1. #1
    EmpireMaker
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    The 2022 Major League Baseball Player Chatter, News and Fantasy Thread

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!




    WE ARE SO DAMN LUCKY!!!

    ALL THE BEST!!!

    LET'S CONTINUE TO MAKE THIS THE BEST THREAD ON SBR AND BEYOND...

    LET'S GO!!!



  2. #2
    EmpireMaker
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    In It To Win It
    These teams won’t require a ton of explanation. They’ve been competing in recent years and figure to continue on that path. However, as we saw with the Nationals in 2021, teams have the potential to fall out of this section fast.
    Angels: The Angels have been trying to win ever since Mike Trout’s debut in 2012, but without much success. Their only playoff appearance in that time was in 2014. Their last season with a winning percentage above .500 was 2015. Before the lockout, they signed four arms, bringing back Raisel Iglesias, as well as adding Aaron Loup, Michael Lorenzen and Noah Syndergaard.
    Astros: They’ve made the playoffs five years in a row, including going to the World Series in 2021. Even if they don’t bring Carlos Correa back, they’ll be fine.
    Blue Jays: The young core has arrived and the Blue Jays are in it. They made the expanded postseason in 2020 and came just shy in 2021, somehow missing the playoffs in a 91-win season. They’ve already spent some money on Kevin Gausman and Yimi Garcia this offseason, with more spending reportedly to come after the lockout.
    Braves: Four straight years atop the NL East and the reigning World Series champs.
    Brewers: Four straight trips to the postseason, including a 2021 that saw them win 95 games and top the NL Central. The retooling of the Cubs and Reds only helps them.
    Cardinals: They’ve made the playoffs the past three years and haven’t finished below .500 since 2007. Before the lockout, they spent big to add Steven Matz to their rotation. Just like the Brewers, they’re helped by the retooling of the Cubs and Reds.
    Dodgers: One of only two teams to cross the luxury tax barrier in 2021, there’s no question the Dodgers are going for it. They won the NL West eight straight years from 2013 to 2020, winning the World Series at the end of that run. In 2021, they had to settle for a Wild Card spot, thanks to the Giants, but that still made for a ninth straight postseason appearance.
    Giants: After four straight losing seasons, the Giants stunned everyone by winning 107 games in 2021. Four-fifths of their starting rotation reached free agency after the season, but they’ve already re-signed Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood, as well as adding Alex Cobb, in order to reload for 2022.
    Guardians: Cleveland finished above .500 for eight straight seasons from 2013 to 2020, making the playoffs five times and the World Series once. In 2021, they dropped down to 80-82, largely due to a rash of injuries to their starting rotation. With better health, they should be back over the line in 2022. They also should have some money to spend after the lockout, as their payroll is sitting below $50MM, which is low even for them.
    Mariners: They haven’t made the playoffs since 2001, but they won 90 games in 2021 and just missed. They’ve already added Robbie Ray and Adam Frazier to go for it again in 2022.
    Mets: The Mets were in the hunt for much of 2021 but stumbled down the stretch. Since then, they’ve been spending money like crazy to try and assure better results in 2022, including signing Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar.
    Padres: The Padres were one of just two teams to go over the luxury tax line in 2021, along with the Dodgers. Like the Mets, they were in the playoff hunt for most of the year but stumbled down the stretch. Pitching health was a huge factor in their demise, but the return of Mike Clevinger should help them have better depth in 2022. They also added Luis Garcia, Robert Suarez and Nick Martinez to the staff before the lockout. (That last deal is still not official but apparently not in jeopardy.)
    Phillies: After a long rebuild, the Phillies signalled they were ready to return to competing when they handed out a mega contract to Bryce Harper prior to the 2019 season. Since then, however, it’s been three years of treading around .500, going 81-81, 28-32 and 82-80 over the most recent campaigns. They’ve been relatively quiet so far this offseason, with their biggest pre-lockout move being the signing of Corey Knebel.
    Rays: Four straight seasons above .500 and three straight postseason appearances, including a 100-win campaign in a stacked AL East in 2021. They just gave a huge extension to Wander Franco, sending a signal that they’re firmly in win-now mode for the foreseeable future.
    Red Sox: The shortened 2020 campaign was bad for Boston, but they’ve won at least 84 games in the past five full seasons. In 2021, they won 92 games and made it to the ALCS. Before the lockout, they swapped Hunter Renfroe for Jackie Bradley Jr. and a couple of prospects, as well as signing James Paxton, Michael Wacha and Rich Hill.
    White Sox: Despite a history that goes back over a century, the White Sox made the postseason two years in a row for the first time in 2020 and 2021. Although the teams below them are making some gains, they’re still clear favorites in the AL Central.
    Yankees: Although they haven’t won the World Series since 2009, which might seem like an eternity to their fans, the Yankees haven’t had a losing season since 1992.
    Creeping Up
