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Tuesday May 28th, 2013
Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer): Follow @BernieOlshansky
When Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays set out last winter to improve the team, no one could have predicted what is happening currently.
Anthopoulos brought in R.A. Dickey, the reigning NL Cy Young, Josh Johnson, and Mark Buehrle. Ricky Romero struggled in 2012, so he started the season in the minors, and Brandon Morrow remained in the rotation.
Jose Reyes arrived as part of the Marlins trade and Melky Cabrera was signed through free agency. Although the Blue Jays are saddled with being in one of the strongest divisions in baseball, they were the favorite on paper.
Over the course of a few games, all this was thrown out the window. Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes got injured, Melky Cabrera got off to a slow start, R.A. Dickey was not in his Cy Young form, and the team was not playing the way everyone had expected. Now, some could say, the Blue Jays are all offense.
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Tuesday February 26th, 2013
Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer): Follow @BernieOlshansky
After the signings and trade this winter, Atlanta Braves fans have a lot to be excited about. The Braves made a big impact by signing B.J. Upton and trading for his brother, Justin. Both young outfielders have tremendous skill and will undoubtedly make an impact on the National League East. The Braves got an early jump on the Free Agent market by signing B.J. Upton early in the winter. The main reason for the B.J. Upton signing was to replace Michael Bourn in Center Field.
Bourn became a Free Agent after 2012 and wound up with the Cleveland Indians. The Braves strengthened their outfield even further with the acquisition of B.J.’s brother, Justin, in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks that meant sending utility-man Martin Prado.
Jason Heyward 2012 Highlights Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised:
Thursday November 8th, 2012
Sam Evans: When it comes to closers, 2012 was the year of the injured veteran reliever. A couple of teams probably would have had different postseason success had they been able to use their reliable ninth-inning man. From Mariano Rivera to Sergio Santos, the list of closers that missed the 2012 MLB season goes on and on. Here’s an early glance at some of these pitchers hoping to rebound from their respective off years in the upcoming season.
Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees: Mariano Rivera is the best closer in the history of baseball and probably the best relief pitcher as well. Even as a forty-one year old in 2011, Rivera was forty-four for forty-nine in save opportunities. That was his ninth consecutive season with thirty or more saves. Unfortunately, Mariano Rivera missed almost all of the 2012 season due to a torn ACL he suffered while shagging fly balls. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday November 1st, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: What a great story it would be to see Josh Hamilton return to the team that drafted him. As a free agent this offseason, there is a possibility that this could be the case. Hamilton never played a Major League game with the “Devil Rays”. After he was drafted, he was the number one prospect in the Devil Rays’ organization. He had an extremely bright future, but unfortunately the money from the signing bonus combined with injuries sent Hamilton down the wrong path leading to his drug abuse and decline, eventually sending him out of baseball. Hamilton spent time on the restricted list and was suspended, and was eventually picked by the Chicago Cubs in the Rule 5 draft, subsequently being purchased by the Cincinnati Reds. Hamilton played part of a season with the Reds before being traded to the Rangers, where he was very successful, making the All Star team every year and winning the MVP in 2010.
The Rangers most likely will not pursue Hamilton, leaving him open for any other club. Hamilton would be great for the Rays. With B.J. Upton most likely leaving to free agency, the Rays will need to fill the center field position. Hamilton would bring a lot of excitement to Tampa Bay and would help bring the team back to the playoffs. A former MVP would tremendously improve the Rays’ potent lineup already including Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, and Carlos Pena. Acquiring Hamilton would make a large statement to the rest of the AL East. With the Yankees as the only real threat, the Rays would be sending the message that they are ready to win. The Red Sox are rebuilding, so they probably will not be of worry to the Rays, and the Blue Jays are coming off a disappointing season in 2011. The Orioles could be playoff bound, but with Hamilton, the Rays would have an advantage. With the new Wild Card in play, the Rays will have a good shot of reaching the playoffs even if they do not sign Hamilton. But, signing Hamilton would make the Rays a powerhouse and could give the Yankees a run for their money. Read the rest of this entry
Friday October 5th, 2012
Featured today on MLB reports, we are proud to present the return of Robby Rowland, Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching Prospect. Robby is back on MLB Reports with his latest MLB Blog. We have been very fortunate to have Robby appear several times on MLB reports, in interviews and MLB Blogs prepared by Robby in his own words. One of our fave alumni returns with thoughts from Robby’s World. Robby looks at his transformation as a pitcher, trade to the Pirates organization and much more. Get ready for a special treat. Robby Rowland is real, funny and informative. We know you missed him…as we all did! Get ready to fulfill your Robby Rowland fix!
Robby Rowland- Guest MLB Blogger:
For those of you who have followed my journey through these blogs, I apologize for taking so much time to write this one. I would like to say thank you to MLB reports for having me on once again. For those of you who are reading one of my blogs for the first time, I want to apologize ahead of time for the writing style. I have so much that I would like to touch upon and I may not always use the proper commas or periods that some English major would… or something like that, I’m not sure. One more thanks is to my computer class teacher, who taught me how to type without looking. I’m glad I can use this skill in my baseball career, unlike all the other subjects in school that seem useless now. I also am known to ramble on a little bit, so bear with me here. Hopefully you will enjoy reading this as much as I did when I wrote it.
As I sit here, listening to a country music Pandora station, I try to think of some things that you guys would like to read about. I’ve heard some good topics via twitter and I will try my best to write about those and try to pick out topics that I can elaborate on. I will try to make this blog entry as entertaining as possible because I know how boring reading can get… if what you are reading doesn’t interest you. I had to do it ALL 4 years in high school… well, I had to read the sparknotes of whatever, which were still boring when they didn’t have anything to do with sports!
I will first talk about my transformation of becoming a “sinker ball pitcher” just over a year ago. Then I will talk about getting traded at the beginning of the season. After I have covered those 2 subjects, I will go on to write about lighter topics. Hope you enjoy and I don’t bore you! Read the rest of this entry
Monday February 6, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Featured today on MLB reports, we are proud to present Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospect, Robby Rowland and his 2nd Guest MLB Blog. After a little bit of arm twisting, we were able to get Robby back on the Reports. Just kidding. Robby is a super guy and was very gracious in agreeing to return. For his latest Guest MLB Blog, Robby took in some suggestions from his followers on Twitter to come up with different topics to cover today. From all his entries, Robby chose to discuss life on the road, springtime and pre-game rituals. Exclusively on MLB reports, Robby Rowland is back with his latest blog entry:
Robby Rowland- Guest MLB Blog: Hello all! I am honored to say that I have been welcomed back onto the Reports. Once again, I would like to thank Jonathan for having me on here. It truly is an honor to be asked to share my experiences with the world. For those of you who have not met me in person, you should know that I just love to talk… I got kicked out of a lot of classrooms in my day because I love to chat. That’s why I am honored to be on here- because I am allowed to express my love of talking… but just on paper. I have some great topics to discuss with all of you today. The way I like to prepare my blog entries is by asking my twitter followers about subjects they would like to hear about. I like to first write them down on paper and later type in my blog. And once again I apologize if everything is just thrown down with no sense of proper writing. Boy would my english teacher in high school be upset if he/she read these…
So without further adieu, I would like to discuss several of the topics that you have all brought to my attention!
Saturday December 31, 2011
MLB reports: Happy New Year everyone! On this New Year’s Eve, we get reacquainted with an old friend. Earlier this month, we featured our interview with Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospect, Robby Rowland. After getting to know Robby and staying in touch, Robby has been gracious enough to prepare a Guest MLB Blog, exclusively for the Reports. Fans of the game love to interact with its favorite players. But there are fewer bigger rushes that being able to get inside the mind of a player. Today on the Reports, Robby has opened a window into his mind and soul. We get to meet Robby and learn about his story. From growing up as a 2nd generation ballplayer, to signing with the Dbacks and his experiences during his first two professional seasons. What does a ballplayer do during the offseason to spend his time? Robby lets us know…and the answer may surprise you.
Featured today on MLB reports, we are proud to present Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospect, Robby Rowland and his Guest MLB Blog:
Robby Rowland- Guest MLB Blog: First and foremost, I would like to thank Jonathan from MLB reports for giving me the opportunity to write this blog entry. With that being said, I would also like to add as a side note that I did not go to college. So if the writing in this blog is a little off, then just blame my high school teachers…
For those of you who donʼt know me, I would like to take this time to try to give you guys a clear understanding of who I am. I know when I was growing up, I was always so curious about professional athletes and what they were like. I would always look at each of them as an idol or someone famous. But in reality, us professional athletes are just everyday people. Yes, we might get some media attention and be on TV. But at the end of the day, we really are just normal people like you. I have always admired the professional athletes who, after big games or TV interviews, would still stay humble. Thatʼs one thing that my parents taught me at a young age. No matter what happens, you have to stay true to who you are.
And once again, I apologize if everything is just thrown into one paragraph. I have so many good ideas on what I want to discuss today and quite frankly, my writing skills are not as good as my pitching skills!
Now to the part where I tell you fans a little bit about myself. Let’s see… I was born in Toledo, Ohio on December 15, 1991. I bet you are wondering why a California kid was born there. Well, my dad was also a professional baseball player before me. He was playing for the Toledo Mud Hens at the time and that year we spent the offseason in Toledo. My dad played parts of 6 years in the big leagues, with the Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Giants. After I was born, I spent the next several years traveling from ballpark to ballpark. I was very young, so I donʼt remember everything about my old man’s playing days. But I do remember some of the ballparks, especially Fenway! I have some old pictures of my brother and I getting to run the bases at Fenway, but I donʼt quite remember the experience. I do remember getting to go into the clubhouses after games and wait for my dad.
We did end up moving to Cloverdale, CA in 1998. Why you ask? Because this is where my parents grew up and went to school. Cloverdale is a very small town, with a population of about 7,000 people. It has only 1 high school with about 400 students total. It definitely doesnʼt have a variety of restaurants to choose from or many of the big city amenities. I love the small town atmosphere. Everyone knows each other and the people all come to support you in the local high school sport games. It very much enjoyed growing up in this supportive and tight-knit community.
In June 2010, I was drafted in the 3rd round (88th overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks. What a packed month, as during that month of June I graduated high school, got drafted, made my professional debut and got a girlfriend… talk about a roller coaster ride! I spent my ﬁrst professional baseball season in Missoula, MT- the Rookie affiliate for the D-Backs. I got to spend that whole summer with my brother, who signed with the D-Backs the day after I did. It was one of the best summers of my life. And a little bit of a blur to say the least!
It is now almost 2012 and I am in my second official offseason. So now the big question: What do Professional Baseball Players do during their time off from baseball? Well this question would be answered differently by a lot of players. During the season, all the players say that they canʼt wait for the season to be over, that it has been such a grind and they just want to rest… or whatever. And once the offseason hits, these same players say: ”Ok, now I got my rest time. Itʼs been great… for about a week. Wow, what am I supposed to do for the next 4 months!” Let me tell you what I do during my offseasons. I am a guy that can never sit still. I got kicked out of a lot of classrooms because I was so restless! So for me to be on my offseason, I am just plain miserable! I love being active to the point that when a day comes that I have nothing scheduled, I just donʼt know what to do with myself! Last offseason, I basically worked out, ran, watched movies, played video games and just chilled. I could not do that again this year. During the current offseason, I forced myself to get a little side job splitting and delivering firewood (editor’s note: what is this guy, Rocky?) that helped out a little bit. But my other job resulted in a broken truck window… I also help with the local boys varsity basketball team. So between all that, working out and running almost every day, this offseason has been a lot better.
