Monthly Archives: December 2012

The New York Mets 2013 Roster: State Of The Union

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Monday December 31st, 2012

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(There’s a still reason to come to Shea Citi this year (or why you should watch the 2013 Mets)

Stephon Johnson ( Baseball Writer and Mets Correspondent):

-You knew someone had to go:

The Mets had a few decisions to make during this current offseason regarding personnel. Stick with Cy Young Award winner (and franchise folk hero) R.A. Dickey or stick with franchise face and soon to be Mr. Met David Wright. While general manager Sandy Alderson might have tried as hard as he could to keep Dickey at Citi Field for a price that would appease the cash strapped Wilpons, the situation ended up like the plot to Highlander: there could be only one.

But where does that leave the team and the fans who make the trek out to Flushing? Playing in a NL East that features a World Series contender in the Washington Nationals, a perennial playoff team in the Atlanta Braves and the “not-as-good-but-still-better-than-you” Philadelphia Phillies, the Miami Marlins are the only team standing between the Mets and last place in 2013.

But Mets fans should still come to Citi. Read the rest of this entry

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Carlos Gonzalez: Committing Superstar Fraud in Colorado

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Sunday December 30th, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen  (Baseball Writer and Website Founder):  

Today I tackle one of my favorite baseball points of discussion: Carlos Gonzalez – MLB Superstar or simply a product of Coors Field?

It absolutely amazes me how Gonzalez has seemingly fooled the majority of the baseball world. From Twitter to leading baseball magazines, the average baseball fans to leading national writers are convinced that the young man is one of the top players in the game. Whenever I hear the CarGo fan train pulling into the station, I always have one response:  check the home/road splits. Read the rest of this entry

James Paxton Deserves More Attention

Sunday, December 30th,2012

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Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): 

James Paxton is one of the most talented Left-Handed pitching prospects currently in the Minor Leagues. However, partially because he went through trouble entering the MLB Draft a few years ago, Paxton seems to be underrated be most of the baseball world. There is a decent chance that Paxton will make his MLB debut in Seattle before the All-Star Break, so he should have a chance to get some of the attention he deserves in 2012. The Mariners are lucky to have Paxton, whether they use him as a trading piece or they decide to keep him. James Paxton has the talent to become a #3 starter in the majors and it won’t be long before the baseball world is much more aware of this.

Read the rest of this entry

Cleveland Indians 2013 Roster: State Of The Union

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Saturday December 29th, 2012

Cleveland_Indians

Jake Dal Porto (Baseball Writer)

The Cleveland Indians were nothing short of the laughing stock of the American League Central this past season. A hot started quickly turned into a hot mess, and their entire team went up into flames.

Now, with a new manager and a few hopeful offseason of moves, the Indians aren’t half-bad.

Let’s take a lot at a couple of the big questions in Cleveland:

Read the rest of this entry

Best And Worst Red Sox Christmas-Time Transactions

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Saturday, December.29, 2012

Can Joel Hanrahan Light up Fenway? Time will Tell

Can Joel Hanrahan Light up Fenway? Time will Tell

By Saul Wisnia,  Red Sox Correspondent (Read his blog ‘Fenway Reflections’ here):

Now that it appears the Red Sox have “wrapped up” their big Christmas week trade with the Pirates, it got me thinking about how the Sox have fared in past late-December moves. It’s too early to say how this swap is going to shake out; if closer Joel Hanrahan pitches in Boston like he did during most of the past two seasons, he’ll be a huge step in the rebuilding effort. Here’s a look back at the success of some other Christmas-time transactions by the Red Sox:

Dec. 28, 2011: Promising outfielder Josh Reddick and minor leaguers Miles Head and Raul Alcantara traded to Oakland for closer Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney.

Reddick probably doesn’t feel this way anymore.

Result: Not looking good so far. Bailey was injured most of the season and ineffective upon his return. The Hanrahan trade makes it pretty clear Sox management believes Bailey won’t bounce back strong, and Sweeney was allowed to go to free agency after a lackluster .260, 0-homer year with Boston. As for Reddick, he was one of the biggest MLB surprises of 2012, hitting 32 homers and earning a Gold Glove with the A’s. HO-HO-HO Meter — (1/2 HO)

Dec. 24, 2004: Catcher Jason Varitek re-signed as free agent.

A direct result of Tek’s re-tendering — another title.

Result: Strong move for two reasons. Although Varitek turned 33 in April 2005, he remained a productive offensive and defensive performer for most of the four-year deal. More importantly, the captain stabilized an ever-evolving pitching staff and helped lead the Red Sox to another World Series title in 2007. (HO-HO-HO)

Dec. 21, 2001: Outfielder Johnny Damon signed as free agent.

What would Johnny do? Plenty for the Sox.

Result: Idiot’s delight. Damon delivered in every way for the Red Sox over the four-year contract, as a speedy lead-off man with power, an excellent defensive outfielder (minus his throwing arm), as a tough, enthusiastic leader in the clubhouse, and as a clutch performer in the postseason. His grand slam in Game Seven of the 2004 ALCS is one of the biggest hits in team history. (HO-HO-HO-HO) 

December 19, 2000: Outfielder Manny Ramirez signed as free agent.  Over 8 years, Sox fans enjoyed Manny happy moments.

Result: Best free-agent signing in team history. Even at eight years and $160 million, Manny was worth it — teaming with David Ortiz to form a devastating one-two punch and averaging .313/.412/.594 with 36 homers and  114 RBI from 2001-2007 as a major cog on two World Series champions. (HO-HO-HO-HO)

Dec. 22, 1980: Postmark date stamped on a contract mailed to Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk, two days after a deadline expired — making Fisk a Free Agent. 

After switching Sox and his number, Fisk kept hitting.

Result: Holy Cliff Clavin. Fisk signs with the White Sox and over next 13 more seasons hits 214 home runs. (No HOs)

Dec. 26, 1919: Outfielder/pitcher Babe Ruth sold to Yankees for $125,000 plus a $350,00 loan.

Harry Frazee ate crow on this move.

Result:  Owner Harry Frazee’s folly. Frazee didn’t like Ruth’s wild ways, or his demands for a $20,000 contract. So he sent the Babe packing, then watched him hit 659 homers for New York through 1934. (No HOs)

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of www.mlbreports.com and their partners.***

A big thank-you goes out to  Saul Wisnia for preparing today’s featured article. Saul shares his Fenway Reflections at http://saulwisnia.blogspot.com. Born just up the street from “America’s Favorite Ballpark,” he is a former sports and news correspondent at The Washington Post and feature writer at The Boston Herald. He has authored, co-authored, or otherwise contributed to numerous books on Boston and general baseball history here, and his articles and essays have appeared in Sports Illustrated, Red Sox Magazine, Boston Magazine, and The Boston Globe. His most recent book, Fenway Park: The Centennial, was excerpted on http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/.  Wisnia lives in Newton, Massachusetts, 5.94 miles from America’s favorite ballpark, with his wife, two kids, and Wally (the cat, not the Green Monster).  Feel free to follow Saul on Twitter .

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The Tampa Bay Rays: The Pitchers 1998-2012: Part 3 Of A 5 Part Article Series

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Friday, December.28, 2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history.  2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of  my archived articles section here.

James Shields ALL-Time so far. David Price may not take very long to surpass all of is Franchise Records James Shields has been the teams best chucker of ALL-Time so far. David Price may not take very long to surpass all of his Franchise Records with Shields heading to KC  now

James Shields  enjoys most of the Teams  ALL-Time Pitching Records so far.  David Price may not take very long to surpass all of his Franchise Records with Shields heading to KC now.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

The Rays had several lean years of pitching before a starter really made his mark.  Out of the gate, Roberto Hernandez had helped the team with closing at least.  In the early years, the best pitching was done by Rolando Arrojo, followed by Victor Zambrano, before he was traded for Scott Kazmir.  The Mets/Rays trade was the foundation for the pitching staff finally evolving.  Soon James Shields was up with the big club.  In 2008, the teams 5 starters towed the hill for all season in what would be an eventual World Series Birth.  Newly acquired Matt Garza, joined Shields, Kazmir, Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine for double-digit wins and winning records.

David Price was next to join the staff in 2009 and he has not looked back since. Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore joined the pitching staff in the next few years after that.  The stable of bullpen relievers keeps coming and going. J.P. Howell has been the biggest mainstay there.  Even with departing starters of Davis and (the Franchise Leader in several pitching categories) Shields, the team is not bare at the kitchen cupboard.  The Rays finished 1st in Team Pitching ERA last year for all of the MLB.  The next closest team in the AL was the Oakland – at almost a third of a run more. 

The Rays have been blessed with some great years recently out of lower salaried closers.  Whether it was Troy Percival, Kyle Farnsworth, Rafael Soriano or Fernando Rodney, Andrew Friedman has had a knack for gluing together a bullpen on a  shoestring budget.  With David Price winning the Cy Young Award in 2012, the best pitching may be yet to come for the AL East Team.  Honorable Mentions went to these players, but they were not the same caliber as everyone else:  Esteban Yan, Andy Sonnanstine, Kyle Farnsworth  SP/RP  Rick White RP  Lance Cormier and RP Jim Mecir.

Scroll Down past the Franchise Links for the Pitchers or click on the Read The Rest Of This Entry Icon just past the Video Clip.

Franchise Series Links:

Franchise History: The Tampa Bay Rays: The Franchise 1998-2012: Part 1 Of A 5 Part Article Series

The Hitters  The Tampa Bay Rays: The Hitters 1998-2012: Part 2 Of A 5 Part Article Series

2013 Team Payroll Part 4 of 5:  Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2013 And Contracts Going Forward: Updated for Myers Trade Dec.11/2012

Tropicana Field Expert Part 5 of 5:  An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith

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Chase Headley: Flash In The Pan Or Bonafide ALL-Star?

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Friday December 28, 2012

Headley caaptured a Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger in 2012. He ended up finishing 5th in NL MVP voting.

Headley caaptured a Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger in 2012. He ended up finishing 5th in NL MVP voting.   He hit .286 with 31 HRs and an NL leading 115 RBI.  More impressive were his post ALL-Star numbers -in which he hit .308 with 23 HRs and 73 RBI in just 75 games, carrying a .978 OPS for that time frame.  The man also scored 56 Runs in the 2nd half.

Kyle Holland (MLB Reports Intern): 

What exactly is needed to be able to call yourself a “superstar?”  All-Star Game Appearances? Multiple MVPs?  How about all this and being a fan favorite. You need to have you superstar moments throughout the years. A World Series ring looks real good on a superstar’s finger. Having your name in the history books and then maybe being an eventual Hall of Famer. This is what defines a superstar years after they are retired.

