Baseball players have been on the receiving end of some gaudy contracts recently. In fact, salaries have shot up across the board dramatically in the last decade alone. One of those players who has benefited in a tremendous way financially is New York Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira.
Teixeira inked a massive 8-year, $180 million free agent deal with the Yankees in January of 2009. He earned approximately $22.5 million in base salary last season and is due to earn the same amount in each of the next four seasons.
The 32-year old hasn’t exactly performed up to expectations since being rewarded to the big sum of cash, which has many fans complaining about his true value. The 10-year MLB veteran addressed those complaints in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal:
“I have no problem with anybody in New York, any fan, saying you’re overpaid. Because I am,” Teixeira said. “We all are.”
“Agents are probably going to hate me for saying it,” he continued. “You’re not very valuable when you’re making $20 million. When you’re Mike Trout, making the minimum, you are crazy valuable. My first six years, before I was a free agent, I was very valuable. But there’s nothing you can do that can justify a $20 million contract.”
I’ve always said I have interest in an $8 baseball that comes flying into the stands foul or home run but a bat is a different story. They both can provide for a scary moment and at Yankee Stadium on Sunday director Spike Lee walked away with a prize possession belonging to Mark Teixeira and making me very jealous in the process.
On the surface, a little trash talk between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees may not seem like anything new. However, the latest verbal jabs surrounding baseball’s biggest rivalry, actually has very little to do with the teams themselves.
When Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira expressed his feelings toward Red Sox pitcher Vicente Padilla after Friday’s game, he ignited an old fire that has been burning between the two for quite some time now.
“The guy throws at people, fact of the matter,” Teixeira told reporters after their 10-8 win. “I’m not saying anything that is news. It is what it is. I’ve always been someone who wants to play the game the right way. You play hard, but you don’t play cheap. I’ve always lived that way, too. Some guys decide to take matters into their own hands. In the NFL, he would probably be suspended by Roger Goodell eight games or a whole season. This is baseball.”
Teixeira’s comments came after the Yankee slugger hit a go-ahead two-run triple off the Red Sox reliever in the seventh inning.
It took until Sunday for Padilla to respond to the remarks from his former Texas Rangers teammate. In a Spanish-language interview with NESN.com, he responded with a few choice words of his own.
“In this sport, as competitive ball players, we get pretty fired up,” Padilla said in a translation by NESN. “So I think, maybe, [Teixeira] picked the wrong profession. I think he’d be better off playing a women’s sport.”
The two haven’t exactly stayed close after spending two seasons together in Texas. Since they’ve switched jerseys, Teixeira has faced Padilla 18 times. The slugger, who was rewarded with a huge deal to join the Yankees, has hit two home runs, walked four times, and been plunked three times.
Padilla explained that the feud goes beyond just what’s happened on the field between the two.
“The problem is he talks about all the wrong things that others have done, but the things he’s done against the Latinos (on the Rangers) he doesn’t open his mouth about,” Padilla told NESN. “He once threatened me and said he was going to hit me with a bat, and that’s when we were playing on the same team.”
Last week SI.com released a MLB player poll results of 15 meanest players in baseball conducted by 200 players. Theis is the top 15 list and thanks to the Batting Stance Guy we have their response.
Toss up between Vicente Padilla and Mark Teixeira as favorites.
Eleven injuries and eight years since the MLB debut of former big leaguer Mark Prior, who was drafted second overall by the Chicago Cubs in the 2001 draft behind Joe Mauer and ahead of Mark Teixeira, has his opinions on the “can’t miss” talk of Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Currenttly with the Orange County Flyers in the independent Golden Baseball League, Prior went on Darren Smith Radio Show in San Diego to discuss what he calls comical and ridiculous media coverage on Strasburg.
On receiving so many requests to comment on Stephen Strasburg’s injury:
“I don’t know why everybody wants me to comment on it. I don’t know why A) I should be commenting on it and 2) where I have become the default, expert would be the wrong word, but the guy to comment on it. Let’s be honest, I think everybody kind of knew and was unfortunately afraid of the outcome. Anytime you are getting a second MRI, you are looking for A) it’s either hope or B) to verify what you thought originally. It’s unfortunate. I’ve seen what’s been said out there. It’s unfortunate that everybody obviously has an opinion out there. It’s comedy to see that everybody’s opinion has changed so much in three months. That’s the unfortunate thing in today’s world and today’s media. You say one thing six months ago and then say another thing and then honestly or at least claim to believe it.”
