Cubs Lose Jake Arrieta’s Start

The Chicago Cubs finished their series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 2nd. The Cubs won three out of the four games against the Dodgers, but failed to take advantage of a Jake Arietta start in their one loss. Arrieta went seven innings giving up no runs.

The Cubs lost the game in the last two innings. After seven innings, the game was scoreless, but two runs were scored off pitcher Clayton Richard in the eighth and three runs were scored off pitcher Adam Warren in the ninth.  The Cubs lost 5-0.

The last time the Cubs lost a game when Jake Arrieta started a game was in July of 2015. The game was officially a no-decision for Arrieta so it didn’t affect his win-loss record.

On June 5th, however, The Arizona Diamondbacks managed to put up three runs on Arrieta. The Cubs offense only managed to put up two runs in that game. The final score was 3-2, giving Arrieta his first loss in eleven months.

Best Rotation in the MLB?

As of June 4th, the five starters of the Cubs rotation all have an ERA under three. John Lackey has a 2.88 ERA, which is the best among starters. The average ERA of the five starters is 2.55, the best statistically in the MLB as of June 4th.

Hot Streak

The Cubs have won ten of their last twelve games as of June 5th. This comes after the Cubs had lost eight of twelve at one point in May. The Cubs are hitting especially well in their current stretch.

The home run ball has especially helped the Cubs. Anthony Rizzo hit one out to right field on the on June 4th and Kris Bryant has hit 400-foot home runs on consecutive days this past week. Dexter Fowler recently hit his 3rd leadoff home run.

Fowler has been especially good against opposing fastballs. According to an infographic posted on Inside Edge’s twitter account, Fowler has a .405 batting average when a fastball is thrown to him. Five of his home runs have also come off fastballs.

Looking for Relievers?

According an article published by ESPN’s MLB Rumor Central, the Cubs are possibly looking for a lefty reliever on the trade market. The news come in the wake of Clayton Richard’s struggles. Richard has an 8.00 ERA in sixteen appearances as of June 3rd.

The article specifically mentions Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller of the New York Yankees as trade targets for the Cubs. The Cubs have recently done business with the Yankees, trading Starlin Castro this past winter. The Cubs got Adam Warren in return, who has a 2.75 ERA as of June 5th.

Will the Yankees will be willing to trade one of their relievers? It is not guaranteed. The Yankees are currently six games back of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East, but could improve their standing as the summer goes on. It is too early in the year for the Yankees to give up hope on the postseason.

Chicago Cubs Pull Out of Recent Slump

 

The Chicago Cubs have won three straight games as of May 27th. The Cubs beat their NL Central rivals the St. Louis Cardinals in the last two games of that series and won the series opener of against the Philadelphia Phillies on the 27th.

In their series opening win against the Phillies, the Cubs rested Anthony Rizzo and put Kris Bryant in his spot at first base. It was an unusual sight, as Bryant usually plays third base. This is the first time all season that Anthony Rizzo has not played a game for the Cubs.

The Cubs were also beneficiaries of well-timed home runs. Jorge Soler hit a 461-foot bomb that bounced off the Cubs Video Board in left field during the 4th inning. David Ross also hit a home run in the fourth inning. The home run hit by Ross was his 100th career homer.

Also helping the Cubs in their last few games was the return of outfielder Jason Heyward. He was injured during the series against the San Francisco Giants. He was only out for a few days and managed to return in time to play the Cardinals, his former team.

Prior to their current win streak, the Cubs had lost eight of their last twelve games. In that stretch, the Cubs lost games to teams that rank in the bottom half of the league. The Cubs dropped two games to the San Diego Padres and two games to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Despite that rough patch, the Cubs are still listed first in the weekly ESPN power rankings. The Cubs also still have the best record in the MLB. Every team has its slumps and the Cubs seem to have pulled out of theirs.

Going Forward

After their series with the Phillies, the Cubs will start the month of June at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers are 25-24 as of May 27th. After that, the Cubs will host the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 3rd before traveling on Philadelphia to play the Phillies again on June 6th.

The Cubs a very favorable stretch of games coming up in the next week and a half. The Dodgers are their most difficult opponents and the Cubs will play at home until June 6th.  The Cubs should be able to take most of their games in that stretch.

