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“What in the World is Hashtag?” – Vin Scully

Vin Scully“Can I ask you an honest question, between you and me? What in the world is “hashtag?”” – Dodgers announcer Vin Scully.

This golden nugget of greatness occurred before the bottom of the fourth inning began at Petco Park on Wednesday, in a game that the Dodgers would eventually win 4-3 over the Padres.

Scully continues to go on a slightly nonsensical, yet thoroughly enjoyable, ramble about a new DirecTV service called “DogTV. Then, the 85-year-old, smooth-voiced legend concluded with a relevant question: “Does that mean cats can’t watch it?”

Scully’s ability to be at the top of a difficult profession for decades upon decades and master his craft with grace, style, and accuracy is why he will forever be remembered as the greatest announcer who ever lived. The fact that Scully was able to tear viewers’ eyes away from game action to tune in with full attention to his brief tangent and end up just smiling with amusement, is beyond impressive.

He has the charm of a guffawing grandfather, the wit of a very old fox, and the voice of God (sorry,  Morgan Freeman). Go ahead and watch the clip linked below and try not to smile as Scully giggles and gasps his way through a very troubling set of questions for someone who was born when Babe Ruth was still playing (though I’d argue his general knowledge of all this doggone technology us whippersnappers use these days is far superior to most people his age).

And, in fairness, the questions remain–what IS a hashtag? They really don’t make sense, beyond the “trendability” of such things. And though DirecTV’s concept is marvelous, what happens to my poor cat when all he sees on the tube all day is those dumb dogs chasing their tails? I can only imagine.

Take a look at Vin’s hilarious diatribe RIGHT HERE. Is this one of the best announcer moments in recent memory? Tell us in the comments below!

Oh…and for what it’s worth? After Scully’s little speech, #VinScully began trending on Twitter. Naturally.

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Follow @3u3d on Twitter and LIKE Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for all your 2013 baseball news!

Grade That Trade! The “Wait…Are the Mariners Actually Good?” Edition

mike morseYou have to give Seattle Mariners GM Jack Zduirneckenckeicnckine (upon further review, it’s actually “Zdurineck,” but who’s counting?) credit for recognizing a weakness and aggressively pursuing a solution.

It’s no secret that the Mariners have needed offensive punch for a long time, but this off-season they finally did something about it. In December, they traded starting pitcher Jason Vargas to the Angels for slugger Kendrys Morales. And this week, they put together a three-team trade to snag Michael Morse from the Washington Nationals.

This lineup hasn’t had two middle-of-the-order power threats in it since Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson — and we all know how that turned out.

Add in the fact that Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager and Jesus Montero will presumably improve on their 2012 seasons, as well as a handful of top prospects on the verge of promotion (shortstop Nick Franklin and catcher Mike Zunino for example), and this Seattle team might be very, very real.

Let’s break it down:

Mariners Get:

OF/1B Michael Morse

Nationals Get:

SP A.J. Cole (AAA)

SP Blake Treinen (Class A+)

Player to be Named Later

Athletics Get:

C John Jaso

To me, the clear winners are the Mariners. That being said, all three teams do improve in one way or another. The Nationals can afford to trade away a power bat for prospects with the re-signing of Adam LaRoche recently and the addition of Denard Span to the outfield (which will push Bryce Harper to left field, most likely).

Washington actually traded Cole, a top pitching prospect, to Oakland originally for Gio Gonzalez. Getting him back may be a coup, even though they have solid pitching depth already. If the player to be named later is of any consequence, the Nationals could potentially win this trade. And while Treinen isn’t an uber-prospect, the 24-year-old has some upside (92 to 23 K to BB ratio last season).

Fear not, A’s fans — your team did good, too. Oakland was forced to designate George Kottaras for assignment to make room for Jaso, but they landed the good bat behind the plate that Billy Beane has been pursuing for years. In 2012, Jaso hit .276 with 10 homers and 50 RBI in just under 300 at-bats.Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics

But as Beane always does, he scored a hitter who gets on base at a ridiculous clip (.394 last season). Jaso will battle it out with Derek Norris for the starting job, but it should be a very good platoon for the A’s lineup in 2013.

But back to the man of the hour, Morse. This may be a one-year experiment for the Mariners, who sorely need the offense, because Morse will be a free agent after the season. But it might be well worth it.

In 2012, Morse hit 18 homers and 62 RBI in just 102 games. Since getting regular playing time in Washington (Morse had his first four seasons in Seattle, but didn’t see much time), he has become a legit power threat.

