Category:

MLB

Player Hader’s Ball

by JoeYancey

Why did the Milwaukee Brewers deal Josh Hader? The recent struggles had no impact on Hader moving to San Diego. This was purely financial. Big bank take little bank.

For years, the Milwaukee Brewers have hung around the “good enough” area, and they really like it there. The Brewers toppled their standard payroll numbers in 2021 and 2022. Heavy spending with the hopes of competing for a title. But regular season success has not amounted to postseason glory.

If anyone is unclear on why Josh Hader was moved, look no further than his pending arbitration. This is a classic case of a small market team needing to unload a player, who will not decide the season for the Brewers one way or another.

Milwaukee Brewers General Manager, Matt Arnold needed to find the best return. Josh Hader would surely fetch a big haul coming back, and that he did. The Brewers inherited a much cheaper Taylor Rogers, Dinelson Lamet and two near-big league ready players in Robert Gasser and Esteury Ruiz.

The Brewers are fully aware their strengths are in the starting pitching rotation. The next few years could get shaky and maintaining most of the rotation is paramount to the success of the team.

Corbin Burnes

YEARAGEBASE SALARY
202227$6,500,000
202328ARB 2
202429ARB 3
202530UFA

Freddy Peralta

YEARAGEBASE SALARY
202226$2,484,960
202327$3,734,960
202428$5,734,960
202529$8,000,000
202630$8,000,000
202731UFA

Brandon Woodruff

YEARAGEBASE SALARY
202229$6,800,000
202330ARB 2
202431ARB 3
202532UFA

Eric Lauer

YEARAGEBASE SALARY
202227$2,245,000
202328ARB 2
202429ARB 3
202530UFA

Aaron Ashby

YEARAGEBASE SALARY
202224$570,500
202325$1,200,000
202426$1,450,000
202527$3,450,000
202628$5,700,000
202729$7,700,000
202830$9,000,000
202931$13,000,000
203032UFA

Josh Hader and the Milwaukee Brewers agreed to a one-year, $11 million dollar deal, and that amount was sure to be higher next season. Moving Hader was the only logical option for a team that must be concerned about the upcoming years, especially 2025. Looking to cost-controlled options on the mound will be the only way the Brewers will compete moving forward. Few lineups need more help than this Milwaukee team. They will have a tough enough time keeping their top two pitchers, let alone adding talent to the batting order.

As other National League teams continue to spend, the Brewers will unfortunately find themselves priced out, unless changes are made, which starts with sacrifices. So why was Josh Hader traded? The Milwaukee Brewers cannot afford him long term.

As opposed to getting nothing in return, the Brewers did a nice job of filling future needs. The Brew Crew also has one of the oldest lineups in the Majors, ranking 23rd. There are a lot of changes ahead, and salary restraints unfortunately do not reward small market teams.

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The St. Louis Cardinals added Jose Quintana. A much needed addition to a reeling rotation.

This addresses the lack of starting pitching depth for the Redbirds while preserving their big pieces at the major and minor league level.

Jose Quintana is a proven pitcher, with eleven years experience. Quintana has a career ERA of 3.81. Currently, Jose is holding a 3.50 ERA through 103 innings pitched this season with Pittsburgh.

He is a free agent at the end of the season, and at the age of 33, he will have something left to provide a big league team. That team may be the Cardinals, who have many question marks in the rotation in 2023, as they do in 2022.

The Cardinals gave up right-handed pitcher John Oviedo and a prospect, third baseman Malcolm Nunez. Fortunately for St. Louis, the Cardinals are unusually deep at this position with Nolan Arenado and MLB 6th ranked prospect, Jordan Walker.

Does this signal that the Cards will not need to deal Walker, or are out on Juan Soto? We will see.

A frantic 18 hours is ahead. Stay tuned.

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A funny thing happened the last week or so in St. Louis, MO. Most of the population became Minor League baseball experts. Every fan became an official scout of any affiliate team associated with the St. Louis Cardinals. So much so, that thousands of people think trading away a couple of minor league players for All-Globe Juan Soto is a bad idea.

Unpacking here…

I am starting with guys that are currently, or have been at big league level

Dylan Carlson: A skillful player. The closest thing the Cardinals have had to a “5-tool” since the late Oscar Tavares. The potential is there. Carlson finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2021. Now, an everyday player, Carlson has improved in every offensive category. His outfield counterpart, Harrison Bader is an everyday starter because of his defense, not his bat. Carlson’s dazzling center field play has many fans forgetting Bader is the CF starter. Carlson is showing the league why he was worth a first-round pick. A pick many felt early and premature. Dylan’s raw talent can take him far, many think – to a superstar level.

2022

AVGRUNSOPSHITSHRRBIWAR
.25536.780736651.5

Nolan Gorman: Gorman was brutalizing pitchers in the minors before he was called up. Gorman making the big team in 2022 was a given. Paul DeJong’s cliff-jumping accelerated the move. Once Nolan was up, he experienced quick success – homering often, driving in runs and playing a steady second base. Tommy Edman slid to shortstop to accommodate and make this happen. Major league teams have realized what the Cardinals already knew, Nolan Gorman is not going to start against left-hand pitching anytime soon. Someday, sure, but not in the immediate future. Can we call him an everyday player? Not every team has the depth of the St. Louis Cardinals, making that a big point of exposure for most squads. His power statistics are impressive, and he is only 22 years old. Nolan hits a home run 1 of every 5 plate appearances and 26% of his hits are home runs. This young man is strong, with a lightning quick bat.

2022

AVGRUNSOPSHITSHRRBIWAR
.23029.7454211241.0

Matthew Liberatore: Liberatore is Nolan Gorman’s childhood bestie. They came up together and were called up to the big leagues together. A love story like no other. Then being traded to the Washington Nationals together would really be something, wouldn’t it? That seems unlikely, as the perceived interest by Washington has weaned. He is currently the 44th ranked MLB prospect.

Matt’s numbers are less than impressive, but a small sample size does him no favors. His literal strength is facing left-handed batters, who are currently hitting .276 against him. The raw tools and abilities mean Liberatore is near the top of the rotation for someone, somewhere soon.

2022

IPKERAWJIPBBSO9WAR
27225.331.74147.3-0.2

Jordan Walker: St. Louis Cardinals’ third baseman, Nolan Arenado is on record with the fans and the city of St. Louis, saying he will not opt out of his contract, thus remaining a Cardinal. Arenado strikes me as a man of great loyalty and conviction. Just a feeling. I do however think his competitive fire is at Kobe Bryant levels. Nolan’s next move may be decided in the next three days (Russell Crowe’s worst film ever btw.)

If the St. Louis Cardinals finish the season as a Wildcard team, or worse, Nolan Arenado’s wants and needs may supersede his loyalty to St. Louis. An aging Justin Turner is nearing the end of his Dodgers tenure, and California native, Arenado would be in the middle of pennant and title runs every season until he retires. That is a hard thing to say no to. I do however believe Arenado stays put if the Cardinals upgrade the team and win the National League Central.

So where does Jordan Walker come in here? Well, third base is his natural position. Sure, he can play the outfield, but the Cardinals willing to trade Walker tells you all you need to know about Nolan Arenado staying in St. Louis. And if the Cardinals are willing to trade Walker (and others) for Juan Soto, that tells you the Cardinals are determined to compete, for at least the next 2.5 seasons

Walker is listed as the 6th best prospect in baseball, stacked at 6’5 and 220 pounds. Scouts believe his power is only partially formed as he continues to grow into his tall frame. He is a solid fielder with above average speed, who finds himself on base a lot of different ways. Walker is the real deal.

Masyn Winn: The Cardinals seem determined to bring Paul DeJong back into the fold. Paul’s power numbers have surged in the minors, but the strikeouts and batting average have not improved. Paul is hitting .249 and has 52 strikeouts in 201 at-bats. I did not go to MIT, but I will try this one without a calculator. That is better than 25% at the minor league level. That will not translate well to the majors.

With all of that said, the Cardinals had settled in nicely to Tommy Edman at short and some combo of Nolan Gorman and Brendan Donovan playing second. Tommy Edman of course can play second base as well, which he prefers and DeJong and Sosa filling that SS gap if needed, which is what we saw most of last season, and the beginning of 2022.

Theory: The Cardinals know Paul is not much improved but is the logical choice if him and Edmundo Sosa are competing for shortstop. If Nolan Gorman is moved, Tommy Edman will slide back to second base, leaving a hole at short, therefore Paul DeJong will rejoin the team. This weekend.

This move tells us how serious the St. Louis Cardinals are about pursuing Juan Soto and acquiring talent. Masyn Winn is the 88th ranked MLB prospect, and that number keeps climbing. His bat is on fire, he steals bases, and the defense has been well showcased featuring his Henry Rowengartner-like arm.

2022AVGRUNSOPSHITSHRRBIBBSB
Jordan Walker.30465.8909310414015
Masyn Winn.30759.8761009473628

The St. Louis Cardinals have never had an issue finding talent or drafting talent. The Cardinals refill the minor league supply automatically, always. Hence the title. Sure, there have been some questionable moves that have come back and bit the team, but for every Sandy Alcantara-Marcell Ozuna move there is an “off-limits” player like J.D Drew or Rick Ankiel. Players that could feed a franchise if dealt at their semi-professional peak.

This is the dilemma Major League baseball front offices find themselves annually, especially the St. Louis Cardinals. The “best fans in baseball” are impatient, but very vocal. Shockingly it seems split between, “go all in or Juan Soto” or “he is not worth that much.” I assumed the fan base would lean heavily to whatever it takes to land another superstar, and place him alongside Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. If there was any doubt, I am team go all-in.

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Why should the St. Louis Cardinals trade for Juan Soto?

  1. The Cardinals would assemble a lineup that resembles the Avengers. Their most potent lineup in 60 + years.
  2. The best possible protection that exists for Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt is in the form of Juan Soto.
  3. The likeliness Nolan Arenado opts out is lower if he feels he is part of a winner. The threat of the Dodgers, Yankees, Astros or Mets swooping through in the night, whisking away the All-World third baseman will be there until it is not, but Juan Soto helps the team win. A lot more games. This is an important piece of the Arenado retention plan.
  4. The team has another play here that few have investigated. It may be unconventional, risky, and expensive, but the Cardinals can trade for Soto, and use the rest of the year to feel him out. Scott Boras is a snarky one, but he will ultimately want what his client wants and without trade clauses muddying the waters, he would be direct with the STL Front Office. Meaning the Cardinals could still hold two years of control on Juan Soto and trade him to a team where he signs upon trade or is most likely to extend, should they feel an extension in St. louis is unlikely. Granted some young, key pieces may be lost along the way, but who is to say they do not retrieve the same or better if they need to move Soto later?
  5. Aside from Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, (a generational talent, like Juan Soto) and David Freese, no St. Louis Cardinals prospect has been a catalyst or deeply involved in playoff runs or World Series titles in the modern baseball era. Homegrown talent is great, but the Cardinals’ playoff success the last 30 years has come from outside the organization via trade or free agent signing. Here are some off the top of my head, knowing the list is much longer: Scott Rolen, Chris Carpenter, Lance Berkman, Jim Edmonds, Adam Wainwright, Matt Holliday, David Eckstein, Jeff Suppan, Larry Walker, Mark Mulder.
  6. Juan Soto with the protection of Nolan Arenado, Albert Pujols, Tyler O’Neill, and on-pace NL MVP, Paul Goldschmidt would be much better than he currently is.
  7. Paul Goldschmidt, Tyler O’Neill, Albert Pujols and Nolan Arenado would also be much better than they currently are. Imagine that?

Why should the St. Louis Cardinals not trade for Juan Soto?

  1. Jordan Walker can play anywhere, and many believe he may someday be an outfielder. His natural and preferred position is third base. If you believe Nolan Arenado will leave the Cardinals, you will not want to lose Walker.
  2. The same applies for shortstop, Masyn Winn and other prospects.
  3. Losing a chunk of the young talent already at the big league level would hurt the club’s depth, as the Cardinals will be moving a lot of players for just one in exchange. Nolan Gorman is a young talent with a lot of pop and a lot of potential. Dylan Carlson is a complete player. These players would be missed.
  4. That is it. That’s the list.

The same St. Louis Cardinals fans that have complained about the lack of star power do not want the star power as it walks up and knocks on their door. Does anyone truly know how good these prospects are? Yes, yes we do. We know they are very good at the Minor League level. That is what we know.

