Ted Lilly Charged With Insurance Fraud

Source: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America

Source: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America

The San Luis Obispo Tribune is reporting that former Major League Baseball pitcher Ted Lilly is being charged with three felonies that all relate to insurance fraud.

According to the report, Lilly had an recreational vehicle that was estimated to be worth about $200,000. The vehicle sustained damage in March of 2014, and Lilly received a repair estimate for $4,600 on March 19th. The investigation alleges that Lilly did not purchase insurance for the vehicle until March 24th, and then filed a separate claim on March 28th for $210,000.

Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America

Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America

Assistant District Attorney Lee Cunningham was quoted by Yahoo Sports saying, “I can tell you that he’s charged with three different felony counts. The first is filing a false insurance claim. The second one is a false statement in support of a claim and the third one has to do with failing to disclose a material fact in connection with an insurance claim.”

Lilly was a two time all-star through his 15 year career. The left hander retired in 2013 as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but also spent time with the Montreal Expos, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, and the Chicago Cubs. Lilly earned more than 80 million dollars during his career, making this seem like it could be a simple mistake, or an egregious crime.

Where Will Shields Sign

The Nationals are paying Max Scherzer $81,967 per MLB in-season day over the next 14 years, but don’t expect James Shields to receive that lucrative of a contract. The current ace of the Royals is 33 years old and looking to bank on a five or six year deal. Will he get it? That remains to be seen.

Contracts that exceed over four years are always controversial. Remember that eight-year contract that the Rockies signed Mike Hampton to back in 2001? The difference between that contract and James Shields is Hampton was 28 years old when he signed for the big bucks; Shields is currently 33. The good thing about Shields is he waited on Scherzer to set the free agent market for pitchers that eat a lot of innings, and “Big Game” James Shields definitely fits that mold. Since Shields became a full-time starting pitcher in Tampa Bay, he has never finished a season with less than 203 innings pitched. In fact, Shields has recorded at least 227 innings pitched since 2010.

MLB: World Series-San Francisco Giants at Kansas City Royals

(USA Today Sports Images)

Assuming the Royals are weary that Shields produced well in 2014 merely because it was a contract year for him, the numbers might say otherwise to that specific theory. Shields’ ERA, BAA, and strikeout numbers were actually better in 2013 than in 2014. Shields’ ERA against left-handed batters in 2013 was 2.67, which is definitely better than his 3.02 ERA against lefties in 2014. The negative component against Shields is he’s 33 years old, but that shouldn’t detract him from getting a four-year deal.

So what teams are the best fits for Shields? According to Ken Rosenthal, “Big Game” James would prefer to pitch on the West Coast. Shields lives in San Diego, and the Padres have showed this off-season that they are committed to contending for a Wild Card spot. The Padres have already acquired Matt Kemp, Derek Norris, Justin Upton, Will Middlebrooks, and Wil Myers this off-season, and don’t forget that they signed Josh Johnson to a very favorable contract. Assuming Shields signs with the Padres, the Padres’ starting rotation would theoretically be James Shields-Andrew Cashner-Tyson Ross-Ian Kennedy-Josh Johnson. This projected starting rotation assumes that Josh Johnson can recreate any of the magic that he showed when he was on the Marlins. The Padres had the fourth-best team ERA last season at 3.27, which shows Shields that there wouldn’t be too pressure on him to lead the pitching staff.

Assuming that Shields will only purse West Coast teams, the only other verifiable options are the Giants and Mariners. The Mariners like what they see in Taijuan Walker, and the Mariners already spent big money on Nelson Cruz and re-signing Kyle Seager. The Giants re-signed Ryan Vogelsong and Jake Peavy, so there’s really no need for them to sign another pitcher. If the Giants are going to target another free agent, it would have to be a position player. A fourth outfielder like Delmon Young would make more sense since they also have Matt Cain coming back to the starting rotation.Don’t count out the Blue Jays just yet, although they only currently have the budget to upgrade their bullpen. It would help if the Blue Jays could find someone to take on R.A. Dickey’s contract, and it might be time to consider trading Jose Reyes in order to shore room for Shields. Pitching wins championships, and Reyes had trouble getting on-base last season with a.328 on-base percentage. Reyes’ OBP last season was his worst since 2010 as a member of the Mets. @willsmith9099

