Monday, March 31, 2008
Back in Febuary, Alex Cintron was in negotiations with both the Orioles and the Cubs, but chose the Cubs hoping he would make the team. It is not hard to understand why, but he would be the starting Oriole shortstop if he signed with them. Instead, he was released by the Cubs and quickly signed with the Orioles. Cintron had a pretty solid spring, but was beat out by Ronny Cedeno for the 25th spot. He is expected to start in Triple-A but should be up in no time, assuming that Fahey or Hernandez struggle.
Notable box score line: Placido Polanco went 0-6.
Franklin Gutierrez proves he's ready: Although the Indians gave up some runs late, they proved that their offense can survive the AL Central.
Notable box score line: Alexei Ramirez went 0-4 with three strikeouts.
Rays open with win in new uniforms: James Shields was phenomenal in seven innings, and the offense did their part to take the win.
Notable box score line: Ace Jeremy Guthrie: 5.1 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 8.44 ERA
Webb spoils Baker debut: Brandon Webb kept the Reds quiet in his season debut, pitching six strong innings.
Notable box score line: Chris Young went 1-4 with a homerun, but three strikeouts. Sound familiar?
Fukudome taking control in debut, but bullpen falls: The Cubs were all smiles despite a tough loss to the Brewers. Yes, Kerry Wood and Bob Howry did not pitch well, but Carlos Marmol and Fukudome have the Cubs fans very excited.
Notable box score line: Kosuke Fukudome went 3-3 with a walk, single, double, and game tying three run homerun in the ninth.
Another late rally for Nationals: The Nationals scored five runs in the top of the ninth to beat the Phillies 11-6.
Notable box score line: Tom Gordon roughed up: 0.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 135.00 ERA.
Johan begins Mets career with a win: David Wright and Carlos Beltran stepped up to help Johan Santana get his first win as a Met.
Notable box score line: David Wright went 2-4 with 3 RBI.
The Dodgers are Giants in Opener: The Dodgers worked the Giants for 11 hits and five runs as Joe Torre picks up his first Dodger "W".
Notable box score line: Barry Zito: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 K, 7.20 ERA.
More updates coming soon...
The Red Sox signed Japanese pitcher Terumasa Matsuo to a minor league deal and assigned him to the extended Spring Training in Fort Meyers, Florda. Matsuo, 26, has gone 26-5 over the past two seasons with a 1.77 ERA. "We have followed his progress over the last two years and have been really impressed with his ability to pitch," said Jon Deeble, who serves as Pacific Rim coordinator for the Red Sox. "He has shown us the ability to throw the ball past the bat as evident of his high strikeout numbers and his ability to throw four pitches for strikes. He is a hard working kid who really loves to pitch. We look forward to having him pitch in a Red Sox uniform this upcoming season."
Sunday, March 30, 2008
C Russell Martin
1B James Loney
2B Mark Ellis
3B Andy LaRoche
SS Chin-Lung Hu (assuming Furcal walks)
LF Andre Ethier
CF Andruw Jones
RF Matt Kemp
Wow. Assuming those prospects continue to perform, that lineup puts them right in contention with the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Padres. And don't forget about a rotation that should include Clayton Kershaw. I think the one thing holding them back this year is that there young guys do not have much experience and some of their older guys are starting to fade. I have them finishing fourth, but I could be way off.
I'm heading back to Chicago today. Took up the sun in Florida for the week. Here is what is making news early this morning.
Sheets gone next season?: It is starting to settle in that Ben Sheets probably won't be a Brewer in 2009. I disagree, however. It is a great team and they will go far in 2009.
Dodgers still looking....: The Dodgers continue to look for help and are looking at Eric Hinske and Wes Helms.
Rockies looking for pitching?: After trading Ramon Ramirez to the Royals, Jorge De La Rosa is drawing interest from the Rockies.
Matt Murton to be traded today or tomorrow: Expect Matt Murton to be traded today, at the latest, tomorrow.
Juan Pierre wants out: Juan Pierre is openly upset about his situation in LA, and wants out. Maybe the Rockies would be interested in bringing him back?
Hope everyone had a good break as well,
Saturday, March 29, 2008
ELI: When did you first realize you might be drafted?
