The Farm Club http://thefarmclub.net Global Sports, Local Perspective Tue, 11 Feb 2014 06:52:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Seattle Mariners: M’s Sign Fernando Rodney http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/06/seattle-mariners-ms-sign-fernando-rodney/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=seattle-mariners-ms-sign-fernando-rodney http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/06/seattle-mariners-ms-sign-fernando-rodney/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 01:14:45 +0000 http://thefarmclub.net/?p=34964 The Seattle Mariners have finally made a move to address their troublesome bullpen. Multiple reports have revealed that the M’s and former Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney have agreed to terms on a two year, $14 million contract. Rodney, 36, spent much of his career in middle relief, but has saved a total of... Read more →

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The Seattle Mariners have finally made a move to address their troublesome bullpen.

Multiple reports have revealed that the M’s and former Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney have agreed to terms on a two year, $14 million contract. Rodney, 36, spent much of his career in middle relief, but has saved a total of 85 games in the last two seasons. In 2012, he was baseball’s most dominant reliever, posting a 0.60 ERA, 0.777 WHIP and 3.8 WAR. He fell back to earth last season (3.38 ERA, 1.335 WHIP) but did manage a career-best 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

I seldom advocate shelling out cash for free agent closers, but a two year deal seems reasonable. One way or another, Seattle’s bullpen needed an upgrade. Despite respectable debuts by right-handers Danny Farquhar and Yoervis Medina, the 2013 season was something of a disaster for the M’s’ relief corps. It would be unwise to assume that former closer Tom Wilhelmsen (who, at one point, blew five of eleven save chances) has righted himself, or that flame-throwing Stephen Pryor (out since last April) will be healthy soon enough to help at all in 2014.

Aside from signing a smattering of veterans like Ramon Ramirez and Joe Beimel to minor league contracts, the M’s had done nothing up to now to bolster the ‘pen. In fact, the club has done more subtraction than addition: Oliver Perez is a free agent, and Carter Capps was shipped to Miami for Logan Morrison. With Pryor shelved until at least the summer and Wilhelmsen an enormous question mark, the only certainties appear to be right-handers Rodney, Farquhar, Medina and lefty Charlie Furbush.

Should Rodney fail to deliver (always a possibility with closers, much less 36-year-old ones), Farquhar exhibited enough last season to suggest he could fill in ably. The Rodney signing, while not ideal from a dollars and cents perspective, provides some semblance of depth and will hopefully help stabilize what was one of the most disappointing aspects of the club last season. I look at it much the same way I have a prospective Nelson Cruz signing: it’s far from ideal, but the current group is so inadequate that almost any addition would be a positive one. Such is life in Mariner Nation.

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What if Neuvirth Played in 2011 Playoffs? http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/05/neuvirth-played-2011-playoffs/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=neuvirth-played-2011-playoffs http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/05/neuvirth-played-2011-playoffs/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 19:21:21 +0000 http://thefarmclub.net/?p=34925 Now that Michal Neuvirth, once again, seems to be the Caps goalie du jour, I looked at a blog post I wrote in 2011 because I remember writing about him as the Caps headed to the playoffs under then Coach Bruce Boudreau. Here’s what I wrote. Did the Caps blow it? Hockey goalies are notoriously... Read more →

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Now that Michal Neuvirth, once again, seems to be the Caps goalie du jour, I looked at a blog post I wrote in 2011 because I remember writing about him as the Caps headed to the playoffs under then Coach Bruce Boudreau. Here’s what I wrote.

Did the Caps blow it? Hockey goalies are notoriously mental to begin with — see Braden Holtby’s pre-game routine or Ilya Bryzgalov’s press conferences — and all of the Caps coaches, Bruce Boudreau, Dale Hunter and Adam Oates, employed the play the hot hand strategy with the young goalies, which brings us to today. Has the goalie merry-go-round hurt all the Caps young goaltenders mentally? Would the Caps be in a better place today if they’d settled on Neuvirth in 2011?

Instead, they played Holtby in the 2011 playoffs, after Neuvirth got them there by saving them early that season. He went 22-10-4 to start the season while the rest of the Caps played horrible hockey. Then, they brought in Tomas Vokoun and Neuvirth sat too much. He’s always been a starter and seems to play better with more games. Holtby won the job in 2012, to be fair, when Neuvirth was injured.  This season, he endured the presence of Philip Grubaeur as a member of a three goalie rotation. Now, Oates seems to have more confidence in Neuvirth than Holtby.

