Daily Archives: December 28, 2011

A Great DH Can Mean Winning the AL Pennant

Wednesday December 28, 2011



Doug Booth-  Guest Baseball Writer:  

Watching the 2011 season, something really resonated with me while watching the American League:  ‘Where have all the great designated hitters in MLB gone?’  It seemed only a few years ago that every team had a bopper capable of hitting .300 with 30 HR’S and 100 RBI’s.  Upon further investigation, I found out some interesting facts.  First, let us look at the top-3 DH’s this past 2011 season.  Michael Young of the Rangers hit .338, 11 HR’S and 106 RBI, which was the best performance by any DH, in helping to win the Rangers a 2nd straight ALCS Pennant.  A close second would go to Victor Martinez, who spent 112 games at DH and hit .330 with 12 HR’S and 103 RBI.  The 3rd best DH was David Ortiz, who hit .309 with 29 HR’s and 96 RBI.  The rest of the DH’s were average to below average.  

The Yankees struggled with Posada and a rotation of Andruw Jones/Jesus Montero, although they hit about 30 HR’s combined.  The Blue Jays never had a set DH, but received decent production from Encarnacion and Lind.  The Baltimore Orioles had Vlad Guerrero, who had his worst year ever, as did the Angels’ Bobby Abreu and the Rays’ Johnny Damon.  The Seattle Mariners had washed up Jack Cust and the likes of Willy Mo Pena by the end of the year.  Oakland has steady Hideki Matsui, but not even a decent second half had him anywhere near his career average totals.  Kansas City has been placing Billy Butler back onto the field, so his DH role was limited this season.  Adam Dunn soon became a four letter word in Chicago’s South side.  Aging and injury prone players Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner saw the most amount of work for the Cleveland Indians at DH, so yet again these players were far from being in their most productive years.  

So what is the underlying theme here?  If you have a great DH, you may just make the playoffs and win it all.  Young, Martinez, Ortiz had their teams in contention all year for the playoffs.  The Tampa Bay Rays were the 4th team in the playoff chase and managed to overcome the position thanks to superior pitching.  One could definitely say that Michael Young vs. Bobby Abreu is worth a definite amount of wins at that position, considering what they each produced in the AL West.  

I am going to go through the last 20 years of ALCS Pennant Winners as part of my study.  80% of the time (the team with a great DH) was in the World Series:

1992 TORONTO-Dave Winfield .290 26 HR’S 108 RBI
1993 TORONTO-Paul Molitor .332 22 HR’S 111 RBI
1994 WORLD SERIES CANCELLED
1995 CLEVELAND-Eddie Murray .323 21 HR’S 82 RBI
1996 NEW YORK-Cecil Fielder 39 HR’S 117 RBI (Acquired at deadline by NYY)
1997 CLEVELAND-David Justice .329 33 HR’S 101 RBI
1998 NEW YORK-Darryl Strawberry 24 HR’S 57 RBI (295 AB IN 101 GAMES)
1999 NEW YORK-Chili Davis/Darryl Strawberry (not the greatest year-but in middle of NYY dynasty of 6 ALCS IN 7 YRS)
2000 NEW YORK-David Justice .286 41 HR’S 118 RBI
2001 NEW YORK-David Justice (not the greatest year but it was a solid NYY team.  Edgar Martinez led SEA to a 116-46 record and were prohibitive favorites but lost to the Yankees-Martinez year was .306 23 HR’s AND 106 RBI
2002 ANAHEIM-Brad Fullmer (hit .289 with 60 XBH in 130 games and a slugging % of .531)
2003 NEW YORK-Jason Giambi 41 HR’S 107 RBI
2004 BOSTON-David Ortiz .301 41 HR’S 139 RBI
2005 CHICAGO-Carl Everett 23 HR’S 87 RBI in 135 games
2006 Detroit Tigers-Dmitri Young (They did not have a definite DH after Young’s injury so this year so was the worst out of the 20 years.)
2007 BOSTON-David Ortiz-.305 35 HR’S 117 RBI
2008 TAMPA BAY-Cliff Floyd/Wille Aybar 22 HR’S 72 RBI combined (Again great pitching carried TB.)
2009 NEW YORK-Hideki Matsui .274 28 HR 90 RBI IN 456 AB
2010 TEXAS-Vlad Guerrero .300 29 HR’S 115 RBI
2011 TEXAS-Michael Young .338 11 HR’S 106 RBI

In 2006, half of the league possessed great DH’s:  Ortiz .287 54 HR 137 RBI, Hafner .308 42 HR’S 117 RBI, Giambi 37 HR’S 113 RBI, Thome .288 42 HR’S 109 RBI, and Thomas hit 39 HR’S 114 RBI.  This group is far more productive than the 2011 bunch.  Given this Information, why wouldn’t more teams elect for permanent DH slots just to gain an edge over their competition?  The Seattle Mariners had an incredible run from 1994-2004 with Edgar Martinez as a permanent DH.  The Boston Red Sox have won 2 World Series titles and are perennial playoff contenders with David Ortiz as their DH.  The Yankees have not been the same since Hideki Matsui has left the club as their DH.  This leads me to the Toronto Blue Jays pitching an offer to Prince Fielder and making Adam Lind a permanent DH.

With a signing of Fielder, the Jays could move Adam Lind to just a DH.  Could you dare envision a lineup of: Escobar SS, Rasmus CF, Bautista RF, Fielder 1B, Lawrie 3B, Lind DH, Arencibia C, Johnson 2B, and your pick of Thames or Snyder?  This would free up your club to make a trade as well.  If you are the Jays, and offered Yu Darvish the posting bid of over $50 million and another $60-75 million in salary, why wouldn’t you offer Fielder a 7 year deal in the $140-150 Million range?  With Fielder signed, I think his presence would potentially alter the attendance by 8,000-10,000 fans per game to justify his salary (not to mention merchandise and television ratings).  With a 3-4-5 lineup of Bautista, Fielder and Lawrie, I could see 120 HR’S and 350 RBI combined each year.  The best aspect of these guys is that they are patient.  If you add Adam Lind as the #6 hitter with 30 HR 100 RBI capability, then it will become lookout time for the rest of the league.

The Angels signing of Albert Pujols should not cause concern about his production.  Even into his early 40’s, Pujols should be able to hit well given his dedication to personal fitness.  The question is: why wait to move him to DH right now with the amount of 1st baseman they already possess with Trumbo and maybe a return from Morales? It is my belief that aging players should be shipped off to the National League when they can’t post impressive offensive numbers. A good example of this are recent NL pinch hitters Jason Giambi and Matt Stairs making a living off pinch such roles after failing as DH’s late into their careers.  If the AL teams persist in signing aging players past their prime for the DH role, then I believe they will struggle.  Vlad Guerrero and Johnny Damon would be perfect for an NL team at this stage of their respective careers considering this rationale.

So whatever players are ultimately signed by each team from this point forward or already have signed, whichever AL teams have the best Designated Hitters in the league for the 2012 season will likely have the best shot at winning the AL Pennant.

 

*** Thank you to our Guest Baseball Writer- Doug Booth for joining us today on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Doug Booth, you can follow Doug on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and click here for Doug’s website, fastestthirtyballgames.com*** 

 

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.

Major League Baseball Needs to Adopt An Amnesty Clause

Wednesday December 28, 2011



Jeff P (Guest Writer – MLB reports):  The amnesty clause has received a great deal of attention in the National Basketball Association, as it became a new provision in the new collective bargaining system. The amnesty clause allows a team to terminate a player’s contract, though it comes with certain conditions and restrictions.

First of all, if a player is amnestied, his contract doesn’t go against the salary cap. As a result, players like Chauncey Billups, Travis Outlaw, and others with large contracts, were amnestied. However, only one player per team can be amnestied. When this occurs, he goes to the waiver wire, and teams can proceed to bid for his services.

An amnesty clause would help many MLB teams lower their financial deficits. It might not make players happy, but business is business, and in many cases an amnesty clause is very much-needed.

The amnesty clause not only helps a team clear financial deficit. It can also play a huge role for a team that needs to acquire just one small missing piece in the quest for a championship. Without a doubt, if an amnesty clause is put into place, there will be some talented players available on the waiver wire.  It will be enjoyable for fans to follow the player movement. New players could change the look of different teams. A new available player could take a team to the playoffs. He can help his new team succeed.  Having an amnesty clause in place could prove to be very beneficial to all teams involved, financially and in competitive balance.

Currently Major League Baseball  has no form of amnesty clause in place. Even so, let’s take the time today to project if it was. Here is a look of each MLB team if an amnesty clause was in effect in Major League Baseball.

Boston Red Sox

The Victim: John Lackey

He had the Boston Red Sox record for the highest earned run average in at least 150 innings in 2011. He is getting paid over $15 million each season. He posted 12 horrific losses, and had a 6.41 earned run average, not to mention he is expected to miss the whole 2012 MLB season, due to Tommy John surgery. The unlucky man’s name is John Lackey.

It all started off on December 16, 2009, when John Lackey signed an eye-opening contract worth $82.5 million dollars over 5 years with the Boston Red Sox. He had a disappointing start as he posted a 14-11 record, with a 4.40 ERA in 2010, and topped that off with a 12-12 record, and a 6.41 earned run average in 2011 and the announcement that he would miss the 2012 season with Tommy John surgery.

His contract is up in 2014.

It is clear to say, John Lackey should be a victim of the amnesty clause.

Toronto Blue Jays

The Victim: Mark Teahen

The Blue Jays don’t need this amnesty clause, since they have been considerably lucky and careful with the contracts of their players.

Mark Teahen was acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays from the Chicago White sox near the trade deadline in July. He finished off the 2011 season with a .200 average, four homers, and 14 runs batted in. He is getting paid $5.5 million this coming season, which is the last season of his contract.

Teahen, really doesn’t have much of a role in 2012 as part of the Blue Jays organization. As a backup, a player with $5.5 million contract, in a small market team is enough to be amnestied.

New York Yankees

The Victims: Alex Rodriguez, A.J. Burnett

Yes, there can only be only one victim in the clause, but it was too close to call.

Alex Rodriguez had an off-year. He played less than 100 games, and only posted decent stats. Rodriguez is a good player, and would be a Yankee fixture likely for many more years to come. But he has the largest contract in the league, which must be terminated. He is getting paid almost $30 million per season throughout 2017, and is declining, as next season he will turn 37-years-old.

The Yankees can get much better pieces with the large contract he has.

A.J. Burnett has come off another terrible season, and has shown no signs of getting better. He is receiving about $16.5 million per year throughout the 2013 season, and has given the Yankees nothing but trouble. For the past two seasons, he posted an earned run average above five, and the Yankees would have no reason in the world not to terminate his contract if they had a choice.

Baltimore Orioles

The Victim: Brian Roberts

This was an easy one. Brian Roberts’ season was filled with injuries, and his bat is going into decline. Despite Roberts’ speed and strong defense, overall a .221 average, three homers, and only six steals, do not justify his large contract.

Brian Roberts has $10 million per year remaining on his contract through to the 2013 season. As he gets older and continues his decline, the former all-star’s playing days are nearing an end. With a large contract, it is clear that Roberts would be amnestied if the team had the choice.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Victims: No One

I’ll be honest here, the Tampa Bay Rays have been extremely lucky. The Rays have a terrific team, even as a small market team, and their players played very well during the past season. In fact, the Rays aren’t even paying very high salaries to any players, with the largest salary they have being around $7 million, which is going to James Shields, who was a contender for the Cy Young award last year.

