Saturday, November 18, 2017

All Talk and No Action...

Credit:  Rich Schultz, Getty Images
Moving on to the Next Round?…

The Baseball off-season continues to move at a snail’s pace. Of course, things will change as we get past the Thanksgiving holiday and move into December and closer to the Baseball Winter Meetings.

In the meantime, we continue to pick apart every little thing that happens ad nauseum.  We learned this week that Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner not only supported GM Brian Cashman’s decision to sever ways with former manager Joe Girardi, he agreed with it and it has been something that they’ve had talks about for the past several years. Of course, that leads me to believe that it was Steinbrenner’s call and there are details that we may never really know. We do know there were perceived communication issues and that Girardi had failed to connect with the clubhouse, particularly over the last couple of seasons. Given how vocal both Cashman and Steinbrenner have been about the Girardi situation, it seems like there are more issues at play than just communication and connectivity to players. Steinbrenner implied that the Yankees would have made this decision even if the Yankees had won the World Series.  

Although Girardi lasted a decade in the Bronx, he’s now been fired twice by ownership groups that gave scathing departing remarks. Girardi was NL Manager of the Year for the Florida Marlins in 2006, yet he was fired after the season. Then-owner Jeffrey Loria almost fired Girardi on the spot during an August game when Girardi told Loria to stop heckling the home plate umpire. Girardi may have done a decent managing job for the Yankees but you have to think that future teams will take a more cautious approach when/if considering him for managerial openings. I don’t know Girardi so I cannot attest to his personality beyond what I’ve seen during his pre- and post-game interviews but there’s something there, if I was an owner, that would give me pause about Girardi. I have no hard feelings against the man and I hope that he gets another opportunity in MLB but it was clearly time for a change.

Credit:  John Raoux, Associated Press
Upon the conclusion of the GM Meetings in Orlando, Florida, this week, GM Brian Cashman resumed his managerial interviews.  

Former Yankee Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens was in the Bronx on Thursday. I really like Meulens. I know that a lot of people have scoffed at the guy and he has no managerial experience, but I like his communication style (handles himself very well in interviews) and he is clearly a guy that knows baseball and relationships.  He is fluent with multiple languages including a little bit of Japanese which gives him the ability to talk directly to the majority of players without the assistance of interpreters. He enjoys a great relationship with shortstop Didi Gregorius, whom he managed in the WBC Classic. Meulens has been part of three World Series championships in San Francisco.  

Credit:  ESPN Internet Ventures
Cashman also spoke with former Yankee Aaron Boone on Friday. Boone is best remembered for his home run to the beat the Boston Red Sox in the 2003 American League Championship Series, a year before the Sox finally ended the Curse of the Bambino. It was Boone’s 2004 knee injury, suffered in a pre-season basketball game, that led the Yankees to their acquisition of Alex Rodriguez and the drama that ensued. Boone, as everyone knows, comes from a family rich in MLB tradition, with a grandfather, father and brother that were all Major Leaguers. There’s  no doubt he is an intelligent guy but like Meulens, no managerial experience, and unlike Meulens, no coaching experience.  


I think either Meulens or Boone could do a good job if they are surrounded by the right coaches. I kind of like the idea of using either Al Pedrique or Eric Wedge as the new manager’s bench coach. I would not be disappointed to see Rob Thomson return to that role. It appears that Los Angeles Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward is next up for a managerial interview. I don’t really know much about Woodward so I don’t have any opinions about him.  At this point, I clearly prefer Meulens and Boone over him. Not sure if Woodward will be the last of the candidates before we start Round 2 or if there will be more guys paraded through the Bronx.  The next round will feature a trip to Florida to meet with the Steinbrenner family.  I’d probably take the candidates by Trinity Memorial Gardens in Trinity, FL. If the ground rumbles (the Boss turning over in his grave), you know the candidate is probably not the one.  

I am anxious for the Yankees to make a decision, but I understand they are under no pressure to hurry and can afford to take their time. Outside of Shohei Otani, they do not figure to be big players in Free Agency despite the greedy nature of us, the fans. CC Sabathia has already said that he’d return despite not knowing who the next manager will be. So, for now, we wait…

All Rise for the Judge!…

Congratulations to Aaron Judge for being named AL Rookie of the Year, as expected, and his second place finish in the AL MVP voting. I expected the AL MVP vote to be much closer than it really was. Jose Altuve took 27 of 30 first place votes with only two going to Judge. There was some outrage from the media but the class exhibited by Judge was so professional and heartfelt (as we have come to expect with the big slugger). After Altuve won, Judge tweeted: “M-V-P!!! Nobody more deserving than you!! Congrats on an unforgettable 2017!! @JoseAltuve27”. Judge makes me proud that he is a Yankee every day.

Credit:  SI.com
Yankee Dreams extinguished…

The Yankees lost a long-time farmhand and one-time top prospect when outfielder Mason Williams signed a minor league free agent deal with the Cincinnati Reds. I am sorry that it never worked out for Williams in Pinstripes. I had very high hopes at one point that never came to fruition. Hopefully, for his sake, the change of scenery helps him achieve some the success that had once seemed inevitable for the talented 26-year-old.  

Credit:  Jim McIsaac, Getty Images
Another former Yankees prospect, a few years removed from the organization, pitcher Manny Banuelos, has signed a minors deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. It doesn’t seem like that long ago when Williams and Banuelos were the top prospects with the Yankees. Of course Banuelos was part of the Killer B’s (the trio of Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman). 


The only Killer B that made it was Betances. Like Williams, I hope that Banuelos can find success in Chavez Ravine. He has failed to impress the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Angels so maybe fourth time’s a charm. I really liked Banuelos as a young prospect and had hoped to see him achieve MLB success. 

And we continue to wait. Go Yankees!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Scott Boras, STFU!


When Scott Boras talks it seems that a lot of people around Major League Baseball, both the fans and the people directly associated with the game, tend to listen which has proven to be a great power for the super-agent over the years. The problem with some people is when they learn that they let that power and their ego go to their head and it ruins them. Now I’m not saying this has happened yet with Boras or that it will happen at all but I will say one thing, his comments on Derek Jeter and the purchase of the Miami Marlins really kind of rubbed me the wrong way. It made me want to scream, it made me want to head down to the GM Meetings and tell Boras to simply “STFU!” 

Boras was very critical of Jeter and his group of investors that purchased the Miami Marlins and their decision to slash payroll by subsequently trading away Giancarlo Stanton. Boras was quoted as saying the following in a USA Today interview from the GM meetings: 

“When you’re looking at building a market and you have an All-Star outfield with all he dynamics,’’ Boras said, “and you have a club being purchased at $1.2 billion, what happens is that you got a marketplace saying the new owners are coming in here and saying they’re making the franchise better. We’re excited. And then where we are now creating a plan where we are not going to win five or six years.

“We’re going to basically reduce our payroll. We’re going to rid our team of our substantial stars. We’re going to set up this five-, six-year plan. We basically have a system in baseball where we have sales of franchises, and we have a reduction.

“Basically the idea is to reduce the debt service to pay for the franchise by reducing all major league payroll, not being competitive, basically using the argument that we’re going to build a successful team through development.

“That has nothing to do with the fans. It has nothing to do with winning. It has nothing to do with anything other than a financial plan that suits ownership without consideration of the impact it has on Major League Baseball.’’ 


So let’s discuss this. Is Boras more worried about the fans of Miami and the fans of Major League Baseball, or is he more worried about himself and how a trade of the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich or whoever else the Marlins decide to trade could affect his clients on the free agent market this season, and how that could affect his wallet? Call me pessimistic but I am leaning towards the latter. I am leaning towards Boras knowing that he has that platform and the power to say and change things around the league during this time of the year and I think that Boras is taking full advantage of that. Who could blame him? I don’t, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to agree with his actions either. 

IBWAA SELECTS ALTUVE, STANTON IN MVP VOTE

IBWAA SELECTS ALTUVE, STANTON IN MVP VOTE
 
Los Angeles – The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) announced the winners in its Most Valuable Player category Thursday, with the Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve winning the group’s American League award, and Giancarlo Stanton, of the Miami Marlins, being selected in the National League.
 
Altuve received 107 first-place votes (72.79%) and 1838 points while being named on 146 of 147 ballots (99.32%). Others receiving first-place votes include Aaron Judge (28), Mike Trout (7) and Francisco Lindor (2).
 
Stanton received 58 first-place votes (40%) and 1492 points while being named on 144 of 145 (97.96%) ballots. Others receiving first-place votes include Paul Goldschmidt (25), Nolan Arenado (20), Joey Votto (16), Charlie Blackmon (15) and Anthony Rendon (7).
 
Election results are as follows:
 
AL MVP
 
1st Place:                  Jose Altuve, Houston Astros – 1838 points
2nd Place:                 Aaron Judge , New York Yankees – 1341
3rd Place :                 
 Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 1067
4th Place:                 Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians – 997
5th Place:                  Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians – 562
6th Place:                  Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians – 389
7th Place:                  Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox – 376 
8th Place:                  Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox – 280
9th Place:                 George Springer, Houston Astros – 207
10th Place:                Andrelton Simmons, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 202
 
NL MVP
 
1st Place:                  Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins – 1492 points
2nd Place:                 
Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks – 1115 
3rd Place
:                  Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds – 1025
4th Place:                  Charlie Blackmon , Colorado Rockies – 1003
5th Place:                  Nolan Arenado , Colorado Rockies – 959
6th Place:                  Anthony Rendon , Washington Nationals – 577
7th Place:                  Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs – 512
8th Place:                  Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers – 253
9th Place:                  Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers – 243
10th Place:                Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals – 185
 
Ballot tabulations by Brian Wittig & Associates, using the Borda Method.
 
The IBWAA was established July 4, 2009 to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). Voting for full season awards takes place in September of each year, with selections being announced in November. The IBWAA also holds a Hall of Fame election in December of each year, with results being announced the following January.
 
Among others, IBWAA members include Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports; Craig Calcaterra, NBC Sports Hardball Talk; Bill Chuck, Billy-Ball.com; Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Jon Heyman and Jesse Spector, Today’s Knuckleball; Danny Knobler, Bleacher Report; Kevin Kennedy; Kostya Kennedy, Sports Illustrated; Brian Kenny, MLBN; Will Leitch, Sports on Earth; Bruce Markusen, Hardball Times; Ross Newhan; Dayn Perry and Matt Snyder, CBSSports.com; Tom Hoffarth and J.P. Hoornstra Los Angeles Daily News; Pedro Moura, Los Angeles Times; Tracy Ringolsby, MLB.com; Ken Rosenthal, TheAthletic.com; Eno Sarris, FanGraphs; David Schoenfield of ESPN.com; Jim Bowden and Bill Arnold.
 
Association membership is open to any and all Internet baseball writers, with a $75 lifetime fee. Discounts for groups and scholarships are available. Members must be 18 years of age to apply.

For more information please visit 
www.ibwaa.com.

Contact:
 
Howard Cole
Founding Director, IBWAA
baseballsavvy@aol.com

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thunder Extend Netting At ARM & HAMMER Park for 2018 Season

Thunder Extend Netting At ARM & HAMMER Park for 2018 Season
Extended Netting (1)

The Thunder, presented by NJM Insurance, are pleased to announce that the backstop netting at ARM & HAMMER Park has been extended for the 2018 season.

The backstop net at ARM & HAMMER Park will be the first in Minor League Baseball to use the green MLB-exclusive knotless netting. The backstop netting will extend in a triangle shape to the end of the dugout on both sides of the ballpark.

"Following the recommendations of Major League Baseball, we explored many options for how we could comply," said Thunder GM/COO Jeff Hurley. "Fan safety is a top priority for us and we found this netting from C & H Baseball was the perfect balance of safety without affecting sightlines for our fans."

The project has been completed for Opening Day at ARM & HAMMER Park as the franchise prepares for it's 25th season.

"Providing a great ballpark experience includes ensuring the safety of spectators," said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. "I applaud Thunder management for taking this step to further protect fans without detracting from their ability to enjoy the game."

C & H Baseball, based in Lakewood Ranch, FL, has produced baseball field equipment, backstop netting, and stadium padding design, production, and installation for over 49 years.

Your Thunder, presented by NJM Insurance, will begin the 2018 season, the 25th in franchise history, on Thursday, April 5 when they host the Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco Giants). Season tickets, Pic-A-Plans, Mini Plans and Group Tickets are on sale now at www.TrentonThunder.com and by phone at 609-394-3300.

--THUNDER--

“Curacao Kid” Andruw Jones Signs on for RiverDogs Hot Stove Banquet

“Curacao Kid” Andruw Jones Signs on for RiverDogs Hot Stove Banquet
Braves slugger and ten-time gold glover will be the featured guest at the 14th annual event

CHARLESTON, S.C. – One of the great all-around players of his generation, a winner of ten consecutive gold gloves, ten straight 20-homer seasons, and a 2005 Silver Slugger Award, former Braves great Andruw Jones will be the featured guest at the Charleston RiverDogs’ 14th Annual Hot Stove Banquet & Auction presented by Tom McQueeney State Farm on Friday, February 2 at the Charleston Marriott Crystal Ballroom.

The RiverDogs, the Class-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, welcome a former member of the Braves for the eighth time and a former Yankee, also for an eighth instance in the annual event’s history. The Hot Stove Banquet has become one of the most highly anticipated occasions by RiverDogs fans each season.  Past speakers include Bobby Cox, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Ryne Sandberg, Wade Boggs, and Goose Gossage in an event that brings baseball fans together to celebrate the magic of America’s pastime.

Jones, a five-time All-Star, will share behind-the-scenes stories, answer questions, and pose for pictures. The event will open with a cocktail hour and silent auction that includes baseball memorabilia from past Hot Stove speakers, collectibles from RiverDogs Director of Fun Bill Murray, vacation packages, and more, beginning at 6pm.

Tom McQueeney State Farm Insurance is the presenting sponsor for the 11th consecutive year. Proceeds from the Hot Stove Banquet benefit The Citadel, College of Charleston and Charleston Southern baseball scholarship funds.

Over an accomplished 17-year big league career, Jones collected over 1,900 hits and slugged 434 home runs while batting .254/.337/.486 with 152 stolen bases. He spent 12 years with Atlanta after signing as an international free agent at age 16 with the Braves out of Willemstad, Curacao in 1993, and finished his career in pinstripes over two seasons with the Yankees.

Inserted as a regular his rookie year in 1996, Jones made his Major League debut as just a 19-year-old, and helped the Braves win a second consecutive NL pennant in his first of ten years in which he both won a gold glove and produced at least 20 homers from 1998-2007. Jones broke out as arguably the game’s biggest young star during his rookie season after Braves GM Mark Schuerholz dealt away Mark Whitten to the Mariners following a World Series title in 1995, confident in the 19-year-old’s ability. Jones was named the top prospect in the South Atlantic League the year prior after leading the Class A circuit in runs scored (104) and stolen bases (56) while batting .277, and being named the Braves’ Minor League Player of the Year.

The “Curacao Kid” played a crucial role in Atlanta’s 1996 run that just fell short, including becoming the youngest player to hit a home run in the October Classic, taking Andy Pettitte deep in his first at-bat of Game One before adding a second inning dinger off Brian Boehringer to etch his name into history as the first player since 1972 to hit home runs in their first two World Series at-bats.

Jones had his best season as a pro in 2005 when he hit .263 with 51 homers that led all of baseball and 128 RBI to earn the Hank Aaron Award as the National League’s top hitter, Silver Slugger accolades, and a second-place finish in the NL MVP race behind Albert Pujols. The 6’1” slugger’s age-28 season was the peak of an impressive tenure in the Majors that included a pair of 40-homer seasons (seven 30 HR seasons), five 100-RBI campaigns, and four years in which he scored at least 100 runs. His ten career gold glove awards in the outfield are bested only by Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente who hold 12 each.
Individual tickets to the Hot Stove Banquet are $75 and can be purchased online at riverdogs.com and rileyparkevents.com. Groups can reserve a table of eight for $600 and a table for ten at $750 by contacting the RiverDogs Special Event Department at (843) 577-DOGS (3647).
RiverDogs season tickets, half-season ticket packages, and flex plans, including options to the Riley Park Club, are now available for the 2018 campaign. The RiverDogs begin the season on April 12 when they host the Kannapolis Intimidators at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park, preceded by a weeklong road trip to open the year and an exhibition opener at The Joe on April 3 against Myrtle Beach. Ticket information can be secured by contacting the box office at (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com/tickets.


