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Beane Acquires Lester + Gomes For Cespedes: Then Acquires Fuld For Millone

Jon Lester, 30, is in the last year of his contract, which will make him around $4 MIL for the last 2 months of the 2014 season.  While there is no way he signs with Oakland past this campaign, this is a calculated move to land a playoff assassin that can front a franchise a #1 starter for a playoff series - or as the pitcher in a Play in Wild Card game should the Angels run the A's down for the AL West.  Much like Samardzija, the Athletics brass knows these guys could never be acquired via Free Agency, and have the wherewithal to know that inking longterm aces to deals past the age of 30 is just not in the cards for the franchise.  The A's were put in the position to rent them because of Beane's nice deals to build the organization's depth.

Jon Lester, 30, is in the last year of his contract, which will make him around $4 MIL for the last 2 months of the 2014 season. While there is no way he signs with Oakland past this campaign, this is a calculated move to land a playoff assassin that can front a franchise a #1 starter for a playoff series – or as the pitcher in a Play in Wild Card game should the Angels run the A’s down for the AL West. Much like Samardzija, the Athletics brass knows these guys could never be acquired via Free Agency, and have the wherewithal to know that inking longterm aces to deals past the age of 30 is just not in the cards for the franchise. The A’s were put in the position to rent them because of Beane’s nice deals to build the organization’s depth. Lester features a 2.11 ERA in 76.2 IP worth of work in the Post season lifetime.  Lester is 10 – 7, with a 2.52 ERA in 143.2 IP this season in 21 Game Starts.

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

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Billy Beane has been adamant about his team winning the World Series in 2014, and he fired yet another salvo on the July 31st deadline.

The A’s GM acquired Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes for the popular Cuban OF Yoenis Cespedes.

Lets have the finances out of the way 1st.

Jon Lester, 30,  is in the last year of his contract, and will be a Free Agent after this year. 

There is no shot at the man signing with the Athletics after this year. however the A’s will receive a compensatory pick for giving him a qualifying offer following 2014.

The LHP wll make approximately $4 MIL the rest of the season.

Yoenis Cespedes, 28,  is signed through the 2015 at $10.5 MIL per year the next 2 seasons, and will become a Free Agent after next year. 

As per the article 20B section of the CBA, he negotiated that he would be free and clear once his original 4 YRs/$36 MIL deal with the A’s was completed – prior to the 2012 campaign.

The 2013 and 2014 HR Derby winner will make just south of $3.3 MIL for the rest of this year.

Jonny Gomes 33, will make about $1.5 MIL for the duration of the 2014 year, and will become a Free Agent this winter. Read the rest of this entry


Nats Acquire LHP Ian Krol To Complete The Mike Morse Deal

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Wednesday, Mar. 27/2013

Ian krol is a 6 FT 1 and 190 LB native of Illinois who was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 7th Round of the 2009 Amateur Draft,.

Ian Krol is a 6 FT 1 and 190 LB native of Illinois – who was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 7th Round of the 2009 Amateur Draft, He was selected right out of high school and jumped two levels of the Minor Leagues before he even hit the age of 19.  Controversies and in injuries then ensued. Last year he played with Stockton (A+) and Midland (AA) – going 3 – 9 with a 5.20 ERA.

By Sean Hogan (Nationals Correspondent via Citizens of – view website here): 

The Nationals already came out ahead in the Michael Morse trade, acquiring two Righties with upside in A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen. Last Wednesday, they added to the previous bounty when the player to be named later was named:was… wait for it……..

LHP Ian Krol. The Lefty, who was once lauded by prospect gurus Kevin Goldstein and Keith Law in 2010, has fought through some self-inflicted drama as well as some minor injuries since then; the Nationals are picking him up in hopes that he’ll continue to be “a joy to watch” as Goldstein mentioned and will build upon his solid 2012 season.

Krol is a pitcher, not a thrower. His mechanics are excellent, throwing from a ¾ arm slot, and he has no issues locating his three pitches. Like former Nats prospects Tommy Milone and Danny Rosenbaum, Krol lacks velocity, topping out at 90-91 MPH. In order to keep climbing up the ladder, he must continue to exhibit excellent command on the hill and induce ground balls.

Ian Krol Bullpen Session:

Read the rest of this entry

Interview with Jeremy Barfield: Oakland A’s Prospect Extraordinaire

Monday December 26, 2011


Jonathan Hacohen:  Second generation ballplayers are all over the major leagues these days.  Strong blood lines and baseball influences help these young men continue their fathers’ legacies.  But some become part of a baseball family and create a strong impact on the game.  That is the case in the Barfield household, as father Jesse and his sons Jeremy and Josh are all active in the baseball world.  Jesse Barfield played from 1981-1992 with the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees.  Jesse was a gold glover, all-star and silver slugger during his major league career.  Oldest son Josh plays second base in the Phillies organization.  Now, emerging into the scene is Jeremy Barfield.  The younger brother of Josh, Jeremy is 23-years-old and has recently completed his 4th professional season.  Ironically, Jeremy got his start in Canada, playing for the Vancouver Canadians in 2008 (the country of origin for Jesse’s career).  Originally drafted by the Mets in 2006, Jeremy opted to attend college instead.  The A’s then selected Jeremy in the 8th round of the 2008 draft and he has been climbing the organizational ladder ever since.

Jeremy’s greatest strengths are his cannon for an arm in right field and strong pop at the plate.  Standing 6’5″ and weighing 240 lbs., Jeremy is built like a tank.  He definitely has the physical tools to succeed in the game.  Speaking to him on several occasions, I definitely respect his commitment and focus on baseball.  This is a very grounded young man who has the right perspectives on the game and life in general.  Jeremy Barfield is mature beyond his years and will be knocking on the A’s door very soon.  I talked to Jeremy about growing up as a Barfield, his development and future in the game.  As he continues to develop and refine his baseball skills, I can foresee that the youngest Barfield will quickly become a fan favorite in Oakland.  It will not be long before people approach Jesse Barfield and ask: “Hey…aren’t you Jeremy’s dad?”  

Featured on MLB reports, I am thrilled to present my interview with Jeremy Barfield.  Oakland A’s Outfield Prospect:


 MLB reports:  Welcome to MLB reports Jeremy.  It is a pleasure to be speaking with you today.  Starting off:  who was your favorite baseball player growing up, that you most idolized and patterned your game after?

Jeremy Barfield:  Ken Griffey Jr. was by far my favorite player.


MLB reports:  Which current MLB star do you most admire and why?

Jeremy Barfield:  I don’t have a favorite player anymore


MLB reports:  Reflecting on your career to-date, what are your proudest accomplishments on the baseball field?

Jeremy Barfield:  In 2008 while in the Northwest League, I hit a game tying grand slam in the bottom of the 9th inning on an 0-2 count.

In 2009 when playing in the Midwest League I had a 3 home run game.  I almost hit 4 but the centerfielder brought it back from over the fence my last at bat.


MLB reports:  What are your goals going into the 2012 season?

Jeremy Barfield:  I am setting my sights as high as possible. I want to play in the Major Leagues.


MLB reports:  When you first found out you were drafted, what were your reactions?  What was the process like being drafted originally by the Mets in 2006 and the A’s in 2008?  What made you decide to finally sign with the A’s?

Jeremy Barfield:  I was actually half asleep  and didn’t really understand what happened, but when I came to I was very excited. After not signing in 2006 I made sure that I was going to sign this time around. I knew it was a great situation with Oakland since they rely so much on homegrown talent.


MLB reports:  What do you consider your greatest baseball skill(s)?

Jeremy Barfield:  My throwing arm and that I have a high rate of contact at the plate.


MLB reports:  What facets of your game do you most wish to improve upon?

Jeremy Barfield:  I want to be more consistent with my swing. More consistency means more power.


MLB reports:  How do home runs and walks figure into your game?  Do you see any of these three items changing over time and to what degree?

Jeremy Barfield:  I don’t go up to the plate looking to walk. Home runs are great but it’s all about production. Michael Young is a prime example of that. I’m sure as I get older I’ll hit more home runs and I’m not concerned about walks. Those come with a good hitting approach.


MLB reports:  How much of an influence was your dad on you growing up? What did you learn from your dad that has shaped you as a baseball player?

Jeremy Barfield:  My dad was instrumental for me in becoming the player I am today. And the real question you should be asking is what DIDN’T I learn from my dad. He taught me everything I know.


MLB reports:  If you had to look into a crystal ball, when do you see your expected time of arrival in the big leagues and what do you think you need to do most to get there?

Jeremy Barfield:  Hopefully within the next year or two. I need to be consistent- that’s all.


