MLB

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


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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

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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.
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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.
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Couch Side Podcast Episode 51: 2013 MLB season preview


Couch Side hosts Wade McMillin

Couch Side hosts Wade McMillin (left) and Craig Paul finally talk some baseball in this week’s episode.

BY Couchsideshow.com staff

CLICK HERE TO START LISTENING: 


The Couch Side podcast is on the right side of 50 as hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul embark on another exciting episode. In this week’s show, the gang discusses which NFL were winners and losers in this year’s NFL Free Agency class. Then, special guest Sean Schoonover joins the podcast to preview the 2013 MLB season and talk a little bracket busting. Click below to start streaming, downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side podcast:

•  Click here to stream the Couch Side Podcast Episode 51: 2013 MLB season preview, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to download the Couch Side Podcast Episode 51: 2013 MLB season preview, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side Podcast Episode 51: 2013 MLB season preview, via iTunes

 


Preseason Position Power Rankings: Couch Side’s top five setup men for 2013


BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com senior blogger

New York Yankees setup man David Robertson topped Couch Side's list of the top setup men in the game for 2013. Phot by: Keith Allison / Flickr

New York Yankees setup man David Robertson topped Couch Side’s list of the top setup men in the game for 2013. Phot by: Keith Allison / Flickr

Relievers can be difficult to project because performance can sway so drastically from season to season. The limited number of innings, and the various situations the pitchers are used can lead to occasional spikes or dips in results. Sometimes you don’t know if your established 8th inning guy will have to take over closer duties, which can also affect his numbers depending on the situations he’s used in. I’m not of the mind that a minute number of relievers can close; most guys can do it if they have a big fastball that can be consistently thrown for strikes. However, given how much of a financial incentive it is to be a big time closer, teams will overvalue based on saves, when they should really be looking at how effective the pitcher was overall. I digress, so here are my top 5 setup men aka potential closers that currently aren’t.

5. David Hernandez, Arizona Diamondbacks (68 IP, 98 Ks, 22 BBs, 2.50 ERA)

Former Team Mexico/USA pitcher is underrated, he improved his strikeout rate and lowered his walk rate in 2012, and figures to be used by Kirk Gibson to trade off the 7th or 8th with the inferior Heath Bell.

4. Drew Storen, Washington Nationals (30 IP, 24 Ks, 8 BBs, 2.37 ERA)

Let’s throw out that blowup inning against the Cardinals in NLDS game 5 last year, Storen is going to be getting key outs against the Braves lineup for a team that many will predict to win the World Series this year.
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Will Atlanta’s huge offseason block some bright young stars?


Atlanta Braves prospect Joey Terdoslavich has had an amazing spring training, but might not be on the opening day roster. Photo by: Big West Conference / Flickr

Atlanta Braves prospect Joey Terdoslavich has had an amazing spring training, but might not be on the opening day roster. Photo by: Big West Conference / Flickr

BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

One thing I’ve heard throughout Spring Training at least 100 times now is that you can’t buy too much into Spring Training numbers.

However, when it comes to being a Braves fan, the stats that a handful of their younger players are putting up this spring call for a lot of attention. Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved what Atlanta did this offseason. The acquisitions of B.J. and Justin Upton makes this team an automatic contendor in 2013 just a few short months after Chipper Jones announced his retirement.

But the additions scare me a little bit, considering the caliber of young position players the Braves have waiting in the wings. Today, I wouldn’t trade what the Braves did this offseason to see if these younger guys pay off. But it would be flat out nieve to think Atlanta’s solidified outfield might block or even cause some of these young stars to find new teams.

Here’s a look at a handful of those hot position players and why they would make the team most years:

• Joey Terdoslavich (spring stats: .432 BA, 1 HR, 8 RBI, .595 SLG)

The 24-year-old first baseman / outfielder definitely has his path to the majors blocked by the likes of Atlanta’s stellar outfield and with the emergence of Freddie Freeman, he just can’t find a home on the big league roster. Terdoslavich was being groomed in the minors to eventually fill Jones’ cleats, but because of poor defense, the Braves has to explore other defensive postions for the young slugger. He has dabbled behind the plate and in the outfield. It obviously didn’t work out as Terdoslavich is listed as a first baseman on Atlanta’s Spring Training roster. It seems the Braves don’t trust much in his outfield defense, either. I’m just not sure if it would matter because of the players higher than him on depth chart. Sure, the Braves could use Terdoslavich as a pinch hitter, but that usually doesn’t suit younger players to well. Terdoslavich has proven he belongs on the big league roster this season, hitting .432 with one home run and eight RBIs in his 37 at bats this spring. He probably won’t make it, though, and begin the season in AAA.  (more…)


Preseason Position Power Rankings: Couch Side’s top five left fielders for 2013


Ryan Braun tops the list of Couch Side's top left fielders with his big bat and speedy legs. Photo by: Steve Paluch / Flickr

Ryan Braun tops the list of Couch Side’s top left fielders with his big bat and speedy legs. Photo by: Steve Paluch / Flickr

BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com senior blogger

Some may think of left field as that position where a youth baseball coach would hide his worst player. In Major League Baseball, it’s quite the contrary, In fact, many former center fielders, who had a younger player with a tad more defensive skills bump them out of their former positions, will usually move just one spot left. It also seems like a lot of the games top power hitters call left field their home. We’ll look at both cases in today’s blog of the top 10 left fielders in the game today:

10. Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins (.260 BA, 35 HR, 110 RBI, 2.9 WAR) - One of the most underrated power hitters in baseball.

