Monthly Archives: November 2016

Corey Seager’s 2017 STEAMER Projections

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Los Angeles DodgersCorey Seager stormed on the scene in 2016, winning the National League Rookie of the Year Award (unanimously), and finishing third in the league’s Most Valuable Player ballot. Seager sported an OPS of .877 and played a Gold Glove quality shortstop all season. He was the best player – even including Clayton Kershaw – on baseball’s second best team in 2016. This was evidenced by his 7.5 fWAR. When the 2016 season began, the player I couldn’t wait to see the most was Carlos Correa. By the time the season ended, I emphatically decided that the player I couldn’t wait to see the most in 2017 was Seager.

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Pitching Styles and Roles

New York Yankees State Of The Union For 2017: Stemming The Tide For Upcoming Seasons

The Yankees shocked the baseball world by contending for the last 2 months after dealing away Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran at the Deadline. With a the young '"Baby Bombers" on the way, tt will take a few good veterans to compliment the talent in order for the Yankees to become extremely dangerous once again. It all starts with the GM Brian Cashman.

The Yankees shocked the baseball world by contending for the last 2 months in 2016 after dealing away Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran at the Deadline. With a the young ‘”Baby Bombers” on the way, tt will take a few good veterans to compliment the talent in order for the Yankees to become extremely dangerous once again. It all starts with the GM Brian Cashman.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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I will be the first one to give credit to Brian Cashman for arranging the July Trade Deadline deal moves to free up a rebuild on the fly.  The Yankees rewarded their longterm GM by continuing their season streak of over .500 to 22 years.

The management has also been fortunate that Gary Sanchez fared so incredibly well – so they could sell Brian McCann to the Astros, and effectively free up another $10 MIL into their couch cushions.

As it sits right now the clubs projected roster is looking to be in the $167 MIL range for total team salary.  Unfortunately they are still on the hook to CC Sabathia for $25 MIL and Alex Rodriguez for $21 MIL in 2017. even though latter is not even on the roster anymore.

So what do the Yanks do this winter?  They are perennial abusers of the Salary Tax Threshold, and have been paying 50% of their dollars spent beyond the limit for the last several years. 

With the news of talks proceeding on that number potentially reaching $200 MIL or under the new CBA, the Pinstripers should definitely dole out some bread for Free Agents this offseason.

I would say that for the Bronx Bombers to be competitive for the AL East, they need to add at least $50 MIL in players salaries this winter in order to fight the Jays and Red Sox for the Division.

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Curious Case of Jake Arrieta’s 2016 Pitching Mechanics

Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs went through some rough patches in 2016. A loss of command to batters in the middle of pitching sequences led to a noticeable uptick in walks.  This issue compounded itself and lead to a potential shift in confidence that correlated with overcompensation. Let’s dive into the numbers over his career to see if 2016 was a return to prior form, leaving 2014 and 2015 as the best we will ever see of Jake Arrieta.

This is a guest post from friend of the blog Ricky Mears, who writes over at Innings Pitched. Their website will be launching in January 2017.  Follow @InningsPitched on Twitter to stay up to date before the launch and sign up for the Newsletter. Tickets to a MLB or MiILB will be given away to a follower once they reach the 200 threshold.

By The Numbers

Jake Arrieta was lauded as having pinpoint control in 2014 and 2015.  His 2.08 walks per nine innings placed him as number 24 out of 84 qualifying starting pitchers over the two year stretch.  In 2014, Arrieta had 8.2% walk rate against lefties and a 5.4% walk rate against righties.  Similarly, in 2015 he had a 6.6% walk rate against lefties versus a 4.6% versus righties.

To continue reading the original post on Jake Arrieta’s 2016 pitching mechanics, please visit Off The Bench Baseball

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 30, 2016

The universe and our concept of reality is a vast web of connections and reactions to events. And the connections are not always obvious.

Connie Mack not retiring from baseball in the 1940’s affected the existence of the Milwaukee Brewers and Seattle Mariners.

Trust me, it makes sense on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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The Oakland Athletics Should Trade Sonny Gray

Conventional wisdom is wrong.

Gray came into last season with 491 career major league innings, a 2.88 career ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and a strikeout to walk ration of nearly 4 to 1. He’d thrown more than 200 innings in each of the preceding 2 seasons and despite being only 5’10”, the then-26 year old was making a name for himself as one of the best young starters in baseball.

Then 2016 happened. Now, there are a lot of people out there saying 2016 has been a pretty bad year. But no matter your political leanings, taste in music, or whatever else, your year probably wasn’t as bad as Sonny Gray’s.

To Continue reading about why the Oakland A’s should Trade Sonny Gray, Please visit offthebenchbaseball.com

Mets Resign Yoenis Cespedes 

BREAKING:

The New York Mets have inked their prize LF Yoenis Cespedes to a 4 Year Deal worth $110 MIL or $27.5 MIL per year.

The deal comes with a full no Trade Clause.

Cespedes, now 30, will see his pact take him through age 34.

If you factor in last year’s one year deal, the big slugger will still take home $135 MIL on his years of full service with New York.

For the Mets, this is a sure fire sign they will spend the money to contend as this puts them to a projected $150 MIL for 2017, although they will likely trade Jay Bruce away to save his $13 MIL in 2017.

Our own Hunter Stokes said earlier today that New York should not pay more than $27 MIL AAV and more than 4 years to the Cuban star and it turns out they did just about that.

Cespedes clubbed 31 HRS and added 86, with a .864 OPS RBI in 2016 despite missing almost a month of injury time..

The Mets And White Sox Should Workout A Mega Blockbuster Trade For Chris Sale

The Mets have enough young Starting Pitching talent to acquire Chris Sale. I have gone one step further in propisng them to add Adam Eaton, Todd Frazier and David Robertson as well.

The Mets have enough young Starting Pitching talent to acquire Chris Sale. I have gone one step further in propoisng them to add Adam Eaton, Todd Frazier and David Robertson as well.  The Mets would not be signing Yoenis Cespedes under this potential deal.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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The New York Mets could use a healthy ace pitcher, natural CF, 3B to move David Wright over to 1B, while the White Sox could stand to replenish their squad with a nice lift of young Starting Pitchers.

The Proposed Idea for a Trade:

To the Mets:

SP – Chris Sale

OF – Adam Eaton

3B – Todd Frazier

RP – David Robertson

To the White Sox

SP – Steven Matz

SP – Robert Gsellman

SP – Seth Lugo

INF – Wilmer Flores

1B – Dominic Smith (Minors)

1B – Lucas Duda

CF – Juan Lagares

OF – Michael Conforto Read the rest of this entry

MIlwaukee Is Making A Boneheaded Move If Non-Tendering Chris Carter: Should Have Learned From Houston Last Year

Chris Carter would be the perfect addition to compete the M's lineup. This man has been criminally underrated for the power and walks he has put forth over the last 4 campaigns. With the ability to DH/play 1B or LF, Carter would give the Mariners the best lineups on the daily basis to mash the pitching,

Chris Carter would be the perfect ‘cheap’ addition to compete on a lot of American League Rosters. This man has been criminally underrated for the power and walks he has put forth over the last 4 campaigns. With the ability to DH/play 1B or LF, with Milwaukee having 2 years left of team control in Arbitration, the club has DFA’d him, and likely will be forced to release him outright as A Free Agent.  The management also signed an unproven MLB’er (Eric Thames) to a guaranteed $15 MIL over 3 years.  Pretty bad on all front in my opinion!

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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Last year at this time I made the point that the Houston Astros made a big mistake in non-tendering Chris Carter.  At that juncture, the man has clubbed 90 HRS over the previous 3 campaigns with the Astros.

Houston struggled at the First Base Position all year in 2016 – with a collection of Tyler White, Marwin Gonzalez, Luis Valbuena and Yulieski Gurriel.  With just bringing forth 84 wins. with the cutoff for the playoffs at 89 victories, one could say the franchise could have used the slugger ( and his .821 OPS, 41 HRs and 94 RBI).

The ‘Stros’ finished with production of .232/.299/.381 – 19 HRs, 62 RBI out of the position – which had a huge factor in them not reaching the playoffs, having the 2nd worst offensive output for the American League (Yankees – the worst).

Carter is a powerful dude who is a kind of the new Adam Dunn of the Majors.  If he qualified for HR/PER AB ALL – Time with 3000 PA (he has 2645 his 14.97 AB per homer would rank him 13th in Major League Baseball History.  So where is the love? Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 29, 2016

a-chuck-booth-and-larry-lucchinoChuck Booth, the creator of MLB Reports, and a partner with your pal Sully, joins the podcast.

He has seen 30 games in 30 stadiums in 30 days and has thoughts on his many pilgrimages.

It is a globe trotting episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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Milwaukee Brewers Holiday Shopping List

With the Hot Stove League heating up and baseball’s winter meetings happening soon, Milwaukee Brewers fans are wondering what could possibly be on General Manager David Stearns’ holiday shopping list. To take a look at what Stearns might do during the remainder of the offseason, first let’s recap what roster moves have happened so far and what holes need to be plugged.

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Top Detroit Tigers Prospects For 2017 & How They Fared In 2016

manning-matt-pitchingBaseball America and numerous other baseball prospect sites are moving through the process of naming each team’s top prospects for next season and BA just released Detroit’s last week.  The list is based on potential and Baseball America is considered the go to when it comes to prospects.

Here’s the list and how that player fared in 2016…

  1. Matt Manning, RHP – Manning was the 9thoverall pick in the 2016 draft and I guarantee one of the first things you will read about him is about his athleticism and his father Rich who played in the NBA. What I like is the kid is 6’6” at 18-years old and could grow another inch.  What I am afraid of, is that from all reports, he may remain lanky and unable to add weight to his frame for durability purposes.  After being drafted, Manning went to rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League, where he made 10 starts, was 0-2, with a 3.99 ERA, a 1.159 WHIP, 2.1 BB/9 rate, and 14.1 K/9 rate.  Expect Manning to move up to West Michigan to start the 2017 season.

Continue reading @ Sons of ’84

Colby Jack and the Luckiest Staff of All Time

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“Colby Jack” Coombs was one of the best pitchers in baseball in 1910.

He was the luckiest pitcher in baseball in 1911. Maybe the luckiest of all-time.

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MILB Scouting Report: Ariel Jurado, RHP, Texas Rangers

The words “electric”, “exciting” and “high-upside” will never be used to describe Ariel Jurado or any of his offerings, but neither will the words “risky”, “wild”, or “bullpen-bound”. With plus command, a solid changeup and a pair of fastballs that work off of each other well, the 6’1” Panama native has a high likelihood of eventually making a big league rotation, perhaps as soon as late-2017. Once he’s there, expect few strikeouts, few walks and lots of groundballs.

 

The Full Ariel Jurado Scouting Report On BaseballRanks

Manny Machado’s Lack of Stolen Bases Cost Him a Top-3 AL MVP Finish in 2016

Major League Baseball is full of young superstars, and Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado deserves to be included in such an elite group. After all, he just earned his second consecutive top-five finish in the American League MVP race.

Finishing fifth behind Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Jose Altuve and Josh Donaldsonis nothing to be ashamed of, but was there a way he could’ve further distinguished himself to become a finalist?

The answer to that question is yes.

Looking at Machado’s 2015 and 2016 statistics, it appears he experienced nearly identical performances, except for one glaring difference.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 28, 2016

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Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America

Are the Dodgers going to be a cost cutting team? Then their front office will have to remember their Tampa Bay Rays days to finally bring a pennant to Chavez Ravine.

