TSN Baseball Insider Steve Phillips answers three questions each week. This week, topics cover the struggles of Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie or Colby Rasmus, if the Jays reputation is damaged following a report that players were willing to defer their salaries in order to sign Ervin Santana and Cincinnati Reds speedster Billy Hamilton. 1. While its early in the season, should the Jays be worried yet about the struggles of Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie or Colby Rasmus? If not, at what point should a club worry about a slow start? What does a slow start mean? Does it mean a bad season? Will the player turn things around? How can a manager help the player get going? Every team is asking themselves these questions about some number of their players. It may be a pitcher or a hitter. No team has all of their players playing well. Baseball just doesnt work that way. So what should the Jays do with Encarnacion (.162) , Rasmus (.176) and Lawrie (.108)? How concerned should they be that this is a bad start to a bad season versus just an early season slump? The answer is the same yet different for each of the players. It is the same for each of them in that it is too early to completely panic or pull the plug on their roles. Usually somewhere around a hundred at bats is a good time to make a judgment on a player. It allows for slumps and hot streaks and adjustments to be made to overcome problems. During the course of the season every player will have a 30 at bat window in which they will hit .170. When the season starts in that window it just feels worse because it is not hidden by the 15 for 30 streak that will likely happen. That being said, the level of concern is different for each player based upon the back of his baseball card. I believe that over the course of a season a player will likely ride the peaks and valleys and end up with stats that reflect what they typically have been as a player. Of course young players with potential are expected to improve in their early years and the stats should reflect some upward growth. In the same vein, aging players nearing the end of their careers should show some decline in their stats. . I generally use a players last three years to determine my expectations for the upcoming season. Certainly there can and will be anomalous years where a players performance may spike or decline unexpectedly. Generally speaking, though, players are what they are and over the course of the season they define themselves. Edwin Encarnacion entered the season in the prime of his career. My expectations for him were to hit .275 with 35 homers and 105 RBI. Those numbers are consistent with what he has done over the past several years. The fact he is off to a slow start means very little to me. I have confidence in his ability to overcome a slump because he has done it over and over again in his career. It is the nature of the game. The good news is that the Jays are 5-5 and havent gotten anything from him yet. Colby Rasmus at 27 years old is a slightly different story than Encarnacion. He is at an age now where he is about establishing what he is as a player. I expected him to hit about .270 with 25 homers and 75 RBI this season. He can still certain attain those numbers but his slow start is a bit concerning. In 2013, Rasmus grew a bit as a hitter as he improved his average despite still striking out too much. He has shown that at times, though, a difficulty to get out of a slump. His slow start has the potential to snowball and lead to a down season. He needs to get turned around quickly so it doesnt foster the negative thoughts that can compound the problem. Brett Lawrie is just 24 years old and is still figuring out what he is as a player. He started his big league career with a bang. After playing in only 43 games in 2011, it was thought that he had the power and speed combination that could put up 25 homers and 25 stolen bases. The 2012 and 2013 seasons were disappointing to say the least as very little growth has been seen. This is a critical year for Lawrie. His slow start is most concerning because if his numbers decline again he will no longer be a functional everyday player. So it is too early to panic but the level of concern for each of the players is different. If the Jays are going to win this year, they will need all three of them to live up to expectations. 2. Last week, FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal reported that some Toronto Blue Jays players were willing to defer their salaries in order to sign free agent pitcher Ervin Santana in March. Does this news do any damage to the Jays reputation in MLB circles, and as a former GM how would you feel about this if you were Alex Anthopoulos? This should only be deemed as good news for the Jays and their fans. The Jays players are willing to invest in winning. Wow!!!! Now, it does mean that ownership has given Anthopolous a strict budget and told him find a way to make it work with what you have. There isnt more money to upgrade the team. He knows he needs to upgrade his starting pitching to be true contender in the AL East so it is time to get creative. I would have done what Anthopolous did too. The fact that other teams now know the Jays may be able to come up with about $14M through deferring compensation is a good thing. It makes the Jays a player for any pitching that could be season-changing. The only risk that Anthopolous runs in going to the players for money is that if he doesnt land a player with the money his team could lose hope and heart. When a player takes ownership in the result of a personnel decision by deferring compensation he wants to see and feel the result of that. Ervin Santana looked great in his first start with the Braves. How good would it have been if he pitched that way for the Jays? The disappointment of losing out on targeted players is tough enough when you are GM. But you are prepared for when it happens. You can cope with the sense of loss. Players dont have those experiences to fall back upon and it can cause them frustration, disappointment and distraction. Overall this offer has gained the Jays respect around the game. They just cant let it turn into overwhelming disappointment in the clubhouse. 3) Cincinnati Reds speedster Billy Hamilton scored on a sacrifice fly on Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals that only cleared the infield by no more than 25 feet. While hes struggled to get on-base early in the year, how difficult is it for the opposition to deal with that type of speed? Billy Hamilton is a blazer. I used to have a scout who would have said about Hamilton that "he is so fast; he can outrun a shortwave radio." I am not exactly sure what he meant but it is clear that if anyone can outrun a shortwave radio it is Hamilton. He can fly. Speed is the most useful tool in the major leagues because it helps on offense and defense. On offense, speed like Hamiltons puts pressure on the defense. The infield has to play shallower since they have less time to make the throw to first on a ground ball to retire him. This allows more ground balls to get through the infield as the fielders have less reaction time. Hamilton is nearly impossible to double up on a grounder so there will be times that he will drive in runs and extend innings with productive outs. His speed will prove to be a distraction for every pitcher when he is on base. This will shift the focus off of the hitter causing more mistake pitches to be thrown. Plus, where Hamilton does not have great power, many of his singles will be turned into doubles with a stolen base. He should score more runs than a similar hitting player with far less speed. Outfielders will at times rush throws on fly balls and hits leading to more errors on the defense. Defensively Hamiltons speed will allow him to cover more ground and get to more balls in the outfield. His speed will allow him to compensate for mistakes on reading the ball off the bat and getting a bad jump. This young man has a chance to be a dynamic player. He has a chance to be one of the most exciting players in the game. But as they say, "You cant steal first base." If is to truly impact the game as his tools would allow he is going to have to hit and walk his way to at least a .330 on base percentage. If he can do that, then look out! -- I had the privilege to call the Mets vs Braves game this past Tuesday in Atlanta on the radio. It just so happened that it was the Braves home opener and it coincided with the 40th Anniversary of the Hank Aaron passing Babe Ruths record 714 home runs. It was a moving ceremony. Braves fans love Aaron. He is such a humble, classy, distinguished man. It was an absolute honor to be there and pay tribute to him. There are moments that I feel so genuinely blessed that I get to make a living doing this. I remember April 8, 1974 quite well. I was in my house in Detroit, Michigan with my dad and my brother, Terry, watching the game on TV. I remember watching the ball sail over the wall and jumping up and down celebrating. I remember watching Aaron run the bases and it hit me that he wasnt smiling. He just circled the bases as fans ran around him on the field. I didnt know why. Years later I went to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY and saw on display numerous letters that had been sent to Aaron during the chase for the record that were full of hate and racial comments. I had no idea what he was enduring. It made me sick. It made me feel sorry for him. I came to find out that Aaron was very isolated during the chase. He had to stay in a different hotel than his teammates. As much as I was hoping for him to break the record, there were many racists who didnt want it to happen. He played through hatred and threats, always believing in himself. But he was robbed of the enjoyment of the achievement. What a shame. Aaron ended his career with 755 home runs. Barry Bonds hit his 756th homer on August 7, 2007. Bonds received hate as well during his chase but it was less about race and more about cheating. Bonds had been linked to BALCO, a laboratory with ties to PEDs. Bonds celebrated with arms to the sky when he hit the ball. He circled the base with a smile and extreme pride. Quite a contrast to the humility of Aaron. In fact, Aaron even had a taped message for Bonds and the fans: "I would like to offer my congratulations to Barry Bonds on becoming baseballs career home run leader. It is a great accomplishment which requires skill, longevity and determination. Throughout the past century, the home run has held a special place in baseball and I have been privileged to hold this record for 33 of those years. I move over now and offer my best wishes to Barry and his family on this historical achievement."My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams." Hank Aaron is the home run king in my opinion. Yes, Barry Bonds did hit more (762) but his use of PEDs added to his number in some way. I cant completely quantify the impact of the drugs but it was more than the seven home run difference between him and Aaron. Many still believe that Ruth was the best home run hitter ever because he had a better homer per at bat rate. Ruth homered once every 11.76 at bats compared to once every 16.38 at bats for Aaron. There is major flaw in the way people look at Ruth. His performance was enhanced like Bonds performance was enhanced. No he didnt take steroids. Ruth didnt play against all of the elite players at the time. Remember segregation at the time did not allow the black players to play in the major league with the white players. Babe Ruth didnt face the same caliber of pitching that Aaron did. Therefore Ruths performance was enhanced. Hank Aaron is my all-time home run king. He is also one of the greatest all-time role models of perseverance, humility and class. I love my job. Hassan Whiteside Jersey
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. The two were in the batting cage moments before game time. Bautista was taking final warm up cuts. Pillar was hitting soft toss. The one-time utility player turned All-Star pulled aside the clubs young, fourth outfielder and offered him some advice.It seems Vancouver Whitecaps are making progress in their search for a new head coach. Former United States Mens National Team boss Bob Bradley now appears to be the lead contender for the position. Since parting ways with Martin Rennie at the end of the 2013 regular season a number of candidates have been interviewed by Vancouver but it was thought they were waiting to speak with Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis who is out of contract at the Utah club at the end of this year. Now though, it appears the man that tops their list is Bradley. The former U.S. National Team head coach reportedly interviewed with the Caps last weekend and is available for a new challenge after leaving his role with Egypt earlier this month following their failure to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. Bradley would be a major catch for any MLS team. Its long been rumoured that he would be coaching in Canada next year, but Toronto rather than Vancouver looked the likely destination. Bradley has a resume that makes him one of the most experienced men to have coached in the North American game. He was an MLS original as an assistant to Bruce Arena in the leagues first season in 1996 and then won the MLS Cup and US Open Cup in his first MLS head coaching role with expansion club Chicago Fire in 1998. That season he was named MLS Coach of the Year. In 2003, the New Jersey native returned home for three years in charge of the New York/New Jersey Metrostars, and after a brief spell leading expansion side Chivas USA he was handed the top job with the United States. Bradleys time as U.S. head coach got off to a successful start winning the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, setting the tone for a strong spell in charge of the national team. They performed well at the 2009 Confederations Cup, finishing as runner up, and then won their group at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa before losing in extra time to Ghana in the first match of the knockout stages. After leaving his post with the U.S. in 2011, Bradley took on maybe the most challenging role of his career, attempting to lead Egypt to qualification for Brazil 2014. Although, ultimately unsuccessful in getting the Egyptians to the World Cup, the way Bradley galvanized the team and dealt with an incredibly difficult ppolitical situation gained him many admirers around the world.dddddddddddd He meets all the criteria set out by the Whitecaps at the start of their coaching search. President Bob Lenarduzzi said some big name candidates have been turned away because they have no experience in MLS - its thought former Manchester City and England Under 21 boss Stuart Pearce expressed an interest in the position. With Bradley, they get the big name, international experience and a deep knowledge of the North American game. He wont come cheap, so it would be an appointment that would turn heads in MLS and prove to the rest of the league that the Whitecaps mean business. Should talks with Bradley break down, the Whitecaps can either wait to see if Kreis becomes available or turn to current assistant coach Carl Robinson to fill the vacancy. I have an enormous amount of respect for Robinson and I am certain he has a big future ahead of him in the game as a head coach. If the Whitecaps give him the opportunity, he wont let them down. However, Bradleys experience in MLS and at international level would be a massive benefit to the Whitecaps organization. Whoever takes the club forward will have a young squad to work with and also plenty of room under the salary cap for the new coach to put his own stamp on the team. The Whitecaps declined the contract options on eight players this week and there are still other big decisions to be made on key personnel. One such player is club captain Jay DeMerit who is currently out of contract. DeMerit was named to the United States World Cup squad by Bradley in 2010 so if the 55-year-old does take control it would almost certainly lead to a new deal for the defender. These are interesting times in Vancouver. With the 2014 schedule being released there is now a date on the horizon that everyone is building towards. On Saturday, March 8 the Caps will kick off at BC Place against the 2013 Supporters Shield winners New York Red Bulls (live on TSN), but there is much work to be done before then. The Whitecaps have been patient in their search for a new coach, but the next couple of weeks should finally provide the answer as to who will be leading the club heading into its fourth season in Major League Soccer. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Jerseys 2019 China Jerseys China Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping NFL Jerseys China
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