AOL Sports Lists Cheapest Great Team

Monday, June 30, 2008

AOL Sports came up with a list of players, all making six-figure salaries that would rival any team at the moment. Imagine this line-up.

Phillies Pitcher Cole Hamels-$500,000- won 15 games and struck out 177 in 183 innings

Red Sox Reliever Jon Papelbon, relief pitcher- $775,000-72 career saves and 1.62 ERA.

Catcher Brian McCann-$800,000-hit .333 in '06 and has 47 career HRs. Only 24 years old

Brewers 1B Prince Fielder-$670,000-youngest player to ever hit 50 HRs

Angels 2B Howie Kendrick-$400,000- has hit .306 over parts of 2 ML seasons

Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman- $500,000-has driven in 200 runs over last two seasons

Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez-$439,000- fell one homer short of being third player in history to hit 30 HRs and stealing 50 bases

Astros RF Hunter Pence-$396,000-hit .322 with 17 HRs in 107 games

Diamondbacks CF Chris Young-$400,000-fell 3 stolen bases short of being first rookie to ever post a 30-30 season

Brewers LF Ryan Braun-$455,000-2007 Rookie of the Year hit 34 HRs and drove in 97 runs in 113 games

Can't help but make you scratch your head at some of the salaries for established players not playing at even close to the level of some of these young players. Let's see where these guys are after their next contract negotiation.


A's Nearing Signing of 16-year old Dominican Phenom

A's GM Billy Beane is expected to arrive in the Dominican Republic before Wednesday to oversee the signing of Michel Inoa, the 6'7" teenage pitcher, according to Baseball America. He is ineligible to sign until Wednesday so Beane will waste no time getting a deal done.


Yanks and Mets Interested in Freddy Garcia

A couple of East Coast newspapers are speculating on Mets and Yankee interest in Freddy Garcia, who is nearing the end of his recovery from shoulder surgery. Agent Adam Greenberg said Garcia should be ready to throw for scouts by the third week in July and Garcia is said to have fans within both those organizations.


White Sox Return the Favor

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The White Sox gave the Cubs a taste of their own medicine and pulled off an impressive 3 game sweep of their Chicago counterparts this weekend, complete with stellar starting pitching, power throughout the lineup, and a lights out bullpen. Like the Sox the previous weekend, the Cubs simply could not get anything going all weekend. It appears that injuries, as well as tougher competition courtesy of the American League, has driven the Cubs to their first mini-slump of the season entering a 4 game series in San Francisco. The only good news from this weekend may be the improving health of stars Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano. Soriano is apparently healing very well and may return sooner than expected. Zambrano completed a bullpen session this evening and is slated to start next friday versus division rival St. Louis. All in all, this weekend series between two first place teams supported the statistical evidence that showed that regardless of the personnel or the year, these teams will always be very evenly matched.


Heyman: 19 Players To Be Traded?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Jon Heyman of has 19 players that will likely be traded:

1. CC Sabathia, Indians

2. Rich Harden, Athletics

3. Erik Bedard, Mariners

4. A.J. Burnett, Blue Jays

5. Randy Wolf, Padres

6. Livan Hernandez, Twins

7. Greg Maddux, Padres

8. Kevin Millwood, Rangers

9. Joe Blanton, A's

10. Jarrod Washburn, Mariners

11. Bronson Arroyo, Reds

12. Huston Street, A's

13. Kevin Gregg, Marlins

14. George Sherill, Orioles

15. Damasco Marte, Pirates

16. Brian Fuentes, Rockies

17. Joe Borowski, Indians

18. Chad Bradford, Orioles

19. Jamie Walker, Orioles


Reds To Trade Bailey?

Once top prospect Homer Bailey is back in the minors after posting an 0-3 record for the Reds with an 8.76 ERA. His fastball is reportedly looking like a batting practice ball and his curveball is inconsistent. The Reds have built up their pitching where they do not need to experiment with Bailey anymore, but could wait till his trade value is high to trade him. Several teams with above average prospects could package a good deal for the Reds. Better yet, they could package Bailey with Adam Dunn and land a plethora of prospects and maybe one solid player at the MLB level. Bailey is getting older, so the time is now if they are going to trade him.


Should The Braves Sign Bonds?

According to, the Braves should sign outfielder Barry Bonds. Replacing Gregor Blanco or Brandon Jones with Bonds would make the outfield and lineup so much better. Yes the press is an issue, but several players have said that Bonds is a good guy in the clubhouse. The biggest problem of course is Hank Aaron and the homerun issue. Would the fans embrace Bonds as he helps the Braves move closer to the playoffs or will they push him away and turn against the team? Bonds will probably not get picked up this season. But if he were, the Mariners and Braves make the most sense.


Bedard to Giants?

Giants ace Barry Zito is turning into the worst signing in history, and the Giants are going to try and find a new ace. Erik Bedard is available and under contract so he would be a somewhat cheap upgrade for the Giants. Bedard is 4-4 this season with a 3.97 ERA in thirteen games, but would probably help the struggling Giants. The Giants are expected to make a big move at this trade deadline in hopes of building their team for the future. Adding someone like Bedard would help the Giants improve their young and unproven pitching staff.


Call it a Slow News Day

With the trade deadline a little over a month away, it's kind of like the quiet before the storm. The half-way mark in the season is this this week and everybody kind of knows where they stand. Either they're expecting to make a run for it based on a good first half, they stink and its a "rebuilding" year or they are around .500 and the season could go either way. GMs have a good idea what they need and the positioning and posturing is about to begin in earnest. Take, for example all this Sabathia talk. Do the Indians want to keep him for the compensation they will ultimately receive when he leaves or try to get something for him now? The list is long and growing longer by the day of teams said to be interested- Red Sox, Yanks, Cubs, Dodgers, Brewers, Giants. What about A's Rich Harden, who struck out 11 in 8 innings two nights ago? Can he stay healthy? That's a big question for any interested team. The point is, it's a long way to July 31st and there will be a lot of names and deals floated over the newswires between now and then. I'll try to stay on top of it and filter out the stuff that just seems like talk.


Will Teixeira Stay or Go?

Depending on how the next month goes for the Braves, Atlanta has some thinking to do about Mark Teixeira. If they can make a run for the playoffs, he will be needed and then they can go the arbitration route in the fall, but if they fade, then they might be able to deal him for something of value.


MLB Ump Suspended for One Game

Friday, June 27, 2008

MLB Umpire Brian Runge was suspended for one game after bumping Mets manager Jerry Manuel during a game last week. Carlos Beltran and Manuel were both fined for their involvement. While the umpire is supposed to be treated with respect and has the last word in any dispute, that doesn't entitle him to respond in a physical manner with anyone else on the field. Does anyone disagree out there?


Pinella to Replace Randolph at All-Star Game

Cubs manager Lou Pinella has been asked to replace Willie Randoph on the NL coaching staff at next month's All-Star game. When originally overlooked, he said he was fine with that because it meant he could go home to Florida for a few days for some relaxation but he said he is equally glad to be Randolph's replacement because it will be his last chance to go to Yankee Stadium.


Astros Put Chacon on Waivers

The Astros wasted no time dumping Shawn Chacon yesterday, one day after his altercation with GM Ed Wade. He has until Monday to be picked up by another team. If he is not, the Astros have said they will terminate his contract for cause, which will lead to a confrontation with the players' association over the $983,607 remainder of his contract.


Indians to Try One More Time to Sign Sabathia

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Several different news outlets are reporting that the Indians are going to try one last time to sign CC Sabathia. He has said that he won't talk about a contract during the season. Negotiations ended in February, Sabathia turned down a 4yr deal, somewhere in the high 60's, low 70's million dollar range. The Indians are not a team likely to cut loose with Johan Santana kind of coin so this may go nowhere unless they raise their offer considerably. There are a number of teams said to be interested in him, notably the Angels and the Cubs.


No Independent League for Bonds

I mentioned Barry Bonds the other day, in reference to his resistance to playing anywhere but the majors. His agent, Jeff Borris has gone on record as saying Bonds is not interested in the Independent League. He feels his '07 play justifies his desire to return to the majors. As of now, all 30 major league teams have taken a pass. Does anyone think that could change between now and when division races begin in earnest?


K-Rod Asking For Too Much?

With arguably the best closer in the game living up to his reputation, one would figure the Angels would already be working on a deal to lock up Francisco Rodriguez long term. Not so fast. There is talk to K-Rod could be asking for a four year deal upwards of 60 million. While it is not unusual for a top-flight starter to make 15 million dollars, paying that much for a closer is nearly unheard of. This begs the question, how much is too much for a reliever? Obviously having a great closer is important, but if your closer is taking up 1/8 or more of your teams' payroll, that money may be better spent somewhere else.


Quick Hits: Orioles, Chacon, Bonds, Mariners

Quick Hits:

  • The Orioles could become a playoff contender with the addition of Mark Teixeira. He would help lead the youth movement in Baltimore with a plethora of pitchers in Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman, along with promising young catcher Matt Wieters. It would be costly, but they have payroll room and could take the hit.
  • Shawn Chacon was suspended indefinitely for grabbing GM Ed Wade by the neck earlier this week. It is likely he will be released or trading in the next month. A team like the Rays should pounce on the opportunity to have a long relief pitcher who can make a start on their team.
  • Barry Bonds is not interested in playing anywhere but the major leagues. It is possible he will get a job next off season, but playing in the independent leagues gives him a chance to stay in playing shape.
  • The Mariners continue to shop their players and have called several teams about making a trade. Erik Bedard is the most talked about player, but don't be surprised to hear Raul Ibanez, Adrian Beltre, and Richie Sexson in trades coming up.


Chulk to Phillies?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Giants pitcher Vinny Chulk has ten days to be traded by the Giants and the Phillies have emerged as a possible taker. The bullpen has been taxed and a change of scenery might help the struggling pitcher. He is 0-3 so far this season, but has not been pitching that bad. Chulk had nothing bad to say about the Giants but welcomes a trade anywhere. He would make for a solid, low-risk pick up.

**2,000th Post**


Three Peas in a Pod

The end of this season could mean the end for two potential Hall of Fame pitchers and a third, who has enjoyed a long career. Curt Schilling, John Smoltz and John Lieber are all publicly contemplating the inevitable in the last few days. Time marches on for us all but there must be a special melancholy reserved for professional athletes. They have all been playing their sports for as long as they can remember. As children, they must have been stars from an early age and now, at 40+ years of age, they must think about life after baseball.


Brewers Sheets Headed for Free Agency

After GM Doug Melvin took a pass on trying to sign Ben Sheets to an extension in the off-season, he will now find himself in a potential bidding war if he wants to keep him. If the second half of the season goes anything like the first, he will be paying up. Sheets has let it be known that he will test the waters of free agency and who can blame him. He's 9-1 with a .259 era after 15 starts. Melvin wanted to wait and see if Sheets could stay healthy after a series of injuries in the last few seasons (he hasn't pitched 200 innings since '03)and now it will cost him to keep him.


Derek Jeter headed to First Base??

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Could Jeter's days as a shortstop be numbered? Voted Most Over-rated Player by Sports Illustrated last week, Jeter's numbers have been down from year's past. His .279 batting average is not commensurate with his distinction as the highest paid shortstop in the game. While this may seem far fetched, if there was any team in the league that could compensate for Jeter's lack of power as a first basemen it would be they Yankees. This is not to say this move should be made immediately, but as Jeter's defense grows worse it would be wise to keep his leadership and presence on the team. Jeter has shown time and again what a great athlete he is so a transition to first wouldn't seem to be too difficult. Just some more food for thought. Also, I apologize for the lack of posts lately. I've had some personal things I've had to deal with the past few days and will be back to posting regularly.


Quick Hits

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mark Ellis to Reds to shore up second base or possibly shortstop, where Alex Gonzalez is just average.

Are the Rays interested in Randy Wolf for some pitching help?


Monday Morning Musings

The Chicago Cubs must be using their day off to savor sweeping their cross-town rivals, the White Sox. In the meantime, it's hard not to notice what Pinella has been doing with their outfield. While Soriano sits out at least another week with a broken hand, Pinella has been using an impressive rotation of young outfielders in a possible showcase situation, in the event Hendry decides to go ahead and pursue C.C. Sabathia or Erik Bedard or another top-draw pitcher. Pinella has gotten good work from Eric Patterson, Micah Hoffpauir and Matt Murton. With Jim Edmonds and Reed Johnson also playing, it wouldn't be a surprise if they were willing to part with some of that young talent to upgrade the pitching rotation.


All-Star Game Nears

Sunday, June 22, 2008

With not a lot of news this weekend, I am looking forward to the All-Star Game which is less than a month away. I would like to hear what you the readers think will be the lineups for the respective teams. You can include a full roster for each team or just who you think will end up winning the fan-apointed starting positions. Chime in with your thoughts.


Harang, Sheets Available?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Reds' ace Aaron Harang may be available as the trade deadline approaches, although it would take multiple top prospects to pry him away. All of the teams interested in C.C. Sabathia and Erik Bedard figure to keep their ears open regarding Harang. In other news, the Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that a Phils special assistant has been in Milwaukee the past few days, giving him a chance to take a look at Ben Sheets. Sheets is in interesting player as the deadline nears as he is very injury prone but can be a devastatingly good pitcher when he stays healthy. With the Brewers hot right now and only 5 games out of first place, I don't see them dealing him unless they received an overwhelming offer.


Schilling out for Season, Career in Jeopardy

Friday, June 20, 2008

Curt Schilling will undergo season-ending and possibly career ending surgery on Monday following a failed rehab attempt. Schilling was quoted as saying, "My season is over and there is a pretty decent chance I have thrown my last pitch forever," on WEEI radio in Boston. This is sad news for baseball fans everywhere as one of the top pitchers of this generation may be done forever. Hopefully the surgery goes smoothly and Schilling can make an easy and fast recovery.


Blue Jays Fire Gibbons

Buster Olney is reporting that the Blue Jays have fired manager John Gibbons, the third managerial change in the majors this week. Cito Gaston, manager during the Blue Jays world series run in the early 1990's will take over as manager. Coaches Marty Pevey, Ernie Whitt and Gary Denbo were also relieved of their duties. The Blue Jays were only 4 games under .500, but were 10.5 games out of first place entering this weekend. First base coach Dwayne Murphy, third base coach Nick Leyva and hitting coach Gene Tenace will join Gaston on the Blue Jays staff.


Quick Hits

Quick Hits:

  • The Cubs are worried that Zambrano could be out for the season and will look for improvements. Word is they are looking at Livan Hernandez or Randy Wolf, but don't be surprised if they make a move on Erik Bedard.
  • The Rockies are not happy with Yorvit Torrealba's performance at the plate and are looking to trade him. He is good at calling games, but Ianetta is decent and is hitting much better than him.
  • A's assistant GM Dave Forst might finally get his chance to be a GM. The Mariners job is open, but it is in the same division as the A's. He would be smart to wait for a better job to open up, maybe in the NL East.


M's Fire McClaren

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Just days after their general manager was fired, the Mariners continued to clean house by firing manager John McClaren. Bench caoch Jim Riggleman will be the interim manager for the remainder of the season. McClaren was 68-88 as manager for Seattle over two seasons, but entered this season with playoff aspirations before their dismal start. Riggleman managed the Cubs for five seasons, leading them to a playoff berth in 1998. The M's are young enough where they don't need to blow up the team but expect changes as the season progresses and trade deadline nears.


Cubs Fans Holding Their Breath

Many Cubs fans had a sleepless night last night as they await the results of today's MRI on Ace Carlos Zambrano's sore shoulder. He left last night's game in the 7th inning and ultimately took the loss. He has been 2-2 in his last five starts after starting the season 6-1. It was about a month ago he complained of a sore neck that radiated into his shoulder but felt it wasn't serious. The Cubs are in good shape at the moment, leading their division by 3 1/2 games over the Cards but they can't afford to lose Zambrano. If the news is bad, look for Hendry to get on the horn in a hurry. More on those possibilities later.


Another Thought on Injuries

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It was announced today that Tiger Woods not only won the U.S. Open this weekend but played with season-ending injuries-a torn ligament in his left knee and a double stress fracture in the same leg. I can't help but recall my musings of just a few days ago on the "fragile" nature of some MLB players. They sit out games for strains, sprains and other "sore-ness" that boggles the mind when compared to guys like Wood. What does this say about the culture of baseball? These guys, many of whom make obscene amounts of money whether they take the field or not seem to have no shame when it comes to sitting out a game or two or more with non-specific ailments and injuries. Woods' fortitude and determination are awe-inspiring.


Quick Hits: Mariners, Reds, Cubs, Yankees

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

  • The Mariners have a new front office and may consider trading Erik Bedard. Nothing will happen for about a month, but they may consider shaking up the staff real soon. That could start with releasing Richie Sexson or Jose Vidro by the end of the month.
  • The Reds may consider trading Bronson Arroyo and Ryan Freel at the deadline for prospects. They are behind a little in the division, but building for 2009 could help. They need pitching more than anything.
  • The Cubs are showing signs of interest in pitcher Erik Bedard. They need a pitcher for the final months, and he would be a good addition. A cheaper addition would be Livan Hernandez of the Twins.
  • The Yankees would like to add a pitcher after they saw there young pitcher fail in the rotation. Derek Lowe is a good option because of his experience in the AL East.


Breaking News: Mets Fire Randolph

The Mets fired manager Willie Randolph as well as pitching coach Rick Peterson. Bench coach Jerry Manuel will take over as the interim manager. There was speculation of this move for weeks but it came at a very odd time. After just completing a homestand and heading out west, you would expect that if this decision was going to be made it would be with him at home. Instead, they let him go out to California and fired him at 12:15 AM? Very puzzling and, in my opinion, somewhat unprofessional of the Mets front office. If the Mets don't improve going forward, you can expect to hear rumblings that Omar Minaya may be next.


Wang Out 6 Weeks, Maybe More

Monday, June 16, 2008

Yankees ace Chien-Ming Wang is out atleast 6 weeks with a partially torn tendon and sprained foot after running the bases in Houston last night. This is a tough blow for an already thin Yankees rotation and will only fuel speculation that the team will make a serious run at C.C. Sabathia.


Mariners Fire Bavasi

The Seattle Mariners, owners of the leagues worst record, have fired GM Bill Bavasi after his 5th season as the teams general manager. The Mariners were expected to compete for a playoff spot this year but got off to a poor start and have not been able to rebound. Vice president/associate general manager Lee Pelekoudas will take over for the remainder of the season. With talent such as Felix Hernandez, Adrian Beltre, and recently acquired Erik Bedard, They Mariners certainly had high expectations heading in, trading their top prospect Adam Jones as well as George Sherrill for a chance to compete now with Bedard. Bedard has struggled and has already been whispered in trade rumors, a frequent reminder of what appears to be a poor trade. The M's still have plenty of talent so it remains to be seen whether they will be big time sellers at the trade deadline or sit pretty with their talent and prepare for next season.


Trade Winds Beginning to Blow

With six weeks to go before the trade deadline, there seems to be a lot of talk already of available players. After losing 2 out of 3 at home to the Chicago Cubs, Toronto Jays AJ Burnett was expressing openness to a potential trade. he said " have the opportunity to go to a place where baseball is breakfast, lunch and dinner, that would be awesome." Could he have been talking about the Cubs, who would certainly like to add some reliable depth to their rotation?

Speaking of the Cubs, scouts were at the Giants game over the weekend looking at switch-hitting Randy Winn to shore things up with Soriano out for at least another month.

Is Griffey open to a trade to the Devil Rays? Supposedly, he is, according to "friends".

In other trade talk, the Astros and Pirates are making virtually everyone available as the deadline apporaches. They both need major overhauls and are not in denial on that front.


Yadier Molina Injured

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Another Cardinal, starting catcher and defensive ace Yadier Molina was run over on a play at the plate and taken off the field on a stretcher, complaining of neck and back pain. Molina was taken to the hospital but assured fellow injured Card Albert Pujols that he would be okay. Molina was diagnosed with a mild concussion and it appears he will be able to avoid a trip to the DL as long as no issues arise in the next few days. The collision did not appear to be malicious and one would hope that no retaliation follows in the next meeting between the Phillies and Cardinals.


Instant Replay Coming in August?

Is instant replay really coming to Major League Baseball? Top executives in the MLB operations offices, namely Rob Manfried, executive vice president of labor relations and Jimmie Lee Solomon, vice president in charge of baseball operations would like to see it instituted by mid-August. Not so fast, so says sources in Selig's office and John Hirschbeck, head of the World Umpires Association. This debate does not seem likely to be settled in a mere 6-8 weeks. Where do you stand on this issue, readers? Not just should it happen but should it happen in the middle of a season??


Quick Hits: Phillies, Burnett, Cano, Hicks

Friday, June 13, 2008

Quick Hits:

  • The Phillies are looking to add a pitcher and are currently looking at Padres pitcher Greg Maddux and Mariners pitcher Erik Bedard. Both pitchers are going to be hot topics at the trade deadline, so a trade involving one is expected.
  • Blue Jays pitcher A.J. Burnett can opt out of his contract after this season which could lead to the Blue Jays trading him at the deadline. Several teams are looking for a pitcher, and the Blue Jays would be smart to cash in.
  • With Robinson Cano struggling, the Yankees might trade Cano to the Indians in a deal involving CC Sabathia. If I am the Indians, I do this trade in a heart beat, but we'll see what happens.
  • Twins first round pick Aaron Hicks is set to sign with the Twins and will head to Low-A to begin his professional career. This is a good move by Hicks who starts playing immediately.


All eyes on C.C.

Executives around the league will have their eyes on the Cleveland Indians the next few weeks, and more specifically on star pitcher C.C. Sabathia. With the Indians struggling to find a groove and Sabathia a soon-to-be free agent, the Indians may look at trading their ace as the deadline approaches. Sabathia figures to return serious talent were he to be dealt, as young, lefty aces don't grow on trees. The Yankees, Cubs, and Mets all figure to be interested at the deadline, with the Yankees seemingly hoping for a "redo" on what appears to be a mistake on passing on Johan Santana over the winter.


Update on Soriano

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The word on Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano is worse than originally thought. He is expected to miss the next six weeks with a fracture in his left hand. This will be his third trip to the DL in his less than 1 1/2 seasons with the team.


Interview with Dae-Eun Rhee

About a week ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cubs pitching prospect Dae-Eun Rhee. Rhee is in his first full season with the Cubs, and is off to a great start. Getting an interview done was the hard part, considering he does not speak English. But thanks to Nathan and Mr. Sung of the Cubs, we got the interview done just in time. I wish him the best of luck and hope the Cubs can make it to the playoffs behind manager Ryne Sandberg.

ELI: When did you first start playing baseball in South Korea?

DAE-EUN: I started playing when I was eleven but I was in the infield. When I was thirteen I switched to pitcher.

ELI: How popular is baseball in South Korea?

DAE-EUN: It is the most popular sport in Korea.

ELI: Is there a player playing in the Major leagues that you try to model your game off of?

DAE-EUN: Chan Ho Park.

ELI: Any particular reason?

DAE-EUN: Because he is the most successful pitcher in the major leagues from Korea.

ELI: Has it been a dream of yours to come to the United States to play baseball?

DAE-EUN: Yes, of course. Since I was a kid.

ELI: Can you take me through the process of how you were signed by the Cubs? Had you heard of them before?

DAE-EUN: It happened in April of 2007 when I met with a scout from the Cubs. We stayed in touch through the signing date and then I signed.

ELI: Baseball is somewhat a universal language, do you have trouble communicating with your catcher on the mound or in the clubhouse?

DAE-EUN: It really was not much of a problem. Yeah, no problem.

ELI: What is Ryne Sandberg like in the clubhouse?

DAE-EUN: He is a great manager. He trusts his players and he lets them play -- just go out and play.

ELI: You are off to a good start so far, what has been working for you thus far?

DAE-EUN: I have been able to keep my strikes in the bottom part of the strike zone. I have always been good with my command, and it is showing so far.

ELI: What would you say is your strongest pitch?

DAE-EUN: My change-up.

ELI: You had a minor injury early in the season, what was the recovery process like for you?

DAE-EUN: It really was not bad. I was off the mound for about ten days and then I started throwing from flat ground again. It was not serious at all. It was my first time in the rotation so I think my arm was a little tired. But I am okay now.

ELI: Aside from baseball, what have you enjoyed most about the U.S.?

DAE-EUN: I have really enjoyed hanging with some of my teammates. But I also enjoy video games.

ELI: Your mechanics are very good, is that something you have worked on for a long time?

DAE-EUN: I have worked on it since I was young. It was more than just going out and throwing, it was about doing it properly.

ELI: Have you set any goals for yourself this season?

DAE-EUN: I hope to just complete the season without further injury.


Soriano Going Back on DL

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Speaking of injuries (see post below),Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano is going back on the DL after what's being called a "minimal fracture of a bone in his wrist) which occurred during the early innings of tonight's game.


Injury Central

Is it just me or do you find it hard to believe how many of these supposedly highly-tuned athletes are continually getting hurt and doing time on the DL list or worse, facing surgeries? This week's list includesTroy Tulowitzki-torn quadrucep tendon, Rafael Furcal-back, Jake Peavy- elbow,Tom Glavine- elbow,Albert Pujols-calf, Putz- elbow and John Smoltz, who may be looking at the end of his career after more damage to his labrum. History tells us that the greats of days past, as recently as the 60's, 70's and even into the 80's were not missing so many games because of 'pulled' this and 'strained' that. What are they doing in the off-season and spring training that is not allowing them to be in god enough shape to avoid these kinds of problems? Take a guy like Greg Maddox or even Carlos Zambrano, one near the beginning of his career and one near the end. What are they doing that these other guys aren't to keep themselves in good health?


Danks' Family Leaves Boras

White Sox pitcher John Danks as well as his brother Jordan, a 5th round draft pick of White Sox, have fired Boras as their agent and signed with Jeff Berry. Berry has experience with the White Sox as he represented and negotiated Mark Buehrle's contract. While the Danks' have neither confirmed or denied the story, The Chicago Sun Times speculates that the move was a result of Boras' high demands for Jordan Danks in last weeks draft, scaring teams away on the first day. While Boras is still the premier agent in baseball, we've seen a recent backlash the last few years with teams and players simply choosing other options rather than dealing with Boras' lucrative demands.


Pujols Strains Calf

Albert Pujols suffered what could be a serious injury to his calf in last night's win against the Cincinnati Reds. Pujols reaggravated a strain suffered last Thursday and will is now likely facing a lengthy visit to the disabled list. This is a tough blow for the Cardinals who lean heavily on the talented first basemen. Whether or not this will lead to further roster moves will hinge on the severity of Pujols injury.


Astros To Sign Ponson?

Although Sidney Ponson has had off the field problems, he would make a great addition for the Astros. The Astros pitching has been holding its own as of late, but they certainly can't last the whole season. Adding Ponson, who is 4-1 with a 3.88 ERA, would give them a solid back of the rotation starter with experience in the National League. The hitting is strong and will continue to hit, byt they need pitching to come through in August and September. Oswalt and Backe will hopefully be consistent for the Astros all season, but adding Ponson for the rest of the season should help them somewhat.


Tigers Option Struggling Willis

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Tigers have optioned struggling pitcher Dontrelle Willis to Single-A Lakeland. Willis has walked 21 batters in 11 1/3 innings so far this season, and gave up eight earned runs in his last start. "Our objective is to get Dontrelle back to being Dontrelle," Tigers president, CEO and general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "We don't want to put a time frame on this. We want to get it right. The arm strength is still there, on occasion. The breaking ball is still there. But we want to get him back to being comfortable throwing strikes." It is too bad for the Tigers because they gave him a three year deal worth 29 million dollars before the season.

For Willis, I think he will develop and make adjustments, but he might need to refine his windup. Otherwise, it will be a rough three years for the Tigers.


Tigers To Trade Ordonez?

With the Tigers ten games out of first, GM Dave Dombrowski might be forced to trade one of his top players to open up some of the payroll. Magglio Ordonez's name has come up as of late because of his big contract and fast start. It wouldn't make sense for the Tigers to keep him on their payroll after opening up the bank on pitchers Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis, and hitters Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Guillen. With the Tigers ten games out of first, they could trade Ordonez for prospects and start rebuilding their minor league system. If the Blue Jays hang in the race for the playoffs, they could potentially be a good fit for him.

Meche not coming to Cubs?: According to internet rumors, Gil Meche was reportedly drawing interest from the Cubs. However, Meche laughed off the rumors and Royals executives are denying it.


The Race For 600: Ken Griffey Jr. Homerun Facts

Ken Griffey Jr. is one of the top hitters in the history of the game, but he has become a personal favorite to many baseball fans through his hard work, style, and respect for the game. Here is a run down of twenty interesting homerun facts:

20. Ken Griffey Jr.'s first homerun came off the White Sox pitcher Eric King.

19. His sixth career homerun happened to be an inside the park homerun.

19. His first multi-homerun game came May 30th, 1989, and he had all the teams RBIs (3).

18. Griffey has hit 398 homeruns versus right handers and 201 versus left handers.

17. When he is first pitch swinging, Griffey has hit 109 homeruns.

16. In 1990, Griffey hit two homeruns off Nolan Ryan in the same month (on separate occasions) to give his team the lead.

15. Griffey has had 0 leadoff homeruns, but has hit one homerun batting leadoff.

14. He has four game ending homeruns.

13. He has 207 go ahead homeruns.

12. He has hit more homeruns in the first inning that any other inning in his career (104).

11. In 1997, he had eight multi homerun games. One of which was a three homerun game where he hit two off of Roger Clemens and one off of Mike Timlin.

10. David Wells has given up more homeruns to Griffey than anyone else with eight. Second on that list is Roger Clemens with six.

9. Griffey has hit 64 homeruns at the Great American Ballpark.

8. If you were to include Griffey's homerun in the movie, Little Big League, he would have 600 homeruns.

7. In eleven All-Star appearances, Griffey is hitting .440 with 1 HR.

6. Griffey has hit 398 homeruns wearing the number 24, 138 wearing the number 30, 56 wearing the number 3, and 1 wearing the number 42.

5. Griffey has hit 38 homeruns against the Twins, the most among teams he has faced.

4. Griffey has hit 308 homeruns to straight away right field.

3. Four of his six homeruns this season have been when the game was tied.

2. Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. have hit a combined 751 homeruns.

1. Ken Griffey Jr. is now the sixth member of the 600 homerun club.


Teenage Cuban Phenom Defects to U.S

Teenage Dayan Viciedo left Cuba by boat on May 20th with his family and is now safely in Miami, already represented by a Puerto Rican lawyer. It is likely to be only a matter of time before his services are sought by any number of teams. His reputation and potential has preceded him.


Is Viagra the new drug of choice?

There are stories all over the web the last couple days about the increasing use of Viagra being used by players to enhance their endurance on the field. This is so tempting to expand on but I'll leave it at that.


Lee Elia named new hitting coach for Mariners

No baseball fans of a certain age will ever forget Lee Elia's tirade against Chicago Cubs fans when he was their manager back in the late 70's. He will forever be remembered for calling them worthless, unemployed, beer-addled bums. While he's not well known to today's fans, he remained active in baseball and was just named the new hitting coach for the Seattle Mariners. He replaces Jeff Pentland who has not been able to get the team out of the basement in on-base percentage and next to last in batting average. In other Mariners' news, the Blue Jays denied having interest in Seattle's newly acquired left hander Erik Bedard. Bedard certainly has not lived up to expectations in Seattle and could be on his way out after only half a season.


Griffey Hits 600

Monday, June 9, 2008

Congratulations to Ken Griffey Jr. on hitting his 600th home run. Griffey hit a 2 run blast in the first inning off Mark Hendrickson, a historic shot that hopefully will not highlight Hendrickson's career. With the milestone behind them now, the Reds can shop Griffey and hope to continue their rebuilding process by bringing in some more youth. It remains to be seen who will be in the market for Griffey but it would be wise to assume that he will be one of the hottest names available come the July 31st deadline.


Quick Hits: Lofton, Roberts, Bedard, Viciedo

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Quick Hits:

  • Kenny Lofton is starting to pick up more interest on the market. The White Sox are somewhat interested, but will likely test some of their minor leaguers out first. Jerry Owens is fast and an above average fielder, so he could make for a good addition with the Sox.
  • The Brian Roberts talks are back and Ken Rosenthal suggests a move to the Brewers for Rickie Weeks would be good. It would give the Brewers the leadoff man they need, and it would give the Orioles a young, hard hitting second baseman.
  • The Mariners might consider trading Bedard at the deadline if he expresses no desire to come back with the club. He has had some trouble adjusting to catcher Kenji Johjima, who recently signed a three year deal.
  • Cuban star Dayan Viciedo is in Miami and might work out for a couple of baseball teams over the next month. He can be signed after July 1st, and it would be interesting to see who reaches out and signs him.


Bonderman Out For Season

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Tigers pitcher Jeremy Bonderman will miss the rest of the season with a blood clot in his right shoulder. This is a big blow for the Tigers who lose another player to the disabled list. The Tigers do not have a pitcher in Triple-A that can step up and pitch for the Tigers, so they might need to explore a trade. I doubt they go and make a big splash because they really are not in contention, and the pitchers available would probably not make a big difference.

David Wells would make for a good, short term replacement. He would sign for close to the league minimum and could give you ten or so wins. Another option is Randy Wolf, who is pitching very well for the Padres. Jason Marquis is available with the Cubs, and he is an option as well. All three options are good short term, but probably would not be good options long term. So far this season, Bonderman is 3-4 with a 4.29 ERA.


Dodgers Acquire Berroa

The Dodgers traded minor leaguer Juan Rivera to the Royals for former rookie of the year Angel Berroa. The Royals are picking up all of his 4.75 million dollar salary, and the 500,000 buyout for next season. In Triple-A, Berroa is hitting .290 with 10 HR, so it is possible he could help them in a utility role. Chin-Lung Hu will stay with a team, but his role will be reduced. This is a great move for the Dodgers acquiring Berroa, 30, who brings speed and a good glove to the Dodgers. This will allow them to send down Hu to play everyday when Furcal comes back. A solid pick up for the Dodgers.


Red Sox Won't Bring In Replacement

Friday, June 6, 2008

Rumors have surfaced that the Red Sox might look to bring in a free agent to replace David Ortiz. Among the names that have surfaced, Kenny Lofton and Barry Bonds stick out as the top two. However, the Red Sox have Chris Carter and Brandon Moss platooning in the role and they are doing a fine job. There is no need to bring in a new face and disrupt the chemistry of a first place team.

It doesn't look like Bonds will ever play in the major leagues again. Besides from being a distraction in the clubhouse, no one wants to pay 15 million dollars for a .270 hitter who might hit 25 homeruns. As for Lofton, he might get a job this season. He would have been smart to take the Rays offer before the season starter. The Cubs don't need him now with Jim Edmonds heating up. The Mariners or Padres could take a chance on him, but he might be done as well.


The Morning Word: 2008 MLB Draft Recap

In last year’s MLB draft, we saw several teams shy away from top talent because of cost. The Pirates did it with Matt Wieters, and they are regretting it right now. For the 2008 draft this hasn’t been the case. Teams are going right after the talent and will probably pay the big bucks to get them playing in the minors this year. Let’s break down the first round.

1. Tampa Bay Rays, SS Tim Beckham. The Rays decided to fill a need at short, passing on catcher Buster Posey. Beckham is the most athletic player in the draft and has a lot of upside. He won’t have any trouble adjusting to the fielding side of things, but he’ll have to adjust to the lifestyle and hitting. He has a great attitude and should be able to handle the game’s mental aspect.

2. Pittsburgh Pirates, 3B Pedro Alvarez. The Pirates’ line-up has been missing a power hitter, and Alvarez should help them soon. Although he may move to first base at some point down the road, he will play a big role in the Pirates’ push for the playoffs over the next several seasons.

3. Kansas City Royals, 1B Eric Hosmer. He will probably hit for the most power out of anyone in the draft. He has great raw power and pretty good hands at first base. The Royals are going to have to pay up for him, or else he is off to college. High schoolers usually take longer to develop, and he will probably need an extra year or so, but he will do some damage for the Royals soon.

4. Baltimore Orioles, P Brian Matusz. The best pitcher in the draft is going to a team loaded with young pitching. He has four above average pitches and mixes his pitches well. He is comfortable throwing his pitches in any count, and that makes him a candidate to lead a rotation very soon. His change-up, curveball, slider and fastball are mixed together very well, keeping the batter guessing.

5. San Francisco Giants, C Buster Posey. Posey nearly went number one to the Rays but was passed on for Tim Beckham. The Giants really got a great player with an advanced approach at the plate. He needs more experience, but he should rise fast and make for an impact with the Giants soon.

6. Florida Marlins, C Kyle Skipworth. The Marlins took the best catcher in the draft, in my opinion. Not only does he swing a good bat that should develop further with more experience, but he is great behind the plate. He shifts well and has a good arm and natural knowledge of the game. He hits for mostly average now but should find his power when he grows into his body more.

7. Cincinnati Reds, 1B Yonder Alonso. Alonso’s swing is the closest to major league ready of any in the draft. 1B is the only spot for him, but that’s currently filled by stud rookie Joey Votto. Signability is an issue – he is reportedly asking for $8M. I worry he’ll struggle against lefties, but he should move fairly quickly through the minors.

8. Chicago White Sox, SS Gordon Beckham. This is a great pick for the White Sox. He is a baseball player. He has the natural ability and the look in his eye that he can play. Beckham will likely improve his power and hit for a good average. He has power to all fields and is pretty familiar with the wood bats, so we could see him in Double-A sometime next season. He has tremendous talent and will be a superstar in a couple years.

9. Washington Nationals, P Aaron Crow. Crow has the best fastball in the draft, and he mixes it well with his slider. I talked with GM Jim Bowden who told me that he prefers to improve his pitching through the draft and trades. He and last year’s pick, Ross Detwiler, will likely be working together very soon. Crow has a lunge similar to Tim Lincecum, and that might need to be refined in the minors.

10. Houston Astros, C Jason Castro. This is a surprise. The Astros banked on JR Towles, and he has failed so far. Their minor league system is pretty weak with no real bright spots, so bringing in Castro as the future is a safe bet. Although Koby Clemens is doing well, if he makes it to the MLB they will find a way to work him in. His defense is the main reason he was taken so high, but he probably won’t hit for much of an average.

