Thursday, July 30, 2015

Farewell Alex Wood

So the rumored trade in the works with the Los Angeles Dodgers finally went down today, according to the MLB At Bat app notification that just came through on my phone. This one was a hard pill for me to swallow. I liked Alex Wood. I made him one of my guys to collect early on forward.

Alex is from my hometown of Charlotte, NC. The only other MLB player I can remember that played high school ball here in town was the White Sox's Ray Durham. When Ray was playing I had just started collecting cards and I only knew how to be a set collector...if that makes sense. I didn't realize people collected their favorite team or player or for other reasons outside of completing the base set of cards.

2012 Leaf Valiant Alex Wood auto photo Scan009_zps4e4d3b32.jpg   2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Alex Wood auto photo BB011_zps1139e55b.jpg

What was fun about collecting Alex Wood's cards was that I got to see him grow as a pitcher. I got to watch this young, skinny kid come in from the bullpen after being called up from AAA Gwinnett. I got to watch him battle for a spot in the starting rotation. I witnessed his progress as a major league pitcher and hone his knuckle curve ball. Yes, this is one of those trades, at least for me, is tough to accept.

2014 Topps Alex Wood Silk Collection #46/50 photo BB001_zps893fc536.jpg   2014 Panini America's Pastime Alex Wood Rookie #067/125 photo BB007_zps2999b695.jpg

However I'm not Braves General Manager John Hart. I don't claim and never have claimed to know what it takes to run a professional baseball team. I'm putting my faith in the GM that he is making the right move for the future of this team. It's been hard seeing so many fan favorite Braves leave the team this year and during the offseason. Jason Heyward, Evan Gattis, Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrell and even Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe last week. 

The Braves weren't supposed to be good this year...and they aren't. However they aren't bottom of their division either. I can still see promise in this team. They've amassed a good bit of young pitching and have some young international flavor in the farm system I know they are relying on in the future.

However the Braves gave up 5 players today in exchange for basically one, Dodgers prospect 3B Hector Olivera. I need to do a quick Google search on this guy to see what all the buzz is about. Or maybe the nightowl or one of my other Dodgers buddies can give me the 411 on this guy. Looks like the team is also getting LHP Paco Rodriguez and a minor league pitcher by the name of Zach Bird and a 2016 competitive balance draft pick (#34 overall).


On the back end the Braves also gave up Bronson Arroyo, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilan and top prospect Jose Peraza. To be honest I don't mind losing these guys, even Peraza. I think the acquisition of Jace Peterson from the Padres helped make Peraza a little more expendable, that and Peraza's on the field performance this season. I don't think Bronson has even suited up for the Braves due to injury and Jim Johnson and Avilan have been horrible out of the bullpen.

From a collecting perspective I'll probably still pick up Wood's cards because I think he's a great young guy with lots of potential...I just wish he would've been traded to a club that isn't on the west coast as it'll make it harder for me to follow his career now. Brandon Beachy signed w/ the Dodgers some time ago and I really haven't heard much of him either with him being out west.

Thank you Alex for your time you spent in Atlanta. I know I'm not the only fan that is sad to see you go, but I wish you all the success in the world...unless your team is playing the Braves...and even then I still may secret root for you a little. Just a little.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Pack Break: 2015 Topps Series 2

I swear it just feels like the beginning of the baseball season was here and I was tearing through packs of Series One 2015 Topps...but here we are at the cusp of the All-Star break and Topps has released Series Two. In my need to open some packs to get my fix, I went a little overboard earlier this year and bought a Hobby box of Series One...which I still haven't even collated. I decided before the start of the 2015 baseball card "season" that I wasn't going to build the flagship brand of Topps, opting to stick with just Allen & Ginter. Well it turns out that hasn't been the case as I've ended up with chasing Gypsy Queen and to some degree Archives and Stadium Club.

Eventually I'll get those lists updated (or created in the case of Archives and TSC), but for now I'll satisfy my baseball urge with a retail pack of 2015 Series Two I picked up from Target a few weeks ago. While I've discarded the idea of building the entire set, I had to check out at least one pack of the newest set of Topps, right?

Most of the pack was filled with more basic base cards...although the photography on the Garcia card is quite nice. I don't hate this year's design, but the more I handle these cards the more I'm starting to dislike the "fingerprint" design. I guess now I'm spoiled by some of Topps' other designs...or lack there of such as Stadium Club!

Easily my favorite card of the back is this awesome card of Andrelton Simmons, stretching out at Short Stop to rob someone from a base hit. The first half of the 2015 season for the Braves has been better than what I expected after GM John Hart essentially gutted the team, sending away a lot of last year's team including fan favorites such as Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Craig Kimbrel. However the team still finds itself hovering at .500 and only a few games out of first place. Andrelton's glove has been one of the few consistent things so far this season and I'll never get tired of watching him make those spectacular plays in the field w/ the leather.

I ended up with one more Braves player, but Alberto is no longer on the team. He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Juan Uribe. Even though his card has him at 2nd Base, he played the majority of his time at 3rd Base. The trade has been good for the Braves as Juan has really been a good fit. So good a fit that he has made Chris Johnson expendable to the point the Braves have been shopping him around. As far as Callaspo, I'll have to reach out to Night Owl or Greg Z to see how the trade has faired for the Dodgers.

Speaking of the Dodgers, my one insert per pack ended up being this Hot Streak card of Clayton Kershaw. The card looks much better in hand versus this scan. I'm guessing these cards come in sticker autograph variations as there seems to be some "empty" space. I don't search out Kershaw cards, but when I pull them from packs they end up in my keep pile.

Overall Series 2 is more of what you've come to expect. I think I have one more pack laying around here somewhere, but for the most part I'm done with the flagship brand. Now I just need to get my lazy butt moving and update my GQ Want List and decide whether or not I'm really going to go after 2015 Archives and or Stadium Club.