Thursday, June 28, 2012

Who's Buying, Who's Selling, and Who Fits Where

    With the addition of the 5th wildcard team in each league it’s getting harder to determine who will be a buyer and who’ll be selling at the deadline, but lets see what we can come up with. There are a few circumstances that surround each team and being either a buyer or seller, and how much activity they will potentially show at the trade deadline.

To be a buyer a team will need some combination of 3 things:
  • They need to be willing to trade either from a point of strength, or from organizational depth
  • They need to be in contention for a playoff spot
  • Ownership needs to be willing to absorb some amount of payroll

To be a seller a team needs a combination of:
  • They need to be out of contention
  • They need to have players worth trading despite their position in the standings
  • They need to be out of contention for reasons beyond injuries to key players
  • They need to be willing to temporarily take a step back to grow as a team

So of the 30 teams we’ve got some clear buyers and some clear sellers but we’ve got a lot of teams on the fringes making them more or less toss ups. Our clear sellers will be teams like the Mariners, Twins, Padres, Rockies, Cubs, and the Astros. They are all teams who either have expiring contracts and are out of contention, have needs that far outweigh the roster they have developed, or are looking to shed some payroll commitments quickly.

I’d  expect to see Denard Span, Justin Morneau, Francisco Liriano, and Matt Capps all floated as possible trade candidates over the next few weeks for the Twins.

The Mariners may look to move players like Kevin Millwood, Brandon League, Franklin Gutierrez, and of course there will be the annual Felix Hernandez rumors.

The Padres will probably look to move Carlos Quentin, Mark Kotsay, Huston Street, and possibly a starting pitcher not named Cory Luebke.

The Rox may have to decide on what they can get in return for Carlos Gonzalez, and may want to explore trading Jason Giambi, Marco Scutaro, and Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie’s trade value is at an all time low, but he’s got an extra year of team control, so if he’s able to make a rebound he can be a low risk acquisition for a fringe contender or a team looking more to next year than this.

The Cubbies have stated that they are shopping essentially everyone not named Starlin Castro, and even then he’s probably available at the right price. More likely they will be aiming to move Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Carlos Marmol (if anyone wants him), David DeJesus, and Alfonso Soriano (though they’ll need to eat a lot of salary to move him).

Houston is probably a bit more selective in who they’ll part with than Chicago but only so much so, Carlos Lee is obviously on the trading block, as are Wandy Rodriguez,  Brandon Lyon, and Brett Myers.

There are some fringe sellers as well, Oakland, Milwaukee, Arizona, Kansas City, and Philly all come to mind, none of them is so far out of contention that they should really be looking to ship off ½ of their roster but they are the middling teams that may either decide to shed a few expiring contracts to become more competitive going forward, or they may see that they need another year or two to really become competitive and move a few of their older pieces to open up spots for younger players and help stock up their farm systems.

Oakland is kind of an “all bets are off” team, year in and year out. If they’re not going to make the postseason the whole 25 man roster is on the block, and this year is no different. I wouldn’t expect Josh Reddick or Yoenis Cespedes to be going anywhere given their production and controllable years, but Billy Beane will most certainly listen to offers if they’re made. One year acquisitions like Bartolo Colon, Brian Fuentes, and Grant Balfour are certainly available. Brandon McCarthy is nearing free agency and may also be another movable piece in Oakland.

Milwaukee probably has a shorter list of movable pieces, Francisco Rodriguez may be interesting to a team in need of bullpen help if the Brew Crew will absorb some cash, Zack Greinke is on several contenders wish lists, Shaun Marcum could net a healthy package as well, but otherwise I wouldn’t expect them to move many players, and really are more likely to try to flip Greinke than anyone else.

The Phillies are in a situation to move Juan Pierre to a team in need of speed or outfield depth, Shane Victorino can be a game changer and he is certainly a candidate to price himself out of the Phillies plans going forward. Ty Wigginton may provide about the same value as someone like Kevin Youkilis while being a cheaper option. Cole Hamels will certainly be part of trade talks if the Phils don’t go on a crazy tear over the next two weeks and pull themselves back into contention.

Arizona certainly were surprise contenders last season and that makes it hard for them to jump into the trade arena as sellers, but with Joe Saunders walking after this season, there’s not much reason to hold onto the pitcher if there’s interest, there will surely be interest in Justin Upton if anyone feels they can pry him away from the D-Backs but otherwise they don’t seem to be sitting on a particular stock of highly coveted talent.

