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The Nationals Should Definitely Sign Aroldis Chapman!

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

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

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MLB Power Rankings 2016: Week 7 – May

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Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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MAY 15, 2016

Well not much has changed from this week as compared to last week.  Detroit carried its free fall to 4th in the AL Central, the Yankees took 5 of 7 contests – and 7/10 in their homestand to save their season for now.

Miami and Philadelphia continue to stick around in the NL East, and the Giants and Dodgers finally had winning weeks to make the NL West Division Leader respectable.

Nobody looks scarier right now than the Boston Red Sox offense, who led by David Ortiz, Jackie Bradley JR. and Xander Bogaerts, plated 10 runs or more in 5 of the last 6 games, after going their 1st 32 games without doing so.

I am still awaiting for a Jays big winning streak.  Houston has not played winning baseball since the 1st 6 weeks of the 2015 – and are tending to resemble the 2007 Tampa Bay Rays more than anything.

All offense and little pitching and defense.

There is nobody struggling worse than Logan Morrison, Russell Martin, Carlos Gomez and the consortium of LF’s in Anaheim! Recently bouncing out of this list are Jason Heyward and Chase Headley.

We are nearing the quarter pole and rapidly approaching Memorial Day Weekend, so it is not early anymore.
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MLB Power Rankings 2016: Week 6 May

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Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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MAY 8, 2016

Disclaimer:  We based these rankings on best strength to win the World Series.  Therefore some teams that have an easier division to play in, with the least path of resistance to the postseason overall may be ranked a lot higher than a club who is equally talented, yet may play in a juggernaut of a division.

Rank – Team Record (Last week rank) (Up down) (W – L Record Last week)

(1) (1)  Chicago Cubs (E) (24 – 6) :  A real bad day for the Cubs is battling with a team like Washington on Sunday, to see whether or not they are going to sweep them or go 3 – 1 in a series.

Yep, they swept the 4 game set in a 13 inning walk off HR by Javier Baez – to cap a 7 – 0 week. They are on pace for about 129 wins right now.

Depth of the Starting Rotation is looking solid with Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jason Hammel (Killer J’s) and Kyle Hendricks.

Hector Rondon is not even needed in most leads, with the team almost at a +100 differential through 30 games,

(2) (3) Chicago White Sox (+1) (22 – 10) ( 4 – 2):  Chris Sale is 7 – 0, and may go Ron Guidry (circa 1979 on us).  If anyone will win 25 games in a year, it would be him or Jake Arrieta.

Bob Welch won 27 games in 1990 for the A’s was the last guy to do that.

Has anyone noticed that Brett Lawrie has an OBP closer to .400 – than his usual .310 – .320?

Jose Quintana is finally receiving some run support.  If Todd Frazier and Jose Abreu start hitting for BA, than look he the hell out.  We could see a “Windy City” World Series for the 1st time since 1906. Read the rest of this entry

Base Running, Not Leadoff Should Be The Blue Jays Focus

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Shaun Doyle (Featured Baseball Writer – Owner jaysfromthecouch.com) 

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For a lot of the winter, there has been a great deal of attention paid to just who will lead off for the Blue Jays in 2016. With the exit of Ben Revere in the trade that brought in Drew Storen, the debate has gone in several different directions.

Some are firmly in the camp that Kevin Pillar be given a chance to put his contact skills to use. Others feel that the club should go with giving their best hitters the most at bats, thus slotting Troy Tulowitzki in the 1st spot.

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2016 MLB Preseason Power Rankings

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Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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With just 5 weeks to the regular season – and all of the important Free Agents finally being locked up with Ian Desmond signing with the Rangers, it is time to see where all 30 MLB clubs stack up.

We are going to be running weekly power rankings once the year starts on Apr.3, 2016.

The way I compile the Power Rankings is best on confidence to win the World Series.  Some clubs may be more talented (or playing better) than a squad they are behind in the rankings,  but the Division (and strength of opponents) plays a massive factor.

It is the reason why teams like the Royals or Astros will be selected above a team like the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Pittsburgh Pirates might win 90 games (which may only see one AL club join them), but because they have to contend with the Cards and Cubs in the NL Central, it will be tough for them to receive a great ranking (at least until games are played). Read the rest of this entry

Projected Top 5 Save Leaders In The American And National League For MLB 2016

Craig Kimbrel is still about as filthy as they come in nailing down games in the Majors. With 225 Saves and a 1.63 ERA in the last 5 years of his career, this 27 year old flamethrower brings his talents to Beantown and a top rated club. Last year was the 1st season he didn't lead the National League after four consecutive years of leading the Senior Circuit. He still managed 39 Saves for a 74 win San Diego team. Since the Red Sox are going to be somewhere in the 90 win range, Kimbrel should at least be in the mid 40's in Saves again for 2016.

Craig Kimbrel is still about as filthy as they come in nailing down games in the Majors. With 225 Saves and a 1.63 ERA in the last 5 years of his career, this 27 year old flamethrower brings his talents to Beantown and a top rated club. Last year was the 1st season he didn’t lead the National League after four consecutive years of leading the Senior Circuit. He still managed 39 Saves for a 74 win San Diego team. Since the Red Sox are going to be somewhere in the 90 win range, Kimbrel should at least be in the mid 40’s in Saves again for 2016.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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Figuring out the Saves Leaders for the 2016 year is a lot easier to project than the Holds Leaders we did last week.  Perhaps the easiest to discern is also the National League.

Since I projected 7 teams will win 90+ games in the Senior Circuit I have listed 5 teams with their Closer out of the fold there.  I did however, leave out Hector Rondon and Mark Melancon.

I feel the Bucs may trade Melancon despite being in a position to make the playoffs.   I also think the Cubs will blow out a ton of clubs this season in games, and therefore not need Rondon to lockdown a 3 run or under lead.

This is the same reason why I won’t label Roberto Osuna for the top 5 in the American League either.  It is also not unfathomable to see the Jays go with Drew Storen to close down games.

I fully think that Craig Kimbrel will lead the entire Major Leagues for the Boston Red Sox as their Closer.

I may have gone with Aroldis Chapman on the list as well, however his pending suspension for his domestic violence call in should see him riding pine for at least 25 games.  The New York Yankees should still lead the Junior Circuit for total team Saves.
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Forget Prospects When Your Window Is Open To Win With Good (To ALL – Star) MLB Players Available!

I am sick and tired of hearing about Draft Picks being coveted by clubs, and in particular with the picks 11 - 30th having to be given up as compensation for signing a guy who was extended a Qualifying Offer. Prospects turn into Suspects in a real hurry. Only 4 or 5 out of the picks 11 - 30 contribute significantly within 4 years. Meaning if your roster is poised now, go ahead and burn your pick by signing proven players that can help your squad right now!

I am sick and tired of hearing about Draft Picks being coveted by clubs, and in particular with the picks 11 – 30th having to be given up as compensation for signing a guy who was extended a Qualifying Offer. Prospects turn into Suspects in a real hurry. Only 4 or 5 out of the picks 11 – 30 contribute significantly within 4 years usually. Meaning if your roster is poised to win right now, go ahead and burn your pick by signing proven players that can help your squad right now!

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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I can’t stand it when I hear that ready to win Major League Clubs are holding off on good Free Agent Signing because of a pending Draft Pick in the coming MLB Amateur Draft being forfeited.

For current organizations like the  Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers, KC Royals, Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants – all of them project to be contenders in 2016 except the O’s, and the last 6 clubs listed here are acting on that – while the 1st 4 are not.

Let me kind of qualify that.  The Jays did in 2015 – and may do so in 2016.  The real truth will be told by the August.1 Trade Deadline.  Not picking up a top end rotation guy by then will hurt their chances to win in the last few months and definitely in the playoffs. Read the rest of this entry

Odds To Win The 2016 MLB World Series

Yoenis Cespedes led all LF for HRs with 35 on the campaign in 2015. He picked a contract year for his best season to date out of the 4 years he has been in the Major Leagues. Cespedes hit 17 HRs with the Mets in 2 months, after smacking out just 18 in the first four months with Detroit. Cespedes finished in the top 40 for both leagues in respective big fly's, and was tied for 13th overall with Manny Machado and David Ortiz.  New York brought him back for at least another year, where he helped the Mets go 34 - 23 down the stretch.  Expect more of the same in 2016.  Mets are the best bet of the week for the 'Fall Classic' value wise.

Yoenis Cespedes led all LF for HRs with 35 on the campaign in 2015. He picked a contract year for his best season to date out of the 4 years he has been in the Major Leagues. Cespedes hit 17 HRs with the Mets in 2 months, after smacking out just 18 in the first four months with Detroit. Cespedes finished in the top 40 for both leagues in respective big fly’s, and was tied for 13th overall with Manny Machado and David Ortiz. New York brought him back for at least another year, where he helped the Mets go 34 – 23 down the stretch. Expect more of the same in 2016. Mets are the best bet of the week for the ‘Fall Classic’ value wise.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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A couple of things have happened over the last week.  The Mets signed Yoenis Cespedes and no odd was changed after this.  Very strange indeed.

With adding the Cuban slugger, the Mets have almost assured their fanbase for another post season berth in 2016.  This club is more like it was in the last 2 months than it was in the 1st four months.

Even if the Nationals were to have an unbelievable year – the Mets should still make the postseason as the #1 Wild Card seed.

I have the Mets as a 96 win team after this move, with the Nats listed about 93 victories.  Had the Nats picked up Cespedes, I would have given Washington a 95 – 92 win advantage over New York. Read the rest of this entry

Blue Jays Pick Up Drew Storen For Ben Revere

Last night The Blue Jays made their biggest move so far this offseason. Jays From the Couch gives you an in-depth look at their newly acquired pitcher, along with some positives and negatives about the trade.

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Late Friday night January 8th 2016, the Toronto Blue Jays made their biggest offseason move, trading left fielder Ben Revere for Washington Nationals relief pitcher/closer Drew Storen.

With the Blue Jays having organizational depth in the outfield, addressing the bullpen was something that was a major priority.

With Spring Training only being fifty-two days away, (couldn’t come any quicker) we will quickly see where the newly shifted pieces are going to fit within the roster. This trade improves much needed bullpen depth, but still leaves us with some lingering questions.

READ MORE OF THIS ENTRY…

Do It Cashman/Rizzo: Strasburg For Andrew Miller And Brett Gardner!

As good as Stephen Strasburg was in the 2nd half of the 2015 year, ( 6 - 2 with a 1.90 ERA post ALL - Star), he will be a Free Agent after 2016. The Nats need a leadoff man, and a lockdown Closer- after they potentially trade attitude problem Jonathan Papelbon. It makes for both clubs to pull the deal off. There will also not be any recourse action as they are all set to switch leagues. The trade would see the Yankees flip leadoff OF man Brett Gardner and Closer Andrew Miller in return. Both of those 2 Yankees have 3 years left on their current deals.

As good as Stephen Strasburg was in the 2nd half of the 2015 year, ( 6 – 2 with a 1.90 ERA post ALL – Star), he will be a Free Agent after 2016. The Nats need a leadoff man, and a lockdown Closer- after they potentially trade attitude problem Jonathan Papelbon. It makes for both clubs to pull the deal off. There will also not be any recourse action as they are all set to switch leagues. The trade would see the Yankees flip leadoff OF man Brett Gardner and Closer Andrew Miller in return. Both of those 2 Yankees have 3 years left on their current deals.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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After seeing the trade go down for Alex Hicks, I then saw the trade proposal of Andrew Miller and Brett Gardner for Stephen Strasburg.  This was inferred by MLB.com columnist Richard Justice. Here are my thoughts on it.

This would be a phenomenal deal for both clubs.  The Yankees can clear some salary to sign another Starting Pitcher in addition to Strasburg coming in, and the Nats would get their new leadoff man and shutdown Closer.

Although there are some things to consider….It looks like the club will go forward with Bryce Harper at CF then.  This would mean that Gardner and Jayson Werth would round out the Outfield.

I also think the Nationals should include Jonathan Papelbon in this deal – or flip him in another deal to clear a spot for Miller to Close.

Straburg will make from $11 – $13 MIL for the 2016 season in his last year of Arbitration before hitting Free Agency – which would equal out Gardner’s salary.  Andrew Miller is set to make $9 MIL a year for the next 3 seasons.

New York will need to replace Miller in some capacity for sure.  Whether that is another late inning arm to set up Dellin Betances – or even sign another Closer would have to be the idea.  Miller and Betances were the two best pitchers for the club in 2015.

The team would be well served to land the services of Joakim Soria.

For the record, Papelbon only makes $11 MIL in 2016 before becoming an outright Free Agent in 2017. Read the rest of this entry

How To Fix The Nats For 2016: Washington Nationals State Of The Union

In 2012, the Nationals won the NL East and then followed up with a disappointing 2013 year. The same pattern happened in 2014 and 2015. The Nats window is closing as the club only has one more of team control on Stephen Strasburg - and the total salary for the club escalates with Bryce Harper being Arbitration Eligible starting next year. The team has solid Starting Pitching and a lineup that is coming back for the most part. A key acquisition for both the offense and defense may suffice.

In 2012, the Nationals won the NL East and then followed up with a disappointing 2013 year. The same pattern happened in 2014 and 2015. The Nats window is closing as the club only has one more of team control on Stephen Strasburg – and the total salary for the club escalates with Bryce Harper being Arbitration Eligible starting next year. The team has solid Starting Pitching and a lineup that is coming back for the most part. A key acquisition for both the offense and defense may suffice.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead Analyst)

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So having been back from my 224 MLB Game all year trip in 2015 – I was happy to have put in such a great season of witnessing games.  My real disappointment was the Nationals not making the playoffs in 2015.

I am guilty as charged for having a National League favorite team in Washington, and also be a Yankees fan for the American League.

I am a Nats fan because they used to be the Montreal Expos before 2005.  It was a tough negotiation to have been a fan when they moved to D.C., but I followed the team. I saw some bad baseball via MLB.TV for about 6 or 7 years. Read the rest of this entry

183 in 2015: Ball Park Preview, Game 17 – Nats Park

2015 MLB Trip Sponsors: Man Fish Brewery, Megabus.com, MLB Reports, National Car Rental, MLB Ball Park Pass-Port

2015 MLB Trip Sponsors: Man Fish Brewery, Megabus.com, MLB Reports, National Car Rental and the MLB Ball Park Pass-Port.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead Analyst): 

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***  I Will be live tweeting from all ballpark venues I am watching games at.  Join the discussion.

Chuck Booth’s 2015 MLB Park Historical Road Trip

The GOAL: 183 Straight Days (every single day at least 1 gm) Of ALL 30 MLB Parks Trip In 2015 (218 Games) view full year schedule.

The CAUSE:  To Raise Money for Concussion Awareness (via Sports Legacy Institute. donate money here) Through Inspiring Others.

DAY DATE

Friday, April.  17, 2015

Game #17 Day #13

Today’s game (s) Start Time (s) in EST  and Venue (s):

Nationals Park, 7:05, Nats vs Phillies

For the second day in a row. Game #3 of 30 At Nats Park.

TRIP STATS:

Miles Driven (4697 miles), air miles (423) ground transport (1550 miles) public transportation (400 Miles), total miles (7173)

Games Seen ( 16), Games left (200), days left (172).

