I’ve been following the Roy Halladay sweepstakes closely. Today, the Blue Jays rejected an offer for their ace by the Phillies. As per MLBTR:
ESPN’s Jayson Stark is reporting that the Blue Jays have rejected the Phillies latest offer of Carrasco, Donald, J.A. Happ and outfielder Michael Taylor.
(The Angels) were of the mind to remove themselves from the Roy Halladay talks, believing they were never going to come close to the Blue Jays’ asking price of Joe Saunders, Erick Aybar, Brandon Wood and a prospect such as outfielder Peter Bourjos.
The Blue Jays want both Joba and Phil Hughes in any trade with the Yankkes. And we have yet to see what the Brewers (the “darkhorse") are going to offer. With the non-waiver trading deadline a few days away, the Jays need to bring their demands. Take this offer that the Jays sent to Ruben Amaro Jr. for example: Kyle Drabek, Happ, and Dominic Brown. As BTBS points out, this trade would have gave the Jays a 36MM return on their investment. Yikes.
I know the Phillies want him, and the Jays have no reason to keep him. And I understand that going back to the World Series would be nice for the Phillies. But the Jays need to come down on their demands. Even if it’s ever so slightly.
There was a piece up from Ken Rosenthal today, speaking about the Phillies and Adam Eaton:
The Phillies released right-hander Adam Eaton with $9.15 million on his contract earlier this spring, but they’re apparently unwilling to make the same move with outfielder Geoff Jenkins, who has $8 million left on his deal.
Ruben Amaro Jr., the Phillies’ first-year GM, is in the perfect spot to lobby for Jenkins’ release, one rival executive said — the club is coming off a World Series title, and Jenkins, like Eaton, was signed by Pat Gillick, the team’s previous GM.
Phillies president and CEO David Montgomery, however, is unwilling to “eat” a combined $17.15 million, another source said. Evidently, Montgomery drew the line with Eaton.
Apparently Montgomery is still hungry, since he’s ready to now eat the money due to Jenkins:
Just got word that the Phillies have released outfielder Geoff Jenkins.
Does this mean Gary Sheffield is on his way?
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he would talk later.
To update everyone’s score cards, Sheffield, Jenkins and Eaton are out. Gary Matthews Jr.? My guess is that he’s the next to go. 34MM is a lot of coin to swallow here, however he’s currently the Angels fifth outfielder. The same theory could also be applied to the Dodgers and Juan Pierre, also in year three of his massive deal.
Fast Projection: Ryan Howard
I got a few emails today about a few players people want to see me project (yes I’ll get to Oliver Perez in due course.) Here’s one I wanted to project quickly yesterday, but got too drunk to write about.
Now I know what everyone’s thinking… the Phillies’ front office locked up Howard until he’s a free agent, and people expect his production to curtail? I don’t see it that way. Yes his OPS has dropped off linearly (from 1.084 in 2006, to .976 in 2007 to .882 in 2008.) Will this trend continue? Not exactly, I think he bottoms out here.
Yes his peripherals suck, but he hits home runs still (150+ during his full three seasons) and drives in runs to make Jon Heyman happy.
2009 projection: .265 AVG, 600 AB, 52 HR, 145 RBI, .895 OPS, Strikeouts aplenty, 35 SB
Just kidding about the steals, however Howard is going buck wild this spring. But did anyone notice that he hit four triples in 2008! Willy Taveras stole about 70 bases last year and only reached half that total.
I got emails from a few Phillies fans today, bragging about how they were able to dump Adam Eaton on my Orioles. My rebuttal was classic: the Phils are still on the hook for (at least) 8.6MM of his 2009 salary.
The Orioles are taking a low-risk chance. If he pitches poorly in Spring Training, the team can release him. If they take him up North in April, they’ll only have to pay him the minimum 400K for the year. Still I wouldn’t advise on the later. Eaton granted a few years ago was a serviceable #5 starter, however he’d be more of a service for his team by simply not pitching. Granted many teams have had their shares of bad contracts from the past seasons, and I was scratching my heads when the Phillies inked Eaton to the bad three year, 24MM deal.
