How Well Did You Pay Attention To This MLB Offseason? (Quiz)
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How Well Did You Pay Attention To This MLB Offseason? (Quiz)

What cooked on the hot stove for the past few months.

The MLB is the only major professional sports league not in session from early November through early February. But just because the action stops on the field, it doesn't mean the action is stopped period.

This is the time where the owners, GMs and everyone else in the behind the scenes personnel get ready for the next season, as the teams look to improve upon their rosters and increase their chances of winning next year's World Series.

Many MLB fans like keeping a close eye on the Hot Stove during these winter months, waiting to see who their team lands next, or which team makes the next big move.

So, how well did you pay attention this offseason?

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Chris Sale Makes the Red Sox Rotation Loaded

They're good. They're real good.

In 2014 and 2015 the Boston Red Sox finished last in their division. Part of the reason for that was their subpar rotation. Now, that's hardly the case.
Yup. They added Chris Sale today. He is the same guy who went 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA in 32 starts this season and struck out 233 batters in 226.2 innings. He's been in Cy Young consideration in each of the past five seasons. So yeah, this Red Sox rotation is officially loaded.
Look at what their top-two was before this deal: Rick Porcello, the 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner (sorry Kate Upton) and 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, David Price. Sure, they didn't show up in the playoffs, but two Cy Young contenders and then a guy who could win a Cy Young at some point in his life, that's pretty special. Oh yeah, and that's less than half the starters they've got right now.
Yes, big league rotations use five starters, so that means there's two more the Red Sox could use. Take your pick of these four:
--2016 NL All-Star Drew Pomeranz, who posted a 3.32 ERA and struck out 186 men in 170.2 innings last year.
--2016 AL All-Star Steven Wright, a knuckleballer who posted a 3.33 ERA in 24 starts last season and three four complete games.
--Eduardo Rodriguez, a 23-year-old who pitched exceptionally well in the second half last season (3.24 ERA in 14 starts plus 79 strikeouts in 77.2 innings).
--And 2010 All-Star Clay Buchholz. He's dominant sometimes and lousy other times. But his 3.96 lifetime ERA in 10 big league seasons ain't bad.
That's six All-Stars and potentially one of the best young pitchers in baseball. Not sure exactly what they'll do what the two extra arms, but that's a good problem to have -- especially in such a bad free agent market. #TradePieces
The Red Sox already had the best AL pitching staff in the second half last season -- with Wright injured for most of it. Now they have him back plus Chris Sale. Watch out, rest of the league. Watch out...
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The Red Sox Need Some Balance

You can only win so many games with just offense.

Hitting, fielding and pitching.

Those are what a baseball team needs to be successful. Undoubtedly, the Boston Red Sox are the best hitting team in baseball. And defensively, they're one of the better teams. It's just their presence on the mound that's hurting them.

At 39-30 through 69 games, they're just a game out of first in the American League East. Their team batting average and OPS are tough to match and they don't make many errors. On the mound, however, it's a little different.

The Red Sox pitching staff is about average. But they have a knuckleballer named Steven Wright in the running for the American League Cy Young Award and two of the game's highest paid pitchers: David Price and Rick Porcello. The back end of their rotation (and part of their bullpen), in contrast, has been dreadful.

In 26 starts pitched by guys not named Wright, Price or Porcello, the Red Sox have surrendered 100 earned runs 126.1 innings (7.12 ERA).

(Math on that (9*(40+21+16+7+9+7)/(56.66+22.34+20.66+12.34+10.33+4)))

College students know the struggle of balance and being a well-rounded person: between school, sleep and their social life. To borrow an idiom, the Red Sox would truly be hitting it out of the park in the classroom. David Ortiz has the highest OPS in baseball, Xander Bogaerts could win MVP, Mookie Betts is on pace for over 30 home runs, Dustin Pedroia is hitting about .300, and Jackie Bradley Jr., one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, has established himself as one of the best hitters too.

If you think of fielding as social life then the Red Sox are the life of the party. Pedroia, Bogaerts, Betts and Bradley Jr. are sharp defensively. Behind the plate, Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon are elite - they just don't hit well. And Hanley Ramirez shocked everyone by becoming a great defensive first baseman. All he used to be able to do was hit and while he's not a bad hitter, he's only about average now. His defense is where he at least is kind of earning his $22 million this year.

