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Category Archives: MLB Teams State Of the Unions

Philadelphia Phillies Optimistic About Heading To Spring Training In 2017

By Dan Wanser

Philadelphia held a massive consecutive sellout streak from the time CBP was in its first year until the latter parts of their team starting to decline in 2012.   In 2015, the franchise finished 14th out of 15 clubs at the turnstiles with just 1.8 Million fans.  This was the second straight year of a huge decline.  For those reasons it is okay to slowly build this team up with salary.

Philadelphia held a massive consecutive sellout streak from the time CBP was in its first year until the latter parts of their team starting to decline in 2012. In 2015, the franchise finished 14th out of 15 clubs at the turnstiles with just 1.8 Million fans. This was the second straight year of a huge decline. For those reasons it is okay to slowly build this team up with salary.  Philadelphia even dipped below the $100 MIL barrier in 2016 for payroll, and managed to bump attendance up to 1.95 MIL fans.  With a projected payroll of $104.0 based on recent additions of Clay Buchholz and Howie Kendrick, the club will look to be a little more competitive in 2017, and rise that attendance beyond 2 MIL again.

The Philadelphia Phillies used to be a force to be reckoned with. “The team to beat” started their historic stretch in 2007, ripping off five straight National League East Division titles which included two trips to the World Series and a championship in 2008.

Players like Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard paved the way to the first championship team since 1980, but that all began to spiral out of control when Howard tore his achilles tendon during the final out of the 2011 NLDS.

Since then, the Phillies have not broken the .500 mark and the players that led the parade down Broad Street have moved on to other teams or left the game for good; the 2017 team is not the team of old. Read the rest of this entry

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TORONTO BLUE JAYS FANS HAVE A RIGHT TO BE UPSET

 

FANS OF THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS HAVE A RIGHT TO BE UPSET ABOUT 2017 AFTER THE WAY THIS OFFSEASON HAS PLAYED OUT

 

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It has been a rather emotional offseason for many fans of the Toronto Blue Jays. As of right now, we seem to have lost out on Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Brett Cecil and not landed Dexter Fowler and others. People are livid. Earlier today, our James Dailey wrote that everyone really needs to calm down and take a step back for a second. James did a good job of using numbers to show how the Blue Jays actually aren’t as bad as we might think. It was a refreshing piece, honestly.

 

But, the problem is that fans DO have a right to be upset about how this offseason has gone and how management has gone about setting themselves up to repeat the success of the last two seasons…

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

Texas Rangers State Of The Union For 2017: Jon Daniels Must Counter To Houston/Seattle’s Early Moves

The Texas Rangers won an American League best 95 games last season - to win their 2nd AL west Division. and to make the playoffs for the 5th time since 2010. The winter has not gotten off to a good start, as they have watched the Astros and Mariners all add depth to their teams - while Texas has lost players from their year end roster. The team has to get involved right now to change the course of this offseason. The time to win is now with Yu Darvish and Jonathon Lucroy in walk contract years - while their ALL - Star Veterans like Cole Hamels and Adrian Beltre become another year older.

The Texas Rangers won an American League best 95 games last season – to win their 2nd AL west Division. and to make the playoffs for the 5th time since 2010. The winter has not gotten off to a good start, as they have watched the Astros and Mariners all add depth to their teams – while Texas has lost players from their own year end roster. The team has to get involved right now to change the course of this offseason. The time to win is now with Yu Darvish and Jonathon Lucroy in walk contract years – while their ALL – Star Veterans like Cole Hamels and Adrian Beltre become another year older.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

The Rangers have been one of the better teams in the MLB since the 2010 season.  Back to Back AL Pennants, and now back to back AL West Division wins have seen them reach the playoff 5 times out of the last 7 campaigns.

For those who like pitching – the franchise has 2 number one aces for at least one more year in Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels.

Simply put, the development of all of their Draft Picks, domestically or international, coupled with the management’s keen eye for talent, have the club still in the conversation for another few years.

Here is the thing though….The Astros and Mariners have been the two busiest clubs in acquiring talent thus far in the winter.  Both of these teams have closed or narrowed the gap on Texas already,

Houston has signed Free Agents Josh Reddick and Carlos Beltran – with also dealing for Brian McCann.  This will not affect their 2017 squad as both didn’t require anybody from the Major League Roster to get it done.

Seattle has not made as big of a splash like Houston, but has shored up some depth, and have nicely added Jean Segura (who was an ALL – Star and top 15 NL MVP in 2016 – without losing anything of note.)

Texas has signed Andrew Cashner and lost Beltran for sure…yikes.. Read the rest of this entry

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.

Read the rest of this entry

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

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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The Tampa Bay Rays Are Just A Few Moves Away From Being Competitive

tampa bay rays

Sean Morash (BBBA Writer/Owner – offthebenchbaseball.com) 

The Tampa Bay Rays sit at 21 -25, 7 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East. They’re still fighting the uphill battle against organizations with more money to spend to try to compete annually.  They’ve got an chance to get after it this year and make some noise, but currently sit in an interesting position where they could become sellers and pack it in in preparation for next season should things continue to go awry in key areas.

The modern Rays don’t really sell; they’re always looking to add value and remain competitive while waiting for a little magic dust to come flying in.  I think that’s a good plan again this year as they sit near .500 today, and they’ve got some magic dust on the way.

The pitching staff has reinforcements coming soon: Brad Boxberger will soon return from the DL to fortify the bullpen.  Alex Cobb is working his way back from Tommy John surgery and could help in the second half.  Blake Snell is among the top 15 prospects in baseball and threw 134 innings last year with a 1.41 ERA.

But the problem with all these guys waiing in reserve is that the pitching staff has already been pretty solid and could be even better if a few contributors return to their expected level.  They’re 5th in the AL in xFIP despite Chris Archer sporting a 4.62 ERA and Matt Moore owning an even worse 5.47 figure.  Both guys are former All-Stars.

The pitching staff has been pretty decent and should improve even without the additional reinforcements.

The lineup? They’re a well-rounded and athletic group with a number of moving and interchangeable parts.  They’re currently 3rd in the AL in WAR, but just 11th in runs.

See how Sean thinks Tampa Bay continue to get better by addressing a possible problem.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

Is The Toronto Blue Jays’ Slow Start A Preview of What Their Future Could Look Like?

Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays

Matt Musico (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – chinmusicbaseball.com) 

When it comes to the game of baseball, sure things come few and far between. However, there was one thing just about everyone was sure about heading into 2016: the Toronto Blue Jays would have an incredible offense.

With Jose BautistaEdwin EncarnacionJosh Donaldson and Russell Martin back in the fold, along with a full season of Troy Tulowitzki, it’d be tough for anyone to stop them. Right?

Not so much.

Surprisingly enough, the greatest disappointment of all is how badly the lineup has performed through the first quarter of 2016. Using the same stats as the ones above, Toronto’s offense is basically average, which won’t help them return to October.

The offense not performing up to expectation has happened largely due to the lack of production from four very important pieces: Tulowitzki, Martin, Bautista and Encarnacion.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

Consternation In Twins Land

The Twins finished 2nd in the AL Central and could be the Houston Astros type of 2015 club in 2016. If you think they can finish 2nd in the AL Central one more time, it may be enough to secure a Wild Card Spot. I think the AL East will beat each other up - and will only produce one playoff team in 2016.

John Swol (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – twinstrivia.com) 

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consternation: a strong feeling of surprise or sudden disappointment that causes confusion

It is May 6 and the Minnesota Twins have a 8-20 record and find themselves in Chicago where they will play three games against the high-flying White Sox this week-end who are in first place in the AL Central division 10 1/2 games ahead of the Twins. Holy moley, 10 1/2 games back and it is not even Mother’s Day yet.

The Twins had a day off yesterday and the rumors started that the Twins have put pitchers Tommy Milone and Casey Fien on waivers.

Supposedly catcher John Ryan Murphy is on his way to Rochester and 25-year-old catcher Juan Centeno is coming to Minnesota.

The Twins also announced that pitchers Ryan O’Rourke and J.R. Graham were designated for assignment and outfielder Darin Mastroianni was brought up and Ervin Santana was brought back from the DL. That is a lot of changes to a baseball team in such a short window.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

The Reds Might Be The Worst Team In The MLB At The End Of 2016

The Reds management started off the rebuild project nicely with the midsummer deals of Leake and Cueto last year. They also got a nice haul for 2 years left of Todd Frazier. However, due to a 10/5 rule for Brandon Phillips, and a domestic dispute killing the 1st Chapman deal (better deal than the Yanks forked out for his him), Cincinnati has been stymied in completing the quest. Our own Jordan Gluck ranked them as the 27th worst prospects team in 2015, and it has only slightly improved since then. It is going to be a long arduous process for the brass to pull themselves out of this predicament.

The Reds management started off the rebuild project nicely with the midsummer deals of Leake and Cueto last year. They also got a nice haul for 2 years left of Todd Frazier. However, due to a 10/5 rule for Brandon Phillips, and a domestic dispute killing the 1st Chapman deal (better deal than the Yanks forked out for his him), Cincinnati has been stymied in completing the quest. Our own Jordan Gluck ranked them as the 27th worst prospects team in 2015, and it has only slightly improved since then. It is going to be a long arduous process for the brass to pull themselves out of this predicament.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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The Reds are part of a 6 pack of National League clubs that are really bad, and should challenge each other for 100 losses and the worst record in the Majors for 2016.  What is worse is the financial flexibility is tied up in just a few players.

Management has done a decent job already trading Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto, Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman in the last year, while Brandon Phillips continues to hold his 10/5 rights to maintain his name on Cincinnati’s roster.

Homer Bailey and Joey Votto both make $20 MIL, and Phillips isn’t too far behind.

So while the team is bad, it is not saving any real money yet.

Simply put, the organization is looking to trade any veteran player that makes money.  Jay Bruce has already been traded once before a deal was nixed from a few Minor Leaguer’s failing physicals. Read the rest of this entry

Why The Houston Astros Have The Brightest Future In Major League Baseball

Carlos Correa was the 1st overall pick in the 2012 Amateur Draft for the Houston Astros. He came up in early June and proceeded to win the American League Rookie Of The Year Award with a 3 Slash of .279/.345/.512 with 22 HRs (led all shortstops in the MLB) and 22 Doubles in just 99 Games. This type of production will change the complexion of the team for the next 6 years. He is just going to be 21 for all of next season - and he looks exactly like a young Alex Rodriguez. In his 1st postseason action, Correa smacked 2 HRs in that pivotal game 4 of the ALDS for Houston, staking them to a 6 - 2 lead before the Bullpen gave up the game.

Carlos Correa was the 1st overall pick in the 2012 Amateur Draft for the Houston Astros. He came up in early June and proceeded to win the American League Rookie Of The Year Award with a 3 Slash of .279/.345/.512 with 22 HRs (led all shortstops in the MLB) and 22 Doubles in just 99 Games. This type of production will change the complexion of the team for the next 6 years. He is just going to be 21 for all of next season – and he looks exactly like a young Alex Rodriguez. In his 1st postseason action, Correa smacked 2 HRs in that pivotal game 4 of the ALDS for Houston, staking them to a 6 – 2 lead before the Bullpen gave up the game.

Trey Rose (Featured Fantasy Baseball Writer/Owner – dynastydigest.sportsblog.com)  

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The Houston Astros had some very rough years from 2011 to 2013 (162-324 record).

While this was a tough time for the Major League Organization, their Minor League affiliates were thriving. Luckily for the Astros, a lot of their young talent has made their way through the minors and has finally landed in the big leagues.

This youth movement has helped the team drastically. Many baseball experts and fans didn’t predict the Astros to compete in 2015, but they proved them wrong.

In 2015, they made the playoffs for the first time since 2005. They accomplished this feat while having the 6th youngest roster in Major League Baseball (Average age of 26.7 years old).

If the Astros were this successful with a roster with so little Major League experience, then can you imagine what they will do once their talent matures throughout the next few seasons?

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

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The Miami Marlins In 2016: Contenders Or Pretenders?

The Miami Marlins have not had a winning season since finishing 87 - 75 in 2009. With some deft maneuvers and the right allocation of team salary (like the latest Chen signing) - this club could contend in the NL East with Atlanta and Philadelphia both rebuilding. With all questions pointing to how Jeffrey Loria will behave if they were in contention halfway through, it will be an entertaining season.

The Miami Marlins have not had a winning season since finishing 87 – 75 in 2009. With some deft maneuvers and the right allocation of team salary (like the latest Chen signing) – this club could contend in the NL East with Atlanta and Philadelphia both rebuilding. With all questions pointing to how Jeffrey Loria will behave if they were in contention halfway through, it will be an entertaining season.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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The Marlins finally threw down some money on a relevant Free Agent in the past week when they signed LHP Wei-Yin Chen.  The former Oriole received a 5 YR deal worth $80 MIL – that also has a Vesting Option for a 6th year.

Financially speaking, Chen will only earn $14 MIL of that pact in 2016 – thus bringing the Fish to about $77 MIL total team salary to start the campaign.

Miami is one of the middle of the pack teams in the National League – much like the Arizona Diamondbacks are.  These teams should be predicted to be just around .500.  The rest of the clubs should be well north or south of the even record mark. Read the rest of this entry

Toronto Blue Jays State Of The Union: Updated For Jan 2016

Despite the disappointment of this offseason, the groundwork has been laid for the Toronto Blue Jays be successful now and in the future.

JaysFromtheCouchLogo

When Alex Anthopoulos left the Toronto Blue Jays, it sparked an outrage in the fanbase. After all, he was departing as the Bringer of Banners. How easy it was to forget the years of calling for his removal as GM. But that is what winning can do for you. Now, the Blue Jays are the defending American League East champions and people miss AA.

His departure was really just the start of a series of disappointments Blue Jays fans would suffer this offseason. From losing David Price to failing to address the bullpen (thus far) to bringing back J.A. Happ, fans of the Blue Jays can’t help but wonder just how this team will repeat its 2015 success.

But, that line of thinking is missing several factors that make the Toronto Blue Jays a competitive team…now and in the future. This team has been put in a solid position moving forward.

READ MORE…

San Francisco Giants State Of The Union For 2016

With the club pretty much being set for players all around the Infield and Outfield, and now the Starting Staff, the Giants look poised to make another run at a World Series run for an even year this decade. 2016 will see several of its Bullpen members on the last year of their contracts.

With the club pretty much being set for players all around the Infield and Outfield, and now the Starting Staff, the Giants look poised to make another run at a World Series run for an even year this decade. 2016 will see several of its Bullpen members on the last year of their contracts.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part-Owner) 

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The only real need to upgrade could be at the Outfield level, with either a CF/LF.    Angel Pagan is also in the last year of his deal, so maybe signing a guy to man the position beyond this coming year would be an option.

The Starting Rotation will be a lot stronger in 2016 with the additions of Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija

You can say what you want about Cueto’s time in Kansas City not being as effective., but he has played most of his career in Cincinnati – and pitched extremely well at Great American Ball Park.

Funny enough his best years have also come in even years with finishing 4th in NL Cy Young Voting in 2012, and 2nd   in 2014, when he led the NL in Innings Pitched with 249.2 – and Strikeouts with 241 for the Reds.

Samardzija still has great stuff, and as a #3 Starter, you could see him bouncing back with a nice year in San Francisco. Read the rest of this entry

Tampa Bay Rays State Of The Union For 2016

The Rays have still been one of the best teams in baseball since the start of 2008. Last year marked their 1st losing season since 2007 - and that was only at 80 - 82. But with the starting positional players listed on depth chart all being below league averages on offense - except for Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria, they will need a few breakout players from their bench. It may be time trade one or 2 Starting Pitchers to add some offensive help. If they fall out of contention, it also may not be a bad idea to trade all veterans that they can. This may include Evan Longoria.

The Rays have still been one of the best teams in baseball since the start of 2008. Last year marked their 1st losing season since 2007 – and that was only at 80 – 82. But with the starting positional players listed on depth chart all being below league averages on offense – except for Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria, they will need a few breakout players from their bench. It may be time trade one or 2 Starting Pitchers to add some offensive help. If they fall out of contention in 2016 it also may not be a bad idea to trade all veterans that they can. This may include Longoria.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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The Tampa Bay Rays failed to make it to .500 or better for the 1st time since 2008 in 2015, however with a 5 game winning streak at the end of the campaign, they made it to 80 wins or better for an 8th year in a row.  I highly suspect this year that may come crashing down.

First Boston went off on a spending spree to amp up its roster, and now the Yankees have added Aroldis Chapman to the fold, and upgraded at Second Base with Starlin Castro.

Toronto made its moves for the better in late July, and should be a team to be reckoned with again in 2016.

Only the Orioles don’t look to compete in the AL East during the 2016 campaign with the Rays thus far, and they still may be tough to play 19 times a year if they are to re-sign Chris Davis.

