Good morning, I’m Dan Gartland. Are you as ready as I am for the MLB trade deadline?
In today’s SI:AM:
🍺 The first-place Brewers traded their closer
🏈 The public must hold Deshaun Watson accountable
⚽ Premier League storylines (outside the “Big Six”)
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The market is open
The deadline is still many hours away but MLB teams have already gotten busy making a bunch of significant trades.
Teams have until 6 p.m. ET tonight to make their transactions but they got a head start on things yesterday with a bunch of noteworthy moves. Here are some of the biggest ones:
Brewers trade Josh Hader to Padres
This is the most significant trade made yesterday, mostly because of how seemingly confusing it is. Milwaukee sent its closer to San Diego in exchange for the Padres’ closer, Taylor Rogers, struggling reliever Dinelson Lamet and minor leaguers Robert Gasser and Esteury Ruiz. (In a separate trade, the Brewers later acquired reliever Matt Bush from the Rangers.)
The Brewers are a first-place team. What are they doing getting rid of their most important reliever, who won’t be a free agent until after next season? It’s an odd trade, and Emma Baccellieri tried to make sense of it. She writes that it’s likely a cost-cutting move intended to wring some value out of Hader before he hits the free-agent market. Plus, they have another All-Star reliever in Devin Williams who can pick up the slack, and Rogers (although he had a 9.31 ERA in 10 appearances in July) is also a capable reliever.
“It doesn’t signal anything approaching a rebuild,” Baccellieri writes. “But it helps [the Brewers] retool—stretching out their competitive window a bit without having to sacrifice too much in the meantime.”
Braves and Astros swap pitchers
Here’s another trade involving quality pitchers that broke late last night. Houston sent starter Jake Odorizzi to Atlanta in exchange for reliever Will Smith. Odorizzi is having a good year but the Astros have five starters who are as good or better than him. Acquiring him allows the Braves to move rookie Spencer Strider back to the bullpen if they want.
Yankees get pitching help
The Yankees don’t need any more help but they got some yesterday in acquiring A’s starter Frankie Montas and Cubs reliever Scott Effross. The moves fill two significant holes on the pitching staff created by injuries to Luis Severino and Michael King.
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Astros upgrade their offense
The Yankees’ main rival in the AL got better yesterday, too, acquiring Trey Mancini from the Orioles and Christian Vásquez from the Red Sox. Mancini was one of the top rental bats available on the market and can take at-bats away from the struggling Yuli Gurriel at first base. Vásquez, meanwhile, should be a significant upgrade at the plate over current Astros catcher Martín Maldonado.
Even with so many moves made yesterday, there are still plenty of big names who could be on the move today. The most obvious one is Juan Soto. (As I write this, the latest news, reported by both Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post and the New York Post’s Jon Heyman, is that the Padres are talking to the Nationals about a trade for both Soto and Josh Bell.) But other significant targets include Noah Syndergaard, Carlos Rodón, Joey Gallo, Willson Contreras and Ian Happ. Plus, you never know when a guy like Hader will get traded out of the blue. I’ll be refreshing my Twitter feed all the way up until the deadline. And, you can sign up for SI’s free Five-Tool Newsletter to get news and analysis from our MLB coverage team every Friday.
The best of Sports Illustrated
In today’s Daily Cover, Michael Rosenberg writes that, after the NFL failed in its pursuit of a year-long suspension of Deshaun Watson, it’s up to the public to hold him accountable:
These allegations should stick to Watson for the rest of his career. It’s up to journalists, analysts and fans with a conscience to see him not just as Deshaun Watson, star quarterback, but as Deshaun Watson, star quarterback who has been sued by 24 women and settled with 23 of them. It is his cross to bear. Make him bear it.
Emma Baccellieri also analyzed the Yankees’ Frankie Montas trade and Nick Selbe broke down what dealing Trey Mancini means for the Orioles. … As the Premier League gets underway this week, Avi Creditor explains what you should watch out for other than the league’s “Big Six.” … If you’re out of the loop on all the changes going on behind the scenes at WWE, Dave Meltzer has a good breakdown of how SummerSlam indicated what could be next for the company.
Around the sports world
Greg Norman said that the offer from LIV Golf that Tiger Woods rejected was worth between $700 and $800 million. … Patrick Mahomes limped off the practice field but Andy Reid says it’s nothing to worry about. … Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote a tribute to Bill Russell on his personal site. … Shohei Ohtani is reportedly off the trade block. … F1 driver Fernando Alonso’s current team reportedly only learned that he was moving to Aston Martin when it was announced in a press release. … Rick Pitino has been implicated in another NCAA bribery scandal.
