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A Critical Look At Dustin Pedroia, Alex Cora, And Fair-weather Fans

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There has been a shift in baseball fandom as of late that seems to necessitate that a fan must A.) enjoy baseball for no team besides their own, and B.) only care about the winning percentage, regardless of how it affects the clubhouse.

You can’t spend more than 5 minutes in any fan group on social media without the masses crying for a player to be traded or sent to the minors after what statistically amounts to a few bad outings. Fans tend to forget the players and managers are fallible people and like everyone else, prone to making mistakes. Calling for their hopes and dreams to torn away from them because their batting average hasn’t been at league-high levels or because an injury takes them out of the lineup is both ignorant and asinine.

Let’s take Dustin Pedroia, for example. A Boston player through and through, Pedroia has given what basically amounts to his life to the city and the team, but even that won’t catch him a break as injuries cause his eventual spiral towards retirement.

His case is the perfect example of fan fickleness. Pedroia has put his health on the line for his team, he uprooted his family and, as a 4x All-Star and AL MVP, went back to the minors to improve for his team.

And let’s be clear; dealing with an injury to the knee as 34-year-old second baseman is tough enough without being forced to work from dirty, crowded minor league locker rooms while your family sits awake at night wondering if your dream has come to an end.

But it didn’t, and Pedroia managed to grind his way back on the roster at the expense of Hanley Ramirez, who found himself in the spotlight one moment to out of a job the next, waiting patiently for a team to utilize him.

This is the cutthroat business of baseball. One moment you are on top of the world, your dreams a living facet of your imagination, and the next your back at the bottom, a cog in the minor league industry.

Truth be told, no one catches more flack from fans than rookie Red Sox manager Alex Cora, a man applauded by players across the big show for being a man of the people. Cora took a hard stance at the beginning of the season, determined to be a more “modern” manager who put the needs and health of his players before the game. And so far it has worked out splendidly, as Boston sits third in the MLB power rankings behind Houston and New York, and power hitters like J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts have recovered quickly from any injuries that, under the hand of less mindful leadership, could have ended their season if pushed too far.

At the end of the day, even as a seasoned sports journalist and lifetime fan of the game, I realize that these guys are just that, guys with cool jobs. They are susceptible to emotion, loss, anger, and pressure just like we all are. So lets cut them a little slack and enjoy the game.

Managing games comes second. Managing people comes first.”
John Feinstein, Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life In the Minor Leagues of Baseball


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American League

2019 Trade Deadline Highlights

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In a shocking, last-minute deal, Zack Greinke has a new home (CBS Sports).

This year’s Trade Deadline in the MLB wasn’t as boisterous as previous seasons and might rank as one of the less-exciting ones in history. There was still a good number of high-profile moves, however, and a few big names went on to new homes. Here’s a look at the more notable acquisitions of July 31, 2019 and how they will impact the teams that got the big returns.

Blue Jays trade RHP Marcus Stroman to Mets in exchange for RHP Anthony Kay, RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson

The move that unofficially kicked off trading season was a bit of a head scratcher. It had long been rumored that Toronto was shopping ace Marcus Stroman, but the team he ended up with isn’t exactly a contender. The Mets are currently four games under .500 and may not be vying for the postseason in 2019. The move is likely another part of the Mets rebuilding process, and since Noah Syndergaard stayed put, New York may have a formidable rotation next season.

Indians acquire LHP Scott Moss, OF Yasiel Puig from Reds and OF Franmil Reyes, LHP Logan Allen and IF Victor Nova from Padres, Padres acquire OF Taylor Trammell from Reds, Indians acquire Reds acquire RHP Trevor Bauer from Indians

The literal biggest trade of the day was a this three-team blockbuster. Trevor Bauer firing the ball over the center field wall on Sunday after he was pulled in the fifth inning ended up being the last pitch he threw in an Indians uniform. A day later the Tribe rid itself of his petulance and pulled off a massive trade with intrastate rival Cincinnati as well as San Diego that saw Bauer go to the Reds and Reds top prospect Taylor Tramell go to the Friars. Cleveland received a host of players from both teams, most namely Yasiel Puig, who is ironically also known as a prima donna.

