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2016 MLB thread. THE CUBS HAVE BROKEN THE CURSE! Chicago Cubs are your 2016 World Series champions. - Page 288

post #8611 of 77297
Bay Area baseball survives to play another day.
A T H L E T I C S | U C L A | L A K E R S | R A I D E R S

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A T H L E T I C S | U C L A | L A K E R S | R A I D E R S

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post #8612 of 77297
Big day of baseball today......4 games.


Hope the Nats and O's get those Ws.



Trying to find a good stream at work.
Straight Cash Homey
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Straight Cash Homey
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post #8613 of 77297
Thread Starter 
Yea, I was VERY tempted to call out sick today laugh.gif ****** weather made it all the easier to do it too.
post #8614 of 77297
Thread Starter 
Will Rangers let Josh Hamilton walk?
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told reporters that the team will let Josh Hamilton will test the open market before it makes a bid, Richard Durrett writes. And it's not even clear if the Rangers will bid. From Durrett's story:



"If you've gone this far, you're going to test the market," Daniels said. "The realities are when a guy goes out and tests the market and it's this close, you're not going to pre-empt it. I think he's going to go out and test the market and see what's out there and get back to us.
"No door has been closed. We're also very realistic about when a star player hits free agency at this point and the history of them returning to their original club. So we have to prepare both ways and prepare the club for the possibility that he's not back."


Look, maybe this is the Rangers' polite way of exiting their employer-employee relationship with Hamilton, a source of tremendous production for the Rangers -- and extraordinary frustration because of his inconsistency and unreliability. Hamilton vowed to Texas manager Ron Washington before the season that he would play in 155 games this season, and he came close, accumulating 148 games. But his season was shaped by the highest peaks and deepest valleys of performance.



OPS for Hamilton this season, month by month
April: 1.182 (third among all hitters)
May: 1.186 (second)
June: .754 (102nd)
July: .607 (229th)
August: .943 (25th)
September: .948 (22nd)
October: .385 (13 at-bats)

Rival evaluators note the seeming lack of day-to-day focus in Hamilton's at-bats, and it would shock no one around baseball if the Rangers decided to walk away from Hamilton altogether.

But if the Rangers intend to bid on Hamilton in some manner -- perhaps a two- or three-year deal with a high annual salary and vesting options -- then sitting and waiting for other teams to make offers is the best way to handle this, because other potential bidders will watch Texas closely.

The assumption around baseball is that the Rangers know far more about Hamilton, his erratic performance and his fight against addiction than anybody else. They know more about his daily preparation, about his game-to-game readiness, about the odd ailments that have kept him out of the lineup.

Imagine if this were a neighborhood game of Texas Hold 'em and a poker superstar like Phil Hellmuth showed up. The Rangers would be Hellmuth: Everybody else would be watching the way he played his hand, the way he bid, the way he stayed out of bidding, because they'd believe he was armed with far more knowledge.

If the Rangers were to bid aggressively on Hamilton early in this process, they would effectively provide confidence for everybody else sitting at the table. But the longer they wait, the more passive they are in negotiations, and the more nervous and concerned other potential bidders will be. If Texas ultimately wants to keep Hamilton, it makes no sense for the Rangers to push this, in what one rival GM recently referred to as the most unique set of circumstances for an elite free agent in baseball history.

The Rangers are recovering from their late-season collapse, and Washington seized responsibility for what happened, writes Jean-Jacques Taylor.



Rangers president Nolan Ryan says the timing of Hamilton's decision to quit smokeless tobacco couldn't have been worse.



Tigers-Athletics


Coco Crisp made one of the best catches in postseason history, helping the Athletics shut out the Tigers.

Once again, the Tigers' offense has vanished, writes Drew Sharp. Anibal Sanchez threw well but still lost.

Tigers fans would be wise to not push the panic button, writes Lynn Henning.

Giants-Reds


The Giants stole a win from the Reds. Within John Fay's story, Scott Rolen and Ryan Hanigan talked about the mistakes that led to the decisive run.



Rolen thinks he approached the play properly. "I don't think I'd have played it any differently," he said. "I'd have tried to catch it if I got a chance to do it again. With a man on third there, it's not the ground ball that I want to see. I just want to be aggressive and make the play. I knew it was kind of a do-or-die play. I don't think (shortstop Zack Cozart) could have gotten there. I'd probably play it that way again and hopefully get a better result."


The 10th was an all-around bad inning for the Reds. [Jonathan] Broxton gave up a pair of hits to Buster Posey and Hunter Pence to start the inning. Broxton struck out Brandon Belt and Xavier Nady. But the first pitch to [Joaquin] Arias got by catcher Ryan Hanigan for a passed ball. "It just ran more than I thought," Hanigan said. "It just took off on me and I missed it."


Hunter Pence made an emotional pregame speech, writes Henry Schulman. They said it sounded like a football coach's speech, writes Bruce Jenkins.



The longer this series goes on, the stronger the Giants will be, writes Tim Kawakami.



Johnny Cueto has a strained oblique, and the Reds don't know when he can pitch again. Homer Bailey threw great in Game 3.



From ESPN Stats & Information: The Giants entered the 10th inning of Tuesday's game with just one hit but managed to win in extras. According to Elias, they're the third team in postseason history to win a game in which they had no more than one hit through nine innings.



One hit or fewer through nine innings and won postseason game
Giants: 2012 NLDS vs. Reds
Athletics: 1974 ALCS vs. Orioles
Dodgers: 1947 WS vs. Yankees



Orioles-Yankees


Joe Girardi sounds as though he's contemplating a lineup change with Alex Rodriguez.

An astute evaluator noted this about Rodriguez: His current swing is generated almost entirely from his upper body in his effort to make contact, with no real power coming from his legs. He is much better suited to hitting against left-handers than right-handers, and he is much more effective attacking pitches in the lower half of the strike zone. "He's vulnerable on high fastballs," the evaluator said. "He can get to low fastballs."

Rodriguez's OPS versus right-handers this season was about 200 points lower than against lefties. On Wednesday night, the Yankees face right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who is not overpowering with an average fastball of 91.1 mph. But as scouts have noted, Rodriguez has struggled against even mediocre fastballs.

The Yankees need a big effort from Hiroki Kuroda on Wednesday.

Part of the reason the Orioles started Wei-Yin Chen in Game 2 was that he had a full week of rest leading up to the game, and during the regular season, his numbers were excellent when he had those extra days -- a 2.28 ERA in four starts. The same dynamic will be there in Game 3 for Kuroda, who has seemed to respond to extra rest through his career.

Kuroda's ERA on four days' rest: 3.53 (73 games)
Five days' rest: 3.32
Six-plus days' rest: 3.07

Gonzalez is unassuming and unfazed, like the rest of the Orioles. Orioles owner Peter Angelos has greatly enjoyed this season.

