Hold the Whine....Sellers!
How did your team do during the trade deadline?
In the world of the MLB, and a teams front office, tomorrow is too slow for results. It's win now, or never (as in never get a second chance). If baseball exec's worked in Hollywood, Titanic would have sunk while Leo was still playing cards, Rudy would have been cut and Roy Hobbs would have knocked the lights out in the 1st inning, not the ninth. The MLB movers and the shakers work at lightning speed, almost ludicrous speed (See Spaceballs) and that is the way the business has morphed, and works.
Just win, baby!
Telling the fan faithful, especially the season-ticket holders you are "rebuilding" is the nice way of saying, "we now conquer that our team has no shot this year, sorry for the expense." "Please keep buying tickets as we think we might have this thing figured out in a couple years, four...tops."
"Thank you, and come again. Please."
If a team waives the white-seller flag at the July 31st deadline, it usually means they are dead in the water. Goodbye corner-stones and top-prospects...hello this guy, cash and some dude that will get a name later. For every "missing piece" added to a contender, a "piece teams don't miss" is given to the pretender with the tag, "for the future."
But, crystal balls do not come with fast-forward buttons, nor reset buttons. It is extremely difficult to predict if a deadline trade is going to ultimately be worth the value. Yes, there have been Cliff Lee's, but there have also been Dan Haren's. Before you go and sell the tickets out of disgust, and players with no names, take a moment, and really check what your team picked up in return for the yard sale. Often, it's the "unknown" that makes the biggest impact.
These three arms look to be positive steps for their squads, respectively, in the ever-dreaded, way too slow, MLB swap meet.
1.) Jacob Brigham (Traded from Rangers to Cubs) - Theo Epstein may have shipped Dempster and Soto from the Cubbies, but so what. The team needs to get younger, faster and pitch way better. Jake Brigham has impressed scouts with a fastball in the 91-94 range, topping out at 97 to 98 m.p.h. He features four pitches, but doesn't necessarily have command of all. His success-outlook is good, and can be great. Dropping the curveball, and focusing on sharpening the slider will make him a valued starter for the Cubs in the next few seasons. As Cubs pitchers go, Brigham has already had a Tommy John surgery - at the early age of nineteen - and looks to be un-hindered by the setback. In a piece written about him called: Chasing the Dream - The Jake Brigham Story" he explained how much he wanted to help the Rangers. Funny and twisted enough, he did. They needed another starting pitcher, and a bat that could rest Napoli down the stretch. Wish granted, he helped them. Now, it's time to see what he can do for himself. Look for his impact with the Cubs.
2.) Craig Breslow (Traded from Diamondbacks to Red Sox) - Is it a bad thing that Breslow was voted #4 on the "Top-ten good-guys in sports?" Never. Certainly can't hurt the Red Sox Nut-Hut, otherwise known as Bobby V's club house-O-fun. If anything, a little sanity will help. Breslow has been around the league for a few years, and this is his second stint with the Red Sox (His first coming back in 06' when he pitched a meager 12 innings with a 3.75 e.r.a). Breslow has good stuff for a quirky lefty and will make his biggest impact for the Red Sox as a "specialist", which they have had trouble with this year. With the short-porch in right-field of Yankees Stadium, and a short-porch in left-field of Fenway, having a reliable, sound, and sane lefty to come in during the tough innings is valuable, and absolutely necessary. The Red Sox may have found a small fix for the remaining games this season and, more importantly, a good teammate in the club house for the future. Look for his immediate impact with the Red Sox.
3.) Josh Lindblom (Traded from Dodgers to Phillies) - Having personally witnessed the upside of Lindblom, live at Dodger Stadium, it was a brain-scratcher to see him part with Los Angeles. Especially, when the return gift was Shane Victorino. Playoff experience works more in college, taking Victorino for the same reasoning in the big leagues makes Mr. Johnson look anything but magical. Lindblom will be a definite plus for the Phillies future, and present. The Phillies have already used a list of mid-relief pitchers this year that would fill up an entire roll of Charmin-Ultra. Lindblom has a live-fastball, 90 to 94, and a decent slider that has gotten sharper with game experience. Mixed with an above average splitter, Josh can be a spot-starter or relief, although the latter looks to be his meal-ticket. He has posted an e.r.a. of 3.02 this year in 47-plus innings, and his big frame makes him durable during a time when pitchers are not. Look for him to be an important piece to the Phillies rotation now, and the future.
The trade deadline is always going to be more of a show, cluttered with tweets and guessing, than an exact science. Busts can happen just as easily as the winners. The fat lady may have belched a note in your neck of the MLB woods, earlier than expected, but that doesn't mean the future can't be exciting.
Smoking is upstairs to the left...enjoy the show.