Category: MLB

MLB Free Agent Feature: Josh Donaldson

Within this segment, we’ll be breaking down the careers of the top Free Agents on the market. How did they get here? What makes them so enticing to teams? Where could they end up? Let’s find out.

Let’s check in on a man of many names — the great Viking Hoskuld, the Bringer of Rain, the one and only, Josh Donaldson.

Donaldson Displays Dominance…

Joshua Adam Donaldson was born in Pensacola, Florida, and played baseball all throughout high school. He then went on to attend Auburn University, and was selected 48th overall in the 2007 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs. Early in his career, Donaldson was admired for his excellent eye and plate discipline, as well as his power stroke. During the 2008 season, the Cubs and Athletics struck a six player deal that included Donaldson, and the then-catcher spent the entirety of the 2009 season in the Athletics Double A system.

The three-time All Star first debuted in 2010, but it was during the 2012 season that his major league career took flight, and he converted to the hot corner full time. Donaldson began as a split time third baseman, but, as his bat began to heat up, he started playing more and more often. In 2013, Donaldson became the Athletics full time third baseman, as well as their prominent bat. In 2014, Donaldson was traded to the Blue Jays for a four-player package, and proceeded to win the AL MVP Award in 2015 He turned in five straight All-Star caliber seasons from 2013-2017, in which hit hit a total of 164 home runs as well as a combined 491 RBI. Donaldson was also consistently praised for his excellent play of third base, as well as his unyielding drive to win. Though he muddled through last year plagued with injury, Donaldson is sure to see a sizable contract this offseason, and very well may be the best deal of this winter.

Who’s Bringing the Rain?

Donaldson’s age and recent struggles will undoubtedly affect the size and value of his nearing contract, however, that does not change the fact that he is due for a payday.

His primary suitors are the Saint Louis Cardinals, who are becoming less and less likely to land Bryce Harper with every passing moment, and are in dire need of an option at third (or first) base. Had Manny Machado been an option at the hot corner, they may have shown more interest in him, but Machado seems set in his choice to play shortstop.

Other teams that should have interest include the the Los Angeles Angels, the Chicago White Sox, and the Philadelphia Phillies, should they miss on their other big Free Agent targets.

Donaldson, if healthy, will prove an excellent addition to any teams’ lineup, and will serve as an major presence in the clubhouse as well. It is entirely possible that he ends up becoming one of the most undervalued Free Agents of his class, and he might play a much larger role in the 2019 season than many spectators suggest.

My Prediction: The Saint Louis Cardinals, 2 years, $36 Million

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MLB Free Agent Feature: Manny Machado

Within this segment, we’ll be breaking down the careers of the top Free Agents on the market. How did they get here? What makes them so enticing to teams? Where could they end up? Let’s find out.

This time, we’re checking in on a major commodity — a power hitting, smack talking shortstop: it’s Manny Machado.

How Did Machado Make the Majors

Manuel Arturo Machado, or Manny, was born in Hialeah, Florida, but raised in Miami, and groomed from an early age for baseball greatness. He was picked third overall by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2010 MLB Draft, and since then has become one of the most talked about young stars of the modern era. At only 26 years-old, Machado has accumulated countless amounts of praise and multiple gold glove awards for his defense at the hot corner, and has slugged his way to the top percentile of major leaguers, boasting a career slash line of .282/.335/.487 and 175 home runs over 926 games.

Machado debuted in 2012 with the Baltimore Orioles at 19 years of age, and hasn’t looked back since. Machado began his career with minimal flare, slugging only 33 home runs throughout his first three major league seasons. However, like his fellow Free Agent Bryce Harper, Machado exploded in his 22 year-old season. Manny came out of nowhere, bombing 35 dingers and slashing .286/.359/.502 with an OPS of .861. Then, he did it again in 2016, dropping 37 home runs and further improving his slash. After that, Manny slumped a bit in 2017, only to return to form completely in 2018, for what would be a career year for the young slugger. He turned in a season of .297/.367/.538 with 37 long balls, and found himself a part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization at the trade deadline.

