MLBRT 1/18


This week’s questions and discussion…

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts

1) Although many other retired Cubs’ greats have often been included team functions or on field ceremonies, Sosa has never been invited back with the team in any official capacity since he retired after the 2007 season. Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts previously has been non-committal about why Sosa was never invited, but on Saturday, that ended.

According to and… Ricketts says franchise career home run leader Sammy Sosa (13 years with the Cubs, 545 home runs, and three years of 60 HRs or more) needs to “put everything on the table” in regard to PED use during his playing days if he is to ever be welcomed back by the team.

Rickets also said, “Players from that era owe us a little bit of honesty. The only way to turn that page is to put everything on the table.”

Sosa never officially tested positive for steroids.

Your thoughts?

Archie: Old Wounds. That is what this is to me; opening old wounds. Rickets or NO ONE else from the organization had any problems whatsoever when Sosa was putting asses in seats. No one questioned the methods used by Sosa or any others until Congress got involve in 2005. And NOW they all want to sit high and mighty in their pristine towers and act like their hands are not dirty or their shit don’t stink. I personally say “screw them all”. Every one of those hypocritical assholes should be banned from baseball if it ever comes out that THEY knew about the problem and did nothing as well.

Joe: Any owner who tries disrespecting any player from the steroid era is a damn hypocrite as MLB from the commissioner on down to every one of the damn owners turned the other way as the home runs were flying out of the ball parks and essentially putting thousands upon thousands of hard spending fannies in the seats when MLB needed an big uptick in attendance/popularity. Ricketts came into the owners club in 2009 so maybe he isn’t as guilty as the other owners but I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts his hands aren’t exactly clean either. So, for him to be giving out ultimatums, I think is bullshit on his part.

Steve: I agree with Ricketts that Sosa needs to come clean. Let’s face it, the guys that stood in front of Congress all were in some way shape or form admitted, or was caught using performance enhancers. So, it is pretty clear to me that Sosa took something. So why not? You have nothing to lose, you are not getting into the Hall of Fame, its time to put the past in the past and move forward. The fans have shown that they are forgiving, and would probably embrace Sosa if he were to come back.

2) Although at one point it was rumored Gerrit Cole was going to the Yankees, he has now become a Houston Astro after the teams gave the Pittsburgh Pirates four prospects.

What is your opinion of this deal? Who made out best and why?

Archie: Career ERA+ of 112. Tells me he is a good starter, making about the right amount around the $7 million per year mark.

What else is there to know to this story? Really not much; this is not a real headliner to me.

Joe: I don’t remember which MLBRT it was when one of the questions was about the Yankees/Pirates trying to work out a trade for Cole for at least two of the Yanks top prospects. One of the things I said at the time as that I thought Yanks GM Brian Cashman maybe was using the rumors of the team trading for Cole as  nothing more than a smoke screen and that Cashman was probably going to go in another direction to get another starter for the rotation. I think this trade withe Astros makes me more sure of Cashman’s strategy than ever.

From what I hear the Astros really didn’t give up that much for Cole … one potential immediate every day player and three middling prospects. The Astros kept all of their top prospects. That tells you exactly what you need to know about what Cole is really presently worth. Not all that much. Not peanuts but not exactly a king’s ransom either.

If Cole provides nothing more than rotation depth… maybe a#4 or #5 in the rotation… and can pitch to a plus-600 record or simply insurance if one of the Astros starters goes down then the Astros will win the deal.

If Cole sucks and pitches to a sub-500 record, then the Pirates win the deal.

Steve: Great move for the Pirates. They can rebuild with some great prospects. Cole was not great last season for the Bucs, and I’m not convinced we will see the same Gerrit Cole of 2016 in 2018.

It does help the Astros rotation, but I think they gave up too much for Cole.

3) Pitcher Matt Harvey was simply terrible in 2017… 5-7 with a 6.70 ERA in 92 2/3 innings, 21 HRs while only striking out 67 against 47 walks. He was paid $5,040,984. He and the Mets avoided going to arbitration last week when he was given a raise to $5,625,000.

Your opinion?

Matt Harvey

Archie: He should take the $5 mill and laugh all the way to the bank.