In just over 350 career games as a National, Morse hit about 70 home runs (he’s good for just under 30 in a full season, essentially). But the real gem is what this does for the Mariners’ lineup.

It’s this writer’s opinion that the Mariners are an under-the-radar club who may be next year’s Oakland A’s. Why? Last season they were buried in the best division in baseball, so people might not remember they won 75 games. With two legitimate bats bolstering the lineup, plus the aforementioned prospects, the M’s could be very scary in 2013.

And lest we forget Felix Hernandez anchoring an above-average rotation with three star pitching prospects just waiting for a shot at the big leagues. Even if one of the prospects pans out, the rotation more than replaces Vargas.

Assume Morse and Morales stay healthy, and I think the Mariners are good for a .500 season in a very worst-case scenario. In a division where it will take 90 wins to sniff the playoffs, they would have to get incredible production from other members of the lineup too, but we saw it happen in Oakland last season.

Either way, the Mariners are going for it and I respect that. Seattle has improved, as is the goal with any trade. Therefore, they win this trade for me.

If you like wheelin’ and dealin’, follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook!

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Every Team’s New Years Resolution

new-years-resolutionsIt’s that time of year again. That time when you realize your resolution to lose 30 pounds failed – in fact, we gained 30, didn’t we? When your declaration that your vampire novel would finally be finished and sent to the publisher, never got off the shelf.

Or that your dream of visiting Tahiti ended up being a shady motel for a weekend in Oakland on business.

Now that we’ve set a bleak mood, here’s the point: It’s New Years resolution time. We will all be making them, whether it’s private or public. And likewise, our favorite MLB teams must have one resolution they are aiming to accomplish in 2013.

Since we survived the apocalypse for now, here are Three Up, Three Down’s resolutions for every MLB team:

AL West:

Texas Rangers - Make a new friend - The Rangers either shopped in the wrong place or got screwed over for every player on their Christmas wish list. It’s not too late to snag Justin Upton from the D’Backs, though it gets less likely with each passing day. Texas should be going after the powerful right fielder hard in January.

Los Angeles AngelsMake a little money - Hear me out. Everyone knows that Arte Moreno and his Angels are filthy rich, but do they really have enough left over to re-work the decimated starting rotation? Trading for Jason Vargas was a nice touch, but will Vargas, Joe Blanton and Tommy Hanson really replace Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana?

arte morenoOakland A’sMove to a better ‘hood - Lew Wolff is fooling nobody. Because everyone and their mother knows that o.Co Coliseum is not a viable venue for a professional baseball team. Wolff claims he wants at least another half-decade in Oakland, but I’m calling his bluff. Their resolution should be to get OUT, and fast.

Seattle MarinersBulk up - No, not on the Bartolo Colon diet. The M’s took a good first step toward that workout regimen by trading for Kendrys Morales. But just because that punch-less offense now benches the bar doesn’t mean opponents will quiver with fear. The M’s need to go out and get some more power to legitimize those playoff hopes.

Houston AstrosGraduate - It’s no secret that the ‘Stros are a big work in progress. Moving to what was last year’s best division in baseball isn’t going to help things. While the other four teams in the division are – at the very least – grown men, Houston is struggling to graduate from a student to a serious businessman. Can they take that step in 2013?

AL Central:

Detroit Tigers - Learn to close – Take this as you may. There are thousands of frat boys in America resolving to improve in the same fashion next year. But I meant it as a nod to the Tigers getting handled in a sweep in the World Series in 2012. Adding Torii Hunter and bringing back Anibal Sanchez were big steps, but 2013 will be a failure without redemption.

Kansas City RoyalsBecome a “cool kid” - Oh, don’t pretend like you weren’t aspiring to be one your whole academic life. The Royals got some nice clothes and a haircut over the winter vacation, and are looking to butt their way into the “in” crowd. In baseball speak, that means they are aiming to be the new playoff darlings after adding much-needed pitching.

torii hunter

Cleveland IndiansGet along with Dad – The relationship wasn’t that bad before, but the Indians sure would like to impress new skipper Terry Francona in 2013. Cleveland is loaded with untapped potential, and they are hoping to play well for a full season to show their manager and fans that they are serious about this job.

Chicago White SoxProve everyone wrong - Wait, didn’t they do that last year? Sure, but people like me are still unconvinced. Their numbers were unexpectedly good, but that just makes the boss curious. Can they repeat? Do they actually deserve the promotion? The Chisox sure would like to move on up, but they will have a tough road.

