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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Mariners, Felix Hernandez agree to $175 million deal

Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez has agreed to a seven-year, $175 million contract that should be finalized before spring training, making him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history, a person familiar with the contract details told USA TODAY Sports.

JJ1986 Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:28 PM | 63 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: contracts, felix hernandez, king felix, mariners

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Good cripple hitter Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4365146)
He'll still be a Yankee Blue Jay by 2015.
   2. shoewizard Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:55 PM (#4365150)
Nah....he'll pitch one or two more years for the Mariners and then the Dodgers will take on his contract
   3. Davo Dozier Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:00 PM (#4365156)
Nah....he'll pitch one or two more years for the Mariners and then the Dodgers will take on his contract
The Mariners would have to chip in at least $80 million for that to happen.
   4. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:02 PM (#4365157)
The Mariners would have to chip in at least $80 million for that to happen.

??????????????????
   5. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4365158)
That's a lot of dough for a pitcher. He was under contract for 2013 and 2014. This deal will buy out those two years; 2013 is the first year of this contract.
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4365160)
BREAKING NEWS: Felix Hernandez's right arm has fallen off.
   7. Tripon Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:04 PM (#4365163)
Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander (and their agents) are just rubbing their hands together.
   8. Danny Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:15 PM (#4365170)
Surpasses the 7-year, $161M contract the Yankees gave Sabathia--but that one included an opt-out and a full no trade clause.
   9. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4365174)
This reminds me of the Santana deal. King Felix is 2 years younger and has a different pedigree and makeup, but they're both long term contracts for arguably the best pitcher. Which I guess means it only reminds me of the Johan deal because I follow the team Santana is on.

Johan was a good deal for the Mets the first three seasons, 14.5 WAR for 60m dollars, but the Mets have gotten .1 WAR the past two years for 46.5, and owe him 25.5m dollars this year. I have no idea how good he'll be this year, through June of last year he had a 2.75 ERA, a 8.5 K/9, and a 2.8 K/BB. Then he got hurt, and was absolutely atrocious until finally going down for the season. 5 GS, 19 IP, 16.19 ERA.
   10. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:26 PM (#4365183)
What this actually is given his current contract: a 5 year 135M extension starting in 2015.

Paying $27M for five years to a pitcher 2 years out is a scary prospect.
   11. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4365185)
#6th best pitcher in baseball.
   12. Esoteric Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:29 PM (#4365190)
I don't care about the money.

I just don't care.

I love the fact that Seattle loves King Felix, and King Felix really does love Seattle too, and that he's going to be with the M's for a very, very long time.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:30 PM (#4365192)
a 5 year 135M extension starting in 2015.

Now we're talking real money.
   14. GuyM Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:39 PM (#4365200)
#6th best pitcher in baseball.

Well, depends what you mean by "best." Which pitchers would you rather hand a $175M/7 contract to right now? I think you could make a strong case for at most two (Verlander, Kershaw).
   15. JJ1986 Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4365203)
I think you could make a strong case for at most two (Verlander, Kershaw).


I'd at least consider Strasburg.
   16. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4365204)
[14] I would take Strasburg as well. IIRC, hasn't Felix seen a huge drop in velocity recently?

EDIT: Checked Fangraphs and the velocity dip isn't as bad as I thought it was.
   17. Tim D Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:43 PM (#4365206)
As good a bet as any pitcher there is for a long term deal. Consistently excellent, great mechanics, powerful lower body, old enough to be past the young pitcher injury nexus. It's a lot to bet on a pitcher but it certainly sends a message to the Seattle fans that they are determined to build a winner. Every time I see Felix pitch, (and I saw him first in A ball) he reminds me of Seaver. That guy lasted a while past 26. I think and hope Felix will be out there chucking in his 40's ala Seaver, the Rocket and Maddux; a great one.
   18. Nasty Nate Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:47 PM (#4365213)
Well, depends what you mean by "best." Which pitchers would you rather hand a $175M/7 contract to right now? I think you could make a strong case for at most two (Verlander, Kershaw).


And then Price and Cain a tick below them.
   19. GuyM Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4365215)
#16: I would take Strasburg over Felix on a 1-yr or 2-year deal for identical $. But for 7 years I'd want more evidence of durability.
   20. Tripon Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:50 PM (#4365216)
Well, depends what you mean by "best." Which pitchers would you rather hand a $175M/7 contract to right now? I think you could make a strong case for at most two (Verlander, Kershaw).


