Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – March 12th, 2012

Monday March 12th, 2012

 Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter and post on our Facebook Wall!

Let’s get to your top questions of the week:

Q:  Is Jamie Moyer a Hall of Fame pitcher?   Larry

MLB reports: Our #1 Fan is Back! Great question Larry. Back in December, Doug Booth wrote a great tribute to Jamie Moyer on the Reports. I remember we spoke about it back then and that you indicated you were a big Moyer fan (I do remember these details!) Moyer will be 50 in November. He is entering his 25th major league season, having played for 7 different teams. Do I think that he is HOF bound? I like the story as well Larry. I think that Moyer has done some great things and that he deserves to have his career in some form mentioned in Cooperstown. In this day and age, to pitch at 49 and last as long as he did, it is just a feel good tale. But to be enshrined in Cooperstown… I am sorry to say, but my answer is no. No way. If Moyer somehow channels Satchel Paige, maybe he can play for another 2-5 years. But the likelihood of him hitting 300 wins is bleak (currently sits at 267). Even if he does hit 300 but some miracle, Moyer is just not HOF worthy.

A career 4.24 ERA. .567 winning percentage. 1.317 WHIP. His top win totals per season were 21 in 2003, 20 in 2001 and 17 in 1997. Otherwise, the man was basically a 10-12 game winner per season for most of his career. Moyer was fortunate to play on some incredible Mariners teams with explosive offenses, which certainly helped those win totals. He had seasons of a 3.27 ERA and 3.32 ERA…but those were the exceptions for him. Moyer gave up more than a hit per inning for his career, kept his walk totals in check and didn’t strike out many. He has given up a whopping 511 home runs to-date. When he isn’t on, Moyer games become glorified BP sessions at times (44 home runs alone given up in 2004). He made one All Star team 2003). In CY Young voting, Moyer finished 6th in 1999, 4th in 2001 and 5th in 2003. At the end of the day, Moyer was never one of the best of his day. He was good and showed glimpses of greatness. He was a workhorse that pitched a lot of innings and was reliable as a #4-5 starting pitcher. Jamie Moyer should be commended for his accomplishments and fondly remembered for a brilliant career. But Cooperstown should not celebrate good and nice stories. It should be for the very best. The cream of the crop of baseball. So regardless of what happens to Moyer’s career until the end (I think that he will be lucky to have one more season in Colorado), I don’t see Cooperstown happening for him.

 

Q:  How many people attended Opening Day last year for the Cincinnati’s Reds?  Keneta

MLB reports: Opening Day for the Reds in 2011 fell on March 31st. Against their division Rivals the Brewers, they pulled out a 7-6 win. Logan Ondrusek was the winning pitcher. Brewers closer, John Axford took the loss. It was a day that was completed in 3 hours and 9 minutes. The Reds had a total attendance for the season of 2,213,588 (10th in the NL). The attendance on Opening Day? The highest for the season. The Reds saw 42,398 fans in attendance last year for their opener. Thank you for the question!

 

Q:  What a great article on Eddie Mata! I started to like this particular writer because I follow Eddie Mata. This article is very touching. I now am a fan of Jonathan. I love the way he writes. I love sports, but I have trouble liking sports writers because they don’t captivate me. Thanks to Eddie Mata, I found one I like. We have known each other since we were 15. 20 years and still going strong. Eddie was always in the paper from baseball years ago to now and your article was the best I have ever read. I almost cried. Something about your style of writing really got to me. I think Eddie is very lucky that you wrote about him.

