143 Games Later

Once again, the Padres shocked MLB by extending Fernando Tatis Jr. to a 14 year 340 million dollar extension which makes it the third largest contract in baseball history (Mike Trout & Mookie Betts). As a diehard Friar fan I am ecstatic but remain cautiously optimistic. Before I talk Tatis Jr., I want to give some love to the man who has changed the Padres culture. That would be A.J. Preller.

Preller joined the Padres on August 6th, 2014. The Padres were bad in 2014, where they finished with a record of 77-85. San Diego is considered a small market team and are used to having cheap owners. Not much was expected from Preller because of the misery that looms over San Diego sports. Preller, the former GM for the Texas Rangers, played a large role during the 2010-11 World Series runs Texas had. A.J. promised fans he had a plan. His first batch of moves was to trade top end farm talent like pitcher Max Fried (Braves) & shortstop Trea Turner (Nationals). The Pads in return got Wil Myers and Justin Upton. He wasn’t done there. Preller called the Dodgers and made a deal to bring in LA’s beloved Matt Kemp for Yasmani Grandal and prospects. Let’s not forget about free agent signing of big game James Shields to a 4 year 75 million dollar contract. For the first time since 1998, there was true excitement for Padre fans. They took over headlines and were projected in the playoff hunt which is foreign to the Pads. Preller let San Diego know that he was not afraid to trade, sign free agents, and take some risk. Traits that are necessary to have success.

2015 ended up being a disaster. Matt Kemp’s trade almost did not go through because he did not pass his physical the first time (arthritis). Kemp ended up not being the MVP candidate he used to be in his prime. Justin Upton was subpar at best and Wil Myers only played 60 games. It was easy to go down a dark rabbit hole and convince yourself that the Padres are forever cursed like the Chargers. Meanwhile, Yasmani Grandal became a top offensive catcher, Max Fried prospered through the minors and Trea Turner bursted out onto the scene in 2016.

Preller had to act. Quickly, he came up with a rebuild plan that originally upset fans at the time because that has been the Padres story of the 00’s. Have a great farm system and trade away superstar players like (Anthony Rizzo, Trea Turner, Corey Kluber…) and the rest never come to fruition. James Shields was having an OK year but had a good enough resume to be traded to a potential contender. June 4th, 2016 the Padres are 11.5 games back, have depleted their farm system, and then the greatest possible thing happened. The Padres ate half of James Shields contract and traded him to the WhiteSox for a few prospects including 17 year shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.

Preller went full rebuild mode. It was similar how the Astros built their Championship caliber team (that was before the trash cans). They spent money internationally, drafted well, continued making trades and brought in key free agents that used to be considered impossible for a “small market team”. After the 2017 season, Preller signed Eric Hosmer to an 8yr/144 million contract that was the largest in Padres history. 2018 was another rebuilding year but that offseason Preller doubled down. February 21st, 2019 Manny Machado signed a 10yr/300 million dollar contract. The Padres had been one of the lower payroll teams for so long and signing well known superstars in the league made Gaslamp Quarter giddy. The number two overall prospect Fernando Tatis Jr., was ready but many wondered if he would stay in the minor leagues for a month to get an extra year of eligibility. Recent examples of teams manipulating service time are how the Blue Jays waited to call up Valddy Jr. and the Cubs doing the same to Kris Bryant.

Eric Hosmer and Machado talked to A.J. saying that they should start Tatis on Opening Day and send a message to the team, city, and MLB that the Friar’s are going for it now. A.J. took advice from his 444 million dollar investments. Tatis Jr. played opening day and immediately San Diego fell in love. Even the way he walks is charismatic. Tatis Jr. would have won rookie of the year but only played 84 games. There was nothing to dislike about the energy and dominance he brought as a 20 year old. I remember saying the only other person I have watched enough and have this much impact on a game is Mike Trout. I no longer feel crazy believing that. Despite bringing in Machado and Tatis (for a half season) 2019 ended like most seasons, last place in the NL West. However, unlike 2015 Padres, there was a core of legit superstars this time. Hope has arrived.

A.J. kept busy making moves for 2020. They added: Trent Grisham, Drew Pomeranz, Tommy Pham, and rookie of the year runner-up Jake Cronenworth. There were flashes of pure dominance… remember Slam Diego. They were “controversial” when Tatis swung at a 3-0 pitch. They had the 2nd best record in the NL. It was Padres, Tatis & Machado, it was brown and gold. In a shortened season, many thought teams would be skeptical making trades. The Padres didn’t care and made several. They brought in Mike Clevinger (missing 2021 season), Mitch Moreland, Jason Castro, Austin Nola, and Trevor Rosenthal. For the first time since 2006 they played in a playoff game. There were playoff moments (Tatis bat flip) which is now the cover of MLB the Show. Unfortunately, it ended to the lame ass Dodgers but watching tempers flare got me pumped up. I will do whatever I need to do to protect Machado, Tatis, Preller, and the rest of the Padres. It is my duty.

All of that led to the Pads going all in and acquiring Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, Ha Seong Kim and Joe Musgrove this offseason. They no longer have a top 3 farm system but still have 4 of the top 100 prospects. This is what A.J.’s promise was to San Diego and starting this year the pressure is on.

Now if you have made it this far bless you. You are a true Friar and I appreciate you. I am going to debunk some anti Tatis contract theories. Now why is this Tatis contract good? Simple, you have the potential face of baseball locked up until he is 35. I am hearing a lot of “well look at what Pujols and Hamilton did to the Angels!” “Long contracts never work out!” What I have to say to that is, you are right. Those contracts were detrimental and there is no defending that except here is the difference. Albert Pujols, Robby Cano and Josh Hamilton were all 31-32 years old when they signed. Tatis is a decade younger. The point is people thought an athletes prime used to be roughly 28-32 years old. That has not been the trend over the past 30 years. Check out: Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Juan Soto, Ronald Acuna, Trevor Story, Alex Bregman, Manny Machado, Nolan Arenado, Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Derek Jeter, Ken Griffey Jr, Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux, Roy Halladay… Pujols, Hamilton, and Cano were also amazing in there 20’s. Signing Tatis and getting him for his best years and still only being 35 when his contract expires is completely different than signing a 32 year old free agent to a mega deal.

This is the second common question I hear, “Well they could have waited 3 more years and kept him under team control.” Again, yes that is true and what virtually every team has done to this point besides the Ronald Acuna deal a few years back (8yr/100 million, what a steal). Remember when Mookie was traded last year? Or when the Indians traded Francicso Lindor to the Mets this year? As a fan of MLB who likes that? When you draft or sign a player like Betts or Lindor, what else do you want? I mean seriously, how many times do you hit and draft someone with the talent of a Betts/Lindor or any superstar? It is not good for the game and it seems like more teams are doing the Rays approach where you trade your talent away to avoid paying big money for young prospects then flip them in a year. Now other owners find themselves in a unique spot where players like Juan Soto, Trevor Story, & Javy Baez are smiling knowing that they have leverage now, thanks to Preller and Tatis. Maybe in a couple of years if the Nats don’t offer you what you like, call Mr. Preller. Just a thought Mr. Soto. Ya know sometimes when you know you have a generational talent it is smart to make the individual/ fanbase happy before others can get to them.

“Well he’s only played one season basically.” That is also true and this is why I remain optimistically cautious. Nobody can predict injuries but with any investment there is always going to be some risk. I could say the same thing about Trout, Mookie, and Manny. They could all get hurt and not be worth their contract. Tatis could get injured or maybe he will not perform to expectations. It is only a 143 game sample size after all but seeing how young stars have flourished makes me feel confident Tatis is no different.

This is what I believe the plan is. Gamble on Tatis as the face of the franchise/ baseball so regardless he is selling seats and merchandise. Tatis will be making an annual of 24.2 million per year which will be an absolute bargain down the road. Snell, Darvish, and others will be off the books soon. Hosmer’s contract was front-loaded so 13 million per year after 2022 is not going to kill the Pads. They have more studs coming up (Gore & CJ Abrams) and by then they wont have to worry about getting into a bidding war with Tatis Jr. in free agency. They will have Machado, they will have Hosmer and now Tatis Jr. joins. Beyond those three after 3-4 years they have no significant money invested elsewhere. That is when you can pay the Mackenzie Gore’s of the world. In other words, the cycle will continue if Tatis Jr. stays on his current path. Agree or disagree A.J., has made the Padres relevant, sparked hope and built a culture that has been missing since Mr. Padre himself, Tony Gwynn. Tatis Jr. said he wants to be the Derek Jeter of San Diego and to have a statue of him. That is quite an aspiration for a 22 year old. But why not? When Fernando does anything, it’s always big. Go and get that cake for us. Well played Preller. Go Dads.


