You can thank Major League Baseball for the sewage mess in the Oakland Coliseum

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Still gobsmacked that a major league team is playing in a joint like the Oakland Coliseum, where the raw sewage flows more freely than the Bud Light. So too is A’s owner Lew Wolff, who tells Eric Fisher of SBJ that he is embarrassed by the mess but that it’s out of his control:

 

Major League Baseball, of course, has spent over four years pretending to be studying the viability of the A’s remaining in the Oakland Coliseum vs. moving to San Jose. In reality it’s merely been stalling, afraid to confront the Giants over its territorial claim to San Jose and unwilling to say anything which might suggest that a team petitioning for a new ballpark someplace is somehow the wrong thing to do. In those four-plus years nothing has been done to improve the Coliseum or the A’s situation.

Which now I suspect will give us the archetypal MLB problem-solving dynamic: (a) ignore a situation until it becomes a public relations problem; and (b) then go 100 m.p.h., quite possibly in the wrong direction to quickly fix it. Which is to say that I expect Major League Baseball to announce later today that the A’s will become a full-time road team, will relocate to Pluto, will stop eating so much fiber, or something else silly at some point today.

Because that’s way easier than having done the hard work necessary over the past several years to make sure that a major league baseball team wasn’t playing in a literal cesspool.

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.