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

baseball-map-framed-with-plaque

 

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

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – January 24, 2016

dustyweb28s-2-web

AL BEHRMAN/AP

It is Sunday and time for The Sunday Request.

 

I am not a traditionalist. I like fun and I like variety. And eliminating pitchers batting takes fun and variety out of baseball.

BUT I offer a compromise!

It is an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.


Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – April 28, 2015

 

Photo by Matt West - Boston Herald

Photo by Matt West – Boston Herald

It is early in the season, but not TOO early to think about how the Red Sox should adjust their pitching staff.

Also I remind everyone my thoughts about the DH and my brother Ted.

All this on episode 917 of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Joc Pederson, Jose Iglesias, Taijuan Walker, Jason Hammel, Jordan Schafer, Yangervis Solarte and Jarred Cosart all added to their totals for Who Owns Baseball?

Hear my 2013 tribute to my brother by clicking HERE

Here my DH thoughts by clicking HERE

Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – March 15, 2015

COREY SIPKIN/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

COREY SIPKIN/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

It is Sunday and time for The Sunday Request.

I see absolutely no need to have uniformity in the leagues. Having the DH in one league and not the other is something I love about baseball.

Let the pitchers hit in this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Read the rest of this entry

Dear Mr. Manfred: Shifts, Trying To Help Offense – How About 9 Fielders And 8 Hitters In Both AL + NL?

Under my proposed format of 9 fielders, with only 8 hitters - eliminating both the pitcher and DH from entering the box, having 8 batters only in every lineup would allow players such as Mike Trout a helluva lot more Plate Appearances in a full year.

Under my proposed format of 9 fielders, with only 8 hitters – eliminating both the pitcher and DH from entering the box, having 8 batters only in every lineup would allow players such as Mike Trout a helluva lot more Plate Appearances in a full year.  The National League would stand to gain almost a quarter of a run, and the American League would also knock off its worst hitter from each squad.  So how do you do this with the players union?  Offer a 26 man roster (with 25 activated for each game).  Creating 30 new jobs would be a better way than having the NL adopt the DH into their game.  That would not go well, and longtime would throw a conniption fit.  The best way to uniform both leagues is to go with a lineup of 8 guys.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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I like the way Rob Manfred came out blazing Sunday on heels of his 1st 24 hours as commissioner.  I agree completely that we need more offense infused into the game.

Whether any of us like or not, the ;PED’ era while it was going, was at least fun to watch on the offensive side of it.  I have even talked to fans that in my shop that would love for them not to be illegal – so we could see that HR’s creep up again.  I can’t say I would go that far, but the recent trend of Runs scored on the decline is alarming.

I grew up in the 80’s, and if there were any season that has been similar to that timeframe, last season was. Pitching, speed, defense and clutch hitting was the key to winning in that decade, and there was a degree of parity that existed too.

I am still stunned that more people can tell the real reason why games take so long.  How about Strikeouts at an ALL – Time rate?  This is the biggest factor, and it is not even debatable.  You add in the “Moneyball” concept of taking a pile of pitches, combined with tonnes of pitching changes, instant replay, TV time out, and players going through per pitch rituals that would make golf’s Sergio Garcia seem like a speed demon in contrast, and no wonder why games take forever. Read the rest of this entry

2015 MLB Hall of Fame Voting: Who Deserves to Get In?

The MLB Hall of Fame will announce which players will be part of the Induction Class of 2015. The question leading up to the announcement is which players make the cut in this loaded group of talent.

The MLB Hall of Fame will announce which players will be part of the Class of 2015. With players such as Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez being added to the ballot this year, the question remains as to which players will ultimately make the final cut this year?

By Nicholas Delahanty (MLB Reports Writer)  

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It is very possible that history is made with regards to this year’s MLB Hall of Fame induction class. In the past, the committee has been hesitant to vote in more than three players in one class, and it has been very rare to see more than three voted in at one time. In the past, the committee voted in four players twice (1947 and 1955) and five players only once (1936- the first year of the voting process).

As the decision day quickly approaches, there is speculation that the BBWAA could possibly end the long drought and elect five players this year. With this year’s ballot having a ton of players who could make a legitimate case to be inducted, I decided to go to the process of picking my own ballot (which doesn’t count for the BBWAA), and after taking the time and effort to research my ballet, I realized that it was a much harder process then I anticipated it would be. 

Read the rest of this entry

AL Wins Interleague Season Series For The 11th Straight Year Over NL!

After 7 years of Interleague, the AL trailed the season series 4 - 3, and the overall games mark 853 - 833 (.506).  Since 2004 it has been 11- years straight of AL beatdowns, winning each campaign for Won - Loss record.

After 7 years of Interleague, the AL trailed the season series 4 – 3, and the overall games mark 853 – 833 (.506). Since 2004 it has been 11- years straight of AL beatdowns, winning each campaign for Won – Loss record.

The American League won the season series from the National League for the 11th straight year Thursday night.

By virtue of the Orioles sweeping the Reds in a 3 game Interleague series, it netted the AL a 151 – 128 lead on the campaign, and guarantees the Junior Circuit of a winning year on a 300 game series.

The last time the NL won the season series was in 2003.

This is bad news for those fans looking for an alternative of “home field advantage” in the World Series based on AL vs NL for a year by year basis.  Once again, that honor should go to the team with the best record – and not the winners of the “Midsummer Classic”.

For a brief period in 2014, the NL held a 26 – 17 advantage in May, however have gone 102 – 134 since that day.

The AL’s dominance is also showing up in the runs scored department, with them featuring a Run Differential of +93 (1212 – 1119).

This weekend’s 3 game set of games between the Giants and Tigers is a 2012 World Series rematch, and may just seal the fate for the two teams, as both are fighting for playoff berths. Read the rest of this entry

Forget The DH, Forget The Pitcher Hitting, Lets Hit With 8! Also Teams Should Hit Best Players At The Top

Disagree with me all you want, but I think the MLB would be better served to have just 8 hitters hit in one rotation of the batting order.  It is time to eliminate the DH and the pitcher both from hitting.  Give the fans more of what they want, the most feared hitters in baseball potentially batting 70 - 80 times more a year.

Disagree with me all you want, but I think the MLB would be better served to have just 8 hitters hit in one rotation of the batting order. It is time to eliminate the DH and the pitcher both from hitting. Give the fans more of what they want, the most feared hitters in baseball potentially batting 70 – 80 times more a year.  I also agree with Sully Baseball, that your best hitters should be afforded the most opportunities to contribute to your offense.  This means hitting in the highest slot in the order they can based on OBP, Slugging and overall Run production.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): w/assist to “Lead Personality” Paul Sullivan (Sully)

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(The 8 hitters in  lineup concept is my idea solely, I am agreeing with Sully on his lineup relevance for his approach for 1 and 2 hitters) – CB

I was listening to an archived show I did with James Acevedo, on our inaugural “2 And A Hook Podcast” show last March.

We were talking about the Designated Hitter position weakening by the year, and the Pitcher not doing any justice at the plate either.

In the show, I haphazardly referred to “they should just hit with 8 hitters.”

I forgot about the whole thing soon after saying it last year, but now I haven’t stopped thinking about for the last hour of today.

Baseball writers often will tell you it is best to write what is fresh on your mind. Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – June 23rd, 2012

Saturday June 23rd, 2012



Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Let’s get to your top questions of the week:

JH:  Before we get to your questions, a quick thought for this weekend. There are many reports flying fast and furious that a Kevin Youkilis trade is likely to go down very soon. The 33-year old Youkilis has sat out 5 of the Red Sox last 9 games (counting today), and the last 3 games in a row. He had 4 hits and 2 walks in his last 3 games played, not shabby numbers at all. If the Greek God of Walk’s time has come to an end in Beantown, he is going out in a sad way. After his team experienced one of the worst (if not THE worst) September collapses in MLB history last year, the Red Sox are currently tied with the Blue Jays for last place in the AL East (only 5.5 games back). It would have been nice for Youk to leave as a hero, rather than as a goat. Too many critics have pointed to his declining numbers as a primary reason behind the Red Sox recent failures. Yes, Kevin Youkilis is not in his prime and is entering a declining stage of his career. But if he is guilty of one thing, it is an association with a ballclub that is somewhat in disarray and definitely in transition.  New manager, new GM, a cast of players on the disabled list- the Red Sox are barely the club that they were at this time last year. Sure, Kevin Youkilis needs to get healthy and re-establish himself. But this is a man who still had a .975 OPS as recently as 2010. Kevin Youkilis is far from done as a MLB player. But his time in Boston appears to be over.

So where is Youk heading? At the time being, the names most being thrown out are the White Sox, Pirates, Braves and Dodgers. If I’m the Red Sox, I move him to the National League and preferably the West Coast. I want to see Youk as little as possible and have the media cover him as little as possible. Hiding him in the NL West, where he has to play most of his night games late- would be a bonus for the Red Sox. If I had to present the teams most in need of Youk and with the best bargaining chips, I would present to you the Rays and Blue Jays. They have the pitching prospects and lineup spots that crave a bat like Youk’s. But would the Red Sox trade in their division? Not on your life. There is no way that the Red Sox brass needs a rejuvenated Youk coming into Fenway in September and working towards eliminating his former team from the playoffs. So if I’m a betting man, I would say the Dodgers and maybe the Giants are most sniffing around Kevin Youkilis.

The Red Sox I will go on record as saying are making a big mistake. They are selling low on one of the game’s best and most consistent players. A grinder. A warrior. He can play gold glove D at two positions (first and third). He can hit for average and power. And of course, he walks.  He walks a ton in fact. One of their best assets and the Red Sox are selling him at his lowest. I have been arguing for days that the Red Sox are not this dumb. They can’t be. Youk is not going anywhere. He is the heart and soul of the team. But then Youk sits. And he sits and sits. The team actually came out and said that Middlebrooks would play while he is hot and that Youk “would be sitting for a while”. Everything to me smells like a trade is brewing. At this point, it better be. YoukGate is going to become too much of a distraction for the team to bear. Already, whispers are starting that Big Papi is not happy and had enough of the circus. With how many stories are flying around this team, the Red Sox have only themselves to blame for this Youkilis situation. If Kevin Youkilis is traded, the Red Sox lose a leader and a star player with likely not enough value coming back. If Youkilis stays, the distractions continue. The Red Sox owe Kevin Youkilis to do the right thing. Firmly play him or trade him. But don’t complain when you don’t like the results. That is my two cents on YoukGate.

Now that we have that behind us, on to your questions! Read the rest of this entry

Stat of the Week: Will Extra Base Hits Help Punch Tickets to BBHOF?

Monday June.18/2012

Alex Rodriguez leads the list of active players and is already 10th All-time for XBH. If Rodriguez can hit 308 XBH before he retires, he will pass Hank Aaron for 1st overall. –Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

Chuck Booth (Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-  Extra base hits kind of go hand in hand with slugging percentage to an extent.  I have often used this category every season as a gauge on how good a player does.  Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances why a player hits more doubles and triples rather than home runs but they are all considered extra base hits.  Adrian Beltre is a perfect example of this.  During his Seattle Mariner days, he would blast about 15-20 baseballs off the fences at Safeco Field every year (for a double or triple) that would have been an HR if he did not play in such a pitcher friendly park.  This list represents great careers.  If a player can reach the magic 1000 extra base hits, they will be hard to ignore for consideration towards  Cooperstown.  I have omitted Manny Ramirez from an active player.  It is my firm belief that the man served a 50 game suspension for a team like Oakland, only to quit on them and maybe land on another club.  If he is able to catch on with another job with a club, I will gladly put his name back as #2 player on this active list.

