Welcome to the playoff race, Chris Stratton. Former Mississippi State ace Stratton was traded Monday — along with Jose Quintana — from last-place Pittsburgh to second-place St. Louis, which is feverishly chasing Milwaukee in the National League Central. Stratton, a 31-year-old right-handed reliever, has had a sluggish season with the lowly Pirates — posting a 5.09 ERA in 40 games — but might draw some energy from moving to a contending club. He had a strong 2021, putting up a 3.63 ERA with seven wins and eight saves for another bad Bucs team. He said in a recent story on triblive.com that his issues this season are with the “sequencing” of his pitches, something he believes can be fixed by “just trying to be more thoughtful and a little more unpredictable.” Stratton, from Tupelo, was the SEC pitcher of the year at State in 2012 and was drafted 20th overall by San Francisco that summer. He has a 4.61 career ERA in 218 games, 42 of those starts. He moved to the bullpen in 2019 with the Los Angeles Angels, who traded him to the Pirates early that season. Stratton joins a Cardinals club that includes ex-MSU star Dakota Hudson in its rotation. Division rival Milwaukee also features a pair of former Bulldogs: starter Brandon Woodruff and outfielder Hunter Renfroe. This ought to be fun. … The MLB trade deadline is today.
The stakes have been raised for three Mississippians who changed MLB teams in recent days. Jarrod Dyson, Cody Reed and Mitch Moreland have moved from losing clubs to contenders as the abbreviated 2020 season enters its final month. Dyson, the former McComb High and Southwest Mississippi Community College standout, went from lowly Pittsburgh to the Chicago White Sox. Dyson, a .245 career hitter with 254 stolen bases, was acquired primarily for his speed on the bases and in the outfield. He entered Sunday’s game as a pinch runner in the 10th inning and scored on Luis Robert’s walk-off homer; the win put the ChiSox in a tie for first in the American League Central. Reed, a Horn Lake High and Northwest Mississippi CC product, went from scuffling Cincinnati to Tampa Bay, which sits atop the AL East. Reed, a left-hander who worked as both a starter and reliever with the Reds, joins a Rays staff that has been hard hit by injuries. He was activated today, just in time for the Rays’ visit to the New York Yankees tonight. Moreland’s move from the struggling Boston Red Sox to surging San Diego was described by Padres manager Jayce Tingler as “impactful.” “Not only the bat, but somebody like Mitch with 80-grade makeup, a very, very tough man … that’ll blend in really well to this clubhouse,” the rookie skipper told mlb.com. Moreland, a former Amory High and Mississippi State star, is a .253 career hitter with 174 homers in 11 seasons; he was leading the Red Sox in homers and RBIs at the time of Sunday’s trade. Moreover, he has played in 48 postseason games and been in three World Series, winning a ring with Boston two years ago. That’s what the Padres appear all-in to do in 2020. … In other news, Lance Lynn did NOT get traded by Texas, a non-contender, though many in the media believed the Ole Miss product could have been a difference-maker for a contender, such as the Los Angeles Dodgers. “Even though he went to Ole Miss, I still like him,” Buck Showalter, the ex-Mississippi State star and former big league manager joked today on MLB Network’s trade deadline show. Lynn is 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA for the 12-21 Rangers.