If the Orioles are looking to eat innings, they have many other options in camp. In other words, don’t simply assume that the Orioles are automatically going to insert Eaton as their fifth starter. I honestly feel that they’ll break camp with David Pauley (obtained from Boston) as the fifth man. He pitched well yesterday, however another option that they have available is Brad Bergesen, who won 15 games this year at Double-A and was their minor league pitcher of the year. Pauley is more likely however, since he is out of options. However Bergesen is a sleeper himself, especially if Rich Hill opens the year on the DL.
In either case, as many have stated before, Baltimore has a plethora of intriguing young arms. However they all have options, and there’s no reason for them to be rushed up to the majors just yet. Still I wouldn’t rule out Bergesen, who shut out the Red Sox today. It’s not automatic that they have to break camp with veterans in the rotation. Baltimore did that five years ago, when they let some young kid named Erik Bedard take the fifth spot in the rotation…
No More Ryan Howard Jokes
Howard and the Philadelphia Phillies agreed to a $54 million, three-year contract on Sunday, avoiding a potentially contentious arbitration hearing.
The 2006 NL MVP will earn $15 million this season, $19 million next year and $20 million in 2011. He can increase the base salary by $1 million in each of the last two years if he wins the MVP award during the previous year. He can boost it by $500,000 if he finishes second.
For over the past year or so, I’ve enjoyed writing about Howard and his battles with the club over arbitration. His first year set the tone, since he was awarded 10MM by the arbitration panel. And the likelihood of him winning this year’s case was also high, especially if those three arbitrators loved RBIs as much as BBWAA writers do.
Granted he could have gotten more money had he gone year to year, maybe 20MM in 2010 and 23MM in 2011, however he, like most people, is probably sick of the whole arbitration process, even after just going through it for one year. Still at his rate he’s not necessarily a bargain by any means. Seriously, if you look at some data (courtesy of BTBS I believe), Howard’s a 1.7 WAR player. And being generous, at 4.5MM a win, Howard’s a 8MM a year player. So the Phillies are essentially paying double for his services, since his defense at first is the equivalent of an Easter Island statue playing the position.
Yes the Philies overpaid (and have been since last year), but then again the Philies won a World Series. As long as the team keeps winning, they can continue to wear this albatross around their necks until he leaves the team after 2011 for more greener pastures (if that’s even possible, given his older age and body makeup.)
Keith Law (of ESPN) has his top prospects list out. As an Orioles fan, I’m ecstatic to see that he picked Orioles’ catcher Matt Wieters as his top prospect. As a team, Baltimore is tenth on his list of 30 teams. Granted they have a top heavy system currently, but hopefully the prospects that they picked in the draft last summer will start to mature.
…Law had the Top 100 Prospects list up earlier, but it’ll be out tomorrow (he must have took it down)… any ways from what I can remember:
- Wieters - C - BAL
- David Price - SP - TAM
- Jason Heyward - OF - ATL
- Netfali Feliz - SP - TEX
- Travis Snider - OF - TOR
I had a great discussion with a co-worker today at work. It was centered around Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, whom as everyone now knows asked for 18MM in arbitration this year. The Phillies countered with 14MM, however in the end Howard will get some figure between these two numbers. If he goes to arbitration (again as expected, since 4MM is a Cecil Fielder-sized ground to cover), he’ll be awarded a salary at one of the end points.
In the end it’s all about marginal revenue product, and Howard clearly meets this figure for the Phillies (after all he’s on all their media guides, and such.) Still in comparison to other first baseman out there, if he’s awarded the 18MM next season, his salary will only trail new Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira. And this also includes St. Louis Cardinals’ star Albert Pujols.
My friend and I had the typical argument. Yes, Howard hits home runs, we know. He also drives in runs, again we know. My side was that his defense was poor (19 errors), the 199 strikeouts again are tough to swallow (though the record is now held by Diamondbacks’ Mark Reynolds), and his batting average (.250) and on base percentage (.330) are approaching Mike Jacobs territory, a first baseman only asking 3MM this year in arbitration.
So let’s be fair now, the two sides are definitely going to arbitration. And if the panel of three arbitrators thinks like baseball writers do when it comes to HOF voting, we’re fucked. That is:
Arbitrator #2: All right, can the two sides present their arguments?
Howard: I DRIVE IN RUNS!
Arbitrator #1: Haha, oh yes you do!