MLB reports:  If you were not playing professional baseball, you would be ____________

Jeremy Barfield:  Working for a graphic design company.


MLB reports:  What do you do for fun away from the ballpark?

Jeremy Barfield:  Play video games and watch movies.


MLB reports:  Which of your teammates are you closest with – any good stories?

Jeremy Barfield:  My roommate LHP Trey Barham. Our love for late night Whataburger is unmatched.


MLB reports:  How close are you with your brother Josh?  Is there a good healthy baseball rivalry going?

Jeremy Barfield:  Very close. We live together in the offseason. Since we’re so different as ballplayers, we don’t have much of a rivalry going.


MLB reports:  Given that your dad was a successful major league player- do you find that you have added pressure to prove yourself?  Tell us your experiences of being a 2nd generation baseball player.

Jeremy Barfield:  When I was younger, people used to say I was overrated and that my dad was the only reason I was playing. I just let my play on the field stop all that nonsense. They quickly realized that my talent on the field was for real.


MLB reports:  Final thought:  When fans think of the name Jeremy Barfield, what images do you want them to associate you with?

Jeremy Barfield:  Trendsetter extraordinaire!


Thank you to Jeremy Barfield for taking the time to join us today on MLB reports.  We highly encourage our readers to post at the bottom of the article any questions and/or comments that you may have for Jeremy.  

You can also  find Jeremy Barfield on Twitter (@Baseclogger).  He may be a MLB prospect extraordinaire, but yes- he does answer back!


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


Please e-mail us at: with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  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.

James Lamb MLB Guest Blog: Tips for the Baseball Parent

Tuesday October 4, 2011

MLB reports:  We are very fortunate to have James Lamb return as our MLB Guest Blogger today.  For all current and future baseball parents, you will find James insights and tips extremely valuable.  We proudly feature on the reports, James O. Lamb, with his latest tips on baseball parenting,  “Involvement with respect to your son playing baseball beyond recreational levels” : 


Involvement with respect to your son playing baseball beyond recreational levels

James O. Lamb (Guest MLB Blogger):  There are plenty of theories that circulate in and around the game of baseball throughout all levels of participation. The ideas shared here on this platform were used during my son’s play and driven by providing every opportunity available during his development. The shear hope for his sincere enjoyment during his path of playing baseball was not left for chance, but rather constantly monitored through a parental involvement. The idea of taking a walk with your son during a baseball career was described in an earlier article. When is it time to stop the parental involvement? Should a parent meet with the high school coach about playing time? Does changing schools help a player get into the college or professional levels? How does playing club, or travel, baseball impact an amateur career? These are just a few of the ideas to be addressed about involvement with respect to your son playing baseball beyond recreational levels.

The concept of stopping a parental involvement with your son playing baseball is near and dear to my heart. The answer is quite simple but also very difficult to follow. Never stop being a parent to your kids… ever. Support and involvement can cause a cloudy area about athletics and more specifically baseball during the wrong stages of a young man’s career. Continue to support their participation with your involvement from a distance. There is no value in coaching your son from the backstop or the stands. Let the coach try to aid your son’s development as a man, a teammate and a player. Surely some coaches are better than others as with players on the field. If you can help your son’s ability to play the game by catching, throwing and hitting the baseball that is great but there are more important things to do as a parent. A very dear friend of mine that continues his professional baseball career as a scout once told me that my son did not need another coach to play he simply needed a supportive Dad from the stands and nothing else. Truly the best advice I could have received when my son entered Laguna Hills High School at the age of 13 years old. Parental involvement never ends from the citizen perspective, but clearly has limits during baseball.

When should a parent face a high school coach about playing time? Never is clearly the best answer here unless you want to start issues that will never be resolved. I always enforced the belief in my son to talk with his arm, glove, bat, legs and intellect to play the game. Work harder than everyone else at throwing, catching and hitting the baseball and any competent coach should place the best players in his line-up to win some games. If the coach does not place your son in the game have your son ask the questions about areas he needs to improve for a better chance to play after the hard work. Feel free to stand behind him during his conversation with the coach for support but let him do the talking and ask the questions. If the coach does not give him the respect to ask the questions then you might just have to step in and help buffer the situation to allow your son to talk. Respect is a two-way street between the coach and player but keep in mind the egos that are tested by all entangled in this equation. The distant approach is typically implemented during the wrong stages of their son’s amateur career. More parents seem to become obsessed during the high school, college and even the professional levels of baseball. The ideas of confrontation during the later years of playing the game can be devastating to a baseball career. Support is the key without engagement for the player to compete for the spot on the roster or line-up card. Actively participating with a coach about your son’s playing time will get him nowhere within the game real fast.

