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Odds To Win The 2014 MLB World Series – Updated For Week 3

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Odds To Win The 2014 World Series

1.  LA Dodgers +600 (Up from +650)

Dodgers are still a good pick, but with SF lurking and Clayton Kershaw not back yet, that +600 looks bad.  Plus SF beat them 5 out of 6 so far.

2.  Washington Nationals +800

I like this club – but Stephen Strasburg‘s slow start, and injuries are plaguing Ryan Zimmerman and even Bryce Harper to an extent.  Plus Atlanta is right there with them right now.   

3.  Detroit Tigers +700 (Up From +900)

Lets see. They can’t score that well yet, and have a horrid start with the Bullpen.  The odds has swung to far to the favorite side here.  Stay Away.

4. St. Louis Cardinals +850 (Up From +1000)

This has to do with ownership over the Reds and Pirates so far. Read the rest of this entry

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Oakland Athletics Roster In 2014: How All Of The Pitchers Were Acquired

Jarrod Parker is out for the year with  Tommy John Surgery.  You are talking about a guy that was 25 - 16 with a 3.68 ERA over the last 2 years combined.  He has top of the rotation stuff and will be greatly missed.  The A's also had a TJ scare with A.J. Griffin, but it has been downgraded to an elbow strain for now.  Parker was traded for by the Athletics in a major package sent to Oakland - including Chris Carter< Carlos Gonzalez and Ryan Cook for Starter Dan Haren.  The club still has many of the components left as assets from that very deal. While it is bad Parker is out in 2014, he will be back.

Jarrod Parker is out for the year with Tommy John Surgery. You are talking about a guy that was 25 – 16 with a 3.68 ERA over the last 2 years combined. He has top of the rotation stuff and will be greatly missed. The A’s also had a TJ scare with A.J. Griffin, but it has been downgraded to an elbow strain for now. Parker was traded for by the Athletics in a major package sent to Oakland with Collin Cowgill and  Ryan Cook for Starter Trevor Cahill. The club still has Parker and Cahill.  While it is bad Parker is out in 2014, he will be back. Cahill has been ineffective for the D’backs in 2014 – with a 9.17 ERA and an MLB leading 4 losses.

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

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I just finished writing an article about how Billy Beane was smart not to have signed Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson to extensions here.

You really wont find him do this anytime soon with any of his chuckers.

The Scott Kazmir deal is the one he likes to do.  It is simple as to why the man operates like this.  He doesn’t have to give up any assets in the process.

Beane is a “Baseball Rounder”.

It is not unlike him to do manage 50 – 60 transactions per year.  He was won more than he has lost – whether it is Free Agency or trades.  His ballclub has the best record in the Majors since the start of play in 2012 – at 200 – 144 (.581 baseball).

We will go through the Pitching First, and then the hitting by the weekend. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Odds To Win Both Of The AL And NL Pennants In 2014: 5 Best Value Plays

With injuries to the Pitching Staff mounting fast for the Rays, and now with them not paying out such a great odd, the value pendulum has swung back to pick either the Yankees at +900 or the Red Sox at +750 for the AL Pennant.  The Yankees just took 3 out of 4 from the Red Sox, have a better offense in this year's lineup, and have decent pitching.  Boston is the reigning champs - and will be part of the race before all is said and done.  Factor in major injuries to Texas, Oakland and the LA Angels early, and a horrid Tigers Bullpen so far, and these two rivals have the best value on the board.

With injuries to the Pitching Staff mounting fast for the Rays, and now with them not paying out such a great odd, the value pendulum has swung back to pick either the Yankees at +900 or the Red Sox at +750 for the AL Pennant. The Yankees just took 3 out of 4 from the Red Sox, have a better offense in this year’s lineup, and have decent pitching. Boston is the reigning champs – and will be part of the race before all is said and done. Factor in major injuries to Texas, Oakland and the LA Angels early, and a horrid Tigers Bullpen so far, and these two rivals have the best value on the board.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Rays are finally listed where they should be on the betting board.

3 teams start play today tied in the AL East in the Rays, Yankees and Jays.  Baltimore has struggled along with Boston.

I think it is way too early to shovel dirt on the Red Sox season.  While I think they may not take down another pennant, they are my 2nd favorite play in the AL Pennant Odd list for return.

The Yankees are my favorite odds pick right now with a +900 mark.

Yes they have injuries to old guys are their team, but the guys in the lineup can mash right now, and particularly at Yankee Stadium. Read the rest of this entry

30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 3 MLB Baseball 2014

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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A little rant before the power rankings this week

Well, another 7 days has passed in baseball for this year.

There are no more home openers, attendance is down, fans are scattering about their Easter business and the NFL Draft is around to swing its mighty sword on the sports landscape. Read the rest of this entry

Odds To Win The 2014 World Series – Updated For Week 2

Milwaukee just pulverized the Red Sox and Phillies in a 6 - 0 road trip - that featured a great offensive output from the lineup.  Braun is hitting, Gomez is looking to back up his 2013 campaign.  Jean Segura has not slowed down.  Mark Reynolds looks decent for some power at 1B, and Jonathan Lucroy and Aramis Ramirez have added torque as well.  The Pitching is performing well.  The Brew Crew hosts a pivotal weekend series against Division Rival Pittsburgh starting tonight in Miller Park.  They moved the most up the charts this week - but are still full value for a World Series odd this week nonetheless

Milwaukee just pulverized the Red Sox and Phillies in a 6 – 0 road trip – that featured a great offensive output from the lineup. Braun is hitting, Gomez is looking to back up his 2013 campaign. Jean Segura has not slowed down. Mark Reynolds looks decent for some power at 1B, and Jonathan Lucroy and Aramis Ramirez have added torque as well. The Pitching is performing well. The Brew Crew hosts a pivotal weekend series against Division Rival Pittsburgh starting tonight in Miller Park. They moved the most up the charts this week – but are still full value for a World Series odd this week nonetheless

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The have and the have not’ s have started to dictate their positions in the game of baseball.

The Milwaukee Brewers, Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves  and San Francisco Giants were the biggest movers and shakers up the leaderboard.

On the other side of the coin, bettors have lost faith in the Orioles, Reds, Angels, Phillies and Diamondbacks. 

At the end of the article, there will be the top 5 best and worst odds to wager on this week Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (April.08) – Updated MLB Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings 2014

Photograph by Chris Szagola , AP

Photograph by Chris Szagola , AP

Ryan Braun homered three times, driving in 7 runs and spoiling the Phillies home opener with a Brewers 10-4 victory.

Delmon Young went 3 for 6 with a 2 run homer, 2 RBI total and a pair of run scored, leading the Orioles 20 hit attack against the Yankees and a 14-5 victory.

Tim Hudson won the Giant’s home opener with an 8 inning performance, letting up just 2 earned runs and no walks against Arizona for a 7-3 final.

Chris Archer was masterful against the Kansas City Royals, throwing 7 shutout innings in just 91 pitches. He did not get the decision, but set up the Rays tense 1-0 win.

They owned baseball on April.8, 2014.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings, plus see who gained 1/2 WOB’s – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON OR SCROLL DOWN.

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Odds To Win The 2014 World Series As Of Right Now: Many Changes After 1 Series

I still don't get why they are the current AL favorite over Detroit.  Despite that fact, Boston won their opening series - while all of the 4 other teams have tied or losing records through their 1st series.  i don't think a slight drop was warranted - especially when you consider only the Tigers and Mariners have a better record than the Red Sox right now.  They are tied with the Indians, Rangers, Astros and White Sox for their 2 - 1 record.

I still don’t get why they are the current AL favorite over Detroit. Despite that fact, Boston won their opening series – while all of the 4 other teams have tied or losing records through their 1st series. i don’t think a slight drop was warranted – especially when you consider only the Tigers and Mariners have a better record than the Red Sox right now. They are tied with the Indians, Rangers, Astros and White Sox for their 2 – 1 record.

Odds To Win The 2014 World Series

1.  LA Dodgers +600

2.  Washington Nationals +750 

3. Boston Red Sox +900 (Down from +850)

I am not sure why this club has moved down as they took 2 out of 3 versus the Orioles, and the Yankees are 1 – 2, while Tampa and Toronto split a series.

T4. St. Louis Cardinals +1000

T4.  Detroit Tigers +1000 Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (April.02) – Updated MLB Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings 2014

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Buehrle came within one misplayed line drive from the first complete game shutout of the year. He would settle for 8 2/3 shutout innings with 4 hits, 1 walk and 11 strikeouts, leading Toronto to a 3-0 win over Tampa Bay.

Ian Kinsler provided all of the offense the Tigers would need. He homered in the fourth and got the walk off hit in the 10th, giving Detroit a 2-1 win over the Royals

Tim Hudson pitched shutout ball into the 8th, letting up only 3 hits and striking out 7, walking no Diamondbacks, getting the win in his Giants debut, 209.

Ryan Ludwick‘s got the 9th inning lead off single and scored the walk off run as the Reds won a thriller against the Cardinals, 1-0.

They owned baseball on April.2, 2014.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings, plus see who gained 1/2 WOB’s – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON OR SCROLL DOWN.

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More Tommy John Surgeries By The Numbers + Who Is the 1st $100 MIL Pitcher To Go Down With It? + A Scherzer Angle?

 

Yes Max Scherzer wrapped up the AL Cy Young with a most impressive season in 2013, but the club will be hard pressed to lock up his services beyond the 2014 campaign - when you factor the team wants to re-sign Cabrera in 2016, and also the club is already spending upwards of $45 MIL per year on Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez as part of the Starting Pitching Staff.  The team just put out a press release saying 'The club gave a substantial offer, that would have made the RHP, one of the highest paid pitchers in baseball, and he doth refused it."

Yes Max Scherzer wrapped up the AL Cy Young with a most impressive season in 2013, but with TJ surgery becoming so common place with today’s chuckers, who would want to risk that kind of jack for a pitcher one throw way from being sidelined for 12 – 14 months?  In my view it was a mistake not to accept the $$.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): – Credit to Bill Chuck For the Idea:  

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I think Max Scherzer should have taken the contract offer the Tigers threw his way this past weekend.  Reports say it was in the Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke range of 6 YRs/$144 – $147 MIL.

So now that the reigning AL Cy Young Winner didn’t take the deal, he must hope to replicate his 2013 campaign, or at least come some where near it.

Do I think he could make more on the open market, potentially yes.  But for a guy who has never been under a 3 ERA in any one given year, that is a tall order.

Also keep in mind his arm could sideline him with an injury at any point, so there is an inherent risk to not taking the deal.

One of out every 3 Major League Pitchers will go undergo Tommy John Surgery.

If you don’t think this procedure is an epidemic, go follow our ALL – Time TJ Surgery Tracker here.

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Oakland Athletics State Of The Union: 2014 Preview

When does Beane ever sleep?   56 transactions over the last calendar year, and he may be prepping the phone with another rash of injuries to 60% of his Starting Staff.  Beane has at least addressed the teams depth for 15 years, and when you look at the salary for their Pitchers, you will be able to detect why.  They never overpay on long-term deals for Starters.

When does Beane ever sleep? 56 transactions over the last calendar year, and he may be prepping the phone with another rash of injuries to 60% of his Starting Staff. Beane has at least addressed the teams depth for next 2 – 3 years, and when you look at the salary for their Pitchers, you will be able to detect why. They never overpay on long-term deals for Starters.

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

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It has been a tough week in Oakland for the Starting Pitching.  Jarrod Parker will need Tommy John Surgery and is  out for the 2014 year.

A.J. Griffin received better news, but also will be sidelined for the near future with a UCL strain.

To complicate the opening roster even more, Scott Kazmir has Triceps soreness and is currently also on the shelf.

Billy Beane doesn’t seem that worried, as he has Tommy Milone and Jesse Chavez stretched out to work some starts if needed. Read the rest of this entry

The Braves Continue To Step Up To The Plate In The Ervin Santana Signing

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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It was a move that had to be done in my view.  Atlanta has 60% of its Starting Rotation currently in the sick bay, or has questionable thoughts to whether it could pitch near Opening Day.

In the end it is a Win/Win situation for all above.

The Braves acquire a top end of the rotation guy, and it serves as great insurance, and Santana is able to play for a full season trying to re-establish his worth on next winter’s open market.

Sure Atlanta sacrifices a 1st RD pick, but they are still receiving the compensation Pick from the Yankees for the Brian McCann signing.

Santana flies right out the American League, and will look to pad his stats versus the likes of the Mets and Marlins this year, and to avoid the AL Beast, the only teams that were coveting him that he mutually was talking with Read the rest of this entry

San Francisco Giants State Of The Union: 2014 Preview

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Okay so it is an even year, so most fans in the Bay Area can only think of one thing…Another World Series ring right?

Come on, they won in 2010 and 2012, why not 2014?

The win in 2012 was a nice statistical oddity, but when you factor in that the hunger to win a World Series must dissipate a little bit when you have just cashed one in, then maybe another one can be achieved when the next year hits again.

The Giants went 76 – 86 in 2013, this is more of a stretch, for when they completed the 2011 campaign at 86 – 76 following their 1st World Series Title.

There is room for optimism though, from their top 7 hitters in the Batting Order, this team features some of the streakiest guys at the plate in the MLB. Read the rest of this entry

Master List Of All Free Agents Signed In 2013 Winter – Heading Into 2014 MLB Year

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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It has been a record setting year for contract $ doled out for players.  When you factor in the player extensions, we are talking about 7 contracts registering in the top 50 Player contracts in the history of the game.

Robinson Cano, Clayton Kershaw, Masahiro Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, Freddie Freeman, Shin-Soo Choo and Homer Bailey have inked deal for between $105 MIL to $240 MIL.

Now there is word the Angels are working on an extension with Mike Trout, to the tune of 6 YRs/$150 MIL,  from 2015 – 2020.  This would be the 22nd highest contract in MLB History.

For the record, Trout’s deal for 2014 is already set at $510 K, and any extension wouldn’t have Luxury Tax Ramifications until his new deal would start in 2015. Read the rest of this entry

San Francisco Giants Payroll In 2014 + Contracts Going Forward

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Jeff Kleiner (Org Depth + Payroll Expert – find his website here) [twitter-follow screen_name='prosportsroster' show_screen_name='yes']

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The Giants won the 2010 World Series with a payroll nowhere near the stratosphere of the top MLB clubs, however escalating salaries have arisen from sustained success (also winning another World Series in 2012).

The franchise now hovers around the $140 – $150 MIL mark for the upcoming campaign.

A lot of this cash has come for simply retaining their own talent.

To start the winter off, the squad signed Tim Lincecum 2 YRs/$35 MIL – and then nailed down Hunter Pence to a 5 YRs/$90 MIL deal. Read the rest of this entry

30 MLB Team Power Rankings FEB 2014

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Not withstanding the last few signings in the MLB, noteworthy is Bronson Arroyo to the Diamondbacks, and Paul Maholm to the Los Angeles Dodgers, these will not effect the grand scheme for the rankings of all clubs.

Nelson Cruz is still available, and I would be very surprised if he doesn’t ink a deal with the Mariners.  This would put them slightly ahead of the Angels if done, as oppose to a dead heat right now.

There are no real surprises to be had here.

The Orioles, Blue Jays and Pirates have had the worst offseasons, while the Rangers, Royals, Rays, Giants, Yankees, Cardinals and Dodgers have helped out their causes for the upcoming campaign.

30 MLB Team Power Rankings MAR 2014

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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

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

Yes it has taken years for the Mariners to build their Minor League Systems up, and begin to see the fruits of their labour, however risking all a huge chunk of their team salary on a player - who might see a harsh decline in his production - based on variant factors, is a gamble they simply shouldn't delve into.  Perhaps with the outcome of the meeting the club had with Cano, it has effectively burned the bridges between the two parties?  The M's are on the cusp of breaking through to success, but they should take the Pirates mode of getting there, instead of trying to jump the shark too early.

Yes it has taken years for the Mariners to build their Minor League Systems up, and begin to see the fruits of their labor, however risking  a huge chunk of their team salary on a player – who might see a harsh decline in his production – based on variant factors, is a gamble they simply shouldn’t have delved into.  The M’s are on the cusp of breaking through to success, but they should take the Pirates mode of getting there, instead of trying to jump the shark too early.  While the ramifications of the Cano deal might blow up long-term, look for this team to be better for the next couple of years.  They also make our ‘good valued teams’ for Winning the 2014 World Series.

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

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The Oddsmakers have finally dropped the Angels in the rankings.  At +1600, they are still not down as far as I would put them, however they are outside the top 10 now.

As you will see in a post this weekend done by Hunter Stokes, I am still surprised to see the Yankees more of an underdog than the Boston Red Sox.

In his report, Hunter will show you the age of both teams is similar – while the lineups are more comparable in 2014 then they were in 2013.

Tampa Bay is still the class of the bunch at +2000.  In some Vegas Casino’s – this club may be posted as more of a favorite, but at http://www.bet365.com, they are still at that mark. Read the rest of this entry

The Rest Of The Best Free Agents Are Now Up For Auction: Some Deals Already Done

Grant Balfour has been throwing verbal jabs to the Orioles on XM Radio concerning the club bowing out of his 2 YRs/$15 MIL  deal - and justifiably so.  The Orioles lost credibility around the league for this bow out maneuver.  Now Balfour will look to administer some payback to the O's 19 times a year for the 2014 and 2015.  The Aussie just signed a 2 Year Deal - to return to the Rays for $12 MIL.

Grant Balfour has recently been throwing verbal jabs to the Orioles on XM Radio concerning the club bowing out of his 2 YRs/$15 MIL deal – and justifiably so. The Orioles lost credibility around the league for this bow out maneuver. Now Balfour will look to administer some payback to the O’s 19 times a year for the 2014 and 2015 campaings. The Aussie just signed a 2 Year Deal – to return to the Rays for $12 MIL.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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It was a tough time being an MLB fan the last 3 or 4 weeks – waiting for the Masahiro Tanaka deal to get done.

As of today, we are about 18 days away from Pitchers and Catchers to report.

With the logjam now being freed up with the Japanese superstar being inked to a deal with New York, a bevy of transactions have already occurred.

Grant Balfour is all set to sign a 2 YR deal worth $12 MIL, and will be ready to stick it to the Baltimore Orioles 19 times a year for the next 2 campaigns. Read the rest of this entry

The Top 10 Active MLB Pitchers In Win Percentage

Jered Weaver is the ace of the staff for the Angels, but has had issues avoiding the disabled last year. When healthy, Weaver is one of the best pitchers in the AL. He was 11 - 8 last year for the Halos, while sporting a 3.277 ERA in 154.1 innings pitched.  In 2012, he fared much better putting up an AL Leading 20 wins against just 5 losses for an .800 Win PCTG.  Despite just a .579 mark in 2013, he took the reigns of Active Win PCTG once Ropy Halladay hung up his cleats for good.  Weaver is 113 - 60 (.6531%) for his 8 year career so far, with a 3.24 ERA.

Jered Weaver is the ace of the staff for the Angels, but has had issues avoiding the disabled last year. When healthy, Weaver is one of the best pitchers in the AL. He was 11 – 8 last year for the Halos, while sporting a 3.277 ERA in 154.1 innings pitched. In 2012, he fared much better putting up an AL Leading 20 wins against just 5 losses for an .800 Win PCTG. Despite just a .579 mark in 2013, he took the reigns of Active Win PCTG once Ropy Halladay hung up his cleats for good. Weaver is 113 – 60 (.6531%) for his 8 year career so far, with a 3.24 ERA.    Weaver is signed for the next 3 years, and will collect $54 MIL for his efforts – including a full no-trade clause from the Angels.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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I think people might be a little surprised to see that Jered Weaver was atop on this list.  Last year, Roy Halladay held the mark, but as soon as he retired, it immediately fell to Weaver.

With Andy Pettitte also taking off of his cleats for the last time, we see 2013 AL Cy Young Winner Max Scherzer also enter the top 10 list with his .6186 Win Percentage.

Just on the outside looking in is Cliff Lee at 11th (.6178) and another guy who you might not expect is Yovani Gallardo at (.6045).

If Roy Oswalt were to sign with a team – instead of possibly retiring, I will re-insert him into the list.

Roy Halladay Retirement Press Conference

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Atlanta Braves Payroll in 2014 + Contracts Going Forward Part 1

It would be one thing if B.J. Upton were the only player on the Braves who had an abysmal season.  When you add the injuries and the season of Dan Uggla to Upton worst year of his career, it is actually amazing this team ended with 96 Wins.  With the club losing Brian McCann, Paul Maholm and Tim Hudson, they will need Upton and CO. to rebound for the team to contend again in 2014.  Upton has to get back to 20/20 years for powers and steals, and at least hit to 85% of his career 3 slash - to justify the contract doled out by the Atlanta Braves.  Uggla must correct his vision problems and get back to raking again.  These 2 guys are the #2 and #3 paid guys on the squad in 2014 behind Justin Upton.

It would be one thing if B.J. Upton were the only player on the Braves who had an abysmal season. When you add the injuries and the season of Dan Uggla to Upton worst year of his career, it is actually amazing this team ended with 96 Wins. With the club losing Brian McCann, Paul Maholm and Tim Hudson, they will need Upton and CO. to rebound for the team to contend again in 2014. Upton has to get back to 20/20 years for powers and steals, and at least hit to 85% of his career 3 slash – to justify the contract doled out by the Atlanta Braves. Uggla must correct his vision problems and get back to raking again. These 2 guys are the #2 and #3 paid guys on the squad in 2014 behind Justin Upton.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Jeff Kleiner (Org. Depth Chart/Payroll Expert)

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The ‘Tomahawk Choppers’ have 2 players that are killing them for Free Agent signings this winter.

B.J. Upton is only in the 2nd year of his 5 YRs/$75 MIL – and underachieving Dan Uggla  is still on the  books for 2 more years.

Between these 2 gentleman, they will bring down $26.25 MIL in 2014.  The Braves are hoping for more than under the ‘Mendoza Line’ Batting Averages – and an occasional big fly.

The Braves are also headed to Arbitration with Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward and Craig Kimbrel.  This is certainly bound to cost the organization a pretty penny.

In fact, those 3 players will likely exceed the amount of the B.J Upton and Uggla contracts.

Craig Kimbrel 2013 Highlights – Mature Lyrics Parental Guidance Is Advised:

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The Braves Will Be Paying The B.J. Upton Deal For Years – Not Just Money Either!

The Brothers Upton both were acquired in the offseason by the Atlanta Braves.  This was a risk for the organization, and while Justin played extremely well in condensed pockets, Upton is quickly establishing himself as one of the worst contracts ever signed in Major League Baseball.  a .184/.268/.557 - with 9 HRs and 26 RBI is simply abysmal.  The Braves brass should send him to the Winter Leagues, to correct his problems.

The Brothers Upton both were acquired last year’s offseason by the Atlanta Braves. This was a risk for the organization, and while Justin played extremely well in condensed pockets, B.J. Upton is quickly establishing himself as one of the worst contracts ever signed in Major League Baseball history, a .184/.268/.557 – with 9 HRs and 26 RBI is simply abysmal. The Braves brass should have sent him to the Winter Leagues, to correct his problems.  The younger brother is still on the hook for 4 more years – and $60 MIL.  Not only is the franchise jaded towards signing another Free Agent this winter to a similar deal, they have lost their 2 longest tenured players in Brian McCann and Tim Hudson.

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

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It is a not a shock the Braves are shying away from the Free Agency thus far in the winter.  After all, the franchise spent the most they ever had for B.J. Upton last offseason, only to have been served a train wreck in 2013.

Honestly, besides the 1st month, and a torrid stretch in August, Justin Upton wasn’t far off the power production of his older brother in the other 4 months of play.

If it weren’t for the Chris Johnson add in that deal (Braves savior), plus his subsequent Batting Average race for the NL lead, this would be an even graver subject.

The last line was not an indictment on the Braves and D’Backs trade, rather just that Johnson helped make up for the lack of production from B.J. Upton. 

We all know overall Justin Upton made the same numbers as were likely projected.  That trade is yet to be determined, but adding Johnson was a nice little move.

B.J. Upton – rare good game in 2013

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Finally, Some Worth While Free Agents Sign In The MLB 2013 Winter!

With his career winding down and Tim Hudson being 38 years old, will he be able to recover from a gruesome ankle injury in 2014. Should the Braves resign him for depth in the rotation - or cut ties outright? Mr. Hudson will need   He was 114 - 72 (.611) in 9 seasons with the Braves.

With his career winding down and Tim Hudson being 38 years old, will he be able to recover from a gruesome ankle injury in 2014 with the SF Giants?  Mr. Hudson was 114 – 72 (.611) in 9 seasons with the Braves – with a 3.56 ERA.  He will make his return to the Bay Area in California, where he started his 1st 6 years with the Oakland A’s.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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After playing Baseball Stars 1 and 2 on my old Nintendo Entertainment System for 3 weeks, I was happy to receive my baseball fix from the MLB once again..

Yesterday, a slew of Free Agents signed.. Okay… not true….2 noteworthy players inked deals to prolong their careers.

I am talking about Tim Hudson signing a 2 YR/$23 MIL with the Giants, and Carlos Ruiz, signing a 3 Year Deal worth potentially $26.5 MIL, with a Team Option for a 4th year at $4.5 MIL.

Tim Hudson’s 2013 Season Ending Ankle Injury – Not for the weak of heart!

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Baltimore Orioles State Of The Union Part 2: Ways to Address the Starting Pitching Weakness

In order to have a chance to win the very competitive AL East, pitching is crucial. For the Orioles, there are a few ways they can attack this offseason in hopes to find some quality pitchers to strengthen their staff.  2014 may represent their best chance to go far in the playoffs considering the struggles over the New York Yankees, the Blue Jays and the Rays will likely see a decline when they trade ace David Price.

In order to have a chance to win the very competitive AL East, pitching is crucial. For the Orioles, there are a few ways they can attack this offseason in hopes to find some quality pitchers to strengthen their staff. 2014 may represent their best chance to go far in the playoffs considering the struggles of the New York Yankees, the Blue Jays and the Rays will likely see a decline when they trade ace David Price in 2014.

By Nicholas Delahanty (Guest MLB Reports Writer)   

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After a season in which they won 85 games and finished tied for 3rd place in the AL East, the Baltimore Orioles need to bolster their starting rotation in order to make a push towards the top of the division in 2014.

The numbers don’t lie, as the Orioles starting rotation ranked in the bottom part of the league in most categories, including ERA and innings pitched.

As of right now, the Orioles have four guys penciled in to their rotation next season (Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen, and Bud Norris), so they need to try to bring in one or two arms to compete for rotation spots.

Chris Tillman Highlights of A Shutout

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MLB 50 Free Agent Predictions

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

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

Free Agent Predictions

By Jordan Gluck (Free Agency Correspondent)

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

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

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

Robinson Cano 2013 Highlights

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The Atlanta Braves State Of The Union – Fall 2013: Part 1

2013 was not an easy road traveled either. The Braves suffered so many injuries and set backs this season that I think a lot of us almost forget about the ones that happened earlier on in the year. Johnny Venters never even threw a regular season pitch this year and he has been our premiere set up man. Eric O’Flaherty threw his last pitch somewhere around the middle of May against this very Dodger team at Turner Field.

2013 was not an easy road traveled for Atlanta. The Braves suffered so many injuries and set backs this season that I think a lot of us almost forget about the ones that happened earlier on in the year. Johnny Venters never even threw a regular season pitch this year and he has been our premiere set up man. Eric O’Flaherty threw his last pitch somewhere around the middle of May against this very Dodger team at Turner Field.

By Bob McVinua (Special Guest Braves Writer – visit his website here):

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At the point after Eric O’Flaherty went down, many of us Braves fans began to panic and wonder how Fredi Gonzalez would get the ball to arguably the best closer

in all of baseball Craig Kimbrel. What happened after that? The Braves would still go on to post the best bullpen ERA in all of baseball and on top of that set a franchise record for the same mark.

