Tag Archives: Jason Heyward

Manny Machado close to a decision, with Phillies a strong finalist

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Machado would immediately make the Phillies an NL East contender

The Philadelphia Phillies have been linked to superstar infielder Manny Machado for some time now. Going back to the approach of the 2018 non-waiver trade deadline and on through the early months of this current off-season, Phillies fans have waited to see if the young superstar might choose to make Philadelphia his long-term baseball home.

Based on numerous reports across the baseball landscape over the past 24 hours that wait may soon be over. The Phillies are reportedly one of three finalists for his services, joined by the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees.
For the past few weeks it appeared as if the Yankees were emerging as favorites. However, New York just agreed to a deal with free agent Troy Tulowitzki. While that deal doesn’t necessarily knock the Yanks out of the Machado sweepstakes, it does appear to mitigate their need on the left side of the infield.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Philadelphia wrote today that the Yankees signing of Tulo absolutely has some bearing on their interest in Machado: “The signing is seen as inexpensive insurance should the team fail to sign Machado. It also could be a negotiating signal to Machado that the Yankees won’t wait forever.
The Yanks would use Machado at shortstop, the position he has publicly stated as a preference, for at least the first few months of the 2019 season. Incumbent Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius needed Tommy John surgery on his right throwing elbow back in October, and could miss at least the first half of the upcoming season.
But longer term, New York would have to work out that shortstop situation. That positional usage could also be an issue with the Phillies, who obtained shortstop Jean Segura in a trade with the Seattle Mariners earlier this off-season.
In the Phillies case, they could either overpay to get Machado to play third base, which would make incumbent Maikel Franco trade bait, or they could flip Segura over to second base. Segura received NL MVP votes during the 2016 season when he spent the entire year as the Arizona Diamondbacks starting second baseman.
Salisbury commented on the possibility of the Phillies possibly needing to overpay Machado to keep him out of the Bronx:

“The Phillies like the idea of using Machado at third base and would probably have to significantly outbid the Yankees to land him. The Phillies have been gearing for this offseason for years and have the resources to do just that — if Machado would say yes to their offer.” ~ Jim Salisbury

It is still believed that the Phillies have offered up to a 10-year deal valued at between $300-350 million to Machado. The White Sox had previously been rumored to be willing to go the same 10 years. However, Bruce Levine at 670 The Score, one of Chicago’s leading sports talk stations, reported this afternoon that the Chisox are falling short of that level offer:
Reports of the White Sox offering ten plus years for Manny Machado or Bryce Harper are ”Without any substance and flat out wrong “ according to high ranking industry sources . Wh Sox will not be giving offer of more than 7 years for either player.

553 people are talking about this

Considering recent long-term free agent deals signed by youngish free agents such as Jason Heyward, who got eight years from the Chicago Cubs back in December of 2015, and Eric Hosmer, who received an eight-year deal from the San Diego Padres last off-season, a 10-year deal taking either Machado or fellow star free agent Bryce Harper through their age 35 seasons is not out of line.
Mark Polishuk of MLB Trade Rumors commented on just that fact regarding the two 26-year-olds:

“Either player could quite reasonably still be productive in their age-35 season, when a ten-year deal would conclude…It’s almost impossible to see Harper or Machado taking less, considering that both have delivered considerably more superstar-level production than either Heyward or Hosmer at the time of their deals.”

Jeff Passan at ESPN reported earlier today that in the wait for decisions from Machado and Harper, the infielder is likely to make his choice first, and that decision could come soon.
“Machado is going to sign first, and perhaps soon, choosing from among the New York YankeesPhiladelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox. While one cannot rule out a mystery team — agent Dan Lozano is keeping a tight lid on the proceedings, just as he did when the Miami Marlins were among the final bidders on Albert Pujols — Machado’s fit among the known interested teams is strong enough not to necessitate a furtive suitor.”

There is a very real chance that we could get a Machado decision by this coming weekend or sometime next week. If he goes to the Yankees, the Phillies would throw their considerable financial resources towards Harper.
If Machado chooses to play in Philly, it will be interesting to see if the Phillies then drop out of the Harper sweepstakes or take a shot at landing both superstars.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as Phillies remain a finalist as Manny Machado readies to make his decision

MLB Draft first rounders not guaranteed success

Last night’s first round of the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft was full of excitement and anticipation for the teams and families involved. 
However, history shows that most of those selected will prove to be forgettable choices.
As an example, a look back at the draft from exactly a decade ago reveals such varied results. There were a couple of superstars in that 2007 MLB Draft, and a few other star-caliber players. There were also some who carved out a small niche for themselves in the big leagues.
But there were also a bunch of never-weres mixed into the selection process. Each one of those misses was considered to be a strong prospect at the time they were drafted.
The Tampa Bay Rays held the first overall pick in 2007, and there really wasn’t much of a choice. Left-handed pitcher David Price from Vanderbilt had been considered a near lock for that top selection for months.
With the second pick, the Kansas City Royals chose a left-side infielder from Chatsworth High School in California. The surprise was that the Royals selection was Mike Moustakas rather than Chris Dominguez. ‘Moose’ had put on a big time power display that spring to pass his more heavily scouted teammate.


Price and Moustakas represent the possibilities at the top of the draft. Price was perceived as a can’t miss prospect. Over the next decade, he would live up to the hype.
Now with the Boston Red Sox, Price has a 122-66 record over 175 appearances, 170 of those as a starter. He was the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, and was runner-up for the honor on two other occasions. He is a five-time American League all-star.
Moustakas was the Royals starter at third base for the better part of five seasons, culminating with an AL all-star selection in 2015 as the Royals won the World Series.
His career on an individual basis doesn’t equal Price’s. But Moustakas’s contributions to a championship team certainly mean that Kansas City will never regret his selection.


If Price and Moustakas reveal the upside possibilities of players picked at the top of a draft, the next two players show the opposite. Both players are largely forgotten, never having made a mark in the big leagues.
Selected at third overall by the Chicago Cubs was a California high school third baseman named Josh Vitters. Over the next five years, Vitters seemed to be progressing on schedule as he rose through the Cubs system.
In August of 2012, Vitters received his first big league promotion. He would spend most of the final six weeks of the season as the Cubs starting third baseman. Vitters hit for just a .121/.193/.202 slash line. He had just two home runs and five RBI, and never again appeared in a big league uniform.
The fourth overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates was a pitcher named Daniel Moskos. The lefty out of Clemson University in South Carolina would similarly see action in just one big league season.
Moskos appeared in 31 games over two separate stints with the Pirates in the 2011 season. He had a 1-1 record with a favorable 2.96 ERA mark. But Moskos also allowed 29 hits over 24.1 innings with just an 11/9 K:BB ratio.
Released by the Bucs in July of 2012, Moskos has bounced through four other MLB organizations since. While a free agent in June of 2015, Moskos was suspended for 50 games after a second positive test for a drug of abuse.


A big winner in that 2007 first round were the San Francisco Giants. With the 10th overall selection, the Giants chose a North Carolina high school lefty pitcher named Madison Bumgarner. The rest is history.
Bumgarner would help the Giants to World Series crowns in 2010, 2012, and 2014. He is a four-time NL all-star, and has two Silver Sluggers in his trophy case. In 2014 he was selected as the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year as well as the AP Male Athlete of the Year.
Aug 11, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; Bumgarner was the Giants first round pick at 10th overall in the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
There were other “hits” in that 2007 MLB Amateur Draft first round. Four-time all-star and two-time Gold Glove catcher Matt Wieters was selected fifth by the Baltimore Orioles. And four-time Gold Glover Jason Heyward was selected 14th overall by the Atlanta Braves.
And all the way down at 27th overall, the Detroit Tigers chose Rick Porcello. A New Jersey right-handed pitcher, Porcello would finish third in the 2009 AL Rookie of the Year voting. It was the first of his six consecutive seasons as an innings-eater in a contending Tigers rotation.
In December 2014, Detroit shipped Porcello off to the Boston Red Sox for a package that included a star rental outfielder in Yoenis Cespedes.
Porcello would finally put it all together in Boston a year ago. He won 22 games in 2016, and was honored with the AL Cy Young Award.


There will be more than a thousand players selected over the course of three days in the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft. A number of the players chosen after the first round are sure to make an impact far greater than most of the first rounders.
Jun 9, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; As “Mike” Stanton, the Marlins outfielder was a big hit as the club’s second round pick in the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft.  Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Florida (now Miami) Marlins chase Dominguez with their first round pick at 12th overall. He would appear in parts of five big league seasons, but just one in south Florida.
However, the Fish are certainly happy with their second round selection that season. At 76th overall, the Marlins selected outfielder “Mike” Giancarlo Stanton that year.
Other pitchers selected after the first round in the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft include Jordan Zimmermann (67), Corey Kluber (134), Jake Arrieta (159), Chris Sale (642), and Craig Kimbrel who was the 1,006th player chosen.
The 2007 Draft also included Freddie Freeman (78), Jonathan Lucroy (101). Anthony Rizzo (204), and Brandon Belt (348) as position players taken after the first round.


