Trade deadline winners and losers

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So, I’m mostly trade deadlined out after about 90 tweets and writing up all of the finalized deals over at Rotoworld, but I think I have enough left for a winners and losers blog.
I’m focusing strictly on Friday’s action. Looking at the big picture, I’d say the Pirates and Dodgers would also figure into the winners column.
Winners
– Red Sox – The price for Victor Martinez was pretty steep, but it was better to give up Justin Masterson and Nick Hagadone’s potential than Clay Buchholz. Martinez provides outstanding protection for Jason Varitek and Mike Lowell. Also, the Red Sox picked up Casey Kotchman to become the new Doug Mientkiewicz now and likely a key piece in 2010. Now Terry Francona will have to try to figure out how to keep everyone happy.
– Tigers – Detroit has little minor league depth, but the team still managed to acquire Jarrod Washburn without giving up a major piece. I’m skeptical that Luke French will last as a starter, and while Mauricio Robles has a great arm, he also has a lot of hurdles to clear on his path to the majors. Washburn should remain rather effective in Comerica Park, and the Tigers will get a sandwich pick if he leaves as a free agent.
– Marlins – They should have gotten a reliever, too, but they could pick one up next month. Nick Johnson should be a run-scoring machine in front of Hanley Ramirez, and his addition will put Emilio Bonifacio on the bench against righties. Bonifacio has actually been OK against lefties this year, so he can start in left field against them.
– Twins – Minnesota sat back and watched Oakland’s price tag drop with no other suitors for Orlando Cabrera. Sure, Freddy Sanchez might have been a bigger upgrade, but Cabrera came far cheaper.
– Padres – They shed the entire $55 million obligation to Jake Peavy and still got the same kind of package from the White Sox they accepted when they tried to trade a healthy Peavy in May. I’m not sure it makes them winners, but they solved their money problems and they’ll still have Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell next year.
– Edwin Encarnacion – Dusty Baker didn’t appear to be giving up on him, but most everyone else in Cincinnati had. The change of scenery should do him some good, but he needs to take advantage or the bust label could stick.
– Adam LaRoche – Serving as a part-timer for the Red Sox for the next two months might have hurt him as he heads into free agency at season’s end. Now he’ll get to be a regular for a contender. His fantasy owners also qualify as winners.
– Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda – Two left-handers sure to enjoy pitching in Petco Park. Richard will join the rotation now, and both should be there next year.
Losers
– Reds – Scott Rolen is having an All-Star campaign, but I’m not convinced it’s not his last gasp. The Reds will be on the hook for his entire $11.5 million salary next year, and they gave up three nice chips to get him. As long as their odds are for this year, it was the wrong strategy.
– Royals – GM Dayton Moore overpriced Mark Teahen, David DeJesus and Willie Bloomquist. Incredibly, he wants to keep the same pieces in place for 2010.
– Brewers – Claudio Vargas is not the answer. The Brewers needed a starting pitcher, and it looks like they were hurt by their lack of second-tier prospects. They weren’t going to move Mat Gamel and Alcides Escobar and they didn’t have much else to barter with.
– Braves – I wouldn’t want to count on Adam LaRoche being an upgrade over Kotchman, and Kotchman could have been kept in 2010 to serve as the bridge to Freddie Freeman. LaRoche is a free agent, and right now, he’s not a great bet to qualify as a Type B and draw draft-pick compensation.
– Diamondbacks – They could be one of August’s most active teams with Jon Garland and Chris Snyder sure to clear waivers and Doug Davis and Jon Rauch also possibilities. However, they’ve yet to help their chances for 2010 with the Felipe Lopez and Tony Pena trades.

Rob Manfred on robot umps: “In general, I would be a keep-the-human-element-in-the-game guy.”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.

The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?

Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.

The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.

I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.

Report: MLB approves new rule allowing a dugout signal for an intentional walk

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laughs during a ceremony naming the 2016 winners of the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award before Game Four of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.

MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.

Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.

Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: