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?)

East Division Playoff Teams

by on February 7, 2011   No Comments

In 2010, the best teams in all of Major League Baseball came from the East Division in each league. Both divisions were home to the wild card winners, the Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees. They were also home to baseball’s two best records, 97 by the Philadelphia Phillies and 96 by the Tampa Bay Rays. What fate awaits the monsters of last year’s regular season? Will these teams once again be playing in October?

The simple answer for the Phillies is yes. In fact, anything short of a second World Series championship in four seasons—having won in 2008—would be an utter disappointment. A starting rotation like the Phillies had last season made Charlie Manuel’s managing job easy. His club posted 14 complete games, the most in the Major Leagues. Managing a bullpen is certainly easier when your starters are going deep into games. This will not change for Manuel as he will still have the three staff aces; Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels, who carried Philadelphia to the playoffs.

Howard for Pujols?

by on March 15, 2010   10 Comments

It’s a trade that is more likely to be considered in your fantasy baseball league or on your new version of MLB 2K10, but ESPN’s Buster Olney has reported that the Philadelphia Phillies have “internally discussed” a deal that would send Ryan Howard (and presumably multiple prospects) to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Albert Pujols.

ALL MLB TEAM (Pre-Season 2010)

by on March 8, 2010   9 Comments

Imagine another planet like Earth that also played baseball (or something along those lines, it won’t work for countries because I’m choosing the best of the best for an all MLB team which consists of players from many countries).  Who would you choose to be on your 25 man roster?   Would you choose the best overall player, the young and upcoming prospect that might save your franchise (e.g. “Jesus” Strasburg, I mean Stephen), the big game playoff performers, or your favorites from your team?  Who would you want to manage these superstars?  This is a list of those players and that coach.  However this list does not include your typical bullpen because I am doing this as more of an All-Star of All-Star’s team (or how players are chosen come All-Star time).  There are thousands of players to choose from with the options and possibilities being almost infinite.

National League East Questions (And Answers)

by on February 26, 2010   4 Comments

With spring training now in full swing, I’ll address just a few questions about the National League East…

Will Jayson Werth shave his magnificent beard, or will he summon it’s powers to help earn a long term contract? Werth, coming off a career year in 2009, is due to become a free agent after the 2010 season.  With another year similar to the one he had last year, he could be looking at a contract similar to what Jason Bay earned this past off season.  Think something like 4 years/$60 million.  Can the Phillies afford that?  With Ryan Howard due for an extension after the 2011 season, many believe it’s one or the other.  The lanky righty, who looks like Grizzly Adams in Right Field with a cannon arm and a nice mixture of power and speed, or the slugging First Baseman who is just about a lock to smack 45 round trippers and drive in 140 runs but strikeout nearly 200 times?  Time will tell, but my money is on Howard getting the extension and Werth taking a walk, sadly.

Philadelphia Phillies 2010 Preview

by on February 15, 2010   One Comment

Three straight National League East titles, two consecutive NL pennants, and a World Series championship.  Those are the credentials for this Philadelphia Phillies ball club.  A couple of former MVPs, a few Gold Glovers, countless All Stars, a formerly perfect closer, and a former Cy Young award winner, who are all in the prime of their careers.  For this Phillies team, the time to win is now.  And winning is what they’ve done lately.

Golden Baseball League Leads DH Debate

by on January 29, 2010   One Comment

The independent Golden Baseball League has abolished the DH rule for 2010, and will let pitchers take their shot at the plate every 9th hitter.  Not only is this a terrible idea at the independent level of professional baseball, but I would argue that the National League should get with program and add the DH, too.

Diary of a Non-Prospect, Non-Steroid User

by on January 14, 2010   No Comments

I played baseball at the University of Michigan from 2000-2003 and played for (and got cut from) several independent teams in the years thereafter including the Elmira Pioneers (formerly of the CanAm League) as well as the Mid-Missouri Mavericks and Ohio Valley Redcoats (both now-defunct Frontier League teams).  I was a fringe player – a scrapper – always on the edge of making my way into the lineup, but lacked the talent and size (5’9″ and sub-170-lb most of my career) to be a prospect.  I played during the heart of the steroid era, never had to face a drug test, and had it made very plain to me by almost everyone in the baseball business that my dreams were in direct proportion to my ability to get bigger and stronger.  All that incentive with no potential consequences, but I never did steroids.  I don’t pretend I would have made the big leagues, but there is no question in my mind that had I made the decision to do steroids, it would have pushed me over the threshold that kept me from advancing in the game.