The most hated Oakland Athletics (according to my readers)

This is a GREAT and kinda funny list! I really hate Bob Geren … Johnson, Crosby, Swisher (he’s right hick/douchebag is a good description!), Polonia (a name I hadn’t thought of in a while!!) – the only ones I don’t dislike are Jon Lester because he was great and people need to get the f**k over Yoenis Cespedes – he wasn’t that great and seriously, teams just keep trying to get rid of him and the A’s collapse had nothing to do with him being traded – it was a GOOD thing to get rid of him! GET OVER IT!And I liked Rhodes even though he was NOT a good closer … overall perfect list besides those two!

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jj The “winner!”

1.) Jim Johnson –This one doesn’t surprise me as it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind. I disagreed with the signing from the very beginning because A) I don’t believe in giving closers big money B) despite having 50 saves in Baltimore the year before, (hands down the most overrated statistic in sports) he still managed to blow 9 games…a horrible percentage. C) He just looked like a creep.

I was spot-on as the fans quickly grew tired of pitches that had zero movement and blown saves in bunches. Eventually he was run out-of-town until signing with Detroit who grew tired of him as well and sent him to AAA Toledo to waste away in the city known for unemployment and the smell of shit in the air…a fitting ending to the season for Johnson and perhaps an omen.

2.) Daric Barton — This guy never had a nickname…

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Rawlings Gold Glove winners announced

Photo Credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images

The winners of the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were announced on Tuesday night. There were a couple first timers and a lot of the players already suspected to be on the final winners list.

Each winner had one thing in common. They all demonstrated the best example of defensive play at their position during the 2014 season.

Starting in 2013, the Gold Glove voting has been voted on by managers and coaches whose votes make up 75 percent of the winning vote.

The other 25 percent of the vote comes from statistical analysis in collaboration with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR)

In the National League Yadier Molina stole the show, winning his seventh straight N.L. Gold Glove at catcher, beating out two extrememly talented candidates the Milwaukee Brewers backstop Jonathan Lucroy and the coveted free agent catcher from the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Russell Martin.

Colorado Rockies’ third baseman Nolan Arenado had this to say about winning his second straight Gold Glove,

“I’m not trying to sound greedy or anything, but this year’s Gold Glove kind of hit me a little harder than it did last year,” Arenado said. “Last year, I was kind of in shock. When you’ve won one year, the goal is to keep it and the goal is to always make your plays and help your pitchers out. I took a lot of pride. Whenever I made errors this year, it hurt me more than it did last year. It means a lot, winning this award.”

Miami Marlins’ left fielder Christian Yelich also stood out by becoming the first Marlins’ outfielder to ever win a Gold Glove. 

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Getty Images

In the American League two teams had three players each win a Gold Glove, taking up six of the nine A.L. Gold Glove Awards. Those honors went to the Kansas City Royals’ left fielder Alex Gordon, first baseman Eric Hosmer and catcher Salvador Perez.

It was Gordon’s fourth consecutive win and second consecutive for both Hosmer and Perez.

The other three winners came from the Baltimore Orioles. Shortstop J.J. Hardy took home his fourth consecutive award.

Right fielder Nick Markakis took home his second consecutive Gold Glove. Centerfielder Adam Jones won for the fourth time in his career.

“It is a great honor to win the Gold Glove,” Markakis said. “It is an individual award, but a lot of people contribute to it. [Coach] Wayne Kirby is a great influence on the outfielders and does a great job preparing us and putting us in the right position to make plays.”

A couple newbies in the A.L. were the Seattle Mariners Kyle Seager, who beat out Oakland A’s Josh Donaldson (booo! You deserved it Bringer of Rain! lol) and the Texas Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, and Dallas Keuchel of the Houtson Astros who got the honor at the pitcher’s position.

“The biggest thing as an individual, you want to up every aspect of your game,” Keuchel said. “Not only does my game entail making pitches to each batter, it entails fielding my position. I think a lot of the knock against pitchers is they’re not athletes. I try to do everything I possibly can to make myself the player I am, and this year it was a turnaround, and I’m very thankful I have adjusted to Major League Baseball and look forward to that continuing.”


