The Padres Grand Delusion
What better way to start this week’s banter than by talking about the San Diego Padres front office. Delusions, delusions everywhere. Somehow, at least for Ron Fowler, the Padres are still unsure about whether they will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. The tweets below explain this mindset a little more clearly.
Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler: “We are not there at this time (officially selling). The next series might give us more direction.”
— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) July 23, 2015
Fowler (cont.): “We are looking to move closer to .500. And we are not looking to reduce payroll.” Emphasized “not.”
— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) July 23, 2015
Ron Fowler is having some sort of delusion that the Padres aren’t going to be sellers. I really don’t know what to make of it but it is really frustrating to see the Padres potentially squandering an opportunity to jump the gun on the market and make some great trades to recoup some of the prospects they lost in their ill-fated offseason attempt to “win now.”
Now is the time to stop attempting to delude the fans and be honest. The Padres front office needs to admit that their attempts to field a winning ball club have failed. Now is the time to attempt to fix those problems and attempt to field a winning team in 2016 and going forward for years to come. The ball is in their court. They just need to have the balls to pull the trigger.
The Astros Strike First
The Houston Astros made the first move. Who would have thought coming into this season that the Astros would be the first team to strike at the trade deadline? For those who don’t already know, on Thursday morning the Astros completed a deal sending two prospects to the Oakland Athletics in return for Scott Kazmir.
Not only did they make a move that will exponentially help both their playoff odds and their world series odds, but they made a smart move. Scott Kazmir was a great fit for them and they didn’t have to give up much to get him. He is just a rental, but given the fact that he was born in the area, it seems likely that the Astros are serious about convincing Kazmir to stay in Houston long term. It remains to be seen how this trade will play out long term but from the start it seems like both teams have derived a great benefit. One thing is for sure: the Astros are serious about competing in 2015.
The Mets Misery
Let’s talk about the New York Mets for a minute. The Mets still haven’t done anything. The Mets still seem unsure about doing anything. While one of their biggest competitors for the second wild card has called up a young prospect in Kyle Schwarber to help the Major League club, the Mets are still balking at the idea of calling up Michael Conforto. It’s obvious that Conforto isn’t going to solve all of the Mets offensive woes, and there is definitely a lot of them, but why not at least give the kid a chance to try.
At this point the Mets really have nothing to lose. If they are seriously unsure about whether they want to trade for some upgrades to help in the playoff push, Conforto still remains the best, and really last, option that they have. If they choose to not call him up, and continue to balk at making a trade, it will become painfully obvious that the Mets are not playing for the playoffs in 2015 but once again telling their fans “next year.” For many Mets fans who have been waiting patiently for years and years, this is another tough pill to swallow.
A Change in the Trade Deadline
Rob Manfred said what? Manfred had one of his usual media appearances on Thursday and was asked a question about the trade deadline. Basically the gist of what he had to say was that he would possibly consider moving back the non-waiver trade deadline from July 31st. He was unclear on how far back it would be moved but this proposal would actually make quite a bit of sense. The current trade deadline date was first established with the collective bargaining agreement of 1986 when there were only four division winners and thus four playoff teams.
Now, as everybody is well aware, there are six division winners and four wild card teams for a total of ten playoff teams. What this does is it honestly makes the trade deadline a little more boring. With less teams truly out of contention, and parity seemingly at an all time high this season, less teams have the desire to make any substantial moves to buy/sell at the July 31st deadline. Moving the deadline back a week, or even two, would go a long way in creating a more exciting trade deadline environment where more teams know where they stand in the playoff picture. As it stands many teams currently find themselves in playoff contention, with the advent of the second wild card, and may be wary of making any moves despite the possibility of not being in contention come a week or two from now. This is definitely an interesting proposal and should be something to watch going forward. Manfred is clearly trying to consider all options to make the game better, and I can definitely commend him for the effort.
A New Era for U.S.-Cuba Relations
Something I have really been thinking about and mulling over in my head a lot the last week has been the formal desire for an opening of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. This is obviously still in a very preliminary stage but nevertheless this could truly be a monumental moment in the history of baseball. If the United States and Cuba do establish diplomatic relations the defections of players like Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes will be a thing of the past.
It is unclear whether these relations will usher in some sort of international draft or an international posting system similar to the one used in Japan and some other countries, but nevertheless it is still an exciting time for Major league baseball. If it becomes easier for these players to enter the United States more of them will become part of the game which not only increases the quality of the product on the field but will also help to spread the popularity of baseball around the world. This is still a preliminary thing but this could be one of the brightest moments of the 21st century in baseball and one of the most important moments in international baseball history.