Tagged: Red Sox

Royals Pains and Trades, Misconceptions, and a Diamond in the Rough

Normal
0

ryan braun face.jpg

When
the Kansas City Royals released Ryan Braun on
November 17th, I thought of a lot of things: 
“That’s unfair!” “Jeez Dayton,
you have done it again”, and finally “Who will be the brilliant GM who signs
this minor league free agent?”  Since
Braun has been a FA for less than a week, he hasn’t been signed yet, but any GM
should take a look at Braun.  I wouldn’t
say that he would be my pick for the 2009 Comeback Player of the Year (Nelson
Cruz anyone?), but Braun is an obvious guy who could turn out to be a diamond
in the rough.  But hey, this wouldn’t be
the first time I have
seemingly
started blabbing
away
about
an unknown little pitcher.


ryan braun.jpg

Lets
take a look at Braun’s career statistics shall we?  A 1.06 ERA in AAA?  Only Jason
Bulger
can beat that.  The catch is
that he did what he did in 2007, and missed all of 2008 due to undergoing right
elbow surgery.  Maybe he should look
into Dr. Mike
Marshall’s school
.

 

Anyway,
after dominating in Omaha to start 2007, Braun got called up to the Royals and
struggled, displaying a 6.64 ERA in 26 games. 
He was 26 then, but now he’s 28 and it’s time for him to prove to
everyone in baseball that he is not a Four-A player.  I believe Braun will be a good pitcher next year, and I
don’t see any reason why Braun cannot bring a little of his dominance from the
minors to the bigs.  I’m preparing to
applaud the GM who signs Braun.  I may
be at a crossroads though, considering I have bashed so many GMs on this blog
before (ex.
ex.
ex.). 

 

I
really hope I am not jinxing Ryan.  What
if nobody signs him?  I guess he will
just sign with an independent team and I’ll probably just praise the GM of that
team. 

 

Speaking
of independent ball, it makes me sick when people refer to non-affiliated
baseball as “minor league baseball”. 
It’s not minor league baseball!  Minor
league basebal
l is when that team is affiliated with a major league
franchise.  Independent baseball
is a professional league (where players get paid), but is non-affiliated.

 

Another
misconception about independent baseball is that it is at a lower level than
the lowest level of the minor leagues. 
That’s not true at all.  Take Matt LeCroy
for example.  He played in the major
leagues for eight years, and was an important part of the Twins teams between
2002 and 2005.  But last year he played
for the non-affiliated Lancaster Barnstormers. 
Does that mean he isn’t good enough to play rookie ball?  No. 
The Barnstormers pay much better than what a team will offer a free
agent to play in Double-A and if you watch a ‘Stormers game it be at a quality
better than that of AA. 

LancasterBarnstormers.gif

I have to
imagine LeCroy didn’t get any teams that could offer him a roster spot in AAA,
so he signed with Lancaster.   The
Barnstormers of course, are part of the Atlantic League, the premier
independent league in the country. 
Leagues like the United League could be considered lower than rookie
ball but that is a rare case.  Most
independent leagues hold a higher quality of baseball. 

 

And
while we are on the case of misconceptions, it grinds my gears when people
don’t distinguish Low-A ball, A ball, and High-A ball.  Most people are aware that they exist, but
just don’t distinguish them when writing or talking.  The difference between Class-A Short Season, and Class A Advanced
is huge.  Players who are in Class-A
Short Season generally are players that were drafted that same year out of
college.  Players in Class A and High A
are usually in their first or second full professional season. 

 

Man,
how did an entry that started out about Ryan Braun end up being about minor
league class level distinguishers?

 

Well,
while I’m discussing the Royals, I might as well give my take on the Coco Crisp/Ramon Ramirez
trade.  Do you want it simple?  I hate for KC, love it for Boston.  A little more analysis?  Dayton Moore has traded yet another great
and young reliever for another so-so position player that is just barley good
enough to be a starter. 

 

The
Royals’ bullpen will suffer big time, and as result will look like this:

 

Joakim Soria
(CL)

Robinson Tejeda

Ron Mahay (They
need to trade him NOW)

Doug Waechter

Chris
Hayes
(

Normal
0

gotta
read this
post
)

Devon
Lowery

 

That’s
a really poor ‘pen, and it includes Ron Mahay who should be traded for
prospects in my opinion.  Plus, if you
noticed, those are only six pitchers. 
Who will the seventh be?  I don’t
know; maybe Jimmy
Gobble
(8.81 ERA), Joel
Peralta
(5.98), or possibly Matt
Wright
(5.47 ERA in AAA).  The
vastly over paid Kyle
Farnsworth
will be added in their if he passes his physical.  Maybe the strong 2008 Wilmington bullpen (Hartsock, Swaggerty, De La Vara
{who has been taken in the Rule 5 draft}, Holland, Nicoll) will
hold some answers to the Royals’ bullpen pains.  They just need more relievers. 

 

At
least the Royals have players to trade. 
Personally, if I took over the Royals right now I’d attempt to flip over
Mike Jacobs
and Coco Crisp to another team.  But
seeing how that won’t happen, the Royals probably are looking to trade Jose Guillen,
Mark Teahen,
and at least one of their young first basemen. 
I’ve enamored enough about Kila Ka’aihue
in this
post
, but if the Royals are keeping onto Jacobs then they can’t hold on to
both Ka’aihue and Butler.  One of them has to go.  Oh yeah, and there’s that guy who had 29
homers and a .363 OBP this year (111 G in AAA, 20 G in MLB), Ryan Shealy. 

 

Trading
Teahen and Guillen will be a tough task because there are no perfect fits.  Teahen makes sense for a team that has a
lack of depth at third base and right field.  The Mariners make the most sense, but that doesn’t mean much.  Even if they trade Ichiro and Adrian Beltre, they have Wladimir Balentien and Michael Wilson to join Franklin Gutierrez in the outfield, with Michael Saunders waiting in the wings.  It wouldn’t hurt young third baseman Matt Tuiasosopo to play another year at AAA in which case Teahen could play third base next year for the M’s, but it is obvious Seattle doesn’t need him. 

Normal
0

 

Normal
0

<!–
/* Font Definitions */
@font-face
{font-family:Cambria;
panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4;
mso-font-charset:0;
mso-generic-font-family:roman;
mso-font-pitch:variable;
mso-font-signature:-1610611985 1073741899 0 0 159 0;}
/* Style Definitions */
p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal
{mso-style-parent:"";
margin:0in;
margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";}
h1
{mso-style-next:Normal;
margin:0in;
margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
page-break-after:avoid;
mso-outline-level:1;
font-size:14.0pt;
mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Cambria;
mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;
mso-font-kerning:0pt;
font-weight:normal;
text-decoration:underline;
text-underline:single;}
a:link, span.MsoHyperlink
{color:blue;
text-decoration:underline;
text-underline:single;}
a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed
{color:purple;
text-decoration:underline;
text-underline:single;}
@page Section1
{size:8.5in 11.0in;
margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in;
mso-header-margin:.5in;
mso-footer-margin:.5in;
mso-paper-source:0;}
div.Section1
{page:Section1;}
— Definitions */
@font-face
{font-family:Cambria;
panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4;
mso-font-charset:0;
mso-generic-font-family:roman;
mso-font-pitch:variable;
mso-font-signature:-1610611985 1073741899 0 0 159 0;}
/* Style Definitions */
p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal
{mso-style-parent:””;
margin:0in;
margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;}
h1
{mso-style-next:Normal;
margin:0in;
margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
page-break-after:avoid;
mso-outline-level:1;
font-size:14.0pt;
mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Cambria;
mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;
mso-font-kerning:0pt;
font-weight:normal;
text-decoration:underline;
text-underline:single;}
a:link, span.MsoHyperlink
{color:blue;
text-decoration:underline;
text-underline:single;}
a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed
{color:purple;
text-decoration:underline;
text-underline:single;}
@page Section1
{size:8.5in 11.0in;
margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in;
mso-header-margin:.5in;
mso-footer-margin:.5in;
mso-paper-source:0;}
div.Section1
{page:Section1;}
–>er

Normal
0

Normal
0

Normal
0

teahen.jpg

Normal
0

New reports are suggesting
that the Cubs are offering Mike Fontenot
and Sean
Marshall
for Teahen.  It’s just in
the rumor phase, but I really like it for both teams.  Fontenot would be more valuable to a club that can let him start
unlike the Cubs.  Marshall has never had
a consistent role with the Cubs even though he has proven he is a reliable,
steady pitcher.  Although I think
Marshall is more valuable as a starter, the Royals would love to have him in
the bullpen.  Their rotation is pretty
set anyways, with Zack Greinke,
Gil Meche, Brian
Bannister
, Kyle
Davies
, and Luke Hochevar.  Although if Bannister and Hochevar bring
their 2008 struggles into next season, they’ll probably find themselves in
Omaha.  I’m not sure Teahen is the type
of player the Cubs need in order to find that next level, but he is a young
affordable who may benefit from escaping a pitcher’s park like Kauffman
Stadium.  However, despite his injuries, Milton Bradley is the best fit for the Cubs, not Mark Teahen.

jose guillen.jpg

As far Jose Guillen, I
have know idea where he could go. 
People are saying the Mets are an option.  That could be true, but you could say any starting OF would be a
good fit for the Mets.  Guillen is not
that great of hitter, as he probably will never hit 30 home runs again, and
struggles to keep his OBP above .300. 
Dayton Moore may find a taker who is willing to give up a mid-level
prospect but Guillen isn’t the player that can turn a team around.  In fact, he has the ability to do the exact
opposite with his attitude and occasional fights with upper management. 


I feel bad for Royals fans, they have had dumb management, a lousy team, but at least they have one of the most underrated ballparks in the country:

Advertisements

What’s a Pitching-Seeking GM To Do?

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

Japanese
hurler Junichi
Tazawa
is about to announce he has signed with the Boston Red Sox. 

tazawa1.jpg

Although it’s not the first thing that comes
to mind, the Tazawa signing really shows just how large Daisuke Matsuzaka’s
presence is in Japan.  Tazawa chose the
Red Sox over the Texas Rangers who reportedly offered over one million dollars
more than Boston. 

Jon
Daniels
must be feeling pretty bad. 
He’s been criticized ever since Tom
Hicks
hired him four years ago, for not acquiring enough pitching.  And when Daniels has spent money it has for
the most part a bad investment. 

jon daniels.jpg

Kevin
Millwood
was a bust, although if he can pitch well into July of next year,
the Texas may be able to trade him for some prospects.  Vicente Padilla
hasn’t been that bad, but it still was a bad signing considering what the
Rangers thought Padilla would accomplish with them.  Daniels has also traded away young pitchers
like Armando
Galarraga
, John
Danks
and Chris
Young
(who was packaged with Adrian Gonzalez).    He also of course traded away Edinson
Volquez but that’s another story.  The
“Edinson Volquez or Josh Hamilton” argument will go on for a long time.

I
think Jon Daniels deserves to be criticized because he has made a lot of
obvious bad trades and signings but if you look closely, you’ll figure out
Daniels had a sort of “revelation” in the 2006-2007 offseason.  It seems all of Daniels moves before 2007 season
were bad, but suddenly he figured something out and has gone on to make
splendid deals like trading away Mark Teixeira and Eric Gagne (to the Red Sox).

Now
Daniels has “GM momentum” swinging his way, but he still can’t catch a break
with pitching.  It’s not uncommon for
players to accept a slightly lower salary to play for the team they prefer.  But in most cases it is a veteran player
looking to sign the last contract of their career before retiring.  That is why Tazawa is an outlier. He’s only
22 years old, and yet he is already basing his contract options on
preference.  I wonder how much extra money
Texas would have needed to offer to get Tazawa. 
In the end, the teams have to remember he is just a 22 year old pitcher
who has only spent one year in professional baseball.  

knuckkleballer.jpg

You
have to admit he is unique.  He asked the
teams of the NPB (Japan’s MLB equivalent) not to draft him so he could play for
Nippon Oil of an independent league in Japan (the same league female
side-arming knuckleballer Eri Yoshida plays for).  
Now Tazawa is like any other amateur player from Mexico, Venezuela, or
the Dominican Republic or any other country that is not eligible for the
draft.  I am not sure about the
independent league Tazawa played in, but the reports are that he is at least
ready for Double-A.  I know Theo Epstein
would not pay Tazawa so much ($6 mil) if he wasn’t as ready for the majors
than, lets’ say Michael Bowden. 