Chicago White Sox

The Victim: Adam Dunn

Adam Dunn, is getting paid $15 million per season through 2014, yet he did not exhibit any valuable skills during his first season in Chicago. His power was barely existent, his average barely got past the .150 mark, and his defensive skills are negligible. Even though the White Sox have Jake Peavy, and Alex Rios, who aren’t worthy of their contracts, they are still playable.

Adam Dunn is just horrible. He is not a useful piece at this point in the White Sox puzzle.

Cleveland Indians

The Victim: Travis Hafner

Travis Hafner has been a nice contributor in previous seasons, but he isn’t worthy of his whopping $13 million per year contract.

In 94 games last season, Hafner posted 13 homers, and a decent .280 average. Hafner is still a good player, although he is not the same player as the 2005 season Hafner, or the 2006 season Hafner where he was contending for the MVP award. Hafner remains a clutch player and positive influence in the dugout, but his contract is slightly high for an aging 34-year-old.

Kansas City Royals

The Victim: No One

The Royals’ team is filled with youth, and cheap pieces. The Royals contracts aren’t very bad as a whole. Their main star, Joakim Soria, had a slumping season last year. Since his contract is made up entirely of options, there is no reason in the world to amnesty him. Also Soria is still an elite player. The Kansas City Royals are looking at some great youth coming up to the big leagues, and own arguably the best farm system in the league.

Detroit Tigers

The Victim: Brandon Inge

Brandon Inge is a clear victim. $5.5 million in salary makes him a clear candidate for amnesty, while his batting average didn’t hit the .200 point, and he only had three homers last season. Despite his strong defensive side, and being a piece to the team, he’d be dropped.

The Tigers, remain a successful team, with large contracts, yet none deserve to be terminated. In the averaged Detroit market, $5.5 million for a player who has no offensive side is a clear victim for the amnesty clause.

Minnesota Twins

The Victim: Joe Mauer

Yes, this is the same Joe Mauer who won MVP a few years ago.  But does he really deserve $23 million annually?

The answer to that question is no. Mauer had an unexpected downfall in the 2011 season, where he only played 82 games, batted .287 (36 points less than his career average), and hit only three homers. His plagued season earns him the amnesty spot. He isn’t consistent on the field, nor is he healthy. No one here can argue $23 million is well deserved at this point.  Too much risk for us.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Victim: Vernon Wells

When we hear the name Vernon Wells, the thoughts are apparent: a once powerful bat, with a whopping contract. Wells was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the last offseason for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera. Napoli had an outstanding breakout season while Vernon Wells just proved he can’t hit a ground ball through the middle.

Wells has a well-known name. He is a three-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove winner, and had a nice batting average once upon a time. When a person looks at his whopping contract, the jaws are widened, and the name will get cut off the list with amnesty.  If only it were that simple for the Angels.

Seattle Mariners

The Victim: Ichiro Suzuki

Ichiro Suzuki had a horrific 2011 season despite his 40 stolen bases, which is a mere luxury for the team considering Chone Figgins, and various other sources of speed on the team. The Mariners would be quick to amnesty Ichiro, because his bat is slumping, average is down, he has no power, and speed in itself isn’t worth $17 million a year.

Texas Rangers

The Victim: No One

The Rangers do not have many problems with contracts, and have none worth the amnesty clause. They really need little work with their team, and are only a little step away from winning their rings, which they almost got each of the last two years.

Oakland Athletics

The Victim: Brian Fuentes

The Athletics are a small market team, but received little help from the closer who had absolutely no luck last year, which resulted in eight losses on his record. Brian Fuentes in actually doesn’t deserve to be amnestied, considering he had a decent 3.70 earned run average. Fuentes is set to earn $5.5 million this year.

