Royal Gamble PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rob Leibowitz   
Thursday, 01 November 2012 09:29

So, things were getting down to the deadline and the Angels had to decide “do we pay Ervin Santana $13 M or buy out his contract for a $1M after producing an ERA above 5.00?” With Garrett Richards pushing for a rotation spot, cutting Santana was probably going to be an easy decision for the Angels.

Instead, the Royals swooped in and said “Wait! Pick his option! We’ll pay for it minus the $1 M buyout fee and for doing us this favor we’ll give you a prospect to boot out of gratitude.”  That does not seem like much of an exaggeration, if one, at all.

Rather than have to battle other teams on the free agent market for Santana’s services, a contest the Royals were likely to lose, they snapped the righty up. At first glance, the move feels like a hostage situation. Yes, one in which Santana gets a $13 M payday, but the move feels like an almost desperate act.

But then again, teams in the Royals situation, to compete with the payrolls of teams like the Angels, have to resort to desperate acts and it makes the move actually feel somewhat brilliant given a chance to reflect.

The Royals have to find some way to actually add veteran talent to their roster and even though the actual price tag for Santana is a heavy one, it was an effective means of getting other team’s leftovers at cost of a single prospect, Brandon Sisk. Sisk, for what it’s worth, is a 27-year old left-handed reliever who has spent the past two seasons in Triple-A and at best could help the Angels in middle relief as a specialist.

The Royals had apparently coveted Santana for some time and trusted their scouting reports. The 29-year old’s velocity is down a little, but metrically the numbers are all rather consistent and lining up well with the context of his career. (6.7 K/9, 3.1 BB/9) and there have been no radical changes to where batters hit the ball. In fact, Santana had produced one of the lowest BABIPs of career (.241) and is likely to regress in that department. The damage was done with the long ball and comes up glaringly in a 19% HR/FB compared to a career 10.8% mark. Given all of the data it looks like a command or perhaps a concentration issue that given past results can be resolved. The skills and talents for a sub-4.00 ERA are still there.

The Royals now feature a more competitive 2013 rotation of Santana, Luke Hochevar, Bruce Chen, Luis Mendoza, and Chris Volstad with Jake Odorizzi and Will Smith heading back to Triple-A.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 November 2012 09:46
Opening Day Anticipation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Saturday, 06 October 2012 20:50

While I love the MLB playoffs as much as any baseball fan, it will take a back seat at least on Tuesday, which is Opening Day for the Arizona Fall League.

So together with Don Drooker, I will make my way to Peoria Stadium about 12 miles east of our domiciles in Surprise. We will be seeing our hometown Surprise Saguaros (prospects from the St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, New York Metropolitans, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers) play against the Peoria Javelinas (prospects from the Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, Minnesota Twins, San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies).

While the Saguaros have some good hitters, including Bryce Brentz and Michael Almanzar (BOS), Kolten Wong (STL) and Cesar Puello and Darrell Ceciliani (NYM), they will face what might be the best starting pitching staff in the AFL. The Javelinas are led by Casey Kelly (who was in the majors in September), James Paxton (one of the Mariners' great young pitchers), Kyle Gibson (the Twins' best pitching prospect) and Robbie Erlin, a very good young lefty who was with the Rangers before being traded to the Padres.

What could be better on a nice October day under 80+ degree skies in Arizona than the first game of the season and a nice ballpark hot dog with mustard and relish washed down with a cold beverage!

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 October 2012 21:19
Countdown to Ecstasy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lawr Michaels   
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 08:23

Who knew?

Well, I guess I sort of had an inclination back when the Athletics took four from the Yankees, and even documented accordingly on the July 21 Bed Goes Up, Bed Goes Down.

So, here we are, a little over two-and-a-half months past, on the last day of the 2012 season, and three of the playoff teams have the exact same record of 93-68 (Baltimore, Texas, and Oakland) with the Yankees having just a one game edge at 94 victories.

At one point those Athletics were nine games under .500, and 13 games back of the Rangers, and to tell the truth, exactly how this team of kids and castoffs pulled off one of the more unlikely post-season pushes ever is beyond me.

It is also big fun, for if we remember back to the spring, Oakland had Scott Sizemore penned to man third base, Manny Ramirez ready to come off his suspension as the DH, and that guy Bartolo Colon in the rotation.  Oh yes, and that untested Cuban refugee, Yoenis Cespedes was signed.

Then Sizemore was injured and Josh Donaldson tried the hot corner, was dispatched to Sacramento, and replaced by Luke Hughes, who was similarly sent packing before Brandon Inge came to sort of stop that bleeding.

Not to mention the likes of Eric Sogard and Kila Ka'aihue, and Daric Barton, coming and going?

In the mean time another Brandon--as in Brandon Moss--which made him the fifth Brandon to hit the team roster (along with Inge, Brandon McCarthy, Brandon Hicks, and Brandon Allen) in 2012 which has to be some kind of record.

There were closer issues with Grant Balfour, then Brian Fuentes, then rookie Ryan Cook--the lone team All Star--and then back again to Balfour, and by the time Manny retired and Colon suspended, leaving Oakland with an unlikely rookie rotation of Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin, Jarrod Parker, Dan Strailey, and Travis Blackley: a quintet that destroyed the record for rookie rotation starts for a season (the old mark was 69, and the Oakland rotation is approaching 100 starts).

But Brandon Moss with 21 homers, Jonny Gomes with 18, Chris Carter with 16, Seth Smith with 14, and virtual rookie Josh Reddick with 32?

How about the jettison of Kurt Suzuki and addition of the George Kottaras/Derek Norris platoon behind the dish, and acquisition of Stephen Drew at short?

When has a team of such odd parts been moving and tweaked during the season and wound up so successful?

Beats me how the combination of Billy Beane and Bob Melvin pulled all these strings, but here we are, on the last day of the season, with Oakland assured of a playofff spot and with a big win over the Rangers and my pal Ron Washington--whom I would not know had he not been an Athletic for so long--the team will win the American League West crown.




You bet!

Oddly, in late August I managed to cop tickets to today's game for my band mates and me simply thinking it would be fun to hit the last game of the season.

Meaning out of nowhere we all get to see the biggest and most exciting game of the season, so far.

Like I said: "Who knew?"


Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 October 2012 09:30
LABR FAAB Report: Week of October 1 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 01 October 2012 12:46


Each week, your friends at Mastersball will post the results of the weekly LABR FAAB run, featuring the winning bid as well a the runner-up bids. There are three LABR leagues, a 12-team AL only, 13-team NL only and 15-team Mixed League. You can see the complete standings for each league by clicking on the appropriate heading, located just under each player photo.

Included with each league report will be commentary from a Mastersball staff member participating in that league. We invite you to ask questions and post comments at the bottom of the report.

All contingency bids for awarded players are included. Sometimes, this bid is tied to a player that the owner received, so at times the bid amount is larger than the winning bid. We are including it to provide as much information and context as possible with each report.




Player Awarded Winning Bid



Perry Van Hook's Commentary

Well there were only two teams in LABR’s AL league that had any FAAB left for this week. As mentioned earlier I had saved my last dollar because my lineup was intact last week. I have no idea what Jason Collette is saving his $14 for – maybe he thinks he can carry it over to next year.

And in fact my roster did have a hole as Jayson Nix of the Yankees who I had in a MI slot is out for the three game week (and one possible tie-breaking game) but I had a decent selection to replace him. I ended up getting my first choice, Irving Falu of the Royals who is hitting over .300 in his time with the big club over Tony Abreu also a Royal or Ryan Flaherty of the Orioles. There was one pitcher available with a start this week that I would have liked to add – David Huff of the Indians but one start from him in a shortened week wouldn’t move the needle on the pitching categories while Falu could help gain a point or two on offense.




Player Awarded Winning Bid
FAMILIA, JEURYS 1 Greg Ambr 1 SMoyer
LOCKE, JEFF 1 Greg Ambr



Lawr Michaels' Commentary

Leader BIS's Steve Moyer sat Johnny Cueto, installing a $2 Bobby Parnell in his stead looking for a win, while  the Full Moon/Colton and the Wolf duo of Glen Colton and Rick Wolf nabbed Drew Pomeranz and jettisoned Joe Blanton.

Finally, Greg Ambrosius and Shawn Childs, of the NFBC, installed Jeff Locke and cool prospect Jeurys Familia in lieu of Joe Saunders and Josh Johnson, respectively.

Parnell was the costly guy at $2, with everyone else coming at the end of year $1 price tag.




Player Awarded Winning Bid
WOOD, TRAVIS 2 Fred Zink 1 Mike Pod
HUFF, DAVID 1 Fred Zink



Todd Zola's Commentary

Chasing wins is the theme of the final series in Mixed Tout as the category is quite close. To wit, from 3rd to 12th, the present totals are 93, 91, 90, 88, 88, 88, 87, 87, 84, 83. Steve Gardner of USA Today and Fred Zinkie are at the bottom of the bunch and are both looking to ascend. There are just enough points out there for Steve to make current leader Jonah Keri sweat a bit, it should be a fun finish as Ray Murphy on Baseball HQ is only a point behind Jonah and is also looking to squeeze out the last couple of points.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 October 2012 13:31
Tout Wars FAAB Report: Week of October 1 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 01 October 2012 02:18


Each week, your friends at Mastersball will post the results of the weekly Tout Wars FAAB run, featuring the winning bid as well as the runner-up bids. There are three LABR leagues, a 12-team AL only, 13-team NL only and 15-team Mixed League. You can see the complete standings for each league by clicking on the appropriate heading, located just under each player photo.

