MLB General

Bad, bad, bad MLB trades

In the world of sports, there is nothing riskier than making that big trade. Then again, trades can also be extremely rewarding. Just think of how much thought, struggle and heartache goes into each trade you make in your fantasy league and then add the pressure of million dollar salaries, job security and team chemistry. It piles up quickly. So, with so franchises exercising extreme contemplation and deliberation, how do they make such horrible deals sometimes? It’s tough to say, but it happens, and the The Sports Muffin has the 10 Worst MLB Trades in Recent Years to prove it.

10. Texas Rangers trade John Danks, Nick Masset, and Jacob Rasner to the Chicago White Sox for Brandon McCarthy and David Paisano.

9. St. Louis Cardinals trade Dan Haren, Kiko Calero, and Daric Barton to the Oakland Athletics for Mark Mulder.

8. Oakland Athletics trade Mark McGwire to the St. Louis Cardinals for T.J. Matthews, Blake Stein, and Eric Ludwick.

7. Tampa Bay Devil Rays trade Bobby Abreu to the Philadelphia Phillies for Kevin Stocker.

6. New York Mets trade Scott Kazmir and Jose Diaz to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Bartolome Fortunato and Victor Zambrano.

5. Texas Rangers trade Chris Young…and Adrian Gonzalez to the San Diego Padres for Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka, and Billy Killian.

4. Seattle Mariners trade Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek to the Boston Red Sox for Heath Slocumb.

3. Montreal Expos trade Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Lee Stevens to the Cleveland Indians for Bartolo Colon, Tim Drew, and cash

2. New York Mets trade Nolan Ryan, Don Rose, Frank Estrada, and LeRoy Stanton to the California Angels for Jim Fregosi.

1. San Francisco Giants trade Francisco Liriano, Joe Nathan, and Boof Bonser to the Minnesota Twins for A.J. Pierzynski.

This isn’t exactly recent history, but there is no way we could talk about bad trades without reminding everyone how the Red Sox dealt Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920 for $100,000 and a $300,000 loan!


[The Sports Muffin]: 10 Worst MLB Trades in Recent Years

Minnesota Timberwolves

Odds and Ends: The luckiest SOB in all of sports

The guys over at Rumors and Rants are still stewing over the fact that a virtual-nobody in the NBA like
Marko Jaric can be engaged to megamodel Adrianna Lima. Hey, aren’t we all? But Jaric isn’t the only lucky bastard in the world of sports. So, here’s their list of “The Luckiest Guys In Sports History.”

Marko Jaric – Engaged to Adrianna Lima

Jim Sorgi – Peyton Manning’s Backup

Sam Cassell – 2008 Celtics

Eric Gagne – 2007 Boston Red Sox

Scott Podsednik – Married to Lisa Dergan

Christian Laettner – The Dream Team

Tony Romo – The Tail He Pulls

Jud Buechler – Three Titles With The Bulls

Jeremy Shockey – Giants Super Bowl Win

And speaking of lucky, there’s no way we can forget about this lucky dog.

In other news…

[Undrafted Free Agent]: Javon Kearse does his best Cedric Benson impersonation

[]: Pele gets no respect from the younger generation

[Pyle of List]: Sports movie coaches nominated for the HOF

[]: 8-year-old knows more about baseball than most beat reporters

[Tirico Suave]: George Carlin, you will be missed greatly

[]: A day of indulgence

[]: The Babes of Wimbledon 2008

[]: Celebrities’ kid’s colleges revealed

[]: Worst. Strip club. Ever.

[Can’t Stop The Bleeding]: Worst. Rap battle. Ever.

And finally, here’s a guy dropping a subtle hint that he really, really wants a pool.

MLB General

The Full Count: Thome’s 500th one to remember

1. Yet Another Milestone: In what has been more than anything a season of milestones, Jim Thome supplied the latest with his 500th career homer. Becoming the third player this year and 23rd overall to join the once-exclusive club, Thome has understandably received less attention than most to reach the mark. The home run, which dramatically was a walk-off shot in a win over the Angels, was Thome’s 28th this year. He is two homers shy of his 11th career 30-homerun season. Thome, contrary to fellow 500-homer sluggers Frank Thomas and Alex Rodriguez, is not a sure-fire Hall of Famer. His career average is .281, just .229 in the postseason. He never finished in the top 3 of the MVP voting either. Though Thome may not make the Hall, it is undeniable that he is among the league’s all time greatest sluggers. He is top 20 all time in career slugging percentage and OPS. Regardless of whether he is enshrined in Cooperstown, Thome deserves more recognition for what he has accomplished.

