Mr. Met
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The major sports event last night had no baseball implications. Hooray! So I asked for some questions from you guys online, and now i’m going to answer them.

Q: Which player under 23 has the best chance to emerge in the “best player on the planet” conversation?

A: There’s a few guys who qualify here. I’ll include Fernando Tatis Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Ronald Acuña in terms of big leaguers, and I’ll also throw Wander Franco and Jo Adell in as far as prospects go. Oh, and I guess a fully healthy Shohei Ohtani who still plays both sides of the ball also merits discussion. They’re all real good or have the potential to be real good. Here’s the thing, though. Mike Trout is just 28 and shows no sign of showing down anytime soon. So what you’re really asking here is which player currently under 23 has the best chance to be the best player on the planet in, like, six or seven years’ time. That’s harder to predict.

As far as why Ohtani is the only pitcher I included, I just feel like you have to be a truly ridiculous pitcher to be the best player on the planet. You need to be insanely good and throw a lot of innings. SP usage just isn’t trending that way, and frankly I’m just not that amped up about any of the pitchers who fit in this age range. Maybe MacKenzie Gore lights the world on fire and the Padres let him throw a billion innings every year? Probably not.

Q: If you had to catch one ballpark food item, shot out of a t-shirt cannon, using only your mouth – what would it be and why?

A: The t-shirt cannon stipulation makes this fun. I mean, are we including the Philly Phanatic’s hot dog cannon here? Not that I necessarily like of trying to catch a cannon-fired hot dog with my mouth, but these are important questions. Like, t-shirt cannons are serious business. Watch:

These things can cover some distance. They have oomph. Theoretically any food fired out of these things would need to have some sort of casing around them, like a bullet. I’m now imagining popcorn flying everywhere after the casing opens up-mid air, so I’ll go with trying to catch falling popcorn in my mouth.

Q: What was George’s trade that nets Griffey and Bonds but doesn’t give up that much?

A: So for those of you who don’t know, there’s a Seinfeld episode where George thinks he has a way for the Yankees to acquire both Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds, and he proposes this to George Steinbrenner. What most people don’t remember is that earlier in the episode, he tells his girlfriend that it would be Jim Leyritz and Bernie Williams who would be sent out to acquire Bonds. Now it’s unclear if this would be a three-team deal, but I’m going to operate on the assumption that it’s two separate trades.

The episode aired in January of 1996. So we’re in a weird transitional period between the ’95 and ’96 rosters. Trading for a 26-year old Griffey would have been no small task, which means the Mariners would probably have asked for at least one (if not both) of Derek Jeter and Ruben Rivera, whom Baseball America had declared the Yankees’ top prospect before the season. The ’96 Mariners didn’t have a ton in the way of pitching, so Andy Pettite probably would have been talked about too. We’re getting pretty far from George’s claim of not having to give up too much, but it’s also important to remember that George is an idiot.

For more Costanza-themed content, check out my column from last weekend about him potentially being the greatest baseball player ever.

Q: What’s the best thing about Jason Giambi?

A: Alright, Jay frahm Manhattan, whas happenin? Oh. Oh, okay. You waited all daht time on da phone just ta try ta be funny, hah? Das real clevah. I sweah, deez guyz sit around on hold foah da longest time and make foolza demselves just ta try ta get da video on dat twittah account. Incredible. Mike in South Carolina, whas happenin?

Q: If you had to die in a famous historical event, which one would you choose?

A: Certainly not the current one, I’ll tell you that. I’m a massive wimp and don’t want any sort of long, drawn-out death. So something that would get it over with nice and quickly would be ideal. Let’s say I get shot in the head during the storming of the Bastille.

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Cole Hamels done for year after just 1 start for Braves

Cole Hamels triceps injury
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ATLANTA — After making just one start for the Atlanta Braves, Cole Hamels is done for the season.

Hamels reported shortly before the start of a four-game series against the Miami Marlins that he didn’t feel like he could get anything on the ball. The left-hander was scheduled to make his second start Tuesday after struggling throughout the year to overcome shoulder and triceps issues.

The Braves placed Hamels on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Sept. 18,, but that was a mere formality. General manager Alex Anthopoulos already contacted Major League Baseball about replacing Hamels in the team’s postseason player pool.

“Cole knows himself and his body,” Anthopoulos said. “You trust the player at that point when he says he can’t go.”

The Braves began Monday with a three-game lead in the NL East .and primed for their third straight division title.

Even with that success, Atlanta has struggled throughout the shortened 60-game series to put together a consistent rotation beyond Cy Young contender Max Fried and rookie Ian Anderson.

Expected ace Mike Soroka went down with a season-ending injury, former All-Star Mike Foltynewicz was demoted after just one start, and Sean Newcomb also was sent to the alternate training site after getting hammered in his four starts.

The Braves have used 12 starters this season.

Anthopoulos had hoped to land another top starter at the trade deadline but the only deal he was able to make was acquiring journeyman Tommy Milone from the Orioles. He’s on the injured list after getting hammered in three starts for the Braves, giving up 22 hits and 16 runs in just 9 2/3 innings.

“There’s no doubt that our starting pitching has not performed to the level we wanted it to or expected it to,” Anthopoulos said. “I know that each year you never have all parts of your club firing. That’s why depth is so important.”

Hamels, who signed an $18 million, one-year contract last December, reported for spring training with a sore shoulder stemming from an offseason workout.

When camps were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, Hamels was able to take a more cautious approach to his rehabilitation. But a triceps issue sidelined again before the delayed start of the season in July.

The Braves hoped Hamels would return in time to provide a boost for the playoffs. He also was scheduled to start the final game of the regular season Sunday, putting him in position to join the postseason rotation behind Fried and Anderson.

Now, Hamels is done for the year, his Braves’ career possibly ending after he made that one appearance last week in Baltimore. He went 3 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on three hits, with two strikeouts and one walk in a loss to the Orioles.

Hamels reported no problems immediately after his start, but he didn’t feel right after a bullpen session a couple of days ago.

“You’re not going to try to talk the player into it,” Anthopoulos said. “When he says he isn’t right, that’s all we need to hear.”

Atlanta recalled right-hander Bryse Wilson to replace Hamels on the 28-man roster. The Braves did not immediately name a starter for Tuesday’s game.

With Hamels out, the Braves will apparently go with Fried (7-0, 1.96), Anderson (3-1, 2.36) and Kyle Wright (2-4, 5.74) as their top three postseason starters.

Hamels is a four-time All-Star with a career record of 163-122. He starred on Philadelphia’s World Series-winning team in 2008 and also pitched for Texas and the Chicago Cubs.

Last season, Hamels went 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA in 27 starts for the Cubs.