Posted on: April 10, 2009 9:28 pm

Improving the MLB

The MLB right now is a league that is doing well, but could be made a lot more enjoyable to more people if they made a few changes:

Salary Cap:

Of course this is the first thing I am going to address as a Pirates fan.  Some people say it wouldn't help competitiveness, but I am sure it would. One thing I would also add however is a minimum a team can spend, a players cap, and a change in new contracts.

For the salary cap, I feel that $100 million would be a reasonable start.  Of the 30 teams in the league, 9 of them are over $100 million.  5 of those 9 teams would be over by less than $20 million.  The other 4 teams would have a problem getting under the cap.  In order to do this cap, teams would have to be able to cut current roster players without penalty and same with restructuring contracts, but only the first offseason of a salary cap.

If their is gonna be a salary cap, I feel their needs to be a players cap. I think a reasonable number would be 20% of the currrent cap (which with a $100 million cap, it would be $20 million to start).  Right now, I believe only 4 players have a salary greater than this (Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Derek Jeter, Mark Texeira).  I may be incorrect about that, however. 

For a lower limit of a salary cap, I would set it at 60% of the current salary cap ($60 million for this salary cap).  Of the 30 teams, only 3 teams are under it at the moment (Pirates, Padres, Marlins).  This would force these 3 teams to go out and spend a little bit of money to get to the cap.

I am not sure about how contracts work in the MLB, and this might be how it already is, but I would suggest once you sign a contract, you cannot restructure it.  This is one thing I hate about the NFL.  You see players holding out because they want a new contract.  I feel if you sign a contract, you should honor it and play it out.  Like I said before, this may be how it is.

Get rid of the DH:

Some people like it, some people don't.  That usually depends on which league your team plays in.  I for one am not a fan of the DH.  I feel it takes an element out of the game that used to always be apart of it.  What makes the DH even worse is that only half the league has it, which doesn't make sense to have different set of rules for one half of the league than the other.

Another reason I am against the DH is because of Babe Ruth.  This may be dumb because of one player, but he is 3rd in MLB history in home runs.  If they had the DH rule back then, he would have never had a shot to show his home run hitting ability.  Sometimes I wonder how many other pitchers could have also been great home run hitters (yes, I know Babe Ruth's and good hitting pitchers do not come around often, but that is usually because they don't work on it).

Balance the Leagues:

I think each league should have 15 teams, and if that means interleague games all season then so be it.  I would reorganize it like this:

Eastern Conference:
Northeast- Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Phillies, Orioles
Atlantic- Pirates, Nationals, Indians, Tigers, Blue Jays
Southeast- Rays, Marlins, Braves, Reds, Cardinals

Western Conference:
Central- Cubs, White Sox, Brewers, Twins, Royals
Southwest- Mariners, Giants, Dodgers, Athletics, Angels
Pacific- Padres, Rangers, Astros, Rockies, Diamondbacks

I feel this would make more sence because of locations of inter-division teams were closer.  Also, this gives the MLB a chance to develop new rivalries to go along with the ones we already have.

Schedule Change:

The MLB schedule right now is very confusing. Yes you play an equal number of home and road games, but thats the only thing consistant with the schedule.  There is not set amount of games you play against teams and this is a problem I think the MLB needs to address.  I am all for a schedule like this:

6 games against 1 division from opposite conference (5 teams- 3 home, 3 away)= 30 games
8 games against each inter-conference team team (10 teams- 4 home, 4 away)= 80 games
10 games against 4 other division team (5 home, 5 away)= 40 games
Total= 150 games

This is 12 games less than the current schedule, which would around 2 weeks off the schedule. This would move the World Series up, and hopefully would mean better weather for those games.  If they didn't want to do that, they could move the start of the season 2 weeks later, and could cut down on all these weather delays we always have at this time of year.


This is one part of the game I would leave alone.  I like the fact that 4 teams get in.  Each division winner gets in, and 1 wild card team from each conference.  The only thing I would change is that once the 4 teams are in, I would rank them by record.  For example, lets say in the east if the Red Sox, Tigers, and Rays win their respective divisions and the wild card team was the Cardinals.  If the Cardinals have a better record than the Tigers but worse record than the Rays and Sox, they would be the 3 seed instead of the division winner Tigers. 

World Series Home Field:

You had to know this was coming.  IMO having an exibition game be what determines home field in the world series is just plain stupid.  The team with the better record should get home field, and if there is a tie and the teams did not play that season, then maybe use the All Star game as what determines home field.  Just do not make it the first thing that determines home field.

Instant Replay:

Last season the MLB finally joined the party on instant replay.  I feel right now it being very basic with only home run calls is good, but I feel it should expand but not to much.  The only thing I would really add to be reviewable is close players on the bases and if a player caught a ball or trapped it.  Both of those can be just as important to a game as a home run.  Also, balls and strikes should never be reviewable because different umpires have different strike zones.

There should also be 3 ways to review a play:

  1. Manager Challenge-  Each manager should get 1 challenge per game, and if they win it they get an extra one.
  2. Umpire Challenge- If an umpire is unsure of a play, he should be able to review it to get the call right.
  3. Booth review- If the booth is sure a call is wrong, they can make the call down to the umpire to get the call right.


Posted on: February 15, 2009 5:50 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2009 1:31 pm

Pittsburgh Pirates Preview

Coming into the 2009, the Pittsburgh Pirates have very low expectations, and for good reason.  Last season they went 67-95, which was only better than the Nationals, Mariners, and Padres. I think the Pirates have the ability to out-perform their expectations, but how many times have we said that during the 16 year losing streak?  To many, thats for sure.  I do not expect very much of anything from this team.

In the offseason, the did nothing to improve.  In fact, they have gotten worse.  They did not sign the only guy on the team that shows how much heart he has and is a great leader in Doug Mientkewikz and our best free agent signing was Eric Hinske.  He may end up starting in the outfield, but he is no replacement for Xavier Nady in right field.  Oh and we did nothing to improve our pitching which had the 3rd highest ERA last season at 5.08.

Last season, we saw the emergence of All-Star center fielder Nate McLouth.  He was one of very few brightspots for the team last year.  Hopefully he can continue to grow as a player.  I think the one part of his game that could use improvement is his batting average.  I think he can hit anywhere from .290-.300 for a full season.  He did that for a large part of the season last year until his numbers fell at the end of the year.

Ryan Doumit is my choice for the player to have a breakout season.  He had a nice year batting .318 with 15 home runs in 116 games in his first year as a full time catcher.  He has the power to be a 30 home run guy and I think we will see it this year.  If the Pirates want to be successful, he will have to do this because we are missing a lot of offense without Jason Bay and Xavier Nady.  I know we traded them around the deadline last year, but look at the team after that.  It was horrible.  It is Doumit's time to take his game to the next level.

After those two players, our offense is a big question mark.  We have Adam A. LaRoche, who doesn't even show up until June.  He started working out and training earlier this year, so maybe that will make a difference early on.  The rest of the players our offense will depend on are Andy LaRoche, Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez, Nyjer Morgan, and Brandon Moss.  Of that bunch, we have 2 former all stars in Jack and Freddy, two prospects in Moss and LaRoche, and a typical lead off hitter in Morgan.  Of that group, I expect Freddy Sanchez to have the best season.  The last few seasons he has been injured and now that he is finally healthy, he hopefully will return to his .300 form.

Now its time to talk about the funnest part of the team, the pitching.  So far 3 players are locks for the staff: Paul Maholm (our ace), Matt Capps (closer), and John Grabow (set-up man).  After that there is a big questionmark.  If Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny can return to their form of 2 years ago, great because we will have 3 solid pitchers at the top of our rotation.  I expect both of them in the rotation at the beginning of the year.  I would talk more about the pitching, but there is not much there right now.  Hopefully they can prove me wrong and a few people step up, but I am expecting pitching a lot like last year.


Projected opening day line-up:

  1. Nyjer Morgan (LF)
  2. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  3. Nate McLouth (CF)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Brandon Moss (RF)
  8. Jack Wilson (SS)

Projected Pitching Rotation:

  1. Paul Maholm
  2. Ian Snell
  3. Zach Duke
  4. Jeff Karstens
  5. Tom Gorzelanny

Sorry that I my analysis isn't very in depth, haven't had a chance to write it and haven't paid much attention to the Pirates as of late.  I project them to go 70-92, with Andrew McCutchen being called up around 30-40 games into the season as the startin CF with McLouth moving to left field.  Go Pirates and prove me wrong.

Category: MLB
Tags: Pirates
Posted on: November 28, 2008 5:11 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2008 4:39 pm

Fix this team: Pirates

The Pirates have been horrible over the past few years.  They have not had a winning season in about 16 years, and haven't won a World Series in 29 years.  They still got a lot of work to get done if they want to compete anytime soon.

The first thing the Pirates need to do this year is go out an get a veteran pitcher to help mentor our young pitchers and to help reinforce what new pitching coach Joe Kerrigan tries to sell to the youth.  I think a perfect fit would be Paul Byrd.  If we could get him for 2 years, and have him maintain an ERA of 4.5, it would be a win so he could mentor our young pitchers.

The next thing we need to do is figure out what is wrong with Tom Gorzalanny and Ian Snell.  If we can get them rested and back to the way they were 2 years ago, that is a big plus.  I think this new pitching coach can fix them, and hopefully our opening day rotation looks like this:

  1. Paul Maholm
  2. Ian Snell
  3. Tom Gorzalanny
  4. Paul Byrd
  5. Zach Duke

The Pirates then need to trade Jack Wilson and John Grabow.  If we can package the 2 for either a good SS prospect.  We are very weak at SS, and Bixler is not the answer.  I think we should also sign a FA SS for a 1 or 2 year deal, maybe a guy like Nick Punto. 

In 2009, I would like the opening day roster to look like this:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Nate McLouth (LF)
  3. Ryan Doumit (C)
  4. Adam Laroche (1B)
  5. Andy LaRoche (3B) 
  6. Brandon Moss (RF)
  7. Nick Punto (SS)
  8. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  9. Pitcher

That line-up will not win you anything, I admit that.  But this year at the trade deadline, I think we must trade both Adam LaRoche and Freddy Sanchez.  Neither have any use here.  We need to get a top pitching prospect for them if we can package them (as long as they both are having good season).

I think we need to focus on 2011.  I think, if everything goes right, our opening day roster should be:

  1. McCutchen (CF)
  2. McLouth (LF)
  3. Tabata (RF)
  4. Alverez (1B)
  5. Doumit (C)
  6. Andy LaRoche (2B)
  7. Neil Walker (3B)
  8. SS Prospect
  9. Pitcher


  1. SP Prospect
  2. Snell
  3. Maholm
  4. Gorzelanny
  5. Veteran Pitcher

I think give that line up time and it will turn into a winner.


Category: MLB
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