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Current 2014 MLB Team Payrolls: Trade Deadline Manuevering

Clayton Kershaw is the highest paid player on the highest payroll of the Majors with the Dodgers.  Los Angeles is currently sitting at nearly $240 MIL for total team payroll, and will enter the 2nd year of their Luxury Tax Threshold Penalty, where they will pay a 30% surcharge on any monies spent over $189 MIL.  As it stands right now, the club will pay somewhere north of $15 MIL this year.  If the Dodgers are in penalty again for 2015, they will pa 40% of any cash over the Threshold.  Abusers of the tax for 4 years and beyond pay $50%.  With their payroll this year, it would cost Los Angeles over $25 MIL if they were at that limit.

Clayton Kershaw is the highest paid player on the highest payroll of the Majors with the Dodgers. Los Angeles is currently sitting at nearly $240 MIL for total team payroll, and will enter the 2nd year of their Luxury Tax Threshold Penalty, where they will pay a 30% surcharge on any monies spent over $189 MIL. As it stands right now, the club will pay somewhere north of $15 MIL this year. If the Dodgers are in penalty again for 2015, they will pa 40% of any cash over the Threshold. Abusers of the tax for 4 years and beyond pay $50%. With their payroll this year, it would cost Los Angeles over $25 MIL if they were at that limit.

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

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2014 Team Salaries Rank  (In Millions)

1. LAD – $239.8 ( 2nd time abuser – Luxury Tax Penalty at 30% over $189 MIL = $15.24 MIL to be added at the end of the year.) (1st in NLW)

2. NYY – $200.0 ( 4 or more time abuser – Tax Penalty at 50% over $189 MIL for an additional $5.5 MIL to be added at end of the year.) (1st In ALE)

3. PHI – $177.4 (1st in NLE)

4. DET – $163.0 MIL (1st in ALC)

5. BOS – $157.9 (2nd in ALE)
Read the rest of this entry

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MLB Teams Pitching Payroll vs Positional Players Payroll In 2014

The Dodgers are the new kings of spending money on payroll in the MLB.  They already spend the most money their Pitching Staff, are the only team well over the $200 MIL mark, and are also creeping up on the New York Yankees for position player spending.  With the Bronx Bombers not in a playoff spot currently, the Dodgers may pass the Pinstripers by adding salary to their lineup, or by New York deciding to trade a few players from their position lineup.

The Dodgers are the new kings of spending money on payroll in the MLB. They already spend the most money their Pitching Staff, are the only team well over the $200 MIL mark, and are also creeping up on the New York Yankees for position player spending. With the Bronx Bombers not in a playoff spot currently, the Dodgers may pass the Pinstripers by adding salary to their lineup, or by New York deciding to trade a few players from their position lineup.

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

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The LA Dodgers have 5 quality Starting Pitchers, and a bevy of former Closers in their Relief Core.

The boys who play their home games at Chavez Ravine, would fit into the top half of entire team payrolls for the majors with each of their pitching and offense separately.

If the Yankees trade 1 or 2 hitters before the Deadline, or the Dodgers add an offense player to their depth, they will hold the #1 spot in both distinctions.

New York, Detroit, Philadelphia, Washington, Boston and both of the Los Angeles franchises are in the top 10 in each. Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – July 10, 2014

Carlos Avila Gonzalez, San Francisco Chronicle

Carlos Avila Gonzalez, San Francisco Chronicle

The current Giants squad has nothing to prove nor accomplish to ensure an historical legacy. The A’s need to make the World Series NOW.

How we remember our great teams is painted entirely in October.

It is a legacy episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Salvador Perez, Troy Tulowitzki, Max Scherzer Roberto Hernandez, Seth Smith, Kevin Kiermaier, Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi   all added to their totals for Who Owns Baseball?

Catch Erin Foley’s podcast Sports Without Balls by subscribing HERE.

Read the rest of this entry

30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 15 – 2014

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

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

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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*** Denotes Division Leaders

Records are before play Thursday July.06, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I like this move…rather I love this move.

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

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – July 5, 2014

PHOTO BY BRIAN KERSEY/GETTY IMAGES

PHOTO BY BRIAN KERSEY/GETTY IMAGES

The A’s and the Cubs clearly didn’t treat the 4th of July like a holiday. They pulled off a stunning blockbuster that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland for some of their top young players and Dan Straily, a fan favorite of one of my dear friends.

Does this sound like a day to put on an evergreen podcast?

Hell no! Let’s record an emergency episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.!!!

