Major League Baseball’s Review at the Two-Thirds Point

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Mike-Trout

Major league baseball is at the 2/3 mark of the 2015 season and begs for a review. These are the dog days, heading into mid-August with sellers selling and buyers hoping to rent their way to top of the heap. Re: Toronto Blue Jays. [Read more…]

Josh Hamilton Must Earn Back the Respect of Texas Rangers Fans

By Derek Reed
PSDC Texas Rangers Correspondent

In the “things I never thought I would see again” category, Josh Hamilton returning to the Rangers was pretty high up there. But the 2010 AL MVP, who led Texas to its first two American League pennants, is on the verge of tip-toing across those burnt bridges that lead back to the non-baseball town of Arlington.

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

From a baseball standpoint, the move makes perfect sense. Texas needs outfield contribution and Hamilton can provide that. Even if it’s half the production we’re used to seeing from him, it’s better than what the Rangers are getting now. The fact that Texas will reportedly pay less than $7 million of the $80+ million he is owed and doesn’t have to send anyone to Anaheim makes this move a no brainer…from a purely baseball standpoint. [Read more…]

Looking In The Mirror With Josh Hamilton

By Joshua V. Best
PSDC Contributor

During the 2012 baseball season, I went from insisting Josh Hamilton was the best baseball player I had ever seen to so disgusted with him that I didn’t care whether the Rangers resigned him or not. During his five years in Arlington, Hamilton was often astounding and regularly frustrating. He would make a beautiful diving catch, hit three homers, and then slide head first into first base for no reason at a non-critical moment in an unimportant game and be sidelined for 15 days. It was a maddening, but never boring half-decade.

Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Hamilton had problems the first time the Rangers acquired him, and he has problems today. Seven and a half years ago, very few people were kicking him for those problems. The swap with the Reds (Hamilton for Edinson Volquez) was seen as a low-risk move that could potentially pay off.  [Read more…]

Texas Rangers Close to Reacquiring Josh Hamilton

By Chris Stuckey
Editor-in-Chief

Well…it seems to be all but official. Josh Hamilton is headed back to Texas where he experienced his most success as a professional.

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Josh Hamilton story is no secret to anyone. His most recent newsworthy off-field shenanigans have been oft reported. The recovering addict suffered a drug and alcohol relapse this offseason. This incident has left the relationship between Hamilton and the Los Angeles Angels strained. How strained, you ask? Strained enough that the Angels are willing to pay all but $15 million of the $83 million he is still owed. [Read more…]

5 Best MLB Over/Under Bets

By Matt Conley
PSDC Contributor

The first thing you notice when you look at Over/Under bets on a sportsbook is that the people who set the lines are very good at what they do. If you pick a number for a team, then cross reference that with the actual line, chances are your guess will be within a couple games of the line. If it isn’t, chances are it’s because you are misjudging something, not them. None of this means there isn’t money to be made. Bookmakers tend to undervalue certain types of teams. Lines get swung too high by flashy free agent signings that the public thinks will help a team more than they actually will. If you have a good understanding of what makes a team successful, you can jump on some value. The hardest part is waiting six months for your bet to pay off.

All lines from sportsbook.ag

Toronto Blue Jays (Over/Under 79.5 wins)

jose-reyes

Under- I have never bought into this team. The pitching is never there. Last offseason, they made a big splash by trading for Cy Young winner RA Dickey, and most of the Marlins veterans. That didn’t work out the way GM Alex Anthopoulos thought it would. Sure, if Brandon Morrow and Jose Reyes stay healthy, Brett Lawrie breaks out, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion keep thumping and RA Dickey can get back to his elite form, this team will make noise. How likely are all those to happen in the same season, though? This team isn’t deep enough to have struggles from their top players. The back of the rotation isn’t pretty, and there are questions about the readiness of their AAA pitchers. A good rule of thumb: if a team seems to be getting the benefit of the doubt on their major question marks, jump on their under. [Read more…]

Major League Baseball’s Triumphs and Flops…So Far

By Ted Parrish
PSDC Contributor

As usual, Major League Baseball is full of pleasant surprises and cruel disappointments in early June. A prime example is the Washington Nationals, a star-studded team coming off a 98-win season and an NL East championship in 2012.  They were picked by 38 out of 43 ESPN.com analysts to win the division for a second straight year. Despite all the preseason hype, Washington sits in third with a 29-30 record after 59 games.

In the NL West, Arizona finished 2012 at 81-81, 13 games behind the eventual World Series champion Giants. They traded away four players, including their two-time All-Star Justin Upton and their top pitching prospect, Trevor Bauer. Now, led by hot-hitting Paul Goldschmidt, the Diamondbacks sit atop the NL West with a 35-26 record, 3.5 games ahead of the Colorado Rockies.

This article will take a look at teams that have surprised or disappointed their fans so far. This week we will go through the American League divisions, and next week we will visit the National League.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST:

Surprise: New York Yankees 35-26, 2nd place, 2.0 GB

There have been very few times in the last 10 years when you can describe the Yankees sitting in second place in the AL East as a “surprise.”  For years the Yankees have been almost a lock for the playoffs, including last season when they won 95 games and the division.

This season was shaping up to offer more of the same before injuries began to take their toll. At one point, New York had $95 million in salaries on the DL, including Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixiera. Those five players alone have combined for 35 career All-Star appearances. [Read more…]

2013 MLB Team Preview: Los Angeles Angels

By Ryan Schofield
PSDC Sports Dude

Last offseason the Angels signed the biggest star on the market, giving Albert Pujols a 30-year, $800 million dollar contract, or maybe it just felt that way. Albert’s deal was actually 10 years, $240 million but it looked like a disaster when Pujols started the season with the worst slump of his career. He didn’t’ hit his first home run until May 6, at which time his batting average was .196.

Luckily a week before that, a player arrived that would make everyone forget about Pujols’ struggles.  On April 28, Mike Trout embarked on the beginning of a dream season. A season in which he’d finish second in the MVP race only because the man who finished first won the first triple crown since 1967. Trout put up the kind of numbers that a superstar in his prime would happily sell his soul for, and he did it as a 21-year-old rookie.  Pujols, for his part, heated up in the summer and even though he finished batting 288, his lowest average of his career, he still managed 30 home runs, 50 doubles and 105 RBI.

The Angels narrowly missed the playoffs in the extremely tough AL West, being beaten out for the division by the surprising Oakland A’s and the not as surprising Texas Rangers.  So what did they do? They signed the Rangers best hitter, Josh Hamilton, to a five-year, $125 million dollar, adding a cleanup hitter and severely weakening their AL West rival.

It certainly doesn’t appear the AL West will get less interesting this year. Here’s your 2013 MLB Preview of the Los Angeles Angels. [Read more…]

Hot Stove Burns Rangers Fans as Josh Hamilton Gets His Wings

By Joshua V. Best
PSDC Contributor

Following the 2003-2004 basketball season, Steve Nash was a 30-year-old point guard who was one of three stars on a perennial playoff Dallas Mavericks team. Though bounced in the first round that season by a Sacramento Kings team about which the word “hate” doesn’t begin to be strong enough to describe my feelings, due in large part to the presence of Antoine Walker AKA “Human Cancer,” the Mavs had still established themselves as one of the premier franchises in the league. In fact, much like the Rangers, they had progressed deep in the playoffs and then taken a step backward that year. What had been building seemed to be derailing, and our point guard stood without a contract. [Read more…]

MLB Free Agency is Hardly Free

By Joe Hines
PSDC Chicago Sports Guru

The proverbial finger has been pulled from the dike. Elite free agents Josh Hamilton and soon after, Ryan Dempster signed mega contracts respectively with the Los Angeles Orange County by way of Alcatraz, California Angels and the Boston Red Sox. Dempster’s deal is two years for $26.5 million dollars, while Hamilton inked his for $125 million total over five years. They were the big fish in the pond left and I would expect the remaining, mostly middle of the road guys to sign within the next few days. [Read more…]

Five MLB Trade Deadline Winners

By John Imossi
PSDC Contributor

In the days and weeks leading up to the trading deadline, we saw a lot of deals going down and there were even more happening up until 4:00 p.m. today. A lot of players were added to a lot of teams, but who made the deals that will help their team the most?

5. Chicago White Sox Get Kevin Youkilis

Coming into the season the Detroit Tigers were supposed to run away with the AL Central, but the White Sox managed to take the division lead thanks to the Tigers slow start. White Sox General Manager Ken Williams has never been afraid to make a deal and went to work to secure the division as Tigers are beginning to turn it on. He added Youkilis, reliever Brett Meyers and enigmatic starting pitcher Francisco Liriano. [Read more…]

MLB Trade Deadline Talk

By John Imossi
PSDC Contributor

The July 31 MLB trading deadline is under a week away and already major pieces are being shipped all over the league. The new, two-team wild card system makes for a very interesting trading deadline. The National League has eight teams out of sixteen within five games of a playoff spot. The American League is even more contentious with eleven of fourteen teams within five games of a playoff spot.  With all these teams so close to playoff spots it makes the buyers and sellers less clear-cut. This also creates a very delicate situation for these teams on the outskirts of the playoff race. Now that wild cards have to play in a one-game playoff are teams going to be less willing to part with their prized prospects?

Helping the market out this year is three teams that seem to be in all-out fire sale mode. The Chicago Cubs, the Florida Marlins and the Houston Astros all seem to be ready to forget about this year (and possibly next year) to put together some young talent.  Other teams such as the Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres seem to be surfacing as sellers in recent rumors. There are players available but teams are going to want to make sure that they make their trades count. While every team could use something, what teams could make the biggest difference in their season with a single trade?  I have three.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 

Biggest Need:  Bullpen 

At 54-45 the Angels are currently in position for the first wildcard spot and they are beginning to gain ground on the first place Texas Rangers.  [Read more…]

Dear LA Angels, Be Careful What You Wish For

By Mark Eomurian
PSDC Contributor 

“We Got Albert!” was a chant celebrated by thousands of Angels fans last December who came out to thank Arte Moreno for opening the bank vault and finally signing that elusive big bat superstar that the Angels had pursued for several seasons. The signing of the iconic slugger Pujols, who is widely regarded as the greatest baseball player of his generation, signified a major shift in how the Angels are perceived and was an answer to the critics who have continually lambasted the Angels’ front office and ownership for failing to deliver on past promises. A ten-year $240 million contract can have that effect on naysayers.

Before the Albert signing, the Angels had coveted the likes of Mark Teixeira and Carl Crawford, only to be spurned, as the premier free agents took their respective talents to the American League East. And the free agents they chose not to sign, such as John Lackey, took subtle digs at the organization. After losing their once strong grip on the American League West to the Texas Rangers, Arte Moreno had seen enough of playoff failures and second place finishes. [Read more…]