Minnesota Twins - Get back on their feet - Plenty of people have to resolve to do this every year. Whether it be an economic downturn,  family problem, or injury, some years are just destined to be awful. The Twins know they won’t contend in 2013, but they can start the grueling process of getting back to a stable place.

AL East:

New York YankeesForgiveness – They better learn how, because former public enemy number one, Kevin Youkilis, will be manning third base for the Yanks in 2013. What this really means, is that if Youk bounces back and has a good year, the Yanks will forget all about their problems, and likely return to the postseason.

Boston Red SoxGet cleaned up - This kind of resolution is usually reserved for a junkie of some kind, but it’ll fit nicely with the BoSox here. Boston got so far off track last season that they traded away millions of dollars in bad contracts for below-average prospects. Once they finish cutting out the rot, the Sox might contend again, even in this division.

Toronto Blue JaysBuild an empire - Such a wish is much more foreboding when applied to business in the real world, but opponents of the Jays should really be terrified of the changes this team has made. Their one and only goal with so many major acquisitions must be to not only make the playoffs, but to dominate everyone on the way.blue jays new players

Tampa Bay RaysTry something crazy – I want to go skydiving, or hike a volcano, or start a band. The Rays, however, should do a whole different kind of crazy. Start Wil Myers in the big leagues, and see if it takes off. The kid is ready, and the lineup needs a boost. Anything remotely good from Myers may mean a playoff berth for Tampa.

Baltimore OriolesUpdate the security system - In this day and age, you can’t be too careful with home security. I’m not talking a drawbridge and moat, but we’ve learned that the best teams are thriving because of good pitching staffs, to protect any other weaknesses they may have. Baltimore NEEDS a couple starting pitchers.

NL West:

Los Angeles DodgersGive to charity – I swear, this isn’t even a “rich ownership” joke. Okay, it kind of is. But with all the money this team has shelled out over the past ten or so months, why isn’t their most deserving commodity seeing any of it? They keep talking about an extension for Clayton Kershaw, but show the fans you mean business!

San Francisco GiantsShare with friends - Not the World Series title itself, although this Dodgers fan would appreciate them passing that honor along next season. I’m talking about the Giants sharing with their San Francisco cohort, the 49ers. As the new year starts, the 49ers will be in contention for a title of their own, and any advice would be great.

Arizona Diamondbacks  v San Diego PadresArizona DiamondbacksCut ties with a family member - Sometimes it’s just necessary. You hate to see anyone secede from the clan, but signing free agent outfielder Cody Ross makes it inevitable. Will it be Upton? Adam Eaton, Jason Kubel or Gerardo Parra? One will need to go, and it’s only a matter of time before they get dumped.

Colorado RockiesGet health insurance - I know, I know. It’s not affordable in this country anymore. That’s one thing I won’t argue! But you have to think, given the regularity of major injuries to Colorado’s best players (Michael Cuddyer, Troy Tulowitzki, etc.) they would find any way to keep everyone off the DL.

San Diego PadresEarn a promotion - Any opponents who take the Padres lightly in 2013 are foolish. With Chase Headley, Alexi Amarista and Yonder Alonso backing an underrated pitching staff, San Diego could be the A’s of 2013. They will have to fight and scrap their way to get there, though.

NL Central:

Cincinnati RedsFollow through - This is a tough one for any given person to accomplish. We make all sorts of promises to ourselves that oftentimes go unfinished. The Reds have made a silent pact to be even better than they were last year, and finally achieve what they’ve been on the brink of for years now. They might be the team to beat in the NL next year.

St. Louis CardinalsRekindle the flame - In a non-romantic way, of course. One of the reasons the Cardinals were able to shock fans everywhere and make that insane title run in 2011 was the clutch gene. They weren’t missing it last year, but everything was just too inconsistent in St. Louis. If they rediscover their balance and passion, watch out everyone else.

2011 World Series Game 7 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals

Milwaukee BrewersBe a good parent - Confused? Good. The Brewers almost clawed their way all the way back into a Wild Card slot in 2012 after a dismal, bullpen-failure-laden start to the year. With a loaded lineup and above average pitching staff, this should not happen again. So their resolution is to help tutor young shortstop Jean Segura into a star.

Pittsburgh PiratesImprove their grades - The Pirates were so close to being eligible last year. Not for the playoffs, or any nonsense like that. But to finally getting over the hump. Pittsburgh needs a 2.0 to be eligible – in this case, they need 81 wins – to be taken seriously. Will they reach the .500 mark? A slight improvement in 2013 will do it!