Here’s a full list of all the recipients of the 2014 Gold Glove Awards:

AL first baseman: Royals’ Eric Hosmer
AL second baseman:  Red Sox’s Dustin Pedroia
AL shortstop:  Orioles’ J.J. Hardy
AL third baseman:  Mariners’ Kyle Seager
AL left fielder: Royals’ Alex Gordon
AL center fielder: Orioles’ Adam Jones
AL right fielder: Orioles’ Nick Markakis
AL pitcher: Astros’ Dallas Keuchel
AL catcher:  Royals’ Salvador Perez

NL first baseman: Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez
NL second baseman: Rockies’ DJ LeMahieu
NL shortstop: Braves’ Andrelton Simmons
NL third baseman: Rockies’ Nolan Arenado
NL left fielder: Marlins’ Christian Yelich
NL center fielder: Mets’ Juan Lagares
NL right fielder:  Braves’ Jason Heyward
NL pitcher: Dodgers’ Zack Greinke
NL catcher: Cardinals’ Yadier Molina

Qualifying Offers: 12 extended, will anyone accept?

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Getty Images

The deadline for teams to extend one-year $15.3 million qualifying offers to players came and went on Monday. In all 12 players were extended qualifying offers.

In the now third year of the existance of qualifying offers not a single soon-to-be free agent has ever accepted a qualifying offer. These offers are meant to help out players, ensuring them work for a fair price the following season and keeping them from, well, in sense, what happened last year.

Last season 13 qualifying offers were extended and all were denied in order to explore the free agent market. This left them and whatever team that signed them forced to give a top draft pick to the players’ former team as compensation. (In a previous post I explain the exact nature of what qualifying offers are and how they work.)

Teams are not fond of giving up draft picks especially their top pick so essientially these players were seen as “having the draft pick hanging over their heads.” Sure some were certainly signed by other teams. Robinson Cano and Shin Soo-Choo both got big, long-term deals with the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers both happy to forfeit a draft pick for their services.

Other players were not signed until mid-March to deals similar to what they would have recieved if they’d accepted their team’s qualifying offer in the first place. Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales were not signed until after the 2014 First Year Player Draft in June, ending up with a salary prorated for the months that they had missed.

So the majority of the 13 players etended offers after the 2013 season didn’t end up with the big free agent deals that they expected when they initially declined the qualifying offer from their 2012 team. Will that change any of the players’ minds this season?

We’ll find out but probably not for the next week. The players have until  5 p.m. ET on Nov. 10 to accept or decline their offer. No one knows what these players are thinking. I predicted in an earlier post that Yankees reliever David Robertson could be the first player in history to accept a qualifying offer.

Besides Robertson, here is a list of the other players who were extended qualifying offers in 2014:

James Shields (Royals)
Michael Cuddyer (Rockies)
Max Scherzer (Tigers)
Victor Martinez (Tigers)
Ervin Santana (Braves)
Hanley Ramirez (Dodgers)
Pablo Sandoval (Giants)
Melky Cabrera (Blue Jays)
Francisco Liriano (Pirates)
Russell Martin (Pirates)
David Robertson (Yankees)
Nelson Cruz (Orioles)

What happens next is up to them. Given that I have written two posts recently on the subject, I for one, can’t wait to see what happens over the next week.


Raul Ibanez would be a perfect match for the Yankees


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Raul Ibanez had one heck of a year. The 42-year-old was signed by the Los Angeles Angels to replace Mark Trumbo as their designated hitter. 

By June he had hit just three home runs and was batting .157 and the Angels released him. He was given a second chance to end his career on his terms when the Kansas City Royals signed Ibanez.

The Royals were the first team to give Ibanez a chance to play everyday at age 29 in 2001. His career skyrocketed and he became one of the most respected players in the league, all after the age of 30. 

That is pretty remarkable and he has compiled some unbelievable statistics in the past 12-13 years. They’re so good that it inspired me to write a piece on him when he signed with the Royals this season. You can (and should!!) read it using the link below. I promise you some of the statistics will blow your mind!