With the contract being large for a small market team, and his unsuccessful 2-8 record, they would cut him in a second.

New York Mets

The Victim: Jason Bay

The Mets are plagued with their high, unsuccessful payroll, and with often injured Johan Santana and Jason Bay. There is a lot to say about Bay, as he was signed for a whopping $16 million per year, failed to reach the .250 batting average mark, and didn’t even provide a power bat, as he posted only 12 homers during the 2011 season.

Johan Santana, can also be a likely victim. Santana, is going to get paid a whopping $24 million next year, and still might be plagued with his constant injuries. Santana has lost a great deal of time due to injuries, although he still has a nice chance to come back with a successful future in a Mets uniform. Bay though is a lost case in my estimation, and the Mets without amnesty would need to suffer with him throughout the 2013 season.

Florida Marlins

The Victim: Ricky Nolasco

The Marlins have a new team, a new star, an above average pitcher in Mark Buehrle, and some depth adding to it.

Ricky Nolasco posted a horrific 4.67 earned run average last year, and had 12 losses. This could result in an amnesty clause cut. Nolasco’s contract isn’t very pretty, as he still has a remaining $20.5 million through the next two seasons.

Nolasco is still a decent piece, and would be picked up by a team, for reasonable money.  He has good skills, but his stats ruin his chances of being worth a big contract in the Major League Baseball market.

Washington Nationals

The Victim: Jayson Werth

The Nationals have an up-and-coming team. They have Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, some nice depth, given their current roster, and of course, the newly acquired Gio Gonzales. However, Jayson Werth is a failure, and is set to receive $116 million over the next six years.

Jayson Werth had a horrific season in 2011, giving the Nationals troubles all season long. Werth posted 20 homers last year, but only had a .232 average, as he showed similar symptoms of slumping power hitting, as did Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, and several others.

With an amnesty clause, the Nationals would cut Werth with a blink. Werth had a terrible season, and didn’t satisfy any of the Nationals needs.

Philadelphia Phillies

The Victim: Joe Blanton

The Philadelphia Phillies have an All-Star rotation, and Joe Blanton just doesn’t make the cut. Joe Blanton, had an injury-plagued season in 2011, and Vance Worley took his spot, and was extremely successful. Rookie Vance Worley unexpectedly posted eleven wins, a 3.01 earned run average, and earned a spot in the rotation.

With Joe Blanton slumping and barely playing last season, his $8.5 million contract coming into the bank in 2012, he is a clear cut for the Phillies.

Atlanta Braves

The Victim: No One

There’s really is no one to choose from the team. The Braves, had a good season, and their players succeeded greatly. Derek Lowe was dealt, Chipper Jones was an All-Star, and Dan Uggla had a late season surge. There is no one left. Their team is set, if only there was an amnesty to cut Derek Lowe’s remaining $10 million dollar contract.

Cincinnati Reds

The Victim: Scott Rolen

Scott Rolen had his time. The Reds are going to pay Rolen $6.5 million next year, while he only posted a .242 batting average. The Reds are clear to cut him despite his attitude as a great teammate, and his decent glove.

Bronson Arroyo is another candidate, though his season was a really big slump. For some reason, the feeling inside me tells that he will have a nice season next year.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Victim: Randy Wolf

The Wolf is out of the house. Wolf had a nice season last year, but can the 35-year-old continue his winning ways?

Wolf will be receiving $9.5 million next year, and the hopes are pretty low him. Not many believe he will be worthy of $9.5 million, including the Brewers. Soon enough, he will be the victim of amnesty clause.

Houston Astros

The Victim: Carlos Lee

Unfortunately for the Houston Astros, with all honesty, their team is horrific.  So horrific that Carlos Lee is their star.