Chicago CubsChange their image – There really is no changing an entire image built around loss and devastation, as Cubs fans have known all too well for over a century. But even a slight uptick in wins and a breakout season from one of their young stars (Brett Jackson, maybe?) will at least give people hope that they can change.

NL East:

Washington NationalsMake up - Adam LaRoche needs to be back in D.C. for 2013. All he wants is one extra year on a contract he has more than earned. Without a doubt, he was the most consistent hitter on the best team in the league in 2012, and should get paid as such. My New Years advice to the Nats is to make up with him. Sign the guy for three years.

Atlanta BravesLearn acceptance - I remember being taught in psychology that the standard grieving process goes Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Braves fans and any good fan anywhere are surely coming out of the Depression stage right now (I know I am) and trying to transition into Acceptance at the fact that Chipper Jones has retired.

chipper farewell

Philadelphia PhilliesBecome more patient - This is easier said than done for anyone, but it’s especially pertinent in Philadelphia. From an outsider’s perspective, I thought Philadelphia was caving into a sinkhole given the fans general reaction to last season’s debacle. Patience, Phillie fanatics. Your team is still very, very good. They are close, too.

New York MetsHave more fun - I presume life as a Mets fan hasn’t been very enjoyable for the past three seasons – well, at least after the All-Star break. But they re-signed poster boy David Wright and gained some really solid prospects in the R.A. Dickey trade. Everything is headed in the right direction, Mets fans. Just calm down and have a little fun with it.

Miami MarlinsMake amends with people - Strange, you say? Au contraire! The smaller fan base that follows the Marlins are no doubt let down by the shocking fire sale that took place this winter. No more executive-speak, front office. Give it to the fans, and your best remaining player Giancarlo Stanton, straight. What is the plan? Honesty will take you far.

Tweet @3u3d with what you think your team’s New Years resolution should be, or Facebook Three Up, Three Down with your suggestion! Don’t forget to subscribe and follow the blog and podcast here.

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Grade That Trade! The Yankees, I Mean Dodgers, Get Richer

It’s official. The Dodgers and Red Sox have completed a ridiculous nine-player swap that sends first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and a whole bunch of crappy contracts to Los Angeles, in exchange for James Loney and some prospects to Boston.

Holy cow. Let me get this out of the way as a Dodger fan: WOOOOOHOOOOOO!

Okay, thanks. That being said, let me explain how this trade affects both teams, and then I’ll leave it up to you to vote which team got the better deal.

Here’s how it breaks down:

Boston receives:

1B James Loney

SP Rubby De La Rosa (AAA)

SP Allen Webster (AA)

OF Jerry Sands (AAA)

IF Ivan De Jesus (AAA)

Los Angeles receives:

1B Adrian Gonzalez

SP Josh Beckett

OF Carl Crawford

UTIL Nick Punto

PLUS Cash

If you’re a casual baseball fan, you might think Wow, the Dodgers just scored 3 All-Stars!

Little do you know, Beckett and Crawford are owed big money for little production and spotty health over the last year or more. Punto is simply a utility player but a great clubhouse guy who can contribute to a winning team (just ask the 2011 Cardinals). Besides, it’s a huge upgrade over Juan Uribe and Adam Kennedy.

If Crawford comes back healthy from Tommy John surgery in 2014, he could be worth the money. Before being signed by Boston, Crawford was annually one of the better all-around players in baseball. Who knows – maybe a change of scenery does him well, but I don’t expect anything out of him.

Beckett has a chance to shine in L.A., but that’s based on a bunch of big “if’s” as well. IF Beckett stays healthy. IF he keeps the ball down. Worst case scenario, the Dodgers have a seasoned veteran with tons of postseason experience to help guide guys like Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang through a potential playoff berth. But, with Chad Billingsley’s possible elbow injury, adding a usually mediocre, formerly incredible starting pitcher is something sorely needed right now.

And do I really have to explain why Gonzalez was a great pick up? He hit .338 last year in Boston and has also been a perennial All-Star throughout his career. He can hit 30 homers, drive in 100 runs and bat .300 as his career numbers will attest to. Plus, he’s won multiple gold gloves at first base. So you’re telling me the Dodgers swapped a .250-hitting, powerless, smooth-fielding James Loney for a .300-hitting, powerful, smooth-fielding Gonzalez? I’ll take it.

