Tagged: blue jays

A.J. Burnett=Ricky Romero

In the past offseason, A.J.
Burnett was handed a 5-year $82.5 million contract to leave the Toronto Blue
Jays for the New York Yankees.  As
with many of the rash, big-money moves that the Yankees make, it hasn’t paid
off, and the absence of Burnett opened a spot for an cheaper, better pitcher in
Toronto.

 

A.J. Burnett, to put it
mildly, has struggled this year.

 

2008: 4.07 ERA, 9.39 K/9, 3.5
BB/9, 2.69 K/BB, 0.77 HR/9, 1.34 WHIP, .328 BABIP, 70.5% LOB%, 3.45 FIP

 

2009: 4.29 ERA, 8.21 K/9,
4.34 BB/9. 1.89 K/BB, 1.16 HR/9, 1.41 WHIP, .295 BABIP, 75.2%, 4.55 FIP

 

Perhaps I should re-name this
post The Not-So Strange Case Of A.J. Burnett

 

Following a career year,
Burnett’s numbers regressed dramatically. 
His strikeout rate has come down, his walk rate has gone up, and his
homerun rate has gone up.  This is
even more impressive considering the fact that his BABIP shows he was unlucky
in 2008, and back to normal in 2009. 
Maybe he just has Yankee-Stadium-itis.

 

Anyhow, up in Toronto, the
‘Jays are paying a rookie who they were criticized for drafting, approximately 16.1
million dollars less than Burnett, to pitch better than Burnett.

 

A.J. Burnett 2009: 4.29 ERA,
8.21 K/9, 4.34 BB/9. 1.89 K/BB, 1.16 HR/9, 1.41 WHIP, .295 BABIP, 75.2%, 4.55
FIP

 

Ricky Romero 2009: 3.95 ERA, 6.85
K/9, 3.69 BB/9, 1.86 K/BB, 1.05 HR/9, 1.44 WHIP, .308 BABIP, 4.47 FIP

 

Stay tuned as the Yankees
free spending continues to carry them to their doom…

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The Cubs’ Dilemma, Plus What The Blue Jays Should Do With Alex Rios

After this season, one of the Cubs’ top starting pitchers, Rich Harden becomes a free agent.  Harden is one of many pitchers who show an ability to dominate when healthy, but due to injury concerns, cannot go 6, 7 innings consistently.  Harden was superb in 2008 for the Cubs, going 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA, and a 0.97 WHIP in 12 starts after being acquired at the trade deadline, however, injury concerns caused him to throw only 71 innings for Chicago,  not quite 6 innings per start.

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Harden has had an up-and-down 2009, complete with HR struggles, and back issues.  Through 19 starts this year, Harden is 7-7 with a 4.41 ERA, and a 1.35 WHIP.  His high ERA and WHIP are products of a high BABIP, and a regression from a low BABIP in 2008.  Despite his struggles, Harden has shown almost identical strikeout and walk rates in 2008 and 2009.

With all the injuries the Cubs have had this year, and the fact that Harden has dominated in his combined full season with the Cubs, it is necessary that the Cubs re-sign Harden as he hits free agency.  However, with Harden’s injury history, the Cubs, or any team for that matter, should commit to a deal longer than two-years.  The optimal deal would be a 2-year $12-16 million contract, but who knows what Harden will demand, or receive with all his potential.  The Cubs do not have a player who could step in take over Harden’s rotation spot, which is why they must re-sign him this offseason.

  • Alex Rios and the Blue Jays

Alex Rios

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Temperental bust, awarded a 7-year/$70 million, heavily backloaded contract, based on one good year.  Rios has shown that his ceiling is only a 20/20 player.  He’ll lose part of that speed over time, for sure.  If the Blue Jays hang onto him, which seemed to be their only choice because of his contract, they would eventually be paying 12.5 million dollars for a solely above-average, hitter and an average fielder.  But now the unthinkable has happened.  A MLB team, likely the White Sox, has claimed Rios on waivers.  The Blue Jays now have ’till 1:30 ET tomorrow to trade Rios to the claiming team, or let him go to the claiming team for nothing.  This is a golden opportunity for the Jays to shed payroll, they should just let Rios go.  Why any team would want Rios is just puzzling.  Once again, a golden opportunity to let Rios walk away.

