Would The MLB Be Better Off With No Minor Leagues?

I heard an interesting argument today that the MLB would be better off with no minor leagues. Obviously, this argument was centered on the basis that we are in a perfect world where such a system could be implemented; in our current world, no system could be implemented. The reasons that this system could never be implemented today will be briefly covered right now, and then again later in the article.

The simple argument is that, for marketing and other purposes, the MLB would be better off completely eliminating the minor leagues. I took an opposing stance on this argument, but I will try my best not to let that filter into this article.

Before we begin, it is important to note that the MLB has cut a LOT of minor league teams in the past months. This played a key role in the leadup to the debate.

Baseball is a slowly declining sport. This is a fact that many inside and outside of the sport know to be true. On the other hand, football is a sport that is rapidly rising. What is the NFL doing right that the MLB is doing wrong? The college game. The minor leagues rarely amount to anything, they make up a very small portion of the baseball market, and it wouldn’t hurt to cut minor league teams. What if there was a baseball system that incentivized staying into college, and then with the elimination of minor league teams, players would be fully developed and ready to go in the big leagues?

When I first heard this argument, I thought that it was a joke. I have a sweet spot when it comes to small town baseball, so when I realized that this wasn’t a joke, I immediately raised concerns about cutting baseball from these towns. It was clear that I had missed an important detail: in a PERFECT WORLD.

After this, the debate mainly shifted to player development concerns. I said that baseball players simply take longer to develop than football players; therefore this system would not work as college players would be immediately thrust into major league roles. After all, it is an impossible jump from college to the MLB right now.

The other person reiterated that with the new focus on college baseball, it would be much like college football with college coaches being very good coaches. The majority of the debate would be focused on player development.

I argued (and still believe) that a system from one sport cannot just be thrown onto another sport. This is mainly due to the fact that these are all DIFFERENT sports with DIFFERENT skill gaps.

Of course, this whole debate was pure speculation. This system cannot be deemed good or bad without proper testing, and due to the MLB’s current situation, now is not the time to be testing things. The MLB needs to be focused on marketing baseball by marketing PLAYERS, not marketing the game itself. I believe that this, along with other methods of marketing, could save baseball without a complete system overhaul.

Thanks for reading.

The Player on Each Team That has the Best Chance of Making it to the Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame can be a tough place to get in. Dick Allen proved that statement to be correct when he fell short of the Hall, despite being considered the best player to never make it to the Hall of Fame. But today I’m going to be taking a look at the player with the highest chance of making the Hall of Fame on each team. This list will not favor younger players that have had one or two breakout seasons. With that out of the way, let’s get into the list!

Arizona Diamondbacks: Madison Bumgarner

This team doesn’t have many Hall of Fame caliber players, so I have to go with Bumgarner who has a very long, but still possible, shot at making the Hall of Fame. At the age of 31, he has 36.5 WAR, which means a strong finish to his career would improve his odds.

Atlanta Braves: Freddie Freeman

There’s a lot of young, blossoming talent on this team, but I have to give it to Freeman. He’s only 31 years old and he has played excellently his whole career. He has 38.8 WAR, but if he continues to play like he has the past few seasons, he’s a no-doubter for the Hall of Fame someday.

Baltimore Orioles: Ryan Mountcastle

This is what happened: I looked up and down their roster, saw no one with any chance of making the Hall of Fame, so I picked the youngest player.

Boston Red Sox: Xander Bogaerts

He’s a young, talented high caliber SS. If he keeps going on his career trajectory, he’s a late ballot hall of famer. The Red Sox also don’t have anyone else.

Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant

Nothing about anyone on this Cubs team screams “Hall of Fame”, but Kris Bryant still has a chance. If he finishes his career in a dominant fashion, he will definitely make it to the Hall. We’ll have to see what happens.

Chicago White Sox: Lucas Giolito

I said that I wouldn’t favor young players, but this White Sox team is all young. Giolito has an incredible comeback story, and he has all of the potential in the world. His chances of making the Hall will depend on his next few years where he will get a chance to prove himself.

Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto

There’s no other answer. He was the best player of his generation and a few more decent years will solidify him as a Hall of Famer.

Cleveland Indians: Shane Bieber

His past two seasons have shown the caliber of pitcher he is. A Hall of Fame bid, while a long time away, seem like a certainty based on his past two years. But who knows? He could pull a Gooden and collapse.

Colorado Rockies: Matt Kemp

He was good for a few years, right?

Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera

Any other answer is foolish. Cabrera was the best hitter of his generation, and despite his steep decline, he’s still a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Houston Astros: Justin Verlander

He’s one of the only Astros not tied up in the cheating scandal, and he’s also a great ballplayer. He is a first few ballot Hall of Famer.

Kansas City Royals: Salvador Perez

The first half of his career is over, and if he puts up a second half as good as his first, he’s a late ballot Hall of Famer. The also Royals don’t have anyone else.

Los Angeles Angels: Albert Pujols

They have two; the other is Mike Trout. Pujols was such an amazing baseball player that deserves to be in the Hall and is likely a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Mookie Betts

He’s a talent of a generation and he already has 45.4 WAR going into his age 28 season. He is a no-doubter.

Miami Marlins: Jazz Chisholm

He’s a young player that I actually know, so he’s on this list. The Marlins don’t exactly have any Hall of Famers on their roster.

Milwaukee Brewers: Christian Yelich

Last year was a fluke season for Yelich, an amazing player. If he plays well into his later seasons then he’s a late ballot induction.

Minnesota Twins: Josh Donaldson

Donaldson still needs a few more productive seasons, but I’ll still give him a remote chance of making it. He has 41.5 career WAR, so all it will take is 3 more all-star level seasons. He should be able to get there barring injury or a steep decline.

New York Mets: Jacob deGrom

If deGrom can have a similar career trajectory as Justin Verlander’s, he’s a mid ballot induction. If not, he’s on the bubble for a longshot late ballot induction.

New York Yankees: Gerrit Cole

Here’s an interesting example. He’s on the same career trajectory as Zack Greinke, but he has an injury filled past which could mean that he doesn’t make it because of injuries. We’ll have to wait and see.

Oakland Athletics: Matt Chapman

There’s no one else on this team with a remote chance other than Chapman, so here we are.

Philadelphia Phillies: Bryce Harper

He’s one of the most talented players of our generations, which means that if he can sustain the kind of seasons that he’s putting up, he can make it to the Hall.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Ke’Bryan Hayes

He was the only good player last year, so here he is. He’s also extremely talented.

San Diego Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr

He’s the most talented player on this roster, and I’ve never been a huge Machado fan. It would not surprise me in the slightest if he dominated the MLB for a long time.

Seattle Mariners: Kyle Lewis

Again, the only good player on this team is Lewis. That’s the only reason.

San Francisco Giants: Joey Bart

Bart is the youngest player on a team of old, aging, washed-up veterans. There’s no other player with any chance of making the Hall of Fame.

St. Louis Cardinals: Yadier Molina

He will be remembered as one of the best defensive catchers to ever play the game, and even though his hitting is average at best, he still has a decent shot.

Tampa Bay Rays: Brandon Lowe

There’s no one else on this team, so I’ll have to go with Lowe who finished 8th in the MVP voting in 2020.

Texas Rangers: Leody Taveras

The youngest player on this team was Taveras.

Toronto Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr

I have never seen a player with as much potential as Guerrero Jr. There’s no one else on this team that has a fighting chance, so I’ll go with Guerrero Jr.

Washington Nationals: Max Scherzer

There’s no other option. Juan Soto is too young and if Scherzer retired right now, he’s be a mid-ballot Hall of Famer.

2021 MLB Predictions and Hot Takes

It’s not easy trying to predict baseball. Tim Kurkjian demonstrated that in 2014 as the baseball expert went 0-9 on his postseason predictions. But today I’m going to try to predict the 2021 season, taking into account what’s happened this offseason.

Projected Standings and Team Previews

This is a two in one deal to kick off this article. I have a few surprises in these standings, so buckle up!

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST:

1. Yankees

This will be a very close race between the Yankees, Rays, and Blue Jays, but in the end the Yankees will come out victorious and win the AL East. With the recent additions to their pitching staff (Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon) and getting Luis Severino back will be key for the Yankees in their 2021 campaign. Some big questions still remain. Will the Yankees get hit with the injury bug again? We’ll have to wait and see.

2. Blue Jays

This AL East race will be madness. Absolute madness. The Blue Jays have a LOADED roster after the additions of Marcus Semien and George Springer, but that doesn’t mean guaranteed success. Some questions still remain about their starting rotation behind Hyun-Jin Ryu. Will Ryu even be good in 2021? Regardless, the Blue Jays are going to hit and be practically unstoppable on offense. I can’t say the same about pitching, though. This is going to come down to the wire, but in the end the Yankees will win. 2022 will be the Blue Jays’ year.

3. Rays

This was a very, very close race because I have learned to never doubt the Rays, but I will have to do it here. The Rays did very well in 2020, but this past offseason they’ve lost their two best pitchers in Blake Snell and Charlie Morton. It’s hard to recover from that. They will get Randy Arozarena for an entire season, but questions still remain about the 2020 postseason hero. As with the Yankees, we’ll have to wait and see.

4. Red Sox

Remember when the Red Sox were actually good? I remember, and apparently so does the Red Sox front office. This past offseason, they’ve added Enrique Hernandez to a solid foundation that was injured in 2020. Don’t count out the Red Sox yet, as they will get back Chris Sale to lead their struggling rotation. They could be a dark horse Wild Card contender.

5. Orioles

This will be a very young team in 2021 that will still be a few years away. Barring a cancelled minor league season, Adley Rutschman will likely be called up in 2021 which will boost the Orioles significantly. Besides that, Trey Mancini is coming back (he missed the 2020 season recovering from cancer). Aside from those two additions, the starting rotation will be filled with question marks, as with a few other positions around the board. Get excited for 2023, Orioles fans!

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

1. White Sox

The White Sox had a great offseason after the 2020 season. They now have an unstoppable top 3 rotation arms with Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, and Dallas Keuchel. Michael Kopech is (finally) coming back, and Adam Eaton is coming back to town after an extended absence. Yoan Moncada will likely be back to his normal self after a fluke year last year, and Luis Robert will look like the hitter he was in August. The White Sox will win the AL Central.

