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

MLB General

The Full Count: Phillies complete greatest comeback in regular season history

Comeback Kings: The Philadelphia Phillies just completed one of the greatest divisional comebacks in baseball history, and they couldn’t be more deserving playoff participants. They made up 7 games on the Mets in a mere 17 games, the largest such comeback of all time. They won the NL East for one reason: they were great at coming back. 48 of their 89 victories this season were come-from-behind. The Mets, meanwhile, were a complete failure down the stretch this season. They lost 12 of their last 17 games, including 6 losses in their last 7 games, all at home. The Marlins pounded them 8-1 in their final game of the season, as Tom Glavine was knocked out after recording only one out. There was never any doubt in the Phillies’ game, a 6-1 victory over the Nationals. Two of their players added personal achievements in the victory, adding to the team achievement of its first playoff appearance since 1993. Jimmy Rollins hit his 20th triple, giving him at least 20 doubles, triples, homers, and steals on the year. He is the fourth player ever to do this, and the second this season along with Curtis Granderson of the Tigers. Also, Ryan Howard added three RBIs, giving him the NL lead for the second straight season. He finished with 136 ribbies along with 47 homers, including seven homers the last ten games of the season as the Phillies made their big run. These achievements do go along with the dubious mark of the all-time strikeout record (199). The Phillies will face the winner of the wild card in the first round of the playoffs.

Playoff before the Playoffs: The 2007 regular season isn’t over yet. There is one game left to be played that will decide the NL Wild Card champion. The Rockies and Padres ended the season exactly tied, forcing the first tiebreaker game in seven years. The Padres should not be in this position, as they led the Rockies by a mile the majority of the season. But Colorado, who was in fourth place two weeks ago, has had an incredible late-season rally with 13 wins in their last 14 games. Their pitching staff, which almost traditionally has been a joke, has been tearing it up during the streak to compliment their powerfully consistent offense. The Padres haven’t been that bad in September (15-13), but they couldn’t win either of their last two games at Milwaukee, which would have sent them to the postseason automatically. The pitching matchup for this game is a mismatch: Jake Peavy vs. Josh Fogg. Peavy, the guaranteed Cy Young winner, was the only pitcher in the majors to have below a 3.00 ERA this season, and he beat that mark by a mile (2.36). Fogg had a great September (3-0, 3.25 ERA), but is average at best. The Rockies do have the advantage of playing at home though, so this game will be interesting.

Players of the Day: Magglio Ordonez, Tigers: 3-4, 2 RBIs, won AL batting title with .363 average, finished second in majors with 139 RBIs.

Carlos Pena, Devil Rays: HR (46). In Pena’s remarkable yet underappreciated season, he finished second in the AL in homers, fourth in RBIs (121), and second in slugging (.627).

MLB General

The Full Count: Big Papi does it again

1. One Man Show: Last year David Ortiz carried the Red Sox to victory in many games. This year this has not been a common occurrence, though he did single-handedly beat the Devil Rays on Wednesday. Big Papi had two homers and five RBIs, driving in all of Boston’s runs in a 5-4 win. His walk off home run in the ninth was the 9th of his career, giving Boston their 89th win. Ortiz arguably should have won the MVP either of the last two years, though this year he isn’t even close. Though he’s hitting a career-best .321, Ortiz’s 31 homers and 104 RBI are not even close to his usual output, nor the totals of the leading candidates. He is having an excellent month so far, and should be a force in the playoffs.

2. The Amazing Angels: The Los Angeles Angels just keep piling on the wins. They’ve already virtually secured a playoff spot with the biggest division lead in baseball (9.5 games). The Angels beat Baltimore 18-5 on Wednesday, scoring double-digit runs for the second straight game against the pitiful Orioles. Garrett Anderson continued his blistering month with a 5-RBI performance. MVP candidate Vladimir Guerrero tacked on four RBIs, giving him 118 on the year in addition to a .327 average. The offense’s excellence gave Kelvim Escobar the win despite a sub-par start from him. Escobar won his 17th game of the season and 100th for his career despite allowing six runs. The 31-year-old is enjoying a career year, with personal bests in wins and ERA. Throughout the year he has provided consistency to a rotation that desperately needed him to succeed. With the win, the Angels kept the second-best record in the majors.