The Royals miscalculated in trading Melky Cabrera to the Giants and have paid the price for such so far, but they may be able to trade someone like Billy Butler who, though primarily a DH has been a solid, quite producer so far. They are however otherwise only really capable of trading Jonathan Broxton or holding onto their roster for the year.

Obviously this list would be a bit different if the MLB hadn’t introduced the 2nd wildcard this season, and that’s a strange thought. Teams like Toronto and Boston who are both floundering around .500 in a very tough division might see a reason to cut ties with a few players who’ve seen their trade value spike of late, and are instead potentially contending to make a splash at the deadline and work their way into the wildcard discussion. Teams like Detroit and Miami who spent heavily on free agents this offseason are likely to make a bigger push than usual this year given their relative proximity to a playoff berth.

Cleveland is in dire need of right handed offense but will likely try to ride out their pitching staff with the return of Ramon Hernandez on the horizon.

The White Sox could be looking to get a shot in the arm for their rotation but their offense has been strong enough to keep them too far out of trouble so far.

The Angels could look to bolster their production at 3B or Catcher but are otherwise doing pretty well as a team, having the best pitching staff in the AL.

I don’t see Texas making a play for anyone significant this season, possibly a starting pitcher if the price is right, but they certainly have a playoff ready rotation.

Tampa Bay could possibly look for an upgrade or two for their lineup, either someone like Wiggy or possibly someone like Morneau as a true DH type.

The Orioles are in need of an effective starting pitcher, they may well make a play for someone like Marcum or Greinke if the price is right.

The Yankees don’t have any particularly strong needs outside of timely hitting. They could look for a younger outfielder like Upton or CarGo as a long and short term option if they have reservations about resigning Nick Swisher or concerns over Brett Gardner’s health, but I have my doubts about Cashman pulling the trigger on a purely “win now” signing unless it comes cheap.

The Nationals could look to add a bat but they may balk at the price of adding someone to their lineup.

The Mets will need to look for pitching help, it doesn’t so much matter what kind of pitching help, just some kind of reliable pitcher to add to their staff. They may target someone like Myers or League to try to sure up their bullpen. They may even look at two or 3 relievers if they’re able to pick them up cheaply.

The Braves also need to look at pitching, while Mike Minor has pitched well against the Yankees in back to back outings, he needs to show up against a few other teams to keep his roster spot. Atlanta also could use a reliable bullpen arm to help get to the 9th where Craig Kimbrel has been money all season.

The Reds could use a bat and an innings eater for their rotation if they plan to stay in contention.

The Pirates need to find a way to score runs, they’re dead last in the National League for runs scored despite their impressive pitching so far. They may be looking for a pair of bats to help Andrew McCutchen. I certainly think they should look at someone like Vladimir Guerrero as a bench bat and could look to upgrade just about every bit of their infield, maybe trying to pry Morneau from the Twins and Jonny Gomes from the A’s.

St Louis could potentially use some help in the pitching department, whether it be a reliable bullpen arm or a starter to help sure up the back end of their rotation is of little consequence. They have a very good offense, though they’re a bit banged up and if the right opportunity presented itself I wouldn’t be shocked to see them pick up a bench bat type to help corner infielders and corner outfielders get a break here or there. Wigginton, League, Myers, Street, and any lower cost starting pitching options are possible.

The Dodgers offense is where their weakness shows, ranking 9th in the NL in runs scored, but there’s only so much that can be done to help there. Their most obvious point for upgrading would be 3rd base or shortstop where Juan Uribe and Dee Gordon have not carried their own weight. A middle infielder will be hard to come by outright, but Scutaro could be a potential upgrade, and there may be some value in acquiring Wiggy if the price is right. I do still maintain that their rotation is holding strong mostly on luck and behind Clayton Kershaw is much weaker than it has appeared, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them make a move for a 4th-5th starter type (Liriano?) if someone’s selling. With new ownership in place the Dodgers are a hard team to place, they could certainly go out to make a big splash and try to pry Hamels away from the Phils if they are looking to make a deep run in the postseason.

The Giants are pitching pretty well overall, though with Barry Zito starting to look more like the guy we’ve come to expect and Tim Lincecum still not having righted the ship there’s certainly room for one or both of them to lose their rotation spots if the Giants get aggressive at the deadline. Not totally unlike the Dodgers the offense could use a boost, and looking around it’s more or less the middle infield and right field where they’re lacking. Knowing Melky Cabrera has a modified howitzer for an arm, he can be moved to right field full time if need be. The Giants could attempt to acquire an outfield bat, possibly Soriano or Victorino rather than spending to upgrade the infield modestly.

Aside from not exactly being a short post we have seen a few things that are constants, there are several teams that area in contention that need to upgrade their infield offensively, this could make a versatile player like Wiggy a hot commodity this year, both bringing some pop and the ability to play 2 or more infield positions. The market for starting pitching isn’t overwhelming at the deadline, but the need isn’t overwhelming either. The market for outfielders isn’t exactly stacked with buyers either, which may prevent teams from moving overpriced or expiring contracts in the outfield this year or at the very least saddling them with a diminished return from what they may have been hoping for.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bobby Valentine Is An Idiot, Part II

I can’t believe that I haven’t found more to say about him being an idiot since that whole Youk fiasco.

According to this article about Marlon Byrd after his ban for PED’s:

“He played here and he played well”


Byrd’s numbers with Boston:

270/286/320/606.  WAR of -.1, which is roughly replacement level.  And how did Boston reward him for doing that well, Bobbo?  Oh right, they released him.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What Can The Rox Do With Jeremy Guthrie?

The Rockies have decided to stake out suitors for their control challenged and homer prone right hander. I am of course referring to Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie was an “ace” in Baltimore for the past 5 years, but that was more by default than it was due to incredible performance. When Dan Duquette decided to pull the trigger and send Guthrie to Colorado he got back a younger starter in Jason Hammel and a solid reliever in Matt Lindstrom. So far both of those two are putting together excellent years, Guthrie at his best would be envious of Hammel’s season so far. Guthrie’s big pitch has always been a curveball, which doesn’t exactly break right in Colorado, but recently he has been bad across the board, maybe the bad home games have shaken his confidence and he’s trying to find a new pitch to complement his fastball.

The Rox aren’t looking to get a great return on their investment in Guthrie, who is making a bit over 8 million this year and will be going to arbitration for the final time at season’s end. He’s a better pitcher than he has appeared over the course of his career, and if he ended up in a spacious home park, Guthrie might well be able to turn this season around. He’s not likely to turn around like A.J. Burnett has this season, but he’s certainly capable of putting up better numbers in a different park. The biggest question I would have is really, who is looking for a buy low pitcher on a 1 year contract who at his best is going to provide No. 2 pitcher stats, at his worst, couldn’t be buried far enough down the list in the bullpen.

The Blue Jays have been tied to Guthrie early on, but what they’d be trying to do with him is unclear. I suppose there could be something to be said about having a veteran in the rotation, but it feels like they would be taking on salary to waive the white flag and say that they are content to miss the playoffs yet again this year. They are all of 3 games out of playoff contention at the moment, and could with a little boost here or there make a run at one of the wildcard spots, but considering Guthrie’s performance so far this season, and his track record he’s not liable to be an upgrade anywhere for the club.

I think that if any teams in contention were looking to sure up their rotation without making any major impact on their farm system it would be more likely to see Guthrie headed to Cincinnati or making a return to the Indians. I don’t know that many teams at the bottom of their respective divisions would really be interested in giving up a prospect (mid to low tier or otherwise) to receive a pitcher who can’t promise to deliver anything significant. Guthrie isn’t as bad as he’s been this year, and he’d certainly be a candidate for a buy low sell high situation for his new team. The risk there is that he is already making 8.2 million this season, and won’t make any less than that next year, so if he’s not providing better value his new club wouldn’t be in line to get anything from their investment but an expensive back of the rotation pitcher.

Guthrie may be a prudent move for the Seattle Mariners, the Twins, KC, or Milwaukee but that would be strictly as a year to year investment. It would be a team that’s out of contention jockeying for a more or less money only commitment that could net a valuable prospect at next year’s trade deadline, or assist them when they would otherwise sit on the cusp of contention next season. Overall, he’s currently managed to make his stock with the Rox all but disappear and the team is tired of him already. He may be on his way to being a Milton Bradley or Carlos Silva type of malcontent and mid level talent. I don’t know that Guthrie really has anything in the way of an attitude problem, but it is telling that Dan Duquette dealt him so quickly, and the Rox are already looking to find him a new home rather than searching for a solution to his issues with the team.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I hate it when this happens

We’ve discussed BABIP a lot on this blog.  Mostly, I’ve used it for pitchers.  Well, it does apply to hitters too.  Let’s take a look at the Cards shortstop Rafael Furcal.  First off, the Cardinals have been struggling mightily since Mid-May due to, in no small part, a lot of injuries they weren’t expecting to deal with, and the fill in guys just aren’t that good.  This is causing the need for some players, like Furcal and David Freese, for playing more games without a rest which with spotty injury histories is going to drag them down a bit.  With that said, back to Raffy.

Through April of 2012, Furcal had a BABIP of 364 (slash line of 315/384/427).  In May, he had a BABIP drop down to 358, but his numbers stayed high because he started hitting for more power (349/397/486).  Now, in 12 games this month he has a BABIP of 136, with a line of 140/170/200.  Career wise, he has a BABIP of 313 and now for the year he has a BABIP of 315.  At some point he was bound for a stretch like this to make things even out.  He’s gotten on base once in his last 5 games.  It’s a big reason for the Cards struggles.  Raffy hasn’t had much in his tank this month.  He could probably use a day off or two soon.

That’s all for now.  More snarkiness to come soon.  Or more analysis.  Haven’t decided what’s more fun to post on here.

The Argument For Better Officiating in Baseball

Take a quick look at this, or if you’re in a bind for time I’ll summarize. Terence Moore believes that umpires are all but infallible. He’s willing to concede that they make mistakes from time to time, which is good for his credibility but not necessarily good for his argument. The crux of his argument is that “bad” teams complain about umpires, and good teams win games. I call bullshit. With Jim Leyland, Bobby Valentine, and Charlie Manuel all having argued with, and having made comments about umpires abilities recently he’s taking an incredibly small sample and turning it into something that it’s not.
I don’t necessarily think that baseball needs to do away with the current system, but sticking a 5th man in a booth, and holding home plate umps accountable for the strike zone they call I can get behind. The Questec system worked alright, it kept umpires on their toes if nothing else, but now with pitch tracking software implemented in EVERY stadium we don’t even honestly need the home plate ump to call strikes. MLB and ESPN both provide a gameday application and web page that allows you to see pitches, and where they are in relation to the plate. Borderline calls I can forgive, but seeing close pitches called balls, and pitches several inches off the plate called strikes because they were well framed isn’t exactly forgivable. there has been some effort made to correct the strike zone as it has over time become wider and shorter.  The textbook definition of the strike zone as per wikipedia is :

The top of the strike zone is defined in the official rules as a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the batter's shoulders and the top of the uniform pants. The bottom of the strike zone is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The right and left boundaries of the strike zone correspond to the edges of home plate.

For a time we saw basically the belt to the knees, and 2-3” on either side of the plate. That’s not the strike zone we’re seeing now. That is in part because of the Questec system, and partially because of the pitch tracking system in place now, The umpires were happy to call whatever strike zone they fancied most days into the early 2000s. Better evaluation tools have helped eliminate this type of error, though it is not gone entirely it is part of the game.That said, the umpires have cost pitchers perfect games, and awarded them beneficial calls regardless of the correct call. Having a 5th umpire upstairs would have prevented these two plays from going the way they did. Placing a 5th umpire in the stadium with a nice little radio system would be a perfectly reasonable way to keep this kind of system from slowing down the game. If we’re so concerned about paying an extra umpire, why not take the home plate ump and stick him in the booth. The sheer volume of cameras used in any given stadium would be adequate to replace the home plate ump. The only thing anyone’d really miss would be the occasional loud barking coming from behind the plate, I for one wouldn’t miss it enough to care.

I’m not saying we need to revolutionize the way things are done in baseball, but every team will argue with umpires here and there, I don’t know that any manager in the majors can say they’ve never been ejected for screaming at an umpire, many in games that their team went on to win. The point of the matter is that arguing that baseball doesn’t need instant replay is technically true, but the cry is heard loudest from those who are stubbornly opposing the use of technology in sports. I doubt that Mr. Moore would argue that batting helmets are a bad idea though certainly the game had been played without them for years, and while getting more accurate fair/foul calls isn’t quite the same as preventing concussions, it is in the same vein of using advances in technology to provide a better product on the field. So, to you Mr. Terence Moore, I’m not complaining about umpires, I’m complaining about the troglodytic view of instant replay and that because umpires have been a part of baseball for longer than I’ve been alive that they are clearly the only “correct” way to officiate a game.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Who Wants Vlad? Anybody?

In light of the fact that Vladimir Guerrero has been released by the Blue Jays the question has to be asked; who might be interested in the rightfielder as a backup/DH option? He’s not much more than an insurance policy for any given team at this point. He’s more or less a replacement level player, potentially he could be a bit better than that again, but given the Blue Jays lack of confidence he may not really be worth too much. That said, the Jays would have had to displace someone productive for him. Edwin Encarnacion has been quite productive from the DH spot, he’s not near productive enough at this point in his career to replace Jose Bautista, but could have arguably been a reasonable replacement for Eric Thames. Vlad could have potentially taken Adam Lind’s place on the roster given his continued woes with the bat have extended to now having all but lost his power, but that would really be about it. There are other teams in both leagues who could potentially use someone like Vlad but few of them are currently in contention, and that will limit vlad’s marketability significantly.

The Pirates could potentially use someone like Vlad to take a day here or there for Alex Presley or Jose Tabata who are both young light hitting corner outfielders. Vlad isn’t any lock to be a great addition, but he could potentially help provide a bit of power and veteran leadership in the outfield and off the bench late in games for the Bucs. He wouldn’t necessarily be the kind of impact bat that the Pirates might want to sign to get them over the hump and keep them in contention but he’s a low risk, low money acquisition. This makes the most sense to me if the Bucs front office isn’t really sure that they’re really contenders, or just on a hot streak despite their league worst offensive production.

The KC Royals aren’t exactly hurting for someone like Vlad but might (as they often do) find value in his veteran status. He could serve as a bench bat and occasional corner outfielder if they chose to reach out to Fernando Cuza to see what kind of interest Vlad would have in such a role.

The Indians could look to release Johnny Damon and give his at bats to Vlad. I’d like to see Damon and Vlad both go out by choice rather than due to a lack of production/interest but this could be a case where one veteran outfielder forces another to retire.

The Orioles could potentially look at Vlad as insurance as much as anything else. They’ve been dealing with injuries to Nolan Reimold as well as others and could look at a return trip with Vlad as a potential shot in the arm if they believe that hiding him in left field would be viable, though I feel that they may view him as an all but strictly DH candidate at this juncture.

The Tigers haven’t gotten a ton out of right field or the DH spots between Delmon Young and Brennan Boesch. I wouldn’t expect Vlad to be looked at as an everyday outfielder but they might be willing to give him a shot in light of Delmon Young’s off field antics this season and his unimpressive offensive numbers.

There is potentially a fit for any other team that could use a bench bat/4th outfielder type but these are the ones that stand out to me at the moment. The D-Backs or Marlins who were linked to him in the offseason make some sense if they’re looking to get some power off the bench but his career long habit of swinging at every pitch he can see might deter them. I’m tempted to say that the Padres will make a play for Vlad in light of their recent decision to become the league’s garbage heap but there’s really no good fit here. He’s not likely to produce any more than Mark Kotsay and certainly couldn’t take over in a full time capacity in left field for Jesus Guzman. I happen to feel the Pirates are probably the best bet for Vlad if he’s willing to work in a largely mentoring role again this year. If he plays it right he might be able to parlay that into something much like Jason Giambi’s role with the Rockies.

Who Can The Padres Trade?

What are the Padres thinking? The team has already picked up Jason Marquis and Ross Ohlendorf. They have also not only happily acquired these two pitchers but have put them onto their active major league roster. This is a team with no hope. If the Padres do anything other than trade everything of value that they have between the second this is posted and the trade deadline this season should be considered nothing but an extreme failure. Lets go ahead and look at what they might be able to trade. For the sake of argument we’ll assume that the fact that they have Omar Minaya and Josh Byrnes in positions of significant authority won’t be a serious hindrance to making competent trades.

The team has sought out replacements for the likes of Jeff Suppan by replacing them with pitchers other clubs didn’t want, Ohlendorf was barely good enough for the Red Sox to keep in AAA, let alone putting him on the big club’s roster. Marquis was as bad if not worse than I predicted with the Twins. He’s not going to suddenly be an ace or any type of savior for this rotation either. If the Padres are claiming anything other than that they’re rebuilding, they’re miserable liars or hopelessly delusional. The Padres realistically need to look at what they have and what they can get for what they have at the moment. They have the 10th ranked ERA in the NL at the moment, almost all of the positive value is owed to Cory Luebke. but the team needs to look at what they can do two or three years from now because they’re not going to compete next year either if this is the same general team they’re putting out there in a year.

The Padres need to build up value in a reliever or two. Huston Street, having made two appearances this month after missing most of May, still has his “Genuine Closer” label and if the Friars can show him off for a few weeks he’ll be worth looking at for several clubs in contention.

There’s nothing to do with someone like Carlos Quentin on a losing team but flip them for prospects, and flip him they shall. While some people are using their big boy internet pedestals to play GM and say that the Dodgers need to make a push for Quentin. I don’t see it. They’ll overpay in prospects to get a pretty good left fielder from a division rival, and their lineup, though banged up, isn’t where their biggest problems are, much less so in the outfield.

Chase Headley is a hard sell. At 28 he’s going to be arbitration eligible for the first time so he’ll command a few legitimate prospects, possibly one of the better hauls for anyone that they could give up this season. I don’t know that the Friars will be willing to give up Headley but I don’t see why they wouldn’t listen to offers.

Mark Kotsay isn’t exactly a top tier player but a utility outfielder with a little first base experience certainly has value, especially on a 1 year contract for a contender looking to sure up their bench. I wouldn’t look at Kotsay to command a huge return but a quadruple A starter or a mid tier prospect isn’t necessarily out of the question.

The Padres could certainly move Edinson Volquez, Clayton Richard, Andrew Cashner, Joe Thatcher, or Jeremy Hermida all with varying returns. Their best return would come from Volquez though I don’t know that what they’d get back would quite outweigh what he can provide the team over the next few years. Hermida would provide a reasonable amount of value as a 4th outfielder who can provide something with his bat (though I’m not totally sure what that something is) and could net the team a prospect without really hurting themselves this season.

The Padres are in a weird spot. They have a very good farm system according to several sources who rank such things so attempting to acquire more organizational depth may not be what’s needed here. The Padres could probably do well to get rid of anyone on a 1 year contract that they’re not 100% sure they can extend. With their place in the standings secured it almost makes more sense to let some of their top tier prospects get a feel for major league pitchers/hitters now rather than waiting until September.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

In The Good Ol' Summertime

Summer is fast approaching.  It’s getting hotter and hotter as the months go on.  Baseball’s getting deeper and deeper into the season.  Soon July will be upon us.  And in baseball that means one thing.  The Midsummer Classic Waste Of Time That For Some Reason Doesn’t Reward The Best Players And For Some Stupid Reason Determines Home Field For The World Series.  You think after 80 or so years of doing it, baseball would come up with a better name for it.  We also get the Home Run Derby, which is my favorite part.  I grew up watching Mac and Sosa and Bonds and Griffey hit massive HRs which were mostly all roided up but were still awesome to see.  It’s been a little stale since then, what with the steroid rules and such.  We’ve gotten the occasional fun time with Josh Hamilton’s display a few years ago, but that isn’t as common as before.  Most of the time, it’s because they don’t staff it correctly with the real best HR hitters.  And now that there are team captains picking the squads, it’ll get even worse.  Remember last year how instead of Lance Berkman, Prince Fielder picked Rickie Weeks?  That was dumb.  Now Matt Kemp, captain of the 2012 NL squad, is going to pick Andre Ethier to the team.  Ethier is a good hitter with decent power, but not as good as some other guys.  In fact, the article I linked to says that he definitely wants Ethier (at least it reads that way) and is only “considering” guys like Carlos Beltran (the NL leader entering today in HR and just hit his 18th) and Giancarlo Stanton (who has 14).  If the players can’t even get this right, why bother having it at all?  I don’t get why we don’t just pick the top 5 guys in HR in each league and let them swing it out.  If someone doesn’t want to participate, keep moving down the list.  It’s strange, I know, wanting to reward the best players instead of your friends.

You can do better Matt Kemp.  You can do better.

By the way, why is he still thinking he’ll go?  He’s hurt.  Shouldn’t the Dodgers say “No thanks, we just gave you an unbelievably big deal and don’t want to risk it over The Midsummer Classic Waste Of Time That For Some Reason Doesn’t Reward The Best Players And For Some Stupid Reason Determines Home Field For The World Series.”?  This world can be strange sometimes.