Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud…..

— Hi, hope all our friends north of the border had a happy Canada Day. 

Looks like the Blue Jays will be able to play ball in Toronto this summer, in large part because the Rogers Centre has a hotel attached to it. Am looking forward to seeing the Blue Jays and all the other ball clubs take the field in three weeks.

— Not only was Wednesday Canada Day, it was Bobby Bonilla Day, when the former big league star gets his $1.19M paycheck; he will get one of those checks every July 1 until 2035, a monument to the ineptitude of the Wilpon regime with the Mets.

Bonilla’s agent negotiated a deal that pays Bonilla $1,193,248.20 every year; he hasn’t played in the majors since 2001. When the Mets released Bonilla, instead of paying him the $6M they owed him, they chose the deferred payments. Bad idea for them, very good for Bonilla.

— A’s traded minor league infield prospect Jorge Mateo to San Diego Tuesday for a player to be named later. Mateo was acquired from the Bronx Bombers in the Sonny Gray trade, which takes me back to July 31, 2017, the day the trade happened.

I’m staying at the Westgate in Las Vegas; I go down to the sportsbook, to see what happens at the trade deadline. A’s were having a cruddy year, so I pretty much knew Gray was getting dealt, so I grab a Cherry Coke and some lunch, hoping that the A’s deal Gray anywhere but the Bronx. Why would we want to help them?

They announce the trade: Gray goes to the Bronx, for two minor leaguers and a guy named Dustin Fowler, who played half an inning for New York in a game in Chicago, before he ran into the fence in foul territory in right field, and totally screwed his leg up. Doctors weren’t sure he would even play again. I wasn’t happy.

It was 107 or 108 degrees in Las Vegas that day, but I had to take a walk outside to cool down, it made no sense to me. You trade a very good pitcher for two minor leaguers and a guy I could beat in a race, seeing how his leg was in a cast.

8) Long story short, the trade helped no one, really:

— Gray went 15-16, 4.51 in 34 starts in 1.5 years for New York; he’s done way better since moving on to Cincinnati, where his old pitching coach from college now works.

— Fowler got healthy, hit .224 in 69 games for the A’s in 2018, but Ramon Laureano came up from the minors and passed him by. Fowler hit .277 at AAA Las Vegas LY, but never got the call to the big leagues. He is on their 60-man roster this  summer.
— Mateo ht .230, .289 in AAA the last two years; he is very fast, will the Padres use hm as a pinch runner? Will be curious who San Diego sends to Oakland to complete the trade.
— James Kaprelian pitched for UCLA but has had a ton of injuries as a pro; he is 26, and didn’t pitch in either ’17 or ’18— he’s thrown 31.2 innings above A ball. He is on the 60-man roster for this year, which is a good sign.

Bottom line, some trades are great, some suck, and some are just shuffling papers. A’s have made way more good deals than bad ones over the years, so I should probably just eat my lunch and relax more.

7) Last six years, each division has won one World Series, which is unusual.

6) White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany is married to minor league pitcher Sean Gilmartin, a lefty who is on Tampa Bay’s 60-man roster this summer. Gilmartin has pitched in 79 major league games over the last five years, going 4-5, 4.18 in 79 games (3 starts).

5) FOX gave up its rights to the US Open golf tournament, with NBC taking it over.

4) Baltimore Ravens outgained their opponents by 107 yards/game LY, the best margin in the NFL since the 2014 Seahawks.

3) How does high school basketball in every state not have a shot clock? Much more fun game to watch/play when there is a shot clock and the game flows more.

2) Over/under for wins by any team this season: 41.5, with under -$120
Over/under for losses by any team this season: also 41.5

1) RIP to the comic genius Carl Reiner, who passed away this week, at age 98; one of the first TV shows I remember watching was the Dick Van Dyke Show, where Reiner played Alan Brady, the star of the show the writers worked for. 

Was reading yesterday how in the early 50’s, there was a TV show called Your Show of Shows; the writers included Sid Caeser, Reiner, Neil Simon, Woody Allen and Larry Gelbart, who later on was a writer for M*A*S*H. Tremendous cast of writers.

The ability to make people laugh is a gift, and Carl Reiner sure had it. RIP, sir.

TV highlight of the day:  Solid movie day, with Rounders and The Natural on. Good night for Wilford Brimley fans; The Firm was also on. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.