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  • To the Mets-Red Sox Trade Naysayers
    By DSchwartz on June 30, 2009 | 4 Comments4 Comments  Comments

    This is just in response to the nay-sayers and scolders of my last post:

    Mets Hurting;Red Sox-Mets Potential Trade

    (http://www.majorleagueblogging.com/major-league-baseball/mets-hurtingred-sox-mets-potential-trade/comment-page-1/#comment-1100).

    There were a few scolding comments, however, the idea was again brought up via MetsBlog.com (probably the top Mets Blog). Matthew Cerrone (author and site creator) had this to say:

    …lastly, i’d have to think long and hard about what can be had for Jose Reyes, whose ultimate potential i am starting to lose faith in… last month, Boston talk-radio host Danny Picard suggested on his blog I’m Just Sayin, that, in the off season, the Red Sox should offer RHP Clay Buchholz, top prospect RHP Michael Bowden, OF Jacoby Ellsbury and SS Jed Lowrie to the Mets for reyes… this would be super tempting, to say the least

    Obviously, this is A LOT to give up for Reyes and that good of an offer won’t happen, but Buchholz, Bowden, and Lowrie for Reyes+… I don’t see how that couldn’t happen (before Reyes’ injury). Hopefully his injury isn’t catastrophic and if he’s back in time healthy by the deadline, I can see such a deal being at least talked about, and I want credit.

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  • Thanks DBacks Bullpen: Billions of Burgers Served? No, Just Blown Games.
    By Cameron Webb on June 20, 2009 | 2 Comments2 Comments  Comments

    Listen close, Arizona Front Office:

    No more saying our current bullpen will come around because it’s not going to happen. Why? Because a few, er, a majority of the pitchers need to go to the minors and work on control or just are unable to handle the pressure.

    After witnessing it in person in Seattle tonight, I will be EXTREMELY upset if Arizona does not move at least five or six people from their bullpen. “But that’s such a high number!” Yes, but that is what it’s going to take to help Arizona from blowing games.

    To give Seattle credit, Griffey’s two-run home run sent chills down my back, especially since his entrance song was that old Chicago Bulls warmup theme. But still, after being annoyed by Seattle sports talk radio claiming “Griffey changed our season,”  I feel it was Tony Pena screwing up more than anything. He’s a mental case and was probably thinking, “Oh Gawd, it’s Ken Griffey Jr. What am I suppose to do?”

    If I were the GM of the team, here’s what I *think* I would do:

    1. Give Schoenweiss more time to work mechanics. Yeah, he’s old and he hasn’t been that reliable, but his wife just died (I’m weak, I know). Just need to drill in his head that he needs to pitch for her.

    2. Send Esmerling Vasquez and Dan Schlereth to the Minors. They both have crazy speed and potential, but horrible command. They are not ready for the big league level.

    3. Trade Qualls, Gutierrez, and Pena for José Valverde. Wait, didn’t we trade FOR two of these three guys two years ago, sending Valverde to the Astros? Yes, but there is a need for an intense and flashy closer on the team. Even though he blows a few saves he makes things exciting.

    4. Even if we don’t get Valverde, we need some bullpen guys. Clay Zavada can be our new closer and Leo Rosales can be our setup man. No one is more consistent in the pen than these guys.

    Super Stache: Zavada Can Save the DBacks Pen Whoas, One Mustache at a Time.

    Super Stache: Zavada Can Save the DBacks Pen Whoas, One Mustache at a Time.

    5. Cut Byrnes. Who cares if Arizona owes him money; they’re paying for little to nothing as is, so why not get him off the team and let someone more deserving help them win.

    If Arizona’s bullpen blows another game, which with the current setup they will, I may have to send Josh Byrnes an email asking why he won’t make moves in his bullpen and hope to God I get a response.

  • THE PEAVY FIASCO
    By gormanb on June 14, 2009 | 4 Comments4 Comments  Comments

    Jake Peavy, the former Cy Young Award winner from the San Diego Padres, is out for one to three months with an injured ankle. Why is this news relevant to a New York Yankee blog?  Because of the way he was injured.  Peavy was hurt running the bases.