Manny’s cocky, confident nature can sometimes get in his way, (see the entirety of the 2018 Postseason) but that shouldn’t really affect his value all that much. Teams know what they’re getting with him. A consistent bat, a magician of defense, and an oft over-confident presence. This should be interesting…

Who Wants Him?

Machado’s case is an anomaly. Any team would be glad to add his bat to their lineup, but quite a few of them took exception to his remarks and actions during the 2018 Postseason, which could affect the amount of teams that make him an offer. For example, initially, I thought the Milwaukee Brewers would be major players for Machado. They were able to make it to the NLCS, though there were quite a few holes in their roster, shortstop included. Manny would have fit Milwaukee perfectly, had it not been for his actions during said NLCS, which surely have sworn the Brewers away from him. That being said, there will still be plenty of offers on the table, I can assure you of that.

The frontrunners at this moment in time look like the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees. Both teams are massive in market size, and both have money in excess to spend on guys like Machado. Other teams of interest are the Saint Louis Cardinals, and the many dark horses in pursuit of a big bat such as the Chicago White Sox, The San Diego Padres, and, most interestingly, the New York Mets.

It will certainly be curious to see how Machado’s actions, as well as his comments are going to affect his market value. Certain teams may be more willing to spend more money over others, which could lead to a major surprise as to where he ends up. However, my prediction, while safe, seems like the most likely outcome.

My Prediction: The New York Yankees, 10 years, $310 Million.

MLB Rumors: The First Big Trade of the 2018-19 Offseason is Nearing Completion

The Rays and Mariners are nearing a deal that would send Catcher Mike Zunino and Outfielder Guillermo Heredia to Tampa Bay in exchange for Outfielder Mallex Smith. Sources tell Mariners beat writer Ryan Divish that a trade may be completed within the day.

Zunino is an extremely young, viable piece that would serve as an excellent upgrade to the Rays current catching situation. Heredia on the other hand would be a solid bench piece and secondary starter for Tampa Bay, who already have Tommy Pham and Kevin Kiermier patrolling left and center field. This trade also frees up right field for the Rays newly acquired star Austin Meadows, who they received from the Pirates in the Chris Archer blockbuster.

Mallex Smith is a speedster who stole 40 bases in 2018, and gets on base often. He is an immediate threat at the leadoff position for any team.

This trade looks to benefit both recipients of it’s rewards, and is sure to start the offseason’s multitude of trades with a bang.

MLB Free Agent Feature: Bryce Harper

The long awaited 2018-19 MLB Offseason has finally reared it’s head — feelings of anticipation, excitement, and endless possibility permeate the air. Will your team sign the pieces they need to win their division, their league, or even a championship?

Within this segment, we’ll be breaking down the careers of the top Free Agents on the market. How did they get here? What makes them so enticing to teams? Where could they end up? Let’s find out.

Today, we’re taking a look at perhaps the most highly anticipated Free Agent of the entire offseason: Bryce Harper.

Free Agent of the offseason…

Bryce Aron Max Harper, a 26 year-old Nevada native, took the baseball world by storm when he entered the league at just 19 years-old on April 28 of 2012, first appearing with the Nationals, who took him first overall in the 2010 MLB Draft. Harper wasted no time in making a name for himself, slashing a solid .270/.340/.477 with 22 big flies in 139 games. He followed this success up with two more relatively consistent years which each turned out similar numbers — but then 2015 rolled around. Harper exploded in his age 22 season, slashing an incredible .330/.460/.649 while belting 42 long balls and turning in an astonishing 1.109 OPS paired with a 198 OPS+. Harper immediately asserted himself as a force to be reckoned with, flashing his proper talent for all the world to see.

So, what is it exactly that makes Bryce Harper of such high demand? Sure, his numbers have been impressive from time to time, and yes, he’s young with a drive for greatness, but is that all really worth upwards of $30 Million in annual value? In short, yes, but it’s not his numbers in prior years that entice teams so heavily, it’s what they could be in future seasons that make teams go crazy for guys like Bryce. Harper’s ceiling is, arguably, the highest of any player in all of baseball. He has all the tools, and certainly the confidence, to become one of the greatest players to ever grace the diamond, and teams know that. Therefore, you can guarantee that Harper will receive the most demand of any player on the market this winter, I’d put money on that.

