Touch them all, guys…
We got a little bit of everything in this week’s round table… Can a 32 yearold ryan Braun still light it up ont he diamond?
Is Jason Heyward really a 200 million dollar man?
And what does the creww think of the future of MLB?
These and othe topics are being tossed around at the round table discussion by the crew…
1) Remember when Ryan Braun was the player du jour? When for four years in a row… 2009-2012… he averaged around 35-plus doubles and HRs with nearly 185-plus hits and a batting average that was usually over .320. Was an MVP in 2011?
Since, those years, he’s dealt with a suspension and some injuries and he hasn’t been close to that type of player.
In your opinion, at age 32, can he recapture those glory years ever again?
Dan: I’m a Brewers’ fan and I think a lot of his struggles have come from his injuries. He’s battled hand injuries, just recently had back surgery this off-season. From every report I’ve read, his back surgery has gone very well and his rehab is going ahead of schedule.
I think with extra training, he should be back to his old self for the 2016 season and put up MVP-like numbers again.
He can still be a good player, but, I doubt he can reach those heights again.
Joe: I think Braun can have maybe some years that he nears his previous best numbers… at the worst maybe three years where he hits at least 30 doubles and HRs with some 100 RBI years tossed in there, and, at the best, maybe he gets lucky, and has four or five.
But, probably no more than that before he starts to hit every players normal decline in performance as he gets beyond age 37.
Steve: Everyone has an off year, sometimes two. Look at Albert Pujols who is getting up there in years. He had not made an All Star Game since coming to Los Angeles until last year when he belted 30 plus Home runs. Braun is a great player, sure he had his battle with the whole PED thing, but, in my opinion, all is forgiven, he made a mistake and has had to live with the consequences. He still has the ability to put up solid numbers moving forward.
As a matter of fact, I think he is going to have a breakout season, and I will go on record right here on this forum and say that Ryan Braun will be the comeback player of the year.
2) Jason Hayward is never going to be a big run producer and is probably going to be a guy who gives you maybe a .265 batting average with maybe 15 HRs, 55 RBIs and maybe 80 runs scored or better depending on the lineup he plays in. But his defense? That’s another story… he is very arguably the best right fielder in the game today. He is, also, only 26-years-old and just hitting his prime as a player.
Rumors abound that his free agent price tag may approach $200 million or more.
In your opinion, does some team actually give him $200 million, or more, to sign him? And, regardless of his price tag… which team do you think he will actually sign on with?
Dan: No, I don’t believe he will end up getting $200 million or more. That’s way overpaid for him in my opinion and I can’t see him receiving that much. That’s a top MVP-type player figures and besides his defense, I don’t see him being an MVP-type player.
I think that he’ll end up going in the NL Central. The Cardinals have shown interest but I think he goes to Chicago. They might overpay for him but I know they will appreciate his defense and he can come in and contribute. Maybe he can be the factor that pushes them to the World Series.
Do I believe that someone is going to go crazy and throw some big money at him. Yeah, I do.
Despite having a stacked outfield, I wouldn’t be too surprised if he ends up in Boston. Assuming the Red Sox can clear some players out in order to fit Heyward in the lineup. The Sox big move for David Price, shows me that the Sox are willing to gamble and go for broke in order to get back in the postseason.
Joe: I think if more than a few teams get serious about trying to woo Heyward to play for thier club then the numbers can approach that $200-plus million mark. Do I think he is worth it? Let me put it this way… any palyer is worth whatever some owner is willing to pay/ So, if some GM gtes the OK from their boss… aka an owner… to pay over $200 million to sign Heyward then I guess in somone’s mind he is worth that much.
Realistically, looking at the teams who may be in contention for Heyward’s ervices… which, I think are St. Louis, The LA Angels, LA Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and the NY Yankees… the only way the money approaches $200 mil is if the Dodgers get really serious about wanting Heyward to shore up their outfield defense. And, if, that happens then St. Louis, the Angels and the Yanks will all drop out of the running to sign Heyward… not because none of those teams can’t afford the price tag, but, because none of those teams are willing to pay that much for Heyward. And, if it becomes a bidding war between the Cubs and the Dodgers for Heyward… then I expect the Dodgers to win the war.
If the Dodgers aren’t all gung ho at getting him at any costs then any of the aforementioned teams has a real shot at signing Heyward but probably at a tad more saner money… say maybe seven years at 18 mil a year, or, about $126 mil total.
I think the money stays in the “saner” category and after a long period of all the teams talking it over with Heyward and his agents I think it comes down to who goes some extra years in length of contract and maybe tosses in a few extra million per year.
I think that eliminates the Yanks because they probably aren’t willign to go the extra years if it’s over seven. And, I htink onc the moen ystratys to get a tad over that 18 million area the Cubbies drop out becuse they really need to invest in either a #1 or #22 starter and not OF help. no matter how good he is defensively.
Then it comes down to St. Louis, the Angels and the Dodgers… I think if Heyward isn’t the Dodgers top priority to sign then once the bidding goes over that $18 million mark and the years start to get higher in length they drop out too.
So, it comes down to who wants him more and how many dollars and years they are willing to give. And, if thats the case then… just like with Pujols… the Angels will win that biddign contest.
However, if Heyward wants the best chance to always be on a team that will annually have a chance to be in the World Series… he should take a little lessand sign with the Cards.
However, someone will probably pay him that kind of money. He is a quality player who can hit, run, and play defense. He has playoff experience with Atlanta and with St Louis, and, that is a huge bonus when it comes to good players. Everywhere he has gone, he has won, so that will play a factor.
