Friday November 16th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: The final awards have been announced. Both races could have gone either way, with deserving candidates in each league. In the end, each winner won by a large margin (Cabrera 362-281 and Posey 422-285). There really were not any surprises in this year of MVP voting. Here’s my analysis for each league.
Monday October 29th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: The 2012 San Francisco Giants can be described in various ways. They were exciting, quirky, hard-working, and persevering to name a few. Pablo Sandoval, when asked of a word that could describe the team- said “heart”. After all the team went through, this was the absolute perfect word to describe what the team was made of. The Giants did it all in the playoffs. The team came back from a 0-2 deficit in the NLDS against the Reds and a 1-3 deficit in the NLCS against the Cardinals. The World Series was a breeze for the Giants as they swept the Detroit Tigers in incredible fashion. It took extra innings in game 4. But after 2 straight shutouts, the Giants had to work at least a bit to get their rings.
At the beginning of the season, fans had high hopes for the club as all fans do. The team got off to a bit of a slow start but picked up the pace as expected. The Dodgers looked to be a threat after an unexpected hot start, and the race was on. The Diamondbacks hung with the top two teams for a short period of time but in the end it became a two-team race. It was at the beginning of the year when the Giants were faced with the first bit of adversity. Closer Brian Wilson was lost to his second Tommy John Surgery. The team decided to go with closer-by-committee, and that worked fabulously (mainly Sergio Romo stepping up as the closer towards the end of the season).
Thursday October 18th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: When the San Francisco Giants made the playoffs this year for the second time in three years, there was one major question: Should Melky Cabrera be activated at some point? There were two schools of thought: the business side, which leaned toward activating him; and the emotional fan side, which was against activating him. If Cabrera was activated, there was no doubt he would help the Giants offensively. Cabrera’s .346 average would have won him the batting title (he disqualified himself) and helped the Giants greatly in the postseason. Granted, if Cabrera had not gotten suspended, the Giants might not have gone after Hunter Pence. Still, a lineup going Cabrera-Posey- Sandoval in the three-four-five holes would be dangerous. And, if Pence was added, the offense would be even more potent.
If the emotions and distractions of players and fans were not considered, the Giants would have activated Cabrera immediately. But, with all of the drama surrounding Cabrera’s suspension and him likely lying to many of his teammates, bringing him back might not have been the best decision. Cabrera would definitely draw an abundance of unwanted media attention into the clubhouse and would undoubtedly cause a distraction. Giants’ fans were also mixed. Some wanted him back while some wanted him run out of town. Although not as important, Cabrera’s return could anger some fans, giving the usually electric AT&T Park a different atmosphere.
Thursday October 11th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky:What a year it has been. With the extra Wild Card and a Triple Crown winner, there has been no shortage of excitement. As part of the BBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance), we are to vote for awards including the Hall of Fame, All Star Game, end of the year awards, and a baseball writer with quality writing and a strong internet presence.
In this segment, I will outline the various end of the season awards (with their announcement dates) and who I believe will win them. Some selections were very, very close.
October 15th: Connie Mack Award (Manager of the Year): NL: Davey Johnson (Washington Nationals); AL: Bob Melvin (Oakland Athletics)
Johnson: This decision was a no-brainer. Johnson lead his young Nationals team to the first NL East title in Washington Nationals’ history with a 98-64 record—finishing four games better than the Braves—an early-season favorite for the title. Johnson and the Nats’ secured the number one seed in the playoffs and were the best team in baseball—winning 18 more games than in 2011. This was Johnson’s first full year with Washington and he made it a good one.
Melvin: This was one of the most remarkable stories in a very long time. The A’s were in the midst of rebuilding, trading away aces Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals and Trevor Cahill to the Diamondbacks. Oakland did not start off too well, having a mediocre first half, but really turned it on after the All Star Break. This was a tough decision because of Orioles manager Buck Showalter also putting up a strong case. The Orioles finished almost identically to the A’s with a 93-69 record (A’s finished at 94-68). In my opinion, Melvin had even less of a team to work with than Showalter, and still won one more game.
Monday October 3, 2011
Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports): The catching position is one that is often the most mismanaged by fantasy owners. A very thin position, it is difficult to find value from catchers in the deeper leagues. Furthermore, you take a big risk dedicating a high pick or significant auction money at a very injury prone position, as 2011 owners Joe Mauer and Buster Posey owners know all too well. Even a healthy catcher will sit for a significant amount of games each year due to the wear and tear of the position.
For these reasons, I generally advise to not overpay for a player at this position. But with that said, for the right price, the top batch of catchers can provide you significant value. However, too many times before we have seen significant year yo year decline from players at this position. You simply should not rely on production at this position. Spend your bucks elsewhere. Based on matchups and playing time, it is possible to scrap together value for next to nothing.
For example, Chris Iannetta and his .238 average, 51 runs, 14 HR, and 55 RBI, disappointed many fantasy owners in 2011. But a closer look at the numbers shows the true value he provides. We all know the effect that Coors Field has on hitters, but for Iannetta it is staggering. His 2011 home numbers look like this: .301 batting average, 10 HR, 39 RBI and 3 SB.
If you were to only start Iannetta at home in 2011, you would great numbers all across the board for half of the season. You are essentially getting 50% of Brian McCann for way less than 50% of the price. The discrepancy in his splits is dramatic that it makes him so easy to use as an owner. Only start him at home and never think about starting him on the road!
Now, for the days that Iannetta is on the road, there are plenty of options in the bottom half of the rankings that would be available on the waiver wire. Let’s pick someone like Miguel Olivo. His 19 HR and 62 RBI provide great production from the thin catching position, but his .224 average leaves a lot to be desired. However, an owner is much better equipped to muster this average if the number of at bats are cut in half. If you combine this morph of Olivo and Iannetta, you are looking at these types of numbers:
.260-.270, 20 HR, 70 RBI, 6 SB.
These numbers are essentially right on par with Brian McCann’s 2011 line (.270, 24HR, 71RBI, 3SB). McCann is a consensus top five catcher, while Iannetta and Olivo are viewed outside of the top-15. You are essentially creating McCann for a lot cheaper and inherent risk that comes with investing money in the catching position. Furthermore, there are more options out there if you think Olivo’s average is too much of a killer. It all depends on your team’s needs and what categories you are chasing. If you are more concerned about average, guys like Nick Hundley and Jonathan Lucroy might be more attractive options. Looking for power and RBI production? Names such as J.P. Arencibia, Russell Martin, Geovany Soto, Kurt Suzuki (there are even more) are all useful under the right circumstances.
For example, look at Geovany Soto’s numbers against left-handed pitching in 2011: .296 average, 7 HR and 15 RBI in just 98 at-bats. This is in stark contrast to his .207 average and 10 home runs in 323 at-bats against right-handed pitching.
The point is that it’s easy to piece together production at this position. There are several players who contribute in the HR and RBI categories and you can get the most out of them by maximizing their strengths based on matchups and ballparks.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Fantasy Baseball Analyst, Peter Stein. 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 Peter on Twitter (@peterWstein).***
Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback. You can follow us on Twitter (@MLBreports) 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.
Thursday August 18, 2011
MLB reports: Today on the Reports we are proud to feature Tyler LaTorre, a catcher with the San Francisco Giants.
The 28-year old LaTorre is a true example of perseverance. LaTorre bypassed the MLB draft and signed with the Giants in 2006, his favorite team as a youngster. After playing four seasons at UC Davis, LaTorre began his professional career in the Arizona Rookie League in 2006. This season LaTorre worked his way up the ranks to AAA Fresno and looks to be banging on the Giants door. With Buster Posey entrenched as the Giants starting catcher, the California native LaTorre continues to strive towards a future position with the big league club.
We are pleased to present Tyler LaTorre of the San Francisco Giants:
MLB reports: Welcome to the Reports Tyler. It is a pleasure to be speaking with you today. Growing up, who was your favorite baseball player? Which player did you most idolize and pattern your game after?
Tyler LaTorre: My all time favorite player is Ken Griffey, Jr. I was always number #24 when playing in little league and on up. Being a left-handed hitter myself, I idolized and mimicked his sweet swing and tried to play the game with has much fun as he did. In the end, baseball is still a game and is meant to be fun. Junior played the game with so much fun and made the game fun to watch.
MLB reports: Griffey is a very popular choice among current athletes we have spoken to. On the flip side, which current MLB star do you most admire and why?
Tyler LaTorre: I am a huge fan of all major league players and I admire them all. I love watching big league swings and big league closers throwing hard with dirty off speed pitches. The MLB At Bat app for the iPhone is amazing. Multiple times a day I find myself watching big league swings and seeing what it takes to be a big leaguer. I want nothing more than to someday have people watching my swing on the MLB At Bat app.
MLB reports: Reflecting on your career to-date, what are your proudest accomplishments on the baseball field?
Tyler LaTorre: I have won two league championship rings. My proudest moment individually though, was getting a call to the big league spring camp this past year. I was only there for a couple of weeks, but it was a dream come true to be a part of the World Series Champion Giants Spring Training. I learned as much in those two weeks as I have learned in my four years in the minor leagues. I was truly blessed to have been given that opportunity.
MLB reports: What are your goals going into the 2011 season?
Tyler LaTorre: My goals for 2011 are like years past. When I get my opportunities, I have to take advantage of them. I am no longer a prospect and I have never been a player that gets 500-600 AB’s in a season. So when I get my plate appearances, I have to make the most out of them. So far in 2011, I feel like I have done that and I am trying to stay sharp even though the next opportunity might not be today or tomorrow, but a week down the road. Another goal of mine is to help my team win in any way possible. I hate losing and I’ll do whatever it takes to win. I would also like to stay healthy and play winter ball somewhere in the offseason.
MLB reports: When you first found out you were signed by the Giants, what was going through your mind? Why did you choose to bypass the draft and what was the process like choosing to sign with the Giants in 2006?
Tyler LaTorre: It was very surreal to me when I signed my professional contract with the Giants. It didn’t set in until I was sent to Arizona before being sent to Salem, Oregon for short season. I was a fifth year senior at UC Davis in 2006, and I put together a career changing season that got me a chance to play at the next level. Since I had already graduated and got my degree when my college season was over, I had up to one week before the draft to sign with a team or I would have had to wait on the draft. After my last college game I was offered contracts from some MLB organization, including the Giants. I could have waited for the draft to see where that might take me, but I had the ball in my court and I got to choose where I felt would be the best opportunity for my future. That choice was the San Francisco Giants.
MLB reports: What do you consider your greatest baseball skill(s)?
Tyler LaTorre: I feel like I am a great leader and that I have the ability to make my teammates better. I handle a pitching staff very well and pitchers trust me to make the right decision on the field to help the team. I take pride in pitch calling and controlling the other teams’ running game. I also like to think that I can handle the bat pretty well and I hit from the left side, so that’s a strong skill that I possess.
MLB reports: What facets of your game do you most wish to improve upon?
Tyler LaTorre: I am always looking for ways to get better in all facets of my game. I want to quicken my foot work when catching and hit for more pull side power. I also want to try to get some more leg strength to last a full season behind the plate if that opportunity ever arises. In 2010, I caught the majority of the final two months of AA and I figured out what it was like to catch everyday. That season took a toll on my body and I want to be prepared so that I never feel like that again. I would like to be strong and able to perform at the highest levels.
MLB reports: How do strikeouts and walks figure into your game? Do you see any of these items changing over time and to what degree?
Tyler LaTorre: To me, striking out is the worst thing that I can do when I have a plate appearance. Walking back to the dugout after a strikeout is a terrible feeling for me and I can’t stand letting my team down. I have always had a pretty good eye in the box and I feel I know the strike zone very well. Drawing a walk and getting on base for my team is a victory in itself, and I have always prided myself on having even strikeout to walk ratios in my career. Strikeouts are going to happen, they are a part of baseball. But I strive to make the pitcher work to get me out. I look to walk or put the ball in play to make something happen, and to battle and compete during every one of my at bats.
MLB reports: Long term do you see yourself staying behind the plate? How do you see defense as part of your overall game?
Tyler LaTorre: Catching is one of the funniest things I have ever done in my life. I love catching, blocking, calling a game, and winning baseball games. Nothing more satisfying than working as hard as I can for nine innings and getting that 27th out and walking out to the mound and shaking my teammates’ hands. However, I know the reality that there is only one catcher on the field at one time and there are prospects in this game that have to play. So ultimately whatever can get me in the lineup to help the team win is what I want.
MLB reports: If you had to look into a crystal ball, when do you see your expected time of arrival in the big leagues and what do you think you need to do most to get there?
Tyler LaTorre: I need a chance. I need someone or some team to take a chance on me and I need to show them they have made the right choice. I don’t have a timetable on when I will join the Giants. I wish it was tomorrow, but whenever that time may come or not come, I will always be ready to play and compete to the best of my abilities.
MLB reports: Has pro ball been everything you expected it to be thus far? What are some of the highs and lows you have experienced?
Tyler LaTorre: I didn’t really have many expectations. I am the type of person that takes things day by day and even pitch to pitch. I don’t worry about the past or future, I live in the right now and it has helped me stay focused my whole career. On the high side has to be my short season team in 2007 when we had the best winning percentage in all of baseball and won the Northwest League Championship. Also being a non-draftee, non-prospect in AAA right now competing at the level right below the big leagues is a pretty big high for me. On the low side, in 2007 I didn’t make a team out of my first spring training and was sent to extended spring staining in 110 degree Arizona. I honestly thought I wouldn’t make it out of there and was going to be released before I even had the opportunity to show my abilities. But I stay focused and dedicated to baseball and four years later I am in AAA and looking forward to each day and an opportunity to make the big league roster.
MLB reports: What do you do for fun when you are not playing baseball? Best friend(s) on the team that you most hang out with and what do you guys like to do to chill?
Tyler LaTorre: I love having a good time and laughing. Whether it is on the field, the plane/bus, or at our apartment in Fresno, I try to stay positive and have fun. I mostly hang out with Brett Pill, Jackson Williams, Brock Bond, and Brandon Crawford. We all have a great time together and play video games, go to the mall, Golf, whatever we can do to take our minds off playing this tough and grueling game called baseball. I would have retired from baseball a long time ago if I didn’t have such a fun group of friends in this game.
MLB reports: How has the Buster Posey injury affected the organization? Did it have a direct influence on your playing time in your opinion?
Tyler LaTorre: The injury hit me pretty hard. To see a friend in so much pain, made me sick to my stomach. I had to stop watching replays. Buster’s injury was tragic and put our minor league organization in a bit of chaos. We started moving catchers around, looking for trades, and signing free agent catchers. But it never got me more playing time, which was frustrating. The truth is that I haven’t really played that much this year. It doesn’t affect my drive though. I come to the field everyday expecting to be in the lineup and ready to help the team win.
MLB reports: A big thank you to Tyler LaTorre for joining us today on the Reports. We wish you the best of luck on your baseball journey and hope to see you playing for the Giants very soon. You have competed very hard to make it to this point in your baseball career and look for you to take the final step to the big leagues. We definitely encourage all our readers to feel free to contact Tyler with your comments and questions on his Twitter handle. Tyler is a must follow!
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.
Thursday July 28, 2011
Rob Bland (Intern- MLB Reports): Trade Deadline. More speculation. Teams out of the playoff race sending their valuable veterans to contending teams for prospects. This is a time of year that baseball journalists make a living out of contemplating where there is a fit. The Tampa Bay Rays have quite a decision to make as to what to do with the frustrating yet ultra-talented Melvin “BJ” Upton. Upton was the 2ndoverall pick in the 2002 MLB draft, and quickly rose through the ranks with the Rays. In his first full season in 2007, he belted 24 home runs and stole 22 bases while maintaining an OPS of .894. Every season since that breakout year, his BABIP has dropped, and he has been unable to replicate the type of power he previously displayed. Upton is a good fielder in center field and a good base runner, with the ability to steal 30-40 bases a year. This year, Upton has struggled at the Trop, where he is hitting .171/.250/.312/.562. On the road, the numbers are much better at .284/.364/.481/.845.
The Rays would be wise to move B.J. Upton now as they could net a tremendous return from a team who may be desperate to make a push for the playoffs. There have been close to a dozen teams who have at least called to check in on GM Andrew Friedman’s asking price.
Here are five teams who would be wise to make a big push for the outfielder:
San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are looking to repeat as World Series Champs and look poised to make the postseason, even with one of the worst offenses in baseball. They do have RHP Zach Wheeler ranked as MLB.com’s preseason #33 prospect. The 2009 1st rounder has done very well this year in the California League, but does need to refine command. Offering Wheeler would probably force the Rays to make the deal, however, the Giants seem to be looking at Carlos Beltran and Colby Rasmus as their main targets.** (NOTE: Since preparing this article, Rasmus has been traded to the Jays and Beltran appears to be on the move to San Francisco. It is a likely safe bet that Upton is not headed anytime soon to San Francisco.)
With none of their regular outfielders hitting over .234, the Braves are getting pretty desperate for help. Even though they are currently three games up in the wild card race in the National League, they need to bolster their line-up in order to do some damage in the playoffs. The Braves have a ton of pitching prospects to get the deal done. Arodys Vizcaino is one of these top prospects, who has shot up to AAA from A-ball this season. With great command and a plus fastball and curve, Vizcaino could be used to bring Upton to Atlanta.
With the aging Raul Ibanez and youngster Dom Brown struggling to hit in the corner outfield spots, Upton could be ushered in to fill one of those spots. Incumbent Shane Victorino likely wouldn’t be moved from center, but could shift to left for Upton. I could actually see the Phillies going with a young athletic outfield of Victorino, Upton and Brown. Ibanez then becomes a decent weapon off the bench. Still only 19 years old, Jonathan Singleton has drawn a lot of interest from other teams. The Phillies have stated they will not move Singleton for Beltran, but I could see it happening with Upton. Singleton has an advanced approach at the plate, and as he matures, will surely hit for power.
With Grady Sizemore seemingly always on the disabled list, Cleveland needs to shore up the center of their outfield. Michael Brantley has performed admirably, however if they really want to contend in the shaky AL Central, they need a difference maker. Shin Soo Choo has underperformed this year and with the addition of Upton, I can see him being able to turn his season around. Joe Gardner, a right-handed pitching prospect could be moved in this deal. Gardner is an extreme groundball pitcher that needs work on secondary pitches, but along with Cord Phelps, a 2B/3B who played 19 games with the Indians this year, a deal could be struck.
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ string of losing seasons could soon be over, and they’re in the hunt for the NL Central crown. Only a game back, they may make a push for a complement to Andrew McCutchen in the outfield. With Jose Tabata struggling and spending time in AAA, Upton to play right field for the Pirates could be a great idea. Starling Marte, a speedy outfielder who may remind some a bit of Upton, could be dangled with an arm such as Colton Cain, a lefty who can throw in the mid 90s but needs work on his secondary stuff.
The most likely spot for Upton to land is Philadelphia. With the package that Philly could put together to obtain him, they are capable of pulling the trigger. If the Pirates do make a move, and don’t make the playoffs, they risk possibly setting the organization back again, as rushing their success could cause a tremendous fallout. Slow and steady usually wins the race. Hopefully the Pirates remember that.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Rob Bland. Please feel free to leave comments and to welcome Rob aboard. You can also follow Rob 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.
Editor’s Note: The Giants acquisition of Carlos Beltran looks to be complete. As proposed last week on the Reports, Carlos Beltran is on the move from the Mets to the Giants in exchange for top Giants pitching prospect Zack Wheeler. The trade simply needs a rubber stamp, as Beltran needs to go through the formality of waiving his no-trade clause. His agent, Scott Boras, worked diligently to land Beltran with a NL contending team and did not disappoint with the trade to San Francisco. The 21-year old Wheeler was the 6th overall pick in the 2009 draft. The Giants gave up the top pitcher in their system, no doubt. But with a major league rotation consisting of Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong and Jonathan Sanchez on the mend, the Giants could afford to part with pitching to acquire hitting. The Mets are also sending $4 million dollars of salary relief to the Giants as further consideration in obtaining a top prospect back. Expect Beltran to be the middle-of-the-order slugger the Giants so desperately crave, especially with top hitting catcher Buster Posey out for the year. I can see Beltran carrying the Giants into the playoffs and advancing quite far, given his previous playoffs heroics and incentive to land one more big free agency contract in the offseason. Beltran is also likely to re-sign with the Giants, so this is a win-win all around. The Giants get run production this year and in possible future years and the Mets add a much needed building block for their future which just got brighter.
Tuesday July 19, 2011
MLB reports: The MLB rumor mill is working overtime as the non-waiver trade deadline of July 31st quickly approaches. With less than two weeks to go, the speculation is heating up as to which players will be changing uniforms. Francisco Rodriguez is already a Brewer and Jeff Keppinger was just traded to the Giants. But rumors persist that the Mets and Giants are not finished with their activity. With both superstars Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran eligible for free agency at the end of the season, talk is that one or both players will be moved out of New York. With the possibility of the Mets trying to retain Reyes, the most likely scenario is Carlos Beltran changing addresses. At the center of the speculation is the San Francisco Giants. The defending World Series champions have been simply atrocious this year offensively. With their cleanup hitter Buster Posey out for the season, the team cannot afford to miss out on the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes.
The Giants were very fortunate to win the World Series last year. The playoffs are a tough road and requires the perseverance normally of a balanced team to make it to the end. The Giants, while solid in the pitching department, were essentially using smoke and mirrors to score runs last year. The team relied on the likes of Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross and Freddy Sanchez on offense. While useful role players, these players are not the big sluggers that are supposed to win championships. Now with Buster Posey out, the Giants are forced to rely on Eli Whiteside, Miguel Tejada, Aaron Rowand, Pat Burrell and company to score the team’s runs. Possessing one of the best, if not the best pitching staff in baseball, the Giants can ill-afford to limit itself offensively and essentially waste such strong pitching. To defend its championship, the Giants will have no choice but to beef up their offense.
Carlos Beltran has been one of the most consistent hitters in the game over the course of his career. Taking a look at his numbers, we see a consistently high level of production:
|162 Game Avg.||621||110||175||28||106||28||.282|
|KCR (7 yrs)||3134||546||899||123||516||164||.287|
|NYM (7 yrs)||3108||544||870||148||552||100||.280|
|HOU (1 yr)||333||70||86||23||53||28||.258|
|NL (8 yrs)||3441||614||956||171||605||128||.278|
|AL (7 yrs)||3134||546||899||123||516||164||.287|
His resume speaks for itself. Beltran is a 1999 AL Rookie of the Year. He has won four Gold Gloves for his defensive work in the outfield. He won two silver slugger awards. A lifetime .282 AVG, .360 OBP and .495 SLG. In 2004 he hit the magical 30/30 mark (30 home runs, 30 stolen bases), and was actually two home runs short of 40/40. For the most part, Beltran in his prime could do it all. Hit home runs, hit for average, steal bases, catch and throw the ball like few players could. One of the few true five-tool players in the game. The aberrations we find in Beltran’s statistics were the last two years. Due to various injuries, particularly knee woes, Carlos Beltran was forced to miss much of the last two seasons and saw his production sharply decline. Now healthy and extremely motivated, Beltran has come back in a big way.
Beltran played in his sixth All-Star game this year in Arizona. While he rarely steals bases these days, the rest of Beltran’s game has returned as shown by his numbers. The only issue surrounding Beltran is whether his knee will hold up for the rest of the season and into the playoffs. From there, a team will need to determine his long-term health and abilities in awarding him a free agent contract. But from all indications, Beltran is a player that can still play ball at the highest level when healthy. An ideal fit for the Giants that lineup that desperately needs run production.
How bad has the Giants offense been in 2011? Going into tonight, the Giants as a team are hitting .243, with a .309 OBP and .363 SLG. The team has collectively hit 63 home runs and scored 356 runs. Yet somehow the team continues to sit in first place in the NL West, 3.5 games ahead of the Diamondbacks. If not for Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong, Brian Wilson and the rest of the Giants pitching staff, the Giants would be in the basement of the division. The run of the Giants over the past two seasons has been incredible, but clearly linked to its pitching. To support its pitchers and put runs on the board, the Giants have to step up and beef up its offense. While Jeff Keppinger is a useful player, he will not be enough to get the job done. Rather, the Giants need to acquire a bomber, the way the Cardinals acquired Matt Holliday a couple of years ago in their playoff run. Or closer to home, when the Astros acquired Carlos Beltran in 2004. Beltran hit an incredible 8 home runs during the Astros playoff drive that year. Coincidentally, Beltran was an impending free agent that year as well. Fast forward to 2011 and the very same Carlos Beltran is available. Having a fantastic campaign, Beltran in 2011 has hit .287 to-date, with 14 home runs, league leading 28 doubles, with a .381 OBP and .512 SLG. Again during a free agency year. Definite playoff calibre numbers and a perfect fit out west in San Francisco.
The Giants and Carlos Beltran are well suited for one another. San Francisco needs a strong cleanup hitter. Carlos Beltran wants to compete for a World Series championship and boost his free agency stock for one more prime contract. The odds of getting a ring don’t get any better than joining the defending world champions. Some experts have speculated that Beltran may not waive his no-trade protection to join the Giants. I am not buying that theory. The Giants are a terrific organization to play for, with highly regarded management, a fantastic ballpark in a beautiful city, and are one of baseball’s most historical and treasured teams. Beltran would look fantastic in a Giants uniform. What better way to showcase his abilities and earn his last free agency contract than by playing for a contender and fighting for a World Series championship.
Remember 1994, the year that Beltran was traded from Kansas City to Houston and played like a man possessed in nearly single-handedly leading the Astros to the World Series. That performance, combined with his numbers to-date, earned Beltran that off-season a 7-year, $119 million contract from the Mets. Now Beltran is on the cusp of free agency again and has the potential to “earn his pay” so to speak with the Giants in the same manner that he did with the Astros in 1994. With Scott Boras as his agent, Beltran will surely receive the advice that playoff performance equals free agency dollars.
The Giants will have a choice in making a pitch to the Mets for Carlos Beltran. They will either have to absorb the majority of the contract and provide fairly decent prospects, or have the Mets absorb a large chunk of money and offer 1-2 elite prospects in return. The Giants are well stocked in the minors and have excellent pitching at the major league level. The Mets may request Jonathan Sanchez off the major league roster or a combination of minor leaguers from the farm. Outfielder Thomas Neal and pitcher Zack Wheeler could be on the Mets wish-list. Or perhaps the Giants will be able to give up a package of lower level prospects and not lose their top prospects and major league level. The decision will boil down to the money involved and players offered by other teams in trade packages.
At the end of the day, much like the Yankees must acquire Ubaldo Jimenez from the Rockies (see our recent feature), the Giants have no choice but to trade for Carlos Beltran. The Yankees cannot afford to waste their superior offense without enough top-level pitching and the Giants in turn, need to surround their talented pitching staff with consistent run production. It is a lot of pressure to have a team win 2-1, 3-1 games night-in and night-out. Carlos Beltran has proven that he can carry a team on his back when he is on his game. Well, in 2011 he is definitely playing at his highest level in years. Beltran needs the Giants for his next contract and a chance for a ring, while the Giants need his bat and glove to increase their chances of a championship. The perfect marriage, expect Beltran to be a Giant by the end of July. This acquisition makes too much sense for the Giants and Brian Sabean will continue to stock his team on route to a possible back-to-back World Series run for the Giants. Carlos Beltran to the Giants. Not a question of if, just a question of when.
Monday May 30, 2011
On the Reports, we will be occasionally featuring an up-and-coming baseball writer that has come to our attention and share their work with you, the readers. Part of our mandate at MLB reports is to provide the best baseball coverage and analysis in the business. MLB reports ultimately is designed to expose our readers to the world of baseball and the stories, facts, insights and profiles behind it. In order to meet this goal, we would like to give exciting young writers the chance to showcase their talents and provide a fresh pool of ideas to our site. In today’s feature, we are excited to have Brian Lozier as our guest writer with his post on the Buster Posey injury. Brian’s topic was to look at the Posey injury and whether a rule change is required in baseball. Enjoy!
Brian Lozier (Guest Writer for MLB Reports): Injuries are another way of saying “Unfortunate event”. Things that are literally out of the hands of the people involved. There is nothing there to prevent injuries, slow them or make what unfolded heal any faster. Nothing can change an injury after it occurs, so people try to take measures into their own hands and prevent future occurences from happening. But at what cost to the game do we try to prevent injuries from taking place?
In the extra-inning thriller staged in AT&T Park in San Francisco this past Wednesday, former Rookie of the Year winning catcher Buster Posey suffered a broken leg and is out for the rest of the season and possibly the start of 2012 as well. A future All-Star candidate, Posey was run over by Scott Cousins of the Marlins, who scored the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. Posey, becoming an everyday catcher last season after being called up in May, played the role of protector of home plate on the play. Posey took his destiny and the future of his team in his hands by doing all that he could to fight for his team to pull out the win. The resulting cost though to the Giants organization was devastating.
After an MRI came back showing a broken fibula and three torn ligaments, Posey’s agent, Jeff Barry reached out to Joe Torre and the MLB head office with a plead for a change of the rules in order to stop collisions at the plate. Barry stated that “You leave players vulnerable. I can tell you MLB is less than it was before [Posey’s Injury]”. Barry went on to compare the incident to a helmet to helmet collision in the NFL. “If you go helmet to helmet in the NFL, it’s a $100,000 fine. In baseball, you have a situation in which baserunners are slamming into fielders. It’s brutal. Borderline shocking. It just stinks for baseball.”
I can understand an agent’s view to wanting to keep players safe. I can see the importance of Major League Baseball taking measure to stop “senseless” injuries and preventing side-liners and career-ending plays. However, I have to draw the line when people ask to remove excitement from this great game. Train wrecks have been a part of baseball since the sport came into existence. The most famous of which might have been the 1970 All-Star Game and the Pete Rose collision at the plate. Or perhaps the collision to end game 6 of the 2003 World Series. I will let you be the judge.
Understanding one’s role and doing what it takes to win is a major part of being a Big-Leaguer. The speedster on each squad knows that it’s his job to steal bases. Consequence: Possible broken fingers. Outfielders on the other hand, are expected to catch balls on the fly. They might break a rib as a result, but it’s a part of their role. Pitchers go out knowing they could take a ball to the face or throw out an arm every time they step out onto a mound. But it’s what they do and is necessary for their respective teams to win. The above logic is no different when it is applied to the catcher. A catcher defensively at the end of the day must first and foremost, stop the baserunner. No question, no doubt.
What would happen if the rule changed and home plate collisions were a thing of the past? No one knows for certain, but it’s almost safe to say it would turn home plate into another first base. This would result in every close play into a force out situation. This would be a nightmare for teams when facing a contact pitcher. The result would be raising concern in places where most teams whole have a sigh of relief. Imagine stopping the notion of a deep sac fly to score a winning run. Or worse, stopping the suicide squeeze. Baseball would almost become a game without a soul.
I admire Jeff Barry for standing up for his client, I really do. In fact, more agents need to stand up for their players. I just wish it wasn’t at the expense of the game and the intensity of the sport that fans deserve. Why would anybody want to agree to this rule change? By abandoning home plate collisions, proponents of the rule change would be removing chance, excitement and thrill to the game of baseball. The clash of the titans at home plate during a game shows heart and guts to win a game which could possibly lead to a future World Series ring. Although not a perfect system which can result in the occasional injury, baseball needs to be played in the way it was meant to be. My baseball includes home plate collisions. It has been a part of the dynamic of baseball for all these years up to and including today and should continue to have a place in the sport for years to come.
***Thank you to Brian Lozier for preparing today’s article on Buster Posey and rule changes in baseball. You can follow Brian on Twitter.***