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Rondon’s Struggles Continue For Tigers, Valverde And Wilson Rumors Emerge

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Saturday, March.09/2013

Bruce Rondon is 1-1 in Spring Training so far with a 5.79 ERA.  He has allowed 7 Hits (including 1 HR) and Walked 5 in 4.2 IP.  Not such a hot start for the rookie phenom.  With World Series Aspirations this year - can the Tigers afford to not enter the Regular Season with a proven Closer?

Bruce Rondon is 1-1 in Spring Training so far with a 5.79 ERA. He has allowed 7 Hits (including 1 HR) and Walked 5 in 4.2 IP. Not such a hot start for the rookie phenom. With World Series Aspirations this year – can the Tigers afford to not enter the Regular Season with a proven Closer?

By Matthew Lafave (Tigers Correspondent)

Panic in Motown?

Not quite yet.

But the Tigers ‘chosen’ Closer isn’t making things easy.

Bruce Rondon, 22-Years-Old, is expected to be the closer for this coming season and hopefully many more to follow. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland have both made it known that it’s his job to lose this spring.

Losing it is just the path he is on. Through 4.2 IP, he has given up 7 Hits, 3 ER, 1 HR, and yielded 5 Walks..It’s early we know, but at what point does early become too late?

If he happens to pitch himself out of the Closer spot then who will be our fearless Closer?

Bruce Rondon hits 103 MPH!

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MLB Player Profile: SD Padres – Huston Street

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Sunday Mar.03, 2013

Huston Street was the 2005 Rookie of the Year for the Oakland.  He has really good control for a Closer - with a Strikeout to Wal ratio of 4-1 (9.2 SO per 9 IP vs 2.3 BB per 9 IP

Huston Street was the 2005 Rookie of the Year for the Oakland. He has really good control for a Closer – with a Strikeout to Walk ratio of 4-1 (9.2 SO per 9 IP vs 2.3 BB per 9 IP)His game is suited for the Petco Park.  At only Age 29, he could conceivably pitch for the next decade and has an outside chance at about 400 Saves for his Career.  He has played for the 3 West Coast teams (OAK, COL and SD.)

By Chance Moore (Padres Correspondent)  

Street was traded by the Rockies to the San Diego Padres for Left Hander Nick Schmidt on December 7, 2011. As part of the deal the Padres paid the remaining money on his contract. Street missed a month with a right shoulder strain, but otherwise had an excellent first half with the Padres. He compiled a 1.13 ERA, was 13 for 13 in converting Save Opportunities, and did not allow a Home Run in his 1st 25 games, earning a selection to his first All-Star Game.

Street is an underrated Relief Pitcher in the MLB realms.  The man burst onto the scene for Oakland in 2005 – netting the Rookie of the Year Award in the American League with a 5-1 Record and 23 Saves during his 78.1 IP.  8 Years into his career, he has 201 Saves – while yielding a 3.01 ERA.  Here he is on the Active MLB Saves List in #8 position.  Really he will be 7th early into the year because Brian Fuentes recently retired.

Rank Player (yrs, age) Saves Throws
1. Mariano Rivera (18, 42) 608 R
2. Jason Isringhausen (16, 39) 300 R
3. Joe Nathan (12, 37) 298 R
4. Francisco Rodriguez (11, 30) 294 R
5. Jose Valverde (10, 34) 277 R
6. Jonathan Papelbon (8, 31) 257 R
7. Brian Fuentes (12, 36) 204 L
8. Huston Street (8, 28) 201 R
9. J.J. Putz (10, 35) 183 R
10. Brian Wilson (7, 30) 171 R

Huston Street Interview on his 1st Save for the San Diego Padres in 2012:

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Top Ten Stat of the Week: Active Saves Leaders in the MLB (A Closers Role)

Monday August.13/2012

Mariano Rivera holds the ALL-Time Record for any closer (active or retired) with 608 Saves. Will he come back in 2013 to add to his totals?

Chuck Booth: (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-  To be a closer in today’s baseball game takes quite the mental fortitude.  There is a lot of psychological warfare one could do to himself in preventing a successful run at saving games.  While I am of the mindset that the relief pitchers of yesteryear seemed to be relied on more for lengthier durations, this does not diminish this stat in any way.  It is hard to acquire the 90-100% save rate that most teams are striving for in a pitching staff.  In any given seasons the average save opportunities average from 45-65 chances to lock a game down.  A lot of this also depends on what team you play for.  There have been several phenomenal stretches put forth by closers of the game in recent vintage.  Who could forget Canadian born Erig Gagne?  This man once saved 85 straight games from 2002-2004.  He is the all-time leader in that category and beat out John Franco’s previous record by an astounding 30 games. Another incredible run was Brad Lidge‘s incredible 2008 season where he did not blow a save opportunity out of 48 games both in the regular season and playoffs.

Sure these guys don’t log 120 innings anymore, or throw for 3 inning saves like Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage did for many years.  By the way, we can all thank Tony La Russa for the invention of specialists pitchers (Rick Honeycutt, Jesse Orosco anyone?) and the one inning save closers.  La Russa perfected this scenario with former starter Dennis Eckersley coming out of the pen for the Oakland A’s during their powerhouse days in the late 80’s.  Eckersley was so dominant every team tried to duplicate their own bullpens to mock the A’s. 

Before this time had come, relief pitchers were all mostly comprised of young pitchers trying to acclimatize themselves into the Major Leagues first, before earning a spot as a Starting Pitcher.  For example, David Wells was once a relief pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays first and then was promoted to a starting pitcher after he proved he could pitch in the Major Leagues.   In today’s baseball world, relief pitchers are now being drafted out of college and high school as relievers whereas they used to all come from the position of starting pitcher.  It also used to be that relief pitchers were players that graduated to a starter and then could not find success as starters and were sent back to the bullpen once again to stay.  When it came down to it, you had only a couple of chances to perform as a starter.  Maybe it was because there were bigger than life characters like Gossage that make remember these pitchers in such favorable terms.  Maybe it was because we never saw them interviewed on a social media platform like today’s athlete is and the mystery surrounded them made them more feared, or maybe it is because we tend to admire things more when they happened in the past.  I still love the closers role in today’s game and nothing has more drama in a baseball game than trying to nail down the last 3 outs!

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Fantasy Baseball Report: Week of May 14th

Monday May 14th, 2012

Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports): I think we can learn a lot from Albert Pujols, Adam Dunn, and Prince Fiedler, namely that it is not an easy transition to switch leagues in the middle a career. Adam Dunn, who also reported to the White Sox rather overweight in 2011, was completely overmatched last season and put up one of the worst statistical seasons in major league history. However, in 2012 he has already matched his home run total from last season and he is actually on pace for a career year with .993 OPS (career .879). Dunn is performing like the guy who blasted 38 home runs or more eight consecutive seasons.  

Like Dunn, Pujols is struggling in his first season in the major leagues. One must figure that in addition adapting to the new surrounding and pitchers, the mental aspect has to be taking a toll on Pujols. Although I expect him to recover, it will certainly be too late in the minds of fantasy owners who took as one of the first two overall picks. I now see him as a nice buy-low candidate for 2013, in the same mold of Dunn. Although Prince Fielder is not struggling to the same degree, his .746 OPS in 2012 is well below his career .926 average. He and Pujols could still both finish the season with 30 plus homers, but it seems unlikely that they will produce at the level they were accustomed to in the NL. Look for them to both get hot at the end of the season and not struggle through the whole year like Dunn. And since Dunn looked to be one his way out of baseball and has recovered nicely, I think we can expect the same delayed results for the struggling first baseman in Detroit and Los Angeles. Read the rest of this entry

Those Clutch Guys: A Preview of the American League Closers in 2012

Wednesday February 1st, 2012

Sam Evans: Closing ballgames takes confidence, skill, and experience. There are select players that have earned the closer role at the highest level possible. These players come in all shapes and sizes, with diverse backgrounds. 

Without further adieu, here are the closers for all fourteen American League teams:

New York Yankees: The Yankees have had the same closer for the last fifteen years. That is by far the longest stretch of any closer with their current team. Arguably the most successful closer of all time, Mariano Rivera has constructed his whole career around one pitch.

Rivera’s cutter is simply dominant. He breaks more bats than any other closer in the league, and he knows where to throw it to specific hitters. Even at 42 years old, hitters know what’s coming but still have no chance of making solid contact. In 2011, Rivera had a 1.91 ERA and he recorded 44 saves. Mariano Rivera still has at least five more years closing out games. The Yankees should be content with him as their closer for as long as he wants to pitch.

Tampa Bay Rays: Rays closer Kyle Farnsworth had a surprisingly effective 2011. Coming into the year, he was expected to compete with young prospect Jake McGee for the closer role. Farnsworth stole the show and was Tampa’s closer for the whole season. He posted a 2.18 ERA in 2012, along with 25 saves. It was a nice bounce back year for the once overpaid, angry reliever.

The Rays picked up the fiery reliever’s option for 2012, so he will likely retain his job as the Rays’ closer. However, if Farnsworth can’t get the job done, Joel Peralta or Fernando Rodney (87 career saves) will step in.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox bullpen has had a perplexing offseason so far. They let their closer leave in free agency and they moved two of their other best relievers to the rotation. Now, they’ll be trusting a young, former Rookie of the Year, who hasn’t thrown fifty innings since 2009. I think the Red Sox made the right move by letting Jonathan Papelbon walk, but I don’t see the benefit in moving Daniel Bard to their rotation.

Moving from Oakland to Boston, Andrew Bailey will have to learn to deal with constant criticism and media pressure. He’ll go from pitching in front of 10,000 people every night to almost 40,000. It’s impossible to quantify how much of an impact that will have on Bailey, but it’s got be at least a small factor.

The Red Sox will have a strong bullpen, despite which of their relievers end up in their rotation. Besides Bard, the Red Sox also acquired Mark Melancon who could see time as Boston’s closer. Melancon isn’t as good of a pitcher as Bailey, but he is still a strong option for late-inning relief.

I’m not high on Bailey and I see him having issues in 2012. Bailey relies too heavily on his fastball and his curveball was not effective last year. If he succeeds in Boston, then the Red Sox will look like geniuses for trading for him. If he struggles, then new General Manager Ben Cherington will have some questions to answer about the future of this bullpen. (I wrote more about the Red Sox bullpen here.)

Toronto Blue Jays: With the abundance of closers on the market, Toronto went out and got their closer of the present and future, in Sergio Santos. They had to give up Nestor Molina, a young starting pitching prospect, but they scored Santos and his team-friendly contract.

Since being converted from shortstop to pitcher a couple of years ago, Sergio Santos has molded into a top-notch closer. In my opinion, he has the second best slider in baseball. (Braves closer Craig Kimbrel gets a slight edge.)

The Blue Jays have a fairly strong bullpen and General Manager Alex Anthopoulos could always trade for more bullpen pieces. Rebuilding Toronto’s major league team is going to take a couple of years and right now the bullpen appears to be the least of their worries.

Baltimore Orioles: Jim Johnson emerged as a star for the Orioles in 2011. The twenty-eight year old reliever threw ninety innings but recorded only nine saves. The Orioles leader in saves last year was Kevin Gregg with 22 saves. This was surprising considering Gregg wasn’t even one of the Orioles top three relievers.

I’ve been a huge fan of Pedro Strop ever since he was with the Rangers organization. The twenty-six year old had a 2.62 FIP in 2011, and the Orioles have implied he’ll be their setup man in 2012. With Johnson, Gregg and Strop all gunning for the Orioles closer job in 2012, they’ll definitely have competition throughout the year. I’d expect Johnson to get the most saves, but Strop could have a breakout season as a 9th inning superstar.  Plus Alfredo Simon could always get hot and take back the role if he fails as a starter.

