Jeff Passan sent out a tweet at 10:14 AM EST on a Tuesday afternoon in March, that stated Mike Trout and the Angels had agreed to a massive 12-year 430-million-dollar contract extension. Trout’s new contract became the biggest in professional sports history. There were a few reports of the Angels and Trout discussing contract extensions, but nothing really seemed to form until today. Let’s breakdown the contract and I’ll try to answer a few questions along the way.
If you’ve spent any time on sports Twitter in the last 72 hours, you’ve read the name, “Mike Trout.” Even if you don’t follow baseball, you should know who this man is and why he’s important. He made headlines on Wednesday morning when he signed a contract extension with the Los Angeles Angels. The contract, which would have expired at the end of the 2020 season, will now keep him in LA until 2030, a ten-year extension. The value of the deal? $430 million. Trout is now the most valuable athlete in North American sports.
Preview: After trading their best player in Paul Goldschmidt, the D-Backs are stuck between rebuilding and contending. The organization doesn’t seem to have enough talent to compete and presents an unimpressive farm system. Any team should expect a dip in offensive production after losing a player of Goldschmidt’s caliber. Arizona should be expecting the same. Key returning members of the D-Backs lineup are an outfielder, David Peralta (.293 BA and 30 HRs in 2018) and infielder, Eduardo Escobar (23 HRs and 84 RBIs in 2018). In order for Arizona to have a shot at the playoffs, David Peralta will have to find the same kind of success as he found in 2018. Along with production from Peralta and Escobar, the D-Backs are hoping to get some help from power-hitting infielder, Jake Lamb. After hitting 59 combined home runs between 2016 and 2017, Lamb struggled in a shortened (due to injury) 2018 season. The lineup in Arizona appears mediocre; not good enough to contend for this division. With a strong possibility of a lack of offense in 2019, there will be plenty of rotation on this D-Backs pitching rotation. Zack Greinke is still a reliable starter and will once again be the ‘ace’ in Arizona. Zack Godley and Robbie Ray are coming off a 2018 season in which they both looked shaky but showed some signs of dominance along the way. A new addition to the rotation, replacing Patrick Corbin, is a former first-round pick, Luke Weaver. The Diamondbacks acquired Weaver from the Cardinals in the Goldschmidt trade. Weaver struggled last season but still shows lots of potential to be a quality starter at the top of a rotation. The fifth starter spot is expected to be taken by a 30-year-old rookie, Merrill Kelly. Kelly spent four years pitching in Korea before returning back to his home in Arizona to pitch for the Diamondbacks. Arizona presents an average bullpen. They could possibly close by committee. Key relievers in this bullpen include Archie Bradley, Greg Holland, Yoshihisa Hirano, Andrew Chafin, and T.J. McFarland. The Diamondbacks will be playing for a second wild-card spot, but an Arizona postseason appearance in 2019 is a long shot.
It’s March 16th and two of the biggest free agent pitchers on the market still haven’t signed. Dallas Keuchel is a former Cy Young award winner, a 2X all-star, and a 4X gold glover. Keuchel wasn’t the best starting pitcher on the market but he is solid number 3 in the rotation for any team. The other is Craig Kimbrel, a 7X all-star, 3X top reliever award winner, and one of the best relief pitchers in major league history. Why haven’t they signed, where will they sign, and when will they sign?
Last year, Boston dominated Major League Baseball. At the risk of repeating something you’ve already read 100 times, the Red Sox won 108 regular-season games and won 11 of 14 games in three playoff series. The best season in franchise history was accomplished despite a bullpen that was the source of concern throughout the year.
What’s the status of this year’s bullpen and how will it impact the team’s chances of back-to-back World Series titles? Here are some thoughts to answer that broad question.
The bullpen last year was led by Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Steven Wright, Bobby Poyner, and closer Craig Kimbrel. While it was definitely the weakest part of the team and was worrisome among the fans of Red Sox Nation, the numbers were surprisingly solid.