Early round playoff baseball is fun, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not feeling a little bit of overload at the moment. Maybe it’d be different if I was just taking it all in from the couch with a beer in my hand, but since I have to actually think about the games a bit and be prepared to talk about them the next day, three or four big games in a day can get a bit overwhelming. Yes, I realize this is a whine for which I should have no sympathy. Please, do not give me any.
The point is that, in light of all of that, I’m more excited than I can imagine for tonight’s Tigers-Yankees game, the only one on the schedule. It feels like a special day. And I’d say that even if every Yankees and Tigers fan in my Twitter feed wasn’t already barfing from the nerves.
Anyway, I’ll be doing a live blog of it tonight. Or a chat using the Cover It Live thing. Not sure which. Which one would you guys prefer? I won’t put a up a formal poll or anything — and I reserve the right to change my mind and go against popular sentiment if I feel like it depending on how I feel at 8PM tonight — but I would like some feedback from you all on the live events we’ve been doing.
Sub-question that has some bearing here: in the live chats, we moderate the comments so as to keep the proceedings from becoming chaotic. Sometimes we do it more Q&A style, with us only putting up questions or observations to which we respond for all to see. Sometimes, even though we still don’t OK everything you submit, we let a zillion zingers go live in a more stream of consciousness thing.
I’d appreciate your thoughts on those two approaches. Keep in mind that games ebb and flow and whoever is running a live event will do both things at various times, but any comments or criticisms you have of the way we handle those things are welcome. Also keep in mind that if reader back-and-forth is what you want, live blogs — and their comments sections — work much better for that.
Anyway: fire away. And thank you for your support.
The Nationals are trying to go big this offseason, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that they are still in trade talks for White Sox’ left-hander Chris Sale and Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Both players figure to command a big return, as Sale delivered another Cy Young-worthy performance in 2016 and, despite a downturn in his production rate, McCutchen is still one of the more coveted sluggers in the National League.
In 2016, Sale led the league in complete games, with six, and turned in a 3.34 ERA and 5.2 fWAR in 226 2/3 innings. While teams have been sniffing around the White Sox’ ace since the trade deadline, the club is expected to maintain a high asking price — so high, said FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, that it may keep the left-hander in Chicago for the foreseeable future.
According to Heyman, four other teams are reportedly in the mix for Sale, including the Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Braves, though parts of Rosenthal’s tweet hinted that the Red Sox were maintaining their interest in hopes of striking a more affordable deal. Should the Nationals pursue a deal for Sale, it’s likely that they’d have to move shortstop/center fielder Trea Turner, which they appear reluctant to do.
McCutchen, meanwhile, is also drawing interest around the league after batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs in 675 PA during 2016. He didn’t appear to lose much power in his eighth season with the Pirates, but took considerably fewer walks and struck out at a career-high clip.
The Nationals were said to be in the lead for McCutchen on Thursday, and there was some expectation that the club would wrap up a trade for the center fielder by the non-tender deadline on Friday. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pointed out that the Rangers were also talking to the Pirates, however, and no deal has come to fruition as of yet.
The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.
In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.
The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report: