One Upgrade That Every MLB Team Still Needs To Make

The MLB offseason saw a flurry of activity during and immediately following the December winter meetings, and the hot stove stayed warm all through the holidays. We’re currently about a month out from the opening of spring training camps in Florida and Arizona, and most clubs would still like to add one or two more pieces before then. Here’s what each team still has on its wish list.

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New York Yankees: left field

New York Yankees: left field

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The Bombers feel they’ve already positioned themselves as the favorites in the American League thanks to their free agent addition of ace starter Gerrit Cole, and they very well may be right. In a lot of ways New York is loaded on paper, but the one area the Yankees could stand to upgrade is left field. With starting center fielder Aaron Hicks not due back until after the All-Star break following October Tommy John surgery, Brett Gardner is going to have to begin the season in center. That leaves left field to the likes of Mike Tauchman and Clint Frazier. While the duo could very well form a serviceable platoon, it wouldn’t be stunning if the Yankees brought another outfielder into the mix.

Options: Bigger names like Marcell Ozuna and Alex Gordon are still available on the free agent market, but so is Cameron Maybin, who played well for the Yankees a season ago. Veteran Curtis Granderson may decide to retire, but he could be a potential short-term option as well. 

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Boston Red Sox: bench

Boston Red Sox: bench

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Boston suffered through a disappointing 2019 that only grew more frustrating after the season ended. While their archrivals in the Bronx were busy positioning themselves to make a run for a championship, the Red Sox were busy exploring ways to slash payroll to get under the luxury tax. While a trade involving a high-profile Boston star like Mookie Betts or David Price has not come to pass, new GM Chaim Bloom has not done all that much to give them more help in the increasingly likely event they stay. The weakest part of the Red Sox projected opening day roster is hands down their bench, where Marco Hernandez, Tzu-Wei Lin, Kevin Plawecki and Rule 5 addition Jonathan Arauz create a far from imposing quartet. 

Options: An experienced free agent outfielder like Hunter Pence or Curtis Granderson would seemingly fit well in Boston. Both would bring veteran leadership to the clubhouse and at this point in their careers, they could be amenable to a bench role. On the infield, somebody like Adeiny Hechavarria would be a nice glove addition. 

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Tampa Bay Rays: bullpen

Tampa Bay Rays: bullpen

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The Rays are the innovators behind the current opener trend that’s become more widespread over the past couple of years. Tampa Bay is confident in its top three starting pitchers, Blake Snell, Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow, but after that the Rays like to mix and match their pitching. To that end, they could stand to add one more reliever to help navigate the middle innings and get the ball to late-inning righties Nick Anderson and Emilio Pagan.

Options: A free agent flier on somebody like Pedro Strop, Arodys Vizcaino, Anthony Swarzak or Josh Tomlin would be a reasonable addition. But the Rays have always liked to get creative in their efforts to improve. Trading for Pittsburgh’s Keone Kela would represent a high-upside addition, but it’s far to wonder if the Pirates would even consider doing business with Tampa after the Rays fleeced them in the Chris Archer trade a couple of summers ago. Detroit’s Joe Jimenez and Baltimore’s Mychal Givens would fall into the same category, though those clubs may prefer to hold their assets until the trade deadline.

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Toronto Blue Jays: bullpen

Toronto Blue Jays: bullpen

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Toronto looks like a team on the rise in the American League. The Blue Jays boast an enviable young core with the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and they invested heavily in the rotation this winter by bringing in Hyun-Jin Ryu and Tanner Roark. Their bullpen though leaves quite a bit to be desired. Ken Giles is a good closer and one the Blue Jays trust at the end of games, but they don’t have much in the way of quality setup men. Toronto needs to decide if it thinks it can seriously compete for a playoff spot this season or if it is a year away, because if the Blue Jays want to go for it this year, there are bullpen upgrades available. 

Options: Experienced arms with closing experience like Pedro Strop, Fernando Rodney and Addison Reed are all available on the free agent market, and all would fit in tremendously north of the border.

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Baltimore Orioles: rotation

Baltimore Orioles: rotation

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The Orioles are going to have a hard time competing in a difficult division for a long time, but that doesn’t mean they have to be absolute punching bags. If they’re going to be at least a little competitive though, they’re going to have to seriously upgrade their starting rotation. After trading Dylan Bundy to the Angels, Baltimore’s starting five is beyond thin, and the team desperately needs a reliable innings eater. Behind John Means and Alex Cobb, the Orioles are prepared to enter the season with Asher Wojciechowski, Kohl Stewart and Rule 5 addition Brandon Bailey in the rotation, and none of them are all that inspiring.

Options: Baltimore is not going to attract high-impact talent right now, but a veteran free-agent like Clayton Richard could help bring stability to a starting five that needs it.

To continue reading this article, click HERE.

Posted 1 day ago  |  By Justin Mears

Red Sox Fire Alex Cora Amid Sign-Stealing Scandal Fallout

The Red Sox announced Tuesday evening that manager Alex Cora will not return as their manager in 2020. The news comes one day after MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced the results of his investigation into the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, wherein Cora was revealed to be one of the architects of Houston’s trash-can system. The Red Sox organization issued the following statement:

Today we met to discuss the Commissioner’s report related to the Houston Astros investigation.  Given the findings and the Commissioner’s ruling, we collectively decided that it would not be possible for Alex to effectively lead the club going forward and we mutually agreed to part ways.

The Red Sox’ usage of “mutually agreed to part ways” notwithstanding, there’s no way that Cora would’ve been ousted as manager were it not for his role in the sign-stealing scandal. It’s been extraordinarily difficult to fathom a scenario in which Cora would’ve stayed on as manager after Houston GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were fired by the Astros yesterday, given his involvement in the Astros’ scandal as well as the current investigation of the Red Sox’ 2018. The now-former manager issued a statement of his own:

“I want to thank John, Tom, Sam, the players, our coaching staff and the entire Red Sox organization.  I especially want to thank my family for their love and support. We agreed today that parting ways was the best thing for the organization. I do not want to be a distraction to the Red Sox as they move forward.  My two years as manager were the best years of my life. It was an honor to manage these teams and help bring a World Series Championship back to Boston. I will forever be indebted to the organization and the fans who supported me as a player, a manager and in my efforts to help Puerto Rico. This is a special place. There is nothing like it in all of baseball, and I will miss it dearly.”

As was the case when Houston let go of its GM-manager tandem, this represents a stunning turn of mid-winter events for Boston. In terms of wins and losses, the two-year Cora era was especially fruitful for the Red Sox. As Cora mentioned, he helped the club to a championship in 2018 – his first year on the job and one in which it piled up a whopping 108 regular-season victories before steamrolling the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers in the playoffs. Of course, now that the league’s investigating Cora, there are perhaps questions about the legitimacy of that title.

To continue reading this article, click HERE.

Originally posted on MLB Trade Rumors  |  By Steve Adams  |  Last updated 1/14/20

Massive Brawl In Venezuelan Baseball Game After Batter Swings Bat At Catcher

A massive brawl broke out in a Venezuelan baseball league game on Wednesday night that was reminiscent of the infamous Juan Marichal-Johnny Roseboro fight.

In a game between Aguilas del Zulia and Caribes de Anzoategui on Wednesday, Caribes pitcher Angel Nesbitt threw behind Alex Romero on a 3-0 pitch with his team up 13-1. Romero responded by swinging his bat at catcher Gabriel Lino twice. Lino took off his glove and threw it at Romero, and by that point, both benches had cleared.

Here is the breakdown of the incident from internet favorite Jomboy:

The background to the fight is that the teams are in a playoff series and there were previous issues in the seventh inning. Aguilas threw at César Valera following home runs by two Caribes players, leading to a brawl.

10 people were ejected from the game, which Caribes won 13-2. Aguilas leads the series 3-2.

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  By Larry Brown  |  Last updated 1/9/20 – Click HERE to see full article.

Ideal Landing Spots For The Top Remaining MLB Free Agents

While most of the prominent MLB free agents have found their homes already this offseason, there are still plenty left who can help teams. Here’s the ideal landing spot for the top remaining free agents.

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Andrew Cashner: Orioles

Andrew Cashner: Orioles

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Cashner looked good early last season in Baltimore, going 9-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 17 starts before he was traded to Boston. The move to Boston was a nightmare, with an ERA above 6.00, but Cashner’s comfort with the O’s was apparent. He would give a team some much-needed innings as he tries to get back on track at age 33.

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Nicholas Castellanos: Cubs

Nicholas Castellanos: Cubs

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Castellanos went on a tear after getting traded to the Cubs last year, hitting .321-16-36 with a 1.002 OPS in only 51 games. He’s obviously comfortable at Wrigley Field and would give the team a big bat it needs, especially if the rumors of a Kris Bryant trade come through. Of course, Chicago’s apparent hesitance to spend money this offseason is a major obstacle.

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Robinson Chirinos: Astros

Robinson Chirinos: Astros

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Houston has already re-signed Martin Maldonado, but he’s hardly a viable starting catcher at this point. Chirinos did an excellent job for the Astros last year, hitting .238-17-58 with improved defense. Entering his age 36 season, Chirinos isn’t a great long-term option but should have another good year as a starter remaining.

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Josh Donaldson: Rangers

Josh Donaldson: Rangers

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As Texas opens its new ballpark, the Rangers have already spent big this offseason with additions like Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles. The offense still needs a boost, and Donaldson can certainly provide it. The Rangers fell short in their attempt to sign Anthony Rendon, but Donaldson is a nice consolation after rebounding from a calf injury to hit 37 home runs last year.

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Brian Dozier: Red Sox

Brian Dozier: Red Sox

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Dozier has fallen out of favor late in each of the last two seasons, but he still has something left, as shown by his .771 OPS last year. While his defense has slipped in his early 30s, Dozier can still be a nice addition for a needy team like the Red Sox. Signing him would allow the team to move Michael Chavis to first base full time and use new acquisition Jose Peraza in a utility role. Perhaps the Green Monster would also help Dozier’s home run total.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Posted 1 day ago  |  By Seth Trachtman

MLB world reacts to horrendous call by umpires in critical World Series moment

In an extremely competitive World Series with the Washington Nationals fighting to stay alive, a horrendous call by an umpire could have nearly cost Washington its entire season.

As the Nationals held a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning with Yan Gomes on first, shortstop Trea Turner hit a soft bouncer short of the mound. When Houston Astros pitcher Brad Peacock finally picked it up and fired it to first base, the throw was off the mark and forced Turner into first baseman Yuli Gurriel’s glove.

A play that should have been ruled an error with both runners advancing down the base paths, the umpires called Turner out for interference with the play and made Gomes return to first base.

After Turner and Washington’s skipper Dave Martinez lit into umpire Sam Holbrook for the horrendous call, fans and players watched as the umpires put on headsets as the play was reviewed in New York.

Following an excruciating wait that stalled the game and left everyone feeling restless, the umpires finally took off the headsets and announced the call stood.

Washington’s dugout and the entire baseball world exploded with shock and rage after learning the league’s replay officials stood by the horrendous call.

By: Matt Johnson

https://www.yardbarker.com/mlb/articles/mlb_world_reacts_to_horrendous_call_by_umpires_in_critical_world_series_moment/s1_12680_30396254

Best second-half MLB teams of wild-card era

Whether it comes as a strong finish to an already dominant season or an amazing comeback, or it’s a newly emerged contender coming out of nowhere, there have been some remarkable finishes in the recent history of Major League Baseball. The wild-card era has ushered in far more opportunity for the postseason than ever before but also has raised the stakes within the pursuit.

With 2019’s pennant chase preparing to take shape, let’s take a look back some of the great finishes of baseball’s modern postseason era. 1 of 20

Seattle Mariners, 1995

After owning a 34-35 record at the All-Star break, the ’95 Mariners went from last to first place in the season’s second half. Ken Griffey Jr returned from a two-month absence to hit 10 home runs over the final two months, Edgar Martinez won the AL batting title and Randy Johnson won his first Cy Young Award. The Mariners bested the California Angels in a tie-breaker game to claim their first division title in franchise history. They reached the AL Championship Series, led by a legendary performance by Martinez against the Yankees in the ALDS. Seattle lost to Cleveland in the ALCS. 2 of 20

Chicago Cubs, 1998

While the summer of ’98 is best known for the home run race between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, it also is known for a tight NL playoff race. Sosa’s Cubs were one of the hottest teams in the game in the middle of the year before cooling off late. Meanwhile, Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants won nine of their last 12 games to catch the Cubs. The teams squared off in one-game playoff in which Bonds nearly hit a ninth-inning grand slam amid a Giants rally that fell short. The Cubs hung on to win, and they reached the playoffs for the first time in nine years. 3 of 20

New York Yankees, 1998

Not all memorable second-half performances included airtight races to the finish. Take the case of one of the greatest teams of all time, the ’98 Yankees. They were dominant from start to finish, winning 20 games in three separate months en route to a record 114-win season. They won the AL East by 22 games, with a breakout season for a young Derek Jeter, who hit .324 with 203 hits. They finished the season 66 games over .500 and set a record for most wins in a season, 125, after sweeping the San Diego Padres in the World Series. 4 of 20

Cleveland Indians, 2001

Aided by Minnesota’s huge collapse, the 2001 Indians staged an incredible comeback to claim an AL Central title. After reaching the All-Star break 23 games over .500, the Twins dropped 15 of their first 20 second-half contests, losing their grip on the division in the process. Meanwhile, behind a 49-homer season from Jim Thome, after being five games back at the All-Star break, the Indians finished six games ahead to win a sixth AL Central title since 1995, going 9-3 against Minnesota in the second half. 5 of 20

Oakland Athletics, 2001

In the wild-card era, no team has had more second-half success than the 2001 A’s. They set a 162-game schedule record by going 63-18 over their final 81 games, which included an incredible 29-4 record over the season’s final month. Led by their hallowed three-ace rotation of Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson, along with a string of incredible starts from Cory Lidle, who went 11-2 after the break, the A’s set a record for most wins by a wild-card team with 102. It also was the most wins by a second-place club, but they still finished 14 games behind the record-setting 2001 Seattle Mariners.

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Seattle Mariners, 2001

Led by an incredible jolt of energy from MVP/Rookie of the Year Ichiro Suzuki, the 2001 Seattle Mariners tied the 1906 Chicago Cubs for the most regular-season wins in history with 116. The team never posted a double-digit loss total in any month and saved the best for last. From Sept. 1 through Oct. 7, they went 20-7, with a 4-3 loss on the season’s final day, costing them a chance to set the outright record for most wins in a season. 7 of 20

Oakland Athletics, 2002

For a second consecutive season, in 2002 Oakland channeled second-half magic, going 24-4 in August, a run that included the bulk of one of the greatest winning streaks in MLB history. Oakland went undefeated from Aug.13 to Sept. 4, embarking on an AL-record 20-game winning streak — which included walk-off wins during the final three victories of the streak. However, taking over the division outright required a second, shorter winning spree, when Oakland won nine of its final 11 games over divisional foes to win the AL West. It was a season that changed the way the sport is perceived and inspired the book and movie”‘Moneyball.” 8 of 20

Florida Marlins, 2003

The 2003 Marlins are the definition of a team that got hot at just the right time. After losing eight of their final nine games in August, Florida entered the final month 13 games back in the NL East and barely in control of a wild-card spot. However, its “team of destiny” run — which included an NLCS victory aided by the “Bartman Game” vs. the Cubs and a stunning upset of the New York Yankees in the World Series — got underway quickly in September. Jack McKeon’s club went 10-2 to start the month and won seven of its last nine to claim the NL wild-card spot. 9 of 20

Minnesota Twins, 2006

In 2006, the Twins pulled off the biggest second-half comeback of the last quarter century, erasing an 11-game deficit in the process. With Johan Santana embarking on a 13-0 second half en route to claiming AL Cy Young Award honors, Justin Morneau capturing AL MVP and Joe Mauer being crowned as AL batting champion, the Twins went 49-27 in the second half. This allowed them to track down the Detroit Tigers, who had posted the game’s top record in the first half but stumbled south of .500 following the All-Star break. Ultimately the Twins won the AL Central on the final day of the season. 10 of 20

Colorado Rockies, 2007

On Sept. 15, Colorado was barely above .500 and 6.5 games back of the San Diego Padres. However, the Rockies soon turned the booster jets on, winning 13 of their final 14 games to incredibly reach 90 wins and force a one-game playoff for the NL wild-card spot. The game featured another incredible comeback, as the Rockies rallied from a two-run deficit in the bottom of the 13th inning, capped by Matt Holliday scoring a still-disputed run on a Jamey Carroll sacrifice fly to send the Rockies back to the postseason for the first time in six seasons.

By: Matt Whitener

https://www.yardbarker.com/mlb/articles/best_second_half_mlb_teams_of_wild_card_era/s1__29700269#slide_1

MLB manager hot seat rankings

With the MLB regular season now about one-third of the way finished, we have a clearer picture of where each team stands. Some managers are already looking over their shoulders as a result of poor team performance. The following gallery is a ranking of MLB manager job security from one (least secure) to 30 (most secure).

1. Dave Martinez, Nationals

Brad Penner / USA Today Sports Images

While the Nats allowed Bryce Harper to walk in free agency, they entered the season with high expectations after signing Patrick Corbin. The roster has its share of stars with Corbin, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon, yet the team was almost out of the playoff race entering June. Washington was also the most disappointing team of 2018, at 82-80, and fired pitching coach Derek Lilliquist in early May. Frankly, it’s surprising Martinez has lasted this long in his second year.

2. Mickey Callaway, Mets

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The Mets sideshow continues. Callaway’s team finished with 77 wins in his first season but seemingly went all in this offseason by adding Edwin Diaz, Robinson Cano and Wilson Ramos and also allowed rookie Pete Alonso to stick on the roster out of spring training, thereby losing a year of team control. Yet, New York was below .500 entering June, and the pitching staff (Callaway’s area of expertise) has been disappointing.

3. Don Mattingly, Marlins

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It’s hard to believe him, but Marlins CEO Derek Jeter has insisted he expects the Marlins to win now. Jeter and Mattingly go way back to their days with the Yankees, but if Jeter truly practices what he preaches, Mattingly could be on the chopping block. To the surprise of no one (except maybe Jeter), the Marlins were 21-36 through June 3 and in contention for the worst record in baseball.

4. David Bell, Reds

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On one hand, the Reds ranked fourth in run differential in the NL through June 1. On the other hand, they were in last place at 27-32 with a lineup that has been a massive disappointment. The Reds’ pitching additions have worked out for the most part, particularly Sonny Gray and Tanner Roark, but the team had much higher expectations in Bell’s first season. It would be surprising if Cincinnati fired Bell in his first year but not unprecedented.

5. Ned Yost, Royals

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Yost gets some leeway for leading the Royals to two World Series, but the organization’s last winning season was its World Series championship 2015 season. K.C. won only 58 games last year and is well on its way to another embarrassing finish. The hiring of former Cardinals manager Mike Matheny as a front office assistant opened some eyes, and he would make sense as a replacement if the Royals move on from Yost, whose contract expires after this season.

6. Joe Maddon, Cubs

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Maddon is in the last year of his contract with the Cubs, and the team has high expectations for 2019 despite making few offseason moves. While they have appeared in four straight playoffs, including their historic World Series win in 2016, their playoff success under Maddon has otherwise been fleeting. The NL Central has never been tougher during Maddon’s tenure than it is this season, but the team might decide to finally move on from him if it doesn’t go further in the playoffs this year.

7. Mike Shildt, Cardinals

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Shildt was the Cardinals savior last season, going 41-28 after the first-time manager was promoted following Mike Matheny’s firing. His start to this season has been more innocuous at 30-28, third place in the loaded NL Central. The Cardinals are desperate to make the playoffs after failing over the last three seasons and trading a significant package for Paul Goldschmidt in the offseason. Shildt can’t be faulted for the team’s starting pitching struggles, but ownership could make changes if the team disappoints again this year.

