Category Archives: MLB

Dodger Stadium Will Host The 2020 All-Star Game

MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred, along with Dodgers executives and players gathered in Center Field at Dodger Stadium yesterday afternoon for an important announcement. This time, Manfred’s speech had nothing to do with pace-of-play. Instead, Manfred announced what he called, “one of the worst-kept secrets in Major League Baseball:” the Dodgers are going to host the 2020 All-Star Game. They have not done so since 1980.

The Los Angeles City Council approved a $100,000 expenditure for the event. The Dodgers will not only be hosting the All-Star game itself, but also FanFest, Play Ball initiatives, the Futures Game, the Celebrity Softball Game, and the Home Run Derby.

This is such big news that the Dodgers even disturbed Vin Scully’s retirement to have him narrate this video:

Predicting the 2018 National League Standings

Opening day is less than a week away. All 30 Major League teams are preparing to pack up and leave their spring training facilities. Many teams are optimistic about what 2018 holds for them. Other teams have received terrible news this month. I am going to try to predict how the National League standings will look 162 games after March 29.

NL WEST

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

After winning 104 games and coming one win shy of a World Series title, the Dodgers off-season was quiet. The biggest move the Dodgers made was the trade for Matt Kemp. This trade was supposed to be a way to get the payroll under the salary cap. But Kemp showed up to Spring Training ready to win a spot in the Dodgers’ starting lineup. Clayton Kershaw has been lights out this Spring, finishing his preseason with a 0.00 ERA. The Dodgers received a hard blow, however, when Justin Turner was hit by a pitch and fractured his hand.

2. Colorado Rockies

Pitching will continue to be a problem for the Rockies. They lost one of their starters, Tyler Chatwood due to free agency, but they signed free-agent and former Cub, Wade Davis, as their new closer. There is no question about their offense with Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon, and Coors Field benefiting them. If Carlos Gonzalez and Raimel Tapia can bounce back after tough seasons, the Rockies will be really hard to beat.

3. Arizona Diamondbacks

At the beginning of spring training, I thought the Diamondbacks would finish the season ahead of the Rockies. But this spring has not been kind to them. Their ace, Zack Greinke, has been experiencing a loss of velocity this spring. He’s also struggled with injury. Steven Souza Jr., who the D-backs acquired in a trade this offseason, suffered a pectoral strain and will be on the disabled list until mid-May.

4. San Francisco Giants

After an absolutely horrible 2017 season, the Giants were optimistic about 2018. They were hoping they would be able to compete with the Rockies and Diamondbacks for a wildcard spot. However, the Giants have fallen upon hard times. They lost Jeff Samardzija for 3-4 weeks due to an oblique strain. Then, their ace, Madison Bumgarner, was hit a line drive yesterday afternoon. The liner fractured his left (pitcher) hand. He will miss most of the first half of the season.

5. San Diego Padres

The Padres are not ready to compete yet. Their rebuild has not reached the point where they can seriously expect to win. They signed free-agent first baseman, Eric Hosmer, to an eight-year deal this offseason. Wil Myers will return to the outfield, where he originally played. The Padres, however, still need to get the rest of their players rooted in the big leagues.

NL CENTRAL

1. Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers had a very active offseason and I believe they have now passed the Cubs in the NL Central. The Brewers reshaped their outfield when they signed free-agent, Lorenzo Cain, to a five-year deal. They also traded for Marlins’ center fielder, Christian Yelich. The new and improved outfield, along with some improved pitching, should give the Brewers the edge over the Cubs.

2. Chicago Cubs

The Cubs lost their ace, Jake Arrieta due to free-agency this off-season. They also lost their closer, Wade Davis. They signed Yu Darvish in an attempt to make up for losing Arrieta, something Dodger fans cannot believe. They also signed Brandon Morrow to be their closer. Their infield will look the same as last year; Anthony Rizzo at first, Javier Báez at second, Addison Russell at shortstop, and Kris Bryant at third base. Their catcher, Willson Contreras, needs to learn to control his arm in order for the Cubs to win the division again.

3. St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals’ struggles in 2017 are likely going to extend to 2018. The Cardinals lost Lance Lynn to free agency, traded Stephen Piscotty to the A’s, and they traded Randal Grichuk to the Blue Jays. Their outfield does not have much depth; with only Marcell OzunaTommy Pham, and Dexter Fowler. Fowler will need to bounce back after a disappointing 2017 season. As far as catcher goes, Yadier Molina is the Cardinal’s only backstop.

4. Cincinnati Reds

With Joey Votto at first base, Scooter Gennett at second base, and Eugenio Suarez at third base, the only question the Reds have left for their infield is who will play shortstop. José Peraza, a second baseman by trade, is the most likely candidate. The outfield is basically set in stone, with Adam Duvall in left field, Billy Hamilton in center field, and Scott Schebler in right field. Once again, the Reds pitching will be a problem, as they will have a boatload of young pitchers.

5. Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates traded Andrew McCutchen to the Giants, then traded Gerrit Cole to the Astros this offseason. They are hoping for a bounce-back year from Gregory Polanco after he hit .251 in 2017. Starling Marte had a solid 2017 and the Bucks are hoping that he can continue to play well at age 29. Josh Bell is hoping to avoid a sophomore slump after his strong rookie year.

NL EAST

1. Washington Nationals

The Nationals are the obvious choice for NL East division winners. With three-time Cy Young award winner, Max Scherzer, and Stephen Strasburg at the top of their pitching rotation, the Nationals will be hard to beat. Bryce Harper is looking strong heading into his last season before free agency. The Nationals are just a strong team all around.

2. New York Mets

If the Mets’ rotation can stay healthy this year, they will be a very tough team to beat. The flame-throwing 25-year-old, Noah Syndergaard, has taken over as New York’s ace. Jacob deGrom is looking good, especially with his new haircut. The Mets also have Matt HarveySteven Matz, and Jason Vargas. One of the biggest questions the Mets are asking involves third base. Will Todd Frazier be able to beat Father Time?

3. Atlanta Braves

Braves fans are not happy that their top prospect, Ronald Acuña Jr. will start the season in Triple-A. In fact, Acuña deserves to play in the Major Leagues. But the Braves front office decided that it will be better to keep Acuña in the minor leagues long enough to get one more year in his contract than to have him with the club on opening day. Once April 13 rolls around, everyone is expecting to see Acuña in the big leagues. The Braves has a fairly solid infield with a pitching staff that has both young players and veterans.

4. Philadelphia Phillies

Although the Phillies have things to be excited about, they are not ready to contend yet. Their biggest excitement is Jake Arrieta, who signed with them this off-season. They can also be excited about Rhys Hoskins, who hit 18 home runs after his call-up in August of 2017.

5. Miami Marlins

When Derek Jeter bought the Marlins this year, everyone knew that Miami was going to rebuild. Marlins fans were not happy to see Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna traded. The Marlins are excited to see Lewis Brinson, their top prospect, debut on opening day. Other than Brinson, there is not much the Marlins are expecting to see this year.

Who are you predicting will win the NL divisions? Comment below to tell me.

Dodgers Trade 4 Players, Cash For Matt Kemp

This move completely baffles me. It’s even more confusing than when the Dodgers decided to sign Tom Koehler, a right-handed reliever with an insanely high ERA. This time, the Dodgers traded four players and cash for none other than Matt Kemp. Yes, you read that right.

The Dodgers traded Adrián GonzálezScott KazmirBrandon McCarthy, and Charlie Culberson in exchange for Kemp. Now, anyone who has followed the Dodgers for more than three years knows that Kemp used to play for the Dodgers. Also, if you have watched Kemp for any length of time, you know that he is most famous for getting ejected.

The Dodgers’ goal for trading away González, Kazmir, and McCarthy seems to have been to lighten up the pay role. González is owed $21.5 million, McCarthy $12 million, and Kazmir $15 million in 2018. So the Dodgers shed roughly $27 million when you take Kemp’s $21.75 million into consideration.

While I’m completely in favor of getting Kazmir and McCarthy, along with their salaries, off the roster, I’m not in favor of the rest of the deal. Kazmir didn’t even pitch in 2017 due to a hip injury. In 2016, Kazmir went 10-6 with a 4.56 ERA. McCarthy pitched in 19 games (16 starts) in 2017, posting a 6-4 record with a 3.98 ERA. However, he pitched only 92.2 innings. The Dodgers also traded away Charlie Culberson, who spent most of the season in Triple-A. He recorded only 13 at-bats during the regular season, recording only two hits.

The part of this trade that I don’t like has to do with González and Kemp. I know that González played in only 71 games this year due to injuries, but I still think he could have contributed to the Dodgers. González has shown to be a very consistent hitter over his Major League career and, even though his stats were down, I think he will bounce back in 2018. The Dodgers should have kept González around. I also can’t believe that they really wanted Kemp to return. It’s absolutely mind-boggling to think that the Dodgers want to bring him back. He only hit 19 home runs in 2017. He also is not the kind of person the Dodgers should want in the clubhouse. It seems like he always would get ejected from games, something that drives me and other baseball fans crazy! His stats are also declining. His power is going down along with his slugging percentage and his OPS.

Since the Dodgers freed up some of their money (which they have more than enough of), they should put it either towards trading Kemp for Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen or signing free-agent Lorenzo Cain. I for one, do not want to see Kemp in a Dodger uniform again. Technically, the Dodgers checked the box of acquiring another outfielder, but I think they messed it up. There are many better outfielders they could have acquired. Hopefully, they can get the outfield figured out before Spring Training.

Dodgers Don’t Land Ohtani; Need Starting Pitcher

Shohei Ohtani decided not to sign with the Dodgers, instead, he chose to play for the Angels. Because of this, the Dodgers still need to find another starting pitcher.

So who’s available to replace Ohtani? There are a number of free agents that the Dodgers could attempt to sign. The first one who comes to mind of course is Yu Darvish. Now, I’m not blind to the fact that Darvish lost the World Series this year. In fact, I don’t’ want him back. And thankfully, it seems like the Dodgers front office doesn’t want him either.

The Dodgers also could try to sign Jake Arrieta. This seems like the better option. Arrieta has actually succeeded in the postseason, unlike Darvish. He’s a veteran pitcher who still can keep up good stats. If the Dodgers are thinking properly, they will go after Arrieta.

The other options would be to find a pitcher who is already in the system, or they could try to trade for someone else. Trading doesn’t seem like a good option because the Dodgers would have to give up a bunch of their valuable prospects. They don’t have very many prospects to trade, however, because they gave away a bunch of them to acquire Darvish.

Seager Wins Another Silver Slugger

Corey Seager may have fallen short of the gold glove this year, but he still added to his impressive resumé this year when he earned his second straight Silver Slugger Award. Seager became the first Dodger shortstop ever to win the award and he is now first Dodger to win it in back-to-back years since Mike Piazza did it in 1996-97.

In case you weren’t able to read the chart at the beginning, it showed that Seager led NL Shortstops in batting average (.295), hit twenty-two homers (4th among NL Shortstops), and held the third-best OPS among NL Shortstops (.854).

Seager did all of this despite injuries. Due to the injuries, he only played in 145 games this year. Two of the things that I think are most impressive about him is his ability to hit lefties and his ability to hit the first pitch. Seager, a left-handed batter, hits lefties better than he does righties. Also, he crushes first-pitch fastballs. It really makes me wonder when pitchers will stop throwing fastballs for strikes to open an at-bat.

Trade Deadline: Dodgers Get Darvish; Boost ‘Pen

Shortly before the non-waiver trade deadline came into effect at 1:00 pm PT today, the Dodgers made a few last minutes deals. The team that I am happy to say is the best team in baseball, made a few trades to increase their chances of a World Series victory. Who are these players? Yu DarvishTony Watson, and Tony Cingrani were all acquired within an hour of the deadline. Somehow, the Dodgers managed to make these deals without trading away their top three prospects — Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, and Yadier Alverez.

Yu Darvish:

The trade for the Japanese-born right-handed starter Yu Darvish was the loudest of the trades the Dodgers made at the deadline. In 167 games in Japan, Darvish had a record of 93 wins and 38 losses. Over his seven years in Japan, Darvish had a 1.99 ERA. He signed with the Texas Rangers in 2012 as an international free agent.

General Manager Farhan Zaidi announced on Monday that he is not sure when Darvish will start or when the players will join the club. The Dodgers spent Monday traveling to Atlanta, Georgia. Zaidi also said that they wanted to add another starter for October.

“Having four [starters in October] is better than having three,” Zaidi said.

In the past, Darvish has pitched very well, but he has struggled this year. His record is 6-9 and he has a 4.01 ERA with a WHIP of 1.17. I am not terribly worried about Darvish’s stats, however, due to the fact that the Dodgers have one of the best pitching coaches in the Major Leagues. Rick Honeycutt has been able to help many pitchers over his career as the pitching coach. Honeycutt is the man who helped Clayton Kershaw develop a pickoff move. He is the one who helped Alex Wood change from being a disaster last year to being the Dodgers second Ace this year. Honeycutt also helped Rich Hill overcome blisters and mechanical issues to make him the Dodgers’ third ace. I think that it will only take a little bit of time before Yu Darvish is another Dodgers’ Ace. he will be up for free-agency at the end of the season.

Tony Watson:

The Dodgers sent their 21st prospect, Oneil Cruz, and right-handed pitcher Angel German to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Tony Watson. The former Pirates’ closer has only ten saves this year and a record of 3.66, his worst since his rookie year. Despite the stats, the Dodgers believe that he can help their bullpen. Once again, I think that it will only take a little bit of time and Rick Honeycutt will have him fixed as well. Watson will be eligible for free-agency at the end of the season.

Tony Cingrani:

The Dodgers sent Scott Van Slyke and catcher Hendrik Clementina to the Reds for 28-year-old Tony Cingrani. Cingrani can pitch as a starter or come out of the bullpen for the Dodgers. It is more likely that he will be doing the latter. Unlike the other players the Dodgers traded for, Cingrani will not be eligible for free-agency until 2020. In 25 games this year, Cingrani’s ERA is 5.40. He allowed nine runs in his last start that lasted 5 2/3 innings. The Dodgers beleive that a tweak of game plan will change the results for Cingrani.