Posts Tagged ‘2016’

Blue Jays ahead

Posted: October 25, 2015 by Sports Time Radio in baseball
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The Toronto Blue Jays season ended Friday night with a 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. It was Toronto’s first playoff appearance since 1993 and it ended the longest drought by any team of not making the playoffs. As the Blue Jays look to the 2016 season you have to wonder what they’ll look like.

Team President Paul Beeson had announced that he planned on retiring at the end of the 2015 season and Mark Shapiro has been hired to take his place. Shapiro has been a member of the Indians front office since 1991, serving as GM for the 2002-2010 seasons and then being promoted to president prior to the 2011 season. Even though the Blue Jays had a 93-69 season and won the American League East a new President may want his own people with him. Everything points to General Manager Alex Anthopoulos returning next season you can never be sure. That’s where the questions have to start for the Blue Jays.

There are some easy decision; at least they look easy. 1st Baseman/Designated Hitter Edwin Encarnacion has a $10 million dollar option for 2016 you’d expect the Blue Jays to pick up. Jose Bautista has an option for next season to at $14 million. I’m pretty sure we’ll see both these guys in the Toronto line up next season. Catcher  Dioner Navarro is a free agent as is shortstop Cliff Pennington; I don’t think either player will be back with the Blue Jays next season. The rest of the position players are either under contract or will go to arbitration. The position players aren’t too big of a deal for the Blue Jays to deal with, but the starting Rotation is another story. David Price is a free agent and you’d have to think he’s looking at $30 million a season from whoever he signs with. Toronto has said that they intend to try and resign Price, but really what else did you think they would say. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey has an option for nest season at $12 million or the Blue Jays can buy him out for $1 million. Dickey is 41 and went 11-11 with an ERA of 3.91 in 33 starts. I have a feeling the Blue Jays buy him out at $1 million and try to bring him back at a lower salary. He may not be the same pitcher who won the 2012 Cy Young for the New York Mets, but he does eat innings and a staff could use a guy like that as a #3 or #4 starter. While Dickey has an option year for the Blue Jays to deal with Mark Buehrle and Marco Estrada are just free agents like Price. Buehrle went 15-8 with an ERA of 3.81 in 32 starts last season, but wasn’t used in the post season. Buerhle will turn 37 before the start of the 2016 season and he hasn’t said if he plans to retire or not. Estrada went 13-8 with an ERA of 3.13 over 28 starts. Estrada also made 6 appearances out of the bullpen.. Estrada is 32 and those 28 starts was the most he’s ever made in a season. Toronto does have a pitcher to build around even if they lost all of these starters. Marcus Stroman is 24 and won’t reach free agency until 2021. Stroman looked very good returning from a knee injury and may have been the Blue Jays best post season starter. You’d also have to think that Drew Hutchison figures into the 2016 rotation. Hutchison who’s 25 did have a ERA of  5.57 over 30 games; 28 of which where starts he did go 13-5. The Blue Jays could be set at closer for a while as 20 year old Roberto Osuna seems to have fit into that role. Another question may be will 22 year old Aaron Sanchez continue to set up for Osuna or will he be moved into the starting rotation. Sanchez did make 11 starts in 2015; so Toronto will have to decide where his future is. The main set up core of Liam Hendricks, Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup should be back in 2016, but 42 year old LaTroy Hawkins is retiring. While Hawkins struggled greatly in the post season he was a very reliable during the regular season. Trade deadline acquisition Mark Lowe will hit free agency; so Toronto will have t make a decision on him as well.

It should be interesting to watch the Blue Jays off season and see who they try to bring back, who they decide to let go and who they try to bring in. There are reports that Toronto has money to spend this off season, so maybe some of the bigger free agents end up north of the border.


Wait til next year

Posted: October 22, 2015 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, post season
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The Chicago Cubs 2015 season came to and end last night (Wednesday) as they where swept out of the national League Championship Series by the New York Mets 8-3 at Wrigley Field. The Mets will move on to represent the National League in the World Series. They’ll play the winner of the Kansas City Royals/Toronto Blue Jays series. Kansas City currently leads that best of 7 series 3 games to 2. Game 6 is tomorrow (Friday) night in Kansas City.