Jason Heyward missed significant time as did Brian McCann. Freddie Freeman spent a couple of weeks on the disabled list and still drove in over 100 runs on the season.

BJ Upton and Dan Uggla struggled throughout most of the 2013 season and BJ was one of the players expected to make a huge impact when he signed with the Braves this winter and it just never happened.

Other players stepped up and young players assumed roles that were well beyond the original expectations of them in 2013.

No one panicked and no one quit and as a fan I am appreciative of the heart and effort this team always put forth.

The Dodgers Celebrate winning the NLDS Series versus Atlanta (At Turner Field)

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The Braves Win The NL East For The 1st Time Since 2005: The Team Is Way Different From Early 2013

The Braves won 14 straight Division Titles from 1991 - 2005, that culminated in 5 World Series Visits, with cashing in for the Trophy in 1995, however other than a Wild Card Berth (2010), and a Wild Card Play In Game (that they both lost), the club has not seen playoff success for the past 14 years.  The Bravos will have a full NLDS Series to claim another chance at a NLCS Pennant, for the 1st time since 1999.

The Braves won 14 straight Division Titles from 1991 – 2005, that culminated in 5 World Series Visits, with cashing in for the Trophy in 1995, however other than a Wild Card Berth (2010), and a Wild Card Play In Game in 2012 (that they both lost), the club has not seen playoff success for the past 14 years. The Bravos will have a full NLDS Series to claim another chance at a NLCS Pennant, for the 1st time since 1999. Atlanta is still duking it out with the Dodgers and Cardinals for overall home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and have a 0.5 Games Lead over St. Louis (2 game lead over Los Angeles) with just 5 games left.  This would be extremely ‘vital’ to the club – as the team sports a (MLB best) record of 53 – 23 at Turner Field – compared to 40 – 41 on the road this season.

By Hayley Howell (Featured Baseball Writer + Braves Enthusiastic Fan)  

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The first fourteen years of my life (1991-2005) the Braves won consecutive division titles (the best run in MLB to date). They were the first team in the NL to go from last place to first place the next year (“Worst to First”).

They went to the World Series. (1991 was the first time that the home team won all 7 games of the World Series-too bad Atlanta wasn’t the home team).

On my first trip to the local library after moving downtown twenty minutes from home I quickly discovered there were only two Braves books in the whole four floors:

The Miracle Season and a book by John Smoltz that I wish I could remember the title of because I read that thing like it was a holy canon that summer.

I know the Braves beat the Astros 6-5 a few hours after I was born, and I think, in baseball astrology terms, that meant I was destined to become a Braves fan.

The first World Series I was alive for was the Braves and the Twins, not as if I could remember it, but I know that people still argue over the bad call that supposedly caused the Braves to lose, as if one call among thousands could determine a game much less a series.

And for fourteen years consecutively the Braves won their Division (of course the 1994 Season was cancelled, negating the only time the season ended, without them atop the NL East Standings – Montreal was leading that year).

Braves Clinch The NL East

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Jayson Werth Has Led The Charge To The Nationals Fringe Playoff Chance

The Nationals have been compiling a bunch of Curly W's lately.  The team now sits at 77 - 69, and have an outside chance to put a scare into the Reds by only having a 5.5 Games Deficit for the 2nd Wild Card Slot.  Washington has a 10 Game Home stand starting tonight vs PHI (3 gms), ATL (4 gms) + MIA (3 Games)

The Nationals have been compiling a bunch of Curly W’s lately. The team now sits at 77 – 69, and have an outside chance to put a scare into the Reds by only having a 5.5 Games Deficit for the 2nd Wild Card Slot. Washington has a 10 Game Home stand starting tonight vs PHI (3 gms), ATL (4 gms) + MIA (3 Games).  The team will probably have to win 9 games, as then they head on the road for their last 6 games @ STL (3 Games) and ARI (3 Games), and will likely need 4 more wins there. If they go 13 – 3 in their last 16, then they better hope the Reds go 7 -8 (or worse) to force a playoff game.

By David Huzzard (Nationals Correspondent via Citizens of Natstown.com – view website here): 

 

Back when Werth signed a seven year $126 million contract to come to Washington, one of the biggest criticisms was that he wasn’t a middle of the order bat. That he only succeeded in the Phillies line-up because he had Utley and Howard batting in front of him.

In the first year of the contract that appeared to be the case as Werth batted a disappointing .232/.330/.719, and looked more like a bottom of the order bat than anything else.

2012 saw Werth injure his wrist early on, return as the lead-off hitter, and do an excellent job in getting on base, but the power wasn’t there as he had an ISO of only .140. His lowest since 2005.

Jayson Werth Highlights – Mature Lyrics So Parental Guidance Is Advised

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Is A Chief Needed For The Braves Young Rotation?

At first thought of Freddy Garcia stepping any where near the hill to start a playoff game, may have fans cringe at the thought, but keep in mind of his prior playoff pedigree.  In a spot start or pinch, the wily veteran chucker may be up for the challenge.  The 36 Year Old from Venezuela holds a 6 - 3 record - with a 3.28 ERA in 10 Game Starts, and in particular was 3 - 0, with a 2.14 ERA for the 2005 World Champion White Sox.  Could he channel some of his experience for Atlanta if called upon?

At first thought of Freddy Garcia stepping anywhere near the hill to start a playoff game, may have fans cringe at the thought, but keep in mind of his prior playoff pedigree. In a spot start or a pinch, the wily veteran chucker may be up for the challenge. The 36 Year Old from Venezuela, holds a 6 – 3 record – with a 3.28 ERA in 10 Post Season Game Starts, and in particular was 3 – 0, with a 2.14 ERA for the 2005 World Champion White Sox. Could he channel some of his experience for Atlanta if called upon?

By Bob McVinua (Special Guest Braves Writer – visit his website here):

Freddy Garcia, nicknamed the “chief” has recently been called up from the minor leagues to add some relief to the Atlanta bullpen.

At first I was very skeptical of the move and didn’t really see it as being anymore then an inexpensive way to eat up innings down the stretch while the team sits on a large division lead.

Then when Garcia began to see minor league action and couldn’t seem to get anyone out I became even more convinced that this deal wouldn’t amount to anything.

Well we all know how quickly things can change in Major League Baseball and today’s zeros can become tomorrow’s hero’s in the blink of an eye.

Freddy Garcia hurls a SO versus the Nationals 5/30/2013

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The Braves Keep On ‘Chopping’ Despite Several Key Injuries

The Braves have been falling by the wayside to injury since the 1st part of the year.  They have lost Venters, O'Flaherty. Hudson and now Heyward for a 2nd time.  If you couple that with lackluster performances from Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton, then this team has overachieved to the fullest with the rest of the choppers!

The Braves have been falling by the wayside to injury since the 1st part of the year. They have lost Venters, O’Flaherty. Hudson and now Heyward for a 2nd time. If you couple that with lackluster performances from Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton, the injury time on the DL for Brian McCann, Brandon Beachy – and even Evan Gattis, plus the retired Chipper Jones having been departed from the 2012 squad, then this team has overachieved to the fullest with the rest of the choppers!  Atlanta currently owns the best record in the MLB – with a 77 – 50 mark, 14 games clear of the 2nd place Washington Nationals in the NL East. Also, please stop inadvertently injuring our players New York Mets!

By Bob McVinua (Special Guest Braves Writer – visit his website here):

The word “injury” has plagued this 2013 Braves team all season long.

The injury bug didn’t take long to hit as Jonny Venters the teams premier set up man was unable to throw a single pitch this regular season.

Then it was Eric O’Flaherty who was hit with a season ending injury. At this point in time it was about mid May and many were in panic mode over what would become of this feared and revered Atlanta Braves bullpen.

It wouldn’t take too long to find out the answer to that question. After a little mixing and matching Fredi Gonzalez found the right guys to plug into those critical 7th/8th inning roles and they have been nothing short of spectacular.

Jason Heyward Hit In The Face – Not For The Weak Of Heart, You Have Been Warned!

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MLB 30 Team Power Rankings: Week 21

42 - 8, 25 - 3, 19 - 1, 10 wins in a row.  These are all significant numbers put up with a team with deep pockets, the ability to outdraw everyone, and owners willing to do whatever it takes to bring home the 1st World Series Title since 1988.  No one can touch these guys right now. Best 3 Starters in the NL and hottest 2 NL Hitters in Puig and Ramirez.  Oh yeah, the Bullpen has been lights out for the last 50 contests!

42 – 8, 25 – 3, 19 – 1, 10 wins in a row. These are all significant numbers put up with a team with deep pockets, the ability to outdraw everyone for park attendance, and owners willing to do whatever it takes to bring home the 1st World Series Title since 1988. No one can touch these guys right now. Best 3 Starters in the NL and hottest 2 NL Hitters in Puig and Ramirez. Oh yeah, the Bullpen has been lights out for the last 50 contests!

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

It is time for the MLB Power Rankings.  These are based on my thoughts on whether who has the best chance to win the World Series.

A lot of these positions are based on who has the toughest Strength of Schedule left, who their competition is for the Division, and possibly even the League they are in,

The races for the Divisions (AL East, AL West and NL Central are starting to tighten up, while the NL West, AL Central and most notably NL East are looking to be foregone conclusions

The Braves have rattled of a 18 – 3 stretch, and have been ousted by the Dodgers for the #1 spot in the MLB Rankings .

The Rangers are trying to ricochet off of a couple of great deals, in order to flame down the Oakland Athletics.

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