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What would Stantons $325 million deal mean for Harper?
Im more into 12-year deals for young players, he said that afternoon, perfectly straight-faced.
Boras never mentioned any one player by name, but the insinuation was obvious. He was talking about Bryce Harper, and doing so in contract terms never before realized by any professional baseball player.
Never realized, that is, until right now. The Miami Marlins appear on the verge of a 13-year, $325 million contract extension with Giancarlo Stanton. And if the thought of that many years and that much money guaranteed to one player doesnt blow your mind, consider what this development might mean for the Washington Nationals and their own young, star outfielder.
Yes, if youve ever wondered what it might cost to keep Harper in a curly W cap for the rest of his career, you just got a pretty good idea.
Stanton may not be the perfect comparison for Harper, but hes as close as anybody else in the game at this moment. Indeed, look at what Harper has done in his first three big-league seasons vs. what Stanton did in his first three years with the Marlins, and there are some striking similarities.
Stantons batting average through three seasons (ages 20-22): .270. His on-base percentage: .350.
Harpers batting average through three seasons (ages 19-21): .272. His on-base percentage: .351.
Stanton did hit for considerably more power than Harper, out-homering him 93 to 55 and out-slugging him .553 to .465. But weve certainly seen Harpers massive power potential on display, and consensus opinion is that hell continue to develop into one of the best power hitters in the game, right alongside Stanton.
Combine that with Harpers young age hes slated to become eligible for free agency in November 2018, right after he turns 26 and its not hard to figure out what kind of contract terms he could be looking at in the not-so-distant future.
Much of the focus on the Nationals so far this offseason has been on the dilemma they face trying to lock up any or all of their key players who will be free agents one year from now: Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister.
But it needs to be pointed out plenty more key players will be approaching free agency shortly after those three. Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen and Wilson Ramos are eligible after the 2016 season. Harper will be eligible after the 2018 season. Anthony Rendon will follow after the 2019 season.
Thats a long way off, but those days will arrive before you know it. Or, more specifically, the day in which long-term extension talks begin to come up will arrive much before you know it.
The Nationals are in no hurry to secure Harpers career-long employment just yet. They need to see him continue to develop and keep himself healthy and on the field before they can reasonably commit to him for the long haul.
But when that day comes, be prepared to hear Stantons soon-to-be-announced deal brought up for comparison. And as much as your mind was blown upon first hearing the words 13-year, $325 million contract over the weekend, imagine your reaction when you first hear the numbers likely to be attached to Bryce Harpers name a couple of winters from now.
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Big trend contradicts big line in M’s-Cards’ duel
ESPN’s Monday night baseball game of the week finds the Mariners visiting St. Louis for just the second time ever. Considering the Cardinals have stud pitcher Adam Wainwright on the hill, are -280 favorites according to Sportsbook.com, and the M’s have lost eight of their last 10 games, you’d think the hosts are a certain winner, right? Sure, but perhaps an unusually strong StatFox Power Trend favoring Seattle might sway your thinking.
Before getting into the powerful trend worthy of your consideration, let’s take a look at tonight’s matchup.
The Cardinals are surely happy to be home following a difficult road trip, especially with Wainwright set to take the mound. He looks to improve to 6-0 in as many starts at Busch Stadium as the Cardinals return to interleague play to face the struggling Mariners.
St. Louis (34-29) finds itself chasing first-place Cincinnati in the NL Central following its 1-5 trip, which featured offensive problems and shaky pitching.
The team hit .227 on the trip, with sluggers Albert Pujols(notes) and Matt Holliday(notes) combining to go 6 for 44 (.136) with three RBIs. He helped erase a three-run deficit in the ninth, but the Cardinals lost in the bottom of the inning on a walk-off home run by Chris Young.
Wainwright has been consistently brilliant at home, and he notched his first career shutout there June 4 with a two-hitter in an 8-0 win over Milwaukee. He’s 5-0 with a 1.62 ERA and two complete games at Busch Stadium this year.
The Cardinals have won nine of 13 in St. Louis, and they swept Seattle in the Mariners’ only previous visit from July 2-4, 2004.
Seattle (24-39) is scuffling on its road trip. The last-place Mariners are 9-22 on the road, and they had lost five straight before avoiding a sweep at San Diego with Sunday’s 4-2 win.
Seattle will have Luke French (0-0, 6.35) on the mound for his first start in the majors this season.
The 24-year-old dominated minor league hitters for Triple-A Tacoma this year, going 6-2 with a 1.93 ERA in 11 starts. He had a 6.38 ERA in seven starts for the Mariners in 2009, though.
Seattle has lost both of its interleague series this season - both to the Padres - while the Cardinals took two of three from the visiting Los Angeles Angels from May 21-23. St. Louis has won three of four home series against AL opponents.
It would seem the Cardinals are set to cruise this evening. However, one particular StatFox Power Trend may be worth noting. It reads as follows:
• SEATTLE is 12-3 (+12.9 Units) against the money line in its L15 road games vs. an NL starting pitcher whose WHIP is 1.150 or better. The average score was SEATTLE 5.5, OPPONENT 2.5 - (Rating = 2*)
Now everyone knows how successful the American League has been over its N.L. counterparts in interleague play, but this trend has far outperformed that pace. The Mariners’ offense has produced 5.5 runs per game on the road against some of the National League’s best pitchers.
Still, Seattle has won just three of 20 games as a road underdog this year and the StatFox Game Estimator calls for a 5.2-2.3 win for the Cardinals. The StatFox Power Line shows St. Louis should be a -308 favorite.
Is it worth laying the big number at Sportsbook.com tonight, or are the Cardinals’ recent offensive struggles and the powerful StatFox trend signs of a worthy underdog? Find out tonight at 7:00 PM ET on ESPN.
MLB: Rays try for historic road trip
The only downside of this 10-game road trip for the Tampa Bay Rays may be that it’s coming to an end. The Rays look to finish up one of their most successful swings in franchise history when they close a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night. They are a slight underdog according to Sportsbook.com. Let’s take a look at this evening clash.
After winning the first seven games of the trip by sweeping Baltimore and Boston, the Rays (11-4, +7.4 units) bounced back from a loss to Chicago (5-10, -6.9) on Tuesday with a 12-0 rout Wednesday. Sean Rodriguez had three hits, including a three-run homer during a six-run sixth inning, and starter Wade Davis gave up two hits and struck out six over six innings. Rodriguez, who had four RBIs, came in hitting .160.
“This guy’s got a nice track record of success,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Most of its been in Triple-A, but … his ability’s going to translate in the big leagues.”
While scoring 59 runs on the road trip, Tampa Bay has been led by Carl Crawford, who is hitting .371, and B.J. Upton, who has driven in 12.
With a win Thursday, the Rays would set a team high for victories during a single road trip. They went 8-1 in June 2004. Tampa Bay is 8-0 if their opponent scored two or less runs in last contest.
Chicago, meanwhile, has lost five of six to fall into last in the AL Central. The White Sox finished with four hits Wednesday, and are batting .198 at home.
“When you look up and see .180, .190, .200, .210, you want to hit .300 in one at-bat. That’s hard to do,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Just take it one at-bat at a time and give it your best shot.”
Carlos Quentin went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts Wednesday, dropping his average to .176. He is hitless in his last 20 at-bats. The left fielder has fared a little better against James Shields (1-0, 4.50 ERA), who will take the ball for Tampa Bay on Thursday. Quentin is 3 for 13 with a home run off the right-hander and his team is 21-8 at U.S. Cellular Field vs. a starting pitcher whose strikes out five or more batters per start.
Shields gave up four runs and nine hits, including two home runs, in 6 2/3 innings of a 6-5 win over Boston on Saturday. He is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA against the White Sox and 5-10 (-11.6 Units) against the money line vs. teams averaging 2.75 or less extra base hits per game over the last two seasons. (Rays Record)
Chicago will turn to Jake Peavy (0-0, 6.00) while still looking for its first series victory of 2010. Peavy pitched a season-high 7 1/3 innings against Cleveland on Saturday, giving up two runs and four hits in a 3-2 loss. The White Sox led until he gave up a one-out home run in the eighth. The right-hander said his lack of experience against the American League after coming from San Diego late last season is no excuse for his struggles.
“Not having a history is tough,” he told the White Sox’s official website. “It’s no excuse not to go out there and learn and make adjustments on the fly and do well.”
In Peavy’s only start against Tampa Bay, he gave up two hits in seven innings of a 9-0 win in 2007. For whatever reason, the Sox right-hander is 20-8 OVER when playing on Thursday’s. (Team's Record)
Sportsbook.com has Chicago as -110 ML favorite with total of O8, but the South Siders are merely 40-43 (-19.4 Units) when the betting choice of -110 or higher since last season. Sox announcer Ken Harrelson’s “good guys” are 28-15 UNDER at home when the money line is +125 to -125.
Two ways to look at the Rays, this devilish team is 14-3 vs. right-hand starters dating back to last season or 7-21 when Shields pitches in underdog role. Whatever position is chosen, Tampa Bay is going home after today’s contest and they are 20-7 UNDER as a road underdog of +100 to +150.
The final game of the series has 8:10 Eastern start and is viewable in local markets, with the UNDER 8-3 in previous 11 meetings in Chi-Town. The StatFox Power Line shows White Sox -107
MLB: Martinez returns for Phillies as road chalk
It may not have the same fanfare as Tom Brady’s return at quarterback for the New England Patriots, but Wednesday night marks the return to the majors for one of the games most dominant pitchers of the early decade. Pedro Martinez takes to the mound for his newest team, the Phillies, and is greeted with a warm reception by oddsmakers, as they have made him a -110 road favorite in Chicago against the Cubs. Bettors aren’t exactly on the bandwagon yet though, as over 60% of them at Sportsbook.com are backing the hosts in early action.
The Phillies finally feel Martinez is ready to return to form. The 37-year-old right-hander makes his Philadelphia debut and his first appearance in almost a year Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
The last time Martinez took the mound in the majors, he allowed five runs and struck out nine in six innings, but didn't receive a decision in a 7-6 win over the Cubs on Sept. 25, while with the New York Mets. After finishing 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA last season, the three-time Cy Young Award winner filed for free agency and went without a team until July 15, when the Phillies (62-48) signed him.
On the disabled list with a mild shoulder strain, Martinez will be activated Wednesday after going 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA in three minor league rehab starts. It would seem then that bettors are paying a lot more attention to his recent outings rather that his glorious past.
Philadelphia snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-3, 12-inning victory over Chicago on Tuesday. Chicago has now lost five of six.
In a move that reeks of desperation, the Cubs will send their own brand new starting pitcher to the hill to face Martinez, as after 42 career relief appearances, Jeff Samardzija (1-1, 6.29) will make his first start for Chicago in this contest.
The fact that Philadelphia is the favorite could be an important factor in this game, as to say the Cubbies have struggled in the underdog role this season would be a vast understatement:
* CHICAGO CUBS are 4-21 (-16.4 Units) against the money line as an underdog of +100 or higher this season. The average score was CHICAGO CUBS 3.0, OPPONENT 5.4 - (Rating = 4*)
Meanwhile, the Phillies remain the league’s best road team, both in terms of winning percentage and units won for bettors at 33-19, +15.5 units.
In addition, manager Charlie Manuel’s team has breezed through the N.L. Central Division in its current run of success.
* PHILADELPHIA is 46-23 (+18.5 Units) against the money line against NL Central opponents over the last 2 seasons. The average score was PHILADELPHIA 5.4, OPPONENT 3.5 - (Rating = 1*)
Game time is set for 8:05 PM ET from the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.