The baseball world was rocked last night when the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers hooked up for an unexpected blockbuster trade. The Tigers sent first baseman Prince Fielder and $30 million to the Rangers in exchange for second baseman Ian Kinsler.
The trade could be a massive win for the Tigers, as the team clears enough salary to lockup ace Max Scherzer, while also addressing a hole at second base (due to free agent Omar Infante).
Kinsler’s offense has undoubtedly taken a hit over the years. The right-handed batter has witnessed his home run total and park-adjusted OPS+ drop 59.3 and 11.0 percent, respectively, since 2011.
The bigger question in Motown, however, is whether Kinsler can actually still play his longtime position. Continue reading
Posted in Closer Looks, Trades
Tagged Ben Berkon, Can Ian Kinsler Still Play Second Base, Fielder, Fielder Trade, Ian Kinsler, Ian Kinsler Defense, Ian Kinsler Trade, Kinsler, Kinsler Defense, Kinsler Trade, Prince Fielder, Prince Fielder Trade, The Beanball
One of the biggest knocks on general manager Sandy Alderson has been his inability to build a successful bullpen. And while Bobby Parnell flourished in 2013, the bullpen as a whole combined for a 3.98 ERA–which ranked 22nd in baseball. In addition, the bullpen’s 4.02 FIP was the fourth worst in the game.
But Alderson’s late-season (in 2013) acquisition of Vic Black, a 25-year-old and former first round pick, was a step in the right direction. Black owned a 3.08 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 2.41 K/BB in five seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ minor league system. Over the past two seasons, however, the Texas native dominated the upper levels to the tune of a 2.02 ERA, 12.48 K/9 and 20 saves.
Photo by Michael G. Baron (Flickr)
Black looked comfortable in 13 innings for the New York Mets too, tossing a 3.46 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 3.0 K/BB while averaging 95.5 miles per hour on his fastball. With Parnell likely to begin the 2014 season on the disabled list, there’s a good chance the right-handed Black will get a crack at some saves–and perhaps more if Parnell’s neck injury lingers.
The Beanball was fortunate to catch-up with Vic Black about what it was like to be traded, how he plans to improve his command in 2014 and a host of other deeper looks into the Mets’ reliever’s playing and non-playing life. Make sure to read the whole interview after the jump. Continue reading
Posted in Interviews
Tagged Ben Berkon, Black, Mets, New York Mets, The Beanball, Vic Black, Vic Black Closer, Vic Black Interview, Vic Black Trade, Victor Black, Victor Black Closer, Victor Black Interview
Around this time last season, the San Francisco Giants were playoff-bound. And about a month later, on October 28, 2012, the Giants were crowned as the World Series champs for the second time in three years.
But 2013 has been a humbling season for a team that won 94 games just a year ago. The Giants finished 10 games below the .500 clip in 2013 and witnessed injury-plagued seasons from Ryan Vogelsong, Marco Scutaro, Pablo Sandoval and Angel Pagan. Oft-ace Matt Cain also posted a perplexingly lackluster campaign, hurling an 83 ERA+—41 points below his career rate.
The Giants were quick to look towards 2014, however. This past Saturday, the team announced a five-year, $90 million extension for outfielder Hunter Pence. Pence enjoyed an elite 2013 season, hitting to the tune of a 137 OPS+, 7.5% BB%, 27 HR and 22 SB.
Based on his recent production, in which he accumulated a 4.1 bWAR, Pence is easily worth $18 million per season. In fact, his 2013 season was worth $22.55 million. But considering Pence will be 31 on Opening Day 2014—and more importantly, 35 years old in the final season of his new contract—the Giants will quickly regret their desperate signing. Continue reading
This is Ty Cobb. No, seriously.
It’s not particularly uncommon for “normal” people to share the same name with a celebrity. For instance, the Founder and CEO of Wanderful Interactive Storybooks is a guy named Mickey Mantle. And while the singer / songwriter James Taylor might be off the bottle, his Florida counterpart—also named James Taylor—had about “ten beers too many” on his somewhat recent 58th birthday.
Yet, sometimes, people sharing the same name with celebrities warrants everyone’s full attention. This is the case with top gun Hogan Lovells lawyer, Ty Cobb. Continue reading
So far in 2013, it has been the Matt Harvey show. And for good reason. Harvey has posted an electric 2.04 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and 5.10 K/BB over 97 innings, and is the sole reason for fans to watch an otherwise dismal team. Given the 24 year-old’s dominant four-pitch arsenal, impeccable work ethic, and unrelenting determination, it’s conceivable Matt Harvey will be the Mets’ ace for the better part of the next decade.
But as important as Harvey is to the Mets’ future, arguably Zack Wheeler is more so. Continue reading
Posted in Op-Ed
Tagged A Lot Riding on Zack Wheeler's Debut, Ben Berkon, Harvey, Matt Harvey, Mets, New York Mets, The Beanball, Wheeler, Yahoo, Yahoo! Sports, Zack Wheeler
The New York Mets organization and its fans have witnessed a lot of heartbreak over the years.
But, perhaps, most of that massive letdown has been due to poor drafting. Of the 62 players drafted in the first round, 21 (or 33.8%) of them never made it to the major leagues. In terms of quality, only four of the Mets’ first-round picks owned a career bWAR over 20.0 (Dwight Gooden, David Wright, Darryl Strawberry, and Jon Matlack).
While there have been many, many bad picks executed by the Mets since 1965, below are arguably the five worst: Continue reading
The July 31st trade deadline is always one of the most exciting stretches of time for fans.
Whether it’s acquiring a front line pitcher like Zack Greinke or a back-up catcher like Kelly Shoppach, fans can’t help but hope their home team improves for the playoff push. The 2013 trade deadline, while 2.5 months away, will be no different.
Here are five players who will likely be on the move this year. Continue reading
The New York Mets offense is struggling. The team has a collective .230/.302/.382 triple-slash, with a .684 OPS–which ranks 26th in the major leagues. However, the real issue is with the Mets’ outfield. Mets’ center fielders have combined for a .530 OPS+ (worst in the majors) and right fielders a .621 (tied for third worst). While Mike Baxter and Andrew Brown, perhaps, deserve a chance to start this season, the Mets need to sign to-be free agent Shin-Soo Choo this coming off-season. Continue reading
Since writing Part 1 of this series, which detailed three hypothetical, arbitration-eligible outfield trade targets, the New York Mets actually acquired an outfielder: Rick Ankiel. Somewhat predictably, Mets fans reacted adversely, as the 33-year-old has become a perennial albatross and trash heap frequenter due to his poor plate approach (26 strikeout percentage, 7.7 walk percentage). What is perhaps most perplexing about the addition is that Ankiel, seemingly, is the complete antithesis of what the Sandy Alderson regime represents in terms of batter patience.
Alas, Rick Ankiel is a Met, at least for the time being. But that hardly means the team will not continue to pursue other outside the organization options. Here are three more pre-arbitration trade targets that the Mets could look to acquire. Continue reading