Tagged: Yankees

Rotation Picks

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I started the last entry
with my preseason playoff picks, but now it is time for something a little more
hardcore.

 

Below are
my picks, not predictions, for each big league team’s 2009 starting
rotation. 

 

Toronto
  1. Roy Halladay
  2. Jesse Litsch
  3. David Purcey

  4. Casey Janssen
  1. Bryan Bullington

 

Baltimore
  1. Jeremy Guthrie
  2. Koji Uehara
  3. Rich Hill
  4. Radhames Liz
  5. David Pauley

 

Tampa Bay
  1. Scott Kazmir
  2. James Shields
  3. Matt Garza
  4. Andy Sonnanstine
  5. Jeff Neimann

 

Boston
  1. Josh Beckett
  2. Jon Lester
  3. Daisuke Matsuzaka
  4. Tim Wakefield
  5. Clay Buchholz

 

New York
  1. CC Sabathia
  2. Chien-Ming Wang
  3. A.J. Burnett
  4. Andy Pettitte
  5. Joba Chamberlain

 

Cleveland
  1. Cliff Lee
  2. Fausto Carmona
  3. Anthony Reyes
  4. Aaron Laffey
  5. Jeremy Sowers

 

Kansas City
  1. Zack Greinke
  2. Gil Meche
  3. Kyle Davies
  4. Luke Hochevar
  5. Brian Bannister

 

Detroit
  1. Jeremy Bonderman
  2. Justin Verlander
  3. Armando Galarraga
  4. Edwin Jackson
  5. Chris Lambert

 

Minnesota

  1. Scott Baker
  2. Kevin Slowey
  3. Francisco Liriano
  4. Kevin Blackburn
  5. Glen Perkins

 

Chicago

  1. Mark Buehrle
  2. John Danks
  3. Gavin Floyd
  4. Jose Contreras
  5. Clayton Richard

 

Los Angeles
  1. John Lackey
  2. Ervin Santana
  3. Joe Saunders
  4. Jered Weaver
  5. Anthony Ortega


Oakland
  1. Justin Duchscherer
  2. Dana Eveland
  3. Dallas Braden
  4. Sean Gallagher
  5. Gio Gonzalez

 

Seattle
  1. Felix Hernandez
  2. Eric Bedard
  3. Jarrod Washburn
  4. Garrett Olson
  5. Ryan Rowland-Smith

 

Texas
  1. Kevin Millwood
  2. Vicente Padilla
  3. Brandon McCarthy
  4. Matt Harrison
  5. Doug Mathis

 

Atlanta
  1. Derek Lowe
  2. Jair Jurrjens
  3. Javier Vasquez
  4. Kenshin Kawakami
  5. Jo-Jo Reyes

 

Florida
  1. Josh Johnson
  2. Ricky Nolasco
  3. Chris Volstad
  4. Anibal Sanchez
  5. Andrew Miller

 

New York
  1. Johan Santana
  2. John Maine
  3. Mike Pelfrey
  4. Oliver Perez
  5. Tim Redding

 

Philadelphia
  1. Cole Hamels
  2. Brett Myers
  3. Jamie Moyer
  4. Joe Blanton
  5. J.A. Happ

 

Washington
  1. John Lannan
  2. Scott Olsen
  3. Shawn Hill
  4. Collin Balester
  5. Shairon Martis

 

Houston
  1. Roy Oswalt
  2. Wandy Rodriguez
  3. Mike Hampton
  4. Brian Moehler
  5. Brandon Backe

 

Milwaukee
  1. Yovani Gallardo
  2. Dave Bush
  3. Braden Looper
  4. Manny Parra
  5. Jeff Suppan

 

St. Louis
  1. Adam Wainwright
  2. Kyle Lohse
  3. Chris Carpenter
  4. Todd Wellemeyer
  5. Mitchell Boggs

 

