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MLB: MLB Players Who Could be Traded During the 2012 Offseason:

With Free Agents Jake Peavy (Chicago White Sox) and David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox) resigning with their respected teams, the MLB Free Agency pool seems quite limited but there’s still a few significant players to watch this offseason as the Free Agency period gets underway. Below are a list of the top free-agents and which team I feel they will sign with during the offseason:

1. Zach Greinke: (Los Angeles Angles): With Zack Greinke being the only elite level pitcher on the Free Agent Market, there’s no question that he will be the most sought after free agent this winter. The 2009 Cy-Young Award winner will have numerous teams interested in signing him during the offseason and that list will start with Greinke’s 2012 Team: the Los Angeles Angeles. With Bobby Abreu, Dan Haren, Torii Hunter, and Ervin Santana off their payroll, I feel the Angels will have the necessary money they need to resign Zack Greinke to the biggest Pitcher contract this offseason. The other teams that would be interested in signing Zack Greinke this offseason are the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals.

2. Josh Hamilton: (Washington Nationals): The Nationals already feature a sold core of hitters (Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Michael Morse, Jayson Werth, and Ryan Zimmerman) but have been looking for an additional left-handed impact bat to add to their lineup so they can be that much more deeper from both sides of the plate. If the Nationals were able to sign Hamilton, then they could move Morse from the outfield to First Base and feature one of the best offensive and defensive outfields in Hamilton, Harper, and Werth. In addition to the Nationals, I feel the Baltimore Orioles and Hamilton’s current team, the Texas Rangers, would still be interested in bringing him back to Texas.

3. Michael Bourn: (Philadelphia Phillies): The Braves would love to bring back the 2-Time All-Star and Gold-Glove winner however it seems unlikely they would be able to afford his reported asking price. With the Phillies dropping almost 40 million dollars from

last years and in addition to trading 2 of the teams 3 starting outfielder from last years team, I feel Philly will be one of the most active teams during

the offseason. Other teams that will look to sign Michael Bourn are his former team, Atlanta Braves along with the Washington Nationals if there unable to sign Josh Hamilton.

4.  AJ Pierzynski: (Texas Rangers): At 35 (and soon to be 36 years old) the 2-Time All-Star Catcher had his best statistical season of his career winning his first silver slugger award and still looked to be at the top of his game. With that said, as much as Pierzynski has ment to the White Sox organization, it seems like the White Sox have decided to go younger and start last year backup catcher Tyler Flowers. Flowers proved last season that he can do a solid job at calling a game in addition to having a great deal of power from the catcher position. I feel the Rangers will sign Pierzynski who has proven to be a much more durable catcher behind the plate than 2011 Ranger Mike Napoli (Napoli has never caught 760 innings in a season while Pierzynski has caught 1,000 Plus innings 11 times in his career). The other teams that also might look to sign Pierzynski this offseason are the Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, and Los Angeles Dodgers.

In addition to the Free Agency Process, there’s 5 other significant players that I feel will be mentioned in a number of trade rumors this offseason.

Alex Rodriguez: (New York Yankees): The Yankees expensive 3rd Baseman had another injury plagued season and showed that he’s still having some durability issues as A-Rod hasn’t played in 140 games in season since the 2007 season and in three of those season he played in under 125 games. Even with all his injuries and problems throughout the MLB Playoffs, I still feel A-Rod will be a Yankee when the 2013 season starts. On the other hand, will the Yankees at-least test the Trade Market… absolutely. So which teams will the Yankees talk with A-Rod about: before the Blockbuster Trade on Tuesday I would have said the Miami Marlins, but now I feel there’s only two teams that would consider trading for the former 3-Time AL MVP Winner: Chicago White Sox (however, with Rick Hahn now the GM, the White Sox might have a new perspective on A-Rod) and drs. In the end, I feel Rodriguez will once again be in Yankee Pinstripes when the 2013 Baseball season begins.

