percentage of .510.
Against teams with a winning record, the Dodgers are are an NL-leading 34-26 in those games. They have scored the second most runs in the NL, behind just the Phillies, and have the second best team ERA in all of baseball. The bullpen has been shaky and is the one question mark that the team has, but the trade deadline acquisition of George Sherill looks to be huge for them.
They showed no signs of slowing down even when Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games and his presence back on the team has brought them together even more. He has struggled as of late but the young stars in James Loney, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier have picked up the slack.
The other ballclub that has won their division by default (at least in this article) is the Philadelphia Phillies. They have won 20 of their last 28 games and have opened up a safe cushion on both the Braves and Marlins. Even more importantly, they made the trade of the year in acquiring starting pitcher and reigning Cy Young winner Cliff Lee from the Indians.
They gave up a decent amount of minor league prospects but this year’s team was left completley alone. He joins what now looks to be the best starting rotation in all of baseball that is poised for another run deep into the playoffs.
The Phillies have a pretty average looking schedule the rest of the way compared to the other contenders, with 25 games left against teams with winning records and 32 left against losing records.
The Phillies rank fifth in runs and sixth in slugging percentage this year, which is always a good thing when playing in the ballpark they play in. Combined with a now excellent pitching staff and the potential of Pedro Martinez, and the Phillies have great pitching that will get plenty of run support every time one of them takes the mound.
The one division that has not been decided and likely will not be decided until the last week of the year is the National League Central. Going into tonight’s play, the Cardinals and Cubs were tied for the best record in the division. Based on percentage points, the Cubs held a slight advantage over St. Louis.
Looking at the stretch run for both teams, the schedule seems to favor the Cardinals moreso than the Cubbies. Both teams will play 38 games against teams with losing records, but the Cubs will play four more games (19 compared to 15 for the Cards) against teams with a winning record.
Making it even more difficult for the Cubs, 15 of those games against teams with winning records will come away from Wrigley Field, where the Cubs are 24-29. The Cardinals will play nine games at home against +.500 teams and just six on the road.
My money is on the Cards taking the division, and no it has nothing to do with my staunch Brewers homerism. The Cardinals have added their pieces in Mark Derosa and Matt Holliday, and Albert Pujols is more than capable of taking them to the top. They have an easier stretch than the Cubs and overall play better ball.
The Cubs will have a tough time competing just because of their struggles on the road. The stat of having 15 of 19 road games against winning-record teams is a huge disadvantage, but what’s worse is that they play almost half of their remaining games on the road (28 of 57).
As of right now, the National League Wildcard seems as if it will be a three team race, with the San Francisco Giants leading the way, followed by the Colorado Rockies and the loser of the National League Central.
Numbers point to the Giants being the front-runners for a few reasons, with the main one being their unbelievable pitching. They have the best team ERA in the Majors and have two bonafide aces in Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. They are pretty much guarenteed two quality starts every five days.
The Giants finish their season with 28 games against teams with winning records and 26 games against teams with losing records. The majority (16) of their winning-record opponents will have to come to San Francisco to play them.
With the addition of Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Garko to a less than stellar lineup, the Giants look to be in good position to take home the Wildcard.
What will be important is not getting into a slugfest with the Colorado Rockies so that the Cubs or Cardinals sneak right in and both are left out. The Rockies and Giants will meet ten more times before the year is over, and the odds are that whoever comes out on top in that span of games will also meet up with the Phillies in the first round.
The races in the National League, while not featuring the best teams in the world, will be exciting and should come down to the final games of the year.
The always interesting Major League Baseball trade deadline came and went at 3 p.m. central time today as some big names were added to contenders and stellar prospects will now call someplace else home. Since the Matt Holliday trade between the St. Louis Cardinals and Oakland Athletics, there have been ___ trades. While some of these deals can not fully be evaluated until it is seen how prospects pan out, we’ll go ahead and try to do it anyways.
Trade: (July 27th) Cleveland Indians trade Ryan Garko to the San Francisco Giants for Scott Barnes
Who Wins: The Indians officially began their firesale by shipping away their starting first baseman to the Giants who were in much need of a replacement for Travis Ishikawa. Garko gives the Giants a solid fifth hitter in the lineup as they make a run at the NL Wildcard this season. His contract is up at the end of the year but the Giants are expected to at least make an offer to him.
Barnes was 12-3 with a 2.85 ERA for Class A San Jose and was ranked by Baseball America as the Giants’ ninth best prospect in 2009. The lefty has an excellent changeup and projects to be a number three starter in the big leagues.
