Tagged: Cardinals

TTPs for the Nationals

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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

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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
.

Notes, Trades, and Thoughts

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With the treading deadline coming, and rumors swirling, I’ve
just put together some trades that could make sense for both teams, or maybe
what a team should ask for a specific player on the block.  Take Brian
Fuentes for example.  I think the Rockies need to trade him.  
The Rox need pitching too much to beat out the D-Backs or Dodgers for the NL
West.  The Rays have so many young pitchers in their system, that’s a
great match for the Rockies and Rays to trade with each other.  

      The
Rays, seriously, are absolutely stocked with young pitching.  I know the
saying “you can never have enough pitching” but if the
Rays want another player, they can afford to give up a pitcher.  Brian
Fuentes can make any bullpen a lot better, and for the Rays, the boost would be
huge.  The Rays have SO many young starting pitchers: Scott Kazmir, Andy
Sonnanstine, Edwin Jackson, James Shields, Jeff Niemann, David Price,
Chris Mason, Wade Davis, Jeremy Hellickson, and Jacob McGee.   If the
Rays would never trade any of these pitchers, there would be some talented pitchers
not in the Rays rotation. 

     That where the Rockies come in.   If
Chris Mason wasn’t having such a bad year in Durham, I’d propose a Mason for
Fuentes trade, straight up.  But Mason’s value is greatly diminished, so I
think the Rockies should focus on Jeff Niemann(pictured).

niemann2.jpg

In no way am I saying
that Niemann is a better prospect than Wade Davis, David Price, Jeremy
Hellickson, or Jacob McGee, but all of the names I just mentioned are not worth
giving up for just Brian Fuentes.  Niemann seems right.  He’s a big
guy, 6’10, who has been hampered by injuries early in his career, but over the
past two seasons at AAA he’s been healthy.  He’s expendable for the Rays,
but would be considered a large part of the future of the Rockies
rotation.  I had Niemann down to make the Rays rotation this spring over
Edwin Jackson and Jason Hammel.  Jackson has done a fairly good job this year, so
I’ve been proven wrong, but Niemann is probably ready for the Majors now.

 

OK, so here is the list of trades I would make if I were the
GM of the Rockies, Rays or Nationals.

 

Brian Fuentes for Jeff Niemann

Tim Redding     for        Nick Stavinhoa and Mitchell Boggs

            Or                                            Or

Odalis Perez                 Tyler Herron, Jaret Hoffpauier, and
James Rapoport

                                                            Or

                                                    Jess Todd

                                                            Or

                                    Skip Schumaker and Daryl Jones

(Many different combinations involving these Cardinal prospects could be used, but these combos seem evenly balanced.)                 

 

Christian Guzman for            James
McDonald

                                                Or

                        Victor Garate, and Ivan De Jesus

                                                Or

                        Adolfo Gonzalez, Chin-lung Hu, and
Eric Stults

 

 

It may be a stretch to say the Nationals could get McDonald
for letting the Dodgers rent Guzman for half a year. 

james mcdonald.jpg

McDonald(pictured) is the best Dodgers pitching prospect behind Clayton Kershaw,
and most likely will hold that title after this year.  But because the N.L. West is so open for any team to break out,
the Dodgers may feel they need Guzman (which they do), so if the Nationals
could capitalize on the N.L. West situation and get a pitcher like James
McDonald that would be huge for the Nats future.

   The Nationals also need some middle
infield prospects, so Hu, Gonzalez and De Jesus could be huge assets.  The only legitimate
middle infield prospect in the Nats system is Esmailyn “Smilin” Gonzalez and he
is 18 years old playing in rookie ball.  Who will play shortstop if Guzman goes?  Either Pete Orr(I’m fine with that), or Yurendell De Caster.  De Caster has been good in Columbus and deserves a first shot at the bigs.

 

Speaking of the Nationals, why do they have four catchers?
They just placed Wily Mo Pena on the DL, and reinstated Johnny Estrada to the
active roster.  That means they have
Jesus Flores, Wil Nieves, Paul Lo Duca, and Johnny Estrada: all catchers.  I’m fine with a team having three catchers
as long as one of them is can play other positions.  But four!?  I mean, Lo
Duca can play left, and first base, I suppose, but he plays below average in
all of those positions, including catcher. 
Estrada has no upside whatsoever in my mind.  He has no power, no speed and is a very below average
defender.  I have no idea why the
Nationals didn’t do the sensible thing and call up an outfielder, since they
just put one on the DL.  Just call up
Mike Daniel!  I already talked about the
whole situation in this post.  https://mlblogsdistrictboy.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/nelsoncruz-thumb-274×4111.jpgarchives/2008/07/the_nationals_report_part_2.html

 

On the Blanton deal, I like how Outman(awesome name!) and Cardenas look for
the future, but the Phillies really needed someone like Blanton in their
rotation and they finally realized that if you are going to be a
championship team, Adam Eaton isn’t in your rotation.   One question I have is about Josh Outman.  The Phillies were grooming him as a reliever
when the trade occurred. 

outman.jpg

 

I really don’t know why Outman(pictured above) stopped starting.  His career was progressing very smoothly and
he ended the season with a successful call-up to AA.  But after five starts in AA this year, the Phillies moved Outman to the
bullpen.  His five starts were good and
he didn’t have trouble giving Reading innings but I guess the Phillies thought
in the long run Outman would be better as a reliever.  I’ll just let you see the numbers for yourself.  I just don’t get it.  Here are Outman’s stats. 

 

How bout some more random thoughts?   How about the job Eric Stults
has done since being moved to the rotation? 
It shows that not everyone is better suited as a reliever. 

 

And lastly, a little chatter from the farm.  I have attended some minor league games
recently and David Hernandez of the Baysox looked dominant.  I’ll be keeping an eye on his career, but
the last minor leaguer who I followed after being impressed at a game hasn’t been
doing so well, Rodolfo Encarnacion.

 

Collin Cowgill has cooled down since being promoted to Class
A South Bend(ARI) and Mike Loree(SF) has, for one start, not been pitching like
Superman.  Loree truly was incredible
and now matter what he does in his career, he already is guaranteed as the
topic for a “Cracked Bats” article in seventy years.   Whenever I talk about the minors in general I have to give a
shout-out to my favorite MILB team.   GO
SPIKES!

I know this was a really messy blog topic-wise but hey, that what the title said – “Notes, Thoughts, and Trades”

 

P.S.      Doesn’t seem
like a crime that Terry Tiffee, Brian Myrow(now a back-up in SD), John Lindsey, and Nelson Cruz are
still in AAA?  Especially Nelson
Cruz. 
Those are SICK, SICK, SICK
numbers.  Oh please Jon Daniels, trade
him to a team that isn’t stocked with outfielders.  Anywhere.  San Diego.  Perfect. 
Cruz to San Diego for some pitcher. 
Jeez I don’t know maybe Enrique Gonzalez?   It probably won’t happen. 
Silly me.  I’m just a dumb kid
who thought Texas could use some pitching….

Stuck in Oklahoma”

nelsoncruz.jpg

Them Pirates…..

    Dave Littlefield, former GM of the pitiful Pirates, is widely held responsible for the woe that is currently the Pirates.  Rajai Davis to the Giants for Matt(I’ll make you forget the overatedness of Jason Giambi when you see my salary) Morris?  Yeah that trade was bad.  Drafting Brian Bullington first overall instead of B.J. Upton, Scott Kazmir, Cole Hamels, or Jeff Franceour.  Even worse.  But hey, the Pirates aren’t completely screwed (see Giants).  In fact the Pirates actually have a nice problem in their outfield situation. 
   
    From a quick glance the Pirates outfield looks set for a while.  With Bay(29) in left, McLouth(26) in center, and Nady(29) in right, the Bucs look like their outfield is the one component of their team which they don’t need to focus on.  But in fact the outfield situation is probably the area of the Pirates Neil Huntington (GM of Pirates) needs to focus on the most.  The Pirates have Andrew McCutchen and Steven Pearce in AAA. 
   
    The case with Andrew McCutchen(pictured left)is simple, next year he will be the starting center fielder in Pittsburgh.  3zARcaIW.jpgSteven Pearce is a bit more difficult to predict because he has the ability to play left field, right field, and first base.  Obviously, all three of those positions are already occupied well in Pittsburgh by Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, and Adam LaRoche respectively.  Let me first start off by saying, although it doesn’t mean absolutely anything, the Adam LaRoche for Mike Gonzalez trade was horrible.  Adam LaRoche.jpgMike Gonzalez was, if not the best, one of the best closers in baseball, and why Bobby Cox put Bob Wickman in the closer spot over Gonzalez is another story.  Adam LaRoche for a top-notch closer?  Perhaps the Pirates could trade away LaRoche for a shortstop or third baseman. 
   
    In fact if I was GM, I would have traded Freddy Sanchez to the Rockies during the off season and gotten Ian Stewart(Third baseman) and Taylor Buchholz(reliever).  But that’s not going to happen, because #1. Freddy Sanchez.jpgFreddy Sanchez is horrible this year(.262 OBP, ugh) and #2. Buchholz has been dominant this year, even better than I thought he was going to be. In case you’re wondering, yes, I did, in my mind, set up this trade during the off season.  I’m not making it up right now because Sanchez is sucking and Buchholz is awesome.  Anyway let’s stop talking about if I was GM and start talking about what Neil Huntington should do. 
   
    I can’t lie to myself, Steven Pearce has been a huge disappointment in Indianapolis(AAA).  His numbers aren’t that bad, but (as I’m sure Steven knows) he really needs to play like he did last year in order for Huntington to consider either trading him or Bay, McLouth or Nady away.  Steven Pearce.jpgPearce had a good September call up last year, and really just blasted his way through every level of the Pirates from A+ to The Show.  A .321 OBP and nine home runs through 71 games in Triple A is not going to cut it.  You wonder why?  Not only was Steven Pearce good in Indianapolis last season, but he was good in Majors, and the only reason he didn’t start in the majors this year is, unfortunately for him, the outfield is the strongest component of the Bucs.  

    Nate McLouth in a perfect world is a right fielder.  A starting right fielder?  For now, I say yes but that could change.  The high OBP isn’t as surprising as the power numbers
 to me.  Nate McLouth.jpgHis OBP has been increasing every year as he becomes a more polished player.  The power perplexes me, and that isn’t a good thing.  Usually when something is perplexing to many people it isn’t a good sign for the future.  Or could it be as simple as playing everyday, Nate’s swing has developed and that is the reason why the once 14-homers-a-season guy has turned into a 32-homers-a-season guy. 

    If the Pirates should have Andrew McCutchen in center and Nate McLouth in right, then that leaves the question of who do you trade?  Jason Bay or Xavier Nady?  It would have been a no brainer a couple of years ago, but both are 29 years old and Bay maybe has more of an upside but Bay’s been playing worse every year since 2005.  Nady since becoming a full fledged starter since being traded for Oliver Perez, has been getting considerably better.  A GM’s gut may still tell him to take Bay, but let’s just compare stats since 2004.

Jason bay.jpg

Jason Bay    Age:29      2008 Salary: $6 million
                          G       AB        H       HR   RBI      BB      SO     SB   CS  OBP     SLG

2004 PIT 120 411 116 26 82 41 129 4 6 .358 .550
2005 PIT 162 599 183 32 101 95 142 21 1 .402 .559
2006 PIT 159 570 163 35 109 102 156 11 2 .396 .532
2007 PIT 145 538 133 21 84 59 141 4 1 .327 .418
2008 PIT 74 269 76 15 40 49 60 6 0 .393 .524

5teURu24.jpg

Xavier Nady   Age:29      2008 Salary: $3,350,000

Year   Team       G      AB      H      HR      RBI      BB   SO   SB   CS   .OBP   .SLG
2004   SD          34     77       19      3         9         5      13    0      0     .321     .416
2005   SD          124   326      99     13       43        22    67    2      1     .301     .439
2006   NYM-PIT 130   468     131     17       63        30    85    3      3     .337     .453
2007   PIT         125   431     120     20       72        23   101   3      1     .330      .476 
2008   PIT          66    245      77      10      49         21   43     1      0     .376     .510

     Salary is another interesting factor in this discussion.  There is no clear cut answer on who’s the better player, so you may just take the guy who makes over $2 million less.  If I’m the GM of another team looking to make a deal with Pittsburgh, I would rather acquire Nady, even if I thought Bay was the slightly better player, which I do. 

    Another issue the Pirates need to address is why they are not trading away Jack Wilson(30) or Freddy Sanchez(30).  Would you be surprised if I told you that Freddy Sanchez is older than Jack Wilson?  Sanchez, in fact, is eight days older than Jack Wilson.  Sanchez has created the illusion of being younger than he is, by having a breakout year (2006) at the age of 28, which is basically the prime of your career.  But, since most people had not heard of him, it gave the impression that he was an up-and-coming ballplayer.  I understand the reasoning of them not planning on trading away Adam LaRoche, because he is still a young position player and would be good fit for that team if played the way he did in 2006.   On the other hand both Wilson and Sanchez are getting past their prime, but still could be considered starting players.  One would say that since third base, shortstop, and second base are weakest positions throughout the Pirates organization, you can’t trade away the starters at your major league level, but do you seriously care when you’re in the Pirates situation?  You’re not winning with Jack Wilson or Freddy Sanchez so trade them away before Sanchez proves he’s a bust and before teams start seeing Jack Wilson as a poor man’s old Omar Vizquel.  Wilson could create interests with numerous teams like the Rays(Jason Bartlett is not a starter), Orioles(neither is Alex Cintron), or Cardinals(we’ll see how good Brendan Ryan really is). Jack Wilson.jpgSome teams are seeing Jack Wilson as a great utility guy and other teams are thinking of him as a starting shortstop. In any case, I think it would be intriguing to let Josh Wilson be the starting shortstop if Jack Wilson somehow moves.  Josh was a guy thought to be a true hitter coming up with the Rockies, but has been blocked by others everywhere he has gone and has struggled in a utility position.  In AAA so far he has a .358 .OBP with four dingers in 68 games. 

    Before the season started, Sanchez’s value would have been much higher, but come on Sanchez’s season has been horrendous and I am not really sure how much the Pirates could get for him, but Sanchez needs to be traded at this year’s deadline, period.  Teams like the White Sox, Cubs, or Indians could trade away some good middle infield prospect away.  Just throwing out some feasible trades in my mind.  Freddy Sanchez to the Cubs for Michael Wuertz, Ronny Cedeno and/or Marquez Smith.  Freddy Sanchez to the Indians for Jensen Lewis, and Wes Hodges(the Indians probably won’t let Hodges get away, so perhaps the Pirates could get Jared Goedert and Josh Rodriguez instead).

    Well, I’m finally done venting, and frankly after using three days to write this post, I’m sick of the Pirates.  I’m done writing about them, unless of course they actually do trade somebody in which case I will analyze it right here on District Boy.  When people say that I’m only thirteen and am spending so much time on studying baseball and I’m obsessed with it, I think this is what they mean(spending three days writing about a team that I don’t care the least about, yet do it anyway because, well…………

    I think I’ll cover the Giants next entry.  (Warning – If you are a fan of Brian Sabean stay away from this blog for at least a week)