On if there are similarities between him and Strasburg:
“Not really, besides the fact that we were both college pitchers and both players of the year in college. He was the first pick and I was the second pick. I think that’s where, in my opinion, I think the parallels start veering off course. It’s been ten years since I was drafted. Things have changed so much in the media and the attention and the focus of every little step. Maybe I was just a little naive to what was going on my first couple of years being in that situation… They just needed to let him go pitch. Let him be news in Washington. But I think the national attention got to the point that it was just comical and ridiculous. That’s a lot of pressure on anybody, whether you are 22, 23 years old or whether you are 35, 36. To have that kind of scrutiny day in and day out where you are expected to go out and almost throw a no hitter is just unrealistic basically. I think we’ve said all along that it’s unfortunate that he has to deal with this. But the Tommy John success rate is pretty good and he should be back no problem.”
Ironic that this post is about first basemen and before I jump into breaking down that position, I need to first apologize for lying to about having this post up and ready for yesterday. Rudy J and myself got into a heated debate that lead to a texting war filled with stats about the breakout year in the catcher position. I couldn’t argue with his pick of Oakland Athletics Kurt Suzuki’s ability to steal a base or eight or that he possibly could be go for under double digits in the money department. He made some very valid points on Suzuki but I still have to ride with Mike Napoli and the his potential to drive in more RBI’s. But enough about our bickering and let’s get to previewing the first base position since we are now only 18 days away from Opening Day.
The first base position has an abundance of talent here that will help you even if your playing just a National League or American League fantasy league. Home runs, RBI’s, average, on base percentage, even strikeouts can be found here with the only thing not found is stolen bases.
Although numerous talent can be found at this position, I wouldn’t advise on letting to many of the premier players come off the draft boards. Now if you end up with New York Yankees Nick Johnson or Philadelphia Phillies Ross Gload as your starting first basemen, then I don’t think fantasy baseball is for you.
Moving into the rankings your roster will never go wrong with National League MVP Albert Pujols, Phillies Ryan Howard, Milwaukee Brewers Prince Fielder or Yankees Mark Teixeira but lets go deeper. If you happen to be the lucky one to posses the very first pick overall there’s really no going wrong selecting any of these four, I would go in the order listed though.
Breakout Player: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
- I can already hear people saying how can Cabrera be the breakout player but stay with me. Major League Baseball fans and fantasy owners already know Cabrera is one of the most consistent players in the game. With his admission that he quit drinking which effected him last season and losing 15 pounds all the while coming into that prime baseball age of 26-years-old, I see him making the jump into the elite. I’m talking about his first season in the 40 home run department, 130-140 RBI season, while still collecting 200 hits and a .330 average. He’s ready for Tiger fans to stop whispering about how much money they are giving him and start rejoicing. Cabrera might cost a pretty penny but in 2010 he wont let you down.
Sleeper Player: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
- I know some of you will look at this pick and say that’s who you would have chosen as your breakout player. Remember though your going to be in a draft with some people that just look at numbers and don’t remember or didn’t see that his number took a hit because the man struggled with depression in May and June. Not to mention he missed some time in August with blurred vision. So it’s safe to safe Votto had an up-and-down season on and off the field. Take a look at his September run when he bounced back with a .385 average, 5 home runs in just 30 games. Votto is just as much of a key part of that Reds young core as Jay Bruce.
Risky Player: James Loney, Los Angeles Dodgers
- I speak from experience with Loney, he will make contact and surprise you with his 150 plus hits but that’s all he can do. Every year I look for a young player or two to take on as a project, leaving him on the bench however keeping an eye on him everyday and it’s resulted in some of the most fun I’ve had is with my project players. I’ve had Loney three years now and this will not be a fourth. The first year came out of necessity and he showed me a lot of promise for me to draft him the following year in the 25th round. That was the year I noticed he could hit however there was no power behind it. Thinking it was just the progression a player goes through and it would change in year three, I came to be sadly mistaken as I watched him display the same skill all over again in 158 games. Compound that with Loney having the strange problem in 2009 of hitting .251, 1 home run and 36 RBI’s in 79 games at home but hit .309, 12 home runs and 54 RBI’s on the road in the same amount of games.
Slipping Player: Lyle Overbay, Toronto Blue Jays
- Over the last two seasons, Overbay has developed a serious problem hitting against lefties. Through 2007, he had a career mark of .283 against right-handed pitchers and .285 against left-handed pitchers. Since then though Overbay has hit .287 against righties and .206 against lefties that has him now only starting against right handed starters. The trend doesn’t look to turn around as he is 33-years-old and plays in the American League East a division with some top notch left-handed pitching.
Be sure to come back tomorrow for the preview of second base, no lie this time it will be up.