3. Atlanta is out: The Atlanta Braves, a prime contender about a month ago, now find themselves almost without any hope of making the playoffs. With 5 losses in their last 6 games against the Mets, they are 9.5 games back of them in the division. The Braves are five games out of the wild card, with five teams ahead of them. Since August 15 they have gone 10-16, with their offense as a big problem. Though their lineup has produced a few blowout victories over this span, the Braves lost many games in which their opponents only scored 4 or 5 runs. One example is Wednesday’s game against the Mets, when the Braves lost 4-3. John Smoltz had an above-average start, but the bullpen allowed two runs and the offense couldn’t really get anything going. Now all the Braves are playing for is personal pride, because Atlanta won’t see playoff baseball until at least next season.

Player of the Day: Jim Thome, White Sox: 3-4, HR (27, 499 career), 3 RBIs in a 7-4 win over Cleveland. Thome should become the third player to reach the 500-homerun mark this season, though he has received considerably less attention than Frank Thomas and A-Rod when they approached the mark. Perhaps that’s because he plays for the third-worst team in the majors this season.

MLB General

The Full Count: Can the Phillies overcome (being the Phillies)?

1. Wild Card Warriors: The Phillies are playing extremely well and have nearly caught up with the Padres for the wild card lead. After three straight wins, they are only 1.5 games back. They beat the Rockies 6-5 in a comeback victory. Down 5-2 in the seventh after a Matt Holliday homer, the Phillies tied the score off of Pat Burrell’s three-run shot. They won in the 10th inning thanks to Ryan Howard’s RBI double. Howard also hit his 38th homer earlier in the game. The Phillies haven’t gotten any closer to the Mets, who have four straight wins and lead the division by six games. However, they are the hottest team among the wild card contenders, with a 10-5 record their last fifteen games. That gives them a decent shot at making a playoff run.

2. Back to a Draw: The Brewers-Cubs division battle has been back-and-forth recently. After the Brewers took the lead on Sunday, their loss and the Cubs’ win on Monday has tied up the division again. The Cubs routed St. Louis 12-3, giving the Cardinals their fourth loss in a row. Ted Lilly, who is having an excellent season at 15-7 with a 3.85 ERA, picked up the win with a solid start. Chicago’s offense gave him plenty of help, as Aramis Ramirez went 4-5 with two homers and Derrek Lee had three hits and a homer. Meanwhile, the Brewers were crushed 9-0 by the pitiful Pirates. All five Brewers pitchers who appeared allowed a run, while the offense only mustered four hits. This division race, by far the closest in baseball, will be decided by which team can do better against poor opposition. Both teams have a remarkably easy schedule down the stretch.

3. Good News and Bad News: The Tigers had an up-and-down day on Monday. They beat the Blue Jays 5-4 with a four-run rally in the ninth inning. Magglio Ordonez went 4-5 and had the game-winning hit, and Curtis Granderson had two RBIs. On the other hand, they lost Jeremy Bonderman for the season. Bonderman, who had lost 7 of his last 8 decisions, has an elbow injury. It won’t require surgery, but it is severe enough to shut him down the rest of the year. The injury gives a reason for Bonderman’s struggles, as he had an 8.23 ERA his last ten starts after going 10-1 with a 3.53 ERA previously.

Player of the Day: Scott Kazmir, Devil Rays: 7 innings, 5 hits, no runs, 10 strikeouts in a 1-0 win over Boston.

MLB General

The Full Count: Ray of hope

1. Coming out of Nowhere: Possibly the most underreported story of the year has been the random emergence of Devil Rays first baseman Carlos Pena. Despite playing on the league’s worst team, Pena has 37 homers (2nd in the league), 105 RBIs (4th), and a 1.014 OPS (3rd). All of those numbers rank higher than David Ortiz, Justin Morneau, and a host of other All Stars. Pena led the charge for the D-Rays on Wednesday with 2 homers and 7 RBIs in a 17-2 rout of the Orioles. Eight of Tampa’s nine starters had a multi-hit game, and they had 22 hits and 5 homers in all. The real story is Pena, who has 9 homers and 22 RBIs in his last 11 games. The D-Rays have won 8 of those 11 games, but are still the worst team in baseball. Pena’s play would warrant MVP consideration if he played on almost any other team in the majors.

