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With Moore Out For TJ Surgery – The Rays Should Hold Onto Price Through 2015

Matt Moore finished 17 - 4 with a 3.29 ERA in 2013, but was off to an even better start in the 1st half before he had some elbow soreness.  Losing this LHP will hurt the club, however the team was deep with Price, Archer and Cobb still manning the 1 - 3 slots in the rotation.  That was, until Cobb went down with an injury himself.  With the teams projected #2 Starter being down for the next 12 - 18 months from his very best, the franchise should not trade Price at any cost.

Matt Moore finished 17 – 4 with a 3.29 ERA in 2013, but was off to an even better start in the 1st half before he had some elbow soreness. Losing this LHP to TJ Surgery hurts the club, however the team was deep with Price, Archer and Cobb still manning the 1 – 3 slots in the rotation. That was, until Cobb went down with an injury himself.  The squad will have to weather the storm for a few months with some organizational players that might include the players: Erik Bedard, Nate Karns or Cesar Ramos. With the teams projected #2 Starter being down for the next 12 – 18 months from his very best, the franchise should not trade Price at any cost in 2014 and 2015..  Moore is under Team Control through the 2019 year, and when he comes back to the fold at 100% in 2015, hopefully the Rays will be vying for another postseason berth in the second half.

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

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Lets face it.  The Tampa Bay Rays have had an incredible run at it.  The Florida squad trails only the Yankees for wins since the start of the 2008 season in baseball.

The club has made it to the postseason 4 out of the last 6 years, and possess 5 out of 6 years with 90+ Wins.

All of this with a shoestring budget, and incredible use of stretching dollars on player talent.

Every year, Andrew Freidman finds a bargain Free Agent that becomes an ALL – Star once he dawns the blue and purple. Read the rest of this entry

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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

The O’s Add Nelson Cruz + The AL Beast Just Got Stronger!

Nelson Cruz is 34 - and has a long history of injuries -  and now of PED use.In the last 5 years, he has only played over 128 games for the season once.  Now he was on pace to top that in 2013 - before his PED suspension from the Biogenesis Scandal.  Will he go to Seattle, another AL team, or is the NL going to be his final destination for next campaign.  I thoroughly believe he should just be a permanent DH.

Nelson Cruz is 34 – and has a long history of injuries – and now of PED use. In the last 5 years, he has only played over 128 games for the season once. Now he was on pace to top that in 2013 – before his PED suspension from the Biogenesis Scandal.  I thoroughly believe he should just be a permanent DH.  He will likely be used in that role with the O’s.  With a full season of AB, this slugger should probably hit between .260 – .270, with 25 – 30 HRs and range from 80 – 90 RBI.  To sign this guy to a 1 Year Deal – worth $8 MIL, when he was already given the Qualifying Offer by Texas is a fantastic acquisition for the Orioles.  It also comes in the same week they picked up Ubaldo Jimenez and Korean chucker Suk-Min Yoon.  Baltimore just entered back into the Division race!

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Dan Duquette has announced his presence with authority this week.

From Suk-min Yoon (3 YRs/$5.6 MIL), Ubaldo Jimenez (4 YRs/$48 MIL), to then flat out rob Nelson Cruz for a 1 YR/$8 MIL deal, the GM has served notice that the franchise is here to compete.

Frankly, this was a long time coming.  The team has now thrust its name into the conversation with the Rays, Red Sox and Yankees.

On the clock is the Toronto Blue Jays!! Read the rest of this entry

Orioles Finally Make A Free Agent Splash To Salvage Winter

By Nicholas Delahanty (MLB Reports O’s Writer)  

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Orioles Sign Ubaldo Jimenez 

The Orioles could not catch a break this off-season, as they lost out on free agents that they coveted as well as missing out on closer Grant Balfour , after he failed the team’s physical.

Bronson Arroyo balked at even going for a physical seeing what happened to the Aussie – opting to sign with the D-Backs even though the money was similar, rather than have his worth devalued by flunking the doctor’s visit from the O’s.

Tyler Colvin also fell victim to Baltimore’s stringent doctors, while Grady Sizemore didn’t have a chance to pass a physical with the club either despite Orioles interest.