Chase Headley: (San Diego Padres): The Padres have a ton of solid prospects in their organization and with the Giants, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks in their division, I’m not sure there ready to win now so I feel they should look to trade their best asset; Chase Headley. Headley had by far his best season, Hitting .286, to go along with 31 Home Runs and an NL High 115 RBI’s while playing in arguably the toughest hitting ballpark in all of baseball and because of this he’s a finalist for the 2012 NL MVP Award. In addition to having such a great season, Headley is just hitting his prime (28 years old) and has 3 more Arbitration Eligible Seasons left on his contract. Because of his age, contract status, the chances of him replicating this season and the state of this franchise, I feel the Padres should look to trade Chase Headley this offseason. Some of the places that have enough assets to acquire Headley and look to trade for him are the Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, and the Oakland Athletics. In the end, I feel the Padres will ask for too much and not trade the 28 year old 3rd Baseman whose also proven he can play First Base and Left Field.

Gavin Floyd: (Milwaukee BrewersWith White Sox 2012 Third Baseman Kevin Youkilis most likely departing from the South Side of Chicago this offseason, its very clear that the Chicago White Sox have a significant void to fill at the hot corner that they’ll look fill via a Trade (the Free-Agent Market is quite thin). With that said, a number of teams are looking for veteran pitchers that haven’t had any significant injuries in the past. Fortunately, Floyd fits the criteria as he’s thrown over 180 innings for of the past 5 seasons showing that he can take the ball at any time. Because of this, I feel the White Sox will either trade Floyd straight up for a 3rd Baseman or trade Floyd for a number of prospects that they can then flip the prospects for a third baseman. I feel the White Sox number one option would be moving Floyd and a few other prospects for either top prospects Anthony Rendon (Washington Nationals) or Mike Olt (Texas Rangers). So why would Texas or Washington be in such a hurry to trade one of their top prospects? Because both teams have a log jam at third base in Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) and Adrian Beltre (Ranges). Zimmerman, (who agreed to a new contract last offseason), and Beltre, (who hit .321 to along with 36 Homers and 102 RBI and has 4 more years left on his contract) might feel they don’t need one of these elite level prospects and instead might look to acquire a quality veteran pitcher. Both teams have the two different options for these two players: either move one of the top prospects in baseball so they can fill other holes on their roster or have them change positions because nethor will be playing 3rd Base in the near future. In the end, do I foresee the White Sox acquiring one of these two young 3rd Base prospects…no and because of this I feel they will trade Floyd to the Milwaukee Brewers for a number of prospects to help improve their farm system. With that in mind, I also feel the Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Texas Rangers will also make a run at Floyd.

Matt Garza: (Chicago Cubs): The Cubs 28 year old right hander had an up and 2012 season that unfortunately ended with him on the DL from July 21st until the completion of the Season. With Garza being in the prime of his career, a proven winner, and having no significant injuries in the past, its a forgone conclusion that a number of teams will look to trade for Garza this offseason. So what teams will look to trade for Garza? I feel the list for Garza will include the Baltimore Orioles, AL Champion Detroit TigersKansas City Royals (who feature a great Bullpen and Offense but need to upgrade their starting rotation), New York Yankees, and Texas Rangers. In the end, I think Garza will start the season with the Cubs so they can show he’s recovered from his triceps injury and then decide wither or not to trade him depending on where the Cubs are in the standings around the July 31st Trade Deadline.

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San Francisco Giants: Bruce Bochy Hello Hall-of-Fame

Following a Kick return for a Touchdown by Desmond Howard in a game between Michigan and Ohio State during the 1991 season, notable commentator Keith Jackson uttered the words “Hello Heisman” as Howard did the Heisman pose in the Michigan Stadium end zone. With that in mind, I wanted to use a similar variation of that line for current San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy “Hello Hall-of-Fame. With the Giants winning their second championship in the past 3 years, manager Bruce Bochy has proven to be one of the best postseason in-game managers in baseball since he started managing during the 1995.