--RIVERDOGS--

Previous Hot Stove Speakers
2017 – Tom Glavine
2016 – Ryne Sandberg
2015 – Goose Gossage & Brett Gardner
2014 – Phil Niekro & Javy Lopez
2013 – Wade Boggs
2012 – John Smoltz
2011 – Bobby Cox
2010 – Dale Murphy
2009 – Gaylord Perry
2008 – Jeff Francoeur
2007 – Tommy John
2006 – Jim Bouton
2005 – Bobby Richardson

Thunder Welcome Nine To New Front Office Positions

Thunder Welcome Nine To New Front Office Positions


Lydia Rios has been promoted to VP, Marketing & Sponsorships
The 25th season of baseball at ARM & HAMMER Park is right around the corner and the Thunder, presented by NJM Insurance, are pleased to welcome nine members of the organization to new positions for the 2018 season and beyond.

A lifelong resident of Hamilton Square, NJ, Lydia Rios has been promoted to VP, Marketing & Sponsorships. Rios joined the Thunder prior to the 2015 season and has overseen substantial increases in sponsorship revenue in three seasons leading the department.

"Lydia has been a fantastic addition to our team," said Thunder GM/COO Jeff Hurley. "Her passion and energy for life is infectious to our entire staff. Her always sunny attitude inspires every person on our staff from full-time employees to assistants to interns to game day staff to smile and have fun while working here. Her previous experience working in the marketplace has made her an indispensable leader in our sales efforts."

Within the Corporate Sales Department, Vince Marcucci has been promoted to Director, Corporate & Community Affairs. Marcucci joined the Thunder prior to the 2015 season as a Ticket Sales Account Representative and has since taken the reigns of the team's Community Affairs efforts and sits as the Executive Director of Grand Slam We Care, the team's 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Marcucci is a member of the Princeton Mercer Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau's Steering Committee, serves as the Vice-Chair of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals, a member of the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Committee and serves on the Board of Directors for Advancing Opportunities. Marcucci was honored by the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce as a Champion for Business on October 5, 2017.

In the Creative Services department, the Thunder are pleased to welcome Deanna Lugo and Dylan DeSimine to new positions for the 2018 season. Lugo joined the team prior to the 2016 season as Production Manager and was promoted to Director, Creative Services in July of 2017. As Director, Lugo oversees all production and creative elements of the Thunder entertainment experience as well as the creation of all internal and external marketing materials for the organization. Originally from Ocean City, NJ, Lugo holds a bachelor's degree in Radio/Film/TV from Rowan University. Prior to joining the Thunder, Lugo spent time working for NFL Films in their camera department and NBC Sports Philadelphia as a Studio Technician.

DeSimine joins the Thunder after spending the 2017 season with the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Kansas City Royals, Advanced-A) as Web & Creative Services Assistant and Producer of the Rocks Report, a biweekly show about the team. DeSimine graduated from Rowan University with a Film & Broadcasting degree in 2016, has spent time working with the Production Department at the Philadelphia Eagles and can work a Star Wars reference into almost any coversation he takes part in.

The Thunder are pleased to welcome Jason Smith as Head Groundskeeper after one season working with the Baltimore Orioles Groundscrew. While with the Orioles, Smith worked under former Thunder Groundskeeper, Nicole Sherry, and will embark on his ninth season working in turf management. Smith was raised in Ames, Iowa and graduated from O'Gorman High School in 2004 (Sioux Falls, SD). While in college at the University of Northern Iowa, Smith played baseball and had Tommy John surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews before beginning his career in field and turf management with the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Minnesota Twins, Class-A).

In the Ticket and Group Sales Department, the Thunder are pleased to welcome Freddie Strebeck and Tommy Kay as Ticket Sales Account Representatives and Kevin Brady as Group Sales Account Executive.

Strebeck, a 2017 graduate of West Chester University with a degree in Communications and Journalism, hails from South Brunswick, NJ and joins the full-time staff after spending the 2017 season as a Front Office Intern and Group Sales Coordinator. As a student, he completed a Social Media Marketing internship with the Rams' Athletic Department. Strebeck, an avid sports fan, attended the clinching game of the both the 2008 and 2009 World Series.

Kay joins the Thunder after spending 2017 with the Wilmington Blue Rocks as a Ticket Sales Assistant. Kay hails from Springfield, NJ and graduated from Temple University with a degree in Sport and Recreation Management. While at Temple, Kay completed internships with the Philadelphia Soul and Burlington County Division of Parks.

Brady joined the team as a Ticket Sales Assistant in 2016 and joined the full-time staff as a Ticket Sales Account Representative during the following season. Originally from Stow, Massachusetts, Brady joined the Thunder after serving as an Event Operations Intern for the Philadelphia Union (MLS) and a Game Day Operations Intern for the Philadelphia Soul (Arena Football League) while he completed his degree in Marketing & Management from Penn State Abington in 2015. Brady is an avid New England Patriots fan and much to his disappointment, shares no relation to Tom.

Lauren Cox joined the team as Office Manager in May after graduating from Temple University's Sport and Recreation Management in 2016. Cox comes to the Thunder after completing internships with the Men's and Women's US Open Golf Tournaments and the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs (Philadelphia Philles, Class-AAA) in 2014, and with Comcast Spectacor in 2015 and 2016 in talent acquisition and employee engagement. Originally from East Windsor, NJ, Cox lists her favorite foods as pizza, pierogies and pickles.

Your Thunder, presented by NJM Insurance, will begin the 2018 season, the 25th in franchise history, on Thursday, April 5 when they host the Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco Giants). Season tickets, Pick-A-Plans, Mini Plans and Group Tickets are on sale now at www.TrentonThunder.com and by phone at 609-394-3300.


--THUNDER--

Judge, Montgomery Named To 2017 Topps All-Star Rookie Team

Judge, Montgomery Named To 2017 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
Fans can get exclusive trading cards of the ‘Rookie Cup’ team on Topps.com

NEW YORK, November 7, 2017 -- Yankee standouts Aaron Judge and Jordan Montgomery were today named among the 11 MLB players selected to the Topps All-Star Rookie Team.
The right fielder Judge, the presumptive candidate for A.L. Rookie of the Year and a finalist for league MVP, slashed .284/.422/.627 with 52 home runs and 114 RBI in his first full season in the big leagues. The 25-year-old also won the Home Run Derby and was selected to the All-Star Game.

Montgomery, 24, a surprise addition to the rotation out of spring training, pitched to a 9-7 record and 3.88 ERA, starting 29 games and tossing 155 1/3 innings, both third on the squad.

“This is one of the most impressive Topps MLB All-Star Rookie Team classes I have seen,” said David Leiner, Vice President and General Manager of Topps North American Sports & Entertainment. “It shows how incredibly popular baseball was this year with its young breakout stars. They join an incredible group of players who have won the Topps Rookie Cup in the past and will have the special logo appear on their Topps trading cards next season.”

For the second year in a row, baseball fans can get special TOPPS NOW® cards of the Topps MLB All-Star Rookie Team immediately with an exclusive set available on Topps.com.

Two other MLB teams had multiple players named to the Topps All-Star Rookie: the Boston Red Sox with outfielder Andrew Benintendi and third baseman Rafael Devers, and the Milwaukee Brewers with catcher Manny Pina and relief pitcher Josh Hader.

The members of the Topps MLB All-Star Rookie Team will have their 2018 flagship trading cards feature a “Rookie Cup” logo depicting the honor.

