Thursday, August 31, 2017

MLB news: Maybin claimed off waivers




                    The Houston Astros have claimed OF Cameron Maybin off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels.

                     With the playoffs looming, the Astros were looking for a solid 4th outfielder. Maybin has good speed, so that is helpful off the bench in the playoffs. Maybin will probably platoon with rookie Derek Fisher, as Fisher is left-handed, and Maybin is right-handed.  He's a
rental, and they get him for practically nothing.
                     
                       Maybin, 30, has a .235 batting average, six homers, 22 RBIs and 29 steals in 387 Plate Appearances for the Angels this year. In his 11 year MLB career for the Angels, Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres and Florida Marlins, Maybin has a .256 batting average, 52 homers, 274 RBIs and 160 stolen bases in 3401 Plate Appearances.

                       The Angels recently acquired LF Justin Upton, so Maybin was just a 4th outfielder. With getting rid of him, they also get rid of the remainder of his $9 million contract he's owed this year.

MLB trade review: Upton to Angels



                 The Los Angeles Angels have acquired LF Justin Upton from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for RHP prospect Grayson Long and a player to be named later (PTBNL) or cash considerations.

                 Just one game out of the AL Wild card, the Angels are thinking that acquiring Upton could be the extra push they need. Also, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times noted that since the start of 2015, Angels left fielders have hit just 27 homers, including just seven this season. Upton's 162 game average is 28 homers. Even though he has a big contract, Upton is under contract for four seasons after this year. He can be solid in L.A.

                  In related news, the Angels awarded their left fielder, a former Tiger, Cameron Maybin to the Houston Astros. Maybin would have been benched with Upton on the team.

                  Upton, 30, has a .279 batting average, 28 homers, 94 RBIs and 10 steals in 520 Plate Appearances for the Tigers this year. In his 11 year MLB career for the Tigers, San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks, Upton has a .269 batting average, 249 homers, 797 RBIs and 134 stolen bases in 6080 Plate Appearances.

               The Tigers have been looking to unload lots of salary lately. Former ace Justin Verlander is also on the market, with a $28 million price tag per year. Upton is owed $22 million per year, so trading him is good for the the payroll. The don't get too much, but that's what hurts about having that big of a contract.

                    Long, 23, has a 2.69 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 125 strikeouts in 133.2 innings between High-A and AA this year. In his minor league career, Long has 3.05 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 217 strikeouts in 218.1 innings.

                    I think this is an even trade. The Tigers get a solid prospect, and unload a lot of salary. On the other hand, the Angels get a good player under team control for a few years. So, everybody wins.

Chicago Blackhawks 2017-18 season preview



                With 109 points in 2016-17, the Chicago Blackhawks finished 1st in the Western conference. But, the eighth seed Nashville Predators upset the Blackhawks, sweeping them in the first round. Like most offseasons in the Windy City, big changes occurred. Let's look at what GM Stan Bowman did.

                 Notable additions: LW Brandon Saad, RW Patrick Sharp, D Connor Murphy, F Lance Bouma, F Tommy Wingels, G Anton Forsberg, D Jan Rutta, D Jordan Oesterle.

                 Notable subtractions: LW Artemi Panarin, D Niklas Hjalmarsson, G Scott Darling, C Marcus Kruger, F Tyler Motte, D Trevor van Riemsdyk, D Johnny Oduya, D Brian Campbell.


                                 Forwards
Here are my projected forward lines.

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik
Patrick Sharp - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman - Nick Schmaltz - Vinnie Hinostroza
Lance Bouma - Tommy Wingels - John Hayden

Since being acquired by the Blackhawks, Panik has been great with Toews. Saad started his career in Chicago, and was also great with "Captain Serious". Sharp and Kane are reunited, and Anisimov has been Kane's center for a couple years now. The kid line is solid. Bouma and Wingels are two veteran additions that will pay off. Tomas Jurco, Jordin Tootoo and Tanner Kero are the extra forwards.

                                   Defensemen
 Here are my projected defensive pairs.

Duncan Keith - Connor Murphy
Michal Kempny - Brent Seabrook
Gustav Forsling - Michal Rozsival

Murphy is a nice addition, and can play well with a top defender like Keith. Seabrook and Kempny are two good top-4 defensemen. Forsling and Rozsival are a young guy, Forsling, and a vet, Rozsvial, which is normally a good thing. Jan Rutta and Jordan Oesterle are the extra defensemen.

                                      Goaltending
                                      Corey Crawford
                                      Anton Forsberg

Crawford is a really good goalie. Forsberg never got a chance to be a backup in Columbus, but can be that in Chicago. It's a solid tandem.

                                      Prediction
Once again, the Blackhawks have a good team. even though the loss of Artemi Panarin hurts, I think the Blackhawks will once again make the playoffs.

                                      YouTube
Also, check out my YouTube preview for the Blackhawks.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Carolina Hurricanes 2017-18 season preview



               A late season push helped the Carolina Hurricanes finish with 87 points in 2016-17, but they still finished 7th in a tough Metropolitan division, missing the playoffs. Rookie Sebastian Aho, Jeff Skinner and their young defensive core all had a good season, but goaltending woes hurt them. To improve their team, GM Ron Francis made some moves. Let's look at what the hall-of-famer did.

               Notable additions: RW Justin Williams, G Scottt Darling, D Trevor van Riemsdyk, C Marcus Kruger, C Josh Jooris.

               Notable subtractions: G Eddie Lack, F Bryan Bickell, D Ryan Murphy.

        
                                     Forwards
Here are my projected forward lines.

Jeff Skinner - Jordan Staal - Justin Williams
Teuvo Teravainen - Victor Rask - Sebastian Aho
Phillip Di Giuseppe - Elias Lindholm - Lee Stempniak
Joakim Nordstrom - Marcus Kruger - Derek Ryan.

The first line is three solid vets. The kid line second line should really work. I like the idea of Lindholm running his own line, and Stempniak is a nice wing to have. Nordstrom and Kruger were teammates in Chicago, and the Canes are hoping that chemistry works out. Josh Jooris and Brock McGinn are the two extra forwards.

                                      Defensemen
Here are my projected defensive pairs.

Noah Hanifin - Justin Faulk
Jaccob Slavin - Brett Pesce
Klas Dahlbeck - Trevor van Riemsdyk

Hanifin, at 20 years of age, gets to play with a their best defenseman, Faulk. Pesce and Slavin are solid top-4 defensemen. van Riemsdyk and Dahlbeck are a solid third pair.


