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Aramis Ramirez is Criminally Underrated

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

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Sam Evans (Baseball Writer):

Aramis Ramirez just had one of the best seasons for a thirty-four year old third baseman in the history of Major League Baseball. However, it seemingly went unnoticed. Playing with Milwaukee after nine seasons with the Chicago Cubs, Ramirez had one of the finest seasons of his career. Throughout his fifteen years in the majors, Ramirez has never been the most consistent player. However, what gets overlooked very often is the fact that Ramirez has been one of the ten most productive third basemen since 2000. For one reason or another, Aramis Ramirez is criminally underrated.

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Miami Marlins: Defending Jeffrey Loria

Thursday November 22nd, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  What the Marlins had to do this offseason is horrible. Last year, the Marlins raised the hopes of the fans with a rejuvenated logo and uniforms, a new stadium, and most of all a new-look team. Last winter, Marlins management made a commitment to the fans to provide a contending team for the years to come. They went out and signed Jose Reyes for seven years. He and Hanley Ramirez were supposed to serve alongside Giancarlo Stanton as the core of the team for almost the next decade. To build on the Reyes signing, the Marlins also inked pitchers Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell. Ozzie Guillen also jumped aboard and was set up to be a lovable manager. With this spending spree, the Marlins brought a lot of excitement to South Florida and were supposed to be a major contender in the NL East.

Unfortunately this was not the case. The Marlins quickly faltered and Ozzie Guillen was immediately under the spotlight for his comments about Fidel Castro. Fans were already calling for Guillen to be fired. The team’s performance was not helping. I personally attended the second home game at Marlins Park against the Astros. Although it was against the Astros, any team that spends as much money as the Marlins did in the offseason should have a packed house at their second game of the season (in their new stadium!). The stadium was full, but not sold out. I was hoping that this was not a sign of things to come, but it was. The Marlins continued their spiral downward and talks of trades began. Heath Bell was the opposite of what the Marlins signed him to be and lost his job as closer. Both Reyes and Ramirez slumped. The Marlins needed to make some moves.

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Ask the Reports: Saturday November 19th

Saturday November 19, 2011

Jonathan Hacohen:  Ask the Reports is back! After some thought and re-branding: we have decided to drop the E-mailbag moniker and to keep this section as “Ask the Reports”, which will appear every weekend.  E-mails is but one form you can reach MLB reports. You can follow us on Twitter  and tweet and direct message your questions and comments.  You can “Like” us on Facebook and write on our wall.  You can also leave all questions and comments at the end of each article and page on the website. With social media exploding as it has, we are truly connected in so many ways.  

So keep reading MLB reports. Everyday. Twice a day or more if your schedule allows it. Subscribe to the site to have all current articles sent to your e-mailbox. But most of all:  participate. Send tweets. Write on our Facebook wall. Comment on articles and leave feedback. MLB reports is for you: the readers. The love of baseball is best nurtured if enjoyed as a community. So don’t be shy. Get in touch with us as often as you can. Let your voice be heard on our Facebook wall. There is nothing better than an old-fashioned baseball debate.  We call it MLB4Life on Twitter because we all love baseball for life. Baseball is more than a passion.  It is a lifestyle. Thank you for enjoying MLB reports and we look forward to hearing from you.  Plus you never know when your questions will be answered in “Ask the Reports”: so keep checking and asking your questions every week!

Let’s get to your questions:

Q:  If a modern-day MLB pitcher won 20 games for 20 seasons, he would still be 111 wins short of Cy Young’s win record..  From Eric, LA
 
A:  Great comment.  A true reflection on the evolution of the game.  Let’s start by taking a look at the career of Cy Young:
Denton True Young (aka Cy Young).  Born March 29, 1867 in Ohio.  Threw right-handed, stood 6’2″ and weighed 210 pounds.  He played for 22 seasons: 1890-1911.  He finished his career with a 511-316 lifetime record.  He actually had 5 seasons of 30+ wins.  36 in 1892 and 35 in 1895 being the career highs.  The man pitched in 906 games, starting 815 of them.  He threw 7356 career innings.  Ponder that one for a minute.  He had 5 seasons of 400 + innings and a dozen more seasons of 300-399 innings.  17 years of 300+ innings pitched.  If a modern-day pitcher were to pitch 200 innings per year for 20 years, he would reach 4000 innings.  About half of Cy Young.  That says a lot to me.  In the modern age, the only person that will come close to pitching those kind of innings was Nolan Ryan.  The Ryan Express pitched for 27 seasons.  807 games, 773 starts.  5386 innings pitched.  Career record:  324-292.  So to win as many games as Cy Young, you would need to win 25 games per year for 20 years.  An impossible feat in today’s modern game.  A pitcher would need to start 35-40 games and pitch 300-400 innings per year.  With closers, middle relievers and the stats of MLB bullpens, teams will not allow their starters to go deep into all those ballgames.  A “quality” start is 6 innings pitched.  At 30+ starts per year, most starters today are lucky to crack 200 innings.  Without the starts and innings, starting pitchers have less and less chances to stay deep in games to win.  Plus pitchers need offensive support and health to stay on the field and have a chance to gain wins.  Teams have 5-man rotations and also skip  or push back starts during the season.  We will never see another Cy Young.  Not the way baseball is played today.
 
 
Q:  What do you think Pat Burrell will do after he retires?  Fans of Pat Burrell
 
A:  I could see Burrell taking time off from the game.  Counting his dollars and maybe taking in a party or two (rumor has it that he is somewhat of a ladies’ man…).  But given his quality eye at the plate with pop, Burrell clearly knew a thing or two about hitting in his day.  Almost 300 home runs and 1000 walks do not happen by accident.  When Pat the Bat is ready to return to the game, he will join the Giants or Phillies likely as a minor league hitting instructor, or full-time hitting coach.  If he can show he can coach in the minors, you could see him as a hitting coach or 1st base coach one day in the major leagues.  Pat the Bat has a future in baseball- provided that he can teach and work well with the kids in helping them develop their abilities at the plate.
 
 
Q:  With 8 years and $160 Million, is Matt Kemp worth Manny Money or did L.A. pay a $30 Million premium to keep him off the open market next year?  Or both?  From Jason
 
A:  They did call Matt Kemp “Baby Manny” for a reason.  The Bison has always been highly touted coming up with the Dodgers.  For the last 2 seasons going into this year, some of that promise was starting to show.  Campaigns with 26 and 28 home runs respectively will catch people’s eyes.  Kemp looked like a .290 hitter with 20+ home run pop.   Pretty good- but not a superstar.  Then in 2011, Kemp simply exploded.  He led the league with 39 home runs and 126 RBIs, a difficult feat considering he had little support in the lineup and played his home games in a pitcher’s park.  With a .324 average, we nearly had a triple crown winner.  Kemp had a .399 OBP and .586 SLG.  Superstar numbers.  I am torn in analyzing him.  He was a year away from free agency.  Is he worth $20 Million per year for 8 years?  That is all relative.  Here is how I can best put it: what if Kemp would have hit .290, with 25 home runs with 90 runs and 90 RBIs in 2012 and hit free agency?  Would he have received the same deal?  Very likely.  At that point would the Yankees or Red Sox given him 7 years and $140 million to sign?  Carl Crawford got that same deal last year.  At 28 years of age, Kemp has shown good health and appears to be in great shape.  To say he is able to keep this pace until 35-years of age is not a stretch.  At worst, Kemp would have landed $15 million per season for 7 years, a total of $105 million.  So my thoughts are that the Dodgers would have needed to pay him $20 million for 2012 regardless.  By signing him early, they may have overpaid by $35 million over the life of the deal.  Or Kemp could have signed for $5 million per season on the open market (if no other alternatives) and cost an additional $35 million.  In a perfect world, it would have been nice to have seen more 2011-type seasons from Kemp before handing him this type of contract.  But given his fairly strong track record, health and young age, the Dodgers needed to lock him up now or risk very much losing him after 2012?  Did they overpay?  Not much by free agency standards.  Even if they overpaid by $30 million over the life of the contract, as long as Kemp continues to stay healthy and produce great to strong numbers, this was a deal that had to get done.  With the ownership turmoil and inability to attract and keep key players, this signing sends a message that the Dodgers are “back in business.”  Exactly what the fans want to hear.
 
 
Q:  Thoughts on Cespedes and Darvish? Any chance Blue Jays sign ‘em?  From Thomas
 
A:  There are approximately fans from 30 MLB teams that are hoping their teams will make a push for the 2 likely biggest international free agents.  Yu Darvish from Japan and Yoennis Cespedes from Cuba.  While Darvish will need to be posted and bid upon, Cespedes once declared would be free to sign with any team.  At 26-years of Cespedes is reported to be major league ready.  Viewers of his YouTube video are excited at his abilities at the plate.  He will reportedly cost in the $50 million range to sign.  Darvish, at 25-years of age, is one of the most highly touted pitchers ever to come from Japan.  If he is posted (which is still a big-if at this stage), Darvish is likely to cost north of $100 million (with the posting fee) to sign.  Will the Jays sign either or both?  My answer: no.  Not because the team is not competitive.  Far from it.  But because they will not throw a lot of money on risky propositions.  Neither player has played a single inning of Major League Ball.  No matter how each has fared competitively to-date, few could predict how their games will translate to the major leagues.  The Jays are already stacked in the oufield, with Bautista, Rasmus, Snider and Thames to choose from.  Edwin Encarnacion is even being tried out in the outfield in winterball.  Anthony Gose is also a young hot-shot prospect that will be landing in Toronto soon.  The Jays do not have a strong need for an outfielder and certainly will not want to devote a large portion of their budget to an unknown like Cespedes.  Especially given the mixed track record of Cuban hitters thus far in the majors.  The Jays’ budget would be better spent on pitching.  But to pay $50 million to win the Darvish posting and then sign him for another $50 million, that could translate to $20 million per season for 5 seasons.  That is insanity money.  At that point, I would rather sign C.J. Wilson for 5-years $100 million.  A far more certain return.  The Jays will pick up a strong DH bat this offseason, perhaps a new first baseman and 1-2 new starting pitchers.  They will be shopping.  But no mail-order-players are likely coming anytime soon to Toronto.
 
 
Final Q:  Psychology professor asked what our biggest stressors in life are. I said Brandon Inge still being a Tiger. Everyone looked at me weird.  From Ashley
 
A:  Time to change schools?  If any of your classmates are baseball fans, they must not watch the Tigers very often or simply fail to grasp the horrible play of Inge.  I rarely use the word “hate”. But as a Tigers follower (yes…they are my team), I do not have the time of day for Inge.  The team has him signed for 1 more season at $5.5 million and a team option for $6 million in 2013 or a $500K buyout.  Expect the buyout.  I get that he is a great team guy, and blah blah blah.  In 144 games in 2010, he hit .247 with 13 home runs.  Looking at his numbers, he had a great year in 2006 and 2009.  That is it.  But yet the Tigers have him signed through to 2012.  Last year, Inge hit .197 with 3 home runs and earned himself a trip back to the minors.  At 34-years of age.  He is done.  Done as dinner.  Stick the fork in him.  One of the most gifted defensive players that I have ever watched, he could do it all with the glove.  Perhaps he sticks around as a late-inning defensive replacement.  He is a good emergency catcher and strong third baseman.  But his career as a full-time player is over.  If the Tigers are prepared to leave him on the bench and mentor the young players, I am all for it.  But otherwise, they need to hang onto Ramon Santiago and simply let the Inge-era end.  Brandon Inge has cool tattoos and has provided some spark hits through his career.  Its time for the Tigers to thank him for his contributions and move on.   Thank you Ashley for understanding.  I feel your pain.
 
 

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


Jobless in 2012 – MLB Managers on the Hot Seat from 2011

Saturday September 10, 2011

Rob Bland (Baseball Writer – MLB reports): When a team has a disappointing season, the most likely candidate to lose his job is the manager.  So far in the 2011 season, there has already been three managers who have either resigned or been fired.  The Oakland Athletics fired Bob Geren on June 9th and replaced him with Bob Melvin.  A week and a half later, Edwin Rodriguez resigned from his post as manager of the Florida Marlins.  Jack McKeon became the oldest manager since Connie Mack at 80 years old.  Yet another week later on June 26th, Jim Riggleman of the Washington Nationals resigned and was replaced by Davey Johnson two days later.  With only a few weeks left in the regular season, who are the frontrunners to be replaced after the World Series?

With eight managers being new to their respective teams to start the 2011 season, one would think there can’t be too many jobs to lose.  The first criteria I look at in order to predict who will not be returning his club is if the team was expected to contend for the playoffs, and fell short.  Another thing I look at is the perception of the clubhouse, ie. if players get along, or if the manager is able to manage egos.  Of course, the manager’s ability to create a lineup and manage a bullpen is taken into consideration.  Other factors such as injuries and expectations of players are measured as well.  The list that follows are my top 3 managers who could be canned after this season.

Mike Quade, Chicago Cubs

It is not often that I would think a first year manager would be fired like this, but there are so many circumstances that make me believe he will be gone.  First, there has been grumbling since day one in Chicago that Quade was hired over franchise icon Ryne Sandberg.  The Cubs have been packed with talented players such as Carlos Zambrano, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Marmol.  Add in Matt Garza and Starlin Castro, and you would think they could at least come close in the terrible NL Central.  They are 22 games behind the streaking Milwaukee Brewers, and 21.5 behind Atlanta for the Wild Card.  Their record is 62-81 with a 35-40 record at Wrigley Field.

Bud Black, San Diego Padres

With 2011 being Black’s 5th season with the Padres, a 62-82 record and already 21 games behind Arizona for the NL West title, he could be on the way out.  The Padres have yet to reach the postseason under Black, however they were involved in a 1-game playoff with Colorado for the Wild Card title in 2007 that many of us will never forget as one of the most exciting games we have ever witnessed.  In 2010, the Padres held a 6.5 game lead over eventual World Series Champs San Francisco Giants on August 25th.  After a 10 game losing streak, the Padres were still in contention, and were not officially eliminated from the playoffs until the final day of the regular season with a 90-72 record.  Those were the only winnings seasons in Black’s tenure and his time in San Diego may be up.

Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins

Is it really fair to say Gardenhire’s job is in jeopardy?  Probably not, but it definitely is possible.  Over his 10 year career with the Twins, he has amassed an 861-740 record and they have been in the playoffs 6 times.  However, they have only won 6 games, 4 of which were in one series, in Gardenhire’s first season; 2002.  The Twins have not won a playoff game since 2004, being swept in 2006, 2009 and 2010 in the American League Division Series.  This year, Gardenhire has had to deal with crippling injuries of former AL MVP’s Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer.  Statistically, the best hitter has been Michael Cuddyer, hitting .282 with 18 home runs and 64 RBI.  The best pitcher has been Scott Baker who is 8-6 with a 3.21 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 131 2/3 innings.  Francisco Liriano has not been the same as he was before undergoing Tommy John surgery after the 2006 season, and aside from his no-hitter against the White Sox on May 3, he has been downright awful and is now on the 15-day disabled list.  When the best players don’t perform, or are hurt, the manager is forced to do the best he can with what he is given.  However a 59-84 record may just be the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back for Gardenhire.

This year, with 3 mid-season changes already, and eight new managers at the beginning of the season, shouldn’t see too much activity.  I do believe that with the Cubs’ search for a new general manager under way, Quade’s days are numbered in Chicago.  I also believe that Black’s inability to get the always promising Padres to the next level will leave him without a job by November.  Gardenhire has not proven to me that he can bring the Twins to the World Series, and that is what the job description entails.  Has it ever happened where both Managers of the Year from their respective leagues gets fired the following year? It could happen if Black and Gardenhire are let go.

 

 

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Rob Bland.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Rob on Twitter.***

 

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McKeon, Valentine and Guillen: The Loria Marlins Manager Roller Coaster

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

MLB reports:   In the world of Jeffrey Loria, nothing is ever boring.  Loria, who orchestrated an Expos to Marlins trade-in back in 2002, already owns two World Series rings.  The first championship ring was courtesy of manager Jack McKeon, who came on board to manage the Marlins in 2003 and won it all in his initial Florida campaign.  McKeon was successful in turning around a Marlins team that started off slowly and picked up steam after his selection.  The Marlins currently sit after today’s game with a 33-41 record.  They are in last place in the NL East, 12.5 games behind the division leading Philadelphia Phillies.  Losers of 11 out of their last 12 games, the Marlins have a 16-23 record at home and 17-18 record on the road.  Something had to give and manager Edwin Rodriguez resigned abruptly yesterday.  Indicating that change was in the best interest of the team, Rodriguez was out and the Marlins quickly replaced him with former manager Jack McKeon.  Out with the “old” and in with the “new”.

John Aloysius (Jack) McKeon will be 81 in November of this year.  A veteran manager for sixteen seasons, McKeon managed five teams in his manager league career.  His record in the dugout speaks for itself, as we take a look at the numbers:

Year

Tm

Lg

G

W

L

W-L%

1973 Kansas City Royals AL

162

88

74

.543

1974 Kansas City Royals AL

162

77

85

.475

1975 Kansas City Royals AL

96

50

46

.521

1977 Oakland Athletics AL

53

26

27

.491

1978 Oakland Athletics AL

123

45

78

.366

1988 San Diego Padres NL

115

67

48

.583

1989 San Diego Padres NL

162

89

73

.549

1990 San Diego Padres NL

80

37

43

.463

1997 Cincinnati Reds NL

63

33

30

.524

1998 Cincinnati Reds NL

162

77

85

.475

1999 Cincinnati Reds NL

163

96

67

.589

2000 Cincinnati Reds NL

163

85

77

.525

2003 Florida Marlins NL

124

75

49

.605

2004 Florida Marlins NL

162

83

79

.512

2005 Florida Marlins NL

162

83

79

.512

  Kansas City Royals  

420

215

205

.512

  Oakland Athletics  

176

71

105

.403

  San Diego Padres  

357

193

164

.541

  Cincinnati Reds  

551

291

259

.529

  Florida Marlins  

448

241

207

.538

     

1952

1011

940

.518

McKeon comes with some terrific credentials.  He is a two-time National League Manager of the Year, winning the award in 1999 originally with the Reds and again with the Marlins in his championship 2003 season.  McKeon has done it all and seen it all.  But the question on everyone’s mind is whether he will have a strong impact on the Marlins and turn around their season.  From there, the Marlins will need to choose their long-term manager for the 2012 season.  There is much discussion and debate surrounding the Marlins, as they complete the 2011 season and move next year to their new stadium and become the “Miami Marlins.”

As much as the Marlins seemed to take a step forward this season as an organization, they are apparently still stuck at square one in some ways.  Take their managerial candidates.  Back in their last offseason, the Marlins were looking at Bobby Valentine and Ozzie Guillen to become their next manager.  Valentine, an analyst with ESPN, could not come to terms with the team and as a result was not hired.  The team inquired as well on the availability of Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, a former coach with McKeon’s 2003 championship team.  When the White Sox required a return of either super prospects Logan Morrison or Mike Stanton, the Marlins said thanks, but no thanks.  Edwin Rodriguez ended up receiving the post and did not last even half a season in Florida.  With the team in disarray and a fresh voice needed, the Marlins turned to their past in naming Jack McKeon their interim manager for the remainder of the season.

The cigar chomping McKeon, one of the most old-school baseball men you will ever meet, is seen as having a no-nonsense type of approach to the game.  As his first move as manager, McKeon benched franchise superstar Hanley Ramirez yesterday.  Reports indicate that tardiness was the cause, while others have viewed the move as a wake-up call for the team.  Either way, McKeon has clearly shown that he is in charge and is not prepared to accept the Marlins losing ways.  Unfortunately, as the years have progressed, baseball has become more and more of a “young man’s game.”  Todays young players, part of the me-first generation, don’t often take kindly to veteran coaches that are seen as being out of touch with today’s times.  This was evident before in Florida, where McKeon originally lasted only three seasons.  McKeon was seen as a very stern and tough manager and had lost much of the attention of the clubhouse by the end of his tenure.  Now the Marlins have gone back to the barrel to see if McKeon has one more strong season of managing in him.

In accepting the Marlins’ position, McKeon has become the second oldest manager in baseball history, just behind Connie Mack.  While a great feat for McKeon, it will remain to be seen the impact that he will have on the Marlins 2011 fortunes.  My gut is that the Marlins will be lucky to get much more out of the team, even with McKeon in charge.  The team is dangerously close to knocking themselves out of contention by the All-Star break and anything short of a miracle at this point will change that.  With most MLB teams hiring young, dynamic managers to lead the way, its surprising in some ways that Loria has gone backwards in his approach.  But given Loria’s track record, he rarely does anything by the book.

After Jack McKeon completes his second tenure in Florida, the decision will still remain as to whether Bobby Valentine or Ozzie Guillen will be at the helm come 2012.  Both are still in contention for the job according to reports, but neither appears in my estimation to be a great fit.  Valentine and Guillen are both fiery individuals with strong wills and personalities.  After watching the Joe Girardi fiasco in his battles with owner Loria, many managerial candidates have since been scared off from taking the manager’s job with the Marlins.  Valentine and Guillen would both have difficult times being placed in a puppet type role as a manager and for that reason, I cannot see a either working out long-term in Florida.  Loria would be well served selecting a strong baseball man for the job, but one that has extreme patience and ability to take the directions that would come from the top of the pyramid.  Loria has shown in the past to be a man of little patience and self-control when it comes to the personnel of his ball club.  If Bobby V or Ozzie do eventually take the job, watch out for the fireworks that will likely come in Miami.  While Ozzie is signed for the 2012 season, insiders have indicated that the White Sox may grant permission for the Marlins to speak to him, if the ballclub does not return to contention by season’s end.  My bet is that Ozzie will be headed one day to Miami to rejoin the Marlins as their manager.  Until then, Jack McKeon will be captain of the Marlins ship.

I guess its true what they say.  Everything old really is new again.  The magic was there in 2003.  Let’s see if the Marlins and McKeon can rekindle some of their spark eight years later.

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E-MAILBAG: Ask the Reports, Wednesday May 11th

Thank you for reading the E-mailbag.  Please send all your questions to mlbreports@gmail.com and please include your first name and City/Country.

We will be compiling a list of your questions from our e-mailbag and posting the responses on Wednesdays.

 

Wednesday May 11, 2011

Q:   Where do you see the Boston Red Sox finishing this season in the standings? From Jake, Boston

MLB reports:  My crystal ball in March said that the Rays would win the AL East, with the Red Sox finishing second in the division and taking the AL Wild Card.  I have no reason to deviate from my prediction thus far.  Despite the strength of the Yankees, the Red Sox have so much talent that several hot streaks are in store.  When playoff tickets go on sale, go ahead and order for the opening round at least.

Q:  Fantasy question:  Should I dump Jorge Posada for Ryan Doumit, Chris Iannetta, Wilson Ramos, Ryan Hanigan, or Hank Conger?  I probably should have done something Monday, as Posada’s .151 AVG is killing my team.  From Bonzi, Parts Unknown

MLB reports: I take it that your league counts average, based on your e-mail.  Turning 40 this summer, Posada has definitely seen better days.  He does have 6 home runs and 14 RBIs, but his numbers overall are fantasy suicide.  I can’t believe Iannetta and Doumit are still available in your league.  If so, grab them in that order.  Iannetta is 28, plays in Colorado, has 5 home runs, 13 RBIs, .398 OBP, .494 SLG.  His .250 AVG is nothing to write home about, but as the #1 catcher for the Rockies, Iannetta has the biggest upside.  Doumit will be traded to a contender at some point likely but while he has shown a steady bat this season, he is always an injury risk.  If Iannetta is not available though, I like Doumit over Posada.  Ramos has been a nice player for the Nationals but is still young and likely won’t play at this level all season.  I would trust Posada over him.  Hanigan and Conger are nice replacement bats for injury but as part-time players offer little upside at this point.  If either was starting, they would still rank below Posada this season for me.

Q:Why do teams not pitch Jose Bautista away, away, away ALL the time? Why even try to challenge him inside?  From Garrett, Michigan

MLB reports: It is not that simple Garrett, as Bautista has become such a dangerous hitter that there are not many pitches that he does not get to.  Judging by his 100 walks last year, which will be higher this year, Bautista has a great eye at the plate.  Based on the damage that he can do, I frankly don’t understand why teams just don’t walk him 4-5 times every game.  Being the strongest offensive option currently in the Jays lineup by a country-mile, Bautista is a long-ball threat every at-bat and taking the bat out of his hands likely will be best at minimizing the damage.  With not many healthy hitters in the Jays lineup that are threats to drive him in, I agree that opposing pitchers should not give Bautista much to hit…and in my opinion, not even give him the option at all.

Q:   Fantasy Trade Evaluation: Aramis Ramirez & Alfonso Soriano for Jason Bay & Brandon McCarthy. Who’s winning?  Who’s losing? I have Ryan Zimmerman on DL.  I am giving up Bay and McCarthy. From Mike, Brooklyn

MLB reports: This one is a toughy.  I wanted to say Bay and McCarthy to keep, but I can’t do it.  My factors are as follows.  McCarthy is 27 and has great upside.  But he is injury prone and cannot be counted on to stay healthy.  He can literally drop at a moment’s notice.  Plus he is 1-3, despite a 3.26 ERA and 1.25 WHIP.  With little wins potential and health concerns, this trade really boils down to Bay for Ramirez and Soriano for me. 

Bay has been a disaster since coming to the Mets.  Poor production and concussions issues have done him in.  With 6 home runs last year and 1 home run this year with a .213 AVG, 7/19 BB/K ratio, Bay is regretting his decision to leave Boston for New York.  Bay is already 32 and his window of opportunity is closing.  Ramirez and Soriano are no spring chickens either.  Ramirez though has a .286 AVG with 14 RBIs, despite only 1 home run and .718 OPS.  Soriano has a league leading 11 home runs, 21 RBIs and 18 Runs, with a whopping .550 SLG despite an unsightly .242 AVG and .270 OBP.  If you can stomach some of the warts shown by the 35-year-old Soriano and 32-year-old Ramirez, they will still provide much of the stats and comfort that Bay and McCarthy won’t.  In some ways this is a headache for headache trade, but by making the deal, you are getting the likely higher returns.  Go for it.

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Manny Ramirez: The End of a Nightmare

MLB reports:  As a fan, analyst and writer of baseball, I rarely take pleasure in the misery of others.  Some of my readers would point to Vernon Wells and my “Vernon Watch” in what I commonly refer to as a showcase of blundery.  But Vernon is the exception to the rule.  For the most part, players are athletes that train hard, play with heart and hustle and give it their all on the playing field.  With the career of Manny Ramirez unceremoniously coming to a halt yesterday, there is an overwhelming sense of relief and enjoyment around baseball circles today.  For a man who could hit baseballs like flew other, one of the greatest hitters in MLB history will go down in the baseball archives as a laughingstock and side-show act.  A shame when one looks at the statistics and career of Manny Ramirez.  But for a man who got one too many chances, the punishment fits the crime.  Today we say goodbye to a distraction and one less black eye for the glorious game of baseball.

 

The first questions most MLB fans asked me yesterday was whether Manny deserves to go into the hall of fame?  My answer is simple.  In my opinion, if I had a vote, a definite yes.  Regardless of what Manny took or didn’t take, his statistics speak for themselves.  There have been many drug cheats and cheaters of all kind in baseball over the years.  The bottom line is that not many match to Manny’s outstanding numbers.  But alas I do not have a vote to-date and from what the baseball writers have shown in recent voting history with McGwire and Palmeiro, Ramirez won’t so much as get as much a sniff of the hall.  I can see the arguments for keeping Ramirez out of the hall.  Based on his second failed drug test and choice to retire and run over facing the music cements a legacy of being a quitter and a coward.  Manny gave up on the Red Sox and the Dodgers and got run out-of-town in each instance.  A first failed drug test blamed on some sort of hormone substances.  With a second failed test, Manny decided to take his glove and go home, rather than face the music.  I cannot see fans, let alone baseball writers forgiving him for this decision.  But again fitting for a man who has made a career of bad decisions and turning his back on the game one too many times.

 

Where does the future now lie for Manny Ramirez?  Many ex-players have the option of going into scouting, managing, broadcasting, writing….the field is wide open.  Mark McGwire, got a job as the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, but as part of the requirement McGwire had to go on national television and give his apology.  Sort of.  But McGwire always had the eye of the public for his strong image and was somewhat cut some slack by the public.  Manny, with his quirky and aloof personality has a better chance of becoming President of the United States than a baseball coach, manager or broadcaster.  Seen as a liability, Manny is now headed into a self-imposed baseball exile, joining the likes of Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Barry Bonds as the baseball steroids/ped’s outcasts.  I could envision a day where Manny will write a tell-all book, explaining his side of “the story” while outing ex-friends and teammates in the process.  Manny just seems to be one of those guys, concerned more about himself and the almighty dollar than anything else.

 

When we all think to Manny Ramirez in ten years time, we will think of an idiot.  That will be the image in our minds.  Not the young rookie sensation on the Indians, World Series champ for the Red Sox, dreadlocks #99 igniter on the Dodgers or a two-bit player on the White Sox and Rays.  The man who chose to instantly retire rather than face his due punishment.  When faced with his first suspension last year, Manny did not speak to the media the entire balance of the season.  He is that kind of guy.  I did not imagine for the life of me in the offseason that any team would take a chance on him.  In my estimation, Manny was best served going away gracefully at the end of 2010 rather than being one last thorn in the side of an undeserving team.  When the Rays signed Manny, I said publicly that this could only end bad and that he would not last the season.  Rather than being dumped in August, Manny barely survived a week into 2011.  A 1-17 start at the plate will be the final blemish on an otherwise exceptional statistical career.  But as hall of fame voters are now showing, votes go beyond the numbers.  Manny Ramirez in the twilight of his career has been essentially a nightmare for all those involved with him.  Staring today, the nightmare is over.  Baseball does not need or want the Manny Ramirez’s of this world and my hope is that after this latest horror show, baseball will not see another Manny for a long time.  Baseball is built on hustle, teamwork, determination and heart.  Four words that were not in Manny’s vocabulary and for that transgression, we finally say goodbye to Manny for the last time. 

 

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