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The negotiating window for the 27-year-old left-hander.

It’s no secret the the Arizona Diamondbacks are in a time
of transition. One of the biggest changes coming to the Diamondbacks is their
starting pitching. For the past two seasons http://www.yankeesfanproshop.com/authentic-giancarlo-stanton-jersey ,
the Diamondbacks starting pitching has been, in a word, excellent. Over the
previous two seasons, the Diamondbacks were tied for third in the majors and
behind only the Dodgers in the NL when ranking by ERA-. Those results were
largely the result of having a relatively healthy pitching staff and outstanding
single-season performances by Robbie Ray and Patrick Corbin, backed up by Zack
Greinke’s typical excellence. The 2019 season looks to be quite different.
Patrick Corbin has departed for free agency. Taijuan Walker will begin 2019 on
the DL as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. He is not anticipated to be back
until early-July. Clay Buchholz, last season’s answer to injury woes finished
the season injured and is now a free agent. Additionally, the team is now
reported to be aggressively shopping the team’s ace, Zack Greinke. Those
departures and injuries leave the Diamondbacks with two known commodities in the
rotation, Robbie Ray, and Zack Godley. Those two combined for only 302 innings
in 2018. As a general rule, most teams look for about 900 innings out of the
starting rotation, give or take a few based on workhorses and injuries. That’s a
ton of innings to replace.The Diamondbacks have got their work cut out for them
when it comes to finding replacement innings. Walker may be able to contribute
70-90 innings after returning from injury. Matt Koch is still with the team. He
provided 86.2 innings in 2018, though relying on him as a full-time starter is a
risky proposition at best. Jon Duplantier is still waiting to make his MLB
debut. He’s likely to start the season in AAA. Even if he begins the year on the
big league roster, he is still likely going to top out around 140 innings.
Taylor Widener is also in the wings, but is not likely to see the bigs until
July or August at the earliest, barring injuries forcing the issue. All told,
the Diamondbacks, even with bullish projections on the contributions from their
current options, still need to find about 300 innings of help for the starting
rotation.It remains possible, even somewhat likely, that Mike Hazen finds a
starting pitcher through trades over the winter. With the impending trade of
Paul Goldschmidt and the likely trade of Zack Greinke, it seems like Hazen would
be addressing the team’s need for pitching in at least one of the returns.Even
with a starting pitching acquired via trade http://www.yankeesfanproshop.com/authentic-giancarlo-stanton-jersey ,
it is almost a certainty that the team will still need at least one more
starter.That starter will likely have to come from the pool of free agents. To
put things bluntly, that pool of pitchers stinks this winter. After the top two
pitchers, Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel, the drop-off in talent is rather
steep. The next two best arms are likely Nathan Eovaldi and A.J. Happ. Eovaldi
is already a two-time Tommy John pitcher. Happ is already 36 years of age.
Charlie Morton had a good 2018, but he is already 35 and just finished a career
year. Expecting more than two years of slightly above average pitching out of
him is rolling the dice. There is another option though, Japanese starter Yusei
Kikuchi. Kikuchi is only 27-years old. He projects as a #3 or #4 starter in the
big leagues. He has a healthy arm. He’s even a lefty to boot. Under the new
negotiating rules, all 30 teams will have a 30-day window to negotiate with
Kikuchi, who has signed on with Scott Boras.The Nuts and BoltsThis is the first
season to employ the new posting system that allows Japanese players to leave
the NPB before their contracts are up. Unlike previous seasons, the posting fee
now operates as a percentage of the contract that the player actually signs.
This means that, beyond the actual contract given to Kikuchi, the team which
signs him will need to pay a release fee equal to 20 percent of the first $25MM
of the deal, plus 17.5 percent of the next $25MM of the contract, plus another
15 percent of anything beyond $50MM. (A $60MM contract, for instance, would come
with a release fee of $10.875MM.) The Lions will also receive a sum equal to 15
percent of any non-guaranteed money that Kikuchi eventually earns (e.g.
performance bonuses, option salaries). This means any team signing Kikuchi will
still have a steep up-front cost compared to the AAV of the contract, but it
will now be one manageable for any team in the league.The Case for KikuchiUnder
the best of circumstances, the Diamondbacks are going to need to add one more
full-time starter to the rotation. While it is unlikely Kikuchi will be a 200 IP
pitcher in 2019, penciling him in for 160 is not a stretch. With that full
season under his belt, he should be able to eat up plenty of innings in future
seasons. Kikuchi’s age and health are pluses. Unlike Happ and Morton, who will
likely have to settle for two year deals, Kikuchi is probably in line for a
contract of four to six years. This means he’s still be around through at least
2021 and 2022 http://www.yankeesfanproshop.com/authentic-giancarlo-stanton-jersey ,
when the next wave of premium tallent should be arriving from the Diamondbacks’
farm system, possibly longer. Eovaldi may also receive a four-year deal, but his
hard-throwing mechanics, history of multiple Tommy John surgeries, and average
annual value are all red flags. Kikuchi is younger, will likely sign for as many
seasons, has fewer injury concerns, and is unlikely to get anywhere near the
premium value that Eovaldi lands. Short of Kikuchi breaking or simply ending up
a bust, just about any contract he is signed to is going to include plenty of
excess value. This means the Diamondbacks could always trade him at a later date
for another player of value that better fits their needs.The Case AgainstThe
Diamondbacks are attempting to trim payroll for 2019. Even if they unload 100%
of Greinke’s contract, finding a starting pitcher is hardly their only area of
need. The departure of A.J. Pollock leaves the team without a reliable solution
for center field. A combination of Jarrod Dyson and Socrates Brito raises as
many questions and concerns as it addresses there. The departure of Jeff Mathis
leaves the team with only Alex Avila and John Ryan Murphy as candidates to spend
time behind the plate. Ildemaro Vargas currently looks like the team’s
front-runner for replacing Daniel Descalso. None of these holes has a ready,
in-house solution. That means filling those holes through trades or free agency.
It is also unknown just how far the Diamondbacks are desiring to trim payroll.
The departure of Goldschmidt and Greinke will save the team over $45 million in
2019. However, as things stand right now, they are slated to spend somewhere
between $135-140 million just on the players they already have. Another
potential obstacle could be Kikuchi’s agent. There is plenty of bad blood
between Scott Boras and the Arizona Diamondbacks. That bad blood goes back many
years and is tainted by the egos of the two men pulling the strings, Boras and
Diamondbacks Managing Partner, Ken Kendrick. This does not mean the two will
never again work out a deal for a premium free agent, but it does complicate
matters.Lastly, the Diamondbacks will be competing with all 30 teams. As other
Japanese free agents have shown, it isn’t just about the money. While the
presence of Yoshihisa Hirano might help Arizona build their case, Arizona is not
exactly a destination spot with a large media market. In that arena, the
Yankees, Dodgers, Seattle http://www.yankeesfanproshop.com/authentic-giancarlo-stanton-jersey ,
all have a leg-up, while San Diego benefits from its location in southern
California and being poised to explode with talent over the next two or three
seasons as well as having about $50 million in expected payroll room. This means
that other teams could force the Diamondbacks to be overly aggressive if they
wish to pursue Kikuchi, something that Kendrick is usually (but not always)
adverse to. It would also work against the stated goal of trimming payroll.The
TakeEven not knowing what the final payroll figures for Arizona need to look
like, it still makes sense to aggressively pursue Kikuchi this winter. MLB Trade
Rumors projects him going to the Padres for6 years/$42 million. If that gets the
job done, Arizona should be squarely in the hunt. Going as high as $8-10 million
AAV on a six-year deal is still a small gamble when compared to the contracts
being handed out for starting pitching these days. With Boras as his agent, it’s
likely that Kikuchi will wind up with an opt-out after either three or four
seasons in he signs a six-year deal. That still provides enough seasons of
coverage that the Diamondbacks could expect Kikuchi to be around for the first
year or two of the next projected “competitive window”. The San Francisco Giants
announced Monday Bobby Evans will no longer be the team's general manager.San
Francisco Giants SFGiantsOFFICIAL: Senior Vice President amp;amp; General
Manager Bobby Evans will step down from his general manager duties, effective
immediately.#SFGiants jpaQwXf2TaHenry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle
first reported the news.Giants CEO Larry Baer said the team expects Bruce Bochy
to return for the 2019 season, according to Schulman.Since he is signed through
2019, the team plans to offer Evans another job within the organization, but he
will also be free to seek employment elsewhere.San Francisco entered Monday with
a 72-84 record, the fourth-worst in the National League.Evans has been with the
Giants since 1994 but moved to the GM role in 2015 after Brian Sabean was
promoted to executive vice president.While the team won three World Series
titles in five seasons from 2010 to '14, things have gone south over the past
four years.The squad has a 307-335 record in this stretch, with just one playoff
appearance that ended with a National League Division Series loss in 2016. The
68-94 record from 2017 represented the Giants' worst season in over 30
years.While San Francisco dealt with a plethora of injuries over the past two
years with Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Johnny Cueto and others missing
significant time, there was not enough depth to overcome these losses to find
success on the field.Bob Nightengale of USA Today noted the Giants will try to
replace Evans with two different hires:Bob Nightengale BNightengaleThe #SFGiants
planing to hire twopeople for front office with Bobby Evans out: a Vice
President of baseball operations and a GeneralManager. The Giants will be
flooded with applicantsAlthough the team said it will immediately conduct a
search for the next GM, there are conflicting reports about a potential top
candidate.According to Nightengale, former Los Angeles Dodgers general manager
Ned Colletti is the current favorite to take the job in San Francisco. However,
Schulman reported that Colletti will not be taking the job.
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