Tampa Bay still clearly has the best Pitching Rotation in the Division with Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly, Matt Moore and Jake Odorizzi filtering in spots 1 – 5.  But will it be enough to help a fledgling offensive in 2016? Read the rest of this entry

Detroit Tigers State Of The Union For 2016

The Tigers are already at a budget of near $180 MIL - and could still use another Starting Pitcher and OF to add to the mix. What if they were to sign Yoenis Cespedes and then add another Starter - this could bring them over the $200 MIL barrier. With just a penalty of 17.5%, it would not cost the club more than about $5 in fees if that were to happen. They and the Angels would have the most to gain by crossing the Luxury Tax limit.

The Tigers are already at a budget of near $180 MIL – and could still use another Starting Pitcher and OF to add to the mix. What if they were to sign Yoenis Cespedes and then add another Starter – this could bring them over the $200 MIL barrier. With just a penalty of 17.5% for one year over, it would not cost the club more than about $5 MIL in fees if that were to happen.  It is only because they are the most winnable Division – and can draw over 3 Million fans that I would even say this is a good idea to spend more money for one season.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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The Detroit Tigers are getting older by the second.  The recent Free Agent signings of Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Pelfrey, Mark Lowe and Jarrod Saltalamacchia – coupled with the acquisitions of Cameron Maybin, Justin Wilson, Francisco Rodriguez have just furthered the ticking time bomb of father time.

Departing from the 2015 Roster are: Ian Krol, Rajai Davis, Alex Avila, Alfredo Simon, Al Alburquerque, Joe Nathan and Tom Gorzelanny.

If you also add 4 months from each of Yoenis Cespedes, Joakim Soria and David Price to the list from the beginning of 2015, how does the departed compare to the incoming for 2016?

It actually is pretty fair, but the difference comes down to Cespedes.  The Bullpen may be a lot stronger as well.  Simon and Avila is favorable to Saltalamacchia and Pelfrey.

Rodriguez, Lowe and Wilson compares to Soria and Albuquerque and Gorzelanny strongly.

Price and Zimmermann is at least comparable, with Price maybe holding a slight edge, but not at an extension of $107 MIL over 2 years better. Value wise, the Tigers may have the better long term deal.

So with this in mind, the 2016 club is not better on paper yet. Read the rest of this entry

Arizona Diamondbacks State Of The Union For 2016

The first big surprise of the winter came when the Diamondbacks signed Zack Greinke. The organization followed that up with trading a heavy price tag to acquire Shelby Miller to back him up. Dave Stewart has taken a lot of crap for a lopsided deal. I think that is very speculative to talk like that. Besides Free Agent Pitchers are expensive, and a way for small market clubs to negate that is to trade for a controllable player. Tony La Russa also knows that his club is setup for a winning window of approximately 3 - 4 years.

The first big surprise of the winter came when the Diamondbacks signed Zack Greinke. The organization followed that up with trading a heavy price tag to acquire Shelby Miller to back him up. Dave Stewart has taken a lot of crap for a lopsided deal. I think that is very speculative to talk like that. Besides Free Agent Pitchers are expensive, and a way for small market clubs to negate that is to trade for a controllable player. La Russa also knows that his club is set up for a winning window of approximately 3 – 4 years.  Keep the aggression when it comes to upgrading this team.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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You simply couldn’t have asked for a better start to a winter in 2015 for Arizona.  They are legitimate contenders in the NL West, and still should have the wherewithal to spend another $20 – $25 MIL on salaries for 2016.

I love the aggression set forth by the management.  I hope they keep the pedal to the metal on this one.  A nucleus of a team lasts 3 – 4 years for a mid market club, and by the acquisitions the team has done here completely reflects that.

We have discussed how the Houston Astros developed their young club for a few years now.  It is clearly the best way to rebuild a team.

Another reason why the team has had the financial flexibility to create these maneuvers is that they have Paul Goldschmidt on perhaps the best valued contract in the game of baseball right now.

The other Infielders in the mix for the Diamondbacks need to step up the production for he Arizona squad in 2016.  Whether it is Chris Owings at 2B or Nick Ahmed at SS, these positions were not league average for the slots, as was third base either.

Arizona was carried offensively by Goldschmidt and a great productive OF in A.J. Pollock, David Peralta and Ender Inciarte.

The club dealt Inciarte in the Shelby Miller deal, but could pick up the slack with giving his OF position to Yasmany Tomas full time in 2016.

Welington Castillo was one of the most prolific Catchers in the Majors least year, featuring a 3 slash of .255/.317/.496 with the Diamondbacks, clubbing 17 HRs and knocking in 50 RBI during his 254 AB for the club.

In a roundabout way, he bettered what the club had previously in Miguel Montero, who incidentally was the reason why Castillo was flipped to Seattle initially.

That trade made up for the previous fiasco that was the trade for Mark Trumbo the previous season. Read the rest of this entry

Cincinnati Reds State Of The Union For 2016

The Reds management started off the rebuild project nicely with the midsummer deals of Leake and Cueto. They also got a nice haul for 2 years left of Todd Frazier. However, due to a 10/5 rule for Brandon Phillips, and a domestic dispute killing potential other deals, Cincinnati has been stymied in completing the quest. Our own Jordan Gluck ranked them as the 27th worst prospects team in 2015, and it has only slightly improved since the spring. It is going to be a long arduouas process for the brass to pull themselves out of thi predicament.

The Reds management started off the rebuild project nicely with the midsummer deals of Leake and Cueto. They also got a nice haul for 2 years left of Todd Frazier. However, due to a 10/5 rule for Brandon Phillips, and a domestic dispute killing potential other deals, Cincinnati has been stymied in completing the quest. Our own Jordan Gluck ranked them as the 27th worst prospects team in 2015, and it has only slightly improved since last spring. It is going to be a long arduous process for the brass to pull themselves out of this predicament.  Jesse Winker and Robert Stephenson join Jose Peraza as the top 3 prospects that could make the 2016 club.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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The Reds finished 64 – 98 in 2015 and the situation is going to get a lot worse before it gets any better.  I predict 100 losses for the Cincinnati club for 2016, and they could really rack up some L’s especially past the trade deadline of next year if they do their job right in managing the squad.

