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The Greatest Game

Thursday, January 15, 2004

The last two top tier free agents. 

It seems as though IRod has narrowed down his teams to two: Cubs & Tigers. I'm guessing that the Tigers are offering him more money, since that's what they've been saying they'd have to do this off-season, but the Cubs will give him a better chance to win. Damn, the Cubs will give him a chance to win! What a turnaround for IRod if he went from World Series champion to the Tigers, a team that is going to lose 100+ games this season.

Then again, IRod may not have much of a choice since it seems that the if the Cubs end up signing Maddux (and I haven't heard of any team pursuing him seriously other than the Cubs), then the chances of them also signing IRod would be slim to none.

On another note complete, I'm having a old friend come to town tonight for the weekend, so my blogging might be a bit sparser than usual. But I will start blogging full-time again on Monday, so please keep checking back for more.
# posted by shawn : 1/15/2004 10:38:00 AM -

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Mael Rodriguez - One more pitcher for the Yankees? 

I was thinking about the Yankees pitching staff and I was wondering why the Yankees weren't going after another pitcher. It seems to be the Yankees MO to always have an extra pitcher on hand. With the Yankees' 5 pitchers, there seems to be room for one more pitcher, especially with some of the Yankees with past injuries. Then I saw a reference to Mael Rodriguez, the defected Cuban pitcher who is allegedly 24 years old and throws 100 mph. He set the single-season strikeout record in Cuba with 263 in 178 1/3 innings three years ago. This season, he was 8-3 in 113 innings with 117 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.11. I read somewhere that he is going to be working out for some teams soon, but I can't seem to find the article right now.

So I'm wondering how interested the Yankees are in Mael. They already have Contrares, so I'm guessing the Yankees would have a small leg up on the competition. If they're interested in the of course. Only time will tell. If the Yankees did sign him, that would allow them to put Contrares or Lieber into the bullpen as the longman - which they currently really don't have right now. There's no Mendoza-type pitcher in the bullpen and signing Mael (if he is indeed healthy and throwing 100 mph) it would allow the Yankees the luxury that they had last year of having an extra starting pitcher (or two).

I know that this just may be pie-in-the-sky dreaming on my part, but it IS the off-season - I think that I'm allowed a little of that.

- Addendum -
One interesting point the came up in the comments was: where would Mael fit into the Yankees 24-man roster? Right now, all 24 slots are filled. 10 pitchers and 14 batters. Here are the pitchers: Brown, Contreras, Gordon, Heredia, Karsay, Lieber, Mussina, Quantrill, Rivera, Vazquez. Also, as point of fact, Mael is a righthander. None of those guys can just be dumped off the roster. They could be traded, but they are all under contract and they can't just be tossed away (well, the Yanks can do anything they want, but in a sane world, none of them would just be tossed away). Karsay is coming back from injury last year, so if he's not ready, Mael could take his slot, but that's only a stopgap solution. How about the offense? Well, Enrique Wilson is a waste of space, but if you get rid of him, then you only have one backup 2B/SS/3B in Cairo. The Yanks are carrying 5 OF with Sierra being the most expendable, but since he's their best guy off the bench, I don't imagine him going anywhere (though Cairo could serve as the 5th OF if really necessary). My guess is that he'd start in AAA and pitch for a while until the Yankees get an inevitable injury. You can never have too much pitching, but I don't know if Mael is willing to go to AAA for as long as he might stay with the Yankees. If he signed with the Tampa Bay (as one rumor that I heard said he may do), I'm sure he'd make it to the majors much quicker. But then he'd be on Tampa Bay, so I guess you get what you pay for (or in this case, you get what you get paid for).
# posted by shawn : 1/14/2004 10:06:00 PM -

Orioles get Ponson 

Now all they need are another 3 or 4 pitchers and they'll have a decent team.

Seriously folks, according to espn.com, this is the Orioles' starting 5 pitchers:

Sidney Ponson, RHP
Rodrigo Lopez, RHP
Kurt Ainsworth, RHP
Eric DuBose, LHP
Matt Riley, LHP/Omar Daal, LHP

Hmmmm....not even close to the Sox or Yanks, and not even really close to the Blue Jays, who dramatically improved both their starter and relievers this offseason. I'll get more in depth on the Orioles when I do an overview of the AL East, as requested on the sidebar to your right.