I look forward to reading more from you. You now have a fan.  Thank you, Niki

MLB reports: Hello Niki and thank you for your touching e-mail! We featured Eddie Mata last month on the Reports, in an article titled: Who is Eddie Mata? Inside the Mind and Baseball Soul of the 2012 MLB Fan Cave Finalist. The support for Eddie was tremendous! Last week the starting line-up for the MLB Fan Cave was announced, with Eddie Mata coming in as one of the 9 selections for this year’s MLB Fan Cave. We are very proud of Eddie for all of his hard work and grinding his way to the Cave. On a personal level, it has been a great experience getting to know Eddie. He is one of the brightest and knowledgeable baseball minds you will ever meet. He is a good person with a heart as big as his smile. Major League Baseball is lucky to have a professional with his character on board. The MLB Fan Cave will never be the same now that Eddie Mata is on board! In case you missed it Niki, here is a recent interview conducted by Eddie. I love his segments! You may recognize the guest (Eddie is connected). Enjoy!

Q:  Only a few teams came close to luxury tax, how important is that money to those teams and who ends up sharing it?  Old Man Mack

MLB reports: Our regular ATR contributor is back! Great question Old Man Mack. Only two teams got hit last year withe luxury tax. Yes, you guessed it…the Yankees and Red Sox. The Yankees paid $13.9 million, while the Red Sox were hit with a bill of $3.4 million. Many people believe that the luxury tax dollars go back to smaller revenue teams in the form of revenue sharing. This isn’t the case. The luxury tax dollars actually go back to the players in the form of benefits and contributed to an Industry Growth Fund. The reason that the Yankees and Red Sox did not go free agent crazy this year is because the manner in which the luxury tax is calculated will change based on the new CBA. If the Yankees aren’t careful, they will be hit with a 50% tax in 2013 if they exceed the MLB specified payroll threshold. The payroll limit before getting hit with a tax is $178 million up to 2013 and $189 million for 2014-2016.

If you are really curious to learn everything MLB Luxury Tax, Vince Gennaro appeared on the MLB Network in January to explain. Spare the six minutes if you can, this is a great education piece:  MLB Luxury Tax

Q:  Who do you think is the front-runner to win the NL Central with Prince and Albert gone? Will the Brewers repeat?  Josh

MLB reports: Howdy Josh. Great question! At this point, I am going with the popular pick and selecting the Reds to take the Central. They were also my selection from a year ago…I guess that I was just one year early on this one. Let’s assume the Cubs, Pirates and Astros are very unlikely to take the division. That leaves the Reds, Brewers and Cardinals. I could see the Cardinals being in contention, especially if Carpenter stays healthy and Wainwright returns to form. But the team is aging. Pujols is gone. La Russa and Duncan are gone, and the team is led by a first year, inexperienced manager in Mike Matheny. Too many if’s for my liking. The Brewers have similar issues. The big one being the departure of Prince Fielder. Ryan Braun avoided suspension, but he is far from a sure thing- given the controversy that will follow him to start the year. Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum are both upcoming free agents. That could help/hurt the team, depending on how the players perform. The Brewers will be strong, but I just don’t see them pulling it out. My money is on the Reds, for many many reasons. I think that they are simply one of the best balanced teams in the division, if not the entire NL. A rotation led by Jonny Cueto and Mat Latos. An offense with Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips etc. A top young closer in Ryan Madson. An experienced manager in Dusty Baker, who is hungry to get into the playoffs again. Aroldis Chapman. Devin Mesoraco. There are many reasons to like the Reds. Their time is coming this year and for once, I am going with the popular choice.

Q:  What are your current hopes & expectations for Colby Rasmus & Brett Cecil after last year?  Mike

MLB reports: Being based in Toronto, I have and will watch both of these players extensively this year. Let’s start with Colby. One of my fave players in the game. I see this kid being a superstar. 1st overall pick in 2005. He will be 26 in August. Having escaped La Russa and St. Louis, Rasmus is ready for his first full season in Toronto. In 2010, Rasmus showed glimpses of what he can do. 23 home runs in 144 games, 66 RBIs, 85 runs, 12 steals, .276 AVG, .361 OBP and .498 SLG. If I was slotting the lineup, Rasmus would be in my #5 slot for most of the year. The Jays have a problem: who will protect Jose Bautista? Adam Lind would be ideal, if he could stay healthy and consistent. My gut is that Lind won’t cut it and that the job will fall to a combination of Lawrie and Rasmus. If Rasmus is fortunate enough to bat 2nd (which is likely), he will see many good pitches to hit. He could hit 4th at times, as could Lawrie. I don’t project Rasmus to be a .400+ OBP guy, but I see a .550+ SLG in his future. 30 home runs is not out of the question, especially playing home games in the Rogers Centre. Plus I can’t say enough about the Bautista factor. Jose will be a good teacher and mentor to the young Rasmus and if adopts some of Bautista’s habits, watch out! I see big things coming from Rasmus this year, with future All Star games and silver slugger awards in his future.

