MLBits: Crowded Trade Market, Carpenter New Low, If Playoffs Started Today, Reliever Stress, More

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MLBits: Crowded Trade Market, Carpenter New Low, If Playoffs Started Today, Reliever Stress, More

Chicago Cubs

I saw ‘Deadpool 2″ last night, and I really loved it. Admittedly, I thought the first one was just fine (good, certainly, but not much more than that) and I liked this one even better. I was really surprised that they were able to keep the same meta-schtick fresh a second time around, but it totally works. And all of the little easter eggs, pop-culture references, fourth-wall breaking, and cameos are just so great.

It’s definitely not for kids, but if you have time to go see it – and you either love or hate(!?) superhero movies, I’d check it out.

Speaking of movies (flawless execution on the transition), did you catch the discussion around my ranking of the top 20 baseball movies on Twitter today?

I can’t wait to hear how wrong my rankings are (‘Field of Dreams’ is overrated). Here’s some news from around the league …

  • I can’t speak to the validity of all those Manny Machado-to-the-Cubs rumors, but I can say confidently that the Cubs would probably be open to any reasonable move – even an aggressive one for a position player – if everything lines up just right. In the case of Manny Machado, the Cubs could make it fit by moving Addison Russell, as rumored, in the deal and immediately replace him with Machado. But what about third base? Obviously, the Cubs have Kris Bryant firmly entrenched in the lineup, but his defensively versatility could easily allow him to move into the outfield if it came to that.
  • I bring that up because, according to Buster Olney (ESPN), there may be a ton of quality third basemen available on the trade market this July (Josh Donaldson, Mike Moustakas, Brandon Drury, Matt Duffy, and Adrian Beltre, in addition to Machado) and very few buyers to take them off their hands. As a lower-cost alternative to Machado, maybe this sort of move could make some sense (even if there would be a lot of movement to make it work)? Eh, probably not, but maybe the Cubs could at least sell the Orioles on the idea that they have an alternative to upgrade their lineup, if they were truly that desperate come July.
  • And for what it’s worth, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Rangers (re: Adrian Beltre) are open for business already, while the Blue Jays could be open to trading free-agent-to-be Josh Donaldson. Donaldson is an interesting target – and likely a tough one to evaluate – because he’s just a rental and hasn’t gotten off to the hottest start, but is obviously one of the better players in the league. Ah, rumor season … you’re always a blast.
  • Speaking of teams with third base (slash-corner-infield) needs, wanna know how bad things are going for Matt Carpenter down in St. Louis? Last night, Manager Mike Matheny pinch-hit for him with two men on, two outs, and a two-run deficit in the eighth inning. That is … wow. Carpenter has basically been the soul of the Cardinals offense for the last half-decade and last night, Matheny took the bat out of his hands. His replacement, Harrison Bader, flew out, and the Cardinals went onto lose. I bet that did a number on Carpenter’s confidence.
  • At FRS, Jon Heyman drops notes on every team in the league, including his reporting that the Cubs will, indeed, take a look at acquiring Manny Machado. Other than that, he suggests that the Cubs will continue to tinker with the leadoff spot, noting that while Kyle Schwarber is a discussed option, at least one person in the organization is “dead-set against that idea.” Without knowing who that person is, it’s hard to really know how much that means. And at the end of the day, it’ll primarily be Joe Maddon’s decision, so if pushed for it, he’d get it. But he probably wouldn’t push for it if it came over the strong objections of – for just a couple examples – Theo Epstein or Jed Hoyer. Heyman also notes that there is no timetable set for the return of Jason Heyward (concussion) from the DL.
  • Former Yankees Mariano Rivera and Mark Teixeira both commented on their former teammate, Robinson Cano’s, 80-game suspension, but land at different places. Rivera seems to more-or-less believe Cano’s “accident” excuse, while Teixiera isn’t buying it.
  • Chicago White Sox play-by-play announcer Jason Benetti is an extremely impressive human being, whom I knew very little about before today. In case you’re unaware, Benetti has cerebral palsy, and he is using his position in life to help promote awareness with a new “Awkward Moments” campaign. If you have time, take a look at his first short video here, because it’s very well done. The entire purpose of the video/campaign is to shed light on some of the things disabled people (of all kinds) deal with on a daily basis. And at the foundation of this campaign’s first episode is the idea of being okay with those “awkward moments” when little kids ask questions about things they don’t understand in public. I love that approach and wish all parents (and people with disabilities) would come to move past the awkwardness and help children learn (easier said than done, of course, but that’s why Benetti’s is trying!). When we shush kids or tell them not to ask those questions in those situations, that’s when the long-term misunderstandings and stigmas develop.
  • Brett: We’ve started to see an uptick in folks using Statcast’s “expected” data (basically, it uses batted ball data to approximate the stats you’d expect to have seen from a player, given how he’s hit the ball), but Jonathan Judge and BP want to offer a little insight into just how you should and should not be using that data:

  • But actually … the American League looks right (so many huge leads already). It’s the NL that’s entirely unfamiliar. I mean, can you believe, right now, there are no Dodgers, Nationals, or Cubs on the right side of that graphic? If I were a gambling, I’d bet that the Nationals and Cubs are both playing come October (winning their division), while teams like the Braves and Brewers win the Wild Cards. As for the NL West … it’s hard not to bet on the Dodgers, but they have one HUGE mountain to climb, so who knows?
  • Did you see this catch last night? The kid is unbelievable. He tracks the ball on a concrete stair case, jumps up at the last minute, falls down, and still comes up with the ball. Amazing:

  • And finally, I really like the idea of looking at relievers using total batters faced per innings pitched as a measure of simply how stressful it is to watch them. It’s not necessarily a stat-stat, it’s just a fan feeling stat. And, as it turns out, the Cubs have two of the best (but the Brewers have the top two guys):

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami