Wild Card teams and wild players
Been a wild and woolly week or so since the trade deadline came and went… now a nation can slowly turn its eyes back to the pennant races… the teams that are wild card players or pretenders…
And ARod is finally going ? Maybe?
And, lots more… as we all join in at the MLB Round Table.
1) In the AL there are 5 teams vying for the 2nd wild card…
Detroit Tigers (they are presently the holder of the 2nd wild card), Boston Red Sox (.5 out), Seattle Mariners (3.5 out), Houston Astros (4 out) and the NY Yankees (5 out)… which team do you think gets the 2nd wild card spot?
IF, that happens I actually think the psyche of the Indians may change.
They will find themselves in a battle for the WC with whomever is in second place in the AL East as that division is not locked down yet as well.
Dan: I think the Boston Red Sox will grab that final Wild Card slot. I’ve really liked their team all season. They have a fantastic offense led by David Ortiz in his final season. The pitching has been pretty solid as well and they have another knuckle-baller on their roster who reminds me of Tim Wakefield.
I think they’ll kick it into an extra mode from what they’ve been playing all season for the final month-plus of the season in order to make a run at the World Series to give Ortiz just one more additional ring and a great ending to his Hall of Fame-worthy career.
Earl: I think the Red Sox will be the team to land the second wildcard. The American League East has three teams that deserve to be in the playoff picture with the Orioles, Jays, and Sox and all three should qualify. Those three teams, along with the Indians, are probably the best four teams in the American League (no disrespect to the Rangers and the Astros).
Joe: While I am still holding out hope that the Yankees, with their upcoming infusion of young talent, will finally find a spark to kick their offense into another gear. Still, I am not about to go betting the ranch that that will actually happen.
With that said… I think the fight for the last wild card spot will be between the Detroit Tigers and the Cleveland Indians. That race for the AL Central is stating to tighten up and who ever doesn’t win the division will probably get the the last wild card spot in the AL.
While it is a long shot, I would not be surprised if they even make a run at the division title as well. I think the Red Sox will be the other team to be in the Wild Card game, with Toronto atop the East.
2) In the NL there are also 5 teams vying for the 2nd wild card… Miami Marlins (they are presently the holder of the 2nd wild card), St. Louis Cardinals (1 out), NY Mets (2 out), Pittsburgh Pirates (3 out) and the Colorado Rockies (4 out)… which team do you think gets the 2nd wild card spot?
The schedule will have a lot to do with the remainder of the season and that is where I think the Marlins might have a slight advantage. Over half of their remaining games are against sub-500 Non-Contenders and the majority of the games against front runners are in Miami. So , their schedule actually favors them pretty good to holding onto that spot.
Dan: While I would love to see Miami be able to grab the final Wild Card slot and end St Louis run at post-season’s berths, I don’t think we’ll see that this year. St Louis has an urge every September and middle-to-late August where they become hot as fire. They’ll be able to nap the final Wild Card slot from Miami and continue their post-season streak.
They have a very talented offensive squad led by Matt Carpenter, Piscotty and Diaz. Their pitching has been pretty damn good this season with Carlos Martinez and Garcia both leading the way. Yadier Molina, while a quiet year, is doing quite well at the plate and contributing nicely behind the dish as well. They’ll over-take Miami.
So, doing that, I think the Marlins hold on and clinch the 2nd wildcard spot. Don Mattingly has done a fine job in South Florida and I think they can play well enough down the stretch to hold on.
I really think somehow the Miami Marlins sneak in ahead of the Mets (the Mets just can’t seem to back up their pitchers with any run scoring at all) for second place in the NL East and that will be good enough to give them an entry into postseason play as the second wild card.
The Cardinals always find a way to win, and will do so in September. The Dodgers are rolling right now, and either them or the Giants will get the top Wild-Card spot.
