Brian Schneider is why the Phillies win so much? Um, OK.

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Look, I know it’s a long season and that you have to come up with new stuff to write about all of the time, but does anyone besides me have problems with a story which suggests that the backup catcher is the key to everything? In this case, Brian Schneider of the Phillies:

With expectations set at a World Series championship, victories are what matter in Philadelphia, and when Schneider is behind the plate the Phillies win at an incredible rate. In his 26 starts this season, the Phillies are 23-3; 24-3 if you add their win against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 27 in which Schneider entered the game in the first inning.

This after several paragraphs talking about how much Schneider has struggled individually and how, over the course of his career, he’s never been on teams that had much success. “At first glance, Schneider’s numbers are pedestrian at best, anemic at worst,” the article says. It doesn’t talk about second or third glances, which pretty much confirm it.

I’m sure Schneider is a great guy. I’m happy for the fact that he is on a team that has a great chance to with the World Series. But isn’t it possible to say that and leave it at that rather than to suggest that he brings some special something that helps a team that is already loaded with superstars be better?

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.