Leyland defends "benching" of Ordonez

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Following Magglio Ordonez’s “indefinite” benching on Thursday, it didn’t take long for his agent Scott Boras to chime in, insinuating that the move had more to do with his $18 million option for 2010 than his poor start:

“Great major league players have
periods where they don’t perform well. It’s befuddling to me, why
they’ve done this. The Tigers are treating Magglio Ordonez differently
than they have in the past. Coming off three consecutive years when he
played really well for them … this is unheard of.”

It would be one thing if Ordonez was performing somewhat close to the
same level of the past three seasons, but he’s batting an anemic
.272/.347/.343 with two homers and 22 RBI through his first 216
at-bats. He’s currently slugging at a lower rate than Coco Crisp and
teammate Placido Polanco. Once a hero of the 2006 ALCS, the 35-year-old hasn’t gone deep in 38 games.

Jim Leyland publicly defended the move on Saturday, responding to Boras by saying:

“This is about no other issue. This
is about Magglio Ordonez and trying to get him right so he can
contribute the way he feels good about himself, because, by his own
admission, he’s embarrassed.”

“I’m very respectful of Scott Boras,
but I’m not going to listen to his (nonsense). Scott Boras might be
better off if he lets Magglio and myself handle this instead of him.”

Ordonez’s struggles are a convenient excuse to bench him, no doubt, but
the best solution for all involved may just be going the “the Gary
Sheffield route” by cutting him loose.

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics