14 Jul News & Notes From Around MLB: Week 15 – Part 2
By: Lou Landers – @realSportsCrew
Part 1 can be found here.
5. Mets may use Thor as a RP to get him back from DL sooner than expected
This entire idea is stupid to me. Why use your best SP when healthy in the bullpen where he will only be able to help you for one inning? What’s even more dumb about this idea is the question of why even rush Syndergaard back at all? This is a lost season for the Mets and Thor is arguably the face of their franchise now that David Wright’s career appears to be over and with Matt Harvey possibly being the most hated player in NYC right now. The Mets would be smart to give THOR extra time to rest, to make sure he has no set backs and can be 100% heading into next season.
The Mets have made a number of questionable decisions over the past couple of seasons, and if they did this, I believe they would be scrutinized even more. If/when Syndergaard is ready to pitch again this season, he should go on a proper rehab assignment in the Minors and begin to work his arm strength back up so that he is able to get back to be an elite SP.
6. Quintana traded to the Cubs
The Cubs rotation has been dreadful this season and they are also not getting any younger. Lackey is expected to retire at season’s end and Arrieta is expected to walk and become a free agent. Acquiring a guy like Quintana will help them this season while also providing them with a quality arm for their rotation for another few seasons.
They gave up a lot to get Quintana, but in comparison to last season’s trade for rental player Aroldis Chapman, they came out on top here. They have more than enough young talent on the Major League roster and their rotation has been their achilles heel all season long. Quintana will benefit from moving to the NL, having a much better defense behind him and getting run support from this Cubs lineup. This is one of many moves I expect the Cubs to make before the non-waiver trade deadline as they look to get back into the playoffs and make another World Series run.
7. Two teams to look out for in the 2nd half of the season
The two teams who I expect to have much better 2nd halves than 1st halves are the Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs.
Texas started very slowly, dealing with a number of key injuries to players like Adrian Beltre and Cole Hamels and couldn’t seem to get their bullpen sorted out. Now Beltre and Hamels are back and the Rangers are starting to look more like the playoff team we saw in 2015 and 2016. Although they play in the same division as Houston, the rest of their division is pretty weak and that should help them moving forward.
The Cubs still appear to be suffering from a World Series hangover, and I know I’ve been saying it all season, but I do expect them to start to turn things around. They are still within reach of both the NL Central lead and a wild card spot and at some point this offense is going to wake up. They are far too talented of a ball club to be struggling this much and some reinforcements via the trade market should help them be one of baseball’s best teams in the 2nd half.
8. Two teams that you expect to tail off in the 2nd half of the season
The Twins and Rockies stand out as teams who I expect to fall off in the 2nd half of the season. The Rockies currently hold down a playoff spot in the NL while the Twins are very much alive in the AL Wild Card race and in the AL Central division.
The Rockies biggest problem is in their starting rotation. They’ve been relying a lot on rookie SP’s who have all seemed to hit a wall at the same time. They did just get back Jon Gray and Tyler Chatwood which should help them, however, playing in the highly competitive NL West division may prove to be too difficult for them. They have a number of games left against both the Dodgers and Diamondbacks who are both significantly better teams than they are. The one thing they have going for them is that the other teams in their division in the Padres and Giants are two of the worst in MLB this season and they will get to play them a lot too.
The Twins were one of the more pleasant surprises in the 1st half of the year. Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios have been bright spots in their rotation and Miguel Sano has displayed the raw power that we’ve been hearing about for years. They seem to have found themselves quite the closer as well with Brandon Kintzler. The problem here is that outside of the 2 SP I mentioned (who I both expect to regress in the 2nd half), they don’t have anyone else in the rotation or bullpen that can be relied upon. This is not a team that has the talent to compete with the elite teams in the AL and it’s only a matter of time before they find themselves under .500 and looking up at a number of teams in both their division and the Wild Card standings.