The top five…
… things I saw yesterday:
5. Juan Soto’s throw to nail a runner at home.
4. Trea Turner extending his hitting streak to 19 games.
2. Jurickson Profar’s diving catch in left.
1. Laremy Tunsil’s analysis of Texans quarterback Davis Mills.
Thurman Munson, who died in a plane crash on this day in 1979, was the first Yankees captain since Lou Gehrig. How many of the five subsequent captains can you name? (Hint: two were co-captains in the late-’80s.)
Yesterday’s SIQ: On Aug. 1, 1957, former Reds and Phillies outfielder Glen Gorbous set a world record by throwing a baseball how far?
Answer: 445 feet, 10 inches. Gorbous was playing for the Omaha Cardinals of the Triple A American Association at the time. During a promotional stunt, Gorbous tried four times to prove that he had the best arm in baseball. His first three throws were measured at 398, 410 and 428 feet, according to the Waterloo (Iowa) Daily Courier. With the fourth throw, he narrowly beat the record of 445 feet, 1 inch set by Don Grate.
Regardless of how precisely Gorbous’s throw was measured—I mean, do we think a minor league baseball team had Olympic shot-put-quality standards?—that’s an incredible feat. But—with a very, very significant asterisk—that isn’t really the farthest that a baseball has been thrown.
In 1990, the Florida State League’s Miami Miracle invited Chaz Brower to try to break Gorbous’s record. The catch? Brower was a professional jai alai player. Using a cesta (the long wicker-basket-type piece of equipment that jai alai players use to catch and throw the pelota), Brower hurled a baseball 482 feet over the center field fence.
Brower played Division II college baseball in Connecticut at the University of Bridgeport. Bridgeport had a jai alai fronton (facility) back then, and Brower was introduced to the game there.
“I went to the fronton in Bridgeport while in college and fell in love with the sport,” he told the Sun Sentinel after the baseball stunt, adding that he had a 96-mph fastball in college but had been able to throw a baseball only about 350 feet without the aid of the cesta.
From the Vault: Aug. 2, 1993
By the time the 1993 NFL season rolled around, the clock was ticking on John Elway’s career. I wrote in an April edition of SI:AM about how he had entered the NFL with such high expectations, having forced his way to the Broncos after being picked first in the ’83 draft by the Colts. But after his first decade in Denver, Elway had been unable to bring home a championship. The Broncos lost three Super Bowls in a span of four years in the ‘80s and then, after failing to make the playoffs in ’92, they fired Dan Reeves, who had been coaching the team since ’81.
Elway had often clashed with Reeves, who he believed to be inflexible in his offensive philosophy. Reeves had fired offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan after the 1991 season, with Reeves accusing Shanahan of insubordination for gameplanning with Elway behind his back.
So Elway was all smiles as training camp opened in 1993. Reeves was gone, replaced by Wade Phillips, who had been promoted from defensive coordinator. Phillips retained offensive coordinator Jim Fassel, who had been Elway’s OC at Stanford a decade earlier.
“Is it different?” Elway is quoted as saying in Richard Hoffer’s cover story, headlined “Happy Days.” “Well, for one thing, it wasn’t much of a day at camp last year if there weren’t at least five or six fights. There’s not all that tension out there this year, the fear for jobs. There’s none of that intimidation.”
“The last three years have been hell,” he added. “I know that I would not have been back here if Dan Reeves had been here. It wasn’t worth it to me. I didn’t enjoy it. It wasn’t any fun, and I got tired of working with him.”
Reeves, who had been quickly hired to coach the Giants, fired back.
“Just tell him,” Reeves said, “it wasn’t exactly heaven for me, either. One of these days I hope he grows up. Maybe he’ll mature sometime.”
The Broncos didn’t improve much under Phillips, though. They went 9–7 and lost in the Wild Card game. After they slipped to 7–9 the next year, Phillips was fired and replaced by Shanahan.
The decision to elevate Phillips is a fascinating one in retrospect. Shanahan had been the other top candidate for the job, but was passed over, even though Hoffer called hiring him “the obvious move.” When Phillips was fired after the 1994 season, Shanahan finally got the nod and, with Elway, led Denver to two Super Bowls. Might the Broncos have been able to win one sooner if Shanahan had gotten the job over Phillips in ‘92?
As for Reeves, the feud with his former Denver colleagues didn’t die down. When his Falcons faced Elway and Shanahan’s Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999, the two sides spent the days leading up to the game trading barbs.
Check out more of SI’s archives and historic images at vault.si.com.
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