Let me tell you what we know about Juan Soto:

 WAR (Offensive)NL RankOBPSNL RankWalksNL Rank
20223.79th.8877th821st
20216.82nd.9992nd1451st
2020 (Shortened)2.91st.11851st415th
20194.722nd.9496th1085th
2018 (Rookie)3.647th.9237th7918th

It is also important to note that Juan Soto would find his road much easier. Moving divisions, getting smaller doses of Max Scherzer, Sandy Alcantara, Max Fried, Jacob deGrom, Kyle Wright, Taijuan Walker, and Zack Wheeler will help anyone’s bottom line. To assume Juan Soto would be a better player in the St. Louis Cardinals lineup is improper treatment of the word better. There is zero doubt.

Stay tuned…

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Oli Oli Oxen Free

All of us here in St. Louis were somewhere between surprised and flabbergasted when Mike Shildt was fired during last season’s offseason. Shildt finished third in NL Manager of the Year voting, aided by a 17-game winning streak. The Cardinals season ended unceremoniously on a walk-off homerun by Los Angeles Dodger, Chris Taylor. Two years earlier Mike Shildt won National League Manager of the Year.

If Mike Shildt was sacked, two things were certain:

  1. Mike Shildt did something that did not agree with the Cardinals’ front office.
  2. Whoever was replacing Mike Shildt was damn good.

So, did the Cardinals go after Terry Francona or Buck Showalter? Nope John Mozeliak and team tapped the world-renowned, sought-after Oliver Marmol! Okay, who?

Here is the deal – Oli Marmol has changed the identity of this team, and more importantly he is playing to win. This much is clear.

Oil’s demeanor embodies Big Sean’s popular track “IDGAF” he legitimately does not. This may not play well with the boomer STL Cardinals fans, but nothing is more important than the right matchup, the right timing, and the right people in the right spots.

How this is viewed from the outside does not seem to be of any concern to Oli.

Many Cardinals fans assumed Mike Shildt was defiant, and not willing to march to the drum of, VP of Operations, John Mozeliak. Mozeliak cited philosophical differences as the reason for terminating Shildt. Cardinals’ Nation fans thought Marmol was chosen, because he would fall in line, and do as he was told. While that may be true, it is working out fine. And if so, John Mozeliak is one heck of a coach. Oli does not sign up for stubborn tactics – over-using veterans in the wrong moments while starving the hot hand. If Tony La Russa was stubborn, Mike Matheny was the pointed object, and Mike Shildt was oblivious, then Oli Marmol grabs a little bit of all of that and is just naïve enough to be dangerous.

I have specifics; but we do not need them.

  • The sentimental pick: The aging legend Albert Pujols instead of the younger, better Juan Yepez? NOPE. Oli is not into it. Juan goes first. Al when it fits.
  • The “potential” HOF catcher Yadier Molina lugging 95% of starts with a few rest days here and there? NOPE. Even when Molina was healthy Andrew Knizner was starting more than 20% of games behind the plate.
  • Pulling Miles Mikolas north of 100 pitches in a no-hitter. Something we have seen many managers do this year alone. NOPE. Oli wanted Miles in. He kept Miles in.
  • Wearing the ringers out, knowing that “saving them” means nothing if the team does not make the playoffs? NOPE. Goldy, Nolan with no days off.
  • Young Guns getting their clock – Nolan Gorman, and notably Brendan Donovan getting the playing time that they have earned. YES.
  • Pulling starters shy of five innings for the better matchup, when he thinks the game could slip away. YES.

One of the biggest pieces is he is who he is. He is forever relaxed and comfortable in any situation. He is more outspoken and ready to debate calls with umpires than guys that have managed for decades. He is better with the media than front office professionals, and more importantly than all he is always making what he thinks is the best play and the next right move.

Oli has his team running with Tommy Edman and Harrison Bader at the top of the NL in stolen bases. He plays lefty on lefty and righty on righty matchups. He fights for his team. He challenges every marginal call. He is in the face of at least one umpire every week. He is the enthusiastic leader the St. Louis Cardinals have had since Whitey Herzog.

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I can keep telling you how hot he is, but I will let the statistics do the talking. Nolan Arenado will need to be a better contact and two-strike hitter, or Paul Goldschmidt is likely to see less and less pitches. St. Louis Cardinals manager, Oli Marmol must seriously consider moving Arenado ahead of Paul.

PAUL GOLDSCHMIDTRUNSHITSAVERAGEOPSHOMERUNRBIWARBB2BSLG
STAT5695.3471.07119644.34024.642
NL RANK1st1st1st1st3rd2nd1st5th2nd1st

It would be hard to keep this up, but for fun let’s look at Paul Goldschmidt’s 2022 pace.

Runs: 119

Hits: 203

Homerun: 41

RBI: 136

WAR: 9.17

BB: 85

2B: 51

That’s an MVP season if I’ve ever seen one.


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The Shortest Stop

by JoeYancey

The “best Free Agent shortstop class ever,” has been a massive dud. There is plenty of time left in the season but sixty plus games in, and none of these guys rank in the top five at their position. Value per dollar, literally no one is blowing the doors off, and none of these front offices can be very happy. The Texas Rangers in a competition with themselves decided to sign two underperforming shortstops and really leave a mark. Marcus Semien signing a 7-year deal for $175 million dollars at age 31 is hilarious, but good for him.

Javier Baez has netted more boos in Detroit than base hits. Trevor Story has had some huge moments for the Boston Red Sox. His 45 RBI are enough to keep Boston fans off his back despite some underwhelming numbers elsewhere. Story will have to get the batting average out of the .220s soon or Boston won’t be so forgiving.

Carlos Correa’s known durability issues are once again a thing. He’s missed 35% of the team’s games thus far. Corey Seager signed a beastly contract for a team that does not seem to know what they’re doing, but like Marcus Semien – good for him.

Take a look below at what 2022 looks like for these guys, so far. Most trailing in all major measured categories in comparison from previous year’s output. (Non-average metrics) I used the statistic divisible over gamed played, then multiplied by 162 games. Injuries play a role. Example: Carlos Correa has played in just 45 of Minnesota’s 69 games.

2022Avg.On Pace – RunsOn Pace – RBIOn Pace – HROPSWAR
Trevor Story.2219811927.7161.8
Carlos Correa.293907618.7931.5
Marcus Semien.223826215.6270.8
Javier Baez.200445312.5610.1
Corey Seager.230867838.7451.6
Through 6/20/2022

2021Avg.RunsRBIHROBPWAR
Trevor Story.221887524.8011.8
Carlos Correa.2791049226.8507.2
Marcus Simien.26511510245.8737.3
Javier Baez.265808731.8131.9
Corey Seager.306545716.9153.7
End of Year 2021 Season (Finals)

Now the contracts. (Insert grimacing emoji here- EEEEEK)


Trevor Story: 6 Years @ $140 Million


Javier Baez: 6 Years @ $140 Million


Marcus Semien: 7 Years @ $175 Million


Carlos Correa: 3 Years @ $105.3 Million


Corey Seager: 10 Years @ $325 Million


BozoSport

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I Love Gooooooold

by JoeYancey

The second hottest place on Earth is Death Valley. First is Paul Goldschmidt’s bat. So just how hot is Paul Goldschmidt? A quick examination of the numbers would say the St. Louis Cardinals first baseman is scorching.

To understand how locked in Pauly is you need to first understand that he started the season 6 for 44, a robust .133 batting average. While his teammate and bash brother, Nolan Arenado was lighting up National League pitching all throughout April, Paul could not catch a break. As per usual the strikeout rate was low because Paul is a great contact hitter. Many strokes of bad luck kept him down until he finally started to breakout on April 22. Eight of his next ten games would be multiple hit games. He never looked back and dominated the month of May. Queue Arcade Fire!

A glance at month-by-month performance below. I am writing this with a game happening live. So maybe the story should be Miles Mikolas working on a gem. A gem that happens to have zero ____ from the opposing side, but all the rage seems to be about Paul Goldschmidt going 4 for 4 through six innings. Paul will surely get another at bat.