Starting June 13th, however, the competition heats up. The Cubs travel to Washington D.C. to play the Nationals and then come home to play the Pittsburg Pirates on June 17th and the St. Louis Cardinals on June 20th.

The Cubs have a 4.5 game lead over the Pirates after their series opening win against the Phillies on May 27th. Prior to their slump, the Cubs had an even bigger lead in the NL Central. Depending on how the Cubs do over the next few series, the division could have a new leader by the time the Pirates and Cubs meet.

The Pirates are no joke and despite the recent dominance the Cubs have had over them, it is still early in the season. Anyone could come out on top of the division. No one expects the Cubs to tank, not with all the talent they have on their roster, but it is still possible.

 

 

 

Zack Greinke’s Early Struggles With the Diamondbacks

The transition from Los Angeles to Arizona hasn’t been so smooth for Zack Greinke.

The Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher has had two rough outings to start the year. Considered the team’s crown jewel of the offseason, Greinke was expected to do big things in Arizona this season. Last year while with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he had the best year of his career. In 32 starts, Greinke went 19-3 and posted an ERA of 1.66, the lowest in all of baseball. He finished second in the NL Cy Young Award voting behind Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs. This past offseason, he left LA and signed a six-year, $206.5 million contract with the Diamondbacks. So far however, things haven’t worked out so well for Greinke.

Greinke started for the Diamondbacks last Monday on Opening Day against the Colorado Rockies. He looked good during the first two innings, but the Rockies were able to get to him in the top of the third. They scored six runs off of him in that inning, which included home runs by Trevor Story and Carlos Gonzalez. Story took Greinke deep again in the next inning, extending Colorado’s lead to 7-1. The fourth inning would be Greinke’s last, as manager Chip Hale decided it was time to go to the bullpen. In total, he allowed seven earned runs on nine hits, while recording only two strikeouts. The Rockies went on to win the game 10-5.  Needless to say, it was a start that Greinke would love to forget.

Unfortunately, he could not put that awful first start behind him. On Saturday night, he pitched against the Cubs. It was another home game, but that didn’t really help Greinke. He didn’t pitch nearly as badly as he did against the Rockies. However, he still allowed four earned runs on seven hits over six innings. On the bright side, he did have eight strikeouts in the game. The Cubs were able to rattle Greinke early, as they scored three of their four runs in the top of the first inning. They added one more in the fourth inning on a Ben Zobrist RBI double. Chicago won the game 4-2, dropping Greinke’s record to 0-2.

This past week, the Diamondbacks played a three-game series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. Greinke did not pitch in any of the games against his former team. Tuesday afternoon was actually the Dodgers’ home opener. Dodger fans did not boo Greinke, as he was not introduced considering he wasn’t part of the starting lineup that day. Because the Diamondbacks and Dodgers are in the same division, he’ll definitely get plenty of chances to face his old team this season.

Greinke will try and earn his first win of the season tonight when he faces the Padres in San Diego. The Padres are 3-7 and have gotten off to a very rough start offensively. Even though it’s a road start, this might be just what Greinke needs. He’ll be facing a struggling offense. We’ll see if he can bounce back tonight. If not, there could be a cause for concern.

An Amazing “Story”

If you are an MLB fan and you have not heard about Colorado Rockies short stop Trevor Story yet, I’ll assume you have been on a camping trip this week with no connection to the outside world whatsoever.

Story leads the majors thus far in home runs with an incredible total of six, and has accomplished something that no other player in the history of the game has done.  Earlier this week, Story became the only MLB player to hit at least one home run in each of his first three (now four) career games, and is the first player since Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis in 2013, to homer in his first four games of the season per ESPN’s David Schoenfield.

This incredible feat began when the young short stop slapped a pair of home runs in his MLB debut with Colorado, in the Rockies opening series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, off pitcher Zack Greinke. Story continued his long-ball streak by blasting a homer each off of D-Backs pitchers Shelby Miller and Patrick Corbin.

 

 

(Clip of Trevor Story’s first two career home runs in his MLB debut. Video is Courtesy of MLB.com’s YouTube Account)

 

 

By all accounts, that would have been more than enough for most rookies, but Story isn’t done yet.

