Monthly Archives: August 2012
Friday August 31st, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: The Los Angeles Dodgers have gone all out this year, trading for Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, and four former Red Sox players in one big swap: Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto, and a game-changer in Adrian Gonzalez. Right now, the Dodgers are what one would call “stacked”. They have stars at many of their positions and have added key pieces to their pitching staff. Fans of any team dream of this. But, these acquisitions came with a heavy, heavy cost.
The Dodgers went after underperforming stars that weren’t living up to their large contracts. Hanley Ramirez had failed to rebound like the Marlins expected this year, so the Dodgers got him for a low price on the condition that they would take on the rest of his contract. Money is not too much of an issue for the Dodgers under new ownership, and it is evident. The second—and even more impressive—move that the Dodgers made involved the Red Sox. Carl Crawford had been an absolute bust for Boston. He has not played a full season after signing a major contract two years ago, and recently shut his season down to get Tommy John Surgery. Adrian Gonzalez had a good year for the Red Sox in 2011, but started off this year slowly and didn’t produce the way the Sox hoped. Josh Beckett has also been awful this year, posting over a five ERA.
Friday August 31st, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: The Padres have a surplus of pitching within their organization. From top to bottom, there’s always a top pitching prospect waiting in the wings. The assumption is that most of this pitching has been accumulated from the massive amounts of trades they have made over the past couple of years, but Dale Thayer doesn’t fall into this category.
Thayer’s minor league stats remain to be touched. Very few players have amassed better stats at the levels than he has. He boasts a 2.45 ERA lifetime in ten seasons in the minors, and his K/9 rate checks in at 8.8/9 over that span. However, ten seasons in the minors is awfully extensive, especially considering his above average numbers.
However, his numbers have yet to translate to the major leagues. Trust me, he has received plenty of chances to prove that he can write that ship, but he’s yet to do so. So when he gets his chances, he doesn’t seem to make much of them, ultimately leading to a demotion. Most prospects who bloom in the minors and post stellar numbers generally don’t stick in the minors for long. Thayer, though, is quite the opposite. Read the rest of this entry
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024- In one fell swoop, the Boston Red Sox went from a team with no payroll flexibility at all for years to come, to a team that only has 4 players under contract for 57.2 Million Dollars next year. It is actually around 43 Million Dollars for Dustin Pedroia (10 MIL), John Lackey ,(16 MIL) John Lester (11.6 MIL) and Clay Buchholz (5.8 MIL.) Now since they are paying about 15 Million to the Dodgers as part of the trade it takes the total up to about 57 Million. So how does the team look going forward? Not that bad actually. The have about 25 Pre-Arbitration to Arbitration Eligible Players to re-sign. A lot of them are under club control or will not fetch that much of a boost in pay. Jacoby Ellsbury will probably get a bump from the 8 Million he received this year and Jarrod Saltalamacchia will also be due a raise from the 2.5 Million in 2012 with his breakout power year. Daniel Bard is a “Super 2″ Arb Eligible Player and should not be that hard to resign considering his ineffective year. The most pressing thing to do is to resolve the David Ortiz matter and then to grab a couple of free agent pitchers and a power hitting First baseman or an outfielder.
Judging from my best estimate, it looks like the Boston Red Sox will have about an 100-110 Million Dollars for all of their Arbitration players, plus the guys already signed. This leads me to David Ortiz. He should be given a 2 or 3 year contract as soon as humanly possible at 15-16 Million Dollars a Year. He was the only player in the AL to have an OPS over 1 still going into tonight. Yes he has been hurt, but ‘Big Papi’ is not finished in the MLB. Yes he will be 37 heading into next year but he has been the best DH in the AL over the last 3 years. Ortiz had said earlier this year-that he would be open to playing for other teams so the brass better make him feel wanted or he will walk! He genuinely likes Pedroia so I am sure Ortiz could be persuaded to come back. You have to at least find this out early as it will let you know how to proceed on the Free Agent Market.
