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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez traded to Indians

McBride goes westbound and up.

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies have agreed to trade right-handed starter Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians for pitching prospects Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, and 26-year-old minor league first baseman Matt McBride.

The District Attorney Posted: July 31, 2011 at 12:02 AM | 48 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: indians, rockies

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   1. Mash Wilson Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:06 AM (#3889347)
Pretty weird deal. Not sure Ubaldo's worth it. Is Ubaldo worth it?
   2. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:07 AM (#3889348)
KG via Twitter:

Kevin_Goldstein Kevin Goldstein
Not joking. Sources indicate Ubaldo deal is not done "complications". RT @KrisM615: @Kevin_Goldstein I can't tell if you're joking or not.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:10 AM (#3889352)
Posted in the other thread, but I don't really get this for Cleveland. I know Ubaldo has a number of signed years left on his contract (2013 I believe, with the 2014 option now voided because of the trade), but the Indians aren't really close to contending for a WS this year (they're a game over .500), and I'm not sure I see Ubaldo as the missing piece for 2012...maybe 2013? I guess I just thought Pomeranz and White had a better chance being part of the next good Indians team than Ubaldo. I don't really believe in their current personnel, and I don't think their system is that great that it will be pumping in impact players the next few years - especially now that Pomeranz and White are gone. Seems like a weird time to go all-in, especially with a guy with red flags.
   4. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:38 AM (#3889371)
"One game over .500" is the same as "playoff contender" in the ALC.
   5. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:46 AM (#3889375)
I was hoping Yankees would go for him, but the fact that the Rockies are willing to trade him, he's lost velocity, and they refused a physical seems like a pretty big red flag to me.

Anyway, don't really get this from the Indians' perspective. If Jimenez is healthy I think he'll be great, but seems like a big risk for a team that's not really that good. Seems like a good deal for the Rockies.
   6. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:17 AM (#3889398)
I like this for the Indians. Ubaldo's not a superstar Ace (i think the comparison i the other thread to AJ Burnett is not entirely off base) but he should be very good. With his team-friendly deal for the next three and a half years this is a good one.

On the other hand, the Rox get two players and my take is this deal only works for them if both guys pan out. That's possible but I think it's more likely that neither guy goes on to be as good as Jimenez and even if one of them does, they've traded Jimenez for himself.
   7. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:30 AM (#3889402)
and they refused a physical seems like a pretty big red flag to me.


Well, the Indians deal is pending a physical, which, as far I know, is the way all deals are, so the Yanks' request is odd and something I wouldn't have granted if I were the Rockies.
   8. Spivey Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:33 AM (#3889405)
Ubaldo Jimenez has proven to be one of the better/best pitchers in baseball the last few years, and the AL Central is wide open. I like this deal, a lot, for Cleveland unless they have particular reason to believe Ubaldo is hurt. I haven't been following him enough to tell, but this year is wide open, and when you have a chance to make a run for a pennant - especially when you're a so-so team - and you're not mortgaging your future, you do it.
   9. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:33 AM (#3889406)
Well, the Indians deal is pending a physical, which, as far I know, is the way all deals are, so the Yanks' request is odd and something I wouldn't have granted if I were the Rockies.


Doesn't sound like there was going to be one originally.

From Kevin Goldstein's twitter account:
Source: Ubaldo deal 100% not done, teams still talking, start threw wrench into things.


Deals happen all of the time at this time of the year with no physical. Physical for Ubaldo is the wrench created by the 45 pitch inning.
   10. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:39 AM (#3889409)
well, then I'm wrong. Not the first time and not the last.
   11. puck Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:24 AM (#3889435)
This trade makes me sad. Ubaldo is one of those guys who's fun to root for. He was signed to the Rockies' Dominican academy (I believe at that time they shared the campus with the Indians), and overcame control issues. He's said to be one of the hardest workers on the Rockies.

Joe Gardner is also involved in this deal. He doesn't seem like much (K rate has dropped to 5.5/9 at AA Akron), is he?

I guess the Rockies preferred the two in the bush to the bird in hand.
   12. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:40 AM (#3889442)
This trade makes me sad. Ubaldo is one of those guys who's fun to root for. He was signed to the Rockies' Dominican academy (I believe at that time they shared the campus with the Indians), and overcame control issues. He's said to be one of the hardest workers on the Rockies.


He's also far and away the greatest pitcher in franchise history, at the age of 27.
   13. puck Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:51 AM (#3889446)
Aaron Cook's career marks are safe!
   14. The Pequod Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:23 AM (#3889455)
I get why people don't like this deal for the Indians, but as a Tribe fan I love it.