Jim Johnson found redemption the other night. His stuff was absolutely filthy.

The travel for the Yankees and Orioles was a mess after Game 2.

Cardinals-Nationals


Ian Desmond, knowing he must field ground balls during a day game Wednesday, used social media in a manner we haven't seen before with this tweet:



@IanDesmond20 If your sitting behind home plate field level I would appreciate it if you wouldn't wear white shirts. For those of u thinkin white out.


Stephen Strasburg has accepted his dugout role, writes Amanda Comak.

Washington's series is in the hands of Edwin Jackson, writes Barry Svrluga. Desmond's talents are on display.

Chris Carpenter's big moment is here. The Cardinals are in a good position, writes Bernie Miklasz. Carlos Beltran is back in the swing, writes Rick Hummel.

The postgame commute could be ugly.

Jaime Garcia was taken off the Cardinals' playoff roster.

Moves, deals and decisions


1. Figuring out what to do with Jacoby Ellsbury will be a priority for the Boston Red Sox, writes Scott Lauber. Here's the bottom line: Ellsbury's agent, Scott Boras, will look to get the young outfielder a top-of-the-market deal, a record deal for an outfielder, and he may well get it. And on the flip side, the Red Sox couldn't possibly commit a record number of dollars to Ellsbury, given how many games he has missed in two of the past three seasons.



2. Nick Swisher could be hurting his free agency with how he has performed in the postseason.



3. The New York Mets will offer David Wright a lot of money.



4. The Colorado Rockies must establish their identity, writes Troy Renck.

Dings and dents


1. All signs are good for Joakim Soria as he comes back from Tommy John surgery, writes Bob Dutton.



2. A Dodgers prospect is recovering from a staph infection.

By The Numbers
From ESPN Stats & Info



3: Times this season Prince Fielder has been robbed of a home run after Coco Crisp did it to him Tuesday (leads league for hitters).
6: Consecutive strikeouts for Homer Bailey in Tuesday's game, tying the postseason record, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
17: Outs (of 18 total) recorded by Brett Anderson either by groundout or strikeout Tuesday.

Francona's first hurdle in Cleveland.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
BALTIMORE -- Two days before his interview to become the next manager of the Cleveland Indians, Terry Francona explained how the job seemed different to him. "It's like family to me," he said, talking about his relationship with Indians general manager Chris Antonetti and president Mark Shapiro.

Francona probably strengthened his case with his presentation: Before his interview, he sent the Indians a 16-page breakdown of their team, their organization and what he sees in their future, and the response had been very positive. The Indians wanted Francona, and Francona wanted the Indians.

And there are a lot of people around who believe that he's crazy to take the Cleveland job, and that if he had waited until next season, some much better opportunity for success would've presented itself to him. Maybe in Texas, where Ron Washington's job status will become the subject of much speculation next summer if the Texas Rangers struggle early, or in Anaheim, if the Los Angeles Angels get off to a bad start. These are just two of the possibilities, in places where the teams might be closer to winning than the Indians.



Only the Colorado Rockies had a worse staff ERA than the Indians last season, and the worst of those numbers were constructed by the Cleveland starting pitchers, who compiled a 5.25 ERA. The Indians were at their best in the past decade when they had CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee leading their rotation, but there is no clear rotation now: Justin Masterson took a step back in 2012, slipping to a 4.93 ERA, and Ubaldo Jimenez's decline from a pitcher who went 15-1 in the first half of 2010 to one of the worst starters in the majors remains one of the sport's great mysteries. Zach McAllister was the team's most effective rotation piece in the second half of the season, posting a 4.24 ERA in his 11 starts.

Cleveland went 68-94 this season, after a horrific second-half collapse, and the Indians' attendance has suffered greatly. It helps that the Indians play in what is generally regarded as the weakest division in baseball, and perhaps Francona's positive personality and experience will help something good form. He wanted this job, badly, to work with some executives he really likes and considers to be really good people.

He might be the only manager with his résumé quality who would have considered the Indians.

Francona has a lot of roots in Cleveland, writes Paul Hoynes.

Meanwhile: Jim Tracy walked away from the Rockies, saying he's not the right man for the job, writes Troy Renck. The Rockies' players were surprised, writes Patrick Saunders.

I don't know exactly what Tracy was thinking, but you'd have to think that the Rockies' delay in resolving his status formally was an issue. The Rockies could have announced quickly that Tracy was coming back, but that didn't happen. Even if the Rockies had ultimately decided to keep Tracy for next season, he had to have known that he would've gone into the 2013 season on double-secret probation -- just one stretch of losing away from being fired.

Out on a limb.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
THE PRIMARY OCCUPANT of the White House might be the only executive in the free world second-guessed more often these days than Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, known in many circles as The Idiot Who Shut Down Stephen Strasburg. As part of their ongoing effort to win today, athletes play with broken arms and legs, are shot up and have fractured extremities taped down. Rizzo, on the other hand, sidelined one of the best players in the world to protect him from an injury that might happen.



The sports universe may never grow accustomed to this kind of deferred gratification. Here's former pitcher and former Nats color man Rob Dibble on Fox Sports Radio this August: "You don't get second chances in life and/or professional sports. The arrogance of Mike Rizzo to think, Oh, we're gonna have this long run." Dibble went on, "He's telling everybody, he knows more than orthopedic surgeons, pitching coaches, everybody." The commenters on sports blogs have been less diplomatic. "The fans here in DC think Rizzo is a fat, stupid naysayer," wrote someone on HardballTalk in late August. And the reaction isn't any better at the stadium. "Hey, Rizzo!" a fan yelled from the stands recently as the Nationals took batting practice in Atlanta. "What are ya doin'??!!"



ESPN: The Mag
Chad Millman talks with Nationals GM Mike Rizzo about his decision to sit Stephen Strasburg and Seth Wickersham about his story on Dan Snyder in the latest DC issue.

More Podcasts »
Rizzo, wearing a sport coat over an open collar and staring into the cage, didn't appear to hear this one voice among the many. He is impossible to miss, as conspicuous as a bouncer. With a goatee and his shaved head, he looks like he would be the first shoulder through the door in an episode of Cops, and when he mentions that he's Italian, he does so intending to explain his passion and his temper -- a temper that has surfaced throughout this testy season.



Rizzo understands that if the Nationals fail to win the World Series, his decision to limit Strasburg to roughly 160 innings, effectively benching his ace in early September, will be second-guessed into the future and beyond his lifetime, portrayed as a blunder ranking somewhere between the Red Sox's trade of Babe Ruth and Richard Nixon's failure to not burn the tapes. Everybody has questioned Rizzo's choice, including the Nationals' senior adviser to the GM -- Mike Rizzo's own father.



"Pitch him," Phil Rizzo barked at his son earlier in the year, in the typically blunt manner the Rizzos use. Like a lot of others in the game, Phil advised his son to ignore this new theory -- that young aces are vulnerable to injury when tired and should be shut down when they've pitched a certain number of innings -- and to keep Strasburg on the mound.



The Nationals franchise, after all, hadn't been in the playoffs in three decades, and their phenomenal, almost magical and still-unfolding 2012 season did not guarantee a world championship, much less perennial contention. Shutting down Strasburg didn't really promise good health for Strasburg either -- his delivery puts a lot of stress on his elbow, regardless of the innings he's pitched -- and also ran the risk of alienating him. Strasburg himself told reporters this summer that he was upset with Rizzo's decision; it's impossible to predict how it will impact his relationship with the organization.



Mike Rizzo listened to his father, listened to the other dissenters. Absorbed their comments. And shrugged them off. He's changed nothing. "I sleep like a baby," Rizzo says in mid-September, "knowing we've done the right thing for Stephen Strasburg, and in a roundabout way, for the Washington Nationals. I wouldn't be doing my job properly if I did it any other way."







[+] Enlarge
Rob Tringali for ESPN The Magazine
Rizzo listens to his critics -- and then shrugs them off.THE NATIONALS MIGHT be good enough to win without Strasburg anyway. That's because of the depth of their roster, constructed almost entirely by Rizzo, who describes his executive philosophy as 60 percent to 70 percent scouting and 30 percent to 40 percent Moneyball. Rizzo sat in the cold in Wisconsin to watch a college pitcher named Jordan Zimmermann (who's blossomed into a star), stuck with shortstop Ian Desmond (who made the All-Star team this year) through ugly defensive development, encouraged the Nationals to invest $126 million in Jayson Werth (who was a World Series champion), signed first baseman Adam LaRoche (who's an MVP candidate), traded last winter for Gio Gonzalez (a favorite for the Cy Young) and brought along Strasburg and phenom outfielder Bryce Harper (whom Rizzo called up in April, sooner than everyone else in baseball favored). With days left in the regular season, the Nationals held the best record in baseball, had one of the best pitching staffs in the majors, and only two other teams had scored more runs since the All-Star break.



He's built the team he wanted through blunt honesty. Werth was on the road toward signing with Boston when he met Rizzo and Nationals owners Ted and Mark Lerner in November 2010. Werth was surprised by Rizzo's directness. "I had never met a GM like that," Werth says. "A straight shooter. A lot of the GMs I've known in the past are kind of the opposite -- you don't know what to believe. Mike came across as very honest. Very passionate about the organization."



Rizzo targeted Gonzalez when Oakland made the pitcher available because Rizzo thought (that with a slight adjustment -- slowing down Gonzalez's delivery -- the lefthander could ascend from a really good young pitcher into an elite starter, complementing righties Strasburg and Zimmermann. Rizzo worked quickly with Oakland GM Billy Beane, who likes dealing with the Washington GM because Rizzo is unafraid, unlike some of their peers. Rizzo and the Nationals (were the lead bidders the whole time, Beane says. "He's very straightforward and very decisive. He doesn't take the approach that it's got to be a zero-sum deal -- 'I win, you lose.'" Washington gave up what rival executives thought to be a significant package: prospect pitchers Tommy Milone, Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole and catcher Derek Norris.



Still, Rizzo was ecstatic. He called Gonzalez afterward and raised the idea of a longer-term contract. "He was like, 'Come on over and let's get something going,' " Gonzalez recalls of the five-year, $42 million contract he ultimately signed. The GM, Gonzalez says, is like "a ring guy" in boxing. "He's going to promote you, he'll get you going. He's like Mickey in Rocky." This season, Gonzalez was the majors' first pitcher to win 20 games.







BASEBALL'S FRONT OFFICES are increasingly filled with Ivy League wunderkinds. But there is nothing Harvard about Rizzo, whose path to one of baseball's GM jobs began at a kitchen table in a bungalow on Chicago's Waveland Avenue. That's where his father ended his first dream.



Mike Rizzo had been drafted in the 22nd round by the Angels in 1982, and he played infield, hitting .247 in 171 games in three seasons of Class-A ball. In 1985, he was released. He was 24 years old then and intended to sign with another organization and work his way, somehow, to the big leagues. But Phil Rizzo -- who had played six years in the minors himself in the 1950s -- sat him down on one of the steel padded chairs in the family home and told him flatly: I don't think you're good enough to play in the major leagues.



That crushed Mike. But he listened, because he knew his father was honest and knowledgeable, and because Phil's words matched the facts: Mike really hadn't progressed through the minors.



Mike Rizzo got a degree from the University of Illinois, then became an area scout for the White Sox -- the lowest rung in major league baseball's chain of command -- and worked his way up. It wasn't until Rizzo was 37 years old that the Arizona Diamondbacks hired him for his first front office job. As scouting director, Rizzo helped build the Diamondbacks' farm system into one of the best in the majors -- Baseball America ranked the D-backs' prospects 29th in MLB in Rizzo's first season in his new job in 2001 and first when he left -- and he was known among his peers for definitive player evaluations, for not hiding in the safety of the middle ground. His years as a scout convinced him that big, physical pitchers had a better chance for success, so he wanted Max Scherzer in the 2006 draft, and he did not want Tim Lincecum. And he burned to build a team of his own vision. "The only negative I heard about Mike was that he was too ambitious," says Stan Kasten, the former president of the Nationals, who hired Rizzo as an assistant GM in 2006. When Jim Bowden resigned as Washington GM in 2009, Rizzo took over.







TO THE NATS, Rizzo distinguishes himself as a players' general manager -- very different from a lot of GMs, who prefer distance between themselves and their players. In May 2011, a Nationals game ended on a disputed call, and Rizzo watched his players and the umpires bark at one another as they exited the field. He sensed there would be a postgame confrontation. Sure enough, longtime catcher Ivan Rodriguez was outside the umpires' room in full uniform. Concerned that Rodriguez might do something that would result in a suspension, Rizzo stepped in and went nose to nose with one of the umps, Phil Cuzzi. It wasn't until after the umpires asked security for a Nationals media guide that Cuzzi realized he had been trading F-bombs with Washington's GM.



Rodriguez was not suspended -- but Rizzo was, for a game, and he was fined. Joe Torre, MLB's dean of discipline, told Rizzo this was a first.



Then there was the time Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels drilled Harper with a fastball. This was in May, in the 19-year-old's eighth game in the bigs. Afterward, Hamels told reporters he had hit the rookie on purpose, welcoming him in an "old-school" manner. After reading Hamels' quotes the next morning, Rizzo erupted, telling The Washington Post, "I've never seen a more classless, gutless chicken [bleep] act in my 30 years in baseball ... Cole Hamels says he's old-school? He's the polar opposite of old-school. He's fake tough. He thinks he's going to intimidate us after hitting our 19-year-old rookie who's eight games into the big leagues? He doesn't know who he's dealing with."



[+] Enlarge
Rob Tringali for ESPN The Magazine
The Nationals enjoyed an almost magical regular season thanks to the roster Rizzo created.Harper saw the quotes on television, and the next time he bumped into Rizzo, he thanked him "for battling for me. Having a guy like that on our side is huge for us."



Says Gonzalez: "He was looking out for Bryce, the same way he's looking out for Stras. It's almost like he's looking out for his kids." Says Werth, "He's a big bulldog. A watchdog."



Nats manager Davey Johnson can relate. In late August, Philadelphia swept the Nats -- the Phillies ran the bases aggressively -- and before Johnson addressed the media, Rizzo intercepted him and loudly demanded to know why the Nats had failed to hold runners. Johnson yelled back, telling Rizzo that if he wanted, the GM could run the team. The screaming went on within earshot of reporters waiting to talk to Johnson on the other side of a door. Rizzo had always heard how smart Johnson was when he hired him as an adviser in 2009; he installed him as the Washington manager in the middle of the 2011 season. As Johnson yelled, Rizzo snapped back, "A really good baseball man once told me that a good general manager watches over his manager."



"Who?" Johnson demanded.



"You!" Rizzo said. With that, the two men flushed out all of their anger and moved on.



Johnson says he and Rizzo have been in lockstep in the handling of Strasburg, believing that they are doing what's right for the pitcher and the organization. But it was Rizzo who stepped up to take responsibility. "Mike has rough edges, but he's very stubborn," Kasten says. "He has no trouble standing in front of that train. I think Mike's probably unhappy about the kind of attention he's gotten. But it doesn't worry him, and it doesn't bother him."







WHEN RIZZO MADE his decision last winter to limit Strasburg to roughly 160 innings, he based it on precedent: Zimmermann came back from Tommy John surgery under similar parameters. Before the season started, the Nats talked about holding back Strasburg's availability in different ways but decided that using him from the outset of the season, with some intermittent days of rest, was best. The second-guessing Rizzo has endured is the result, because it ensured Strasburg couldn't pitch in the postseason. But Rizzo points out how different the context was last winter: The team had not been in the postseason since moving to DC in 2005, and to backdate Strasburg's innings from the end of October would have been presumptuous and a little ludicrous. The Nationals franchise, after all, hadn't finished over .500 in nine seasons. Strasburg made 28 starts before being shut down Sept. 7 after 159 innings, and Washington went 199 in those starts, which is effectively the gap between the Nationals and the second-place Braves. Without Strasburg pitching regularly, the Nationals believe, there was no guarantee they would've played well enough to secure a playoff spot Sept. 20.



What Rizzo saw in Strasburg in his last six starts was a tired pitcher. Strasburg's average fastball against San Francisco Aug. 15 was a season-low 94.4 mph, and Rizzo thought in subsequent starts Strasburg labored to generate velocity. In doing so, Rizzo says, the righthander's mechanics started to fray. His front shoulder opened too quickly, and his curveball and his changeup flattened. "He was spraying [pitches] in his delivery and couldn't finish pitches," Rizzo says. "Those are telltale signs of fatigue in someone coming back from Tommy John surgery." And those signs could lead to future injury, Rizzo says.



"The people who are having the conversations about this, they know about 10 percent of what we know," Rizzo adds. "They're not looking at the 120-plus pages of analysis" -- medical information and performance metrics, of which Rizzo won't divulge a page -- "that I have."



This summer, Rizzo explained all of this after his father confronted him. His dad listened carefully. "You're doing the right thing," Phil Rizzo finally said. "And to hell with them, with what everyone is saying."



Mike Rizzo couldn't have said it better himself.



Although he might try.

What's next for Atlanta and Texas?
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
After more than seven months and 162 games, the Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers won 93 and 94 games, respectively.

Their seasons ended in the span of three hours, as they became the first teams to lose in MLB’s new wild-card elimination game format. Such is the new reality for wild-card berth winners.

This also means the offseason has arrived for the Braves and Rangers. So let’s take a look at what both teams need and the possible moves that could improve their clubs or at least shore up the weaknesses.


Texas Rangers
Free agents: Josh Hamilton, OF; Mike Napoli, C; Mike Adams, RHR; Koji Uehara, RHR; Mark Lowe, RHR; Roy Oswalt, RHR; Scott Feldman, RHR (club option)

Needs/targets

The Rangers will lose several significant arms from their bullpen. They hope to get Neftali Feliz back, but both he and Alexi Ogando have told the Rangers their preference is to start, so the Rangers must address those bullpen losses. The Rangers also must figure out a plan for top prospect Jurickson Profar. Is he ready for the big leagues, and, if so, would he or fellow shortstop Elvis Andrus possibly move to center field? But their biggest decisions this offseason will be regarding free agents Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli. Will the Rangers re-sign or replace them? Here are several possible free-agent targets, including Hamilton and Napoli:
Josh Hamilton: Should Hamilton look as if he can land an 8- to 10-year contract, the Rangers will not match the offer. However, if Hamilton’s best offer ends up somewhere in the 4- or 5-year range at approximately $23-$25 million per season, there is a good possibility that he’ll return to Texas.

Zack Greinke: The Rangers could use one more high-end starter, and Yu Darvish and Greinke would give them a lethal 1-2 punch and might free up lefty Derek Holland to be traded for a younger bat if they can’t bring back Hamilton.

Kyle Lohse: Lohse’s sinker and ability to get ground balls should play well at the Ballpark in Arlington and, as just mentioned above, allow the Rangers to trade one of their young starters for a young corner infielder if they have to replace Hamilton.

Mike Napoli: The Rangers would like to re-sign Napoli. However, they might not commit to a deal near the four-year, $44 million range that he might be able to get this fall.

A.J. Pierzynski: If the Rangers aren’t able to re-sign Napoli, then Pierzynski, who is coming off a career year, could be a short-term fit and provide another left-handed bat to the lineup.

Joel Peralta: He was one of the best eighth-inning relievers in the second half of last year for the Tampa Bay Rays and would be a good short-term fit for the Rangers as they try to upgrade the depth of their bullpen. But make no mistake, Peralta definitely will not be the only bullpen arm Texas will be chasing.

Trades: If Texas decides to trade Holland or another young starter, here are some of the players they are likely to target in a deal:

Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks: The D-backs say it is more than likely that Upton will not be traded, however, with the strong Rangers farm system and a deal that is centered on third baseman Mike Olt, it is possible these two teams could match up.

Wil Myers, Eric Hosmer or Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals: The Royals are desperate for young starting pitching, and a package centered on and starting with Holland and Mitch Moreland might be worth a conversation if Texas can’t re-sign Hamilton. The problem is that the Rangers have a lot of good young bats, not arms, which is what the Royals really need, so they might not be a match.

Travis d’Arnaud, Toronto Blue Jays: The Rangers scouts love this top catching prospect the Blue Jays acquired in the Roy Halladay deal a few years ago. Toronto probably is more interested in dealing J.P. Arencibia, who might make some sense in a lesser deal if Texas can’t re-sign Napoli.






Atlanta Braves
Free agents: Michael Bourn, CF; Matt Diaz, OF; Eric Hinske, 1B/OF; Lyle Overbay, 1B

Needs/targets

This is an organization with staying power, and, under the leadership of Frank Wren, it will be able to regroup and put together another postseason-worthy team. The Braves must try to re-sign Bourn or find a replacement for him. The Braves are expected to pick up the $12 million option on Brian McCann and the $9 million option on Tim Hudson shortly after the World Series.

Ben Revere, Minnesota Twins: His best position is center field, and the Twins are playing him in right in deference to Denard Span. He’s just scratching the surface of his potential after hitting .294 with 40 stolen bases this past season and would top the list of Braves trade targets if they can't re-sign Bourn. Below are some other possibilities.

Peter Bourjos, Los Angeles Angels: Gold Glove-caliber center field with blazing speed. His bat should improve, but he’s still a bottom-of-the-order hitter.

Denard Span, Minnesota Twins: The Braves have always liked him, but staying healthy has been a challenge for him the past two seasons.

Chris Young, Arizona Diamondbacks: Diamondbacks are prepared to go with Adam Eaton in center and are looking to trade this power/speed/K machine.

Dexter Fowler, Colorado Rockies: Fowler had his breakout year this year, and the Rockies won’t look to trade him unless they can get significant starting pitching in return.

Drew Stubbs, Cincinnati Reds: If the Reds could sign Bourn or trade for a B.J. Upton-type center fielder, they would be willing to move Stubbs, an above-average center fielder who comes with a ton of strikeouts.

Craig Gentry, Texas Rangers: The Rangers are convinced he’s just a platoon player, but some scouts think the bat will come. However, there’s never been a question about his special defense.

Life after Chipper
The Braves can replace the surefire Hall of Famer by signing or trading for a third baseman, or they could move Martin Prado from left field to third base and go after a left fielder instead.

Bourn is represented by Scott Boras, which means negotiations won’t be easy. Here are possible replacements for Chipper Jones at third base:
David Wright, New York Mets: It’s OK to dream, isn’t it?

Chase Headley, San Diego Padres: The Padres were willing to listen to offers at the trade deadline, and the Braves do have a strong farm system, which makes for a good match.

Mike Olt, Texas Rangers: The Rangers have Adrian Beltre signed for four more years, but I’m just not sure Texas matches up with Atlanta as well as San Diego does.

Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers: With Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder signed to long-term contracts, there might be a top prospect-for-top prospect deal that could be discussed here.

Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies: The Rockies soured on him some this year, and, with his stock down a tad, it’s worth a phone call.

Here are some possible trade pieces in left field if the Braves decide to move Prado to third base:

Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins: Willingham finished the year with a .366 OBP with 35 home runs and 110 RBIs, and the Twins desperately need starting pitching if they want any chance to compete. Considering Atlanta’s pitching depth, there should be a match here.

Myers or Gordon, Royals: This deal probably depends on how much the Royals like Julio Teheran or Mike Minor.

Logan Morrison, Miami Marlins: We keep hearing that Morrison has worn out his welcome with the Fish. Could a move 700 miles north be in store?

Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs: Soriano would like to get to the postseason once more before he retires, and that certainly won’t be with the Cubs. If the Cubs are willing to eat most of the remaining two years and $36 million left on his contract, there could be a prospect deal here.

Diamondbacks outfielders: They have five and will listen to offers for all five, and there definitely is a fit here for at least four of them. There probably isn’t a match, however, for Justin Upton. The Braves don’t have enough to acquire him.

10 guys I am most excited to scout in AFL.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The Arizona Fall League's 2012 season starts Tuesday, with two afternoon games in Phoenix and Peoria and a night game in Scottsdale at Salt River Fields. As usual, the league is full of prospects, both established names and players who have made or are on the verge of making moves up (or down) my rankings. The talent this year is heavily skewed towards bats, so don't be surprised to see some high-scoring games over the next six weeks.



Here's a ranking of the 10 players I'm most interested in seeing this year, as well as lists of other players to watch from each of the six AFL rosters. I've omitted some very good prospects from the top 10 because I've seen them too recently or otherwise feel like I've got a good handle on their tools and skills, not because I am down on them as prospects.




1. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs/Mesa



The ninth overall pick in the 2011 Rule 4 draft out of a Jacksonville, Fla., high school, Baez has huge raw power due to very quick wrists that allow him to drive the ball to all fields, but was widely seen as a candidate to move off shortstop in pro ball. Improved instruction and increased effort on his part now have that flipped around, with pro scouts who got their first looks at him this year giving him a good chance to stay at the position long-term.

The Puerto Rican-born Baez reached high Class A this year at age 19 but played less than a full season after spending April and most of May in extended spring training. The main area of his game that still needs work is patience, as his approach and his stat line have a whiff of Josh Vitters about them.




2. Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals/Salt River



Rendon can hit, he can play the heck out of third, and he has some power from pure bat speed, but his nickname might as well be Pre-existing Condition, with a shoulder problem in 2011 and now three major injuries to his ankles (of which he only has two) since he started college, the most recent one taking out half of his 2012 season.



With Ryan Zimmerman's defense and overall durability both showing some cracks this year, there could be an opportunity for Rendon at third that wasn't there when he was first drafted -- but he has to stay healthy enough to take advantage of it, too.




3. Trayce Thompson, OF, Chicago White Sox/Salt River



Thompson was the White Sox's second-round pick in 2009, a rare (for them) high pick spent on a high school player. He was a risky pick at that, as Thompson was all tools but very little polish, and perhaps more famous for his lineage (his father, Mychal, apparently played some basketball) than for his baseball ability. Thompson has developed slowly, but enough that he's now one of the best defensive outfield prospects in the minors, and his strikeout rates have hovered merely at "scary" but haven't risen to "fatal." He has to hit just enough to get to his raw power to become a potential everyday player because of his defense.




4. Billy Hamilton, SS/CF, Cincinnati Reds/Peoria



Hamilton is switching positions from shortstop to center field in 2013, and will play some of both positions in the AFL. I think center is the ideal position for him, as he was always a little stretched at short due to a lack of arm strength, but center field isn't just about speed but about reads and routes, something he'll need to learn starting out here. Hamilton set the minor league record with 155 stolen bases this year, and I would like to watch him steal with impunity -- and he'll get all of the league's catchers to try to show their best throwing times to second base.




5. Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Tampa Bay Rays/Phoenix



Long a favorite of mine for his defense, speed and solid approach at the plate, Lee started the year horribly at Double-A Montgomery before the Rays worked with him to stop his hands from "leaking" at the plate -- in other words, sliding forward prematurely -- and the results were evident in his performance, as he added 178 points of OPS from the first half to the second. I've seen him quite a bit over the years but any time a prospect of this caliber makes a mechanical change, it's great to get a fresh look.




6. Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers/Mesa



I saw Puig in only one game in the Arizona Rookie League, where he hit a ball to the warning track in Scottsdale Stadium despite failing to fully square it up. The 21-year-old Cuban prospect received a $42 million, seven-year deal from the Dodgers in June, surprising most other teams involved in the bidding, but showed up in Glendale in July in much better shape than advertised. I still don't feel like I have a great handle on his approach or his hit tool, between the single game I saw, the workout before that, and his very brief time in the hitter-friendly Cal League.




7. Jarred Cosart, rhp, Houston Astros/Mesa



There's very little impact starting pitching heading to the AFL, at least right now, with Cosart just edging out Jimmy Nelson and Robbie Erlin on my pitching watch list. Cosart has the biggest arm of the potential starters, touching 98 mph on occasion with an out-pitch breaking ball, but tends to throw well across his body, a bad sign for future arm health, especially with Cosart's history of minor injuries. I'd like to see where his delivery is, how his changeup has progressed and overall how close he might be to helping Houston's big-league club.




8. Nick Castellanos, 3B/RF, Detroit Tigers/Mesa



Castellanos is more than athletic enough to handle third base, but the Tigers seem content with Miguel Cabrera's poor defense there and moved Castellanos to right field for the final month of the 2012 season. His bat will play anywhere, but it's more valuable at third, of course.



Castellanos told me at the Futures Game that the biggest difference he saw in Double-A pitchers was their ability to locate at the edges of the strike zone, or just outside of it, where A-ball pitchers lacked that degree of command. That showed up in his low walk rate at the higher level, something I'll be watching with him this fall.




9. George Springer, OF, Houston Astros/Mesa


Springer was a rarity out of the University of Connecticut, a potential five-tool college position player who also brought good plate discipline and strong performance to the table. The power and speed were on display in the Cal League this year, although his contact rate wasn't good -- 131 K's in 500 PAs -- and he did most of his damage in the very hitter-friendly home park of Lancaster.


In a scant month in Double-A, he struggled, striking out in nearly a third of his plate appearances. I'll be looking at Springer's overall approach, but especially his plan with two strikes (he really didn't have one in college) and where he's starting his hands before he swings.




10. Max Stassi, C, Oakland Athletics/Phoenix



I loved Stassi out of the 2009 draft as a catcher who could catch, throw and hit for power, but a nagging shoulder problem that popped up his senior year of high school led to surgery that wiped out most of his 2011 season.



The 21-year-old played in only 81 games this year due to an April ankle injury and an August foot injury that ended his season about four weeks early, so he needs the reps. His shoulder is reportedly healthy again, and he showed more power during 2012 (.468 slugging at high-A Stockton), but needs to play a full season next year and show more with the bat. This will be my first look at him since spring training of 2009, and in a major league environment where a catcher who hits .260/.310/.400 is above replacement-level, I like Stassi's chances to regain his old luster.



Other prospects to watch:



Mesa: Onelki Garcia, LHP, Dodgers; Jonathan Schoop, IF, Orioles; Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers.



Phoenix: Jimmy Nelson, RHP, Brewers; JT Realmuto, C, Marlins; Hunter Morris, 1B, Brewers; Eduard Salcedo, 3B, Braves; Richie Shaffer, 3B, Rays; Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins



Peoria: Robbie Erlin, LHP, Padres; Mike Zunino, C, Mariners; Cody Asche, 3B, Phillies; Stefan Romero, 2B, Mariners; Cory Spangenberg, 2B, Padres; Jeudy Valdez, SS/2B, Padres; Rymer Liriano, OF, Padres



Salt River: Matt Davidson, 3B, Diamondbacks; Chris Owings, SS, Diamondbacks; Carlos Sanchez, 3B, White Sox; Jake Marisnick, OF, Blue Jays; Brian Goodwin, OF, Nationals



Scottsdale: Victor Black, RHP, Pirates; Mark Montgomery, RHP, Yankees; Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Angels; Ronny Rodriguez, SS, Indians; Randal Grichuk, OF, Angels



Surprise: Seth Blair, RHP, Cardinals; Tim Melville, RHP, Royals; Orlando Calixte, SS, Royals; Luis Sardinas, SS, Rangers; Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals; Bryce Brentz, OF, Red Sox; Cesar Puello, OF, Mets.

Cardinals must stay patient.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals will square off in the NLDS. Here's a look at what to watch, who will win and why:



Key matchup: Lance Lynn vs. Ryan Zimmerman



In the regular season, few pitchers were tougher against right-handed hitters than Lynn. Among starting pitchers, no one was -- Lynn's 1.99 FIP was easily tops in the majors among starters. James Shields was second best at 2.65. Lynn wasn't nearly as good against lefties, as his 5.30 FIP can attest. But in the postseason, Lynn will be deployed in relief and, just like last year, could do significant damage.

[+] Enlarge
Steve Mitchell/US Presswire
Lynn feasts on righties, and could be asked to target Zimmerman specifically.On the other side of the coin, we have Zimmerman, who has bashed with authority since receiving a cortisone shot at the end of June. The Nats' 3-hole hitter generally is surrounded by two lefties, with Bryce Harper hitting in front of him and Adam LaRoche behind him. It's not generally a great idea to burn a pitcher who could throw multiple innings on one hitter, but if you're going to make an exception for such a move in a high leverage situation, this is it.

Cardinals X factor: Matt Holliday



Although he has one of the richest contracts in the game, and has been one of its best hitters for a while now, Holliday continually gets lost in the shuffle. Normally, Holliday is very consistent from month to month -- for his career, he is at least 20 percent better than the average hitter in each month of the season. But this year, he faded in August and September, thanks in part to a lower back injury. It's true Holliday isn't the only masher in the lineup. Yadier Molina, Allen Craig and David Freese all joined Holliday as one of the game's top 30 hitters this season (according to wRC+), but Holliday is not only the team's catalyst in the 3-hole but also is the team's best hitter against left-handed pitching, and the Nats might start three lefties if the series goes five games.



Nationals X factor: Michael Morse



Morse had almost an inverse of the season Holliday did. After a banner 2011 campaign, Morse didn't even get on the field until June, and once he did, he didn't hit. He looked as if he was turning the corner in July, but an August slump derailed that progress. In September, though, Morse once again started hitting. His monthly ISO climbed over .200 for the first and only time this season. His walk rate declined for the second straight year, but if Morse keeps up his hot hitting from September, the Nats' lineup should be imposing.



Cardinals key reliever: Edward Mujica



With Marc Rzepczynski turning in a poor second season in St. Louis, Mujica is the best bullpen arm the Cardinals have against left-handed hitters. Fernando Salas and Mitchell Boggs walk lefties far too often to be trusted options, and Jason Motte likely will be kept on ice for save situations. Mujica has generally been effective against lefties, holding them to a .244/.269/.400 line overall this season and an even better .195/.195/.244 in his brief time in St. Louis. Most encouraging is that his K/BB against lefties is 7.00 this year and 5.53 over the past three seasons, which stands in sharp contrast to the numbers for Salas and Boggs.



Nationals key reliever: Tyler Clippard



Clippard has been the workhorse in the Nats' bullpen for the past three years, and after the Brad Lidge-Henry Rodriguez closer experiment didn't work out, Washington turned to him to pick up saves. With Drew Storen taking the closer role back, though, Washington manager Davey Johnson is free to deploy Clippard wherever he chooses, which is important because Clippard typically has thrived in high-leverage situations. But the second half, in which he allowed a .788 OPS to opposing batters, was not as kind to Clippard as was the first half, when he held them to a more impressive .438 OPS. Washington needs him to rediscover his mojo in a hurry.

[+] Enlarge
Brad Mills/US Presswire
Which version of Michael Morse will we see in October?Cardinals key bench player: Matt Carpenter



It's tempting to list Lance Berkman here, but with him not at full strength, Carpenter is likely to be most trusted to be the Cardinals' weapon off the bench. Other than small samples from Pete Kozma (who is now in the starting lineup) and Berkman, Carpenter has been the only effective weapon off the St. Louis bench this year, as he hit .294/.365/.463 in a part-time role. And, although he bats left-handed, Carpenter hit 12 percent better than league average against left-handed pitchers, making him a viable candidate to pinch hit no matter who is on the mound. That is good news for the Cardinals, as they have precious little thump on the bench outside of him unless Berkman has a few more tricks up his ample sleeves.



Nationals key bench player: Roger Bernadina



Bernadina has everything you want in a bench player. With 53 stolen bases against just 11 times caught stealing in his career, he is the efficient base stealer you want late in the game. A patient hitter, Bernadina chased fewer pitches out of the zone this season; as a result, his walk rate rose to a robust 10.7 percent, so he's likely to give a good at-bat. And finally, he plays good defense. Fourteen times in September, Morse was removed for defense in the seventh inning or later, and Bernadina was usually the one who entered for him. Expect to see more of that in the postseason.



Key stat: St. Louis' 3.78 pitches per plate appearance



The Cardinals have had a great offense all season, but although their walk rate tied for eighth best in the game this season, they didn't have to work overly hard to get it -- St. Louis' 3.78 pitches seen per plate appearance was just 20th best in the game.



Residing in the soft National League Central, the Cards' offense wasn't challenged as much as it will be in the postseason, and, although Washington has a great pitching staff, St. Louis has an opportunity to make those pitchers work. Washington pitchers tossed 3.84 pitches per plate appearance, a mark that ranked 22nd in baseball. That is a touch deceiving, as one of the least efficient pitchers for Washington was Stephen Strasburg, and he won't throw in the postseason. But in Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, Sean Burnett, Mike Gonzalez and Tyler Clippard, the Nats still have five pitchers who tossed more pitches per PA than the league average. The Cards need to take advantage, particularly against Gonzalez and Zimmermann.



Modest proposal: Move Carlos Beltran back in the batting order



Cardinals manager Mike Matheny devised a pretty healthy batting order this season. The best six hitters hit in the first six spots in the order, and, although that sounds elementary, it doesn't happen as frequently as it should. But in terms of handedness, the batting order is as follows -- lefty, switch hitter, righty, righty, righty, righty. In the postseason, matchups become everything, and Johnson is going to be able to match up fairly easily against that batting order. This is exacerbated by the fact that the only lefty in the order, Jon Jay, is a fixture at leadoff. Jay was pinch hit for only twice this season, and one of those times Holliday was the one who entered for him. Moving Freese up to the 2-hole and dropping Beltran to fourth or fifth would better break up the lineup, and it would at least give Johnson something to think about when deploying his relievers.
post #8615 of 77297
OK, I didn't want to bring this up in the O's/Yankees thread, but there is something I gotta get off my chest involving ex-O's fans who now are Nats fans.

I find it EXTREMELY hypocritical that fans would jump ship to the Nats citing Peter Angelos as a reason why they left. The hypocritical part is that these same "fans" still cheer on the Redskins/Snyder every Sunday, and it's debatable as to which franchise has been more dysfunctional over the years (my vote goes to the Skins).

Nats can keep those fans b/c they don't know **** about loyalty. I'm really indifferent to the Nats - but my main issue is with SOME of their fans. I got no problems if you had no interest in baseball until they came to DC and started following. Actually, I have no problem if you just started following them this year. I have no problem if you were an Expos fan and stayed with the team through their transition. My problem strictly lies in folks who had the Cal Ripken milk poster, cheered for guys like Mike Deveraux, Chris Hoiles, Moose Milligan, etc. but turned your back on the team due to some ******** reason.

Part of being a fan is staying loyal through thick and thin. I can't tell you how happy I am about this run the O's are on. It's been a very long time coming, but seeing the success of the team, fans back in stands at OPACY, and the general O's "magic" has made all the trials and tribulations worth it.

All you turncoat Nats fans out there wouldn't know anything about it.

/rant
post #8616 of 77297
^ Repped JJs07...laugh.gif

post #8617 of 77297
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proshares View Post

Yea, I was VERY tempted to call out sick today laugh.gif ****** weather made it all the easier to do it too.


Yeah man this is a perfect day to lounge and watch some baseball in this cool fall weather.



JJs07

I hear you man on that, but I view it as just adding another local team.....even though here in VA, the Nats have been adopted as the new "HOME" team and the O's have gotten the step-child treatment these last 7 years or so. The Orioles used to be the premier team on CSN and now they are usually relegated to MASN2.


The O's will always be my preferred team and if the O's play the Nats in the World Series........without hesitation I am going for Baltimore to beat the breaks off them. It is good to see another professional area team do well though and I will support the Nationals as long as they are in DC.


I went to a game last week while at work because someone passed along free tickets.

Nats "fans" now outweigh O's fans 75% to 25% around here and you can't even find stores that carry Baltimore gear in VA like that anymore. It was sort of an unspoken wave that occurred that I don't think the media ever really addressed (probably because they are behind it as well).
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post #8618 of 77297
Thread Starter 
I feel the same way about the newfound Brooklyn Net fans DJ's. Using Dolan as an excuse to jump ship. A bunch of frauds if you ask me.
post #8619 of 77297
Quote:
Originally Posted by JesusShuttlesworth34 View Post

Yeah man this is a perfect day to lounge and watch some baseball in this cool fall weather.
JJs07
I hear you man on that, but I view it as just adding another local team.....even though here in VA, the Nats have been adopted as the new "HOME" team and the O's have gotten the step-child treatment these last 7 years or so. The Orioles used to be the premier team on CSN and now they are usually relegated to MASN2.
The O's will always be my preferred team and if the O's play the Nats in the World Series........without hesitation I am going for Baltimore to beat the breaks off them. It is good to see another professional area team do well though and I will support the Nationals as long as they are in DC.
I went to a game last week while at work because someone passed along free tickets.
Nats "fans" now outweigh O's fans 75% to 25% around here and you can't even find stores that carry Baltimore gear in VA like that anymore. It was sort of an unspoken wave that occurred that I don't think the media ever really addressed (probably because they are behind it as well).

I'm not going to sit here an pretend like I don't know why people are pulling for the Nats. Like I said before...my problem solely lies w/ the turncoat O's fans who now pull for them. There is NO excuse, IMO to turn in a fan card out of spite or because another team seems to be on the upswing or look to have a stronger overall organization. Part of being a fan is sticking with your squad when they suck. No matter how long it takes.

It's a funny situation in the DC area because the Orioles were DC's "team" for the better part of 30 years. There's a large group of people out there who jumped ship when the Nats came to town and totally turned their backs on Baltimore.

Nats are the only DC team that I'm indifferent to.
post #8620 of 77297
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proshares View Post

I feel the same way about the newfound Brooklyn Net fans DJ's. Using Dolan as an excuse to jump ship. A bunch of frauds if you ask me.

EXACTLY!!!

Totally forgot about that. Nets/Knicks situation totally parallels what's happening in the DC area.
post #8621 of 77297

Daytime post season baseball is clutch.

 

I got these teams today

 

Nats

Yanks

Tigers

Reds

post #8622 of 77297
Quote:
Originally Posted by JJs07 View Post

I'm not going to sit here an pretend like I don't know why people are pulling for the Nats. Like I said before...my problem solely lies w/ the turncoat O's fans who now pull for them. There is NO excuse, IMO to turn in a fan card out of spite or because another team seems to be on the upswing or look to have a stronger overall organization. Part of being a fan is sticking with your squad when they suck. No matter how long it takes.
It's a funny situation in the DC area because the Orioles were DC's "team" for the better part of 30 years. There's a large group of people out there who jumped ship when the Nats came to town and totally turned their backs on Baltimore.
Nats are the only DC team that I'm indifferent to.

I'm indifferent towards the Ravens, even though plenty of folks jumped ship to the Black and Purple and their SB victory with the Skins spending the majority of the last 20 years as the NFC East door mat.


How do you feel about the Ravens JJs07?

I agree though, turning your back on a team you supported and a local team like that is inexcusable. You can't give your first love the cold shoulder like that.
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post #8623 of 77297
I'll take:

Nats
Oakland
O's
Reds
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post #8624 of 77297
Quote:
Originally Posted by JesusShuttlesworth34 View Post

I'm indifferent towards the Ravens, even though plenty of folks jumped ship to the Black and Purple and their SB victory with the Skins spending the majority of the last 20 years as the NFC East door mat.
How do you feel about the Ravens JJs07?
I agree though, turning your back on a team you supported and a local team like that is inexcusable. You can't give your first love the cold shoulder like that.

Love Ed Reed, but feel the same way about the Ravens as I do the Nats.
post #8625 of 77297
Wale and Bryce Harper segment on "First Take" this morning seemed a bit forced.

I have STL winning in five regardless of today's outcome. Guessing they take G3 and G5.

I've also got the Yanks in five. They could lose tonight and still win G4 and G5. Girardi's lineup selection, order in particular, will be under heavy scrutiny.
REAL MADRID - EAGLES - SIXERS - BRUINS
INDIANS - OHIO STATE FOOTBALL - ARIZONA BASKETBALL
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post #8626 of 77297
Allen Craig is killing us
post #8627 of 77297
Bryce was ready to go ham thinking it was out the park.
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post #8628 of 77297
Thread Starter 
Good to see you're alive and well Champ laugh.gif dudes were worried about you.
post #8629 of 77297
Thread Starter 
I really don't wanna hear any Strasburg talk or excuses about him being shut down is the reason they lost.
post #8630 of 77297
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proshares View Post

Good to see you're alive and well Champ laugh.gif dudes were worried about you.
Truly appreciate it, brotha. Feels great to be back. You guys are the best.

Two long work weeks was all, only reason for my absence.

Edit: By the way, Pro. Hated the Manny hire, love the Tito hire as much or more.
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post #8631 of 77297
Nats are being welcomed to the MLB Postseason where those previous 162 games mean absolutely nothing.


Stranding runners on base is crucial.
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post #8632 of 77297
Beast Morse didn't come through there. Had a prime chance to knock some runs in. Left the bases loaded instead.
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post #8633 of 77297
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChampCruThik View Post

Beast Morse didn't come through there. Had a prime chance to knock some runs in. Left the bases loaded instead.

He's stranded 5 runners on base already this game.....Nats are getting their chances one again to put runs on the board, unfortunately a lot of these rallies are starting with two outs.
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post #8634 of 77297
Funny how NOBODY gives the Cards any credit.... Always the underdog. This season will be just like last season. Dont be suprised if they end up winning it all again! LETS GO RED BIRDS!
Lakers - Cardinals - Dolphins


World Wresling Ferderation
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Lakers - Cardinals - Dolphins


World Wresling Ferderation
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post #8635 of 77297
Well it's not like the Cards are having dominant pitching performances. They might be the lower seed or the "underdog," to the casual fan.....but folks know they are the more experienced/seasoned team, and that matters a lot in the playoffs.
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post #8636 of 77297
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChampCruThik View Post

Truly appreciate it, brotha. Feels great to be back. You guys are the best.
Two long work weeks was all, only reason for my absence.
Edit: By the way, Pro. Hated the Manny hire, love the Tito hire as much or more.

I tried helping out with the FF advice in your absence laugh.gif I think Tito will be great for you guys.
Quote:
He's stranded 5 runners on base already this game.....Nats are getting their chances one again to put runs on the board, unfortunately a lot of these rallies are starting with two outs.

They've stranded 22 runners so far. And the Cardinals have an AL lineup out there. Their offense is that good.
post #8637 of 77297
Giants force game 5 pimp.gif
post #8638 of 77297
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proshares View Post

I tried helping out with the FF advice in your absence laugh.gif I think Tito will be great for you guys.
You the man, Pro. Appreciate that. Just been physically exhausted.

I'm feeling good about my SF in the WS preseason prediction. Texas Rangers? Not so much. Josh's bags have been packed since September.
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post #8639 of 77297
AA: I dare you to kiss the baseball again.
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post #8640 of 77297
Quote:
Originally Posted by JesusShuttlesworth34 View Post

I'll take:
Nats
Oakland
O's
Reds


Looks like you hit for the donut today my man.

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