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Baseball’s Newest Rivalry: Boston Vs Detroit

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Ground Rule Triple Blog (Featured Baseball Website/groundruletripleblog.wordpress.com) 

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Move over Red Sox-Yankees, baseball’s got a new rivalry that’s full of drama. The Detroit Tigers versus the Boston Red Sox. You might be thinking how is an AL Central team vs. an AL East team a huge rivalry? Well, there’s a lot of history to support this, but let’s begin with the most recent event.

Longtime Tigers President and GM Dave Dombrowski was let go days after the 2015 Trade Deadline and eventually signed with the Red Sox to become their president. He’s provided the Tigers with plenty of success from a pair of World Series appearances in 2006 and 2012 and blockbuster trades that netted them MVPs and Cy Youngs.

And now he’s with Boston, and his longtime assistant GM Al Avila has become the GM of the Tigers. Avila has worked for numerous years under Dave, dating back to their time with the then-Florida Marlins. And now…

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The Angels Are Going Cheap In 2016 When They Need To Buck Up One More Time: Sign Fowler!

Billy Eppler and Arte Moreno really need to evaluate how much the 2016 Angels are going to need offense. Easily the worst bench in 2015, coupled with the loss of David Freese so far, the club has not addressed the weaknesses they have at LF and 2B. With Pujols hurt to start the year, this club may be out of it before he returns. At $164 MIL projected they are $25 MIL underneath the limit for payrolls before paying a penalty. Many players are coming off the books after 2016 as well. Spend the dough needed to compete, or risk missing the playoffs - and burning another year of Mike Trout.

Billy Eppler and Arte Moreno really need to evaluate how much the 2016 Angels are going to need offense. Easily the worst bench in 2015, coupled with the loss of David Freese so far, the club has not addressed the weaknesses they have at LF and 2B. With Pujols hurt to start the year, this club may be out of it before he returns. At $164 MIL projected they are $25 MIL underneath the limit for payrolls before paying a penalty. Many players are coming off the books after 2016 as well. Spend the dough needed to compete, or risk missing the playoffs – and burning another year of Mike Trout.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part – Owner) 

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I won’t be the first one to be on this wave of people who think that the Angels are rotting away the career of Mike Trout in a Halo’s uniform.

The best overall player in the American League (and at least for right now) plus the Major Leagues, must be furious with the lack of offensive help arriving in Anaheim this off season.

New Angels GM Billy Eppler is following the directive of Arte Moreno not to spend over the Luxury Tax Threshold.  Now it is catching up with them on the field.

Throw in a disastrous move of bringing in Josh Hamilton a few years back – a debacle that will see the club fork out $53.4 MIL over the next 2 year to see him play in Texas. Read the rest of this entry

Texas, You Are Dreaming If You Think The Current Starting Rotation Will Be Good Enough In 2016!

The Rangers rose from the AL West ashes in 2015 and won their first Division Title in 4 years. It came off the heels of 2 injury riddled seasons that plagued any chance to make the playoffs. The club has about $140 MIL worth of salaries to pay in 2016 but should consider spending out another $10 - $15 MIL. They have a need for a Starting Pitcher and could use a breakout campaign from either Joey Gallo or Jurickson Profar to add depth for mid year trade to acquire a proven playoff Starter to add. The club will also hope Yu Darvish can come back at full strength. While they have 5 of the top 46 contracts of ALL - Time on their salary, 3 of them came via trade where the former team is picking up some of the dough.

The Rangers rose from the AL West ashes in 2015 and won their first Division Title in 4 years. It came off the heels of 2 injury riddled seasons that plagued any chance to make the playoffs. The club has about $150 MIL worth of salaries to pay in 2016 but should consider spending out another $10 – $15 MIL for one more piece in the rotation. They have a need for a Starting Pitcher and could use a breakout campaign from either Joey Gallo or Jurickson Profar to add depth for a mid year trade to acquire a proven playoff Starter. The club will also hope Yu Darvish can come back at full strength.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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I am quite perplexed on the thought process of the Texas Rangers this offseason.  I mean, talk about resting on your laurel’s fellas!

This club was quite lucky to have run down the Houston Astros in 2015 when it did for the AL West. It took renaissance years from Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder, and a hot Adrian Beltre over the last few months to get it done.

While I praised them big time for the addition of Cole Hamels at the Trade Dealine in 2015, I am giving them guff now for not surrounding him with ample playoff caliber pitching this winter.

Yu Darvish is a world class talent, but he is just coming back from Tommy John Surgery, and may take at least 6 weeks to begin the year.

Derek Holland is slated up high on your staff even though he has towed the hill just 13 games over the last 3 campaigns.
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What Should The Yankees Do For 1B Depth Now + Beyond 2016 With Bird Hurt?

Justin Morneau would definitely be a flier for some team based on his recent concussion history. Although he did recently win a Batting Title for the Colorado Rockies. A club like the Indians may use his services where he could DH some and play 1st Base.

Justin Morneau would definitely be a flier for some team based on his recent concussion history. Although he did recently win a Batting Title for the Colorado Rockies in 2014 by Batting .319. The former AL MVP has a swing a lot like former Yankees player – Tino Martinez and would be perfect depth for the Yankees.  Morneau, 34, could also take some Designated Hitter reps against tough Right Handed Pitchers.  The Canadian posted a .316/.364/.487 3 Slash Line with 20 HRs and 42 Doubles in his 670 AB spanning the last 2 seasons for the Rockies.  I believe he could put up at a .275/.333/.425 line for the Yankees if they brought him in.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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It is unfair for a player like Gregory Bird, that he tore his labrum and will miss the entire 2016 season. 

