Category Archives: Baseball

After a Thrilling Weekend of Football, Let’s Discuss the MLB Trade Deadline

We are coming off an epic weekend of playoff football.  While I hate when people try to put things in historical context immediately after the events happen, any non-Saints fans can agree that the end of the Saints/Vikings game was one of the greatest moments in NFL history.  However, many people have many great things to say about this past weekend of three fantastic football games.  I do not have anything novel to add.  Therefore, while everyone else zigs, I will zag and say something I have wanted to say for six months about the MLB Trade Deadline.

I am a purist when it comes to sports.  If you have read some of my other blog entries, you might have picked up on this.  At the same time, I am an Economics teacher who majored in Mathematical Economics in college.  Therefore, in previous blog entries, I have preached of purist ideas only if there is economic defense for them.  For example, I hate the NHL’s 3-on-3 overtime and shootouts, but I do not push for the NHL to eliminate these occurrences.  I know that enough people like these things.  Thus, the league would be making an economic mistake to get rid of them.  That is why I instead proposed the 3-2-1-0 point system as a sound way to improve the 3-on-3/shootout situation.  It satisfies both the NHL’s purists and the NHL’s profits.

That said, today I am going to deviate from my usual rule of advocating change only if it makes economic sense.  I am going to speak of a change that the purist in me would love but that the economist in me would hate.  Here it goes: I wish that MLB would move its trade deadline to its former date of June 15.

Because of economic reasons, this change will never happen, but I am going to discuss my purist desire for the change anyway.  It is my understanding that the spirit of a trade deadline is that leagues do not want teams who are out of playoff contention to unload all of their top players during the last week of the season.  It would not seem right to have the top teams in a league suddenly get an influx of great players during the last week.  However, bad teams would be inclined to make such deals, in that they could receive prospects and salary relief in exchange for players who would be of little-to-no value when that team becomes good again.

Image result for trade deadline deals 2017 mlb

Actually, I assume that this is the logic that led Major League Baseball to the June-15 trade deadline in days of yore.  Back then, the league was likely very concerned about teams unloading their top players for prospects as soon as the teams were to fall out of playoff contention.  Back then, MLB probably did not like the idea of subpar teams trotting out minor-league lineups in August and September after having traded so many top players.  Then again, in those days, there were fewer entertainment options in this world.  Therefore, fans were happier to keep watching their non-playoff teams until the end of September.  In fact, during that time, only 4 teams made the playoffs each season, so many fans never even had expectations of their teams qualifying for the postseason.  It is a psychological truth that lower expectations can often lead people to greater happiness than higher expectations.

Anyway, in 1986, MLB moved the trade deadline to July 31.  Actually, that is and was the waiver trade deadline.  Teams could and may continue to trade players who have passed through waivers until August 31.  (Technically, trades can happen after this point, but traded players are ineligible for playoff rosters.)

As a result, in modern baseball; by late August, bad teams have unloaded most of their good players.  Meanwhile, good teams have loaded up on players from bad teams.  I hate this.  I know that this will not change because of economic reasons, but I still hate this.  The New York Mets are a professional baseball team, but they traded Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson, Addison Reed, Jay Bruce, and Neil Walker last July and August.  Based upon the trade deadline, those were all wise decisions by the Mets.  Most fans nowadays stop watching when a team becomes bad, so the Mets might as well have traded those expiring contracts for prospects.  That said, the purist in me believes that those five players should have stayed on the Mets until the end of the season.  The purist in me hates that top teams like the Cubs and Nationals were gifted September games against the Mets with a bunch of minor-leaguers playing.  The purist in me says that this is the whole reason why the trade deadline used to be June 15.

Image result for trade deadline deals 2017 mlb

Granted, full disclosure: the Mets greatly benefited in 2015 and 2016 from such trade-deadline moves.  During both seasons, the Mets beat up on teams like the Phillies and Reds – teams who were already bad but who became worse in August after trading top players.  I was happy to see the Mets win those games, and I was ecstatic for the Mets to ride 2015-deadline-acquisition Yoenis Cespedes to an NL-East title.  As a Mets fan, I loved all of that.  However, today, in the dead of winter two years later, I can sit back and concede that my inner purist wishes that baseball were not this way.

I wish that teams had to decide by June 15, when no more than 2 or 3 teams are “out of playoff contention”, what trades they were going to make.  This way, you would not have traditional “buyers” and “sellers”.  Instead, you would have teams making “baseball” trades – current talent for current talent.  Sure, you would have rare cases where atrocious teams would already be unloading good players on June 15.  However, it would take a really bad team and a general manager who is willing to admit defeat to his or her fan base in June for this to happen.  Meanwhile, the best result of this deadline change would be that bad teams would no longer suddenly get worse during the last two months – and the most important games for good teams – of the season.  This would make the last two months of the season more competitive across MLB.

At the same time, good teams would not be able to improve suddenly with a month left in the season.  It was a great story to see Justin Verlander help Houston win the World Series, but the purist in me has trouble with the star of a championship team arriving a month before the playoffs.  Likewise, good teams with bad bullpens in July never need to worry, because they can always poach good relievers off bad teams.  Look at Robertson, Kahnle, Doolittle, Madson, etc.  We saw the Yankees and Nationals have no trouble acquiring quality relievers last summer, a year after the Yankees traded Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman to the ultimate pennant-winning teams.  Look at the rosters of any playoff team, and you are likely to find a reliever or two poached from a bad team in July or August.  I do not like this.

Image result for trade deadline deals 2017 mlb

Again, this will never change.  The trade deadline will never move forward.  Why won’t it change?  This is how business is done now.  With 10 playoff teams, it is now easier than ever to improve from being a 90-loss team one season to being a playoff team the next, as I hope the Mets will do this season.  Gone are the days when teams needed to build great rosters over several years with the hope of someday reaching the 95-win plateau.  That was in the 4-playoff-team era, when only the elite teams played in October.  Now, fewer than 90 wins is often good enough for a playoff berth.  Now, if you are a bad team, you might as well unload your top players for prospects and salary relief.  In the offseason, you can sign free agents, and, if your team is good enough as of late July, you can add rentals for a championship run.  Moreover, with 10 playoff teams, “good enough as of late July” can often mean “a few games below .500”.

This is the logical way to run a baseball team nowadays.  Furthermore, the month of July is super-exciting because of all the trade possibilities.  While the purist in me dislikes the current deadlines, the Mets fan in me loves spending all summer on Metsblog looking at trade rumors.  MLB knows that I am not the only person like this.  People spend a lot of time watching baseball, MLB TV, and team websites monitoring potential trade activity.  Plus, in a league with 10 playoff teams and in a world with endless forms of entertainment, fans do not have time to watch teams with no playoff chances.  Therefore, the combination of having 10 playoff teams and July 31/August 31 trade deadlines is best for the overall interest in MLB and thus for MLB’s and teams’ bottom lines.  Therefore, the July 31/August 31 trade deadlines are here to stay.  However, the purist in me will never like this.

Top 10 Players in Baseball Right Now Countdown: Catchers

I know it isn’t exactly baseball season. We’re in the midst of the NFL playoffs, the NBA is starting to heat up (even though the Knicks are cooling off), and Rutgers almost beat #4 Michigan State on the road the other night. The NHL is also at the midway point of its season, having announced its All-Star rosters this week (chill hockey hardos, BTB is a puck-friendly blog.) But ever since the Yankees’ postseason run, I couldn’t bring myself to get out of baseball mode. After the Giancarlo Stanton trade, I was fully thrust back into it. Yet unfortunately, this is easily the slowest MLB offseason I can remember. So how do you blog about baseball in the offseason when no one is getting signed? Do a top-ten ranking of the best players at every position right now. I figured catcher was the logical place to start, and as always I’ll do my best to keep my Yankee-fan bias out of these rankings.

10. Wilson Ramos, Tampa Bay Rays

Though Ramos’ 2017 campaign was less than stellar, he was coming off of a torn ACL. That’s no easy task for any athlete, especially a catcher. His 2016 was spectacular, however, when he batted .307 with 22 HR and 80 RBI for the Nationals. Let’s see if he can put it together again for his first full season with the Rays.

9. Brian McCann, Astros

McCann split time behind the plate with Evan Gattis last year while also seeing at-bats at DH in the Astros’ stacked lineup. Hitting 18 HR and 62 RBI in only 97 games, McCann clearly still has something left in the tank. How much more time he’ll spend catching, however, is another issue.

