Tagged: Dodgers

2009 Predictions

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It’s been a while since I last posted, but with
spring training just getting started, and most of the major free agent being
signed already, it’s time to bust out some preseason picks.  I guess I’ll
do the award picks later, but for the time being I will just give my
predictions for how each division will turn out (and of course a slight
explanation or comment as to why I have them placed there.)

Let’s get it going:

————————————–

  AL EAST

1. Yankees (darn cash…and
good scouting)

2. Red Sox (Offense is slightly,
and I mean slightly lacking)

3.
Rays (The reason Tampa Bay is in third place? The O-word)

4. Blue Jays (If I was in
a different mood, I might peg them to be last)

5. Orioles (It’s a toss up
between the O’s and Toronto for last place)

  AL
CENTRAL

1. Indians (Deeeeep
rotation=success)

2. White Sox (Good, not
great)

3. Twins (What’s the
point? They always prove everyone wrong!)

4. Royals (Happy
Dayton?  You’re not in the cellar! 
yay)

5. Tigers (I’ll give them
this: they are in baseball’s toughest division)

     AL WEST

1.
Athletics (If all their young players break out, they’ll easily win the West)

2.
Angels (Suspect offense, but fully capable of overtaking the A’s)

3.
Rangers (My pick for the 2012 World Champions…not kidding)

4. Mariners (No chance, especially with the poor
offseason they had)

    AL WILD CARD

         Red Sox (No surprise here but it will probably be a
very close race)

     NL EAST

           
1. Mets (The East is a messy division but I think they will come out on top)

2.
Phillies (It will be a mighty tough task to repeat)

3. Marlins (I wouldn’t be surprised if they make
the playoffs, seriously)

4. Braves (Money can’t fix everything – I’m looking
at you Frank Wren)

5. Nationals (Back-to-back first overall draft
picks?  I say yes!)

    NL
CENTRAL

1.
Cubs (Should easily beat out the Brew Crew and Cards)

2.
Brewers (May struggle to reach second place, let alone the playoffs)

3.
Cardinals (Very good depth, but the bullpen will be the ultimate decider)

4.
Reds (The manager’s a moron, the GM’s a moron, they’re all morons!)

5.
Astros (A blessing in disguise; it might finally force them to re-build)

6.
Pirates (On the right track; wait until 2012 Bucco fans)

    NL
WEST

1. Dodgers (Arizona and LA will battle it out until
the bitter end, but…)

2. D-Backs (unfortunately for D.C. native GM Josh
Byrnes, LA will prevail)

3.
Giants (I…I just can’t over that Edgar Renteria signing.  UGH)

4.
Rockies (Another rebuilding process, but it’s for the best)

5.
Padres (Once Moorad takes over, the re-building process should begin)

    NL WILD
CARD

Phillies (I predict
another disappointingly close year for the D-Backs)

   WORLD
SERIES

Cleveland Indians over
the Los Angeles Dodgers

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       These
predictions are not just some arbitrary picks (except for Toronto and B     Baltimore).  I truly think this is how the next season will turn
out.           

S     So,  tell me
what you think about my picks, and/or your picks for the 2009   W   World Series.

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.

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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:

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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”

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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.