Past honorees of the Topps MLB All-Star Rookie Team have included former MVPs such as Buster Posey, Ichiro, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Cal Ripken Jr. In addition, more than 20 former Topps MLB All-Star Rookie Team members have been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame including all three 2017 HOF inductees Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez.


Here's the full list of the 2017 Topps All-Star Rookie Team:
C – Manny Pina, Brewers
1B – Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
2B – Ian Happ, Cubs
SS – Paul DeJong, Cardinals
3B – Rafael Devers, Red Sox
OF – Aaron Judge, Yankees
OF – Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox
OF – Trey Mancini, Orioles
RHP – German Marquez, Rockies
LHP – Jordan Montgomery, Yankees
RP – Josh Hader, Brewers\

IBWAA SELECTS KLUBER, SCHERZER IN CY YOUNG VOTE

IBWAA SELECTS KLUBER, SCHERZER IN CY YOUNG VOTE
 
Los Angeles – The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) announced the winners in its Cy Young category Wednesday, with the Cleveland Indians’ Corey Kluber winning the group’s American League prize, and Max Scherzer, of the Washington Nationals, being selected in the National League, both for the second consecutive year.
 
Kluber received 118 first-place votes (80.27%) and 942 points while being named on all 146 ballots. Others receiving first-place votes include Chris Sale (29).
 
Scherzer received 91 first place votes (61.90%) and 846 points while being named on 146 of 147 ballots (99.32%). Others receiving first-place votes include Clayton Kershaw (50), Zack Greinke (2) and Corey Knebel (2).
 
Election results are as follows:
 
AL Cy Young:
 
1st Place:                  Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians – 942 points
2nd Place:                 
Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox – 653
3rd Place:                  
Luis Severino, New York Yankees – 328
4th Place:                 Carlos Carassco, Cleveland Indians – 178
5th Place:                 Justin Verlander, Houston Astros – 129
 
NL Cy Young:
 
1st Place:                  Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals – 846 points
2nd Place:                 
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers – 658 
3rd Place
:                  Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks – 323
4th Place:                 Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals – 276
5th Place:                 Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals – 127
 
Ballot tabulations by Brian Wittig & Associates, using the Borda Method.
 
The IBWAA was established July 4, 2009 to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). Voting for full season awards takes place in September of each year, with selections being announced in November. The IBWAA also holds a Hall of Fame election in December of each year, with results being announced the following January.
 
Among others, IBWAA members include Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports; Craig Calcaterra, NBC Sports Hardball Talk; Bill Chuck, Billy-Ball.com; Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Jon Heyman and Jesse Spector, Today’s Knuckleball; Danny Knobler, Bleacher Report; Kevin Kennedy; Kostya Kennedy, Sports Illustrated; Brian Kenny, MLBN; Will Leitch, Sports on Earth; Bruce Markusen, Hardball Times; Ross Newhan; Dayn Perry and Matt Snyder, CBSSports.com; Tom Hoffarth and J.P. Hoornstra Los Angeles Daily News; Pedro Moura, Los Angeles Times; Tracy Ringolsby, MLB.com; Ken Rosenthal, TheAthletic.com; Eno Sarris, FanGraphs; David Schoenfield of ESPN.com; Jim Bowden and Bill Arnold.
 
Association membership is open to any and all Internet baseball writers, with a $75 lifetime fee. Discounts for groups and scholarships are available. Members must be 18 years of age to apply.

For more information please visit 
www.ibwaa.com.

Contact:
 
Howard Cole
Founding Director, IBWAA
baseballsavvy@aol.com

IBWAA SELECTS FRANCONA, LOVULLO IN MANAGER OF THE YEAR VOTE

IBWAA SELECTS FRANCONA, LOVULLO IN MANAGER OF THE YEAR VOTE
 
Los Angeles – The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) announced the winners in its Manager of the Year category Tuesday, with the Cleveland Indians’ Terry Francona winning the group’s American League award, and Torey Lovullo, of the Arizona Diamondbacks, being selected in the National League.
 
Francona received 57 first-place votes (39.04%) and 468 points while being named on 134 of 146 ballots (91.16%). Others receiving first-place votes include Paul Molitor (64), A.J Hinch (13), Joe Girardi (9) and Mike Scoiscia (2).
 
