December 11, 2013
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Friday, September 14, 2012
So often, and of course in our Twitter-infused, must-have-it-now sports world, we want to know immediately what will be the impact of things like big trades. Who won the Josh Beckett-Adrian Gonzalez-Carl Crawford to Los Angeles fiasco of a trade? You couldn't listen to sports-talk radio the next day without being inundated with that question, and 25 different answers from 25 different talking heads.*
*Of course, if you're listening to sports-talk radio, you're kind of asking for that type of punishment, aren't you?
We obviously don't know who will end up winning that trade. Heck, it's still hard to tell who won the first big Beckett trade.
But with Beckett and Hanley Ramirez (the main player he was traded for the first time) coming full circle and ending up as teammates out on the left coast, it seemed like a good time to look back and check out the trickle-down effects from that deal that are still being felt.
The original deal was Beckett, Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota heading from Florida to Boston for shortstop prospect Ramirez, young pitcher Anibal Sanchez and minor leaguers Harvey Garvey and Jesus Delgado. It took place during the offseason before the 2006 season.
Beckett was in the last year of team control and about to hit free agency for the first time after the 2006 season, but during July of that year, the Red Sox signed him to a three-year extension. This wasn't a given for the Red Sox when they made the trade, but the likelihood of them being able to come to a deal with Beckett had to have been pretty good for them to give up their top prospect in Ramirez and an arm like Sanchez's.
The deal worked out well for both sides.* Ramirez went on to post a 32.5 WAR over six-plus years before being sent to Los Angeles this season in a deal that was more about his moping than his abilities, while Sanchez earned the Marlins 13.4 wins above replacement during roughly the same time period before leaving this season in a separate deal.
On the Red Sox side, Beckett turned in a WAR of 26.8 and they also got an unexpected 10.4 WAR out of Lowell, who was basically considered a salary dump by the Marlins.
From a strictly numerical standpoint, the Marlins won the WAR*, but no one has ever put a numerical value on winning a World Series, expect maybe the team owners who made a ton of money off the impending Red Sox dynasty that came with winning their second title in four years. Beckett and Lowell were key contributors on a World Series winning team, so that has to be worth the difference in WAR right? The Red Sox gave up a lot in Ramirez, but was it not worth a championship? You won't find too many people in Boston who regret that deal.
*sorry, I couldn't help myself
But the trade can't be fully evaluated based on just those four players. The Red Sox have turned Beckett into more prospects, as have the Marlins with both Ramirez and Sanchez.
Beckett was sent to Los Angeles last month, along with Gonzalez, Crawford and Nick Punto in a deal that returned James Loney, Ivan DeJesus Jr., Allen Webster and eventually Rubby de la Rosa and Jerry Sands, once they are able to be named later. Beckett wasn't the main draw for the Dodgers in that deal, but he's not chopped liver either, so he gets at least a little credit for part of the Red Sox return.
Soon after Boston acquired Mota, and before he ever suited up for the Sox, he was flipped to Cleveland, along with prospect Andy Marte, catcher Kelly Shoppach and minor leaguer Randy Newsome for Coco Crisp, Josh Bard and David Riske. Marte was probably the main part of that deal for Cleveland, but Crisp became a seven win player during his time with the Red Sox before being flipped to the Royals for reliever Ramon Ramirez. Ramirez was later traded to the Giants for minor leaguer Daniel Turpen, who never made it to the majors, but Ramirez was worth a half-win for the Red Sox during his time with the team. That's an additional 7.5 wins for the Sox, for which at least a portion of the credit goes to the Beckett trade.
On the Marlins side, most of their action came this season. After their all-in approach crashed and burned, the Marlins began to sell their players for parts, and the grumpy Ramirez was among the first to be put on the block.
After six-plus years of Ramirez, the Marlins turned him and reliever Randy Choate into pitching prospect Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough. The book is still wide open on their contributions to the Marlins. The same goes for the three prospects the Marlins got back for Anibal Sanchez: Jacob Turner, Rob Brantly and Brian Flynn.
So what's the tally in the end?
The Red Sox got six mostly strong years from Beckett, a few good years from Lowell, some solid pay from Crisp, and whatever Webster, de la Rosa and Sands turn into in exchange for Ramirez, Sanchez, Marte (Crisp deal, who turned into nothing) and a couple of good seasons from Shoppach. Oh, and they got a World Series ring out of it, too.
The Marlins got six mostly good years of Ramirez, a few good years from Sanchez, and whatever Turner, Brantly, Flynn and Eovaldi turn into in exchange for one more year of Beckett (who wouldn't have re-signed in Florida) and Lowell, whose contract they couldn't afford anyway.
We still don't know who won the trade, which wasn't the exercise here anyway. Six years later, the Marlins have only a collection of prospects to show for their deals, but that could be better than what the Red Sox have left. The Red Sox, however, have the jewelry to claim a victory.
I'm going to do this exercise once a week with a major trade from some time in the last decade, not in an attempt to determine a winner and loser (although if there is an obvious one, I'll point it out), but rather to look at the dominoes that continue to fall today from the trades we remember from years back.
Cardinals 2, Dodgers 1: A must-win for both teams if they wanted to stop the bleeding, but a muster-win for L.A. since they're behind in the standings. Just didn't happen, though. Lance Lynn, back in the rotation in a spot start, allowed one run in six innings and struck out seven to give the Cardinals a little breathing room in the Wild Card race. Oh, and this happened.
Astros 6, Phillies 4: And the Cards got breathing room, not just over the Dodgers, but over the surging Phillies, who saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end. And this one hurt, as the worst team in the majors rallied for three runs in the eighth. Jed Lowrie hit a two run double to put Houston over.
Orioles 3, Rays 2: The Orioles' charmed life continued as they win another one-run game. The Rays cursed life continues as they lose another one-run game. And don't tell me the O's are not charmed: Manny Machado's game winning single came when he swung away on 3-0 at a guy who walked the previous hitter and couldn't find the zone. Even when they do the wrong thing, good things happen.
Yankees 2, Red Sox 0: Worried about the pitching? Worried about the injured aging stars? No worries! Phil Hughes pitched shutout ball into the eighth and Derek Jeter drove in a run in the seventh. The East remains tied.
Angels 6, Athletics 0: The Angels avoid a sweep behind Jered Weaver, who was most excellent in his return from bicep tendinitis. He allowed just two hits over seven shutout innings while striking out nine. The Angels scored all their runs in the seventh inning, when Torii Hunter started it with a home run and closed out the scoring with an RBI single.
Blue Jays 8, Mariners 3: The Jays pounded King Felix. Hernandez -- in his third straight loss -- gave up seven runs on ten hits in four innings. Edwin Encarnacion hit his 40th homer. Johan Santana and Phil Humber feel Felix's post-no-no funk.
Indians 5, Rangers 4: Adrian Beltre was supposed to be hurt, but he went 2 for 3 and scored twice. 'Twasn't enough, however, as Joe Nathan imploded in the ninth, blowing a 4-2 lead by serving up taters to Ezequiel Carrera and Jason Kipnis.
Twins 4, Royals 3: Denard Span doubled in a run to win it in the 10th inning, sending tens of fans home happy. Sal Perez extends his hitting streak to 17 games.
Tigers vs. White Sox: POSTPONED: The wind begun to rock the grass, With threatening tunes and low, - He flung a menace at the earth, A menace at the sky. The leaves unhooked themselves from trees And started all abroad; The dust did scoop itself like hands And throw away the road.
25 years ago today, one of baseball’s most amazing streaks came to an end. It’s not the most heavily publicized streak, but it’s a truly impressive iron man streak. Naturally, it involves Cal Ripken Jr.
On Sept. 14, 1987, Cal Ripken took an inning off, ending a streak of playing 8,423 consecutive innings.
As it happened, the game was noteworthy for other reasons. It featured a record-setting home run barrage. Actually, that home run barrage is part of the reason Ripken sat out an inning.
We all know that Cal Ripken set the record for most consecutive games, breaking Lou Gehrig’s old mark. But in some ways it's even more impressive that he played in so many straight innings. A consecutive games streak is impressive because it shows the guy came to play every day regardless of any cuts and bruises or soreness or illness. But a consecutive innings streak showed that he truly was grinding out completely.
If you look back at Gehrig’s consecutive games streak, for instance, you can find 18 games in which he had zero or one plate appearances. He made a brief appearance, keet the streak alive, and then was done for the day. In the last week of the 1937 season, Gehrig had four games in which he came to the plate a grand total of one time. That’s not an average of one PA per game—that’s the sum. Three times in five days the team took him out of the game before he could bat.
So Ripken’s innings streak really was remarkable. From the beginning of his games-played streak in 1982 until late 1987, he’d not only played in every game, but hadn’t missed a single moment of any game. As a bonus, he did it while playing shortstop, one of the more athletically demanding positions on the diamond.
But on Sept. 14, 1987, in game No. 930 of Ripken’s more famous streak, he finally sat out the end of a game.
He wasn’t injured or ejected. There was no special reason that demanded he spend time on the bench. It was just an utter rout.
In Toronto, the Orioles got clobbered. Baltimore held the Blue Jays scoreless in the first inning—and then let them score in every remaining inning. Five in the second. Two in the third. One in the fourth, fifth, and sixth. Then a big seven-spot in the bottom of the seventh.
What’s more, Toronto kept scoring thanks to a series of long balls. The Jays had there homers in the second, and another pair in the third. They kept adding more as the game went on, and would end the day with a record 10 home runs in one contest. Veteran catcher Ernie Whitt had three, certainly a personal best.
Anyhow, heading into the eighth, Toronto led, 17-2. Ripken came to the plate in the top of the inning and drive in a run on a ground out to make it 17-3. But in the bottom of the eighth (when Toronto scored the game’s last run—on a home run, of course, by Fred McGriff—to make it 18-3), Ripken was not at shortstop. Baltimore decided to pull its star shortstop for aging veteran Ron Washington. That’s right—the current Texas Rangers manager.
Ripken never replicated his consecutive innings streak. A few weeks later he left a game after just one plate appearance. Two years later, for the only time in his streak, he played in a game without any plate appearances. He’d leave early in occasional games, but keep his games streak going until nearly the end of 1998. But the innings streak ended, exactly 25 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate either their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that happened X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just glance over things.
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