As most of you have probably heard by now, New York Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson will miss 10 weeks thanks to a broken arm. Obviously, we all wish him a speedy recovery, but, at the moment, it is also interesting to think about how the Yankees will replace him for the beginning of the season.
Last season, Granderson hit 43 home runs with 106 RBI. Of course, his batting average dropped down to .232, but when you’re producing that kind of power, a low average is somewhat more acceptable.
Obviously then, this is a rather large hole to fill. They need a centerfielder, but they also need a run producer. However, Granderson will be back eventually, so it is not necessarily worth going after a superstar replacement. If they pursue that course of action, Granderson’s eventual return would lead to a bottleneck.
Now that we have set the scene, what options might be out there?
One that immediately comes to mind is Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano. He is also a high power, low average hitter who has played in New York before.
Would the Cubs be willing to trade him?
It is quite possible. Chicago is looking towards the future right now with a younger class featuring Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, so I would be willing to bet that a 37-year-old would not fit into those plans. This would not be a bad pairing.
Another interesting option could be Vernon Wells of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
He is not going to have a lot of room to contribute with the Angels this year, so I am sure that they would like to get rid of at least a portion of his large salary.
He would probably not be nearly as productive as Soriano, but he does provide a little bit of power for what would probably be a very low price. For about a month and a half of regular season service, that might be all that the Yankees need.
Whatever they do, losing Granderson for 10 weeks is going to hurt. He is an All-Star centerfielder who has carried their offense right from the top of the lineup.Posted in Columns, New York Yankees | Leave a comment
I know that I have written a lot about performance-enhancing drugs, and then you see stories come out like what is going on with this Miami clinic. No one knows exactly who is involved, who isn’t involved and how they are involved. This ambiguity obviously give us plenty of room for speculation and certainly damages the integrity of Major League Baseball.
For that reason, the MLB needs to enhance their drug testing policies.
If you think about why athletes who choose to use these substances, I assume that most of the motivation comes from big numbers. It is rather obvious, but more production leads directly to fame and fortune. There is a lot of incentive to commit this offense.
For a little bit of a personal digression, I am an accounting student. We talk a lot about fraud and how to prevent it from happening in our future organizations.
The opportunity to commit fraud comes from three different sources that all need to be present. First, there needs to be an incentive. As I have already laid out, millions of dollars from large contracts is a pretty good incentive.
Second, there needs to be an opportunity to commit fraud. Even though all of this drug use is technically illegal, there are plenty of opportunities to find a doctor willing to help out a star athlete. It has happened many times before, and I have a feeling that that will not change. After all, our country is not that great at cracking down on illegal drugs in general.
Finally, there needs to be some type of character deficiency. You have to be able to rationalize going through with this illegal act. Some people simply have too much of a guilty conscience to go through with this.
I think it is rather obvious then that it is no surprise that performance-enhancing drug use is present. There is incentive, opportunity and apparently character flaws.
Now, the question becomes what do we do about it?
If performance-enhancing drugs are a problem, which I believe they are, one part of that fraud triangle needs to be eliminated.
Character is hard to change, and opportunity is certainly always going to be present unless they reform the entire drug control system in the United States.
Therefore, it seems as if the incentive system needs to change. More specifically, there needs to be a disincentive added to lessen the positive value of taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Right now, with a rather light suspension schedule, apparently the risk is justified by the reward. It is worth trying to perform at a higher level illegally because if you do not get caught, that payoff can be huge.
Consequently, more risk needs to be added to outweigh the rewards and create a disincentive rather than an incentive.
There are a variety of ways that this could be done.
First, they could decide to implement more of an Olympic style punishment schedule with much stiffer penalties. Missing time costs money rather than saves it.
Another alternative would involve more frequent testing. Even with the current suspension plan, with more testing, people would get caught more often and move up to that schedule much more quickly. Again, we would end up at that same spot with more serious penalties.
