It was with great interest that I watched current Red Sox GM Mike Hazen speak of the plans that were in place for the 2016 season. My ears perked up when he game to Hanley Ramirez’s name, hopeful that he would be the first Red Sox GM to listen to advice, and reveal his plan for moving Ramirez. Instead of those happy words, Hazen laid out a plan that included Ramirez moving to 1B. This will necessitate a move of one of the Red Sox budding young stars, because there simply is not enough positions on the field, not with Fat hanging out across the diamond. Continue reading Hanley Ramirez Is An Anchor For the Red Sox
Whenever I think of Manfred Mann, I think of a kid in a candy store, except rather than being happy, the kid can only think of complaints. Out would go the Mars bars, Swedish Fish, and Jolly Ranchers. In would come cauliflower, arugula, and lima beans. Candy corn would somehow survive the rampage.
Non-sensical introductions to the side, every time Mann opens his mouth, I feel nauseated. As a muse, Mann is all a person could ask for. Unfortunately, his vision is often short-sighted, and does not keep the history of the Game at the fore. It’s an abdication of his sworn duty, even if no one else will acknowledge it.
[In what is an annual tradition, the BBWAA once again screwed up their most important duty: faithfully electing qualified MLB players to the game’s ultimate shrine – Cooperstown. This year’s balloting went along better than most years, as only 3 writers chose to get *cute* by leaving Ken Griffey, Jr. off of their ballots. I will not give any credence to those writers, nor will I entertain any arguments as to why they might have done it.
It was idiotic, moronic, and selfish for those three to deny Griffey a unanimous vote as the BBWAA has done to every player who has so far been enshrined1There are arguments made by others that voters simply aren’t allowed enough votes [they’re allotted 10 per election.] Others will excuse writers by saying ‘Well, if Babe Ruth wasn’t good enough to earn 100%, and he’s the Greatest player ever, then no one should earn 100%. Of course, that’s an idiotic argument on multiple fronts.
First, when the Babe was elected, it was against every single player who had ever stepped on the field up to that point, including active players, that were eligible. Secondly, just because writers of previous generations were morons does not excuse writers of ensuing generations. Should the Babe have been elected unanimously? Of course. Is the fact that he was not more excusable than Griffey, Jr. not being? Of course. There were at best 8 players who should have been considered for a HOF vote this year. It’s simply not an excuse.. Continue reading 2016 MLB HOF Thoughts
|↑1||There are arguments made by others that voters simply aren’t allowed enough votes [they’re allotted 10 per election.] Others will excuse writers by saying ‘Well, if Babe Ruth wasn’t good enough to earn 100%, and he’s the Greatest player ever, then no one should earn 100%. Of course, that’s an idiotic argument on multiple fronts.
First, when the Babe was elected, it was against every single player who had ever stepped on the field up to that point, including active players, that were eligible. Secondly, just because writers of previous generations were morons does not excuse writers of ensuing generations. Should the Babe have been elected unanimously? Of course. Is the fact that he was not more excusable than Griffey, Jr. not being? Of course. There were at best 8 players who should have been considered for a HOF vote this year. It’s simply not an excuse.
