Spring Training has sprung and is now in full bore and there a lots of MLB questions looking for answers already…
Its been a long time, but, in 2015 can the Blue Jays win the AL East? Can Yasel Puig break through hand be a star. Can Jurickson Profar play a whole season? Can a sub .500 pitching record ever be considered “solid,” And… is MLB now jsut show me the money or do players play the game to win the ring?
The Round Table crew is talking about it all…
1) Can the Toronto Blue Jays end their post season drought and make the playoffs for the first time since 1993?
Archie: NO! Want more? For me, it is not what the Blue Jays have or have not, but more so of what all the other teams in the AL do have. The Jays have a couple of big bobbers with Bautista and Encarnarcion but outside of those two their offense will still be pretty average.
I don’t think their pitching is strong enough. I think there are at least 7 teams better than they are all around in the AL. When you are chasing five spots and there are already 7 teams better it becomes tough. When six of those other teams are all in a different division that is weaker and they are more apt to win more games that leaves you with one path to the playoffs and that is win your Division outright. I don’t think the Jays can do that just yet.
Earl: The fan in me, the guy who’s been to the Skydome (the Rodgers Centre) a handful of times would say “hell yeah”. However, being rational I have to say no. Despite the Boston Red Sox not having an ace on staff as of right now, I think they have all the resources possible to go out there and win the AL East. They’ve got the players and they have the assets to trade for the guys they’ll need to get the crown. While it’s possible the Blue Jays could take one of the two wildcard spots, it’s my opinion that their best shot at the playoffs would come from winning the AL East and I just don’t think they have enough to get it done.
Joe: No… I think they can score some runs and probably have enough defense, but, I just don’t see their pitching being good enough to allow them to win their division, and, I think they will need to win the division to make the playoffs.
Steve: I think the entire AL East is going to be pretty good with the exception of the Tampa Bay Rays, but even they have surprised me when I thought they were down and out. I think this will be a three team race between Boston, Baltimore, and Toronto. However, EVERY single time that I pick the Blue Jays to win the East, or even compete for the wild card. I am sorely mistaken, and they have a disappointing year. I don’t see the Jays in the post season again this year.
2) Do you think that Yasiel Puig can be a legit 2015 MVP candidate?
Archie: No. While he may possess the physical skill set to lead his team I don’t think he can maintain the mental capacity to do so. Voters that select the NL and AL MVP look at the “whole player” concept and what they mean to a team. You let Puig get stupid again and get benched a time or two through the year and his MVP chances will be flushed right down the drain. This is of course only my opinion.
Earl: Legit? Yeah, he could be but he’s going to need a big season to get it done. Last season he played in 148 games but had only 16 home runs and 69 runs batted in. Clearly that is not MVP numbers. If he can play in the same amount of games and double those numbers and the Dodgers have another playoff season then yeah, he got a shot, but he has to get his numbers up.
Steve: He has the talent to be in the upper echelon of talent, however he lacks the mental game, and that is going to prove to be his downfall. I think he will be a .260 hitter, with 20 plus HR, and 90 RBI’s. That is not an MVP season, unless there is absolutely no one to choose from, and if thats the case, then Kershaw wins it back to back.
3) Recently the following sentence was in a CBSSports.com article about Ryan Vogelsong and his decision to return to the San Francisco Giants… “While Vogelsong was a solid 8-13 with a 4.00 ERA with the Giants last year and the team is a perfect 7-0 in his postseason starts in the championship years, he understands he is ticketed for the bullpen with San Francisco this time, with a chance to start only in case of injury or under-performance.”
In your opinion, how “solid” is an “8-13 win/loss record with a 4.00 ERA”?
Archie: NOT MUCH. It is kind of the same thing for me with Mike Minor. Minor’s numbers for me indicates an average 4th or 5th starter in this league. With his 38-36 win/loss and career 4.10 ERA, that is only serviceable NOT Solid.
Earl: Numbers isn’t everything, but they also never lie. I wouldn’t call 8-13 solid but that 7-0 postseason record outweighs that in my opinion. I wouldn’t have used the word solid in that article, but bringing back Vogelsong was a good move for the Giants.
Joe: I understand that sometimes a pitcher can be really good and not have a winning record… however, I still think there is something to be said for being able to be good enough to carry your team and win games, also. It’s what the solid or the better than average to good pitchers are capable of doing.
Having said that… in no way is an 8-13 record with a plus 4 ERA solid. It is below average in my book.
Steve: Look at Felix Hernandez. He is considered to be a top pitcher in the game, and if I remember correctly, he won the CY Young award with a pretty “average” record. That being said, Voglesong, is no Felix Hernandez. His ERA is okay, and his record can be deceiving as the Giants couldn’t score during his starts. So I would not call this “solid” as you say, but it definitely isn’t awful considering how he has the ability to pitch. You could make the same argument for Andrew Cashner with the Padres, except he pitched exceptional but had a losing record.