What does one breakout season make you? Certainly not a superstar. Not right away at least. Star’s need to prove themselves in more ways than just one breakout season.

This is the question with San Diego Padres Third Baseman, Chase Headley.

Read the rest of this entry

The Yankees Will Surpass A 200 Million Dollar Payroll in 2013 And Are Pinching Pennies At Catcher!

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Thursday, December.27, 2012

This guy might be a great defensive catcher when all is said and done, but how can you trust this team with a rookie catcher with their limited window to win?

This guy might be a great defensive catcher when all is said and done, but how can you trust this team with a rookie catcher with their limited window to win?

Chuck Booth (Yankees Correspondent/Website Owner):

As of this very moment, you are not the happiest of campers if you are a Yankees fan.   Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart and Austin Romine look to start the year out catching for the Bronx Bombers!  Really??? You are telling me that you will spend 215-225 Million Dollars on (Luxury Taxable) Payroll and you couldn’t find a mere 7.5 Million for a 1 Year Deal to sign A.J. Pierzynski?  The club will receive some insurance money for A-Rod’s injury this year, however the Luxury Tax is not affected by that.  So maybe knowing that they will pay 40% more for a guys salary (more than he really makes as a salary) is another thing stalling the franchise from plunking some serious cash down on a real quality veteran catcher.  In my opinion, this is a brutal mistake that will leave the fans frustrated beyond belief if it blows up in the Yankees face.  The good news is that if the team is playing well in every other department other than the Catchers position, they can always address the situation at any point next year by a trade.  With no significant catchers left on the FA Market, New York will probably go this route. If you can manage to keep atop of the standings, then you may land a veteran catcher that will only have a pro-rated salary for the rest of the year.

If I were Ichiro Suzuki, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera or Andy Pettitte, I would not be happy with the club not landing a proven offensive or defensive catcher.  (Boy does that Jesus Montero Trade not look so favorable right now.) These 4 veterans are in the last year or two of their contracts and possibly their careers will end once their contracts.  While these guys would never panic, you only need to look what the Blue Jays are doing north of the border for real ‘transaction aggression.’ I just think that you have re-signed and brought in Free Agents that all point to a “Win Now” mentality, yet you are going towards one-dimensional catchers that all have limited experience.  It doesn’t feel right and the Yankees ‘Faithful’ will have a field day on Management and ownership should this position end up being a crutch on the teams success chances for 2013.

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Houston Astros Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

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Thursday, December.27,  2012

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Nicholas Rossoletti (Baseball Writer):

The 2013 Houston Astros payroll is one of the stranger payrolls to look at given the current state of baseball where player’s salaries seem to be ever-increasing.  Before Dec.18, the Astros were paying exactly one player above One Million Dollars annually.  That player was shortstop, Jed Lowrie. Then, the team added 1B/DH Carlos Pena to its roster on a one year deal for approximately $2.9 Million according to reports and reliever, Jose Veras on a 1 Year/$1.85 Million dollar deal.  Thats it.  Three players earning more than a Million Dollars on a professional baseball franchise approximately sixty (60) days until pitchers and catchers report. (Please note that the Astros are rumored to be interested in signing Third Baseman Jose Lopez who may be added to this list). These are your 2013 Houston Astros, who are a far cry from the Astros of the mid-2000’s who signed Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens, traded for Carlos Beltran and made a run at a World Series.  Read the rest of this entry

Fred McGriff, Does the Hall Await?

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

fred mcgriff

Patrick Languzzi (Cooperstown Correspondent):  and Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

The 2013 Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) Hall of Fame ballot was announced on November 28th. Frederick ‘Crime Dog’ McGriff’, will again accompany the ballot for what will now be his Fourth Year.

Results are expected to be announced on January 9, 2013 and a player must receive 75-Percent of the votes to be elected.

McGriff rounds out the last Three Years with 21.5, 17.9 and 23.9 Percent of the votes respectively, and certainly brings consistency to the ballot.

This year however, will invite a new crop of players to the ballot, most of which have been linked to PED’s and certain to take away votes from the Crime Dog.

McGriff’s career ranged from 1986 – 2004.  He made his Major League debut the same year as Mark McGwire, and over his 19-Year Career, McGriff amassed 493 Home Runs (tied with Lou Gehrig), 2,490 hits and 1,550 RBI’s with a .284 Life-time Batting Average.  He also collected 2494 Hits and featured a 3 slash line of .284/.377/.866.  McGriff also walked 1305 times and clubbed 958 Total Extra Base Hits.

He was a Five-Time All-Star, Three-Time Silver Slugger Award winner, a World Series Champion and the 1994 Major League Baseball All-Star Game MVP.

McGriff was the first player [1992] since the dead-ball era, to lead both the American and National League in Home Runs. Read the rest of this entry

The San Francisco Giants 2013 Player Roster: State Of The Union

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Monday December 24, 2012

San Francisco Giants

Kyle Holland (MLB Reports Intern): 

There’s no question that the San Francisco Giants have been one of the best teams in the MLB in recent years. This includes 2 World Series championships in 2010 and 2012. Without an injury to Buster Posey in 2011, we could be talking about a three-peat right now. 2012 was without a doubt the greater year between 2010 and 2012 making sure they would have a spot in October baseball. In 2010, they cut it close by not clinching the NL West until Game 162. This year, they wasted no time at all as they took out the Dodgers by clinching the Division on September 2nd.   When they were in the playoffs,  they won won 6 straight elimination games during the NLDS and NLCS, versus the Reds and Cardinals respectively, erasing 2-0 and 3-1 deficits.  The Giants then swept Detroit on their way to their second World Series ring in 3 Years.

Now the question all Giants fans are asking: What is needed for the Giants to have the possibility to repeat in 2013?

So far the Giants have done a lot this winter. That all but means you’ll see a different 9 guys on the field opening day. Right now it looks like it may be the same 9 that started game 4 of the World Series. The Giants haven’t really made any changes so far. They have resigned their 2 Major Free Agents, Marco Scutaro and Angel Pagan. They even resigned their major pitching Free Agent, Jeremy Affeldt. Their projected 25 Man Roster is going to be a tough one to take down in the NL West.  Even with he Dodgers looking to eclipse the 250 Million Dollar Mark in Payroll, the Giants should still make a push for the Division in 2013

First, let’s look at their starting pitching. It’s not going to change much besides the order. You can expect Matt Cain to be taking the bump when the Giants open up on the road against the Dodgers on April 1st. Cain was their ace in 2012. He led the team in Wins  (16) ERA (2.79) and SO (193). He also got the W in-Game #5 of the NLDS, Game 7 of the NLCS, and he started Game 4 of the World Series.  His most memorable moment of the 2012 season was a Perfect Game against the Houston Astros on June 14. Read the rest of this entry

Pierzynski Takes His Talents To Texas

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Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

a  a AJ Pierzynski

Brooke Robinson (Baseball Writer and Rangers Correspondent): 

The offensive losses suffered in Arlington were becoming very real for the days leading up to December 20. Former starting Catcher Mike Napoli, U/DH Michael Young had left for the East coast, and CF Josh Hamilton left for the West. It seemed as though GM Jon Daniels was in no hurry to make any moves, and the fans in Texas were eager to get the bitter taste of the previous season out of their mouths. So to their surprise and pleasure, the front office signed one of the best Catchers on the free agent market: Anthony John Pierzynski. Some teams considered him a liability because of his age, but the 35 year old’s numbers in 2012 are actually quite astounding. The Texas front office obviously did their homework. Read the rest of this entry

Joel Hanrahan Looks To Be Headed To Boston

Sunday, December 23rd,2012

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Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): 

Rumors began to spread on Saturday that the Pittsburgh Pirates were close to trading Joel Hanrahan to the Boston Red Sox. Assuming this deal becomes finalized, Boston would help answer some of the questions regarding their inconsistent bullpen. Hanrahan is the kind of pitcher that a team can rely on to close the door in the ninth inning. By trading Hanrahan, Pittsburgh sheds some salary and acquires a few talented players. This trade benefits both teams, but at first glance, it seems as if Boston might be getting the better side of the deal.

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The Tampa Bay Rays: The Hitters 1998-2012: Part 2 Of A 5 Part Article Series

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Friday, December.21, 2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history.  2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of  my archived articles section here.

Carl Crawford Leads as the ALL-Time Club Record Holder in most offensive categories.  Will Evan Longoria run him down..or will the club trade him?

Carl Crawford Leads as the ALL-Time Club Record Holder in most offensive categories. Will Evan Longoria run him down for all of the team records..or will the club trade him in a few years when his contract escalates in pay?

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

The Rays have only been around for 15 years, however they have seen their share of talent grace the club.  In their inaugural year, the club signed Free Agents Fred McGriff and Wade Boggs.  A few years later when Boggs retired, they added Vinny Castilla, Jose Canseco and Greg Vaughn all to the club.  This movement did not work out.  It was the drafted talent of the club that started to surface in the early 2000’s.  Aubrey Huff and Carl Crawford emerged as AL offensive threats.  Other picks like Rocco Baldelli, Jorge Cantu and Jonny Gomes started out on fire, yet quickly flamed out.  The club saw other guys come and go before the 2007 started to show what the team was really capable of.  Carlos Pena gave them a bonafide HR guy.  Soon Evan Longoria was called up to the Major Leagues and the club featured one of the best attacks in all of Major League Baseball.

The offense has suffered a bit of a drop-off in the last few years, but newly acquired Wil Myers is one of the best offensive prospects in the game of baseball.  Longoria is signed through 2023 and Ben Zobrist is a great all-around offensive talent signed for the next 3 seasons.  While the team will still be predominantly based with great pitching, the club should see some well-rounded offensive players. 

Tropicana Field is one of the harder places to put up great numbers, so we will see what the future holds.  We must look at the past.  In these Series I have been doing for the teams, a lot of criteria had to be met to be included in the Franchises best hitters or pitchers.  Obviously with a 15 Year Old team, the stakes are not raised as high.  I still looked for significant contributions to the team.  Of course if anyone ever leads the American League in any category, that is usually grounds for inclusion.

Franchise Series Article Links:

The Tampa Bay Rays: The Franchise 1998-2012: Part 1 Of A 5 Part Article Series

The Pitchers:  The Tampa Bay Rays: The Pitchers 1998-2012: Part 3 Of A 5 Part Article Series

2013 Team Payroll Part 4:  Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2013 And Contracts Going Forward: Updated for Myers Trade Dec.11/2012

Tropicana Field Expert:  An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith

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State Of the Union: The Future Of The 2013 Orioles Roster

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Friday December 21, 2012

Baltimore Orioles

Kyle Holland (MLB Reports Intern):  .

