The Braves were "thrilled" to do the Vazquez deal

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Maybe it’s not how they drew it up, but Mark Bowman* of MLB.com reports that the Braves were getting very little interest in Vazquez outside of the Yankees as no one outside of his no-trade clause (i.e. the NL and AL West) was willing to pay $10M+ for a pitcher while giving up any talent in exchange. Sure, maybe the Braves could have eaten some salary, but if they were going to do that they would have done so with Lowe.  Like it or not, the team has a budget.

So as it stands, Bowman reports, “the Braves were thrilled when the Yankees were interested enough in
Vazquez to highlight this five-player trade with the inclusion of
Arodys Vizcaino . . .”

I’ll admit that my biggest problem with handicapping deals is that I focus too much on whether the players/money that comes back is useful for the receiving team and not enough on whether the deal is, you know, fair. Cabrera, Vizcaino and the cash are useful for the Braves. They’re not equal in value to Vazquez.

But at the same time, many people who focus on how uneven this or any other trade is often fail to acknowledge that this isn’t the stock market and there aren’t always optimal, equitable deals to be had.  Sure, sometimes maybe you do no deal before doing a bad one, but it’s probably worth remembering that the business of trading and signing players is closer to an art than a science.

*Bowman notes in his post that he spent part of yesterday driving on “the twists and turns on West Virginia’s mountainous turnpike.”  As a proud product of Exit 48 I envy him. There isn’t a better road to haul ass on east of the Mississippi than the stretch between Charleston and Beckley. 

Sean Manaea pitches the 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.