2. Twins

The Twins won the AL Central last year, but I doubt that they can replicate it this year. The Twins now have five infielders, enough to make up for Nelson Cruz’s departure. Kenta Maeda probably won’t replicate his success last year, and to add onto that, there’s questions up and down the rotation. The Twins added J.A. Happ to the pitching staff to help, but he’s a bottom of the rotation guy at this point. The Twins will fall behind the White Sox.

3. Cleveland

Cleveland tied with the White Sox last year for second in the AL Central, but I have them dropping to third in 2021. The main reason for this? They lost Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco, two of the best players in the league. They still have (for now) Jose Ramirez who, in my opinion, should have won the AL MVP, but Ramirez can’t do anything to help Cleveland recover from losing two of their best players. I’ll give them a small chance to make the playoffs, but it probably won’t happen.

4. Royals

The Royals have made some moves this offseason. They added Carlos Santana and Mike Minor, among other additions, to a team with a lot of talent. Bobby Witt Jr. may be a year away, but the Royals may have success without him. They may even get to an even record in 2021. This team is still a few years away.

5. Tigers

Nothing really needs to be said about this team. They have some talent, but in this competitive division, they won’t win a lot of games. Maybe in a few years, but nothing about this team screams “DYNASTY”.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

1. Athletics

I hate putting the A’s here, but no team in their division is any better. In fact, they were the only team in the AL West to finish with a winning record. They lost their starting shortstop in Marcus Semien, which is a big blow for any team. But what’s the solution that they’ve produced? Elvis Andrus? What are they thinking? The rotation is solid, although the bullpen has lost Liam Hendriks. I’ll put them here because there are no better teams in the division.

2. Angels

This is the last year of Albert Pujols for the Angels, which puts them a year away from getting a ton of cap space. That means adding on to their solid duo of Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. Jo Adell will do better in 2021 and this team will find a way to get an even record. 2022 will be the year to watch for the Angels, although I wouldn’t count them out quite yet for this year. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

3. Astros

I hate doing this to the Astros, but they deserve it. Who would’ve thought that the real punishment would come not from Rob Manfred, but the sport itself? The Astros had a terrible break when they found out that Justin Verlander would undergo Tommy John surgery, thus ruining their 2021 chances. I still see talent on their roster, and if it all stays healthy (which I doubt it will), then we have a dark horse wild card contender. That scenario is still very doubtful after seeing what happened in 2020. I hope that this team doesn’t recover.

4. Mariners

Looking up and down this roster, all I see is talent…that’s about a year away. The roster right now is filled with players with high upside. Among those players is Kyle Lewis, the 2020 AL unanimous rookie of the year. Their prospect list is very impressive. Jarred Kelenic is the #9 prospect in baseball, Julio Rodriguez is the #15 prospect in baseball, Emerson Hancock is the #30 prospect in baseball, and Logan Gilbert is the #35 prospect in baseball to make 4 prospects in MLB.COM’s top 100. What does this mean? A bright future, but not a bright 2021.

5. Rangers

This team is really, really terrible. They’ve solidified the fact that they will be rebuilding by trading Elvis Andrus, who was one the centerpiece of their franchise. Beyond Joey Gallo, there will be nothing to see here. They may even trade Gallo for prospects. Either way, their 2021 season will be a season to forget.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

1. Mets

No, this is not a joke. The mediocre Mets will finally win their division. They’ve took an already talented roster and added the best shortstop in baseball, a Top 5 catcher (in my opinion), and an excellent pitcher. This is such a great roster that the Mets will finally be the best team in New York. No, I’m not joking (once again; I feel like I have to say that a lot).

2. Braves

It’s sad to have to put the Braves in second place, because I’ve loved this team for a long time. They’ve bolstered their rotation this offseason with the addition of Charlie Morton, and they also get Mike Soroka back. They still have to get some depth pieces, but their starting lineup is looking scary right now. I wouldn’t count this team out, not by a longshot.

3. Nationals

This could be a boom or bust pick for me. I, personally, will think that the Nationals will recover from a rough 2020 and put together a solid 2021 campaign, but a lot of people that I’ve talked to think otherwise. The Nationals have added Kyle Schwarber, Josh Bell, and Jon Lester to a roster that got hit with the injury bug in 2020. I like this team in 2021.

4. Phillies

What happens when you take a mediocre roster with holes and bring everyone back? Your answer should have been “You get a mediocre roster with holes”. I get the fact that the Phillies have talent, but they have too many holes for me to put them any higher. JT Realmuto and Bryce Harper are both names that stand out, but beyond those two and a supporting cast, there’s nothing to see in Philadelphia. Maybe in 2022.

5. Marlins

The Marlins won pandemic baseball. Their team should NOT have gotten as far as they did, but that’s the way it goes when there’s a 60 game season. This roster is still a couple years away from finding real success, so although I hate to do it, I have to put the Marlins here. Who knows, maybe they can make a run in 2021 like they did in 2020 but I’m doubting that that will happen.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

1. Cardinals

There was no team in baseball that got more bad luck than the Cardinals in 2020. The Cards had to deal with a COVID outbreak that forced them to play more games than days passed, which is never good for a team. But despite that, the Cardinals STILL had a winning record and got into the playoffs. This past offseason, they’ve added Nolan Arenado who will be a significant upgrade over Tommy Edman, who can now go play 2B. The Cardinals are the clear favorite to win the NL Central.

