Is Ryan Howard more powerful than Derek Jeter?

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I don’t mean which of those two can bench the most, I’m talking about power defined in terms of influence, appeal, marketability and money. Which of them can most easily impose their whims on we mere mortals and most expect us to do their bidding?

Well neither of them can, but the people who write BusinessWeek Magazine enjoy ranking people as if they can, and today they’ve announced their “Power 100” athlete list.  Topping the list is Tiger Woods, which means that they complied this thing before Thanksgiving.

But what about baseball players?  I was rather surprised to learn that Albert Pujols is the top ballplayer. I mean, he’s awesome and all, but he doesn’t exactly dominate the national zeitgeist in any appreciable way.  Derek Jeter does, yet he somehow falls behind Pujols, Ryan Howard, Joe Mauer and CC Sabathia (and Usain Bolt, Shaq and Jeff Gordon and some other questionable choices for that matter). Sure, they say that their methodology took on-the-field performance and things like marketability into account, but unless Subway Commercials get a multiplier of, like, a thousand, I’m having trouble seeing how guys like Howard outstrip Jetes no matter how you calculate it all.

Or — and sit down for this, because it may shock you — the people at BusinessWeek could have pulled this list entirely out of their rectums in an effort to get people to click through each of the 100 individual pages each athlete gets.

Nah. That would never happen.  

Yankees trade Sonny Gray to the Reds

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The deal was much talked about all weekend and now the deal is done: The Cincinnati Reds gave acquired starter Sonny Gray and lefty Reiver Sanmartin from the Yankees in exchange for second base prospect Shed Long and a 2019 competitive balance pick.

The key to making the deal happen: Gray agreeing to a a three-year, $30.5 million contract extension. The Reds will likewise hold a $12 million club option for 2023. The deal had been struck and a window granted through close of business today to get Gray to agree to the extension and, obviously, he has.

The Reds will get a pitcher coming off of a bad season in which he posted a disappointing 4.90 ERA in 23 starts and seven relief appearances. He was hammered particularly hard in Yankee Stadium but pitched better on the road. Great American Ballpark is not a great pitcher’s park itself but any change of scenery would be nice for Gray, who had become much unwanted and unloved in New York. In Cincinnati he has the assurance of a spot in the rotation and, even better for him, he will be reunited with his college pitching coach, Derek Johnson, who joined new manager David Bell’s Reds staff earlier this offseason. If he bounces back even a little bit, the Reds will have a useful starter at a below market price for four years. If he doesn’t, well, they haven’t exactly gone bankrupt taking the chance.

The Reds will also get Reiver Sanmartin, 22, who started in the Rangers system before being traded to the Yankees. He’s a soft-tosser who figures to be a reliever if he makes the big leagues. He played at four different levels last season, with one game at Double-A and the rest below that, posting a composite 2.80 ERA in 10 starts and 13 overall appearances while striking out 7.8 batters per nine.

The Yankees will get Shed Long, who is ranked as the Reds’ seventh best prospect. The 23-year old second baseman hit .261/.353/.412 at Double-A in 2018 and has hit very close to that overall line for his entire six-year minor league career. He strikes out a bit and may not stick at second base long term, shifting to a corner outfield slot perhaps, but he’s a legitimate prospect.

The Reds get another starter with some upside. The Yankees get rid of a problem and gain a prospect and a draft pick. Sonny Gray gets some job and financial security at a time when it is not at all clear what his future holds. Not a bad baseball trade.

UPDATE: Welp, the Yankees don’t have a prospect anymore. They just traded long to the Mariners for outfielder Josh Stowers. Stowers was a second-round pick in last year’s draft. He’s 21 and batted .260/.380/.410 with five homers and 20 steals over 58 games in Short-Season ball in 2018. He’s ranked by MLB.com as the Mariners’ No. 10 prospect, but now he’s New York bound.