4) In the NYDN (3/9), in an article on the reception ARod was receiving as he attempts his comeback to the game, staff writer Andy Martino wrote these words:
“And this baseball world is a cynical place, and everyone has his or her agenda. Fans just want to see their team win. Load up the entire roster with steroids; as long as they are careful enough to avoid detection, and win the World Series, all is good. And believe me, many front office folks feel the same — go ahead and cheat, if it helps us.
As for players? Most would rather win than lose, but money is the primary source of pride and motivation. A-Rod has made more of it than anyone, which makes him a bigger winner than a scrub with three World Series rings, and a few million in the bank.
Just this spring, I was talking to an ex-teammate of Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee, and mentioned that I felt bad for Lee because of his elbow issues and situation being trapped on a bad team.
The guy cut me off. “He’s fine,” he said, meaning that Cliff got paid, so Cliff wins.
No, sir. You are working out because you want to make a living, to support yourself and your family. You want a fat contract. The World Series is a nice bonus, if it happens.”
What’s your take on Martino’s words? Is MLB now that jaded?
Archie: I hate to say it but yes it is. That is the ONLY way I can justify watching big time players “sell out” to the other side. When clubs no longer even attempt to hold their stars; i.e. Braves vs McCann, it comes down to one thing and one thing only: $$$$$.
That makes guys like Chipper Jones the rare exception in modern baseball. Chase Utley will probably finish with the Phillies and we watched as Biggio finished with the Astros and just recently Jeter finish with the Yankees. But who will be next? Who is the next big name that will finish basically where it all started? When you watch guys like Pujols LEAVE as storied franchise like St Louis there is not much hope that the game is nothing like it used to be and it is now all about the business of baseball.
Shoot, I’ll speak for myself. I’m extremely far from being a millionaire and I’m jaded by my job. When you do something for a long time, and its routine, I think becoming jaded will happen for some people. I practically don’t care what goes on at my job now, just give me my paycheck and stay out of my way.
So, I’m not surprised by Martino’s words, the guy talking about Cliff Lee, or anything for that matter.
Joe: The idealistic attitude that MLB is just a game is just that… idealistic. I have said it in the past and I say again here… the first time they put fence around a field and charged people to get inside to see the game the business of baseball was initiated. Now in its guise of MLB the business is a multi-billion dollar enterprise. And, every player is entitled to get his fair share of the multi-billion dollar pie.
Nope, not in my mind it doesn’t. Unfortunately, as in all things that involves us humans there are a fair number who are cold and cynical and measure things entirely by the dollars signs in one form or another. But, there are also a certain core of people who understand that to be the best in baseball is to win and wear a ring when it is all said and done.
And, while that too sometimes means some will do anything to get that ring (i.e. PEDs), I believe there are still enough players who believe in doing it solely on their skills and abilities that the goal of winning a World Series is not tainted. And, I also believe most fans don’t want their favorite team to be loaded with juicers just to win. Maybe I’m a tad naïve but I really don’t.
Maybe, if, measured in solely by dollars, ARod is a big winner to some… but, me?… I’ll take the scrub with a few mil in the retirement kitty and the three rings any day.
I don’t subscribe to the theory that a “just show me the money” attitude is what drives the majority of players. To be sure, just as in any business, the players want to be well compensated for a skill set that a very limited core of people can do, but, the ring still is the real driving force that most play the game… the fame and the money don’t hurt, but, the championship bling is the real thing.
Steve: So if I am reading this correctly, he is saying that he is fine with the fact that A-Roid cheated? I can’t get on board with this. I agree that the players have every right to earn every penny that they make in baseball, but for christs sake, do it the right way. A-Roid has not “earned” a thing, and if the fans boo him for it, I applaud that!
5) Recently, Texas Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar underwent right shoulder surgery and is expected to miss the entire 2015 season.
The 22-year-old also missed the entire 2014 season with a shoulder injury.
The Rangers have always seemed reluctant to trade Profar as it appears that they believe he is a star in the making. Is that star now dwindling?
Archie: Quite frankly I do not see what the big deal with Profar is to begin with. He was not even that big of a deal in the minors. His stats at the MLB level are not impressive at all. I have not seen the young man play so I can’t talk about his defensive skill set but in today’s baseball it is the offense that gets you to the Majors and keeps you there.
Earl: Well he’s only 22 so there is a chance he can put the injuries behind him, but you got to feel bad for Profar and the Rangers organization. Jurickson being out for another season, Yu Darvish looking at possible Tommy John surgery and it’s not looking too good out in Arlington.
Joe: I’m not sure if Profar is every going to be much more than a decent to slightly better than decent player at his position, but, if, the last two seasons are any indication then the window on his career as an every day player may be dwindling fast.
Steve: Hopefully for the Rangers this is not another start to another injury plagued season. Last year they didnt have a chance with as many players that were hurt. I am more concerned with Yu Darvish’s health status than I am about Jurickson Profar. I have not seen much from this kid, so I would have to reserve comment until later about this.
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