For
a 22 year-old to take a lesser contract to play for his preferred team is
gutsy, but then again, this is why he chose to skip the Nippon Baseball
draft.  He wanted to experience the MLB
without having a NBL
team involved
in the deal.  And there
is no better way to experience Major League Baseball than playing on one of
America’s most successful baseball franchises and having the opportunity to
play with his hero Dice-K and fellow countryman Hideki Okajima.  He’ll be able to experience being a part of
Red Sox Nation and soak in all of it’s glory: 

dice-k teletubby.jpg

I
still feel sorry Jon Daniels.  Even if Kaz Fukumori
had turned into the next Takashi Saito
or Kazuhiro
Sasaki
, Texas just didn’t have the extra goods to get Tazawa.  However, there is a silver lining.  Adding Tazawa to the pitching mix makes it
more likely Theo Epstein will be willing to deal prospects like Michael Bowden
or Nick Hagadone
(who is much further down the road) to the Rangers for Gerald Laird
or Jarrod
Saltalamacchia
.  Personally, if I was
the Red Sox I wouldn’t make a deal for a Rangers catcher because they can just
sign Toby Hall
and David Ross.  Boston fans may want a big name they already
know, but a combination of George
Kottaras
, Dusty
Brown
, Toby Hall, and David Ross is a solid, less expensive option.  If Kottatas or Brown can do what they did at
AAA this year, then the Red Sox have two starting-worthy catchers.  If they both struggle then the Red Sox can
turn to a combo of a platoon of David Ross, who had .793 OPS against righties,
and Toby Hall who had a .920 OPS against lefties.  There really is no need to spend a bunch of
money on a catcher when the Red Sox need to use most, if not all of their money
on Mark Teixeira because they are by far the best
and most likely fit for him
.  Plus,
judging from this,
the Red Sox won’t have much extra money to spend this off-season.

Jon
Daniels can console in the fact that he has put together a farm system that has
a bunch of big pitching prospects like Neftali Feliz,
Blave Beavan,
Kasey Kiker,
Michael Main,
and Derek
Holland
. The system also holds some lesser-name prospects like Tommy Hunter,
Kennil Gomez,
Michael
Ballard,
Beau
Jones
, and Doug
Mathis
who could develop into successful big league starters.

That’s
it for now, but I’d like to round out my entry by a little piece of trivia:

Which
player had these statistics in 2008 when you combine his minor league, major
league, and winter league numbers together?

G        AB      OBP       HR      RBI     SB      TB      SLG      OPS                                 149   556     .431        51      151      28     385    .692     1.123

1 game in Rookie Ball 

102 games in Triple-A

31 games in the Majors    

14 games in the Dominican Winter League

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

The
answer?  This guy.

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.

OK Blue Jays, You Need to…

Normal
0

Leave Gregg Zaun and Rod Barajas alone; promote Brian Jeroloman and Curtis
Thigpen

 

The Blue Jays need to
decide whether they are going to re-sign Gregg Zaun,
and pick up the 2009 option on Rod Barajas’s
contract. 

jeroloman.jpg

The Jays should do neither,
and move on with new catchers.   If I
were Cito Gaston, Brian
Jeroloman
(24) and Curtis Thigpen
(26) would be the two catchers that would start the regular season.   I’m aware of the awful season Thigpen
experienced, but it’s better to let Thigpen rebound, than paying Barajas $2.5
million next year.  Jeroloman (right) doesn’t
offer that much power, but he can certainly hit, as he had a .396 OBP in New
Hampshire (AA), and a .421 OBP with Class A Advanced Dunedin in 2007.

 

thigpen.jpg

As for Thigpen , he had a
solid year at Syracuse in 2007, with 3 dingers, and a .348 OBP in 50
games.  He got called up to Toronto
where he struggled (.294 OBP, 0 HR), but was expected to make a serious contribution
in 2008.  Unfortunately, it was a
different story.  He started back in
Syracuse, and he only managed a measly .267 OBP with three homers in 361
at-bats.   I still believe Thigpen can
turn out to be a solid backup catcher in the major leagues.  So, if given a chance to play behind
Jeroloman, Curtis will be able to either prove me wrong or right next
year.   I’m confident he can rebound
from his tough 08 campaign.

 

Trade Shawn Camp to the Red Sox for Zak Farkes

Trade Jason Frasor to the Angels for Sean Rodriguez

 

Camp (below) and Frasor were
both valuable to the Blue Jays in 2008, but with the depth of the Toronto
bullpen, there are both the odd men out of the 2009 bullpen. 

shawn camp.jpg

The 09 pen is going to consist of B.J. Ryan,
Jeremy Accardo, Brandon League, Scott Downs, Jesse Carlson, Brian Tallet, and
Brian Wolfe.  I truthfully have no idea
what will become of Casey
Janssen
.  It’s just my gut intuition
that tells me they should hang onto him. 
And also because, well, he’s really good. 


Anyway, unless someone
gets injured, the Jays are going to need to trade Camp and Frasor, as they are
both too good for AAA.   Frasor has a
much higher trade value than Camp, but both are going to fetch prospects of a
reasonable quality.  

farkes.jpg

I think the perfect
trade involving Camp would be going to the Red Sox for third base prospect Zak Farkes.   Farkes (right) isn’t that big of a prospect, but he
plays a position that Toronto doesn’t have a lot of depth in, plus he provides
some power.  I’d say Farkes has the
potential to at 20 home runs a year, and maintain an acceptable .OBP, although
it will never to be above average.  Farkes
isn’t a huge acquisition, but remember, it’s Shawn Camp he’s getting traded for.

 

frasor.jpg

The Frasor trade is a much
higher impact deal.  Frasor (left) can fill the
role of the 6th inning set-up man/middle reliever, similar to his
role with Toronto.  If K-Rod actually
stays in LA, then Frasor’s role will lessen, but seeing the small odds of that
possibility, Frasor should only be behind Scot Shields, Jose Arredondo, and
ex-teammate Justin Speier in the bullpen pyramid. 

 

If this deal is made, the
Jays suddenly have their 2009 starting shortstop.  Sean Rodriguez
crushed the ball in his 66-game stint with AAA Salt Lake.  Here his stats:

G     OBP     AB     HR     RBI     SB     BB     SO     SLG     OPS

66  
.397    248    21      52      
4       29     
45    .645   1.042

 

Yes, he struggled mightily
with the Angels:

 

G     OBP     AB     HR     RBI     SB     BB     SO     SLG     OPS

Normal
0

Normal
0

59   .276    167     3        10      3       14     55     .317     .593


Yet, he’s still only 24
years old and has a very high upside. 
In fact, the more I look at Rodriguez (below), the more I think about how much
better he is than Jason Frasor.   I
still consider this an even trade for both clubs involved, though.  The Angels could use one more arm in the
bullpen; an arm just like Jason Frasor.

sean rodriguez.jpg

With former first rounder Kevin Ahrens
moving to third base permanently (he had a bad
first season
anyway), the Jays have zero shortstop prospects.  With Rodriguez at short, the Jays wouldn’t
have to play John
McDonald
or Marco
Scutaro
everyday and let the new
acquisition
play up to his full potential in the majors.  I’m sure that the Pacific Coast League
helped his power numbers a little, yet Rodriguez still has 20-homer power.  If demoted, I would have been slightly
interesting to how Rodriguez’s power numbers held up in the more pitcher
friendly International League.  That
small thought was shot down when the Blue Jays moved their Triple-A affiliate
from Syracuse to Las Vegas, but that’s no big deal.  Rodriguez should, without a doubt, be the starting shortstop in
Toronto.  That it is of course, if this
trade actually happens.

Normal
0