Blog Archives

Oakland A’s Payroll In 2014 + Contracts Going FWD: Updated For Trade Deadline Deals

Part of the lure in acquiring Samardzija was that he had 1 year left of Arbitration.  He will likely cost in the $12 - 15 MIL range for 2015.  He tops the list of several A's players that will be ARB eligible in 2015 like Moss, Donaldson, Cook, Parker, Jaso, Reddick and Gentry.  While the club is going for it in 2014, there unloading of Cespdes's $10.5 MIL 2015 salary will be used to pay these guys raises.  Some of the club will be traded or released.  The A's should still have about $25 MIL to spend on 7 or 8 guys next year.  Their $95 MIL payroll in 2014 is their highest ever recorded for any one year.

Part of the lure in acquiring Samardzija was that he had 1 year left of Arbitration. He will likely cost in the $12 – 15 MIL range for 2015. He tops the list of several A’s players that will be ARB eligible in 2015 like Moss, Donaldson, Cook, Parker, Jaso, Reddick and Gentry. While the club is going for it in 2014, there unloading of Cespdes’s $10.5 MIL 2015 salary will be used to pay these guys raises. Some of the club will be traded or released. The A’s should still have about $25 MIL to spend on 7 or 8 guys next year. Their $95 MIL projected payroll in 2014 is their highest ever recorded for any one year.

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

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Wow.  What a roster that has been assembled by Billy Beane in the last 30 days or so.

Make no bones about it, the reason the Money Ball GM was able to this was one from depth strength – coupled with being the master of financial flexibility.

We all know that the A’s have shied away from giving long term pitching contracts, or heck, from lucrative long contracts to positional players.

Ever since the team offered Jermaine Dye a big deal at the time, only to see his production fall off, then to be resurrected in other uniforms, did the management learn to ply their craft.

The team also doled out megabucks for Eric Chavez after that, then to watch him suffer through countless injuries.

Players like Nick Swisher, Miguel Tejada, Johnny Damon, Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Mark Mulder have left the nest to make fortunes in other locations.

Beane made off like a bandit dealing Rich Harden before he eventually broke down.  Oh yeah, the GM received Josh Donaldson for that trade.

It has been a brass that sees about 50 roster transactions every year.  The key is to always sell high, and mix in the right amount of Free Agent veterans.

All of that ‘baseball rounding’ afforded the “Moneyball” GM to go for it this year. Read the rest of this entry

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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

Top 10 Active MLB Extra Base Hits Leaders

Cabrera has had back to back AL MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013.  He has also won 3 straight AL Batting Titles. Cabrera is the best player offensively in the universe.  He has put up 10 straight 100+ RBI campaigns, but he has racked in 276 RBI, and also 88 HRs.  The 11 Year Veterans totals would have even been higher in 2013, but he fought a torn groin for the last half of the year.  In his 10.5 seasons, he has smacked 791 XBH, if he can muscle out 674 XBH for the next decade, he could surpass Hank Aaron for 1st on the ALL - Time Extra Base Hits List.

Cabrera has had back to back AL MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013. He has also won 3 straight AL Batting Titles. Cabrera is the best player offensively in the universe. He has put up 10 straight 100+ RBI campaigns, but he has racked in 276 RBI, and also 88 HRs. The 11 Year Veterans totals would have even been higher in 2013, but he fought a torn groin for the last half of the year. In his 10.5 seasons, he has smacked 791 XBH, if he can muscle out 674 XBH for the next decade, he could surpass Hank Aaron for 1st on the ALL – Time Extra Base Hits List.  As he stands right now, he is already on the periphery of the Active top 10 list for the category right now at 12th (791 XBH).

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Now that I have taken a break from the MLB Active players list, I am going to do what I was supposed to do yesterday.

Just remember that this is the list we are going to do at the MLB Reports.

If a player has been removed from the MLB for at least 1 year, and it is not injury related, or the guy is not plugging away in the Minors for a comeback.

Having said this, I am still going to leave Bobby Abreu off of this active list.

I am also throwing out Todd Helton, because he has put forth his retirement papers.

Adrian Beltre Highlights 2013 Season

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There is A Major Problem At MLB.com With Their Active Players List: Part 1

Bobby Abreu was traded for Kevin Stocker and had 7 straight 20 HR/20 SB seasons for the Phillies from 1999-2005.  A player the franchise wish never got away.  He did not play for any other club in 2013, but has since said he plans to make a comeback in 2014.  If he does, he would become the active ALL - Time Leader for Doubles in the MLB.

Bobby Abreu was traded from the Rays to the Phillies for Kevin Stocker and had 7 straight 20 HR/20 SB seasons for the ‘Fightins from 1999 – 2005. After playing for both of the LA clubs in 2012,  he did not play for any other club in 2013, but has since said he plans to make a comeback in 2014. If he does, he would become the active ALL – Time Leader for Doubles in the MLB.  After seeing that the website mlb.com called him active, I investigated a massive flaw.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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When starting to compile a list at http://www.mlb.com  of current Extra Base Hits Leaders – I was unimpressed about the slowness of the webmasters.

I love the MLB, and the coverage/video highlights is fantastic at the site.  Their updating the stat leaders for active players needs to be seriously addressed. so the top 10 list will be posted tomorrow instead.

Manny Ramirez, Ivan Rodriguez and Todd Helton are on this list.

Okay,  I can give them a slight pass on Helton, however he has filed his retirement papers already, but Pudge and Man-Ram – c’mon.

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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 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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The Billy Beane Way Of Contracts + His Trade History Since MoneyBall!

Wednesday July.03, 2013

Updated January.05, 2014

Updated July.05, 2014 for Samardzija deal link

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

Updated July 31, 2014 for Trade Deadline deals.

Beane Acquires Lester + Gomes For Cespedes: Then Acquires Fuld For Millone

Updated Aug 8, 2014 for Hitters Roster Tree

How All Of The A’s Hitters Were Acquired: 2014 Roster Tree Shows Incredible Beane Trading Record

Beane does his transactions throughout the entire year - and very little at the deadline.  He is never finished with re-arranging his franchise.  Perhaps his best Trade Deadline deal was to acquire Jermaine Dye in 2001.  Conversely, he had to pay Dye a big FA contract afterwards.  Between he and Eric Chavez's deal, Beane learned not to be burned on long term deals.  He is a big fan of 1 to 2 Year Deals with Veterans.

Beane does his transactions throughout the entire year – and very little at the deadline. He is never finished with re-arranging his franchise. Perhaps his best Trade Deadline deal was to acquire Jermaine Dye in 2001. Conversely, he had to pay Dye a big FA contract afterwards (3 YRs/$30 MIL). Between he and Eric Chavez’s deal, (6 YR/$66 MIL deal) Beane learned not to be burned on long term contracts. He is a big fan of 1 – 2 Year Deals with Veterans.  A lot of his players have not fared as well when they have left the organization.  Even the guys that have, simply cost too much money for the A’s liking.  The Oakland team received the same kind of production from them for a small percentage of the salary paid out.

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

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We have talked a ton about Billy Beane‘s genius way on the website.  The Website founder ‘Jonathan Hacohen’ was one of the first baseball writers to uncover the new Beane strategy last year.

I further studied some of his brilliant work  – by figuring out the current roster tree for all of the current team last November.  I was able to pick up a lot more patterns from his work as a GM.

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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

MLB Monthly Power Rankings May 2013 (Podcast Version)

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Sunday, May.05/2013

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.

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

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

One month down in the MLB season and that means it’s time for some Power Rankings! Chuck Booth the czar of MLBreports.com joins us in studio to rank every team from worst to first. Where does your team rank? Read the rest of this entry

An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia – The 1952 Stan Musial Card

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Saturday, March.o2, 2013

Stan Musial is 2nd (Aaron) ALL-Time for Total Bases with 6134. of them for his Career.. He is 3rd ALL-Time with 1377 XBH. He also is 5th ALL-Time in RBI with 1951 (1 ahead of A-ROD) and 8th in Runs Scored with 1949. " stan-1.jpg" width="588" height="350" /> Stan Musial is 2nd (Aaron) ALL-Time for Total Bases with 6134. of them for his Career. He is 3rd ALL-Time with 1377 XBH. He also is 5th ALL-Time in RBI with 1951 (1 ahead of A-ROD) and 8th in Runs Scored with 1949.  His 725 Doubles trail only Pete Rose and Ty Cobb on the ALL-Time List.  His 177 Triples are only good for 19th ALL-Time.  Meanwhile, only 4 players have topped 100 3B on the Active List: (Crawford-119, Reyes - 114, Damon -109, Rollins 105) and Juan Pierre (92) has a shot at the century mark for his Career.  The game has changed, importance of XBH has not.

Stan Musial is 2nd (Aaron) ALL-Time for Total Bases with 6134 of them for his Career. He is 3rd ALL-Time with 1377 XBH. He also is 5th ALL-Time in RBI with 1951 (1 ahead of A-ROD) and 8th in Runs Scored with 1949. His 725 Doubles trail only Pete Rose and Ty Cobb on the ALL-Time List. His 177 Triples are good for 19th ALL-Time. Meanwhile, only 4 players have topped 100 3B on the Active List: (Crawford-119, Reyes – 114, Damon -109, Rollins 105) and Juan Pierre (92) has a shot at the century mark for his Career. The game has changed, importance of XBH has not.

By Lee Edelstein (‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ – visit his website here)

MLB Reports:  We are pleased to present you with Baseball Author Lee Edelstein as the newest writer with us at the Reports.  Lee will be providing us with great stories about baseball memorabilia on a regular basis.

MLB Reports

An American Hobby

Blog 3

Stan Musial

Each week, I’ll feature a baseball card of one of these all-time greats.  Along the way, we’ll talk about other aspects of America’s Hobby, why it continues to grow in popularity, and answer any questions you may have.

We lost Stan Musial on January 19th.  The outpouring of sentiment from all of baseball was heartwarming and appropriate.  No finer man or ballplayer ever graced a major league locker room. Musial’s passing touched a nerve in baseball fans across America, Bob Costas included.  Watch how he struggles with his emotions as he delivers his simple but eloquent eulogy to Stan The Man:

Bob Costas Eulogy for Stan Musial:

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The New York Yankees Hitting Roster In 2013: State Of The Union Part 1

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Wednesday, February.13, 2013

The Yankees have 27 World Series Titles and 13 Losses in the Fall Classic since 1921.  That is 40 Appearances in  91 years.  They have had the highest payroll team in MLB for the Majority of that span.  As of 2013, they will not be able to claim that stake anymore.  Will they still make the playoffs for the 18th time in 19 years?

The Yankees have 27 World Series Titles and 13 Losses in the Fall Classic since 1921. That is 40 Appearances in 91 years. They have had the highest payroll team in MLB for the Majority of that span. As of 2013, they will not be able to claim that stake anymore. Will they still make the playoffs for the 18th time in 19 years?

Chuck Booth (Yankees Correspondent/Website Owner):

The Yankees had a precarious winter after failing miserably in the ALCS, (AKA the last time the country saw them play on Television) – when the team was decimated by the Detroit Tigers in a sweep.  So what has happened since?  A lot of status quo:  Re-signing Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Ichiro Suzuki and Hiroki Kuroda, while saying good-bye to Raul Ibanez (SEA), Andruw Jones (FA), Nick Swisher (CLE), Eric Chavez (ARI), Russell Martin (PIT), Derek Lowe (FA), Steve Pearce (BAL), Casey McGehee (FA), Freddy Garcia (FA) and Rafael Soriano (WSH).  All they really added back was former arch-nemesis Kevin Youkilis (CWS) and Travis Hafner (CLE).  The team is sitting around 215 Million Dollars at Payroll right now, yet they have are heading into the 2013 campaign with Catchers that are of limited experience. 

For the first time in years, the club will need to see some internal progress from their farm system to help the big club.  With A-ROD out with his hip injury, plus the Miami fiasco, can you really count on the prima-donna to play at all this season?  Derek Jeter is coming off a brutal ankle injury that occurred in the aforementioned Post Season Series vs the Tigers .  The club is also hoping that ‘MO’ Rivera can find it within himself to make it through another year as a 43 Year Old.  Just like The ALL-Time Saves Leader, this team is aging fast.  Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson are Free Agents after 2013 is over.  Brian Cashman is also going to take advantage of the reset option f the Luxury Tax loophole in 2014.

This means that when the Luxury Tax goes from 178 Million to 189 Million next year, that the club can stop paying its 40% annual penalty if they can get under for just one season.  The Yankees will be sure to blow up the Payroll from 2015 and beyond that, it is just to not start the new luxury lax at the maximum penalty.  Had the Luxury Tax not moved from its current spot, the Yankees would always pay the 40% penalty (even if they decided to skip one year).

Yankees Highlights 2012:  Mature Lyrics So Parental Guidance is Advised:

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After Coming Off Of TJ Surgery – Carl Crawford Looks To Help The LA Dodgers in 2013

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Monday, January.21/2013

Carl Crawford Ranks 3rd on the ALL-Time Active  Stolen Base Leaders.  He also has a Career 3 Slash Line of .292/.332./.774 heading into 2013.

Carl Crawford Ranks 3rd on the ALL-Time Active Stolen Base Leaders (Pierre 1st – 591, Suzuki 2nd – 452) with 432 SB. He also has a Career 3 Slash Line of .292/.332./.774 heading into 2013.

By Aaron Roberts (Dodgers Correspondent):  

Allow me to pose a scenario for you to pensively ponder. I shoot a basketball 9 times. The first 6 of my 9 shots are swishes. The next 2 aren’t as pretty but still go in the basket. My last shot I miss. Overall, I succeeded in making 8 of the 9 shots which means I have an 89% success rate. Now let me ask you this; would you bet on me to make a 10th shot?

This in a nutshell is Carl Crawford’s career. A 4-time All-Star, he has also consistently been amongst the top producing outfielders in all of baseball for the last decade. Barring his rookie season, His first 5 Major League campaigns were incredible – with him routinely posting over a .300 average and 50 steals – while still belting 10-15 HRs. That combination of speed and power is a rare mix that Crawford displayed with ease. He fared very well for his RBI totals when you take into account he has mostly been a Lead-off and #2 batter for his time in the Majors. He faltered slightly in his 6th season with a .273 Average, 8 HRs and only 25 SB, yet still scored 69 Runs in just 109 Games Played during the 2008 season. Not terrible numbers by any means but not Carl Crawford like production. The following 2 seasons, he regained form and astounded many by posting some of his best numbers yet – even placing 7th in the MVP voting of the 2010 season.

Then came the dark days. Then came Boston. 

Carl Crawford – The ALL-Star!

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Best And Worst Red Sox Christmas-Time Transactions

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Saturday, December.29, 2012

Can Joel Hanrahan Light up Fenway? Time will Tell

Can Joel Hanrahan Light up Fenway? Time will Tell

By Saul Wisnia,  Red Sox Correspondent (Read his blog ‘Fenway Reflections’ here):

Now that it appears the Red Sox have “wrapped up” their big Christmas week trade with the Pirates, it got me thinking about how the Sox have fared in past late-December moves. It’s too early to say how this swap is going to shake out; if closer Joel Hanrahan pitches in Boston like he did during most of the past two seasons, he’ll be a huge step in the rebuilding effort. Here’s a look back at the success of some other Christmas-time transactions by the Red Sox:

Dec. 28, 2011: Promising outfielder Josh Reddick and minor leaguers Miles Head and Raul Alcantara traded to Oakland for closer Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney.

Reddick probably doesn’t feel this way anymore.

Result: Not looking good so far. Bailey was injured most of the season and ineffective upon his return. The Hanrahan trade makes it pretty clear Sox management believes Bailey won’t bounce back strong, and Sweeney was allowed to go to free agency after a lackluster .260, 0-homer year with Boston. As for Reddick, he was one of the biggest MLB surprises of 2012, hitting 32 homers and earning a Gold Glove with the A’s. HO-HO-HO Meter — (1/2 HO)

Dec. 24, 2004: Catcher Jason Varitek re-signed as free agent.

A direct result of Tek’s re-tendering — another title.

Result: Strong move for two reasons. Although Varitek turned 33 in April 2005, he remained a productive offensive and defensive performer for most of the four-year deal. More importantly, the captain stabilized an ever-evolving pitching staff and helped lead the Red Sox to another World Series title in 2007. (HO-HO-HO)

Dec. 21, 2001: Outfielder Johnny Damon signed as free agent.

What would Johnny do? Plenty for the Sox.

Result: Idiot’s delight. Damon delivered in every way for the Red Sox over the four-year contract, as a speedy lead-off man with power, an excellent defensive outfielder (minus his throwing arm), as a tough, enthusiastic leader in the clubhouse, and as a clutch performer in the postseason. His grand slam in Game Seven of the 2004 ALCS is one of the biggest hits in team history. (HO-HO-HO-HO) 

December 19, 2000: Outfielder Manny Ramirez signed as free agent.  Over 8 years, Sox fans enjoyed Manny happy moments.

Result: Best free-agent signing in team history. Even at eight years and $160 million, Manny was worth it — teaming with David Ortiz to form a devastating one-two punch and averaging .313/.412/.594 with 36 homers and  114 RBI from 2001-2007 as a major cog on two World Series champions. (HO-HO-HO-HO)

Dec. 22, 1980: Postmark date stamped on a contract mailed to Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk, two days after a deadline expired — making Fisk a Free Agent. 

After switching Sox and his number, Fisk kept hitting.

Result: Holy Cliff Clavin. Fisk signs with the White Sox and over next 13 more seasons hits 214 home runs. (No HOs)

Dec. 26, 1919: Outfielder/pitcher Babe Ruth sold to Yankees for $125,000 plus a $350,00 loan.

Harry Frazee ate crow on this move.

Result:  Owner Harry Frazee’s folly. Frazee didn’t like Ruth’s wild ways, or his demands for a $20,000 contract. So he sent the Babe packing, then watched him hit 659 homers for New York through 1934. (No HOs)

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of www.mlbreports.com and their partners.***

A big thank-you goes out to  Saul Wisnia for preparing today’s featured article. Saul shares his Fenway Reflections at http://saulwisnia.blogspot.com. Born just up the street from “America’s Favorite Ballpark,” he is a former sports and news correspondent at The Washington Post and feature writer at The Boston Herald. He has authored, co-authored, or otherwise contributed to numerous books on Boston and general baseball history here, and his articles and essays have appeared in Sports Illustrated, Red Sox Magazine, Boston Magazine, and The Boston Globe. His most recent book, Fenway Park: The Centennial, was excerpted on http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/.  Wisnia lives in Newton, Massachusetts, 5.94 miles from America’s favorite ballpark, with his wife, two kids, and Wally (the cat, not the Green Monster).  Feel free to follow Saul on Twitter .

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The Tampa Bay Rays: The Franchise 1998-2012: Part 1 Of A 5 Part Article Series

Thursday, December.20, 2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history.  2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5. The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of  my archived articles section here.

The many Rays Logo's over the years.  Is the best of this franchise yet tom come

The many Rays Logo’s over the years. Is the best of this franchise yet to come?

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

The Tampa Bay Rays Franchise can be summarized into two different categories:  “The Devil Rays Days” and the “Rays Days.”  The Devil Rays endured 10 straight losing seasons to start the club’s history.  From 1998-2007, was a complete gong show (645-972) and last place finishes in a tough AL East every year, except for 2004, when they finished 4th, although they did stockpile several top Draft Picks based on their horrid regular seasons.  In 2008, all of that changed when the ‘Devil’ was literally and figuratively knocked away from the Tampa Bay team.  Their young stars finally saw their potential realized and they appeared in the 2008 World Series versus the Philadelphia Phillies.  The Franchise would lose in 5 hard-fought, weather fulfilled games, however the team was now one of the model clubs in baseball.  From 2008-2012, the club has gone 458-352.

The Rays have made the playoffs in 2010 and 2011 since, plus featured two other over .500 records in 2009 and 2012.  The club has now had 5 winning seasons in a row.  There is still a long way to go as they feature the worst winning percentage in MLB History, with a 1103-1327 Franchise Record (.454).  The next worst team is the Padres at .463.  The Arizona DiamondBacks were the NL Expansion cousins of the Rays and they feature a Win Percentage of (.498), which is second overall for the Expansion teams.  The Arizona DiamondBacks also have made the playoffs 5 times and won the World Series in 2001.  Still if you asked anyone right now, the Rays would gladly be the team everyone picked.

Franchise Series Links:

The Hitters:  The Tampa Bay Rays: The Hitters 1998-2012: Part 2 Of A 5 Part Article Series

The Pitchers:  The Tampa Bay Rays: The Pitchers 1998-2012: Part 3 Of A 5 Part Article Series

2013 Team Payroll:  Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2013 And Contracts Going Forward: Updated for Myers Trade Dec.11/2012

Tropicana Field Expert:  An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith

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Who Have Been The Toughest Former Red Sox To See In A Yankees Uniform?

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Saturday, December.15/2012

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By Saul Wisnia,  Red Sox Correspondent (Read his blog ‘Fenway Reflections’ here):

Pending a failed physical or other unforeseen mishap, Kevin Youkilis will be manning third base and wearing pinstripes when the Red Sox open the 2013 season at Yankee Stadium on April 1. Amazingly, it won’t be until July 19 that the teams will square off in Boston, giving Fenway Park fans their first chance to see their former favorite son in a New York uniform.

Red Sox Nation had an opportunity to adjust to life with Youk in the visitor’s dugout when the White Sox visited Fenway shortly after his trade to Chicago last summer, but this is a much different situation. Boston fans may develop a kinder, gentler hatred for the Yankees since 2004, but there is something about seeing a former Red Sox in enemy colors that still tugs at the heartstrings.

Here’s a look back at some of the biggest Boston heroes to wind up in the Bronx — and how they fared on their Fenway returns. Read the rest of this entry

Dissecting The Royals And Rays Trade: Shields And Davis For Wil Myers + Prospects

Tuesday, Dec.11/2012

James Shields has 2 years left on his contract with the Rays.  He was the first player they signed to many years of Club Options.  It is a system they have used to sign Zobrist, Longoria and Moore.  It gives the team the flexibility to option out of a contract with a player heading into any year

James Shields has 2 years left on his contract with the Royals.  He is 31-22 with 448 Strikeouts in 477 IP in the last 2 years.  While he might not be a Premiere Ace, he is a front end starter that Kansas City has not had for a long ime.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

We at the MLB Reports have established that we are far more in favor of acquiring hitters than pitchers in today’s MLB.  Why do you ask?  It is simple. The amount of pitchers that end up injured for the year is mind boggling.  You can check out our Tommy John Surgery Tracker Page here.  Point being, is that is risky to trade away top tier offensive prospects for pitching in return.  Having said this, I like this trade of James Shields, Wade Davis and a player to be named later, for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard for both clubs.  It addresses immediate concerns with a look to the future.  To fully assess how this trade will break down we start with the Royals: Read the rest of this entry

Florida Baseball and The San Juan Rays

Thursday November 15th, 2012

Alex Mednick (Baseball Writer and Analyst)

Last week Jonathan Hacohen, the founder of MLBReports.com called to my attention that the Tampa Bay Rays are an anomaly.  Ultimately, if you look at the way their team is structured and where their talent lays, and the kind of game that Joe Maddon manages the Rays are ultimately a National League team; displaced in the AL East.  The Rays greatest strength is their depth of pitching that they can reach into the bowels of an amazing farm system ripe with young talent.  But from there on out, they rely on an offense that generates runs due to other inefficiencies.

Joe Maddon might very well be the best manager in baseball. He possesses a unique approach to the game, that if had to be categorized, is definitely more national league style than american league. He has to be creative in how he manufactures runs, as his offense does not boast the big sluggers other AL East teams do. He does, however, have a plethora of pitching talent available.

With B.J. Upton leaving town, and Carlos Pena only a carcass of what he once was, there is ultimately zero power left in their lineup.  Their DH for the past two years have been the likes of an aging Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, and Luke Scott.  Ownership is constantly complaining about attendance and looking for bargain free agents like Johnny Damon to bring in at the end of their careers and hopefully attract some Yankees and Red Sox fans to the stadium.

At this point, the Rays power hitters are Evan Longoria, Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist.  They have an amazing nucleus of pitching talent, including David Price who just won the AL Cy Young, and they are mentioning trading almost all of their starting pitchers.  This is understandable, as you have to dish out talent to bring back offensive talent that they are in great need of.  But I still have major gripes with the way owner Stuart Sternberg has approached the past 4 seasons in St. Petersburg, and I will get into more detail about this in a little while. Read the rest of this entry

2013 WBC Qualifiers: Groups 3 and 4 Preview

Wednesday November 14th, 2012

Sam Evans: The WBC is coming to Panama and Taiwan! Qualifier 3 and Qualifier 4 both begin on November 15th.  Group 3 will feature Panama, Brazil, Nicaragua and Colombia. Group 4 includes Chinese Taipei, New Zealand, the Philippines and Thailand. Who will advance out of these two qualifying rounds? Keep reading to find out.

Read the rest of this entry

Carlos Beltran Is The Best Active Hitter For A Postseason Career

Wednesday, October.17/2012

Carlos Beltran is only amongst a select few active and retired players that possess 300 Career HRs (334) and 300 Stolen Bases (306) for their Career. At age 35, this year may be his last chance to win a World Series.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

I love that baseball is a game of numbers.  Every once in a while you stumble upon an awesome mind-blogging stat or ten that makes you sit and back and think, wow, that guy is awesome.  I have a decent memory when it comes to the history of the game.  So it came as no surprise to me that Carlos Beltran continues to be putting up video game statistics in the postseason.  Having started this article, unfortunately the man has left the 3rd game of the National League Championship Series with a strained left knee.  This is a shame.  I hope that the slugger can come back in this series as he is listed on the injury report as Day-to-Day.  Just how good is Carlos Beltran in the Playoffs?  Check out these stat lines.  In 111 career AB, the man has a .378 AVG with  14 HRs, 25 RBI and has a staggering OPS of 1.327 (His OBP is .489 and Slugging is .838.)  These are unbelievable numbers and easily the highest OPS in the history of MLB for a playoff career.

When the St. Louis Cardinals lost Albert Pujols to free agency last year, it was a risky yet bold move to pick up the often injured slugger.  The franchise signed Beltran to a 2 YR/26 Million Dollar contract (or just over 10% of the contract that Pujols signed for.)  The team also re-signed Rafael Furcal and Lance Berkman to help carry the load offensively.  Showing the wisdom as they have so often done, the Cardinals proved to work their payroll model and still improve their club in the process.  While Furcal and Berkman would succumb to injuries during the year, Beltran has produced at a high rate for a nice portion of the year.  At the 82 game mark, the outfielder had 20 HRs with 65 RBI and was a co-frontrunner (along with Joey Votto) for the National League MVP.  While his numbers slumped a little in the second half, the club still knew they had a proven playoff performer.  Beltran also played in 151 games this season, his highest amount since 2008 with the New York Mets. Read the rest of this entry

Stat of the Week: Will Extra Base Hits Help Punch Tickets to BBHOF?

Monday June.18/2012

Alex Rodriguez leads the list of active players and is already 10th All-time for XBH. If Rodriguez can hit 308 XBH before he retires, he will pass Hank Aaron for 1st overall. –Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

Chuck Booth (Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-  Extra base hits kind of go hand in hand with slugging percentage to an extent.  I have often used this category every season as a gauge on how good a player does.  Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances why a player hits more doubles and triples rather than home runs but they are all considered extra base hits.  Adrian Beltre is a perfect example of this.  During his Seattle Mariner days, he would blast about 15-20 baseballs off the fences at Safeco Field every year (for a double or triple) that would have been an HR if he did not play in such a pitcher friendly park.  This list represents great careers.  If a player can reach the magic 1000 extra base hits, they will be hard to ignore for consideration towards  Cooperstown.  I have omitted Manny Ramirez from an active player.  It is my firm belief that the man served a 50 game suspension for a team like Oakland, only to quit on them and maybe land on another club.  If he is able to catch on with another job with a club, I will gladly put his name back as #2 player on this active list.

TOP 10 as of June.17/2012

Player                                                    Extra Base Hits Leaders Active (Rank All-Time)

1. Alex Rodriguez NYY                              1169   (10)

2. Jim Thome PHI                                   1079   (20)

3. Chipper Jones ATL                              1026   (26)

4. Vladimir Guerrero (FA)                         972   (39)

5. Todd Helton COL                                   956   (45)

6. Albert Pujols  LAA                                 941   (50)

7. Bobby Abreu LAD                                  908   (60)

8. David Ortiz  BOS                                   886   (64)

9. Johnny Damon CLE                               859   (73)

10. Scott Rolen CIN                                   857   (75)

I fully think that Vladimir Guerrero will sign with someone soon.  At 972 extra base hits, he is 28 extra base hits away from that 1000 marker. If a team signs him in the next few weeks, he may have a chance to get there before the end of the season.  Below is a 5 minute highlight package of his career thus far.  There is not many Expos highlights, you can always search Youtube for more.

Read the rest of this entry

The DH Tandem of Ibanez and Jones Are Providing Great Value Amongst the Position

Monday, May.28/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones might only be hitting about .250 as a combined DH unit, however they are providing some much-needed power from the DH slot for the New York Yankees.  Ibanez is batting .260 with 9 HRs and 27 RBI in 137 AB, Jones is .227 with 5 HRs and 10 RBI in 66 AB.  The two totals combined equal 14 HRs and 37 RBI in 193 AB.  This is really good production in the power department.  This puts the duo on pace for about 45 HRs and 120 RBI out of the DH slot.  These numbers are comparable to Chicago White Sox primary DH Adam Dunn, who is .240 with 15 HRs and 35 RBI, and Edwin Encarnacion for the Toronto Blue Jays, who is .274 with 15 HRs and is second in the AL with 39 RBI.

