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2016 MLB thread. THE CUBS HAVE BROKEN THE CURSE! Chicago Cubs are your 2016 World Series champions. - Page 116

post #3451 of 77566
Thread Starter 
Buyer's Guide: Catchers.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]
Players in demand

1. Ramon Hernandez: This is the best free agency has to offer. He's caught a total of 228 games over the past three seasons, and after a strong first half in 2011 (that was out of line with his career anyway), he wilted in just 38 games after the break, posting a .220/.287/.305 line before he was relegated to part-time duty in favor of heir apparent Devin Mesoraco. He's an above-average throwing catcher and fringy receiver who lives off mistakes and fastballs left over the plate. The state of catching across MLB is bad enough that he's still worth a one-year deal, even at the advanced age of 35.

2. Ryan Doumit: He would easily be the best catching option on the market, except that he's a terrible defender who gets hurt a lot. I think there's a good chance someone signs him with the hope of catching him 50-60 games a year, and maybe the wish that he turns into Mike Napoli 2.0. I don't see him doing that defensively, or getting on base like Napoli does, but I could see him turning in a solid year as a DH who fakes it at a few positions, including left or right field.

3. Kelly Shoppach: He has one particular skill that makes him useful despite the horrendous overall lines the past two years -- he hits left-handed pitching. Shoppach put up a .250/.355/.449 line against southpaws over the past two years, and while he'd be a solid backup for someone, I see no evidence he can start. The fact I put him here instead of the next section just tells you how little catching is available in free agency this winter.
Names to avoid

1. Rod Barajas: I'm cheating here, as the Pittsburgh Pirates just gave Barajas a one-year, $4 million deal … but really, Barajas has eight major league seasons in which he's had at least 200 plate appearance and his best OBP in any of those is .306, which happened six years ago. His composite line since that arbitrary endpoint is .239/.283/.417 (without intentional walks). Barajas can throw a little and has some mistake power, and that's it. He's worth a minor league contract and a spring training invite.

2. Ivan Rodriguez: He's 40 years old and five years removed from his last productive season on offense. He can still throw, but besides that all he brings is name value.

3. Jason Varitek, Jose Molina, Chris Snyder: Someone has to catch for your team -- otherwise you'd have a lot of passed balls -- but I can't see paying a premium for an "experienced" catcher who can't hit or stay on the field.
Possible trade targets

1. Chris Iannetta, Colorado Rockies: The Rockies insist Iannetta is their catcher for 2012, but it's clear they view Wilin Rosario as their long-term answer there, and Jim Tracy has, for no reason I can fathom (like most things Tracy does), always disliked something about Iannetta's game. His .370 OBP in 2011 might be misleading -- he hit eighth most of the time, so many of those walks may have just been "unintentional intentional walks" to get around him and bring the pitcher to the plate -- but he is patient and would be good for 20 homers or more if he ever got 140 starts at the position. If the Rockies don't want him, I'm sure other clubs would love to see if a change of scenery helps, even at $3.55 million for 2012.

2. J.P. Arencibia, Toronto Blue Jays: This could be six months or a year early, but at some point, Toronto will have to decide whether Arencibia or top prospect Travis d'Arnaud is its catcher of the future. The Blue Jays could keep both, making one (Arencibia, more likely) the backup, but in a market with a chronic shortage of catching, it would make far more sense to trade the player who isn't the starter. D'Arnaud doesn't have the major league experience and has had some trouble staying healthy, but is a better hitter and defender than Arencibia, who has the raw power but posted a .277 OBP (removing IBB) at age 25 in 2011. I think Arencibia could settle in as a solid-average everyday catcher because there's more hit tool in there than his .219 average or .255 BABIP would indicate, and he's under control for five more years, giving him substantial trade value once the Jays feel that d'Arnaud is ready.

3. Derek Norris and Jesus Flores, Washington Nationals: Wilson Ramos appears to be the Nationals' everyday catcher in 2012 and beyond, which puts the Nats in a situation similar to the Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds, with Mesoraco making Yasmani Grandal, who can throw and call a game but struggles receiving, expendable. Flores was the team's catcher of the future before a shoulder injury cost him a year and a half; he's now 26 with barely more than a season's worth of big league at-bats spread out over five calendar years, plus 56 games this year in Syracuse in which he didn't hit. Norris, just 22, has power, patience and a career 40 percent caught stealing rate in the minors, but despite a clean swing and solid approach he's hit .235 and .210 the past two years. His secondary skills make him a projected regular, but he might be two years away from hitting for enough average to let him play every day.
post #3452 of 77566
Thread Starter 
Buyer's Guide: Catchers.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]
Players in demand

1. Ramon Hernandez: This is the best free agency has to offer. He's caught a total of 228 games over the past three seasons, and after a strong first half in 2011 (that was out of line with his career anyway), he wilted in just 38 games after the break, posting a .220/.287/.305 line before he was relegated to part-time duty in favor of heir apparent Devin Mesoraco. He's an above-average throwing catcher and fringy receiver who lives off mistakes and fastballs left over the plate. The state of catching across MLB is bad enough that he's still worth a one-year deal, even at the advanced age of 35.

2. Ryan Doumit: He would easily be the best catching option on the market, except that he's a terrible defender who gets hurt a lot. I think there's a good chance someone signs him with the hope of catching him 50-60 games a year, and maybe the wish that he turns into Mike Napoli 2.0. I don't see him doing that defensively, or getting on base like Napoli does, but I could see him turning in a solid year as a DH who fakes it at a few positions, including left or right field.

3. Kelly Shoppach: He has one particular skill that makes him useful despite the horrendous overall lines the past two years -- he hits left-handed pitching. Shoppach put up a .250/.355/.449 line against southpaws over the past two years, and while he'd be a solid backup for someone, I see no evidence he can start. The fact I put him here instead of the next section just tells you how little catching is available in free agency this winter.
Names to avoid

1. Rod Barajas: I'm cheating here, as the Pittsburgh Pirates just gave Barajas a one-year, $4 million deal … but really, Barajas has eight major league seasons in which he's had at least 200 plate appearance and his best OBP in any of those is .306, which happened six years ago. His composite line since that arbitrary endpoint is .239/.283/.417 (without intentional walks). Barajas can throw a little and has some mistake power, and that's it. He's worth a minor league contract and a spring training invite.

2. Ivan Rodriguez: He's 40 years old and five years removed from his last productive season on offense. He can still throw, but besides that all he brings is name value.

3. Jason Varitek, Jose Molina, Chris Snyder: Someone has to catch for your team -- otherwise you'd have a lot of passed balls -- but I can't see paying a premium for an "experienced" catcher who can't hit or stay on the field.
Possible trade targets

1. Chris Iannetta, Colorado Rockies: The Rockies insist Iannetta is their catcher for 2012, but it's clear they view Wilin Rosario as their long-term answer there, and Jim Tracy has, for no reason I can fathom (like most things Tracy does), always disliked something about Iannetta's game. His .370 OBP in 2011 might be misleading -- he hit eighth most of the time, so many of those walks may have just been "unintentional intentional walks" to get around him and bring the pitcher to the plate -- but he is patient and would be good for 20 homers or more if he ever got 140 starts at the position. If the Rockies don't want him, I'm sure other clubs would love to see if a change of scenery helps, even at $3.55 million for 2012.

2. J.P. Arencibia, Toronto Blue Jays: This could be six months or a year early, but at some point, Toronto will have to decide whether Arencibia or top prospect Travis d'Arnaud is its catcher of the future. The Blue Jays could keep both, making one (Arencibia, more likely) the backup, but in a market with a chronic shortage of catching, it would make far more sense to trade the player who isn't the starter. D'Arnaud doesn't have the major league experience and has had some trouble staying healthy, but is a better hitter and defender than Arencibia, who has the raw power but posted a .277 OBP (removing IBB) at age 25 in 2011. I think Arencibia could settle in as a solid-average everyday catcher because there's more hit tool in there than his .219 average or .255 BABIP would indicate, and he's under control for five more years, giving him substantial trade value once the Jays feel that d'Arnaud is ready.

3. Derek Norris and Jesus Flores, Washington Nationals: Wilson Ramos appears to be the Nationals' everyday catcher in 2012 and beyond, which puts the Nats in a situation similar to the Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds, with Mesoraco making Yasmani Grandal, who can throw and call a game but struggles receiving, expendable. Flores was the team's catcher of the future before a shoulder injury cost him a year and a half; he's now 26 with barely more than a season's worth of big league at-bats spread out over five calendar years, plus 56 games this year in Syracuse in which he didn't hit. Norris, just 22, has power, patience and a career 40 percent caught stealing rate in the minors, but despite a clean swing and solid approach he's hit .235 and .210 the past two years. His secondary skills make him a projected regular, but he might be two years away from hitting for enough average to let him play every day.
post #3453 of 77566
Reports saying the Astros moving to the AL west.............doesnt make sense to me.

Why dont the Diamondbacks move to the AL west and the Astro`s move to NL west instead?

That makes more sense than anything else.
post #3454 of 77566
Reports saying the Astros moving to the AL west.............doesnt make sense to me.

Why dont the Diamondbacks move to the AL west and the Astro`s move to NL west instead?

That makes more sense than anything else.
post #3455 of 77566
Orioles new look...

image
post #3456 of 77566
Orioles new look...

image
post #3457 of 77566
Quote:
Originally Posted by pacmagic2002

Reports saying the Astros moving to the AL west.............doesnt make sense to me.

Why dont the Diamondbacks move to the AL west and the Astro`s move to NL west instead?

That makes more sense than anything else.



Makes more sense for the Brewers just to go back, but we know that ain't happening for obvious reasons.
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
Reply
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
Reply
post #3458 of 77566
Quote:
Originally Posted by pacmagic2002

Reports saying the Astros moving to the AL west.............doesnt make sense to me.

Why dont the Diamondbacks move to the AL west and the Astro`s move to NL west instead?

That makes more sense than anything else.



Makes more sense for the Brewers just to go back, but we know that ain't happening for obvious reasons.
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
Reply
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
Reply
post #3459 of 77566
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Cleveland

Player Team 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Jeremy Hellickson Rays 17 5 2 102
Mark Trumbo Angels 5 11 5 63
Eric Hosmer Royals 4 4 6 38
Ivan Nova Yankees 1 5 10 30
Michael Pineda Mariners
3 2 11
Dustin Ackley Mariners 1
1 6
Desmond Jennings Rays

1 1
Jordan Walden Angels

1 1

smiley: laugh

I don't know where to begin.



  

smiley: sick
post #3460 of 77566
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Cleveland

Player Team 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Jeremy Hellickson Rays 17 5 2 102
Mark Trumbo Angels 5 11 5 63
Eric Hosmer Royals 4 4 6 38
Ivan Nova Yankees 1 5 10 30
Michael Pineda Mariners
3 2 11
Dustin Ackley Mariners 1
1 6
Desmond Jennings Rays

1 1
Jordan Walden Angels

1 1

smiley: laugh

I don't know where to begin.



  

smiley: sick
post #3461 of 77566

Justin Verlander Wins AL Cy Young

Tigers righty Justin Verlander unanimously won the American League Cy Young award, announced the Baseball Writers Association of America.  Verlander posted a 2.40 ERA with 250 strikeouts and 24 wins in 251 regular season innings this year, leading the league in all four categories.  The Tigers have him under contract through 2014.

Also receiving votes: Jered Weaver, James Shields, C.C. Sabathia, Jose Valverde, C.J. Wilson, Dan Haren, Mariano Rivera, Josh Beckett, Ricky Romero, and David Robertson.  Yes, one writer considered Robertson the fifth-best pitcher in the American League this year.

Shields gets a $500K increase in his 2012 salary with the top five finish, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.     

  

smiley: roll
post #3462 of 77566

Justin Verlander Wins AL Cy Young

Tigers righty Justin Verlander unanimously won the American League Cy Young award, announced the Baseball Writers Association of America.  Verlander posted a 2.40 ERA with 250 strikeouts and 24 wins in 251 regular season innings this year, leading the league in all four categories.  The Tigers have him under contract through 2014.

Also receiving votes: Jered Weaver, James Shields, C.C. Sabathia, Jose Valverde, C.J. Wilson, Dan Haren, Mariano Rivera, Josh Beckett, Ricky Romero, and David Robertson.  Yes, one writer considered Robertson the fifth-best pitcher in the American League this year.

Shields gets a $500K increase in his 2012 salary with the top five finish, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.     

  

smiley: roll
post #3463 of 77566
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleJs07

Orioles new look...

image


i need that home lid. smiley: pimp
post #3464 of 77566
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleJs07

Orioles new look...

image


i need that home lid. smiley: pimp
post #3465 of 77566
I expect nonsense from the BWAA every year, but Valverde finished FIFTH!? That clown wasn't even one of the five best relievers this year in the AL.
post #3466 of 77566
I expect nonsense from the BWAA every year, but Valverde finished FIFTH!? That clown wasn't even one of the five best relievers this year in the AL.
post #3467 of 77566
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stringer Bell 32

Yes, one writer considered Robertson the fifth-best pitcher in the American League this year.

smiley: roll

Don't you hate! D-Rob and his high socks smiley: pimp.
post #3468 of 77566
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stringer Bell 32

Yes, one writer considered Robertson the fifth-best pitcher in the American League this year.

smiley: roll

Don't you hate! D-Rob and his high socks smiley: pimp.
post #3469 of 77566
Valverde got a 2nd-place vote for AL Cy Young. roll.gifroll.gifsick.gif
post #3470 of 77566
Valverde got a 2nd-place vote for AL Cy Young. roll.gifroll.gifsick.gif
post #3471 of 77566
I can't wait to see what they do next. Michael Young finishing top five for Most Valuable Player, maybe?

Seven dudes faring better than Michael Pineda in Rookie of the Year voting has to be my personal favorite so far.
post #3472 of 77566
I can't wait to see what they do next. Michael Young finishing top five for Most Valuable Player, maybe?

Seven dudes faring better than Michael Pineda in Rookie of the Year voting has to be my personal favorite so far.
post #3473 of 77566
Thread Starter 
Don't bank on a repeat performance.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

As a rule, maintaining greatness is almost as difficult as attaining it. Although there are elite stars in every sport, most athletes find their pre-eminence fleeting. Statheads refer to it as regression toward the mean, while others explain a natural decline from exceptional to average with an array of jinxes and curses. Either way, they describe the same concept.

In baseball, whenever a journeyman hits 25 home runs or comes out of nowhere to win 15 games, there's always a healthy dose of skepticism. In most cases, the skepticism is warranted, as those players who take a huge step forward usually take at least a healthy step back.

With awards week under way, it's worth exploring the question of just how much the best performers tend to regress after their big years. It's easier to think of a pitcher such as Ryan Vogelsong -- who went 13-7, 2.71 ERA for the Giants but boasted a career ERA of 5.86 in the majors before that -- underperforming in 2012. However, it's harder to envision a young star in the prime of his career also disappointing.

To see how the best of the best fare going forward, we looked at all MVP and Cy Young Award winners going back to 1931 and 1956, respectively. The MVP award was given before 1931 but not in its current form -- previous winners were ineligible before then. Left out were award-winning seasons at the start and end of their careers. Pitchers who won the MVP were grouped with the Cy Young winners to look at hitters and pitchers separately.

Using wins above replacement from Baseball-Reference, the average MVP award winner collected 7.6 WAR during his MVP award season. In the two years prior, award winners averaged 5.4 WAR. In the two years after winning the MVP, they averaged 5.1 WAR, showing very little retention of the increased performances during their MVP seasons. Fifty-six percent of the MVP award winners declined from their pre-MVP performances. Even MVPs 26 years old and younger who presumably still were in the primes of their careers lost 1.9 WAR on average from their MVP seasons each year.

Using average numbers for aging in WAR, I calculated an age-neutral WAR to help neutralize any distorting effects caused by comparing players at different ages. The average MVP was 29 years old, and we would expect years 27 to 28 to be superior to age-30-to-31 seasons.

After doing this, the MVPs averaged 5.2 WAR in the two years pre-MVP and 5.3 WAR in the two years post-MVP. Given the average MVP-year improvement of 2.4 WAR, the typical MVP retained just about 4 percent of his MVP-year improvement.

For pitchers, the results were even more stark. After adjusting for age, the group of award-winning pitchers went from 4.4 WAR before their Cy Young awards to 4.2 WAR in the years after their Cy Youngs. The average Cy Young winner has 6.5 WAR, a two-win improvement that was completely erased the year after. It's not surprising that pitchers fared worse, given the higher injury rates.

So, what's the lesson from this? Unless you're talking about one of the very few players who's always a threat to have an MVP season, such as Alex Rodriguez or Pedro Martinez in his prime, evaluating a player based on one elite season is nearly always a mistake.


Good first step for the Dodgers.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

If you're going to take an enormous risk like the one the Los Angeles Dodgers are taking, giving Matt Kemp -- who has had just one great year in the majors -- an eight-year, $160 million contract, then he is exactly the kind of player on whom you want to take that risk. He's an outstanding athlete who hits, plays a position in the middle of the diamond and doesn't project to move to a corner any time soon.

[+] EnlargeMatt Kemp
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesWith Matt Kemp locked up, the Dodgers have a superstar in his prime to build around.

The first five years of the deal cover what we'd traditionally consider Kemp's peak years, ages 27 through 31, and you could easily look at his 2011 season, with upticks in walk rate and isolated power, as the beginning of that peak period. He may not produce at that MVP level again -- I wouldn't doubt it, but it's a high bar to reach -- yet doesn't have to do so to justify this deal; something better than 2009 (.297/.352/.490) would do it, and I feel pretty good about him exceeding his 2009 production for most of the next five or six years.

For the Dodgers, aside from removing a season-long narrative for 2012 about whether Kemp would stay or go -- and, by the way, it looks like a similar narrative for the St. Louis Cardinals and Albert Pujols did no damage to the club's chances in 2011 -- this doesn't make them any better for next year. Right now, they're set up to play below-average starters at catcher, second base (yes, even with Mark Ellis) and third base, at the very least, with first base and left field also weaknesses; if they don't re-sign Hiroki Kuroda, they'll have to scrape up another starter. They're only strong right now in the bullpen, at the top of their rotation and in center and right field. The Dodgers could fill some roles internally, like giving Jerry Sands or Alex Castellanos one of the corner jobs, but I wouldn't expect more than a solid-average performance from either guy (more likely Castellanos than Sands).

Even in a weak division with no clear front-runner, that doesn't seem like enough to put them over the top unless they get a breakout season or two from unexpected quarters. Kemp is a great first step and good news long-term for the Blue Man Group, but they have a lot more work to do if they want to contend next year.



Oakland stuck as sellers.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

The Oakland Athletics finished 24th in homers last season and could use some punch in their lineup, and with Brett Anderson set to miss most or all of the 2012 season, they could use a starting pitcher.

But player acquisitions will be secondary for Oakland this winter and maybe in every winter until the Athletics can secure a new ballpark. They will continue to field a team and go about the business of trying to win as many games as possible, but the Athletics are dead men walking until they get their new ballpark; they are biding time until the shovels go into the ground, whether that's in one year or two years or three, and so their player decisions will be all about the future.

Look for them to trade Andrew Bailey then, because his value in the market will never again be as high as it is now, when he's just 27 years old, has 75 career saves and is just starting to climb the arbitration ladder. If somebody calls and offers them a big-time haul of prospects for Gio Gonzalez -- who is 26 years old and coming off the best season of his career, having improved his strikeout-walk ratio to 2.17 -- then it probably makes sense for them to make that deal. Gonzalez probably won't be around when the Athletics are in position to make a serious run at the AL West, and if they can make a great trade for him now, they should do it.

Twenty years ago, Oakland actually had the highest payroll in the majors, but last season, the Athletics' payroll of $67 million was among the lowest. Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers have built a powerful organization and have a treasure trove of TV money guaranteed to them, and the Los Angeles Angels already are a power.

The Athletics are where the Florida Marlins were five years ago, and now the Marlins have a new park and at least the hope that their future is evolving. Oakland is not there yet; the Athletics will be hopeless until they get their ballpark -- and maybe now that Major League Baseball is moving closer to restoring the Los Angeles Dodgers and settling on a labor agreement, that can happen. Maybe the Athletics' situation will soon be at the top of MLB's docket.

Until then, sure, they'll consider trading anybody. They've got young players, but they're not really building anything yet. Do you want to make a deal for Trevor Cahill? Call them. Want Bailey, or Gio? Make an offer. Want Kurt Suzuki? Call them. They'll listen to anything while they wait for somebody to tell them when and where they can build a new ballpark.

The Toronto Blue Jays have also checked on the availability of Huston Street, writes Bob Elliott, and I wrote a couple of weeks ago that the Blue Jays have also talked to the Athletics about Bailey. Presumably, Street wouldn't cost as much as Bailey would in a trade, because he is owed a lot of money. The New York Yankees are bound to add a pitcher, writes Joel Sherman; remember, Oakland has starting pitching under contract.

