Category Archives: MLB Teams State Of The Unions

Nine Innings/Questions with DoubleG Sports on the Yankees

If you like what you read below, check out more from Charlie Mule at DoubleGSports.com!

This is another in the series of articles where I ask fellow bloggers from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) 9 innings worth of questions about their team. The goal is to do this for as many teams as possible (all 30 would be ideal) a few times a season. This one is a pre-All Star edition, then a post-All Star edition, another down the stretch (towards the end of the season) and then either a playoffs edition or off season edition or both!

 

So, without further ado …

 

  1. How are the Yankee’s offseason acquisitions working out so far? Any concerns?

 

The Yankees acquired Starlin Castro, Aroldis Chapman and Aaron Hicks.

To read the rest of this article on BaseballReflections.com, follow this link!

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2016 Houston Astros Farm System Handbook

A HOUSTON ASTROS FARMBOOK

Jayne Hansen (Featured BBBA Baseball Writer/Owner – www.whattheheckbobby.blogspot.ca  ) 

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The 2016 Houston Farm System Handbook is now available for purchase and is already drawing great reviews! When I introduced the Houston Farm System Handbook in 2015, almost all of the reviews were of the 5-star variety (one person raved that they loved it but only gave it 4 stars).

Astros Announcer Bill Brown complimented me on doing “a masterful job cataloging tons of information on the Astros prospects” and really liked the portability of an e-book.

As good as that 2015 Handbook was, the 2016 version should prove to be even more valuable to prospect fans everywhere with the addition of a “Beyond the Top Prospects” depth chart.

Before last season I was touting prospects such as Matt Duffy, Tyler White, Jon Kemmer and Albert Abreu, all of whom landed in Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook for the first time recently.

In my depth charts, I have identified a number of players who may very well debut in that publication next year, including RHP Dean Deetz, 1B Chase McDonald and many others.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

Tampa Bay Rays State Of The Union For 2016

The Rays have still been one of the best teams in baseball since the start of 2008. Last year marked their 1st losing season since 2007 - and that was only at 80 - 82. But with the starting positional players listed on depth chart all being below league averages on offense - except for Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria, they will need a few breakout players from their bench. It may be time trade one or 2 Starting Pitchers to add some offensive help. If they fall out of contention, it also may not be a bad idea to trade all veterans that they can. This may include Evan Longoria.

The Rays have still been one of the best teams in baseball since the start of 2008. Last year marked their 1st losing season since 2007 – and that was only at 80 – 82. But with the starting positional players listed on depth chart all being below league averages on offense – except for Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria, they will need a few breakout players from their bench. It may be time trade one or 2 Starting Pitchers to add some offensive help. If they fall out of contention in 2016 it also may not be a bad idea to trade all veterans that they can. This may include Longoria.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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The Tampa Bay Rays failed to make it to .500 or better for the 1st time since 2008 in 2015, however with a 5 game winning streak at the end of the campaign, they made it to 80 wins or better for an 8th year in a row.  I highly suspect this year that may come crashing down.

First Boston went off on a spending spree to amp up its roster, and now the Yankees have added Aroldis Chapman to the fold, and upgraded at Second Base with Starlin Castro.

Toronto made its moves for the better in late July, and should be a team to be reckoned with again in 2016.

Only the Orioles don’t look to compete in the AL East during the 2016 campaign with the Rays thus far, and they still may be tough to play 19 times a year if they are to re-sign Chris Davis.

Tampa Bay still clearly has the best Pitching Rotation in the Division with Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly, Matt Moore and Jake Odorizzi filtering in spots 1 – 5.  But will it be enough to help a fledgling offensive in 2016? (more…)

Arizona Diamondbacks State Of The Union For 2016

The first big surprise of the winter came when the Diamondbacks signed Zack Greinke. The organization followed that up with trading a heavy price tag to acquire Shelby Miller to back him up. Dave Stewart has taken a lot of crap for a lopsided deal. I think that is very speculative to talk like that. Besides Free Agent Pitchers are expensive, and a way for small market clubs to negate that is to trade for a controllable player. Tony La Russa also knows that his club is setup for a winning window of approximately 3 - 4 years.

The first big surprise of the winter came when the Diamondbacks signed Zack Greinke. The organization followed that up with trading a heavy price tag to acquire Shelby Miller to back him up. Dave Stewart has taken a lot of crap for a lopsided deal. I think that is very speculative to talk like that. Besides Free Agent Pitchers are expensive, and a way for small market clubs to negate that is to trade for a controllable player. La Russa also knows that his club is set up for a winning window of approximately 3 – 4 years.  Keep the aggression when it comes to upgrading this team.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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You simply couldn’t have asked for a better start to a winter in 2015 for Arizona.  They are legitimate contenders in the NL West, and still should have the wherewithal to spend another $20 – $25 MIL on salaries for 2016.

I love the aggression set forth by the management.  I hope they keep the pedal to the metal on this one.  A nucleus of a team lasts 3 – 4 years for a mid market club, and by the acquisitions the team has done here completely reflects that.

We have discussed how the Houston Astros developed their young club for a few years now.  It is clearly the best way to rebuild a team.

Another reason why the team has had the financial flexibility to create these maneuvers is that they have Paul Goldschmidt on perhaps the best valued contract in the game of baseball right now.

The other Infielders in the mix for the Diamondbacks need to step up the production for he Arizona squad in 2016.  Whether it is Chris Owings at 2B or Nick Ahmed at SS, these positions were not league average for the slots, as was third base either.

Arizona was carried offensively by Goldschmidt and a great productive OF in A.J. Pollock, David Peralta and Ender Inciarte.

The club dealt Inciarte in the Shelby Miller deal, but could pick up the slack with giving his OF position to Yasmany Tomas full time in 2016.

Welington Castillo was one of the most prolific Catchers in the Majors least year, featuring a 3 slash of .255/.317/.496 with the Diamondbacks, clubbing 17 HRs and knocking in 50 RBI during his 254 AB this past season

In a roundabout way, he bettered what the club had previously in Miguel Montero, who incidentally was the reason why Castillo was flipped to Seattle initially.

That trade made up for the previous fiasco that was the trade for Mark Trumbo the previous season. (more…)

Cincinnati Reds State Of The Union For 2016

The Reds management started off the rebuild project nicely with the midsummer deals of Leake and Cueto. They also got a nice haul for 2 years left of Todd Frazier. However, due to a 10/5 rule for Brandon Phillips, and a domestic dispute killing potential other deals, Cincinnati has been stymied in completing the quest. Our own Jordan Gluck ranked them as the 27th worst prospects team in 2015, and it has only slightly improved since the spring. It is going to be a long arduouas process for the brass to pull themselves out of thi predicament.

The Reds management started off the rebuild project nicely with the midsummer deals of Leake and Cueto. They also got a nice haul for 2 years left of Todd Frazier. However, due to a 10/5 rule for Brandon Phillips, and a domestic dispute killing potential other deals, Cincinnati has been stymied in completing the quest. Our own Jordan Gluck ranked them as the 27th worst prospects team in 2015, and it has only slightly improved since last spring. It is going to be a long arduous process for the brass to pull themselves out of this predicament.  Jesse Winker and Robert Stephenson join Jose Peraza as the top 3 prospects that could make the 2016 club.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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The Reds finished 64 – 98 in 2015 and the situation is going to get a lot worse before it gets any better.  I predict 100 losses for the Cincinnati club for 2016, and they could really rack up some L’s especially past the trade deadline of next year if they do their job right in managing the squad.

I like the path the management has taken for trading players, unfortunately a domestic dispute cost the chance to flip Aroldis Chapman to the Dodgers, and the 10 – 5 rule cost them another opportunity to deal Brandon Phillips to the Nationals.

Obviously there is still hope they can trade these guys before they can’t do so anymore.

Last season the club dealt Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake in separate deals at the deadline, and have 3 players on the current depth chart to show for it (Adam Duvall, Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb, while they have 2 more Minor League prospects in Keury Mella and Cody Reed.)

Cincinnati finished just 1 win ahead of the Phillies for the worst record in the Major Leagues.

There is no polite way to go about this rebuilding process.  Jay Bruce, Devin Mesoraco, Jumbo Diaz, J.J. Hoover, Tony Cingrani, Zack Cozart and Homer Bailey should all be considered to be traded in addition to Chapman and Phillips.

The only real players the club should keep are Joey Votto, Billy Hamilton, Anthony DeSclafani and all other players they traded for last season – or are in their Minor League system.

One only has to look in which Division they play in to realize that their Roster is overmatched and there is no short term solution to fix this organization.

The Cubs are set for an awesome 4 – 5 years stretch of play as all of their young offensive stars are groomed by their recent Free Agent signings over the last 2 winters.