It looks like another 4th place finish for the Orioles this year.
# posted by shawn : 1/14/2004 04:27:00 PM -

More Padre news 

If you would have told me that I would have posted 3 consecutive blog entries about the Padres when I started this blog a week or so ago, I would have called you crazy, but here I am with my third installment of...

HOW THE KENDALL TURNS

Well, it turns out that I read Padres' GM Kevin Towers' mind when I commented,

because Kevin Towers was quoted as saying they couldn't pick up the extra $20M on Kendall's contract because,

It looks like the Padres are stuck with Cirillo as their "super-utility" man. I really hope, that means he's going to get minimal at-bats. Ramon Hernandez as their catcher isn't that bad a thing, as long as he plays closer to 2003's numbers and not 2002's numbers. Meanwhile, the Pirates keep Kendall languishing in his Pittsburgh hell - his surrounding cast is abominable.
# posted by shawn : 1/14/2004 12:12:00 PM -

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Padres get somebody 

Padres signed Jay Payton to roam the huge tract of land that the Padres will have in centerfield in new Petco Park. I need to check how he is as a fielder, but his away stats aren't as bad as I thought they'd be. His road stats last year as a member of the Rockies were a respectable .281/.330/.483 - not earth-shattering, but certainly not horrible. We'll see how he fairs in his new digs.
# posted by shawn : 1/13/2004 09:03:00 PM -

Padres nix trade. Again 

Apparently,

That'll teach me for jumping the gun, eh?
# posted by shawn : 1/13/2004 06:32:00 PM -

New Commenting System 

Sorry about the lack of commenting system (not that anyone was commenting anyway....*grumble* *grumble*), but apparently BlogSpeak is down indefinately, so I switched over to Haloscan. I'll see how I like it, and if it works well, I'll stick with it. If anyone else has any blog commenting systems that they prefer, I'd love to hear it.
# posted by shawn : 1/13/2004 02:29:00 PM -

Aaron beat me to it! 

Well, Aaron beat me to the analysis of the Angel's new outfield. So what else does that leave me to write? The Angel's are up one oufielder and short one firstbaseman. The idea, as you can read at Aaron's blog, is Erstad, one of the, if not THE, best centerfielders in the game is going to get exiled to firstbase. Say WHAT? They'll have an outfield of Garrett Anderson, Vlad, and Jose Guillen. If Guillen plays close to what he did last year that'll be one hell of an outfield. So what's next? I don't think that the Angels are going to be able to trade Erstad with his huge contract and his tiny offensive numbers, though I'm sure there's a team out there that will look at his fantastic 2000 numbers and think that he'll be able to recapture that lost season. Plus, they have some extra pitching. Maybe they can flip an extra pitcher (Washburn? Ortiz? Percival?) and Erstad for a good firstbaseman. Or flip the two of them for peanuts, rid yourselves of the contracts, and then sign Maddux and Travis Lee (who puts up better numbers than Erstad AND plays better firstbase). The Angels have made a lot of moves this offseason - Escobar, Colon, Guillen, Vlad - but now they face the task of fitting all these parts into a cohesive whole. They need to make one more move this offseason that makes the roster go *CLICK* and everyone falls into place. Let's see if they can pull it off.

# posted by shawn : 1/13/2004 02:09:00 PM -

Padres and Pirates set for a trade 

It looks like Kendall is going to the Padres and their brand-spanking new stadium for Cirillo and Ramon Hernandez. And as David Pinto says, this is a salary trade. The Pirates eat some salary over the next couple years (an extra $1.75M) to free themselves of salary ($20M over the lifetime of Kendall's contract) the two following years (he's signed through 2007). Yeah, Kendall is overpaid ($13M in 2007 for a 33 year old catcher), but he's a much better alternative to having Ramon Hernandez as your catcher. Ramon put up pretty decent numbers last year (for a catcher), but the year before he was just plain awful. Which one is going to show up this year? I'm guessing somewhere in between his 2002 and 2003 numbers. And we're all pretty sure which Cirillo is going to show up - the god-awful one that's been showing up for the past couple years. Between 1998 and 2000, Kendall's OPS ranged from .882 to .939 - fantastic numbers for a catcher. But then his .693 OPS in 2001 reared its ugly head. On the bright side, since that bad year, his OPS has increased each of the next two season, to .706 in 2002 and finally to .815 in 2003. He's slowed down a bit and shouldn't be allowed to steal a base (he was 8 for 15 last year in SB).

