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LA Angels: Is Mike Trout Headed Toward Becoming MLB’s First $400 Million Man?

At first glance the numbers seem preposterous; $400 million for a single player? 

Not even Alex Rodriguez‘s gaudy $275 million figure comes close. Not a single player in Major League Baseball history has ever even cracked the $300 million mark.


In fact, Rodriguez ranks both first and second when it comes to all-time record salaries. His previous 10-year, $250 million contract comes in second.

Albert Pujols couldn’t crack $300 million when he reached free agency. He wound up signing for 10 years and $240 million with the Los Angeles Angels.

Robinson Cano attempted to become the first player to reach $300 million when his agent, Jay-Z, asked the Yankees for such a figure during the regular season, but he fell short and also landed at 10 years and $240 million this offseason (still the third-largest contract in history by the way, not too shabby for falling short).

Then there’s Mike Trout.

ESPN’s Buster Olney posed the question, could Trout become baseball’s first $400 million man? (Insider access needed).

The 22-year-old is already entering his third full season in 2014, fourth overall if you count the 40 games he played in 2011 as a 19-year-old, and will reach arbitration for the first time following this coming season. 

There’s no doubt that Trout will shatter every arbitration salary record if the Angels do not come to terms with him on a contract extension between now and next offseason. At 22 years old, he already boasts a Rookie of the Year award, a pair of All-Star appearances, a pair of Silver Slugger Awards and two runner-up finishes in MVP balloting. 

In his piece for ESPN, Olney quotes an anonymous agent as recommending that Trout and his agent do the unprecedented and ask for a 12-year, $400 million contract. This would pay Trout an average of $33.33 million per season. 

I asked a long-time agent who does not represent Trout what he might ask for in a negotiation for a multiyear deal, and he paused for a few moments, like someone savoring a good piece of steak. 

“Why not do something that’s never been done before?” he asked rhetorically. 

What do you mean? 

“Twelve years, $400 million.” 

Considering his age and that he is already arguably the best player in the game, and he hasn’t even reached his peak yet, it’s very hard to argue that he won’t become the first player to crack the $30 million per season mark anyway, making the suggestion, actually, somewhat considerable from the Angels’ standpoint.

If the Angels were to bypass the arbitration process and give him the record-shattering 12-year contract now, the pact would take them to his age-34 season, still young enough that they shouldn’t see the type of decline that has come along with other 10-year contracts—something the Angels could be wary of following their current deals with Pujols and Josh Hamilton (5 years, $133 million).

At 26 years old when he reaches free agency, there’s no doubt that Trout will still command a 10-year deal and could push beyond that if he hasn’t suffered any injuries and proves durable. How much more will his stock rise if the Angels choose to save a little now by going the arbitration route and limiting him to salaries in the $15-20 million range rather than ponying up and making him the highest-paid player in the game?

Really, by the age of 22, only Pujols and Rodriguez compare to Trout in terms of modern day salary negotiations. Rodriguez was 25 when he reached his then-record-setting deal of 10 years, $250 million with the Texas Rangers back in 2001. Add 16 years worth of inflation to that number and the presumption that Trout is beyond reproach in performance-enhancing drug (PED) discussions and you have the makings for a figure well above $300 million at the 10-year mark.

Pujols didn’t sign his deal until his age-32 season to begin 2012, exemplifying the type of inflation that came over the 11-year gap between his deal and the original A-Rod deal. A-Rod’s second 10-year pact, signed in 2008, was also in his age-32 season. 

Even Cano’s deal this offseason came in his age-31 season and will take him through the age of 41. 

Subtract the 10-year age difference, all those years of peak productivity, and you are left with Trout’s impending mega payday. Twelve years and $400 million just isn’t that shocking at that point, especially with him only at age 34 by the end of the deal, instead of into his 40’s.

In general, these 10-year mega deals handcuff the teams and have not proven to be worth it long term. In the case of Trout, though, someone is definitely going to hand him the largest payday in the history of the sport soon, so it might as well be the Angels. 