In reviewing what the Chicago Cubs have done this off-season, there has to be a lot of hope for fans of those ‘lovable’ Losers. They added John Lackey on a low-risk, short-term deal12 years/$32 million.. Ben Zobrist came aboard with a club-friendly 4 year, $56 million contract, and everyone’s2Except mine, apparently favorite defensive outfielder, Jason Heyward3I’m just assuming it’s his defense that garnered the $23 million he’ll earn on average for the next 8 seasons, unless he’s foolish enough to opt out of his deal. It certainly wasn’t his big bat, as he has garnered a total of 38 HRs in 1502 ABs over the last 3 seasons. He also has only put up 156 RBIs over that time frame, and his OPS for that stretch hovers around the .770 mark.. These additions, along with what they already had leftover from their NLCS run in 2015 puts them in prime position to end 108 years of suffering. Continue reading Congratulations to the Cubs
|↑1||2 years/$32 million.|
|↑2||Except mine, apparently|
|↑3||I’m just assuming it’s his defense that garnered the $23 million he’ll earn on average for the next 8 seasons, unless he’s foolish enough to opt out of his deal. It certainly wasn’t his big bat, as he has garnered a total of 38 HRs in 1502 ABs over the last 3 seasons. He also has only put up 156 RBIs over that time frame, and his OPS for that stretch hovers around the .770 mark.|
Alex Rodriguez earned $22,000,000 in 2015 while playing in 151 games for the N.Y. Yankees. Bartolo Colon earned $11,000,000 while pitching in 33 games for the N.Y. Mets. He also had 3 appearances in the World Series. Nelson Cruz played in 152 games for the Seattle Mariners, Chris Davis 160 games for the Baltimore Orioles, and the list could go on for days. Manfred Mann was alright with all of that, and probably things that are nearly as bad, during his first year on the job. Mann has determined that MLB has much bigger problems than PEDs, even as they threaten the very integrity of the game and its most cherished records.
Greed is good.
The above is a vast oversimplification of Michael Douglas‘ brilliant speech in the 1987 movie Wall Street. It also sometimes applies to our favorites sports teams, and the players who suit up in their uniforms1It without doubt is the mantra of one Scott Boras.. Sometimes greed can be good, because the thought of a big money deal will push a player to to perform above expectations, or perhaps even to expectations, because that athlete is well aware of the pay day at the end of the tunnel. Think Jacoby Ellsbury following his 2013 season or David Price this off-season, for starters. There are countless other examples across all major sports to suggest that this is not an uncommon trait amongst athletes, or people in any line of work, really. Greed can be good. Especially if it helps a favorite team to a Title.
|↑1||It without doubt is the mantra of one Scott Boras.|
The Arizona Diamondbacks finally decided to spend some money and now have one of the best pitchers in MLB in Zach Greinke and a solid #2 starter in Shelby Miller. The team spent more money on Greinke alone than they have on free agents over the past several seasons combined. The D-Backs gave Greinke $206.5 million over six years, which has now become the highest salary in MLB history.
This deal may remind Valley sports fans of when Randy Johnson came to town in 1999, and we all know what happened in 2001. Many are saying that Arizona gave up too much to acquire the services of Miller, who had a terrible record last year in Atlanta. Not only did the Diamondbacks give up local favorite OF Ender Inciarte, but they also gave up #1 pick Dansby Swanson and fellow pitching prospect Aaron Blair.
Wherever you stand on the trade, the Diamondbacks want to win now and plan to do so with their pitching. As of mid-December this is how their starting rotation looks:
2015 Record: 19-3
2015 ERA: 1.66
2015 WHIP: 0.84
2015 Record: 6-17
2015 ERA: 3.02
2015 WHIP: 1.25
2015 Record: 6-5
2015 ERA: 3.60
2015 WHIP: 1.27
2015 Record: 14-9
2015 ERA: 4.67
2015 WHIP: 1.35
2015 Record: 5-12
2015 ERA: 3.52
2015 WHIP: 1.33
Major League Baseball’s off season has heated up this week during the winter meetings in Nashville. There have been multiple signings and a couple big trades with money changing hands like it’s a game of Monopoly. Despite all the moves and noise being made, it’s been nothing but crickets coming from the Kansas City Royals.
For the first time in a generation the Royals enter the off season as the World Champions. There is no discussion of how to build a winner or what one or two players do they need to get over the hump. The Royals won the World Series, and this off season seems to be all about celebrating the win and just hanging on to that moment as long as we can.
That time of celebrating appears to be coming to an end however as the harsh reality of a new season has begun to creep in thanks to off season moves. The first big loss came last night when Ben Zobrist signed a 4 year $56 million deal with the Chicago Cubs. In his short time with the Royals, Zobrist had become a fan favorite. He was a great player that was a major reason the Royals were able to win the WS and he seemed to genuinely enjoy Kansas City. Even his wife became a fan favorite for not having their baby until after the WS and then giving the baby girl the middle name of Royal. So there was hope that a love of the city would outweigh the pull of a big contract.
