Blogging is basically about reacting to stuff, but sometimes it helps to get ahead of the narrative a bit. Just to help you prepare, here are the potential state-of-the-game storylines we can expect to see in the coming weeks:
- If the Yankees face the Phillies in the World Series baseball is broken because the big payroll teams are just buying championships; and
- If some combination of the Diamondbacks, Brewers, Rays or Rangers make the World Series, the low TV ratings such matchups will create will be proof that baseball is truly dead;
I’m not sure what we do if the Cardinals or Tigers figure in somehow. Maybe something about passionate fans who live in cities outsiders like to denigrate. People eat that crap up.
Anyway, all of this is just an excuse to link Maury Brown’s post from yesterday in which he detailed the payroll situation of the eight playoff teams. Short version: the payroll ranks of the qualifiers: 1 (Yankees); 2 (Philly); 10 (Tigers); 11 (Cards); 13 (Rangers); 17 (Brewers); 25 (Dbacks); 29 (Devil Rays).
So, two rich kids, four middle-of-the-packers and two sisters of the poor. Viva balance and parity. Just don’t expect anyone to give baseball too much credit for that because it doesn’t fit the usual narratives.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.