From Baggage Handler to Miner to Storm Chaser, Matt Fields is Now Trying to Become Royal

Originally posted on Indy Ball Island:

Current Kansas City Royals AAA prospect Matt Fields makes crushing home runs and getting on base look easy for the Omaha Storm Chasers. However, many people don’t know the long and often difficult road that has led him to this point in his career. Drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2004, Fields spent six years in the organization. With the Rays, he reached as high as AA before being released in 2010.

After his release, Fields took his talents to the independent Frontier League. He spent the entire 2011 season with the Southern Illinois Miners;  However, Fields soon learned that independent baseball is a whole different world than affiliated ball. Although he had a great season, hitting .272 with 17 home runs in 57 games, he realized that independent ball can make a player feel stuck and complacent. There are many players who know that they aren’t going anywhere else, so they have a “whatever” attitude.  Those…

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Melky Cabrera’s Unique Case

photo courtesy of www.cbc.ca
photo courtesy of http://www.cbc.ca

The Toronto Star’s Brendan Kennedy published a very interesting article this morning on the efforts of the Toronto Blue Jays to re-sign their left field slugger and free agent Melky Cabrera. It has been common knowledge that both sides expressed interest in coming together on a deal, it is also apparent that the 30 year old Dominican native is looking to cash in on his 2014 performance.

Considering his age and history this may be the last major deal available for Cabrera, it makes sense that he would like to parlay this deal into something that would provide him a home for several years to come.  Having already earned $28,643,600 in his eight seasons in Major League Baseball, the switching hitting slugger is more likely seeking stability as well as to secure his and his family’s financial future to generations to come. And in the grand scheme of life, who can really blame him?

There are, however, several factors that may lead to the length and dollar amounts of his newest deal being less than he is hoping.  If one is to push the health issue he suffered in 2013 aside, there is his PED history that still lingers.  Not only does his fifty game suspension in 2012 come into play, there is also side effects of the lack of PED use in the game to be considered.  Unlike recent decades, which saw many players extend their prime years into their late thirties, the lack of PED’s in the game means the prime years for most players are between the ages of 27-32, with expected declines in performance to be seen in each following season. At the age of 30, Cabrera, can be expected to have two to three seasons of similar performance to 2014, at most.

One must also consider Cabrera’s ability to play the outfield as a factor.  With defense and pitching being major factors in today’s game, the slow-footed left fielder, may not be long for an outfield position.  If the production at the plate can continue the lack of defense could and probably would be acceptable; however with age, not only does hand speed slow, but so does foot speed. This reason alone may limit any long-term offers from National League teams where the DH rule is non-existent, thus drastically reducing his options as a whole.

These factors are why the following quote from the aforementioned article strike a chord. Each of the players mentioned have seen a dramatic fall off of production and health after signing their respective deals.  These deals being considered it would be hard to convince many front office executives that Cabrera’s trajectory would be any different

Several agents — not Cabrera’s — have previously told the Star they expect him to receive between $12 million and $15 million per season on a three or four-year deal, pointing to Shane Victorino’s three-year, $39-million contract with the Red Sox and Curtis Granderson’s four-year, $60-million deal with the Mets as comparisons.

With the addition of the Blue Jays front office extending Cabrera a qualifying offer of $15.3M earlier this week, there could be many teams that balk at a long-term offer for the fear of losing a draft pick in 2015.  The exceptions may be teams who feel they need one more bat in the line-up in order to contend. With that being said, there are several that could bite the bullet.

Teams that could be in play:

  1. Seattle Mariners: with the team having a good showing in 2014, it could be possible they try to bolster their line-up with a proven bat. The addition of Robinson Cano, helped the Mariners but their offense as a whole was still anemic.
  2. Texas Rangers: After a disastrous 2014 campaign the Rangers could go all in for 2015, in addition the loss of Alex Rios could push them to add an outfield bat.
  3. Baltimore Orioles:  If the O’s are unable to come to agreement with Nick Markakis and/or Nelson Cruz, look for them to possibly make a bid.
  4. Detroit Tigers: The Tigers will more than likely to lose their right-field regular, Torii Hunter and quite possibly designated-hitter Victor Martinez, making the addition of a proven bat a priority.

BBWAA Award finalists to be announced Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

The votes have been cast and we’ll soon learn the names of the finalists for this season’s major awards.

The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) will reveal the top three finalists in the American League and National League for the 2014 Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Awards tomorrow on MLB Network at 6:00 p.m. ET, hosted by Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds and Bill Ripken.