On the Sports Time Radio podcast I was pushing very hard for Jon Lester to take the Game 4 start on 3 days rest for the Cubs against the Mets, but for some reason I seemed to be the only guy who was bang the drum for Lester to start. Jason Hammel had been the listed starter for the game, but I really thought Lester would be the better choice even on short rest. Being that it was an elimination game I thought the Cubs would want one of there Top.2 starters on the mound and since you’re not going to bring Jake Arrieta back on just 2 days rest Lester seemed like the next best choice. The Cubs didn’t listen and Hammel took the start. Sadly with Hammel on the mound the game was over before the Cubs even came to bat. Lucas Duda gave the Mets the early lead as he hit a 2-out, 3-run home run in the Top if the 1st inning. Travis d’Arnaud went back to back with Duda and his solo shot gave the Mets all the runs they would need on the night. Hammel by the way lasted 4 outs. In Hammel’s 1 1/3rd innings he was charged with 5 runs; all earned on 4 hits (2 home runs), he walked 2 and struck out 1. Do you honestly think that Lester on 3 days rest wouldn’t of had a better outing; honestly? The Cubs over used bullpen did a solid job after Hammel was removed giving up 3 runs over the 7 2/3rd innings they where asked to cover. Travis wood gave up 1 run on his 1 2/3rd innings as the first guy out of the bullpen and Fernando Rodney gave up the other 2 runs to the Mets when he pitched the his inning. Clayton Richard (2 Innings), Trevor Cahill (1 inning), Pedro Strop (1 inning) and Hector Rondon (1 inning) weren’t scored upon out of the Cubs bullpen. 24 year old Steven Matz made the Game 4 start for the Mets and while he only lasted 4 2/3rd innings he was able to relax right out of the gate as he was giving a 4-run lead before he ever had to take the mound and then 2 more runs where added to that before the Cubs batted a 2nd time. In a bit of an odd twist; Matz was almost dealt to the Cubs for Starlin Castro during spring training, but the Mets changed there mind on the trade. Matz gave up 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 4 and walking 2. Bartolo Colon relieved Matz in the bottom of the 4th inning and was credited with the win. Colon went 1 1/3rd innings; he gave up 0 runs while walking 1 and striking out 1. Addison Reed was next out of the Mets bullpen; he struck out 1 in his 1 inning of work. Tyler Clippard pitched the 8th inning for the Mets giving up the Cubs final 2 runs of the season on a Kris Bryant home run. Clippard gave up 2 hits, walked 1 and struck out 1 as well in his inning of work. I was a little surprised to see Mets closer Jeurys Familia come in to pitch the bottom pf the 9th. It was an 8-3 game and normally closers don’t do well in these type of situations. Familia didn’t have any issues. He got the first 2 hitters to ground out and after a walk to Miguel Montero; Dexter Fowler struck out looking to end the Cubs season and send the Mets into the World Series for the first time since 2000.

You always figure that fans will make some type of an excuse for there favorite team losing or maybe that’s just me when my favorite team loses. I was a little surprised last night to here some of the Chicago media making excuses for the Cubs losing the series. As tough as it is for Cubs fans to take the Mets where just the better tam in this series. The Mets played better defense, out-hit, out-pitched and Terry Collins out-managed Joe Maddon in the series. Even though the Cubs won all 7 regular season games against the Mets this was a different Mets team and that showed. Neither of these teams where expected to be here this season. The Mets weren’t suppose to be able to win there division because the Washington Nationals where going to take it. The Cubs where suppose to be a year away from contending for a playoff spot, but managed to get that 2nd wild card. These teams should be interesting for baseball fans to watch as the Mets have very good young pitching and the Cubs have very good young hitting, but right now I want to look at the Cubs since the Mets still have a series left to play.

Every team makes change in the off season and expect the Cubs to do a little tweeking here and there. Dexter Fowler is a free agent and I’m guessing the Cubs will allow him to leave unless he’s willing to take a short term deal for very low money to stay. While Chris Coghlan had a solid season and showed surprising power with 16 home runs; I don;t think he’s an everyday player for the Cubs next season. Coghlan is also a free agent, but could be a valuable utility player on a contender. If Fowler and Coghlan are out of the Cubs starting line up next season Miguel Montero will be the oldest everyday player at 32, but besides Montero no other regular will be older than 26. The playoffs proved that you can;t win without starting pitching and the Cubs will need more than Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester. It would be difficult for Arrieta to repeat the kind of season he had this year; so someone will have to help out in the rotation. There are a couple of quality free agent starting pitchers who will be on the market, but I’m not sure if the Cubs will hand on another big money long term deal to a pitcher again. Maybe the Cubs target a young free agent starting pitcher like Mike Leake (29) or Jordan Zimmerman (31) instead of going after the top tier free agent pitchers. Of course the other way for the Cubs to add pitching is through trades. I expect that one of the regulars will be dealt for some young starting pitcher. If you’re going to take a guess I’d say Starlin Castro would be the guy traded and the Cubs would use a platoon with Tommy LaStella and another veteran; maybe Coghlan at 2nd base. As much as you get attached to the players on your favorite team little changes here and there are needed to continue to improve the team; so we’ll see what the Cubs roster looks like come 2016.