Big Dawg’s Three

Three things over the past week:

Trevor Bauer:  This is the the biggest thing that happened in the baseball world the past week. The reigning champs got the reigning Cy Young winner.   That just does not happen, especially when he is slated as a number three starter. The Dodgers were already the deepest team, kinda by a lot, and adding Trevor makes this team an empire.  Dustin May is an absolute stud and that is the Dodgers 7th/8th option…  I am trying to think of a team that compares to the starpower and depth the Dodgers have… ever. They are the best baseball team I have seen.  Last year, they cruised through the entire season without David Price (former Cy Young winner) and he will probably be their 5th starter, unless traded.  I get zero joy talking about how good the Dodgers are but adding Mookie Betts, David Price, and Trevor Bauer in a year on top of an already World Series Caliber team, is just stupid.  The Dodgers have the potential to go on a 1998-2000 run like the Yankees.

Love him or hate him, Bauer will be the highest paid player for the next two seasons.  He will literally earn over a million dollars every start (good or bad). Trust me when I say, nothing would make me happier watching the Dodgers meltdown and choke.  I will manifest that into existence. MLB fans believe the Dodgers and Padres can be the new Yankees/Red Sox rivalry over the next five years.  I agree, but the Padres are going to have to win to make it a rivalry.  Currently, the only advantage the Padres have is that “the hungry dog runs faster,” one of my favorite quotes. Baseball is weird so keep your heads-up Padre fans. This city is starving and the Pads have the chemistry/ talent to do the impossible. Friars aren’t going anywhere for awhile. “Keep the faith” as Uncle Teddy (Ted Leitner) would say.

MLB Health Protocols: MLB and the MLBPA came to agreement on the health and safety protocols for 2021.  Here they are:  7- inning double headers, Runner starts on 2nd base in extra innings, No DH in National League, Active roster of 26, wearable contact tracing devices, and face mask enforcement officers. 

I only cared about the universal DH.  I think the only positive from the agreement is that baseball will start on time.  I get where the players are coming from and wanting to do 7 inning double headers instead of 9 innings, but I feel like double headers are too rare to make it a rule.  Never was a fan of the runner starting on 2nd base in extra innings because it feels like you are playing a mini mode in a baseball video game. However, I didn’t take my eye off a pitch in extra-inning games knowing how quick it could end (maybe the rule will grow on me).  Shoot me if the universal DH is not implemented after the CBA next year. Nobody wants to watch a pitcher hit. It’s not exciting and makes little sense for how serious player safety is taken these days.

PECOTA: PECOTA stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm.  It takes a player’s past performance and projects the most likely outcomes for the upcoming season.  So, a computer is predicting the future.  Three teams’ projections stood out to me.  The Angels, Braves, and Cardinals. 

PECOTA projects the Angels 87 wins which seems laughable because they haven’t addressed their pitching issues.  Yes, they got Raisel Iglesias for their bullpen and added starting pitchers Jose Quintana and Alex Cobb who were good… ya know four years ago.  I am not saying these can’t be decent pitchers still, but the Angels do this every year.  Remember Trevor Cahill? Matt Harvey? I’ll even be half glass full guy.  Let’s say the Angels starters click and have a top 5 rotation in the AL.  Who is going to pitch the 7th, 8th, and 9th? I’m waitng… They led the MLB in blown saves with 14 last year. I can’t imagine how frustrated Mike Trout is.  He’s turning 30 this year. That means the Halos have about four years to give him a true shot at a ring.  

I don’t see the Angels beating the A’s by 8 games because the A’s have won 88 plus games six of the last nine years. I don’t care that the A’s lost Liam Hendriks, Marcus Semien and Khris Davis. This is how they work. Of course there are still the Astros. This is the most vulnerable they have been in years. They won’t have Verlander, lost Springer in free agency, and are we sure Altuve and Bregman are still that good? The fans will gladly remind them about the trash cans and I still want to see how they can adjust. I am not going to waste yours or my time trying to come up with a case for the Rangers and Mariners. The Angels had the best record in baseball in 2014 and then got 85 wins in 2015. They have been under .500 every year since. This is the worst the AL West has been in a bit. Good luck Anaheim. 

Braves: How are the Braves are going to finish 4th in the NL East?  The Braves were the only team to make the Dodgers sweat last year when they went up 3-1 in the NLCS.  Keep in mind that Mike Soroka was injured and now they added Charlie Morton.  They have MVP winner Freddie Freeman and arguably the most exciting player in Ronald Acuna Jr.  They brought back Marcell Ozuna and I just want to know what am I missing here?  Im laughing seeing that the Mets are projected 96 wins.  I do not care who they added.  They are cursed and always get plagued with injuries/ drama. The Phillies are basically the National League Angels. They do have Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler but I don’t buy into them at all. I think the Nationals give a better run towards Atlanta before Philadelphia. And last there is Miami, who actually made the NLDS. That was cute but Miami will come back to reality this year.  I’m taking the Braves every time.

Cardinals:  The Cardinals are one of the best run organizations in all of sports. They are always in the hunt for playoffs and if your team has to play them you never feel secure.  They are pesky and I believe they are the clear frontrunners after adding Nolan Arenado.  The NL Central have made virtually no moves other than the Cubs trading away Yu Darvish. The Pirates stink. Brewers seem average and need Yelich to have an MVP year to have a shot.  The Cubs are trying to figure out if they want to rebuild or not. And the Reds lost Raisel Iglesias and Trevor Bauer.  Also, Cincy finished last in team batting average. So what does the smart front office do? They add an MVP player to pair up with Paul Goldschmidt.  Yeah, I’m taking St. Louis to win more than 80 games and the division, sorry computer. 

See you next week

Big Dawg

Let the Kid’s Play

I know, I know, it has been quite some time.  My last article was the day before COVID lockdowns were enforced.  Many of us can agree it has been an odd year with several distractions, difficulties etc.  All of that being said, Bigdawg is back.  Six days from now is the Superbowl and we are about to approach the toughest 4-8 week stretch of sports where really there is only NBA, NHL, and college hoops.  However, that means pitchers and catchers are two weeks away from reporting and settling back into their routines.  I myself, will also be getting back into the swing of things.  Today, we are going to talk about what is going on between the MLBPA (Major League Baseball Player Association), Rob Manfred and the lovely owners. 

As we know last year was sort of like a trial year in the sense that MLB had a universal DH, expanded playoffs, 7 inning double-headers and a runner starting on 2nd in extra innings. The most popular rule seemed to be the universal DH (Designated Hitter). I did not see many complaints from fans/players missing pitchers’ step in the box, after decades of National League fans opposing the DH.  Overall, the universal DH seemed like the most successful rule added and many want it to be added permanently. Rob Manfred and the owners know that, and they want to use the universal DH as a bargaining chip. 

The CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) is set to expire after this upcoming 2021 season.  This is where the players, owners, and commissioner negotiate nearly every aspect of the working relationship between management (the clubs) and the players.  Naturally, the owners who already have bad blood with the MLBPA, are going to squeeze out every penny they can, before having to revise the CBA.  Knowing that most players would like the universal DH, they recently had a proposal which included: 154 game season with full pay, season delayed a month (April 28th start), expanded postseason and universal DH. The initial feeling is that players will reject this proposal for a few reasons.

 First, the 154-game season does not differ much from 162 games, but MLBPA does not like the idea of having the season pushed back.  Players (particularly pitchers) have routines and if those routines are interfered it can throw a player off mentally and physically.  Pitchers anticipate reporting to camp to start training around February 17th.  For players who have already started training this would force them to shut down for a month and then restart to get back where they were.  A lot of this has to do with COVID, but MLBPA are probably wondering why they couldn’t use similar protocols like the NBA, NHL, NFL, and NCAA.  Jeff Passan, writer for ESPN, states that players have concerns about a later start day because if games need to be cancelled, it allows Manfred the opportunity to cut into players salaries.  

 Second, the expanded postseason is just an attempt to make up for lost money from last season.  Last June, Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. claimed that “MLB isn’t very profitable.”  Not much sympathy was given to DeWitt Jr. who has a net worth north of 4 billion dollars, but we understand these are how most owners think.  The 2020 version of playoffs had 16 playoff teams while the 2021 proposal has 14 teams.  I have heard both sides on how people enjoyed the expanded playoffs because the excitement feels like a March Madness baseball tournament.  On the contrary, MLB traditionalists argue that there is no reward for doing well in a 162 game regular season if more than half the teams make the dance. 

The players dislike the expanded playoffs because they feel like it is an “out” for owners.  Think about how satisfying it is getting into the playoffs for smaller market teams like the Rays, A’s, Brewers, and Royals.  Particularly the Rays and A’s are notorious for having incredible teams while having one of the lowest payrolls in the game.  Because they are frugal, players get frustrated with business models like the Rays and A’s because it seems no matter how good they are doing they refuse to make significant trades or free agent signings. We saw it again this year when the Rays parted ways with Blake Snell and others right after making the World Series.  The A’s didn’t even consider re-signing fan favorite and all-star, Marcus Semien.  In other words, players do not want more teams to become less inclined to spend money or make big splashes because making the playoffs is “good enough”.  They want teams to “go get that cake” as Fernando Tatis Jr. would say. 

To wrap up, I am so glad there will be about 100 more baseball games this year regardless of what proposal ends up getting approved.  All I hope is that the MLBPA and owners can figure it out so we can watch baseball drama not owner/ player drama.  I miss this game and I am still upset MLB got impacted the most out of any major sport last year.  That is in the past just like the Dodgers winning the World Series*.  My Padres are coming.  I love you and see you next week.


Bol Bol in the Bubble

Live sports are back! Mike Malone wasted no time and set NBA twitter on fire, which it so desperately needed. The Nuggets came out with a lineup that has to have left Darryl Morey shaking in his boots.


It will be interesting to see how this lineup would fare against a Houston Rockets lineup who is running 6’5 P.J. Tucker at center. Seriously, talk about a difference is play style. Granted, Jamal Murray was not playing in this scrimmage. It is serious news that the rookie, Bol Bol who was so highly thought of throughout his entire high school career and in his short stint at Oregon last year is making his NBA debut outside of the G League.

At one point Bol Bol was looked at as a potential top 5 pick all the way up until his injury in the beginning of his freshman year at Oregon. He fell to the 44th pick in the draft and it was painful to watch him slip and slip as he remained the only player in the draft room to not be taken. A prospect of his caliber with a chip on his shoulder that big? Watch out. Bol Bol was electric on Wednesday afternoon showing his signs of absurd potential he has showed his whole life. He is a 7’2 athletic freak playing small forward. He showed off his range in this one as well as his ability to protect the rim logging 2 threes and 6 blocks to go along side his 16 and 10. But more importantly he logged 32 minutes showing that the Nuggets are confident enough in what could be their secret weapon this coming playoffs to fully unleash him. I mean have you ever seen anyone play like this guy?

I mean this dude is straight out of a basketball fan’s wet dream. He can shoot, dribble, block shots, and is maybe the most unique player in the league. He is literally a 7’2 sharpshooting rim protector who plays small forward. I cannot emphasize Bol Bol’s raw potential enough. If he can stay healthy and improves like many think he will, the Nuggets may have just found Nikola Jokic the true second star they so desperately needed for the future.

Now do I think this somehow elevates the Nuggets to the level of the Lakers or Clippers, no. However, in a season that truly has a feel to it that anything can happen the Nuggets continue to add wild cards in Michael Porter Jr. and now Bol Bol who have some of the most raw potential in the whole league. Anything can happen in 2020 and Bol Bol certainly makes the NBA more exciting.

For any questions you may have about the playoffs in the bubble, go check out this pod where Brob breaks it down.

EPISODE 26: Rolling Stones Deep Dive

On today’s episode of The Pineapple Couch w/ Brob, I am joined by Mitchell Rincon to discuss a plan to salvage the NBA playoffs and then we deep dive the greatest rock n roll band of all time: The Rolling Stones. (0:00-48:30) Later, Tim, Mark, and Dustin join the show for some Trivia. (48:30- 1:57:56) Thanks for listening!

Pineapple Couch Deep Dive Playlist: The Rolling Stones

Check out the playlist above!

— Brob

Episode 24: NFL Draft, Herbert to Chargers, The Last Dance, and Captain America 1 Breakdown

On today’s episode of The Pineapple Couch w/ Brob, I am joined by Big Dawg to discuss the Chargers selecting Justin Herbert in the NFL draft, Jameis Winston signing with the Saints and others NFL draft stories. (0:00- 23:23)


Then, I am joined by Alex Kanter and Michael Frank to talk about episodes 3 + 4 of “The Last Dance, the future of the eastern conference, Westworld season 3 and some quarantine recommendations. (23:23- 74:36)


Lastly, I am joined by Peter Gonzalez to talk about Captain America: The First Avenger as we continue our MCU rewatch here on The Pineapple Couch. (74:36- 100:38)

Episode 23: Gronk joins Brady in Tampa Bay, NFL Draft, & Michael Jordan Documentary

On today’s episode of The Pineapple Couch w/ Brob, I am joined by my father to discuss Gronk being traded to the Bucs to reunite with Tom Brady, Tua’s future in the NFL, and Jamies Winston and Cam Newton’s potential destinations. (0:00- 31:05). Later, I am joined by Alex Kanter to discuss the first two episodes of the Michael Jordan documentary and what we hope to see in the upcoming episodes. We talk about the future of this current NBA season and what the effects of the postponement of play could mean for a potential playoffs. (31:26- 68:28). Thanks for listening!

Episode 22: What will the NBA be like in 2030? + The Strokes new album

On today’s episode of The Pineapple Couch I am joined by Alex Kanter and Michael Frank to talk about what we think the NBA will look like in 2030. We take a look back the 2009-2010 season and compare it to modern basketball and then give out our predictions of what we think the NBA will be like in 2030. Also, we talk about The Strokes new album “The New Abnormal”. Thanks for listening!