It was a bad day for starting pitchers on the block. But it doesn’t matter.

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At the trade deadline two weird things happen:

1. People think it’s notable that so-and-so team is scouting such-and-such a player; and

2. Such-and-such a player, who has, like, a decade of a track record, is suddenly thought to be less marketable or tradable or whatever based on one or two bad games.

It’s silly and irrational and goes against everything we know about how baseball works the other 50 weeks a year, but for whatever reason, the final two weeks in July turns everyone into hand-wringers and concern trolls and what have you.

So, when you see reports that a team is scouting, say, Johnny Cueto, please realize that teams have a handful of full-time major league scouts who are scouting guys at all times and that, when you figure all 30 teams in this mix, at any game there are guys being scouted by multiple teams.

Also, when you see Johnny Cueto walk six dudes and last only four innings against the Cleveland Indians and Cole Hamels allow five runs on eight hits in three innings, realize that it’s not going to fundamentally alter any smart front office’s assessment of the player unless the performance can be chalked up to an injury.

The bigger question: why in the hell does everyone wait until the deadline to make moves in the first place? I suppose it has to do with people’s natural inclination to press deadlines, but if you’re the Reds and you’re dealing half your roster, you’d think that you’d make the equivalent of an eBay “Buy it Now!” option and get on with it.

Hinch, Luhnow, will be eligible in 2021 even if there are no games in 2020

A.J. Hinch (left) and Jeff Luhnow (right)
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You no doubt recall that former Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch and ex-Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow were given the one-year bans and were subsequently fired in January due to the Astros sign-stealing scandal. It’s possible, however, that each of them could be back in baseball without having missed a single game.

That’s the report from Buster Olney of ESPN, who has learned that Hinch and Luhnow will become eligible in 2021 even if there are no games played in the 2020 season. The reason: Hinch and Luhnow’s suspensions are tied to “the end of the 2020 postseason.” In contrast, players who are suspended for PED offenses for violations of the league’s domestic violence policies are suspended for a set number of games. Their suspensions will not begin until games begin and, if the number of games in the 2020 season ends up being fewer than the number of games in their suspension, it will carry over to 2021.

It would not shock me a bit if another team hired Hinch at some point down the road. And, despite the league’s finding that Luhnow fostered a “toxic” environment in the Astros’ front office, I would not be at all surprised if he were hired as some sort of advisor down the road and, potentially, found himself running a team again. His tenure in Houston was discovered to be objectively awful from an ethical perspective, but (a) he won; and (b) he cut costs, and those are the two biggest priorities for most teams. Not necessarily in that order.