St. Louis has reset their roster among the veteran core that aged together with Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday. Read the rest of this entry

Philadelphia Phillies State Of The Union For 2016

The Phillies have not had a winning season since 2011 after putting forth a decade straight of them. A promising second half to the year - coupled with full seasons by Aaron Nola and Maikel Franco could have them inch closer back to achieving that mark in the next few years. The management finally started the rebuild halfway through the year - and the financial flexibility in going forward should really be shaped up in a few more years. Philadelphia has $110 MIL in approximate Team Salary already committed for next year. I would keep the course and build through the Draft. Spending money on any premiere Free Agents is a little premature right now. In addition, the club could really trade away anything not nailed down.

The Phillies have not had a winning season since 2011 after putting forth a decade straight of them. A promising second half to the year – coupled with full seasons by Aaron Nola and Maikel Franco could have them inch closer back to achieving that mark in the next few years. The management finally started the rebuild halfway through the year, have continued it so far this winter – and the financial flexibility in going forward should really be shaped up in a few more seasons.   It may be a tough campaign in 2016 for the win loss column, however the team has a lot of young players to watch and be excited about.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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I was lucky enough to watch a record 224 MLB Games live last year – spread across all 30 MLB parks in every day of the campaign last season.

Unfortunately I saw the most home games (33 Games) in Philadelphia with my brother living close by.  There is nothing wrong with Citizens Ball Park, it was the team that was tough to watch.

When you have Jeff Francouer as your #4 hitter for half of the year, there is something wrong with that. I love the guy, and Frenchy had a decent year, it just said a lot about the depth of the Roster in 2015.

At the end of the year Philadelphia’s management started to trade away Veterans from the glory days of the World Series, and you can start to see the healing begin.

The dealing continued with Ken Giles sent to Texas for a bunch of stud arms coming back. Now the Phillies are looking forward to a bunch of young talent coming to the big leagues in the next few seasons.

The old guard is still there with Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz holding down the Starting First Base and Catcher respectively.  Howard is an average offensive threat only now that makes $25 MIL. (more…)

Atlanta Braves State Of The Union For 2016

Before the recent deal for Shelby Miller the Braves had been questioned on whether the rebuild they are currently going through was going to work. Now all of a sudden, the club going through trading of all veterans - starting with Jason Heyward a year ago, looks so much better. The next year or 2 is still going to be painstakingly to endure, but the organization now has a promising future

Before the recent deal for Shelby Miller the Braves had been questioned on whether the rebuild they are currently going through was going to work. Now all of a sudden, the club going through trading of all veterans – starting with Jason Heyward a year ago, looks so much better. The next year or 2 is still going to be painstakingly to endure, but the organization now has a promising future.  Atlanta will enter a new park in Sun Trust Park, located in Cobb County, GA for 2017 after playing one more year at Turner Field in 2016.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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John Hart knows how to build teams in the Majors.  He was at the forefront of the Cleveland Indians in the 1990’s when they signed a bunch of young nucleus players to multi year extensions.  It was a trend that worked out for nearly a decade.

A pile of organizations copied this template.  I must admit I thought he may have been a bit past his prime when the Braves finally hired him on last year,  but he seems to carrying out the mission with Atlanta as well.

Of course taking over for Frank Wren – there was not much to go but up.  Dan Uggla, Derek Lowe and B.J. Upton ultimately cost the former GM his job, but it should be noted he did orchestrate 3 decent trades in acquiring  Justin Upton, Michael Bourn and Javier Vasquez much earlier.

The Braves did the right thing in dismantling the 2013 to 2014 squad.  It would have cost too much money to re-sign Brian McCann and Jason Heyward – and Justin Upton may soon reel in a 9 figure sum.

Atlanta also traded away Craig Kimbrel and Andrelton of late.  The haul for Kimbrel was nice, while Simmons was set to make $53 MIL over 5 years. Not huge cash, but for a guy more noted for defense, and with a team rebuilding, losing the dollars owed was a more significant move.

I also can’t emphasize enough how awesome it was to rid themselves of the Melvin Upton JR. contract. (more…)

New York Mets State Of The Union For 2016

The Mets made it to the World Series in 2015 after a subpar start heading into the Trade Deadline. With a ton of pitching and some decent positional players still on the roster, they could set themselves up for a lengthy run in the NL East. Especially if they can coordinate a couple of trades (Pitching for hitters).

