The trade deadline is long gone, but several players may still be on the move…


The non-waiver trade deadline has passed and it sure was chaotic, but it’s not the end of hot stove season.  Players can be dealt via waivers until the end of August and it seems like there could be serious activity this year.  D.J. laid out his winners and losers of the non-waiver deadline last night and a complete round-up of Saturday’s events can be found here.  Now let’s get better acquainted with some of the players that could be moved in the coming month.

Adam Dunn – 1B – Nationals: The trade deadline came and went Saturday and Dunn was not moved, but the $4 million that he is still owed this season and his status as an impending free agent could allow the Nats to pass him by non-contending teams on the waiver wire.  Dunn, 30, has hit .276 this season with a great .926 OPS and 24 home runs in 367 at-bats.  He was courted by the White Sox, Tigers and Yankees this week and would make sense as an addition to most playoff-worthy lineups.

Jeremy Hermida – OF – Red Sox: Hermida was designated for assignment on Saturday when the Red Sox called up Ryan Kalish, so he’s available now for teams that might have interest.  And Alex Speier of says the Red Sox will continue to shop him even if he clears assignment waivers this week.  The outfielder has posted a poor .205/.257/.348 batting line in 158 at-bats this year for Boston, but he always flashed decent numbers for the Marlins and might do well with a return to the National League.

Kevin Gregg – RP – Blue Jays: The Jays made the entire back end of their bullpen available this week along with Lyle Overbay and Jose Bautista, but they didn’t pull off a single trade.  That doesn’t mean talks are dead.  Gregg, 32, has an ugly 1.39 WHIP and four blown saves in 23 chances this season for Toronto and probably wouldn’t appeal to the non-contending teams that would have first crack at him on the waiver wire.  Playoff-bound clubs, however, might value his closing experience.

Adam LaRoche – 1B – Diamondbacks: Most rumor-breaking reporters thought LaRoche would be dealt this week in Arizona’s fire sale, but he survived and will now have to be passed through waivers if the D’Backs want to move him.  That shouldn’t be a problem given that he’s owed around $1.5 million and will be a free agent this winter.  The 30-year-old has hit 14 homers and collected 64 RBI in 352 at-bats this season and would make sense as a left-handed bench bat on a host of in-contention clubs.

David Aardsma – RP – Mariners: The M’s haven’t done many things right this season and failing to trade Aardsma before Saturday’s deadline represents yet another mistake.  Last-place teams don’t need quality closers and it would have been wise for the Mariners to rid themselves of the $1 million that the right-hander is still owed this year.  Aardsma has converted 18 of 22 saves for Seattle in 2010 while posting a 1.26 WHIP and a 36/16 K/BB ratio over 33.1 innings.  He would look great in a setup role for a team looking toward October.

Kelly Johnson – 2B – Diamondbacks: It may be difficult for the D’Backs to slip Johnson through waivers because middle infielders with pop are hard to find and he has an affordable contract this year, but they’re sure to try it anyway.  He was dangled to interested teams this past week and Arizona management got a few bites.  Through 376 at-bats this season, the 28-year-old second baseman is batting .279 with a strong .868 OPS, 17 home runs and 51 RBI.  The Cardinals could certainly use him, as could the Padres.

Joe Beimel – RP – Rockies: The Rockies are nearing make or break time with their seven-game deficit in the National League West and a 5.5-game deficit in the hunt for the NL Wild Card.  If they decide to be sellers, Beimel may be one of the first players to go.  He was made available this week and every team in the majors can use a quality left-handed reliever.  In 45 appearances this season he has posted a 2.87 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP while holding left-handed batters to a .175/.230/.246 batting line.

Keep it locked on HardballTalk as we continue to track baseball’s best storylines, including movement on the waiver wire.

Playoff Reset: The Cards and Dodgers have their backs against the wall

Clayton Kershaw
Leave a comment

Historically speaking, the Cardinals and Dodgers are the class of the National League. A couple of organizations which have won a ton, have had a lot of classy alpha-types running their respective shows over the years, no shortage of glory, no shortage of history and enough evocative and grand footage in the can to make Ken Burns sepia with envy.

Meanwhile, the Cubs and Mets, while they’ve won some and have some wonderful history too, are far better known for their failures. For dubious achievements and fan bases which have, collectively, spent far more time smacking their own foreheads than high-fiving the guy in the seat next to them. Nevertheless, by the time we go to bed tonight it’s quite possible that the classy organizations with the long resumes of winning baseball will have been eliminated by the sad sacks and that we’re going to be treated to a Mets-Cubs NLCS.

In short: today’s NLDS contests are “the big game” sequences in any late-70s-mid-90s “slobs vs. snobs” comedy movie. Camp Mohawk vs. Camp Northstar. Lane Meyer vs. Roy Stalin skiing the K-12. Thornton Wilder vs. Chas in the diving meet. Once these things are over don’t be surprised to see someone on the Mets or Cubs kissing some girl way out of their league and to be asking yourself, “wait, why are there cheerleaders at a diving meet?”

Of course baseball isn’t as scripted as all of that and William Zabka is, according to IMDb, in pre-production on some Civil War project, so he can’t make it. I have no idea what that’s about. I can only assume he’s playing some stuck-up Confederate General who will lose the big battle to Curtis Armstrong’s Union general in the big battle, after which we cut to credits over some tossed-off Dave Edmunds song he wrote for the soundtrack just for the money.

