I have nothing else to say other than writing sports is a small world. You can also be a nobody, write in your underwear, and still land on big time websites as a credible source. Just keep writing and put your best work out there.
I’ve been especially neglectful writing at The Cleat Report and for good reason; I’ve been busy working on Innings Eaters lots. My time at Sportsblog has been fantastic and this week topped any other.
Thanks to Kansas City Royals’ outfielder Alex Gordon, I’m now $105 richer. Gordon, or at least his social media team, reposted an article I wrote for Innings Eaters on his Facebook Page. It wasn’t anything groundbreaking or something I even put significant time into writing. I was just reporting some Gordon news and his camp took notice.
The All-Star outfielder has about 67,000 followers and approximately 4,000 clicked his link. Not only was each click contributing to my bank account, but also helping me move up the a Sportsblog Leaderboards from 16th on June 29th to 12th in 36 hours.
More importantly was my climb into number one on the MLB Leaderboards. Sportsblog has several different places where you can earn bonus leaderboard cash and I took home $55 from the main one for finishing in the dozenth place and another $250 from receiving the most unique visitors from the MLB blogs. This $305 total plus the nearly $80 I made through ads alone made June 2015 my most financially successful month writing as I earned about $385. With this money I can pay half my rent or afford to live in about half of my apartment. Who needs a kitchen anyway?
There’s a major difference between first and second place on the MLB Leaderboards which makes it more exciting. Second place earns $150 with third earning $100. They no longer award blogs further down the list though, which I was able to win some coin from previously in past months.
I had thought second place was inevitable until Gordon’s post launched me ahead in those final hours. I have him to thank for this extra $105, which I should probably spend on memorabilia of his.
Two of baseball’s best closers got paid today and avoided arbitration with their respective teams. Greg Holland of the Kansas City Royals settled on an $8.25 million deal. The Cincinnati Reds and their closer Aroldis Chapman agreed to a very similar deal, which will pay him $8.05 million.
The different isn’t much when you’re already a millionaire, but Holland is getting paid more than Chapman. Both great closers, let me briefly examine if Holland is actually more deserving of a larger contract.
In two consecutive seasons, Holland has finished 9th in the American League Cy Young voting. He has also finished 15th and 16th the past two seasons in the AL MVP voting.
Everything he’s doing in the 9th inning.
Holland has a career 2.19 ERA, however, he has only been a full-time closer in 2013 and 2014. Those two seasons were outstanding and saw him finishing with an ERA below 1.50, WHIP under 0.95, and striking out 13 batters per 9 innings. This, along with his 47 and 46 saves, make Holland one of the best little known closers in baseball.
Meanwhile, Chapman has a little more fanfare with his blazing fastball and proximity a bit closer to the East Coast. He’s great, but is he as great as Holland?
Chapman’s lowest career ERA is 1.51, which is higher than both of Holland’s last two seasons. Those same two seasons, Chapman had ERAs of 2.54 and 2.00. He has also failed reach 40 saves in a season. Something like this, though, cannot always be blamed on the closer. Instead, it’s numbers and managerial decisions when someone still performs as well as Chapman does.
The benefit of Chapman over Holland is clearly the strikeout rate. If Chapman had struck out 2 more batters instead of getting them to ground out, he would have literally retired two-thirds of his outs via strikeout. It’s pretty incredible to think about.
One other thing to notice about Chapman is that in 2014 he had a 0.83 WHIP – lower than Holland’s season best. It would appear that whenever someone did get on base against Chapman in those rare instances, a run was more likely than whenever someone got on against Holland.
I could go on forever trying to analyze which pitcher is better. Knowing what I do now about the basic statistics without having to actually learn anything new (ewww, it’s Friday night) I would have to say Holland probably is a little bit better right now even if he’s not as flashy.
The Bridge to Lidge, former Philadelphia Phillies’ setup man and closer Ryan Madson has not thrown a pitch in a big league game since the 2011 season. It was a great year with the Phillies, but his agent Scott Boras did what he usually does and convinced his client he deserved a lot more money. Instead, Madson had to settle for far less money. The decision ultimately cost him his baseball career.
Madson signed a $6 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds that offseason and due to an injury missed the entire 2012 season.
The following season, the Los Angeles Angels had faith in Madson’s return to baseball. They signed him to a one-year deal worth a little over $3 million. Once again, injuries got the better of him and he didn’t play in a single game all season.
Madson’s time with the Phillies was very memorable for me. He was a guy I saw pitch for the Reading Phillies and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons.
When he was with Reading, I asked him for his autograph outside of Waterfront Park in Trenton. Madson smiled and put down his bags. He was more than willing to spend as much team as he needed with the fans. This good attitude continued into the major leagues even when he was with less-friendly company.
One time at Veterans Stadium I was on the prowl after the game trying to get autographs. I spotted Brett Myers the driver’s seat of his car. I politely asked him to sign and without even making eye contact with me through his sunglasses I got a huge “No.” Madson was in the passenger side and slumped all 6’6 of himself down in the seat. I was too far deflated to bother asking him to sign. Plus, he had done so for me several times before and certainly would again. At this time though, nobody could have guessed what a big impact he would have on the Phillies.
The most important season of Madson’s career came in 2008 when he helped the Phillies win the World Series. As the setup man to Brad Lidge, Madson had 17 holds. A statistic that few pay attention to, he also only allowed 35% of his inherited runners score. He may not have been perfect, but without Madson the Phillies may have come up short.
When I learned today that Madson signed a minor league deal with the Kansas City Royals it meant a lot. He was always one of the guys I rooted for most, even if we only spent an inning together each night. I’m skeptical the comeback will result in much, but I wish him the best.
One more successful 8th inning for Madson at the big league level is all I ask.
