Tagged: Brewers

TTPs for the Nationals

Normal
0

Nationals trade Austin Kearns to the Phillies for LHP Moises Melendez

 

There are
a lot of “ifs” in this trade.  This deal
only makes sense if the Phillies fail to re-sign Pat Burrell, and if
Washington eats up most, if not all, of Kearns’ salary for next year (last year of his contract).  Kearns is
owed $8 million next year, about six million more than he is worth.  

austin kearns.jpg

If
the Nationals are willing to pay that six million, then it makes sense for the
Phillies, with their need of right-handed outfielders, to acquire Kearns as
part of the solution to Burrell leaving. 
I am not saying that Kearns is worthy of being the Phillies starting
left fielder.  He’s only as good as
a fourth outfielder, but he is a good guy to provide power off the bench, and be a
back-up in case of injury. 

 

Any
team interested in acquiring Kearns (actually Detroit and Toronto are
the others I can think of) should understand they have all the leverage in the
world.  The Nationals need to get rid of
Kearns no matter how much salary they have to eat, and no matter how bad a
prospect they get.   The Nats have Roger
Bernadina
, Lastings
Milledge
, and Elijah Dukes
set to start with Willie Harris,
Mike Daniel,
and Wily Mo
Pena
behind them.  Kearns doesn’t
deserve to be in AAA, but he has no place with the Nationals. 

 

Like
I said, the Nationals hardly have any leverage even though they have the player
with the bigger name.  Therefore they have to
take it easy on their asking price.  The
important negotiation process will not be what prospect they get, but rather
how much they will pay of Kearns’ salary. 
I think 75% is enough.  Obviously
the more money the Nationals eat, the better prospect they get but they can’t
get carried away.  Moises
Melendez
is not trash.  True, he’s
not a high profile prospect (like Kearns once was) and probably projects as
a middle reliever or lefty specialist, but hey, that’s the type of pitcher the
Nats need more of.  Melendez wasn’t used
as a lefty specialist this year in Class-A Lakewood, but being a left-handed
middle reliever without dominating stuff makes it a likely future
scenario.  Melendez would go to Potomac
(A+), and maybe get a taste of Double-A before the season ends.

No
matter how much salary they he will have to eat, Jim Bowden (who apparently
thinks he a Jedi)
needs to trade Kearns.  End of
story.  I hope Jimmy B can put Kearns’ “glory
years with the Reds behind him, and move on to younger, more talented, less
expensive pastures.  

Rockies trade 1B Joe Koshansky to the Nationals for RHP Saul Rivera

 

It’s
very sad (Saul
is my favorite player), but the truth is, if this deal were made, it would
benefit both teams. 

sauuul.jpg

Saul is extremely
nice to fans, but he’s 31 years old entering next season.  That’s just slightly too old for the
rebuilding Nationals.  Plus, Rivera is a
perfect fit for the Rockies who need bullpen help.  After the Holliday deal, they acquired Street, but he will
probably be flipped over to another team. 
I also doubt they will pick up Matt Herges
option for next year considering his poor season and his age (39).  If you add Rivera to the Colorado ‘pen, it
will most likely look like this:

 

Manny
Corpas
(CL)

Taylor
Buccholz
(SU)

Jason
Grilli
(SU)

Saul
Rivera

Luis
Vizcaino

Ryan
Speier

Steven
Register

 

If
you noticed there were no lefties in the pen. 
That’s because the only left-handed reliever the Rockies have right now
is Glendon
Rusch
, and he had a 5.30 ERA last year as a reliever, and lefties have a
.334 OBP against him in his career.  A
.334 OBP is not bad but to make a team as a lefty specialist, you need to be
better than that.

 

Todd Helton, Garrett Atkins,
and Jeff Baker
block Koshansky
in Colorado, so the Rockies need to trade him. 
He has shown enough talent and put up good enough numbers in the minors
to have legitimate trade value.   There
will be other teams interested like the Giants and Mariners or maybe even the
Yankees.  Ultimately, I think Saul
Rivera will win the Rockies over.

koshanksy.jpg

Yes,
the Nationals have Kory Casto, Nick Johnson,
Dmitri Young,
and Josh
Willingham
.   All that doesn’t mean
much though.  First off, the Nationals
need to trade away Willingham; he just doesn’t fit with the team.  Plus, there is little chance Johnson or
Young can return completely healthy. 
And if they are healthy, GM Jim Bowden should trade them for whatever he
can get, and that won’t be much.  If
they manage to start next season healthy, they better be traded quickly because
it won’t be long before they go back on the DL.

