MLB News & Views ! MLBRT 11/23




This week’s questions and discussion…

1) The deadline for nine players… Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain (Royals); Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis (Cubs); Alex Cobb (Rays); Greg Holland (Rockies) Lance Lynn (Cardinals)and Carlos Santana (Indians)… to accept their $17.4 million qualifying offers made by teams earlier this month was last Thursday at 5 p.m. ET. All nine players rejected their offers.

Did any of these players make a mistake by doing so? Or do you think they will be successful in the long run by getting better contracts on the free agent market?

All 9 players decline qualifying offers

Joe: In my mind most of them did.

But, I am willing to bet dollars to doughnuts some owner overpays and signs almost everyone of these players to a contract for more money and for more years than they are worth. Especially the pitchers.

Steve: Statistics show that most who reject the qualifying offer, usually get a better deal. Moustakas, Arrieta, Davis, and Santana made the right moves for sure.

However, I’m not sure Holland (age), Cain (performance last season), Lynn (not worth more than that), and Cobb (too early to tell), made the right choice. If, I am a GM, I don’t think I would be giving either of these players a high dollar contract. Maybe Cain, because of what he has done before, but still 17 million is a lot of damn money to turn away, when you are not a legitimate superstar.

2) 37-year-old Joey Bats… Jose Bautista… appeared at the plate 686 times last season for the Blue Jays and slashed .203/.308/.366 with 23 home runs, 65 RBIs, 84 walks and club-record 170 strikeouts. The Blue Jays declined to exercise their part of a mutual $17 million option and he is now a free agent.

If he hopes to latch on with anew team, or maybe be resigned by the Blue Jays, he will most likely need to considerably compromise on what he believes he’s worth.

Does any MLB team offer Bautista a deal before spring training or is this the end of the road for his MLB career?  

Jose Bautista

Joe: Last year I was very surprised the Jays even gave him a contract forget about the fact I thought they overpaid him at $18 million.

This year I will be surprised again if a team signs him before spring training and even then if team does it won’t be anywhere near for what he made in 2017.

Steve: I feel like we answered this last year around this time.

I don’t see him returning to Toronto, but I think someone will pick him up. He still is capable of hitting 25 plus home runs in a season, and is not a big liability in the field. I see him in the American League though, and will likely end his career as a DH.

3) Joey Votto just missed getting his first MVP by just 7 votes. Votto, by many accounts, is one of the best hitters in the game.  In 2017, he slashed .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs and played every game. He hit .371 with runners in scoring position and .339 with men on. For his career, he has hit .335 with runners in scoring position and .326 with men on.

He has seven years remaining on his contract with a no-trade clause for what is probably a bargain these days at $26 million a year except for his final years at $20 million. He will be 41-years old when his contract expires.  

With his value, at arguably a maximum level, should the Cincinnati Reds seriously think about approaching Votto and ask for a list of teams he would consider being traded to and then quietly shop him for a package of high level prospects?

(Editor’s note: Steve adroitly notes in his answer Joey Votto has one MVP on his mantel already. Apologies to our readers for the error on the play.) 

Joey Votto

Joe: If, I were the Reds I would definitely approach him and ask for list of teams he would be willing to be traded to and then as quietly as possible strike a deal for as many top prospects as I could get.

The worst that could happen is no team is willing to give the Reds what Votto is legitmately worth in prospects and/or players and they just continue into 2018 as is… with Votto ensconced at first base.

Steve: Well to be fair, it would have been his second, as he won the award in 2010.

As for trading Votto? It would depend on where the Reds are going. Votto is still young enough where you can build around him, but if they want to go full rebuild, then sure get some high level prospects. They are out there, and there are teams willing to spend the money and the talent to get a bat like Joey Votto.

4) Shohei Ohtani is being called the Babe Ruth of Japan mainly because he is a two-way star. Ohtani, 23, is arguably the best hitter and pitcher in Japan, and it has long been speculated he will want to do both in MLB. Without going into details, an agreement recently was reached last week between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball and the Nippon Ham Fighters will post Ohtani thereby clearing the way for all MLB clubs to try and sign him.

In your opinion, how good is Ohtani and will he be allowed to be a two-way player in MLB if a team does sign him

Shohei Ohtani

Joe: From what I have been reading he is a decent hitter with some pop to his bat. That may translate to being maybe a so-so hitter in the majors. Certainly nothing to get overly excited about in my mind. But, as a pitcher I think he could be as good as the Yankees present Japaneses starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and if that is true then that’s not exactly chopped liver. Not caviar either but a nice starter to add into an established starting rotation.

As far as him being a two-way player…  he better shine with his bat in spring training or fergeddaboubdit.

Steve: I honestly don’t know too much about him except from what I have heard through the media. If in fact he is the Babe Ruth of Japan, then he may be enough to take a risk on. There have been many prominent players that have come from Japan, but only one stands out as a legitimate Hall of Famer, and that is Ichiro. The others, have just been average to above average players.

So, I will reserve judgement until I see him play on an MLB diamond.

5) We have seen two managers not get contracts renewed this offseason who had been “successful” …  Dusty Baker, whose team won 97 games and their division but had an early exit in the playoffs, and Joe Girardi whose team came within one game of going to the World Series before losing to the eventual World Champs Astros in game seven of the ALCS.

In 2008, which successful manager(s) might be under the gun to produce a World Series championship, or maybe get fired or not have his contract renewed if he does not?

Could Dave Roberts & Terry Francona go from managers of the year o managers on the outs in 2018?

Joe: In no particular order…

Joe Maddon, Terry Francona, Buck Showalter, Bruce Bochy and Dave Roberts all could be given a pink slip after the 2018 season is over if they don’t bring their team a World Series title.

Steve: That’s a great question. I would say just based off experience with managers, that Dave Roberts is probably the one under the gun. I could make an argument for Terry Francona with Cleveland, but I think he has proven himself over the years as a well rounded manager, and he will probably leave on his own terms.

Another one that could be a contender for the chopping block is Joe Maddon. While he did produce a World Championship for the Cubs, there is Joe Girardi that will probably be available, and has ties to the Cubs that Chicago could go after if the Cubs don’t win a title again next year.

So my first pick is Roberts with the Dodgers, then Maddon, then Francona with Cleveland, but I don’t see that happening.

Extra Innings…



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