Bill Baer

Cubs acquire Jose Quintana from the White Sox

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The Cubs and White Sox struck a big deal on Thursday. Starter Jose Quintana is heading to the Cubs in exchange for Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, Matt Rose, and Bryant Flete.

Quintana, 28, has been the subject of trade rumors for a while now. The lefty this year has put up a mediocre 4.49 ERA with a 109/40 K/BB ratio over 104 1/3 innings. If the season were to end today, it’d be his highest ERA. Obviously, the Cubs are optimistic he’ll be able to lower that ERA in the National League and in a more pitcher-friendly ballpark.

Quintana has one guaranteed year left on his contract at $8.35 million. He also has club options for 2019-20 worth $10.5 million each with $1 million buyouts.

Jimenez, 20, is the centerpiece of the deal for the White Sox. He was the Cubs’ No. 1 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline. With High-A Myrtle Beach this year, he hit .271/.351/.490 with eight home runs and 32 RBI in 174 plate appearances. The Cubs signed Jimenez for $2.8 million on August 1, 2013 as a foreign free agent.

Cease, 21, was the Cubs’ No. 2 overall prospect, taken in the sixth round of the 2014 draft. The right-hander put up a 2.79 ERA with a 74/26 K/BB ratio in 51 2/3 innings at Single-A South Bend this season.

Rose, 22, hit .227/.281/.481 with 14 home runs and 38 RBI in 254 plate appearances with Myrtle Beach mostly playing first base and a little third base.

Flete, 24, hit .305/.355/.425 with six home runs and 37 RBI in 300 PA with Myrtle Beach mostly playing second base and a little shortstop.

Off-day Twitter Q&A

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There are zero games scheduled today and tomorrow, so to help pass the time, I’ve decided to take some questions on Twitter.

Justin Turner, Anthony Rendon, and Nolan Arenado are all having better seasons than Kris Bryant this year, but I still think it’s Bryant, assuming we’re taking a long-term view. Arenado is somewhat a product of Coors Field, as his career home OPS is .941 and his career road OPS is .775. That includes a 122-point gap in slugging percentage. And while Arenado is probably the best defensive third baseman in the National League, I don’t think he’s so much better than Bryant that it’d make up for the loss of offense when he’s not at Coors Field.

This is only Rendon’s second big season with the other having come in 2014. He’s only 27, so this can be par for the course for the next half-a-decade, but Bryant has shown far more consistency in his first three years to make his elite production seem sustainable. Turner is 32 years old and he only has maybe two or three more years of hitting the way he has before age catches up with him. His rate numbers are so much better than his peers right now, but he’s only played in 65 games and taken 274 trips to the plate. Most teams headed into the break having played around 90 games.

We haven’t even touched on Manny Machado or Jose Ramirez yet. Machado’s having a down year, which kinda drags his stock down, but he just turned 25 and already has three elite seasons under his belt. And despite having been made an All-Star starter, I still feel like we’re not respecting Jose Ramirez enough. He broke out last year, helping the Indians reach the World Series, and he’s followed it up by hitting .332/.388/.601 this season. Ramirez is 24 and could have plenty of years like this one ahead of him, but it’s hard to know if it’s sustainable since he’s only done it for a year and a half.

If I had to rank them right now, I’d go:

  1. Bryant
  2. Arenado
  3. Manny Machado
  4. Ramirez
  5. Turner
  6. Rendon

The remake of Final Fantasy VII. I’m completely blinded by nostalgia, but FF7 is my favorite video game of all time. I’m really excited to see what they do with the remake because, from what I understand, they’re changing the battle system. The game was released in 1997 and had turn-based combat, but the remake will be real-time action. I’m curious to see how that will work with the limit break system, which was one of the coolest parts of the original. People seem to either love or hate FF7, but I love it. I thought the storyline was brilliant and a player’s progression throughout the game felt rewarding without being too easy.

For those that aren’t complete nerds like me, EVO is short for Evolution Championship Series, which is a fighting games event held in Las Vegas every year. They have tournaments for a handful of games, including Injustice 2, Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Klay and I are huge fans of Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros for Wii U (aka Smash 4), hence the question. EVO will start on Friday and end on Sunday.

In Melee, I think it’s difficult to pick against Adam “Armada” Lindgren, a Swedish player. He’s the consensus No. 1 overall player and has taken first place in 10 of the last 12 tournaments in which he has entered. The two tournaments he lost: at Royal Flush to Joseph “Mango” Marquez, and Smash ‘n’ Splash 3 (third). As for who I’d like to see win, I’d like to see Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman take first place.

For Smash 4, Gonzalo “Zero” Barrios is the odds-on favorite. He’s the Armada of Smash 4. He’s taken first place in nine of his last 11 tournaments and has overall 14 first-place finishes this year alone.

While I understand other people’s need to assign meaning to life, I personally don’t believe there is any meaning beyond passing on our genes. We’re a bunch of chemical processes in a bag of meat and bones floating through outer space.

You should get up in the morning because what else will you do? May as well make something of your time while you’re here.

I can’t tell you if she’ll ever love you, but I hope you find love. 🙂

Depends on your definition of worthwhile. Do you mean fulfilling? That can take a lot of people their entire lives. Do you mean productive? You can slither into the capitalist machine, comrade.

I have never tried it but I have watched it during the Olympics and it seems fun!

Call me a homer for this — I’m from the Philly area — but I think Bryce Harper is playing for the Phillies in a couple years. They have so much money to spend and they’re going to need an impact player to complement the cavalcade of average to slightly-above-average prospects they have already. Aside from Scott Kingery, right now there are no players I’d feel comfortable projecting as future stars.

Really depends on what the Red Sox do between now and July 31. If they get a third baseman like Martin Prado, then Devers stays down. If they can’t get a third baseman, they might have to call Rafael Devers up. If you ask me to bet, I’d say the Red Sox acquire a third baseman elsewhere, which makes Yoan Moncada more likely to get called up. Moncada had a brief cup of coffee with the Red Sox last year and struggled before being included in the offseason Chris Sale deal with the White Sox. He’s having a pretty good year at Triple-A Charlotte. The last-place White Sox aren’t going to the playoffs, so they may as well get Moncada some meaningful playing time in the big leagues.

Yep. Mike Trout has missed too much time and I’d wager at least two of Aaron Judge, Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Mookie Betts, George Springer, and Jose Ramirez will be able to finish out the year strong. Someone else could rise up in the final two and a half months as well. To be clear, there’s no playing time minimum for the MVP Award, but voters do factor in games played. If the Angels miss out on the playoffs — and at 45-47, that seems likely — that will only hurt Trout more because some voters still think an MVP needs to come from a playoff team.

I don’t think the pitching is crappier. I’d argue the pitching now is perhaps the best it has been since the Pedro/Schilling/Big Unit/Clemens era. Maybe even better on average. I think the evidence is indisputable at this time that the ball was altered and has contributed to the resurgence in power. But other factors include hitters focusing more on hitting fly balls and pitchers throwing harder than ever before.

Yeah, Amed Rosario will get called up. I understand fans’ insistence for his promotion since Asdrubal Cabrera got injured, but remember, this is Rosario’s first year at Triple-A and he isn’t a finished product yet. He’s only 21 years old. There are some things that teams are privy to that writers and fans are not, and there may be a very good reason the Mets haven’t promoted him yet. It could be their evaluation of his attitude. For instance, if he struggles, will he tilt or will he use it as motivation to improve? Additionally, Rosario isn’t likely to make such an impact on the Mets that he reverses the team’s course from eight games under .500 into playoff contender.

That being said, the Mets’ reluctance to go all-in on Conforto is puzzling. The dude has raked ever since getting called up in 2015. Prior to this season, he has struggled against lefties, but most left-handed hitters struggle against same-handed pitching. You only get better against them with exposure. He made the All-Star team this year, putting up a .945 OPS in 70 games. I’m not sure what more he has to do to earn a guaranteed starting spot in the outfield when everyone is healthy. He’s the kind of player for whom you trade Curtis Granderson or Jay Bruce to create room.

As for the medical staff, I could see the Mets cleaning slate in the offseason. It’s usually not something that teams do in the middle of a season. I think there’s definitely something going on and even SNY broadcaster Ron Darling has publicly criticized the medical staff. At the very least, cleaning house in that department shows a public commitment to improving in that area.

People were really uncreative in the 1800’s. To be fair, they’re not much more creative in modern time, as teams are just named after other animals (e.g. Rays, Diamondbacks).

I could see them going after another catcher, perhaps the Phillies’ Cameron Rupp or the Giants’ Nick Hundley. They’re pretty strong everywhere else and at their weaker positions, they have players who aren’t going anywhere (i.e. Jason Kipnis). Maybe they pick up a back-end starter and push Josh Tomlin or Trevor Bauer to the bullpen.

I think it’s up to the home plate umpire’s discretion. Sometimes the umpire will ask for a ball that was put in play to be switched out. And if it’s not, sometimes the pitcher will want it switched out anyway. They switch out balls in the dirt because if the pitcher doesn’t have the ability to get a good grip on the baseball, it could slip out of his hand and wind up hitting a player in the head. Or bouncing in the dirt and hitting the umpire in the cajones.

Yasiel Puig is the best heel in baseball. He knows his very existence pisses off some players and a certain segment of the baseball fan base, and he can deal with it. I wish he hadn’t toned down the enthusiasm with which he plays because he’s such a joy to watch, but he’s been talked to by teammates, coaches, front office personnel, and players on other teams.

Right now, Aaron Judge is the babyface of baseball. You saw how much positive press he was getting leading into the All-Star Game festivities and how much more he got after winning the Derby. If not for Judge, Francisco Lindor might have been my choice here.

Robinson Cano named MVP of 2017 All-Star Game

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Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano drilled a solo home run to right field off of Wade Davis in the top of the 10th inning of Tuesday’s All-Star Game, helping the American League defeat the National League 2-1 for its fifth consecutive All-Star Game victory. For his contribution, Cano was named MVP of the 2017 All-Star Game.

Cano was one of seven replacements leading up to Tuesday’s action. 2017 marked his eighth nomination to the All-Star team, all in the American League. He’s the first Mariner to win All-Star Game MVP since Ichiro Suzuki in 2007. The only other Mariner to have won it was Ken Griffey, Jr. in 1992.

Entering the break, Cano was batting .275/.332/.481 with 17 home runs and 60 RBI in 346 plate appearances.