The Padres make a mildly baffling trade

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This isn’t the sort of trade that’s going to alter the balance of power or anything, but it does have some gawk-appeal:

The San Diego Padres acquired infielder Oscar Salazar from the
Baltimore Orioles for right-handed pitcher Cla Meredith on Sunday.

The trade became more urgent for San Diego after utilityman Edgar
Gonzalez was hit in the head with a pitch on Saturday night and
remained hospitalized Sunday. San Diego is expected to place Gonzalez
on the DL. The brother of All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Edgar
was still complaining of dizziness, ringing in his ears and a partial
loss of hearing a day after the frightening beaning.

Not to take a thing away from the Edgar Gonzalez situation — beanings
are serious business — but I’m not sure what was so “urgent” about
this deal. The Padres aren’t going anywhere this year, and unless
they’ve made the organizational decision to go to a zone defense, they
have a second baseman somewhere in the system who can serve as a
utilityman in Gonzalez’s absence.

What they or any other team don’t have a lot of, however, are 26 year-old groundball machines, as The Hardball Times’ Evan Brunell puts it. No, Meredith ain’t the second coming of Dan Quisenberry or anything, but he does represent something
of value in the game of baseball. The kind of which can and should
bring more than a journeyman infielder like Oscar Salazar around the
trade deadline.

Can anyone give me one good reason why Kevin Towers couldn’t fill
Gonzalez’s hole with an organizational soldier for a week while seeing
if he couldn’t drum up a little bit more for a decent reliever than
Oscar Salazar? Can’t anyone point to a team a little more desperate to
obtain him than the 40-50 Baltimore Orioles? Maybe this is just a
little thing, but when you’re a team like the Padres, the little things
add up.

Alex Rodriguez credits Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein with Cubs’ turnaround

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13:  Tom Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs, celebrates after the Chicago Cubs defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in game four of the National League Division Series to win the NLDS 3-1 at Wrigley Field on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Cubs defeat the St. Louis Cardinals with a score of 6 to 4.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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It isn’t difficult to see the fingerprints left by Cubs’ president Tom Ricketts and general manager Theo Epstein on the club’s remarkable 2016 season. In a piece for, former Yankee Alex Rodriguez highlighted the duo’s effectiveness in liberating the Cubs from a five-year losing streak and six-year postseason drought, citing both the unrelenting work ethic and passion that Ricketts and Epstein brought to the club as major factors in their success.

Rodriguez’s first brush with sabermetric savant and all-around baseball wizard Theo Epstein came in 2003, when the then- 27-year-old All-Star was eyeing a deal with the Red Sox. The Major League Baseball Players Association eventually nixed the trade, and the Rangers’ young shortstop was sent to the Yankees shortly thereafter, but not before Rodriguez glimpsed the inner workings of Epstein’s mind.

What I remember best about that time was watching Theo furiously scribbling out the Red Sox lineup for the upcoming season on a room-service napkin. That’s when I saw Theo’s baseball mind at work. I saw he had a passion for the game, a depth of knowledge, and a thirst to be great. Theo’s passion was contagious. We were three 20-somethings convinced we were about to turn baseball upside down together. Though I never got a chance to work with Theo, I knew then that he was going to be a force.

A-Rod also referenced Ricketts’ thorough approach to rebuilding the organization. Ricketts, who purchased the franchise for $875 million in 2009, first made it his mission to transform Wrigley Field into a comfortable and enticing playing environment, then targeted top-tier management to run the show behind the scenes. With Ricketts fully backing Epstein’s transformative approaches — including an overhaul of the Cubs’ farm system, investments in international player development, and a comprehensive understanding and practical application of sabermetric advances — the Cubs’ path to a 97-win season in 2015 seemed a natural consequence of the pair’s hard work.

This year, the attention has been even more intensely focused on the Cubs’ elusive third World Series title. Rodriguez, however, believes that winning a championship is secondary to the strides Ricketts and Epstein have taken with the club.

Together, Ricketts and Epstein have built one of the greatest franchises in baseball and transformed 1060 W. Addison St. It’s a task that no one could quite get right for a hundred years. While four more wins would put a giant exclamation point on five years of focused work and determination, I won’t worry if this team doesn’t win the World Series in the next nine days.

Mets expected to pick up 2017 option for Jose Reyes

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22:  Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets celebrates after hitting a game tying two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies Citi Field on September 22, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports that the Mets are expected to pick up the 2017 option for Reyes, but they haven’t done it yet. The option will be worth the major league minimum salary ($507,500), as the Rockies will continue to pay down the remainder of Reyes’ $41 million remaining on his contract.

The Mets signed Reyes after the Rockies released him in June. He had a .659 OPS in Colorado but improved to a .769 OPS in 279 plate appearances with the Mets, mostly playing third base in place of the injured David Wright. Bringing Reyes back next season will provide them more insurance at the hot corner.

Reyes, 33, served a 51-game suspension due to an offseason domestic violence incident while on vacation in Hawaii with his wife. As a result, he didn’t make his season debut until July 5, having spent some additional time in the minor leagues to get into game shape.