TOP 10 as of June.17/2012

Player                                                    Extra Base Hits Leaders Active (Rank All-Time)

1. Alex Rodriguez NYY                              1169   (10)

2. Jim Thome PHI                                   1079   (20)

3. Chipper Jones ATL                              1026   (26)

4. Vladimir Guerrero (FA)                         972   (39)

5. Todd Helton COL                                   956   (45)

6. Albert Pujols  LAA                                 941   (50)

7. Bobby Abreu LAD                                  908   (60)

8. David Ortiz  BOS                                   886   (64)

9. Johnny Damon CLE                               859   (73)

10. Scott Rolen CIN                                   857   (75)

I fully think that Vladimir Guerrero will sign with someone soon.  At 972 extra base hits, he is 28 extra base hits away from that 1000 marker. If a team signs him in the next few weeks, he may have a chance to get there before the end of the season.  Below is a 5 minute highlight package of his career thus far.  There is not many Expos highlights, you can always search Youtube for more.

Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – May 20th, 2012

Sunday May 20th, 2012



Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Let’s get to your top questions of the week:

Q:  I watched the replays of the 3-1 and 3-2 count with Brett Lawrie batting in last nights Blue Jays game.

As far as I’m concerned, Bill Miller missed two calls. Brett Lawrie was entirely justified in his outrage.

Ok, you gotta throw him out when the helmet hits the ump, but there’s no outrage if Miller makes those calls right.

It infuriates me that umpires are so go**am arrogant and they have so little tolerance for a player objecting to a bad call.

The 3-2 pitch was farther out of the strike zone that the 3-1 pitch, and it looked a lot like Miller called it a strike since, apparently in his mind, he’d been shown up by Lawrie  after the previous pitch. I’d like to see a 3-day suspension for Miller, and any ump who’s that arrogant.       John

JH:  Before we start this discussion, let’s go to the video replay and see what happened in Toronto the other night:

John, I feel your frustration. I hear where you are coming from. But let’s get this straight. Firstly, Lawrie lost his cool and crossed the line. He didn’t just cross the line, he buried it. Regardless of whether he agrees or disagrees with a call, he clearly acted in a manner that was not professional and put the umpire and himself at risk. Lawrie got a 4-game suspension…and he should consider himself lucky. It could have been much worse.  Look again at how the helmet was thrown- Lawrie threw it in a manner that the helmet made contact with the ump. I have long detested when players start trotting to first base during an at-bat before hearing the call of ball/strike from an ump. In my estimation, that shows up the ump and is more likely to result in a strike call. I am not defending Miller though. He was not on his game and clearly made some terrible calls. The league should have periodic reviews of umps (report cards), with specific instances of issue to be addressed when incidents arise.

Given the nature of the two blown calls, I would not have an issue of Miller going before a reviewer to discuss the incident. I would not suspend him in this instance, but a warning and discussion would be in order. Where an ump shows up a player and acts in a manner that is detrimental to the game, then suspensions could be in order. I agree that the whole process of umpire accountability is somewhat of a mystery and should be more transparent. We should have a better idea on the scale that umpires are graded, reviewed, rewarded and reprimanded. Lawrie had to be accountable for his actions- but where is Miller’s part in the process? That is unclear. Umpires should hold power given what they role in the game is. If that power is taken away, the very state of how the game is played and called could be severely damaged. But we don’t want umpires abusing their role and power. The Lawrie incident in Toronto was not pretty and accountability should be required from all involved. Again, I don’t see a suspension coming for Miller. But without dealing with this incident properly from the start, there is no guarantees that it won’t happen again. Read the rest of this entry

Vlad Guerrero is one of the Most Exciting Players Ever to Watch Live

Friday March 5, 2012


Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth (Baseball Writer)-
 I love watching Vladimir Guerrero play baseball live in person.  I first saw him play in 1996 at the Big ‘O’ in Montreal. I think he swung at 9 balls in a row.  I am lucky enough to have seen him play about 20 games live since then.  Perhaps no other Major League Player has ever liked to swing the bat as much as Vlad (with a heavy apology here to Randall Simon, who swung his bat at one of the Sausages during a Miller Park race.)   Believe me, the television set does not do this man enough justice.

In 2005, I saw my first game at Angel Stadium.  It was Vladdy’s first year in with the Angels.  They were playing the Texas Rangers.  I think Kenny Rogers was pitching back with his original club.  He threw 3 intentional balls way outside to Guerrero in the bottom of the 1st.  On a 3-0 count, he bounced one to the plate.  Wouldn’t you know Vladdy was swinging on a 3-0 count? He smashed a ball off of the fence in left with a line drive about six feet off the ground!  I swear that Vlad would have been one of the best cricket players in the world had he played.  I am sure he has hundreds of hits similar to this in his career.

Vladimir was also an incredible fielder in his early years with the Expos.  He could throw a guy out from the wall in right field all the way to home plate.  It was unbelievable to witness such an amazing arm like this.  He was an all-round player with 5-tools.  He will be regarded more for his offense as some baseball historians say he is the best bad ball hitter since Roberto Clemente.  This is heavy praise for the future Hall of Famer.  While you never really think of Vladdy as lightning fast, he did steal 40 bases in 2002 for the Expos during his 2nd straight 30-30 campaign.  He only missed the 40-40 club by one home run.  (more…)

A Great DH Can Mean Winning the AL Pennant

Wednesday December 28, 2011



Doug Booth-  Guest Baseball Writer:  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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Ask the Reports: Sunday November 27th

Sunday November 27, 2011

Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.com, message us on Twitter and post on our Facebook Wall!

Let’s get to your top questions of the week:

Q:  I know this is off topic but with the Houston Astros moving to the AL West and constant interleague play, what exactly is the point of an American League and a National League, besides of course the DH?


MLB reports:  The existence of the designated hitter is the key to separate the American League and National League.  Without the DH, there is no difference between the leagues.  Otherwise, having separate leagues would simply be a way to divide up the divisions and teams.  With daily interleague games coming, the mystique of having separate leagues is starting to fall by the wayside.  An idea that was thrown around was to have the DH in play in National League parks and no DH in American League parks during interleague play.  That would create strong interest in the different styles of play in the different parks and peak strong interest in interleague play.  But unfortunately, it appears that idea has been scrapped for now.  Long term, baseball needs to decide if it will have a designated hitter or not.  There are arguments on both sides.  Traditionalists like myself would like to scrap the DH all together and introduce National League style baseball throughout baseball.  With the in-game moves and decisions that must be included with the pitcher hitting, I prefer the NL game.  But others see pitchers hitting as hurting the game with “automatic outs” and risking the health and safety of pitchers by having them hit in the NL.  This argument will continue likely for decades until a resolution is agreed upon one way or the other.  Until then, we will continue to have two different leagues in place.  One has a designated hitter and one does not.  With the increase in interleague play, the line separating the leagues has become even blurrier.  Great question!