Looking at their respective statuses in the game, I am not surprised that you threw in Brett Cecil’s name. He is the pitching equivalent to Rasmus. A former 1st round pick from 2007, Cecil will turn 26 in July. After a solid 2010 campaign that saw him win 15 games, he took a step back last year. While I don’t see Cecil becoming the star that Rasmus will be, I certainly think he could be a solid #3-4 starter. There are times that he has dominated on the mound, while other times imploding. The lefty has the talent and smarts. With Cecil, there is only one thing holding him back. Simply: confidence. If he has a bad inning or at-bat, these defeats have often rattled him in the past. Rather than forgetting the past and starting new, Cecil tends to carry over the negative energy into games which ends up hurting him. The confidence comes with time. I have seen it within him. If Cecil becomes mentality tough, we could see him on the Ricky Romero track to stardom. With the Jays solid offense behind him, another 15 win season is very realistic. I like the kid and certainly wish him the best. He can do it- he just has to believe that all the time.

Last Q:  How much do the Marlins have to spend on Stanton with all the money they dished out plus a new stadium?  Logan

MLB reports: Giancarlo Stanton (aka Mike) is due for a huge pay raise. No doubt about it. While he has suffered his shares of bumps and bruises (hit by pitch the other day), the man is seen as the next big superstar in Miami. Bigfoot will only be 23 in November. He stands 6’5″ and weighs a muscular 235 lbs. Stanton broke out last year, his sophomore year with 34 home runs and 87 RBIs. An .893 OPS is nothing to sneeze at. He will be batting in a lineup surrounded by Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez and Logan Morrison. There should be plenty of RBI opportunities for the man labelled as the “Next Dave Winfield.” Given Stanton’s “can’t-miss” status, the Marlins have to lock up their young franchise player early. There are many numbers being thrown around in discussing Stanton’s future contract status. I am seeing about $10 million per season on the horizon, with Stanton getting anywhere from $70-$100 million. If Carlos Gonzalez can score $80 million, then I would put Stanton in at least that realm. He is a once-in-a-lifetime talent and the Marlins know it. Lock him up now, or watch him get $200 million in 2017. The new economics of baseball includes locking up young players very early at big dollars, with savings in arbitration/free agent years. It is a risk/reward for both the player and team. Some of these contracts work out for the team (Evan Longoria), while some work for the player (Eric Hinske…remember him?) With their new stadium and merchandise revenues streaming in, the Marlins can certainly afford Stanton. Heck, they did make a run at Pujols. But the longer they wait, the higher the price will go up on Stanton. Welcome to baseball economics in 2012.

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Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

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About Jonathan Hacohen

I practice daily yoga. Most foods are organic. If you catch me in the supermarket, it will be in the produce aisle. Warrior 1 Yoga was born from my wish to help people be healthy and happy. I preach the 4 key's to life: nutrition, exercise, water and sleep. This is my journey - I am hope to meet you along the way to share a similar path!

Posted on March 12, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great questions this week. I do remember the article about Moyer back last year. I think the whole Moyer story is so great and hope more people look at him. To be pitching at his age is amazing. I know in my heart he will not be a Hall Of Famer, but I would love to see them do something for what he has done…Maybe the glove he wears when he wins his first game this year. Thanks again for all the great baseball info and stories. Already have a question for next week.

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