    These teams have definitely been rebuilding recently but seem like they’ve had enough and are ready to make a jump. They still have to prove it, as nothing is guaranteed in baseball. But the trajectory looks good.
    Marlins: The Marlins somehow made the expanded playoffs in the shortened 2020 campaign, but the last time they finished above .500 in a full season was 2009. There’s no questioning it’s been a miserable stretch for the franchise. However, things are starting to look up. They’ve assembled such a bevy of talented young starting pitchers that they’ve already started using it to upgrade other parts of the roster. The first such move was sending Zach Thompson to Pittsburgh in order to acquire catcher Jacob Stallings, and similar moves could follow. They’ve also added Joey Wendle in a trade and opened the pocketbooks to bring in Avisail Garcia. It won’t be an easy climb, given that they’re looking up at the reigning World Series champs and big spenders like the Mets and Phillies, but they’re clearly ready to start getting more aggressive.
    Rangers: The Rangers just finished their fifth straight losing season and second straight with a winning percentage below .400. Their 102 losses in 2021 was more than everyone else except for the Orioles and Diamondbacks. However, since then, they have completely flipped the script, spending over half a billion dollars to sign Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Jon Gray and Kole Calhoun. They still face stiff competition as they are sharing a division with the Astros, Mariners and Angels, but it’s clear they’ve decided they’re done rebuilding.
    Royals: 2021 didn’t go according to plan for the Royals, as they finished 74-88 for a fifth-consecutive losing season. They had attempted to come out of their rebuild by adding players like Mike Minor, Carlos Santana and Andrew Benintendi to their young core. Unfortunately, several players underperformed and kept the team from pushing forward as far as they hoped. But they’re loaded with young pitchers who still have room to grow, and they should see top prospects Bobby Witt Jr. and Nick Pratto make their debuts in 2022.
    Tigers: It was a fifth-straight losing season for the Tigers, but there were some signs of hope in 2021. After a miserable 8-19 start in April, they went 69-66 the rest of the way. Just like the Rangers, the Tigers clearly decided that was enough rebuilding and that it was time to spend. Prior to the lockout, they put cash on the barrel for Eduardo Rodriguez and Javier Baez, signaling that they’re making their move.
    Twilight Zone
    These teams are sort of in-between one option or another for now. After the lockout, things have the potential to move in different directions, with some teams perhaps forced to settle for a mushy middle-ground of not committing firmly to either path.
    Athletics: It’s been four straight winning seasons for Oakland, but all signs are pointing towards a step back in 2022. The club let manager Bob Melvin depart for San Diego, seemingly content to get his salary off the books. Then general manager David Forst addressed the issue in November, admitting that they’re willing to field offers for any player on the roster. Although they haven’t hit the rebuild button just yet, it seems likely that the post-lockout era will see them quickly deal away some of their players that are approaching free agency, such as Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt, Matt Olson, Matt Chapman or Frankie Montas. It might not be a lengthy rebuild, as the club has never had more than three consecutive losing seasons in the Billy Beane era. Still, it seems like the tide is pushing against them for now.
    Cubs: After spending the past year trading away most of their World Series-winning core, it seemed like the Cubs were diving headfirst into the rebuild zone. However, this offseason has seen them make some surprising additions, as they claimed Wade Miley off waivers and then signed Marcus Stroman, Clint Frazier and Yan Gomes. They’ve definitely weakened themselves with their recent selloff, but they also don’t seem interested in fully bottoming out either.
    Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks have one of the cloudier crystal balls in the league. After three straight winning seasons, from 2017 to 2019, they went 25-35 in 2020. But given the small sample size of that season, it was reasonable enough to expect a decent campaign in 2021. Unfortunately, just about everything went wrong and they went 52-110, tied with the Orioles for the worst record in baseball. Was this just a terrible, fluky nightmare or their true talent level? General manager Mike Hazen doesn’t think they need a full rebuild to get back on track, but they’re still in a tough spot, as the division features the Giants and Dodgers, who each won over 100 games in 2021, as well as a strong Padres team that underperformed and could easily be very good in 2022. So far, the DBacks have been fairly quiet this offseason, with their signing of Mark Melancon being their most noteworthy move. Their post-lockout plan is one of the most difficult to predict at the moment.
    Reds: After a lengthy rebuild that saw the Reds post a losing record for six straight seasons from 2014 to 2019, they emerged as competitors in 2020, going 31-29 in the shortened season and qualifying for the expanded playoffs. In 2021, they hung around the Wild Card race all year but eventually came up short, finishing 83-79, a winning record but seven games shy of the postseason. Since then, the tea leaves have been ominous for Cincy fans. First, Tucker Barnhart was traded to Detroit. Then, general manager Nick Krall discussed the trade, saying “going into 2022, we must align our payroll to our resources and continue focusing on scouting and developing young talent from within our system.” That was followed by Wade Miley being put on waivers despite a great season in 2021 and a modest $10MM option for 2022. He will now be a division rival, as he was quickly snatched up by the Cubs. Since then, there has been a series of rumors detailing how almost every other team in the league wants to acquire Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle or Sonny Gray. Although they remain with the Reds for now, it seems the club is going to try and walk a fine line wherein they shed some payroll but stay competitive. It’s hard to subtract from an 83-win team and see them improve, but it seems like that’s what they’re going to try.
    Rockies: Perhaps the most confounding team in the league, it’s really tough to figure out what to make of the Rockies. 2021 was their third straight losing season, which should have motivated them to at least make some future-focused moves. Instead, the trade deadline passed without them trading Trevor Story or Jon Gray. After the season, Story received a qualifying offer but Gray did not. The Rangers have since signed Gray, meaning the Rockies have lost him for nothing. Story seems destined to sign elsewhere, which will at least net them an extra draft pick. But we’re looking at a 74-win team has just lost two of its best players and shares a division with strong teams like the Giants, Dodgers and Padres. If they have a plan to return to postseason contention, it’s not apparent from the outside at the moment.
    Twins: Minnesota made the playoffs three out of four years, qualifying for the postseason in 2017, 2019 and 2020, winning the AL Central in those latter two seasons. But just about everything went wrong in 2021, with the club finishing in the basement of the division with a record of 73-89. Owner Jim Pohlad has made it clear that they are not going into a rebuild, which they backed up by finally agreeing to an extension with Byron Buxton. However, what’s keeping them in the twilight zone is their rotation. They traded away Jose Berrios, lost Kenta Maeda to Tommy John surgery and Michael Pineda to free agency. The frenzied free agent market for starting pitching prior to the lockout essentially passed them by. They did sign Dylan Bundy, but he lost his rotation spot for the Angels in 2021 and finished the season with an ERA over 6.00. It’s hard to view your team as a competitor if that’s your ace. There are still some options available after the lockout, but there are lots of holes to be filled there. With the White Sox the clear division favorites and the Guardians, Tigers and Royals all in position to take steps forward in 2022, the Twins will have a difficult time papering over their flaws in the short window between the end of the lockout and the start of the season.
    In The Tank
    These teams are all focused on the future, with their respective 2022 seasons primarily dedicated to giving playing time to young, unproven players, or perhaps signing veterans to short-term deals with the aim of flipping them for prospects later.
    Nationals: The Nationals stand out as an example of how quickly a team can swing from competing to rebuilding. On July 1st, 2021, the club was 40-39, 2 1/2 games behind the Mets in the NL East, a game and a half ahead of the Braves. They had won the World Series just a year and a half prior, in their eighth consecutive winning season. But after a disastrous stretch in July, they pulled the ripcord and went into full firesale mode, trading away Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, Yan Gomes, Josh Harrison, Brad Hand, Daniel Hudson and Jon Lester. They figure to spend at least a year in the wilderness, giving playing time to younger players to see whether they can be part of the next winning club or not. However, with superstar Juan Soto just three years from free agency, they don’t want this reboot to take too long. Soto’s agent Scott Boras has said he won’t consider an extension until the team proves to him it’s committed to winning.
    Orioles: There’s no sugarcoating this one. The Orioles have had a losing record in five straight seasons. In each of the last three full seasons, they lost at least 108 games. They lost 110 games in 2021, tied with the Diamondbacks for the worst in baseball. They are definitely tanking and likely will be for some time. They do have some exciting prospects on the way, headlined by Adley Rutschman, the consensus top prospect in the game. Their system is considered the second best in the league by Baseball America’s Organization Talent Rankings. However, they share a division with four teams that won at least 91 games in 2021. It’s going to take some time for the Orioles to even get mediocre, let alone competitive.
    Pirates: The Pirates haven’t won a division title since 1992. After that, they endured a 20-year postseason drought, before qualifying for the Wild Card game in three straight years from 2013 to 2015. They’ve missed the playoffs in the six seasons since. They went 82-79 in 2018 but have had three straight miserable seasons, going 69-93, 19-41 and 61-101 from 2019 to 2021. It’s all about the future now, with the most recent move being Jacob Stallings getting traded to Miami for youngsters. Like the Orioles, the farm system is well regarded, coming in fourth on Baseball America’s rankings. The development of those prospects will determine when they can get out of the basement. General manager Ben Cherington has proven himself adept at this type of rebuild before, but the Pirates have less resources than his previous clubs, the Red Sox and Blue Jays.