3) Recently Cincinnati’s’ first baseman Joey Votto (the game was in Cincy) was going for a foul ball near the stands. As the ball was heading into the stands it was by rule “in the fan’s territory” and thus they can try for a free souvenir if they want… they are not required to yield to the fielder. Because of that fact, with Votto and the fan reaching for the ball simultaneously, Votto failed to catch the ball for an out. Votto then grabbed at the Reds’ emblem on the fans shirt as if to emphasize the fact… “Hey, which team do you root for?”
Later Votto gave the fan an autographed ball with his apology that he was wrong.
Now, that is all well and good, but, this is not Votto’s first run-in with a fan… he has been seen being rude at times to fans and sometimes during away games has a habit of feigning throwing souvenir balls into the stands before just tucking the ball away into his glove and walking off the field.
What’s your opinion of Votto’s sometimes volatile behavior towards fans?
Archie: I think MOST of his frustration is in the fact he has remained a Red and they have fell short every year he has played for them. I think the issue with being an “also ran” every year plays on some players’ minds more than others, and, let’s face it, when you are playing 1st or 3rd you are going to catch a lot of flak from the fans. And, while his temper is not always brought on by the fans but they are the ones that catch his wrath at times.
Dusty Baker has criticized Votto before for his cussing and for pitching fits after an AB and such. Votto is a fiery player but he is definitely getting worse more than better. Maybe a good swift kick in the britches with a suspension or hefty fine would help heal what’s wrong but he seems to stay just short of the borderline on both.
Dan: I don’t believe that players need to respect fans and be courtesy, because, let’s face it, fans don’t give nearly the same respect back. And, I don’t believe Joey Votto has done anything wrong towards fans. In the instance with the Reds’ fan, that fan should’ve known to get out of the way to let Joey Votto make a play. That is, after all, the team he does root for.
As for what Votto has done in opposing cities to non-Cincinnati fans, I have no problem with, especially with how fans be heckling players of other teams. I’ve heard it myself in the many, many Brewers’ games and various other teams’ games I’ve attended throughout my life.
Glad he apologized but he should change his behavior towards fans.
Joe: Votto is a talented player who while playing very well most years (MVP in 2010) somehow has never kicked into the top echelon of star player status that was predicted (and is still predicted by some) for him. Part of that is that he plays for essentially a perennial loser in the Reds… in his 10 years in MLB the Reds have finished the season as a playoff participant only three times. The other years the Reds have finished fifth four times, fourth two times and third once. Regardless what anyone says that has to wear on a player and sometimes it comes out with the player being demonstrative in the wrong manner to the wrong people… the fans.
However, it is also a fact that Votto can come off as a moody and sometimes volatile player. This is not… as the question suggests… his first time around the rodeo where he is doing this sorry shtick. So, maybe someone needs to be his Dutch Uncle and take off to the side and try to say “Joey… ya got all the talent in t he world so blah, blah,, blah…
But something tells me that has already happened…and… more than once.
In short. he can be what the hell he is… a very good player who can be a brat… and languish along the borderline of greatness or he can do everything in his power to take his career to the next level (before its too late; he’s already in his thirties) and establish himself on the upper level of MLB players… alongside, or at least close, to somebody like Mike Trout.
I fear I know the answer already.
Steve: You know, it is baseball, and tempers can flare up, emotions can get the best of you, especially when you are on a failing team the Cincinnati Reds. Votto owned up to his mistake, and I respect that.
It happens and he expressed his frustration that something did not go his way. I can’t say I blame him at all.
4) Considering the track of the NY Yankees present strategy for the team and the fact that they appear to be bringing up young players from the minors and Mgr. Joe Girardi is using these players in his lineups more, which means Rodríguez is getting less and less playing time… the Yankees and he have supposedly reached an agreement wherein he will get all the money he is still contractually owed as a player but as of August 12th he will “retire” as a player and become an advisor to the Yankees.
However, GM Brian Cashman has also said he is free to do what he wants?
(1) What’s your opinion of this “deal” Hal Steinbrenner has made with Rodríguez and (2) what do you think are the odds that once he is away from the field as an active player that he tries to latch on with a team to at least get to 700 HRs? FYI: He just needs 4 more… assuming he doesn’t do that in the last week he is officially an active player with the Yankees and (3) how do you see his legacy as a MLB player?
I don’t think he will reach the 700 mark in the next 4 days, so, I think that is a moot point.
IF, he officially retires as a player on 12 August he can no longer pursue the HR chase as well. If, he does not officially retire with the Yankees, then, I think his ego WILL make him latch on somewhere to try and reach the 700 mark. Maybe Colorado where the air is thinner.
Dan: I understand the deal. The Yankees don’t need A-Rod to contribute any more to their season, and, to just get him off of the roster spot without releasing him or trading him and having to pay him anyway, they’re just going to keep him as part of the organization and have him help their team. While they still pay him, they’re opening up plenty of room for younger players. This helps the future of the franchise and since they’re damn near out of the playoff race, lets the Yankees’ prospects get some major league playing time.
I don’t think A-Rod will come back to attempt for 700 HRs and I don’t blame him. He’s getting paid over $25 million to sit and advise. Why pass that up?
And, while his legacy will forever be tarnished due to his PED links, I do think he was one of the all-time greats. Do we see him in the Hall of Fame? I think eventually he’ll get in, just like the rest of the PED-linked players, but not right away.
The deal Hal Steinbrenner has made gets rid of the A-Rod distraction this season, and, he gets him off the Yankee roster. However, I think he’ll play because he’s so close to 7oo home runs. Going back home to Miami would probably be best for him. The Marlins just saw Ichiro hit his 3,000 MLB hit in their uniform and I’m sure they would like to have A-Rod hit his 700th home run as a Marlin.
Joe: (1) I think the deal is an honorable way for the Yankees (or Hal) to get ARod off the team and still pay him without simply saying hit the road and we will eat the money. Either way it’s still the same thing. He ain’t going to be on the roster and he is still getting his millions.
(2) I also believe that after a time being an advisor to the Yankees and working with the young talent they have that he will tire of that scenario and try to latch on with another team to at least get to 700 hrs and maybe beyond. Interestingly… if, he hits the 714 HR mark and then the 715 HR mark surpassing Babe Ruth on the all time HR list, I think his contract says he is supposed to get a bonus from the Yankees. Would that bonus still have to be paid out or will we see some more fireworks between Alex and the Yanks? Regardless, I don’t believe this is the last time… after August 12th… that Alex Rodríguez will appear on a MLB baseball field as a player.
(3) He could have gone down as one of the all time greats except for his connection to PEDs… and for some he is an all time great who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
However, no matter how you feel about players like ARod… and McGwire, Bonds, etc… the fact is they have that PED stain on their careers and there will always be people who will regard their careers as suspect. Will he (and the others) eventually make the Hall? Maybe in time but who knows.
The truth is that his legacy is that of a great player who used drugs to supposedly enhance his performance. So, what part of his record was due to his talent and what part was due to his drug use? there is no way to know.
It also gives other clubs a chance to pick up A-Rod moving forward. I could see a team that doesn’t sell many tickets giving A-Rod a chance in a DH role. Maybe the Twins, or the A’s could be a potential landing spot. His value is greatly diminished, but, he still has an outside chance to surpass Babe Ruth if he can get a full season under his belt.
5) Last Yankee’s question… promise… Mark Teixeira has also said he is retiring from MLB, but, he will not do so until the season’s end… What is his legacy as a MLB player? Is he Hall material?
He had way too many injuries and was not on the field enough to be considered “dominate” during his era of play. He only averaged 130 games per season and his 127 OPS+ will not be enough to carry him to the Hall alone. When predecessors like Mattingly, Olerud and Hernandez,who all played 1st base, had better careers (IMO) and did not make the Hall, there is no way Tex should make it.
He doesn’t have any automatic numbers, and, he was just a great player, not a Hall of Fame-caliber player based on his statistics. He’s not even close to Hall of Fame standards based off of baseball-reference’s grading scales.
Great career, not a Hall of Famer.
I like Teixeira and he was a good player for the Orioles and Yankees but his numbers are not good enough for enshrinement.
And besides, he will have to stand in line behind some other very good to great first basemen before he ever gets into the Hall of Fame without having to buy a ticket. When players like Don Mattingly and Keith Hernandez… two very fine hitters and probably two of the best fielders I have ever seen at first… are not in the Hall then there is no way Tex gets a Hall pass first.
I think that he will one day be enshrined into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Maybe not on the first ballot, but because he has never officially been linked to PED’s much like Mike Piazza, he should get in on a ballot. Within 5 years, I will predict.
Extra innings: What about your favorite team… the team you root for the most… what do you like the most and what don’t you like the most? Are you optimistic or pessimistic about their future?
IF, I were to believe the Hype by John Hart and Coppolella then I should be ecstatic next season. However, I am not that optimistic or naive. The Braves currently do NOT have enough fire power in their lineup or consistency at starting pitching to be contenders next season. I know they traded for a shit-pot full of pitching talent. However, they have not been as successful in turning that talent into quality starts under McDowell like they used to do with Mazzone. I’m not sure if it is philosophy or ability, but, I do know it has not been recognized on the field.
The thing I like most about this team currently is the moves they’ve made to improve the team. With David Stearns taking over, the Brewers have gone from the worst farm system in baseball to number 1. That speaks volumes and is absolutely fantastic to see. Not only that, but the trades the Brewers have been making have brought back great prospects, something that was lacking in years past.
The one thing I don’t like is how the pitching has been for the Brewers. It seems as if they can’t get a starter to pitch consistently besides Davies or Guerra (who is now on the DL and they’re back to Wily Peralta, who as of 08/08, has an ERA over 6.60). Also, the Brewers have acquired a heavy amount of middle infielders. They have Arcia, Villar already at SS with Villar moving to 3B, how many more do they need?
I’m extremely optimistic about the future. They have the best farm system in baseball, most of their players still have a full career ahead of them and their best player (Ryan Braun) still has 5-10 more years left in his tank. They’ll be competing atop the NL Central within the next couple of seasons.
My hometown team can go either way as far as their future. They have talented pitchers and some promising players in the pipeline but they also have an ownership that has shown some reluctance to spend and the team has the issue of David Wright’s health hanging over them. As a Mets fan I’m not too sure where their future lies, but, if, we occasionally get seasons like last season, I don’t think most Mets fans will complain.
But, now that the dust has settled and seeing how they drastically improved their minor league prospects ranking (arguably, top three now) and the fact they have ridded themselves of one albatross in the lineup in ARod and I expect by season end they will rid themselves of at least two others… Teixeira will retire and Brian McCann, who has already gone through post trade deadline waivers without being claimed, will probably be traded once eh waives his no-trade clause, back to Atlanta… I am extremely optimistic about their future.
It remains to be seen how they use the prospect hoard they have acquired. Hopefully they judiciously trade some of them for established major leaguers while keeping the best of the crop for themselves.
Then as contract money comes off the books they can sign some free agents who fit the team strategy. However, they need to avoid signing these free agents to contracts that are longer than forum or five years or else they will handicap their flexibility like they did during their last spending frenzy.
I will start with the Cubs, and the future looks bright all the way until at least 2020. I really believe that the Cubs will be hoisting their first World Series championship since 1908 at least one time before 2020, we may even see it this year.
As for the Braves? I honestly have no idea what they are doing. When it appears they are buyers, they are sellers, then when they look like they are in rebuild mode, they go out and sign Matt Kemp. I don’t understand it. I can only imagine that the front office for Atlanta is having a lot of sleepless nights.
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