June 20, 2013
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Monday, August 27, 2012
I looked at the schedule as I sat down to write this and noted that, even including the postponed game, there were only 14 games yesterday. Rays-A's played Thursday-Saturday, leaving yesterday off to avoid conflicts with the Republican National Convention. Guess you couldn't expect the RNC to compromise, so ...
Anyway, it was weird and disorienting to see less than a full slate of games. 13 thanks to the rain in Baltimore. Oh wells:
Phillies 4, Nationals 1: The sweep. With Cliff Lee pitching like Cliff Lee is supposed to pitch. Everyone's having a lark at the Phillies season in the wilderness, but I think folks are gonna be in for a surprise next year when everyone's healthy and they have Hamels/Lee/Halladay and a couple of good bats. It ain't perfect, no, but that more than plays in the NL.
Brewers 7, Pirates 0: You hear that Mr. Hurdle?... That is the sound of inevitability... It is the sound of your death... Goodbye, Mr. Hurdle...
Braves 7, Giants 1: Tim Hudson allowed one over seven innings and, while it wasn't an awful start, Tim Lincecum looked quite mortal allowing three over five. Back to back homers by Heyward and Freeman in the ninth were unnecessary piling on.
Cardinals 8, Reds 2: Four hits and four RBI for Matt Holliday, who has to be a part of the MVP conversation. Allen Craig homered and drove in three. The Cardinals are heating up. They've passed the Pirates and, while still six back of the Reds, are looking dangerous.
Yankees 4, Indians 2: Curtis Granderson hit his 200th home run. Of all time, not in the game or the season, because those would be records. New York took two of three from lowly Cleveland, giving the Yankees a bit of breathing room over the Rays, who are four back.
Tigers 5, Angels 2: Back to back homers in the sixth by Prince Fielder and Delmon Young. Max Scherzer continued his recent good run, striking out nine in seven innings and winning his 14th. Mike Trout had a bad series. I note it only because I think it's the first bad series he's had all year.
Cubs 5, Rockies 0: Chris Volstad got his first win since, I think, the Carter administration. The game ended early due to rain. Gonna level with you: i'm having a hard time thinking about a Cubs game in Chicago, guys. For reasons that are best left unexplored but which have something to do with my girlfriend, I started watching that old TBS show "My Boys" over the weekend. The one with the female lead who covers the Cubs and has all the male friends and -- based on two or three episodes anyway -- looks like it's gonna be some inside-out "Sex and the City" thing, albeit somewhat smarter. Upshot: the chick is pretty good looking, but all I keep thinking is how the people who really cover the Cubs look like Paul Sullivan. I can only suspend my disbelief so much, folks. Oh, and I want the main character's apartment.
Padres 5, Diamondbacks 4: Seven game winning streak for the Friars. They have swept the Diamondbacks in Arizona twice this year. A three-man umpire crew officiated the game after crew chief Tim Tschida was scratched due to "personal medical reasons." With the caveat that I will take this joke back if it turns out to actually be serious, I'm gonna assume he's suffering from Little Donnie's Disease.
Red Sox 8, Royals 6: Pedro Ciriaco had three hits, scored twice and drove in two. James Loney had an RBI single. Wondering how long until the new car smell wears off the new look Sox and everyone starts to realize that, just because some guys no one likes are gone, the team isn't any more fun to watch and certainly isn't better.
Twins 6, Rangers 5: You can't stop Ben Revere, you can only hope to contain him. Four hits for him, as the Twins broke a five-game losing streak.
Marlins 6, Dodgers 2: Four homers for the Marlins. Three in three games for Giancarlo Stanton. He had eight homers during the Marlins' 11-game road trip.
Mets 2, Astros 1: Offensively, it was all Ike Davis, as he accounted for both Mets runs with homers, including the walkoff. Lucas Duda gunned a would-be runner out at home in the ninth to keep the game tied at 1.
White Sox 4, Mariners 3: Like the Cubs game, this one was called early -- after seven -- due to rain. Tyler Flowers' game-winning homer came in just under the wire.
Blue Jays vs. Orioles: POSTPONED: As a man I ain’t never been much for sunny days. I’m as calm as a fruit stand in New York and maybe as strange. But when the color goes out of my eyes, it’s usually the change. But damn Sam I love a woman that rains.
Twenty years ago today, a hell of a trade took place, a trade involving two high-profile players with plenty of talent—and the two guys were traded for each other, too. Well, admittedly, one wasn’t anywhere near high profile at the time of the trade, but it’s still a bigger exchange of talent than you normally see in a transaction.
On Aug. 27, 1992, the New York Mets set star pitcher David Cone to the Blue Jays for Jeff Kent. Well, it wasn’t quite a straight up trade, as Toronto also threw in a player to be named later, Ryan Thompson.
First, let’s get the trivial details out of the way. Thompson was a minor league outfielder who would play in the majors for parts of nine seasons as a backup, never getting a starting job. He provided some value, but the trade was basically Cone for Kent.
Cone was the big name at the time of the trade. In 1988, he had a fantastic season, posting a majestic 20-3 record with a sparkling 2.22 ERA. He hadn’t maintained that level since then, but he was still a quality pitcher. His ERAs were typically in the threes, and he could be counted on to win 14 games a year. In fact, he won exactly 14 games every season from 1989-91 and had 13 wins the day the trade was made.
For his part, Kent was just a prospect. He was a rookie in 1992, but a man without a place in Toronto. Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar manned Kent’s natural position at second base.
Instead, Kent played third, where Toronto already had veteran Kelly Gruber. As it happened, Gruber had a lousy season in 1992, allowing Kent to capture the starting job in June, but by August, Gruber was back in the regular starting lineup, with Kent on the bench and rarely used.
Toronto wasn’t getting much use out of Kent, but he was a well-enough regarded kid to be valuable as trade bait. And Toronto could use another arm in its starting rotation. On Aug. 27, the Blue Jays held a narrow lead in the AL East and could use some frontline help. They needed to win today, not down the road, so why not trade this kid Kent, even if he was talented? The offense was fine; it would come second in the league in runs scored.
So the Jays elected to give Kent to the Mets. For their part, the Mets could use a new second baseman, as 37-year-old Willie Randolph was in decline. Unlike the Blue Jays, the Mets were looking to the future, not the present. They were having a dismal season that would end with 90 losses.
Cone sure was a good pitcher, but his contract was up at the end of the year. In other words, this 1992 trade was a lot like what we see nowadays, a veteran nearing free agency being dealt for prospects.
Both teams got something out of it, though neither team got the best from either player. Cone did a good job in the pennant stretch. He won only one of his four postseason starts but posted a decent ERA, helping Toronto to its first world title. Then he left, off to Kansas City, where he won a Cy Young award. He’d come back to Toronto in 1995, win nine games, and then be off again.
Kent spent nearly four years with the Mets, providing good but not great numbers with the squad. They decided he wasn’t going to amount to much more and so, in a terrible move, traded him to Cleveland for Carlos Baerga. After a half-season there, he blossomed in San Francisco, picking up an MVP Award.
So a future Cy Young winner was traded for a future MVP, though neither team receiving the players got those great seasons from them. But it was an impressive trade that took place 20 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that occurred X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.
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