                                   Goaltending

                                   Scott Darling
                                   Cam Ward


   Darling is finally getting the chance to start. Ward isn't a starter anymore, but he can be a solid mentor and backup to Darling.

                                 Prediction
Though they wildly improved in the offseason, I think that the Hurricanes will compete for the wild card in 2017-18, but just miss out on the playoff action.

                                  YouTube
Also, check out my YouTube season preview for the Canes 

MLB trade review: Leake to Mariners



                 The Seattle Mariners have acquired RHP Mike Leake, cash and international bonus pool space from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for SS prospect Rayder Ascanio.

                 The Mariners, needing starting pitching, with James Paxton, Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma all currently on the DL. Leake is a reliable starter, making at least 30 starts in every season since 2012, and is just four starts from hitting that mark this year. Also, his control makes him a worthy acquisition. The only problem is his contract. The M's will also acquire cash, but it's not going to be all of the $55 million he's owed over the next three years. He was having a good season, but a horrible August has weakened his numbers.

                  Leake, 29, has a 4.21 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 103 strikeouts in 154 innings for the Cardinals this year. In his eight year MLB career for the Cardinals, San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds, Leake has a 4.02 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 958 strikeouts in 1414.1 innings.

                   The Cardinals are looking to get rid of some salary. Leake's high contract hurts his value, so they have to get a lesser prospect, and give up cash. Ascanio isn't the best hitter but is a good fielder.

                    Ascanio, 21, has a .217 batting average, nine homers, 44 RBIs and 12 steals in 450 Plate Appearances between Low-A, High-A and AAA. In his minor league career, Ascanio has a .240 batting average, 15 homers, 158 RBIs and 36 stolen bases in 1696 Plate Appearances.

                   I think the Mariners win this trade. They get a reliable MLB starter, plus cash, for a low leveled prospect, who struggles offensively. Even though they still will overpay Leake, it's a fair deal for them.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Calgary Flames 2017-18 season preview



              In 2016-17, the Calgary Flames rebounded off a bad 2015-16 and finished 4th in the Pacific division with 94 points, making the playoffs. But, they were swept in the first round by the Anaheim Ducks. Lead by big goaltending changes, the Flames had a solid offseason. Let's look at what GM Brad Treliving did.

        
          
               Notable additions: G Mike Smith, G Eddie Lack, D Travis Hamonic, RW Spencer Foo.

               Notable subtractions: G Brian Elliott, G Chad Johnson, F Lance Bouma, D Deryk Engelland, D Dennis Wideman.


                                        Forwards
Here are my projected forward lines.

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Michael Ferland
Matthew Tkachuk - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik
Curtis Lazar - Sam Bennett - Spencer Foo
Kris Versteeg - Matt Stajan - Troy Brouwer

Ferland played with Monahan and Gaudreau last year. The second line is pretty good. The kid line with Bennett, who's looking to breakout, like Lazar will go well with the rookie Foo. Versteeg and Brouwer are better than fourth liners, but their team is so good they have to play there. Also, Freddie Hamilton is the extra forward. The Flames might also have interest in signing Jaromir Jagr, so we'll see if they do that.

                                                    Defensemen
Here are my projected defensive pairs.

T.J. Brodie - Dougie Hamilton
Mark Giordano - Travis Hamonic
Brett Kulak- Michael Stone

Everyone besides Kulak is a good top-4 defenseman. In my opinion, this is the second best defensive core in the NHL, behind the Nashville Predators. Matt Bartkowski is their 7th defenceman.

                                              Goaltending


                                              Mike Smith
                                              Eddie Lack

                 Smith is a solid starter, and Lack is a solid backup. If one of them goes down, top goalie prospect and AHL starter Jon Gillies should get the call.

                                           Prediction
The Flames improved their team a lot in the offseason. This will get them more points in 2017-18, and they will make the playoffs. 

                                                     YouTube
 Also, check out my YouTube preview for the Flames

Monday, August 28, 2017

Buffalo Sabres 2017-18 season preview



                  With a promising core, the Buffalo Sabres failed to impress in 2016-17, finishing last in the Atlantic division with 78 points. But on the positive side, 20 year old sensation Jack Eichel broke out a little with 24 goals and 57 points. To improve their staff, the Sabres brought in hall-of-famer Phil Housley as their head coach. On the ice, the Sabres made more moves. Let's take a look at what they did.

                     Notable additions: RW Jason Pominville, LW Benoit Pouliot, C Jacob Josefon, F Seth Griffith, D Nathan Beaulieu, D Marco Scandella, G Chad Johnson.

                     Notable subtractions: RW Tyler Ennis, LW Marcus Foligno, RW Brian Gionta, F William Carrier, D Dmitry Kulikov, D Cody Franson, G Anders Nillson.

                                                Forwards
Here are my projected forward lines.

Evander Kane- Ryan O'Reilly - Kyle Okposo
Matt Moulson - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart
Benoit Pouliot - Sean Malone - Jason Pominville
Nicolas Deslauriers - Jacob Josefson - Seth Griffith

The first line is really nice, especially if Kane can get things going. Eichel and Reinhart are both young, and getting to play with a vet in Moulson helps. The rookie Malone gets to center two vets, so that helps too. The fourth line is a grinder, Deslauriers, Josefson a nice 4th line center, and Griffith, who is small, but feisty. Johan Larsson and C.J. Smith are the extra forwards.


                                                  Defensemen
Here are my projected defensive pairs.

Marco Scandella - Rasmus Ristolainen
Nathan Beaulieu - Zach Bogosian
Jake McCabe - Victor Antipin

Ristolainen is a growing top-2 defenseman. Scandella, the new guy, is a nice top-4 defenseman. Same goes with Beaulieu and Bogosian. McCabe is a top-6 defenseman, and Antipin, the rookie, gets a chance at the NHL. Justin Falk, Taylor Fedun and Josh Gorges are the replacements.

                                                  Goalies

                                          Robin Lehner
                                          Chad Johnson

Lehner is still growing, and looking for a breakout season. Johnson has been with the team before, and is a solid backup.