I'll start by saying that I haven't had much faith in the front office for a few years. I just feel like there's not a winning strategy: the drafts haven't been great, it's clear that Dolan isn't going to spend, and the CC and Lee trades don't seem to have yielded much... so the way to a pennant is to rob dumbass GMs blind of guys like Asdrubal, Choo, and Santana? That just doesn't seem sustainable to me.

Drew Pomeranz is a good prospect, but probably isn't a great one. KLaw calls him a potential #2, if things break right. He's got some serious value. Alex White is probably a (pretty good) reliever. Brad Grant, Indians director of amateur scouting, made a huge PR boner and admitted as much on draft day. Gardner sounds like an okay prospect...cast from the same mold as every other okay, soft-tossing starting pitcher they've produced in the past five years. Whoop. McBride is a zero.

On the upside, Jiminez is the ace the Indians won't sign in free agency and will have a have a very hard time drafting and developing. He's signed to a very cheap deal for several years. It's hard to imagine them not getting a package similar to this one in a couple of years if he's good. On the down side, he's hurt and average or so, and probably nets an Alex White/Joe Gardner-like return on reputation alone. So to me it seems like the risk is Pomeranz and time.

Yeah, I don't think the Indians are a great team this year. But after watching very good Indians teams play like utter crap during the Wedge years, I've come around to believing that you have to strike while the iron's hot (or at least lukewarm)...and while the divisional competition's weak.

I've said over and over again that Indians fans will come back when the team wins, but honestly I have a hard time with that argument anymore. These are fans that have watched Belle, Ramirez, Thome, Colon, CC, and Lee (not to mention other guys casual fans viewed as stars, like Kevin Millwood and Juan Gonzalez) walk or be traded because they were told that the Indians just can't afford to keep them. They've watched the Indians barely miss out on Pedro, Schilling, Johnson, and others because the front office wouldn't pull the trigger, and the team still hasn't won a championship since 1948. I won't argue that these were the wrong moves, but the casual fan doesn't see the "correct" process...they see the circumstances and the results, and let's be honest -- both have been shitty.

I'll concede that this isn't the optimal strategy for the Indians. But I didn't see them as on the path to building a juggernaut to begin with, so if they're going to roll the dice and trade a couple of very good prospects for a maybe ace, so be it. I think it's probably a good baseball move as far as value goes, the division is weak, and it's the first good PR move the team has made in years.

So where am I wrong? Rip me to shreds, please.
   15. puck Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:42 AM (#3889461)
Sickels on the prospects the Indians sent over. Gardner is said to throw a hard sinker, which I guess explains at least some of his low HR rates. White is also said to have sink to his fastball...the Rockies like sinking fastballs.
   16. zachtoma Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:47 AM (#3889463)
I'm on board the Pequod. It makes one wonder if this crowd would ever approve of trading prospects - apparently not even for a 27 year-old ace who was worth 7 WAR last year and is signed to a good deal. It's hard to see as much upside in Pomeranz/White as Ubaldo has already demonstrated in his career. Prospects all have the lustre of youthful promise, and since we've fetisheized drafting/development so much, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that most top pitching prospects go on to be hurt, or to be competent if underwhelming big leaguers like Jeff D'Amico or Jeff Suppan (BA Top 100 1996). I really wasn't expecting the Indians to be buyers at this juncture, and I wasn't expecting Jimenez to be on the market at all, but it's very likely that they got the best player in this deal. It's the timing that doesn't square up, not the prospects going the other way - hopefully they won't settle for a fluke sneaking in to the playoffs kind of year, but will actually build a good team before Ubaldo's a FA.
   17. rr Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:52 AM (#3889477)
Just read Law at ESPN; he thinks this deal sucks for both squads.
   18. Baldrick Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:18 AM (#3889483)
I wish we didn't live in a world where contract assessments were the primary basis for assessing such trades.

Ubaldo is potentially great. It's cool that a team would want to trade for him.

I get that it's not this simple, but I wish it could be.
   19. zachtoma Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:46 AM (#3889485)
I kind of feel like there's been too much emphasis on the idea of the "value", ie what is a player worth compared to his contract, so that guys being paid their market rate are seen more as potential liabilities than real assets. There's a discomfort with the very idea that sometimes good players are expensive. Honestly, a pitcher like Ubaldo* at 15 million a year (his final option year in 2014, I think) is still much more to a team than a league average pitcher at the minimum salary. You go after the cheap guys to fill the middle and the bottom of the roster so that you can carry players like Ubaldo. You hate to see a team hamstring itself with bad contracts, but at the same time, teams need to build around good players. They don't give out a trophy to the team that saves the most money - it's an advantage to be efficient, but it's not the end in itself (though you'd never guess it by reading, oh, fangraphs).