Justin Verlander won the Cy Young Award unanimously, and even more awards are likely for him, writes Michael Rosenberg.

Verlander is the first pitcher to win the AL Cy Young by a unanimous vote since Johan Santana in 2006. Verlander is also the first pitcher to win at least 24 games and throw a no-hitter in the same season since Sandy Koufax did it with the Dodgers in 1965.

James Shields was happy finishing third in the Cy Young Award voting.

• The Marlins are at center stage this offseason, writes Andrew Keh. It's a different time for the team, says Larry Beinfest.

A lot of folks in the industry are waiting to see the substance of the offers the Marlins have made. It's one thing to say you've made an offer to Albert Pujols, and it's something else entirely to tender a proposal in the range of what the St. Louis Cardinals offered in the past -- something in the $200 million ballpark.

• The cartoon bird is back.

Moves, deals and decisions

1. The Cardinals have had a couple of talks about bringing back Octavio Dotel.

2. Heard this: Grady Sizemore is not close to picking a new team. For him, it'll come down to the right team, the right lineup, the right ballpark, on a one-year deal.

3. When other teams have poked around to see if the Philadelphia Phillies will look to trade Cole Hamels -- as they did two years ago, in dumping Cliff Lee -- the indication from Philadelphia has been that it would cost three small nations and two oceans to convince them to trade the lefty. Ruben Amaro says the Hamels situation is not yet pressing for the Phillies.

4. Chris Volstad was not invited to the unveiling of the Marlins' new uniforms, which has left him wondering about his future.

5. The Arizona Diamondbacks' talks with Miguel Montero are at a standstill, writes Nick Piecoro.

6. The Colorado Rockies are pursuing two starters, writes Troy Renck. They need Jhoulys Chacin to have consistent mechanics.

7. The Baltimore Orioles have made offers.

8. T.J. Simers questions Frank McCourt's motives in making the Matt Kemp deal.

9. The Dodgers won't be spending on a big bat.

10. A number of teams are interested in Heath Bell, writes Bill Center.

11. Howard Cole isn't a fan of the Dodgers' signing of Matt Treanor.

12. C.J. Wilson's agent says the Yankees have been aggressive in their pursuit of the lefty.

13. Jim Crane is getting a $70 million discount for his move to the AL, writes Richard Justice. Some ex-Astros aren't thrilled by what's happening, writes Steve Campbell.

14. Dale Sveum could be offered the Red Sox managerial job today, writes Peter Abraham. The Chicago Cubs may also be vying for his services, writes Scott Lauber.

15. Theo Epstein says he's just not worth that much in compensation.

16. Don't expect any big moves from the Red Sox, writes Michael Silverman.

17. Brett Gardner could be a trade chip this winter.

18. The Minnesota Twins continue to look for players in Japan.

19. Mat Gamel could be the guy who replaces Prince Fielder at first base, says Doug Melvin, who also indicated that he will not re-sign Craig Counsell.

20. Jed Hoyer talked and said little, writes Paul Sullivan.

21. Ken Williams is in listening mode, writes Mark Gonzales.

22. The Kansas City Royals had a meeting with Roy Oswalt.

23. The Cardinals are not interested in Fielder if Pujols leaves. Which makes sense, because they've already got Lance Berkman lined up and ready to play if Pujols departs. Let's see how much the Cardinals want Pujols, writes Bryan Burwell.



Type A casualties.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

The talks for the labor agreement have dragged on longer than Major League Baseball had hoped. The dream in the commissioner's office was that there would be a settlement announced at the World Series, amid the pomp and circumstance and banners, and that this would place baseball -- which had long been a symbol of labor unrest -- in a different light from the National Football League and the National Basketball Association, where the lawyers and judges have recently been as important as quarterbacks and point guards.

But the deal wasn't announced in Texas or St. Louis, and it wasn't announced Monday in Milwaukee. Team officials have been told that, until instructed otherwise, they will operate under the old rules, and the longer the talks linger, the less likely it is that some rules will be put in place for the 2012 season.

There are a handful of ballplayers who have a special interest in the question of when the rules go into effect -- those players deemed as Type A free agents. It appears that Type A first-round-pick compensation will be eliminated for all but the elite players, whenever the deal is done; the two sides are still tinkering with the formula to determine who the elite players are.

Carl Crawford was a Type A free agent when he signed with the Boston Red Sox this past December, so the Tampa Bay Rays got a first-round draft pick in return. Under the old system -- the system in place as of today -- any team in the bottom half of the draft, i.e., those teams with the 15 best records the previous year, that signs a Type A free agent loses a first-round pick. Any team in the top half of the draft loses a second-round pick.

As teams have focused more and more on the importance of the draft in the past decade, they have coveted their top picks and been reluctant to surrender them for lesser Type A free agents such as setup men Juan Cruz and Grant Balfour, and this has been a drag on their negotiating leverage. As teams have structured offers for those lesser Type A free agents, agents believe, the clubs essentially have factored the cost of the draft pick into their proposals, reducing the dollar amount. The Cruzes and Balfours of the market have been hurt by the system in a way nobody anticipated.

And if the new rules don't go into effect soon, the lesser Type A's will be hurt again -- first, because they are left to sit and wait for their market value to be defined while players such as Jonathan Papelbon and Jamey Carroll and Mark Ellis have been free to sign. And perhaps they are also left to sit later if the new negotiated rules don't go into effect until next fall.

The Type A's who would seem to have the most at stake:

Kelly Johnson: Second basemen have been getting two-year deals all over the place, but teams will not move on Johnson until they know whether the Toronto Blue Jays will offer him arbitration in an effort to get a first-round pick. Johnson hit 21 homers with a .222 batting average for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Blue Jays last season, including a .270 average for the Jays. He earned $5.8 million in 2011 and would be in line for a $7 million to $8 million arbitration award at a time when Aaron Hill just got a two-year deal for $5.5 million a season and Ellis got about $4.4 million per year in his deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Johnson would appear to be buried in Type A purgatory -- at least until Toronto decides whether to offer arbitration. And if the Blue Jays do so, they probably would cut the legs out from under Johnson's value in the market unless the new system is negotiated into place.

Ramon Hernandez: The veteran catcher is a respected player, a useful player, coming off a year in which he hit .282 with 12 homers. But Hernandez will be 36 years old in the spring and, in the same way that nobody would sign Jason Varitek when he was a Type A free agent, other clubs will shy away from Hernandez. He normally would be in position to get a two-year deal as a backup, but he'll have to wait to learn whether the Cincinnati Reds will offer him arbitration, which is a reasonable option for them.

Darren Oliver: His is the classic example of why the current system needs to change. Surely there is no chance that another team would surrender a first-round pick to sign Oliver, who is 41 years old; if the Texas Rangers offered him arbitration and the old rules remained, there is probably no chance he'd get an offer from another team.

Octavio Dotel: He had a good year with the St. Louis Cardinals, earning a championship ring for his work, but he's 37. He made $3 million this past year, and there would seem to be little chance St. Louis would offer him arbitration at a time when the Cardinals are saving their pennies for Albert Pujols. At the very least, though, Dotel is forced to wait for resolution of his status.

David Ortiz: He wants a multiyear offer and probably would like it now, but the Type A thing is a problem. It would make sense for the Blue Jays to consider Ortiz, but Toronto has placed very high value on draft picks and wouldn't sign Ortiz until it knew for sure whether Boston had offered him arbitration. If there were no first-round draft pick compensation tied to Ortiz, he'd be a natural candidate for two-year offers. But it's very possible that, unless the labor agreement is completed, the most lucrative salary Ortiz could hope for would be a one-year offer of arbitration from the Red Sox.

Josh Willingham: A number of teams like him, but as the Athletics learned before the trade deadline, nobody was willing to step out and give the Athletics value equal to first-round draft picks they can get if he walks. So it stands to reason that few teams -- if any -- will be willing to extend offers to Willingham after Oakland offers arbitration, which is considered a fait accompli, unless the system changes. If there was no Type A first-round compensation in place, Willingham would be in position to get a solid two-year deal.

Rookies of the year

Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel earned the NL Rookie of the Year award Monday, winning by a unanimous vote after setting a rookie record with 46 saves in 2011.

From ESPN Stats & Information: Kimbrel is the Braves' first rookie of the year winner since 2000, when Rafael Furcal took home the award. Kimbrel is also one of three players in MLB history to record 45 saves and 100 strikeouts in a single season. The other two: Eric Gagne ('02, '03, '04) and Bryan Harvey ('91).

From Elias: Kimbrel is the first pitcher in the history of the award to be a unanimous winner. His 127 strikeouts this season were the third most ever for a rookie reliever. Toronto's Mark Eichhorn had 166 in 1986, and Boston's Dick Radatz had 144 in 1962. Kimbrel's rate of 14.8 strikeouts per nine innings was the fifth highest in major league history and the highest by a rookie among pitchers with at least 100 strikeouts in a season. Kimbrel appeared in 21 games in 2010, the most by any player before the season in which he won a rookie of the year award.

Tampa Bay pitcher Jeremy Hellickson won the AL Rookie of the Year award, drawing 17 of 28 first-place votes.

From ESPN Stats & Info: Hellickson is the second player in Rays history to win rookie of the year, joining Evan Longoria in 2008. Among AL rookies with a minimum of 80 innings pitching, Hellickson ranked first in innings (189) and ERA (2.95), while finishing second in wins (13) and strikeouts (117).

From Elias: Hellickson's 2.95 ERA was the eighth lowest in the American League last season. In the previous 20 seasons, the only rookie pitcher to rank at least that high in the AL in ERA was Justin Verlander in 2006 (3.63, seventh lowest).



Justin Verlander wins AL Cy Young.

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The BBWAA confirmed what most already expected Tuesday by tabbing Justin Verlander as the 2011 American League Cy Young award winner. Verlander was absolutely dominant in 2011, pacing both circuits with 24 wins, a 2.40 ERA, and an astonishing 251 IP. Verlander similarly dominated ballots by receiving all 28 first-place votes for a perfect total of 196 points, according to the BBWAA’s tabulation system. Rounding out the top-five were Jered Weaver, James Shields, CC Sabathia, and in a bit of a head-scratcher, Verlander’s teammate and closer Jose Valverde.

There are just shy of a million ways to quantify just how incredible Verlander’s season was, so just let me highlight a few of those most noticeable.

Verlander’s 24 wins marked the second time he had led his league in victories (he led the league in starts both seasons), and were the most by a major league pitcher since Randy Johnson posted an identical 24-5 mark with the Diamondbacks in 2002. They were also the most in the AL since Bob Welch won a staggering 27 games for the A’s in 1990. Verlander’s 29 decisions accounted for 85.3 percent of his starts, well above the major league mark of 70.9 percent.

The decision percentage is certainly a huge testament to the quality with which Verlander pitches, but more so serves notice to his durability. The 2011 season marked the fifth-straight season Verlander had tossed 200-plus innings, and the sixth-straight in which he’d made 30 or more starts. In fact, the Goochland, Va. native has worked six or more innings in his last 42 starts, dating back to a 6-2 loss at the hands of the New York Yankees that saw Verlander work only five frames on Aug. 17, 2010. This ties Verlander with the remarkable Roy Halladay for 10th longest such streak.

In a similar vein, and with a hat tip to Aaron Gleeman of NBC Sports’ Hardball Talk (who in turn tipped his hat to me), Verlander holds the longest streak of all time when it comes to games with 100-plus pitches. That streak is currently active at 52 games, which absolutely obliterates the nearest competition from the Big Unit, whom held separate streaks at 37 and 38.

So we get it, Verlander is remarkably durable. Now lets have a look at what comes along for the ride on this workhorse.

There’s a number of reasons why Verlander was so difficult to hit in 2011. For one, Verlander has three above-average offerings which he can use to work off his fastball, which registered an average of at least 95-miles-per-hour for the third-straight season, and fifth of Verlander’s seven big league campaigns. For as good as his fastball is, the lanky Old Dominion grad didn’t rely on it too heavily, only tossing it 57 percent of the time in 2011, a career low. Verlander supplemented with his changeup and curveball, tossing them a combined 34.6 percent of the time while mixing in a slide piece every now and then as well. In that sense, a tip of the hat not only goes to Verlander, but also to Alex Avila and any other battery mate Justin had for mixing up the arsenal a bit. After all, a high-90s fastball has to be much harder to hit when it’s not seen as often.

Also, Verlander held left-handed hitters to a stunning .174/.233/.271 line this season, which was good, or perhaps more accurately bad for a .504 OPS. Again, we’re talking about opposite-handed hitters flailing away at Drew Butera-like stat lines. For some context, left-handed hitters combined to hit righties at a .262/.331/.412 clip. In other words, the average left-handed hitter in the major leagues versus right handed pitchers was Johnny Damon, and Verlander made them collectively look like corncobs, you guys. Right-handed hitters had better, but still well below league-average luck against Verlander as well, as they combined for a .215/.253/.364 triple-slash, which was still nearly 100 points below the league average .695 mark. All told, Verlander allowed a .555 OPS to opposing hitters, while the league average mark stood at .720, a stunning 165 point difference.

The BBWAA also passed along the following tidbits:
Verlander is the ninth unanimous winner in AL history, and fourth Detroit Tiger.
Verlander is the first AL winner who had also won AL Rookie of the Year honors.

Obviously, Verlander was in a league all to himself this season.



Jose Reyes suffering Crawford backlash.

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Last week, the Marlins made an offer to every free agent with a pulse. At the heart of their “Sign Everyone!

post #3474 of 77566
Thread Starter 
Don't bank on a repeat performance.

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As a rule, maintaining greatness is almost as difficult as attaining it. Although there are elite stars in every sport, most athletes find their pre-eminence fleeting. Statheads refer to it as regression toward the mean, while others explain a natural decline from exceptional to average with an array of jinxes and curses. Either way, they describe the same concept.

In baseball, whenever a journeyman hits 25 home runs or comes out of nowhere to win 15 games, there's always a healthy dose of skepticism. In most cases, the skepticism is warranted, as those players who take a huge step forward usually take at least a healthy step back.