                                                 Prediction

   The Sabres are still a growing team. I think that they will have a much better 2017-18, with 85 points, seven more than in 2016-17. But, they will finish just 7th in the Atlantic division, right behind sixth place. That means they will miss the playoffs. 

                                                 YouTube
     Also, check out my Youtube video preview for the Sabres

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Boston Bruins 2017-18 season preview



         The Boston Bruins surprised some in 2016-17, finishing 3rd in the Atlantic division with 95 points. But, they lost in the first round to the Ottawa Senators. Their offseason was very uneventful, not doing much. But, here's a quick look at what GM Don Sweeney did.

Notable addition: D Paul Postma.

                Notable subtractions: D Colin Miller, C Dominic Moore, RW Drew Stafford, RW Jimmy Hayes, D John-Michael Liles.



                              Forwards

          Here are my projected forward lines.

 Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
 Frank Vatrano - David Krejci - David Backes
 Matt Belesky - Ryan Spooner - Riley Nash
 Austin Czarnik - Noel Acciari - Jakob Forsbaka Karlsson

         The first line is one of the best in the league. The second line with the two Davids is very potent. The vet third line is solid. Ryan Spooner is very underrated. The 4th line has their sophomores and Forsbaka Karlsson, a 20 year old rookie with just one game of NHL experience, can breakout this year. Danton Heinen, Tim Schaller and Kenny Agostino will be injury replacements.

                               Defensemen

          Here is my projected defensive pairs.

                 Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
                 Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
                 Adam McQuaid - Kevan Miller

             The superstar rookie, McAvoy, gets to play with one of the best leaders in the league in Chara. Krug is another underrated defenseman. Carlo is looking to have a solid sophomore season. The two vets, McQuaid and Miller, are solid third pair defensemen. Paul Postma is their 7th defenseman.

                                 Goalies

                          Tuuka Rask
                          Anton Khudobin
                          Zane McIntyre
                          Malcolm Subban

            All four of them played in the NHL last year. Rask is an elite goaltender who has been plagued by injuries. Khudobin struggled as a backup last year, and McIntyre and Subban were called up from the AHL to play.

                                   
                             Predictions

           The Bruins' core from last year is still intact, and that team made the playoffs last year. But, with the rest of the Atlantic getting better, it will be tougher for the Bruins to make the playoffs. So, I think they'll miss the playoffs in 2017-18.

                                 YouTube
       Also, here's my YouTube season preview for the Bruins.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Arizona Coyotes 2017-18 season preview



      A 70 point finish led to the Arizona Coyotes finishing 6th in the Pacific division, and missing the playoffs once again. But, the youngsters are starting to develop. With new head coach Rick Tocchet, the Coyotes are looking to exit the tough years of the rebuild. While losing franchise icon Shane Doan, GM John Chayka brought in some nice, experienced veterans to lead their team. Here's a quick look at what they did.

              Notable additions: C Derek Stepan, C Nick Cousins, D Niklas Hjalmarsson, D Adam Clendening, G Antti Raanta.

              Notable subtractions: RW Shane Doan, RW Radim Vrbata, C Laurent Dauphin, D Connor Murphy, D Anthony DeAngelo, G Mike Smith, C Josh Jooris

       
                                      Forwards

      Here are my projected forward lines

      Max Domi - Derek Stepan - Anthony Duclair
      Jamie McGinn - Nick Cousins - Tobias Rieder
      Clayton Keller - Dylan Strome - Christian Fischer
      Lawson Crouse - Christian Dvorak - Brendan Perlini

    The first line is their best two forwards, Domi and Stepan, and Duclair, who can bounce back in year three playing with two stars. The second line is their remaining non-rookie-and-sophomores. The bottom six is just their youngsters. If any of them have a bad training camp, and start in the AHL, or someone gets hurt, Jordan Martinook and Brad Richardson can fill in.

                                       Defensemen
                    
       Here are my projected defensive pairs

            Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Jakob Chychrun
            Niklas Hjalmarsson - Luke Schenn
            Alex Goligoski - Adam Clendening

     Chychrun, the 19 year old, plays on his offside here, but gets to play with a top-5 defenseman in the league in "OEL". Goligoski is a top-4 defenseman, but is playing on the third pair because he's left-handed, and not right-handed. Hjalmarsson is a better defenseman, so he gets to play on the top-4. Chychrun also could be out for awhile, so prospect Kyle Wood should replace him. If someone else goes down, Kevin Connaton will probably their replacement.

                                  Goalies

                           Antti Raanta
                           Louis Domingue

        Raanta developed from a backup to a starter with the Rangers last year. This year, he'll finally get the chance to be a full-time starter in the desert. Domingue has gotten the chance to be a starter in Arizona sometimes, but he's really just a fringe-goalie.


                              Prediction

           The Coyotes got significantly better this offseason. As a result, I think they'll improve by eight points to 78 points, but still finish sixth in the Pacific division. Also, I have a wacky prediction that the Coyotes will win the lottery for a top three pick in the 2018 NHL draft.

                                        YouTube

          Also, check out my YouTube season preview here. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Anaheim Ducks 2017-18 season preview



     A trip to the Western Conference finals in 2016-17 added more playoff experience for the Anaheim Ducks' big two stars, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. The Ducks, with head coach Randy Carlyle back behind the bench for the first time since 2011, the Ducks had a 105 point season, winning the Pacific division. Believing that their team can win with their 2016-17 roster, GM Bob Murray didn't make many changes to the team. To prove it, here's a look at what the Ducks did this offseason.

         Notable additions: G Ryan Miller, G Reto Berra, D Francois Beauchemin, D Steve Oleksy, C Derek Grant, C Dennis Rasmussen.

         Notable subtractions: G Jonathan Bernier, D Shea Theodore, D Clayton Stoner, C Nate Thompson.

                              FORWARDS

         Here are my projected lines for the forwards.
  Patrick Eaves - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
  Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg
  Nick Ritchie - Rickard Rakell - Ondrej Kase
  Nicolas Kerdiles - Antoine Vermette - Jared Boll/Dennis Rasmussen.

       Even though he's a right winger, Patrick Eaves played so well with Getzlaf and Perry in 21 games in 2016-17, that I think he'll stay at left wing in 2017-18. The second line is straight "forward". Even though I think Rickard Rakell is a top six forward, I also think he can run a line well. Kase, a sophomore, and Ritchie, a 2nd and a half NHLer form a kid line for Anaheim. Kerdiles just breaks the roster, assuming he has a good training camp. Vermette is a solid 4th line center. Rasmussen is a nice power forward, and Boll is a tough grinder, but there isn't room for both of them to start. I think Rasmussen will play in more games in 2017-18. Chris Wagner, Derek Grant and Logan Shaw will either be scratches and injury replacements, or clear waivers and go to the AHL. 


