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St.Louis Cardinals: The Middle Infield Could Bring A World of Problems in 2013

Wednesday December 12th, 2012

MLB: NLCS-St. Louis Cardinals at San Francisco Giants

Jake Dal Porto (Baseball Writer)  

The Cardinals boasted one of baseball’s most dynamic offenses in baseball this past season. They could hit the long ball, for an average, and for extra bases. That trend should continue in 2013, as the same core of players haven’t moved, but the middle infield positions will separate their offense from being dominant.  Here’s a breakdown of the main problems at second base and shortstop:

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2012 Offseason Giants Key Free Agents: To Sign Pagan and Scutaro?

Thursday November 29th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

It is not an outrageous thought that the San Francisco Giants, coming off their second World Series title in three years would not have a problem signing two key free agents. Angel Pagan was a fixture at the top of the lineup throughout the year and played a big part in helping the Giants reach the playoffs and World Series. Marco Scutaro, a trade deadline acquisition, provided the Giants with the boost they needed to leave the Dodgers in the dust in the NL West. Not to mention, Scutaro caught fire in the NLCS against the Cardinals and wound up NLCS MVP. Signing both of these guys would most likely make the Giants favorites for a Wild Card at the least. It could be hard to compete with the Dodgers for the West after the blockbuster trade that they made with the Red Sox, but Scutaro and Pagan could help. So, how likely is it that both free agents sign with the Giants and return for 2013? Also, why has this team been so quiet in pursuing other Free Agents so far?

Unfortunately for most Giants fans, not very likely. I see the Giants signing one or the other. Angel Pagan, coming off a great season, will undoubtedly ask for more than he’s worth. The Giants also have highly regarded prospect Gary Brown waiting in the wings. He is suited to man centerfield for years to come. Pagan is probably looking for at least four years, and Brown will most likely be ready by late 2013 or 2014. Pagan would probably demand somewhere around $10-12 million per year. He has been a great fit for the top of the Giants lineup, setting the table for Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey. He led the league in triples and scored 95 runs, partially due to his great second half. Pagan’s speed is especially valuable in the spacious outfield of AT&T Park. Gary Brown also has great speed, so there will not be too much of a discrepancy in the defensive abilities once Brown is a Giant. What comes to my mind when I think about rewarding Pagan with a large contract is Aaron Rowand. The Giants made a huge mistake by giving Rowand a large contract after just one good year. Pagan, like Rowand at the time, has not had a streak of consecutive great years, so signing him for more than a few years could be risky.

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Baseball’s Best Bullpen: Arizona Diamondbacks

Friday November 2nd, 2012

The Diamondbacks are looking at having an incredibly strong bullpen in 2013.

Alex Mednick (Baseball Writer and Analyst):

In 2011, the Arizona Diamondbacks made a really nice push in the AL West and finished with 94 wins, 8 games ahead of the second place San Francisco Giants.  They performed well above expectations, and they did so with a relatively unglamorous starting rotation, that consisted mainly of Ian Kennedy, Joe Saunders, Josh Collmenter, Daniel Hudson and a revolving 5th starter.  What really carried the team in 2011 and made the Arizona Diamondbacks a competitive in 2011, happened to be their weakest link in their miserable 2010 season: the bullpen.

The Diamondbacks won 29 more games in 2011 than they did in 2010.  The most drastic changes made by the organization were in the bullpen where the D-Back’s added closer J.J. Putz and setup man David Hernandez.  The 2011 bullpen allowed 100 fewer runs than their predecessors in 2010 and dropped their group ERA from 5.74 in 2010 to just 3.71 in 2011.  It goes without saying that their newly revamped bullpen allowed Arizona to stay close in a lot more games and gave them a better chance to be winners.

Following their great 2011 season, the D-Back’s found themselves reverting back to their former ways in 2012.  Finishing 13 games behind the first place Giants, and just barely hanging on to a .500 record, the Diamondback’s finished 81-81.  You want to know something interesting?  It was their bullpen, once again, that failed. Read the rest of this entry

Marco Scutaro: The Best 2012 Trade Deadline Deal And NLCS MVP

Wednesday, October.24/2012

The Post Season almost ended for Marco Scutaro in Game #2 in St. Louis as Matt Holliday slid late to break up a double play. Scutaro stayed in that game and collected a key hit before being pulled as a precautionary move. He would come back and play from games 3-7.  —Photo Courtesy of giants.com

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

am pleased to always write about a player that has appeared one of my #UnheraldedAwarenessWeeks on Twitter.  For those that don’t know what that is, every week I pick a retired player and a current player to talk about and share info, stats, stories and funny anecdotes about.  Marco Scutaro was one of those players in September.  My buddy Patrick (who hosts a PODCAST I do MLB Expert Interviews on called ‘The Big Ticket Show‘) was the first one to say this signing was good.  I did remember that Scutaro was able to plate a 100 runs for the Jays in 2009 despite only playing in 144 games and also provided solid offense out of the Shortstop Position.  He was hitting in low .300′s at the time of the trade on July.27 to the San Francisco Giants from the Rockies.  I wasn’t as sold on the guy heading to AT &T Park to play half of his games at home.  I quickly came on board when he started tearing it up in his 1st week as a Giant.  Boy did I ever turn out to be wrong with him batting in San Francisco too, where he hit .352 in 33 games at AT &T Park in 2012.  That is an incredible average for what is one of the toughest parks on player averages in the Major Leagues!

With his 3rd organization since Jan.21 of this year, Scutaro has provided the necessary spark to the Giants lineup that was voided with losing Melky Cabrera. At 37 years old, he should be able to garner one more multi-year contract

Scutaro ended up being the best trade deadline acquisition in the Major Leagues this year.  Not only did he hit .339 in the second half, he also hit .402 in the month of September and the last 3 games of the regular season in October.  After going 0-12 in the 1st 3 games against Cincinnati in the NLDS, Scutaro has put a 9 game hitting streak together-and he had 6 multi-hit games in the NLCS en-route to being named the NLCS MVP.  He has pivotal game changing hits in Game #2 (where he also got run into by a hard and controversial slide by Matt Holiday before leaving) and in Games 6 and 7.  Scutaro tied and LCS record by recording 14 hits in 28 AB for a .500 Average. while scoring 7 runs.  The man has also contributed solid defense at second base, a position the Giants have struggled to fill since Jeff Kent left almost a decade ago.  Read the rest of this entry

The Philadelphia Phillies Franchise Part 3 of 4: The Pitchers

Saturday September.01/2012

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):   This team has played for almost 130 years.  As such, they have a great deal of history, so there are going to be several more hitters than pitchers as is the case with most Franchises.  For the first seasons as the Quakers, they had some decent pitchers.  It wasn’t until Pete Grover Alexander joined the club, that Philadelphia Phillies fams got to see a Hall of Fame pitcher before their very eyes.  From Alexander, to Robin Roberts and Curt Simmons, to Jim Bunning, Rick Wise and Chris Short, to Steve Carlton, Tug McGraw and Jim Lonborg, to Curt Schilling and Mitch Williams, to Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, the Phillies Pitchers have been improving in each generation.

Last year when the club won a record 102 games for the Franchise, they had the best 4 starters they had ever assembled in Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Roy Oswalt to take the mound.  Having Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton as your 5th starter is an option most teams would love to have.  The Phillies have been one of the best teams in the National League since 1975.  They have appeared in 9 NLCS’s and 5 World Series while winning 2 of them.  That is an impressive 36 year run.  Going forward, the clubs pitchers still look solid.  Cole Hamels just signed a 6 year extension, Cliff Lee is around for 3 more years and Roy Halladay still has 2 more years left after this.  The club also signed Jonathan Papelbon up until the end of the 2015 season before 2012 began.  Papelbon may have a chance to make this list when someone else chronicles the best pitchers in Phillies history one day 25 years from now.

If you ask me to have a Mount Rushmore of Pitchers it would be: Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts, Grover Alexander and probably Cole Hamels because of his instrumental pitching since the 2007 season. 

For Part 1 of the Phillies Article Series: The Franchise click here:

For Part 2 of the Phillies Article Series: The Hitters click here:

For Part 4 of the Phillies Article Series:  Team Payroll and Contractual Statuses click here

For the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals Franchise 5 Part Series click here

Steve Carlton Highlight Reel:

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