    Flashback to 2008.  The Yankees were playing the Houston Astros during an interleague game.  Chien Ming Wang somehow got on base.  He was – get ready – RUNNING THE BASES when something snapped in his foot.  He tore a tendon, and his season was over.  So was the Yankee season.  Based upon what we have seen this year, Wang’s career may be over.

    Despite playing abysmally most of the year, the Yankees won 89 games, finishing 6 behind the wild card winning Red Sox.  With Wang pitching every fifth day instead of Sidney Ponson and Darryl Rasner, the Yankees just might have won enough games to overtake the Sox.  But Wang’s injury foreclosed any chance of that happening.

    The point of this diatribe is this:  the National League’s refusal to adopt the designated hitter is dangerous.  Pitchers do not belong in the batter’s box or on the base paths.  Aside from CC Sabathia, they can’t hit, and when they do reach base, they are not prepared to run.  All they can do is get injured.

    So called “purists” will whine that the game is “supposed” to be played with the pitcher hitting.  The purist offer no basis for this contention, other than the fact that things were always done that way.  This is the sort of stone age thinking that has always infected sports.  For example, when Jacque Plante started wearing a goalie mask in the 1950s, he was derided as a sissy.   Can anyone today imagine playing goalie without a mask?  The same thing happened when Fred Thayer invented the catcher’s mask in 1876.  The purists have resisted every positive change.  For years they insisted that night baseball was an abomination.

    National League apologists will tell you that allowing the pitcher to bat is exciting because it creates “strategy”.  “Strategy” like the double switch (which former Twins manager Tom Kelly once derided as “the rocket science stuff”).  This theory suggests that watching a manager move players around is more exciting than watching a batter hit.  Gee, if that’s true, why play the games at all?  We could just download a bunch of stats on our computers and spit out the results.

    The truth is, watching a pitcher bat is boring.  Watching a batting pitcher ruin a rally is worse.  And watching a pitcher like Wang or Peavy get hurt is downright painful.  One of the main reasons American League baseball has been superior over the last twenty years is its use of the designated hitter.

    So why do I care?  After all, the Yankees play in the American League, where the DH is used.  But in the middle of each season, we have interleague play, and when the games are played in a National League park, the pitchers have to bat.

    Which is how Wang was injured last year.  And how Peavy was just hurt.  If the National League wants to cheapen its product by having the pitcher bat, so be it.  But I object to exposing American League pitchers to injury during interleague or World Series play.  When the National League plays the American League, it should be forced to join the 21st Century.

  • Mets Hurting;Red Sox-Mets Potential Trade
    By DSchwartz on June 12, 2009 | 9 Comments9 Comments  Comments

    After the first loss to the Phillies this past series, MetsBlog.com writer, Regis Courtemanche wrote, “Win or lose, I love the way the Mets are playing right now.  They seem completely focused on the task at hand, and Citi Field seems to have finally come alive. Still disappointing to let this one get away though.” FYI, MetsBlog is one of the best (Mets) Blogs out there. To be honest, I disagree with the statement, however the Mets are without their starting SS, 1b, 2 SP’s and both our set-up men. That’s right – “both.” Eventually this season, the Mets will have Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado, JJ Putz, Billy Wagner, Oliver Perez (and John Maine now) all coming off the DL. The Phillies are only 4 games ahead, but with a bullpen of K-rod, and potentially healthy and effective relievers, such as Wagner and Putz, the Mets rotation will only have to pitch 6 effective innings each night (for the most part). And that’s great because it seems Redding , Maine , and Oliver (and often times Santana and Pelfrey) can never pass that plateau. The offense will have to come out romping, however – something they couldn’t do last year and something they haven’t been able to do this season even prior to Reyes and Delgado going down. With that said, I’m still very willing to “wait and see” how the Mets perform after Reyes, Delgado, Maine, Oliver, Putz, and Wagner come back, however, the question is and will be – is it too late?