Here are some David Ortiz highlights. THIS VIDEO CONTAINS CLIPS COPYRIGHTED FROM MLB ADVANCED MEDIA. MLB REPORTS DOES NOT OWN THESE CLIPS.
For Part 1 of the Trade Breakdown: The LA Dodgers 2013 Top Ten Payroll click here .
Wednesday August 29th, 2012
Sam Evans: Roger Clemens deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. If Cooperstown picked candidates with regard to their off-field activities, players like Dick Williams and Mickey Mantle might have never been chosen to the elite class that is the Hall of Fame. If Hall of Fame voters look at Clemens’ career numbers, they’ll find it hard to not see him as having one of the best starting pitching careers we’ve ever seen. Clemens is currently pitching with the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters after five years away from the game. It’s been only one game so far, with more possibly to come. Let’s look at Clemens, his first start, and how he stacks up against some of his teammates.
Roger Clemens ranks eighth all-time among major leaguers in WAR, and second among starting pitchers (145.5). His upper 90’s fastball, nasty splitter, and above-average changeup led him to over 300 wins and a twenty-four year career in the majors. His last season, in 2007 with the New York Yankees, Clemens still managed to pitch at a fairly high level, posting a 4.14 FIP in seventeen starts. His average fastball velocity was just over 90 MPH for the 2007 season.
After Clemens figured out a bunch of legal things, he “tried out” for the Sugar Land Skeeters, who play in the independent Atlantic League, and made the team. In his first start on Saturday, August 25th, Clemens lasted 3 1/3 innings, allowing only one hit, not walking a batter, and striking out two. Facing a Bridgeport team that features former major leaguers Joey Gathright and Shea Hillebrand, Clemens topped out at 88 MPH and got a few outs via his splitter. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday August 28th, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: Josh Beckett, or more formerly known as the most hated man in Boston, won’t nearly have as much pressure on him with the Dodgers. That will be a vastly different change for him considering the hefty amount of heat he took in Boston. Granted, the criticism was for the most part deserved, but the Dodgers and their fans don’t view Beckett as the main piece in a deal that also landed them Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto, and Carl Crawford. They view him as a bonus piece. If he rejuvenates himself in Los Angeles, great. If he doesn’t, the pressure from the organization won’t be as substantial. On the other side of the coin, it won’t go unnoticed, nor will his large contract.
However, it’s assuming too much to say that he’s going to struggle with his new team. Sure, his 5.21 ERA isn’t great, but he’s moving to one of the most pitcher’s friendly ballparks in Dodger Stadium. To be specific, it’s the eighth best pitcher’s park in the majors per ESPN Park Factors. What should be noted is the fact that Chris Capuano and Clayton Kershaw both boast elite home ERAs. While the success isn’t entirely due to the fact that Dodger stadium is spacious, it’s a piece of the pie. In comparison, Fenway Park is the third best hitters park in baseball. So the difference is substantial. In spite of the difference, his first start in a Dodgers uniform came in the worst pitcher’s ballpark in the majors, Coors Field. He wasn’t great, but he wasn’t terrible, surrendering three runs over 5 2/3 innings.
Dodger Stadium alone isn’t going to transform Beckett into an ace, though. It’s not that pitcher friendly. Beckett will have to make some tweaks to get back to “ace” form. Read the rest of this entry
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024 It is Adrian Beltre Awareness Week! What is that exactly? I have adopted an idea to carry out on twitter-in order to provide the unheralded players of the MLB, their just credit. So far there has been Juan Pierre, Mike Morse , Jose Altuve Awareness Weeks and now it is Adrian Beltre’s turn. I decided on the Rangers 3rd base slugger because I believe that he is on a path for Cooperstown. Rather than bore you with details I have already written about before on the Reports, you can click here for my previous article on Beltre hitting himself into Hall Of Fame Consideration: click here.
Okay back to the point. It was right after Adrian Beltre’s 3 HR game that I started sending out my link on the article and hailing Beltre as a man worthy for Cooperstown if he keeps it up. I had many of my followers indicate they had never thought about him like that. In bullet point style here. Right after that he had a 3 hit game, in which he was a Triple short of the cycle. The next day he hit for his second career cycle. It made me feel really good about my stance on the guy. 5 HRs, 2 Doubles, a Triple and 2 singles is a month for some guys and Beltre accomplished this feat in 14 AB over 3 games. That is 29 total bases folks, a slugging percentage of over 2 and a .714 Average. The Rangers offense has several players that seem to blow up like this. Nelson Cruz had 8 RBI not so long ago. Beltre had that 3 homer game in the ALCS last year. Then there was Josh Hamilton and his 4 HR game. Hamilton has also had 3 games this year where he had collected 5 RBI or more.
The Rangers are a power house offense. They have guys like Mitch Moreland and Mike Napoli hitting 8th routinely. They are going to win the AL West for a 3rd Straight year. With all of this said, something doesn’t resonate with me in them making their 3rd straight World Series this year. That feat has not been accomplished since the Yankees made 4 fall classics in a row from 1998-2001. The Rangers are vulnerable and have weaknesses in their pitching. They don’t have C.J Wilson this year and Rookie Yu Darvish is slowing down after a great first half. I think with Darvish, it is the innings that are catching up to him. In Japan, they usually have 6 man rotations. This is new territory for the talented chucker.
Adrian Beltre Highlights!
Monday August 27th, 2012
Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst): Follow @PeterWStein
The blockbuster trade between the Red Sox and Dodgers certainly shifted the balance of power in the NL West and marked the end of a tumultuous season in Boston. With such an unprecedented type of deal, fantasy owners, in late August nonetheless, were greatly impacted by this waiver wire trade. I, for one, lost Carl Crawford, Jose Bautista, and Adrian Gonzalez in my AL only league in the matter of a week. My first place lead will soon slip from my grasp, as I am left without any opportunity or options to improve my team this late in the game.
With the waiver wire deals we have seen over the last few years, it no longer makes sense to lineup a fantasy trade deadline with the non-waiver deadline of July 31. In reality this blockbuster only truly impacts AL and NL only leagues, but each of the players traded to the Dodgers should have a boost in value down the stretch when owners most need it.
Needless to say, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett finally have something to play for and have the benefit of a fresh start. Crawford, not knowing he would soon be traded to a contender, may have thought twice about electing for season ending surgery had he been able to predict the future. Still, despite his productive play while injured, the surgery was necessary and it sets him up for a more successful 2013 campaign.
Let’s take a look at each of these players’ values- not only for this season, but moving forward as well: Read the rest of this entry
Monday August 27th, 2012
Robert Whitmer: $250,000,000 is a lot of money. I know for a fact that it is more than I will ever see in my life from all my years of working combined. It is more than 18 countries in the world have in annual gross national product. It is enough money to buy the most expensive house in the world except 2 and still be able to afford the most expensive car in the world. Before we explore what the significance of that $250,000,000, let’s back up to how we came about this situation to even be discussing this obscene amount of money. There was this time in 2004 when something happened that hadn’t happened in 86 years, but three years later in 2007 it happened again. After 2007 and having an even happen twice in three years without it happening in the previous 86, the powers that be wanted to insure that it would continue to happen. To ensure this, the Boston Red Sox decided that they would attempt to buy their way to a championship like the division rival Yankees have done in the past. So the spending spree began, and if there is one thing in the world that is universal and never lies it is numbers. Let’s cover them.
2008 started the decline of the Red Sox team. They made the playoffs in 2008 but lost to the Rays in the ALCS. In 2009 they lost in the first round to the Angels. Here is how I can imagine the conversation going between Theo Epstein the GM and John Henry the Owner of the Sox.
John: So uh, Theo, what happened out there this year?
Theo: I don’t know… we had a good team, I think the injuries got us.
John: Well why don’t we spend money like the Yankees. It seems to be working for them since they just won the World Series. Read the rest of this entry
Monday August 27th, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: The Chicago White Sox weren’t expected to be in the race this late in the season, but hey, here they are, 2.5 games ahead of the favorite Tigers in the American League east division. A big piece to their success has been Kevin Youkilis, who came over from Boston during the final week of June. Red Sox fans refer to him to leaving as a curse, while White Sox fans refer to him as a spark. Sure, his overall numbers aren’t anything to write home about (.254/.380/.469), but third baseman are hard to come by these days, especially experienced ones. And Youk is as steady as they come, health permitting. Youkilis, who has a $13 million option that comes into play once the season concludes, will likely gain a fair amount of interest should Chicago let him test open waters. However, Chicago shouldn’t give him the opportunity to test the market.
OK, so he might not be worth $13 million. But who will skipper Robin Ventura pencil in at third base of Youkilis leaves the windy city? They might as well forget about finding someone in free agency as the pickings are slim. David Wright could headline the group. Unless the Mets pick up his option (which they will), in which case he will only come through trade or in free agency in another year. Also, GM Kenny Williams would have to enter a bidding war with the Mets and several other clubs who have a hole at the hot corner to obtain Wright. Then, the rest of the crop boils down the likes of Placido Polanco, Mark Reynolds, and Brandon Inge. Any intriguing options in that group? I don’t think so. Read the rest of this entry
ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: WBC Qualifiers, Suspending Aceves, Blowing Up the Red Sox and More
Sunday August 26th, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to email@example.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!
It’s 4:00a.m. on Saturday night/Sunday morning. While most of the baseball world sleeps- the Reports doesn’t sleep. Or at least this particular insomniac. Maybe it’s the excitement over the qualifiers of the 2013 World Baseball Classic coming in 24 days. Perhaps I can’t stop thinking about the Dodgers/Red Sox swap and analyzing in my mind who won/lost that trade. Whatever be the case, I’m about to jump into your weekly baseball questions. Some really good ones folks. Keep them coming every week! Tweet, e-mail, post on Facebook or comment on our site. Whatever you have to do, get your baseball voice heard on MLB reports
For the Batting Stance Guy video of the week, we present “Batting Stance Guy Impresses Manny Ramirez“. With all the insanity around Boston this season coming full steam ahead to this weekend’s monster trade, we thought it would be fun to go back in time and remember a kinder and gentler Manny Ramirez. Enjoy!
Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry
Sunday August 26th, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: If there’s one compelling story that will represent the 2012 MLB season, it’s R.A Dickey’s story. At first, he was your normal fastball based type pitcher, but after finding minimal success with the normal approach, he switched gears and became one of the few knuckleballers in baseball. And the approach has worked. Now, the question that the Mets are facing is whether or not they extend him seeing that he can test open waters once the season concludes. Although, Dickey peaked at a much older age than most pitchers, as he’s currently 37 years-old.
What is he worth?
Dickey isn’t going to receive a massive contract considering his age and the knuckleball approach. Although, an annual salary of $8-10 million isn’t out of the question. Perhaps he signs a deal worth even more. However, the length of the contract isn’t going to push more than four years. Even a four-year extension could be too long for Dickey who will be 40 in nearly three years. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday August 26th, 2012
Sam Evans: When Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos traded away both Travis Snider and Eric Thames at the trade deadline, it created an opportunity for unheralded twenty-three year old outfielder Moises Sierra. Sierra has a chance to show Toronto that he should be part of their future in these final couple months of the season. With his 70-grade arm and his ability to produce runs at a solid pace, Sierra could have a job in the majors for years to come. However, Sierra has a lot of work to do to become a candidate for playing time at Rogers Centre in 2013.
Moises Sierra was signed by the Blue Jays out of the Dominican Republic back in 2005. This was before the Blue Jays dominated the scouting world, so Sierra has never been an “Anthopoulos guy”. From 2006 to 2008, Sierra had some rough numbers for different teams, but he showed enough to be promoted from the DSL, in 2006, to earning a starting job in High-A for the 2009 season. Sierra had a 122 wRC+ at High-A in 2009, but he missed most of the 2010 season due to a stress fracture in his leg and a couple of other minor injuries. Read the rest of this entry
Saturday August 25th, 2012
John Burns: On August 13th the New York Yankees made a move that went well under the radar. New York signed veteran pitcher Derek Lowe to a contract. The signing is looking like a very nice pick up for the Yankees as of right now. Lowe has 2.45 ERA in only 7.1 innings out of the bullpen. With all the injuries the Yankees have suffered through this season, the signing becomes a great insurance policy for New York. The sinker ball pitcher is a proven big time performer when it comes to October. The 39-year-old pitcher was dominant in the 2004 fall classic with Boston. Lowe posted 1.86 ERA and was 3-0 during that playoff run and was key part of the Red Sox winning the World Series. Read the rest of this entry
Saturday August 25th, 2012
Codey Harrison: (Lead MiLB Prospect Analyst) - Today represents the final installment of the three-part series featuring middle of the field positions. The most important outfield position usually is played by the team’s most athletic position player has seen some big stars come into the big leagues in recent years. With the likes of Matt Kemp, Andrew McCutchen, Mike Trout, Adam Jones, and Austin Jackson the center field position has grown from a defensive minded position, into one that includes some of the games biggest superstars. The current minor league crop of center fielder’s is a very solid group which is led by 2011 first round pick Bubba Starling of the Kansas City Royals organization.
1.) Bubba Starling (Kansas City Royals Rookie Lg) - The 6’4″ 180 pound former University of Nebraska quarterback commitment has it all in terms of abilities on a baseball field. The fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft out of Gardner Kansas has drawn comparisons to Cincinnati Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs, the only difference is that scouts see Starling as a much better pure hitter than Stubbs. In his first pro season, it’s pretty evident that Starling is still very raw as a baseball prospect, as he began this season with Rookie League Burlington at 20 years of age. In his first 50 career games, Starling has shown off all of his tools as he is currently batting .282, with a .379 OBP, .505 SLG, with 10 home runs, and 10 stolen bases. The Royals are already loaded with young hitting studs like Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Billy Butler, Wil Myers. With Bubba Starling, the Royals should be one of the AL’s premier offenses within the next 3-4 years. Read the rest of this entry
Note from Chuck Booth: I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.) Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of my archived articles here.
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024-The Phillies have had an incredible run in the last decade of baseball. Most of that time has been spent at Citizens Bank Ball Park which is a very hitter-friendly park. The management was smart enough to draft a whole bunch of offensive talent like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, Scott Rolen, Jimmy Rollins and even J.D Drew(who never signed in 1997 with the Phillies and went back into the 1998 draft.) They also traded Scott Rolen for Placido Polanco. These guys have all taken advantage of the new baseball cathedral. Ryan Howard leads all active players in HRs per AB in the Major Leagues with hitting a HR per just a little over 13 AB. There is still a long way to go to chase down Michael Jack Schmidt. His 548 Career HRs and 1595 RBI lead the ALL-Time totals on the Phillies by quite a big margin.
Criteria for being put on this list was quite simple. You had to be a player of significance on the Franchise. Great watermarks are: 1000 hits, 100 HRs, 1000 games, if you led the league in any category for a few seasons or batted .285 or higher for the duration of your time. This is what I was looking for to include the players on the list. It has taken me a lengthy period of time to siphon through 130 years of baseball to bring you this list. From Ed Delahanty and Billy Hamilton, to Richie Ashburn and Dick Allen, to Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinki, to Von Hayes, to John Kruk and Lenny Dykstra, to Bobby Abreu and Scott Rolen-to finally get us to the gentlemen aforementioned in the first paragraph. I want this study to be as interactive as I can with the readers. If you feel that there is someone worthy of being included in the list for hitters, please feel free to comment or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be glad to edit this post and add to it. After all, if you are reading this, chances are you are a Phillies fan, I am just a baseball historian.
For Part 1 of The 4 Part Phillies Article Series: The Franchise- click here
For Part 3 of The 4 Part Phillies Article Series: The Pitchers- click here
For Part 4 of the Phillies Article Series: Team Payroll and Contractual Statuses click here
Ryan Howard Highlight reel
Friday August 24th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: In the present time, Josh Hamilton is the Texas Rangers’ best player. One of the best in baseball baseball in fact. Hamilton has enjoyed one of the finest seasons of his career thus far, hitting .285 with 34 homers and 102 RBIs. He had a hot stretch at one point that included four home runs in a single game. Players like Hamilton don’t come around often, so if the Rangers are smart, they will extend his contract ASAP.
With Hamilton in the lineup, the Rangers have played in two World Series. He won the 2010 MVP award when the Rangers lost to the Giants in the Fall Classic in five games. If the Rangers wait until Hamilton hits free agency this offseason, they will have to compete with other teams and likely pay more than they would if they offered Hamilton right now. They could also risk losing him to the division rival Angels (this is highly doubtful given the large contracts of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson and a future contract of Mike Trout). This would be the worst possible scenario with the Angels already looking like a World Series-caliber team.
Friday August 24th, 2012
Did you know Santo was elected on his 20th attempt via the Golden Era committee (Veterans) some 31 years after he first became eligible for the Hall of Fame?
Since 1936, only 207 former major league players have ever been elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame. That’s about 1.17 percent of more than 17,000 players who have worn a major league uniform.
Of the 207 players elected to date, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) has elected 112 candidates, or 54 percent. Conversely, 95 major leaguers, or 46 percent, have been elected through other means (in all of its forms) such as the Veterans Committee, Old-Timers Committee, Centennial Commission and other special election of committees, to name a few.
For those not familiar, qualified members of the BBWAA vote annually by submitting a maximum of 10 eligible pre-screened players whom they would consider worthy of induction. In order to be elected, a player must be named on 75 percent of the voters’ ballots. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday August 23rd, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: After the Red Sox cut ties with longtime manager Terry Francona, there were a few options for his replacement. Among those options were former pitching coach for the 2007 World Series Champion team John Farrell, and high-profile former-manager Bobby Valentine. Both seemed to be good options, and the Red Sox signed Valentine. Farrell won the managerial job with the Blue Jays after the retirement of Cito Gaston (Brian Butterfield, DeMarlo Hale, and Sandy Alomar, Jr. were also rumored to be vying for the position). Each team was poised to finish atop or close to the top of the AL East standings. This wasn’t the case for either team.
First I’ll cover the Red Sox. Their main problem was the lack of production. Adrian Gonzalez—who the Sox acquired to help carry the offense failed to produce at the beginning of the season. At the All Star Break, he had less than ten home runs. Jacoby Ellsbury was injured after only a few games, and the pitching was absolutely awful. Carl Crawford took a while to come back from his wrist and elbow injuries, and recently shut his season down to undergo Tommy John surgery. Jon Lester, the number one starter was up and down, and has had an off-year. Josh Beckett received boos after being accused of playing golf in between starts. There was obviously something wrong. The Red Sox fell out of contention fairly early—something that wasn’t expected. A lot of the criticism fell on the manager. Bobby Valentine was accused of demeaning the players, saying something along the lines of “nice inning, kid” to rookie Will Middlebrooks after he made an error. Another of Valentine’s slip-ups was calling into question Kevin Youkilis’ effort. This ultimately led to Youk being traded to the White Sox, ending his successful Red Sox career. Veterans such as Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez didn’t take kindly to this and sent a text to management, spurring a meeting between front office officials and players. The situation in Boston is not good; players are divided into players versus manager and players versus players that support the manager. A change in Boston seems necessary; the pitching coach has already been relieved, and it seems like Bobby Valentine may be next.
