MLBRT 2/1

This week’s questions and discussion…

1) Is selling off a team’s talent, like the Miami Marlins and the Pittsburgh Pirates have done this offseason, good or bad for MLB and is it something the Commissioner/MLB should consider under “in the best interests of baseball” clause?

Players’ union raise concerns with MLB regarding Pirates and Marlins sell offs… Commissioner Rob Manfred with Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, team president Frank Coonelly and chairman Bob Nutting

Archie: It’s bad. It has always been. It will always be bad. How can any owner think he improves a team by dumping talent?

The Braves have been “rebuilding” since they began by letting McCann go, and Kimbrel and so on and so on. Well, that was 4 years ago and us Braves fans still see nothing to get excited over. I can only imagine how the Pirates and Marlins fans feel, hell it happens to them about every two to three years.

I DON’T like the idea of giving the Commissioner too much power under these conditions with the “almighty best interest of baseball so I am going to approve/disapprove every trade” power, but I would like to see MLB themselves police this with maybe sanctions or something towards the Revenue Sharing venue.

Let’s say, each team has to have X number of players making at least $XX or the team gets NONE of the sharing. That would force owners into building their team and keeping talent on that team for the fans to watch.

Joe: I think MLB needs to do something to stop certain teams from selling off talent and collecting money from the Luxury Tax funds. That money is supposed to be used to improve a team that is from a small market and not able to be as capable as spending huge amounts to attract players to play  for them. If a team is selling off a lot of… or almost all of… its talent then they are obviously… at least to me… not trying to improve their team. Not unless they are getting back at least something of value in the number and/or quality of prospects coming back for the talent they are trading off. And from what I read and hear Miami is not doing that at all. Pittsburgh is kind of doing it but still some of the analysts say their prospect haul isn’t anything to write home about either.

I  don’t want to see the commissioner step in and invoke  a “best interests” edict that some commissioners issued in the past but something needs to be done to make sure these teams aren’t gaming the system.

Steve: I personally don’t like it, but in the end it is a business and you have to do what is necessary for your team to be competitive for the future.

I can trust what the Pirates are doing because they have rebuilt before and turned themselves into a championship contending team. The Marlins though? They have done this so many times before and yet still cannot produce a playoff team after a rebuild. I trust the process for Pittsburgh but not Miami.

As for being bad for baseball? I don’t think so, I mean they were not going to contend for much anyway, and who knows, some of these kids could surprise you and develop into superstars. The Commish should stay out of business matters. It is up to the fans to come to the games or not, and that would lose revenue for the team. It will… no, I’ll say it COULD prove to be their own punishment.

2) Last week the Milwaukee Brewers traded prospects for Miami’s OF Christian Yelich and then signed free agent OF Lorenzo Cain for five years/$80 million. 

In your opinion, what do you think the impact of these two players will be for Milwaukee in 2018? Do the acquisitions of Yelich and Cain make them competitive enough to challenge (or win) for the NL Central title over St. Louis and Chicago?

Brewers trade for Miami Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, and about an hour later, they inked outfielder Lorenzo Cain to a five-year, $80 million deal.

Archie: First off, I never understand why teams sign older players to long term contracts that build the dollar amounts at the back end. Example; Cain at 32 makes $14 Million in salary this season but will be due $18 Million when he turns 36.

The Brew Crew should improve somewhat with these two acquisitions but hard to say if it is enough.
 
Joe: I think they gave Cain way too much.. in years if not money… for a someone who is already over 30… 32 in April. Although I guess $16 mil a year  is not that much of an overpay in this day and age for someone who gives a team great defense and provides some speed on the bases with a potential .300 BA.

Yelich I have always liked and now that he is out of Miami, I think you will see all of his numbers go up exponentially. I project him maybe scoring 120 runs, driving in at least 100 to 110 and maybe even hitting 25 to 30 HRs in the Brewers lineup. And he doesn’t hurt them in the field either. Not by a long shot.

I don’t know if they steal the division away from either the Cardinals or the Cubs but… Hey, you never know. It could happen. And the odds just got a lot better with both Cain and Yelich in their lineup.

Steve: I said before the acquisitions that the Brewers, not the Cardinals, were going to be the toughest test for the Cubs in the Central division, now after getting Cain and Yelich, I am borderline scared of this NL Central, and the Cubs should be too.

They still lack starting pitching, so that could be their Achilles heel going into the season, but they will absolutely contend for a division title next year, as I’m not one-hundred percent sold on the Cubs next season.

3) What is your opinion of the Hall of Fame voting this year? Did they get it right with their selections? Why?

Archie: Of course I am going to say they got it right with Chipper, Thome and Vlad.

However, I’m still pissed at them for their snubbing of Bonds and Clemens.

