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Wednesday January 23rd, 2013
By Jordan Gluck (Prospects/Baseball Operations Correspondent) Follow @JGluck777
The offseason is winding down right with the availability of Free Agents and the budgets of many MLB teams. The talent on the open market is not what it was a few months ago but there is still some risk/reward players in the pool along with Bourn, Lohse, and Marcum. There are certain clubs with some dollars to spend but most are to their cap or don’t see the value. Here I present to you my top 10 Free Agents who can help propel a team to more wins or be used by subpar clubs as viable trade chips as Trade Deadline Deals.
1. Michael Bourn (30) (Braves) – the clear-cut best player left on the market but with budgets near filled up it will be interesting to see how Scott Boras works his magic. There is no doubt the tender is hurting him as it hurt Soriano and Laroche. He can play CF and has blazing speed. (Texas)
Michael Bourn Highlight Reel in 2012 – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised
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Friday, January.04, 2013
Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Trade Correspondent): Follow @NRoss56
It is rare in baseball that division rivals complete trades. Most of the time when it does happen, it is a lower end deal involving pieces that neither team is particularly worried will come back to haunt them. This is what makes the Jason Vargas for Kendrys Morales trade so interesting. It is a trade that makes incredible sense for all parties involved, but there is at least some likelihood that either or both players could make their former club regret the move in the short term. Let’s take a closer look at the players involved in the deal and why each club wanted to make this move.
On the Angels side, the team was in dire need of innings they could count on. After acquiring Tommy Hanson and his questionable shoulder as well as losing Zack Greinke to their cross-town rivals, the Dodgers, the Angels needed to find a starter who could give them guaranteed innings. Enter Jason Vargas. Vargas has been good for 190 plus innings over the last three season including over 200 Innings Pitched in 2011 and 2012. Vargas is a back-end of the rotation starter who has one terrific pitch in his arsenal, which is his change-up. Vargas’ change-up is an elite pitch. To help characterize how elite a pitch it can be, we can look to some statistical measures. Per 100 pitches, Vargas saved 2.25 runs over the course of 2012 with his change-up. To understand in comparison, Justin Verlander‘s curveball, what many would consider his “put-away” pitch saved 2.04 runs per 100 pitches in 2012. Now clearly, no one in their right mind is going to positively compare Vargas to Verlander, but in terms of Vargas’ change-up, I think it is important for everyone to understand that he does do something as well if not better than any other pitcher in the Major Leagues.
The Brutal Kendrys Morales injury after a Grand Slam Walk-Off HR:
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Tuesday December 18, 2012
Kyle Holland (MLB Reports Intern): Follow @TheKHolland13.
2012 was a year to remember for Los Angeles fans. Even though neither team made a playoff appearance, both showed they will be a contender in years to come. The Angels signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson before the season started. The club possibly had the best player in the league with Mike Trout. The Dodgers already had Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and 2011 Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. In late August ,the Dodgers traded for slugger Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett.
The 2012-13 offseason has been in no way different for Los Angeles. The Angels and Dodgers have clearly made the most impact so far heading into the 2013 campaign.
First let’s look at the Dodgers. They started their spending spree with a bang when they signed Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers won the right to sign him from his Korean League team (Hanwha Eagles), initially on November 9 for a $25,737,737.33 bid. He ended up signing for 6 Years/$36 Million on December 9. He has been reported to have a 90 MPH fastball that can top out at 95. He has a very impressive changeup-that has been said to be a very effective putout pitch. He also has a slider and a decent curveball. He pitched in the 2009 World Baseball Classic but has yet to announce if he’s pitching in the 2013 WBC. This is doubtful due to the fact the Dodgers probably want to preserve his arm during Spring Training and save the innings for the regular season.
The Dodgers have also made another huge acquisition in ace Zack Greinke. The guy started last year in Milwaukee as a member of the Brewers, before being traded halfway through the year to the Angels. He finished 2012 with a 15-5 Record, and a 3.48 ERA in 121.1 Innings Pitched. Greinke decided to sign with the cross town rivals for 6 years/$147 Million, the largest contract ever for a Right-handed pitcher. With Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu, the Dodgers may arguably have the best starting rotation in the National League.
Now that we know what the Dodgers have to offer in 2013, a plus lineup and a stellar pitching rotation. Across the city, the Angels have a situation that is not much different.
2012 was one of their best years in recent memory whether they made the postseason or not. The way they see it is the Billy Beane way: No one cares if you don’t win the last game of the season. So what do they do? They sign more absurd people so they can get the job done. The club went 81-57 with Trout in the lineup and only what could of have been if Pujols hadn’t started out so slow.
After signing the top Free Agent last year in Albert Pujols, they took the same approach again signing Josh Hamilton. It was almost identical in the events leading up to both signings. They didn’t even seem to be a contender in the Hamilton sweepstakes and yet they ended up landing the slugger. The contract awaiting the Outfielder in LA, is for 5 years/$125 Million. This is also key because they were able to weaken the Rangers. LA is basically the one team Texas did not want Hamilton to sign with and he did. Talk about frustration in the Rangers organization from pillar to post.
This Hamilton signing gives the Angels probably the best outfield in all of baseball. Mike Trout in Center just makes it fantastic alone. He probably should have won a Gold Glove and probably would have sewn up the MVP had he played in the 1st month. Hamilton will be in left and he has range and a cannon for an arm . Trumbo will round off the outfield in right. These are all fantastic outfielders, with the ability to make solid contact with the ball and hit it over the fence on a regular basis.
So exactly who wins the battle of LA right now? Judging by player ability and experience combined, I’d say the Dodgers. The better overall team? Probably the Angels. The Dodgers hitting will win them games, but defense wins championships. The Angels have power, defense, and pitching in C.J.Wilson, Jared Weaver, and Jerome Williams. The Dodgers have a stellar lineup and an absurd rotation, but the defense behind the staff lacks compared to the Angels.
Only time will be able to tell between these two teams. Games between them will certainly be highly awaited by every baseball fan in LA. You better be ready to dish out large amounts of cash if you’re looking attend any of these games between the two clubs for the foreseeable future… Or at least cue up the CD of Rage Against the Machine’s: “Battle of Los Angeles.”
(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)
Welcome to our newest Baseball Intern: Kyle Holland:
Kyle is a life long baseball fan outside of Boston. He is a sophomore in high school has played baseball since he was 5. Although growing up in one of the best baseball towns in the major leagues, he has been a Giants fan since 2009. He credits his aunt with the Giants being his favorite team as she lives in San Francisco. Some of his favorite players include Buster Posey, Stephen Drew, Trevor Bauer, Stephen Strasburg, and minor leaguer Danny Hultzen. You can find Kyle on Twitter Follow @TheKHolland13.
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Thursday December 6th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):
Russell Martin recently signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates for a two-year deal worth $17 million—a bit much for a just-above-decent aging catcher. Unfortunately for the Pirates, if they want to sign a free agent, they will most likely have to overpay. This was not the worst deal in the world, for Martin is better than any catcher the Pirates have had in the last few years, but is he really worth an average of $8.5 million a year? I don’t think so. The Pirates have been in contention up until the Trading Deadline the last two years, so maybe they think Martin will make the difference.
Martin, over his seven year career, is a .260 hitter. Just about the major league average. For a catcher, .260 is not terrible. .260 could be just what the Pirates need in their lineup. From 2008-2011, Ryan Doumit was the Pirates’ primary catcher. He was on and off, hitting .318 in 2008 and .303 in 2011, but also hitting .250 and .251 in 2009 and 2010. Last year’s catcher Rod Barajas did not exactly cut it. He hit .206 with only 11 home runs and 31 RBI. Last year, Pirates catchers spent most of their time in the 6-7 hole of the lineup. Martin will fit nicely here and will have occasional opportunities to drive in Andrew McCutchen. Martin’s primary job will to drive in the leftovers from the top/middle of the lineup and to get in scoring position for the bottom of the lineup. I can’t see Martin as a 4-5 hitter due to his relatively low career average (the Pirates will not be able to trust him with driving in McCutchen). Read the rest of this entry