Wednesday, April 5, 2017

TGP Predicts 2017: The World Series

The drought is over and the Cleveland Indians are your 2017 World Series Champions!! Short, sweet and to the point but that’s how I feel. The Indians are a young team, a deep team and an experienced team after taking the Chicago Cubs to the brink in seven games in the 2016 World Series. Behind the arms of Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, Andrew Miller and others the Cleveland Indians are just going to be too tough for anyone to handle in my opinion this season.

Don’t get me wrong, the Washington Nationals are tough and they will let the Indians know that they have been in a fight but the bullpen for the Nats may be the difference maker. Without a true closer and without a deep and dominant bullpen that is capable of giving five-plus shutout innings of work on any given night I find it hard to believe that Bryce Harper and company will be able to keep up over a seven game series.

I think this series goes at least six games and may go seven games but at the end of the day I think the World Series championship goes back to Cleveland, finally. The Indians paid their dues last season as the watched Chicago celebrate breaking their curse and drought and now it’s time for redemption. Let me be the first to congratulate the 2017 Cleveland Indians on their World Series victory.

It's Just Money...

A few days ago, the Associated Press reported that the New York Yankees had fallen to third in total payroll behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Detroit Tigers.  The AP report put the Yankees 2017 Payroll at $195 million.

Researching another sports contract site (, it appears that the Yankees may still hold second place by a few million.  Spotrac has the total Yankees payroll at $201,539,699.  The figure includes not only the dead contract for Alex Rodriguez (referred to as Retained Salary) of $21 million, but also $5.5 million that the Yankees are paying toward the contract for Houston Astros starting catcher Brian McCann.

There is also money allocated to Ruben Tejada and Ji-Man Choi that count toward the total payroll even though they are not on the major league roster.

CC Sabathia is the highest paid Yankee at $25 million.  But the killer is the total of $34,142,857 the Yankees spend to have the luxury of carrying Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Headley on the roster (ugh!).  

According to Spotrac, the Boston Red Sox actually have the third highest payroll (just more than $50,000 above the Tigers).  The Red Sox carry the most dollars for “buried” contracts (players currently in the minor leagues) at just over $22 million for Rusney Castillo and Allen Craig.

I had assumed that the Yankees had the most dead contracts with the heavy A-Rod cost, but I was wrong.  The Dodgers have over $38 million, with the majority going toward former outfielder Carl Crawford who is slightly more expensive than A-Rod).  

When you look at just the 2017 cost of the 25-man roster, the Yankees fall to fourth at $168 million although just a couple of million dollars separate them from the leaders (Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, and Detroit Tigers).  The Dodgers fell to seventh with just under $156 million.  

It’s amazing but as of right now, the Yankees are tenth on total payroll for 2018 with $104 million committed.  The plan is playing out exactly as prescribed by Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner.  As long as the young Baby Bombers continue to thrive, it should make the possibility of Bryce Harper in Pinstripes more than just a Pinstriped Dream.

CC Sabathia did it.  He pitched his finest opening start in eight seasons with the Yankees to pick up his first win of the year, 5-0 over the Tampa Bay Rays.  CC went 5 strong innings, while only allowing 3 hits, no runs and 2 walks.  He struck out 2.  By the 4th inning, CC was sweating so profusely, it seemed liked it was raining inside of the domed Tropicana Field.  Whatever it takes.

Ronald Torreyes was the unlikely first Yankee to homer this year when he connected for a two run shot off Rays pitcher Jake Odorizzi in the 3rd inning.  I would have guessed anybody but Torreyes, but I am glad that he is proving me wrong.  

Things got a little dicey in the 8th.  Jonathan Holder allowed a couple of baserunners and was pulled for Dellin Betances who walked the first batter he faced to load the bases.  Fortunately, he worked out of trouble and the Yankees escaped the inning without allowing any runs.  

I don’t want to criticize Manager Joe Girardi, but I would have gone with Bryan Mitchell for a second inning rather than bringing in Tyler Clippard in the 7th.  Mitchell, in relief of Sabathia, only needed 9 pitches to record three outs in the 6th.  Bringing in Clippard felt too “formula driven”.  I would have pitched Mitchell in the 7th to give me the option of Clippard or Betances in the 8th.  Plus, if Mitchell is in competition for the fifth rotation spot, it's best to keep him stretched out.  Oh well, it worked out so I’m not going to complain and Girardi knows the pen better than I do.

Aroldis Chapman was his usual stellar self in the 9th even though it was a non-save situation.  It was his first regular season game since winning the World Series last fall.  He looks much better in the Yankee Road Gray uni over Cubs gear.

For the game, Matt Holliday added a RBI in the third.  It was an unusual play in that the Rays left fielder Peter Bourjos, a newcomer to Tropicana Field, lost sight of the ball in the rafters and it fell for a double.  Chase Headley also homered and drove in a total of 2 runs.  Gary Sanchez had another 0-for-5 day, with 2 strikeouts.  The strikeouts that Aaron Judge has eliminated have seemed to found their way to Gary’s bat.  

The Yankees can take the 3-game series in today’s getaway game with the Rays.  Michael Pineda gets the start and will face right-hander Alex Cobb in the 7:10 pm EST game.  Good thing the Yankees have the day off tomorrow with the travel to Baltimore, Maryland.

Have a great Wednesday!