Are the San Francisco Giants Tanking Their 2020 Season In Hopes of Landing Trevor Lawrence In The 2021 Draft?

A few weeks ago I tweeted the following question:

Initially I asked this in a joking manner. Obviously there is nothing serious about this. Trevor Lawrence plays football – he doesn’t play baseball.

I did not receive a response. Was it because my 19 followers were busy at work – unable to engage? Was this simply too abstract of an idea for people to pay attention to?

The more likely thought is that I uncovered the secret plans of Farhan Zaidi and the San Francisco Giants front office.

It is no secret that the Giants are re-building their minor league system and hoping to acquire assets. They recently traded for a washed-up Zach Cosart and his $12M salary just to get a prospect. They then released Cosart – willing to pay him $12M in 2020 to not play baseball for the club.

Go with me here. Farhan is looking to acquire talent and value – no matter the cost. Is there a more valuable asset than the #1 pick in the 2021 NFL draft? I believe there is a scenario where the Giants and Zaidi could be willing to take on a bad NFL contract in exchange for the #1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. The Lions are a good fit here. They have Matthew Stafford with a $135M contract through 2023. Would the Giants be willing to trade a PTBNL for Stafford and their #1 pick in 2021?

The next step is analyzing the value of Trevor Lawrence. He has to be the most valuable draft asset since… Greg Oden? Andrew Luck? Herschel Walker? Mario Williams?

Is there a world where the Giants can obtain the draft rights for Trevor Lawrence, and flip him for assets? Probably not. However – this organization is now known for their out of the box thinking – I’m just trying to keep up with Farhan.

– Buzz

Do The Giants Have The Worst Lineup In All Of Baseball?

*Kevin Pillar is not a member of the 2020 San Francisco Giants – This is a recycled image from an old article.

On January 30th, Bradford Doolittle wrote an article for ESPN+ ranking the best MLB lineups. I opened the link and scrolled all the way down to the bottom – anticipating the Giants to be the last team on the list. I was surprised to see they were in fact not the worst lineup in baseball…only the 5th worst. Here is a screenshot of how the Giants are ranked:

Obviously, things have changed since January 30th. The Giants made a few additions since then – Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval, and Billy Hamilton. Not that any of those additions truly impact this roster.

I decided to take a look at the other bottom feeder rosters – would I prefer to have any of the lineups from teams ranked below the Giants? Long story short, yes I would.

The Royals come in just below the Giants – but honestly…are they worse? At the top of the lineup they have Whit Merrifield, one of the best hitters in baseball. He is followed by speedy Adalberto and a big hoss in Hunter Dozier. Jorge Soler and Salvy Perez are joined in the middle of the lineup by Alex Gordon. They have Maikel Franco in the eighth spot – who hit 17 HR last year, good enough for 4th on the 2019 Giants.

This one is easy. I would take Blackmon, Dahl, Arenado, Story, and Murphy in a heartbeat.

Yikes, this one is gross. OK so I finally found one lineup worse than the Giants.

I somehow found myself at two Orioles games last summer – some of these boys can hit. Alberto, Mancini, Santander and Nunez put up solid ABs. Hell, Wilkerson can even throw and inning or two. With that being said, I’d still rather watch the Giants hit than see the bottom half of this lineup.

Wrap-Up

The Giants lineup is gross, but not the grossest in baseball. There are clearly two teams below them – the Orioles, and Tigers. I can safely say that the Giants have one of the top 28 lineups in all of baseball.

– Buzz

WHAT ARE THE GIANTS DOING!? WHY DID WE SIGN HUNTER PENCE!?

I have no idea what is going on with this ball club. From a baseball and organizational perspective I have no clue how this can benefit the franchise. I understand that Pence was a great player and clubhouse guy – but it is time to move on from the ’10, ’12, and ’14 seasons. If we are going into full re-build mode then it doesn’t make any sense for us to sign a 36 year old outfielder. Even if he is brought in at the league minimum salary – he is taking ABs away from our future outfielders.

The Dodgers – who already had better outfielders across the board – went out and got Mookie Betts. We brought back Hunter Pence.

– Buzz.

New Balance Is Releasing The Coolest Baseball Cleats And Flops

I was getting reading for work today and scrolling Twitter, like I usually do while I eat breakfast. I came across the following tweet from Darren Rovell:

My first reaction was “Wow, those are awesome.” I just think this is really cool – I don’t have anything snarky or witty to say about this. Gimmicky cheesy stuff like this is one of the many reasons why I love baseball.

These are a must buy for me – as some of you know, I’m a big time gear guy. As a semi professional independent league baseball player I try to have the best swag. Most of the time I am rocking un-matching cleats that I snag at Ross or Burlington Coat Factory.

I may finally have to buy a pair at full retail price.

– Buzz

Do Not Worry Giants Fans: Chris Shaw Likes Gabe Kapler

This has been a tough offseason to be a fan of the San Francisco Giants. Bruce Bochy retired. We lost Madison Bumgarner to the Diamondbacks. Our front office has not made a single significant addition to the major league roster.

Today – the tweet above came across my timeline. Chris Shaw, a forever prospect for the Giants organization, is excited about the direction the organization is heading under Gabe Kapler.

Why is Chris Shaw meeting with Gabe Kapler? The 26 year old outfielder was 1/18 last year and is 11/72 on his career. There is no world where Chris Shaw should be in Gabe Kapler’s plans.

*Screenshot from sfgiants.com

The depth chart above is what we are currently looking at to start the season. This is not a competitive roster.

Don’t worry though, Chris Shaw likes our direction.