Q:  What’s the scouting report on Luis Valbuena?  Andrew
MLB reports:  The newest member of the Toronto Blue Jays will be turning 26 this week (November 30th birthday)- so be sure to wish him a Happy Birthday!  Born in Venezuela, Valbuena is a utility infielder at this point in his career, playing second, short and third.  Coming up originally with the Mariners originally in 2008, Valbuena was traded in December 2008 as part of the Franklin Gutierrez swap.  Since then, Valbuena has played parts of three seasons with the Indians.  In 229 career games, Valbuena has 13 home runs, 57 rbis, 84 runs, .226 avg, .286 obp and .344 slg.  Considering that he was designated for assignment, the Jays picked him up for cash considerations makes sense.  He has shown little at the major league level thus far, but is young and known for a strong glove.  Valbuena has shown steady improvement in the last three years in the minors, with a breakout season in AAA Columbus in 2011.  Valbuena popped a strong 17 home runs in 113 games, with 75 rbis, 64 runs, hitting .302 with a .307 OBP and .476 SLG.  If those numbers can be replicated to any degree at the major league level, the Jays may have a hidden gem uncovered.  At worst, we could be seeing another Ramon Santiago type player or the Venezuelan John McDonald.  The Jays need a backup infielder on the roster and Valbuena could be the answer.  Or possibly their next starting second baseman for the next five seasons.  Doubtful…but it could happen!
Q:  Would Yonder Alonso look good on our team?  Would Xavier Nady be a good fit with the Indians or does the Tribe want something more? Martin
MLB reports:  Wow, that is a mountain of questions!!!   Firstly, Yonder Alonso would look great on the Indians.  In fact, he would look great in 29 other lineups.  The kid is a future superstar, no doubt in my mind.  It is just a question of finding him a permanent home.  The Reds have tried him in left field, but do not see him as a long-term solution there.  The team will either have to move him, or open up first by trading franchise star Joey Votto.  At this point, it looks like Alonso will be the one to go.  I am a big Matt LaPorta supporter, but long-term he does not appear to be the solution for the Indians.  He can always move to the outfield or DH, but a change of scenery is likely the best option for him.  LaPorta never lived up to the expectations of being traded for C.C. Sabathia and both the team and player need to move on.  The Indians have prospects to move, although not as many after all their 2011 swaps including the Ubaldo Jimenez trade.  I can’t see the team wanting to trade more parts, as they cannot deplete their farm.  Given what other teams can offer for Alonso, mainly the Rays, I don’t see an Alonso move in the future of the Indians.  It would be a nice acquisition, but not likely to happen.  Nady on the other hand would be a nice low risk pickup.  If healthy, he could bring the leadership and experience the team needs.  Championship teams need strong extra parts and Xavier Nady would be a strong fit in that regard.  As long as comes cheap and doesn’t expect to start, I would say that is a done deal.  The team may look for one or two more strong bats for its lineups, but that would not stop a potential Nady signing.
Q:  Can’t help but think of Scott Kazmir (compared to Gio Gonzalez being looked at but several teams in a trade).  Brandon
MLB reports: Poor Gio Gonzalez.  Why the harsh words? In all seriousness, I see where you are going with the comparison.  High walk, high strikeout pitcher.  After a 3.23 ERA in 2010, Gio lowered it more to 3.12 in 2011.  He has enjoyed near identical 1.31 WHIPs the last two seasons.  He does not give up a ton of hits, but the walks are very high.  He led the league with 91 walks after allowing 92 the year before.  The home/road splits tell a big part of the story.  This season, Gio went 10-5 at home, with a 2.70 ERA and 1.227 WHIP.  On the road, Gio went 6-7 with a 3.62 ERA and 1.424 WHIP.  Pitching in the Oakland ballpark clearly has a strong effect on his numbers.  Similar splits are found in his 2010 numbers as well.  Thus the conclusion is likely that taking Gio Gonzalez out of Oakland and putting him in a hitter’s ballpark (say Wrigley, Fenway or the Rogers Centre) and his numbers will likely balloon.  Pitching in Oakland likely masks much of his warts.  He just turned 26 in September so he still has time to develop.  The next two seasons will tell the tale.  He could become a superstar or the next Scott Kazmir.  Until those walk totals start to drop, you could be on to something.  The kid has a ton of talent, don’t get me wrong.  But he is far from a sure thing.  Until then, your comparison could be close.  Thank you for the comment!
Q:  (Final question:)  Will Kurt Suzuki ever become a superstar?  Bill
MLB reports: Thanks for the question Bill.  I chose this question because I have pondered that question for many seasons.  Suzuki, a 2nd round pick of the A’s in 2004 is now 28-years of age.  They say catchers take longer to develop than other hitters.  Suzuki has been steady behind in the plate, seen as strong defensively and a good game-caller.  The question has been the offense.  The perception has been that Suzuki has pop in his bat and able to take walks in the “moneyball” mold.  Looking at the numbers, that has not transpired in reality.  Suzuki had a career high 15 home runs in 2009 and walked a career high 44 times in 2008.  Suzuki has essentially regressed to a hitter that walks 30+ times, hits a dozen or so home runs in a year, has a .300 or so OBP with a SLG under .400.  He will play in the majority of his team’s games though.  Welcome to Jason Kendall territory.  That is where Suzuki is headed.  My heart says that he will still become a Jason Varitek type hitter as a catcher.  But my brain sees Kendall.  There are a lot worse things in life than becoming the next Jason Kendall.  But for a catcher that had high expectations, more was expected of Suzuki.  I can’t see him ever becoming a superstar at this point.  But I can see a 15-year major league career in his future, built mostly on his catching abilities.

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Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)


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