With Mark Teixeira spending a pile of time on the meat wagon for various injuries in the last few years, the young 23 year old slugger could have solidified a long-standing place on the team if he could have had the opportunity forthcoming.

Instead this little injury is really putting the ‘Pinstripers’ depth to question before pitchers and catchers even report at First Base.

Brian Cashman has to play this thing right – as any injury ‘Tex’ could cripple the club.  The organization should dole out some decent cabbage for a guy to backup at 1st now with this news.

At first glance you have to look at the potential Free Agents out there left on the table.  Both Pedro Alvarez and Justin Morneau are still on the open market.
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Why The Giants’ 2016 Season Looks A Lot Like 2002

With the club pretty much being set for players all around the Infield and Outfield, and now the Starting Staff, the Giants look poised to make another run at a World Series run for an even year this decade. 2016 will see several of its Bullpen members on the last year of their contracts.

With the club pretty much being set for players all around the Infield and Outfield, and now the Starting Staff, the Giants look poised to make another run at a World Series run for an even year this decade. 2016 will see several of its Bullpen members on the last year of their contracts.

Following the 2001 baseball season the San Francisco Giants faced a challenging problem: how to retool a 25 man roster that had a solid core of talented players but still lacked a number of critical pieces.

That Giants team also had a recent history of success, making the post season twice in the previous five years. In 1997 the Giants lost the League Division Series 3-0 to the Florida Marlins, and in 2000 they again lost the LDS, this time 3-1 to the New York Mets.

That’s when General Manager Brian Sabean did something the San Francisco Giants rarely ever do: he acknowledged the team’s needs and signed several free agents (along with making several trades), going all in with the goal of playing in the 2002 World Series.

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MLB Power Rankings: Early Win Total Predictions For Spring Of 2016

Just because there is parity in the American League it doesn't mean that the Junior Circuit will not club the National League in Interleague this upcoming season. In fact, I am calling for them to be 50 games over .500 versus the Senior Circuit in the AL vs NL schedule. Most of that will be versus the weaker NL clubs, however the better NL clubs will not entirely dominate the whole AL either.

Just because there is parity in the American League it doesn’t mean that the Junior Circuit will not club the National League in Interleague this upcoming season. In fact, I am calling for them to be 50 games over .500 versus the Senior Circuit in the AL vs NL schedule. Most of that will be versus the weaker NL clubs, however the better NL clubs will not entirely dominate the whole AL either.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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There is parity in the American League and their is a growing distance between the good and the bad clubs in the National League.

One could argue that the top 6 teams (NYM/CHC/SF/WSH/STL/PIT) in all of the Majors reside in the NL right now, and you then you can counter that by saying they have the 6 worst squads as well (PHI/ATL/MIL/CIN/SD/COL).

The funny thing about this whole ordeal is that the AL is absolutely going to cream the NL in Interleague this forthcoming season.  On a 12 year win streak already,  I am predicting a 175 – 125 W – L for the games between both leagues. The AL speedbags the National League in my view.

Last year, the American League held a 167 – 133 mark over the National League so that prediction up there is not foreign by any means. 

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5 Big Questions And Predictions For The 2016 Boston Red Sox

With most gambling establishment having the Red Sox at around +1000 for the World Series - this +900 mark for the AL Pennant is a lights out value. Pounce on it.

As the last notes of Auld Lang Syne evaporate into the atmosphere, and 2016 stretches its wings for the first time, the realization that spring training is mere weeks away starts to settle in.

Although the Boston Red Sox made a significant splash this offseason to upgrade their roster after consecutive disappointing seasons, they are still a work in progress.

Let’s take a look at five of the biggest questions facing the team, and some predictions of how it will all play out.

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MLB Power Rankings New Years 2016

Perhaps the Back to the Future Prediction was off by just one year. The Cubs , who are immensely loaded with young offensive superstars added another to the mix with the Jason Heyward signing. Add that to a revamped Bullpen, strong Starters signed last year in Jon Lester and Jason Hammel, coupled with John Lackey this year, and this team is the clear cut #1 ranked team. Oh yeah..They even have depth to make another trade should they need to.

Perhaps the Back to the Future Prediction was off by just one year. The Cubs , who are immensely loaded with young offensive superstars added another to the mix with the Jason Heyward signing. Add that to a revamped Bullpen, strong Starters signed last year in Jon Lester and Jason Hammel, coupled with John Lackey this year, and this team is the clear cut #1 ranked team. Oh yeah..They even have depth to make another trade should they need to.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part-Owner) 

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(1) Chicago Cubs: Big additions of Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and John Lackey.  Tonnes of young superstars only ging to get better.

(2) NY Mets:  Starting Pitching best in the Majors.  Offensive depth better in offseason.  Need David Wright to stay healthy.  NL East easiest bottom 3 teams in the bigs.

(3) Kansas City Royals:  Easiest Division in the Majors.  Back to Back AL Pennants and defending World Series Champs.  Look for some more mid year deals. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Power Rankings: Early Predictions For 2016

Yoenis Cespedes led all LF for HRs with 35 on the campaign in 2015. He picked a contract year for his best season to date out of the 4 years he has been in the Major Leagues. Cespedes hit 17 HRs with the Mets in 2 months, after smacking out just 18 in the first four months with Detroit. Cespedes finished in the top 40 for both leagues in respective big fly's, and was tie for 13th overall with Manny Machado and David Ortiz.

