Posts tagged Major League Baseball
The 40/40 Club EP 7 - Angels In The Outfield

Pierce and Scott preview the trade deadline and look at the playoff races early in the second half. Plus, our thoughts on the Phase 4 MCU reveal and Spider-Man: Far From Home!

Play in the biggest NFL season long tournament EVER! Join the $3.5 Million Dollar Best Ball Championship on DRAFT! Download the DRAFT app on the app or play store or head over to draft.com/barberschair and join today! Use the promo code BARBERSCHAIR for a FREE entry to a Best Ball draft when you make your first deposit!

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
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The 40/40 Club - A-Rod Won

The debut of The 40/40 Club. Mixed drinks of death, Lumen and crawling to Uber's in Beverly Hills (08:24-15:50). The new trailer for Avengers: Endgame (16:12-24:10). WWF Aggression and the wildest wrestling themes(24:18-26:30). Mr. 3000, Angels in the Outfield and our favorite baseball movies of all-time (26:40-42:40). A preview of the 'Elite Milk' discussion on next week's Ball Don't Lie (32:55-36:50). A-Rod puts a ring on J-Lo and gets the ultimate W over Jeter (36:51-38:50). Beverly Hills Cop, Eddie Murphy making terrible movies and Friday After Next is the greatest Christmas movie ever (42:41-48:00). Our boy Mets fan Mike joins the show to talk about the toughest division in baseball, how he plans to deal with the pain of another Mets season and when Tim Tebow will make the 40-man roster, if Eloy Jimenez will hit a homer before the Battle of Winterfell, if the Red Sox have become the Yankees daddies, the Cubs hitting struggles, and give over/unders for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado (50:09-1:44:04).

This week's Negro League Legend of the Week: Satchel Paige
Follow Pierce on Twitter: @HennyOmega
Follow Scott on Twitter: @BarbersChairNet
Follow Mike on Twitter: @OptimalViewing

Listen to the new bangers playlist from The Barber's Chair on Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

Rep THE MAN just in time for Wrestlemania with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
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Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
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35th and Addison EP 9 (ft. @SD2Mics)

35th and Addison is back for the September playoff run! We're joined by ESPN 1000 producer Shaun Davis to talk the future of the White Sox, Michael Kopech's first few starts and where the Sox can go in 2019? Plus our expectations for the Cubs this season, and more!

Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega
Follow Scott: @Scott_CEOofSUH
Follow Shaun: @SD2Mics

35th and Addison EP 8

This week on 35th Pierce calls out Jose Quintana for having the worst season of his career, while telling Cubs fans to chill the hell out. Scott explains why he doesn't care if Eloy Jimenez or Michael Kopech get called up this season anymore, and we chat about the rise of the A's and Braves and the falls of the Yankees, Dodgers and Astros.

Follow Scott: @Scott_CEOofSUH
Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega

Inside the 2018 MLB Playoff Race

It’s August and the games are starting to matter in the Major Leagues. One bad stretch of games in August could leave you on the outside looking in come playoff time. Let’s look at the close divisional and wild card races still going on.

Rex Sox rising, Yankees folding in AL East

For a team that boasts one of the deepest lineups 1-through-9 in the league, the loss of Aaron Judge (wrist injury) has really hurt the Bronx Bombers.  Entering Monday, the Yankees have lost five straight, including a four-game sweep to the rival Red Sox, who now hold a 9 and a half-game lead in the AL East.

Keep in mind that the Red Sox did all of this without the help of ace Chris Sale, who is expected to return from shoulder inflammation this weekend in Baltimore.

 

Second half magic puts Oakland in the thick of the Wild Card hunt

The Oakland Athletics keep winning, I don’t know how… but they just keep winning. The A's took off in June and July to push them right in the middle of the American League Wild Card hunt.

If you look at their roster, your kneejerk reaction is probably “Who are these guys???”. Their rotation consisting of guys who have bounced all around the league (I’m talking about you, Edwin Jackson), their starting lineup can flat out MASH, like Khris Davis (the major league leader in home runs since 2016) and the two Matts (Chapman and Olson). If the A’s find themselves in the Wild Card game, they will be the reason why.

Are the Phillies for real?

There’s a lot of winning going on in Philadelphia this year (shoutout to Meek) and surprisingly the Phillies have kept the trend going. They’ve won five straight and have a game and a half lead over the Atlanta Braves.

Most of their damage has been done at home, with a NL-best 37 wins at Citizens Bank Park. If they want to hold off the Braves and Nationals (there’s still hope for Bryce Harper and Washington), they’ll have to improve on that 25-30 record away from Philly.

The Cubs are finally playing to their potential

The Chicago Cubs hold the best record in the National League, despite missing key members for long periods of time (Kris Bryant, Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow). They're only a game ahead of the Brewers in the NL Central coming into Monday, but even without those stars they're playing to everyone's expectations.

The Cubs were relatively quiet at the trade deadline, acquiring Cole Hamels and a few relievers to add the pen. The Brewers have been a nice story, but it’s going to be a tough task matching wins late in the season with a team as good as the Cubs. Milwaukee may eventually have to turn its focus on maintaining its lead in the wild card race.

How the (NL) West is won

On paper, the Dodgers are the clear favorite to win the NL West for a sixth straight year, but it’s still wide open out west. They're tied atop the division with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have been solid behind MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt. The Colorado Rockies have also managed to hang around behind their star Nolan Arenado. Even the Giants sit five games back in the West.

There can only be one division winner, but the added incentive for these teams is to avoid that one game playoff. This race will certainly come down to the last week of the regular season.

Key series to watch

Philadelphia Phillies (62-48) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (62-50)
August 6th-8th

The margin for error for both teams is extremely slim. Can the Phillies get some wins on the road?

Los Angeles Dodgers (61-51) @ Colorado Rockies (58-52)
August 9th-12th

The Dodgers have a chance to distance themselves from the Rockies in a packed NL West.

Milwaukee Brewers (65-49) @ Atlanta Braves (59-48)
August 10th-12th

A potential preview of the NL wild-card game.

35th & Addison EP 5

35th & Addison is back to talk more Chicago baseball, including the Cubs' two series with the LA Dodgers & Eloy Jimenez watch down in the White Sox farm system. Plus we discuss the Astros playing championship baseball, the Dodgers powering themselves back into contention, Shohei Ohtani's arm and Yankees-Red Sox III!

Follow Scott: @Scott_CEOofSUH
Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega

35th & Addison Ep. 4 - The Boys of Summer

After an NBA Playoff hiatus, 35th & Addison is back! Pierce & Scott talk Chicago baseball, including the Cubs' surge to the top of the standings, and updates on Eloy Jimenez & Michael Kopech. Plus, what if the Sox were in the same division as the Cubs? We also look at teams who have impressed us so far, discuss Shohei Ohtani's injury and why a top Chicago exec may be lying on Bryce Harper.

Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega
Follow Scott: @Scott_CEOofSUH

What's Going On In "The Show"?

If you’ve been locked in on the NBA playoffs like most of the world has been, there was quite a bit you’ve missed in the MLB. With the Memorial Day checkpoint in the rearview mirror, we’ve had our fair share of surprises (both good and bad) to start off the season.  Here’s what has stood out so far.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves are ahead of schedule

People didn’t have very much expectation for Atlanta this year. The Braves organization is the top ranked minor league system entering this season, so it was assumed that this team is still in its rebuild phase. However, the mix of young talent led by second baseman Ozzie Albies (pictured above) and seasoned veterans have surprisingly put the Braves in National League East and Wild Card contention.

Atlanta has been one of the best hitting teams in baseball so far this season. They have also pitched very well behind their second and third starters, Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb.  The Braves have been very fun to watch, but can they hold off the Nationals all summer?

No Cano, No Problem for Seattle

Here’s something that even I didn’t see coming. The Mariners lost star second baseman Robinson Cano on May 16 to not only a hand injury but also an 80-game suspension for violating the leagues drug policy.  Surprisingly since then, the Mariners have been on a roll behind their starting rotation.

Like Atlanta, Seattle has a daunting task of holding off a World Series contender in their own division, the defending champion Houston Astros. Not only do the Mariners have the Astros to deal with, they also have a very solid Angels team lurking in the American League West. It’s still early, but this Mariners team is showing potential to be the one to end the longest playoff drought in the four major sports.

The Dodgers stumble out of the block… and get injured

Mark J. Terrill-AP

Mark J. Terrill-AP

Anything and everything that could go wrong for the defending National League champion Dodgers has gone wrong so far. This team just cannot seem to stay healthy. The team started off the season without third baseman Justin Turner due to a wrist injury he suffered in spring training. Then they lost up and coming shortstop Corey Seager for the year with an elbow (UCL sprain) injury.

Now they’re dealing with the uncertain health of ace Clayton Kershaw (pictured right). A back injury may keep Kershaw off the mound until early July.  With the Rockies and Diamondbacks battling atop the division, the Dodgers hope that they can get healthy before either team runs away with the division.

Another Rough Year for the “Comedy Central”

For years the American League Central has been the division where only the division winner makes the playoffs.  So far this year, there’s only one team over .500 in the division: the prohibitive favorite Cleveland Indians. 

What’s shocking about this is that the Indians have not managed to pull away from the other teams.  Their bullpen, which had been a strength of the team in previous years, has been awful.  Their closer, Cody Allen, is the lone reliever with an earned run average under 4.00.  Although the Indians have disappointed so far, they still have the talent to be a dangerous team if they put it all together by season’s end. 

35th and Addison ep 3 - It's Still NBA Season

This week Scott & Pierce talk about the Crosstown Classic and what's going on with the Sox and Cubs in early May. Plus their thoughts on Robinson Cano's PED suspension, Mike Trout's historic start to the season, the return of Yankees-Red Sox, and the retirement (of sorts) of Ichiro Suzuki

Robinson Cano gets caught up, suspended 80 games for PEDs
Duane Burleson, Getty Images

Duane Burleson, Getty Images

Major League Baseball suspended Seattle Mariner star second baseman Robinson Cano for 80 games without pay after he tested positive for a banned substance - a diuretic called Furosemide. According to a statement by Cano, the diuretic is not a performance enhancing substance, but it used to treat “various medical conditions”. Cano has accepted the suspension and will begin serving it right away.

This news comes as Cano just underwent surgery for the fractured fifth metacarpal he suffered after being hit by a pitch in a series against the Detroit Tigers. The Mariners placed the 35-year-old All-Star on the disabled list following surgery. It's a devastating blow to the Mariners, who have goten off to a solid start as they contend for the AL West crown.  While there is not very much good news about this story, one positive about it if you’re a Mariners fan is that Cano will be eligible to return in August (although he won't be eligible for the postseason due to his suspension.)

Seattle’s offseason acquisition of former Miami Marlin Dee Gordon now looms large.  Gordon has played centerfield for the Mariners this season, but a return to second base is likely. Speaking of Gordon's, former White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham is another option up the middle for the Mariners.

Cano’s suspension hurts the Mariners offense most of all. It will be extremely difficult for the replacement players to match Cano’s production at the plate. Cano’s absence also means less protection for his teammates in the middle of the order, particularly Jean Segura and Nelson Cruz.

This news must be devastating to playoff-hungry Mariner fans in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle hasn't made the postseason since 2001, the longest playoff drought in the four major North American sports leagues. Entering play on May 15th, the Mariners are a game-and-a-half out of first place behind the Angels and Astros, who are tied atop the division. It's tough to imagine the Mariners keeping pace with those two teams without Cano in the lineup.

Choose your side: White Sox or Cubs?
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When you're born in Chicago, you have to choose a side. Your decision can be geographically-based on where in the city you're from, or which surrounding suburb you grew up in. It can even be based off family ties and who your favorite uncle - or the one you couldn't stand - cheered for.

But no matter how you do it, you have to choose your allegiance early.

South side or North side?

Black or blue?

Sox or Cubs?

Only two cities in Major League Baseball have multiple teams residing within city limits - the Angels, unlike the Dodgers, play in Orange County, & the Giants and A's, while both in the Bay, play in different cities. The Yankees play up in the Bronx while the Mets' home is in Queens, but the battle lines aren't drawn the same way in New York. The Yankees have been the mainstay for over a century, and while there's a fair share of Mets fans in New York City, they pale in comparison to the fanbase of the Evil Empire.

Chicago is a Bears town. When the Bulls are great, the city rallies behind the franchise in droves. Hell, even when the Blackhawks are winning the city turns up. But when it comes to baseball, the sibling rivalry gets real.

Cubs/White Sox might be a cordial battle on the baseball field, but in the stands, it's real. My first Cubs/Sox game was way back in '99, a Sunday Night game at old Comiskey Park, and Cubs fans were boxing it out with Sox fans down in the Infield Box seats. It's REAL! Even before the Sox got that 2005 World Series and threw it in the faces of Cubs fans for 11 years at every chance they got... there's not an interleague rivalry in baseball that matters more to its fans than the Bragging Rights of the Crosstown Classic.

The teams have met every year since 1997, and no matter if the Sox are good and the Cubs struggling, the Cubs dominant while the Sox are tanking (as is this weekend's series), or in the rare case, both teams are really really good, the Red Line series is appointment television. No one will forget Michael Barrett's punch on AJ Pierzynski that cleared the benches in 2006, or Carlos Lee's 2-out, walk-off grand slam in the 10th in 2001. What about Ozzie unrelentlessly trash-talking Wrigley Filed or when the Blackhawks brought out their newly-minted Stanley Cup and everyone was on the field like one big happy dysfunctional family.

And family is what we are. We come from blended, divided families where the arguments spark off every family reunion. There's always an Uncle Frank (not his birth name, but the name he gave himself because of his love for Frank Thomas) who gets drunk off his ass and wants to yell about how the Scrubs will live up to their name and be completely useless by September. He's a dick, but you love him (a bit) and his love for baseball all the same.

The series divides the best of friends, and even lovers. Fellas, don't take your obsessive Sox fan girlfriend to the game. It's all fun and games when she's downing 312's nuzzled against your neck, but the second Kris Bryant smashes one onto Waveland and the Cubs go up by 5, her afternoon is ruined and guess who ain't getting no secks tonight? That's right. It's you.

Cubs/Sox crowds are electric, no matter the standings or the score. In recent years, the brawls in the stands have come fewer and further between, but the same candor remains. Sox fans are still talking shit about the Cubs, even if the other team finally got their ring and their squad is at the bottom of the division. Cubs fans are still defensive, but now they have a shiny new trophy to hold over Southsider's heads. The rivalry has taken many shapes over the last two decades, but the fire remains inside every fan in Chicago.

And the ones who claim to be fans of both? Fuck them. If you're a real Cubs or Sox fan, you know all that shit is phony... you may not be the biggest of baseball fans, but everyone here knows you can't play both sides. That's worse than being a bonafide fan of the other team!

Allegiances mean everything in Chicago. Choose wisely, or risk getting stomped out on 35th for talking the wrong shit to the wrong person.

No seriously, Sox fans are angry people. They will fuck you up.

35th & Addison ep. 2 - Yu Wildin

This week on 35th & Addison, Scott and Pierce talk about the Cubs' strong April and where they need to get better at the plate, Yu Darvish's troubling start, Yoan Moncada's progressions at the plate & the Fun Police v. Tim Anderson. Plus what's going on in the White Sox farm, Sammy Sosa's non-apology to Cubs fans, the Yankees hot streak and how the Dodgers will fare without Corey Seager. Plus a little Infinity War talk cause we couldn't help it.

Winners & losers of the first weekend of the MLB season

The first series of the MLB regular season has concluded and boy was it a crazy one. Things got started off with the Cubs taking on the Derek Jeter-sabotaged Marlins. Expectations are low for Miami this season but expectations couldn’t have gotten any lower for the Fins after Ian Happ took the Marlins deep on the very first pitch of the season. Giancarlo Stanton made his arrival in Giancarlo Stanton fashion, smacking two home runs in his debut with the Yankees. The White Sox, Nationals, Brewers and Pirates all swept the weekend while the Reds, Tigers, Royals and Padres went empty-handed. Here are my winners and losers of the opening weekend.

Winners

Mike Stone - Getty Images

Mike Stone - Getty Images

New York Mets: The Mets rotation looked like their dominant selves this weekend as Noah Syndergaard and Jacob DeGrom were lights out against a St. Louis Cardinals offense that, heading into the season, had a top 10 lineup. Although he let up four runs, Syndergaard went six strong on Thursday by striking out 10 in a 9-4 victory. DeGrom was just as impressive by only allowing one run in 5.2 innings at striking out seven in their 6-2 win. Although they dropped their series finale on Easter, the Mets have a three game set against the Phillies (I will get to them later).

Los Angeles Dodgers: Although they split their opening series with the Giants, the Dodgers pitching looked impressive, even in their first two losses. The offense was no where to be found in the first two games as they combined to score zero runs. On the other hand, in the first two games, the Dodgers only allowed two total runs, one per game. If you only allow one run per game, most of the time, you’re going to win. The Dodgers bounced back by blanking the Giants in the final two games and combined to score 14 runs in that time span. Up next for the Dodgers is a rematch of last year’s NLDS against the Diamondbacks.

Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers: Although the White Sox went undefeated in the first weekend, they only played two games against the Royals due to a rainout on Sunday. The Nationals, Pirates, and Brewers on the other hand, all swept their three game series against the Reds, Tigers, and Padres, respectively. Yes those three teams all stink but to come away with a sweep to start the season makes you a winner in my book.

Losers

I’ve already covered the Giants but aside from them, I only have one loser this week,

Brett Davis - USA Today Sports

Brett Davis - USA Today Sports

Philadelphia Phillies: Oh man where do I even begin? I am not a Phillies fan by any means but living in the Philadelphia area, I have access to their games. With baseball being back, I needed to watch baseball so I wanted to watch the up-and-coming Phillies and boy was I in for a show.

In case you haven’t heard, the Phillies hired former outfielder Gabe Kapler as their manager in the offseason. Aside from managing the Red Sox single-A affiliate, the Greenville Drive, and leading them to a 58-81 record in 2007, the 42-year-old Kapler has very little managerial history. Heading into this season, it would be interesting to see what he’d do.

First game of the year against the Braves and their ace Aaron Nola was lights out. Striking out three, allowing three hits and allowing one earned run, Nola was pulled after 5.1 innings and a total of 68 pitches as the Phillies held onto a five run lead. Somehow, some way, the Phillies managed to blow the lead and blow the game 8-5 on a walk-off. Kapler used up six pitchers that game (keep that in mind).

The second game, the Phillies won in extras 5-4 and used up nine pitchers including five from the previous night. The third game is where the rails came off. The Phillies got smacked 15-2 but the story came in the second inning when starter Vince Velasquez couldn’t even make it through three innings as he let up nine hits, and four runs. Kapler went to the bullpen but here’s the problem: nobody was warming up. Poor Hoby Milner (who was pitching his third straight game in as many days!) had to come out of the bullpen cold but kudos to him, he only let up one hit and no runs in 0.1 innings and was replaced by Jake Thompson the next inning.

Kapler’s mis-management of the bullpen led to reserve infielder Pedro Florimon to throw one inning in a game that was already decided. In case you were wondering, Florimon walked one hitter and let up one hit, a two-run bomb by Braves outfielder Lane Adams. We’ll see if Kapler has learned from his mistakes as they take on the Mets this week.

Free agent market starting to thin as spring training commences
John Sleezer/AP

John Sleezer/AP

The historically slow MLB offseason has come to an end and it’s finally time for Spring Training as most teams begin their first official full squad workouts and first games this week. Aside from big time trades involving pretty much any relevant player on the Miami Marlins, the free agent market has been picking up as of late as top free agents have been signing deals with teams, leaving just a few players left on the market.

Mark Gonzalez/Chicago Tribune

Mark Gonzalez/Chicago Tribune

Heading into this offseason, the biggest free agents were Jake Arrieta, Lorenzo Cain, J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer and Yu Darvish. Just last week, the latter three were plucked off the market as they signed major money deals. Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million contract with the Chicago Cubs, Eric Hosmer signed an eight-year, $144 million with the San Diego Padres, and J.D. Martinez signed a five-year, $110 Million deal with the Boston Red Sox. Darvish is arguably the most talented pitcher that was on the market this past offseason. The same can be said for Hosmer and Martinez as the most talented position players. So with the three most coveted players off the market, what does that mean for all the other free agents still out there?

