Feature Photo: Amed Rosario, SS, Mets
So, before I get going here, I have a proposal to make: I think that Major League Baseball should officially make July 31 a league-wide off day for all 30 teams.
July 31, perhaps simply an excuse to get ready to flip the calendar and prepare to say “rabbit rabbit” for the rest of the world, is also known as “The Trading Deadline” among baseball folks. It’s a day when multi-player deals are settled on and finalized. The day that airlines, rental car companies, short-term leasing complexes make a mint. The day that dozens – yes, dozens – of families are uprooted in a New York (or Binghamton or Des Moines or Round Rock or Sacramento) minute as they find out they’re changing organizations, or being promoted, or being demoted or being designated for assignment to make room for the new players.
This could be a whole column. Hell, truthfully, it could probably be a book. At least an e-book.
But for now, keeping things relevant, what it does is generally call for a slew of call-ups and debuts (someone has to get to the major league team to fill a uniform, roster spot, or even sometimes a starting spot in the lineup or active role in the bullpen) and do it fast. They may stick (if the club decides this is a good time to bring up that hot prospect: I’m looking at you, Mets shortstop Amed Rosario, or you, Braves uber-prospect Ozzie Albies, who is, by the way, the first MLB player ever to be born in 1997). They may be back in the minors the next day (thanks for coming and striking out Mike Trout in your one inning, Phillies right-hander Drew Anderson, hope you enjoyed your day in Anaheim, sorry you couldn’t make it to Disneyland, glad your family could make the eight-hour drive to Nevada to be there, and now here’s your plane ticket back to Double-A Reading).
You may meanwhile argue amongst yourselves which of the two, Albies or Rosario, you consider the better overall prospect. Good arguments can be made for either one, both of whom made their big league debuts on the same day: August 1.
But in the meantime, your humble scribe was kept busy on Monday, as she tried to keep track of who was going where and when and for whom, and Tuesday, as she found herself writing up six debuts from the previous night (in truth, trading deadline day does not always translate to busy debut night since so often the trades feature big name for a bunch of prospects too young to even qualify for the 40-man roster yet, but nevertheless there is the fallout – or fall-UP, if you will – of having to keep teams from playing down a man or three if that’s possible.)
Oh, also? I ALMOST got in my official “woo hoo!” (shout-out to “The Big Sick”) about the long-awaited debut of Rangers right-hander Clayton Blackburn, one of my lonely 2016 “debut-nots”, except that he became a double-debut-not when, after being recalled by the Rangers on July 31, he was sent back down August 3 without getting into a game.
But you know what the baseball gods say, right? When he closes a debut-not’s door, he opens a window for another one: On Friday night, we saw the also-long-awaited debut of Milwaukee right-hander Brandon Woodruff. Woodruff, you may recall, was a pretty tragic debut-not earlier in the year, since not only had he been called up on June 13 to start against the Cardinals, he was actually ON THE MOUND warming up for his start when he strained a hamstring and was on the team’s 10-day DL before you could say “strike one!”
Overall, with nine debuts this week, our current debutante total stands at 181 (in 2016 we were at 172 debuts through August 6 en route to 258). However, I’m not relaxing yet: In 2016, August welcomed 46 debutantes, so I suspect I’ll be keeping busy for a while.
(Reminder! The MLB Debut table is also found by clicking the Spotlights Tab on our home page, and scrolling to the top sub-menu selection.)