Club Official: (murmuring) Oh shit.
Arbitrator #3: We rule the 2009 salary in favor of the player. Case dismissed.
Bah, the sad thing for Phillies fans is that they’ll still have two more years of this circus. Howard is a free agent in 2012, and by that point he’ll be making around 25MM a year if he follows the expected path. Pujols on the other hand will also be a free agent (assuming the club picks up that 16MM option for 2011, easy call.) Now which of these two first baseman would you rather have on board?
I know Howard’s dad is pushing him to ask for more money, and there’s nothing wrong with this. However the more he asks, the more his trade value diminishes. Very few teams could afford him now as it is, and after two more years of this, he’ll be the most expensive first baseman on the market yet to hit free agency. Yikes!
I criticized Howard last year, and I honestly expected the panel to rule in favor of the club (who offered 7MM to Howard’s 10MM in 2008.) The panel sided with Howard. If they do the same again this year, the Phillies need to start exploring trade options. It’s a bad state of affairs to be in. Management was able to lock up their starts early and quickly. This includes Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels (covered three of his four arbitration years), and of today Jayson Werth. The team should also consider locking up Shane Victorino as well. In either case, Howard signing a long term deal, highly unlikely. However I don’t see any team wanting to take him on. It’s a huge catch 22 for the Phillies, and there’s not much they can do until Howard leaves at the end of the 2011 season as a free agent. It wouldn’t be a good PR move if they non-tender the big guy…
Pat the (Bargain) Bat
The corner-outfielder, DH market finally made another glacial step forward today. Two hitters were signed today. The Cubs inked Milton Bradley (and his .999 OPS from 2008) to a three year deal for 30MM. And the Rays (believe it or not) inked Pat Burrell to a two year contract for 16MM. He’ll be the team’s everyday DH in 2009.
When I saw the Burrell deal, I was shocked. This was once again a genius move made by Andrew Friedman. At 8MM a year for a .870 OPS hitter, Burrell is a bargain. And he might be even more valuable next year since he won’t have to bring a glove out to the field. Any ways many people agree with this statement, and are projecting him to be a .260 hitter with 30 home runs in Tropicana Field. BTBS said it elegantly today about the beauty of the Burrell signing.
It’s difficult to improve a team that made it to the World Series and had a third-order Pythagorean record of 97-65. But by replacing Edwin Jackson with David Price, adding Matt Joyce as a right fielder and inserting Pat Burrell as the DH, the Rays have done just that.
They also added in the fact that Burrell will essentially be paid the same as Mike Cuddyer, the Twins’ right fielder. That is 8MM is buying a 120 OPS+ outfielder for the Rays, and a 95 OPS+ outfielder for the Twins. That is a viable point, however the main point that should be discussed with these two signings is draft pick compensation. Bradley was a Type B free agent, Burrell was Type A, according to Elias. The Rangers offered Bradley (who made 5MM in 2008) arbitration. He rejected it. The Phillies refused to offer Burrell arbitration (who made 14.25MM in 2008.)
Many people questioned whether the Phillies should have offered Burrell arbitration or not. The one caveat is that if Burrell would have accepted, the smallest the Phillies could have paid him (according to labor rules) would be 11MM in 2009. However in reality, he would have most likely commanded 16MM for next season. It made sense for the Rangers to offer Bradley arbitration, given how cheaply he was paid in 2008. The same theory applies to Raul Ibanez, a Type A whom the Mariners offered arbitration to. Ibanez was well-underpaid in Seattle at 5.5MM in 2008, and at least he’ll finally have a solid paycheck in Philly.
Say what you want about the Phillies signing Ibanez (many negatives, some positives), however the issue here lies with arbitration. I still think the Phillies should have made an offer to Burrell. They would have known by the first week of December if he would have accepted it or not. And judging by how the players union generally prefers free agency to arbitration (Jason Varitek is surely wishing he accepted the Red Sox’ offer), Burrell would have most likely rejected it. And the Phillies would then have the Rays’ late first round draft pick in 2009 as a result of this…
As we have learned, the market for bad-fielding corner outfielders (aka DHes) is saturated right now. And Bobby Abreu still expects some team to offer him 18MM a year? The Pat Burrell news couldn’t have been good for him. And with the Rays and Cubs now filling their holes on their roster, I can’t honestly think of a team that could use Abreu. The Mets (and maybe the Braves and Nationals) are the only options that I can think of.
There Are Worse Signings Than Raul Ibanez
The Phillies have been busy the past few days. They inked Jamie Moyer today to a two years, 16MM deal. They also signed Chan Ho Park for 2.5MM. And of course on Friday, the team inked Raul Ibanez to a three year, 31.5MM deal. Granted some money has been spent, but I’m not overly disappointed with this moves. I work with a few Phillies fans, and they disagree. I even got a few emails this weekend about people who disagree with me on Ibanez.
The whole day started out with what I read on THT. At least according to Craig Calcaterra, after the Phillies signed Park:
Reason number 137 why, even a couple of months later, it doesn’t feel like the Phillies are the World Champions
And now onto Ibanez, BTBS had the following to say about this signing:
Phillies sign Raul Ibanez to a three year contract worth $30 million. This, on the other hand, is not a very good deal.
And of course, ESPN’s Keith Law doesn’t like the signing one bit, as he wrote in the header:
Signing Ibanez an absurd move by Phillies
Granted the economy has put the damper on free agency spending, however the Phillies didn’t overspend with Ibanez here, not with players like Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu expecting to make 16MM a year. They figure to save about 5MM in 2009, the figure they would have paid Burrell if he had accepted arbitration. Of course, I’ve been saying all along that the Phillies should have at least offered him arbitration. Burrell was a Type A, and if he would have left, the team would have gotten two draft picks next year. Law agrees with that point, and even brings up the following:
The goal should be to give the scouting department more picks, not fewer, unless the move makes the big league club better, which the Burrell-for-Ibanez tradeoff does not.
The main problem with this signing is that the Phillies have to surrender their first round draft pick to the Mariners. However they’re picking at the end of the draft’s first round, so the Phillies front office wasn’t expecting to land a David Price. Still in the end there are worse ways for the team to be spending their money, and some other bloggers actually like the signing. Philly fans have nothing to complain about here; after all they’re surrendering their draft pick to a team which shelled out 48MM to a “ball and chain” named Carlos Silva last year.
Why Felipe Lopez Won't Get Paid
Cardinals’ shortstop Felipe Lopez, acquired in media res last season from the Nationals, was quite the star. Looking at the slashes he got from his new team: .385/.426/.538. Wow. So teams on the West Coast are courting Edgar Renteria, Rafeal Furcal and Orlando Cabrera, yet no one is interested in Lopez? The reason why, as ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick puts it:
…his .418 batting average on balls in play after the All-Star break makes some teams wonder if there wasn’t an inordinate amount of luck involved…
Unless Scott Boras can sell him as “The Ted Williams of BABIP", then he won’t be getting paid on the same level as Furcal will. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a bad option. He runs well and has occasional power (though he won’t hit 23 HR again like he did in 2005), however I feel as though he got lazy the last couple of years. It’s amazing what free agency can do to a player. I won’t complain if some team gives him two years of 12MM baseball.
I had some other links today to comment on, however in the spirit of Thanksgiving I donated them to Mr. Dierkes at Trade Rumors. So that’s why I’m rather quiet tonight. That, and I’ve been drinking heavily. And yes it’s only 6PM EST… so this will be a long night.
To paraphrase loosely what Joe Biden said during the Presidential Campaign, something big will happen tomorrow, in either the MLB free agent or trade market. I really hope so too; the market has been relatively stagnant of late. Any ways Happy Thanksgiving to all readers of Late Innings! I promise many months of useless posts ahead for your reading displeasure.
Congrats to the Phillies
I wanted to extend my sincere congratulations to the Phillies, MLB World Champions for 2008. Just like Ron Jeremy in a porno, they pulled it out. People who read Late Innings regularly know that I’m from Pennsylvania (actually I just revealed that.) I generally root for the Orioles, however a drive to see the Phillies is just an hour and a half away from here. Still as most people know, my allegiance lies with the American League, particularly the AL East. I root for any AL team outside of Boston or New York, and I really wanted Tampa Bay to win this.