Carlos Lee is set to receive a whopping $19 million a year, and he is expected to have a similar year to this past year, which was 18 homers, a .275 batting average, and 94 runs batted in. Despite his decent stats, the $19 million really hurts.  The Astros wouldn’t mind oto cut Lee in a second, if the amnesty clause rule was in effect.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Victim: No One

Did anyone realize the Pittsburgh Pirates payroll is only $10 million more dollars than Alex Rodriguez’s contract?

Yep, it’s $42 million this coming season, and they have no immediate victims worth using the amnesty clause. They aren’t even paying a single player more than $5.5 million. That is insanity in this day and age.

St. Louis Cardinals

The Victim: No One

The Cardinals players as a whole were extremely successful this year. There was Lance Berkman, who coming off a slumping season broke out in 2011, with a 30 homer, .300 batting average season. Kyle Lohse had a surprising 3.39 earned run average, and 14 deserving wins. The Cards are in good shape going into 2012.

Chicago Cubs

The Victim: Alfonso Soriano

If only a team can use the amnesty clause an unlimited amount of times. The Chicago Cubs have Alfonso Soriano, who is receiving $18 million per season throughout 2014. They also have the clubhouse hell known as Carlos Zambrano.

Alfonso Soriano makes the cut.  The 35-year-old enjoyed a nice power season last year, as he posted 26 homers, though his .244 average makes him a clear choice for the cut. The seven time All-Star is on a downfall, and he would be the Cubs choice if there was an amnesty clause rule.

San Francisco Giants

The Victim: Barry Zito

The San Francisco Giants, have a strong rotation, and similar to the situation the Phillies had with Joe Blanton, the Giants have a decision to make with Barry Zito.

Barry Zito has $39 million remaining on his contract for the next two years.  His injury-plagued season may cause him to be lost, and stuck with no spot. Replacing Barry Zito in the rotation was Ryan Vogelsong in 2011, who had a 13-7 win to loss record, and a 2.71 earned run average. Zito is now working in Triple-A after suffering from two hectic injuries in the 2011 season.

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Victim: No One

The Diamondbacks had a whopping breakout season last year, and have almost no financial issues either. They have a clear path to be successful in the upcoming years.  As their total payroll is only $56 million, there is no reason to cut anyone at the moment (especially since Joe Saunders is off the roster).

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Victim: Juan Uribe
The Los Angeles Dodgers are completely plagued by financial difficulties. Frank McCourt gives the team financial chills, and as a result the player who would be cut is Juan Uribe.

Juan Uribe is a terrible batter at the moment. After playing 77 games in 2011, he barely hit over .200, and only posted four homers. He has $15 million remaining on his contract, and with those stats, who would want to pay for that?

Colorado Rockies

The Victim: Jorge De La Rosa

After suffering a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament, the Rockies would be bound to drop De La Rosa. Jorge De La Rosa had an average season last year despite being injury-plagued and inconsistent.

The last thing Rockies want is another dominant player having injury issues in the 2012 season. With Carlos Gonzalez, and Troy Tulowitzki suffering injuries last, year the last thing the Rockies want is $10 million dollar starter Jorge De La Rosa on the roster, and unable to contribute.  The team needs to free up money for healthy alternatives.

San Diego Padres

The Victim: Jason Bartlett

The San Diego Padres, are financially in no deficit. In 2011 their payroll barely exceeded 45 million dollars, though they wouldn’t hesitate to cut an unneeded player.

Jason Bartlett, is a decent player, though his bat is unworthy of $5.5 million.  He has a nice defensive side, and he has decent speed, though it is difficult to overlook his .245 batting average, and two homers last season.

The 32-year old had a paltry .307 slugging percentage last season, which was an all-time MLB record for the lowest slugging percentage for a player with over 512 at bats in a season.

