MLB Week in Review (July 17-23)

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The MLB trade deadline is only a week away but as with anything in sports the deadline is a source of contention for many.

So far there hasn’t been a massive number of big trades but that could be changing as the end of the week saw the biggest move so far.

That being the move of Scott Kazmir from the Oakland Athletics to the Houston Astros for a pair of Single A pitchers.

The move has been the biggest so far in the league as Kazmir is a big add for an Astros team looking to finally break through into the postseason with a good team already.

It was a stranger move for the Athletics who continued their unloading of their best players from the off-season for a pair of players that may not have much of an impact soon.

Other than that the lead-up to the trade deadline has been mostly rumours and hear-say. There are teams clearly looking for help on the mound with players like Jeff Samardzija, Johnny Cueto, and Cole Hamels all rumoured to be on the move.

So far none have moved and all have been linked with multiple teams. There is still plenty of time for these pitchers to find a new team but for many it won’t matter as the trade deadline is always going to be ultimately failed.

The reason being that the deadline for many is far too soon in the season to have any type of major impact on the league.

Putting the deadline so close to the halfway mark of the season means that there are still a lot of teams in the hunt for the postseason.

The logic is not wrong as the MLB has yet to see any team truly find their postseason teams.

There are the teams that are clearly on their way to the postseason or at least a fight for a division birth.

The problem is the potential teams who are all within striking distance with just less than half of the games to go.

That makes a lot of teams unwilling to move some of their top players as they believe they still have a shot.

It reduces the amount of teams looking to move players while there are more teams looking to add players.

Every team that has a chance at making the postseason is likely looking for a missing piece to push them over the edge.

That makes the trade market a tough one as teams need to offer a lot to get the best players out of places that think they have a shot.

Not many teams will be willing to trade a veteran for a few prospects, like in the Oakland-Houston deal, that is unless they are completely out of it and looking for the future.baseball-sidebar

It is a tough time and for many teams the prices are just to high to pay. In the end that leads to a fairly quiet period at a time when the MLB could be in full focus.

Much like the NHL trade deadline the MLB’s version could be a huge point in the season where everyone begins to pay attention to see who moves where.

It could be that big if it was moved only a few weeks giving more time for teams to truly figure out where they are in the postseason race.

By the end of next month the races will be cleared up and the true contenders will be revealed and by that time trades that could have been will be too late to happen.

Teams that needed that extra player to make a push won’t see him on their roster. Teams that could have sold some good players for a future will be out of luck in finding those prospects.

Rob Manfred has said that he is willing to move the deadline as he mentioned that the league should look at the date in the light of the new playoff format.

Moving the deadline will certainly quiet some detractors and give teams more time to figure things out.

That could be a great thing in the future but as of right now teams will be working hard in the next week to find that missing piece as the postseason race is right around the corner.

Extra Innings
(More on this week in baseball)

Choo for the Cycle
Pitchers have no-hitters and perfect games but batters have the cycle, a very tough accomplishment where a batter gets every possible hit in one game and Shin Soo-Choo entered the exclusive club this week when he hit for the cycle against the Colorado Rockies

Bonds case dropped
Barry Bonds got a small win this past week when the Justice Department dropped their case against the alleged steroid user for lying under oath as the saga of the home run king, even if it is with an asterisk, may be coming to the end

Career for Lincecum?
There may be an answer to the questions about why Tim Lincecum has struggled since his breakout year in 2010 as he was diagnosed with a degenerative hip condition that could spell the beginning of the end of his career

Development in China
In an attempt to grow the game worldwide the MLB established a development league in China and they are now seeing the rewards with the Baltimore Orioles signing Xu Guiyuan who is the first player from the program to be signed

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Key Series:
Houston Astros 2 – 1 Texas Rangers
– The Rangers and the Astros have a lot more to fight for than bragging rights for the state of Texas as they are both attempting to find their way to the postseason and the Astros got closer taking two games in this three game series

Oakland Athletics 2 – 1 Minnesota Twins
– The Twins are one of the more surprising teams so far this year as they have remained at the top of the division but could not make up much ground against their Kansas City Royals losing two to the Athletics

Washington Nationals 2 – 1 New York Mets
– The Nats and Mets are fighting for the top of the division in the East and in this round the Nats took the advantage after beating the Mets twice in this three game series that kept Washington at the top of the division

New York Yankees 3 – 0 Baltimore Orioles
– The battle for the AL East is once again looking to be a great one with plenty of teams in the hunt but the Yankees separated themselves with this three game sweep of the Orioles who dropped to fourth place in the division

Upcoming Series:
Oakland Athletics vs. San Francisco Giants [July 24/25/26]
– The Battle of the Bay is not quite what is used to be as the A’s are at the bottom of their division and have clearly begun focusing on next year while the Giants remain in the hunt for the best record in the NL West

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Seattle Mariners [July 24/25/26]
– It has almost become a second home as the Blue Jays see plenty of great fan support in Seattle and will once again as they try to keep up in the extremely competitive American League East as they hope to break their 20+ year postseason drought

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Minnesota Twins [July 28/29]
– The Pirates and Twins are in good standing when it comes to the postseason as both are in the wild card but they prefer to be at the top as they face-off looking to make ground on two of the best teams in the league right now in the Cardinals and Royals

New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers [July 27/28/29/30]
– In the very competitive AL East the Yankees are starting to pull away and they look to continue that trend against the Rangers who are trying themselves to get further up the rankings in the NL West

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