                             Defensemen

      Here are my projected defensive pairs.
              Cam Fowler - Sami Vatanen
              Hampus Lindholm - Josh Manson
              Kevin Bieksa - Brandon Montour

      With both Vatanen and Lindholm likely starting the season on the IR after surgery this offseason, Francois Beauchemin will start the season on the third pair. Either Korbinian Holzer or Steve Oleksy will join Beauchemin on the third pair during their recovery. They traded Shea Theodore to Vegas so they could keep Vatanen and Manson after the expansion draft, and lose Clayton Stoner instead. Bieksa and Beauchemin could split time after Vatanen and Lindholm returns, since Bieksa is a righty, and is playing on the left side, because Montour, their best prospect, is a righty. 

                                    Goaltenders

        Twenty-four year old John Gibson is entering his third full season, and his second as a full-time starter. In case he struggles, the Ducks brought in 37 year old Ryan Miller to be a backup and a 1B to Gibson. Miller has been a starter all of his career, including the 2010 Vezina trophy. If one of those two go down with an injury, Reto Berra will be called up from the AHL, where he'll be the starter. He should clear waivers.

                                      Predictions

      The Ducks are still a big playoff contenders. But, with the rise of the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, that will make it harder for the Ducks. I think they will have 101 points in 2017-18, a four point drop from their 2016-17 total. They will finish second in the Pacific division, making the playoffs.

                                      YouTube

       Check out this YouTube video preview I also made.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

MLB trade review: Davis to Red Sox



         With the actual trade deadline looming on August 31st, teams are scrambling to acquire helpful players down the stretch and in the playoffs. Today, the Boston Red Sox made one of those last minute waiver trades, acquiring speedy OF Rajai Davis from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for OF prospect Rafael Rincones

         Davis is a really good 4th outfielder for the Sox behind Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr (who is currently hurt). The Sox have Chris Young as their 4th outfielder, but he is supposed to just be a lefty platoon, but his .614 OPS vs lefties this year is way behind Davis' .715 OPS vs southpaws. Also, Davis is one of the premier stolen base players in the MLB. He can pinch run late in playoff games and make an impact. He came up clutch for the Cleveland Indians last year in game seven of the World Series with a homer off Aroldis Chapman.

           Davis, 36, has a .233 batting average, five homers, 18 RBIs and 26 steals in 328 Plate Appearances. In his 12 year MLB career for the A's, Indians, Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates, Davis has a .264 batting average, 60 homers, 371 RBIs and 391 stolen bases in 4327 Plate Appearances.

             With Davis' contract expiring when the dust settles on the 2017 year, the A's are able to get some money off their hands, plus a prospect in Rincones. Rincones is just 18, so he has many years to go in his career. He has a .267 batting average, two homers, 39 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 380 Plate Appearances over two career Dominican league seasons.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

My InterFoo with Flames winger Spencer Foo



         On July 1st, a lot of NHL players sign with new teams. Most of the signings are widely recognized. But, one signing that was overshadowed by the other ones was the Calgary Flames signing winger Spencer Foo. Foo went undrafted and played at Union College, where he scored 26 goals and 36 assists for an impressive 62 points in 2016-17, which was good enough for fourth in the nation. In three years at Union, Foo scored 49 goals and 63 assists for 112 points in 113 games. At 23 years of age, the Edmonton, Canada native hopes to crack the Flames potent top-six.

        Recently, I was able to talk to Foo. Here are the questions I asked him.

          Carter LaCorte (me): "Was it cool to find out that multiple NHL teams were looking to sign you?"

          Spencer Foo: "Yes, definitely. It was awesome having all that interest, especially not getting drafted, and trying to work my way up the ranks. It was pretty cool to have that interest."

          CL: "What about the Flames made you want to sign in Calgary?"

          SF: "A couple of little things, like being close to home (Edmonton and Calgary are both in Alberta), and being in Canada, having a lot of good people in the organization. Another big thing was opportunity and the ability that the Flames are going to be able to win with the team they have right now. It's really solid and I think they are going to be a winning team in the next couple of years, and that was a big reason for it."

           CL: "What do you think you bring to the table when you play?"

           SF: "I think I bring a high speed level, and a solid skill-set offensively and I think I'm a better player defensively as well, and I think I'll be able to help the team."

            CL: "What current NHL player do you model your game after?"

           SF: "That's a tough one. I guess the guy I look at now is Jake Guentzal coming out of Pittsburgh. He came out of college and was able to make an impact right away. He's a fast offensive player, and is able to chip in with a few goals here-and-there. I'd say just the way our careers have gone, I kind of look up to him."

             CL: "If there is any player you are most excited to play with in Calgary, who is it?"

             SF: "It's a pretty easy one. I'd love to get the opportunity to play with Johnny Gaudreau. He's a college guy like me, and obviously has an incredible offensive skill-set. I think It would be pretty awesome to play with him."

             CL: "Why do you think Union is producing a lot of NHL players recently (Shayne Gostisbehere, Mike Vecchione, Dan Carr)?"

             SF: "First of all, it's the recruiting, and once you get there, they have a winning mindset and have that culture where they want their players to work hard and win games.  They also they want their players to play the right way and I think they are good at developing two-way players that are able to make the jump."

              CL: "How proud are you of your brother Parker on being drafted by the Blackhawks (in the 5th round in 2017)?"

              SF: "I'm really proud of him. We've grown up together and always have had a little rivalry, trying to push each other to make each other better, and over the last few years he's worked really hard to get to that point, and I can't say enough good things about him."

              CL: "Last question, after being undrafted, how much did that motivate you to make the NHL?"

               SF: "A lot. It's tough when you have to go the long way, and fight for your spot, but for me I've always had the dream of getting to this point. I've put in the work to try and get here. It's finally starting to pay off, and having that chip on your shoulder throughout the way, I think that's helped a lot."

Monday, August 21, 2017

NHL news: Ducks sign Beauchemin to one year deal



              Defenseman Francois Beauchemin and the Anaheim Ducks have agreed to a one year, one million dollar deal, with a $500K performance bonus.