Before I move on to analyzing what the Red Sox obtained in this deal, let me remind everyone of two things. If the Twitter world is the collective opinion of baseball fans, I’m seriously worried for the sanity of the sport’s fan base. So, here goes:

1) Money doesn’t matter. The new ownership of the Dodgers paid $2 billion to buy the team, and will be securing a $4 billion TV deal soon. They will over pay, and they openly admit it. Money is NOT an issue. They can take on all those big contracts and blow their noses with the $100 bills.

2) Telling me the Dodgers don’t have the pitching to win the division is not backed up by statistics. As of today, the Dodgers still have the second-best ERA in the National League as a team, two spots ahead of the pitching-heavy San Francisco Giants (also leading them in batting average against, strikeouts and quality starts). Until that changes, please don’t tell me the Dodgers have no pitching, because five months into the season those numbers are no longer “flukes.”

Back to business. Some  of the prospects the Red Sox received might be no-names to the casual baseball fan. But let me tell you, Boston received a pretty good haul. In addition to ridding themselves of about $78.5 gazillion in salary, they picked up two high-ceiling starting pitchers and two hitters who have a shot at developing into legitimate every day players.

James Loney could also benefit from a change of scenery. Once considered an elite prospect, he looked well on his way to becoming a star about five years ago with the Dodgers. Then came a dip in power. Then a dip in average. A dip in RBI. Now, he’s one of the most average offensive bats you’ll find. Except he’s not even going to reach 10 home runs this season.

I love James Loney. He’s been one of my favorite players on the Dodgers for a number of years (I even have his jersey – oh, what to do with it now?!) and I hold a high value on defensive prowess, which he possesses a lot of.

I truly hope Loney does well in Boston. But with free agency looming in 2013, chances are he won’t be around for them anyway. Guys that will hang around are these three AAA and one AA players they acquired. 

The one with the highest ceiling in my opinion is Allen Webster, the AA starter. He was an 18th-round draft choice in 2008 that many thought might have a better career down the road than Dodgers’ top prospect Zach Lee after both started to develop in the minors.

MLB.com ranks Webster their 65th best prospect in baseball right now, mostly due to a mid-90′s sinker, plus-curveball and plus-change. He really does have a great chance to be a future star in Boston.

De La Rosa is in the same boat – he just made his first appearance back with the Dodgers after a lengthy recovery from Tommy John. But before, during and after the surgery reviews about him were rave. He throws very hard: about an average of 95, just a bit higher than Justin Verlander’s average, and he has topped out at 99.

De La Rosa needs to work on his willingness to work the inside part of the plate, and gain confidence in his secondary pitches so hitters can’t sit on the heater. As he matures, these issues should be sorted out and De La Rosa could become a poor man’s Pedro Martinez if he doesn’t stray from the path mentally or physically.

Jerry Sands can play outfield or first base and has shown tons of promising power in the minors. That being said, the Pacific Coast League is notorious for inflating young players’ numbers because it’s such an offense-friendly league. In a few stints in the Majors with Los Angeles, Sands showed very infrequent flashes of potential. Most of his time was spent trolling around the Mendoza line with little power and plate discipline to show for it.

The same can be said for De Jesus. I believe he has more potential than Sands overall, but is a smaller-name player so goes unnoticed. De Jesus had some big appearances for the Dodgers in 2012 and could become a spark player for the Red Sox down the road if developed properly.

It’s hard to tell in a trade like this who “wins” per se. Loney for Gonzalez is an obvious win for the Dodgers. And for right NOW, I have to say L.A. won the trade. They are going for a World Series title, no matter the cost. But the fact that they got a huge left-handed bat, a potential number two starter and an improvement on the bench AND were able to keep Dee Gordon and Zach Lee, speaks for itself.

But, if Boston develops the four young players they received in the deal properly, we’re talking about one or two potential impact bats and the possibility of two middle of the rotation starters. Down the road, the Red Sox may be reloading for another big run.

Tell us below in the comments who YOU think won the trade! Don’t forget to vote in the poll! And please follow @3u3d on Twitter and LIKE Three Up, Three Down on Facebook!

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

2012 Power Rankings: Monday, August 6th

Another week in the books and we saw some major shuffling, but mostly static across the board. The trade whirlwind is over, but moves are still being made through waivers. The Giants picked up Jose Mijares from the Royals, and the Dodgers snagged Joe Blanton from Philly.

