Monthly Archives: December 2020

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The Cheap Oakland Athletics Jerseys bullpen is going to need someone to step up in 2021. Lou Trivino may end up being the key to the upcoming season.
Chances are, the bullpen for the 2021 Oakland A’s will look a lot different than the 2020 relief corps. Four members of the bullpen, including closer Liam Hendriks, are free agents. While the A’s may be able to retain one or two of those arms, they are going to need to find a new closer while working out a bridge to the ninth inning.

As it currently stands, Jake Diekman is expected to be the A’s closer in the coming year. Although that is a bit of a gamble due to his walk rate, his dominant 2020 puts him atop that list. But the question remains – who will get the ball to Diekman?

The key to that bridge may be Cheap Lou Trivino Jersey. A potential option at closer should Diekman not work out, Trivino had a strong 2020 campaign in his own right. He posted a 3.86 ERA and a 1.114 WHiP in his 23.1 innings, striking out 26 batters with ten walks.

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That performance was in stark contrast to his 2019 campaign. Trivino struggled in his second season in the majors, posting a 5.25 ERA and a 1.533 WHiP in 60 innings. Although he still struck out nearly a batter per inning with his 57 strikeouts, he issued 31 walks and allowed 61 hits. His command made him a gamble for the A’s whenever he was called upon.

At this point, Trivino has had two solid seasons and that one difficult campaign in 2019. Considering the unique nature of the 2020 season, it is difficult to regard that as part of an answer as to whether or not he can be part of the A’s bullpen solution.

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Lou Trivino is going to be a key part of the Oakland A’s bullpen in 2021. However, there is no guarantee that he will be the pitcher the A’s need him to be.

The MLB offseason has been slow so far, especially among the biggest names on the free agent market. The largest contract so far is a 4yr/$40m deal between the Mets and catcher James McCann, the 16th-best available name. Nobody else has scored more than two years or $20 million, but surely we’ll see some major money spent at some point this winter.

That money won’t come from the Oakland A’s, though, from the sound of it. They have a core of young stars and a real chance to compete in 2021, but they’ll have to be active on the scrap heap in order to reinforce a roster that’s been shredded by free agency. And in that regard, there’s no time to waste, because the best bargains are quickly drying up.

A couple weeks ago, I offered a list of a half-dozen relief pitchers who were non-tendered by their 2020 teams, and looked like promising gambles for 2021 who could be had for barely more than league minimum salary. All six were righties, and there was a lefty honorable mention at the end (Claudio). Let’s see how that list is faring so far:

Matt Andriese
Alex Claudio (LAA, 1yr/$1.1m)
A.J. Cole
Kenyan Middleton (SEA, 1yr/$0.8m)
Ryan Tepera
Nick Tropeano
Matt Wisler (SFG, 1yr/$1.2m)
That’s three outta seven off the board already, and it’s only been 16 days since I published that article. Worse, two of them went to AL West division rivals, and the other to the Giants. Middleton was the second-most popular name on the list, in our community poll of nearly 500 votes. (Cole was the favorite, at 35% of the vote.)

Of course, there are many other names available beyond these seven, so perhaps there are different cheap targets you prefer. But there’s no question that the A’s need to add somebody, because there are at least four or five open spots in their bullpen right now even after adding a Rule 5 pick — everyone else except Cheap Jake Diekman Jersey and Cheap J.B. Wendelken Jersey can be stashed in Triple-A to begin the season if needed. The only thing you can ever know for sure about your Opening Day bullpen is that it won’t be enough, and you’ll need as much help as possible for whatever unforeseen things go wrong, so it’s critical they beef up their depth chart this offseason.

There are great deals to be had on enticing, high-ceiling bullpen sleepers right now. If you want to build a contender on a budget, including finding an entirely new late-inning setup crew, then missing out on the rest of these cheap opportunities could be a costly mistake. So far they’re disappearing at a rate of roughly one every five days, so, don’t blink.

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The Angels are set to lose a member of their coaching staff for the upcoming season.
As the Angels faced a recent shift from the Mike Scioscia era to the Joe Maddon era, many new faces joined the coaching staff. A similar shift was seen in the front office with the recent firing of general manager Billy Eppler who has since been replaced by Perry Minasian. Every time there are shifts of this magnitude within an organization, things can improve if they were not already going well.

Initially, it was believed that the entire coaching staff would be returning to the Angels for the 2021 season, but now it appears that is not the case. According to Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times, Jesus Feliciano will not be returning to the coaching staff. Feliciano was hired at the beginning of the 2019 season as the team’s first base coach and outfielders coach. The 41-year-old has bounced around the minor leagues as a coach since he retired from Major League Baseball as a player in 2010. Feliciano has served as a hitting coach at multiple stops and has been a minor league manager where he was named Minor League Manager of the Year with Chicago Cubs’ High-A affiliate. Feliciano was gone from the Angels’ organization for most of the 2020 season.

While losing any coach is a big deal, the Angels may be able to bring back a notable replacement for him — someone along the lines of Angels legend Darin Erstad could work well. The Angels need someone who can particularly work well with the excellent young prospects in the system like Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh, and Jordyn Adams.

While Feliciano is gone, the good news is that the Angels will be retaining everyone else from their coaching staff. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway, bench coach Mike Gallego, and hitting coach Jeremy Reed are amongst the most notable names to be returning.

The Angels need all the constancy they can get within the organization to ensure that they are all on the same page. Young players need to see the same faces every day to continue proper development. The Angels need to make sure they make the best hires possible to hopefully continue their rapid climb to a playoff spot.

Angels manager, Joe Maddon, spoke with the media on Friday covering multiple topics that related to the 2020 season and where he sees the team going forward.
During the meeting with reporters, Maddon addressed the elephant in the room regarding the Angels struggles during the short 60 game season, the pitching. The Angels pitching staff was absolutely horrible in 2020, there’s no way around it, other than a revival year by Cheap Dylan Bundy Jersey who had an ERA of 3.29 across 65.2 innings pitched, the next leader in ERA came from Cheap Jaime Barria Jersey who posted 3.62 while only making 5 starts and 2 appearances out of the bullpen.

Bottom line is that they need to figure things out internally and Joe Maddon alluded to this in the meeting stating:

“For me it’s about building a better pitching method, pitching philosophy internally. Beyond that, some infrastructural things just for the guys downstairs, which we’re working on right now.”

There’s no doubt that the change is coming for long term success which Angels fans should be excited about as they have made multiple front office hires since Perry Minasian took over. That long term success can also translate to short term success as well with a new pitching philosophy as Maddon had mentioned which may help unlock the potential some of these starters have.

It’s going to be a long process as the problem isn’t as direct as just “pitch better” whatever Maddon and his staff are coming up with, has to be beneficial for pitchers that have good stuff, but can’t translate it to big league outs. Pitchers like Cheap Andrew Heaney Jersey, Cheap Griffin Canning Jersey, and Cheap Patrick Sandoval Jersey need to benefit from the change that’s coming, otherwise it might look like the same as last season.

With free agency still going on for many players, Angels fans have been trying to convince arguably the best pitcher on the market in Trevor Bauer. While Bauer can no doubt help the team and make their pitching look a lot better, they need to count on starters from the season prior to step up as Bauer won’t instantly solve their pitching woes. Maddon has stated previously that the team would likely need two additional starters, and putting your eggs all in one basket might not be the Angels strategy in regards to landing Bauer.

So, it may make sense for the Angels to go for cheaper options with a new pitching philosophy in mind and having to rely on their young starters to step up which they have failed to do previously.

Some fans might not be so keen on just settling for landing two sub-par starters either through free agency or trade, but if it allows the team to make other moves while still implementing a new philosophy, then it might not be such a bad idea. We know Angels owner Arte Moreno likes to make the big splash when it comes to free agent signings, but with Minasian now in charge and seeing all the moves he’s making in the front office, it looks like Moreno is letting Minasian run the show.

A new future could be on the way for the Angels in terms of both long term and short term success with a new pitching philosophy being worked on by Joe Maddon and his staff and the front office under Perry Minasian developing and scouting players. It will be up to individuals themselves on whether they believe in their ideas and stick through the process that is being done in Anaheim.

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The Cheap Houston Astros Jerseys face a lot of uncertainty in the rotation next season. *This* would be my ideal starting five on Opening Day.
In 2020, the starting rotation for the Astros lacked depth after the losses of Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander. Nonetheless, Cheap Framber Valdez Jersey and Cristian Javier stepped up and both received votes in the Cy Young and American League Rookie of the Year.

The issue as the 2021 season nears, however, is the lack of depth and experience. Verlander will most likely not pitch in the regular season in ’21, according to general manager James Click, but the organization is hopeful to see him in October if Houston advances. One big name I brought up last month was the return of Charlie Morton, but he signed with the Atlanta Braves, which means my two other projected free agent targets, Chris Archer and Cole Hamels, are still up for grabs. With McCullers, Greinke, and Verlander all hitting free agency after the ’21 season, it is time for the Astros to evaluate the future of the starting rotation. Here is what I see as the ideal rotation for the 2021 Houston Astros:

1. Framber Valdez, L

In his first full season as a starter, Valdez was arguably the ace of the rotation, but his experience lacks compared to Greinke and McCullers. The left-hander finished 2020 with an ERA of 3.57, which ranked second among starters. Valdez is currently the only left-handed arm on staff which adds much needed value and versatility to a right-handed heavy rotation. He finished 11th in Cy Young voting which isn’t spectacular, but it shows how voters are respecting his craft. Valdez will be 27 years old next season and is now seen as a reliable ace to a changing rotation.

Imagine that the 2021 trade deadline is approaching and the Astros are on the outside looking in. There is a distinct possibility that they will fail to make the playoffs. What’s to be done? How should general manager James Click act?

Barring injuries, this is the worst-cast scenario for next year.

As unlikely as it is for this to be reality next summer, it’s not entirely improbable, and thus must be taken into consideration. The implications alone render it highly consequential. The implications, of course, are the impending free agencies of shortstop Cheap Carlos Correa Jersey and starting pitchers Cheap Zack Greinke Jersey and Cheap Lance McCullers Jr. Jersey

In this scenario, Click would have to make hugely significant decisions, ones that could end up defining his Astros tenure.

If Click chooses not to alter the team’s course in the face of questionable playoff odds and decides to mush on, he’d be taking an enormous risk. Should the gamble pay off and the Astros rally late in the season and earn the right to play in October, no harm, no foul. But if they were to fall short, the result would be an abject disaster.

Failing to secure a playoff spot in a weak division is a catastrophe by itself. The fallout, however, would be even worse.

The Astros would not only have missed the playoffs, but would have let three key players reach free agency. The complexities of any ensuing qualifying offers notwithstanding, the bottom line is that the Astros would have missed out on trading Correa, Greinke and McCullers for substantially more value than the club would receive via compensatory draft picks.

This leads us to the other side of the coin.

Come the trade deadline, if Click is unsure of the Astros reaching the playoffs, it could be prudent to trade Correa, Greinke and McCullers. Essentially waiving the white flag in what was supposed to be this core’s last playoff hurrah would be disheartening, but ultimately necessary.

Exactly how much value the trio could yield in trades at the deadline is something that cannot yet be known, but suffice it to say that their respective returns would better position the Astros to retool their roster than one or two compensatory draft picks would.

This whole context is purely abstract for now, and for a multitude of reasons, the chances are low that the Astros will find themselves in this conundrum. If it were to transpire, however, the significance of next year’s trade deadline cannot be overstated.

At this point, Correa, Greinke and McCullers are not on the brink of free agency as they would be many months from now, but the notion of something getting done this winter is an impractical one, especially given the current circumstances.

Heading into this offseason, a Correa extension was seemingly a top priority, but it now looks as though the Astros will begin next year’s season without a Correa extension being completed, which would all but guarantee that he’d become a free agent next winter.