*Assuming he is 09-10 Ubaldo still, there are the injury concerns and velocity drop.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: July 31, 2011 at 10:06 AM (#3889496)
Now that I look at the contract then, as long as his arm is still attached, this is a great trade for the Indians. They get him 2012-14 (the latter two being option years) for 3/$18 -- that's like Jason Marquis money. Absolutely I take that risk since it's not really much of a risk -- if he can give them 300 innings of league average over the the next three years, that's pretty close to break even. Anything above that is more than they'd likely get out of the prospects.
   21. Bob Evans Posted: July 31, 2011 at 12:29 PM (#3889501)
Yeah, I don't think the Indians are a great team this year. But after watching very good Indians teams play like utter crap during the Wedge years, I've come around to believing that you have to strike while the iron's hot (or at least lukewarm)...and while the divisional competition's weak.

Yes. It seems odd to be all in when you're a .500 ballclub, but this could be the year, so why not?
   22. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 31, 2011 at 12:30 PM (#3889502)
Zach-

It may be the case that saber types overemphasize value as measured in $$/win. However, if you want to argue in favor of trading for Ubaldo, $$/win is your new best friend. Jimenez' contract is crazy good.
   23. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: July 31, 2011 at 01:00 PM (#3889515)
Going back a bit:

Alex White is probably a (pretty good) reliever.


I see White as a starter, a good bet to be a #3/4 with #2 upside if everything goes well. He's had four pitches since his college days, he's a reasonably big guy, I don't know of any stamina issues with him, and when he's going good he's a ground ball machine. He needs to improve his control a shade, and of course you never know with pitchers, but it would be a disappointment if he ended up as a setup reliever. Doesn't mean I wouldn't trade him in a package for Jimenez, but I think you were selling him a bit short here.
   24. BDC Posted: July 31, 2011 at 01:09 PM (#3889518)
this could be the year, so why not?

I've never thought that deadline trades were worth much to supposed contenders, but watching Cliff Lee in last year's playoffs made me a bit more of a believer. Lee didn't actually help the Rangers much down the stretch, and they needed a lot less help than the Indians will need this year, but if there's a chance that Jimenez can both help Cleveland win a division and then come out as Lee did and shut some teams down in the postseason, this could be a memorable trade. If, if, if :)
   25. The Pequod Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:58 PM (#3889592)
Just read Law at ESPN; he thinks this deal sucks for both squads.


I almost always agree with KLaw, but I think he's a pretty rigid in the way he evaluates moves. His perspective is basically that the path to contention is to out-draft and out-scout, make cold personnel decisions, strip it down if you're not a serious contender, etc. The goal is to build a core that sets you up as a perpetual contender and take as many shots at the playoff crapshoot as possible, and anything that doesn't work towards that goal is bad process.

But what if the front office can't make it work? The Indians have tried awfully hard to do the perpetual contention machine trick for the last decade-plus and it's resulted in one good playoff run, three finishes above .500 in the last ten years, and an absolutely devastated fan base. To top it off, the team's supposedly fine young core evaporated almost immediately after the 2007 near-miss, despite the sudden emergence of Cliff Lee, #1 starter.

Yeah, if they'd drafted better (consider that no first rounder since CC in 1998 has made a serious positive contribution), The Plan probably would've worked out better. But then again, the ridiculous, overwhelming success in trades was not a part of The Plan to begin with. Basically, if you say "over the long haul, they'll draft better", I'd argue that "over the long haul, they won't be able to pick up Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, and Carlos Santana for Ben Broussard, Eduardo Perez, and Casey Blake".

Anyway, this feels more like a Kenny Williams move than a John Hart or Mark Shapiro move. As I said, I think it's a good baseball trade on value, it's interesting, it throws the casual fan a bone, and, perhaps most importantly, I didn't see the Indians building the KLaw/"intelligent fan"/BBTF poster's wet dream player development juggernaut anyway.
   26. puck Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:45 PM (#3889626)
The Keith Law article is an insider one, right? How does trading for Ubaldo hurt that cause, given his contract? Did he think they should have traded for offense instead? Or does he think it's that easy to time a team's success cycles, since he's citing their run differential this season?

From the Rockies side, I feel a little better knowing White and Gardner get a lot of sink on the ball, as the Rockies have had good success with such pitchers. But it still seems like a gamble they didn't have to make, and they still have issues on offense.
   27. PreservedFish Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:00 PM (#3889640)
I'm on board the Pequod.


Terrific!
   28. Honkie Kong Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:57 PM (#3889682)
I'm on board the Pequod.


Terrific!


Well, you will be the first to be exterminated.
   29. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:41 PM (#3889700)
So, why did COL want Ubaldo gone? Hard to eval deal w/o more info there...
1st thought: probably worth it for cle, even if they aren't at an optimal place in the "success cycle" (a concept I like in theory, but I think is less straight forward to determine in practice).
Not as keen on it for COL, though if Pom and White pan out that'd be swell...
   30. Dan Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:49 PM (#3889704)
Richard Justice claims Wandy's headed to the Indians.
   31. puck Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:54 PM (#3889707)
So, why did COL want Ubaldo gone? Hard to eval deal w/o more info there...


It depends on whether you believe the NY beat writers or the Denver ones? There were lots of tweets from NY writers about how Ubaldo was a malcontent and stuff like that, but none of the Denver writers reported a hint of that.

The story from the Denver side is that the Rockies were willing to move him if they could make a "Herschel Walker" deal due to the barrenness of the farm system. I guess getting White, Pomeranz and the two other guys qualified. If there are injury concerns about Jimenez, it never slipped, and that question was asked often during Ubaldo's rough April/May and due to his drop in velocity.

The beat writers and tv guys also constantly talked about the weakness of the rotation.
   32. puck Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:00 PM (#3889714)
When's the deadline, btw? 4PM eastern?

I'm surprised there haven't been other Rockies deals. I thought they'd trade a reliever. They don't really have to move anyone for payroll reasons, though, so I guess they can wait for a deal they like.
   33. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:14 PM (#3889721)
They're kind of in it aren't they? I guess trading Ubaldo hurts that, but I don't think there's going to be a large scale fire sale.

The 1B McBride kid they got in the deal is hurt supposedly (eye fracture?), although its not considered major.
   34. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:24 PM (#3889728)
When's the deadline, btw? 4PM eastern?


Yep.

-- MWE
   35. rr Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:30 PM (#3889731)
Or does he think it's that easy to time a team's success cycles, since he's citing their run differential this season?


Pretty much. The short nuance-free version is that he doesn't really see the Indians as contenders, and sees their start and current standing as a schedule-driven fluke. Long-term, he is not sure they will get enough from Jimenez, even with a good contract.

As to Colorado, he sees them as a team that can be in the race in the NL West the next 2-3 years. NL West is not great; Rockies have a cornerstone player in Tulowitzki etc.

I agree with the second part. I am assumimg COL thinks Jimenez is headed for trouble; otherwise, I can't see this from their POV.
   36. puck Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:43 PM (#3889742)
As to Colorado, he sees them as a team that can be in the race in the NL West the next 2-3 years. NL West is not great; Rockies have a cornerstone player in Tulowitzki etc.

I agree with the second part. I am assumimg COL thinks Jimenez is headed for trouble; otherwise, I can't see this from their POV.


I dunno. I guess I can see this from the team's POV absent injury concerns. They've been decidedly mediocre this season and last. They had Tulo, Gonzalez (who I think could play center but maybe the team disagrees, or thinks he'd get hurt), and Ubaldo. Chacin has had a good year. Where else is the improvement coming from? I can see how they'd gamble on flipping Ubaldo for a chance at two decent to good starters plus a 3rd back of the rotation guy or bullpen guy.
   37. puck Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:47 PM (#3889749)
They're kind of in it aren't they?


10 games out, and they've been stinky since May.

I guess trading Ubaldo hurts that, but I don't think there's going to be a large scale fire sale.


No need for a fire sale, that's why I don't think they have to do anything. There aren't really any bad contracts. They do have a relative surplus at reliever and teams are often looking for relievers at the deadline, so I'm sure they're shopping some of them.

There have been rumors about Ian Stewart and Chris Iannetta but it doesn't seem like they'd receive much in return for them. But I get the sense they're done w/Stewart.
   38. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 31, 2011 at 08:08 PM (#3889769)
There have been rumors about Ian Stewart and Chris Iannetta but it doesn't seem like they'd receive much in return for them. But I get the sense they're done w/Stewart.


I love Ian Stewart, but I seem to be the last person in the Mountain Time Zone who does.

I like the fact that Wigginton has been on the bench the past week or so. I wish they'd included him in the Jimenez trade, just to get him off the roster. If they're really building for the long haul, the last thing they need is a 33-year-old journeyman stiff in the lineup.
   39. Walt Davis Posted: July 31, 2011 at 08:19 PM (#3889781)
Thing is, barring injury, the Indians can trade Jimenez over the next couple of years if the team regresses.

I don't have a problem with "success cycle" as long as we realize it's not a cycle and we really mean something like a success curve (think a flattish, downward-facing, parabola. That is, based on what you've got on hand now, you understand your chances for short- and long-term success and you plan accordingly. Say the 2011 Cubs who seemingly had an OK shot at a crappy division so, fine, add a Carlos Pena. But when that doesn't work you have to realize that you're on the part of the curve that bends sharply downward (cuz you're an old team) and you blow it up.

The main difference between the "cycle" and the "curve" being that, with good developing, trades and wise FA spending/extensions, you can keep yourself in the good part of the curve for a long time (Yankees, Braves upon a time) and also prevent yourself from ever hitting the really sucky ends of the curve. On the "cycle", you're stuck going round and round -- and that's clearly not the case.

The Cubs -- not being a team known for its good development, good trades and wise FA spending/extensions -- have screwed themselves. Other teams, due to low payroll, don't have the spending option to either maintain in the middle of the curve or to keep from occasionally visiting one of the sucky ends.
   40. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 08:30 PM (#3889806)

Thing is, barring injury, the Indians can trade Jimenez over the next couple of years if the team regresses.


Excellent point being overlooked.

OTOH, does it seem like the Royals got more for 2 years of Greinke, with their hand forced, than the Rox got for 2.5 years of Ubaldo?
   41. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 09:06 PM (#3889838)
OTOH, does it seem like the Royals got more for 2 years of Greinke, with their hand forced, than the Rox got for 2.5 years of Ubaldo?


I think the Indians got the most talented player back in exchange for their ace. I wouldn't swamp Drew Pomeranz
for Lorenzo Cain or Jake Ozorizzi or anyone else the Royals received for Greinke. Not that I'm a particular expert on either of those players but a 22 year-old lefty starter with moving mid-90s heat and a good curveball was probably pretty appealing to the Rockies scouting department. Plus there's his Ole Miss pedigree, you can't underestimate the positive effect of adding a Southern gentleman like Pomeranz to a clubhouse.
   42. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 31, 2011 at 09:14 PM (#3889841)
They're kind of in it aren't they?


By my count, the Rockies have a grand total of three legitimate major league starters in their lineup today: Fowler, Helton and Tulowitzki.

Of the other six, four started the season in the minors, one is mostly a career backup (Spilborghs), and one is a sucky journeyman who needs to be released (Wigginton). The Rockies aren't in anything.
   43. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 09:32 PM (#3889859)
Reading the letters to the Denver Post, most of which were critical of the trade, I didn't see anyone really arguing that the trade was bad because the Rockies were still in the race this season. Obviously anything can happen and lightning can fit in any bottle but there's been a general sense of resignation about this team since June, their hot start entirely forgotten by now.
   44. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 31, 2011 at 09:52 PM (#3889879)
Reading the letters to the Denver Post, most of which were critical of the trade, I didn't see anyone really arguing that the trade was bad because the Rockies were still in the race this season.


My reservations about the trade have nothing to do with this season, but with the fact that there's no powerhouse in the division and the Rockies still have a lot of young talent on the roster. There's no reason they shouldn't be in contention in 2012 and 2013. Ubaldo could easily have been a part of that.
   45. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 10:05 PM (#3889882)
OTOH, does it seem like the Royals got more for 2 years of Greinke, with their hand forced, than the Rox got for 2.5 years of Ubaldo?


Not if, as is likely, Pomeranz is the PTBNL.
   46. puck Posted: July 31, 2011 at 10:34 PM (#3889905)
Renck/Denver Post article on O'Dowd's motives for making the trade:

General manager Dan O'Dowd knows what a talent Ubaldo Jimenez is. But what will he be in the future? After watching his ace go 10-16 with a 4.19 ERA over the last 13 months, the Rockies' boss felt it best to trade him now to maximize his value.

"This isn't rebuilding, this is restocking," O'Dowd said today. "Even if we were 10 games up instead of 10 games back, it would have been hard to say no to this deal."
   47. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:37 AM (#3890020)
"This isn't rebuilding, this is restocking," O'Dowd said today. "Even if we were 10 games up instead of 10 games back, it would have been hard to say no to this deal."


Except the fanbase would have murdered you if you were 10 games up.
   48. Something Other Posted: August 02, 2011 at 10:43 PM (#3891402)
Richard Justice claims Wandy's headed to the Indians.
Holy canoli. Indians are getting serious about this whole "winning" thing.

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