    Do the Mets need to do something to shake the team up? In a prior post (http://www.majorleagueblogging.com/major-league-baseball/lets-play-gm-mets-crazy-trade-scenarios/), I talked about the potential need to shake up the team, and I threw out some crazy trade scenarios. The reality is, people, reporters, and teams are catching on that the Red Sox have 9 at least effective or ready major league starters. It’s also fairly clear they could use an effective shortstop, which is where, to me, the Mets should come in to play. I love Reyes, but could he land us both Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowden? I think he could. I think that’s worth it – for both teams. We could potentially add a catching prospect to the deal (Francisco Pena or Josh Thole) – they’re young, but the Red Sox have and may have a need for a catcher in the future if they don’t trade for/sign Joe Mauer/Twins (after or during) next year. Another potential aspect I would add to to the deal (if I were Omar Minaya) is Oliver Perez. This is only to free up salaray to trade for and sign another need (Matt Holliday)? That’s not essential, but if the Red Sox were willing to take on Perez’s salary in addition to losing their top 2 pitching prospects in the deal, then I would do that. I’d then, however, ask for a more than effective reliever: Manny Delcarmen/Takashi Saito. So i’d potentially like to see:

    Mets Receive: Clay Buchholz/sp; Michael Bowden/sp; Takashi Saito/rp; Jed Lowrie/ss

    Red Sox Receive: Jose Reyes/ss; Oliver Perez/sp; Josh Thole or Francisco Pena/c

    I guess there’s a contingency – Jose Reyes’ health. Would this prevent such a trade? The Sox do still have Nick Green and Julio Lugo to hold down the ss job while Reyes is out. Again this would then allow us to potentially go for Matt Holliday, Mark Derosa, or other outfielders via trade this season or free agency after, so Daniel Murphy could stay at first next year with the assumption that Carlos Delgado will be gone. Our lineup would obviously hurt without Reyes for the rest of the year, but if we trade for another bat for the lineup, the Rotation with Buchholz and or Bowden would be much more effective than Tim Redding.

    Agreed?

  • Russell Branyan’s unexpected consistency
    By MitchRatcliffe on June 12, 2009 | 1 Comment1 Comment  Comments

    Over at U.S.S. Mariner, Dave Cameron meditates on Russell Branyan and his refusal to regress to his mean performance. Branyan, who is the best off-season acquisition in baseball on a cost-to-returns basis ($1.4 million this year for .317 avg, 14 HR, .414 OBP and .614 SLG), has seen his batting average decline from .333 in April to .290 in June. However, he’s been rock steady in on-base and slugging percentages because he’s reduced the number of times he strikes out and increased his walk rate to compensate.

    The Mariners did not pursue Raul Ibañez, who is having a career year in Philadelphia with 21 HR, .322 avg., .377 OBP and .674 SLG. But Raul is earning $7.2 million this year, more than five times Branyan’s salary. The only categories where Ibañez leads Branyan, home runs (21 v. 14) and RBIs (58 v. 29, which accounts for Raul’s higher slugging percentage, as well) are functions of the batters around them in their respective lineups. Branyan, batting in the two-hole these days, has had fewer opportunities to drive in runs while Ibañez is batting behind Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and is followed by Jason Werth. The Phillies are paying a premium up and down its batting order on which Ibañez is cashing in.

    Branyan is delivering more for the money. With this salary and a one-year deal, he’s pretty certain to be trade bait this June and July.

    IN OTHER NEWS: Down in the minors, 3B Alex Liddi of the High Desert Mavericks (Hi-A), who played for Italy in the WBC, is tearing the cover off the ball. In 57 games, 234 at-bats, he’s got 15 home runs, 56 RBIs, .333 avg. and .628 SLG. Someone to watch.

  • Red Sox Sweep the Yankees…Again
    By BosoxDynasty on June 11, 2009 | 2 Comments2 Comments  Comments

    The Yankees came into Fenway Park with a one game lead in the division and with something to prove. They left Fenway down two games and without a single win against their biggest rivals in 2009.

    Game 1 was all Red Sox. David Ortiz hit a bomb into straight away center field in the 3rd inning for his 3rd home run of the year. AJ Burnett, normally a dominating pitcher against the Red Sox, couldn’t get out of that inning. Josh Beckett gave up just one hit—an infield single that Pedroia almost prevented—over six innings en route to a 7-0 shutout.

    Game 2 started similarly, with Chein-Ming Wang failing to get out of the 3rd, much like Burnett the night before. New York’s offense would get them back in the game, but Jonathan Papelbon shut the door in the 9th to secure a 6-5 victory.

    The final game of the series marked the first start for CC Sabathia against the Red Sox in a Yankees uniform. He gave up an opposite field home run to Ortiz in the 3rd, but shut the Red Sox down for most of the game after that. The Yanks got three runs in the 8th to take the lead and were set up for the win, but Joe Girardi sent Sabathia back out for the 8th, who gave up four runs. Papelbon came in for the 9th and set down Jeter, Damon, and Teixeira for his 16th save of the season.

    David Ortiz hit two home runs in the series, a very good sign to Red Sox fans. Jacoby Ellsbury did not play in any of the games after injuring his shoulder on Sunday against the Rangers. The Red Sox have won nine straight games against the Yankees dating back to last year, their longest streak since 1912 when they won 14 straight against New York.

    In other news, the Sox loaded up on more prospects in the First-Year Player Draft. The draft has been the key to the Sox’ recent success, as they have stocked up their minor league teams on bright young prospects. Some notables include thier first round pick Reymond Fuentes, a left handed center fielder who is the cousin of Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran. Another one is Luke Bard, the brother of Daniel Bard, who topped 100 MPH in the 9th inning of the Sox-Yankees game on Tuesday. They also drafted Micheal Yastrzemski, the grandson of Red Sox legend and Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski.

  • BRAIN FREEZE
    By gormanb on June 10, 2009 | 2 Comments2 Comments  Comments

    Somebody has to explain to me what the Yankees are doing.  Why is Chien Ming Wang being force fed into the starting rotation NOW???

    By NOW, I mean during a stretch where we play the Rays, the Red Sox, and the Mets in consecutive series.  The Yanks were rolling along.  They had a great May. They were in first place.  But over a ten day period, they were scheduled to play their three biggest rivals – the two teams they have to beat in the American League East, and their cross town rivals from Queens.

    So they pick this point in the season to experiment with Wang.  Wang is still not himself.  He has yet to regain his strength from last year’s foot injury.  Phil Hughes was giving them credible if not always spectacular starts.  So why pick this moment to put Wang back into the rotation?

    Now I understand that ultimately the Yankees need Wang if they are going to seriously challenge for the pennant.  He was their most consistent pitcher over the last three years, and his return to form would give us arguably the best starting rotation in baseball.

    But nothing in Wang’s brief bullpen performances since he returned from the minors gave any indication that he was ready to return to form.  So why pitch him NOW, and in Fenway Park?

    Given my detestation of Joe Girardi, I would like to blame this decision on him.  So I will.  The entire Yankee braintrust deserves blame here, including the normally sagacious Brian Cashman.  But Girardi is the man in charge on the field.  At the end of the day, the decision to put Wang back in the rotation NOW was his call.  And once again, he blew it.

    Then he made things worse.  When Wang got into trouble early, he had Robertson up.  But when Wang finally tanked, he ignored Robertson and rushed Hughes into the game before he was properly warmed up, and before he could hit a groove, Hughes gave up a two run homer to Youklis, effectively putting the game out of reach.

    Girardi’s handling of Hughes tonite highlights a recurring problem  Time and again he has rushed his relievers in before they are ready.  Is it any wonder that Mariano cannot abide Girardi?

    The Yankees have a contending team, but so long as Girardi is in charge, they will be working at a disadvantage.

  • Quick Update on the DBacks
    By Cameron Webb on June 9, 2009 | 2 Comments2 Comments  Comments

    It’s been a while since I’ve been on here.

    Life’s been a whirlwind: graduated from college, move to Washington, started a new job and then quit a week later. Very exciting stuff.

    What’s even more exciting is that Arizona isn’t the worst team in baseball. Yay. But the bullpen struggles continue.

    If you didn’t hear of their outing against the Padres that went 18 innings, I’m telling you now. It was bittersweet for the bullpen, blowing a 5 run lead and then continued to pitch 9 innings of no hit baseball. Clay Zavada and Leo Rosales are legit. If only we had more like them.

    We can also blame the hitting since it’s been absolutely terrible. Chris Young has been struggling for a lot of the year but seems to be turning it around. I like the fact that Chad Tracy has been on the bench because he’s been terrible.

    What’s Arizona’s next move? Trade Tracy and Byrnes for pitching or hitting prospects; it’s needed. Horribly.

  • Mariners draft power position players
    By MitchRatcliffe on June 9, 2009 | 1 Comment1 Comment  Comments

    Thank the baseball gods and pass the popcorn, Jack Zduriencik and his scouting team are going for power position players, not pitchers, in the first rounds of the draft. This fills the pipeline with defensive options, some with great power, that can play in Seattle or be traded for proven pitching prospects. It’s a much better strategy than the majority of teams in this year’s draft, the majority of which have gone for pitchers through the middle of round two.

    First-round pick Dustin Ackley (scouting report), a UNC outfielder (here’s the UNC paper’s coverage) who projects as an Major League center fielder is a “pure hitter.” Ackley has batted over .400 for the past three years in one of the toughest divisions of college baseball. Ackley holds UNC’s single-season record for total bases, having batted .412, with 103 hits, 80 RBIs and 22 home runs in his senior year. This is a solid fast-track player. He played first base this season after Tommy John surgery, but Zduriencik and Mariners director of amateur scouting Tom McNamara expect him to land in the outfield at Safeco.

    Nick Franklin (scouting report), a high school shortstop from Florida, was the Mariners’ second-round pick. A “toolsy” player lauded for being a “real baseball player” by the MLB TV commentators, at just 18, Franklin will be a few years before his real potential can be projected. A catcher, right-handed high-schooler Steven Baron (scouting report) was the team’s third pick, in the compensation round, followed by University of Georgia first baseman Richard Poythress (scouting report) in the second round. Both players seem to be valued for their defensive skills, each reportedly having problems at the plate.

    Another UNC player, junior second baseman Kyle Seager (scouting report), was picked with fifth pick. A solid defender who could play second or third, features some speed on the bases and moderate power at the plate. He looks like a potential sleeper, perhaps showing something the Mariners liked, as he wasn’t picked to go in the first 100 picks.

    Let the Washington Nationals have Stephen Strasburg, whose “once-in-a-generation” status comes with all the risk of a pitcher in the draft plus overwhelmingly high expectations. On MLB TV today, Tony Gwynn, Strasburg’s coach at San Diego State, is reported to have said there are no comparable pitchers to the 100-mile fast ball pitcher—hopefully for the Nationals, he’ll not follow previous sure-fire pitchers like Rick Ankiel and Mark Prior, both of whom overpitched young to keep up with management’s expectations.

  • Overachieving Giants Pull Out Another Nail-Biter
    By Tvan415 on June 7, 2009 | 2 Comments2 Comments  Comments

    It’s way too early to be watching the Wild Card standings – but it’s amazing to see the Giants only one game off the lead, right behind the Mets and the Cardinals.  Wait a minute … those are teams with offense AND pitching.  How can the Giants – with their putrid offense – even be in the same discussion as the Mets and Cardinals?

    Lincecum was outstanding again today, with the exception of surrendering a late inning, two-run homer that made this game a nail-biter.

    In typical fashion, Wilson put the leadoff batter on and immediately compromised a one-run lead.  But he closed the deal again, and has really been tough lately.  The guy still drives me crazy, but he’s been getting it done.

    There’s a ton of chatter in Giants blogs and on KNBR 680 about the Giants possibly shopping Jonathan Sanchez for a bat.  I’m not sure that his trade value is that high right now, but it would be great to see the Giants get a third baseman or a really tough middle- reliever to compliment Affeldt (Howry is not cutting it).  This team is a bat and a middle reliever away from being tough.

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