Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and bestow greatness upon those who are deserving of it …

Major League Baseball made their formal announcement for the inductees of the 2016 Hall of Fame class , with Ken Griffey Jr and Mike Piazza leading the list of nominees for the class. Among the list were also, holdovers from 2015 , where the likes of Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds , Mark McGwire , Gary Sheffield and Roger Clemens were the most recognized of the names .

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First time nominees for the 2016 class provided the fans with new names , many of whom like Piazza, Sosa, Bonds , McGwire, Sheffield and Clemens were closely associated with the steroids’ era of the late eighties and through last decade and entering into this decade. While the stoicism of the BBWAA continues to be one where they consider themselves the bastion of all things pure about the game of baseball. What cannot be denied has been the mere fact the Baseball Writers’ Association (BBWAA) has been hypocritical in their addressing and reporting the issues and evidence of the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs within baseball.

While there will be continued claims the players who ran afoul baseball’s archaic rule were not breaking the law, what was paramount once the were rules in place, players simply ignored the rules and a rampant epidemic ensued, with a widespread pandemic use of banned substances at the Minor League Level as well at the Major League Level (MLB) . During Bud Selig’s reign as the Commissioner of baseball , his apathy knew no boundaries as the ball-players eschewed the rules and cheated their way to fame, glory and a great deal of money while defrauding the public and obliterating some of the most hallowed records in the game of baseball. Selig’s successor Ron Manfred appears to be walking the same path as his predecessor and the claims made by Bud Selig , that baseball now has the most stringent testing policy in all of professional sports is as comical as it sounds.

Ken Griffey Jr’s long anticipated Hall of Fame induction was a certainty , as the player’s career and the fact he remained untainted by allegations of steroid use added to the aura which surrounded the long-time Seattle Mariners , Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox standout outfielder and multi-faceted All Star. What seemed inconceivable about Griffey’s balloting, was the fact he failed to garner a unanimous vote with three judges failing to cast a vote in his favor. Only Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver in BBWAA history has garnered more votes, but Griffey leads by way of the percentages received .

Mike Piazza’s career has been well-chronicled and he is considered to be one of the best offensive powered catchers in baseball history. Like Griffey, he was never able to capture that elusive World Series’ ring , though each made postseason appearances at various points of their respective careers. With these modern-day icons entering the Hall of Fame , one now has to ask the pertinent question , at what point will either the BBWAA and baseball”s hierarchy truly seek to address the issue of steroids still being proliferating the game of baseball and when will the Players’ Union (MLBPA) actually seek to themselves address the issue , deal with the underlying problems and educate their members as well as the players at the Minor League Level as to the inherent dangers of misusing steroids and other banned substances? It was never dealt with by former Executive Directors Donald Fehr , the late Michael Weiner or , Wiener’s successor and current union Executive Director Tony Clark .

In 2017, the list of eligible players due to be part of the year’s ballot for induction into the Hall of Fame will once again have the players who failed to obtain the required seventy-five percent of the voted for enshrinement will be once see another crop first-time eligible nominees as well as holdovers . I am inclined to believe those players will not make the cut once again and among the fresh faces on the ballot, it will be difficult to truly suggest a case can be made for several of the players viewed as eligible. The most likely candidates to receive the votes assuring their induction would appear to be Vladimir Guerrero, Jorge Posada , Trevor Hoffman , Ivan Rodriguez and Mike Mussina . Their careers I believe , should assure them of induction, but again, given the pomposity of the BBWAA , nothing is guaranteed or even written in stone.

Far be it for me to suggest the off-season shakeups which took place , with a number of players finding new homes , having declared their free agency and we witnessed the type long-held belief, baseball’s front office executives and owners are nowhere as smart as they believe themselves to be. The Los Angeles Dodgers with their $300 million payroll of last season will enter 2016 , with a newly revamped roster , new managerial staff with Dave Roberts succeeding Don Mattingly as the team’s manager. Less we forget also, Zack Greinke opted for free agency and then signed a six-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks . From my own perspective, while the addition improves the look of their starting pitchers’ rotation, it doesn’t mean the Diamondbacks can be considered legitimate contenders for the NL West. The division I believe remains the Dodgers’ to lose , unless we see the reemergence of the San Francisco Giants , who in 2015 failed miserably in just about every aspect of their game.

This upcoming season in baseball should be an eventful one , with these two divisional powerhouses Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants likely to entertain their fans throughout their seasonal meetings as witnessed last season. These two ball-clubs will begin their regular season schedules with Dave Roberts taking the Los Angeles Dodgers crosstown to meet the Los Angeles Angels in a game to be played at Angels Ballpark in Anaheim, California on 2nd April, 2016. The Arizona Diamondbacks will be play host to the current World Series’ champions the Kansas City Royals , while the San Francisco Giants will play the Oakland A’s at the O.Coliseum , Oakland , California ,.

The talents of Mike Trout are being wasted , while he remains the focal point of the Los Angeles Angels and as good as the Angels were last season , with Trout and his teammate Albert Pujols pounding out hits and home runs with such regularity. You have wonder why Mike Sciocsia and his managerial staff failed to guide the team to the MLB postseason . It was widely felt Mike Sciocsia would have been fired , but instead , it was GM Jerry DiPoto who abruptly left the organization , disillusioned that he was being undermined by the manager as well as not having the total support of Arte Moreno , billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Angels.

Billy Eppler has since succeeded DiPoto as the general manager and the Angels were not major players in the free agency market during the off-season. What we are likely to see from the Angels, are refocused efforts, with an emphasis on youth , with the offense built around Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Personally, I believe the real weakness with the Angels has and will remain their lack of depth among the pitching staff. Their relievers and starters have to be more consistent throughout the season rather than showing a great of inconsistency.

The past two seasons have indicated to us how good the Kansas City Royals just happen to be and their emphatic triumph over the New York Mets was one of the most lopsided World Series played over the last ten years. Terry Collins’ Mets team were never in the running for the NL East based ball-club to win the series. The pitching and hitting for the New York Mets was ineffective and there was never a player on the roster ready to lead by example. In the case of the Royals there was an eagerness about the team and their willingness to sacrifice themselves for the greater good , while playing as a team .

Kansas City Royals’ GM Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost will enter this season looking to fortify their position as the best team in baseball. Kansas’ biggest challenge could come from the likes of the New York Yankees , Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers over the course of their schedule in 2015. Having lost Johnny Cueto to free agency with the pitcher joining the San Francisco Giants , thereby strengthening what will be a very good pitching staff. Moore will will undoubtedly seek to bolster the team’s own pitching rotation during the off-season. Pitchers and non-roster invitees will be invited to Spring Training which is just over six weeks away.

Whatever is now happening with the Cincinnati Reds the blame for the team’s woes this past season are firmly being placed at the door of GM Walt Jocketty and his inability to acquire and draft players capable of creating a team which can compete the NL Central much less within the rest of baseball. The Reds have not a made recent postseason appearance in a number of years and the thought of relevance concerning the organization is whether or not Pete Rose will ever be reinstated or ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame. With Rose’s rejection to be reinstated within baseball, it has all but closed his chances of receiving the game’s biggest honor , beyond winning a World Series , is being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Rob Manfred doesn’t believe there has been enough contrition on the part of the former Cincinnati Reds’ manager and player.

As to the Reds’ continued woes , the managerial staff seems beside itself and while Joey Votto remains the focal point of the team, there is a common belief Walt Jocketty is on the verge of having a fire sale, gutting the roster and simply going with players from their farm system as well as retaining players who are inexpensive in terms of their salaries . The payroll for the Reds this upcoming season will be among the lowest in all of baseball .

Bryan Price will enter his first season as manager of the Cincinnati Reds hoping to imbue the team with confidence and the belief they are are capable of competing with the best the game has to offer. The first month of the team’s schedule should tell us a great deal about the team and whether or not Price has the Reds on the right track. Cincinnati will begin their regular season schedule with a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday 4th April , 2016 at Great American Ballpark , Cincinnati, Ohio,.

Out with the old and in with the new as Don Mattingly comes into town, expected to do great things in resurrecting the fortunes of the Miami Marlins . Mattingly leaves behind a $300 million payroll team of the Los Angeles Dodgers to now steady a capsized vessel known as the Marlins , where the payroll of the team is now a minuscule. Since 2012 , the struggles of the Miami Marlins have been well-chronicled and a year during which former manager Ozzie Guillen led the team into an abyss while portraying himself as a bigoted buffoon , repeatedly exhibiting the type of behavior often associated with someone who shows a great deal of ignorance . A last-placed finish within the NL East forced the hand of the front office leading to his dismissal and the implosion of the roster during off-season of that year. Many of the high-priced acquisitions were sent packing elsewhere and the roster since then has been completely been completely reassembled along with managerial turnover having been equally indecisive.

The biggest news’ splash made by the Miami Marlins was their decision to sign big league slugger and their All Star player Giancarlo Stanton to a multi-year $325 million deal , making the player among the highest paid individuals in baseball. Stanton for his part has been productive for the franchise and perhaps the sole reason to watch the team play, albeit, they have for the moment still been able to retain their NL Rookie of The Year pitcher Jose Fernandez . Yet, it doesn’t mean GM Michael Hill isn’t willing to listen to offers for their young star , in spite of the often mistimed releases from the front office concerning updates regarding Fernandez.

Heading into this season it will be interesting to see what Don Mattingly and his managerial staff will have to offer this Marlins’ team by way of their managerial ingenuity and what the players themselves will seek to do once on the field. Miami’s biggest obstacle to winning the NL East and securing themselves a postseason berth , will undoubtedly come from the newly revamped roster of the Washington Nationals , who have to be seen as the preseason favorites to win the division as well as quite possibly the NL Pennant . With a new manager in tow , Dusty Baker taking over the managerial duties and Bryce Harper now proving himself the best all-round player in the NL , all signs could very well be pointing to an exciting season for both of these two teams.

For Bryce Harper having come into his own last season, showing prodigious talent and maturity , the player will now seek to have another emphatic season , while trying to impress upon Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo he is worth being offered a long-term deal tying him to the Nationals and the organization’s aspirations of winning a World Series. Scott Boras , Bryce Harper’s agent, will undoubtedly seek to make his client the highest paid player in the game and a multi-year $400 million deal will likely be sought by the agent. Mike Rizzo and the Nationals’ owner , Ted Lerner might not be willing to pay a King’s ransom while the ball-club seeks to remain viable and enlarge its fan-base .This could very well be the year where records within the game are set to be broken. but not necessarily for the right reasons.

An exciting year awaits within baseball, if the teams believed to be good enough can meet or exceed the expectations of the fans and analysts alike . The Kansas City Royals will be hoping to hold unto their crown while seeking to fend off all challengers seeking to dethrone them as World Series champions. Which players and teams do you believe will prove to be dominant this upcoming season ?

Tophatal ….

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Author: tophatal ...........

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20 thoughts on “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and bestow greatness upon those who are deserving of it …”

  1. It was my intent to write about the Atlanta Braves and their off-season , but there was nothing of note done by the organization . Team President John Schuerholz may well have sent Frank Wren packing , but the idiocy of retaining Fredi Gonzalez to manage the team made absolutely no damn sense at all !

    Three years of mediocrity , with Gonzalez and his staff presiding over these players has led to poor play and decision-making within front office, concerning the draft , trades or even putting on a truly competitive team in each of the last three seasons .

    Atlanta Braves’ general manager John Coppolella (left) and the team’s manager Fredi Gonzalez .

    Fredi Gonzalez and the Atlanta Braves will begin their regular season schedule with a home opener against the Washington Nationals at Fulton County Stadium /Turner Field , in Atlanta, Georgia on 4th April, 2016.

    Atlanta Braves news

    Tophatal …………


  2. Congratulations to Ken Griffey Jr and Mike Piazza with the announcement they are to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2016 ! Just hope that whining piece of $hit , Curt Schilling doesn’t decide to rain on the inductees’ big day reasoning he should have been a member of this year’s class , having been overlooked in 2014 and 2015.

    Ken Griffey Jr (left) Mike Piazza .

    Randy Johnson (left) and Curt Schilling , co World Series’ MVP winners from the 2001 Word Series in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ victory over the New York Yankees.

    Schilling remains a petulant little #ucker whose one claim to fame were the World Series’ wins with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox .

    Curt Schilling’s teammate on the winning Diamondbacks’ World Series’ team , Randy Johnson is an already an inductee in the Hall of Fame and justifiably so, given’s Johnson’s body of work as a pitcher over the course of his career.

    Hall of Fame

    Tophatal …………..


  3. The Houston Astros might well have been the surprise team within the AL last season having garnered themselves a postseason berth after a remarkable finish within the AL West . Having entered the postseason as an outsider Houston defeated the New York Yankees with ease in the wildcard round of the AL, before falling short in the divisional series .

    Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow along with the managerial staff will during this off-season seek to bolster the roster by way assessing the playing staff, seeing the team’s needs by of players in arbitration , their eligible free agents , farm system and then delving into the free agency market for acquisitions.

    Jeff Bagwell is considered to be one of the best players in Houston Astros’ history . Bagwell will be in his seventh-year of eligibility as a nominee for consideration and induction into the Hall of Fame for the Class of 2017 . Jeff Bagwell’s playing career has been epitomised by his consistency and productivity for the franchise.

    Jeff Bagwell of the Astros .

    Houston will begin their regular season schedule with a three-game series against the New York Yankees beginning on the 4th April , 2016.

    Houston Astros news

    Tophatal …………..


  4. For a number of years big-league slugger Paul Goldschmidt has been the best player for the Arizona Diamondbacks and even though franchise made a big splash with acquisition of Zack Greinke to spearhead the team’s pitching rotation , the real issue facing the Diamondbacks remains their inability to perform consistently at a high level .

    Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    It is clear if the Diamondbacks are to be competitive this upcoming season then the managerial staff will have to show their acumen to prove their worth.

    Spring Training will see their non-roster invitees seek to play their way onto the roster. The team’s payroll will not be as exorbitant as in previous years.

    The Arizona Diamondbacks will begin their regular season schedule with a game against the Colorado Rockies

    Arizona Diamondbacks news

    Tophatal …………….


  5. There’s no denying over the past four years , especially after their World Series’ triumph the Philadelphia Phillies have been an abject failure. The front office has failed abysmally in building the roster, while relying on aging players who are now way past their prime. A poor finish within the NL East in 2015 , beyond their failing to make the postseason , exacerbated the problems for the Phillies. To make matters worse , with all of the idiocy now evolving around their NFL namesake with the Philadelphia Eagles , one could suggest in the City of Brotherly Love , things are not so bright after-all.

    The off-season has provided nothing of note from the Philadelphia Phillies , with the front office not delving heavily into making trades , non-roster invitees for Spring Training seems inadequate and impending free agents will no doubt be looking to be re-signed to a bigger salary . Players in arbitration will also be looking to be well-rewarded.

    First-time manager Peter Mackanin of the Philadelphia Phillies .

    Philadelphia’s managerial staff will have changed with the manager’s role now in the hands of Pete Mackinan . The upcoming season for the Phillies under Mackanin will either be a disaster or the team will somehow find a way to compete without being considered a serious challenger for the NL East division. Philadelphia will open up their regular season schedule with a game against the Cincinnati Reds.

    Ryan Howard has been something of an ever-present fixture on the Phillies’ roster over the past six seasons, but it appears with a declining skill-set, while being overpaid, he is not proving to be of > any real value to the organization.

    Ryan Howard of the Phillies.

    Philadelphia Phillies news

    Tophatal …………


  6. So let’s get this straight the New York Yankees having obtained Aroldis Chapman alongside the usual perfunctory group of off-season degenerates , believe they will be competitive enough this season ? From a pitching and hitting standpoint this past season the Yankees were not good enough and even with the productivity of Alex Rodriguez in 2015.

    The New York Yankees suffered an embarrassing and lopsided loss to the Houston Astros in the wildcard round of the postseason. From my own perspective , I believe the Yankees’ roster to be an aging one which will continue to be ineffective along with their very mediocre farm system !

    New York Yankees news

    Tophatal …………


  7. Dave Roberts is in , Don Mattingly is out. So what does it now leave the Los Angeles Dodgers with by way of the on-field talent for this upcoming season ? Entering into 2015 the Dodgers had high hopes with a very talented team only to fall way short of their own lofty expectations.

    Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts .

    During the off-season front office executives , GM Farhan Zahidi and Head of Operations Andrew Friedman saw Zack Greinke opt for free agency and a six-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks . By way of a return the Dodgers painstakingly picked through the bottom of the barrel to find nothing of worth.

    Kent Maeda , is but a small bauble and there is nothing to really suggest the Dodgers will be a much better team in 2016 even with the addition of Dave Roberts and a shakeup of the managerial staff. The Dodgers’ window of opportunity is slipping away , while they continue to overspend on the roster.

    Kenta Maeda signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers during the off-season.

    With a likely payroll in the region of $203 million it will be interesting to see how the Los Angeles Dodgers will fare this upcoming season. With their non roster invitees , acquisitions and new team in tow , a great deal will be expected of Dave Roberts and his managerial staff. The Dodgers’ exhibition season will provide us with few clues as to the merits of the team and I believe not until mid-May are we we likely to see the real resolve of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team’s regular season begins with a three-game series against the San Diego Padres on the 4th April, 2016.

