The baseball offseason in review

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There are quite a few holidays in the good ol’ U.S.A. Christmas, July 4th, Labor Day, Presidents Day, Easter, Hanukkah, and my personal favorite after Hanukkah: Opening Day. However, there is one more I didn’t list there. The day that pitchers and catchers report.

The month is February, and the days are short, gray and cold. But you know, that somewhere in Southern Florida or Arizona, the boys of summer are getting ready. Maybe they’re just catching up on what happened in those long months or sharing glory from the World Series, or doing basic drills. But they’re back in uniform, in the heat, and everyone is optimistic. That will change for most teams, but this is the most hopeful day. So, as baseball starts up again, we have to look back at the offseason.

The first thing was managerial positions, the most important thing in my opinion. Former players like Matt Williams & Brad Ausmus both got the most appealing jobs, for the Nationals and Tigers. Lloyd McClendon, Bryan Price and Rick Rentaria all joined the Mariners, Reds and Cubs, respectively.

Back in November, which feels like forever ago at this point, the first truly major name switched teams. Tim Hudson left the Atlanta Braves for the Giants on a two year deal.

However, the real stuff didn’t start for another few days. This was one of the most unexpected deals, with Prince Fielder being traded to the Rangers for cash and Ian Kinsler.

This shocked the baseball world in ways more than one. However, I feel like I said something about this a while back…

After this, the bigger deals started. Jhonny Peralta went to the Cardinals, and before you could say that “The Cardinals are the Yankees of the NL!” The Yankees made a splash and a half by signing Jacoby Elisbury and Carlos Beltran, creating a starting outfield with a combined age of 96 and 3 other outfielders including Ichiro Suzuki and Alfonso Soriano. Sheesh.

This is where it gets interesting for Nats fans. For barely anything unless you are a citizen of Natstown, The Nats acquired Doug Fister for prospect Robbie Ray and second baseman/utility man Steve Lombardozzi. Even more interestingly, the deal was reported by a high schooler.

Next, a confusing three-team deal sent Mark Trumbo to the D-Backs. The next day, the Nats traded for Jerry Blevins, a lefty reliever. The day right after that, Nate McClouth made the cross-beltway journey to join the Nats as a utility man. Right after, Mike Napoli resigned with the Red Sox, and beards everywhere rejoiced. However, the biggest deal of the offseason was yet to come. The Seattle Mariners somehow got their hands on Robinson Cano, for ten years and $240 million.

Trying to replace the big bat that Helton provided, Morneau decided that he would spend the next two years in Colorado. The Giants then added Michael Morse. The final big deal before the new year was Sin Soo Choo signing with the Rangers for seven years. Jamey Carroll came back to Natstown, again, except he’ll start (in all likelihood) in Syracuse. Right before MLB approved instant replay, A-Rod was suspended, and it was announced he would miss all of the 2014 season.

Coincidentally, the final “really big deal” happened when the Yankees spent the A-Rod money on Masahiro Tanaka signed with the Yankees.

The final relatively important deals were made on January 26th, when Matt Garza signed with the Brewers.

The only big names that remain are Nelson Cruz, A.J. Burnett, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez.

So, if there’s anything I missed, I apologize. It’s pretty hard to put an entire offseason into 700 words.

But everything is in place for an awesome season. What will be a bust? What will work? What was stupid? What was smart? Let me know in the comments. In the meantime, see you on Opening Day!

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A-Rod’s ban needs to be the final warning

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If you can find a baseball fan who actually likes A-Rod, revoke their fan membership card for me. Otherwise, you should be celebrating like me.

Today, MLB announced that A-Rod will be suspended for 1 whole season, and if by a long shot, the Yankees make the playoffs, the playoffs too.

Now, it’s time for the rest of the league to understand. While, for the most part, steroids are not as big of a problem as they used to be, there still have been some violators, and these are big names, like Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz and of course, A-Rod.

MLB has been amping up the punishments, and even though they’ve been giving them out, they need to amp it up more. No more appealing. A-Rod knows he cheated. The world knows he cheated. He needs to take the punishment. But this needs to serve as a message to the players of the MLB – fans have stopped forgiving players for the use of P.E.D.S. And now, the odds of being caught are a lot higher than they were before.

Steroids nearly ruined this league. And if the players truly love the game like they always say, they’ll get that it’s no longer acceptable.

 

Money money money – why so much?