2. The Terrific Tribe: After finishing in a disappointing fourth place last season, the Indians are rolling in first and have already passed their 2006 win total. They completed their second consecutive sweep of the Twins on Wednesday in a 6-2 win. Overall they finished 14-4 against the Twins this year, with four sweeps in six series. Fausto Carmona, who improved to 15-8 with the victory, has been a surprise standout for the Indians. Though his numbers rival CC Sabathia in most major categories (3.27 ERA vs. 3.24), he hasn’t generated nearly as much Cy Young talk. On offense, Travis Hafner has regained his swing with 13 RBIs his last 11 games. Victor Martinez knocked in his 100th RBI of the season and 400th for his career. Over all, the Indians are a whopping seven games ahead of the still-struggling Tigers, who led the division the majority of the season.

3. The Brewers are Back: The Brewers, who were awful in August and fell to third place, now have a chance to capture the division lead. They are only a half game back after winning 4 out of 5, and their upcoming schedule is as easy as it gets. They have multiple series against the worst teams in their division, playing Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Houston over the next two weeks. The Cubs’ schedule is just as easy, as they will not play a winning team the rest of the season. The Brewers just finished up a series with the Astros, which they won 2-1. On Wednesday, they hit five homers in a 14-2 victory. Prince Fielder went deep for the 41st time, which is second in the majors. Rookie of the Year lock Ryan Braun hit his 28th homer. Braun has 78 RBIs and a .334 average in 91 games this year. For Milwaukee, the victory was the 45th at home this year, the most in the NL and third-most in the majors. On the other hand, their road record is awful at 26-42.

Player of the Day: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: 2-3, 2 HR (48), 3 RBIs (134) in a 10-2 win over Seattle. A-Rod continues to pad his numbers and remains the clear MVP favorite. The Yankees now lead the Mariners by three games in the wild card race.

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: 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.

Tampa Bay Rays

Hide your foster daughters, Elijah Dukes is in town

Elijah Dukes, the TB outfielder who last month was accused of threatening to kill his wife on a voicemail is back in the headlines today. Elijah apparently thinks that foster homes are a prime source of teen ass.

According to police, Dukes impregnated a 17-year-old girl who was in the care of his step-grandmother (“So what does that make us? Absolutely nothing.”). Fortunately for Elijah, no crime was committed because because it was consensual sex between a 17 and 22-year-old. He still has that problem of being the baby daddy though. The pregnant teen claims that when she told him about the pregnancy, he threw a bottle of gatorade at her.

Elijah’s mom Phyllis had this to say about the situation:

Every time one of those (whores) lays down with my baby, they end up pregnant. That’s right. And I’m tired of them.

Holy crap! Every time! When it comes to hos, it seems Elijah has supersperm.

[St Petersberg Times]: Former foster teen says she is carrying Dukes’ baby

MLB General

The Full Count: Hey Ducks fans, don’t forget about the Angels

1. Joining the Elite: The Los Angeles Angels have absolutely dominated lately. They’ve quietly become one of the best teams in baseball, and they continued a four-game winning streak on Monday by pounding the Twins 16-3. The Angels had one of the best offensive performances of the year with 23 hits and two innings with five or more runs. Gary Matthews went 4-5 with 5 RBIs and Orlando Cabrera went 4-5 with 4 runs as seven different players had two or more hits. Jered Weaver also had one of his best starts of the year, with seven innings and one run allowed. Meanwhile, the Twins got little offense except for a Torii Hunter homerun, and their pitching was atrocious. Boof Bonser gave up 12 hits and 6 runs, while reliever Jason Miller had one of the worst pitching lines of the season. Miller recorded only one out while allowing 7 hits and 8 runs. The Angels’ rout improved their record to 37-22, tied with the Red Sox for most wins in baseball. With a deep pitching staff and overachieving hitters, this team could be tough to beat come October.

