Oh, What a Night! Late July, Back in 2014

I don’t think any of you will catch my Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons song title spoof, but for those of you who do get it, you’re awesome. My brain is too fried from this crazy trade deadline to come up with something more clever.

WHAT A CRAZY NON-WAIVER DEADLINE. Holy crap, I am still trying to wrap my brain around everything that happened over these last few weeks, especially what transpired in the final 24-hours. Rarely have we seen such an eventful deadline with such big names. Since I love making lists, let’s go over my picks for winners and losers, both short and long-term! Let’s do this.

Long-Term Winners
Boston Red Sox – This is a team who gave up 4/5 of their starting rotation, the rotation that WON them the World Series last year, but they got some good prospects, good offense, and unloaded contracts, which will really help them in 2015, much to the chagrin of this Yankees fan.

Arizona Diamondbacks – While I am super bummed about the departure of Gerardo Parra, the loss of Martin Prado is cushioned because I get to watch my favorite Venezuelan in pinstripes. D-Backs nation is a little stunned by the moves, but one has to remember that they have one of the best farm systems in MLB. With all of the prospects they got in these trades, the D-Backs will be set for awhile…just not any time soon.

Tampa Bay Rays – I know, I know, they just gave up their superstar pitcher David Price, but I think they will recover just fine. They got some good stuff in the three-team trade, and, although I think they should have gotten more, I bet they will do more in the off-season to become a viable threat again.

Short-Term Winners
New York Yankees – I am mad impressed with what this team did. There were no splashy moves, no big name trades, but they were able to vastly improve without surrendering team talent and only one top prospect. They got Brandon McCarthy, Martin Prado, Chase Headley, Chris Capuano, and Stephen Drew while surrendering Vidal Nuno, Yangervis Solarte, Kelly Johnson, and prospect Peter O’Brien. Not bad, Bombers, not bad…

Oakland Athletics – I put them in “short term” because they built this rock star team to win the 2014 World Series. I do not know how much of this team they will keep after this season is over, but dear God, watch out. When your rotation is Jon Lester, Jeff Samardzija (I spelled it right on the first try!), Scott Kazmir, Sonny Gray, and Jason Hammell, you don’t have much to worry about. Yes, they traded some hot prospects and Yoenis Cespedes (yes, I spelled that one correctly, too), but as I am sure Billy Beane is thinking, “YOLO”.

Detroit Tigers – I also put them in “short-term” because it seems like they will be losing Max Scherzer after this year. Yes, they got David Price, but my guess is that they will be looking to give him the long-term contract instead of Scherzer because of the inability to agree on a deal with Mad Max. Their rotation is killer, like, could probably strangle bears, but they will need to duke it out with Oakland to get to the World Series. My goodness, that will be a ridiculous October matchup.

St. Louis Cardianls – While I am a bit concerned that they so readily dealt Allen Craig, they did get John Lackey from Boston, which is never a bad thing. Lackey will do well there and he will probably get to go back to October, something his former Red Sox teammates will probably not be able to say.

Seattle Mariners Again, as is a trend here, Seattle did well during this trade, but I don’t know how it will shake-up long-term. They got some much needed offensive power and didn’t have to part with much to get it. I am not convinced that Seattle will be a contender this year, but they made some very smart moves at the deadline.

Losers
Boston Red Sox Yes, they are winners AND losers. Them trading away their whole rotation was a bit of a white flag for me, saying that they are not too confident about the rest of the season. Think about it: Clay Buchholz is now the “ace” of their staff. Yikes.

Philadelphia Phillies They REALLY needed to move some contracts and after a disastrous season, this was not an ideal way to end the deadline. So many of their players were in the trade rumors, yet nothing was able to come of it.

San Diego Padres They got rid of Huston Street (best baseball name ever, BTW) and Chase Headley, but didn’t really do much to improve themselves. With the mess they have in the front office, it’s not really surprising, but I think they could have done a smidge more to help themselves.

Pittsburg Pirates In a division like the NL Central, you would think the Pirates would do something! But nope. They did diddly squat, which was disappointing.

San Francisco Giants This is a team who really needed some help in the infield and could not get anything done. They got some pitching reinforcement in the Red Sox’s Jake Peavy, but Peavy can’t get San Fran to the post-season all by himself.

Los Angeles Dodgers – They sure don’t need the help, but they were mentioned in SO many deals that it is hard to believe they really only walked away with the Cubs’ Darwin Barney, who was claimed on waivers. They will be playing in October, no doubt, so I don’t think you can really think of them as total deadline losers.

