Jose Reyes Gets A Second Chance With The Mets


Kathy Willens/AP Photo

 

-David Strobach-

The New York Mets have signed free agent shortstop, Jose Reyes, to a minor league deal after clearing waivers with the Rockies to reunite the two parties.  Jose Reyes was a star for the  Mets from 2003-2011 and left for a $106 million contract spanning 6 years with the Marlins.  He was then traded to the Blue Jays, then the Rockies acquired him in the Troy Tulowitzki deal.    Reyes was suspended without pay (lost $6.25 million) through May 31 for his domestic violence incident last October where he grabbed his wife by the throat and pushed her into a glass door while in Hawaii.  He was arrested, but after his wife was uncooperative with the prosecution, the charges were later dropped.   Even though he was never formally charged, he still violated the MLB domestic abuse policy which led to his suspension. The Mets GM Sandy Alderson feels Jose has learned from his mistake, served his punishment, and deserves a second chance saying:

 

“I did meet with Jose personally. We talked for about an hour. Obviously, this domestic abuse issue was the focal point of that conversation. I came away feeling that he had taken responsibility for this mistake on his part, that he was remorseful. He obviously has paid a penalty for this, both financially and in terms of his career. He, I believe, is committed to ongoing counseling and support of organizations working against domestic abuse. And obviously, in addition to this personal meeting, we had a lot of internal conversations. [Chief operating officer] Jeff Wilpon was directly involved in this every step of the way. We were aware of the possible controversy this would generate. We’re also fully aware of the responsibility we sort of have to be leaders in this area of fighting domestic abuse.”  Sandy also said, “At the same time, Jose was a member of the Mets organization for 12 years. He was signed at 16 years of age. He was a solid citizen during all of that time. And so, if you think of it in those terms, us as a place where Jose grew up, almost as a surrogate family, we felt that he deserved a second chance, and that second chance was most appropriate with us.”

Also saying:

“We fully understand there will be differences of opinion about this. Some people will feel strongly and differently. I think we accept that. We respect that. All I can say is both Jose and the organization will be held to a standard going forward that recognizes the seriousness of domestic abuse and a commitment to stand against it.”

Reyes expressed regret for his actions and is looking forward to future saying below:

“As I have expressed in the past, I deeply regret the incident that occurred and remain remorseful and apologetic to my family. I have completed the counseling required by MLB, have been in ongoing therapy, and will continue with counseling going forward. I appreciate the Mets organization for believing in me and providing the opportunity to come back home to New York.”

Tim Farrell/The Star-Ledger

The Mets are hoping this second chance for their former star helps a line up desperately looking for a boost as well as add depth.  He will spend around a week in the minors to recalibrate his skills before joining the MLB roster.  The Rockies are responsible for the $39 million he’s owed and the Mets only have to pay him the league minimum of $507,50.  This is a great low-risk, high-reward opportunity for New York.  His role will not be as shortstop with the Mets as Asdrubal Cabrera blocks him there.  He will be playing 3rd and even work in the outfield.  Reyes should be slotted into the leadoff spot to boost the Mets order.  He will also bring a much needed speed to a team barren of it.  It is unfair for anyone to expect his 2011 batting title days coming back as Alderson said on his expectations:

“Do we expect him to win the National League battle title this year the way he did in 2011? No. Has he lost a step – maybe? Is he the premier shortstop that he once was? It doesn’t really matter — he’s not going to play shortstop. So we’ve taken all of those things into account. We think he can help us. You know, from a motivational standpoint, I don’t think we would be able to find a player who is more determined, more highly motivated to perform than Jose is today.”

I personally used to be a fan of Reyes, but lost all respect for him after his altercation with his wife.  With the statements from Alderson, it seems that the Mets have and are continuing to handle the situation well.  It is great to see the MLB as a whole handling domestic violence seriously.   I hope Reyes has truly learned from his mistake.  Based on the statements, both parties feel that he has.  It is good to see that his counselling will continue while in New York.  Even though I will never look at him the same like many others and rightfully so, I wish the best for him and his family and hope he grows from this experience.  You can spend your life working hard, building up your reputation, and respect, doing great things – but it only takes one regrettable act to have it all come crashing down.  Any man that hurts his wife is not a man at all. However, I do believe in second chances.

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Put Pitchers in the Derby!