Orioles fans all over wondered what the team’s intentions were, as many felt the team could be a serious contender with the core they have in place, but some moves needed to be made to bolster the roster.

On Monday night, the Orioles finally made a big splash in free agency that everyone anxiously awaited. The team announced they agreed to a four-year, $48 MM deal with pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.

This is a huge move for the Orioles as an organization, as it now shows their fan base that they are willing to spend big money on key free agents.

The O’s have been linked to many of the big name free agents throughout the offseason, only to come up short when it came to signing them.

Read the rest of this entry

MLB Futures (Regular Season Prop Specials): Gambling 101

Get set for another season of throwing some cash around when it comes to baseball.  MLB Reports will have you ready with what we are looking at as well.

Get set for another season of throwing some cash around when it comes to baseball. MLB Reports will have you ready with what we are looking at as well.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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We all love to see if we can be a good gambler right?

Of course some of it is just bragging rights with our buddies, and of course no one is allowed to gamble in the USA, unless you are living in a state that allows it either.

So, whether you want to just play for winning amongst friends, or actually want to risk some sheckels, here are some fun specials to wager on in 2014 Read the rest of this entry

Odds To Win The MLB 2014 World Series As Of Right Now

With spending $503 MIL on contracts this winter, the Bronx Bombers have gone from an odd of +1500 to +1200.  They are still behind Detroit, Boston and Texas in the odds.

With spending $503 MIL on contracts this winter, the Bronx Bombers have gone from an odd of +1500 to +1200. They are still behind Detroit, Boston and Texas in the odds and are 7th overall in the MLB.

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

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Right on cue with the Masahiro Tanaka signing, the Yankees jumped from +1400 to +1200 to win the World Series.  if you heeded my advice, you received them at the 1st odd.

it was the 2nd recommendation that came in really nicely.  I also said the Mariners were great value at +4000, and once they signed Robinson Cano, they vaulted to +3300.

So who is a bigger longshot to win the World Series now.  The Gambling Pundits, dropped the Rays to +2000 now.  It is now one of the best value picks on the board.

I finally decided to put my money where my mouth is with a wager.  After the Superbowl, I will likely throw down so more cash.

Read the rest of this entry

The Tampa Bay Rays State Of The Union For 2014

The Rays are always at the bottom for attendance in the Major Leagues, which is a shame for how successful this team has been for the last 6 years - posting 4 playoff berths and an AL Pennant.  This has all been done on a shoestring budget - and facing the toughest strength of schedule in the bigs,

The Rays are always at the bottom for attendance in the Major Leagues, which is a shame for how successful this team has been for the last 6 years – posting 4 playoff berths and an AL Pennant. This has all been done on a shoestring budget – and facing the toughest strength of schedule in the bigs.  The 2014 season will pose the same kind of challenges and problems that have arisen in the teams history.  The Rays have to contend with high payroll teams like Boston and New York fielding ALL – Star squad’s throughout their lineups.  The management has done a fantastic job to stay competitive, and will rely on their franchise depth to post yet another nice record for a 7th consecutive year.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Tampa Bay Rays are still one of the best run franchises in baseball, and have put themselves in a position to contend for the AL East for yet another campaign.

I hope the Rays Management decides against trading David Price in the next 2 years, and just goes for a World Series trophy.

Being the 13th biggest city, and yielding the 28th lowest payroll in the game should not be conducive to sustained success, yet there the Rays are pesky every year.

It has been noted on this website plenty, that since the beginning of 2008, the Rays have the second best record in the game to the Yankees in this time frame.

In that span, they trail the Bronx Bombers by just around 10 wins.

Wil Myers 2013 Highlights

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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

Don’t Believe Everything You Read: A Response to The New Normal For the New York Yankees- Part I

Opinions have varied wildly about the effect on the wholesale changes to the New York Yankees roster.  This piece is in response to in response to a piece written for Grantland by Rany Jazayerli (which can be found here  http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/10150907/the-new-normal-new-york-yankees).

Opinions have varied wildly about the effect on the wholesale changes to the New York Yankees roster. This piece is in response to in response to a piece written for Grantland by Rany Jazayerli (which can be found here lower in a link icon in the 1st couple of lines.)  As the Yankees Correspondent for the MLB Reports, I felt I needed to address the merits of the topic in question, make some counterparts, in order to move the dialogue from a slightly different perspective.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

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Before we get started, I wanted to give credit where credit is absolutely due.

This piece is in response to a piece written for Grantland by Rany Jazayerli (which can be found here) that paints a fairly negative picture of the near-future for the New York Yankees.

If you haven’t been to Grantland.com for sports and entertainment news and opinions, you are missing out.  Some of the best work in the business. 

All advanced statistics (and other statistics) are courtesy of our friends at Fangraphs.com and Baseball-reference.com

As always, we appreciate those sites making the information available to be able to debate the game we love. For ease to the reader, the response has been broken into two parts.  This is part one of the response.

Part 2 of the Don’t Believe Everything You Read: A Response to The New Normal For the New York Yankees click here

New York Yankees 2013 Year Highlights – With Full Credit Going To The YES Network

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The O’s Have Continuously Dropped The Ball This Winter – The Latest Is The Grant Balfour Fiasco:

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 are losing credibility around the league for this bow out maneuver.  So, good luck on signing a Free Agent Pitcher in the future.  The O's are also reeling on the Free Agency Market, having not signed anyone of real value, while Brian Roberts, Scott Feldman and Nate McLouth have left the city.  2013 saw the club win 85 games, and that was part of a superhuman effort from Chris Davis.

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 are losing credibility around the league for this bow out maneuver. So, good luck on signing a Free Agent Pitcher in the future. The O’s are also reeling on the Free Agency Market, having not signed anyone of real value, while Brian Roberts, Scott Feldman and Nate McLouth have left the city. 2013 saw the club win 85 games, and that was part of a superhuman effort from Chris Davis.  The team is completely missing the ball in their chance to rundown a World Series Title by playing conservatively with their money.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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‘Stoking The Fire’ – Week 10

The Orioles have continued to stumble along in the offseason – meanwhile pissing off their fanbase.  The latest Grant Balfour fiasco is going to set the franchise back.

it is not just the future Free Agent players that will think twice about setting foot in Maryland for the sake of landing a deal, but this kind of move could definitely deflate attendance next campaign.

Up until the Buck Showalter era, this kind of move was vindictive of the 1999 – 2009 regime of the Baltimore brass.

Grant Balfour Deal with the O’s Negated.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 23, 2013

Rob Carr - Getty Images

Rob Carr – Getty Images

Shin Soo Choo signs an insane contract with the Rangers than can only be justified if the Rangers win it all. No pressure.

And I do the worst Grant Balfour impersonation EVAH on today’s episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

To subscribe to The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast on iTunes, click HERE.

To subscribe on SoundCloud, click HERE.

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 23, 2013

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Updated Odds To Win The 2014 World Series As Of Right Now

Grant Balfour is a fiery Aussie, and has every right to be mad at the Baltimore Orioles.  Tests have shown his arm is no different than it was a few years ago.  Baltimore clearly decided at the last minute to weasel out of the deal.  The 35 Year Old has vowed revenge on Dan Duquette.  I hope he signs on with the Rays or Yankees - because then they play the O's 19 times a year.  You think Balfour is fired up to enter games - wait till he is called upon in games versus Baltimore from this point forward.

Grant Balfour is a fiery Aussie, and has every right to be mad at the Baltimore Orioles. Tests have shown his arm is no different from it was a few years ago. Baltimore clearly decided at the last-minute to weasel out of the deal. The 35 Year Old has vowed revenge on Dan Duquette. I hope he signs on with the Rays or Yankees – because then they play the O’s 19 times a year. You think Balfour is fired up to enter games – wait till he is called upon in games versus Baltimore from this point forward.  On a side note, with the Orioles penny-pinching their way through this winter, do not pick them to win anything in 2014.  Not very smart when you a have a tepid fanbase to begin with.  If the team has a shaky start, attendance and apathy will start.

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

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It was a controversial week for the Baltimore Orioles, who had signed Grant Balfour to a 2 YR/$15.0 MIL contract – before backing out at the last second.

The O’s are tied with the Pirates and GIants for the 16th best odd to win the World Series.  While I believe there is great value with the other two teams stated there, Baltimore has had a brutal off-year.

My hunch is that they are going to sign Fernando Rodney instead.  Bad move fella’s.  You missed the ball on this one, not only that, i think you have pissed off your faithful fans at Camden Yards.

If this club doesn’t pull off any significant player to come into the fold, the walkup crowds will be lessened.

Balfour lights up Martinez verbally – Swearing involved here, parental guidance is advised

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Orioles Fill Closer Void With Signing Of Grant Balfour

The Baltimore Orioles signed Closer Grant Balfour to a 2 YR/ 14 Million dollar contract on Tuesday. Balfour will replace Jim Johnson, who was traded to Balfour’s previous team, the Oakland Athletics, earlier in the offseason.  In an overall picture, the club almost essentially traded Jim Johnson for Jemile Weeks and Grant Balfour.  The club will save $2 – $3 MIL in payroll next campaign, while they added Second Base depth, and perhaps may have the better Relief Pitcher out of the two.  Better yet, Baltimore has their Closer scenario sewn up for the 2015 season now as well.

By Nicholas Delahanty (MLB Reports O’s Writer)  

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What the signing of Grant Balfour means to the Orioles

As the winter moves along, the Oriole faithful keeps asking the same question: when are the Orioles going to make a big move?

The beginning of the MLB Free Agency period has not been friendly to Orioles fans, as they saw their team trade away Jim Johnson, one of the best Closers in baseball, as well as part ways with Left Fielder Nate McLouth and Starting Pitcher Scott Feldman through free agency.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Orioles found out that rumors surrounding the team were actually truth, as it was announced that Grant Balfour signed a 2 YR/ 14 Million dollar deal, with $500,000 deferred each season.

Grant Balfour Rage versus the Rangers

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Updated Odds To Win The 2014 World Series As Of Right Now

While I believe the Dodgers will win the NL West - and also represent that league in the World Series for 2014, the odds for betting them are not there.  As the favorite, you can't make any money.  The Giants (+2500), D'Backs (+3300) and Rockies (+5500) all represent great value - considering all of them have already upgraded their franchises over this winter.

While I believe the Dodgers will win the NL West – and also represent that league in the World Series for 2014, the odds for betting them are not there. As the favorite, you can’t make any money. The Giants (+2500), D’Backs (+3300) and Rockies (+5500) all represent great value – considering all of them have already upgraded their franchises over this winter.

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

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9 days ago I posted my last article on these odds.  One of my captions was to pick the Mariners at +4000 for a couple of bucks considering they may land Robinson Cano.

A day later they did, and now they are trading at +3300.  The M’s also picked up Corey Hart and Logan Morrison in separate transactions.  I still the team is a good bet at that value mark.

If they were to trade for David Price (by packaging Taijuan Walker, Nick Franklin, another prospect and maybe a relief pitcher, they would have 3 dominant top pitchers, plus a young fireballer in James Paxton still.

This team would vaguely resemble the type of squad the Giants were in 2010.  A great deal of pitching and a decent enough offense. Read the rest of this entry

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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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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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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MLB 50 Free Agent Predictions

It will all be following the money for many of the Free Agents this winter.  It all started when all 14 players that had Qualifying Offers politely declined them all over the weekend, and are all FA's with Draft Compensation due back to their 2013 club.

It will all be following the money for many of the Free Agents this winter. It all started when all 14 players that had Qualifying Offers politely declined them all over the weekend, and are all FA’s with Draft Compensation due back to their 2013 club.

Free Agent Predictions

By Jordan Gluck (Free Agency Correspondent)

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These are my personal predictions on where the top free agents will sign. This is the same kind of list of the top 50 free agents made by our friends at mlbtraderumors.com.

Please keep in mind there will be trades this offseason so holes will be filled that way as well (I believe the Cardinals will trade for a SS).

I am not going to estimate any dollar figures in this specific article but I do expect some overpayments this year.

Robinson Cano 2013 Highlights

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The Tigers Lose Their Temper, Plus The 1st 2013 Playoff Game At Comerica Park Yesterday

Victor Martinez took exception to Grant Balfour blurbing something under his breath.  Martinez has been around long enough to know that this is part of the Aussie's act, however, when you hear the verbal exchange, you get a sense that something set off V-Mart.

Victor Martinez took exception to Grant Balfour blurbing something under his breath. Martinez has been around long enough to know that this is part of the Aussie’s act, however, when you hear the verbal exchange, you get a sense that something set off V-Mart.  The Tigers ended up losing the game 6 – 3, and now face elimination in Game #4 at Comerica Park tonight, with Doug Fister towing the hill against Dan Straily.  The Tigers are favored at -151.

By Matthew Lafave (Tigers Correspondent)

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The first postseason game in Detroit didn’t go as expected. It wasn’t even due to the 1:00 PM start time either.

Tigers Anibal Sanchez went only 4 1/3 innings and gave up home runs to Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss, and Seth Smith. Yes, that’s 3 home runs.

Though the Athletics jumped to a 3-0 lead early, the Tigers were able to claw back with 3 of their own in the bottom of the 4th.

Martinez and Balfour in a heated foul mouthed exchange – Parental Guidance Is Advised

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The Athletics Have Blasted Their Way Back To The Top Of The AL West Standings, But How Far Can They Go?

Athletics

The A’s have been hanging around the top of the AL West all season long,  and have been blasting their way back to the top. With players like Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss and Alberto Callaspo leading the way of late, they are poised to make a run for not only the division but maybe the American league Pennant.

By Dan Wanser (MLB Reports Writer)   

The Oakland Athletics have been considered contenders to win the American League West the entire season, but now that the season is coming to an end they are blasting their way to the top in an attempt to overtake the Texas Rangers.

With key players doing their job offensively, Pitchers doing their job well and keeping the team in games, and a pretty easy schedule going down the stretch they have all the components to make a stretch run.

Oakland’s 2012-2013 season Highlights:

 

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Oakland Athletics Payroll in 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

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Monday, August.05, 2013

Coco Crisp is having a good season for the Athletics, while playing superb defense for the club.  He has a .251/.332/.752  triple-slash in 347 at-bats on the season. He has 10 HRs and 39 RBIs to include 16 Doubles and 87 hits overall. Coco is still a threat to steal bases with him swiping 16 bases and has only been caught four times. He also shows tremendous plate discipline with walking  and striking out 45 times this season. He is a switch-hitter, but prefers to face right-handers with a .275 batting average in 218 at-bats. He does struggle against left-handers, as he only has a .214 average in 126 at-bats. He does a good job with runners in scoring position, as indicated by his .266 average and 29 RBIs in 64 at-bats.

Coco Crisp is having a good season for the Athletics, while playing superb defense for the club. He has a .251/.332/.752 triple-slash in 347 at-bats on the season. He has 10 HRs and 39 RBIs to include 16 Doubles and 87 hits overall. Coco is still a threat to steal bases with him swiping 16 bases and has only been caught four times. He also shows tremendous plate discipline with walking and striking out 45 times this season. He is a switch-hitter, but prefers to face right-handers with a .275 batting average in 218 at-bats. He does struggle against left-handers, as he only has a .214 average in 126 at-bats. He does a good job with runners in scoring position, as indicated by his .266 average and 29 RBIs in 64 at-bats.

By Chris Lacey (Lead Baseball Columnist/Minority Website Owner)

The surprise team in the American League this season has to be the Oakland Athletics. They have a 2 ½ game lead over the Texas Rangers in the AL West division and they are doing it with their pitching.

The Athletics are 6th in the AL with a starters ERA of 3.90 this season and they have a solid offense that is 8th in the AL with 488 runs scored. The best thing about this team is that their rotation is comprised of several young pitchers.

The Swingin’ A’s 2012 – Parental Guidance Is Advised

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Athletics’ Are Putting Distance Between Themselves And The AL West

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Wednesday, July.31, 2013

Bartolo Colon is anchoring the rotation for the Athletics this season. he is one of the mnay reasons why they have jumped out to huge division lead this season. He has already won 14 games for them this season to go along with an ERA of 2.54 in 141.2 innings pitched. He is not the strikeout pitcher he was in the past, but is still effective against the opposition. Colon has displayed great control this season by only walking 18 batters and he has a 1.09 WHIP. He is 4th with a WAR of 4.5 for pitchers in the AL. He is also 2nd in the AL with Win-Loss percentage of.824

Bartolo Colon is anchoring the rotation for the Athletics this season. He is one of the many reasons why they have jumped out to huge division lead this season. He has already won 14 games for them this season to go along with an ERA of 2.54 in 141.2 innings pitched. He is not the strikeout pitcher he was in the past, but is still effective against opposing batters. Colon has displayed great control this season by only walking 18 batters and has a 1.09 WHIP. He is 4th in the AL with a WAR of 4.5 for pitchers . He is also 2nd in the AL with Win-Loss percentage of.824 to include him throwing three shutouts this season.

By Chris Lacey (Lead Baseball Columnist/Minority Website Owner)  

For the most of this season in baseball it seemed like the Oakland Athletics were going to have some competition in the American League West Division.

The Texas Rangers were expected to challenge them for the division title, but that is not the case this season. Oakland has a five game lead over the Rangers with more than two months left in the baseball season.

2012 Oakland A’s Highlights – Parental Guidance Is Advised

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Athletics’ Yoenis Cespedes And Josh Donaldson Crucial To Their Success

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Thursday, July.18, 2013

Cespedes put on quite a show in this years HR Derby with him turning Citi Field into his own hitters haven. He is hitting just .225 on the season for the Athletics. The value he has to the team means more than numbers can show.  The opposing teams have to respect the power that he has. Cespedes power numbers are still good with him hitting 15 HRs and 43 RBIs.

Cespedes put on quite a show in this years HR Derby with him turning Citi Field into his own hitters paradise. He is hitting just .225 on the season for the Athletics. The value he has to the team means more than numbers can show. The opposing teams have to respect the power that he has. Cespedes power numbers are still good with him hitting 15 HRs and 43 RBIs. He does fairly well facing left-handers this season with him hitting .253 against him. He does struggle facing right-handers with his average just at .214 in 220 at-bats.

By Chris Lacey (Lead Baseball Columnist/Minority Website Owner)

If you did not get a chance to watch the HR Derby on Monday, you missed a great young player put on a show. Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes made Citi Field look like a hitters’ park with each ball he launched into orbit.

That ballpark is not known for being friendly to hitters, but don’t tell Cespedes that. This is not the first time he has been in a competition like this, and it won’t be his last.

Yoenis Cespedes 17 Homeruns in the First Round of the 2013 Homerun Derby

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Shutting The Door: Who Are The Top Five Closers In Each League At The Break?

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Tuesday July 16th, 2013 

Mariano Rivera holds the ALL-Time Record for any closer (active of retired) with 638 Saves.  He has been the most dominant Relief Pitcher on the planet over the last two decades.  What is incredible, is that he never has a bad season - which is prone to happen to even Hall Of Fame Pitchers.  Rivera also leads Active Pitchers in ERA (2.20), Games Finished (1089) and a WHIP 1.005. Add another 42 Saves, and a 0.70 ERA in 142 IP in his Post Season Career - and you are talking about the standard which any future Closer will be measured up to.

Mariano Rivera holds the ALL-Time Record for any closer (active or retired) with 638 Saves. He has been the most dominant Relief Pitcher on the planet over the last two decades. What is incredible, is that he never has a bad season – which is prone to happen to even Hall Of Fame Relief Pitchers. Rivera also leads Active Pitchers in ERA (2.20), Games Finished (1089) and a WHIP 1.005. Add another 42 Saves, and a 0.70 ERA in 142 IP in his Post Season Career – and you are talking about the standard which any future Closer will be measured up to.

By Dan Wanser (Baseball Writer):  

You’re playing your rivals in a game that can put you in first place. You go in to the top of the 9th inning with the score 3-2.

Your starter went a solid seven innings, and then your middle reliever got you through the 8th. Three outs away, who do you call in from the pen?

 This one guy will be the difference in whether you win or you lose. He needs to come in and get the next three outs, arguably the most important three outs of the game.

In this nerve-racking situation, you need a guy who can come in, put his nerves aside, and finish off this ballgame to get the win. Who are you bringing in from the pen? Your closer.  

So if your team is in this situation, who do you want in the game? Here’s the pitchers who I think have been the best closers in this first half of the season.

Mariano Rivera Enters The Game To ‘Enter Sandman’

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Triple Play Podcast Ep #16: Sully (AKA Sully Baseball) Joins Us To Dissect The ALL – Star Game Format

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Monday, July.15, 2013

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

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month. Each show will be about 1 hour. Chuck Booth will guest once a month for MLB Power Rankings,

By The Big Ticket Show ( AKA Triple Play Podcast on http://www.mlbreports.com)

Guest in this Podcast -Paul Francis Sullivan “Please Call Him Sully”:

We had a big show planned for almost an hour worth of content, instead we did our best Paul Sullivan impersonation (and not very well), as he is the 20 minute master when it comes to a podcast. 

We would like to thank Sully very much for trying to hang in with us.  We had about a 14 minute chat with him.  There are still some great points that he made about the ALL – Star Game and the format for which it used to decipher home field advantage in the World Series, and it is definitely worth a listen.

Click past the Triple Play Logo or CLICK THE READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON:

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2 And A Hook Podcast #10: All Star Chat, Yankees, Dbacks + Trade Deadline Talk

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Friday, July.12, 2013

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast.

’2 And A Hook’ is an expression from Baseball:  ‘Throw the guy 2 Fast balls and then a Hook’ (AKA Curve Ball, Wiggly one, Chair etc..)

By James Acevedo – Host (Podcast Veteran )

Guests On The Show

Im back & ready after being off during the 4th of July week to give you all another baseball packed podcast. On today’s show, brought to you by MLB Reports ( www.mlbreports.com ) & yours truly The Bench Warmers Show.

I star by paying respect to the great Yankee Stadium PA announcer Bob Sheppard on the 3 year anniversary to the day that he passed away…

I talk to the boss man Chuck Booth as he returns to do his segment!  16 Minutes in and a 31 Minute Segment

Chuck makes some notions about the New York Yankees and Brian Cashman needing to risk it all for this year – for the legacies of Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Robinson Cano.  Plus whether the club can trade Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes – and maybe acquire a bat. Read the rest of this entry

Top MLB Teams 1 – 30: Monthly Rankings + (Top 200 Stats For Reading And Fantasy Baseball)

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Thursday July.11/2013

The Giants have gone 9 - 23 in their last 32 Games and are in danger of having a brutal campaign just one year after capturing the World Series.  Key injuries and overlogged pitchers have been the main point of contention. They lost 8 Ranking Spots.

The Giants have gone 9 – 23 in their last 32 Games – and are in danger of having a brutal campaign just one year after capturing the World Series. Key injuries and overlogged pitchers have been the main point of contention. They lost 8 Ranking Spots this past time.  Should they also become sellers at the Trade Deadline,  Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence could fetch a few players in return.  The Giants are currently 40 – 50 and 6.5 Games behind the NL West Leading DBACKS – but are in last in the NL West.

 

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

The time has come for the July Power Rankings with Stats Edition.  There will be one each for May, June, July, August, September – and then a special playoff edition Power Rankings will be done in October.

I will not do a weekly Power Rankings during these weeks, because in essence, these are the weekly rankings done on a much larger scale.

These Reports are done with a heavy thought to how the teams project by the end of the season – along with how the clubs have fared so far.

I will point out who has had great months for the all 30 MLB Teams.  I reward the good performances in these rankings – and leave the poor ones for the Podcasts or future articles. CLICK THE READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON or scroll past the video and picture.

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Top Five MLB All Star Game Snubs (AL + NL)

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Tuesday July 9th, 2013

asg

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

Every year there are a number of deserving guys who initially get snubbed out of the All Star Game.

For whatever reason, they just did not get picked. In this piece, I will cover the top five guys from each league that should have made the roster.

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