Category: Dailies

Not so big name free agents #2

seancasey.jpgWhen I said I was going to write several blogs about the “Not so big
name free agents” I figured I would have to write two or three a week
to keep up with the Hot Stove, but an unpredictably slow off season has
allowed me to take my time with these blogs. Considering I suffer from
chronic procrastination, works out great for me.

So without further ado, lets get the blogging underway.

Sean Casey

Sean
Casey has to be one of the most underrated players in Major League
Baseball. Yes, I am full aware that he has had a slight injury history,
but if you take a good look at his list of injuries you would be hard
pressed to find anything that screams he has a serious chronic issue.
His list of injuries is quite an extensive list but nothing that would
normally scare off potential teams looking to fill a void at first
base. But I guess when you add neck stiffness, thumb injury and
strained hip flexor just to name a few. Could he just be made of glass
or has he suffered from dumb luck?

Any way you look at it, there
are a lot less talented players out there that still get multi year
deals every season. Why not take a chance on a player with a career
.302 BA and a career .367 OBP? Not to mention the fact that he plays a
pretty solid first base. He has never committed more than 8 errors in a
season and he only reached that number once in his career.

So
essentially we are talking about a .300 hitter that gets on base almost
40% of the time and possess a career .995 FPCT with a zone rating of
.875. Now grant it an .875 zone rating is not an astonishing number but
when you take into consideration that Albert Pujols has a zone rating
of .893, you will see he is not far off the mark of a Gold Glove winner.

As
often as teams take ill conceived risk by signing questionably healthy
free agents with less talent, it really just makes zero sense that no
one has taken a risk and signed Sean Casey to at least a three year
deal. Maybe the slow moving, light burning Hot Stove will play into
Casey’s hands and he will finally get his multi year deal that he
deserves.

Possible teams that may be interested in Sean Casey: Angels, Athletics, Rangers, Mariners, Nationals

Not so big name free agents #1

edmonds.jpg

There are a ton of big name free agents out there this year.
Manny, Mark, CC, Sheets, AJ and Lowe just to name a few. But what are some of
the smaller names out there that may provide a big boost to some teams?

 

I am going to do a series on these players one at a time.

 

Jim Edmonds:

 

Edmonds’
batting average has nosed dived the past 3 years, but he proved last year he
can still hit homeruns. Edmonds
belted 20 dingers for the season in 2008 which was up from the 12 he hit in
2007. If you are looking for the 20 to be the anomaly you would be wrong. 12
homers is the lowest homerun count in almost a decade for Edmonds. Every other year he has had 20 or
more homeruns. So the anomaly would be the 12 mark.

 

Edmonds
is not the fielder that he once was but considering the reckless abandon that
he played game with for so many years and the fact that he will turn 39 during
the 09 season, you have to expect him to have lost a step or two in his game.
Even an Edmonds
with a lost step he is still and above average fielder and would man any
centerfield in the majors just fine.

 

Now do not expect to see the Jim Edmonds of old by any stretch
of the imagination, but a formidable one could and should be expected. He is
still capable of posting a .260 BA and hitting 20 dingers which would be a good
upgrade in centerfield for MOST teams.

 

Teams that Jim Edmonds would be a good fit for: Houston
Astros, Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics, Cincinnati Reds and Kansas City Royals

The Houston Astros Offseason

Now that the free agent market is open I thought
I would type up what my team the Houston Astros need to do to be
competitive next season. So here we go.

Free Agents:

Brad Ausmus – Catcher
Mark Loretta – Infielder
Doug Brocail – Bullpen
LaTroy Hawkins – Bullpen
Randy Wolfe – Starting Pitcher

Starting Pitching:

Other
than Roy Oswalt the Astros started out with squat in the rotation.
Chris Sampson, Brandon Backe, Wandy Rodriguez and a series of minor
league pitchers. Brian Moehler ended up in the starting rotation early
in the season and ended up being a decent number 5 starter, but that
was the problem. The Astros have 4 number 5 starters already. But never
the less Brian was rewarded for his work and given a new contract
towards the end of the season.

