The Rundown: Maddon to Angels Almost Done, Relitigating Torres Trade, Manfred Reportedly Threatened A’s to Vegas

Alright, let’s just get right into it. Mr. Canter is gallivanting around the Emerald Isle and I’m seeing pictures of him posing outside of pubs, so I’m just going to write through the jealousy. I mean, you didn’t see me posting pictures of myself in Hawaii, did you? Jeez, Mike.

Anyway, the worst-kept secret in baseball was Joe Maddon ending up in Anaheim, where he started his career and had probably hoped to end it at one point. Though he wasn’t going to stick around to replace Mike Scioscia directly, it looks like it’s going to work out that Maddon will come in just a year later.

After a Monday interview that reportedly went “very well,” the Angels are expected to name Maddon their new manager either today or tomorrow. MLB doesn’t like for big announcements to upstage their playoff games, so today makes the most sense. The Astros and Rays are playing what could be a series-deciding Game 4, but that pales in comparison to Wednesday’s pair of Game 5 tilts.

Everything about Maddon’s trajectory over the last year has been incredibly predictable and I have either heard or used the term “fait accompli” more in the last two weeks than in the previous 40 years combined. This is a good move for a guy who’s already got a place in Orange County and who now has the DH to insulate him somewhat from those bullpen moves.

Wait, I’m just a fan with ridiculous concepts about how that all works.

Trades are actually bad

I’m going to throw a hypothetical situation at you and I want you to tell me how you feel about it. Say you have stock in a startup company, an investment that’s a little redundant based on your current portfolio. You then seize upon an opportunity to sell that stock, along with a couple others, in order to afford your dream home. Years later, you’re still in the home — the property taxes are a pain in the ass, but you’re okay — and the stock has appreciated to become a monster.

You happy?

Damn right you are, or at least you’d better be. You couldn’t know at the time what that stock would become, but you knew that your family needed a home and you did what you had to do to provide for them in a way you’d never really imagined you could.

The home is the Cubs’ World Series title and the stock is Gleyber Torres, but people are suddenly deciding three years later that it was a bad deal. While you can make the argument that Torres (and more) for a rental of Aroldis Chapman was too much on the basis of pure talent or human decency, every single one of us would flip a 19-year-old middle infielder for a title.

Every. Damn. Time.

The wrinkle in this comes from the idea that the Cubs could have won without Chapman, which could be plausible if not for one unfortunate fact: They didn’t. You don’t get to rewrite history in service of your own desire to be right or just contrarian, so the fact of the matter is that the Cubs needed Chapman to win whether you believe they really did or not.

Underpinning this whole foolish relitigation of the trade is the notion that several years of contractual control is better than winning a title. That’s not only ignorant in a general sense, it’s corrosive to baseball’s labor structure and works in service of teams eschewing big moves in favor of homegrown talent. You need to develop your own prospects to have a good shot, no doubt, you just can’t value that more than winning.

Of course, this all came about last night because Torres had three extra-base hits in the Yankees’ decisive win over the Twins. Oh, and Chapman closed out the game because the Yankees re-signed him after the 2016 season. Still, flags fly forever.

News from Around MLB

  • Without getting into all the specifics, the A’s and the city of Oakland are not making much headway when it comes to a new stadium deal. Things have deteriorated to the point that the City Council is suing to block Alameda County from selling its half-ownership of the Coliseum site to the A’s. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was so incensed by the suit that he apparently hinted very plainly that the A’s might just follow the Raiders and move from the Bay Area to Oakland.
  • The whole thing about four teams having a chance to clinch last night didn’t quite work out so well. The Yankees were the only team to do so, and now we’ve got a pair of win-or-go-home games Wednesday night. The Nationals have had to lean on their stud pitchers and may need to throw Max Scherzer in relief for Game 5. Because that worked out well the last time.
  • Yadi Molina hit a walk-off sac fly, then celebrated the feat by throwing his bat into the outfield. But he did it the right way, so it’s all good. After Carlos Martinez blew a kiss at Billy Hamilton and the blew the game shortly thereafter, the Cards are quickly losing their ability to bitch about other teams not respecting the game.

  • He probably could have thrown his bat into the stands without fear of injuring a fan.

Cubs notes

They Said It

  • “He kind of laid down the law. He talked about how it was five years ago that he became commissioner, how he had resisted the A’s moving to San Jose back then. Then he talked about his frustration with the lawsuit and how the city needs to make it go away. The commissioner pointed out that Bay Area fans will soon be going to Las Vegas to see the Raiders and that unless things changed, Bay Area fans may be going to Las Vegas or elsewhere to see the A’s as well.” — Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid, on Manfred’s comments
  • “We love being counted out, being put in the corner. We know how good we are, and we believe in ourselves. Sometimes it doesn’t show up, but we believe at any given point, we can turn the game around. We’re a very confident team regardless of how people perceive us or how we go about business. We’re a very confident team, we’re confident of one another, that no matter who is out there, we believe they’re going to get the job done.” — Kolten Wong
  • “He’s always got a smile on his face. No situation is too big. I’ll see him in the box and he’ll give us a little smile in the dugout, like he knows he’s going to go up there and do his job. He’s just a special individual.” — Aaron Judge on Torres

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Yesterdays by Guns N’ Roses. Yesterday’s got nothin’ for me, old pictures that I’ll always see. Some things could be better if we’d all just let them be. We can’t be living in the past, but it’s a helluva lot better than to enjoy what was than to constantly use what is to make the past seem worse.

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