The Melky Cabrera quandary and the ongoing hypocrisy of MLB

I’m really getting tired of writing about drug use in Major League Baseball.  So much so that this time around, I’m going to be brief.

I…. don’t …. care.  How’s that?

What our national pastime has presented us with, once again, is enough gray to rival the world’s largest rain cloud and an institution that has turned its head on the heroes it once revered, yet never felt the slightest bit guilty about cashing the checks they brought into the game.

Let the hypocrisy continue with Melky Cabrera.

I haven’t watched a single San Francisco Giants game this year yet, from what I understand, Cabrera was having himself quite the season.  He has 159 hits, which led the league as of August 18th, and a .346 batting average, second only to Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen, who Major League Baseball has to be secretly hoping wins the NL batting title.  Why?  Because Cabrera is eligible to win the batting title even after his fifty-game suspension for use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Keep your fingers crossed, Bud.  We’re all rooting against you on this one.

The next person to make sense of this head-scratching predicament will be the first.  Let’s say I became the top salesman at my job, yet broke company policy to do so, would I still be eligible for my bonus or have it swept out from under me?  Major League Baseball wants to pretend it’s penalizing its athletes for wrongdoing, yet rewards them in the very same breath.

I can picture it now, Bud Selig at his desk, phone pressed against his ear, chatting away with the person on the other end of the line.  One of Selig’s assistants walks in to his office and tells him that Cabrera failed a drug test.  Selig responds listlessly, paying more attention to the phone call than to the HGH bomb just dropped in his lap.  “Suspended!  Yea, yea!” Selig shouts as he signs off without a care. Read more…

Top 5 2012 Cy Young Award Candidates | National League

Stephen Strasburg

Norm Hall/Getty Images

We reviewed the top five Cy Young candidates in the American League last week, and it’s only right we do the same for the National League this week. The AL is much more competitive, I feel. However, there are some studs in the

NL. Some came out of nowhere, while others have been around and aren’t much of a secret at this point in their careers.

The first surprise comes from a team that had him listed as their third starter at the beginning of the season, and now, he’s arguably their best pitcher. This list is much more difficult than the previous one, so please bear with us.

5(a). Stephen Strasburg – Washington Nationals

As ESPN’s Jayson Stark explains, “The Shutdown day” is inevitable. If it weren’t for this, Strasburg could have been

near the top of this list. When conducting this list I needed to consider where the pitchers might end up at the end of the year. With Strasburg’s inning limit inching closer every start, it appears he only has a few starts remaining.

I’m sure some voters likely won’t even give the future Cy Young winner (yea, that’s right) any credit this year, however, his stats deserve it. With 13 wins (just five losses), a 2.90 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and 166 strikeouts, Strasburg is in the top 10 in all of the major pitching categories – if that’s not enough for consideration, I don’t know what is.  Read More…


Barry Bonds belongs in the Hall

Barry BondsBarry Bonds is the greatest baseball player of all-time. I truly believe that. Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Cy Young and anyone else that played during that era did so against all white people. Could you imagine how much worse most teams in baseball would be if they were made up of strictly white people? So yes, all of their accomplishments are note-worthy and they were great players. But they didn’t compete against the best of the best, so it would be wrong to suggest any of them are the greatest players of all-time. For all we know, Ruth might not have even been the greatest hitter of his era, but because Josh Gibson was black and unable to play Major League Baseball, we’ll never truly know.

As strongly as I believe Bonds is the greatest player of all-time (and I’ll get into why shortly) I’m even more sure that Bonds will not be a first ballot Hall of Famer. Bonds has been linked to steroid use, says he never “knowingly” took them, although nobody believes that. Bonds’ career peak is so abnormal everyone loves to point to his career taking off at 36 years old as proof he took steroids. That’s a valid point, because Bonds best seasons did occur in his twilight years. But rather than believing that proves Bonds is a cheater, it really just further proves how great Bonds truly was.  Read more…

Your weekly caption contest celebrates fictional characters and relief pitchers

It’s obvious to anyone who’s ever laid eyes upon San Francisco Giants reliever Brian Wilson that he clearly marches to the beat of a different drummer.

Say what you will about the guy, when healthy, he is one of the game’s most dominant closers, largely responsible for bringing the first ever World Series to San Francisco in 2010.

Whether his act is genuine, shtick or somewhere in between, Wilson‘s image consultant makes Dennis Rodman’s look tame by comparison.  Wait, Wilson does have an image consultant, doesn’t he?

Read more here…

MLB best bets of the day: July 23, 2012

Bruce Chen Royals

After a bounce-back day Sunday (4-0) we hope to keep the momentum going with another day in the green. With a full slate of games today there is plenty of opportunity to get your jelly beans up today and start the week off right.

