I’m guessing Mike Lupica doesn’t write his own headlines, but he probably has the power to change them if they’re stupid. And the headline above today’s Lupica column in the Daily News is stupid:
New York Yankees face first showdown with Joe Torre, the greatest
manager Big Apple has ever seen
This wouldn’t be accurate even if they limited it to the Yankees, but the fact that they include all of New York makes it even more preposterous. I mean, without even getting to the hard cases you have to put John McGraw, Joe McCarthy, and Casey Stengel ahead of Torre. I don’t know enough about Miller Huggins to be sure, but I’m guessing he has an argument. Leo Durocher is likely ahead of Torre as well, though I’ll accept arguments to the contrary.
Some of the closer calls could go either way: Billy Martin has an argument, though maybe not a great one based on New York time only. Walter Alston is the same deal inasmuch as he was more famous for his work while in L.A. (but he did win a ring in Brooklyn). Bill Terry won three pennants for the Giants, though that was really with the remnants of McGraw’s teams. Torre likely has all of them beat, but it’s not an assertion that is unassailable.
I like Torre, don’t get me wrong. But if he’s the greatest manager in New York history, Mike Lupica is a Pullitzer Prize winner and Nobel Laureate.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.