MLB

Melky Cabrera Will Receive World Series Ring Despite Testing Positive For PED’s


Feedcrossing.com syndication

Melky Cabrera was suspended 50 games in 2012 for testing positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

Melky Cabrera was suspended 50 games in 2012 for testing positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

Whether you agree with the decision or not former San Francisco Giant and current Blue Jay Melky Cabrera will in fact receive a world series ring despite having no actual contribution in the Series due to a suspension over use of a banned substance.

NBC Sports reports:

Cabrera will receive his championship ring when the Giants visit the Blue Jays, Cabrera’s new team, on Tuesday. Manager Bruce Bochy performed a similar act last month with Chicago Cubs’ right fielder  Nate Schierholtz, who was traded shortly before Cabrera was suspended for use of a banned substance last summer

Surely there will be those chirping against the decision–the baseball purists always let their very loud voices be known in situations such as this.

But one could easily make the argument that if not for Cabrera’s contributions in the regular season the Giants wouldn’t have made it to the World Series in the first place. Let us not forget, that when Cabrera left the game due to suspension he held the highest batting average in the league and was well on his way to an MVP and batting title.

Should there be an uproar over Cabrera getting a ring or has he paid his debt?

Be sure to check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.


Couch Side Podcast Episode 54: High On The Heat


Will the Miami Heat return to the NBA Finals this year? Photo by: Paolo Rosa / Flickr

Will the Miami Heat return to the NBA Finals this year? Photo by: Paolo Rosa / Flickr

BY Couchsideshow.com staff

CLICK HERE TO START LISTENING: 

Couch Side hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul have had a lot on their plate lately, but they’re back for another exciting episode of the podcast. After a two week hiatus, the hosts return to dish out some NFL offseason grades, talk all things Tim Tebow, dive into the NBA playoffs, examine Tiger Woods’ Players championship win and criticize the voting of the NBA All-Defensive Team. Click below to start streaming, downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side podcast:

•  Click here to stream the Couch Side Podcast Episode 54: High On The Heat, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to download the Couch Side Podcast Episode 54: High On The Heat, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side Podcast Episode 54: High On The Heat, via iTunes


Brian Wilson to the St Louis Cardinals?


For San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson is still recovering from Tommy John Surgery, but could find a new home sometime this season. Photo by: Danny Mac / Flickr

Former San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson is still recovering from Tommy John Surgery, but could find a new home sometime this season. Photo by: Danny Mac / Flickr

Feedcrossing.com syndication

The St. Louis Cardinals bullpen has been an utter disaster this season.  It’s not just one or two guys, it’s everyone.

The only two relievers with an ERA below 4.00 are Edward Mujica and Randy Choate.  Joe Kelly has seen little game time since his early struggles and lack of a need for relievers before the seventh inning due to the success by the starting rotation.  Fernando Salas looks like he could use a stint in the minors to figure out what he’s doing wrong as he looks completely lost on the mound.  Trevor Rosenthal still looks shaky on the mound despite working himself out of his own jam in the eighth inning on Monday.  Mitchell Boggs is likely to be relegated to low-leverage situations until his confidence is rebuilt and shows he can retire good hitters once again.  With Eduardo Sanchez on the DL, there are no appealing options in the Cardinals farm system.  It appears the Cardinals will have to either look outside the organization or hope Jason Motte recovers by May 1st, the date set to decide whether or not he will have Tommy John or will begin rehab.

That said, there are few options outside the organization that wouldn’t require GM John Mozeliak to give up quality prospects for a short term fix.  There is, however, one option that many believe the Cardinals could be interested in: signing Brian Wilson.  In case you have forgotten, Wilson is the original Giants “Fear the Beard” campaign closer who closed for the San Francisco Giants when they won the World Series in 2010.  He had his second Tommy John surgery last April when his arm gave way once again. (more…)


Closers killing N.L. Central teams


BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher has a chance to lead his team in saves this year after he replaced John Axford at closer. Photo by: Steve Paluch

Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Jim Henderson has a chance to lead his team in saves this year after he replaced John Axford at closer. Photo by: Steve Paluch / Flickr

Like a good NFL quarterback battle, there’s always someone looking over the opening day closer’s shoulder in Major League Baseball. The young 2013 season has already seen a few teams make a switch at the position due to a lack of talent, while other clubs have been hindered by injuries to their late-inning men. Organizations look at their closing situations through a microscope and for a lot of teams, the leash isn’t long to keep the job. No other group of squads knows those facts as well as the five members of the National League Central.

The closer carousel is at full spin for the St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs. Before the season, it didn’t seem like Cincinnati and Pittsburgh had solidified the role with one clear option, either. There’s no question, just one month into the season, there’s been way too many late-inning blow ups from teams in the N.L. Central. In fact, the division leads the majors in blown saves by four with a total of 13. Furthermore, four closers in the National League have two blown saves (the American League has none) and of the four, three of them pitch for N.L. Central teams.