The Rockies celebrated Opening Day at hitter friendly Coors Field this afternoon (April 8th) taking on the San Diego Padres, who were coming off a forgettable, yet historical opening series shutout at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

And wouldn’t you know it, Story sent San Diego pitcher Colin Rea’s first offer packing in the bottom of the fourth inning, and homered again off of one of the Padres relief pitchers, Ryan Buchter, in the bottom of the ninth inning for his fifth and sixth home run of the year. Rewriting the record books a second time in the same week.

Story will have a chance to make it an unbelievable five consecutive games in a row tomorrow evening. The Rockies are scheduled to play their second contest of a three game series against San Diego at 8:10 p.m. EST. Drew Pomeranz is listed as the probable pitcher for the Padres.

 

Final Thoughts:

Eventually, possibly as early as tomorrow night’s game, Story’s home run streak will come to an end. Nevertheless, this has certainly been fun to watch and no doubt has Story on everyone’s early Rookie of the Year Award list (which reminds me, I should probably update mine).

Colorado fans were undoubtedly worried at the beginning of this season concerning the short stop position. What with last seasons drama-filled departure of Troy Tulowitzki to the Toronto Blue Jays, which brought over Jose Reyes as his replacement, and Reyes currently in the midst of a court case regarding a domestic violence incident that occurred earlier this year (though reports indicate the case may soon be settled).

Story has restored a little faith to the fans thus far, and is making one helluva case for coaches to keep himself playing above Reyes, if and when Reyes returns to the team this season.

Schwarber Out For The Season

According to both Yahoo Sports and MLB.com, Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber has torn his ACL and LCL in his left knee, ending his 2016 season.

The injury occurred during an outfield collision Thursday night between Schawrber and Dexter Fowler, as both were chasing down a deep fly ball hit to left/center by Arizona Diamondbacks short stop Jean Segura in the bottom of the second inning. Schwarber’s left leg became entangled with Fowler, while Segura sped around the bases and was credited with an inside-the-park home run.

Worried Cubs fans looked on as Schwarber laid stomach down out on the warning track, as skipper Joe Maddon, numerous teammates, and the medical staff rushed out to aid the young slugger. Per MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat, Schwarber was able to get to his feet with the help of athletic trainers PJ Mainville and Ed Halbur, and was taken out via stretcher shortly after.

It goes without saying but the loss of Schwarber is a significant blow for Chicago. The 23-year-old provided home run power at the plate and could also play behind it as well, with his primary position being catcher. The Cubs chose to start Schwarber in left this year to ensure his bat would be a part of an already potent lineup.

In just 69 games last season, Schwarber produced a respectable .246/.355/.487 slash line with 16 home runs and 43 RBI.

With Schwarber now indefinitely sidelined, Chicago will likely use a platoon in left consisting of Jorge Soler, Matt Szczur, and possibly rotate in third baseman Kris Bryant on occasion (Bryant had a short stint last season in the outfield, before locking down the hot corner).

The Cubs have also reportedly brought up Triple-A prospect Munenori Kawasaki to fill his slot on the 40 man roster.

 

 

 

 

 

Can Arizona Make The Playoffs?

The only thing that might get hotter than the Mojave desert this summer in Arizona, is the Diamondbacks. There’s no denying the D-Backs sent a shockwave through the National League West when they signed free agent starting pitcher Zack Greinke, formerly with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After inking the veteran to a multi-year mega deal, the Diamondbacks didn’t stop there. Arizona went on to trade for ex Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Shelby Miller, as well as former all-star and Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Jean Segura. Combine those moves with their recent signing of relief pitcher Tyler Clippard (formerly with the New York Mets) and you get a revamped roster that’s ready to compete in 2016.

So, as the title of this post asks, are the D-Backs in a position to make a push for the post-season?

Before I address that question, I’ll recap where Arizona was last year, and what lies ahead in 2016. Like the saying goes, “You can’t know where your going, until you know where you’ve been.”

 

 

(Picture Courtesy of FOX Sports)

(Picture Courtesy of FOX Sports)

 

Recoiling to Strike Back

 

Arizona ended last season at third place in the NL west, failing to reach the .500 mark with a record of 79-83.  Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers, helped in part by Greinke’s 19-3 pitching record, won the division with a record of 92-70.

Despite finishing 2015 behind both the Dodgers  and the San Francisco Giants (who did some fine off-season work themselves), the Diamondbacks managed to finish in the top 10 or higher in nearly every team batting statistic (aside from ranking 14th in the majors for home runs).

Pitching ultimately kept Arizona from placing higher in the standings, as they ranked towards the middle to bottom half of the MLB in each category.

Hence the desire to grab Greinke, trade for Miller, and solidify the bullpen with Clippard. Given the probable rotation of Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller, Patrick Corbin, Rubby De La Rosa, and Robbie Ray, Arizona should likely see those pitching numbers improve this season.

Meanwhile, the addition of SS Jean Segura (25 steals in 2015) should add to last years success of stolen bases by Arizona. The D-backs finished 2015 second only to the Cincinnati Reds (134) in total team steals with 132. Outfielder A.J. Pollock (who recently avoided arbitration with Arizona) led the team in 2015 with 39 steals.

I believe with an improved pitching staff, new role players, and perhaps some luck, the Diamondbacks can make the playoffs this year. However, Arizona’s path to the post-season will not be an easy one. Lets examine what could keep them from playing further into October.

 

(Photo Credit to Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

(Photo Credit to Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Potential Road Blocks

 

When searching for reasons why Arizona would not make the playoffs this year, look no further than last years NL West champs. The Dodgers, in my opinion, will be one of the key reasons the Diamondbacks do or don’t make the playoffs.

For those wondering if I’ve forgotten how the Giants will affect Arizona’s chances, I have San Francisco reclaiming the NL West title this year (as I feel they can win 95-97 games).

Meaning one playoff spot will already be taken if the Giants do in-fact win the division. So, presumably that leaves second place in the West and one of two wild card spots up for grabs between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. So, unless Arizona can capitalize on their divisional games against LA this season, their chances of being in the playoff hunt come September will be slim.

Another wall that could stand in Arizona’s way, is the number of playoff teams from last year appearing on this years schedule. Of the 10 teams that made the post-season in 2015, eight of them are on the D-Backs regular season schedule.

(Picture Courtesy of MLB.com)

(Picture Courtesy of MLB.com)

With multiple series against the Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, and interleague play with the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, and Toronto Blue Jays before the All-Star break in July, Arizona could struggle to be above .500 early in the year. This leads to one last, and probably the biggest, speed bump.

To sneak into the playoffs, these desert snakes will need to win between 92-94 games this season (a 12-15 win improvement from last year). Why 92-94 wins? The 2015 MLB Playoffs featured three National League Central teams that won 97 or more games (Cubs-97, Pirates-98, Cardinals-100), with the Dodgers (92) and the Mets (90) rounding out the rest of the playoff field.

Considering most of those teams from the 2015 playoffs look primed to put up similar 2016 win-loss records, Arizona will have to get 92-94 wins in order to be in the playoff picture for 2016.

Final Thought:

If Paul Goldschmidt and the offense has another top ten overall finish, Greinke & Co. can total 60 wins from combined pitching records, plus say 25-30 saves from the bullpen, a 92+ win season doesn’t seem impossible for the Diamondbacks in 2016.

Where Ian Desmond Could End Up

One of the top free-agents that is currently still on the market is Ian Desmond. The 30-year old right-handed hitting shortstop has put up good offensive numbers in his career while playing for the Washington Nationals. However, he didn’t have his best season last year. This is part of the reason that he still remains unsigned.

A three-time Silver Slugger Award winner and one-time All-Star, Desmond is a career .264 hitter. He’s always been a power threat, hitting 20 or more home runs in a season three times over the course his career. Desmond’s best season so far came in 2o12 when he batted .292 and hit 25 home runs while driving in 73 runs. He collected 80 RBIs the following season and 91 in 2014. Unfortunately, 2015 was not such a good year as he only hit .233, a career low. To make matters worse, he also committed 27 errors at shortstop. This disastrous season is the main reason for Desmond’s stock plummeting.

With Alexi Ramirez and Asdrubal Cabrera both off the board, Desmond is the best remaining free-agent shortstop. There aren’t too many teams currently looking for someone at that position right now, although there is some interest in Desmond as a second baseman. He’s never played the position before in the MLB, but the transition probably wouldn’t be too difficult. Second base is actually an easier position to play. He might even play better defensively there.

The St. Louis Cardinals have reportedly expressed interest in Desmond. According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, their starting shortstop Jhonny Peralta has spoken to team officials about playing different positions in the future. He could potentially be moved to the outfield. If the Cardinals did end up signing Desmond, he would most likely play shortstop and serve as a backup second baseman to Kolten Wong. That is, if Peralta is willing to try another position right away. The Cardinals have always valued depth at all positions. Adding Desmond would definitely help add depth in the middle of the infield.

The Tampa Bay Rays are also apparently interested in Desmond. Right now, Brad Miller is the team’s starting shortstop. He was traded from the Seattle Mariners to the Rays back in November. Miller is a young player and the Rays reportedly think he could be the starting shortstop of the future. This combined with the fact they’d lose a draft pick by signing Desmond means that it’s unlikely that the Rays really pursue him. Also, the money he’s going to want is probably more than they’re willing to spend.

The Arizona Diamondbacks could potentially land Desmond. This is a team that would probably play him at second base as opposed to shortstop. It’s been reported that Arizona is looking to upgrade at that position. Chris Owings is their starting second baseman as of right now. Desmond would certainly be an upgrade over him. The Diamondbacks have dramatically improved their starting pitching this offseason, and are expected to to compete for a division title in 2016. Adding Desmond would help improve their offense and cap off a very good offseason.

A return to Washington seems very unlikely at this point. Desmond turned down the Nationals’ one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer. He figured he’d make more money somewhere else. This seems very improbable, especially considering where we’re at in the offseason. The best thing Desmond can do is sign with a team as quickly as possible, whether that team be the Cardinals, Rays, Diamondbacks, or someone else. The sooner, the better.

Diamondbacks Solidify Rotation With Acquisition of Shelby Miller

 

A week ago, no one was talking about them. Now, the Arizona Diamondbacks suddenly have one of the best starting rotations in the MLB.

The Diamondbacks acquired pitcher Shelby Miller from the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday. This trade came four days after the team shocked everyone by signing Zack Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million contract. Clearly, general manager Dave Stewart felt that he needed to improve his team’s starting rotation this offseason.

Miller didn’t exactly come without a high cost. The Diamondbacks had to give up their top prospect, shortstop Dansby Swanson. Arizona drafted Swanson with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft. The team also sent outfielder Ender Inciarte and pitching prospect Aaron Blair to Atlanta in the deal.

The Braves had just recently parted ways with two-time Gold Glove Award winning shortstop Andrelton Simmons. They traded him to the Los Angeles Angels back on November 12. The 21-year-old  Swanson gives them a very talented young shortstop. Atlanta is a team that is in the process of rebuilding, so giving up Miller for a top prospect was a smart move by them.

For the Diamondbacks, acquiring Miller demonstrates that they’re ready to go for it now. They now have Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller at the top of their rotation. It’s no secret that Greinke was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball last season. The three-time All-Star went 19-3 with an ERA of 1.66 for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015. Miller posted a 6-17 record for the Braves last year, but his record didn’t reflect how he actually pitched. His ERA was 3.02 and he threw two complete-game shutouts. He was also named an All-Star for the first time in his career. A lack of run support explains why his record was so bad. The Diamondbacks clearly feel as though Miller is a top pitcher. They wouldn’t have given up the players that they had they not thought so.

Part of the reason the Diamondbacks were willing to give up a good hitting prospect in Swanson for Miller was because they actually had a pretty good offense last year. Led by slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, they were third in the National League in batting average and on-base percentage. The problem for them was pitching. Arizona pitchers had a team ERA of 4.04 in 2015. The starting rotation alone had a 4.37 ERA, which was fifth-worst in the NL. By signing Greinke and acquiring Miller, they’ve significantly improved their rotation. Now there will be less pressure on young southpaw Patrick Corbin. He missed all of the 2014 season due to recovery from Tommy John surgery. Corbin came back in the middle of last year and should be ready to pitch a full season in 2016. Rubby De La Rosa and Robbie Ray will most likely be the fourth and fifth starters in this solid rotation.

After dramatically improving their pitching rotation, the Diamondbacks should compete for a division title in 2016. They have a good offense and now have a pretty solid starting rotation. They’ll now be able to compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in the NL West. It’ll be a very interesting division next year.