Both are going to sign for a boat load of money on a long extension and the Yankees and other teams that were dreaming of a great free agent season next year are going to cry in their sleep.
   21. franklloyd Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:52 PM (#4365220)
What this actually is given his current contract: a 5 year 135M extension starting in 2015.


Your math is correct, but this is not an extension.
They ripped up Felix's current contract.

The new contract is a straight $25M/yr for 7 years.

The contract years are 2013 thru 2019 - Felix's age 27 to age 33 seasons.

Felix gets a $5.5M raise for 2013 and a $5M raise for 2014,
as his previous contract paid him $19.5M & $20M, respectively.

The M's apparently don't like to backload contracts under GMZ - good!
   22. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:54 PM (#4365222)
I don't care about the money.

I just don't care.

I love the fact that Seattle loves King Felix, and King Felix really does love Seattle too, and that he's going to be with the M's for a very, very long time.


I agree with this. It's great to see Felix stay with the Mariners.
   23. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4365225)
never mind
   24. smileyy Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:56 PM (#4365226)
t's a lot to bet on a pitcher but it certainly sends a message to the Seattle fans that they are determined to build a winner.


Or at least will put a product worth watching on the field every few games.
   25. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:56 PM (#4365227)
Oof, that's a lot of money for a guy who has been really good as opposed to great the last couple of seasons. That being said, I think #12 covers a lot of it.
   26. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 05:00 PM (#4365232)

I love the fact that Seattle loves King Felix, and King Felix really does love Seattle too, and that he's going to be with the M's for a very, very long time.


Just like the Red Sox and AGon!
   27. Randy Jones Posted: February 07, 2013 at 05:00 PM (#4365233)
#6th best pitcher in baseball.

Well, depends what you mean by "best." Which pitchers would you rather hand a $175M/7 contract to right now? I think you could make a strong case for at most two (Verlander, Kershaw).


You know this was a joke referencing Dave Cameron's #6 org thing from a couple years ago, right?
   28. Famous Original Joe C Posted: February 07, 2013 at 05:24 PM (#4365249)
#6th best pitcher in baseball.


Nothing personal to FPH, but from here this reference is more tired than saying "MY WIFE" like Borat at this point.
   29. Red Menace Posted: February 07, 2013 at 05:35 PM (#4365257)
Nothing personal to FPH, but from here this reference is more tired than saying "MY WIFE" like Borat at this point.


Yeaahh, baby!
   30. Willie Mayspedester Posted: February 07, 2013 at 05:49 PM (#4365271)
Hope this works out better than Joe Mauer. Ehh who am I kidding I hope the M's and Astros stay terrible forever in the AL West (A's fan here)
   31. AROM Posted: February 07, 2013 at 05:50 PM (#4365274)
As an Angel fan, this makes me happy.

No, not in a "his arm will fall off an the contract will cripple the team" sort of way. Just that for some players, sticking with one team just seems right. Like Kirby Puckett going to the Red Sox at the end of his career would have been wrong. Or Cal Ripken playing one more year with the Brewers. Or Dwight Evans finishing his career with the Orioles (that actually happened, and it felt wrong).

I'm glad Felix is happy there, and hope he ends up a career long Mariner.
   32. Tom Nawrocki Posted: February 07, 2013 at 05:50 PM (#4365275)
Making fun of Dave Cameron will never go out of style.
   33. ecwcat Posted: February 07, 2013 at 05:57 PM (#4365278)
Love how you guys are gushing, yet ripped the Yanks for CC.
   34. DL from MN Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:07 PM (#4365289)
Or Harmon Killebrew as a Royal
   35. jack47 Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:08 PM (#4365290)
Nothing personal to FPH, but from here this reference is more tired than saying "MY WIFE" like Borat at this point.

BEHOLD! You're risking a patient's life!
   36. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:08 PM (#4365291)

Nothing personal to FPH, but from here this reference is more tired than saying "MY WIFE" like Borat at this point.


Folks like Fancy Pants Handle and Albert Belle need to come up with new material.
   37. Famous Original Joe C Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:09 PM (#4365294)
Making fun of Dave Cameron will never go out of style.


So it seems.
   38. phredbird Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:17 PM (#4365310)
Nah....he'll pitch one or two more years for the Mariners and then the Dodgers will take on his contract

The Mariners would have to chip in at least $80 million for that to happen.


naw, the dodgers will take on all the salary, but only if he tears his labrum or something.

Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander (and their agents) are just rubbing their hands together.


this.
   39. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:20 PM (#4365314)
Surpasses the 7-year, $161M contract the Yankees gave Sabathia--but that one included an opt-out and a full no trade clause.


FWIW, Hernandez has a hair over 7 years of service time, so he'll presumably get his 10 and 5 rights late in the 2015 season. If we treat this like an extension and not a new contract, he'll have full no-trade protection towards the end of the first year of the new deal. That's not a whole lot of added risk to the player, I wouldn't think. He's got bigger problems if he or Seattle falls apart so much that the Mariners want to deal him before he gets no-trade protection.
   40. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:28 PM (#4365322)
Love how you guys are gushing, yet ripped the Yanks for CC.


People here were very harsh on the Yankees over Sabathia. ZIPS was particularly cruel by comparing him to Warren Spahn, then Dan followed up with the uncalled for line "there have been a lot of fat quality pitchers that lasted forever". When Sabathia signed the extension, BBTF was full of nasty comments: "CC could have easily gotten a better deal from several clubs. I hate it when the Yankees catch a break like this." "Good deal for both sides" in #10 was especially brutal. Such nastiness and anti-Yankee hatred!
   41. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:31 PM (#4365324)

Nothing personal to FPH, but from here this reference is more tired than saying "MY WIFE" like Borat at this point.


Are you suggesting ITS A TRAP?
   42. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:44 PM (#4365330)
I think Patsy Cline named her biggest hit after this contract.
   43. Austin Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:56 PM (#4365336)
Felix gets a $5.5M raise for 2013 and a $5M raise for 2014,
as his previous contract paid him $19.5M & $20M, respectively.

The M's apparently don't like to backload contracts under GMZ - good!


This trade raises an interesting question to me. The Mariners spent the offseason trying to obtain high-profile, expensive players (Josh Hamilton and Justin Upton most notably), and have been thwarted. When the dust settled, all of those players had been taken off the market, and all that was left were players that the team didn't want (like Michael Bourn). But failing to get the expensive players left them with tons of room in the payroll. They made a couple of smaller deals (like the Jaso-Morse trade) that made up some of the difference, but they still wound up below their target payroll number. With the Felix contract, it seems that they saw the potential to structure the "extension" so that they would pay more now, when they have spare money to spend, in order to save money in the future.

My question, then, is why teams don't "proactively" restructure contracts more often. It's not uncommon for a team to have designs on spending quite a bit of money in free agency, and then come away empty-handed as they get outbid. In such a case, there may be no players left on the market who represent good value. In this circumstance, why doesn't the GM take the money the owner has budgeted and offer players on multi-year deals the option of getting paid the same amount of money in total, but more of it in the upcoming season and less in the following one(s)? The players should jump at the opportunity, partly because they're getting the money NOWNOWNOW and partly because the money is worth more before it gets hit by inflation. In exchange, the GM gets increased future payroll flexibility without sacrificing much, since there are no players presently on the market that are worth spending the money on instead. Is this a case of the principal-agent problem, where the GM is thinking mostly about winning in the present because he might not be around to see his efforts bear fruit five years in the future? Is it something that the players, agents, or MLBPA would dislike for some reason? Would it be a source of unnecessary distraction or potential clubhouse turmoil?
   44. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: February 07, 2013 at 07:03 PM (#4365340)
Nothing personal to FPH, but from here this reference is more tired than saying "MY WIFE" like Borat at this point.


NOT!
   45. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 07, 2013 at 07:04 PM (#4365343)
I think Patsy Cline named her biggest hit after this contract.


"I Fall To Pieces"?

I guess that makes sense for any contract given out to a pitcher.
   46. Nasty Nate Posted: February 07, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4365349)
In this circumstance, why doesn't the GM take the money the owner has budgeted and offer players on multi-year deals the option of getting paid the same amount of money in total, but more of it in the upcoming season and less in the following one(s)? ... In exchange, the GM gets increased future payroll flexibility without sacrificing much


Are you thinking of a situation, for example, in which the team has Player X under contract for years 2013-2015 for $10 million each year but decides to offer a restructuring of $15m in 2013, $10m in 2014, and $5m in 2015? It doesn't happen because the teams get nothing out of it. They can achieve the flexibility for 2015 by adding what they don't spend from their 2013 to their 2015 budget, and meanwhile make interest on that $5 million.
   47. Austin Posted: February 07, 2013 at 07:30 PM (#4365363)
Well, that's the theory, but my understanding is that in practice, owners don't always do that. Rather, they set a budget for each season and tell the GM to spend it as he sees fit. A GM who isn't worried about his job security might see an opportunity to save for the future if the free agent market only has crap left.
   48. Walt Davis Posted: February 07, 2013 at 08:10 PM (#4365388)
Well, that's the theory, but my understanding is that in practice, owners don't always do that. Rather, they set a budget for each season and tell the GM to spend it as he sees fit.

Yes, this seems to be how it works. But unspent money goes back in the owners' pocket. If the owner is willing to not pocket the money, then it could be saved towards future payroll just as easily.

It's an interesting question but I assume the answer is because an owner will almost never agree to a deal that is obviously not in his financial favor. Of course, given that may have happened here, it's maybe not the best thread for me to assert such a thing but it's possible that Felix would have demanded $28 per year over the extension if the Ms hadn't agreed to the extra front-loading.

But, given the relatively short time periods of MLB contracts, the difference between NPV and raw value is usually not a ton of money. What is it here, about $3 M more than sticking with the existing contract and adding 5/$135? Regardless, the Ms are saving at most $3 M per year in future payroll -- what you can get for $3 M is not likely to have a big impact on the quality of those future M's teams.

The M's apparently don't like to backload contracts under GMZ - good!

This is hard to say. Seems to me a lot of backloaded contracts have worked out well for the teams. Sometimes they work out well because they allow the team to add more talent this year (if they are currently competitive or on the brink). Sometimes they work out well because they are able to trade the guy after the cheap years. The Jays made out like bandits on the Wells contract, the Marlins got out of the "big" money parts of Buehrle and Reyes (and Delgado going further back). In theory, at worst, the trading team ends up having to spend their savings from the cheap years on eating part of the contract of the guy they're trading. Granted, by definition, the player is easier to trade or does less harm to your future payroll if the contract isn't backloaded but you're making less profit up front.

Given the difficulty in predicting the long-range future in baseball, teams are probably better off maximizing their return on a player in the short-term since a) money in hand better than money not in hand; b) you have a much better sense of how good the team is in years 1-3 than years 4-7; c) you have a reasonable chance of getting away from it later while retaining at least some of the profit you made early.

Basically, if Felix's arm falls off while he's still on the Ms, they're eating the entire contract no matter how the contract is structured so that doesn't really play into the decision of how to structure it (it plays into the decision to give him 7 years to begin with obviously). Contract structure is about current vs. future profit (vs. the player's equivalent desire for money in the hand now) and ease of trading later.
   49. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 07, 2013 at 08:58 PM (#4365406)
Mariners were busy today. They have also signed LHP Joe Saunders and C Kelly Shoppach to one-year deals.
   50. DA Baracus Posted: February 07, 2013 at 09:08 PM (#4365409)
Folks like Fancy Pants Handle and Albert Belle need to come up with new material.


AND Mike Crudale.
   51. shoewizard Posted: February 08, 2013 at 01:35 AM (#4365510)
Pitchers 26 or younger , most WAR last 3 seasons. Not so sure being so far out in front in IP is a good thing here. Makes the rate of WAR accumulation worse, and of course may mean he's been a bit overworked.

Rk            Player  WAR   Age   G  GS CG SHO  W  L    IP  BB  SO  ERA ERAHR HBP WP OPSGDP SB CS PO
1    Clayton Kershaw 17.9 22
-24  98  98  8   5 48 24 665.1 198 689 2.56  148 44  15 16   66  40 30 29 28
2    Felix Hernandez 14.8 24
-26 100 100 16   6 40 35 715.1 193 677 2.92  131 50  27 39   78  73 63 20  4
3        David Price 13.2 24
-26  97  96  4   2 51 24 644.0 201 611 2.93  130 53  19 15   78  55 44 22  4
4       Gio Gonzalez 12.0 24
-26  97  97  3   1 52 29 602.0 259 575 3.08  131 41  17 20   74  45 43  8  3
5      Johnny Cueto 11.5 24
-26  88  88  6   2 40 21 558.2 152 412 2.93  140 42  31 11   82  44  5 17 14 


   52. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 08, 2013 at 01:36 AM (#4365511)
Folks like Fancy Pants Handle and Albert Belle need to come up with new material.

I consider this an opportunity for dialogue and education.
   53. smileyy Posted: February 08, 2013 at 03:02 AM (#4365529)
Not so sure being so far out in front in IP is a good thing here. Makes the rate of WAR accumulation worse


Does that phrasing strike anyone else as bizarre? Minimizing starting pitcher innings is the new market inefficiency.
   54. shoewizard Posted: February 08, 2013 at 04:17 AM (#4365534)
Maybe the phrasing was wrong....but WAR is in essence a counting stat, right ? The WAR per IP are all almost exactly the same, (not including Kershaw of course). And the ERA+ is the same between Gio, Price and Felix.

The point I'm trying to make here is the only difference between Price, Gio, and Felix is 1 or 2 WAR, which is essentially all in the extra 25 innings a year Felix has given the Mariners.

Is that worth the difference in salary ? When I say is it a good thing, I'm talking about looking forward, not measuring past value.



   55. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 08, 2013 at 05:32 AM (#4365538)
BTW, while the comment I made about #6 was indeed a joke, the reason I made it was because, off the top of my head, that seemed pretty accurate. Scraping the age requirement from #51 leaves him 7th (0.1 WAR ahead of CC). Just because you are willing to give a younger guy a longer contract, doesn't mean the older guys aren't better.
   56. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: February 08, 2013 at 08:52 AM (#4365547)
Folks like Fancy Pants Handle and Albert Belle need to come up with new material, MR.PRESIDENT!
   57. bunyon Posted: February 08, 2013 at 09:50 AM (#4365559)
Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez has agreed to a seven-year, $175 million contract that should be finalized before spring training, making him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history,

Authorities believe alcohol was involved.
   58. Darren Posted: February 08, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4365564)
For $175M, they're going to be looking to get about 30 WAR out of that deal, which is about what he's got in the past 7 years. That doesn't seem really likely, but I'd bet they'd be pretty happy to get 25 because he's King Felix, Mariner icon and all that.
   59. zonk Posted: February 08, 2013 at 10:33 AM (#4365575)
Option Pay
   60. andrewberg Posted: February 08, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4365687)
Is that worth the difference in salary ? When I say is it a good thing, I'm talking about looking forward, not measuring past value.


That depends on whether you think the durability is repeatable. It seems to me that Felix is no more likely than anyone else on that list to have a catastrophic, career-shattering injury. Short of that, I think his durability is a relative advantage (and you can easily point to his efficiency advantages over Gio and Cueto to explain those two).
   61. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: February 08, 2013 at 02:00 PM (#4365729)
For $175M, they're going to be looking to get about 30 WAR out of that deal, which is about what he's got in the past 7 years. That doesn't seem really likely, but I'd bet they'd be pretty happy to get 25 because he's King Felix, Mariner icon and all that.


With Ichiro! gone, the Mariners need some kind of icon around to keep fans from slipping into a deep, deep depression and potential irrelevancy. The Mariners are in danger of slipping even further in the Seattle sports landscape. The Seahawks are finally good and could possibly be good for a few years, Seattle seems to be on the verge of re-acquiring a basketball team, and the Sounders are more popular than ever. The Mariners just continue to be boring and awful, and with Montero under PED suspicion and no offensive relief in sight, this year doesn't look very promising.
   62. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: February 08, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4365741)
Authorities believe alcohol was involved.


It's okay, her father's the district attorney!
   63. Nasty Nate Posted: February 10, 2013 at 04:31 PM (#4366613)
The deal is on hold.

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