Sunday, November 27, 2016

Predicting Where the Big Free Agents Will Sign


     As the American Thanksgiving has passed, from now to about Christmas will be an explosion of players switching teams in the MLB. I'm here to predict which free agent who haven't signed yet will sign this off-season.
    Yoenis Cespedes: Washington Nationals. It's uncetain which 4 teams are on Cespedes' "list" that he is most likely to join, besides the Mets. It's an "if" situation with all the teams pursuing Cespedes, including the Nats. The Nats would probably have to trade SS Danny Espinosa. Why? It's because their CF last year, ROY finalist Trea Turner would move to his natural position at shortstop, leaving Espinosa the odd man out.
     Aroldis Chapman: New York Yankees. Yes, Chapman could and should break a record for a contract signed by a closer, but the Yankees have a lot of money to spend. Chapman also previously said "I'd love to be a Yankee again" this off-season. The Yankees, who had Chapman for most of the 2016 campaign, traded him to the world series winning Cubs for the cubs former top prospect Gleyber Torres and others. It would make sense for the Yankees to trade Chapman for a big-named prospect, then sign him for a little more money.
     Kenley Jansen: Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers goal this off-season was to "keep their stars and add righty bats", well one of those stars was Jansen, who along with Chapman can break the record for a contract signed by a closer. For Jansen, it would make sense to sign with the Dodgers, who are still competitive, and look to be for a very long time.
     Edwin Encarnacion: Boston Red Sox. After the retirement of DH David Ortiz, getting Encarnacion, another DH, could cover that flaw. On Encarnacion's side, signing with a team who had made the playoffs last season, could fill what every player wants: To be on a contending team.
     Jose Bautista: Toronto Blue Jays. After a down year in 2016, the Blue Jays still would like to retain Bautista. Also, a fan favorite in Canada, Bautista should like to stay.
     Mark Melancon: San Francisco Giants. After a bad season by Santiago Casilla, the Giants have pursued Melancon. Not to mention that Casilla is also a free agent.
     Mark Trumbo: Baltimore Orioles. The O's, who shocked many in 2016, would love to re-sign the guy who hit 47 bombs for them last year. Also, Trumbo would most likely love to play in Camden Yards again.
    Justin Turner: Los Angeles Dodgers. The reasoning for the Dodgers to re-sign Turner is basically the same for Jansen. The Dodgers are still a competitive team, that have made it a goal to "retain their stars."
    Dexter Fowler: New York Mets. After winning the World series with the Cubs, the Mets should have tons of interest in the CF if Cespedes leaves. Fowler could play center with Michael Comforto and Curtis Granderson on his sides, leaving Jay Bruce, who's entering a contract year, to be a trade asset.
   So that's who I think will sign the big free agents this year. Who do you think they'll sign with? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. For now, that's it for me.

     

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Trade Review: Mariners acquire Segura, others in deal with D-backs


     The Seattle Mariners have acquired SS/2B Jean Segura, OF Mitch Haniger and LHP Zac Curtis from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for RHP Taijuan Walker and SS/2B Ketel Marte. Let's get into the details.
      From the Mariners point of view, Segura had a breakout year last season, his only in Arizona. His .319 AVG, 20 HRs, 64 RBIs, with 33 SBs in 153 games for the d-backs intrigued the Mariners' management. Segura also led the national league in hits with 203. according to MLB.com, here's what Mariners' GM Jerry Dipoto had to say about Segura:   "We just feel at this point, this trade made more sense with where our roster is, and Jean Segura fit this club about as well as any player we were looking at in the trade market." Dipoto also said: "I feel like we're acquiring one of the premium leadoff hitters in the game, last season was a real coming-out party for Jean" and "He's a very skilled athlete, and we feel like the idea of of him taking the spot at shortstop alongside Robinson Cano and hitting at the top of the lineup gives us a different dynamic than we had at any point in 2016."
     The way I look at the trade is that the D-backs get younger in a 23 year old Marte, while Segura, who will be 27 by opening day, gives the Mariners proven talent. Taijuan Walker, at age 24 didn't fit in with a rotation that included Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton, plus the rises of Ariel Miranda and Nathan Karns. The other 2 players in the deal, Haniger and Curtis, both debuted in 2016, and weren't amazing, but Haniger was Arizona's minor league player of the year, with a .321 AVG, 25 HRs and 94 RBIs between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno. Curtis wasn't sharp in the MLB last year with a 6.75 ERA in 21 appearances, but the 24 year old's last 3 minor league seasons included 53 saves, with a 1.95 ERA in 104 appearances, plus 169 Ks and just 35 BBs.
     From Arizona's point of view, they got much needed youth out of Segura, basically turning him 4 years younger, and changing his name to Ketel Marte. Last offseason, the D-backs gave up a lot of youth in SS Dansby Swanson and SP Aaron Blair, for SP Shelby Miller, who was a huge bust last year. Well, in this trade, the D-backs got back their young SS (Marte) and their young starting pitcher (Walker). With Miller's terrible year, plus their big free agent signing Zack Greinke not living up to the hype, Walker can slot in nicely behind Greinke, LHP Patrick Corbin, and Miller.
      Overall, I think both teams had addressed their needs, so time will tell who will be the real winner of this deal. 
  

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Astros add lefty bats in McCann, Reddick, Cards sign LHP Cecil


The Houston Astros have acquired C Brian McCann from the New York Yankees in exchange for minor league RHPs Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman. In addition to that, the Astros also signed OF Josh Reddick to a 4 year, $52 mil deal. The club also signed RHP Charlie Morton to a 2 year, $14 mil deal. Traveling a little bit north, the St. Louis Cardinals have signed LHP Brett Cecil to a 4 year, $30.5 mil deal. Let's get into details.
   The Astros' acquisitions of McCann and Reddick filled a big void: quality left handed hitting. Stars Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and George Springer are all righties, so bringing in lefties was a good move. With Jason Castro leaving in free agency, the only catchers on the roster was Evan Gattis and Max Stassi. Gattis is a really good power hitter but is really just a DH. Stassi is a full time backup at best, so that's why Houston acquired McCann. The price they gave up, Abreu and Guzman are both hard throwers with Abreu's velocity range being 97-99 MPH and Guzman's being up to 102-103. Abreu was Houston's 7th best prospect and Guzman wasn't in their top 30. In addition to Reddick and Springer, OFs Norichika Aoki (who was recently claimed off waivers), Jake Marisnick and Preston Tucker have the best shot at making the team. Marisnick or Aoki have the best shot at center, while Reddick and Springer cover up the corners. The acquisition of Morton was for a 5th rotation spot behind Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Lance McCullers and Mike Fiers.
    The Cards' signing of Cecil was actually a little surprising, compared to other teams, like the Seattle Mariners, who need a left handed reliever. The Cardinals southpaw relievers are: Zach Duke, Marco Gonzales, Tyler Lyons, set up man Kevin Siegrist and Cecil. That's an odd fact considering that the Mariners' best lefty looks to be newly acquired James Pazos.
   Stats: McCann had an AVG of .242 and 20 HRs for the Yankeees last season. Reddick hit for an AVG of .281 with 10 HRs with the Oakland A's and LA Dodgers last year. Morton had a 1-1 record and a 4.15 ERA in just 4 appearances with the Philadelphia Phillies last season. Last but not least, Cecil had a 3.93 ERA, with a 1.28 WHIP in 54 games last year with the Toronto Blue Jays. 
    That's my brief recap of the Astros and Cardinals recent moves.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

2016 ROY review


 The ROY, or rookie of the year award is given to the best rookie from the NL (national league) and AL (American league) every year. There is always 3 finalists but other rookies can still receive votes. Here were the finalists:
 AL: RHP Michael Fulmer of the Detroit Tigers. Fulmer's 11-7 record, 3.06 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 132 SOs, all in 159 IP won him the award. C Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees. In just 53 games, Sanchez would of been second in MLB history for least amount of games for a position player by one game, to Willie McCovey. Sanchez had a .299 AVG plus 20 HR in that span. OF Tyler Naquin of the Cleveland Indians. Naquin's .296 AVG and 14 HRs was solid to get the 3rd spot.
 Here's the NL finalists:
 SS Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was unanimous that Seager would win with his AVG of .308, 26 HRs, 105 runs was amazing for a rookie, who might get some MVP votes. RHP Kenta Maeda of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The other Dodger came of Japan, and is the oldest finalist at 28 years of age. His 16-11 record, 3.48 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP in 175.2 innings was pretty good for a rookie, even though he's 28. CF Trea Turner of the Washington Nationals. Turner, who was acquired in a 3 team trade a couple of years ago, converted positions from SS to CF, and boy did that work out. Turner had a blasting .342 AVG and 33 SB shows a sign that the Nats have an amazing leadoff man in years to come.
 Do I agree with the winners? Yes, every one agrees that Seager should win, but it was close between Fulmer and Sanchez. Being a Yankees fan, I still think that Fulmer should win, mostly because of him playing 5 months while Sanchez only participated in 2.
 So that's my recap on the 2016 ROY results.


Friday, November 11, 2016

MLB News: Morales signing and Phillies-Dodgers trade


 The Toronto Blue Jays have signed DH/1B Kendrys Morales to a 3 year, $33 mil deal. Also, in unrelated news, the Philadelphia Phillies have acquired 2B Howie Kendrick from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for 1B Darin Ruf and 2B Darnell Sweeney. Let's get to details.
 The Jays signing of Morales almost guarantees that DH/1B Edwin "Walk the Parrot" Encarnacion won't return to Toronto. There is hope Encarnacion returns but it seems unlikely that Encarnacion returns to Canada. Morales will DH regularly while 1B Justin Smoak starts at first.
 The Phillies-Dodgers trade is an interesting one. Days before, Kendrick wished to have a fulltime 2B job, after sharing it with Chase Utley this past year. Now that the Phillies have Kendrick, they have a chance to trade away 2B Cesar Hernandez, their former starter. What L.A. got in return? Sweeney mostly plays 2B so he's basically Kendrick's replacement. Also, he plays all 3 outfield positions, so he has value. Ruf is a backup 1B, in this case for Adrian Gonzalez, and can play the corner outfield positions if they want him too, because L.A. has solid outfield depth.
 So that's how I recap the big signing and trade of today.


MLB Free Agent News: Braves sign 2 40+ starters


 The Atlanta Braves have signed starting pitchers R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon, in the span of a day. Dickey is definitely on the team while Colon has a physical before he officially signs. Anyway, even though Colon, who's 43, and Dickey, who's 42, aren't going to be around long, both deals were just for the 2017 season. The Braves probably just wanted more starting depth. It's uncertain what Atlanta's rotation will look like by opening day because trade rumors around RHP Mike Foltynewicz could change that. Right now it looks like the Braves' 5th starter will be out of spring training unless Foltynewicz stays and Aaron Blair takes over after a horrid 7.59 ERA in 15 games last season. Like I've already said, the Braves opening day rotation is uncertain, but if they don't make anymore moves (which I doubt will happen) the rotation should look like this:
 1. Julio Teheran. 2. R.A. Dickey. 3. Bartolo Colon. 4. Mike Foltynewicz. 5. Aaron Blair.
 And that's what I think the Braves will do if they don't make anymore moves.
 Stats: Dickey was 10 and 15 with a 4.46 ERA and a WHIP of 1.37 in 30 games last season. He also has a career record of 110 and 108 with a 4.01 ERA along with a 1.29 in 369 games (starting in 269) in 1883.2 IP in 14 seasons also winning a NL Cy Young in 2012. Colon had a 15 and 8 record and a 3.43 ERA plus a 1.21 WHIP in 34 games last year. In his career he has a record of 233 and 162, an ERA of 3.93 and a WHIP of 1.29 in 509 games.

     

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Trade review: Rangers send defenseman McIlrath to Florida for Steven Kampfer


 The next trade of the 2016-17 NHL season has broke, let's see what happened.
 The New York Rangers sent defenseman Dylan McIlrath to the Florida Panthers in exchange for defenseman Steven Kampfer and a conditional 7th round pick (year not announced yet), Bob McKenzie of TSN reports. The Rangers get the 7th rounder only if McIlrath plays 30+ games for Florida. Here's my review:
  Florida most likely wanted more defensive size. Last year's tallest d-man, Erik Gudbranson (6'5"), was dealt to Vancouver in the offseason. So, that meant, at 6'4", Aaron Ekblad and Alex Petrovic were the tallest defenseman. But, Ekblad's more than just a big defenseman, he's an all-star. Petrovic is fine but they wanted more height and Kampfer, who is 5'11" wasn't working. So, they went after McIlrath, who had trade rumors surrounding him, and plus, at 6'5", he's a perfect match. The conditional pick was just the cherry on top to make sure it happened.
 Now, the other side. I'm not really sure why the Rangers would do this because they trust 22 year old Brady Skjei, and Adam Clendening and Nick Holden are solid top 6/7th d-man. Maybe it was that the Blueshirts didn't want McIlrath or like the way Kampfer plays and didn't need size. All these suggestions are IFs but it could explain why this trade is for real.
 Stats: McIlrath didn't register a point in his only game this year and only has 4 career points (2 goals, 2 assists) over 38 career games over the course of 4 seasons, all with the Rangers. (Including this year.) Kampfer also played 1 game this year and didn't receive a point. Over 6 seasons, (this year too) Kampfer played in 134 games and scored 9 goals along with 14 assists for 23 points with Boston Minnesota and Florida.
 And there you have it, McIlrath to Florida for Kampfer and a conditional 7th round pick.        

Monday, November 7, 2016

November 5th, 2016, Toronto Maple Leafs against Vancouver Canucks. What the heck just happened?


 On November 5th, 2016, the Vancouver Canucks went east to Toronto for hockey night in Canada against the Maple Leafs. The Leafs won 6-3 but nobody is talking about that... well some people are but the third period was just... Physical to say the least.
 Here's my quick recap.
 First, Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly laid a crushing hit on winger Jannik Hansen, who was able to pass it to winger Daniel Sedin. Sedin on a 2 on 3, shoots and scores! But, Center Nazem Kadri laid a dirty check to the head on Sedin while he scores. Hansen, who was okay from the Rielly hit, jumps in and fights Kadri while Sedin is in pain on the ice. Kadri got a 5 minute major and a game misconduct on the hit. Both Kadri and Hansen got 5 for fighting. Later, with the Canucks still on the power play, wingers Derek Dorsett of Vancouver and Leo Komorav of Toronto dropped the gloves. This pissed off Leafs enforcer Matt Martin, who  was trying to fight Dorsett but he wouldn't budge, so Martin was chirping at Dorsett as the ref skated him off the ice. Dorsett attempted to break free but gave up eventually. When Rielly laid that crushing hit on Hansen, Hansen was clearly fine but anyway, Vancouver winger Alexandre Burrows speared Rielly in an injury attempt. The next time the two were on the ice at the same time, before a faceoff, the 2 were yelling at each other and then when the puck dropped, Burrows went after Rielly and they fought. The biggest brawl was the last one. Martin and defenseman Troy Stecher were playing the puck in the corner but then Martin kept throwing Stecher at the ground and THEY fought. But then, Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller jumped on Martin so now Martin was dealing with Miller and Stecher. Then, in that corner, there was a line brawl. All the skaters were in the corner and then, Toronto goalie Fredrik Andersen comes charging in and jumps on all of them!
 To recap: there was a total of 171 penalty minutes in the game (96 for Vancouver and 75 for Toronto). In that period alone, Kadri, Hansen, Komorav, Dorsett, Burrows, Rielly, Erik Gudbranson, Martin, Stecher, Miller, Andersen, Connor Carrick and Brendan Gaunce all got penalties in a hectic third period. The only other time they meet again this regular season is in Vancouver on December 3rd.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Trade review: Mike Condon to Sens


 The first trade during the 2016-17 NHL season was pretty minor but it doesn't matter. The trade was between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators on November 2nd, 2016. Goalie Mike Condon went north to Ottawa with Pittsburgh getting a 5th round pick at the upcoming draft. The Penguins had a goalie issue when their starter for the last decade, Marc-Andre Fleury suffered a concussion last playoffs and rookie Matt Murray won the team the cup. During the World Cup, Murray broke his hand to settle who would start at the beginning of the year. But the question was who would be the backup for the little while when Murray is sidelined? Prospect Tristian Jarry didn't look NHL ready yet, so when Montreal placed Condon on waivers, Pittsburgh pounced. Murray has recovered a lot but a call up might happen, maybe Jarry makes the team. Pittsburgh just wanted to get some value out of Condon so they dealt him for a 5th rounder.
  Now on the other side. After goalie Craig Anderson came back from missing a game when he found out his wife Nicholle was diagnosed with cancer, Anderson recorded a shutout and another solid game. But backup Andrew "Hamburgular" Hammond went down with an injury, Ottawa decided to trade Condon for a pick, rather than rolling with Chris Dreidger as their backup. This seems like a very short term thing but time will tell what will happen.
 Stats: Condon only played 1 game with Pittsburgh: it was when he stopped all 7 shots in relief of Fleury in a 5-1 loss to Nashville. When Carey Price went down with a big injury last year, Condon's old team called him up from St. Johns (AHL) and Condon become the starter. That year, Condon appeared in 55 games, starting in 51, having a record of 21-25-6 with a 2.71 GAA and a .903 Sv%.
 So there you have it, G Mike Condon from Pittsburgh to Ottawa for a 2017 5th rounder.