Though the season may be off to a rough start for the Cubs, at least fans can rest easy knowing they’re not rooting for the Arizona Diamondbacks, whose once-bright season has already gone down the drain.
Thankfully, not all the news has been bad over the past week. The Cubs got a win yesterday, and Jeff Samardzija is off to a great start. There’s been good and bad, but we’ll start off with the unexpected/odd.
Yasiel Puig’s Off-Field Problems Grab The Spotlight
If he wasn’t such a boisterous player in one of the biggest markets in the world, the problems surrounding Yasiel Puig may not have made many headlines. Unfortunately for him, it seems that his behavior off of the field is getting more attention than his play on it.
First, he was arrested this offseason after going 110 miles per hour in a 70 mph zone, and although the charges of reckless driving were eventually dropped, that’s not exactly what the Dodgers want their star player doing.
The issues that he is facing now are far more serious than speeding, however, as it was recently reported that a member of the group that brought Puig over from Cuba was spotted at Spring Training and was allegedly trying to collect a debt that is owed to him.
As you would expect, these aren’t your typical businessmen that are looking for a late payment, they are smugglers whose threats should be taken very seriously. It may be the rest of the league adjusting to him, or these off-the-field problems could be hurting him at the plate, as he’s hitting just .241 on the year. This is an incredibly delicate situation, and not one that teams are used to handling, so if you were in Ned Colletti and Don Mattingly’s position, what would you do with Puig?
Big Name Acquisitions Still Struggling
The allure of bringing in a big name player is often too much for front offices to pass up, no matter the price. These players are often built-in marketing tools and they can be used to excite fans about the upcoming season. As we all know, not all of these big-name, high-dollar moves end up working out, which is something we’ve already seen so far this season.
When Prince Fielder was traded from the Detroit Tigers to the Texas Rangers, he was supposed to find the power stroke that he had lost once he transitioned to the American League, but so far he’s just looked lost. With a .194 batting average and 2 home runs thus far, the Rangers may be feeling a bit nervous about their big investment.
Much like the Rangers, the Orioles are paying quite a bit of money to Ubaldo Jimenez, and given his track record and start to this season; they may already be regretting the deal. Currently, he sits at 0-3 with a 7.31 ERA (6.77 FIP) which is certainly not what the Orioles were hoping for after giving him $48 million prior to this year.
Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski has to be feeling pretty good about this offseason, too, as along with Fielder, two other former Tigers have started the season slow. Curtis Granderson (who was traded in a 3-way deal that brought Cy Young winner Max Scherzer to the Tigers 4 years ago) has 8 hits in 57 at bats (.140) for the Mets, and Jhonny Peralta is hitting .183 for the Cardinals with a strikeout rate hovering around 25%. What, in your opinion, are the worst offseason moves so far?
Giancarlo Stanton Asserts Himself As The Best Pure Power Hitter
With home run numbers down quite a bit since the days of Sosa, Bonds, and McGwire, the league has been without a consistent threat to hit 50 or more dingers per year. This year may be the year that that changes, as Giancarlo Stanton is once again proving the kind of power that he possesses.
After he hit 37 home runs in just 123 games in 2012, many people began to take notice of the then-22 year old slugger. His start to this year is starting to gain some notoriety, too, as he leads the league in home runs, RBI, and intentional walks.
Not only does he put them over the fence, but he also puts quite a bit of force into them as evidenced by the length of the bombs he hits. He currently has 3 of the top 5 longest home runs this year, with distances of 457 feet, 469, and a monstrous 484- foot shot in the season’s opening week against the Padres.
If he’s able to stay healthy over the course of a full season, I’d have to say that he’ll lead at least the National League in home runs pretty safely, and probably the MLB as a whole. Is Stanton the best power hitter in baseball? If not, who is?
This Week’s MVP: Joey Votto (.429/.571/.857, 3 HR, 7 RBI)
This Week’s Cy Young: Martin Perez (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 10 K)