Whether it’s stocks, fantasy baseball, or the real thing, trading can be a dangerous proposition. There’s no guarantee that the deal will work; only time will tell whether your investment pays off or whether you get to sell you blood to make the rent this month.
But, one thing that is certain; where there’s trading there’s bleeding, and nothing draws the sharks like blood in the water. Since we here at Dubsism are at the same time not willing to wait for two years to see who the bleeders are and stuck in the middle of the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” we’ve decided to give the rating of winners and losers a bit of a Swim With The Sharks twist.
Great White Shark: The Texas Rangers
Clearly, The Texas Rangers are going to need a bigger boat. Rangers’ General manager Jon Daniels played the role of Chief Brody to a tee. Not only did Daniels figure out he’s got a team ready to reel in winning now, he set sail to bag the fish he needed to make this team complete. The Rangers have been playing fur seal to the Angels’ Great White for nearly a decade now, but the additions of of ace Cliff Lee, catcher Bengie Molina, infielder Cristian Guzman, and slugger Jorge Cantu make a frankly scary roster when mixed with the likes of Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Elvis Andrus and ironically enough Vladimir Guerrero, who was acquired in the off-season from the Angels.
Not only does this make the Ranges likely to seal up the American League West sometime in August, barring an unforeseen collapse, the Rangers become an honest-to-goodness World Series contender. If that weren’t good enough, the Rangers, who are awash in bankruptcy even managed to get the Nationals and the Marlins to toss in cash in their respective deals. Could this finally be the year where a good-looking Ranger team doesn’t get grilled into oblivion in the broiling Texas summer?
Tiger Shark: San Diego Padres
The Padres have spent eons being the bottom feeder of the NL West, so much so they gained a reputation for eating anything that would come their way; they were so desperate a few years ago they were the only team that showed interest in a clearly-finished Mark Prior. However, even a creature that eats everything occasionally gets a gourmet meal. Gaining the services of both infielder Miguel Tejada and outfielder Ryan Ludwick while not giving away anything useful cement the Padres as a legitimate force come October.
Ludwick’s big bat finally provides some protection for Adrian Gonzalez, while his glove complements a stellar pitching staff. As long as they manage Tejada correctly, meaning they play him at shortstop as long as David Eckstein is on the disabled list. Once Eckstein returns, it will be necessary to platoon him with Jerry Hairston Jr. at shortstop. Otherwise, the Padres run the risk of seeing Tejada’s age and lack of range cost them in the long run.
Bull Shark: New York Yankees
Bull sharks are notorious for conducting the most attacks on humans; the Yankees commit the most atrocities against humanity. The Bronx Bombers were likely the best team in baseball before the trade deadline, however, that didn’t stop them from adding Lance Berkman to shore up the DH slot, Austin Kearns to make them even better against left-handed pitching, and (if he stays healthy) Kerry Wood to add the consistency to the setup role Joba Chamberlain seems completely incapable of doing.
Hammerhead Shark: Philadelphia Phillies
Just looking at a hammerhead, one gets the idea they are completely bereft of the ability to see either forward or backward. With some foresight, they might have seen the combination of Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay could’ve dominated National League lineups. Instead, they must give up a good bullpen guy to get Roy Oswalt.
With some hindsight, they might have seen that Greg Dobbs alone isn’t a good enough insurance policy against injury. In the absence of Ryan Howard, imagine how that line-up would look now had they dealt Jayson Werth for the obligatory bag of magic beans. In other words, they easily could be the bottom-feeder that didn’t find the good meal.
Nurse Shark: Los Angeles Dodgers
Much like a nurse shark is a large fearsome looking creature that actually has the aggression level of Mickey Mouse on valium, the Dodgers looked like a contender until the calendar read August. Honestly (and I can’t believe I’m saying this), it really isn’t general manager Ned Colletti’s fault for once. Coletti is suffering the Malachi Crunch of being pinned in between the ugly divorce of owing junta Frank and Jamie McCourt and the over-priced, under-performing Manny Ramirez who is rapidly becoming the millstone around the neck of this franchise.