  3. #3
    stevenash
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    Happy 2022 all.
    All the best

  4. #4
    Cross
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    And SBR is back, here we go!!

  5. #5
    Otters27
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenash View Post
    Happy 2022 all.
    All the best
    Wow you might have been one of the few guys to sign in on new years

  6. #6
    stevenash
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    Quote Originally Posted by Otters27 View Post
    Wow you might have been one of the few guys to sign in on new years
    SBR crashed 20 minutes after that post.

    I remember, I was out with my wife, got home little before 1am, logged on for a few minutes, then BANG.

  7. #7
    Cross
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    Congrats to Benito Santiago on his poker win today! Huge poker crowd this afternoon.

  8. #8
    jrgum3
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    Happy 2022 fellas! SBR being down felt a little like this baseball lockout. Hopefully the latter doesn’t last that much longer.
    175 pts

    3-QUESTION
    SBR TRIVIA WINNER 12/05/2022


  9. #9
    stevenash
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  10. #10
    Otters27
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    60 is young..some of these guys die too young

  11. #11
    EmpireMaker
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    The Brewers’ star rotation trio of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta has drawn plenty of well-deserved attention. Burnes won the NL Cy Young Award for his excellence in 2021. Woodruff and Peralta were well-deserved All-Star selections, with the former also receiving a solid amount of Cy Young support.
    Essentially no one else around the league can match that kind of firepower at the top of the rotation. But Burnes, Woodruff and Peralta weren’t the only Milwaukee starters to have strong showings in 2021. Fourth and fifth starters Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer may not have been as electric as their rotation mates, but they’re both overqualified for back-end roles.
    Houser pitched to a 3.22 ERA over a career-high 142 1/3 innings last season. The righty’s 17.5% strikeout rate wasn’t impressive, but Houser’s a ground-ball machine who’s had a decent amount of success despite mediocre whiff rates throughout his career. He owns a solid 3.78 ERA since the start of 2019, showing a knack for suppressing opponents’ exit velocities and keeping the ball in the yard.
    Lauer came over from the Padres as part of the Trent GrishamLuis Urías swap over the 2019-20 offseason. He barely pitched in the majors during his first season in Milwaukee, but the southpaw held down a rotation spot for most of last year. Across 118 2/3 frames, Lauer posted a 3.19 ERA that was far and away the best mark of his career. His strikeout and walk rates — 23.9% and 8.4%, respectively — were right around the respective league averages.
    Unlike Houser, Lauer doesn’t excel at keeping the ball on the ground. A 4.24 SIERA suggests he’s probably closer to a league average rotation arm than his ERA — which befits a #2/3 type starter — might suggest. Even still, league average production would be a notable upgrade for many clubs’ starting staffs around the league. There are quite a few hopeful contenders expected to look for back-of-the-rotation help coming out of the lockout, and there’s not much reliability with the remaining free agent starters. Teams like the Reds and A’s might make notable starters available, but clubs looking for back-end help could also view the Brewers as a plausible trade partner.
    Milwaukee’s squarely in win-now mode, and there’s a case to be made for them to hold onto their rotation depth. Each of Burnes, Woodruff, Peralta, Houser and Lauer made 20+ starts last year, and the injury risk associated with any pitcher could make banking on a repeat of that kind of rotation durability risky. On the other hand, Milwaukee also has another promising young arm who could step into a permanent rotation role.
    Aaron Ashby has been one of the top prospects in the Brewers system for the past few seasons. Public prospect evaluators have raised some questions about his spotty control, but Ashby has the kind of stuff to succeed against MLB hitters already. He debuted last season and flashed special ability. His 4.55 ERA over 31 2/3 innings isn’t eye-catching, but Ashby struck out 29.3% of opponents and racked up ground-balls at a massive 61.3% clip that even slightly exceeded Houser’s mark. Only White Sox setup man Aaron Bummer matched Ashby’s combination of strikeouts and grounders.
    That alone doesn’t guarantee Ashby will be an impact starter. There’d be risk in moving one of Houser or Lauer to entrust him with a full-time rotation spot. But the Brewers at least have to be encouraged by the promise Ashby showed, and a Houser or Lauer trade could enable the front office to creatively address the offense. Milwaukee’s lineup was a touch below-average last season, and they’ve since lost Avisaíl García to free agency. The Brewers acquired Hunter Renfroe to replace García in right field, but the overall lineup could stand to pick up another bat, particularly if the new collective bargaining agreement adds the designated hitter to the National League.
    Houser and Lauer are each entering their first season of arbitration eligibility. Assuming there aren’t any changes to the service time structure in the next CBA, they’d remain controllable through 2024. Both pitchers are projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz for modest salaries between $2MM and $3MM next season. With Burnes, Woodruff, Peralta and Ashby all controllable for at least three more years themselves, the Brewers could contemplate dealing from their enviable rotation depth to bolster the offense after the transactions freeze.

  12. #12
    Cross
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    I remember Jim Corsi, crazy so young.

  13. #13
    jrgum3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cross View Post
    Congrats to Benito Santiago on his poker win today! Huge poker crowd this afternoon.
    Benito Santiago was one of my favorite catchers to watch growing up especially because I liked how he threw a strike to second base from his knees to nail the runner trying to steal.
    175 pts

    3-QUESTION
    SBR TRIVIA WINNER 12/05/2022


  14. #14
    stevenash
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cross View Post
    I remember Jim Corsi, crazy so young.

    Stage IV liver cancer and colon cancer.
    I don't want to speculate or speak ill of the deceased but Stage IV liver cancer suggests...

  15. #15
    stevenash
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrgum3 View Post
    Benito Santiago was one of my favorite catchers to watch growing up especially because I liked how he threw a strike to second base from his knees to nail the runner trying to steal.

    Tony Pena had the same style, I was a catcher, that's not easy, the snap throw from your knees,

  16. #16
    jrgum3
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenash View Post
    Tony Pena had the same style, I was a catcher, that's not easy, the snap throw from your knees,
    Yeah I was a catcher too and I wish I could do that because it was hard enough getting out of your crouch and making an accurate throw to second or third with the runner on the move. If I could throw from my knees I would but I probably wouldn't get enough on it.
    175 pts

    3-QUESTION
    SBR TRIVIA WINNER 12/05/2022


  17. #17
    JAKEPEAVY21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cross View Post
    Congrats to Benito Santiago on his poker win today! Huge poker crowd this afternoon.
    Appreciate that, Mr Leon Durham

  18. #18
    Chi_archie
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrgum3 View Post
    Benito Santiago was one of my favorite catchers to watch growing up especially because I liked how he threw a strike to second base from his knees to nail the runner trying to steal.
    guy had an amazing arm

  19. #19
    Otters27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_archie View Post
    guy had an amazing arm
    What current catcher has the best arm

  20. #20
    stevenash
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    Quote Originally Posted by Otters27 View Post
    What current catcher has the best arm

    Overall, exchange time, release time, all the metrics combined.
    Realmuto does.

