Tag Archive | "Tactic"

Royals Fans Feel Duped

Kansas City Royals fans woke up to an exciting email in their inbox today, they had been given the opportunity to purchase Opening Day tickets.  Once they opened the email, frustration set in very quickly.

The subject line of the email gave fans reason to get fired up, it read “Your Royals Opening Day Ticket Opportunity”.  Many fans had signed up recently for the opportunity to purchase tickets to the Royals home opener and most jumped quickly to the assumption that their name had been drawn in that regard.

Unfortunately, the subject line did not match the body of the email.  As overjoyed fans opened the email to see what they needed to do to ensure their seat at the home opener, they found the following text:


“You are receiving an exclusive opportunity to purchase tickets to every 2013 game, excluding Opening Day, today! Buy tickets before the rush!”

That’s right, the email that stated it contained your opportunity for Opening Day tickets revealed that it, in fact, contained your opportunity to buy tickets to anything except opening day.

Fans have taken to social media with their displeasure with the club over what some are calling a “bait and switch” tactic.  Many felt slighted and wondered how the club could provide an email with such a glaring oversight.  Many seem to feel this is “par for the course” with the Royals business over the last few seasons.

There is a lot of excitement around the Royals going into 2013.  The team should take notice and make sure they are not coming across as “the same old Royals”.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

Posted in I-70 Baseball Exclusives, RoyalsComments (0)

St. Louis Cardinals might be smart to re-sign Kyle Lohse

The St. Louis Cardinals have a solid starting rotation that includes two ace-caliber pitchers, a couple of decent No. 3 and No. 4 starters, and a bevy of young flamethrowers. However, they might be in better shape if they re-sign their best starter from last year – Kyle Lohse.

Photo By Erika Lynn

Photo By Erika Lynn

Lohse posted a 16-3 record with a team-leading 2.84 earned-run average and was a strong candidate for the Cy Young Award in 2012. His contract expired at the end of the season, but no team has shown any strong interest in signing the 34-year-old righthander.

Part of the problem for Lohse could be a new system put in place by Major League Baseball in 2011 that gives teams compensation picks if they make qualifying offers to their free agents and those players are signed by another team. Teams have recently been more reluctant to sign a high-priced free agent because they’ll have to give up a draft pick and a portion of their draft money.

Perhaps his asking price is simply too high. Scott Boras represents Lohse, and Boras is known to try any imaginable tactic to drive up the price for teams to sign his clients. This strategy cost Lohse the last time he was a free agent.

Lohse put together a 9-12 record in 2007 with the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies, but he hit the open market that offseason looking for a big, multi-year contract. As Spring Training camps opened in 2008, Lohse was still hunting for a job when the Cardinals signed him to a one-year, $4.25-million deal that was designed to be an opportunity for Lohse to try to maximize his value for the following offseason.

It worked. Lohse went 15-6 with a 3.78 ERA in 2008, and the Cardinals re-signed him to a four-year, $41-million extension later that season.

The Cardinals might be reluctant to sign Lohse because they want the compensation draft pick, which would be cheaper to sign than a free agent pitcher. But, the franchise could find short- and long-term benefits if they re-sign Lohse.

Lohse could return to the Cardinals with a fairly reasonable deal since no other teams have stepped forward with an offer, and the move could help them beyond next year if Adam Wainwright decides to leave as a free agent. Wainwright is going to command at least a near-record contract if he has a good season, and he is almost certainly going to be more expensive than Lohse.

Theoretically, the Cardinals could sign Lohse to a contract in the neighborhood of four years and as much as $70-80 million. That would still likely be less than half of what Wainwright will make in his next contract. Plus, the Cardinals have several young pitchers who could fill rotation spots if Wainwright decides to leave.

If all that were to happen, the Cardinals could open the 2014 and 2015 seasons with a rotation led by Lohse, followed by Jaime Garcia, Joe Kelly, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller. That also doesn’t include pitchers such as Trevor Rosenthal or Carlos Martinez.

Granted, that would be a very young rotation, and Garcia’s shoulder problems remain a question at this point. But, there is undoubtedly enough talent in that rotation for the team to be successful, and it would be a heck of a lot cheaper than keeping Wainwright.

Some people might say re-signing Lohse this year is unreasonable, but it could pay off in the long term. The Cardinals would have much more money to spend on a solid middle infielder and veteran players who often play key roles that help win games late in the regular season and playoffs.

Although Lohse’s contract this year could create some sticker shock, it would be minimal compared to the gasping-for-air feeling Cardinals fans could experience if the team tries to sign Wainwright to a long-term contract next year.

Posted in CardinalsComments (0)

Quite a week

The last few days have been game-changers for the St. Louis Cardinals and, really, all of baseball.

The Yadier Molina Effect
This week, the Cards signed their all-star catcher to a five year, $75 million extension. It is one of the biggest deals for a catcher in baseball history, and ranks among the top contracts ever given out by the Cardinals. The two sides completed the deal just days after Molina’s agent laid out a familiar refrain that the player would not negotiate once the regular season started. This would have all but guaranteed Molina would test the free agent market after the 2012 season.

The progression of events was becoming strikingly similar to what the Cards went through with Albert Pujols before the 2011 season, so they struck while they still could. Molina anchors the pitching staff and is the de facto on-field manager. He controls the running game like no other catcher in the league. He is a clutch hitter and a leader in the clubhouse. Losing him—especially while the departure of Pujols was still so recent—would have been devastating to the franchise.

But the deal also had a ripple effect across the league. Almost immediately, other pending free agent backstops like Russell Martin and Miguel Montero decided to stop talking with their respective teams about contract extensions. While Molina has virtually no peer defensively, a number of catchers put up better offensive numbers and will likely use the deal given by the Cards as a basis for their demands.

The Cardinals may have slightly overpaid on this deal, but that’s not uncommon when trying to keep a player in his prime off the free agent market. But it’s curious that Molina and his agent would employ the same tactic Pujols’ camp did by setting a deadline for the end of negotiations. Was Molina coached by more than his agent on this move? Was he just imitating his friend’s tactics from the year before? Or is this the new way to entice a club into pulling the trigger sooner on a deal they know they have to make anyway? Time will tell…

Another Wild Card
Also this week, Major League Baseball expanded the postseason by adding an additional Wild Card team to each league. Starting with the 2012 postseason, the two Wild Card teams in each league will play in a one-game elimination playoff with the winner moving on to play the team with the best record in the league. For this year only, the Division Series also has to be altered so the lower-ranked team plays the first two games at home and the higher-ranked team plays the next three at home because of scheduling and travel complications.

Obviously this gives all teams in the majors a better shot at postseason play. And MLB is most definitely also trying to capture more of the drama that is a one-game elimination playoff, which has at times proven to be some of the most exciting baseball of the year.

But is this a watering down of the MLB playoff system? In the last 20 years, the league has more than doubled the number of teams allowed into postseason play. Are they simply trying to manufacture drama at this point?
Once the details of the plans were released, the internet was buzzing with scenarios and “what-ifs” regarding both the past and present. For instance, the drama surrounding Game 162 in 2011 would not have existed if the new rules were in play. Both the Cardinals and Braves would have been in on the last day of the season and preparing for their one game playoff to determine who met the Phillies. The Red Sox and Rays would have been in a similar scenario over in the AL. And as we all know very well, anything can happen in one baseball game.

The flip side, of course, is that the expanded opportunity is a good thing for teams that always seem to be on the cusp but can’t quite break through. The Toronto Blue Jays come to mind. But imagine a playoff bracket with three teams from one division getting in. Seems strange, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s only strange for the teams that still can’t seem to find their way into October.

Because we all know if the Cardinals end up being the second Wild Card team in 2012, this will be the best thing MLB has ever done, right? I think I like their chances even more now…

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