8. Brad Ausmus, Angels

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You’ve probably heard this one before, but the Angels have been plagued by multiple pitching injuries and have struggled to find hitters around Mike Trout this year. They had the same issue recently under Mike Scioscia, and Ausmus hasn’t been able to buck the trend despite being far more amenable to using openers and defensive shifts. Ausmus should get some slack, but it’s inexcusable for the team to not be competitive for so long. The Angels are at risk of finishing below .500 for the fourth straight season.

9. Clint Hurdle, Pirates

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The Pirates remain within striking distance in the NL Central, though winning the division doesn’t truly look realistic with Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams injured. Pittsburgh’s pitching staff has been far worse than expected as a result, and their negative-68 run differential through 58 games currently is the third-worst in the league. Hurdle has done a nice job considering the circumstances, but the team has finished above .500 only once in the last three years and could be in for a standings plunge if it doesn’t get healthy quickly.

10. Scott Servais, Mariners

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The M’s had a fire sale this offseason despite winning 89 games in 2018 but were able to get off to a hot start anyway. The Jay Bruce trade on June 2 likely was the first domino to fall in a continuing rebuild with the team standing 17 games out of first place. Servais hasn’t done anything wrong, but it remains to be seen whether the front office sees him as the right manager for what will soon become a younger roster.

https://www.yardbarker.com/mlb/articles/mlb_manager_hot_seat_rankings/s1__29249243#slide_10

By: Seth Trachtman

Brandon Phillips intends to play in 2019

Veteran second baseman Brandon Phillips is still hoping to continue his playing career, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reports on Twitter. He has not signed with an organization since wrapping up a brief stint with the Red Sox last year.

Now 37, Phillips is well removed from his days as a stalwart performer with the Reds. He topped 120 games for the 12th straight season — and topped 140 for the 11th time in a dozen years — in a 2017 campaign split between the Braves and Angels. But Phillips didn’t sign on with the Boston organization until late last June and ultimately appeared in only nine contests at the game’s highest level last year.

Phillips didn’t exactly thrive in his brief MLB time last year, though a 27-plate-appearance sample isn’t much to go on. He was strong at Triple-A, turning in a .302/.348/.477 slash line with four home runs over 161 plate appearances. And Phillips was still capable of near-average offense in the majors in 2017, posting a .285/.319/.416 slash in 604 trips to the plate.

That ’17 effort wasn’t far off of Phillips’ career mean. Trouble is, he’s no longer an elite defender at second base. Even though UZR graded Phillips as approximately average at the position in his most recent full MLB campaign, DRS assigned a well-below-average -7 score for the second consecutive season. Phillips has also posted some notable negatives in the baserunning game, although he’s still capable of stealing a bag.

Phillips’s low-walk, high-contact skill set could still hold appeal, particularly to a team that still believes in his glovework. The grading systems were neutral to bullish on his 218 innings at third base in 2017, the first time he had ever played there in the majors. Phillips is no shrinking violet; his occasionally brash presence might not be for every team but could be seen as a bonus in the right circumstances.

It isn’t apparent what kind of opportunity Phillips is seeking. He says he’s staying in shape, but there’s no indication of his preferred timeline. Phillips showed last year that he’s willing to undertake an extended run in the minors, although he surely did so knowing there was a chance at an important role for a championship contender. Whether he’ll be able to secure such an opportunity this time around remains to be seen.

 

How MLB players performed in first season after signing massive deals

Giancarlo Stanton: $325 million (2015)

The deal Stanton signed in November 2014 with the Marlins blew away the previous MLB high-water mark by more than $50 million; the 13-year contract also set a standard for length. The first year of the deal was a disappointment for Stanton, who was limited to only 74 games due to a broken bone in his right hand. At the time of the injury in June, he had 27 home runs, four that traveled more than 460 feet.

Alex Rodriguez, $252 and $272 million (2001, 2008)

A-Rod redefined the game’s financial high-water mark not once, but twice, the first time coming when he inked a $252 million deal with the Texas Rangers in 2001. In his first year in Arlington, Rodriguez led the American League with 52 home runs and 393 total bases. He also became the third player in history with 50 homers and 200 hits in a season. He made $20 million more on his second epic deal, this time with the Yankees in 2008. That season he hit 35 home runs, scored 104 runs and led the AL with a .573 slugging percentage.

Miguel Cabrera, $247 million (2014)

On the heels of his third consecutive batting title and second straight AL MVP, Cabrera was signed by the Tigers to a $247 million extension. Although 2014 would be the only year between 2011 and 2015 that Miggy would not top the AL in batting, he still managed to hit .313, drive in more than 100 runs for the seventh consecutive year for the Tigers and lead the league with 52 doubles.

Robinson Cano, $240 million (2014)

The Mariners shocked the baseball world with the deal for Cano’s services, reaching a level the Yankees refused to go for their All-Star second baseman. In Year 1 in the Pacific Northwest, Cano made his fifth consecutive All-Star team and finished fifth in AL MVP voting. However, he posted his lowest power numbers in seven years (14 HRs, 82 RBI) because of a gastrointestinal issue that plagued him late in the year.

Albert Pujols, $240 million (2012)

Angels owner Arte Moreno stunningly lured Pujols from St. Louis with the second-largest contract in MLB history at the time. Although Pujols hit 30 home runs and 50 doubles and drove in 105 runs for the Angels in 2012, his overall performance was well short of the lofty standards he set in St. Louis. He hit at least 40 HRs six times with the Cardinals.

Joey Votto, $225 million (2012)

With an NL MVP, Gold Glove and two on-base crowns already under his belt, the Reds made Votto the highest-paid player in franchise history in April 2012. He led the NL in walks (135) and on-base percentage (.474) and had a career-best .337 batting average. Votto’s torrid 2012 season was interrupted in mid-July because of a meniscus tear in his left knee. He missed 1 1/2 months.

David Price, $217 million (2016)

At the time of his signing, Price’s deal was the richest in history by a pitcher, earning him just under $1 million per start. Although he finished with 17 wins and led the AL in innings pitched with 230, his first year in Boston was an up-and-down affair. His first-half ERA was over 4.00, and he allowed the most hits in the AL that season. His postseason struggles continued as well — he allowed five runs over 3.1 innings in an ALCS defeat.

Clayton Kershaw, $214 million (2014)

Kershaw had arguably the greatest new-money season in MLB history in 2014. The Dodgers’ lefty went 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA in a season that also included a 41-inning scoreless streak. He was a unanimous NL Cy Young Award winner and the first hurler named NL MVP since Bob Gibson in 1968.

Prince Fielder, $212 million (2012)

The Detroit Tigers surprisingly signed the slugging first baseman to a nine-year, $214 million deal. (In 2011, he carried Milwaukee to the NLCS.) In his first of two seasons in Detroit, Fielder hit a career-best .313. slugged  30 home runs, drove in 108 runs and scored 83. He also won his second All-Star Home Run Derby crown, joining Ken Griffey Jr. as the only player with multiple Derby crowns at the time.

Max Scherzer, $210 million (2015)

In his first NL season, Scherzer threw two no-hitters, becoming the sixth player to accomplish the feat twice in a season. At one point, the Nationals’ pitcher retired 52 consecutive batters. He led the league in complete games (4) and shutouts (3).

Full List

By: Matt Whitener

 

 

Watch: Bryce Harper blasts cannon shot against former team

Bryce Harper took to the field as a visitor in Washington D.C. for the first time Tuesday night.

Initially, the new Philadelphia Phillies star was treated with boos from fans who had cheered him on for years . After Harper struck against Max Scherzer early on in the game, the Nationals’ Twitter account decided to troll him.

Well, Harper has had the last laugh. With his Phillies up 6-2 in the top of the eighth, Harper hit a no doubt about it 458-foot blast off Jeremy Hellickson. It was an absolute rocket. Better yet? Harper might have put up the best bat flip of his career after the moon shot.

 

Tuesday night at Nationals Park in D.C. was filled with petty on all sides. For his part, Harper made sure his former team knew he was going to be up for the task. Unfortunately for the home fans, that included Harper taking his frustration out on them.

Harper finished the night with three hits in five at-bats while scoring a run and knocking in three.

By: Vincent Frank

Original Article