Blog Archives

Kansas City Royals Pitching Roster Tree In 2014 – World Series Edition: Shields Pivotal Despite Playoff Struggles

How All Of The 2014 Royals Pitchers Were Acquired:

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

Follow MLB Reports On Twitter 

While James Shields has not had a banner postseason – however it is important to remember his influence on culture change in the Royals clubhouse for this successful franchise turnaround.

The trade that brought the RHP, also brought in Wade Davis, who may be the most important pitcher on the squad other than Greg Holland this campaign.

Dayton Moore has done a fantastic job of assembling this franchise’s roster over the last 5 – 7 years.  It came on the heels of a quarter century of futility yes, but the future definitely looks  bright.

As we have said before, teams residing in either league’s Central Division have a fair chance of competing in a season every year.

The highest payroll team is the Detroit Tigers, but they are not in the stratosphere of the Dodgers, Yankees, Rangers, Angels and Phillies, were there is a 2nd team in the division who can go buck wild in contracts.

The Nationals and Giants are able to spend in the $150 MIL range to join Philly and the Dodgers.  In the AL West, Texas and the Angels can mirror each other, whereas the Red Sox and Yankees own the AL East payroll leaders.

St. Louis is the highest NL Central club, and are always near the fringe of the top 10 for dollars spent annually only.  

The Tigers are the only franchise spending big cash in the AL Central, although the White Sox have delved into higher salaries in previous seasons – when they drew well following the 2005 World Series.  They have since scaled back.

The Royals should be able to field a nice team for the next 2 – 3 years, and it shouldn’t break the bank for the ownership.

  Detroit has aging and hefty contract problems coming up, and KC has more depth for the  1 – 25 Roster, when it comes to withstanding injuries

For the foreseeable few seasons ahead, you will bank on the emergence of Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy to continue their development as aces, and the Relief Core is the still the strongest asset of the equation. Read the rest of this entry

Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Roster + Organizational Depth Charts (MLB and MiLB)

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Jeff Kleiner (Org. Depth Chart Expert)

Follow MLB Reports On Twitter

The Pittsburgh Pirates broke a 21 Year Old playoff drought in 2013, by winning 94 Games, winning the Wild Card Game to the Reds – before bowing out to the St. Louis Cardinals in 5 games of the LDS.

Neil Huntington has done an exceptional job assembling this club both via trade an drafting.

Not signing A.J. Burnett to a deal is actually a smart move when you figure he is going to earn $16.0 MIL in 2014.  If the Bucs GM would have doled out the 1 YR/$14.1 MIL for the cagey veteran, it would have blown the teams salary structure. Read the rest of this entry

Greinke Return Can Turn The Dodgers Season Around

Like us on Facebook here

Friday May.17/2013

Zack Greinke hits an RBI single in his first at-bat since his return from the DL. Greinke earn a quality start against the Nationals 5.1 innings and only allowed 1 ER with 4 SOs.

Zack Greinke hits an RBI single in his first at-bat since his return from the DL. Greinke earn a quality start against the Nationals 5.1 innings and only allowed 1 ER with 4 SOs.

 By Enrique Rivera (Dodgers Correspondent for MLB Reports)

I think it’s pretty safe to say that the Dodgers haven’t had a very mary month of May and with halfway through the month, they are 4-9. This includes an eight-game losing streak that went from May 1st to May 10th.

During that losing streak, the Dodgers committed a Dodger sin by being swept against their Rivals the San Francisco Giants at AT and T Park.

Usually when this happens to a team with a lot of talent, fans begin pointing fingers and try to figure out what the issue is. Either that or begin giving up on the team’s season right away.

Fingers have been pointed at many different things-from Dodgers’ skipper Don Mattingly to the injuries themselves.  The biggest blow for the Dodgers was the injury that made their expensive new pitcher Zack Greinke miss several starts.

ESPN analysts Manny Acta and Alex Cora analyse Zack Greinke’s comeback

Read the rest of this entry

Pittsburgh Pirates Roster Tree Part 1: The Pitchers

Like us on Facebook here

Sunday, May. 12/2013

What 3 current Pirates players can be traced back to Ricardo Rincon?  Read this article and you will find out how all of the players have arrived in a Bucs uniform - and we dissected the Pirates brass for each move.

What 3 current Pirates players can be traced back to Ricardo Rincon? Read this article and you will find out how all of the players have arrived in a Bucs uniform – and we dissected the Pirates brass for each move.

By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent) and Chuck Booth (MLB Reports Owner/Lead Analyst

Neil Huntington has done a great job assembling this Pirates team – and has spun some great trades in order to see his club actually be competitive over the last few years.

At the MLB Reports, we intend to show you the Roster Tree for the Bucs – and how they assembled their current rosters.  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.

Read the rest of this entry

Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Team Salary, Pirates Roster + Organizational Depth Charts (MLB and MiLB)

Like us on Facebook here

Friday, Apr.26/2013

The Pittsburgh Pirates organization is looking a lot better over the last few years.  They have had 20 Losing season in a row - and are one of the 3 teams to not make the playoffs since the 1994 Player Strike (KC and Toronto) and are the the only National League team to hold this distinction.  The club were one of the best franchises around the game of the MLB in the 1970's

The Pittsburgh Pirates organization is looking a lot better over the last few years. They have had 20 Losing season in a row – and are one of the 3 teams to not make the playoffs since the 1994 Player Strike (KC and Toronto) and are the the only National League team to hold this distinction. The club were one of the best franchises around the game of the MLB in the 1970’s.  The club has started 13 – 9 in 2013.  This pattern has formed over the last few campaigns, – in the NL Central contention until just after the ALL – Star Break – before swooning in 2011 and 2012.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): and welcome Jeff Kleiner (Salary, Roster and Depth Chart Expert for the MLB) – visit his website  here  

You guys are all in for a treat.  Jeff Kleiner recently contacted me about a partnership merge for the website.  He has developed a site ( that covers all organizational affiliates in the Minors for all of the Major League Baseball Clubs.  We are going to combine efforts to bring you the best look at salaries, current 25 Man Player Rosters and Depth Charts for all 30 teams. 

Jeff is going to provide the documents in form of spreadsheets and I am going to accompany the posts with deep analysis of what the numbers tell us from my perspective.  If you can’t wait for all of my assessments for each club, go and visit Jeff’s website over at

In Speaking with Jeff, he is one of the more passionate fans I have come across towards the game of baseball.  He spends enough time in updating his MLB Facts for it to be a Full-Time Job.  So after the usual Video Clip and READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY button, you will find some serious &*!@?!#!

For a Full 3 year Salary Outlook plus last years Stats for every player in the Pirates Organization click here

Pittsburgh Pirates Look at Buc Nation 3 Videos:

Read the rest of this entry

Dodgers 1st Week In Review

Like us on Facebook here

Monday Apr.08/2013

Mattingly guided the Dodgers to a nice NL West ion 2012 - before injuries crippled their chances to continue.  2013 will be a fresh start with the biggest payroll in the game and lots of ALL-Star talent.  Can he unite the players to gel? In the last year of his contract, he has guided the Dodgers to a 4 - 2 record so far in 2013

Mattingly managed the Dodgers to a nice record in the NL West during the first few months of the 2012 campaign – before injuries crippled their chances to continue as the leaders. 2013 gives the former Yankees a fresh start with the biggest payroll in the game and lots of ALL-Star talent. Can he unite the players to gel? In the last year of his contract, he has guided the Dodgers to a 4 – 2 record so far in 2013.  The pitching has been dominant, particularly only yielding just 2 run to the Pirates in a 3 game Series over the weekend, plus throwing back to back Shutouts on Friday and Saturday.  All they need now is for Matt Kemp to come around!

By Enrique Rivera (Dodgers Correspondent): 

Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly began his third season as Dodgers manager with a four-man rotation. Clayton Kershaw opened on Monday – and pitched a Complete Game Shut-out – with a Game Winning HR at the plate himself against the defending world champs San Francisco Giants.

On Saturday night, Kershaw went on to pitch a Seven-Inning Shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates – with 9 SO and only 2 Hits surrendered. He’s currently 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 16 SO, 6 H and only 1 Walk.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (another Left-Hander) went on Tuesday to make his Major League debut and lost. His official line seems a little off but in 6.1 IP, he gave up 10 hits , however the end result was only one Earned Run – with 5 SO and O Walks.

On his second career start, Ryu was able to pick up his first career win by defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates. He pitched 6.1 Innings once again, allowing 2 Earned Runs (a two-run shot to Pirates Center Fielder Andrew McCutchen), Striking out six – allowing only 3 Hits and 2 Walks on Sunday afternoon.

Ryu Interviews after his 1st start:

Read the rest of this entry

3 Reasons That The Pirates Will – Or Won’t End 20 Years Of Consecutive Losing Records

Like us on Facebook here

Tuesday, April.2/2013

The Pirates are hoping to bring winning baseball to beautiful PNC Park in 2013.

The Pirates are hoping to bring winning baseball for the beautiful PNC Park in 2013.

By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent)

The statistical improvements are easy to decipher in Clint Hurdle‘s first two years as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 2011, the Bucs were 72-90, scored 610 Runs and gave up 712 Runs. Those were improvements of 15 victories, 23 Runs Scored and an impressive 154 less Runs Allowed.

This past season, Pittsburgh improved in all three categories again – earning 79 victories with 651 Runs Scored and 674 Runs Allowed. If it seems like an excruciatingly long time since Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Andy Van Slyke and Doug Drabek were leading the Pirates to a winning season and a third consecutive NLCS, that’s because it has been – two decades to be exact.

Bill Clinton was just starting his first term as President of the United States and something called Color Me Badd was popular on the radio.

Questionable music aside, if the Pirates want to put an end to all that losing, another year of similar improvement will get them over the .500 hump.

Here are three reasons why 2013 will be the year it happens for them and three reasons why the longest consecutive streak of losing seasons in professional sports will reach 21 years.

Sid Breams 1992 NLCS Game 7 Slide kicked off a 20 Year Consecutive Losing Records Streak

Read the rest of this entry

Colorado Rockies Roster In 2013: State Of The Union

Like us on Facebook here

Friday Jan.25/2013

Todd Helton has to be the greatest Colorado Rockies player of All-Time. In what could very well be his last season of baseball, can he somehow push the team back into the playoffs?

Todd Helton has to be the greatest Colorado Rockies player of All-Time. In what could very well be his last season of baseball, can he somehow push the team back into the playoffs?

Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern): 

The Colorado Rockies finished 2012 with a 64-98 record – just escaping the dreaded 100 loss season. This record was bad enough to not only get them last place in the NL West, but also give them the 3rd worst record in the National League, only better than that of the Cubs and Astros. It was the Rockies worst season to date – and the 1st time in team history they failed to have a Winning Percentage of above .400. After having a season like the Rockies did in 2012, one would hope that the only place to go is up.

The franchise was established in 1993 – and have made the playoffs 3 times (’95, ’07, ’09). All of these were Wild Card births, and in ’07 they won the NL Pennant, before being swept by the Red Sox in the World Series.  2007 was a remarkable season though, as they won 21 of their last 22 regular season games just to get in the playoffs. It was one of the great runs in recent memory, maybe even more impressive than the ’02 Athletics 20 game win streak – since this streak propelled them into the playoffs seemingly out of nowhere. To get back to the playoffs in 2013 might be a little far-fetched considering they are in a division with the reigning World Series Champs (Giants), and a team with a seemingly infinite payroll (Dodgers). It isn’t far-fetched to say they will be better than last year, and could be contenders in the near future.

Carlos Gonzalez Highlights – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised:

Read the rest of this entry

Top MLB Free Agents Still Available:

Like us on Facebook here

Wednesday January 23rd, 2013

Micheal Bourn is seeking a contract worth 15 Million Dollars plus per year.  Since 2008, he has averaged 50 SB a year.  He has steadily improved his offensive game.  He is a guy who would help most ball clubs as a Lead Off hitter.

Micheal Bourn is seeking a contract worth 15 Million Dollars plus per year. Since 2008, he has averaged 50 SB a year. He has steadily improved his offensive game. He is a guy who would help most ball clubs as a Lead Off hitter.

By Jordan Gluck (Prospects/Baseball Operations Correspondent)

The offseason is winding down right with the availability of Free Agents and the budgets of many MLB teams. The talent on the open market is not what it was a few months ago but there is still some risk/reward players in the pool along with Bourn, Lohse, and Marcum. There are certain clubs with some dollars to spend but most are to their cap or don’t see the value. Here I present to you my top 10 Free Agents who can help propel a team to more wins or be used by subpar clubs as viable trade chips as Trade Deadline Deals.

1. Michael Bourn (30) (Braves) – the clear-cut best player left on the market but with budgets near filled up it will be interesting to see how Scott Boras works his magic. There is no doubt the tender is hurting him as it hurt Soriano and Laroche.  He can play CF and has blazing speed.   (Texas)

Michael Bourn Highlight Reel in 2012 – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised

Read the rest of this entry

Houston Astros Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

Like us on Facebook here

Thursday, December.27,  2012


Nicholas Rossoletti (Baseball Writer):

The 2013 Houston Astros payroll is one of the stranger payrolls to look at given the current state of baseball where player’s salaries seem to be ever-increasing.  Before Dec.18, the Astros were paying exactly one player above One Million Dollars annually.  That player was shortstop, Jed Lowrie. Then, the team added 1B/DH Carlos Pena to its roster on a one year deal for approximately $2.9 Million according to reports and reliever, Jose Veras on a 1 Year/$1.85 Million dollar deal.  Thats it.  Three players earning more than a Million Dollars on a professional baseball franchise approximately sixty (60) days until pitchers and catchers report. (Please note that the Astros are rumored to be interested in signing Third Baseman Jose Lopez who may be added to this list). These are your 2013 Houston Astros, who are a far cry from the Astros of the mid-2000’s who signed Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens, traded for Carlos Beltran and made a run at a World Series.  Read the rest of this entry

Dissecting The Royals And Rays Trade: Shields And Davis For Wil Myers + Prospects

Tuesday, Dec.11/2012

James Shields has 2 years left on his contract with the Rays.  He was the first player they signed to many years of Club Options.  It is a system they have used to sign Zobrist, Longoria and Moore.  It gives the team the flexibility to option out of a contract with a player heading into any year

James Shields has 2 years left on his contract with the Royals.  He is 31-22 with 448 Strikeouts in 477 IP in the last 2 years.  While he might not be a Premiere Ace, he is a front end starter that Kansas City has not had for a long ime.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

We at the MLB Reports have established that we are far more in favor of acquiring hitters than pitchers in today’s MLB.  Why do you ask?  It is simple. The amount of pitchers that end up injured for the year is mind boggling.  You can check out our Tommy John Surgery Tracker Page here.  Point being, is that is risky to trade away top tier offensive prospects for pitching in return.  Having said this, I like this trade of James Shields, Wade Davis and a player to be named later, for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard for both clubs.  It addresses immediate concerns with a look to the future.  To fully assess how this trade will break down we start with the Royals: Read the rest of this entry

2012 MLB Trade Deadline Update 7/23: Dempster, Blue Jays, Astros, and More

Monday July 23rd, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: As the trade deadline looms, teams are scrambling to make a final buy or sell in order to push toward the playoffs. Some teams are trying to get value out of their soon-to-be free agents while other teams are rebuilding. Here are some of the big deals that have gone down in the past few days:

Blue Jays and Astros—10 player deal. Big names: J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon, David Carpenter, Ben Francisco, Francisco Cordero, Carlos Perez

The Astros are obviously in their rebuilding phase. Last year, they gave up Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn, and the year before they gave up Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman. Earlier this year, Carlos Lee went to the Marlins for top prospect Matt Dominguez and others.  More recently Brett Myers went to the White Sox for minor league pitchers and J.A. Happ went to the Blue Jays along with relievers Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter for Ben Francisco, Francisco Cordero, and other prospects in a ten-player trade. With these deals this year, the Astros have removed virtually all big names from the team. Not to say that J.A. Happ was a big name player, but he was a well-regarded pitcher that the Phillies gave up in the Roy Oswalt trade. Also given up by the Astros is former closer Brandon Lyon. He gave up the closer role to Brett Myers this year, but he does have the capability to serve in the back-end of a bullpen. Read the rest of this entry

Kansas City Royals: Do They Have Enough Pitching to Become Contenders?

Thursday May 24th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: This season was all set up to finally be the year that the Royals would have a good chance to contend. The division became less competitive than normal with the White Sox losing Mark Buehrle and manager Ozzie Guillen, the Twins not making any big moves in the offseason besides signing Josh Willingham, and a second wild card being added to increase the possibility of making the playoffs. Royals’ fans have long waited for the team to make the playoffs as they have only had a winning record once since 1993. This year, the Royals have no shortage of hitting with young stars Eric Hosmer (first base)—who is struggling as of late but is showing signs of coming around, and third baseman, Mike Moustakas who is hitting .285. The Royals also have a strong outfield with Alex Gordon and veteran Jeff Francouer. Prospect Wil Myers, who was just promoted to Triple A, may offer more strength in the future, and Billy Butler, hitting .301 is the designated hitter. With a strong bullpen and hitting lineup beside the slumping Hosmer, right now the only weakness for the Royals is their starting pitching. Presently, Felipe Paulino is an exception with a 1.93 ERA, but it is doubtful that he will keep up his performance. Read the rest of this entry

Crow and Broxton Will Save the Royals Bullpen and the Rotation Starts to Take Form

Monday April 16th, 2012

Ryan Ritchey:  As I mentioned in my article a couple of weeks ago, Joakim Soria has gone down with Tommy John Surgery and will be out for the rest of the 2012 season. Now the Royals are playing closer by committee until they find a solid candidate to fill the position for the rest of the year. In my opinion the Royals are not going to contend in the AL Central, so they can give some of their young talent a chance to close.

The best pitcher in the bullpen for the Royals in my eyes is Aaron Crow. He is a young kid with a lot of upside and this is the season that he can get better against some of the best offenses the game has ever seen. Crow is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA but that will change as the season goes on and his arm gets stronger. His last two appearances have been great- with 2 strikeouts, no walks, no hits and a 0-0 record. Crow has recorded one save this season as part of the closer by committee. Read the rest of this entry

Looking Back at Albert Pujols’ First Week with the Angels

Friday April 13th, 2012

Sam Evans: When the most advanced hitter in the history of the game switched teams this past offseason, it shook up the baseball universe. Albert Pujols leaving the Cardinals weakened the N.L. Central and made the A.L. West one of the best divisions in baseball. So far Pujols hasn’t gotten off to an amazing start. Still, we’re only a week into the season, so it doesn’t really matter. Let’s take a up-close look at what Pujols has done through his first six games.

First game: In his regular season debut, Albert Pujols was 0 for 3 with a walk. Despite a crowd that was desperately waiting to go crazy after Pujols did something special, Pujols struggled against Royals starter Bruce Chen. In his first at-bat, Pujols lined into a double play. Next, Pujols popped up to Royals third basemen Mike Moustakas. Later, facing the flame throwing Aaron Crow, Pujols struck out on just three pitches.Finally, Greg Holland intentionally walked Pujols in the ninth inning. Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: Your Baseball Questions Answered – Monday January 9th, 2012

Monday January 9th, 2012

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

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


Q:  With Prince probably going to the Nats, where do you think it places them in the NL East? Are they ready to compete for a playoff spot?  Wade

MLB reports:  Great question Wade. Despite the reports (and there are plenty), Prince Fielder to Washington is far from a done deal. In the world of Scott Boras, a mystery team could appear at any time. That being said, let’s assume for this exercise that Prince becomes a National in 2012. Given the strength of the Phillies rotation, the improved Marlins and always steady Braves squads, the Nationals would still be in tough. The Nationals could hit .500, but would not yet be ready for a playoff run. Once they have Strasburg firing on all cylinders and Bryce Harper integrated fully into the majors, the story could change. The Nationals are sitting on one of the best farm systems in all of baseball. Adding Prince Fielder makes them a serious playoff contender by 2014 at the latest. They will go from a good team to a possibly a great one. Prince has done it in Milwaukee with the right squad and could replicate his success in Washington soon. 


