hanley ramirez getty

Hanley Ramirez is seeking in excess of $130 million. Is he worth it?


Jon Heyman reports that Hanley Ramirez — who hits free agency after this season — is seeking a contract in “excess of $130 million” from the Dodgers. Not that he’s going to get it. Or at least not any time soon. Heyman’s source tells him that there is a “significant gap” between Ramirez and the Dodgers at this point.

Ramirez is off to a relatively slow start this season and missed nearly half of last season to injury. But he has been pretty darn good overall, hitting .313/.377/.570 with 25 homers and 13 stolen bases in the 127 games he’s played since the start of last year.

There aren’t a lot of shortstops in that pay grade. Troy Tulowitzki is on a $157 million deal, but he was several years younger than Ramirez is now when he signed it. Same with Elvis Andrus, who signed a $120 million deal with the Rangers. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Stephen Drew: an above average shortstop who was good enough to start for the World Series winner, but who is now currently unemployed. Ramirez is better than him, of course, but the point is that it’s a long way down from one tier to the next in shortstop land.

At the same time, there aren’t a lot of great shortstops out there either, so who knows? Ramirez is going to be hard to predict. His health this season may go a long way in determining if he gets the sort of payday he’s looking for.

The Cubs have been baseball’s unluckiest team

1908 Cubs
Library of Congress
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If you throw the word “luck” into a sports conversation you’re gonna anger some people because people don’t like to ever chalk up their own success or their team’s success to anything apart from their own skill, worthiness and merit. What we usually refer to as “luck,” however, is not meant to detract from one’s merit. It’s more about outcomes that were not necessarily predictable or expected given all of the known variables.

Thing is, we really don’t have a concise and compact word that captures the notion of “unreasonably underperforming or unreasonably outperforming one’s statistical expectations,” so the word “luck” is about as good as we can do. Sorry if that offends, but focus more on what we’re getting at when we talk about sports luck and less about how you feel about the concept of luck in general, OK?

With that in mind, know that, according to Rob Arthur of FiveThirtyEight, the Cubs have been the unluckiest franchise in baseball history in terms of turning success into championships. Given how much they’ve won over the years, they should have had six or seven championships and not the two they have (with none for 108 years, of course).

The luckiest? The Yankees. While they have obviously been immensely talented throughout their history, the numbers suggest that they should “only” have 19 or 20 World Series titles. They have 27. They’d still have the most if everyone performed at their level of statistical expectations, but their 16-title lead over the next most successful World Series team — the Cardinals — should not be as great as it is.


Kyle Schwarber is in The Best Shape of His Life

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 16:  Injured player Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs is seen in the dugout before a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field on August 16, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Kyle Schwarber made a quicker-than-expected recovery from ACL surgery and then, after an Arizona Fall League rehab assignment, was shuttled up to Cleveland for the World Series. But that’s not all he has done.

Schwarber is now the latest ever Best Shape of His Life All-Star. Or so says Kris Bryant, talking to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com:

“We’ve seen first-hand the work that he’s putting in and how hard he’s been going . . . Honestly, I saw him out — maybe a couple weeks after his surgery — and he’s moving around, walking. And I’m like: ‘Dang, this guy’s not human. How? I saw your leg bend in half, and you’re walking around. This is unbelievable . . .(It’s) watching him dripping with sweat every single day. Every single day, this guy is drenched. I feel like he’s in the best shape of his life (now). There was no doubt in my mind that he could do it. It was just a matter of if they let him.”

May as well just forfeit now, Indians. No way you can deal with an October BSOHL guy.