Make every penny count on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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Connie Mack’s All-Early Baseball History Team

Connie Mack is one of the most enduring figures in the history of baseball. The Hall of Famer spent 15 years playing professionally as a catcher and then went on to manage and own the Philadelphia Athletics for 50 seasons. To say that he knew the game would be quite the understatement. That’s why when he gave his opinions it was best to listen—including the time he talked about his all-time team of players who debuted prior to 1900.

In 1944, Mack was getting towards the end of his illustrious career (he stepped down as manager following the 1950 season) but had been on hand to have observed a major portion of baseball history to that point. Therefore, when he was asked by the AP’s Chip Royal to compile a list of the best players who started their career prior to 1900 to ever play the game, it was fascinating to see his answers. Keep reading for his full roster.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 27, 2016

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Elsa/Getty Images North America

It is time for The Sunday Request.

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What will stop a Lockout over the CBA? The answer is common sense.

It is a learn from past mistakes episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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The Nationals Should Definitely Sign Aroldis Chapman!

Aroldis Chapman is on pace to be one of the best ALL - Time Closers in the game. Toting a Career ERA of 2.08 - and a incredible 15.2/Per 9 IP SO rate, this man is about as hard to hit as they come. At entering the 2017 season at just Age 28, I would have no qualms about inking this man to a 6 year deal - worth anywhere from $90 - $100 MIL

Aroldis Chapman is on pace to be one of the best ALL – Time Closers in the game. Toting a Career ERA of 2.08 – and a incredible 15.2/Per 9 IP SO rate, this man is about as hard to hit as they come. Entering the 2017 season at just Age 28, I would have no qualms about inking this man to a 6 year deal – worth anywhere from $90 – $100 MIL.  He will have a few suitors.  With the Nationals having an escalating payroll, this might be the best way to sign one guy to galvanize the team.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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This is an absolutely pivotal year for the Washington Nationals.  They have many of their players locked up for 1 – 2 more years, but an escalating payroll also has entered the fray, and now they are in deep trouble to re-sign Bryce Harper when he comes up for Free Agency in 2019.

Looking at the projected player payroll for the current roster – and this franchise sits at about $155 MIL in 2017.  They have some maneuvers they could pull off to take the money down slightly. 

I would start with trading Gio Gonzalez to free up $12 MIL.  This guy is the #4 or #5 at best.  Yes we have seen lesser pitchers like Andrew Cashner sign a deal for one year at $10 MIL with the Rangers, however that has more to do with the Texas depth.

By dealing Gonzalez. the Nationals still would have a rotation of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark, Joe Ross and Lucas Giolito, with Reynaldo Lopez and A.J. Cole likely seeing some action first out of the “Taxi squad.”

Quite simply put, the Nationals are extremely talented with 2 pitchers that could win the Cy Young (Scherzer who won it in 2016 and Strasburg, who could have won it had they given out an award at the ALL – Star Break) and up to 3 players that would be listed among the top 15 NL MVP favorites (Harper, Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner), but they do possess a few holes with losing Wilson Ramos and Mar Melancon off the end of the year Roster.

I fully think they should shore up their Late Inning work by signing Aroldis Chapman to whatever he wants this winter. Read the rest of this entry

The Library of Congress is a Digital Wonderland for Baseball Fans

1937-as-game_origThe gaunt, sad, sullen face of John Evers, the Chicago second baseman who had the metabolism of a hummingbird, the temper of a wolverine, and a near-pathological need to win; Ty Cobb upending Jimmy Austin at third-base, the Georgia Peach arriving with the force and intent of a mortar round; Honus Wagner, looking like he was sutured together by a grave-robbing mad scientist: Enormous hands at the end of long, stove-pipe arms; broad shoulders and barrel chest; a short torso supported by severely bowed legs that suggested he spent the off-season in the saddle.

These evocative images – and thousands more – are available… READ THE FULL STORY AT PLATE COVERAGE

Seattle Mariners Showing A Riverboat Gambler Mentality With The Segura Deal: Why Not Covet Chris Carter Next?

The Seattle Mariners at a massive fork in the road for their franchise. The bulk of the roster is right at the peak of their careers, and with the A's and Angels rebuilding. -and perhaps the Rangers taking a step back, GM Jerry DiPoto trading a young SP with a ton of potential in Taijuan Walker, in order to secure the biggest weakness the club suffered down the 2016 season. In landing Jean Segura, the brass is hoping they have found the Leadoff man/Shortstop that will hep the break the longest MLB Playoff Drought currently.

The Seattle Mariners at a massive fork in the road for their franchise. The bulk of the roster is right at the peak of their careers, and with the A’s and Angels rebuilding. -and perhaps the Rangers taking a step back, GM Jerry DiPoto trading a young SP with a ton of potential in Taijuan Walker, in order to secure the biggest weakness the club suffered down the stretch in the 2016 season. In landing Jean Segura, the brass is hoping they have found the Leadoff man/Shortstop that will hep the break the longest MLB Playoff Drought currently.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter 

i love the Jean Segura trade for the Martiners.  In a deal announced over Thanksgiving, the M’s picked up the 2016 All – Star 2B/SS, along with Mitch Haniger and Zac Curtis  for a return of Ketel Marte and Taijuan Walker.

The real meat of this trade boils down to Segura vs Walker.

I definitely think the SS position was a sore spot for Seattle down the stretch in 2016 – with Marte slumping after a hot start to begin the campaign.

Yes pitching is at a premium in the market place right now, however Walker, now 24, hasn’t delivered to the hype he came into the MLB with – and Seattle had him pegged as the #3 Starter on the Depth Chart, despite Ariel Miranda outperforming him last season.

Segura led the NL with hits in 2016 (203) – and featured a career best .319/.368/.499 – with an astounding 71 XBH (20 HRs, 7 = 3B and 41 Doubles.)  This helped the 26 Year Old tally 102 Runs Scored, while swiping 33 Bases.

Even though projecting a repeat performance out of Segura in 2017 may be a huge stretch, this man posted an incredible overall year and it may be one of the most underrated campaigns for an offensive player in the Majors this past campaign. Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 26, 2016

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Leon Halip/Getty Images North America

The Giants want Pablo Sandoval back? Holy cow, whatever they want, the Red Sox should make the deal NOW!

Meanwhile the Diamondbacks continue to be very very strange.

Dump the baggage on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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MLB Reports Bettting Results For The 2016 Year: We Made A Profit For The Third Straight Campaign!

I take my betting style from a philosophy used from a few decades of research. This book was one of the templates followed for success

I take my betting style from a philosophy used from a few decades of research. This book was one of the templates followed for success.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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Disclaimer:  All bets were made in the State Of Nevada, or via Canada (by Chuck Booth) where bets are legal online. 

So it was an interesting wager year.  I nailed the World Series winner, but never did place on money on them in any futures.  I was able to hedge bet because I had the Dodgers at a 15/1 Odds from the previous winter.

I absolutely killed it on Player Prop Betting – running the whole table.  I was on fire in the playoffs.  My best regular season wager for wins ( TB Rays under) was nice, but I took a beating on the rest of the over/under on victories across the board.

My pick of the Baltimore Orioles at 28/1 – to win the American League Pennant – set me up to hedge bet enough of the Junior Circuit playoffs, that I could help rescue my wagering season.

Chuck Booth and I combined for all of these picks, and we use the same gambling template for how we put down cabbage.

The real difference of profit came down to our perfect prognostication of Giancarlo Stanton winning the Derby helped us in breaking even and winning some cash at the end of the campaign.
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Ten Baseball Things We’re Thankful For This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is upon us, a time of family and friends and turkey and stuffing and fall leaves and one of America’s vastly inferior sports, football. Baseball season, sadly, is on its annual winter hiatus but even still, there are things baseball fans should be thankful for.

Here at OTBB, we’ve compiled our list of the Ten Baseball Things We’re Thankful For This Thanksgiving:

1. Vin Scully

Earlier this week, Scully was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions to the very fabric of the game. He was baseball for a great number of Dodger’s fans and his send off this year was beautiful in every aspect. We’ve written about Scully many times here on Off The Bench, but this from Max before the year was the most poignant:

88 year old Vin Scully has been calling Dodger games since 1950, 67 years. For context, when Scully first started working play by play for the Dodgers in Brooklyn, Dwight Eisenhower had just taken office as President of the United States, Bill Clinton was 4 years old, John Kennedy was two years from becoming a US Senator, and Barack Obama wouldn’t be born for 11 years. But its certainly not his remarkable longevity that makes Scully a legend. It is the fact that he is, objectively and unequivocally, the best sports announcer there has been and the best there will ever be. He is the only man to still work games alone, carrying the entire weight of both TV and radio broadcasts simultaneously while telling stories of the players that only he could possibly know. How, after nearly 70 seasons and thousands and thousands of players he can still remember the details of individual players lives and weave them so effortlessly into a broadcast is amazing.

There is no one like Vin Scully. If baseball is the soundtrack of summer, Scully is the soundtrack of baseball. 2016 will be his final season in the booth before a well deserved retirement. Soak up as much as you can.

2. David Ortiz

Similarly, David Ortiz announced his retirement before the year started.

To continue reading about baseball things to be thankful for, please click on over to offthebenchbaseball.com.

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 25, 2016

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WHY WHY WHY won’t the Padres embrace their identity? Why won’t they put brown in their uniforms?

Fans want it! Baseball wants it! What do they gain with these boring uniforms?

Root for laundry, just not THIS laundry on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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Cleveland Indians State Of The Union For 2017: The Tribe Better Not Trade Andrew Miller!

The Cleveland has ridden great drafting, trades and salaried contracts to put themselves into contention for the AL Pennant over the next couple of years. The last thing they need to do is try and deal the one Bullpen who helped pushed them over the top in the Junior Circuit in 2016. At worst start the season with Andrew Miller - and if things go horribly, you can always trade him midway through the year with other guys as well.

The Cleveland has ridden great drafting, trades and salaried contracts to put themselves into contention for the AL Pennant over the next couple of years. The last thing they need to do is try to deal the one Bullpen member who helped pushed them over the top in the Junior Circuit in 2016. At worst, start the season with Andrew Miller – and if things go horribly, you can always trade him midway through the year with ome other guys as well.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

The 2016 season showed us just how valuable that a Relief Pitcher like Andrew Miller can be.  Loaded with an arsenal of great Bullpen guys, Terry Francona flipped the coaching book on its keester by bringing back the old way that Relievers used to be implemented late in the games.  I was a kid who would watch Goose Gossage mow down hitters as a hired gun late in contests.

We all saw it before our very own eyes.  Now comes the most ridiculous notion ever of considering trading him?  Really Cleveland??  You better not even fathom this until at least midway through the 2017 campaign.

I understand it is tough for a mid market club doling out $9M a year for a guy who might log 70 Innings – and not save the games he is in, but they just need to look at how good they fared in 2016.

The Tribe was without its best player all year in Michael Brantley, and also without Danny Salazar/Carlos Carrasco for the majority of the playoffs too.  There is no way this club should have gone this far, and pushed the Cubs to the brink of elimination in the Fall Classic, before the reigning champs came back to ruin the party in Cleveland.

If I were in Chris Antonetti’s shoes I don’t start any dialogue about 2017’s roster without Andrew Miller on the opening day squad.

$9 Million is not earth shattering cash when you consider Andrew Cashner - and his bloated ERA of 5.25 just backed up his dome into Texas and settled for a cool $10 MIL for the 2017 season. If Cleveland can't afford the guy they might as well pack up town in the middle of the night and head elsewhere (something that has happened in Cleveland before.)