    catcher maxeff_arm_2b_3b_sba exchange_2b_3b_sba pop_2b_sba_count pop_2b_sba pop_2b_cs pop_2b_sb pop_3b_sba_count pop_3b_sba pop_3b_cs pop_3b_sb
    J.T. Realmuto 81.1 0.68 37 1.89 1.88 1.89 2 1.42 1.34 1.51
    Willson Contreras 84.9 0.68 27 1.92 1.9 1.92 2 1.56 1.56 -.--
    Gary Sánchez 84.6 0.72 24 1.93 1.94 1.92 1 1.44 -.-- 1.44
    Martín Maldonado 85 0.77 28 1.96 1.96 1.97 0 -.-- -.-- -.--
    Mike Zunino 77.5 0.69 20 1.97 1.96 1.98 3 1.59 -.-- 1.59
    Tony Wolters 77.3 0.64 33 1.96 1.97 1.95 3 1.54 1.54 1.54
    Roberto Pérez 79.7 0.73 30 1.96 1.97 1.95 0 -.-- -.-- -.--
    Jorge Alfaro 86.7 0.75 27 1.94 1.97 1.91 1 1.68 -.-- 1.68
    Yan Gomes 75.5 0.66 24 1.96 1.99 1.95 3 1.53 1.52 1.55
    Pedro Severino 83.3 0.74 25 1.99 1.99 1.99 0 -.-- -.-- -.--
    Grayson Greiner 78.9 0.76 25 1.97 1.99 1.97 2 1.51 1.49 1.53
    Josh Phegley 79.2 0.66 32 1.99 1.99 1.98 3 1.85 1.85 -.--
    Buster Posey 80.7 0.73 41 2 1.99 2 3 1.55 -.-- 1.55
    John Hicks 80.5 0.72 24 2 2 2 3 1.56 -.-- 1.56
    Christian Vázquez 77.9 0.71 27 1.98 2 1.94 3 1.55 1.52 1.63
    Jonathan Lucroy 79.1 0.69 28 2.01 2.01 2.01 2 1.56 -.-- 1.56
    Wilson Ramos 79.5 0.71 58 2 2.01 2 4 1.57 -.-- 1.57
    James McCann 75.4 0.75 21 2.05 2.02 2.07 6 1.6 1.54 1.63
    Robinson Chirinos 79.1 0.72 28 2.03 2.03 2.02 0 -.-- -.-- -.--
    Jason Castro 80.5 0.74 20 2.01 2.03 2 2 1.61 -.-- 1.61
    Tucker Barnhart 79.2 0.71 31 2.01 2.03 2 1 1.59 1.59 -.--
    Danny Jansen 78.6 0.77 36 2.05 2.03 2.06 3 1.56 -.-- 1.56
    Kurt Suzuki 78.5 0.78 24 2.06 2.04 2.06 4 1.65 1.67 1.63
    Travis d'Arnaud 74.6 0.74 22 1.99 2.04 1.95 0 -.-- -.-- -.--
    Curt Casali 76.9 0.75 20 2.07 2.06 2.08 3 1.61 1.62 1.61
    Brian McCann 77.1 0.78 20 2.08 2.08 2.08 3 1.63 1.66 1.62
    Chance Sisco 76.7 0.78 20 2.1 2.09 2.1 0 -.-- -.-- -.--
    Tyler Flowers 74.1 0.74 23 2.12 2.09 2.13 1 1.58 -.-- 1.58
    Yasmani Grandal 71.5 0.72 45 2.07 2.09 2.06 2 1.66 1.66 1.67
    Omar Narváez 76.9 0.74 32 2.07 2.1 2.06 3 1.62 1.62 1.64
    Jeff Mathis 75.1 0.77 24 2.12 2.12 2.12 3 1.78 -.-- 1.78

  21. #21
    EmpireMaker
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    In a piece for the The Athletic, Matt Gelb recaps the frantic lead-up to the Phillies’ signing of right-handed reliever Corey Knebel, which included an unfortunately timed trip to Mexico and a number of insightful quotes from Knebel himself. One particular quote of note is that Knebel and Philadelphia “entertained” a two-year contract before ultimately settling on a one-year, $10MM guarantee.
    While Knebel is the presumptive closer for his new club at this time, neither he nor president Dave Dombrowski have confirmed as such. Accordingly, Knebel says he’s using the personal risk of a one-year contract as motivation to regain the form that made him one of the game’s most dominant arms from 2017-2018. As the “$10MM” portion of his latest contract indicates, however, Knebel may not need much more motivation to regain elite status at the back of a pen. After all, a newfound reliance on his curveball led to the right-hander spinning 25 plus innings of 2.45 ERA ball with the Dodgers last season.
    While health and its corresponding impact on effectiveness is always a question with pitchers who have undergone Tommy John surgery, the Phillies front office was surely pleased by Knebel demonstrating some of the best control he’s had in his career. Further dampening health concerns were Knebel’s strikeout abilities, which were down during the season from his own lofty 2017-2018 heights, but were still solidly above average and exploded in the playoffs— in 5+ innings the right-hander struck out 11 batters against just one walk.
    In other news out of the National League…

