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How All Of The Diamondbacks Hitters Were Acquired (2014 Roster Tree)

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How All Of The D’Backs Hitters Were Acquired:

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

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The Diamondbacks are having a brutal season at 30 – 44 thus far, and are now under the microscope of Tony La Russa.

This has to be done for good reason.  The club’s transaction record recently is highly suspect even though they are being led by veteran GM Kevin Towers.

When covering this Roster Tree (just for the hitters) I have found a disturbing trend of 2 team and 3 way trades that may not be beneficial to the long term success for the snakes.

The 1st one coming to mind is shipping out Trevor Bauer, Bryan Shaw and Matt Albers for a fringe 1B prospect in Lars Anderson, Reliever Tony Sipp and shortstop Didi Gregorius (even though Chris Owings was already in the system). Read the rest of this entry

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Rangers Losing Fielder For The Year May Be A Fatal Short Term Blow: But Maybe Not For The Long Term

Losing Prince Fielder for the year is somewhat catastrophic to the team, but it doesn't have to be a death sentence to the 2014 year.  The big 1B was not part of the 15 - 9 start the team put forth, before a rough 8 - 15 slide since then.  Pitching will save the day, and the organization may look to add some players that don't require a ton of assets to ascertain.  If the club has bad next month,, it could also be time to sell some players off and retool for 2015.

Losing Prince Fielder for the year is somewhat catastrophic to the team, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence to the 2014 year. The big 1B was not part of the 15 – 9 start the team put forth, before a rough 8 – 15 slide since then. Pitching will save the day, and the organization may look to add some players that don’t require a ton of assets to ascertain. If the club has bad next month,, it could also be time to sell some players off and retool for 2015.  Fielder will have neck surgery, and when you are talking about possible spinal fusing, it is not an injury to be recovered from quickly

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Rangers have quite likely lost Prince Fielder for the year – with pending neck surgery.  He joins a long list of players currently on the ‘MASH’ unit.

Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Leonys Martin, Donnie Murphy, Joseph Ortiz, Martin Perez, Joe Saunders, Tanner Scheppers, Geovany Soto, Dan Robertson Jurickson Profar, Engel Beltre, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Josh Wilson, James Adduci, Pedro Figueroa are all on the sick bay right now.

About half of them are not coming back this year potentially.

Adrian Beltre and Yu Darvish have also spent time on the DL this campaign.

The 16 players currently on the list above could virtually make up 2/3rds of the team. 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

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

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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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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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 Seattle Mariners Payroll In 2014, Organizational Affiliates, Prospects, Depth Charts, (MLB + MiLB)

The Mariners have one of the gem stadiums in all of baseball right now.  It is too bad the team on the field has not been that great - in what has been a brutal decade.  Jack Z.. was just extended for one more year.  While it wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement, the club's youth has finally shown some promise.  The team has a promising amount of young pitchers, good Starting Pitching already in the Majors, and a few positional players that look like they will stay in the bigs.  Of concern is the fact they will lose several veterans in Mike Morse, Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez after this year.  That is, unless they decide to trade any of them in the next week.

The Mariners have one of the gem stadiums in all of baseball right now. It is too bad the team on the field has not been that great – in what has been a brutal decade. Jack Z.. was just extended for one more year. While it wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, the club’s youth has finally shown some promise. The team has a promising amount of young pitchers, good Starting Pitching already in the Majors, and a few positional players that look like they will stay in the bigs. Of concern is the fact they will lose several veterans in Mike Morse, Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez after this year. That is, unless they decide to trade any of them in the next week.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): and welcome Jeff Kleiner (Salary, Roster and Depth Chart Expert for the MLB) – visit his website  here  

The Mariners were one of the best teams in the Major Leagues when they moved into Safeco Field.

Despite losing Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson and Ken GriffeyJR. in successive seasons, the team matched a Major League Record with 116 Wins during the 2001 year.

Ichiro Suzuki admirably took over the reigns as the team leader, and carried the club on his shoulders for the next years.

Lou Pinella was there until 2003 – and was having his team in perennial contention since the 1995 year.

After 2003, the club has been abysmal in the next decade.

The team has had several face lifts, rotation managers – and the attendance has come down for over 3 Million fans per year, and now the can barely draw about 1.5 MIL people.

Seattle is one of the biggest markets in North America, and can totally put forth a winning team – and a high payroll.

For the team to even sign some Free Agents, the young players of the organization have to start playing well and to potential.

Any team with Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma is not that far off from competing.

For a Full 3 year Salary Outlook plus last years Stats for every player in the Mariners Organization click here.

For all 30 teams Organization Lists from the MLB Reports, plus any related Payrolls, Depth Charts, Roster Trees, State Of The Unions click here.

Felix Hernandez Perfect Game Highlights 2012

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2 And A Hook Podcast Ep #9: LAA, SD, MIA And SEA Chat With Great Guests

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Friday, June.28, 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

On today’s podcast, brought to you by MLB Reports ( www.mlbreports.com ) & yours truly The Bench Warmers Show, I talk to the boss man Chuck Booth as he returns to do his segment!  8 Minutes and a 18 Segment

Chuck makes a HUGE announcement about MLB Reports & then we talked about contract stuff like arbitration, Super 2, & service time…

Also we talk about these guys Wil Myers, Yasiel Puig & Chris Archer on why they should have been up in the major leagues since the beginning of the season!

Then I talk to LAA correspondent Joshua Jones (34 Minute Mark and a 18 Minute Segment) about the Angels season & what might or might not happen…

Next up was Bernie Olshansky (53 Minute Mark and a 13 Minutes Segment)  about the padres & what moves they might make for the future…after that i talked to Mariners/Marlins correspondent.

The last guest of the show is the 2nd longest active writer on the MLB Reports website Sam Evans (1 HR and 12 Min Mark and a 25 Min Segment) ( @RJA206 ) as we get into the mariners/marlins & whats been going on with both of these teams!

I then get into everyone’s favorite segment Stats & Facts (29, Minute Mark (5 minutes) 1 HR, 7 Min Mark ( 5 Minutes ) and, 1 HR 37 MIN (20 Minutes) –  so go check it out & SPREAD THE WORD!!! Thanks Read the rest of this entry

Mariners Lose Two Tough Games in a Row To Cleveland: But They Are Still Playing a Good Brand Of Baseball

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Sunday, May 19th, 2013

One bright spot for the Mariners over the past couple of days has been first baseman Justin Smoak, who has reached base eight times in the last three games.

One bright spot for the Mariners over the past couple of days has been first baseman Justin Smoak, who has reached base eight times in the last three games.

Sam Evans ( Baseball Writer and Marlins, Mariners Correspondent):

The last two days have to have been extremely rough for the Seattle Mariners. Coming off a series win in New York, the Mariners were sitting comfortably in second place in the A.L. West. However, after two straight walk-off losses to Cleveland, the Mariners have slipped to third in the West.

Having deserved to win at least one of their last two games, the Mariners have likely just ran into some bad luck and they have a great opportunity to get back on track Sunday, with King Felix on the mound.

Tom Hamilton Calls Jason Kipnis Walk Off Home Run 5/17/13: 

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Down On The Farm: A Look At The D’Backs Top 5 Prospects

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Friday, May.17, 2013

Archie Bradley was the 7th pick in 2011 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is in his 2nd season of professional baseball and is off to strong start. He 4-0, 1.05 ERA , he has 63 strike outs in 43.2 innings pitched. The opposition only has a .193 batting average against him. He projects to be a top of the rotation starter. MLB.com has him ranked as the 18th prospect in all of baseball.

Archie Bradley was the 7th pick in 2011 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is in his 2nd season of professional baseball and is off to strong start. He is 4-0, 1.05 ERA, and he has 63 strike outs in 43.2 innings pitched. The opposition only has a .193 batting average against him. He projects to be a top of the rotation starter. MLB.com has him ranked as the 18th prospect in all of baseball.

By Chris Lacey (Baseball Writer)

The Arizona Diamondbacks have a Minor League farm system that is strong with pitching, and up until now their pitching was the only highlight in their minor league system. They have some position players that can not only hit, but play some stellar defense as well.

The pitching is from the minors already helping out the team this season with Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin leading the starting rotation. They have more pitching on the way in the form of Archie Bradley, Tyler Skaggs and David Holmberg.

RHP  Archie Bradley Mature Lyrics – Parental Guidance Is Advised

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The Mariners Are Playing Great Baseball In The Last 2 Weeks

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Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Dustin Ackley has been hitting the ball with a lot more frequency during the last 2 weeks of play.  Due partly to bad luck and partly to bad at bat’s, Dustin Ackley got off to a 5-for-49 start in 2013. Fast forward to the present, and Dustin Ackley is hitting .255/.290/.314 with a grand slam off of R.A. Dickey on Saturday.

Dustin Ackley has been hitting the ball with a lot more frequency during the last 2 weeks of play. Due partly to bad luck and partly to bad at bat’s, Ackley got off to a 5-for-49 start in 2013. Fast forward to the present, and the Mariners Second Baseman is hitting .255/.290/.314 with a grand slam off of R.A. Dickey on Saturday.  He has hits in 9 of his last 10 games (13 – 36, .361 Batting Average in that time frame – raising him 55 Points overall in his season BA.)

Sam Evans ( Baseball Writer and Marlins, Mariners Correspondent):

Believe it or not, the Mariners are one of the hottest teams in baseball right now. After an ugly 8-15 start to the season, the Mariners have won six out of their last eight games, and are two games in front of the Angels in the A.L. West.

It’s unclear how long the Mariners will be able to continue to play this brand of baseball, but for the time being, Seattle is one of the most fun teams to watch in the Majors.

Thanks to young players like Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders heating up and Hisashi Iwakuma and others shutting down other teams, the Mariners have become a much more dangerous team to face.

Iwakuma’s great start:

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Baltimore Orioles Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward Mar.15/2013

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Friday, March.15/2013

Buck Showalter had one of the best managerial season in recent vintage with the 2012 version of the Baltimore Orioles, will the fans and management turn on him if there is a small regression in 2013?

Buck Showalter had one of the best managerial season in recent vintage with the 2012 version of the Baltimore Orioles, will the fans and management turn on him if there is a small regression in 2013?

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

believe that 2013 will be a regressive season for the Baltimore Orioles.  Much like the 2011 Arizona DiamondBacks in the National League, all of the bounces and luck went the Orioles way to have a magical year of a playoff berth in 2012.  A crazy amount of 1 run wins, extra inning wins and a brilliant bullpen defied the odds in the American League in order to compete.  

I still think the Baltimore Orioles will be competitive in 2013, I just don’t see a 90 win team.  The team is not saddled with many outrageous contracts left, however it is a shame that Brian Roberts (10 Million Dollars Per Year) can’t stay healthy.  They will need repeat years from Adam Jones and Chris Davis, plus significant increases in production from J.J. Hardy,   Matt Wieters  and  Nick Markakis will need to hit his .300+.

This team has to take a run at a few players via trade or a remaining Free Agent.  The need for a power hitting DH and another OF with Pop to play LF would be a wise decision.  The ownership will need to extend the payroll for this very option.  Also, they will need to plunk down some dough to sign an ace on the Free Agency market.   You can’t tell me that a guy like Kyle Lohse won’t help the club!

2012 Winning Mix Highlights:

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Seattle Mariners Payroll in 2013: And Contracts Moving Forward

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Tuesday.February.25/2013

The Mariners Payroll in 2013 will be 80+ million dollars.  Sadly enough, the Mariners are still not expected to compete in the American League West.

The Mariners Payroll in 2013 will be 80+ million dollars. Sadly enough, the Mariners are still not expected to compete in the American League West.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Reports Trade Correspondent):

It has been over ten years since the Seattle Mariners found themselves as participants in the American League playoffs. Over the course of that time, the M’s have had their ups and downs (quite obviously more downs), and they have come close to getting back to the post-season on several occasions. However, the last three years have been frustrating for Mariners’ fans as the team has ended each season in last place in the AL West. Along with the post-season drought, the Mariners have made some poor contractual decisions. This seasons payroll will not be exceptionally high, but Seattle is far from a small market team. One of the benefits of this season is that the Mariners are not flooded with a lot of long term, massive contracts. The future for the Mariners can be bright, but they need to find some talented offensive pieces and a couple of arms to back their superstar ace, Felix Hernandez.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the big deals that make up the top end of the Mariners payroll in 2013. I think most Mariners fans will ultimately be pretty disappointed in which player is following up King Felix on the payroll for the upcoming season.

Mariners 21 Rangers 8 on May.30/2012 Highlights:

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Top MLB Free Agents Still Available:

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Wednesday January 23rd, 2013

Micheal Bourn is seeking a contract worth 15 Million Dollars plus per year.  Since 2008, he has averaged 50 SB a year.  He has steadily improved his offensive game.  He is a guy who would help most ball clubs as a Lead Off hitter.

Micheal Bourn is seeking a contract worth 15 Million Dollars plus per year. Since 2008, he has averaged 50 SB a year. He has steadily improved his offensive game. He is a guy who would help most ball clubs as a Lead Off hitter.

By Jordan Gluck (Prospects/Baseball Operations Correspondent)

The offseason is winding down right with the availability of Free Agents and the budgets of many MLB teams. The talent on the open market is not what it was a few months ago but there is still some risk/reward players in the pool along with Bourn, Lohse, and Marcum. There are certain clubs with some dollars to spend but most are to their cap or don’t see the value. Here I present to you my top 10 Free Agents who can help propel a team to more wins or be used by subpar clubs as viable trade chips as Trade Deadline Deals.

1. Michael Bourn (30) (Braves) – the clear-cut best player left on the market but with budgets near filled up it will be interesting to see how Scott Boras works his magic. There is no doubt the tender is hurting him as it hurt Soriano and Laroche.  He can play CF and has blazing speed.   (Texas)

Michael Bourn Highlight Reel in 2012 – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised

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Houston Astros Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

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Thursday, December.27,  2012

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Nicholas Rossoletti (Baseball Writer):

The 2013 Houston Astros payroll is one of the stranger payrolls to look at given the current state of baseball where player’s salaries seem to be ever-increasing.  Before Dec.18, the Astros were paying exactly one player above One Million Dollars annually.  That player was shortstop, Jed Lowrie. Then, the team added 1B/DH Carlos Pena to its roster on a one year deal for approximately $2.9 Million according to reports and reliever, Jose Veras on a 1 Year/$1.85 Million dollar deal.  Thats it.  Three players earning more than a Million Dollars on a professional baseball franchise approximately sixty (60) days until pitchers and catchers report. (Please note that the Astros are rumored to be interested in signing Third Baseman Jose Lopez who may be added to this list). These are your 2013 Houston Astros, who are a far cry from the Astros of the mid-2000’s who signed Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens, traded for Carlos Beltran and made a run at a World Series.  Read the rest of this entry

Baseball’s Best Bullpen: Arizona Diamondbacks

Friday November 2nd, 2012

The Diamondbacks are looking at having an incredibly strong bullpen in 2013.

Alex Mednick (Baseball Writer and Analyst):

In 2011, the Arizona Diamondbacks made a really nice push in the AL West and finished with 94 wins, 8 games ahead of the second place San Francisco Giants.  They performed well above expectations, and they did so with a relatively unglamorous starting rotation, that consisted mainly of Ian Kennedy, Joe Saunders, Josh Collmenter, Daniel Hudson and a revolving 5th starter.  What really carried the team in 2011 and made the Arizona Diamondbacks a competitive in 2011, happened to be their weakest link in their miserable 2010 season: the bullpen.

The Diamondbacks won 29 more games in 2011 than they did in 2010.  The most drastic changes made by the organization were in the bullpen where the D-Back’s added closer J.J. Putz and setup man David Hernandez.  The 2011 bullpen allowed 100 fewer runs than their predecessors in 2010 and dropped their group ERA from 5.74 in 2010 to just 3.71 in 2011.  It goes without saying that their newly revamped bullpen allowed Arizona to stay close in a lot more games and gave them a better chance to be winners.

