Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Boring Winter Ahead: Watch the 2001 World Series Game Three HERE

Game 3 of the 2001 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Yankees, Nathan Eovaldi Avoid Arbitration

Fantasy Baseball: Who are the Colorado Rockies?

We’re about 30 days or so away from pitchers and catchers reporting to their various teams spring training camps which means we are about 30 days away from Fantasy Baseball season and your Fantasy Baseball draft. I personally like to do the draft a little closer to April so you know when you’re drafting who is injured, who looks like they are going to make the team and who is going to find themselves without a club to start the season but that’s just me and to each their own. With this in mind this is why I find myself starting earlier and earlier on my draft preparations and Fantasy Baseball advice blog posts, a blog post like the one below covering the Colorado Rockies.

In this post we won’t cover Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, D.J. LeMahieu or Carlos Gonzalez as they are primetime Fantasy Baseball players but we will cover a few sleepers and a few players that can bring you home a league championship. Players like the recently acquired Gerardo Parra, the multiple position eligible power hitting Mark Reynolds and Jose Reyes.

Parra landed a nice deal with Colorado after having a career season with the Milwaukee Brewers and Baltimore Orioles in 2015. Parra posted career highs in batting average, .291, home runs, 14, and runs scored with 83 and those numbers should improve in the thin air inside Coors Field. Another hitter who should see vast improvements in his power numbers is Reynolds who is your stereotypical home run or nothing type hitter. Reynolds, who is eligible at first base and third base, is going to strike out 200 times a season and is going is hit about .230 with marginal defense at both positions but he has true 20-30 home run power, especially in Coors Field, over the course of a season.

Reyes did not seem very comfortable nor very happy in Colorado last season after his trade from the Toronto Blue Jays. Now he’s facing a potential suspension from his arrest on domestic violence charges and could be one of the first to be suspended under MLB’s domestic violence policy. What does this mean for you? Reyes may go down to the final round or two in your draft, especially if you draft before the suspensions are announced. Even in a down year he could provide true value for a shortstop or second baseman, especially with your last pick or two. If his suspension is lengthy you can always place him on the waiver wire without losing much from your core squad but if the suspension is, say, 25 games you could get the steal of your 2016 Draft.

That’s all I’ve got for now, I hope this helps you dominate the later rounds of your draft. Enjoy and good luck. 

Attention All Parents: Teach Your Kids How to Pitch

As a parent to two future MLB All-Stars and hopefully two future members of the New York Yankees I consider myself to be one of the most blessed individuals on this planet Earth. Whether they grow up to be baseball players, doctors, lawyers or business executives (five bonus points to the first person to get the reference) I will be proud and honored to be their father as long as they are happy and as long as they do it the right way. That doesn't mean I won't slightly nudge them as early as I can and as often as I can towards the baseball goal, especially after this offseason. Growing up I was always a shortstop with little interest in playing any other position but I may start teaching my children how to pitch.

If this offseason has told us anything it's that if you can get guys out at a decent clip at the Major League level you are going to get PAID. Look at the numbers handed down this winter already. David Price set the tone with the largest contract ever handed down to a pitcher with $217 million while Zack Greinke got the highest average annual value out of his $206.5 million contract that allows him to pull in well over $30 million every calendar year. Jordan Zimmermann got $110 million after a down season in Washington while Johnny Cueto got $130 million with elbow concerns and seemingly an inability to recreate his dominance from the National League to the American League. Jeff Samardzija was possibly the worst pitcher in the American League in 2015 and will begin a contract in 2016 that will pay him $90 million over the next five years while Mike Leake will get $80 million for being a middle-of-the-rotation type starter. Wei-Yin Chen got $80 million also with a sixth year option deal with Miami while Ian Kennedy, who was home run prone in MLB's equivalent to Yellow Stone Park in Petco, got $70 million.

Owners are either crazy, desperate or out of control. Or maybe it's all three. There is an absolute ton of money coming into the game right now and these owners are not scared to spend it on starting pitching right now. If my son's want to play baseball, great. If they don't that's great too but if they do I am teaching them how to pitch, and pitch left-handed at that. I want an early retirement.

Call Me Crazy But How About Ian Desmond On a One Year Deal?

This is a crazy thought so go ahead and call me crazy, I can take it. It is crazy but this is also The Greedy Pinstripes, not the fiscally responsible pinstripes, and the offseason is the time to dream. The sky is the limit in the offseason and almost every team is optimistic right about now, why not the Yankees as well? The Yankees roster is just about set with just a few spring training competitions to go down at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa this spring but New York could take one of those spring competitions away with one Ninja Cashman, out of left field and really freaking crazy signing that actually works. Sign Ian Desmond?

Desmond is listed as a shortstop according to Baseball Reference but he does have very limited time at second base and right field as well. Desmond, list most shortstops, are extremely athletic and has a strong throwing arms meaning that Desmond learning third base is not out of the realm of possibility and neither is a transition, at least on a part-time basis, to first base. Desmond could conceivably play any position in the Yankees infield other than catcher and truly give the Yankees a complete infield and bench.

Sure Desmond would eat up the first round draft pick of the Yankees and sure he would likely command a substantial AAV on a one-year deal but he sure does make the team a whole lot better in my opinion on both the offensive and defensive side of the baseball and that's all that should matter at the end of the day.

Sure Robert Refsnyder could be that guy, you all know by now that I prefer that scenario to come to fruition, but the Yankees have shown little to no interest in him at the major league level. Desmond pacifies the organization and pacifies the fans due to being a big name and an upgrade over what the team has. I don't think it's going to happen and I don't necessarily want it to happen as a fan but hey, it could happen.

Chris Davis is Gone, Now the Outfielders Can Be Too

Chris Davis officially came off the board this weekend when the Baltimore Orioles seemingly bid against themselves to sign the DH to a seven year deal worth $161 million deal. Davis turns 30 years old this season meaning this deal will take him almost to his age 37 season which goes to show you how expensive 50 home run power has become across the Major Leagues. I say the Orioles bid against themselves because at least publicly no other team showed much interest in Davis. Not for seven years, not for over $150 million and not for the draft pick. If I'm wrong I'll be the first one to say I'm wrong but I don't think I am this time but anyway that's a discussion for another post. This post focuses on the fact that Davis, indirectly anyway, was holding up the outfield market so now the outfield market can get a move on.

You may be asking how a DH that has spent minimal time in the outfield and at the corners in the infield can affect the likes of Justin Upton (who has since signed with the Detroit Tigers since this was written) and Yoenis Cespedes, well I'll tell you how. The Baltimore Orioles were said to be interested in Upton a huge deal but there is no way the team could afford both Davis and Upton, they were only going to get one and it seems like they preferred Upton. Also the Orioles had shown at least marginal interest in Cespedes as well but at the end of the day there is one less team for the agents of Cespedes and Upton to use against each other.

Now we have teams like the Chicago White Sox, Atlanta Braves and New York Mets interested in Cespedes while not many teams have come out publicly and said "Upton is our guy" just yet. But they will. The Davis signing will be the straw that finally breaks the camels back, the last domino to fall before they all start fall,  and that Jenga piece you just shouldn't have pulled out. The outfield market is coming to an end and so is the offseason. Both Upton and Cespedes will have jobs before the calendar turns to February, write it down because I just did.

Fantasy Baseball: Who are the Cleveland Indians?

We are about a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training camp and believe it or not I have seen some Fantasy Baseball drafts on Yahoo that are less than 30 days away from drafting. This is way too early to start drafting players that may or may not get injured in spring training games in my opinion but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to begin your preparations for the draft and your league. We’ve looked at many teams specifically and I have tried to identify names that many may not be looking at, sleepers if you want to call them that. I assume if you’re reading this you know to take a Mike Trout if he’s available and you know the top names in the draft at each position so I don’t feel the need to focus there because you can win the first 10-12 rounds for yourself, I want to win the second half of the draft for you with my advice.

The biggest question surrounding the Indians is who will play the outfield in the absence of Michael Brantley and that answer seems to be Raijai Davis. Davis is a speedy outfielder with limited pop but he may get you the hits, stolen bases and RBI you need to hold you over late in the draft. He may not be worth a pick unless you’re playing in a deep league but he should get the playing time to at least make a difference. Just make sure you don’t take him too awful early.

Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco will get much of the attention in the Indians starting rotation this season and much of the love in your fantasy draft but don’t sleep on Trevor Bauer. Bauer is still somehow just 24-years old and may be finally entering his prime, we’ve seen late bloomers time and time again. See Nathan Eovaldi as a recent example for the Yankees who didn’t seem to put it all together until he was well into his Age 25 season. Bauer could do it too, especially if he works on improving his control this winter.

Finally the Indians bullpen should be quietly very good again in 2016 anchored by both Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw. Neither are big names and Top 10 round picks in your fantasy league but Allen converted 34 of 38 save opportunities last season with a 2.99 ERA while Shaw bested him in the category with a 2.94 ERA in 64 innings. If you need saves or a strikeout pitcher late either could fill the void for your team.

And that’s it, those are my picks for the Cleveland Indians. I hope they help you win your fantasy league and if I missed anyone please feel free to leave it below in the comments section. Thanks!

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/19: Adios Esteban Loaiza

On this day in 2005 the Yankees lost out on one of their own free agents in Esteban Loaiza. Loaiza agreed to a one year deal with the Washington Nationals worth $2.9 million after going a combined 10-7 with a 5.70 combined with the Yankees and the White Sox. The Yankees traded Jose Contreras, a struggling starter of theirs, for Loaiza at the trading deadline hoping he would get back to his 2003 form in which he went 21-9 with a 2.90 ERA.

Also on this day in 1972 the Yankees Yogi Berra was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. On the same day 300 game winner Earl Wynn and Dodgers southpaw Sandy Koufax were also elected to Cooperstown.