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These 6 MLB Players Have Been Incredible Free Agent Bargains So Far In 2016

Jordan Zimmermann joining the Tigers has reopened their winning window for at least this year.  He has thrown well so far in his early tenure with the Motown Boys.  If they had not signed him, they would be barely clinging to a .500 record

Jordan Zimmermann joining the Tigers has reopened their winning window for at least this year. He has thrown well so far in his early tenure with the Motown Boys. If they had not signed him, they would be barely clinging to a .500 record this far into the campaign.  The Tigers are 23 – 23, but have been surging of late – and Zimmermann is 7 – 2, with a 2.53 ERA and a 1.137 WHIP in 9 Game Starts.  The former Nationals thrower inked a 5 year deal worth $110 MIL, which is nearly half of the total of ace pitchers David Price and Zack Greinke – SP who have struggled mightily to find their own groove in 2016.

Matt Musico (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – chinmusicbaseball.com) 

During this past winter, the MLB free agent market seemed to move a lot slower than in recent memory. While there were plenty of legitimate players available after the holidays and with Spring Training fast approaching, a number of them still managed to bring in huge paydays.

Zack Greinke and David Price both broke records for starting pitchers with their respective $200 million deals, and there were five others who landed a payday of $100-plus million (Jordan Zimmermann, Johnny Cueto, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Chris Davis). Those huge contracts are great, but they also come with high expectations. Some have dealt with them just fine in 2016, and some are off to a slow start.

There’s plenty of baseball to be played, but with about a quarter of the regular season schedule complete, the following six players have been incredible free agent bargains thus far — especially considering the ever-growing cost of acquiring top talent on the open market.

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Is The Toronto Blue Jays’ Slow Start A Preview of What Their Future Could Look Like?

Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays

Matt Musico (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – chinmusicbaseball.com) 

When it comes to the game of baseball, sure things come few and far between. However, there was one thing just about everyone was sure about heading into 2016: the Toronto Blue Jays would have an incredible offense.

With Jose BautistaEdwin EncarnacionJosh Donaldson and Russell Martin back in the fold, along with a full season of Troy Tulowitzki, it’d be tough for anyone to stop them. Right?

Not so much.

Surprisingly enough, the greatest disappointment of all is how badly the lineup has performed through the first quarter of 2016. Using the same stats as the ones above, Toronto’s offense is basically average, which won’t help them return to October.

The offense not performing up to expectation has happened largely due to the lack of production from four very important pieces: Tulowitzki, Martin, Bautista and Encarnacion.

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6 MLB Teams Who Could Take Advantage Of Stephen Strasburg’s Extension This Winter

 Ed Zurga/Getty Images North America

Ed Zurga/Getty Images North America

Matt Musico (Featured BBBA Fantasy Baseball Writer/Owner – chinmusicbaseball.com) 

Just a couple weeks ago, Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg was watching a perfect free-agent storm happen right before his eyes. Not only was he dominating on the mound, but he also would easily be the best available hurler on the open market this winter.

Instead of trying to maximize his earning potential, the Scott Boras client opted for comfort and familiar surroundings. Doing this was obviously much easier since he was signing a seven-year, $175 million deal with two opt-outs, as well.

It’s not every day we see a player with Strasburg’s potential (and a Boras client) take a deal that’s probably below market value. For teams in need of top-tier starting pitchers, it left them with not-so-inspiring options when looking ahead at the remaining hurlers projected to be free agents in a few months.

There are certain MLB teams with depth on the mound that could take advantage of this situation by putting one or more of their young pitchers on the trading block. Here are six organizations with the ability to do so:

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6 Big Disappointments So Far During The 2016 MLB Season

Photo - David J. Phillip. USA Today Sports

Photo – David J. Phillip. USA Today Sports

Matt Musico (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – chinmusicbaseball.com) 

One month does not a baseball season make, but it still doesn’t mean we’re not pulling our hair out due to incredibly sluggish starts from normally dependable players.

As the calendar flips to May, those small sample sizes we’ve been talking about are getting big enough to become a legitimate concern.

With five months left on the regular-season schedule, there’s still plenty of time to turn things around, but it’ll take longer for stats to return to career norms.

Based on 2015 and what happened throughout the winter months, there were a bunch of players expected to make a significant impact on the field.

Now that April is in the books, we can see the opposite has happened. Here are six big disappointments so far during this young MLB season.

(Joey Votto is a pretty obvious one, so I excluded him on purpose.)

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New York Yankees Must Make Changes To Take Advantage Of Their Greatest Asset

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Matt Musico (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – chinmusicbaseball.com) 

The New York Yankees entered 2016 with questions surrounding both the rotation and starting lineup, but nobody questioned one spot of the roster: the bullpen. Dellin Betances,Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman would combine for a three-headed monster of potentially historic proportions.

Games against the Bronx Bombers would basically be over before the seventh-inning stretch. Right?

While Chapman is still serving his 30-game suspension and hasn’t debuted yet, a sluggish April has prevented New York from utilizing what we all figured would be its greatest strength.

General manager Brian Cashman has toed the line between getting younger and remaining competitive for quite a while and has done a great job.

He found Derek Jeter’s successor in Didi Gregorius and despite not signing an MLB free agent this past winter, he made what appeared to be solid additions in Chapman, Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks.

However, the one thing on Cashman’s to-do list that he couldn’t cross off was finding depth (or just better options) for the starting rotation.

He even sacrificed some depth by sending Adam Warren to the Chicago Cubs in the Castro trade.

This area was a cause for concern, but there seemed to be enough positives where an overwhelming bullpen would make up the difference.

It hasn’t.

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Stephen Strasburg Watching The Perfect Storm Happen Right Before His Eyes

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.

As good as Stephen Strasburg was in the 2nd half of the 2015 year, ( 6 – 2 with a 1.90 ERA post ALL – Star), and so far this season ( 3 – 0, with a 0.931 WHIP and a ERA of 2.17) he will be a Free Agent after 2016.

Matt Musico (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – chinmusicbaseball.com) 

All young MLB players give some thought to their first trip into the free agent market. However, not all get the opportunity to both experience it and maximize their earning potential with the contract they eventually sign.

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg will get to experience what free agency is like, and it appears a perfect storm is brewing for him in a number of ways to get paid even more handsomely than some originally thought.

Despite some inconsistencies, the cumulative numbers have always been there for Strasburg – a decent ERA, elite strikeout-to-walk totals and for the most part, victories.

Along with having Scott Boras as his agent, there was little doubt a pitcher with this much raw talent and “results” at the big-league level would get a gaudy, nine-figure contract, but would he truly be able to maximize his earning power?

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All-Undervalued Team: Who are the MLB’s Most Under-Appreciated Players?

The Diamondbacks set themselves up for the bargain of the MLB  when they signed Goldschmidt to a 5 YRs/$32 MIL deal a long time ago.  The slugging 1B will only make $40 MIL over the next 4 years - which is a huge reason why the club is in such great financial position to contend right now.  He would easily be worth $30 MIL+ a year on the open market right now.

The Diamondbacks set themselves up for the bargain of the MLB when they signed Goldschmidt to a 5 YRs/$32 MIL deal a long time ago. The slugging 1B will only make $40 MIL over the next 4 years – which is a huge reason why the club is in such great financial position to contend right now. He would easily be worth $30 MIL+ a year on the open market right now.

Matt Musico (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – chinmusicbaseball.com) 

The concept of being undervalued on the baseball field can mean different things to different people. The following players are, without a doubt, viewed as important – and most of them, crucial – pieces to the puzzle if their respective teams plan on contending in 2016.

But when it comes to public perception and the amount of media coverage popular players like Bryce HarperMike Trout and Clayton Kershaw get over others, there are some legitimately good ballplayers who don’t get nearly enough attention. So, I put together a starting lineup with a player from each position that I think deserves more love than they’re currently getting.

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Cubs And White Sox Had Different Winter Strategies, But Could Experience A Similar 2016

image courtesy of chicagonow.com

image courtesy of chicagonow.com

Matt Musico (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – chinmusicbaseball.com) 

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The journey toward fielding a competitive baseball team can happen in a multitude of ways, but as long as winning is the result, the other details will take care of themselves.

A perfect example of this is what’s going on in Chicago right now with the Cubs and White Sox.

Based on their young roster and improvements made over the winter, the Cubs are a popular pick to win this year’s World Series. Predictions be damned, they still have to go out and prove it.

Even though the season is barely two weeks old, the results have been excellent. Chicago’s National League squad is entering Friday’s game against the Colorado Rockies with an MLB-best 8-1 record.

Meanwhile, the White Sox have seemingly flown under the radar in their own city with an equally impressive 7-2 record. At the moment, they’re tied for first place in the competitive AL Central with the Kansas City Royals.

The schedule is 162 games long for a reason and what happens over the first couple weeks brings no guarantee for the remainder of the year.

Still, it’s interesting to see how these two Chicago teams have taken completely different routes with regard to roster construction and on-field play before seeing similar results through nine games.

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These 2 MLB Teams Could Surprise Everyone In 2016

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Matt Musico (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – chinmusicbaseball.com) 

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Major League Baseball has technically been back for nearly two months now, but the fun is finally about to start.

As teams wrap up their respective Grapefruit and Cactus League schedules, we’re literally on the precipice of Opening Day. With the final week of Spring Training games taking place, many baseball analysts made their yearly predictions on who they think will make the playoffs and eventually capture World Series glory.

We all know these predictions really mean nothing, but it’s an entertaining way to spark debate as everyone waits anxiously for games to start counting again. After listening and reading countless predictions, there seems to be something missing.

In 2015, we witnessed a handful of teams that came out of nowhere to qualify for the postseason. The process of rebuilding ended a year earlier than expected for teams like the Houston Astros, New York Mets and Chicago Cubs, while nobody picked the Texas Rangers to win the American League West. If you did and don’t claim to be a Rangers fan, you’re probably lying.

Keeping with this theme, here are two teams currently flying under the radar who have the potential to surprise everyone by the time September rolls around.

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San Diego Padres Show How Much Things Can Change In The Span Of A Year

A.J. Preller has been really active trying to replenish his prospect pool after making a big splash in his rookie offseason.  The Padres finished a dismal 74 - 88.  At least he recognizing the error of his ways - and trying to eradicate his mistakes.  He dealt his two best Relievers already, stockpiling 6 prospects in return.

A.J. Preller has been really active trying to replenish his prospect pool  this year after making a big splash in his rookie offseason last year. The Padres finished a dismal 74 – 88. At least he recognizing the error of his ways – and trying to eradicate his mistakes that he made from putting up a squad that was saddled with injury riddled players.

Matt Musico (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – chinmusicbaseball.com) 

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The first full year of A.J. Preller’s tenure as San Diego Padres general manager has basically been a roller coaster of emotions. With Opening Day just days away, it’s interesting to see how the narrative about the club has changed so drastically from the year before.

Upon getting hired in August 2014, San Diego’s biggest need was pretty clear: breathing life into an anemic offense that ranked last in runs scored (535). In the boldest way imaginable, Preller completely transformed the lineup by acquiring players like Matt KempJustin UptonDerek Norris and Wil Myers.

However, as we’ve seen in recent years, the winners of the offseason very rarely end up being winners of the World Series come October. That trend continued with the Padres, who missed the playoffs with a disappointing 74-88 record.

The goal of improving the offense was achieved (650 runs scored, 23rd-best in MLB), but not necessarily by leaps and bounds. The pitching and defense also suffered in the process.

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Will The San Francisco Giants’ Aggressive Winter Lead To Big Results?

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Matt Musico (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – chinmusicbaseball.com) 

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Throughout any given winter, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out what certain MLB front offices are trying to accomplish. The San Francisco Giants were definitely not one of them this past offseason.

After all, it’s an even year. They have a reputation to uphold. Following an 84-78 record in 2015, San Francisco was one of the winter’s biggest spenders, which doesn’t happen very often.

With so many major acquisitions made by the Giants, Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers, the NL West was undoubtedly one of baseball’s busiest divisions this past winter. On paper, the Giants are a favorite to return to the postseason and keep the even-year trend alive. However, these moves are the epitome of high risk, high reward.

