Last Blog Post Until 2017

Another year has nearly come and gone, and so goes the previous twelve months of blogging. After nearly giving up my baseball blog at the end of last year, I decided to continue it into this year, but am leaning towards making early 2017 as the expiration date for my blog. christmas

No matter what I decide, though, this will definitely be my final blog post until next year arrives in 9 days. With Christmas time upon us, I don’t want to have to worry about hoping on here to post a blog entry every fifth day, and therefore will be holding off until the new year.

When 2017 does arrive, the first day of the year will see some sort of post, but I haven’t decided what it will be about yet. Normally, I write about the goals I have for the coming blogging year, but with me not guaranteeing that I’ll see the entire year through, I’m not sure what it will be about yet.

Regardless, after that will come my unofficial Hall of Fame vote, with the official election results being written about in a post when things are announced on January 18th. It should be interesting to see who gets inducted with such a strong class this year.

January 20th will mark the sixth year of my blog, and that’s the make-or-break point for the entire year. I’ll either decided to make that my final post ever or I will continue on for as long as I can. It has yet to be determined.

Should I decide to keep going, I’ll likely post another entry towards the end of the month regarding the release of the 2017 Top 100 Prospects list by MLB.com. I always find it interesting to talk about and review, and will be sure to write about it if I’m still going.

But no matter what I decide to do beyond January 20th, the first three weeks will be fairly straightforward blogging, assuming no big baseball news takes place.

Until then, Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a Happy New Year.

I’ll be back in 2017 (at least for a short while).

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Free Agents as Early Christmas Presents for MLB Teams

It seems like the baseball season ended yesterday, but in fact, Christmas is just over a week away. As such, less than sixty days remain until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, leaving time as the enemy for free agent players not yet signed with a team for 2017.

However, we see it every year. No matter how talented of a player, there always wind up being a few above-average free agents each offseason who remain unsigned for quite some time. For one reason or another, the right team and contract simply hasn’t come along yet.

But eventually, a perfect match will be made. While it’s somewhat unlikely, it would certainly make for a great Christmas gift for both the given player as well as the team they sign with and its fan base moving into the new year if they can come to terms over the next few days.

With that in mind, I figured I’d go over the top free agents (in my mind) remaining at each individual position that would make for a great addition to any team.MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates

STARTING PITCHER: Jason Hammel

It came down to a few quality starters in this category, but I ended up choosing Jason Hammel as the top free agent starting pitcher remaining. Posting a 3.83 ERA over the course of 166.1 innings pitched, Hammel played a huge role in leading the Cubs to their first World Series since 1908. Though Jason Hammel isn’t in the category of ace, he’s still a great pitcher that would benefit any team that picks him up.

RELIEF PITCHER: Trevor Cahill

My original pick for best remaining free agent reliever was Brad Ziegler, but he was signed by the Marlins an hour before I was set to post this blog entry. Therefore, I went with my next choice, Trevor Cahill. But despite him not being my top pick, Cahill is certainly a top choice. With just better than a strikeout per inning last season, along with a 2.74 ERA, Trevor Cahill has more than proven his value in recent history.

CATCHER: Matt Wieters

Every good pitcher thrives off of a good catcher, and Matt Wieters has proven to be one of the best. After a couple of injury-plagued seasons, Wieters bounced back in 2016 to hit 17 homers for the Orioles. His time in Baltimore may be up, but his playing career certainly is not. With good hitting catchers somewhat of a rarity in today’s game, any team would instantly improve with Matt Wieters behind the dish.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati RedsFIRST BASE: Chris Carter

There were several good choices for top first baseman free agent remaining, but Chris Carter placed at the top of my list. He will never hit for average, possessing a career .218 mark, but Carter’s power is up there with the very best. Having blasted 41 homers in 2016, Chris Carter should be a very attractive piece to any team, despite him still remaining unsigned to this point in the offseason.

SECOND BASE: Chase Utley

Over the past few weeks, there have been a number of rumors stating that Chase Utley would prefer to head back to the Dodgers in 2017. However, with them looking into Brian Dozier, that may not occur. Regardless, Utley will land somewhere, and that team will be all the better for it. In addition to Chase Utley’s ability to still hit (recording 14 homers last year), his leadership role has proven to be invaluable over the years.