The risk with Trout is not a decline in production due to age as has been the case with A-Rod, Pujols and even Hamilton (and likely will be the case with Cano). Sure, he could wind up regressing, but history does not suggest that would be the case. The risk in such a deal with Trout would be injury, and teams take out insurance policies on such deals that would help cushion that risk and not cost the Angels should he become injured and not able to play out his contract. 

Having jumped in on both Pujols and Hamilton on mega deals the past couple of seasons, it would be a PR nightmare to not take the gamble on Trout and watch another team give it to him instead. 

Spend the money now and lock him up. Forget the short-term savings, give him 12 years and $400 million and hope he returns the favor in his age-34 season and signs a more team-friendly deal as he acknowledges that he is entering the twilight of his career. 

Trout can become the Derek Jeter of the West Coast and spend his entire career in one uniform. He is already set to become the new face of baseball when Jeter hangs up his cleats. 

As eye-popping as the number may be, it would be more costly to risk allowing a bidding war start when he reaches free agency. 

The Angels will profit from making Trout an Angel for life and the $400 million will come out looking like a wise investment.

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2012 MLB Free Agency: Every Team’s Pitching Target This Offseason

The saying has always been “pitching wins championships.”

Obviously, it takes a little more than just pitching to make the postseason and progress through the playoffs and into the World Series, but pitching is arguably the most important part of the roster to focus offseason attention for most teams.

Although subject to slumps, just like their position player counterparts, pitching can be tailored to fit a team’s strengths.

Certain teams may fair better with fly-ball pitchers. Some teams will need to utilize ground-ball pitchers. All teams benefit from strikeout pitchers.

Then there’s whether the team lacks depth in the starting rotation, middle innings, specialty pitchers, setup men and closers.

The point of this particular slideshow is to identify the pitching roster need of each team and speculate which free-agent pitcher the team is most likely to target this offseason.

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Oakland Athletics: Brandon McCarthy Making a Case for an A’s Encore in 2012

For the first time this season, Brandon McCarthy tossed a complete game and won.

Now, it’s not the first time this season that McCarthy has gone the distance; he’s done that four times. It also marked the second consecutive game that he has pitched the entire game.

On this particular Saturday, though, McCarthy was masterful on the mound.

He allowed just three hits while walking none and striking out ten Mariners without allowing a run. The shutout was only the second of his career, and first of the season.

The A’s were able to secure the victory thanks to a two-run double by Cliff Pennington in the fourth inning and a fifth-inning solo homer by Scott Sizemore.

McCarthy completed the game having thrown just 98 pitches, and he walked off with the victory to a standing ovation from the 19,732 fans in attendance at Oakland’s Coliseum.

“That was awesome,” McCarthy told’s Jane Lee following the game. “It’s one of those things where as much time as I’ve spent hurt and you’ve got everyone out there and behind you when things are going well, it kind of makes you feel like you’re on top of the world.”

The injuries that McCarthy referenced are one of the main reasons he has managed to fly under the radar for much of the season. His signing in the offseason was viewed by most fans as only a depth signing, and his winning of the fifth starter position was seen only as the result of Rich Harden injuring himself and Tyson Ross being inexperienced as an MLB starter.

Despite being effective early on, his six-week stint on the disabled list just appeared to be the norm for his career path.

And yet, he just keeps putting together consistent effective performances on the mound, start after start.

For the season he has an 8-7 record, although that win total would certainly be higher were it not for the Jekyll-and-Hyde offense of the A’s this season. His ERA is a very respectable 3.41 this season, and heading into Saturday’s performance against the Mariners, he was allowing just 1.5 BB/9 this season. He also posted a 6.3 K/9 rate, although it is worth noting that he has recorded 10 strikeouts in each of his past two outings.

With Brett Anderson out for the 2012 season and Dallas Braden’s status uncertain as his rehab from shoulder surgery progresses, McCarthy very well could be auditioning for a new contract to return to Oakland in 2012.

With the inconsistency displayed by Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez at times this season, McCarthy’s reliable performances and veteran experience would be a welcome return as the A’s put a young rotation back out on the diamond in 2012.

Another few solid performances as the season winds down would certainly strengthen his case for a well deserved new deal to stay in Oakland for another season.

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Justin Verlander: Comparing Him to the Only 9 Pitchers in the Cy Young-MVP Club

Any time a pitcher has a truly great season and warrants Most Valuable Player talk, there will be a debate about whether a pitcher should be included in MVP voting or not.

Of course, everyone knows that there is an award for the most valuable pitcher in each league—the Cy Young award.

The best everyday position players compete for the MVP award.

It’s a debate that rarely ever merits much attention since it is such a rare feat for a pitcher to win both awards in the same season.

Since the inception of the Cy Young Award in 1956, only nine pitchers have managed to win both the MVP and Cy Young in the same season.

As he leads the Detroit Tigers towards the postseason, Justin Verlander‘s 2011 season is once again bringing the issue to the forefront however.

The Detroit Tigers currently have a record of 76-62, at 14 games over .500 and 5.5 games ahead of the Cleveland Indians for first place in the American League Central division.

Verlander has a record of 21-5 (16 games over .500 himself), building the case that he has put the Tigers on his back to help catapult them into their current position in the playoff chase.

Ultimately, we will likely have a separate MVP and Cy Young Award winner in the American League this season, as is usually the case.

Here’s a look at how Verlander stacks up against the nine members of the MVP-Cy Young Club.

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Jemile Weeks and Brandon Allen Give Oakland A’s Reason to Be Optimistic for 2012

Look ahead to 2012 if your an A’s fan. Let’s face it, that’s the best way to remain positive about the results of this current season. With just over 30 games remaining, rookies Jemile Weeks and Brandon Allen stand out as the main reasons for optimism moving into another long offseason.

True, the team has been hitting and scoring runs at a pace that would make any manager proud since the All Star break.

What is also true is that the pitching through most of the first half of the season was the best in the American League, and looked like it was going to repeat its success from the 2010 season.

Unfortunately, both have been wildly inconsistent when you look at the season as a whole.

We likely won’t have Brett Anderson in the rotation at all next season and both Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez have been inconsistent since coming out of the gate hot to begin the 2011 campaign.

Add into the consideration that our hottest hitter for the entirety of the season, Josh Willingham, and the hottest hitter since the All Star break, Hideki Matsui, are both impending free agents, gives more reason for concern than optimism.

Trades from recent seasons have not paid off how the A’s had hoped (i.e. Carlos Gonzalez & Huston Street for Matt Holiday for Brett Wallace for Michael Taylor, amongst others) and the draft had failed to yield an impact hitter since Andre Ethier (who was also traded away).

The managing? Well, few would argue that former skipper Bob Geren was given the optimal situation to succeed, but fewer would argue that he didn’t deserve his dismissal either.

And then, almost instantly, the glass goes from half-empty to half-full.

Bob Geren out, Bob Melvin in—and the entire feel of the team changes.

Fan favorite Mark Ellis goes down to injury and his era with the A’s ends; In large part because highly touted, yet often injured rookie, Jemile Weeks performs fantastically.

How does Weeks respond? He hits his way into the lineup and sets up the longest tenured A’s veteran for his ticket out of town, and the hits just keep coming.

Weeks is batting .291 on the season with 75 hits in just his first 62 games while displaying good speed on the base paths. He has 13 stolen bases in 20 attempts so far this season.

Whether the A’s choose to retain Coco Crisp following the season, the A’s seem to have found a dynamic leadoff man in Weeks.

Not surprisingly, the arrival of Weeks coincided with the beginning of the A’s resurgence offensively.

A trip to the 15-day disabled list by Josh Willingham opened an opportunity for Chris Carter to come back to Oakland and showoff his bat, unfortunately he failed to capitalize.

All of the excitement surrounding Weeks would seemingly intensify the disappointment A’s fans felt about Carter. The difference could not have been any more the polar opposites of each other.

Fast-forward just a few weeks though and General Manager Billy Beane makes a low-profile trade at the deadline, sending veteran reliever Brad Ziegler to Arizona for minor league first baseman Brandon Allen.

How has the power-hitting prospect, Allen, responded to his audition in Oakland? He has taken the Jemile Weeks approach and just kept hitting, inserting himself right into the starting lineup nightly.

He was batting .391 since being traded to the A’s entering Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays.

In his first eight games with the A’s, he already has 10 hits, including a pair of triples, and has shown great athleticism at first base (something Carter failed to do in his opportunities).

And just like that, an impact bat produced by the draft and an impact bat produced via a low-profile trade.

The A’s have a very promising right side of their infield to give fans something to look forward to for years to come.

Carter can now be given the time necessary to develop into a big league hitter capable of filling the designated hitter role and Michael Taylor won’t have the pressure of high expectations when he finally does arrive in Oakland.

The pair of moves, although dealing within a small sample size, demonstrate that Beane has not lost the magic touch that previously earned him the “genius” label.

You see, Allen and Weeks represent more than just their promising production on the field. They represent the thought that the A’s front office has not lost touch with the current way the game is played. They have not been left behind by the rest of the league.

Allen and Weeks should give A’s fans a reason to be excited again about future trades, future draft picks, current prospects in the system and their own production while wearing the green and gold for at least the next five seasons.

If Beane can bring back Willingham (another trade that went in the A’s favor) for 2012 and the pitching staff can perform to their capabilities, optimism should quickly turn to excitement and real opportunity towards contention next season.

Now, if we could just do something about that stadium issue…

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Giants Need to Extend Tim Lincecum—Now—Before "Torture" Becomes Reality

The past three weeks of San Francisco Giants baseball has renewed the fabled “torture” theme that drove last year’s surprising playoff run all the way to becoming World Series Champions for the first time since the team moved out West from New York in 1958.

This year is different though. The “torture” will last well past the conclusion of the 2011 World Series, whether the Giants participate or not.

August proved to be a difficult month for the Giants in 2010, when they managed only 13 wins. The 2011 edition has not been any easier.

Players and executives within the organization are joined by the fans, who are holding out hope that this recent rough stretch the team has experienced—marred by injury after injury—will prove to be just another hiccup on the road to hot September and another lengthy postseason run with designs on defending their 2010 title.

The Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks are each playing out the remainder of the schedules against clubs that will not be featured in the postseason.

The Diamondbacks, ahead in the NL West standing by 2.5 games, are currently in the midst of a three-game losing streak and playing the pitching-tough Atlanta Braves—the current NL Wild Card leaders—have six more games against the Giants.

San Francisco will need to take advantage of those two series if they are to push themselves back into October baseball.

For the sake of Giants fans around the Bay Area, they better take advantage of this window of opportunity because this offseason could mark the “beginning of the end,” so to speak.

To make a push this season—to win now—the Giants mortgaged a portion of their future by trading top minor league pitching prospect Zach Wheeler to the New York Mets for Carlos Beltran.

If they fail to capitalize on that move—i.e. missing out on the postseason, Beltran is a free agent after the season, much in the same way he left Houston post-2004 after joining midseason—they could find themselves regretting the decision. 

Particularly if their current ace and two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum chooses to leave town via free agency.

The two-year contract that Lincecum signed with the Giants in his previous trip to arbitration, earned by achieving Super-2 status, comes to a conclusion after the final out of the 2011 World Series.

Lincecum still has two years of arbitration remaining, so he will be back in black and orange for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, but that could be the end of his tenure as a San Francisco Giant, and Bay Area fans may need to come to terms with this reality.

“I feel as though the Lincecum people were put off by the arbitration process, they didn’t like it,” Greg Papa said in his weekly radio show on 95.7 FM The Game with host John Lund this past Friday.

Past frustrations, continued success and a lack of run-support were all reasons that Papa gave in a 10-minute segment where he explained his belief that the Giants need to lock up Lincecum to a long-term, top-tiered contract this offseason, rather than waiting until his arbitration years have expired.

By then, it might be too late.

“If they don’t [sign him], and he goes to arbitration again, I think he’ll play out the system and go to free agency,” Papa said.

“Even if they offer him that type of deal right now, I don’t know what he will do.”

The type of deal that Papa was referring to was in the ballpark of Cliff Lee’s current contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, signed before the 2011 season (five years, $120 million).

Few would argue that Lincecum doesn’t deserve that kind of money. But it could be out of the Giants’ price range thanks to crippling contracts given to the underperforming Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand.

“The payroll’s $120 million, but can you go to $180 million? I don’t think they’re going to do that,” said Papa.

There’s an argument to be made that Lincecum makes the team more money than he costs them. This has proved true during his tenure with the club since being called up in 2007.

Following the World Series victory, they may not need his name-value to boost merchandise sales, and all home games have already sold out in 2011.

Eventually the World Series effect will wear off though, and the Giants will need to make a decision about how much Lincecum earns the team versus costs them.

While he doesn’t make fans stand at attention—whether it be putting down their Garlic fries or stopping their walk along the right-field promenade like Barry Bonds once did—Lincecum’s pitching appearances are nothing short of spectacular. He has created a buzz around his pitching days.

Do the Giants want to lose that?

The reality for San Francisco though, is that they may not have much of a choice. By trading Wheeler, the Giants lost their next “ace” who may have been capable of replacing Lincecum.

Drafting the next Tim Lincecum is no guaranteed thing. After all, who saw that tiny, frail kid from Washington becoming such a dominant force?

He provides more to the Giants than just on-field production. He is a personality, the personality of the Giants, the most recognizable player on the team and their MVP.

Attending a game at AT&T Park, you’re likely to see as many kids wearing Lincecum wigs as Pablo Sandoval-inspired Panda hats. Maybe more.

There are two things the Giants front office must focus on this offseason—and over the next two years—to ensure that the face of their franchise remains with the team.

First, they absolutely need to offer Lincecum a contract that approaches the Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia levels, recognizing him amongst the best in baseball and compensating him as such.

He deserves—and needs—to be paid higher than the contract given to Barry Zito, who was left off the playoff roster in 2010 and has never justified his price tag as a Giant.

The Giants should give Lincecum an escalating salary over the next two seasons, covering his arbitration years, with a five-year extension tacked onto the end (making the total deal a seven-year extension).

It’s risky, but, “You have to give him the money, and you have to do it now. I don’t care if you got burned by Barry Zito, you can’t lose this guy,” said Lund during the radio program.

Second, the Giants need to address their offensive woes and give Lincecum a chance to start building his win total.

Ten times this season the Giants have failed to score a run while Lincecum was on the mound; three times they have been shutout.

Lincecum is losing wins that he deserves. While it may not be an issue he is concerned with at the moment, it will start infiltrating his thought process as he starts to think about his legacy in the game.

“The next contract he signs will impact his legacy in the sport,” said Papa.

“When you’re a great player like these guys are, that big contract will be years enough where it will determine if you go to Cooperstown or not. How many wins you gonna get. I know the new sabermetrics, wins are overrated. NO THEY’RE NOT (see Felix Hernandez 2010 AL Cy Young). You need to win. You pitch, your team needs to win.”

It’s an argument that has merit, and Brian Sabean had better address it in the offseason.

There is little reason for Lincecum to agree to a long-term extension until he sees the Giants start putting the pieces around him that will give him the support he needs to compete for a 162-game season.

Any more dominant pitching performances where allowing one earned run still ends up in a loss may start to wear on “Timmy.”

Trading for Carlos Beltran at the trade deadline was a good move (had he not got injured), but Lincecum deserves that kind of hitting power in the lineup.

Papa added, “You can make the Hall of Fame without winning, but the reason the Red Sox and Yankees get all those guys is because they offer you the chance to pitch in the playoffs and pitch in the World Series, and that’s what Lincecum wants.”

“You don’t think the Yankees would like him in pinstripes?”

A one-two combination of Sabathia, Lincecum, or vice-versa, is enough to make most teams quake.

A second World Series title would go a long way to building the case that Lincecum is one of those rare generational players that could end his entire career in a Giants uniform.

Ultimately there will come a time where he will start thinking about what he could accomplish if he jumped ship and joined an organization that would give him the opportunity to consistently win 20 games and provide the kind of run support he deserves.

This offseason, Sabean will need to start by putting together a lineup that can support his already-impressive starting rotation. Once he has begun to address that issue, he needs to do his best to find a way to avoid a second arbitration process with Lincecum or risk losing his superstar after 2013 to free agency.

He’s already started. While it generated little press, the Giants just signed their second-round pick in the 2011 player draft, Andrew Susac, a catcher with an above-average arm and plus-power at the plate (see the end of the article), as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Bruce Jenkins in Saturday’s edition.

Lincecum will get his money—just maybe not with the Giants.

As much as he enjoys playing in San Francisco, he may jump at an opportunity to secure his place in Cooperstown while collecting rings with another franchise. And not shaking his head as he looks at his box-score from the night before, resulting in another one-run loss.

As Papa summarized in his talk with Lund, “There’s a point in time when you have to make a business decision [not] for your bank account, for your legacy.”

The same can be said of the Giants this offseason.

The deal that Lincecum arrives at spring training with in 2012 will tell us a lot about the direction of the franchise beyond the coming two seasons.

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MLB International Signing Officially Begins, Top Foreign Prospects Sign Deals

The top players in Latin America officially became eligible to sign with Major League teams today.

Some of the top names on the board have already come to terms on signing bonuses, locking up their services to join their new franchises.

Baseball America’s Ben Badler posted a list of the top 40 international prospects, including several videos of some of the top talent.

Check back frequently as the list of players signed is updated.

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MLB Trade Speculation: 15 Players Teams Would Most Regret Moving

The risk of any trade is that the player leaving your team will wind up having the more productive future than the player that you received.

Major League Baseball is full of these stories.

Remember when the San Francisco Giants traded Francisco Liriano, Joe Nathan and Boof Bonser for A.J. Pierzynski? I’m sure the Giants regretted moving those three.

If you are an Oakland A’s fan, the first two names that probably come to mind as players that got away are Andre Ethier (Milton Bradley came to Oakland in return) and Carlos Gonzalez (along with Huston Street and Greg Smith for Matt Holliday).

Although Bradley did help the A’s reach the American League Championship Series in 2006, you could argue that the A’s would have benefited more from having Ethier in their outfield the following four seasons instead.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are among a handful of teams that gave up on Jose Bautista before he became the most dangerous hitter on the planet.

The Boston Red Sox probably did not realize the type of players Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez would become when they dealt them to the Florida Marlins for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. Although, you could argue that trade did work out for Boston as well.

Of course, it’s not just prospects that get dealt for a big name. Sometimes the regret is for the team that trades away their star because they feel they won’t be able to afford re-signing them after the season.

Here are a few players that could wind up on the move this season that their former team will wind up regretting letting them go.

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Jose Bautista in Midst of Historic 2-Season Run, Where Will He Rank All-Time?

Jose Bautista‘s improbable rise to stardom in the Major Leagues is one of the best post-steroid era stories in baseball.

Recently Yahoo Sport’s Jeff Passan wrote a must-read piece (after you finish my article, of course) breaking down Bautista’s path to the Majors and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Bautista has his doubters, for sure, that just can’t wrap their mind around the notion that a player who had never hit more than 16 homers in any season in his career could jump to 54 in a single season without the use of performance enhancing drugs.

Bautista explains, and Passan eloquently describes, that he was unable to make the necessary adjustments to become the hitter he is now because any decrease in productivity would have jeopardized his career.

Thus, he went through five teams before finding the stability he needed in Toronto. A team that would work with him and allow him to make the adjustments while remaining an everyday player.

As the results began racking up with each ball knocked over the fence, Bautista’s confidence grew, and he was able to unload on pitcher after pitcher on his way to his first home run crown in 2010.

The encore performance is underway, and so far he is on a run that could windup placing him amongst the greats of the game, clean and not steroid-tainted.

Passan writes:

“What he did remains inconceivable: evolve from a nobody, a piece cast off by the sport’s dregs, into the most dangerous hitter on the planet. He hit 54 home runs last year when no one else hit 40, and he followed up this season with the best two-month stretch since Barry Bonds.”

The stretch Passan is referencing by Bonds was his 2001-2002 season in which he had a combined total of 119 homers. The two-year span by Bonds ranks fifth on the all-time list of two-season homer totals.

Eight out of the top ten two-season home run totals are owned by players with ties to steroids, including Bonds’ run.

Mark McGwire ranks first with 135 homers between the 1998-1999 seasons.

The two top-10 performances by a player with no steroid implications? Babe Ruth in 1927-1928 with 114 homers, and Ruth again in 1920-1921 with 113 total homers.

The only modern-era player with such a stretch and no steroid implications is Ken Griffey, Jr. Griffey currently has the eleventh best two-year string of success with 112 homers in 1997-1998. Griffey also topped the 100-homer mark for two-year spans in 1996-1997 and 1998-1999 with 105 and 104 homers, respectively, during those spans.

Bautista currently has 75 homers with 92 games remaining in the season. If he continues on his current pace he would wind up with 48 homers according to ESPN. The combined totals would give him 102 for the 2010-2011 combined seasons, good enough for the 19th best two-season total in history, seventh best among players with no steroid connection.

Pre-steroid use, depending on when you believe that was, Mark McGwire never achieved 100 homers in two seasons. Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds only reached those totals during the years they allegedly were on the juice as well.

It is worth noting that today’s greatest power hitters, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard, have never accomplished this feat.

Future Hall of Famer, Jim Thome, has only reached the 100-HR-over-two-seasons plateau once in his career, between 2001-2002 (101 homers).

Bautista’s rise to stardom already has all the makings of a feel-good Disney movie with a happy ending and a lesson to be learned about determination and never giving up on your dream.

His present day accomplishments, though, have the makings of history written all over them.


Players With 100-Hr 2-Season Totals
Jose Bautista 2010 54 2011 ?? ??  
Player Year HR Year HR Total
Mark McGwire 1998 70 1999 65 135 *
Sammy Sosa 1998 66 1999 63 129 *
Mark McGwire 1997 58 1998 70 128 *
Barry Bonds 2000 49 2001 73 122 *
Barry Bonds 2001 73 2002 46 119 *
Babe Ruth 1927 60 1928 54 114  
Sammy Sosa 2000 50 2001 64 114 *
Babe Ruth 1920 54 1921 59 113
Sammy Sosa 1999 63 2000 50 113 *
Sammy Sosa 2001 64 2002 49 113 *
Ken Griffey Jr 1997 56 1998 56 112
Mark McGwire 1996 52 1997 58 110 *
Alex Rodriguez 2001 52 2002 57 109 *
Babe Ruth 1926 47 1927 60 107
Jimmie Foxx 1932 58 1933 48 106
Ken Griffey Jr 1996 49 1997 56 105
Ken Griffey Jr 1998 56 1999 48 104
Alex Rodriguez 2002 57 2003 47 104 *
Sammy Sosa 1997 36 1998 66 102 *
Ralph Kiner 1949 54 1950 47 101
Jim Thome 2001 49 2002 52 101
Babe Ruth 1928 54 1929 46 100
Roger Maris 1960 39 1961 61 100
* Player implicated as steroid user  


Brandon McClintock covers Major League Baseball for You can follow him on Twitter:        @BMcClintock_BR.

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Oakland Athletics: Are the A’s Considering Demoting Daric Barton to Triple-A?

It is getting harder and harder to justify keeping Daric Barton on a major league roster, especially one still struggling to find consistent offense.

The Oakland Athletics showed Barton a lot of loyalty during the offseason and pegged him as their starting first baseman and a major part of the future.

So far this season, Barton has not rewarded the team for their faith in his abilities.

He has admitted that a potential contract extension is in the back of his head, and he is thinking and pressing too much while at the plate.

The result has been a season-long slump that has him batting close to the Mendoza line at .211, without a single home run, and with just 12 extra base hits (all doubles). He set the record last night for most consecutive games without a home run by a first baseman at 64 games.

Barton, still widely considered one of the better defenders at first base, has also seen his struggles carry over to his defense. Last season Barton committed 10 errors in 157 games.

So far this year he already has eight errors in just 64 games.

Kevin Kouzmanoff, arguably a more established major leaguer, already was handed his ticket back to Triple-A for a similar display of total defensive and offensive ineptitude.

You have to wonder: How much longer until a similar fate befalls Barton?

Yesterday, claimed the A’s may already be considering such a move:

The A’s might be considering sending Daric Barton to the minors. The .212-hitting Barton has an option left, and he’s simply never been able to escape his season-long funk. Sending him down to get his head on straight might not be a bad idea at this point. If a move is made, Conor Jackson and/or Adam Rosales would likely handle first base.

This is another significant example of a major move that would send the signal that the A’s are committed to making a run this season. The A’s still believe that Barton is a part of their future—the team has not made any indications that they are ready to hand over the reigns to Chris Carter.

There is still a feeling around this club that Barton’s defense is highly valued. A trip to Sacramento would be an opportunity for Barton to turn things around, clear his head, and build some confidence by beating up on Triple-A pitching for a little while just as Kouzmanoff is now doing (.333/.355/.700 2 HR 7 RBI 30 AB).

With Mark Ellis scheduled to come off the disabled list this Wednesday, this could be Barton’s final few games to turn things around before packing his bags for Sacramento. Presumably, the A’s would option Barton to the minor leagues in favor of keeping the hot-hitting Jemile Weeks in the majors.

Ellis’s return creates a position dilemma for new manager Bob Melvin.

Weeks needs playing time to continue developing at second, but Mark Ellis is better than a utility player. Plus, the more versatile Adam Rosales already fills that role, anyway.

Scott Sizemore, another utility-type player, would appear the most likely to head back to Sacramento if the club chooses to stick with Barton, creating a third-base platoon opportunity for Rosales and Ellis.

Ellis could become a trade chip to bring in a young prospect, although Melvin’s praise of Ellis’s intangibles indicates the A’s would like to let him play out the final year of his contract in an Oakland uniform.

The most likely scenario is that the club will choose to stick with Ellis, Sizemore, and Rosales.

Barton will be rooming with Kouzmanoff in Sacramento and waiting for his next opportunity in Oakland.

I’m not willing to wager a guess as to whether Ellis shifts to a third-base platoon with Scott Sizemore or if he becomes the utility player while Rosales and Jackson platoon at first base (as Rotoworld suggested).

Ellis could even become the super-sub-type player the A’s turned Bobby Crosby into two years ago, or he could settle into a role similar to Marco Scutaro’s and see occasional time in the outfield as well.

There are a lot of unknowns that will need to be sorted out between now and Wednesday.

One thing is becoming increasingly more clear, though: The decision does not come down to whether or not Jemile Weeks will stay in the majors.

It is whether or not Daric Barton stays.


Brandon McClintock covers the Oakland Athletics and Major League Baseball for You can follow him on Twitter:       @BMcClintock_BR.

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