Monday, July 30, 2018

ten weekly random thoughts: week 17 July 23-29

It is one of the most anticipated weeks in the baseball season: the trade deadline. In just 30 hours or so, teams will only be able to trade players if both players pass through waivers. This week's random thought's post will focus on the trades we have seen this week and look at past trades the Blue Jays have made. Without further ado, here are ten random thoughts from week 17 of the MLB.

1. The big and expected trade for the Blue Jays took place when JA Happ was traded to the Yankees in exchange for infielder Brandon Drury and outfield prospect Billy McKinney, ranked #20 in the Yankees system. Happ had been having a decent season for the Blue Jays but looked like Cy Young in comparison to what the Blue Jays have been using. Happ had a 10-6 record with a 4.18ERA in 20 starts this season. With Happ gone, Marcus Stroman is the only pitcher left who was in the rotation at the start of the season (Estrada and Sanchez are both still on the DL; although Estrada is expected to start Monday and Jaime Garcia is now in the bullpen). It is interesting to note that McKinney has now been involved in 3 blockbuster trades in four years (he was part of the Cubs-A's trade in 2014 that sent Addison Reed to Chicago and in 2016, he and Gleyber Torres were dealt to the Yankees for closer Aroldis Chapman, who played an integral role in the Cubs breaking the curse to win their first world series.) There is injury concern with Brandon Drury with a stint on the disabled list for blurry vision and migraines. I think this trade fills needs for both teams. The Yankees are looking for a fifth starter with Sonny Gray struggling in the role this season and the Blue Jays need more depth in the infield, although things may get quite crowded if/when Josh Donaldson and/or Troy Tulowitzki return from injury. In his Blue Jays debut, Drury struck out pinch hitting. He started at third base Saturday and got his first hit as a Blue Jay and scored his first run as a Blue Jay. He looked good in the field too. JA Happ made his first start as a Yankee Sunday pitching 6 strong innings of 3-hit ball, allowing just one run and walking one.

2. Happ wasn't the only trade by the Blue Jays. Immediately following the game Wednesday, and finalized Thursday, reliever Seunghwan Oh was sent to the Colorado Rockies. Oh gives the Rockies a reliever who throws strikes and has saved games in the past. This season, the Rockies invested $106 million into relievers Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee. As a team, the Rockies have the highest ERA in the NL. They are hoping Oh can stabilize things in the back end and help the team get more games to the 9th for Wade Davis to save. In return, the Blue Jays got prospects Forest Wall and Chad Spanberger, who could become the Blue Jays next first baseman after Justin Smoak moves on. Oh pitched a scoreless inning of relief in his Rockies debut allowing a hit and a walk.

3. The Yankees also acquired former Orioles closer Zach Britton, who recently returned from an achilles injury. Britton adds a second lefty to a bullpen that includes flame thrower Aroldis Chapman and David Robertson, who was the successor closer on the Yankees after legend Mariano Rivera retired. The Yankees bullpen is on an historic pace and should be compared to some of the best bullpens in the history of baseball.

4. The Red Sox acquired starter Nathan Eovaldi from the Tampa Bay Rays to bolster a starting rotation that includes Cy Young favorite Chris Sale and former Cy Young winners David Price and Rick Porcello. The Red Sox has starters Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez on the DL and Rick Porcello struggled in his first start coming off the DL. Boston is in a tight battle for first in the AL East with the mighty NY Yankees, who will be without starting catcher Gary Sanchez (groin) and Right fielder Aaron Judge (broken wrist) for a few weeks. Stay tuned because it will be a race to the finish line between these two juggernauts.

5. The Atlanta Braves might have made the riskiest deal thus far, re-acquiring former reliever Jonny Venters, who has had three and a half Tommy John surgeries. He's 33 years old and has missed five seasons with TJ surgeries. How much longer can his elbow hold up? The Braves are encouraged by his 3.86ERA in 22 appearances this season. He'll certainly require more rest than a normal reliever

6. Other names that have been dealt this week: RP Matt Andriesse Tampa Bay Rays --> Arizona Diamondbacks (LH batters hitting .174 against him); C Martin Maldanado LA Angels --> Houston Astros (with Brian McCann on the DL until at least September, the Astros hope Maldanado gives them some catching depth; is batting .223 with 5HR and 32RBI this season.) SP Joakim Soria Chicago White Sox --> Milwaukee Brewers (adds to an already strong bullpen. Soria has a 2.56ERA and 16 saves in 40 appearances this season The Brewers are mired in a tight race for the NL Central title with the Cubs); SP Cole Hamels Texas Rangers --> Chicago Cubs (after losing out on Happ, Eovaldi and Britton, the Cubs took the next best pitcher available in Hamels. The veteran lefty has struggled this season with a 5-9 record and 4.72ERA. He has pitched better on the road); SS Eduardo Escobar Minnesota Twins --> Arizona Diamondbacks (leads majors with 37 doubles and has 15HR and slugging% of .514); 2B Asdrubal Cabrera NY Mets --> Philadelphia Phillies (is batting .277 with 18HR and 58RBI; has .817OPS; will likely play 2B; the Phillies are mired in a tight race for the NL East title with Atlanta and Washington); RP Ryan Pressly Minnesota Twins --> Houston Astros (there may be concern about having the second-highest appearances in the AL (51); has 3.40 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 47 1/3IP); 3B Mike Moustakas KC Royals --> Milwaukee Brewers (will probably platoon with Travis Shaw at the hot corner. Moustakas, 29, is slashing .249/.309/.468 with 20 home runs and 62 RBIs in his first 378 at-bats for Kansas City this season); RP Chasen Shreve and RP Giovanny Gallegos NY Yankees --> St. Louis Cardinals (the writing was on the wall for Shreve when the Yankees acquired Zach Britton. The 28-year-old Shreve had a 4.14 ERA in 39 appearances for the Yankees this season, with 46 strikeouts in 37 innings. The 26-year-old Gallegos had pitched in four big league games this season, with a 4.50 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 10 innings.); RP Brad Brach Baltimore Orioles --> Atlanta Braves (he had a 1-2 record and a 4.85 ERA with 38 strikeouts over 39 innings and 42 appearances out of the Orioles' bullpen in 2018)

7. Other Blue Jays that could be moved before Tuesday's deadline: John Axford, Curtis Granderson, Tyler Clippard, Roberto Osuna. Other players on teams other than the Blue Jays who could be moved before Tuesday's deadline: Chris Archer, J.T. Realmoto, Bryce Harper, Zack Wheeler, Jake Diekman, Matt Harvey.

8. Here is a list of every trade deadline deal made by the Blue Jays up to the 2015 season. It is broken down by GM. As you can see, like every team, the Blue Jays had their hits/misses with trades. Debate among yourselves which is the best deal and which is the worst. Which GM did the best and which GM did the worst.

9. The Blue Jays got bad news on the injury front Sunday as Lourdes Gurriel Jr. took an awkward tumble trying to avoid the tag for the 3rd out. He got his spikes caught in the turf and immediately grabbed his left knee as it buckled under him. Worst case scenario he tore knee ligaments ending his season. Best case scenario: tendon strain putting him out a couple of weeks. After the game, the Blue Jays announced ankle and knee contusions. It might sound like good news but Devon Travis basically had a couple of seasons wiped out with knee contusions.

10. Blue Jay of the week: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. who has an 11-game multi-hit streak. Unfortunately, Gurriel Jr. could be out a few days/weeks/months with a knee injury.

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