$9 Million is not earth shattering cash when you consider Andrew Cashner – and his bloated ERA of 5.25 just backed up his dome into Texas and settled for a cool $10 MIL for the 2017 season. If Cleveland can’t afford the guy they might as well pack up town in the middle of the night and head elsewhere (something that has happened in Cleveland before.)  The 6 FT 7 – 31 Year old-fashioned a 10 – 1 record this year. with an incredible 123 Ks and just 9 BB in his 74.1 IP worth of work.  Miller then fanned 30 batters, walked just five, while sporting a 1.40 ERA in 20.1 IP in the postseason, winning the ALCS MVP honors and nearly helped lead his team to Cleveland’s first WS win since 1948.  If the goal is to win in the playoffs you can’t trade this guy right now.  He is money there, and you have a chance to go back to October baseball again in 2017.

This 2016 AL Pennant squad should be conceivably better with a healthy Michael Brantley coming back, equaled with more seasoning from Tyler Naquin, and topped off with the emergence of Francisco Lindor/Jason Kipnis as an awesome double play combination.

it may be hard to fill the 34 HRs and 101 RBI that Mike Napoli brought forth, but one could still find a few cheap replacements to pull in some nice numbers. They could employ another DH full time like Pedro Alvarez on the cheap, and work in some against LHP – by bringing back Rajai Davis who crushes southpaws.  Davis could act as a 4th OF in the midst of Naquin, Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall.

The Indians still also have Brandou Guyer – who can handle a stick against LHP as well  – and act as a DH/OF.

Cleveland is currently slated to pay around $105 MIL to all of its current guys.  Maybe there is only a few million in the coffers to play in Free Agency this offseason, yet this teams strength is its Bullpen – so don’t trade from that position of strength.

Terry Francona should be given all ample bodies to begin the campaign.  If it all goes awry during the season you can always trade some players midway through the year if it looks like it will not be their year.

Furthermore, I would ride the beginning of the year just like they ended the playoffs.  I would not change anything at all out of the gate.  I would start the year off by playing with a huge sense of urgency.

The way the rest of the AL  Central is looking, with the Tigers and white Sox talking a bot cutting payroll and maybe going for a rebuild, combined with KC potentially selling on their pending Free Agents in the next couple of years like Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain and Wade Davis, then you could see how a quick Cleveland start could discourage the rest of the pack.

The Dodgers just set a record for innings logged into the playoffs and it served them well.  The good news is the Indians can rely on their starters to provide some much needed rest for their late inning arms, by logging some of their own innings.

Go into frontrunner mode and let Francona figure out a way to get the likes of Miller, Allen and Shaw enough rest – so they can patchwork it through the end of the season.

Winning a bunch of games early, added with an awesome 2016 season – should see the Indians organization see a rise in attendance through the wickets to start the year.  An early lead would only help the situation out.  Cleveland should go all out to win in 2017.  Go the way of the 2014 Royals turning a World Series loss into a repeat trip the next year.

Cleveland will need Miller’s skill set when it comes time for the playoffs too.  This guy just seems to get better the more work he gets.  Keep riding the horse.

The franchise is so lucky that they have Lindor in Pre-Arbitration status – and that despite missing almost all of the 2016 season – that Michael Brantley is criminally underpaid for his services on the board. 

Kipnis, Kluber and Carrasco were also extended contracts at the exact perfect time. Having all these guys not cost a boatload is the reason you could have afforded Miller in the 1st place

Bryan Shaw and Carlos Santana are the only guys that are free after the 2017 year anyways.  Those guys while vital to the team this year, can be replaced – whereas a guy like Miller is a game changer in his role.  If they really need to keep the finances in line, they would be better served to dangle these players as trade bait first.

Terry Francona has won 2 Manager of the Year Awards in his 4 seasons in Cleveland. He is also underrated in his Bullpen management. The organization should let him have all of the weapons in the Relief Core. I think he should also run with the style he used in the playoffs to start the year. Worry about resting the guys later in the year if they come flying out of the gates early. This way of thinking could have us return to what Relievers used to be implored for in game use.