Not to joke, but I’ve said before that the Phillies had a window to win, and they’ve did it tonight. That’s worth my respect, especially to Pat Gillick, the genius who edified this team, the same genius who constructed the winning teams that Baltimore had ten years ago. Now the new Philies GM (Ruben Amaro?) gets the fun of deciding what Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard and Ryan Madison (all arbitration-eligible) get paid in 2009.
Any ways with the series done, and the Election about to be finished as well, we’re going to kick off the exciting MLB offseason, woohoo! And some stuff in store for Late Innings, keep tuned… Yeah I know I got some increased traffic (big time, people actually think I’ve got good things to say), and tomorrow’s essay is going to shake some people… it’s an essay about sports communism, and how I tie it into the current political landscape. It will piss off some people, and you sure as ever don’t want to miss it.
Keep in mind that I’m totally drunk now, and playing Guitar Hero as well.
Random Links: Hamels, Roberts, Loewen, Beane
Some random links for today. I’ll keep these short and sweet, since a heavy night of drinking is about to commence.
- Cole Hamels‘ stellar postseason should help net him a big payday in 2009, his first arbitration season. I’m predicting that he’ll be awarded a 6MM salary in 2009, given the past qualms about his contract from this year. It should be noted that even though Ryan Howard is struggling in the postseason, he’ll probably be given a 3MM or so raise and get into the 13MM ballpark, year two of salary arbitration for him.
- RotoProfessor looks at Chris Tillman (one-time Mariners prospect that the Orioles received in the Erik Bedard trade.) Some points of note, he may be useful for them in 2009, given the lack of starters that Baltimore has. His 1.33 WHIP from last year was alarming though, and comparisons were drawn to another walk-prone pitcher with all the talent in the world: Daniel Cabrera.
- J.J. Cooper of Baseball America looks at the accomplishments of (new Mariners GM) Jack Zduriencik in Milwaukee.
- Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun reminds the Cubs that they can have Brian Roberts, however it’ll cost them Josh Vitters to start. I know that teams are reluctant to trade their 2007 first round picks, but this is what it’ll cost to get Roberts.
- The Blue Jays and other teams (outside of Baltimore) are interested in Adam Loewen as a hitter. I think the glowing words from MASN’s Roch Kubatko about Loewen’s patience kindled the interest. Speaking of jokes on Jamie Moyer, some clever humor about him (I think I was five when the Orioles traded him to the Red Sox.) Correction, Boston signed him in 1996.
- Billy Beane talks health care, Moneyball-style.
- Raising Arizona — the AFL’s “Rising Stars” game starts today. An incredible cast of young talent will be featured.
Meet Jack Zduriencik
The Mariners finally made a splash today and named their GM choice, former Brewers executive Jack Zduriencik. This move was supposed to be announced last Friday, and we got news today that they were still searching. In either case Zduriencik is responsible for developing a talented young core of players in Milwaukee, such as Prince Fielder, Corey Hart and Ryan Bruan. He now gets the task of essentially undoing the four-plus years of mistake that Bill Bavasi made on the organization.
I was going to cite Prospect Insider on this story, however they’re down now. Hopefully Jason Churchill and Co. can get WordPress back up and running. In either case, most of the reports that I’ve seen on this move have been favorable. He was probably the M’s best choice, mainly since the best executives weren’t allowed by their teams (e.g. Tigers, Padres) to even interview.
There have been some humorous posts about this signing, my personal favorite:
At the very least I don’t think the Mariners will be selecting another closer in the first round anytime soon
Personally I feel that the Mariners are developing talent as good as any team. They’ve been drafting very well, and as I’ve said before here, I’m a big fan of their recent first rounders, that is Jeff Clement, Brandon Morrow and Phillipe Aumont. What doomed them last season was Bavasi. He over-dealt the good youth (e.g. Rafeal Soriano, Chris Tillman, Adam Jones) and over-paid for aging players (e.g. Richie Sexon, Carlos Silva, Kenji Johjima, etc.) At the time when he signed Adrian Beltre to his four year deal (coming off that 48 HR season), Beltre was maligned, however in retrospect this appears to be a good move.
Regardless what the M’s need to do is do what the Rays, Pirates, Orioles, Indians, Royals and such are doing, which is build the young talent up, and avoid caustic contracts. They can’t expect some team to just hand over Kevin Slowley for Beltre (like they tried back in July), just out of pity for what Bavasi did on the team. It took them four years to get into the mess, it’s going to take them four years to get out. Bavasi was bad (here’s a good post on Forbes last year ranking the GMs with three years of experience, Bavasi is in the bottom 10%.) Zduriencik is a move in the right direction.
Ranking the Youth
Bill James has his rankings out for the best young teams, which will be part of his 2009 Almanac (available next month.) Here’s his listing of the teams:
- Minnesota Twins
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Tampa Bay Rays
- Florida Marlins
- Kansas City Royals
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Cleveland Indians
- Colorado Rockies
- Atlanta Braves
- Boston Red Sox
- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- Oakland A’s
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- St. Louis Cardinals
- Cincinnati Reds
- New York Mets
- Pittsburgh Pirates
- Seattle Mariners
- Texas Rangers
- Philadelphia Phillies
- San Diego Padres
- San Francisco Giants
- Washington Nationals
- Baltimore Orioles
- Chicago White Sox
- Chicago Cubs
- Detroit Tigers
- Toronto Blue Jays
- New York Yankees
- Houston Astros
I can’t agree any further with this list. The Twins have the best 1-5 starters right now, and they were all homegrown. They also have great outfielders in the wings as well. Sickels doesn’t regard them too highly however, though he says glowing things about Ben Revere. Still what the Twins have now is a testament to what the Mariners need to do to right their ship. To further add to this, James has his top 25 under-25 list out as well. It’s tough to disagree with any of these choices, though some of the players might deserve a “bump":
- Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers first baseman, age 24
- Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins shortstop, age 24
- Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants pitcher, age 24
- David Wright, New York Mets third baseman, age 25
- Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers left fielder, age 24
- Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox second baseman, age 24
- Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder, age 23
- Francisco Rodriguez, Los Angeles Angels pitcher, age 26
- Jose Reyes, New York Mets shortstop, age 25
- Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles right fielder, age 24
- Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals pitcher, age 24
- Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals third baseman, age 23
- Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, age 24
- Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies shortstop, age 23
- Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners pitcher, age 22
- Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox pitcher, age 24
- Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays third baseman, age 22
- John Danks, Chicago White Sox pitcher, age 23
- Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres first baseman, age 26
- James Loney, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman, age 24
- Stephen Drew, Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop, age 25
- Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves catcher, age 24
- Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers first baseman, age 25
- Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians center fielder, age 25
- Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds first baseman, age 24
An Unlikely Fall Classic
For the record about the series, I predicted the Dodgers to win the whole thing. I was wrong admittedly (though they did make it deep into the NLCS.) Any ways with that said, just like everyone else I like the Rays. The main reason why is Scott Kazmir. The Philies will face him twice in the series, including this evening. Kazmir missed the first month of the year, then broke out in May, going 5-1, 1.22. He made the All Star team and got the win in the extra-innings game, then started to stumble in the second half, finishing with a 3.49 ERA for the season.
His first two postseason starts were tough, but the six shutout innings he threw in Game 5 in the ALCS were brilliant (with seven Ks to go as well.) David Price and Andy Sonnanstine are the X-factors here. The Phillies might win it, however they need to move up Joe Blanton to be the third starter. The Rays are a smart offense, and they hit soft tossers hard (e.g. Tim Wakefield last series.) They’ll face Jamie “Grandpa” Moyer twice. In either case, it’ll be a good series, and since I root for the AL East, I’m rooting for the Rays. Their starting pitching should get the job done.
A Red Sox/Dodgers Fall Classic? The Bradford Trade?
Any ways as usual I’ve been drinking tonight (note to casual L.I. readers, this tends to happen often here.) I made predictions last week as to who would win each Division Series. I got the Rays and Dodgers right, I got the Angels and Cubs wrong. In regards to the Phillies, the pitching is key. Brett Myers stepped up, as did Cole Hamels, and Joe Blanton was huge. That’s why they won. Of course the Brewers’ mistakes helped. The Angels I thought were going to pull it out as well, however they made base-running mistakes all series. Still, as we’ve learned now facing Jon Lester in a short series is deadly. And we also saw the importance of jumping out to a 2-0 lead in a short series, since all four of the teams that did this either swept their series or won it in four.