Joe Mauer catcher of the Minnesota Twins has been named the American League Most Valuable Player in a near unanimous vote,receiving 27 of the 28 first-place votes to easily beat out the Yankees’ duo of Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter, conducted by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Mauer also joined an elite group of players when he won his third American League batting title this season.
The 26-year-old Mauer finished with 327 points, well ahead of Teixeira, who had 225, and Jeter, who had 193. Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who received the only other first-place vote, was fourth with 171 points.
Mauer became the fifth player in Twins history to win the MVP Award. He joined teammate Justin Morneau, who took home the honor in 2006, as well as Zoilo Versalles (1965) Harmon Killebrew (1969) and Rod Carew (1977).
He also became just the second catcher in the past 33 years to be named MVP. Texas Rangers Ivan Rodriguez (1999) is the only backstop besides Mauer to take home the honor since Yankees catcher Thurman Munson won it in 1976. The last catcher to win National League MVP honors was Cincinnati’s Johnny Bench in 1972.
Mauer put together the best season of his already impressive young career in 2009. He batted .365 to earn his second straight AL batting title. It was his third batting title in four seasons, making the 26-year-old the only catcher in Major League history to accomplish the feat. He is the 10th player in AL history with three or more batting titles.
In addition to leading the league in batting average, Mauer also was the leader in on-base percentage (.444) and slugging percentage (.587), giving him what some stat gurus have deemed the modern Triple Crown. The last AL player to lead in all three of those categories was George Brett of the Royals in 1980. Mauer set career highs in home runs (28) and RBIs (96). And it was that unexpected power surge that was the biggest change for Mauer in 2009, as he more than doubled his previous high in homers (13 in 2006).
This award season had already been kind to Mauer. He was named the AL’s Outstanding Player in the Player’s Choice Awards as well as being named the top player in the AL by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. He also earned his third Silver Slugger Award and his second straight Gold Glove.
Check back to read about Albert Pujols’ NL MVP award, which will be announced Tuesday.
Gold Glove winners have been handed out by Rawlings since 1957. The award is the greatest measure of fielding excellence and has been bestowed on some of the greatest defensive players the game has ever seen and this year is no exception. Winners are selected by Major League coaches and managers and may not vote for players from their own club and only vote for players in their own league.
This year, three of the nine American League players selected are first time award winners: Mark Buehrle, Evan Longoria, and Adam Jones. Congratulations to the 2009 AL recipients.
|P||MARK BUEHRLE||WHITE SOX||1|
The New York Yankees are Major League Baseball’s World Champions after winning Game 6 of the 105th World Series 7-3 over the Philadelphia Phillies, who I wrongly predicted to win in 5 and keep the championship in the National League.
I admit my MLB postseason predictions where my worst ever and about as foul as that after taste from vomiting, utterly nasty, Ryan Howard, and I will go sit somewhere till pitchers and catches report in February.
I am glad to see the core four back on top especially Derek Jeter and the best closer of all time Mariano Rivera. Captain Cheeseburger Sabathia welcome to the champion stage, you deserve it. If the Yankees didn’t win it all, then Mark Teixeira you would be enjoying an ass ripping for not producing at all during the postseason with your bat. You didn’t bring the bat but you did bring the five fingers covered in gold, credit for shining in another area of your game when the bat went ice cold.
Brain Cashman your a champion once again but your off season surely doesn’t get any easier with some tough decisions lingering on free agents Johnny Damon, Andy Pettitte, and World Series MVP Hideki Matsui, who didn’t make those decisions any easier.
A big congratulations to Alex Rodriguez, the 2009 season really was all about you, now your a World Series champion, and no one can take that off your resume.
Hey lets not forget Chien-Ming Wang is a champion too.
As for the Phillies, great job, I do wish you could have given me one more night of baseball but you didn’t. That club option on Cliff Lee is without a doubt gonna be picked up. It’s a shame that Cole Hamels pretty much checked out on the season back on June 14 and that Jamie Moyer got hurt right as the season pretty much ended, he would have been a nice option.
You know it’s coming so lets just say Brad Lidge you blow in every way known to mankind, I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.
Congratulations to George Steinbrenner and his New York Yankees on their MLB record 27th World Series title. Get well Boss.
Oh it’s postseason time in baseball and that means it’s time to hand out some awards on the baseball diamond here at Sports Grind Entertainment.
Starting off with the senior circuit, the National League MVP couldn’t have been any easier. Don’t get it twisted that since Albert Pujols plays for the only professional sports origination in all of sports that I truly care about, that this vote wasn’t hands down his. Yes, if the race was close and I went with Pujols I could understand your concern but the 2009 season produce no one within a mile.
- NL MVP Award: The Cardinals first baseman leads his league in on-base percentage and slugging percentage plus homers, runs scored, total bases, grand slams and extra-base hits. He’s second in batting average with men in scoring position. Third overall in batting average and in RBI’s. Crazy as it sounds Pujols lead the Cardinals in stolen bases. Pujols also has an NL-record 184 assists from first base.
- NL Cy Young Award: There was a three-way choice between San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum and St. Louis teammates Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. They’re 1-2-3 in ERA and 1-2-4 in wins.
- Carpenter has been the most brilliant and dominant, but he’s not in the top 10 in the NL in innings pitched because of early-season health issues. Lincecum has the lowest OPS allowed, but he plays in a great pitcher’s park. Wainwright leads the league the league in wins.
- Carpenter still took the ball against the other team aces so he gets it by a hair over Wainwright.
- NL Rookie of the Year: Was loaded with fresh new propest that made a mark in the 2009 season, with Philadelphia’s J.A. Happ, Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson, Randy Wells of the Cubs, Milwaukee’s Casey McGehee, Florida’s Chris Coghlan, Colorado’s Dexter Fowler and Pittsburgh’s Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutchen.
- As far as position player Coghlan (229 total bases, 82 runs scored and .319 average) is as good of a choice as any but it came down to the two pitchers that came to show earlier and never fell off all season. Happ (12-4, 2.85 ERA) vs. Hanson (11-4, 2.89 ERA).
- While Hanson is a terrific prospect, Happ threw 164 innings and the Phillies would have been in big trouble without him.
- NL Manager of the Year: There are a few good candidates. Fredi Gonzalez kept the Marlins in contention for 25 weeks. Tony La Russa had little in his lineup other than Pujols for the first three months. Charlie Manuel got the Phillies back on top, as did Joe Torre with the Dodgers.
- But this award is a no brainier for Colorado Jim Tracy, they have gone 74-41 since he took over for Clint Hurdle. That’s the equivalent of a 104-win season.
- AL Cy Young Award: When the Cy Young is discussed many see a losing team and figure there is no way a pitcher from such team would win the award over someone on a contending team, but that’s not what the Cy Young is about. On any squad the best pitcher is not responsible on how well or bad the team plays on his days off.
- And that makes Kansas City’s Zack Greinke is the best pitcher in the AL. Period. He lead the league with a 2.16 ERA on a bad defensive team. He had 6 complete games, 3 shutouts and was second in strikeouts with 242. Greinke had a 15 strikout performance and on his next outing threw a one hitter. He was the best pitcher in both leagues. Period.
- Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia are great. And if Greinke wasn’t around, it would be a three-way debate. But this year, that debate is about second place.
- AL MVP Award: Joe Mauer leads the American League in batting, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. And he’s a catcher. Mauer leads the AL in batting average at home, on the road, against right-handers and in night games. He is second in average with runners in scoring position, third in average in day games and fourth in average vs. lefties.
- If Mauer was playing in New York, he’d be everywhere. He would be on every billboard, every magazine cover.
- Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Kendry Morales had very nice years. Very nice.
- Considering the lack of protection in his lineup as compared to the others in the debate, it Mauer as the choice. Also since the only protection he had in teamamte and former MVP Justin Morneau is sidelined for the year. That forced Mauer to put the team on his back as they got back into contention of the AL Central Divison to force a one game playoff with the Detriot Tigers.
- AL Rookie of the Year: What a great season for rookie talent, in both leagues. The White Sox third baseman Gordon Beckham, who has hit well. Baltimore outfielder Nolan Reimold who leads Beckham in on-base percentage, slugging percentage and homers. Texas’ Elvis Andrus, meanwhile, has played all season excelling at shortstop with acceptable production at the plate for a 20-year-old.
- Comparing position players against pitchers is comparing apples to oranges. Oakland’s Andrew Bailey with his .168 opponents’ average, Detroit’s Rick Porcello, Toronto’s Ricky Romero.
- Tough call, but Porcello is 20, and he made 30 starts while pitching in a pennant race to the finish and he went 14-9 with a 4.04 ERA.
- AL Manager of the Year: Great job by Ron Washington to help make the Rangers relevant. But Mike Scioscia didn’t just guide the Angels to another division title. He kept the team from falling apart through a rough first few months, not only because of a rash of pitching injuries but also because of the death of Nick Adenhart. Managing a team is about managing people, and Scioscia did a great job this year. Joe Girardi managed his team to 103 wins and probably wont get a sniff at the award is tough but that how things play out sometimes.