The Future Ahead: Oakland Athletics

The Oakland A’s have always worked with low payrolls and constant changes in their roster over the years, and while it has worked to keep the team competitive at times, it has also resulted in three consecutive last place finishes in the division prior to 2018. While fans over recent seasons haven’t been too happy about the constant roster overhauls each year, there is a clear light at the end of the tunnel, and 2018 showed just how good this team is, and will be, in the future seasons ahead.

There is work to be done this offseason in patching up the rotation, but all indications are that Oakland will indeed be back in the hunt for a playoff spot in the upcoming season. That, along with Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Billy Beane saying the team will see an increase in the teams’ payroll over the coming seasons along with some top prospects who will complement an already solid roster, the future of the A’s is nothing short of bright.

When taking a look at the major league roster, there is a lot to like, starting with the bullpen. The Athletics have a strong bullpen featuring one of the top closers in the league in 2018 in Blake Treinen plus a host of other arms in Lou Trivino, Fernando Rodney, Yusmeiro Petit, Ryan Buchter, and new signee Joakim Soria. If this group can replicate their 2018 success, it will be crucial to getting Oakland back to the postseason once again.

With that being said, it’s time to mention the rotation. Despite the fact that the A’s made the postseason in 2018, their rotation was ravaged by injuries, leaving the team relying on names such as Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, and Mike Fiers to help get the team to the playoffs. With top starter Sean Manaea potentially sidelined for the entire 2019 season, that leaves a huge hole in a rotation full of questions already. Mike Fiers was re-signed to a two-year deal after he posted solid numbers down the stretch for Oakland last year following their trade from the Tigers. Expect the A’s to continue to look for more options before the offseason ends.

On the position player side, no one had a better year on the team than breakout star third baseman Matt Chapman. His all-world defense which won him a gold glove award and .278/.356/.508 stat line lead Chapman to post an 8.2 WAR season, making him one of the top performers in all of baseball. The A’s have yet to lock up Chapman to a long-term extension but the team will surely try to sign their franchise cornerstone for the long-term, but with several years of team control ahead, Oakland can take some time before they try to get him locked up to a new contract.

One player who isn’t under long-term control is designated hitter Khris Davis. Davis is only signed through the 2019 season, and with his massive power, in which he hit a career high 48 homers in 2018, he will net a pretty good contract which could be too rich for the Oakland organization to keep.

Young star 1st baseman Matt Olson, Stephen Piscotty, newly acquired Jurickson Profar, and Ramon Laureano are also going to be big parts of the 2019 Oakland roster, which will give this team a strong lineup for manager Bob Melvin to work with. And that’s without mentioning that these players are all controlled for several more years ahead.

We now finish up in the farm system. Despite scattered MLB time, Franklin Barretto has yet to establish himself at the major league level, but he’s just 22 years old and was considered one of the leagues top prospects in recent seasons. With Jurickson Profar now expected to man 2nd base in 2019, Barretto once again has no real spot on the roster for consistent playing time.

One prospect who could make a real big impact on the A’s as soon as this year is starter Jesus Luzardo. Widely tabbed as one of the top 10 or 15 best prospects in baseball, Luzardo shot up the rankings with a big showing through the minor leagues last season and he could catapult his way to the majors in 2019. He may need a little bit of time in Triple-A to start the year but if he’s anything near his 2018 self, expect the A’s to get a huge boost from the young left-hander.

Which brings us to another top left-handed pitching prospect in AJ Puk. Puk may not be ready to make an impact, especially on the big league roster, as Puk will have to make his way back from 2018 Tommy John surgery and will most likely spend any 2019 time in the minor leagues. Once Puk is eventually ready to make it to the big leagues, expect him to be another strong top of the rotation piece,

joining Jesus Luzardo, in the years ahead for Oakland.

Top catching prospect Sean Murphy is another player for Oakland fans to keep an eye on, as he is the catcher of the future, and a really good one at that, who will most likely get to the majors in 2019. He only further adds to the top talent that the A’s currently have on their already contending roster. His 2018 numbers(.285/.361/.489 slash line) across three levels clearly shows he’s very close to making the bigs, but he will most likely start in the Triple-A level in 2019, as he briefly made it there at the end of last season.

