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Chicago Cubs Payroll In 2017 + Contracts Going Forward

cubs

Look, there is no way to sugar coat it, the Jason Heyward contract is about the biggest dumpster fire of a contract there may ever be.  Having said that, everyone receives one mulligan. 

Even 3 time World Series winning GM Brian Sabean has had a horrible Matt Cain contract to contend with the last half decade.

Theo Epstein hasn’t made too many blunders – and winning a World Series with both the Red Sox and now the Cubs has solidified a position for him in Cooperstown.

Also lucky is the brilliant signing of Anthony Rizzo of a 7 YR deal prior to 2013, and when he asserted himself as a perennial MVP contender.

Despite carrying a projected payroll in 2017 of around $171 MIL – the team has plenty of expiring contracts in the name of Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis, Jon Lackey, Jon Jay, Pedro Strop, Miguel Montero and Koji Uehara. to replenisg te talent again in 2018 – and going forward

There are only 4 players signed for $79.2 MIL so far.

This is a perfect contrast to the Heyward pact.  Should Rizzo's Team Options be picked up for 2020 and 2021 (for $16.5 MIL each year), then the club will still only have paid him $74 MIL from 2013 - 2021, spanning 9 years at an Annual Value of $8.2 MIL.  That is completely lights out for the organization going forward.

The Rizzo longterm deal a perfect contrast to the Heyward pact. Should Rizzo’s Team Options be picked up for 2020 and 2021 (for $16.5 MIL each year), then the club will still only have paid him $74 MIL from 2013 – 2021, spanning 9 years at an Annual Value of $8.2 MIL. That is completely lights out for the organization going forward.

The one factor of brilliantly drafting and then rostering a club full of guys the same age is that they are all on entry level contracts for a few years before the squad becomes increasingly expensive before Arbitration rights kick in.

2018 will see Kris Bryant, Kyle Hendricks and Addison Russell all hit 1st year Eligible on Arbitration, and then 2019 has Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras and Carl Edwards JR. hit the 1st year. 

it will be at this point the team shoots up the salary page.

Other than Jon Lester, Heyward and Ben Zobrist,  there are no real big salaries on the table for the team to digest.

The biggest dilemma will be the status of Jake Arrieta.  My guess is that he will want too much money and walk away from the Cubs.

More important than that even is simply signing Free Agents (not named Arrieta) by Epstein.

Epstein is creative.  It is okay to figure out a Starting Pitcher in Free Agency, and also add another Closer if need be.  Who knows, by 2018, Hector Rondon and Carl Edwards JR. may be able to lock down that role.

There is still money to spend in the 2017 and 2018 winter markets for sure.

Also playing in the NL Central provides them with security of being able to outspend all the other teams – with the Cardinals only being in the atmosphere.

It is not like they are fighting in the tough NL West with the Giants and high spending Dodgers.  It will still mean facing off against those clubs. and contending with the aging Nationals roster, and New York Mets young staff for a few seasons.

Wrigley Field will be sold out, the revenue streams will break out to record levels, all freely flowing cash into the Ricketts family pockets.

The good news is they are not in cap hell yet  The bad news is that it would only take one more bad deal/paired with Heyward, in order to prevent the club from signing all of their young superstars to extensions.

Epstein is too smart for that.  Look for high value Annual Average Value’s that have expiring contracts before the 2018 and 2019 seasons.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they trade for an existing ace pitcher.

Think Zack Greinke now, or a guy like Justin Verlander in 2018 or 2019, where the other club may eat some of the salary, ask for a high level prospect, and then have a legitimate Starter to lug some innings in the playoffs.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if the brass orchestrates a trade for a guy like Chris Archer – or Sonny Gray (midway through this year if he has healed himself).

Maybe it would cost you a Javier Baez, or a combinations of Carl Edwards JR./Albert Almora JR. to do it, however with Ben Zobrist still in town, defense alignment can be configured in a lot of different ways for at least the next 2 – 3 years.

Like I stated in the Giants Payroll article, the new CBA has also reeled in the Dodgers spending $300 MIL on team payroll.  The best thing that could happen for the Cubs is if Clayton Kershaw were to opt out of his deal beyond 2017.

That would either bring up the price for the Dodgers to sign him, or even give them the chance to sign the guy themselves.  Yes. the Cubs have more flexibility than the Dodgers for at least a couple of offseasons.

Guaranteed Contracts/POS/AGE:

Jason Heyward – OF (28):  With a grand sum of $184 MIL from 2016 – 2023 ( 8 years) this is a brutal deal – and the club is lucky to have already won a World Series in season 1 of this pact.

Heyward will make an astonishing $28.2 MIL for both the 2017 and 2018 seasons.  Epstein at least frontloaded the contract to erase some of the burden by the time the young talent comes up for raises.

This deal is the 13th richest in history for a guy who carried a .631 OPS. in 2016  I tend to think that Heyward will be closer to his Career OPS of .761 the next few years with the pressure somewhat off him now. 

Hit him 7th or 8th and let him work out his kinks. Defense is at least not a problem here with him winning a 4th Gold Glove.

This could end bad in 2017 – with Heyward riding pine for some of the year – if the club opts to use Zobrist, Schwarber and the tandem of Jon Jay and Almora JR. as the OF.

You also have to think that Joe Maddon won’t hesitate to find Willson Contreras reps as well.

Jon Lester – SP (33):  Lester is in the 3rd year of a 7 YR/$165 MIL deal, and is set to reel in $25 MIL in 2017. The deal calls for $27.5 MIL in both 2018 and 2019, before scaling back to $20 MIL in 2020. 

There is a 2021 Club Option as well. Details on that: $25M Team Option, $10M Buyout option guaranteed with 200 innings in 2020 or 400 IP in 2019-20. 

With the Buyout that large, the man would have to fall from grace hard, to not get the Option.  Although he would be nearly 40, $15 MIL extra will probably not be that bad.

Lester is worth every dollar the club has spent so far.  It is hard to find playoff proven commodities on the open market.

Ben Zobrist – UT (36):  Zobrist is the only player in the MLB who was won 2 straight World Series, as also being a member of the 2015 WS Champ KC Royals.

With the availability to play 5 defensive positions, Zobrist was the perfect compliment to the Cubs defensive roster in 2016 – although he played predominantly at 2B. 

With the emergence of Baez in the playoffs, he will likely rove more around in 2017.

Zobrist earns $16.5 MIL in both 2017 and 2018 – before retreating back to $12.5 MIL in 2019.  He will be in his Age 39 season at that point, and it may not look so hot at that point, but one can’t argue at his flexibility on the Roster providing so many options in the title run.

You can even say that his positional switching gives the club a better chance to hold onto Kyle Schwarber (instead of trading him in the American League).

John Lackey – SP (38):  Lackey joined Lester, David Ross. and Epstein as guys who have won World Series in 2013 with Boston and the Cubs in 2016.  He will make $16 MIL in 2017 before hitting Free Agency in 2018.

Lackey lugged 188.1 IP and gave the Cubs a 3.35 ERA in the process.  It doesn’t even matter that he was being pulled in the early innings of the postseason.

Jake Arrieta – SP (31):  Arrieta earns a tidy $15.6 MIL this year and will likely head out into Free Agency as a Scott Boras client.  Unfortunately the man is going to be 32 heading into 2018.

I would not offer him higher than a 4 year deal at $20 – $21 MIL after, yet that will not get the job done when he hits the open market.  Someone will pony up 5 YRs/$125 MIL for him, you watch.

Miguel Montero – C (34);  Montero will make $14 MIL in 2017 – and I am not sure he will Catch more than about 60 games.  Contreras at last is on an entry level contract to offset this salary.  I am surprised the team has not ventured out to trade him.

Wade Davis – CL (32):  It cost the club Jorge Soler and 4 years of Team Control, yet this was the way to go.  $10 MIL for one year of Davis (who Closed for the 2015 wS Champion Royals) is smart business practice.

To acquire an elite Reliever such as this is a great move – when you consider the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants spent $86 MIL, $80 MIL and $62 MIL to sign Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon respectively.

Soler was going to be their 7th option as an OF.  Davis, by the way, has a 0.83 ERA in 32.2 IP for his postseason career – and has carried a mid 1 ERA from 2014 – 2016 as a late inning Reliever – spanning 183 IP.

I would also think the club will extend the Qualifying Offer to him this winter ( $17.5 – $19 MIL range for one year), so they may even recover a 2nd or 3rd Draft Pick back all for just $10 MIL.

Jon Jay – OF (32): Has a 2017 contract or $8 MIL to play OF.  He has a career .352 OBP, so could hit 1st or 9th for Maddon, working as an on base guy for the big boppers.  Brilliant little move.

Anthony Rizzo – 1B (28):  Rizzo will take him $7 MIL for 2017, coming after the heels of an ALL-Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and top 4 MVP season in which he clubbed 30+ HRs and added 100 RBI for a 2nd straight season.

Rizzo also makes $7 MIL in 2018, $12 MIL in 2019, and two Team Options in a row call for $16.5 MIL and $2 MIL Buyouts for both 2020 and 2021.

It is contracts like this that setup championship caliber clubs for the organization.

Other valued deals that compare to it last decade or so.  Paul Goldschmidt (5 YRs/$32.5 MIL), Madison Bumgarner (6 YRS/$35.6 MIL) and Andrew McCutchen ( 6 YRs/$51 MIL)  that coincided with 4 straight top 5 NL MVP finishes.

Rizzo should challenge for an MVP every year of that remains on this deal.

Koji Uehara – RP (42):  $6 MIL for one year seems like a lot or a guy of his age, but Uehara has plenty of playoff/Closer experience that is invaluable to a club like this.  I would take it easy on him in the regular season and save the bullets for playoffs.

Hector Rondon – RP (29):  $5.8 MIL for this former Closer is not a bad deal in 2017. Rondon has one more year left of Arbitration before hitting Free Agency in 2019.  He has 77 Saves and a career ERA of 2.97.

Brian Duensing – SP/RP (33):  Makes $2 MIL in 2017 and a Free Agent in 2018. A spot start here and extra Bullpen arm,

Justin Grimm – RP (29): Avoided Arbitration with a $1.8 MIL, has 2 more years left of Arbitration before he is a Free Agent.

Total Money for this Category for 2017: $157.5 MIL (13 Players)

Arbitration Eligible/POS/AGE

3rd  year

Pedro Strop – RP (33):  Is projected to to earn $5.5 MIL in Arbitration, and is a Free Agent in 2018.

Total Money for this Category for 2017: $5.5 MI:  Total money is now $163 MIL

Pre-Arbitration – Entry Level Contracts:

Tommy La Stella – INF (28):  Is Arbitration Eligible from 2018 – 2020 and a Free Agent in 2021.

Kyle Hendricks – SP (27): Is Arbitration Eligible from 2018 – 2020 and a Free Agent in 2021.

Kris Bryant – 3B Is Arbitration Eligible from 2018 – 2021 as a “Super 2” and a Free Agent in 2021.  Bryant is only 25 Years old, and will have 4 years of Arbitration kick in starting next season.

Since the club opted to start his 2015 after the 10 days of service time, they wll retian his rights until the end of 2021.  Bryant is on pace to end up recording Arbitration cash if he keeps his career trajectory.

The club should really look to extend him similar to the Mike Trout 6 YRs.$144 MIL deal he got.

Addison Russell – SS (23):  Is Arbitration Eligible from 2018 – 2021 as a “Super 2” and a Free Agent in 2022.

Comparisons to an extension similar to what he may get are:  Jason Kipnis and Matt Carpenter (6 YRs and $52 MIL)

Matt Szczur – UT (28): Is Arbitration Eligible from 2019 – 2021 and a Free Agent in 2022.

Javier Baez – 2B/3B (24):  Is Arbitration Eligible from 2019 – 2021 and a Free Agent in 2022.

Mike Montgomery – SP/RP (29): Is Arbitration Eligible from 2019 – 2021 and a Free Agent in 2022.

Kyle Schwarber – OF (24): Is Arbitration Eligible from 2019 – 2021 and a Free Agent in 2022.

Willson Contreras – C (25): Is Arbitration Eligible from 2022 – 2022 and a Free Agent in 2023.

Albert Almora JR – OF (23):   Is Arbitration Eligible from 2022 – 2022 and a Free Agent in 2023.

Rob Zastryzny – RP (25) Is Arbitration Eligible from 2022 – 2022 and a Free Agent in 2023.

Total Money for this Category for 2017: $6.0 MIL MIL Toral Money Oveall – $169.0 MIL

Buyouts/Dead Money

Jason Hammel – $2 Million Buyout for 2017 that was agreed to in a gentleman’s deal. There is no dead money on he books past 2017 thus far.

Conclusions:

Despite the Heyward mistake of a deal, Epstein has done everything right.  It will be a constant maneuvering of the incoming talent – to surround the plethora of young superstars the club has.

The Cubs have the availability to sign an elite pitcher in Free Agency in the year or 2, or trade for one.  Beyond that, the team can’t make another top 50 ALL – Time Salary roster mistake.

The brass should also investigate early extensions for Bryant, Ruseell and Contreras immediately while they may afford to wait for Hendricks and Schwarber yet. 

Some sort of guaranteed money to the budget would be wise

As for Arrieta, he is just too old – an unorthodox in order to grant him the cash he will seek.  Epstein has to find creative ways to bring in a #1 or $2 beyond this campaign. 

Chicago is fantastic shape financially to spend as much as it takes to ensure a dynasty in the next half-dozen years. 

If I were in charge I would try to limit any big historic contracts to their own young superstars from this point forwards. 

Also don’t be afraid to trade one of the premiere young offensive players for a quality Starter (#1 or #2 Starter)like Baez, Contreras or Almora.

CubsWS

*** 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***

I am happy to be back at the helm of the MLB Reports, after completing my record 224 Games in the MLB Trip in 2015.  It was the 4th time I have seen all 30 MLB Parks since 2008. During that time away I was fortunate to do 100 Media Interviews

Interview on CSN Philly during the month of July.

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Who Will Win The 2017 National League Divisions Polls? Your Chance As A Reader To Vote

The National League is a very top heavy league with the Nats, Dodgers, Cardinals and Pirates having the best odds to qualify for the postseason in 2015. With parity at an all time high in the Senior Circuit, we may a squad break the worst record ever to qualify for the playoffs as a Wild Card seed this campaign.

The National League is a very top heavy league with the Nats, Dodgers, Cubs Mets, Giants and Cardinals and  having the best odds to qualify for the postseason in 2016. With 6 teams possibly challenging the 100 loss barrier in the Senior Circuit (Padres,  Reds, Brewers, Braves and Phillies),

Since it is the middle part of January, we will offer these polls for all teams in all of the Divisions.

Top 5 Projected Holds Leaders For The MLB In 2017

a betances and miller

It is one of the harder stats to predict every year, and we are talking about the category of Holds.  Last season the New York Yankees disrupted the flow of the entire landscape.

Since the New York club traded both Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman, this affected the chances of Dellin Betances winning the year, with him moving to Closer.

Miller himself finished 2nd in the Majors having worked setup for Chapman – and then predominantly clearing the deck for Indians Closer Cody Allen.

Falling into the same atmosphere was perennial winner Tony Watson coming into the 9th inning role once Mark Melancon was dealt to the Washington Nationals. Read the rest of this entry

New York Yankees Payroll In 2017 + Contracts Going Forward

Brian Cashman can finally see some relief from some exorbitant contracts plaguing him from the last several years. Alex Rodriguez is still on the book for this years salary of $21 MIL. What is worse is that his Annual Average Salary of $27.5 MIL per year for the duration of his 2008 - 2017 contract still counts towards the $195 MIL Luxury Tax Threshold limit.

Brian Cashman can finally see some relief from some exorbitant contracts plaguing him from the last several years.Alex Rodriguez is still on the book for this years salary of $21 MIL. What is worse is that his Annual Average Salary of $27.5 MIL per year for the duration of his 2008 – 2017 contract still counts towards the $195 MIL Luxury Tax Threshold limit this season.  Will the Yankees spend beyond that mark, or will they finally get under the limit and reset their penalties?

The Bronx Bombers have a projected payroll of $195 MIL already – and are perennial abusers of the Luxury Tax Threshold – so they are at a 50% penalty for any money spent between $195 – $215 MIL.

Don’t look for them to add much – unless they can orchestrate a trade of one of their salaried players already.

The brass is playing this smart.  The young players will make or break this current roster of players, however if the season gets away from New York, they will assuredly deal a few players away to get under the Luxury Tax Threshold once and for all.

By doing such that, they will reset the penalty to a 1st time user.

Read the rest of this entry

Top 5 Projected Save Leaders For The MLB In 2017

Aroldis Chapman appeared in 31 Games for the Yankees in 2016, holding 20 Saves and a crisp 2l01 ERA and WHIP of .867

Aroldis Chapman appeared in 31 Games for the Yankees in 2016, holding 20 Saves and a crisp 2l01 ERA and WHIP of  .867.  This was done in just over 3 months.  With the Yankees kickstarting him up from Spring Training, and without the aid of Andrew Miller as a fallback option, I expect the flamethrowing southpaw to have one of his best seasons ever out of the pen in 2017.

What  a scene it will be at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW in he District today where Aroldis Chapman and Joe Maddon will reunite to celebrate their 2016 World Series Championship.

The big Lefty Cuban should be the favorite to win the 2017 Saves Title for the entire MLB.  It is not that the Yankees will lead the league in wins – heck they may finish 4th in the AL East.  I just believe that with the pop gun offense (say for Gary Sanchez) that the victories will all be closely contested.

I highly thought of Kenley Jansen and Craig Kimbrel for this honor as well, however I like their managers to give them the odd day off ans Save Opportunities.

As of today, we have the Cubs nearing the 100 in plateau again, but just like the aforementioned players above, I think Maddon will use several guys to register Saves for Chicago in 2017 – like Wade Davis, Hector Rondon and Carl Edwards JR.

The reigning World Series Champs are also a lot more prone to blow out teams in a weakened National League where 6 clubs may lose 90 Games or more.

For the sake of preserving arms and fatigue, I would also not be surprised to see a few more SVO’s going to Andrew Miller in lieu of Cody Allen for the AL Pennant winners Cleveland.

(RELATED – Top 5 Home Runs Hitters Projected For The MLB in 2017) Read the rest of this entry

Odds To Win The 2017 MLB World Series: Detroit + Seattle Best Value Right Now

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I have been preaching the Mariners as a bet for a couple of months now.  I was able to grab them at +2800 for a $50 bet already, and this was my 2nd bet to the $100 I plunked down on the Nationals at +1200.

Jerry DiPoto has been wheeling and dealing to the tune of 11 trades already this offseason. 

With the exception of the Outfield not possessing not much power (but a ton of speed that could round out the bottom of the order with SB), and the First Base position being manned by unproven commodities, the rest of the roster is pretty solid.

We noted that the Mariners threesome of Kyle Seager, Robinson Cano and Jean Segura combined for 99 HRs and then the prime DH Nelson Cruz clubbed 43 Bolts.  These guys will make up enough power to compensate for that.

While I still feel they should upgrade at 1B or another OF (Guys such as Mark Trumbo, Chris Carter or Mike Napoli) this team should have enough offense to compete in the American League.

With acquiring Yovani Gallardo and Drew Smyly in the last week, the club has added depth = and have the best 1 – 5 rotation in the AL West now.

I believe that James Paxton may also see a breakout season similar to what Danny Duffy did for the Kansas City Royals in 2916.  The LHP can reach 98 – 99 MPH on his fastball, and he has great movement.

The Relief Core has also been added to with great numbers.  Seattle’s brass has definitely robbed the Minor League System, yet this is the window of winning.

Houston deserves to be slightly favored in the AL West with the rosters as currently constructed – however if the Mariners pick up another big bat then I would give the nod to them as the Division favorite. Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – January 2, 2017

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Scott Olson/Getty Images North America

Will 2017 be remembered as a year for a team’s accomplishments? Or will it be part of a chain of success?

And will the 2017 be a rematch of Cleveland and the Cubs?

Discussing lots of legacies in this Episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 31, 2016

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Gregory Shamus/Getty Images North America

So 2016 is wrapping up. It was a strange year, but a memorable one for Cubs and Cleveland fans.

I look forward to 2017 and some new Sully Baseball features.

Crossing T’s and Dotting I’s on this Episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Read the rest of this entry

Bold Predictions For The MLB In 2017

a bold predictions

Every year we do an article called “Bold Predictions”.  I love this concept as most of these ideas are so preposterous that none of them will actually happen.  I liken it to the “Riverboat Gambler Theory” where you can really get rich quick if it were to come to fruition.