              After losing Clayton Stoner and Shea Theodore in the expansion draft, the Ducks could use a 7th defenseman to use if Brandon Montour, Kevin Bieksa, Sami Vatanen, Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm or Josh Manson go down with an injury, or at least a better one than Steve Oleksy and Korbinian Holzer. Also, Lindholm and Vatanen could start the season on the IR because they are still recovering from surgery in the offseason. Plus, Holzer and Oleksy could start the year in the AHL if they don't impress in training camp. Beauchemin is a very good defensive defenseman. Also, he's an experienced veteran, playing in 97 career playoff games. This is actually going to be his third different stint with the Ducks, including a 2007 Stanley Cup win, so he knows the system well.

               Beauchemin, 37, scored five goals and 13 assists for 18 points in 81 games for the Colorado Avalanche in 2016-17. The ex-defensive defenseman of the year (2013) has a career +/- of +2. In his 13 year NHL career for the Avalanche, Ducks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens, Beauchemin has scored 271 points (73 goals and 198 assists) in 836 games.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

MLB news: Blue Jays acquire Koehler



         The Toronto Blue Jays have acquired RHP Tom Koehler and cash from the Miami Marlins in exchange for RHP prospect Osman Gutierrez.

          The Blue Jays are in need of a starter. Koehler has been a solid 5th starter over the course of his career, but is having a terrible 2017. If he succeeds with Toronto, the Blue Jays could extend him. He is arbitration eligible after this year. They also don't really give up anything.

           Koehler, 31, has a 7.92 ERA, 1.72 WHIP and 44 strikeouts in 55.2 innings this year for Miami. In his six year MLB career, all for the Marlins, Koehler has a 4.43 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and 586 strikeouts in 767.1 innings.

           The Marlins, who are having a terrible year, are just at the start of a fire-sale. All of their team has trade rumors surrounding them. Koehler is having a terrible year, and there is no need for him. The prospect they get, Gutierrez, is also having a terrible year, but at least he's younger. Plus, they get some salary off them.

            Gutierrez, 22, has a 7.35 ERA, 1.81 WHIP and 71 strikeouts in 78 innings at Lansing (Single-A) this year. In his minor league career, Gutierrez has a 4.88 ERA, 1.58 WHIP and 237 strikeouts in 262 innings.

            I think the Jays win this deal. They get a terrible major leaguer for a terrible minor leaguer, so it isn't a big deal for either team.

MLB news: Cubs claim Rivera off waivers



              The Chicago Cubs have claimed C Rene Rivera off waivers from the New York Mets.

               The Cubs, who are trying to beat out the Cardinals and Brewers for the NL Central lead, have starting catcher Willson Contreras on the DL. Their current starter, recently acquired Alex Avila, needs a backup. The Cubs have been using rookie Victor Caratini as their backup. Rivera is a veteran who is the average backup catcher. Bad hitter, good defensive catcher. In his career, he has thrown out 36% of runners in his career, which is sixth among all active catchers (Molina, Maldonado, Gomes, Hanigan and Barnhart) according to Baseball-Reference.

                Rivera, 34, has a .230 batting average, eight homers and 23 RBIs in 187 Plate Appearances for the Mets this year. In his nine year MLB career for the Mets, Tampa Bay Rays, San Diego Padres, Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres, Rivera has a .215 batting average, 34 homers and 141 RBIs in 1386 Plate Appearances.

                 The Mets just get rid of their backup catcher and the remaining of his 1.75 million deal. This also opens up a spot for C Kevin Plawecki, who was recalled after the claim. Also, LHP Tommy Milone was recalled from AAA.

MLB Trade review: Grandy Man to Dodgers



             The Los Angeles Dodgers have acquired OF Curtis Granderson from the New York Mets in exchange for a player to be named later (PTBNL) or cash.

              I don't 100 percent understand this trade from the Dodgers point of view. But, I think he can be a solid 4th outfielder from L.A. Outfielder Chris Taylor is breaking out, with a .310/.379/.549 slash line. But 4th outfielder Enrique Hernandez is struggling, slashing .220/.316/.462. Though Granderson isn't hitting for average this year, his 19 homers can help the Dodgers on the bench. His career .814 OPS can help also. Plus, he's a rental, so they don't give up much.

              Granderson, 36, has a .228 batting average, 19 bombs, 52 RBIs and four steals in 395 Plate Appearances for the Mets this year. In his 14 year MLB career for the Mets, New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers, Granderson has a .254 batting average, 312 homers, 853 RBIs and 149 stolen bases in 7408 Plate Appearances.

             The Mets, completely out of the playoff race, are looking to sell all of their rentals. Jay Bruce, Neil Walker, Lucas Duda and Addison Reed all left town. Granderson was useless to them, and the trade means even more playing time for Juan Lagares. They don't get much, but it's something, which is better than nothing.

Friday, August 18, 2017

My interview with bleacher creature Marc Chalpin



          If you've ever been to a Yankees' game at Yankee Stadium, you've heard roll call. In the right field bleachers, a bunch of fans called "bleacher creatures" chant the names of the Yankees' fielders in the top of the first inning. In response, the players point, salute, and do all kind of crazy things to tell the bleachers creatures that they hear them. There are many leaders of the roll call. I was able to talk to one of the leaders, Marc Chalpin. Chalpin told me that even though he leads roll call a lot, it is not his thing. "Roll call is for everybody," he said.

           Of the seven positions (pitchers and catchers aren't in roll call), the three outfielders give the most original responses, according to Chaplin. "The infielders tend to just wave, make it quicker. The outfielders always do custom stuff, like a video game." If you don't know any of the best custom things, Marc has you covered. "Johnny Damon was the first guy to have a custom reaction, everybody used to just wave. He would go down to a knee and do a double point. Nick Swisher was famous for his salute. Brett Gardner has a pretty good one. He flexes. Also, Aaron Judge pounds the gavel like a Judge."

            Roll call is a very legendary thing, and Chaplin doesn't take leading it for granted "Leading [roll call] is a big honor. Roll call has been around a lot longer than me, and it'll be around a lot longer than me, hopefully."

       Also, the players like responding to the chants, "the team cares about it." When 3B Todd Frazier made his Yankee Stadium debut in July, Newsday wrote an article on how the players choose their responses. 