Bochy, a former catcher, started his managerial career during the 1995 season with the San Diego Padres where he spent the last 4 seasons of his playing career. During his tenure as manager of the Padres, Bochy finished in first place 4 times and in 1998 he led the Padres to the World Series for the first time since 1984 when Bochy was a player on that team. However, following the 2006 season, with new management taking over their front office, San Diego decided they wanted to go in another direction so Bochy decided to move up the California coast to another member of the NL West; the San Francisco Giants. In San Francisco, Bochy’s first season was surrounded by a number of significant events in the 2007 All-Star Game being played in San Francisco along with Barry Bonds quest for Hank Aaron’s Home Run record of 755. Following the 2007 season, the Giants decided to go in a different direction as they allowed Bonds to move on and instead decided to build their roster around pitching and defense. The new direction seemed to fit more of Bochy’s style that he managed with in San Diego.

So with that, the Giants decided to build through the draft, (Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey were all former 1st Round Picks) add a few under the radar free agents, (Aubry Huff, Gregor Blanco, and Ryan Vogelsong), along with making a couple of quiet, but effective trades (Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence, Marco Scutaro, ) to help add to the depth on their roster.

So what make’s Bruce Bochy such a great manager? Two Reasons:

1. Unlike other teams, the Giants don’t have a great deal of offensive star-power: The Giants have won 2 of the last 3 World Series, and during both Championship runs had to go through 6 different teams that featured a number of elite offensive players in their lineups. Going back to the 2010 Playoffs, the Giants faced the Braves (Chipper Jones (1999 MVP), Brian McCann (2010 All-Star Game MVP), Martin Prado) Phillies (Ryan Howard (2006 MVP), Jimmy Rollins (2007 MVP), Chase Utley, Shane Victoriano, Jayson Werth), and Rangers (Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton (2010 MVP), Michael Young, Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler) and during the 2012 Playoffs they faced the Reds (Joey Votto (2010 MVP), Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Scott Rolen, Drew Stubbs), Cardinals (Carlos Beltran (9th Most Postseason Home Runs), David Freese (2011 NLCS and World Series MVP), Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday), and the Tigers (Miguel Cabrera (2012 Triple Crown Winner), Prince Fielder (2011 All-Star Game MVP), Austin Jackson, Jhonny Peralta). Not that the Giants didn’t trot out a number of solid hitters (Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Scutaro, Pence) but the Giants hitters don’t have the star power that the other teams they faced feature.

2. Bochy and the Giants aren’t afraid to make bold moves in the Playoffs: The majority of managers wouldn’t ever think of ever making some of the moves that the Bochy and the Giants front office made over the past 3 seasons. Once again, I want to go back and look at the Giants 2010 Season and then move forward to some of the decisions they made during the 2012 season. During their 2010 Playoff Run, the Giants decided to trade starting catcher (and former World Series Champion (2002)) Bengie Molina to the Rangers for a minor prospects. This move was made so the Giants could have top prospect (at that time) Buster Posey start at catcher and Aubry Huff move to first base. Posey went onto win the 2010 Rookie of the Year Award and became the face of the Giants offense. An additional key move the Giants decided to make during their first World Series run was putting Pablo Sandoval and Aaron Rowand on the bench during the Playoffs along with having former Cy-Young Award winner Barry Zito (the highest paid player on their roster) not apart Playoff roster. Finally, following a game 3 loss to the Rangers, Manager Bruce Bochy decided to change-up his lineup by moving Aubry Huff to DH and added Travis Ishikawa and Nate Schierholtz to their lineup. It seemed that at every significant time during the 2010 Playoffs, Bruce Bochy was making all the correct calls throughout these crucial moments.

As for the 2012 Playoffs, Bruce Bochy and the Giants once again showed why they are on top of and prepared for any situation that comes their way. Bochy’s problems started at the beginning of the season when on April 15th, 3-Time All-Star Closer Brian Wilson was forced to miss the remainder of the season with Tommy John Surgery. With Wilson on the shelf for the remainder of the season, the Giants were forced to go with a closer by committee situation which included Santiago Casilla (25), Sergio Romo (14) , and Javier Lopez (7). In addition to that, San Francisco also saw the division rival Dodgers acquiring a number of significant players throughout June, July and August to help bolster their lineup and rotation. To the Giants credit, they didn’t panic and instead made a few key under the radar trades in acquiring Colorado Rockies infielder Marco Scutaro and Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence. Just 15 days after the MLB Trade Deadline, All-Star Game MVP (and at the time NL Batting Leader) Melky Cabrera was suspended 50 games for testing positive for a banned substance. The Giants already featured a lack of depth in their outfield and with this occurring. it made it that much more important that the Giants traded for Pence at the deadline.

