Weekend Reactions in the Daily Dojo

It has been awhile since I have written, and even longer since I have written consistently. I am going to try to break that trend. They may be short and sweet writings about what I am thinking about sports in that day, but I want to get constant content on the site. So, here we go

Obviously, this weekend was a huge weekend for most sports fans because of the Jamaican 2-man Bobsled Team’s qualification for the 2014 Winter Olympics! It is actually a big deal, considering it will be the first time since 2002 that the Jamaicans have qualified for the Bobsled event. They have already received $80,000 in donations to help them make the trip to Sochi.

Jamaican 2-man Bobsled Team (businessinsider.com

Jamaican 2-man Bobsled Team (businessinsider.com)

Now onto the sporting events you thought I was going to talk about at first, the AFC and NFC Championship games.

This is one of those few years that you can actually say the two best teams made it into their respective conference games. In the AFC, there is not a lot talent, in all honesty. The Patriots had a lot of holes, but they had less holes than everyone, but the Denver Broncos. Bill Belichick was able to mask many of the Patriots flaws on defense, and Tom Brady can make a star out of any white guy who is willing to get hit by much bigger human beings, Julian Edelman and Wes Welker. With that being said, they clearly did not match up to the Denver Broncos this Sunday. They were dominated in all facets of the game. On defense, the Patriots were unable to put any pressure on, who should be the first unanimous MVP in NFL History, Peyton Manning. No Patriot recorded a QB hit, and Manning recorded 400 yards of passing on 43 attempts with 2 touchdowns. Patriots looked out of it from the get go, and that is why the Broncos are the AFC Champions

In the NFC, there was a brawl for the ages. I wasn’t able to watch the first half, but I do know that the 49ers blew that game in the second half. As you may know if you follow me on Twitter, I got caught up in the Richard Sherman interview reactions, and the Seattle fans’ disgusting lack of sportsmanship after Navarro Bowman‘s gruesome injury. After having a day to think about what happened, here is what I think should be remembered from that game…

  1. Colin Kaepernick cost the 49ers that game with some incredibly poor throws and a costly fumble in the 4th quarter.
  2. 49ers’ defense was the only reason Kaepernick had a chance to redeem himself on the final drive.
  3. Kaepernick would have redeemed himself had Richard Sherman turned his head a second later. That’s a touchdown, and the 49ers are the NFC Champions.
  4. Looking past all of the off-field antics, Richard Sherman is a beast and should not be thrown to.
  5. The best team from the NFC is going to Super Bowl.
Richard Sherman holding the George Halas Trophy. (Photo Cred: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Richard Sherman hoisting the George Halas Trophy (Photo Cred: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Early Super Bowl Prediction

Below 32 degrees: Seahawks’ win, 24-17

Above 32 degrees: Broncos win, 31-24

Peyton Manning after yet another disappointing postseason loss against the Baltimore Ravens on January 12, 2013 (Photo Cred: AP)

Peyton Manning after yet another disappointing postseason loss against the Baltimore Ravens on January 12, 2013 (Photo Cred: AP)

Yes, temperature can cause of big difference with Peyton. Remember Peyton only put up 21 points on an AWFUL Baltimore Ravens’ defense in a game that was 13 degrees. I know 13 and 32 degrees is a huge difference, but 2013-14 Seattle Seahawks’ Defense is a huge difference between the 2012-13 Baltimore Ravens’ Defense. Peyton doesn’t think the cold has an affect on his game, but his playoff record and record outdoors in poor conditions, says otherwise.

Greg Danchik


My Hall of Fame Ballot

With the Hall of Fame inductees being announced at 2 pm today, here is my Hall of Fame ballot with reasoning for each vote.

Craig Biggio

The biggest argument against Biggio is he never had a Hall of Fame season. I would agree with this statement, but Biggio’s overall career was great. He averaged 105 runs for twenty years… TWENTY! That is crazy. He also has a career bWAR (WAR as determined by BaseballReference.com) of 64.9. Thats better than current Hall of Famers Andre Dawson (64.4), Willie McCovey (64.4), and Harmon Killebrew (60.4), among others. He also played catcher, outfield, and second base over the course of his career. Oh yeah, he also got 3,000 hits.

Jeff Bagwell

Jeff Bagwell (Photo Cred: Icon Sports Media)

Jeff Bagwell (Photo Cred: Icon Sports Media)

Among position players, he is 37th in career bWAR (79.5), and he managed to do that in just 15 seasons. He also has the 21st best career OPS of .948 to go along with 202 career stolen bases. He averaged 115 RBIs over his 15 seasons and had a career .408 OBP. I think that it would an embarrassment for the BBWAA to not elect him into the Hall of Fame because it doesn’t add up. Maybe, he was just that good, and he wasn’t appreciated fully because of his steroid competitors.