    Los Angeles Dodgers’ news

    Tophatal ……..


  8. So the fallout of a disappointing season in the AL Central and their failing to gain an AL wildcard berth led to a disastrous season for the Detroit Tigers. Brad Ausmus was on the verge of being ousted as the team’s manager but, it would appear Al Avila and team owner Michael Ilitch have seen fit to keep Ausmus for another season. All Stars players Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander remain the core of the Tigers’ lineup ,but there is the belief the organization will have to look at their impending free agents , farm system , non-roster invitees as well as delving into the free agency market to bolster the lineup.

    Ausmus’ managerial staff failed the team , but, there was a great deal of complacency with the Detroit Tigers throughout much of the season.

    Spring Training should tell us a great deal about the Tigers and their intent for the regular season. Detroit will begin their schedule when they open the season against the Miami Marlins .

    Detroit Tigers news .

    Tophatal ……..


  9. How quickly are some willing to overlook the misdeeds of players while haranguing others ? Baltimore Orioles’ slugger Chris Davis might well have been one of the most productive players in the AL over the past three seasons in terms of home runs hit. Yet his having served a mandatory suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse program paints a rather disturbing picture of a player who still remains a free agent this off-season .

    To date there appears to be no serious inquiries for a player whose contract with the Orioles is not one of the more exorbitant deals for a player of his stature. Nonetheless, there are no takers while front office appear to be reluctant to re-sign the Chris Davis to a multi-year deal . Having failed to win the AL East or make the postseason the Baltimore Orioles will now look to their current roster, non-roster invitees and farm system to best assess what their needs are likely to be heading into the upcoming season .

    Chris Davis remains unsigned while he and his agent believe he ought to be paid like a Major-League superstar. Last I looked, other than two good years of hitting more than thirty-home runs in a season , David had achieved little of note. Hardly warranting a deal paying him in excess of $20 million a year for five years or more . This is the type of idiocy too often seen in the world of baseball where the players , owners and general managers are simply stupid and where the league hierarchy seem to be suborning this type of reckless stupidity by the teams in terms of their spending .

    Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles will begin their regular season with a game against the Minnesota Twins at Orioles Ballpark , Baltimore , Maryland , on 4th April, 2016.

    Baltimore Orioles news

    Tophatal …………..


  10. All of a sudden idiot New York Yankees’ fans are happy because of a few off-season trades pulled by the organization ? Based on the lack of real in-depth trades made last season to bolster the roster . I hardly believe the Yankees will fare any better this season with an injury-prone and aging projected lineup led by CC Sabathia , Mark Teixiera and Alex Rodriguez .

    The Steinbrenner family since the death of patriarch and long-time owner George Steinbrenner III have simply shown a lack of insight and long-term thinking concerning the franchise .

    New York Yankees news

    Tophatal ………


  11. So once again they’re back at it , with the front office of the Tampa Bay Rays having negotiated with the St Petersburg City Council to break their lease at Tropicana Field , St Petersburg, Florida , allowing the organization to leave the area , seeking a new venue. The Rays’ lease was due to expire in 2027 and the ball-club is now obligated to pay the municipality $27 million for the breaking of the lease contract.

    Team owner Stuart Sternberg finally has what he wanted all along, even if the vote to approve the deal was a narrow victory with the commissioners voting 5-3 to rescind the lease.

    Courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times

    St. Petersburg City Council votes 5-3 to let Rays search elsewhere for stadium home

    By Charles Frago , Times Staff Writer

    By a 5-3 vote, council members agreed to give the Rays three years to search for a new stadium site in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

    For St. Petersburg, the vote promised a new start for Major League Baseball, if the Rays stay and build a more-modern stadium, or the transformation of 85 acres in prime downtown real estate that’s now home to Tropicana Field, where the Rays have played since 1998.

    For Mayor Rick Kriseman, Thursday’s vote clinched a hard-fought victory. Twice before, Kriseman had failed to win over the eight-member council. This time around, he carefully lined up support with council members and made good on a 2013 campaign promise that he would reach an accord with the Rays, something his predecessors, Rick Baker and Bill Foster, didn’t do.

    “I want to thank our city council for approving this important memorandum of understanding with the Tampa Bay Rays,” Kriseman said in a statement emailed minutes after the vote. “This agreement is good news for baseball fans, for our taxpayers, for the city of St. Petersburg, and for our entire region. I still believe the team’s current site, reimagined and redeveloped, is the best place for a new stadium.”

