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World Baseball Classic Week Two Recap

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Saturday, March 17th, 2013

Angel Pagan has led Puerto Rico to the 2013 WBC Championship Round.

Angel Pagan has led Puerto Rico to the 2013 WBC Championship Round.

By Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): 

A lot has happened in the World Baseball Classic over the last week. For one, the four teams to play in the Championship Round have been determined. In the Second Round, Cuba, Chinese Taipei, the USA, and Italy were all eliminated. For some of those teams, it was an amazing accomplishment in itself to get as far as they did. For other teams, they fell way short of expectations in 2013.

Nonetheless, the four teams still in the running are exciting and all four have been playing a fantastic brand of baseball. The Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Japan, and the Dominican Republic are your 2013 WBC Final Four.

WBC 2009 Japan VS Korea Highlight:

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The Method To Pirates GM Neal Huntington’s Team Building Strategy

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Tuesday March 12, 2013

Neal Huntington was named General Manager by the Pirates in 2007 and has yet to produce a winning season.

Neal Huntington was named General Manager by the Pirates in 2007 – and has yet to produce a winning season.  Expectations are becoming higher with each passing year.  The Pirates are the only NL Team not to make the playoffs since the 1994 Lockout.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

There is no question that the Pittsburgh Pirates have gone through their fair share of struggles. They have not had a winning season since 1992, and the closest the team has come to a .500 season was last year, when they went 79 – 83. It looks, though, as if there is light at the end of the tunnel for Pirates fans. 

General Manager Neal Huntington has made some nice moves to strengthen the team since he was named in 2007.

He immediately went to work, hiring a new manager and making major trades up to the 2008 trading deadline. One of two major trades included sending Xavier Nady to the Yankees for pitchers, notably Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf, and Outfielder Jose Tabata.

The second major trade was sending Jason Bay to the Red Sox for Brandon Moss, Andy Laroche, and others. Although these deals never really came to fruition, Huntington made it clear that he would not stand idly by and let his team suffer.

Pittsburgh Pirates Highlights – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:

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Pirates Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

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Friday, February.8, 2013

Pittsburgh GM Neil Huntington has found creative ways to help the Budget out - by taking risks on Wandy Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett.  They are both being paid portions of their contracts by their previous teams.

Pittsburgh GM Neil Huntington has found creative ways to help the Budget out – by taking risks on Wandy Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett. They are both being paid portions of their contracts by their previous teams.  Signing Andrew McCutchen to a long-term contract has also given the franchise the ability to add players in 2013 if need be.

By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent)

On August 8 of last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates were 63-47, 2.5 games back of the First-place Cincinnati Reds, securely into the second Wild-Card Spot – and had the fourth-best record in the National League. The wheels came off, the Bucs finished on a 16-36 slide, 18 games back of the Reds and with the 10th-best record in the NL. Reality could have caught up to a overperforming squad, or a youthful team took the next step in learning how to win. Either way, the Pirates enter 2013 with breaking a streak of 20 losing seasons on their minds.

General Manager Neal Huntington has been shrewd and active, signing MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen to a long-term deal in 2012 and getting other clubs to eat up significant chunks of their largest contracts when acquiring their top two starters. Starting pitching depth has been added and Huntington is even taking more high-priced risks, landing Catcher Russell Martin as a Free Agent.

Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Highlights:

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Pittsburgh Pirates Roster in 2013: State Of The Union

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Pirates have not made the playoffs since the 1992 Season. That year, Barry Bonds could not throw out Sid Bream from deep Short - and he subsequently left the team for the SF Giants.  20 Losing Season have since occurred.

The Pirates have not made the playoffs since the 1992 Season. That year, Barry Bonds could not throw out Sid Bream from deep Short in Game #7 of the NLCS versus the Braves – and they were eliminated for the 3rd straight year in the playoffs before reaching the World Series.  Bonds subsequently left the team for the SF Giants in 1993 – and 20 losing seasons have since occurred. Only the Kansas City Royals have a longer streak of not making the playoffs (1985). Will this change in 2013?

By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent)

Although the Pirates made significant strides in 2012, they still finished in fourth place in the National League Central – with a 79-83 mark – extending their professional sports record for consecutive losing seasons to 20. After being active at last season’s trading deadline, the Bucs added two key Free Agents in the offseason. One of those signings, LHP Francisco Liriano, agreed to 2 YR Deall for just under $13 Million – but broke his arm from an undisclosed injury in late December. The two sides agreed to a deal that lowers the first-season payout if Liriano misses any time due to the injury.

That has not dimmed the enthusiasm swelling around Pittsburgh and very few roster spots are up for grabs as the 2013 season nears. With the Houston Astros moving to the American League West, the division is down to five teams, but the Pirates still have numerous questions surrounding their ability to compete for a Post Season Berth.

Andrew McCutchen hitting mechanics: Mature Lyrics Content – Parental Guidance is Advised

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Houston Astros Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

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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

Russell Martin: How Will He Fare in Pittsburgh?

Thursday December 6th, 2012

Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

Russell Martin recently signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates for a two-year deal worth $17 million—a bit much for a just-above-decent aging catcher. Unfortunately for the Pirates, if they want to sign a free agent, they will most likely have to overpay. This was not the worst deal in the world, for Martin is better than any catcher the Pirates have had in the last few years, but is he really worth an average of $8.5 million a year? I don’t think so. The Pirates have been in contention up until the Trading Deadline the last two years, so maybe they think Martin will make the difference.

Martin, over his seven year career, is a .260 hitter. Just about the major league average. For a catcher, .260 is not terrible. .260 could be just what the Pirates need in their lineup. From 2008-2011, Ryan Doumit was the Pirates’ primary catcher. He was on and off, hitting .318 in 2008 and .303 in 2011, but also hitting .250 and .251 in 2009 and 2010. Last year’s catcher Rod Barajas did not exactly cut it. He hit .206 with only 11 home runs and 31 RBI. Last year, Pirates catchers spent most of their time in the 6-7 hole of the lineup. Martin will fit nicely here and will have occasional opportunities to drive in Andrew McCutchen. Martin’s primary job will to drive in the leftovers from the top/middle of the lineup and to get in scoring position for the bottom of the lineup. I can’t see Martin as a 4-5 hitter due to his relatively low career average (the Pirates will not be able to trust him with driving in McCutchen). Read the rest of this entry

Houston…We Have a Problem: The Astros Are in for a Painful Rebuild

Thursday August 9th, 2012

John Burns:  With a 36-76 record the Houston Astros have been the laughing-stock of baseball this season. Houston is going into a complete rebuilding phase after trading the very few veterans they had, such as: Carlos Lee to Miami, Wandy Rodriguez to Pittsburgh, Brett Myers to Chicago (White Sox), Chris Johnson to Arizona, and J.A. Happ to Toronto. It is safe to say that Houston was definitely a seller at the recent non-waiver trade deadline and they made the right decision. They had one of the best deadlines in my opinion because they got rid of players that they were not going to win with and got very talented prospects in return. With the load of prospects Houston received, they will most definitely need several of their new young players to pan out if Houston plans to contend in the A.L. West one day. Oh yeah… I forgot to mention the worst team in baseball is going to one of the best divisions in baseball in 2013. A difficult situation is about to get a whole lot tougher. Read the rest of this entry

Pittsburgh Pirates: Do they Have Enough to Stay in the Playoff Race?

Saturday August 4th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto:  The Pittsburgh Pirates have been one of the many surprising teams in baseball this season. Led by perennial MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen, they trail the first place Reds by just four and a half games in the National league Central division and retain the third best record in the entire N.L. If the playoffs started today, the Pirates would be playing postseason baseball for the first time since 1992. While they made a push at the playoffs last season as well, an August collapse ultimately diminished their chances of playing October baseball for the first time in over two decades.

However, an August breakdown doesn’t seem to be in the cards for these 2012 Pirates. Players like Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, and Garrett Jones were all on the 2011 team that plummeted from first place on July 25th to 16 games back of first place on August 25th. Nearly a year later, the same core group has the Pirates back in the thick of the playoff chase, but their mentalities have significantly changed with the experience they garnered in 2011. Why? It’s cliche, but the more experience a player or team can refer to, the better they will perform. And in this case, that team is the Pirates. Read the rest of this entry

2012 Trade Deadline Update #3 07/25: HanleyWood: Hanley to the Dodgers, Wandy, and More

Wednesday July 25th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: Some more trades came down, including one exciting blockbuster to report. One of the biggest names though that was supposed to be traded will now be staying put. Cole Hamels, the Phillies great young left-handed starter is expected to re-sign for 6-years and $144 million. But even  with Hamels off the market, the trade winds are in full swing.  Hold on to your hats…this is HUGE:

Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers

Another blockbuster deal. Announced late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, Hanley Ramirez is headed to the Dodgers with reliever Randy Choate for pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough. There were rumblings about a possible trade of Hanley, and it ended up happening. Hanley will start fresh on the west coast as the Dodgers are battling with the Giants for the NL West crown. The Dodgers started off hot with Matt Kemp leading the charge. Kemp went down with a hamstring injury and was re-injured in his first game back. After another DL stint, Kemp came back right after the All Star Break. Andre Either also had some time on the DL with an oblique injury, but he has since come back. Now, both are healthy and poised to help the Dodgers on a run down the stretch. With Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley heading the pitching staff, one of the Dodgers’ weakest positions was third base. Juan Uribe, the main third baseman for the Dodgers this year, is hitting a weak .190 with just two homers and 17 RBI. Dee Gordon, the primary shortstop and currently on the DL, is hitting .229. Needless to say, the Dodgers needed some help on the left side of the infield. 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

MLB Trade Deadline: Fantasy Baseball Targets

Wednesday July 18th, 2012

Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports):  

The upcoming trade deadline has the potential to sway the course of a fantasy season, especially in AL and NL only leagues. While the big trades are just over a week away from formulating, now is the time to make decisions instead of trying to react after the deadline. As many sub-.500 teams will be looking to deal their end of the game bullpen options to contenders, these are the players to stash away immediately:

Greg Holland, since returning form an injury in early May, has a 1.75 ERA and 36 K’s in 25.2 innings. Remember, coming into the season, he was by and large considered the favorite end of the game option before struggling and dealing with injury. Now, the reality is that Broxton will likely be traded at the deadline. He is at peak value, with a 2.14 ER and 22 saves in 26 opportunities. However, with a 23/14 K:B ratio in 33.2 innings, he is clearly not as dominate as the 2009 version of Broxton and is due for some regression. The Royals will almost certainly deal Broxton to a contender, and as a result might have to assume setup duty behind another closer. Meanwhile, Holland is more than ready to take over the save opportunities for the final two months of the season. Read the rest of this entry

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