Yoenis Cespedes led all LF for HRs with 35 on the campaign in 2015. He picked a contract year for his best season to date out of the 4 years he has been in the Major Leagues. Cespedes hit 17 HRs with the Mets in 2 months, after smacking out just 18 in the first four months with Detroit. Cespedes finished in the top 40 for both leagues in respective big fly’s, and was tied for 13th overall with Manny Machado and David Ortiz.  Out of all remaining Free Agents left, I think he will have the most impact on a team that picks him up.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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It would still be a little premature to finalize any of these predictions right now – however it is never bad to install your power rankings based on the current state of the teams.  I will update these every month till the season starts.

When you look at the leagues, the National Leagues is far more top-heavy than the American League is.  I expect there to possibly on be one club in the Junior Circuit with 90 wins.

The AL East will beat each other up one more season – and may take the reins as the best Division in baseball again now that Boston looks to resurgent.  Keep in mind they were the cellar dwellar’s in 2015 at just 78 – 84.

I personally think the Rays inadequate offense will really kill their regular season win total for a change.  They were fortunate to receive a 3 game additional homestand due to the Baltimore riots.

While they failed to be .500 for the 1st time since 2007, they extended their streak of at least being victorious in 80 games for another campaign. Read the rest of this entry

WTF Pittsburgh? Are You Contenders Or Are You At The Kids Table?

This club has improved a great deal over the last 8 years, and they are in great His strategic moves over the next 12 months will determine if that means a playoff round win.

This Pirates club has made themselves relevant in the NL for the last 3 years with appearing in the Wild Card game – and pushing the Cards to the brink of elimination in 2014.  However this organization has looked petty in looking too much to the bottom line so far this offseason.  They have lost 4 players from the 98 win team of 2015 – and only have Jon Niese and Juan Nicasio as guys that help the MLB squad in 2016.  They still have 3 months to go, but thus far the winter has been a tire fire.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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What the hell are the Pirates doing this offseason?!!  I mean I have tonnes of respect for Neil Huntington – however the brass has made some highly questionable moves to save some money.

The Pittsburgh window to win is 2 – 3 more years, yet it almost looks likes the management is throwing a preemptive strike to blow the club up.

Okay, I may be overstating the facts a little here – as there is still well over 3 months before the club even hits Spring Training.

The club first non-tendered Pedro Alvarez – rather than head to the last year of Arbitration with him.  He would have made in the neighborhood of $10 MIL in 2016 – I get that, but losing a 25 – 30 HR out of your lineup will be tough to adjust for. Read the rest of this entry

Greinke Signs With Arizona: 12th Best Deal ALL – Time Of 50 MLB Richest Contracts.

Zack Greinke opted of his deal after this season, even though he will stay have nearly $26 MIL per year left on his deal running through 2018. There is no doubt in my mind that LA will probably walk away from Greinke. I base that on the comments from GM Andrew Friedman - who isn't looking to spend a lot of money, and also shed payroll. If the brass is able to pull of some swift financing, they should be able to absorb a ne deal with the RHP, and not have the salary for the club be blown out of proportion.

Zack Greinke opted of his deal (6 YRs/$147.6 MIL) after this last season with the Dodgers, even though he will still nearly $26 MIL per year left on his deal running through 2018. The 32 Year Old has been dynamite since moving to Los Angeles, featuring a 60 – 17 (.779) record with a mid 2 ERA since he was dealt to the Angels in mid 2012 from the Brewers.  He just inked the most lucrative deal ever signed for the MLB in AAV at $34.42 MIL per year.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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A collective haymaker punch has just been thrown at the rest of the National League West.  The Diamondbacks have inked Zack Greinke to a 6 YRs/$206.5 MIL pact as of last night.

This is the 3rd richest Pitcher contract ever signed behind David Price‘s 7 YRs/$217 MIL deal – and Clayton Kerhsaw’s extension of 7 YRs/$210 MIL.

It is also the highest Average Annual contract  ahead at $34.42 MIL per season, edging out both Price and Miguel Cabrera at a clip of $31 MIL each a campaign for their respective deals.

Greinke, 32, who finished 2nd in NL Cy Young Voting with an incredible 1.66 ERA in 222.1 IP worth of work in 2015 had opted out of his 6 YRs/$147.5 MIL deal with the Dodgers after just 3 years.

The Right Handed Pitcher left 3 years and $77.5 MIL on the table – and this was the right move as he was slated to earn just under $26 MIL a season for that contract.

This is the 12th richest deal of ALL – Time in the Major Leagues – and is also the 12th player to crack the $200 MIL+ barrier.

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On The Trading Block In The NL East

The Phillies have not had a winning season since 2011 after putting forth a decade straight of them. A promising second half to the season - couple with full seasons by Aaron Nola and Maikel Franco could have them inch closer back to achieving that mark in the next few years.

The Phillies have not had a winning season since 2011 after putting forth a decade straight of them. A promising second half to the season – couple with full seasons by Aaron Nola and Maikel Franco could have them inch closer back to achieving that mark in the next few years.

Jordan Gluck (Part Owner/Featured Writer): 

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On the Trading Block NL East

Atlanta Braves: The Braves have quite a few players that they can trade and under John Hart you don’t know what direction they will go in this offseason.

Can they be in a position to compete moving into the new Sun Trust Stadium next year or is it a longer term rebuild

I think this team really isn’t 2 bad and could compete for a wild card this season with the addition of a 3B (Rio Ruiz?) and consistent starting pitching.

