All posts by TheNaturalMevs

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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Today, the final Saturday before Christmas 2014 hits on the calendar. This time of year will forever remind me of open gyms, indoor hitting, conditioning and lifting weights, asking my parents for things like eye black, pine tar, batting gloves, and if I was lucky enough; a new bat.

With as quickly as it feels like that the holiday has arrived this year, in some ways it is a reminder that before too long we will be opening up the 2015 season once again, celebrating in unison with other baseball lovers.

Until then, here’s Giancarlo Stanton getting a good piece of one from April 2014:

Welcoming the newest member of the Diamond Hoggers Family!

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So the biggest news of the past few days had nothing to do with baseball in my world (and that’s big wrestling with the Heyward trade and the Stanton contract).

On November 18th (born on the same day as Big Papi Ortiz) at 9:18 AM, my daughter Harper was born 8 pounds and 7 ounces. I have seen a lot of amazing things in my life with these eyes, but I have never seen anything in my life that comes close to comparing with the first time that I saw my little daughter. The sheer emotion and happiness overtook me.

I knew when I looked at this amazing little creation that for the rest of my life I was done putting myself first. I love this little girl more than I have ever loved anything. I can’t believe how blessed I am to be able to have the opportunity to be her dad!

And no, she wasn’t named after Bryce Harper! My wife just liked the name. But it’s a nice little coincidence in case he ends up hitting 600 home runs and racing into the Hall of Fame.

The Giancarlo Stanton Extension Press Conference

Because many of us have never seen a press conference to discuss a $325-million dollar contract.

Look at the miser Loria as they sign the dotted line together! He’s like ‘sign the fuckin papers’ almost grinning that he pulled this off!

I think that Stanton plays his entire career in Miami and retires with about 550 big league home runs. To lock that down for over a decade is never a bad thing. I just can’t overstate how happy I am to see this elite talent stay with his original organization.

Giancarlo Stanton signs the biggest contract in Sports History

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At 13 years, $325 million dollars; Giancarlo Stanton has signed the most lucrative contract in sports history.

And I think I’m in the minority of folks who believes that this is a great deal for baseball. I hear a lot of people say being critical – saying that the Marlins overpaid – and to these folks I say that teams like Miami simply can’t win with you. They did exactly what they needed to do in backing up their talk that they would offer Stanton a record deal. Prior to learning the terms, many folks said that Stanton would be offered a joke of a contract that wasn’t up to par and the Marlins rhetoric would be ‘well, we tried’.

The Marlins have taken the first step – a large one – in being a credible franchise. They’ve got their cornerstone signed now, and they will continue to make good on their promise to try to build around him. I can’t wait to see how creative they get, because with the pieces already in place there in South Beach (Yelich, Fernandez, Alvarez, Hecheverria) they have a chance to put something fun together in that neat park of theirs and create a good baseball environment.

The curmudgeon owner got off his fortune and wrote a hefty check. It’s on the fans of Miami now to come out and support the team if they appreciate the Marlins getting this deal done and keeping the National League’s finest talent in town.

As the national media is quick to pounce on the first opportunity to mention that Stanton’s contract is ‘heavily backloaded’, the truth is that the player did the good-guy act of allowing his organization to try to get a few complimentary pieces to put a competitive team around him.

The Marlins should be an entertaining watch in 2015 and will likely go for it all in 2016 when Jose Fernandez is fully recovered and they’ve had a year to see what should stick and what should not.

One thing is for certain though, the Marlins are no longer the misfits of the baseball world, and this is one fan who really appreciates that they did all they could to keep their homegrown star.

It’s sounding that the Marlins have pulled off a Stanton heist

This is awesome. The mega-contract in all of baseball (and sports) history is being pulled off by the Miami Marlins, says Jon Heyman. We’re glad it’s going to Stanton and he’s staying put. Cuban Sandwiches are about to be a bit more expensive at Marlins Park.

The American League’s best power hitter is now the American League Rookie of the Year

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Early in April, I saw something in Jose Abreu that intrigued me. He hit a couple balls to spots of Coors Field that they shouldn’t have been hit to pretty effortlessly, and then a few days later; he hit a couple more out against the Cleveland Indians in Chicago to similar spots that aren’t usually reached in a game.

I knew then that the White Sox had a prolific power hitter on their hands; it was just a matter of was he a .270 hitter who could drop bombs or a guy who could hit for some average? Forget all about the White Sox blowing it with a six-year contract for the Cuban defector.

Well, Abreu finished the season with a .317 average, showed some surprising plate discipline, and hit 36 home runs despite missing some time with a disabled list stint. Due to this, we’ve got a unanimous selection for the American League Rookie of the Year today.

As a guy who has love for the ChiSox, I’m happy about this. I loved stealing Abreu in the fifth round of a fantasy draft in my big money keeper league, rejecting huge trade offers for him all season long, and seeing him sustain such success.

The next half-decade is going to be a glorious ride.

I found a GREAT Handicapper on Twitter

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I have written extensively about baseball betting on this site; with baseball season being over I have had to find other things to hold my interests. I’ve found myself betting on NBA basketball and NFL point spreads. It’s not wise to do without the help of a trained professional who has your back.

That’s why I’ve been following a guy on twitter named @PTGoldenBoy, an absolute gem within a business of a lot of frauds who don’t own up to their losses (they delete their picks on their timeline) and a bunch of others that cannot pick winners. This guy is the real deal, winning NBA picks at over an 80% clip and filling NFL Sundays with picks at a high success rate week after week. He also predicted the San Francisco Giants would win the World Series at the beginning of the MLB postseason and destoryed the MLB Playoffs at an 80% clip.

My readers here who enjoy sports handicapping need to check this guy out. Take it from me, it’s hard to beat the books on your own. It’s near impossible. Typically, the common person is just guessing with his pick. You need a little help from the sharks to swim in those waters. Let Golden Boy help you line your pockets and increase your units and success rate when you do decide to bet. Take my word for it, and tell him Mevs sent you.

He has reasonable packages available here. Try him out on an NFL Sunday or for a couple weeks of NBA.

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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Sure it’s hot stove season, but we’ll keep the home fires burning here at Diamond Hoggers until there’s live, non-AFL baseball on the television again. It’s what we live for.

And it’s hard to believe that this is probably my last Saturday Baseball Post as a non-father. Updates with that as they come in.

So there’s no fantasy baseball lineups to update, there’s not a lot of news to cycle through, we just need to wait it out and stare out the window until business picks up. Novembers are always like this for the baseball fan.

Enjoy our Saturday, thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers.

Which Free Agents Should the Mets be Targeting for the 2015 MLB Season?

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With December just around the corner, baseball’s hot stove is as warm as ever as teams prepare to address their roster needs via free agency or trades. The Mets will go into those winter meetings searching for upgrades to their two most blatantly obvious positions of need at shortstop and corner outfield.

The many possible options for each position (big names like Hanley Ramirez and Nelson Cruz have been thrown around) have been discussed ad nauseam over the last few months, but those aren’t the only two spots where the Mets need improving.

With the recent outrighting of left-handed relievers Dana Eveland and Scott Rice, the Mets suddenly find themselves in the market for a lefty out of the bullpen. They could also use a right-handed power bat who could play first or the outfield.

While the addition of a lefty arm or two or a bat off the bench won’t drastically shift the Mets’ odds to win the National League in 2015 like the signing of Ramirez or Cruz, those moves are nevertheless significant in building the kind of affordable lineup the Mets would need to compete for a pennant.

This year’s free agent market has a couple of very interesting lefty arms, from established veteran relievers (Scott Downs and Jason Grilli) to a couple of very promising converted starters (Zach Duke and Andrew Miller).

Miller will be in particular demand after striking out 103 batters (5th in MLB) last season, but Duke wasn’t too bad himself. He had a breakout year with Milwaukee with 74 strikeouts in 58.2 innings and would be a terrific addition alongside Jeurys Familia as potential setup men.

The market on big impact bats in the Mets’ price range isn’t as plentiful, though, and it could get a little shallower if Michael Cuddyer comes off the market. The 35-year old had been a popular choice as a stopgap, but he may not be available for much longer after the Colorado Rockies extended him a $15 million qualifying offer.

Michael Morse, a contributor on the San Francisco Giants’ World Series run, would be a decent fallback target. He can play in the outfield and can platoon at first base with Lucas Duda against left-handed pitching.

Morse won’t be quite the ideal guy if the Mets need him to be an everyday corner outfielder, especially given his injury history. But he would be a nice addition as a utility bat and could be part of a larger piecemeal solution to the outfield question.

Miami Marlins would like to have Stanton extension wrapped up by winter meetings

While the entire sports world was distracted by NFL football, Jim Bowdwen welcomed the Miami Marlins’ President of Baseball Operations on MLB Network Radio. It would seem that good old Ralph Bowden might have an inside track of a story here when something goes down – he’s been talking a lot about this story and served as a point of reference (stating he would get this thing done by offering Giancarlo Stanton a no-trade clause).

Hill basically said in some conjecture that the Marlins have created an environment to be one of the ten teams that could be playing in October 2015 in the postseason, and he thinks Stanton recognizes this.

I don’t know what to expect here. I could see the Marlins somehow pulling this off – because you would have to think about folding up shop if you’re not going to build around a player like Stanton. I also think they need to sell hard on the what the Royals were just able to do. If they can paint a picture for Stanton that the Marlins could be the National League’s version of the Royals; something that isn’t that far-fetched, this thing could become a reality in a hurry if they’re offering $28 to $30 million a year over the next six or seven years with a no-trade clause.

You can hear the clip from MLB Network Radio below:

Rest in Peace, Oscar Taveras

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I’m by no means a Cardinals fan, but I am a huge fan of talent; and I am an even bigger fan of young phenomenal talent.

When I got a text message from a friend while at dinner last night that Oscar Taveras was dead, I had to take a moment to read it several times. I didn’t want to believe it.

Oscar Taveras’s don’t die – they marvel us with their talent. They win Rookie of the Year awards. They hit .353 at a ridiculously young age. They play 15 years in the big leagues and we hate seeing them come to town to play our team because they spend a series filling the box score. The win championships and continue to build the legacy of one of the best organizations in the game.

They don’t pass at age 22; not on a night when they could have been playing in the World Series if the ball had bounced a bit differently.

It still doesn’t seem real to me. I can’t believe I’ll never get to buy a ticket and go watch the second coming of Vlad Guerrero play live. In a weird way, I was looking forward to Taveras torturing the Cincinnati Reds over the next ten years. He would have, too.

I’ll always remember where I was when Oscar did this in the rain the first time we got to witness his talent:

I’m sad to say I didn’t see his last big league hit on television, or his NLCS home run off Jean Machi. And unfortunately, I’ll remember forever where I was standing when I got the horrifying text that Oscar Taveras died, hoping somehow that there had been a mistake; and then learning that it was reality.

Rest in Peace, Primo. Like all things in life, this remarkable young talent had an expiration date. It doesn’t make it any easier to understand or deal with. I will forever go on wondering what this young man could have accomplished if things had not ended tragically, maybe more so than anyone I’ve ever followed in my three decades of loving baseball.