Today, the Braves traded once franchise player Jason Heyward to the Cardinals for former first round pick Shelby Miller. Reliever Jordan Walden and volatile pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins also changed hands and helps frame the argument. Atlanta made a deal out of desperation while the Cardinals traded in an attempt to win the World Series in 2015.
It wouldn’t be a Cubs off-season without Starlin Castro trade rumors to the Mets. Last winter, the question was if Chicago would sell low to clear space for a plethora of near ready shortstop prospects. For New York, Zack Wheeler was the clear cut second fiddle to Matt Harvey and destined to become a star in his own right. 12 months later and every scenario discussed prior to the 2014 season has proven wildly misguided at best and sheer idiocy at worst.
Michael Cuddyer’s two year, 21 million dollar pact with the Mets was a surprise. Between the multi-year offer to a declining player and New York’s willingness to part with the 15th overall pick in the 2015 draft, one has to wonder if this is the first of a flurry of moves. Unfortunately, fantasy baseball owners are unable to sit with Sandy Alderson at the General Manager’s meetings and learn what other plans are in store. For now, we can only glean insight from what’s already happened.
In 2009, Anthony Gose (ROTOscouting Report) became a personal favorite as a member of the Phillies organization. Three years later, Roman Quinn (Scouting Report) made hearts flutter as a member of the Williamsport Crosscutters. No organization drafts tools as early and often as Philadelphia and they’ve been a must see when it comes to baseball scouting. Its been a focus for years, but few have graduated from high ceiling talent to MLB contributor.
When Logan White left the Dodgers front office to join A.J. Preller and the Padres, it resulted in an “ah-ha” moment. In seven years at the ballpark, many looks at the Hickory Crawdads (Single-A Rangers) and Chattanooga Lookouts (Double-A Dodgers) provided insight into similarities between organizations run by Preller and White. And from what’s known about the player development preferences of Andrew Friedman, the new President of Baseball Operations for Los Angeles, ceiling and tools took a back seat to players with high floors. And from seeing many a Double-A Dodgers team, this doesn’t fit White’s style.
Tragically, Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras (ROTOscouting Report) was killed in a car accident on Sunday. The news is devastating for his family and friends, and the baseball community at large has lost an individual who, from all accounts, was a joy to be around. Beyond his immeasurable talent, Taveras was a 22-year old young man taken from this world before his time.
Emerging from the late McCourt era which culminated in the team’s bankruptcy, the Guggenheim group poured money into the Los Angeles Dodgers and quickly re-established their place as one of the premier spenders in baseball. Not only did the team aggressively pursue established veterans, but high priced foreign free agents too – the most notable being Yasiel Puig ($42MM over seven years) and Hyun-jin Ryu ($36M over six years). With such an extravagant budget and a win now mentality, it can be difficult to predict when opportunities will arise for minor leaguers within the organization. The Los Angeles Dodgers farm system houses a trio of prospects with impact potential in Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, and Julio Urias. How do the Andrew Friedman-led Dodgers work them into the high pressure, win now atmosphere of Los Angeles?
The St Louis Cardinals have continued to win while successfully bringing rookies into the fold to fill key roles. 2013 1st round pick Marco Gonzales picked up two of the three Wild Card series wins. Matt Adams shocked with a three run home run off of Clayton Kershaw and Randal Grichuk (ROTOscouting Report) and Kolten Wong left the park during the four game series too. Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ season ended in a one run loss while its young, impact player (Yasiel Puig) pinch ran. A little faith and patience can go a long way in winning now, while building for a successful future. Maybe the Yankees, Red Sox and other major market teams should take note.
Everything Billy Beane touches turns to gold, or so the baseball world thought until the Athletics went into a September tailspin. Nearly missing the playoffs, Oakland limped into the one game playoff against the Royals with their hired assassin Jon Lester on the mound. He allowed six earned runs in a pedestrian performance. Later, Jason Hammel (another hired hand) surrendered the game winning hit. Meanwhile, Adam Dunn didn’t play, Jonny Gomes couldn’t catch up to Eric Hosmer’s 12th inning triple and Jeff Samardzija was unavailable after throwing seven innings on September 27th. After gutting the farm system to win it all, how does Oakland and its 27th ranked MLB payroll move forward?
In 2003 and again in 2004, as Assistant General Manager and Director of Major League Operations for the Cincinnati Reds, I drafted the MLB instant replay proposal we presented at the GM Meetings. The idea at the time was it made no sense for viewers watching a game on television to have the benefit of instant replay while umpires and managers argued on the field without the same benefit.
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