Tag Archive | "Game Suspension"

Melky Cabrera Does Something Right…For Once.

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Melky Cabrera Does Something Right…For Once.

Posted on 23 September 2012 by Trish Vignola

Melky Cabrera, serving a 50-game suspension for testing positive for testosterone, a performance-enhancing substance, will not win this year’s National League batting title.

You think?

At Cabrera’s request, the Commissioner’s Office and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced an agreement on Friday to suspend, for this season, part of a rule that might have resulted in the Giants outfielder winning the league’s batting title despite being one plate appearance shy of automatically qualifying for it. Believe it or not, according to Rule 10.22(a), Cabrera still could have been crowned batting champion.

Cabrera asked not to be considered under the circumstances. “I have no wish to win an award that would be tainted,” Cabrera said in a statement on MLB.com. “I believe it would be far better for someone more deserving to win. I asked the Players Association and the league to take the necessary steps to remove my name from consideration for the National League batting title.”

Where was this moral fortitude this spring?

Cabrera continues. “I am grateful that the Players Association and MLB were able to honor my request by suspending the rule for this season. I know that changing the rules mid-season can present problems, and I thank the Players Association and MLB for finding a way to get this done.”
Cabrera had 501 plate appearances and .346 batting average at the time of his suspension on Aug. 15. The requirement to win a batting title is 502 plate appearances, a total based on 3.1 plate appearances per game. The issue in question was Rule 10.22(a). That allowed for an exception by adding one or more hypothetical at-bats to a player’s statistics in order to reach 502 appearances. I don’t get it, but if the player maintained the league lead after such a calculation, he would be named the league champion.

Apparently, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn won the NL batting title in 1996, via such a calculation. He finished the season with 498 plate appearances. He had a .353 average.

“After giving this matter the consideration it deserves, I have decided that Major League Baseball will comply with Mr. Cabrera’s request,” Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement to MLB.com. “I respect his gesture as a sign of his regret and his desire to move forward, and I believe that under these circumstances, the outcome is appropriate, particularly for Mr. Cabrera’s peers, who are contending for the batting crown.”

Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, batting .339 entering play Friday, currently has the next highest average in the National League. Buster Posey of the Giants follows with a .335 average. Cabrera made his request to Michael Weiner, the executive director of the MLBPA. Weinter brought it to Commissioner Selig’s attention. The parties then worked to clarify the rule, and collectively agreed the rule would be amended this season.

“Melky Cabrera, through a written request to me, asked for the union’s assistance in removing him from consideration for the 2012 National League batting title,” Weiner said in a statement on MLB.com. “We complied with Melky’s wish and brought the matter to the Commissioner’s Office, which agreed to suspend the rule. We commend Melky’s decision under these circumstances.”

Yeah, he’s the epitome of righteousness.

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Point and Grunt Baseball: Bartolo Colon

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Point and Grunt Baseball: Bartolo Colon

Posted on 25 August 2012 by Dennis Lawson

Colon isn’t fat; he’s just fluffy.

Bartolo Colon tested positive for synthetic testosterone and received a 50-game suspension for his troubles.  Does this make him the dumbest cheater ever, or was he simply guilty of consuming one Melky Cabrera?  The two questions are not necessarily mutually exclusive, so the possibility remains that the dumbest cheater ever ate a Cabrera.  Seriously though, it takes a simpleton to try and sneak synthetic testosterone past MLB’s drug testing program.  Worse yet, Colon might be the most unlikely person ever banned for performance enhancing drugs.

If anything, one might expect Colon to test positive for gravy in his bloodstream, abnormally high levels of peanut butter in his brain, or large quantities of beef jerky hidden inside his uniform.  Duh.  After a respectable 2011 season, Colon managed to finagle the A’s for a $2M contract for 2012.  That’s the Oakland A’s.  $2M.  Did Colon really believe he needed artificial help to score one more contract?  Seriously?  The 5′ 11″, 475 pound pitcher has cashed checks to the tune of over $70M during his career.  It seems unlikely that Colon could really spend that much money at Golden Corral and Pizza Hut.  I haven’t priced boxes of Twinkies lately, but Colon’s take home pay must be enough to cover his cream-filled goodies tab.

If ever someone looked at the risk/reward scenario and chose the “high risk, low reward” box, it was Colon.  Maybe he spent all of 20 minutes going through the “Baseball Cheats for Dummies” handbook and missed the chapter on how Ryan Braun beat the system.  Perhaps he started doing P90X in an effort to eliminate his m00bs in time for a friend’s wedding or family photos, and he needed a little extra oomf.  Regardless, he might as well have left a box of used syringes in his locker and put a “Test Me” sign on his back.

In the realm of dumb cheaters, Colon might be the leader in the clubhouse for the dunce cap and corner seat.  This move ranks right up there with a marathoner sneaking off the course at the 4 mile mark and showing back up around the 24th mile.  To make the analogy work for Colon, that marathon runner would have to be wearing street clothes and sporting a fresh haircut.  To Colon’s credit, at least he didn’t try to spoof MLB by creating a fake website and using a phony excuse.  He has yet to come out and express insincere remorse about “anybody that might be hurt and/or offended” by his cheating attempt and subsequent ban.

Perhaps the greatest disappointment stems from the likelihood that Bartolo has taken a successful baseball career and turned it into an afterthought.  Unless he cures all forms of cancer or wins some competitive eating competitions, he will probably be remembered as just another cheater.  Pretty sad way for a guy with a career 171-122 record to leave the sport, but he chose this ending.  He opted for an unsophisticated, easily detected method of enhancing performance.  Of course, he could have chosen to hit the treadmill a couple times a week and probably experienced similar results.  Instead, he will probably be reduced to a career marked by a ” : ” instead of an asterisk.  Too bad.  He had a pretty promising career as a potential “Biggest Loser” contestant.

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DOs And DONTs: Oakland Athletics

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DOs And DONTs: Oakland Athletics

Posted on 29 February 2012 by Gary Marchese

This is a look at the Oakland Athletics 40 man roster.  It is a fantasy baseball look though.  If I were drafting a team and looking at the Athletics specifically this is what I would and wouldn’t do.  If there are any comments, thoughts, questions please feel free to respond on the site.  I also have a twitter account which I can be reached on @marches, feel free to connect with me there.  I hope you enjoy this article as well as the others I have done and my colleagues have done.  We have worked really hard to have all 30 MLB teams covered by time your drafts happen in the next month.

Do take a look at Bartolo Colon for depth in your pitching rotation.  He isn’t a top of the line guy anymore and you may not even think he is worth it.  He resurrected his career in New York last year though and in a pitchers park should do even better this year.  He was 8-10 last year with a 4.00 ERA, he made 26 starts the most he had made in four years.  I would definitely take a good look at him.

Don’t take a flyer on Manny Ramirez.  First of all he is coming off of retirement.  He is also a bad egg who is bound to get into trouble.  He also has to serve a 50 game suspension at the beginning of the season.  Ramirez won’t be around until the 51st game of the season.  That is too much time to waste in a fantasy league.  I would stay far away from him for these reasons.

Do take an interest in Yoenis Cespedes.  I don’t know if he will ever be a good major league player.  That is hard to predict but what an athlete.  He is playing in a place where there really isn’t any pressure.  Oakland may have more eyes on them now because of the Moneyball movie but I doubt it.  They are overshadowed in their own division, never mind league and even state.  I would take a chance on a guy like this and see what happens.

Don’t think Daric Barton is a first baseman to even consider.  He has never showed the power the Athletics thought he would.  Barton was even sent to the minors last year after a sluggish start.  Last season he hit 212 with no homeruns and 21 RBI.  He played in 67 games.

Do like that Coco Crisp can bring some speed to your team.  In the last two years he has stolen a total of 81 bases.  He is a good center fielder and a veteran.  He may not be great but he is a solid career 275 hitter.  He won’t offer much pop but he could get you 6-8 homeruns and around 50 RBI.

Don’t think Jonny Gomes can be an everyday outfielder.  He has never played more then 148 games.  He is a career 242 hitter.  He will provide some power but it won’t be more then 20 homeruns especially playing in Oakland.  He isn’t going to steal many bases and he isn’t going to be on base at a great rate.  He has a career 329 on base percentage.

Cliff Pennington won’t be at the top of the shortstop list.  He also won’t be your worst option of a to DO list.  Pennington in the last two years has gotten his chance.  He has hit 250 and 264, he has hit six and eight homeruns and driven in 46 and 58.  He stole 29 bases two years ago and 14 last year so he has the ability to add some speed to your team.

Brandon Allen has shown nothing in the majors to even look at.  His career average is 210.  He has hit a total of 11 homeruns in three  years.  He has 38 RBI in three years, for anyone this is bad but especially a first baseman.  He won’t steal you any bases either or get on base at a high rate.  There is nothing to like about him and he is a big DON’T.

Do take a shot with Josh Reddick at least as a reserve outfielder.  He played the most games last year for the Red Sox and showed them something.  He showed enough to get them Andrew Bailey in a trade.  Bailey is a proven closer and the Red Sox needed that badly after losing Jonathan Papelbon.  Reddick last year batted 280 with seven homeruns and 28 RBI.  He had a 327 on base percentage.

If there is anyone on this list you think that I missed please let me know through a post on the site or contact me through twitter.  I look forward to all responses.  This wasn’t an easy article to write.  The Athletics really don’t have many names at all on their roster.  Most teams have some clear cut Dos, they have a lot of don’ts on their team and that made it more difficult.  The Athletics will most be remembered for money ball but not for the team on the field.  They may have some headlines with Manny Ramirez around and by signing Cespedes but other then that there isn’t much to talk about.

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Why the A’s should trade for Ichiro Suzuki

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Why the A’s should trade for Ichiro Suzuki

Posted on 22 February 2012 by Graham Womack

Last year, Ichiro Suzuki had his worst season. The Seattle Mariners right fielder and future Hall of Famer hit .272, 54 points below his lifetime average. He also had an OPS+ of 84 and -0.4 WAR and failed to win a Gold Glove or top 200 hits for the first time in his career, the ageless wonder finally starting to look like a player pushing 40. The Mariners have been through this before with Ken Griffey Jr., and if past experience holds, this only gets worse for Seattle.

There are two options for the Mariners. They can hold onto Ichiro and keep paying him $17 million a season until the franchise icon retires– in fact, there’s talk of him hitting third for Seattle this year. But there’s a better option, one I wouldn’t hesitate on if I was the Mariners general manager. If I’m Jack Zduriencik, I call the Athletics and swing a deal.

Sounds impossible and illogical for Oakland, I’m sure, a team seemingly in a holding pattern while it awaits approval to move to San Jose. The A’s have a projected $38 million budget for Opening Day, little hope of contending with the Rangers and Angels this year in the American League West, and as a kicker, no less than seven outfielders that could see playing time. Then there’s Manny Ramirez who could join the A’s lineup as a 40-year-old designated hitter in late May after he serves a 50-game suspension for his second positive test for performance enhancing drugs. There’s a definite logjam in Oakland, but nothing’s set in stone, either. Nothing in Oakland ever is, really, with Billy Beane baseball’s version of that neighbor who manages to hold a garage sale every weekend.

Certainly, the A’s would need to clear roster space and make the dollars work in a trade for Ichiro, perhaps cribbing off the deal the Pittsburgh Pirates recently pulled to get A.J. Burnett and have the Yankees pay roughly 60 percent of the $31 million he’s owed. But there’s incentive for the A’s here. In the offensive wasteland that is Oakland Coliseum, Ichiro owns a .364 lifetime batting average in 418 at-bats, compared to .326 at Safeco Field in Seattle. Even last year in the midst of epic struggles, Ichiro hit .351 in Oakland while batting just .261 at home. Playing a full season with the A’s, Ichiro could be a .300 hitter for a team that’s had just two the past six years.

Then there are the fan implications. I attended an early season game in Oakland last year on Japanese Heritage Day (which happened to come against the Mariners, coincidentally.) The amount of Asian fans in the stands there to cheer A’s designated hitter Hideki Matsui was stark. Matsui was on and off with his play in his only year in Oakland, yet another left-handed power hitter not ideally suited for the vast confines of the Coliseum, and while it doesn’t make sense to bring him back, the A’s could use another drawing card. Enter Ichiro having a resurgent, All Star season. Depending on how much of Ichiro’s contract the Mariners are willing to eat for the right assortment of prospects, the A’s might even turn a profit in this arrangement.

Oakland could get a boost in the standings as well, perhaps enough to hang as a dark horse wild card contender. Even now, the team has more depth and talent than may be available at quick glance, with Brett Anderson, Dallas Braden, and Brandon McCarthy potential keys to an experienced, capable starting rotation, and Cliff Pennington and Jemille Weeks the core of perhaps the most underrated infield in baseball. Were Ichiro to start in right field, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that he, Coco Crisp, and Yoenis Cespedes might comprise one of the best outfields in the majors, at least defensively.

The question may arise why Seattle would be willing to part with Ichiro, potentially the first Hall of Famer to spend his entire career with the Mariners. Simply, it comes down to dollars and the logic, or lack thereof, of paying $17 million to a player who’s sub-replacement level at this point playing in Seattle. Everyone wins in this arrangement. The Mariners get something for a player they’d otherwise get nothing for, the A’s get a boost, and for Ichiro, there could be new life in Oakland. Left unsaid in all of this is that playing for the A’s, the man currently at 2,428 hits might have a shot at 3,000.

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DOs And DONTs: Milwaukee Brewers

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DOs And DONTs: Milwaukee Brewers

Posted on 14 February 2012 by Mark Sherrard

With Prince Fielder signing with Detroit and Ryan Braun facing a possible 50 game suspension for allegedly using PED’s, the Brewers offseason has not gone so well. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t players with fantasy value on their roster.

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Here’s a look at the DO’s and DON’Ts with regards to the Milwaukee Brewers.

DO keep an eye on the Ryan Braun situation. A resolution is expected before Spring Training. If his appeal is upheld, he could be a top 5 pick in any league. If his suspension is upheld, he could fall to the 3rd round.

DON’T overlook Norichika Aoki, especially if Braun suspension is upheld. While Aoki is likely a 4th outfielder for the Brewers, he could see some time at the beginning of the year if Braun is suspended.

I DO like the Brewers starting pitching. With Zack Greinke, Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum, the Brewers have a top 3 about as good as any in the NL, with the exception of the Phillies. Each of them is capable of posting an ERA under 3.50 and 15 wins.

DON’T forget about Corey Hart. After hitting at the top of the order last year, he could be asked to move down to the heart of the order this year, to help offset the loss of Fielder (and possibly Braun). Look for him to increase his RBI total of 63 from 2011 to possibly 90-100 in 2012.

DO take a chance on Mat Gamel in the late rounds. The kid can hit and is the front runner to take over first base for the departed Prince.

DON’T overlook Aramis Ramirez. Signed by the Brewers to help offset the loss of Fielder, Ramirez had a strong 2011 season and should fit nicely into the Brewers lineup and provide good protection for Braun. Third base has become a surprisingly weak position in fantasy baseball and Ramirez is still one of the best.

DO draft Jonathan Lucroy. He proved to be a decent hitter last year, at least as far as catchers go, hitting .265/.313/.391 as well as 12 homeruns. He is not amongst the upper echelon of catchers, but is certainly one who will not hurt you.

DON’T draft Carlos Gomez. Other than speed, he has little else going for him. He hit only .225/.276/.403 last year and will likely split time with Nyjer Morgan in center.

DO draft John Axford. Even with Francisco Rodriguez lurking in the setup role, John Axford is solidly locked into the closer role. He saved 46 games and had only 2 blown saves in 2011, while posting a 1.95 ERA.

DON’T go to sleep on Chris Narveson. He has a career K/9 of 7.5 and BB/9 of 3.3 in 385.2 IP. He always seems to be on the cusp of putting together a breakout season and could perhaps finally put in all together in 2012. But, at the same time…

DO keep an eye on Marco Estrada this spring. He struck out 88 while walking only 29 last year in 92.2 IP and could battle Narveson for the 5th spot in the rotation.

Finally, DON’T forget about Rickie Weeks. Despite his injury history, he is still one of the best second basemen in the majors. Last year he hit .269/.350/.468 with 20 homeruns in just 118 games, pretty much in line with his career year in 2010, in which he played 160 games and hit 29 homeruns. He no longer steals very many bases (just 9 in 2011), but there aren’t very many second baseman with his power.

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