Holliday for Wallace makes perfect sense

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The Cardinals thought their offense was set when they acquired Mark
DeRosa from the Indians, but DeRosa injured his wrist and neither Chris
Duncan nor Rick Ankiel proved able to shake lingering injuries that
have left them unable to contribute offensively. Now the team has to
decide whether it’s worth mortgaging even more of the future to bring
in Matt Holliday from the Athletics.

The only return that makes sense for the A’s is 2008 first-round
pick Brett Wallace, a player Oakland passed over with the 12th
selection last year. They chose Jemile Weeks, Rickie’s younger brother,
instead, leaving Wallace for the Cardinals at No. 13.

The Wallace selection for St. Louis seemed awfully similar to
Milwaukee’s pick of Matt LaPorta the previous season. Even if the
player wasn’t a great fit for the team, picking the potent college bat
provided a great piece of trade bait. LaPorta, of course, was sent to
Cleveland for CC Sabathia last year. Now Wallace could go for another
superstar in his walk year.

The big factor that all of the teams are weighing these days is
draft picks. The Cardinals wouldn’t be desperate enough to give up six
years of Wallace for 2 1/2 months of Holliday straight up. But Wallace
for Holliday and two high draft picks? That’s likely worth doing.
Similarly, the A’s can’t settle for a prospect less than Wallace. Even
if they won’t have anything to play for in August and September, they
value the picks greatly.

Wallace is made expendable in St. Louis because of his glove. Most
projected him to move off third base in the pros, and while he’s still
playing the hot corner at the moment, he doesn’t have many convinced
that he’ll last at the position. Fortunately, he should possess the bat
to carry first. His .298/.351/.431 line in 61 games since being moved
up to Triple-A is hardly awe-inspiring, but it’s pretty good for
someone in his first pro season. He projects as a legitimate .300
hitter with 20-25 homer ability.

Holliday’s addition would give the Cardinals one of the game’s best lineups:

2B Skip Schumaker
3B Mark DeRosa
1B Albert Pujols
LF Matt Holliday
RF Ryan Ludwick
C Yadier Molina
CF Colby Rasmus
P
SS Brendan Ryan

The idea of using Troy Glaus as an outfielder would die, but he
probably wasn’t going to be an option as a regular anyway. He could be
the game’s scariest pinch-hitter come playoff time and maybe an
occasional option at third. Rick Ankiel, Khalil Greene and Julio Lugo
can join him on the game’s most expensive bench.

Since the price tag for Holliday doesn’t approach what the Jays
would want for Roy Halladay, I think he’s the right pickup for St.
Louis. It’d leave them talent left over to go get a reliever if they
desire, and they might even be able to talk Oakland into kicking in
some cash.

Sean Manaea pitches first no-hitter of 2018

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Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea delivered his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox in a decisive 3-0 victory on Saturday night. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea was nearly flawless, holding the Sox to four total baserunners and striking out 10 of 30 batters faced — a career record.

Manaea was gifted a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth inning. While the Red Sox managed to draw two walks off of Manaea, they didn’t come anywhere close to plating a run. Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning with an infield hit down the first base line, but strayed out of bounds and later saw his hit reversed on a call of batter interference.

Entering the ninth inning, the 26-year-old lefty was sitting at just 95 pitches through eight frames of no-hit ball. He quickly deposed Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts with a groundout and fly out, then walked Benintendi on seven pitches. Any threat the Red Sox might have posed was soon eliminated, however, as Hanley Ramirez ground into a force out to complete the no-hitter.

Manaea is the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter was also against an AL West rival, when the Mariners’ Chris Bosio clinched a 2-0 no-no on April 22, 1993. Manaea’s feat is even more outstanding given how dominant the Red Sox have looked this season: prior to Saturday’s defeat, they boasted a 17-2 record and had yet to be shut out during the regular season.