However it is clear their sights are not set on this season but on the future as indicated by their trade of Andrelton Simmons. Read the rest of this entry

The Middle Infield Positions Have Regressed To What They Used To Be In The MLB Power Wise

Carlos Correa led all Shortstops with 22 HRs in 2015 - despite not being called up until early June. With how rare his power is at the position currently, this will be an automatic advantage for the Houston Astros for the next half - dozen years .

Carlos Correa led all Shortstops with 22 HRs in 2015 – despite not being called up until early June. With how rare his power is at the position currently, this will be an automatic advantage for the Houston Astros for the next half – dozen years. Brandon Crawford was the only other Shortstop to hit the 20 HR plateau in 2015.  The position has receded to what it used to be over 20 – 25 years ago when Cal Ripken was a rare player to hit for power at Short.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Onwer) 

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Part of going over the winter transactions wire for all players available in the league has taught me even more of what I had thought about the state of the MLB currently.

Since steroids have been removed practically from the game, Third Base, Short Stop and Second Baseman have seen their numbers plummet offensively.

You could also lump the First Baseman, Outfielders and Catchers to this list as well, however they still own the predominant amount of power hitters in the game.

So you have a need a Third Base this offseason…That is bad news for you because David Freese is the best available Free Agent on the market. Read the rest of this entry

Trades Are Coming In Fast This Winter

A.J. Preller has been really active trying to replenish his prospect pool after making a big splash in his rookie offseason. The Padres finished a dismal 74 - 88. At least he recognizing the error of his ways - and trying to eradicate his mistakes. He dealt his two best Relievers already, stockpiling 6 prospects in return.

A.J. Preller has been really active trying to replenish his prospect pool after making a big splash in his rookie offseason. The Padres finished a dismal 74 – 88. At least he recognizing the error of his ways – and trying to eradicate his mistakes. He dealt his two best Relievers already, stockpiling 6 prospects in return in the trades.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Onwer) 

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It seems everyday now that there is a new MLB Trade to discuss.  I love it.  Nothing is better than this kind of thing during a long offseason.  I thought we would take a minute to break down what has occurred so far since the World Series ended.

The Mariners, Padres are doing multiple trades trying to revamp their teams cosmetically.

The trade I like for both clubs the most is probably the John Ryan Murphy to the Twins for Aaron Hicks deal. Read the rest of this entry

2015 MLB Trade Deadline: So Who’s Selling?

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So Who’s Selling?

Jordan Gluck (Part-Owner/Featured Writer): 

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No team in the American League is more than 9 games out of a Wild Card spot and every team within the National League is within 10 of a wild card spot with the obvious exception of the Phillies.

The amount of sellers will be microscopic this year and the quantity of pieces available is lower than I’ve ever seen. This says something about the parity of baseball and the Job that commissioners Selig and Manfred have done to make an even playing field despite differences in payroll.

The problem with selling is that its incredibly bad for business the rest of the year and will result in a loss of projected revenue.

So I have outlined some potential sellers and the pieces they can move along with a suggestion if they should/will sell. Read the rest of this entry

Yankees Off-Season Outlook: Big Shoes To Fill For Jeter, But How Do They?

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By Nicholas Delahanty (MLB Reports Writer)  

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The 2015 off-season is very important for the New York Yankees, as they have a lot of major questions surrounding their current roster. With an aging roster and the return of recently reinstated Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees have some holes to fix, but those issues might not be their biggest concern this off-season.

We all knew the time would come, but no one was ready to start talking about how the Yankees would replace Derek Jeter. Jeter leaves very big shoes to fill in the Bronx, and the Yankees must try their best to find a successor who can not only handle the pressures of New York, but also can step up and produce.

Filling the void might be difficult at first, as past experiences have shown that Yankee fans are very impatient when it comes to replacing some of the best to wear the Yankee pinstripes.  The only legitimate shortstop on the roster, Brendan Ryan, won’t be the Yankees everyday shortstop in 2015, so the Bronx Bombers must go through the trade market or free agency to fill a void that right now is larger than life. 

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Why The Marlins Future Is Very Bright: Team Payroll And Player Options Going Fwd

 

The Marlins took great strides in the NL East this year - and were on the periphery for the 2nd Wild Card Position until the recent Stanton injury.  With the club having plenty of money to spend, and a nice amount controllable players, the organization could vault into contention fast if the brass decides to spend some dough on Free Agent talent this winter.

The Marlins took great strides in the NL East this year – and were on the periphery for the 2nd Wild Card Position until the recent Stanton injury. With the club having plenty of money to spend, and a nice amount controllable players, the organization could vault into contention fast if the brass decides to spend some dough on Free Agent talent this winter.

By Jordan Gluck (Lead Prospects Analyst/Organization Writer):

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Why the Marlins Future Is Very Bright

The Fish are right now best known for two things. The first is the potential NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton who has the most raw power in Major League Baseball.

The second is for the “cheap” owner Jeffrey Loria who I think is given to much negative press and bashing.

This is a team that is incredibly young and has a total of ZERO dollars committed to the 2017 payroll and only 8 million to 2016.

Lets not forget about Jose Fernandez who just turned 22 and is coming back from TJ surgery.

Lets look at the current lineup and salary chart. Read the rest of this entry

The Nationals Are Not The Team You Think They Are

 All of the Nats starting position players last night have an BA of .244 (low with Cabrera) or better (.299 highest (in Span), .300 OBP (low .304 (Desmond), high .383 (Werth) or more, and most important – is that all 8 have an SLG % north of .400 (.401 Ramos is low and LaRoche highest at .468, While those numbers aren’t good for one player, the depth of the team is that good. Span is going to score a 100 runs. The 2 – 5 hitters, Rendon, Werth, LaRoche and Desmond will all near 20 HRs and 90 RBI – while Harper and Ramos surely would have belted 20 HRs each if not for injury. Their 8 hitter, Cabrera, has a career OPS of .742. These guys have the lengthiest offense in the NL. That is not even talking about their Pitching, which may be their biggest asset…

All of the Nats starting position players last night have an BA of .244 (low with Cabrera) or better (.299 highest (in Span), .300 OBP (low .304 (Desmond), high .383 (Werth) or more, and most important – is that all 8 have an SLG % north of .400 (.401 Ramos is low and LaRoche highest at .468, While those numbers aren’t good for one player, the depth of the team is that good. Span is going to score a 100 runs. The 2 – 5 hitters, Rendon, Werth, LaRoche and Desmond will all near 20 HRs and 90 RBI – while Harper and Ramos surely would have belted 20 HRs each if not for injury. Their 8 hitter, Cabrera, has a career OPS of .742. These guys have the lengthiest offense in the NL. That is not even talking about their Pitching, which may be their biggest asset…

David Huzzard (www.citizensofnatstown.com Writer):

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Pick up a newspaper or turn on local sports radio and any conversation about the Nats will eventually devolve to how they are a team of guys all pulling in one direction and doing whatever it takes to win.

The picture being painted is the Nationals as a team of grit and heart and hustle but most importantly a team.

There is a belief that the Nationals have no star players and if you isolated yourself to local coverage it’s easy to believe that but then you’d also believe that the Capitals and Wizards have no star players either and the only star player in Washington DC worthy of praise is Kirk Cousins.
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KC/TOR/SEA/MIA All Trying To Break Long Playoff Droughts: Last Appearances In October For Each Squad

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Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Kansas City has rolled into the 3 quarter mark with a slim AL Central lead on the Detroit Tigers, and may finally stare down their best chance to make the playoffs since winning the World Series Title.

The Royals playoff futility is the ‘clubhouse leader’ in the MLB by 8 years.  The Toronto Blue Jays have not yielded a postseason berth since winning back to back World Series in 1992 and 1993.

Both of these two AL clubs have not made it to October baseball since the 1994 strike (the last 2 remaining clubs).

Toronto starts play today at 63 – 59, and have their best look at the playoffs since the team had Roy Halladay and A.J. Burnett back in 2007 – 2008.

The Canadian franchise had more of an excuse for years – competing with the Red Sox and Yankees when the economics 1st went out of whack during these two AL Beast 8 combined Titles, 10 ALCS appearances and all Division Titles but two during the last 20 years (Tampa Bay in 2008, 2010 being the exception. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Trade Deadline Breakdown 2014 + The August Aftermath

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Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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It was a flurry of action that baseball really needed.  Half way through the day, I was amazed their was actually day games.

Oakland and Detroit pushed all of their chips in, and you have to think they are pretty much done with transactions, although one of them doing an August deal could prompt the other to do the same.

I am holding back reservations for judging the Pirates, Blue Jays and Royals….however they all must be the “MLB clubhouse leaders” in August acquisitions to challenge for playoff slots.

Although KC better have a better idea than having Raul Ibanez take regular AB at 1B..That is horrible..

It wasn’t like the club didn’t know Eric Hosmer was injured badly.

I am also about throwing Ruben Amaro‘s career about 10 second from a toe-tag (and those ten seconds are August), for standing pat on his 47 – 60 aging core.

Like I have said so many times on twitter and social media outlets.  Someone teach this man some basic economics.

Take a lesson from Boston, and trade-off assets, to receive younger ones in the process, then you can turn around and spend every red cent in Free Agency in the offseason.. Read the rest of this entry

Beane Acquires Lester + Gomes For Cespedes: Then Acquires Fuld For Millone

Jon Lester, 30, is in the last year of his contract, which will make him around $4 MIL for the last 2 months of the 2014 season.  While there is no way he signs with Oakland past this campaign, this is a calculated move to land a playoff assassin that can front a franchise a #1 starter for a playoff series - or as the pitcher in a Play in Wild Card game should the Angels run the A's down for the AL West.  Much like Samardzija, the Athletics brass knows these guys could never be acquired via Free Agency, and have the wherewithal to know that inking longterm aces to deals past the age of 30 is just not in the cards for the franchise.  The A's were put in the position to rent them because of Beane's nice deals to build the organization's depth.

Jon Lester, 30, is in the last year of his contract, which will make him around $4 MIL for the last 2 months of the 2014 season. While there is no way he signs with Oakland past this campaign, this is a calculated move to land a playoff assassin that can front a franchise a #1 starter for a playoff series – or as the pitcher in a Play in Wild Card game should the Angels run the A’s down for the AL West. Much like Samardzija, the Athletics brass knows these guys could never be acquired via Free Agency, and have the wherewithal to know that inking longterm aces to deals past the age of 30 is just not in the cards for the franchise. The A’s were put in the position to rent them because of Beane’s nice deals to build the organization’s depth. Lester features a 2.11 ERA in 76.2 IP worth of work in the Post season lifetime.  Lester is 10 – 7, with a 2.52 ERA in 143.2 IP this season in 21 Game Starts.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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Billy Beane has been adamant about his team winning the World Series in 2014, and he fired yet another salvo on the July 31st deadline.

The A’s GM acquired Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes for the popular Cuban OF Yoenis Cespedes.

Lets have the finances out of the way 1st.

Jon Lester, 30,  is in the last year of his contract, and will be a Free Agent after this year. 

There is no shot at the man signing with the Athletics after this year. however the A’s will receive a compensatory pick for giving him a qualifying offer following 2014.

The LHP wll make approximately $4 MIL the rest of the season.

Yoenis Cespedes, 28,  is signed through the 2015 at $10.5 MIL per year the next 2 seasons, and will become a Free Agent after next year. 

As per the article 20B section of the CBA, he negotiated that he would be free and clear once his original 4 YRs/$36 MIL deal with the A’s was completed – prior to the 2012 campaign.

The 2013 and 2014 HR Derby winner will make just south of $3.3 MIL for the rest of this year.

Jonny Gomes 33, will make about $1.5 MIL for the duration of the 2014 year, and will become a Free Agent this winter. Read the rest of this entry

“Stoking The Fire” On Trade Deadline Chat In The MLB: It Is Decision Time!

Ruben Amaro JR and the brass of the Phils have to face the facts - and start dismantling their team before they lose any relevant value

Ruben Amaro JR and the brass of the Phils have to face the facts – and start dismantling their team before they lose any relevant value.  Philadelphia sits perched in the basement in the NL East, miles away from .500 – and continents away from a post season berth in 2014.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Ruben Amaro JR. should be fired for his lack of trade deadline movement, for not having knowledge on how OBP works, and basically for assembling a team that is near the bottom of the league despite having a huge payroll.

Someone also needs to tackle all management and ownership, to explain that selling off assets when you are atrocious in a year will not have you seen in a lesser light by your fanbase. It is good business.

You are the Phillies, It is a chance to replenish the organization with assets…It is not like you won’t re-spend the cash you will save – and likely you will become younger in the process before the 2015 campaign.

Philadelphia should be thanking the lucky stars that a lot of their offensive pieces are actually playing decently, so their value may be higher than it was in 2013.

Bare minimum is to trade everyone you can, I understand even if you want to keep Chase Utley and Cole Hamels

These guys can bridge the gap to the next wave of success, and Ryan Howard isn’t going anywhere with the albatross contract, but he can at least hit near league averages with his power..

Marlon Byrd, Kyle Kendrick. Antonio Bastardo, John Mayberry JR, Jimmy Rollins, Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Ben Revere and Jonathan Papelbon should all be on the trading block.

By virtue of completing any deals with these guys, plenty of dollars will be freed up – and you could receive some decent prospects in return.

Then in the off year, you could make serious runs at players like Jon Lester, Ian Kennedy, Justin Masterson, Asdrubal Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Ervin Santana and so forth.

The inactivity of this franchise doing anything could set the team back 2 or 3 more years.  As they age, their value on lessens. 

With Tampa Bay jumping back into the race, you have the most assets to move – and it is a seller’s market. Don’t be foolish…. Read the rest of this entry

Mid Season MLB Report Cards – American League

Bob Melvin grew up in the Bay area, and has the pulse of both of his team and the fanbase.  He has brought in a winning attitude and accountability among his players.  Melvin loves to platoon players, work matchups, and tweak his players 1 - 25 for the purpose of winning games.  Can the Oakland Athletics head back to the ALCS for the 1st time since 2006?  Or even help his team make the World Series for the 1st time since 1990?  Oakland has been had plenty of injuries, and Melvin has pressed the right buttons.  This team's depth is why they are so good.

Bob Melvin grew up in the Bay area, and has the pulse of both of his team and the fanbase. He has brought in a winning attitude and accountability among his players. Melvin loves to platoon players, work matchups, and tweak his players 1 – 25 for the purpose of winning games. Can the Oakland Athletics head back to the ALCS for the 1st time since 2006? Or even help his team make the World Series for the 1st time since 1990? Oakland has been had plenty of injuries, and Melvin has pressed the right buttons. This team’s depth is why they are so good.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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When we determine the reports cards for each of the teams, a lot of weight will be given to what expectations are, and if they are met are not.

There are variances with each club that come into play whereas we may say the team receives a slight pass on some of the issues they have had to endure.

The Texas Rangers come to mind with about 20 DL Stints, and the Yankees losing 4/5ths of their roster.

One thing we have definitely seen a spike in is long term injuries to pitchers and position players.  It has actually leveled the field or mid to low market franchises.

Seeing Billions of dollars on the shelf for clubs that have high payroll is equaling out the playing field.

The A’s do better because their 1 – 25 roster is not much in differential between salaries, and if they occur an injury, the next man up isn’t costing them money to replace.

The Yankees in contrast, have two pitchers in Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia drawing about the Miami Marlins Payroll for the year, and are both likely sidelined for the remainder of the season.

It has become a war of attrition out there.  You even have to consider Clayton Kershaw is being paid about a $1 MIL per start.

Can you imagine if he had to go through Tommy John Surgery?  I mean Tanaka is technically making just over $22.16 MIL per year he is in operation.

Enough of that chatter, that is a topic for another blog…. I digress. Read the rest of this entry

What Masahiro Tanaka’s Injury Means For The Yankees In 2014 + 2015

With Masahiro Tanaka out for at least 6 weeks with a UCL tear, the Yankees are dealing with 4/5ths of their opening day rotation now on the DL - with their 5th starter (Kuroda) having struggled in the 2nd half of 2013.  The club is barely at .500, and must realize their is an opportunity to reset the 50% Luxury Tax Threshold to 0, by slashing some payroll via trades in the next 3 weeks.  The worst thing this organization could do would try to salvage this year, like they did in 2013, by adding payroll, flipping prospects, for an ill-advised playoff run that the odds are stacked up against.

With Masahiro Tanaka out for at least 6 weeks with a UCL tear, the Yankees are dealing with 4/5ths of their opening day rotation now on the DL – and their 5th starter (Kuroda) having struggled in the 2nd half of 2013. The club is barely at .500, and must realize there is an opportunity to reset the 50% Luxury Tax Threshold to 0, by slashing some payroll via trades in the next 3 weeks. The worst thing this organization could do would try to salvage this year, like they did in 2013, by adding payroll, flipping prospects, for an ill-advised playoff run that the odds are stacked up against.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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I have talked at length about the Yankees precarious position of defining whether or not they are contenders or not, and whether they should seek selling off some assets, to fall below the $189 MIL Luxury Tax Threshold – or if the franchise should run at a postseason berth in Derek Jeter‘s last season.

Seeing that Masahiro Tanaka will be out for at least 6 weeks with a partially torn UCL on his pitching arm, and possibly be out with Tommy John Surgery afterwards, this season outlook is becoming bleak.

Even with the Japanese superstar throwing at a premium level, the club would have a longshot chance to make the playoffs – and do some damage. Read the rest of this entry

30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 15 – 2014

The Atlanta Braves were hovering around .500, and in serious jeopardy of watching the Nationals blow by them with a healthy roster.  Instead, they are the biggest mover of the week, riding a 9 game win streak.   All of this coming on the heels of losing Evan Gattis for awhile.

The Atlanta Braves were hovering around .500, and in serious jeopardy of watching the Nationals blow by them with a healthy roster. Instead, they are the biggest mover of the week, riding a 9 game win streak. All of this coming on the heels of losing Evan Gattis for awhile.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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*** Denotes Division Leaders

Records are before play Thursday July.06, 2014

RK Team   Last Wk Rnk  ()      Current Rec –  Last 10 Days Rec

1.  ***Oakland A’s (1) 54 – 33:  6 – 3  The A’s are the only team that has an above .600 Win Percentage.

What is not to like.  They have the best record since 2012, are even better over the last 2 years (July 2012, July 2014, about .615 Baseball), have won 2 AL West in a row as well.

Added to the fold is a great trade bringing in Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, and not yielding anything from the current MLB Roster in return.

2. ***Detroit Tigers (2) 48 – 36: 6 – 4: Tigers beat the better teams, and have troubles with the lesserlites.

Emergence of J.D. Martinez is a major bonus for a team starving for OF help.  Still need more Bullpen arms.

Great division for opponents down the 2nd half. Read the rest of this entry

Beane Spins Magic Again In World Series Quest: Picks Up Samardzija + Hammel For Straily + Prospects

Billy Beane - and the Athletics have seen their team post the best record in the MLB during the regular season for the last 2 years (190 Wins). The franchise has completed the most incredible amount of wins per dollar spent. Enough so, that they should really come out with the movie MoneyBall 2. Beane has been awesome in acquiring his Bullpen for 2014 - without surrendering any assets from the MLB club currently (with Dan Straily having been in AAA). the A's GM has made his move to anchor the Starting Rotation for a playoff run, by adding Samardija and Hammel. Addison Russell (20) was a high prospect, as was Billy Mckinney (19) as the 1st RD Draft Pick of the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft.  With the team's core becoming increasingly more expensive going forwards, the window to win is right now.  The trade also helps deepen the starting staff, who have suffered season ending injuries to Griffin and Parker (Tj Surgeries).

Without surrendering any assets from the MLB club currently (with Dan Straily having been in AAA). the A’s GM has made his move to anchor the Starting Rotation for a playoff run, by adding Samardija and Hammel.  Going the other way are: Addison Russell (20) was a high prospect, as was Billy Mckinney (19) as the 1st RD Draft Pick of the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft, Dan Straily and cash compensation, or a PTBNL. With the team’s core becoming increasingly more expensive going forwards, the window to win is right now. The trade also helps deepen the starting staff, who have suffered season ending injuries to Griffin and Parker (TJ Surgeries).

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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Billy Beane knows his current squad’s best chance to win the World Series now.

He has upped the ante, by acquiring  Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs for highly rated SS Addison Russell, SP Dan Straily, and young prospect OF Billy McKinney, with a player to be named later or cash finalizing the deal at a later date.

I like this move…rather I love this move.

The A’s GM saw what happened to his club the last few weeks when matched against the pitching of the Tigers, and knew he had to bolster his team for the stretch – to replace A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker, who both went down to Tommy John Surgeries this campaign. Read the rest of this entry

Should The Orioles Make A Blockbuster Deal Before the Deadline?

The Orioles are kicking around the top of the AL East, and may have three players that crack 30+ HRs by years end with Cruz, Jones and Davis.  The team hasn't even had normal contributions from Hardy and Machado - while Matt Wieters is out for the year.  The time to strike is now with just being behind the AL East by 2 Games, and in barely trailing for the 2nd Wild Card Spot.

The Orioles are kicking around the top of the AL East, and may have three players that crack 30+ HRs by years end with Cruz, Jones and Davis. The team hasn’t even had normal contributions from Hardy and Machado – while Matt Wieters is out for the year. The time to strike is now with just being behind the AL East by 2 Games, and in barely trailing for the 2nd Wild Card Spot.

By Nicholas Delahanty (MLB Reports Writer)  

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As July rapidly approaches, the Orioles find themselves in the middle of the competitive AL East division trying to make a run at a division title in 2014.

Although the team finds themselves currently in second place in the division, the O’s have seen inconsistency throughout the first half of the season.