Which is to say: we have to watch these games to see what happens:

The Game: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs
The Time: 4:37 p.m. ET
The Place: Wrigley Field
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: John Lackey vs. Jason Hammel
The Upshot: Wow, those were a lot of dingers given up by Michael Wacha and his friends last night, huh? The god news is that they’re running Lackey out there this afternoon and Lackey has owned the Cubs of late, going 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA in four starts against them, including his gem in Game 1 on Friday night. The bad news: even a half dozen recent starts aren’t great predictively speaking, and Lackey is on short rest. TBS will show highlights of Lackey pitching on short rest in the 2002 World Series today, but think about what you were doing in 2002 and whether you’d be just as good at it today as then. Hammel has the ball for the Cubs. He has not fared well against the Cardinals this season (5.37 ERA) but the same small sample stuff applies.

Injuries could be a key consideration here, as Addison Russell may be on the shelf for the Cubs following his hamstring tweak in last night’s game. Likewise Yadier Molina left early, apparently having aggravated his thumb injury. Otherwise: wear a helmet if you’re in the Bleachers at Wrigley this afternoon. Balls may be flying out your way.

The Game: Los Angels Dodgers vs. New York Mets
The Time: 8:07 p.m. ET
The Place: Citi Field
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Clayton Kershaw vs. Steven Matz
The Upshot: The Clayton Kershaw Legacy Game. It’s not fair to Kershaw that, after eight years of completely dominating Major League Baseball people will deem him worthy or unworthy of, well, whatever, based on his 10th postseason start, but they will. If he falters today on short rest, with no reliable bullpen to bail him out, people will call him some sort of choke artist. If he dominates he’ll be considered redeemed, though he’s never been a guy in need of redemption. I don’t care much for that game, but it’s inevitable it will be played so let’s just silently roll our eyes and go with it. The Mets may have a bigger question mark on the mound in Steven Matz, who hasn’t pitched in a couple of weeks thanks to a tweak in his back in the last week of the season.

This should feel like a totally different game. The Utley drama has to subside now, especially given that he’s unlikely to get the start against a tough lefty. And that tough lefty is, with all due respect, no Brett Anderson. You can bet against Clayton Kershaw and win, but it’s not the sort of thing I’d make a habit of.

In any event, the Cubs and Mets should play this on a loop in the Clubhouse before today’s games. Because . . . it just doesn’t matter!

Yoenis Cespedes and his bat flip say good morning

Yoenis Cespedes

It was a late night last night. Especially for old farts like me. I turned on my TV at 12:30 yesterday afternoon and there was baseball on it for just about 12 hours straight. Not too shabby unless you happen to root for the Astros, Rangers, Cardinals or Dodgers. Oh well, today is another day. Or tomorrow if today is a travel day.

In the meantime, we have Yoenis Cespedes to keep us happy, alert and occupied. Again, unless you’re a Dodgers fan. Of course, if you are a Dodgers fan you got absolutely no right to be upset at a bat flip following a homer. And if I catch you complaining, you’re getting a time out.

The Mets break out the whuppin’ sticks, rout the Dodgers 13-7

Cespedes d'Arnaud

So often in life the anticipation of something outpaces its reality. For Mets fans tonight, it was the exact opposite. They had a grand old time. The Mets broke out the lumber and overwhelmed the Dodgers 13-4 to take a 2-1 lead in NLDS.

So much of that anticipation was about revenge, really. Hitting Chase Utley if he was in the lineup, perhaps, or at the very least sending some sort of retaliatory message the Dodgers’ way in response to Utley breaking Ruben Tejada‘s leg on Saturday. But with Utley out of the lineup — and the notion that base runners matter a whole heck of a lot in a playoff game — Matt Harvey just set out to pitch, not plunk. And Mets hitters set out to beat the living heck out of Brett Anderson and a couple Dodgers relievers. Living well is the best revenge, and for a major league team, winning baseball games is living well.

It didn’t start out so well for Harvey, as Yasmani Grandal singled in two runs in the top of the second with a third run scoring on a Curtis Granderson error on the same play. It was 3-0 Dodgers early and Mets’ fans sphincters’ clenched. But only momentarily.

The Mets came right back in the bottom of the second with four runs with a Travis d'Arnaud single and a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double from Curtis Granderson. In the next inning d’Arnaud hit a two-run shot. In the fourth Daniel Murphy singled in a run and Yoenis Cespedes hit a three-run bomb to left to make it 10-3. The Dodgers got one back in the top of the seventh but New York scored three more of their own in the bottom half. It was never a ballgame after the third inning.

Brett Anderson was the author of the damage through three, Alex Wood gave up the four runs in the fourth and hung on in the fifth in what became mop-up duty. Harvey was done after five and took the win. He wasn’t necessarily sharp, but he did strike out seven and was good enough. Some late damage from the Dodgers, including a three-run homer in the ninth from Howie Kendrick, was too little, too late. Granderson and d’Arnaud did the damage for New York, driving in five and three runs, respectively.

Once the competitive portion of this game was over, the Mets’ crowd turned to more important matters. Chanting things like “We want Utley!” Don Mattingly didn’t give him to ’em, probably because there was no downside to smacking him after the game got out of hand. But no upside either. Because of that stuff about living well, remember?

Now it’s on Clayton Kershaw to save the Dodgers from elimination [looks at watch] tonight, technically. If he doesn’t, his detractors will write another page in their Big Book of Clayton Kershaw Playoff Failures. If he does, we get a Game 5 back in Los Angeles.

Maybe Chase Utley gets into one of those.