 

 

The solution for such a problem could be swapping the bad for the unproven or pitch the hot hands in the ninth. But the Central’s potential replacements for its troubled closers haven’t exactly proven themselves. Of the five teams, three squads have put at least two different hurlers in save situations and the result was a blown save. At the end of the day, my guess is that baseball fans will be seeing a lot of different players in the ninth inning for N.L. Central teams. Only the Cincinnati Reds seem like they have a permanent solution for the ninth inning in Aroldis Chapman. Perhaps the Pittsburgh Pirates do too with Jason Grilli, but as for the rest of the bunch, there is still a huge question mark looming over the heads of late relievers in their bullpens. Here’s a closer look and ranking (from worst to best) of each team’s current closer situation:

5. Chicago Cubs, tied for last place in MLB blown saves

• The Problem: The Cubs have the company of the St. Louis Cardinals in the blown saves department. The only difference is Chicago has used four players in save opportunities who ultimately blew the opportunity. Those pitchers are the likes of opening-day closer Carlos Marmol, MLB rookie Kyuji Fujikawa and veterans Shawn Camp and Michael Bowden. So what’s the problems with each of those players? Marmol has always been shaky and I was actually shocked he got the nod as Chicago’s opening day starter. Fujikawa has never seen MLB hitters before this year. And when it comes to Camp and Bowden, they’re simply just not closers. • The Solution: What I don’t understand is why the Cubs won’t give the big lefty James Russell a shot. He is clearly the best option out of Chicago’s bullpen right now, leading the teams relievers with a 0.00 ERA in just under five innings of work. Russell is clearly underused, which is a head scratcher because he was effective as the team’s temporary closer last year when he picked up a couple of saves and even recorded a 7-1 record as a late-inning reliever. (more…)


Waiting for a new home: Couch Side’s top 10 available MLB free agents


BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

Outfielder Grady Sizemore may have missed the entire 2012 season, but he is still available to baseball teams as a free agent. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

Outfielder Grady Sizemore may have missed the entire 2012 season, but he is still available to baseball teams as a free agent. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

When thinking of a new topic for my weekly blog, I remembered a recent conversation with one of my good friends.

I was complaining about my fantasy baseball team from a year ago and he had his own sorrows about how the injury bug bit his relief pitchers so badly in 2012. He had Mariano Rivera and Brian Wilson, which led me to quickly say, “can you believe he is still available?” His quick response about Wilson was slightly below a quiet yell, saying, “I know!”

The conversation sparked me this week to look a little deeper into players who didn’t receive contracts — major league or minor league — this offseason. The list of course has some duds on it  like Jason Bartlett and others who aren’t really relevant like 51-year-old Jamie Moyer. However, there is still a handful of players who most fans would’ve pegged to land on one team or another in 2013. Here’s a look at my top 10 of those still available free agents:

10. Roy Oswalt, 2012 team: Texas Rangers (4-3 record, 5.80 ERA, 59 strikeouts in 17 games): Oswalt is at the bottom of the list because he couldn’t make it through 2012. The Rangers signed him as a flyer, but it didn’t pay off. It still puzzles me that he is still available, though, considering his career ERA is 3.28 and he is less than 200 strikeouts away from 2,000.

9. Orlando Hudson, 2012 team: Chicago Whitesox / San Diego Padres (.204 avg., 3 HR, 28 RBI, 6 SB in 86 games): Hudson is just a few years removed from making the National League All-Star Team. However, since then, his average has dipped so bad it’s really no surprise no one took a chance on him. It’s sort of weird because even Chone Figgins was given a Spring Training spot by the Miami Marlins.

8. Francisco Rodriguez, 2012 team: Milwaukee Brewers (2-7 record, 4.38 ERA, 3 saves in 78 games): K-Rod not finding a home in 2013 is somewhat of a shocker. Sure, he blew some games for the Brewers last season, but there are teams still in need of closers. His past spunk could still be enough for him to wear the cleats again in 2013 and there is surely a team that will look his way when a late-inning pitcher hits the Disabled List.

7. Jim Thome, 2012 team: Baltimore Orioles / Philadelphia Phillies (.252 avg., 8 HR, 25 RBI in 58 games): It took a while for Thome to find a home in 2012, but once he did, the designated hitter did surprise some. There’s no doubt the power is there. And to that point, if Jason Giambi can find playing time with the Cleveland Indians, then so should Thome with one of the other 29 teams.

