Brewers to erect a statue of Bud Selig

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And there was much rejoicing. At least among pigeons:

The Milwaukee Brewers plan to unveil a statue honoring baseball commissioner and former owner Bud Selig on Aug. 24.

Selig’s
likeness will join those of Hank Aaron and Robin Yount in front of
Miller Park. Selig’s foundation donated the first two statues at the
stadium. Selig’s statue will be cast in bronze and measure more than seven feet tall.

We all take our shots at Bud Selig, and a lot of those shots are warranted. But I can’t take issue with a Bud Selig statue outside of Miller Park.

Selig worked his butt off to bring baseball to Milwaukee after the Braves abandoned the city. The Brewers are a great franchise too, leveraging their tiny market beyond anything that could reasonably be expected and there’s more passion for that team in Wisconsin than for 20 other baseball teams I could name. No, that didn’t all occur on Selig’s watch — he hasn’t owned the team in years — but it wouldn’t have been possible without his efforts and passion for baseball.

That doesn’t take away the bad stuff — he was one of the midwifes who helped give birth to collusion, his leadership gave us the suspended 1994 season and he turned a blind eye to steroids for way too long — but I think that goes on his Commissioner’s ledger, not his ownership one.  Give the man his statue. Give the man his day.

Then — as we do for almost every other statue — ignore it for all purposes other than as a second hand ticket sales rendezvous point.

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.