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

Arizona Cardinals

Antrel Rolle says Sean Taylor’s death was deliberate

Sean Taylor’s body didn’t even have time to get cold before people started speculating about the circumstances surrounding the home intrusion and eventual murder of the rising NFL star. And a lot of the assumptions the mainstream media outlets were distributing tended to be rather harsh, basing their claims on his Hurricanes heritage and previous run-ins with the law. Well, the presumptions aren’t limited to the media. Despite the police accounts of a botched burglary; one of Taylor’s best friends thinks it was a deliberate hit.

He really didn’t say too much,” Antrel Rolle said, “but I know he was pretty much scared every time he was down in Miami.”

Rolle and Taylor, whose fathers were policemen in Homestead, Fla., started playing football together when they were six years old. They went on to become University of Miami teammates and NFL first-round draft picks. Both wore No. 21, Rolle for the Cardinals, Taylor for the Washington Redskins.

“There was so much surrounding him,” Rolle said. “Everyone was talking about him bad, so he just had to distance himself from everyone and live a life of his own. … Within the last year, I’ve never seen anyone make such a dramatic change.”

Withdrawing from a bad crowd isn’t easy, though, Rolle said.

“They say it was a burglary. It absolutely was not a burglary,” he said. “Down South, where we’re from, there were many people talking to Sean, a lot of jealousy, a lot of angry people.

“Sean, he had a large group of friends, and he no longer hung out with those friends, so you never know where this came from.

Rolle also said that “They’ve been targeting him for three years now,” and that “At least, he has peace now.”

We kind of thought Taylor was getting a bum rap because he was from the U and got slapped with the “hoodlum” label, but if his own long-time friend is calling it a deliberate murder then the media’s hype might be sincere. But Antrel can say what he wants; he’s not supposed to be unbiased. It just seems a bit callous to us that despite the authorities’ contradictory account, news outlets were determined to create a sensational story.


[The Canadian Press]: Cardinals’ Rolle vows to honour childhood friend, says death was no burglary
[Rocky Mountain News]: Rolle: Taylor was targeted

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: Padding the records

1. 759 and 133: Two recently set major league records were furthered in Wednesday’s Braves-Giants game. Bobby Cox, who set the major league record for most ejections with 132 on Tuesday, got tossed again while arguing a balk call on Tim Hudson. Also, ejected in separate incidents were first baseman Ryan Klesko and manager Bruce Bochy of the Giants, both for arguing balls and strikes. There was plenty of other excitement in this one besides the ejections. Barry Bonds hit homerun #759 into the stands in right-center, remarkably close to Hank Aaron’s image along the outfield wall. The crowd at Turner Field reacted mainly with boos, though a few (including me) were applauding with respect if not admiration. As far as the actual game went, the Braves won 6-3, thanks to Hudson’s excellent pitching and a sixth-inning rally. Hudson went eight innings with three runs allowed and two questionable balk calls. He is undefeated since the All Star break, and at 14-5, is among the contenders for the NL Cy Young award. The Braves won took control of this one when they scored four runs in the sixth, as they took advantage of Russ Ortiz’s inability to throw strikes. With the win they improved to 64-56 and moved passed the Phillies into second place in the NL East.

2. Here Come the Cards: Once in last place, the St. Louis Cardinals are now inching closer to the Brewers and Cubs in the NL Central. With four wins in a row (and seven wins their last ten games), the Cards are now just 3.5 game behind the Brewers for the division lead. Their pitching staff, which has taken a beating the majority of the season, is actually the reason for their recent success. Joel Pineiro, acquired from the Red Sox earlier this month, won his second start in a row on Wednesday. Pineiro pitched seven strong innings as St. Louis topped Milwaukee 8-3. Albert Pujols hit his 25th homerun and Scott Rolen went 4-5 to power the offense. Though the Cardinals still have a losing record (57-60), if they continue this success they will be viewed as a serious contender in the NL Central.