Does those transactions move them up in the rankings? I’ll tell you one thing. The Tribe will continue its downward spiral. An 0-10 stretch and a punch less overall team will send a team nowhere but down. And how bout an 8-2 previous 10 for Atlanta, who climbs way up, despite being a Wild Card team.

As always, look for the three big, red down arrows for our biggest losers and the three big, green arrows for the biggest winners. Here are this week’s official Three Up, Three Down MLB Power Rankings:

30. Houston Astros (36-74, 2-8 in last 10, last week: 30)

The Astros have lost 30 of their last 34 games. Do I even need to say anything else? They are so by far the worst team in baseball, it’s almost funny. But then you feel bad for laughing. It’s just really awkward. The ‘Stros are a legitimate “threat” to lose 110 games.

29. Colorado Rockies (39-68, 2-8, 29)

Things are getting rockier and rockier (see what I did there?) in Colorado. They’ve had enough pitching woes as it is, but now Jonathan Sanchez and Christian Friedrich are down with injuries, joining their buddies Todd Helton and Michael Cuddyer on the DL.

28. Chicago Cubs (43-64, 3-7, 27)

Believe it or not, games are about to get more exciting in Chicago despite the constant losing. Top prospects Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson were called up recently, and Cubs fans have to be interested in seeing what this new, young dynamic lineup can put together.

27. Kansas City Royals (45-63, 4-6, 28)

Every time the Royals lose a game, I cry a tiny bit. I can’t decide if I’m more just depressed for the fans of Kansas City who had a promising team on paper for once, or embarrassed at my own failed prediction. At least Billy Butler is still awesome.

26. San Diego Padres (47-64, 4-6, 24)

So, how does a team that goes 4-6 over the last 10 games jump two spots in the power rankings? Um…have you SEEN the San Diego beaches? Sorry, other states. The Friars still need a lot of help, but maybe them selling the team for $800 million is a good starting point.

25. Cleveland Indians (50-59, 0-10, 17)

That big old zero is not a good thing. It means the Indians have gone on to the field and looked more like the team at the beginning of the movie Major League more than a real, live baseball team. Out with Derek Lowe and Johnny Damon, in with the new, they say!

24. Philadelphia Phillies (49-60, 4-6, 23)

Philadelphia sold away half their roster at the trade deadline, then immediately won the first two games in August. And then they sucked again. Well, then…wasn’t that fun? Carlos Ruiz hit the DL, officially ending any comeback talk that might have been creeping out of Philly.

23. Miami Marlins (49-60, 4-6, 21)

Remember when the Marlins and Phillies were going to pit their fancy, expensive players against each other in a 162-game battle for NL East supremacy? I have to brag – I never fully bought into the hype. And it’s making me look dang good.

22. Milwaukee Brewers (49-59, 5-5, 26)

Ho-hum, the Brewers were average, and Ryan Braun did some cool things and Michael Fiers continued to be the most unknown rookie sensation this side of Saturn, and the bullpen is still terrible, and Milwaukee brews good beer and ten games under .500 means no playoffs.

21. Minnesota Twins (48-61, 7-3, 25)

The Twins have been surprisingly adept on offense since last week. Granted, playing the Indians will do that to you these days. But Ben Revere, Denard Span, Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham – these guys aren’t as bad as we originally though. With a pitching upgrade, they are a sneaky pick in 2013.

20. Toronto Blue Jays (53-55, 4-6, 18) 

Womp womp! This just shows how incredibly valuable Jose Bautista is to the Jays. That being said, role players are showing some resiliency for this team. Against A’s closer Ryan Cook over the weekend, they hit game-tying homers in the top of the 9th. Two games in a row.

19. Seattle Mariners (51-60, 7-3, 22) 

For the second straight week, the M’s are moving up in the world. I really like the make up and young talent on this team. I have a feeling they will be in contention in about two years, right when King Felix’s contract ends. When did the AL West become such a good division?

18. New York Mets (53-56, 5-5, 20)

After a horrendous first week in the rankings, the Mets climbed back a couple of spots to respectability with a 5-5 stretch over their last 10. The second half slide continues in general, but at least they aren’t so god-awful to watch lately.

17. Boston Red Sox (55-55, 6-4, 19)

I’m not necessarily on the bandwagon, but if the Red Sox reel off a 7-3 or 8-2 stretch of 10, you may see me chasing after it trying to jump on. We know the pitching is bad, but so what? They have offense for miles, even with Big Papi on the DL for a couple of weeks.