The unassuming, amazing career of Raul Ibanez 


Ibanez was left off the World Series roster for the Royals but remained with the team mentoring and helping out the younger players. When asked about retirement after Wednesday’s game seven loss Ibanez said,

“Of course, when you’re 42, it’s definitely an option. I think the time will come when I’ll address that, but now is not the time.”

Of course talking about retirement right after a heartbreaking World Series loss isn’t a good time to be thinking about ending one’s career.

Photo Credit: Christian Peterson/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Christian Peterson/Getty Images

It seems that retirement is becoming more and more likely for Ibanez since he is all but guarenteed a job still working in baseball. 

Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York reported early Thursday,

“the Yankees plan on talking to Ibanez about a coaching position on Joe Girardi’s staff.”

So now the rumor is that the New York Yankees are hoping to hire Ibanez as a coach – more than likely to replace recently fired hitting coach Kevin Long, however, they also have a space open at first base coach that was vacated by Mick Kelleher.

Ibanez is known to be one of the most amiable players in all of baseball. It’d be almost impossible to say or think otherwise based on his reputation and how he handled not being on the World Series roster, by mentoring instead of sulking. 

He’d be a great fit with the Yankees’ organization who, like many others, just really like him. He also experienced what is probably the most memorable game in his 19-year career with the Yankees and their fans.

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2012 ALDS/Getty Images

Ibanez was the hero of the 2012 ALDS. Two huge moments came in game three of the 2012 ALDS when the Yankees were facing the Orioles. Ibanez hit a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth and a game-winning home run in the 12th to lift the Yankees to a 3-2 victory.

Of course he was also a member of the 2009 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies so that moment factors in there somewhere but the excitement of that game in 2012 was pretty spectacular. 

It’s time that Ibanez called his career as a player and moved on to another career that he was also born to do and that is coach. Whether it be with the Yankees or not it just feels like his next calling.

Although I hope the Yankees’ do hire him and soon, while the timing is right for them both. I think they’d match up just perfectly.


Shields, Butler want to stay with Royals. How realistic are their chances?

James Shields and Billy Butler say they want to stay in Kansas City. But is that really a possibility?


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Getty Images

Sure it’s a possibility, really in life anything is potentially possible but more than likely in this case it isn’t probable. Both players would have to take a substantial pay cut.

The Kansas City Royals have expressed the desire to try to keep James Shields who they acquired in a much debated trade that sent 2013 Rookie of the Year Wil Myers and others to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Though he may have been a 2013 ROY however, he spent most of 2014 on the disabled lis, sufffering a wrist injury that kept him out for more than two month of the season. He hit .222 on the year.

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Getty Images

Shields on the other hand pitched the Royals deep into October. He had a couple iffy postseason starts but his final performance in game five of the World Series was good enough to beat any pitcher.

Any pitcher, that is, except Madison Bumgarner. His October was so flawless we may never see anything like it again.

Shields is still one of the top free agent pitchers now on the free agent market along with Max Scherzer and Jon Lester. Yup smile everyone! It is officially Hot Stove season!

He’ll command a lot of money the way he pitched for the Royals this season, probably a price too high for the Royals to be able to match.

Game seven of the World Series was possibly his last in a Royals uniform but if these words from Shields hold true it may not be.

“I had a phenomenal two years — so far,” Shields said. “I’m still a Royal as it is right now, but I definitely would like to come back.”

Shields went 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA in a league leading 34 starts. He’s a workhorse pitching over 200 innings in all but one of his nine big league  seasons, his rookie season. A rookie shouldn’t be pitching 200 innings anyway.

He led the league in innings pitched in 2013 posting an even lower 3.15 ERA and in 2011 he pitched a career high 249.1 innings that included 11 complete games, four of them shutouts.

All that said, Shields may very well take a discount if Kansas City offers a decent amount and a long term deal. Shields has pitched close to 2000 innings in his career and he isn’t getting any younger. He’ll be 33 years old in December.

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Getty Images

If the Royals can guarentee long term job security, they may be able to retain Shields services. The plus sides for Shields are he’d still be the ace on what should still be a contending team with lots of young talent  and job security into what I think would have to be his late 30’s. He may stay.