At the trade deadline Ed Wade
pulled off a trade to get Left Handed Pitcher Randy Wolf. It was a bit
puzzling at the time, but I kind of understand what he was doing. He
picked up a starting pitcher to help a weak rotation and to possibly
lay the ground work for signing Wolfe for 2009 and beyond.

If the Astros start the season tomorrow this is what the rotation would look like.

1. Roy Oswalt
2. Wandy Rodriguez
3. Brian Moehler
4. Brandon Backe
5. Any and all Triple-A players in the organization

A rotation like that does not strike fear into anyone. The Astros need to sign two
free agent pitchers. And I mean sign two and not trade for two. The
Astros do not have enough talent to give up. What talent they have they
need.

andypettite.jpgAn Andy Pettite return would make a lot of sense for the
Astros. Andy is not the pitcher he used to be, but if he is brought
back to the National League his numbers would be a lot better.

Randy
Wolfe would also be a great signing if Pettite was added to the
rotation. Wolfe but up some very solid numbers after he was traded to
Houston. He went 6-2 with a 3.57 ERA in 12 starts with the Astros and a
combined 12-12 with a 4.30 ERA in 33 starts for the Padres and the
Astros. Not bad numbers for an end of the rotation starter.

If
the Astros were able to sign both Wolfe and Pettite that would give
them a very formidable rotation. But it would mean that the Astros
would have to non-tender Brandon Backe which would not hurt my feelings
in the least bit.

The new rotation would look like this.

1. Roy Oswalt
2. Andy Pettite
3. Randy Wolfe
4. Brian Moehler
5. Wandy Rodriguez

Yes, that would be an extreme left handed rotation, but that might be a good thing.

Bullpen:

The
bullpen was probably the strongest link in the Astros chain. Jose
Valverde, Doug Brocail,dougbrocail.jpg Geoff Geary, Wesly Wright, Chris Sampson, Tim
Byrdak and LaTroy Hawkins all did a greatjob for the Astros and I
would love to have each of them back.

Chris Sampson struggled as a starter, but was great out of the pen. He did a great job as a long reliever.

Only
Doug Brocail and LaTroy Hawkins are free agents and LaTroy has already
been resigned. Now if the Astros can resign Brocail the pen will be set
for 2009.

Catcher:

The catcher position was a
constant nightmare for the Astros last season. JR Towels was believed
to be the catcher of the future, but when handed the starting job he
failed miserably. Towels batted .137 as the starting backstop. His
numbers made Brad Ausmus look like Babe Ruth.

Even with Brad
Ausmus on the bench the Astros decided to split time with Ausmus and
greggzaun.jpgHumberto Quintero. “Q” did a decent job behind the plate and his
offensive numbers were a big improvement over Towels, but they were
hardly respectable. “Q” posted a .226 batting average.

After
starting pitching, a new catcher is a high priority for the Astros. I
would not expect the Astros to sign a Pudge Rodriguez or Jason Varitek.
They will most likely be out of the Astros price range. I would not be
surprised to see Greg Zaun or Toby Hall in an Astros uniform next year
though.

Infield:

The Astros infield is pretty well
set for 2009 unless Ed Wade make a huge mistake and trades off someone.
Lance Berkman, Kaz Matsui, Ty Wigginton and Miguel Tejada should all be
back manning their positions for next season.

Outfield:

While Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence are locked into the corner outfield positions, center field is up for grabs. Or it should be.

Rocco
Baldelli is the best free agent centerfielder out there, but he comes
with a high risk ofjuanpierre.jpg injury. In the past three years he has not played a
full season. He has a ton of potential, but playing potential leaves a
big opportunity for failure. Just look and the Michael Bourn project.

A
trade for Juan Pierre would not be a bad idea at all. He is seeking a
trade and the Astros are seeking a centerfielder. He should come
cheaply in what the Astros would have to give up player wise for him,
but the Astros would surely have to pay all of Pierre’s contract. I am
actually ok with that.

I would also be ok with the starting job
being handed to Darrin Erstad. Why he even took a job as a bench player
just baffles me to begin with.

Bench:

The Astros
bench was a huge saving grace for the team. With injuries to Ty
Wigginton, Kaz Matsui and Carlos Lee, the bench had to eat up a lot of
playing time. Mark Loretta and Geoff Blum filled in great in the
infield, and Darrin Erstad was Darrin Erstad in the outfield.

All
but Mark Loretta are signed through the 2009 season. I would not expect
Mark to return, but after the performance of David Newhan I can see how
the Astros would let Mark leave. The Astros are sure to offer Loretta
arbitration because he is a Type-B free agent. It would be surprising
if Mark accepts it, but the Astros were surprised last season when he
accepted their arbitration offer.

ASTROS WIN.jpg

If the Astros can pick up two
starting pitchers and a catcher I would expect them to be very
competitive in 2009. Will they be competitive enough to over take the
Cubs to finish on top of the National League Central Division? Probably
not. Then again, you never know.

MLB Transactions to Date. (Well the biggest of them anyways)

I can no decide which is harder to wait for. Is it the start of the
regular season where every team still has a fighting chance? Or is it
the start of the off season free agent hot stove? On one hand you have
the actual start of play and something exciting to come home and watch
every day almost. Then on the other hand the excitement of “will my
team sign a big name free agent” is always exciting. It is just hard to
tell, but one thing is for sure. I can not wait until November 14th
gets here so the fun can really begin.

So for now I figured I
would type up an article on the trades and signings that have already
gone down. Some of these are rather boring, but some could have a real
impact on the 2009 season.

MLB Transactions: (or at least the “Best Of” anyways)

1. In a some what surprising move, the Washington Nationals sent Dmitri Young outright to Triple-A Syracuse.
After the 2007 season Young was named the National League Comeback
Player of the Year after only playing in 48 games in 2006. In 2008
injuries and difficulties in his battle with Diabetes limited Young to
only 30 games. Even so, Young be sent outright to Triple-A is a bit
puzzling to me.

2. The St. Louis Cardinals signed back up catcher Jason LaRue to a one year deal. LaRue played in 61 games for the Cardinals last year backing up Gold Glove winner Yadier Molina.

3. On November 6th the New York Yankees declined the option of Damaso Marte only to resign him six days later to a 3 year $12 million contract.

4. In an expected move the Texas Rangers exercised Hank Blalock’s $6.2 million option.

5. San Diego Padres exercised the $9 million option of Brian Giles.
With the state of the Padres right now no one was for sure if they
would pick up Giles’ option. On any normal circumstance it would have
seemed like a no brainer for the Padres to pick up his option.

6. Right handed Taiwanese pitcher Chia-Jen Lo’s dreams became a reality when he was signed to a minor league contract by the Houston Astros.
Chia-Jen Lo has always been a closer and the Astros seem inclined to
leave him in the role he feels comfortable. But do not worry Astros
fans, Chia-Jen Lo is not about to replace Jose Valverde anytime soon. The Astros believe the young Taiwanese pitcher is still a few years from the major league level.

7. LaTroy Hawkins
was rewarded for his stellar work out of the Astros bullpen. The Astros
signed the veteran pitcher to a one year $3.25 million contract. This
could mean the Astros are not as pressed in signing Doug Brocail even though they would also like to bring him back aswell.

8. The Washington Nationals acquired LHP Scott Olsen and OF Josh Willingham from the Marlins. To complete the deal the Marlins received for INF Emilio Bonifacio, RHP P.J. Dean and INF Jake Smolinski.

9. In the biggest offseason move so far, the Oakland Athletics acquired OF Matt Holliday Holliday.jpgin exchange for closer Huston Street.
Colorado also received LHP Greg Smith and OF Carlos Gonzalez. This puts
the Athletics in a position to contend in 2009. If they are able to
sign Jason Giambi to be their DH then the A’s may have a fighting chance.

