Baseball Over/Under Totals

The baseball over/under win totals were posted late February. I had been looking at them for almost every day they were out. I also began to research the types of statistics contribute the most to runs scored by a team. I came across RPA at The Baseball Think Factory.

If you don’t want to click the link, the idea is that every possible outcome a batter can have contributes X runs. Baseball Think Factory determined what those values were, and I used those values and the ZIPS projections developed by Dan Szymborski to create the amount of runs each player would create this season. I added the players on each team to get the runs scored for each team. To get runs given up by each team, I added ZIPS projected earned runs of the players on each team. I divided this number by .92 because that is a rough approximation of the relationship to earned runs and runs.

After calculating the runs scored and runs given up by each team, I used Bill James Pythagorean Theory to calculate the win percentages. Multiplying the win percentage by 162 games gave me the wins for each team.

This system has a lot of assumptions. The biggest one is that every baseball team has the same defensive skill. This system does not include the amount of wins that defense creates/loses. It also assumes that ZIPS is the best projection system. The system also assumes no trades throughout the season. These assumptions, among others, are the reasons these projections could be off. I am only suggesting my top 4 bets as these are the only bets that had a greater than 10 run difference from the Vegas totals.

Without further explanation, here are my best bets for the season-long over/under totals

Houston Astros Over 63 Wins

George Springer introduced as the Houston Astros' 2011 First Round Draft pick (Photo Cred: Bob Levey/Getty Images North America)

George Springer introduced as the Houston Astros’ 2011 First Round Draft pick (Photo Cred: Bob Levey/Getty Images North America)

The Houston Astros are an interesting team for this season. Last summer, I wrote about how they will win a World Series in a couple years. It turns out, the initial stock of young guys that they have been storing up in the minors are ready to perform in The Show.

George Springer is the biggest name. I think that he will end up with a starting job out of spring training, and here is what I think he can do this year. They also traded for Dexter Fowler, which is an upgrade for them. If Jason Castro puts together a 2014 like his 2013 and Chris Carter cuts down on the strikeouts, the Astros have a nice core that can easily clear 63 wins. And don’t forget, Mark Appel, number 1 overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, will probably come up after the Super Two deadline.

I am actually excited to watch the Astros this year, unlike last year’s squad of horrendous talent.

New York Mets Over 73.5 & Chicago Cubs Over 69

Zack Wheeler pitching against the Nationals during the 2013 Spring Training (Photo Cred: Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Zack Wheeler pitching against the Nationals during the 2013 Spring Training (Photo Cred: Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets and Cubs are in a similar situation as the Astros. They are both rebuilding teams, but they are further along than the Astros.

The Mets are primed with young talent. They have built their farm system through some good trades. They have picked up Zack Wheeler (Carlos Beltran Trade), Travis d’Arnaud, and Noah Syndergaard (R.A. Dickey Trade). They also have drafted and signed international free agents well too with Matt Harvey and Rafael Montero. I expect everyone i have listed, except Harvey, to be playing for the Mets by the end of the year. With the Curtis Granderson signing to help with the offense, they should be able to clear 73 wins with ease and make a run at a .500 record.

For the Cubs, their season is going to depend on Jeff Samardzija future because he is the best pitcher on the Cubs’ staff, and their biggest question is how many runs are they going to give up. They are definitely going to score runs with Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, and Nate Schierholtz, but the pitching will be in serious question if/when Samardzija gets traded.

You want to know how I know it is in trouble? The ORIOLES got rid of the 2 of the 5 starters in the Cubs’ staff. However, ZIPS projects a breakout for Jake Arrieta and no drop-off from Travis Wood. I trust those projections, and my win total of 80 wins.

New York Yankees Under 86.5

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)

The Yankees are another year older, and I do not think they upgraded enough in the off-season to get them more wins than last year’s 85. They got big upgrades with Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Jacoby Ellsbury. However, that just bolsters the offense, and their pitching was the biggest problem last year.

I believe that the Yankees did not do nearly enough to help the pitching. CC Sabathia hasn’t hit 90 mph yet this spring, and I do not see him improving on last year’s numbers. Also, they can’t count on Masahiro Tanaka to be Yu Darvish. They have 3 starters that are 2 or 3 starters in a good rotation, but no ace. Tack on a terrible back-end of the starting rotation and no Mariano Rivera, the Yankees are gonna give up a ton of runs.

Take these to Vegas, and dominate

Greg Danchik

Post-NBA All Star Game Dojo Spar

Greg to Joe

So the NBA All-Star Game just happened… I didn’t watch. I prefer Saturday’s festivities, personally. I know that the Dunk Contest usually is quite boring, but I always have to watch. I watch so I don’t miss out on a never-before-seen dunk. I had also bet on that event, along with the 3-Point Contest. I had bet on Ben McLemore in the Dunk Contest. Unfortunately, McLemore had to “Battle” against John Wall, who had the best dunk of the night. I, also, did not like the format at all. It was a lot stupider than they led it on to be, and I was left feeling like there was no real winner. Bradley Beal had a valiant effort, but fell short to Marco Belinelli; meaning my bet fell just short.

(And you always have to Celly)

With the NFL season ending two weeks ago, I was able to think about this season as a whole. First of all, the Seahawks were the best team and deserved to win the Super Bowl. They were the best team all year and deserved the title. That is the first time that has happened in a long time. I can’t even think of the last time that happened. It may have been when the Steelers beat the Cardinals in 2009, I think.

I also have some thoughts about some sleepers for next year. Do you have any thoughts about that?

Joe to Greg

I actually listened to the first quarter of the NBA All-Star Game on the radio on my drive up to school. By the end of the quarter the announcers ran out of way to describe the dunks that Blake Griffin was doing. I’m with you though; I prefer Saturday’s festivities more, but I’d have to say I was disappointed. The format was too lackadaisical. The first round was an awkward 90 seconds, and the battle stage wasn’t really as exciting as I was expecting. Props to John Wall on his dunk, I was impressed with that and Damian Lillard‘s between the legs dunk.

I looked back to our past Dojo Spars and we both predicted 4 of the 6 NFC playoff teams in July. I didn’t get a chance to look at the AFC side but there is no question that the Seahawks were the best team this year. The only real concern I had for this team was playing outside of Seattle, and they handled that fairly well, I’d say. As far as sleepers for next year, you’re going to have to give me one more E-mail because I haven’t put much thought into it. I will say that I think some of the players coming out of the NFL Draft have the chance to immediately make an impact on some teams.

Greg to Joe

The NFL Draft is always fun. I can’t wait to see what happens at the combine. I don’t watch, but I like to see the crazy stats that come out of it. Apparently, Jadeveon Clowney said he is going to break a 4.4 40 yard time. That would be INSANE for a man his side. It is also fun to see the crazy changes in mock draft boards after the combine.

Rookies that will make an impact right away, I think, are Clowney, Sammy Watkins, and Mike Evans (You know what? That list really makes me wonder what I am doing with my life because they are all younger than me). I can’t say much about the offensive linemen, but they could be impactful as well. My reasoning for these three are Clowney is just a freak. If he wants to, he can dominate a game. He could end up being on the same D-line as JJ Watt, which would just be scary for all of the QBs in the AFC South and, quite frankly, the NFL as a whole. Watkins will improve any NFL offense he joins. He can stretch the field, but he is also big and can jump. Yet, he is also larger than most CBs in the league. Evans is a Wes Welker-type receiver, and it is not because he is white. He is a great possession receiver that can catch anything over the middle. He will do great as a slot receiver on any team (hopefully the Ravens).

My deep sleeper team for next year has to be the Browns. They have a great defense. If they can keep Alex Mack for their center position, draft one of three top quarterbacks in the draft, and get a receiver at the back end of the first round, they could be deadly. I mean they are the most dysfunctional franchise in the history of the NFL so this probably won’t happen.

My sleeper team for 2015 is the St. Louis Rams. They are in the toughest division in the NFL, but they are really talented. If they could dump Sam Bradford and draft a top QB and grab a lineman or receiver, they could have the offense to compete in the NFC West.

Joe to Greg

I think the Browns have a very good defense. They played extremely well in a game they should have won against the Patriots this season. One of my other predictions is that the 49ers are going to win the NFC West. I don’t think this is too far out of the question, or on the level of a dark horse like the Browns, but I think that they came so close to edging the Seahawks in the NFC Championship game. The 49ers have the team capable of dethroning the defending Super Bowl Champs. That division is only getting better as Arizona looks to improve on a strong finish to their season.

Another team I’m looking for next season is the Chargers. I think Phillip Rivers put together one of the best seasons of his career. He threw for close to 4,500 yards (4,478 is the actual number) and also had his highest completion percentage of his career (69.5 – compare to 64.1 last year). How the Chargers contend with the Broncos and Chiefs will be interesting. Will we see 3 teams from this division go to the playoffs? Is that possible? Who knows.

How do you feel about the O’s picking up Ubaldo Jimenez?

Greg to Joe

If 3 teams from the AFC West go to the playoffs again, I would not be surprised, but I think it will probably be different. I bet the Dolphins make the playoffs this next year. Tannehill is too good, and they will have finally gotten their Bully-Gate behind them.

But enough about football… IT’S BASEBALL SEASON

I am loving what the Orioles are doing. They are paying Ubaldo Jimenez a lot, but it should be worth it because, sadly, he is better than most of their pitching rotation. They also got a STEAL in Nelson Cruz. They get potentially 25-30 homers from him, if he can stay healthy. With the price only being 8 million dollars, that is awesome. I think they shouldn’t stop though. They need to pick up Ervin Santana and accept that they won’t have a draft pick until the 4th or 5th round in the upcoming draft. If they get Santana, the Blue Jays do not get him and he improves the O’s rotation. I am excited for this season and to see what happens with Ervin Santana.

Boston Red Sox starting lineup in Game 1 of the 2013 ALCS (Photo Cred: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Boston Red Sox starting lineup in Game 1 of the 2013 ALCS (Photo Cred: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

You like what the Sox have/haven’t done this off-season and are you excited them for to try and defend their title?

Joe to Greg

Coming into the season I’m extremely excited to see Xander Bogaerts play. That being said, I wasn’t expecting Ryan Dempster to leave. He was a great starter during the season, and I thought he’d stay for at least one more year. I like the addition of Edward Mujica, formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals, as well. I think he strengthens their bullpen going forward.

I think that Cruz addition is great for the Orioles. That just helps their line up out even more. I also agree that the O’s need to keep going. The Yankees have made a splash this off season, the Rays have a great rotation coming in, and the Sox have made a few additions. Its gearing up to be another competitive AL East. I love it.

Greg Danchik and Joe Meola

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 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

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