Pardon my French, but what in the shit is happening right now? I literally wrote a blog yesterday about how it was the most optimistic I’ve been that we get baseball in 2020. Well, today is the least optimistic I’ve been. I changed my mind faster than sorority girls going from best friends to sworn enemies; but Becky did fuck Brad from Sigma Apple Pi when she KNEW Taylor called dibs on him, so I get why that happened. What I don’t get is how the owners aren’t realizing they would be killing their league if they don’t play this year. The choices are literally either play this year, take a hit on your bottom line and increase the game’s popularity moving forward. Or don’t play this year, be the only major sport in America to not come back after a pandemic because you couldn’t agree on money and completely cripple the future of your league. Let me put it in restaurant terms because the best metaphors always involve food:Continue reading Get Me in a Room With the Owners, I’m Making Baseball Happen
As a huge baseball fan that’s been completely tuned into whether we’ll have a season or not since the day spring training was suspended, this is the most optimistic I’ve felt in awhile.
The players aren’t going to accept that, but at least we’re at the point of talking full pro-rated salaries now. Owners countering the players’ 114 game offer with 50 games makes it look increasingly likely that both sides meet right in the middle at 82. These negotiations have been relatively ugly, but as long as we get baseball who cares. One thing I can’t stand for, however, is people blaming this hold up on the players.Continue reading Anyone Calling the Players ‘Greedy’ Isn’t Paying Attention
For those unfamiliar with the BTB Sports “Win Now Challenge,” we’ve been choosing teams on MLB The Show 2020 and attempting to turn them from some of baseball’s worst into World Series champions in just one year. Thus far we’ve seen the Tigers, Giants, and Orioles all fail to win it all. For my first crack at it, I decided to go with the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners were 68-94 in 2019, finishing a cool 39 games out of first place in the AL West, good for dead last in the division. 68-94 is also meaningful because that equates to a winning percentage of .420, and you would have to be fucking high to think this team is a championship contender.Continue reading BTB Sports Win Now Challenge: Seattle Mariners
Continue reading Ways MLB Can Increase Revenue in a Shortened Season
There’s one thing standing in the way of a baseball season in 2020, and it isn’t coronavirus; it’s money. In a shortened season where fans will not be in the stands for most, if not all, of the games, players and owners are jockeying to see who gets screwed over the least. Players want the original pro-rated salaries the sides originally agreed to in March, but owners now want even more because they said they stand to lose more money without fans spending money on tickets, parking, and concessions.
On days like today, I wish my job was writing the backpage headlines for the New York Post, because that headline was the perfect amount of corny. But really, what are we doing here, Aaron? Derek Jeter played two decades in New York and kept out of the tabloids. Judge is in the middle of rehabbing his broken rib and his girl blows a .18? You just can’t have that shit. Continue reading All Rise: Aaron’s Girlfriend Will Be Facing Different Judge After DUI
Alexa, play In My Feelings by Drake.
It’s 1 AM and I just turned 23 years old. So I did what anyone would naturally do and started watching 2017 Yankees playoff highlights. And it just hit me that I am going to miss Didi Gregorius an extraordinary amount this year. Continue reading It Just Hit Me How Much I’m Gonna Miss Didi Gregorius
The venerable “Below the Belt Sports Blog” editor, Nick Costanzo, recently wrote a great post in which he listed the Yankees’ all-time “Past Their Prime” team. I think it was a brilliant idea, so, as a Mets fan, I have decided to do the comparable for the Mets. Continue reading Mets’ All-Time “Past Their Prime” Team
James Paxton had an interesting first season as a Yankee. It started off on the right foot with a dominant April start against the Red Sox in which he struck out twelve in eight scoreless innings. Then he ran into a rough patch, getting knocked around by the Mets, Red Sox, and Blue Jays in June and July. However, the guy was money in August and September, winning nine consecutive starts. Paxton was so good, in fact, that he was tapped as the Yanks’ Game 1 starter against Minnesota in the ALDS.
Paxton’s first career playoff start left a lot to be desired, giving up three in 4.2 innings. His next start in ALCS Game 2 at Houston was extremely disappointing, failing to make it out of the third inning. The next time he took the ball in Game 5, Paxton was a completely different pitcher. After allowing a run in a rocky first inning, Paxton settled down and threw five scoreless innings. His final line was one earned run in six innings with nine strikeouts. Continue reading James Paxton’s ALCS Game 5 Performance Really Gets Overlooked
You’ve heard of Instagram challenges. You’ve heard of TikTok Challenges. But you’ve NEVER heard of BTB Sports Challenges…which is probably because they never existed until this blog. Anybody could do a dance or post a picture. A real challenge is getting one season to turn the sewer stain roster of the Detroit Tigers into a win-now team.
That’s what I’ve attempted here, and I invite you to do the same with other professional teams. MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, your call. Your only challenge is to win this year, and this year only. Utilizing the Godsend that is MLB The Show 20, I tried to give the city of Detroit their first glimmer of sports hope since they remembered they weren’t Cleveland.
Before we start, I just want you all to know that I have to make up about 80+ wins here. They were 67 games below .500 at 47-114. That’s the 16th worst winning percentage in MLB history, behind a short list that mostly includes teams that don’t exist anymore and franchises like the Orioles and Mets. That’s as bad as being included on a list of things to remember with the Alamo.
Here’s the lineup and rotation before any moves were made:
|RF Victor Reyes, 73 Overall|
|SS Niko Goodrum, 79|
|DH Miguel Cabrera, 81|
|1B C.J. Cron, 81|
|2B Jonathon Schoop, 80|
|3B Jeimer Candelario, 71|
|LF Christian Stewart, 65|
|C Austin Romine, 76|
|CF Jacoby Jones, 64|
|Matthew Boyd, 82 Overall|
|Jordan Zimmerman, 70|
|Daniel Norris, 77|
|Ivan Nova, 70|
|Spencer Turnbill, 73|
First order of business was sadly trading legend Miguel Cabrera. He’s one of the greatest hitters ever, but at this point in his career he’s not worth $31 million a season. If we’re winning now, we need some cap space. Here was the trade:
Mets get: 1B Miguel Cabrera, CP Joe Nimenez, and 3B Isaac Paredes (B-level prospect) Tigers get: SP Steven Matz, SP Rick Porcello, and RP Jeurys Familia
I had to take Porcello and Familia for budget purposes. Miggy’s contract was too big to dish off without taking something back. But wait a beat, they won’t be here long.
Then I took a deep dive at what we needed to immediately improve. I decided that Michael Fulmer, despite being a former ROTY, had one of those ‘peaked in high school’ attitudes. He had decent pull, so I made a straight trade with Minnesota:
Twins get: SP Michael Fulmer Tigers get: SP Kenta Maeda
I also saw we had a few pitchers that were dead-weight, so I paired them up and got a decent deal with the A’s:
A’s get: SP Shao-Ching Chang, SP Zach Godley, and SP Spencer Turnbill Tigers get: SP Frankie Montas
I still felt like I needed a top-of-the-rotation guy, so I checked on my top prospects and aimed at Blake Snell. And ladies and gentlemen…
Rays get: SP Tarik Skubal (A-level Prospect), SP Rick Porcello (Smell ya), and SP Matt Manning (B-level Prospect) Tigers get: SP Blake Snell
Then obviously we gotta bolster the pen with a bonafide closer:
Braves get: SP Daniel Morris, RP Jeurys Familia (Smell ya Part 2), and 1B Frank Schwindel (B-level prospect) Tigers get: RP Will Smith
Pitchers gotta throw to somebody right? Minnesota…u up?
Twins get: C Austin Romine, C James Rogers (B prospect) Tigers get: C Mitch Garver
Wait…is that…Mr. 2013 himself? Jordan Zimmerman? What’s that…he’s making $22 million dollars? How ’bout a hike, Jordan.
Braves get: SP Jordan Zimmerman, SP Dario Agrazal Tigers get: RP Marc Melancon
Now that pitching is a little cleaner, let’s wake up the bats a little here. I need a middle of the lineup guy, because it certainly isn’t C.J. Cron. Apparently Minnesota has no interest in being good anymore because this is the third trade we’ve made now and we’re in the same division.
Twins get: SP Casey Mize (A-level prospect), OF Christian Stewart (B-Level Prospect) Tigers get: OF Eddie Rosario
Our current center fielder is young with potential, but that screams rebuild. So Victor Reyes…
Diamondbacks get: OF Victor Reyes, OF Travis Demeritte, OF Jose Azocar Tigers get: OF Starling Marte
How about a big bat, huh?
Indians get: OF Jorge Bonafacio, SP Ethan Navarro, RP Gerson Moreno Tigers get: OF/DH/Absolute Unit Franmil Reyes
Our infield was decent with Cron, 2B Jonathon Schoop, and SS Niko Goodrum. Considering all the other holes we had, this wasn’t priority, but I still wanted to get better at the hot corner.
Yankees get: 3B Jeimer Candelario, 2B Dawel Lugo, LF Lyle Mitcheltree Tiger gets: 3B Gio Urshela
After all this my minor league managers are looking around their locker room like it’s an episode of The Big Bang Theory: no talent.
With no more trades possible without giving up big league guys, I had to go to the free agents to fix the bullpen and add some depth. Luckily, I got:
OF Yasiel Puig RP Colin McHugh RP Pat Neshek RP Arodys Vizciano
And with that, we were ready for battle.
OPENING DAY LINEUPS AND ROTATION
|Starling Marte, 87|
|Eddie Rosario, 86|
|Gio Urshela, 83|
|Mitch Garver, 84|
|Franmil Reyes, 76|
|Yasiel Puig, 79|
|Jonathon Schoop, 78|
|Niko Goodrum, 79|
|C.J. Cron, 81|
|Blake Snell, 89|
|Kenta Maeda, 83|
|Matthew Boyd, 81|
|Frankie Montas, 78|
|Steven Matz, 75|
By no means is this the 1927 Yankees, but considering where we started I feel like we’ve got a solid roster that can compete. We got an ace, rotation depth, and some sticks in the lineup.
70 GAMES IN
My decision to hold onto SS Niko Goodrum and 2B Jonathon Schoop proved horrible. They were both batting a buck seventy (.170), so I went to where else….Minnesota. It’s like a damn jailbreak out there:
Twins get: SS Niko Goodrum, RP Kenny Ziemecki Tigers get: SS Jorge Polanco
Pittsburgh is also the Michael Jordan of trading away talented players for nothing, so…
Pirates get: 2B Jonathon Schoop Tigers get: 2B Adam Frazier, RP Michael Feliz
Note: Polanco went on to win the batting title and come in 3rd in the MVP race, while Frazier batted .320. Two things you love to see.
We’re a few games out of first, but we’re in contention for the second Wild Card spot. The rotation was mostly pitching well, but the lineup wasn’t holding up their end of the bargain. I thought about getting rid of Marte or Rosario to improve our top bats, but the market wasn’t really there. So I figured, let’s take one of the new draft picks and kick C.J. Cron out the door.
A’s get: 1B C.J. Cron, CF A-level prospect Tigers get: 1B Matt Olson (who would go on to tear his calf in late August)
Matz was also pitching to an unacceptable 4.35 ERA. Not on my roster:
Astros get: SP Steven Matz Tigers get: SP Austin Pruitt, RP Brad Peacock
With 3 games left in the regular season, we were tied for the second Wild Card spot. We won one, lost one, and in a classic Detroit Tigers showing, won the final game 10-1 to clinch it. We’re in.
In the Wild Card game, we went on to face the Texas Rangers and Corey Kluber. And I must say, I severely underestimated Kluber’s ability to shut me the hell down.
We went 8 innings recording just two hits, and Kluber pitched into the ninth with 115+ pitches. He took a line drive off the shin early in the game, so it turned into a real Greg Jennings-like performance by the end.
In the second inning, Snell (me) left a fastball over the heart of the plate that got hit a minimum of 700 feet. That made the game 2-0 and was pretty much the only action we got until the ninth.
In said ninth, we got to the pen with a runner on second base and one out. Franmil Reyes was the first player up to face the new arm and piped a line-drive double into the gap. We were now down 2-1.
Gio struck out and we had Eddie Rosario up. Cameron Maybin pinch-running on second. He missed a fastball, and then crushes a hanging slider…
Right at the second baseman. We lost.
It’s not how you want these things to end, and let me tell you the clubhouse after was a quiet one. We all believed we had a chance to do the impossible, but alas it wasn’t meant to be.
I failed the challenge, so I’ll be doing another one soon. But as challenges go, I nominate you guys want to do one and submit it through BTB’s Twitter DMs. Win or lose, I’ll write it up and post it. Happy winning.
They’ve only been around since 1993, but the Miami (formerly Florida) Marlins have been one of the more interesting franchises in baseball since their conception. They’ve made the playoffs only twice, in 1997 & 2003, both times as a wild card team. They won the World Series in both of those years. The Marlins team model is as follows: be terrible, stockpile talent, win a World Series, immediately trade said talent, rinse and repeat. Since their last title in 2003, they’ve come a bit short on the “stockpile talent” step, as the 2016 team I’m writing about won only 79 games en route to a third-place finish. So what makes this team so crazy to look back on? Continue reading The 2016 Miami Marlins Roster is WILD to Look Back at