 

            There is almost as little hope as
Johnson and Young both staying healthy as there is a chance Kory Casto can
finally start producing in the bigs.  In
82 career games, he’s had 14 extra base hits and a measly .264 OBP.  It’s worth noting that Casto’s horrendous
MLB stint in 2007 really drowned his career numbers, but even though he
improved greatly in 2008, he still wasn’t all that impressive.  This last spring I had faith in Casto.  I truly thought it was not too late for him
to turn his career around.  But now it’s
time to move on and try something else. 
That means it is time to finally give Koshansky a full-time major league
job.

 

Maybe
Casto can still make the team next year. 
After all, he can play left field and both corner positions.  Who knows, maybe Casto can capture some of his
minor league power and bring it to the bigs. 

 

Acquiring
Koshansky doesn’t mean Washington is lacking future first base options.  Chris
Marrero
has dealt with injuries and slumps since he was drafted in the
first round two years ago but he still has big power potential.  Bill Rhinehart
doesn’t have the same big upside as Marrero but he put together a good 2008 and
should next year in Double-A Harrisburg.

 

Nationals trade 2B Ronnie Belliard to the D-Backs for RHP Josh Ellis

 

Let
me first start off by saying that I don’t think Anderson
Hernandez
will ever develop into an adequate starting major league second
baseman.  But with the way things are
for the Nationals, they need to at least give him a chance.  Despite his AAA .262 OBP he did hit .407
after joining the Nats.  He also seems
to have brought his hot bat to the Dominican Winter League as he holds a 1.055 OPS
there.

 

As
for Belliard,
he is one of the oldest players in the team and needs to be traded this
off-season. 

belliard.jpg

I’ll give Bowden credit for
signing Belliard.  Ronnie was the
starting second baseman for St. Louis when they
won
the World Series in 2006. 
Weirdly enough (well, he only had a .297 OBP with St. Louis), Belliard
wasn’t signed until February 18th to a minor league contract by the Nats.  That was only five days before spring
training started.  Belliard has done
everything Washington could have imagined and more.  The reality is the only way the Belliard signing can truly help
the Nationals is if Bowden trades him for some prospects.  Despite
landing on the DL and missing almost 40% of the season, Belliard’s trade value
absolutely soared this season.  Not only
did he have his best offensive season of his career, but also he increased his
versatility by playing both corner positions as well as his natural position at
second.   The Mets, Brewers, and Dodgers
may hold some interest in Belliard as well, but Arizona appears to be the best
fit for Belliard and the Nats. 

 

Chris Burke
and Augie
Ojeda
didn’t have good enough years to warrant consideration for a
full-time gig at 2B.  Jesus Merchan
had a nice year at Triple-A and holds a good spot to take over Chris Burke’s
spot on next year’s 25-man roster.  That
will allow Burke to gather up some time at Triple-A at bats after his
disappointing 2008.

 

Josh Ellis is
the prospect that makes the most sense for this specific deal.  The two main needs the Nationals have in
their system are middle infielders and relievers.  Since the Arizona system is weak on middle infielders, relief
pitchers are the best way to go.  Ellis
had a 2.40 ERA this year in Visalia (A+) in his first professional season. 

joshellis.jpg

You can see, he pitches sort of like Brian Shouse or Cla Meredith.  Too bad the Diamondbacks are moving their AAA affiliate to Reno
(the Reno Aces) because Ellis could have had a chance to be a sidewinder on the
Tucson Sidewinders.  The Diamondbacks
are stocked with young relievers, so if pitchers like Abe Woody, A.J. Shappi, Kyler Newby, Jeff Dietz,
and Scott
Maine
were offered for Belliard, it would be a fair and beneficial trade
too.

Although it is time for Belliard to leave Washington, he will always be remembered becuase of

Normal
0

this and this.


In
other baseball news, the iconic Oriole Bird has quit his diet.  He has gone from this:

skinnyoriolesbird.gif

To this (maybe it’s just perspective):
fatoriolebird.png
The diet obviously wasn’t working because ever since
the Bird started the diet in 1998, the team is 98 games below .500.  Ouch. 
They need change.  And that
change should come in the form of the logo and mascot getting a beer belly like
Wild Bill Hagy.  Thumps up to the Orioles front office.  This is their first sign of intelligence since they designed Camden Yards
.

Advertisements

OK Orioles, You Need to…

Normal
0

Trade Melvin Mora and
Chris Waters to the Brewers for Alcides Escobar

 

mora.jpg

I really dig this deal for both teams
involved.  It’s no secret that either
Escobar or J.J. Hardy will probably get traded, and the Orioles are a perfect
fit. 

They need a shortstop badly, and
Escobar should be ready for the majors by next year.

 

The Brewers get Melvin Mora (left) who
is coming off a career year, driving in 104 runs, 23 home runs, and a .342
OBP.  He has a no-trade clause in his
contract but I think he’ll wave it to be able to escape a re-building franchise
and a join a playoff team.