Though Bauer is undeniably talented when he keeps his act together and bolsters the Reds attempts to trend upward, San Diego may have won the trade with Tramell, MLB’s no. 30 overall prospect.

Rays acquire 1B Jesus Aguilar from Brewers in exchange for RHP Jacob Faria

Milwaukee was certainly brewing before the Deadline and made a commendable effort to improve its pitching. GM David Stearns’ most notable move was a straight swap with the Rays that brought back righty Jacob Faria in exchange for power hitting 1B Jesus Aguilar. Aguilar is having a down year but has proven many times that he can be deadly. He gives the Rays the big bat they’ve been seeking in their hunt for a Wild Card berth.

It’s a good move for both sides because it clears Milwaukee’s infield logjam and gives the team another quality starter. Faria never quite broke out in Tampa Bay but a change of scenery always has potential to pay dividends. After having already gotten Jordan Lyles from Pittsburgh on Monday, the Brewers made another move and got Drew Pomeranz from San Fransisco later on Wednesday. Though none of the returns are big name guys, Milwaukee is serious about making another run after coming so close last year.

Cubs acquire OF Nicholas Castellanos from Tigers in exchange for RHP Alex Lange and RHP Paul Richan.

The Cubs made their chances of taking the NL Central back even better with this move. Nicholas Castellanos has been one of the MLB’s more underrated players in recent years, largely because he was on the Tigers after the team’s glory days of the early 2010s ended. Adding him to a lineup that already includes Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras and Javier Baez gives the Cubbies even more firepower, especially given Castellanos success vs. lefty pitchers. It’s also a great move for him personally as he gets to join a contending team at last. The Cubs are vying to appear in the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season, and their chances look pretty good.

Astros acquire RHP Zack Greinke from Diamondbacks in exchange for RHP Corbin Martin, RHP JB Bukauskas, IF Josh Rojas and IF Seth Beer

If Houston was scary good before this trade, they’re terrifyingly good now. The Astros just added Zack Greinke to a rotation that already includes Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole in a last-minute deal that wasn’t announced until after the deadline officially passed. Arizona received a package of four minor leaguers in return as the team is now officially in the rebuilding process.

Like Verlander, Greinke is in the second half of his thirties but has not declined at all and owned a 10-4 record with a 2.90 on a sub-par Diamondbacks team at the time of his departure. The six-time All-Star’s presence gives Houston the best rotation in baseball by far and should get the knees of any upcoming opponent knocking. The MLB said it best on Instagram today, “Facing Houston? You have a problem.”

Notable non-moves:

  • After being heavily rumored as top targets, Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard and Giants LHP Madison Bumgarner are still members of their longtime teams.
  • The Boston Red Sox, whose bullpen has blown 18 saves, made no moves to improve its relief core, to the amazement of the team’s fanbase.
  • The New York Yankees were thought to be Syndergaard’s top suitor, but the team did not acquire any starting pitching to aid Aaron Boone’s struggling rotation.

What was the biggest move of the deadline this year? Be sure to let us know on Twitter @HomeRunDaily.

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American League

Athletics Acquire Tanner Roark

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Tanner Roark

The Oakland Athletics have acquired right hander Tanner Roark from the Cincinnati Reds, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

As part of the deal, outfielder Jamerson Hannah will be heading to Cincinnati, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser, the Reds will pick up $2.1 million of Roark’s remaining salary.

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American League

Astros Acquire Martin Maldonado

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Martin Maldonado

The Houston Astros have acquired veteran catcher Martin Maldonado from the Chicago Cubs, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

As part of the deal, outfielder/second baseman Tony Kemp will be heading to the Cubs, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome.

Maldonado has posted a .217/.285/.349 slash line this season.

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