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

Seattle Mariners

Richie Sexson has a depth perception problem

The benches cleared last night during the Rangers/Mariners game after Richie Sexson took offense to a Kason Gabbard pitch. And we’re still trying to figure out why. Here’s what the apparently nearsighted Sexson had to say.

“I’m 6-foot-8. He can hit corners at will,” Sexson said. “6-8 and all of a sudden he’s up that high? I’m a huge target. How hard is it to hit me? Hit me in the back or thigh. Up near my face is no good.

“I’ve been in the game a long time. I’ve been hit on purpose before. But it’s been the right way. You go to first. It’s part of the game. You know how it works.”

Or you don’t get hit, explode into a fit of rage and start hurtling your helmet at a pitcher. Either way.


[]: Rangers, Mariners scuffle in Texas’ 5-0 win

Boston Red Sox

This is why you shouldn’t eat buttered popcorn at the ballpark

You know when you’re heading into the end zone and you’re a yard shy and you start to celebrate and you drop the football? This guy does. – Watch more free videos

Hey, that’s what we said!

MLB General

The Full Count: Rangers’ bats must’ve been tired

1. Not Today: The day after the Rangers’ incredible 30-run outing, they were stopped in their tracks by the Mariners. Seattle, who leads the wild card and is one game back of the Angels, beat the Rangers 9-4. Ichiro had three hits and three RBIs, and Jose Guillen and Jose Vidro both homered in the victory. Jeff Weaver improved to 4-0 this month with another solid outing. Besides Brad Wilkerson (4-4, HR), the Rangers couldn’t get too much going offensively. They have the second-worst record in the AL, above only Tampa. The Mariners now have the third-best record in the majors, thanks mainly to a 41-24 mark at home.

2. Welcome Back: In Joel Zumaya’s second appearance since coming off the DL, he cost the Tigers a game. In a game that was scoreless through nine innings, Zumaya allowed three runs in the tenth, giving the Tigers another loss and putting them 2.5 games back in the standings. Both starters pitched brilliantly, with Nate Robertson and Jake Westbrook combining for 16.2 scoreless innings. The Tigers scored one run in the bottom of the tenth but couldn’t mount anything more. Since they had the best record in the majors on July 21, Detroit is 10-22. Now they have only the eighth-best record in the league, and they are five games out of the wild card chase. Unless the Tigers turn it around now, they will be out of the playoffs this season.

3. Padre Power: The San Diego Padres have held on tightly to their wild card lead. After losing the first game in New York, they won the last two, with their offense as the key component. San Diego won 9-8 on Thursday, in a game where two All Star closers both blew saves. Both Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner gave up runs in the ninth, then the Padres won in the tenth off Adrian Gonzalez’s homer. The Mets stole five bases in this one, including Jose Reyes’ 68th, but still lost. The Padres had 15 hits, including five players with multi-hit games. They still trail the nearly unstoppable Diamondbacks by three games, but it doesn’t matter as they have extended their wild card lead to two games. The Mets’ two straight losses have not affected their division lead, as both the Braves and Phillies have gone on losing streaks of their own.

Player of the Day: Mike Piazza, A’s: 4-5, HR, 5 RBIs in a 12-2 win over the Devil Rays. The A’s have won five straight and are one game above .500.

MLB General

The Full Count: Baltimore Beatdown

1. Power Rangers: In perhaps the most amazing accomplishment so far this season, the Texas Rangers beat the Orioles 30-3 on Wednesday. That set a record for the most runs any major league team has scored in a game since 1900. Incredibly, the Rangers only scored in four different innings, but in those innings they scored 5, 9, 10, and 6 runs. They were leading 14-3 going into the eighth, then put up sixteen runs their last two innings. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vasquez each had two homers and seven RBIs. David Murphy had five runs and a team-high five of the Rangers’ 29 hits. All nine Rangers in the starting lineup had a multi-hit game. On the Orioles’ side of things, their four pitchers who appeared each allowed at least six runs. Their staff ERA for the season increased from 4.39 to 4.60 in one game. Meanwhile, the Rangers passed five teams on the runs scored list, now ranking ninth in the league in that category. Then in game two of a doubleheader, Texas scored nine more runs to set the American League record for most runs in a doubleheader with 39. Also, their 30 RBIs set a major league record, and their 29 hits were the most in 15 years. In what has been a mostly forgettable season for the Rangers this year, they had one of the more memorable performances of the season by any team.