Tout Wars uses a modified Vickrey system to award bids. For a complete description of the Vickrey system, click HERE for the Tout Wars constitution.

Included with each league report will be commentary from a Mastersball staff member participating in that league. We invite you to ask questions and post comments at the bottom of the report.

All contingency bids for awarded players are included. Sometimes, this is a bid tied to a player that the owner received, so at times the bid amount is larger than the winning bid. We are including it to provide as much information and context as possible with each report.




Player Awarded Winning Bid
CPhelps, Cle 4 Moyer 0 Shandler 0 Wolf/Colton
AMoore, KC 0 Moyer
CWells, Sea 0 Shandler 0 Schechter
IFalu, KC 0 Shandler 0 Wolf/Colton
SDeduno, Min 0 Leibowitz
TCollins, KC 0 Leibowitz
AAlburquerque, Det 0 Wolf/Colton 0 Erickson
JCrain, CWS 0 Wolf/Colton 0 Leibowitz 0 Schechter
NJones, CWS 0 Wolf/Colton 0 Schechter
JPeralta, TB 0 Schechter 0 Wolf/Colton
MIzturis, LAA 0 Schechter
THunter, Bal 0 Schechter


ACrow, KC 0 Leibowitz 0 Schechter
BMyers, CWS 0 Schechter
EScribner, Oak 0 Wolf/Colton
JBlevins, Oak 0 Schechter
JChamberlain, NYY 0 Schechter
JFrasor, Tor 0 Schechter
LAyala, Bal 0 Schechter
SKelley, Sea 0 Schechter

Rob Leibowitz Commentary

You can put the 2012 FAAB pick-up season in the books for AL Tout. The last hurrah consisted of a single bid above $0 with Steve Moyer targeting Cleveland second sacker Cord Phelps. Phelps had a nice season in Triple-A showing plate discipline and good pop from his position. What Phelps really needs, however, is a different organization where he might actually get a shot to play. The 25-year old is somewhat entrenched in organizational player land in the Indians’ organization.

The 1st/second place battle has already been well noted, but there is also a a race for the top 5 with 3 or 4 teams including my own sliding up and down the standings every day. My shift from a reliever focus to a starter focus has been awful to watch, but has not been the reason for my drop to 6th. What has been has the injury to Josh Willingham and the ill-time cooling down of my offense.  Without a little bit of luck, I’ll be looking from the outside in. On the 2013 front, AL Tout deducts FAAB totals from the next season for every point you finish below 60 points. Chris Liss is right at 59 and Mike Siano is at 57. It will be interesting to see if they climb back over that 60-point hump these last 3 days.




Player Awarded Winning Bid
APollock, Ari 0 Walton 0 Carty
BParnell, NYM 0 Walton 0 Carty
DPomeranz, Col 0 Walton 0 Kreutzer
FPeguero, SF 0 Kreutzer
JFamilia, NYM 0 Carty
JGrilli, Pit 0 Carty 0 Kreutzer
JHorst, Phi 0 Kreutzer 0 Walton
JKelly, StL 0 Walton
JLindblom, Phi 0 Kreutzer 0 Carty
JMijares, SF 0 Kreutzer
NPunto, LAD 0 Walton
PKozma, StL 0 Peterson 0 Walton 0 Carty 0 Kreutzer
SStrasburg, Was 0 Hertz
TThornburg, Mil 0 Carty 0 Kreutzer
XNady, SF 0 Carty 0 Walton


BBrach, SD 0 Carty
BZiegler, Ari 0 Carty
JHughes, Pit 0 Kreutzer
JRussell, ChC 0 Walton 0 Carty
JThatcher, SD 0 Kreutzer
JVeras, Mil 0 Carty
KLoe, Mil 0 Carty
MBelisle, Col 0 Carty
MBowden, ChC 0 Walton
MRogers, Mil 0 Hertz
MRzepczynski, StL 0 Carty
SLeCure, Cin 0 Carty 0 Kreutzer
TRosenthal, StL 0 Walton 0 Kreutzer

Brian Walton's Commentary

For the final partial week of National League Tout Wars action, all bids were $0. The main news is that Mets closer Frank Francisco is likely out with a sore elbow. The beneficiary is Bobby Parnell, who had already picked up two saves this past week while a Tout free agent. I snagged him for $0.