-David Strobach-

Recently in the media there have been tons of buzz about a pitcher possibly being in the Home Run Derby. Specifically, a lot of talk about Madison Bumgarner . Noah Syndergaard, aka “Thor,” has expressed interest in this event as well as Jake Arrieta.  Also, Adam Wainwright wants a part in the derby.  Should the MLB have a pitcher’s Home Run Derby or let them hit with the big boppers?  The answer to either question is YES, absolutely.

Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

This is something baseball needs.  It’s a breath of fresh air to the All-Star break and would be wildly entertaining. The new derby rules the MLB put into place were a fantastic addition last year, but this would make the event even better.  Having either a pitcher derby or throwing some in with everyone else would make the event must-see T.V.  The MLB has even discussed the possibility having a pitchers derby.  It would probably make more sense to only add a pitcher or two to the mix of all other players.

It is totally understandable for teams and managers to be worried about the health of the pitchers if they partook in this.  It’s the ony arguemnt on why pitchers shouldn’t be included.  It’s safe to to say all of Chicago would be furious if Arrieta went out there swinging out of his shoes, causing a severe oblique strain.  No team wants their ace going down for a fun little show.  It’s risk that has to be taken for every player that participates.

Out of all players, I truly believe MadBum could give everyone a run for their money in the derby.  Some players are mesmerized by his batting practice sessions.   He’s simply a BEAST or “ox-strong, farm-bred,” as Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson described him.  After all, he has homered twice off one of the greatest pitchers of our time, Clayton Kershaw.  Watch, in awe as MadBum drops two bombs off the star lefty.  If these two swings don’t influence you to put him in the derby, I don’t know what will.

 

 

Imagine MadBum sailing balls into the sand of Petco Park, Thor using his hammer to crush balls out and Arrieta hitting bombs off of Western Metal Supply Company in left field.  Talk about a the best All-Star event ever.  Baseball, it’s time for pitchers to be involved in the Home Run Derby!

 

What would you think of this?  Should they be included or have their own derby?

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Who is the True “Hit King,” Rose or Ichiro?


-David Strobach-

Ichiro Suzuki lined a double off San Diego Padres pitcher  Fernando Rodney for his 4,257th hit of his baseball career from Japan and Major League Baseball which combined passed Pete Rose for all-time hits.  In Japan Ichiro had 1,278 hits and 2,979 MLB hits.  Many people are crowning Ichiro the “Hit King” which is spurring much debate, is Ichiro the true “Hit King,” or is it Charlie Hustle?

 

Ichiro right away was his respectable humble self saying, “For me, it’s not about the record, it’s about my teammates and the fans.”  He has always been a such a humble and great man.  He did not claim himself as “Hit King” or boast about it in any way.

Ichiro’s iconic at-bat routine will forever be remembered- Nick Wass/Associated Press

Pete Rose made his opinion known to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale saying,

“It sounds like in Japan they’re trying to make me the Hit Queen. I’m not trying to take anything away from Ichiro, he’s had a Hall of Fame career, but the next thing you know, they’ll be counting his high school hits. I don’t think you’re going to find anybody with credibility say that Japanese baseball is equivalent to Major League Baseball. There are too many guys that fail here, and then become household names there, like Tuffy Rhodes. How can he not do anything here, and hit (a record-tying) 55 home runs (in 2001) over there? It has something to do with the caliber of personnel.”

As much as this pains me to say it, I agree with Pete Rose.  All of Ichiro’s hits in Japan shouldn’t be in consideration when talking about MLB records.  It is incredible that Ichiro has hit that much in his career and even more incredible that he is approaching 3,000 MLB hits after coming into the Majors as 27 year-old.  Pete Rose, however, should still be considered MLB’s “Hit King” because he hit all 4,256 of them in the MLB.  He really does have a strong point that I agree with concerning the type of play here and in Japan.  The talent is simply better here and they are completely different leagues.  There’s reason tons of Japan players dreams are to play in the MLB.   Only MLB stats should be in consideration when talking about MLB records.

 

Don’t get me wrong, Ichiro deserves to be a first ballot Hall of Famer and should be considered to be one of the greatest hitters the world has ever seen.  Not only has he been one of the greatest, but Ichiro is an international icon.  Many around the world will recognize the name Ichiro.   He plays with all his heart and has made great contributions to the MLB.  I am not trying to take anything away from his stellar career, but unfortunately, the one and only Charlie Hustle deserves the title, “Hit King,” not Ichiro.

Let’s all enjoy the major milestones of future Hall of Famer:

 

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The Revelation of Jonathan Villar


-David Strobach-

Brewers shortstop, Jonathan Villar, has been nothing short of a revelation.   He was supposed to be just a gap shortstop until top prospect, SS Orlando Arcia, made his way up.  He was acquired this past off-season from the Astros in exchange for minor league RHP Cy Sneed.  Jonathan Villar has been a stud for the Brew Crew this year. Why is no one talking about him?  Let’s see just how good Villar has been.

Source: Mike McGinnis/Getty Images North America

Villar, only 25 years old, is slashing .296/.387/.426 with an OPS of .813, 5 home runs, and a league leading 23 stolen bases.  Jonathan has exceptional on-base skills with his .387 OBP.  As soon as he gets on first, it’s almost a sure bet he’ll be swiping second.  Villar has been hitting around .300 all year and it is far enough into the season to say he is no fluke.  He’s challenging pitchers with every aspect of his game.  His most underrated tool is his defense.  Defensively, Villar makes the plays and is always smooth at short.

FanGraphs states in their post on Villar: “Villar is on pace to hit 13 home runs, steal 60 bases, and bat .292. That’s 2014 Jose Altuve, but more power and less batting average.” That’s a pretty darn good way to look at how well he has been performing.  Mentioning Jose Altuve‘s name in the same sentence as Villar’s shows what kind of player he has been.  If you would like a more advanced breakdown on his success, I encourage you to read FanGraphs work.

From a fantasy perspective, ESPN fantasy baseball has him ranked as the seventh player in all!  Pretty amazing for a huy that was only supposed to be “gap player.”

Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports

What makes Villar even more valuable is that not only is he playing All-Star caliber baseball, he’s young (25) and controllable (Brewers control through 2020).  David Stearns, Brewers GM, has said time and time again how his main goal is to find young controllable talent and he has found quite a hidden gem in Jonathan.  Villar should be a valuable core in the Brewers rebuild by moving positions (probably 3rd) when Arcia comes to take his spot. Let’s all applaud David Stearns for this fantastic find.

 

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Snoop Dogg Shows That Weed, Gin N’ Juice Don’t Work As PEDs


-David Strobach-

Rapper Snoop Dogg recently threw out the first pitch at the San Diego Padre’s game.  He reminded us all that smoking weed and drinking gin and juice do not work as PEDs. :)  Check out his first pitch below:

 

 

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Run or Slide to 1st? The Science Behind It


-David Strobach-

In many games this year, runners have been sliding to first on very close plays.  Every time the announcer is heard stating that it’s actually faster to not slide.  This sliding/diving into first has been occurring noticeably more to me this year, so I decided to research it.  Let’s see what the truth is in this scientific breakdown done by ESPN’s Sport Science to see if sliding or running is faster.

Moral of the story after watching the science, always make sure to run through first!

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To Trade or Not To Trade: The Case of Jonathan Lucroy


-David Strobach-

Milwaukee Brewers catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, was already one of the hottest names on the trade market and with his return this year to elite status, everyone has an eye on him.  The tough question for the Brewers is whether to trade Lucroy or not.  Let’s examine the pros and the cons.

 

To Trade

Milwaukee’s farm system is already among the best in the league and a Lucroy trade would make it a top 3 farm system with ease. Catchers who rake and field their position well are rare so Lucroy’s value is through the roof.  He is currently hitting  316/.372/.539 as of June 6, with 9 bombs and an OPS of .911 after a DREADFUL 2014. The Brew Crew would receive an elite prospect package, adding to the already impressive group of  players featuring Orlando Arcia, Brett Phillips,  Josh Hader, and Trent Clark.  The Brewers also have the 5th overall pick in the upcoming draft, bolstering the farm even more.  Luc’s contract is incredibly team friendly, making him even easier to move.  The future is already bright, but with a trade and draft here, it gets even brighter, looking at possible young stars. Lastly, Lucroy has expressed interest in being traded to a winning team.