2012 was a breakout year for the Baltimore Orioles and the start of something new. They finished the season with a 93-69 record, a record good enough to land themselves a spot in the WildCard playoff game. This marked the first time since 1997 they were playing October baseball. They took down the Rangers in that very game to advance to the ALDS against AL East foe, the New York Yankees. They gave the Yankees a run for their money sending the series to 5 games, only to lose a heart-breaker 3-1 finale of the matchup.  All of this happening with the Orioles having the 18th largest payroll in the MLB.

There are indeed a few reasons that the Orioles are going to have major success in the future. Pitching, the lineup, and upcoming prospects. Read the rest of this entry

The Tampa Bay Rays: The Franchise 1998-2012: Part 1 Of A 5 Part Article Series

Thursday, December.20, 2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history.  2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5. The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of  my archived articles section here.

The many Rays Logo's over the years.  Is the best of this franchise yet tom come

The many Rays Logo’s over the years. Is the best of this franchise yet to come?

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

The Tampa Bay Rays Franchise can be summarized into two different categories:  “The Devil Rays Days” and the “Rays Days.”  The Devil Rays endured 10 straight losing seasons to start the club’s history.  From 1998-2007, was a complete gong show (645-972) and last place finishes in a tough AL East every year, except for 2004, when they finished 4th, although they did stockpile several top Draft Picks based on their horrid regular seasons.  In 2008, all of that changed when the ‘Devil’ was literally and figuratively knocked away from the Tampa Bay team.  Their young stars finally saw their potential realized and they appeared in the 2008 World Series versus the Philadelphia Phillies.  The Franchise would lose in 5 hard-fought, weather fulfilled games, however the team was now one of the model clubs in baseball.  From 2008-2012, the club has gone 458-352.

The Rays have made the playoffs in 2010 and 2011 since, plus featured two other over .500 records in 2009 and 2012.  The club has now had 5 winning seasons in a row.  There is still a long way to go as they feature the worst winning percentage in MLB History, with a 1103-1327 Franchise Record (.454).  The next worst team is the Padres at .463.  The Arizona DiamondBacks were the NL Expansion cousins of the Rays and they feature a Win Percentage of (.498), which is second overall for the Expansion teams.  The Arizona DiamondBacks also have made the playoffs 5 times and won the World Series in 2001.  Still if you asked anyone right now, the Rays would gladly be the team everyone picked.

Franchise Series Links:

The Hitters:  The Tampa Bay Rays: The Hitters 1998-2012: Part 2 Of A 5 Part Article Series

The Pitchers:  The Tampa Bay Rays: The Pitchers 1998-2012: Part 3 Of A 5 Part Article Series

2013 Team Payroll:  Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2013 And Contracts Going Forward: Updated for Myers Trade Dec.11/2012

Tropicana Field Expert:  An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith

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PSA About Bullying From The MLB Reports Via Lori Martini: I’m Not Perfect Video Featuring Dance Moms Miami Cast

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Wednesday December 19, 2012

Lyrics to Lori Martini's Anti-Bullying Video "I am Not Perfect"

Lyrics to Lori Martini’s Anti-Bullying Video “I am Not Perfect.”

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner): & Lori Martini (Senior Reporter and Baseball Writer):

Earlier this year, I had the great honor of meeting Lori Martini.  She was instrumental in helping me set the ‘World Record for Fastest To See All 30 MLB Parks’ in April, by attending 10 Games with me.  We had a nice little media blitz around the whole trip.  I even interviewed  Lori as our Citi Field Expert.  The next week, she wrote a great review about the New Marlins Ball Park, that is one of the highest viewed on the internet and has also written a few other articles. Later on in the summer, Lori interviewed Yankees Prospect Tyler Austin for the MLB Reports.  Before any of this all happened, I was already a fan of Lori’s music prior to meeting her in person. Her songwriting is incredible and she is finally receiving some recognition for it.  Lori has now used that recognition for a greater cause….

In April of this year, Lori Martini’s song “I’m Not Perfect” was placed on Dance Moms Miami and subsequently Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition on Lifetime.  Since then, the song has exploded and has inspired many young girls and boys.  It has become their anthem as it deals with accepting yourself for who you are and champions anti-bullying.  There are hundreds of fan made videos that combined have over 1 Million hits and counting.  These kids are doing covers of the song; they use it for their dance recitals; for their school projects; for anti-bullying videos; they score it to their favorite shows, dancers, singers and artists etc. Read the rest of this entry

John Schuerholz Should Be in the Hall of Fame

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Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

John Schuerholz

Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): 

It’s amazing that both Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson, two of the greatest two-sport athletes of all-time, were both drafted by the same MLB General Manager. John Schuerholz, now the Team President of the Atlanta Braves, drafted Jackson, Sanders, Adam Wainwright, Jason Heyward, Jermaine Dye, and numerous other superstars during his time as General Manager of the Royals and the Braves. Schuerholz is a legend around baseball front offices. Teams he has controlled as General Manager have won their division fifteen times. John Schuerholz has left his legacy in the game of baseball. Schuerholz deserves to be recognized for his career by an induction to the Hall of Fame.