It’s Finally Over: AL East Edition

July.  One month of endless speculation and trades.  Ended by the trade deadline on July 31st. It’s over.  Finally.  I have decided to recap what each team did at the deadline.  First the AL by division, then later the NL.

Yankees- The really had only one need at the deadline, a utility infielder to replace the disastrous combo of Ramiro Peña and Cody Ransom.  They filled in the last hour before the deadline, trading for Reds utility man Jerry Hairston Jr.  Hairston Jr. will be the primary infield utility man for the Yankees, filling in at second, third, and short.  New York was of course mentioned in the Roy Halladay rumors, but Brian  Cashman did a good job standing pat, and not selling the farm system.
Red Sox- The Red Sox were as usual, built on a solid foundation with no real needs at the deadline.  But they swung a couple of deals anyway.  First, uncomfortable with making Mark Kotsay an everyday starter while Mike Lowell was injured, they traded for first basemen Adam Laroche, than flipped him back to where his career began, Atlanta, for Casey Kotchman, when they acquired star catcher Victor Martinez from the Indians.
Rays- The Rays had one glaring need, a catcher.  They were mentioned in the Victor Martinez talks, but didn’t have the payroll flexibility to add him.  It also would have been nice for them to acquire a starter, but once again, money issues scrapped those plans.
Blue Jays- The Jays, safely out of contention, had no needs at the deadline, but stole the spotlight with the plethora of Roy Halladay rumors.  The Jays nearly dealt Halladay to the Phillies for a substantial package, but refused to accept any package without top pitcher Kyle Drabek.  Halladay will probably be moved in the offseason, but for now the Jays aren’t making any moves.
Orioles- In last place, the Orioles weren’t going to be buying players, and with there top  farm system, ready to break out in 2010, they stayed quiet.

If You Think ’09 Is A Race, Then What Will ’10 Be?

All the talk through the offseason revolved around what would be a race for the ages in the 2009 AL East.  There were three teams, the revamped, “more lavish spending than ever” Yankees; the steady Red Sox, who didn’t know the meaning of the word collapse; and the sentimental favorite Rays, who had come out of nowhere to land the 2008 pennant.  In April the discussion revolved around the Red Sox hot start, the Rays up-and-down performance, and the last-place Yankees.  In May it was the Sox staying steady, the Yankees starting to find some cohesion, and the Rays meandering along the .500 line.  In June the Yankees and Red Sox were going head-to-head at the top of the division, while the Rays were making a little-noticed push toward the top.  Now in July, the race is neck to neck.  But if this seems crazy, then just imagine what 2010 will be.

Not only will the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays be in the division hunt, but also the Blue Jays and Orioles.  2010 is the arrival date for Orioles top pitchers Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, and Brian Matusz, all three will join ace Jeremy Guthrie, and sinkerballer Brad Bergesen to make a strong rotation.  Brad Snyder could join the O’s at first base should Aubrey Huff leave in free agency.  These players would join Baltimore’s core four of LF Nolan Reimold, CF Adam Jones, RF Nick Markakis, and DH Luke Scott.  These players would put Baltimore a bullpen arm away from contention.

The Blue Jays with their hoard of young pitchers, and hitters, such as Aaron Hill, Adam Lind and Travis Snider, have showed flashes of brilliance this year, and could be strengthend even more should they deal ace Roy Halladay for a kings ransom of prospects.

If a three team race in 2009 is great, then what about a five team battle in 2010? 

The Dan Haren Trade Revisited

Before I get to the main subject of today’s post,  a few quick notes…

  • Congratulations To Red Sox Pitcher Jon Lester For Taking A Perfect Game Into The 7th

Jon Lester is a success story to many.  A miraculous recovery from cancer, pitching again, winning the last game of the 2007 World Series, and finally pitching a no-hitter in 2008.  Lester’s story runs almost parallel with another player’s: Dave Dravecky.  At the beginning off the 1988 season, Dravecky had a cancerous desmoid tumor removed from his pitching arm, along with half of the deltoid muscle, and freezing the humerus bone.  On August 10, 1989, Dravecky made a remarkable return to the majors, pitching 8 innings, and giving up three runs.  However tragedy struck in his next start, Dravecky’s humerus bone snapped while he was delivering a pitch, ending his career.  Let’s hope that Lester’s career won’t mirror Dravecky’s that closely!

  • Chad Tracy, Stephen Drew, Chris Young, and Eric Byrnes, You Should Be Ashamed

Diamondbacks pitcher Max Scherzer has a .667 OPS, horrible, right?  What else would you expect from a pitcher?  Four D-back starters, 1B Chad Tracy, SS Stephen Drew, CF Chris Young, and RF Eric Byrnes, have lower OPS’s than Scherzer!  The D-backs offense should be ashamed.

Now the main topic, the Dan Haren trade Revisited
On December 15, 2007, the Oakland A’s traded RHP Dan Haren to the D-backs for six players, LHP’s Dana Eveland, Brett Anderson, and Greg Smith, OF’s Carlos Gonzalez and Aaron Cunningham, and 1B Chris Carter.  
After the 2008 season, in which they failed to impress, Smith, and Gonzalez were used as part of a package for Matt Holliday.  They will be left out of the analysis
How has Haren done for the D-backs?  Through 44 starts, Haren has gone 20-12 with a 3.09 ERA, and 284 strikeouts, including a career high of 206 in 2008, and a 1.06 WHIP.  Ace numbers.
But the A’s certainly received an ace’s haul for Haren.
LHP Eveland was one of the A’s starters in 2008, and at the beginning of 2009, he was solid in ’08, but with the A’s glut of young pitchers, I don’t see Eveland in the team’s longterm plans.
LHP Anderson, just 21 years old, has had a rocky start to his major league career, his minor league numbers are fantastic however, and he should be dominating in 2010.
Cunningham will take over in LF for 2010, he projects as power-speed combo, perhaps 15 HR’s, and 20 steals, with a high .OBP.
Chris Carter will defensively end up a 1B, or a DH.  But his hitting ability cannot be questioned, Carter is a slugger who gets on base a ton.  He projects as a 25-30 homerun bat in the majors.
All in all, Haren could have been a young veteran anchor in an even younger rotation, but with the potential of Anderson, Cunningham, and Carter, the A’s made the right move.  The D-backs paid a king’ s ransom to get a second ace, Haren’s been great, but the D-backs offense hasn’t put them in the playoffs yet.
This Day In Baseball History

1938-In a game against the Red Sox, Indians’ pitcher Johnny Allen storms off the mound and doesn’t return when he is ordered by ump Bill McGowan to cut off his distracting dangling sweatshirt sleeve. The shirt ends up in the Hall of Fame but the Lenoir, North Carolina native doesn’t.

1982-Dodger first baseman Steve Garvey becomes only the fifth player in major league history to play in 1,000 consecutive games.

1983-Steve ‘Lefty’ Carlton of the Phillies strikes out Cardinals’ outfielder Lonnie Smith for his 3,522nd career strikeout to pass Nolan Ryan as the all-time strikeout leader.

1989-For the first time in major league history, the same game is played partly outdoors and partly indoors as the Blue Jays beat the Brewers, 4-2 in a contest which features the closing of the SkyDome’s retractable roof in the fifth inning due to inclement weather.

1998-Dave Burba becomes the first Cleveland pitcher to homer in 26 years in a 6-1 victory over the Reds at Cinergy Field. Ironically, the right-hander was scheduled to be the Opening Day pitcher for Cincinnati but was traded to Cleveland the day before for Sean Casey.

2006-With the Yankees 10-3 victory over the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, Joe Torre wins his 2,000th game as a manager. The former Brav
es (257), Mets (286) and Cardinals (351) skipper becomes the first person in big league history to have to reached the milestone and also have at least 2,000 hits as a player.

2007-With two outs in the bottomof the ninth inning at Network Associates Coliseum, Shannon Stewart lines a single to right field to break up Curt Schilling’s no-hitter. Thanks to a first inning home run by David Ortiz, the Red Sox beat the A’s,1-0.

Back to .500 Again

Why are the Cubs tanking again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


One week it’s the hitting, the next it’s the starting pitching, and now it’s the bullpen!!!!!!!  Poor Randy Wells, the journeyman minor league pitches 6 2/3 innings of no-hit ball, yet the bullpen can’t hold a 4-run lead for two innings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  First Carlos Marmol gives up a pair of runs in the eighth, fine 2-run lead for Kevin Gregg.  Two outs, and Gregg implodes again!!!!!!!!!!!  Game tying two-run shot by Jeff Francoeur, and Atlanta wins in the 12th.  The Cubs may only be 4 games out of first, but with Zambrano suspended, Harden injured, and nothing functioning, can this season get any worse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This Day in Baseball History

1888-Ernest L Thayer’s poem Casey at the Bat appears in the San Francisco Examiner.

1932-In Philadelphia, Lou Gehrig becomes the first player in the twenieth century to hit four home runs in one game and barely misses a fifth as the Yankees hammer out a major league record for total bases with 50 against the A’s.

1932-Citing poor health, the Giants announce the resignation of long time skipper, John McGraw; in his thirty-two year tenure, the fiery manager won three World Series and nine National League flags including a record four consecutive pennants.Citing poor health, the Giants announce the resignation of long time skipper, John McGraw; in his thirty-two year tenure, the fiery manager won three World Series and nine National League flags including a record four consecutive pennants.

1978-Phillies’ Davey Johnson becomes the first major leaguer to pinch-hit two grand slams in one season. His ninth inning bases-loaded shot beats the Dodgers, 5-1.

1980-The Mets select 18-year old Darryl Strawberry as the #1 pick in the June draft.

1989-It takes 22 innings and seven hours and 14-minutes for the Astros to beat the Dodgers, 5-4 making it the longest game in National League history.

1995-Expo hurler Pedro Martinez hurls nine perfect innings against Padres before giving up a double to Bip Roberts in the bottom of tenth after Montreal had taken the lead. Mel Rojas saves the 1-0 gem.

2001-Manny Ramirez’s 491-foot, fifth deck home run is the longest home run ever hit in the history of the SkyDome. The Red Sox DH’s moon shot eclipses A’s first baseman Mark McGwire’s record established in 1996.

2003-Slugger Sammy Sosa is ejected from the game during the first inning after he shatters his bat and the broken remains exposes cork. The Cub outfielder will be suspended by major league baseball for 8 games (will be reduced to 7) his offense.

Early AL Cy Young Candidates

Today, I am going to examine the three leading candidates for the AL Cy Young Award, but first…

  • Another Day, Another Mets Injury

This was the Mets’ lineup last night, Angel Pagan CF, Luis Castillo 2B, David Wright 3B, Gary Sheffield LF, Fernando Tatis 1B, , Fernando Martinez RF, Omir Santos C, Ramon Martinez SS, Livan Hernandez P.  Besides Daniel Murphy getting the night off, starters Brian Schneider (C), Carlos Delgado (1B), Jose Reyes (SS), Ryan Church (RF), and the newest starter to go down, Carlos Beltran, (CF).



  • Early American League Cy Young Candidates
  1. RHP Roy Halladay, Blue Jays

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Halladay matches up almost completely with another Cy Young candidate, the Royals’ Zack Greinke.  Halladay is tied with Greinke in Wins (8), Winning Percentage (.889), and Innings Pitched (75.0).  However, Halladay is second in ERA, WHIP, Complete Games, and Shutouts, in all of which he is second to Greinke.  Halladay has Cy Young caliber numbers, and if Greinke fell over the edge of the Earth, Halladay would win easily.

2. RHP Justin Verlander, Tigers

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Just one year after leading the league in losses, Verlander has seemingly rediscovered his strikeout power that enabled him to be the 2006 AL Rookie Of The Year, and one of the top 5 pitchers in the AL in 2007.  Verlander even has a flukily high BABIP (batting average on balls in play) working against him, and has surely contributed to his 3.55 ERA.  Verlander’s strikeout numbers will appeal to the average awards voter, but right now, this race is between Halladay, and Greinke.

3. RHP Zack Greinke, Royals

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What is there to say about Greinke?  Through 10 starts he has an ERA under 1, he leads the majors in every major statistical category; if voting was today, he’d win the Cy Young easily, and maybe the MVP award as well.