Skaggs, Gray and The King: Who To Watch: 7-26-2016
Sonny Gray, SP Oakland A's @ Texas Rangers (Nick Martinez)
All the Chris Sale talk and the rumors that the Chicago White Sox asked for Nomar Mazara, Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo punctuates the point that Sale is too expensive to move this deadline, while Sonny Gray should and could be. You can argue that the Boston Red Sox paid too much for Drew Pomeranz and that Chris Sale is prohibitively expensive for any taker, which puts Sonny Gray in that sweet spot of a high quality pitcher at what should be considered a reasonable cost in comparison to the alternatives, Chris Archer and Chris Sale. The problem for the A's is that he has pitched poorly and he has had multiple disable list stints in the last two seasons. The A's are probably better off waiting until the off season, but if Gray can pitch better and quickly, maybe the return will justify dealing him now.
James Shields, SP Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs (Kyle Hendricks)
Shields was a pricey contract that the White Sox, in an act of desperation, felt they had to add with hopes that he could turn his season as well as theirs around. It didn't work and now that they are selling they should be shopping Shields and his contract. If he can throw well, especially against a lineup like the Cubs, then maybe a team can see how he benefits them, especially since it shouldn't cost them anything in prospect assets.
Tyler Skaggs, SP Los Angeles Angels @ Kansas City Royals (Dillon Gee)
Skaggs has been a prospect that snuck up on the prospect rankings off and on over the years without being touted as a can't miss stud. The "stuff" is good (599 strikeouts in 521 innings pitched) while the command has been suspect at times. In 32.1 innings pitched in Triple-A he had a 1.67 ERA and a.835 Whip in seven starts.
In his season debut he faces the Kansas City Royals, an aggressive team that makes a lot of contact but lacks the home run pop that scares. It will be interesting to see how Skaggs holds up because how he does now could determine his future in Los Angeles where there are a loot of opportunities for starting pitchers that can get guys out.
Melvin "BJ" Upton, OF Toronto Blue Jays vs. San Diego Padres (Andrew Cashner)
Upton was in the Padres clubhouse yesterday facing the Blue Jays in Toronto and today he is in the Blue Jays dugout facing his recently, former team, the Padres. Short trip for different clothing and more importantly for Upton, a different opportunity and tonight he gets his start immediately in contention in the AL East. It isn't clear where Upton will bat or field or how often he will bat or field in a Jays outfield that could use an upgrade from Kevin Pillar and would benefit from a blue chip bat to supplement Michael Saunders and Jose Bautista, which Upton is not. How Upton transitions back to the American league and the AL East and how the Jays plan to utilize his season will be interesting and that starts tonight. In 2016 he has 16 home runs, 20 stolen bases with a .256 Batting Average, a .304 On-Base Percentage and a .743 OPS.
Felix Hernandez, SP Seattle Mariners @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Francisco Liriano)
Fans and media think the Mariners are in sell mode but does trading a lefty specialist signify a team as sellers? They are five games back of the Wild Card and seven of the division in the AL West that is hardly decided. Felix pitched 6.2 innings and allowed five earned with only two strikeouts in his return from the disabled list. His velocity has been down, but the numbers have been good (3.23 ERA - 1.28 Whip) and the Mariners aren't out of it yet. If they can get on a run they can make things interesting or on the flip side, if they fold then maybe Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz become impact bats that could help a contender. Same goes for Steve Cishek in the back of that bullpen.
Bill Clinton, Democrat vs. Republican Party (Donald Trump)
Clinton has a nuanced feat to accomplish tonight. He is the first ex-President to possibly become the ... "first person"? First Man? If I can't even give him a title imagine the confusion and complexity of what his speech is suppose to accomplish tonight. He needs to enlighten people to some of the personal nook and crannies about his wife and hopefully make her more likable. Being Bill Clinton he will have to fight the urge to make it all about him and while it has to be a political speech to some degree, but not too political. Bill is a great speaker and a controversial figure and he will have to do a talented piece of work to accomplish that in the speech tonight. It will be interesting to see if he reminds people that the economy under Bill was incredible and maybe they can look ahead and see a future under Hillary in the same way? Maybe supporters who remember his success can see Hillary as an extension of Bill, which would be a great thing for Hillary. You can see why this one will be a tricky one. Lets see if one of the greatest speakers we have ever seen in politics can pull it off. Thats why its "Must-See" TV.
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