       If you want to see a video of Marc leading the roll call, check out the video below made on August 14, 2017.
       A big thanks goes out to Marc for doing this interview. Follow him on Twitter @MarcNYY618.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

NHL news: Wild sign Cullen



         The Minnesota Wild have signed center Matt Cullen to a one year, $1 million deal. Also, there is a $700K performance bonus.

           Even though Cullen is 40 years old, he's still a solid bottom-6 center. The last two years, he helped the Pittsburgh Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cups. He can help the Wild in 2017-18. He is a defensive center who puts up about 30 points a season. He's a cheap option there, and he has some playoff experience, and is a proven leader, so he can be a mentor to the younger guys on the team. Also, he played three seasons with the Wild from 2010-11 to 2012-13. He knows some of the team, so that's a good thing.

           In 72 games for the Penguins last year, Cullen scored 31 points (13 goals and 18 assists) and had a +/- of +4. In his 19 year NHL career for the Penguins, Wild, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (now Anaheim Ducks), Cullen has scored 248 goals and 441 assists for 689 points and a +/- of -29.

MLB news: Weaver hangs up the spikes



           After 12 major league seasons, RHP Jered Weaver has officially called it quits. He last played this year for the San Diego Padres, before going on the 60-day DL. In 2017, he had a 7.44 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and 23 strikeouts in 42.1 innings.

           In 2004, Weaver was drafted 12th overall by the Los Angeles Angels. After a couple minor league seasons, Weaver was called up to the Angels in 2006, when ace Bartolo Colon went to the DL. After that, Weaver was only sent to the minors once, which was when Colon returned. But his season ended up being very good, and he ended up fifth in the AL rookie of the year voting.

           The rest of his career, Weaver was an ace. He was a three time all-star from 2010-12, and finished top-5 in the Cy Young voting all three years. But, he started to decline in the 2015 season. After 2016, Weaver became a free agent. He signed a one year, $3 million deal with the Padres in 2017.

             Weaver, now 34, had a career ERA of 3.63, a WHIP of 1.19 and 1621 strikeouts in 2067.1 innings. Though his career K/9 was just 7.1, his career BB/9 was 2.4. He was never a strikeout pitcher.

My interview with baseball ballhawk and author Zack Hample

     You are watching your favorite team in action on TV. The team's slugger rips one to right field... It's a home run! While you are too busy celebrating the homer, baseball "ballhawk" Zack Hample is also celebrating, for a different reason. The reason? That home run ball is sitting in his glove, a place many home run balls land. Hample is a ballhawk who goes to MLB stadiums, looking to catch baseballs both in batting practice and during the game. Since 1990, Hample has been to 53 different MLB stadiums, snagging over 9,900 baseballs. Also, he's caught approximately 70 game home runs in that 27 year stretch. In 2017, Hample looks to reach a big milestone of 10,000 baseballs all-time. Also, he's caught 100 or more baseballs at many current MLB stadiums. Plus, he's caught many big-time milestone homers, like Mike Trout's first career home run, and Alex Rodriguez's 3,000th hit, which was a homer, before giving them back to the players. To help others catch baseballs, Hample wrote three books in "How to Snag Major League Baseballs", "Watching Baseball Smarter" and "The Baseball".

         At a recent Yankees-Mets game, I was able to catch up with Hample to talk about his life as a ballhawk.


         Me: "For most people, almost catching a home run ball and being on TV is an amazing experience. For you it's just another day at the office. Does that seem crazy to you?"

         Hample: "I guess if I step back and think about it, yeah. Probably most people could go years without even getting close to a home run. But for me, if I go a month without getting close to one, I start to get frustrated. I expect to be close to balls, and it was fun to be involved in that play (meaning an Austin Romine triple he would of caught if it was a home run). If I had reached over and interfered, I would really be involved, but that's not the kind of thing that I would do. Just to be close to the action is what I love about doing this."

         M: "Tonight you are seeing a Mets-Yankees game, yesterday a Red Sox-Yankees game. Do you just love seeing these rivalries coming together on the field?"

         H: "I do, but I don't. The baseball fan in me loves it, but the baseball collector in me wants to see the Twins and the Rays at Tropicana Field, because nobody will be there, and there's more space for me to move around and catch balls. I'm always conflicted like that. I want to go to the big games because they're exciting, but I personally catch far fewer baseballs."

         M: "For you, is it easier to catch a ball on the fly in BP (batting practice), or get a toss-up from the players?"

         H: "It's becoming a lot harder for me to get toss-ups, because there is so many kids out here doing this, and the players would always rather throw baseballs to younger people. It depends on the stadium. Some of them are configured very badly for catching home runs, so I will actually focus on toss-ups in those places, so it really just depends."

         M: "Which MLB ballpark is your favorite to ballhawk at?"

         H: "It was Camden Yards (the Orioles stadium) for a very long time, and I still love the look of that place, and how it's designed and the layout for ballhawking. But security has gotten awfully strict there in the last few years, so that makes it less fun, but I'm still looking forward to getting back there whenever I can."

         M: "Do you think that your skills as a kid are helping you now getting almost 10,000 baseballs?"

         H: "If you are talking about my skills just being athletics and playing baseball, then definitely. I see people come out here with gloves, and they think that they are in the right spot, and maybe they saw my videos, but they've never tried to catch a fly ball before, and they have no chance. So the fact that I've played baseball my whole life growing up certainly helps."

         M: "What's your favorite three balls that you still have possession of?"

         H: "Probably a Derek Jeter home run late in his career that was his 254th career home run and his 3262th hit. Another one is a Barry Bonds home run (724th). The third would be the last home run the Met's ever hit at Shea Stadium (Carlos Beltran).

         A big thanks goes out to Zack for doing this interview. Check out his blog, ZackHample.com, subscribe to his YouTube channel, Zack Hample and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @Zack_Hample.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

MLB news: Blue Jays sign Anderson



           The Toronto Blue Jays have signed LHP Brett Anderson to a minor league deal.

            The Blue Jays aren't too far away from the wild card, but there is so many teams in front of them, it seems unlikely they'll make it. But, Anderson is still a good pitcher, who just has a big injury problem. In fact, that's why the Chicago Cubs DFA'd him earlier this year. If he can pitch well in AAA, he can possibly be called up in September, especially if there is an injury.

