Red-hot Ted Lilly goes on trade waivers

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Ted Lilly, who has gone 5-0 with a 1.83 ERA since the Dodgers picked him up from the Cubs before the July 31 deadline, has been placed on revocable waivers, according to’s Ken Rosenthal.
It’s just like the Manny Ramirez situation, in that that Dodgers would have the opportunity to get a trade done with the team awarded a claim on his services.
In this case, though, there’s no real chance that Lilly will clear waivers or even make it through the NL. Lilly has just over $2 million left on his contract, so even the long shot NL teams on the brink of contention: the Mets, Marlins and Rockies included, could put in claims before teams like the Phillies or Cardinals even have a shot.
The Dodges are just five games back in the wild card themselves, so there’s a good chance they’ll just end up holding on to him. GM Ned Colletti told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale Friday that he’s “not inclined to move anyone so long as we have a chance.”
The Dodgers should have interest in re-signing Lilly this winter anyway, and it’s possible they’ll get draft picks if he leaves, though that would require the somewhat risky move of offering him arbitration.

Wild Card, Division series umpires announced

Angel Hernandez
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Major League Baseball just released the umpire assignments for the Wild Card Game and the Division Series. As always, the basis for these assignments is a proprietary, scientific calculation undertaken by Major League Baseball, mixing in (a) skill; (b) seniority; and (c) trolling of baseball bloggers who, unlike 99% of the rest of the world actually know the names and track records of various umpires and who are easily riled.

Which is to say that, while we have no Joe West in the early playoff rounds this year — too obvious, perhaps? — we do get an Angel Hernandez.

Here are the assignments. The asterisks represent the crew chief of each unit. Guys with little up arrows next to their names are regular season crew chiefs in their own right. Print this out and keep it near your television so you know who to yell about before the broadcasters tell you who to yell at:

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Which teams improved and declined the most in 2015?

Joe Maddon

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.