The Wild Wild West: The NL West is Having One Crazy Offseason

The MLB winter meetings kicked off monday in Nashville, and the teams in the NL west did not waste any time wheeling and dealing, with tons of newsworthy deal made by these teams, and they probably were not the last.

It all started with Zack Greinke. Greinke had a career year in 2015, finishing with a 1.66 ERA and a 19-3 record. Greinke knew that he was going to have a good payday this offseason, and for all intents and purposes it seemed like he was going to go back to the Dodgers. Dodgers Minority owner Magic Johnson said that re-signing Greinke was the Dodgers “number one priority.”  But the Diamondbacks shocked the baseball world with their eleventh hour push and signed Greinke for a six year-$206 million dollar megadeal . The Diamondbacks were considered the longest of long shots by many, as it was reported that the Diamondbacks offered Johnny Cueto a six year-$160 million deal that he turned down.

The Dodgers have responded with some moves of their own this offseason. They started off by penning Dave Roberts as their new manager, and they also made some key personal decisions. They resigned second baseman Chase Utley and catcher A.J Ellis to respective one year deals, and pitcher Brett Anderson accepted his $15.8 million qualifying offer . They also went out and got some pitching talent, as they signed free agent pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, and then thought that they had Aroldis Chapman.

And for all intents and purposes, the Dodgers did have Chapman. Apparently both the Dodgers and Reds had worked out a deal for Chapman, but then the trade was held up once word of a domestic violence incident involving Chapman got out. Chapman allegedly fired eight shots in his Miami-area home during an argument with his girlfriend, and then choked her. This obviously is a problem that is bigger than Baseball, and the Commissioner office needs to take a good hard look at the situation, and see if these accusations against Chapman are true, and if they are, they need to punish him accordingly.

(John Minchillo, AP Photo)

(John Minchillo, AP Photo)

Iwakuma was not the only pitcher who was brought onto an NL West team. The Giants shored up their pitching rotation by signing Jeff Samardzija to a five year-$90 deal . Samardzija had a down year last year, finishing with an 11-13 record and a 1.96 E.R.A. But the Giants are betting on the fact that he will replicate his 2014 campaign, where he finished with a 7-9 record but a stellar 2.99 E.R.A. The Giants also resigned Brandon Crawford to a six year-$75 million deal to compliment their young core of Crawford, Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, and Joe Panik.

(Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY)

(Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY)

The Padres are having a relatively quiet offseason this year, compared to the absolute fire sale that they had last season. They dealt Craig Kimbrel to the Red Sox for a package of four prospects that could prove to a win-win trade for both teams. They also sent reliever Marc Rzepczynski and 1B Yonder Alonso to Oakland. They could also end up dealing Matt Kemp by the time that the offseason is said and done.

The Rockies have had a quiet offseason as well, but are “open minded” to dealing away outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon.

Now the Diamondbacks have really made their push for the NL West crown. The Diamondbacks already have baseballs most underrated star in Paul Goldschmidt, and  compliment him with a very good core of A.J Pollock, Aaron Hill, and Chris Owings.

Last year the Diamondbacks were an ace away from contending for the NL West crown. They have killed two birds with one stone this offseason, as they added one of the best pitchers in baseball,and took him away from the Dodgers. It’s going to be another interesting ride on the West Coast this year, and the baseball world can not wait.

 

Future Homes For Potential Trade Players

(Associated Press)

Cole Hammels

With $70.5 Mil still left on his contract with a 2019 $20 Mil Team Option, $24 Mil Vesting Option, and this interesting clause; $6 Mil Buyout Vests if he, 1) has 400 IP in 2017-18, including 200 IP in 2018, and 2) is not on the disabled list with a shoulder or elbow injury at the end of the 2018 season. Philly will have to absorb some of it, but they really can’t keep paying him this kind of money when they keep finding themselves in the basement of the N.L.

I think he would fit best in with Houston or Baltimore. Houston has one of the smallest salaries in the MLB, so it wouldn’t be a shock if they took on half of his contract with Philly and moved some of the young talent they have in their farm to make a really strong playoff push. Baltimore lacks a true Ace in their rotation, so Hammels could come in take on the same responsibilities he had in Philly if he were to come to Baltimore. They also have a comfortable cushion in their salary to take on some of Hammels contract and could hold him for the rest of his contract.