Now what about sleep? The Red Sox would be sleeping for about four to five hours per night as opposed to the seven to eight needed for a healthy life. There's a saying about pitching winning championships. And when people don't sleep enough, they're bound to break down after awhile. If the Red Sox don't upgrade the back half of their pitching staff, there could be a breakdown.

If there's a breakdown, they won't have to worry about the postseason - even if they're supposed to meet the Chicago Cubs in the World Series.

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A New Hope for Baseball

Why the "Evil Empire" has no other choice but to rebuild.

Excuse my language but... HOLY SHIT.


As a Red Sox fan, I take great pleasure in watching the Yankees struggle which, admittedly, hasn't been too often since I began seriously following baseball in the early 2000s.

Until very recently, I was pretty sure that Benjamin Franklin had it wrong. There were actually three certainties in life:

Death, taxes, and the Yankees contending for a playoff spot.

So when the Yankees shipped closer Aroldis Chapman off to Chicago in exchange for Adam Warren and three prospects, something felt off. The Yankees don't collect minor league assets. That's not their style.

When the Yankees want to get better, they compete, wait until the end of the season, and then overpay some free agent who may or may not be worth the money. But who cares! The Yankees can afford to overspend on anyone they damn well please.

They're the frickin' Yankees for christsake!

So I really thought nothing of it. With Miller and Betances, who really needs Chapman anyway? Let's be honest, it's not like the Yankees are really getting themselves into a ton of save situations this season.

But when I saw that former Cape Cod League legend (seriously, check it out) was getting sent to Cleveland in exchange for four more prospects, it hit me:

What did Miller do to get his ass sent out to a place like Cleveland? Just kidding (kind of).

This is what actually hit me (about as hard as The Decision hit a bandwagoning Cavaliers fan from a wealthy Cleveland suburb):

The Yankees are actually giving up on their season!

Now I know that if Michael Kay was reading this right now, he would stick his hands through my computer screen and strangle me, yelling about how I'm a spoiled baseball fan to have only known the dominant Yankees and not the struggling Bombers squads from the early 1990s, but.....

I doubt he's going to read this, so the Hell with him! (However, if you do somehow read this, I listen to your show everyday, and I didn't mean it when I told you to go to Hell). I never thought I'd see the day, but the Yankee way (overspending and stealing from small market teams) doesn't cut it anymore because, well, let's face it:

Every single team in the MLB has the ability to overspend now. With local TV deals and an insane surge in revenues, even a team like the Diamondbacks can afford to give a guy like Zack Greinke $31 million a year.

Just about 10 years ago, in 2007, when Alex Rodriguez signed his massive, $275 million contract with the worst team in professional sports, there were ten teams with payrolls over $100 million.

That number has nearly doubled to date, with 18 teams reaching that benchmark during the 2016 season, and two teams (the Yankees and the Dodgers) actually eclipsing the $200 million mark.

Revenues are at an astonishing $9 billion a year and rising, and the lowest payroll is the Houston Astros, who are coughing up just under $70 million to their players this year. Even though baseball may be losing some popularity, it certainly isn't losing any money, much to the Yankees chagrin.

There was a time when, if you wanted to sign for a king's ransom, you had to go to a team like the Yankees to get it, but that's no longer the case. Star players and free agents are now free to do whatever they want.

Stay. Go. Hell, they can even go to Miami if they want.

So the Yankees are stuck with a 40-year-old outfielder anchoring their offense, a 36-year-old liability lounging around at first base, and... oh would you look at that! Another 36-year-old liability in the pitching rotation, surrounded by a bunch of much younger, much more in-shape liabilities. And Masahiro Tanaka (but that's beside the point).

The truth is, the Yankees have lost their upper hand. They have no choice but to rebuild like the rest of the plebes in the MLB. So good riddance Andrew Miller! You didn't deserve to be on a team as evil as the Yankees to begin with.

And as for Yankees fans, I'm going to be honest here: Don't worry. Cashman's got this. Seriously.

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College Quarterbacks Making Absurd Offseason Throws

A jet ski? Really?

It seems that even in the heat of the summer, we can't seem to escape great college football plays.

But instead of watching great moments from on the field, a pair of quarterbacks decided to show off their skills in the best way possible.

A few days ago, incoming Texas A&M freshman quarterback Nick Starkel threw a monster pass to teammate Ricky Seals-Jones at Waco's BSR Cable Park, who was flying down a giant water slide.

The only issue here is the pass was incompete. Good try, good effort.

On the other hand, Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph decided to one up Starkel and make his own aquatic feat of quarterback prowess.

The best part is that Rudolph completed his pass, and it was an even more difficult pass to do.

Starkel, a freshman at Texas A&M, could have been the talk of Aggieland if the pass was completed. Now, he's in the back seat thanks to Rudolph. Not a good look for him.

Rudolph does sport a mildly impressive resume from his play last year, so the throw wasn't and shouldn't be that surprising. He threw for 3,770 yds., 21 TD, and 9 INT last year and led the Cowboys to a top 25 ranking by season's end with an 10-3 record and a trip to the Cotton Bowl.

But hey, if he doesn't make it in the NFL, there might be a possible career with Dude Perfect, who literally make a habit out of doing crazy shit like this, only cranked up to 11.

Listen up Nick Starkel. If you ever hope to win the starting quarterback gig at Texas A&M, you have to make sure you complete that pass. From the video, it looked like you threw the pass just a half second too early. That's going to cost you big time in college when facing off against Alabama and LSU.

And you, Ricky Seals-Jones (hell of a name, by the way), you gotta do everything in your power to make that catch. You have a chance to be on SportsCenter's Top 10, and also improve on that 45 catch, 560 receiving yard season, becoming the hero Texas A&M needs.

Because, let's face it, almost no one gives a shit about Aggies football since Johnny Football left, no matter how good the team has been.

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The Blackhawks are Not Despicable

A response to "The Blackhawks are Despicable".

An article was written a couple days ago saying the Blackhawks are "despicable" after two incidents: Goalie Corey Crawford got in a fight against the Blues' Robby Fabbri after Fabbri collided with Crawford. The other incident was right wing Andrew Shaw shouted a gay slur towards the referees at the end of the game. This exemplified how the Blackhawks are the scum of the NHL, obviously.

Can you hear that?

It's the whambulance, flying down the streets.

I'm no math whiz, but there are 23 players on an NHL roster, and to generalize a team as being despicable for the actions of two players comes off as a bit salty if you ask me.

But you know, I should expect my hometown team to be berated like this. Winning three titles is six years might aggravate some people. The Hawks are under a microscope unlike any other team in hockey.

I'll admit, I was surprised Crawford wasn't punished for fighting. But here's the thing.

Yeah, we get calls. All great teams and players do.

I think the real issue people had here was Shaw. Shaw shouldn't have said what he said, nobody is excusing him. But I don't think Shaw's a homophobe.

Let's be real, most players probably talk like this. Shaw just got caught, and now he's the scapegoat.

Shaw, and most athletes, have grown up in a culture that threw around the f****t word as part of normal vocab. It takes time to remove word from your vocabulary.

Shaw was handed a crap ton of sensitivity training hours to fulfill, which is fair. But why are we being reactive to incidents, and not proactive in order to prevent them? Why not make all players undergo sensitivity training during their rookie year or something?

Again, Shaw needs to and will pay for his mistake. But c'mon, let's not blow this out of proportion and broad brush the whole team as despicable.

When have we cheated? Who's been killed by our players? What warranted the Blackhawks to be compared to the Patriots and the Yankees? You'll bring up 2009 Patrick Kane and his taxi incident, but I think everyone agrees he matured past that. What happened this summer with his sexual assault accusation doesn't count for anything, charges were dropped and he was acquitted. His Art Ross trophy is going to look great next to his rings, by the way.

Our captain is nicknamed "Captain Serious" for crying out loud.

People are mad at the Blackhawks because they win. The only thing that's despicable is the petulant whining fans of inferior teams hurl our way. This was supposed to be a rebuild year anyway (I hope your team is enjoying all of our old players), and we still might advance in the playoffs after falling behind 3-1 in the series against the Blues. While you're complaining about how you want a parade for once, I'll be sitting here enjoying good hockey and a good team that does things the right way.