In this episode of Cheap Seats Chatter, Alex Clark, Ryan “Splash” Potts, and I delve into part one of our two-part series detailing the MLB Trade Deadline, where we highlight some of the biggest moves made already. One of the most notable transactions has been former Minnesota Twin Nelson Cruz being shipped off to the Tampa Bay Rays, which we begin our podcast. We also highlight the controversy surrounding the abrupt departure of Seattle Mariners’ closer Kendall Graveman after he was traded to their divisional rival in the Houston Astros. And the Cleveland Indians have decided to officially discontinue their name starting in 2022. We break down the name change to the Cleveland Guardians, its history, and what it means moving forward to close things out.
Cheap Seats Chatter: Cruzin’ on Over to Tampa Bay
It’s been a hot topic of discussion as to where the 41-year-old slugger would land come trade deadline time, and now we know that Cruz will don the navy blue in his return to the AL East with the Tampa Bay Rays. The long-time designated hitter was featured in a package that included Twins reliever prospect Calvin Faucher being exchanged for minor league pitchers Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman. Cruz previously represented the Baltimore Orioles back in 2014, and now, he returns just as dangerous as he was back then, posting a .284 average with 21 home runs and 52 RBI during his 2021 campaign.
Meanwhile, the Twins have been underwhelming, to say the least, with many expecting them to build on their back-to-back post-season appearances in 2020 and 2019 that saw them win almost 62% of their games. Now, they appear to be in rebuild mode with other transactions expected to take place.
But for the Rays, does this put them over the hump to stand tall as a legitimate AL contender? We get into that and more in our first segment.
Cheap Seats Chatter: Frazier Bolsters an NL Contender
The Padres were widely considered to be a National League favorite to win a pennant in 2021, and while they’re currently third in the NL West standings at 59-45, they comfortably maintain control of the NL’s second wildcard spot. Then they add Frazier from the Pittsburgh Pirates, along with $1.4 million in salary relief in exchange for three minor league prospects in the Padres No. 5 prospect infielder/outfielder Tucupita Marcano, outfielder Jack Suwinski, and right-handed pitcher Michell Miliano.
This could potentially mean bad news for anyone outside of the NL West that is trying to claim a wildcard spot, as this trade brings the first-time all-star to an already deep lineup in San Diego. Frazier’s defensive value he brings as a versatile utility player that can play both in the infield and outfield, plus his league-leading 127 hits that have produced a .324 batting average will certainly bode well for the Padres moving forward.
The move though will mean a potential change in position, however as fellow first-time all-star Jake Cronenworth is currently representing at second base. With the career year the 29-year-old has had, how much value does Frazier bring to the Padres as they begin to turn on the jets for their playoff push? We analyze the collective impact he could have on this team vying to return to the playoffs even stronger than last year when they flirted with a pennant.
Cheap Seats Chatter: Graveman Joins a Familiar Foe
It’s been a career year for the former Mariners’ closer, who was yielding a sensational 0.82 ERA and 10 saves throughout 2021 thus far. And it came as a shock when general manager Jerry Dipoto decided to trade the 30-year-old reliever and Rafael Montero for Astros’ reliever Joe Smith and Astros third baseman Abraham Toro to the AL-contending Astros. This also comes the day after a historic game that saw the Mariners climb back from being down 7-0 to win 11-8. over the Astros, courtesy of a bottom of the eighth grand slam from Dylan Moore that sealed the deal.
Many felt the Mariners were finally building momentum after that game. Heading into the day of the trade, the Mariners had gone 23-11 in their past 34 games and are just two games out from the second AL wildcard spot that the Oakland Athletics currently control. It’s been 20 years since the Mariners have gone to the playoffs, and with it in striking distance, there’s been a lot of protest amongst fans and players about the move that has people scratching their heads in confusion. What does this mean moving forward for the Mariners and the Astros? We get into how both sides either win or lose in this trade moving forward to continue the latter half of the season.
Cheap Seats Chatter: The End of a Controversial Nickname
They’ve been known as the Indians since 1915, but the Cleveland MLB franchise has decided to finally discontinue the inaccurate and offensive name that has disgruntled many Native Americans for years. Their team has a new nickname, which is now the Guardians. The name has some history behind it that references the eight statues that stand on the emblematic Hope Memorial Bridge in downtown Cleveland. Furthermore, the statues symbolize the connection and progress the bridge brings to the heavy transportation that occurs on it daily.
The name change comes after Guardians’ owner Paul Dolan decided it was time to progress with a non-offensive name after witnessing the protests that occurred following George Floyd’s tragic murder last year. The organization had sorted through 1200 nicknames with over 140 hours of interviews and surveys from 40,000+ fans to determine what the name of the future will be.
It’s already been two years since the discontinuation of the Chief Wahoo logo on the franchise’s jerseys that bore an offensive depiction of Native Americans, and now the name change subsequently follows in similar suit. We discuss the impact it’s had on the native population and the likeness of the name change and logo change that will be representing the organization starting in 2022.
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