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ca. 2006 --- LeBron James --- Image by © Anthony Mandler/Corbis Outline In the sports world, one thing is inevitable. Contracts. And contracts lead to agents. And agents lead to money. And to play, there is no way out.

And I think that’s fine. That’s completely normal. For any real job, you sign a contract. But here’s what I don’t get.

LeBron James for the next six years will get a total of roughly 110 million dollars. If I got 150,000 dollars a year in savings after tax, I would need to work 122 years to get it. And if I wanted Pujols money? That’s 169 years. Although it’s really nothing when you are immortal.

So why do we think having a player play a game well is worth 150,000 dollars after getting a hit? I simply don’t get why we have to pay these players so much money!

If the sports world was up to me, I would change a lot of things. (BCS, Playoff formats, money, BCS, BCS, BCS, BCS – did I mention BCS?) But this is the second most puzzling to me. I just can’t grasp how a player could be worth so much money (like A-Rod, and 29 million a year) for playing a game?

Playing a game is tough. It takes a toll on you and your body. But throwing a ball into a net is worth that much? I just don’t get it.

 

Still a class A-Fraud

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A report has been conducted accusing A-Rod, Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera and Gio Gonzalez of having connections to PEDs.

Two of those four players have already served suspensions – the only person I believe of denial is Gio Gonzalez because he is young and in his prime and very capable without PEDs.

But the biggest name on there is Alex Rodriguez. As Jeff Passan said, the truth is – A-Rod is a liar.

Alex Rodriguez has become the face of the post-steroid era in a bad way. He has served suspensions and has been continuing to use steroids in this era.

In all honesty, if I was a Yankee fan, I would be absolutely sick of A-Rod by now. He has disgraced himself, his teams and the MLB.

The same way people now associate Lance Armstrong with doping and being a cheat, A Rod is the same for baseball. His career should be over.

I truly can’t believe he would be doing this. I would’ve thought he would have learned his lesson. But he helped bring a trophy to new york – and that trophy now has a little star next to it.

As well as all of A-Rod’s career.

 

9 things to expect next year from the MLB

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It’s a new year, and I decided I wanted to think about something that’s been in the back of our mind, the MLB – or for me, a bit further up, due to my Nats’ heartbreaking loss in the NLDS . So without any further ado, 9 things to expect next year.

1. ROY =  MVP: Bryce Harper and Mike Trout were both pretty stellar, but they can only get better, and will thrive after experience given from the first season, and will be ready to dazzle you at the plate and in the field – expect them to be frontrunners or a big threat in the MVP conversation.

2. The Yankees will not make the playoffs, and the O’s will be a wild card: The Yankees are getting older, and a lot of them past their prime. They are still going to be pretty good, but will not be a big threat, or as big as they were. The O’s have kept the big core of last year’s team that came very close to an ALCS.

3. The Blue Jays win the AL East: I’m sort of shocking myself here – I usually never say that teams who put together tons of talent from different teams win, except for the Yankees. But if Dickey, Johnson and Buehrle can have bounce back or equivalent seasons from last, the Blue Jays should be able to do it.

4. Stephen Strasburg will win the NL Cy Young award: He’s gone through his rookie phenom stage, his rehab, return and shutdown.His confidence has been boosted by quite a bit, and is ready to shine – now that he has the experience, the confidence and the team behind him, he’s a shoo-in for Cy Young.

5. Justin Verlander will win the AL Cy Young award: I’m sure he’s pretty annoyed – swept in the world series, so this is going to be another big year for him – he’ll be determined and ready, plus with an upgraded offense, and some world series experience – it’s all a formula for his second Cy Young.

6. The Dodgers and Angels will NOT make the playoffs this year: Why, you say? Because usually, the best formula is chemistry between players – and I have the feeling these teams will just be a mix of random chemicals, leading up to a great big ol’ explosion.

7. A-Rod will be benched by midseason: His poor postseason effort, his injury prone-ness, and his general decline in play will mean the Yankees will have a different 3rd baseman by July.

8. The division champs will be the: Nats, Reds, Giants, Blue Jays, Tigers and Rangers.

9. The Washington Nationals will be world series champions. The Nats have kept the core, with only one player from last year’s starting lineup not being there, Mike Morse or Adam LaRoche. Plus, with a true leadoff hitter, Strasburg for the entire season, Harper with experience as well as the rest of the team, the Rotation mostly staying the same, plus adding playoff experience and bench players who could start on almost any team will be a recipe for a World Series trophy.