2. Cubs

The NL Central is arguably the worst division in the MLB, so it’s no surprise that the mediocre Cubs are second. They traded Yu Darvish to the Padres, which will serve as a permanent blow to their playoff chances. They have no rotation or bullpen at this point in time, but the Cubs’ lineup is still really good. Winning games is always difficult without good pitchers, and the Cubs will face that problem going into 2021.

3. Reds

I thought that the Reds would be the favorites to win the NL Central in 2020, but they disappointed me and Reds fans in 2020. They lost their best pitcher in Trevor Bauer which will serve as a detrimental blow to their 2021 playoff chances. I can see the Reds overtaking the Cubs, but I cannot see the Reds in the playoffs in 2021. Sorry Reds fans.

4. Brewers

The Brewers have, for a long time, been that second wild card team that’s not quite good enough. That will change this year as they fall into mediocrity. Christian Yelich will bounce back from a fluke year, but they have a lot of holes up and down the roster. If Brandon Woodruff stays healthy then I’ll give them a chance to defy all odds and get back in the playoffs, but that’s getting increasingly unlikely.

5. Pirates

There was no team worse than the Pirates last year. They were really terrible last year. It should concern Pirates fans that their best player was one who only had 95 PA. Granted, those 95 PA were some of the best in the MLB as Ke’Bryan Hayes tore up the MLB. The downside for Pittsburgh is that they traded Josh Bell and Jameson Taillon in separate deals for prospects. This means that they’re going on a full out rebuild, so losing their key players after an already terrible season will just make it worse. The Pirates will be terrible in 2021.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

1. Dodgers

Who would’ve thought that the two best teams in baseball would be in the same division? For 2021, I’ll have to go with the Dodgers to win the division. Their rotation is the best in the league, their bullpen is superb, and their lineup is unstoppable. Their ability to just outplay their opponents is what caused them to win the World Series. Even without adding Trevor Bauer this team is unstoppable, but now with him this team will be a one of the best teams in baseball history.. It will be interesting to see what happens.

2. Padres

In any other division the Padres would have finished first. Their rotation is the second best in the league, their bullpen is really good, and their lineup is amazing. Fernando Tatis Jr is the face of this game, and for good reason. The Padres have a young dynasty that will be ready to overtake the Dodgers at some point in time. Will that be in 2021? Doubtful, but the Padres have proved me wrong once before. They can do it again.

3. Giants

This was a surprising team that, going into the last week of 2020, I thought would make the playoffs and turn some heads. They didn’t as they fell short of the playoffs with a 29-31 record. Their rotation is average at best and their bullpen is nothing to write home about, plus their lineup is just decent. So what’s the big fuss? Former stars. Buster Posey, Evan Longoria, and Johnny Cueto all highlight a roster that once was. I’m not giving up hope that the Giants can make the playoffs, so this will be a team to watch.

4. Diamondbacks

What was wrong with this team in 2020? I had them defying the odds and making a run for the NL West crown, although ultimately falling short. But a last place finish? Ketel Marte returned from his trip to the sky and seemed to have a hangover season, along with everyone that led this team in 2019. Madison Bumgarner was nowhere near his former self, which was back news for the D-Backs who invested a lot of money in him. The Diamondbacks have let me down once, so I’m not trusting them again.

5. Rockies

The Rockies have made some questionable moves this offseason. They started out the offseason by non-tendering David Dahl and finished by trading Nolan Arenado. In the process, they destroyed their roster and their chance at a 2021 run. The big question for the Rockies is whether they will trade Trevor Story, their star SS. We’ll have to wait and see, but this team isn’t getting any better in 2021.

5 Hot Takes

  1. Trevor Bauer will collapse
  2. The 2021 MLB Season will have at least 2 teams with less than 50 wins
  3. The NL Central will have no team that will finish with a winning record
  4. The Giants will make the playoffs
  5. Khris Davis will be good again

My hot takes are based on no logic so don’t expect any of these to come true. I can’t even produce an explanation; it’s just my mind telling me that a certain thing will happen. Maybe one of these comes true? Who knows?

If you’ve made it through the article, thanks so much for reading. Remember to sign up for my mailing list and share with friends! Thanks!

Breaking Down The Most Chaotic Week In Years

This was the biggest week of this offseason. From the hall of fame failure, to the blockbuster trade, to the free agent signings, this week has been very chaotic. I’ve actually written individual articles about all of these, but I’ve decided to combine them to get this! Enjoy.

The Hall Of Fame Failure

This was the first year since 2013 that the BBWAA writers didn’t do their jobs. If the point of voting for hall of fame inductees is to elect people to the HOF, then this was a total failure. I can name, off of the top of my head, at least 5 players who should have been inducted. I’ll cast my ballot for Mark Buerhle, Barry Bonds, Curt Schilling, Scott Rolen, and Jeff Kent.

I’ve made my case for Buerhle, although after seeing his performance on his first ballot it seems highly unlikely that he ever makes the hall of fame. Barry Bonds is complicated. That could be in a whole separate article, but I’ll break it down:

– When I read the Mitchell Report from cover to cover back in April, I concluded that it was unclear whether Bonds knew he was receiving PEDs.

– It’s still unclear as to whether Bonds used PEDs before his 2000-2004 run.

– Even if he used PEDs, voluntarily or involuntarily, it is unclear how much it affected his performance and how much of a role it played in his success.

– We know that he was still an incredible player with or without PEDs.

– His career stats are so unbelievably good that despite his PED controversy, he belongs in the hall of fame.

Like I said, I could dedicate a whole separate article on this topic. I hope I’m making sense and not talking too much french. Now, onto other players.

I strongly believe that the hall of fame should solely be judged on player performance. I don’t care how bad of a person Schilling is; he was an amazing ball player. I support Pete Rose for the same reason. If I believed that treatment of media and life beyond baseball mattered when being considered for the hall of fame then I wouldn’t vote to elect Schilling to the hall of fame.

Scott Rolen’s case is pretty simple: he played 17 years as a great third basemen in a league where third basemen are largely discriminated against (or they just aren’t good). His fielding was excellent and his hitting was great.

Jeff Kent is almost identical to Rolen in the fact that they have the same career OPS, both played 17 years, both played infield, and hit for almost identical stats. The main difference is that Kent’s defense was so much worse, not bad, but not on Rolen’s level. Call me biased because I rooted for him on Survivor, but Kent deserves to be in the hall of fame.

Regardless of who should be in the hall of fame, I think that the BBWAA didn’t do its job when they didn’t elect anyone. Call it a weak first ballot class, but at least elect someone! Try again next year, BBWAA.

Free Agency Madness

This is pure madness. There have been so many signings in this week that I’ve lost count. Let’s start with the big ones:

– Joc Pederson to the Cubs

– Marcus Semien to the Blue Jays

– Didi Gregorius back to the Phillies

– Cesar Hernandez back to Cleveland

– JT Realmuto back to Philadelphia

– DJ LeMehieu back to the Yankees

– Corey Kluber to the Yankees

– Brad Hand to the Nationals

– Andrelton Simmons to the Twins

– Tommy La Stella to the Giants

– Freddy Galvis to the Orioles

– Michael Brantley back to the Astros

– Ryan Zimmerman back to the Nationals

– George Springer back to the Blue Jays

These are all huge moves, taking out MLB.COM’s numbers 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 20, 23, and 25 free agent rankings coming into the offseason. The list above isn’t even counting some of the lower key signings, including:

– Ivan Nova to the Phillies

– Wilson Ramos to the Tigers

– Kohl Stewart to the Cubs

– Jon Lester to the Nationals

– Anthony Bass to the Marlins

– Ehire Adrianza to the Braves

– Pablo Sandoval to the Braves

As you may be able to conclude after reading this list, it was a busy week for signing free agents. Realmuto was the shocker after the Phillies came out and said that they don’t have any money. A lot of baseball influencers, like Youtube star GiraffeNeckMarc thought that because of this the Phillies wouldn’t be able to resign Realmuto but the Phillies have brought back their 2020 team that did “really well”. Aside from bringing in Archie Bradley, the Phillies have done nothing aside from bringing Realmuto and Didi Gregorius back.

The Marcus Semien signing shows how the budgetary restricted A’s were not able to bring back their SS, as well as utilityman Tommy La Stella. How they play in 2021 will be difficult to predict after losing Semien and La Stella, but they do get Matt Chapman back.

The George Springer deal surprised me as I thought that he would 100% go to the Mets. The Blue Jays have shown that they’re going to be serious contenders to the Yankees and Rays. If the MLB goes back to a 10 team playoff system as they had in 2019 then it will be interesting to see how the American League reacts. The Twins and White Sox will battle for the AL Central crown, although at this point it looks as if the White Sox are clear favorites. The team that loses the battle will compete with the two losers of the AL East for the two wild card spots. This will be very interesting to watch.

Trades In The Past Week

Aside from the Nolan Arenado trade, there have been a few other trades. The Arenado trade will be the prime focus for this article as we take a look at some of the trades in the past week.

– Nolan Arenado traded from the Rockies to the Cardinals; Rockies will retain around 25% of Arenado’s contract. The Cardinals sent a package that includes Austin Gomber, among other players.

– Steven Matz traded from the Mets to the Blue Jays for Josh Winckowski, Sean Reid-Foley, and Yensy Diaz.

– Adam Ottavino traded to the Red Sox from the Yankees in exchange for Frank German and a PTBNL.

– Jameson Taillon traded from the Pirates to the Yankees for Roansy Contereras, Maikol Escotto, Canaan Smitt, and Miguel Yajure.

– Cionel Perez traded to the Reds from the Astros for Luke Berryhill.

The Arenado trade will define this week as one of the most lopsided trades in MLB history. The Rockies traded Arenado, a superstar, for essentially nothing while retaining part of his contract. The Cardinals are now the clear favorites to the win the NL Central as 3B was a need for them. It is now expected that Tommy Edman will play 2B, with Paul Goldschmidt at 1B, Paul DeJong at SS, and Arenado at 3B. That will be enough to carry a very weak division in which it is quite possible that no team eclipses 81 wins.

The question that remains from this trade is whether or not the Rockies will trade Trevor Story. This has been a terrible winter for Colorado, as they’ve non-tendered David Dahl and traded Arenado. Trading Story would be the icing on an already fully baked cake.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading!