Once the Playoffs started, even with all his struggles throughout the 2012 season, most people felt that 2-Time Cy-Young Award Winner Tim Lincecum (2008 and 2009) would stay in the rotation for the entirety of the MLB Playoffs. That wasn’t the case as Lincecum only started 1 game during the 2012 MLB Playoffs (NLCS Game 4) and instead the Giants decided to use him out of the bullpen where he worked 13 innings while only giving up 1 run. With Lincecum out of the rotation, and 2010 Postseason hero Cody Ross in Boston, the Giants needed for two people to step up and fill their spots. Ironically it was the 2 players that were little used during the Giants 2010 Championship run: Pablo Sandoval and Barry Zito. During the 2012 NLCS, the Giants need Zito to step up and win a crucial game 5 so the series would be sent back to San Francisco. Fortunately for the Giants, Zito delivered as he threw 7 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball sending the series back to the Bay Area. So what about the hitter that stepped up, it was Pablo “the Panda” Sandoval who had the second most hits in a single Post Season (24) and joined Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols in hitting 3 Home Runs in a World Series Game. With Zito’s dominant pitching, Sandoval’s hot bat, and a team that refused to give up (down 2-0 to the Reds; won 3 straight in Cincinnati and down 3-1 to the Cardinals; won 3 straight games vs he defending World Champs), the Giants used these three aspects to bring another Championship to the City by the Bay. In my opinion, both the 2010 and 2012 MLB Playoffs showed why Bruce Bochy is one of the best in-game managers of all time and why he’s deserves to be considered a future Hall-of-Fame Manager.

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2012 World Series Merchandise at Clark Street Sports

Buster Posey Jersey with World Series Patch

After an exciting regular season and first two rounds of the MLB Playoffs that saw all 4 League Division Series go to a 5th and decisive game, the MLB Season has reached the finale and best part of the MLB Season…the World Series. This years Fall Classic features two of baseball’s oldest and most storied franchises in the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants. These two historic franchises have combined to win 10 World Series Championships (Giants 6 Tigers 4) along with having a number of historic moments and players over time. As the 2012 World Series is set to get underway, one of these franchises has the opportunity to add their name to their previous grates from their respected franchise and forever be remembered as an MLB Champion. Could it be Prince Fielder, American League Triple Crown Winner Miguel Cabrera, or Justin Verlander bring a title back to Detroit for the first time since Kurt Gibson hit his memorable Home Run at Tiger Stadium off Hall-of-Famer Goose Gossage during the 1984 World Series or will Buster Posey, Matt Cain, and Tim Lincecum bring San Francisco their second title in a three-year span.

Detroit Tigers Miguel Cabrera Road Authentic Cool Base Jersey w/2012 World Series Patch

To help commemorate the 2012 World Series, Clark Street Sports is proud to announce that our online store will be selling World Series Merchandise for both the San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers. We feature a number of different World Series Jerseys (home, away, and alternate) and styles (Cool Base,  Authentic, and Replica) to choose from. The online World Series store will include Blank, Current Players (Avila, Cabrera, Fielder, Fister, Jackson, Peralta, Porcello Scherzer, Valverde, Verlander, Cain, Lincecum Pence, Posey, and Sandoval) and customizable jerseys for both Fall Classic Participants. Remember to pickup all your favorite World Series Merchandise on Clark Street Sports website (http://www.clarkstreetsports.com/World-Series.html) before the end of the 2012 Fall Classic. 

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MLB: The AL Central featured the best starting pitching over the past 8 years…but what about now?

Can you name the only division that’s had 6 of the past 8 AL Cy Young Award Winners? If you guessed the American League Central you’d be right. A large number of people feel the American League Central is a below average division shown by the number of Pennant (2005 Chicago White Sox and 2006 Detroit Tigers) and World Series winners (2005 Chicago White Sox) during those 8 years. Even though only 2 of the 5 teams from this division reached the World Series, it still doesn’t take away from the quality of arms that were thrown out during this 8 year span.

