Monday, August 11, 2014

Non-Waiver Trade Deadline: J.Lackey, A.Craig, & J.Kelly

...Another big trade occurring before the non-waiver deadline on July 31st, was the dealing of John Lackey along with minor leaguer Cory Littrell and cash to the St. Louis Cardinals.  Lackey is 35 (almost 36) years old, having played in the majors since 2002.  He moved to Boston as a free agent before the start of the 2010 season, and helped the Red Sox win their 3rd World Series last year. 

In just 2 starts with the Cardinals, Lackey is 1-1 with a 8.25 ERA and 7 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched.   

Allen Craig has hit one Double in just 4 AB's with his new Red Sox team. 

Craig just turned 30 last month, and had been with the Cardinals since 2010.

The youngest of the bunch, 26-year old Joe Kelly has started only one game for Boston since the trade, leaving with a no decision, a 1.29 ERA, and 2 strikouts in 7 innings of work.

Kelly has been in the majors since 2012.

If you haven't noticed, I don't have the 2014 Topps baseball card set yet.  The only 2014 Topps card that I currently own is Mariano Rivera.  Once I obtain the set, I will use 2014 cards for current updates.

Friday, August 8, 2014

1990 Topps All-Star Collector's Edition insert set #1-60

     Generally listed in most price guides as the "Topps Glossy Send-In" set, these All-Star Collector's Edition sets were released for eight consecutive years between 1983-1990.  Although I 'm referring to these cards as insert sets, they were actually redemption sets that could be redeemed in groups of 10 cards by sending in a number of redemption cards by mail (in addition to a shipping fee).  The redemption cards were found in Topps wax packs during the years that these All-Star Collector's Edition cards were available.   

The All-Star Collector's Edition sets contained 40 cards each between 1983-1985, and then 60 cards each between 1986-1990.  These sets are not to be confused with the 22-card Topps All-Star Game Commemorative insert sets (or Topps Glossy All-Star insert sets) found in rack packs between 1984-1991.

Of the 60 cards in this set, 36 of the player names really stand out to me: Ryne Sandberg, Nolan Ryan, Dave Stewart, Barry Larkin, Darryl Strawberry, Steve Sax, Gary Sheffield, Don Mattingly, Bret Saberhagen, Robin Yount, Ozzie Smith, Ken Griffey Jr., Wade Boggs, Dwight Gooden, Eric Davis, Ruben Sierra, Roberto Alomar, Jose Canseco, Joe Carter, Mike Scioscia, Julio Franco, Tim Raines, Rickey Henderson, Bob Geren, Andre Dawson, Mark McGwire, Bo Jackson, Carlton Fisk, Kirby Puckett, Cal Ripken, Will Clark, Dennis Eckersley, Craig Biggio, Fred McGriff, Tony Gwynn, and Omar Vizquel.

My 1990 Topps baseball card set is now stacked with 792 base cards, 152 debut cards, 132 traded cards, 60 send-in inserts, 22 all-star inserts, and 33 rookie inserts for a grand total of 1,191 cards.

I think that I read somewhere that these sets were manufactured at 1% of the production rate of the base cards.  The card backs on these sets don't identify much information, which is probably why I didn't pay much attention to them growing up.  Now, looking through my set binders, I'm glad that I have them.  If you're serious about collecting the greatly under-appreciated Topps sets released between the late-'80s and early-'90s, you might want to think about picking up the Glossy insert sets to go along with it.  These sets still come at a low cost, and many of these players are now entering the Hall-of-Fame. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Non-Waiver Trade Deadline: D.Price, D.Smyly, & A.Jackson

Perhaps the biggest trade on Non-Waiver Deadline Day occurred with David Price going to the Tigers in a 3-way deal that sent Drew Smyly to the Rays and Austin Jackson to the Mariners.  At 108 games into the 2014 season, Price is leading the American League in Games Started (23), Innings Pitched (170.2), Batters Faced (689), and Strikeouts (189). 

Price is already a 4-time All-Star with a Cy Young award under his belt and just into his 7th major league season.  It doesn't hurt that he also has 4 years of post season experience with two World Series starts in 2008. 

Smyly is a young pitcher with only 280 innings over his past 3 seasons with the Tigers.

Smyly brings 2 years of postseason experience to the Rays.

Austin Jackson just might be what the Mariners need to take the 2nd Wild Card spot away in the American League.  He was the runner-up for the A.L. Rookie of the Year award in 2010 with the Tigers, and in just his 5th major league season, has already posted some impressive numbers.

Jackson comes to the ballpark to play, or should I say, work.  During his first four seasons, Jackson has averaged 576 AB's, and is on pace to exceed that.  Jackson is on pace for about 38 Doubles this year, which would give him a 5-year career average of over 30.  He's already led the league twice with double-digit Triples figures during the past four years, and scores an average of almost 100 Runs a season.   He has been used almost exclusively as a centerfielder with the Tigers, and currently maintains a .990 average career fielding pct.  Jackson has made the postseason during 3 of his 4 years in the majors. 

Non-Waiver Trade Deadline: Y.Cespedes, J.Lester, & J.Gomes

One of the first big trades to beat the non-waiver deadline yesterday was the surprise move of Yoenis Cespedes to Boston.  After winning two consecutive HR derby titles and making an outstanding throw from from the outfield to get out runner, Howie Kendrick of the Angels, at homeplate earlier this season, Cespedes will now be in a Red Sox uniform.

Cespedes was a runner-up in A.L. Rookie of the Year voting for 2012, making his first All-Star appearance this season.  He brings the Red Sox a 3-season average of 22 HR's, 24 Doubles, and an OPS of .788 according to current statistics on Baseball-Reference.  He currently leads the league in Assists as an OF.

In return, the Athletics aquired Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes.  Lester is a 3-time All-Star that's averaged over 200 innings per season since he began pitching regularly during his third season as a Boston Starter in 2008. 

Lester also brings 4 years of postseason experience, including 2 World Series championships with an overall 2.11 ERA in 76.2 postseason innings pitched.

...Gomes is a former Athletics player that's originally from California.  He brings 3 years of postseason experience to an Oakland ballclub that is primed for a 2014 postseason appearance as a team with the current best record in baseball. 

Gomes currently has a career OPS of .781.