Big Bucks in Beantown

Leave it to the Boston Red Sox to pull an Evil Empire-esque move.

Yesterday, news broke that the Boston Red Sox offered marquee southpaw David Price a record contract. Get this: Price is set to make $217 million over the next 7 years.

Yep, Boston took a page out of ol’ Boss Steinbrenner’s book of free agent spending.

Well, actually, last year was the start of an Evil Empire-type series of signings in Beantown when the Sox signed Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. Of course, I am sure they would love to take those signings back. Pablo the Panda was about as productive as a regular panda would have been and Han-Ram quickly showed that he was not a man destined for the outfield. Panda and Han-Ram were signed to spark serious offense, but the Sox had one of the worst team batting averages in all of baseball in 2015. Which is why, to some, throwing money at another big-time free agent seems foolish, especially considering how strong their farm system is.

However, I think it was wise for Boston to spend big money on a pitcher. Not $217mil, but I do think they needed an ace. Price is worth a lot of money, and I don’t take issue with him making about $31 million a year. However, I DO have an issue with the length of his contract. Price is 30 years old, so it would naive to think that he would still be worth so much money four or five years down the road. Did the Sox learn nothing from watching the Yankees suffer through the end of CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez’s monster contracts? Goodness knows the Yanks could use the cap space to get better and younger talent.

I guess I should have prefaced that I do not favor contracts of more than five years for ANYONE over the age of 30 in baseball. I think it is flat-out fiscally irresponsible. Yes, the players like job security, but do they like being a liability later on in their contract? Players are not ignorant to the fact that they are not holding up their end of the contract in the latter stages of said contract. Regardless, I just don’t think teams should offer long-term deals to older players – As a Yankees’ fan, I have seen this backfire A LOT.

I think David Price is a fantastic pitcher and worth the gobs of money he is going to collect. The dude has a career ERA of 3.09, a career WHIP of 1.13, and has amassed 1372 career strikeouts. Not only that, but he has a career win-loss record of 104-56.

But my goodness the Sox were silly to sign him for so many years.

If the Sox are going to tap into the Yankees’ fondness for throwing money at big-time players, they should also remember that there is a price to be paid (pun totally intended) for big-time spending. The Sox will probably be cursing themselves in about five or six years when Father Time eventually catches up with David Price and they can’t move him.

In the end, if I have learned anything from this signing, it is that if I ever have a son, I am tying his right hand behind his back and forcing him to pitch left-handed.

 

 

Overreaction Tuesday…err…week.

How would you feel if I told you the Yankees were 1-4, the Rockies were 4-0, the Braves were 5-0, and the Pirates were 1-4? It would probably surprise you and if you are a fan of those teams, you are probably freaking out a little bit. Or a lot. I’m freaking out a lot. As a Yankees fan, I am totally losing my marbles over the team’s horrible start, even though I have no need to. “It is not the time to panic,” Bae-Rod reminds me. Okay, if Alex Rodriguez tells me not to panic, I’m still probably going to panic anyway, even though I have no need to.

Welcome to Overreaction Week, the week where everyone assumes their team should just give up on the season or that their team will win the World Series. It’s a stressful week for the former because no one wants to see their team spinning out of control at any point during the season. But really, how am I supposed to react when my team’s best player is A-Rod?? Take a deep breath and remember that there are still 157 games left on the season. Cool, I feel a little better, but not really.

Sometimes, it takes a little bit for teams to start clicking and for nature to take order once again. I mean, c’mon, at the rate this is going A-Rod will be the AL MVP and the Rockies will be duking it out with the Braves for a World Series spot against the Royals. Does ANY of that seem plausible? Except for the Royals, not at all. Natural order will take place once again, but we have to give it a few weeks, even a few months for teams to get their stuff together. In the mean time, fans can freak out all they want but it won’t change anything.