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What Is In Store For The 2013 Chicago White Sox: State Of The Union

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Tuesday December 18th, 2012

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Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

If I had to describe the 2012 White Sox in one word, I would describe them as underperforming. Although they improved on their 2011 season, the White Sox still performed below expectations in the 2nd Half and it cost them a trip to the playoffs. In a division with the Detroit Tigers, who signed Prince Fielder last winter, the White Sox were not favored. They finished with an 85-77 record, which was not bad—I just expected better.  After all, the Tigers ended up in the World Series.

I’ll start with Adam Dunn. Dunn had one of the worst seasons in baseball history in 2011, the year that he signed a Four Year deal worth $56 Million. He hit .159 with only 11 HRs and 42 RBI. He was poised for a great comeback in 2012. I guess you could call hitting .204 with 41 HRs and 96 RBI a comeback, but it still was not the normal Adam Dunn. The HRs and RBI were there, but the .204 average was well below what he hit in previous years. If Dunn were to have hit for a higher average, one might be able to say that the White Sox would have made the playoffs. Read the rest of this entry

The Battle Of Los Angeles: Dodgers or Angels?

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Tuesday December 18, 2012

Zack Greinke

Kyle Holland (MLB Reports Intern):  .

2012 was a year to remember for Los Angeles fans. Even though neither team made a playoff appearance, both showed they will be a contender in years to come. The Angels signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson before the season started.  The club  possibly had the best player in the league with Mike Trout. The Dodgers already had Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and 2011 Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. In late August ,the Dodgers traded for slugger Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett.

The 2012-13 offseason has been in no way different for Los Angeles. The Angels and Dodgers have clearly made the most impact so far heading into the 2013 campaign.

First let’s look at the Dodgers. They started their spending spree with a bang when they signed Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers won the right to sign him from his Korean League team (Hanwha Eagles), initially on November 9 for a $25,737,737.33 bid.  He  ended up signing for 6 Years/$36 Million on December 9. He has been reported to have a 90 MPH fastball that can top out at 95. He has a very impressive changeup-that has been said to be a very effective putout pitch. He also has a slider and a decent curveball. He pitched in the 2009 World Baseball Classic but has yet to announce if he’s pitching in the 2013 WBC. This is doubtful due to the fact the Dodgers probably want to preserve his arm during Spring Training and save the innings for the regular season.

The Dodgers have also made another huge acquisition in ace Zack Greinke.  The guy started last year in Milwaukee as a member of the Brewers, before being traded halfway through the year to the Angels. He finished 2012 with a 15-5 Record,  and a 3.48 ERA in 121.1 Innings Pitched.  Greinke decided to sign with the cross town rivals for 6 years/$147 Million, the largest contract ever for a Right-handed pitcher. With Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu, the Dodgers may arguably have the best starting rotation in the National League.

Now that we know what the Dodgers have to offer in 2013, a plus lineup and a stellar pitching rotation. Across the city, the Angels have a situation that is not much different.

2012 was one of their best years in recent memory whether they made the postseason or not. The way they see it is the Billy Beane way: No one cares if you don’t win the last game of the season. So what do they do? They sign more absurd people so they can get the job done.  The club went 81-57 with Trout in the lineup and only what could of have been if Pujols hadn’t started out so slow.

After signing the top Free Agent last year in Albert Pujols, they took the same approach again signing Josh Hamilton. It was almost identical in the events leading up to both signings. They didn’t even seem to be a contender in the Hamilton sweepstakes and yet they ended up landing the slugger.  The contract  awaiting  the Outfielder in LA,  is for 5 years/$125 Million. This is also key because they were able to weaken the Rangers.   LA is basically the one team Texas did not want Hamilton to sign with and he did. Talk about frustration in the Rangers organization from pillar to post.

This Hamilton signing gives the Angels probably the best outfield in all of baseball. Mike Trout in Center just makes it fantastic alone. He probably should have won a Gold Glove and probably would have sewn up the MVP had he played in the 1st month. Hamilton will be in left and he has range and a cannon for an arm .  Trumbo will round off the outfield in right. These are all fantastic outfielders, with the ability to make solid contact with the ball and hit it over the fence on a regular basis.

So exactly who wins the battle of LA right now? Judging by player ability and experience combined, I’d say the Dodgers. The better overall team? Probably the Angels. The Dodgers hitting will win them games, but defense wins championships. The Angels have power, defense, and pitching in C.J.Wilson, Jared Weaver, and Jerome Williams. The Dodgers have a stellar lineup and an absurd rotation, but the defense behind the staff lacks compared to the Angels.

Only time will be able to tell between these two teams. Games between them will certainly be highly awaited by every baseball fan in LA. You better be ready to dish out large amounts of cash if you’re looking attend any of these games between the two clubs for the foreseeable future… Or at least cue up the CD of Rage Against the Machine’s: “Battle of Los Angeles.”

Josh Hamilton

(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)

Welcome  to our newest Baseball Intern: Kyle Holland:

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Kyle is a life long baseball fan outside of Boston. He is a sophomore in high school has played baseball since he was 5. Although growing up in one of the best baseball towns in the major leagues, he has been a Giants fan since 2009. He credits his aunt with the Giants being his favorite team as she lives in San Francisco. Some of his favorite players include Buster PoseyStephen DrewTrevor BauerStephen Strasburg, and minor leaguer Danny Hultzen.  You can find Kyle on Twitter .

