Category: MLB

Was Signing Bryce Harper a Bad Move For the Phillies?

Adam Lott / February 28, 2019

Ladies and gentlemen, hold on to your horses because Bryce Harper has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. The former Nationals all-star now has the largest free agent contract in American sports HISTORY. The contract is worth $330 million dollars and lasts 13 years! I bet Kyler Murray wishes he would have stayed in baseball right now because players are getting paid a lot of money for not a lot of effort. But was this signing a mistake for Philly?

The Phillies came into the offseason ready to battle. They immediately stated that they had “stupid money” and that they were willing to spend most of it. Signing all-star middle infielder Jean Segura and young phenom J.T. Realmuto were only the small goals for the Phillies. The team knew that they wanted either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado from the beginning. But after months of relentless pursuit accompanied by an AGONIZING free agency finally landed Bryce Harper in the city of love.

My opinion is that the Phillies were too eager. The home run derby champion has been on and off his entire career. He had 3 extraordinarily mediocre years to start off his venture with the Nationals. Then in 2015, his MVP campaign, he batted .330 with 99 RBIs and 42 home runs. The next year, the 26-year old’s stats dipped. His batting average stood at a subpar .243 and only had 24 home runs. Then in 2017, he got his average up to .319! But alas, his stats dropped once again when Harper only batted .249 in 2018 with 34 home runs and exactly 100 RBIs. It boggles my mind how inconsistent this guy is. Not to mention that when his contract is up, Harper will be 39. Let that sink in for a minute. He will be 39 years old and still making millions of dollars. For the last 4-5 years of his contract, Harper will mean NOTHING.

Why would the Phillies jump the gun on this guy? If they would have waited one more year, they could have pursued PHILADELPHIA NATIVE MIKE TROUT. Trout will be a free agent after the 2019 season and the Phillies could have had him! The best player in the world could have got all of that “stupid money” that some guy with a few good years under his belt got instead. If I was from Philadelphia, I would be pissed. Not only did you screw the franchise over for a GOOD WHILE, but you also screwed over a dedicated fan base that won’t see another championship until the contract is over. But hey, at least we won’t have to worry about fans rioting in the streets like when they won the super bowl. Stay classy Philadelphia.

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Manny Machado Finally Signed, Here’s What It Means For the NL West…

Adam Lott / February 19, 2019

Well, it finally happened. After one of the most anticipated and grueling off-seasons in MLB history, Manny Machado found a team. Tuesday morning, the superstar SS/3B signed a 10-year, $300 million dollar contract with the San Diego Padres. We all knew that the contract was gonna be huge, but HOLY COW that’s a lot of money! His contract now stands as the largest free agent contract in American sports history, surpassing the previous record held by Alex Rodriguez’s 10-year, $275 million contract.

With the Machado signing, the Padres look to rebuild a struggling franchise. They finished last in the NL West in 2018 and had the fifth worst record in all of Major League Baseball. The signing will allow the team to build their franchise from the ground up, using Machado as the base of their structure. But what does this signing mean for the other four teams in the NL West?

Nothing. It means nothing for now at least. Several years from now, the story may be different, but for the next couple of seasons, the division will look excruciatingly similar to its previous years. The only thing that this signing will affect the division is the placement of the Padres and the Giants. The HORRID San Francisco Giants will be the worst baseball team in the NL West for MANY years.

The Giants finished 7 games ahead of the Padres last year and I predict that, with the Machado signing, San Diego will pass up the Giants and the Giants alone. The Diamondbacks, Rockies, and the Dodgers will be first, second, and third in the division (No specific order). So nothing will change immediately. However, the Padres have a lot of money AND a newly acquired franchise player under contract for 10 years.

Headlines about 5 years from now may have the Padres listed as a top team in baseball. Or they could still be one of the worst teams in baseball. That’s just how the cookie crumbles. Nobody can know for sure how anything will play out because of the inactivity of free agents. Bryce Harper’s inevitable signing can ruin everything, especially if he does end up signing with the Giants. What we do know is that his contract will probably be bigger than Machado’s. So Manny, enjoy your record while you can because one 26-year-old RF from Nevada is coming for you.

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Harper to the Cubs, It could happen and why it should

I sit here roughly 900 miles south of Chicago as a lifelong Cubs fan from New Orleans who grew up with Harry Caray instead of after-school specials or cartoons like most kids in the 1980’s.

A prerequisite for Cubs fans is that we think with our hearts above anything else. I am going to explain why the fans are 100 percent correct in their desire to acquire one of the best players in the game and involves thinking beyond our hearts.

The primary issue we keep hearing from the front office is the subject of the luxury tax. The team’s payroll is nearing $200 million but is not quite there according to spotrac.com who has the current payroll listed around $170 million. The luxury tax threshold is $206 million so that is the number to keep in mind as the Cubs’ brass is preaching they must shed some salary to make this potential blockbuster move for Bryce Harper.

The long-term forecast seems realistic as the Cubs could realistically free up around $50 million after next season without compromising the core of the team. Two notable names that account for approximately $33 mil are Cole Hamels and Ben Zobrist who could take pay cuts in their late 30’s to win titles while some of the other pieces are expendable.