Top Prospect: Orlando Arcia Benton Reed/Biloxi Shuckers

To Not Trade

Jonathan Lucroy is a fan favorite with the “LUUUUUCCCC,” chants heard every at-bat.  It’s hard to give up one of the faces of the franchise that is so well liked.  Everyone thought the Brewers were going to be quite dreadful while rebuilding this year, but they’ve actually been playing well. They are working their way back to .500 with only a few games under now.   The bullpen has showed it’s elite with the likes of Tyler Thornburg, Blaine Boyer, Will Smith, and the dominance of closer Jeremy JeffressJimmy Nelson is coming into his own and looks like he could be a 1, 2, or 3 for the rotation for years to come.  Overall,  the rotation has been serviceable other than the liability of Wily Peralta on the mound.  Ryan Braun has returned to his old self and is having one of the best years of his career.  Hernan Perez keeps hitting his way into the line up and Aaron Hill has heated up since his rough start.  Jonathan Villar has been an absolute stud, hitting over .300, leads the league in stolen bases, and plays an exceptional shortstop.  Lucroy is a core player and a leader.  Finding another catcher like him is almost impossible. He could be vital in developing young pitchers and will be a valuable bat in the line up.  With the revelation of Villar and the elite bullpen, the Brewers could become more competitive sooner than people think.  Top prospect Orlando Arcia will soon be playing gold glove caliber D at short and hopefully Villar gets moved over to second because his bat has to stay in the line up.  A Braun, Phillips, and Domingo Santana outfield could be great.  Josh Hader is showing ace flashes featuring an ERA under 1. It’s hard to put a timeline on young prospects like Trent Clark, but let’s say these prospects I’ve talked about make their way up within 3 years, it could make the Brew Crew competitive.  Lucroy would be a central piece for the years to come if he can be retained.  The Brewers are quietly putting together a solid core that Luc is crucial to.

Jim McIsaac / Getty Images

My Verdict: To Not Trade

I see Luc being  too valuable down the road to trade! The Brewers with their solid play this year may convince him to want to stay.  He is more valuable to the Brew Crew for the years to come to help anchor a line up as well as help develop up and coming pitchers.  He is one of the few “veteran” leaders on the team along with Braun – which also helps sell tickets.  This is an incredibly tough decision that David Stearns will have to make.  Would I be upset if he was traded and they received a great return?  Absolutely not, I  can accept their wanting to position the team for the future.  Either way, there are positives and negatives to keep Luc. Personally, I would miss him – and so would my sister who cherishes his autograph and catches because of him.

What would you do as GM?

 

 

My Baseball Mom


-David Strobach-

Here’s a poem I wrote for my amazing MOM!!!  Love you! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!

 

My Baseball Mom

 

 

She cleans out stains

 

AND fixes your pains

 

 

 

She cheers for a bomb

 

Everyone loves a baseball mom

 

 

 

She throws soft toss

 

Because She’s the boss

 

 

 

She can always find your cup

 

Because she knows what’s up

 

 

 

She can still even play

 

A baseball mom, YES WAY

 

 

 

You think your mom is better

 

But does she know a table setter

 

 

 

She’ll find your every lost sock

 

And knows the ump’s calls are a crock

 

 

 

She shows up all men

 

A baseball mom is a ten

 

 

 

When you’re in a horrid slump

 

They give you a perfect bump

 

 

 

A baseball mom knows the way

 

What else can you even say

 

 

 

She can calculate an average

 

While drinking her beverage

 

 

 

Have you ever seen her swing

 

A baseball mom is the king

 

 

 

Yes, a king, not a queen is what I say

 

Plays like one every day

 

 

 

She can mend a glove

 

What’s not to love

 

 

 

In the dugout she wants a kiss

 

This is someone you never diss

 

 

 

I love my baseball mom

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What Makes Baseball The “Mental Game”


-David Strobach-

 

Yogi Berra once said, “Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical,” to explain how valuable the mental side of the game is.  What makes baseball the “mental game?”

There’s a nice amount of time in between each pitch whether you are hitting or fielding.  When you are fielding, you can think about what you’ll do with the ball if it’s hit at you.  Then, when the ball is hit, the reaction has to be within a split second.  If you make an error in those few seconds– everyone knows you’re the one who screwed up.  Baseball isolates you when you fail.  With all the time in between pitches, negative thoughts start creeping into your mind.  “How did I miss that?  What did I do wrong?  Was it my mechanics?  Did I misjudge it?”  Then, another ball is hit in your direction and you airmail it over first base.  “Jeez, 2 errors in the same inning.  What is wrong with me!?!!  What am I doing?”  An inning can feel like an eternity as you stand at your position, internalize the error and start to second guess everything. The fact that baseball gives you time to think and analyze before every pitch should be a positive attribute of the game. Unfortunately, for some, it can also be its most negative and self defeating attribute.

A sort of fear can build up inside of you, and you begin to hope that you don’t get the ball so you don’t mess up again.  You have already lost, if you have the fear of opportunity and fear of failure.   This dead time can kill you mentally.  As you start to second guess everything, you start to lose focus and perform even worse. Everything becomes very forced. Yogi Berra also said, “A full mind is an empty bat,” which exemplifies exactly what I’m trying to say.  The more you think, the worse the outcome.  It is fine to think about the situations in the game, but never to think about personal failure.   There’s even a medical term for this, “paralysis by analysis.”  By over analyzing yourself, it will paralyze your results. Clear your mind and visualize yourself succeeding, the results can be amazing by simply not overthinking.

Instead of  fear of another failure, a great player wants another opportunity to show they can get the job done.  If they make an error, or strike out, they look forward to the next time.  Self-confidence, is the common trait in all great players.  They know and believe in their abilities.  If you don’t believe in yourself, how are you supposed to ever succeed in anything?  The greats know they can hit and field-they’ve been training their whole lives.  During a slump, they just have to work through it.  You have to have the mental toughness to understand failure and how to over come it.  When I make an error at third base, I always think to myself that my favorite player, David Wright, who is a fantastic defender even makes errors.  He knows how to recover and make the next play. Self-confidence, not cockiness is key.  You have to trust yourself.

What makes baseball the “mental game” is the time it gives you to think.  Those who succeed have the self-confidence to overcome any obstacle.  It’s an amazing thought that a game can be won or lost in your head.  The most athletically gifted person in the world may lose to an average athlete because of a lack of mental toughness.  So, get out there, play ball, and don’t think too much!

 

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Take Note Sports World, The MLB Got It Right With Domestic Violence


-David Strobach-

Commissioner Rob Manfred made his first domestic violence stance since the new policy was implemented in August.  Closer, Aroldis Chapman, of the New York Yankees was punished and accepted a 30 game unpaid (will lose $2 million) suspension starting Opening Day for his abusive actions back in October, 2015.  Chapman allegedly pushed and choked his girlfriend and fired gun shots into the wall of his garage.  No charges were filed, but that didn’t stop the MLB from stepping in swiftly to lay down the law and send a powerful message to the MLB.  Manfred’s statement below:

Manfred did a good job conducting an investigation and acting quickly, within four  months, to discipline Chapman.  Aroldis denies he harmed his girlfriend, but in his statement he said he acted inappropriately:

“Today, I accepted a 30 game suspension from Major League Baseball resulting from my actions on October 30, 2015. I want to be clear, I did not in any way harm my girlfriend that evening. However, I should have exercised better judgment with respect to certain actions, and for that I am sorry. The decision to accept a suspension, as opposed to appealing one, was made after careful consideration. I made this decision in an effort to minimize the distractions that an appeal would cause the Yankees, my new teammates and most importantly, my family. I have learned from this matter, and I look forward to being part of the Yankees’ quest for a 28th World Series title. Out of respect for my teammates and my family, I will have no further comment.”

 

The MLB, MLPA, and Rob Manfred have my approval and respect for their handling of this domestic violence issue.  They created a new policy, stuck with it strongly, and sent a message to the league.  There will be no appeal, which is thankfully avoiding more conflict with the commissioner and arbitration.  If Chapman would have lost the appeal, he could have ended up having more games added to his suspension.  30 games is a good time length because if the suspension lasted 45 games or any longer, it would have prevented Aroldis Chapman from becoming a free agent due to service time.  Hopefully,  Aroldis will use this time to reflect on his actions and perhaps receive some counseling.   The message that domestic violence will not be tolerated in professional baseball by any means was well sent.  The whole situation was not a “circus” and it was handled professionally, unlike similar issues in the NFL.  Other sports take note, the MLB got it right with its domestic violence stance.  Let’s hope this step in the right direction continues across all sports.

Stay tuned for possible decisions on Jose Reyes and Yasiel Puig in the near future.

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