I was planning on saving this for one of the last bits, but it’s too funny to put off past the intro:
The New York #Yankees always thought their greatest trade in franchise history was stealing Babe Ruth from the #Redsox. The Didi Gregorius heist from the #Dbacks is now entering the discussion. The dude is hitting .364 with 9 homers, 29 RBI and a staggering 1.290 OPS
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 26, 2018
That’s Bob Nightengale (jokingly?) comparing Didi Gregorius, who, to be fair, is off to an unbelievably good start, to arguably the best baseball player who ever lived.
Again, maybe he’s joking (dear god, I hope he’s joking), but if he isn’t … Here’s the thing: not only is this a silly, small-sample-abusive statement … Ruth was still much better for large swaths of time than Gregorius is through ~100 chances in 2018.
As of this very moment, Gregorius has a 227 wRC+. Ruth beat that over the course of the *entire* 1920 season (239 wRC+) … AND THEN HE DID IT AGAIN IN 1923 (231 wRC+). So, yeah, Gregorius and his 102 plate appearances are not entering the conversation, because there is no conversation.
Here’s some news from around the leauge …
- But let’s be very clear: Didi Gregorius is in straight up monster mode. You can read all about his recent accomplishments right here at NBC Sports. For example … he’s already been worth 2.2 WAR. It’s not even May.
- Elsewhere, Ken Rosenthal drops his usual treasure trove of notes at the Athletic (the subscription is very worth it), with a featured focus on the Yankees’ failed pursuit of Gleyber Torres, their new shortstop and the former Cubs top prospect, before the Cubs signed him as an international free agent many years ago. And then they got him. It’s a good, kinda bummer of a read.
- Keeping with the Yankees, Ken Rosenthal writes that their desire to sign Manny Machado in the offseason could be diminishing, and the chances he gets dealt well before then continue to increase. Rosenthal lists the White Sox and Phillies as logical offseason pursuers (agreed on both counts), but not as teams likely to pony up high asset prices for a rental just as their rebuilds take flight.
- And of course, Rosenthal mentions the Cubs as a “more interesting” potential trade partner in the meantime, citing the poor offensive performance from shortstop Addison Russell, the Cubs/Machado trade talks over the winter, and a bit more (like a desire to mitigate against the eventual FA loss of Kris Bryant; though that’s way down the road and assumes the Cubs would re-sign Machado after trading for him).
- According to Rosenthal, Addison Russell would have to be the center piece of the deal, and the Cubs would probably want to sign Machado long term, but you’ve heard this all before. The Cardinals and Diamondbacks are also mentioned. For what it’s worth, Machado is currently having one of his MVP-caliber seasons, batting .344/.430/.677 (196 wRC+, 1.6 WAR) while playing shortstop. And FanGraphs said a trade was inevitable.
- Also at The Athletic, Jason Stark tackled the “MLB should shorten the schedule” debate, and it’s a fantastic read on what is a surprisingly desirable (around the league) thing. It’s just that getting all sides to actually agree on anything right now is rough. HOWEVA, just because it won’t be happening right now, doesn’t mean it can’t happen the next time the labor deal is up (2021). So prepare yourself for that, and head over to the Athletic to get more details on how many games should be eliminated, where the players stand, how it would work logistically, how it would work financially, and a lot more. One of the most interesting ideas was forcing 1) day games on Sundays, 2) off-days on Mondays, and 3) night games on Tuesdays so that the players can maximize rest (and ward off injuries) throughout the season. I like that.
- And one more thing: According to one of Stark’s sources, all but eight unidentified teams would likely be happy to shorten the season. The eight teams that would hold their ground, however, are likely the big-market clubs with big attendance, big TV deals, and lots of money to lose (Yes, that includes the Cubs). Just food for thought.
- After struggling to open the season, Mets pitcher Matt Harvey was officially moved to the bullpen, though it was pretty clearly against his will. And then, after struggling out of the bullpen on Tuesday night, he refused to address the media. Same goes for yesterday, with a little hostility thrown in:
Matt Harvey laughed audibly when approached by reporters today seeking comment about his bullpen debut. "No chance. Zero chance," he said.
Harvey was asked why. "I have nothing to say to you guys," he said.
He was asked why not. "I dont [expletive] want to," Harvey replied.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 25, 2018
- And now, some on the Mets beat are not particularly thrilled with Harvey (specifically, Anthony DiComo). You can check out DiComo’s responses via Twitter in this article at NBC Sports. Matt Harvey is a free agent at the end of the year.
- At The Los Angeles Times, Angels Manager Mike Scioscia mentioned that the 6 mound visits rule affected their game on Tuesday, because a rookie reliever needed three meetings with catcher Martin Maldonado during a four-batter stretch and that used up all of their visits. To which I say, yeah, that’s literally the point. He probably needs to be better prepared. I know it’s tough and an adjustment, but, what … did he need FOUR meetings during a four batter stretch? At some point you just have to figure it out. (Also, that’s the first time a team has used up all of its mound visits this season. It took a month.)
- Of course, things were a little exacerbated by multiple Astros seemingly stealing signs from second, while Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons blocked their view (exactly like Javy Baez did with the Cubs over the weekend), but unlike Joe Maddon’s praise of Baez, Scioscia wasn’t as thrilled with Simmons. “You change your signs,” he said. “That’s part of baseball. If we’re going to be negligent in how we’re giving our signs and other teams can pick them up, then that’s on us.” OK …
- Shohei Ohtani’s early-season blister issue is currently a non-issue.
- Tommy Pham left last night’s Cardinals game with a laceration on his right temple caused by “a mishap in the batting cage,” during the third inning. Apparently, a resistance band slipped and caused a bat to ricochet toward’s Pham’s head. He didn’t need stitches and he doesn’t have a concussion, but he has a big bandage on his head and was removed from the game anyway. He’s playing today, though, and raking. So I guess he’s fine.
- MLB.com updates us on the latest injury news for Andrew Miller (hamstring), Adrian Beltre (hamstring), Xander Bogaerts (ankle), Eric Thames (thumb), Byron Buxton (foot), Greg Bird (ankle), Hunter Pence (thumb), Eugenio Suaraez (thumb), Devin Mesoraco (neck), Jason Vargas (hand), Adam Eaton (ankle), Avisail Garcia (hamstring), Carlos Rodon (hamstring), Ian Kennedy (foot), Ryan Healy (ankle), Martin Prado (knee), Dan Straily (forearm). Holy crap. That’s a lot of big-name stars on the mend. Stay healthy out there, Cubs. And get better, Kris Bryant.
- Yesterday, baseball’s top prospect Ronald Acuña made his Major League debut and he did not disappoint, notching his first hit, scoring his first run, and make some smart base running plays. Today, he checked off another box, hitting his first home run:
Ronald Acuna Jr. just crushed his 1st @MLB home run!
Exit velocity: 105.8 mph
Launch angle: 30 degrees
Projected distance: 416 feet
— #Statcast (@statcast) April 26, 2018
- He’s obviously going to be very good, but that might’ve been the worst pitch I’ve ever seen: 89 MPH in a 3-1 count, right down the pipe.
- Pfft, his teammates giving the MVP the silent treatment:
Dance like no one will high-five you! pic.twitter.com/284QNtHFZg
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) April 26, 2018