– Buzz

2020 UPDATE: Kevin Love And Klay Thompson Ruined My Little League Dreams But Who Is The Better Baseball Player Now?

This is Part 2 in a series of how I am a better baseball player than NBA All-Stars Kevin Love and Klay Thompson. Click below for Part 1 in this series:

Kevin Love And Klay Thompson Ruined My Little League Dreams But Who Is The Better Baseball Player Now?

We are now almost 19 years removed from the game that propelled Kevin Love and Klay Thompson toward NBA stardom – and me to an award winning career as an elementary school teacher.

Of course, I am talking about the District 4 Little League All-Star Championship game between Lake Oswego and Murrayhill in 2001.

The gloves are off at this point. Kevin and Klay have had about a year to respond now, and still nothing. Only crickets. KLAY YOU WERE A NON-FACTOR IN LITTLE LEAGUE DUDE.

The 2019 calendar year has come and gone – providing another opportunity for all three players (Kevin, Klay and myself) to further their baseball careers. So where do we stand – from a purely statistical perspective?

Baseball Statistical Breakdown

The last time we looked at this there was a clear winner – Player 1 dominated every statistical category from 2009-2011 and 2017-2018. Were things similar in 2019?

2019 Season

Across the board Player 1 (me) continued to prove that they are the better athlete and ballplayer through the 2019 season – competing in an incredibly prestigious independent baseball league. Player 2 (Kevin) and Player 3 (Klay) did not even attempt to improve their game – although they do get credit for their consistency.

I hate to toot my own horn – but Kevin and Klay, I’m better than you guys at baseball.

– Buzz

MLB Playoffs 2019: The Definitive Prediction Special Edition Exclusive

Playoff baseball starts tomorrow. The last few months of the season have been quite a lull for me. Following my roadtrip – the Giants stopped playing competitive baseball and fell out of contention. The organization has been milking the Bochy retirement for all it is worth – and now our season is over.

Just because the Giants season is over does not mean that baseball is done. We have finally made it to the playoffs. The time of the year when we get to see the best teams square off. Also, the time of the year when Mike Trout starts his vacation – because he is never in the playoffs. If he was really that good, wouldn’t the Angels be perennial contenders? That is a post for another day.

Here we go – my thoughts on each series, and who I think will win the 2019 World Series.

Wildcard Round

Brewers @ Nationals

We have Brandon Woodruff facing Max Scherzer on the mound. I am not sure if I really need to write more about this. Scherzer is one of the best pitchers in the game, who else would you rather have on the mound in a win or go home situation? (Madison Bumgarner/Justin Verlander)

Nats win.

Rays @ Athletics

This is an interesting game. These are two teams I pull for year in and year out. Small budget teams able to put together consistent playoff seasons. It is really too bad that they are playing in a wildcard game. I think that playing in Oakland will be a huge advantage in this one. The fans will be electric. Marcus Semien is also one of the most underrated players in the game.

Athletics win.

Division Series

Twins @ Yankees

Two teams that hit over 300 homeruns! Can either team pitch though? The Twins are 0-5 in the playoffs against the Yankees. I think this is the year they end that streak.

Twins in 5.

Cardinals @ Braves

This is the most interesting series for me. I love both of these offenses. I think that the Cardinals have greatly underachieved this year – they have a solid mix of veteran and young bats throughout their lineup. I have been waiting for Goldschmidt to go off this season – I think that him and DeJong have a great series. The Braves have a similar mix of their own on offense, and are even more explosive with Freeman, Acuña, and Donaldson. The difference in this series is going to be the pitching – something tells me that the young arms for the Cardinals will show up – especially with Yadi behind the plate.

Cardinals in 4.

Athletics @ Astros

The Astros should sweep the Athletics. I do not see the A’s being able to take down Verlander, Cole or Greinke. Especially after burning their own ace in the Wildcard round.

Astros in 3.

Nationals @ Dodgers

The Dodgers have the experience, the pitching, the bats, the everything. The Nationals never live up to their ridiculous expectations. I give the edge to the Dodgers, especially with Scherzer not throwing game 1 for the Nats.

Dodgers in 4.

Championship Series

Twins @ Astros

The Astros are a complete baseball team, the Twins are still a few years away. The Twins will come back to earth after a big series win over the Yankees, The Astros will keep chugging along on their way to the World Series.

Astros in 5.

Cardinals @ Dodgers

The Dodgers have a better offense and a better pitching staff. I think the trio of Kershaw, Ryu, and Buehler will be hard to get past. The Cardinals are relying on a couple of young arms that are not quite experienced enough to get them over the hump.

Dodgers in 5.

World Series

Dodgers @ Astros

Oh man. A rematch of the 2017 World Series. The Dodgers will be returning for their third straight appearance, and playing to win their first title since 1988. So will this year be any different than the last two years?

Yes. I think this is where the Dodgers get over the hump. Why? They have to. This is their chance to avoid being Baseball’s Buffalo Bills. Clayton Kershaw will have an electric series and finally put to bed all of his questionable appearances in the postseason.

Dodgers in 6.

Wrap Up

For entertainment purposes – I truly hope I am wrong with my predictions. I would love a Rays vs Brewers World Series, or Braves vs Athletics World Series. I am rooting for new story lines to come out of the playoffs this year and for new stars to be born.

Who do you think will end their 2019 season in a parade?

– Buzz

Baseball In Japan: Getting To Know NPB

I have always been interested in baseball in Japan. Ever since I saw Mr. Baseball when I was younger, I wondered what the league was like – and how it worked. Do all American ballplayers get to sleep with the manager’s daughter, or just Tom Selleck?