There shouldn’t be the same type of optimism among Royals’ fans when it comes to Billy Butler, which is sad for both Butler and the fans. Butler made his intent to stay in the city he’s fallen in love with very clear on Wednesday night.

“Even if they decline it [his option], you can still talk,” Butler said. “Nothing’s been said. I haven’t been told anything, nor should I. We were focused on the World Series. I bleed Royal blue, and I’m a proven Major League player. If it’s not here, it’s somewhere else, but I’d rather it just be here.”

He bleeds Royal blue. Isn’t that enough to melt any GM’s heart? lt’s the only team Butler has ever known. Drafted by the Royals in the first round of the 2004 draft and debuted in the big leagues on May 1 the following season.

Unfortunately, according to CBS Sports Jon Heyman, Royals general manager Dayton Moore is not likely to pick up Butler’s $12.5 million option. Their other options? A $1 million buyout.

Butler, only 28, has a .295 career batting average over eight seasons with the Royals and can be expected to provide around 15 home runs and 75 RBI a season.

He did not put up his best numbers in 2014, but went 5-15 in the World Series with 3 RBI, scoring one of the Royals’ two runs Wednesday on an RBI single on by Alex Gordon. He was on first when Gordon hit the ball.

Runnng might not be his specialty like the rest of the young, speedy Royals team but he’s not the type of player to not put in the maximum amount of effort.

It’s not clear how much of a pay cut Shields will be willing to take to remain with the Royals, especially not until the other offers start rolling in. Butler is seems would take any kind of pay cut to stay. At least we know it would be less than $12 million per year.

“My dad’s always told me good things always come to an end, and I hope this isn’t one of those times, this isn’t one of those things that has to end,” Butler said. “I’d like to see if we could build on this next year with this squad. If I’m in those plans, I’ll be here. And if I’m not, there’s nothing I can do about that.”

“It’s one of those things that has to work out for both sides. It’s one of those things where you want to be here, but you have to think if it’s the best thing for your family. Family comes first, and when that decision comes, you have to sit down with your family and see if that’s the right thing. But this organization is my family, as well. You’re right. It does mean a little bit more.”

Depending on how much money Shields and Butler are willing to give up will be a big part of whether or not they’ll stay. Shields, it appears, will have more control over his situation than Butler and Butler could also command a good salary on the free agent market.

The chances of either player staying with the Royals seems unlikely, however, like in life and especially in baseball anything is possible.

A special message to the Giants before game 7.

Gotta Love this! Thank you Coco Crisp’s Afro!! Go Royals!! See gotta have an “Oaktown” feel in my blog once in a while! And this time with a little help from the fAnily!

**Just a note – this goes for before game 7, after game 7 as well as always and forever!!**

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Breaking: Joe Maddon will be Cubs manager in 2015


According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, Joe Maddon will be the new manager of the Chicago Cubs beginning in 2015, so more or less effective immediately. The team has not confirmed the deal, in fact they’ve flat our denied it but according to Heyman sources “familiar with the dealings say that it is certain to be completed in the coming days.”

There wasn’t supposed to be an anouncement until Friday, and technically if they are still working on the deal then there hasn’t been an annoucement. The announcement could still come on Halloween.

The deal is apparently a “mega deal” that will make Joe Madden the highest paid manager in the National League. It’s been rumored that he is going to make up to $5 million a year.

Current Cubs’ manager Rick Renteria, who has two years still left on his contract, was told by the club that there was a possibility that this deal could happen.

The Cubs will have to absorb those two years left on Renteria’s contract and it’s going to cost them a pretty penny to pay Maddon but it is worth it to solidify, almost complete the rebuilding of the team that the Cubs have been working on for so long.

They’ll probably be busy on the free agent market getting a veteran player or two to lead their young, talented squad. The Cubs are going to be good, folks. 

And if you think about it, Theo Epstein is the curse breaker. He broke the “Curse of the Bambino” as general manager of the Boston Red Sox in 2004, and it appears that he’s taking on the “Curse of the Billy Goat.”

There’s a good chance with Joe Maddon leading this team that Epstein may just lift the “Curse of the Billy Goat” off of Wrigley Field for good.