MLBits: Behind-the-Scenes of the Soto Trade, Carpenter Suffers Foot Fracture, deGrom Dazzles, Judge Goes Yard (Again), More
The inner workings and complexities of trades in sports are always a fun topic to explore, especially when they’re trades that carry as much significance as the one we saw headline the MLB trade deadline last week.
Inside the Juan Soto Blockbuster Trade
Shots of Sake, falling asleep on the phone with scouts, late-night negotiations, early-morning agreements, and a narrow window to operate is what AJ Preller and Mike Rizzo and their staff had to do to get to the finish line on the seismic trade that sent Juan Soto to the San Diego Padres ahead of last week’s MLB trade deadline.
Jeff Passan takes you behind the scenes and dives into the inner workings and leads up to the trade that shook the baseball world in his latest column at ESPN (plus content), and it’s a wildly interesting story that gave me an even greater appreciation for the work that AJ Preller is doing in San Diego, and provides some clarity on how the Padres became the favorites in the deal.
Passan’s behind-the-scenes look at the Soto trade also shed some clarity on other things leading up to the deadline, including the work that Preller and the Padres were doing if a Soto deal never reached the finish line. San Diego was in on Willson Contreras and Ian Happ in Chicago had a conversation (that went nowhere) with Los Angeles about Shohei Ohtani and kicked the tires on Marlins’ starter Pablo Lopez and other controllable starters around baseball.
Preller had a few irons in the fire if the Soto deal didn’t materialize, determined not to suffer the same fate as he and the Padres did at the deadline last season when the Dodgers swooped in and outbid Preller and the Padres. The latter landed Max Scherzer in a trade with Washington despite Preller thinking he had a deal to acquire the veteran ace.
The Padres were not outbid this time, and after entering the deadline with the fifth best record in baseball and the fifth best attendance in baseball, San Diego added a future Hall of Famer and game-changing addition to their lineup as they look to win a playoff game for the first time since 2006.
Passan also points out that if the Padres end up extending Soto at some point, it’ll almost certainly push them over the $1 billion threshold when it comes to money committed to Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Juan Soto. San Diego is at $640 million on the Machado/Tatis Jr. deals, and with Soto in line to make north of $450 million on his extension (he might even be baseball’s first $500 million player), they would easily surpass the $1 billion mark for the trio of superstars.
Matt Carpenter’s Bounce-Back Season Derailed
In unfortunate injury news, Matt Carpenter’s season appears to be in jeopardy after suffering a fractured left foot on Sunday. Carpenter’s addition to the Yankees has been nothing short of tremendous. His time there can be considered nothing less than a wonderful story for a player who many teams, including the Cardinals, thought had nothing left in the tank.
Matt Carpenter opened the 2022 season in the minor leagues after spending a decade as a household name in baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals. After St. Louis decided to move on from Carpenter, he signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers in March and accepted an assignment with their Triple-A affiliate at the end of spring training.
After the Rangers agreed to grant Carpenter’s release due to a lack of opportunity at the major league level, the Yankees pounced and signed the veteran, who hit .275/.379/.613 with six homers and 19 RBI in 21 games with the Round Rock Express.
Carpenter has been stellar in his limited role for the Yankees this season, hitting 15 home runs and posting a 1.139 OPS in 154 plate appearances for New York. The Yankees haven’t released a timeline for Carpenter’s return, but we can borrow from similar injuries around the league for an idea.
Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies fractured his foot in mid-June and has yet to begin a rehab assignment, with the club estimating his recovery in the two-to-three month range. On the flip-side, Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor suffered a less significant foot fracture in early July and returned to action this weekend.
deGrom Dazzles, Mets Take Four-of-Five From Atlanta
Jacob deGrom made his second start of the season on Sunday and was masterful as the Mets topped Atlanta to take four-of-five against the Braves over the weekend and move their record to 70-39 on the season, tied for the second-best in baseball with the Yankees. (The Mets and Yankees both won yesterday to move to 71-39)
deGrom allowed two runs on one hit and struck out 12 Braves hitters in five and two-thirds innings of work in the victory. deGrom and fellow Mets starters Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt combined for 31 strikeouts and two earned runs allowed over the weekend in a pivotal series with the Braves.
Odds and Ends
- Since he signed his five-year extension ahead of the 2019 season, Chris Sale’s injury history has been nothing short of absurd. Sale will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a broken wrist suffered in a bicycle accident this weekend.
- Michael Jordan’s cup of coffee in baseball wasn’t nearly as remarkable as what he did on the hardwood, but this is a cool clip from that time, with Terry Francona mic’d up in the third base coaches box and MJ at the dish during an Arizona Fall League game.
- Aaron Judge hit home run No. 44 on Sunday night in Seattle:
- Judge has been insanely good this season, and it’s no surprise that he leads baseball in just about every major power hitting category:
- The Dodgers have won 28 of their last 33 games and have the best record in baseball since July 1. The Mets, Mariners, Orioles (!), Phillies, and Astros are behind for the best marks since the start of July.
- MLB released the uniforms for the Cubs-Reds Field of Dreams game this week, and they’re not bad. The Cubs hat is pretty sharp, and the cream-colored and navy/red accented jerseys are clean.
- The Reds are also pretty clean, although the striped design on the hat they tried to replicate on the batting helmet looks pretty bad.
- Nolan Arenado and Kevin Gausman were named the players of the week on Monday:
- We’ll wrap this one up the same way the Cubs did last night… in style 🔥: