Ryan L. Fox
There a multitude of sporting events and going-ons in the first couple of months that people pay attention to and 2018 is no different. While everybody is gearing up for the Olympics, NBA-All Star Week, and the Super Bowl, there are still some bidding their time until spring time comes. That’s when you slap on a glove, head out onto the diamond, and get ready for America’s pastime.
Over the past few months, there have been a plethora of MLB news and stories that have been discussed over the water coolers at work or flown under the radar. However out of all the MLB stories, there were nine that had everybody talking. Which stories were they? Let's find out.
Stanton to the Yanks – This was pretty much the biggest bombshell to come out of the offseason. In a blatant salary dump move, the Miami Marlins traded RF and 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton to the New York Yankees for prospect 2B/SS Starlin Castro, RHP Jorge Guzman, and INF Jose Devers. Now AL East pitchers have to face Stanton, who hit 59 HRs, 132 RBIs, .281 batting average as well as a batting line of .376/.631/1.007 to go along with RF Aaron Judge’s 52 HRs & 114 RBIs, C Gary Sanchez’s 33 HRs & 90 RBIs, and SS Didi Gregorius’s 25 HRs & 87 RBIs. But while the Yankees were getting stronger, there seemed to be a...
Lack of Red Sox Moves – While the Yankees were getting that big bat to protect Judge and Sanchez, the Boston Red Sox just sat on their thumbs and hummed Sweet Caroline. Other than re-sign their own players to avoid arbitration, it seemed like there was no urgency by management to bolster the team. Their biggest ‘offseason splashes’ included re-signing 1B Mitch Moreland to a 2-year, $13-million contract while and offering free agent OF J.D. Martinez a 5-year, $100-million contract, which he promptly turned down.
Given the fact that their bullpen needs some as well as a desperate need for a power bat in their line up, it's a little unnerving if you're a Red Sox fan to see this kind of inactivity from your team, especially since they are in the the Top 5 when it comes to MLB payrolls. But unlike the Red Sox, fellow AL team, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim made headlines when…
Ohtani Signs in With the Angels – It is very rare that you get a player that can not only hit the cover off the ball, he can also strike them out while looking. However that’s what the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim got when they landed the biggest free agents of the 2018 class in former Nippon Ham OF/SP Shohei Ohtani. He’s hit a career average of .286 to go with 48 HRs, 166 RBIs, and a hitting line of .403/.540/.942 in 5 years. But at the same time, he’s composed a pitching record 42-15 with a career 2.69 ERA to go along with 624 Ks (10.3 K/9), 200 walks, a 1.076 WHIP in 543.0 innings pitched.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Angels do with him (make him a hitter or a pitcher). But whatever the case, one could say that the Angels got the biggest fish in the free agent market to go along with arguably the best player currently in the game (ala Mike Trout). But to say that Ohtani is this year’s biggest free agent could mean that there’s…
A Lack of Big Free Agents in 2017-2018 – It just seems that everybody is gearing up for the big bonaza that is the 2018-19 free agency class. You have names like Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, Clayton Kershaw and Josh Donaldson being thrown out there as possible free agents that will force teams to break the bank on them. However in the process, people are barely making a blip about the 2017-2018 free agent class.
The ‘big time’ free agents of this year’s class included OF J.D. Martinez, OF Lorenzo Cain, 1B/OF Jay Bruce, SP/1B Shoei Otanei, and SP Wade Davis with only Cain ‘breaking the bank’ (signed a 5-year, $80-million with Milwaukee Brewers). Other than that, it’s pretty much 30+ year old vets mixed in with journeymen players. You would think that some teams would leap at a SP Jake Arieta or INF Zack Cozart but instead you got teams that are forgoing signing free agents and have instead…
Hit the Reset Button – That’s exactly what teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Miami Marlins are in the process of doing.
With the Pittsburgh Pirates, they shipped longtime Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen to the San Francisco Giants for couple of prospects as well as starting pitcher (and ace on their staff) Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros for prospects.
But when it comes to hitting the reset button, nobody does it best like the Miami Marlins and the 2017-18 MLB offseason proved it as they essentially gutted their entire team of anybody that could be considered a star for them. First they 2B Dee Gordon to the Seattle Mariners for prospects. Then they shipped OF Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals for more prospects. Then there was that Stanton deal to the Yankees that made everybody go bonkers over. Then recently, the Marlins sent OF Christian Yelich to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for more prospects.
However while this is going on with the Marlins and Pirates, you have other teams on the opposite of the spectrum who, instead of focus on rebuilding, they are…
Stocking Up For the Now – When you have teams that are rebuilding, you have other teams that are looking at 2018 as their year. When that happens, you get teams that will swing trades or sign star players to their team in hopes of making it into October.
You got teams like the New York Yankees grabbing Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins to help bolster their already potent lineup in hopes of getting to the World Series. Then you have teams like the Milwaukee Brewers go out and sign OF Lorenzo Cain to a 5-year, $80 million contract and trade for OF Christian Yerlich. Then finally, you had the Houston Astros coming off their 2017 World Series championship and then go out and trade for Pittsburgh Pirates ace Gerrit Cole to bolster an already top rotation with the likes of Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander, Lance McCullers, Collin McHugh, and Brad Peacock in it.
With so many teams stocking up, you can bet that there is going to be competitive baseball. But there’s one team that always continues to stock up with great talent and that team is…
Six More to Cooperstown – As of today, the 2018 Hall of Fame Class are getting 6 new inductees. Getting enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame are the following players:
SS Alan Trammell (1977-96 Detroit Tigers), who had 6 All-Star Appearances, 4 Gold Gloves, 3 Silver Sluggers, a World Series Championship (1984), a World Series MVP (1984), as well as a .285 career batting average, 2,365 career hits, 185 career HR, 1,003 career RBIs, and a career line of .352/.415/.767.
1B/3B/DH Jim Thome (1991-2002, 2011 Cleveland Indians, 2003-05, 2012 Philadelphia Phillies, 2006-2009 Chicago White Sox, 2009 L.A. Dodgers, 2010-11 Minnesota Twins, 2012 Baltimore Orioles) who had 5 All-Star Appearances, and a Silver Slugger award (1996) to go along with a career .276 batting average, 612 HRs, 1699 RBIs, and had a hitting line of .402/.554/.956.
SP Jack Morris (1977-90 Detroit Tigers, 1991 Minnesota Twins, 1992-93 Toronto Blue Jays, 1994 Cleveland Indians) who was had 5 All-Star appearances, 4 World Series championships (1984, 1991-93), a World Series MVP (1991) well as compose a 254-186 record in 549 games (527 starts) with 2,478 strikeouts, a career ERA of 3.90, and a career WHIP of 1.296 in 3,824.0 innings pitched.
3B/LF Chipper Jones (1993-2012 Atlanta Braves) who had 8 All-Star appearances, 2 Silver Slugger awards, a NL MVP award (1999), a World Series Championship (1995), and also hit a career batting average of .303, had 468 HRs, 1623 RBIs, and hit a line of .401/.529/.930.
RHP Trevor Hoffman (1993 Florida Marlins, 1993-2008 San Diego Padres, 2009-10 Milwaukee Brewers) who had 7 All-Star appearances and 2 NL Rolaids Relief Man Award as well as a pitching record of 61-75, had a career ERA of 2.87, 601 career saves, 1,133 career strikeouts, a career WHIP of 1.058, and had appeared in 1,089.1 inning in 1,035 game appearances.
Vladimir Guerrero (1996-2003 Montreal Expos, 2004-2009 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 2010 Texas Rangers, 2011 Baltimore Orioles) who had 9 All-Star Appearances, 8 Silver Slugger Awards, and an AL MVP award (2004) to go along with a career batting average of .318, 449 HRs, 1,496 RBIs, and a hitting line of .379/.553/.931.
But for every good announcement, there's one that makes you scratch your head and no announcement made people scratch their heads like when...
Aaron Boone Is Named Yankees Skipper - After the Yankees had parted ways with Joe Giradi, there managerial spot became a coveted position. They had gone 7 games with the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series, had a plethora of young talent (Judge, Sanchez, Severino, Bird, Gregorius), and are in prime condition for many years of success. After a 'lengthy' search, the team announced on December 6, 2017, that Aaron Boone was going to be their new skipper.
Yup, you read that right. Aaron 'Bleeping' Boone is the new skipper for the New York Yankees.
This made a lot of heads spin because the man has no experience as a baseball coach, not even in the minor leagues. No matter where you look, there's a giant blank mark in the 'coaching' category for Boone. The only other career he's had that's been remotely close to baseball outside of being a player was being an ESPN baseball analyst from 2009-2017. But apparently that convinced GM Brian Cashman and owner Hal Steinberner that Boone was qualified for the job.
Boone's hiring is quite similar to the hiring of Bobby Valentine by the Boston Red Sox back in 2012. But unlike the 2012 Red Sox team, this New York Yankees squad is loaded with more talented, younger, and hungrier players. But if they struggle out of the gates and miss the playoffs, Red Sox fans won't be the only people to refer to Aaron Boone as Aaron 'Bleeping' Boone.
But in Boone's defense, at least he has more managerial experience than the people in the...
WBOB Fantasy Baseball League – There are many things that the folks at 990WBOB are very passionate about and baseball is one of them. Nothing brings out their competitive nature than the 990WBOB Fantasy Baseball League with the winner having bragging rights.
Last year, Psycho Sports host Tyler Salk pulled off the improbable by winning the League Championship and proceeded to let everybody know about it. However like in baseball, very rarely do you get repeat champions in the WBOB Fantasy League and that the champions of yesterday can very well end up as the chumps of tomorrow.
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