I like the path the management has taken for trading players, unfortunately a domestic dispute cost the chance to flip Aroldis Chapman to the Dodgers, and the 10 – 5 rule cost them another opportunity to deal Brandon Phillips to the Nationals.

Obviously there is still hope they can trade these guys before they can’t do so anymore.

Last season the club dealt Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake in separate deals at the deadline, and have 3 players on the current depth chart to show for it (Adam Duvall, Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb, while they have 2 more Minor League prospects in Keury Mella and Cody Reed.)

Cincinnati finished just 1 win ahead of the Phillies for the worst record in the Major Leagues.

There is no polite way to go about this rebuilding process.  Jay Bruce, Devin Mesoraco, Jumbo Diaz, J.J. Hoover, Tony Cingrani, Zack Cozart and Homer Bailey should all be considered to be traded in addition to Chapman and Phillips.

The only real players the club should keep are Joey Votto, Billy Hamilton, Anthony DeSclafani and all other players they traded for last season – or are in their Minor League system.

One only has to look in which Division they play in to realize that their Roster is overmatched and there is no short term solution to fix this organization.

The Cubs are set for an awesome 4 – 5 years stretch of play as all of their young offensive stars are groomed by their recent Free Agent signings over the last 2 winters.

St. Louis has reset their roster among the veteran core that aged together with Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday. Read the rest of this entry

Los Angeles Angels State Of The Union For 2016

The Angels could easily upgrade 2B and an LF spots, and will need to compensate for Albert Pujols to at least miss the start of the 2016 season as well. They have great depth in the Pitching Rotation, however are bogged down by the Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson costing them a combined $40 MIL. Add in $30 MIL in buyout/dead money and the team will have a tough time competing in 2016 without nearing $200 MIL in total team payroll.

The Angels could easily upgrade their 2B and LF positions, and will need to compensate for Albert Pujols to at least miss the start of the 2016 season as well. They have great depth in the Pitching Rotation, however are bogged down by the Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson costing them a combined $40 MIL. Add in $30 MIL in buyout/dead money and the team will have a tough time competing in 2016 without nearing $200 MIL in total team payroll.  This means that Arte Moreno will have to give new GM Billy Eppler some more money to dole out to Free Agents.  Will he do it?  I am afraid for the Halo’s in 2016 if he doesn’t bring in 2 – 3 more upgrades..

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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It has been a slow but somewhat productive winter for the Angels brass, and in particular for new GM Billy Eppler.  They have done the kind of deals that will work only if they still pull the trigger on signing a premiere player.

Los Angeles acquired a 3B already in Yunel Escobar, who was only traded for by flipping Trevor Gott and a mid level prospect. Not bad for a guy who batted .315/.374/.415 over the past year, makes $7 MIL in 2016, and has a Team Option for 2017 at another $7 MIL – or the club can Buy him out for a cool million.

This came on the heels of trading for Andrelton Simmons, who has 5 years of Team Control left for a guy that only had one more year of salary on the books in Erick Aybar. Read the rest of this entry

Philadelphia Phillies State Of The Union For 2016

The Phillies have not had a winning season since 2011 after putting forth a decade straight of them. A promising second half to the year - coupled with full seasons by Aaron Nola and Maikel Franco could have them inch closer back to achieving that mark in the next few years. The management finally started the rebuild halfway through the year - and the financial flexibility in going forward should really be shaped up in a few more years. Philadelphia has $110 MIL in approximate Team Salary already committed for next year. I would keep the course and build through the Draft. Spending money on any premiere Free Agents is a little premature right now. In addition, the club could really trade away anything not nailed down.

The Phillies have not had a winning season since 2011 after putting forth a decade straight of them. A promising second half to the year – coupled with full seasons by Aaron Nola and Maikel Franco could have them inch closer back to achieving that mark in the next few years. The management finally started the rebuild halfway through the year, have continued it so far this winter – and the financial flexibility in going forward should really be shaped up in a few more seasons.   It may be a tough campaign in 2016 for the win loss column, however the team has a lot of young players to watch and be excited about.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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I was lucky enough to watch a record 224 MLB Games live last year – spread across all 30 MLB parks in every day of the campaign last season.

Unfortunately I saw the most home games (33 Games) in Philadelphia with my brother living close by.  There is nothing wrong with Citizens Ball Park, it was the team that was tough to watch.

When you have Jeff Francouer as your #4 hitter for half of the year, there is something wrong with that. I love the guy, and Frenchy had a decent year, it just said a lot about the depth of the Roster in 2015.

At the end of the year Philadelphia’s management started to trade away Veterans from the glory days of the World Series, and you can start to see the healing begin.

The dealing continued with Ken Giles sent to Texas for a bunch of stud arms coming back. Now the Phillies are looking forward to a bunch of young talent coming to the big leagues in the next few seasons.

The old guard is still there with Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz holding down the Starting First Base and Catcher respectively.  Howard is an average offensive threat only now that makes $25 MIL. Read the rest of this entry

Texas Rangers State Of The Union For 2016

The Rangers rose from the AL West ashes in 2015 and won their first Division Title in 4 years. It came off the heels of 2 injury riddled seasons that plagued any chance to make the playoffs. The club has about $140 MIL worth of salaries to pay in 2016 but should consider spending out another $10 - $15 MIL. They have a need for a Starting Pitcher and could use a breakout campaign from either Joey Gallo or Jurickson Profar to add depth for mid year trade to acquire a proven playoff Starter to add. The club will also hope Yu Darvish can come back at full strength. While they have 5 of the top 46 contracts of ALL - Time on their salary, 3 of them came via trade where the former team is picking up some of the dough.

The Rangers rose from the AL West ashes in 2015 and won their first Division Title in 4 years. It came off the heels of 2 injury riddled seasons that plagued any chance to make the playoffs. The club has about $140 MIL worth of salaries to pay in 2016 but should consider spending out another $10 – $15 MIL. They recently filled their need for Starting Pitching and could use a breakout campaign from either Joey Gallo or Jurickson Profar to help the cause.  The club will also hope Yu Darvish can come back at full strength.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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The Rangers have done a decent job in adding depth in the last few days to the Starting Rotation.  The club has brought back fan favorite and 17 game winner for them in 2015 – Colby Lewis on a 1 Year deal worth $6 MIL.

Then John Daniels agreed to sign A.J. Griffin to the Pitching Staff even though he hasn’t pitched in the Majors of the last 2 years in recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

These are small moves in the grand scheme of things, but should help make sure that Yu Darvish can come back from his own Tommy John Surgery in his own good time.

You also have to factor that Derek Holland has faced a multitude of health issues over the last 2 years, most notably his spinal injury in 2015.  It is a good thing the club traded for Cole Hamels last year. Read the rest of this entry

New York Mets State Of The Union For 2016

The Mets made it to the World Series in 2015 after a subpar start heading into the Trade Deadline. With a ton of pitching and some decent positional players still on the roster, they could set themselves up for a lengthy run in the NL East. Especially if they can coordinate a couple of trades (Pitching for hitters).

The Mets made it to the World Series in 2015 after a subpar start heading into the Trade Deadline. With a ton of pitching and some decent positional players still on the roster, they could set themselves up for a lengthy run in the NL East. After tinkering with average players in acquisitions (other than Neil Walker – who is a comparable replacement for Daniel Murphy), it looks like GM Sandy Alderson is done constructing the offense for 2016.  I think this is a critical error.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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It has been a decent offseason for the New York Mets so far.  They have resigned Bartolo Colon, filled in the spot at 2B with an almost equal amount of talent for Daniel Murphy, while adding Asdrubal Cabrera is also a wise move.

The organization even resigned Jerry Blevins to the Relief Core.  There is still potential to add another arm or 2 for late innings in the Bullpen.

On Tuesday, it was announced the OF Alejandro De Aza has joined the club for a one year deal at $5.75 MIL (and $1.25 MIL in incentives).  This guy can play all 3 OF positions, but he really should be a 4th OF on a championship team caliber style of team. Read the rest of this entry

Los Angeles Dodgers State Of The Union For 2016

The Dodgers need to start spending money like right now, otherwise they stand to jeopardize themselves winning a 4th straight NL West title in 2016. Both the Giants and D'Backs have signed ace pitchers this year, and added another good Starting Pitcher besides the point. The club does have several young pieces and Depth at Roster to pull off a blockbuster trade forth coming - or they still have enough resources to acquire players for their 2016 run. The clock is officially ticking gentelmen

The Dodgers need to start spending money like right now, otherwise they stand to jeopardize themselves winning a 4th straight NL West title in 2016. Both the Giants and D’Backs have signed ace pitchers this year, and added another good Starting Pitcher besides the point. The club does have several young pieces and Depth at Roster to pull off a blockbuster trade forth coming – or they still have enough resources to acquire players for their 2016 run. The clock is officially ticking gentlemen.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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The Dodgers are having the same kind of offseason the Baltimore Orioles had in 2014 – going into 2015.

If everyone remembers that year, they rejected a couple year contract with Grant Balfour, when he failed a physical, and they did the same thing with Grady Sizemore.

That club also traded back to back 50 Saves guy Jim Johnson.  By the way, the 2014 O’s won the AL East with a 97 – 65 record.

Key cogs in the wheel were new Closer Zach Britton, and Super Utility man Steve Pearce.  A lot of parallels can be made between that squad and the Dodgers.

Late last week, the Dodgers pulled out of a three year deal wish Hisashi Iwakuma because they had concerns with a physical.

For the whole winter they have watched the Giants sign Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, while the Diamondbacks stole Zack Greinke way from them, while trading a kings ransom for Shelby Miller. Read the rest of this entry

New York Yankees State Of The Union For 2016

The 2015 New York started off extremely strong at 21 - 12, before they finished the last 129 Games at just 66 - 63. With surprising years from Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, the club still made the Wild Card Game with 87 wins. The club has done a couple of nice winter moves in picking up Starlin Castro and Aaron, however the Bullpen is weaker, and the Starting Rotation has many health concerns. New York will need to address those before the season opener.

The 2015 New York Yankees started off extremely strong at 21 – 12, before they finished the last 129 Games at just 66 – 63. With surprising years from Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, the club still hosted the Wild Card Game with 87 wins. The club has done a couple of nice winter moves in picking up Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks for backup players, however the Bullpen is weaker, and the Starting Rotation has many health concerns. New York will need to address those before the season opener.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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Okay so one of the things that happens when you own a website is you lose some of the hardcore enthusiasm for the team you love the most.  This is my story with he Yankees.  Don’t get me wrong, they are still my favorite club, it is just I cover all 30 MLB teams a lot more than I used to.

Having said this, I have been railing on the Yankees for a long time on how they have conducted themselves.  I traced it back to 2014, when they could have reset the Luxury Tax Threshold by trading Ichiro Suzuki, Hiroki Kuroda and Brett Gardner at the Deadline.

Instead, the club went for a half ass attempt to make the playoffs with Derek Jeter in his last season as Shortstop.