11. Texas Rangers, 1B Justin Smoak. They couldn’t pass on him. He is a switch hitting first baseman who has drawn comparisons to Mark Teixeira – a former Ranger. He has great power and should hit for a good average. He has gold glove potential and should rise fast. The Rangers were interested in taking a pitcher, but they couldn’t pass on Smoak. Smoak should hit at least 25 home runs in the majors, and probably more playing in Texas. He will play a key role in their rebuilding process.

12. Oakland Athletics, 2B Jemile Weeks. Weeks has a very good swing that will help out the A’s at the top of the order. He is the typical second baseman who should stay there long term. He has good speed and should make the plays at the plate and on the field that will help the team win.

13. St. Louis Cardinals, 3B Brett Wallace. The Cardinals are all over his bat. Wallace has great plate discipline and hits for tremendous power. He will likely move to first base, unless he slims down some. I am a little surprised by the pick because his future is definitely at first, where Albert Pujols plays. This could be a steal for the Cardinals because Wallace is such a good hitter versus lefties.

14. Minnesota Twins, OF Aaron Hicks. I talked with a Twins executive who told me directly that they were sold on Hicks. They want to let him develop in the minors, grow into his body, and find his spot in the outfield. He will hit for a good average and hold his own in the outfield. I think he’ll take some time to develop, but the Twins have developed several high school players successfully (Joe Mauer), so Hicks is in good hands.

15. Los Angeles Dodgers, 3B Ethan Martin. I’m a little surprised to see him go this early, but I am happy to see he will be a third baseman. He has a great swing that is balanced and should hit for power sometime down the road. He has drawn comparisons to power hitter Matt Williams, but I don’t seeing him reaching Matt Williams’ level.

16. Milwaukee Brewers, IF Brett Lawrie. The Brewers are ecstatic to land Lawrie. He is young, yet already experienced with wooden bats, and very versatile. He has drawn comparisons to Craig Biggio for his approach and ability to hit both righties and lefties. The one thing the Brewers will have to decide on is where he will play.

17. Toronto Blue Jays, 1B David Cooper. Cooper has gone under the radar having been behind Alonso and Smoak, but he also has great power. He is not very good defensively, so he might be a DH, but his bat is all there. He has great discipline and a balanced swing. He will likely hit around .270 or .280 with 20-25 home runs.

18. New York Mets, OF Ike Davis. Davis is a lefty with a smooth swing. He is athletic with above average speed. He projects as a decent outfielder, but he is athletic and has good instincts.

19. Chicago Cubs, P Andrew Cashner. Cashner has the hardest fastball in the draft and will likely stay as a closer down the road. He needs to work on his command, but he should be up soon helping the Cubs bullpen.

20. Seattle Mariners, P Josh Fields. I’m a little surprised by this move. The Mariners are in last place and you would have liked to see them take a starter or position player. Nonetheless, Fields is a flame throwing closer considered to be the top closer at the college level. He can throw his pitches all over the strike zone and will probably see time in the MLB next season. He is a Boras client though.

21. Detroit Tigers, P Ryan Perry. The Tigers continue to take power arms, and Perry is a good pick. He’ll likely settle in with a 94-95 mph fastball, with a hard slider to compliment it. His future is likely as a reliever, but he could make the move to starter. His delivery is similar to Chan Ho Park, but faster, and it will likely need to be refined. His fastball is fast enough that college kids aren’t catching up to it, but once professionals realize that he’s not deceptive, they will be all over him. Nonetheless, this is a good pick for the Tigers.

22. New York Mets, SS Reese Havens. Havens is a good baseball player with great instincts. His future is not at shortstop, and he will likely be moved because of poor range. He could be their second baseman or catcher of the future. One thing that has come up is his ability to read pitches, which should lead to him hitting for a decent average. He doesn’t hit for much power, but he could probably put together 10-15 home runs.

23. San Diego Padres, 1B Allan Dykstra. Dykstra probably would have been a top 10 pick last season, but being behind Smoak, Alonso and Cooper leaves him towards the end of the first round. Still, he has good power and can take the ball the other way. His true test will come at whether he can hit inside pitches at the professional level – he’s struggled at that so far.

24. Philadelphia Phillies, SS Anthony Hewitt. For awhile, I thought this kid was Vanderbilt bound. He put together a good spring, and I thought he would be passed on. He has great tools for a high school shortstop and should hit for more power down the road. I think going to Vanderbilt is best for him so he can play at a more competitive level, but he might go straight to the minors with the Phillies.

25. Colorado Rockies, P Christian Friedrich. This is a great pickup for the Rockies who land the second best lefty in the draft. Friedrich is consistent and has good, hard stuff. He projects as a middle of the rotation guy.

26. Arizona Diamondbacks, P Daniel Schlereth. Although he is wild, he projects as a lefty setup guy coming in to face the lefties. His fastball touches 95, and he has a strong curveball that is usually his strikeout pitch. He has been compared to J.C. Romero.

27. Minnesota Twins, P Carlos Gutierrez. His windup is similar to Dave Bush — slow, but then he lunges for you. His two-seamer is hard with a lot of movement, but he needs to work on it so it bites the outside corner. He has a lot of upside, but he needs to work on his command.

28. New York Yankees, P Gerrit Cole. He has top five potential in the draft, but signability issues caused him to drop. The Yankees will likely be able to keep him from going to college. He throws a hard fastball with an excellent changeup; he even mixes in an above average slider. This guy has the intangibles; he just needs some time to develop his windup.

29. Cleveland Indians, SS Lonnie Chisenhall. Chisenhall has one of the best approaches at the plate, but disciplinary problems off the field dropped him some. He is a line drive hitter and his fielding might move him to second or third. He has the potential to be an above average corner infielder or outfielder, but nothing more than that.

30. Boston Red Sox, SS Casey Kelly. Signability issues pushed Kelly out of the top 15. He is one of the most athletic players in the draft, having played both baseball and football. If the Red Sox are serious about him, they will have to pay big money, or else he is going to Tennessee to be their quarterback and starting shortstop. I think he would be smart to go to college to develop his swing some, but we’ll see.

Other Notable pick:

48. Pittsburgh Pirates, P Tanner Scheppers. Scheppers was in the top ten before he injured his shoulder, shutting him down for at least a year. He has a plus fastball and good slider, so he should rise fast once he is healthy. The mental part of his game is solid, and he’s a true professional. Taking him here just shows how serious the Pirates are about rebuilding.


Giles to Boston?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Brian Giles could be a fit in Boston in the DH spot if David Ortiz is out for an extended amount of time. The Padres will likely hold some sort of fire sale at the deadline, hoping that it will restock their system and prepare them for 2009 and beyond. Giles is having a pretty good year for the Padres batting .299 with 3 HR in 58 games. He is in for another .300 year with 15-20 homeruns, numbers that would help a team in a playoff race. He still has a good arm in the outfield, so I wouldn't rule out several teams making a play for him in the playoff hunt.

The Braves are a potential option. Diaz is expected to miss about two months, so it would make sense for the Braves to bring in a replacement for this season. Giles has 9 million dollar club option for 2009, so a team that trades for him could potentially buy him out. The Mets are also a possibility if options like Xavier Nady or Jason Bay fall through. Omar Minaya and Kevin Towers are familiar with each other when it comes to trades, so something could be worked out there. Other options include the Rays and Twins.


MLB Draft: Yonder Alonso

Alonso is one of the best hitters in the draft coming out of college this year. He already looks like a major league hitter with a good idea of the strike zone. Although he has an open stance, he has a compact swing which should only improve with more experience. His defense is adequate, but he isn't fast enough to move to the outfield despite a strong arm. His future might be as a DH if he really struggles, but his hitting is expected to outweigh the fielding. He is taking the ball to the opposite fielding mostly, so he needs to learn to pull the ball. Once he does that, the sky is his ceiling.