Introduction to Daily Fantasy Sports

It has been 36 years since Dan Okrent and his pals sat around a table in the now ‘infamous’ restaurant in New York City creating what we all know now as Rotisserie League Baseball. Long gone are the days of scouring the local newspapers or purchasing the latest copy of The Sporting News for that elusive west coast box score to complete last weeks updated standings. Technology has taken the painstaking tasks of compiling stats, mailing standings and actually talking to people on the telephone to complete that blockbuster trade, to just a simple click of the mouse. Also gone are the days of being corrected by a furious manager because you forgot to ‘carry the 2′ in his home run column or the anticipation of ‘Draft Day’. For you younger fans, this was a day similar to Christmas where all the managers convened, in person, to conduct the draft. This was usually an all day event and almost always involved either skipping a meal or ordering pizza. Nowadays, the draft can take less time than it takes to watch your favorite television show. Tempus fugit Mr. Okrent, tempus fugit.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that most of you reading this have either participated in a live season long draft or maybe even were involved in one of those now archaic ‘live drafts’. Yahoo and ESPN have been offering online drafts for years and it also a good bet that you have won a few of those leagues in your lifetime. I had to check, but my ‘yahoo trophy case ‘ has exactly 45 trophies in it! Of course, I haven’t played since 2012 and those trophies are worth about as much as 2 quarters in a dollar store. Why haven’t I played since 2012? I am glad you asked!

In 2011, I stumbled on a few of these ‘new’ Daily Fantasy Sports websites. Once I tried it, i was hooked.What these DFS sites do is allow the user to play in actual contests that usually run for just 1 day (hence the ‘daily’ part). Some sports, like golf and any major playoff contest (MLB,NBA and NHL), will usually run over the course of a few days. The object is just like it would be in any other contest in which you need to score the most points, or at least enough to cash in the contest you selected, but more on that in later articles. Instead of competing in categories, each ‘category’ is assigned a point value. Although each site uses most of the same statistics, the point value could be very different. For example Fantasy Feud awards 1.25 points for a single while FanDuel just awards 1 point for a single. This doesn’t seem like much on the surface, but could very well determine whether you show a profit or a loss on any given night.

On virtually every site most contests are salary based. What this means is you will have to fill out your roster based on the salaries posted for that day without going over your allotted amount to spend. Again, each site has different salary caps as well as different roster structures. FanDuel’s roster consists of 9 players, one at each position while Fantasy Fued’s roster construction features 13 roster spots by adding 2 more starting pitchers and 2 ‘utility’ spots, which can be filled by anyone except a pitcher. To the newcomer this may seem like a lot of information, but rest assured, in the coming weeks I will touch on a lot of aspects to the Daily Fantasy Sports Industry to help you see your way through.

The last thing I wanted to cover today was the actual sites that you can play DFS on. FanDuel and Draftkings seem to have the most presence in terms of advertising and exposure. Anyone watching a sports event during the football season could not help but see a commercial by either company touting that with just one entry, you too can win millions. A few other sites i trust are Fantasy Feud, Victiv, DraftDay and Fantasy Aces. I tend to lean towards the last 4 as I am almost strictly a cash player.

That will about wrap it up for today. In future articles I will cover  different aspects of DFS including scoring differences on each site,cash games vs tournament games, bankroll and many other topics you can use to become a better Daily Fantasy Sports player. Stay Tuned!

-Tom Woollam

Potential Papelbon deal prodigious for Philadelphia, perplexing for Milwaukee

via: huffingtonpost.com

via: huffingtonpost.com

The Philadelphia Phillies are dealing with the effects of not being proactive about overhauling their aged, overpaid roster. However, it seems the Milwaukee Brewers are interested in helping them along.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported on Friday that the two clubs are discussing terms of a deal that would make relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon a part of the Milwaukee bullpen. While the Brewers have need for a piece like Papelbon, most of the benefit in making this deal would be on Philadelphia’s side.

Being able to clear Papelbon’s salary off the books for the next two seasons would be stellar for the Phillies, as it would enable them to spend their resources elsewhere. That facet of this situation is cloudy, however, as Philadelphia may have to still pay part of Papelbon’s $13 million which he is owed this season in order to get Milwaukee to send them prospects back.

Sending Papelbon on his way would also clear the way for Ken Giles to take over as the Phillies’ closer. As a rookie last season, Giles appeared in 44 games, finishing 11 contests, with an earned run average of 1.18. He averaged 2.2 walks and 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings, both adequate statistics for a closer.

There were also issues between Papelbon and the Philadelphia fans, and whether his presence in the clubhouse was a positive one has been questioned. According to statements that he has made, it seems that his desire to remain with the Phillies is in keeping with Philadelphia’s motivation to keep him.

Moving Papelbon, especially if it can either save the Phillies money or make them younger or both,  would be nothing but a win for Philadelphia. For Milwaukee though, the situation is much more murky.

Financially, it’s debatable whether or not Papelbon is worth the 2015 salary hit. His strikeouts per nine innings have dipped to 8.5, and the velocity of his fastball has fallen with age. As previously mentioned, the Brewers may be able to get the Phillies to pay a part of the 2015 salary, but the money gets more complicated after this season.

In his contract there is a vesting option for 2016 for the same amount of money as he will get in 2015. If Milwaukee should acquire Papelbon, they could voluntarily pick up the option. It becomes automatic if he finishes 48 games during 2015.  Over the last three seasons he has averaged finishing 56 games per campaign, so the Brewers should plan on picking up that option either way. Papelbon would be the clear choice for Milwaukee’s closer, especially if they are giving up prospects to acquire him.

The wild cards in this situation are Papelbon in the Brewers’ clubhouse and with the fans in Milwaukee. It’s unclear whether he would cause more problems in a new city with a new team, especially if the Brewers are successful. The risk is there, however. Papelbon also has a no-trade clause in his contract, and the Brewers are on his list. He could block any trade to Milwaukee, should he choose to.

In summation, Milwaukee might be sending Philadelphia prospects for a nearly 34-year old relief pitcher who is on the decline statistically and could be a potential attitude risk. Also, they could be on the hook for up to $26 million over the next two seasons for him. Papelbon would be an upgrade over any of the Brewers’ current closing options, but the cost may outweigh the benefit.

Follow Derek Helling on Twitter and like him on Facebook

Celebrating the Wondrous Life of Ernie Banks

By: Ben Leonard

All of us at OutsidePitch and in the baseball world are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Cub Ernie Banks. Banks, 83, was a stellar ambassador for the game, excelling both on and off the field. Even those who don’t follow baseball have been touched by Banks. A racial pioneer, “Mr. Cub” was the first black player to ever play for the Cubs. Despite enduring threats and the oppression of racism, Banks became one of the best players of all time. He amassed 2,583 hits in his 19-year MLB career, played in 14 All-Star Games, and won back-to-back NL MVP awards for the first time ever. Despite all of his accomplishments on the field, Banks should be remembered more for his character.

Photo by ScottRAnselmo at the English language Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by ScottRAnselmo at the English language Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

I remember looking at Banks with admiration when I was just eight years old. I stepped into a shiny elevator in a Chicago hotel full of youthful wonder, and was awed by a very approachable, endearing man. He made what would likely have been an awkward elevator ride into a moment that I will remember forever. Although I did not know who Banks was, I could tell there was something special about “Mr. Sunshine.” His smile lit up a dim elevator, radiating like a morning sunrise. He was a truly genuine and approachable man, regardless of his play on the field. A very humble man, Banks did not make a big deal of his prowess on the field. I knew he was a great man before I knew he was a baseball player. My dad recognized him, and youthful wonder turned into utmost admiration. He told me to aim high, signing my Stanford vs. Notre Dame football ticket because I had nothing else with me. Those words may be cliché, but they last with me to this day.

unnamed-5

I’ve met a lot of athletes in my life. Jim Harbaugh tried to recruit me to go to Stanford. Andrew Luck was nice enough (he offered me a crepe). Banks was different. In a class with only himself and Willie Mays, he was unique in that he was down to earth in person. He was able to let go of his ego, something most athletes hold onto until their deathbed. Banks was a true hero, and President Obama recognized his selflessness by awarding him the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the most prestigious award given to civilians. Banks aimed high in a world that tried to keep him down.

 

Pitch Talk for Jan. 23, 2015

Follow Derek Helling on Twitter and like him on Facebook

Marlins agree to contract with Ichiro

Ichiro+Suzuki+New+York+Yankees+v+Boston+Red+UyBP885n3tZl

On Friday afternoon the Miami Marlins have agreed to a deal with free agent Ichiro Suzukiaccording to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The deal is anticipated to be one year with roughly $2 million guaranteed. SB Nation’s MLB Daily Dish confirmed the pickup after speculation of an offer earlier in the week.

Ichiro joins All-Star Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna as the fourth outfielder for the Marlins. He will most likely serve as a reserve in the outfield or wherever Miami needs him.

At age 41, Ichiro is 156 hits away from 3,000 in his MLB career and will probably continue playing until he reaches the milestone.

In 143 games last season with the Yankees, Ichiro hit .284/.324/.340 with one home run and fifteen stolen bases. The Marlins will be Ichiro’s third team he has played with in his major league career after 14 seasons with the Mariners and Yankees.

 

– Kevin L. Smith (Follow him on Twitter: @KevLSmittie)

Guillermo Heredia could be available for teams soon

Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

Ben Badler of Baseball America broke the news on Wednesday that Guillermo Heredia, who played center field for the Cuban national team two years ago, has left his home country and is seeking a contract with a Major League Baseball team.

Heredia was essentially forced to try to defect in order to continue his baseball career, as he was suspended in the Cuban league for a period of four years for a cause which at this point has not been revealed. Because of that, he has made only one plate appearance since that 2013-14 season. In addition, his numbers in that 2013-14 season weren’t impressive. Heredia finished the season with a mere 61 games and a .255/.377/.349 stat line.

However, his skills in center field and the potential with the bat that he once showed should be enough to get a team to take a chance on him. In the 2011-12 season, he hit .343/.439/.527 and was honored for his defense by the Cuban league. If Dontrelle Willis has yet another chance, some franchise should be willing to roll the dice on a 23-year old former Gold Glove winner.

Another thing that works in his favor is that even if Heredia does get a big-league deal as opposed to a minor-league contract, the team he signs with should be able to get him for less money than other Cuban prospects like Jorge Soler and Yoenis Cespedes because of the afore-mentioned factors and that his five years in the Cuban league exempts him from the international bonus.

There are still legal matters of his emigration that must be settled before he can be signed of course. If those hurdles are cleared, expect Heredia to get a modest deal with a team seeking to improve its depth in center field.

Follow Derek Helling on Twitter and like him on Facebook

The Big Unit selects the Diamondbacks

On June 2 1990, approximately 09:51 PM P/T Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson pitched a no-hitter for the first time in franchise history while playing for the Seattle Mariners as the Mariners beat the Tigers 2-0. It was the beginning of a rising star for the young left handed Randy Johnson. Johnson reached stardom in the mid 90’s, as he helped the Mariners reach the post season in 1995 and 1997, however they were unsuccessful in making it to the World Series. The Big Unit was rewarded with the American League CY Young Award in the 1995 season for his unbelievable stats, 18-2 record, 2.48 ERA, 294 strikeouts. The young left handed pitcher was on the road to both, becoming the best left handed pitcher the Major Leagues had ever seen and on his way to the Hall of Famers list.

At the beginning of the 1998 season, the Seattle Mariners would not offer The Big Unit a contract extension, given his contract was to expire at the end of the season. In July 31st, the Seattle franchise traded Johnson to the Houston Astros for a few minor leaguers, only to sign a 4-year contact a year later with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Johnson remained with the Diamondbacks for the next 5 years. In 2001, Johnson accomplished one of his life long time dreams as the Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series as they beat the New York Yankees in an exciting 7 game series. Johnson was named CO-MVP for the 2001 World Series. Johnson proceeded to move on and continue to break every pitching record in the Major Leagues. In May 18, 2004 he pitched his first Perfect game at the age of 40 against the Atlanta Brave.

In January 2015 he was elected to the 2015 Hall of Fame class. The big question was: What team logo will be placed on the Hall of Fame plaque? According to Johnson, he is very honored and grateful to have played for all 6 teams he has played in the past.  But he has decided to wear the Arizona Diamondback logo in his plaque. He chose the Arizona Diamondback, because he feels it makes the most sense, which it does.

Gino Zarate

Is San Diego still not finished making waves?

Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America

Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America

After a complete makeover of the batting lineup, the San Diego Padres could make more noise yet before the 2015 season begins by landing one of the biggest pitching names in free agency.

James Shields remains unsigned by a team as of the time of this article, and rumors have started to swirl about San Diego’s interest in the right-hander. Given the recent acquisitions that the Padres have made, going after Shields would make sense philosophically but not financially.

The acquisitions of Derek Norris, Will Middlebrooks, Wil Myers, Matt Kemp and Justin Upton are what San Diego hopes will vastly improve one of the most dismal offenses in the league. While the lineup has been revamped, the starting pitching remains the same as it was in 2014.

Andrew Cashner and Josh Johnson can both be effective, but both have issues with staying healthy. Ian Kennedy and Tyson Ross are serviceable starters at best. Adding Shields to that mix is an instant drastic upgrade, right in line with the immediate drastic upgrades that were made in the batting lineup.

However, the reality of the bottom line may prevent the Padres from being able to make another splash with Shields. It’s rumored that Shields is looking for a five-year, $125 million contract. Given the new money that San Diego has just taken on, that simply is probably out of reach for the Padres.

At this point of the off-season, however, Shields may not have any offers in the vicinity of what he wants on the table. If that is true, then the playing field may have been leveled for the Padres by the lack of intensity in the market for Shields.

It’s unlikely that Shields will pitch his home games in San Diego in 2015. However, Shields resides in San Diego and the same thing could have been said for Kemp, Meyers, Middlebrooks, Norris and Upton a few months ago as well.

Follow Derek Helling on Twitter and like him on Facebook

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