The situation with Kyler Murray is another thing for Oakland fans to keep an eye on, as the two-sport star is still reportedly considering going to the NFL instead of embarking on an MLB career. He’s currently ranked as the A’s third best prospect per, and it would be a notable hit to the team if he is to jump to football instead of baseball.

Other prospects in the Oakland Athletics farm system to keep an eye on in 2019 are outfielders Austin Beck and Lazaro Armenteros, shortstop Jorge Mateo, and right-hander James Kaprielian, among others.

To sum it up, 2019 is a year in which the Oakland A’s will try to make it to the postseason once again, but it’s not the only year to focus on, as the A’s have a number of young stars either making an impact or are set to make an impact for years ahead.


Mike Trout And The Los Angeles Angels Prospects

Once upon a time Mike Trout was a top prospect of the Los Angeles Angels. Now he’s undoubtedly one of the best hitters in baseball and a perennial MVP candidate. He’s also stuck on a team that has not enjoyed success over the years Trout has been in the big leagues. The Angels have made the playoffs just once since Trout debuted in the bigs and still have yet to even win a playoff game(they were swept by the Royals). The team has yet to put a team around Trout capable enough to contend for a World Series, let alone a trip to the playoffs.

The Angels must put a winning team around Trout if they want him to stick around and even if he decides to be a lifelong Angel by signing another extension, the team needs to stop wasting his prime years by putting a team that’s barely capable of making the playoffs at best. That’s the reality that Trout is facing. One positive that perhaps could help the Angels is that there are prospects that could help the team in the next couple of years that could either somewhat soften the blow that the team would take in the event that Trout would leave in free agency after the 2020 season or could help convince Trout that these players can put this team in a better position to make the playoffs. Let’s take a look at prospects the team could see debut while the Mike Trout era continues in Los Angeles:

-Jo Adell

According to, Adell is the 15th best prospect overall in the game and has the potential to be a perennial all-star in his big league career. He reached the Double-A level late in 2018 and will most likely begin there in 2019. A big season could make the 19-year old Adell ready for the 2020 season when Trout is still with the team.

-Griffin Canning

While an above average prospect and potentially ready by 2019, Canning will probably take some time before he establishes himself as the mid-level starter that he’s expected to be. Expect him to be another prospect that will make an impact in 2020.

-Brandon Marsh

The pattern here continues, Marsh may not be ready until 2020. Regardless, he’s another above average prospect that has the potential to make an impact in the Angels outfield both defensively and offensively once he’s ready.

Second baseman Jahmai Jones and First baseman Matt Thaiss are much closer to big league readiness and could very well make their way to the bigs next season. has Jones ranked as the 5th best second base prospect in the game and Thaiss the fourth best first base prospect in the game with both coming with an above average hit tool.

Angels GM Billy Eppler has done a nice job building a better farm system over the past few years and while none of them will come close to matching Trout’s ability on the field, they could either help keep Trout around by making strong debuts or once again somewhat help soften the potential blow the team would take in losing Trout.

And it’s of course mentioning what a speculative trade package that would bring the Angels in return in the event of a Mike Trout trade if the team would even be willing to listen to offers for the face of the franchise and one of the faces of the entire league.

Trading Trevor Bauer or Corey Kluber Is a Big Positive

It’s pretty much only a matter of time before the Cleveland Indians trade either starting pitchers Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Both will bring back big returns. The Indians need outfield help in any return for either or the two so expect a team with depth in that area to be the team to land one of the two tribe’s aces.

While Indians’ fans probably aren’t fans of the team dealing one of their top starters, it almost has to happen at this point. It will not only help the team now, but it will help them going forward with the potential talent they get in return. While it could be a possibility that both could get dealt, it’s unlikely for that to happen.

The clear positive here is the Indians have more than enough depth to account for a loss of any pitcher including Bauer and/or Kluber. There’s no arguing that Kluber is clearly one of the best in the game and his affordable contract makes him all the more attractive of a trade chip. Bauer further established himself as a top shelf starter last season with his outstanding numbers, so his trade value is high in his own right.

