Wednesday, February 11, 2015

True Gentlemen in Sports Today

Gentlemen in sports
This may not pertain to the Brewers, but one of my pet peeves with modern day sports is all of the trash talking that goes on. This is why I have a firm dislike of football teams like the Seattle Seahawks, and most of the NBA in general. I am a fan of teams and players who take what they do seriously, and don’t feel the need to trash other players and teams in the process. With that said, here is a list of who I believe to be the true gentlemen in American sports.

Tim Duncan - Any list that involves the gentlemen of American sports starts with “The Big Fundamental” Tim Duncan. Tim Duncan may very well be the most grown man of any athlete in American professional sports. For 16 years Duncan has led the no-nonsense San Antonio Spurs to five NBA titles, and had it not been for poor officiating and a miracle shot by Ray Allen, six NBA titles. Duncan has never complained, never whined, and when he talks to the media, he talks in a very professional manner. You can tell the man is educated and did his homework when he was in school. He speaks clearly, and uses player’s full names, not nicknames or abbreviated names.

Bubba Watson - Two time major champion Bubba Watson is one of the nicest guys in American sports. He isn’t driven by winning like Tiger Woods is, nor is he driven to one up his peers like Phil Mickelson. Bubba is driven by happiness, and a love for life. He loves his wife and his children very much, and you can tell that is honest love when you watch him on TV and read about his daily life written about by those who know him personally. However, as nice as he is, he is not the nicest guy on the PGA Tour.

Matt Kuchar - As stated above, Bubba Watson is not the nicest guy on the PGA Tour. Matt Kuchar is. Not only is Matt Kuchar the nicest guy in the PGA Tour, but he might well be the nicest guy in American sports, period. This man always carries a genuine smile everywhere he goes, and it shows. Kuchar, like Bubba, is driven by personal happiness and love for life.

Joe Mauer - Every time I turn on ESPN or MLB Network whenever Joe Mauer is the subject at hand, all I hear about is how Joe Mauer is a true gentlemen of the game. Whenever you watch him, it is easy to tell why. Mauer is a true professional who goes about his business in a professional manner.  When Twins General Manager Terry Ryan decided to take the team into a full blown rebuild in 2010, Mauer did not complain and ask for a trade. He simply woke up, and went to work, just like he always has, just like he always will.

Jeff Gordon - Four Time NASCAR Cup Champion Jeff Gordon is different from his fellow racing peers. He is not angry, he is not driven by rage, and he is not driven to be the best at all costs. Gordon is driven to be great, but he is driven to do so in gentlemen-like manner. In a race as a child he ran over another racers wheel to win the race. After the race was over, his father made him give the trophy to the kid whose wheel he ran over, and made him apologize in front of everyone. Throughout his career, Gordon has won with nothing but dignity and respect for the sport and his peers.

Aaron Rodgers - Two-time MVP and Super Bowl Champion Aaron Rodgers is one of the true gentlemen in American Sports. I am not going to explain to you why though. Rather, I want you to go watch his It’s Aaron videos on YouTube. Watch a few of those and you will know exactly why.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What Are the Brewers Doing to Their Pitching Staff and Infield in 2015?

Brewers Bullpen moves 2015
If you have been reading my blogs for the last several years, you would know that I have been very critical of the Milwaukee Brewers and the decision making of General Manager Doug Melvin. I have asked at every turn, every decision they have made, and have criticized their fear of rebuilding, which is something they need to do.

Their first move of the off season was to trade Marco Estrada for Adam Lind. I said, “Yeah, okay. I can understand that. Milwaukee needs to stop playing games at first base and settle on an everyday option over there." Now, with their second move of the off season and other future plans have me questioning them once again.

The Brewers made headlines last week when they traded Yovani Gallardo to the Texas Rangers for Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and Marcos Diplan. Under the circumstances with Gallardo’s last two seasons in mind, this was as good of a deal as they were going to get for the man right now. If they had listened to my advice two years ago they could have traded Gallardo when his stock was through the roof and gotten an entire farm for him. But no, their desperation to cling to their “win now” mentality despite being in a division where they are looking up at two or more teams the last several years who are just better than they are put them in the position where they are now. Part of being a successful organization is having an understanding of the situation around you, not just your own team. Had the Brewers been aware of this, they would have realized they were falling behind in this division and thrown in the white towel so they could rebuild, reload, and come back strong at a later date.

Their future plans also have me shaking my head. They tried to trade for Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon over the weekend. That fell through, but they are still trying. They also are interested in free agent pitcher James Shields, the last big name on the market. They need to bail on both of these ideas now. Instead of signing or trading for someone else, they need to keep trading away players. Next up on the chopping block should be Kyle Lohse and Carlos Gomez. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Top Five Third Basemen Of Modern Times

Best Third Basemen of Baseball
Continuing with this theme of lists, I began with the top 10 starting pitchers of my lifetime league wide. Let’s now break out into individual positions, and begin with third basemen. Here the the top five third basemen I’ve seen in my lifetime.

5. David Wright- The New York Mets franchise player would be higher on this list if he wasn’t so injury prone. Currently in major league baseball, when he is healthy, there is nobody better at third base then David Wright, but health is the concern.

4. Adrian Beltre- Adrian Beltre has perhaps the strongest arm I have ever seen from a baseball player, and is over 2500 career hits. He has been around for a while, and is probably headed for the hall of fame at the rate he is going.

3. Aramis Ramirez- The Aramis Ramirez that the Brewers fans know, is not the Aramis Ramirez he once was. When he was in his prime, Aramis Ramirez was about as good of a two-way player at third base as we have seen in recent memory. It is perhaps time for him to call it a career though, as injuries are starting to pile up and his ability to recover from them is coming into question at his age.

2. Scott Rolen- One of the best big game players in recent memory, Rolen was a tough as nails competitor for the Phillies, Cardinals, and Reds. Rolen is most certainly going to end up in Cooperstown in a few years, as his retirement clock has already started since he called it a career in 2012.

1. Chipper Jones- Could anyone expect anything different? Advanced analytics tells us two things about Chipper Jones. He is the greatest switch hitter who ever lived and is the best we’ve ever seen in the live ball era at differentiating between a ball and a strike at the plate. He is also a five time Gold Glove award winner and was the best third basemen of the last several decades.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Estrada, Heyward, Kemp and Meyers Just Some of the Biggest Names Traded In Baseball

Baseball 2015 TradesThis has actually turned out to be one of the most exciting off seasons in modern baseball history. There are so many trades to discuss. Let’s take a look at some of the most noteworthy in baseball at this time.

Adam Lind for Marco Estrada - This wasn’t one of the bigger trades, but this trade signals the Brewers are done playing games at first base. Lind isn’t the best player out there, but he will put up good numbers in Milwaukee. Estrada was also about to fall out of favor with the Brewers, so they won’t miss him much, if at all.

Jason Heyward to St. Louis - The Cardinals and Braves got the off season festivities started with a bang when they announced the trade that sent Jason Heyward to St Louis for Shelby Miller and several other players. The Cardinals needed an outfielder after the tragic accident involving Oscar Tavares, the best outfield prospect in the game a year ago. Hayward is expected to start in right field, and Miller will give the Braves rotation the boost it needs.

Matt Kemp - the biggest trade so far this off season has been the trading of outfielder MattKemp to the Padres. The Dodgers already had four big names under contract, and Joc Pederson is now big league ready. Clearly they had to dump one of those contracts, and they will be paying most of Kemp’s remaining salary.

Will Myers - The Padres are going for it, and Myers has a ton of power and will be asked to protect Kemp in the Padres order.

Sir Didi Gregerious - The Yankees entered the off season with a priority of finding a new shortstop to replace the legendary Derek Jeter. In one of the more intriguing trades of the off season, the Yankees grabbed something from the stash of the Diamondbacks and traded for defense whiz Didi Gregerious. His bat has yet to show up in the major leagues, and it may never do so. Still, his glove will keep him here for quite some time.

Jimmy Rollins - Long time Philadelphia Phillie Jimmy Rollins was traded to the Dodgers. This trade signifies the Phillies as finally being ready to put up the white flag and rebuild. Rollins will solidify the shortstop position in Los Angeles.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Old MLB Pitchers Still On The Market

Dice K
Earlier this week I looked at old position players on the market and what they have left, now let’s take a look at old pitchers. Old pitchers on the market are kind of like playing the lottery, let’s spin the wheel and see what comes out.

Bruce Chen - The long time Kansas City Royal Bruce Chen’s fastball has topped out in the low 80’s his whole career However he is not in the Royals long term plans so they chose not to re-sign him. A return is possible, not unlikely, and not many teams are in the market for an aging pitcher with a fastball that is about to dive under 80. Chen has probably played his last game in the major leagues.

Hiroki Kuroda - The 40-year-old wonder Kuroda can still be a positive addition to most rotations. However, the only thing stopping him is himself. He says that he either returns to New York or plays in Asia at this point.

Daisuke Matsuzaka - Years ago, Dice-K came over to the Red Sox from Japan with all the hype in the world. But he did not meet expectations. Still, he is a serviceable pitcher and in the right situation, could be a decent number five starter somewhere. He probably gets another contract, and that will be how his career goes until it finishes, on a contract by contract basis year to year.

Wandy Rodriguez - That trade did not work out as the Pirates had hoped, and the even waived Rodriguez, now 36, a year ago. Nobody wanted him last season, and my guess is nobody wants him again this season.

Ryan Voegelsong - Now this is an aging pitcher who still has plenty in the tank. H will eventually return to the Giants later on this off season once everything settles down.

Chris Capuano - Injuries have derailed the career of the former 20-game winner of the Milwaukee Brewers. He is still a positive addition to anyone’s rotation, and he is headed back to New York on a one year contract. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Baseball Off Season Moves As Of December 2014

So far this off season I’ve spent a great deal of time discussing potential moves and trades. Now, let’s look at what has happened in major league baseball so far, for real.

Jon Lester - This off season this has been the biggest move to date. The Cubs were in on Lester all off season and have been rumored for the longest of time to be the frontrunners for landing of Lester. The contract goes for six years and 155 million, which basically means the Cubs had to overpay by about five million to get their man. Theo isn’t done yet, as he still has a high interest in the other two big name free agent pitchers and the Cole Hamels trade rumors are getting hotter by the day.

Giancarlo Stanton - Earlier this off season, Giancarlo Stanton made history when he signed a 13 year, 325 million dollar contract extension with the Marlins. The historical part of this is this is the biggest contract in American sports history. However, if there is one player you give this contract to other than Mike Trout it is Stanton. Stanton is 25 years old, and not even in his prime yet. Stanton is as scary of a player with a bat in his hands at the plate as this game has ever seen, and he is only going to get better and better. On a funnier note, he is expected to pay 140 million in taxes.

Nelson Cruz - The Mariners are trying desperately to improve their offense, so they went out and signed the biggest bat on the market, OF/DH Nelson Cruz, and the contract goes for four years and 57 million. Cruz had a big year coming off suspension in 2014, making a case for the American League MVP award. Cruz will switch coasts now and head to Seattle, where he will be expected to protect Robinson Cano in the batting order, or the other way around, depending on which one can put their giant ego aside and let the other be the big star.

David Robertson - Not as splashy of signing as the three above, but Robertson signed with the White Sox the other day to be their new closer. This contract goes for four years and 46 million. Robertson will take over a closers role that hasn’t been filled for quite some time.

Andrew Miller - Andrew Miller signed a four year, 36 million dollar contract with the Yankees a few days ago. With David Robertson leaving, there are many who wonder if Miller will take over as the Yankees closer. He is good, but I am not sure if he has what it takes to be a closer. We will find out though.

Tori Hunter - By measurement of the advanced defensive analytics, Tori Hunter is the greatest defensive player in the history of baseball. Not just right now, or recently, not just live ball or dead ball, but ever, meaning Tori Hunter is the greatest defensive baseball player who ever lived. Hunter will be returning home to Minnesota, the place where it all started, on a one year, 10.5 million dollar contract. The Twins have a lot of talented young outfielders, and they are hoping Hunter will rub off on them. Specifically Aaron Hicks, who has all the talent in the world, but hasn’t been able to put it together yet.