Welcome to the July 31st edition of the MLB Roundtable! This week Stephen and Archie take on A-Rod, Wildcard predictions and More! Again we are looking for 2 more spots at the table, post below if you are interested.
ARCHIE: With the current family feud between A-Rod and Cashman, I don’t see A-Rod back in a Yankee’s uniform ever. AND IF he does get banned due to biogenesis, I doubt he ever plays again.
STEPHEN: At this point in time, it is hard for me to see A-Rod in any uniform especially a Yankee uniform. MLB is doing anything and everything that they can do to suspend Rodriguez, and I believe that it will happen sooner rather than later. I think there is a conspiracy between MLB, Bud Selig, and The Yankees to keep A-Rod off the field, and out of a Yankees uniform.
2. Who are your choices for the four Wild Card spots this year?
ARCHIE: I think Oakland will close out Texas for the west but the Rangers manage to squeak by the Indians for one wild card spot. And I think Boston will win the East but Tampa Bay takes the other wild card spot. In the NL, BOTH WCs will come from the central. The three teams competing for the Central title are probably the best three teams in the NL this season and they will continue to dominate the second half so its just a matter of picking who wins the Central. IMO, the Cardinals win the central and the Reds and Pirates are 1 and 2 in the WC.
STEPHAN: I will start in the American League where I see the Red Sox and the Orioles taking the Wild Card spots. I think the Rangers are the only other team that would contend for it, and I don’t see them having a very strong second half, as they are off to a 2-8 start since the All Star Break. The Sox who it appears just acquired Jake Peavey are going to finish strong, and the Orioles are a very solid team as well. The Rays will take the East, but three teams come out of the East to the playoffs. For the National League it will be much of the same. I think the Cardinals take the Central crown, but the Pirates and Reds end up the Wild Card winners. The Diamondbacks are going to fall a bit in the second half, while the Dodgers will run away with the West in the second half.
3. Who is your biggest disappointment this year performance wise (steroid news excluded)? (Can be individual or team)
ARCHIE: For me it is B.J. Upton, what a disappointment for the Braves. He gets the largest contract ever awarded by the Braves and then tanks it. He has 102 strikeouts in 277 AB. That is one strikeout per 2.7 at bats. He has a BA of .177, two of the Braves pitchers have higher. With only 8 homeruns and 20 RBIs he has definitely NOT earned his paycheck. And now he is riding the DL. At one point the Braves were actually considering sending him to the Minors to fix his swing.
STEPHAN: It has to be Josh Hamilton of the Angels. He typically gets off to slow starts, but this season after signing that huge contract with the Angels, has done little to nothing to help the Angels get out of their groove.
4. On Monday night there were only 9 games on the slate; four of those games were won in walk off fashion. That begs the question, are closers on the decline?
ARCHIE: I think the answer is yes. I think that no one has cared enough or talented enough to develop that one pitch like the cutter that served Mariano Rivera so richly as a closer. The League does have its handful of legitimate closers in the game but this year even they have struggled at time. A 96+mph fastball will no longer make a pitcher a reliable closer anymore.
STEPHAN: One could say that, but I think the players are just getting better in clutch situations and are able to step up and deliver when the game is on the line. Let’s not tell Selig that, otherwise we may end up having a playoff berth in the middle of the summer; or maybe a split season?
ARCHIE: With all the disassembly the Marlins owner has done with the team the one sure thing he currently possesses is Giancarlo. As much as I would like to see him donning another uni, just for the sake of seeing how he performed on a quality team, I don’t think they will ever trade him. Stanton will probably not get out of Miami until he becomes a Free Agent (2017). The Marlins are probably more than willing to let an arbitrator decide his salary for the next three years if they can’t sign him to long term. And quite frankly, why would any agent let him sign there knowing the team is not committed to winning?
STEPHAN: I think he will, but that will be all. Stanton will not be a Marlin at the beginning of 2014. I don’t see the Marlins paying his salary, and will want to get something in return before he is a free agent.
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