There have been reports that the Astros are looking to trade Correa this winter, and Click did not issue a denial when asked about them. In fact, he seemed to subtly confirm the rumors.

Unless the unexpected should happen, Greinke will reach free agency, and though there is a case to be made for extending McCullers, there’s been no indication that the club will even attempt to ink him to a long-term deal.

To be clear, this is a self-imposed crossroads that the organization is facing. While the Astros and Correa may come to an agreement on an extension later this offseason, there’s currently no reason to suspect that it will happen.

If it doesn’t, then the club will be primed to have lost superstar talents in three consecutive offseasons — starting pitcher Gerrit Cole in 2019, outfielder George Springer in 2020 and Correa in 2021. It’s remarkable how that’s possible, given that hardly any money is committed beyond next year.

Regardless of that possibility, 2021 will be an interesting year for the Astros. There’s a good chance they open the season as the favorites to win the AL West, and there’s now talk of ace Cheap Justin Verlander Jersey hoping to pitch in 2021 despite undergoing Tommy John surgery less than three months ago.

Verlander is also a free agent after next season, but because of his recovery window extending to at least next September, he’ll possess no trade value, should the Astros be sellers at the deadline.

If the rest of this offseason plays out the way it’s expected to, the Astros will not extend any of their core players who are set to be free agents a year from now. By doing this, they make the scenario I’ve described a potential reality. Should it come to pass, there will be only one person to blame for it, and it won’t be the general manager.

2. Lance McCullers Jr., R

McCullers had to shake some rust off in 2020 after Tommy John sidelined him in 2019. The former All-Star struggled with command and first pitch strikes and didn’t seem like his energetic, fun-loving-self last season, and in part, it had to do with his production. With a 3.93 ERA, McCullers had issues with his pitch count when the batting order would come back up for a second time. At 27 years old, McCullers has much to prove in his last year under contract with Houston, and needs to show he can perform closer to his 2017-18 level.

3. Zack Greinke, R

Greinke was in a funk in the backend of the ’20 season, and as he has gotten into his upper 30s, his velocity is dropping. Movement and command have been his best friends in recent years as he has strayed away from a power fastball. Greinke will be 38 after the 2021 season, and while this is his last season under contract, it is time to evaluate his future status as an Astro. Greinke adds experience and diligence to a young, scrappy rotation, but unlike last season, I do not see him being a trade piece come August.

4. Cheap Jose Urquidy Jersey, R

Urquidy missed much of the 2020 season after a significant rookie campaign. Injuries halted the progression of the 25-year-old, but he did not seem to be fazed when he made his return late into the season. Through five starts, Urquidy posted a 2.73 ERA while fanning 17 batters through 29.2 innings. His strikeout rate dropped from the ’19 season, but with such a small sample size, it is hard to evaluate a real difference. Urquidy seems to be the better fit over Cheap Cristian Javier Jersey in this spot due to the versatility that he provides.

5. Sign Chris Archer, R

This one might seem a little out of nowhere, but the Astros need another arm, and the best candidate is former Tampa Bay Ray’s ace, Chris Archer. The 32-year-old right-hander is 3 seasons removed from his last All-Star appearance, but injuries plagued his last 2 seasons in Pittsburgh. This is where Brent Strom comes in the picture. As one of the best pitching coaches in the league, Strom can work to bring back the career for Archer. The addition to Archer is that the Astros can bring him in on a low-risk deal, because he might have to sign a minor league deal or a contract under $3 million a year and add an incentive bonus. Archer has never been a pitcher with a low ERA, but he likes to strike batters out which is what the Astros will need in the backend of their rotation.

Cristian Javier, R

While finishing third in AL ROY voting in 2020, Javier might be best suited as a long reliever/set-up man for the ’21 season. The young right-hander showed great lengths with his time out of the pen in the postseason, but the Astros did not often rely on him in big situations. With an evolving game, Javier could also be used in an opener role as the Astros will hit bumps down the round with injuries and rotational movement. He will see time in the starting role, but it is always valuable to add arms.