Okay, that is a lot of teams. And yet, it’s still not all the teams involved in the trades! Good lands, I could be here all night. I think these are teams that really stuck out in my mind, for better or worse. This was probably the most exciting July trade deadline that I have seen and it is GOOD for baseball. I am so excited to watch the rest of the season unfold and watch how these teams compete for a post-season berth.

Okay, I need to unwind and reflect some more on these trades…just kidding, I’m already watching more baseball.

Spring Training is Awesome (and so are my Mini-Reviews)

Spring training is awesome.

It’s the one time of the year where you can sit back, watch a game, and not have to worry about the politics of baseball or how crappy your team is doing. We have had two full days of spring training games and I have been able to watch a few, thanks to MLB TV. Seriously, best investment ever. No joke. And no, they are NOT paying me to say that.

Anyway, I got to see seven teams play so far and because I am an over-achiever and part-time mind reader, I am going to talk about what I saw from the teams and what kind of indicators I got that will play out in the regular season. So, don’t take too much stock in this, but as a blogger, I am now obliged to give my opinion without a care because that’s how the Internet works.

All right, let’s get crackin’:

Philadelphia Phillies: Okay, so I only saw part of this game, but I think the Phillies might actually do better this year. I am hopeful, but c’mon, they have to deal with the Nationals and the Braves. I think a third-place finish is a totally acceptable goal.

Toronto Blue Jays: Color me impressed. The Jays actually didn’t suck in the partial game I saw. Jose Bautista spanked a homerun like he was a pimp and that ball was his…erm…I’ll just stop there before I get in trouble. Okay, anyway, after last year, the Jays can only go up, right? Well, I liked what I saw in the few innings I watched. Because as we all know, a few innings is totally a good way to gauge the rest of the season (enter sarcastic tone).

Pittsburg Pirates: After watching them whoop up on my Yankees, I can say that the Pirates will be good this year. Good enough for play-off run? I dunno. They will have to contest with that Cardinals and that shall be no easy task. It would be fun to see them do well this year, but we gotta stay realistic: I don’t know that they are any better than the teams they could potentially face in the post-season.

New York Yankees: Well. They actually didn’t play that terribly these past two games against the Pirates, but they most definitely did not play up to half their potential. Seriously. It was as though none of their core players were playing (which is totally the point of spring training games) and I think that really bummed out the offense. I think we will need to watch a few more games before judgments are made. They can be a super great team, so long as the lingering question marks go away. Yes, the bias is oozing out of me, don’t hate.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Beating up on the Dodgers is a wonderful feeling, but losing to them the next day is a bummer. Arizona got Kershaw’s number on Tuesday and didn’t let up, but in the split-squad game, the latter part of the game slipped away from those Diamondbacks. That trend really hurt them last year. Of course, they did the exact opposite against the Cubs this afternoon. A slow start led to a poppin’ finish. So, yeah. This year the D-Backs should finish above .500, but I don’t know how well they will do in the post-season, if they make it that far. Prado’s bat was explosive and Goldschmidt pulled through in the clutch, just like always. I really REALLY want them to pull off something special.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Obviously the biggest thing about the Dodger’s spring training is Zack Greinke. First, he spouts how unexcited he is for the Australia trip, and now, he might not even have to go. This afternoon against Arizona, he felt something pinch in his leg and was taken out preventatively after 4 or so pitches. So will the Greink-ster have to go to the land down under? If he has his way, probably not. Milk it, buddy! The Dodgers looked hot and cold these past two games, so I am projecting they will still be great this year, but maybe not quite as good. Like, they will be in the post-season, but probably not the World Series. But the best part of these games was listening to Vin Scully call the game. The dude is funny in an I-don’t-mean-to-be-funny-I-am-just-old kind of way.

Chicago Cubs: Oh, Cubbies. You get a brand new park and a home run to christen it. Except the homer wasn’t yours. It belonged to the Diamondbacks. You guys set the record for Cactus League attendance and had so many fans cheering for you to win! And you lost. I hate to say it, but dudes, you’re not making into the post-season. This whole spring training game pretty much sums up your life: it started strong and everyone was filled with hope, and then it all fell apart. But we still love you. We have to, if only because we feel sorta bad for you.

So there you have it, folks! My mini-analysis of these wonderful (and evil…Dodgers) teams is complete. I will try to have more mini reviews as I watch these games.

Sit back and enjoy spring training, because it is awesome. We get to see players we normally wouldn’t and we get a taste of baseball before the games actually matter. Enjoy spring training because the season will be here before we know it and I will become consumed with baseball. But now, I have to do homework because I have time. In a few weeks, I will not have time because I will be watching baseball. Sorry Mom and Dad for the inevitable tanking of my grades.

Priorities.