With studs like C.J. Wilson, Hiroki Kuroda, Mat Latos, Roy Halladay, and Ryan Vogelsong slinging today it would seem there are some easy games out there, but au contraire, my friend.  Doc Halladay is giving up a home run to the Brewers every 11.8 at bats; Latos has a .308 BAA versus the Astros;  the Angels have lost Wilson’s last three starts. That said, today is a new day and anything can happen!

San Diego at San Francisco 10:15 PM Richard vs Vogelsong

Ryan Vogelsong is one of the better pitchers in the NL and yet he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. In Vogelsong’s 17 starts this year the Giants are 12-4 and have won by an average of 2 ½ runs in those 12 wins. Vogelsong has a 2.70 ERA in July and a 0.95 WHIP – Those numbers will surely get better today.

On the flip side of this matchup, Clayton Richard, while a quality pitchers, has a 4.15 ERA in July and a .308 BAA when facing the Giants. San Francisco has been one of the hottest hitting teams over the past week as they’re averaging 6 ½ runs over that span. Look for Melky and company to get to Richard in this one.

Picks: Giants -1 ½ (+145) and Over 6 ½ (-115)

Read more picks here…

Will Barry Bonds reach the Hall of Fame before Pete Rose?

Baseball hall of fame

Baseball hall of fameFor years the debate has been if Pete Rose deserves to be in the MLB Hall of Fame. The question has been answered by many opinionated people and debated until it consistently fades away. As players of the ‘steroids era’ become eligible,  the question needs to be asked if Barry Bonds will reach the Hall of Fame before Pete Rose?

Barry Bonds played from 1986 to 2007 for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. The son of major league player Bobby Bonds started his career as a lead-off-hitter with the Pirates in 1986. He led all National League rookies with 16 home runs, 48 RBI’s and 36 stolen bases.

Between Bonds, Andy Van Slyke and Bobby Bonilla the Pirates faithful rallied around the team as they would reach the playoffs.

Bonds won his first MVP award in 1990 by hitting .301 with 33 home runs and 114 RBI’s. His 52 stolen bases were good enough for third in the league and he was also honored with his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards.

In 1993, Barry would sign a lucrative free agent contract with the San Francisco Giants, which at that time, was the largest in baseball history. He responded by hitting .336, led the league with 46 home runs and 123 RBI’s which would earn him his second consecutive MVP award, and third overall.

He would continue his record pace and in 1998 was the first player ever to enter the 400-400 club as he accumulated 400 home runs and 400 stolen bases.

Bonds’ was touted one of the best players in the 90’s and was ranked as The Sporting News 6th Greatest Baseball Players of all-time.

Not many believed that Bonds would continue his pace and actually improve on it, but in his mid 30’s his numbers exploded and so did the records.

Not only were his cap size and shoe size doubled so were his home run numbers.

In 2001 Bonds would hit 73 home runs and set a new major league record for home runs in a single season previously set by Mark McGwire (70).

Bonds stats speak for themselves as there is no doubting the numbers, but it is also well-known that Bonds had a legendary ego and was disliked by the media. He was accused of using steroids to achieve the numbers and records that he set.

The debate will now go on for years if players of the “steroids era” deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. Players like Mark McGuire, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds will be discussed the same way Pete Rose was and still is.

Pete Rose has his similarities to Bonds. He is the all-time leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053) and won three World Series rings, three batting titles, one MVP award, two Gold Gloves, the Rookie of the Year award and 17 All-Star appearances at five different positions.

In 1989 Rose was questioned regarding reports that he had bet on baseball and his own Reds team that he was managing. Rose denied the allegations but Commissioner Bart Giamatti continued the investigation. According to the report, no evidence was found that he actually bet against the Reds. After the sides went back and forth, Rose would voluntarily accept a permanent place on baseball’s ineligible list. Rose accepted that there was a factual reason for the ban; in return, Major League Baseball agreed to make no formal finding with regard to the gambling allegations.

“Charlie Hustle” remains the only living member of the ineligible list of players to considered for the Hall of Fame.

The question now becomes which is worse?  Assume both did what they are accused of, do either of them belong? One over the other?

It has been argued that Barry Bonds was putting up Hall of Fame numbers before he allegedly started to use steroids, but isn’t the situation the same for Rose?

By not putting in players of the steroids era is taking away from baseball and the entire decade that made baseball interesting again. Isn’t the damage done anyways?

Sammy Sosa, Mark McGuire and yes – Barry Bonds increased the popularity of baseball during a steady decline, but to put them in before Pete Rose is ridiculous.

The fact that Pete Rose is not in the Hall of Fame and not even considered is asinine and leaves me dumbfounded, but the fact that Barry Bonds could get in before him is even more of a slap in the face.

4 Random MLB achievements that you probably didn’t know

The MLB season is amazingly getting set to reach the half-way mark as Tuesday most teams will be playing their 75th game of the season. How fast did that go by? With the All-Star break around the proverbial corner, we thought it only fitting that we come up with some of the more obscure achievements of players and teams as MLB completes it’s third month of games. See how many of these you really knew…but be honest.

1. BEST BATTING AVERAGE WITH 2 STRIKES: Joey Votto- Most of you do know what an outstanding season Votto is having so far this year, but in case you didn’t he has played in 20 games in June and through June 23rd has 10 multi-hit games. What that has done is raise his batting average 31 points from 3.29 to .360!

#19 Cincinnati Reds 1B Joey Votto will be one of those under consideration for MVP honors. Photo:

But aside from being a mega star slugger, here’s something you might not know; through 233 at bats this season, Votto is hitting .266 when he has two strikes on him. The league average is 90 points lower at .176. How’s that an amazing stat!

2. BEST OFF-SEASON TRADE: Melky Cabrera-What a steal this was! The S. F. Giants should be charged with a felony for the theft they pulled off acquiring Melky Cabrera from the Kansas City Royals! The soon to be 28-year-old has been enjoying an MVP season and is one of the main reasons that the Giants are 8 games over .500 and 3 games out of first place in the N.L. West.

For starters Cabrera has the most hits the majors (102) as of Sunday. His .355 batting average which is 73 points higher than his career average, puts him in second place behind the aforementioned Joey Votto (.360). His 49 runs scored ties him for second in the N.L. and third in MLB. Was there any other trade in the off-season bigger than this one? Read more here…

Fantasy Baseball: ‘Lucky’ Week 13 waiver wire pickups

We’re nearing the halfway point of the season so by now managers should have a pretty good idea of what they will need coming down the home stretch and into the playoffs. In Fantasy leagues we’re more than half-way through the regular season’s as there are usually 22 weeks on the schedule. You should start choosing a bit more wisely now and so we’re here to help with this week’s pickups…

1. Brandon Belt-1B/OF-S.F. Giants- This late season call up last September proved one thing was clear; he has power. He hit 9 home runs in just 187 AB which equates to around 27 in a full season. On June 7th Belt began to play everyday and he has not disappointed. He had a modest 11 game hitting streak snapped on Sunday, and he still has the team’s highest on-base percentage- even though surprisingly he continues to bat seventh in the lineup. Over his last 37 AB he is hitting .405 with 4 HR and 12 RBI. He clearly is worth a flier and should be picked up in 12+ leagues. He is owned in just 32% of leagues.

2. Pedro Alvarez- 3B-Pirates- The former second over-all pick in the 2008 draft of the Pittsburgh Pirates, is playing on a team where the bulk of the offense comes from two players; Andrew McClutchen and Pedro Alvarez. As of Sunday they were both tied for the most HR on the team with 13. Over Alvarez’s last 10 games he has scored 10 runs, hit 5 HR, knocked in 11, and has batted .317. Although he’s on pace to hit 28 HR, his only liability is his low batting average. In just under 800 career AB, his average is 5 points higher than his weight; .228. Maybe the surge he’s on now will continue- but just be mindful. For now we recommend Alavarez in deeper and A.L. only leagues. He can be easily had as he’s only owned in 28% of leagues. Read more here…

Changes in MLB have increased the amount of no-hitters

Matt Cain

The pitching performances, no-hitters & perfect games in MLB so far this season, as well as over the past six years, begs the question, “Why so many?” In light of Matt Cain’s stunning ‘perfect game’ performance on Wednesday night, it seems that more and more, the significance and ‘awe’ that we once had for such outstanding feats has been minimized.

Matt Cain tips his cap to an appreciative S.F. crowd after throwing a perfect game on Wednesday which was the 14th no-hitter thrown in franchise history. Photo: Jeff Chiu – AP Images

Not to take anything away from Cain’s superb outing, which was indeed masterful, it just seems like 10-20 years ago it would have had more interest and  ‘shock’ appeal because it took place much less frequently.

Case in point…in the last 13 days we have witnessed three no-hitters. The last time that was done, albeit in 14 days, was 100 years ago!

So why are these events becoming more and more commonplace? One need only go back to the end of the steriod era as we know it; back all the way to the famous Mitchell Report. In fact, lets look at some numbers…

Read more here…