MLB News & Views @ MLBRT 11/16

This week’s questions and discussions…

1) First… Two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay died last week at age 40 when the private plane he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. On November 14th, a celebration of Roy Halladay’s life will take place at Spectrum Field, the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies.

MLBRT adds our condolences to his family and sorrow over his passing… RIP Roy “Doc” Halladay. 

Now… in one more year… 2019… Halladay will have been retired from MLB for five years and his name will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot… is he a Hall of Famer? A first ballot HOFer? 

Archie: Yes.

The two CYA and 8 AS along with his other stats, Roy would have been/will be a 1st time HOF inductee. 

As a Blue Jay…

Joe: If you throw out his first four years (1998-2001) and start with year 2002 and go up to years 2011, Roy Halladay may have been the best pitcher in MLB.

In that 10-year stretch he averaged 16.9 wins (throw out 2004 when he only won 8 games and that average jumps to almost 17.9); led the league in Strikeouts ( consistently over 220 per year);  was an All-Star 9 times, won 2 Cy Young  awards and was in the top 5 five the other years; 7 years his ERA was in the top five; led the league in wins twice both times surpassing 20 and was consistently in the top ten, if not top five in the other years, in the top and in addition his career Won/Loss percentage (.659) is 19th all-time.

While ten years may seem a small sample size to consider a player for the Hall there is precedent for it… Sandy Koufax immediately comes to mind. And, while I think Koufax’ last six years in the game were maybe one of the best stretches in the Modern Era (and IMO got him into the Hall) by no means am I saying Halladay was as dominant as he was BUT I will say he was very arguably the most dominant pitcher for those ten years.

I vote him into the Hall. First Ballot? I consider it strongly.

As a Phillie…

Steve: Easily he is a first ballot hall of famer.

He was considered the best pitcher in baseball for several years. One of just a few people to win the Cy Young in both leagues. Two no hitters in one year, including one perfect game, and a no-hitter in the post season. No other pitcher did that since Don Larson in the 55 World Series. This is a no brainer for Halladay to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

2) 28-year old Miami Marlins; right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is rumored to be on the trading block despite a no trade clause in his contract.  However, he would probably welcome a trade as it appears the new ownership group, fronted by Derek Jeter, is shedding salary as they go into complete rebuild mode. According to CBSSports.com the Boston Red Sox are one of four teams who are being mentioned as having preliminary talks with the Marlins about acquiring Stanton and his hefty contract…almost $300 million left on his contract with an opt-out clause in 2020.

The Red Sox could use Stanton’s power bat in their lineup as they finished last as team in HRs (168) in the AL, and were the fourth worst in all of MLB this season.

If, you were the Sox’ GM Dave Dombrowski do you make every effort you can to get Stanton this offseason, or do you bite the bullet in 2018 and wait for that year’s offseason free agent class that includes Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, Daniel Murphy and Brain Dozier, all of whom can be signed for money without losing any players or prospects?

Giancarlo Stanton (27) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run ivs Washington Nationals

Archie: That’s a tough one.

No matter which way you go IF it does not work out well you will look like an idiot. Personally, I think any club with the money to pursue Stanton should at least put their bid in to see where it leads.

Joe: This issue of Stanton going to the Red Sox may be a moot point: (1) there is a rumor floating around that Stanton has said he won’t waive his no trade clause to go to either the Red Sox or the Cards, and (2) President and minority share holder/owner Derek Jeter says it is not a foregone conclusion Stanton will be traded… read that as Jeter may be asking for too much and no one will give it to him unless he eats salary which he is obviously loath to do.

Having said that,,, put me in the camp of wait util 2018 when you can get a HR hitter for just money without losing any top prospects.

Steve: If, any team is going to pick up Stanton and that massive contract, they are not going to have room for many other players to help them compete. One player is not going to win you a championship, as it was evident in Miami. If ,you are the GM, you wait until next year to get a chance at some big named free agents outside of a trade.You as a franchise are going to compete for a championship next year even without Stanton, they need to hold off and save the money.

I have a feeling it is going to be harder to unload Stanton unless Miami will pay some of the contract.

3) Here is the average time of nine-inning games for the last four years: 2014: 3 hours, 2 minutes; 2015: 2 hours, 56 minutes (first year with new pace-of-play rules); 2016: 3 hours, 0 minutes; 2017: 3 hours, 6 minutes.

Obviously, games are getting longer instead of shorter. Die-hard baseball fans usually don’t give two whoops by this, but in this electronic age of short attention spans, the goal is to keep the dyed in the wool fan, while keeping the casual fans, as well as getting new people to watch and/or attend games.

The GM meetings begin this week in Orlando, Florida. Scuttlebutt has it, the owners will start the wheels moving and seriously consider such moves as reducing the amount of mound visits by catcher/pitcher in an inning, introducing a pitch clock (which was tested in the Arizona Fall League a few years ago and is now used at Double-A and Triple-A, and has proven to shave down the time of game by quite a lot), or having umpires stop the idle time  and psych battles during games by calling a ball if a pitcher keeps stepping on and off the rubber and doesn’t throw a pitch in an reasonable period of time or a strike where batters step out of the box, fiddle around with their batting gloves, and then go readjusting their batting stance on each pitch.

Which, if any, of these options do you think they will bring to the table to negotiate with the MLBPA?

Pitch clock coming to speed up the game?

Archie: I don’t care for any new rule that messes with the psyche of the players in their “battle” between pitcher and hitter. So, I think the only good way to “speed” up the game is the time between change of innings.

It should not take that long to switch fielding positions other than IF the catcher was on base or last bat to put on his equipment.

Joe: To be clear I am in the die-hard fan category and I don’t like a lot of finagling with the game. Baseball is generally fine as it is. Besides what they have changed… for example just giving a player first base instead having to throw the pitches and the DH…are not improvements.

HOWEVER,,, I would strongly consider limiting how many times a pitcher/catcher could have a conference on the mound in an inning.

I was at a game  in September between the Yankees and the Twins and Joe Mauer was at bat… he saw 13 (maybe more) pitches before he finally worked a hit. That however is a part of the game within the game and one of its enjoyable intricacies… the battle between a batter and a pitcher. To be honest it was an amazing feat of batting by Mauer. And while that alone made the AB very long, there was another factor involved that made it longer AND not enjoyable… the catcher and the pitcher (Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino) must have had at least seven conference (maybe more) on the mound. That is absurd. So I would definitely limit that.

Or, is it a matter of just enforcing the rules?

As far as a pitch clock… it’s unnecessary there is already a rule n the book that says: When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.” The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball. The intent of this rule is to avoid unnecessary delays. The umpire shall insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly. Obvious delay by the pitcher should instantly be penalized by the umpire.

Enforce the rule.

The same goes for the batter the rule book says: Umpires will not call “Time” at the request of the batter or any member of his team once the pitcher has started his windup or has come to a set position even though the batter claims “dust in his eyes,” “steamed glasses,” “didn’t get the sign” or for any other cause. Umpires may grant a hitter’s request for “Time” once he is in the batter’s box, but the umpire should eliminate hitters walking out of the batter’s box without reason. If umpires are not lenient, batters will understand that they are in the batter’s box and they must remain there until the ball is pitched…. and…  ) If the batter refuses to take his position in the batter’s box during his time at bat, the umpire shall call a strike on the batter. The ball is dead, and no runners may advance. After the penalty, the batter may take his proper position and the regular ball and strike count shall continue. If the batter does not take his proper position before three strikes have been called, the batter shall be declared out.

Enforce the rule.

Steve: I think it’s obvious that it is talked about every year. Baseball is a long game, and I don’t think they should try to take away managerial strategy in order to lessen the game. Sure, I would love to see a shorter game, as it is hard for me to stay up really late watching exciting games, but I will do it if we will get the best outcome.

I am all for a pitch clock, and limited visits to the mound, but limit pitching changes, or an electronic strike zone? Nope. I want no part of it.

4) What is your opinion of this year’s free agent class?

(https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2017/11/09/mlb-free-agents-top-players-available)

Archie: I don’t see too many to get excited about. There is not really any one position that provides a lot of opportunity.

If, I were managing I would seek those “value” commodities this season and wait for Harper and others the next season. That is, IF you are in it for the long run.

Joe: Short and sweet…

I am not impressed and wouldn’t sign any of these guys either for an exorbitant amount of bucks or years. 

Steve: Arrieta is going to be the one on peoples minds. He is going to demand a high dollar contract, and I’m sure someone will pay him.

You have some great closers starring Wade Davis, and some great hitters like JD Martinez, Jay Bruce, and the trio from Kansas City. There is some prime real estate and any one of these guys would be a great addition to a contending team.

Darvish is going to be the interesting choice here. He struggled last season, especially in the playoffs. I’m not sure if that is going to hurt his stock at all, but I don’t think he will get near the demand he is going to seek.

5)  ESPN.com asked “their panel of experts” … What is the over/under 45 homers for Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger in 2018?

And, other than Judge and Bellinger which rookie impressed you the most this year?

So, let’s play… what are your answers for both questions?

Aaron Judge (right) and Cody Bellinger.

Archie: First Q: Judge 41, Bellinger 32. I look for both to have the infamous “Sophomore slump.”

Second Q: I will give the edge to Judge on first impressions. His stature alone is hulking and he impressed in the HR derby as well. Great kid with great upside to him. I saw Bellinger struggle too much in the post season and it tainted his “glamour” somewhat for me. 

Joe: I say under for both but with a caveat on Judge. If, Judge doesn’t fall prey to the cursed “Sophomore Slump” and can learn to adapt to the pitching changes faster than he did last year when he had his post-All-Star game slump then he might juts get 50 again.

As for the other rookies that impressed… The Red Sox’ Andrew Benintendi in The AL. Any other year and he is probably a run-away winner in the AL. In fact, he was an overwhelming second choice by the voters in The AL rookie race.

The same goes for the Pirates’ Josh Bell… in my opinion in any other year he wins the ROY. Although the voters didn’t seem to agree with me as he came in a distant third in the NL voting.

Steve: I think I will take the under as far as 45 HR for both Judge and Bellinger for next season. Pitchers will know how to pitch to them now, and they wont be able to sneak up on people as they did at the beginning of last year.

As for the another rookie, it has to be Andrew Benintendi of the Red Sox. He is going to be something special as well and nearly caught Judge as far as ROY interest before Judge just went off the last week of September.

2010 N.L. Cy Young Award Winner Roy Halladay A Unanimous Pick

Extra Innings…

On this day in 2010…

Who else but Roy Halladay…

Roy Halladay joins Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and Gaylord Perry as the fifth pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues.

The Phillies right-hander, obtained as a free agent in the off-season, unanimously cops the National League honor after posting a 21-10 record along with a 2.44 ERA during the major-league leading 250.2 innings he hurled for the season.

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1 Comment

  1. With respect to topic 3) (length of games), it is elementary that there is much too much time taken in commercial advertisements. To save a few seconds here and there by insisting that pitchers, catchers play even if not ready is minuscule time-saving compared to the minutes lost between innings, during pitching changes and replay reviews, and the like.

    Anyone complaining about games games being too long who also supports or benefits from the income from advertising should have his or her head examined.

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