Brandon Phillips names his All-Swag Team

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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports spoke with Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, mostly about swag. Phillips says that baseball needs more of it, saying, “That’s exactly why African-Americans don’t play baseball. [There’s] no passion in the game. You’ve got to be like a robot. Look at basketball. Look at football. When you make an exciting play, you can let everybody know. … If you get hype, get some swag, turn up, your team can feed off that.”

It’s an interesting quote, particularly on the heels of the Carlos Gomez/Brian McCann incident and the Dodgers celebrating in the pool at Chase Field, both of which received criticism from players and fans of the “old school” mentality.

Describing a player with swag, Phillips says, “He doesn’t play for himself. He plays for the fans. He plays for the city.”

Morosi then asked him to name his All-Swag Team, and it’s pretty solid:

  • Manager: Ron Washington
  • DH: David Ortiz
  • SP: Felix Hernandez
  • C: Yadier Molina
  • 1B: Prince Fielder
  • 2B: Himself
  • 3B: Miguel Cabrera
  • SS: Hanley Ramirez
  • LF: Carlos Gonzalez
  • CF: Adam Jones
  • RF: Hunter Pence

Players to get honorable mentions included Andrew McCutchen, Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Jimmy Rollins, Troy Tulowitzki, Mike Trout, Torii Hunter, Giancarlo Stanton, as well as former Major Leaguer David Eckstein.

With the exception of Eckstein, though, there is a trend: these are all good players. Does swag lead to success, or does success lead to swag? It may be one of life’s greatest mysteries.

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