MLB Trade Deadline Thoughts


Been a little while since we dived into some MLB Thoughts, but the baseball action tends to start dragging when the calendar hits July. Outside of the All Star Game, not much has really happened besides the Red Sox turning into the worst team in the league. Luckily for everyone, though, the Trade Deadline came and went yesterday to shake things up and add some new storylines for the stretch run. Some teams are clearly going all in, some teams are bringing The Process to baseball, and some teams did nothing for no apparent reason. So, in a quasi-MLB Thoughts, let’s go through all the major developments from the MLB Trade Deadline.

  • The Yankees, man. Getting Sonny Gray, Jaime Garcia, Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle, and Nate Robertson without giving up Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, or Estevan Florial (their top prospects) is pretty incredible. Were this the NBA, I would wonder if all of these moves were heavily encouraged by the league to set the Yankees up for current and long-term success. A lot of people are saying getting Sonny Gray makes the Yankees the favorite in the American League. I’m not sure that’s true. Sure, Gray can be filthy when he’s healthy, and he’s returned to form in the last month or so, and their bullpen is now STACKED. But outside Gray and Severino, are any of their other starters really all that trustworthy? Call me a hater if you want, but I’ll still take the Red Sox at their best (more of a myth at this point than a reality) over the bombers.
  • I can’t seem to find any evidence of it, but some foolish, unnamed bloggers declared the Cubs dead earlier this season. Apparently, the Lord of Light isn’t done with them just yet and decided to bring them back from the grave. The Quintana trade happened a few weeks ago, but I’ll still consider it a deadline deal. Quintana, Alex Avila, and Justin Wilson are all really good, and all of a sudden they’re 2.5 games up in the division. They’re going to coast into the playoffs.
  • While the Red Sox couldn’t swing any major moves (maybe it’s because Dave Dombrowski traded half their prospects for Drew Pomeranz, but who’s to say), I like the ones they were able to make. Eduardo Nunez used to be my least favorite player in the league because his stupid helmet would fall off every time he ran the bases, but now that he and confirmed Second Coming Rafael Devers are manning the hot corner instead of literally anyone else they had, I love him. Then adding much needed bullpen help in Addison Reed for a bunch of prospects I’ve never heard of was a strong acquisition. The World Series Parade is Officially Back On.
  • As everyone knows, I’ve been boasting about predicting the Rockies’ success all season. Well, they helped me out big time. Getting Pat Neshek for not much, and then getting Jonathan Lucroy for the admittedly high price of perennial all-star Player to be Named Later was a gamble that might pay off big time if he can regain his Milwaukee form. And it’s not like any other National League team is going to challenge for the second Wild Card spot, anyway.
  • For some, the allure of prospects’ future glory can be an intoxicating fragrance. And, clearly, White Sox GM Rick Hahn has been fully ensnared in the siren’s grasp. I can’t really blame him, either. Teams keep wanting to give up top prospects for crappy (besides Chris Sale, Boston’s Lord and Savior) White Sox players, so why not keep taking them? The White Sox have to have the best farm system in the league now, and, come 2025, they’ll be a real force to be reckoned with.
  • I don’t get where the Dodgers find the resources to make massive trades every season but still have some of the best prospects in the league, but I guess when you have Magic Johnson running things, everything mysteriously breaks in your favor. They were already the best team in the league, but adding Yu Darvish and Tony Watson sends a clear message that this year is championship or bust for them. Like they say it is every year. Then they lose first or second round.
  • Speaking of losing early in the playoffs, the Nationals improved their terrible bullpen I guess, but not in an exciting way. Brandon Kintzler is good, but the guys they got from the A’s are just kind of guys. I know you wouldn’t be, anyway, but don’t be surprised when the Nats somehow don’t win the World Series again this year.
  • I really don’t understand what the Orioles were doing. They could have gotten some huge returns for Zach Britton, Mark Trumbo, Chris Davis, literally anyone on the team besides Machado, and instead they added random veterans. Don’t they know they stink?
  • A lot of people seem to think the Astros kind of missed out, since they were only able to get Francisco Liriano. I tend to agree. Sure they probably still have enough to make it to, and possibly win, the World Series. But they really could have used another good starter to set themselves up for the postseason. Keuchel’s great, but everyone else, including Liriano, is a pretty big question mark. If all their injured position players don’t come back the same, or if they don’t come back at all, they might live to regret not getting Yu or Sonny.
  • I kind of feel bad for the Brewers. They’re a dead man walking at this point, and a sad, desperate trade for reliever Jeremy Jeffress isn’t going to change anything. R.I.P.  Brewers.
  • How Melky Cabrera somehow found himself in a position to be relevant again now that he’s on the scalding-hot Royals is amazing. Guy just won’t go away.