2. The Streak Ender: If your team has a winning streak going, Jake Peavy will be happy to end it for you. The Mets had won four in a row and seven of their last eight, but Peavy more or less shut them down. He had 11 strikeouts in six innings, allowing two runs as the Padres won 7-5. Peavy, who is 14-5 with a 2.21 ERA, has to be considered the leading Cy Young candidate in the National League. His performance on Wednesday was his 7th start this season with 10 or more strikeouts. He leads the National League in that category 186. There is bad news for the Padres rotation though. Chris Young, who leads the league in ERA, has a hurt back and could go onto the DL again. That would be poor timing, considering San Diego is trying to hold on to a slim wild card lead.

3. Getting started in August: Albert Pujols and the Cardinals had both performed well below expectations this season until recently. Pujols had a great July, but has really turned it on this past week. He homered in his fifth straight game on Wednesday, giving him seven long balls this month. Wednesday’s homer was his 30th of the season, and his effort put his OPS above 1.000 for the first time all season. As for Pujols’ team, the Cardinals won their 10th game in their last 13. Yadier Molina and Jim Edmonds added homers and Braden Looper had a solid start as the Cards beat the Marlins 6-4. They are only three games back of the division-leading Cubs now.

Player of the Day: The entire Rangers starting lineup: 30 runs, 6 homers, 30 RBIs, 29 hits in a 30-3 win over Baltimore.

MLB General

The Full Count: Braves make a big move wit Teixeira

1. Brave New World: The Atlanta Braves made a deal on Monday that will shake up the entire order in the National League. In the first (and perhaps only) big deal this trading deadline, Atlanta acquired All Star Mark Teixeira from the Rangers. They gave up phenom catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, two minor leaguers, and also got a lefty reliever in return from Texas. With this acquisition, the Braves have put together what is probably the league’s best offense. They already had the fifth-most runs in the NL, and now they have a slugger at what has been their weakest position: first base. Teixeira is hitting .297 this year with 49 RBIs in only 78 games. The Braves’ combined first basemen this year, in 106 games, have only 41 RBIs and a .211 average. With Teixeira hitting likely at cleanup now, the Braves have virtually no holes in their lineup. Unless their bullpen is awful (like it has been lately), then the Braves will be a top challenger for the Wild Card, if not the division title.

2. Hotter than Hot: The Cubs have one of the league’s best records since the All Star break, but the Phillies have been even better recently. They have now won 9 out of 10 after beating Chicago 4-1 on Monday. The Phillies, who lead the National League in runs by a mile, won with pitching. Cole Hamels gave up one run and three hits in eight innings, along with eight strikeouts. The ace improved to 12-5 with a 3.50 ERA on the year. Hamels ranks second in the league in strikeouts behind only Jake Peavy. On offense, Aaron Rowand had another great game, with a homer and three RBIs. Rowand is hitting .418 since the All Star break with a ridiculous 1.242 OPS. The Phillies are now three games behind the Mets in the NL East, and 1.5 ahead of the Braves. But they were the only one of the three teams not to make a deal yesterday (Teixeira to the Braves and Luis Castillo to the Mets).

3. The Worst Team in the League: Sometimes there is a close race for the MLB cellar, but this year the Devil Rays are far and away the league’s worst. They won on Monday, becoming the last team to reach the 40-win plateau this year. They have allowed 662 runs, almost 100 more than the next worst (the Rangers, 568). Opponents have hit nearly .300 against them. Amazingly, their offense is above-average, but their pitching is so bad it doesn’t even matter. Recently they traded for Dan Wheeler to help out their atrocious bullpen, which has a 6.51 ERA this year. Wheeler is a good pitcher, but there’s no way he can turn this awful team around.

Player of the Day: Jordan Tata, Tigers: 7 innings, 2 runs, 5 strikeouts in a 5-2 win over Oakland. There were better pitching performances on Monday, but Tata helped end the Tigers’ four game losing streak in his first major league start.

