Showing posts from December, 2011

The Cardinals Switch Things Up (Carlos Beltran)

Just when you think the Cardinals are out of it, they go ahead and TOTALLY redeem themselves. Not only did they score the best outfielder on the market in Carlos Beltran, but they also teamed up two of the best switch hitters of all-time.

Lance Berkman and Carlos Beltran have always been great players, but due to injuries and a couple less than productive seasons, they became more of an after thought. That is until last season when Lance Berkman proved to the world that he can still play. Beltran also had a bounce back season, but it was shadowed due to his trade to the Giants and their inability to make it to the playoffs. Now, these two comeback kids have the same logo across their chests, and I'm positive that they'll help ease the blow of the Albert Pujols departure. I'm actually here to tell you that if all three players (Beltran, Berkman, and Pujols) repeat their 2011 production in 2012, then the Cardinals will be right back where they were in 2011.

Here are a couple…

The Pirates Need to Attack (Pittsburgh Pirates)

It's time for the Pirates to win. Period. The NL central is for the taking, and the only team that realizes this are the Cincinnati Reds. This became apparent when they went out and traded for Mat Latos. I'm sure their not done. And there's a reason; the NL Central has imploded.

The Cardinals lost Albert, and they now have a rookie manager. The Brewers most likely lost Prince, and they've most likely lost Braun for 50 games. The Cubs are still floundering around. The Houston Astros are still the Houston Astros. As for the Pirates, well...they've picked up Clint Barmes, Rod Barajas, and Erik Bedard. The three Bs, which stand for BORING, BROKEN, and BOTHERSOME. I'm sorry, that's mean. They're good players and I think that they'll help out, but they're not game changers. The Pirates need to make some moves that won't only help them improve, but make their opponents worse. For instance, the Cardinals, Brewers, and Cubs need to find someone for f…

Casey Blake St. Bomber! (Casey Blake)

I usually cringe when the Rockies sign a "veteran" player, but for some reason Casey Blake brings a smile to my face. Is it because he already has a beard that's groomed for Colorado? Is it because he's always hit really well at Coors Field (Well, who hasn't?)? Is it because I'm ready to root for a another ballplayer (i.e. Todd Helton, Jason Giambi) that's looking for that last great season? Yes, it's all of these reasons.

Casey Blake is a very cheap risk for the Rockies to take to add some depth at the third base position. He comes at a one year/$2 million price tag which in today's game is really, really, really cheap. The Rockies were only set to have Chris Nelson and Jordan Pacheco at the 3B position, but now there's the Blake. Blake brings a decent bat, decent defense, and an insurmountable amount of knowledge about the game and third base. He'll be a great teacher for the young kids, even though they're not the Rockies' futur…

Top 5 Remaining MLB Free Agents (December 2011)

5) Carlos Pena

I know that this is kind of a stretch at #5, but I feel like Carlos Pena is not as bad as he seems. Sure, he strikes out a ton and his average is sub-par, but his power and defense are undeniable. He struggled a little bit in his first season in the National League, but there are a few NL teams that could benefit from his presence. Where he ends up all depends on where Prince ends up. Possible Teams: St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians. Long Shot: Pittsburgh Pirates    

4) Hiroki Kuroda

I've always been a fan of Kuroda, and I'll be an even bigger fan once he's out of the National League West (Unless he ends up on the Rockies). He's durable, reliable, and will make a great addition to any rotation. Possible teams: Colorado Rockies (fingers crossed), New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox. Long Shot: Arizona Diamondbac…

Royal Improvements (Kansas City Royals)

The Kansas City Royals haven't been taken seriously for a very long time. They're like the Ralph Naders of baseball. That's all about to change. My American League "dark horse" team for 2012? The Kansas City Royals.

The Royals' offense has improved drastically over the past few seasons. Alex Gordon finally played up to the Alex Gordon everyone expected him to be when he first entered the majors. Eric Hosmer, a 21-year-old rookie in 2011, had a fairly decent campaign and should be one of the top seven first basemen in the American League next season. KC lost Melky Cabrera to the Giants, but in return they got Jonathan Sanchez, who should improve their rotation. Billy Butler, who is shockingly 25 (thought he was older) brings his steady bat back to their lineup. This team is absolutely loaded with young talent. Their bullpen is young and strong with the likes of Greg Holland, Aaron Crow, and Louis Coleman. Joakim Soria will be closing out games again, but this …

Parra D-"Back Up" Outfielder? (Gerardo Parra vs. Jason Kubel)

Not often do you see a Gold Glove winner benched the following season, but that's the case for Gerardo Parra. The Arizona Diamondbacks signed Jason Kubel to a two year/$15 million deal with a mutual option for 2014. Kubel is expected to be the D-Backs left fielder, which pushes Parra into the fourth outfielder role.