I think that’s everything big that happened. I’m sure I forgot something, but if it’s inconsequential enough to forget, I’m sure it wasn’t worth talking about, anyway. Now, someone get me to October, already.

Pablo Sandoval Designated for Assignment


Oh, what a wondrous Day! What a lovely day! Oh, Frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! Ding, dong, the witch is dead! Insert any like saying I might have missed, for the Heavens are shining down upon us today! Pablo Sandoval, the biggest waste of money since the Maginot Line, has finally, mercifully, been designated for assignment.

The nightmare is over. We’ve made it through the hellish, never-ending night. The Panda Era will undoubtedly go down as one of the worst periods of Red Sox history. He went from a lovably fat, clutch, key contributor to three championship teams in San Francisco to a fat piece of shit who made the team worse every time he thought about putting on the uniform in Boston. Only played 161 games in three and a half years. Managed to accumulate a -2.0 WAR, which is almost impossible. Put up a .646 OPS and a 71 OPS+, which is like if you pulled some scrawny kid off the freshman baseball team in high school and put them against a AA pitcher. I say things like this all the time for hyperbolic effect, but I know for a fact I could have played better defense at third base than Pablo. HE WAS SO FAT HIS BELT EXPLODED WHEN HE SWUNG THE BAT! He admitted he was complacent and didn’t care anymore. He’s the worst player in the majors and might hold the title of worst current professional athlete. Red Sox just flushed $95 million down the drain. Good thing there’s no salary cap. I know this wasn’t the most insightful post, but I’m so high on natural endorphins after this news I can hardly think straight. Now, someone cue the music!

2017 MLB Mid-Season Awards


It’s the All Star Break for a major sport, which means it’s time to give out the Official Brian’s Den Mid-Season Awards. This is the MLB edition, and, though I was tempted to throw this into the next edition of MLB Thoughts, I figured this needed a full breakdown. Luckily for me and the Brian’s Den Research Department (also me), most of these are pretty clear cut. Got to start with the two easiest calls on the board.

AL Rookie of the Year- Aaron Judge, New York Yankees


Come on, I’m not that much of a homer.

Apologies to: Andrew Benintendi, Jordan Montgomery, Mitch Haniger

NL Rookie of the Year- Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers


I mean, he’s second in the National League in homers and didn’t play the first month of the season. You do the math. I know I’m an established Rockies guy and am discounting Kyle Freeland a bit, but home runs excite me. Deal with it.

Apologies to: Kyle Freeland

AL Manager of the Year- A.J. Hinch, Houston Astros

MLB: Houston Astros at Detroit Tigers

I always find it a little hard to judge managers. There’s some that are clearly good and know what they’re doing and some that are clearly clueless (*cough* John Farrell *cough*), but the rest are all kind of there. I still don’t know how much a manager can really impact a team over the entire season. So I thank my lucky stars when one of the managers who is clearly good is leading the best team in the league, because that makes this a lot easier.

Apologies to: No one

NL Manager of the Year- Torey Lovullo, Arizona Diamondbacks


Oh, look, a clearly good manager who used to be with the Red Sox. Weird. If only they could have, I don’t know, ditched Farrell and just gone with Lovullo. Wishful thinking, I guess. Lovullo’s turned last year’s biggest disappointment into this year’s biggest surprise. He’s got the D’Backs solidly in the first Wild Card spot with mostly the same roster. Bud Black gets strong consideration, and probably would have won if Lovullo hadn’t been right under the Red Sox nose for years, for taking a bunch of rookies and making a serviceable rotation in Coors Field.

Apologies to: Bud Black

AL Cy Young- Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox


He leads the majors in strikeouts and fielding independent pitching. He leads the American League in innings pitched, strikeout to walk ratio, opponents’ OPS against, and WHIP, and is third in the AL in ERA+. He’s the best big-time Red Sox acquisition since Pablo Sandoval Carl Crawford Adrian Gonzalez Manny Ramirez. He’s been the best pitcher in the American League, and is certainly helped by Dallas Keuchel and Corey Kluber missing significant time. If you think Jason Vargas deserves Cy Young, you’ve probably never left the state of Missouri.

Apologies to: Dallas Keuchel, Jason Vargas, Corey Kluber, Marcus Stroman, Ervin Santana

NL Cy Young- Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals

Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals

Put it this way- Clayton Kershaw is having a typical Kershaw season: 2.18 ERA, 159 strikeouts and 22 walks in 132 innings, 189 ERA+, 14 wins. And he’s still clearly the second best pitcher in the league. Scherzer has been absolutely out of his mind all year. Leads all pitchers in WAR. Has one fewer strikeout than Sale. He’s allowing 5.12 hits per 9 this year, which would be the best ever. Like, in the 500 year history of the MLB. He’s got a 208 ERA+, which would only be the fourth 200 ERA+ season in the last ten years. He’s a maniac competitor and he never misses games, and, right now, he’s the best in the business.

Apologies to: Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Zach Greinke

AL MVP- Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

Aaron Judge

There’s really no one else it could be. In the absence of Mike Trout, Judge leads the league in pretty much every player value stat. He leads the league in homers, on base percentage, slugging percentage (and, naturally, OPS), and OPS+. He’s second in the majors in runs and third in the AL in average. Literally the only thing you can say negatively is that he strikes out a lot, but that clearly hasn’t had too much of a negative impact on his performance. I won’t guarantee he’ll win the award at season’s end just yet, since Trout is coming back, and, if he continues the ridiculous pace he had going before the injury and Judge hits anything like a rookie wall, the race might be back on.

Apologies to: Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Chris Sale, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer

NL MVP- Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks


There’s four or five legitimate candidates for this. You could go with the aforementioned Scherzer, the best pitcher in the league. You could go with Justin Turner, the NL’s leader in batting average and on base percentage who continues to get better with age. But, he’s missed 25 games. You could go with Nolan Arenado, the game’s best defensive player who’s having another great season at the plate. You could go Joey Votto, long the league’s most misunderstood superstar, who’s finally answering his critics by adding a ton of home runs and RBI to his typical .315/.427/.631 slash line. But I’m going with Paul Goldschmidt. He leads NL position players in WAR and runs scored, has an elite .312/.428/.577 slash line, plays gold glove defense, and leads all first basemen in stolen bases. I don’t really like using a team’s record to look at MVP, since in baseball you can have the greatest season of all time and still be stuck on the worst team in the league (i.e., Trout/ A-Rod with the Rangers). But, considering how disappointing the Diamondbacks were last year and how they’ve turned it around this year, I’m going to use that as just a small bit of a tiebreaker here. Goldschmidt’s been one of the best players in the league for years now, and it’s time he got the recognition he deserved.

Apologies to: Joey Votto, Justin Turner, Nolan Arenado, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Freddie Freeman (too many missed games), Anthony Rendon, Bryce Harper

It’s Time Someone Asked the Important Question: Is Aaron Judge a True Yankee?


In case you missed last night’s Home Run Derby, Aaron Judge won. Actually, just saying he won doesn’t really do it justice. He won so dominantly and so effortlessly that it makes me wonder why anyone else even showed up. He hit three balls over 500 feet, which seems impossible until you remember he’s 6’8″ 280. He appears to be the ultimate home run hitting machine, built in a lab (hmmm….) for one purpose only: to hit baseballs into orbit. Yankee fans have naturally embraced him, calling him the new Face of Baseball, the Best Player in the League, and the Future of Sports. I guess all these Red Sox titles recently have shaken the Yankee fans a bit, because they’ve apparently forgotten how all this works. Before all the accolades, one question needs answering. If they’re too afraid to ask it, it looks like it’s up to me: Is Aaron Judge a True Yankee?

What is a True Yankee? Well, don’t ask me. I’m just a lowly Red Sox fan. I can’t wrap my mind around a fanbase actually holding serious debates about whether a member of the team is really a member of the team. I can’t understand the inherent pomposity required to view being on a specific baseball team as a solemn privilege that has to be earned every day or else you’re just a coward who could never hack in the Big City, anyway. To be a True Yankee, you must be a perfectly boring classy, clean cut, All-American, only-wants-to-play-for-the-Yankees-because-why-would-you-want-to-ever-play-anywhere-else, never-even-thinks-about-getting-what-he’s-worth-on-the-open-market (unless he’s signing with the Yankees from another team, of course), no-personality stick-in-the-mud. And win, too. That should go without saying. Any player that won a title, regardless of their individual skill level, is infinitely better than one who hasn’t. Luis Sojo is a better Yankee than Alfonso Soriano, everyone knows that. All for a team that has won one championship since 9/11. I recognize that there’s a lot of similarities between the way people outside the New England-New York area view both Yankees and Patriots fans: arrogant, overly serious, overly sensitive, and just plain annoying. But at least us Patriots fans are spared the weight of history. Before Belichick and Brady there was nothing to be proud of, so why bring it up? Yankees fans, though, can’t escape it. That’s why they’re so married to the “True Yankee” fantasy. Everything always has to be tied back to the “good old days,” when men were men and free agency didn’t exist yet, or in the “good old days” when everything was built around Derek Jeter, the Textbook Yankee (and future Miami Marlins owner) who should be treated as an extreme outlier, not the baseline. I mean, these are people who seriously asked if Alex Rodriguez, the multi-time MVP and one of the two or three most purely talented players of all time, was a True Yankee and if he was worth the money. The phrase has died down a little bit, and I’m not sure if it has more to do with the passing of George Steinbrenner, the gatekeeper of True Yankees, or the aforementioned Red Sox success and subsequent bad Yankees teams.

