October 25, 2015

It's all perspective in the MLB at the deadline

Perspective. That's what the trade deadline provides. 

  • 53–51. Six games out of first place. (Toronto)
  • 53–50. Two games out of first place. (New York Mets) 
  • 50–52. Seven games out of first place. (Texas Rangers) 
  • 50–53. 11.5 games out of first place. (Detroit Tigers) 

On July 31, 2015, the Major League Baseball trade deadline, four teams had the preceding records. The records are close to each others, give or take two–and–a–half games. Three of the teams made the playoffs. One of the teams completely gave up. One of the teams — the one that did not make the playoffs — traded a key component to two of the teams allowing them to improve as the season wound down. The other team made a trade that everyone thought was "for next year" that allowed them to rally in 2015.
Cespedes turned up the volume when he shipped to the National League.
The Tigers would go 24–34 down the stretch and finish in last play way out of first place. The other teams' fortunes would improve and they would march to the playoffs. The New York Mets became so serious that they would rally all the way to the World Series. In the spring, no one was predicting the Mets to even make the playoffs. The player the Mets acquired from the Tigers was Yoenis Cespedes who would rally down the stretch and put up incredible statistics. He hit .287 with 17 HR and 44 RBI for the Mets in 57 games after .293 18 HR 61 RBI in 102 games for the Tigers. So, Cespedes posted almost identical stats in nearly half the games. He turned up the volume when he shipped to the National League. He was always thought of as a big game player.
Yoenis Cespedes is a solid hitter but an even better defender. His trade to the Mets spark–plugged their run to the National League pennant. Cespedes should get MVP votes simply for the effort he put forth after the trade. 
David Price, dealt to the Blue Jays at the deadline, by the Tigers won the same number of games with the Jays as the Tigers in 10 fewer starts. Price had a great season overall, winning 18 games. He was nearly dominating with Toronto, going 9–1 down the stretch. He went all Doyle Alexander on the American League — hopefully, there was a John Smoltz on the other end of the deal. Price continued his post–season slouch, though, for the Jays who were defeated by the Royals in the American League Championship Series.
David Price is one of the best pitchers in the Major Leagues. He dominated for the Blue Jays after the trade. 
Finally, the Phillies shipped Cole Hamels to the Rangers in what was viewed as a deal for 2016; however, the Rangers rallied and made the playoffs. Heck, they won the American League West after finishing last in 2014.

At the trade deadline, four teams had similar records. The Tigers decided to go small and go home, trading their most marketable and potential free agent stars. Two of the teams decided to go big. Three of the teams won divisions and made the playoffs. It's all about perspective and the Tigers' perspective was that they could not contend or make the playoffs so they dealt for prospects. The prospects all have good futures according to the Tigers' braintrust; strangely, though, the general manager who made the trades was fired the day after the deadline. Something strange happened as the season wound down for the Detroit Tigers. At least that is my perspective.

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