    For Hillsborough County, the vote now shifts attention to its elected officials, who are lining up to woo the Rays.

    “Mayor Kriseman did his homework and went back to the drawing board and found a way to get the votes that he needed,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. “For the entire region, it was the right decision.”

    It took just under 90 minutes of discussion before council members made its historic vote.

    “The opportunity in front of us cannot be missed,” said City Council Chairwoman Amy Foster, who once opposed a similar deal with the Rays. “I see this as the only path forward.”

    Council members Charlie Gerdes, Karl Nurse, Darden Rice and Lisa Wheeler-Brown also voted for the deal. Council members Jim Kennedy, Steve Kornell and Ed Montanari voted against it.

    Click on link to read in full.

    Stuart Sternberg of the Tampa Bay Rays.

    St Petersburg Council will now be left with an archaic and monstrous white elephant that will likely be demolished upon the departure of the Tampa Bay Rays.

    During the off-season the Tampa Bay Rays were not major players in free agency , simply seeking to deal with their players in arbitration , their own impending free agents , resigning or releasing certain players while also assessing their farm system .

    MLB news

    Tampa Bay Rays news

    Tophatal …………


  12. Key off-season moves to have taken place in MLB (Major League Baseball) with several trades , arbitration and re-signing of players to very lucrative contracts , therefore a structure for the 2016 payroll commitments of the teams in comparison to 2015.

    There are also several mid to lower-tier free agents still available in the run-up to the start of Spring Training . Catchers , pitchers will be reporting to their respective organizations within six weeks .

    The New York Mets having allowed Daniel Murphy to leave as a free agent during the off-season have engineered a trade which saw them acquire Carlos Gonzalez from the Colorado Rockies .

    MLB news

    MLB news archive (December 2015)

    Top free agents signed and those still available . Players in arbitration .

    Projected team payrolls for 2016

    Tophatal ………


  13. There are times where you have to say to yourself …”what the hell are they thinking “ ? That is the way I now feel , having have read the story of the Colorado Rockies possibly agreeing to trade their All Star player Carlos Gonzalez to the New York Mets.

    Carlos Gonzalez (pictured) possibly going to the New York Mets ?

    Many may well feel the Rockies would be going nowhere in keeping Gonzalez as the team had yet to make a postseason appearance during his career with the Colorado Rockies. Yet , in possibly trading away Carlos Gonzalez , I do believe the franchise is now taking a step backwards instead of taking a step forward ! The front office should be seeking to build a team around a core group of players , rather than their trading away of an valuable asset for the organization . Cost-cutting or not this could very well prove to be a bad move for the Colorado Rockies. With this trade the New York Mets get a multi-tooled player and perhaps a solution to their needs after their allowing Daniel Murphy to leave as a free agent during this off-season.

    Colorado Rockies news

    Tophatal …


  14. With the Kansas City Royals walking away with the AL Central , NL Pennant and the World Series last season the trifecta for the organization was a solid and successful one . However , during the off-season the Royals lost All Star starting pitcher Johnny Cueto to free agency as the player signed a lucrative deal with the San Francisco Giants. Cuteo moves from the AL to the NL where he should find the hitting more amenable to his pitching style .

    Johnny Cueto now a member of the San Francisco Giants.

    Elsewhere , Royals’ GM Dayton Moore will now look to get his other free agents re-signed as well as players in arbitration , while also seeking to bolster the roster as they try to make serious run at defending their World Series title .

    I firmly believe the Kansas City Royals will be top of the heap once again within their division as well be a credible contender for the AL Pennant. Based on their record last season against their divisional rivals , once again they have to seen as having a distinct advantage. Another moment of fortune for Kansas, was their being able to re-sign Lorenzo Cain adding to their roster for the upcoming season.

    We know of the managerial record of Terry Francona with the Boston Red Sox and his subsequent decision to leave the franchise. Having departed from the AL East based franchise , he is now with the Cleveland Indians , where he is seeking to resurrect their fortunes. Postseason appearances in recent seasons for the Indians have been hard to come by. Cleveland’s last foray came in 2013 .Prior to that, it was in 2007 ending in a AL Pennant loss to the Boston Red Sox.

    Cleveland Indians’ manager Terry Francona (left) .

    A less than exciting finish in the AL Central last season and their failing to again a wildcard berth in the postseason has led to the Indians’ front office reevaluating the team of last season, looking to rebuild and adding to the talent they hope to enter this upcoming season with. Terry Francona and his managerial staff are intent on making on making the season a successful, eyeing a divisional crown as well as a postseason appearance.

