Friday, April 3, 2015

Josh Hamilton Avoids Suspension, John Carpino Avoids Good PR

Hi. My name is Josh, and I am an addict.

Hi, Josh.

This is a very real thing that is going to be said in the very near future for the Angels enigmatic and ridiculously overpaid and declining slugger, Josh Hamilton. And, it is a very real thing that became very very necessary with what has become his very public hearing regarding a cocaine relapse back in January. Angels' fans reactions on Twitter ranged from "Good. Baseball is not worried about the money he is owed ($83M), and is more concerned with Hamilton receiving the help that he needs" to "Great. The Angels can't dump this guy for anything now."

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Phillies Willing to Spend $50 Million to Exile Ryan Howard


It came three years too late, but it seems as if some form of common sense has crept into the brain of Ruben Amaro Jr. As of an hour ago according to Aaron Gleeman at Hardball Talk, the Phillies are reportedly willing to eat up to and including $50 million of Ryan Howard's enormous (read, incredibly stupid) contract that runs through the end of next season. There is an option on his contract for the 2017 season, but let's not kid ourselves into believing that that will actually get picked up by, well, anyone. If the Phillies really do go ahead and swallow the $50 million remaining on Howard's deal, that leaves basically the $10 million buyout for 2017 for some team to give Howard before he walks away and disappears into the woods somewhere.

Monday, March 2, 2015

There Was a Baseball Game Yesterday. No, Really

There is still snow on the ground outside of my window, and numerous forecasts calling for temperatures so low that no person in their right mind would inhabit those areas. But, yesterday, spring got even closer with the first exhibition game involving a major league franchise in the year 2015. Well, it was a game that kind of involved a major league franchise.

The Phillies suited up for their first taste of live ball against a team that wasn't made up of blow up dolls borrowed from a Cole Hamels weekend bender, and the results were not kind to Ryne Sandberg's bunch. Going up against the University of Tampa, it was assumed that, even with a team made up of major league hopefuls and non roster spring training invites would have little to no problem defeating a team of amateur players in western Florida. That was, of course, before someone decided to swap out those players with what I am assuming are the rejected cast extras from Magic Mike 2.

The two teams played to a 2-2 tie heading into the seventh when shortstop Giovanny Alfonzo hit a grand slam to give the Spartans a commanding 6-2 lead that would hold up for the balance of the contest. When reached for a comment after the game, Phillies manager, Ryne Sandberg, responded with this: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. None of the attending members of the press knew how to handle a stick figure Sandberg, so they all backed out slowly and ran to Lowry Park Zoo where they placed their heads in an alligators mouth. Presumably to save themselves from having to endure covering the Phillies in the 2015 season.

Congratulations, Philadelphia. These are your teams' fallback options in 2015. And it's not like many of the team's regular players are going to inspire that much more confidence, so, buckle up, because it is fifth place or bust in 2015. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Bovada World Series Odds For the Potential Gambling Addict in You

Getting bored waiting for the baseball season to arrive? Sitting on a pile of one dollar bills after you cleaned house on Christmas morning? Then maybe it is time to alleviate that boredom (at least for a little while) by doing dropping some of that dough on who you think will win the 2015 World Series. Too soon, you say? It is never too soon to be frivolous with money, says I.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Corey Kluber: BBA Walter Johnson Award Winner

Some decisions in life are easy, some are not. Brushing your teeth in the morning is an easy decision because rotted teeth are gross, and nobody likes rotted teeth. Therefore, you get up, every morning, squeeze some Crest onto a toothbrush and scrub scrub scrub. Showering is an easy decision. Nobody wants to smell you, not even you. See, easy decisions. There were a lot of decisions like this that we at Off Base Percentage encountered while filling out the ballots for the BBA Awards. There were also some not as easy decisions in our way. One of them being the Walter Johnson Award for the American League. This was not a get up and brush your teeth decision. This was a "Do I want steak or chicken tonight?" decision.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Joe Maddon Ops out of Contract

Oh boy, here we go.

With the news last week of the Dodgers stealing Andrew Friedman, Joe Maddon has also decided to jump the Tampa Bay Rays ship and opt out of his current contract that ran through 2015. Which, according to Jon Heyman, was his right. Yes, I did just link a tweet by Jon Heyman. That's how serious this is.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Off Base Percentage World Series Predictions

Sup? Sup. /head nod Suuuuuuup.

Here we are. It's the middle of October, and baseball has now finally widdled itself down to its final two teams. As all the experts predicted, the Royals and the Giants will square off on Tuesday to kick off the 111th World Series. What? No one predicted this World Series matchup? OK, maybe they didn't. But, now that we are here, who is really upset about this matchup? That's right. Nobody.