Joe: Yeah, I think so. I have no real quibbles with any of the players who got in.

Although I think Billy Wagner should be getting more love as a reliever than Hoffman actually got. Personally, I like Wagner more than I like Hoffman regardless of who has the better saves total. But Wagner only got a scant 11.1% of the votes by the BBWAA.

And, sorry, I still think Mike Mussina belongs in the Hall.

Steve: For the most part, yes.

I still don’t understand how Billy Wagner is not getting any love. I was shocked to see Andruw Jones so low, but fortunately he wont fall off. Sad to see Chris Carpenter fall off because he was one of my favorite players last decade.

Chipper is an obvious Hall of Famer, Vlad is an easy choice, Hoffman was high on my list, and Thome, while he was not on my first list, absolutely is a Hall of Famer. I am still puzzled on how Bonds and Clemens are not in yet, I don’t give a damn about the “steroid” era, these guys are two of the best all time, they need to be in Cooperstown. However, I have no problem with the guys that got in.

4) This offseason, the Angels have added second baseman Ian Kinsler and third baseman Zack Cozart to vastly improved their starting lineup/batting order. They still have OF Justin Upton plus DH Albert Pujols. As it stands right now they have five players… Mike Trout (37 in just 118 games), Upton (32), Pujols (26), Kinsler (20) and Cozart (21)… with twenty of more HRs.

If you are the Angels manager Mike Scioscia where in the Angels batting order do you place Mike Trout?

Angels sign Zack Cozart (left) and acquire Ian Kinsler…

Archie: Third.

Third typically gets more than clean up during the course of a season and typically just as many RBI opportunities. I bat him 3rd.

Joe: I like Mike Trout batting third right behind  Kinsler leading off, followed by Justin Upton in the second spot.

Although if  Upton and Trout switched positions… with Trout batting second and Upton third that would work, also.

… now where does Mike Trout hit in lineup?

The thing with Trout and why he is so interchangeable in the lineup is that he not only can hit… .306 in 2017…  but he also can steal a base… 26 in 2017… and give whoever follows him in the lineup a chance to drive him in once he gets into scoring position due to this speed.

Steve: Anywhere he wants.

Trout is a superstar that has proven to be one of if not the best in baseball. Scioscia is a lucky man to have this problem. You can put Trout at the leadoff spot, all the way to the five spot and he will produce huge numbers for you.

5) If you are Yankees manager Aaron Boone where do you bat Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge in the Yanks batting order? And do you keep them back-to-back or not? 

What’s the batting order with Judge and Stanton?

Archie: NYY Lineup:

Ellsbury, Gregorius, Stanton, Judge, Sanchez, ………….

Joe: I have seen some so-called experts write that the Yanks should bat Judge first. And while there may be some logic towards this… sort of like when the Cubs batted Kris Bryant first… I think it is foolish in the long run.

I also didn’t like the way Joe Girardi used Judge in the batting order either… mostly in the second slot.

So, how should Aaron Boone use Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton?

The same way the Yanks once used Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Whoever was the pure hitter went in back of the other guy. Mickey was the pure hitter compared to Roger who was more of a slugger who had a swing that worked perfectly with the old stadium’s short porch in right… 298 down the line if I remember correctly, with a real low fence… about waist high. Roger went third in the order and Mickey batted clean up.

Giancarlo Stanton (right) and new Yankee teammate Aaron Judge get NL MVP and AL ROY respectively at the BBWAA awards ceremony in the Big Apple

While I think Judge might be a slightly better hitter than Stanton average wise, he is also prone to some  strikeout streaks and would be better suited to hitting third and letting Stanton bat fourth or cleanup to clear the bases of the ducks on the pond that whoever is batting first and second will present and that Judge might fail to deliver due to a strikeout.  What if  Judge “only” gets a single or a double? Then Stanton comes up in an even better situation… with a chance to add to already nice lead.

Steve: Damn, the more I think about this lineup, the more I would hate to be a pitcher facing this lineup, especially in the AL East.

I bat them Judge and the three spot, with Sanchez batting cleanup, then Stanton at the five spot. Judge still strikes out too much for my liking, so putting him a prime RBI spot may not be the best move. I like him at three as he will hit his share of home runs, but less subjectable to strike out in a big spot, assuming Stanton and Sanchez are both on base.

Yogi Berra

Extra innings…

On this day in 2005…

Yogi Berra filed a $10 million lawsuit with the New York supreme court against Turner Broadcaster System due to a ‘Sex and the City’ ad which used the Hall of Famer’s name as a possible answer concerning the definition of yogasm.

The choices were…  (a) a type of yo-yo trick, (b) sex with Yogi Berra, and (c) what Samantha has with a guy from yoga class.

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