MLB Week in Review (September 28-October 4)

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The MLB Postseason is here and teams have begun their pursuit of the World Series with one final crazy month where anything can happen.

As teams continue that run towards a title there are a handful of players who seem to have a lot more at stake.

For some players, this was what they were hoping for at the start of the season when they decided to leave a comfortable situation to join a new team.

Free agency is always an interesting process that involves a lot of factors when it comes to the decisions made by players.

Some players enter free agency looking to cash in on a big season and their only motivating factor is to get the biggest paycheck they can while they can.

That is usually only outweighed by those veterans who have spent a long time in one place but are looking to their future and their legacy.

Money will always be a motivating factor but for these veterans, finding a team that can compete becomes a bigger factor.

These veterans look to the league trying to find a place that can pay them what their worth but give them a shot at playing in the postseason and winning a World Series.

After all, the motivation for so many to play baseball is to win nobody who makes it to the MLB is just in it to play a game, those people don’t have the drive to make it.

Although many enjoy the city they came up with and like the team they are a part of many players get to that point where they have to make an important decision.

They can stay with a team who is rebuilding and hope that they can be a part of a competitive team near the end of their career or they can jump ship and head to a team ready to compete right now.

Most of the players take the latter and choose to spend what could be their last contract on a team that they believe can compete right now.

The end goal is to win a title and for these players waiting for a team to compete is just not a possibility with the length of careers the way they are.

Many will choose to sign with another team and they then begin that trek in the hopes that they will be in the postseason at the end of the year.

It is a risky decision because a team could look like a competitor until the season gets to the end and they are left out of the postseason.

Players take the risk of signing with a team that they believe can compete and moving to a team that doesn’t actually make the postseason.

They may sign with a team leaving a city that they love and an organization that they love and get no reward for that

It doesn’t always pay off but for some, this part of the season is exactly where they were hoping to be when they made their decision.

Lorenzo Cain is one of those players as he was a part of the massive sell-off that the Kansas City Royals were forced to go through.

The Royals were a great team but their top players were all coming up to contract years and they couldn’t afford to resign everyone.

Cain was one of many to leave with the knowledge that he would have to take a pay cut but also that the Royals were not likely to be competitive this year.

At 32 Cain is still in the prime of his career but that prime is nearing its end and heading into the offseason he was looking to get what would be his last big deal.

Like so many veterans he was trying to get that mix of the right pay and actually being on a team with a chance.

The Milwaukee Brewers checked the boxes as they had a team that seemed ready to compete and Cain signed a five-year deal with the team.

On what would likely be his last contract Cain is now in the postseason while the Royals are looking at a long rebuild.

The decision was a good one but there is so much more to play for as Cain is likely not happy with just playing meaningful baseball.

Cain joins players like J.D. Martinez and Yonder Alonso who all left situations looking to play meaningful baseball.

All have a shot, as the postseason can change on a day-to-day basis and nobody really knows who will show up at the right time.

Extra Innings

DoJ Investigation Begins

The Department of Justice is taking an interest in the practices of MLB teams and how they deal with the international market. There has always been a strange feeling when it comes to players outside of the USA and Canada. This is especially true for players from Latin countries where there is no draft and teams have free reign to try to sign the best talent. That free reign can lead to some shady dealings including teams paying certain people to influence young players and even paying certain groups to get players out of countries like Cuba. With an investigation underway, the cover could be lifted on just how far teams are willing to go in that market and could lead to some major changes in how the league does business.

Cleaning House

After one of the worst seasons in Baltimore history, the Orioles are looking to clean house and start over. The O’s were once a team constantly competing but this year they lost 115 games in what amounted to a complete disaster of a season. As a result, they are looking for a new leadership group firing manager Buck Showalter and reportedly firing GM Dan Duquette. It will be a fresh start but there is a lot of work to do in Baltimore with the team now looking at a Houston-type rebuild. Things are not likely to get worse but more 100+ loss seasons could be in the future as they try to build a farm system that can compete.

Short of the Crown

There is little doubt that Christian Yelich won’t at least be a part of the conversation for the National League MVP. He could have solidified that spot near the end of the year with the Triple Crown within reach. Although he ended the season as the batting champion in the NL he came up short on the other two aspects. In his last at-bat, a home run would have put him in good standing. That would have tied him with Nolan Arenado for most home runs and with Javier Baez for most RBIs. The home run did not come to fruition and a few hours later Arenado pulled away with another home run leaving Yelich in third. Still finishing first in batting, second in RBIs and third in home runs should be enough to give Yelich that MVP especially if he can guide the Brewers to the World Series.

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