Where can Harper land?

Speaking of teams, who all is interested in this Superstar talent? The first two teams that come to mind are the Saint Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies, both of which have money to spend, and have maintained interest in Harper for a long, long time. Philadelphia certainly has more money, but Saint Louis has more of a winning culture to their name. Another team that will be big players for Harper are the Washington Nationals, his former ball club. According to multiple reports, the Nationals extended Harper an offer following the last game of the season that was in the ballpark of $30 Million per year over 10 years, no opt-outs. Harper, apparently, denied this offer, and the two have yet to resume talks. That being said, it certainly stands to reason that the team will come back with a restructured offer in the near future. Teams with an outside shot on the generational Harper include the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are a bit strapped for cash, the San Francisco Giants, who lack a whole lot more than just a superstar outfielder, and the Chicago White Sox, who are looking to come back from a rebuild in style.

Harper is due to set records this offseason, and it will be extremely interesting to see where his talent winds up.

My Prediction: The Philadelphia Phillies, 11 years, $363 Million.

FREE MLB Picks: Inside look…

Oakland @ Boston:

The pitchers for today are Cahill for the A’s and Sale for the Red Sox’s. At the open the Athletics vs Boston line looked like 8.5 runs and Oakland-260 Boston+215. This is one of the picks of the night and a guaranteed win almost for Boston. 

Houston @ Angels:

This is another favorable pitchers duel pick, with Verlander on the mound for Houston and Richards on the mound for Los Angeles the Astros are coming into L.A. at -160 at the open, and right now are -129 with L.A. at +135 at the open, sitting at +120 but as of now L.A. is +117. The over/under for runs is 7. A likely hit for Houston here.

Dodgers @ Miami:

Another solid pick here for the road team as the Marlins are in last in their division but so are the Dodgers yet the Dodgers are more than capable of turning around their season. They come into this game at the open line looking like -190/+160 and as the day progressed the Dodgers are now -185 while the Marlins are -166. Over under opened at 7.5 and stayed there as well. A pretty solid choice with the Dodgers here tonight.

Other games on tonight and the lines for the rest of the day…

5/16
5:05 PM
927 NYY-C Sabathia (L)
928 WAS-M Scherzer
Open 
 7.5
 -165/+140
 Book-
maker
7o-120
 -168/+151
5/16
3:40 PM
913 TEX-B Colon
914 SEA-C Bergman
 Open
9 over/under
 -138/+118
 Book-
maker
8.5 over/under
 -105/-105

 

New York Mets are “obviously having a good offseason!”

Imagine waking up after a long night of work, going on twitter, and seeing a tweet praising the New York Mets offseason.

Unfortunately, that’s how I started my glorious Tuesday morning. An SNY employee had the audacity to tweet that the “Mets are OBVIOUSLY having a good offseason but still really need an SP to finish the job.”

In what world are the Mets having a good offseason? Is it the recent acquisition of Todd Frazier? The same Frazier that hasn’t hit over .230 since 2015? Actually, maybe it was Adrian Gonzalez. Remember him? Nope, neither do I. The Mets brought in A- Gonz to play sparingly at first base. What happens to Dominick Smith now?  With the lefty, Gonzalez likely slated to face right handing pitching, does Smith even make the opening day roster? The Mets drafted Smith with the 11th pick in the 2013 draft, and have praised him since. They love him so much that after 167 at-bats they now seem to think Adrian Gonzalez (35) is the better bet to open the 2018 season.

If those two groundbreaking acquisitions weren’t enough for Mets fans, maybe it was Anthony Swarzak. The juggernaut middle reliever with a career 4.22 ERA could be a saving grace for the Metropolitans in 2018! Yes, Swarzack had a great year in 2017 as he compiled a 2.33 ERA over 77 innings of work, but the veteran has predominately struggled for the majority of his MLB career.  It will be tough to expect Swarzak to match his 2017 numbers again.