In other words, Colletti is trying to do his job, but he is in a swimming race in a shark tank with a bleeding side of beef chained around his neck. Somehow, he has manged to make deals for effective B-list players like Ted Lilly, Scott Podsednik, Ryan Theriot, and Octavio Dotel; the trouble is this team needed a couple of A-listers to make the difference.
Mako Shark: Minnesota Twins
This is a case of a shark that is the fastest in the sea, and a seriously feared predator. Just look at that thing; I shit my pants just uploading that picture. But the problem is the Mako wastes that fearsome nature chasing Charlie the Tuna. This is the perfect analogy for the Twins; a franchise that can grow some seriously scary talent, yet has no idea how to get full value on a trade.
It was no secret that even though the Twins uber-catching prospect Wilson Ramos was never going to do more at Target Field than sell hot dogs to the “ya, you betcha” Minnesota crowd as long as God in a Mask Joe Mauer is a Twin uniform. Sure it was obvious Ramos was the chum to catalyze any deal, but with high-quality bait you expect a high-quality catch.
To be blunt, Ramos should have got the Twins Miss Universe, but Matt Capps is Miss Iowa. Now don’t misunderstand us here, while Iowa may be an acronym for “Individuals Out Watering Animals,” Miss Iowa is a hottie in her own right. But unless she becomes Miss Universe, she’s a decked-out Cadillac Seville in a world of Rolls-Royce Silver Shadows. In other words, Capps is a fully-loaded, brand new Cadillac for which the Twins paid $750,000.
Blacktip Reef Shark: Arizona Diamondbacks
Timid and skittish, the blacktip reef shark seldom poses a danger in the National League West. However, teams wading through Arizona do occassionally run the risk of having their legs mistakenly bitten. However, this timid nature leads some to believe that this shark may be an endangered species when in fact they may have put a screwing to a couple of larger sharks in the Baseball ocean.
Frankly, I’m amazed to hear people who think the Diamondbacks got screwed in the Dan Haren trade. Keep in mind this is a franchise in need of swimming into a gill net and hoping for a better lot in the next life. Just in the deal with Angels alone, they unloaded $30 million in salary while getting four pitchers in return, including Joe Saunders, a not-that-long-ago former All-Star. When you add how they fleeced the White Sux for the perenially shaky Edwin Jackson, the D-backs now boast a farm system stocked with nine of the top 80 picks from last year’s draft.
Remora: San Francisco Giants
Yeah, we know a remora isn’t a shark, but you can’t watch Shark Week without seeing one. If you aren’t familiar, a remora is one of those little fish that just hangs around, cleaning up whatever bits the big sharks leave behind. Lots of other sharks had a major feeding, and the Giants got a few nice bits in relievers Ramon Ramirez and Javier Lopez. Plus, the bit of “addition by subtraction” that happened by shipping Bengie Molina to Texas, thus opening the way Buster Posey to look like a right-handed coming of God In a Mask Joe Mauer could easily move the Giants up the food chain.
The Chum Bucket:
Just as you would expect, this would a a mish-mash of the assorted pieces left over from those who really didn’t figure out what the trade game is all about. For example, the Los Angeles Angels did net a nice catch in Dan Haren, but this team really needed a big bat at a corner infield position/designated hitter position (Adam Dunn, anyone?). When you combine that with the price of the Haren deal, it’s pretty hard to say the Halos helped themselves for the long term. Another team that needed offensive firepower and didn’t get it were the White Sux. Not only they not get Adam Dunn, Lance Berkman shot down the Sux with his no-trade clause. They still can make this worse by engineering one of those Kenny Williams “waiver wire” specials by grabbing Manny Ramirez. Plus, Ken Griffey, Jr. is still out there – oh wait, Williams has already made that mistake before.