There may not be too many secrets in the National League where the clubs seems to be either really good or really bad.  The American League has a lot more parity.

I suppose I could start off by saying that the NL would win the Interleague series versus the AL, but that it is probably not going to happen based on a 13 year losing streak.

Giancarlo Stanton will crack 50+ HRs

Jose Bautista will not be signed until after the June 2017 draft.

A Right Handed Pitcher will start a game for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Power Rankings: Early Predictions For 2017

Indians_Logo

The week wasn’t really putting forth any big news until Edwin Encarnacion signed with the Indians a few days ago.  This changed the landscape of the favorite in the American League.

Other deals included the Phillies acquiring Clay Buchholz, the Pirates inking Ivan Nova to the a 3 Year Deal, the Angels bringing in Ben Revere, and the Tigers dotting the line with Alex Avila on a contract to be the backup Catcher in Motown.

I added a few wins to Cleveland’s win total, and added a few losses to the AL Central.

For the confidence I have in the Pirates making a new baseball deal for Major League ready talent in Andrew McCutchen, I also boosted the Bucs for a few more W’s on the season prediction, and tacked on a few more losses for the Reds, Cubs and Brewers. Read the rest of this entry

Odds To Win The 2017 MLB World Series

Edwin Enarnacion would be just what the doctor ordered for the Rangers lineup. A guy that can mash big Homers, drive in plenty of runs. and also not strikeout that much compared to a roster that already does just that. With only Cole Hamels and Choo being on the books beyond 2018, Texas could find the financial wherewithal to dole out a 4 or 5 year pact in the $20 - $23 MIL AAV range.

Edwin Encarnacion would be just what the doctor ordered for the Indians lineup. A guy that can mash big Homers, drive in plenty of runs. This contract is so awesome for the timing of it all as the team could absorb the $20 MIL guaranteed AAV for the next 3 years.  EE will turn 34 on Jan 07, 2017, and is coming off a year where he slashed .263/.357/.529 – with 42 HRs and a league leading 127 RBI.He is a significant upgrade over the departed Mike Napoli.  His power will elevate the Cleveland lineup for the next 3 seasons at least.

The Indians were our 4th best bet of the week last Friday at +1000 to win the Fall Classic in 2017.  Now with the Edwin Encarnacion contract signing, the club has jumped to +700.  We have just stated in a recent article today that they should not be below the Red Sox for odds to win the title next year.

Handicappers at the top of their profession always use the Strength of Schedule in their opinions, and with good reason.  One could go either way in dealing with the rosters of the Red Sox and Indians, but the biggest difference are the 76 Divisional games the Tribe plays against the Royals, Tigers, Twins and White Sox, where Boston must play the Jays, yankees,O’s and Raus 76 times.

It is also the biggest reason the Nationals will likely stay as our favorite value on the board all off season. The Mets are about the only real competition in the NL East that may provide a hindrance for the Washington franchise to reel in their 2nd straight NL East title.  Then it is – do you really think the Cubs should be a 3/1 odd favorite against the Nats in a NLCS matchup – no way.

We also love the Cardinals continuing to be a thorn in Chicago’s side for the 2017 year.  St. Louis was a 100 win club in 2015, and fought many nagging injuries in 2016.  Now they have a lot more healthy coming back in 2017, and a full year of Alex Reyes.  The Red Birds also signed Dexter Fowler away from the Cubs. +2000 is about a 6/1 odd from the oddsmakers for the Cards to win the NL Central. Read the rest of this entry

Odds To Win The 2017 MLB World Series

Jon Durr/Getty Images North America

Jon Durr/Getty Images North America

With the Chris Sale deal the Red Sox went fro co-favorites with the Indians t0 near the Cubs stratosphere for overwhelming odds on winners to take home the League Pennants in either league. 

While I have no issue with these two squads holding the edge against the rest of the pack, it is just not that much of a discrepancy.

One may argue that the Nationals path of resistance is actually a lot easier than the Cubs for the Division. 

The Mets Starting Pitching is suspect for health reasons, and there are holes all around the positional lineup when it comes to lack of a Centerfielder. and 3 men in the Infield who could suffer back injuries all year.

Here is the funny thing though. the Mets still made the WildCard play in game in 2016 despite all of the turmoil that presented itself.

Miami has taken a setback with the tragic loss of Jose Fernandez.  This will be felt in the standings in my opinion. 

The biggest X factor is if Giancarlo Stanton could remain healthy for 145 Games, but odds dictate he will not, therefore this Division should be beat up pretty bad  by the Nats and Mets.

Atlanta and Philly are just a year away from solidly competing. Read the rest of this entry

Early 2017 MLB Team Win Projections

Having a great offsesson despite David Ortiz retiring. Are the deepest all around team in the American League, with the greatest collection of veterans and young players

Having a great offsesson despite David Ortiz retiring. Are the deepest all around team in the American League, with the greatest collection of veterans and young players.  The biggest other move in the Division so far was the Yankees signing Aroldis Chapman, and that may just help the Bombers stay above .500 – and have a chance to compete.

Following the recent Winter Meetings, the new CBA being signed. and then the subsequent few weeks after, the projections are win totals based on the teams if over/unders were to be placed.

From the onset. the Boston Red Sox are the clear favorite in the AL East – with adding Chris Sale, Mitch Moreland, Tyler Thornburg to their ALL – Star cast, while David Ortiz (retired), Travis Shaw (traded) Koji Uehara (Signed with the Cubs), Brad Ziegler (Free Agent) are off the postseason roster that lost to the Tribe.

The players going back to the White Sox were not from the Major League Roster for the most part.

With the Jays having Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Michael Saunders. R. A. Dickey, Brett Cecil off the 25 man roster, to replacing with Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce for the most part as main transactions. this is a far cry from an even trade.  However the club will still likely make some more moves.

Cleveland stands to benefit for the rest of the division all seeming to rebuild. but the Tigers have only dealt Cameron Maybin away – so they are sitting on the cusp of challenging for the AL Central again.  Detroit may want to explore going for it one more year based on what the Royals have done, and the fact the White Sox and Twins might be the worst clubs in the Junior Circuit.

Houston has been super progressive with signing Josh Reddick and Carlos Beltran as Free Agents, while also flipping for Brian McCann.  This was a squad that started 7 – 17,before reeling off a nice 77 – 62 mark down the stretch to fall just short of the playoff bar.

Seattle is also positioning themselves upward just by how bad the Rangers have fared this winter.  Not only that, but they added strength to their worst 2 weaknesses in adding Jean Segura at SS. and Carlos Ruiz as a viable backup Catcher. Read the rest of this entry

Once Again: Why The MLB Should Consider A Geographical/Market Size Re-Alignment For The Next CBA:

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The new CBA has been a godsend for the mid – market teams, and not so great for the 10 top markets, but even more devastating for the 10 lowest markets.  One thing the CBA did address was to give the players an additional 4 days off during the league year – stretching from 183 Days to 187 – in lieu of expanding the rosters of 25 to 26.

This website has continued its stance since day 1, that while the economics have been a lot more fair to teams in the last 15 years, there is still much work to do.  The best small market teams we have seen in the last 7 years have been the Oakland A’s, Tampa Bay Rays, Pittsburgh Pirates and of course the 2015 World Series winning Kansas City Royals.  Only one of these teams actually were a decent franchise for some time before they took off.

Pittsburgh lost for 22 years before they finally made 3 straight postseason appearances.  With the new CBA not giving them 1st RD Draft Picks for departing players in future seasons like Andrew McCutchen, Gregory Polanco, Starling Marter and Gerrit Cole, this is a sure fire way for the brass to cut the cord on their service team a lot of time ahead of them hitting Free Agency.

Kansas City was a laughable organization from the mid 90’s to 2013 as well, and despite winning back to back pennants in the AL< and being the first small market team to win the World Series since the 2003 Marlins, they will soon start to see their team ripped apart under the same Free Agent terms like the Bucs – with Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Danny Duffy and Mike Moustakas likely all not re-signing with the franchise.  Dayton Moore already had to trade ace Closer Wade Davis this past week.

The Tampa Bay Rays were awful from 1998 – 2007, and were able to stockpile #1 overall picks to build up the franchise.  The Joe Maddon era ensued for 6 straight quality years where they competed beautifully, including a World Series Loss in 2008, but now they are at a crossroads again from a 68 win campaign. and teams all spending double what they can. Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 11, 2016

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It is Sunday and time for The Sunday Request.

A dynamite philosophical discussion.

I decided to tackle that question at a little league field turned Christmas Tree lot on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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Aroldis Chapman Signing Is The First Step In Yankees Reload

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

Aroldis Chapman is on pace to be one of the best ALL – Time Closers in the game. Toting a Career ERA of 2.08 – and a incredible 15.2/Per 9 IP SO rate, this man is about as hard to hit as they come. At entering the 2017 season at just Age 28, a 5 year deal worth $86 MIL is not as risky as it sounds.  This organization is used to having elite Closers like him during their 23 year over .500 streak, so this is par for the course.

Brian Cashman is handling the offseason like he should.  If the brass can somehow pull off a few more trades, than I would really like the projections for future years.

Aroldis Chapman inked a 5 year deal worth $86 MIL (or exactly 5 times the what the Qualifying Offer was this year.)  New York didn’t have to pay the Cubs any compensation for the signing since he was traded to Chicago by these very Yankees at the Trade Deadline.

The whole concept of trading players though the year, only to re-ink them after those said seasons, is a practice that MLB clubs have not done in the past. 

This is a common maneuver for NHL teams over the last 15 – 20 years, and we may it see it happen a whole lot more in future campaigns.

Not only do the Yankees get their man, but they also are armed with all of the prospects they acquired from the July trade.  (Rashad Crawford (minors), Billy McKinney (minors), Gleyber Torres (minors) and Adam Warren. )

Out of those 4 players. Torres may be the best down the road.  He may also even free up the ability to deal a Starlin Castro or Didi Gregorius in the next few years. 

Warren is probably headed back to the Bullpen permanently again in 2017, however he can still grant you a spot start for the rotation. Read the rest of this entry

The San Francisco Giants Should Sign Matt Wieters, Play Posey At 1B + Belt In LF

Matt Wieters accepted the 1 Year Qualifying Offer with the Baltimore Orioles last year - and he payed his first full campaign since 2013. At Age 30, he is still a decent Catcher both offensively and defensively. I first came up with this idea a few years ago, but Posey was still putting world class numbers out of the backstopper position, and they and several Outfielders. Now.there is an opening beyond the grass, so Brandon Belt could move there - freeing up Posey to play First Base.