MIKE: Well, I was drafted twice. I was first drafted by Pat Gillick of the Astros out of high school, but I had a bad elbow at the time so I went to the University of Massachusetts. When the next draft came around for me I was pretty confident I was going to be drafted and I went in the seventh round.
ELI: You won the AL Cy Young in 1979, looking back on it, what was working for you that year?
MIKE: A pitcher name Scott McGregor helped me early on. I was mostly a two pitch pitcher early on in my career and you cannot survive as a starter with two pitches. I tried all sorts of grips to develop a change, but McGregor had a great change-up and helped me find one. It made all the difference. I had pitched four hundred innings against everyone without a change, so the next time I pitched, no one had seen it, and that made all the difference.
ELI: You played alongside Jim Palmer, what was that like early on in your career?
MIKE: I came up with Jim Palmer, and looking back on it, I was fortunate to play with him. It is not always the case that pitchers give out tips, but Palmer helped me a lot with psychology of it, and finding strengths and weaknesses.
ELI: What was Earl Weaver like as a manager?
MIKE: I don't know if he have enough time to talk about it. [Laughs] Every game was a war. Every night he managed, it was a war. Even in Spring Training or Fantasy Camp - he was a high intensity manager.
ELI: While you were playing, did you ever think you would hold a Front Office position after you retired? What positions did you hold before you got to where you are now?
MIKE: I thought about it. I was a broadcaster twice, and their pitching coach. Being a broadcaster was a nice avenue to getting here. You stay in touch with the game by talking to scouts, players and coaches.
ELI: This past year, you traded Steve Trachsel to the Cubs for Rocky Cherry and Scott Moore. Was the negotiation process to bring him back easy, was there any hard feelings?
MIKE: Well, we talked to Trachsel when it happened, so it was not difficult to get a deal done. Either way, most veterans understand.
ELI: Several trades were made this offseason, did the players take longer to gel in Spring Training than normal?
MIKE: No. I think players understand that there is an opportunity here. Rosters are usually set coming into Spring Training, but I don't know of one major leaguer that doesn't want an opportunity.
ELI: You drafted Matt Wieters last year, how did he handle his first big league camp?
MIKE: Extremely well. He is a strong catcher and a switch hitter. We do not have much catching depth in our minor league system, so to add a switch hitter gives us the depth we need.
ELI: Is there one pitcher in camp that really turned heads this year?
MIKE: Chris Tillman. He came over in the Bedard trade. He is a big guy, and showed a lot of poise.
ELI: Daniel Cabrera has a hard fastball. Is there anything you told him to work on this spring?
MIKE: We had him work on a change-up. Daniel is a big guy, he just needs to slow things down.
ELI: There is a saying, "When you have a passion for your work, you never work a day in your life," do you feel that way?
MIKE: Absolutely. If you are concerned about your job and hours, this isn't the job for you. You are on call twenty-four hours a day, twelve months out of the year.
Friday, March 28, 2008
As for Marte, 24, he struggled in Single-A and I really do not see much upside in him. However, he has got a strong fastball, so if he can get some of his other pitches together, maybe he will make it.
1) Dan Haren, Diamondbacks
- Haren is an excellent pitcher and I think he will make a successful transition, but he is moving to a hitters park, after pitching in a pitchers park, and his 4.11 ERA should be a low from Haren in 2008. He will have run support, but expect more losses than in previous years.
2008 Projection: 14-8 W-L, 4.42 ERA, 186 K
2) Dontrelle Willis, Tigers
- He is coming off a career worst 5.17 ERA in the NL and is moving to the powerful AL Central. Yes, he will have a lot of run support which should get him wins, but expect his ERA will be high and you might see a dip in his strikeouts.
2008 Projection: 13-11 W-L, 4.98 ERA, 158 K
3) Barry Zito, Giants
- Are you surprised here? His fastball has dropped about three mph and he is not as deceptive as he was. He had a 10.31 ERA and just four strikeouts in Spring Training, so maybe he will change when the season starts, but this seems to be the beginning of the end for Zito.
2008 Projection: 10-15 W-L, 4.74 ERA, 143 K
4) Aaron Rowand, Giants
- He is moving from a hitters park to pitchers park, and is moving from a great lineup to a horrendous lineup. He will not have any protection and will likely return to 2006 form. He was coming off a career year last year, but still saw dips in OPS, so do not look for an amazing year from Rowand.
2008 Projection: .272 AVG, 16 HR, 71 RBI
5) Kyle Kendrick, Phillies
- Wasn't all that overpowering in the minors, many scouts suggest his success came from teams not being familiar with him. Many people are looking at him as a lesser Cole Hamels, but he is looking like a number four starter, if that at all. We'll see, but I think we are in for a disappointing 2008 from Kendrick.
2008 Projection: 10-11 W-L, 4.74 ERA, 97 K
Honorable Mention: Kaz Matsui (Astros)
Thursday, March 27, 2008
For those of you that do not know, the Cubs home schedule favors day games. There are several night games that go into day games, causing some players to become worn down by mid-May or June. Murton hit .295 during night games, but again struggled during day games. He hit very well on the road, an impressive .322, and I think he would be a very successful outfielder on a different team.
I have been calculating some projections of Murton on different teams in everyday roles, and they come out nicely. I believe he has the potential to hit .285-.295 range consistently, with 20-25 homeruns. Someone that you could compare him to is Larry Walker, before he went to Colorado. Murton's strength's are that he is very patient, has a great swing that finds the gaps, and above average speed. What would it cost a team like the Padres for Murton? Matt Antonelli or Wade LeBlanc?
Matt Murton's Cubs Projection:
.284 AVG, 23 HR, 69 RBI
Matt Murton's Padres Projection:
.307 AVG, 18 HR, 76 RBI
Matt Murton's Red Sox Projection:
.294 AVG, 20 HR, 68 RBI
Maybe this convinces you that he is a solid all around player, maybe it doesn't. Nevertheless, the Cubs are making a mistake by keeping him in Triple-A and it is hurting his chances to be an everyday player.
National League MVP: Ryan Braun, Brewers
Darkhorse: Adrain Gonzalez, Padres
National League Cy Young: Johan Santana, Mets
Darkhorse: Carlos Zambrano, Cubs
National League Rookie of the Year: Geovanny Soto, Cubs
Darkhorse: Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers
National League Comeback Player of the Year: Nick Johnson, Nationals
Darkhorse: Corey Patterson, Reds
Let's hear your predictions in the comment box below.
The LA Times is looking at possible candidates for the Angels rotation, and have tossed out names like Kameron Loe, Jon Lieber, Aaron Laffey, or Joe Blanton, to name a few. The Angels are not ones to trade away their minor league depth, so I doubt they will make a trade. However, come July and the Mariners and Angels are fighting for the division lead, a trade could come.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
American League MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Darkhorse: Torii Hunter, Angels
American Legaue Cy Young: Justin Verlander, Tigers
Darkhorse: Dustin McGowan, Blue Jays
American League Rookie of the Year: Evan Longoria, Rays
Darkhorse: Alexei Ramirez, White Sox
American League Comeback Player of the Year: Rich Harden, Athletics
Darkhorse: Ervin Santana, Angels
Let's hear your predictions in the comment box below....
1. Atlanta Braves: 92-70 W-L
2. New York Mets: 88-74 W-L
3. Philadelphia Phillies: 84-78 W-L
4. Washington Nationals: 69-93 W-L
5. Florida Marlins: 64-98 W-L
Rationale: The Phillies pitching will need to put out a better showing if they want to repeat in the division. But after losing Brad Lidge, the bullpen is not as good. If they can put together a strong bullpen, maybe they will be in the race. The Mets have nagging injuries that will hurt them, despite adding Johan Santana. As for the Braves, they have a strong lineup and a deep rotation. If one of their veteran relievers fall, they have a young impressive pitcher to step up.Yunel Escobar is a breakout candidate and Mark Teixeira all year will definitely help.
National League Central
1. Chicago Cubs: 89-73 W-L
2. Milwaukee Brewers: 87-75
3. Cincinnati Reds: 83-79 W-L
4. Houston Astros: 73-89 W-L
5. St. Louis Cardinals: 70-92 W-L
6. Pittsburgh Pirates: 63-99 W-L
Rationale: I see the Cubs and Brewers fighting it out all year again, but the Cubs coming out on top. They have a lot of crucial games that they will be playing and I see the veteran Cubs being able to hold out in late September rather than some of their rookies. Not only that, but they do not have Gallardo early on and I think that will hurt them too. Yes, it is only two or three starts, but the games early on always come back to haunt you.
National League West
1. Arizona Diamondbacks: 94-68 W-L
2. San Diego Padres: 90-72 W-L
3. Colorado Rockies: 88-74 W-L
4. Los Angeles Dodgers: 86-76 W-L
5. San Francisco Giants: 58-104 W-L
Rationale: The Diamondbacks are a very impressive team and got better with the addition of Dan Haren. A full year from Justin Upton, and improved years from Drew and Young make me think this team is a serious contender for the World Series. The Padres have assembled a good team and their younger players should improve on what they have. Kouzmanoff is a breakout canidate and so is Adrain Gonzalez. Michael Barrett will be entering a new year and is ready to return to his old form. The Rockies are great team, but I do not think we will be seeing them in Rocktober.
NOTE: THIS IS A PROJECTION, SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Q: This is not a fantasy question, but which position is the most important in your mind. I mean, which one wins ball games?
Tim R., Boston, MA
ELI: The bullpen. The bullpen wins games and keeps you in ball games that you are losing. A perfect example is in today's Opening Day in Japan. The Red Sox were down late but had solid relievers come in and limit the deficit. That allowed for Red Sox hitters to figure out their pitchers and ironically, come back against the teams best pitcher. The Athletics had the lead but were unable to keep it because of their poor bullpen. Yes, relievers are rusty coming out of Spring Training because they do not play much, but this is a fine example of how important bullpens are.
Q: Erik Bedard is having a rough spring, is this what us Mariners fans should expect from him this season?
Danny M. Portland, Oregon
ELI: It is funny you say that because he is my case study for this season to see how important spring is. I do not think you should expect it from him because there is a lot on his mind. He is getting use to a new catcher, a new team, and new opponents. He has played in Florida his whole career in Spring Training and has not faced most of the players over in Arizona. I'm not trying to make excuses, but when you are facing an ace and you are trying to make the team, you are going to be swinging at the first pitch because you know Bedard is going to be trying to get ahead in the count.
Q: Is Kosuke Fukudome a bust? He is having a terrible spring.
Justin D, Evanston, Ill.
ELI: He too, like Bedard, is getting use to a new setting. He is obviously trying to make a good first impression, and I think Cubs fans appreciate his effort. You cannot say he is a bust yet, but he is a little suprising. He is striking out a lot and you do not like to see that in Spring Training, but what can you do? Remember, he is coming off surgery, and coming into a new league, so I wouldn't get my hopes up just yet. I think he will help, but give him time to come into form.
Q: Who are your two sleeper teams to make the playoffs and go to the World Series?
Jamie E. Dayton, OH
ELI: In the American, my sleeper is the Mariners. I do not think too many teams really have a good chance right now. The Blue Jays have great pitching, but are playing in a really tough division. Because the Angels are hurt right now, I think the Mariners can get ahead. I think people are going to be looking back at the end of the season and say, "Wow, Carlos Silva was a great pickup." As for the NL, I think the Braves have a great chance to win the division. The Phillies will need an even better showing from their pitching, which is unlikely, and the Mets need their players to get and stay healthy, which is also unlikely. The Braves have depth and a healthy lineup.
If you are interested in participating in the mailbag, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just a little south of Milwaukee, the Cubs are making news. They signed outfielder Reed Johnson, putting an end to the Coco Crisp and Marlon Byrd rumors. With this signing, I think it could lead to a Matt Murton trade. Johnson and Murton are pretty similar players, but Johnson is a better fielder. It is a good move nonetheless.
1. Boston Red Sox: 95-67 W-L
2. New York Yankees: 92-70 W-L
3. Toronto Blue Jays: 88-74 W-L
4. Tampa Bay Rays: 73-89 W-L
5. Baltimore Orioles: 57-105 W-L
Rationale: The Blue Jays and Rays are really going to surprise us this year, and I think they will be in the race all season. The RedSox are solid up and down and should be able to take the division, but it won't be as easy as everyone thinks.
