Doc: MLB trade deadline is baseball at its worst – Cincinnati.com
Jay Bruce was in the Reds dugout Sunday, a brutal downer to the hordes of people who get really excited this time of year. Bruce might be traded Monday, he might be traded in December, he might be traded while waiting on a bag of cheeseburgers at the In-N-Out Burger on Camelback Road next March.
Zack Cozart actually started Sundayâs game, perhaps indicating the Reds are stuck with his productive bat and Gold Glove-quality play at shortstop. Bummer.
No worries. That only makes the offseason that much more fun. We can all sit around waiting for the Reds to disintegrate further. When they do â when Bruce is dealt and maybe Cozart and maybe Brandon Phillips (OK, maybe not) — we can collectively gather with our copies of Baseball America, wonking our way through the winter, wondering if Amir Garrett âprojectsââ to the Reds 2017 starting rotation.
Damn, thatâll be great.
Know what else will be fabulous?
Watching Joey Votto hit absolutely everything the rest of this year, then laughing with delight at the notion that maybe, just maybe, heâll finish strongly enough that the Reds might be able to trade him, too!
Arguably the best pure hitter the Reds have ever had, dealt for some highly promising bus riders! The prospect (no pun intended) makes me tingly all over.
The trade deadline free-for-all is better than buy-one, get-one packs of tube socks at Wal-Mart. Even the heathen media loves it!
âThis is why baseballâs trade deadline is the best,ââ wrote Foxâs Ken Rosenthal.
Being a fair-weather Pittsburgh fan, I couldnât get enough of the Pirates dealing Mark Melancon, their all-star closer, on a day when â get this — the Bucs were a mere three games out of the race for the second wildcard spot. Thatâs incredibly exciting.
Might I make a suggestion?
Might I offer a different way of looking at the glorious and thrilling trade deadline?
Itâs Baseball at its worst.
Itâs the game being run by money. Lock, stock and bank vault.
Baseball can pitch its product to the inner cities, it can align with gambling websites to lure a younger crowd. Baseball can mess with its baseballs, so they fly bigger distances, and it can convene to discuss more useless ways to speed itself up.
It can do all this. None of it matters so much as the influence that dollars have on the product. In Baseball, trading good players for bus riders is considered sound business strategy.
In Baseball, trading Bruce, a popular player who has spent his whole career with one team â nine years, 1,220 games — and who currently leads the league in RBI and is having the best year of his life â is seen as smart.
In Baseball, losing isnât just OK. Itâs incentivized. Teams that canât win 90 games would rather win 65 than 75 or 85. Better draft position, more players they can âcontrolââ from a salary standpoint. It doesnât pay to be middle class in Baseball.
So here are the Reds, no worse today than yesterday but certainly heading in the direction of Worse, with no assurance theyâll be better tomorrow. Theyâre so deep into ârebuildingââ, theyâve even been linked to trades involving Anthony DeSclafani. Theyâre talking about trading a near future, for a more distant one. How nuts is that?
How would you feel if the Bengals started this season 4-6 and began shopping Andy Dalton and A.J. Green? They figure they canât make the playoffs, so they might as well deal contracts. Vontaze Burfict, anyone?
And make no mistake. In Baseball, itâs all about contracts. The game is polluted with âservice timeââ and âarbitration eligiblesââ and âwalk years.ââ The Reds will not be better without Bruce or Cozart. Theyâre not better without Johnny Cueto, Todd Frazier et al.
The Reds are just pawns in the kingâs ransom game.
We canât assess blame or award favor for the deals theyâve had to make, in the name of Ball-onomics. Itâs too soon to say the trade for Adam Duvall was brilliant, or the trade for John Lamb, Brandon Finnegan and Cody Reed was dimwitted. Anyone who thinks he can declare Ws and Ls on those deals today, please place my bets at the Bellagio sports book ASAP.
The larger point, mostly ignored, is that trading a satchel of 24-karat diamonds for interest in an unexplored mine is bad business almost everywhere but within Baseball.
But the heck with that. Boot up those computers, kids. Check out the âupsidesââ of those cost-controlled 20-year-olds. Itâs time to wish on stars that might never shine. Baseball at its best.
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