There are factors that cancel out the production of both Encarnacion and Dunn.  The Blue Jays first base position has killed any type of edge that Encarnacion’s start should have provided.  Adam Lind hit himself out of the Majors with his under .200 average, thus negating the production that the position of 1B needs to have in order to compete along with a DH.  Adam Dunn has racked up 74 strikeouts to add to his power numbers.  While this has been a renaissance year for Dunn so far, the all or nothing philosophy does hurt in the clutch sometimes.  I think the White Sox have to be happy with his production, plus Paul Konerko has been the best player in the AL outside of Josh Hamilton. Read the rest of this entry

MLB reports Monthly Power Rankings: May 2012

Tuesday May 8th, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-We are going to bring you a monthly power rankings every month of the season.  There will be a few verses for each team.  Please feel free to let us know your thoughts.

May Power Rankings

  1. Texas (19-10)  Josh Hamilton is clubbing the ball at his 2010 like AL MVP clip.  Yu Darvish appears to be the real deal.  Mike Napoli hits 8th on most nights. Michael Young might be the most under-appreciated hitter in the last decade.  Ian Kinsler is on pace for 162 runs.  If Nelson Cruz starts hitting and or Nathan rounds into form, than this team may blitz by every one.
  2. Tampa Bay (19-10) The pitching staff is incredible right now.  David Price is asserting himself as one of the premier left-handed pitchers in baseball. Strong starts from Evan Longoria, Luke Scott and Carlos Pena have helped.  Joe Maddon may be the best ‘in-game manager’ of baseball now with Tony La Russa out of the Majors.
  3. Atlanta (18-12) The reason I have Atlanta rated so high is they are not even having a good year from Tim Hudson yet and Jair Jurrjens has been atrocious.  Still they sit near the top of the standings.  Chipper Jones has 21 RBI and Freddie Freeman has taken the next step so far with 26 RBI.  Last year the team had a lot of players with career worst years and they were only eliminated on the last day of the season.  This year may be different.
  4. St. Louis (18-11) You lose a franchise player like Albert Pujols and you spend half the money for Carlos Beltran and Rafael Furcal, who are finally hitting the numbers like the back of their bubble gum cards from 5 years ago.  Are we giving enough credit to Mark McGwire here? Lance Lynn has morphed into Chris Carpenter with his 6-0 start.
  5. LA Dodgers (19-10) Matt Kemp is the best player in baseball right now and may walk away with the triple crown this year.  Andre Ethier has matured into the RBI guy he needs to be.  Solid pitching by Clayton Kershaw, Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly have this team looking solid. Dodgers look good in the future when  the new ownership takes over. (more…)

An Interview with o.co Coliseum Expert Ken Lee

Monday April.23, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 ***Thank you to our Lead Baseball Writer- Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here  or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***

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

 

 

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – April 15th, 2012

Sunday April 15th, 2012



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

Let’s get to your top questions of the week: (there are MANY great ones this week…better jump right in!)

 

Q:  How many triple plays were turned last year?  Wayne

MLB reports: Nice way to start off ATR Wayne. Four. Can you believe it? Four triple plays turned last year. Three in 2010, five in 2009, two in 2008 and four in 2007. Surprised? Me too. I thought they were more rare! Last year’s triple plays took place as follows:

(1) Indians turned a 3P against the White Sox on April 3rd

(2) Brewers turned a 3p against the Dodgers on August 15th

(3) Red Sox turned a 3p against the Rays in the 2nd game of a DH on August 16th (a day later!)

(4) The miracle Rays came back on September 27th to turn their own 3p against the Yankees.

 

Q:  Is it worth picking up Aroldis Chapman as a third reliever?!?  William

MLB reports:  Without a doubt. Yes. Are you kidding me? Grab him. Right now. Don’t wait. Now. Right now! As you can tell, I am high on Chapman. Long term, I see him as a starter. But for now, he is a reliever. I see him having some great save opportunities this year. Madson is done for the year. A ton of money is invested in Chapman and he has been nothing short of brilliant this season. In 4 games he has a 0.00 ERA. 11 strikeouts. 0 walks in 6 innings. Yes. As a third relieve, you cannot go wrong with Chapman. He has already vultured 2 wins. He can help you in so many ways. There will be ups-and-downs this year with Chapman, no doubts. But with pitchers around baseball dropping like flies, when you have a talented pitcher with huge upside, make sure he can find his way onto your team. (more…)

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

Sunday February 19th, 2012

 

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

Let’s get to your top questions of the week (TONS to answer… better jump in): Read the rest of this entry

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