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Yankees, Red Sox, Might Have Helped Revolutionize Trade Deadline Day Forever, With Stephen Drew, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Martin Prado And More Big Names Changing Teams

Among the trade, Stephen Drew went from Boston to NY. (AP)
  By Matt Straub  
Each of the four major American professional sports has a typical way its trading deadline day goes. In the NFL, because of the hard cap and the way contracts are structured, it’s almost impossible to trade players. In the NHL, it often feels as though every player in the league gets moved on deadline day. In the NBA, weeks and weeks of rumors get followed by very few deals and the ones that are made are as much about contracts as they are needs and talent.

Major League Baseball, because of its unique structure where teams collect young players and store them on farm teams, which the other sports call college, has a totally different deadline pattern. The teams which are out of the race trade their good players, often the ones who are about to be free agents, for those young players which permeate teams’ farm systems. In the old days it was small-market teams like Minnesota sending players who were too rich for their blood to the teams which could afford them in exchange for young prospects they could develop cheaply.

In recent years, as the big market teams started thinking about cost certainty and savings, even teams like Boston and New York began trying to get younger players they could keep for a number of years. In many cases, this limited the movement on deadline day as teams like Boston preferred to keep its own young players, develop them and then give them big money rather than giving up assets to get young players from other teams and eventually paying them.

Jason Kidd Proves Yet Again He Only Cares About Himself, Everything And Everyone Else Can Be Damned

Jason Kidd forced his way to Milwaukee. (AP photo)
  By Matt Straub  

I spent much longer than usual trying to figure out the right way to start this. I tried sympathy for Nets fans. I started talking about the irony of Jason Kidd leaving their team twice, and I took a shot at starting with venting about the right way to leave a situation.

It turns out there’s no single emotion which can be used to describe the Jason Kidd saga. Shock, sadness, dismay and anger all come to mind. And I’m not even a Nets fan.

So let’s just start at the beginning, and in doing so let’s review all the reasons Jason Kidd needs to be ripped unmercifully for leaving the Brooklyn Nets to become the coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, though he’ll likely have more titles added by next summer.

2014 NBA Mock Draft: Cleveland Cavaliers Will Pick Andrew Wiggins No. 1, Milwaukee Bucks Go Jabari Parker No. 2, Plus Rest Of First Round

  By Matt Straub  

The NBA Draft doesn’t get the attention the NFL Draft does for a variety of reasons, from the NFL being America’s favorite pastime now to the way the NBA conducts the draft itself, not allowing teams to make deals public until after the first round, leading to plenty of confusion and hurting the experience of watching the draft itself. Finally, too many people get caught up in college basketball in March, when the tournament begins, meaning they’ll have only seen a player a few times and can’t get attached to the big names as easily as they do the top college football stars.

There are few events more important to a sport than the NBA Draft, however. With so few available spots on a roster, so few chances to find the right fit and with a format which creates more of a crapshoot every year, the degree of difficulty in nailing a pick in the NBA is higher than most sports, and the need to get it right is great. Only whiffing on a quarterback in the top few picks of the NFL Draft can be as costly to a sports franchise as blowing a Top 10 pick in the NBA Draft.

Red Sox At Indians Series Preview: Full Breakdown, Including The Stakes, Who's Hot, Who's Not & More

  By Matt Straub  

Remember a week ago when the Boston Red Sox were dead? Yeah, never mind. 

Sure, the Red Sox are still in trouble, trailing most of the AL East by a number of games, but the team which looked as though it would never win another game has been replaced by a streaking club boosted by young talent and the kind of starting pitching which had been absent during a 10-game losing streak. The Red Sox are the first team in decades to win seven in a row after blowing 10 straight, and for this team the truth is somewhere in the middle. Boston isn’t as good as it has been playing lately, nor are the Red Sox the bunch of losers who could do nothing right in the 10 days before. 

Mets At Phillies Series Preview: Full Breakdown, Including Pivotal Game, Who's Hot, Who's Not & More

  By Matt Straub  

The New York Mets are creeping closer and closer to becoming a laughingstock with how the franchise handles business off the field. The Mets made big headlines this week after firing their hitting coach and cutting Jose Valverde after suffering their 9th loss in 12 games Monday against Pittsburgh, which then led to a host of barbs thrown at the franchise, from not being able to spend money, to worrying more about fans booing than actually putting a winner on the field. Most of all, the perception was becoming the Mets won't put money into the team unless the fans show up.

Of course, fans aren't going to show up if the team continues to lose and ownership continues to give them little hope of turning the team around any time soon. Build a winner and fans will come. The Mets are doing things backward, whether because of ineptitude or because the organization truly has no money to spend. 

Braves At Red Sox Series Preview: Full Breakdown, Including The Stakes, Who's Hot, Who's Not & More

  By Matt Straub  

Having won two in a row and coming home to face a team you should beat up on a little bit should have a team’s fans feeling confident. Two good days, however, can’t erase two weeks of losing both on the field and on the mental side of things.