3. Nine-run ninth: The Mets scored 5 runs in the first, 5 runs in the ninth, and nothing in between. Their win over the Pirates on Thursday still wasn’t easy. Despite leading 10-4 going into the bottom of the ninth, this game was a close call for New York. The Pirates piled on 4 runs in the bottom of the ninth off Aaron Sele, including a Jason Bay two-run double. The Mets held on for the win when Billy Wagner came in for his 28th save. New York’s ninth inning was fueled by a throwing error by Pirates pitcher Shawn Chacon. After the error they scored four runs off of five straight hits. The win was the third in a row for the Mets, who kept a 3.5 game lead in the division.

Player of the Day: Russell Martin, Dodgers: 2-4, 2 HR (14), 3 RBI in a 6-3 win over Houston.

MLB General

The Full Count: And now back to your regularly scheduled rivalries

1. Another Yankees Starter: The Yankees have started more pitchers this year than any other team in the majors, with 11. Seven of those have been rookies, including Tyler Clippard on Sunday against the Mets. After Clippard’s first three pitches struck out Jose Reyes, it seemed like he would be one of their better pitching experiments this year. And he was. Clippard was efficient in 6 innings, allowing one run, only three hits, and striking out six. He won as the Yankees avoided a sweep in the Subway Series. The Yankees’ offense featured homers from Derek Jeter, A-Rod, and Jorge Posada as they shelled John Maine for five runs. The Yanks are still 10.5 back behind Boston, as the Red Sox took 2 of 3 from the Braves over the weekend.

2. World Series Revenge: The Tigers-Cardinals matchup was a rematch of last year’s World Series, and the result was a complete reversal. The Cards won the series 4-1 last October, but this time around, the Tigers swept struggling St. Louis. Sunday’s 6-3 win for Detroit was highlighted by Justin Verlander’s fourth straight win. Verlander pitched 8 innings, gave up just two runs, and improved to 5-1 on the year. Verlander has quietly been even better than he was last year, with a team-leading 2.68 ERA. Now they are tied with Cleveland atop the AL Central, while St. Louis is in fifth in the NL Central. The Cardinals just cannot find any starting pitching, and their batter have hit a major-league low 20 homers.

3. Interleague Results: The weekend was highlighted by many strong Interleague matchups. Cross-town rivalries included the Yanks-Mets, Cubs-White Sox, Angels-Dodgers, and A’s-Giants. The Cubs took two of three from the White Sox, though the White Sox won 10-6 on Sunday after smashing Carlos Zambrano for seven runs in six innings. The Angels swept the Dodgers by a combined score of 19-4 using some excellent starting pitching. Kelvim Escobar finished the series with an 8-inning shutout performance as the Angels won 4-1. Oakland won the first two games of their series against the Giants, but San Fran won 4-1 on Sunday behind a complete-game outing from Matt Morris. Barry Bonds continued his slump, and he has no homers or RBIs in his last ten games. The next Interleague action will be the second week of June, with some of these same rivalries.

Player of the Day: Mark Teixeira, Rangers: 4-6, 2 HR, 3 RBIs in a 14-1 rout of the Astros. Teixeira has been on fire lately with 6 homers, 20 RBIs, and a .349 average in his last 22 games.

Stat of the Day: Randy Johnson’s 5.2 inning, 10 strikeout game on Sunday was his first career double-digit strikeout game with fewer than 6 innings pitched, according to Elias Sports. Johnson has 28 strikeouts and is 2-0 in his last three starts.

St. Louis Cardinals

Albert Pujols scares the crap out of a ball boy

So, what do you do when Albert Pujols hits a laser shot right at you? Well, if you the ball boy for the St. Louis Cardinals you take a dive into the first row of the stands. Can’t blame the guy for not wanting to get blasted by the ball but he is the ball boy, right? Last time we checked it was his job to catch those things. But, hey, we’re not complaining; it gave us a great clip to chuckle about for hours.


[]: Sometimes you just gotta bail…

St. Louis Cardinals

McGwire’s statue is collecting dust

Back in 1998, Mark McGwire was on top of the world. His newly discovered rippling muscles were smashing balls out of every park in the nation and by the end of the season he had surpassed Roger Maris’ single season record that had stood for nearly 40 years. It was obvious what was going on then but nobody wanted to taint the historic chase for glory.

Now, the Cardinals are left holding the pieces from a steroid scandal that has put McGwire’s legacy in jeopardy. Actually, the Cardinals are left holding a bronze, three-quarters life-sized statue of Big Mac following through on one of those 500 footers. Currently the statue is being held from public view in a Missouri warehouse.

There is room for the statue outside Busch Stadium where other franchise greats now reside but Cardinals president Mark Lamping says that McGwire’s statue can’t join the others until he gets elected into the hall of fame.

It really isn’t something we need to even worry about at this point because his number is not retired,” Lamping said. “If you look at the past and use that as your guide, retiring a jersey would be the guide.

Well, if that’s the criteria then you might as well start melting that bad boy down and make some company Christmas gifts with it because McGwire pretty much locked himself out of the Hall after he made a fool of himself in front of the House Government Reform Committee.

But, hey, “We’re not here to talk about the past…”


[]: McGwire sculpture remains under wraps

Arizona Cardinals

Trick Play Catches Anderson Off Guard

Looks like Richie Anderson is giving George O’Leary a run for his money when it comes to holding down a job. That’s because less than two months since being hired as the Arizona Cardinals wide receivers coach, Anderson was fired by the organization after being arrested on Monday in Phoenix when he fell for the old cop dressed as a ho trick. Anderson was charged with solicitation of prostitution which is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona and could result in up to six months in prison and a $2,500 fine for the 13 year NFL vet.

I gathered a lot of information over the weekend, and I’ve talked with Richie a couple of times,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said Monday night. “I just felt like at this point, it was in the best interest of Richie and the team that we went this direction.

That’s probably a good decision coach. We don’t think you want to be following the Mike Price road to success, now do you?


[The Jets Blog]: The Grass Isn’t Always Greener . . .

MLB General

The Full Count: The Cardinals pull one out

Pujols for MVP?

1. A season-saving homerun?: The Cardinals looked like they were done. They came into yesterday’s game having lost seven in row, and it looked like they were going to end up losers once again. San Diego starter Chris Young had pitched excellently and the Padres got out to a 2-1 lead through seven innings. But no lead is safe when your opponent has Albert Pujols in the lineup. Pujols jacked a three-run homerun in the eighth to lift the Cardinals 4-3. Not only did this win the game, it might have saved the season for the previously reeling Cardinals. Now St. Louis has kept their 1.5 game lead with 5 games left to play. The Padres gave up some ground in the division to the Dodgers.

2. Untouchable: The Houston Astros, who seemed all but out of the playoff hunt a week ago, seemingly decided to start winning. There is no other explanation for their incredible 8 game winning streak. Though the Cardinals finally won, the `Stros kept their streak going yesterday. They defeated the hapless Pirates in 15 innings. Somehow Houston has a knack for playing (and winning) long games like these. They did it again, though even getting to extras was difficult this time around. Houston was down 6-1 after five innings but then rallied back to tie up the game. Brad Ausmus’ sac fly in the 15th sealed the deal. There is a negative consequence to playing all these long games like the Astros have. Their pitching staff has pitched the most innings among every major league team, meaning they might seem more fatigued than some of the other teams as Houston heads down the stretch.

3. Extra! Extra!: The Houston game wasn’t the only extra-inning game involving playoff contenders yesterday. The Phillies and Nationals couldn’t decide their game after nine innings either. They ended up going a whopping 14 innings, and Philly ended up winning. The Wild Card contenders won 8-7 as their offense looked excellent. Jimmy Rollins, perhaps the most underrated shortstop in baseball, went 3-8 with 4 RBIs, including the game winner. Chase Utley hit a homerun early on, and leads all second basemen with 32 homers and 102 RBIs on the year. The Phils currently stand one game behind the Wild Card-leading Dodgers.

