You know that friend you have who makes everything about them? How, no matter how attenuated their connection to something going on in the world, they filter it through their own experiences? Yeah, that’s this Joel Sherman column about the Red Sox-Dodgers trade:
But in the winner-loser here and now, it is hard to ignore that the biggest loser was not even directly involved in the trade finalized yesterday. The biggest loser is the New York Mets. Because the Mets could not get even enough health and production from Jason Bay and/or Johan Santana to make the kind of financial reset trade the Red Sox just did by unloading Beckett and Crawford, in particular.
Sherman goes on to slam the Mets, calling them “losers.” Losers because they couldn’t unload Bay and Santana. Losers because the Dodgers and Mets were both financial wrecks a few short months ago but now look at the Dodgers go. Losers because they are not “energizing the fan base” the way L.A. is and aren’t freeing up payroll like Boston is.
Which is insane. A salary-dump trade of this magnitude has never, ever happened in the history of baseball. The Mets were never for sale and the line of people willing to pay $2 billion and then absorb nearly $300 million in salaries is non-existent even if they were. And that’s before you note that the Mets had nothing like Adrian Gonzalez to throw into such a trade to make it worth the Dodgers’ while.
To rip the Mets for not doing what the Dodgers did here is cheap and silly. It’s like ripping your kid for not becoming the Dalai Lama. Sure, that kind of thing happens in the world, but it’s unfair in the extreme to suggest that there’s something wrong with him for not doing it.
But I guess there’s no hate like Mets hate, so this was probably inevitable.
The Braves clinched a postseason berth with Saturday’s 10-1 win over the Nationals. Now, the only question is whether they’ll get there with an NL East division title or via one of two wild card spots currently up for grabs.
Granted, things are looking pretty good on the division title front. After losing their second straight game to the Braves, the Nationals sit 10.5 games back of first place in the NL East, and every other division rival is at least 15 games out. The Braves, meanwhile, carry a magic number of four; should they clinch, it’ll be their 19th franchise title and 14th since they migrated to the East division in 1994.
They certainly looked like postseason contenders on Saturday. Mike Foltynewicz led the charge with six innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball, limiting the Nationals to four hits while rookie right-hander Austin Voth kept the Braves scoreless through 5 2/3 frames. Things started to tip in Atlanta’s favor in the sixth inning: Nick Markakis put the team on the board with an RBI single, and a four-run breakout in the seventh helped cement a sizable lead. Over the last three innings, the Braves found opportunity after opportunity against the Nationals’ bullpen, capitalizing on walks, throwing errors, and productive outs as they climbed toward a double-digit finish.
The win didn’t come without some sacrifice, however. The Braves lost Charlie Culberson to a facial injury after he was struck by a Fernando Rodney fastball in the seventh inning, and they’ll likely be without him for the remainder of the regular season — pending a formal diagnosis, of course. Culberson’s loss isn’t the only one the club is feeling right now, either, as Johan Camargo ended his season with a hairline fracture in his right shin and Freddie Freeman is playing through a minor bout of elbow soreness after making an early exit from Friday’s 5-0 shutout.