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Deal or No Deal: The 2014 Trade Market

July 16, 2014

Now that the All-Star Game is over, and the American League once again earned home field because of an exhibition game, baseball fans' attention will turn to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline -- one of the most exciting times of the baseball season.

The trade deadline can be akin to Christmas for many fanbases. Only a couple of teams will make a big move and get the nice shiny present under the Christmas tree. Some teams may choose to rebuild -- and should -- but it could mean losing a franchise player -- not too dissimilar from getting a nice lump of coal in your stocking. Of course, long-term that piece of coal could turn to gold, but it still can be disconcerting to lose your favorite player.

With a little less than half a season to play, we can safely eliminate a handful of teams from legitimate World Series contention. Barring a miraculous comeback, the Rays, Red Sox, White Sox, Twins, Astros, Rangers, Phillies, Marlins, Cubs, Padres, Rockies and Diamondbacks will not win the World Series. Sorry -- it's just not happening unless we see something historic.

Those 11 teams can still make a profound impact on the 2014 pennant race. Not only will they face playoff contenders throughout the rest of the season with an opportunity to play spoiler, each team's general manager has parts he can move to contending teams, shaping the playoff race.

Let's take a look at what three of the 11 teams could deal to contenders -- and if they should.

Texas Rangers -- The Rangers enjoyed the greatest run of success in franchise history between 2010-12, winning back-to-back pennants in 2010 and 2011, though ultimately losing the World Series to the Giants and Cardinals. Texas lost the first-ever Wild Card game to the Baltimore Orioles in 2012, before missing the playoffs altogether in 2013.

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Which Garth Brooks hits do you want to hear on his comeback tour? We know it's been a while since Garth Brooks last took the stage, so don't worry if you're a little rusty. Check out some of Garth Brooks' career changing tracks that made him into one of the greatest country artists of all time.

1. "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)" Garth Brooks, 1989

This track was Garth Brooks' first single released off his debut album, also marking his first Top 10 hit.

2. "We Shall Be Free" The Chase, 1992

Garth Brooks was inspired to write this song with Stephanie Davis after the 1992 L.A. riots.

3. "The River" Ropin' the Wind, 1992

This top track led its album to No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts, the first in history for a country album to do so.

4. "More Than a Memory" Ultimate Hits, 2007

This track was a No. 1 hit even after Garth Brooks' retirement in 2000.

5. "Standing Outside the Fire" In Pieces, 1993

This track served as an inspiration for people with disabilities and received positive response from the Special Olympics.

6. "The Thunder Rolls" No Fences, 1990

This controversal track about domestic violence was banned from CMT and TNN, but still succeeded in raising awareness and promoted fundraising.

7. "Unanswered Prayers" No Fences, 1990

Garth Brooks' focus on the meanings behind love and life led this track to be made into a movie for the Lifetime Television Network.

8. "If Tomorrow Never Comes" Garth Brooks, 1989

Released off his debut album, this track was Garth Brooks' second single, and his first to land at No. 1.

9. "Friends In Low Places" No Fences, 1990

This popular honky tonk track is one of the most well-known Garth Brooks songs and highlighted him as a superstar.

10. "The Dance" Garth Brooks, 1989

Serving as the last release of Garth Brooks' debut album, in 1990 this track pushed sales from 500,000 to 1 million within one month, and still remains a fan favorite.


(Read more about these top songs here.)

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Events On Sale This Week: 5/8/14

Here's a list of the hottest events with dates going on sale this week. For tickets to these and more events, head over to Ticket Liquidator.

Concerts

Event

Date

Cities

Brad Paisley Friday, 7/11/14 Bristow, VA
Chris Young Friday, 7/11/14 Stockton, CA
Demi Lovato Friday, 7/11/14 Los Angeles, CA
Dierks Bentley Friday, 7/11/14 Nashville, TN
Dierks Bentley Tuesday, 7/15/14 St Leonard, MD
Earth, Wind and Fire Friday, 7/11/14 St Augustine, FL
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Has the time finally come!? Since Garth Brooks announced his retirement in 2000, country fans have been anxiously awaiting the day when Garth would return to the stage! Sure, he released some minor records like The Lost Sessions in 2006, some “hits” albums, and performed at a benfit here and there, but Garth took his retirement and family life seriously and wasn’t releasing much new material. In 2009, Garth came out of retirement to do a few weekend Las Vegas performances from time to time and had fans wondering--could this be a precursor to a Garth Brooks comeback? In 2011 Garth did hint that he might decide to tour again once his youngest daughter was in college, and he confirmed this teaser in December, 2013! Garth Brooks is coming back! But wait… when? Where?

So Garth Brooks announced he’d begin his comeback, world tour in Dublin, Ireland and tickets sold out almost immediately upon going on sale. But what about the U.S. tour dates? Meanwhile, over in Ireland, Brooks announced his two shows initially, and then added a third… and a fourth… and a fifth. And then… NOPE, never mind, they’re cancelled. On July 8th, Aiken Promotions announced that Garth Brooks’ five comeback shows in Ireland were cancelled due to opposition by the Dublin City Council, allowing only three shows. But, it’s all or nothing for Garth Brooks-- if there can’t be five shows then there will be “no shows”. However, he isn’t giving up. As of July 9th, Garth reached out to Aiken Promotions, banking on reconsideration. It’s all in the hands of the Dublin City Council, mayor and Aiken Promotions, and they have five days to make a decision until refunds are made on Monday. (to read more about this, click here.)

But, all is not lost! There’s some good news! (maybe…?) Garth Brooks revealed a press conference would be taking place today at 12 PM EST, and had everyone speculating what would be revealed. It has been anticipated that Garth would be announcing a label alliance for future recordings, and perhaps uncover his U.S. tour plans! Are we finally getting a response to our “Unanswered Prayers?” Garth Brooks, stop doing “The Dance” and tell us already! Well, looks like you may have your answer! Garth Brooks announced during his press conference that information about his tour will be revealed on July 14th! Stay tuned for Garth Brooks' U.S. and world tour dates!

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The All-Star Break is fast approaching, and symbolizes the half-way point of the baseball season. It's only the symbolic half-way point, though, since most teams have already played over 90 games. Yes, the 2014 baseball season is already more than half over. That's a little depressing, but there's lots of baseball left.

The All-Star Break is a good time to assess who the front-runners are for baseball's MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards -- so let's jump the gun a few days early, shall we?

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They're now in an unprecedented fourth decade, but they're not ready to stop.

U2 smashed all touring records between 2009 and 2011 on their 360 tour, despite supporting one of the band's least-popular albums to date. We finally heard a bit from U2 late 2013 and early 2014, when they released "Ordinary Love," which won a Golden Globe award, and "Invisible," which was featured in a Super Bowl commercial for the (RED) Campaign.

The Super Bowl commercial and subsequent appearance on Jimmy Fallon's first-ever episode of the Tonight Show was supposed to be the start of a launch of a promotional campaign in support of U2's 13th album. Bono and company halted those plans, though, and decided to hold off on announcing the album and subsequent tour in March.

Instead, U2 went to work with Paul Epworth, who did his own mix of "Ordinary Love," and Ryan Tedder -- although Tedder only worked with U2 briefly.

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Theo Epstein left the Red Sox after the disastrous 2011 season -- but still went out a hero. Epstein was the architect of the 2004 and 2007 World Series championship teams -- you know, the teams that ended the 86-year World Series drought in Boston. Epstein left the Red Sox, one formerly cursed team, to be the President of the Chicago Cubs -- the same Cubs who haven't won the World Series since 1908.

While Epstein left Massachusetts a hero, many wondered if the league had passed him by. Boston had an historic collapse in 2011, and Epstein was responsible for signing Adrian Gonzalez, John Lackey and Carl Crawford to terrible contracts.

So far, the Cubs haven't found success in any of Epstein's three years as Chicago's president. Epstein's plan, however, was not to compete by 2014 -- and probably not even by 2015. 2016 looks like the Cubs' target year, with 2015 looking like a season where the Cubs can, at the least, flirt with contention.

Chicago traded its ace Jeff Samardzija, along with Jason Hammel, to Oakland over the weekend, and in return received Oakland's top two prospects -- Addison Russell and Billy McKinney -- along with an interesting arm in Dan Straily.

