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Why The Houston Astros Have The Brightest Future In Major League Baseball

Carlos Correa was the 1st overall pick in the 2012 Amateur Draft for the Houston Astros. He came up in early June and proceeded to win the American League Rookie Of The Year Award with a 3 Slash of .279/.345/.512 with 22 HRs (led all shortstops in the MLB) and 22 Doubles in just 99 Games. This type of production will change the complexion of the team for the next 6 years. He is just going to be 21 for all of next season - and he looks exactly like a young Alex Rodriguez. In his 1st postseason action, Correa smacked 2 HRs in that pivotal game 4 of the ALDS for Houston, staking them to a 6 - 2 lead before the Bullpen gave up the game.

Carlos Correa was the 1st overall pick in the 2012 Amateur Draft for the Houston Astros. He came up in early June and proceeded to win the American League Rookie Of The Year Award with a 3 Slash of .279/.345/.512 with 22 HRs (led all shortstops in the MLB) and 22 Doubles in just 99 Games. This type of production will change the complexion of the team for the next 6 years. He is just going to be 21 for all of next season – and he looks exactly like a young Alex Rodriguez. In his 1st postseason action, Correa smacked 2 HRs in that pivotal game 4 of the ALDS for Houston, staking them to a 6 – 2 lead before the Bullpen gave up the game.

Trey Rose (Featured Fantasy Baseball Writer/Owner –  

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The Houston Astros had some very rough years from 2011 to 2013 (162-324 record).

While this was a tough time for the Major League Organization, their Minor League affiliates were thriving. Luckily for the Astros, a lot of their young talent has made their way through the minors and has finally landed in the big leagues.

This youth movement has helped the team drastically. Many baseball experts and fans didn’t predict the Astros to compete in 2015, but they proved them wrong.

In 2015, they made the playoffs for the first time since 2005. They accomplished this feat while having the 6th youngest roster in Major League Baseball (Average age of 26.7 years old).

If the Astros were this successful with a roster with so little Major League experience, then can you imagine what they will do once their talent matures throughout the next few seasons?


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ALL – Time Tommy John Surgery Tracker, Updated For Tyler Chatwood

For all the talk of baseball players (pitchers mostly) that will be undergoing Tommy John Surgery, we will be keeping a running list!  E-mail us at if you have any names to add to our totals.

How many players are having or had TJ in history? You are about to find out: Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – February 16, 2014

Pat Sullivan / Associated Press

Pat Sullivan / Associated Press

It is The Sunday Request on The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast!

Roy Oswalt had a terrific career and will be beloved by Astros fans. Where it stretches from there is murkier.
To subscribe to The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast on iTunes, click HERE.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – February 16, 2014

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (September.1st) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

AP Photo: Pat Sullivan

AP Photo: Pat Sullivan

Brett Oberholtzer threw a complete game, 2 hit shutout that was scoreless until the bottom of the 8th inning. The Astros squeaked past the Mariners, 2-0.

J. J. Hardy turned the Yankees/Orioles game around with one swing of his bat. A 3-1 Yankee lead turned into a 4-3 Baltimore advantage. It sparked the 7 run outburst as the Birds won in the Bronx, 7-3.

Zack Greinke threw 7 solid innings, letting up 2 hits, 1 run and striking out 7 Padres. He earned his 14th win for the Dodgers, 2-1.

Hunter Pence homered, doubled and singled, knocked in a pair and scored three times as the Giants topped the Diamondbacks, 8-2.

They all owned baseball on September 1, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here

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Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (July.31st) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Torii Hunter went 4-5 with 3 RBI and finished a triple shy of the cycle. (He was actually thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple!) The Tigers embarrassed the Washington Nationals , 11-1 .

Paul Goldschmidt got on base four times, homered and scored three times, leading the Diamondbacks to a 7-0 win over the Rays and picked up a game on the Dodgers.

Brett Oberholtzer threw seven shutout innings in his first ever big league start to get the win,  pair of homers, driving in 4 runs, as Atlanta beat Colorado , 11-3.

Clayton Kershaw was masterful over 8 shutout innings against the Yankees. He walked none and scattered five hits. He was pulled from the game, however, and New York took advantage of the Dodger bullpen for a 3-0 victory.

They all owned baseball on July 31th, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (July.23rd) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

AP Photo/Nick Wass

AP Photo/Nick Wass

Gerrit Cole pitched 7 innings of 2 hit, 1 run ball against the Nationals. He not only got credited for the 5-1 Pirates win, but went 2-3 with an RBI for good measure.

Adrian Gonzalez went 2-4 including a go ahead 3 run homer in the 8th inning that capped a wild Dodger comeback victory against the Blue Jays, 10-9.

Eduardo Nunez collected a pair of hits including a one out RBI triple in the 9th off of Rangers closer Joe Nathan. That tied the game and would later score the go ahead run as the Yankees stunned Texas, 5-4.

Jarred Cosart threw 7 terrific innings, letting up only one earned run. He did not get the win, but his fine outing put the Astros in a position to come from behind and beat Oakland 5-4.

They all owned baseball on July 23rd, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (July 12th) – Updated Yearly “WOB” Standings

(AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

(AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

Jarred Cosart had a big league debut for the ages. Facing a hot Rays team, the one time Phillies prospect tossed a no hitter for 6 1/3 innings for Houston before letting up his first hit. He finished the game by pitching into the 9th, letting up no runs and 2 hits. That’s a line any Cy Young contender would be proud of, The Astros won in Tampa, 2-1.

In a potential playoff preview, Bronson Arroyo pitched the Reds to a 4-2 victory over the Braves. He tossed 7 innings, 3 hits and 1 run to get credited with his 8th win.

Raul Ibanez clocked a pair of homers and a double, going 3-4 and leading the Mariners over the Angels, 8-3.

And Buster Posey led the Giants attack. He tied a 1-0 game with a sacrifice fly in the third. Then he twice came up with 2 outs and runners on and came through. He broke open the game with a 2 out 2 run single in the 6th and turned it into a laugher with a 2 out 2 run double in the 7th, giving the Giants a 10-1 win over the Padres. 

They all owned baseball on July 12th, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Triple Play Podcast Ep #4 – Week 2 MLB Breakdown

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Sunday, April.14/2013

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month.  Each show will be about 1 hour

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month. Each show will be about 1 hour

By The Big Ticket Show ( AKA Triple Play Podcast on

On this weeks episode we talk with James Acevedo of the Bench Warmers show  and’s 2 and A Hook podcast. We run down the past present and future of baseball’s Evil Empire and James gives us his Mt Rushmore of greatest Yankees.

In the Around the Horn segment JP Hoornstra of the LA News Group fills us in on the goings on in La La Land’s baseball universe.

Finally we put it to you Padres, Rays, Rockies, Marlins, Nationals, Astros, D’Backs fans we don’t think they deserve a Mt Rushmore , convince us otherwise and tweet us why Best submission wins a Big Ticket T-Shirt.

Click on The Video Player/or Download to your favorite listening is right after the READ THE REST OF THE ENTRY – or past the Triple Play Podcast Logo. Read the rest of this entry

What Buster Posey’s New Contract Means For The Giants

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Wednesday April.3,  2013

I don't that there is a single Giants fan that didn't want this to happen.  Buster Posey has done about as much as any player could possibly do for a city in his few years with the Giants, and I think we're all glad that he has the opportunity to retire as a career Giant.  While this signing on the surface looks like every other major extension, a player does something better than most and rightfully gets payed handsomely for it, this signing a few interesting implications along with it.

I don’t know that there is a single Giants fan that didn’t want this to happen. Buster Posey has done about as much as any player could possibly do for a city in his few years with the Giants, and I think we’re all glad that he has the opportunity to retire as a career Giant. While this signing on the surface looks like every other major extension, a player does something better than most and rightfully now gets paid handsomely for it.  This signing brings a few interesting implications along with it.

By Jon Schifferle ( Giants Correspondent – visit his own personal website here.) 

 5 Points About Posey’s Contract:

1.The Giants are ready to compete for a long time.

Through the extensions of Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, and Buster Posey, the Giants have shown that they are ready to keep this core, build around it, and compete every year with it.  

When franchises are starting to let their stars go, or even trading away their stars for younger players with little experience but lots of potential, it is generally the first sign of a rebuilding club.

 This is not always true, sometimes the players are forced out, or they have fallen out of favor with the team, and then are traded, but generally it is  the start of a bad pattern that eventually causes the team to end up looking like the Cubs or the Astros.  

The Giants clearly feel that they won’t need to take this path to be competitive in the future, and that they can refuel their farm system without trades or extra draft picks.

Buster Posey Highlights from 2012 – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – March 30, 2013


The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast had its first episode taped on an airplace.

While on an airplane, I sang the praises of the Astros and the Red Sox, two teams that I think will be lousy in 2013.

Subscribe on iTunes HERE.

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – March 21, 2013

If all goes well with the team this year, the Astros could improve on their 2012 year.  If all else fails, Houston might challenge the ALL-Time Loss Record.

The Astros could be the worst team in baseball again, which is why casual baseball fans should be rooting for them in 2013.

On today’s episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast, I answer the question “Why should anyone root for the Astros in 2013?”

To be cool, of course!

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New York Yankees Player Roster In 2013 Part 2 – The Pitchers: State Of The Union

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Monday, March 4, 2013

The Yankees come into 2013 relying more on pitching and defense than in previous seasons.  This incarnation of the Yankees will only go so far as their pitching can carry them.

The Yankees come into 2013 relying more on pitching and defense than in previous seasons. This incarnation of the Yankees will only go so far as their pitching can carry them.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Reports Trade and Yankees Correspondent):

Allow me to re-introduce myself. I have spent the last three months discussing the Marlins, Astros, Mariners and the off-season trades. I have loved every second of it, and I appreciate my readers more than you will ever know. That being said, today I undertake something that has always been a dream. Today, I begin a journey where I get to do something that the 14 year old me always wanted to do. Today, I take over as the Yankees correspondent, which is a fancy term for a guy who gets to write about his favorite baseball team. Some of my most vivid memories of my past relate to the Yankees. I will never forget the moment that ball fell into Charlie Hayes‘ glove. The pure joy of the first time my team would be called world champions.

Embracing my Dad in a bear hug as we celebrated something that meant so much to the both of us. Since then the Yankees have provided endless enjoyment as I watched a dynasty grow up as I grew up. Now, it has come to a point where the Yankees face their championship window closing. It happens to all great teams, but the question that hangs in the balance is whether the window is already closed or can the Bombers come up with another magical season before this generation fades? We will try to answer that question starting with the Yankee pitchers.

CC Sabathia Highlight Reel:

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MLB Reports State Of The Union Part 2: Going Forward

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Friday, Feb.8/2013

MLB reports

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

So I left off the other day talking about some sweeping changes at the site.  What I want to talk about next – is what to expect.  Our website is revving up to start the baseball year.  We plan on posting 3-5 times a day.  We will range from about 9 AM EST all the way through to 9 PM EST.  Most MLB teams will have about 3-4 articles a month.  Once per month May-October, we will also have our Monthly Power Rankings like we had last year.  Our Lead Writer Sully will be posting a 20 minute daily PODCAST on the site. 

In addition to this, MLB Reports presents the ‘Triple Play Podcast” – will be going ahead with Patrick and Chris with the Big Ticket Show, for about 5 PODCASTS a month during the regular season and about 1-2 per month in the winter months.  These PODCASTS will feature yours truly 2-3 times a month as a guest.  We will also have Saul Wisnia (Red Sox Correspondent), Jonathan Hacohen (MLB Reports Founder) and other personalities as part of the show.

We plan on interacting with the readers by way of Facebook and Twitter, when we start-up in March.  So we will let you know.  We have about 7 different general writers and reporters, 5 special analysts and 24 Team Correspondents so far.  The  goal is to find the 6 new Correspondents from the teams we have left (PHI, ATL, SEA, SD, KC and COL  We continue to search for awesome independent writers, that can cover these teams with the same kind of passion our other Correspondents have displayed.

We still plan on having a weekly Fantasy Baseball article, a once a month Cooperstown article and a once a month – live interview from our ‘Junior Reporter’ Haley Smilow.  We are also open to many suggestions by our readers, if they have  great article ideas.

I am trying to write my historical series on all 30 teams, but am still trying to make it to the regular season first.  I have written entire series already for the Nationals, Phillies, Expos, Blue Jays and Rays already here.  The plan is to write 1-2 series a month for the teams not done yet.  By the  end of 2014, we will have a full chronicled series for each team.  This will be our legacy.  We strive on our mission to include all 30 MLB Fan bases.  All of our dedicated Correspondents exhibit the kind of passion for baseball that I am truly proud of.  You can see all of their biographies here.

Our general writers and Reporters can be found here.


One of our writers, Thomas Roberts (Dodgers Correspondent), is a top 52 finalist for the MLB Fancave.  We hope that he can make it to New York.  Please check out the interview (and vote for him on the links provided there) I did with him here

We are going to have 5-6 dedicated pages from our General Writers.  I will run a page called “The  Baseball Booth”.  This is the same as a page listed below here that is for MLB Player Awareness Weeks.  In a sub-page to that are my best baseball road-trips advice links here.

Jonathan Hacohen will have his own page called the J-HAY Page. 

Saul Wisnia is accomplished writer.  He has authored 10 sports books and is one of the best Red Sox authors of late.  His page is called the Words Of Wisnia.  He will run additional Red Sox articles, and he will have many other fun things to browse in his subpages.  You can find all of his archives for his own website here.

Paul Francis Sullivan (Sully) will have his own dedicated page called ‘Sully Baseball’.  It is up to Sully to post anything and everything on his own page.  I only know whatever he does around baseball is entertaining and worth the time.  On the main page, Sully will post his daily Podcast.  Subscribe to his daily podcast here.

We may have another website that we will have on board with us to cover a team thoroughly through a dedicated page.  We are not finalized yet, so I will announce this on Twitter and Facebook.

We have a few writers from the with us covering the Astros.  Lee White and Richard Perez will be keeping it real.

We have Tigers Correspondent  Matthew Lafave of the – to keep us up to date with what is going on in Detroit.

By the time the regular season rolls on, we will have all 30 MLB Teams Payroll and State Of The Unions done.  We are close to finishing the State Of The Unions already.  You can view these here.

Here are some really important pages at the Reports.  It also says what they are about.

We are going to end every baseball year with a ‘STATE OF THE UNION’ Address for each team and also look forward to the next year’s Payroll for all 30 MLB Teams.  This is in addition to all of the other information we will put out in our normal articles.  More than ever, team’s salary and current 25 or 40 Man Rosters, are becoming more important to the fanbases.  We will take a detailed look at both of these for you and provide some analysis.  It will keep us busy and definitely on top of our game.  We will be doing these in stages and not all at once, so please check back often for more updates.

This page has links to the entire 30 MLB Teams listed (for a minimum 5 Part Series on each club).  These Franchise Series are signature website articles that take 3-4 times the normal amount of regular pieces to write.  Do yourself a favor and follow along with us as we take the next 2 years to complete this mission.  It is a great way to learn about your Franchises history, including the players, pitchers, management, mascots and the parks they have played in.

This full-page lists all of the Games I went to in establishing the new “Guinness Book Of World Record” for “Fastest To See A Full Home Game In All 30 MLB Parks from April.6-April.28/2012.  The write-ups include many pictures and stories of how I arrived at all 30 MLB Parks and what the travel entailed.  I promoted the trip by using Facebook and Twitter and met several top MLB Park Chaser Experts along the way.  For someone who may have a similar goal, I think you will find this page quite entertaining.

This was a Twitter concept first driven to a webpage by promoting unheralded players not receiving their due credit.  Each week, the MLB Reports will select an active MLB Player and a retired MLB Player to focus their attention on.  We will write tweets about the players and showcase them on this page.  It is our hope that we can receive some feedback with out twitter followers and website readers.  Suggestions may always be presented to us for future nominations.

You have asked for it readers and now it is here!  An entire page devoted to the upcoming 2013 edition of the World Baseball Classic! After the initial WBC in 2006, the tournament returned in 2009.  The decision was made to have the WBC played three years after the inaugural edition and then four years later from there.  As result, after a long wait for baseball fans…the third World Baseball Classic will be back in the year 2013!


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

Chuck Booth- Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames:   To learn more about my  “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” and how to purchase it, click here . You can also follow my Guinness Book of World Record Successful Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 Days- click here.  I am happy to be part of such an awesome Magazine-Style Baseball Website and am looking forward to talking to all of the fans of the MLB.  You can reach me on Twitter here

a      new mlb reports chuck

Please e-mail me  at: 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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Seattle Mariners Roster in 2013: State Of The Union:

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Thursday, January.31/2013

Felix Hernandez is still the Mariners best player without a doubt. Will he get some help shouldering the load in 2013? Either way, all of baseball should be watching when King Felix pitches, he is a true marvel on the mound.

Felix Hernandez is still the Mariners best player without a doubt. Will he get some help shouldering the load in 2013? Either way, all of baseball should be watching when King Felix pitches, he is a true marvel on the mound.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern):

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

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Roger Clemens: Close To Returning To Houston

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Friday, January.11,  2013

Roger Clemens won 7 Cy Young Awards with his Career Record of 354-188 (.658). A lot of MLB people thought that the Astros would bring Clemens in to spark attendance at Minute Maid Park this season.

Roger Clemens won 7 Cy Young Awards with his Career Record of 354-188 (.658). A lot of MLB people thought that the Astros would bring Clemens in to spark attendance at Minute Maid Park this season.

By Lee White (Astros Correspondent) 

The Houston Astros have made many changes this off season. From uniform changes all the way to the broadcast booth. The Astros are close to yet another change. Many thought Roger Clemens would return to Houston as a pitcher. That didn’t happen. It doesn’t look like it will happen either. However, the Houston Astros are close to a deal with Clemens to return as a Minor League Pitcher’s mentor.

Roger Clemens Pitching with the Sugar Land Skeeters Aug.25/2012

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Miami Marlins: Defending Jeffrey Loria

Thursday November 22nd, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  What the Marlins had to do this offseason is horrible. Last year, the Marlins raised the hopes of the fans with a rejuvenated logo and uniforms, a new stadium, and most of all a new-look team. Last winter, Marlins management made a commitment to the fans to provide a contending team for the years to come. They went out and signed Jose Reyes for seven years. He and Hanley Ramirez were supposed to serve alongside Giancarlo Stanton as the core of the team for almost the next decade. To build on the Reyes signing, the Marlins also inked pitchers Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell. Ozzie Guillen also jumped aboard and was set up to be a lovable manager. With this spending spree, the Marlins brought a lot of excitement to South Florida and were supposed to be a major contender in the NL East.

Unfortunately this was not the case. The Marlins quickly faltered and Ozzie Guillen was immediately under the spotlight for his comments about Fidel Castro. Fans were already calling for Guillen to be fired. The team’s performance was not helping. I personally attended the second home game at Marlins Park against the Astros. Although it was against the Astros, any team that spends as much money as the Marlins did in the offseason should have a packed house at their second game of the season (in their new stadium!). The stadium was full, but not sold out. I was hoping that this was not a sign of things to come, but it was. The Marlins continued their spiral downward and talks of trades began. Heath Bell was the opposite of what the Marlins signed him to be and lost his job as closer. Both Reyes and Ramirez slumped. The Marlins needed to make some moves.

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Just How Bad Are The Houston Astros?

Wednesday September 12th, 2012

Sam Evans: The 2012 Houston Astros are breaking records every day. If you have followed baseball at all these last two years, you know that these aren’t records that are normally associated with winning baseball teams. At their current pace, this year’s Houston team is on pace to lose at least 111 games. What Jeff Luhnow and others are doing to turn around the losing in Houston looks great, but it doesn’t hide the fact that the product the Astros are putting out on the field is historically bad.

Since 1962, only one team (the 2003 Detroit Tigers) has lost more than 108 games in a single-season. The 2003 Detroit Tigers were pretty awful, but it’s not like they were bereft of talent. That team featured a young Jeremy Bonderman in the rotation and Fernando Rodney pitched out of the bullpen. That Tigers team also had Dmitri Young, Carlos Pena, Omar Infante, Andres Torres, and Cody Ross. Looking at the current Astros’ roster, I don’t see anywhere close to that level of talent. Read the rest of this entry

Houston Should Give Roger Clemens a Spring Training Non-Roster Invite

Monday, September 10 , 2012

Sam Evans: The Houston Astros are most likely not going to win seventy games next year.  With a young starting rotation, it would make sense for the Astros to pursue a veteran starter for the 2013 season. Not because it would put Houston over the top and have them competing for a playoff spot, but because a veteran could have a positive influence on the younger starters and limit their innings. Roger Clemens has expressed in interest in returning to Houston and he has impressed in two starts for Sugar Land of the independent Atlantic League. Houston should give Roger Clemens a spring training non-roster invite to see if he can pitch in the majors in 2013.

In just his second start with Sugar Land, Clemens got the opportunity to pitch to his son Koby Clemens.   After the game, Clemens said “What a special game this is when you have opportunity at 50 to go out there and play a little catch with your oldest son.” That’s an awesome quote. Anyways, Clemens fastball was sitting at 86-88 MPH and he threw his curveball, changeup, and splitter as well. The Rocket pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings. In eight innings for Sugar Land, Clemens has yet to allow a run.

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Roger Clemens and the Sugar Land Skeeters

Wednesday August 29th, 2012

Sam Evans: Roger Clemens deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. If Cooperstown picked candidates with regard to their off-field activities, players like Dick Williams and Mickey Mantle might have never been chosen to the elite class that is the Hall of Fame. If Hall of Fame voters look at Clemens’ career numbers, they’ll find it hard to not see him as having one of the best starting pitching careers we’ve ever seen. Clemens is currently pitching with the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters after five years away from the game. It’s been only one game so far, with more possibly to come. Let’s look at Clemens, his first start, and how he stacks up against some of his teammates.

Roger Clemens ranks eighth all-time among major leaguers in WAR, and second among starting pitchers (145.5). His upper 90’s fastball, nasty splitter, and above-average changeup led him to over 300 wins and a twenty-four year career in the majors. His last season, in 2007 with the New York Yankees, Clemens still managed to pitch at a fairly high level, posting a 4.14 FIP in seventeen starts. His average fastball velocity was just over 90 MPH for the 2007 season.

After Clemens figured out a bunch of legal things, he “tried out” for the Sugar Land Skeeters, who play in the independent Atlantic League, and made the team. In his first start on Saturday, August 25th, Clemens lasted 3 1/3 innings, allowing only one hit, not walking a batter, and striking out two. Facing a Bridgeport team that features former major leaguers Joey Gathright and Shea Hillebrand, Clemens topped out at 88 MPH and got a few outs via his splitter. Read the rest of this entry

Houston…We Have a Problem: The Astros Are in for a Painful Rebuild

Thursday August 9th, 2012

John Burns:  With a 36-76 record the Houston Astros have been the laughing-stock of baseball this season. Houston is going into a complete rebuilding phase after trading the very few veterans they had, such as: Carlos Lee to Miami, Wandy Rodriguez to Pittsburgh, Brett Myers to Chicago (White Sox), Chris Johnson to Arizona, and J.A. Happ to Toronto. It is safe to say that Houston was definitely a seller at the recent non-waiver trade deadline and they made the right decision. They had one of the best deadlines in my opinion because they got rid of players that they were not going to win with and got very talented prospects in return. With the load of prospects Houston received, they will most definitely need several of their new young players to pan out if Houston plans to contend in the A.L. West one day. Oh yeah… I forgot to mention the worst team in baseball is going to one of the best divisions in baseball in 2013. A difficult situation is about to get a whole lot tougher. Read the rest of this entry

2012 Trade Deadline Update #6 7/29: Lirano to the White Sox, Johnson to D-Backs, and More

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

2012 Trade Deadline Update #3 07/25: HanleyWood: Hanley to the Dodgers, Wandy, and More

Wednesday July 25th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: Some more trades came down, including one exciting blockbuster to report. One of the biggest names though that was supposed to be traded will now be staying put. Cole Hamels, the Phillies great young left-handed starter is expected to re-sign for 6-years and $144 million. But even  with Hamels off the market, the trade winds are in full swing.  Hold on to your hats…this is HUGE:

Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers

Another blockbuster deal. Announced late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, Hanley Ramirez is headed to the Dodgers with reliever Randy Choate for pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough. There were rumblings about a possible trade of Hanley, and it ended up happening. Hanley will start fresh on the west coast as the Dodgers are battling with the Giants for the NL West crown. The Dodgers started off hot with Matt Kemp leading the charge. Kemp went down with a hamstring injury and was re-injured in his first game back. After another DL stint, Kemp came back right after the All Star Break. Andre Either also had some time on the DL with an oblique injury, but he has since come back. Now, both are healthy and poised to help the Dodgers on a run down the stretch. With Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley heading the pitching staff, one of the Dodgers’ weakest positions was third base. Juan Uribe, the main third baseman for the Dodgers this year, is hitting a weak .190 with just two homers and 17 RBI. Dee Gordon, the primary shortstop and currently on the DL, is hitting .229. Needless to say, the Dodgers needed some help on the left side of the infield. Read the rest of this entry

2012 MLB Trade Deadline Update 7/23: Dempster, Blue Jays, Astros, and More

Monday July 23rd, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: As the trade deadline looms, teams are scrambling to make a final buy or sell in order to push toward the playoffs. Some teams are trying to get value out of their soon-to-be free agents while other teams are rebuilding. Here are some of the big deals that have gone down in the past few days:

Blue Jays and Astros—10 player deal. Big names: J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon, David Carpenter, Ben Francisco, Francisco Cordero, Carlos Perez

The Astros are obviously in their rebuilding phase. Last year, they gave up Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn, and the year before they gave up Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman. Earlier this year, Carlos Lee went to the Marlins for top prospect Matt Dominguez and others.  More recently Brett Myers went to the White Sox for minor league pitchers and J.A. Happ went to the Blue Jays along with relievers Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter for Ben Francisco, Francisco Cordero, and other prospects in a ten-player trade. With these deals this year, the Astros have removed virtually all big names from the team. Not to say that J.A. Happ was a big name player, but he was a well-regarded pitcher that the Phillies gave up in the Roy Oswalt trade. Also given up by the Astros is former closer Brandon Lyon. He gave up the closer role to Brett Myers this year, but he does have the capability to serve in the back-end of a bullpen. Read the rest of this entry

Top 5 MLB Stolen Base Leaders

Sunday April 6th, 2012

Sam Evans: Baseball is full of athletes with not only outstanding speed, but world-class predictive reflexes as well. These players use their power to steal bases as a way to create runs for their ballclub’s. While it might not be that hard to find a player who can steal bases at a productive rate, some players steal more than any other players in the sport. Here are five of baseball’s fastest base runners:

Emilio Bonifacio, CF, Miami Marlins: This year, Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen has taken advantage of his lineup’s speed, and set them free on the base paths. So far, the results haven’t gone exactly as planned. Despite their speed, the Marlins offense is struggling to score runs. Nonetheless, Marlins Center Fielder Emilio Bonifacio has been outrageously productive on the base paths. Despite only a .240 batting average, Bonifacio has a .342 OBP, which has helped produce runs for the heart of the Marlins’ order behind him. However, there is a lot wrong with Bonifacio’s hitting approach that he needs to change immediately. For instance, in 104 at-bat’s, Bonifacio has yet to record an extra base hit. I’m not sure how that’s even possible. Still, in thirteen stolen base attempts, Bonifacio has yet to have been thrown out. To have a perfect success rate is absurd for someone who leads the majors in stolen bases. Read the rest of this entry

An Interview With Miller Park Expert Ben Warhle

Saturday April.22, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- I found Ben Wahrle’s website over a year ago.  All of his MLB Park write-ups are highly detailed as you can find on the web.  This young man has a strong future ahead of him in this business.  I recently had a chance to interview Ben about Milwaukee, tailgating and other traditions at Miller Park.”

DB: “Welcome to the MLB Reports Miller Park Expert Interview Ben. Please tell us about yourself and then give us some information on your life as a Brewer fan?” 

BW: “I am 19 years old and currently working as a professional pizza chef at a local pizzeria. I have been to 24/30 current MLB ballparks. My goal is to make to every MLB ballpark. On average I go to 28 games at several different ballparks a year. I am die-hard Brewers fan and have been to every home opener the last 6 years.  I always try to make it to at least 4 Brewer road games.” 

DB: “You have been to many of the MLB teams parks Ben, what is your favorite park outside of Miller Park?”

BW: “Fenway Park- The atmosphere and the surrounding area is like nothing else around in MLB.  The crowd seems like it is into every pitch. As soon as you walk into Fenway Park or Wrigley Field as a baseball fan you admire the history of the park.”

DB : “Talk about what inspired you to create”

BW: “As I was going to more baseball games I wanted a way to track all the games and ballparks I had been to.   It was also a great way to show my friends, family and the public about each park.  My site has a lot of great detail and stories. It also shows my upcoming trips, and every time I go to a game I keep track of each player’s statistics.”

DB: “Miller Park is on everybody’s short list for the best tailgate ballpark in the MLB,  what can you tell us about these pre-game rituals?”

BW: “It is a party like atmosphere whether it is opening day or the 40th home game of the season.  Everyone enjoys the time with their friends by  grilling out and playing beanie bag toss.”

DB: “What advice would you give for somebody experiencing Miller Park for the very first time?”

BW: “You have to tailgate at least once at Miller Park. Lastly if you go to a “hot” game make sure you buy parking in advance.”

DB: “What is your favorite method of transportation to Miller Park?”

BW: “Miller Park is very easy to get to unlike some parks where you have to take a train, cab or a bus.  Miller Park is right off the interstate, so everyone drives to the park.”

DB: “What is the food like at Miller Park? What is your favorite ballpark food there?”

BW: Over the last couple of years they have done a great job of adding different foods like garlic fries, pasta, and many different kinds of sandwiches.   My favorite ballpark food at Miller Park has to be the loaded nachos or the honey roasted nuts.”

DB: “What is your favorite all time game that you have been in attendance for at Miller Park?”

BW: “Hands down it is the Carlos Zambrano no-hitter vs Astros in 2008. In Houston a hurricane occurred, MLB decided to locate the game to Miller Park.  I remember going to the game and it was supposed to be a home game for the Astros but I would say about 90% were Cubs fans.   This was a home game basically for the Cubs.”

DB: “Bob Uecker is one of the best radio personalities in the game.  In your own words, how does the city of Milwaukee like him?”

BW: “He is an inspiration to this city, the fans adore him for what he has done.  Over 50 years in the booth is a great accomplishment.”

DB: “With Prince Fielder leaving, the Brewers were lucky that Ryan Braun did not have to miss the 1st 50 games for the PED scandal.  Does this give the Brewers a chance to contend in the NL Central now?

BW: “I think all the facts need to come out first before we decide Ryan Braun guilty. Obviously no one can replace Prince and what he brings to the team day by day.  Aramis Ramirez can make up some of the production.  Ramirez had a terrific year last year hitting .306 with 26 home runs.   This central division is wide open.  The Brewers still have a good rotation in Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Randy Wolf. Also the bats of the NL MVP Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, Corey Hart, and Rickie Weeks.  Even though the Cardinals lost the best player in the game- Albert Pujols , they are getting Adam Wainwright back.   They will have a David Freese for a whole season with Matt Holliday. The Reds are another team with good pitching.  The starters did not do a good job last year for the Reds.  Acquiring Mat Latos was huge for the Reds this offseason.  The Reds lineup has a lot of depth with Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Scott Rolen, Brandon Phillips, Drew Stubbs.     Overall I still like the Brewers chances of getting back to the postseason.”

***Thank you to our Miller Park Expert- Ben Warhle for participating in today’s article.  If you would like to read more about Ben and his baseball travels click here ***


 ***Thank you to our Baseball Writer Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here  or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***

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A Review of the New Marlins Ball Park By Lori Martini

Wednesday, April.04/2012,

Lori Martini (Guest Baseball Writer- and @lorimartini on twitter)- I touched down in Fort Lauderdale, FL.  Not only was it a little cheaper and more cost-effective to simply rent a car, but I did have a place to stay with friends which always makes a trip more enjoyable.  Hotels in Miami are outrageous and I couldn’t find a reasonably priced hotel that didn’t give me anxiety of potentially having bed bugs, my biggest nightmare (at least in hotels).  Driving is most certainly interesting here.  I’m from NYC and I can drive anywhere, but these people are ridiculous.  They either drive way too slow or excessively fast and erratic.  The highways are 4 to 5 lanes of traffic and your exits sneak up on you.  People don’t signal and cut across several lanes of traffic without looking, which somewhat reminds me of driving in LA.  Miami during rush hour is highly congested and you can’t park anywhere.  Everything is a parking garage.  It’s cluttered and populated like NYC, yet spread out like LA to get anywhere. Read the rest of this entry

My Top Six Worst MLB Teams in 2012

Sunday January 8th, 2012

Sam Evans: It’s no fun to be a fan of a losing team. Every game seems longer and it hurts to look around and see fans of the other teams loving every moment. There’s always supposed to be next year, but that kind of talk just hurts the players and coaches as much as it does the fans. Let’s look at my bottom five teams in 2012: based on the major league roster and talent in the system that could make an impact in the upcoming season.

25. Seattle Mariners: As a Mariners fan, this one hurts. It’s been eleven years since the Mariners made the playoffs. A city blessed with a beautiful new ballpark, Seattle hasn’t had much of chance to cheer on many winners in recent times.

Since he was hired in 2008, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has transformed the Mariners farm system into one of the best in the game. The problem is that the major league club is still struggling, and fans are losing interest. The Mariners are like New Year’s resolutions. They’re so promising at first, but after two weeks, most people just give up.

So far this offseason, the Mariners have been rumored to be actively pursuing Prince Fielder. The argument for Prince Fielder is that his contract would be worth the risk for the team given all of the fans he would draw… not to mention, the M’s need for a middle of the order slugger. However, other fans feel that Fielder is overpriced and point to the fact that if the Mariners signed Prince, they would be only the fourth team with two players making over $20M in 2012.

The Mariners do have some young promising players. Justin Smoak, a former top 10 BA prospect, will finally be healthy heading into the new year. Also, the M’s have a trio of young pitchers in the minors that are all top 100 prospects. James Paxton and Danny Hultzen could possibly see time in the rotation this year. Furthermore, last time I checked Felix Hernandez was still a Mariner, and he’s signed through 2014.

26. New York Mets: The Mets have always been second to the Yankees in New York in terms of popularity, but there’s never been this much of a difference. The Mets have been silent this offseason, except for a swap of outfielders with the Giants, and bringing in some bullpen help. The Mets do have Zack Wheeler (acquired in the Carlos Beltran trade) and Matt Harvey (2010 1st rounder) on the way, but neither will make a huge impact in ’12.

Jason Bay has struggled ever since receiving his enormous contract two years ago. In 2009, Bay hit 36 homers for the Red Sox. In 2010 and 2011, Bay had only eighteen homers. Part of the decline in numbers is the park factor that Citi Field has on hitters (which is due to change with the new park dimensions in 2012). It should be noted though that Bay hasn’t hit a home run to right field since June 28, 2010.

This year, the Mets should get Johan Santana back. I wrote about Johan in November here. If he is healthy this year, hopefully the Mets can get something out of Santana, who is due $24M in 2012.

The Mets future will be based on how they spend their money and how they control their prospects. If the Mets hadn’t pushed Jenrry Mejia, chances are he wouldn’t have gotten injured. If the Mets hadn’t signed the Jason Bay and Johan Santana contracts, then they would have had the money to go after Prince Fielder this offseason (in theory). New York has a long ways to go to compete with the other N.L. East teams, and they’re going to need to make smart long-term decisions to get there.

27. San Diego Padres: The Padres acquired Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso this offseason in an attempt to boost their offense. They ended up trading away Mat Latos and Anthony Rizzo, and losing Heath Bell and Aaron Harang to free agency.

Carlos Quentin is really going to struggle in Petco Park, and Alonso is going to have his share of issues developing into a power hitter with his new team. The fact is that the Padres will never have a terrible pitching staff due to the spacious Petco Park effect. But their rotation is actually as bad as it has been in some years. I also am a supporter of Will Venable, and I think the Padres would be making a mistake if they traded him.

San Diego plays in a division where it’s not impossible that they could make a nice run and make the playoffs. But I would be surprised.

28. Oakland Athletics: Led by GM Billy Beane, the Athletics have been extremely active this offseason. They’ve shipped away their best pitchers and let their best hitter leave in free agency. The A’s have had a good offseason, thanks to all the new talent that they’ve imported into their farm system.

2012 is not going to be the year of resurgence for the A’s. 2013, maybe, but right now the Angels and Rangers are just too good. The A’s strength is probably their middle infield which will feature Jemile Weeks and Cliff Pennington. If Chris Carter can show some power in the majors, then he will do just fine at DH.

With acquisitions such as Derek Norris, Jarrod Parker, and A.J. Cole, Billy Beane has shown he’s not afraid to trade his best major league players in order to obtain talent that won’t be ready for a year or two.

29. Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles were a promising team heading into 2011. The “Fighting Showalter’s” had a late run in 2010, and Buck Showalter seemed to be really getting through to the players. Unfortunately, 2011 didn’t go as expected for the Orioles. They finished 69-93 and solidified their reputation as the worst baseball team in the A.L East, if not the whole American League.

The  2011 Orioles will forever go down in baseball history not for their season, but for their last game against the Red Sox on September 28, 2011. The Orioles were down 3-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth on the last day of the season. Going into the game,  the Red Sox were 77-0 on the season when leading after the eighth inning. The Orioles came back to win, and they will forever be remembered for their contributions to one of the best days in baseball history.

2012 can be a  successful year for the Orioles if they discover an ace… and if Adam Jones improves his game to the next level. It’s not going to be easy, but if everything falls into place, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette could lead the Orioles out of the A.L. East basement in the next coming years.

30. Houston Astros: Moving into the 2011 season, the Astros were projected by pretty much everyone in baseball to be the worst team in baseball. Well, at least they didn’t let anyone down. The Astros finished 56-106, which was the worst record in all of baseball.

I traveled to Houston this summer and I expected to find an uninterested Astros fanbase. I was surprised to see countless devoted fans who truly cared about their team. Astros fans are out there and they will start coming back to Minute Maid Park when the team starts winning.

Sorry Houston fans, but 2012 isn’t going to be much fun for you. Chances are that you will return to the basement of the N.L. Central and lose over one hundred games. Nevertheless, there is hope. Jose Altuve is turning into a nice young second basemen who can hit for average . Jordan Lyles can be a #3 starter, and Jarred Cosart could finally reach the bigs in 2012.

Another piece of the silver lining is Houston’s new General Manager Jeff Luhnow, who is involved in sabermetrics and helped build the Cardinals who won the 2011 World Series. Luhnow was in the Cardinals scouting department since 2003 and helped produce major league talent from the draft. He also has been a General Manager for, and has an M.B.A from Northwestern. His first move was trading for Jed Lowrie. On the surface this seems like a solid deal, whereby he attained a young talented infielder for his new organization. In my opinion, this is going to look like an amazing hire in four years time.

So even if 2012 is rough, Astros fans can start looking towards the future. It might take a couple of seasons, but it won’t be long  before the Astros are packing Minute Maid Park everyday. Ironically, the road to the respectability for the worst team in the majors won’t happen until they move to the A.L. West. With the Rangers and Angels waiting in their new division, the journey towards success for the Astros will get that much tougher in 2013.

**Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Sam on Twitter***

Please e-mail us at: with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us onTwitter 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.

Understanding the New MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement

Friday November 25, 2011

Rob Bland (Baseball Writer – MLB reports):  With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement signed between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, comes an opportunity to see where baseball has failed and succeeded.  While many have said that the agreement hurts small market teams or is unfair to teams with bigger scouting departments, I believe it affects all teams in a grand way.  By now, most of you have heard the details of the agreement, so I will only touch upon a few of the main points.

Houston Astros will move to the AL West in 2013. There will be 15 teams per league and interleague games played all year round.

Interleague all year round can be a tricky subject.  Especially if an AL team is playing interleague games in the last week of a playoff race, and their pitcher has to hit.  This may cause a major headache, where teams will want the designated hitter in both leagues.

A second wild card team will be added no later than 2013.

The two wild card teams of each league will play in a one game winner take all sudden death playoff.  This can give a distinct disadvantage to the winning wild card team, as they will only be able to use their ace once in the LDS.

The Elias system of ranking free agents as Type A, Type B or Type C (unranked) will no longer be used to gauge compensation for the teams losing free agents.

The only way a team will receive compensation for losing a free agent is if they make a guaranteed qualifying one year contract equal to the average salary of the top 125 highest paid players.  This is approximately $12.4M for this year.

The minimum salary will rise from $414,000 in 2011 to $480,000 in 2012. It will also rise to $490,000 in 2013 and $500,000 in 2014.

Major League Baseball Amateur Draft Signing Deadline will not be between July 12 and July 18, depending on when the All-Star Game is played.

This pushes the deadline for drafted players to sign up a month.  Seeing as most players wouldn’t sign until the last minutes of the deadline in the past, this will make a huge difference.  Signed players can be assigned to teams and get their professional careers started.  Teams will be able to develop them for longer and put their stamp on them sooner.

Each team will be assigned an aggregate signing bonus pool for their first 10 rounds of the draft.

The number of money available to be spent is dependent upon a team’s standing in the draft and how many picks they possess.  Therefore, if a team picks 1st overall and has 14 picks in the first 10 rounds, they will have more available money to spend than a team that drafts 30th and has only 10 picks.  After the first 10 rounds, teams may only sign players for no more than $100,000.  If a player signs for more than that amount, the excess gets counted against the pool of money for the first 10 rounds.  What this means is that if a player is drafted in the 18th round and signs for $125,000, the extra $25,000 goes against their spending pool.

It is possible to go over this threshold; however MLB has placed very large penalties for doing so.  If a team goes over their allotted pool by 0-5%, a 75% tax is implemented.

  • 5-10% over equals a 75% tax + loss of 1st round draft pick in the following draft
  • 10-15% over equals 100% tax + loss of 1st and 2nd round draft pick in the following draft
  • 15%+ equals 100% tax + loss of 1st round draft pick in the next two drafts

While this seems like it could be a recipe for disaster, the MLB recommended slots will be higher and more realistic than in the past.  The top 10 picks in the draft will have slots of the following:

1 – $7.2M
2 – $6.2M
3 – $5.2M
4 – $4.2M
5 – $3.5M
6 – $3.25M
7 – $3M
8 – $2.9M
9 – $2.8M
10 – $2.7M

This represents approximately 1.5 times the slot from previous years, so the cap will not be as drastic as most would assume.

There will be a new Competitive Balance Lottery to award draft picks to small market and low revenue teams.

The 10 teams in the smallest markets with the lowest revenue will be entered into a lottery for 6 draft picks after the first round, with the teams with the lowest winning percentage the previous year having a higher chance of picking first.

Each club will be given a pool of money to spend on International free agents.

For 2012 and 2013 international free agent signing period, the soft cap will be $2.9M.  After that, teams will be given more or less money dependent on record in the previous year.  There will also be penalties for going over this limit, which are as follows:

  • 0-5% – 75% tax
  • 5-10% – 75% tax and will not be able to spend more than $500,000 on one player
  • 10-15% – 100% tax and will not be able to spend more than $500,000 on one player
  • 15%+ – 100% tax and will not be able to spend more than $250,000 on one player

Players, managers and coaches are prohibited from using smokeless tobacco anytime that fans are permitted into the ballpark.  They also must not be visible in interviews or club interviews.  They may not carry the product on them or in their uniforms.

Most see this as a deterrent for the players from using the products and giving less exposure to impressionable youth.  While this may be true, players will still continue to use smokeless tobacco, they will just keep their wads out of sight.  No more seeing guys like Nick Swisher with his lip stuck out halfway to the pitcher, that’s for sure.

HGH Blood testing will be implemented starting in Spring Training 2012.

There are many arguments for and against this, and I agree with both.  It eases the minds of millions of people that the “Steroid Era” is behind us, yet if testing is done during Spring Training, it gives ample time for someone to get off HGH and resume normal workouts before tested.  Tests will also be administered with reasonable cause throughout the season, and random, unannounced testing could be done as early as next off-season.

New helmets designed by Rawlings will be used by 2013.

These helmets will protect up to speeds of 100mph, as opposed to the helmets used now, which protect a batter up to speeds of 90mph.  Previous versions have been worn by players coming back from concussions such as David Wright, but players disapproved because they were too bulky and uncomfortable.  This version will apparently be much sleeker and more comfortable.

If a player is selected to play in the All-Star Game, he must attend, unless excused by the Office of the Commissioner.

There will be a Social Media Policy in place for all players, coaches and executives.

The policy is being drawn up, and there is a chance that you could see fan favorites on Twitter such as Logan Morrison of the Miami Marlins slightly more censored.  His new manager, Ozzie Guillen, could also see censorship or face penalties.  I think that part of the allure of the game is that players speak their minds.  From Dirk Hayhurst opening up about life in the minor leagues, to Logan Morrison saying what he feels on Twitter, it is something that can bring more youth to the games.  Censoring these players may not be in the best interest of the game, but I will reserve judgment until I find out the exact parameters of the policy.

Instant replay will be expanded.

Replay will be used on plays involving “trapped” catches, as well as fair or foul ball calls.  While everyone loves the human element of the game, and most argue that more instant replay will slow the game down, I am of the ilk that it will speed the game up.  Rather than a manager visiting the umpire to argue a call, yell for five minutes, kick dirt on him and get ejected, the umpire crew can simply go straight to replay, and the play is withheld or upturned in a matter of a minute.

This is basically a very condensed version of the whole CBA, but radical changes are certainly abound in the MLB.  While some are seen as good changes, and some are seen as bad, I am fairly neutral on the matter.  Whereas the MLB achieved close to its goal of having a hard slotting system, the MLBPA also received higher minimum salaries and less restrictions on free agents.  It is a give and take system, and it will take a few years to really see how it affects teams.  Expect teams and agents to find loopholes in the agreement and exploit them to their greatest benefit.

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Rob Bland.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Rob on Twitter.***

Please e-mail us at: with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan onFacebook .  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.

The End of the Astros: Bring Back the Houston Colt .45s

Saturday November 19, 2011

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  The big news of the day in Houston is the approval of the sale of the Houston Astros to Jim Crane.  Drayton McLane is out as owner.  The final price tag for the team was $615 million.  The catch?  Starting in 2013, the Astros are being realigned to the AL West.  “Houston” has played in the National League since 1962, the year the team was awarded the franchise.  But after 50 years playing NL baseball, the Astros are off to play in the American League.  Houston fans are somewhat dismayed…all the way to upset.  There are season ticket holders that are choosing not to renew their ticket packages.  Attendance is down.  The team has gutted to the point that it is almost a AAA team.  Now, the team is being moved to the American League.  For fans of National League baseball, this move is hard to swallow.  A big advantage of the move is the rivalry that will come into place with the neighboring Texas Rangers.  But with the Mariners, Angels and Athletics in the same division, time zones will be a big problem for Astros fans watching road games.  With all the minuses in the equation, something else needs to be done.  The move to the AL, may create somewhat of a buzz, but perhaps not enough to repair the damages that will result from the move.  The solution?  Re-brand the Astros.  Bring back the Colts .45s.

For you baseball history buffs, the Houston Colt .45s was the original name for the Houston MLB franchise.  The name was conceived by a “pick the name contest”- and what a name it was!  With the idea of the “old west”, the idea of the old colt .45 gun was very cool and classic.   It really fit the Texas mold.  The team even played at Colt Stadium.  But three years later, the team had its own indoor stadium.  The famous (or infamous) Astrodome.  For thirty-five years, the Astrodome was known as the first indoor MLB stadium with the first non-grass surface (appropriately named AstroTurf).  With the space program popularity in Houston, the team very much built itself on the “Astro” concept.  The Houston Astros.  AstroTurf.  The Astrodome.  But now, Houston:  We have a problem.  The team changed locations into a retractable roof stadium in 2000.  Originally named Enron Field and now Minute Maid Park.  No more Astrodome.  The field in the new park, was grass.  No more AstroTurf.  In fact, only the Rays and Blue Jays still play on turf.  So with the Astrodome and AstroTurf gone, why stick with the “Astros” name? The space program connection was probably very hip and trendy in its day.  But as long as I can remember (80’s – Present), the Astros name is not a beloved or dear brand.  It is time to end the final link to the Astros days.

Everything old is new again.  Retro is in.  People love nostalgia, especially baseball fans.  I can’t recall one baseball conversation that I have ever had that included the Colt .45s without the party getting excited.  There was something about that name and logo.  Part of it was the short life span (only three seasons).  It is a very “cool” name.  Original.  You just don’t see a sports team with a name like that.  Then you take into account the logo and Colt .45s envy begins.  I have been to Cooperstown.  I have been to many major league stadiums.  Bring up the Colt .45s name and you generate excitement.  So here is my proposal.  Starting in 2013, to coincide with their move to the AL West, the Houston Astros would become known as the Houston Colt .45s.  The result?  The team would carry excitement and interest everywhere they go.  Merchandise sales would be through the roof.  For a team with a sub-par talent level playing in a league that is largely opposed by its fan base, renaming the team would give the edge that is needed.

I know what many of you are going to say.  I can hear it now.  You cannot promote guns.  Guns means violence and killing.  It will send a bad message.  Etc…Etc…Etc… I get it.  Yes.  Many of you that are sensitive to these issues may be initially “gun-shy” about the idea.  But let’s be realistic.  There is violence and bad influences all over society, from televisions shows, movies, commercials, music, magazines, video games and much of pop culture.  To me, it is not like it is a picture of a bullet or open wound.  Much of the younger generation wouldn’t necessarily know that a colt .45 was a gun.  From there, with a classic and simple logo- the “gun” part of the colt .45s shouldn’t conjure up violence and negative images.  It is simply a a piece of history.  Almost a work of art.  A piece of Houston history and culture.  Like the old wild west.  When the Colt .45s come to play, it will be like an old-time showdown.  The name is chique.  The logo is very hip.  It will be a winner.

For you baseball fans that are about ready to jump out of your seat and order your Colt .45s jersey, I have some bad news.  The name change is not coming any time soon.  It still remains a figment of my imagination and passion.  But with enough of a vision and push, it could happen.  I have seen stranger things develop.  I can see only good things happening if the Houston Colt .45s return.  Even if the publicity is not all positive, the name change will get many fans talking.  A buzz will be created.  For a team that is on the decline and with little upside to look forward to, a name change is probably the biggest quick-fix scheme you will find.  Let’s bury the Astros name with the Astrodome and AstroTurf.  After erasing two mistakes, let’s finish off the third and final portion and bring back respectability to Houston.  Let’s give the team an old/new identity.  The Colt 45 will become the weapon that Houston uses to climb back to baseball respectability and eventually excellence.

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

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The Astros Move To The AL West

Sunday  October 30, 2011

MLB reports – Sam Evans:  As an amazing 2011 MLB postseason has come to a close, it’s time to look ahead to next year. The Houston Astros have been,” looking forward to the next year,” since the last time they made the playoffs in 2006. It’s time for a change in Houston and Bud Selig and Jim Crane are currently working on a plan to make a big-time change for baseball’s future in Houston.

Times have been hard recently for Astros fans. Widely considered the worst team in baseball, the Astros home attendance has steadily decreased every year since 2006. They haven’t had a winning season since 2008 and their minor league system shows only small glimmers of hope on the way.

In the middle of June, rumors began  floating around that the Astros would move to the American League, as early as the 2013 season. This would provide each league with an even fifteen teams and six five team divisions. Also, you have to think that Major League Baseball wants to start a rivalry between the Astros and the Rangers. Well now in October, these rumors have become more serious and now it appears inevitable that the Astros will be realigned to the American League West.

Although we don’t know when exactly this move will take place,we have figured out that it will happen. It will be interesting to see if the Astros shop for a DH this or next offseason because if they do move by 2013, having nine Major League quality hitters in their lineup would be a big asset. It would make sense for them to bring back Carlos Lee if they were indeed moving to the AL, because he would be a much more productive DH than an outfielder.

I actually think that this would be a good move both for MLB and for the Astros. For MLB, they finally fix the glaring trivia answer which is, why there is an uneven number of teams in each league.  Balanced divisions, until increased to 32 Major League teams by way of expansion, will lead to an unbalanced schedule.  15 teams per league means that there will need to be an interleague game scheduled every week.  Some love the concept of interleague play, while other detest it.  But for whatever people think of it, interleague is here to stay in the world of Major League Baseball.  Having weekly interleague match-ups will actually help solve the unbalanced interleague issue.  In current play, some fans have complained that the same interleague match-ups are in place every year- with not all teams from each of the different leagues matching up.  Having weekly interleague games means that all AL and NL teams will face-off during the season at some point.  Greater exposure for each of the teams in each MLB city should lead to greater enthusiasm for the fans and a more balanced approach to scheduling interleague games.  It is not a perfect system- far from it.  But until Major League Baseball brings in 2 more teams and creates a 16/16 league split, having the 15/15 split will at least allow for balanced divisions and equal chances to make the playoffs.

For the Astros, I seriously believe they could start one of the best rivalries in baseball with the Rangers. This would be beneficial not only for the Astros as an organization, but their fans and attendance as well. Let’s make one thing clear though in the interim: the current “rivalry” between the Astros and Rangers is a joke. The ony time they face off is in interleague games, and neither team has any more incentives in those games as compared to any other games. However, I think if they actually played each other as division rivals frequently, and the fans became passionate about those games, then they could actually start a strong rivalry for years to come.

Astros fans have been against this move for two main reasons. The first is that they would lose their history with the National League (and specifically, NL Central teams). The main reason however, is that they would play West Coast teams more, which would mean that games against Seattle, Oakland, and Anaheim would start at a later time. I can fully understand and appreciate the Astros fans feelings on the subject. The only counterexample I can offer is what Rangers fans already go through with this same dilemma and they same to have done just fine.

At the end of the day, I think the Astros should move to the American League West. It makes sense for the current MLB system. Furthermore, this franchise looks in need of a fresh start and maybe a new division could help provide that.

Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Sam Evans.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Sam on Twitter.

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