Last but not least, Jay Bruce! Bruce has been around the block in recent years, as he played for three teams in the last three years. Bruce was hideous in 2016 after the Mets acquired him from the Cincinnati Reds. However, he turned it around in 2017 hitting 28 home runs to go along with 76 RBI in 102 games. Bruce will be right back in the middle of the lineup and could put up some big numbers in 2018.

To say the Mets have “obviously” had a good offseason is fallacious. The Mets have had a C+ offseason as they still have holes throughout the roster including glaring holes at the back end of the rotation, the bullpen and at catcher. Coming into the 2017 season the Mets had serious aspirations at the World Series. They won 70 games. In 2018 the opening day roster looks weaker than it did in 2017.

World Series Game 7 Preview

Two of the worst dreaded but lovely words in all of sports, “game seven”. And that is what we have here tonight my folks. Nothing makes a fan sit on the edge of their seat, biting their nails, like a game seven of the World Series. Whether you are a fan of the two teams or not, these games come around only once a year and this series has been be packed with thrill, so appreciate the beauty of game seven’s and buckle up because this is going to be one hell of a finish to the MLB season.

 

World Series Game 7: Darvish vs Lance McCullers Jr

 

CGV_0804171014_Mets_DodgersAfter splitting the first six games, we will have a Game 7 tonight between The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers for The World Series. This has turned out to be an unbelievable postseason finished off by an incredible World Series. We have seen it all, from pitchers duels to double digit run shootouts from both teams. The beauty of tonight’s game is that anything can happen, and a case can be made that either team can win. Both of these teams have played unreal baseball and it is only fitting that we have a Game 7 to decide it all. The city of Los Angeles will certainly be rocking tonight with numerous celebrities on hand in attendance. Will it be The Dodgers first title since 1988, or will Houston win their first Championship ever? Amazingly enough, this will be the first ever Game 7 hosted at Dodger Stadium.

 

The starting pitching matchup will feature Yu Darvish for Los Angeles against Lance McCullers Jr. for Houston. With there being no tomorrow for either team, expect all arms to be available tonight. Managers Dave Roberts and AJ Hinch will use whatever arms they need to and pull any moves that they need in order to win this game tonight. What I am expecting is for each starter to go about 4-5 innings depending on the game situation, and then turning it over to the bullpen for the rest of the game. I think we will absolutely see Clayton Kershaw out of the bullpen for Los Angeles at some point. After not having his best stuff in Game 5, Kershaw will be motivated to leave it all out there in Game 7. I could see Kershaw playing a similar role to that of what Madison Bumgarner played in Game 7 of The 2014 World Series, where he came in for numerous innings and ultimately finished off the game.
L.A. vs Houston at the plate Jose-Altuve.jpgAt the plate, both teams have had hitters with their ups and downs throughout the postseason and even in The World Series. One player whom I highlighted prior to Game 1 that needed to breakout for Houston and who has done so is George Springer. Springer has been on a tear in this World Series despite not having a tremendous postseason prior to this series. At the top of the order, Springer has brought much needed pop and energy that the rest of the lineup can fuel off of. On the other side, one of Los Angeles’ best hitters this World Series has been Chris Taylor. Another leadoff man, Taylor has been very productive this World Series. Taylor grinds out at-bats and doesn’t try to do too much at the plate. His simple approach is paying off big for him, as he is leading the charge for this Los Angeles offense. Tonight I will be watching one player from each team in particular to see if they can make a difference. I’m watching each team’s go-to guy, Jose Altuve for Houston and Justin Turner for Los Angeles. Neither of these guys have had a stellar World Series, that could be resulting from not seeing many pitches to hit. For either of their teams to be successful tonight, these guys will need to have an impact in the heart of the order. The biggest thing for them will be to be productive with runners in scoring position. Whoever can come up with a big hit with RISP will ultimately lead their team to success