Today we hit on a couple topics of interest, at least of interest to your loyal scribe.
- Something that was on my mind…
My friend Justin sent me this link, and it seemed very fitting.
It was extremely annoying to watch the Astros in the odd-wad 2020 season flailing away like me playing golf. Yes, they cheated (as I believe others cheated) in 2017 and part of 2018. But I also knew this was a very talented team that I did not believe needed to cheat to perform well. They had been an outstanding offensive team, and all of a sudden, they stunk, so the obvious thought was that the cheating was the only reason they had gone from a top O in 2019 to below average in 2020.
The return of a top tier offense in 2021 with basically the same players might help put a lie to the thought that the team was bad except for cheating.
So, why did the Astros fall so badly in 2020?
- Yes, for some of the players, especially Jose Altuve, they were trying too hard to show that “IT” was not the reason they were top tier hitters. Jose was swinging like George Springer on steroids (and no, I don’t think George was ever roided up).
- At least between 2019 and 2020, they lost a huge part of their offense in Yordan Alvarez. In 2019, when Alvarez was called up just short of mid-season and was ROY, the team’s offense turned up a big notch scoring about a run more per game with Yordan than without him. They missed him big time in 2020.
- A number of the players, including Yuli Gurriel, seemed to come back for the delayed start of the season, ill-prepared and out of shape.
- The pandemic seemed to lay heavy on the players, especially those like Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Gurriel, who had so many loved ones in other countries, with sicknesses and even deaths. Baseball is a game. It is not life and death even for those who make a living at it.
2. Potential trades – Recently, mlbtraderumors.com put out a list of top potential players who could be trade candidates. Top 40 MLB Trade Candidates: Early June Edition – MLB Trade Rumors
A couple of these caught my eye due to their current low salary, plus the need they would fill.
Mitch Haniger is only making $3 MM and would be a Free Agent after 2022, and after a down 2019 and missing 2020, he is off to a very solid start to 2021 with a .262 BA/ .841 OPS, 37 runs/ 14 HRs/ 37 RBIs.
Plus side – He is an outfielder who has played some center field in the past and has been a solid player for most of his career, and boy, the Astros could use an OF boost. He also fits into the budget for 2021.
Minus side – He is in the division, and the Mariners are still in the race though they may not be a month or so from now.
Would you trade a couple pitching prospects for Haniger?
As they point out in the article, Richard Rodriguez is an extremely anonymous closer playing for an extremely anonymous team, the Pirates. After good years the last four years, he has kicked it up a notch this season with 3-1, 1.54 ERA, 0.600 WHIP and 7 saves.
Plus side – He is only making $1.7 MM this year and is under control for two more seasons. He would bring instant help to the shakiest part of the club, the bullpen.
Minus side – Even as a closer, might he melt under being a leveraged reliever for a contending team?
Would you trade 2 or 3 prospects for Rodriguez?
Anyways, there you go – a couple topics to chew on today.