***Today’s feature was prepared by Jeff P, Guest Writer to MLB reports.  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 Jeff on Twitter.***


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Chris Swauger Guest MLB Blog: My Offseason, Part 1

Wednesday December 28, 2011

Chris Swauger-  Guest MLB Blog:  The winter months are an interesting time for a minor league baseball player.  When the season ends in September, we all exchange hugs, handshakes and well-wishes, knowing full well some of us will never see each other again.  It is a very strange feeling and it carries over into the off-season.  Some of us head home to relax and recover from 140 games or more.  Some get ready to showcase their skills in the Arizona Fall League.  Others, like me, sign up to keep playing in foreign countries.  Those of you who have read my previous blogs know about my experiences playing in Panama this fall.  It was a great experience and now I am back home, enjoying family, friends, and the holiday season.

While this is a time to have some fun, take a vacation, learn a new skill, and basically live the good life, it is also a time to become a better player.  There is not nearly as much communication between the organization (front office, coaches, staff, etc.) and players as there is during the season.  Other than an occasional health update, workout/conditioning check-in, or a friendly phone call, players are generally on their own during the winter.  It is the responsibility of the player to prepare himself for the spring and upcoming season.  This is absolutely the way it is supposed to be because we are all grown men and professionals who ultimately SHOULD be responsible for our own careers.  There is no one there every day checking to make sure we get our work in.  No one grabs us for extra early work or a quick film study.  It is on our shoulders to motivate ourselves and to get better every day.  And nothing motivates hungry minor leaguers more than opportunities.

A few weeks ago the MLB’s Winter Meetings took place in Dallas.  It was a crazy few days filled with transactions and speculations for the approaching season.  It was great for baseball.  Sports and social media were filled with reports about baseball, right in the middle of the NFL and NHL seasons and an ending NBA lockout.  The game of baseball and its following is as strong as ever right now and I am proud to be a part of it.  However I imagine that I, along with every other minor league player, watched and read reports coming out of the meetings with a different perspective than most.

When fans hear that their favorite team signed a huge free agent, lost a big-time player, or brokered a blockbuster trade, their emotions run the gamut from extremely excited to overwhelmingly unhappy.  But the players in the minor leagues think differently.  We look at everything positively.  We are trained that way.  It’s the only way to recover from an 0 for 4 or a bad outing.  Everything has to be taken with a shot of optimism.  Everything has to be looked at as an opportunity.  An opportunity to move up or get more playing time if your team loses a player.  An opportunity to make a great first impression if you are changing teams.  An opportunity to compete if your team adds a player.

My coach in college used to say that competition breeds winning.  That is every organization’s ultimate goal.  Win at the big league level.  The minors exist to mold players who can help that cause.  Every player knew this when he signed or learned it very quickly.  We compete on a daily basis against the other team, the game, and ourselves.  I have always felt that playing with other good players has made me better.  When someone new comes into our organization I have always made it a point to get to know them.  They may know something about the game that I don’t.  They may hold the key that unlocks MY potential.  I may be different from other players in that regard, but I think that has helped me and made me better.

I know for a fact that I am NOT different from other players when I say I want to be the someone who steps up when a player leaves our organization.  Be it free agency, a trade, or any other means, when a spot opens up every single player wants to fill it.  Even if it’s a bullpen spot, I am convinced I could get outs.  A chance to showcase my skills is what drives me every day during the season.  And the thought of getting that opportunity, or getting to compete for that opportunity, is what drives me during the off-season.

I genuinely cannot wait for baseball to start again.  I love the downtime and the chance to train and recover in the winter, but I already have the itch for spring training.  There I will be able to give hugs to those guys I left the previous September, and hopefully get to shake hands with someone new.

Follow me on Twitter (@cswag8) if you would like to get a daily perspective and interact with me.

Until next time,

Swags

 

***Chris Swauger (AKA Swags) is an outfielder in the St. Louis Cardinals system.  Swags played for the Springfield Cardinals (AA) in 2011.  A regular contributor to MLB reports, Swags provides a behind the scenes look into the life of a professional baseball player in his Guest MLB Blog.  One of the funniest guys we know, these blog entries are a MUST read for every baseball fan! *** 

 

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.

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