Housekeeping: online registration for mobile sports gambling is back! But I genuinely do not know how long it’ll last. The governor has changed his mind on this several times already, so it’s possible, before too long, that you may have to again go into a casino to register to gamble. So with that in mind, I offer up the links to sign up for DraftKings or BetRivers (or both! as they each have solid promos going on). Thanks for listening and for understanding that this is pretty critical to our revenue picture at BN.
The Mets Are Coming Back
After a couple positive cases of COVID-19 (including a player), there were no additional positives for Mets, so they’re coming back tomorrow with a double-header against the Marlins:
MLB’s announcement that the #Mets:— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) August 24, 2020
Have had no more positive tests.
Will be back tomorrow with a DH vs. Miami
Will play 2 DHs with the #Yankees next Fri/Sun
Will make up a 3rd Yankees game 9/3 at Citi Field pic.twitter.com/tgjSa5Zlaw
This, like the recent positive with the Reds, is probably the template going forward for teams. A single positive test among the players is likely to shut you down for a few days for additional testing and contact tracing, but if there are no other positives, you’re back in action after that.
Vogelbach Traded, Trade Deadline Questions and 5 Surprises
If you were hoping the Cubs would be reunited with their former slugging first baseman/DH, I’m sorry to tell you he’s been traded to the Blue Jays:
Vogelbach had a 17.2% walk rate before his DFA, but he was hitting just .094/.250/.226 overall, one season after hitting 30 homers with a .341 OBP (111 wRC+). Too many grounders and not his usual amount of hard contact absolutely sunk him this year. But I wish him the best of luck in Toronto.
Speaking of trades, Buster Olney runs down a list of questions/variables every contender must consider at the deadline. And depending on your favorite team’s position, the trade market will vary greatly. For example, do you believe there will be COVID vaccine before the 2021 season? If so, what will the financial picture look like? How important is winning in 2020? Will the season be played through to completion? Etc.
Personally, I’m more confident that the season will be completed now than I was at the beginning of the year and CERTAINLY more than the middle of the Marlins and Cardinals outbreaks. MLB’s ability to weather those storms was a good signal that they can finish this year out in full. Instead, I think the questions of how much people value winning in 2020 and how much money a team’s willing to take on in the near-term will define the deadline.
If you’re willing to spend money, there are probably some really discounted deals to be had.
To that end, Ken Rosenthal runs down five clubs that could surprise us at the trade deadline, including the Giants, Indians, Royals, Reds, and Marlins.
On the Giants, specifically, Rosenthal mentions that repeated Cubs target Kevin Gausman could likely be available, and he’s probably someone we should keep an extra close eye on over the next week. From the Indians, starter Mike Clevinger could be available, and given the Cubs long-term questions in the rotation and the Indians desire to NOT pay him what should be significantly rising arbitration salaries in each of the next two years, I could understand the desire to jump. I can’t really see him being moved right now, though, and the whole lying about going out in Chicago and subsequent demotion to the alternate site would probably be a significant issue for the Cubs.
The Reds are considered possible sellers, too, but I wouldn’t start getting too excited about a Nick Castellanos return or anything major like that (even though he’d arguably fit this team PERFECTLY right now).
Cardinals Healing Up
The Cardinals have already gotten some of their players back from the COVID-19 outbreak that ran through their organization, but their latest return is one of the most important:
#STLCards activate shortstop Paul DeJong from the injured list, option right-hander Seth Elledge to Springfield.— Anne Rogers (@anne__rogers) August 23, 2020
DeJong, 27, has been at least a 3 WAR player in each of his first three seasons in the big leagues, and his defense, in particular, will be a nice bump for the Cardinals.
Brewers and Reds Scuffling and Frustrated
The Cubs may have had a rough week against Milwaukee, the Cardinals, and the Brewers, but at least they weren’t swept by the … Pirates!
The Brewers have lost four straight games, including three in a row to the Pirates. Losing streaks will happen and the Brewers are still a competitive team, but in a season this short, they can be especially painful, and that goes double when they come against teams you’re supposed to beat. There’s no way Milwaukee was counting on three loses to the Pirates, so now they’ll have to over-perform against better teams to get back to where they want to be.
Here’s President David Stearns on the state of the clubhouse: “There’s probably as much frustration in our clubhouse right now as I’ve experienced during my time in Milwaukee. I think that’s individual-level frustration for guys who aren’t performing up to their capabilities, and then there’s collective frustration when we look at how we’ve played together as a team.” Twists mustache: good.
Meanwhile, the Reds just lost 3 of 4 to the Cardinals after splitting a two-gamer with the Royals, putting them 4 games below .500. The Reds players, by contrast, are a little more optimistic about their chances the rest of the way. Here’s Eugenio Suarez, for just one example of many at MLB.com: “We’ve got a better team than you guys think about,” Suárez said. “We’ve got a really good team, and we believe in what we can do.”
Here’s an updated look at the standings:
1. Chicago Cubs: 17-10
2. St. Louis Cardinals: 9-8
3. Cincinnati Reds: 11-15
4. Milwaukee Brewers: 11-15
5. Pittsburgh Pirates: 7-17
The NL Central is not really playing out the way we imagined.
Revenue Numbers from the Only Public Source
The Atlanta Braves are the only team in baseball that discloses their financial information thanks to their publicly-traded owner, and while not a perfect picture, we can use this data to glean more about MLB in general. Among the lowlights, you’ll note that after generating $208M in revenue from April to June of 2019, the team generated … just $11M in Q2 2020. That’s a 95% drop. Ouch. Another way to look at those Q2 numbers, to keep in mind that expenses are also down: The Braves profited $62M in Q2 of 2019, but lost $26M in Q2 of 2020. You can learn a lot more about the Braves financial picture right here.
Get On The Bus
The Bus shirt you’ve been seeing the Cubs wear is officially available for order at Obvious Shirts!
Obvious Shirts is now Officially Licensed with Major League Baseball!!! We are thrilled to bring you the Official GET ON THE BUS shirt to the best fans in baseball. #ObviousShirts #GetOnTheBus #GOTB #ChicagoCubs #MLB https://t.co/9belM2NoFS… pic.twitter.com/E6nJFdxaAC— OBVIOUS SHIRTS® (@obvious_shirts) August 15, 2020