Thursday, March 26, 2015

MLB 2015 Preview Team By Team

Well, we have reached that time of year again. Baseball season is just days away so that means it is time for me to give you my 2015 MLB baseball preview. Let's begin with the American League.

1. Toronto Blue Jays- The Blue Jays have been pushing hard the last couple of years to make something happen. Baltimore is taking a step back and I am not sold on the Red Sox rotation so their time is now.

2. Boston Red Sox- The Red Sox spent a lot of money this off season. However, as stated above, I am not sold on the rotation. That could change though, as the Red Sox are one of the leaders in the clubhouse right now for Cole Hamels.

3. Baltimore Orioles- Baltimore is going to take a step back this season. Still, a third place finish is not out of the question.

4. New York Yankees- The first season without Derek Jeter will end in a 4th place finish.

5. Tampa Bay Rays- This team once owned this division. But their time is no more. Expect a last place finish, and possibly the worst record in the league. They will also be trading Evan Longoria at some point.

1. Detroit Tigers- Currently the Tigers have five players under contract for 2016. I expect that to change during the season, but still, this is an old team. 2015 will be the last stand of the Detroit Tigers.

2. Kansas City Royals- I don't expect this team to fall as far as everyone thinks. Still, a second place finish seems about right.

3. Chicago White Sox- The White Sox made a lot of moves in the off season. But I am not sold on this team as a playoff contender right now.

4. Cleveland Indians- Another year, another 4th place finish for Cleveland.

5. Minnesota Twins- This team is getting better. But they will still finish last. Won't be long though before they are really, REALLY, good.

1. Los Angeles Angels- This is still the best team in this division. However this division is not as strong as it has been the last few years.

2. Seattle Mariners- The Mariners have been opening up the checkbook recently. I think it finally results in a playoff appearance for this team as a Wild Card.

3. Oakland Athletics- The Athletics time at the top of this division has come to an end, again. They will be rebuilding.

4. Texas Rangers- The Rangers were the most injured team in the league a year ago. I don't expect them to be that injured again. Still, the reality is this is an old team that needs to be rebuilt.

5. Houston Texans- Same situation as the Twins. Getting better, and won't be long until they are good.

AL Rookie of the Year: Alex Meyer/SP/Minnesota Twins- Meyer is the future ace of this team. The future begins now.

AL MVP: Mike Trout/CF/Los Angeles Angels- Trout has finally gotten the purists on his side. Expect 2014 to be the beginning of a long stretch of MVP awards for him.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

NL Central Regrets - Who Will Pay Big Time In 2015?

NL Central 2015
Spring Training is officially underway for all 30 teams. Unlike in the past, all notable free agents have been signed and all players who are going to be traded with the exception of Cole Hamels, have been traded. So there will be no major additions to any team during Spring Training. Let’s take a look at each of the five National League Central Teams, and what I believe they will be regretting by the end of the 2015 season.

St. Louis Cardinals: The St. Louis Cardinals will regret not finding a more suitable backup for Yadier Molina during the off season- Lat season, Yadier Molina, the heart, guts, and soul of one of the best franchises in American sports, missed several months with a hand injury. The Cardinals are lucky it did not cost them a spot in the postseason. However, he did have further injury issues during the postseason and that was one of the contributing factors of their National Championship Series loss to the Giants. The Cardinals should have invested some resources into finding a better backup for Molina and it may cost them in 2015.

Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pittsburgh Pirates will regret not extending young talent Gerrit Cole this offseason- Many teams are banking on young players, and signing them to long term contracts before they barely get their careers underway at the Major League level. Gerrit Cole is a mega-talent on the verge of stardom and is due for a breakout season. The Pirates will regret not getting him signed to a long term contract before he becomes too costly.

Chicago Cubs: The Chicago Cubs are going to regret not trading for Cole Hamels or deciding they are not going to trade for Cole Hamels ever- Let me explain a little further because that may be distracting. All off season after the Jon Lester signing, all we heard about were Cole Hamels rumors and they were directed at two teams, the Chicago Cubs, and the Boston Red Sox. All of these rumors may distract these young players causing them to think about which ones may be traded still. Theo is going to regret not ending this nonsense one way or the other before the end of the off season.

Milwaukee Brewers: The Milwaukee Brewers are going to regret not trading Kyle Lohse when they had the chance- For the last several years, the experts have listed Kyle Lohse as an ideal trade candidate and rightfully so. After all, he has had a pair of solid seasons, and provides good value in a trade due to his big game experience. Well there is just one problem, the man is 36 years old, and I believe Father Time is going to begin knocking this season, which will wreck his trade value.

Cincinnati Reds: The Cincinnati Reds are going to regret not trading Jay Bruce this off season, as he will become a distraction- I don’t know about you, but there is just something about Jay Bruce that just rubs me the wrong way. He has a lot of talent, but he seems to have a bit of an attitude. I believe not trading him will have a negative impact on this team, and it will affect them this season.  

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.