Hot dogs eaten (7), Subs Eaten ( 6.5), energy drinks (17), beers (3), chili’s (3).

MLB  Song scoreboard – Uptown Funk – 17, Center field – 6

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The Top 5 Holds Leaders In The MLB For 2015

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Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Holds is a category that is starting to garner more respect each and every campaign in the MLB.  Having said that, it doesn’t always mean the pitcher is throwing well if he owns a lot of them for the year.  It is just one stat that should be accompanied by others.

When searching to figure out who will have the most of these in a season, it is important to see the amount of games the guy will enter.

For the last several years, Tyler Clippard has dominated in the National League  With his trade to the American League, it opens up the leaderboard for this campaign.

It has been said, that the former Nationals Reliever will see some mop-up duty as a closer for the A’s to start the year.  Had Sean Doolittle been healthy from the start of the year, I would have placed a massive wager that Clippard would lead the MLB in Holds one more time.

Instead, I will go with his teammate Eric O’Flaherty to make the top 5 on the list.  I also don’t think it would be a foreign idea to see  Ryan Cook push the top Bullpen Holds Leaders by years end. Read the rest of this entry

The Top 5 Closers In The MLB For 2015

Rodney had 48 Saves, 0.777 WHIP and a 0.60 ERA in 2012, to place 5th in AL Cy Young Voting and was an ALL-Star.  2013 wasn't as kind (although he did win the WBC) with a 3.34 ERA and a WHIP of 1.335.  The Mariners not armed with many better Options, brought in the 37 Year Old, to a 2 YR/$14 MIL deal.  Rodney did feature a career best 11.1/SO Per 9 IP rate last year, but he also walked 4.9/Per IP as well.  His work translated better in the AL West, where 2/3rds of his games are in Seattle, Los Angeles and Oakland.  Rodney led the AL in both Saves (48) and Games Finished in 2014 (64) - while having a 2.85 ERA, but a high 1.342 WHIP.  The latter is right near his career totals.  Still expect more of the same in 2015, with the M's having one of the better clubs this campaign.

Rodney had 48 Saves, 0.777 WHIP and a 0.60 ERA in 2012, to place 5th in AL Cy Young Voting and was an ALL-Star. 2013 wasn’t as kind (although he did win the WBC) with a 3.34 ERA and a WHIP of 1.335. The Mariners not armed with many better Options, brought in the  then 37 Year Old, to a 2 YR/$14 MIL deal. Rodney did feature a career best 11.1/SO Per 9 IP rate in 2013,  but he also walked 4.9 /Per IP as well. His work translated better in the AL West during 2014, where 2/3rds of his games are in Seattle, Los Angeles and Oakland. Rodney led the AL in both Saves (48) and Games Finished in 2014 (64) – while having a 2.85 ERA, but a high 1.342 WHIP. The latter is right near his career totals. His Walk Rate was 3.8, but that is less than his 4.4 clip for his lifetime.  The man fashioned a 10.3/9 IP SO rate.  I expect more of the same in 2015, with the M’s having one of the better clubs this campaign.  There will be more arrows slings after games.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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With the fiasco that is the Detroit Tigers Bullpen. I look for these guys to roll through several different Closers in 2015.  Joakim Soria would be the 1st one to attempt after Joe Nathan fails.

I also think the Yankees are going dually use Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller depending on the situational maneuvering matchups.  New York will be hard pressed to make the playoffs, but I do think they will net one of the higher team Save totals.

The same could probably said for the Boston Red Sox.  I think the near 40 year old Koji Uehara will have a tough time staying healthy for 100% of the opportunities, however he will be just outside the mark.

St. Louis may end up using someone different from Trevor Rosenthal, because we are due for them to change 9th inning guys. Adam Wainwright, Jason Isringhausen Jason Motte, Ryan Franklin and Edward Mujica have all seen the mantle over the last several years for the RedBirds. 

Rosenthal has actually had one of the longer stints, however he really struggled at the end of the 2014 year (despite 45 Saves), and it carried over to the playoffs, where he featured 10 base runners, while only recording 11 outs.  I am thinking he will not have as many chances in 2015 as well. 

Read the rest of this entry

Washington Nationals Pitching Roster Tree For 2015

Stephen Strasburg

How All Of The 2015 Nationals Pitchers Were Acquired:

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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The Nationals have done a great job of stockpiling pitching arms since relocated to the district in 2005.  From Stephen Strasburg, to Jordan Zimmermann, and unheralded pitchers like Craig Stammen and Ross Detwiler.

The acquisitions tree saw Minor League Prospect A.J. Cole drafted by the organization, traded to Oakland in the Gio Gonzalez, only to be brought back in the 3 way deal with the A’s and Seattle, that saw Mike Morse sent to Seattle.

A small part of that transaction included Ian Krol, who was packaged with two Nats selections in the MLB Amateur Draft (Robbie Ray and Steve Lombardozzi).

We have even traced a tree that stems all the way back to the Montreal Expos Drafting Jose Vidro.

The Starting 5 pitchers all contributed to Washington being the top seed in the National League during the 2014 year,

A big thank-you must be send to Yanks GM Brian Cashman, for giving the Nationals Tyler Clippard first, but then to also let Matt Thornton be claimed for no parts going back the other way.

