MLB Off Season Outlook NL Central

Today we look at the NL Central where each organization is at and what each team should be looking to do this winter. The cream of the crop of this division has been the St.Louis Cardinals the last 4 years. The last 4 years the Cards made it to the NLDS twice before their season ended and made it to the World Series twice winning the Fall Classic back in 2011. The Pirates are the team next in line in the division in terms of recent success making the playoffs the last two years as the home Wild Card team. The other teams have to catch up.

Cubs:

The Cubs have been going through a painful rebuilding program but the fruits of their labor are about to sprout. The Cubs lead by their big boss Theo Epstein who ended the championship drought in Boston is determined to do the same for the fans at Wrigley. The Cubs just hired Joe Maddon who is terrific manager and great with young players. Perfect fit for where the Cubs are at in terms of their development.

The Cubs have a lot of extremely talented young position players already on the main roster in Rizzo, Castro, Baez, Soler and Alcantara. The Cubs two best young position players have yet to make it to the big club in Kris Bryant and Addison Russell. Bryant appears to be ready for the Majors but the Cubs might want to wait until early June of 2015 because of his super 2 clock. Russell we probably won’t see until the summer time. The abundance of talent the Cubs have up the middle in Castro, Baez and Russell makes one of them expendable in a trade which will net a large return. Continue reading

Off-Season for the AZ Diamondbacks

The odds to win the 2015 World Series were released last week and the AZ Diamondbacks’ were listed as 100/1. That puts them at number 30, which is last in all of baseball. That is attributed to a terrible 2014 season, where they posted a 64-98 record.

This team will need to make adjustments to both their offense and defense (hitting and pitching) in order to have an above 500 season, let alone a post-season appearance.

The Diamondbacks could be one of the best offenses in baseball in 2015, but it will come down to power and hitting with runners in scoring position. We know this team does not have much power outside of Paul Goldschmidt and they have struggled with runners in scoring position for several years. In 2014, A.J. Pollock emerged as a definitive leadoff hitter and showed some speed on the bases. Chris Owings was good during stretches of the 2014 season, and whether he stays at second base or slides over to short stop, he will remain an everyday player on this team’s roster. Having a healthy Mark Trumbo will provide power in the middle of the lineup. And, if Aaron Hill is not traded, look for him to have a bounce back year. Continue reading

Looking at Possible Trade Targets for 2015 MLB Off Season!

Today we are going to put some wood on the MLB hot stove fire by looking at a number of possible trade scenarios for various teams. Going to focus on the very good players on up. Let’s get it started.

Atlanta:

The Braves have done a good job of locking up a number of their core guys such as Kimbrel, Freeman, Simmons and Teheran. However the Braves face two of their starting outfielders both in their 20’s heading into the 2015 season just 1 year away from free agency. Those players are Justin Upton and Jason Heyward. The Braves are to much of a all or nothing team in terms of offense and in order for new GM John Hart to make the Braves a contender that has change. In addition I don’t think the Braves will sign market value long term contracts to both J.Upton and Heyward. Also the Braves want top prospect catcher Christian Bethancourt to take over full time behind the plate. He does not have the power of Evan Gattis but Bethancourt is a very strong catcher. That makes Evan Gattis also available via the trade market this winter. The Braves need to change the structure of their offense as well as get some starting pitching. Mike Minor is coming off a terrible year, Medlen and Beachy are coming back from Tommy John and Ervin Santana and Harang are free agents this off season.

Cincinnati:

Believe it or not 4/5 of the Reds starting rotation will become free agents at seasons end in 2015. That includes ace Johnny Cueto as well as Matt Latos, Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon. The Reds do have Homer Bailey locked up and youngsters Tony Cingrani and Robert Stephenson could be replacements in the rotation. Having said that one has to figure that Reds GM Walt Jocketty will have a lot of trade discussions this off season.

Colorado: Continue reading

Breaking Down The 2015 MLB Free Agent Class – The Pitchers

My last article focused on the hitters, today we look at the key free agent pitchers this winter both starting and relieving. There is some star power in this group unlike the hitters. Let’s take a look.

The Elite SP:

Jon Lester:

Lester will be 31 by opening day and is coming off a top notch season winning 16 Games for both the Red Sox and A’s. In 219 2/3 innings Lester had a 2.46 ERA and 1.10 Ratio. Lester a lefty to boot is very much in the prime of his career and has pitched in a ton of big games including being a key cog of World Series champion teams. Having spent almost all of his career in Boston Lester can handle pitching anywhere. The early word is the Cubs and Lester’s former GM Theo Epstein going to make a huge play for his services.

Max Scherzer:

Scherzer the 2013 AL Cy Young Award winner is looking to break the bank this off season with the richest contract for a starting pitcher in the history of the game. With Scott Boras as his agent that should come as no surprise. Scherzer did not have as good of a year last year as he did in 2013 but still pitched a full season and went 18-5 with 3.15 ERA. The Tigers offered Scherzer a 144 Million dollar contract early on last season and that was turned down quickly by both Scherzer and Boras. My guess is Scherzer is looking to land a 200 Million dollar contract.

James Shields: Continue reading

Breaking Down the 2015 MLB Free Agent Class – The Hitters

Well the 2014 MLB season ended last night with a very dramatic Game 7 with the Giants prevailing 3-2. It was an all old school and all time World Series performance by Madison Bumgarner. For people who saw Koufax and Bob Gibson pitch it brought back memories of what those guys use to do in the Fall Classic. But believe it or not today October 30th kicks off the off-season so we are off and running with it.

Today I start my first off season article and we kick off focusing in on this winter’s free agent class of hitters. I am not going to list every free agent hitter in my article just the key free agent hitters. My list is broken down by position and then in alphabetical order. In addition any ages given per player will be their age come opening day 2015. Also when I mention whether or not a team will give a qualifying offer to a player the amount set for such offers is 15.3 Million for the 2015 season on a 1 year deal. Also keep in mind players given qualifying offers if that player leaves his old team and signs with a new club, his previous club will get the new club’s 1st round draft pick in the upcoming 2015 draft. However if the club that signs the player with a qualifying offer has a top 10 pick in the upcoming 2015 MLB Draft then that club would have to surrender their 2nd round pick in this upcoming draft. Either way it’s a heavy price. With that lets’ take a look at the key hitters in this winters free agent class.

The 2015 Free Agent Hitters Class is nothing to write home about it. In fact that is the overall statement regarding the entire free agent class this off season. Having said that there are a number of hitters in this years class that can help teams going forward. However what is the financial commitment as well as potential draft pick compensation on each player? Let’s break it down. Continue reading