 

            The Brewers are desperate for a
third-baseman after the atrocious year Bill
Hall
had.  Plus, the Brewers could
keep J.J. Hardy
as their shortstop of the future.  
Since Mora becomes a free agent after next season, he won’t interfere
with Mat Gamel‘s
progression up the system, as he will likely be the 2010 Brewers starting third
baseman, and Mora will move on to another team.

           

alcidesescobar.jpg

On the other end of the spectrum,
the Orioles get
a shortstop
for the next six years or so, that can deliver a very good OBP,
a fair amount of home runs, a lot of speed, and stellar defense every single
season.


            Unless Mora hits like he did in 2004
(.921 OPS), Mora-for-Escobar will slightly favor the Orioles, so they probably
will need to throw in a pitcher like Brian Bass or Chris Waters.

 

            If I were Doug Melvin,
I’d choose Chris
Waters
as the extra player, just to add depth to the thin rotation
Milwaukee has.  If Milwaukee can’t
resign Ben Sheets or CC Sabathia, then Waters may even may even be competing
for the 5th spot in the 2009 Brewers rotation.  

waters.jpg

There’s not a great chance that Waters will
be win the battle considering he’s competing with Mark DiFelice,
Chris
Capuano
, and Seth McClung.  It’s still very likely the Brewers will send
Capuano to Nashville (AAA) since he missed all off 2008 after having Tommy John surgery. 
DeFelice and McClung could make the team as relievers or as starters,
but both are fully capable of pitching adequately while eating up some innings
in the rotation.

 

            Does this mean the Brewers should
trade Bill Hall?  I don’t think so.  He can serve as a super-utility man.  With Hall being able to play left field,
center field, third base, shortstop, and second base, he should be able to rack
up at least 350 at-bats in a full season. 
Oddly enough, out of all the positions Hall can play, the one he would
probably play the least is third base.  Russell
Branyan
had such a solid season he is probably the one who will be tabbed
to fill in on Melvin Mora’s off days.

 

Trade Aubrey Huff to
the Indians for Scott Lewis, Mike Pontius, and Niuman Romero

 

I
believe the Indians will be good enough next year to make the playoffs, but
they will need to replace Andy Marte at
third base.  I know Aubrey Huff
isn’t the best defensive third baseman but he played 33 games there in 2008,
and has racked up 361 games at the hot corner in his nine-year career.

huff.jpg

In
return for Huff, the Orioles should ask for the blatantly obvious: a starting
pitcher.  Scott Lewis
succeeded at every level he played in; AA, AAA, and ultimately the majors.  These were his minor league stats this year:

Normal
0

Level      GS     
ERA      W      L     
IP      WHIP 

AA           13      2.33      6       2    
73.1    0.97

AAA         4        2.63      2       2     24       0.96

MLB        
4       2.63      4      
0      24      1.08

scott lewis.jpg

Lewis will fit extremely
well into the Orioles rotation, and could be one of the cornerstones of the
team’s pitching staff. 

 

Scott Lewis is good
player, but obviously it will take at least one more player to acquire
Huff.  Originally I thought the Orioles
should target Jared
Goedert
, because every single Orioles third base prospect had a rough
season, and Goedert was ready to play in AA, so he wouldn’t block any other the
other prospects.  Later I realized that
I was being hypocritical because Goedert, like the rest of the third-base
Orioles prospects, had a very disappointing year after a promising 2007.

 

First off, is Tyler Henson,
who had a good first stint in professional baseball with the Low-A Aberdeen
Iron Birds in 2007:


Level      G      OBP      HR      RBI      SB      SLG      OPS

A-           67    .353       5         31       20      .449     .802

tyler-henson-21.jpg

But then went through
struggles in his first full season with Class A Delmarva:


Level     G      OBP      HR       RBI      SB       SLG      OPS

A         127    .310      11        62        19      .392      .702

Even though Henson had a
rough year, it’s not bad enough for him to repeat the level, so he should
attempt to rebound in High A Frederick.  That being said, with Billy Rowell
(drafted 9th overall in 2006) having another disappointing in
Frederick, Henson will be forcing Rowell (right) to first base. 

rowell.jpg

Rowell’s year was bad enough that
he’ll repeat the Carolina League, but I wouldn’t label him a bust just
yet.  He’s still extremely young (20
years old entering Opening Day 2009). 
However, he hasn’t even come close to what everybody thought he would
do.  He was drafted as a raw power guy;
a guy who wasn’t even expected to have a high OBP, but he’s only hit 19 home
runs in 922 career at-bats.  It may be a
concern that learning how to play first base will effect his hitting, but I
think in the long term it will probably help his offensive production.  Another aspect of this move is that it
potentially has set up Brandon Snyder
to block Billy Rowell.  However, I don’t
think we can look at this switch in those types of terms because Rowell has not
had one good full season yet since signing with the O’s.  Worry about Snyder blocking Rowell when
Rowell finally becomes a good player.