Drew Storen is yet another 1st RD Draft Pick that is part of the Pitching Staff for Washington.

Tanner Roark was also stolen in a deal for Christian Guzman from Texas, with the latter having just a small cup of coffee with the Rangers organization, while Roark might have been the best #5 Starter in baseball this past campaign.

Xavier Cedeno joins Thornton as the only players to have been claimed by the squad. Read the rest of this entry

The Dodgers Winning The Title Could Cure Baseball In The Future – Part 1

Magic Johnson said the new ownership group would put their money down on the players to stay or come to the franchise, and man he wasn't kidding.  The Los Angeles Dodgers now own 5 of the top 23 player contracts of ALL - Time in the MLB.  With a total team payroll likely to be north of $240 MIL for the next few year, he was right.

Magic Johnson said the new ownership group would put their money down on the players to stay or come to the franchise, and man he wasn’t kidding. The Los Angeles Dodgers now own 5 of the top 23 player contracts of ALL – Time in the MLB. With a total team payroll likely to be north of $240 MIL for the next few years, he was right.  The team is presently the highest salaried team, and they will pay about $16 MIL in Luxury Tax, based on 30% penalty for $51 over the $189 MIL mark in 2014.  Their cash infusion to the NL has spawned a rapid ascent for other teams in the Senior Circuit  – who are looking just to keep up, while some franchises have no chance at all with their revenue streams.

A couple of years ago I wrote an article on how the Dodgers were going to change the way the MLB operates.  I may be proven right this fall.

4 of the top 5 clubs were alive in the LDS round

1.  LA Dodgers $240.7 MIL

2.  NY Yankees $227 MIL

3.  SF Giants –  $172.4 MIL

4.  Detroit Tigers – $170.5 MIL

5.  LA Angels – $170.5 MIL Read the rest of this entry

Current 2014 MLB Team Payrolls: Trade Deadline Manuevering

Clayton Kershaw is the highest paid player on the highest payroll of the Majors with the Dodgers.  Los Angeles is currently sitting at nearly $240 MIL for total team payroll, and will enter the 2nd year of their Luxury Tax Threshold Penalty, where they will pay a 30% surcharge on any monies spent over $189 MIL.  As it stands right now, the club will pay somewhere north of $15 MIL this year.  If the Dodgers are in penalty again for 2015, they will pa 40% of any cash over the Threshold.  Abusers of the tax for 4 years and beyond pay $50%.  With their payroll this year, it would cost Los Angeles over $25 MIL if they were at that limit.

Clayton Kershaw is the highest paid player on the highest payroll of the Majors with the Dodgers. Los Angeles is currently sitting at nearly $240 MIL for total team payroll, and will enter the 2nd year of their Luxury Tax Threshold Penalty, where they will pay a 30% surcharge on any monies spent over $189 MIL. As it stands right now, the club will pay somewhere north of $15 MIL this year. If the Dodgers are in penalty again for 2015, they will pa 40% of any cash over the Threshold. Abusers of the tax for 4 years and beyond pay $50%. With their payroll this year, it would cost Los Angeles over $25 MIL if they were at that limit.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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2014 Team Salaries Rank  (In Millions)

1. LAD – $239.8 ( 2nd time abuser – Luxury Tax Penalty at 30% over $189 MIL = $15.24 MIL to be added at the end of the year.) (1st in NLW)

2. NYY – $200.0 ( 4 or more time abuser – Tax Penalty at 50% over $189 MIL for an additional $5.5 MIL to be added at end of the year.) (1st In ALE)

3. PHI – $177.4 (1st in NLE)

4. DET – $163.0 MIL (1st in ALC)

5. BOS – $157.9 (2nd in ALE)
Read the rest of this entry

MLB Teams Pitching Payroll vs Positional Players Payroll In 2014

The Dodgers are the new kings of spending money on payroll in the MLB.  They already spend the most money their Pitching Staff, are the only team well over the $200 MIL mark, and are also creeping up on the New York Yankees for position player spending.  With the Bronx Bombers not in a playoff spot currently, the Dodgers may pass the Pinstripers by adding salary to their lineup, or by New York deciding to trade a few players from their position lineup.

The Dodgers are the new kings of spending money on payroll in the MLB. They already spend the most money their Pitching Staff, are the only team well over the $200 MIL mark, and are also creeping up on the New York Yankees for position player spending. With the Bronx Bombers not in a playoff spot currently, the Dodgers may pass the Pinstripers by adding salary to their lineup, or by New York deciding to trade a few players from their position lineup.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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The LA Dodgers have 5 quality Starting Pitchers, and a bevy of former Closers in their Relief Core.

The boys who play their home games at Chavez Ravine, would fit into the top half of entire team payrolls for the majors with each of their pitching and offense separately.

If the Yankees trade 1 or 2 hitters before the Deadline, or the Dodgers add an offense player to their depth, they will hold the #1 spot in both distinctions.

New York, Detroit, Philadelphia, Washington, Boston and both of the Los Angeles franchises are in the top 10 in each. Read the rest of this entry

Washington Nationals Payroll In 2014 + Contracts Going Forward

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Jeff Kleiner (Org Depth + Payroll Expert – find his website here)

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The Washington Nationals have had an escalating salary structure for the last few years.  The truth is that their talent needs to be paid as time goes on.