I decided to dive in – deeply – to NPB.

My first step was to buy the video game Pro Yakyuu Spirits 2019 for PS4. The game is entirely in Japanese. I speak zero Japanese.

Here is what I have gathered so far:

  • There are 12 teams.
  • There are two divisions – The Central League and The Pacific League.
  • The Pacific League allows a DH, The Central League does not.
  • Each team is allowed to carry up to 4 foreign players on their roster.
  • Extra innings only go until the 12th inning, then game ends in a tie.
  • All teams have a primary sponsor.

League Formation

The Yomiuri Giants are historically the most successful team in Japan, with 22 NPB titles. While the Central League has been rather top heavy with the Giants, there is much more parity in the Pacific League. The Saitama Seibu Lions have the second most NPB titles with 13 of their own – winning the Pacific League 22 times. The ORIX Buffaloes and Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks have also won double digit Pacific League titles.

Three teams from each league make it to the playoffs. The top seed gets a buy in the first stage while the 2 and 3 seed square off. The first stage is a best of 3 series. The Climax Series (Pennant) and the Japan Series are a best of seven.

The 2018 Japan Series was between the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks and the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. The Hawks won the series 4-1-1. This was their second title in a row after defeating the Saitama Seibu Lions in 2017. The Hawks have won four of the last five Japan Series. The past six teams to win the Japan Series have come from the Pacific League.

Team Locations

Most of the teams in NPB are located in the southern half of Japan. Five of the twelve teams are located near Tokyo. Only one team is on the North Island of Hokkaido. To put the size of the country into perspective, the drive time from Fukuoka Yahuoku! Dome (Hawks) to the Sapporo Dome (Fighters) is 29 hours with tolls and ferries.

Central League

Hiroshima Toyo Carp

Uniforms

The Carp have a jersey that resembles that of the Cincinnati Reds. They have an alternate red top, and they always wear white pants.

Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima

They have – without a doubt – the best stadium name in all of sports. The stadium opened in 2009 and has a capacity of 32,000.

Key Players

#Pos.NameStats
1OFSeiya Suzuki.336/.452/.564 26 HR 84 RBI
95OFXavier Batista*.269/.350/.513 26 HR 64 RBI
63IFRyomo Nishikawa.301/.341/.454 16 HR 64 RBI
97LHPGeronimo Franzua7-6 12 SV 66.1 IP 87 K 2.58 ERA
42LHPKris Johnson 11-7 139 IP 120 K 2.40 ERA
14RHPDaichi Osera11-8 160.2 IP 127 K 3.53 ERA
28LHPHiroki Tokoda 7-6 134 IP 99K 2.75 ERA

*Suspended for use of a banned substance in mid-August and deactivated from the team.

  • Statistics were through games played on 9/13.

Tokyo Yakult Swallows

Uniforms

The Swallows home uniform is a pinstriped jersey – kind of like the Twins from a while ago. They have a very unique font across the chest. It is not a terrible look – but not great either. Their away jersey has the Seattle Seahawks colorway – dark blue with gross green writing. The away jersey is also different in that it has their sponsor “Yakult” across the chest.

Meiji Jingu Stadium

Meiji Jingu is the second oldest stadium in Japan – opening in 1926. According to Wikipedia this is one of the last remaining stadiums to have had Babe Ruth play in it.

Key Players

#Pos.NameStats
55IFMunetaka Murakami.229/.320/.472 33HR 92 RBI
1IFTetsuto Yamada.274/.400/.556 33 HR 90 RBI 33SB
23OFNorichika Aoki.295/.382/.441 16 HR 54 RBI
4OFWladamir Balentien.285/.368/.562 32 HR 88RBI
19RHPMasanori Ishikawa7-5 114.1 IP 81 K 3.54 ERA
70RHPAlbert Suarez1-1 17.2 IP 12 K 1.53 ERA
  • Statistics were through games played on 9/13.

Yomiuri Giants

Uniforms

They pretty much wear the Japanese version of what the San Francisco Giants wear. Even though they share the same name and colors, there is no connection between the two organizations.

The Tokyo Dome was opened in 1988 and can hold up to 57,000 spectators. Many MLB teams have played here through the years, and quite a few NFL games have happened in this stadium as well. The last NFL game here was in 2005, when the Falcons beat the Colts in the preseason.

Key Players

#Pos.NameStats
6IFHayato Sakamoto.313/.392/.563 35HR 88 RBI
25IFKazuma Okamoto.265/.341/.482 29 HR 84 RBI
8OFYoshihiro Maru.301/.394/.513 26 HR 86 RBI
44OFAlex Guerrero.229/.331/.527 19 HR 50RBI
11RHPShun Yamaguchi14-4 156.1 IP 175 K 2.88 ERA
18RHPTomoyuki Sugano11-6 132.1 IP 116 K 3.74 ERA
  • Statistics were through games played on 9/14.

YOKOHAMA DeNA BAYSTARS

Uniforms

The BayStars uniforms are stuck in the early 90’s. Way too much going on here. Either go with the pinstripes or the under-arm patch, you can’t have both. They have an away top that is shimmery blue, and it looks like something I wore when I played youth soccer in 1995.

Yokohama Stadium

Yokohama Stadium was opened in 1978 and can hold up to 30,000 people. The field is mostly turf, although there is a dirt around the bases. Most of the infield dirt you see in the picture above is turf.

#Pos.NameStats
2IFJose Lopez.238/.293/.456 28HR 78 RBI
99IFNeftali Soto.267/.344/.549 40 HR 100 RBI
25OFYoshitomo Tsutsugo.273/.389/.514 29 HR 79 RBI
21RHPShota Imanaga13-6 158.1 IP 173 K 2.39 ERA
  • Statistics were through games played on 9/14.