16.  Arizona Diamondbacks (55-54, 6-4, 16)

I truly thought the D’Backs were going to come in and stay hot for this week. But aside from a (very disheartening for me, I might add) sweep on the road against my Dodgers, they haven’t done much to allow total faith in this team. They are very, very close though.

15. Tampa Bay Rays (56-52, 5-5, 14)

While Jered Weaver, Justin Verlander and Chris Sale continue to grab the headlines, David Price will continue to be the other best pitcher in the league and lead his offensively passive squad to a potential playoff berth. Hipster, tilted sideways hat and all.

14. Baltimore Orioles (58-51, 6-4, 15)

I hate being that guy, but I just don’t believe the O’s can carry this into the postseason. That being said, I AM definitely in the “let’s see them get a winning season” camp. Both goals are lofty, but 24 more wins will seal it! Come on Adam Jones, keep it up!

13. Oakland A’s (58-51, 4-6, 7) 

Not quite a complete fall from grace, but the A’s are showing that they are, in fact, beatable. Rookie (obviously) starter A.J. Jenkins hits the DL. Rookie (obviously) starter Dan Straily slides in without missing a beat. So much pitching, so little veteran experience. That will be their undoing.

12. Los Angeles Angels (59-51, 4-6, 10)

I dropped the Angels a couple of spots, mostly because the teams that passed them were a little bit better last week. They lost a couple tough ones in Arlington, but remain close in the division. Albert Pujols is still really, really good by the way. And don’t you forget it!

11. San Francisco Giants (59-50, 4-6, 9)

The Giants’ slide seemingly came out of nowhere. But the normally reliable starting pitching has faltered, and Hunter Pence hasn’t quite yet become accustomed to the new digs. San Francisco could be in big trouble playing the Cardinals on the road this week.

10. Los Angeles Dodgers (59-51, 6-4, 8)

My Dodgers have hung around a half game out, and get the benefit of the doubt for two reasons here: First, it’s my favorite team. That’s how I roll. But in all seriousness, the Dodgers have been a slightly better offensive team over the last seven days than their rival Giants.

9. Detroit Tigers (59-50, 6-4, 12)

Justin Verlander just struck out 14 batters in a game. Still think they REALLY won’t win the AL Central? Come on, people. If Mike Trout doesn’t win MVP, there’s really only one other guy it could be. He goes by Miguel Cabrera and he likes to hit baseballs very far.

8. Chicago White Sox (60-48, 7-3, 11)

That being said, the Sox have done pretty dang well for themselves. Most teams crumble under my massive expectations, but the Youk-stah is helping keep them on top. For now. Wait until the soft middle of the August schedule is over before we get a real look at this team.

7. St. Louis Cardinals (60-49, 7-3, 13) 

One of our biggest movers is St. Louis, who just keeps winning. Unfortunately for them, so does Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, the two teams they are trailing in the division. But the Cards have the best offense in the Majors and continue to be buoyed by quality starting pitching.

6. Pittsburgh Pirates (62-46, 6-4, 6)

Here’s our weekly “countdown to a winning season” team. The awesome, cuddly story that is Andrew McCutchen and his wild band of Buccos is now only 19 games away from that coveted .500 mark! If they don’t get there, it would be truly one of the biggest disappointments in sports history at this point.

5. Texas Rangers (63-45, 5-5, 4)

Ryan Dempster, Shmyan Shmempster. I still don’t understand the concept behind that weird speech style, but Dempster got shelled in his first American League start. Hopefully that’s not a harbinger of things to come, because Roy Oswalt is already a failed signing.

4. New York Yankees (63-45, 4-6, 3)

The Yankees continue to play average baseball with Alex Rodriguez on the DL. And you all thought he didn’t matter anymore! Just kidding. But Ivan Nova needs to step his game up, though I don’t think anyone is doubting them for winning the East again.

3. Atlanta Braves (63-46, 8-2, 5) 

Big movers here, and it might be a surprise. I promise this isn’t just to get in our host Mapes’ good graces. The Braves really have been that good. Apparently as soon as Chipper Jones gets on Twitter, the bats start lighting up in Atlanta. By the way, what a MOVE getting Ben Sheets, huh?

2. Washington Nationals (66-43, 7-3, 2)

The team leading the Braves in the standings is none other than the Washington Nationals. Bryce Harper has kind of faded away, but the pitching is still fantastic and Michael Morse is taking his turn manning the reigns of the offense. Hashtag, Natitude!