Many families change schools based on coaches, roster spots availability or reputations associated with certain programs. This is really a family choice and the merits come from a variety of positions on this concept. The same can be said about the wide diversity of opinions for signing a professional contracts out of high school versus college. Some players are ready to move on while others are not.  There are pros and cons associated with changing schools for the benefit of baseball development due mostly to education and athletic ability. Some coaches teach the game better than others, just as some players have raw tools to play the game and some need help to improve. If your son can play he should be on the field no matter where he goes to school. College and professional scouts will more than likely find him playing and if not there are plenty of simple suggestions to increase your chances of finding the right college or university to further a career. There is a plethora of advice and practical approaches to keep the uniform on until the player is ready to take the cleats off. Changing schools does not always work as intended but sometimes it will serve a true value for the player’s growth and opportunity to play baseball beyond the recreational levels.

The last area of this article will focus on the popular decisions during an amateur career to play travel, or club, baseball and the potential result of involvement. From a development standpoint, playing on a club team can greatly aid a player and baseball opportunity. The research and time needed to insure your son’s improvement should not be underestimated otherwise you are merely allowing someone to take your money without results. Simply writing a check to play in tournaments or on the weekends will not guarantee improvement if your son does not put in the necessary effort to work on his own. Keep in mind that a few talented instructors throughout the country, and world for that matter, really can help your son improve but there is no magic wand waved over their head walking in and out of the dugout. Your high school team should always have first priority to take part and be very careful trying to add travel baseball during school activities set by the coach. Within the Southern California area there is a growing tendency to play for a club organization over high school and college. Tremendous debate has been triggered over this propensity to ignore the challenges associated with playing in high school and college. There seems to be family logic involved with some of these choices but others are being held to rattling rumors of handling the rigors of college and, or, professional competition based on these growing trends. Only time will tell if this path has merit for being a successful college or professional baseball player with any true substance and value. Now if your high school does not have an off-season program and there is no interest of playing the other sports in season than by all means play baseball during the fall and winter. The paramount suggestion about travel baseball is buyers beware. I am a firm believer that the best programs are the least expensive, or even free to take part. Prime example is the reigning 2011 Connie Mack Champions the Midland Redskins for Amelia, Ohio. My opinion comes from personal experience of my son’s development while associated with the Midland program during the two summers he spent away from home learning how to compete and play without Dad making out the line-up card. Don’t forget the importance to take some time off while conditioning the body and mind for another full season of baseball in school.

There are a heap of concepts related to amateur baseball and a yet a very limited number of stories that can successfully account for playing Major League Baseball as a career. The story has not fully been written within the Lamb household during our experiences associated with the professional phase of John Lamb playing the great game of baseball. There are two things most certain as a foundation for a player’s development. Support and involvement seem to be the common denominators for many if not all the paths to the big leagues. Knowing when to back off and just be a supportive parent is critical for the player’s success on the diamond.

© by James O. Lamb. All rights reserved. (reprinted by permission)

Twitter @JamesOLamb

* Please be advised that this article and any additional comments, posts or opinions from the content do not reflect the opinions of the Florida Marlins, L.P., Major League Baseball, or any other affiliations of professional baseball. *

Thank you James for preparing today’s article.  Please feel free to contact James O. Lamb on Twitter or through his websites for comments and questions.  James is one of the brightest baseball minds that I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with and getting to know.  We highly encourage our readers to subscribe to James’ websites to gain valuable information and insights.


Please e-mail us at: with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  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.

Interview with Yusuf Carter: Oakland A’s Prospect

MLB reports:  In our latest interview feature, we meet Oakland Athletics catching prospect, Yusuf Carter.  Yusuf is 26-years-of-age and currently playing AA ball with the Midland RockHounds.  Carter has the distinction of being drafted by three different major league teams, the Mariners, A’s and Cubs.  Carter ultimately signed with the Cubs and played in their farm system before joining Oakland.  The nephew of former major leaguer Joe Carter, Yusuf has graciously agreed to this interview with MLB reports.  After speaking with him, I can fully say that you would be hard pressed to find a nicer, more down to earth player than Carter.  A terrific human being and baseball player, Yusuf Carter is one of the lucky ones to play professional baseball and appreciates every minute.  He is a hard worker, does not take anything for granted and is giving it his all to make it the major leagues.  We proudly present:  Yusuf Carter, of the Oakland Athletics.