We will re-visit the contracts shortly but think about what Bryce Harper brings to the lineup. A left-handed slugger that would be deadly surrounded by Rizzo, Baez, and Bryant who fits the pre-2018 Cubs approach to taking pitches and working counts while also having the ability to put one into the bleachers at any time. Defensively, he is strong as well and would give you a potential outfield of Heyward in the right, Almora in the center, and Harper in left that would be ridiculous. A 6x All-Star and former MVP getting into his prime at age 26 is a no-brainer.

The Cubs cannot allow the last offseason to ruin this great move in the team’s history. Yes, we know about Tyler Chatwood and Yu Darvish, but there could easily be a rebound for both but remember this team won 95 games without any production from either player.

The Brewers are coming off a division title and are not going away despite losing a few midseason additions to free agency. The Cardinals traded for one of the game’s elite hitters in Paul Goldschmidt and had enough talent overall to be a threat as well. So now for the money dumping that we keep hearing about.

They have made some modest cost-saving moves thus far with the departures of Tommy La Stella, and Drew Smyly and other options remain. As much as I like Brandon Morrow, the transition went smoothly to Pedro Strop becoming the closer, so there are a potential $10 million savings as there is no shortage of teams needing a closer or set up guy with postseason swag. Then there is Chatwood who the team could get creative and pay the 2020 portion of his contract which may entice a deprived pitching team like the Reds, White Sox, and so on. There is another $10 million. I am not Theo Epstein or Jed Hoyer but these types of moves are possible, and with the contracts coming off the following season there are viable options.

Last, let’ s think about it. This organization’s team payroll is less than 40 percent of its revenue and every year I visit the shrine of Wrigley Field it is impossible to ignore the cash-generating juggernaut that the Ricketts family have created near Clark and Addison with a new hotel and a small shopping district all team owned. The fans deserve nothing less as loyal as have been and this move makes too much sense on every level to happen. So worst case scenario pay the damn luxury tax!

MLB 2019 Division Power Rankings: AL West

If you didn’t see my first article on the worst division in the league, go check it out: https://gumbosports.com/2018/12/28/mlb-2019-division-power-rankings-al-central/

I know what you are thinking. “Adam, didn’t the Astros win the World Series in 2017? What are you smoking Adam? Alex Bergman is the MVP of the league this year!” I know. I get it. The Astros are good. They are phenomenal actually. They are probably the number two or three team in the AL. Their flaws are exceeded by the insane amount of home runs, RBIs, and wins. However, the Astros are the only team in the AL West that will come close to the playoffs.

The Astros held the best record in the West in 2018 and defeated the Cleveland Indians in the first round of the playoffs. Despite the success, the team ultimately lost to the Boston Red Sox and were eliminated from the playoffs.

The AL West started the season with high hopes of going far, posting some of the best records in the league through May. Then everything began to crumble. The Angels horrid pitching staff caught up to them, the Mariners just weren’t good enough, and the Rangers…oh the Rangers. They were there as well. The only team this past season slightly worked out for was the Oakland Athletics.

They unexpectedly made the Wild Card round and faced the New York Yankees in hopes to pull off a huge upset. However, the stars couldn’t align, and the Athletics were sent home to watch the rest of the 2018 playoffs at home from their couch.

I predict that the same thing will happen in 2019 as in 2018 with only one exception. The Astros will win the division by a landslide, but this year, none of the other teams in the AL West will finish with a winning record. And just like last year, the Astros will be the only ones talked about. The other four teams will be left to trade and pray that 2020 will be different.

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MLB 2019 Division Power Rankings: AL Central

Oh baseball. You’ve been gone far too long. To pass the time we’ve had an excellent football season and a surprisingly interesting basketball season. But now it’s time to begin talking about the 2019 MLB season by ranking each division from worst to best. There will be some bad teams, and there will be some REALLY bad teams. We will get through it nonetheless. To start off, we have the worst division in baseball: The AL Central.

Although one of its teams made it to the World Series two years ago, the AL Central has been the most consistently bad division in baseball. The Indians are the only team in the Central that could possibly make the playoffs in 2019. And with the loss of Micheal Brantley to the Astros, the Indians might be in jeaprody of an awful record as well. The Indians have become the juggernaut of the division, winning it three times in a row. Although their blinding the success, the team has had a fairly mediocre time in the postseason in recent years. In 2016, the Indians made it to the World Series and held the Chicago Cubs on the ropes, leading the series 3-1. That was until they notoriously choked, and lost the World Series in 7 games. In the following two years, the Indians won their division, but they lost in the first round of the playoffs in each year.

The Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins are the only other teams in the division to post a winning record in the past three years, with neither making it past the first round of the playoffs. The Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox have been simply awful in the recent years. In 2018, the two teams held two out of three of the worst records in baseball.

There is hope for one team in the division though. The White Sox have a very young team and great potential. Their starting roster should be ready to win a title in at least 2035, and that is stretching it. Every other team however, is prepared for failure…again. I predict that the Indians will win the AL Central with ease but lose in the first round of the playoffs for the third year straight. If you are a fan of any of these teams, be ready for disappointment and humiliation because you will be taunted and made fun of relentlessly by your friends, family, and co-workers. Like honestly, I feel bad for you.

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