              For Anderson, he's able to get a job, which is obviously good for him. It seemed unlikely he'd get one this year, but he was able to get one.

               Anderson, 29, allowed a horrid 20 runs in 22 innings (8.18 ERA), plus a 2.09 WHIP and 16 strikeouts for the Cubs this year. In his nine year MLB career for the Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies and Oakland Athletics, Anderson has a 3.99 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 523 strikeouts in 707.2 innings.

MLB Trade review: Athletics acquire Hatcher



             The Oakland Athletics have acquired RHP Chris Hatcher from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for international amateur signing bonus pool space.

             For the A's, they get a reliever who still has some more arbitration years. He's also a vet with major league experience. Though he's had a terrible 2017, and was not liked by Dodger fans, Hatcher has some positive history. He can eat up innings for Oakland for the rest of 2017. Also, he's not a bad strikeout pitcher, with a K/9 of 10.6 this year and 9.4 in his career.

             Hatcher, 32, has a 4.66 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 43 strikeouts in 36.2 innings for the Dodgers this year. In his seven year MLB career for the Dodgers and Florida/Miami Marlins, Hatcher has a 4.72, 1.37 WHIP and 216 strikeouts in 206 innings.

             For the Dodgers, Hatcher is having a horrible year, and isn't really helping the team. This move clears up a 40 man roster spot. It's also gets them extra international amateur signing bonus pool space, so the Dodgers can have more money to spend on 16 year olds and up.

MLB trade review: #Mets acquire ex major leaguer Snider



              The New York Mets have acquired OF Travis Snider from the Texas Rangers in exchange for cash considerations.

              Snider, who hasn't played in the majors since 2015, is a veteran depth option in the minors. He is having a good year at AAA, and he can help some of the younger guys. He is a solid fielder, so that could come in handy eventually. Snider was assigned to the Las Vegas 51s (AAA).

            Snider, 29, has a .294 batting average, nine homers, 44 RBIs and two steals in 413 Plate Appearances for Round Rock (AAA) this year. In his eight year MLB career for the Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates and Toronto Blue Jays, Snider has a .244 bating average, 54 homers, 212 RBIs and 22 stole bases in 1971 Plate Appearances.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

MLB Trade review: #Astros acquire Clippard



             The Houston Astros have acquired RHP Tyler Clippard from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

              This really comes as a surprise, since the Astros are trying to make a big splash, and Clippard is having a really bad year. But, since joining the White Sox after being traded from the Yankees. He's allowed just two runs in 10 innings and two saves since the trade. He brings veteran presence their pen.

               Clippard, 32, has a 4.27 ERA, three saves, 1.29 WHIP and 54 strikeouts in 46.1 innings this year for the White Sox and Yankees. In his 11 year MLB career for the White Sox, Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets, Oakland Athletics and Washington Nationals, Clippard has a 3.04 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 59 saves and 738 strikeouts in 671.1 innings.

               The White Sox, completely out of the playoff hunt, are completely destroying their bullpen. Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson, Dan Jennings and Anthony Swarzak. Trading Clippard just adds to the fire sale. It's either another prospect, for their farm system, or extra cash. For anyone playing fantasy baseball, Juan Minaya could be the leading candidate for saves for the rest of the season.

                I think the Astros win this trade. It's a major leaguer for a minor leaguer, or just cash. It's simple. That why they win.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

MLB trade review: Brewers acquire Walker



          The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired 2B Neil Walker from the New York Mets in exchange for a player to be named later (PTBNL).

           With 2B Jonathan Villar having an awful 2017, the Brewers have been looking for a 2B to bolster their roster. They reportedly have been in talks with the Detroit Tigers including 2B Ian Kinsler, but the two sides were unable to complete a deal. Walker is a switch hitter like Villar, but unlike Kinsler, so that could be something Milwaukee liked more about him. Also, he's a pending free agent, so Villar can try and get things together in 2018.

              Walker, 31, has a .264 batting average, 10 homers and 36 RBIs in 299 Plate Appearances for the Mets this year. In his nine year career for the Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates, Walker has a .272 batting average, 126 homers, 509 RBIs and 29 steals in 4183 Plate Appearances.

                The Mets, completely out of the playoff hunt, are selling all their rentals, like Walker. Lucas Duda was traded to the Rays. Jay Bruce is now an Indian. Walker is ineligible for a qualifying offer, since the Mets tendered an offer to Walker last year, which he excepted, so he can't be tendered one this year. At least they get value out of Walker. The only thing is, since it's a waiver trade, his value dropped, so they only get a PTBNL.

                  I think the Brewers win this trade. They get an MLB starting second baseman for what seems to be a low leveled prospect. That's why they win.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

MLB Trade review: Indians acquire Bruce from Mets



           The Cleveland Indians have acquired OF Jay Bruce from the New York Mets in exchange for RHP prospect Ryder Ryan.

           The Indians, currently 3.5 games ahead of the Kansas City Royals for the AL Central lead, are looking to improve their roster. Bruce is a power bat in the outfield, and isn't a horrible fielder. Today, star LF Michael Brantley went on the DL. Bruce is a good replacement option for this season. Bruce is also a rental. Plus, they don't give up much. Also, he is good at the Indians home stadium, Progressive Field. In 23 career games there, Bruce has a .384 batting average and 1.031 OPS.

          Bruce, 30, has a .258 batting average, 29 homers and 75 RBIs in 445 Plate Appearances for the Mets this year. In his 10 year career for the Mets and the Indians' cross-town rival, the Cincinnati Reds, Bruce has a .249 batting average, 270 homers, 812 RBIs and 61 stolen bases in 1372 Plate Appearances.

            The Mets have struggled this year, and are trading their rentals, like Bruce. They get something in Ryan, but not much. He's an ex 30th round pick, who isn't doing so well at single-A this year. He doesn't have MLB potential.

              Ryan, 22, has a 4.79 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 49 strikeouts in 41.1 innings at Single-A this year. In his minor league career, Ryan has a 4.50 ERA, 1.51 WHIP and 73 strikeouts in 60 innings.

              I think the Indians win this trade. They get a major leaguer having an amazing season for a minor leaguer having a bad year at Single-A. It's clear they win.

MLB trade review: White Sox acquire Johnson



         The Chicago White Sox have acquired RHP Steve Johnson from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for cash.