Matt Wieters accepted the 1 Year Qualifying Offer with the Baltimore Orioles last year – and he played his first full campaign since 2013. At Age 30, he is still a decent Catcher both offensively and defensively. I first came up with this idea a few years ago, but Posey was still putting world class numbers out of the backstopper position, and they had several Outfielders on the depth chart. Now.there is an opening beyond the grass, so Brandon Belt could move there – freeing up Posey to play First Base – and the team to sign Wieters.

The Giants are one of the best franchises at fostering their home grown talent.  It has culminated in 3 World Series from 2010 – 2014, and the franchise has several of its core players locked up for the next 3 – 5 years.

With the recent news of the Luxury Tax Threshold penalizing the Dodgers something fierce for obliterating their payroll, the NL West has come back to the Giants to win – considering the LA squad has taken down 4 straight Division Titles.

San Francisco started the process of healing their Bullpen this winter. by forking out some big dollars to secure Closer Mark Melancon ( 4YRs/$62 MIL).  There is still a long way to go in shoring up the Relief Core, but they should have the funds to do it.

Which brings me to my next point.  Beyond the suspicion that Eduardo Nunez may not be a great long=term fit in the Bay Area, the Roster is pretty secure in the rest of the lineup – except for say the LF position.

There are not a lot of prime Free Agents on the open market that can play the OF.  Michael Saunders will cost too much money…Angel Pagan..well the Giants should just say no…Colby Rasmus…yikes…Brandon Moss….um….should be a 1B/DH type in the American League.

As for the depth chart currently for Bruce Bochy‘s squad…..Mac Williamson, Jarrett Parker and Gorkys Hernandez…Not sure that cuts the mustard on a playoff caliber squad.

My thought is – why not sign Matt Wieters to a 3 – 4 year contract worth about $33 – $44 MIL ($11 MIL AAV) – to be the prime Catcher for the Giants – then move Posey to First Base and Brandon Belt to LF? To me it makes sense. Read the rest of this entry

Cubs Acquire Closer Wade Davis: It’s A Smarter Maneuver Than You Think

Wade Davis has been one of the filthiest late inning Relievers in the game over last three years, and only comes with a salary for one year at $10 MIL.

Wade Davis has been one of the filthiest late inning Relievers in the game over last three years, and only comes with a salary for one year at $10 MIL.  Chicago is really smart for doing this as Aroldis Chapman cost the Yankees $86 MIL for 5 years yesterday, and Kenley Jansen is not far behind.  he Cubs may also give Davis a Qualifying Offer after next season is over.  Who knows, maybe he would accept a one year deal at $18 MIL to stay on this World Series Contender.  The most important factor in landing Davis is his playoff pedigree.  He has proved he is an elite Closer on the grandest of stages – something that Chicago plans to be involved in again to defend their championship.

With the news that the Cubs brought in Wade Davis in exchange for Jorge Soler, the Cubs have effectively brought in a 9th Inning Man – who won the World Series for the Royals in 2015 as their stopper.

Davis will earn $10 MIL in 2017, and can may be extended the Qualifying Offer for 2018 in the process.  With another spike potentially in the top 125 salaries (this years total was $17.2 MIL) maybe Davis would take the one year deal for 2018 after this next season.

As one of the game’s premiere Late Inning arms since the 2014 season, Davis is also a perfect replacement for the departing Aroldis Chapman.

With a team that has a World Series under its belt, they just added a Pitcher with a 4 – 0 record, with a 0.84 ERA and 0.959 WHIP in 32 Innings worth of work – spanning the 2014 and 2015 World Series trip for Kansas City. He has performed at the optimal level – under the most pressure. Read the rest of this entry

Odds To Win The 2017 World Series: Nats/Giants/Astros Great Value – Bounce On KC/NYY

For a second straight week we love the Nationals with the best odd value of the week. They have some financial flexibility to bring in a few more ALL - Star Caliber players and also possess the prospects in order to get it done. If you believe (like I do)

For a second straight week we love the Nationals with the best odd value of the week. They have some financial flexibility to bring in a few more ALL – Star Caliber players and also possess the prospects in order to get it done. If you believe (like I do) that the Nats are serious about trading for guys like Andrew McCutchen and Chris Sale, than it is imperative you get this club at their odd this week.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

The Nationals are really making noise about trying to land Andrew McCutchen and Chris Sale.  Even if they don’t fulfill the need, I still think they will add more depth via trade for another good Starting Pitcher and also add an impressive CF, and reliever.

We shall wait and see whether or not that could be the likes of Dexter Fowler or a reunion with Ian Desmond to play CF, Aroldis Chapman or Kenley Jansen to be added to for late inning work.  At +1200 the Nats are full value for the best odd of the week.

The NL East may be easier to win than the NL West and NL Central if you think the way that most good handicappers are right now.  The Mets are dreaming if they think they can contend with 3 Infield Starters with bad backs, and a declining metrics Shortstop, added to not a true CF, and a horrible Catcher offensive situation.