9. David Murphy, Texas Rangers (.304 BA, 15 HR, 61 RBI, 10 SB, 3.2 WAR) – One of the most underrated players in baseball.

8. Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland Athletics (.292 BA, 23 HR, 82 RBI, 16 SB, 3.4 WAR) - Great rookie season from the defected Cuban, expect more in 2013.

7. Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies (.303 BA, 22 HR, 85 RBI, 20 SB, 1.3 WAR) - Big platoon split due to Coors Field.

6. Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals (.294 BA, 14 HR, 72 RBI, 10 SB, 6.2 WAR) - Excellent defensive fielder with an improved bat.

5. Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals (.295 BA, 27 HR, 102 RBI, 3.8 WAR)

Holliday is one of the great sure things in baseball. Consistently reliable slugger who drives in runs and generally does things well. One of the things he doesn’t do well is defend, or really have great range, at least not anymore. Regardless, he’ll be a big factor the Cardinals yet again.

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Preseason Position Power Rankings: Couch Side’s top five center fielders for 2013


Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout surprised the entire MLB at just 21 years old in 2013. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout surprised the entire MLB at just 21 years old in 2013. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

Like shortstops are to the infield, center fielders are the captains of the outfield. Players in the middle of the deep grass have a special skill set like no other spot in baseball. Usually, they have the best wheels, an uncanny defensive ability and an above average arm. Centerfield calls for some of the best players in the game.

This season there is no lack of talent in the middle of the outfield. While some of the older players have moved to corner outfield positions, it seems like a new generation is trying to make its name in centerfield. Mike Trout was a prime example last season and trust me, he’ll be high on this rankings list. But there still is a few unknowns, so here is Couch Side’s official top 10 center fielder of 2013:

10. Chris Young, Oakland Athletics (.231 BA, 14 HR, 41 RBI, 1.9 WAR): This could be the worst pick I’ve made while doing these fantasy baseball rankings, but Chris Young still shows some serious potential. The new change of atmosphere could benefit the 29-year-old as he should see a lot of at bats. Although Coco Crisp will be in this lineup, Oakland likes to shake things up a lot and I think Young will find a promising role this year.

9. Denard Span, Washington Nationals (.283 BA, 4 HR, 41 RBI, 17 SB, 4.8 WAR): I was extremely surprised that Span wound up with the Washington Nationals. However, it just may produce a career year for the 29-year-old as he still proves to be one of the best center fielders in the game. He is a perfect lead off hitter and the bottom of the Nats’ lineup is so good that he could score a lot of runs.

8. B.J. Upton, Atlanta Braves (.246 BA, 28 HR, 78 RBI, 31 SB, 17, 2.6 WAR): There’s a huge reason Upton earned an enormous contract with the Braves this offseason. Although he stikes out a lot, Upton is one of the best center fielders in the game because of his uncanny power, incredible defense and surprising speed.

7. Dexter Fowler, Colorado Rockies (.300 BA, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 2.6 WAR): It’s weird that Fowler isn’t a speedster, but he definately makes up for it in plenty of other areas. Last season, the 26-year-old set career highs in RBIs and home runs. If he cant repeat that performance this season, Fowler may make next year’s top five. Obviously, Colorado believes in that after giving Fowler a contract extentison in one of their very few moves this offseason.

6. Adam Jones, Colorado Rockies (.287 BA, 32 HR, 82 RBI, 3.4 WAR): By far, Jones had a career year last season. Don’t let that cloud judgements, though. One-year-wonders usually don’t last when it comes to fantasy baseball. Sure, he was a great player last season, but it was probably the first time he was more than a waiver wire pickup.

5. Michael Bourn, Cleveland Indians (.274 BA, 9 HR, 57 RBI, 42 SB, 6.0 WAR)

Many might think Bourn is the fastest center fielder in the game, but then came along Mike Trout. This 30-year-old is showing signs of his age. Yet, he set a career high in homeruns last year. Bourn’s power seems to be improving. He also always seems to get better on new teams. The Indians will be his fourth, so the potential for more career seasons could be waiting for Bourn. Plus, that speed is definitely still there.
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Preseason Position Power Rankings: Couch Side’s top five right fielders for 2013


BY CHUCK CONSTANTINO, Couchsideshow.com blogger

Outfield has always been a crucial position in fantasy baseball leagues. From the outfield spot you can grab some of the best players in the league. When analyzing just right fielders, there are several big name players who may be selected ahead of projections because many of them are entering their prime, or due to potential. Here’s a look at my top right fielders this fantasy season.