If, I was a GM I would give an offer of about 5 years at 90 million. That is about what Heyward is worth.
3) Let’s play GM for a day… you are the GM for your favorite team and you have an unlimited budget with one catch… you can only sign one free agent from this year’s free agent list… who do you sign?
He put up Cy Young-like numbers last season and if it wasn’t for the 2nd half of Jake Arrieta, the type of run the Cubs had and his awesome season, Zack Greinke would’ve won the Cy Young.
He would bolster up the pitching rotation and really would be a difference maker. The Brewers would be able to move up towards a Wild Card contention spot.
So, I’ll go down the list to my 1A) favorite team, the New York Mets and say I hope they’d keep Cespedes. There are bigger bats out there but something about how Cespedes meshed with the team last season, strikes me as a guy I would keep on a nice 2 or 3 year deal.
They can probably live with their pitching as it is but they need to shore up their right field defense (Beltran is basically a DH now and they have no one who is major league ready in the minors right now… soon… but I don’t think they will be ready coming out of spring training) and with their short left field porch Heyward can once again approach being a 20-plus HR man. Maybe he can even get to where he could be a potential 30 HR, 30 double and 30 steals type of palyer if he played in Yankee stadium for half of his games… defintely a shot to be a 25, 25, 25 guy. Plus, he gets them a lot younger in the lineup being that he is only 26-years-old.
Price is a huge asset to any team. He is a leader in the clubhouse, and, he is a work horse. He is the kind of pitcher that can get you into the playoffs. And, despite his lack of post season success… he actually pitched pretty good for the Blue Jays in the ALCS, just the Jays did not score any runs for him… I would sign him.
He will give you 200 plus innings in a year, so, when he starts you know you are going to get a quality outing, and, more likely than not, get some innings out of him. Especially, if I am in the National League, Price would be a 20 game winner and would give my team a chance to win.
4) Jose Reyes was recently arrested for domestic violence… he has pleaded not guilty. If, he is convicted, or, if he cops to a plea deal, should MLB levy some type of punishment against Reyes? Or regardless of any legal findings should Reyes be held accountable by MLB for his actions?
Understand this…At no time in the last quarter of a century has there been a commissioner-level sanctioning of any player for domestic violence, and most teams haven’t bothered to do so either. That’s per a 2014 online article from SB.Nation.
Also, understand that in August 2015, MLB and the players union announced an agreement on new policies for domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse which states that players will be accountable “through appropriate disciplinary measures.” This means that after an investigation into allegations of abuse or assault MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred can issue sanctions based on his own judgment, and, his decision is not dependent on whether the player is convicted or pleads guilty. Players can choose to appeal the commissioner’s sanctions, which would bring the case before a three-person arbitration panel made up of an MLB representative, a union representative, and an independent arbitrator.
But really, it doesn’t matter to me or the overall baseball season… if he misses 10 games in the beginning, or 20, it doesn’t matter. He still has 152 games or 142 games. It’s not really important.
The Commissioner is going to be looked to, to set an example, and jumping out and punishing Reyes to something extreme would not shock me at all.
Joe: If, Reyes is guilty, under the MLB defintion of being guilty, of doemestic violence then he needs to serve at least as long of a suspension as if he was caught doing steriods… that is he should get a 80 game ban.
Baseball needs to send the message that their players need to be responsible citizens as well as resonsible ball players.
However, Manfred better make sure that he has all the facts of the case before him before rendering a decision. He cannot “Goodell” this decision. But, yeah, Reyes should be suspended if he in fact was involved in this domestic abuse case.
5) Some writers, in various sports venues, have said that baseballs future is very bright mostly due to the fact that most of its very good star players are under 26.
What’s your opinion of MLB’s immediate future?
Dan: I think so. Baseball went down for a little bit, but, I believe, that it’s starting to go up in popularity again. The underdogs are winning again, the Cubs are good and have a shot at winning the World Series… Pittsburgh has a good shot… Kansas City can repeat… the Mets up there. It’s starting to become a sport to watch again like how it used to be.
As long as the disparity in the league continues, the league will start to grow in popularity again. It is America’s Pasttime still. And, it will remain so.
I think the future in MLB is bright.
Joe: Right now, with the amount of young talent… Mike Trout, Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper, Jose Altuve, et. al. …. in the game on the major league level or about to get into the game at the major league level I have to say I agree…
… MLB’s immediate future looks very bright.
Steve: Mike Trout is still young, Bryce Harper is still virtually a child, Andrew McCutchen has been a perennial All-Star. All three have an MVP and will likely add to their hardware before its said and done.
Do I need to go on? Okay… Kris Bryant? Kyle Schwarber? Javier Baez? All on the Cubs, so just those guys alone are enough to really get excited about the future of Major League Baseball.
Plus, there is a VERY GOOD CHANCE that the Cubs will compete and win a World Series before this decade is out. Now I don’t care if you are not a Cubs fan or not, but that would be freaking awesome for baseball if the city of Chicago (on the North Side) can bring them a championship. It wouldn’t be the same like when the Sox won it in 2005, no one really cared. But, if, the Cubs can win it all, the country would go into epileptic shock.
Then take a look at many of the Astros and their line of young talent starting with Carlos Correa, this kid is destined for greatness. Over in Miami you have Giancarlos Stanton, who if he can stay healthy for an entire year, he will walk away with an MVP award.
So, I for one, am very excited about the future of this game, and, with the prospects that are still up and coming for 2016, it is going to get better.
Is it March yet?
“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do.
I stare out the window and wait for spring.” (Rogers Hornsby)
77 days until pitchers & catchers…
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