What to expect: His power will come, but it might take a year to settle into wood bats full time. He has the potential to hit 30 homeruns annually with a high average. He doesn't fit the typical 'power hitting lefty' who strikes out a lot -- he has great patience.


MLB Draft: Brian Matusz

Matusz is the best lefty pitcher in the draft, despite his slow start this season. His fastball has solid downward movement, which is nice to see coming out of college. Unlike other lefties in previous drafts, Matusz's windup is compact, meaning he keeps the ball centered and does not fall too far off the mound when he throws. That allows for good movement on his pitches, which should be key as he progresses through the minors. His curveball is a strikeout pitch, and it is similar to Ben Sheets'. His change up is better against lefties, but it works for righties too. All four of his pitches are average, but there is room for improvement.

What to expect: At most, he will be number one or two starter. However, if his pitches don't improve, he might be a three or four starter. He is comfortable with all four of his pitches which should keep him out of the bullpen in the majors, but it is unclear if he will make it as a front of the line starter.


MLB Draft: Pedro Alvarez

Alvarez is the best hitter coming into this years draft, despite the injury he suffered in his hand this season. He has above average power, having compiled 40 homeruns over two seasons (06-07). He might never return to the power he had now making the move to wooden bats, but will probably hit close to twenty homeruns annually once he makes it. His coach said he has passion for the game which will allow him to make the proper adjustments to move forward quickly. He has average range at third baseman, and if he struggles in the minors, they will likely move him to first base. Signability is an issue, but he probably won't slip past the top five.

What to expect: He is the best hitter coming into the draft, and should rise in the minors faster than most. Expect him to hit for a high average with about twenty homeruns annually. He reminds me a little of Robinson Cano.


MLB Draft: Buster Posey

A converted shortstop, Posey is the best catcher coming into this years draft. His approach at the plate and knowledge of the strike zone has allowed him to rise on many draft boards, not to mention his good footwork behind the plate. Of course, inexperience is a factor at catcher, but he is very athletic and should be able to stay behind the plate long term. He does not hit for power, but he will carry a good average throughout his career. He has hit great in college, but I have not ready anything on his ability to hit with wooden bats. He has a great attitude though and a love for baseball which should contribute to his success at the upper levels.

What to expect: Posey has the potential to hit above .300, but I see him around .290-.300 with 10-15 homeruns.


MLB Draft: Tim Beckham

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I'm going to be doing a couple draft profiles over the next day or two leading up to the draft. Let's get started with Tim Beckham. Beckham is the top high schooler in the draft, and is projected to go in the top three. His ability to play shortstop and his advanced approach at the plate make him a candidate to rise fast through any system; however, most high schoolers go through an adjustment period of a couple seasons in the minors. I would not say he is as advanced as the Upton's were when they were taken, but it is close. Poor mechanics in his swing will slow him down if he doesn't adjust properly, but just by a year or so. His swing has drawn comparisons to Justin Upton, while his small frame is similar to B.J. Upton.

What to expect: Once he turns on the ball and fills out, he should hit for a .300+ average with 10-20 homeruns. He is definitely a number two like hitter.


Pirates To Trade LaRoche?

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pirates may be preparing a trade involving Adam LaRoche to make room for top prospect Steve Pearce, who has been taking games at first base down in Triple-A. Pearce is batting .264 with 6 HR in 56 games at Triple-A, but did very good during his first experience in the big leagues in 2007. LaRoche is batting .211 with 6 HR in 55 games and really has not shown any signs of improvement. If the Pirates were to dump him, they might be able to land another struggling player in hopes that he turns around as well.

There are not many teams that need a struggling first baseman right now, so nothing appears imminent. However, it is possible the Royals or Rangers would make a move for him. LaRoche would make for a good DH/1B in the American League and it is possible a change of scenery would benefit him.


Quick Hits: Papi, Canseco, Lowe, MLB Draft

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Quick Hits

  • The Red Sox are preparing for life without David Ortiz, and will look to the market for a replacement. If Ben Broussard isn't called up by today, he could be released. The Red Sox could look to him as a short term replacement. Other options include former Sox prospect Matt Murton, Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs, and maybe free agents Sammy Sosa or Reggie Sanders. Spilborghs seems like a good fit.
  • Jose Canseco called out Curt Schilling to fight him in Las Vegas over the summer, also saying that the bloody sock was ketchup. If Canseco is serious about fighting, I recommend he fights Kimbo Slice.
  • According to a source, Mariners scouts were watching Derek Lowe pitch last night at the Dodgers game, suggesting that they may be interested in bringing back the veteran starter. If the Mariners can turn their season around, maybe they make this deal. As of right now though, I doubt it.
  • I am setting up a live chat via phone for anyone who wants to talk about the draft on Thursday. Make sure to call in with questions and comments. More details soon.


Brewers Hall Wants Out

Brewers third baseman Bill Hall is struggling with the Brewers and has been demoted to a platoon role. He has struggled since being reduced and it has lead to him asking for a trade. Although Hall has struggled versus righties, he would make for a good addition on a struggling team. He is batting .227 with 9 HR in 51 games, but is a career .261 hitter in 678 games.

If Ryan Zimmerman goes down for an extended amount of time, the Nationals could make a move for Hall. The Mariners could use Hall out in right field and at their DH spot. Any change for the Mariners would be good now. I have mentioned the Giants before as possible suitors, and they might finally make a move if the Brewers look to dump him. Hall will be traded soon, maybe within the next week, but definitely by the end of the month.


Rangers Won't Alter Youth Building Plan

The Rangers are doing a lot better than they were doing one month ago, causing some to believe that they would make a trade for a big name starter like Oliver Perez to help make a push into the playoffs. However, trading for Perez would cause the Rangers to trade one of their top prospects, along with one or two more. The Rangers have been building their minor league system up for the past several years in order to compete by 2009 or 2010. Eric Hurley and Matt Harrison are expected to be a part of the youth movement for pitchers, while Elvis Andrus and Chris Davis for the hitters. Obviously, there are players on the team now that will be there, but the reason the Rangers have not been big players on the market is because of their plan to build their team up through the draft and trades.

If the Rangers need a pitcher, they would be better off trading for someone like Livan Hernandez, who would not cost much, but would be just as effective as Perez or Bonderman. There are several teams already interested in Hernandez though, so if they believe they can contend, they better make a move soon.


Gorzelanny To Minors?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Pirates pitcher Tom Gorzelanny is off to a slow start, going 4-5 with a 7.38 ERA. This has caused new GM Neal Huntington to threaten a demotion if he does not turn it around: "We have to figure out the best course of action to get him back to his potential ... Whether we can do that at the major league level -- we've got an enhanced program that we've already begun -- or that does take going to Indianapolis ... I'd say we're still a ways away from that, but the reality is that we have to help Tom Gorzelanny." Gorzelanny has lost a lot of zip on his fastball, and it has hurt his other pitches as well. This has caused him to give up more hits, leading to more runs given up. If he was playing on a team with more run support, maybe he would be doing better, but playing with the Pirates is somewhat hurting him.

The main problem with Gorzelanny goes back to last year. Gorzelanny had career highs in innings pitched and games played since his professional career began in 2003. You could tell he was fatigued by the end of the season going 1-3 with a 5.77 ERA, but still pitched in 34.1 innings in six games. This has put more stress on his shoulder and it is showing. The Pirates would be smart to send him to Triple-A to work on his pitches and his arm strength. The season is all but lost for the Pirates as it is, so they should do whatever they can to preserve their ace.


Time To Fire Guillen

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen may be a great in-game manager, but away from the field, he is nothing but a distraction. Ozzie recently went off on his team saying changes need to be made, prompting a response from his General Manager: ''Very interesting, very disappointing,'' Williams said. ''It's never a good idea to throw your boss under the bus, especially when that boss has had his back as much as I have. I guess that lineup will be real interesting to see on Tuesday." It is obvious that Guillen is on the outs with players and management. He called for changes on Tuesday, saying that he could be fired, or that his hitting coach could be fired: ''It can be me. It can be [hitting coach] Greg Walker. It can be the players. It could be anybody. I'm sick and tired to watch this thing for a year and a half. I'm not protecting anybody anymore."

The White Sox are currently in first place by one game, when last year they were 7.5 games out of first, so I don't really see where he is coming from. The White Sox are on a three game losing streak and if it continues, I wouldn't be surprised to see him let go. Bench coach Joey Cora has some experience managing and is familiar with the White Sox, so letting Guillen go and naming Cora the manager should make for an easy transition. The White Sox have a great thing going with their veterans working hard and their young players coming through -- it is just too bad their big mouth manager has to cause such a disturbance in the clubhouse.


Fuentes to Yankees?

Rockies closer Brian Fuentes has been linked to the Yankees before, but the Yankees might finally be interested in getting something done. Assuming Joba Chamberlain can make a successful transition into the rotation, the Yankees will need a new set up man to set up for Mariano Rivera. LaTroy Hawkins has been inconsistent in the pen and there really isn't anyone that can step into the role. Edwar Ramirez is doing a great job right now compiling a 0.56 ERA in 14 games, so he is an option, but he has been working more as a long reliever as of late.

Fuentes is making 5.05 million this season and will be a free agent after the season. He is a trade candidate even if the Yankees don't work out, but they make the most sense. The Rockies might be able to land a solid prospect or two, maybe Dellin Betances, along with one or two more. The Yankees are 6.5 games out of first but that could change with the addition to Chamberlain in the rotation. Not to mention adding one of the best relievers to the setup for the best closer in the game.


Long Term Deal For Dunn?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Reds have been overwhelmed lately by rookie sensation Jay Bruce, who is hitting .591 with 2 HR and 6 RBI in six games this season. But, free agent-to-be Adam Dunn is also hitting well hitting his fifteen homerun today. The Reds have a decision to make with Dunn: Either build a team around him and Jay Bruce, or trade him for a bunch of prospects. Dunn is just twenty-eight and is on pace for another forty homerun season, so it makes sense for the Reds to give him a long term deal. The Reds do not have much depth in their minor league system right now, so there isn't anyone that could replace him right away. The Reds offense is going to look very good next season, but they need to go out and get a pitcher behind Aaron Harang.

Once Griffey hits his 600th homerun, they will likely shop Griffey around. That trade alone should bring in good enough prospects for the future. The Mariners seem like the obvious destination.


Indians To Trade Sabathia?

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Indians may consider shopping CC Sabathia if they fall out of contention by the All Star break. Sabathia is going to leave via free agency at the end of the season anyways, so if they can cash in on a hitter and a couple prospects, it would be worth their while. Rosenthal mentions the Dodgers and Yankees at the top of the list for Sabathia, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the Rockies take a look. The Indians have already been linked to the Rockies because of Garrett Atkins and Matt Holliday, and it is possible we could see them make a swap.

Rockies third base prospect Ian Stewart is doing well for the Rockies so far, and that could possible convince the Rockies to trade Atkins. However, with Holliday a free agent after 2009, they might not want to make a long term investment on Sabathia.


Prior Done For Season

Padres pitcher Mark Prior has opted for another shoulder surgery on his right shoulder, shutting him down for at least this season. Prior was in extended spring training when he felt the soreness, and that was when he returned to San Diego for an examination: "I can't imagine how frustrated he is," Black said. "It looked like everything was on course. Then to have this happen I'm sure is extremely frustrating. I'm upset for him just because there was such confidence from him about how he felt." Prior is 42-29 with a 3.51 ERA over his career, having last pitched in August of 2006.

Prior is a free agent after this season and if he shows promise in his recovery by the end of the season, they may resign him. The Padres might just cut their losses and let him be someone else's project.


Draft Roundup

The Draft is less than a week away and here is what is making news:

  • Jake Odorizzi continues to draw interest from the Rockies and Cubs as either a late first round pick or second round pick. I talked with one executive who said the Cubs would not let this guy fall past their supplemental first round pick at forty first overall.
  • The Dodgers are very interested in Zack Collier at the number fifteen pick overall. St. Louis reportedly has interest in him as well.
  • The Reds are strongly considering Brett Lawrie at the number seven pick. That is, of course, assuming Alvarez, Beckham, and Matusz are taken by then.
  • Eric Hosmer's name is coming up around the eight and nine spot with Chicago and Washington. Signability issues might drop him farther though, possibly to Milwaukee at sixteen or New York at eighteen. Anywhere past that would be a big surprise.
  • Gordon Beckham is drawing serious interest from the Giants at the number five spot. If the draft goes Posey, Beckham, Alvarez, Matusz, then Beckham will go five.
  • Aaron Hicks and Anthony Gase have informed teams that they are willing to sign as a hitter. Hicks is a candidate for the Cardinals after he put together a good workout for them.
Courtesy of Keith Law


Royals To Trade Grienke?

Royals pitcher Zack Grienke is the only bright spot on this struggling Royals team. Not many predicted this team playing as poor as they have been, but when you take a closer look at this lineup, you can see why. Their big hitter right now is Alex Gordon, but he is nothing more than a five or six hitter on a team like the Red Sox or Cubs. He doesn't have legitimate protection behind him, nor does he have anyone in front of him getting on base. Pitching has been inconsistent, besides Grienke, and the bullpen has been shaky as well.

If the Royals were to trade Grienke for three or four young position players, they would be in much better shape. I talked with one free lance scout who said the Cubs are a good fit because they have a lot of depth and could lose a player like Ronny Cedeno with little damage to the team. Ronny Cedeno is on the cusp of being an everyday starter, but is being blocked by a Theriot and DeRosa. He did mention though that the Cubs would be more attractive to a short term replacement, perhaps Livan Hernandez, than someone like Grienke.

Grienke would be a great fit for the Braves, mostly because he would match up nicely behind Tim Hudson in the two spot.


Dodgers Shopping Penny?

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers may shop Brad Penny at the deadline rather than exercise his 8.75 million dollar option. He is 5-6 with a 5.66 ERA in twelve games this season, losing in his last four decisions. Penny is an above average pitcher in the later months of the season, so he is definitely an option for a team like the Phillies, who could be fighting for the playoffs. The Dodgers need pitching help along with middle infield help, and the Phillies are good for both of those. If they were able to snag 2B Adrian Cardenas, who is blocked by both Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, it would be huge for them in the upcoming years.

Shortstop Chin-Lung Hu is struggling and Luis Maza is still getting his feet wet, but both are good prospects who should turn it around after adjustments are made. Jeff Kent is likely gone next season and bringing in Cardenas would be great for this Dodger lineup. The Dodgers do have a lot of raw infield talent, which might lead to a Rafael Furcal trade, assuming he can come back with enough time to prove himself before the deadline. A long term deal seems unlikely after he has missed about a month with chronic back problems.


Braves Looking For Pitching?

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Braves called the Athletics about Joe Blanton and were shut down. The A's asking price is way higher than the Braves imagined, and it should come as no surprise if you look at it from an A's perspective. They are playing good baseball and it might get even better if Carlos Gonzalez continues to play well. Not to mention the return of third baseman Eric Chavez. The A's do not have to move payroll at the moment, and they are not that far out of first to call it a lost season. At least till the trade deadline, the A's can sell high and hope a desperate team like the Braves will come in and offer a boatload of prospects for one.

Other teams that are expected to be in on Blanton or Harden include the Rockies, who seem most interested to make a big move, the Tigers, Reds, Yankees, and Dodgers.