The Kansas City Royals enjoyed the playoffs so much last year they decided to do a few things to make sure they go back. Even though they lost Billy Butler to the Oakland Athletics and will probably not re-sign James Shields, the Royals have been very active this offseason.
For the offense, new accessories the Royals now own are outfielder Alex Rios and designated hitter Kendrys Morales. Newcomers to the starting rotation include Kris Medlen and today’s signing which became official, Edinson Volquez.
Volquez is an interesting signing. Only two seasons from his career were positive ones. In 2008 he won 17 games and had a 3.21 ERA. Just last year, Volquez was 13-7 with a 3.04 ERA. In between those two seasons the rule “if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” applies.
The biggest weakness in Volquez’s game is fairly obvious: he’s wild. Last season he led the league with 15 wild pitches which isn’t even a career high. He also continued to walk way too many batters, although, it was thankfully far less than 2012 when he walked 105 men.
Benefits of Volquez are, well, what he may do. Turning 31-years-old in 2015 with only two good seasons on his resume, the Royals possibly just inked a deal with an absolute bust.
Then again, they may have quickly and more cheaply replaced the wins they lost through Shields. As great as he is, Shields was only 14-8 in 2014 and he had an ERA higher than Volquez. Considering the Royals have a bullpen as talented as they do, Shields’ greatest gift of pitching deep into games may not be so necessary.
College debt, the outrageous price of the so-called affordable healthcare, and that monthly winter electric bill are just three of the financial woes a lot of us have to deal with.
Of course, you may be one of the smart ones who skipped college, rely on home remedies for health ailments, and you heat yourself by always being sick with a fever.
For pitcher Kris Medlen, a lifestyle like this is likely never in his future. Professional athletes make plenty, but in contrast the new contract he was given today by the Kansas City Royals was a cheap one.
Medlen will be earning $8.5 million over the next two seasons to pitch for the Royals. The low contract has less to do with his performance and much more to do with the fact that he missed the entire 2014 season due to an injury. Typically when there are questions about player’s performance in the immediate future, like missing an entire year, they won’t be getting overpaid in the least bit and in this case might make a little less than they should.
Medlen’s record since 2012 is 25-13. He also happens to have a minuscule ERA of 2.47 over the two seasons he played in. He has shown he can pitch well even when asked to take the mound for 30 starts in a season. However like Brett Anderson, who was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this week, injuries are the reason why teams are hesitant to commit.
Prior to joining the Royals, Medlen had spent his career with the Atlanta Braves. In 2012, he actually finished 20th in the National League MVP voting with a 10-1 record and 1.57 ERA. Splitting the season as a starting pitcher and relief pitcher, he remained successful enough into 2013 to earn this two-year deal with Kansas City.
Since the Royals are likely to lose James Shield and are in some serious need of a top pitcher to replace him, I like the Medlen-risk. He’s making such little money that they could easily go out and pay another arm to become the team’s number one starter while holding onto hope Medlen becomes a very good number two.
The best case scenario would be Medlen having another season like we know he can with double digit wins and an ERA hovering around 3.00. Based on the history of other players who have had Tommy John Surgery, the operation Medlen had last season, I have enough faith that he will be a big contributor to the defending American League Champion Royals in the next two seasons.
After that–the Royals may be glad it was only a two-year deal.
Starting in right field for the Kansas City Royals in 2014 was Nori Aoki. By no means a poor season, what he severely lacked was power. Aoki hit only 1 home run all season. From a position like right field, this is unexpected and a little disappointing.
Not that anyone was in Las Vegas making bets on how many home runs Aoki would finish the season with. The Royals had him for speed and singles; two things he provided them throughout the year.
Since they had enough of the skills Aoki brought in other places on the roster, the Royals decided to let him walk and leave a hole in right field. Today they filled it by giving Alex Rios a one-year $11 million contract.
In terms of power, Rios is impossible to predict. He averages around 17 home runs a season, however, last year he only had 4. This happened on a team that has traditionally put up good power numbers too thanks to the way the ball flies in the summer heat for everyone on the Texas Rangers. Kevin Elster‘s 24 home runs in 1996 immediately come to mind–however tainted they may or may not have been.
Rios is not a guy who will win a home run title. In a Royals’ lineup nearly void of power, they should be thrilled if he can hit 20.
Together with Alex Gordon in left field and Lorenzo Cain in center field, the Royals now have a very speedy outfield that can disrupt any pitcher even if he has a prescription for Adderall. Combined in 2014 these three had 57 stolen bases. Rios brings 17 of them which just happens to be the same number that Aoki had.
Like the way Melky Cabrera performed for the Royals in 2012, I expect big things from Rios in 2015. He will be 34-years-old on opening day with the knowledge that if he does well it can seriously change his future. A bad year for Rios and suddenly he may have to settle for another one-year contract worth far less than he actually deserves. A good season and he could be getting paid until he’s almost 40.
Not that I believe Rios’ only motivation is money. He’s going from the worst team in the American League last season to one that came 90 feet short of possibly setting up for a great comeback in the World Series. He has plenty of reason to perform his best.
After adding Kendrys Morales to replace Billy Butler and now adding Rios to take over for Aoki, the Royals are letting the world know they don’t intend on making the trips to the World Series a distant memory.
It seems like I may have more first round draft picks in my autographed baseball card collection than anyone else. The thing about first round picks is most don’t become superstars. One of them was the first round pick in the 1996 MLB Draft Dee Brown. Brown was taken by the Kansas City Royals and the baseball card companies thought he was going to be the next big player. When I got his autograph, I’m not even sure what team he was playing for at the time. Since he did have a stint with the Trenton Thunder in 2005, my guess is he was kind enough to load up on autographs for me during that period of his life.