So for all those wondering, the 5 different pitchers (6 overall as one player won the award twice), who won this award from the AL Central were Johan Santana (20042006), CC Sabathia (2007), Cliff Lee (2008), Zack Greinke (2009), and Justin Verlander (2011). An even more astonishing stat then that four of the five teams (Chicago White Sox) had at-least one player win a Cy Young Award during this amazing stretch. In addition to that, only 1 of the 5 players is still on the team they won their Cy Young Award with: 2011 winner Justin Verlander. The teams from the American and National East might of receive the most attention over the past decade, but it was the AL Central that routinely threw out the best pitchers each day.

That was the past, what about now? Which division has the best starting pitching in baseball? Below is a breakdown each division’s starting staff’s from worst to best.

6. NL Central: Over the past decade, the National League has seen a number of quality arms come through this division (Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano, Roy Oswalt, Rodger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Zach Greinke) but all of them have one thing in common: there no longer in the NL Central. So who are a few of the top starting pitchers as of now: Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Adam Wainwright (2010 All-Star), Kyle Lohse, Jeff Samardzija, Matt Garza, A.J. Burnett, and Yovani Gallardo (2010 All-Star). All of the pitchers mentioned in the previous sentence are quality starting pitchers but not elite as shown in the 2 combined All-Star Game appearances.

5. AL Central: What used to be the division with the best starting pitching in baseball has since turned into a division with a few quality starters. Even with Santana, Sabathia, Lee, and Greinke leaving this division, the AL Central is still led by three excellent arms in Justin Verlander (2011 AL Cy Young Award winner), Jake Peavy (2007 NL Cy Young Award Winner), and Chris Sale (2012 All-Star). In addition to those three individuals, the AL Central also has Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Justin Masterson, and Scott Diamond. This list doesn’t come close to the quality of arms that the AL Central had in the past but it’s not that a bad list of starters.

4. AL East: I know the majority of people believe that because the Red Sox and Yankees it should equate to making the AL East the best at everything, but if you look at the starting pitchers in the other division’s, its easy to realize the AL East doesn’t have nearly the quality of starters that make up the other three divisions. The two elite pitchers in the AL East are CC Sabathia (2007 Cy Young Award Winner) and David Price (3 time All-Star). However, the reason this division is ranked fourth (and not 5th or 6th) is due to the depth of quality starters in this division which includes Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Jeremy Hellickson (2011 AL Rookie of the Year), James Shields (2011 All-Star), Matt Moore, Wei-Yin Chen, Clay Buchholz (2010 time All-Star), Josh Beckett (3 time All-Star), Ricky Romero (2011 All-Star), and Brandon Morrow. There’s bunch of solid pitchers in the AL East but not enough Ace’s to put make this one of the top three divisions for best starting pitching in baseball.

3. NL West: I went back and forth when deciding the three best starting pitching divisions in all of baseball but in the end I decided to put the NL West third on my list. At the beginning of my article, I mentioned that 6 of the past 8 Cy Young Award winners came from the AL Central which was most within that timeframe. However, during those same 8 years, the NL West saw 5 of 8 and 10 of the past 13 NL Cy-Young winners come from this division. As impressive as that is, like the AL Central, the majority of the previous winners have moved on from their this division as Tim Lincecum (2008 and 2009) and Clayton Kershaw (2011) are the lone Cy-Young winners who are still on a NL West Team. In addition to those two pitchers, the NL West also has one of (if not the most) underrated pitchers in all of baseball in Matt Cain who threw a perfect game this year in addition to not allowing an earned run during the 2010 MLB Playoffs as he helped lead the Giants to their first World Series Championship in over 50 years. Aside from those three pitchers, the National League West also includes Ryan Vogelsong (2011 All-Star), Madison Bumgarner, Chad Billingsley (2009 All-Star), Wade Miley (2012 All-Star), Trevor Cahill (2010 All-Star), and Ian Kennedy. This division currently has the third best starting pitching in all of baseball but in about 2 years, I believe the NL West will feature the best starting pitching in baseball.

2. NL East: The NL East is a division that’s made up of both younger and older elite starters. The NL East has 3 former Cy Young Award winners: Roy Halladay (2003 and 2010), Johan Santana (2004 and 2006), and Cliff Lee (2010) along with a number of other Ace’s. Included in the next line of starting pitchers from the NL East areStephen Strasburg (2012 All-Star), Gio Gonzalez (2 time All-Star), Jordan Zimmerman, Tim Hudson (3 time All-Star), Tommy Hanson, R.A. Dickey (All-Star 2012), Cole Hamels (3 time All-Star), Mark Buehrle (4 time All-Star), and Josh Johnson (2 time All-Star). Its pretty remarkable to see the amount of All-Stars that are apart of this division as over the past few seasons this has transformed into one of the best divisions for starting pitching in all of baseball.

1. AL West: As impressive as the starters in the NL East are, I still feel the division that features the best starers in all of baseball is the American League West. As of now, the AL West has 2 former Cy Young Award winners in Zack Greinke (2009) and Felix Hernandez (2010) along with the frontrunner for the 2012 AL Cy Young Award in Jarred Weaver who threw a no hitter earlier this season. Along with those three hitters, the American League West (which unlike the other divisions has only 4 teams until next year) also includes Yu Darvish (2012 All-Star), Ryan Dempster (2 time All-Star), Matt Harrison (2012 All-Star), Brandon McCarthyC.J. Wilson (2 time All-Star), Dan Haren (3 time All-Star), and Jason Vargas. In addition to the names listed above, the AL West has a number of young and exciting arms in the minors that will be household name within the next few years in Tommy Milone, Brad Peacock, Jarrod Parker, Danny Hultzen, and Taijuan Walker. With the majority of these starters still in their prime, I feel the AL West will continue to be known as one of the best divisions in baseball.

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October 3rd, 2012 will be Alfonso Soriano’s Last Game as a member of the Chicago Cubs.

The 2012 Trade Deadline has passed and Alfonso Soriano is still a member of the Chicago Cubs. With that said, this past Trade Deadline was the first time Soriano’s name was mentioned in legitimate trade rumors since the 2006 MLB Trade Deadline when he was a member of the Washington Nationals.

So why will the Cubs trade Soriano before the start of the 2013 season?

3 Reasons:

1) Soriano has shown  that he still has something left in the tank: Quietly, Alfonso Soriano has put together a strong 2012 season on the North Side hitting .270 with 19 HR and 64 RBI on the year. For any other player, those stats would equate to a productive season however, because his first 2012 Home Run came on May 15th, it shows that had Soriano hit a few Home Runs in the month and a half of the season, he could have been in the top 10 for Home Runs on the season. To put this into perspective, Soriano has hit 19 Home Runs in his last 70 games while Home Run Leader (Adam Dunn) has 31 HR’s since Opening Day. Because of this, I feel Soriano has a few quality  year left in him as he can be a productive player to a number of lineups. With that said Soriano’s has a one problem: he struggles to playing in the field which I feel limits him to only American League team. This leads me to my second reason why I feel Alfonso Soriano will be traded…

2) A number of American League teams need to upgrade from their current DHThere’s a handful of teams that feature quality DH’s…and a number of teams that need to trade for a player of Soriano’s skill set .

Here’s a list of Teams that don’t need to upgrade from their current DH: Chicago White Sox (Adam Dunn), Detroit Tigers (Victor Martinez), Kansas City Royals (Billy Butler), Boston Red Sox (David Ortiz), and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Kendrys Morales if they decide to not trade him to a team that needs a first baseman).

So that takes 5 teams off the list, what about the other 10 AL Teams (remember Houston will be moving to the American League starting in 2013). In the past, Soriano has said he doesn’t want to play for a West Coast team which eliminates three AL Teams: Oakland, Los Angeles Angels (even though he said he would play for the Dodgers so I feel he’d add them to his list), and Seattle. In addition to that, I’m not sure the Texas Rangers or New York Yankees need him on their roster as both teams already feature strong lineups while already having a significant amount of older players on their respective rosters: Derek Jeter (38), Alex Rodriguez (37), Mark Teixeira (32) for the Yankees and Michael Young (35), Adrian Beltre (33), Nelson Cruz (32), and possibly Josh Hamilton (31) if they resign him. Lastly, a few other teams won’t be interested in acquiring Soriano as these teams would look to either rebuild (Astros) or play the younger players in their Farm System (Blue Jays). After taking 11 American League teams, there’s 4 realistic options left for Alfonso Soriano to be traded to during the offseason.

