Sunday, October 25, 2015

Would We Have The Same Matchup Had One Move Not Happened?

There have been a couple interesting article posted on lately about the top 5 moves that lead the Royals and Mets, respectively, to the World Series. Below are those lists:

  1. The R.A. Dickey trade After Dickey won the 2012 NL Cy Young Award, the Mets, knowing that they had pitching depth in their organization, smartly decided to trade the ace at his peak value rather than sign him to an extension. They found a buyer in the Blue Jays, and in return, they extracted two potential premium players from them. At 23 years old, Noah Syndergaard has been as impressive as any rookie starting pitcher, leading all first-year starters with 166 strikeouts while posting a 3.24 ERA. Meanwhile, catcher Travis d'Arnaud is finally healthy after dealing with a variety of ailments, and put up a .268/.355/.487 line over 268 plate appearances. That slugging percentage would have led all catchers had he qualified. Both guys are key pieces for the Mets this season and years to come.
  2. Re-signing David WrightWhen Wright was a year away from free agency following the 2012 season, he and the organization both had to take a leap of faith. The front office had to decide on whether it should invest $138 million over eight years to arguably the best position player in franchise history. Conversely, Wright had to decide if this was the organization that was going to take the steps necessary to win. Wright believed in the plan, and the front office showed incredible discipline and decision-making in the Draft and internationally over the past several seasons (15 players on the roster are homegrown, the most of any playoff club). Wright isn't the player he once was, but he still posted an .814 OPS this year, is a consummate leader, and was integral in convincing the likes of Curtis Granderson and Michael Cuddyer to buy in and sign with the club.
  3. Signing Curtis Granderson – In a move to infuse more offense, the Mets signed Granderson to a four-year deal during the 2013 Winter Meetings. They hoped he would be a middle-of-the-order bat and run producer. But after a slow 2014 season, manager Terry Collins and new hitting coach Kevin Long felt his best place in the lineup this year was batting leadoff. After making a couple of mechanical adjustments under Long's observation, Granderson became one of the best leadoff men in the NL, leading the Mets with a .364 OBP. Granderson's productivity has gone under the radar in the postseason due to Daniel Murphy's torrid October, but he has set the table for the Mets, posting a .385 OBP while driving in seven runs and even stealing four bases in five attempts.
  4. Trading Ike DavisThis was less about trading Davis and more about the fact that it opened up the door for Lucas Duda to take over as the everyday first baseman. It seems like an obvious move now, but when the 2014 season began it was unclear who the Mets would choose as their long-term answer at first. Davis, the Mets' first-round pick in the 2008 Draft, hit 32 homers in 2012, and was considered a better defender. The organization tried to keep both, playing Duda in the outfield (he played 100 games in 2012 and another 58 in '13), but as Davis' struggles continued beyond '13, the Mets decided it was time to cut ties with him and make Duda the full-time first baseman. He responded by hitting 30 home runs in '14 and another 27 this past year, with an impressive .838 OPS while playing solid defense.
  5. Acquiring Yoenis CespedesOK, so there was one move from 2015 that had to be on this list. No player moved at the non-waiver Trade Deadline made a bigger impact for a team this year than Cespedes. His numbers as a Met are gaudy: In only 230 at bats, he hit 17 home runs, had 44 RBIs, a .942 OPS and a 157 OPS+, while playing mostly center field for the Mets (starting 39 of his 53 games in CF), a position that evaluators were convinced he was not comfortable playing anymore. Over the course of the summer, the Mets acquired two other veteran bats in Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe, promoted rookie Michael Conforto from Double-A to the Majors, and welcomed Wright's return from a long disabled list stint, and all of those moves helped create a deeper and more dynamic lineup. But the Cespedes acquisition almost single-handedly allowed the Mets' offense to come alive, as it averaged more than five runs per game in the final two months of the regular season.

  1. The Zack Greinke trade – In December 2009, one year after he won the American League Cy Young Award, Greinke was traded along with Yuniesky Betancourt to the Brewers for Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress. Kansas City was coming off a 67-win season and desperately needed an influx of young talent. What's amazing is that this trade almost didn't happen. The Royals made a lot of progress on a trade with the Nationals, but Greinke made it clear he would not waive his no-trade clause to go there. At the time of the trade, it was unclear who the best piece was coming back to Kansas City, but general manager Dayton Moore took a chance on athletes, and in doing so he acquired Cain, the 2014 AL Championship Series MVP, Escobar, the 2015 ALCS MVP, as well as Odorizzi, who was used in the trade with the Rays that brought back Wade Davis and James Shields. That one trade laid the foundation for this great Royals team.
  2. Hiring Dayton Moore – That Greinke trade wouldn't have happened without Moore at the helm. He was hired in 2006 to bring some of the scouting and player development acumen he picked up while working in the Braves' front office. With a philosophy built around relationships, loyalty and a team approach, Moore built one of the deepest farm systems in history, and then parlayed that into the juggernaut you see now. This is a team that can beat you with pitching depth, defense, speed, contact hitting and even power. It does not have a glaring weakness, and Moore is the man responsible for putting this group together.
  3. Drafting Alex GordonIf you're going to pick in the top five of the Draft, you have to make it count, and the Royals had an impressive run of top-three picks that began with Gordon, the No. 2 overall pick in 2005. In the subsequent three years, they drafted Luke Hochevar No. 1 overall in 2006, Mike Moustakas No. 2 overall in 2007 and Eric Hosmer No. 3 in 2008. And one common thread among all of these guys is that none of them was an instant sensation. Kansas City had the patience to stick with these guys as they struggled in the Minor Leagues and early on in the Majors. Gordon had to switch from third base to left field, Hochevar moved from the rotation to the bullpen, Moustakas struggled to hit lefties and Hosmer dealt with vision issues in the low Minors. Many in the game doubted that these guys would pan out, but the only people who didn't waver were the folks who were developing them and the front office who drafted them. Their patience has been rewarded.
  4. The Salvador Perez extension – In today's game, every organization needs a productive Latin American program, one that consistently adds impactful talent to the organization. No player represents the Royals' Latin American program better than Perez, who they signed out of Venezuela as a 16-year-old for $65,000 in 2006. After a solid debut in 2011, hitting .331 in 39 games, Kansas City gave Perez a five-year, $7 million extension with three club options that might be the best bargain in baseball. Other products of that Latin American pipeline are Yordano Ventura and Kelvin Herrera, both signed out of the Dominican Republic. Like Perez, Ventura was signed for a bargain bonus ($28,000), and he also received a club-friendly contract after his rookie campaign. He signed a five-year, $23 million deal before last season that includes club options for 2020-21.
  5. Hiring Ned Yost – Yost was hired in 2010 to replace Trey Hillman, and he spent the next four years slowly nurturing a young core of players. His patience, belief and humility eventually showed itself in 2014, and again this season. With Yost and Moore paired together, the Royals have an outstanding combination that has been able to adapt consistently to the ever-changing challenges of the game. As you can see, Kansas City is a complete organization where each area of the baseball-operations department impacts its current roster. It is an organization that is blessed with continuity, and it is led by humble quality people who truly understand what an organization should represent.


World Series
New York at Kansas City
Game 1: Tuesday, October 27, at 8:00 PM

Plenty of rumors floating around but no news yet!

The Phillies finally put an end to the season finishing in last place in the NL East with a record of 63-99. Given the departures, aging stars, injuries, and bipolar performances, this has ended up being one of the worst seasons in franchise history! However, there are some former Phillies still making headlines in the playoffs this year.

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