ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, Tommy Toledo, Ichiro to Yanks, Greinke, Billy Hamilton, Jeff Niemann, Pavano and Colby Lewis

Sunday July 29th, 2012



Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Jonathan Hacohen: Two days folks. That’s all the time that is left in the MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline. All baseball eyes will be on news wire as we expect many more trades to go down by the deadline. I have set the over/under of the number of moves to happen since the Giants got Marco Scutaro at 20. What is your pick?

Many of the big names that were rumored to move have been dealt with. Zack Greinke is an Angel. Scutaro a Giant. Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante are Tigers. Brett Myers and Francisco Liriano are members of the Whit Sox. Hanley Ramirez joined the Dodgers. But Cole Hamels stayed in Philadelphia, while Huston Street and Carlos Quentin remain in San Diego. Who are the next big names to move? Will Ryan Dempster finally go to L.A. or Atlanta? Will Matt Garza move despite not being healthy? Josh Beckett? Aramis Ramirez? Shane Victorino? Does Houston even have anyone left to trade now that even Chris Johnson has been traded? We will get the answers to all these questions over the next 2 days.

From our prospects file, a name to keep an eye on is Tommy Toledo. No- he is not a rock star or adult movie actor. Tommy is a pitcher in the Milwaukee Brewers system. He gets my vote for the best baseball name. Think about- what a name for a closer. Now pitching for the Brewers, #13…..Toooommmyy…..Tolleeeeedoooooo….. Yes, just a great ball name and yes, he can pitch too. Tommy tore up A-ball this year, pitching for Wisconsin of the Midwest League. 7-1 in 21 games, 1.95 ERA, 6 saves, 0.838 WHIP and 31/11 SO/BB. Standing 6’3″ and weighing close to 200 lbs, the 23-year old Tommy Toledo is a baseball prospect to follow. His Twitter handle is @TommyToledo13. Follow him, say hello…and make sure you say that the Reports sent ya!

For our Batting Stance Guy featured video of the week, we present Gar’s look at the New 2012 MLB Batting Stances. BSG at the start of the season took at look at some new stances that will have you laughing all the way to the batting cage:

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week:

Q:  When (Billy) Hamilton gets called up the N.L. Central might be over. What with the Reds pitching being so solid from starter to Chapman and Votto getting back soon.  Jeremy

JH: No doubt the Reds are looking good. I’m not 100% sold if Hamilton will get the call, given that he will be only 22 in September and just joined AA at the All-Star break. But looking at his numbers, it’s hard to argue. In 16 AA games, Billy has a .321 AVG, .446 OBP, .491 SLG, 11 steals in 15 chances and 12/11 BB/K’s. Plus he even has an inside-the-park home run. This comes after he stole 104 bases in half a year in High-A with a .323 AVG. The Reds are hoping to get their captain, Joey Votto back soon. But then they have won 10 straight games without him. So imagine how good they will be with him? Likely more of the same. The Reds are in first place in the N.L. Central with a 61-40 record. They are 3 games above Pittsburgh and already 7.5 games above St. Louis. With Mat Latos, Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman and all those bats, Dusty Baker’s squad will be tough to beat. If I’m the Reds, I’m seriously considering calling up Hamilton. If he performs even half as well in the majors as he did in the minors, the Reds have an instant game-changer. They are winning without Votto and Hamilton. With them…you can practically hand them the N.L. Central. All the Reds need to do is keep doing what they are doing and stay healthy. They have the talent…and by September they may even have Willie Mays Hayes Hamilton in their lineup. The rest of the N.L. Central is on notice.

Q:  The Red Sox are having trouble with the starting rotation and Jeff Niemann and Carl Pavano would be names for them to consider.  Eric.

JH: Hello Eric. I take it that you are a Red Sox fan. I appreciate your comment, but I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one. First of all, the Red Sox are in the last place in the A.L. East. 1 game under .500 (50-51), 10.5 games behind the Yankees and 4.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. This team has been ravaged by injuries and turmoil. Yes, the team has faced issues with its rotation this year. But another arm is not likely to save them. It is likely time to call it a day and start working towards next year. The odds are incredibly stacked against the Red sox challenging  about 5-6 other teams to make a Wild Card run. It could happen, but the Red Sox would need at least an ace-type pitcher to join them.

Let’s start off with one of baseball’s most popular whipping boys, Carl Pavano. Dear old Carl is signed to an $8.5 million deal this year. To grab him for a couple of months would cost almost $3 million. A hefty price tag for a guy with a 2-5 record, 6.00 ERA and 1.397 WHIP. Plus he has battled injuries, on top of his inconsistencies. Remember how he fared in New York? I can’t see Boston touching him with a 10-foot pole. Then we come to Jeff Niemann. Yes, he would be an incredible fit in Boston. Stands 6’9″ and weighs close to 300 lbs. The 29-year old is a controllable pitcher that Boston could build around. He has pitched much better this year than his 2-3 record shows, with a 3.38 ERA, 1.138 WHIP and 30/12 SO/BB’s. Problem? He pitches for the Tampa Bay Rays. Firstly, they will want an incredible return for their young starter. Secondly, they will not want to trade Niemann in their own division. With the amount of inter-division games in baseball every year, there is no way that the Rays want to face Niemann potentially 4-5 times per year. He knows how to pitch in the A.L. East and that means he is that much more valuable to the Rays. You are on the right track in that Boston needs to upgrade and move forward. But Pavano won’t cut it and Niemann is not going to happen. Maybe start thinking Matt Garza and/or Ryan Dempster in 2013? Those are more realistic potential targets for the BoSox.

Q:  I still think Hamels will stay in Philadelphia, Dempster will go to L.A. (Dodgers), and Greinke will go to Anaheim.  Larry (Number 1 Fan)

JH: You are on the money Larry. Bang on. I got this message from Larry on Facebook over a week ago and Larry…I had to throw you out some baseball love. You were bang on with Cole Hamels staying in Philadelphia, as he signed a long-term extension this week. The Ryan Dempster saga is not over, but most analysts still see the Dodgers happening. Dempster has fully veto power and he has apparently indicated that it is the Dodgers or bust for him. But the Zack Greinke trade, Larry my man- congrats. I certainly did not see that one happening, as there were at least 10 teams in on Greinke. Most analysts saw the Rangers or White Sox landing the former Brewers ace. But Larry’s crystal ball was bang on with this one, as Anaheim snagged Greinke and became one of the favorites to win the World Series in 2012. As Larry is already 2-2, let’s see if he becomes perfect if and when Dempster is traded to the Dodgers. From the last report I heard, the Braves are not fully out of it. But by the time Tuesday rolls around, I see Dempster wearing Dodger blue. Thank you for the predictions Larry and well done!

Q:  The Ranges can’t win without Colby Lewis. To be honest, I didn’t think they was gonna win even with him or a Feliz. This team is going down and its showing on days their offense is slow now. I believe if they get Cliff Lee, then they will be players to win…but the Yanks will edge them out, and when Big Game Andy Dandy comes back, the Yanks- looks like it will be their year.  Jayson

JH: No love for the Rangers despite back-to-back World Series appearances. You make an interesting point in that Colby Lewis being somewhat of a non-factor, as you didn’t think the Rangers could win even with him. But you thought that the Rangers couldn’t make the playoffs with Lewis and Neftali Feliz in the rotation? I think that you aren’t giving the Rangers pitching staff enough credit. But that being said, the Angels have gotten that much more dangerous with a rotation of Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Dan Haren and Zack Greinke. The Angels also have a solid lineup, led by Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and company. If the Rangers hope to compete with the Angels, I agree that they must add a top starter to their rotation. 

I have a scout that I speak to on a consistent basis. Every time I say the name Neftali Feliz, he shakes his head. In that scout’s opinion, Feliz should have been left as a closer. “Why fix it if it ain’t broke”, he consistently says to me. Now looking at Feliz’s injuries, I would say that Feliz cannot be counted on. The Rangers are hoping that Ogando could be the solution, but if they really want to make sure that they can compete with the Angels, they may have to think bigger. Hamels and Greinke are off the market and I’m not sure that Dempster or Garza will happen. Josh Johnson? Too expensive and risky in my book. No, the only the hope for the Rangers is if they land James Shields. Big Game James is durable and a proven winner. The Rays will demand a ton for him back, but given what he has done in the majors and still controllable, he will be worth the big price tag. Even without the Angels, I agree with you that the Yankees remain very dangerous. Andy Pettitte has suffered a setback in his return, but should still be ready to go in October. Combined with Ivan Nova, C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, plus all that dangerous Yankees offense, and the Rangers will be in tough. The Rangers have great hitting combined with a solid bullpen. They may even have the pieces to pull off another World Series run. But another top starter would put them over the edge. I now you want to see Cliff Lee, but I don’t see Philadelphia moving him. They are building around him, Hamels and Roy Halladay. They signed Lee to pitch in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future. Translation: he’s not going anywhere. So if the Rangers are realistically going to acquire an ace, its Big Game James or Bust. Otherwise, they will need to look in-house and hope for the best. Considering that means a rotation of Harrison, Darvish, Holland, Oswalt and Feldman, I think the Rangers may still be able to pull it off. The extra ace is helpful, but may not be crucial. Let’s not discount what the Rangers have done over the previous two seasons. Until they are unseated, they still remain the team to beat in the A.L. West.

Q:  Ichiro had the right to veto any trade and after whining enough, he got his way. It took me a bit, but I say “SEE YA!” Now I just wonder what will replace the “Ichi-Roll” in the food stand at Safeco :)   Kenneth

JH: Hello Kenneth. One of my favorite people to chat with on Twitter (@SeeAll30).  No doubt that Ichiro is on the downside of his career. Since last year, he has been on a steady decline. But let’s keep in mind, he is turning 39 in October! In fairness, Ichiro has been very loyal to the Mariners and Seattle. He played almost 12 years there and has been their undisputed superstar. Now he did get paid like a superstar, bringing in between $17-18 million for the last 5 seasons. This man won an A.L. Rookie of the Year and MVP awards. Ten years in a row he won an A.L. Gold Glove. An All-Star nearly every season. Over 2,500 hits in a Mariners uniform. Ichiro didn’t need to stay in Seattle this long, it was his choice. But how much losing can a guy take? I have heard that he was fairly cool to the media and fans. He is not a big loveable personality. But he came to play every day in Seattle and was the Japanese Pete Rose. He hit. He played hard. He is a future Hall of Famer. Going to the Yankees was essentially a gift to Ichiro by the Mariners. Seattle is on the hook for most of his salary and took back little in return from the Yankees. Maybe it is a gift to the Yankees for the failed Pineda/Montero swap to some degree. But mostly it’s a send-off for Ichiro. For possibly his last season, Seattle moved him to a team that he wanted to play for and gave him his best chance at a ring. I know it doesn’t feel great now seeing him move on. But when the Mariners are on the golf course come October, isn’t it better for Ichiro to be in the postseason? Like him or hate him, we all have to respect him from a baseball standpoint. He has earned his chance to get the ring. Let’s remember him fondly for what he has meant to the Mariners and wish him all the best. The next time we are reviewing his career in 5-7 years, it will be from Cooperstown, New York. When he is an inducted as a Mariner, I’m sure that you and I will be giving him a standing ovation. As far as replacing the “Ichiro-Roll”, how does a “Smoak-Dog” sound?


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Jonathan Hacohen is the Founder & Lead Baseball Columnist for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

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About Jonathan Hacohen

I practice daily yoga. Most foods are organic. If you catch me in the supermarket, it will be in the produce aisle. Warrior 1 Yoga was born from my wish to help people be healthy and happy. I preach the 4 key's to life: nutrition, exercise, water and sleep. This is my journey - I am hope to meet you along the way to share a similar path!

Posted on July 29, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Great questions this week…I totally forgot about my predictions until reading this. If Dempster goes to Dodgers, they might be contenders from the NL…

  2. i dont think you answered my questions on here can you. thanks

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