In advance of the Fall Classic, the Czar of Off Base Percentage, MJ Lloyd, and myself are going to kick around the old question ball and see if we can come to a consensus on who will be standing victorious at the end of the World Series. We put on pants for this shindig, so you would know that we mean business. Well, MJ is wearing pants. I'm wearing Spongebob Squarepants pajama pants. But for this exercise, they count as pants.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

BBA AL Stan Musial 2014

Once again, it's Baseball Bloggers Alliance award season! It's a lot like the BBWAA award season with different names because they get litigious with their free time. The fine staff here at Off Base will guide you through our ballots over the next few days. Now up, the AL Stan Musial or how Mike Trout learned to stop running and love hitting bombs.

And here we are again. I've been a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance since 2010. Back then I used to have to telefax blog posts from the computer lab at the university. I had to walk eight miles, uphill, in the snow to get there. They were simpler times. The BBA has come a long way since it was founded in 2009. It has over 200 blogs voting on these regular season awards. And I feel confident that for the third consecutive year, the BBA will do what the BBWAA has not been able to do just yet. And that's give Mike Trout another first place finish for being the most valuable baseball player on the planet.

1. Mike Trout
This comes as no surprise. When given the option of voting for Trout, much like being offered Carvel ice cream cake, a reasonable person always jumps at the opportunity. Trout led all of baseball again in Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement. But unlike previous seasons, I can't yammer on about Trout putting up the greatest season ever for his particular age, in this case his 22-year-old baseball year.

His 7.8 fWAR was the worst of his three year career and the first time he dipped below the 10 WAR mark. He made some interesting adjustments in his third full season. Adjustments that hurt him in advanced metrics but will help him win his first BBWAA AL MVP. He struck out a ton. After hanging around a 19-22% strikeout rate, he jumped to 26.1% and finished Sept/Oct with a 32% rate. That said, if you tried to pitch Mike down, like most pitchers are want to do, he destroyed baseballs. Trout set a career high with 36 homers and 111 RBI. And maybe more importantly, the Angels had the best record in baseball making Trout an almost slam dunk for AL MVP.

He did stop running. Only 16 stolen bases compared to 33 last year and 49 in 2012. His AVG fell to .287 after .323 in 2013 and .326 in 2012. The .377 OBP was a career low too after hanging around .400 the previous years. And some of that can be explained by a 27 point drop in BABIP. Also, we're just picking nits here. Nobody is really questioning that Trout is the best in baseball. But now there's a legit scouting report on him and it will be interesting to see how he adjusts next year.

The question about Trout's MVP candidacy will mainly be whether or not he's unanimous. He won't be in the BBWAA because regional writers were dying to make a case for anybody else so Josh Donaldson and Victor Martinez are bound to steal a few votes. I feel slightly more confident in my BBA brethren.

2. Michael Brantley
Brantley has been a solid Major Leaguer for the Indians since 2011. And then in his 26-year-old season, everything came together. Twenty home runs, 23 stolen bases, a .327/.385/.506 line. He was Mike Trout lite in 2014. That's certainly good enough for second. Everybody raise your hand if you had Corey Kluber and Michael Brantley finishing in the top two for AL Cy and MVP. Everybody with their hand up is a dirty, dirty liar.

3. Jose Bautista
Joey Bats continues to be super productive and flies under the radar. Is it because he doesn't hit for a high average? Is it because he's Canadian? I assume players have to convert if they play for Toronto. Maybe we'll never know but Bautista is a beast.

4. Victor Martinez
This begins the portion of the ballot where offense gets the nod over defense. My apologies to Alex Gordon and Josh Donaldson. Four players had a wRC+ (adjusted Weighted Runs Created) over 160 this season. Andrew McCutchen 168, Trout 167, Martinez 166 and Jose Abreu 165. Now, Martinez and Abreu contributed little to negative a lot on the defensive side of the game but you do have to score to win. Martinez hit .335/.409/.565 and I have a weakness for players that reach base over 40% of the time.

5. Jose Abreu
.317/.383/.581 with 36 home runs and can fake first base. I have fantasies about the Cuban defector only signing a one-year deal with the white Sox and being a free agent this winter. What would the bidding look like? I imagine it would be enough to put a nice bid on Cuba when it eventually forecloses.

6. Alex Gordon
What can I say? Elite outfield defense and a .266/.351/.432 line. He might not be the superstar prospect the Royals thought they had but this ain't bad either.

7. Corey Kluber
He was the best pitcher in the AL. By a super thin margin.

8. Felix Hernandez
He was debatably the best pitcher in the AL.

9. Adrian Beltre
Is everybody on board yet? Honestly, do you realize that Beltre is going to the Hall of Fame? He's at 70.8 fWAR. He's the most dependable superstar that few realize is a superstar. I plan on him inviting me to his induction ceremony since I've been on this bandwagon for quite some time.

10. Miguel Cabrera
Or Kyle Seager. But Seager called tails.

LVP. Matt Dominguez
The former Marlins prospect was supposed to have the glove for third base but the bat was questionable. Unfortunately, the glove didn't live up to its billing and the .215/.256.330 line more than lived up to the questionable bat part of the equation. His -1.7 fWAR tied NL LVP Dominic Brown's mark for "ugh."