1. Cincinnati Reds (66-43, 7-3, 1)

My girlfriend currently hates me because I told her in March that no matter what she said about her beloved Cardinals, I was sticking with my preseason NL Central pick. And here they are, deserving of the top spot in the MLB Power Rankings for the second straight week. And yes, I’m sleeping on the couch.

*Records current as play began on Monday, August 6th, 2012*

Do you agree with the rankings? Disagree? Want to punch us in the balls? Comment below to let us know how you really feel! And while you’re at it, follow us on Twitter @3u3d and LIKE Three Up, Three Down on Facebook.

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Grade That Trade! Big Fish Hanley Ramirez Edition

Last night, I was totally excited to go to bed and get a full night’s sleep for the first time all week. And then right as my night was winding down…*Buzz*. Dodgers acquire Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins.

I nearly fell out of my seat. As a Dodger fan, this was the news I’d been waiting to hear for weeks – finally, another bat to complement Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier in the middle of our lineup (Ramires is hitting .245 with 14 homers and 47 RBI so far)! And to think, the Dodgers only gave up a high-ceiling starter in Nathan Eovaldi and a decent Single-A reliever, Scott McGogh.

Not only that, but the Marlins threw in lefty specialist Randy Choate, something the Dodgers also sorely needed. Despite Scott Elbert’s (the lone lefty in the Dodgers ‘pen before the trade) solid season, left-handed hitters were very successful against him this year.

Coming into this trade deadline period, I was adamant that the Dodgers improve on at least three of these five areas: left field, first base, third base, lefty relievers, starting rotation. In one trade, they scratched two of those off the list, and are still in talks to acquire an outfielder from the Phillies (they are closely eyeing Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence) and trying to finalize a deal with the Cubs for starter Ryan Dempster.

Is this the trade that will push the Dodgers back to first place in the NL West? Does this lock down a playoff spot for a squad that had more ups and downs than Space Mountain?

Time will tell. But on paper, the trade looks like a complete steal for Los Angeles.

It’s understandable that the Fish wanted to unload Ramirez. He was unhappy from day one with moving to third base to make room for Jose Reyes at shortstop. He’s had his attitude problems in the past, and is currently recovering from a hand injury he sustained from punching a fan out of frustration.

Well, I’d be frustrated too if my team wasn’t playing up to expectations. Ramirez should be ready to play and fully recovered here soon, and he’s coming to a much better team environment than he left in Miami.

The Dodgers manager, Don Mattingly, is the polar opposite of Ozzie Guillen. Mattingly is calm and collected and knows how to lead a team through turbulence. Additionally, Ramirez will learn from stand-up veterans like Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Bobby Abreu, etc.

All signs point to this being a fantastic trade for the Dodgers. Ramirez won’t even get a chance to be a prima donna in this clubhouse, and the additional bat in the middle of the lineup has to strike fear into opposing teams. A 3-4-5 of Kemp, Ethier and Ramirez is one of the best in all of baseball now. 

Let us not forget who the Marlins got in this deal. Despite struggling a bit of late, Eovaldi is a big, hard-throwing right hander who has shown flashes of brilliance at the big league level already. He hits 97 on the gun regularly, has a pretty good curveball, and is developing a change-up to go with it. Also, Eovaldi is just 22 years old –  plenty of time to grow.

In the last two days, the Marlins have acquired two big, right-handed starting pitching prospects and a host of other lower-level minor league guys. But, they’ve traded half their infield and one of their established starters. Anyone who thinks this team is not in fire sale mode, needs to lay off the booze.

There is no doubt that the Dodgers won this trade. That’s how it was designed. L.A. gets an impact bat for NOW, Miami gets some building blocks for the future. But the real question is, how would you grade this trade by the Dodgers?

Take into account that they didn’t have to give up prized prospect Zach Lee, but they took on Hanley’s entire contract, and vote in the poll below!

Comment below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @3u3d and LIKE Three Up, Three Down on Facebook.

- Jeremy (@Jamblinman)

Episode 8 is Just as Great!

Hey everyone! Have you heard the news? Episode 8 is out today and personally, we think it’s better than great. This week we recap the divisions and go over the dreaded Disabled List. We also make a few over/under bets on whether Matt Kemp is human, Emilio Bonifacio will stop running, Jeter will miss a ball once in a while, and Lohse won’t throw darts all season. Tune in every week for the Three Up, Three Down segment to keep an eye on your fantasy team as well.

Hope you enjoy it and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook, and Subscribe to the podcast!


Twitter: @3U3D
Facebook: Three Up, Three Down

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