2. Right in the Race: The Philadelphia Phillies continue to make a push for the playoffs. With a weekend sweep of the Mets, they moved within 3.5 games of the previously dominant division leaders. They are also only 1.5 games back of the wild card-leading Padres. Whether Philly can pass one of these teams is still unknown. They continue to have the league’s best offense, with 49 more runs than the second-place Rockies. But their pitching staff, as always, has been a weakness, with only the Nats and Reds allowing more runs on the year. On Sunday, Philly outscored the Mets 10-6, with the Mets virtually beating themselves. New York had 6 errors, their most in five years, and 11 walks. Jose Reyes made two errors on one play in the second inning, which led to two Phillies runs. The Mets should still roll to the division title, as they have the easiest schedule they could have asked for down the stretch. Their four remaining series are split between the Nationals and Marlins, two of the worst teams in the National League.

3. Peavy for MVP?: In a season that lacks a standout contender for the NL MVP, Padres starter Jake Peavy certainly deserves at least some consideration. He is virtually an automatic win every time he takes the mound, with an 18-6 record and a 9-2 mark since the All Star break. Without him, the Padres would be nowhere near the Wild Card lead. On Sunday, Peavy shut down the Giants, with one run allowed in seven innings and 10 strikeouts. He leads the league in strikeouts (225), ERA (2.39), WHIP (1.04), and wins. There has certainly not been any offensive player in the National League that has done as much for his team as Peavy has done for the Padres.

Player of the Day: Michael Young, Rangers: 3-4, HR, 7 RBIs in an 11-9 win over the A’s.

MLB General

The Full Count: Not even close

1. A Series of Dominance: The Boston Red Sox just pulled off one of the more one-sided series in the MLB this season as they swept the White Sox in four games. Boston outscored Chicago 46-7 in the series, scoring ten or more runs in each game and winning each game by at least eight runs. The Red Sox became the first team in the league this season to reach the 80-win mark, and they extended their lead over the Yankees to a whopping 7.5 games. Boston’s 11-1 win on Sunday included a solid pitching performance by Julian Tavarez and balanced play by the offense. David Ortiz had two more RBIs, giving him seven in the series and 87 on the year. Mike Lowell also drove in seven runs for the series, and he leads the team with 93 this season. The Red Sox are on a roll headed into one of their most important series this season: a three-game set at Yankee Stadium that begins on Tuesday. If they win that series, they will win the division title barring an epic collapse.

2. The Dark Horse: The American League Cy Young race is extremely crowded, though it’s surprising one name is rarely mentioned: Kelvim Escobar. Dan Haren, Josh Beckett, and Johan Santana are more commonly cited for Cy Young contention, but Escobar has as solid stats as anyone: a 15-6 record, 2.77 ERA, and 1.17 WHIP. On Sunday he pitched brilliantly for eight innings as the Angels beat the Blue Jays 3-1. Escobar allowed one run, six hits, and recorded five strikeouts. Though he didn’t even make the All Star team, Escobar has been the team’s ace, even superior to John Lackey. Since the start of July he has allowed three or fewer runs in all but one start. Hopefully Escobar doesn’t get ignored just because he is relatively unknown compared with the other candidates.

3. Another year, another run: The Minnesota Twins are one of those teams that seemingly always makes a run in the second half of the season. Last year the Twins rallied from many games back to overtake the Tigers and win the division. This year, though they’re still well out at this point, Minnesota could be making another jump up the standings. Since losing five in a row earlier this month, the Twins have won 9 out of 12, including a five-game winning streak. They swept the Orioles in four games over the weekend by a combined 31-10 score, including an 11-3 beatdown on Sunday. The Twins got a competent start from Scott Baker and pounded Baltimore ace Erik Bedard for six runs in the victory. At 67-63, they are 5.5 games back in the standings, though that will change shortly as they face Cleveland six times over the next two weeks, starting with a three game set at Jacobs Field beginning Monday.

Player of the Day: Chris Young, Diamondbacks: 2-4, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs in a 5-4 win over Milwaukee.