But aside from that handful of strong picks, the vast majority of the other two dozen players chosen in that 2007 first round were closer to Vitters and Moskos.
Feb 14, 2017; Goodyear, AZ, USA; the Cincinnati Reds first rounder at 15th overall, Mesoraco was a 2014 NL all-star, but is now a backup catcher. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY Sports
Others chose in the top ten that year included players who have tasted the big leagues, such as Ross DetwilerMatt LaPortaCasey Weathers, and Jarrod Parker.
Scattered throughout the rest of the first round were players who never even reached the big leagues, led by Beau Mills, a pitcher selected at 13th overall by the Cleveland Indians.
Devin Mesoraco probably represents a mid-level outcome for a first round draftee. The catcher was selected at 15th overall by the Cincinnati Reds.
Now in his seventh season, he was a 2014 NL all-star. But that was Mesoraco’s only real big season, and he is now relegated to backup duties.


History shows that, despite all the excitement surrounding the young men selected last night, most of them will never make even one appearance in Major League Baseball.
Every first rounder will be a millionaire. The slot value for the 30th overall pick, which is the final pick of that first round, has been assigned by MLB at more than two million dollars.
Hopefully the players and their families make some wise financial decisions in the coming weeks and months, because most are never going to see another huge payday from the game of baseball.
However, each now has a chance, which is more than most youngsters who have ever played the game have ever received. They will get first-class coaching and medical treatment, and as a first round pick, they will get at least a few years to prove their worth on the diamond.

MLB 2016 Predictions: NL Most Valuable Player

Our staff at TBOH has just released our predictions for the final standings in each division, as well as our postseason predictions, including the 2016 World Series winner. 
In addition, in my role as editor I have also released my own predictions for the Phillies in the coming season.
Our staff continued by releasing our predictions for some of MLB’s major award winners, including the Cy Young Award in each league, as well as the Rookie of the Year Awards.
We’ll wrap our predictions today by releasing our picks for the front-runners for American and National League Most Valuable Player, as well as our pick for the first manager to be fired this season in Major League Baseball.
A year ago, Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals finally stayed healthy for a full season. 
The result was what has been anticipated since he was a teenager. Harper produced a .330/.460/.649 slash line, bashing 42 homers, driving in 99 runs, and scoring 118 times to become the unanimous National League Most Valuable Player.

Arizona Diamondbacks 1st baseman Paul Goldschmidt had a tremendous season of his own, one that would normally have seen him take the honors, or at least finish close in the voting. Instead, Goldy had to settle for a clear but distant runner-up finish.
A host of strong contenders also received solid support following those two in the 2015 NL MVP balloting, including 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds, 2013 NL MVPAndrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and a trio of Chicago Cubs in Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta and young sluggers Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.
In our staff voting here at TBOH for the 2016 NL Most Valuable Player, there was no clear favorite. 
Harper was the only player to receive two votes, but it’s hard to call that a consensus. He is akin to Trout over the American League: if he stays healthy, he will be a perennial contender for the honors.
Goldschmidt received one of our staffers vote. Both Bryant and Rizzo from the Cubs, as well as their new teammate, outfielder Jason Heyward, each received a vote as our NL MVP. San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, the 2012 NL MVP, received a vote.
The final vote was a fairly obvious hometown choice, something that staff writer Alexis Girardo fully admitted when she cast her ballot for 3rd baseman Maikel Franco of the Phillies.
The 2016 National League Most Valuable Player race is probably Harper’s to lose. He has the ability, again, if healthy, to carry the Washington Nationals on his back to a postseason berth and on deep into October. 
Unlike Trout, he has a strong supporting cast around him, and that very well could be the scenario that plays out this year.

MLB Defensive Team of the Year 2014

Andrelton Simmons of the Braves is the best
defensive shortstop in the game today

For the casual fan of the game, the least appreciated and valued part of most baseball games is defense.

Until some egregious error is made that costs their team a run, or worse yet, a game, many fans simply do not value this part of the sport nearly enough.

Simply put, good defense is vital to a team succeeding over the long haul of a 162-game season, and can prove the difference in what are often tough, low-scoring playoff and World Series games.

Just as much as a massive homerun in a close game, or a key base hit at clutch time, or a pitcher striking out a batter in a pivotal moment with runners on base, a sensational dive, leap, catch, throw…sometimes all four together, can change the course of a game, a series, and a season.

Many of my fellow Phillies fans, who shared the thrill of the 2008 post-season run to a World Series crown, might have a hard time remembering some of the big hits during that series against the Rays. But every single one of those fans remembers “The Deke“, the Chase Utley defensive play that may have been the real difference.

The Phils were up 3-1 in the series and trying to win it at home, avoiding a return to Tampa where anything could happen. Game 5, tied at 2-2 after 6 innings, had been delayed by monsoon-like rains that had caused a suspension of play for two days.

The teams finally returned to action, exchanged runs, and went into the top of the 7th tied at 3-3. The Rays had shortstop Jason Bartlett on 2nd base as the potential go-ahead run with two outs as speedy 2nd baseman Akinori Iwamura stepped to the plate and shot a grounder up the middle.

With Iwamura’s speed, it looked to at least be an infield hit. Utley fielded, and turned as if to throw to try to get Iwamura at 1st base. Tampa’s 3rd base coach, Tom Foley, sensed an opportunity to take the lead at a pivotal moment and frantically waved Bartlett to the plate for the go-ahead run.

It was here that Utley made a play for the ages, the type of heads-up, hustling play that has defined the Phillies’ 2nd baseman’s career. Instead of throwing to first, Utley actually pumped his arm, and in the same motion turned and fired a one-hop throw to catcher Carlos Ruiz. “Chooch” fielded it and dove to tag out Bartlett, who himself was diving headfirst for the plate.

The Phils scored a lone run in their half of the 7th to re-take the lead at 4-3, and two innings later Brad Lidge dropped to his knees after striking out Eric Hinske to give the club it’s first championship in 28 years. As much as any other factor, it was the Utley play that keyed the victory.

Jim Edmonds, June 10th, 1997, my personal fave

Whether it was Willie Mays’ “The Catch” in the 1954 World Series, Joe Rudi leaping against the left field wall in the early 1970’s, or Ozzie Smith diving into the hole in the 1980’s, Derek Jeter’s “The Flip” in 2001, or my personal favorite of all-time, Jim Edmonds’ version of “The Catch” in 1997, defense has not only sparked victories, but defined them.

The following are my own choices for the 2014 Major League Baseball Defensive Team and Player of the Year.


Best Defensive Team
Kansas City Royals

Defensive Player of the Year 
Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta (shortstop)

Defensive Team of the Year
1B – Adrian Gonzalez, LAD
2B – Dustin Pedroia, Boston
SS – Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta
3B – Chase Headley, NYY
C   – Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee
LF – Alex Gordon, Kansas City
CF – Jackie Bradley Jr, Boston
RF – Jason Heyward, Atlanta
P    – Zack Greinke, LAD

MLB 2010: National League

In nearly every major publication and from most every prognosticator you will find that the 3-time defending NL East winning, 2-time defending National League champion, and back-to-back World Series participant Philadelphia Phillies are considered the odds-on favorites to repeat at least where that eastern crown is concerned.

In fact, many have them again winning the NL pennant and advancing back to the Series, some predicting they will win.

An admitted lifelong Phillies fan, this absolutely prejudiced observer is calling it that way. Phillies to win their 4th straight NL East crown, 3rd straight National League pennant, and then a 2nd World Series title in 3 years.

Did you expect anything else from me under the current circumstances? However, it will be a struggle, there will be highs and lows, they will be pushed. I will cover the Phillies specifically in detail in my next article here in the coming days.

In that NL East race, the team that will push the Phillies the most this year will be…the Atlanta Braves. In fact, some might even find a reason to pick Atlanta to Tomahawk Chop their way back to the top of the division and unseat the Fightin’s from their lofty perch.

Atlanta’s rotation of Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens, Derek Lowe, Tommy Hanson & Kenshin Kawakami is talented and deep. The lineup is led by declining veteran and future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones and perhaps the best offensive catcher in the NL in Brian McCann.

However, the biggest reason that the Braves will challenge the Phils will be the play of tremendous rookie right fielder Jason Heyward. If you haven’t heard of him yet, you will, and soon. Bobby Cox has a strong bullpen as well, and in his final season as manager he should push for a playoff spot.

The Florida Marlins have a superstar and NL MVP candidate in shortstop Hanley Ramirez, a pair of exciting young outfielders in Chris Coghlan and Cameron Maybin, a slugging 2nd baseman in Dan Uggla, and a pair of strong starting pitchers in Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco. But they lack the overall roster depth to beat out either the Phils or the Braves. The New York Mets are not as deep or dangerous as in previous seasons, and are once again battling injury. The starting pitching behind Johan Santana is just not deep or talented enough either. They should be good enough to stay ahead of the Washington Nationals, but maybe just for one more season. Once Nats uber-prospect starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg arrives this summer, he may help vault them past New York.

In the NL Central the safe and sexy pick are the St. Louis Cardinals. The best hitter on the planet, Albert Pujols, will now be joined for a full season by the support of star outfielder Matt Holliday. Those two and the 1-2 rotation punch of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright are formidable, but I don’t think it’s going to all be enough to repeat at the top of the division. I like the Cards to slip to 2nd place behind the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brew Crew will be led by a pair of genuine MVP candidates of their own in Ryan Braun (pictured) and Prince Fielder. Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf will give them a strong 1-2 rotation punch. I’m calling this a very close race, with an MVP season from Braun providing the difference for the Brewers.

Behind those two top central dogs, I’ll call the order: Cincinnati, Chicago, Houston and Pittsburgh. The Reds, like their AL Central and Ohio brothers in Cleveland, have ‘dark horse’ contender written all over them. If their rotation stays healthy, and if young bats Joey Votto and Jay Bruce produce to their potential, the Reds could surprise and push the top two. The Cubs look like aging underachievers to me, though ace Carlos Zambrano appears to be in shape and motivated. The Astros have talent, especially in it’s lineup with Carlos Lee, Lance Berkman, Hunter Pence, and Michael Bourn, but it is fragile. The Pirates are still just too young, though outfielder Andrew McCutchen will prove one of baseball’s most exciting players.

In the NL West, I am looking at perhaps the closest 1-3 race in the league. The Rockies, Dodgers, and Giants (I’ll call the finish in that order, since I have to make a prediction) can all win the division here with the right answers to their respective questions. For Colorado, are the young bats at the top of the order in Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler for real? For the LA Dodgers, can Manny Ramirez still be a Hall of Fame offensive force in the middle of the order? In San Fran, can they manufacture enough offense to support what is perhaps the best pitching in the division? In fact, the Arizona Diamondbacks have the roster talent to join this group and make it a 4-team race, but only if they can get ace Brandon Webb healthy early and keep him healthy all year.

I think that the Rockies kids are indeed for real, and that the club will find enough pitching led by starter Ubaldo Jimenez to win the division. The Dodgers will find that Mannywood is shutting down, and that the star slugger will both decline in production and prove to be a disruptive presence in the clubhouse. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Brian Wilson lead a strong and deep Giants’ staff, but the ‘Kung Fu Panda’, Pablo Sandoval, will not have enough offensive help for the team to push past the top two clubs.

The health issue will prove to much for Arizona, despite the presence of one of the game’s emerging superstars in outfielder Justin Upton. The San Diego Padres will pull up the rear out west, with the biggest item there all season being when, to where, and for what will they trade stud 1st baseman and pending free agent Adrian Gonzalez.

In the playoffs, I think that the Phillies and Brewers will advance to meet one another in the NLCS, repeating their matchup from the 2008 Divisional playoff round which the Phils won by a 3 games to 1 count. I think that the Phils offense will wear down and overwhelm the Brewers pitching, putting Philly into the World Series for the 3rd consecutive season. This would mark the first time since the Stan Musial-led St. Louis Cardinals of 1942-44 that a team from the Senior Curcuit went to 3 straight World Series appearances.

In that World Series, I am going to pick, oh, I don’t know, how about those Phillies to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays in a rematch of their 2008 battle. This one could be much closer. The Rays starting pitching is better now, but so is the Phillies. The Rays offense is more experienced now, but then so are the Phillies players. I am  going to give the World Series nod to the combination of Ray Halladay and Cole Hamels, with the Phillies taking it in the full 7-game limit. Another parade down Broad Street for the Fightin’ Phils and their fans in early November of 2010.

Picks for the National League award winners are Ryan Braun, the Milwaukee Brewers outfield stud, as the NL Most Valuable Player. The Cy Young Award will go to the Phillies big acquisition, ace righthander Roy Halladay. I will pick outfielder Jason Heyward of the Braves to begin a long and storied career with a Rookie of the Year Award in 2010. However, Heyward will be seriously pushed for that award by starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg, taking the honor only because Strasburg will start out with a few weeks in the  minor leagues.