I do give Brian Cashman some credit in 2015 for the club making the postseason.  I maintain that his building of the team was still flawed.

Bullpen withstanding, he has known his Starting Pitching situation has been in health peril since  Masahiro Tanaka was diagnosed with a UCL injury in July of 2014.

Joe Girardi squeezed every ounce of the Veteran Lineup that he could last year.  Who would have predicted the squad would have had 30+ Homer years from Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira?

That helped the club jump out to a fantastic start, and then coasted with a .500 record for the last 4 plus months to the 1st playoff Wild Card spot.  They lost to the Houston Astros in that game at Yankee Stadium.

Read the rest of this entry

St. Louis Cardinals State Of The Union For 2016

The Cardinals continued their great play in the MLB since the turn of the milennium - with an MLB best 100 wins in 2015. The organization has transitioned to the next core of young nucleus, while still holding on to a couple of capable veterans. Considering they have plenty of depth, and lots of payroll flexibility coming forth, the franchise could orchestrate a blockbuster trade soon. St. Louis could always sign 1 - 2 Starters via Free Agency as well. As it stands right now, the club has a payroll of around $133 MIL In 2016 listed. They can afford to add about $15 - $17 more million without batting an eye.

St. louis continued their great play in the MLB since the turn of the millennium – with an MLB best 100 wins in 2015. The organization has transitioned to the next core of young nucleus, while still holding on to a couple of capable veterans. Considering they have plenty of depth, and lots of payroll flexibility coming forth, the franchise could orchestrate a blockbuster trade soon. St. Louis could always sign 1 – 2 Starters via Free Agency as well. As it stands right now, the club has a payroll of around $133 MIL listed in 2016. They can afford to add about $15 – $17 more million without batting an eye.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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The Cardinals continue to be the model franchise in the Major Leagues.  With 9 NLCS births since 2000, this club has thrived with rolling over the roster, and not making mistakes on the Free Agency watch.

2016 shouldn’t be any different for competing for a playoff spot. St. Louis won 100 games in 2015 – and may top the century mark in 2016 again.  Crazily enough though it might not be enough for a Division win.

I think I can safely say the Cards and the Cubs are the two best all around teams in the big leagues right now.

I am still giving the nod to Chicago as the favorite right now, but that may change with some winter alterations.

Word has come down that Matt Holliday has been taking reps at 1B this offseasons.  If he were able to convert that to his positional arsenal for the next few years, than that would free up Matt Adams to be traded.

Among the moves the club has made over he last week was trade Jon Jay to the Padres for 2B Jedd Gyorko.  This is a classic Cardinals move. Read the rest of this entry

Milwaukee Brewers State Of The Union For 2016

New Milwaukee GM David Kearns has his hands full trying to compete in the NL Central for the next several seasons. Really the club should be starting a full scale rebuild that includes trading Ryan Braun. Jonathan Lucroy and potentially Wily Peralta. With dealing with the Cubs, Cards and Bucs all in the NL Central, expect a 100 loss season coming forth for the club.

New Milwaukee GM David Stearns has his hands full trying to compete in the NL Central for the next several seasons. Really the club should be starting a full scale rebuild that includes trading Ryan Braun. Jonathan Lucroy and potentially Wily Peralta. With dealing with the Cubs, Cards and Bucs all in the NL Central, expect a 100 loss season coming forth for the club.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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The Milwaukee Brewers owner just sent out an open letter to all of the fans explaining to them his gratitude, and promised that the organization is committed to winning long term.  I liked his candor, but it will be some time before this team has many victory laps.

The NL Central has turned into a fierce 3 club race, with the Reds and Brewers being left in the dust.  Cincinnati has already thrown the white flag this week in trading Todd Frazier and now potentially Brandon Phillips.  They would have already traded Aroldis Chapman as well if it weren’t for a domestic dispute.

The time to rebuild for the club is now.  I would think the club should also entertain trade talks with Ryan Braun and Jonathon Lucroy over the next 6 – 8 months. Read the rest of this entry

Atlanta Braves State Of The Union For 2016

Before the recent deal for Shelby Miller the Braves had been questioned on whether the rebuild they are currently going through was going to work. Now all of a sudden, the club going through trading of all veterans - starting with Jason Heyward a year ago, looks so much better. The next year or 2 is still going to be painstakingly to endure, but the organization now has a promising future

Before the recent deal for Shelby Miller the Braves had been questioned on whether the rebuild they are currently going through was going to work. Now all of a sudden, the club going through trading of all veterans – starting with Jason Heyward a year ago, looks so much better. The next year or 2 is still going to be painstakingly to endure, but the organization now has a promising future.  Atlanta will enter a new park in Sun Trust Park, located in Cobb County, GA for 2017 after playing one more year at Turner Field in 2016.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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John Hart knows how to build teams in the Majors.  He was at the forefront of the Cleveland Indians in the 1990’s when they signed a bunch of young nucleus players to multi year extensions.  It was a trend that worked out for nearly a decade.

A pile of organizations copied this template.  I must admit I thought he may have been a bit past his prime when the Braves finally hired him on last year,  but he seems to carrying out the mission with Atlanta as well.

Of course taking over for Frank Wren – there was not much to go but up.  Dan Uggla, Derek Lowe and B.J. Upton ultimately cost the former GM his job, but it should be noted he did orchestrate 3 decent trades in acquiring  Justin Upton, Michael Bourn and Javier Vasquez much earlier.

The Braves did the right thing in dismantling the 2013 to 2014 squad.  It would have cost too much money to re-sign Brian McCann and Jason Heyward – and Justin Upton may soon reel in a 9 figure sum.

Atlanta also traded away Craig Kimbrel and Andrelton of late.  The haul for Kimbrel was nice, while Simmons was set to make $53 MIL over 5 years. Not huge cash, but for a guy more noted for defense, and with a team rebuilding, losing the dollars owed was a more significant move.

I also can’t emphasize enough how awesome it was to rid themselves of the Melvin Upton JR. contract. Read the rest of this entry

Chicago White Sox State Of The Union For 2016

The White Sox should be decisively better in 2016, however to lump them in with the Royals right now for the Division is just not practical yet. However the team could hit on all cylinders and then add players as the year goes on. Chicago only stands to lose four player to Free Agency after 2016 in John Danks, Adam LaRoche, Al Avila and Dioner Navarro. The latter 2 were brought in on one year deals to provide the Catching tandem in 2015.

The White Sox should be decisively better in 2016, however to lump them in with the Royals right now for the Division is just not practical yet. However the team could hit on all cylinders and then add players as the year goes on. Chicago only stands to lose four player to Free Agency after 2016 in John Danks, Adam LaRoche, Al Avila and Dioner Navarro. The latter 2 were brought in on one year deals to provide the Catching tandem in 2015.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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Chicago has finally thrown their hat into the ring for the AL Central Race.  They have pulled off a trade to acquire Todd Frazier in as 3 way deal with the Reds and Dodgers.

The end result is they get 2 years from the former Reds, while parting with Trayce Thompson, Frankie Montas and Micah Johnson away from the club. It is a quality versus quantity deal.

This comes on the heels of the club picking up Brett Lawrie for 3 years worth of service for a couple of Minor Leaguers.

Before these deals, the club really only hand secured a tandem of Catchers with Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro for the offense.  Now they have much more depth, and are asserting themselves with one of the better lineups in the AL Central.

If Adam LaRoche can bounce back with his usual 25 HRs and  80 RBI power, you could have 3 Infielders and the Designated Hitter all crack 20+ HRs in the 2016 campaign.

Jose Abreu also stands to benefit with bringing in a hitter like Todd Frazier.  You could see a lineup that goes Adam Eaton, Melky Cabrera, Jose Abreu, Adam LaRoche, Frazier, Lawrie, Avisail Garcia, Avila or Navarro and Tyler Saladino.  This looks a lot lengthier than a few days ago.

By the moves they made, they could also trade LaRoche to another club if they were so inclined.  There is no reason to think the Avila and Navarro couldn’t see some DH action for their roles in the 2016 club. Read the rest of this entry

Kansas City Royals State Of The Union For 2016

Back to Back AL pennants and this years World Series Winners. They are the biggest favorite to win their respective division so far on the board. The KC franchise has most of the core nucleus all heading for Free Agency before the 2018 season. If I were a fan of this club - I would be okay with the team rebuilding after this, but for now to throw all chips in and try to cash in on a chance for a small dynasty. Dayton Moore and the Brass should use any one of their Minor League Players to acquire the next piece or 2 to make that happen in 2016 and 2017.

Back to Back AL pennants and this years World Series Winners. They are the biggest favorite to win their respective division so far on the board. The KC franchise has most of the core nucleus all heading for Free Agency before the 2018 season. If I were a fan of this club – I would be okay with the team rebuilding after this, but for now to throw all chips in and try to cash in on a chance for a small dynasty. Dayton Moore and the Brass should use any one of their Minor League Players to acquire the next piece or 2 to make that happen in 2016 and 2017.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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The Royals are back to back AL Pennant winners and the reigning World Series Champions right now.  Furthermore, they are playing in the most winnable Division in the Majors right now.

Kansas City were the 1st real small market club to win the World Series since the 2003 Marlins club took home the Fall Classic that year.

Just like the 2014 winter, the club will sustain losses between the end of the year to Spring Training the following year.

The door is not closed on Alex Gordon yet, however I don’t think it is in the clubs best interest to pay a 9 figure salary to a guy who is already 30.

KC has already seen Ben Zobrist sign with the Cubs, Johnny Cueto with the Giants, and Greg Holland will not pitch at all in the 2016 season with Tommy John Surgery recovery, and certainly not for the Royals.

Dayton Moore has done a decent job acquiring talent though.  The team resigned Starter Chris Young, and they added one time Royals Closer Joakim Soria.

The window is not just for 2016 – as the club only stands to lose back up Catcher Drew Butera following next year, but also for 2017. Read the rest of this entry

San Diego Padres State Of The Union For 2016

It was a disastrous plan from the beginning, and now the 2014 winter is causing the 2015 offseason to play out different. The NL West has also seen the Giants and Diamondbacks beef up their Rosters while San Diego has lost their top 3 Bullpen arms. This squad will have a tough time avoiding 100 Losses in the 2016 season in my view. The saving grace is they can trade every Veteran player they can and start building up the club for 3 - 4 more years down the road.

It was a disastrous plan from the beginning, and now the 2014 winter is causing the 2015 offseason to play out different. The NL West has also seen the Giants and Diamondbacks beef up their Rosters while San Diego has lost their top 3 Bullpen arms. This squad will have a tough time avoiding 100 Losses in the 2016 season in my view. The saving grace is they can trade every Veteran player they can and start building up the club for 3 – 4 more years down the road.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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It certainly is a different feel to the winter of the Padres in the 2015 offseason than it was the 2014 Season.  I never bought into the premise of how A.J. Preller built the team last year.

It was one of the easiest over/under wagers of the year.  It ended in the club losing more games than they did the previous year – despite running a higher payroll.

The franchise loses Justin Upton to Free Agency, and have traded or lost their top 3 Relievers in Craig Kimbrel, Joaquin Benoit and Shawn Kelley.

Preller has also made a few questionable moves in acquiring Jon Jay for one year – and giving up on Jedd Gyorko.  In my view, this is a weird move.

In an Infield that is already lacking power, this latest move furthers the need to bring in more hitters. Read the rest of this entry

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