If Garko re-signs with the Giants it would be a great deal for the them but I believe Barnes can be something special. Still, the Giants got what they needed and take this deal by a small margin. WINNER: GIANTS
Trade: (July 28th) Boston Red Sox trade Mark Kotsay to the Chicago White Sox for Brian Anderson
Who Wins: It was clear that Brian Anderson’s time in Chicago was up as he had been optioned to Triple A and was not in the plans for the future of the White Sox.
He demanded a trade and was given his wish by trading places with the veteran Kotsay. Clearly the Red Sox felt as though they had enough outfield depth on the team and could spare Kotsay to pick up a potential player in Anderson.
Kotsay will be great off the bench for the White Sox as they make a run at the AL Central this year. WINNER: WHITE SOX
Trade: (July 29th) Seattle Mariners trade Wladimir Balentein to the Cincinnati Reds for Robert Manuel
Who Wins: Neither of these players project as much in the big leagues but give both teams some added depth at a few spots. Balentein has more Major League experience and has a better shot at contributing in the near future. WINNER: REDS
Trade: (July 29th) Seattle Mariners trade shortstop Ronny Cedeno, Jeff Clement, Ben Prebanic, Brett Lorin, and Nathan Adcock to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jack Wilson and Ian Snell
Who Wins: This is a very interesting trade for both squads because the Pirates were in a no-win situation with the two players they gave away. Wilson had already denied a contract extension with the team and Snell was very unhappy with his situation in Pittsburgh.
What they got in return was about as much as they could have asked for, including slugger Jeff Clement.
Cedeno was thrown in the deal because the Pirates will need to fill a void at shortstop but is hardly the long-term solution. Clement has a great bat but does not have a true position, seeing time at catcher and first base. He projected as a designated hitter but now will not have that chance in the National League. Pitcher Nathan Adcock sports a great curveball and could be a starter in the future.
Seattle is buying for the future and got one of the best defensive gloves in the game in Wilson, as well as a pitcher with a ton of skill in Snell. While the results have not been there, Snell has potential if he can stay focused and work on his problems.
It’s tough to say that the Pirates could have won this deal because they were dealing with two disgruntled players, so I’ll give this one to the M’s. WINNER: MARINERS
Trade: (July 29th) Pittsburgh Pirates trade Freddy Sanchez to the San Francisco Giants for Tim Alderson
Who Wins: Sanchez adds another much needed bat to the lineup and puts the Giants in great shape to find a spot in the National League playoffs. Along with Garko, Sanchez improves the offense with a .300+ batting average and some power to go around.
However, Alderson is showing a ton of potential and could be an outstanding pitcher in the near future. In three seasons of professional ball, he is 20-6 with an ERA just over three. He sports an excellent curveball and was projected to be a back-end starter in the outstanding Giants’ rotation that includes Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and number one prospect Madison Bumgarner.
Sanchez is a great hitter and an average fielder that puts the Giants in contention. The Pirates were in a no-win situation with Sanchez who, like Wilson, refused to sign a contract extension. What they got is a 20-year-old starter with a ton of potential. WINNER: PIRATES
Trade: (July 29th) Cleveland Indians trade Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, and Lou Marson
Who Wins: The Indians are clearly in selling mode and traded away their second straight Cy Young Award winner to the Philadelphia Phillies who are all of a sudden huge contenders in the National League.
What they got in exchange was a ton of young and talented players that are sure to make a splash in The Bigs in the future.
For the Phillies, they filled up their starting rotation by adding Lee, who is 9-7 this year with an even 3.00 ERA. He will go to a staff that was desparately looking for good pitching and becomes the ace.
They did not have to give up their two best pitching prospects in Kyle Drabek and J.A. Happ, which they would have if they had gone after Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay.
For the Indians, they get two very solid pitchers in Knapp and Corrasco as well as good position players in Donald and Marson. Baseball America ranked the Indians’ return players as the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 10th best players in the Phillies’ farm system.
Still, the Phillies become legitimate contenders with this move and win the deal as well. WINNER: PHILLIES
Trade: (July 30th) Baltimore Orioles trade George Sherill to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Josh Bell and Steve Johnson
Who Wins: The one knock on the team with the best record in baseball was that the bullpen was extremely shaky. Outside of Jonathon Broxton, no one really had the makings up someone you’d like to rely on late in games. Enter George Sherill and that is no longer the case.