I'm impressed with Arizona's aggressiveness this off-season, and I applaud them for not settling with last year's success. They've picked up Trevor Cahill via trade with the Oakland Athletics (It's that time of year again when the Athletics unload their young pitching studs for prospects) which will solidify a very young and intimidating rotation. They've also signed a slew of aged veterans such as Lyle Overbay, Henry Blanco, and Takashi Saito. These signings only add insurance and experience to a young team of good ballplayers. The Diamondbacks, in my opinion, are groomed to be the NL West Champs again in 2012. The only thing I don't like, …

Mile High Risk? (Michael Cuddyer)

This is going to be short and semi-sweet.

Why did the Rockies spend $31.5 million dollars on Michael Cuddyer who is three years older than Seth Smith and produces roughly the same offensive numbers as Seth Smith? Nothing against Michael Cuddyer, because I know he's a great veteran utility player, but I feel like the Rockies' money could have been better spent elsewhere. I would have rather seen them spend their money on a semi-young starting pitcher such as an Edwin Jackson or Paul Maholm. The Rockies lost their ace in a trade last year, and I know that their current rotation won't be able to keep up with the likes of the Diamondbacks and Giants.

I'm sure the Rockies' ultimate plan is to move Seth Smith for some pitching, but I don't know why they're not into Seth Smith anymore? He was one of the team's best hitters last season, and he's only shown improvement. Dan O'Dowd is going against what their organization is supposedly all about...home gr…

Yu Want Darvish. I Want Darvish. We All Want Darvish. (Yu Darvish)

Yu Darvish is the hottest pitcher to come from Japan since Hideo Nomo (wicked windup). But who's going to be the lucky team to land the coveted Yu? The three teams that reportedly made bids are the Blue Jays, Cubs, and of course the Yankees. The Blue Jays seem to be the favorites at this point, and frankly, I sure hope it is the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays have been quietly building a decent team, and I believe that Yu Darvish is worth the risk for them. They're in a division that includes the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, yeah, the Orioles. Darvish would fit perfectly in the number two spot in the rotation behind Ricky Romero. Romero had a solid season in 2011, and there isn't any sign that Romero is going to slow down in 2012. If the Blue Jays land Darvish over the Yankees, then I will say it now, the Blue Jays will have no fewer than five more wins than the Yankees in 2012. The Yankees are getting nothing but older, and they're in desperate need for rotation he…

MLB's New Labor Contract (Tattoos, Replays, and Single Rooms))

Major League Baseball got a face-lift. A few new rules and regulations are being implemented at the beginning of next year, and here's a list of my top five newbies:

5) Teams from the same division have the opportunity to play each other before the league championship series.

Before, the best team couldn't play the wild card team if they're in the same division. Now, it's a free-for-all. No more Red Sox vs. Yankees in the LCS. This also means we won't be able to see the Marlins and Phillies face off next year in the LCS. It's finally a fair playoff bracket. 4) Expanded use of replay on fair-or-foul calls, trapped fly balls and line drives, and fan interference around the entire stadium.

Not quite sure about this addition yet. Every year, MLB is expanding on the use of instant replay. Pretty soon there will only need to be one umpire behind a computer screen. I'm glad they're implementing technology, but I hope they don't due away with the human aspect…

Ryan "The Brawniest" Braun (Ryan Braun)

Ryan Braun proved that it's tough to trust anyone these days. Either he's lying about his use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) or the test is lying. When you look into Braun's doe eyes, you see hope, you see a leader, you see strength (possibly PED strength?).  This could all be tarnished. The Golden Boy of baseball has become the the Anti-Golden Man of baseball. Even if it turns out that the tests are false, or there's another reason why he tested positive, he's going to have to deal with always being questioned. He'll forever be under the microscope, much like stem cells. I can already see the signs in rival cities..."The Brauny Man"..."MVP: Muscle Via Pills"..."A Braun Caught in Headlights"

It saddens me that Ryan Braun possibly used PEDs. Even as a Pirates and Rockies fan, it makes me sad to know that the reason he could have won the ROY over Tulo is because he was juiced. Or the reason why the Pirates have won only 10 gam…

Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game (Albert Pujols)

As Ice-T once rapped, "Don't Hate the Playa, Hate the Game!" This couldn't be more true this baseball off-season. Albert Pujols now wears a halo, but in St. Louis his name is synonymous with Devil. The "fans" in St. Louis have already looked past King Albert's accomplishments in their city, and are now focused on scratching his statue in front of his restaurant like a jaded girl scratching the paint off of their ex-boyfriend's prized automobile. Why? Albert didn't cheat on you. The relationship was over. You had a chance to win him back, but he didn't get what he needed from the relationship and moved on to a west coast HOTTIE.

It's more than obvious that St. Louis didn't care to retain Albert. I've heard people say that they couldn't bid because it would jeopardize the future of the Cardinals. Excuse me, but if Albert was that important in the first place, wouldn't he have been considered a part of the future? They did m…