Russell is the prize of the deal, and, according to Baseball America's midseason top 50 prospect ranking, is the fifth best prospect in baseball. Russell joins a crowded list of elite Cubs infield prospects -- Kris Bryant, 3B, is the No. 2 prospect on Baseball America's list, while Javier Baez, a fellow shortstop, is No. 7. It's believed that Baez will have to move off of SS -- making 3B or 2B a possibility.

The Cubs, however, have Starlin Castro locked up through 2019. That leaves Chicago Bryant, Baez, Russell and Castro for three infield positions. Anthony Rizzo is entrenched at first base. Bryant can likely handle left field or right field -- and his elite power bat will play anywhere.

Assuming Bryant moves to the outfield, the Cubs could boast one of the scariest lineups in baseball as soon as 2016. In addition to the aforementioned infield prospects, the Cubs have Jorge Soler, Albert Almora and Kyle Schwarber, who all profile as impact bats in the outfield. Though Schwarber was drafted as a catch, his future defensive home is likely one of the two corner outfield spots.

By 2016, the Cubs could boast a lineup that features Rizzo, Baez, Russell, Castro, Bryant, Almora and Schwarber. Of course, a lot has to break right for each of the prospects, but they all profile as significant offensive contributors.

Through July 6, teams in Major League Baseball on a whole are hitting just .251/.316/.390 (.705 OPS) -- the continuation of a trend that's occurred over the last few seasons. Offensive output has dropped significantly:

  • 2013: .253/.317/.396 (.714 OPS)
  • 2012: .254/.319/.405 (.724 OPS)
  • 2011: .255/.320/.399 (.719 OPS)
  • 2010: .257/.325/.403 (.728 OPS)
  • 2009: .262/.333/.418 (.750 OPS)
  • 2008: .264/.333/.416 (.749 OPS)
  • 2007: .268/.336/.422 (.758 OPS)
  • 2006: .269/.336/.432 (.768 OPS)
  • 2005: .264/.330/.419 (.749 OPS)

Statistics via ESPN.com

Over the past decade, offensive numbers peaked in 2006, when all 30 teams combined to hit to the tune of a .768 OPS. The drop between 2006 and 2014 offensive numbers -- where teams are hitting for a .705 OPS -- is a massive 8.2%. Power in particular has dropped, down 8.3% in 2014 from its recent peak in 2006 at .432.

There's another half of baseball to be played in 2014 -- but one thing is clear: offense is down, and has gone down over the last decade.

Epstein and Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer have done a tremendous job amassing premium offensive prospects at nearly every position, while locking up homegrown talents in Castro and Rizzo. No, the Cubs don't have tremendous starting pitching depth in their minor league system, but the Cubs certainly have ammunition to trade for a starting pitcher, or, the Cubs could just opt to sign pitchers in the free agent market.

While teams like the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers have built excellent starting rotations, both the St. Louis and Los Angeles lineup have holes. The Cubs of 2016 or 2017 may have a premium hitter in each spot in the lineup -- and could be an immovable object that has to square off against an irresistible forces that constitute young, talented MLB starting pitchers.

It's been over a century since the Cubs have won the World Series, but Epstein may have done it again -- the Cubs should be a legitimate power in the near future.

All trademarks remain property of their respective owners. TicketLiquidator.com does not claim any right or ownership to any of the names contained in this release. These names are strictly used for descriptive purposes and do not imply an endorsement or partnership.

 

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2014 World Series Odds

July 3, 2014

Baseball is approximately at its midway point, and while there's the entire second half of the season to be played, there's a fairly clear picture as to who the legitimately great teams are -- or, at the least, there's a picture of who has the potential to be great. It's safe to say that every team in baseball has shown its warts, and that there's not one single team that can be pointed to and consider them the overwhelming favorite to win the World Series.

It's July 3, and there's a lot that can change between now and October -- there's a lot that can and will change before even July 31, the non-waiver trade deadline. Superstar players like David Price could switch teams over the next four weeks, which could dramatically change the playoff landscape.

If you like your team's chances of winning the World Series this year, make sure you buy your tickets at Ticket Liquidator before July 31. If you do, and the home team on the ticket wins the World Series, you will get a refund. See full terms and conditions.

Still, enough time has elapsed to know who has a chance to win the World Series. Here's a look at the top World Series contenders -- and the odds I believe they have to win the World Series -- as of July 3.

Los Angeles Dodgers (5/1) -- I don't love the Dodgers. I don't really like the bottom half of the lineup, and Hanley Ramirez is fragile. There's no denying how great Los Angeles' rotation is, though. There's not many teams that can match Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dan Haren and Josh Beckett. The rotation is that good. Yasiel Puig is a legitimate superstar, but Los Angeles' lineup lacks the extra punch. It's feasible Matt Kemp will return to form, but injuries seem to have derailed his career.

Still, despite trailing the San Francisco Giants in the NL West, the Dodgers look like the team to beat in the NL West -- and the National League.

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Events On Sale This Week: 5/8/14

Here's a list of the hottest events with dates going on sale this week. For tickets to these and more events, head over to Ticket Liquidator.

Concerts

Event

Date

Cities

Alan Jackson Friday, 7/4/14 Lethbridge, AB
Demi Lovato Friday, 7/11/14 Los Angeles, CA
Dierks Bentley Saturday, 7/5/14 Farmingville, NY
Toby Keith Thursday, 7/3/14 Pharr, TX
Trace Adkins Friday, 7/11/14 Bethlehem, PA; Baltimore, MD
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*Some exclusions and limitations apply. See terms and conditions for full rules here.

What's better than watching your favorite team win the World Series?

If you're a baseball fan, the answer is "not much." But Ticket Liquidator is going to make it even sweeter for you this season if your team wins it all. If you purchase your MLB tickets at Ticket Liquidator in the month of July, and the home team on the ticket wins the World Series, we will refund your ticket purchase.

It's only July, so there's still plenty of time for teams to crawl back into the already-cloudy playoff race. Just weeks ago, the San Francisco Giants had a nine game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers -- and that lead has since evaporated. That's part of the beauty of baseball -- the season is long, and anything can happen in the second half of the season. I know I'll never forget the Cardinals being 10 games out of a playoff spot at the end of August in 2011, storming back, clinching the Wild Card on the last day of the season thanks to a gem by Chris Carpenter, watching the Cardinals defeat the heavily favored Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS -- once again thanks to Carpenter -- before dispatching the Milwaukee Brewers to win the pennant.

And then, of course, the Cardinals met the Rangers in the 2011 World Series, in what was the most entertaining World Series this century. I'll never forget where I was when Albert Pujols hit three home runs in Game 3, or where I was when David Freese belted a 1-2 pitch with two outs in the ninth inning from Neftali Feliz with the Cardinals trailing 7-5 off the right field wall, tying the game at 7. Or where I was when Lance Berkman tied the game off of Scott Feldman in the 10th inning -- or where I was when Freese hit a walk-off home run in Game 6, sending the series to Game 7.

I certainly won't forget where I was when the Cardinals won Game 7 that year, either, and the absolute sheer excitement that ensued. I didn't care the next day that I lost power for a week after a freak snow storm in Connecticut -- I was properly perched on Cloud Nine.

St. Louis was left for dead with less than 30 games to go in the season -- How could that have been any better? Well, if I had power the next week, sure, but if I had a rebate check coming in to refund tickets I purchased that year to watch my favorite team, and to be able to say I saw the '11 Cardinals? Yeah, that would be pretty awesome -- and I could easily have used that money on all sorts of World Series champions gear that I inevitably purchased.

What's the point? Well, the point is that you never know if your team is going to come back and do the improbable. The point is that it's awesome to be able to say you saw your team play the year they won the World Series. The point is that it's even better to get to watch your favorite team for free that year.

Having trouble deciding what game to go to? Don't think your team is going to win the World Series? That's alright -- here's a home series for each team that should showcase some excellent matchups. And hey, you never know if your team will come roaring back in the second half.

AL East

Blue Jays -- Blue Jays fans should head out to the Rogers Centre during the last week of the season. Toronto will be right in the playoff hunt, and take on the Mariners in a four-game set (9/22-9/25), before hosting the Orioles (9/26-9/28) in a series that could decide the AL East.

Orioles -- Baltimore will play host to the Yankees 9/12-9/14, in a weekend series at Camden Yard. This series will likely have major playoff implications, and Orioles fans will certainly want to do their best to outnumber the travelling Yankees faithful.

