Showing posts with label Giancarlo Stanton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Giancarlo Stanton. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

This year's free agent class is not real strong

Eric Hosmer
The games are over and baseball withdrawal is setting in, so it's time to start talking about free agency.

This year's crop of free agents, honestly, is uninspiring. Most fans are looking ahead to next fall, when big names such as Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Dallas Keuchel are scheduled to hit the open market. Some teams, in fact, might not be active in free agency this year because they intend to save money to get involved in next offseason's bonanza.

But in the meantime, we have this offseason to talk about, and a good chunk of the key free agents come from the Kansas City Royals. First baseman Eric Hosmer, outfielder Lorenzo Cain, third baseman Mike Moustakas and shortstop Alcides Escobar all are available.

Need pitching? The best starting pitchers available include World Series goat Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and CC Sabathia. Wade Davis is the top closer on the market. The next-best reliever after that probably is Los Angeles Dodgers setup man Brandon Morrow.

Other hitters on the market include outfielders J.D. Martinez and Jay Bruce and catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

The other intrigue this winter involves Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. The slugger is owed $275 million over the final 10 years of his contract, and it's unclear at this point whether new ownership in Miami will seek to trade him.

If Stanton is traded, that likely will be a bigger impact move than any free agent signing this offseason.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Giancarlo Stanton has 56 home runs -- do we care?

Giancarlo Stanton
Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has a chance to become only the sixth man in baseball history to hit 60 home runs in a season.

With 10 games to play, he has 56 home runs.

No doubt, Stanton's chase for history gives Marlins fans a good reason to watch the final week and a half of the season, despite their team being out of postseason contention. And really, as a baseball fan, I feel as though I should be interested in this. However, in all honesty, I can't bring myself to care.

The steroids era has made it impossible for me to get excited about home runs. Sixty-home run seasons were once almost unheard of in the game. Babe Ruth hit 60 in 1927, and nobody touched that figure for 34 years, when Roger Maris broke Ruth's record with 61 home runs in 1961.

Another 37 years passed, and all of a sudden we had this rash of 60-homer seasons between 1998 and 2001. Mark McGwire hit 70 in 1998 and 65 more in 1999. Sammy Sosa hit 66 in 1998, 63 in 1999 and 64 in 2001. And, of course, Barry Bonds hit 73 in 2001, a "record" that still stands.

But as we all know, everything that Bonds, McGwire and Sosa accomplished is complete crap. They were aided by drug enhancements. All three men are cheats and liars, and hopefully none of the three ever gets elected to the Hall of Fame.

What does that have to do with Stanton? Well, absolutely nothing. I have no reason to believe that Stanton is cheating or on steroids. But unfortunately, when I think of 60 home runs, I don't think of Ruth and Maris and the great feats they accomplished. I instead think of those three drug cheats -- Bonds, McGwire and Sosa -- who left a stain on the game forever.

If Maris still were the single-season home run record holder, I think I would feel much differently about Stanton's pursuit. I would be following his at-bats carefully. Perhaps I would even be cheering for him.

However, thanks to the steroids era, the mystique surrounding 60-homer seasons is long gone, As a fan, I'm now indifferent to big home run totals, and probably always will be.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw win MVP awards

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout on Thursday was named the unanimous MVP of the American League.

The 23-year-old received all 30 first-place votes and finished with 420 points. Detroit's Victor Martinez took second with 229 points, while Cleveland outfielder Michael Brantley placed third with 185 points.

Let me say this: I do not disagree with this vote. But what's funny about this is Trout didn't have as good a season in 2014 as he had in 2012 or 2013:

2012: .326/.399/.564, 30 HRs, 84 RBIs, 49 SBs
2013: .323/.432/.557, 27 HRs, 97 RBIs, 33 SBs
2014: .287/.377/.561, 36 HRs, 111 RBIs, 16 SBs

Sure, Trout's power numbers were up in 2014, but he also struck out a league-leading 184 times. The batting average, on-base percentage and stolen base totals, while good, took a noticeable dip. I feel like his best year was 2013, when he finished second in the MVP voting to Miguel Cabrera. Trout also finished second to Cabrera in 2012.

Frankly, Trout has been the best overall player in the American League for each of the past three years. What was different about this season that swung the vote in Trout's favor? For one, Cabrera regressed to the point where he was no longer the best hitter on his own team. (Martinez was.) And two, the Angels won a league-best 98 games and made the playoffs.

The Angels did not make the playoffs in either 2012 or 2013, and there is always that subset of voters that believes the MVP *must* come from a team that qualified for the postseason.

Again, Trout deserves the award. It's just funny that he finally received his recognition in his weakest season of the last three.

Clayton Kershaw wins NL MVP

It's been a good week for Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw, who won the NL Cy Young Award on Wednesday and the NL MVP on Thursday.

Kershaw went 21-3 with 1.77 ERA, a 0.857 WHIP and six complete games in 27 starts this year. There's no denying he's the best pitcher in the league. The debate surrounding him was whether a pitcher should win the MVP award over an everyday player.

Here's why I think it's OK for starting pitchers to win MVP:

Dodgers record with Kershaw on the mound: 24-3 (.852 winning percentage)
Dodgers record with all other pitchers: 71-64 (.526 winning percentage)

The Dodgers are a decent, but not great team when Kershaw doesn't pitch. But with him on the mound, they rarely lose. I'd say he's pretty valuable, and you can justify voting for him for MVP on that basis.

Eighteen voters agreed and named Kershaw first on their ballot. He totaled 355 points. Miami's Giancarlo Stanton got eight first-place votes and 298 points for second place. Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen, the 2013 winner, finished third with four first-place votes and 271 points.