MLB reports:  Welcome to MLB reports Yusuf.  It is a pleasure to have you join us.

Carter:  The pleasure is all mine.  Thank you for contacting me and having me on board.

MLB reports:   Let’s start off with learning who was your favorite baseball player growing up.  Which player did you most idolize and pattern your game after?

Carter:  My favorite player growing up was definitely the kid, Ken Griffey Jr.  I loved the way he brought style and swagger to the game of baseball!  He was the best at hitting long home runs (and pimping them) and making highlight catches seemingly every night!  Griffey probably had the most pure talent of any player I have ever seen and I hope that he makes the hall of fame one day.

MLB reports:  To flip it around, which current MLB star do you most admire and why?

Carter:  The player I most admire now is definitely Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees.  I admire the way he goes about his business and plays the game.   Jeter works very hard and plays the right way, every day.  I am also impressed that Jeter has not let stardom get to his head and has remained humble despite his vast successes in baseball.

MLB reports:  Reflecting on your career to-date, what are your proudest accomplishments on the baseball field?

Carter:  Well looking at my career so far, I would have to say winning the Florida State League Championship in 2008 with the Daytona Cubs.  It was the best feeling I ever had playing baseball.  I hit a game-tying home run in a crucial game during the series and that was a pretty awesome feeling.

MLB reports:  What are your goals going into the 2011 season? 

Carter:  My goals are to hit  .400 with 50 home runs and 150 RBI’s!  They say it is important to dream big, right?! (laughing)  Realistically though, I am  just going to go out and play hard every day and give it my all!  I want to look back after every game and know that I never took a night off and never gave away any at bats.   As long as I play like that, I am sure that I can achieve at least half of my expected goals.  That would be pretty good!

MLB reports:  When you first found out you were drafted by three different teams in three years, what were your reactions?  Did those reactions change over time? If you can comment on each team and why you chose to re-enter the draft that would be great.  Please also tell the story of final signing with the Cubs and how you came to the A’s. 

Carter:  To be drafted at all is a pretty big deal.  After it happened 3 years in a row, I was very happy that different organizations thought I was good enough to play for them and wanted me.  That definitely gave  me the confidence that I can make it all the way to the big leagues one day and made me work that much harder on every aspect of my game.  But each situation was different for me. After considering all the factors, even when I got drafted early, I decided that I didn’t want to rush into signing and starting my career if the situation wasn’t the best fit for me at that particular stage.  The best situation was when the Chicago Cubs drafted me in 2005, so I signed with the Cubs and started my baseball career.  I played with the Cubs from 2005 -2008.  I was picked up by the Oakland A’s in the winter of 2008 in the rule 5 draft and have been with the organization ever since.

MLB reports:  Can you give an insight as to why you originally chose not to sign in the 2 previous times you were drafted before signing with the Cubs?  Did you have any fear that you may not be drafted again or not have interest if you did not sign each time you chose not to sign?

Carter:  I was first drafted out of high school by the Mariners and the offer wasn’t very much.   I knew it would be best for my career if I went to college and played more. That way I could gain more experience playing at a higher level, with the chance of increasing my value if I played well.  The second time around, I was ironically drafted by the Oakland A’s.  I was a draft-and-follow (before they got changed the system and got rid of it).   The A’s wanted me to play another year of college ball and come to a decision once the year was over.  I decided not to sign with them because they had just drafted a catcher in the 1st round that year and another catcher in the 2nd round.  Kurt Suzuki and Landon Powell were both catchers that I knew of and as it turns out, are now the starting and #2 catchers for the A’s today.  With such a backlog at the position, I thought I would have a better chance at advancing with a different organization.  That’s when the Cubs drafted me and I felt it was a good situation for me and I signed.  I definitely had a slight fear each time that I may not be drafted again by not signing.  But I was also confident in my abilities and didn’t want to sell myself short just out of fear.  I just wanted to play hard and do well and I felt everything would work itself out.  Which it did. 

MLB reports:  What do you consider your greatest baseball skill(s)?