8. Jonathan Lucroy, Free Agent

Lucroy had a down year in 2017 to say the least, hitting .265 with 6 homers and 40 RBI in 123 games for the Rangers and Rockies. This is the same guy we saw hit .292 with 24 homers and 81 RBI just a year earlier. If he can find the right situation, Lucroy can certainly be a difference maker once again in 2018.

7. Yasmani Grandal, Dodgers

The Dodger lineup is stacked top to bottom, and their backstop is no exception. Grandal hit 22 homers last year after hitting 27 in 2016, all while managing one of the top pitching staffs in the league.

6. J.T. Realmuto, Marlins

Realmuto reportedly wants out of Miami, and for good reason. After trading stars like Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon this offseason, a major rebuild is underway. Realmuto’s trade value is certainly high, as he is only 26 and has played great for Miami the last two seasons. You hate to see players like him and Christian Yelich stuck in situations where not only is their team rebuilding, but there seems to be no hope in the near future.

5. Willson Contreras, Cubs

After winning a World Series in his rookie campaign, Contreras showed no signs of slowing down in 2017. He hit .276 with 21 HR and 74 RBI. In a lineup that features young stars like Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, the 25-year old Contreras often gets overlooked. He shouldn’t, as he is one of the most promising young catchers in baseball.

4. Yadier Molina, Cardinals

Molina has been one of the game’s best catchers for what feels like forever now. The eight-time Gold Glover excels not only behind the plate, but at it. The career .284 hitter hit .273 with 18 homers and 82 RBI in 2017.

3. Salvador Perez, Royals

The 5-time All-Star, 4-time Gold Glover and 2015 World Series MVP is still one of the game’s best. He’s eclipsed 20 home runs in each of the last three seasons, and like Molina is one of the best two-way catchers in baseball.

2. Gary Sanchez, Yankees

I told you I’d keep my Yankee bias out of it, but if you don’t have Sanchez this high then you haven’t been watching baseball. His breakout 2016 was followed up with a stellar 2017 in which he hit .278 with 33 homers and 90 RBI after missing the first month of the season with an injury. Not to mention his stellar postseason, which included three home runs. However, Sanchez has a lot of work to do on the defensive side of the plate. He has a great arm, but his ability to block pitches in the dirt is not nearly where the Yankees need it to be.

1. Buster Posey, Giants

Other than Jose Altuve being the game’s best second baseman (spoiler alert), there may not be an easier call than saying Buster Posey is the best at his respective position. As the owner of three World Series rings, a Gold Glove, an MVP award, and a batting title, Posey has been the best catcher in baseball pretty much since he burst onto the scene in 2010. He hasn’t stopped since, as he hit .320 with 12 homers and 67 RBI last year. Young stars like Realmuto, Contreras and Sanchez are certainly coming on strong, but make no mistake, Posey is once again the best backstop in baseball going into 2018.

 

Check back for more Top 10 countdowns in the coming days and weeks!

Four Inexpensive Moves to Make the 2018 Mets a Playoff Team

After a 70-92 2017 season, the Mets have left most of their fans expecting a rough 2018 campaign.  Since the end of last season, the Mets have more or less kept the team intact.  The three notable changes have been hiring Mickey Callaway as manager, signing reliever Anthony Swarzak, and signing Jay Bruce (whom the Mets traded away in August).  While I like the Swarzak and Bruce moves (and the jury is out on the Callaway move), let us not act like these moves make the Mets major playoff contenders.

Let us examine the hypothetical world in which the 2017 Mets had Anthony Swarzak and did not trade away Bruce in August.  At best, that Mets edition might have been 5 games better than the actual 2017 team.  This is a very generous “at best”, but I will go with it.  In that case, the 2017 Mets would have finished 75-87.  Keep in mind that the 2017 Mets had Jose Reyes for the full year and Neil Walker, Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson, and Addison Reed for most of the year.  All of those players are now either gone or currently free agents (whom the Mets could potentially sign).  While none of those players is going to set the world on fire by himself, those five players nevertheless represent a great deal of talent to lose.  The Mets would have likely been at least 4 games worse without them for the full 2017 season.  Meanwhile, the Mets would have likely been at least 5 games better last year with Noah Syndergaard healthy all season.  The sum of those alternate-reality scenarios would have put the Mets at 76-86 last season.

Image result for noah syndergaard hurt

That “76-86” mark is important, because that is the record that I feel the current Mets would have attained if they had played together for all of 2017.  Therefore, how are the Mets to improve by 14 games to gain a playoff berth in 2018?  One way would be for the Mets to go out and sign big-time free agents at catcher, second base/third base, and starting pitcher.  Wait, why are you laughing so profusely???  Oh yeah, that’s right.  The Wilpons have too much debt and never spend a lot of money.  Therefore, that “spending lots of money” option is off the table.  Forget about Yu Darvish.  Forget about Lance Lynn.  Forget about Mike Moustakas.

Anyway, since bringing in high-priced talent is off the table, the Mets must get creative.  I do feel they have a set of moves that can bring the club to 90 wins.  Within their budget, I feel their best option is to do the following four things:

  • Move Matt Harvey to the bullpen. This is my #1 way to improve the team.  The guy comes into every start wanting to blow people away.  I guess this is how he impresses his supermodel girlfriends, so I guess I do not blame him.  However, Harvey clearly has a closer’s mentality.  Starters have to manage their way through several innings.  They cannot max out on every pitch like Harvey tries to do.  Harvey often does well in the first and maybe second innings of games.  Then he completely falls apart.  He had a 4.86 ERA in 2016 and a 6.70 ERA last year.  That is where having a plethora of  5-or-6-run 3rd and 4th innings will land you.  The guy should be a closer.  This role will allow him to pitch one inning per appearance and max out each time.  He will end up throwing no more than 80 innings, which is good for a man with as many physical ailments as he has.  Plus, I know he really does not want to be a closer, but I really don’t care (Demi Lovato).   He is lucky he is still in the majors, and he can wave bye-bye to the massive contract that 2015 Matt Harvey thought he would earn in 2019.  Starting pitchers with ERAs approaching 7.00 are not given very good contracts if they get any contracts at all.  However, good closers are at least paid moderately well.  The Mets and he might as well try this option, as they have nothing to lose right now.  As for the supermodels; if he is with a supermodel now when his baseball career seems broken beyond repair, he will do just fine after he starts to excel as a closer.

Image result for matt harvey

  • Move Zack Wheeler to the bullpen. I have heard this nonsense about the Mets potentially using Harvey, Wheeler, and Steven Matz for no more than 4 innings per start.  That sounds like an absolute train wreck over a full season.  This plan will sound great when every reliever has already made 20 appearances by the end of April.  So great.   Anyway, sarcasm aside, the truth is that Wheeler is an unreliable commodity.  After missing two seasons due to Tommy John Surgery, he pitched in 2017 to a 5.21 ERA.  I do not care if he was once a hot prospect; he is currently a pitcher who has pitched poorly since returning from a two-year injury hiatus.  Is it possible that he someday becomes a great starting pitcher?  Of course.  However, I would rather see him pitch in the bullpen first, so that the team initially relies on him for fewer innings.  Give me a bullpen of Harvey, Wheeler, Jeurys Familia, A.J. Ramos, Swarzak, and Jerry Blevins.  That is actually a fantastic bullpen.  You can win a World Series with that pen….and other good players.

 

  • Sign R.A. Dickey. The key to the 2015 Mets’ pitching success was the reliability of Jonathon Niese and Bartolo Colon.  That season, neither veteran missed a start.  This was huge, as the Mets managed Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Jacob deGrom through injuries and innings limits.  In 2016, Colon continued that reliability.  However, last year, the Mets had no such starter.  I wrote a lengthy post in August about the large number of Mets pitching starts of more earned runs allowed than innings pitched.  That happens when you have to use the likes of Tommy Milone and Tyler Pill to make a whole bunch of starts.  If the Mets sign Dickey, a fan favorite, to a presumably relatively cheap contract, they will have that veteran starter.  He should be able to give the Mets a regular 6 innings pitched and 4 or fewer earned runs allowed.  Plus, Dickey would allow the Mets to have three somewhat sure things in the rotation – deGrom, Syndergaard, and Dickey.  Meanwhile, Steven Matz would be the fourth starter, and Seth Lugo would be the fifth starter.  Both of those are unknown quantities.  Matz can be the ace of the staff when healthy, but he is never healthy.  Lugo has pitched to too small a sample size for me to judge him accurately.  If one of those guys can stay healthy and effective, the Mets’ rotation should be just fine.  Rafael Montero would likely be the fifth starter if one of these two cannot get the job done.  Hopefully, it does not come to that.  Actually, the ideal scenario would be for the Mets to sign Jason Vargas as a fourth starter.  That would give the Mets six legitimate starters and two sure-thing veteran pitchers.  It would mean the Mets could avoid Montero as long either Lugo or Matz is healthy.  However, even Vargas is probably too expensive for the Mets.  However, I really really really wish they could sign him because that would make me feel excellent about the rotation.

 

  • Bring back Jose Reyes. While most of us Mets fans were ready to run Jose out of town last spring, he ended up having a good season.  He could play second base or third base in 2018 and could bat leadoff or further down in the order.  This would give the Mets plenty of roster flexibility.  Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, T.J. Rivera, and Wilmer Flores could play second base or third base.  Meanwhile, Jay Bruce, Wilmer Flores, and Michael Conforto could play some first base if Dominic Smith struggles.

 Image result for jose reyes 2017

In fact, I think that the Mets’ strongest offensive/defensive lineup (if they bring back Reyes) would actually be:

  • Reyes 2B
  • Rosario SS
  • Conforto RF
  • Cespedes LF
  • Bruce 1B
  • Cabrera 3B
  • Lagares CF
  • d’Arnaud C
  • Pitcher

 

At the same time, a bench with Smith, Brandon Nimmo, Flores, and Rivera is fine with this lineup.  Meanwhile, Yoenis Cespedes is clearly a front-runner.  With a good team, he is inspired to be a great player.  With a bad team, this is far from the case.

Image result for cespedes

In the end, I am not saying that the aforementioned moves would guarantee the Mets a playoff berth.  However, I do feel that the combination of a healthy and more motivated Cespedes, a healthy Conforto (he did miss the last six weeks of 2017 too), 30 MLB starts from R.A. Dickey (as opposed to a potential of 30 starts from fringe MLB pitchers), slightly healthier seasons by Matz and Lugo, an improved Amed Rosario, the return of Jose Reyes, and a revamped bullpen make it possible that the Mets earn those 14 extra wins needed to reach 90 and a likely playoff berth.

Why Greg Bird Will Be One of Baseball’s Most Slept On Players in 2018

The biggest news of the baseball offseason thus far has surely been the Yankees acquiring NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins for pennies on the dollar, giving their already potent lineup another weapon. The Yanks led all teams in the majors in homers last year with 241 home runs, while Stanton won the individual home run race with 59. The last time the team with the most home runs in the previous season added the league home run leader was also the Yankees, when they traded for a guy by the name of Babe Ruth. Not really sure who that is, he doesn’t even have a Twitter so he probably wasn’t even that good. But that is neither here nor there.

The Stanton trade gives the Yankees a modern day “Murderers’ Row” (the nickname of Ruth’s Yankee teams in the 1920s/30s), or as I like to call it, “Murderers’ Row and Toe”, a shoutout to lovable infielder Ronald Torreyes, who as of now projects as a starter for the 2018 Yanks. The names that stand out in the lineup are obviously Stanton, as well as Aaron Judge, the 2017 AL home run leader and Rookie of the Year. Catcher Gary Sanchez also often comes up in discussion, as his first two seasons in pinstripes have been nothing short of great. Even shortstop Didi Gregorious receives a fair amount of attention, and deservedly so after a career year in 2017. Gregorious hit a team-high .287 to go along with 25 home runs, not to mention playoff heroics like his game-tying three run dinger in the Wild Card game vs. the Twins or his two homers off Indians ace Corey Kluber in the decisive ALDS Game 5. But there’s one more power bat in the 2018 Yankees lineup that no one is really talking about, and that’s Greg Bird.

The start of Bird’s career has been interesting to say the least. He broke onto the scene late in 2015, helping the Yankees secure a wild card spot as their everyday first baseman while Mark Teixeira was hurt. Bird hit .261 with 11 homers and 31 RBI in 46 games, including two home runs in his first career start. I was at that game, and it definitely made you excited to think about what a perfect marriage Bird’s sweet lefty swing and Yankee Stadium’s right field short porch could completely be.

After missing all of 2016 with a torn labrum, Bird looked to have a big impact on the 2017 Yankees. With the departure of Teixeira, Bird was to be the team’s new starting first baseman. He absolutely raked in spring training, hitting .451 with 8 homers and 15 RBI in 23 games. Sure, it was spring training, but those numbers are too good to ignore. However, after fouling a ball off his foot late in spring training, Bird appeared to get into a funk. Starting the season as the team’s #3 hitter, Bird started an abysmal 6-60 before going on the DL. The foot injury was somewhat of a mystery, and we weren’t sure if we would see Bird again in 2017. This led to a revolving door of Yankees trying to hold down the first base spot, including Chris Carter (yuck), Tyler Austin, Ji-Man Choi, Matt Holliday, Garrett Cooper, and Chase Headley. However, no one played well enough to gain a stronghold on the position until Bird finally returned to the team in late August.

In the month of September, Bird hit .235 with 6 homers and 16 RBI. Not quite the average you want to see, but the power stats were much better than anything the Yankees had seen from first base all year. In the playoffs, however, Bird performed at a new level. He led the team in OPS and slugging, hitting three home runs along the way. The biggest of which was a solo homer off Andrew Miller in Game 3 of the ALDS that gave the Yanks a 1-0 lead and kept their season alive.

I was there and that was probably the loudest I’ve ever heard the Stadium. It literally felt like it was shaking. The video is way better with the song from Titanic in the background (as are most sports highlights), and I watch this one at least five times every day.

In a lineup where most pitchers will have to approach each game trying to figure out how to pitch Stanton, Judge, and Sanchez, Bird should see plenty of pitches to hit in 2018. This is a guy with the capability to hit 30+ home runs a year, and he could bat as low as seventh in the order next season. Am I trying to say Bird is going to be on the level of the three guys I just named? Absolutely not, but I feel like he’s going to get overlooked, at least to start the season, because of their presence and the fact that he’s yet to play a full MLB season. Get me to opening day right now, I need to see this lineup in action. Let’s go Yanks baby.

Life is Beautiful, Yankees Trade for Giancarlo Stanton, This is My Favorite Day of Existing Ever

Wow this is really freaking cool. All day Friday, there were rumblings that Stanton to the Yankees could go from a pipe dream to a reality. I was still skeptical until I saw this tweet a few hours before I went to sleep.

To which I promptly reacted to as such

I’ve never said or heard of that phrase in my life, that’s just the first thing that popped into my mind when I read that tweet. Regardless, I went to sleep and woke up to literal Christmas.

Holy fucking shit, this is one of the best things to ever happen to me. The reigning NL MVP, who also just led the majors with 59 home runs, joining the reigning AL Rookie of the Year, who just led the AL with 52 home runs, in the same Yankees outfield? That’s literally a wet dream. Not to mention Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorious, and Greg Bird? This is easily the most stacked Yankee lineup I’ve seen in a long time, if not in my lifetime. I mean look at this shit.

You figure that Gleyber Torres slides into that lineup somewhere early in the year, either at 2nd or 3rd base, and it just gets even scarier. I’m a Yankee fan, but this should be borderline illegal. Some games may never end. Will the White Sox even be able to get this lineup out 27 times in a game? Is Rob Manfred gonna have to put a mercy rule into play? Regardless, this lineup is scary as hell.

I’ll be the first to admit, I was salty when Shohei Ohtani wouldn’t even give us the time of day earlier this week. I said all along he would go to the Yankees or Dodgers, but I didn’t anticipate him as being weird enough to not care about money or winning. Regardless, trading for Stanton made us Yankee fans forget about him real quick. Basically the Yankees are a spoiled 16-year old girl whose Daddy didn’t get her the new iPhone for her birthday, and she got so upset that he went out and bought her a Mercedes.

So where do the Yankees go from here? They still need to fill out their rotation. Severino, Tanaka, and Gray are locks to come back. Does Jordan Montgomery get another shot at it after a solid rookie campaign? Do we re-sign CC? Does Chad Green become a starter again? Personally, I want to see Green back in the pen where he killed it last year. I have no problem with Montgomery as a 4th/5th starter, and I’d love to see CC come back at the right price. Trading Brett Gardner for a starter is also an option, and Chance Adams is still waiting in AAA.