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Carlos Correa, Corey Seager And Others Could Be Ushering In The Next Golden Age at Shortstop

Carlos Correa was the 1st overall pick in the 2012 Amateur Draft for the Houston Astros.  He came up in early June and proceeded to win the American League Rookie Of The Year Award with a 3 Slash of .279/.345/.512 with 22 HRs (led all shortstops in the MLB) and 22 Doubles in just 99 Games.  This type of production will change the complexion of the team for the next 6 years.  He is just going to be 21 for all of next season - and he looks exactly like a young Alex Rodriguez.  In his 1st postseason action, Correa smacked 2 HRs in that pivotal game 4 of the ALDS for Houston, staking them to a 6 - 2 lead before the Bullpen gave up the game.

Carlos Correa was the 1st overall pick in the 2012 Amateur Draft for the Houston Astros. He came up in early June and proceeded to win the American League Rookie Of The Year Award with a 3 Slash of .279/.345/.512 with 22 HRs (led all shortstops in the MLB) and 22 Doubles in just 99 Games. This type of production will change the complexion of the team for the next 6 years. He is just going to be 21 for all of next season – and he looks exactly like a young Alex Rodriguez. In his 1st postseason action, Correa smacked 2 HRs in that pivotal game 4 of the ALDS for Houston, staking them to a 6 – 2 lead before the Bullpen gave up the game.

Matt Musico (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – chinmusicbaseball.com) 

Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter 

What’s the most important position on a baseball diamond? The answer you get will likely depend on whom you ask.

It’s no secret that championship-caliber teams must be strong up the middle – catcher, pitcher, center field, shortstop and second base – to be successful. While I think having a quality catcher is a team’s most important asset, it’s tough to argue against shortstop being next in line.

As many people in fantasy baseball circles know, finding a player that can be an elite hitter without being a defensive liability at this position is difficult to find.

Over the past few years, it’s basically been Troy Tulowitzki and then everyone else. Tulo is still around and will be a great option with the Toronto Blue Jays, but there are already some young big-league shortstops – along with others on the cusp of getting promoted – that will make this position deep with elite options.

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2016 MLB Preview: One Burning Question For Every American League Team

Just because there is parity in the American League it doesn't mean that the Junior Circuit will not club the National League in Interleague this upcoming season. In fact, I am calling for them to be 50 games over .500 versus the Senior Circuit in the AL vs NL schedule. Most of that will be versus the weaker NL clubs, however the better NL clubs will not entirely dominate the whole AL either.

Just because there is parity in the American League it doesn’t mean that the Junior Circuit will not club the National League in Interleague this upcoming season. In fact, I am calling for them to be 50 games over .500 versus the Senior Circuit in the AL vs NL schedule. Most of that will be versus the weaker NL clubs, however the better NL clubs will not entirely dominate the whole AL either.

Matt Musico (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – chinmusicbaseball.com) 

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While there is a bunch of people who say Spring Training is way too long each year, don’t blink – Opening Day will be here before you know it.

I outlined one burning question for every National League team last week. Naturally, it only felt right to do the same thing for the American League this week.

Can the Kansas City Royals defend their World Series title? Can the Boston Red Sox stop finishing in last place? What about the other 13 AL squads preparing for the regular season?

Each club will have to answer multiple questions once the grueling 162-game schedule kicks off next month, but here’s just one for each.

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2016 MLB Preview: One Burning Question for Every National League Team

Top heavy league in 2016.

Top heavy league in 2016.

Matt Musico (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – chinmusicbaseball.com) 

Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter 

MLB teams have been working out at their respective Spring Training complexes for almost a month, but this week, it really feels like baseball is back.

Grapefruit and Cactus League schedules have kicked off, and Opening Day is now less than a month away.

A lot of people say Spring Training is way too long, but it gives teams the appropriate amount of time to sort out position battles and see if they have enough depth on their rosters.

Each organization is dealing with a different set of expectations in 2016. No matter how high or low these expectations are, there’s pressure to live up to them.

Here’s one burning question each National League team must answer once games start counting in April:

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