The one player that I mentioned that has not been signed yet is Jake Arrieta, the best pitcher still available. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported that there has been “dialogue” between Arrieta’s camp and the Philadelphia Phillies. Andy McPhail, who is the Phillies president of baseball operations, served in the same role with the Baltimore Orioles from 2007 to 2011. It’s worth noting that Arrieta was a member of the Orioles organization from 2007 to 2013 and was with the big league club from 2010 to 2013 so there is a sense of familiarity between the two parties. The Phillies have a young core consisting of Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams, J.P. Crawford and Aaron Nola, a great farm system and they have already made a splash at 1B by signing former Cleveland Indians slugger Carlos Santana to a three-year $60 million contract. Other than Aaron Nola, the Phillies rotation is a bit iffy so signing Arrieta would make the Phillies a sneaky wild card contender in 2018.

Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn and Jeremy Hellickson are all serviceable starting pitchers still available on the market and are all great middle to back-end of the rotation guys. Greg Holland is probably the best relief pitcher available right now with other guys such as Trevor Rosenthal, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard available too.

All of the top tier position players have been snatched up already but there are still some good second tier guys available.

Jonathan Lucroy is still available and pretty much any team in the N.L. East can use a catcher. 1B Logan Morrison and Lucas Duda are still available and can be good DH options as both still have some pop in their bats. 2B Neil Walker is still available as well as 3B Mike Moustakas. Both are good middle of the order infielders and both are lengthy vets as well. Outfielders Jose Bautista, Carlos Gomez and Carlos Gonzalez are good power hitting outfielders still on the market.

With the pickings becoming slimmer by the day, there are still quality MLB-level players looking for homes as we enter Spring Training. My guess as to why this free agency was slow? Nobody wants to spend money before next season’s offseason which is going to be bananas. Players like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Donaldson, Charlie Blackmon, Brian Dozier, David Price, Andrew Miller, Craig Kimbrel, Andrew McCutchen and A.J. Pollack will all be hitting the market next offseason. Let’s just rejoice that the slow offseason has come to an end and actual baseball will be played in just a matter of days.

Brewers' moves for Cain, Yelich shows they're ready to contend in 2018
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY

Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY

After finishing last season one game short of making the playoffs, the Milwaukee Brewers are destined to make sure last YEAR wasn't a fluke. The Brewers made not one, but two big time moves in their outfield: trading for Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich and signing former Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain for 5 years/$80M. But, what does all this mean for the Brew Crew? Here are some quick thoughts about their moves.

 

The Brewers are ready to contend now.

By trading their top prospect, Lewis Brinson to acquire Yelich, the Brewers want to contend right now. They finished the season at 86-76, losing an early-season division lead to the back-to-back N.L. Central champion Chicago Cubs. With the Cubs and the always talented St. Louis Cardinals in the mix, the Brewers have as good a chance as those two teams to capture the division, barring injurys.

One piece away

If the Brewers were to fail to make the playoffs in 2018, it would be because of their lack of quality arms in the rotation. Chase Anderson was their only bright spot in the rotation last season. He finished the year at 12-4, posted a 2.74 ERA, a WHIP of 1.09 and sat down 133 batters. But as we know, you can’t rely on one guy every five days. Zach Davies certainly has the potential to be a 2nd, 3rd or 4th guy in the rotation; he's only 24 years old but he’ll need a breakout 2018 season to turn some heads.

According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Brewers are said to be shopping outfielders Domingo Santana and Brett Phillips for a starting pitcher. They could trade those guys or they could sign a pitcher such as Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn but by acquiring Yelich and Cain, those two guys combine for $123.5 million alone.
 

Potential lineup

If things stay in place, here’s how I see the Brewers opening day lineup shaping out

1. Lorenzo Cain, CF
2. Christian Yelich, RF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Travis Shaw, 3B
5. Eric Thames, 1B
6. Manny Pina, C
7. Orlando Arcia, SS
8. Eric Sogard, 2B
9. Chase Anderson, P

The Greatest Hall of Famer that never was
(PHOTO: Jack Gruber/USA TODAY Sports)

(PHOTO: Jack Gruber/USA TODAY Sports)

The baseball Hall of Fame will elect its 2018 class this Wednesday afternoon. Among those expected: 612 home run hitter Jim Thome, 601-save closer Trevor Hoffman, and former MVPs Vladimir Guerrero and Chipper Jones.

But the greatest player of all-time will likely be withheld from the Hall of Fame in his sixth year of eligibility.

Yes, I’m talking about Barry Lamar Bonds.

While Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell, former players suspected of using steroids, received their calls to Cooperstown in recent years, the all-time home run king is still isolated from his rightful throne. Bonds has never failed a drug test, despite years of suspicion, and beat four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice relating to the government investigation of BALCO, the Bay Area lab that employed Bonds’ trainer, Greg Anderson. Bonds admitted to unknowingly using “the cream” and “the clear”, described to him as nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a pain-relieving palm for arthritis, but even if the substances were indeed steroids, Major League Baseball did not ban them at the time.

And if they were steroids, what does it matter? The culture in MLB at the time overlooked, and in all honesty accepted, performance enhancing drug use in a majority of its players. Baseball twice had chances to put its stamp on doping: in 1991 when Commissioner Fay Vincent sent a memo banning steroids but not implementing a testing policy, and again years later when Bud Selig did the same thing.

MLB front offices benefitted from the steroid era tenfold. As Sammy Sosa was clubbing home runs onto Waveland Avenue, the Cubs were filling Wrigley Field to the gills, generating a hefty profit off the Dominican slugger. As soon as Sammy was no longer welcome, he was cast aside and ostracized from the organization. Even after the franchise has shifted owners and won a World Series, the new owners expect Sammy - the grey ghost himself - to roll over and admit what he did, as if he owes the Ricketts anything.

Even beat writers contributed to the matter. In Roger Clemens’ biography The Rocket that Fell to Earth, Jeff Pearlman claimed that the soon-to-be inducted Piazza, who admitted to briefly using Androstenedione early in his career, would tell reporters off the record that he used PEDs.

It’s impossible to know who was, and wasn’t, on the juice during that era. Everyone from Ken Caminiti to Bret Boone to Manny Ramirez have been accused of, suspended for or have been speculated of juicing at one point. But one thing is for certain: even before the speculation, Barry Bonds was a Hall of Fame baseball player.

Before the big home run boom of 1998, Bonds was arguably the best player in the game. His impressive combination of power, speed, contact and vision is the stuff of legend, and quite honestly we haven’t seen a player like him since (Mike Trout stans be damned). Just peep his stats from 1986, when he entered the league with the Pittsburgh Pirates, to 1998:

• 411 home runs
• 403 doubles
• 63 triples
• 445 stolen bases
• 1,364 runs scored
• 1,216 RBI
• 3,679 total bases
• .966 OPS (164 OPS+)

If he ended his career after that, with 8,100 career plate appearances under his belt, Bonds is in the pantheon of the elite. He’s already in the 400-400 club, and would have finished with a top-10 hypothetical OPS. Ken Griffey Junior's numbers during this era pale in comparison to Bonds’ as well.

Starting from 1993, when Bonds joined the San Francisco Giants, to 1998, the last year both players were at full-strength:

Taking out Griffey’s 1995 season, where he missed close to three months with a severe wrist injury, it’s clear Bonds posted better numbers than Junior in that time span. Griffey was a home run machine in that era, hitting more than 40 bombs in each season but ’95, including the strike-shortened season of 1994, but Bonds was a better hitter for average, and got on base at a more consistent rate. His K/BB ratio compared to Griffey was unreal, as their totals were a complete flip-flop from one another. In 1993 and 1996, Griffey walked more times than Bonds struck out. From 96-98, Bonds took a base on balls at least 130 times. Griffey never walked more than 96 times in a year during that period. Bonds was also better on the basepaths, averaging 32 steals during his age 28-33 seasons. Griffey’s highest stolen base total during that stretch was 20.

It is easier with the naked eye to believe Ken Griffey never use PEDs, even after his body broke down in Cincinnati and he was a shell of his former self. He more than deserves a place in the Hall of Fame,as his near-unanimous induction a few years ago indicated. But so does Bonds, who even before the suspicion, left his mark on Major League Baseball.

Oh, and if we’re talking about keeping the integrity of the game in tact, consider this:

  • The book The Baseball Hall of Shame’s Warped Record Book includes an account of Babe Ruth injecting himself with an extract from sheep testicles.
  • According to writer Zev Chafets, Mickey Mantle’s fade in his 1961 home run race with Roger Maris was attributed to a botched injection of a chemical cocktail including steroids, amphetamines, and other substances. Mantle also allegedly used a corked bat in the 1960s.
  • In his autobiography I Had a Hammer, Hank Aaron, increasingly frustrated by his lack of performance at the plate, admitted to taking an amphetamine before a game in 1968.
  • Mike Schmidt admitted to writer Murray Chass in 2006 to using amphetamines “a couple of times”, and in his book Clearing the Bases, he said amphetamines were “widely available in major-league clubhouses” and it is far more common and has been going on a lot longer than steroid abuse.
  • Goose Gossage admitted to using illegal amphetamines during his playing career.
  • Manager Bobby Cox was accused of beating his wife and calling her a bitch, continuing a pattern of violence that allegedly includes a black eye and a broken wrist.
  • Ty Cobb was a known racist, accused of beating up black men simply because they were black and handy. He once notoriously stabbed a black waiter in Cleveland, and according to Hall of Famer Tris Speaker, he brutally pistol-whipped black men just for sharing a sidewalk with him.
  • Gaylord Perry regularly used an illegal spitball to get an edge on opposing batters.

Every one of these men have been elected into Cooperstown, including Cox after the fact. If these men are deserving of such an honor, why are we so adamant that Bonds isn’t?

Hot stove predictions: trades

MLB free agency has been god-awfully slow, but there's been no shortage of trades this season.

The Marlins were so happy to get a pack of Frooties back from the Yankees for Giancarlo Stanton, they traded Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis for a slice of Imo's Pizza (which is huff as fuck if we're keeping it a buck).

The Giants FINALLY dealt for Evan Longoria, and we also saw the salary dumps of all salary dumps when the Dodgers re-acquired Braves outfielder Matt Kemp for Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kasmir. It was an NBA-style of getting rid of salaries to get under the luxury tax. A genius move by the LA brass.

Aside from that, it's been mostly talk from teams looking to trade star players. The Orioles ruined any chance of re-signing Manny Machado before next offseason by linking his name with damn near every team in MLB. The Pirates are close to trading Gerrit Cole somewhere, and they still have Andrew McCutchen to deal with.

Here's some predictions on where top trade names will end up (or not). When you're done, catch my free agency predictions here.

Manny Machado

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Machado is rare; a mixture of power and slick fielding who has clubbed 30 homers each of the last three seasons and has a WAR of 6.0 or better in the three seasons he received MVP consideration. What's rare about him is that kind of player doesn't hit free agency at 26 that often.

It would behoove the Orioles to re-sign him, but they've fumbled their chances at that. Their best bet is to trade him before the summer trade deadline and recoup some assets for what could turn out to be a one-year rental. It's better than letting him walk for a compensatory draft pick.

Rumor has it the Yankees are in on the Machado sweepstakes, but the Orioles would be sick to trade him to a division rival. The White Sox were the aggressive name at the Winter Meetings, but they've done a helluva job stocking the farm in the last year and it doesn't make sense to undo that work for one year of Machado. The Cardinals are the most likely destination, and they could give him a chance to return to shortstop like he wants.

Prediction: St. Louis will bid hard for Machado, but the Orioles don't like any bids. Machado stays in Baltimore to start the season, is traded to a contender for a lesser haul at the deadline.

Gerrit Cole

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates' run to three consecutive playoff berths ended with no series win and back-to-back embarrassments at home in the wild card game. Now it's time for Pittsburgh to rebuild, and first to go? Star pitcher Gerrit Cole.

MLB Network's Jon Morosi reports the Pirates have agreed to a deal with the Houston Astros for Cole, who now becomes the young ace behind Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel for the defending World Series champs. The Astros are bringing over a game-changer to the American League.

Andrew McCutchen

MLB.com

MLB.com

The Pirates will then turn their attention to former MVP Andrew McCutchen, who actually had a decent year-30 season after struggling in 2016. His WAR boosted from -0.7 to 2.5, hit 28 home runs 88 RBI's and an .849 OPS. Even in his 30s, McCutchen brings veteran leadership and a solid bat to any outfield.

The Giants are players in the McCutchen sweepstakes with their abysmal outfield, as are the Mets, with a logjam but not many great players outside of Yoenis Cespedes.

Prediction: Giants trade for McCutchen after signing Lorenzo Cain, move McCutchen to right & Pence to left.

Other predictions:

Pirates trade Josh Harrison to Mets
Chris Archer
stays with Rays
Marlins trade Christian Yelich to Brewers
Jose Abreu stays with White Sox