Carter:  I would have to say that in my opinion and based on what most people say as well, my best skill would have to be my arm.  I like throwing guys out anyway I can.  Defense behind the plate attracted me to the position and throwing out would- e based runners is the best part of being a catcher.

MLB reports:  What facets of your game do you most wish to improve upon?

Carter:  I honestly need to improve on all areas!  But I think as a catcher, I need to focus on improving my receiving skills so that I can handle all the different pitchers I work with on a daily basis much better.  I have made already strong improvements from this spring to now in that  area of my game.  As a result, I am feeling a lot more confident as I work towards being a major league catcher one day.  But my mindset is that I can always get better!

MLB reports:  How do strikeouts and walks figure into your game?  Do you see any of these items changing over time and to what degree?

Carter:  They play a huge part in my game.  When I feel good and comfortable in the box, I see the ball a lot better and I don’t chase many pitches out of the zone.   That inevitably leads to more walks and better overall results at the plate.  I don’t end up getting myself out as much. But if I’m not seeing the ball as well or I’m in a little funk, like most batters I tend to chase out of the zone and swing at pitches that I should have resisted!  That ends up leading to fewer opportunities for success.  My approach at the plate is something that I definitely see changing and an aspect of my game that I have to constantly stay on top of.

MLB reports:  Long term what position do you see yourself playing?  How do you see defense as part of your overall game?

Carter:  I have always been a guy that can play multiple positions, which I consider a strength for me.   By being versatile, I have more ways to stay in the line-up and gain experience in the field   But I think that if I had a choice, I would choose catching at this point.  I know that many people will call me crazy for choosing the most demanding position in the game!  But in my view, I see catchers as an important part of the game.  I have always thought that if I could master that position and be able to catch at the highest level, I would be very important to my team and organization.  As a catcher, defense is the main part of my game which always needs to be sharp!  I have to be able to do it all, including stopping easy runs from scoring by base runners advancing on balls thrown in the dirt or stealing, for example.  So yes, defense is huge.

MLB reports:  A little birdy told us that your uncle happens to be no other than…former MLB star and World Series hero Joe Carter.  Is this true? 

Carter:  Yes, indeed (chuckle).  You are correct.  Joe is my father’s brother and my uncle.  I definitely get my athletic genes from that side of the family.  Just to look in comparison, I am probably the “smallest” guy in the bunch at 6’3″ when I am around my dad’s family, including my father, uncles and brothers. My dad is 6’7″ so I got some of his height luckily (chuckle).

MLB reports:  What is your relationship like with Joe Carter?  Must have been pretty amazing.  What kind of influence was Uncle Joe on your baseball career and life?

Carter:  Joe and I always have enjoyed a great relationship.  He was one of the best uncles a nephew could ever asked for.  He has helped me and been there for me in so many ways since I started playing baseball.  Joe always gives me hitting advice if I needed it and just to talk baseball sometimes.  He always helped get me back on track and improve my game.  I had an advantage with Joe Carter as my uncle, as he always gave me good advice at each stage when I was trying to decide when and where to sign professionally. My agent happens to be also his agent that he has been with for 25 years, so I knew that he would have my best interests in mind.

MLB reports:  What was it like growing up with Joe Carter as your uncle?  I can only imagine the stories that you must have.

Carter:  Growing up with everyone knowing that Joe was my uncle was a good thing and a bad thing at times.  It was cool because I had a famous uncle to brag about if I wanted! (chuckling) Although I usually didn’t tell people about Joe often.   Having such a famous uncle got me a great deal of exposure and extra looks from scouts and teams.  The only thing was that I just did not want to be known solely as his nephew though.  I wanted to stand on my own and have people see that I could play and had talent as well.  But it was always cool going to watch him play whenever he played in New York (my hometown) against the Mets or Yankees!  I got to meet a lot of my favorite players after games waiting for him to come out.  That was always a treat.

MLB reports:  Any memories of your uncle that stick out?

Carter:  A cool time that I remember is when Joe was a commentator for the Cubs back in 2003.  That was my senior year in high school.  He set it up so that I could take batting practice on the field with the Cubs!  The team gave me a uniform and everything.  I got the chance that day to meet Sosa, Alomar and a lot of guys from both teams . I didn’t hit any out of the park that day, but it was fun!  Later, to top it off Joe brought me up to the press box with him and put me on tv with him for a bit!  I’m just lucky to have someone of his stature in the game, that has been there and to look out for me.  Joe knows what it takes to succeed in life and baseball and has always been there to give me advice and to help me out. 