This is really fun. It’s a video game lineup. After the heartbreaking Game 7 loss in the ALCS over a month ago, I haven’t had much to be happy about in sports. Sure the Knicks are decent but they’re still the Knicks, Rutgers football is not exactly something you can watch soberly, and I don’t know where to start with the Giants. But as of right now, it’s baseball season for me. I’ve convinced myself of it. Yes it is December 9th, and yes it is snowing, but it’s officially baseball season. I’m probably just gonna watch Stanton highlights every day from now until Opening Day.

To all the angry Mets fans, I actually feel legitimately bad for you. Hey, who knows, maybe one of these years all your pitchers will stay healthy enough for you guys to lose to us in the World Series! Wouldn’t that be something. And Red Sox fans, have fun facing us 18 times next year, I thoroughly look forward to seeing how many times Stanton/Judge/Sanchez can take David Price deep over the Green Monster until he retires mid-game.

Merry Christmas Yankee fans, and a Happy New Year it will be indeed.

The Mariners Have Placed Themselves Right Back into Playoff Contention in 2018

Last night, the Mariners completed a trade for 2-time All Star second baseman Dee Gordon.

With Cano obviously locked in at second base, their plan is to move the speedy Gordon to center field, a position he will have to learn in the next four months. In my opinion, this is a dumb, yet exciting, move defensively, because speed does not always translate to being a good outfielder. He will have to learn how to track balls, get good reads, hit cut-off men, proper decision making, throwing ahead of the runners, and so many other things that go into being an effective center fielder. Can he do it? I believe so. He’s a talented guy, and the Mariners have a plethora of good center fielders who are still heavily involved in the organization to help him out (See below).

Image result for ken griffey jr center field

The reason why I really like this move is what it does for the Mariners from a talentperspective. Baseball will never be like basketball, where players can essentially be “positionless”, but it’s turning into a game where athletes are capable of doing a little bit of everything.

Trading for an All-Star, regardless of his baggage (heavy contract and an 80 game suspension in 2016), and only giving up your #7 prospect and another pitcher in return is a steal, I don’t care what anyone says. Dee Gordon is one of the more talented players in baseball, and at 29 years old, still has 4-5 really good years left.

Here’s my projected lineup for them next year, with a few key stats to show they now have some decent depth:

  1. Dee Gordon (.308 BA, 60 SB, 201 H)
  2. Jean Segura (.300 BA, .349 OBP, 157 H)
  3. Robinson Cano (.280 BA, 23 HR, 97 RBI)
  4. Nelson Cruz (.288 BA, 39 HR, 119 RBI-also a man who I thought should have gotten more MVP consideration)
  5. Kyle Seager (27 HR, 88 RBI)
  6. Ryon Healy (see article as he was traded earlier this offseason)
  7. Mitch Haniger (.282 BA)
  8. Mike Zunino (25 HR)
  9. Ben Gamel (.275 BA, .322 OBP)

I think the Mariners are really going to surprise some people next year. Not only this trade, but they are currently in the running for Japanese superstar Shohei Otani, especially since in this trade they also acquired $1 million in international money.

Don’t expect them to be the Mariners of the late 90s/early 2000s, but in an AL West that belongs to the Astros for the next few years, the Mariners will make a strong case for that second wild card spot after finishing a rough 7.0 games out in 2017.

Japanese Television is Always the Answer

Last night, I came across this gem:

That’s correct, loyal BTB readers. That’s possibly the greatest hitter of any generation (if you count the steroids) stepping up to the plate against a man jumping on a trampoline.

Note: I’m not sure what type of trampolines they have in Japan, but this guy has to be over 30 feet in the air. It’s like it’s an American trampoline on roids, which I guess would make it a fair match against Bonds #lmao

I also wonder how much they had to pay Barry Bonds to do this. If I remember correctly, he would not even be in video games. I had to play against some “Reggie Stocker” in MLB 2006 that somehow hit .345 with 54 home runs, until I finally figured out it was him.

My point being, Japanese television fucks.

If you don’t believe me, here’s more proof:

and fuck it, one more:

I don’t know what’s in the water over in Japan, but there is something electric about their energy. They are absolutely fearless. I think we can all learn something from them, and maybe it’s time to take a page out of their playbook instead of starting another season of American Idol that nobody will be watching.