The Sunday Brief: Top Storylines to Follow This Week

All the stories you need to follow this week in the MLB.

I hardly know who my favorite team is anymore because all the players did musical chairs this week and now I don’t know who to root for. Famed member of the San Francisco Giants Kris Bryant will try to beat out long-time Dodgers favorite Trea Turner for the chance to chase a World Series trophy against Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo of the Yankees. Have fun checking that sentence for accuracy, editors! This update will take a look at the movers and shakers throughout the MLB world in the past week, followed by some nice plays by guys you’ve never seen at the end of the post.

Dodgers Turner into Contenders


After a slow pre-trade deadline the previous week — which saw the Tampa Bay Rays acquire Nelson Cruz and say goodbye to Rich Hill — my phone didn’t stop blowing up all Friday with the ridiculous amount of notifications about who went where. So, let’s take a look at the major trades of this past week because you’ll likely see these players finding their way to the playoffs soon.

The Cubs got rid of almost all their well-known players in a fire sale that brought back memories of the Marlins of old. Cubs icon Kris Bryant joined the San Francisco Giants. Bryant crushes lefty pitching, ranking in the top 10 in the league both in wOBA and ISO against lefties while providing a nice .400ish wOBA at home and away. At 29 years old and a free agent this winter, Bryant is a rental that the Giants could afford, giving up two prospects that project to be rotation fillers in the future. Anthony Rizzo left the Cubs for the New York Yankees, where he will join Joey Gallo in one of the most power-potential lineups in MLB. Rizzo’s been the quieter slugger, with a batting average of around .250 and a slugging percentage of .457. At 32, Rizzo will be a free agent this winter, and the Cubs picked up the rest of his salary in return for two extremely young prospects that we may not see in the majors for another 5 years. Gallo is having one of his best power years yet, with 25 homers so far and on pace to meet his career-high 41 homers.

Take a breath because we’re not done with the Cubs yet! The Cubs also traded Javier Baez to the Mets along with Trevor Williams in return for Pete Crow-Armstrong, one of the more notable prospects moving this week. Baez is also torching lefties this year, and he’ll fill in for Francisco Lindor while the latter recovers from an oblique strain. Lastly (actually not last but this Cubs section is getting awfully long), the Cubs moved Joc Pederson to Atlanta and Craig Kimbrel to the White Sox. How many all-stars did the Cubs have to spare? Whew. And we haven’t even gotten to the big names yet.

Trea Turner and Max Scherzer moved coast-to-coast, going from Washington to Los Angeles. The Dodgers have struggled to keep a healthy (and lawful) rotation throughout 2021, and Scherzer locks in as their top pitcher and joins fellow future Hall of Famer candidate Clayton Kershaw in the rotation. Trea Turner has the more complicated situation, as the Dodgers already have a competent shortstop in Corey Seager. Seager is only 27, but becomes a free agent this winter, while Trea Turner is one of the top shortstops in the game and is under control for one more year. Seager’s currently on the IL, but the Dodgers will likely keep Turner on the field when Seager returns, or will possibly ask Seager to try playing second base. Regardless, the Dodgers have locked up Turner for the near future, and knowing the way the Dodgers spend money, they might keep Trea Turner in Chavez Ravine for years to come.

Running up to the word limit, so let’s quickly catch up on other notable trades: the Marlins jettisoned Starling Marte to the Athletics for Jesús Luzardo, and also traded Adam Duvall to Atlanta. José Berríos moved from the Twins to the Blue Jays, with Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson (two top prospects) coming to Minnesota in return. Kyle Schwarber moved from the swamp to the tea party, joining the Red Sox and giving Boston one of the most potent offensive lineups when he returns from the IL. Cesar Hernandez moved from Cleveland to the White Sox, and Eduardo Escobar went from Arizona to Milwaukee.

For those interested, the details of the other 50+ trades that occurred can be found on MLB’s official site. Good luck to all players who moved this year!


Uh-Oh, Tyler Glasnow 


There’s a quick update on Rays’ pitcher Tyler Glasnow, who suffered a partially torn UCL after MLB took away Spider Tack. Glasnow stated publicly that he believes the lack of sticky substances changed his mechanics and resulted in the injury. After rehabbing the elbow for a month, Glasnow and the Rays are going ahead with Tommy John surgery. Glasnow will likely pitch again in 2023. Best of luck to Glasnow as he recovers from the surgery.


What a Catch!


Monte Harrison of the Marlins did his best Spider Man impression to climb the wall…and overshot just a bit, but he still made one of the most unique catches we’ve seen in MLB history. Here’s the feat:


Heavy Seby


Early in the season, we were awed by Yermín Mercedes‘ power, and we waited patiently for the White Sox to hand over the catching duties to the Yerminator. Plans changed, though. Now, Seby Zavala has a shot at the catcher spot in Chicago, and he made MLB history by hitting the first three homers of his career in the same game. Congrats Seby!

All right, friends! Let me know what you’re reading down in the comments. Be a beacon of loving-kindness for yourself and the world right now, and we’ll check in next week. Enjoy the second half of the season!


Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Blair Williams

Blair holds a PhD in Japanese history and is the author of "Making Japan's National Game: A Cultural History of Baseball." He's a fan of sci-fi, prog metal, and sipping rums.

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