By Mike Steffanos January 26, 2021
After living through all the awfulness of the MLB/Players Association attempts to play baseball this past year, it's not particularly comforting to see how negotiations are playing out in advance of the 2021 season. Everyone understands that it's to the benefit of both sides to have a DH in the National League this season — MLB wants to protect pitchers from injuries while batting and running the bases, the union wants those 15 DH positions — yet negotiations are going nowhere. The sticking point is that MLB wants to trade something both sides want, the universal DH, for expanded playoffs, which mainly benefit the owners.
Now there is some wrangling on when spring training should start. COVID-19 is really spiking in Arizona, mostly thanks to political posturing over what should have been a public health issue. It's no secret that MLB owners want the season to begin later, because they understand that the game will continue to be played in empty ballparks early in the year, with games later on more likely to include fans as vaccination numbers go up. MLB is claiming safety is the motivating force behind starting the season a month late — and it certainly would make some sense to delay — but literally everyine knows that they'd like to delay the season for their own reasons, too. There's even reporting that MLB encouraged Cactus League officials to write a letter so they could use it as leverage to pressure the Players Association to concede to the delayed season.
So we're back to the posturing and non-negotiating that we saw last spring. Common sense would say that both sides have reasons for approving the DH in the National League, why don't they just agree to it and move on to the next item? But no, the owners want a concession to allow a rule change that they'd like to see, too.
It makes sense to push back spring training for a month. It would be a lot easier to go forward if players and support personnel could be vaccinated and infections were trending downward. The players don't want to give back salary for a second straight year. They have relatively short, finite careers in the sport and gave up a lot of their salary last year. There are some solutions available. The easiest would be to push back everything for a month, including the playoffs. Of course, MLB doesn't want to do that for a couple of reasons:
How sad to see # 44, the great Hank Aaron, pass on. We lost a lot of class that day.
Aaron and his competitor for greatest NL player of his era, Willie Mays, were true Iron Men.
True, they got more unscheduled days off due to doubleheaders. But they also had to play those doubleheaders.
Hank played 3,298 games. That's the equivalent of more than 20 years of 162 game seasons. Ed Kranepool has the Mets' record: 1,853 games. Not...even...close.
Subsequent to his 20 year old 1951 rookie season, Hammerin' Hank missed just 7 games over the next 7 years.
Over the following 7 years, he missed just an average of 7 games per season.
His next two seasons, his 16th and 17th, at ages 35 and 36, he missed 25 total games, but still averaged 150 games per season.
Over the next 4 years, ages 37-41, he averaged 128 games per year, before his final year at age 42 with 85 games.
All adding up to an amazing 13,941 career plate appearances (3rd all time - just 51 behind Carl Yastrzemski but still almost 2,000 behind perennial lead off hitter Pete Rose, who was up an astonishing 15,890 times).
Hank compiled 1,497 extra base hits, and 143.1 WAR. By comparison, David Wright had 49.2 WAR in his career, and just a Mets record 6,872 plate appearances, just 49% of the Aaron's career number.
And along the way he managed to hit 7 HRs off Sandy Koufax and 8 off of the great Juan Marichal. He even got Tom Seaver 4 times, even though most of the prime of Aaron's career was already past when Seaver joined the bigs in 1967.
The Say Hey kid outdistanced Aaron with 156.3 WAR. (Of course, who else but Babe Ruth, as a hitter and pitcher, has the all time major league lead in WAR with 182.5.)
Willie produced this WAR total despite losing 4 months early in his career in 1952, and all of 1953, to military service.
When he got back, he returned with a superstar year in 1954 at age 23. From 1954-66, a span of 13 years through age 35, he missed just 40 games. Doubly amazing, considering all the greater wear and tear from added travel distance from the west coast. In his 5 seasons from 36 through 40, he averaged 136 games per season, still very impressive.
1,323 extra base hits plus an untold number of lost homers due to the Candlestick Park frequent cold gale force winds. How many? Hall of Fame writer Bob Stevens said, "In any other ballpark, Willie would have hit 800 home runs."
Maybe yes, maybe no, but he sure did lose a bunch there. And of course he lost over 260 games due to military service. Say HEY!
Trout started out in Iron Man fashion from ages 21-24, missing just 12 games in 4 seasons. In the next 4, however, he's missed 103 games, a substantial uptick. Iron Man no mas.