I am trying not to bag on the Mets too much here, as I think they could still rally to win 85 – 90 wins again next year based on the strength of the rest of the Division, it is just the health concerns that would frighten me to pieces. Read the rest of this entry

The New Luxury Tax Threshold Means The Top 11 Salaried Clubs Will All Be Affected In The Present + Future

The Dodgers have spent over $300 MIL in back to back years, and are the clubhouse leaders in Luxury Tax penalties paid. At a 50% penalty, the Los Angeles forked out $40 MIL in Luxury Taxes in 2016. With an estimated $193 MIL payroll - considering there are several roster holes now created by departing players, the team will need to spend around $235 MIL in 2017 total payroll. With a 50% penalty - and an additional 40$ hit for going $40 MIL over the new $195 MIL limit in 2017, I highly expect the organization will be less willing to spend 90 cents extra for every dollar spent beyond that.

The Dodgers have spent over $300 MIL on salary in back to back years, and are the clubhouse leaders in Luxury Tax penalties paid in that time frame. At a 50% penalty currently until falling under the limit for a year, the Los Angeles forked out $40 MIL in Luxury Taxes in 2016. With an estimated $193 MIL payroll already is signed and team controlled players – considering there are several roster holes now created by departing guys, the team will need to spend around $235 MIL in 2017 total payroll in order to be competitive.. With a 50% penalty – and an additional 45% hit for going $40 MIL over the new $195 MIL limit in 2017, I highly expect the organization will be less willing to spend 90 cents extra for every dollar spent beyond that.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter 

With the new CBA being tentatively signed yesterday through 2021 – the lower payroll teams will finally see some steeper enforcement of higher payroll squads.

With several penalties that range up to a 90% max penalty for spending over the limit, the dollars finally make sense for the MLB to curtail a team going rogue on their payroll spending.

Under the new deal, the format will jump from a team’s AAV (Average Annual Value) limit of $189 MIL to $195 MIL in 2017, $197 MIL in 2018, $206 MIL in 2019,  $208 MIL in 2020 and $210 MIL on 2021.

The penalty for a 1st year abuser went from 12.5% to 20%, The 2nd year Still remains at 30%, the 3rd season escalates from 40% previously to 50% already.  Each campaign the team is over following 3 years, the team is nailed for 50% of money spent over the limit.

Additionally, the franchise will pay a fee of 12% for spending between $20 MIL to $40 MIL over the Threshold. 

If a organization goes $40 MIL over, they are faced with a surcharge of 42%.

3rd time abusers will pay 45% for every dollar doled out past $40 MIL over.

This means a 1st time penalty would still spank a team to the tune of 60% if a club spends more than $40 MIL over the limit. 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) 

Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter 

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 Nationals Should Definitely Sign Aroldis Chapman!

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

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

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter 

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

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

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

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

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

The real difference of profit came down to our perfect prognostication of Giancarlo Stanton winning the Derby helped us in breaking even and winning some cash at the end of the campaign.
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Odds To Win The 2017 World Series:

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

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

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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

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

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

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

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 18, 2016

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Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America

Mike Trout and Kris Bryant are the MVPs. Both good choices.

Mike Trout is half way to his Hall of Fame clinching.

Kris Bryant has already gotten some of the hard parts over with.

Now just imagine a World Series match up featuring the two.

It is a “New Generation of Superstars” episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 14, 2016

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As the Cubs get all the attention this off season in Chicago, the White Sox need to examine what they are going to do at this cross road in the franchise’s history.

I look at the South Side for this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 6, 2016

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(Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America)

It is the first Sunday Request for the off season.

Beyond my thoughts about Chapman as a human being, his performance as a closer was not exactly awe inspiring. It is tough to call him a difference maker in the World Series.

Closing out a Sunday on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 5, 2016

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Marcel Bieler – aka Cubs Fan With An 8

The Cubs won the World Series and die hard fans had the greatest week of their lives. So who better to talk about the final moments of the World Series than the biggest Cub fan in all of Switzerland, Marcel Bieler, aka @Cu8sfan or Cubs Fan With an 8!

It was a moment by moment piece of nostalgia for something that happened last week.

Celebrate with your friends on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Follow Cubs Fan With an 8 on Twitter to click HERE.

For the up to date standings of Who Owns October and Who Owns the World Series, go to MLB Reports

What is “Who Owns October”? Click HERE for an explanation.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 4, 2016

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(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

Mike Montgomery’s save in Game 7 of the World Series was as unlikely as any in baseball history. Plus some surprising names led who owned October and the World Series.

The off season begins with this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Ben Zobrist, Jon Lester, Rajai Davis and Cody Allen all added to their Who Owns October and Who Owns the World Series totals.

For the up to date standings of Who Owns October and Who Owns the World Series, go to MLB Reports

What is “Who Owns October”? Click HERE for an explanation.

Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 3, 2016

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Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune

Even nature had to stop and catch its breath as the Indians and Cubs fought through a game I rank as one of the 3 greatest I have ever seen.

Somehow I tie it into the Bernardo Bertolucci film The Sheltering Sky.

It is an all time episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Ben Zobrist, Jon Lester, Rajai Davis and Cody Allen all added to their Who Owns October and Who Owns the World Series totals.

For the up to date standings of Who Owns October and Who Owns the World Series, go to MLB Reports

What is “Who Owns October”? Click HERE for an explanation.

Read the rest of this entry

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