Detroit Tigers: For the Tigers, having a closer they can trust to close out games in 2012 will be huge. The Tigers are going to have plenty of late-inning leads, thanks to a strong pitching staff and a powerful offense. Jose Valverde has been the Tigers closer for the last two years and he’s excelled at the back of the Detroit bullpen.

Papa Grande took a step forward in 2011. He saved 49 saves in just as many opportunities in 2012. His electric (and to a lesser extent, annoying) personality provides a spark at the end of Tigers games.

Valverde will be back in 2012 and will help Detroit down the stretch as they look to make a run at the World Series.

Chicago White Sox: The White Sox no longer have a clear closer after trading Sergio Santos to the Blue Jays. Now, their bullpen will rely on the flame-throwing lefty Matt Thornton and rookie Addison Reed.

Matt Thornton had a rough 2011. He lost his closer job to a former shortstop and saw his strikeout rates plummet. In 2010, he struck out 12.02 batters per nine innings. In 2011, he saw that rate drop to 9.5. He also walked more hitters than he had in previous years, and his LOB% dropped to 61.2%. In 2012, he will probably see his numbers improve moderately- but not to the level they were at in 2010.

Addison Reed is the best prospect in the White Sox deprived farm system. He will probably start the year in the majors. He has a higher ceiling than any other White Sox bullpen arms and that might lead to a job closing for Chicago. Reed is a nice sleeper in 12-team leagues, in which you are looking for saves.

Manager Robin Ventura has said that Reed is likely to make the 25-man roster out of Spring Training. He also said that the closing job is Matt Thornton’s to lose. I don’t think it will be very long before Reed takes over the job from Thornton, so Reed will probably get the majority of saves for the White Sox this year.

Kansas City Royals: Last year, it seemed inevitable that the Royals would trade away their longtime closer Joakim Soria. Then Soria’s value dramatically dropped. In May, Soria gave up ten runs in ten innings, and Royals fans started to panic. Eventually, Soria got back to the pitcher he always was. He finished 2011 with 28 saves, his lowest total since 2007. General Manager Dayton Moore made the right move hanging on to Joakim Soria because his value was so low at the trade deadline.

For 2012, Soria will be the Royals closer barring a trade. Not to be forgotten is former Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton who was signed this offseason. The Royals have a talented young bullpen that has the chance to develop into one of the best in the league.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins have no real closer heading into the 2011 season. Sure they have Matt Capps, who has 124 career saves. But he’s not a legitimate option if they plan on contending this year. They recently signed former Detroit Tiger Joel Zumaya who is coming back from a serious arm injury, but he used to be able to throw triple digits.

For fantasy players looking for sleepers, this team isn’t a bad place to start. Any one of the Twins pitchers could step up and take the closer role. This might be the worst bullpen in the league, so Minnesota will probably have to make some moves this year.

Cleveland Indians: The Indians a strong bullpen that should be able to give their starters a proper amount of rest. Vinnie Pestano is the best reliever on the team… and he’s not even closing. Pestano was worth 1.5 WAR in 2011, and he had 23 saves. If Chris Perez were to slip up in his closing duties, Pestano could easily fill in.

Chris Perez is a very good closer because he is a clutch performer. He doesn’t strike out many hitters and he walks a lot of hitters (1.50 K/BB in 2011), but he doesn’t blow many saves. He was 36 for 40 in save opportunities last year.

Even though Perez will likely be the starting closer on Opening Day, if Pestano keeps pitching like he has, he could eventually take over the position.

Seattle Mariners: The Mariners probably should have traded their closer, Brandon League, this offseason. As strong of an asset as League is, the Mariners won’t be contending in 2012.

When Brandon Leauge decides to throw it, he has one of the best splitters in the league. Last year he threw his splitter 28.2% of the time. Mariners fans want him to throw it more because of how dominating it can be. In 2011, using his splitter more led him to 37 saves and a 2.78 FIP. If League were to be traded or injured, Shawn Kelley, Tom Wilhelmsen, or Chance Ruffin would likely step into the role.