Q:  Does Beltran even come close to filling the void that Pujols left?  Kevin

MLB reports: No. No. And no. Did I say no?  Because I meant no. Carlos Beltran is a good player. But let’s face facts. Aside from his magical playoff run in Houston, he has never been a top player in baseball.  He has shown superstar numbers, but given his age and declining health, the Cardinals would simply be happy if he can stay healthy.  At best, the Cardinals would get another Berkman type season out of Beltran in 2012.  Albert Pujols is one of a kind. A Babe Ruth type slugger. Carlos Beltran is simply a good player that will provide steady production for a lineup that needs to fill a big void. The bigger question is whether the rest of the lineup will pick up the slack.  Can Freese continue his breakout? Will Furcal stay healthy? Can Matt Holliday be the main producer in St. Louis? Can Lance Berkman duplicate his 2011 season?  Many ifs…too many for my liking. Carlos Beltran helps part of the issue, but is far from the answer in how the Cardinals will play in the post-Pujols era.


Q:  Any chance Madson will return to his 8th inning role for the Phillies?  Sam

MLB reports:  I can’t see this happening. Ryan Madson is not likely to return to Philadelphia. With Jonathan Papelbon entrenched with his old job, Madson will at least need to take a job where he has a chance to win the closer role.  Not to mention that Madson’s wife had certain choice words a year ago about playing in Philadelphia. At the time I felt that the Madsons had burned their bridge with the team and I have not changed my opinion since.  Madson will need to move on and possibly take a set-up role somewhere. But one where the closer is more volatile and an opening is likely to open up. After the contract fiasco in Philadelphia, a return to the Phillies would be like him coming with his tail between his legs.  Pride alone will lead to a new team for Madson in 2012.


Q:  Any thoughts on tolleson being the closer for the dodgers by 2013? And when do you see Hutchinson joining the jays (ceiling)?  Justin

MLB reports:  Considering he was drafted in the 30th round of the 2010 draft, Shawn Tolleson is looking like an absolute steal for the Dodgers. After passing through 3 levels last season, ending in AA, Tolleson is certainly knocking on the door. I can’t see why he doesn’t make the big leagues at some point next season.  If he can continue his superior numbers, we could be seeing a set-up man in 2013 and possible closer.  I would say 2014 is a more realistic timeline for a full-time closing position, but it will depend on how he pitches at higher levels. Based on the body of work so far, the sky is the limit on this kid.  In Toronto, Drew Hutchinson is another kid on the fast-track. A 15th round pick in 2009, Hutchinson has been a dominant starter from day one.  At age 21 and finishing last season in AA, I would say 2013 is a realistic timeline for Drew. He clearly has the stuff to succeed. But he is very young and the Jays will not want to risk burning him out by rushing him too soon. Ceiling?  From everything he has done so far, I see a solid #3 starter on a contending squad. Good strikeouts and low walk rates are always a recipe for success.


Q:  What’s your favorite baseball movie of all time?  Lindsay

MLB reports:  I love almost every baseball movie that I have seen. Not a big fan of Mr. 3000 and even Mr. Baseball was so-so. There are too many good ones in my opinion. But if I had to pick one, I would go with For Love of the Game. There was something very special and real about that movie that really brought out a great deal of emotion out of me. For a recent film, Moneyball was fantastic. I can’t wait to own it on DVD (in stores Tuesday January 10th, 2012).  After I watch it a dozen times or so, we will see where it ranks on my list.  It is top-five for sure and could rise even higher. Major League for sure makes the list as well, as does Bull Durham, Field of Dreams and The Rookie. But give me For Love of the Game anytime and I will be a happy camper.


Q:  Who do you have starting opening day for the Royals? Jonathan Sanchez?  Michael

MLB reports:  Good question from one of our top KC readers.  My answer will surprise you. The Royals have Luke Hochevar listed at the top spot right now.  Sanchez is seen by many as the likely ace for 2012. I think spring training will answer best which arm is in the best shape and looks the strongest to lead the team. If I had to be a dollar right now, my money is on Bruce Chen. I see the Royals leaning on the veteran to guide their young up-and-coming rotation going into the season.  I am a Hochevar supporter, but I am not seeing a big upside as of right now. Chen has been very good since joining the Royals and I see him getting the nod in April for opening day.


Q:  Any idea what’s going on with Pudge Rodriguez?  Nick

MLB reports:  Pudge will be back in 2012. I was told that he has been working hard in winter ball and is in great game shape.  Speaking to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (a neighbor of Ivan Rodriguez in Florida), Pudge is in training and gearing up for the season. I don’t see Pudge starting, but he will be a veteran backup on a squad.  The list of available jobs is dwindling, but a team will take a flier on him soon. Perhaps a return to the Nationals.  Tigers? Angels? Otherwise, if a catcher goes down, Pudge will be one of the first free agent catchers to get the call. The career is definitely winding down for the future hall-of-famer.  I can definitely see him getting a contract in place before the start of spring training.


Q:  Why does the winning team only give high 5s to each other and not the other team after the game?  Javaman

MLB reports:  This is one tradition that I still enjoy in baseball. Teams are supposed to go into battle. Players are supposed to go onto the field looking to win, not make friends. Heck, it bothers me when a baserunner and a first baseman get chatty after a base hit. When a baseball team wins, they will rejoice and celebrate as a squad. The losing team wants to get off the field and into the clubhouse as soon as possible. When a team loses, the last thing they want to do is shake hands and socialize with the team that just beat them. They want to recoup and prepare for the next game.  Old time mentality and I like it.


Q:  Who is the next big star (besides Prince) to get a $200 mil+ contract?  Martin

MLB reports:  I don’t even see Prince getting $200 million at this point to be honest. There are very few guys that I could see getting a contract of that magnitude.  Going to the list, I am drawing blanks.  Josh Hamilton is too injured to get there.  Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw might, but teams are generally not interested in handing out unlimited years and money to pitchers.  Perhaps Joey Votto will have a chance. Otherwise, we will literally have to wait until the Stephen Strasburgs and Bryce Harpers of this world are eligible for free agency. If I had to throw out one another name, maybe Mike Stanton one day. To reach the $200 million club, you need to be one of the best, if not THE  best in the game. Quite frankly, there is just too much risk in handing out deals of that size.  Show me the next Babe Ruth and maybe I will change my mind. Until then, expect more $100+ million deals, but not $200 million.


Last Q:  With a lack of spending this offseason are the Yankees getting ready to buck up for Hamels/Cain next offseason?  Chris

MLB reports:That certainly seems like the plan. But it is a risky plan. A very risky plan that could backfire. Sure, C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira found their way to New York.  But remember Cliff Lee?  He certainly did not work out well for the Yankees. Holding back for such a contingency plan is risky on many fronts.  Perhaps the desired player gets injured.  Or signs a long-term deal with their current squad.  Better yet, the player hits free agency and joins a different team all-together. So while I could see the Yankees waiting for a better group of free agents to be available, there is no guarantees that those players will ultimately land in New York.  The decision to hold off on spending this offseason is more based on the overall talent level and asking prices. If there was the right player at the right price on the market currently, the Yankees would grab him. The team would rather go with what they have then take on a bad contract with little return. Next year could find a better talent level available to the Yankees in the form of Cole Hamels and Matt Cain. But as the old saying goes: you have to play for today, because tomorrow might never come. If any of the future free agents do end up signing with the Yankees, it will be  a bonus for the team. But to count on it is a pathway to disappointment. The offseason is not over yet, another free agent signing or trade could be in the works. Until opening day is upon us, a lot can still happen. Thank you for reading MLB reports and we appreciate your question.



ARCHIVE:  Click here for Past Issues of Ask the Reports

Please e-mail us at: with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan onFacebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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