When 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.
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.
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.
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
Possible teams that may be interested in Sean Casey: Angels, Athletics, Rangers, Mariners, Nationals
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.
Brad Ausmus – Catcher
Mark Loretta – Infielder
Doug Brocail – Bullpen
LaTroy Hawkins – Bullpen
Randy Wolfe – Starting Pitcher
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
An 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.
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.
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 was probably the strongest link in the Astros chain. Jose
Valverde, Doug Brocail, 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.
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
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
Humberto 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.
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
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.
While Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence are locked into the corner outfield positions, center field is up for grabs. Or it should be.
Baldelli is the best free agent centerfielder out there, but he comes
with a high risk of 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Well, 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
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
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’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.
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 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.
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
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.
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 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
Phillies’ Howard deserves NL MVP over Cardinals’ Pujols
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,
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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”.
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.
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:
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
Article by 643 Sports Jon
I know that every write has his, or her, own opinion about
different subjects. For example, I am of the high belief that Lance Berkman is
one of the most underrated players in the game.But yet there are many that
disagree with me, and that is fine. Each person is entitled to have a separate and
different opinion. Which is why I usually overlook articles that I disagree with,
but today when I was reading the Astros addition of “mailbag” I became
completely stunned. Not by the question that was asked, but by the answer which
Now before I give everyone the question and answer let me
state for the record that I highly respect the writings of Alyson Footer. 99%
of the time I at least partially agree with her. This, I guess, just happens to
be the 1% that I am in total disagreeance with her.
I am about to give you the question posed by what I am
to assume is an Astros fan, and then I will give you the answer Alyson Footer
gave. And then I will attempt to break down in detail why I believe she is so
way off base.
I totally agree with you on Jake Peavy being an
unrealistic trade. The few prospects we have, we need to hold onto to help the
Astros. The trade I’d love to see (if anyone would take him) is Miguel Tejada
for anything. He has the tendency to ground into double plays, and has
potential legal issues ahead. What are the Astros’ plans for him?
— Doug P., Athens, Ala.
You answered your own question, you
don’t need my help. Tejada’s power numbers decreased at an alarming pace as the
season progressed, as evidenced by the three home runs he hit in the second
half. His average was decent (.283) and he had a good September, hitting .295
with seven doubles and 11 RBIs, but he’s nowhere close to where he was a few
years ago, when he was a perennial MVP candidate. He has $13 million coming to
him in ’09, and he’ll be 35 in May. No one knows where he could be with his
legal issues next year. So, what are the Astros’ plans for him? What are their
He’ll be in a Houston uniform in ’09, he’ll play out his
contract, and he’ll probably move on after that. We’ll see. But dealing him is
not happening. Who would take him?
Now, I have to know what in the world both Doug P. and Alyson Footer are
thinking here. Miguel was a major improvement at shortstop over Adam Everette.
No, I am not in any stretch of the imagination saying that Miggy is a better
defensive shortstop than Adam. That is just simply not the case. Adam is hands
down the best defensive short stop in the game. There is not a better glove man
to be found. And before you email me and say that Derek Jeter let me just tell
you now. Get real.
Let me explain why Miggy is a huge upgrade over Adam. In 2007 the Astros
shortstop put up these monster numbers. A .232 BA 2 Homeruns 15 RBI 1 Triple 11
Doubles. In 2008 the Astros shortstop put up these so called dismal numbers. A
.283 BA 13 Homeruns 66 RBI 3 Triples 38 Doubles. In 2007 Adam was the
shortstop. Now before everyone runs to checkout how accurate my stats are take
note that Adam only played 66 games in 2007, but is 2006 stats mirror the stats
I just gave you. Plus Adam only played in 48 games this season.
Now let us take and put the stats aside. Let us see what other value Mr.
Tejada has for the Astros.
First no one can deny that the man is electrifying on the field. Just take a
look at how youthful the team looks. Jumping and giving high fives. Throwing “the
spotlight” at each other. It is a far cry from the casual forearm bump that
became standard operating procedure during the “Killer B” era.
How many times did you see Miguel go to the mound to talk with which ever
struggling pitcher was run out that night? You can not add that kind of
leadership into a contract. That has to be the player. The man on the field.
How in the world can anyone make a claim that Miggy is not that great of a
shortstop or have any value to this or any team? Is it because he is not
putting up the MVP type number anymore? Or is it because people are resentful
of the fact Miggy is caught in the steroid scandal? Or is it because Miggy
magically aged two years in one day? Whatever the reason may be, people really
should get over it.
Alyson Footer answer broken down:
You answered your own question, you
don’t need my help.
I am assuming this is in response to the
part of the question that asked who would want Tejada. Easy. Anyone that wants
to win and have a leader and great shortstop.
Tejada’s power numbers decreased at an alarming pace as the season
progressed, as evidenced by the three home runs he hit in the second half.
Yeah, I will give his power numbers dropped WAY off after
the All-Star break, but most of his offensive numbers were better than even
Berkman’s after the All-Star break. Maybe more of the problem is with the
hitting coach rather than the players.
His average was decent (.283) and he had a good September, hitting .295
with seven doubles and 11 RBIs, but he’s nowhere close to where he was a few
years ago, when he was a perennial MVP candidate
I will gladly take a .283 hitter in a position that has had
a BA of .249 in the previous 5 years.
He has $13 million
coming to him in ’09, and he’ll be 35 in May.
Am I the only one that has noticed how astronomical
contracts have gotten the past few years? If pitchers are starting to get $17
to $20 million a season to pitch every 5th day, then Miggy is well
worth the $13 million to play everyday.
No one knows where he
could be with his legal issues next year.
There seems to be no hurry to prosecute anyone for perjury.
Barry Bonds has been “under investigation” for several years before Miguel’s
testimony had been brought into question. The Astros could resign him for three
of four more years without worry.
So, what are the
Astros’ plans for him?
Hopefully to let him continue to be the team leader he
According to Tom Krasovic, of The San Diego Union-Tribune Jake Peavy’s agent Barry Axelrod has let it be known that Peavy will require a full no trade clause from his new team. There is also growing speculation that Peavy will also demand his $22 million option to be picked up.
World Series Fact
Now that the Tampa Bay Rays have made it to their first World Series there are only three teams left who have never played in the Fall Classic. They are the Mariners, Expos/Nationals and Senators/Rangers.
According to an article by Chico Harlan in The Washington Post, Jim Bowden found out in June he had squamous cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer) but opted to ignore his doctors recommendation and delayed his surgery until the end of the season.
Josh Beckett was not the dominate pitcher in the post season that we have grown accustomed to seeing. Beckett’s strained right oblique prevented him from pitching like he usually does. The good news though is he will not need surgery. Just Rest.