    • The Mets have been one of baseball’s busiest teams during the lockout thus far, and have been the runaway winner in activity over the past 48 hours. The team already reeled in its biggest coaching fish of the offseason back in December when they hired Buck Showalter, but they have since announced plans to hire a number of other coaches around him. Among the recent coaches set to join the Mets coaching staff are first base coach Wayne Kirby, third base coach Joey Cora, and hitting coach Eric Chávez, who was successfully wooed away from the crosstown Yankees. Mike Puma of the New York Post explains (via Twitter) the reason none of these coaching additions have yet been made official. Puma states that every prospective hire is receiving a “very thorough” background check, which is likely delaying an official announcement from the club on this trio of reported coaches. It remains to be seen if this thoroughness is delaying the hire of the team’s alleged high-profile mystery bench coach as well. That the club is being methodical in its search for new club personnel should register as a shock to no one, with several high-profile members enjoying unceremonious ends to their New York tenures in recent years.
    • Bob Nightengale reports that the Reds have signed center fielder Lorenzo Cedrola to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. A signee out of Venezuela with some prospect pedigree, Cedrola was traded by Boston to Cincinnati back in 2018 for international bonus pool space. The 23-year-old will now look to continue his work in the Reds farm system, where he’s fresh off his first Triple-A promotion and an overall .315/.354/.458 season. His 10 home runs across 115 games last season easily represent a career high, though Cedrola’s 10 for 18 showing on the basepaths could use some work if he’s to crack the Reds’ uncertain outfield mix in 2022.

  22. #22
    Cross
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    Willson Contreras snap throw to first is the best in the game. Just guns that thing. Contreras to Baez was awesome to watch also with his hose and then the no look tag as Javy let the ball travel all the way to the base runner before tagging.

  23. #23
    Chi_archie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cross View Post
    Willson Contreras snap throw to first is the best in the game. Just guns that thing. Contreras to Baez was awesome to watch also with his hose and then the no look tag as Javy let the ball travel all the way to the base runner before tagging.
    yes, they are fun to watch

  24. #24
    JAKEPEAVY21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cross View Post
    Willson Contreras snap throw to first is the best in the game. Just guns that thing. Contreras to Baez was awesome to watch also with his hose and then the no look tag as Javy let the ball travel all the way to the base runner before tagging.
    Anything that any Cub does is the best in the game according to Chicago fans

    I remember a few years ago that Bryant was the next ted williams and the Cubs were the next New England Patriots type dynasty according to a rabid Cubs fan here at SBR...

  25. #25
    stevenash
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAKEPEAVY21 View Post
    Anything that any Cub does is the best in the game according to Chicago fans

    I remember a few years ago that Bryant was the next ted williams and the Cubs were the next New England Patriots type dynasty according to a rabid Cubs fan here at SBR...
    I can take or leave the Cubs and the Cubs fans, they're OK.
    Having said that Sandberg was one of my top five favorite players of all time.

  26. #26
    JAKEPEAVY21
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenash View Post
    I can take or leave the Cubs and the Cubs fans, they're OK.
    Having said that Sandberg was one of my top five favorite players of all time.
    Cross is cool...

    Sandberg was overrated in my opinion...Jeff kent should be in the HOF if Sandberg is in

  27. #27
    stevenash
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAKEPEAVY21 View Post
    Cross is cool...

    Sandberg was overrated in my opinion...Jeff kent should be in the HOF if Sandberg is in
    Sandberg was the best ever at going out to short right on popups.
    Amazing how he could catch those things with sun rays burning a hole through his retina.
    He was catching those things blind. And he was in a class of his own turning DP's.

    The big difference between Kent and Sandberg was Sandberg won nine consecutive gold gloves at 2B an up the middle position where defense counts, Kent never sniffed gold.

    Kent wasn't shit defensively, he did his job, but no where near the fielder Sandberg was.
    Both players could rake like no other, Sandberg was a five tool second baseman, Kent was a four tool second baseman.

    This is how I rate the 2B's in my lifetime.
    This is just my opinion and anybody can disagree, that's what makes baseball great.

    Morgan and Sandberg are in Tier A
    Alomar and Biggio are in Tier B.
    Kent and Cano are in Tier C

    And I can make a case for Alomar being in Tier A with Sandberg and Joe Morgan.

    Morgan, Sandberg, Alomar were all elite defensive second basemen.
    Kent was not.

    Two of the six I mentioned are in the Hall, you can make a case for the other four too.

    Not for nothing, this isn't relevant to anything really, but Kent was a clubhouse dickhead.

    There's a reason why he bounced around on six different teams.

  28. #28
    JAKEPEAVY21
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenash View Post
    Sandberg was the best ever at going out to short right on popups.
    Amazing how he could catch those things with sun rays burning a hole through his retina.
    He was catching those things blind. And he was in a class of his own turning DP's.

    The big difference between Kent and Sandberg was Sandberg won nine consecutive gold gloves at 2B an up the middle position where defense counts, Kent never sniffed gold.

    Kent wasn't shit defensively, he did his job, but no where near the fielder Sandberg was.
    Both players could rake like no other, Sandberg was a five tool second baseman, Kent was a four tool second baseman.

    This is how I rate the 2B's in my lifetime.
    This is just my opinion and anybody can disagree, that's what makes baseball great.

    Morgan and Sandberg are in Tier A
    Alomar and Biggio are in Tier B.
    Kent and Cano are in Tier C

    And I can make a case for Alomar being in Tier A with Sandberg and Joe Morgan.

    Morgan, Sandberg, Alomar were all elite defensive second basemen.
    Kent was not.

    Two of the six I mentioned are in the Hall, you can make a case for the other four too.

    Not for nothing, this isn't relevant to anything really, but Kent was a clubhouse dickhead.

    There's a reason why he bounced around on six different teams.
    Alomar was better than Sandberg..just my opinion

  29. #29
    stevenash
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAKEPEAVY21 View Post
    Alomar was better than Sandberg..just my opinion
    Alomar may be the best of the six all time.
    I rate Sandberg so high is because of the defense.
    As a person Sandberg was strange.