At this time, I am among a group of three owners hovering around the 65-point level. We have every motivation to fight until the end, as do the four teams below us. Each point we finish below 65 this season means we begin 2013 with one less dollar of FAAB than everyone else’s standard $100 stipend.

To that end, I looked for a few innings plus a few more at-bats for the associated counting stats. Specifically, I re-acquired a couple of my former pitchers in Drew Pomeranz and Joe Kelly. I also added outfielder A.J. Pollock and infielder Nick Punto.

Hot hitting St. Louis shortstop Pete Kozma went to Dean Peterson, working to escape the cellar. Among pitchers finding homes this week were Tyler Thornburg, Jeurys Familia, Jason Grilli, Josh Lindblom, Jose Mijares, Francisco Peguero and even Stephen Strasburg. Hey, with the Nationals still unable to clinch the NL East, you never know!




Player Awarded Winning Bid
JAltuve, Hou 4 Minnix 1 Zinkie 0 Swanay 0 Schwartz
TWood, ChC 2 Zinkie 0 Schwartz 0 Minnix
DRuf, Phi 2 Minnix
JLannan, Was 1 Zinkie 0 Minnix
GBlanco, SF 1 Zinkie
BParnell, NYM 1 Steinhorn 1 Zinkie 0 Flowers
KSuzuki, Was 1 Flowers 0 Schwartz 0 Minnix
JDonaldson, Oak 2 Minnix 1 Flowers 0 Schwartz
LMendoza, KC 0 Zinkie
JHarrison, Pit 0 Swanay 0 Minnix
PKozma, StL 0 Schwartz 1 Flowers 0 Minnix
GFloyd, CWS 0 Schwartz 0 Flowers
BBeavan, Sea 0 Schwartz 1 Zinkie
DSappelt, ChC 0 Schwartz
AEllis, LAD 0 Schwartz
RCook, Oak 0 Schwartz
WDavis, TB 0 Schwartz
HSantiago, CWS 0 Minnix 0 Flowers
APagan, SF 0 Minnix 1 Zinkie 0 Schwartz
JArencibia, Tor 0 Minnix 0 Schwartz
LScott, TB 0 Flowers 0 Schwartz
JTurner, Fla 0 Flowers 2 Zinkie 0 Minnix
RTejada, NYM 0 Flowers


ABastardo, Phi 0 Schwartz
ABrown, Col 0 Minnix
ACallaspo, LAA 1 Flowers 0 Schwartz
ACrow, KC 0 Schwartz
ALaffey, Tor 2 Zinkie
ATorres, NYM 0 Minnix
BRyan, Sea 0 Swanay
CDenorfia, SD 1 Zinkie 0 Schwartz
CJones, Atl 0 Schwartz
CPennington, Oak 0 Swanay 0 Minnix
DHudson, Ari 1 Hertz
DLeMahieu, Col 0 Flowers
ECarrera, Cle 0 Flowers 0 Minnix 0 Schwartz
ENunez, NYY 1 Zinkie
FRodriguez, Mil 0 Schwartz
JBurton, Min 0 Schwartz
JGomes, Oak 0 Schwartz
JHenderson, Mil 0 Schwartz
KFrandsen, Phi 0 Flowers
LGregerson, SD 0 Flowers 0 Schwartz
PFlorimon, Min 0 Swanay
SDiamond, Min 1 Zinkie
SMoore, Hou 2 Minnix
TFrazier, Cin 2 Minnix 0 Schwartz
VWells, LAA 1 Flowers
JPeralta, TB 0 Flowers
NJones, CWS 0 Schwartz

Zach Steinhorn's Commentary

Scott Swanay’s decision to drop both Jose Altuve and Angel Pagan last week was a curious one since one more FAAB period remained. So Nick Minnix decided to use his FAAB dollar edge over the other contenders to snag both players. Whether or not Altuve and Pagan will make a real difference in Nick’s goal of holding off Fred Zinkie in the all-important battle for second place is anyone’s guess, but it’s not like FAAB dollars carry over into next year. If you don’t use them, you lose them! Travis Wood, John Lannan and Luis Mendoza are all scheduled to make a start during the season’s final three days, so that was enough of a reason for Fred Zinkie to purchase the trio. Fred stands to gain some ground in wins and strikeouts and is unlikely to lose anything in the ERA or WHIP categories, so this was pretty much a no-brainer.

Meet Bobby Parnell, my final FAAB acquisition of the 2012 season. I could lose as much as 3.5 points in saves if everything goes wrong in the next three days, so this was a defensive move more than anything else. Maybe Parnell could be the difference between opening 2013 with a $92 FAAB budget or an $89 budget. Hey, every dollar counts.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 October 2012 21:34
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