MLBRT 11/5: KC Royals win & other MLB scuttlebutt…

 

MLBRT use this 7Poundbag1a

The Fall Classic is over and the men in KC Royals Blue stand supreme over all of MLB baseball for they have overcome the fabled young studs starting pitching of the Gotham City Mets…

And so ends the 2015 MLB season… Congrats to the KC Royals…

…and a maybe next year to the Mets…

Until then… we still gots lots of questions to tackle here at the MLB Roundtable and the crew is ready to rumble…

Bryce Harper (r) and Josh Donaldson
Bryce Harper (r) and Josh Donaldson

1) The Sporting News recently polled 387 major league players in order to discover who they felt was the MLB “Player of the Year”… Josh Donaldson got 150 votes to Bryce Harper’s 97 votes (Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke and Paul Goldschmidt rounded out the top five with 43, 40 & 17 votes respectively).

CBS.com baseball writer David Brown criticized the selection and said, “…for actual Major League Baseball players to objectively conclude that Donaldson was better than Harper in 2015 is one part outrageous, another part ridiculous, a third part preposterous and all parts ludicrous.”

What is your opinion on Brown’s observation/opinion?  

Dan 3Dan:  I do think that David Brown has some points in that Harper did have the better season but to say that players voting for Donaldson over Harper to be “outrageous” and “ludicrous” is a little far. I mean, they had similar numbers put up regarding extra-base hits.

Donaldson: The Sporting News MLB Player of the Year
Donaldson: The Sporting News MLB Player of the Year

Harper had got caught 4 times on the basepaths while Donaldson didn’t, with both having the same amount of stolen bases. Harper does have 33 point better BA, 89 point better OBP and a 1.7 point differential in OPS with 1.1 more WAR for Harper. That’s about it. I do think that Harper had the better season, but, you can make arguments for Donaldson being the better player. He also was on a playoff team.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: Harper had a fine season, he really did, but, I think Brown is being really biased towards Harper and not truly recognizing the contribution Donaldson had towards the Blue Jays season. Josh will arguably be the MVP of the American League, and, he had a huge season.

Now, as I said, Harper had a fine season, but, the Nationals underperfomed. Also, it should be noted that player votes are a bit of a popularity contest and Harper hasn’t endeared himself to his fellow pros with his many antics over his career. That should be taken into consideration.

Me (2)Joe: Right off the bat… excuse me? This dude Brown is going to question what any single individual’s opinion is? Who the hell made him the opinion police? Yes, he is entitled to his own opinion but to go on record and belittle a vote that went strongly against his own opinion to the degree that he oes is in my mind really asinine and a bit pompus and elitest.

Regardless of the fact, whether Brown thinks the opinions of those polled are in error or anything else he may decide it is, the fact remains that a fair percentage of MLB ballplayers answered a poll and obviously they felt for the 2015 season… that Donaldson rates as  the player of the year over Harper.

And by the way… is Brown only taking to task those who voted for Donaldson or is he also taking into question the other votes that went to various players such as Arrieta, Kershaw and Goldschmidt, et al?Donaldson

The bottom line is the vote is what it is and regardless of how anyone else feels it is what it is… i.e., the Sporting News “Player of the Year”, according to a poll of major leaguers is Josh Donaldson and not anyone else regardsess of what anybody else’s opinion is.

Steve-01-288x300Steve:  Nothing wrong with picking Donaldson as the player of the year. He had an amazing season for the Blue Jays leading his team to the ALCS, and, their first playoff appearance in 22 years.

While, I do agree that Harper probably had the better overall season than Donaldson, choosing Donaldson over Harper is far from outrageous, ridiculous, and preposterous. Both had very good seasons, and I think he got the top 5 right… maybe, I would have thrown Kershaw in there over Goldschmidt.

2) Now that Don Mattingly has been named manager of the Miami Marlins how good or bad a job do you think he will do?

And, what do you think his projected “managerial life expectancy” will be working for Marlins owner Jeffry Loria?  

 

Dan 3Dan:  I think Mattingly will do well as the manager. The only problem is that I don’t think Miami is a very good team. so, I think Mattingly will be there 3-5 years and then he’ll move on to a team that is more likely try to improve move and won’t overhaul their whole roster every couple seasons.Donnie

But, I think with the resources and how the front office works, I think Mattingly will do very well in Miami and make them push for the playoffs.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: I called this last week, because Loria is a huge Yankee fan and it helps to bring Mattingly to Miami where there are many ex-New Yorkers and Northeasterners in general who reside there. Loria and Mattingly are friends, so he should survive Loria’s itchy trigger finger when it comes to firing managers.

I’ll give Mattingly at least three seasons if it doesn’t go well, and, a lot longer if he does find some quick success in Miami.