Sherill gives the Dodgers a great 1-2 punch in the bullpen and they did not have to give up much to get it. Bell is a solid prospect at third base and projects to be a starter in the big leagues one day, but the Dodgers are completely in win-now mode and were going to do anything possible to pick up a reliever. WINNER: DODGERS
Trade: (July 30th) Pittsburgh Pirates trade Tom Gorzelanny and John Grabow to the Chicago Cubs for Kevin Hart, Jose Ascanio, and Josh Harrison
Who Wins: This trade was probably one of the fairest deals of the deadline and it is hard to pick a winner.
For the Cubs’ sake, they received a much needed lefty arm out of the bullpen in Grabow. Gorzelanny had a great 2007 but has not showed much since and is pretty comparable to Hart.
The Pirates free up more cap room and get a decent young pitcher in Kevin Hart. Time is against him as he is already 26 years old, but if he can keep up his solid numbers he will be a steal.
Ascanio still has a lot to prove and Harrison was stuck behind Josh Vitters at third base in the minors so it isn’t a huge loss for the Cubs.
I’ll give the Cubs the win on the trade because it helps them right now (Grabow) and potentially in the future (Gorzelanny) but both sides come out on top here. WINNER: CUBS
Trade: (July 30th) Detroit Tigers trade Josh Anderson to the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations.
Who Wins: No, cash considerations is not a player on the Royals. This trade occurred to shore up a little bit of money before trading for pitcher Jarrod Washburn, so the Tigers make out well here.
The Royals get an average prospect in the outfield that has seen some at bats in the big leagues. For a team to not get a player in a trade makes it hard for them to win the trade, so the Royals get the nod here. WINNER: ROYALS
Trade: (July 31st) Seattle Mariners trade Jarrod Washburn to the Detroit Tigers for Luke French and Mauricio Robles
Who Wins: Both of the prospects that the Mariners received in return have pretty low ceilings and do not project as much in the future.
French is 23 years old and has not produced much, with a 35-43 record as a pro. Robles has more upside than French but is still a pretty big project as he is just in Single A.
Many Tigers fans seemed to be upset to have to part way with Robles, especially with Washburn being a three month rental. Washburn’s contract is up after this season so the Tigers are clearly making their run at the division right now.
If Robles becomes something big, the Mariners will have the advantage but for now it looks as though the Tigers came out on top. WINNER: TIGERS
Trade: (July 31st) Oakland Athletics trade Orlando Cabrera to the Minnesota Twins for Tyler Ladendorf
Who Wins: The Twins must feel that they are contenders in the AL Central by trading for a rental at shortstop in Cabrera. Batting .280 and playing solid defense, Cabrera will help the Twins fight for the top spot.
They gave up very little in Ladendorf who has potential but is struggling in Low A ball. I have always thought that Cabrera was underrated and believe the Twins come out big winners here, especially if they can pull off the upset of winning the Central. WINNER: TWINS
Trade: (July 31st) Milwaukee Brewers trade Vinny Rottino to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Claudio Vargas
Who Wins: Vargas was seeing very little action with the Dodgers but will now be thrown into a Brewers starting rotation that is badly looking for starters who can throw a lot of innings.
His second stint with the Brewers will hopefully see him throw those much-needed innings and keep the Brewers in contention in the NL Central.
Rottino was the starting catcher on Italy’s team in the World Baseball Classic, but at 29 years old was stuck in Double A. With Angel Solome considered to be the future of the Brewers behind the plate, Rottino was expendable.
Both teams made out well on this trade but it will definitely help the Brewers more. WINNER: BREWERS
Trade: Boston Red Sox trade Justin Masterson to the Cleveland Indians for Justin Masterson, Bryan Price, and Nick Hagadone
Who Wins: Martinez is a huge addition to the already powerful Red Sox and probably put them as the front-runners to win it all. He will play first base and enter a very dangerous lineup.
Martinez is signed for this year and has a club option for next year that will most surely be picked up. After that, the Red Sox will obviously have enough money to re-sign him and he should be the first baseman of the future.
He did not come cheap, however. Masterson is already Major League-ready and the other two prospects have a ton of upside.
Hagadone, when healthy, has great stuff and should see the Majors sometime soon. The one question mark is that he is coming off of Tommy John surgery and, as is always the case, he might not stay healthy.
Price is further away in terms of progress but is also younger.
Martinez was sad to leave Cleveland but all the wins he will soon rack up in Boston should put a smile back on his face. Huge win for the Bo Sox. WINNER: RED SOX
Trade: (July 31st) Cincinnati Reds trade Jerry Hairston Jr. to the New York Yankees for Chase Weems
Who Wins: I researched Weems and he does not seem to be a huge talent and Hairston Jr. will provide some good outfield depth and is a good bat off the bench.
He has never been much in the field but has a little bit of pop in his bat. For the Reds, they get rid of some cap room and have a young catcher in the minors potentially for the future. WINNER: YANKEES
Trade: (July 31st) Boston Red Sox trade Adam LaRoche to the Atlanta Braves for Casey Kotchman
Who Wins: I am having trouble figuring out why the Braves would want any piece of this deal. Kotchman is four years younger than LaRoche and has a ton more upside. Past that, he is playing better baseball at this point and is the better player.
The Red Sox somehow dumped a player and got better. For the Braves, they get LaRoche for the second time and now have a decent glove and a power bat to compliment Chipper Jones.
In the end, Kotchman has a ton of upside and is only getting better. WINNER: RED SOX
Trade: (July 31st) Washington Nationals Joe Beimel to the Colorado Rockies for Ryan Matheus and Robinson Fabian
Who Wins: Beimel will help the bullpen out for a Rockies team that feels as though they have a legitimate shot at winning the wild card this season.
For the Nats, it’s more prospects that are more than likely going to fade out. Neither have a ton of upside and do not project as big leaguers. WINNER: ROCKIES
Trade: (July 31st) Cincinnati Reds trade Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart to the Toronto Blue Jays for Scott Rolen
Who Wins: I am a little confused by this deal as Encarnacion is really coming into his own as a big leaguer right now. His stats do not really tell the story, but he is batting .276 in July after coming back from injury.
The Reds are not contenders for anything this year and would have been wise to keep Encarnacion around for a while.
Rolen is having a pretty good year both with the bat and, as always, in the field.
The two prospects that the Reds gave up are both big league material, so this trade is a tad bit confusing. WINNER: BLUE JAYS
Trade: (July 31st) San Diego Padres trade Jake Peavy to the Chicago White Sox for Aaron Poreda, Clayton Richard, Adam Russell, and Dexter Carter
Who Wins: Poreda and Richard are two very highly-rated prospects and Richard has already burst on to the scene. Both are young and talented and should be in the Padres’ rotation for quite some time.
Russell and Carter also have some upside, so it was a lot to give up for the White Sox.
However, if they truly believe that they received one of the best five pitchers in the game today (which I do), then it was the right trade to make.
Peavy will be making boatloads of money over the next five years but the White Sox have a lot of money to spend. He will anchor the rotation and move Mark Buehrle back to the number two spot, with Gavin Floyd going third.
Kenny Williams always seems to be making deals, and this one is a huge one, but I believe he made out good on this deal. Peavy had been stuck with a terrible offense for so long but will now get the chance to truly shine.
Poreda and Richard have superstar potential, but any time a talent like Peavy is being dangled in front of you, it’s hard to pass up on it. WINNER: WHITE SOX
Just feeling a quick blog tonight after coming out of my state of shock that Trevor Hoffman is indeed human. Here’s my current power rankings for the MLB as of tonight with a sentence on each squad.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (42-22): Unbelievably, this team has not missed a step after losing slugger Manny Ramirez and is easily the best team in baseball right now.
2. Boston Red Sox (38-25): Their dominance over the Yankees has pushed them into first place in the AL East and David Ortiz is slowly coming around.
3. New York Yankees (36-27): Mark Tiexiera and C.C. Sabathia are finally making good on the huge contracts they signed last off-season.
4. Philadelphia Phillies (36-25): Raul Ibanez has been fantastic and their 23-9 record away from home is unbelievable.
5. Texas Rangers (35-27): Nelson Cruz has been fantastic this year and the Rangers are more than staying alive without Josh Hamilton…so far.
6. Detroit Tigers (34-29): Edwin Jackson looks like the real deal and the Tigers are atop the competitive AL Central.
7. St. Louis Cardinals (34-30): When their rotation is pitching well, they are the best team in the NL Central.
8. Milwaukee Brewers (34-29): Their current rotation is not going to do enough damage to win the division and the bullpen is starting to come back down to earth.
9. San Francisco Giants (34-28): If it weren’t for the Dodgers, we would be talking about the Giants much more.
10. Tampa Bay Rays (34-31): Evan Longoria is keeping the Rays alive but they need to start playing better in close games.