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2012 AL and NL Cy Young Award Winners

Thursday November 15th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  Both Cy Young awards were announced yesterday. R.A. Dickey won in the National League and David Price won in the American League. Dickey won by a large margin; he had 209 points by 27 first place votes and five second place votes. This race was not even close. Price on the other hand, won by four points. He received just one more first place vote than Justin Verlander, who finished second. Here’s my take on how the voting went down.

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Josh Hamilton Ready to Return to the Tampa Bay Rays?

Thursday November 1st, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  What a great story it would be to see Josh Hamilton return to the team that drafted him. As a free agent this offseason, there is a possibility that this could be the case. Hamilton never played a Major League game with the “Devil Rays”. After he was drafted, he was the number one prospect in the Devil Rays’ organization. He had an extremely bright future, but unfortunately the money from the signing bonus combined with injuries sent Hamilton down the wrong path leading to his drug abuse and decline, eventually sending him out of baseball. Hamilton spent time on the restricted list and was suspended, and was eventually picked by the Chicago Cubs in the Rule 5 draft, subsequently being purchased by the Cincinnati Reds. Hamilton played part of a season with the Reds before being traded to the Rangers, where he was very successful, making the All Star team every year and winning the MVP in 2010.

The Rangers most likely will not pursue Hamilton, leaving him open for any other club. Hamilton would be great for the Rays. With B.J. Upton most likely leaving to free agency, the Rays will need to fill the center field position. Hamilton would bring a lot of excitement to Tampa Bay and would help bring the team back to the playoffs. A former MVP would tremendously improve the Rays’ potent lineup already including Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, and Carlos Pena. Acquiring Hamilton would make a large statement to the rest of the AL East. With the Yankees as the only real threat, the Rays would be sending the message that they are ready to win. The Red Sox are rebuilding, so they probably will not be of worry to the Rays, and the Blue Jays are coming off a disappointing season in 2011. The Orioles could be playoff bound, but with Hamilton, the Rays would have an advantage. With the new Wild Card in play, the Rays will have a good shot of reaching the playoffs even if they do not sign Hamilton. But, signing Hamilton would make the Rays a powerhouse and could give the Yankees a run for their money. Read the rest of this entry

Talking Mets with Author Howard Megdal

Tuesday August 2, 2011

MLB reports:  Back on June 5th, we had the pleasure of interviewing author Howard Megdal.  The author of The Baseball Talmud, we discussed with Howard his 2nd literary work, “Taking the Field:  A Fan’s Quest to Run the Team He Loves.”  You can read our interview with Howard, as well as our review of Taking the Field

Well, we enjoyed speaking with Howard so much that we asked him back to talk Mets baseball.  Guess what…he accepted!  We questioned Howard on all Mets topics, including team ownership, drafting and trades.  For the best in Mets discussion, we bring you published author, Howard Megdal: 

 

MLB reports:  Thank you for joining us back on the Reports Howard.  You are our first return interviewee!  I enjoyed reading and reviewing “Taking the Field” very much and have received great feedback on it.  How have things gone so far with the book for you and what has been the response from the baseball community, particularly Mets fans?

Howard Megdal:  Response has been terrific throughout- I’ve really enjoyed the chance to hear what Mets fans think.  Contrary to popular opinion, it is entirely possible to get them to sign onto a clear positive vision of how to run the team.  Not universally, of course, but that’s what Mets fans want at the end of the day.

 
 
MLB reports:  Since the ending of your book, new chapters have been written in Mets history so to speak.  The names Wilpon, Madoff and Einhorn have been in the news for quite some time.  What are your thoughts on the Mets ownership situation?

Howard Megdal:  I think it is extremely unfortunate, since in Sandy Alderson, the Mets have the GM they’ve needed for 20 years-and now, the team’s medium-term financial future is in great doubt. Mets fans should be hoping for a speedy resolution here, and that probably means David Einhorn:  Majority Owner.

 
 
MLB reports:  Where do you see Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes playing next year?  What type of dollars and years are we likely talking?

Howard Megdal:  I believe Carlos Beltran will be playing outfield for a team willing to give him 3-4 years on a contract.  Me, and I’m the biggest Beltran fan there is, I wouldn’t bet a multi-year deal on his knee.  As for Jose Reyes, my gut feeling is that ends up a bidding war between the Yankees and Red Sox.  I don’t think the Mets have the financial wherewithal to bring him back to Queens.

 
 
MLB reports:  Many Mets fans have been banging their heads on the wall since Jason Bay joined the team.  I had a bad feeling on this signing, specifically that the ballpark and team would not be a fit.  How did you view the Bay signing originally and has your opinion changed since?

Howard Megdal:  My view of it originally is that it was exactly the wrong thing to do- he wasn’t likely to age well, he brought one skill- power- and that it would probably be an albatross contract by year 3.  Never did I imagine he would be so terrible from day one.

 
 
MLB report:  I suggested awhile back that Jerry Seinfeld should invest in the team.  I see him as a strong icon for the Mets that could turn around its popularity and fortunes.  Has this been discussed in Mets circles?

Howard Megdal:  It has, but it doesn’t sound like Jerry is looking to take on that kind of active role.

 

MLB reports:  Johan Santana.  While some say he “might” come back this year, I don’t see it happening.  Will the Santana of old ever emerge for the Mets?

Howard Megdal:  Who knows?  He’s had a complicated shoulder surgery, and the number of pitchers who have returned have varied widely in their subsequent performances.  The early signs are good, and I’d be reluctant to bet against a competitor like Santana.  What I think he has going for him is that he already knows how to pitch- he isn’t going to need to transition from being a pure stuff pitcher.  But could that shoulder give out at any moment?  Unfortunately, yes. My guess is he pitches 4-5 starts for the Mets in 2011, and pitches well.

 
 
MLB reports:  Mets fans must be thrilled with the team’s play of late.  Mirage or real?

Howard Megdal:  Well, as I told my friends and family who were freaking out over their 5-13 start:  “Don’t worry- the Mets are distinctly not terrible.”  I stand by that.  Had them at 84 wins at the start of the year, and still see them finishing around 80, even without Ike Davis or Beltran for the last two months.

 
 
MLB reports:  Sandy Alderson and his loyal foot soldiers.  Have they been everything that you hoped they would be?  Please give Alderson his Mets report card to date and don’t hold back!

Howard Megdal:  I am loving the way Alderson runs this team. There are small things I’d do differently here and there- Daniel Murphy playing 2B being the only one I can think of at the moment- but I absolutely adore the LOGIC, TRANSPARENCY and PASSION of his regime.  Just wrote a piece on a minor arc that some may miss- but it stands as a companion piece to, well, everything Steve Phillips did.  There’s a glorious attention to detail.

Piece is here:

http://mets.lohudblogs.com/2011/07/29/doing-it-right-the-feliciano-fulmer-affair/

 
 
MLB reports:  I have thrown around the idea of realignment.  In my world, the Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles and Nationals would all occupy the AL East.  Regardless of the exact arrangement, I think a move to the AL to sit in the Yankees division would work well.  You?

Howard Megdal:  I have long said that if it locks in an end to the Designated Hitter, I’d be willing to consider realignment, though I am attached to the NL/AL breakdown.  Will you agree to that? If so, sure.

 
 
MLB reports:  You will not find a bigger fan of banishing the DH, so agreed!Turning to Francisco Rodriguez, what is his future and does he still have “it”?

Howard Megdal:  I think K-Rod is one of the best closers the Mets ever had.  That said, Thank goodness they got rid of that ridiculous 2012 option.  Even if the team weren’t in dire financial straits, it is a ridiculous waste of resources to pay your non-Mariano Rivera closer $17.5 million.

 
 
MLB reports:  From what you proposed in “Taking the Field” to where the Mets stand today, have the Mets been following your plan and direction?  If you change anything about the current squad, what would it be?

Howard Megdal:  See above, the use of Murphy.  I don’t get it.  With his bat, he’s a top-five MLB 2B, and he’s handled the position well.  He is not even average at 1B offensively, and he flat-out cannot play the outfield.  But again, outside of that?  No, they’ve been fantastic. And because of their decision-making in other areas, I don’t conclude that they are just being ignorant about Murphy- I assume there’s more to know.  Certainly the first question I have for Alderson the next time I interview him.

 
 
MLB reports:  What do you think of Brandon Nimmo, the Mets 1st round pick this year?  Was he drafted based on talent or cost?  How has his selection been received in New York thus far?

Howard Megdal:  TBD, but as I said in the last answer, their overall performance gives me confidence in their individual choices.  I think projecting draft picks is a fool’s errand, however.

 
 
MLB reports:  Are Mets fans done waiting for Fernando Martinez to develop into a superstar?  Will he become the next Carlos Gonzalez or Lastings Milledge?

Howard Megdal:  Best-case, he’s Alex Escobar.  The guy just can’t stay healthy.  I saw him in spring training- he ran like an elderly person.  It is such a shame; the guy has tremendous talent, and he works hard.  His body just keeps betraying him.  Incidentally, I haven’t given up on Milledge, yet.  He’s only in his age-26 season. .832 OPS at Triple-A with 18 SB in 24 attempts.  It isn’t too late.

 

 MLB reports:  Thank you for joining us today on the Reports.  You certainly did not hold back in your answers and gave us a great education on Mets baseball.  We wish you the best of luck on your latest book and look forward to your next book project. 

We highly encourage everyone to check out “Taking the Field”, one of my personal favorite baseball books of the year.   You can follow Howard on Twitter and click here for Howard’s website.

 

 

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Wilpon and the Mets: The Scandals Continue

Monday May 23, 2011

MLB reports:  As if the New York Mets have not faced enough issues during the past few seasons, owner Fred Wilpon has brought the team’s troubles to the media forefront again.  The laughing stock of baseball, only the Dodgers and the McCourt divorce rival the embarrassment of the once proud franchise.  In a John Rocker type interview as given to Sports Illustrated in December of 1999, Fred Wilpon recently spoke extensively with The New Yorker.  In a no-holds barred interview, Wilpon lashed out at anyone and everyone associated with his team.  I could only describe the piece as the final nail in the coffin, as Wilpon is about to receive a backlash from the Mets media, fans and major league baseball that he likely never expected.  As the Mets attempted to recover from the Madoff  scandal and sell a portion of the team to save itself financially, the Mets are back in the news for all the wrong reasons.  What you are about to read is going to shock you.

Here are some snipets of what Wilpon had to say about the New York Mets as a team and its players:
On David Wright, the Met’s third baseman: “A really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar.”

On Carlos Beltran, who starred for Houston in the 2004 playoffs before signing a seven-year, $119 million deal with the Mets: We had some dummy in New York, Wilpon says, referring to himself, “who paid him based on that one series. He’s 65 to 70 percent of what he was.”

On Jose Reyes, the often-injured shortstop with an expiring contract: “He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money. He’s had everything wrong with him. He won’t get it.”

As the game progresses during the interview, a Mets rally expires, during which Wilpon refers to his team with an expletive and, again, with the word lousy.  He says the team is “snakebitten” and essentially agrees when Toobin suggests the Mets could be cursed.  “He gave sort of a half laugh,” Toobin writes, “and said, ‘You mean’ — and then pantomimed a checked swing of the bat.”

“He’s happiest when he’s talking baseball, arguing about baseball,” Omar Minaya, whom the Wilpons fired as the team’s general manager after last season, told me. “I always felt best when we were arguing over a player and Fred would say, ‘Omar, you’re full of s***'”.

Ike Davis, the sophomore first baseman and the one pleasant surprise for the Mets so far this season, was up next. “Good hitter,” Wilpon said. “S****y team—good hitter.”  Davis struck out.  Angel Pagan flied out to right, ending the Mets’ threat.  “Lousy clubs—that’s what happens.” Wilpon sighed.  The Astros put three runs on the board in the top of the second.  “We’re snakebitten, baby,” Wilpon said.

And Wilpon has now suggested that he may be willing to sell up to forty-nine per cent of the team. The combination of his financial troubles and the value of the Mets—perhaps more than a billion dollars—has driven speculation that he will have to surrender control of the team.

The first day the architects came to the site, they started saying blah, blah, blah, and I said to them, ‘Let me tell you how this is going to work,’ ” Wilpon told me recently. “ ‘The front of the building is going to look like Ebbets Field. And it’s going to have a rotunda—just like at Ebbets.’ And then I said, ‘Guess what. Here are the plans for Ebbets Field.’ And I handed them over.”

To read the entire Wilpon profile in the New York, click here.  If you are a Mets fan, detractor or a general follower of baseball, you won’t want to miss this one.  In this day and age of history and instant media, you think that people would learn to be smarter and conduct themselves in the best possible manner.  For a man that has lost much of his fortune and jumps from one scandal to another, Fred Wilpon does not appear to have learnt his lesson.  After this latest episode, the book may be finally closed on the man who will go down in history for almost destroying the Mets franchise and setting the team back as a result.

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E-MAILBAG: Ask the Reports, Wednesday May 18th

Thank you for reading the E-mailbag.  Please send all your questions to mlbreports@gmail.com and please include your first name and City/Country.

We will be compiling a list of your questions from our e-mailbag and posting the responses on Wednesdays.

 

Wednesday May 18, 2011

Q:   Have the dimensions of Citi Field been to the detriment of the Mets franchise?  From Yair, Bat Yam, Israel

MLB reports:   Great question Yair and shalom (hell0) to you in Israel!  With the lacklustre play of the Mets the last few seasons, its great to see that they still have so many fans, even internationally.  Getting to your question, the topic of Citi Field has been a continuous one since its opening back in 2009.  The $850 million structure replaced Shea Stadium and has not played out in the same way that new Yankee Stadium has to say the least.  At a capacity of 41,800, the stadium holds 15,000 fewer fans than Shea and was meant to be more intimate.  Citi Field has some interesting features in its design. Citi Field’s fences are not the same size, ranging in height from being 15 feet in left field and 18 feet in right.  Shea Stadium had outfield fences that were all 8 feet in comparison.  The dimensions overall are not far different from Shea, with approximately 335 feet to the field lines and 408 feet to center.  Shea was never a great hitters ballpark to begin with and Citi Field is no better.  I would attribute the height of the fences as being a major issue for the team in terms of hurting the amount of home runs in the park.  As well, the shortage of quality hitters on the current Mets squad is the main reason for any offensive issues.  As a ball park, Citi Field ranks 11th currently in terms of home runs but 27th last year.  It will be interesting to see how the field plays out this season.  But the bottom line, is that the Mets have the same advantages and disadvantages at Citi Field as all opposing teams.  As a pitcher’s park, the team needs strong pitching and defense to remain competitive on its home turf, with good timely hitting.  This may sound obvious, but team talent and not the stadium will decide the team’s fate at the end of the day. 

Q: Ok how about this?  I am not yet dropping Derek Jeter from fantasy team.  Can I drop Brett Wallace or Mark Trumbo for Yunel Escobar as insurance for Jeter?  From Maury, Boston

MLB reports: Hell0 Maury and no, you cannot make this move.  As much as Jeter is struggling, dropping talents like Wallace and Trumbo do not make sense at this point.  Wallace is hitting .321 in 2011 with 3 home runs and .869 OPS.  Trumbo, while starting to struggle somewhat with a .244 AVG has 6 home runs and 18 RBIs.  If you must make this move, then drop Trumbo and grab Escobar, who is hitting .295, with 3 home runs and .775 OPS.  Quality numbers for a shortstop.  But Jeter is still Jeter and will rebound in my estimation.  Keep plugging the Yankees captain in your lineup and expect a rebound soon.

Q:  Can the Cubs please just leave Starlin Castro  in a fixed spot in the lineup? Like, say, leadoff?  Hitting him 3rd is (^*&&*%$!  From Reuben, parts unknown

MLB reports: I can’t argue with Castro’s numbers to start the season.  .327 AVG, .789 OPS, 23 runs scored, 18 runs driven in, 4 stolen bases and 6/14 BB/K ratio.  As a leadoff hitter or hitting in the second slot, Castro has strong abilities to get timely hits and create runs.  I couldn’t agree with you more that batting Castro in the third slot does not make sense.  With one home run this year and three all of last year, the power is not there for the Cubs shortstop.  The move to hit him third would be out of desperation than anything else.  It is a relection on the Cubs for a lack of other options, than Castro as a new power guy.  As the Cubs continue to gel through the season, expect Castro to have a permanent lineup slot soon.  Leadoff appears to be most likely his destination.

Q:    Do you think Aaron Hill might be enough to protect Bautista in the Jays lineup?  I obviously don’t mean full protection, but maybe just enough for the Blue Jays to be a force.  Another great article by the way, I enjoyed reading your feature on Jose Bautista!  From Nolan, parts unknown

MLB reports:  Thank you for reading the reports, I always appreciate the feedback.  The Bautista article was a lot of fun to write and I enjoyed giving the readers a look into the Jays home run king (You can click to read our piece on Bautista).  As far as AaRon Hill coming back and providing good protection in the lineup, I will admit that I have my doubts to say the least.  Hill has missed several games this year due to injury and when he has been able to play, has hit to the tune of a .237 AVG, no home runs and .573 OPS.  If you take aside 2009, Hill has never shown to be a really good hitter and in my opinion, that season has been an outlier rather than the standard.  Aaron was actually the subject of the first ever article on MLB reports.  If you would like to read more about Aaron and his future on the Jays, please click here.  But if you want the brief synopsis:  Hill is more likely a candidate for a trade/release over the next year than any guarantee of production.  I do not have very much faith in him and neither should you.

 

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E-MAILBAG: Ask the Reports, Wednesday May 11th

Thank you for reading the E-mailbag.  Please send all your questions to mlbreports@gmail.com and please include your first name and City/Country.

We will be compiling a list of your questions from our e-mailbag and posting the responses on Wednesdays.

 

Wednesday May 11, 2011

Q:   Where do you see the Boston Red Sox finishing this season in the standings? From Jake, Boston

MLB reports:  My crystal ball in March said that the Rays would win the AL East, with the Red Sox finishing second in the division and taking the AL Wild Card.  I have no reason to deviate from my prediction thus far.  Despite the strength of the Yankees, the Red Sox have so much talent that several hot streaks are in store.  When playoff tickets go on sale, go ahead and order for the opening round at least.

Q:  Fantasy question:  Should I dump Jorge Posada for Ryan Doumit, Chris Iannetta, Wilson Ramos, Ryan Hanigan, or Hank Conger?  I probably should have done something Monday, as Posada’s .151 AVG is killing my team.  From Bonzi, Parts Unknown

MLB reports: I take it that your league counts average, based on your e-mail.  Turning 40 this summer, Posada has definitely seen better days.  He does have 6 home runs and 14 RBIs, but his numbers overall are fantasy suicide.  I can’t believe Iannetta and Doumit are still available in your league.  If so, grab them in that order.  Iannetta is 28, plays in Colorado, has 5 home runs, 13 RBIs, .398 OBP, .494 SLG.  His .250 AVG is nothing to write home about, but as the #1 catcher for the Rockies, Iannetta has the biggest upside.  Doumit will be traded to a contender at some point likely but while he has shown a steady bat this season, he is always an injury risk.  If Iannetta is not available though, I like Doumit over Posada.  Ramos has been a nice player for the Nationals but is still young and likely won’t play at this level all season.  I would trust Posada over him.  Hanigan and Conger are nice replacement bats for injury but as part-time players offer little upside at this point.  If either was starting, they would still rank below Posada this season for me.

Q:Why do teams not pitch Jose Bautista away, away, away ALL the time? Why even try to challenge him inside?  From Garrett, Michigan

MLB reports: It is not that simple Garrett, as Bautista has become such a dangerous hitter that there are not many pitches that he does not get to.  Judging by his 100 walks last year, which will be higher this year, Bautista has a great eye at the plate.  Based on the damage that he can do, I frankly don’t understand why teams just don’t walk him 4-5 times every game.  Being the strongest offensive option currently in the Jays lineup by a country-mile, Bautista is a long-ball threat every at-bat and taking the bat out of his hands likely will be best at minimizing the damage.  With not many healthy hitters in the Jays lineup that are threats to drive him in, I agree that opposing pitchers should not give Bautista much to hit…and in my opinion, not even give him the option at all.

Q:   Fantasy Trade Evaluation: Aramis Ramirez & Alfonso Soriano for Jason Bay & Brandon McCarthy. Who’s winning?  Who’s losing? I have Ryan Zimmerman on DL.  I am giving up Bay and McCarthy. From Mike, Brooklyn

MLB reports: This one is a toughy.  I wanted to say Bay and McCarthy to keep, but I can’t do it.  My factors are as follows.  McCarthy is 27 and has great upside.  But he is injury prone and cannot be counted on to stay healthy.  He can literally drop at a moment’s notice.  Plus he is 1-3, despite a 3.26 ERA and 1.25 WHIP.  With little wins potential and health concerns, this trade really boils down to Bay for Ramirez and Soriano for me. 

Bay has been a disaster since coming to the Mets.  Poor production and concussions issues have done him in.  With 6 home runs last year and 1 home run this year with a .213 AVG, 7/19 BB/K ratio, Bay is regretting his decision to leave Boston for New York.  Bay is already 32 and his window of opportunity is closing.  Ramirez and Soriano are no spring chickens either.  Ramirez though has a .286 AVG with 14 RBIs, despite only 1 home run and .718 OPS.  Soriano has a league leading 11 home runs, 21 RBIs and 18 Runs, with a whopping .550 SLG despite an unsightly .242 AVG and .270 OBP.  If you can stomach some of the warts shown by the 35-year-old Soriano and 32-year-old Ramirez, they will still provide much of the stats and comfort that Bay and McCarthy won’t.  In some ways this is a headache for headache trade, but by making the deal, you are getting the likely higher returns.  Go for it.

Thanks for the e-mails and keep them coming!  mlbreports@gmail.com

E-MAILBAG ARCHIVE:  Click here for the Archives 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 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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