The winners will be announced next week, from November 10-13. Here’s a quick rundown of the calendar:

·         Monday, November 10: AL & NL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award

·         Tuesday, November 11: AL & NL Manager of the Year Award

·         Wednesday, November 12: AL & NL Cy Young Award

·         Thursday, November 13: AL & NL Most Valuable Player Award

As always, HardballTalk will have full coverage (and when warranted, snark and/or…

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BBA Awards Ballot: 2014′s Best in Baseball Voting, American League

American League Ballot

Connie Mack Award (Top Manager)

1. Buck Showalter

2. Joe Girardi

3. Mike Scioscia

Thanks to Buck Showalter’s steadying influence the Baltimore Orioles, for the first time since 1997, have won the AL East Division. This Orioles team suffered a handful of big time injuries which would have possibly left a lot of other teams floundering; however with the front office coming up aces on a few trades and claims, I see Showalter walking away with this award and the BBWWA award as well, later this winter.

Another dark horse in this category to be considered could be Yankee’s skipper Joe Girardi.  With what may be the worst over-all  line-up they’ve in a decade, Girardi managed to guide the Bronx Bombers to an 84-78 record. Finishing 12 games back in the Al East and several games out of a wild-card spot will hamper his candidacy, however it was a very respectable showing, all things considered.

Willie Mayes Award (Top Rookie)

1. Jose Abreu

2. Masahiro Tanaka

3. Marcus Stroman

There really is no other first year player in the either league that can measure up to what Chicago’s Jose Abreu did this year. The 27-year-old, Cuban, put up some monster numbers in his rookie season. Sporting a 317/383/581  slash line with 36HR and 107 RBI combined with AL leading OPS+ of 169 and .581 SLG, should make Abreu the run away winner.

Goose Gossage Award (Top Reliever)

1. Wade Davis

2. Dellin Betances

3. Sean Doolittle

Major League baseball was awash in dynamic young relievers in 2014. Many of whom are of the flame throwing type, which has proven to be a must have for any given teams bullpen.  Wade Davis emerged as a force within the stacked Royals bullpen sporting a 1.00 ERA and outstanding 1.19 FIP and a career high 13.6 K/9.

The other two candidates, Betances and Doolittle had excellent season in their own right. Betances finally put his monster talent together with his 6’8″ 260 lb frame for the Yankees to post incredible 1.40 ERA, 1.64 FIP and 13.5 K/9.

Walter Johnson Award (Top Pitcher)

1. Corey Kluber

2. Felix Hernandez

3. Chris Sale

4. David Price

5. John Lester

The race for the Cy Young award in the American League will be one of the closest in recent memory, in my honest opinion.  I do believe, however that Kluber’s season stands a little above everyone else in 2014.  When factoring in the respective ballparks and defenses of each team, what Kluber was able to accomplish with the Indians was just a little more impressive and should help his candidacy.  The BBWAA may see it differently, but there isn’t enough time or space on this page to go into what’s wrong with their collective thinking.

Stan Musial Award (Top Position Player)

1. Mike Trout

2. Jose Bautista

3. Michael Brantley

4. Victor Martinez

5. Jose Abreu

6. Josh Donaldson

7. Robinson Cano

8. Nelson Cruz

9. Alex Gordon

10. Adam Jones

Could 2014 finally be Mike Trout’s year to win the AL MVP? Despite leading the league in strikeouts, Trout put together the strongest season of anyone on my list.  Add in the fact that he’s not facing off against another ridiculous season by Miguel Cabrera and Trout should be a lock for the award.

 

 

Get the popcorn: more Biogenesis-connected players to be revealed.

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

T.J. Quinn of ESPN following up on all of the news about the DEA arresting Anthony Bosch and others connected with Biogenesis:

The fun part about this — other than the names themselves, which people pretty much consider the be-all, end-all of PED stories — is to see how MLB handles the suspensions. Last year, in what was clearly a p.r.-driven process, baseball gave what were essentially “until the end of the year” suspensions for everyone except Alex Rodriguez. I suppose if the names come out right now they could still do that.

But what if the names come out, say, in the first week of October? And the players are on playoff teams? What if they come out in mid-September? Will it last…

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Report: Andrew McCutchen has a broken rib, not an oblique strain

Every 5th Day:

What a shame. The game loses an MVP candidate due to Kirk Gibson’s misguided sense of justice.

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review just spoke to Andrew McCutchen who told him that he does not have an oblique strain. Rather, he has a broken rib. There is also some cartilage damage in the area.

It’s not at all clear if this changes his timetable. On the one hand, McCutchen tells Sawchik that he is not on the DL yet because he is hoping to see if he gets quick improvement. On the other hand, broken ribs often take as long as oblique strains to heal. Troy Tulowitzki missed about four weeks last year with a broken rib. Some guys are only out a short time. Others miss a ton of time. There’s a lot of variance. Mostly because there are a lot of ribs.

Updates when we get them.

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