Matt Holliday is a back in the rarefied air of Colorado again. As the Rockies battle down the stretch in a very winnable NL West, the one-time NLCS MVP and All-Star will provide some valuable ammunition for a Rockies offense that is already among the top five in the National League. After a short stint in the minors, Holliday is back with the team that started his career. I’m guessing that he’s going to be happy to be back in the friendly confines of Coors Field to close out his career the way he started it. The addition of his veteran leadership and still-quite-effective bat is exactly the type of move that could finally lend some clarity to one of baseball’s most chaotic divisions.
It didn’t take long for Houston to promote reliever Roberto Osuna to the closer role. The former Blue Jay served a seventy-five-game suspension for a domestic battery incident that has yet to be heard in court, but he’ll be on the mound for the defending champs when it matters most come playoff time, per Astros manager AJ Hinch. Ick. There’s literally nothing I like about that move. It’s bad enough to bring the guy in as his suspension ended. But the Astros are in an unexpected battle for the West, and their actions speak volumes about their character as the season drags on. Something tells me that the stench of this trade will stick with the Astros for a while.
Don’t look now, but Cleveland might be the hottest team in baseball. They’ve won seven of ten to stretch their lead in the Central to 12.5 games over the Twins. Think that it’s an illusion because they play in baseball’s worst division? It’s possible, the AL Central is a bit of a mess, but splitting a four-game series with the Red Sox is no joke this season. No one wants to see José Ramirez, Francisco Lindor and company in October.
The Nationals, while sitting at 64-64, have thrown in the towel in the NL East. While they have one of the game’s best in Bryce Harper and aren’t out of it by most metrics, looking up at five teams in the wild card race must have seemed overly daunting, as they’ve decided to start selling assets and looking forward to next year. Gone is second baseman Daniel Murphy, who will strengthen the Cubs infield as they look to win the NL Central again. Also gone is first baseman Matt Adams, who’ll look to help the Cardinals catch those same Cubs. Said Nationals owner Mark Lerner in a letter to fans: “When something isn't working, you evaluate the situation and take the necessary steps to improve it. You don’t just stand by, cross your fingers, and hope for the best. Unfortunately, in this case, that means making very tough decisions about our roster.” Apparently, the optimism on display at the trade deadline in the nation’s capital was exceptionally short-lived.