Below are the four realistic trade options for Alfonso Soriano:

Minnesota Twins: I believe there’s a realistic landing spot for Soriano because I think the Twins will look to trade Justin Morneau (if he passes his physical) during the offseason to a team that needs a quality First Baseman. In addition to that, I also feel Minnesota will look to play Joe Mauer at First which will force them to acquire an additional quality bat in their lineup… enter Soriano. Alfonso would give them the DH they’ve been looking for since deciding to let David Ortiz leave over a decade ago.

Cleveland Indians: Cleveland has a number of quality bats in their lineup: (Carlos SantanaAsdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis, and Michael Brantley) but might have a hole at DH as Travis Hafner’s scheduled to be a Free Agent following the 2012 season. The Indians are a possible landing spot for Soriano as a trade here would allow for him to stay in the Midwest and would give this team an additional bat they’ve been missing.

Baltimore Orioles: Outside of the Angles (if they decided to trade Kendrys Morales), I feel the Orioles are the most likely team to trade for Soriano. Baltimore has a few key impact hitter’s on their roster in Adam Jones, Matt Wietersand top prospect Manny Machado. That’s a nice start, but I still feel the O’s are missing at least one more additional power bat in their lineup, and that’s where Soriano would fit in. With his power bat added to their lineup, I feel the Orioles would be provided an additional dimension to their lineup.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays have a number of quality hitters on their roster in Evan LongoriaDesmond Jennings, and Matt Joyce. Like division rival Baltimore, Tampa Bay’s lineup’s includes three quality bats but they still need to add additional depth to fill out the rest of their lineup. Soriano sounds like a good option for the Rays but there’s one key problem with this situation… Manager Joe Maddon likes having a rotating DH so Soriano would have to play he field a few time a week. If Soriano and the Rays both feel he’s able to play the field a few times a week, then this would become a realistic option for the Rays and would provide them the bat there currently looking for.

And finally, the third reason and final reason I feel October 3rd, 2012 will be Alfonso Soriano’s last game as a Chicago Cub:

3) The Cubs will look to take on the majority of his contract: During the past week, the Cubs made it clear they want to see what’s in their Farm System by playing Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Brett Jacksonand Josh Vitters everyday. 

Below are the 5 most likely teams to trade for Alfonso Soriano:

1) Baltimore Orioles

2) Minnesota Twins

3) Cleveland Indians 

4) Tampa Bay Rays

5) Los Angeles Angeles 

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3 teams to watch at the MLB Trade Deadline:

There’s a number of teams to watch at the trade deadline that could be making a few moves within the next 11 days. Below are 3 teams that should look to make a move along with who the player they should trade for:

1. Detroit Tigers: The Tigers have a great offense, the best pitcher in baseball, to go along with a number of solid Number 3-5 starters. So with that said, I feel the Tigers need 3 things at the trade deadline: 1. A number 2 starting pitcher; 2. a second baseman; and 3. Bullpen help. In the last 14 games, the Tigers are 15-2 and look like the team we thought they were going to be. With that said, I feel there’s a number of teams that make sense for the Tigers to trade with which include: Cubs, Brewers, or shock the baseball world and trade with the Mariners for one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Before I discuss the possible Mariners trade, lets start with the Cubs, who have a number of parts that can help the Tigers out which include Darrin Barney and Matt Garza . Garza and Barney would solidify two of the biggest holes on their roster and at the same time the Chicago would be able to receive a few young pitchers. The Tigers have a number of quality arms on both their major league roster and in the minors. On their major league roster, the Tigers feature former first round draft picks in Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello while also having a number of quality arms in the minors in righties Jacob Turner and lefty Andy Oliver. It seems like the Tigers and Cubs could be a good match to make a trade before the Trade Deadline.

So what about the Milwaukee Brewers? Like the Cubs, Milwaukee features a very good starting pitcher that would give Detroit one of the best top of the rotations in baseball in soon to be free agent Zack Greinke. Like the Cubs, the Brewers would be looking to get a package that includes a lot of young pitching talent. In addition to that, the Brewers could also look to trade second baseman Rickie Weeks in a trade and give the Tigers the second baseman they’ve been looking for while also allowing the Brewers to shed payroll at the same-time.

So what about a huge blockbuster trade that would give the Tigers two of the top 5 pitchers in all of baseball (and the reigning Cy Young Award winners) in Felix Hernandez (2010) and Verlander (2011). If this trade were to happen, 4 things would have to occur: 1. The Mariners would want to acquire a lot of young pitching talent; 2. Seattle would also be looking for young hitting talent as they need to add hitting depth to their lineup; 3. The M’s would want the Tigers to take back a bad long term contract that there currently holding onto; and 4. The Tigers would need to sign Felix to a Long-Term deal. As mentioned above, the Tigers have a number of quality arms in their system along with a few hitting prospects in Nick Castellanos and Quintin Berry. So here’s a trade proposal that would work for both teams: Tigers trade Jacob Turner, Nick Castellanos, Andy Oliver and Quintin Berry for Felix Hernandez and Chone Figgins. If this trade were to occur, then the Tigers would feature both the best 1-2 hitting and pitching combinations in baseball.


2. Los Angeles Dodgers:
 The Dodgers have two of the best outfielders in baseball in Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier to go along with a pitching staff that includes 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton KershawChad Billinglsey, and Chris Capuano, With that said, I feel the Dodgers need to look to add a few more bats along with a good number 2 starting pitcher if the want to hold off the Giants and win the NL West. The starting pitcher that I feel they need to look into acquiring is Ryan Dempster as Kershaw and Dempster would make for one of the best righty-lefties 1-2 combinations in the league. In this trade, the Cubs could look to acquire a number of different prospects which include Zach LeeAllen Webster, and Chris Reed. In addition to trading for an additional pitcher, I feel Los Angeles need to look into acquiring more power to their lineup. An intriguing names for the Dodgers to look into acquiring would be Minnesota Twins First Baseman Justin Morneau as he would provide them a legitimate left-handed power-bat in the middle of their lineup while not having to trade a lot to get him. The Dodgers thought they had their future 1st Baseman in James Loney but unfortunately he hasn’t developed the power they thought they would from him. If both James Loney and Justin Morneau were to trade places, then each player would be able to receive a fresh start so they could start over in their new respective situations.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pittsburgh Pirates are .5 Game out of first place and have a ton of great minor league pitching depth on the way within the next few years in Gerrit ColeJameson Taillon, and others. The Pirates currently have the 6th best team ERA’s in baseball, however, as good as their pitching has been, (outside of MVP Candidate Andrew McCutchen), the rest of the Pirates offense has been less than impressive as their team’s batting average is .247 on the season. Because of this, I feel the Pirates should look into trading for soon to be 25 year old outfielder Justin Upton who last year finished in the top 5 (4th in fact) for the NL MVP and would give Pittsburgh one of the youngest and most talented outfields in all of baseball. The Diamondbacks would most likely ask for either Cole or Taillon in return, however, if the Pirates were able to keep both Cole and Taillon while still being able to acquire Upton, then Pittsburgh would feature one of the best young cores in all of baseball. Upton has had a tough 2012 season, yet I still think with him being so young that he can still find the old Justin Upton.

Please share your responses and follow us on Twitter(https://twitter.com/ClarkStSports), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/clarkstreetsports), Pinterest(http://pinterest.com/clarkstsports/), Google Plus (Clark Street Sports), and now Flickr(http://www.flickr.com/photos/clarkstreetsports). Remember to also check out our merchandise at http://www.clarkstreetsports.com/

 

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Interleague Baseball at Wrigley Field

Below are a few items that will prepare you for the Big Interleague Series occurring at Wrigley Field from June 12-June 17 2012.

Red Sox-Cubs Hat

Tigers-Cubs Hat

Red Sox-Cubs Shirt

                      

 

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