         The White Sox only make this move so they can have depth for AAA this year. Johnson has some MLB experience, but not much. He can help down in the Charlotte (AAA) pen. They only give up cash for him, so it won't hurt them in the future.

           Johnson, 29, hasn't played in the majors this year. At Norfolk (AAA) this year, Johnson has a 5.30 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 39 strikeouts in 37.1 innings. In his four year major league career for the Orioles and Seattle Mariners, Johnson has a 4.26 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 86 strikeouts in 76 innings.

          In this trade, the Orioles essentially acquire free cash. Johnson is struggling at AAA, and is no where near the majors at the point he's pitching at, so he's practically useless. This trade doesn't affect them at all, really.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

MLB Trade review: #Mariners acquire Frieri



              The Seattle Mariners have acquire RHP Ernesto Frieri from the Texas Rangers in exchange for cash considerations.

              The Mariners bullpen at Tacoma (AAA) is depleted. Frieri is solid bullpen depth for the big league club, and a go-to option for AAA. Also, Frieri is an ex MLB closer for the Los Angeles Angels (2012-2014). He can be a good mentor for the young pitchers at AAA. They just give up cash, so it's not like it'll eventually hurt them. Frieri was assigned to Tacoma after the trade.

              Frieri, 32, has a 5.14 ERA, 1.71 WHIP and five strikeouts in seven innings for the Rangers this year. In AAA for the Rangers and New York Yankees, Frieri has a 2.63 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 34 strikeouts in 27.1 innings this year. In his eight year MLB career for the Rangers, Angels, Tampa Bay Rays, Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres, Frieri has a 3.59 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 73 saves and 387 strikeouts in 303.1 innings.

                The Rangers only make this trade because they get cash for a minor league pending free agent. It's not a bad trade by any means. It's essentially free cash since Frieri isn't really part of their team.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

MLB Trade review: Mariners acquire Alonso



            The Seattle Mariners have acquired 1B Yonder Alonso from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for OF prospect Boog Powell.

             The Mariners are 1.5 games out of the Wild Card race, and are trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001. Alonso is a solid power bat that can platoon with 1B Danny Valencia in Seattle. He's also a rental, so they won't have him next year (most likely).

               Alonso, 30, has a .266 batting average, 22 homers, 49 homers and one steal in 371 Plate Appearances this year. In his eight year career for the A's, San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds, Alonso has a .268 batting average, 61 homers, 288 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in 2714 Plate Appearances.

                 As sellers, the A's are able to make a waiver trade and get rid of a rental. They get an MLB ready prospect in Powell, who isn't former Orioles star Boog Powell, so that's good. If Powell doesn't play for Oakland this year, He'll probably play next year.

                  Powell, 24, made his MLB debut this year, with a .194 batting average, no homers and two RBIs in 43 Plate Appearances. In AAA this year, he has a .340 batting average, six homer, 33 RBIs and 11 steals in 239 Plate Appearances. In his minor league career, Powell has a .306 batting average, 15 homers, 155 RBIs and 74 stolen bases in 1791 Plate Appearances.

                  I think this is an even trade. The Mariners get a rental for a young player who's MLB ready. The only thing that stops the Mariners winning is that Alonso is a rental. The only thing stopping the A's from winning is that Powell is a risk, already being suspended in the minors twice, including when he was with the A's organization back in 2014.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

MLB news: Pirates claim Kontos off waivers




            The Pittsburgh Pirates have claimed RHP George Kontos off waivers from the San Francisco Giants.

             Now, the Pirates acquired Kontos and Sean Rodriguez in one day. This could make them in the hunt, but it's unlikely since they are 4.5 games out of the division lead. Also, Kontos isn't a UFA until after 2019, so this still doesn't mean they are going for it, especially because it's a waiver claim.

           Kontos, 32, has a 3.83 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 55 strikeouts in 51.2 innings. In his seven year MLB career for the Giants and New York Yankees, Kontos has a 3.05 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 258 strikeouts in 315.2 innings.

MLB news: Pirates acquire Rodriguez from Braves



             The first post MLB Trade deadline trade has come, after the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired utility player Sean Rodriguez from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for corner infield prospect Connor Joe

              The Pirates, 4.5 games out of first place in the NL Central, aren't buyers after this move. They are able to acquire a player in Rodriguez, who has played every single position except pitcher or catcher in his career. Also, he's signed through 2018, so they have him for next year. They give up a low leveled prospect in Joe. Rodriguez was with the Pirates in 2015 and 2016, and MLB.com's Adam Berry said that he was well liked in the clubhouse.

              Rodriguez, 32, missed months this year after him and his family were injured in a car accident. But, in his return for the Braves, Rodriguez has struggled, with a .162 batting average, two homers, three RBIs and one steal in 47 Plate Appearances. In his 10 year MLB career for the Braves, Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angeles, Rodriguez has a .233 batting average, 69 homers, 262 RBIs and 40 stolen bases in 2482 Plate Appearances.

                For the Braves, they trade a player who didn't have a spot on their team. They get something for him, which is way, way better than getting nothing for him.

                 Joe, 24, has a .240 batting average, five homers, 30 RBIs and two stolen bases in 295 Plate Appearances in Low-A and AA this year. In his minor league career, Joe has a .257 batting average, 11 homers, 102 RBIs and four stolen bases in 1094 Plate Appearances.

                 I think the Pirates win this trade. They get a major leaguer for a minor leaguer, so they obviously win, right?

Friday, August 4, 2017

MLB news: Athletics claim Garneau off waivers



          Today, the Oakland Athletics claimed C Dustin Garneau off waivers from the Colorado Rockies.

           With backup catcher Josh Phegley on the 10-day DL (oblique strain), Garneau could be a solid backup catcher option, or at least a better one than Ryan Lavarnaway, who could be DFA'd soon. Also, Garneau is a right handed hitter, so he could platoon with starting catcher, and left handed hitter Bruce Maxwell, who is having a tough year. Garneau was probably only waived by Colorado because they acquired C Jonathan Lucroy from the Rangers.

             Garneau, 29, has a .206 batting average, one homer and six RBIs in 74 Plate Appearances for the Rockies this year. He also has a .281 batting average, 10 homers and 26 RBIs in 144 Plate Appearances for Albuquerque (AAA) this year. In his MLB career, Garneau has a .199 batting average, four homers and 20 RBIs in 225 Plate Appearances.