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Passing The Torch From Greatest MLB Player To Player During The Years 1979 – 2013: From Brett To Cabrera

Cabrera has had back to back AL MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013.  He has also won 3 straight AL Batting Titles.  Cabrera is the best player offensively in the universe.  He has put up 10 straight 100+ RBI campaigns, but he has racked in 276 RBI, and also 88 HRs.  The 11 Year Veterans totals would have even been higher in 2013, but he fought a torn groin for the last half of the year.

Cabrera has had back to back AL MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013. He has also won 3 straight AL Batting Titles. Cabrera is the best player offensively in the universe. He has put up 10 straight 100+ RBI campaigns, but he has racked in 276 RBI, and also 88 HRs – while featuring an OPS well north of 1.000. The 11 Year Veterans totals would have even been higher in 2013, but he fought a torn groin for the last half of the year.  The 8 time ALL – Star and 5 time Silver Slugger Award Winner has improved even greater on his totals over the last decade.  Cabrera has a Career 3 Slash Line of .321/.399/.967 – with 365 HRs and 1260 RBI in just 1660 Games Played.

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

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While watching Miguel Cabrera this year, I started thinking about the best players in the MLB over the last 33 years.  I am talking the best player of the game at any point of time. 

I tracked back to 1979 for this article.  I may expand further back in follow-up articles.  I didn’t rank defense as  highly as offense when I came up with the players. 

I agonized over players like Mike SchmidtJim Rice, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken for some of the years given in specific time frames.  These gentlemen were given every consideration. 

In the end, we are talking about the best player in the game though and it is always subject to debate and personal opinion. 

The criteria had to involve leading the league in several different offensive and/or defensive categories, followed by routinely being in the top 7 in MVP balloting (if not taking home the honor), All-Star Appearances for every year I listed them for and most of them won silver sluggers and/or Gold Gloves as well.

Cabrera’s 3 HR Game – 2013

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The A’s Pickup Another Quality Bullpen Arm In Gregerson

Luke Gregerson has authored 5 brilliant seasons coming out of the Padres Bullpen.  He has a 2.78 ERA and 1.092 WHIP in his 347 IP worth of work.  The 29 Year Old from Park Ridge, IL originally, has averaged appearing in 68 games a year.

Luke Gregerson has authored 5 brilliant seasons coming out of the Padres Bullpen. He has a 2.78 ERA and 1.092 WHIP in his 347 IP worth of work. The 29 Year Old from Park Ridge, IL originally, has averaged appearing in 68 games a year.  The A’s will use him as a late inning arm with Jim Johnson, Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle also being capable inning’s eater to nail down shut victories.  Gregerson is in his 3rd Year (made $3.2 MIL) of Arbitration before he hits the Free Agent Market in 2015.

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

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Billy Beane ended his whirlwind day on Tuesday. by flipping just signed OF/DH/PH Seth Smith to the San Diego Padres for Relief Pitcher Luke Gregerson.

In what can only be described as shock, I can’t believe the Padres could be this brutal in talent evaluation.

Beane has continued his pillaging from all other franchises.

The result was that he never touched any of the 9 Starting Players from his offense, zero from his Rotation, and only 2 Minor League Players from last season, to acquire 2 potential Closers/late inning relievers, a premiere CF defender, and a nice #5 Starter in return.

Luke Gregerson Interview from 2012

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Billy Beane Adds 4 Pitchers To The A’s Flock, Plus Gentry – Only Surrenders Weeks. Choice + Smith

Billy Beane is the perfect 'Baseball Rounder'. We all see that the moves the A's GM made yesterday where another way to gain assets in the short term - without losing much in the long run. With the A's usually operating at around the $65 MIL mark the last few years, and now being somewhere in the $75 MIL range, look for Beane to stay active in the transactions throughout this winter to shed payroll - and to receive team controllable players.

Billy Beane is the perfect ‘Baseball Rounder’. We all see that the moves the A’s GM made yesterday and today – where another way to gain assets in the short term – without losing much in the long run. With the A’s usually operating at around the $65 MIL mark the last few years, and now being somewhere in the $75 MIL range, look for Beane to stay active in the transactions throughout this winter to shed payroll – and to receive team controllable players.  The Athletics gain 4 players in these acquisitions that all saw significant playing time in the MLB, where the outgoing guys spent the majority of (if not all) their time in the Minors last year

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

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I said it last week in a Cards article that there were 3 teams that have perfected ‘baseball rounding’, and these teams were the Cardinals, A’s and Tampa Bay.

While the Oakland and Tampa Bay teams don’t have the wherewithal to do this as extensively as the St. Louis franchise, they have the master of the trade in Billy Beane.

“Baseball Rounding” is defined by organizations who always roundup Free Agents, Waiver Wire Deals, Rule 5 guys, or sell high when they know a player is past his projections, in order to obtain assets coming back.

The purpose of these deals is that the organization never touches the main core, meaning the franchise will be in awesome shape if you know how to groom players in your Minor League System after you draft them.

Scott Kazmir 2013 Highlights – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance Is Advised

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Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (September.19th) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Hanley Ramirez hit a pair of homers including a game tying shot in the 7th. He would go 4-5 with 4 runs batted in and set up the Dodgers clinching of the NL West crown, 8-7 over the bitter Diamondbacks.

Gerrit Cole struck out 12 in 6 innings, letting up just one run and helping the Pirates inch closer to first place and avoid a sweep by San Diego, 10-1.

Coco Crisp got on base 3 times and smacked the go ahead 2 run homer in the 8th that put the A’s on top for good, 8-6 over Minnesota

John Lackey took a no hitter into the 7th and settled for a complete game 2 hit, 1 run masterpiece as the Red Sox won 3-1 over Baltimore and clinched at least a Wild Card berth this October.

They all owned baseball on September 19, 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.29th) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

David Price dominated the Red Sox for the second time in less than a week. He pitched into the 8th inning, finishing with 7 1/3 innings, 2 hits, 1 run, 8 strikeouts and no walks, as the Rays leap frogged past Boston into first place, 2-1.

Yoenis Cespedes was a double shy of the cycle, driving in 3 runs, as the A’s defeated Toronto 9-4.

Francisco Liriano pitched another gem for the Pirates. He stifled the Cardinals over 7 innings, striking out 8 and letting up only 4 hits and 1 earned run. Pittsburgh’s 9-2 triumph over the Cardinals pulled the Bucs within 1/2 a game of first place.

Chris Denorfria came off the bench to club a bottom of the 9th, 2 run, walk off, come from behind homer off of Aroldis Chapman, as the Padres stunned the Reds, 2-1.

 

 They all owned baseball on July 29th, 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 13th) – Updated Yearly “WOB” Standings

Photo: Lenny Ignelzi - AP

Photo: Lenny Ignelzi – AP

Tim Lincecum threw the second no hitter of the year, striking out 13 Padres along the way. He even walked and scored in his masterpiece as the Giants won 9-0.

A.J. Griffin shut down the first place Boston Red Sox with 8 shutout innings. The A’s were triumphant 3-0 in a possible playoff preview.

The Diamondbacks came back from a 4-1 hole to Milwaukee with an attack led by Didi Gregorius. He smacked a solo homer in the 6th to start the come back. He then drove in the tying tun with a single in the 7th. Arizona would go on to win, 5-4.

Lonnie Chisenhall‘s grand slam was the difference as the Cleveland Indians defeated the Kansas City Royals, 5-3, and moved to within 1 1/2 games of first place.

They all owned baseball on July 13th, 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.8th) – Updated Yearly “WOB” Standings

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Zack Greinke allowed only 2 hits over 7 shutout innings and actually out hit the Diamondbacks as he went 3-3. The Dodgers won 6-1 and crept to within 3 1/2 games of first place.

Bartolo Colon was masterful over 7 innings, letting up only 1 walk and 1 run and 7 hits, leading the A’s to a air tight 2-1 victory of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Buster Posey did everything in his power to propel the Giants to a victory. He homered, got 2 doubles, collected 5 hits and was in scoring position throughout the game. Unfortunately for him, the rest of the Giants offense was dead and San Francisco lost a 16 inning heart breaker to the Mets, 4-3.

Victor Martinez scored in the first and then delivered a 2 out, 2 run, 10th inning tie breaking double that gave the Tigers a dramatic 4-2 triumph over second place Cleveland.

They all owned baseball on July 8th, 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

Inside the Mind of Casey Bond: From Moneyball to Ring the Bell, Is Portraying Josh Hamilton on the Silver Screen Next for the Hollywood Star?

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Wednesday May 8th, 2013

Slick, big-city sports agent Rob Decker has it all. But on his latest mission to sign a high school baseball superstar, Rob becomes stranded in a small town where the simplicity of life—and the faith of the people—stands in stark contrast to his own fast-paced, win-at-all-costs mindset. Torn between these two worlds, will Rob have the courage to let faith transform his life? Sometimes the next big thing isn't what you expect. Starring Ryan Scharoun and Ashley Anderson McCarthy, RING THE BELL features Christian music artists Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Matthew West, along with baseball legends Rick Sutcliffe, John Kruk, and Ben Zobrist. This heartwarming story of redemption will entertain and inspire the whole family.

Slick, big-city sports agent Rob Decker has it all. But on his latest mission to sign a high school baseball superstar, Rob becomes stranded in a small town where the simplicity of life—and the faith of the people—stands in stark contrast to his own fast-paced, win-at-all-costs mindset. Torn between these two worlds, will Rob have the courage to let faith transform his life? Sometimes the next big thing isn’t what you expect.
Starring Ryan Scharoun and Ashley Anderson McCarthy, RING THE BELL features Christian music artists Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Matthew West, along with baseball legends Rick Sutcliffe, John Kruk, and Ben Zobrist. This heartwarming story of redemption will entertain and inspire the whole family.

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

They say once you go Hollywood, you never go back. So appears to be the case with our very good friend, Casey Bond. From life as a professional baseball player to Hollywood actor, Bond has done it all and seen it all when it comes to the many worlds of baseball.

I originally interviewed Casey Bond during the release of Moneyball. Destined to become a baseball movie classic, Moneyball was nominated for an Academy Award. Also included an actor that you may have heard of, a guy by the name of Brad Pitt.

Moneyball was a tremendous opportunity for Bond, who portrayed pitcher Chad Bradford in the film. Since Moneyball, Bond has been acting on both the big and small screens, as well as producing. But given the baseball roots he comes from, Casey Bond – Baseball – and Hollywood certainly go hand-in-hand. Evidence? Bond’s latest project, the baseball film “Ring the Bell”.

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Pirates Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

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Friday, February.8, 2013

Pittsburgh GM Neil Huntington has found creative ways to help the Budget out - by taking risks on Wandy Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett.  They are both being paid portions of their contracts by their previous teams.

Pittsburgh GM Neil Huntington has found creative ways to help the Budget out – by taking risks on Wandy Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett. They are both being paid portions of their contracts by their previous teams.  Signing Andrew McCutchen to a long-term contract has also given the franchise the ability to add players in 2013 if need be.

By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent)

On August 8 of last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates were 63-47, 2.5 games back of the First-place Cincinnati Reds, securely into the second Wild-Card Spot – and had the fourth-best record in the National League. The wheels came off, the Bucs finished on a 16-36 slide, 18 games back of the Reds and with the 10th-best record in the NL. Reality could have caught up to a overperforming squad, or a youthful team took the next step in learning how to win. Either way, the Pirates enter 2013 with breaking a streak of 20 losing seasons on their minds.

General Manager Neal Huntington has been shrewd and active, signing MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen to a long-term deal in 2012 and getting other clubs to eat up significant chunks of their largest contracts when acquiring their top two starters. Starting pitching depth has been added and Huntington is even taking more high-priced risks, landing Catcher Russell Martin as a Free Agent.

Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Highlights:

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Pittsburgh Pirates Roster in 2013: State Of The Union

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Pirates have not made the playoffs since the 1992 Season. That year, Barry Bonds could not throw out Sid Bream from deep Short - and he subsequently left the team for the SF Giants.  20 Losing Season have since occurred.

The Pirates have not made the playoffs since the 1992 Season. That year, Barry Bonds could not throw out Sid Bream from deep Short in Game #7 of the NLCS versus the Braves – and they were eliminated for the 3rd straight year in the playoffs before reaching the World Series.  Bonds subsequently left the team for the SF Giants in 1993 – and 20 losing seasons have since occurred. Only the Kansas City Royals have a longer streak of not making the playoffs (1985). Will this change in 2013?

By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent)

Although the Pirates made significant strides in 2012, they still finished in fourth place in the National League Central – with a 79-83 mark – extending their professional sports record for consecutive losing seasons to 20. After being active at last season’s trading deadline, the Bucs added two key Free Agents in the offseason. One of those signings, LHP Francisco Liriano, agreed to 2 YR Deall for just under $13 Million – but broke his arm from an undisclosed injury in late December. The two sides agreed to a deal that lowers the first-season payout if Liriano misses any time due to the injury.

That has not dimmed the enthusiasm swelling around Pittsburgh and very few roster spots are up for grabs as the 2013 season nears. With the Houston Astros moving to the American League West, the division is down to five teams, but the Pirates still have numerous questions surrounding their ability to compete for a Post Season Berth.

Andrew McCutchen hitting mechanics: Mature Lyrics Content – Parental Guidance is Advised

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The Best DH of All-Time

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Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Martinez had a 3 Slash line of .312/.418/.933. He smacked 309 HRs. 514 Doubles and had 1261 RBI Will he be the 1st ever Primary DH to be inducted into the Hall? Or will 2247 Career Hits or suspicions of PED Use prevent him from being elected?

Martinez had a 3 Slash line of .312/.418/.933. He smacked 309 HRs. 514 Doubles and had 1261 RBI. Will he be the 1st ever Primary DH to be inducted into the Hall? Or will 2247 Career Hits and suspicions of PED Use prevent him from being elected?

Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern): 

In my previous article examining the decline of the DH position in the AL, I briefly touched on a few great DH’s. Now I will exert my focus on examining who the best DH of all time was. While the DH position may be in a decline, it has experienced good times. To be truly great at one of the hardest things to do in sports, (hit a baseball) is quite an accomplishment whether you play in the field or not. The Top 4 DH’s off all time have to be Harold Baines, Edgar Martinez, Frank Thomas, and David Ortiz. (The ordering just goes from 1st to enter the MLB to last, not who was the best. I will order them in that way later in the article.)

Harold Baines was somewhat of a pioneer of the DH position, as he was one of the early greats. His 22 Year Career started in 1980 with the Chicago White Sox, and ended for the same team in 2001, although he had stints with the Rangers, Athletics, Orioles, and Indians in between. Baines was a regular Outfielder for the White Sox until the ’86 season – where knee problems all but ended his fielding career. With Baines well-rounded, Left-hHanded stroke at the plate, he etched out a place in baseball history that will leave him remembered by many.

Frank Thomas Highlights:

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

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Tuesday December 18th, 2012

awhite

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

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

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

The Padres May Never Compete With the Dodgers Financially, But They Are Making Strides

Tuesday November 27th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto (Baseball Writer):

The Padres seem poised to eventually become mild-spenders. For an organization that’s highest payroll since 2002 has been roughly $73 million (in 2008), moving up in the spending chain would certainly be good for a change. This transformation could come as soon as 2013 or maybe a few years down the road.

But let’s be sure of something—the Padres have a steep hill to climb before they can compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers in terms of financial freedom. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t be able to compete with the newly labeled ‘Yankees’ of the West coast, but it surely prevents them from signing talented free agents. The A’s and Orioles are a pair of most recent teams to win on a cheaper payroll, while the Rays have been the very definition of that over the past few years. Read the rest of this entry

2012 AL and NL Rookie of the Year Predictions

Sunday November 11th, 2012

Sam Evans: Even though it may seem as if all of baseball is already focused on 2013, some of the major awards for the 2012 MLB Regular Season have yet to be announced. The AL and NL Rookie of the Year awards will be announced on Monday. Bryce Harper, Wade Miley and Todd Frazier are the finalists for the National League. Mike Trout, Yoenis Cespedes and Yu Darvish are the last three in the American League. I predict that Bryce Harper and Mike Trout will be the two players rewarded for their outstanding rookie seasons by taking home the hardware. Read the rest of this entry

Analyzing the Oakland A’s Outfield Conundrum

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

2012 MLB Playoffs: Predicting All of the Division and Wild Card Champions

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

Stephen Drew: Another Great Move by Billy Beane

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.

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Josh Reddick is Having a Breakout Season in Oakland

Wednesday August 8th, 2012


Sam Evans: When the A’s acquired Josh Reddick from Boston this offseason, he appeared to be in place simply to just eat some at-bats for a rebuilding ballclub. However, in 2012, Reddick has finally tapped into some of his raw power, and as a result, he’s on pace to have a 5+ WAR season. Josh Reddick is one of the main reasons Oakland is contending this year, and Red Sox fans have to wonder if their team correctly evaluated Reddick’s talent. If Reddick can prove that his first 105 games haven’t been a fluke, he has a chance to win the A.L. Comeback Player of the Year award, and earn himself a long-term contract.

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The MiLB Player and Pitcher of the Month for July 2012

Sunday August 5th, 2012

Codey Harrison: In an effort to bring you the excitement of the minor leagues’ best players and how well they are performing on the field, we are introducing a monthly minor league players of the month feature. From the very well-known prospects, to the not so well-known: if they are raking at the plate, or dominating on the mound for an entire month, they have a chance of winning our monthly honor. Now it’s time to find out who we feel dominated the MiLB in the month of July:

MiLB PITCHER OF THE MONTH:  JULY 2012 Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Urkel in Baseball, Batting Stance Guy, Beane, Future of Dempster, Hamilton’s Speed, Gathright Released and Rating Prospects

Monday July 16th, 2012



Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Jonathan Hacohen: Ok, I am going to admit it. I am 110% wiped from last night’s sleepover. The Toronto Blue Jays, like many MLB squads hold yearly sleepovers on the field. The Jays had theirs last night. Second year in a row for me and I will admit, after playing catch on the field till 1:30a.m., I am still not recovered. Call it getting old, but sometime the body just doesn’t bounce back like we want it to. That being said, the show must go on. So with apologies I am a little late this week on ATR, but better late than never!

Before I jump into your weekly baseball questions, here are some of my random baseball thoughts:

I was watching Ben Francisco of the Toronto Blue Jays last night as he was signing autographs for the fans. I wasn’t sure 100% who he was right away. But damn, he looked familiar. I looked and I looked. Then I realized what Chuck Booth (one of our Lead Writers here on MLB reports) had told me earlier in the year. Jaleel White. Steve Urkel. Man Chuck, you were bang on. Take a look at the comparisons:

Ben Francisco:

THEN JALEEL WHITE:

Ben Francisco is not the Steve Urkel type nerd. Rather, he looks like the cool and sauve Stefan. Yes, I did enjoy TGIF’s Family Matters back in the day. Whatever became of Jaleel White? Is he Ben Francisco? Or is this just a baseball urban legend? And whatever became of Laura Winslow? If you locate either one, please let Ben know. Until then, I am fairly certain Jaleel White is playing ball in Toronto. Call him Stefan…see what he says!

If you are not howling with laughter at this point, I want to introduce you to a good friend of MLB reports. If you love baseball, you have seen his work on YouTube and throughout the internet. He is a published author and all-around good guy. To his friends he is Gar Ryness. To the rest of the baseball world, he is the one and only “Batting Stance Guy”. Here is a little clip from some of BSG’s most recent work:

How are you feeling now? I know…your ribs hurt, tears are streaming down your eyes. Yes, that is the magic of Gar. The man has the ability to duplicate any batting stance going. Watching his impressions is a baseball theatrical treat. The fact that he is hilarious is an added bonus. Over the coming weeks, I will bring you more magic Batting Stance Guy clips. If you want to learn more about him in the interim, check out his site: battingstanceguy.com.

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

The Future of the Oakland A’s: The Mustache Gang Meets the Bash Brothers – Revealing Billy Beane’s Master Plan

Saturday July 7th, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen:  Baseball is a funny sport for many reasons. One particular reason is opinions. One minute a person can be a hero, the next a goat. A genius can turn into an idiot, seemingly overnight. In the world of Major League Baseball, we love building up our heroes. The next minute, we are cutting them down to the knees. An example of this the swing in popular opinion comes from out west. Famed baseball General Manager, the one and only Billy Beane. I have been thinking about Billy for some time. Ever since Moneyball the movie was due to be released, I couldn’t help but notice the reports that were coming out on the A’s GM. The man once hailed as a baseball genius, was now being mocked in many circles. Here he was, being immortalized on the silver screen by none other than Brad Pitt. Yet in real life, the 2011 MLB season was about to end and Beane’s team was near the bottom of its division, finishing a whopping 22 games out of first place. Had Billy Beane lost touch with the modern game? Did other teams catch up finally to his systems and tricks? Could a competitive team be impossible in the modern game on a shoestring budget? When Billy Beane should have been recognized in one of his finest professional moments, more questions than answers circled around. But in typical Billy Beane fashion, the A’s GM kept a low profile and stuck to his guns. He had a plan. This man always has a plan. He just wasn’t ready to share it yet with the baseball world. 

If you read and/or watched Moneyball and followed recent Oakland A’s teams, you might think that you have the Billy Beane equation down. Great pitching and patching together a lineup/offense. But as the salaries climbed with the big pitchers, turnover and replenishing of the farm system became the norm. In recent years though, all those supposed great pitchers did not always pan out. Combine that with a line of prospects that were not panning out, and Oakland A’s fans started to cry out for relief. Attendance at the Coliseum has reached embarrassing levels in recent years. The stadium is considered aged and obsolete. The A’s have been trying to move to San Jose and without a new stadium, declared that they could no longer keep a viable team running past their designated salary structure. So seemingly until the new stadium would get approved, the star players would get moved out quicker and the A’s would become a glorified farm system for the rest of baseball. Remember the Montreal Expos? Good…so does Billy Beane.

The Expos in their competitive days, the peak coming in 1994, had a strong and balanced lineup and pitching staff. All of its young players came up at once and developed together into a dynamic superstar team. Moises Alou. Larry Walker. Ken Hill. Wil Cordero. Pedro Martinez. The team was stacked to say the least. If not for the cancellation of the playoffs that year, some people believe that Major League Baseball would still be in Montreal. Yes, that Expos team had a great pitching staff. But it also had an unbelievable young and powerful lineup. Somewhere in his mind, Billy Beane has kept a memory alive of that Montreal Expos team and the system that developed its players. Billy knows it because he is re-creating it right now in Oakland. Right under our noses and many of us are not even feeling it. Read the rest of this entry

Top Ten Stat of the Week: Players with 40 HRs on 4 Different Teams Or More

Monday July.02/2012

Gary Sheffield hit 30 HRs and 120 RBI in both 2004 and 2005 for the Yankees before injuries held him to just 39 games in 2006. Sheffield also hit 40+HRs on 5 other teams (per stay) besides the Bronx Bombers in his career. –Photo courtesy of exposay.com

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- As the world of Twitter and Facebook has invaded the internet these days, I am brainstorming about all sorts of stats I have had in my head for years.  This stat came to my head because of Gary Sheffield.  A few years back, I watched a game on my birthday at Safeco Field.  It was the New York Yankees and Sheffield visiting.  There are players that you are sure to watch live in person.  Gary Sheffield was one of these hitters.   Not only is he one of 25 player in history to hit 500 HRs, but he had one of the fiercest swings ever.  The man would wiggle that bat back and forth like a toothpick before striding and swinging with daunting ferocity.  It was an unorthodox style that must have made Little League coaches cringe, yet it was effective.  Sheffield was a bit of a hot head though, this may have led to him being traded or not re-signed by several teams.  Hitting 40 HRs for 6 different teams is definitely impressive and may never be duplicated.  I knew he had played on several teams already so the seed of today’s article was planted back in 2005.

Fred McGriff was the exact opposite of Gary Sheffield when it came to temperament.  This man was traded several times in his career because he could flat-out hit.  Jose Canseco is the only other player besides McGriff and Sheffield to hit 40 HRs with 5 different teams.  The reason many older players are not on this list is because free agency never arrived in the MLB until the early 70′s when Curt Flood challenged a trade and the Players Union saw it through.  Now player movement has enabled more players switching teams each season than ever before.  Rusty Staub was the 1st to make this list and Alfonso Soriano is the last player to make this list and the only current player left.  I have a feeling we will see more players arrive on this list in the next 25 years.

Read the rest of this entry

Passing of the Torch as The Greatest Player in The MLB: From Pujols to Hamilton

Wednesday June.6, 2012

Josh Hamilton is on pace for 64 HRs and 177 RBI in 2012 with a .345 AVG. He has taken over as the best player in MLB from Albert Pujols -Photo Courtesy of http://www.real-fans.com

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- While watching Josh Hamilton this year, I started thinking about the best players in the MLB over the last 33 years.  I am talking the best player of the game at any point of time.  I tracked back to 1979 for this article.  I may expand further back in follow up articles.  I did rank defense highly when I came up with the players.  I did agonize over Mike Schmidt,  Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken for some of the years given in specific time frames.  These gentlemen were given every consideration.  In the end, we are talking about the best player in the game though and it is always subject to debate and personal opinion.  The criteria had to involve leading the league in several different offensive and/or defensive categories, followed by routinely being in the top 7 in MVP balloting(if not taking home the honor), All-Star Appearances for every year I listed them for and most of them won silver sluggers and/or Gold Gloves as well.

George Brett won batting titles in 3 different decades and flirted with .400 in 1980 while hitting .390 for the year. -Photo courtesy of lanius.wordpress.com

George Brett 1979-1983-George Brett was the best hitter in the game from 1979-1983.  He hit for a .320 average and slugged his way to having the Royals as perennial contenders.  He led the league in triples (20) and hits in 1979.  In 1980, he hit .390 with a .454 OBP, 664 SLG and a 1.118 OBP which led the league.  In 1983, Brett led the league in slugging an OPS once again.  Brett won the MVP in 1980 and was the runner-up in 1979.  In 1985, George Brett would lead the Royals to a World Series.  He later won a batting title at age 37 with a .329 average.  This was the toughest time frame to judge from 1979-1983.  Mike Schmidt was an incredible force at third base with huge power and Jim Rice also put up mammoth numbers, but in the end I chose  George Brett because he was more consistent out of 3. Read the rest of this entry

Michael Choice Has Tremendous Power: A’s Prospect is On the Verge

Sunday May 27th, 2012

Sam Evans: Oakland Athletics prospect Michael Choice was drafted by the A’s 10th overall in the 2010 MLB Amateur draft. Looking back at the pick, most of the players drafted before Choice have risen quicker through their respective systems, but Choice still looks like a nice selection by Billy Beane and his scouting department. Michael Choice has 70 grade power, so even though his tools are raw, it’s hard not to like a future All-Star.

Michael Choice was born in 1989 in Forth Worth, Texas. Being a young Texan outfielder with power projection, it must be pretty difficult to go unnoticed out high school. Nonetheless, Choice was under the radar coming out of high school and he eventually ended up at the University of Texas-Arlington. At Texas-Arlington, Choice began to turn some heads. In three college seasons, or 175 games, Choice hit thirty-four homers and had a batting average over .375 in all three years.  His junior year at Texas-Arlington, in 2010, Choice drew seventy-six walks and he only struck out fifty-four times.

Coming into the draft, Choice was considered by most as a top fifteen prospect, so the A’s selecting him at #10 didn’t surprise many. The player that went before Choice, Karsten Whitson did not sign. The player that went after Choice, Deck McGuire, is a little overrated in my opinion, but he has reached Double-A already in the Toronto organization. Read the rest of this entry

An Interview with o.co Coliseum Expert Ken Lee

Monday April.23, 2012

CB: “Welcome to MLB Reports Experts Interview Ken.  Please tell us about yourself and then give a bit of background information on your life as a baseball fan?

KL: “My name is Ken Lee, I am a General Manager for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service and I live in Marysville, WA with my wife Yvonne and our 2 pup pups, Boomer & Tilly.  I am a co-writer of the book titled “The Fastest 30 Ballgames – A Ballpark Chasers World Record Story” that came out last year.  I grew up playing baseball and loving every aspect of the game.  I attended my first MLB game in April of 1977 @ the Kingdome in Seattle (Yankees vs Mariners).  Since then I have attended about 1,000 games or so.  I have seen games at 29 outta 30 current ballparks (the lone exception being the new Marlins Park – which I will pick up on May 14th & 15th) and I have seen 42 different MLB ballparks overall.”

CB: “As one of the ballpark experts who take it to the extreme, how do you rank O.co Coliseum versus the rest of the ballparks?”

KL: “Overall, I would rank it #30 outta 30.  In general, as a ballpark, it’s terrible.  It’s too cavernous and way too much exposed concrete to be a ‘real’ ballpark. Mt. Davis is an eye sore and try to watch a game from all the way out there, you will feel like you are in San Francisco!  O.co is the only ballpark I have been to where I didn’t enjoy a game from the ‘cheap seats’.”

CB: “Despite the A’s being featured in the movie ‘Moneyball’ as one of the best franchises during the early 2000’s, the team did not draw well.  Why do you think that is Ken?”

KL: “I think there are several factors personally.  Be it that the ballpark by itself is not a real drawing point, the prices are generally high for what you get (especially for parking) or the lack of big name talent on the field.  As illustrated in the movie, they were poached of Jason Giambi, Jason Isringhausen and Johnny Damon just as they were really starting to become big names.  When you don’t have big names that draw attention, the only other thing you can can do to get butts in the seats is to find a way to win and that’s what they did in 2002 rolling off 20 straight.  Since 2002 their W’s have dropped off, they only won 74 games last year and if you aren’t winning, you cant fill the house especially if you don’t have anyone on the team that people really want to come see.”

CB: “The A’s seem to have a lot of promotional days in the summer, over the last couple years have you been in attendance for any of these? Please explain your latest experiences?”

KL: “I have been to a few the last couple years, be that “Free Hot Dog Day”, $2.00 outfield seats sponsored by the BART or even a night where you can park at the ballpark for *FREE* (a $17 value!).  I can’t say that I have scheduled any of my trips around any of these, but it sure is nice to be able to go to 3 games, get free hot dogs at one, park for free another and have all 3 of your tickets cost you a total of $20!”

CB: “What is your favorite method of transportation to and from O.co Coliseum?”

KL: “Anytime I have been to games in Oakland it has been as part of a bigger trip, so I have always driven in.  Besides paying an outrageous fortune at the ballpark for parking ($17 in 2011), there are plenty of free parking spaces within a very short walk of O.co.  The BART system is another great way to get to games as well from all over the Bay Area.  It drops you off within a short walk over a sky bridge to the ballpark.”

CB: :What advice would you give someone experiencing O.co Coliseum for the very first time?”

KL: “Don’t be expecting much because if you are, you will be very disappointed.  However, with that said, go in with an open mind and experience everything there.  On my trips down I have got to know an usher that hooks me up with great seats every night (no matter if I bought a $2 ticket or not) and the people there, in general, are really cool.  I would warn you that seat poaching is discouraged and most sections, if not all, have posted ushers that do check tickets.  If you are going to try to poach a better seat, walk right by them like you own the place!”

CB: “How is the food at O.co Coliseum?  What is your favorite ballpark food there?”

KL: “The food at O.co is O.K. at best.  Nothing edible really stands out to me, but I do have to say that for free hot dogs on “Free Hot Dog Day”, they were actually not that bad.  Then again, it would have to be a pretty bad hot dog to not have enjoyed it because when you are ballpark chasing, a free meal is always appreciated.  The thing that stands out in my mind when walking around O.co is the stands dedicated to specific breweries, like New Belgium and Widmer Brothers.  At these stands they feature the beers of these breweries only.  I have never seen another ballpark that does that and I thought it was pretty cool.”

CB: “What is your favorite all time game you have been in attendance for at O.co Coliseum?”

KL: “I would have to say it would be my first game there, May 13, 2000.  A’s vs Mariners.  I was with a couple of friends of mine who took me to the game. Was my first time ever seeing the Mariner’s play away from Seattle.  They won 6-4 that afternoon, Tomko got the W, Mesa the S and A-Rod had a 2 runner he hit off A’s starter Kevin Appier.”

*** A big thank you goes out to our Petco Park Expert Ken Lee for participating in the expert article Series. Follow Ken Lee on twitter- (@seeall30) and to read more about Ken’s baseball journey click here ***

 

 ***Thank you to our Lead 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 ***

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

 

 

Ask the Reports: Your Baseball Questions Answered – Sunday February 19th, 2012

Sunday February 19th, 2012

 

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

Let’s get to your top questions of the week (TONS to answer… better jump in): 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 Petstore.com, 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***

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Ask the Reports: Saturday December 17th

Saturday December 17, 2011

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

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

Which team is going to bite the bullet and sell the farm for Gio Gonzalez? There have been big demands from Beane thus far!!  Wade

MLB reports:  Great question Wade!  I don’t think we have gone an Ask the Reports segment in the past few weeks (or any days for that matter lately) without discussing the status of Gio.  Gonzalez has been linked to the Yankees for some time, but with the asking price being Montero and 2 other big time prospects, Brian Cashman has wisely declined.  I could see the Nationals getting in on the Gio Derby if they are prepared to pay the price, or the Kansas City Royals perhaps.  From a numbers standpoint, Gio would be best served heading to the National League.  His stuff and abilities would translate well in the NL.  Playing in the American League, specifically the East, would be asking for trouble.  His home/road splits are undeniable.  Gio would have a hard time succeeding in a hitter’s park.  But at this point, smart money is on the Yankees and Red Sox still as the frontrunners.  This is not the right move in my opinion, but the one that is most likely to happen.  But don’t count out the Nationals…they are planning some big moves still preparing for the Harper/Strasburg show.  

 

Do the Mets go after Theriot? Gio Gonzalez? Trade Murphy? What does your crystal ball say?  Raul

MLB reports:  The MLB reports crystal ball- you have been paying attention Raul.  Well done.  I don’t see the Mets going after Theriot or Gonzalez at this point.  Daniel Murphy is likely to be moved, although I don’t see a big return.  The Mets biggest needs right now are another bat in the outfield, catcher and starting pitcher.  I can see them going after a Jason Varitek or Jesus Flores behind the plate.  As far as an outfielder, the Mets will scrape by with a Rick Ankiel or J.D. Drew signing.  Someone to hopefully hold down the fort at a reasonable salary.  Joel Pineiro or Bartolo Colon could be potential targets.  2012 won’t be pretty…sorry my man.  It will be a rebuild year for the Mets.  

 

Jesus Montero next year…what will be his line?  Not Shawn

MLB reports:  The mystery of Montero.  I am expecting a big year assuming he gets a full-time position.  Which he should and likely will.  The Yankees will go from one catching DH to another, as Montero will likely replace Jorge Posada at the DH spot.  He will also see time at first base and behind the plate.  Despite 5 seasons in the minors, Montero is still only 22-years of age, believe it or not.  To be realistic, expect a .270 AVG with 15-18 home runs, 70 RBIs, 60 Runs, .320 OBP and .420 SLG.  Most hitters do not adjust to the major league game overnight, especially 22-year-old catchers.  Montero will put up good numbers, but he still needs time.  

 

When is a team going to sign Danys Baez?  Jason

MLB reports:  When hell freezes over?  At 34-years, Baez is coming off two very unspectacular season.  2010 brought a 5.48 ERA and 1.636 WHIP, while 2011 saw a 6.25 ERA and 1.556 WHIP.  We are looking at a minor league deal with invite to spring training at best.  Teams will look at Baez when all the other useable pitchers on the market are taken, or injuries start to appear at spring training.  If I was Baez, I would go take a nice long vacation around the world and leave my cell phone at home.  He should not expect a call until late January at best.  The man has earned approximately $43 million already in his career.  If he has one more season in him, it would be a miracle.

 

Yeah what’s up with da Yankees? Why aren’t they making any moves at all??  Drewskie

MLB reports:  We were asking the same question last year, weren’t we Drewskie?  There is a combination of reasons for the Yankees inactivity in recent years.  A very high budget with little flexibility contracts-wise.  Many good young players coming through the system and ready to take big league roster spots.  Very few quality free agents with unrealistic contract expectations.  29 other MLB teams which have little talent that they wish to move, especially to New York (unless the price is high).  Finally, while many players want to play in New York, some are shying away.  With the media and fan glare well-known in Yankee stadium, it is not the environment for everyone.  So at the end of the day, Brian Cashman is being smart in making sure not to make rash decisions and make moves just for the sake of it.  Remember A.J. Burnett?  Rafael Soriano?  Sometimes the best moves that you make are the ones that you don’t end up making.  The Yankees still have a high-octane offense and plenty of depth.  One or two more starting pitchers and fears will be alleviated.  Stay patient as the foundation is there.  Some under-the-radar pieces will be added in the next month.  Trust me.  It just may not be the moves you expect.  But anything that allows the core Yankees prospects to stay in the system is a good thing.

 

What do you make of the “sky-high” and “north” of $50 million reported bid for Yu know who? Clues that it may be Toronto?  Thomas

MLB reports:  Speculation has really gotten out of control on Yu Darvish.  Many outlets are reporting that the Jays are the winners of the Darvish derby at an estimated $48 million.  Despite this being the golden age of internet information, there is no confirmations at this point.  Darvish’s Japanese squad has until Tuesday to accept the bid, which is still a mystery to the public at large.  I could see the bid being as high as $70 million.  While the Blue Jays are apparently strong contenders for Darvish, don’t count out the Nationals, Rangers, Yankees and others.  This is a high-stakes poker game.  Nobody is showing their cards or folding yet.  I still see the Nationals winning the sweepstakes.  So we won’t know until the very end.  While spending $100 million+ between the post and contract is a risky move for an unknown MLB talent, in Darvish’s case it could make sense.  Between Japanese media attention, stadium revenues and merchandising, the Darvish brand could bring a high revenue stream to a MLB team.  It is not the route I would take, but as I crunch the numbers- I can see how the expenditure is justified.  Darvish will be playing Major League Baseball come April.  But as far as which city will be lucky enough to have him is still pure speculation at this point.  

 

Last question:  Why does life suck so much without baseball?  Tim

MLB reports:  Because baseball is life.  All kidding aside though, is life that bad without baseball Tim?  We have many outlets to get our fix.  Pop in a DVD to watch some older games or even a baseball movie.  Pick up a baseball book, there are countless good ones out there.   We have daily MLB reports (wink) of free agent signings and trades.  This baseball offseason has been one of the busiest ones in recent times.  We had a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.  The Astros were sold and relocated to the American League West.  The Winter Meetings.  Talk of an International Draft.  Expanding the playoffs.  Realignment.  There is never a shortage of baseball topics and news to discuss.  If you have access, there is winter ball.  Point being that even without live MLB games, there is always something baseball to-do and to keep busy with.  Twitter.  Facebook.  Websites like ours.  You can always find a baseball outlet.  Pitchers and Catchers report in 64 days.  It is a quick offseason.  Look at the season half-full instead of half-empty.  The baseball season is never done.  We just happen to be in the offseason stage- but it is still a key part of the overall baseball year.  I feel your pain Tim though. Opening day will be here before you know it.

 

ARCHIVE:  Click here for Past Issues of Ask the Reports

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com 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.

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

Ask the Reports: Sunday December 11th

Sunday December 11, 2011

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

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

 

Q:  Seriously, do you not think a large portion of pro athletes are using PHDs? It’s just a mistake when they get caught.  Randy (via Twitter)

MLB reports: The Ryan Braun saga is upon us.  The debate as to the use of performance enhancing drugs has been in play for too many years now.  The names Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Bonds, Rogers Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez…etc…etc… will forever live in PED infamy.  Then Major League Baseball introduced drug testing, with HGH testing upon as well.  After years of rumors and whispers, the sport was finally going to be clean.  Now we have the news that Ryan Braun was tested positive for use of PEDs.  I do not want to comment on Braun much until we have all the information.  What we do know from reports is that Braun was found to have high levels of testosterone and determined to have resulted from artificial means.  Braun is appealing the findings and more news will follow.  Braun was named the 2011 NL MVP, which makes the situation that much more volatile.  So do I think that a large amount of pro athletes use PHDs?  I can speak of baseball and I would say in recent history, the answer is yes.  I don’t want to unfairly label the sport and say “everyone was using them”, but many definitely were.  With the introduction of proper testing and penalties, I think use has been curbed substantially.  Looking at the numbers players put up in baseball in recent years compared to even ten years ago, there is a clear drop-off.  Plus we are not seeing late 30s, early 40s players putting up astronomical numbers they way they were.  So the sport is cleaning itself up in my estimation.  But we have not seen the end of this topic.  Far from it.  As tests become better, the drug makers will become even more sophisticated in created betting masking agents to avoid detection.  It is a nasty cycle.  Just the mere fact that Ryan Braun could be considered using PEDs means this story lives on.  Baseball will never fully clean likely.  But it is certainly on a very good path.  Hopefully, PED use eventually becomes almost non-existent in baseball one day.

 

Q:  Can’t wait to see Mike Choice though. He crushed in single A last year. But offensively, we’ll (the A’s) be pretty slow in 2012.  Pigaroo (via Twitter)

MLB reports:  Agree and agree.  I am very high on Michael Choice as well.  There is nothing not to like.  The 22-year-old Choice was a 1st round pick (10th overall) by the A’s in 2010.  After a nice debut in his first professional season playing Low A-Ball in Vancouver in his draft year, Choice exploded last year playing High A-Ball in Stockton.  The numbers were fantastic.  30 home runs, 82 RBIs, 79 Runs, .285 AVG, .376 OBP and .542 SLG.  The future looks bright for Choice, as he likely to start 2012 in AA.  But let’s keep some things in perspective.  He is 22.  He is still very raw, as shown by his 61/134 BB/K last year.  Choice has a world of potential and is definitely a top prospect in baseball.  But then so was Brandon Wood once upon a time.  Dallas McPherson.  Even looking in the A’s system, Chris Carter and Michael Taylor have developed much slower than expected.  Choice has not even proven himself yet in AA, so there is still time for him to shine or fade.  Prospects are almost impossible to predict, as many factors can affect their development.  Health.  Confidence.  Ability.  Work Ethic.  Chances.  If anyone area isn’t there, the rest of a person’s game can suffer.  So while I am not devaluing the abilities of Michael Choice, I certainly want to see more from the kid before I hail him as the next A’s savior, as is being done in many circles.  The Oakland A’s are clearly in a full-blown rebuild mode, as evidenced by their recent trade of Trevor Cahill and likely trade of ace Gio Gonzalez.  Josh Willingham is likely to move on as well, as will Coco Crisp, David DeJesus and perhaps Hideki Matsui.  The A’s will struggle in 2012 in all facets of the game, to score runs, not give up runs and win ball games.  Remember the movie Major League?  Sadly, you might be seeing the new Cleveland Indians, as the team owner threatens to move the team.  A sad period for a once proud franchise, I certainly hope their stadium situation is resolved soon and the A’s go back to being a baseball powerhouse.  Thank you for the questions!

 

Q:  Do you think Josh Willingham would be a good fit with the Tribe? He would cost about as much as D Lee last year with 2 more years.  Martin (via Twitter)

MLB reports:  Thank you Martin for the question.  I definitely think Josh Willingham would be a great fit for the Indians.  I think you are comparing his contract status to that of Derrek Lee, who is coming off a 1-year, $7.25 million contract.  On your logic, do I think the Indians could sign The Hammer for 2-years and $14.5 million?  I do not.  Sorry my man.  The Hammer is looking at a contract in the 3-year, $30 million range.  Do I think that he is worth it?  Yes…but it depends.  At an affordable rate, I would take Willingham at 2-years with a vesting or option 3rd year.  There are strikes against Willngham, no doubt.  He will be 33-years-old come opening day.  He has battled injuries the last 4-years, missing significant time in 2008 and 2010.  The numbers have been consistent, but 2011 was actually a misleading year.  While he hit 29 home runs with 98 RBIs, Willingham also hit a career low .246 with .332 OBP.  Amazingly, Willingham actually hit better at home than on the road, a surprise given that Oakland is one of the premier pitcher’s parks.  .260 AVG at home, .233 on the road.  .350 OBP and .523 SLG at home, .315 OBP and .435 SLG on the road.  Imagine then what Willingham could do in a better hitting park surrounded by a stronger lineup?  With Willingham, beware of injuries and age.  If you can live with those risks, then he should be a sure bat in the middle of a lineup for 1-2 more years, perhaps 3.  But the decline is coming…so buyer beware.

 

Q:  Ok guys, it’s time to announce locations (for the 2013 World Baseball Classic) so that we can make our plans. I went to Orlando in 2006 and the next series saw Netherlands beat the Dominican Republic – twice- in Puerto Rico.. Wow!  So am I (and my family) going to Taiwan?  Montreal?  Mexico?  Europe? If it’s Havana, I’m booking right away!  King of America (via Website)

MLB reports:  It is good to know that interest in the WBC is alive and well.  I get asked often by non-baseball fans and casual supporters of the game whether the WBC will ever be a “big deal”…and the answer is: yes.  Rarely a day goes by that I do not get a question or comment from a reader on the WBC.  Aside from MLB Expansion, Realignment and Relocation, the WBC is the biggest topic that I deal with on a daily basis.  The tournament is growing leaps and bounds, as 2012 will see the qualifying tournament for the first time.  The field for the WBC has been expanded from 16 countries to 28.  The number will even continue to grow in future years.  I have been contacted by reps from different countries requesting information on applying for consideration.  Baseball fans from all over the world, including Iceland, England, South Africa, Panama, Venezuela, Russia and Israel have contacted MLB reports to learn about the World Baseball Classic.  Unfortunately we do not have named sites yet for the tournament.  All we know is that the qualifiers will happen in the fall of 2012, with the tournament itself in the spring of 2013.  Will baseball go with the usual venues or add new ones?  That is the million dollar question.  As there will be qualifiers and an actual tournament this time around, I can see more countries and venues having the opportunity to host games.  Hopefully there will be an expansion of host countries this time around, so that more baseball fans around the world can enjoy the flavor of live WBC games.  We will keep you up-to-date and will have a dedicated page coming soon on our site.  MLB reports will continue to be your source for everything WBC.

 

Q:  What are the chances of the Yankees getting Gio Gonzalez ?  Dano (via Twitter)

MLB reports:  Good luck in finding more frustrated people wondering the earth right now that Yankees and Red Sox fans.  Once known for setting the tone in signing premium players, both teams have been unusually inactive this offseason.  The Red Sox have suffered from their well-chronicled issues this past season, which came full steam with the change of their manager, GM and loss of their closer.  The Yankees, by not making out of the first round of the playoffs this past season are also considered in their own form of crisis mode.  While the Yanks are fairly set offensively, it is pitching (or the lack of) that has fans worried.  The team has a strong pen, anchored by the ageless wonder Mariano Rivera.  But the rotation is a series of question marks beyond ace C.C. Sabathia.  Spots will likely go to Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes.  Then you have A.J. Burnett and Freddy Garcia.  Maybe Hector Noesi.  The return of Bartolo Colon?  Yankees would like to see another proven starter, perhaps two hurlers to be added to the roster.  While Gio Gonzalez may be one of them, I would say likely no.  I took a look at Gio two weeks ago.  His numbers away from Oakland make me nervous, and likely other teams as well, including the Yankees.  The A’s are reportedly asking for a truckload of top prospects and the Yankees will not likely bite.  I still expect the Yankees to find another starting pitcher.  But not at the risk of depleting their farm.  Gio is a good pitcher, don’t get me wrong.  But he is not the ace pitcher that the Yankees need.  Hopefully though the Yankees don’t wait too long after the holidays and end up shopping in the bargain bins in January for starting pitching again.  The team got very lucky with Garcia and Colon last year.  I wouldn’t take the risk again in 2012 if I were them.  With their huge payroll and superstar team, the Yankees need to solidify their rotation to have a chance at the World Series.  

 

Last Q:  I’ve been hoping that someone like Bud Selig or others at MLB Headquarters would read these expansion ideas that me and many other fans have. I’ve shared my expansion idea to other online forums but many people have told me that further expansion would water down the talent pool. Do you think the new international draft would fix that problem?  Joe (via E-mail)

MLB reports:  A great last question to end this week’s Ask the Reports.  I have enjoyed corresponding with Joe this week and wanted to include his last question to me in this edition.  I have enjoyed debating the merits of MLB expansion for years.  Many…many…many fans have used the watered down talent argument to argue against expansion.  I am sorry people, but I don’t buy that argument.  Go watch some AA and AAA games.  There is a TON of quality major league ready talent that is simply rotting in the minors in my opinion.  Between the 30 MLB teams, each has more than 5 minor league affiliate teams stocked with talent.  To bring 2 more MLB teams, for an even 32 teams, there would be no problem finding 25 players per squad.  Between prospects, free agents and international talent, there would be no issues to stock two more teams.  The issues surrounding international talent, including an international draft, is a topic for baseball as a whole.  While a draft could help with expansion, it is only a minor point in the larger scheme of the issue.  The signing and development of international players is an issue for all current MLB teams that needs to be addressed in the overall competitive balance and growth of baseball internationally and to bring more talent to North America.  I am all in favor of MLB expansion.  My hope is that we will see 2 more teams in the next 5 years, but we could be waiting as far as 2020 and beyond until it becomes a reality.  As far as international players…this discussion is far from dead and will be a sensitive subject for years to come.

 

 

ARCHIVE:  Click here for Past Issues of Ask the Reports

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com 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.

 

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

Adam Dunn: 2012 Trade Bargain of the Year

Wednesday December 7, 2011

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  Tonight has been an exciting circus of winter meetings trades and free agent signings.  With all the names thrown around this week, one that has not come up enough has been that of Adam Dunn.  Whenever he has been mentioned, it has usually been in a negative context.  But the time has come to consider a Dunn acquisition in a positive light.  We could be looking at the 2012 Trade Bargain of the Year.

The value of Adam Dunn has been discussed in previous editions of the Reports.  The debate on Dunn has fallen essentially into two categories.  Whether 2011 represents an outlier in his career…or the beginning of the end.  I argue the former rather than the latter.  At age 32, I do not believe that Dunn all of a sudden lost his skills overnight.  His decline in Chicago can be traced to many possible factors.  First year in the American League, new city, new position, Ozzie as a manager, etc.  Whatever the reason, the fit for Dunn did not exist with the White Sox in 2011.  There could be a rebound if he stays put, but my instinct is that the White Sox would move Dunn in the right deal.  With the team apparently in sell-mode and rebuilding, given the trade of Sergio Santos to the Jays yesterday, impending loss of Mark Buehrle and other key veterans on the trade block, teams would be wise to jump on Dunn immediately.

So how do we fix Adam Dunn?  Simple.  Get him into a new environment, DH him for the majority of the time with an occasional start in the OF and 1B and he will rebound to his previous slugging ways.  Teams like the Orioles, Red Sox, Jays, Yankees, Angels, Athletics and Mariners would all be well served to give GM Kenny Williams a call.  Dunn is owed a whopping $44 million over the next 3 years.  If the right deal is presented (top prospect in return), the White Sox could perhaps be sold into eating half of the contract.  At $22 million, approximately $7 million per season for the next 3 seasons, I would happily take 40 home runs, 100 RBIs, .400 OBP and .500 SLG.  The Adam Dunn I watched last year looked very similar to the Nick Swisher on the White Sox in 2008.  Things ended up rebounding for Swisher in New York and the same could happen for Dunn on a new squad.

In the age of $100 million contracts being discussed for C.J. Wilson and $200 million deals for Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, $20-$30 million for a proven slugger like Dunn is a bargain.  Building a baseball team, is like building a stock portfolio.  Buy low and sell high.  Buying C.J. Wilson now is buying high.  Good luck on moving that contract in a year (see Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford from a year ago).  There is no evidence that Adam Dunn is indeed on the trade market.  But if he is (with Kenny Williams, everyone is expandable), teams should be targeting Dunn.  He is a definite buy low candidate.  With many teams looking for a proven bat in their lineup, there were fewer sure things in baseball going into this year than Adam Dunn.  The White Sox thought so when they signed him to a 4-year contract.  Clearly there was not a fit for Dunn in Chicago.  But again, that does not mean that the player is finished.  Dunn is young enough to rebound.  Grab him while you can, as the price will be going up in 2013 after he is named Comeback Player of the Year.

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

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

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