Talking baseball once again as the crew gives out their thoughts…
On Joey Bats… and Josh batting first… Anthony Rizzo MVP? Bryce Harper in pinstripes? Plus, Reds or Braves… who’s better…
All at MLBRT now….
1) The Toronto Blue Jays really don’t have a prototypical leadoff hitter, so, the suggestion has been floated that Manager John Gibbons should think about using power hitting Josh Donaldson in that spot.
Archie: Last Season Donaldson had a league best 123 RBI’s with 41 Homeruns. While it is a given that a Homerun at any time is great, from the leadoff spot it can sometimes be a waste of power. I am traditional when it comes to my power guy hitting top of lineup but somewhere around the 3rd spot.
I DO believe he should not hit lower than third based on his great OBP and OPS but you really gain nothing else by putting him leadoff.
At the top of the order you would like to have a speed guy, someone who can get on base in order to set up the power guys, and for that reason I would put Kevin Pillar at leadoff. If, not Pillar, I’d go with Michael Saunders but both are better options than Donaldson.
Joe: Batting Donaldson leadoff reminds me of some other power leadoff hitters from the past… most notably and specifically Bobby Bonds comes to mind.The dude had power and speed and, if, he didn’t put you up 1-0 with his first at bat he very well could drive a ball into the gap and already there would be a man in scoring position. Or, he could get a walk or a single and then be a threat to steal second and… be in scoring position.
I bring up Bonds because it is an illsustration that batting Donaldson leadoff wouldn’t be exactly unprecedented nor the craziest idea. Yes, Donaldson may not be a big steal threat but he is very similar in wht he does with his bat to what Bonds did with his. And, Bonds could be a very effective leadoff hitter.
Having said all of that… I would bat Donaldson third in the Jays’ lineup if I were the manager.
Steve: It wouldn’t hurt anything to try it. I think Gibbons has a lot of options to choose from. Donaldson gets on base, he can steal bases, he can score runs, and he has the added benefit of hitting many home runs.
Personally, I would try out Troy Tulowitzki at the leadoff spot and see what he can do. But, I would not have any problem with Gibbons starting off Donaldson at the leadoff spot though. With that lineup, how can you really go wrong?
2) Reports are out that Jose Bautista wants $150 million for 5 years; Bautista says that’s not true. Be that as it may be, the fact is that Bautista, at 35, is probably looking for one last big payday before he finishes his career.
His career to date salary has been just over $71 million for basically 12 seasons. Why would any team give him double that for half the time? No team in their right mind will pay Joey Bats $30 million a year to his 40th birthday.
IMO he will be lucky to sign for $20 million @ year for the same five years.
Earl: I like Jose Bautista. He seems like a personable guy, and, he follows fans like myself on Twitter. With that said, he would be pricing himself out of Toronto with demands like that. The Jays are not going to offer that much and it might be to the benefit of the Jays rivals to sign Bautista away and weaken the Jays lineup.
I get wanting a big payday, but, if he wants to stay in the land of the 6ix, he might want to target a figure that the franchise would be more willing to match.
Joe: Joey Bats has had a good career and I do understand wanting to finish his career wit the security of a contract of some years and a last big payday BUT he is on the wrong side of 30 by a lot. And, if, he thinks he can get anywhere near $30 mil a year and is asking for that from the Jays then the Jays’ GM should do exactly what Brian Cashman did to Derek Jeter one time when he was holdign out for a big payday in the waning years of his career… go ahead and shop yourself and if you get a better offer than what I’m offering, come back and we’ll talk. The implication being you got a fat chance of getting what you want from any other team in baseball, so, why should I pay you that much, too?
I’d offer Bautista $22 mil for three years, and, if, Bautista is smart he would take it in heartbeat.
Steve: As much as I like Jose Bautista, no team is going to pay a 35- year-old player $150 million dollars over a five year period. And, I honestly believe Bautista when he says it’s not true. Only a fool would think he would be worth that much money at his age.
I think Toronto will make him a generous offer to stay there, but, it will only be a two year deal at best. I could see him getting $25 million a year for two years with the Blue Jays and maybe a club option for a third year, but, no way, he gets five years, not from Toronto, or, anyone for that matter.
3) Bryce Harper is eligible to be free agent after the 2017 season. Should the Nationals trade him while his value is near its peak or keep him and hope they can negotiate a deal with him before he becomes a free agent?
You have a fan favorite superstar on your team and management has to think about trading him or losing him to the next higher bidder. Actually I don’t think Harper is eligible for free agency until the 2019 season. He is eligible for arbitration next season. No matter, I do believe Harper has pinstripes on before his career ends, so, the Nationals might as well start looking to the future for a great package deal. But, it won’t happen until the end of ’17 or ’18 season.
Trading Harper in theory would make sense, but, you just can’t trade one of the best players in the game. Bryce might be the first $400 million man, but, you got to keep him until its 1 million percent certain that he’s leaving for greener pastures. Until either he or his agent makes that clear, you don’t even think of dealing him.
Joe: Arguably, Harper is the best player in the game today and I undertand the desire to want to keep him on the Nationals, but, I really don’t think the Natioanls can afford to keep him with the big contract the dude is going to demand and probably get.
Therefore, if I’m the Nationals, I trade him and get the biggest package I can of players I can get that can play and contribute now and of prospects that Ican hopefully usue down the line.
Steve: Two things have to be running in the heads of the Washington Nationals. Do we want to get some serious value for a guy like Bryce Harper? Or, are we willing to put up $300 plus million dollars to keep him.
Some pundits say that Harper may end up getting some kind of crazy contract upwards to the 400 maybe even eclipsing 500 million dollar mark. While I don’t see that happening, I do see him getting the highest paid contract in the history of baseball when he is a free agent.
So, if the Nats are not going to pony up and pay the kid, then, yes, they need to get some serious trade value for him.
4) As a member of a very deep Cubs lineup and with decent bats projected to be on either side of him in that lineup is this the year that Anthony Rizzo breaks out and has a career year and is a surprise MVP winner?
Archie: The young man had a great two season combination for the past two years and has not even been in the talk for MVP. Two things have to happen before you hear his name in the mentioning: First, the Cubs have to contend, and, second, he has to overcome Harper, Votto and Goldschmidt in the NL.
Those three guys have been killing the ball and while none of them have been advancing to the playoffs, their regular season body of work has been extraordinary. Rizzo has not even been the best at his position in the NL, let alone the best of the entire league. On the other hand, IF, the Cubs finish in the hunt for the playoffs, which they should, and, he continues to improve, I really don’t think it will be a surprise IF he is mentioned in the MVP discussion by the end of the season.
MVP winner or in the conversation? I’m not so sure.
Joe: I have always liked Rizzo and what he brings to a team and could never udnerstnad why he seems to never get as much attention as some other stars of the game. AND, I think he is just one big year away from busting out and jumping onto that stage. And, 2016 could very well be the year that it happens with that Cubs’ lineup surrounding him.
But, while I do think all of that could happen, and, while I also do see his numbers going up significantly, I just don’t see him having a big enough year to surpass the usual suspects in the drive for the NL MVP. He will have enough offensive ouput that he gets noticed in 2016 and be mentioned as one of the candidates for the award… he just won’t win it.
Steve: It very well could be a break out year for Anthony Rizzo. The problem for Rizzo is going to be the amount of talent that the Cubs are going to have in 2016. Depending on how his teammates produce, like Bryant, Zobrist, Schwarber, Russell, just to name a few, Rizzo may not even be the best player on his team.
I could see Rizzo putting up a .300/30HR/100 RBI season but will that be enough to win the MVP? Possibly, but I don’t think he wins the MVP.
5) Which team will have the better season in 2016… the Cincinnati Reds or the Atlanta Braves?
Archie: My first instinct was to automatically say the Reds. I am so disappointed where the Braves are in their “re-building” phase that I will not even buy MLB Extra Innings for the second year in a row. It hurts too much to see them flounder due to the shortage of talent.
The Reds still have (I think they still do) Votto, Phillips, Hamilton, and Bruce. They should at least be able to score a few runs in their own ballpark. The Braves counter with Freeman, who is still on the mend. I can’t see the Braves scoring more than they did last season which was a pitiful 573 runs; worst in MLB. I know the Reds were not much better, but they did score over 640.
While the Braves pitching started out strong last season they finished slightly below the Reds in 27th for team ERA.
So, at this point, I would have to still give the nod to the Reds to have the better record this season. Both will be dismal however.
The Reds are just awful and having to deal with the Cardinals, Cubs, and Pirates will definitely throw a whole bunch of L’s in their loss column.
Joe: Actually, I think the Braves have the nucleus for a decent pitching staff, and, if a few things break their way they could surpise a few people. Maybe not playoff level surpize, but, still, they could be a lot better than people are thinking.
The Reds on the other hand seem to be having a fire sale and all things must go… I don’t belive they are quite done yet, and, I think even whatever star palyers they have left will be gone by trade deadline time.
With that thought in mind… I think the Braves will have the better season in 2016.
Steve: I am a Braves fan and can honestly say that I am not looking forward to the Braves 2016 season. However, with some of the trades they made, I think they put themselves in pretty good position for their future, and, within the next couple of years they could compete again, at least for a wild card berth.
The Reds however, seem to be on a fire sale and are looking for the highest bidder for their top tier stars. They still have a decent lineup on paper led by Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. But, I would not be surprised if they are unloaded as well before the trade deadline.
I can honestly say that despite the Braves’ woes, the Reds are going to be a far worse team this season, and are headed nowhere.
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