Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole appears not to have much of a grasp of what constitutes tanking in baseball.
He told reporters, unironically, at the MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday that too many teams are content with losing. Per Alex Speier of The Boston Globe:
First, Cole’s estimate is way off. Based on record, just six teams – the Orioles, Royals, Tigers, Blue Jays, Mariners and Marlins – not 15, are in the tank this year. As MLB commissioner Rob Manfred pointed out Tuesday (and as noted by Speier), 20 teams are five games or closer to a postseason berth. In between are the Mets, Angels, White Sox and Giants, who have the will but lack the talent.
Second, as the Twitter brigade was quick to mention, Cole’s current club, the Astros, made tanking fashionable. Houston averaged 104 losses from 2011-14; during that time, it stockpiled top-five draft picks (Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman were the main successes) and strengthened a farm system that helped it to become competitive again.
Cole joined the Astros in January 2018 in a trade with the Pirates, a franchise that is regularly accused of not wanting to win.
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