MLB General

The Full Count: Barry inching closer

The crawl to Aaron continues: Barry Bonds hit no. 751 on Tuesday against the Reds, a first inning blast off Aaron Harang into the right-centerfield seats. The Giants lost the game 7-3, and Bonds made sure to backhand his teammates by saying, “I’m playing pretty good for an old guy. I just wish we were playing better as a team.” That’s our Barry, always making nice. What made this game interesting was that it was the first time in over 30 years in which two players with that many homeruns played in the same game. Bonds (751) and Ken Griffey Jr’s (585) 1,336 homers are the third-most all-time between two players in the same game.

The players might have liked you, but I think you suck. We believe those were the words Rockies’ manager Clint Hurdle used when taking the closer’s job away from Brian Fuentes. Fuentes had already sewn up his third straight selection to the NL All-Star team before blowing four consecutive save opportunities, the first time anyone has done that in almost 20 years. Fuentes was one of the best closers in the league before melting in games against the Blue Jays, Cubs and Astros, with his ERA jumping from 1.89 to 4.17. He probably won’t lose the job permanantely, but Hurdle now plans on using the dreaded “bullpen by committee” approach.

Rookie what we have here Although his name may sound more like a NASCAR driver than a baseball player, Houston rookie Hunter Pence has been tearing it up for the Astros. Pence has been doing it all for Houston, including hitting a walk-off homerun for a 5-4 victory over the Phillies last night. It was the third time during their homestand that an Astro has sent ’em home happy with a game-winning homer. Since being called up on April 28th, the Fort Worth, TX product has hit 10 homeruns with 39 RBI while leading the Astros with a .345 batting average. He’s even outslugging Carlos Lee .590 to .517. He’s also playing a remarkable centerfield, as evidenced by his ridiculous catch off a Ryan Howard shot in the eigth inning. Pence climbed that stupid Tal’s Hill and caught the ball right next to the waiting-to-kill-somebody flagpole, 436 feet from home.

Player of the day: Brad Wilkerson, Rangers. 3-4, 3 HR, 6 RBI in an 8-3 win over the Angels.

Honorable Mention Player(s) of the day: The Kansas City Royals entire starting lineup. The Royals are a team that has never gotten a lot of respect offensively, but when they beat a team, they beat them like they stole something. For the third time in a month, the Royals put a 17 spot on the board –all in home games– by pounding the Mariners 17-3. 21-year-old Billy Butler led the way, driving in six runs by the second inning. The Royals beat the Phillies 17-5 on June 10th and the Cardinals 17-8 on June 14th. They also lost a 17-3 game to Oakland at home on May 10th.

MLB General

The Full Count: Rangers are offensive

1. Two games, 28 runs: The Rangers’ pitching may never be good enough, but their hitting is always playoff-team caliber. On Monday they scored 14 runs for their second consecutive game as they pounded the Twins 14-4. Catcher Gerald Laird hit a grand slam, Sammy Sosa had three RBIs, and Kenny Lofton had three runs for Texas. Carlos Silva had his worst start of the season for Minnesota, as he gave up seven runs in just 4 innings. Reliever Julio DePaula also allowed seven runs in just one inning. The Rangers are still one of the worst teams in the AL at 18-27, but they now rank fifth in the league in runs scored. Unfortunately for Rangers fans, they’ve allowed more runs than anybody in baseball except the Devil Rays.

2. A-Rod is Back: After a 22-game streak in which he only had 1 homer and 5 RBIs, Alex Rodriguez is back to his April self. He has homered in three straight games, bringing his major-league leading total to 18. This is his third streak this season of three or more consecutive games with a homer. He helped the Yankees beat the Red Sox to start off a crucial series. On the pitching side of things, Chien Ming-Wang outdeuled the suddenly struggling Tim Wakefield. Ming-Wang pitched six innings and recorded a season-high five strikeouts, while Wakefield allowed six runs. The host Yankees won 6-2 to slash Boston’s division lead back to single digits (9.5 games). The 20-23 Yankees still have a lot of work to do to catch up with Boston, who is the only major league team with 30 wins.

3. The Power of the Brewers: Who would have thought Milwaukee would be one of the most powerful teams in the majors this season? They rank second in the majors in homers (behind Texas) and third in slugging percentage. The Brewers also have the two leading NL homerun hitters in JJ Hardy and Prince Fielder, who have 14 apiece. Fielder hit two bombs last night in their 9-5 win over the Dodgers. Just wait until their most powerful hitter from last year, Bill Hall, finds his stroke.

Player of the Day: Noah Lowry, Giants: 7 innings, no runs in a 4-0 win over Houston. Lowry has silently put up a 2.69 ERA, fifth best in the NL.

NHL General

Monday Morning NHL Roundup

Sabres 5, Rangers 4
First, because – in the words of Fiddy – this is “how I do,” here’s a personal anecdote from this game: I had just played a spirited contest of touch football, and after said game, I had returned to the same house at which I imbibed on Cinco De Mayo. We still had a large quantity of beer and some meats to grill, so we got all tossed up on a Sunday afternoon for no reason. The boyfriend of the hostess, an amiable young Rangers fan, kept departing for long stretches of time. Finally, as the event was nearing its conclusion anyway, he came outside to the back – where I was polishing off my fourth Harpoon – and said, “Yo, last 2 minutes. Come check this out.”

Sure enough, the Rangers were down 1 at The Garden – the same place where so much magic has happened, and yet, so much defeat has been wrought – and across the final 2 minutes, they got about 9 looks at Ryan Miller. The problem was, none of the looks was actually legitimate; he stoned them on every ill-conceived shot along the way. However, with about five seconds left – as my friend’s boyfriend screamed “This is it, gentleman! This is your season!” – Miller was sweating profusely, reminding me of Game 7 of the Eastern Finals last year.

Speaking of the Eastern Finals, this year’s edition has a chance to be the series that “saves hockey,” in much the same way that De La Hoya vs. Mayweather was supposed to “save boxing,” or this past weekend’s Nationals vs. Cubs series could have “saved Washington, DC sports.” Uh, scratch that last one. The Senators and Sabres friggin’ hate each other. This series will go seven – mark my words – and there’s a good chance Chris Drury, the Golden Boy of the entire thing, may not make it through unscathed. These two teams had the most epic NHL brawl of the past five years in February of this season, and Lindy Ruff – who is certifiably insane – has delivered so much venom at the Senators in post-game pressers over the years, you’d think a holy war was about to break out. Also, the fact that it’s two cities a geography major might not be able to explain the relevance of makes it even more interesting; it’s literally a battle for redemption, and there’s gonna be a lot of red on that ice.

MLB General

The Full Count: Yankees get much needed sweep

1. Double Trouble: After going 1-8 in a one-and-half week stretch and falling to the bottom of the division, the Yankees cranked out a much-needed sweep of the Texas Rangers. On Thursday, they won both games of a doubleheader, based on the strength of their pitching, believe it or not. In game 1, Andy Pettitte pitched six strong innings and the bullpen held him up in a 4-3 win. In the second contest, Mike Mussina came off the DL with an excellent 5-inning, one-run effort. After a period in which it looked like the Yankees’ pitchers couldn’t stop a Double A offense, now they’re at full strength again with the return of Mussina and Chien Ming-Wang. More good news for them is that they play the Rangers again next week.

2. Cleveland Comeback: The best team in the league is currently the Cleveland Indians, and lately they’ve refused to lose. The Indians have a 10-1 record in their past 11 games, and on Thursday they completed a sweep of the Blue Jays. Toronto had captured a four-run lead early as Troy Glaus hit his fifth homer, but Cleveland stormed back thanks to Victor Martinez and others. Martinez went 4-4 with two RBIs, and Grady Sizemore hit a game-winning double for a 6-5 victory. The Indians still only have a 2 game lead, because Detroit has been hot lately as well.

3. Criticize him now: The most widely panned signing of the offseason was the $10 million-a-year contract the Royals gave to Gil Meche. But so far this year, he’s been worth it. Meche is 3-1 on the league’s worst team, and has an excellent 2.23 ERA. His pitching was good enough to lead the Royals past the first-place Angels as they became the last team in the AL to reach the 10-win mark. Meche pitched 7 innings and allowed just 2 runs, which came on a first-inning homer to the untouchable Vladimir Guerrero. The Royals’ 5-2 victory gave them a 2-2 tie in the four-game series. Meche now ranks first in the AL in innings pitched and third in ERA.

Player of the Day: Manny Ramirez, Red Sox: 2-5, 2 HR (5) including the game-winner, 3 RBIs in an 8-7 win over Seattle.

Stat of the Day: Since his first start of the season, Daisuke Matsuzaka has allowed 22 runs in 31 innings, good for a 6.38 ERA. He got torched for 7 runs against the Mariners on Thursday.