The Mets made it to the World Series in 2015 after a subpar start heading into the Trade Deadline. With a ton of pitching and some decent positional players still on the roster, they could set themselves up for a lengthy run in the NL East. After tinkering with average players in acquisitions (other than Neil Walker – who is a comparable replacement for Daniel Murphy), it looks like GM Sandy Alderson is done constructing the offense for 2016.  I think this is a critical error.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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It has been a decent offseason for the New York Mets so far.  They have resigned Bartolo Colon, filled in the spot at 2B with an almost equal amount of talent for Daniel Murphy, while adding Asdrubal Cabrera is also a wise move.

The organization even resigned Jerry Blevins to the Relief Core.  There is still potential to add another arm or 2 for late innings in the Bullpen.

On Tuesday, it was announced the OF Alejandro De Aza has joined the club for a one year deal at $5.75 MIL (and $1.25 MIL in incentives).  This guy can play all 3 OF positions, but he really should be a 4th OF on a championship team caliber style of team. (more…)

New York Yankees State Of The Union For 2016

The 2015 New York started off extremely strong at 21 - 12, before they finished the last 129 Games at just 66 - 63. With surprising years from Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, the club still made the Wild Card Game with 87 wins. The club has done a couple of nice winter moves in picking up Starlin Castro and Aaron, however the Bullpen is weaker, and the Starting Rotation has many health concerns. New York will need to address those before the season opener.

The 2015 New York Yankees started off extremely strong at 21 – 12, before they finished the last 129 Games at just 66 – 63. With surprising years from Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, the club still made the Wild Card Game with 87 wins. The club has done a couple of nice winter moves in picking up Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks for backup players, however the Bullpen is weaker, and the Starting Rotation has many health concerns. New York will need to address those before the season opener.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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Okay so one of the things that happens when you own a website is you lose some of the hardcore enthusiasm for the team you love the most.  This is my story with he Yankees.  Don’t get me wrong, they are still my favorite club, it is just I cover all 30 MLB teams a lot more than I used to.

Having said this, I have been railing on the Yankees for a long time on how they have conducted themselves.  I traced it back to 2014, when they could have rest the Luxury Tax Threshold by trading Ichiro Suzuki, Hiroki Kuroda and Brett Gardner at the Deadline.

Instead, the club went for a half ass attempt to make the playoffs with Derek Jeter in his last season as Shortstop.

I do give Brian Cashman some credit in 2015 for the club making the postseason.  I maintain that his building of the team was still flawed.

Bullpen withstanding, he has known his Starting Pitching situation has been in health peril since  Masahiro Tanaka was diagnosed with a UCL injury in July of 2014.

Joe Girardi squeezed every ounce of the Veteran Lineup that he could last year.  Who would have predicted the squad would have had 30+ Homer years from Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira?

That helped the club jump out to a fantastic start, and then coasted with a .500 record for the last 4 plus months to the 1st playoff Wild Card spot.  They lost to the Houston Astros in that game at Yankee Stadium.

(more…)

Los Angeles Dodgers State Of The Union For 2016

The Dodgers need to start spending money like right now, otherwise they stand to jeopardize themselves winning a 4th straight NL West title in 2016. Both the Giants and D'Backs have signed ace pitchers this year, and added another good Starting Pitcher besides the point. The club does have several young pieces and Depth at Roster to pull off a blockbuster trade forth coming - or they still have enough resources to acquire players for their 2016 run. The clock is officially ticking gentelmen

The Dodgers need to start spending money like right now, otherwise they stand to jeopardize themselves winning a 4th straight NL West title in 2016. Both the Giants and D’Backs have signed ace pitchers this year, and added another good Starting Pitcher besides the point. The club does have several young pieces and Depth at Roster to pull off a blockbuster trade forth coming – or they still have enough resources to acquire players for their 2016 run. The clock is officially ticking gentlemen.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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The Dodgers are having the same kind of offseason the Baltimore Orioles had in 2014 – going into 2015.

If everyone remembers that year, they rejected a couple year contract with Grant Balfour, when he failed a physical, and they did the same thing with Grady Sizemore.

That club also traded back to back 50 Saves guy Jim Johnson.  By the way, the 2014 O’s won the AL East with a 97 – 65 record.

Key cogs in the wheel were new Closer Zach Britton, and Super Utility man Steve Pearce.  A lot of parallels can be made between that squad and the Dodgers.

Late last week, the Dodgers pulled out of a three year deal wish Hisashi Iwakuma because they had concerns with a physical.

For the whole winter they have watched the Giants sign Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, while the Diamondbacks stole Zack Greinke way from them, while trading a kings ransom for Shelby Miller. (more…)

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