    Cleveland Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff has the task of making sure Francona not only has the right mix of talent on the field, but also from an economical standpoint the Indians will be able to meet their financial needs as well as competing on the field of play. Cleveland will begin regular season play Indians against the Boston Red Sox on the 4th April , 2016 which will be their home-opener .

    Before beginning their regular season the Indians’ Spring Training schedule will also provide the front office with the chance to assess their non roster invitees for the exhibition season.

    Cleveland Indians news

    Kansas City Royals news

    Tophatal ……….


  15. As if there wasn’t enough stupidity going on within the world of baseball, we now have the announcement that the Cincinnati Reds will honor all-time career hits’ leader , former player and manager the now disgraced Pete Rose by honoring him with entrance into the Reds’ Hall of Fame & Honor . Far be it for me to suggest , but Rose’s actions which led to his banishment from baseball, did as much to hurt Pete Rose’s images and legacy as much as it has tarnished the Cincinnati Reds’ image.

    Pete Rose.

    While I understand what Rose has meant to the Cincinnati Reds as a player , but that in of-itself should not hide the fact he continued to lie to not only baseball’s hierarchy about his betting on baseball , but he continued with his deceit among the fans and media alike. Now he expects empathy and the rescinding of his banishment from the game because of light-hearted act of contrition. Rose’s only wish behind the rescinding of his banishment will be the hope of the BBWAA (Baseball Writers’ Association of America) to look upon him favorably as future Hall of Fame nominee. Unlikely to happen at this juncture among the adjudicating writers or even among the Veterans’ Committee.

    For the Cincinnati Reds, this past season was one of underachieving by the team , managerial staff and most certainly be the front office as they failed to build a competitive enough team to compete within NL Central as well in the NL.

    Bryan Price in his second season having succeeded Dusty Baker he will be looking to improve upon last season’s showing (last place divisional finish) within the league.

    Bryan Price manager of the Reds.

    Moves have been made , initiated by the front office initiated led by GM Dick Williams and Head of Baseball Operations Walt Jocketty. The Reds have sewn up the contracts of players in arbitration as well as their free agents. Prominent Reds’ All Star slugger Joey Votto remains the team’s best player , yet the underlying issues for the Reds mains a lack of consistency all round.

    Joey Votto of the Reds.

    MLB news

    Cincinnati Red news

    MLB transactions

    MLB free agents (2016)

    Tophatal ………….


  16. There have been very few owners in the world of baseball who have been as exuberant and who had the will and desire such as Michael Ilitch of the Detroit Tigers . The octogenarian owner , who is slowly approaching his ninetieth birthday, yearns to bring a World Series’ title to the franchise he has owned for over two decades.

    Michael Ilitch owner of the Detroit Tigers .

    It has been almost three decades since the Tigers won their last title , albeit in recent years they have been to the AL Pennant and also made an appearance in the Fall Classic only to fall short of their goal .

    Tigers’ GM Al Avila .

    Having seen the abrupt departure of former general manager Dave Dombrowski who has since joined the Boston Red Sox to become their Head of Baseball Operations & SVP . It has been left to Al Avila to step into his mentor’s seat and begin rebuilding the roster. With pieces already in place with a pair of AL MVP winners and AL Cy Young winner with Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera as the cornerstone to the team. It would be easy to suggest Michael Ilitch would be happy with the two All Stars as part of the plan. Yet nothing would be farther from the truth as he has seen the Detroit Tigers’ recent dominance of the AL Central division usurped by the upstart rise of the Kansas City Royals who this past season won their first World Series’ title in three decades. This is what Ilitch now craves for the team and he is unafraid to spend the money necessary to have the best team in baseball , no matter what it takes . In the past six days , Al Avila has been able to open up the check book and sign several players to big money-deals offering the sun , the moon and the stars, just as long as they were willing to come and play for the Tigers. The biggest coup of all might well have been the Detroit Tigers being able to sign Justin Upton to a multi-year deal .

    Brad Ausmus .

    Justin Upton was never truly happy with his time with the San Diego Padres , a team who had big hopes at the start of last season , who would then flounder as the year wore on , only to fail when it mattered most in seizing a chance to take the NL West crown.

    Justin Upton .