MLB General

The Full Count: Teixeira still paying dividends

1. Terrific Tex: The biggest winner at the trade deadline is as clear now as it was on August 1. The Atlanta Braves, with their acquisition of Mark Teixeira, got one of the best hitters in the league. In 18 games with the Braves, Teixeira has nine homers and 25 RBIs, including two homers and six runs driven in on Monday against the Reds. It was Teixeira’s second straight multi-homer game as he led the Braves to a 14-4 blowout of Cincy. Brian McCann added a grand slam, and Andruw Jones also homered for Atlanta. Tim Hudson didn’t pitch at his best level (6 innings, 3 runs), but he was good enough to become the first National League pitcher with 15 wins. The win puts the Braves at one game back of the Padres in the wild card race.

2. Battle of the Best: Two of baseball’s best teams, the Angels and the Yankees, began a series in exciting fashion on Monday. The Angels won 7-6 in the 10th inning thanks to a game-winning RBI double by backup catcher Ryan Budde. The Angels barely survived in a game that had six lead changes and not a lot of pitching. For the Yankees, Alex Rodriguez became the first player in baseball to hit 40 homers this year, and had three more RBIs, giving him 118. Jorge Posada also homered and drove in three, but the Angels were able to win with a more balanced attack on offense. LA improved to 73-51, the second-best record in baseball behind the Red Sox. The Yanks fell to five games back in the division and 1.5 back in the wild card.

3. The Streaks are Over: Overall it was a good night for the Chicago White Sox, as they snapped an eight-game losing streak with 4-3 win over the Royals. But the best thing that has happened to the team this season, Bobby Jenks’ 41 straight retired batters, came to a close. Jenks gave up a leadoff single to Joey Gathright in the ninth, ending his remarkable streak, which tied the previous major league record. He then retired the next three batters for his 34th save. The Sox were able to win with a rally in the seventh, tying them with Kansas City for last place. It’s an embarrassment for the franchise to be even near the Royals, especially considering their above-average payroll and recent World Series championship. But it’s been a lost season for the White Sox for months now, so many Chicago fans are probably already looking forward to next season.

Player of the Day: Tim Wakefield, Red Sox: 7 innings, four hits, no runs, 5 strikeouts in a 6-0 win over the Devil Rays. Wakefield improved to 15-10, tying him for the major league wins lead.

MLB General

The Full Count: Teixeira pays dividends already

1. What a Debut: In his first game as a Brave, Mark Teixeira was already showing his excellent potential. Batting fourth in the lineup in between Chipper and Andruw Jones, Teixeira hit a homerun and had four RBIs in the Braves’ rout. Atlanta won 12-3 over Houston, giving them 38 runs in their last three games. For Teixeira it was his 14th combined homer of the year, and he extended a streak of getting exactly one hit to eight games. The Braves now have possibly the league’s best lineup from top to bottom. They had five .300 hitters in the lineup on Wednesday, not even counting Teixeira’s .297. With the recent scoring explosion Atlanta ranks second in the NL in runs, though they’re still 52 behind the Phillies. Despite three straight wins Atlanta is 3.5 games behind the Mets.

2. Another game, another blowout: The Braves are hot offensively, but it’s nothing compared to what the Yankees are doing. With an 8-1 victory over the White Sox on Wednesday, they have scored 34 runs their last three games and 62 runs their last four home games. They pounded out five homers in the win, giving them 13 in two games. The latter stat ties a team record set in 1939. However, A-Rod hasn’t hit any of those homers, and remains stuck at 499 for his career. Jorge Posada hit two bombs, giving the .341 hitter 14 homers on the year. Robinson Cano, who leads the AL in hits since the All Star break, hit a shot as well. The Yanks have won three in a row and seven of their last ten, but the Red Sox have been just as good. New York remains seven games back.

3. The Unlikely Division Leader: The Arizona Diamondbacks, despite being outscored for the year, lead the NL West division and have the second-best record in the National League. They have been on fire lately, winning 10 of their last 11 contests. Their success has come at a time when the Dodgers and Padres are struggling, though they still only lead them by 1 and 2.5 games, respectively. Arizona beat San Diego in an extra-inning contest on Wednesday. Though the Padres rallied for four runs in the ninth to tie the game, the Diamondbacks put up four in the 11th to win the game. Chad Tracy hit a key three-run homer in the win.

Player of the Day: Miguel Cabrera, Marlins: 3-3, HR (26), 2 runs in a 4-3 win over Colorado

MLB General

The Full Count: It’s only the Devil Rays but damn

1. Return of the Bronx Bombers: The Yankees’ offense had been above-average this season, but far from dominant. Then, with 45 runs over the past two days, their lineup is finally the dominant force many expected it to be at the start of the season. After sweeping a doubleheader with scores of 7-3 and 17-5 on Saturday, the Yankees annihilated the Devil Rays 21-4 on Sunday. Alex Rodriguez led the charge with his 34th homer and 99th RBI. Hideki Matsui went 5-6, Robinson Cano went 4-6, and rookie Shelly Duncan hit two of New York’s six homers in the rout. Tampa Bay starter James Shields was pounded for ten runs as his ERA rose above 4 for the first time since April. The Yankees are now catching up to the Tigers for the major league runs lead; they’re only three behind after that incredible two-day span. They have a season-high winning percentage but remain 7.5 games back of Boston.

2. A Day of Shutouts: Excluding the Yankees game, Sunday was actually a day of low scoring. There were six shutouts overall throughout the major leagues, which including many dominant pitching performances. Roy Halladay hurled a three-hit shutout in the Blue Jays’ 8-0 win. Rookie of the Year candidate Jeremy Guthrie of the Orioles pitched seven scoreless innings in Baltimore’s 2-0 win over the A’s. Philadelphia crushed San Diego 9-0 thanks to JD Durbin’s career-first complete game. Houston won a 1-0 showdown with Pittsburgh thanks to one of Woody Williams’ best starts of the season. Finally, Arizona blanked Chicago and Washington shut down Colorado.

3. Royal Embarrassment: The White Sox were viewed as a preseason contender in the AL Central division. I even thought they would take second place. However, after a season that has gone wrong in so many ways for Chicago, they find themselves tied with the Royals for last place. At 43-54, only Texas and Tampa have worse records in the American League. The White Sox have a lowly offense which is tied for last in the AL in runs and dead-last in batting average and on-base percentage. It’s not like their pitching has been magnificent either, with a 4.76 team ERA. Chicago lost a series at Boston 3-1 by a combined score of 31-14. Their upcoming series include matchups with the Tigers and Yankees, so it could get worse for the White Sox.

Player of the Day: Roy Halladay, Blue Jays: 9 innings, 3 hits, no runs, one walk in an 8-0 win over Seattle. In what has been an off season for the perennial All Star, Halladay improved to 11-4 but still has a 4.15 ERA.

MLB General

The Full Count: Verlander finishes what Schilling can’t

1. No Hits for You!: Less than a week after Curt Schilling came within one out of a no-hitter but couldn’t finish it, Justin Verlander pitched a no-no against the Brewers. Verlander walked four, but other than that he was perfect as he went the distance. He struck out 12 and had 112 total pitches in the second no-hitter in the majors this season. It was also the first no-hitter for the Tigers since 1984, when Verlander was only one year old. Verlander threw over 100 mph on his fastball as he improved to 7-2 with a 2.79 ERA and made history along the way. The Tigers are now tied with Cleveland for first place in the AL Central. They have won three in a row, while the Indians have dropped three straight. With the no-hitter, Verlander has now secured his place as one of the best (if not the best) young pitchers in the game.

2. Here comes Philly: Their season seemed over in April, but now a great start to June has the Phillies in contention in the NL East. The Braves and Mets lost again on Tuesday, but the Phillies won for the seventh time in their last ten games. They beat the White Sox 7-3 on the strength of two of their best young players–Chase Utley and Cole Hamels. Utley went 3-3 with a homer and four RBIs, giving him 52 runs driven in this year. Hamels improved to 9-2 with eight innings, two runs allowed, and eight strikeouts in this contest. Philly is now a mere three games back of the Mets and just one behind the Braves.

3. Finally .500!: The Yankees improved to .500 for the first time since April 20 after winning their 7th straight game. They beat the Diamondbacks 4-1 on the strength of Chien-Ming Wang’s pitching. Wang, the most underrated pitcher on the Yankees’ staff, went seven strong innings, with one run allowed and no walks. Also for New York, red-hot Bobby Abreu hit a three-run homerun. Abreu has 12 RBIs in his last 8 games and is hitting .500 in that span. The Yankees still may be 9.5 out, but they are on a roll. They will be in contention by the All Star break.

Player of the Day: Justin Verlander, Tigers: No-hitter, 12 strikeouts in a 4-0 win over the Brewers.

MLB General

The Full Count: Halladay is dominating again

1. Return to Dominance: Roy Halladay hadn’t pitched since May 10, and he hadn’t pitched like himself since April 30. It didn’t take him long to return to his usual form. Halladay shut out the White Sox in seven innings, allowing six hits and no walks. He struck out seven on the last day of a horrible May for Halladay. In April, he was one of the early Cy Young favorites in the AL. But in May, he allowed 17 combined runs in his first two starts and then underwent an appendectomy that cost him three weeks. Mark Buehrle of the White Sox pitched eight strong innings himself, but he gave up two solo homers to Frank Thomas and Aaron Hill.

2. Still Rollin’: Everything about the Mets, from their starters to their lineup, is clicking right now. On Thursday, Orlando Hernandez delivered a great start in what has been a surprising season for him. El Duque allowed two runs in seven innings, lowering his ERA to 2.20. He is one of three Mets starters with an ERA below 2.80, which is quite unexpected for a staff that came into the year with numerous question marks. Billy Wagner converted his 31st straight save, his 13th on the year. Wagner is one of the more underrated closers in the majors with a 1.57 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. He has been unhittable for the last decade. Though Carlos Beltran struggled in May on offense, David Wright and Carlos Delgado broke out of their April slumps and Jose Reyes continued to be a steal machine (29 and counting). Right now, the Mets are clearly the favorite in the National League, which lacks another truly dominant team at this point.

3. Remember this guy?: Ever since breaking the single-season hits record in 2004, Ichiro has been virtually silent. This year he has returned to being a great contact hitter, with a .336 average and a 230-hit pace. He finished May with a 24-game hit streak that raised his average 76 points. He hasn’t slowed down, either, with 14 steals on the year. On Thursday, Ichiro carried the Mariners by going 3-5 with two RBIs. If he keeps hitting like he is now, Ichiro will definitely start to gain back the attention he lost after two below-average seasons for him.

Player of the Month: Prince Fielder, Brewers: Milwaukee may have slowed down towards the end of the month, but its best player continued to dominate. Fielder had four straight games with a homer to close the month. He led all major-leaguers with 13 homers in May and was tied for first with 28 RBIs. His slugging percentage was .755, which raised his season total to a league-leading .641. Fielder’s breakout is reminiscent of Ryan Howard‘s last year, when Howard hit 13 and 35 in May.

Pitcher of the Month: Jake Peavy, Padres: Many pitchers slowed down in May after dominating in April, but Peavy was not one of them. He went 4-0 with a miniscule 0.79 ERA and 39 strikeouts on the month. Peavy allowed no earned runs in three of his five starts, and the Padres won every time he took the mound in May. He is clearly the National League’s Cy Young favorite at this point in the year.

Chicago White Sox

Odds and Ends: White Sox World Series Ring goes for $28k

It’s kind of sad when someone has to sell their World Series ring but hey, thanks to ebay, you can get $28,100 for a ring appraised at $7,950. The ring was put on sale by Tommy Thompson, the catchers coach from the 2005 team. It’s interesting that a Red Sox 2004 World Series ring went for $35,000 last week while a Florida Marlins 1997 World Series ring is unsold at $9,999 with two hours left in the auction. Talk about an indication of the loyalty and passion of the respective fan bases.

In other news…

[USA Today]: Hank Aaron sticks to his “screw Bonds” plans

[Sportsline]: Redskins have to apologize for Portis’ dog fighting is ok comments.

[Yahoo]: Golfer drives his car off a cliff and dies. Seriously.

[SI]: backup LSU QB suspended for trying to sneak into a casino with fake ID.

[Lion in Oil]: Ooops, I accidentally pulled down my shirt to expose more cleavage while pouring a beer on myself.

[Deseret News]: Football, wrestling top sports-injury list

[Parlayer]: VIDEO: Why Sports Reporters Should Carry Breathalizers At All Times

[Our Book of Scrap]: Rays rookie threatens to kill wife

[The Hater Nation]: Raiders Dedicate Season to the Executed