Thursday, December 8, 2016

Gather Round the Hot Stove its Time to Talk Baseball

Hey Everybody, new to LV sports here. A little background, me and Gavin used to go to school together, saw he had this site up and running. Also saw he didnt have a baseball guy, thats where I come in. I was going to wait until closer to the start of the season to start posting but with all of the hot stove moves going on in the last week I decided it might be a good time to tip my toes into the blog life and to get acquainted with the fans. Over the next week or so Im going to be covering the big free agent signings and what that might mean for the rest of the free agents on the market. I know this site is geared more towards betting lines and such, its just kind of hard to talk about betting on baseball in the offseason, but dont worry once the season starts ill talk about that plenty.


Its that time of year again folks. Time to gather around the hot stove and see where this offseasons big free agents are going. There is a lot that I want to talk about, but for this post im going to focus on the relievers. This has been the offseason of the reliever with a bevy of big names hitting the open market including Mark Melancon, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, Brad Zeigler, and Jonathan Papelbon among others all becoming free agents.
Historically speaking, giving closers big contracts hasn’t worked out very well for the most part. Who knows what it is, maybe they get lazy once they get that fat paycheck like so many athletes do, or maybe with closers being such creatures of habit the change of scenery is what throws them off. But after the last two World Series its evident that the game is shifting towards having so called “super bullpens”. In the last two world series only 9 starting pitchers have made it through 6 innings out of 12 games and 24 possible starters. Out of those 9 starters only 2 made it past the 7th and that was Johnny Cueto and Matt Harvey in 2015.
The San Francisco Giants made a big splash signing the first closer this offseason with a record setting 4 yr/ $62 mil contract. It makes sense for the Giants who have one of the better 1-2 combos in the bigs with Bumgarner and Cueto. Throw Jeff “Shark” Samardzija and Matt Moore and they have a more than serviceable rotation. Their biggest weakness by far was their sham of a bullpen, blowing a Major League record 30 saves! Now look, I know that nobody is perfect and even the best bullpen last year (Cleveland) blew 11 saves. But if take even a third of those blown saves and say they convert them to wins, they win the NL West by 6 games, meaning that they dont have to face the eventual WS champion Cubs in the first round. Melancon, since he took over full time as closer for the Pirates in 2014, has 131 saves which is the most in the bigs over that span. If youre going to offer a record setting contract to a closer, it might as well be the best one over the last 3 years. Naturally theres going to be some baseball old heads complaining about how you cant pay a guy who only pitches one inning that much money. Im all for getting it how you can, if the market dictates that you get $62 mil over 4 years then you take it and run. Thats capitalism folks. If you dont like it you can go watch the KHL with the rest of your commie pinko comrades.
All this being said about Melancon, his record breaking contract will be broken within the week. Here are the other big names still available and what Melancon’s deal will mean for them.

Aroldis Chapman
Chapman is considered to be the crown jewel of the free agent class this year. Like the old saying goes “You cant teach 106”. Incase you dont know what Im talking about check this out. I wish I had waited a couple hours to write this because thats all it took for the whole first part of this post to not make sense by the time you got to this. Unfortunately for you theres no shot im going back and rewriting all of that shit. Since the time I originally wrote this post Chapman signed a 5 yr/ $86 mil deal with the New York Yankees. This is the largest contract for a reliever in league history coming in at almost 30% more than the previous record deal, which was set 48 hours earlier. Obviously you can make an argument for Chapman being overpaid here. But if youre going to overpay a closer it might as well be the closer that had a 1.55 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 90 K’s in 58 innings last year and 2,241 pitches over 100 mph since 2010, more than the next 7 pitchers combined. Drinks on Chapman tonight.

Kenley Jansen
If we’re comparing Jansen to Melancon since 2014, during which Melancon leagues the majors in saves, Jansen actually is second in saves with 127 only 4 less than Melancon. Despite being second to Melancon he is most certainly first most atrocious looking beards in the majors.
Jansen is reportedly being pursued by the same four clubs that are after Chapman. Most likely what will happen is Jansen will sign with one of the three remaining teams after Chapman is scooped up. Look for Jansen to be making something between what Chapman signs for and the 4 yr/ $62 mil deal that Melancon received. Youre probably sitting there like “Hey, if Melancon has the most saves and Jansen has the 2nd most, how is Jansen going to make more?” Well thats what happens when you sign first.

Brad Ziegler
Ziegler, with his unorthodox submarine delivery, has been low key one of the better closers in the Majors the last two years. In 2015 with the Dbacks he had 30 saves with a 1.85 era, and 18 saves with a 2.82 era in 2016 before he was traded to the Red Sox at the deadline where he ended up being the setup man  for Kimbrel. As we’ve seen in the past, closers with submarine deliveries have never imploded or anything.
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All joking aside look for Ziegler to make a deal after all of the big three sign. He could be a good consolation prize for a club who missed out on one of the big three or not wanting to spend 60-70 mil on a closer.

Jonathan Papelbon
Theres a lot of things you can say about Papelbon. You can say he looks/acts like a used douche. You can say hes a club house cancer. You can even say that he likes to tounge kiss his sister (this one is most definitely true). But you can also say that since he debuted with the Red Sox in 2005 he has been one of the premier closers in the game. He’s not going to get paid Melancon/Chapman/Jansen money but he’ll definitely get a big ole paycheck when all is said and done.

Keep an eye out over the next couple of days as I finish up talking about the rest of the free agent class.

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