Chicago
  1. Carlos Zambrano
  2. Ryan Dempster
  3. Rich Harden
  4. Ted Lilly
  5. Sean Marshall

 

Pittsburgh
  1. Paul Maholm
  2. Ian Snell
  3. Tom Gorzelanny
  4. Zach Duke
  5. Jeff Karstens

 

Cincinnati
  1. Edinson Volquez
  2. Aaron Harang
  3. Johnny Cueto
  4. Bronson Arroyo
  5. Homer Bailey

 

Arizona
  1. Brandon Webb
  2. Danny Haren
  3. Doug Davis
  4. Max Scherzer
  5. Jon Garland

 

Los Angeles
  1. Chad Billingsley
  2. Hiroki Kuroda
  3. Clayton Kershaw
  4. Randy Wolf
  5. James McDonald

 

San Francisco
  1. Tim Lincecum
  2. Matt Cain
  3. Barry Zito
  4. Randy Johnson
  5. Jonathan Sanchez

 

San Diego
  1. Jake Peavy
  2. Chris Young
  3. Josh Geer
  4. Cha Seung Baek
  5. Chad Reineke

 

Colorado
  1. Aaron Cook
  2. Ubaldo Jimenez
  3. Jason Marquis
  4. Greg Smith
  5. Jason Hirsh

 

cashman_brian031217_getty.jpg

After making these lists
and seeing this
thread, I’ve been inspired to decide which rotation I think is the best.  As I’ve said earlier, I think Cleveland has
the best starting pitching depth, but as far as the most effective starting
five goes, I’ll have to take the Yankees. 
No one in the MLB can match Sabathia, Wang, Burnett, Pettitte, and
Chamberlain.  Plus New York has a bunch
of depth with Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Alfredo Aceves, Humberto Sanchez, Kei
Igawa all in Triple-A presumably.  The
best National League rotation is, in my opinion, the Chicago Cubs.  Of course, that all depends on how healthy
Rich Harden can stay.

wade.jpg

And as for the worst…I’d
pick the Astros.  Sure, the Jays or
Pirates may have worse team pitching statistics in 2009, but Houston has
absolutely no depth and a weak collection of pitching prospects (and position
prospects for that matter).

 

As always, let me know
what you think.  In my next entry I’ll
continue my pre-season predictions/picks with giving my personal predictions
for all the major awards.

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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
.

Queen City Stupidness

GABP.jpg

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In my last entry I said
that Cincinnati had the worst management in baseball.  And the Reds’ latest move (or lack there of) has convinced me I
am totally…….right.  First of all, the Griffey
trade
was a good one for the Reds. 
To give up an old veteran who frankly was not very good anymore, was
smart.  Danny Richar
doesn’t excite me very much, but Nick Masset
was a good acquisition just because he’s a young pitcher.  Looking at it from a Reds standpoint, all you
have to say is “young pitcher” and it is a good acquisition.  

 

But the move I am
referring to in the beginning of the entry is a direct result from the Griffey
trade.  After the trade, Adam Dunn
and Jay Bruce were the only outfielders left on the team that were bona-fide
starters.  Ryan Freel and Norris Hopper
were both injured.  Jerry Hairston
Jr.
(below) was thought to have the starting job in center field for two
reasons.  1) Jay Bruce would move over
to right field, where he will e
nd up eventually anyway 2) Hairston was having a
career season with t
he bat.  

hairston.jpg

I wont argue that
Hairston is h
aving a great year.  So far
he’s had a .393 OBP with three home runs and twenty-two RBI in 58 games. 

dickerson.jpg

But I don’t think Hairston should be the
starting center fielder.  Why do I think
a guy who’s having such a great year be on the bench?   The Reds season has been so bad, every decision made from now on
should be in the interest of the future. 
With that in mind, Chris
Dickerson
(right) should get called up from Triple-A Louisville and be the Reds’
starting center fielder.