    I don't know any of the six personally, I know some people who did, I did not, so what I am going to say is just off of what respected people in the game on the inside tells me and from what I have read.

    Sandberg was a strange man and a shitty husband.

    Morgan was a blatant racist and didn't hide the fact he disliked whites on the whole. Sure he associated with some whites, on the whole he was a racist and not a very nice man.

    Cano was lazy, got by on God given talent. Did not want to put the work in and was a "what's in it for me" guy.
    Cano first, everything else doesn't matter was pretty much his philosophy.

    Alomar, who like I said I have no problem putting him the upper echelon was a hot head.
    But man, he was great and great to watch.

    Kent could not help being a dickhead, miserable person.
    Being an asshole was in his DNA my buddy who works for the Astro's once said to me on the QT.

    Biggio by all accounts was pretty cool.

  30. #30
    JAKEPEAVY21
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenash View Post
    Alomar may be the best of the six all time.
    I rate Sandberg so high is because of the defense.
    As a person Sandberg was strange.

    I don't know any of the six personally, I know some people who did, I did not, so what I am going to say is just off of what respected people in the game on the inside tells me and from what I have read.

    Sandberg was a strange man and a shitty husband.

    Morgan was a blatant racist and didn't hide the fact he disliked whites on the whole. Sure he associated with some whites, on the whole he was a racist and not a very nice man.

    Cano was lazy, got by on God given talent. Did not want to put the work in and was a "what's in it for me" guy.
    Cano first, everything else doesn't matter was pretty much his philosophy.

    Alomar, who like I said I have no problem putting him the upper echelon was a hot head.
    But man, he was great and great to watch.

    Kent could not help being a dickhead, miserable person.
    Being an asshole was in his DNA my buddy who works for the Astro's once said to me on the QT.

    Biggio by all accounts was pretty cool.
    No way Sandberg was better defensively or as an all around player than Alomar.

    I don't care if he won more gold glove awards.

    I get that Kent was a jerk. He got it done on the field, whether people liked him or not should not be part of the voting criteria.

    All the guys on your list were better than Sandberg(except for maybe Cano).

  31. #31
    stevenash
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAKEPEAVY21 View Post
    No way Sandberg was better defensively or as an all around player than Alomar.

    I don't care if he won more gold glove awards.

    I get that Kent was a jerk. He got it done on the field, whether people liked him or not should not be part of the voting criteria.

    All the guys on your list were better than Sandberg(except for maybe Cano).
    I'm cool with you opinions, as always.
    I just disagree this time, but that's what makes baseball great.

    How's life out there in Cali?
    I woke up to six inches of January New England snow.

  32. #32
    JAKEPEAVY21
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenash View Post
    I'm cool with you opinions, as always.
    I just disagree this time, but that's what makes baseball great.

    How's life out there in Cali?
    I woke up to six inches of January New England snow.
    Yep, we all have a right to our opinions and can disagree but respect each other.

    Pretty good out here...no snow in San Diego but been very cold in the early morning and late night...been in the 30s and seeing a bit of frost on cars in the morning. This is about as cold as I can handle it. I've come to realize that I'm a complete pussy when it comes to cold weather.

  33. #33
    EmpireMaker
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    Within the last four years, Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Evan White, and Scott Kingery all signed their first multi-year Major League contracts before even debuting in the Show, as clubs began to increasingly explore the idea of the “pre-career” extension. The logic is simple — if a team thinks it has a can’t-miss prospect, signing that prospect to an extension before his service clock begins can give the team both cost-certainty over the player’s arbitration years, as well as control over at least a few free agent years via club options.
    Robert’s six-year, $50MM pact with the White Sox (that could be an eight-year, $88MM deal if Chicago exercises a pair of club options) in January 2020 represents the high-water mark for pre-career deals, yet it is worth noting that the Astros were something of a pioneer with this tactic. Jon Singleton signed a five-year, $10MM contract in June 2014 before playing his first MLB game, and Houston also notably explored such a contract with George Springer prior to the future All-Star’s big league debut. This period overlaps with Mike Elias’ time (2012-18) in the Astros’ front office, and now that Elias has since moved on to run his own team as the Orioles’ executive VP and general manager, it is worth wondering if Elias might attempt locking up his own blue-chip prospect.
    Adley Rutschman is widely expected to not only make his MLB debut in 2022, but also get the bulk of playing time as Baltimore’s starting catcher. Jacob Nottingham and Anthony Bemboom were recently signed to minors deals to provide at least some Major League experience in the team’s catching ranks, but either will just be a placeholder until Rutschman gets the call to the big leagues. Whether this debut happens on Opening Day or a few weeks into April may hinge on whether or not the service-time manipulation issue is addressed in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, but an extension for Rutschman would make that question moot, and guarantee that Baltimore fans will get to see Rutschman as soon as possible.
    The first overall pick of the 2019 draft, Rutschman has done nothing but reinforce that pedigree during his brief pro career. Rutschman already received two promotions up the ladder (to A-ball) in his first season in 2019, and after working out at the Orioles’ alternate training site in 2020 due to the canceled minor league season, he tore up the farm system in 2021. The catcher hit .285/.397/.502 with 23 home runs over 543 combined plate appearances with Double-A Bowie (358 PA) and Triple-A Norfolk (185 PA).
    An argument can be made that Rutschman could use a bit more seasoning at the Triple-A level, particularly since he’ll be taking over a position that requires so much extra work in terms of pregame preparation and working with pitchers. However, as noted in Baseball America’s scouting report, Rutschman may be a bit ahead of the curve in this respect, due to his time spent with veteran pitchers, catchers, and Major League coaches at the 2020 alternate training site. Plus, Rutschman was already seen as a strong defender even in his college days at Oregon State, and BA now gives him a strong 60 grade on the 20-80 scouting scale (to go along with an eye-popping three 70 grades in hitting, power, and throwing arm.) Both BA and MLB Pipeline rate Rutschman as the best prospect in all of baseball.
    In short, Rutschman seems like the kind of cornerstone prospect that any team would covet, especially an Orioles club that has been grinding through a top-to-bottom rebuild during Elias’ entire tenure. The O’s already see Rutschman as the next face of the franchise, and an extension would only cement that status. Given that the Orioles have almost literally no money on the books beyond the 2022 season, there’s plenty of payroll space to commit to a hefty contract for the burgeoning star.
    For Rutschman and other star prospects presented with pre-career extensions, the question is simple. Does the player feel comfortable in taking a big payday now and locking in at least one eight-figure fortune from his baseball career, or does the player feel like betting on himself to perform as expected in the majors? The latter route carries more risk, but potentially sets the player up for even more money down the road, either through rising arbitration salaries, bigger free agent money once he hits the open market, or even a later extension with his current team.
    From a pure dollars perspective, Rutschman has already achieved some solid financial security, via his $8.1MM signing bonus from the draft. This isn’t necessarily an indicator that he would be less open to an extension — Robert, for instance, already had a $26MM international signing bonus in the bank prior to his extension with the White Sox.
    The added wrinkle in this case is Rutschman’s position. No catcher has ever signed a pre-career extension — expanding the list to players with less than a year of service time, the Royals’ February 2012 deal with Salvador Perez represents the earliest pact ever given to a backstop. Needless to say, Rutschman won’t be signing for a contract similar to Perez’s five years and $7MM in guaranteed money, though Perez did end up doing much better in two subsequent extensions with Kansas City.
    Rutschman is enough of a top-tier prospect that the Orioles probably won’t have much concern over guaranteeing a big long-term deal to a catcher. From Rutschman’s perspective, taking a big contract now might have some appeal as a hedge against potential injury, simply because catchers inevitably receive so much wear and tear (even if the DH or a potential move to first base down the road can help). Plus, unless the next CBA adjusts when players are eligible to reach free agency, it will be quite some time before Rutschman can hit the open market. He turns 24 in February, so if his debut is indeed pushed off to mid-April for service-time reasons, Rutschman won’t be scheduled for free agency until he is entering his age-31 season.
    So while there are some valid reasons why Rutschman might be open to an extension early in his career, that doesn’t necessarily mean he would take a deal before his career gets underway. It can be assumed that a Rutschman extension would top Robert’s record, and yet Rutschman might have eyes on a bigger target — such as the 11-year, $182MM deal Wander Franco just signed with the Rays in November.
    Since Joe Mauer is the only catcher to sign a deal worth more than $182MM, Rutschman won’t top Franco’s number. Plus, Franco is both younger (turning 21 in March) and plays shortstop, so he is more of a safer long-term play for an extension, even for a lower-payroll club like the Rays. However, while Rutschman and his representatives likely wouldn’t be aiming to top Franco’s contract, the deal does serve as a reminder of the greater riches that can await a star prospect if he exhibits even some of that early promise at the MLB level. While no reports surfaced whether or not Tampa explored a pre-career extension with Franco, had he inked such a contract, it would have been worth much less than his eventual $182MM guarantee.
    Obviously, matching Franco’s excellent 2021 performance is no small feat for any player, especially a rookie like Rutschman. But, just staying on the field and performing pretty well in 2022 would represent a nice showcase for Rutschman, and give the Orioles even more confidence in committing a major sum closer to the $100MM mark than simply a bump over Robert’s $50MM pact with the White Sox.
    Given Rutschman’s status as an elite prospect, it is quite possible an extension akin to Robert’s deal could be on the table next winter anyway even if he doesn’t quite hit the “performing pretty well” threshold. Barring a major injury or an unusual amount of struggles at the MLB level, the Orioles would likely still have interest in extending Rutschman prior to his sophomore year, considering all of his widely-touted potential.
    A Rutschman extension would also have no small amount of symbolic value for the franchise. Simply promoting Rutschman might have that same galvanizing effect on the long-suffering Baltimore fans, so Elias and the front office don’t necessarily need to rush into things just yet. However, officially planting the financial flag on a new era of Orioles baseball would set a clear direction that the rebuild is almost over, and the organization will again start spending and looking to play some competitive baseball.

  34. #34
    Cross
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    We had -20 with the wind chill the past two days here in Minny. I would gladly take the ‘cold’ in San Diaaago.
    And Sandberg was amazing once April was over! Love the backstories Nasher, right on!

  35. #35
    Otters27
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAKEPEAVY21 View Post
    Yep, we all have a right to our opinions and can disagree but respect each other.

    Pretty good out here...no snow in San Diego but been very cold in the early morning and late night...been in the 30s and seeing a bit of frost on cars in the morning. This is about as cold as I can handle it. I've come to realize that I'm a complete pussy when it comes to cold weather.
    Is San diego the best weather or LA?

    Been to Monterey Bay once in July but it felt like may

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