Reflecting on my ﬁrst two seasons in pro ball, things have not gone the way I planned. Actually, the complete opposite. But just because my seasons may not look great on paper and perhaps maybe my ERA doesnʼt show this, the reality is that I have improved a great deal since I started. It is a big adjustment coming from high school to professional ball. Every pitch here counts, whereas in high school, I didnʼt really care where it (each pitch) was going. I just knew people werenʼt going to hit me based on my abilities. I have learned so much during my two years of professional baseball. Not just from a physical stand point, but from the mental side as well. This game can be great to you… or it can tear you apart. It all depends on how you approach the game. You have to be mentally strong and bounce back from setbacks to ultimately make it in baseball.
All baseball players know that this is not an easy game. But I refuse to ever give up. What doesnʼt kill you, will only make you stronger. I love this game with a passion. I live and breathe baseball. My favorite saying is “Baseball is life, the rest is just details.” I know that I am so fortunate to have received the opportunity to live the life of a baseball player. There is nothing I would rather be doing right now. So just because I had a couple of slow seasons, it does not mean that I will give up. I will continue to battle and work hard until I have thrown my last pitch. “I have the opportunity to make my dream become a reality.”
Well I hope this wasnʼt too much of a mess and you guys got to know me a little bit better. If any of you have any questions at all, please feel free to tweet me. I love to interact with fans! If you guys donʼt know this already I am a very sociable guy. Thanks for your time. Hope to be back soon!
***Robby Rowland is a pitcher in the Arizona Diamondbacks system. A big thank you to Robby for his time in preparing today’s Guest MLB Blog! Please feel free to leave any comments and feedback at the end of this page. You can also reach Robby anytime on Twitter (@RobbyRow_12)***
Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback. You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook . To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.
Sunday December 4th, 2011
Sam Evans: Between these two catchers, they have six World Series rings, eight All-Star selections, and nearly five hundred home runs. There is no question that Jorge Posada and Jason Varitek were two of the best catchers in the last ten years, if not major league history. Unfortunately, the last two years everything has changed for both of them. Now, with the organizations they both have spent their whole respective careers nudging them out the door, one has to wonder what will be the next chapter for these two superstars.
Jason Varitek: Tek has always been a step below Jorge Posada. He is recognized as a great game caller, but he is not an especially strong offensive catcher. At Varitek’s peak in 2004, he batted .296 with 18 home runs and a .390 OBP. He helped lead the Red Sox to their first World Series in eighty-six years.
In 2008, Varitek really fell off a cliff in terms of offensive production. In the following years, he wouldn’t be able to get back to what he once was. I think the Red Sox have only kept him around the last three years because he is a great veteran in the clubhouse and out of loyalty and respect.
Varitek is now 39 years old, and without a contract. In 2010, Varitek was signed by the Red Sox for one year at $2 million. This offseason, he should be looking for a similar contract where he can mentor and back up a young catcher. I think the perfect team for Varitek is the Houston Astros. Houston has no catchers over twenty-five, with none of the catchers on their roster being highly rated. If Varitek could just come to Houston on a one-year deal and call two to three games a week, I think that would be the best scenario for both sides.
There is always the chance that Varitek will want to retire as a Red Sox and as a result, he could retire this offseason. As for Varitek’s chance at the Hall of Fame, I don’t really think he has a strong enough case. He never dominated the field, and he was never the best player at his position. He will be remembered for helping Boston reverse the curse but not as a Hall-of-Famer.
Posada has 275 career home runs, but he has never hit more than thirty in one season. His career batting average, .246, is not very impressive. Posada has always had the power, he is just missing a lot of other skills. He is not known as a great defensive catcher, as was shown when the Yankees decided to move Posada to being their everyday DH for the 2011 season.