4. Central Supremacy: The race for the Central between the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins is the only important thing going on in the AL. Detroit was one game back heading into Wednesday, and they remain that way after both teams lost yesterday. The Tigers lost to the Blue Jays 7-4 in a game that featured seven combined homers by both teams. Meanwhile, the Twins fell to the pitiful Royals, who barely avoided their 100th loss of the season. The second and third best teams in baseball by record won’t play each other the rest of the season. The Tigers have one game left against the Blue Jays and a three-game set with the Royals. The Twins will face the Royals again and then the White Sox for three. And all of this, by the way, is just a race to see who will play the Yankees (wild card winner) or the A’s (division winner).

5. Bonds will be back: To the surprise of few, Barry Bonds announced that he’ll play in the 2007 season. Bonds has hit 26 homeruns this season to move him within 21 of Hank Aaron’s prestigious record. He should break that record next year if he could avoid a major injury. The big question is which team Bonds will play for. Of course right now Bonds is acting like he’ll stay with the Giants, but everyone thinks that he’ll end up as a DH for an American League team, likely the A’s or Angels.

MLB General

The Full Count: sneaky Giants in postseason chase

1. A Giant comeback: The San Francisco Giants have sat toward the back of the NL West division throughout most of this season. However, via a recent winning streak they’ve snuck up on the class of the division, the Padres and Dodgers. After beating the Rockies 10-6 yesterday for their 7th win in 10 games, the Giants are just 3 games back of the leading Dodgers and 1.5 games out from the Wild Card-leading Padres. Yesterday Pedro Feliz drove in three RBIs in the win, giving him a team-leading 91. Despite being a quiet team throughout most of the year, the Giants have a serious shot at the postseason.

2. The Greatest Show on Grass: The St. Louis Cardinals appear to have the division title wrapped up once again. They’ve won two straight games and lead the pretending Reds by just five games, but they are the vastly superior team. Their record is 77-67 after winning last night, while the Reds are stuck at 72-72. The Cards slipped away with a late win due to the usual suspect: Albert Pujols. He hit a two-run double in the ninth that provided the difference in their 6-5 win over the Astros. Pujols, who has 45 homers and 120 RBIs, has a good shot at his second straight MVP award. However, our vote would still go to Ryan Howard of the Phillies, who was rained out again yesterday but leads Pujols in most categories.

3. West vs. Central: The “Big Three” AL Central teams are currently in battle with the three top teams from the AL West. The Tigers are taking on the Rangers, the Twins are playing the A’s, and the White Sox are facing the Angels. Yesterday, the Tigers, Twins, and Angels won among those three series. Detroit snapped a losing streak with a 3-2 win, with each of their runs coming off a solo homer. Kenny Rogers earned the win in that one. Meanwhile, the Twins beat the A’s 7-5 to win their fifth straight. Justin Morneau improved his average to .324 while hitting two RBIs (120). The Sox lost, however, by a 4-3 margin to LA. Chone Figgins drove in a run off Bobby Jenks in the 11th to win that one.

4. Over after the first: The Yankees displayed all their offensive power as early as the first inning in yesterday’s home game against the Devil Rays. They scored 9 runs in the first, including a remarkable 6 driven in by Bobby Abreu. Abreu hit a three-run homer his first time up and followed that up with a three-run double. His 6 RBIs in one inning tied him for the second-most in the last 30 years. Only Fernando Tatis, who hit two grand slams in one inning on April 23, 1999, has ever had more. Abreu is hitting .346 with 31 RBIs as a Yankee and has a .298 overall average. Mike Mussina pitched well for the Yanks and improved to 14-6 on the year. New York rolled 12-4 and has reopened their double digit lead over the Red Sox.

5. 14 and done: This has been a forgone conclusion for a while now, but at least now it’s official. The Braves are out of the running in the NL East, and they won’t win their 15th straight division title. Yesterday the Mets edged the Marlins, and even though the Braves were off that sealed the deal for Atlanta. The Mets, who are 89-55 and so much better than the Braves in every way, have done what they haven’t been able to do for 15 years. They even made the World Series in 2000, but they’ve hadn’t beaten the Braves since the Internet Age began. Now they have. They lead Atlanta by 19.5, and the Braves’ Wild Card hopes are all but over as they are 5 out with six teams ahead of them. RIP, Braves dynasty.