But on to the matter at hand. Is Aaron Judge a True Yankee? Most Yankee fans I talk to seem to think yes. I mean, he’s had one amazing half a season of baseball, so he’s clearly headed to the Hall of Fame. New York fans haven’t overreacted before about a young player. But, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a journalist if I didn’t investigate. First, the obvious: he hasn’t won a championship. He hasn’t even been in the playoffs yet. What a loser. How can that guy be a True Yankee? Second, his outfit last night spoke volumes:


Clearly he’s wearing regular white pants because he’s yet to Earn His Pinstripes. And those socks? So flashy. No True Yankee would ever call attention to himself like that. It’s about the front of the jersey, not the back. True Yankee Reggie Jackson, who most clearly defined the selflessness and team-first attitude we all cherish so much, knew that. And what in the world is that bat he’s using? Respect the game. You think Babe Ruth, the original True Yankee even though he started with the Red Sox, would ever swing that? Hell, no. He’d throw it into a fire so he could cook up more hot dogs. He did it all on hot dogs and beer, you know. True Yankees respect the physical grind this profession calls for and are always in top shape. Don’t get me started on those huge cleats, either. We all know your feet can swell when you take steroids. I know for a fact that True Yankees Andy Pettite and Jason Giambi both wore size 8 cleats all throughout their careers. Don’t know if I can really trust someone with feet that big to carry on the True Yankee tradition of fair play. Lastly, see the look on his face? Like he’s exerting effort? Yeah, we can’t have that kind of emotional outburst from True Yankees. True Yankees keep their cool through everything, never rising or falling, never calling attention to themselves. I liked to call True Yankee Paul O’Neill Cool Paul because he was always so cool out there, never showing whatever emotion he dared to have underneath the robotic facade that Yankee fans crave so much.

Lastly, I’m looking at all these pictures of Monument Park and can’t see number 99 anywhere. How can he be a True Yankee if he number isn’t even retired yet? How will anyone remember Aaron Judge if he doesn’t have a plaque to commemorate him? I know I’ll forget his countless mammoth blast and exciting play the second his bum, non-True-Yankee ass finally retires if he doesn’t have his own wing in Monument Park. How can I consider him a True Yankee if the organization itself clearly doesn’t?

Look, I know there’s a lot of Yankee fans out there who are excited about their team’s future. They have a lot of good, young players and, surprisingly, very few over-the-hill veterans with massive contracts. But, I’m warning them to be careful. Don’t get too attached to some of these guys just yet, because the evidence doesn’t lie: Aaron Judge is not a True Yankee.

MLB Thoughts


Yet another edition of MLB Thoughts is coming to you hot off the presses. We’re approaching the dreaded Dog Days of the Baseball Season, including the Bermuda Triangle of Sports that is the MLB All Star Break. But, still plenty going around around the Majors, so might as well dive right in.