In 2014, the Budget is looking to be around $130 MIL so far, after just being over $110 MIL.

The situation is more expensive next year, with 10 players under the Arbitration Eligible – highlighted by Stephen Strasburg for his 2nd year of it.

Among the others are:  Craig Stammen, Danny Espinosa, Tyler Clippard, Doug Fister, Drew Storen, Ross Detwiler, Wilson Ramos, Jerry Blevins, Jose Lobaton and Ryan Mattheus. Read the rest of this entry

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo: January Man

By David Huzzard (Nationals Correspondent via Citizens of Natstown.com – view website here): 

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It was an innocent enough radio interview. The standard with Mike Rizzo late in the off-season with nothing happening.

He was asked if everything on the checklist had been marked off and answered in the affirmative and then was asked if there were still moves left to be made.

To this question Mike Rizzo gave the standard and cliched GM answer of anytime we can do anything to improve the club that makes sense for blah blah blah. You get the idea.

There was nothing special at all about this interview. It was a time filler between Redskins talk on a local Washington DC radio station, but there was something in Mike Rizzo’s voice.

He sounded ecstatic while talking about improving the team. Reading between the lines it was as if he was smirking into the phone and really saying watch what I’m about to do. Read the rest of this entry

The Washington Nationals State Of The Union Part 1: Fall 2013 Through Spring 2014

The Nationals failed to meet expectations as the Preseason favorites to lock down the World Series in 2013.  Heck, they didn't even qualify for the playoffs.  Whether it was injury, or complacency, the talent of this team didn't maximize their potential this year.  However, the club did go 24 - 12 in their last 36 Games Played, and made a late charge at the 2nd Wild Card Spot.  Most of the nucleus is coming back for the 2014 year.  Here are some priorities for the winter.

The Nationals failed to meet expectations as the Preseason favorites to lock down the World Series in 2013. Heck, they didn’t even qualify for the playoffs. Whether it was injury, or complacency, the talent of this team didn’t maximize their potential this year. However, the club did go 24 – 12 in their last 36 Games Played, and made a late charge at the 2nd Wild Card Spot in the Nationals League.  Most of the nucleus is coming back for the 2014 year. Here are some priorities for the winter.

By David Huzzard (Nationals Correspondent via Citizens of Natstown.com – view website here): 

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1. Find a Manager

There are moves that can be made without a new manager in place, but this is the most important thing the Nationals have to do this off-season. Not having the leader of the team will make all the other moves more difficult.

Players want to know who they are playing for and the manager is going to have a lot of input into what free agents the Nationals go after for the bench and bullpen, which happen to be their two biggest needs personnel-wise.

It is also important to get the new manager in place early so that he has an entire off-season to communicate with the players already in the majors and to familiarize himself with the system and the minor leaguers that could help during the season.

For all of the Rosters, Depth Charts, State of the Unions and Salaries that we do, please visit our dedicated page link here.

Jordan Zimmermann Interview

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How All Of The Nats Players Were Acquired: (Trade, Signed, Drafted, Waiver Wire) + Analysis

How All Of The Washington Nationals Players Were Acquired:

Strasburg and Harper are the franchises future.  Through drafting and smart trades, the club is now considered one of the best talented clubs in the MLB as of now.  Despite dealing with several injuries this current 2013 season - the future is definitely bright in DC

Strasburg and Harper are the franchises future. Through drafting and smart trades, the club is now considered one of the best talented clubs in the MLB as of now. Despite dealing with several injuries this current 2013 season – the future is definitely bright in DC.  The club has strong pitching in the Major Leagues – with some help coming  for more years to come.  They have potential ALL – Stars in almost every position.  Lets see how all of the players were acquired.

Tuesday July.23/2013

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

At the MLB Reports, we intend to show you the Roster Tree for the Washington Nationals – and how they assembled their current roster for hitting and Pitching.  It will work in a six degrees of separation like format.

Once we figure out the origin of how many trades going back in time it takes to see where the tree started, it will be time to dissect how the team fared on the deals.

If a player has never left the organization at all, the tree will be easy – as it will just be the year they were drafted or signed.

The Rise of the Nationals

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Triple Play Podcast Ep #8 – Bucs And Nats Time In The Around The Horn Feature

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Monday, May  13th, 2013

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month.  Each show will be about 1 hour

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month. Each show will be about 1 hour.

By The Big Ticket Show ( AKA Triple Play Podcast on http://www.mlbreports.com)

Guests in this Podcast – MLB Reports Nationals Correspondent David Huzzard of Citizensofnatstown.com ( and MLB Reports Pirates Correspondent Brad Cuprik

On a Mother’s day edition of the triple play podcast we heed the advice of our mother’s and turn the lemon of our original guest being unable to join us into the lemonade of Bard Cuprik of mlbreports.com  (Check out his latest Roster Tree piece – where he goes through the 6 degrees of separation of a how each pitcher arrived in a Bucs uniform here ) – and David Huzzard of the Citizens of Natstown podcast (and Writer) dissects the pitching and the Nationals start to the 2013 Season. Read the rest of this entry

Game 1 Recap Of The Nats Big Opening Day Win – A Glimpse Of Things To Come

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Tuesday, Apr.02/2013

Just as impressive as Harper taking on higher expectation in 2013 is Stephen Strasburg being unleashed on the world for a full season for the first time and starting off with an 80 pitch performance of seven shutout innings.Strasburg didn't even have his best command falling behind 1-0 on 13 of the 23 batters he faced. Strasburg finished the day with only three Strikeouts and no walks giving up only three hits, but this wasn't the dominate swing and miss Strasburg.

Just as impressive as Harper 2 HRs yesterdayn- was Strasburg’s being unleashed on the world for a full season.  His start featured an 80 pitch performance over 7 shutout IP. Strasburg didn’t even have his best command – falling behind 1-0 on 13 of the 23 batters he faced. He finished the day with only three Strikeouts, but no walks and giving up only 3 hits.

By David Huzzard (Nationals Correspondent via Citizens of Natstown.com – view website here): 

Seeing Stephen Strasburg picked to win the Cy Young should come as no surprise to anyone. He did finish 2012 tied with Gio Gonzalez for the best FIP in the majors at 2.82 – and led all starters with a staggering 11.13 K/9. There are arguments that can be made that when Stephen Strasburg is firing on all cylinders –  he is the best pitcher in the NL and among the best on the planet.

The same argument cannot be made for Bryce Harper as an Outfielder. Based on stats last year,  he finished seventh in the NL in fWAR and tied for eighth in wOBA with Jay Bruce and Garrett Jones.

No one is picking Jay Bruce or Garrett Jones for their MVP. In all of the NL Bryce Harper‘s .352 wOBA ranked sixteenth.

Bryce Harper 2 HR Performance On Opening Day – MLB Reports does not own anything from this video:

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The Washington Nationals Franchise Part 6 of 6: 2013 Team Payroll And Contracts Updated Mar.8

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Thursday, March.07/2013

Stephen Strasburg is eligible for Arbitration after the 2013 season. He originally signed a 4 Year/14 Million Dollar Entry Level Deal after he was drafted in 2009.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst / Website Owner):

Perhaps no team will have more of a chance to win the 2013 World Series with Harper and Strasburg will be another year older, while both Zimmerman’s can both have been healthy for the year.  They have two Mutual Options for them to re-sign which I mention on the next page.  They do have several Arbitration Eligible Players including Super ‘2’ Free Agents Jordan Zimmerman and Tyler Clippard.  The Nationals should try to lock most of these guys up as long as they can.  Especially guys like Desmond, Espinosa and Storen.  

Their price shall only skyrocket as they become older.  The Nationals will not have to worry about their starting outfield of Morse, Werth and Harper as they are all signed for next year.  Strasburg enters the final year of this entry-level deal and Gio Gonzalez also has a nice value deal for the salary part of it.

Kurt Suzuki had a strong finish in 2013, so you could see the club maybe trading away he or Wilson Ramos before 2013 Trade Deadline.  I suspect the Phillies to be stronger this year, so major improvements by Harper and rejuvenated play from both Zimmerman’s will be crucial to the clubs success.  Micheal Lerner has made it abundantly clear he wants a championship for this club ASAP.  He will spend any amount of money .  The rest of the lineup looks set and ready to mash in 2013!

For Part 1 of the Article Series, The Expos Hitters: click here

For Part 2 of the Article Series, The Expos Pitchers: click here

For Part 3 of the Article Series, The Demise of the Montreal Expos: click here

For Part 4 of the Article Series, The Washington Nationals Franchise 2005-2012: click here

For Part 5 of the Article Series, The Nationals top 25 Man Roster from 20o5-2012 click here

MLB 13 The Show – Bryce Harper Interview:

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Remember When: An A To Z On How Far The Nats Have Come In Washington

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Thursday, Mar. 07/2013

Livan Hernandez leads the 2005-2012 version of the franchise in wins and Innings Pitched.  The 2005 team started out competing for the NL East with an 81-81 record.  The next 5 years in wins went (71, 73, 59, 59 and 69 respectively.  They set a franchise win mark in 2012 at 98 victories.  They have a great shot at eclipsing this mark.  Only the Nationals and Mariners teams have never appeared in the World Series

Fromer #1 Nats pitcher Livan Hernandez leads the 2005-2012 version of the franchise in Wins and Innings Pitched. The 2005 team started out competing for the NL East with an 81-81 record before falling down the stetch. The next 5 years in wins went (71, 73, 59, 59 and 69) respectively. After 80 wins in 2011 – they set a franchise win mark in 2012 at 98 victories. They are one of the favorites to win the World Series in 2013. Only the Nationals and Mariners teams have never appeared in the World Series as an organization.  Hernandez in his prime might be the #5 starter on the 2013 club.

By David Huzzard (Nationals Correspondent via Citizens of Natstown.com – view website here): 

Remember when Buster Olney went on Baseball Tonight and predicted the 2007 Nationals would just be historically bad, but they would be lucky if they could win 42 games. Or remember when columns like this one from Jeff Passan were the norm with catchy little puns like, “National Disaster.” At times it is hard to even remember the bi-gone days when Jason Simontacchi, Mike Bacsik, and Micah Bowie were key figures in the Nats rotation.    ​

What makes it even harder to hold on to those memories of the bad Nats are columns like this about how the Nats could be historically good. In the terms of history five years is nothing. The build up of World War I started with the Bosnian Crisis in 1908 and didn’t officially start until Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in 1914. The build up to historic events is a mention in a paragraph on the actual history itself. Those five years from 2007 until 2013 are throw away lines in the book that will be written if the Nats can manage to be historically good. ​

Wil Nieves used to have the Nationals Defining Moment…. Who?

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The 2013 Nationals Appear Primed to Make a Run at the World Series

Friday October 26th, 2012

Sam Evans: The Washington Nationals had a somewhat disappointing end to their season, losing to St. Louis in five ALDS games. Nonetheless, the Nationals had a tremendous season and should be pleased with where they stand heading into next year. With the NL East teams around Washington getting older and losing talent, there’s no reason why Washington can’t repeat as division champions in 2013. In fact, the Washington Nationals should be favored to make a World Series push in 2013.

Ever since the franchise moved from Montreal in 2005, Washington had yet to have a season over .500 and finish in the top two in the NL East. 2011 was a surprising season in which Washington won ninety-eight games, the most in major league baseball, and won the N.L. East. Their Pythagorean record (96-66) suggests that the Nationals 2012 season was not a fluke. Washington was led by Ian Desmond, rookie Bryce Harper and a tremendous young group of starting pitchers. 2012 wasn’t a fluke and Washington won’t be putting a team on the field in 2013 that is much different. So why can’t they repeat as division champs? Read the rest of this entry

Ross Detwiler: Nationals Pitcher is Underrated to Say the Least

Saturday September 22nd, 2012 

Ryan Ritchey (Baseball Writer): The Washington Nationals have one of the best pitching staffs in the majors. The reason for this is the depth they have on the staff. It is not a shock that with Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Edwin Jackson, and Ross Detwiler that the Nationals have one of the best rotations in baseball. You hear a lot about the first four guys on this list, but not much about Detwiler. I am really wondering why this is the case! Read the rest of this entry

Time For the Nationals to Shut Down Jordan Zimmermann: Why Stop at Strasburg?

Friday September 14th, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen:  Before fans of the Nationals start to write any angry comments in respect of this article, please do me one favor.  Stop. Read the article in its entirety and then pass judgement. That’s the least I can ask from each of you.

Now that being said, I have a bone to pick with the Nationals. While I love the game with a passion, I also need to separate the fan in me from the writer. When it comes to the topic of Stephen Strasburg, I honestly have a hard time doing that. Shutting down Stephen Strasburg to me is like ripping up the winning lottery ticket. You just don’t do it. Too many stars have aligned this season for the Nationals, to have the season put into possible jeopardy due to a decision that could have been avoided. Putting it bluntly- Stephen Strasburg should be pitching right now. To the end of the season. And throughout the playoffs. You just don’t take out your ace when you don’t need to.

I have talked with colleagues, players, fans…everyone and anyone who has an opinion on the subject. Believe me, there are many of them. If I had to take an informal poll of say 200 people with knowledge on the game, about 195 are against the move. Plain and simple. In my eyes, it seems that everyone sees the logic to keep him pitching (including Strasburg himself), except GM Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson. Even Johnson I am not that sure about. How often do you criticize your boss? Exactly. Read the rest of this entry

Was Edwin Jackson The Most Valuable Free Agent Signing During The Offseason? Smart Move By The Nationals

Wednesday September 12th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto: During all the chaos that surrounded Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder during the offseason, the Washington Nationals made a very sneaky addition to their pitching staff by adding Edwin Jackson. The deal was signed in early February, which made it the final piece to their rotation, as Gio Gonzalez was added before Jackson. But this move flew under the radar as Pujols and Fielder garnered most of the media. Obviously that didn’t come as a surprise. Now, Jackson looks like the most valuable offseason signing.

The thing about Jackson, is that he didn’t break the Nationals’ bank. He came at a reasonable $11 million price tag, and compared to the contracts that Pujols (10 Year, $254 Million) and Fielder (10 Year $214 Million) brought in, Jackson’s contract is practically nothing. Simply, he’s a value player. Talent-wise, he clearly isn’t as respected and accomplished as Pujols and Fielder. But that’s not the point.

However, Jackson won’t be flying under the radar for much longer now that Stephen Strasburg is out of the equation. He will have to play a much bigger role in a starting pitching staff that leads the National League in ERA (3.32). Yes, the Nationals have decent alternatives to fill Strasburg’s void. Those alternatives being Ross Detwiler and John Lannan, but Jackson takes an immense step up depth chart pyramid. Gio Gonzalez now assumes the “ace” role, Jordan Zimmerman follows him, and now Edwin Jackson is third option which means higher expectations. It also means that Jackson’s production can’t be taken as a bonus anymore. His production is now crucial for the Nationals to continue to find success on the pitching area of the game. If he depletes, the Nats are suddenly down to two consistent arms— Gonzalez and Zimmerman. That’s no longer intimidating.

Can he thrive under the pressure? Read the rest of this entry

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