6. Freddy Sanchez, 2012 team: Did not play (2011 stats – .289 avg., 3 HR, 24 RBI in 60 games): The injury bug perhaps bit Sanchez the worst of any position player on this list and it may just cost him another shot at playing professional baseball. It’s pretty sad, considering Sanchez was the National League’s batting champion in 2006. There’s just no way to tell if he can bounce back to major league form. It could also be his defense that is holding him back.

5. Dallas Braden, 2012 team: none (2011 stats – 3-3 record, 3.00 ERA, 15 strikeouts in 3 games)

Braden’s multiple shoulder surgeries probably have raised a lot of red flags. According to his Twitter account we also shouldn’t expect him to be back anytime soon as he said he threw to a catcher for the first time in months during a session in February and it wasn’t close to what he expected. It may take a few years for him to return to the majors, but if he shows any glimpse of the upside he once possessed,  baseball fans could see another Scott Kazmir like comeback. Let’s not forget, Braden was on his way to the top in 2010 and he even tossed a no-hitter that year.
(more…)


Preseason Position Power Rankings: Couch Side’s Top 10 closers for 2013


BY SEAN SCHOONOVER, Couchsideshow.com blogger

Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kibrel tops our list of the best closers in all of baseball. Photo by: Taylor Magnone / Flickr

Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kibrel tops our list of the best closers in all of baseball. Photo by: Taylor Magnone / Flickr

When identifying the top closers of the MLB, one must consider players whom possess the ability to handle pressure, whom can pitch to location while maintaining velocity, and whom can still throw that filthy off-speed pitch 3-2 for strike three. They are dealt with some of the most nerve racking moments, and the game rest in their hands during that final half inning, a run given up usually leads to defeat. The following list includes the 10 best closers going into the 2013 season, starting with players 10-6 and their 2012 statistics. Players left off the list and who most likely make up the 11-15 spots include: J.J. Putz, Joel Hanrahan, Huston Street, John Axford, and Tom Wilhelmsen. With that here are your projected ten best closers for the 2013 season:

10. Joe Nathan, Texas Rangers (2.80 ERA, 37 SV, 78 Ks, 1.057 WHIP, 1.9 WAR): At 38 years old he is an oldie but goodie. Nathan last year converted 37 of his 40 save attempts, while posting a career best 6:1 K/BB ratio and striking out 10.9 batters per 9 innings. Even at his older age he is one of the best closers in the game, and should be just as successful in his 2013 campaign.

 

 

9. Greg Holland (Kansas City Royals (2.96 ERA, 16 SV, 91 Ks, 1.37 WHIP, 1.7 WAR): Holland suffered from a rib injury during the first half of the season last year, but after he fully recovered he lit it up as first the setup man and then the closer. His numbers last season were superb considering the injury, with converting 16 of his 20 save attempts, while posting a 12.2 K/9 innings ratio to go with a 2.68 K/BB ratio. I’m predicting a 30 save season for this youngster especially with a revamped Kansas City Royal squad.

8. Sergio Romo, San Francisco Giants (1.79 ERA, 14 SV, 63 Ks, ,849 WHIP, 1.8 WAR): Romo filled in impressively after Brian Wilson was shelved with another Tommy John injury, helping lead the Giants to their second World Series title in three years. Romo has one of the best combinations of command and filth in the hyper-strikeout era we are in today, it also helps that he is on a very successful Giants squad.

7. Jim Johnson, Baltimore Orioles (2.49 ERA, 51 SV, 41 Ks, 1.019 WHIP, 2.3 WAR): Johnson had a breakout season in 2012, leading Major League Baseball with a stunning 51 saves. He is definitely against the norm when it comes to an ideal closer as he is anything but a strikeout pitcher, posting a rather pedestrian 5.4 K/9 innings last season. I believe Johnson will be a very effective closer for the Orioles this season but don’t expect him to post a duplicate 50 save season.

6. Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees (2.16 ERA, 5 SV, 8 Ks, .960 WHIP, 0.4 WAR): Yes I know he is 43 years old, and coming off a major knee injury. However he is hands down the best closer of all time, and I am predicting another great year from him. What amazes me about this guy is that only one season out of his illustrious career as a full time closer did he fail to reach 30 saves in a season, not counting last season. He is for real.

5. Jonathan Papelbon, (Philadelphia Phillies (2.44 ERA, 38 SV, 92 Ks, 1.057 WHIP, 1.6 WAR)

Papelbon is definitely back in full force as a dominant closer. His first year with the Phillies last season he posted career highs in both innings pitched and strikeouts with 70 and 92 respectively, to go with an 11.8 strikeout per 9 inning ratio, which is above his career average . One thing that he brings to the table is consistency; he has now posted 7 straight seasons of better than 30 saves and at least a 10 K/9 inning ratio. Papelbon might have been the biggest bright spot for the Phillies last year, and I am expecting him to produce another career year in 2013.
(more…)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 108 other followers