Chris Sale, Andrew McCutchen, Clayton Kershaw, Brian Roberts, Jayson Werth, Matt Cain, Shin-Soo Choo and Marcus Stroman all added to their totals for Who Owns Baseball.

Read the rest of this entry

The A’s Should Trade Jim Johnson To Tampa Bay For Grant Balfour

Billy Beane made some great trades to bolster his Relief Core - and rotation for the 2014 year.  Unfortunately 1 move may haunt in more ways than 1 in Jim Johnson.

Billy Beane made some great trades to bolster his Relief Core – and rotation for the 2014 year last winter. Unfortunately 1 move may haunt in more ways than 1 in Jim Johnson.

Billy Beane just hasn’t been on the bad end of many deals in his recent days.  Trading for Jim Johnson may turn out to be his worst move ever.

Originally it looked like another genius move, trading away an MiLB player in Jemile Weeks – for a guy who has back to back 50 Save seasons on his resume, but it has been a colossal nightmare for the AL Bay Area franchise.

Johnson was given a 1 YR deal worth $10 MIL.  This represents about 12% of the team total payroll of just over $80 MIL for the 2014 campaign.

The dollars doled out hurts the team more than anything else.  Had this man just been inept, without carrying a heavy price tag, it would have been a 4th and 40 situation (think what you do in football in that scenario.

What is too bad is that Beane actually looks smart in not giving Grant Balfour his cash for the kind of deal he wanted either. Read the rest of this entry

30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 11 MLB 2014

battle of the bay

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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

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

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

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

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

*** Denotes Division Leaders

Records are before play Monday June 9, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of this entry

Oakland Keeps The Magic Elixir Running With Pitching Staff In 2014: Lead The AL In Wins

Billy Beane made some great trades to bolster his Relief Core - and rotation for the 2014 year.  Despite 3 of the slated Opening Day starters not currently with the club due to Tommy John Surgeries (Griffin and Parke - Straily (Optioned to the Minors), added with early Bullpen woes, the team has righted the ship, and lead AL pitchers in collective ERA, (OBP and OPS against).  Beane has allocated just around $34 MIL in players salary to his staff.  he also made great judgement calls on departing pitcher Bartolo Colon, Brett Anderson and Grant Balfour not duplicating key roles in the previous two seasons.  Once again the "Moneyball Man" looks like he may come up roses one more year in the Division at least.

Billy Beane made some great trades to bolster his Relief Core – and rotation for the 2014 year. Despite 3 of the slated Opening Day starters not currently with the club due to Tommy John Surgeries (Griffin and Parker) + Straily (Optioned to the Minors), added with early Bullpen woes, the team has righted the ship, and lead AL pitchers in collective ERA, (OBP and OPS against). Beane has allocated just around $34 MIL in players salary to his staff in 2014. He also made great judgement calls on departing pitcher Bartolo Colon, Brett Anderson and Grant Balfour – not duplicating key roles in the previous two seasons. Once again the “Moneyball Man” looks like he may come up roses one more year in the Division at least.

Billy Beane knows how to construct a Pitching Staff on a shoe string budget.

Not enough Pitching with double TJ Surgeries to A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker to have slowed the Rotation? Nope.

What about the loss of Bartolo Colon?  Hell no, that big guy is sporting an ERA of over 5.50 in an easier NL hitting league.

Scott Kazmir a risk?  Nope, wrong answer again thus far. The recipient of a 2 YRs Deal worth $22 MIL is a lot of money doled out from the A’s organization for a Free Agent Hurler.

All the 30 Year Old LHP has done in 2014, is lead the AL with a WHIP of 0.974, carried forth a 5 – 1 record, and a sparkling 2.28 ERA to date.

How about sophomore Sonny Gray having a tougher time peddling through the league for a second time?  Not a chance.

Gray is 3rd in the AL – with an ERA of 2.17, and has a 4 – 1 record himself. Read the rest of this entry

Oakland Athletics Roster In 2014: How All Of The Pitchers Were Acquired

Jarrod Parker is out for the year with  Tommy John Surgery.  You are talking about a guy that was 25 - 16 with a 3.68 ERA over the last 2 years combined.  He has top of the rotation stuff and will be greatly missed.  The A's also had a TJ scare with A.J. Griffin, but it has been downgraded to an elbow strain for now.  Parker was traded for by the Athletics in a major package sent to Oakland - including Chris Carter< Carlos Gonzalez and Ryan Cook for Starter Dan Haren.  The club still has many of the components left as assets from that very deal. While it is bad Parker is out in 2014, he will be back.

Jarrod Parker is out for the year with Tommy John Surgery. You are talking about a guy that was 25 – 16 with a 3.68 ERA over the last 2 years combined. He has top of the rotation stuff and will be greatly missed. The A’s also had a TJ scare with A.J. Griffin, but it has been downgraded to an elbow strain for now. Parker was traded for by the Athletics in a major package sent to Oakland with Collin Cowgill and  Ryan Cook for Starter Trevor Cahill. The club still has Parker and Cahill.  While it is bad Parker is out in 2014, he will be back. Cahill has been ineffective for the D’backs in 2014 – with a 9.17 ERA and an MLB leading 4 losses.

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

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I just finished writing an article about how Billy Beane was smart not to have signed Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson to extensions here.

You really wont find him do this anytime soon with any of his chuckers.

The Scott Kazmir deal is the one he likes to do.  It is simple as to why the man operates like this.  He doesn’t have to give up any assets in the process.

Beane is a “Baseball Rounder”.

It is not unlike him to do manage 50 – 60 transactions per year.  He was won more than he has lost – whether it is Free Agency or trades.  His ballclub has the best record in the Majors since the start of play in 2012 – at 200 – 144 (.581 baseball).

We will go through the Pitching First, and then the hitting by the weekend. Read the rest of this entry

Billy Beane’s Decision To Not Extend Mulder, Zito And Hudson Was The Right One: Money Ball At Its Best

Billy Beane will never spend a king's ransom for Pitchers on long-term deals or for big $$ because of injuries like Tommy John crippling your salary infrastructure for the whole time a player may be out.  Especially with smaller market teams, having too much invested with your pitchers can be catastrophic.  Even though Jarrod Parker is out for the year with TJ surgery, and A.J. Griffin may not be out of the wood for it either, the club is not hampered long-term financially by their injuries.  It hurts yes, but not as much as it could have.  He was forced into realizing the effects from losing Mulder, Zito and Hudson because the team couldn't afford to re-sign them.  But as you will read, it was a blessing.

Billy Beane will never spend a king’s ransom for Pitchers on long-term deals or for big $$ because of injuries like Tommy John crippling your salary infrastructure for the whole time a player may be out. Especially with smaller market teams, having too much invested with your pitchers can be catastrophic. Even though Jarrod Parker is out for the year with TJ surgery, and A.J. Griffin may not be out of the woods for it either, the club is not hampered long-term financially by their injuries. It hurts yes, but not as much as it could have. He was forced into realizing the effects from losing Mulder, Zito and Hudson because the team couldn’t afford to re-sign them a decade ago. But as you will read, it was a blessing in disguise.

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

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This has been an organization that has thrived on brilliant drafting of young arms. But in saying that. Billy Beane is a manager that will never throw out big dollars to retain Starting Pitching once the club has past the Team Controllable years.

In the early 2000′s, the team featured three ace pitchers in Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder

Billy Beane had to let each of them leave Oakland (in the winters of 2004 – Hudson/Mulder, and 2006 winter – Zito) because they couldn’t pay them the kind of dollars needed to secure them long term.

It was a decision that looked dire to start with while the team struggled from 2007 – 2011, but it also paved the way for a new run at AL West Division supremacy from 2012 to current.

Lets take another look at the decision on how it has worked out since then. Read the rest of this entry

Texas Rangers Roster For 2014: State Of The Union

Prince Fielder's 2013 - 3 Slash Line (.279/.362/.819) is far below his Career Mark of .286/.389/.916.  The man has not hit a HR in his last 74 AB in the playoffs either.  Fielder at least had 5 HRs in 1st 70 AB for his playoff Career.  Maybe that will change in Texas, after he clubs his way to be an AL MVP Candidate for the Rangers in 2014.  I expect him to return to the 40+ HR plateau, drive in well over 100+ RBI - and lead his team to a World Series Appearance this year.

Prince Fielder’s 2013 – 3 Slash Line (.279/.362/.457) is far below his Career Mark of .286/.389/.527. The man has not hit a HR in his last 74 AB in the playoffs either. Fielder at least had 5 HRs in 1st 70 AB for his playoff Career. Maybe that will change in Texas, after he clubs his way to be an AL MVP Candidate for the Rangers in 2014. I expect him to return to the 40+ HR plateau, drive in well over 100+ RBI – and lead his team to a World Series Appearance this year.  Fielder will be in Texas for the next 7 years, and the Rangers only have to pay $20 MIL per year, with Detroit eating $4 MIL each season as part of the trade that saw Ian Kinsler go to Motown.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Stay Alive Until Re-Inforcements Arrive

The Texas Rangers bolstered their 2014 offensive lineup with 2 new .400+ OBP Players.

Shin-Soo Choo (.423 OBP in 2013, and a Career .389 OBP), and Prince Fielder (.362 OBP, but was .400 OBP+ in 4 out of the last 5 years and .389 OBP for his lifetime) – will be front and center into the Rangers new lineup.

These gentlemen will be surrounded by Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and Alex Rios as guys to help offset their walk totals.

This is not an indictment of the 3 right handed hitters either though, Beltre is a .312 hitter for Texas during his 3 campaigns, while Alex Rios and Andrus should hit anywhere from .280 to .290 this year.

You add Andrus’s speed with Leonys Martin – and these two guys could swipe 40+ bags each.  Even Alex Rios thieved 16 Bags in 2013 – and Choo had 20 SB yet again. Read the rest of this entry

More Tommy John Surgeries By The Numbers + Who Is the 1st $100 MIL Pitcher To Go Down With It? + A Scherzer Angle?

 

Yes Max Scherzer wrapped up the AL Cy Young with a most impressive season in 2013, but the club will be hard pressed to lock up his services beyond the 2014 campaign - when you factor the team wants to re-sign Cabrera in 2016, and also the club is already spending upwards of $45 MIL per year on Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez as part of the Starting Pitching Staff.  The team just put out a press release saying 'The club gave a substantial offer, that would have made the RHP, one of the highest paid pitchers in baseball, and he doth refused it."

Yes Max Scherzer wrapped up the AL Cy Young with a most impressive season in 2013, but with TJ surgery becoming so common place with today’s chuckers, who would want to risk that kind of jack for a pitcher one throw way from being sidelined for 12 – 14 months?  In my view it was a mistake not to accept the $$.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): – Credit to Bill Chuck For the Idea:  

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I think Max Scherzer should have taken the contract offer the Tigers threw his way this past weekend.  Reports say it was in the Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke range of 6 YRs/$144 – $147 MIL.

So now that the reigning AL Cy Young Winner didn’t take the deal, he must hope to replicate his 2013 campaign, or at least come some where near it.

Do I think he could make more on the open market, potentially yes.  But for a guy who has never been under a 3 ERA in any one given year, that is a tall order.

Also keep in mind his arm could sideline him with an injury at any point, so there is an inherent risk to not taking the deal.

One of out every 3 Major League Pitchers will go undergo Tommy John Surgery.

If you don’t think this procedure is an epidemic, go follow our ALL – Time TJ Surgery Tracker here.

Read the rest of this entry

Oakland Athletics State Of The Union: 2014 Preview

When does Beane ever sleep?   56 transactions over the last calendar year, and he may be prepping the phone with another rash of injuries to 60% of his Starting Staff.  Beane has at least addressed the teams depth for 15 years, and when you look at the salary for their Pitchers, you will be able to detect why.  They never overpay on long-term deals for Starters.

When does Beane ever sleep? 56 transactions over the last calendar year, and he may be prepping the phone with another rash of injuries to 60% of his Starting Staff. Beane has at least addressed the teams depth for next 2 – 3 years, and when you look at the salary for their Pitchers, you will be able to detect why. They never overpay on long-term deals for Starters.

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

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It has been a tough week in Oakland for the Starting Pitching.  Jarrod Parker will need Tommy John Surgery and is  out for the 2014 year.

A.J. Griffin received better news, but also will be sidelined for the near future with a UCL strain.

To complicate the opening roster even more, Scott Kazmir has Triceps soreness and is currently also on the shelf.

Billy Beane doesn’t seem that worried, as he has Tommy Milone and Jesse Chavez stretched out to work some starts if needed. Read the rest of this entry

MLB’s 2014 Most Likely To Class…….

PED use or not, Stem Cell technology, and who knows what else has aided Colon's body over the last 3 seasons of success.  Yes he was 18 - 6, with a 2.65 ERA - finishing 6th in AL Voting, however the A's went and paid someone else, and usually they are not wrong on guys.  The 40 Year Old from Dominican Republic, is also a gigantic man that decimated his hamstring during a PFP out in 2011 with NYY.  You have to think his lucky streak is numbered sooner or later - and especially on the basepaths in the NL hitting a few times a game.

PED use or not, Stem Cell technology, and who knows what else has aided Colon’s body over the last 3 seasons of success. Yes he was 18 – 6, with a 2.65 ERA – finishing 6th in AL Voting, however the A’s went and paid someone else, and usually they are not wrong on guys. The 40 Year Old from Dominican Republic, is also a gigantic man who decimated his hamstring during a PFP out in 2011 with NYY. You have to think his lucky streak is numbered sooner or later – and especially on the basepaths in the NL hitting a few times a game.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Remember when you graduated, or just had a school yearbook, and one of the best features was a ‘Most Likely To‘ Section.

It could have been John is most likely to succeed at playing football, or Sally will make a fortune by selling her clothes fashions to Hollywood Diva’s.

Lets do this for the MLB 2014 as it sits.

The Most Likely To Hit The DL after running to 1st is Bartolo Colon. Read the rest of this entry

San Diego Padres Payroll In 2014 + Contracts Going Forward

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Jeff Kleiner (Org Depth + Payroll Expert – find his website here)

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I am not going to beat up the Padres in this article.  They have a tough division to contend with and need the new 2016 CBA to provide more of an equal playing field.

Here is some good news, the Padres only be losing 7 guys to Free Agency before the 2015 year, so if the young flock of talent can show some improvement, the future years look good.

Chase Headley, Chris Denorfia, Josh Johnson, Tim Stauffer, Huston Street, Seth Smith and Nick Hundley are up for the open market.  Look for the franchise to trade most of these guys near the Trade Deadline. Read the rest of this entry

The Top Remaining Free Agents Left In The MLB 2014 Season + The Rest

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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With the latest signings (by Baltimore) of Nelson Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez, there is now just 3 Free Agents who come with the price tag of your 1st RD pick (or 1st available pick if you have been busy already this winter).

SS Stephen Drew is still on the open market despite several rumors about the Big Apple,  DH/1B Kendrys Morales is on the board, with teams dwindling in interest, and SP Ervin Santana rounds out the list.

Agents of these gentlemen are now threatening to hold out their players until after the MLB Amateur Draft (when the Draft Pick is no longer forfeited), in order to turn the leverage back to their guys.

I am not sure that is such a great idea, particularly in the cases of the hitters, who are not likely to warrant more than 3 year deals apiece. Read the rest of this entry

Which Manager’s Seat Is The Hottest In The MLB – 2014?

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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There are many expectations in 2014 for a lot of the MLB clubs. 

Realistically, only the Houston Astros and the Minnesota Twins could be ousted from playoff contention before we even play in the American League.

The National League has several more teams with improbable chances to post a postseason berth in 2014.

The Mets, Marlins, Twins, Cubs and Padres are the longest shots on the board to nail down play in October as well.

Out of those teams, Chicago just hired Rich Renteria, and the other 5 teams would likely let the year play itself out before thinking of a skipper’s switch.

With those teams listed, I highly doubt the current bench bosses will remain in position by the time the clubs become good. Read the rest of this entry

Oakland Athletics Payroll In 2014 + Contracts Going Forward

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

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Billy Beane is a master tactician when it comes to freeing up some cash in order to acquire more players.

Oakland ended last year with a payroll of about $70 MIL.  So far this offseason, the A’s GM has picked up several relief pitchers and also signed Scott Kazmir to a 2 YR deal worth $22 MIL.

The team also said goodbye to Bartolo Colon,(who signed with the Mets for a 2 YRs/$20 MIL deal).

Beane has held a fantastic track record of assessing talent, so don’t be surprised if the stocky 40 year old breaks down in the Mets uniform – and not under the A’s watch. Read the rest of this entry

The Rest Of The Best Free Agents Are Now Up For Auction: Some Deals Already Done

Grant Balfour has been throwing verbal jabs to the Orioles on XM Radio concerning the club bowing out of his 2 YRs/$15 MIL  deal - and justifiably so.  The Orioles lost credibility around the league for this bow out maneuver.  Now Balfour will look to administer some payback to the O's 19 times a year for the 2014 and 2015.  The Aussie just signed a 2 Year Deal - to return to the Rays for $12 MIL.

Grant Balfour has recently been throwing verbal jabs to the Orioles on XM Radio concerning the club bowing out of his 2 YRs/$15 MIL deal – and justifiably so. The Orioles lost credibility around the league for this bow out maneuver. Now Balfour will look to administer some payback to the O’s 19 times a year for the 2014 and 2015 campaings. The Aussie just signed a 2 Year Deal – to return to the Rays for $12 MIL.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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It was a tough time being an MLB fan the last 3 or 4 weeks – waiting for the Masahiro Tanaka deal to get done.

As of today, we are about 18 days away from Pitchers and Catchers to report.

With the logjam now being freed up with the Japanese superstar being inked to a deal with New York, a bevy of transactions have already occurred.

Grant Balfour is all set to sign a 2 YR deal worth $12 MIL, and will be ready to stick it to the Baltimore Orioles 19 times a year for the next 2 campaigns. Read the rest of this entry

Atlanta Braves Payroll in 2014 + Contracts Going Forward Part 1

It would be one thing if B.J. Upton were the only player on the Braves who had an abysmal season.  When you add the injuries and the season of Dan Uggla to Upton worst year of his career, it is actually amazing this team ended with 96 Wins.  With the club losing Brian McCann, Paul Maholm and Tim Hudson, they will need Upton and CO. to rebound for the team to contend again in 2014.  Upton has to get back to 20/20 years for powers and steals, and at least hit to 85% of his career 3 slash - to justify the contract doled out by the Atlanta Braves.  Uggla must correct his vision problems and get back to raking again.  These 2 guys are the #2 and #3 paid guys on the squad in 2014 behind Justin Upton.

It would be one thing if B.J. Upton were the only player on the Braves who had an abysmal season. When you add the injuries and the season of Dan Uggla to Upton worst year of his career, it is actually amazing this team ended with 96 Wins. With the club losing Brian McCann, Paul Maholm and Tim Hudson, they will need Upton and CO. to rebound for the team to contend again in 2014. Upton has to get back to 20/20 years for powers and steals, and at least hit to 85% of his career 3 slash – to justify the contract doled out by the Atlanta Braves. Uggla must correct his vision problems and get back to raking again. These 2 guys are the #2 and #3 paid guys on the squad in 2014 behind Justin Upton.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Jeff Kleiner (Org. Depth Chart/Payroll Expert)

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The ‘Tomahawk Choppers’ have 2 players that are killing them for Free Agent signings this winter.

B.J. Upton is only in the 2nd year of his 5 YRs/$75 MIL – and underachieving Dan Uggla  is still on the  books for 2 more years.

Between these 2 gentleman, they will bring down $26.25 MIL in 2014.  The Braves are hoping for more than under the ‘Mendoza Line’ Batting Averages – and an occasional big fly.

The Braves are also headed to Arbitration with Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward and Craig Kimbrel.  This is certainly bound to cost the organization a pretty penny.

In fact, those 3 players will likely exceed the amount of the B.J Upton and Uggla contracts.

Craig Kimbrel 2013 Highlights – Mature Lyrics Parental Guidance Is Advised:

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Notes On Free Agent Signings And Acquisitions Of The Last Week

Robinson Cano has seen his stock plummet down the river this winter.  While he still will likely sign a deal for more than $25 MIL per year, it may have to be somewhere other than the Bronx.  Meanwhile Jay - Z and his new baseball agent company is teetering with this client.

Robinson Cano has seen his stock plummet down the river this winter. While he still will likely sign a deal for more than $25 MIL per year, it may have to be somewhere other than the Bronx. Meanwhile Jay – Z and his new baseball agent company is teetering with this client.  The best move for that camp is to wait it out like Prince Fielder did 2 years ago.  It may take for an unexpected injury – or for a team to panic after the majority of the Free Agents have signed in order for him to maximize his dollars in 6 – 7 year deal.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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2014 Winter Transactions Part 2

For part one of this transaction summary click here.

The White Sox sign 1B Paul Konerko (37) – 1 YR/$2.5 MIL (1.0 MIL deferred to 2021).

I like this deal for the White Sox.  He is the team leader and can pass on knowledge to the young guys.. Expect for them to try and trade Adam Dunn halfway through the year if Konerko is playing well.

The Rockies sign 1B Justin Morneau (32) – 2 YRs/$13 MIL.

Love this move.  The Rockies could potentially see this man hit 20+ HRs and knock about 30 – 40 Doubles per year.  He carries a decent average too.

Justin Morneau Minnesota Twins Highlights

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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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The Jacoby Ellsbury 7 YRs/$153 MIL Deal Opens Up Many Possibilities for New York

Ellsbury missed 88 Games in 2012 (and also missed 144 Games in 2010), which brings into question his long - term durability.  Heck, even this year, he was seen with a walking boot only a few weeks prior to the playoffs. You can't deny the man has put up some great numbers out of the leadoff spot for the Red Sox since 2007.  Ellsbury has a Career 3 Slash of .297/.350/.789 - and averages 57 XBH, 55 SB, 198 Hits and 108 RBI for every 162 Games Played.  The Yankees have inked him to a 7 year deal, and will bank on him staying healthy for most of the contract.

Ellsbury missed 88 Games in 2012 (and also missed 144 Games in 2010), which brings into question his long – term durability. Heck, even this year, he was seen with a walking boot only a few weeks prior to the playoffs. You can’t deny the man has put up some great numbers out of the leadoff spot for the Red Sox since 2007.

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

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So all of a sudden the Yankees have taken a page from their 2006 playbook.

Prior to that season, they overbid for the services of Johnny Damon, effectively ending his tenure with their rivals – the Boston Red Sox.

They have gone back to the well for a 2nd time – raiding the Sox for their Starting CF.

It is a bold and calculated gamble for the Yankees, but then again, they are the biggest entity in the MLB – and they needed to protect the fledgling ratings on TV, and also to make sure the fans come through the turnstiles at New Yankee Stadium

Jacoby Ellsbury was brought in for a 7 YR/$153 MIL deal – that will send shockwaves throughout the Bronx and Major League Baseball.

Jacoby Ellsbury 2013 Highlights – Mature Lyrics So Parental Guidance Is Advised

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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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The Orioles Trade Jim Johnson To The A’s For Jemile Weeks

Jemile Weeks had a great 2011 campaign - hitting for a 3 Slash Line of .304/.340/.761 - with 22 SB and 50 Runs Scored in just 406 AB.  He struggled in 2012, regressing to a Slash of .220/.305/.609 in 444 AB - before being subsequently replaced.  With the Orioles potentially non-tendering Johnson anyway, this kind of flier just may end up working out for Baltimore in the long run if Weeks can make the squad in 2014 or beyond.

Jemile Weeks had a great 2011 campaign – hitting for a 3 Slash Line of .304/.340/.761 – with 22 SB and 50 Runs Scored in just 406 AB. He struggled in 2012, regressing to a Slash of .220/.305/.609 in 444 AB – before being subsequently replaced and then enduring a 2013 year mostly in the Minors.. With the Orioles potentially non-tendering Johnson anyway, this kind of flier just may end up working out for Baltimore in the long run if Weeks can make the squad and produce.

By Nicholas Delahanty (MLB Reports O’s Writer)  

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What the Jim Johnson Trade means for the Orioles 

The Orioles completed a trade late Monday night which sends closer Jim Johnson to the Oakland Athletics for Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later.

Johnson has been one of the best closers in all of baseball, as his 101 saves over the past two seasons is the most in all of baseball.

He has been projected to make close $10 – 11 million through arbitration in 2014 – before becoming a Free Agent in 2015, so the Orioles felt it was time to part ways with the veteran right-hander.

It definitely will be a transition for Johnson, who has been with the organization since 2001. Johnson will look to fill the closer role in Oakland, as he will replace Grant Balfour, who is a free agent.

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AL West Hot Stove Roundup – Around The Horn

Grant Balfour maybe perfectly situated to change teams in the AL West from the Oakland Athletics to the Seattle Mariners.  The PAC NW club could use a guy stopper - to mop up games from a great young pitching staff.  in 2013, Balfour has nailed down 62 Saves in the last season and a half, and has carried a great ERA in the 2.50 range - with a WHIP slightly above 1.  If Seattle is willing to pay about 3 YRs/$33 - 36 MIL, then the Aussie could be headed their way.

Grant Balfour maybe perfectly situated to change teams in the AL West from the Oakland Athletics to the Seattle Mariners. The PAC NW club could use a guy stopper – to mop up games from a great young pitching staff. in 2013, Balfour has nailed down 62 Saves in the last season and a half, and has carried a great ERA in the 2.50 range – with a WHIP slightly above 1. If Seattle is willing to pay about 3 YRs/$33 – 36 MIL, then the Aussie could be headed their way.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Seattle Mariners:  Jack Z. and the brass have some money to spend, will there be any takers??  Mike Napoli, Jacoby Ellsbury, Nelson Cruz, Shin-Soo Choo should all be on the offensive list.

On the Pitching side, Bronson Arroyo is the kind of Innings eater that could favor your Bullpen.  Fernando Rodney or Grant Balfour could close games for you as I don’t think Joe Nathan or Brian Wilson are coming.

Go big with your Free Agent signings, even if it is one or 2 players.

Jacoby Ellsbury 2013 Highlights

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Oakland A’s State Of The Union – Trust In Billy Beane To Find A Gem This Winter – Just Not Cruz!