So, to all the broadcasters out there: STOP SAYING TEAMS ARE IN THE CRAPPER FIVE GAMES IN. I’m looking at you Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds, and Tom Verducci. You guys called the Yanks/Sox game earlier today and it was a 3-hour Yankees bash-fest. Stop it. It’s been five games. Calm down. Yes, my pinstriped boys are not great right now, but for crying out loud! Don’t say they suck until a little further in the season. If it’s the end of June and they still suck eggs, then we’ll talk.

And to all the fans: CHILL-AX. We have a nice, long season ahead of us, so let’s not freak out yet. Baseball is a funny sport and we should let it take its course before we lose our minds.

As Bae-Rod says, “It is not the time to panic”.

RECOMMENDED ARTICLE

Finally someone said it!! The Red Sox spent big time this offseason and got widespread praise, but if the Yankees spend big, they get chided by everyone. This is a serious double standard, and I don’t care who you root for.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/madden-big-spending-red-sox-hailed-geniuses-article-1.2132964?utm_content=bufferabfa1&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=MFeinsand+Twitter

Dear Baseball Santa…

Dear Baseball Santa,

I know I am cutting it a little close here. After all, Christmas is almost over and you are surely back up at the North Pole by now. I do have a few last minute baseball requests for you to work on over this next year. I know you are probably gonna be busy all year yelling at the elves to make the toys faster, but maybe in your spare time you can work on these requests? Pretty please with Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen on top? They are pretty simple requests, so if you could help a girl out, that would be greatly appreciated!

#1) If you could, can you keep the Yankees healthy in 2015? Or, if they do get hurt, can you make sure they don’t get hurt all at once? I understand they are a bunch of old farts out there, but I need them to do well this year. America needs them to do well this year! I wanna see my pinstriped boys in October again! And if A-Rod is back on the team, can you make sure he is productive and not just a super gigantic distraction? I know he’s gonna be a distraction, but it’ll be worth it if he can produce. And while you’re at it, can you please stop Brian McCann from hitting into the shift all year?

#2) On the topic of shifts, can you tell teams to let up on those defensive shifts a little bit? I get that pitching is all the rage right now, but I think everyone would love to see dudes get some more hits! Watching a one- or two-hit game is nice and all, but watching a team unload 10+ hits in one game is even better.

#3) Can you let the Padres be awesome? I mean, they made all of these crazy off-season trades and signings, so I would like to see them do well. They don’t have to make the postseason or anything, but it would be fun to watch them do well.

#4) While we are talking about the NL West, can you make sure that the Diamondbacks will finish with an above .500 record? I don’t even care if they make it to October (it’d be awesome, but I gotta be realistic!), but the fans in Arizona need a team they can believe in (and one who will beat the Giants).

#5) Please please please let the Red Sox suck this year. It’s not exactly fair, I know, but I am a Yankees fan and an asshole, so my request should come as no shock. If you can’t make them suck, can you at least make sure the Yankees finish 2015 with a better record than them? That’s all I want.

#6) If you could, please let Giancarlo Stanton mash many more homers. He’s a special player and he seems like a nice guy, so if you could let his bat stay hot, I’d really appreciate that.

#7) PLEASE DO NOT LET THE GIANTS WIN THE WORLD SERIES AGAIN. I know it isn’t going to be an even numbered year, but just hear me out on this one: It’s time for someone else to win the World Series, Santa, you know this.

#8) I would like fewer Tommy John surgeries to happen this year. It seems to be a popular thing now, so if you could limit the number of pitchers who have to get this surgery, everyone in the baseball community would really love that! And please let Matt Harvey, Patrick Corbin, Jose Fernandez, and Ivan Nova come back stronger than ever. The game is better with those guys pitching.

#9) Please stop letting the managers dawdle during instant replay reviews. If they are going to challenge something, have them do it quickly. No slow ambles onto the field while awaiting a thumbs up or down from the bench. Have them throw a flag or something, or only come out of the dugout if they want to challenge the play. PLEASE.

#10) Stop having Yasiel Puig make stupid choices. He’s a really fun player to watch, but having him make poor play calls and base running gaffs is really bothersome. He’s a better player than that. He could be the NL MVP if he just stopped doing stupid stuff.

Okay. I think that just about covers it. Oh! Wait! One more thing:
HURRY UP AND BRING BASEBALL BACK!!

Thanks a bunch, Baseball Santa!
XOXO,
Hannah

A Giant Disappointment

The Giants won the 2014 World Series and I am really disappointed.

I was rooting so hard for the Royals that I almost threw up during the 9th inning. I’m not even kidding. My anxiety came full-force and I could hardly the score the game because I was hoping so hard. But, alas. The Royals did not win. Madison Bumgarner came in steam-rolled the opposing team like he has been doing all Post-Season.

He was good. MadBum is someone I have to congratulate because he preformed better than any pitcher I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot of good pitching performances. He OWNED. I am so happy for him, but I will not be happy for the Giants. Growing up in Arizona, I grew up loathing the Giants, so I am none too pleased about their victory. I get to hear “The Arizona Diamondbacks are facing the defending World Series champions tonight!” every time they play each other, which is going to get really old, really fast.

Don’t get me wrong: they deserved to win. They played one hell of a series. But I just can’t be happy for them! I am trying so hard to be happy for them, I really am! I love the game of baseball and I love to see good teams win. I’m a Yankees fan and I was really happy for Boston when they won last year, but for some reason, I just can’t be happy for San Fran. The players are all really nice! I like their manager! Why can’t I be happy for them? I am disappointed in myself that I can’t be happy they won. There is something wrong with me, I’m sure of it! Maybe it is because I HATE the 49ers…Yeah! Let’s go with that! Osmosis is what makes me loathe the Giants even more than the normal person. Sure. It’s as good an explanation as any.

Ugh.

Congrats, San Francisco. You won. You deserve this. But, I am not happy. Not even a little bit.

The only thing making me happy right now is knowing the Alex Rodriguez is now officially active again. Yay!! So…how many days until Spring Training????

The Great Second-Half Collapses

If I told you in May that the Oakland Athletics would not have clinched the AL West title, that the Atlanta Braves were not going to make the post-season, or that the hot-hot-hot Brewers would be all but forgotten, would you believe me? The answer is no, you probably wouldn’t. Back in May, everyone was picking Oakland to make it to the World Series, myself included. I would’ve guessed that Atlanta would have gotten a Wild Card spot, along with the Brewers. But, alas, this is not going to happen. These three teams have had the most unprecedented collapses this year and everyone is surprised.

Let’s start with Oakland. This is the one team everyone was sure, at the very least, would clinch their division. The talent on this team was undeniable and it’s still there, but something is off. This is not the Oakland team we knew and loved. Yoenis Cespedes is gone, traded to Boston for the still-brilliant Jon Lester and the problems seem to be stemming from that. The offense has been substantially quieter since they traded away their Home Run Derby champ, which has been problematic. Every starting pitcher they have had or have brought in have been fantastic, but the offense can’t get things going. Yes, the A’s are still in the Wild Card hunt, but they need to finish this season on a VERY strong note. Not only that, but they are going to need to win the one-and-done wild-card deciding game. Then, if they make it that far, they will STILL have to play some pretty killer teams. With the Angels meteoric rise to clinch the AL West, the division I had pegged as “weak-ish” at the beginning of the year suddenly became stellar. If the A’s can make it to the ALDS, I think they will be fine. But, then again, I said that last year, too.

Besides the Cardinals, the Braves have been a post-season staple (ok, a NLDS staple since they can’t seem to actually get further than that) for the last number of years. Atlanta is a team that has always been good, and for the first half the year, that held true. But then, the Nationals hog the NL East spotlight. The Nats were the team I picked to win the division because they are the overall best team in baseball, but I could not have foreseen the Braves just crumbling. Their offense has been near last in just about every category you can think of since the All-Star break. This is a team who has so much super-star potential, yet there some serious disconnect happening. Today they fired their GM and more cuts are likely to happen. How crazy is that?

Lastly, the Brewers were a team that surprised us constantly this season. They surprised us early on by being so good and they are surprising us now by scrambling for a Wild Card position. They held the lead in the NL Central for most of the season and looked like the team to the beat in the post-season, but they are currently shadows of their former selves. Their “average” pitching has finally pooped out and they cannot seem to hold leads for very long. If I were them, I would harness the power of Hank the Ballpark Dog. Hell, let Hank pitch! He might do better than some of their current staff, and gosh he is ten-times cuter.

What does all this mean? Well, this gives us some optimism that the Brewers could be quite good next year if they get some pitching. It means the Atlanta is in a time of transition, which could take a few years to figure out. They will always be good, but as long as you have the Nats in your division, good luck. As for Oakland? Well, let’s hope they go far this post-season or people will be second-guessing Billy Beane more than they already are. Remember: the players Beane got are basically rentals. I can’t see Lester staying after this year (Lester! Hey, Lester! You should maybe consider coming to the Bronx. Pretty please? Maybe? Please?) and it is tough to figure out who else will stay. These teams have disappointed plenty during the second half of this season, but I have faith that Oakland will at least make it to the post-season. I hope they do. Oakland still has time to turn it around, but time is something they don’t have much of.

If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix it. Oh, You Did Fix it? Huh.

This year’s trade deadline brought a bunch of change for many teams, but none more so than the Detroit Tigers and Oakland A’s. Both teams should theoretically make the playoffs because both teams have been great all year. Before the trade deadline, these teams were leading their divisions and cruising to an easy postseason berth. What shocked the baseball world was when Billy Beane traded his beloved prospects for a ton of high-caliber starting pitchers, plus Jonny Gomes. We were also shocked when Detroit pulled off a three-team trade for the Rays’ David Price. So, with these two teams on paper becoming world superpowers (kind of), what could possibly go wrong?

Well, let’s start with Oakland since I really really really really want them to FINALLY get to the World Series and so Brad Pitt can finally win the last game of the season. Now that I have accepted the fact that my Yankees will not get to the World Series, I can start choosing sides. Anyway, Oakland sent the home run derby champ Yoenis Cespedes to Boston for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes, further ramping their rotation, even after their trade with the Cubbies. So what happened? Well, the Angels are now in sole possession of first place in the AL West, and they are not backing off. Oakland is somehow unable to consistently win games. It is worth noting they still have the second-best record in baseball, but this is not what they were expecting. They were expecting to be on a rampage, riding unicorns into battle and slaying their opponents mercilessly.

Let’s talk the Tigers now! With the acquisition of David Price, the Tigers have the most lethal rotation in baseball. I firmly believe they could out-pitch the Dodgers if need be, but ever since the trade, their offense has become sporadic and their rotation is a little shaky. They got walloped by the Twins two games in a row, including a 20-6 massacre. I am unsure if the Twins have scored 20 runs combined all year. Another example is when Price pitched in Tampa. He gave up ONE hit, a homer, and still lost the game. How messed up is that? Anyway, another factor is cause for alarm in the Motor City: Kansas City. The Royals have come out of the woodwork and overtaken first place in the AL Central. Now, Detroit is jockeying for a Wild Card spot. Well then.

So, is there reason to worry about these teams? Nah, not yet. If we get to mid-September and these two teams are in fact NOT riding unicorns and slaying their opponents, then I will worry. Pitching is the key to winning in the postseason, and Oakland and Detroit have that in spades. Once the new players settle in, I think both teams will be fine. However, after the deadline, these were not the results these two teams were hoping for. Like I said, everyone was expecting them to be riding unicorns and slaying every other team, but that is not happening. The unicorns are doing a slow trot, but hopefully this just means they are saving their energy for late September.

Pitching wins the postseason and these two teams have no reason to worry. They just have to get there first.

Oh, What a Night! Late July, Back in 2014

I don’t think any of you will catch my Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons song title spoof, but for those of you who do get it, you’re awesome. My brain is too fried from this crazy trade deadline to come up with something more clever.

WHAT A CRAZY NON-WAIVER DEADLINE. Holy crap, I am still trying to wrap my brain around everything that happened over these last few weeks, especially what transpired in the final 24-hours. Rarely have we seen such an eventful deadline with such big names. Since I love making lists, let’s go over my picks for winners and losers, both short and long-term! Let’s do this.

Long-Term Winners
Boston Red Sox – This is a team who gave up 4/5 of their starting rotation, the rotation that WON them the World Series last year, but they got some good prospects, good offense, and unloaded contracts, which will really help them in 2015, much to the chagrin of this Yankees fan.

Arizona Diamondbacks – While I am super bummed about the departure of Gerardo Parra, the loss of Martin Prado is cushioned because I get to watch my favorite Venezuelan in pinstripes. D-Backs nation is a little stunned by the moves, but one has to remember that they have one of the best farm systems in MLB. With all of the prospects they got in these trades, the D-Backs will be set for awhile…just not any time soon.

Tampa Bay Rays – I know, I know, they just gave up their superstar pitcher David Price, but I think they will recover just fine. They got some good stuff in the three-team trade, and, although I think they should have gotten more, I bet they will do more in the off-season to become a viable threat again.

Short-Term Winners
New York Yankees – I am mad impressed with what this team did. There were no splashy moves, no big name trades, but they were able to vastly improve without surrendering team talent and only one top prospect. They got Brandon McCarthy, Martin Prado, Chase Headley, Chris Capuano, and Stephen Drew while surrendering Vidal Nuno, Yangervis Solarte, Kelly Johnson, and prospect Peter O’Brien. Not bad, Bombers, not bad…

Oakland Athletics – I put them in “short term” because they built this rock star team to win the 2014 World Series. I do not know how much of this team they will keep after this season is over, but dear God, watch out. When your rotation is Jon Lester, Jeff Samardzija (I spelled it right on the first try!), Scott Kazmir, Sonny Gray, and Jason Hammell, you don’t have much to worry about. Yes, they traded some hot prospects and Yoenis Cespedes (yes, I spelled that one correctly, too), but as I am sure Billy Beane is thinking, “YOLO”.

Detroit Tigers – I also put them in “short-term” because it seems like they will be losing Max Scherzer after this year. Yes, they got David Price, but my guess is that they will be looking to give him the long-term contract instead of Scherzer because of the inability to agree on a deal with Mad Max. Their rotation is killer, like, could probably strangle bears, but they will need to duke it out with Oakland to get to the World Series. My goodness, that will be a ridiculous October matchup.

St. Louis Cardianls – While I am a bit concerned that they so readily dealt Allen Craig, they did get John Lackey from Boston, which is never a bad thing. Lackey will do well there and he will probably get to go back to October, something his former Red Sox teammates will probably not be able to say.

Seattle Mariners Again, as is a trend here, Seattle did well during this trade, but I don’t know how it will shake-up long-term. They got some much needed offensive power and didn’t have to part with much to get it. I am not convinced that Seattle will be a contender this year, but they made some very smart moves at the deadline.

Losers
Boston Red Sox Yes, they are winners AND losers. Them trading away their whole rotation was a bit of a white flag for me, saying that they are not too confident about the rest of the season. Think about it: Clay Buchholz is now the “ace” of their staff. Yikes.

Philadelphia Phillies They REALLY needed to move some contracts and after a disastrous season, this was not an ideal way to end the deadline. So many of their players were in the trade rumors, yet nothing was able to come of it.

San Diego Padres They got rid of Huston Street (best baseball name ever, BTW) and Chase Headley, but didn’t really do much to improve themselves. With the mess they have in the front office, it’s not really surprising, but I think they could have done a smidge more to help themselves.

Pittsburg Pirates In a division like the NL Central, you would think the Pirates would do something! But nope. They did diddly squat, which was disappointing.

San Francisco Giants This is a team who really needed some help in the infield and could not get anything done. They got some pitching reinforcement in the Red Sox’s Jake Peavy, but Peavy can’t get San Fran to the post-season all by himself.

Los Angeles Dodgers – They sure don’t need the help, but they were mentioned in SO many deals that it is hard to believe they really only walked away with the Cubs’ Darwin Barney, who was claimed on waivers. They will be playing in October, no doubt, so I don’t think you can really think of them as total deadline losers.

Okay, that is a lot of teams. And yet, it’s still not all the teams involved in the trades! Good lands, I could be here all night. I think these are teams that really stuck out in my mind, for better or worse. This was probably the most exciting July trade deadline that I have seen and it is GOOD for baseball. I am so excited to watch the rest of the season unfold and watch how these teams compete for a post-season berth.

Okay, I need to unwind and reflect some more on these trades…just kidding, I’m already watching more baseball.

How do You Solve a Problem Like the Red Sox?

I don’t know.

Honestly, I have no idea how to help the Red Sox win at this point. As of this writing, they have lost 10 straight games and are just sucking some serious balls. Stephen King tweeted it best, saying “It’s likes watching one of your good friends, normally sober, get drunk and puke on his shoes”.

How does a team who won the 2013 World Series (with ease, I might add) just bomb this badly? There are usually a few things you are able to pin-point that can explain the reason for the slump, but with the Red Sox, it’s more than a few things. Let’s make a list! In no particular order…

1) Offense – As of today (May 26), only ONE player is hitting above .300 and that is Brock Holt, who has only played in 15 games. The next closest is Xander Bogaerts with an average of .284. It is also worth noting that David Ortiz is the only person who has more than 6 home runs this year, which is astonishing considering how lethal the Sox offense was last year.

2) Pitching – In the last 7 games, the collective ERA is 5.29 and Opponent’s Batting Average is .297. Let that sink in: Boston’s opponents are hitting nearly .300 against them. That’s insane. There have been plenty of quality starts from these pitchers, just not in the last 10 games. Clay Buchholz has done a complete 180 from last year. In 2013, he was a likely Cy Young candidate for most of the year. In 2014, he looks like he should be pitching in AA. In the last 7 games, only one starter has made it to 7 innings, John Lackey. That means that the bullpen is bearing the brunt of the load, which is just not acceptable.

3) Injuries – Okay, so Felix Doubront, Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, and Will Middlebrooks are all on the DL. Napoli is making $16 million and Victorino is making $13 million, and we should not forget that Napoli still has his dreadful beard. The beard doesn’t have much to do with anything, but I just wanted to point that out. Obviously, all of these are bad news bears for the Sox.

4) Departures – Okay, so we can’t fault Boston for losing some players, but it needs to be taken into account. Clearly the biggest loss comes in one of my new favorite Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury was the best lead-off hitter on planet earth last year, and that has been a real trouble spot all year for the Sox. The defense he provided in center field for the Sox is far better than what Jackie Bradley Jr. had been able to supply this year. They also don’t have Ryan Dempster pitching for them this year, probably because he would be bored without an A-Rod to plunk (that’s my theory, anyway). They also lost catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the Marlins in free agency.

As you can see, the Red Sox have more problems than they know what to do with. If I am a team in the AL East, I’ve got to be pretty happy. I would also be looking at this and seeing exactly what their weaknesses are and how the team can use it against them. You also have to be cautious because they are the Red Sox and they can turn things around pretty quickly if they want to. However, Dustin Pedroia shaved his beard and that is a sure sign that things are not going well. If you gotta ditch the beard to get your Boston mojo going again, you know things are bad. Hey! Maybe if they shave Mike Napoli’s beard, they will go all the way again! On second thought, let’s not do that. This Yankees fan is very happy with the sudden spiral of the Boston Red Sox…