Yankees -- The Bronx Bombers host the Red Sox between 9/2-9/4 for the last time this season. Perhaps the Red Sox will have crawled back into the playoff picture by then, but even if they haven't, this is still the most intense rivalry in baseball.

Red Sox -- Not much has gone right for the Sox this season, but they still have the second half of the year to make up ground. And there aren't many better places to catch a game than Fenway. Boston will host Mike Trout and the Angels for a four-game set (8/18-8/21). It's worth going just to see Trout -- trust me, he's a player you're going to want to tell your children and grandchildren that you saw him play.

Rays -- Like the Sox, little has gone right for the Rays this season. Rays fans should head to Tropicana Field in August to see the Rays host the Tigers (8/19-8/21), as a Price-Verlander matchup could be on the docket.

AL Central

Tigers -- The Tigers have had one of the best teams in baseball for years, but haven't been able to win the World Series. Detroit hosts the Giants (9/5-9/7) -- the same Giants who lead the NL West, and the same Giants who swept the Tigers in the World Series just two years ago. Some revenge would be nice, right Tigers fans?

Royals -- Kansas City is back in contention for the second straight year, after years of futility. Royals fans should be sure to head to the excellent Kauffman Stadium to watch the Royals host the A's in a four-game series (8/11-8/14). Oakland is currently the best team in baseball, so this could be a good barometer for KC.

Indians -- The Indians are lurking in the playoff picture, and need to put together a bit of a winning streak if they're going to return to the playoffs. Indians fans will, at the least, want to head out to Progressive Field to watch the Indians take on their in-state rivals, the Cincinnati Reds, August 4 and 5.

Twins -- Nah, the Twins probably aren't going to the playoffs this year. I'm not going to try to tell you they are. But if you're going to head out to Target Field this summer, why not go watch the Twins play host to the Rays (7/18-7/20)? Target Field will still be buzzing from the All-Star Game that it hosted just days prior, and it's a good way to kick off the second half of the season -- at a game at the beautiful Target Field.

White Sox -- Chicago fans haven't had much to be excited about in recent years, but White Sox fans have to be downright giddy over Jose Abreu. The White Sox host the Royals for a four-game set to end the season (9/25-9/28), and it's worth being there to see how many home runs the rookie will hit. Can he break Mark McGwire's rookie record? It's possible.

AL West

A's -- Oakland is pushing to win its third straight division crown, but have the Angels to fend off this year. Oakland hosts the Angels in its second-to-last series of the year -- and it could decide the AL West. Be there at O.co Coliseum 9/22-9/24 to watch the A's take on Trout and the Halos.

Angels -- Halos fans have a reason to head out to Angel Stadium this year, as the Angels are finally performing to expectations. There's truly not a bad series left on the schedule, but Angels fans will want to back Angel Stadium in late August, when the Halos take on the A's for a four-game set (8/28-8/31).

Mariners -- Seattle is back in contention, as they should be after spending over $200 million on a free agent -- I'm looking at you, Robinson Cano. Seattle plays host to the Angels the last weekend of the season (9/26-9/28), and they series could decide Seattle's playoff fate.

Rangers -- It's one of those seasons for the Rangers. Anything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. That's ok though -- Rangers fans have experienced unprecedented success for the franchise in recent years, and fans should still head out to Globe Life Park to root the Rangers on. Texas hosts Atlanta for an interleague series (9/12-9/14) that should be entertaining, as the Braves make a rare trip to Arlington.

Astros -- Here's a wild card for you, Astros fans. No, Houston isn't going to make the playoffs this year, but there's an exciting nucleus in place. You know what would be fun? I would absolutely go watch the Astros take on the Marlins (7/25-7/27). Miami also has a solid young team, led by the powerful Giancarlo Stanton. Remember when Albert Pujols basically hit a ball back to Missouri in Game 5 of the 2005 NLCS off of Brad Lidge? Stanton could probably park one even further. It's worth going just to see Stanton.

Fan of a National League team? Check back tomorrow for my National League picks.

All trademarks remain property of their respective owners. TicketLiquidator.com does not claim any right or ownership to any of the names contained in this release. These names are strictly used for descriptive purposes and do not imply an endorsement or partnership.

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