    For Brad Ausmus there can now excuses now with the projected Detroit Tigers’ roster at his disposal and the depth of talent overall. Ausmus and his managerial staff will now be on the clock starting with their exhibition schedule for Spring Training before the beginning of the regular season sojourn of one hundred and sixty-two games. A great deal will be expected of the Detroit Tigers and I believe they might be able to add one or two names to their roster from among their non-roster invitees from their Spring Training group of tryouts.

    It will be incumbent upon the Tigers to have a very fast start to the season if they are expected to get the better of the Kansas City Royals who I believe remain the best team within the AL Central and by far the best team in AL altogether. The losses to the Royals' roster will be outweighed by the fact the front office has made sure the development of their farm system has provided them with a fruitful supply of players capable of stepping up to the Majors in a very big way.

    Detroit Tigers news

    Kansas City Royals news

    Tophatal …………..


  17. Another day the same old story and this time with the Miami Marlins , it was their decision to announce the signing to a five-year $50 million deal of Dee Gordon. This transaction was solely done to reassure fans they;re back on the right path, alongside the ballyhoo was the need to make it a big-time event when they sought to hire Don Mattingly to manage the team along with Mattingly’s new managerial staff. It should be noted Miami’s payroll will have fallen substantially from last season’s total , but this season with lower figure to work with , it remains to be seen what the new manager will be able to achieve with his new team.

    Michael Hill , Head of Baseball Operations within the front office of Miami Marlins will also be looking have their players in arbitration now signed to deals heading into the exhibition season knowing the roster is less talented than the team of last season. Jose Fernandez, it appears will be a long-term fixture to the organization, as they hope to have a rotation competitive enough to compete within the NL and baseball in general . Fernandez will be part of the spearhead of the starting pitchers’ rotation.

    Miami Marlins news

    Tophatal ……


  18. So the New York Mets appear to be happy with their acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes ? There’s something implausible about this all, because the Mets themselves seem are unsure what to expect of Cespedes . From my own perspective I believe the player will be a good acquisition for the organization but their issues are far more problematical than first thought.

    Cespedes was signed to a three-year $75 million deal with the New York Mets. Yoenis Cespedes and his teammates will have to prove themselves up to the task this season especially during the latter-half of the schedule.

    Terry Collins and his managerial staff will start the ball rolling with the team’s Spring Training schedule before embarking on their regular season schedule which begins with a game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffmann Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri .

    Yoenis Cespedes.

    If Yoenis Cespedes is part of the Mets’ projected lineup for this game against the Royals, it will be interesting to see how the player performs in the contest .

    New York Mets news .

    Tophatal ………………


  19. Over the past five seasons we’ve seen the gradual progression of the Pittsburgh Pirates from being an often overlooked also-ran team to a club, now seen as a perennial divisional contender , though not yet a formidable contender for NLCS or World Series . In that time the Pirates’ best player has been Andrew McCutchen who won the NLMVP Award in 2013 .

    Gerrit Cole and his fiance’ Amy Crawford.

    Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle

    The Pirates’ entrepreneurial owner Bob Nutting in recent years has sought to be ambitious while reassuring fans he wants to win and win consistently. As a team within the NL Central one of the most competitive divisions in all of baseball , it is a tough task to contend with the likes of the St Louis Cardinals , Cincinnati Reds, a resurgent Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers . This season the Pirates under the managerial staff of Clint Hurdle will be looking to have the team perform consistently and at a high level . The Pittsburgh Pirates will begin their season having made several acquisitions , as well as seeing one or two departures , beyond their negotiations with players in arbitration and the re-signing of free agents on the roster.

    Andrew McCutchen and his wife Maria Hanslovan.

    Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen will once again be at the forefront of the Pirates’ productivity and hoped-for success. Pittsburgh will begin play with an exhibition season within their Spring Training schedule before embarking on the regular season beginning the first week of April. The team’s home opener at PNC Park in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania will be on 3rd April against the St Louis Cardinals which will also be their opening game of the regular season.

    MLB news

    Pittsburgh Pirates news

    Tophatal …….


  20. With the New York Yankees starved of front- line pitching last season , it simply makes sense for the organization to go after at least one of the prized free agent starting pitchers still available on the free agency market. Rumors are now being speculated upon which , the AL East franchise will seek to acquire two-time Cy Young Award winner and San Francisco Giants’ pitcher Tim Lincecum.

    If Lincecum is acquired as a free agent then I would expect the Yankees to sign the player to a major multi-year deal comparable to one of his peers within the game . While I believe the Yankees have some depth on the current roster , I believe the team still has some major flaws which they will have to overcome.

    New York Yankees news

    Tophatal ……..


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