Three-team deal sending Granderson to Yanks reaches impasse

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So, it was the Bombers. is reporting that the Yankees, Tigers and Diamondbacks have discussed a three-team deal involving Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson, but that talks are at an impasse.
It’s the same sort of scenario we discussed earlier here. The Tigers would send Granderson to the Yankees and Jackson to the Diamondbacks in return for Scherzer from Arizona. Of course, several more pieces would have to change hands as well.
But what pieces? Austin Jackson to Detroit remains an obvious option. The Tigers should be satisfied with a Scherzer/A-Jax return for their two big pieces. But Arizona would have to get something substantial to even up the deal on their end. The Yankees shouldn’t be interested in giving up Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain or Jesus Montero, but just about anyone else in the farm system could be up for grabs in such a scenario.
But I’m still not sure it works. It’s a big downgrade from the top four pieces to any of the Yankees’ other prospects, and I’m not sure any one or two of them would make up for the difference in the values of Scherzer and Jackson. Plus, it only makes sense for the Diamondbacks to give up Scherzer for Jackson if they intend to make a run in 2010. That would seem to make getting Hughes or Chamberlain a must. Could the Diamondbacks throw in a youngster or two themselves in order land Chamberlain? I think it’s doubtful, but it doesn’t sound like talks are dead yet.
According to the report, the Diamondbacks have been the driving force here. If they really want to do something involving Scherzer and Jackson, they should eventually find a third team to make it work. The Cubs and Angels also desire Curtis Granderson, and the Red Sox never let a three-team scenario pass them by without seeing if they can stick their noses in somehow. We’ll be hearing more about this one.
Update – And as I was writing, we were hearing more. has gone on to report that, besides the three major pieces, the Diamondbacks would have gotten Ian Kennedy from the Yankees, the Yankees would have gotten prospects from Arizona and the Tigers would have received Austin Jackson, Phil Coke and Michael Dunn from the Yankees.
This pretty clearly doesn’t work for Arizona. Kennedy’s lost much of his value over the two years, and while he’s still intriguing as a fourth or fifth starter, he doesn’t make up for the difference between Edwin and Scherzer. Oddly enough, tjhough, the Ken Rosenthal/Jon Paul Morosi report indicates that it is one of the other two teams that has rejected the deal.

Which teams improved and declined the most in 2015?

Joe Maddon
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I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.

First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:

+24 Cubs
+21 Rangers
+16 Astros
+15 Diamondbacks
+13 Twins
+11 Mets
+10 Blue Jays
+10 Cardinals
+10 Pirates

The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, eight made the playoffs. Only the Twins improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.

Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:

-20 Athletics
-16 Tigers
-15 Orioles
-14 Brewers
-13 Nationals
-13 Angels
-12 Braves
-12 Reds
-11 Mariners

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.

MLB games were six minutes shorter this year

Pitch Clock
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According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.

The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.

Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.

It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.