2011 turned out to be a pretty rough season for Posada. In May, Posada asked for a day off against the Red Sox. In any normal baseball city, this wouldn’t be a big deal. However, in New York, things are different. Posada ended up apologizing and GM Brian Cashman had to write a press release. Posada finished 2011 with a .235 BA, .309 wOBA, and 14 home runs.The highlight of his year was in the ALDS where Posada was 6 for 14 with a .579 OBP.
I would be surprised if the Yankees plan on having Posada back as their starting DH for next year. They can’t risk weakening their team just to make sure a player’s feelings don’t get hurt. Every member of the Yankees core-four are seeing their career come to a slow end. I am curious to see if Posada does decide to keep playing baseball in 2012, whether he chooses to market himself as a DH or a catcher.
Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated wrote that Posada will play baseball next year if he finds the right opportunity and the Marlins are a possible suitor. I don’t see Posada providing much on-field value, but if the Marlins are looking for a veteran who knows how to win, Posada would be a perfect match.
Similar to Varitek, Posada just didn’t have a strong enough career to make the Hall of Fame. He will be remembered as a great person, and one of the Core Four that defined this new age of Yankee baseball. I just don’t see Posada getting enough support from BBWAA members who will focus more on stats, rather than intangibles.
Neither of these players are going to have an easy end to their careers. Both are in the last days of professional baseball and have some important decisions to make. Neither Varitek nor Posada will ever be forgotten for their character and contributions to their franchises. Regardless of whether either one makes the hall of fame, both have enjoyed careers to be proud of and that few other players could ever imagine possible.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Sam on Twitter***
Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback. You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook . To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.Follow @mlbreports
Friday November 11, 2011
Daniel Aubain (Guest Writer): Question: What does a fantasy baseball blogger without a blog do during the offseason? Answer: Guest write an article for one of his favorite baseball sites!
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Daniel Aubain and I used to run a fantasy baseball blog called Colorado Springs Fantasy Baseball Addict or COSFBA, for short. I recently decided to shut the site down and pursue other writing opportunities but the itch to write has been too strong to ignore. While I am currently working behind the scenes on a new venture, I wanted to take this opportunity today to highlight for you some topics of interest I’ve been or will be following this baseball offseason.
Below is an A-to-Z guide of some of the key topics I am paying attention to this baseball offseason. Enjoy!
- A is for Awards: So Brett Gardner doesn’t win a Gold Glove (even though he was the best defensive player in all of baseball). Miguel Cabrera doesn’t get a Silver Slugger. And now the Baseball Writers’ Association of America is on Twitter. I’m very excited to see what November 14th through November 22nd has in store for the blogosphere.
- B is for Baseball: The most minor free agent news or offseason trade (see: Melky Cabrera for Jonathan Sanchez and Ryan Verdugo) trumps ANYTHING going on in the NFL, NHL (that’s still a thing) and the NBA (how much longer until this is no longer a thing?).
- C is for Closers: Fantasy baseball GMs know to “never pay for saves”. How come real GMs don’t know this? Ryan Madson possibly getting a 4 year/$44M contract offer from the Phillies? Good luck with that.
- D is for @DJAubain: That’s right. Shameless self promotion. Be sure to follow me at my new Twitter account name. The link is RIGHT THERE!
- E is for Exhibition Baseball: I hope all of you with the MLB Network were able to catch some of the Taiwan All-Star Series. It was a nice fix for those of us going through withdrawals after an amazing World Series.
- F is for FanGraphs: Any aspiring Sabermetrician or fan of advanced baseball statistics has to be familiar with FanGraphs by now, right? Well, why not support their work and show the world you’re a big baseball nerd by purchasing one of these fabulous t-shirts. I’ve got mine.