As long as Kendall's hefty contract doesn't prevent the Padres from signing some good free agents over the next 3 or 4 years, then I think this is a good deal for them. They get a solid catcher who starts the season off at 29 years old PLUS they get rid of a huge paperweight of a thirdbaseman in Cirillo. I feel that they have partially redeemed themselves for trading for Cirillo in the first place.

For the Pirates, well, it's a travesty what's going on over there. They keep slashing payroll, and they keep making bad moves. Now it looks like Cirillo is going to displace Freddy Sanchez and/or Bobby Hill on the roster. That's a great idea, let's trade for a horrible thirdbaseman and play him every day because we have to justify his salary and at the same time let's stunt the growth of two of our better prospects. Blech.
# posted by shawn : 1/13/2004 09:48:00 AM -

Monday, January 12, 2004

Maddux to Mets? and a note on the Mets and Vlad 

Maddux

This move makes sense for Maddux. He'd be getting back together with his friend and long-time cohort Tommy Galvine, plus he'd be playing on a team with a fantastic up-the-middle defense with Matsui, Reyes and Cameron. He'd also be pitching in a pitcher's park, which I'm sure he'd like, and he'd be staying in the National League, where he'd pitched his entire career.

As for the Mets, they are quickly running out of options to improve their pitching staff. Maddux is at the end of his career, and will probably put up decent numbers on the Mets for another season, but I'm not sure how many more years he has left. His ERA went up over a run from 2.62 to 3.96 from 2002 to 2003, but his BB's and K's have stayed about the same. Looking at his numbers, it looks like they are all roughly equivalent from 2002 to 2003 except for HR (up from 14 to 24) and ERA. His BB's even went down from 45 in 199.1 IP to 33 in 218.1 IP. I think this would be a good signing for the Mets, but not for more than 2 years. A one year contract would be even better for them.

Vlad

It's funny how thing work in this world. I was born and raised in NY, but for the past 13+ years I've lived in Atlanta, so I know how the NY media works. Down here in Atlanta, from what I read online and heard on the media down here, the Mets AT BEST had an outside chance of signing Vlad. I never heard anyone say anything about them having even a GOOD chance of signing him. But apparently the NY media hyped the situation up so much (from reading the online NY media and I still have contacts in NY who I've talked to about this) that every Met fan was already celebrating his signing with the Mets. I love the Hot Stove league as much as anyone, but I find it a bit irresponsible for the media, newspaper and radio especially, for overhyping a situation so much to the point that they are feeding the public false facts just to get them to buy papers and listen to their radio show (*cough*Mike & the Maddog*cough*). The only people who thought that Vlad was going to sign with the Mets were Mets fans. I feel bad for them (well, as bad as a Yankee fan can feel for Mets fans, at least) for being manipulated so much by the media. And I know they are foaming mad at the Mets for not signing Vlad, but they should really try and redirect their anger at the NY media for being so irresponsible.
# posted by shawn : 1/12/2004 11:50:00 AM -

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Some Thank Yous 

I'd like to extend some Thank Yous to some fellow bloggers who have helped me out by letting their readership know about my new blog. I'd like to thank, in no particular order: Cliff and hits Cliff's Big Red Blog, JD at Redsfaithful's Baseball Blog, Alex at Bronx Banter, John at Only Baseball Matters and of course David Pinto at Baseball Musings. That there are others, I have no doubt, but these are the sites that I have seen referrers from on my site stats. As I see more, I'll definately post more thank yous. I really appreciate it fellas.
# posted by shawn : 1/11/2004 06:06:00 PM -

Yankees getting older? 

Wow, a post about the Yankees, what a novel idea! I was just skimming some stats on baseball-reference.com and I noticed the Yankee's average age over the past few years. Here is the table in a nutshell:

Avg Batter's AgeAvg Pitcher's Age
2004(est)32.233.2
200330.133.6
200229.733.0
200130.930.9
200031.332.0
199930.931.2
199830.430.2


Now, I was under the impression, like everyone else, that the Yankees have been getting older as a team for some time. But looking at the numbers, they've been pretty steady, except for the pitchers over the past couples years, and I'm sure a lot of that is attributable to Clemens and Wells, both who are gone. Of course, they picked up Kevin Brown and Flash Gordon, both of who are closer to 40 than 30. I know they also picked up Shef and Lofton and got rid of Nick Johnson, so their average offensive age might rise a tick or two. But my point is, the Yanks have been pretty old for while now, and, no, they are getting younger, but they aren't really getting significantly older, either. Of course, when I can get my hands on the average age for their 2004 team, I'll post it, or maybe I'll go through their probably roster and calculate it when I have a bit more time on my hands.

- Addendum -
It looks like the 2004 Yankees average batter's age is 32.3 and the average pitcher's age is 33.2. I've also added it to the above chart. It looks as though they got a bit older on offense - 2 whole years older - and a hair younger in the pitching staff. The oldest batter is Ruben Sierra at 38, followed by John Flaherty and Kenny Lofton at 36, then Bernie and Shef at 35. As for the pitchers, Brown at 39, Gordon at 36, and Mussina and Quantrill at 35. The youngsters on the team are Vazquez at 27, Heredia at 29, and Soriano at 26.
# posted by shawn : 1/11/2004 01:32:00 PM -

With Vlad to the Angels, will Pudge sign with the O's? 

Now that Vlad is all but signed with the Angels, rumor is the Pudge might be signing with the O's in order to give the O'sa fulltime super-catcher. No more subbing in your crappy backup catcher to give your tired, overworked superstar catcher a rest, now they'll have a super backup. Javy & Pudge would end up platooning at catcher and DH, thus allowing neither to get burnt out behind the plate and at the same time allowing neither of them to get sick of the DH spot. But we all know that Pudge was the O's first choice. And that he's a better backstop than Javy. Does anyone think that they'll let Javy catch half the games when Pudge is a better catcher? If I wre Javy, I'd be a bit pissed at this new development. But then again, it just might lengthen his career a bit, so who knows.

And, before I go, that above link is a Yahoo link of syndicated content from fanball.com. Now, I don't know much about fanball.com (if you do, I'd love to hear about your opinion of them), but they say on the little press release that Vlad will be "leaving arguably the worst hitter’s park in the majors." WHAT?!!??! The combination of Stade Olympique & Hiram Bithorn Stadium is probably the BEST place to hit. And according to Park Factor you can see here it was actually a better place to hit last season THAN COORS FIELD (118 vs. 112)!!! So I have no idea what those guys at fanball.com are smoking, but if someone could enlighten me to their comment, I'd love to hear from you. And better yet, if you could get someone at fanball.com to post a comment or email me, I'd love that even better. Thanks!
# posted by shawn : 1/11/2004 01:14:00 PM -

Vlad to Anaheim? 

I just talked to a contact of mine and he told me that he heard that Vlad is signing with the Anaheim Angels. I'm not sure how reliable this information is, but I thought that I'd let you all know the latest that I've heard. Frankly, I hadn't heard word one about the Angels going after Vlad. I heard the O's, the Mets (whose offer was rejected by Vlad), the Marlins, and maybe a small smattering of talk that maybe perhaps the Dodgers might possibly be interested.

If this IS true, then it changes the entire dynamic of the AL West. I would have to say that, coupled with the improvements of the Angels' pitching this offseason and the degradation of Seattle, that this move would thrust the Angels to the head of the class of the AL West.

It's late, so I'll find out in the morning if this turns out to be true and I'll have a more in depth analysis of how this affects the AL West. And the AL East, since the O's (who are now considering signing Pudge IN ADDITION to already having signed Javy) would be short one superstar. I think that it would definately put them in a solid 4th place in the division. Again.
# posted by shawn : 1/11/2004 02:36:00 AM -