Potential Home:  New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Angeles, Baltimore Orioles.

Justin Upton

The lone offensive Padre All Star is playing to his usual numbers, despite playing in a pitcher friendly ball park. It’s bizarre to comprehend that he wasn’t an all star for either year he was in Atlanta, but when he came to San Diego, and the team started losing, the one thing that stood out was Upton; and he finally got paid out for his success this year because of his surroundings.

I could see Upton playing in a Minnesota,  Houston, New York(Mets or Yankees), or Washington uniform. Minnesota and Washington could use Uptons bat and have room to put him in the outfield. Minnesota could rotate him with Torii Hunter between DH and OF to get the most from both. Houston could use his bat and with Springer on the DL, he could start helping now, and until Springers return they could ease him back with some time in the DH role, and allow Upton to see some of the field.

Potential Home: New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals, New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays.

Johnny Cueto

The sterling ace for the Reds will be a free agent next year, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Cueto help another team for the return of some promising future players. Johnny has been nothing but a true professional for Cincinnati and will be dealt in a professional manor. A real All Star snub this year, the 29 year old Dominican could be the biggest pitcher on the trading block.

His name is rumored with the Yankees right now, he is having another great year, not quite like last year where he was 2nd in the N.L. Cy Young and could have made a strong case to start last years All Star game instead of Kershaw. It looks likely he will go to an A.L. East team, Toronto really needs an arm to make a push for the post season as does Baltimore. Yankee scouts have already been spotted at Reds games, so it could be just a matter of time.

Potential Home: New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs.

 

Mike Leake

A solid arm that can win in any league, on any team, anytime. The 8th overall pick from Cincinnati in 2009 draft, Leake has been improving yearly, posting an ERA of under 4 for the last 3 seasons now. He will be a Free Agent next year, and could be involved in the same trade as Cueto, the return would be greater in a combined package and would be less work for Cincinnati to move both in one motion. Perhaps a three team trade could be in the works.

Tampa Bay is the type of team that would take on Leake in a trade and would sign him after the season, Tampa is an organization that likes to work big with little. Leake would fit into Tampa really well, he would have a guaranteed spot in the rotation and could help them win today. The A.L. East is up for anyone(except Boston), and the one thing Tampa Bay does well is win on the road, and that fits really well with Leake, as he is 4-2, 2.57 ERA, 0.89 WHIP on the road this year.

Potential Home:  Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City, Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs.

 

Gerardo Parra

The recent trade product of Arizona is becoming more likely to be moved again this year. He has a smoking hot bat this year (.313/ .348/ .500 9 HR, 30 RBI) and Milwaukee is so far in the toilet already they really have no benefit to holding the upcoming free agent unless they want to hold onto him for the future. I imagine the offers are going to outweigh the thought of keeping Parra.

A lot of teams are in the market for a well hitting outfielder. The Yankees could benefit a lot from having Parra platooning with all of the outfielders, given their history of poor health, Parra would be a huge asset for them. I could also see St. Louis taking a swing at acquiring the 28 year old left handed Venezuelan, they could use a nice complimentary bat to go with Randal Grichuk in the outfield.

Potential Home: New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, San Francisco, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, New York Mets.

 

Zach McAllister

Cleveland isn’t having the season they or anyone else thought would happen. McAllister is arbitration eligible after this season, and is only making half a million, but has been really good this year, since moving to the bullpen in April, McAllister has posted a 2.19 ERA,  1.08 WHIP, 50 Strike Outs over 37 innings, batters are only hitting .212, and only has allowed 2 home runs. He can be a starter, but has been very special coming out of the bullpen this year.

Some teams are going to be willing to add him to the starting rotation, but some teams don’t want to mess with success. I could see either LA teams acquiring the 3rd round 2006 pick for some more stability in the bullpen and the possibility of starting or long relief. They all could use a boost in the starting rotation and the bullpen. Dodgers are without Ryu for the remainder of the season, their bullpen has a 3.73 ERA with a  1.27 WHIP. While the Angels bullpen have a better ERA than the starting rotation(3.43/3.56) they could still use the talented arm of McAllister, either from the pen or improving the rotation.

Potential Home: San Francisco Giants, Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles.