Win Fantasy Baseball in Five Easy Steps

by on March 5, 2011   2 Comments

Fantasy Baseball is fast approaching, so it’s time for my annual article for the fantasy-challenged.  Fantasy Baseball is only difficult to those who choose to ignore the basic, fundamental laws of probability.  Which is why the #1 rule is – draft Albert Pujols.  For the record, these rules helped me to a 2nd place finish in the 20-member Battle of the Blogs fantasy league last season (I got totally hosed in the championship, damn you Chone Figgins!).

2011 Off Season Free Agents

by on February 28, 2011   8 Comments

Money has a funny way of inspiring people to perform even better than expected. This is true in several career paths and certainly doesn’t exclude baseball. In baseball, the money up for grabs is anywhere from the league minimum of $400,000 to the $27.5 million Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees makes annually. Salaries are based on a combination of what a player has done and what is reasonable to expect he can do. Top performers in their mid- to late twenties and early thirties are those who can expect the big bucks. Players can either sign a contract extension with their current team or they can wait until their contract expires and they become a free agent. Both scenarios have pros and cons.

As far as a contract extension goes, it is guaranteed money, and who doesn’t like job security? Baseball is a gruelling sport and every player is one injury away from seeing his career end. With a long-term contract, even if the unthinkable happens, the injured player still gets paid. Free agency, on the other hand, usually means a lot more money. It can also be a strong motivator for good players to have great seasons. (Adrian Beltre’s 2004 and 2010 seasons anyone?)

West Division Playoff Teams

by on January 23, 2011   No Comments

Last season, teams from MLB’s two West Divisions won their respective pennants and made it to the World Series. This season, neither the San Francisco Giants nor the Texas Rangers will be flying under the radar. The expectations for both teams will certainly be higher than seasons before. What have these teams done to meet or exceed these expectations?

The Giants won the World Series on the strength of their young pitching staff. They were counted out before each series, including the final series against the Rangers, yet still prevailed. As a result, they will be expected to win.

News and Rumors: Upton, Beltre, Lee, Werth

by on November 18, 2010   4 Comments

Justin Upton trade rumors

This past spring, I wrote a short piece praising the Arizona Diamondbacks for signing young star outfielder Justin Upton to a 6-year, $51.25 million contract.  At the time, Upton was coming off a strong 2009 campaign, where he batted .300 while hitting 26 home runs, driving in 86 runs, and stealing 20 bases in just 138 games.

Upton regressed a bit during the 2010 season, but the 23-year old still had a fine season, batting .273 with 17 home runs, 69 runs batted in, 73 runs scored, and 18 stolen bases.  Upton’s numbers dropped in most major statistical categories (Upton’s walk rate rose, which is a good sign, however.), but they weren’t drastic enough to warrant any kind of panic.

When news first broke that the Diamondbacks were willing to discuss dealing Upton, it seemed like nothing but a rumor.  Perhaps it was just the Arizona front office, saying those things to let everyone know that no one is safe, warning players to not get too complacent.

But on Wednesday, Jayson Stark confirmed that Arizona GM Kevin Towers is indeed willing to discuss deals that would move the face of the franchise, saying that the Diamondbacks are “genuinely open” to moving Upton.

But why?  Why consider trading away a young outfielder who appears to have the kind of tools to build a team around?  It makes very little sense, having a young outfielder that is the caliber of Upton, who is signed to a very team-friendly contract.

The chances are slim that Upton is moved, as reports indicate that Arizona is looking for a very large haul of top of the line prospects who can help them both now and in the future, but there is still a chance that the younger of the Upton brothers gets moved.

Offseason Needs: St. Louis Cardinals

by on November 8, 2010   4 Comments

As a Cardinal fan the 2010 season can’t be considered anything less than a bitter disappointment. Take into consideration the following; Re-signing Matt Holliday, a superstar rookie season from relative unknown Jaime Garcia, 230+ innings out of both Wainwright and Carpenter, an MVP worthy season from Albert Pujols, the increasing power production of Colby Rasmus and the acquisition of Jake Westbrook  was enough to keep the Cardinals comfortably in *second place*. We can almost say it’s “Cubs-eqsue” to come into a season with such high expectations only to disappoint so thoroughly. LaRussa and Duncan are coming back again as is  a great bulk of the roster, but finishing 5 games behind Cincinnati should make it obvious to anyone that there are some gaps needing filled.

2 Steps Forward, 3 Steps Back for Cubs in 2010

by on February 26, 2010   2 Comments

Enstiein said the defintion of insantiy is, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Enter Cubs GM Jim Hendry and Manager Lou Pinella, who stubbornly refuse to believe a lead-off hitter is needed (or at least useful) in this complicated game of baseball.  Instead, they keep rolling out the same old same old year after year, unhappy players playing out of position and in the wrong roles and continue to believe that the players, not the management, needs to make the adjustment.  Can’t get on-base, can’t drive them in, can’t get anyone who knows how to pitch in the 8th or 9th innings.

The one good thing they managed to do this off-season was find a someone to do them a solid and take Milton Bradley off their hands.  They found their huckleberry in the Seattle Mariners, who gobbled up free agents the past couple months like game balls in a Hungry Hungry Hippos contest.

News of the Irrelevant – NFL Owner Blasts Yankees

by on February 5, 2010   No Comments

Baseball’s salary situation allows the rich to get richer and the poor to break a profit with payroll a fourth of the size of the big boys.  This system takes over a dozen teams out of playoff contention before the first pitch of the season is even thrown.  Whenever one of these teams signs a player, I like to call it the, “News of the Irrelevant.”  Included in this addition – the Jays flush money down the toilet on Kevin Gregg and the Baltimore Ravens owner says what I’ve been saying for years – the Yankees should be embarrassed they can’t win more than they do.

MLB Free Agent Tracker – 1/15/10

by on January 15, 2010   No Comments

Free agents shopping continues as we inch closer to MLB spring training.  Here is the latest

Beltre signs with Red Sox, proves a cap is needed

by on January 5, 2010   No Comments

Adrian Beltre is reportedly close to signing a one-year contract with a one-year option with the Boston Red Sox for $9 million, $5 million for the option year with a $1 million buyout.  Read more to see why we believe this signing proves MLB needs a salary cap.