THIRD BASE: Aaron Hill

There weren’t a lot of players to choose from at the hot corner slot now that Justin Turner has been taken off the board, but I went with Aaron Hill. Much like Chase Utley, Hill isn’t going to hit you a mammoth number of homers any more (he still managed 10 last season), nor is he going to hit for a superbly high average. But Aaron Hill does have the ability to play a good defensive third base while stringing together solid at-bats.<> at Chase Field on April 29, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.

SHORTSTOP: Daniel Descalso

It’s hard to think of a player who had an under-the-radar season quite to the extent of Daniel Descalso. In fact, I was somewhat surprised to discover that he recorded career highs in both on-base-percentage and homers in 2016 — .349 and 8, respectively. With that in mind, Daniel Descalso places at the top of the admittedly weak free agent list for shortstops, and should be signed before 2017 rolls around.

LEFT FIELD: Michael Saunders

Playing in just nine games all of 2015, Michael Saunders exploded back onto the scene in 2016, hitting a career high 24 home runs. For that reason alone, I see him as the top available option yet to be signed to play left field. Michael Saunders doesn’t hit for a high average, but he has enough pop to be a big contributor to any club he’s on, and should be seen as very valuable despite still sitting without a contract.

CENTER FIELD: Rajai Davis

Rajai Davis isn’t the biggest power hitter in baseball by any stretch. He also won’t be found among the top few in batting average year after year. But where Davis truly stands out is his running ability. In 2016 alone, Davis stole 43 bases, making it his fifth career 40+ stolen base season. With that speed, in addition to his bat being no slouch (he popped 12 homers in 2016), Rajai Davis is quite the free agent pickup.trumbo

RIGHT FIELD: Mark Trumbo

Always known for his power, Mark Trumbo took things up a notch last season. After never having hit more than 34 homers in a single season, Trumbo blasted 47 big flies in 2016. Though you never know if any given player’s success can be carried over from one season to the next, Mark Trumbo is definitely worth taking a chance on. Worst case scenario, he hits 30 homers. But the ability for 50 home runs is certainly there.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Edwin Encarnacion

Another player with crazy-stupid power is Edwin Encarnacion. After turning town a sizeable contract offer from the Blue Jays, it’s looking likely that Encarnacion will take his talents elsewhere in 2017 and beyond. In addition to his fifth straight 34+ home run season, Encarnacion recorded a career high in RBI’s as well last season. Whoever gets Edwin Encarnacion, they will have an absolute superstar to add to their lineup.

Last Blog Post Until 2016

This was originally going to be my last blog post ever. I had decided back in August that I wouldn’t be continuing this blog into another year and would end things with a final, definitive post in December. But things have changed. I have several interviews with some amazingly talented ballplayers already conducted, and I don’t want those to not be published. In addition, the closer the final day got, I found myself not wanting to give up blogging. That day is coming (likely in 2016), but that point hasn’t arrived just yet.

With all of that said — back on January 1st of this year, when I posted my blogging New Year’s Resolutions/Goals, I stated that I was going to attempt to blog at least once every five days in 2015, post 100+ entries, get more views than the year before, go on a christmas3-post-blogging-streak and reply to every comment that was left.

I was successful in blogging at the set pace, posting three blog posts on back-to-back-to-back days and replying to every comment, but I only wound up posting 95 entries this year and didn’t surpass my total views from last year. Even so, I think it was a rather successful year of blogging.

After another long, tedious blogging year, this will be my final post until 2016 rolls around (as the title suggests). It’s Christmas time, and therefore I don’t want to spend it working multiple hours on putting any blog posts together. I’ll save that for January. Meaning, if any major baseball news stories break, no matter how big they are, I won’t be writing about it. At least not until 2016.

My first post of the new year will be my blogging resolutions/goals for 2016, followed by my Hall of Fame ballot a few days after. Then I’ll take the time to recap the elected members after they’re announced, and write a five year blog anniversary post on the 20th. Along the way I’ll hopefully post an interview or two, in addition to providing my thoughts from time to time on the latest baseball news. After that, heading into February, things are up in the air.

To conclude the year, I just want to take the time to thank everyone who’s read my blog throughout the past year, and throughout its nearly five year existence. Whether you’re a regular or just check in from time to time, if it weren’t for you all I’d have no reason to blog. So thank you. I’m going to do my best to make 2016 the best year yet — even better than 2015 — and hopefully you will all continue to come back every so often to read what I have to say.

Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a Happy New Year.

I’ll be back in 2016.

Last Blog Post Until 2015

Back on January 1st of this year, when I posted my blogging New Year’s Resolutions/Goals, I stated that I was going to attempt to blog at least once every four days in 2014. I tried doing so in 2013, and with the exception of the month long vacation I took, I was able to accomplish that goal. But this year, I took it a step further, and successfully blogged at least once every four days, achieving that goal along with every other blogging goal I set.Christmas

After such a successful year of blogging, this will be my final post until 2015 rolls around. It’s Christmas time, and therefore I don’t want to spend it working multiple hours on putting any blog posts together. I’ll save that for January. Meaning, if any major baseball news stories break, no matter how big they are, I won’t be writing about it. At least not until 2015.

My first post of the new year will be my blogging resolutions/goals for 2015, followed by my Hall of Fame ballot a few days after. Then I’ll take the time to recap the elected members after they’re announced, and write a four year blog anniversary post on the 20th. Along the way I’ll hopefully post an interview or two, in addition to providing my thoughts from time to time on the latest baseball news. After that, heading into February, things are up in the air.

Lastly, I just wanted to take the time to thank everyone who’s read my blog throughout the past year, and throughout its nearly four year existence. Whether you’re a regular or just check in from time to time, if it weren’t for you all I’d have no reason to blog. So thank you. I’m going to do my best to make 2015 the best year yet — even better than 2014, if that’s possible — and hopefully you will all continue to come back every so often to read what I have to say.

Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a Happy New Year.

I’ll be back in 2015.

Last Blog Post Until 2014

This is my 121st blog post of the year and it will be my last of 2013. I’ve done my best to keep all the goals I originally set back in January, but it’s Christmas time, so I’m going to mess up my goal of blogging at least once every four days and take a break until the new year.

ballsome-treeI’ve really had a great time with this blog in the past year, as I’ve blogged more often than I ever had before. With the exception of my 24-day trip around the country in July/August, I got 2-3 posts up every week. That’s pretty good if you ask me.

As I did last year, I’m going to be setting five resolutions/goals for the 2014 blogging season on January 1st (my next blog post). A few of them are going to be the same, however, I’ve changed a couple around, based on my 2013 blogging year.

After that, I’m going to be posting an entry on my Hall of Fame picks, followed by the players elected into the H.O.F. (on January 8th) and a post marking the three-year anniversary of this blog on January 20th. I also have the 2013 number one overall draft pick, Mark Appel, scheduled for an interview sometime next month. So a Q and A with him will likely come late in the month, or early in early February.

Lastly, I just wanted to take the time to thank everyone who’s read my blog throughout the past year, and throughout its nearly three year existence. Whether you’re a regular or just check in from time-to-time, if it weren’t for you all I’d have no reason to blog. So thank you. I’m going to do my best to make 2014 the best year yet — even better than 2013 — and hopefully you will all continue to come back every so often to read what I have to say.

Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a Happy New Year.

See you all in 2014.

Christmas Entry – Part Two

First of all, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Second, today is part two of the answers to the question of what the best present you’ve ever recieved for Christmas. (CLICK HERE, if you missed Part One.) Hope you enjoy reading the below answers:

DEE GORDON

Getting to be with my family.

TYSON GILLIES

A yak back was my favorite. Haha.

LV WARE

When I was 6 or 7, spent Christmas with the entire family.

STEVE BUMBRY

A car.

JUSTIN JACKSON

Batman figurine mansion with a bat mobile.

RYAN TATUSKO

I would have to say it was my first baseball glove!

JJ HOOVER

That’s a good one but I always remember the year I got ps1 and madden 95. Was epic.

RICHARD GIANNOTTI

Laser tag.

ANDREW BAILEY

I think original nintendo in like 5th grade or something nice @ladybailey40 got me. Haha.

EDWIN JACKSON

I like them all really. It’s always the thought with me not necessarily the gift.

ZACK WHEELER

Wow that’s tough. I don’t know though. I’m just fortunate my parents were able to provide for me every year.

MYKE JONES

Probably my basketball goal when I was younger.

YONDER ALONSO

I went on a trip to my homeland Cuba. Had the chance to be with family…awesome times! Cuba=Amazing Beach!

DANNY WORTH

An awesome skim board.

MIKE NAPOLI

All my family being there all at once.

JOEL HANRAHAN

A new glove, probably.

JUSTIN DE FRETUS

Got the same thing most years. A pro preferred rawlings. It was awesome.

DAVID HERNANDEZ

Over the years I’ve gotten alot of great presents. I can’t narrow it down to one. #BLESSED

ERIC SURKAMP

Socks and Underwear.

PAUL MAHOLM

My two front teeth! Haha no, but 7 years ago my BWE married me.

BEN REVERE

I don’t know. Maybe a PS3.

CASPER WELLS

Sega Genesis.

ADAM RUSSELL

Nintendo when I was 5. I cried I was so happy.

CHRIS HATCHER

Tough one. As a kid it was Legos. I had nearly every Lego made.

HOWARD KENDRICK

My oldest son Owen was born on Christmas day. 7:20 am to be exact. Nothing gets better.

CHRIS DICKERSON

Best gift I got. took it everywhere and wreaked all havoc. #bestgiftever

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

Christmas Entry – Part One

With today being Christmas Eve, I thought it’d be a good time to post a Christmas related baseball entry. I recieved the below answers last month, but wanted to wait until today (and tomorrow) to post them. Below is part one of the answers. I recieved SO many replies that I didn’t want to try and cram them all in into one entry.

I asked MLB players (and some minor leaguers) what the best present they ever recieved for Christmas was. I recieved some well thought out answers, and some, well, not so much. I hope you enjoy:

STEVE CISHEK

My two front teeth.

JEREMY GUTHRIE

A Pizzaz pizza cooker. Thing makes the perfect pizza out of frozen pizza! #BestChristmasGift

JOSH LUEKE

My two front teeth fixed. Haha.

DANIEL HUDSON

 Good question. I’ve gotten too many good ones over the years. Hard to pick a favorite! #blessed

DAVID AARDSMA

I was ten and got a surfboard! Awesome.

FRANK CATALANOTTO

Best Christmas present ever is a tough one. But I’ll go with getting Nintendo when it first came out in 1985.

THOMAS NEAL

Car. ’94 rolla 100,000 miles with house speakers in the back.

SAM LECURE

I got a stuffed animal when I was 3 that I take everywhere. That’s at the top. I went skydiving last year which was awesome. Those two jump out but I’m sure I’ve gotten some really good ones I’m not thinking of.

CHARLES BREWER

That’s a tough question. Gonna say my Titleist AP2 clubs. 🙂

RYAN ROBERTS

I’ve had a lot of good ones but the present I use the most is a fancy coffee maker. I drink coffee every morning.

DIRK HAYHURST

Nothing. I loved it.

BUD NORRIS

Tough one. When I turned 12 “Santa” got me a Go-Ped. Little motorized scooter.

CHRIS SWAUGER

Ultimate Warrior WWF Wrestling Buddy. Still gets bodyslammed.

JIWAN JAMES

I don’t know. I’ve always been spoiled. Too many.

MATT ANTONELLI

Probably a go kart I got back in the day.

BARRY ENRIGHT

Spending time with family. Oh and “Penny” Hardaway Shoes back in the day! #Boom

GARRETT RICHARDS

I got an old school big foot that I drove into the ground! Blue with a foot print gas peddle. So sick. #monstertruckswag But probably my favorite thing around the house during Christmas time would have to be my Purple Ninja Turtle stocking. Only stocking I can remember having. #oldschool

FRANK THOMAS

My first bike. A 10 speed!

WILL MIDDLEBROOKS

Field goal post my dad made out of pvc pipe. Not full size. Probably 10 ft wide. I was 8.

RYAN VERDUGO

A red Ryder bb gun, and no I didn’t shoot my eye out.  #achristmasstory

VINNIE PESTANO

Pobably my first PS2. Very hard to come by that year and my parents played it down very well.

BRENT LILLIBRIDGE

An Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!

JEMILE WEEKS

Last year having the suite at the magic game vs. boston celtics and my whole fam being there compliments of my bro and myself.

SHAWN KELLEY

I was 8 and got a 30 .06.

ANTHONY BASS

The best christmas present was one I never received. I asked for 10 years in a row for a 1995 A-Rod Starting Lineup. #stillwaiting

CODY DECKER

No question:

Part two will be posted tomorrow. (Sometime.)