NewMarlins manager Don Mattingly plays with his son Louie
NewMarlins manager Don Mattingly plays with his son Louie

Me (2)Joe:  Honestly? I’m not sure but I know this…we will all find out how good a manager Donnie Baseball really is because he won’t have a bunch of handpicked multimillion dollar so-called all-stars at every position AND he won’t have the adavantage of being able to start Kershaw and Greinke every fifth day, either, when he takes over as the manager for the Marlins in the spring of 2016.

How long will Mattignly last as the manager of the Marlins? If, Mattingly can manage the Marlins into a decent team that at least contends and then resist the temptation to talk smack when Loria inevitably tries to “offer” an opinion on how to manage the team, like Joe Girardi did back when he won manager of the year but got let go by Loria, then he should last at least through the term of his inital contract.

Don Mattingly introduced as new Marlins manager
Don Mattingly introduced as new Marlins manager

Steve-01-288x300Steve: Just to throw this out there… I called this last week when asked about Mattingly.  I didn’t think things would move this fast, but, I said he would be the next manager of the Marlins.

Here is the problem, if, Mattingly does not produce a playoff team in Miami, his tenure will be short. In 22 seasons, the Marlins have gone through 16 different managers. So, any manager with the Marlins does not have a very long tenure. The ownership is quick to pull the trigger on letting the skipper go first. Nothing will change.

And, I don’t think the Marlins will change either. They will still be just an average team in the National League. I give Don Mattingly two seasons with the Marlins tops. 

Raul Mondesi, Jr.
Raul Mondesi, Jr.

3) KC Royals rookie Raul A. Mondesi made his first-ever appearance in a MLB game in Game three of the World Series. 

He was the first player to ever do so.

In your opinion, should a player who has not played during the regular season be eligible to play in the post-season?

 

Mondesi Jr. makes MLB debut in the World Series
Mondesi Jr. makes MLB debut in the World Series

Dan 3Dan:   Yes, I think so. If they’re on the 40-man roster making them eligible for post-season play then they should be able to eligible regardless if they’ve played in the regular season or not.

Yeah, Mondesi had a strikeout in his first at-bat in the majors and it happened to be in Game 3 of the World Series. But, I have no problem with it. They could have given him another at-bat in my opinion but they did end up winning the WS, so, I really can’t say on what Kansas City did wrong.

I have no problems with players being able to play in the post-season without appearing in a regular season game.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: I see nothing wrong with it. If, you’re allowed to reset the rosters, and, call in players before each series, then I see nothing wrong for bringing in a player that hasn’t made a Major League appearance before.

Raul Mondesi Jr., with his father in 1996
Raul Mondesi Jr., with his father in 1996

It’s cool that Raul got a chance to do something that his father did not do in his career, and, that was to play in a World Series. He’s also a World Series champion. I’d assume he’ll get a ring for his contributions so that’s pretty cool.

Me (2)Joe: I’m not sure about this…

There’s just something inside of me that resists the idea of letting a player who has not even had at least an at bat as a batter or faced at least one batter as a pitcher, play in the post season.

Steve-01-288x300

Steve:  No problem at all, if you ask me, that Mondesi was added to the World Series roster.

The Royals wanted speed and wanted someone to get on base to potentially steal bases. He would be excellent addition for a pinch runner. I’ll admit I didn’t really watch much of the World Series, so, other than the one at bat he had, I don’t really know what he did. But, I don’t have a problem with him being on the roster.

4) KC Royals lead-off hitter Alcides Escobar is a notorious first ball fastball hitter, and in fact, lead-off the 2015 World Series by smacking an inside the park home run on a first pitch fastball from Mets’ pitcher Matt Harvey.escobar2

In game three, Noah Syndergaard threw his first pitch to Escobar “up and in” to send a message… the pitch actually whizzed past Escobar, near his head and to the backstop and Escobar grabbed a seat in the dirt… KC players were sorta pissed… Syndergaard said he purposely wanted to make Escobar and the Royals less comfortable in the batter’s box.

What’s your read on and opinion of Syndergaard’s “chin music pitch”?

 

Dan 3Dan:  I have no problem with it. I think that it was understandable and that he was trying to get the Royals off of the plate and that was the way he felt like he should have taken it. If, that’s how he wants to pitch, then go ahead.

I have no problem with it as I was a pitcher in high school and my whole life. I have no problems with different techniques regardless if it includes throwing at a batter. That’s just part of the game.escobar

Kansas City might have gotten mad but the best way to overcome that and get back at him is by winning the game and by spraying the ball all over the field. Just go off at the plate on Syndergaard.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: I love it. I l freaking love it! That is what you are supposed to do and Thor set a message that kept the Mets pumped the entire game.

Considering it was the only game the Mets won in the Series, I would say: job well done!!

Me (2)Joe:  I’m kind of the same opinion as Pedro Martinez is when he tweeted…

“It’s refreshing to see a current pitcher that answered like an old timer! Thoooorrrrrrrrrrr!!!!”

Steve-01-288x300Steve: I don’t have a problem with it. Syndergaard

It showed the Royals that he has complete command of his pitches, and, when he said that what he did to Escobar was intentional, that may have gotten into the heads of the Royals players.

Hey, he was the only pitcher to get a win in the World Series for the Mets. So, it worked.

5) The World Series is over… the Kansas City Royals won in five games (4-1)… what is your opinion of this World Series? Can the Royals get to the 2016 World Series? Can the Mets? 

Royals celebrate winning World Series
Royals celebrate winning World Series

Dan 3Dan:  I really liked this World Series. It was fun, interactive and it was 2 teams who hadn’t won in 30 and 29 years on the exact date of Game 1 of the World Series. Plus, it was really cool to see Kansas City win after coming so close last season.

I think the Royals can keep up their winning and make it to the World Series again in 2016, but I’m not too sure about the Mets. I think they have a chance though but the NL is supposed to be tough again next season with St Louis and Chicago at the top.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl:  The Royals? Yes, they can return. They’ve played in the last two World Series’ and now they have won one. They know what to do, and as long as they keep this team together, I would not bet against them as far as returning to the World Series next season.

Daniel Murphy (R) & Yoenis Cespedes
Daniel Murphy (R) & Yoenis Cespedes

The Mets? I am not so sure. With Zach Wheeler returning next season, I would not be stunned if they considering trading one of their young guns for some more hitting. I look at Matt Harvey in particular, and I keep thinking, the organization might be motivated to deal him on. Don’t know why I get that, but I do. Anyway, without adding another big bat or two to counter Cespedes and Murphy leaving, the Mets won’t get back to this point next season. Not with the Nationals still lurking in the rearview.

Me (2)Joe:  Since, I was rooting for the Mets and they got taken to the cleaners 4 games to 1… so, it was an okay World Series…

Yeah, the games for all intents and purposes were mostly close (2 went into extra innings) but I just didn’t get that feeling that this was a special World Series… not like… say… when the Red Sox played Cincy in 1975.

No matter who they lose or who they keep this off-season, I expect the KC Royals to essentially keep the same team mindset they presently are imbued with by manager Ned Yost, so I see  them once again being in the playoffs and in the hunt for another World Series appearance. However, if, I am in GM Dayton Moore’s shoes I try extra hard to entice Ben Zobrist to stick around for an extra year or two.

Jason Heyward & Mets in 2016?
Jason Heyward & Mets in 2016?

The Mets I am not so sure about… They need to shore up their defense a tad and they they need some hitting.

If I were the front office I don’t try extra ahard to keep either Daniel Murphy or Yeonis Cespedes… Murphy had a playoffs for the record books UNTIl he got to the World series and  then the real Daniel Murphy showed up in my opinion… the Mets don’t need him… they got enough players who run hot and cold. And, speaking of running hot and cold… that’s Cespedes in a nut shell. Nuff said there. Plus, I am not really sure how decent of a fielder he is… Because if the way he played a sure out into an inside the park homer in the first game of the World Series is an indication of his fielding skills then the Mets don’t need him.

I know one player I  would be targeting in free agency though… and that’s Jason Heyward… he’s 26, a decnt hiotter and a shutdown right fielder. Then, I would shop some of their pitching… but NOT degrom, Syndergaard or Matz. Harvey or Wheeler maybe depending on the return they can get.

The only other free agent I would make a run at, if I  were the mets, is Ben Zobrist. The guy is a decent hitter and can play almost anywhere… I have heard about him ever catching though… including second base which is an obvious need for them going into 2016.

Ben Zobrist
Ben Zobrist

Steve-01-288x300Steve: Let’s start with Mets here. The Mets have a starting four that should be able to compete for a pennant for the next couple of years. So, I absolutely think the Mets can get back. I have a feeling that the Cubs may have something to say about that next season and may be out for revenge.

As for the Royals? I have a feeling that now they have won the World Series, that a lot of players may move on. I think Zobrist will find another team, Gordon is probably gone, so, they will lose a little bit. However, that being said, I counted the Royals out on numerous occasions in the post season. I won’t do it again. This team is scrappy and always find a way to win. So, yes, they can get back to the World Series next year assuming they don’t completely unload their team.

 Extra Innings…

boys-playing-stickball-havana-cuba-1999

 

Boys playing stickball in Havana, Cuba circa 1999…

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