Jerry Hairston is 32 years
old, while Dickerson is only 26 years old. 
Hairston has always been a utility guy who can play the infield and
outfield and could and should continue that role.  Dickerson is the only legitimate outfield prospect in the system
besides Drew Stubbs.   As I said before,
Hairston could still help out the club by playing second base, shortstop, third
base, left field, and occasionally center field. 

 

Dickerson is having a
great season in AAA.  Here his
statistics:

G     .OBP      AB          H      HR      RBI     BB      SO     SB      SLG      OPS

94   .385     336     62    96     11       53      53       99     26     .479      .864

 

Those numbers are too good
for him to stay in AAA.  The Reds need
to build for the future, therefore they need to let Chris Dickerson play in the
majors.

 

But I unfortunately doubt
Jocketty (Reds GM) will do I what I suggest because he’s well, I don’t want to say he’s
dumb, but he is. 

 

By the way, what is Corey
Patterson
(below) doing in the majors?  He
has a .221 OBP!   He’s the ultimate
anti-Moneyball
player.  He never walks, and tries to
hit a home run every at-bat. 

patterson.jpg

He
intrigues a lot of GMs just by his potential and speed.  But Patterson is 29 years old and I think I
can confidently say that you can say goodbye of any chance of him reaching his
“potential”.  He’s a bad player, nothing
personal but it’s true, and to think he’s the one starting in center field
while Hairston is recovering from his injury is staggering.  The Reds really need to take a different
perspective on running the team.  Out of
all the baseball fans, I think Reds fans have the most right to be
unhappy.  Even more unhappy then Oriole
fans, but that’s something everyone in Baltimore will deny.  I think there is no doubt though, who has
the nicer ballpark.  Reds or Orioles?  Come on O’s fans, you know which one is
nicer.  As for Pirate fans, I could
never be angry with management because I don’t think there is any instance in
professional sports where the nicest venue in the league
has the third
lowest average ticket price
.  It’s
truly remarkable and almost sad.

 

If I really need to
convince everyone reading this blog that Cincinnati’s front office is in
shambles, take a look at this
article.  Yes it’s true.  I’m sorry for all the Red fans out there,
but it’s not some cruel joke.  Watch this
video.  Bavasi was so bad as GM of the
M’s, that Mariners beat writer Jim Street forgot to mention the Richie
Sexson signing
.  How bad does a GM
have to be for a beat writer to neglect to mention the Sexson deal
when going through all the bad moves Bavasi made during his stint?  Really Mr. Jocketty?  The only way the Reds front office could get
worse is if Walt hires Dave Littlefield or Tim Purpura.  It wouldn’t even be funny if mentioned the
possibility of Jocketty hiring Jim
Duquette
.

 

The Reds also recently
designated David
Ross
(pictured) for assignment. 

ross.jpg

He was the
Reds’ starting catcher for the last two seasons, and had a really good year in
2006 for them.  Here’s what he did: 90
games: .353 OBP, 20 HR, 52 RBI, .579 SLG. 
But in 2007 he was atrocious with a .271 OBP and 17 home runs in 117
games.   For Ross, this year was sort of
ying-yang.  He had a .381 OBP but only
hit 3 homers.  He was going to be on
pace for only 9 homers this season. 
Yet, he still was the best catcher on the Reds, way better than Javier
Valentin
and Paul
Bako
.  I could see how Bako could
help the young pitchers on the team, but Valentin was having a horrible year
with a .294 OBP and one home run.  Why
would the Reds let go of the best catcher on their team and keep their third
string catcher who’s older than Ross and is having a horrible year with the
stick.  It doesn’t make sense,
especially when you look at Ross’s high percentage of throwing out would-be
base stealers.  

 

I do however like the
player the Reds called up from Triple-A. 
Ryan
Hanigan
was really swinging the bat well in Louisville and carried a .392
OBP.  He’s not a power hitter at all; in
75 games this season he’s only hit four dingers, and has 18 career home runs in
549 career minor league games.  He appeared in 10 games with the club in September last year, but is a pretty old rookie at
28.  That being said, I don’t see how the Reds’ expectations for Hanigan can be any higher than what Ross did this year.  I just don’t get why the Reds have
three catchers, especially in the NL, and why Javier Valentin is one of those
three, while David Ross is not.

 

Here’s some more
unfairness.  Homer Bailey was
sent down on Sunday.  But that is not
what’s unfair.  Sending Bailey down was
the right move.  He simply couldn’t put
it together at the majors, and hopefully the minors will help him regain his
form.  The part about this that is
unfair is that Josh
Fogg
will replace Bailey in the rotation. 
I have know logical guess as to why Fogg is in the rotation, and Ramon
Ramirez
is still in AAA.  Fogg is 31
years old, but he’s definitely not a part of the Reds’ long-term plan.  Ramirez is already 25 years old, so it’s
time he gets a chance to pitch in with the Reds.  He has a 3.35 ERA this year in AAA, and 1.98 ERA in his last 7
starts.  Why Fogg (who is 2-4 with a
7.98 ERA) is with Cincinnati, but Ramirez isn’t befuddles me.  

 

Another less-publicized
prospect the Reds have is Josh Roenicke. 
He’s in Triple-A at the moment and is plowing down hitters there.  He wields a .227 BAA, and a 2.40 ERA.  I think he’s ready for majors right now, and
he’s already 26, but the Cincinnati bullpen doesn’t have any odd man out at
this point:

Francisco Cordero: 53
games – 3.86 ERA – 22 SV (28 Opp) – 32 years old

David Weathers: 53 games –
3.35 ERA – 38 years old

Jeremy Affeldt: 60 games –
3.67 ERA – 29 years old

Mike Lincoln: 45 games –
3.51 ERA – 32 years old

Bill Bray: 46 games – 2.77
ERA – 25 years old

Gary Majewski: 24 games –
4.66 ERA – 28 years old

Nick Masset: 36 games –
4.30 ERA – 26 years old

 

Gary Majewski is obviously
the weakest link in the pen, but he is still is a good pitcher who bodes well
for the future and the Reds shouldn’t send him down again.  I guess it couldn’t hurt if Roenicke could
put more innings under his belt in Triple-A but he’s a large part of the future and
is another reason why the Reds need to trade David Weathers this
off-season.  He’s too valuable of a
player to be wasting away in Cincy.  A
contending team like the Cardinals would love to have Weathers in their pen
right now.

 

The bottom line is the Reds are a bad team
and they need to get younger and continue to rebuild.  They can’t stop at Cueto, Volquez, Bruce and Votto.  They still need to get better and younger.  Their farm system is in bad condition
despite what it’s pumped out the past two years.   


This last little thing
doesn’t have anything to do with the Reds, but I’ll say it anyways.  Didn’t any team notice what Carlos
Rivera
(below) did in the Mexican League last year?  I know it’s the Mexican League but at some point the
numbers start to have meaning.  Take a
look at these things of beauty:

G       OBP      AB       R      H      HR      RBI      BB      SO      SB      SLG      OPS

101   .511     361     75   148    16       73        70      63       3      .615    1.126

carlos rivera.jpg


As a GM, wouldn’t you just
take a chance on him, and see what he could do in affiliated baseball
again.  Obviously, Rivera was in
affiliated ball for 11 seasons
until 2007 and didn’t put up those same numbers, but those numbers above are
just so good, it’s tempting to pick him up for a very low price tag and
see what he can do.  He’s still a free
agent and is 30 years old.  Talk about
potential though.

 

Finally to put the
finishing touches on my entry, here’s a “Phunny Photo”.  I know that was lame.  If you have seen it before (it’s fairly
popular) my apologies:

 

“Those Rich Yankee Fans and Their Fancy Seats”
funnybaseball.jpg