Please e-mail us atmlbeports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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The Nationals Signing of Dan Haren To A 1 Yr Deal: Why It Is Still A Bad Move For Them

Monday December 17th, 2012

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Jake Dal Porto (Baseball Writer)  

Starting pitching is already an obvious strength for the Washington Nationals. If that not evident to you, well, I’ll provide some stats. As a unit, the Nats’ starters combined to post a 3.40 ERA, and a 3.46 Fielding Independent Percentage (FIP). Both marks led the National League. Therefore, starting pitching should be labeled as their best strength.

However, Washington’s rotation became a bit slimmer when Edwin Jackson decided to part to greener pastures. Yes, technically he is still a free-agent, and the Nationals could technically prepare an offer for him. But the likelihood of that happening is about as little as can be.

Why?

Because Rizzo signed Dan Haren to a one-year, $13 Million Deal instead. OK, Haren’s reputation is surely a bit more reputable than Jackson’s. He is a three-time all-star, and has finished top-ten in Cy Young voting twice in his Ten Year Career. Meanwhile, Jackson is known to get a wild hair every so often, but has ace-esque stuff when he’s clicking. It’s just that his command is inconsistent. Read the rest of this entry

Josh Thole, Travis d’Arnaud and the Mets Catcher Situation

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

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Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): 

After Josh Thole’s promising year in 2010, it seemed almost as if Thole was a long-term solution for the New York Mets at catcher. However, over the last three years, Thole has become less and less productive at the plate. In just one day, New York made a statement proving that they no longer believe Josh Thole can be the kind of player he was when he first arrived in the majors. The Mets made a gigantic trade with Toronto yesterday, which will send out Thole and bring in Travis d’Arnaud, one of the finest catching prospects in the game. Thole’s future in New York is over, while d’Arnaud’s is just beginning.

After being selected in the 13th round of the 2005 Amateur Draft, Thole spent five seasons in the minors. While moving up through the minor league ranks, Thole never dominated any level but he hit for average and played solid defense pretty much everywhere he went. Years later, Thole’s value is practically centered around his ability to hit for average and play average defense behind the plate. Read the rest of this entry

Baseball Book Review: “Chasing a Dream” – By CJ Boerger

Saturday December 15th, 2012

“CHASING A DREAM” –  BY CJ BOERGER, 2012

 Chasing A Dream CJ Boerger

 

Jonathan Hacohen  (Baseball Writer and Website Founder): 

 The most popular question I receive at this time of year?  Typically centers around Christmas coming around the corner and the need to buy a gift. Lots of them. For the baseball fan that has everything, what is one to buy? 

I go through this list seemingly every year.  With spring training still a whole 3 months away (along with the World Baseball Classic this upcoming year), baseball fans need some sort of outlet to satisfy their baseball thirst. Baseball dvds are always a good source- as all the classic games are forever enshrined in the video archives. But after having watched ball for the spring/summer/fall, sometimes it is nice to get away from the television. That is when you curl up to a good book and enjoy a baseball read.

There is nothing finer than getting lost in someone else’s world. Reading a story about another person’s hopes, goals and dreams. Where they go and how they get there. All of us have dreams. We spend our entire lives chasing them. Some are attainable, while others elude us. But sometimes it is nice to take a break from our own pursuits and live in another pair of shoes. For 300+ pages, I got to be an outsider in the world of Charlie Becker and learn about his dream.  Read the rest of this entry

Who Have Been The Toughest Former Red Sox To See In A Yankees Uniform?

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Saturday, December.15/2012

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By Saul Wisnia,  Red Sox Correspondent (Read his blog ‘Fenway Reflections’ here):

Pending a failed physical or other unforeseen mishap, Kevin Youkilis will be manning third base and wearing pinstripes when the Red Sox open the 2013 season at Yankee Stadium on April 1. Amazingly, it won’t be until July 19 that the teams will square off in Boston, giving Fenway Park fans their first chance to see their former favorite son in a New York uniform.

Red Sox Nation had an opportunity to adjust to life with Youk in the visitor’s dugout when the White Sox visited Fenway shortly after his trade to Chicago last summer, but this is a much different situation. Boston fans may develop a kinder, gentler hatred for the Yankees since 2004, but there is something about seeing a former Red Sox in enemy colors that still tugs at the heartstrings.

Here’s a look back at some of the biggest Boston heroes to wind up in the Bronx — and how they fared on their Fenway returns. Read the rest of this entry

The Miami Marlins: State Of The Union for 2013 Part 2: The Pitchers

Friday, December.14, 2012

Nolasco might be the the next guy to be traded for more prospects.

Nolasco might be the the next guy to be traded for more prospects.

Nicholas Rossoletti (Guest Baseball Writer and Marlins Correspondent):

Last week, we took a closer look at how it would be possible to revive the Marlins from not only several years of under-performing expectations, but also, how to reinvigorate fans after the latest fire sale which can only be called a public relations disaster of massive proportions for the organization.  In that article, which you can find here , the discussion was focused on the three offensive pieces that would be necessary for the Marlins to begin competing in the near future and bringing fans out to the new ballpark.  While everyone knows that “chicks dig the long ball”, long-term success is ultimately sustained and championships won by consistent, steady pitching.  

The Marlins former championship contenders have always been built on strong starting pitching, whether the 1997 team built on veterans Kevin Brown, Al Leiter, Alex Fernandez and later on, a young Livan Hernandez or the 2003 team with youthful group of Josh Beckett, A.J. Burnett, Brad Penny and  Dontrelle Willis.  Since the break-up of the 2003 team, the Marlins have sought a consistent group of pitchers to help bring them back to greatness.  But adjustments, injuries and the failure to develop some talented pieces has led to a long list of failed Marlins starters and lost seasons.  Now the Fish find themselves in the familiar position of having to develop young pitching. Read the rest of this entry

State Of The Union: What The Minnesota Twins Must Do To Compete in 2013

Friday December 14, 2012

Scott-Diamond

Kyle Holland (MLB Reports intern): 

The last few years for the Minnesota Twins had been nothing more than atrocious. They have finished in last place in the AL Central both of the past two season finishing 63-99 and 66-96 respectively. The 2011 season was highly disappointing due to the fact the Twins finished first in 2010. They didn’t have Mauer for a good portion of 2011 due to injury so they were hoping for a strong comeback in 2012. He did not disappoint making the All-Star Game in 2012 and finished with one of the top Avgs in the American League.  Justin Morneau played the majority of the season and is starting to come around offensively.  While the team can’t count on him putting up AL MVP numbers again, he should be average amongst American League First Basemen.

So what exactly do the Twins need to do to get back to their success in the last decade prior to 2011? The simple answer to this question is pitching. Read the rest of this entry

An Interview With Baseball Superfan And Photographer Jill Marie Workman

Thursday, December.13/2012

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Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

I recently had the privilege to meet Jill Workman on Twitter through a mutual friend.  We started talking about love for the game of baseball and sharing war stories of fandom.  I was extremely impressed with Jill’s devotion to baseball photography.  I think the MLB Fans have a certain rabidness towards the game that is both encompassing and inspirational.  That Jill will spend countless hours, at great individual cost, in order to ply her hobby as a photographer, represents the aforementioned qualities I just spoke of.  After filtering through thousands of her pictures, I wanted the whole baseball community (including our readers) to see her fine work.  I am glad that Jill agreed to do this interview.  There is always a place on this website to express the passionate people who make the MLB the best fans in the World! Read the rest of this entry

Baseball Brought My Daughter And I Closer Than Ever!

Thursday, December.13, 2012

Warner Park is home to the Madison Mallards, a collegiate summer baseball team that plays in Madison, Wisconsin

Warner Park is home to the Madison Mallards, a collegiate summer baseball team that plays in Madison, Wisconsin.

Jessica Jensen (Special Guest Baseball Writer:)

As a parent, your life changes when your child is admitted to the hospital. It was the day before the Fourth of July, the physicians who attended my oldest daughter knew that something was wrong based on her blood work, but no one could tell us exactly why certain levels were elevated. Not knowing why she couldn’t eat or drink in case emergency surgery was needed was terrifying. The Fourth of July at Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee is a slow day, so it wasn’t until the fifth that my daughter had an MRI. When she was finally discharged from the hospital, she went home with an osteomyelitis diagnosis, and two full styrofoam coolers of medication. For a while my family joked about the drugs in my refrigerator, my daughter required around the clock IV antibiotics that had to be kept cold. My sister is a nurse, but I’m not, and neither is my husband, so the home health nurse had to demonstrate a lot of things that I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle.

After the initial shock wore off, I was left with a low energy child who was removed from many activities she enjoyed due to the PICC line in her arm. She couldn’t swim, I was afraid to let her do too much outside, although there wasn’t much running around she could do with her severe limp. During this time, my Twitter friends were amazingly supportive. I had read about the baseball family, but I didn’t feel included in it until I posted tweets about my daughter and her condition. In an effort to get my daughter out, I talked to my sister and brother-in-law. My sister is not a baseball fan, but my brother cheered the Cardinals to victory last year. It was tough, but I decided I would heap coals of fire on his St. Louis roots by inviting him to a college baseball game. Read the rest of this entry

State Of The Union: What’s In Store For The 2013 Chicago Cubs?

Thursday December 13th, 2012

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Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

Needless to say, it has been a dismal last few years for the Chicago Cubs. The last time they made the playoffs, it was 2008 and they were swept in the NLDS. They have not won a World Series since 1908 and do not look like they will be ending that drought anytime soon. The Cubs had a horrible 2012 in which they went 61-101. The record basically tells the story. The Cubs ended up trading Ryan Dempster, a fixture in the Cubs’ pitching staff for the past decade converting from a closer to a starter mid-tenure. In this feature, I will cover what’s ahead for this storied franchise.

For 2013, the Cubs really have not made any improvements. So far, their big offseason signing has been Nate Schierholtz, who was traded from the Giants to the Phillies as part of a package for Hunter Pence. Schierholtz will be joined in the outfield by Brett Jackson, a highly regarded prospect, and Alfonso Soriano. This outfield is not exactly a marquee group, but it will get the job done. Soriano should continue to provide some pop as he has hit 82 HRs in the past three years combined, and Brett Jackson should get on base and drive in runs with his gap-to-gap power. Schierholtz will fit right in with the rest of the lineup. Read the rest of this entry

St.Louis Cardinals: The Middle Infield Could Bring A World of Problems in 2013

Wednesday December 12th, 2012

MLB: NLCS-St. Louis Cardinals at San Francisco Giants

Jake Dal Porto (Baseball Writer)  

The Cardinals boasted one of baseball’s most dynamic offenses in baseball this past season. They could hit the long ball, for an average, and for extra bases. That trend should continue in 2013, as the same core of players haven’t moved, but the middle infield positions will separate their offense from being dominant.  Here’s a breakdown of the main problems at second base and shortstop:

Read the rest of this entry

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