 

And lastly, let’s talk Mike Costanzo.  He had a great season last year at AA
Reading, but since switching organizations (twice), and getting promoted to
AAA, his production has seriously slipped. 
These are his numbers last year at Double-A:

 

Level        G       OBP      HR       RBI      SB       SLG      OPS

AA           137    .368      27        86        2        .490     .858

 

And here are his 2008
numbers at Triple-A Norfolk:

 

Level        G      OBP      HR       RBI       SB       SLG      OPS

AAA         129  .333       11        63         2        .395     .728

costanzo.jpg

Despite Costanzo’s bad
season, if Melvin Mora gets traded he’ll get every chance to be the starting
third baseman in Baltimore.  He’ll have
to produce though, because Oscar
Salazar
(probable starting first baseman) and Scott
Moore
(probable DH) also play the hot corner. 

 

Anyway, back to the Aubrey Huff trade… I decided that
despite the 2008 struggles of Orioles third base prospects not named Tyler
Kolodny
, the O’s shouldn’t pursue Jared Goedert.  Instead they should switch their attention to adding depth the
bullpen and second base (I didn’t forget about Ryan Adams and
his 52 errors
).  The Indians have a
wide array of young relievers like Josh Judy, John Gaub (100
Ks in 64.1 innings), and Vinnie Pestano.  But the one young reliever I believe the
Orioles should first ask from the Indians is Mike Pontius. 

ponntius.jpg

Pontius is only 21 entering next year, and
had a microscopic
0.82 ERA in Class
A Lake County.  Yes, he had 6.26 ERA in
Class A Advanced Kinston, but so what? 
He’ll start back there next year and pitch against players at his same
level (2007 high school draftees in their second full season).

niuman romero.jpg

As for Niuman Romero
(not Newman),
he had a solid year at Class A Advanced Kinston and should be ready for
Double-A Bowie.  I’m not speculating that
the Orioles should or will trade Brian Roberts, but when you think about, there
is not that great a chance the Orioles will finish their rebuilding process by
the time his contract expires.  So, it
obviously makes sense to fill up on depth especially when you only have one
other legit prospect at 2B, Adams who is only in A-ball.

 

All in all this trade
works out great for both teams, and should help the Indians compete for a World
Series next year, as well as add more talented, young players to quicken the
O’s rebuilding process.

 

Trade George Sherill
and Luke Scott to the Mets for Dillon Gee, Junior Guerra, Eric Beaulac, and
Shawn Bowman

 

george-sherrill-is-the-key.jpg

This deal is a no-brainer
for both GMs Andy MacPhail and Omar Minaya. 
The Mets may be hesitant to give up a worthy relief prospect in Junior Guerra,
but he’s at least two years away and the Mets need relief help now.  Sherrill
would be a great addition to the Mets shaky bullpen.  Sure, he may be overrated because of his 31 saves, but he will
pitch better than his 4.73 ERA indicates. 
Although it’s theoretically possible that Sherrill can serve as the Mets
closer, he would be much better suited as a 7th inning set-up
man.  With lefties Scott Schoenweis and
Pedro Feliciano already in New York, Sherrill won’t go back to being a
specialist like he was in Seattle.  
Expect his ERA to go down to around 3.60 with another year of throwing
at least an inning per outing rather than just facing one or two batters like
he did with the Mariners.  It’s possible
he may also pitch better in the less pressurized role of a 7th
inning set-up man.  I don’t think that
Sherrill’s bad stats were completely because of facing a lot right-handed
batters.  He had a 3.68 ERA through
June.  I think it was just the new
workload that ultimately pulled Sherrill’s numbers down.

 

Luke
Scott
can be Mets starting left fielder in 2009, and provide more power and
good on-base skills.  Nick Evans
didn’t hit much in 2009, and is probably better suited too start 2009 in
Buffalo (AAA).  Dan Murphy
hopefully can make a clean transition to second base for 2009.  Murphy’s switch is crucial as this deal only
gets done if the AFL
experiment is successful and the Mets are confident Murphy is ready to take
over for Luis Castillo next year.  This
whole trade seems much better when you realize Luke Scott is essentially
replacing Luis
Castillo
in the Mets lineup.

juniorguerra.jpg

dillongee.jpg

As I wrote earlier, the
Mets probably will feel a little antsy about giving up Junior
Guerra
(left)who’s a top relief prospect, but only him and Dillon Gee (right) are
the big prospects that the Mets could have expected to contribute with the big
club in the next two years. 

 

beaulac.jpg

Beaulac is a
middle of the road prospect who had a nice, but relatively short 2008 season
after signing.  Despite making six
relief appearances this year, Beaulac is obviously better suited as a starter,
seeing how he dominated in college in that role.  He should begin the year in the Class A Advanced Frederick
rotation.  Gee is by far the best
prospect the O’s acquire in this deal. 
He had a sensational year at St. Lucie (A+), posting a 3.25 ERA, and
then posted an even better 1.33 ERA in his four starts with Double-A
Binghamton.  Gee is 23 years old
entering ’09, and was only drafted last year.  It’s still smart to take it easy with Gee and let him pile up at
least 16 starts in Bowie before they could possibly called him up to
Triple-A.  And that leaves the very last
player, Shawn
Bowman
.  Ahh, Shawn Bowman. 

shawnbowman.jpg

If not injuries, he would probably would
have been traded already because he’s not quite on the same level as the Mets
current third baseman.  Although he’s no
David Wright, he’s still shown he’s a talented player, but it all about
staying healthy.  How injury-prone is
he?  Well, 2008 was his fourth year at
the same level (A-Advanced), but it certainly wasn’t completely his fault.  Here are his number of games played from
every season since 2005:

 

2005: 87

2006: 32

2007: 6

2008: 54

 

Yes, every single one of
those seasons was in St. Lucie except for the last, in which he played for
about a month in Double-A Binghamton, and struggled (.626 OPS, 29 games).  The important thing about 2008, for Bowman,
was how well he hit with St. Lucie.  He
had a .369 OBP with 2 home runs and .485 SLG in 97 at-bats.  That should put him on track to be Bowie’s
(AA) starting third baseman in 2009. 

 

So, with all of this talk
about the Orioles farm system, I realized that the Orioles starting pitching
situation is actually pretty impressive.  After all these trades take place, the Orioles minor league
affiliates’ rotations will look like this:

 

(Note: I think the major
league starting rotation consists of Jeremy Guthrie, Daniel Cabrera, Radhames Liz, Garrett Olson,
and Hayden
Penn
)

 

Frederick – A+

frederick_keys.gif

1. Brian Matusz

2. Zachary
Britton

3. Timothy Bascom

4. Eric Beaulac

5. Chris Salberg

6. Luis Noel

 

Bowie – AA

logo_bowiebaysox_15059.jpg

1. Jake Arrieta

2. Dillon Gee

3. Kyle Schmidt

4. Brandon Erbe

5. Chorye Spoone

6. Nathan Nery

 

Norfolk – AAA

norfolk tides.gif

1. Chris
Tillman

2. David
Hernandez

3. Brad Bergesen

4. Jason Berken

5. Zach Clark

 

Yes, I realize that
Frederick and Bowie have rotations of six, but it’s worth cutting down on
starts then to send a pitcher (ex. Luis Noel, Chris Salberg) that has a bright
future as a starting pitcher to the bullpen, just because you have five other
pitchers better than him.  You never
want to have your good depth of talent to derail a player’s career.

 

So, to wrap it all up, the
Orioles get to reduce their salary even more, so they can sign core players
like Nick Markakis, Chris Ray, and maybe even Matt Wieters.  Plus, the extra money can also go to signing
their top draft picks next year.  The
Mets upgrade their bullpen and lineup, the Brewers finally get a true third
baseman, and the Indians get a huge impact bat that may send them over the hump
of the Twins or White Sox. 

 

There is a lot to agree
with and a lot to disagree with in this post, so let me hear it ALL.  Good or bad.

 

On a currently related
issue, did anyone else notice Akinori Iwamura trying to shove the game ending
ball of the NLCS into his back pocket, struggling with sticking it in, and then
just screwing it, and jumping into the celebration pile.  That gave me a little smile… here’s the video.

The Nationals Report – Part 2

 Jim Bowden has a weird mind.  First of all, it’s obvious that he was the former GM of the Red because well, half of all the players he acquires are former Reds.  Austin Kearns, Wily Mo Pena, Aaron Boone, Felipe Lopez, Ryan Wagner are all former Reds and now in Washington. 
bowden1.jpg
     One thing, I have noticed about Jim Bowden is that he plays favorites.  I usually don’t like saying things like that but I’m not stupid.  I know that Brandon Watson, Ryan Church, and Chris Schroder didn’t get the same treatment as Felipe Lopez, Wily Mo Pena and Jesus Colome.   Brandon Watson was named the starter in spring training of 2006.  After nine games, he was sent down.  Not only did the Nationals ultimately let him go, but then preceded to come back to Nationals and have the longest hit streak in the history of the International League(AAA), and what to the Nats do?  The Nats call him up for four days, and after hitting .275 and having the best game of his life he gets demoted.  Well of course, his self-confidence shattered, he struggled the rest of the year in AAA.  He must have thought “what do I have to do?  I broke a hit streak record that lasted 83 years, I have the best game of my life, where I basically won the game for them and then after four games, I’m back in Columbus and guys like Nook Logan, Preston Wilson and Marlon Byrd are playing in the majors?!”  Seriously, Watson was in his prime right then and there, and Nook Logan is starting for the Nationals?  Just n case you are wondering, Watson is currently in the Phillies organization repeating Triple-A for the fourth time.  In his first season he hit .293.   As of now, he’s hitting .300.  That’s fair.

     Ryan Church is the next player, Bowden had a grudge against.   For the three years Church was with Washington, Bowden consistently acquired so-so outfielders and they would play ahead of Church.  Byrd, Logan, Kearns(who’s good), Pena, and Marlon Anderson, Marlon Anderson.  It truly was ridiculous.   I mean of course, more people know about Church because of the trade and the good season this year, but Church was good in Washington as well, but for some reason, he was never the bona fide starter.  church.jpgThe thing with Church was that he could play everywhere in the outfield, at a high level.  In 2005, Church was 26, and played in 106 games.  He had .353 .OBP and hit 9 homers in 268 AB’s.   In 2006, at 27, he was informed that he would start the season in the minors, and that Marlon Byrd, and Marlon Anderson had made the team.  Well, he got the call back up, but only played in 71 games. He didn’t start, but still hit 10 homers in 196 at bats.  That translates to about 30 homers a season.  Oh yeah, he had .366 OBP in 06.  In 2007, it looked like it was finally Church’s year.  He was 28, in his prime but well, in the Nationals mind, he still wasn’t as good as Kory Casto, who had never played a game above AA, and had only played left field that Spring Training.  After 16 games of horribility, Casto was in AAA, and guess what?   Church was starting!   Yes, it was true.   I kid you not.  But hold on, this is a dream isn’t it. Surely, the Nationals are not going to let Church play almost an entire season.  Then the trading deadline came strolling along, and well……no deal!   Church was still starting, and I started thinking “Is this to good to be true?” 

    It was.  On August 17th, after the trading deadline, Bowden announced he acquired Wily Mo Pena.  And yes, Pena would be the starting left fielder, an yes, Logan (0 HR .310 OBP) would remain the starter in center.  Outrageous. 

    The third player, Bowden seems to have a grudge against who is still in the organization,  is Chris Schroder.  Schroder made his ML debut in 2006 at the age of 28.   For the most part he struggled.  schroder.jpgI happened to attend the best game of his career at that point.  He went 2.0 innings and struck out every batter.  But overall, he wasn’t very good, a 6.35 ERA backs that point up.  But they really did the right thing by calling him up because he was mowing down hitters at AAA, and was considered a valuable strikeout pitcher.   Something that the Nationals needed at that point.   He had a 1.52 ERA in AAA, so there was an urge to see what he could do in the majors.  Going into 2007, Schroder started in AAA, but after recording a 1.62 ERA there he was back in the majors.  After that call-up, Schroder became one of the best relievers on the team, with a 3.18 ERA in 37 appearances.   Schroder made the club out of spring training as expected.  But after only two games, with the Nationals, they sent him down.  Why?  I have no idea.  Here is how he did in those two games…..

                      IP           H        ER        BB         SO
4/4 @STL       1             1         0           0            0
4/7 vs. FLA     1.2          1         1           1            1

   So a guy, who had a 3.17 ERA in 37 games last year gets called down after those two games?   Weeiirrdd.  So after having an ERA below 2, in Columbus , Schroder finally gets called back up.  I’m thinking – “OK, that was really weird but he’s back up now.”.  After ONE game, ONE, he goes back down.  What did he do that game?  1 and a third innings, 1 hit, one walk, NO RUNS.  What?!?!.   In case, you’re wondering some of the guys that are getting called up when Schroder gets called down, here they are – Brian Sanches, Charlie Manning, Steven Shell, and Ray King.  OK, so Manning is left handed, so there is a reason, but King was an ineffective as a lefty specialist, and Sanches, well, I don’t even know what Bowden was thinking.  Shell was good, but why not Schroder?   I just don’t get it.   So when Schroder was called up again, I didn’t know what to think.  Nine days after his last appearance, Schroder came in against the Phillies, and didn’t that well.  HE gave up two runs in one inning, but when I heard he was getting called down again, it was obvious Bowden has something against him. 

     If Luis Ayala (I love Luis, I’m just proving a point), if Ayala had done the exact same thing as Schroder, he would still be up. In fact, Ayala has been much worse than Schroder
did, but he’s in Washington, and Schroder is in Columbus.  Ayala has  5.40 ERA, but since Bowden likes him, Ayala shouldn’t worry.  Jesus Colome has been even worse, with a 5.71 ERA, but Colome has been in the majors the whole season.  It’s unfair.  Schroder is younger than Colome, too. 

   Perhaps the player, Bowden loves the most is Wily Mo Pena.  These are Pena’s numbers:
        G        AB        H        .OBP        HR        RBI        SB        BB        SO
        62       186       39       .249           2          10          0          10         47
   
    The only way to describe those stats is horrible.  Horrid, ugly, pitiful, BAD.    Pena has .222 OBP the past ten games with only on RBI.  Yeesh.  Why is Mike Daniel not starting left field for the Nationals?  In AA Harrisburg, these are his numbers:
        G        AB        H        .OBP        HR        RBI        SB        BB        SO     
        84       311       91       .369          8           38          13        34         75
wilymopena.jpg
    But, as I said before, Pena shouldn’t worry that much because as long as Bowden is the GM of the Nats, he’ll have far more time and opportunities to “prove himself”.  I don’t know, Pena been playing in the majors for seven years.  It seems silly to still try to let somebody “prove himself, who’s been playing that long.  Yes, I’m aware about Pena’s age.  He’s 26, which is not necessarily, the cutoff point for breakout years, but seriously, Pena is a home run hitter who has only hit 2 home runs.  Oh yes, and a .245 OBP. 

   Bowden plays favorites.  It’s obvious.  He likes Austin Kearns, Wily Mo Pena, Felipe Lopez, Ryan Wagner, Luis Ayala, and Jesus Colome.  img1460mikedanielsfuox0.jpgHe has grudges against Chris Schroder, Ryan Church and Brandon Watson.  If Bowden could just be honest with himself, Mike Daniel (pictured right in the snazzy pink jersey) would be starting left field for the Nats, and Wily Mo Pena would be a Clipper.  Jesus Colome would be released or sent down, and Chris Schroder would be the seventh inning set-up man.  Felipe Lopez would be traded for some low-level prospects.  Perhaps, the Orioles, or Dodgers would be possible future destinations. 
 
   Well, I’ll be talking about the Giants next time, I’m pretty sure…..     Oh, and with two big trades just occurring.  I’ll quickly run through them.  The Sabathia trade, I say makes very good sense for both teams.  I think the Brewers are good enough to make the playoffs, and LaPorta will be very good.  I’m guessing the PTBNL will be Taylor Green, who will challenge Wes Hodges for the title of “Indians 3B of the future”

   The Harden deal, looks to be better for the Cubs, but I’m always cautious to question Billy Beane (he has messed up before[Tim Hudson deal].  I think the best player the A’s acquired
from the Cubs is actually Eric Patterson. He’s seriously underrated.  But where will he play?  He’s blocked by Mark Ellis, Travis Buck and Carlos Gonzalez. ??????    I’ll leave you with two theoretical trades:  Jack Wilson to the Dodgers for Ivan DeJesus Jr, Felipe Lopez to Orioles for Sean Gleason.

The Phillies Read My Mind (Partially)

Well, I was in the middle of writing a long post about the Phillies transaction of bringing R.J. Swindle up, Brett Myers down and Chad Durbin coming into the rotation.  But of course, perhaps the Phillies read my mind and are keeping Durbin in the pen.  They also sent R.J. Swindle down, and recalled J.A. Happ. 
   
    The post I was writing was basically why the Phillies need to send up either Happ or Brian Mazone from AAA, so Chad Durbin could remain a reliever, where he has shined. 
   
    The Phillies did what I thought they should do, except for one thing.   In the “Lost Post” I mentioned (before I stopped writing) that I thought that Swindle actually deserved a call-up, and I was going to discuss why he was way better than other Phillies relievers that are still in the majors. 
   
    As of Saturday, this is the Phillies bullpen along with their age and ERA this year:
  
Brad Lidge, 31, 0.77, Dominant closer who’s 19 for 19 in saves.
Chad Durbin, 30, 1.50, You don’t mess with something that’s finally fixed.
Ryan Madson, 27, 3.07, Nucleus of the bullpen, just as valuable as Lidge.
J.C. Romero, 32, Way more than a lefty specialist, although he is great in that role.
Rudy Seanez, 39, Having an unbelievably great year, perhaps will stay around another year or two.
Tom Gordon, 40, I don’t care about how much experience he has, he’s been bad since the end of May.
Clay Condrey, 31, He’s not dominant, but can play many different roles.

    Explain to me why R.J. Swindle is back in on the farm, while Tom Gordon is 40 years old and has 6.48 ERA in last ten appearances is still with the Phillies.

Let’s compare how they have done this year:
R.J. Swindle          Age:25         Salary:390,000
swindle face.jpg

Level     G     ERA     W     L     IP     BB     K
AA        11    0.54      1      0    16.2   1       16
AAA      19    2.19      1      1    24.2   5       34

Swindle has been awesome, and just take a look at those BB/K ratio.  Nasty.  Plus he has a 55 MPH curveball.  All hail the ephus!

Tom Gordon          Age: 40          Salary: 5,500,000
tomgordonface.jpgLevel     G     ERA     W     L     IP     BB     K
MLB     34    5.16      5      4     29.2  17      26

Explain to me why Gordon, who hasn’t been good the past two years, is still considered better than Swindle.  I actually know why; because teams just can’t get over a player’s reputation even if truthfully they know another player can do better than him.  It’s hard to explain exactly, but it happens. 

     If the Phillies would release Gordon, they would still have to pay a large portion of his salary.  They could send him down, although I’m not sure his current contract would allow it.  Truthfully to be respectful, I think you trade him for a low to mid level minor-leaguer.  That would relieve the Phillies of the of a larger portion of Gordon’s salary, depending of the specifics of the trade.  If the other team is smart, they make the Phillies pay up to 50% of Gordon’s salary. 
    Just trade Gordon to any team that needs bullpen depth.  I’m thinking maybe the Tigers, Dodgers, or Brewers.

    Of any trade involving Gordon, the most important aspect would be how much each team pays of that 5 and a half million.  Still, hear are some minor-leaguers that could be involved in deals.
delwyn.jpgDelwyn Young     Age: 26      Left Fielder
Level     G     AB     H     .OBP     HR     RBI     SB     BB     SO
MLB     57     94     25     .330       1        5        0        9       23

He’s hammered at every level in the minors, and is blocked in LA.  If Geoff Jenkins and Pat Burrell both leave after this year, he could play a big role in 2009.

bazardo.jpgYorman Bazardo     Age:24     Pitcher

Level     G     GS     ERA     W     L     IP     H     BB     K
AAA     14     11      6.47      2      5    65.1  88     26     44

I see the bad numbers, but Bazardo is extremely young and had a very good year in Toledo last year.  He’s a ahead of his age, but Yorman and Detroit don’t quite click.   The Phillies need more young starters after Kendrick and Hamels.  Bazardo looks like he could use a change of scenery.

gillespie.jpgCole Gillespie      Age: 24     Left Field
Level     G     AB     H     .OBP     HR     RBI     SB     BB     SO
AA        84   304&nbsp
;    84    .375       12      55       9       48      70

Gillespie is very similar to Young as a player and the position he’s in.  He blocked in the outfield in Milwaukee, but has done well in the Minors.  Young is more experienced than him, but Gillespie may have more power potential.

brantley.jpgMichael Brantley     Age:21     Center Field
Level     G     AB     H      .OBP     HR     RBI     SB     BB     SO
AA        74   306     62     .405       4        34      25      39      18

Brantley has been very consistent in his career so far, and has a huge amount of speed.  His .OBP is great and has over twice as many walks as strikeouts!   He looks to be ready for the majors by, at the most, age 24, but, like Gillespie, is blocked in Milwaukie.  He could move Victorino over to right if the Phils make a deal for him.

skelton.jpgJames Skelton    Age: 22     Catcher
Level     G     AB     H     .OBP     HR     RBI     SB     BB     SO
A+        42    145    42    .429       2        13       10      36      36

I know about Lou Marson, but the Phillies still really need catching depth, and Skelton is a solid player.  He doesn’t have much power, but he is a fast catcher and knows how to get on base.  He may be like a Jason Kendall-type player.  I’m a Carlos Ruiz non-believer.  Sorry

carlossantana.jpgCarlos Santana     Age: 22     Catcher

Level     G     AB     H     .OBP     HR     RBI     SB     BB    SO
A+        81    284    89    .421       12      80       5       55     46

Every catcher in the Dodgers system should hope to get traded unless they want to be a back-up.  Russell Martin will be there for a long time, so Santana could be future trade bait.  Santana had a bad year last year in the Midwest League(A), so it would be a reasonable thing to say that the high altitude of the California League is helping him.  But hey, he’s putting up some sweet numbers.  I’d jump at the oppurtunity to acquire Santana for Gordon.

   Any of these players I’d trade straight up for Tom Gordon.  Of course that would never happen considering Gordon’s salary, but the Phillies should try to gripe (is that a word?) away some of these players.  Heck, include Mike Zagurski in the deal.

   Well, I plan on talking about the Nationals, Mariners, and Giants in the near future.  See ya.