Right fielders just outside of my top five stack up as the following: Alex Rios, CWS, Carlos Beltran, STL, Nelson Cruz, TEX, Ben Zobrist, TAM, Nick Markakis, BAL, Nick Swisher, CLE.

5. Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds (.252 BA, 34 HR, 99 RBI, 1.4 WAR)

If the right field class wasn’t so stacked, Bruce would be higher up.The 6-foot-3 lefty oozes potential. He’s hit at least 25 home runs since entering the league in 2010, with 34 last year. He knocked in 99 RBIs last year, and should improve on that. As he enters his prime, Bruce will be a 40 home run candidate, and a sleeper to lead the league in home runs. Be careful though, he’s a .255 career hitter who strikes out a lot and walks very little. Also, his career high in steals is just nine.

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Preseason Position Power Rankings: Couch Side’s top five third basemen for 2013


How will Miguel Cabrera one up his Triple Crown season in 2013? Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

How will Miguel Cabrera one up his Triple Crown season in 2013? Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

Editor’s note: Couch Side is very pleased to bring back its annual MLB preseason position power rankings. This year, we will offer two positions every Wednesday and Friday. Each blog ranks the top 10 players at each position and is written by some of Couch Side’s best bloggers. The following is part six of what will be a 12-part series. Enjoy!

BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

As older third basemen with aging knees trot their way over to first base or become designated hitters, a new wave of third basemen are showing us just as much power.

Like first base, a bit of pop is expected to come from third basemen as well as a quick glove and even quicker reactions. Defense is a must just left of shortstop. A solid bat also comes with the territory. While many consider shortstop the toughest defensive position in the game, third base is where screamers come down the line. And if those players don’t have the instincts to stop a smash, they won’t have a job for long.

Major League baseball still has a plethora of talent at the hot corner. In fact, last year a third baseman took home the first Triple Crown in more than 40 years. Talent will always lye closest to the away team’s dugout and with some hefty power hitters, this year is no exception. So here’s a look at Couch Side’s top 10 third baseman for 2013:

A quick glance at five guys outside of the top 10: Brett Lawrie, Aramis Ramirez, David Feeze, Todd Frazier and Mike Moustakas … Further out who still deserve recognition: Will Middlebrooks, Trevor Plouffe and Manny Machado. Alright, now, let’s start the show!

10. Martin Prado, Arizona Diamondbacks (.301 BA, 10 HR, 70 RBI, 5.4 WAR): Prado makes my list simply because after Miguel Cabrera, this 29-year-old may be the best contact bat / on-base guy at the hot corner. His .359 OBP also isn’t anything to sneeze at. What a player!

9. Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates (.244 BA, 10 HR, 85 RBI, 2.6 WAR): For fantasy purposes, Alvarez makes my top 10. Quite honestly, I think he is going to blow up this season. Yes, he strikes out a lot, however his power numbers easily forgive that. This may sound premature, but Alvarez could very well be the next Jose Bautista.

8. Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants (.283, 12 HR, 63 RBI, 2.0 WAR): In a separate blog I wrote on Couch Side, I was forced to look up Sandoval’s defensive statistics. And considering this guy is pushing 280 pounds, he is quite nimble on his feet. Add those praises to his consistent and impressive bat, and Sandoval could easily be a top five third baseman. He just lacks power.

7. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals (.282 BA, 25 HR, 95 RBI, 3.8 WAR): After slumping at the beginning of the year in 2012, Zimmerman bounced back to have a very impressive second half. In 2012, Zimmerman more or less had his best year at the plate since 2009 when he set career highs in all batting categories. He has to be loving that revamped Nationals lineup and his numbers are every indication of that.

6. Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers (.257 BA, 24 HR, 92 RBI, 1.2 WAR): Ramirez is slowly working his way back into the type of player he was in 2009 when he set career highs in every single hitting category. Last season, he obviously slumped for the Miami Marlins, but he really turned things around in the Dodger white and blue, batting in just four less runs than he did while in a Marlins uniform. That’s extrmely impressive, considering Ramirez played in 29 fewer games as a Dodger.

5. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays (.289 BA, 17 HR, 55 RBI, 2.3 WAR)

I probably won’t make many friends ranking Longoria No. 5 on this list, but his injury does concern me. It seemed like Longoria took too long to heal from it, at least that’s what the experts said, and that just raises red flags. His numbers coming back, however, may place my own foot in my mouth as it was like Longoria didn’t miss a beat after injury. Check out the stats above and then consider that the 27-year-old was able to achieve them in just 74 games. I’m sure this youngster has many MVP years ahead of him. I’m just not buying into his big bat this season.
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Rockies rotation goes from bleak to weak


BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin looks like the team's best starting pitcher on paper, but he's not their ace. Photo by: Charles Atkeison / Flickr

Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin looks like the team’s best starting pitcher on paper, but he’s not their ace. Photo by: Charles Atkeison / Flickr

There’s no hiding the fact that Coors Field isn’t a pitcher-friendly park.

While that may mean good things for hitters in the Colorado Rockies’ lineup, it spells disaster for their pitching staff. In years past, Colorado has tried to combat their home field by adding big names, but lately, it seems like the team has given up on trying to land talented free agents. During the Rockies World Series run in 2007, Colorado had the likes of Ubaldo Jimenez and Aaron Cook as their top of the rotation starters. Now, just six years later, it seems like there really isn’t a clear Ace of this staff or even a legitimate No. 2 or No. 3 starter.

In fact, not much has changed when comparing last year’s starting rotation to this season’s. The only real difference is that last year there were a few names — like Jamie Moyer and Jeremy Guthrie — that fans could get excited about. In 2013, the only guy fans can have high hopes for is Jorge De La Rosa, who hasn’t pitched in 16 months.

Long shot in the dark: The chances De La Rosa bounces back from Tommy John surgery are slim. The fact is most pitchers never successfully return from the hurler’s curse. Colorado fans will have their fingers crossed that De La Rosa can somehow defy the odds, but even if he does, they won’t want to see the short-lived 2013 version of the 31-year-old. Last season in just three starts, De La Rosa posted an embarrassing 9.28 ERA and an 0-2 record with just six strikeouts.   De La Rosa’s history before that isn’t anything to brag about, either. The lefty has only had one season with a sub-4.00 ERA, which came in 2011 when he only started 10 games. To call him this year’s Ace should be more of a concern than a hope of an incredible MLB comeback story.  (more…)


Preseason Position Power Rankings: Couch Side’s top five shortstops for 2013


Editor’s note: Couch Side is very pleased to bring back its annual MLB preseason position power rankings. This year, we will offer two positions every Wednesday and Friday. Each blog ranks the top 10 players at each position and is written by some of Couch Side’s best bloggers. The following is part five of what will be a 12-part series. Enjoy!

BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com senior blogger

Will another change of scenery make Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes the best player at his potion in 2013? Photo by: Paul Hadsall / Flickr

Will another change of scenery make Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes the best player at his potion in 2013? Photo by: Paul Hadsall / Flickr

Shortstop is a fun position to rank because of the defensive importance, as well as trying to figure out where an aging superstar like Jeter or a defensive wizard like Brendan Ryan would place.

I’m going to use the Bill James defensive spectrum in order to highlight the importance of the position from a defensive standpoint.

[ - - 1B - LF - RF - 3B - CF - 2B - SS - C - - ]

The furthest right you are on the spectrum determines the significance of the defensive contributions required. Shortstop is second to catcher according to this theory, where first basemen are appropriately listed on the opposite end. It’s not hard to stick a big guy with minimal athleticism over at first and let him hit his 30+ home runs (think Prince Fielder).

When it comes to evaluating right now, we have to consider all the usual factors: age, health, ballpark, peripherals, and occasionally shoddy defensive metrics. Derek Jeter has never been regarded in the saber metric community as a great defensive shortstop, but mainstream apologists and fans will insist that despite coming off an ankle surgery, and at 38, won’t be a complete liability. It remains to be seen if it will be or not, but its one component of evaluating shortstops that is a constant discussion amongst writers and fans.

Here are my 10-1 shortstops:

10. Erick Aybar (2012 stats .290/.324/.416, 8 HR, 45 RBI, 20-4 SB/CS, 4 WAR) – You have to respect Aybar for being potentially the most valuable shortstop last season via Wins Above Replacement.

9. Alcides Escobar (2012 stats .293/.331/.390, 5 HR, 52 RBI, 35-5 SB/CS, 3.2 WAR) – Escobar might be the rangiest SS in all of baseball, his stolen bases will add some nice fantasy value if he can hit for average.

8. Jimmy Rollins (2012 stats .250/.316/.427, 23 HR, 68 RBI, 30-5 SB/CS, 2.3 WAR) – The veteran Rollins can still hit for some pop and be a factor on the base paths.

7. Ian Desmond (2012 stats .292/.335/.511, 25 HR, 72 RBI, 21-6 SB/CS, 3.2 WAR) - He likely won’t slug .500 this year, but regression shouldn’t kill his stock completely.

6. Asdrubal Cabrera (2012 stats .270/.338/.423, 16 HR, 68 RBI, 9-4 SB/CS, 3 WAR) – The projection model ZiPS has Cabrera finishing with similar results to last season (17 HR, 72 RBI).

5. Andrelton Simmons (2012 stats .289/.335/.416, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 1-0 SB/CS, 2.8 WAR)

The sheer enormity of the potential defensive value makes me optimistic about Simmons as a top shortstop going forward. Is there risk in putting him this high? Sure, especially since I’m basing this off of 49 games played last year and rookie struggles are likely to occur. Taking these defensive metrics with a grain of salt, but Simmons was +19 according to Defensive Runs Saved and +10.4 in Ultimate Zone Rating. He looked like he had fantastic range and ability with the eye test as well. Hitting leadoff in the Braves lineup is going to be a decent experiment as well if he can keep up his .350 OBP ability that he showed in the minors. I’m betting high on Simmons regardless of the risk.
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Atlanta Braves position battle: Juan Francisco versus Chris Johnson


Couch Side examines the Atlanta Braves third base position battle between Chris Johnson (left) and Juan Francisco. Johnson photo by: Bridget Samuels / Flickr. Francisco photo by: Charles Atkeison / Flickr

Couch Side examines the Atlanta Braves third base position battle between Chris Johnson (left) and Juan Francisco. Johnson photo by: Bridget Samuels / Flickr. Francisco photo by: Charles Atkeison / Flickr

BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

Replacing a lengend certainly isn’t an easy task.

That’s going to be the spring training chore for Atlanta Braves third basemen Juan Francisco and Chris Johnson this season as they’ll attempt to succeed the recently retired Chipper Jones. I’m sure neither player expects to come even close to Jones’ worst season in this position battle, but both players are above-average options to take over Atlanta’s hot corner. The Braves have to love that both players are under 30 years old. It’s also a plus that the pair had their best seasons at the MLB level in 2012. Regardless of what Francisco and Johnson have done in their pasts, their future will probably be determined by what they do in 2013.

There’s a lot of speculation that this hot-corner duo will platoon for the Braves at third base this year. And while it would be nice to have a permanent starter penciled in on the everyday lineup, the fact is that these two players compliment each other quite nicely simply because Francisco bats from the left side and Johnson bats from the right. However, neither player can hit lefties very efficiently and their defense won’t win them any golden gloves soon. The question marks around both players are easily noticeable by one glance at their career statistics and their splits. That’s why I personally believe this will be a position battle. So who will emerge as manager Fredi Gonzales’ favorite? To truly understand the answer to that question, one must take a deep look into the pros and cons that Johnson and Francisco will bring to the Braves: (more…)


Preseason Position Power Rankings: Couch Side’s top five first basemen for 2013


Editor’s note: Couch Side is very pleased to bring back its annual MLB preseason position power rankings. This year, we will offer two positions every Wednesday and Friday. Each blog ranks the top 10 players at each position and is written by some of Couch Side’s best bloggers. The following is part two of what will be a 12-part series. Enjoy!

BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto looks to bounce back from an injury plagued year last season. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto looks to bounce back from an injury plagued year last season. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

When it comes to raw power, first basemen usually take the cake.

Currently, there are still some super sluggers playing the position, but surprisingly, the big fly isn’t as common as it used to be from first baseman. Guys like Albert Pujols and Joey Votto can still crush. Yet, their games are becoming much more complete as both of those top players have been known to chase the triple crown. Usually, when ranking first basemen, power would be the ultimate factor. However, like everything in sports, the position has changed. A young core of first basemen is on the rise and a handful of veterans are still proving that they’re some of the best still in the game.

Couch Side’s official preseason first basemen power rankings will cover my six through 10 briefly before jumping into the heavy hitters. I must apologize to some who will come up just short: Billy Butler, Ike Davis and Anthony Rizzo, but the good news for them is they’re still very young and could make me look very stupid as I rank the top 10 first baseman in the MLB for 2013:

 

 

10. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves (.259 AVG, 23 HR, 94 RBI):

With Chipper Jones hanging up his cleats, Big Fred may actually be the hitter to watch out for in Atlanta. Yes, I know they have the Upton brothers now, but this 23-year-old is destined for greatness.

9. Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals (.271 AVG, 33 HR, 100 RBI):

The big question surrounding LaRoche is can he do it again? The 33-year-old set career highs in home runs, RBI and WAR last year. For that reason and that reason only is why the big man makes this list.

8. Paul Konerko, Chicago Whitesox (.298 AVG, 22 HR, 75 RBI):

In the first half of last season, Konerko was far better than Pujols. He may not be able to repeat that this year, but this crafty veteran is one of the best contact-hitting first basemen in all of baseball.

7. Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers (.299 AVG, 18 HR, 108 RBI):

Gonzales still hasn’t earned his large paycheck. His dismal numbers with the Dodgers after he was traded to the boys in blue also raise some red flags. If he can find his old form, which he definitely could by returning to the NL West, Gonzales may just regain some of that lost respect.

6. Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees (.251 AVG, 24 HR, 84 RBI):

The reason big tex is so high on my list, is simply because I’m a sucker for the Yankee slugger. He had a year to forget in 2012 and was bit by the injury bug. However, I think he may just bounce back with a New York lineup that is much weaker than year’s past. That added pressure could bring back the Texas version of Teixeira.

5. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks (.286, 20 HR, 82 RBI):

Now that I’ve finally cracked into my top five, Goldschmidt had better not make me eat my words this year. I predict Goldschmidt to have a golden year because of what Snakes general manager Kevin Towers did this offseason. He made room in his starting lineup for top prospect Adam Eaton and acquired Martin Prado, two players who should score a lot of runs with Goldschmidt’s power drving them home. Mlbdepthcharts.com has Goldshmidt slotted in the No. 6 spot in the D-Backs’ batting order, but don’t expect him to stay there for long. Eaton should prove to be a prominent lead off guy and I believe Prado will eventually become the team’s No. 2 hitter, giving Goldschmidt plenty of opportunities to drive in his two new teammates. Also, a fun fact: Goldschmidt led all first basemen in steals last season with 18.
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Quick Read: Bonilla will collect more money than any outfielder on Mets’ roster


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This is something that has been talked about for years, but Bobby Bonilla signed one of the greatest contracts of all time.

The Mets were really eager to get rid of Bonilla, so in 2000 they agree to buy out his contract. Bonilla’s terms were the $5.9 million he was owed, to be paid out to his estate with interest over 25 years starting on July 1st, 2011.

So, Bonilla’s annual salary, until the year 2035, once the interest kicked in is $1.19 million.

If you take a quick look at the Mets roster for 2013, you will see that makes Bonilla is one of the highest paid Mets players on the payroll, even though he has been retired for years. No wonder the Mets have had financial difficulties over the last few years.  Who signed off on this deal?

If only more athletes, would think like Bobby Bonilla, we would have never had a 30 for 30 BROKE documentary.  Thanks to the Big Lead for all the details.

Be sure to check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.

Preseason Position Power Rankings: Couch Side’s top 10 catchers


BY SEAN SCHOONOVER, Couchsideshow.com blogger

Editor’s note: Couch Side is very pleased to bring back its annual MLB preseason position power rankings. This year, we will offer two positions every Wednesday and Friday. Each blog ranks the top 10 players at each position and is written by some of Couch Side’s best bloggers. The following is part two of what will be a 12-part series. Enjoy!

2012 National League MVP Buster Posey tops Couch Side's top 10 Catcher list. Photo by: Dave Nelson / Flickr

2012 National League MVP Buster Posey tops Couch Side’s top 10 Catcher list. Photo by: Dave Nelson / Flickr

When identifying the top catchers of the MLB, one must consider a players defensive capability as well as their offensive ability. The catcher position is the most demanding position on the field and offense is usually the last thing on their minds, as these players have to manage full pitching staffs, mull over game plans, as well as rest their aching legs. Offensive focused catchers now days are finding more ways to get into the lineup on a daily basis, whether it is at 1B or DH. Last season only 6 catchers managed over 500 at bats, which is an improvement of only two in 2011 and one in 2010. The following list includes the 10 best catchers going into the 2013 season, starting with players 6-10 and their 2012 statistics. Players left off the list and who most likely make up the 11-15 spots include: J.P. Arencibia, Carlos Ruiz, A.J. Pierzynski, Brian McCann, and Alex Avila. With that here are your projected ten best catchers for the 2013 season:

10. Jesus Montero (SEA)- 135 GP, 134 H, 15 HR, 46 Runs, 62 RBI, .260 AVG, .298 OBP. .386 SLG, -0.2 WAR

- A tall 6’3”, slightly slow footed catcher but has the potential to hit 25 HRS and 80 RBIs

9. Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)- 96 GP, 101 H, 12 HR, 46 Runs, 58 RBI, .320 AVG, .369 OBP, .513 SLG, 3.9 WAR

- Defensively sound catcher with the ability to hit over 20 HRs with a .300 AVG

8. Wilin Rosario (COL)- 117 GP, 107 H, 28 HR, 67 Runs, 71 RBI, .270 AVG, .320 OBP, .530 SLG, 1.9 WAR

- A power hitter, whom needs improvement on the defensive side. but offensively has a lot of up-side hitting behind Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez

7. Salvador Perez (KC)- 76 GP, 87 H, 11 HR, 38 Runs, 39 RBI, .301 AVG, ,328 OBP, .471 SLG, 2.8 WAR

- Only 22 years old and known for his sound defensive ability, but it is his offensive potential that seems intriguing with his limited experience. This is hands down my sleeper for the position this year.

6. Miguel Montero (ARI)- 141 GP, 139 H, 15 HR, 65 Runs, 88 RBI, .286 AVG, .391 OBP, .438 SLG, 3.7 WAR

- Defensively sound, ranking third best in caught stealing rate last year with 42%, he is one of the best overall catchers in the game and yet does not get enough credit.

5. Matt Wieters (BAL) – 144 GP, 131 H, 23 HR, 67 Runs, 83 RBI, .249 AVG, .329 OBP, .435 SLG, 3.2 WAR

The .249 Average and 112 strikeouts are two statistics that bring Wieters down, however he still has shown the last two years that he is a well-deserved starter in one of the toughest divisions. He is one of six catchers from last year that compiled over 500 at bats, with 526 in 144 games played. The last two years have proved that Wieters is a legitimate top five catcher in the league tallying 55 HRs, to go with 151 RBIs. However, it is the defensive side that Wieters excels, being awarded golden gloves both in 2011 and 2012, throwing out an average of 38 percent of attempted base stealers for both years. The defensive piece is in place and I would not be surprised to see his offensive game take off this season.

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Preseason Position Power Rankings: Couch Side’s top 10 starting pitchers


Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander topped Couch Side's list of the top 10 starting pitchers in Major League Baseball. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander topped Couch Side’s list of the top 10 starting pitchers in Major League Baseball. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

Editor’s note: Couch Side is very pleased to bring back its annual MLB preseason position power rankings. This year, we will offer two positions every Wednesday and Friday. Each blog ranks the top 10 players at each position and is written by some of Couch Side’s best bloggers. The following is part one of what will be a 12-part series. Enjoy!

BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com senior blogger

It’s not too hard to identify who the top starting pitchers in baseball are. High strikeout, high innings counts are the biggest factor when ranking the elite talent in the game. Taking age and past performance to account is extremely important when compiling a list, especially since pitcher health can be extremely volatile.

I’ll start off my briefly mentioning by 6-10 on this list. Names I had to leave off, but probably fit into 11-15 are CC Sabathia, Matt Cain, Yu Darvish and RA Dickey.

10. Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels (20-8, 2.81 ERA, 188 IP, 142 Ks, 3 WAR — 2012 stats) – Excellent control pitcher who generates a lot of fly ball outs.

9. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies (17-6. 3.05 ERA, 215 IP, 216 Ks, 4.5 WAR — 2012 stats) – Great veteran lefty with an even greater change up.

8. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies (6-9. 3.16 ERA, 211 IP, 207 Ks, 4.9 WAR — 2012 stats)- Don’t let 2012 record fool you, Lee still has pinpoint control.

7. David Price, Tampa Bay Rays (20-5. 2.56 ERA, 211 IP, 205 Ks, 5 WAR — 2012 stats) – Reigning AL CY Young award winner is only 27 and getting better every year.

6. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies (11-8. 4.49 ERA, 156 IP, 132 Ks, 0.7 WAR — 2012 stats) – An injury ached 2012 doesn’t erase recent dominance from a future Hall of Famer.

5. Zack Greinke, L.A. Dodgers (15-5, 3.48 ERA, 212 IP, 200 Ks, 5 WAR)

I’m willing to take some flak for this one, but I’m betting highly on Greinke’s upside to put him in my top 5. He has elite stuff, can hurl it up to 95 with a devastating change up and slow curveball. One problem with defending Greinke is that he’s had recent years of ERAs nearing 4, despite his high strikeout output (career 8 strikeouts-per-9); some of it can be explained by the stat Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP). FIP calculates ERA based solely on pitcher walks, strikeouts, and home runs allowed, without factoring things out of the pitchers control like the play of his fielders behind him. So in theory, FIP says what your ERA should be in a perfect world, even while admitting that baseball is never perfect. Here are Greinke’s ERA and FIP the past three seasons.

2010: 4.17 ERA, 3.34 FIP

2011: 3.83 ERA, 2.98 FIP

2012: 3.48 ERA, 3.10 FIP

His ERA being consistently higher than his FIP despite his ability to get strikeouts is odd. For some reason Greinke hasn’t been able to prevent blowup innings, which some might chalk up to his mental fragility. I’m not going to play this card, because Greinke received a massive contract  to pitch most of his games in Dodger Stadium, and other favorable pitchers parks in the NL West. Getting to face some weaker lineups can easily boost his numbers to the point where he’s looked at as a true elite pitcher.

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Quick Read: Jeter Calls A-Rod’s Situaion ‘Awkward’


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Derek Jeter is currently rehabbing from a fractured ankle suffered in the post season, and while opening up about his plans to start for the season opener he voiced his opinion on Arod’s questionable return.

The 37-year-old short stop and team captain was candid about his return to the team by season opener, and as reported by USA Today doesn’t view age as a determining factor in his timetable.

Jeter was also just made aware that Arod will not be joining them for spring training and stated the following

“It’s going to be weird,”

“He’s been part of this team since 2004. It’s going to be awkward.”

Jeter also said that it will not be awkward playing next to Arod’s replacement and longtime Red Sox enemy Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis has found himself caught in the crossfires of NY media after saying that he’ll forever be a Red Sock at heart.

Leave it up to Jeter for knowing just what to say. One will be hard pressed to get him to voice his opinion on the off the field matters surrounding Arod, but for now he’s standing by his teammates side and pressing forward with Youk.

Classic Jeter

Be sure to check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.

Are they really rebuilding? A review of the Miami Marlins’ offseason


New Miami Marlins manager Mike Redmond is certainly going to have his work cut out for him after Miami traded away all of its talent this offseason. Photo by: Joel Dinda / Flickr

New Miami Marlins manager Mike Redmond is certainly going to have his work cut out for him after Miami traded away all of its talent this offseason. Photo by: Joel Dinda / Flickr

BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

The Miami Marlins have been known to the let the walls fall down immediately after putting them up.

Case in point: the team’s last two World Series victories. In the first title run, it was see you later Garry Shefield, Moises Alou, Kevin Brown and Bobby Bonilla. After a second championship, Carlos Delgado, Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett were all asked to pack their bags. During both “fire sales,” Miami did change hands in ownership and looked to rebuild, watching players such as Miguel Cabrera and Dan Uggla also find new homes. As frustrated fans watched the Miami Heat go out and get the likes of LeBron James and Chris Bosh, winning an NBA championship one year after obtaining the superstars, their baseball team was back to their old ways of extreme ups and even more extreme downs.

The seats of the once sold out Sun Life Stadium were empty. The team’s faithful followers simply quit believing. Miami management used its usual solution for this reoccurring problem, though, throwing more money at the troubled franchise. So one multi-million dollar new stadium later and a fresh, new name change, gave us the Miami Marlins. A new start and a new hope was marketed to Fish fans as the front office frivolously spent its newly acquired cash to obtain highly touted free agents like Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle and Heath Bell.

With the addition of three new stars, a snazzy new stadium and a rebranded image, the Marlins had some high hopes for 2012. However, as in the past, the wheels fell off. Players under performed. Newly-hired manager Ozzie Guillen was more of a headache than a leader. The latest fire sale could be seen from miles away. The blazes began with a blockbuster trade that could easily trump the monster move of 1998 that sent Sheffield, Bonilla, Charles Johnson and Jim Eisenreich to the Dodgers for Mike Piazza (traded to the Mets just months laters) and Todd Zeile. Miami showed its former colors, shipping Reyes, Buerhle, Josh Johnson and John Buck to the Toronto Blue Jays for practically peanuts. The trade, which actually followed another deal that landed Bell in Arizona, was Miami’s white flag. They clearly weren’t going to continue down the path that saw them finish dead last in the N.L. East in 2012.  (more…)


Curt Schilling’s performance-enhancing drug accusations shot down by MLB


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Former Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Curt Schilling claimed that personnel from his previous team told him to use performance enhancing drugs for medical reasons. Photo by: greenmelinda / Flickr

Former Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Curt Schilling claimed that personnel from his previous team told him to use performance enhancing drugs for medical reasons. Photo by: greenmelinda / Flickr

Former all-star pitcher Curt Schilling’s recent claim that he was told by the Boston Red Sox to use performance-enhancing drugs (PED) has been shot down by investigators. Major League Baseball and the Red Sox organization looked into the matter and found there was no substance to it. Schilling had said that Mike Reinold, a member of the Red Sox medical team, urged the pitcher to use PEDs to help treat a shoulder injury that he suffered back in 2008.

The accusations were recently made by Schilling to Terry Francona, who was the Red Sox manager at the time, as well as Theo Epstein, who was the club’s Theo Epstein in 2008. However, the investigations proved to be fruitless. Schilling had told Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio that a member of the Red Sox medical staff suggested that he try taking the illegal substance as one way to help heal his damaged shoulder.

In later interviews, Schilling mentioned Reinold as the person who made the suggestion to him. Reinold was hired by the Red Sox in 2008 as the team’s rehabilitation coordinator. He remained with the club until leaving in 2012. (more…)


Couch Side Podcast Episode 45: Super Bowl Analysis


Couch Side co-hosts Sean Schoonover, left, and Wade McMillin dressed super for a Super Bowl special.

Couch Side co-hosts Sean Schoonover, left, and Wade McMillin dressed super for a Super Bowl special.

CLICK HERE TO START LISTENING: 


BY Couchsideshow.com staff

In this week’s episode, Couch Side co-hosts Wade McMillin and Sean Schoonover review the Super Bowl, preview the upcoming NFL offseason, debate the NFL Hall of Fame, look at baseball’s remaining free agents and honor the No. 45 in professional sports. Click below to start streaming, downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side Podcast:

•  Click here to stream the Couch Side Podcast Episode 45: Super Bowl Analysis, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to download the Couch Side Podcast Episode 45: Super Bowl Analysis, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side Podcast Episode 45: Super Bowl Analysis, via iTunes


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