Pujols has shown great durability, having racked up 12 seasons with 152 or more games. But over his 19 full seasons, he averaged "just" 149 games, because in the 7 seasons he didn't rack up 152 or more games, he averaged just 125 games per year.
The former 13th rounder was passed over by the Mets again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again on draft day that year. Since the Mets passed him over, he has compiled 12,394 plate appearances and 2,862 games, still incredible numbers. Probably as close to an "Aaron Iron Man" as there is in today's game.
The great Henry Aaron.
The classy Iron Man.
We will all miss him.
A few times now I’ve expressed some displeasure at the prospect of bringing a career 3.90 ERA pitcher onto the team and making him by all media counts the highest Average Annual Value (AAV) contract in the history of baseball. We are talking, of course, about one Trevor Bauer, but today we’re going to look beyond the dollars and cents.
Currently the king of the AAV list is the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole. Whether or not he deserves the enormous 9-year contract he got from the Bronx Bombers isn’t the issue here. He’s paid $36 million per year for a period of nine years. He was age 29 when he put on the pinstripes and currently sports a career record of 101-55 with a 3.19 ERA and has earned a WAR rating overall of 26 over his eight years in the majors.
Reports filtered out that the Mets allegedly were going to offer Bauer even more money because he’s an even better pitcher, right? Well…his career record is 76-64 with a 3.90 ERA and a WAR over his nine-year career of 17.5. To put it another way, he’s had two stellar seasons in the span (including the very short 2020 endeavor) but pitches overall far worse than the guy leading the pack in AAV.
Let’s forget about money for once and instead concentrate on what kind of player Trevor Bauer would be to have as part of the fabric of the Mets team. First of all, he’s a hard worker. No one can deny that about him. However, his methods of exercise and his embracing of thinking-enhancement routines are a bit out of the ordinary. That doesn’t make them bad, but different can sometimes rub teammates and trainers the wrong way.
Speaking of teammates, Mr. Bauer has had a great many of them over his career. He’s pitched for three clubs thus far and is now pursuing his fourth. The first question that arises is why there is so much team to team movement if he was the ace he claims to be? After all, in seven of his nine seasons he’s been 4th to 5th starter quality.
The issue today, however, isn’t what he does in preparation to take the mound or in the game itself. It is a question of how well he’ll fit into the ballclub as he is a very active member of social media . It has not always been good.
There was an infamous incident of fighting online with the police who objected to how he deployed his drones. Then there was his active and vocal bashing of anti-Trump people after the man was elected President. He’s bragged he’s a better pitcher than former teammate Corey Kluber (who has a 98-58 career record with a 3.16 ERA and earned 32.3 WAR). Bauer can’t sniff those numbers.
The other issue is he’s pretty vicious whenever he disagrees with someone on social media. It goes beyond the blocking of followers. In one well-covered case he did not see eye to eye with a young lady who was critical of his arrogance online. He went and found pictures of the woman drinking alcohol before age 21 and published them. In the exchange he said he doesn’t perceive of himself as an adult but as a 12 year old child.
So the question is whether the Mets want the latter day version of Curt Schilling (but worse) on their team? If he pitched as well as Schilling, maybe you could make a baseball argument. After all, Schilling won over 200 games and finished with 79.5 WAR. Bauer’s nowhere near that caliber of hurler plus he brings even more disrespected and distasteful baggage with him.
There’s a reason it’s this far along in the pre-season and no one has yet snagged Bauer and his WWE agent to a contract. Obviously there are concerns about his personality. There should be equal concerns about his ability. I don’t feel it is a smart move bringing a player on board who is more likely to land on the front page than the back page of the newspaper.
On @GEICO SportsNite, @martinonyc joins @mmargaux8 to give us the latest update on all things Mets - the latest on Trevor Bauer, a possible Steven Matz trade & the pursuit of Jackie Bradley Jr. pic.twitter.com/uo6tKl9ZKp— SNY (@SNYtv) January 27, 2021
On BNNY presented by Tri-State @Cadillac, @DougWilliamsSNY, @NYNJHarper & @AnthonyMcCarron discuss if Trevor Bauer's antics on and off the field are tolerable for the Mets to sign him & @Anthony_Recker examines how that move could impact Jacob deGrom https://t.co/cUW0RP1zCY pic.twitter.com/rDFMrQop7X— SNY (@SNYtv) January 27, 2021
"Would the addition of Bauer be the final large expenditure of the offseason? If so, the Mets would be leaving themselves incomplete elsewhere."— SNY (@SNYtv) January 26, 2021
Examining the risks and roster ramifications of the Mets signing Trevor Bauer (via @D_AbrianoSNY) https://t.co/GcDqfPnotb pic.twitter.com/St9P59dRnD
Curt Schilling has asked to be removed from the 2022 Hall of Fame ballot. The Hall responded saying it would consider his request:https://t.co/9cDUQyCUhl— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 27, 2021
Next year's Hall of Fame ballot 🤯— Yahoo Sports MLB (@MLByahoosports) January 27, 2021
- Barry Bonds
- Roger Clemens
- Alex Rodriguez
- David Ortiz
- Manny Ramirez
- Sammy Sosa
- Tim Lincecum
- Ryan Howard
- Curt Schilling (maybe) pic.twitter.com/lCGHkwrgvO
On BNNY presented by Tri-State @Cadillac, Hall of Fame voters @NYNJHarper & @AnthonyMcCarron react to there being no class elected by the BBWA in 2021 https://t.co/TlH6kLD3L8 pic.twitter.com/24IjM2w7LQ— SNY (@SNYtv) January 27, 2021
And here's a nerdy look at who was up, who was down and who not so much of either in the Baseball Hall of Fame writer's ballot: https://t.co/8JDF2BXyA7 #Phillies #Cardinals #Reds #Braves #Dodgers #WhiteSox #Yankees #Brewers #Padres #Marlins #Tigers #Mets #Astros #Mariners— Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) January 27, 2021
Wilson Ramos to Tigers, $2M, 1 year— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 27, 2021
Top of the catching market has been pretty stagnant. Mauer got $23M/year in 2010, Realmuto $23.1M 11 yrs later. Also: Mauer was 2 yrs younger but got 8 yrs vs 5. Other factors: Mauer was coming off an MVP and the pandemic brings $ uncertainty but Mauer was a year from free agency— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 27, 2021
In Venezuela, in 11 innings it was Caribes de Anzoategui 8 Cardenales de Lara 7 (Box Score). Caribes wins the Championship Series 4 Games – 0. Mets Pitching Prospect Jaison Vilera 1 inning, no runs, 2 hits, 1 walk for Caribes.
Born on this date:
Died on this date:
1999 Former Mets infielder Carlos Baerga signs a one-year free-agent contract with the Cardinals. The second baseman, who did not meet the expectations of the fans in New York, will be released by the Cardinals during spring training and will sign with the Reds, who will also release him at the beginning of June.
Want more? Check out https://sportspyder.com/mlb/new-york-mets/news.
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RHP 6-4 220 Michigan State
2020 Michigan State Stats - 4-starts, 2-0, 1.04, 1.00, 26-IP, 42-K, 6-BB
11-11-20 - Prospects Live Top 300 Prospect List -
44. Mason Erla - RHP
Weight: 217 lbs
Hometown: Cass City, MI
School: Michigan State
Draft-eligible in 2020, Erla went unselected, but his stuff really ticked up in 2020. FB was up 4-5mph in 5 starts, up to 92-93. Pitch showed significantly more ride in 2020 too. Slider is more often than not average, but did improve break profile in 2020 as well. Flashed 55 on occasion. CH is fringy but really showed better fading profile in 2020 and could develop into a significant offering. Profiles as a potential back-end of the rotation arm.
The 6’4’’ 220 Erla out of Michigan State is a very good guy to look at for teams that need big league ready arms. Erla has a sinker/fastball that touches up to 97 (big league average spin rate in the 2300s), with solid secondary options including a plus slider along with a good change and curve.
Being a senior in 2021, Erla will not struggle with any personal issues in the minors, as he should be more mature having traveled for four plus years at the collegiate level (redshirted due to torn acl senior year of hs). His delivery is solid mechanically, as he takes a pretty good stride (low release) and rotates well from the back (quality hip hinge). I see him being a guy that could be brought up to the bigs quickly as a stopgap, then finding a role similar to that of Ross Stripling on the Dodgers. With his plus fastball, he could find immediate use in a bullpen, while on the other hand his solid arsenal of pitches and experience could land him as an immediate filler in a rotation (developing into a mid to bottom of the rotation starter). He is a very low risk pick that could give a major league team some help faster than most other players in the draft. The only concern with Erla is the discussion of bullets in the gun. Being a senior, he has thrown more in college than what most would find ideal, though his versatility and stuff can’t be denied. It is worth noting that Erla is a kid very focused on his development.
After struggling in 2019, he elected to not play in a summer league, and instead go on a throwing program to improve his fastball velocity. He got said velocity and took a massive leap in his development. This says a ton in regards to his maturity and understanding of what he needs to do to reach the next level; something that I would like to see out of all arms drafted into an organization. He would be a great 5th-10th round pickup, and could go higher if he has a dominant 2021 season.
After his disappointing season, Erla elected to skip summer ball and work on his game. Erla worked with his pitching coach, Mark Van Ameyde, to build a program that would lead to increased velocity.
The program seemed to work as he came into this season throwing in the mid-’90s, and reaching as high as 97 MPH. Prior to the season, Erla’s fastball was clocked at 89-91 MPH. He improved fastball led him to early-season success in 2020. In 26 innings, Erla put up these stats: 1.04 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 6.9 H/9, a .3 HR/9. He also had a BB/9 of 2.1 and K/9 14.5. The most notable difference was in his strikeout ability. Coming into 2020, Erla struck out 121 batters in 170 innings. This year in 26 innings, he struck out 42 batters.
Mack's spin -
Eria's draft projection really soared after his dominant start last year. The shame for him was the fact that the season ended so quickly.
Some have him as an early second round pick. I have him in the third.
RHP 6-2 225 Elkhorn HS (NE)
1-14-21 - Baseball America
Elkhorn (Neb.) HS RHP
Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 225 | B-T: L-R
Age At Draft: 18.5
The top 2021 prospect out of Nebraska, Christo is a lean, physical righthander with an impressive presence on the mound and the raw stuff to match. His pitches are largely in the 50-55 range at the moment, led by a fastball that he parks in the low 90s and has been up to 94-95 mph at his best. He tunnels a changeup well off of his fastball and also has feel to spin a slider that has above-average potential, but is currently inconsistent. On top of that, Christo has also shown a cutter that runs off of barrels to give him a fourth solid offering. Christo has a sound delivery with a three-quarter arm slot and a relatively clean arm path. He is committed to Nebraska.
11-11-20 - Prospects Live Top 300 Prospect List -
113. Drew Christo - RHP
Weight: 225 lbs
Hometown: Elkhorn, NE
Good changeup at 82. FB 92-93 is easy with some run. Curveball at 78 has shown good bit and tight, consistent break. Can struggle with command but with his size and physicality, Christo will be a sought name in the 2021 draft.
11-7-2020 - PG -
Drew Christo (2021 Elkhorn, NE) may be one of the hardest throwers in the class when it is all said and done. He has a low effort delivery, with a clean arm action, sitting in the 88-91 mph range and peaking at 93 mph. He has a four pitch mix and the 6-foot-4 frame is still filling out. He threw four-plus shutout innings at the WWBA and all things being calculated, he has riser written all over him.
8-1-20 - PBR -
Working down-the-hill, Christo came out pumping strikes, showing good athleticism and easy velo with his 90-93 mph fastball. With a large, strong frame at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds Christo has immense upside with a fluid delivery and clean arm action. The right-hander also flashed a short slider at 84 mph.
Drew Christo is a 2021 RHP with a 6-4 225 lb. frame from Elkhorn, NE who attends Elkhorn. Big and strong build, stands out physically. Compact and quick arm stroke, clean directional delivery that he repeats well, arm action creates some deception and enables his fastball to play up. Topped out at 94 mph, fastball gets on hitters quickly, gets good sink and run to both sides of the plate. Slurve type breaking ball is consistently landed for strikes with good feel, can add more power to this pitch. Developing change up. Chance to be a highest level sinker/slider type with further development of his slider. 7.07 runner, is a very good athlete for his size. Left handed hitter with a pull and lift approach and some raw power.
Mack's spin -
Christo is a top prep pitcher prospect.
His arm needs time to develop but I expect some team will draft him with either their 3rd or 4th selection and Christo will change his mind about going to college.
Remember this name.