There are definitely places where the team can improve before the July 31st trade deadline, but the question remains of whether or not Dan Duquette and the Orioles front office want to part ways with some of the club’s promising young talent for a possible rental player.

Read the rest of this entry

30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Month Of June 2014

Welcome to your new World Series Favorite. according to the oddsmakers.  I see their rationale.  The A's have the best record in the Majors, and also the biggest lead within their Division.  Oh yeah..this club has back to back West Titles, and a deep lineup in a parity league that is the AL.  While I don't endorse them as the favorite for the World Series right now (based on predicting playoffs solely), there is no doubt I ranked them #1 in power rankings

Welcome to your new World Series Favorite. according to the oddsmakers. I see their rationale. The A’s have the best record in the Majors, and also the biggest lead within their Division. Oh yeah..this club has back to back West Titles, and a deep lineup in a parity league that is the AL. While I don’t endorse them as the favorite for the World Series right now (based on predicting playoffs solely), there is no doubt I ranked them #1 in power rankings

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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*** Denotes Division Leaders

Records are before play Thursday June.26, 2014

RK Team   Last Wk Rnk  ()      Current Rec –  Last 31 Days Rec

1.  ***Oakland A’s (2) 48 – 30:  17 – 10:  The A’s are still the best team in the Majors for the last 2 1/2 years.  Coco Crisp on another hot spell.

Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss both in the top 5 for HRs, and Sonny Gray/Scott Kazmir among several starters for ERA, WHIP and quality starts.

Yoenis Cespedes has the power numbers to be a perfect complement to the top guys, and the bar can always be raised higher.

Sean Doolittle is authoring one of the greatest Bullpen efforts ever for a Closer. A 53/1 Strikeout to Walk ratio is beyond filthy.

2.  ***Detroit Tigers (3) 42 – 32: 14 – 13:  A nice rebound after they dropped out of 1st place temporarily.

Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez will exceptional June’s, and Miguel Cabrera is still on pace for 130 RBI.

Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer had sub-par starts, but look to correct themselves now.

Joe Nathan is making the late innings nervous for Tiger’s fans, after they had to endure Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke, Jose Veras and Jose Valverde over the last few years. Read the rest of this entry

30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 11 MLB 2014

battle of the bay

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Well, another few weeks have gone by, and there has been some separation from all the Divisions and the 2nd place squads, except for the NL East dogfight right now between the Nats and Braves.

9 teams are within the top 2 Wild Card Slots in the AL, with the Angels and Mariners holding onto the 1st and 2nd spots respectively.

Preseason NL favorites Los Angeles joins the reigning NL champs ‘The Cards’ at 0.5 Games behind the playoff bar – constituting either Atlanta or Washington (presently in a dead heat) – and the upstart Marlins. 

The Reds, Rockies and Pirates are within striking distance as well, but look for the Dodgers and Cardinals to take off from here, leaving the current Division leaders and those 2 as the 5 playoff teams.

Arizona and Houston have at least jumped into the conversation with recent good stretches of play, after brutal starts.

*** Denotes Division Leaders

Records are before play Monday June 9, 2014

RK Team  Current Rec  Last Wk Rnk  ()  –  Last 13 Days Rec

***1. SF 42 – 21: (1) 9 – 3:  Must be an even year in the teens of this century.  The offense has a different hero everyday.

Playing .667 ball this late into the year bodes well.  9.5 Games ahead of next club in your Division also will land you as slot #1.

***2. OAK 39 – 24: (2) 8 – 4: Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson both towers of strength and Sean Doolittle is the best Closer no one has heard about 40+SO/1 BB rate is sick.

Billy Beane continues to find gems like Drew Pomeranz, Jesse Chavez – and Kyle Blanks has fitted in well.

The team could still trade for a 2B that can hit, or bring up Billy Burns, flip Jed Lowrie over to 2B.

Read the rest of this entry

Record Corrections May Be Coming With Home + Road Splits: Then Again, Maybe Not

Coors Field is still a hitting haven.  While the averages have all dipped approximately 10% since the Humidor was placed into the facility over a decade ago, it still remains the premiere place for any of the MLB'ers to bat.  Some of the organizational players will not hit as good on the road, with playing in the NL West, in cavernous parks like Dodger Stadium, Petco Park and AT & T Park, however the weight will only affect their overall numbers away from the thin air.  Historic players like Larry Walker and Todd Helton displayed good road numbers, despite their gawdy home statistics, however they will never be looked in the same eye.

Coors Field is still a hitting haven. While the averages have all dipped approximately 10% since the Humidor was placed into the facility over a decade ago, it still remains the premiere place for any of the MLB’ers to bat. Some of the organizational players will not hit as good on the road, with playing in the NL West, in cavernous parks like Dodger Stadium, Petco Park and AT & T Park, however the weight will only affect their overall numbers away from the thin air. Historic players like Larry Walker and Todd Helton displayed good road numbers, despite their gawdy home statistics, however they will never be looked in the same eye.  2014 sees the Rockies lead massively in all categories at home, yet at this point, they have played 10 more games away from Denver.  Among the players that are killing it at the park in 2014 are  TULO and Charlie Blackmon.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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If you look at the current home and road records in the MLB Standings, you will see some weird differentials.

Take for instance the Rockies have only logged 23 games at Coors Field, where they are a staunch 16 – 7, meanwhile they have traveled abroad for 33 contests so far, putting forth a clip of 12 – 21.

This is a 10 game difference that could see the ‘Rox’ post a 7 – 3 win-loss record when the games are made up. Read the rest of this entry

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