Mike Piazza

This is REALLY easy. He was the best offensive catcher of all time. He has 38 more homers than any catcher in the history of Major League Baseball. He had a career .308 batting average while taking a beating as a catcher. He has not been listed in any steroid report. It shocks me that he probably won’t get elected again.

Tim Raines

84.696% career stolen base percentage that led to 808 stolen bases. His 69.1 bWAR is 70th all time among position players. He wasn’t a power hitter, which is what everyone loves. However, he had a career .385 OBP over the course of 23 years, and averaged 102 runs over those seasons. He should get in.

Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux (Photo Cred: Brad Mangin/Sports Illustrated)

Greg Maddux (Photo Cred: Brad Mangin/Sports Illustrated)

He should be unanimous. I should have to explain why, but I will. First, his name is Greg, great name. He was one of the most efficient pitchers and did it all with great accuracy. He wasn’t a power pitcher, but he knew exactly where to pitch the ball and could put it there no problem. He was also willing to give up homers to set up hitters months in advance. Check out this story about Maddux. And this one. He was kinda accurate.

Tom Glavine

This guy is 28th all time in career bWAR among pitchers, 74. He pitched 22 years and accumulated a 3.54 ERA over that time and also had 305 wins. He had 2,607 strikeouts.

Frank Thomas

He will be the first 1st baseman and player to get into the Hall of Fame. He has 521 home runs and a career OPS that ranks 14th at .974. He also had a .300 batting average with 500 home runs, you want to know who else did that? Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Manny Ramirez, Jimmy Foxx, Ted Williams, and Mel Ott. That’s a nice list to be a part of.

Mike Mussina

He is 24th in career bWAR among pitchers at 82.7. He almost got 300 wins, 270. He almost got 3,000 K’s, 2,813. He pitched in the toughest division of his time in the AL East. He also pitched in some of the most hitter friendly park in the league throughout the entire league. He should get in before Jack Morris and if Jack Morris gets in, it will be an embarrassment. Then again, Mussina left the Orioles… so he still sucks.

Barry Bonds & Roger Clemens

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens (Getty Images

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens (Photo Cred: Getty Images)

Until someone decides that anyone who used steroids cannot be in the Hall of Fame and they remove them from the ballot, you have to vote for them. These guys both have an argument for being the greatest player of all time with their career statistics.

Barry Bonds is the career leader in home runs. He is also the ONLY person in the 500 home run, 500 stolen bases club, and the only person in the 400, 400 club of those same statistics. He is 2nd in career bWAR among position players at 162.5, only .7 behind Babe Ruth. I just can’t have him not on my Hall of Fame ballot. He was the greatest of his era.

Clemens is in the same boat. He is 3rd in career bWAR among pitchers at 139.4. 7 Cy Young Awards, 4,672 strikeouts, and a 3.12 ERA in an offensive era. It is really hard to argue against that career.

If I had to rank them, it would go like this…

  1. Barry Bonds
  2. Roger Clemens
  3. Greg Maddux
  4. Frank Thomas
  5. Mike Piazza
  6. Craig Biggio
  7. Jeff Bagwell
  8. Tim Raines
  9. Tom Glavine
  10. Mike Mussina

Greg Danchik

The Bearded One

I know a lot of people don’t know what it feels like to have a beard, but let me hit you with some knowledge. Whenever you have a beard in the winter, everyone and their mother is like, “Nice beard, you growing it out to stay warm in the winter.” Or, “You should be in Duck Dynasty.”
For me, I am not growing a beard to stay warm for the winter. I do it for two reasons:

  1. I’m too lazy to take the 20 minutes to shave it.
  2. I like petting it when I am thinking.

Anyway, I ended up learning that the beard does keep you warm during the winter. It helped me while I cleared my driveway.

photo (5)

It worked.

Greg Danchik

Post-Christmas Hot Stove

Diamondbacks keep making deals

I’m not major league GM or high-level front office executive even if I wish I was, or I think I could do a better job, but I don’t think Kevin Towers is doing a great job. I thought that they gave up too much for Mark Trumbo, and I think they did it again. Trading a prospect that is projected to be an above-average hitter and an average defender at third base to get a “proven closer” is not the brightest of moves. I will say Addison Reed got better last year, but not good enough to warrant this deal. He gives up roughly fly balls at a 45% clip, which is 10% higher than the league average. Chase Stadium is a hitter friendly stadium that allows more triples and doubles that the average stadium, 81% and 6% respectively. I think Reed is going to struggle in a park with a bigger outfield, and he might be running to back up third and home more than anyone in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization wants. I could be really wrong about this, but I think Matt Davidson was too much for Reed.

Shin-Soo Choo signs with the Rangers

Shin-Soo Choo and his family at the Texas Ranger's press conference. (Photo Cred: Tim Heitman - USA TODAY Sports)

Shin-Soo Choo and his family at the Texas Ranger’s press conference. (Photo Cred: Tim Heitman – USA TODAY Sports)

Rangers are all aboard the Choo Choo Train! (yes, I think I am hilarious). The Rangers gave the OBP machine 7 years and $130 million on this new deal. He is definitely a good replacement for Nelson Cruz in right field, and with the influx of cash coming in from the new TV deals, I suspect the Choo deal will not look so ridiculous in a couple of years. Disregarding his 2011 down year, he has been a dominant offensive outfielder who can get on base at nearly a .400 clip. That includes his horrendous statistics against left-handed pitchers. He owns a .310 wOBA against left-handed pitchers, but in the past two years, it has been worse. In 2013 with the Reds, his wOBA against lefties was a mere .292, and with the Indians in 2012, it was only .282. According to Fangraphs, the site that creates and manages these advanced statistics, .310 is below average wOBA, but .290 and lower is classified as “Awful.” That will be Choo’s downside now, and it will only get worse as he ages and loses speed and hitting skills. If I am the Rangers, I hope I can fix it with some hitting instruction, but I am expecting it to be below average or worse. The Rangers are probably going to need a right-handed bench bat that can handle left-handed pitching someone like Jonny Gomes of the Red Sox. However, I think Choo will be elite against right-handed pitchers so it won’t be a big issue until they face David Price, CJ Wilson or Jon Lester in a big postseason game… then it will be a BIG issue.

Masahiro Tanaka gets posted

The next big thing is coming over from Japan. From Hideo Nomo to Ichiro to Hideki Matsui to  Yu Darvish, there have been stars that started in Japan, but with every star comes a bust like Daisuke Matsuzaka, among many others. Masahiro Tanaka seems to be built like a major league pitcher. The 6′ 2″, 205 pound right-handed pitcher has the build, but does he have the stuff? Well, he definitely has it for the Japanese league. Over the past 3 years, he hasn’t had an ERA over 2 with the highest being 1.87 in 2012. However, his K/9 has dropped by a strikeout each of those years as well, ending with a 7.8 K/9 in 2013. If that was done in the major leagues, it would have been considered above average, but in Japan, it doesn’t impress me that much. I would be a little worried about this guy turning into the elite pitcher that some people expect him to be. Some people expect him to be a star with his devastating splitter and hard fastball, but I would think of him as a number 2 on a good staff. If the Angels signed him, he would definitely be a number 2 behind Jered Weaver. That is probably my best comparison. I think some teams think that he will grow into a true number 1, like Darvish, but I would be wary. However, we’ll see when a team signs him.

Now for the teams that are vying for his services. With the new posting system between the Nippon Baseball League and Major League Baseball, multiple teams can negotiate with Tanaka if they meeting the 20 million dollar posting fee. The team that signs him will not get the posting fee back, while all the other teams will. Because of this new system, there will be multiple teams going after him, and I will classify them as Wild Cards, Sleepers, Inside Trackers, and Desperate Big Money Spenders. After giving a case for each, I will offer up my guess as to where he will end up.

Wild Cards

  • Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Philadelphia Phillies

I list these two teams because they truly are wild cards (and masters of karate and friendship for everyone).

Ruben Amaro Jr. could surprise and go get Tanaka, so they can add some type of youth. The Dodgers don’t really need him, but they have so much money they might just throw it at him and try to get ’em.


  • Chicago Cubs
  • Houston Astros (I’m not crazy, they were in on Shin-Shoo Choo)

The Cubs and Astros are in a similar position except the Cubs have more money. They are both rebuilding clubs that have completely almost complete tear downs and are now on an upward swing. They could each go after Tanaka for his potential, not what he is now. Maybe they bring him in and let him struggle and develop into the star they need. Then when these teams are ready to compete, sometime between 2015 and 2017, he’ll be ready to lead their staff on run to the World Series. I would say the Cubs have a better shot than the Astros, but the Astros could be like the Athletics with Yoenis Cespedes and spend a little bit more than usual.

Inside Trackers

  • Seattle Mariners
  • Texas Rangers

These are the two teams that have brought in the Japanese players before and should be looking to bring in Tanaka now. The Mariners have gone on a spending spree and should keep going if they want to contend this year. They have brought in plenty of Japanese talent and probably have the best inside track to signing Tanaka. The Rangers were the most recent team to bring in a Japanese star, Yu Darvish. They could use another starting pitcher to go with their rebuilt lineup. I would not be surprised to see them get into the action and try to bring another Japanese star into their rotation. They probably have an edge with Darvish being there and able to help Tanaka’s transition from Japanese to American culture.

Desperate Big Money Spenders

  • Los Angeles Angels
  • New York Yankees

This is easy. Both of these teams need pitching and have the spending power to just shove money in Tanaka’s face. I would suspect these are the two teams that lead the charge for Tanaka based on needs and money. The Angels’ only issue is if they sign Tanaka, they are going to continue to hurt their chances of signing Mike Trout. With Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton on the books for a long time, they might not want to put up a $20 million per year deal on the books.

My Prediction


Before I saw this tweet, I was going to say if the contract is lower than $15 million per year, he would be an Angel. Now that it appears he wants AT LEAST $17 million per year, I think he is a Yankee. No doubt about it. If I had to make a top 3 it would be this…

  1. Yankees
  2. Angels
  3. Mariners

Greg Danchik

Hot Stove Thoughts – Winter Meetings Begin

I’m an Orioles fan so I am going to write about the moves that pertain to my team first.

Orioles Trade Jim Johnson

I really like this move for the Orioles and Athletics. Jim Johnson is a good relief pitcher, and he makes his unorthodox closing methods work (A career K/9 below 6 is below the MLB average). He isn’t going to be worth the excessive money that he is going to get from the arbitration process. They put a large value on saves even though they are extremely team and manager based. The Athletics will be very happy to have Johnson, but they are going to be paying a lot of money.

On the Orioles’ side, I think they got a potential player that could be usable in their infield. Jemile Weeks had a breakout year in 2011, but has regressed each successive year after that, including a demotion to AAA for a majority of the 2013 season. He has a good eye at the plate, but his approach is poor. This change of scenery and coaching staff might be exactly what he needs. He should compete for the second baseman job with a variety of other folks. He can easily steal 30 bags if he can get his hitting stroke back.

Yankees sign Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann

The Jacoby Ellsbury signing to me is very interesting. I think the fact that Ellsbury was a Red Sox is a big factor here. It hurts their opponents more than it helps them. Ellsbury’s contract might be worth it for 2-3 more years, but not 7. The only issue is he has no power. Ellsbury’s value comes from his speed and defense. He might be able to play good defense as he ages, but it will definitely get worse. The only way this contract is a good contract for the Yankees after 3 years is if Ellsbury starts to hit balls out of the yard. He will need to increase his 31% career fly ball and his 8.4% home run to fly ball rate as well. The short porch in right field at Yankee stadium will naturally help this, but I still don’t think Ellsbury is in line for anything above 15 homers a season for the rest of his career.

Brian McCann at his press conference after signing with the Yankees (Photo Cred: AP)

Brian McCann at his press conference after signing with the Yankees (Photo Cred: AP)

Brian McCann was a great signing for the Yankees. They have not had a great catcher since Jorge Posada’s hitting skills started to decline in the 2009, and he could no longer catch every day. McCann finally fills that void. The switch-hitting catcher has a career .833 OPS with a .350 OBP. Those are really nice statistics to get from the catcher spot. McCann is also a serviceable catcher behind the plate that shouldn’t hurt the Yankees rotation, but won’t help like a Yadier Molina does. As an O’s fan, I fully expect McCann to hit 30 home runs in a season more than once for the Yankees.

Red Sox lose Ellsbury

The Red Sox did the right thing with Ellsbury. They have the farm system to fill in the gap. They may not be as good next year because of this, but in 2017, the Red Sox will benefit from not making this signing. It does suck for Sox fans that he went the Evil Empire though.

Robinson Cano goes to the Mariners

My opinion is that Robinson Cano for the Yankees and Ellsbury for the Mariners makes much more sense, but obviously, it didn’t happen that way. It isn’t very common for a 6 win player that has some prime years left hits the free agent market. The Yankees lose a top player at a scarce position. They won’t be able to replace him this year, or the next few. This is good for me as an O’s fan. I am pumped about this, but I think this also starts a turn around for the Mariners.

Ivan Rodriguez at his press conference after signing with the Detroit Tigers. (Photo Cred: AP)

Ivan Rodriguez at his press conference after signing with the Detroit Tigers. (Photo Cred: AP)

This signing reminds me a lot of the Tigers’ signing of Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez prior to the 2004 season (And yes, I actually remember this. I specifically remember it because I was pissed the Orioles only signed Miguel Tejada and failed to get Vladimir Guerrero or Pudge). The Tigers were coming off the 9th worst season in the history of the MLB. Yet, they were able to sign Pudge, and it started a turn around. In 2006, the Tigers made it to the World Series with Pudge behind the plate.

Watch out for the Mariners

Cano gives the Mariners the credibility they need to get players to come up to the Northwest part of the United States. They also have a good crop of pitching prospects. I expect at least 2 of them, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Danny Hultzen, and/or Brandon Maurer, to become top of the line starters to be paired with King Felix. Cano will provide the Mariners with a lot of talent as well. I do not think he will have a severe decline like an Albert Pujols (though, I think he is in for a bounce back). All of Cano’s movements are so smooth and his swing is gorgeous, and it looks like he isn’t even trying. It might be one of the prettiest swings in baseball. Cano’s power output will decline simply because of the park. Yankees Stadium gives up 23% more home runs to left handed hitters than the average stadium, while Safeco Field gives up 2% less. His skills won’t deteriorate. I am a little skeptical of him as a first round pick in fantasy baseball now, but he will provide great baseball value to the Mariners for many years.

Watch out MLB, the Mariners are for real and will be taking the league by storm in 2016. Lets just say I am hoping on the bandwagon. Then again, I am on the 2017 Astros and Marlins bandwagon already…

West Coast – Angels, Diamondbacks, and White Sox

Tyler Skaggs pitching agains the Cincinnati Reds in 2013 (Photo Cred: David Kadlubowski/azcentral sports)

Tyler Skaggs pitching agains the Cincinnati Reds in 2013 (Photo Cred: David Kadlubowski/azcentral sports)

This trade involving Mark Trumbo, Tyler Skaggs, Adam Eaton, Hector Santiago, and others is fascinating to me. I DO NOT understand what the Diamondbacks were thinking with this deal. I can understand that they were 26th in the entire MLB with only 130 home runs. However, the NL Pennant winner happens to be 27th on that list with 125 home runs, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Diamondbacks end up with a player that will hit 30 home runs, but Trumbo will only be on base 30% of the time and will have a .250 batting average or worse. He isn’t a top defender either.

The pieces the Diamondbacks lost were Tyler Skaggs and Adam Eaton. Skaggs is a top left handed pitching prospect that had a rough year last year, but is projected to be a top of the line starter once he gets a handle on the big leagues. I expect him to be with the Angels all of the 2014 season. I have no idea how he will perform, but he will look awfully nice next to Jered Weaver at the top of the Angels rotation over the next couple of seasons. Nice to see him return home. Adam Eaton is a outfielder that could have provided the same value to the Diamondbacks in a different way. He is a speedy outfielder that can get on base for Paul Goldschmidt and score. Eaton would have done that for Arizona, but he will now do it for the White Sox.

The fact that White Sox were able to get a player of that caliber with the lack of talent on that roster is fascinating. Well done Rick Hahn. With the signing of Jose Abreu and the Avisail Garcia trade last year, Hahn is doing a great job of rebuilding this team. They are a lot further away from contention than the Marlins and Astros, but Hahn is doing the best with the poor talent pool he was handed.

Lastly, the Angels finally make a deal that is awesome. I think the the Pujols and Hamilton deals were good, but they may have overpaid a little bit. This trade makes a whole lot of sense for the ballclub. They lose Trumbo, who was the only player with significant value besides the untouchable one, Mr. Mike Trout (How much would it take to pry Trout away from the Angels?). However, they get a frontline starter to take Weaver’s place over the next few years in Skaggs. Hector Santiago is also a nice left handed pitcher to be getting in a deal like this. The Angels are starting to reload, but it won’t be enough. They just don’t have the tradable assets to have a total tear down. I think the Mariners contend well before the Angels do, unless the Angels have a Red Sox-esque turn around, but I think that is unlikely.

Look out for some thoughts on Shin-Soo Choo once he signs. I’ll also talk about any more trades or big signings that have happened.

Greg Danchik