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Mike Trout Gets Record Deal

Earlier this morning, Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels came to terms on a record 12 year, $430 million deal. Baseball has officially gotten its first $400 million player.

This basically seals Trout’s fate as an Angel for life. Mike Trout has been in an Angels uniform since 2011, where he broke out with one of the greatest rookie seasons in baseball history. He has career numbers of .307/.416/.573 to go along with a .990 OPS and 240 HR, 648 RBI, 793 runs, an 189 stolen bases. He has been a top four MVP candidate in every one of his seven full seasons, as well as an All-Star in all of then and a Silver Slugger winner in all but one. Trout has been the most complete player we have seen since Ken Griffey Jr. and a younger A-Rod. His pay day was inevitable, but even this deal comes as a bit of a surprise. He got a whole $100 million more than Bryce Harper did, who set the record for largest contract when he signed late into free agency to the Phillies for $330 million over 13 years. What does this mean for the free agency market going forward? Who else is worth the elusive $400 million?

The first notable name that comes to mind is Mookie Betts. He, Trout, Francisco Lindor, and maybe Alex Bregman are the only true five tool players the game has. Mookie is fresh off a historic season where he won a Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, batting title, MVP and a World Series for the Boston Red Sox. He was also awarded a record $25 million for arbitration this year. Betts has not kept his quest for a big contract a secret, as on top of that record setting arbitration deal, he won his arbitration the year prior at $10 million. Mookie might not get the $400 million number that Trout received, but he could be looking at more per year. Trout is going to be paid just a hair over $34 million per year for the next 12 years, beating Nolan Arenado’s previous record breaking extension of $32.5 million a year. I saw on twitter (@redsoxstats) a deal that would be 11 years for $365 million. That would give him a higher per year stat than Nolan, and would put him in the same free agency class as Trout. I believe that Mookie does get the $400 million, and most likely for only 11 years to give him a higher per year number.

Francisco Lindor is another player I can see getting a huge market setting deal. Manny Machado got $300 million dollars this offseason, which is the new standard for shortstops (even though he is playing third again for San Diego, the contract will be viewed as a shortstop deal). Xander Bogaerts is the next star shortstop to hit the open market, but he won’t crack the $300 million mark Machado set. But, he will hit the market as it might be hard for the Red Sox to pay him, Chris Sale, and Mookie Betts as well as saving money for Rafael Devers and Andrew Benintendi. That could cause a team to over pay for Bogey, raising the value of shortstops. Lindor is also in a stacked shortstop class that includes Corey Seager and Carlos Correa. That class will drive the position price way up as they are some of the brightest young stars, regardless of position. In my opinion, Lindor is the the best of the bunch. I could see him getting the 11 year $365 million that was mentioned for Mookie. Either way, all three of them are getting $350 million plus minimum barring injuries or career implosion.

Other notable players such as Alex Bregman, Aaron Judge, Paul Goldschmidt, and Javier Baez may be in line for a big pay day in the very near future. Each situation is different, and you have to take into account budget, age, production, position, which teams are interested, the farm systems of those teams, ect. Either way, $300 million dollar men are going to be a lot more common in the years to come. Yet, the $400 million dollar man might still just be a one man race… for now.

Eugenio Suarez is a Low-Key Tank

Third base has been an extremely important position in baseball’s storied history. The position employed some of the greatest defenders the sport has seen, and middle of the order bats. Players like Brooks Robinson, Ron Santo, Eddie Mathews, Mike Schmidt, and George Brett have carved out Hall-of-Fame careers playing the hot corner. Today, we see players such as Nolan Arenado, Justin Turner, Kris Bryant, Jose Ramirez, and Josh Donaldson man the left side of the infield and hold down the heart of the lineup. Hidden under all of those names is a one time All-Star who could be the X-factor to playoff baseball in Cincinnati.

Eugenio Suarez has been a low-key tank for the Cincinnati Reds. He has quietly put up a few good seasons for the Reds, but has just been overshadowed by Joey Votto and the fact that the Reds have been out of the race by mid-May the last few years. Suarez was originally signed by the Tigers and played a mix of third base and shortstop while getting limited action in 2014. A trade for Alfredo Simon sent him packing to Great American Ballpark, which has been his home since 2015. With Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier on the left side, it took a season ending injury to Cosart in June of 2015. He slashed .280/.315/.446 and smacked 13 homers and 48 RBI. in 2016, he transitioned to a full time gig to become the Reds’ starting third baseman after Todd Frazier was shipped to Chicago. That year, he slashed .248/.317/.411 and produced 21 HR and 70 RBI. The stick has always been the staple of his game, yet his glove needed a bit of work. He committed a MLB leading 23 errors that year.

2017 was his true breakout campaign. In 156 games, he raised his batting average from an ok .248 up 12 points to a more respectable .260. He set career highs in HR (26), RBI (82), BB (84), and also cut his errors down considerably from 23 to just nine. Eugenio started picking up steam as being considered one of the games brightest young stars in the game. 2018 was the year he finally got the recognition he deserved.

In July of 2018, Eugenio Suarez was announced as an All-Star for the National League. He finished that season with a slash line of .284/.366/.526 and an OPS of .892. He then reset his career highs in home runs and RBI, as well as hit in 13 less games than the year prior. For reference, here are his offensive numbers next to Nolan Arenado in 2018.

NameAVGOBPSLGOPSHRRBI2BHRG
Suarez.284.366.526.892341042214979143
Arenado.297.374.561.9353811038175104156

Arenado’s numbers are still another level above, but when you take into consideration the fact that Arenado is a top five player in all of the league (number three in my humble opinion), and the fact that Nolan has 13 games on Eugenio, it starts putting Suarez in a better light,.

With some key off season acquisitions such as Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, as well as another year of development form their younger players, the Reds are in the running for what seems like a more wide open NL Central than we have seen in years past. Could Suarez be that X-factor that put the Reds back into the postseason? Or will he have another monster year buried by the lack of attention his team gets?

Cleveland Browns: The Trade

Since finishing the year 7-8-1, the Cleveland Browns fan base have been absolutely gitty to get to the off-season. With 10 draft picks on deck, a boatload of cap space, and a franchise QB in place, John Dorsey had all the ammunition and desire to not only upgrade the team, but upgrade them in a big way. Whatever he said at the combine about “not being ready to go for it“, has proven to be a lie-a lie that he needed to say, as Dorsey loves to work behind a very tight wall, in order for rumors to not leak out. Having made some key trades last year, there was no doubt that John Dorsey and company would look to make yet another big move via trade. The big trade they made, however, makes last years moves look minuscule compared to what they have pulled off this off-season. He not only landed a trade, but he landed The Trade.

From the start of the off-season, the rumors of Odell Beckham Jr. becoming a Brown would not go away. They even started last year, as Beckham was seen working out with one of his best friends, Jarvis Landry, and #1 overall pick Baker Mayfield. There was an image going around of Odell holding onto a Cleveland Browns football, logo and all. Even after Beckham signed his brand new 5 year, $90 million contract extension with the Giants, the rumblings of him being traded would not completely go away. Even when Dave Gettleman said, “We did not sign Odell Beckham Jr. to trade him“, the rumors just would not die. Some say the trade happened because the Giants were tired of Odell’s on field behavior- the pouting and antics were not viewed very fondly of Pat Shurmer. Some say that Dorsey just got lucky that he and Gettleman had been friends for years, which helped move the conversation along. Some even say that the Browns fan base willed it into existence. Whatever the case may be, the Browns landed their #1 target.

The on-field and off-field distractions (albeit blown out of proportion) are widely reported. This is something that I think will not be any sort of concern for the Browns. Along with new head coach Freddie Kitchens being a player-friendly type of coach, Beckham will be surrounded by familiar faces- Landry and Mayfield are the obvious two, but Adam Henry could be a very key part to bringing Beckham in. They have a very long relationship, as Henry was not only the WR coach at LSU, where Beckham and Landry attended college, but was also the WR coach for the Giants from 2016-2017. The fact that Odell will not only be playing with a good QB (he hasn’t for a few years), but a good team, will be a huge contributor to his “better” attitude here moving forward.

In terms of his play, Beckham is a perfect fit. If there was one thing the WR group needed, it was a #1 WR. You have Landry as an effective slot who can get open in underneath routes. You have a speed burner in Callaway, who showed flashes of being a good deep threat. You have the fundamental route running of Higgins, who won’t blow you away with speed or strength, but has very good route running and a great relationship with Baker. Beckham is, at worst, a top 5 WR in the NFL. His route running is crisp, his hands have gorilla glue on them, and he has mini-trampoline’s on his feet. The slant route from Baker to Odell could become one of the deadliest combinations in the entire league. Although you will notice the lack of amazing catches from Beckham this year, it won’t be due to a drop off of talent- rather, he won’t have to make these insane catches with Baker putting the ball right where Beckham needs it.

For what is going back to the Giants, seeing Peppers leave hurts the most. Peppers graded very well according to Pro Football Focus. His first year Peppers to seem like a bust, as he was playing out of position the entire year. Going into his 2nd year, however, the team acquired Damarious Randall, which then moved Peppers to his original spot of Strong Safety (SS). This allowed Peppers to get closer to the line and make plays, which he showed in the Denver game with a game sealing sack in the 4th quarter. The #17 and #95 pick could turn out to be starters or key contributors, but with Gettleman’s draft history as less than stellar, there is a good chance that only one of these players turns into a key contributor to a team that is desperate for talent.

Overall, Dorsey played his cards close to his chest, looked Gettleman dead in his eyes, and got him to deal his best card without giving up much from his hand. The fit of Beckham on this team, who has developed a swagger since the firing of Hue Jackson, along with a fan base that has been waiting for decades to have a competitive football team, are primed to take the next step towards the promised land. There is a possibility that things don’t go smoothly for the Browns. Maybe Beckham’s injuries continue to pile up. Maybe Peppers takes that next step, and the Giants hit on both of those picks. Maybe Beckham does have attitude issues, and those clash with the core of talent the Browns already have collected. But this move was the perfect risk. The Browns didn’t empty the cupboard, looking for someone to save the franchise. Instead, they gave 3 decent pieces for a superstar who will complete the offense. I have been a huge Sash Brown defender, but one thing is very clear to me- Brown would have NEVER had the package to complete this trade with the Giants. This is Dorsey showing once and for all, that he is go big or go home.