So where is Roy Oswalt going?

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roy oswalt headshot astros.jpgI don’t know. But Bernardo Fallas and Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle handicap the field today.  Included in their analysis: the Dodgers, Mets, Yankees, Braves, Reds, Nationals, White Sox, and Phillies.

As the writers note, there are issues with all of those, including the willingness to spend money (Dodgers, Phillies), the fact that they aren’t a real contender and thus Oswalt may reject the notion (Mets, Reds, Nationals, Chisox) or the fact that they don’t really have room in the rotation. The writers include the Braves in that last group, though I don’t think it’s safe to say that Kenshin Kawakami is going to keep Roy Oswalt out of the Braves starting five if he were to come over. For Atlanta, the issue is more likely payroll.

Though it’s not at all clear to me that Oswalt — a county boy, we are constantly reminded — wants to play in Los Angeles, the Dodgers make the most sense to me from a baseball perspective. And heck, it’s not like Houston is a small town anyway.  They seem to have less of an excuse than any of the other contenders to not at least try for Oswalt given both their needs and their means, whether or not they’re willing to fulfill them and use them, respectively.

I think the most important thing in all of this is that it’s really, really early in this process.  Trades of this magnitude just don’t come together overnight. Most of the time they sort of linger until the deadline, which is still two months away.  In that time we’ll get a stronger sense of who’s a legitimate contender and who is not and the market will mature.

But really, the Dodgers should totally make a play for the guy.

Alex Bregman shows how easy it is to manufacture “controversy” in baseball

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In most sports it takes legitimate trash talk to create off-day “controversy.” In baseball, it takes the weakest sauce. We saw how weak that sauce was yesterday.

Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros are going to face off against Nate Eovaldi and the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS tonight. It’s worth noting that earlier this season, they hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off of Eovaldi when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Yesterday, in an act which was likely somewhat inspired by self-motivation, somewhat inspired by getting in Eovaldi’s head and somewhat inspired by a simple interest in having fun, Bregman took the video of those back-to-back-to-back homers off of Eovaldi and posted it to his Instagram:

Of course, since this is baseball, where even farting off-key can be construed as “showing up” the opposition or somehow disrespecting the game, it became a thing. Or at least people tried to make it become a thing.

Indeed, it took them a bit to find someone who would help them make it a thing, because Eovaldi himself didn’t care about it a bit, nor did Astros manager A.J. Hinch or Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Eventually, however, they hit pay dirt. Here’s Sox infielder Steve Pearce talking to WEEI.com:

“Wow. I don’t know why he would do that. We do our talking on the field. If he wants to run his mouth now we’ll see who is talking at the end of the series.”

My guess is that almost no one on the planet, Steve Pearce included, would care about this in a vacuum or if they allowed themselves to think through it for more than a second. Baseball culture, though — and let’s be clear about it, baseball media culture — has conditioned most of its players and participants to think that stuff like this is supposed to be controversial, so it actually takes effort not to start dancing to this kind of tune on auto-pilot.

Kudos to Hinch, Cora and Eolvaldi for exerting that effort and not dancing to it. To the press that automatically sought out comment on this and Pearce who dutifully gave it: hey, I get it. It’s hard to resist one’s conditioning. Maybe you’ll be able to resist it next time.