Category Archives: alfonso soriano

2014 MLB Team Preview: New York Yankees

Hot Sexy New York Yankees Ellie Goulding 2014 MLB Team PreviewThe Yankees made the biggest splash this offseason by signing Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka. A dozen teams were vying for his services and the Yankees had to pay through the nose to get him. They definitely need him since the rest of their rotation leaves a lot to be desired.

Since Boston won the World Series last season, the “we’re trying to cut payroll’ excuse they’ve been using, well, it went out the window. They opened up their deep pockets and signed Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. If the Red Sox didn’t win, who knows if they would have spent as much.

The AL East is expected to be great and the race will be competitive until the end. Will the Yankees send Derek Jeter out a winner?

Here is the 2014 MLB season preview for the New York Yankees.

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2013 MLB Team Preview: Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs are in the middle of rebuilding their team the right way, through the draft. They are avoiding the offseason barrage of high-priced free agents, which was their vice during the final years of the Chicago Tribune ownership. The new owners, the Ricketts family lured Theo Epstein away from the Boston Red Sox before last season and ended the season with  101 losses in 2012.

Cubs fans aren’t expecting a World Series championship in 2013, but they want to see improvement. A few young prospects are expected to be called up at some point and those are the players the fans will have an interest in.

Should fans expect an All-Star season from Anthony Rizzo?

Will Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano be traded at some point this season?

Here is the 2013 MLB season preview for the Chicago Cubs. Continue reading

Will Anthony Rizzo Save the Chicago Cubs?

The Chicago Cubs currently have the worst record in all of baseball (24-48) and are trying to build for the future. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein has stated that nearly every player is on the trading block. Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Bryan LaHair, and Alfonso Soriano are all expected to be traded by the end of July. The one ray of hope occurred over the weekend, the Cubs called up their #1 prospect Anthony Rizzo.

The Cubs received Rizzo when they traded Andrew Cashner to the San Diego Padres this off-season. Epstein drafted Rizzo when he was the Boston Red Sox GM and wanted him on the Cubs.

Will Rizzo make his Chicago debut tonight against Johan Santana and the New York Mets or will they hold off his debut until they face Dillon Gee or Jonathon Niese later in the series?

Rizzo has all the tools to be a dominant hitter in the Majors. He has crushed the ball in the minors with Triple-A slash line of .337/.406/.673. In 69 games this season with Iowa (PCL) he has 23 homers, 62 RBI, and a .345 batting average.

To put his numbers into prospective and be realistic, Bryan LaHair’s 2011 Triple-A numbers were 38 homers, 109 RBI, with a .331 average through 129 games. LaHair has done well this year, but could end up being a 4-A player at the end of the day.

Rizzo had more than a cup of coffee with the Padres last season. He had a slash line of .141/.281/.242 with one homer in 128 at-bats. You could factor in that PETCO Park, San Diego’s home park, wasn’t suited for Rizzo’s skill-set, but he didn’t play every game at home.

Chicago could have started out the season with Rizzo as their starting first baseman, but they were smart by having him get his confidence back. He has a hot bat and Chicago could use it at the moment.

I doubt Rizzo will start in tonight’s game against Santana, but he could be used to pinch-hit later in the game. The smart money is that he will start on Tuesday and Wednesday. Chicago has been using LaHair in the outfield lately and should be in the lineup when a right-hander is on the mound.

I warn Cubs fans to lower expectations at the beginning. We don’t want another Felix Pie, Jerome Walton, Dwight Smith…(I could go on and on, but I don’t want to cry this morning). He will be batting near the middle of the order with Soriano and Geovany Soto sandwiching him. He will be protected to start out (well, as much as you can in an anemic batting order.

Rizzo will not save the season, but if he can show that he can hit MLB pitching and give the fans something to build on, he will do very well at the Friendly Confines.

…let the “Grease” nicknames begin. I’ll start, how about Anthony “Greased Lightning” Rizzo?
By: TwitterButtons.com

A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.

Are Trade Rumors Having a Negative Effect on Starlin Castro?

‘America’s White Boy’ has been Starlin Castro Central over the past week. I had an opinion on the latest Chicago Cubs trade rumors that possibly involved Castro and had a post where I compared the current Castro situation to the 1988 trade Rafael Palmeiro.

Castro committed a pretty bad defensive gaffe when he didn’t even attempt a double play because he thought he already recorded the third out of the inning. He held onto the ball and the tying run scored on the play. The Cubs lost 3-2 to the San Francisco Giants.

Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein shot down rumors they were shopping Castro.¬†Trade rumors can affect a person’s confidence even when they are not involved in the rumor.

What is the best way to deal with his lack of concentration? Is benching him the right answer?

Cubs manager Dale Sveum hinted that Castro could see himself out of the lineup tonight against the Milwaukee Brewers. Sveum has been vocal when the 22-year old has made a mistake and even called his last error “unacceptable.”

This wasn’t the only lapse in concentration that Castro has committed recently. He pulled up on a steal attempt because he thought Joe Mather had fouled off the pitch. Mather didn’t make contact and Castro was caught in a rundown. He had a problem last season when Bobby Valentine, current manager of the Boston Red Sox and former ESPN baseball analyst, criticized him for not being set defensively when the pitcher threw the ball. Castro had his back to the play and was bashed by the rest of the media after Valentine pointed it out on live television.

Castro has been the only consistent offense for Chicago this year. Bryan LaHair and Alfonso Soriano have been hot at different times, but Castro has batted over .300 since Opening Day.

Chicago has one of the worst records in baseball (18-36) and it isn’t going to get any better this year. They will be openly shopping Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Soriano and other players at some point in the season.

Castro needs to look at the team’s struggle as a mental test. Unless you are Derek Jeter, a player isn’t going to be on a winning team every year. If he handles losing poorly, he will not progress in his development. I hope Sveum continues to be hard on him. I believe he deserves to be benched for a couple games, but then openly praised if he comes back playing harder than ever.

The Cubs fans are rooting for you, Starlin. Please lead by example and your teammates will follow.

By: TwitterButtons.com

A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.

The Cubs to Trade Starlin Castro, Others?

The Chicago Cubs are 18-32 and have already had a double-digit losing streak this season. They knew going into this season that big changes could be made to their team.

Bob Nightengale of the USA Today reported that every player on the Cubs current roster, except Jeff Samardzija, is available for trade.

The biggest surprise in Nightengale’s story is that 22-year old All-Star, Starlin Castro, is among the Cubs players that the organization would consider trading. He is among the team leaders in nearly every offensive category.

Is publicly announcing that the entire roster is available for trade a smart move? What is the Cubs asking price for Castro?

Theo Epstein signed on as the President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs and hired Jed Hoyer as the General Manager. Epstein came from the Boston Red Sox and Hoyer was previously the San Diego Padres GM. To make a long story short, they didn’t draft or sign any of these players, so they are not married to them.

“We’re starting to get some early calls now,” Epstein told Nightengale. “There might be fewer sellers than usual and a lot more buyers. This has the chance to help us. We need core players.”

The Cubs will move Starlin Castro for ‘two impact prospects’ and Bryan LaHair, Matt Garza, and Ryan Dempster are the others that will be highly sought after. Alfonso Soriano was also mentioned, which isn’t a new development, the Cubs has been trying to trade him for three seasons. They would eat most of his contract just to make space in the outfield ($18 million per season through 2014). Soriano is on a hot streak since reducing his bat weight by over an ounce. It could be the perfect time to talk a team into taking him off their hands

Let’s go back to Epstein’s remark that the Cubs “need core players.” Castro has proven that he can produce at the major-league level (over 200 hits in 2011). He has struggled defensively this year and analysts are questioning if he would be more suitable at a third-base. Unless the Cubs think that minor-league shortstop Junior Lake is a better long-term answer at the position, I would rather have Castro than two wild-cards at this point.

If the Cubs make a few moves and clear spots on the 25-man roster, they will bring up some talented minor leaguers. First Baseman Anthony Rizzo is tearing up Triple-A and will be the first player they call up. If Rizzo is their #1 prospect, outfielder Brett Jackson is #1a. Jackson has been touted as the center fielder of the future. RHP Trey McNutt and 3B Josh Vitters could also be considered for a call-up.

Epstein can’t trade the entire roster. They are an 18-32 team, he couldn’t even give away most of them. Publicly announcing that the team is up for trade could lead to disgruntled players and low morale. He could have had personal discussions with other teams’ front office staff. He did it as a message for fans that he will not stand pat and will do everything he can to improve the Cubs. I can understand that, but it just seems pretty early to be making bold statements.

I’m a Cubs fan and I have been very patient with the organization. I am ready for a change, but I hope they don’t trade young established talent for even younger unknown commodities. You can make a bad situation even worse if those prospects don’t pan out and the player you traded away is voted into the All-Star game every year.

By: TwitterButtons.com

A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.

Sweetbob’s Fantasy F/M/K – May 7th

FuckMarryKill

It has been over a month since you’ve had your fantasy baseball draft. If you are like me, you have given your players ever chance  to succeed. This is the time of year that teams start to make roster moves and you should do the same. You probably feel dumb for drafting Carlos Marmol…so make up for it by picking up someone better! This is the first of many weekly columns to help you win your fantasy leagues.

Welcome to “Sweetbob’s Fantasy F*ck, Marry, Kill”… Continue reading

Trading Deadline: Chicago Cubs Trade Bait

The Chicago Cubs appears to be “sellers” at the trading deadline this year. The team seems to be going nowhere with players getting older and wave of youth starting to crack the 40-man roster. The deadline only 72 hours away, so it’s crunch time. Who are the players the Cubs are dangling out there and which Cubbie said that he would not accept a trade to another team? Will the new owner, Ricketts, decide to have a “fire sale” and scrap team for youth?

Ted Lilly – Lilly is the most talked about trade piece the Cubs are currently shopping. He is in the last year of his contract and he’s having a solid season. He has been the most consistent pitcher on the staff since they signed him a few years ago. Chicago has even made it clear that they would eat much of Lilly’s remaining money left on his contract this year to get the best deal. I see him going to the Mets or another fringe contender, possibly the Twins (no rumor of him going to Minnesota is out there, just think that he would be a good fit).

Derrek Lee – He was rumored to be heading out of town since he is also in the last year of his contract. The Los Angeles Angels apparently had a deal in place for him, but he declined it. He wants to play out his contract with Chicago. I’m not sure if he’ll be looking to re-sign with the Cubs this off-season, but he will demand a decent contract.

Carlos Zambrano – The Cubs would LOVE to move Zambrano and his temper out of Chicago. He will be the hardest person on the team to move because of his performance of late and the remaining amout of money that he has left on his contract. The Cubs want to just dump his salary, but they could be left eating much of it, if they want to trade him.

Alfonso Soriano – With the emergence of Tyler Colvin, the Cubs would like to move Soriano and his inflated contract. His contract was backloaded, which means that most of his money will be paid out towards the end of his deal. This will make it nearly impossible for him to be moved. If Soriano was a better fielder, they could easier move him back to 2B, where he played as a member of the Yankees. He has lost a step and his fielding is on par with Manny Ramirez. It would be impossible to trade Soriano right now, but if he starts off hot in 2011, there could be suitors.

Xavier Nady – Early in the season, the rumors started circulating that some teams were looking for a mid-level outfielder with power. Nady was one of the names that was mentioned, but with his recent plummet in his numbers and losing a number of at-bats to Colvin, it doesn’t look like Nady would be someone that a contender would be targeting. Nady needs ample at-bats to be comfortable at the plate, he hasn’t had much success has a pinch-hitter. If the Cubs trade Nady, it would be for a low-level prospect at this point.

Hopefully Chicago can pull off some trades and restock their slim farm system. At the beginning of the year, only Houston had a worse farm system in the NL Central. The Cubs are headed towards rebuilding and let’s hope they get it right this time.
By: TwitterButtons.com

A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.

2009 Un-All-Star Team – Revisited

Back in the middle of June, I made a list of players who should have better numbers, but off to a bad start. My 2009 Un-All-Star Team had all of the usual suspects, Ortiz, A-Rod, Lidge, etc. Check to see who made the team and see how they fared since I posted this in June.

Some of these players helped their team make the playoffs, while others are the reasons their teams didn’t live up to their potential. I vote the few Chicago Cubs that made the list as my person Least Valuable Players on my Un-All-Star team.

The Batting Average next to the players names were as of June 21st, 2009.

Catchers
Kelly Shoppach .194 – currently at .223 – He never got it together this season
Dioner Navarro .218 – currently at .219 – Seems like he’s been consistently bad
Geovany Soto .222 – currently at .219 – He’s been on the DL on and off all season

First Base
Conor Jackson .182 – currently at .182 – He been on the DL all 2nd-half of the season
Carlos Guillen .200 – currently at .258 – He’s the definition of a 2nd-half player
Chris Davis .200 – currently at .229 – He’s a strikeout machine
Jason Giambi .212 – currently at .206 – Giambi is now on the Rockies, but eating some bench
Lance Berkman .241 – currently at .269 – He turned his season around, a bit

Second Base
Alexi Casilla .180 – currently at .196 – Not good, not at all
Dan Uggla .216 – currently at .238 – He has power, but swings at anything
Howie Kendrick .231 – currently at .298 – Has had a great August, finally found his swing
Kelly Johnson .227 – currently at .220 – He lost his starting job

Third Base
Garrett Atkins .205 – currently at .222 – Lost his starting job and barely plays
Alex Rodriguez .212 – currently at .285 – His hip has healed up nicely

Shortstop
Mike Aviles .183 – currently at .183 – Has been on the DL since June
Khalil Greene .213 – currently .204 – Seldomly used on the St. Louis bench
Jimmy Rollins .223 – currently at .247 – His power came back with his swing
Orlando Cabrera .235 – currently at .276 – Has had a fantastic 2nd half with Minnesota

Outfield
Ken Griffey Jr. .220 – currently at .214 – It might be time to hang it up, Junior
Grady Sizemore .223 – currently at .248 – The Indians have already shut him down
Alfonso Soriano .229 – currently at .241 – Back on the DL again for Fonzie
B.J. Upton .229 – currently at .238 – Has started off bad and never got it
Ryan Ludwick .234 – currently at .270 – Once Holliday arrived, he started to hit
Pat Burrell .236 – currently at .225 – Overpaid and Underwhelming

Designated Hitter
David Ortiz .207 – currently at .235 – At least his power came back

Starting Pitchers
Chien-Ming Wang 12.30 – currently at 9.64 – He came down with a “mysterious injury”
Oliver Perez 9.97 – currently at 6.82 – He was really, really bad this season
Scott Kazmir 7.69 – currently at 5.06 – Pitched much better since trade to Angels
Fausto Carmona 7.42 – currently at 6.62 – He’s better, but still bad
Ricky Nolasco 7.15 – currently at 5.28 – Nolasco has been good at random times
Andy Sonnanstine 6.60 – currently at 6.94 – He amazingly got worse
John Lackey 6.10 – currently at 3.77 – He returned to his regular form
Francisco Lirano 5.91 – currently at 5.88 – Pretty consistently bad

Bullpen
Brad Lidge 7.27 – currently at 7.51 – Bad, plus factor in 11 blown saves
Troy Percival 6.35 – currently at 6.35 – He has been on the DL
B.J. Ryan 5.71 – currently unemployed – His career could be over
Manny Corpas 5.40 – currently at 5.88 – Bounced between minors and Colorado
J.J. Putz 5.22 – currently at 5.22 – Injury hit him as well

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A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.