Thursday August 23rd, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: Before the trading deadline, it was thought that the Oakland A’s were going to make a move. With the extra wild card in play this year, the team seemed to be a contender. Their weakest position though was at shortstop. There were a few options out there, some reasonable and some not, among those were Hanley Ramirez and Stephen Drew. Ramirez was very unlikely to be acquired by the A’s due to the nature of his contract, but he would’ve provided the most boost for the team. The story goes that the A’s almost had Ramirez all but acquired, with the Dodgers eating at least of his contract. But the A’s hesitated, and the Dodgers swooped in and agreed to take on all of the remaining dollars on his deal. With Ramirez ending up on the Dodgers, Stephen Drew seemed to be the most viable option left. Drew missed a large portion of the 2011 season with a broken ankle sustained on a slide into home, and made his 2012 debut around the time of the All-Star Break. In his short time with the Diamondbacks this season, Drew hit just .193 and was pretty disappointing. With the teams hierarchy going public with their displeasure, the writing was on the wall for Drew. It looked like Arizona would be able to get at least the same amount of production from a replacement, so a trade seemed imminent. For some reason the trade never got done, but the A’s kept at it.
Oakland was the perfect candidate to acquire Stephen Drew. So it was no surprise that Billy Beane finally got his man this week. Without a producing shortstop, the A’s had a very little chance at the playoffs. Sure, Drew only hit .193 this year, but he carries a career .266 average over his seven-year career. Plus he walks a ton. A stereotypical A’s hitter characteristic. In 2008, Drew hit .291 with 21 homers and 67 RBIs. If the A’s could get anything close to this production, they would be in very good shape. Drew will most likely keep hitting in the two-hole of the lineup, behind Coco Crisp. Once Drew gets settled and regains form, the A’s should get some good production from the top of their lineup, setting the table for the monster bats of Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes, and Chris Carter. Even if Drew were to continue hitting .193, he would still be an improvement from the overall batting average of A’s shortstops at .190. As long as he can walk and hit with some power. Drew will most likely be taking time away from Cliff Pennington and Adam Rosales. Given their combined numbers, that is a very good thing. The A’s also just sent the struggling Jemile Weeks down to Triple-A Sacramento to make room for Drew.
Wedesday August 22, 2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer) Follow @chuckbooth3024 Pitching is the most unnatural motion I can think of. The human arm is not meant to throw 90-100 MPH repeatedly over and over. It is for this reason why I am never surprised when Pitchers go out for any injury. When I was 15, I was the catcher for former Major League Pitcher Chris Reitsma on our ALL-Star Team. I witnessed this kid throwing 90 MPH as a teenager. Honestly, no one could hit the guy. As a catcher for 10 years and having a a decent baseball IQ, I was mad that the coach never let me call his pitches for him. Why he would even throw sliders, curves and breaking balls is beyond me and it cost us some games versus some California and Arizona teams. There was no denying that he was a mega talented pitcher. He did go onto a decent MLB career, even appeared in 84 games for the Atlanta Braves in 2004. Yet he finished pitching by the age of 29 because he threw junk. Now I will move on here, I am just pointing out that kids should not be throwing junk until they are finished high school. There will be time in future articles to talk about pitching discipline and attitude.
Just like the hitters that I featured last week, the pitchers I am featuring here took the MLB by storm for a while. The fan bases were certain that these players would have great careers, only to see them fade quickly. If you ask me which position is tougher to stay up on top of, I would definitely say pitching! Remember that if you fail 70% of the time as a hitter, you are still labeled a great hitter. Pitchers have to have a success rate of 75% to be elite. Plus when they are out there, it is a continual one after another moment, whereas a hitter has a chance to regroup after an AT BAT.
This set of 5 pitchers (Mark Fidrych, Mark Prior, Jeff Zimmerman, Tommy Greene and Derrick Turnbow) in this list are all pretty much of recent vintage. I saw 4 of them play as I only started watching baseball in 1980 and Mark Fidrych was already done by that time. This doesn’t mean that I have not seen countless highlights from the man in the last 30 years. Here are a couple for your enjoyment before we start.