Chunichi Dragons

Uniforms

The Dragons have a nice looking uniform, because it is basically the same thing the Dodgers wear. The most noticeable difference is the TV numbers on the front are blue rather than red. The Dragon’s away uniform is royal blue, with their sponsor “Chunichi” across the front in white writing.

Nagoya Dome

The Nagoya Dome was built in 1997 and has room for 38,414 people. The ORIX Buffaloes will also use this as their home stadium a few times throughout the year.

Key Players

#Pos.NameStats
66IFDayan Viciedo.323/.382/.508 17HR 90 RBI
8OFYohei Oshima.315/.381/.375 1 HR 41 RBI 29 SB
22LHPYudai Ono9-8 166.2 IP 149 K 2.59 ERA
17RHPYuya Yanagi10-6 159.1 IP 137 K 3.50 ERA
  • Statistics were through games played on 9/14.

Hanshin Tigers

Uniforms

Y

Pinstripes are really popular in Japan. The Hanshin Tigers keep it pretty simple. Black and white with yellow as an accent. I have never really been a fan of the Black and Yellow color combination in sports, but this may be the best use of it that I have seen.

Hanshin Koshien Stadium

Koshien Stadium is the oldest stadium in Japan – opening in 1924. This stadium is also the host to the Koshien, which is a national high school baseball tournament. This is another stadium that Babe Ruth also played at while he was in Japan. The most notable aspect of this stadium is the all-dirt infield, which is believed to be sacred ground among Japanese baseball players.

Key Players

#Pos.NameStats
31IFJefry Marte.285/.379/.452 12 HR 49 RBI
5OFKoji Chikamoto.270/.313/.380 9 HR 41 RBI 31 SB
98RHPRafael Dolis5-4 19 SV 50.2 IP 46 K 2.31 ERA
22RHPKyuji Fujikawa4-1 11 SV 49 IP 70 K 1.47 ERA
16RHPYuki Nishi8-8 159.1 IP 105K 3.05 ERA
  • Statistics were through games played on 9/14.

Pacific League

Saitama Seibu Lions

Uniforms

Pretty simple uniforms. They have a wild font, but it works. Now that I think about it, this kind of looks like what the San Diego Padres currently wear.

MetLife Dome

This is an open-air domed stadium. There is no wall between the stands and the roof. The stadium was first built without the roof – in 1979. Around the 1998 season the roof was added.

Key Players

#Pos.NameStats
33IFHotaka Yamakawa.251/.363/.543 42 HR 113 RBI
5IFShuta Tonosaki.268/.343/.486 24 HR 88 RBI 20 SB
60IFTakeya Nakamura.295/.369/.548 29 HR 119 RBI
10CTomoya Mori.336/.420/.563 22 HR 99 RBI
55OFShogo Akiyama.307/.397/.480 20 HR 56 RBI 11 SB
25RHPKatsunori Hurai5-3 33 HLD 77.2 IP 62 K 2.90 ERA
14RHPTatsushi Masuda3-1 28 SV 65.2 IP 72 K 1.78 ERA
54RHPZach Neal10-1 86.1 IP 42 K 3.23 ERA
  • Statistics were through games played on 9/14.

Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks

Uniforms

We have another black and yellow team – and they did a pretty good job with this one as well. In the picture above you see the away jersey. I honestly have not seen the large double stripe on the sleeves of a baseball uniform, but it looks pretty good on these. The home uniform is a white top with yellow stripes on the sleeves.

Fukuoka Yahuoku! Dome

This was built in 1993 and is Japan’s first retractable roof stadium. The capacity of this dome is 38,585.

Key Players

#Pos.NameStats
54OFAlfredo Despaigne.266/.362/.528 33 HR 81 RBI
27IFYurisbel Gracial.318/.360/.588 25 HR 62 RBI
5IFNobuhiro Matsuda.266/.309/.489 29 HR 73 RBI
41RHPKodai Senga13-7 168.1 IP 214 K 2.83 ERA
28RHPRei Takahashi11-4 124.2 IP 68 K 3.18 ERA
38RHPYuito Mori2-3 32 SV 48.2 IP 55 K 2.40 ERA
2RHPCarter Stewart Jr.2018 MLB 1st Round Pick
  • Statistics were through games played on 9/14.

Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters

Uniforms

These are wild. It reminds me of an attempt at a future uniform that just didn’t work. We have an unbalanced top – with one white sleeve and one black sleeve, and blue on the shoulders. On the road they wear a gold top with black shoulders and sleeves.

Sapporo Dome

The Sapporo Dome opened in 2001 with room for 41,580 fans. This is a dual-sport stadium – with the ability to host football and soccer. There is a retractable grass field that can go in and out of the stadium – much like the Arizona Cardinals have. The grass field is used for soccer, and there is a turf field underneath for baseball.

Key Players

#Pos.NameStats
5OFTaishi Ota.294/.332/.461 19 HR 75 RBI
6IFSho Nakata.240/.328/.455 23 HR 75 RBI
8OFKensuke Kondo.302/.424/.401 2 HR 56 RBI
16RHPKohei Arihara14-8 157.1 IP 155 K 2.52 ERA
  • Statistics were through games played on 9/14.

ORIX Buffaloes

Uniforms

These look pretty great. I am on the fence with the font, but the overall look really works for this ballclub. The picture above is the road uniforms. At home they wear all white with “Buffaloes” across the chest.

Kyocera Dome Osaka

Not only is this the home stadium for the ORIX Buffaloes – the Hanshin Tigers also use this as their home field during the Koshien. The Kyocera Dome opened in 1997 and can hold 36,627 baseball fans.

Key Players

#Pos.NameStats
9OFStefen Romero.313/.373/.552 16 HR 54 RBI
34OFMasataka Yoshida.332/.425/.555 26 HR 80 RBI
32RHPBrandon Dickson2-1 16 SV 31 IP 36 K 2.61 ERA
47LHPTomoyuki Kaida1-2 19 HLD 45.2 IP 29 K 1.77 ERA
13RHPTaiske Yamaoka11-4 153.1 IP 145 K 3.99 ERA
  • Statistics were through games played on 9/14.

Chiba Lotte Marines

Uniforms

The Marines have a black top to wear on the road, and a white jersey with black pinstripes to wear at home. Their home uniform looks very much like what the Chicago White Sox wear at home.

Zozo Marine Stadium

Zozo Marine Stadium opened in 1990 and holds about 30,000 people. It is right near the beaches of Tokyo Bay. Some have compared it to the same kind of weather that is seen at Oracle Park.

Key Players

#Pos.NameStats
44IFSeiya Inoue.246/.361/.462 24 HR 63 RBI
54IFBrandon Laird.248/.335/.481 32 HR 88 RBI
79OFLeonys Martin.246/.335/.545 14 HR 35 RBI
7IFDaichi Suzuki.287/.370/.557 15 HR 63 RBI
63RHPAtsuki Taneichi7-2 102.2 IP 119 K 3.59 ERA
  • Statistics were through games played on 9/14.

Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles

Uniforms

The Eagles have one of the most unique uniforms in Japan – they totally avoid pinstripes. They also have a unique colorway for a baseball team and a font that stands out. On the road they wear Cardinal/Maroon tops with “Rakuten” across the chest.

Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi

Honestly, how cool is it that there is a ferris wheel in left field? This stadium originally opened in 1950, and was updated in 2003 for the expansion Eagles. It is the smallest park in NPB, with a capacity of 23,000.

#Pos.NameStats
69OFJabari Blash.263/.399/.557 32 HR 91 RBI
40IFZelous Wheeler.244/.324/.420 18 HR 64 RBI
73IFHideto Asamura.257/.366/.484 29 HR 80 RBI
94RHPRyota Ishibashi7-6 114 IP 64 K 3.71 ERA
52RHPKohei Morihara3-2 25 HLD 58.2 IP 60 K 2.15 ERA
32RHPAlan Busenitz4-2 27 HLD 48 IP 42 K 1.31 ERA
1LHPYuki Matsui2-7 35 SV 12 HLD 64.1 IP 100K 1.82 ERA
  • Statistics were through games played on 9/14.

Wrap Up

I took information to put this together from the NPB website, Wikipedia, and The Japan Times. The table above and map were made by me. All pictures were taken from Google images, I haven’t been to Japan yet.

This took quite a bit of time to put together, but now I feel much more informed about baseball in Japan. The next step for me is to pick a favorite team. I am leaning towards a few teams: Tokyo Yakult Swallows, Hanshin Tigers, Saitama Seibu Lions, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, ORIX Buffaloes, Chiba Lotte Marines, and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. My next piece will be on my new favorite team.

– Buzz

Fixing The Franchise: The San Diego Padres – The 2019-2020 Offseason

The 2019 season has come and gone – and a young Padres team has put the league on notice. We went from pretender to contender in just a season and are looking to build on that momentum. Will we stick with the current roster – allowing our players to build on their minor postseason success – or will we make the necessary moves to become the World Series favorite?

Retriements

  • Padres – 3B Greg Garcia – Injury
  • Yankees – SP J.A. Happ – Ability
  • Yankees – SP C.C. Sabathia – Age
  • Angels – 1B Albert Pujols – Age
  • Cardinals – CF Dexter Fowler – Ability
  • Cardinals – SP Adam Wainwright – Ability
  • Dodgers – SP Rich Hill – Age
  • FA – SP Bartolo Colon – Age
  • FA – RF Jacoby Ellsbury – Poor Free Agent Market
  • FA – RF Ichiro Suzuki – Age

Hall of Fame

No arguments here. Both players are well deserving of their place in Cooperstown.

Coaching Staff

We decided to let Andy Green go as manager with two years left on his contract. I expected him to go further in the playoffs after putting together the best roster in the league. I extended an offer to former World Series champion manager A.J. Hinch – he took the Royals job. I also offered Luis Rivera the 3rd base coach job – he accepted. After being turned down by Hinch, I offered Terry Francona the job next – he accepted. With his experience, I am hoping he can take our talent to the next level.

Exclusive Free Agent Window

PlayerAgePos.Ovr.Pot.Yrs.Sal.Contract
Hector Rondon32RP84C1$3.2M$3.2M
Stephen Vogt35C70C1$1.7M$1.7M

Hector Rondon put up great numbers for me from the bullpen. I also love getting Stephen Vogt back – for me he is one of the best pinch hitters in the game – he also gives us some more time to develop Adley Rutschman in the minors.

Around The League

PlayerTeamPos.YrsContract
Madison BumgarnerGiantsSP5$75.48M
Anthony RendonNationals3B6$180.6M
Gerrit ColeAstrosSP6$137.4M
Marcell OzunaCardinalsLF4$52.06M
Jameson TaillonPiratesSP6$9.6M
Jonathan SchoopTwins2B2$17.4M
Rick PorcelloRed SoxSP3$19.2M

Nothing too shocking here. Anthony Rendon got a huge deal with the Nationals – but they are in a better place than I am with Machado – as their deal is only for six seasons. I still have Machado for nine more years.

November 7th

Target: Get Rid of Manny Machado

I know that Manny Machado is one of the best talents in baseball, but I refuse to be locked in to a player that put up 1.9 WAR in 2019 for $30M a year. I am going to go for a big move here. I am pretty limited by what I can move Machado for, I have to find a player that has an equivalent salary. My options are Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Giancarlo Stanton, Chris Sale, Zach Greinke, and…

Player AgeOvr.Pot.ToReceivedAgePos.Ovr.Pot.
Manny Machado2794AAngelsMike Trout28CF99A
Ender Inciarte2983B

Mike Freaking Trout. Wow. I am shocked that I was able to put together a package the Angles would consider – let alone accept. From a purely financial perspective – I trade away $35.6M for $35.8M. From a baseball perspective – I trade away what I viewed as a flawed talent with a crippling contract for the best player in the game. Inciarte become expendable because I no longer need him in center field.

Arbitration and Re-Sign Controllable Players

  • Arbitration Offered: LF Joc Pederson (signed at $4M), RP Adam Conley (signed at $1.5M), SS Tim Beckham (signed at $1.4M)

Contracts offered: (all but two were accepted)

PlayerAgePos.Ovr.Pot.Yrs.Sal.Contract
Matt Duffy293B75B2$3.4M$6.8M
Jonathan Holder26RP79B5$1.3M$6.5M
Robert Stock30RP80C2$550K$1.1M
Joey Lucchesi26SP77B5$2.4M$12M
*Andrew Toles27LF73B3$1.0M$3M
*Adley Rutschman22C72A6$3.2M$19M
Wander Franco19SS72A5$3.2M$16M
Jose Pirela301B71C1$530K$530K
Matt Wisler27RP70B1$530K$530K
Alexander Palma23RF69A3$530K$1.5M
Ryan Weathers20SP69A3$530K$1.5M
Luis Pedromo26SP68B4$400K$2M
Brendan McKay24SP68A3$466K$1.4M
Luis Patino20SP68A3$333K$1M
Mackenzie Gore21SP68A3$333K$1M
Freicer Perez24SP65B3$100K$300K
Mason Englert20SP61B3$100K$300K

*Did not accept – contract renewed at league minimum.

Free Agency: Offers

After trading away Machado for Trout I now had a hole in my infield at 3rd base. Matt Duffy was coming back – and had a solid year last year. He did play a limited role and I am unsure if he can handle full time duties at 3rd base. I prefer to have Duffy as infield depth.

PlayerAgePos.Ovr.Pot.Yrs.Sal.Contract
Josh Donaldson343B79B1$600K$600K
Ben Zobrist383B79A2$4.6M$9.2M
Nelson Cruz39RF72A1$600K$600K
*Kevin Pillar31CF75C1$600K$600K
Gio Urshela283B78C1$1.5M$1.5M
Danny Santana29SS73C1$600K$600K
Nick Markakis36RF75B1$600K$600K
Zach Plesac24SP70C1$100K$100K
Stephen Yang19SP67D1$70K$70K
Lewis Roe20RP67D1$60K$60K
Matthew Beam19RP66C1$70K$70K
Joel Cabrera19RP62D1$60K$60K
Otis McClendon20RP 62D1$60K$60K
Kevin Canales20RP61D1$60K$60K
Orlando Gonzalez18RP60D1$60K$60K
James Travis20C73C1$80K$80K
Jason Delay24C63C1$60K$60K
Santiago Chavez24C61C1$60K$60K
Aderlin Rodriguez281B60C1$60K$60K
Andres Cabrera182B68C1$70K$70K
Kyle Overstreet261B58C1$60K$60K
Jeter Downs212B64C1$60K$60K
Joel Ramirez183B62C1$60K$60K
Alan Meeks21SS70C1$60K$60K
Paul Hu18LF49C1$60K$60K
Devlin Granberg24LF51B1$60K$60K
Bernardo Rodriguez21CF70D1$60K$60K
Estevan Melendez19RF70D1$60K$60K
Jose Acevedo20RF64C1$60K$60K
Oliver Molina18RP60D1$60K$60K
Rickey Dubois20RP58D1$60K$60K
Seungwhan Oh37RP79A1$600K$600K
  • I initially offered Donaldson $9M over two years. Zobrist accepted his offer first, so I pulled the offer from Donaldson. I was able to get both players when Donaldson was still sitting there towards the end of free agency and took a discounted deal.
  • Kevin Pillar signed with the White Sox.
  • Everyone else on that list signed with us.

Free Agents Around The League

PlayerTeamPos.YrsContract
Will SmithCubsCP6$33.3M
Yasmani GrandalPiratesC6$57.7M
Steve CishekBravesRP2$16.1M
Dallas KeuchelCubsSP1$6.1M
Corey DickersonDodgersLF3$18.9M
Mike MoustakasPirates2B4$25.2M
Nicholas CastellanosBravesRF1$7M
Avisail GarciaBrewersLF3$14.7M
  • The Cubs grab one of the best relievers on the market in Will Smith. They also add to their rotation with Dallas Keuchel.
  • The Pirates are making moves – signing the best catcher and 2B available in free agency.

Removed from 40 man

  • Mason Englert
  • Freicer Perez
  • Luis Pedromo – Claimed by the Orioles
  • Tim Beckham
  • Jose Pirela

Novermber 27th

  • The Yankees acquired Justin Upton from the Angels for Brandon Belt.

December 3rd

Target: Blake Snell

I want to get another top of the rotation starter – Blake Snell is one of the best in the game. He also has a team friendly deal that won’t hurt my budget.

Player AgeOvr.Pot.ToReceivedAgePos.Ovr.Pot.
Lorne Reyna1961ARaysBlake Snell27SP97A
Kenta Maeda3184CLucious Fox22SS62C
Hunter Renfroe2883A
Ryan Heath1969C
Ken Greer1973B

*This took place over two trades in which I moved Josh Hader then got him back.

I had to give up some pretty good pieces in order to make this trade happen. The game does not allow trades of more than 3 players – so I had to do this over two trades. I give up two players from my playoff roster in Kenta Maeda and Hunter Renfroe. I also trade away two of my top prospects – Lorne Reyna – and 2019 3rd round pick – Ken Greer. I have plenty of minor league depth, I view this as a solid trade to acquire one of the best starters in the game.

December 6th

  • The Cubs acquired Kirby Yates from the Yankees for Pedro Strop, Esteury Ruiz and Brendon Little.

December 11th

  • The Braves acquired Whit Merrifield from the Athletics for Max Fried and Chad Sobotka.

December 12th

Rule 5 Draft

I do not intend to keep any of the players I draft today. You can trade Rule 5 picks, so my intention is to move a few for prospects.

PlayerTeamPos.Ovr.AgePot.
Round 1Derek FisherAstrosCF6526A
Round 2Hunter HarveyOriolesSP6725A
Round 3Edgar SantanaAngelsRP7828C

Corresponding Trade

Player AgeOvr.Pot.ToReceivedAgePos.Ovr.Pot.
Derek Fisher2664ARaysBrent Honeywell24SP70B
Hunter Harvey2565AMatthew Liberatore20SP69A
Lucious Fox2262C

At this point, I feel bad for the Rays. I have depleted their organization of future talent. I trade away two Rule 5 picks and grab two top tier pitching prospects. Matthew Liberatore has the highest ceiling, already at a 69 overall at just 20 years old.

December 14th

  • The Dodgers acquired Jesse Winker from the Reds for Drew Jackson.

December 27th

  • The Giants acquired Randall Grichuk from the Blue Jays for Evan Longoria and Jonah Tracy.

January 18th

  • The White Sox acquired Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees for Steele Walker and Frank Forrest

February 26th

I decided that it was time to flip my final Rule 5 pick for another prospect.

Player AgeOvr.Pot.ToReceivedAgePos.Ovr.Pot.
Edgar Santana2878BAngelsJeremiah Jackson20SS64B

I am able to acquire a decent middle infield prospect from the Angels in Jeremiah Jackson. He provides me some depth at the minor league level.

February 28th

Joc Pederson is entering his final year of control. He is seeking a 5 year deal worth $55M. I am unwilling to pay that for a platoon outfielder. I will go ahead and move on from him. Andrew Toles is seeking a 5 year deal for $16M – no thanks buddy. It is time to get rid of these guys for some prospects.

Player AgeOvr.Pot.ToReceivedAgePos.Ovr.Pot.
Joc Pederson2785BAstrosYordan Alvarez22RF72A
Andrew Toles2773BSeth Beer23LF63B
Mason Englert2059B

The rich get richer. I flip two guys that I no longer want to pay – for one of the best pure hitting prospects in the game. Yordan Alvarez had unbelievable power – I just need to find a place for him on my Major League roster. Seth Beer isn’t too shabby of a prospect either.

Prospects

The best minor league system in the game somehow got better in the offseason. We now boast five of the top 25 prospects in the game, and nine of the top 45 prospects in the game.

Team RankPrevious MLB RankCurrent MLB RankNameAgePos.Ovr.LevelPot.
1146Wander Samuel Franco19SS70AAAA
2NR7Yordan Alvarez22RF73AAAA
3218Brenden McKay24SP70AAAA
4810Adley Rutschman22C70AAAA
52525Mackenzie Gore21SP66AAA
63334Alexander Palma23RF67AAAA
7NR41Matthew Liberatore20SP69AAAA
83143Ryan Weathers20SP67AAAA
93045Luis Patino20SP68AAA
10NRNRBrent Honeywell24SP70AAAB

Financial Situation

Things are looking pretty good for the Padres from a financial perspective. Our nine most talented players are locked into team friendly deals through the 2021 season.

Roster, Lineup, and Rotation

As the offseason comes to a close – I have managed to put together the best talent in the game. Terry Francona has a lot of pressure on him this season to go deep into the playoffs.

On paper, this may be one of the best offenses in the history of the game. Aside from the superstars in this lineup – some veteran leadership was also brought to the squad in the form of Nick Markakis and Ben Zobrist.

The rotation looks pretty similar to last season – except we added Blake Snell to the top. Josh Hader anchors a strong bullpen – with the addition of veteran Seunghwan Oh.

Coming Up

We will head into the 2020 season. The Padres have the best combination of talent in baseball – the question is – can Terry Francona get this group of stars to buy-in and be successful in the playoffs?

– Buzz

Fixing The Franchise: The San Diego Padres – The 2019 Postseason

Wild Card Game

We did it. We made it to the postseason. The Padres turned into a contender in less than a season. Does the team have what it takes to beat a perennial postseason disappointment – The Washington Nationals – in the Wild Card Game? Let’s find out.

The Nationals jumped to an early lead thanks to a leadoff single and stolen base from Trea Turner. Juan Soto was able to drive him in with one out to put the Nats up 1-0.

After that inning, Noah Syndergaard settled down and shut down the Nationals offense. With the help of Machado’s glove – Syndergaard only allowed one hit through the next four innings.

In the midst of our pitcher’s duel – the Padres got their first hit off the bat of Ender Inciarte in the bottom of the 5th innings.

The bats came alive for the Padres in the 7th inning. Manny Machado and Christian Yelich started things off with back to back singles. Josh Bell was up next and loaded up the bases with a single of his own. Gary Sanchez rolled over into a double play on the next at bat – but the run scored – tying the game at 1-1.

Hector Rondon came in for Syndergaard in the 9th and shut down the Nats in order.

In the bottom of the inning – Machado reached on a single. Yelich followed that with a grounder to the shortstop – one in which the Nats made and errant throw on allowing both runners to reach base safely. Josh Bell was up next and flew out to left field. With two on a two outs – Gary Sanchez drove the ball off the wall in right field. Machado scored and the Padres won the game 2-1.

Noah Syndergaard was a stud on the mound. He lasted 8 innings – allowing just 3 hits and 1 run while striking out 8 batters.

NLDS

For the Division Series we had to take on our N.L. West rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Game 1

The Padres come into this series in the midst of an 8 game winning streak.

The Padres were able to put a threat together in the top of the first. Manny Machado and Christian Yelich were both able to single, but Gary Sanchez and Josh Bell were unable to capitalize.

With two outs in the bottom of the second A.J. Pollock started the scoring for the Dodgers, hitting a solo shot to left field just over a leaping Hunter Renfroe at the wall.

Mike Clevenger and Jeff McNeil led off the top of the 3rd with back to back singles. Machado rolled over into a double play and Yelich struck out, ending the threat.

With two outs in the bottom of the 4th the Dodgers had Justin Turner on 3rd with two outs. Clevenger challenged Pollock inside – and Pollock launched his second homerun of the game – putting the Dodgers up 3-0.

The Padres came out swinging in the top of the 5th. Ender Inciarte and Fernando Tatis Jr. started off the inning with back to back singles. Clevenger then bunted – moving Inciarte to 3rd and beating out the throw to first on a potential double play. McNeil stepped in and drove the ball to center field – scoring Inciarte from 3rd.

The Dodgers decided to leave Kershaw in after a brief mound visit from Rick Honeycutt. Machado was up next and finally started to earn some of that $30M salary – he drove the ball off the wall in left-center field, scoring both runners and tying the game at 3-3.

The Dodgers got their lead back the following half of the inning. Corey Seager hit a ground rule double with two outs. Shane Peterson drove him in with the dinkiest little slow roller up the middle to grab the 4-3 lead.

In the bottom of the 6th the Dodgers knocked Clevenger from the game. After a leadoff walk to Cody Bellinger, Clevenger left a slider over the middle of the plate, and Max Muncy drove it over the left field wall to extend the Dodger lead to 6-3.

  • Clevenger allowed 7H and 6R through 5IP – with 8K and 1BB.

The Padres started the 7th off with a leadoff double from Tatis Jr. Matt Duffy – who pinch hit for the pitcher – and McNeil both lined out to Bellinger in right field. Machado then rolled over, ending the inning.

The Dodgers brought in Adam Liberatore to pitch the 8th. This was a mistake. Yelich led off the inning with a single. Gary Sanchez then drove the ball into the hitter’s eye in dead center field to bring the score to 6-5.

Max Muncy started off the Dodgers half of the 8th with his second homerun of the game – extending their lead to 7-5.

Kenley Jansen came in to pitch the 9th for the Dodgers. He retired the first three batters he faced to seal the victory and grab the 1-0 series lead.

Game 2

The Padres bounced back and defeated the Dodgers 10-1. Jeff McNeil led the offense, going 4/5 with 5 RBI and falling a triple short of the cycle. Ender Inciarte also collected four hits on the day. Marcus Stroman went 7.1 IP allowing just 4H and 1ER while striking out 7.

Game 3

The Dodgers took home the victory 5-1. They were able to secure the win with the help of homeruns from Justin Turner, A.J. Pollock and Austin Barnes. Ryu went 8 scoreless innings on the mound for the Dodgers. Chris Paddack struggled for the Padres, giving up 5 ER in just 4 innings of work. Manny Machado led the Padres with 3 hits.

Game 4

The Padres decided to give Noah Syndergaard the start over Kenta Maeda in game four of the series. Unfortunately, the Dodgers still took home the 4-1 victory and won the series 3-1.

Notable Padre Playoff Performances

  • Manny Machado – .524 AVG, 1.381 OPS, 5 2B in 21 AB
  • Noah Syndergaard – 13 IP, 2.77 ERA, 15K
  • Marcus Stroman – 7.1 IP, 1.23 ERA, 7K

Division Series Results

  • The Braves defeated the Cubs 3-1
  • The Dodgers defeated the Padres 3-1
  • The Indians swept the Mariners 3-0
  • The Yankees swept the Red Sox 3-0

Championship Series Results

  • The Yankees defeated the Indians 4-1
  • The Dodgers defeated the Braves 4-3

World Series Results

  • The Dodgers defeated the Yankees 4-2
  • World Series MVP – Cody Bellinger – .273 AVG, 4 HR, 6 RBI
  • N.L. Postseason MVP – Max Muncy – .283 AVG, 5HR, 15 RBI
  • A.L. Postseason MVP – Giancarlo Stanton – .327 AVG, 4 HR, 14 RBI

Coming Up

We will head into the offseason. We put together a solid squad – but it wasn’t enough to reach postseason glory. How different will the roster look in 2020?

– Buzz