Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Three "Crazy Stupid" Things to Talk About in Baseball This Season

MLB 2016 Fights
The 2016 Major League Baseball season is well under way, and it has been filled with a host of controversial topics and issues. Here is my take on the various issues, both controversial and non controversial.

First and foremost, no post such as that can begin with anything other than the big fight the other night between Rougned Odor and Jose Batista. We know all about Batista's history and his arrogance towards the game. Odor is the prized young second basemen of the Texas Rangers. Batista played the entire series expecting to get hit, and he finally did. So then on his slide into second base, he decides to get his own personal revenge, even though he is the one who started this whole thing with the bat flip last year in the postseason. He took a nasty slide on Odor, who naturally took it personally. When Batista got up, Odor threw the first punch, and everything went downhill from there as both benches cleared. I believe that Odor takes a little bit of the blame here. He should not have overreacted. Instead, he should have let the replay sort it all out, and then Batista would get called out like he did against Tampa Bay earlier this season, as well as thrown out since the game wasn't over. Most of the blame goes to Batista. If he is reading this, I have a question for him. What the heck is your problem dude? Your overenthusiastic arrogance, your bat flipping, taunting, contract demands. What is your problem? What did baseball, your team, and anyone else for that matter ever do to set you off like this?

Sandoval's Belt Snapping Nightmare
Then we have the nightmare that became the Pablo Sandoval situation in Boston. In the 2014/2015 off season, the Red Sox signed Sandoval to five year, 95 million dollar deal as a free agent, thinking he was the answer at third base. Well, that turned out to not be the case, at all. Sandoval, who's weight issues have always been a concern, got fatter and fatter since signing that big fat contract. Yes I know, bad pun. The situation got so bad that to begin the season, Sandoval lost his job to Travis Shaw in Spring Training. Sandoval began the season on the bench, and was not happy about it. His play worsened and he even had an embarrassing moment this season where his belt snapped during an at bat. The Red Sox placed Sandoval on season ending disabled list, claiming a shoulder injury. My take on this is that Sandoval is the Albert Haynesworth of Major League Baseball. He likes what baseball provides for him, but he doesn't want to put in the work to be a great player. Sandoval's contract is going to be a burden for the Red Sox until it expires in 2019, unless they can somehow find a taker.

Stubborn Lincecum Falling Apart

Next up, we have Tim Lincecum. Last week, Lincecum signed a major league contract with the Los Angeles Angels. Lincecum used to be one of the best starting pitchers in the game. His career went exactly as we thought it would, spectacular, but extremely short. We knew he would be great, but we knew his body was going to break quickly, and it did. Throughout his current comeback attempt, the freak has insisted on continuing to start. However, most teams want him in the bullpen. He found someone desperate enough to give into his demands in the Angels. I think he will fail, and if he wants his career to continue, he is going to have to get it through that thick stubborn head of his that guys his size don't start. They don't even close. They pitch in setup roles. The Brewers own Tyler Thornburg figured that out, and is going to have a nice long career as a relief pitcher as a result.

This is why the St. Louis Cardinals are the St. Louis Cardinals. Everyone in the world is acting like the sky is falling and Armageddon is coming the “Gateway to the West”. The Cardinals are 20-19, and right in it so far, despite everything going wrong that can go wrong. Everybody's favorite ballplayer, Yadier Molina is not hitting, the Cardinals young starters are getting torn to shreds, and Matt Holiday is regressing fast. Well, the Cardinals will figure out. They always have, they always will. But, that doesn't mean they will make the playoffs in the top-heavy National League.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Who Will Win the 2016 World Series? | MLB Predictions for the Upcoming Season

We are about a week out from Spring Training. This means it is time to identify the contenders in 2016 MLB, and give a quick early forecast on their season.

2016 MLB World SeriesBoston Red Sox- The Red Sox hired Dave Dombrowski to take over as team President late last season, after it became clear that Ben Cherington, the longtime assistant to former GM Theo Epstein, was in over his head in the position of GM. Dombrowski made two major additions this offseason in David Price and Craig Kimbrel. The Red Sox are also counting on major bounce back seasons from Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, who is moving to first base.

New York Yankees- This team is going to attempt to compete this season with a highly paid, but elite bullpen, a really old group of position players, and no starting pitching. Unless they make a move, the Yankees opening day starting spot is up for grabs this spring.

Kansas City Royals- The defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals lost starting pitcher James Shields to free agency, but picked up innings eater Ian Kennedy, and were able to bring back Alex Gordon, nipping at the heels this season will be the Twins.

Minnesota Twins- This franchise has finally found its way out of the wilderness after a rebuild that lasted the first half of the decade, which shows how long “rebuilds” take in baseball. They didn't make any significant moves this offseason other than trading outfielder Aaron Hicks for catcher John Ryan Murphy to upgrade their catching position, which needed an upgrade badly. There is still a big hole at shortstop, although Jorge Polanco appears to be poised and ready to take over at short, at least for a couple of years, until mega-prospect Nick Gordon arrives. This is a young talented team on the rise.

Houston Astros- After finally making it to the other side of the most talked about rebuild in history, the Houston Astros are poised to make it back to the postseason, and this time they will be winning the American League West to get there. They added Doug Fister to their roster, and are expecting another strong performance from Dallas Kuechel this season. Lance McCullers will also improve as well. They do need to find a first basemen though, and Jon Singleton will continue to be given every opportunity to win that job.

Los Angeles Angels- Los Angeles Mike Trouts will enter the season with the same problems they had at the end of last season, a lack of starting pitching, and corner outfield issues. Still, they have the best player in the American League, and that always helps. It is important for Albert Pujols to return to form.

New York Mets- The young Mets, the winners of the National League last season, brought back Yoenis Cespedes in free agency this off season. The Mets are banking on the continued development of what will eventually become baseball's most feared rotation as well. They all just need to stay healthy now.

Washington Nationals- The Nationals hired Dusty Baker, who is considered to be one of baseball's best diplomatic managers. He’s adept in this ability to calm this locker room down and ease the tension. It is what is most needed right now. They also need to begin negotiations with super star outfielder Bryce Harper soon.

Chicago Cubs- The Cubs will open Spring Training as the odds-on favorites according to the Vegas books, to win the World Series. How in the world did that happen? Well, the Cubs have baseball's best collection of superstar young talent, led by defending National League rookie of the year Khris Bryant. They added Jason Heyward to the outfield. They also added John Lackey this off season to a rotation to that already includes Jon Lester and defending National League Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta. Now, the only thing that can stop them is themselves.

St. Louis Cardinals- The Cardinals are getting older, that is for sure. However, they are still a force to be reckoned with. The question is who will fill in for Jason Heyward in right field? Randall Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, and Tommy Pham are all choices.

Pittsburgh Pirates- The Pirates didn't do much this offseason, and they didn't need to. They do however, need to get ready for negotiations with superstar centerfielder Andrew McCutchen. I still believe this is baseball's best team, if they would just believe in themselves.

Los Angeles Dodgers- The Dodgers got worse this offseason, and that is a fact. They lost Zack Grienke to free agency and missed out on David Price and Johnny Cueto. The Dodgers enter 2016 with one big starting pitcher, a clogged up outfield, and serious bullpen questions. Still, they are expected to compete this season.

San Francisco Giants- The Giants were perhaps baseball's most active team in the off season. They added Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to the rotation that already includes Jake Peavy and Madison Bumgarner. They also added Denard Span to help fix an outfield that needed some help.

Arizona Diamondbacks- The Diamondbacks stunned the world when they stole Grienke away from the Dodgers in free agency this offseason. They also added Shelby Miller via trade with the Braves and added Jean Segura to play shortstop in a trade with the Brewers.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Milwaukee Brewers Outlook for the Next Seven Seasons



Brewers Seasons Year to Year
The Milwaukee Brewers are in a full blown rebuild. Not a partially rebuild, not a halfway rebuild, a full blown rebuild. I am going to look into my crystal ball and try to predict how this is going to play out, season by season.

2016
The Milwaukee Brewers, still trying to get rid of everyone, are able to trade Jean Segura and Khris Davis right after the New Year. Milwaukee also finally backs off its insanely high demands for catcher Jonathan Lucroy and is able to unload him as well. The Brewers get off to a decent start, and are 30-40 through 70 games. Still, this is due to better performances by Ryan Braun and Matt Garza, and the Brewers capitalize on Garza's improved play in a trade. Milwaukee, currently weak in the outfield as an organization, draft a high school outfielder named Blake Rutherford in round one. The Brewers finish the 2016 season 64-98, good for the third worst record overall.

2017
The Brewers are finally, following back to back solid seasons by Braun, able to unload his contract to the Boston Red Sox. The trade is basically a contract dump, so Milwaukee doesn't get much in return. The surprising trade though is Wily Peralta. General Manager David Stearns cashes in on Peralta's 18 win season from 2016, and sends him to the Nationals for catcher Jakson Reetz and outfielder Blake Perkins. In 2017 the Brewers get off to a bad start and finally hit rock bottom, finishing the season 60-102, good for the worst record in the league. Milwaukee drafts a high school outfielder in the June draft, marking back to back seasons of drafting a high school outfielder who is a long range prospect.

2018
Milwaukee doesn't do much during the off season other than move so bullpen guys around and 2018 doesn't go much better for them either. They finish the season 63-99, good for the second worst record overall. The Brewers draft their own version of Khris Bryant with their first overall selection the June draft. This player will eventually become the Brewers franchise player in short order.

2019
In 2019 the Brewers start to take their first steps forward as a team in their long rebuild. The first wave of all of that talent they acquired make their way to the major leagues as a September call ups, and the Brewers finish the season 70-92. Milwaukee also drafts a fast track college starting pitcher second overall in June who will eventually become the ace of their rotation in short order. 

2020
The Brewers take a big jump forward, similar to the Astros in 2015. All of that talent continues to show up and our own version of Khris Bryant makes his major league debut in the middle of April. They also bring up that fast track college starter from the previous year's draft in August and he plays a major role in a late season run that gives them the second wild card at 92-70. They lose the wild card game but finally begin to see light at the end of the tunnel. Their own version of Khris Bryant wins the National League rookie of the year award with a .287 batting average, 32 home runs and 95 RBI's.

2021
In 2021 the Brewers, with a loaded young roster, ascend to the top of the National League Central, finishing the season 98-64. Boasting the player who is expected to win the National League MVP as well as a 20-game winner for a staff ace, Milwaukee takes an aging Nationals team to seven games in the National League Championship series before losing game seven on a walk off home run by Bryce Harper.

2022
The Brewers march through the 2022 season is like Cesar's march into Rome. Milwaukee, boasting the league MVP and Cy Young Award front-runners, finished the season 108-54, good for the best record in major league baseball in nearly 30 years. Milwaukee storms through the playoffs losing just three times total during the postseason, and brings home the World Series trophy in style with an 11-3 rout of the Los Angeles Angels in front of their home crowd at Miller Park in game five.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Who Can the Brewers Pick Up in 2016 Free Agency?



2016 Brewers Free Agents
The baseball off season free agency frenzy is in full force. Many of the big names, mostly pitchers, are off the market. David Price signed with the Red Sox. Zach Greinke signed with the Diamondbacks. Johnny Cueto signed with the Giants. Jordan Zimmerman signed with the Tigers. Jason Heyward signed with the Cubs. However, there are still plenty of intriguing options out there.

For infielders, you have several options at first base. Pedro Alvarez, a former mega-prospect of the Pittsburgh Pirates, didn't exactly pan out as they would have hoped. Still, he has turned into a solid professional. A return to Pittsburgh is a possibility. Chris Davis had a seven year, 150 million dollar contract on the table from Baltimore last week that they actually pulled off the table before he signed. Davis is in all likelihood returning to Baltimore regardless. The veteran Justin Morneau, a former All-Star and MVP who has battled through injuries, could provide some veteran experience to a number of teams. Moving on to second base, the lone second basemen that interests me is Daniel Murphy. Many expect Murphy to return to the Mets. There are also a few interesting shortstops out there. If you are looking for a player with a boat load of big game experience look no farther than Jimmy Rollins. Ian Desmond is looking at a return to Washington potentially and Alexi Ramirez, is looking to return to his club, the White Sox.

Hoping out to the outfield we have plenty of interesting options left. First and foremost is Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets hero from a year ago who brought their offense to life following that trade. At first he wasn't going to return to The Big Apple, but now he is having second thoughts following his second half performance. Alex Gordon, perhaps the man who won the Royals the World Series, is out there on the market as well. A return to Kansas City is a possibility, but do not be surprised if another team swoops in and outbids the small market Royals. The former Brewer Geraldo Parra is coming off a career season and is looking to cash in. He could end up somewhere like the Mets or the Mariners. Justin Upton, a former mega-prospect of the Diamondbacks, could be looking at taking his talents to a place like San Francisco or Texas. Denard Span will provide solid defense and great speed to whoever picks him up. Dexter Fowler will have a job, we just don't know where.

There is still plenty of starting pitching options left as well. Doug Fister, one of the best inning's eaters in the game, is looking for a home. What a fall for Yovani Gallardo. Two years ago at this time he was looking at 10 years, and 200 million. Now, who knows that he'll be offered. Still, he is a good starting pitcher. Baltimore is a possibility for him. Mike Leake, who may be the best starting pitcher still on the market, is being looked at by the Yankees.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Brewers Roster Moves Prior to Winter Meetings



Brewers off season moves
We have yet to officially begin baseball's winter meetings and already we have had quite the off season. Before we go any further into this post, it might be a good time to review the Milwaukee Brewers off season to this point.

Two major free agent signings have taken place so far, and both, unsurprisingly, have been starting pitchers. This is unsurprising because this off season is the really the off season of the pitcher. The bulk of the notable free agents, more than 75%, are starting pitchers, and two of the better ones are now off the market. Over the weekend, the Detroit Tigers made news, continuing their busy off season so far, more on that in a moment, when they agreed to terms with free agent starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann on a 5 year, 110 million dollar contract. This means, at this moment, that next season, unless the Tigers make anymore moves, they will be paying 66 million to three starting pitchers, Zimmermann, Annibal Sanchez, and Justin Verlander. The other major free agent signing happened earlier today, as David Price, perhaps the biggest prize on the market, signed his John Hancock to a contract with the Boston Red Sox. The deal is 7 years, 217 million, which will make him the third highest paid player in the game behind Albert Pujois and Clayton Kershaw.

There have also been a few early off season trades, and several of them have involved the Detroit Tigers. Earlier this off season, the Brewers traded relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez to the Detroit Tigers for minor league infielder Javier Betancourt and a player to be named later. The move makes sense from the angle of the Brewers as they are in the process of taking apart their roster, ridding themselves of the “veterans” on their roster. The Tigers meanwhile, get a veteran closer to help stabilize their bullpen, which has been a nightmare in recent seasons. Several days after the Rodriguez trade, the Tigers struck again, this time acquiring outfielder Cameron Maybin from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for pitchers Ian Krol and Gabe Speier. Overall, I do not understand these moves for the Detroit Tigers. They are at the end of a long run of success. However, they are now staring up at two teams, the Kansas City Royals, and the Minnesota Twins, who are just young, bigger, faster, stronger, and better than they are at this point, no matter what moves they try to make this off season. The Tigers need to be taking apart their roster, not adding more tape and glue. The Brewers tried that the last couple of years, it didn't work. Yes, I understand owner Mike Ilitch is old, as in 90 years old, and wants to win a World Series trophy so bad, but you also have to be reasonable. This is also why I am all for owners butting out.

So who could be next up? Well, now that Price has set the market, Grienke could go next, or Johnny Cueto, who turned down a big contract offer from the Diamondbacks, reportedly more than six years, 120 million. We could also start to see movement on some of the major position players, such as Ben Zobrist or Jason Heyward. This is about to get very, very interesting.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Brewers 2016 Roster | My Thoughts On Which Players Will Start

Let's get right to it. Before the offseason kicks in, I am going to try to predict the 2016 Milwaukee Brewers opening day roster.  Will this be the final cut for Brewers starters?  We have all winter to see if it comes true.

Brewers 2016 Lineup

C: Martin Maldonado- Yes, this means I am predicting Lucroy will be gone.

1B: Adam Lind- You can't trade everyone, and this is the one they keep until the 2016 trade deadline.

2B: Scooter Gennett- A good solid professional who will work hard for the Brewers during this rebuild.

SS:Yadiel Rivers- Yes, I am predicting Jean Segura will be gone as well.

3B: Trevor Plouffe- DUN DUN DUN. Prediction: The Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins will swap Trevor Plouffe and Jean Segura.

LF: Domingo Santana- He is a nice start, and will settle in as a borderline All-Star in left field for the Brewers.

CF: Michael Reed- A good defensive player, Reed could potentially settle in nicely as a defensive anchor in center field for Milwaukee.

RF: Ryan Braun- After all the drama of the last couple of years, Braun settled down in 2015, having a solid season, even make the All-Star team as a replacement. 

Milwaukee Bench

Jason Rogers/3B/1B- Can play both corners if need be off the bench.

Elian Herrera/IF- Can play all over the infield.

Hernan Perez/IF- Same as Herrera.

Shane Peterson/OF- Can play good defense at all three outfield spots off the bench.

Daniel Fields/OF- Same as Peterson. 

Brewers Rotation

1. Wily Peralta- Needs to bounce back after a rough, injury-plagued 2015.

2. Jimmy Nelson- Will be a decent number 2 behind Peralta. Probably more suited for a number 3 role. 

3. Taylor Jungmann- Basically the same pitcher as Nelson. Solid number 3 type of pitcher.

4. Zach Davies- With his performance to end 2015, Davies earned himself a rotation spot for 2016.

5. Jorge Lopez- I think he will win the number five job, and in time, hop over Davies as he is a better pitcher than Davies. 

Bullpen

LR: Tyler Cravy- A good candidate for a long reliever

MR: Corey Knebel- Wins what is esentially the 25th spot on this team.

MR: Jeremy Jeffress- The long time Brewer will be a good trade deadline candidate in 2016.

MR/SU: Mike Strong- A good second lefty option.

SU: Will Smith- A good solid performer out of the pen.

SU: David Goforth- A hard throwing one trick pony, which excels in a setup role.

CL: Ariel Pena- This man has a closer's arm.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Best MLB Players in the Free Agent Market for 2016 Season

Ben Zobrist
As the baseball postseason winds down, the off season heats up. That means it is time for baseball's annual free agent period. Most of the big name free agents are starting pitchers, but there will still be some highly sought after positional players on the free agent market.

Edwin Encarnacion/1B/DH- Encarnacion has a 10 million dollar club option which should be picked up with a 2 million dollar buyout. If they chose to not pick it up, he will be one of those most sought after bats on the market. A return to Toronto is possible and likely as well. If not, then other possible destinations could include Houston, Texas, and the New York Mets.

Ben Zobrist/UP- The ultimate utility man, Zobrist can play any position on the field. Zobrist was traded to the Royals at the trade deadline, and performed well, which helped his cause in the open market this winter. He is 35 though, so don't expect anything more than three years, four maximum. Possible destinations could include a return to Kansas City, Atlanta, and the New York Mets.

Alcides Escobar- The former Milwaukee Brewer who came to Kansas City in the famous Zack Grienke trade has played to his full potential since that day. Escobar has become one of the premier shortstops in the league and is a great two way player. He has a 5.25 million dollar club option which should be picked up but if it isn't, possible destinations could include a return to Kansas City, Minnesota, Los Angeles(Both teams), the New York Yankees, and the San Diego Padres.

Yoenis Cespedes/OF- Wow, has there ever been a trade that worked out more perfectly for the team acquiring the big name player in the deal than the New York Mets acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes at the trade deadline? The Mets lacked offense, and almost traded for then-Milwaukee Brewers centerfielder Carlos Gomez. Instead, the acquired Cespedes from the Tigers and it worked out better than they could have ever thought up. Cespedes would be the runaway National League MVP had he been in New York the entire season. His market is through the roof right now, and a return to the Mets is likely. Other possible options could be the St. Louis Cardinals, the Los Angeles Angels, and the San Francisco Giants.

Justin Upton- For as much as the Cespedes trade worked, the Justin Upton trade to the Padres didn't. Still, Upton has value on the open market and will be highly sought after. As far as possible destinations, they could include the San Francisco Giants, the New York Mets, or the Texas Rangers.

Jason Heyward/OF- Last off season, the Cardinals traded for rising star outfielder from the Atlanta Braves Jason Heyward and he excelled in St. Louis this season. Heyward will have a number of teams after him, including the Giants, Mets, and Rangers. However a return to St. Louis is inevitable.


Jose Bautista/OF/DH- The Blue Jays have a 14 million dollar club option which is going to be picked up. Then long term contract negotiations will be begin. There is no way on this planet this man gets out of Toronto.