Billy Beane saw his 2013 squad reel in their 2nd straight AL West Title.  The team will be hard pressed to do it again in 2014, but don't ever count out the A's.  It has been a quiet winter thus far, with just signing Nick Punto, and exercising options on Coco Crisp and Brett Anderson. What acquisition does the MoneyBall GM have up his sleeve this time around?

Billy Beane saw his 2013 squad reel in their 2nd straight AL West Title. The team will be hard pressed to do it again in 2014, but don’t ever count out the A’s. It has been a quiet winter thus far, with just signing Nick Punto, and exercising options on Coco Crisp and Brett Anderson. What acquisition does the MoneyBall GM have up his sleeve this time around?  I don’t think he will dip into the FA Market for a big name, but certainly a guy or two that can help his ballclub.

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

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Nelson Cruz is a sought after Free Agent for power, but it is my humble opinion that the A’s will just not fork out that type of money required to land his services.

Already, the club is projected to give out contracts that will estimate to in the $50 – $55 MIL range once some of their guys head to Arbitration like Seth Smith, Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss, Jed Lowrie, Jerry Blevins and John Jaso.

The franchise will likely see Bartolo Colon and Closer Grant Balfour also leave the nest from their 2013 Pitching Rotation.

Billy Beane hasn’t really been that busy in Free Agency, as he only  signed Utility Infielder Nick Punto for a 2 YR/$5.5 MIL deal, and he exercised the Team Options on Coco Crisp and Brett Anderson.

Cespedes 2013 Highights

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Texas GM’ Jon Daniels Needs To Step His Game Up! Rangers State Of The Union Fall 2013

The Rangers have cobbled together 370 wins over the last four years, however they are now 2 years withdrawn from being a solitary strike away from winning the World Series.  They have done a great job assessing their club over the last few campaigns, and with a great winter, the club's competition window should be reset for many years to come.  With Nolan Ryan leaving the franchise, the heat will be on Jon Daniels to administer such a daunting task.  The Rangers have great attendance, so more National TV dollars are also being kicked their way for 2014, it is time to go and lure the top Free Agents in the game of MLB towards The Ballpark in Arlington!

The Rangers have cobbled together 370 wins over the last four years, however they are now 2 years withdrawn from being a solitary strike away from winning the World Series. They have done a great job assessing their club over the last few campaigns, and with a great winter, the club’s competition window should be reset for many years to come. With Nolan Ryan leaving the franchise, the heat will be on Jon Daniels to administer such a daunting task. The Rangers have great attendance, and more National TV dollars are also being kicked their way for 2014, it is time to go and lure the top Free Agents in the game of MLB towards The Ballpark in Arlington!

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Jon Daniels is more like the “Lone Ranger” now with the brass over in Arlington being astonishingly diminished by Texas native Nolan Ryan leaving.

He is effectively on the “hot seat” now.

His team is now 2 years removed from back to back World Series Appearances, followed up with an epic collapse down the stretch in 2012, and just falling short of the playoff bar in 2012.

The Rangers actually had a pretty decent season in 2013 at 91 – 72 (losing the play in game to Tampa Bay), when you consider they lost Mike Napoli and Josh Hamilton‘s services – and really only replaced them with “Fat Elvis” AKA Lance Berkman, who like Presley, has eaten themselves out of their careers at times.

Nelson Cruz Highlights Before Suspension 2013

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Finally, Some Worth While Free Agents Sign In The MLB 2013 Winter!

With his career winding down and Tim Hudson being 38 years old, will he be able to recover from a gruesome ankle injury in 2014. Should the Braves resign him for depth in the rotation - or cut ties outright? Mr. Hudson will need   He was 114 - 72 (.611) in 9 seasons with the Braves.

With his career winding down and Tim Hudson being 38 years old, will he be able to recover from a gruesome ankle injury in 2014 with the SF Giants?  Mr. Hudson was 114 – 72 (.611) in 9 seasons with the Braves – with a 3.56 ERA.  He will make his return to the Bay Area in California, where he started his 1st 6 years with the Oakland A’s.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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After playing Baseball Stars 1 and 2 on my old Nintendo Entertainment System for 3 weeks, I was happy to receive my baseball fix from the MLB once again..

Yesterday, a slew of Free Agents signed.. Okay… not true….2 noteworthy players inked deals to prolong their careers.

I am talking about Tim Hudson signing a 2 YR/$23 MIL with the Giants, and Carlos Ruiz, signing a 3 Year Deal worth potentially $26.5 MIL, with a Team Option for a 4th year at $4.5 MIL.

Tim Hudson’s 2013 Season Ending Ankle Injury – Not for the weak of heart!

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