Terry Francona has won 2 Manager of the Year Awards in his 4 seasons in Cleveland. He is also underrated in his Bullpen management. The organization should let him have all of the weapons in the Relief Core. I think he should also run with the style he used in the playoffs to start the year. Worry about resting the guys later in the year if they come flying out of the gates early. This way of thinking could have us return to what Relievers used to be implored for in game use.

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

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A big thanks goes out to our ‘Chief Writer/Part Owner’ Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s featured post.

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Odds To Win The 2017 World Series:

The Nationals feature 3 potential MVPs and 2 Cy Young Pitchers as their top talent - while the rest of the Division struggles with overcoming roster hauls, rebuilding and tragedy. The Cubs are the expected overwhelming favorite, however they don't pay nearly enough, and nothing is ever certain in the playoffs. Give me the Nats as the best on the board currently.

The Nationals feature 3 potential MVPs and 2 Cy Young Pitchers as their top talent – while the rest of the Division struggles with overcoming roster hauls, rebuilding and tragedy. The Cubs are the expected overwhelming favorite, however they don’t pay nearly enough, and nothing is ever certain in the playoffs. Give me the Nats as the best on the board currently.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

If you bet with your mind and not your heart in the last 12 months, than you would have lost on the World Series predictions.  I prognosticated in my yearly preseason bets that I thought the Cubs would win the Fall Classic, but profusely hated the odds of +500 to begin the campaign.

I still fully capitalized on my preseason wager of picking the Dodgers at +1500 for $50, along with the Mets and Nationals at +1100 for $50 a piece as well. 

That, coupled with my Baltimore Orioles AL pick to win the AL Pennant at 28/1 Odds served to put me into a position to hedge several bets in the playoffs to turn a nice profit.  Later in the week we will delve into the websites entire wagers for the whole calendar season.

The reigning champions are also extreme favorites again heading into 2017 – at a +280 clip.  I may pick them to win another World Series again in my actual predictions, however those are still horrible odds to throw some cabbage down on.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 24, 2016

stearnes-turkey-plaque_nblHappy Turkey Day! And what better way to pay tribute to Turkeys today than talking about Negro League Star and Hall of Famer Turkey Stearnes.

His granddaughter, Vanessa Ivy Rose (nee Vanessa Thompson) is a friend of the podcast and joined me to talk about her granddad, his legacy and the Cooperstown experience.

Be Thankful for friends on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

My blog post I wrote that connected us way back when can be found HERE.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 23, 2016

It is Episode 1492, so I am talking Columbus (the city, not the dude.)

Is Columbus Ohio a major city?

Why Cleveland and Pittsburgh and not Columbus? Partially because of decisions made with a minor league in the late 19th century.

Sail the Ocean Blue on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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Free Agent Michael Saunders Is the Best Value Fit for Giants, Phillies

Michael Saunders isn’t one of the flashier names in this year’s free agent class, but that doesn’t mean that he will not be an important contributor to a competitive team in 2017.

Saunders is coming off of the best year of his career. The 29 year old outfielder cooled off a bit in the second half, but he socked 24 home runs and hit .253 en route to his first All Star game as a member of the Blue Jays.

Saunders, a former Mariners 11th round pick, can handle both corner outfield spots and did a lot to dispel the notion that he struggles mightily against left handed pitching over the last 8 months: in 2016 he put up a .927 OPS and 8 homers against lefties.

That said, he’s a .235 lifetime hitter, who has never had more that 57 RBIs in a season and had never hit more than 19 homers before 2016. He is no longer a stolen base threat (he stole 21 in 2012), and has never produced more than 2.4 WAR in a season. He also missed most of 2014 and nearly all of 2015 with injuries.

So what are you getting if you sign Michael Saunders this winter? Well, you’re getting  a chance – a chance at some serious outfield power numbers (via both homers and doubles), a halfway decent OBP,  and a pretty consistent everyday player for the lower half of your lineup at likely a pretty decent price.

To continue reading about Michael Saunders’ fit with the Phillies and Giants, please click on over to Off The Bench Baseball.

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