That hope was shattered when the Cubs were willing to give the 34 year old Zobrist a four year deal. I believe the Royals would have been happy to pay the $14 million price tag per year, but I think they only wanted to be locked into that for two years. They can’t risk paying an old declining player $14 million after two years when they are trying to resign young stars like Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.
Unfortunately for Royals fans, the heartbreak will not stop with Zobrist departure. Royals fans cover your eyes for this part, but Gordon is not resigning with Kansas City. Alex Gordon will be 32 years old in February and is expected to sign a five or six year deal for around $100 million or more. Not only can the Royals not afford a deal like that, I don’t believe they should do it even if they could. While I am a Gordon fan as much as the next guy, he’s really not worth that much to a team like the Royals. Gordon is the one of the best defensive left fielders in baseball and is good (not great) at the plate. The problem for the Royals is that he is good enough to carry the team. Gordon is a great complimentary player, when you have a top to bottom lineup the way the Royals had this year, he’s a beast at the backend. But if you pay Gordon that much money than more than likely you will be losing two or three of those young stars and it would then be up to Gordon to lead the team in the middle of the lineup. A career .270 hitter who averages 19 homeruns a season just isn’t going to be able to put up the kind of numbers on his own that it would take to sustain the loss of that young talent. This would be especially true for the last two or three years of his deal when his age will cause his production to drop.
If the Royals would like to increase their payroll to $200 million a year, then by all means let’s throw money at Gordon like crazy and then get to work signing Hosmer, Cain and Moustakas to long term deals. I don’t see the payroll going that way thought, which means while it will hurt and not be fun to see our favorites leave, we as fans need to understand that it is what is best for the team. So far in the 2016 MLB offseason the Royals have stuck to their plan that got them into back-to-back World Series. They have let the high priced older free agents walk. It was Billy Butler in 2015 and this year it was Zobrist and will be Gordon. But they have resigned veteran pitcher Chris Young who was a key to the rotation and bullpen last season. They have brought back former closer Joakim Soria to build up a bullpen after Ryan Madson signed with the Dodgers and Greg Holland will miss the entire season due to Tommy John surgery.
The rumor mill is still swirling around with news that the Royals are interested in acquiring a corner outfielder as well as a starting pitcher. Will these be big time names like Johnny Cueto or BJ Upton? No, they probably won’t be. As Royals fans that’ve seen what the Royals have done over the last couple years should that matter to us, no it shouldn’t! The Royals will likely never win the off season the way the White Sox did in 2015 or the Dodgers did in 2014. While that looks flashy and always seems like a great way to go and excites fans, it’s not the Royal way. The Royal way took a long time to work and many of us (myself included) were ready for a new way in 2014. I was wrong. The Royal way clearly works and we as Royals fans need to embrace that fact and think accordingly. They don’t give rings, have parades or raise banners for winning the off season. So while a team like the Cubs or Dodgers will get all the praise going into the 2016 season and fans will be talking smack about the Royals minor moves, I’ll just simply point to the new banner flying and simply say……scoreboard!
It was just two short weeks ago that I was lauding the Miami Marlins for how they dealt with Scott Boras. At the time, I couldn’t heap enough praise on their upper management personnel, who laid in to Boras. Their words were heartening, but apparently, that is all the moral fortitude that the Marlins have for this off-season. I write that, because last week the Miami Marlins announced their coaching staff for the 2016 MLB season. The big name added to the staff? One Barry Bonds. Yes, that Barry Bonds.
When I read the news on Tuesday that David Price was going to sign with the Boston Red Sox for a nearly unbelievable $217 million over 7 years, I didn’t know quite how to handle it, at first. The first thought that came to mind once I cleared my head was not about the money, but how the relationship would be in the clubhouse between Price and the Red Sox senior man, and 3-time World Series Champion, David Ortiz. They have some history, after all. Then I considered the type of teammate that Ortiz has been throughout his career, and decided that he would find a way to get past Price’s punk attitude. Provided, of course, that Price delivers. If he doesn’t, and Ortiz doesn’t break him in two, I’d be disappointed.