Here’s What Theo Epstein Can Do To Save Baseball

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about the Three True Outcomes. Since then, I’ve realized that the Three True Outcomes doesn’t make baseball more interesting for the average consumer; it makes baseball more boring.

Theo Epstein has recently been hired by the MLB to make baseball more fast and exciting. It’s no secret that baseball has been slowing down over the years. I actually covered that in an article about a year ago, and I found out that baseball’s pace of play had added 30 minutes in 50 years. What can this be attributed to? The Three True Outcomes.

In case you haven’t read my article about the three true outcomes, here’s a brief description: the three true outcomes (3TO) is the amount of times that a player gets a strikeout, home run, and walk. 3TO percent is commonly used to judge a player. There have been players with very high 3TO%s, like Chris Davis and Adam Dunn.

Now let’s get into how we can reduce the three true outcomes, speed up time of game, and save baseball.

IDEA #1: CHANGE THE BASEBALL

Now I’m not very good with spheres and such, but I do know that there are many types of baseballs. Whatever they did in the dead ball era definitely worked in terms of putting the ball into play, because no one hit home runs before Babe Ruth. This might not work, but it’s worth a try.

IDEA #2: LOWER THE MOUND!

Remember 1968? The year of the pitcher? That was an excellent year for pitching. With today’s hitting, this could make for some GREAT match ups and weaker contact. This is my key idea for creating more balls in play. I recommend that the MLB lowers the mound.

IDEA #3: A PITCHING CLOCK

This has already been used in the minor leagues, so if you’ve seen a AAA or a AA game then you’ve already seen this in action. That pushes most people over the line to liking the pitching clock. This will speed up baseball by removing the down time between pitches. While this isn’t dealing with the 3TO, it may speed up the game.

Obviously this is no easy task, but of all people Theo Epstein should be suited for the job. Thanks for reading.

RIP HANK AARON

As I’m sure you’ve already heard today, Hank Aaron has passed away at age 86. He will be remembered as one of the greatest ever to play the game. He played 23 years in the major leagues, accumulating 25 all star games (not a typo, multiple all-star games per season), 1 MVP award, 2 time batting title champion, 3 time gold glove winner, one time World Series champion, 143.1 WAR, and a first ballot hall of fame induction in 1982.

As the baseball world grieves Hank, I am once again reminded of one his most inspiring quotes:

“Failure is a part of success. There is no such thing as a bed of roses all your life. But failure will never stand in the way of success if you learn from it.”

Although Hank’s time on earth is done, we should always remember the legacy he left behind. Thank you for reading.

Expanding The Playoffs Will Hurt Baseball Beyond Repair

Some people believe that we should expand the playoffs permanently. Others believe that we shouldn’t have playoffs at all. I agree with neither; I believe that we should keep the playoffs where they were in the 2019 season because that’s the only way to find true champions.

Let me backtrack that last statement: a 10 team MLB playoffs wouldn’t always find true champions. The simple premise of a 10 team playoff format for the MLB is as follows:

10 Teams In The Playoffs
5 Teams AL
3 Division Winners
2 Wild Cards
5 Teams NL
3 Division Winners
2 Wild Cards

The simple reason as to why we should have a ten team playoff is that we should find the right balance between October madness and finding a true champion. I believe that over any other playoff system that I’ve heard, the 10 team playoffs is best. That’s not because the 10 team playoffs is superior in every way, I believe the contrary. I believe that the 10 team playoff system is best because there isn’t a better system. Let’s look at some other proposed formats to find out why (using the 2020 season as an example):

30 Team Playoffs

This is absolute garbage. This would make it so that the regular season doesn’t matter at all; it would also make it so that the 16-44 Pirates would be in the playoffs.

16 Team Playoffs

Let’s cut the 30 team playoffs in half to the playoff system that happened in the 2020 season. This is the only year that this system would have worked due to the 60 game season. In a normal season, this would also make the regular season pointless as over half of the teams would be in the playoffs.

Even in 2020, this system had obvious flaws. Two teams with a losing record were in the MLB playoffs for the first time in MLB history, terrible teams (Phillies, Mets, Giants) were all in contention, and the 33-27 Yankees were seeded #5 while the 35-25 White Sox were seeded #7. As you may be able to gather, I don’t like this playoff system at all.

12 Team Playoffs

This would include the top two teams from every division. In 2020, this would have included one team with a losing record, and two teams that went 31-29. Those three teams do not deserve to be in. It also would have kept out one 35-25 team, and a 32-28 team. The MLB needs wild cards because of some lackluster divisions.

8 Team Playoffs

I like this system second best. This system would include all of the division winners and one wild card. The more I think about this system, the more I like it. In 2020, it would have kept out one 35-25 team and one 33-27 team. It wouldn’t have any teams with bad records.

6 Team Playoffs

Just division winners? Come on, where’s that advertisement revenue? This system would also keep out two 35-25 teams as well as a 37-23 team that obviously deserved to be in.

