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By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern): Follow @ryandana1
Seattle Mariners fans must be pretty amazing, Felix Hernandez sticking with their team through recent times. The Mariners were established in 1977 and have made the playoffs just 4 times in their history. They were the AL West champs 3 times (’95, ’97, ’01) and winners of the Wild Card once (’00). They have never won a World Series, or even an AL Pennant, and in 2012 they shipped off a fan favorite, Ichiro Suzuki, to the Yankees. The AL West is a tough division. The Rangers and Athletics made the playoffs last year, and the Angels just landed the prize of the off-season in slugger Josh Hamilton. I guess one bright spot is the Astros are moving to the AL West, so the Mariners won’t be rebuilding within the brutal division alone.
The Seattle Mariners hopes and dreams start where they have for years now, on the shoulders of King Felix. Felix Hernandez is no doubt an Ace. He has pitched 200+ innings every year since ’08, and had a sub 4.00 ERA every year since ’07. Hernandez won the AL Cy Young in 2010, and is a perennial contender for the award. Last year the Seattle fireballer threw his first Perfect Game. Hernandez will once again be atop the Mariners rotation, which as of now figures to include Hisashi Iwakuma, Blake Beavan, Erasmo Ramirez, and Hector Noesi.
Hisashi Iwakuma was a pleasant surprise for the Mariners in 2012. He wasn’t a greatly sought after oversees free agent last year, overshadowed greatly by fellow Japanese hurler Yu Darvish, but proved to be a great signing. Iwakuma started 2012 in the bullpen until he later earned a spot in the team’s rotation. Iwakuma managed a very respectable 3.16 ERA in the 125.1 innings he split between the rotation and the pen. This success is part of the reason the Mariners resigned the pitcher to a 2YR/14 Million Dollar deal this past November. He figures to hold down the 2nd spot in the rotation and should do just fine if 2012 was a sign of things to come.
Blake Beavan is still just 23 Years Old, but he already has 41 Major League Starts under his belt which gives the club hope he can hold down the 3rd or 4th slot in the rotation. Beavan clearly has the talent which is what made him a 1st Round draft pick out of high school for the Rangers, and the reason the Mariners made sure he was a part of the package they received in return for Cliff Lee in 2010. Beavan’s 2012 stats won’t impress a lot of people, but they were a good start for a young player like himself to build and improve upon.
Felix Hernandez Highlights: Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised
Monday November 5th, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: The A’s now find themselves in a sticky situation with four outfielders who are all capable of being full-time starters. Oakland acquired Chris Young from the Diamondbacks on October 21st in exchange for Cliff Pennington as part of a 3-way trade with the Marlins. While it’s safe to say that Billy Beane won the trade from a talent standpoint, it did not solve any problems because the A’s already had Yoenis Céspedes, Coco Crisp, and Josh Reddick locked in the outfield to commence the 2013 season. Young just creates unnecessary havoc that easily could have been avoided. In Beane’s defense, who wouldn’t have traded an inconsistent shortstop for a more proven outfielder?
In 2012, Young dealt with an injured shoulder. Rarely did he play in back to back games towards the end of the year, and his numbers took a beating because of that. He triple slashed for a .231/.311/.434 line, hitting 14 home runs with an OPS of .745. Obviously 2012 wasn’t one of his memorable years, but you would have to think that his injured shoulder played a role in his depleted stats. For Young, it is just a matter of staying healthy and proving that his once wobbly shoulder caused his downfall, not a decreasing bat.
The A’s are now “stuck” with four everyday outfielders. The good news? They do not have to trade anyone in the newly formed quartet to solve this glaring problem. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday October 21st, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: Whether you agree with MLB’s new playoff format of having the team with home field advantage start the series on the road or not, you would be crazy not to agree that it has made the 2012 postseason a bit hectic. Hectic in a good way though.