Then there’s the teams who added nothing. The Cincinnati Reds find themselves in a neck-in-neck race with the Cardinals, but just couldn’t get that extra horse they need. Roy Oswalt cost too much, Dan Haren pulled out the no-trade clause, and they came up empty looking for bullpen help. In the end, they are pinning their hopes on a couple of senior citizens they have stashed in Triple-A Louisville, Russ Springer and Jason Isringhausen (yeah, I can’t believe they are still alive either!) But at least the Cardinals’ swim in the shark tank came out as a net zero. Sure, Jake Westbrook helps the rotation, but giving up Ryan Ludwick when the Cards were already offensively challenged… this team better plan on winning a lot of 2-1 games. The Mets literally did nothing, Jarrod Saltalamacchia likely can’t replace the injured Kevin Youkilis (except as a Scrabble word) for the Red Sox, much like Jhonny Peralta won’t come close to replacing Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen for the increasingly toothless Tigers.
The Idiot Who Gets Bitten Because He’s an Idiot:
Again, this is something that no Shark Week would be complete without. You’ve all seen this guy, usually a fisherman who while trying to retrieve a 40-cent hook somehow forgets that even small sharks have mouths full of razor-sharp teeth that make an exceptionally efficient finger-removal tool. Welcome to the world of the Houston Astros, a team that actually gave the Yankees, a.k.a. the richest team in baseball $4 million to put Lance Berkman in pinstripes.
But worry not sports and shark fans; while Shark Week is just a week, there still the waiver wire deals for which August is notorious. In fact, I hear Adam Dunn may still be available…
As I’ve said before, the month of May was one of moving for me. But now that the boxes are unpacked, the computer is rebooted, and I’ve found a reputable electro-shock therapist, it is time to get back to the keyboard.
The Umpires Strike Back
First, there is the obvious; Wednesday night’s unfortunate prison-raping of Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga. In case you’ve been living in a cave for the last 48 hours, Galarraga had a perfect game going until this happened.
But, from every cloud comes a silver lining. Sure, thanks to umpire Jim Joyce, Galarraga had his place in the record books traded for the never-never-land of being the answer to a trivia question (Harvey Haddix, anyone?), but this also allows us to see the power of the interwebz in action.
Once again, the good people at Deadspin have captured the dynamism of the Web, specifically by watching the evolution of Jim Joyce’s Wikipedia entry. But what I never knew is somehow making a mistake and owning up to it makes you gay. I guess I’m just too much of an “old-school” guy to understand this new sexuality.
But this is not the only case of umpires garnering headlines lately. Take umpire-turned-country-singer-turned-douche-first-class Joe West for example. Last week, during a White Sux-Indians getaway day affair, where West decided to help speed things along by calling White Sux pitcher Mark Buehrle for two questionable-at-best balks in the first three innings. Naturally, the first one allowed Chicago psychopath manager Ozzie Guillen an opportunity to visit the showers early, while the second did the same for Buehrle.
Normally, I am not a fan of anything that gets a fatbag idiot like West any attention; but since it got him called a few choice names in a way only Guillen can do, and since it screwed the White Sux, frankly I’m fine with it.
While Ken Griffey, Jr. is a lock for Cooperstown, one can only wonder how lofty his career number might be had I never drafted him on my fantasy baseball team. You have to understand, I was the king of the “Curse;” all of your twaddle of Bambinos and Billy Goats means nothing to me.
See, back in my fantasy baseball days, I was legendarily cursed. The first time Alex Rodriguez went on the disabled list, guess who had him? Flash the clock back to Griffey’s first year in the National League. I drafted him just in time to watch him shred a hamstring rounding third in one of the last spring tune-ups. Of course, this lead to what seemed like a never-ending parade of seasons filled with injury upon injury, all with Junior lodged on my roster.
To cut my moaning a bit shorter, suffice it to say Junior’s 630 career homers and the fact his name escaped the steroid scandals guarantee his induction into Cooperstown in five years. But what would those career number have looked like had I not cost him five years?
Sorry about that, Junior.