Trusting Alderson

Sandy Alderson has done everything he’s said he would do.

In the end, Sandy Alderson and the New York Mets got their man at their price. Despite all of the uproar from the media and fans about being cheap and not being “all in”, Alderson was able to strike a deal with Yoenis Cespedes for a reported three years, $75 million and with an opt-out after the first season.

The New York Mets can thank themselves for always being doubted. For the better part of two decades, the organization has fostered a reputation as a second class, cheap group that plays on fan loyalty rather than trying to spend on a winning production. Sure, the club has won a few World Series titles and has been competitive at points. But, it has been the club that has become more well known for “Extreme Wilponing”, ponzi schemes, bizarre firings, even more bizarre missives to its fans about support, and for functioning more as a small market team in Baseball’s richest office.

Through that lens, the Mets’ current winter looked typical. Despite a rotation that has the possibility of being the best in the sport and despite all of the positive vibes of getting to the World Series last season, the Mets seemed to be coming up just one player short as they enter the 2016 season. In New York football, there is the expression, “Same old Jets.” In baseball, it most definitely is something like “Typical Mets.” Continue reading “Trusting Alderson”

Tigers Try To Extend Run; Add Upton

Detroit Owner Mike Ilitch only cares about winning. He proved it this winter by spending close to $300 million on new players.

Detroit Tigers Owner Mike Ilitch will never be accused of being cheap. In fact, one could make the argument that he is the ideal owner. Ilitch has continually spent large sums of money in order to field a viable World Series contender. The Tigers have ranked in the top 10 of payroll every season since 2008. While the payroll hasn’t yielded a World Series title, it has helped the Tigers make two World Series appearances, four American League Championship series appearances, and one Division Series appearance. Ilitch has given fans a legitimate reason to come to the ballpark.

But, the Tigers struggled to a 74-87 finish last season. Three of their four best hitters–Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Ian Kinsler–are over 33 years old. Three of their four top starters are over the age of 32. Their bullpen was a disaster. For the first time in nearly a decade, the Tigers were deadline sellers. They traded off stars Yoenis Cepedes and David Price, two players who contributed greatly to their new teams’ pennant drive. It looked as if the Tigers run as the dominant American League Central team was over. And, then they fired long time General Manager Dave Dombrowski.  Continue reading “Tigers Try To Extend Run; Add Upton”

Fantasy Value Candidate: Jesse Hahn

Jesse Hahn’s second half injury could lead to quite a value on draft day.

Last year, Jesse Hahn was on every sleeper list. He was popular because of his great 12 start showing in San Diego, which was followed by a trade to the Oakland A’s. The trade to Oakland only solidified him as good sleeper candidate because he was going to a good pitching environment and, let’s face it, Billy Beane targeted him.

Hahn lived up to the hype. In his four April starts, he posted a 2.86 ERA along with a 0.955 WHIP in 22 innings. The only disappointment was that he only racked up 11 strikeouts. The strikeout came back in May as Hahn struck out 29 batters in 37.2 innings while posting a 1.274 WHIP and a bloated 4.30 ERA. June was his best month as he won 3 games, posted a 2.91 ERA, a 1.226 WHIP, and struck out 18 batters in 31 innings.  Continue reading “Fantasy Value Candidate: Jesse Hahn”

Dodgers All-Star Front Office Reshaping Organization

Can the super team of GM’s build LA for the long term?

The Chicago Cubs once employed the “College of Coaches” strategy during the 1961 and 1962 seasons. The theory was that the surplus of brains in the dugout would lead to better, more level-headed strategy. The experiment was deemed a failure in that it was marked with coaches simply waiting their turn to be the head coach. And, the Cubs didn’t win. Like most things in Major League Baseball, a perceived failure will go away rather than being tweaked.

It seems that the modern day collectivism approach is returning in Los Angeles. The Dodgers recently announced the hiring of Alex Anthopoulos, the ex-General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays as their new Vice-President of Baseball Operations. Athopoulos joins a star-studded front office led by President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman, Senior Vice-President of Baseball Operations Josh Byrnes, and General Manager Farhan Zaidi. The front office is a collection of some of the sport’s brightest minds. Continue reading “Dodgers All-Star Front Office Reshaping Organization”

Yankees Make Right Call; Chapman Named Closer

Despite Andrew Miller being one of the best closers of 2015, the Yankees made the right call in naming Chapman to the role before Spring Training.

In a baseball Utopia, there wouldn’t be a need to give out roles in a bullpen. That perfect setup would simply give Managers a group of six to seven relievers who could be deployed at will to win a game. A Manager could maximize match-ups; he could use his best reliever in the most important situation. It all sounds lovely. Continue reading “Yankees Make Right Call; Chapman Named Closer”

Fantasy Baseball Conundrum: Miguel Sano

Miguel Sano offers big power upside. Do the rewards outweigh the risks?

There is one fatal flaw that most fantasy baseball owners possess. We all love the prospect. We like to be the guy who bets big on the young player. Often, those bets can win you a league. The reality is, however, that rookies tend to submarine a fantasy team. Few make big impacts. 2015 was an anomaly in terms of rookies. Many made big impacts. That is making their 2016 valuations difficult. They still have the promise that makes us want to roster them. But, we know that year two is often very difficult.  Continue reading “Fantasy Baseball Conundrum: Miguel Sano”

Royals Pass First Free Agent Challenge

At the price, bringing back Alex Gordon was a wise move. But, the Royals must resist falling in love with their players.

There was a time when many perceived Dayton Moore and the Kansas City Royals as clueless. Two consecutive pennants and a World Series title will change perception rather quickly. Moore’s slow rebuild has paid off and has lifted the Royals to the top of the Baseball world. Objectively, they will enter the 2016 season as one of the favorites to win it all.

Even more encouraging, ownership is backing the team. Last season, the club had the 13th highest payroll in the sport at a season ending figure of $128.8 million, much higher than 2014’s mark of $97.7 million. Right now, the organization has a decent farm system, is spending money wisely, and has a good, dynamic Major League roster. There’s not much more you could ask for as a follower of the club.  Continue reading “Royals Pass First Free Agent Challenge”

Junior And The Perfect Time To Be A Fan

Ken Griffey Jr.’s prime years were also the best years to be a baseball fan.

I grew up at a perfect time  as a baseball fan. You could get highlights of every team thanks to Sportscenter. You were able to see some games, so even a New York fan could keep track of Ken Griffey Jr. But, there was no MLB TV back then. There wasn’t even an internet beyond chat rooms until I was well into college. While we had more than previous generations, our access was still limited in comparison to today’s world.

I love the access that we have now. I haven’t become a curmudgeon in that regard. I don’t sit here and wish for the days of only having two teams to watch. I don’t miss having to wait until the late night Sportscenter to see how the rest of the league was doing. I like having Twitter to keep up on the happenings of the game. The immediacy has definitely brought fans closer to the game than ever before. There is no going back; there shouldn’t even be a desire to go back. Continue reading “Junior And The Perfect Time To Be A Fan”

Piazza Gets Overdue Honor

Mike Piazza finally gets his well deserved honor.

For all of the well-deserved talk about the incompetence of the BBWAA, the group managed to get two things right. Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza are the newest inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Surely, the baseball writers made many mistakes and the process is flawed because of the group’s misguided self-importance, but there is plenty of time to talk about that and the resulting snubs of many deserving players. For today, the only talk should be about the two very deserving members.

It took Mike Piazza four years to get into the Hall. Piazza, the sport’s greatest offensive catcher of all-time, had to wait because of innuendo of PED use. Yes, it was never more than that. There wasn’t proof, yet the writers decided to keep him out. With the Association making the correct call in removing writers who no longer cover the sport and a sort of turn in thought process when it came to the likable Piazza, 2016 was finally the year Mike Piazza took his place alongside Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, and the handful of great offensive catchers in Major League history. Continue reading “Piazza Gets Overdue Honor”

Yankees’ Smallest Deal May Be Most Valuable

Aaron Hicks isn’t the headlining addition, but he may be Cashman’s best move

General Manager Brian Cashman has been one of the busiest men in the business this winter. He’s added a big name in Aroldis Chapman. He may have solved his second base problem when he acquired Starlin Castro from the Cubs. The premium names make the Yankees a better team for 2016, even with the questions surrounding both men.

But Cashman’s best move may have been his first move of the winter when he acquired 26 year old switch hitting center fielder Aaron Hicks in a swap for backup catcher JR Murphy. Hicks, the former Minnesota Twins top prospect, won’t be a starter for the Yankees, but he will fill a key role for 2016 with the hopes of earning a larger role in 2017. Continue reading “Yankees’ Smallest Deal May Be Most Valuable”