2. No Lou Needed: The Cubs were without manager Lou Piniella, who is serving a four-game suspension for his ridiculous outburst on Saturday against the Braves. However, they didn’t need Lou, as the Cubs cruised past the Brewers 7-2. Alfonso Soriano went 5-5 with a homer and three RBIs. His batting average has gone from .291 to .316 in two days. Jason Marquis pitched well for the first time in four starts. The Brewers, however, continued their recent turn for the worse in the loss. Besides Prince Fielder’s 20th homer of the season, they were unable to do anything on offense. The Cardinals and Cubs have climbed to within six games of the Brewers, who once were dominating the division.

3. The best pitcher you’ve never heard of: Though he plays in the black hole otherwise known as Tampa, James Shields deserves more attention. The breakout stud is 5-0 despite playing for a last-place team, an incredible achievement. Shields is 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA and .202 opponent’s average in his last eight starts, and his success continued against the Royals on Monday. Shields pitched seven-plus innings with four hits, two runs, and one walk allowed. Though Scott Kazmir has struggled and Tampa’s other three starters have been worse than awful, Shields and a resurgent offense give the team some hope.

Player of the Day: Alfonso Soriano, Cubs: 5-5, HR (7), 3 RBIs in a 7-2 win over the Brewers.

MLB General

The Full Count: Smoltz vs Maddux

1. Pitcher’s Duel, Hall of Fame style: It’s not often there’s a pitching matchup features two starters that are future Hall of Famers and former teammates. But that’s what John Smoltz vs. Greg Maddux had to offer, and it lived up to its billing. The game marked Maddux’s return to Turner Field for the first time since leaving the team in 2003. I went to Turner Field to see these two greats face off. One of the more interesting moments occurred during Maddux’s first at-bat. The crowd at Turner Field gave him an enormous standing ovation, then Maddux lined a single off Smoltz. Earlier that inning, Geoff Blum hit a solo homer, which was matched the next inning with an opposite-field shot by Adrian Gonzalez. But Smoltz was never rattled by these errors, as he moved down many of the batters he faced to finish with 7 innings, 2 runs, and 7 strikeouts. Maddux, meanwhile, was his usual, efficient self. He was taken out early after just 72 pitches, but Maddux pitched a great 5.1 innings, only surrendering one run. With the Padres up 2-1 and stud reliever Cla Meredith in, it seemed over for the Braves. However, the Braves reeled off four straight hits, including RBIs by Chipper and Andruw Jones. For Andruw, it turned out to be his second night in a row with a game-winning RBI. That’s because when relievers Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano came in for the Braves, they were utterly unhittable. Gonzalez, with his awkward windup and wicked curveball, quickly ousted the bottom third of the Padres’ order. Soriano, who came in as the closer, struck out 2 using his 96 mph fastball. The Braves won 3-2, with John Smoltz receiving his 198th career win. Another note in this game was Braves leftfielder Willie Harris, who was very speedy on the basepaths and hit the ball well. Overall, this was one of those games that came in with a lot of hype and completely lived up to it.

2. Unlikely Aces: Jason Marquis sucked last year with the Cardinals, as he put up a 6.00+ ERA and was left off the team’s postseason rotation. But this year with the Cubs, he has dominated and won five straight starts. On Wednesday, he gave a complete-game shutout, three-hit effort, good for a 1-0 win over the Pirates. The game’s only run was scored on a leadoff homer by Alfonso Soriano. For the rest of the game, Marquis (5-1 with a 1.70 ERA now) was the story. Elsewhere around baseball, some breakout pitchers emerged. The Devil Rays’ James Shields pitched as well as Marquis–nine innings, three hits and no runs allowed–but his team lost. That’s because opposing pitcher Erik Bedard struck out 10 and shut out the D-Rays, and this game went 0-0 into extra innings. Aubrey Huff of the Orioles hit a game-ending homerun. Also, Gil Meche of the Royals, the most widely panned offseason signing, pitched well enough to lead his team over the first-place A’s.

Player of the Day: It’s too hard to choose among the pitchers, so I’m going with David Ortiz, Red Sox: 4-5, HR (9), 3 RBIs in a 9-3 win over Toronto.

Stat of the Day: Maddux and Smoltz have combined for 533 wins and 5 Cy Youngs in their careers. It’s not the most ever for opposing pitchers in either category, but it’s still impressive.