Whatever happens, baseball needs to step up the intensity of the program. The shadow of doubt and loss of integrity are problematic. If baseball doesn’t want that stamped on the game, change is necessary.Posted in Columns | Leave a comment
The American League East should be the most talented division in baseball this year. Of course, the traditionally powerful New York Yankees will remain near the top even though they did not make substantial revisions this winter. On one hand, when you’re on top, there is little incentive to upgrade your roster, but on the other hand, when the rest of the division starts gaining momentum, sometimes you need to grow as well.
Specifically, the Toronto Blue Jays decided that there was going to be no more messing around. Apparently, being average is no longer acceptable as they went out and acquired among a variety of other players National League Cy Young Award winner RA Dickey and former All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes. In such a competitive division, there is obviously pressure to continually improve, and Toronto certainly made their best effort this winter. Their roster is virtually unrecognizable, but it is definitely talented and capable of carrying them to the postseason.
The Baltimore Orioles burst out last season, and even other did not make very many major transactions this winter, like the Yankees, they are hoping to carry their previous success forward. Adam Jones is certainly a rising star, and the team on the whole should certainly be competitive again this year. However, also like New York, maybe they should have done a little bit more this winter to prepare for the increased competition.
The Boston Red Sox were understandably not happy about last season, so they’re working to rebuild their team. Even though they did bring in Shane Victorino to fill the departure of Cody Ross, there was not substantial overhaul this winter. The return of Jacoby Ellsbury will certainly help provide 30-30 potential in center field, so this year should certainly be better.
Finally, the Tampa Bay Rays are doing what they do best. Their marquee move of the winter involved swapping starting pitcher James Shields for top prospect Wil Myers. They are continually selling off talent to bring a new, cheaper talent. Even though they’re apparently is some debate about whether or not he will start the year in the majors, once he gets there, he should develop into an incredible middle of the lineup hitter. If that happens this year, then Tampa Bay should be in an even better position than normal behind American League Cy Young Award winner David Price.
This division should be strong, and it will be interesting to see if who will be on top when the dust clears.Posted in Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Columns, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays | Leave a comment
The Major League Baseball free agent market has almost dried up. However, there are a few options left for those teams that might need a little bit of a jump start before the season.
Most of the superstars are off the table by now, but there are plenty of players who can fill specific roles for certain teams. The market has enough depth for teams that need to make those last-minute additions.Posted in Columns | Leave a comment
The National League East is going to be even more interesting this year than it was last year.
Last year, the Philadelphia Phillies were not nearly as competitive as everyone expected them to be. However, with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley able to play full time this season, life should get better. The addition of speedy centerfielder Ben Revere should also bring a new look to the top of the lineup.
The Phillies have been criticized this winter for not doing enough. Most of their acquisitions this winter have added role players rather than superstars. However, if their aging superstars can put together another great season, they should be competitive.
The Washington Nationals were great last season, and because they have such a young nucleus, they should only continue to get better. Bryce Harper should only continue to develop into a superstar, and Stephen Strasburg is a legitimate top of the rotation weapon already.
When you combine that with the continued support of Adam LaRoche, Jayson Werth and Gio Gonzalez, is not hard to see why Washington should fight for the top of the division once again this season.
Finally, we come to the Atlanta Braves. They have added two of the most athletic players in baseball in the Upton brothers. Both BJ and Justin have a world of potential, and if they’re able to unlock it with the Braves, I would not be surprised to see them both go 30-30.
Beyond that, the Atlanta Braves have a great team last year. Any changes they made were improvements. The retirement of Chipper Jones will obviously change the clubhouse dynamic as he was a leader for that squad, but someone else will surely step up and assume that role.
These three teams are almost definitely going to collide at the top of the division. The Miami Marlins and New York Mets will probably not make much noise this season, so it is safe to assume a three team race.
Each team has different strengths, and they will play each other multiple times this season. It should be a fun year to be a fan of the National League East.Posted in Atlanta Braves, Columns, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals | Leave a comment