This year’s Division Series defined chaos. All four series stretched out to Game 5’s, and in the process, teams were forced to use strategic tweaks to gut out wins. From a general perspective, there was no “boring” series. Usually, there is at least one. It’s that series that you just occasionally peek in on to check the score. Nope, not this year. Each series had its own unique taste.
The Tigers and A’s followed the expected pattern in that the home team won all but one game. Detroit jumped out by winning the first two at home, looking as if they would easily take the series and avoid using their Justin Verlander two times in one series. But they did, and he elevated himself as the pressure amounted, tossing a shutout against the A’s in Game 5. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday October 11th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky:What a year it has been. With the extra Wild Card and a Triple Crown winner, there has been no shortage of excitement. As part of the BBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance), we are to vote for awards including the Hall of Fame, All Star Game, end of the year awards, and a baseball writer with quality writing and a strong internet presence.
In this segment, I will outline the various end of the season awards (with their announcement dates) and who I believe will win them. Some selections were very, very close.
October 15th: Connie Mack Award (Manager of the Year): NL: Davey Johnson (Washington Nationals); AL: Bob Melvin (Oakland Athletics)
Johnson: This decision was a no-brainer. Johnson lead his young Nationals team to the first NL East title in Washington Nationals’ history with a 98-64 record—finishing four games better than the Braves—an early-season favorite for the title. Johnson and the Nats’ secured the number one seed in the playoffs and were the best team in baseball—winning 18 more games than in 2011. This was Johnson’s first full year with Washington and he made it a good one.
Melvin: This was one of the most remarkable stories in a very long time. The A’s were in the midst of rebuilding, trading away aces Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals and Trevor Cahill to the Diamondbacks. Oakland did not start off too well, having a mediocre first half, but really turned it on after the All Star Break. This was a tough decision because of Orioles manager Buck Showalter also putting up a strong case. The Orioles finished almost identically to the A’s with a 93-69 record (A’s finished at 94-68). In my opinion, Melvin had even less of a team to work with than Showalter, and still won one more game.
Monday October 8th, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: Now that the division series are into full swing, it’s time to take a look at the status of each of the four series from both leagues.
Surprisingly, the road teams went 6-2, despite the weird playoff format which has the top seed playing two road games before heading home for three.
Here are the results:
Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics
It wasn’t a good weekend for Bay Area teams. The A’s lost a heartbreaker early Sunday morning, and the Giants ended the evening with a loss (more on that later). Read the rest of this entry
Thursday September 20th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: As the season wraps up, the divisional races become tighter. Some races are close while others are blowouts. Here are the teams that I believe will be playing in October (and their predicted final records).
AL East: New York Yankees 93-69
The Yankees are too good to not win the division. Although Mark Teixeira is injured and Mariano Rivera is not coming back for the rest of the year, the Yankees have enough pieces to make it to the ALDS without having to go through the Wild Card game. The Yankees have the pitching that the Baltimore Orioles lack in C.C. Sabathia. The powerful Yankee offense will be enough to help the team avoid the Wild Card game. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday August 23rd, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: Before the trading deadline, it was thought that the Oakland A’s were going to make a move. With the extra wild card in play this year, the team seemed to be a contender. Their weakest position though was at shortstop. There were a few options out there, some reasonable and some not, among those were Hanley Ramirez and Stephen Drew. Ramirez was very unlikely to be acquired by the A’s due to the nature of his contract, but he would’ve provided the most boost for the team. The story goes that the A’s almost had Ramirez all but acquired, with the Dodgers eating at least of his contract. But the A’s hesitated, and the Dodgers swooped in and agreed to take on all of the remaining dollars on his deal. With Ramirez ending up on the Dodgers, Stephen Drew seemed to be the most viable option left. Drew missed a large portion of the 2011 season with a broken ankle sustained on a slide into home, and made his 2012 debut around the time of the All-Star Break. In his short time with the Diamondbacks this season, Drew hit just .193 and was pretty disappointing. With the teams hierarchy going public with their displeasure, the writing was on the wall for Drew. It looked like Arizona would be able to get at least the same amount of production from a replacement, so a trade seemed imminent. For some reason the trade never got done, but the A’s kept at it.
Oakland was the perfect candidate to acquire Stephen Drew. So it was no surprise that Billy Beane finally got his man this week. Without a producing shortstop, the A’s had a very little chance at the playoffs. Sure, Drew only hit .193 this year, but he carries a career .266 average over his seven-year career. Plus he walks a ton. A stereotypical A’s hitter characteristic. In 2008, Drew hit .291 with 21 homers and 67 RBIs. If the A’s could get anything close to this production, they would be in very good shape. Drew will most likely keep hitting in the two-hole of the lineup, behind Coco Crisp. Once Drew gets settled and regains form, the A’s should get some good production from the top of their lineup, setting the table for the monster bats of Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes, and Chris Carter. Even if Drew were to continue hitting .193, he would still be an improvement from the overall batting average of A’s shortstops at .190. As long as he can walk and hit with some power. Drew will most likely be taking time away from Cliff Pennington and Adam Rosales. Given their combined numbers, that is a very good thing. The A’s also just sent the struggling Jemile Weeks down to Triple-A Sacramento to make room for Drew.
Tuesday July 31st, 2012
John Burns: Much speculation has been in the past years that the Oakland A’s would be getting a new stadium. With Oakland currently playing great baseball (18-4 in July) it makes you wonder if the chances of a new stadium increase. It has been rumored that the new stadium would be in San Jose, California and named Cisco Field. The projected opening date would not be until 2016. Oakland has been playing at the Coliseum since 1968. It would be the first time since 1909 that the A’s received a brand new stadium. The field dimensions for Cisco Field are: Left Field – 302 feet, Left-Center – 375 feet, Center Field – 405 feet, Right-Center – 345 feet, and Right Field – 310 feet.
The chances are good for Oakland to make the playoffs this season with only being four games back of the Texas Rangers in the A.L. West lead and leading for one of the A.L. Wild Card spots. If the A’s keeps this up and the fan base increases, the chance for a new ball park increase also. With an increased fan base, the A’s will have help going after a new park because of the money that will be coming in from attendance, merchandizing, etc. Cisco Field would be ready for the 2016 season, so if the A’s have a bad rest of the season and continue to struggle the chances decline for a new ballpark. Another thing to consider is that 2016 is four years away, so anything can happen and the A’s don’t necessarily have to wait for Cisco Field. Oakland could explore other options if they start to become a power house and want a new stadium sooner rather than later. Perhaps they will look at other locations like Portland, Memphis and Durham. Or even go back to Oakland for one more try to obtain a new stadium in their current home.
The Athletics realistically have to look at moving the team out of the Bay Area altogether. With Yoenis Céspedes looking like Oakland’s franchise player, he would be the perfect player to build around the team and a new ballpark. Oakland is in a very similar situation to what the Miami Marlins faced in recent years. Miami ultimately were able to land a new stadium and make a big splash. But their new ballpark took a great deal of negotiations and was iffy right until the last minute. As a result of their new digs, the Marlins went out and signed Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle, traded for Carlos Zambrano, and hired Ozzie Guillen. Now they are starting to sell off their players, but that’s another story for another day. The A’s could do something very similar to that if they do get a new stadium (but actually keep their talent). Watch out for the Athletics if they get a new stadium in a city to be named later. Everything could change and I expect the change to be very positive.
***John Burns- MLB reports Intern: I am a highschool junior, play 1st base and catcher. I am a diehard Phillies fan. I was born in Philadelphia but now live in Virginia. I come from a huge baseball family and just love the game. My cousin was drafted by the New York Mets in the 2008 MLB draft. My favorite players are Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz, and Ryan Howard. I tweet all the time and you can follow me on twitter(@JohnBurns_MLB)***
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Sunday July 29th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: Here are some of the latest key baseball trades that have taken place over the last 24 hours:
Francisco Liriano to the White Sox
After losing out on Greinke, the White Sox needed to make a move. Their pitching needed an extra boost. Chris Sale hasn’t been himself his last two starts, giving up five earned runs in each, and Jake Peavy has been on and off lately, going 1-2 in his past three starts. Although Liriano has for the most part had a terrible year, holding a 3-10 record with an atrocious 5.31 ERA, he hasn’t been all that bad in his last few starts (excluding his last start against Chicago—2.2 innings, seven earned runs),striking out 10 and 15 in the two starts before facing Chicago. The White Sox are hoping that Liriano will continue his turnaround and help them reach the playoffs. This could be tough for the White Sox though; the Tigers seem to have the makings of a playoff team to not make the playoffs, and the AL West looks like it could produce three playoff teams as of now. But, with all this, Chicago does look promising after the acquisition of Kevin Youkilis earlier in the year. Adam Dunn has returned to form, hitting more home runs and striking out just as much. It looks like the White Sox will have a good shot to play in October. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday July 25th, 2012
John Burns: Nobody would have told you prior to the season that the A’s would be 7 games over .500 in late July. With a 51-44 record the red-hot Oakland A’s have been one of the baseballs biggest surprises in baseball. Oakland is coming off a 4 game sweep of the AL East leading New York Yankees and that is when the A’s caught everyone’s attention. Oakland has a MLB-leading 11 walk-off victories this season. The A’s have the second lowest payroll in the league with $55 million and the New York Yankees who they just swept has a $200 million payroll. The A’s season so far has been basically a recap of the movie “Money ball”, how Oakland is having this success with virtually no superstar and such a low payroll is truly amazing. With the sweep of the Yankees the A’s are tied for a Wild Card spot. July has been a huge month for Oakland and they produced with a 15-2 record so far to show their GM Billy Beane they are serious. Add to that a 7-game winning streak. Still not convinced? Ask the Toronto Blue Jays and Ricky Romero. The A’s have taken 2-straight games in Toronto, including tonight’s 16-0 massacre. These A’s are a team to keep an eye on. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday June 7th, 2012
John Burns (MLB reports Intern Candidate): Kurt Suzuki has been in the Oakland A’s organization his entire career since being drafted in the 2nd round out of Cal State Fullerton in the 2004 MLB draft.
Suzuki is having a rough 2012 season so far, he is only batting .207 with no homers and 15 RBIs. The Athletics have struggled in the hitting department this year, as they are dead last in baseball with a team average of .213. This is one of the main reasons for their 24-31 record to start the year.
As the trade deadline approaches, the last place Athletics will most likely be sellers. The A’s will have to make a hard decision this July on their once called “franchise catcher” Kurt Suzuki. The 28 year-old catcher is signed through the 2013 season with a 2014 option with the Athletics. Butt that does not mean Suzuki is guaranteed a spot with the A’s. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday May 10th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: Whether or not the Athletics stay in Oakland has been an ongoing issue since John Fisher and his ownership group bought the team in around 2006. The A’s have played in a multi purpose stadium for baseball and football since the 1960s. At first, the stadium wasn’t bad, with a great view of the Oakland Hills out past the center field wall. When the Raiders returned to the Coliseum in 1995, their owner, Al Davis built suites and more seats (sarcastically dubbed “Mount Davis”) that stretched higher than the upper deck of the rest of the stadium. The once beautiful views were blocked and the stadium became a concrete bowl. In late summer and early fall, the centerfield grass (where the bleachers are placed for football) is in a state of disrepair compared to the otherwise perfect playing surface. Still, when the A’s were winning, they managed to draw crowds. The A’s had many prosperous years, winning the World Series in 1972, 1973, 1974, 1989, and losing in the World Series in 1988 to the Dodgers and in 1990 to the Reds. More recently, in their “Moneyball” season of 2002, the A’s won 20 consecutive games and made the playoffs, but lost to the Twins in the ALDS.
It’s been a long time since the local fans have seen a winning A’s team. The last time the A’s made the playoffs was 2006, when they lost to the Tigers in the ALCS. The only time they went .500 since 2006 was in 2010. This could be due to general manager Billy Beane’s knack for trading everyone away. Notable trades include Andre Ethier for Milton Bradley, Carlos Gonzalez for Matt Holliday, and Mark Mulder for Dan Haren (who eventually was also traded). The team hasn’t been consistent since 2006. Last year, the team looked like it was finally going to be competitive with pitchers Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson healthy and ready for the season. Top prospects Michael Taylor and Chris Carter were ready to make an impact. Unfortunately Anderson got injured and needed Tommy John surgery, Cahill didn’t pitch to his potential, and Taylor and Carter spent the majority of the season in the minors because they didn’t perform in the majors. The final blow came when this winter, the A’s traded Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals and Trevor Cahill to the Diamondbacks. All of these events together had the fans asking: are we ever going to contend again? Read the rest of this entry
Friday, June 17, 2011
MLB reports: In 2003, author Michael Lewis released one of the most famous baseball books of all time: “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.” After years of discussions and rumors, the baseball book of our generation is now coming to the big screen. Not since Major League and Bull Durham has a baseball movie received this much buzz. Brad Pitt, not Kevin Costner, will play the main character Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland Athletics. The movie is set to be released on September 23, 2011 and we guarantee that MLB reports will be there opening night to prepare a review. We may even catch this one early, as we are known to have a trick or two up our sleeve.
Before the movie is released, we will be reading the book again and posting a book review on the Reports in anticipation of the movie. It has been a number of years since many of us have read “Moneyball” and a good refresher is in order. It has been argued by many that Moneyball was a landmark book, as it changed the complexion of baseball in many ways. Moneyball brought the use of statistical analysis to the forefront of baseball and created the statistics vs. scouting debate, which still continues till this day. Billy Beane was hailed as a genius following the release of the book. Aside from remaining the General Manager of the A’s, Beane is a highly sought-after public speaker and has grown to become a minority owner of the team as well. One of the highest profile executives in baseball history, it is only fitting that actor Brad Pitt would be playing Billy Beane in the movie.
For all the years that it has taken to get this movie off the ground, there have been concerns that the final product may not be up to par with the level set by the book. After watching the trailer, I have to admit that I am very excited to watch the movie in the theatre. Even if you are not a fan of Billy Beane or the Oakland A’s, Moneyball the Movie appears to be a must see for all baseball fans that would like to catch a glimpse into the world behind the game. We took a look at the current status of the A’s and its new manager last week on the Reports, which you can read by clicking here. With the anticipation of the upcoming movie and the Athletics as a team sitting at the basement of its division, the team needed a change. If nothing else, to turn around the fortunes of the ballclub and help build hype leading to the release of the movie.
There is no denying that we all love baseball movies. Baseball fans, when not watching games in person or television, will often be found reading about baseball and watching baseball movies every chance they get. There have been countless baseball movies over the years, including: Major League, The Babe, Eight Men Out, Mr. Baseball, Mr. 3000, Field of Dreams, A league of Their Own, Rookie of the Year, etc. The list goes on and on. I have to admit that as a supporter of the game, in my opinion there is no such thing as a bad baseball movie, only some movies that are better than others. Moneyball the Movie will be released in approximately three short months. We can’t wait. Until then, to get your appetite wet and satisfy some of your curiosity, we present the recently released trailer. Watch it, enjoy it and let us know what you think. Will you be at the theatre to watch Moneyball the Movie? We hope to see everyone there.
Click “Moneyball” to watch the trailer for the most anticipated baseball movie in recent history.
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