Update: The no-hitter was broken up with two outs in the ninth inning. Yeesh, what a kick in the sack. Back to Paul. Stats below:

 Paul GoldschmidtRunsHitsAvg.HRRBIOPS
April1122.282110.728
May2042.40410331.288
June1617.3405131.159
Through 6/15/2022

Paul Goldschmidt is doing this without a consistent 4th place hitter. Goldy’s hottest month, May – Nolan Arenado hit .196. With little protection behind him Paul has continued to stay hot. After a 3-day slump, Paul is back with a vengeance, tormenting starting pitchers.

At this rate, Paul is the National League MVP. Manny Machado has fallen off and Pete Alonso’s production has started to slip. With the St. Louis Cardinals playing better, and moving into fist place despite Nolan Arenado’s recent hitting woes, Paul is the NL MVP favorite as of today.

At least we were firing on one of these. The others look bleak. Our preseason award picks can be found here: https://bozosports.com/5091-2/

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If the Milwaukee Brewers are serious about contending, something needs to change, and change quickly. They split the series against their division rival, St. Louis Cardinals, but then dropped three out of four games to the San Diego Padres. A team the Cardinals swept prior to San Diego heading to Milwaukee.

The Brewers’ farm system ranks 25th out of 32 Major League teams. While they may not have a ton of trade bait, they do offer two prospects in the top 100, Sal Frelick and Joey Wiemer, both outfielders with big bats, Joey touted as an up-and-coming power hitter. If the Brewers are not going to bring up at least one of these guys to see what they have at the Major League level, then dealing one or both may be the only play to contend for the big prize. Major League teams will be looking for real value, and these are Milwaukee’s best bargaining chips.

Milwaukee’s average position player age is 29.6, ranking them 24th in the league. Aging starters like Lorenzo Cain, Jace Peterson and Andrew McCutchen provide a strong veteran presence, but also inconsistent at bats and major holes in the lineup. The three veterans have combined to go 87 for 423 to hit .206 on the season. Adding in the former MVP, Christian Yelich’s continued struggles, and it is clear the problem is the bats. It has been the bats for a while. If Milwaukee does not address this issue at the trade deadline, they will have a tough time making the playoffs, let alone winning The World Series.

By contrast, the St. Louis Cardinals’ average position player age is 29.3. In 2023 the Cardinals will shed Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina, putting them in the top 10 youngest teams, with the majority being starters. The impact of an aging Pujols is felt less with the team’s depth, a low salary and Albert being used sparingly, instead of daily. Unlike Milwaukee, who is leaning on poor-performing veterans every day. The problem goes beyond 2022.

The bigger issue, at what point do the Brewers cut bait, and consider a rebuild? Milwaukee has arguably the best pitching staff in baseball. Looking at the contracts, you can see the window is closing. The Brewers need to pair some hitting with this potent pitching staff, otherwise it is wasteful, and the better business decision is to deal some arms before it is too late.

PitcherAgeAnnual PayFree Agent2021 ERA2022 ERA
Corbin Burnes27$6.5 Million20252.432.50
Brandon Woodruff29$6.8 Million20252.564.74
Freddy Peralta26$3.1 Million20272.814.42
Adrian Houser29$2.4 Million20253.223.51
Eric Lauer27$2.4 Million20253.192.38
Josh Hader28$11 Million20241.230.00

The Brewers pitching staff needs to be near perfect to beat teams, especially the likes of the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets. Speaking of the Mets, they did not rest solely on Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. The Mets have the best team batting average in the league, which has them eight games atop their division. This is how you win. Pitching and hitting must compliment each other.

It is anyone’s guess what it would take to bring one of these guys to Milwaukee, but here is my list of top 5 fits for the Milwaukee Brewers to pursue. If the Brewers are eyeing more than a division win or wildcard appearance, something will need to change on offense. With the trade deadline two months away, can the Brewers wait that long?

1) Eric Hosmer – Not a young guy, but he would be a nice rental for the rest of the season. He has pennant race experience and a propensity for the big moment. Anything to boost this offense would help. Hosmer alone is not enough to take the league’s 25th offensive team to Championship contention, but it is a start. San Diego will listen to offers if it lands a young player with upside.

2) Trey Mancini – The 30-year-old Mancini has rebounded from a subpar 2021 with a solid 2022, looking more like his 2020 self. Trey’s WAR is 1.5 and though the power has dipped some the plate discipline and contact have improved. This is what’s lacking in the Milwaukee lineup.