With awards week under way, it's worth exploring the question of just how much the best performers tend to regress after their big years. It's easier to think of a pitcher such as Ryan Vogelsong -- who went 13-7, 2.71 ERA for the Giants but boasted a career ERA of 5.86 in the majors before that -- underperforming in 2012. However, it's harder to envision a young star in the prime of his career also disappointing.

To see how the best of the best fare going forward, we looked at all MVP and Cy Young Award winners going back to 1931 and 1956, respectively. The MVP award was given before 1931 but not in its current form -- previous winners were ineligible before then. Left out were award-winning seasons at the start and end of their careers. Pitchers who won the MVP were grouped with the Cy Young winners to look at hitters and pitchers separately.

Using wins above replacement from Baseball-Reference, the average MVP award winner collected 7.6 WAR during his MVP award season. In the two years prior, award winners averaged 5.4 WAR. In the two years after winning the MVP, they averaged 5.1 WAR, showing very little retention of the increased performances during their MVP seasons. Fifty-six percent of the MVP award winners declined from their pre-MVP performances. Even MVPs 26 years old and younger who presumably still were in the primes of their careers lost 1.9 WAR on average from their MVP seasons each year.

Using average numbers for aging in WAR, I calculated an age-neutral WAR to help neutralize any distorting effects caused by comparing players at different ages. The average MVP was 29 years old, and we would expect years 27 to 28 to be superior to age-30-to-31 seasons.

After doing this, the MVPs averaged 5.2 WAR in the two years pre-MVP and 5.3 WAR in the two years post-MVP. Given the average MVP-year improvement of 2.4 WAR, the typical MVP retained just about 4 percent of his MVP-year improvement.

For pitchers, the results were even more stark. After adjusting for age, the group of award-winning pitchers went from 4.4 WAR before their Cy Young awards to 4.2 WAR in the years after their Cy Youngs. The average Cy Young winner has 6.5 WAR, a two-win improvement that was completely erased the year after. It's not surprising that pitchers fared worse, given the higher injury rates.

So, what's the lesson from this? Unless you're talking about one of the very few players who's always a threat to have an MVP season, such as Alex Rodriguez or Pedro Martinez in his prime, evaluating a player based on one elite season is nearly always a mistake.


Good first step for the Dodgers.

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If you're going to take an enormous risk like the one the Los Angeles Dodgers are taking, giving Matt Kemp -- who has had just one great year in the majors -- an eight-year, $160 million contract, then he is exactly the kind of player on whom you want to take that risk. He's an outstanding athlete who hits, plays a position in the middle of the diamond and doesn't project to move to a corner any time soon.

[+] EnlargeMatt Kemp
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesWith Matt Kemp locked up, the Dodgers have a superstar in his prime to build around.

The first five years of the deal cover what we'd traditionally consider Kemp's peak years, ages 27 through 31, and you could easily look at his 2011 season, with upticks in walk rate and isolated power, as the beginning of that peak period. He may not produce at that MVP level again -- I wouldn't doubt it, but it's a high bar to reach -- yet doesn't have to do so to justify this deal; something better than 2009 (.297/.352/.490) would do it, and I feel pretty good about him exceeding his 2009 production for most of the next five or six years.

For the Dodgers, aside from removing a season-long narrative for 2012 about whether Kemp would stay or go -- and, by the way, it looks like a similar narrative for the St. Louis Cardinals and Albert Pujols did no damage to the club's chances in 2011 -- this doesn't make them any better for next year. Right now, they're set up to play below-average starters at catcher, second base (yes, even with Mark Ellis) and third base, at the very least, with first base and left field also weaknesses; if they don't re-sign Hiroki Kuroda, they'll have to scrape up another starter. They're only strong right now in the bullpen, at the top of their rotation and in center and right field. The Dodgers could fill some roles internally, like giving Jerry Sands or Alex Castellanos one of the corner jobs, but I wouldn't expect more than a solid-average performance from either guy (more likely Castellanos than Sands).

Even in a weak division with no clear front-runner, that doesn't seem like enough to put them over the top unless they get a breakout season or two from unexpected quarters. Kemp is a great first step and good news long-term for the Blue Man Group, but they have a lot more work to do if they want to contend next year.



Oakland stuck as sellers.

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The Oakland Athletics finished 24th in homers last season and could use some punch in their lineup, and with Brett Anderson set to miss most or all of the 2012 season, they could use a starting pitcher.

But player acquisitions will be secondary for Oakland this winter and maybe in every winter until the Athletics can secure a new ballpark. They will continue to field a team and go about the business of trying to win as many games as possible, but the Athletics are dead men walking until they get their new ballpark; they are biding time until the shovels go into the ground, whether that's in one year or two years or three, and so their player decisions will be all about the future.

Look for them to trade Andrew Bailey then, because his value in the market will never again be as high as it is now, when he's just 27 years old, has 75 career saves and is just starting to climb the arbitration ladder. If somebody calls and offers them a big-time haul of prospects for Gio Gonzalez -- who is 26 years old and coming off the best season of his career, having improved his strikeout-walk ratio to 2.17 -- then it probably makes sense for them to make that deal. Gonzalez probably won't be around when the Athletics are in position to make a serious run at the AL West, and if they can make a great trade for him now, they should do it.

Twenty years ago, Oakland actually had the highest payroll in the majors, but last season, the Athletics' payroll of $67 million was among the lowest. Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers have built a powerful organization and have a treasure trove of TV money guaranteed to them, and the Los Angeles Angels already are a power.

The Athletics are where the Florida Marlins were five years ago, and now the Marlins have a new park and at least the hope that their future is evolving. Oakland is not there yet; the Athletics will be hopeless until they get their ballpark -- and maybe now that Major League Baseball is moving closer to restoring the Los Angeles Dodgers and settling on a labor agreement, that can happen. Maybe the Athletics' situation will soon be at the top of MLB's docket.

Until then, sure, they'll consider trading anybody. They've got young players, but they're not really building anything yet. Do you want to make a deal for Trevor Cahill? Call them. Want Bailey, or Gio? Make an offer. Want Kurt Suzuki? Call them. They'll listen to anything while they wait for somebody to tell them when and where they can build a new ballpark.

The Toronto Blue Jays have also checked on the availability of Huston Street, writes Bob Elliott, and I wrote a couple of weeks ago that the Blue Jays have also talked to the Athletics about Bailey. Presumably, Street wouldn't cost as much as Bailey would in a trade, because he is owed a lot of money. The New York Yankees are bound to add a pitcher, writes Joel Sherman; remember, Oakland has starting pitching under contract.

Justin Verlander won the Cy Young Award unanimously, and even more awards are likely for him, writes Michael Rosenberg.

Verlander is the first pitcher to win the AL Cy Young by a unanimous vote since Johan Santana in 2006. Verlander is also the first pitcher to win at least 24 games and throw a no-hitter in the same season since Sandy Koufax did it with the Dodgers in 1965.

James Shields was happy finishing third in the Cy Young Award voting.

• The Marlins are at center stage this offseason, writes Andrew Keh. It's a different time for the team, says Larry Beinfest.

A lot of folks in the industry are waiting to see the substance of the offers the Marlins have made. It's one thing to say you've made an offer to Albert Pujols, and it's something else entirely to tender a proposal in the range of what the St. Louis Cardinals offered in the past -- something in the $200 million ballpark.

• The cartoon bird is back.

Moves, deals and decisions

1. The Cardinals have had a couple of talks about bringing back Octavio Dotel.

2. Heard this: Grady Sizemore is not close to picking a new team. For him, it'll come down to the right team, the right lineup, the right ballpark, on a one-year deal.

3. When other teams have poked around to see if the Philadelphia Phillies will look to trade Cole Hamels -- as they did two years ago, in dumping Cliff Lee -- the indication from Philadelphia has been that it would cost three small nations and two oceans to convince them to trade the lefty. Ruben Amaro says the Hamels situation is not yet pressing for the Phillies.

4. Chris Volstad was not invited to the unveiling of the Marlins' new uniforms, which has left him wondering about his future.

5. The Arizona Diamondbacks' talks with Miguel Montero are at a standstill, writes Nick Piecoro.

6. The Colorado Rockies are pursuing two starters, writes Troy Renck. They need Jhoulys Chacin to have consistent mechanics.

7. The Baltimore Orioles have made offers.

8. T.J. Simers questions Frank McCourt's motives in making the Matt Kemp deal.

9. The Dodgers won't be spending on a big bat.

10. A number of teams are interested in Heath Bell, writes Bill Center.

11. Howard Cole isn't a fan of the Dodgers' signing of Matt Treanor.

12. C.J. Wilson's agent says the Yankees have been aggressive in their pursuit of the lefty.

13. Jim Crane is getting a $70 million discount for his move to the AL, writes Richard Justice. Some ex-Astros aren't thrilled by what's happening, writes Steve Campbell.

14. Dale Sveum could be offered the Red Sox managerial job today, writes Peter Abraham. The Chicago Cubs may also be vying for his services, writes Scott Lauber.

15. Theo Epstein says he's just not worth that much in compensation.

16. Don't expect any big moves from the Red Sox, writes Michael Silverman.

17. Brett Gardner could be a trade chip this winter.

18. The Minnesota Twins continue to look for players in Japan.

19. Mat Gamel could be the guy who replaces Prince Fielder at first base, says Doug Melvin, who also indicated that he will not re-sign Craig Counsell.

20. Jed Hoyer talked and said little, writes Paul Sullivan.

21. Ken Williams is in listening mode, writes Mark Gonzales.

22. The Kansas City Royals had a meeting with Roy Oswalt.

23. The Cardinals are not interested in Fielder if Pujols leaves. Which makes sense, because they've already got Lance Berkman lined up and ready to play if Pujols departs. Let's see how much the Cardinals want Pujols, writes Bryan Burwell.



Type A casualties.

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The talks for the labor agreement have dragged on longer than Major League Baseball had hoped. The dream in the commissioner's office was that there would be a settlement announced at the World Series, amid the pomp and circumstance and banners, and that this would place baseball -- which had long been a symbol of labor unrest -- in a different light from the National Football League and the National Basketball Association, where the lawyers and judges have recently been as important as quarterbacks and point guards.

But the deal wasn't announced in Texas or St. Louis, and it wasn't announced Monday in Milwaukee. Team officials have been told that, until instructed otherwise, they will operate under the old rules, and the longer the talks linger, the less likely it is that some rules will be put in place for the 2012 season.

There are a handful of ballplayers who have a special interest in the question of when the rules go into effect -- those players deemed as Type A free agents. It appears that Type A first-round-pick compensation will be eliminated for all but the elite players, whenever the deal is done; the two sides are still tinkering with the formula to determine who the elite players are.

Carl Crawford was a Type A free agent when he signed with the Boston Red Sox this past December, so the Tampa Bay Rays got a first-round draft pick in return. Under the old system -- the system in place as of today -- any team in the bottom half of the draft, i.e., those teams with the 15 best records the previous year, that signs a Type A free agent loses a first-round pick. Any team in the top half of the draft loses a second-round pick.

As teams have focused more and more on the importance of the draft in the past decade, they have coveted their top picks and been reluctant to surrender them for lesser Type A free agents such as setup men Juan Cruz and Grant Balfour, and this has been a drag on their negotiating leverage. As teams have structured offers for those lesser Type A free agents, agents believe, the clubs essentially have factored the cost of the draft pick into their proposals, reducing the dollar amount. The Cruzes and Balfours of the market have been hurt by the system in a way nobody anticipated.

And if the new rules don't go into effect soon, the lesser Type A's will be hurt again -- first, because they are left to sit and wait for their market value to be defined while players such as Jonathan Papelbon and Jamey Carroll and Mark Ellis have been free to sign. And perhaps they are also left to sit later if the new negotiated rules don't go into effect until next fall.

The Type A's who would seem to have the most at stake:

Kelly Johnson: Second basemen have been getting two-year deals all over the place, but teams will not move on Johnson until they know whether the Toronto Blue Jays will offer him arbitration in an effort to get a first-round pick. Johnson hit 21 homers with a .222 batting average for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Blue Jays last season, including a .270 average for the Jays. He earned $5.8 million in 2011 and would be in line for a $7 million to $8 million arbitration award at a time when Aaron Hill just got a two-year deal for $5.5 million a season and Ellis got about $4.4 million per year in his deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Johnson would appear to be buried in Type A purgatory -- at least until Toronto decides whether to offer arbitration. And if the Blue Jays do so, they probably would cut the legs out from under Johnson's value in the market unless the new system is negotiated into place.

Ramon Hernandez: The veteran catcher is a respected player, a useful player, coming off a year in which he hit .282 with 12 homers. But Hernandez will be 36 years old in the spring and, in the same way that nobody would sign Jason Varitek when he was a Type A free agent, other clubs will shy away from Hernandez. He normally would be in position to get a two-year deal as a backup, but he'll have to wait to learn whether the Cincinnati Reds will offer him arbitration, which is a reasonable option for them.

Darren Oliver: His is the classic example of why the current system needs to change. Surely there is no chance that another team would surrender a first-round pick to sign Oliver, who is 41 years old; if the Texas Rangers offered him arbitration and the old rules remained, there is probably no chance he'd get an offer from another team.

Octavio Dotel: He had a good year with the St. Louis Cardinals, earning a championship ring for his work, but he's 37. He made $3 million this past year, and there would seem to be little chance St. Louis would offer him arbitration at a time when the Cardinals are saving their pennies for Albert Pujols. At the very least, though, Dotel is forced to wait for resolution of his status.

David Ortiz: He wants a multiyear offer and probably would like it now, but the Type A thing is a problem. It would make sense for the Blue Jays to consider Ortiz, but Toronto has placed very high value on draft picks and wouldn't sign Ortiz until it knew for sure whether Boston had offered him arbitration. If there were no first-round draft pick compensation tied to Ortiz, he'd be a natural candidate for two-year offers. But it's very possible that, unless the labor agreement is completed, the most lucrative salary Ortiz could hope for would be a one-year offer of arbitration from the Red Sox.

Josh Willingham: A number of teams like him, but as the Athletics learned before the trade deadline, nobody was willing to step out and give the Athletics value equal to first-round draft picks they can get if he walks. So it stands to reason that few teams -- if any -- will be willing to extend offers to Willingham after Oakland offers arbitration, which is considered a fait accompli, unless the system changes. If there was no Type A first-round compensation in place, Willingham would be in position to get a solid two-year deal.

Rookies of the year

Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel earned the NL Rookie of the Year award Monday, winning by a unanimous vote after setting a rookie record with 46 saves in 2011.

From ESPN Stats & Information: Kimbrel is the Braves' first rookie of the year winner since 2000, when Rafael Furcal took home the award. Kimbrel is also one of three players in MLB history to record 45 saves and 100 strikeouts in a single season. The other two: Eric Gagne ('02, '03, '04) and Bryan Harvey ('91).

From Elias: Kimbrel is the first pitcher in the history of the award to be a unanimous winner. His 127 strikeouts this season were the third most ever for a rookie reliever. Toronto's Mark Eichhorn had 166 in 1986, and Boston's Dick Radatz had 144 in 1962. Kimbrel's rate of 14.8 strikeouts per nine innings was the fifth highest in major league history and the highest by a rookie among pitchers with at least 100 strikeouts in a season. Kimbrel appeared in 21 games in 2010, the most by any player before the season in which he won a rookie of the year award.

Tampa Bay pitcher Jeremy Hellickson won the AL Rookie of the Year award, drawing 17 of 28 first-place votes.

From ESPN Stats & Info: Hellickson is the second player in Rays history to win rookie of the year, joining Evan Longoria in 2008. Among AL rookies with a minimum of 80 innings pitching, Hellickson ranked first in innings (189) and ERA (2.95), while finishing second in wins (13) and strikeouts (117).

From Elias: Hellickson's 2.95 ERA was the eighth lowest in the American League last season. In the previous 20 seasons, the only rookie pitcher to rank at least that high in the AL in ERA was Justin Verlander in 2006 (3.63, seventh lowest).



Justin Verlander wins AL Cy Young.

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The BBWAA confirmed what most already expected Tuesday by tabbing Justin Verlander as the 2011 American League Cy Young award winner. Verlander was absolutely dominant in 2011, pacing both circuits with 24 wins, a 2.40 ERA, and an astonishing 251 IP. Verlander similarly dominated ballots by receiving all 28 first-place votes for a perfect total of 196 points, according to the BBWAA’s tabulation system. Rounding out the top-five were Jered Weaver, James Shields, CC Sabathia, and in a bit of a head-scratcher, Verlander’s teammate and closer Jose Valverde.

There are just shy of a million ways to quantify just how incredible Verlander’s season was, so just let me highlight a few of those most noticeable.

Verlander’s 24 wins marked the second time he had led his league in victories (he led the league in starts both seasons), and were the most by a major league pitcher since Randy Johnson posted an identical 24-5 mark with the Diamondbacks in 2002. They were also the most in the AL since Bob Welch won a staggering 27 games for the A’s in 1990. Verlander’s 29 decisions accounted for 85.3 percent of his starts, well above the major league mark of 70.9 percent.

The decision percentage is certainly a huge testament to the quality with which Verlander pitches, but more so serves notice to his durability. The 2011 season marked the fifth-straight season Verlander had tossed 200-plus innings, and the sixth-straight in which he’d made 30 or more starts. In fact, the Goochland, Va. native has worked six or more innings in his last 42 starts, dating back to a 6-2 loss at the hands of the New York Yankees that saw Verlander work only five frames on Aug. 17, 2010. This ties Verlander with the remarkable Roy Halladay for 10th longest such streak.

In a similar vein, and with a hat tip to Aaron Gleeman of NBC Sports’ Hardball Talk (who in turn tipped his hat to me), Verlander holds the longest streak of all time when it comes to games with 100-plus pitches. That streak is currently active at 52 games, which absolutely obliterates the nearest competition from the Big Unit, whom held separate streaks at 37 and 38.

So we get it, Verlander is remarkably durable. Now lets have a look at what comes along for the ride on this workhorse.

There’s a number of reasons why Verlander was so difficult to hit in 2011. For one, Verlander has three above-average offerings which he can use to work off his fastball, which registered an average of at least 95-miles-per-hour for the third-straight season, and fifth of Verlander’s seven big league campaigns. For as good as his fastball is, the lanky Old Dominion grad didn’t rely on it too heavily, only tossing it 57 percent of the time in 2011, a career low. Verlander supplemented with his changeup and curveball, tossing them a combined 34.6 percent of the time while mixing in a slide piece every now and then as well. In that sense, a tip of the hat not only goes to Verlander, but also to Alex Avila and any other battery mate Justin had for mixing up the arsenal a bit. After all, a high-90s fastball has to be much harder to hit when it’s not seen as often.

Also, Verlander held left-handed hitters to a stunning .174/.233/.271 line this season, which was good, or perhaps more accurately bad for a .504 OPS. Again, we’re talking about opposite-handed hitters flailing away at Drew Butera-like stat lines. For some context, left-handed hitters combined to hit righties at a .262/.331/.412 clip. In other words, the average left-handed hitter in the major leagues versus right handed pitchers was Johnny Damon, and Verlander made them collectively look like corncobs, you guys. Right-handed hitters had better, but still well below league-average luck against Verlander as well, as they combined for a .215/.253/.364 triple-slash, which was still nearly 100 points below the league average .695 mark. All told, Verlander allowed a .555 OPS to opposing hitters, while the league average mark stood at .720, a stunning 165 point difference.

The BBWAA also passed along the following tidbits:
Verlander is the ninth unanimous winner in AL history, and fourth Detroit Tiger.
Verlander is the first AL winner who had also won AL Rookie of the Year honors.

Obviously, Verlander was in a league all to himself this season.



Jose Reyes suffering Crawford backlash.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

Last week, the Marlins made an offer to every free agent with a pulse. At the heart of their “Sign Everyone!

post #3475 of 77566
Do they announce the NL Cy young today? I am hoping Kershaw wins it.

One again...Lord Stanley Resides In The Windy City.

Reply

One again...Lord Stanley Resides In The Windy City.

Reply
post #3476 of 77566
Do they announce the NL Cy young today? I am hoping Kershaw wins it.

One again...Lord Stanley Resides In The Windy City.

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One again...Lord Stanley Resides In The Windy City.

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post #3477 of 77566
Thread Starter 
I think NL Cy is tomorrow, today was just the managers.
post #3478 of 77566
Thread Starter 
I think NL Cy is tomorrow, today was just the managers.
post #3479 of 77566
When are the a's ever buyers? Until they get a new park or new owner they will be stuck right where they are.
post #3480 of 77566
When are the a's ever buyers? Until they get a new park or new owner they will be stuck right where they are.
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NikeTalk › NikeTalk Forums › The Lounge › Sports & Training › 2016 MLB thread. THE CUBS HAVE BROKEN THE CURSE! Chicago Cubs are your 2016 World Series champions.