Any ways with that stated, we have our Championship series. I still think the Dodgers are going to win the whole thing (as I’ve been saying since March.) It’ll be great to see Manny Ramirez go back and face his (supposedly maligned) teammates in Boston. I love the story that the Rays are writing now, and I’d love to see them win, however the Red Sox have too deep of a team. I’m rooting for the Dodgers to knock the Red Sox, just so I won’t have to hear the words “Nation!” and “dynasty” uttered all throughout ESPN all Winter.
Any ways back to the hot stove discussion, and in regards to the Rays, think back to the Chad Bradford trade. The Rays get him for this year and the next for 3MM. The Orioles? They get a PTBNL. As to who they would get for this, I’m not sure. Reid Brignac, I doubt it. Same goes with Jeremy Hellickson or Wade Davis. As Peter Schmuck said, they most likely won’t get their blue chip prospects here. One reader posted a comment saying how Baltimore will most likely receive Evan Longoria, since they’ll want to unload all that money he was inked to back in April. As to what the comment said:
I still think that the Rays regret giving so much money so soon to Longoria and they are trying to offload him to the Orioles as the PTBNL, but of course he didn’t clear waivers. The O’s have two major concerns with accepting him though: 1) all that guaranteed money he’s getting; and 2) they are already set at 3B with Mora. So I heard that Angelos is trying to get TB to pick up some of the guaranteed money in Longoria’s contract to take him off their hands.
Schmuck’s rebuttal was classic:
I think you’re right. The guy is totally overrated.
Hopefully Baltimore will make the same proposition to the Brewers for Ryan Braun. He also was given a good chunk of money so early into his career. Yeah I’d love to see Longoria in Baltimore, but then again pigs must fly. Maybe that’ll start happening after a few more drinks tonight…
A "Sabathia Sweepstakes" Caveat:
I know that after today’s effort by the Phillies pushing out C.C. Sabathia and the Milwaukee Brewers out of the postseason, a number of teams expected to bid on Sabathia come November expressed heavy sighs of relief for two reasons:
- The NLDS ended in four games, not five, when Sabathia would have been trotted out in Game Five of the Series.
- The Brewers won’t advance into the NLCS to face the Dodgers, with by that point having Sabthia throwing around 265 innings.
Sabathia only threw under four innings in game two of the series, and ends up with around 257 innings for the season. Sabathia has been used heavily the past two years, and is expected to land a contract in the six years, 150MM ballpark. In regards to the teams expected to open the checkbook for him (e.g. the Yankees), from an excellent piece today on RotoWorld by Matthew Pouliot, something to consider about the ace:
Including the postseason, Sabathia has thrown 513 innings over two years, the highest total since Randy Johnson in 2001-02. Johnson threw just 114 innings the following season. Mark Buehrle, the last AL pitcher to go over 500 innings in a two-year span in 2004-05, saw his ERA jump from 3.12 to 4.99 in 2006. Livan Hernandez also topped 500 innings in 2004-05. His ERA jumped from 3.98 in 2005 to 4.83 ERA in 2006 and hasn’t come back down since.
Personally I’m not a fan of starting pitcher abuse. I love watching young pitchers like Tim Lincecum throw, however I cringe in horror when their management (e.g. Bruce Bochy) have them throw 227 innings in a year (Matt Cain is equally abused.) Some pitchers who were abused in 2007 pitched well in 2008, for instance Roy Halladay (20-11, 2.78). Others like Aaron Harrang (6-17, 4.78) did not.
Any ways, for those fantasy owners out there… judging on our lessons learned in 2007… if it’s the fourth round and Sabathia and Lincecum are still on the board would you draft them? Personally no, I’d take a solid hitter. I’m curious to see what their numbers will be like in 2009, and wouldn’t risk anything better than a sixth round pick on these two arms. Of course I could be completely wrong here, but we’re starting to see the risk in spending high picks on drafting expensive starting pitching.
Division Series Predictions (And Other Points)
I’ve been on a roll of late, mainly since there’s been so much news that has come out of late. To start, let’s pick our ALDS and NLDS winners (for fun.) Keep in mind, I predicted a Dodgers/Tigers World Series. Also keep in mind that these are short series, consisting of only five games…
- Los Angeles over Boston in Five. The Angels won 100 games in 2008, and the last time that the teams met in August, the Angels manhandled the Nation. Of course this was right after the Mark Teixiera trade, but that’s the main point. This is a short series, and the Angels have deadly starters. When Ervin Santana is on, he’s tough. The same thing goes with John Lackey, who admittedly got roughed up at the end of the season. The Red Sox are going to throw a dangerous Jon Lester out, however they’re plagued with injuries, even with Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew and Josh Beckett playing. I still like the Angels, but this is going to be a good series.
- Tampa Bay over Chicago in Four. The White Sox beat three different teams in the past three days, including the Twins last night in dramatic fashion. Their two best starters Gavin Floyd and Jon Danks won’t be available until later in the series. By that point, they could be done. James Shields is tough, but the key to the Rays win will be Scott Kazmir, who like Lackey rides into the postseason struggling heavily.
- Milwaukee over Philadelphia in Five. The Philies have a good team, but they’re facing a red-hot Milwaukee team right now. They learned their lesson when facing the Wild Card teams which carry the momentum, as the Phils were swept by the Rockies last “Rocktober.” Even though the Philies won’t have to face Ben Sheets at all, they’ll still have their hands full facing C.C. Sabathia twice. And the key to the Brewers victory is Yovani Gallardo, tonight’s Game One starter. As I’ve pointed out, he’s healthy and is just as dangerous to face as Tim Lincecum. However with him only lasting four innings (and his defense betraying him) the Brewers will now turn to Sabathia to right the ship here.
- Los Angeles over Chicago in Five. This short series could be quicker, especially if the Dodgers starters catch fire. Chad Billengsley and Derek Lowe are pitching as well as anyone right now, and the X-Factor here is Clayton Kershaw. The Cubs have a healthy Carlos Zambrano, but are hurt with injuries now, especially with Mark DeRosa. Like the Brewers, the Dodgers are playing well now and will take that momentum into and through the NLDS.
K-Rod for MVP?
I wanted to comment on this yesterday. I’ll give you a hint, it’s another stupid piece from Jon Heyman. Long story short, he made his gratuitous MVP predictions:
At least he didn’t pick Ryan Howard for the NL MVP, but the AL one will have you pulling out hair. Yeah he picked a closer, someone who did save a ton of games. BFD. Rodriguez pitched a third of the innings of Johan Santana, and he could be pitching a quarter the innings of Sabathia, depending on how far the Brewers go. Rodriguez isn’t even their team MVP, and it doesn’t make sense to give the award to a reliever (no offense, but Rodriguez is just as eligible as the MLB “holds” leader.) For some humor, here’s an excellent list of other players that would be better selections than Rodriguez.
The Brian Roberts Trade that Never Happened
In that list from above, there were three Orioles hitters in there as well: Aubrey Huff, Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts. All three of these guys had MVP-type season, but since they played for the Orioles, they won’t be given much consideration (the three players combined for 150 doubles!) Nonetheless, let’s take a look back at the Brian Roberts trade rumors that swirled all throughout the spring.
Going back on Memory Lane, the Orioles could have had their choice of Sean Gallagher, Ronny Cedeno, Felix Pie or Eric Patterson. Gallagher and Patterson went to Oakland in the Rich Harden trade. Cedeno only hit .269 this year, Gallagher fell apart in Oakland, Patterson didn’t play, and Pie (albeit making the Cubs’ postseason roster) only hit .241 with the big club (he did hit around .280 with 10 homers in the minors.) Still it’s clear that the value on these prospects have fallen some, though it’s still too early to gauge.
Roberts had another solid year for the O’s, hitting .296, 9 HR, 57 RBI, 40 SB and 51 2B. The irony now, Baltimore is looking to extend their second baseman past 2009, not trade him. On an aside the Cubs didn’t exactly need Roberts, though he would have been nice. The emergence of DeRosa helped (.285, 21 HR, 87 RBI.)
Bad Fantasy Advice
On close, I think out of all of my fantasy teams, on average I finished about third place. Using one team as an example, the team hit .280 but pitched to an ugly 4.10 tune. I took my own advice and drafted Justin Verlander early, and it hurt.
Next year, I’ll draft good hitting early and often. Pitching can be found on waiver wires (hello Ubaldo Jimminez.)
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