10. The Kansas City Royals made a trade for power hitting first baseman Mike Jacobs Sending RHP Leo Nunez to the Marlins to complete the deal.

11. Shortstop Edgar Renteria will be a free agent now that the Detroit Tigers
declined his option. Edgar is classified as a Type A free agent and a
lot of teams may be unwilling to give up their first round pick for
him. There is an outside chance the Detroit Tigers can resign him to a
cheaper contract.

12. For the first time in a decade the purest swing in the game will be on the free agent market. The Chicago White Sox declined the option on veteran power hitting Ken Griffey Jr.
Even though Junior’s numbers have fallen off a bit do not look for him
to sign cheap. I would guess he would sign with a team he feels will
compete in 2009 so do not look for a Seattle reunion. (Even though he
said he is open to the idea)

13. Catcher Rod Barajas will be in Toronto in 2009. The Blue Jays have picked up the option on his contract.

14. Carlos Delgado had his $12 million option picked up for 2009.

15. The Boston Red Sox picked up Tim Wakefield’s
option for next season. In case you are unaware of how many option
years Wakefield has left on his contract I will let you know. The
number is indefinite. As long as Boston wants the knuckleballer then he
his theirs for $4 million a season.

Now, these are just the
transactions that have already gone down. These do not count the
endless Jake Peavy rumors that are swirling around. Or the Manny or CC
contract offers that have already been made.

I was kind of
hoping this blog would carry me into the beginning of the opening of
the free agent season, but sadly it has only brought me a couple of
hours closer.

General Managers Meetings

jakepeavy.JPGWell, the General Managers meetings have come
and gone once again. Unlike last year when the Astros traded Brad Lidge and
Eric Bruntlett to the Phillies for Michael Bourn and Geoff Geary, there were no
major trades. (Although Lidge, Bruntlett, Bourn and Geary trade were not
considered a major trade when it happened) But we did get a lot of swirling
rumors to come out of the General Managers meetings.

The Jake Peavy Train

One of the biggest rumors heading into the meetings was of
course where the “Jake Peavy Train” will stop now that it has “left” San Diego. The Atlanta
Braves and the Chicago Cubs are two teams that seem to be leading the race to “arms”
so to speak. But like any race there is a dark horse in the mix and that would
be the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Braves seem to have the slight lead in the Peavy Derby because
they can not only match the Padres demand with talented young pitching, but
they could also throw Yunel Escobar to fill the hole at shortstop the Padres
will have when they trade off (probably in the same deal with Peavy) Kahlil
Green.

Do not think for a second that the Cubs are out of the race,
because they are not. Do not expect Jeff Samardzija to be involved in any trade
for Peavy or other trade for that matter. Contrary to some postings and
articles, Samardzija has a full no trade clause and not a partial no trade
clause.

Samardzija’s no trade clause does not mean the Cubs are out
of the race for Peavy, they still have Rich Harden that can be part of any trade
to land Jake Peavy. If the Cubs are willing to put Harden in the deal with a
young pitcher and Felix Pie or Ronny Cedeno I would be very surprised if the
Padres turn down a deal like that.

For the Dodgers to land Peavy would probably mean they
would have to give up a lot more talent considering they are in the National League
West with the Padres.

Matt Holiday

Matt Holiday’s surprise appearance at the General Managers
Meetings started the wheels of the Rumor Mill turning. Are the Rockies making the power hitting outfielder available for
trade? Does Holiday’s appearance mean the Rockies
have given up hope of signing him to long term contract?

New York Mets

Omar Minaya stated that the Mets would be more
active in the free agent market than the trade market. Signing a free agent
will not cost a team a current prospect already in the team’s organization. The
only thing a team will lose is a draft pick in next years draft.

LaTroy Hawkins

The Houston Astros signed LaTroy Hawkins to a
one year deal for $3.5 million plus bonuses. Hawkins was rewarded for is work
for the Astros have they acquired him in a trade from the Yankees. Hawkins
posted a 0.43 ERA in 24 games.