3) Xander Bogaerts – This is a game changer. An expensive add if kept. Even more costly if Milwaukee deals one of their young players and Xander bolts next year. Again, the offense is so bad, it will require some risk to bolster this futile lineup. Bogaerts is instant offense, but it is the most risky of all. His contract has a 2022 opt out clause.

4) J.D. Martinez – Shooting for the stars, but if you need massive movement, this helps. The Brewers have a batter chance at signing Martinez than Bogaerts. Martinez is five years older than Xander, and his best days of defense (which were never good) are behind him. The National League adopting the DH is the only reason this is possible. With that said, his ability to make contact and get on base would be huge for the Brew Crew lineup.

5) Andrew Benintendi – A player accustomed to making things work in a not-so-great lineup here. His American League ranks currently are: At Bats: 22nd, Hits: 4th, BA: 7th, Triples: 5th, OBP: 9th. Andrew is doing all of this for a last place Kansas City Royals team that is going nowhere. Imagine what he could do for a contending team.

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NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Seiya Suzuki

Its almost unfair because Seiya is not really a rookie. Like other Japanese imports, Seiya comes in with a lot of experience, nine years to be exact, and at age 27 is a fully grown man. The Chicago Cubs literally traded away the farm last year and are looking to rebuild around some new stars. Suzuki is one of those tapped to be a star and Chicago will market him as such. He will be an instant starter and not have to worry about playing time, giving him an advantage over other rookies.


AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Bobby Witt Jr.

Bobby is that good. He is the number 1 prospect for a reason, and after the announcement Monday that he officially made the big club, he will have lots of playing time. Should he stay healthy, he is the obvious favorite, rightfully so.


NL CY YOUNG: Max Scherzer

While I am not out on a limb here, this is by no means the most popular pick for NL Cy Young. The run support issues that were present before are still there. Max was a heavy investment, not leaving much for offensive spend. If Max can post his typical, world-beater line, he will be a favorite for the award, but only if he can get some wins to go with the other stats.


AL CY YOUNG: Shane Bieber

Shane has a Cy Young award win from 2020. This is certainly something to be proud of, however many would call this a “Bubble” Cy Young award win. Shane is in line to start for the Cleveland Guardians on opening day. As the ace of the team he will have plenty of starts to show 2020 in full scale in 2022.


NL MVP: Paul Goldschmidt

Paul Goldschmidt was the hottest player in the National League the second half of 2021. He was scorching after the All-Star Break which helped the bats of others in the lineup. Tyler O’Neill being one of the biggest benefactors. He and Nolan Arenado figure to have a say in the MVP conversation this season. Goldy locked in, and with that sort of protection, few are better.


AL MVP: Mike Trout

With most of the attention on his teammate, reigning MVP and favorite for 2022 AL MVP, Shohei Ohtani we forget that the best player on the planet is Mike Trout. Trout returns healthy and with a tremendous threat in front of him batting order. The protection Albert Pujols was to provide Trout, is what Shohei Ohtani will. Trout has nothing to prove, but you have to assume he wants to remind the world that he is still the King. I expect huge numbers from Mike Trout in 2022.


NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Joe Girardi

The stars are aligned perfectly for Joe Girardi to win NL Manager of the Year. The Phillies added some huge bats in Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber, and Philadelphia returns the National League MVP, Bryce Harper. The team has not been this deep since the winning days or Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino. There may be some good fortune as well. Jacob DeGrom going down and Freddie Freeman leaving town certainly don’t hurt. The Atlanta Braves are still the favorites to win the division as they welcome back Ronald Acuna Jr; and Marcell Ozuna. If Girardi and the Phillies win the division as I expect they will, Joe is my early choice.


AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Kevin Cash

I have Kevin Cash winning this award again. All day, and all night. The Rays will compete, and do so with less than anyone else in the NL East. The Rays moving Austin Meadows should be seen as nothing more as getting something instead of getting nothing. Meadows was a top pick, a top 50 prospect most of his career and still very young. The Rays quite simply cannot afford to extend his contract. That’s why he was moved. The Rays consistently win while placing near the bottom in salary spend. This is why Kevin Cash will repeat as AL Manager of The Year.


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