- G is for Gold Glove: I still can’t believe Brett Gardner didn’t win a Gold Glove. The mainstream media may love awards such as this (it even had its own television show this year) but those of us with any true understanding on how to measure “worthiness” with more than just web gems and name recognition are left scratching our heads more often than not.
- H is for Hot Stove: Free agent signings. Winter meetings. Blockbuster trades. What’s not to love about the MLB offseason?
- I is for Intentional Talk: I’m sorry, MLB Network. For all you do right in my eyes, this is your ultimate worst. I find this show unwatchable. It’s so bad it belongs on ESPN.
- J is for Jose Reyes: Reyes to the Marlins? Not hating it.
- K is for Keepers: Fantasy baseball GMs all over the country are anxiously discussing whether or not player X or player Y is worthy of being a keeper. I think it is absolutely crazy that some leagues have already required you locking in keepers. Wait until February or March to lock up keepers. It will make your league better. Trust me.
- L is for Lefty Specialists: Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver are both 41 years old, coming off of World Series appearances and free agents. Which GMs are going to overpay for 50-60 appearances and 40-50 innings pitched? I’m hoping the Yankees get one of these guys to replace Boone Logan.
- M is for Mystery Team: Nothing says offseason free agent signings like a good mystery team in the mix. Who will it be this offseason?
- N is for Nick Punto: Nick has a World Series ring. Ted Williams and Ernie Banks have zero. Just in case you were wondering.
- O is for Ozzie Guillen: Ozzie is now with the soon-to-be Miami Marlins and every Latin ballplayer is now rumored to be heading his way via free agency or trades. If only I understood a word he was saying in English. Don’t believe me? Check out his Twitter feed during the World Series.
- P is for Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder: How high are these contract numbers going to go and which teams are in the mix? The Yankees can’t sign everyone (in theory). It will be interesting to see where these top sluggers land.
- Q is for Carlos Quentin: With the Chicago White Sox discussing getting younger and cheaper in 2012, could Quentin be the type of player shipped out of town for a handful of prospects? We shall see. I hear the Marlins have money. Hmmmmm.
- R is for Realignment: Moving the Houston Astros to the AL West makes absolutely no sense. Thanks, Bud Selig, for the usual knee-jerk reaction to a problem. I’m a huge fan of a radical realignment based on true geographical rivalries. Forget the AL/NL thing. Screw the traditionalists. Make the DH optional. Create regional television networks. Let’s move this game into the 21st century already!
- S is for Sabermetrics: It’s not going away. It’s not made up of basement-dwelling bloggers. And it is definitely NOT ruining the game of baseball and how it is played on the field. It is a tool used to evaluate and measure the performance of players. Embrace it.
- T is for Twitter: If you’re not using Twitter, I suggest you check it out. It’s not Facebook.
- U is for UZR: Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) is one of the most widely accepted defensive metrics available and yet Brett Gardner, the best defensive player at any position, doesn’t win a Gold Glove. Bitter much? Yes.
- V is for Vernon Wells: Just a reminder, Wells still has three years left on his contract at $21M per year. That is all.
- W is for Wilson Ramos: Kidnapped? Unreal. This is just a horrible situation. I hope this gets resolved quickly and without tragedy. We wonder why agents and players lie to escape other countries to come to America to play baseball.
- X is for X-Factor: No, not that horrible television show on FOX. I’m talking about the intangible “x-factor” agents will be talking about their clients bringing to a team’s clubhouse. Jim Thome has it. Francisco Rodriguez doesn’t have it.
- Y is for Yuniesky Betancourt: According to the Bill James’ 2012 Handbook (and this tweet), Yuniesky has been baseball’s worst defensive shortstop over the last three seasons; costing his teams 46 runs. Keep that tidbit in mind as this Type B free agent lingers on the market.
- Z is for the AriZona Fall League: If top prospects are your thing, then you need to be paying attention to what’s taking place in ‘Zona (see what I did there?). Check it out online and be sure to follow it Twitter, too.