Oakland Athletics: Since the A’s traded Andrew Bailey, their closer responsibility is no longer set in stone. Brian Fuentes will likely start the year as their closer, but he has 37 career blown saves and is no longer the pitcher he once was.

The next pitcher in line to get saves is probably Fautino De Los Santos. As a rookie in 2011, De Los Santos struck out 11.61 batters per nine innings. Fautino De Los Santos may be electric but he only has thirty-two career saves (all of which were in the minors.)

Texas Rangers: The Rangers have the most depth out of any bullpen in the AL West. Joe Nathan will be the closer out of spring training. If Nathan were to fail, the Rangers also have Mike Adams, Koji Uehara (barring a trade) and Alexi Ogando (if he doesn’t start) waiting in the wings. If the Rangers bullpen were a flavor of milkshake- they would be banana. Not always the first thing that comes to mind, but after you try it, it’s much better than you expected.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: The Angels should have spent more money this offseason on their bullpen. Jordan Walden is far from a sure thing. Although it was his rookie year, Walden had his ups and downs in 2011. Walden looked nervous at times. Hopefully in his second year, he will have a better ” closer’s mentality.” 

Setting up Walden will be most likely be Scott Downs, who was extremely lucky in 2011. Downs had 26 holds and a 1.34 ERA. He had a 3.40 xFIP and he left 86.4% of his men on base.  In 2012, there’s no question that Downs is going to regress. The only question is how much. 

Overall:  The bullpens in the American League aren’t as strong as they look. There are talented pitchers on nearly every team, but no bullpen stands out as the clear winner. 2012 is going to be the an important year for closers, as there will be many AL teams in contention (especially if the 2nd Wild Card goes through). Some say that the whole closer role and mentality is not important. But once this year’s playoffs are upon us, I think 2012 will prove just how important closers really are.

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Sam on Twitter***

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Major League Baseball Needs to Adopt An Amnesty Clause

Wednesday December 28, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

Boston Red Sox

The Victim: John Lackey

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

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

His contract is up in 2014.

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

Toronto Blue Jays

The Victim: Mark Teahen

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

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

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

New York Yankees

The Victims: Alex Rodriguez, A.J. Burnett

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles

The Victim: Brian Roberts

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

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

Tampa Bay Rays

The Victims: No One

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

Chicago White Sox

The Victim: Adam Dunn

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

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

Cleveland Indians

The Victim: Travis Hafner

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

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

Kansas City Royals

The Victim: No One

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

Detroit Tigers

The Victim: Brandon Inge

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

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

Minnesota Twins

The Victim: Joe Mauer

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

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

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Victim: Vernon Wells

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

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

Seattle Mariners

The Victim: Ichiro Suzuki

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

Texas Rangers

The Victim: No One

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

Oakland Athletics

The Victim: Brian Fuentes

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

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

New York Mets

The Victim: Jason Bay

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

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

Florida Marlins

The Victim: Ricky Nolasco

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

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

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

Washington Nationals

The Victim: Jayson Werth

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

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

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

Philadelphia Phillies

The Victim: Joe Blanton

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

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

Atlanta Braves

The Victim: No One

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

Cincinnati Reds

The Victim: Scott Rolen

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

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

Milwaukee Brewers

The Victim: Randy Wolf

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

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

Houston Astros

The Victim: Carlos Lee

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

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

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Victim: No One

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

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

St. Louis Cardinals

The Victim: No One

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

Chicago Cubs

The Victim: Alfonso Soriano

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

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

San Francisco Giants

The Victim: Barry Zito

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

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

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Victim: No One

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

Los Angeles Dodgers

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

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

Colorado Rockies

The Victim: Jorge De La Rosa

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

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

San Diego Padres

The Victim: Jason Bartlett

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

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

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

***Today’s feature was prepared by Jeff P, Guest Writer to MLB reports.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Jeff on Twitter.***

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