When those fans are rooting for the Boston Red Sox, they’re going to need to see more than two wins over the Braves in order to get excited again. With the level of dysfunction we’ve covered here in recent posts and a team which still finds itself eight games out of the division lead, two wins can’t cure all the team’s ills. The starting pitching still desperately needs improvement. The offense needs to find some consistency, and the Red Sox need to figure out if they believe in their young players or not. The recent talk about looking to make a trade for another outfielder makes me wonder if Jackie Bradley Jr. is going to be the latest young player Boston gives up on. 

Yankees 3 Up & 3 Down: Derek Jeter, Dellin Betances, Ichiro Suzuki Are Up, David Robertson, Yangervis Solarte, Mark Teixeira Down From Chicago

  By Brad Carroll  
The New York Yankees made it through their six-game road trip through Chicago with a 3-3 record. Typically, that would be something to be happy about, as splitting series on the road should be the goal each time out. However, with the red-hot Blue Jays having won seven games in a row and nine out of their last 10 entering Tuesday's action, the Yankees are in second place in the AL East, two games behind Toronto. If the season ended today, the Yankees would make the playoffs as a wild card, however, so there is good news in the grand scheme of the postseason.

The Yankees split a pair of games with the Cubs to start the week and then won two of four against the White Sox, claiming the final two to head to St. Louis with some momentum. Here is who helped get the Yankees that momentum, and those that were more apt to derail it with our 3 Up and 3 Down feature.

Red Sox 3 Up & 3 Down: Brock Holt, David Ortiz, Koji Uehara Are Up, AJ Pierzynski, David Ross, Clay Buchholz Down After Another Week Of Worry

  By Matt Straub  

Boston Red Sox fans have come to know about long waits. Red Sox Nation waited 86 years for a World Series, so a delay of nearly two weeks seems like nothing in the grand scheme of things. But when you’re living through a losing streak which lasts nearly two weeks, the big picture goes away. When you get excited over a single victory as though it was part of a title run, it’s time to get worried. Very, very worried.

What made the losing streak worse was what it turned the Red Sox into. The “band of bearded brothers” has been replaced by a band of whiners. Yes, I understand adding A.J. Pierzynski will do that to a team, as will losing. But this team has lost all semblance of the cohesive unit which cared about each other, the city, and winning.

Pirates At Mets Series Preview: Full Breakdown, Including Pivotal Game, Who's Hot, Who's Not & More

  By Brad Carroll  
The New York Mets had the opportunity to regain control of their season this weekend against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field. But they let that chance slip away and may have seen their playoff hopes follow suit after losing two of three games to one of the worst teams in baseball. Luckily, we're only at the quarter mark of the season, so there is time to make a run. But lapses like these, games and series the Mets should win, makes it extremely difficult to get on a winning streak.

Now, the Mets turn their focus on Pittsburgh Pirates, who have an identical record but the mood surrounding the teams are completely different. Here is a closer look at the final series of this nine-game homestand.

Red Sox At Rays Series Preview: Full Breakdown, Including Pivotal Game, Who's Hot, Who's Not & More

  By Matt Straub  
The lost Boston Red Sox travel to a place which has been a house of horrors for them over the years, Tropicana Field. Sure some great wins have come in that building, but so have some gut-wrenching losses. The Red Sox are now playing a team which understands how to fit young players into their system, and a franchise which doesn’t give up on those players in two months the way the Red Sox appear to have. It’s time to see if desperation can outmatch consistency.

Tampa hasn’t exactly set the league on fire this year, but at this point I have more faith in the Rays’ stability than I do Boston’s. Right now the Red Sox could make any move in any direction and it wouldn’t surprise me. Last week Jackie Bradley Jr. said he felt lost. Now his whole team appears to be. 

Red Sox Signing Stephen Drew Proves How Desperate They Have Become

Stephen Drew has re-signed with the Red Sox. (AP photo)
  By Matt Straub  
The Boston Red Sox are officially desperate. They have spent upward of $10 million on Stephen Drew, blown much of the extra money they had to play with at the trade deadline and created upheaval among two of the young players they hope will be big parts of their future by making it look publicly as though they’ve given up on at least one of them.

Oh, and by the way, they did all this for a player who stinks. Drew does not excel in any aspect of hitting a baseball, something teams often look for when offering a player millions of dollars to play professional baseball. He has failed to reach .270 in three consecutive seasons. He is prone to wild streaks, played had a season each in 2011 and 2012, and got hot long enough to hit 13 homers last year, which isn’t a big number for a good hitter, but was exceptional for Drew. 

Diamondbacks At Mets Preview: Full Breakdown, Including Pivotal Game, Who's Hot, Who's Not & More

  By Brad Carroll  
The New York Mets need a break in the worst way, and they just may get it as the Arizona Diamondbacks come into Citi Field for three games starting Friday night. The struggling Mets, who have gone from wild card leaders to seventh place in that race, can finally make up some ground against a team they have swept already this season on the road. It also doesn't hurt the D-Backs are one of the worst teams in baseball. Here is a closer look at what is a huge series for the Mets.