Following their great 2011 season, the D-Back’s found themselves reverting back to their former ways in 2012.  Finishing 13 games behind the first place Giants, and just barely hanging on to a .500 record, the Diamondback’s finished 81-81.  You want to know something interesting?  It was their bullpen, once again, that failed. Read the rest of this entry

What 2012 Really Meant to the St. Louis Cardinals

Thursday November 1st, 2012

2012 was a season that ended with disappointment which ultimately distracted us from recognizing what a successful year it really was. 2012 highlighted a lot of the greatness that is to come for this great franchise.

Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer)

The St. Louis Cardinals came into 2012 as the defending World Series Champions.  In 2011 they just eked their way into the post season on the final day of the regular season when they defeated the Houston Astros and the Braves, who were tied for the wild card spot with St. Louis, ended up losing to the Phillies in extra innings.  Coming into the 2011 postseason, the Cardinals were huge underdogs.  That didn’t stop them from going for what they wanted: to win it all.

While most analysts amongst the sport would not have guessed St. Louis would even make it to the World Series, yet alone win it, the Red Birds emerged to show their true colors.  The current team that the city of St. Louis has assembled and gets to watch for 81 games a year is, undoubtedly, a team that plays on all cylinders and the highest octane fuel.  They play with the intensity of a little league team that wants nothing more than the coach to bring them out for ice cream when they win. Watching the Cardinals brand of baseball is to watch baseball again as a game, and not just as a competition played by millionaire athletes with tremendous talent.

Watching the scrappiness of St. Louis native David Freese in the 2011 playoffs is the perfect example.  His David Eckstein-like approach to the game reminds us all of one of our teammates back in middle school.  The one at the sandlot that always slid hard, tried to steal home, and complained when the rest of us wanted to go home because “it was getting dark”.  In 2011, David Freese and his 39 teammates played baseball together as a true team and sent Tony LaRussa home with a World Series title in his final year managing.  Read the rest of this entry

2012 MLB Trades And Deadline Deals Revisited for Contenders: Who Won and Lost

Friday, October.26/2012

Ichiro Suzuki played the best baseball he has in the last 2 years with the Yankees. It would be a wise move to re-sign the guy for at least the next season. In my opinion, they should have Jeter and Suzuki linked together on the club until they retire.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

I love the new era of baseball.  One thing the 2nd Wild Card team enabled this year was a flurry of transactions right near the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, plus we even saw a bunch of trades between Aug.01-31 as well.  I am not going to breakdown the trades for who went the other way (unless both teams were in contention) since we have a dedicated page for that here.  What I am going to do is see who made out well with their new player.  I will tell you right  now that the hands down winner was the San Francisco Giants for picking up Marco Scutaro and Hunter Pence.  Marco Scutaro hit .362 for the Giants and smacked 90 hits in 61 games.  He has parlayed another 19 hits in 59 AB during the playoffs (.322).

I am going to be writing a series of payroll breakdowns for each MLB team in the offseason.  I have already compiled reports for the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels and Washington Nationals.  These reports can be found in my author archives here.  In addition to this, I am going to write another piece on Payroll Strategy specifically geared towards making runs at trades near the deadline.  Look for those in the coming weeks.  The work never ends here, and we will have you game ready for spring training when it comes to all of the clubs. Read the rest of this entry

The Legacy of Chris Carpenter: Savior in St. Louis

Thursday October 18th, 2012

Chris Carpenter started his career in Toronto after being the 15th overall selection in the 1994 draft. After the 2001 season, the Toronto Blue Jays made a calculated decision not to offer Carpenter a major league contract. He elected for free agency, rather than pitching in the minors for Toronto, and his legacy in St. Louis began when the Cardinals picked him up.

Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer):

The legend of Chris Carpenter started as a 19-year-old pitching for the Medicine Hat Blue Jays in 1994.  He was the 15th overall pick by the World Series Champion Toronto Blue Jays in the 1993 draft.  He was a physical specimen built to stand atop a 9.5” hill and stare down at hitters as they stared back at his 6 foot, 6 inch frame.  Drafted out of Manchester, New Hampshire, the 19-year-old already had a plus fastball and a nice curveball.  By 1997, at the age of 22, Chris Carpenter had broken into the Toronto Blue Jays rotation and was pitching against the best hitters in the world.

As a mid-season call up in 1997, Carpenter struggled in Toronto, hosting an ERA above 5.00 and a record of 3-7 over 13 games.  His role in Toronto was mostly to eat innings, and he was there to gain experience and hopefully blossom into what the Blue Jays brass new head could be.  He was in a rotation that consisted of the 1996 AL Cy Young winner Pat Hentgen, as well as the 1997 AL Cy Young winner Roger Clemens, so he had some serious  mentors to help guide him on breaking into the big leagues.  Despite his amazing talent, Carpenter struggled for most of his first season in Toronto and was eventually moved into the bullpen.  In 1998 however, he emerged and gave everyone at least a glimpse  of what would eventually come of Chris Carpenter, while proving himself to already be a competent starter capable of winning games.  He led the Toronto Blue Jays (tied with Pat Hentgen) with 12 wins in 1998, and continued to pitch well into 1999…at least until he became cursed by a spell of injuries. Read the rest of this entry

Orioles vs. Yankees: Curse of Maier May Be Over

Wednesday October 10th, 2012

The last time the Yankees and Orioles met in Postseason play was in 1996. The Orioles lost that series, and a lot of fingers were pointed at the controversial home run caught young fan, Jeffrey Maier. The Orioles postseason fate may be different this time around against the Bronx Bombers.

Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer):

The last time the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees met in the playoffs was in 1996 in the ALCS.  Like in 2012, Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter were on the Yankees roster.  The Orioles boasted a lineup that consisted of Rafael Palmeiro, Roberto Alomar, Cal Ripken Jr., B.J Surhoff, and Brady Anderson—who was having a career year.  That lineup, along with a rotation consisting of Mike Mussina and Scott Erickson and Jimmy Key, gave Baltimore an imposing roster that the Camden Faithful could expect to make a playoff run.

15 years later we see a tale that is much more of a David and Goliath story. The Orioles have not been in the playoff’s since 1997 and have finished 5th place in the AL East for the last 4 consecutive seasons.  The Yankees, conversely, have made the postseason 17 out of the last 18 seasons.  After getting off to a hot start, the Orioles made a trade for future Hall of Famer, Jim Thome, to help add some pop and veteran leadership to their lineup.  Even later in the season, when the team still found themselves in serious contention for October baseball, they called up 20-year-old phenom Manny Machado, who wasn’t even alive when Jim Thome took his first swing in the Major League.  Now, Manny Machado finds himself playing on the same field as his childhood hero, Alex Rodriguez. Read the rest of this entry

2012 MLB Postseason Preview: Every Pitch Counts

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

October is the time when there is a quiet current of electricity surrounding baseball. There is an intensity in every second between pitches, and the players really zone in. This is the reason they played 162 games through the regular season. They are all after one thing: A World Championship.

Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer):

With the last games of the 2012 regular season being officially completed yesterday I get the same feeling I do every season…it’s a sickening pain in my stomach, that makes me want to hibernate and not wake up until April comes around.  For baseball lovers, we are all very familiar with this feeling.  We find solace in the fact that with the exception of the month of November, we can still follow  baseball transactions all year-long.  Furthermore, we cannot get too upset; baseball isn’t really over.  In fact, some might argue that it is just beginning!

The boys of summer play all those games in the summer heat for one reason.  The grueling 162 game schedule sees many ups and many downs, and all of these challenges are met with a firm resolve:  to do whatever it takes to get to the postseason.  October is the time when the weather turns cold, and ball players become unshaven warriors duking it out to be the victorious few who have the honor to take a championship ring home this offseason. Read the rest of this entry

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