Andy Pettite

Andy Pettite informed the New York Yankees that
he would like to pitch again next season. The Yankees have stated that they
want Pettite back, but it is widely believed he would have to take a
significant pay cut from the $16 million he made last season. A two year deal
should be a long shot for Pettite. Brian Cashman does not seem to be in too big
of a hurry to ink Pettite to a contract. The signing or retirement of Mike
Mussina will play a big role in Pettites return. There is a chance that Andy
could end up back in Houston
or with the Texas Rangers.

CC Sabathia

The Milwaukee Brewers have formally made an
offer to CC Sabathia. Right now they are sitting and waiting for a counter
offer from CC’s agent. The offer is believed to be a 5 year 1$100 million
contract.

Manny and the Dodgers “Window Dressing”

Manny has received is first official offer from
the Dodgers. Some call the offer a “Window Dressing”. It is believed to be a 2
year deal for $45 million and a third option year. I doubt that Manny and Scott
Boras have given this offer more than a seconds thought.

Type A/B Free Agents

Does everyone understand the importance of Type A and B free agents?

Here is how that works according to www.mlbtraderumors.com

“If the Diamondbacks offer Dunn arbitration, he may decline because he prefers to play elsewhere or prefers to seek a multiyear free agent contract.  If he declines the Reds’ offer and signs elsewhere, the Diamondbacks will receive two draft picks.

Let’s say the Yankees sign Dunn.  The Diamondbacks will then receive one ’09 draft pick from the Yankees.  If the Yankees have, say, the 22nd overall pick next June, the Reds get that in addition to their own normal first round pick.  The Diamondbacks also get a supplemental draft pick squeezed in between the first and second round of the draft.

The Diamondbacks only get the Yankees’ first-round pick if it falls between #16-30.  The first 15 picks are protected.  So if the Nationals sign Dunn, the Diamondbacks are kind of screwed because they do not get the Nats’ #2 overall pick.  Instead, they get the Nats’ second round pick and the supplemental pick.

A free agent can also be classified as a Type B based on his stats from 2007-08.  This might happen with Jon Garland.  Say the Angels offer him arbitration and he declines and then signs with the Dodgers.  The Dodgers would not give up any draft picks, but the Angels would get an extra pick between the first and second round.  Another rule to consider: the “losing” team can receive draft pick compensation without offering arbitration if their free agent is signed before December 1st.”

Here is an interesting note too. If your team only loses one Type A player via a free agent signing then that team is only allowed to sign one Type A free agent.

Lets take the Yankees for example. They have four type A pending free agents. Andy Pettite, Mike Mussina, Ivan Rodriguez and Damaso Marte. Now if they resign both Pettite, Mussina and Marte they would only be allowed to sign one major free agent. So they would not be able to chase after CC, Teixaria, AJ Burnett and Derek Lowe even though every Yankees fan with a blog would have you believe. It is just simply not possible.

Dumb MVP Picks (at least to me)

Dumb 2008 NL MVP Picks Pt. Deux

I think that everyone should
realize that Manny Ramirez is not a viable MVP candidate in the NL, and
surprisingly, there are people out there who know this and are not
going to waste their MVP pick on a guy who played only fitty games in
the NL. He’s wrong, horribly, horribly wrong, but hey, he’s trying
right?

Phillies’ Howard deserves NL MVP over Cardinals’ Pujols

Let
the idiocy begin. To borrow a phrase from one of the worst Homer
broadcasters ever: it’s time to sinch’er up and hunker down here,
folks. Cause when Bob Matthews is writing, you best believe the crap is
gonna start flying.

Ryan Howard is my pick for National League Most Valuable Player,

And
you are a dumb-butt. Here is Howard’s stat line for the year:
.251/.339/.543. Those first two numbers are quite pedestrian, yet you
make him your MVP choice? Sure, he hit 48 HR’s, which definitely helped
his team, but the dude struck out 199 times! That’s one less than 200!
Even Adam Dunn would say, “Jesus, Ryan take some pitches!”

but Albert Pujols is my choice for first baseman on the 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Team.

Ok? Did you say that just to make up for your crazy MVP pick? You ain’t foolin’ me, Bob Matthews.

Bob Matthews:
Well, Albert, I didn’t pick you for the MVP this year because I put too
much emphasis on RBI’s and and didn’t even look at Ryan’s strikeout
numbers, but hey, you are on the depth chart for the MLB All-Star Team!
How’s that for accomplishments?

Albert Pujols: Who the heck are you, fat man? What are you doing in my bedroom?! Get theheck
out of my house you bafoon! Don’t you know that RBI’s are a suspect
statistic, anyways? Jeez!

Here’s why.

(cont.
for Bob Matthews): “Because I’m a traditional baseball nut-job that way
overvalues RBI’s and Home Runs and have no clue what OBP is. I like MVP
voting because I can dick-around for the first 5 months of the season
and then really only vaguely watch August and September to get my MVP
candidate.”

For your reference, here is a list of NL players
that have better VORP numbers than Howard’s (good, but not MVP-quality)
35.3 and below Pujols’ leading 96.8.

Hanley Ramirez
Chipper Jones
Lance Berkman
David Wright
Jose Reyes
Chase Utley
Matt Holliday
Carlos Beltran
Ryan Ludwick
Brian McAnn
Manny Ramirez
Nate McClouth

ok
that list is too long. Ryan Howard is 30th in the NL in VORP. He’s not
even leading his own team in VORP! I’m sorry, back to the RBI’s we go…

My All-Star Team is based on season-long performance, and Pujols had a better overall offensive season than Howard.

Better?
Just better? That one sentence cannot possibly begin to describe how
much better Pujols’ .357/.462/.653 season was than Howard’s abismal
.251/.339/.543. Pat Burrel (123) and Chase Utley (133) both OPS+ed
either the same or more than Howard’s 123, while Pujols was busy
putting up an OPS+ of 190. 190!

But Howard was red hot in September (.352, 11 HRs, 32 RBI) and carried Philadelphia to the NL East pennant.

Yeah
it was all Howard. Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels and Brad
Lidge? They all phoned it in in September, leaving Howard to pick up
the slack. Give me a freaking break with this “hot in September” crap,
it really proves my sarcastic point that you only watch the last two
months of the season.

St. Louis faded in early September when Pujols cooled off

Wha…wha…are
you serious? “Cooled off”? He went .321/.427/.702 in September, which
admittedly is down from his August line of .398/.491/.745, but cooled
off? He was still OPSing over 1.000! The 2008 NL MVP Candidacy: .400 in
September or Bust.

But what about your savior of the NL, Ryan
Howard? Did you happen to look at his monthly splits? Or, again, is
September the only month in which you allow yourself to watch baseball?
Howard
had an AVG of .300+ only twice this season, and those two times were
the only times he even sniffed .250+. He went .213/.328/.463 in August
with 36 K’s and only 7 Home Runs. I don’t know if you, like, know
anything about baseball but, that sucks. Kind of like this article.

In fairness, he was due for a mini-slump after carrying the Cardinals for several months.

I refer you to the rant in the above paragraphs about the “mini-slump”.

But
just several months? How about the entire freaking season? How about
putting up an MLB-leading VORP of 96.8! And “carrying the
Cardinals”…isn’t that within your definition of “Valuable” in the
MVP? Just a thought.

If Pujols finishes on top in the official NL MVP balloting, it would be fine with me.

Then just freaking pick him! He is the most viable candidate out there!

I figure he got robbed of two NL MVP awards when Barry Bonds beat him out with bloated muscles and numbers.

So
Pujols deserves the 2008 NL MVP because he got screwed by Barroid, and
not because he is far superior to any player in the NL this year? Wow.

Here are my picks for the major individual awards:

No,
screw you. I’m done reading your baseball-ignorant crap. You and Bill
Plaschke should get together and whack it to the thoughts of old scouts
and how the statheads are ruining the game of baseball. Get bent you
moron.

Article by 643 Sports Jon