MLB reports:  What have you most taken away from Joe Carter the baseball player?

Carter:  One thing that I always noticed about him when he played is that he had a constant smile on his face and looked happy to be playing the game. I definitely try to do the same when I’m out there on the field.  After all, let’s all never forget that it is still just a game!  The more fun that you have out there, the better you will play overall.

MLB reports:  I know that you must get this all the time, but we can’t talk about Joe Carter without me asking you: what are your memories from his famous walk-off home run in the World Series?

Carter:  A lot of people ask me what I thought about his walk-off home run to win the World Series for the Blue Jays back in the 1990s.   The truth is that I respond that I did not know anything about it until I was 12-years-old and started playing organized baseball!  So I actually learned about “the home run” 4 years after it happened.  Boy, I got a late start! (chuckle)

MLB reports:  What were your experiences like growing up as a baseball late bloomer?  Please give us an insight as to what your childhood was like and how that affected your playing career.

Carter:  I would say my culture or childhood affected me the most as far as playing goes.  I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in a neighborhood where I was fortunate to have many friends of the same age.  We were always involved in some type of sports every day. We would literally play all different sports throughout the day, every day.  My childhood is definitely where my competitiveness on the field comes from.  You never want to lose to another neighborhood at all, so I learned at a young age that you always have to give it your all in sports.  That is how I continue to play the game to this day.  I joined my first organized baseball team when I was 12 years old.  That is a late start for most people but I was lucky to have the raw skills from playing in the streets.  From there, I had to learn the game of baseball and the fundamentals that go with it.  But I think growing up that way taught me to work hard and always play the game the right way.

MLB reports:  How has your general interaction with fans been?  As far as autograph requests, cheering, heckling etc. please share insights.

Carter:  I always try to interact with the fans any chance I get.  I have never been a guy that takes himself too seriously, so I don’t mind small talk or signing autographs for fans if I have time.  I especially like to talk to the young kids at the game if I can.  It is important to me to make sure that the kids get the most out of their time at the ballpark.  In terms of fans cheering, I can take a joke that comes across as a good heckling.   I’ll usually laugh in those situations and not get upset.  As long as it is nothing personal or disrespectful, it doesn’t get to me.

MLB reports:  If you were not playing baseball today, what do you think that you would be doing?  When you aren’t playing baseball Yusuf, what do you do for downtime?

Carter:  If I wasn’t playing baseball, I would try my luck in acting or something.  I would be a bad guy or villain in my movies or the super cool hero! (chuckle)  Either an actor or a music producer.  I Love music, so that would be a fun role for me.  On my free time when I am not playing baseball, I usually try to kick back and relax.  Watch tv or catch a new movie that came out. I enjoy my downtime and try to let my mind and body relax and focus.  Nothing that involves baseball! (laughing)

MLB reports:  On a side note, have you ever met Billy Beane before?  If you can give any scoops as to how interactions with Billy were and/or other members of the Oakland management that would be great to give fans the inside feel.

Carter:  I don’t have much to share, sorry guys.  I have seen him before but haven’t actually met him and interacted with him.  But I would say it would be like any interaction with any management or boss.  My rule is to always do the right things.  Smile, don’t talk too much and laugh at their jokes! (laughing)  If you do that, you should be fine!

MLB reports:  If you had to look into a crystal ball, when do you see your expected time of arrival in the big leagues and what do you think you need to do most to get there?

Carter:  If I had a crystal ball I would definitely try to speed up that process as much as possible! (grin) In my estimation, if I continue to sharpen my receiving skills and work hard on the other parts of my game as well, I think I can be there in the next 1-2 years.  Until then, I will continue to work hard and bust my behind to make it happen!

MLB reports:  Keep up the great work Yusuf.  It was a pleasure meeting and speaking with you.  We hope that we can do this again soon and good luck on the rest of the season.

Carter:  Thank you for featuring me, you guys are awesome.  I read MLB reports all the time and love your articles.  This was fun! 

***A special thank you to Yusuf Carter for his time in speaking with MLB reports as part of this interview and providing several personal photos.  We look forward to Yusuf writing a blog entry for our MLB Guest Blog this season, exclusively on MLB reports.  You can also follow Yusuf Carter on twitter***

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