Last night, the NBA completed a massive 12-player trade, which was apparently the largest for the league in literally 20 years. But even if I didn’t have a baseball bias (which, sorry, I do), I think the Angels-Dodgers-Twins-Red Sox deal(s) involving a former MVP (Mookie Betts), a former Cy Young (David Price), familiar big leaguers (Kenta Maeda, Joc Pederson), and some good young players (Brusdar Graterol, Alex Verdugo) would capture my attention more.
That was insane to unpack and dissect in the moment on Twitter, especially as it kept becoming larger and more complicated. Brett did a great job tracking our knowledge and reaction as it unfolded, and you’ve got to check it out if you haven’t yet. It’s really fun to read in retrospect.
- And after you’re done with that, check out Andy McCullough’s latest at The Athletic, complimenting Dodgers President Andrew Friedman’s patience this offseason, after missing out on Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon, then slow-playing the rest of the free agent and trade markets until he got the superstar deal he wanted. Speaking of which, the Dodgers (under Friedman) really have a way of landing superstar players, for short periods of time, eh? They’ll have Mookie Betts for a year. They had Manny Machado for a year. They had Yu Darvish for half-a-season. And so on. It’s their M.O. It’s a strategy. And when you have endless streams of young talent supplementing those mobile superstars, it can be very effective. (Well, at winning the division, at least.)
- Yesterday, in the wake of the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, Pete Rose officially asked Commissioner Rob Manfred to remove his name from MLBs ineligible list. And by “asked” I mean he sent a 20-page petition to the league, requesting a meeting with the commissioner, while maintaining that “There cannot be one set of rules for Mr. Rose and another for everyone else.” In short, Rose contends that the complete lack of punishment for any Astros players and only modest punishments on GM Jeff Lunhow and Manager AJ Hinch (one year suspensions) doesn’t match the level of discipline he received for gambling on his own games back in the 80s. Worse, his status on the ineligible list bars him from a presence in Cooperstown.
- I’m not entirely sure where I fall on this (mostly, I just don’t care about Pete Rose, if I’m being honest), but I will say that the national legalization of gambling will bring sports betting into Major League stadiums soon, and that could help remove some of the stink off his past … or it could make it even more dicey to reinstate Rose, since his problem wasn’t just gambling, it was gambling on games he was managing, so ….
- I think Marcell Ozuna made a mistake rejecting this offer:
Reds offered Marcell Ozuna 50M for 3 years, but he opted for the 18M for 1 with Braves, in effect betting on himself
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 4, 2020
- I don’t think betting on yourself is ever a bad thing, but if you had a 3-year, $50M deal on the table (making him a free agent at 32, when he still might be able to get another couple of short-term deals) when you’re a guy who has had only one great season a while ago and then shoulder issues that followed, you take it. Especially when the AAV of that deal is just barely below the one-year deal you took anyway. We’ll see if he was right or wrong.
- Also, I want the Reds to have signed Ozuna, so they didn’t sign Nick Castellanos and so the Braves didn’t sign Ozuna, and so Kris Bryant would still have a market and Castellanos might’ve returned to the Cubs! GRRRRRR.
- I wanted Taijuan Walker as a buy-low, bounce-back target for the Cubs … but I no longer think that’s really going to be a smart move (at least not if you’re hoping he’ll contribute meaningfully in 2020):
Taijuan Walker, 27, the former prized pitching prospect who has pitched just 14 innings the last two years, worked out in front of about 20 scouts today in hopes of landing a major-league contract. His fastball was clocked at 85-88 mph as he's coming back from Tommy John surgery.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 4, 2020
- That’s just not enough velocity. I know he’s coming back from Tommy John and not every recovery is the same, but oof. That’s bad. He’s likely now to have to take a minor league deal and keep working at the rehab to see if he can get it back.
- Mets fans thought they were being saved from the Wilpons (their infamous owners) when billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen placed a $2.6 billion bid to buy the team, but … Wilpons reportedly gonna Wilpon: “Multiple sources close to the situation are confirming that the billionaire hedge fund manager is ending negotiations with the Wilpons on his purchase of an 80 percent stake in the franchise. According to those sources, Cohen is deeply unhappy with the Wilpons changing the terms of the deal at a very late stage and has decided to walk away.” Truly incredible. But consistent!
- Only one voter did not vote for Derek Jeter’s Hall of Fame candidacy, preventing him from becoming a unanimous first-ballot inductee (which is a sort of extra honor on top of your inclusion, currently reserved only for Mariano Rivera). Unfortunately, the HOF does not require their voters to reveal their ballots, and while 80% of the ballots have been released, the one non-Jeter vote was not shown:
The non-Jeter voter remains anonymous. Media people ask others to be accountable for their decisions every day. We should live by that same standard. The BBWAA voted overwhelmingly to make every ballot public and the HoF refused. https://t.co/yoJgABU70I
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) February 4, 2020
- Indeed, part of the problem rests in the vote limits for voters and ballot limits for candidates. But most of all, I hate that the very reason the Hall does not want the voters ballots public is the very thing we’re all trying to change: Basically, they think public pressure will change the way voters vote and they don’t want to corrupt that process. But that’s literally the idea. If your vote can’t/doesn’t stand up to light criticism from blue-checkmark Twitter, maybe it was the wrong vote.
- Christian Yelich wants to be the face of Major League Baseball, despite being on the Milwaukee Brewers and the fact that I fully hate him:
Last month, I flew to Los Angeles to spend some time with Christian Yelich. He's fully healthy.
But we talked about a lot more than just his career. We talked about the future — and why Christian Yelich might be exactly what baseball needs. https://t.co/jvuJrPf1zN
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) February 4, 2020
- And remember when he got all defensive about Yu Darvish, starting an online-Twitter feud in the face of some broader sign-stealing questions? And remember how there’s a much bigger star in a much better city already playing the role of “Face of Major League Baseball?” This guy:
— MLB The Show (@MLBTheShow) October 21, 2019