With the recently extended Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber, and top prospect Triston McKenzie, the Indians can afford to trade one of the two in Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. You can also count the one who doesn’t get traded will be apart of that depth, obviously.

Kyle Tucker of the Astros and Alex Verdugo of the Dodgers would be great options to headline a trade package for one of the Indians’ ace’s, but that’s both if either team is willing to pull the trigger on a deal due to their interest, respectfully. Of course, there’s many other teams in on the two, including the Mets who have Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo as options for the Indians to choose from and others from interested teams around the league.

Cleveland has an exciting offseason and will still go into the 2019 season with a contending roster even if one of their starters in Trevor Bauer or Corey Kluber are traded.

Destination Speculation; Winter Meetings Edition

We are officially to the annual GM winter meetings, which means executives from every MLB organization will get together and is also a time where we usually see the most offseason activity amongst all 30 clubs around the league(it also includes the Rule 5 draft, which is held on the last day of the meetings).

With that being said, rumors will be all over the place pertaining to free agents and trade candidates alike. There’s always that move or two that will catch us all off guard, so it’s important to keep up with the latest news concerning each team around baseball, including the team you root for, because well, you never know. Here we will speculate on places we could see some oft-talked about players potentially going during the upcoming week. First we start with:

-Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer

The Cleveland Indians have been one of the most talked about teams thus far, due to their desire to shop starters Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, and Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco was just signed to an extension which makes him less likely to be traded, but that still leaves Kluber and Bauer. Both would fetch potentially huge returns in trades and Cleveland will not settle for anything less than a large return. Teams we’ve heard discussing the Indians’ starters so far have been the Mets and Dodgers. Other speculative fits could also be the Braves, Padres, Reds, Phillies, and Astros. Perhaps Houston namely, could include Kyle Tucker in a deal for Kluber or Bauer due to the Indians’ desire to acquire some outfielders.

-Noah Syndergaard Trade?

Rumors have swirled around Syndergaard thus far, to the point where multiple teams have discussed players with the Mets however no deal has come to fruition. Since then, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has made it known he doesn’t intend on dealing the Mets No.2 ace unless a massive offer comes along. Could he get dealt? The Padres have been the most aggressive team on Syndergaard yet Mets brass has insisted San Diego include one of Fernando Tatis Jr or Mackenzie Gore as part of a trade package that, unsurprisingly, the Padres don’t want to offer. The same teams listed above in the Kluber/Bauer section could be in on Syndergaard, but the Mets surely wouldn’t deal “Thor” to the Braves or Phillies. Don’t be surprised if he gets dealt despite Mets management saying they are unlikely to deal him.

-Does Dipoto Continue Dealing?

Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has been wheeling and dealing over the past several weeks, both building up the farm system and adding young, MLB ready talent. While Seattle has already dealt most of its top trade chips, could Dipoto still surprise us by biting on an offer for star outfielder Mitch Haniger or perhaps starter Marco Gonzales? We will find out this week. Jay Bruce, Carlos Santana, and other high priced veterans recently acquired have been talked about already too. Don’t underestimate dealin Dipoto, he always has something up his sleeve.

-Bryce Harper and Manny Machado Sweepstakes:

It’s not entirely known if Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado will sign at the winter meetings but if they do, expect record contracts like we’ve all predicted. It will surely be fascinating to see who will end up with one of these two(or even both).

-Yusei Kukuchi

He’s been posted by his home team in Japan, and while it’s unlikely he signs during the meetings, whoever wins the bidding for his services will surely be adding a quality, young starter who can slot in well in any big league rotation. Expect west coast teams to have the most interest.

There will be A LOT more moves this week, including plenty of free agent signings(at least we hope due to last year’s free agent freeze), and trades will flow in with notable players such as Zack Greinke, J.T. Realmuto, and Madison Bumgarner potentially being dealt this week. It will make for another fascinating week this hot stove season so stay tuned and feel free to continue the discussion with your comments below!

NHL Introduces Seattle as 32nd Franchise; Will Begin Play in 2021-22 Season

It’s finally official hockey fans! The league has unanimously approved the City of Seattle to become the 32nd team to play in the NHL.

It had been rumored for the last few years that Seattle would eventually end up with a team following the arrival of the Las Vegas Golden Knights, and indeed that has happened.

There has also been a bit of a shakeup division wise following the news. Once Seattle begins play in 2021, they will play in the Pacific Division, while the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central division that same year to pave way for Seattle to play.

It was exciting to see the Las Vegas Golden Knights enter the NHL for the first time last season, and even more exciting watching the team get to the Stanley Cup finals last year as well.

What the future has in store for Seattle remains to be seen, but one things for sure, they will now have a team and it will be just as exciting as it was when the Golden Knights first arrived. Seattle has yet to have a name, but we should expect to see those details emerge within the next year. Stay tuned.

Sonny Gray Drawing Widespread Interest

The Brewers and Padres are the two latest teams with interest in Yankees starter Sonny Gray.

Gray has become one of the most oft-mentioned trade candidates early on in the offseason, as the Yankees are looking to deal the struggling 29-year old on the heels of a down 2018 season that saw the right-hander post a 4.90 ERA in 130.1 IP. Despite those numbers, he was a far better pitcher on the road than he was in New York’s home ballpark, which helps him have some trade value and explains why so many teams are eyeing a bounce back for Gray.

The Braves, Rangers, and several other teams have also been linked to Gray recently, so expect Gray to be dealt sooner than later.

Reds Interested In Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer

The Cincinnati Reds are on a quest this offseason to add to their starting pitching staff and have continued to look just about everywhere for available options. The team has already shown interest in starters such as Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel, and trade candidate Sonny Gray. But now they are interested in a couple of other high profile trade candidates.

MLB Network’s Jon Morosi says the Reds are open to a blockbuster trade that would send either Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati, but also cautions that there hasn’t been progress on any deal to this point.

Obviously this would be a huge development if the Reds and Indians were to come together on a trade this significant, but the Reds need starters and the Indians are looking to cut payroll and have shown an interest in trading one of their top starters for immediate and lower-cost help on other parts of the big-league roster.

The Indians are looking for outfielders and bullpen help so the Reds would have to be willing to sacrifice in one of those areas to make a trade possible.

MLB Top Prospects; 2019’s Rookie Class Looks Impressive

The 2018 season saw the debuts of several top prospects around the league, including AL Rookie of the year and two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani and NL Rookie of the year Ronald Acuna Jr. Both phenoms have plenty of years of elite seasons ahead and no doubt will be entertaining to watch as they continue to grow as major leaguers.

They weren’t the only two to debut in impressive fashion either. Dodgers starter Walker Buehler and Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty both had strong rookie years as well, along with the arrivals of Yankees top prospects Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, who made strong first year impressions as well. And let’s not forget Nationals star outfielder Juan Soto, who burst onto the scene at just 18 years of age and crushed major league pitching. Plenty of other future talent made brief debuts as well.

So with that being said, what does 2019 look like in regards to top prospect arrivals? Needless to say, nothing short of impressive. It could look even stronger than the 2018 season we just saw. In fact, most of the top 10 prospects over at and other outlets may or will make their debuts, including uber prospects Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Fernando Tatis Jr.

It may take longer for some than others, both due to service time considerations and/or teams feeling like their respective players aren’t quite ready to jump to the major league level early in 2019. Regardless, we will see plenty of top talent make it to the show and those players include the aforementioned Guerrero Jr and Tatis Jr, White Sox Top prospect Eloy Jimenez, Astros right-hander Forrest Whitley, Reds infielder Nick Senzel, Rockies top prospect Brendan Rodgers, and more.

There are others who have already made brief debuts in 2018 but still hold their rookie status such as Victor Robles and Kyle Tucker. Those two could very well be in the bigs to stay if they can deliver results for their respective teams(especially if the Nationals lose Bryce Harper in Robles’ case).

The end of the 2018 season left us in awe as we watched some exciting young talent ascend to the majors in a big way and 2019 could see, or will see in the case of some teams, more top talent emerge from the minor league ranks. We will all be here to watch, so get excited. So, What do you think? Feel free to leave your comments!(In case I missed anything as well)