I found it interesting that during last night’s Sunday Night Baseball telecast, Matt Vasgersian and Buster Olney kept talking about the need for the Cardinals to add pitching. With the Cubs finishing off the sweep, the Cardinals are in fourth place, a game under .500 and six games out of first place. Shouldn’t they be talking about selling rather than buying? Things could change over the next two weeks, but if this is where they are at the All-Star Break, the Cardinals shouldn’t be adding anyone at the deadline.
But then the issue is who could they sell? Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina are 10-5 players who aren’t going anywhere. They’ve got Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado on pricey long-term deals and they won’t be traded. Most of the rest of their team is either young and cost-controlled and the team would want to keep them, or they’re veterans who have just been flat-out bad and won’t get anything in return other than salary relief. Maybe Andrew Miller or Matt Carpenter would get them something, but it’s not a good place to be in heading into mid-summer.
I know, most of you are shedding crocodile tears for the Cards. But I’m putting on my journalist hat here and saying that team has problems and no easy fixes. I wouldn’t be surprised if manager Mike Shildt isn’t back next year.
- Reports are that sometime in the next few days, Major League Baseball will issue a memo detailing how the league plans to deal with the use of foreign substances on baseballs. The league is planning to check pitchers several times a game for sticky stuff on the balls. This could really shake up the rest of the season, because at the moment, we don’t know who is and who isn’t using it. And we don’t know how well some of these pitchers can throw without it. All we know is that probably the majority of MLB pitchers are using some kind of substance to improve their grip.
- Hannah Keyser speaks with minor league pitchers about how they are encouraged to use foreign substances and the dilemmas they face as they try to make the majors.
- Speaking of the trade deadline, Bob Nightengale takes a look at the trade market 50 days before the trade deadline.
- Ken Rosenthal explains why the trade deadline may be different this season. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Anthony Castrovince has the best ten relievers who could get dealt, and Craig Kimbrel is still at the top of the list. Some are thinking that the Cubs bullpen is so good, that they could deal Kimbrel and still compete for a playoff spot.
- As a reminder that the pandemic isn’t quite over, the Blue Jays put pitcher Steven Matz on the COVID injured list.
- Bad news for the Dodgers as first baseman Max Muncy went on the IL with an oblique strain.
- The Yankees are surprisingly struggling this year and are just a game over .500. Manager Aaron Boone said of the team: “Everybody’s got to look in the mirror.”
- Neil Paine looks at the Yankees’ terrible offense so far this season and writes that it’s getting increasingly difficult to “trust the process.”
- Tim Keown explains how the Giants became the best team in baseball so far this season.
- Ben Clemens looks at the White Sox options for replacing injured second baseman Nick Madrigal.
- The Angels were written off for dead when Mike Trout went down with an injury, but they’re currently riding a six-game winning streak and R.J. Anderson notes that the Halos are back in the playoff hunt.
- On the other hand, Matt Snyder believes you can stick a fork in the Minnesota Twins.
- Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen has taken a leave of absence as his wife battles brain cancer. All I can say is godspeed to the Hazen family and cancer sucks.
- The D-Backs also revealed their City Connect uniforms and they will honor the Hispanic heritage of the state with “Serpientes” written across their chests.
- Sad news as Jim “Mudcat” Grant passed away at the age of 85. Grant was the first Black pitcher to win 20 games in the American League and co-wrote the “Black Aces” book.
- Will Leitch lists the most deserving All-Star from each MLB team.
- Jake Mailhot notes that Marcus Semien’s decision to sign a one-year deal with the Blue Jays this past offseason was a gamble on himself that appears to have paid off. Mailhot believes Semien will be a much in-demand free agent this winter.
- The Olympics are coming soon (we think) and baseball is returning the the Games for the first time since 2008. However, MLB confirmed that players on an MLB 40-man roster will not be permitted to compete in the Games.
- Hayes Gardner examines the impact that the larger bases in Triple-A East are having this season. The players seem to like them, and they appear to be having a small, but noticeable, impact on increasing steals. The biggest thing seems to be that catchers have more room to throw to first base on bunts and dribblers without hitting the runner.
- Eno Sarris explains the new metric “Stuff+.” (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Bob Nightengale speaks with former Reds manager Bryan Price about why he stepped away from baseball. Price was the Phillies pitching coach last year, but he abruptly quit after last season and he has no regrets.
- Andrew Maraniss asks why the Dodgers have not honored Glenn Burke, the first openly-gay ballplayer, during any of their Pride celebrations? The Athletics, the other team Burke played for, have honored him during their celebrations.
- I mentioned Max Muncy’s injury earlier, but that setback allowed the Dodgers to call up infielder Andy Burns from Triple-A. And that meant that five years after his major league debut with the Blue Jays, Burns got his first major league hit on Saturday.
- And finally, Big Sexy is not dead. South of the border, a 48-year-old Bartolo Colón is still carving up batters in the Mexican League. On Saturday, Colón pitched a complete game in a 6-2 win. That lowered his ERA in the hitter-friendly Mexican League to 3.56.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. On to Queens.