If Neuvirth played more the past couple of seasons, maybe he could steal games while playing behind the Caps way too young and inexperienced defense. I do know that the Caps can’t win games if they can’t score goals against the New York Islanders. Neuvirth can’t help that.

Let’s go Caps!

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Teams Who Had the Best 2013-2014 MLB Offseasons http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/05/teams-best-2013-2014-mlb-offseasons/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=teams-best-2013-2014-mlb-offseasons http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/05/teams-best-2013-2014-mlb-offseasons/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 17:38:00 +0000 http://thefarmclub.net/?p=34884 Many moves were made in the 2013-2014 MLB Offseason, but we have to ask, who had the best offseason in Major League Baseball?  A few teams stood out above the rest this offseason. The Farm Club baseball panel looks at who had the best offseasons in baseball. Our panel of voters included Steven Werner, Louis... Read more →

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Many moves were made in the 2013-2014 MLB Offseason, but we have to ask, who had the best offseason in Major League Baseball? 

A few teams stood out above the rest this offseason. The Farm Club baseball panel looks at who had the best offseasons in baseball. Our panel of voters included Steven Werner, Louis Winston, Charlie Portelli, Hayden Higgins and Tom Zahari

1. New York Yankees – Key Additions: Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Marisho Tanaka. Key Departure: Robinson Cano

“The Yankees lost one enormous piece in Cano, but made several other moves which more than made up for it. Ellsbury, Beltran and McCann all figure to be sizable upgrades over the players they’re replacing, and should collectively provide at least a dozen wins. The Tanaka signing immediately breathes life into what had become an aged, stagnant rotation, and bringing back Kuroda was an underrated move that further stabilizes the pitching staff. ” -Steven Werner

“The Yankees lost the best position player in the free agent class when Robinson Cano left for the Seattle Mariners, but the Yanks signed two of the best three outfielders, the best catcher, and what will probably be the best starting pitcher in the class.  They have holes on the infield, but they could be a very interesting team in 2014.” -Tom Zahari

“The Yankees used the Alex Rodriguez money saved to get themselves a quality pitcher, fixing some of their weakness in the field and adding a lot of speed.” -Louis Winston

“It is always risky when making a financial commitment to a Japanese pitcher before he has even thrown a pitch in the MLB but the Yankees desperately need a front-line starter. Ellsbury and Beltran have championship pedigree and extensive playoff experience. McCann is as consistent of a hitter as you get in a catcher and a proven leader.” -Charlie Portelli

2. Washington Nationals – Key Additions: Doug Fister, Nate McClouth

“The Fister deal was an absolute no-brainer for the Nationals. In the MLB it is essential to stockpile starting pitching and the Nationals have a young, deep starting rotation. They held on to their offensive pieces and the back end of their bullpen remains strong.” -Charlie Portelli

“Trade of the offseason.” – Hayden Higgins

3. St. Louis Cardinals – Key Additions: Jhonny Peralta, Mark Ellis, and Peter Bourjos

“The Cardinals had an underrated offseason in my opinion; they had 2 big weaknesses 1) Middle Infielder – they got Peralta who has the capability of hitting above average for his position and is not a too much of a defensive liability and 2)  another outfielder – they got Peter Bourjos, is a very good defensive player and has shown he can get hot with the bat.” – Louis Winston

“Filled their two needs very well with the signing of Peralta and trade for Bourjos.” -Hayden Higgins

“The Cardinals bolstered up the middle of their infield by signing Mark Ellis and Jhonny Peralta. It will be interesting to see how Peralta adjusts to the NL to see how good of an addition this really was. The addition of Bourjos to the outfield alleviates some of the pain of Beltran leaving for the Yankees, but this team is built on their young pitching which will carry them as far as they go in 2014.” -Tom Zahari

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Fantasy Baseball Deep Round Sleepers for 2014 and Beyond http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/05/fantasy-baseball-deep-round-sleepers-2014-beyond/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fantasy-baseball-deep-round-sleepers-2014-beyond http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/05/fantasy-baseball-deep-round-sleepers-2014-beyond/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 17:26:29 +0000 http://thefarmclub.net/?p=34935 In this article we will take a look at up and coming players who are due for a serious bump in playing time and/or promotion. Sleeper status will occur with a couple of the Saves Vulture players. We will also look at a few names I think should be on Deep Keeper league, ReDraft and... Read more →

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In this article we will take a look at up and coming players who are due for a serious bump in playing time and/or promotion.

Sleeper status will occur with a couple of the Saves Vulture players. We will also look at a few names I think should be on Deep Keeper league, ReDraft and Dynasty radars as well. By now, you’ve probably seen a BA top 100 prospects list or Keith Law’s top 100 prospect list. I’ll try to stay away from most of those names but, there are players on that list who will impact even your small ReDraft leagues. Dynasties obviously already know most of the players in top prospect lists; some may have slipped through the cracks. Here’s where you have an crisis/opportunity = Crisistunity to use that FAAB money once the guy is called up. No! Don’t rush out and draft Tracy McGrady for the sole purpose of novelty.

Michael Tonkin RP MIN

Groomed to be a closer in the Minnesota Twins organization; Michael Tonkin has sleeper status all over him. He’s the likely candidate to step in for a Glen Perkins injury and has skills to never give the job back. Tonkin’s BB/9 has always been below league average and he has the ability to get strikeouts from his fastball that he relies on. At 6’7″ he’s an imposing relief pitcher and a definite Saves Vulture.

Jose Berrios RP/SP MIN

First and foremost, he’s raw. He currently sits at 93-95 mph.

Jose dominated Single-A en route to racking up 100 Ks in his first full season. He’s displayed good control to go along with the strikeouts by only issuing 40 BB in over 110 IP. Jose role isn’t defined by the Twins just yet. They may bring him to the bigs as a RP due to his innings being capped though. Jose projects as a mid rotation starter long term. Something the twins sorely need. At this point he’s not a sleeper anymore. An early ETA would be mid 2015 even with the prospect-cold-feet Minnesota Twins.

Cody Allen RP CLE

Potential Saves Vulture. An 88/26 K/BB ratio and second in the league in strikeouts amount rookie relievers. Cody had an excellent season for the Indians where he finished sixth in AL – ROY voting. Cody’s K/9 was sixth among rookie pitchers and a stellar 11.26 while his BABIP was a bit high at .307. A regression to the mean should result in a lower ERA in 2014. Right now the job as Indians closer goes to newcomer John Axford. But if he stumbles Cody Allen could step in long term. Those who count Holds in their leagues may want to jump on as well.

Victor Black RP NYM

Only 16 IP in 2013 but considered to be a dark horse Saves Vulture on the Pittsburgh Pirates. He did however get put into some high risk situations in 2013 for the New York Mets. Should the Mets tire of Bobby Parnell I’d wager Vic gets the closer job.

Vic carries a K/9 of over 12.15 between AA and AAA. He should be successful at the major league level even if those K/9 numbers dip a bit.

Arodys Vizcaino RP CHC

Why is he under the radar as of right now? Well the once Atlanta Braves top prospect and oft-injured Righthander has yet to throw a pitch in a Minor League game for the Cubs Organization. Still the Cubs have a depleted bullpen where Vizcaino’s name is among some high WHIP competition. A name to target and a definite post hype sleeper for 2014. Arodys’s showed a solid K/9 in the minors but is prone to being wild. A bit of an unknown as to what he’ll provide. Arodys’s hit 98 on the gun this offseason and does carry the Saves Vulture title.

Luis Sardinas SS TEX

The reason the Texas Rangers can throw Elvis Andrus name out there as a possible trade candidate is they have Jurickson Profar. And well, to a lesser extent they have been grooming Elvis Andrus .5*. Sardinas so far looks to be another draft day steal for the Rangers who are developing the best middle infield prospects in the game. Luis could be a four tool middle infielder when he arrives at the big league level. The missing tool would be the power, not something you rely on at the middle infield spot anyway. Small Sample Size: Luis walked only 2.8% in 141PA in AA last season. This number has to come up for him to sustain success at the higher levels. An ETA would be late 2015 or sooner if Elvis Andrus is traded.

Burch Smith SP SD

Starting Pitchers who help me win a championship, in my opinion hold a good amount of sentimental draft value the following year. If not for helping my team over the hump in September – I will likely draft Burch. If not for having a cool name like Burch. If not for being a HodgePadre . I will draft Burch Smith. Burch Smith displayed a ridiculous 11.39 K/9 rate in his late season call-up last year. This number should go down as well as his BABIP from last season: .330.

Corey Seager SS LAD

The younger brother of Kyle Seager 3B SEA, Corey could be considered a sleeper and a steal for first year dynasty’s. Corey has more total tools and projects to stay in the middle infield. His strikeout rate in High-A last season was alarming however (27%). Its a small sample size but the previous season his strikeout rate was 18%. This could sway wether he turns into a Rickie Weeks type player with a plethora or more strikeouts, or a contact guy who can swipe a base. He needs to work on that K rate because his BB % is average at 10%. Corey is a couple of years away in LA but could be a nice middle infielder who puts up great counting stats.

Tracy McGrady OF SGR

No, this isn’t a joke. It’s about a retired NBA superstar fulfilling his dream of playing professional baseball. (Scoff) You could say this is a tired act disguised as a dream granted. You could say that because the same team (Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League) that signed Tracy McGrady “to fulfill his dream”. Also signed Roger Clemens to fulfill his dream of pitching Independent baseball in his fifties. You also could say Tracy McGrady is following in Bryce Harpers footsteps. Both superstars forwent a college education in lieu of playing professional baseball.

 

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Sochi Olympics: 2008 Draft Set To Make Impact http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/05/sochi-olympics-2008-draft-set-make-impact/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sochi-olympics-2008-draft-set-make-impact http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/05/sochi-olympics-2008-draft-set-make-impact/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 17:26:28 +0000 http://thefarmclub.net/?p=34921 The 2003 NHL Draft is widely believed to be one of the best draft classes in recent history – if not ever. In my books, the 2008 Draft has the potential to produce one of the best crop of defenseman to come the draft in quite some time. Some of the greatest of the draft... Read more →

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The 2003 NHL Draft is widely believed to be one of the best draft classes in recent history – if not ever.

In my books, the 2008 Draft has the potential to produce one of the best crop of defenseman to come the draft in quite some time.

Some of the greatest of the draft will get a chance to shine this Olympics in the coming weeks. Ten total players from the 2008 NHL Draft will play for their respective countries.

The list is headlined by Drew Doughty, now a two time Olympian. He was believed to be a throw in at the time of the rosters being announced but by the end of the Olympics he was one of the most important players to take the ice for Gold Medal winning Canada.

Here is a breakdown of each player and their potential impact for their country.

Drew Doughty

Doughty started at the bottom of the defensive lineup at the start of the Vancouver games, only to quickly rise to the top. This time in Sochi, there will be no doubt what Doughty’s role will be. Not only one of the top offensive defenseman in the league, he has rounded his game out to become one of the best all round defender.

Logging big minutes for the Los Angeles Kings, Doughty is only 24 but already has a Gold Medal in the Olympics, gold in the World Juniors and won the Stanley Cup. He will no doubt be go-to guy for Canada in any and all situations.

Steven Stamkos

Stamkos has turned into one of the league’s elite goal scorers and at the moment potentially the biggest wild card in the entire tournament. After breaking his leg earlier in the season, Stamkos has yet to make his return – targeting Saturday as his return date.

The problem with that is it only gives him one game to gauge whether or not he is healthy enough to play at the same elite level he is used to playing at.

If healthy, Canada will have one of the world’s elite goal scorers – imagine how dangerous the top power play could be with his right-handed shot receiving cross ice one-timers from Sidney Crosby.

Alex Pietrangelo

Despite coming from the same draft class, Pietrangelo doesn’t have the same experience that Doughty does but don’t be surprised if he makes the same kind of rise that Doughty did in 2010.

When all said and done, Pietrangelo has the offensive upside and the defensive IQ to be the best out of the bunch of very skilled and still very young defenseman – even if some are already one upping him in the accolade department.

Viktor Tikhonov

Tikhonov comes from Russian Hockey Royalty, so with the Olympics taking place there is little surprise that he makes the team. Viktor was the 28th overall pick in the ’08 draft to the Phoenix Coyotes but has made his name in his homeland playing for the SKA Saint Petersburg.

In 48-games this season, Tikhonov has scored 31-points and has won over 53% of his face-offs. He will bring speed to the bottom of the team’s lineup and some defensive responsibility to the team.

Slava Voynov

Voynov’s emergence with the Kings made Jack Johnson expandable, who landed them Jeff Carter in return – who was an important piece in their Stanley Cup run.

The same way the Nashville Predators drafted both Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, the Kings got both Doughty and Voynov in this draft and both will play prominent roles for their respective country. Russia decided to go younger on the blue line, which means there will be no learning curve for Voynov – he will be shoved right into action.

Erik Karlsson

Karlsson was the 15th overall pick in the draft to the Ottawa Senators, and while Doughty went higher – there is no doubting who the best offensive defenseman from the draft is. To take it a step further, it is hard to argue that Karlsson is the best offensive defenseman in the game.

Averaging over 27-minutes a game, Karlsson will be asked to do the same for Sweden, as they go into their first Olympics without Nicklas Lidstrom since before NHL players were allowed to take part in the tournament.

Gustav Nyqvist

Nyqvist is a late addition to team Sweden after teammate Johan Franzen was forced to pull out due to an injury. Nyqvist brings speed and scoring prowess to the table, and will fit into perfectly as a secondary scorer behind the Sedins, Nicklas Backstrom, and Gabriel Landeskog.

In 31-games with the Detroit Red Wings, Nyqvist has scored 23-points (13 G, 10 A).

Roman Josi

The second pick for the Nashville Predators will suit up for the Switzerland National team, being one of four defenders on the roster who play in the NHL.

In his third season in the NHL, Josi has already smashed his career high in points (25), and doing so in less games than the shortened season last year.

Josi is another member of this draft class who will be relied on to carry on heavy minutes for their respective team.

Derek Stepan

Stepan has already shinned on the international stage, captaining team-USA at the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships to the Gold Medal in a thrilling championship game against Canada.

Currently in his fourth season with the New York Rangers, he currently sits third on the team in points and led the team last year.

It will be interesting to see how team USA uses Stepan, as they have a group of experienced centers on their team. Stepan has the least amount of points among all centers on the American roster, so it won’t even be a guarantee he gets into the lineup.

John Carlson

A teammate of Stepan at the 2010 World Juniors, Carlson scored the game winning goal in the gold medal game that propelled the Americans to victory. In that time since, Carlson has become the top defenseman for his NHL club, the Washington Capitals.

Carlson has the second most points among team blueliners, and leads the entire team in time on ice. He has also become one of the best shot blockers in the league. He blocked the third most shots among defenseman in the league last year, and is in the top-15 right now.

He will likely be a pair with Cam Fowler, who he also played with in the 2010 WJC – and will be a fixture on the second power play unit and see some penalty kill time.

Conclusion

One of the biggest themes with the 2008 draft class? Defenseman who are slated to play big minutes for their respective countries. At 23-and-24 years old they are still growing as players, and can use this tournament to take their games to the next level.

Doughty did it, and don’t be surprised if a few players on this list do the same.

You can follow me on Twitter @AMurphyTFC.

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QC’s Cartoons: Orange Slush 1.0 http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/05/qcs-cartoons-orange-slush-1-0/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=qcs-cartoons-orange-slush-1-0 http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/05/qcs-cartoons-orange-slush-1-0/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 17:22:13 +0000 http://thefarmclub.net/?p=34918 It seems that all that could be said about Sunday night’s big game has been said, so I leave you with this last image. (Full disclosure: I’m one of those Bronco fans who is still in a state of shock, so this light-hearted cartoon serves as a means to ease myself, and hopefully those in... Read more →

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QC's Cartoons: Orange Slush 1.0

It seems that all that could be said about Sunday night’s big game has been said, so I leave you with this last image. (Full disclosure: I’m one of those Bronco fans who is still in a state of shock, so this light-hearted cartoon serves as a means to ease myself, and hopefully those in the same boat, back into reality.)

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Braves Ink Freeman to Long Term Deal http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/05/braves-ink-freeman-long-term-deal/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=braves-ink-freeman-long-term-deal http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/05/braves-ink-freeman-long-term-deal/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 15:24:45 +0000 http://thefarmclub.net/?p=34930 After extending Jason Heyward earlier today to avoid his final two arbitration years, the Braves later announced the signing of their 24-year old first baseman, Freddie Freeman to an eight year deal worth $135 million. This will buy out not only the rest of his arbitration years, but essentially the majority of his “prime” as a player... Read more →

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After extending Jason Heyward earlier today to avoid his final two arbitration years, the Braves later announced the signing of their 24-year old first baseman, Freddie Freeman to an eight year deal worth $135 million. This will buy out not only the rest of his arbitration years, but essentially the majority of his “prime” as a player as he is now inked through his age 32 season.

The $16.875 average annual salary that Freeman will receive is much higher than his arbitration numbers of $4.5 million (Braves) and $5.75 million (Freeman), but allows the Braves to pay a little more now, and avoid paying him over $20 million in the future, like most top first basemen are being paid today. News of the extension broke earlier today with no one knowing the exact numbers. There were only rumors of a much longer/lucrative deal for Freeman than the deal Heyward received earlier.

This signing leaves only Craig Kimbrel as the only unsigned arbitration-eligible player for the team. Seeing as how Kimbrel’s situation is extremely unique and has its own specific circumstances, there probably will not be a deal reached before his arbitration hearing. The good news is that two of the team’s building blocks for the future are under contract for more than just next year, and will not be a financial burden on the team in the near future as they eagerly await Dan Uggla‘s contract to clear off the books after the 2015 season.

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Best MLB Teams in the 2013-2014 Offseason http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/05/best-mlb-teams-in-the-2013-2014-offseason/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=best-mlb-teams-in-the-2013-2014-offseason http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/05/best-mlb-teams-in-the-2013-2014-offseason/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 13:00:41 +0000 http://thefarmclub.net/?p=34913 Many moves were made in the 2013-2014 MLB Offseason, but we have to ask, who had the best offseason in Major League Baseball?  A few teams stood out above the rest this offseason. The Farm Club baseball panel looks at who had the best offseasons in baseball. Our panel of voters included Steven Werner, Louis... Read more →

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Many moves were made in the 2013-2014 MLB Offseason, but we have to ask, who had the best offseason in Major League Baseball? 

A few teams stood out above the rest this offseason. The Farm Club baseball panel looks at who had the best offseasons in baseball. Our panel of voters included Steven Werner, Louis Winston, Charlie Portelli, Hayden Higgins and Tom Zahari

1. New York Yankees – Key Additions: Jacoby EllsburyCarlos BeltranBrian McCann, and Masahiro Tanaka. Key Departure: Robinson Cano

“The Yankees lost one enormous piece in Cano, but made several other moves which more than made up for it. Ellsbury, Beltran and McCann all figure to be sizable upgrades over the players they’re replacing, and should collectively provide at least a dozen wins. The Tanaka signing immediately breathes life into what had become an aged, stagnant rotation, and bringing back Kuroda was an underrated move that further stabilizes the pitching staff. ” -Steven Werner

“The Yankees lost the best position player in the free agent class when Robinson Cano left for the Seattle Mariners, but the Yanks signed two of the best three outfielders, the best catcher, and what will probably be the best starting pitcher in the class.  They have holes on the infield, but they could be a very interesting team in 2014.” -Tom Zahari

“The Yankees used the Alex Rodriguez money saved to get themselves a quality pitcher, fixing some of their weakness in the field and adding a lot of speed.” -Louis Winston

“It is always risky when making a financial commitment to a Japanese pitcher before he has even thrown a pitch in the MLB but the Yankees desperately need a front-line starter. Ellsbury and Beltran have championship pedigree and extensive playoff experience. McCann is as consistent of a hitter as you get in a catcher and a proven leader.” -Charlie Portelli

2. Washington Nationals – Key Additions: Doug Fister, Nate McClouth

“The Fister deal was an absolute no-brainer for the Nationals. In the MLB it is essential to stockpile starting pitching and the Nationals have a young, deep starting rotation. They held on to their offensive pieces and the back end of their bullpen remains strong.” -Charlie Portelli

“Trade of the offseason.” – Hayden Higgins

3. St. Louis Cardinals – Key Additions: Jhonny PeraltaMark Ellis, and Peter Bourjos

“The Cardinals had an underrated offseason in my opinion; they had 2 big weaknesses 1) Middle Infielder – they got Peralta who has the capability of hitting above average for his position and is not a too much of a defensive liability and 2)  another outfielder – they got Peter Bourjos, is a very good defensive player and has shown he can get hot with the bat.” – Louis Winston

“Filled their two needs very well with the signing of Peralta and trade for Bourjos.” -Hayden Higgins

“The Cardinals bolstered up the middle of their infield by signing Mark Ellis and Jhonny Peralta. It will be interesting to see how Peralta adjusts to the NL to see how good of an addition this really was. The addition of Bourjos to the outfield alleviates some of the pain of Beltran leaving for the Yankees, but this team is built on their young pitching which will carry them as far as they go in 2014.” -Tom Zahari

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Should Russell Wilson Attend Texas Rangers Spring Training? http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/04/russell-wilson-attend-texas-rangers-spring-training/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=russell-wilson-attend-texas-rangers-spring-training http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/04/russell-wilson-attend-texas-rangers-spring-training/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 20:37:34 +0000 http://thefarmclub.net/?p=34894 Russell Wilson is atop the football world. After becoming the third youngest quarterback to ever win the Super Bowl, only the sky is the limit for the young Seattle Seahawk signal caller. But what is next for Wilson? What does he do now in the meantime waiting to defend his title? How about some Spring... Read more →

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Russell Wilson is atop the football world.

After becoming the third youngest quarterback to ever win the Super Bowl, only the sky is the limit for the young Seattle Seahawk signal caller.

But what is next for Wilson? What does he do now in the meantime waiting to defend his title? How about some Spring Training?

The Texas Rangers shook up the annual Rule 5 draft during the Winter Meeting by selecting Wilson – a former baseball player in the Colorado Rockies organization until he went back to school and ended up a draft pick of the Seahawks.

Wilson wants to keep ties with the sport that he started out in professionally, and his agent has said his client does plan on attending the Rangers camp when fielders report on February 19.

This is nothing new for an athlete to cross over sports as most famously Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders both played football and baseball. But is this the best move for Wilson?

Obviously if he reports to camp, Seattle fans could revolt – understandably – Wilson is their franchise quarterback, and in a new age of young stud quarterbacks he is now the shining star. But I for one, hope he shows up for camp, more than just as a publicity ploy (because was it really anything other than that when the Rangers took him?).

I think it would show the younger generation what you can accomplish with enough hard work. Russell has worked hard all his life and look where he has gotten. Two teams from two different sports want him on their team. He just happens to have won a Super Bowl with one already.

Even if he is brought in just to talk to the team, or even the minor league players about success – it shows what kind of impact Wilson is already having on the sporting world. I hope it’s more than that. I hope he plays, and does well while in camp. Being selected in the Rule-5 draft means Wilson must remain with the Major League club or be offered back to his original team.

It would be hard to believe that the Rockies wouldn’t want his name attached to their organization if the Rangers don’t keep him, so the idea of Wilson playing in the Rangers’ minor league system isn’t likely.

But how cool would it be if the Rangers kept him for Opening Day, and the PA announcer calls his name when they roll out the roster?

What are your thoughts on this? Should Wilson go, or shouldn’t he? Is he selfish for wanting to keep in touch with the sport of baseball? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

One thing for sure, I will be hot after one of his cards when they come out.

You can follow me on Twitter @AMurphyTFC

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Atlanta Braves Avoid Arbitration with Heyward http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/04/atlanta-braves-avoid-arbitration-heyward/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=atlanta-braves-avoid-arbitration-heyward http://thefarmclub.net/2014/02/04/atlanta-braves-avoid-arbitration-heyward/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 20:32:47 +0000 http://thefarmclub.net/?p=34899 The Atlanta Braves avoided arbitration with young outfielder, Jason Heyward, by signing him to a 2-year deal worth $13.3 million. The #Braves have signed Jason Heyward to a 2-year contract — Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) February 4, 2014 Jason Heyward gets $13.3M for 2 yrs #braves — Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 4, 2014 This deal saves the... Read more →

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The Atlanta Braves avoided arbitration with young outfielder, Jason Heyward, by signing him to a 2-year deal worth $13.3 million.

This deal saves the Braves from a skyrocket in Heyward’s arbitration salary for the 2015 season. The two sides entered figures of $5.2 million (Braves) and $5.5 million (Heyward) for this off-season’s arbitration hearing. Heyward should get his money this season, then the expected increase in arbitration salary (should he perform at roughly the same level in 2014) will occur for the 2015 season. This keeps him affordable through the same off-season where Dan Uggla‘s ugly contract that has $26 million over the next two years, comes off the books.

Both sides win here. Heyward gets paid and gets to avoid the ugly, angering, dysfunctional process that is Major League arbitration while the Braves get to also avoid the arbitration process with Heyward as well as not have to pay him a larger salary should he continue to develop in 2014 into the superstar he is supposed to be.

The Braves still have two more arbitration eligible players in Freddie Freeman and Craig Kimbrel who I am sure Braves fans have to be feeling more optimism about signing more than one year deals with the team in the near future.

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