He has not been the same since his injury 2014 season. He has only accumulated 35 starts in the last two seasons combined. 

Joe: Pro sports, and in particular maybe MLB, is the only business I know of  where you can suck and get a raise. Harvey should run to the bank and deposit the money before the Mets change their mind.

Wish my job did that. Not that  I would purposefully suck at doing my job, but knowing that if I screwed up I would still get a raise would definitely be comforting instead of the alternative.

Steve: To his credit he was hurt, but that seems to be a primary issue with Matt Harvey. He does not seem like he can pitch a full season without getting injured. I don’t think he deserves this kind of money until he can prove that he can pitch a full season. No disrespect to Matt Harvey, when he is on, he is great. I just have to see it on a more consistent basis.

4) Let’s revisit an ongoing debate… the DH in the NL.

Right now, only the NL and the Central League in Japan are the only professional baseball leagues that still make pitchers hit.

Is it time to make that the Central League as the only pro league without a DH rule? Why or why not?

Archie: IF the DH is such a big deal. And IF the DH means so MUCH to a team. And IF the DH prolongs the life of a once great hitter who can no longer play the field. IF the DH provides more offense and exciting run scoring games than the NL (of the top 8 run producing teams last season, 4 of them were NL) .. THEN why the hell all the controversy about a DH making the Hall of Fame? Then why the hell can’t a DH win the MVP after a season (David Ortiz)?. Then why does the AL still have the dumbass rule where a manager can actually lose the DH for the game if he substitutes poorly?

So, I guess my take on it is HELL NO. In fact get rid of it in the AL, it has served its purpose long enough and proven to be a falsehood.

Joe: I think the debate from “baseball purists” is become moot at this point. It is what it is. Professional baseball leagues all over the world, with the noted two exceptions, use the DH. The reality is that sooner or later the NL will go to also using the DH. Might as well get it over with now.

Besides, with all the damn money owners invest in pitchers why would they want to chance having one of their investments hurt himself and wind up either on the DL for a long time or maybe never ever again pitch effectively. That owner would then get no return on multi-million dollar his investment. Not wise from a business perspective, if you think about it.

Steve: Nope, I love the fact that pitchers hit.

If I had it my way, I would have the American League lose the DH rule. Most pitchers love to hit, and it builds up some strategy at times, and makes it awesome to watch when a pitcher can help himself in certain situations.

5) Billy Wagner is presently getting no love in the voting for the Hall of Fame that has been revealed so far, and if the current trend holds, he is in danger of falling off of the ballot because he may not even get 5% of the vote this year.

Is the current Hall of Fame voting membership doing Wagner a great injustice and, in your opinion, is Wagner a potential Hall of Famer who should be receiving more recognition? 

Billy Wagner

Archie: This is some of the same shit I was spilling about the “specialty” position above with the DH. However, this is a little different.

First off, his name is not Rivera and he was not an Yankee. So that is part of the problem. While his numbers are not as angelic as Rivera’s having an ERA+ of 187 for a career that spanned 16 seasons and 422 saves that still says something.

Did he dominate in his Era? Yes. Was he better than his peers doing the same job? Yes. Was he an AS? Yes. What’s the problem? He was a reliever. That is all.

Joe: Wagner seven time All-Star, 1999 Relief Man Award; was part of a combined no-hitter on June 11, 2003, lifetime ERA of 2.31, WHIP under 1.00 (0.998); struck four for every batter he walked and sixth alltime in career saves with 422…

Seems to me he should get a lot more consideration than he is presently getting.

Steve: Billy Wagner is getting no love from the voters. I had Wagner on my first ballot when we were doing our mock votes. I think he was by far the most dominant closer in the game for several years.

It would be a shame if he falls off the ballot if he gets under the 5%, but even then, I don’t see him getting in with the low turn out for him.

Extra Innings…

On this day in 2014…

The Dodgers confirm Clayton Kershaw’s record-breaking $215 million seven-year contract, the largest deal ever given to a pitcher. The two-time National League Cy Young Award, who will earn $30.7 million annually, requested and received an opt-out clause after five years, making the right-hander eligible to become a free agent at the of age 30… in 2018.


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