  • Have to start with the obvious. The All Star rosters are being announced tonight, so I need to give my official Brian’s Den All Star Picks©. As I’m sure you know, the MLB All Star rosters are required to have at least one representative from every team, one of my least favorite rules in all of sports. So, rather than parse through the Padres bullpen in order to fill out the 25-man roster, I’ll just give my starting lineups. I use games played as a bit of a tie-breaker, so even thought Mike Trout’s stats still somehow rank among the best in the league despite the fact he’s missed the last month or so, he doesn’t make the cut. Winning doesn’t matter to me, because holding an individual position player accountable for the success of a baseball team is stupid (it just so happens that the good teams have a lot of good players. Weird). I also don’t care about fan voting, so if you’re wondering why you see players from teams that aren’t the Yankees, Red Sox, Royals, and Cubs, that’s why.
    • American League
      • C- Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals
      • 1B- Justin Smoak, Toronto Blue Jays
      • 2B- Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
      • 3B- Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians
      • SS- Carlos Correa, Houston Astros
      • OF- Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
      • OF- Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
      • OF- George Springer, Houston Astros
      • DH- Corey Dickerson, Tampa Bay Rays
      • P- Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox
    • National League
      • C- Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
      • 1B- Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
      • 2B- Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals
      • 3B- Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
      • SS- Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds
      • OF- Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
      • OF- Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
      • OF- Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies
      • DH- Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
      • P- Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
  • Boy, the Yankees have been scuffling lately. After spending the entire year in first place, all of a sudden they’re two games behind the Red Sox. It’s almost as if they couldn’t sustain this pace and are starting to regress towards the mean. If only someone thought this might happen. Oh, well. You can’t always be right.
  • Speaking of the Red Sox, they’re in first and haven’t even really played well all season. The offense has been stinky all year. They give up home runs every two seconds. But, they have Chris Sale, play good defense, and have gotten some unexpected dominance from the bullpen, which is apparently enough to climb to the top of the toughest division in baseball.
  • At long last, the Rockies are no longer in first place. In the blink of an eye, they’re seven games back of the Dodgers. They still have the third most wins in the National League, but I can’t beat my chest about calling their success all year without facing the music when they start sucking.
  • Brewers need to go to these jerseys full time:
  • Personally, I can’t wait until top prospect Timmy Tebow makes his MLB debut for the Mets when rosters expand later this season. You know, you just know he’ll go deep in his first game.
  • June set an all time record for home runs in a month, and, this being baseball, that’s of course a bad thing. Why can’t baseball just embrace something fun, for once. Home runs are awesome. They make things exciting. It gets new people to tune in. Higher scoring means more people care. More people care and everyone makes more money. But, predictably, the crybaby pitchers, lead by David Price (who is doing the impossible and making a run at J.D. Drew for the title of My Least Favorite Red Sox Player Ever. He and his constant bitching can go straight to hell) have to make a big stink about it. Like so what if the balls are juiced? Maybe don’t throw it right down the pipe and people won’t hit it into the stratosphere. It’s just so typical and annoying. No one’s allowed to have fun playing baseball, not on baseball’s watch.
  • A lot of great third basemen in the league this year. One would imagine it’ll be tough to crack the All Star teams at that position. I mean, someone like Travis Shaw is hitting .291/.357/.911 with 17 homers probably won’t make it. Man, can you imagine if the Red Sox had a guy like that? Can’t believe they haven’t had anyone in their organization the last couple years who has proved time and time again to be better than fat turd Pablo Sandoval. Just bad luck, I guess.
  • Julio Urias injury aside, I feel like the Dodgers have the best minor-league player development in the league. Everyone they bring up is nasty right away. Cody Bellinger leads the National League in homers. Corey Seager is going to be an All Star every year for the next decade plus. He goes through hot and cold streaks, but rookie Joc Pederson was electrifying. It feels like they never bring a guy up just to bring him up. If they bring you up, you automatically produce. And this isn’t new. Rookie Yasiel Puig threatened to completely change the game. That Kershaw guy was pretty decent. In fact, since the award’s inception, the Dodgers have more than twice as many Rookies of the Year as any other team in the majors. Maybe they just keep getting lucky with great players, but I think the Dodgers themselves have something to do with it.
  • I don’t care if this comes back to bite me later, but the Cubs are officially Dead. They stink and should feel bad about themselves.
  • Angels are 26-27 with Mike Trout and 17-15 without him. Is Mike Trout Overrated? Pick up tomorrow’s Newspaper for my column.
  • Because MLB treats its video vault like Fort Knox I can’t really embed the footage, but longtime catcher Carlos Ruiz pitched against the Twins a couple weeks ago and promptly gave up a home run to the first batter he faced. I feel like when position players pitch they never give up homers. I can’t remember it happening, at least. Almost every time a position player pitches he winds up doing okay. Maybe that’s why David Price is so sensitive about everything. He knows that if Mookie Betts decided to start pitching his ass would be out on the street.
  • I know it’s kind of played out by now, but I’m still a big Home Run Derby guy and don’t really get why people don’t want to do it. It’s just batting practice, man. One night of trying to hit homers won’t ruin your swing unless you’re Bobby Abreu.
  • I’m excited to see how Goose Gossage thinks the game is being ruined this year. I’m sure he’ll be interviewed during the All Star Break.