American League Central
1. Cleveland Indians: 93-69 W-L
2. Detroit Tigers: 91-71 W-L
3. Minnesota Twins: 80-82 W-L
4. Chicago White Sox: 79-83 W-L
5. Kansas City Royals: 74-88 W-L
Rationale: Yes, the Tigers improved their offense to give themselves one of the best offenses in the game, but they failed to improve their bullpen. The bullpen is the most important part of the game and to be lacking early on will only hurt them. If they can get some bullpen help early, I think they are the favorite. The Twins and Sox are pretty equal, but they could turn out to be better than expected. The Royals definitely helped themselves this offseason, but need to focus on their starting pitching in the next offseason to really make a serious run.
American League West Standings
1. Seattle Mariners: 93-69 W-L
2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 89-73 W-L
3. Texas Rangers: 77-85 W-L
4. Oakland Athletics: 74-88 W-L
Rationale: I think the injuries to the Angels early on will hurt them, putting the Mariners ahead early. Many have been critical of the Carlos Silva signing, but his double-digit wins might send the Mariners to the playoffs. Not to mention that they also have ErikBedard . As for the Rangers and A's, the A's have a lot of question marks and the Rangers pitching is weak. It is going to be close between them, as you can see.
NOTE: THIS IS A PROJECTION, SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
UPDATE: Traded to Pirates for Todd Redmond.
Monday, March 24, 2008
.293 AVG, 27 HR, 112 RBI
C Jorge Posada
.288 AVG, 16 HR, 81 RBI
1B Jason Giambi
.249 AVG, 21 HR, 73 RBI
2B Robinson Cano
.322 AVG, 18 HR, 100 RBI
3B Alex Rodriguez
.303 AVG, 48 HR, 148 RBI
SS Derek Jeter
.327 AVG, 13 HR, 77 RBI
LF Johnny Damon
.278 AVG, 14 HR, 63 RBI
CF Melky Cabrera
.286 AVG, 12 HR, 68 RBI
RF Bobby Abreu
.280 AVG, 17 HR, 104 RBI
SP Chien-Ming Wang
17-6 W-L, 3.87 ERA, 91 K
SP Andy Pettitte
14-8 W-L, 3.91 ERA, 137 K
SP Phil Hughes
15-7 W-L, 3.65 ERA, 110 K
SP Mike Mussina
10-13 W-L, 4.93 ERA, 114 K
SP Ian Kennedy
10-8 W-L, 4.32 ERA, 92 K
NOTE: THIS IS A PROJECTION, SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
- Just twenty-one, Anderson proved he could hit the ball for average and power. He is the future behind the plate for the Cardinals.
92. Joe Savery, Phillies
- Although he is a good hitter, he thinks he can make as a pitcher. He did well in his first seven games in the pros, but we need to see more from him.
93. Kyle Blanks, Padres
- Although he is older than most Double-A players with potential, he hit for a lot of power and average in Single-A and could see time at the MLB level this season.
94. Taylor Teagarden, Rangers
- He has battled injuries, but still has the potential to be a solid player.
95. Scott Elbert, Dodgers
- This left handed reliever probably won't make the team until 2009 or 2010, but has a pretty good minor league track record. I think he will likely be "the lefty" in the Dodgers pen for the years to come.
96. Neftali Feliz, Rangers
- I think his career will be as a closer, mostly because his above average change up compliments his 99 mph fastball very nicely. Oh yeah, he is only nineteen. The main reason he is not higher is because of his K/BB.
97. Hector Gomez, Rockies
- He has drawn comparisons to Michael Young, but I see him more as a Khalil Greene.
98. Drew Stubbs, Reds
- Won't be up till 2010, but he will hit for a high average. He has time, and I think the power will come.
99. Aaron Poreda, White Sox
- A strong fastball with good movement gets him in the top 100, but his secondary pitchers are not great, yet.
100. Andrew Brackman, Yankees
- 6'10 pitcher with a hard fastball, but arm problems early on put his career in question.
.263 AVG, 26 HR, 83 RBI
C A.J. Pierzynski
.261 AVG, 14 HR, 62 RBI
1B Paul Konerko
.284 AVG, 28 HR, 99 RBI
2B Alexei Ramirez
.280 AVG, 6 HR, 42 RBI
3B Joe Crede
.255 AVG, 19 HR, 58 RBI
SS Orlando Cabrera
.273 AVG, 8 HR, 75 RBI
LF Carlos Quentin
.259 AVG, 14 HR, 63 RBI
CF Nick Swisher
.270 AVG, 32 HR, 84 RBI
RF Jermaine Dye
.277 AVG, 30 HR, 86 RBI
3B Josh Fields
.266 AVG, 26 HR, 79 RBI
SP Mark Buehrle
12-8 W-L, 4.22 ERA, 132 K
SP Javier Vazquez
13-10 W-L, 4.26 ERA, 178 K
SP Jose Contreras
11-12 W-L, 4.67 ERA, 96 K
SP Jon Danks
12-8 W-L, 4.75 ERA, 124 K
SP Gavin Floyd
7-9 W-L, 5.04 ERA, 92 K
NOTE: THIS IS A PROJECTION, SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
SP Ben Sheets
SP Jeff Suppan
SP Manny Parra
SP Carlos Villanueva
SP Dave Bush
When Gallardo comes back, I'm sure he will take Parra's spot, but a lot will depend on who is doing well.
ELI: Did you have a favorite team growing up? Favorite Player?
MARC: My favorite team was the N.Y. Mets and my favorite player was Dwight Gooden.
ELI: What was it like getting drafted by the Mets? Did you talk with any other teams?
MARC: Well, since I was born and raised in N.Y. City it was like a dream come true for me to get drafted by the Mets. While I was in high school, almost every team has a scout at everyone of my games. I was excited the Mets choose me.
ELI: What was it like getting traded from the Mets to the Padres?
MARC: It was sad because the Mets being my favorite team, I wanted to make it to the Major Leagues with them. It was a dream of mine when I was a kid.
ELI: You retired briefly after the 2000 season. What did you do?
MARC: Well, I retired because I had Tommy John surgery and my arm never recovered. The doctors told me that I would never pitch again. I just spent time with my wife and kids. I started my own business giving children pitching lessons. It was great and I had fun doing it. When I retire, I will continue that business.
ELI: After the 2004 season, you were contacted by Japan to come play there. What were your main reasons for going?
MARC: Well, I had been playing many years in America. I was always going from the Major Leagues back to Triple-A. I got tired of it. I wanted to experience something different. So I decided to sign a one year contract with the Yokohama BayStars. I pitched well. 26 saves with a 2.70 ERA. I broke the speed record too. The old record was 158 km (98 mph). I threw 161 km (100.6 mph). The next year, I signed a two year contract. After this season, I signed a one year contract with the Yomuiri Giants.
ELI: You were very successful in your first year in Japan. Is there anyone you can credit for your success?
MARC: My wife and kids for letting come over here while they are at home. They have given me a great deal of support. I also credit the BayStars manager for giving me the opportunity to be the teams closer. Also, the fans have been great to me and have given me nothing but support since day one. I feel very comfortable here in Japan. The fans are the reason why I started my Homepage, www.kroon161.com.
ELI: Some say baseball language is pretty uniform. Was that the case when you had to communicate with players and coaches?
MARC: At first, it was difficult. But they use baseball words such as balls and strikes, outs, hits, fly ball, and strikeout. Now, I can understand all of the rest of the baseball words even if it is in Japanese because I have been here for four years. I have studied the Japanese language so I can communicate with my teammates. You would be surprised that there are many Japanese players that can speak some English.
ELI: Off the field, what is it like living in Japan?
MARC: At first, it was very difficult mainly because I do not eat any Japanese food. My first year I would ride around and check out different places. But for the past three years it has been difficult to walk outside because I have become too famous. The people love their baseball and I stand out here being 6'2. I spend a lot of time in my house reading, playing Nintendo Wii and Playstation 3.
ELI: Having played in both leagues, what would you say is the biggest difference between them?
MARC: The biggest difference I think is the speed of the game. Major leaguers are stronger and faster. But the league here is still very good. It is not an easy league by far. There are many talented Japanese players, as you saw in the World Baseball Classic.
ELI: This past offseason, you signed with the Giants. How is the free agency process different in Japan than in the States?
MARC: Well, every team is different here. Not every team gives there foreign players free agency. If you are a Japanese player, you have to play nine years before you can become a free agent.
ELI: The latest player to come over from Japan is Kosuke Fukudome. What type of the player was he and do you think he will be successful in the MLB?
MARC: I think he was the best player in Japan before he left. He hit a grand slam off me three years ago. The first grand slam I had ever given up. I wish him the best. He also is a very nice person.
ELI: You are going to be thirty-five in a week or so, do you have any goals for yourself while you are still playing baseball?
MARC: I know I am getting old. Well, I want to win a Championship before I retire. Right now, I have 84 saves career saves. I need 37 more to have the all time foreign saves record. And if I get 33 saves I would have the single-season record for the Giants.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
1. The injury.
- Albert Pujols is going to be going from three to five innings to nine innings everyday, with at least three at bats rather than five. There is going to be a lot more stress on his elbow that could lead to season ending surgery. One collision at first or one inside pitch and he is done. However, he is still hitting the ball very well and will be a force, to some extent.
2. Pitching coaches are not dumb.
- Albert Pujols is going to lead the league in walks. There is no one in the lineup offering protection for him. Is Rick Ankiel going to be that guy, probably not. Is Troy Glaus going to step up and be a power hitter again? Hah, no. If I was pitching against the Cardinals, I would throw everything away, away, and away to Pujols. Let him take first base, because nine times out of ten he won't come around to score.
Then there's Eli Greenspan, a 17-year-old high school junior from Glencoe, whose blog, Eli's MLB Rumors, has drawn praise from Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane, among others. As of March 15, the site had drawn 1.6 million visitors and prompted Nike, PetSmart, Cingular and Circuit City to become advertisers.
''Now that I've made connections and people are calling me and asking me about players, I'm even more interested in building a team,'' said Greenspan, who has yet to begin applying to colleges. ''My goal, even though this might sound idealistic, is to be a general manager in 10 years.''
In this trade they acquire a third baseman to play while Chavez is out, a solid pitcher who could break the rotation in 2009, a second baseman which would allow them to unload Mark Ellis, and a solid athlete in Iorg who could take over at short. This is a pretty big price to pay, but it speculation on my part. I think the A's could go after Gerbe and Iorg for sure, but then might have to settle for a low level prospect. I didn't realize how serious the Tigers were and I think it is likely that a trade will be made this week. Other teams they could look to are the Blue Jays, Dodgers, and Angels.
REACTION: This doesn't surprise me, really. Wells went 9-9 with a 5.43 ERA last season, but might have to prove himself at Triple-A before getting a call up. The Cardinals showed interest before going with Lohse, and the Dodgers said they were not interested in bringing him back. You could say the Red Sox might consider having him back because their pitching is weak, but I think want more proven pitching. Maybe Wells would go to the independent leagues, but I doubt it. Sadly, I think he is done.
STORY: Mets not interested in Reed Johnson.
REACTION: The Mets are so busy trying to acquire Xavier Nady that Reed Johnson is out of the picture. Not only that, but they have several minor leaguers like Angel Pagan that would probably do a better job than Johnson.
STORY: Michael Wuertz drawing more interest.
REACTION: First, the Tigers contacted the Cubs about Michael Wuertz. Now, the Phillies have talked about going after Michael Wuertz. The Phillies and Tigers have gone after several of the same relievers and both are confident they will get a deal done. I doubt the Cubs trade Wuertz, but it is possible we could see the Phillies trade Wes Helms for Jon Meloan of the Dodgers.
STORY: Astros and Patterson closing on deal.
REACTION: The Astros and John Patterson are still talking a deal, and both sides feel a deal is close. It is obvious that Patterson wants to play close to home, and that should work in the Astros favor.
STORY: Josh Fields heading to Triple-A.
REACTION: Too bad for the White Sox, who were banking on trading Crede to clear the way for Fields. This will only lead to the Sox eventually dumping him when Fields is successful in Triple-A.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
The Star is also reporting that the Royals have agreed to send Angel Berroa and half of his 4.75 million dollar salary (2.37) to the Nationals for pitcher Zech Zinicola. Sending the former rookie of the year shortstop to the Nationals doesn't make much sense to me. They already have a crowded infield and are struggling to make a trade. Zinicola is not a bad prospect and might turn out to be a decent reliever, but needs more time in the minors to find his spot. I think the Royals would be winners in both trades if they go down, but would probably have little impact on the team.
- He has been around the minors some but keeps getting better. I don't see him becoming very successful in the MLB, but could turn out to be a successful bottom end of the rotation starter.
82. Nolan Reimold, Orioles
- Showed great power in the minors that transforms well in the MLB. He doesn't have a spot currently but I think they will make room.
83. Sean Gallagher, Cubs
- Solid pitcher in the Cubs organization, but has yet to show it at the MLB level. He can pitch deep into games and keeps his ERA down. He needs some time to mature, but should be a solid MLB pitcher soon.
84. Troy Patton, Orioles
- Top prospect in the Astros farm system before he was traded. He is down for the season, which I think hurts his potential. Still, he should be a good pitcher come 2009 or 2010.
85. Tim Alderson, Giants
- He very well could be the next big pitcher to come up for the Giants. Made a successful jump from high school to the minors, and is already progressing in Spring Training.
86. Michael Bowden, Red Sox
- He has been a Red Sox prospect for so long that people think he is starting to fade. However, he is a very good pitcher that will probably be one of the bottom two starters in the next couple years.
87. Collin Balester, Nationals
- Excellent stuff, but doesn't have great control. He should help the Nationas pitching staff though.
88. Jeff Niemann, Rays
- His big physique will make him a successful pitcher in the MLB. Yes, he is twenty-five, but he should make for a solid late inning pitcher once he improves on his command. We will see more of him in 2008.
89. Gorkys Hernandez, Braves
- He probably won't be up till 2010, but he has the potential to be an All-Star.
90. Edwar Ramirez, Yankees
- He struggled in his first season but his stuff is nasty. He has an incredible slider and a nasty changeup. GM Brian Cashman said his name came up a lot in trade talks but they couldn't let go of him. Should be a solid reliever for them in the future.
Cubs after Lopez?: The Cubs are reportedly scouting Felipe Lopez of the Nationals. This doesn't make sense to me. Why would they need a middle infielder? Are they planning on DeRosa in center with Pie? I think Lou Piniella is a good manager, but I think he picks favorites too soon, and will not be putting the best team on the field.
Dodgers are still looking at Loretta: It seems everyday someone else will say the Dodgers are looking at Mark Loretta. It is true, but nothing has changed on that front. However, there is word that they are talking to the Phillies about Wes Helms.
Edinson Volquez turning heads: This kid is looking like the ace of the future for the Reds. He has unbelievable stuff, and scouts are saying he has one of the best changeups in he league.
Reyes on the block?: Cardinals pitcher Anthony Reyes has lost his spot in the rotation to Brad Thompson and is reportedly being shopped. The Marlins were reportedly scouting him early on, but nothing was made of it.
Next Dice-K?: Young pitcher Yu Darvish is considered to be the next Matsuzaka. Reporters from Japan that I have talked to say he is exciting to watch, and is only in his early twenties. The Ham Fighters might post him in hopes of landing the record breaking 51 million that was posted for Matsuzaka, but it might be closer to 20-30 because he is not as experienced. However, there is already word that the Red Sox would make a move if he is posted.
Friday, March 21, 2008
.278 AVG, 16 HR, 67 RBI
C Joe Mauer
.318 AVG, 11 HR, 64 RBI
1B Justin Morneau
.282 AVG, 33 HR, 114 RBI
2B Brendan Harris
.266 AVG, 10 HR, 57 RBI
3B Mike Lamb
.284 AVG, 11 HR, 50 RBI
SS Adam Everett
.244 AVG, 1 HR, 32 RBI
LF Delmon Young
.295 AVG, 15 HR, 88 RBI
CF Carlos Gomez
.258 AVG, 7 HR, 41 RBI
RF Michael Cuddyer
.267 AVG, 18 HR, 77 RBI
SP Scott Baker
11-10 W-L, 4.52 ERA, 128 K
SP Boof Bonser
9-13 W-L, 4.83 ERA, 144 K
SP Livan Hernandez
10-14 W-L, 5.23 ERA, 94 K
SP Francisco Liriano
14-8 W-L, 3.67 ERA, 157 K
SP Kevin Slowey
10-9 W-L, 4.08 ERA, 116 K
NOTE: THIS IS A PROJECTION, SUBJECT TO CHANGE.