Lovullo received 75 first-place votes (51.72%) and 477 points while being named on 121 of 145 ballots (82.31%). Others receiving first-place votes include Dave Roberts (27), Bud Black (14) and Dusty Baker (9).
 
Election results are as follows:
 
AL Manager:
 
1st Place:                  Terry Francona, Cleveland Indians – 468 points
2nd Place:                 Paul Molitor, Minnesota Twins 
– 421
3rd Place :                  
A.J. Hinch, Houston Astros – 247
 
NL Manager:
 
1st Place:                  Torey Lovullo , Arizona Diamondbacks – 477 points
2nd Place :                 
Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers – 250
3rd Place:                  Bud Black, Colorado Rockies – 218
 
Ballot tabulations by Brian Wittig & Associates, using the Borda Method.
 
The IBWAA was established July 4, 2009 to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). Voting for full season awards takes place in September of each year, with selections being announced in November. The IBWAA also holds a Hall of Fame election in December of each year, with results being announced the following January.
 
Association membership is open to any and all Internet baseball writers, with a $75 lifetime fee. Discounts for groups and scholarships are available. Members must be 18 years of age to apply.

For more information please visit 
www.ibwaa.com.

Contact:
 
Howard Cole
Founding Director, IBWAA
baseballsavvy@aol.com

This Day In New York Yankees History 11/16: Yankees,Yomiuri Giants & Hideki Matsui


On this day in 2002 the New York Yankees and the Japanese League Yomiuri Giants sign a deal that creates a partnership between the two biggest teams in their respected leagues. Both teams hope to benefit from improved scouting, marketing, and other benefits that will help both teams. Enter Hideki Matsui in 2003.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Shohei Otani the Two-Way Player? That Scare Anyone Else?


The New York Yankees and all of Major League Baseball are simply salivating impatiently at the possibility of adding Shohei Otani to their rosters this offseason but at what cost? Don’t get me wrong I am driving the Otani fan club tour bus and I want the Yankees to do almost anything they have to in order to sign the 23-year old “Babe Ruth of Japan” but I would be lying if I said the thought of Otani potentially being a two-player player in the states didn’t scare the absolute crap out of me.

The Nippon Ham Fighters have agreed to post Otani this winter and the right-hander has selected Nez Balelo of CAA Sports to represent him so what am I so worried about? It certainly isn’t the potential $20 million posting fee nor is it the roughly $3.25 - $3.5 million in salary for six seasons of control of Otani but it is the fact that any team that signs him will potentially have to offer him the ability to not only pitch, but to hit as well in MLB. Now unless an American League team takes a huge risk and does that, the Yankees included, Otani is all but going to a National League team you would think. Now don’t get me wrong I would let him personally, and I think the Yankees will ultimately let him DH a few games a week when he isn’t pitching, but thoughts of Chein-Ming Wang rounding the bases in Interleague play and essentially destroying his heel and his career in the process are flowing fluidly through my head when I think about the possibility.

Otani has already hinted at wanting to hit at the Major League level including a quote this week from the USA Today where Otani said “there are still so many things I’m lacking, and I want to put myself in an environment where I can improve. Hopefully I can go to a club that suits my way of thinking.” Translation, I want to hit and pitch and if that’s not okay with you then let me know and I will go elsewhere. At least 15 teams will allow him to hit in some capacity with pitchers hitting for themselves in the National League so the Yankees will have to do something to set themselves apart. With international spending restrictions and such the way they are now the team cannot simply blow everyone and anyone out of the water, the team has to make promises they may not be entirely comfortable with including the possibility of having a two-way player.

Now let’s look at things and let’s look at the worst possible scenario, Otani gets hurt. The Yankees, again, would have six years of team control so losing Otani for a season would hurt, but it would not be the end of the world for either party. If Otani were hurt more seriously then the Yankees would merely be out a $20 million posting fee, which is a wash regardless, and less than $4 million in salary. The Yankees have wasted more on less. I’m not saying don’t sign Otani and promise him the world, do it 10 times out of 10, but I can’t say it doesn’t worry me just a tad.