4 Team Playoffs

The MLB would need to de-expand to 2 divisions per league where the division winners would both get into the playoffs. Let’s say that the MLB expanded to 32 teams to have an even split. For the purposes of this article, let’s say that these teams did not get into the playoffs. I reconfigured the league to look like this:

American League
AL West:
Mariners
A’s
Angels
Astros
Rangers
Twins
Royals
White Sox
AL East:
Yankees
Rays
Orioles
Blue Jays
Red Sox
Cleveland
Tigers
Expansion Team A

National League
NL West:
Giants
Dodgers
Padres
Diamondbacks
Rockies
Brewers
Cubs
Cardinals
NL East:
Braves
Marlins
Nationals
Mets
Phillies
Pirates
Reds
Expansion Team B

That took a while. In those four divisions, the Braves, Dodgers, Rays, and A’s would have been in, leaving out the Padres, Twins, Cleveland, and White Sox, among others.

2 Team Playoffs

This is no good; it leaves out a ton of teams that should have been in the playoffs.

Now that I’ve gone over why other playoff systems aren’t any good, it’s time to go over why the 10 team playoff system would be better:

– No teams worthy of the playoffs would be left out

– No teams not worthy of the playoffs would be in

– It has the perfect amount of teams for satisfactory ad revenue

I honestly hope that the MLB does not keep the expanded playoffs. In the end, I believe that it’s bad for baseball to expand the playoffs. Thanks for reading.

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BASEBALL NEWS NOW NOTICE

In the past week, Baseball News Now was selected as the #56 baseball blog for 2021. Here is the link to the list.

The Francisco Lindor Trade Shows The Shifting Of Power in The MLB

On January 7, 2021, baseball’s best SS was traded to the Mets in a deal that shocked the baseball world. Also included in the trade was SP Carlos Carrasco. The duo was dealt to the Mets in exchange for prospects Isaiah Greene and Josh Wolf, as well as Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario.

I’m not going to sit back and pretend that nothing happened on January 7th. Major League Baseball’s best shortstop, Francisco Lindor, was traded in a deal that shocked the MLB world. What did Cleveland get in return? An average SS and a young, potential filled IF. But was it really worth it to lose baseball’s best SS?

Cleveland had wanted to trade Lindor for a while. In fact, I wrote an article on it about a year ago but I never published it. Especially after a 2019 season where Cleveland missed the postseason, there were some rumors. In that article, I correctly suspected that Lindor would not be dealt in the 2019-2020 offseason. However, I thought that if Cleveland made the postseason in 2020, Cleveland would not deal Lindor. They made the Wild Card in 2020. So what happened?

First of all, we have to keep in mind that the MLB playoffs were expanded from 5 teams to 8 teams. That meant that reaching the postseason wouldn’t be the best way to measure success. However, they would have been in a normal playoffs at the 4 seed. So why (and I feel like I’m asking this a lot) did Cleveland make such a bold move?

My best guess is to cut payroll. Lindor has a massive contract, and Carrasco has a relatively big contract. The haul from the Mets was a good one, as they received two prospects and an average SS, along with a breakout rookie. Amed Rosario (the average SS) will be Cleveland’s SS next year, an obvious downgrade from the best SS in the MLB. However, Rosario has so much untapped potential that one could lay a railroad from Miami to Anchorage with all of that potential. Rosario was once the #5 prospect in the nation before a solid 2019 and a bad 2020.

Cleveland lost their Gold Glove 2B Cesar Hernandez to free agency, leaving a gap at 2B for Andres Gimenez. The question for Gimenez is if he can continue the production for last year, where he had a 1.1 WAR in 49 games, making 19 appearances at 2B and 23 appearances at SS. Let’s also keep in mind that Gimenez was the #30 prospect and is only 22 years old.

Now that Cleveland has filled in their middle infield with this trade, it’s time to recover from the damages pitching-wise. They lost their #2 SP in Carlos “Cookie” Carrasco, who had a 2.91 ERA in 12 GS. That makes it their second #2 to be traded in a span of about 5 months. First it was Mike Clevinger and now Carrasco. That leaves Zach Plesac to be the #2 and Aaron Civale to be the #3, with Triston McKenzie at the #4 and a wild card at #5. Candidates for the #5 are Adam Plutko and Cal Quantrill, although Quantrill isn’t much of a starter.

Before we can get into the long term effect, let’s look at the short term fallout. For starters, the biggest winners in this trade, besides the Mets, are the White Sox. The White Sox will benefit from Cleveland not being a serious contender, which will in turn boost the White Sox’s chances of winning the AL Central. The Twins will also benefit for the same reason, but the Twins have lost more than they’ve gained in the 2020-2021 offseason which will benefit the White Sox who are on the rise.

This move takes out Cleveland’s #5 and #6 WAR contributors, but we know that Lindor is much better than his 2020 season shows. Carrasco had a season “worse” than Zach Plesac, but WAR can sometimes be iffy. Cesar Hernandez and Carlos Santana were the #4 and #7 WAR contributors for Cleveland, so Cleveland loses their #4 through #7 WAR contributors. That takes out 5.4 WAR, which in a normal season would be 14.6 WAR. They also lose their closer, Brad Hand, who had 0.7 WAR which in a normal season would equate to 1.9 WAR. That means that Cleveland will have lost 16.5 (adjusted) WAR. That’s not it. They also let Oliver Perez and Delino Deshields go, and they also traded Adam Cimber to the Marlins for quite literally nothing.

That batch of players alone is worth 0.7 WAR, which equates to 1.9 WAR. If we add that to the total, we get a final of 18.4 WAR. It’s also worth noting is that Cleveland had 40.5 (adjusted) WAR in total in 2020. That means that Cleveland lost 45.4% of their WAR. That’s not good.

Besides losing 45.4% of their total production, Cleveland lost their most marketable player. Don’t tell me that Shane Bieber is more marketable because Bieber only pitches in one out of every five games. Lindor will excel on a newly contending Mets, so that’s good for him, but it’s an astronomical loss for Cleveland.

In 2020, Baseball America ranked Cleveland’s farm system as the 19th best in the MLB, which is below average. That means that Cleveland won’t have many good prospects to recover with.

I’m not going to give too much speculation as to whether Cleveland can recover, but I’ll say one thing: it won’t be easy. However, I do believe that Cleveland can do it. But if the end goal is the World Series, can they win the World Series with this core? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Thanks for reading.

Baseball is Unfair: A Deep Look At Money In Baseball

It’s no secret that baseball is unfair. If you take a look at the top teams in player payroll, it’s pretty obvious to any average person that baseball success is defined by money. It only makes sense: more money means better players.

I only wish that I could look any person in the eye and say that baseball was fair, but it’s not. There will always be the top tier and the bottom tier of team success and unfortunately that is mainly based on salaries.

Before we get into those four tiers, let’s look at some statistics. Between the 16th and 17th payroll on the payroll rankings, there’s a $29,740,546 difference. That really signifies the drop off between big and small market teams. Below the line that we’ll call that “BS Line” (Big-Small line, yes that was planned), the only apparent teams are the Royals and the Twins, but those are the top two teams below the BS Line.

Above the BS Line is every big market team in the MLB, including the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, and Angels. Below the BS Line is the low budget teams, such as the Orioles, Rays, and A’s. The team with the lowest payroll was the Pirates, with a staggeringly small $31,525,000.

With all of that out of the way, let’s take a look at some graphs.

GRAPH 1: TEAM PAYROLL RANKINGS WITH TOTAL WINS BY TEAM

On the Y Axis are team wins, while the X Axis holds teams and payroll rankings.

When I first compiled these rankings, I was really surprised. After all, it would seem as if total payroll would correspond to wins. To make sure that these results weren’t just because of a weird 2020, I looked at 2019.

GRAPH 2: 2019 TEAM PAYROLL RANKINGS WITH TOTAL WINS BY TEAM

The results of this graph were staggeringly similar to 2020.

What does this mean for baseball? What does this mean for building a team? At this point, there have already been teams using certain strategies to overcome budget problems.

Take the Tampa Bay Rays. The story of the Rays is a sad one. They don’t even have the money to stay in Tampa Bay, much less afford a big contract. We saw that when they traded Blake Snell and let Charlie Morton go. However, they have such a deep prospect pool that it won’t matter; they can make up for Snell and Morton’s total production.

A few months ago, I started work on a writing project looking at building a moneyball team, simulating through Out of The Park Baseball. I successfully built up a team using assorted moneyball strategies. However, there seemed to be a mountain to climb to actually win a championship. This “mountain” prevented me from winning a championship.

Think about this with me in the real world of baseball. In the past 10 or so years, from 2010-2020, there are no small market teams that won a World Series. There was one mid-market team in the Royals, and a relatively big market team in the Cardinals, but beside those two the Giants, Red Sox, Cubs, Astros, Red Sox, Nationals, and Dodgers all won the World Series at least once (the Giants won it 3 times).

There haven’t really been small market teams with sustained success. Think about the mid and small market teams that have won the World Series over the past 20 years. Have they sustained their success?

Think about the Royals directly after they won the World Series: they haven’t had a year with a winning season since.

Even without that much data and only looking at the years 2010-2020, I can make a premature conclusion that Small Market teams can make the playoffs and go deep but not win, Mid-Market teams can win a championship, and Big Market teams can build a dynasty.

So while wins fluctuate with almost no correlation to money, championships have a huge correlation with money.

In a later article, I will hopefully take a look at this in a more focused lense, with more graphs, tables, words, and more explanations. Thanks for reading.

Let’s Talk About My Article Schedule | Website Update

I hate doing these website updates, because that usually means that I haven’t posted in a while. I really hate that. I want to release good, quality articles on a weekly basis but it’s been taking much longer than that.

Ever since December 15 when I released my last article, I’ve been working on this one article, on and off. I’ve lost interest, gained interest, and everything in between. But I’m finally going to release this article.

I really want to release articles on a weekly basis, or maybe every 5 days or so. In a perfect world that would happen. However, as I’ve seen in the past with myself, keeping my article commitments aren’t really my specialties.

Because of this, let me be honest: I don’t think I can release articles on the schedule that I want to. In the near future I might release articles every 2 weeks, or maybe a few more articles per month than just 2. On average I want to have 5 articles released in a month, and hopefully even more than that.

On a completely unrelated note, I want to make it clear that I am open to article requests. You can always email me at baseballnewsnow@gmail.com, for any website inquiries or related matters.

I also want to make it clear that this website is shifting from short articles to longer, more researched articles. This allows me to put out better content (hopefully) on a weekly basis.

Remember to share the website with friends, family, or a person you see on the street. Thanks for reading!