Tagged: red sox

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.
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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? 

It’s Time For The Astros To Rebuild

As we head into the All-Star break, the Houston Astros are, as usual, 4 or 5 games back.  They have long held a reputation of a team that refuses to trade top players for prospects, hanging on to the aging talent that has kept them competitive, keeping near the top of their division, but not into the playoffs.  This over-sentimental practice is the idea of owner Drayton McLane, who knows how to run goods distribution centers and does not know baseball, but still runs the team, with GM Ed Wade as a puppet.  The time has come for the ‘Stros to rebuild now, it may already be too late.

The average age for an Astro starter is 32.  Their desirable hitting stars, such as Lance Berkman, Miguel Tejada, and Carlos Lee, are all on the wrong side of 30, ages 33, 35, and 33 respectively.  The average age for a Astros pitcher is 31.6.  They don’t have many pitchers who would draw interest on the trade market, but ace Roy Oswalt, 31, could return a huge haul.
One attractive trade possibility:
Miguel Tejada (under contract through 2009, $6 million left on contract, age 35), traded to Red Sox for a pitcher, one of Justin Masterson, Michael Bowden, Manny Delcarmen.
The Red Sox need a shortstop badly, their combo of Nick Green/Julio Lugo doesn’t field well at all, and doesn’t hit well.  While Tejada wouldn’t necessarily be a defensive improvement, he would certainly be a offensive improvement.  To make this deal work, the ‘Stros could also pick up some of Tejada’s salary.
The fact of the matter is that the Astros need to trade off their aging veterans before it is too late.  But knowing Drayton McLane, Houston will miss its opportunity to cash in.  They can’t ride 2005 forever.
Note: I will be out of town for a week and unable to post

Fire The Manager!

Your team is struggling, inefficiencies at the upper levels of management have resulted in these struggles.  You are the team president and co-acting general manager, you need to fix this, and you don’t know how to fix this personnel wise.  What do you do?  You fire yourself because you’re an idiot the manager!!!!!!!!  Yes this is what team president Stan Kasten, and the Washington Natinals Nationals

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plan to do on Monday.  Soon to be ex-manager Manny Acta, I feel for you, none of this is your fault.  Hopefully the players will stand up for you, just like the Rockies’ did for Clint Hurdle.

( I detailed the Nationals problems here)

This Day In Baseball History


1876-Philadelphia Athletic George Hall becomes first major league player to hit for cycle. The Englishman will also become the first player to be banned, along with others for throwing 3 1/2 game lead with 12 games to go 1877.


1940-At the Polo Grounds, Harry Danning hits for the cycle becoming the last player to have an inside-the-park homer as part of this rare feat. The Giant catcher is able to circle the bases because the ball gets stuck behind the Eddie Grant memorial and Pirates’ center fielder Vince DiMaggio cannot free it in time.


1963-In a 10-3 win over the Reds at Crosley field, Met outfielder Duke Snider hits his 400th career homer off of Bob Purkey.


1965-At Crosley Field, Jim Maloney no-hits the Mets for ten innings but loses 1-0 when Johnny Lewis connects for a homer in the eleventh.


1969-Hitting two home runs, two doubles and a single, A’s Reggie Jackson drives in ten runs as Oakland routs the Red Sox, 21-7.


1979-Giant first baseman Willie McCovey hits his 513th round tripper establishing him as the National League all-time left-handed home run leader.


1996-Cal Ripken sets a new consecutive games world record by playing in his 2,216th consecutive game The previous mark of 2,215 was held by Hiroshima Carp third baseman Sachio Kinugasa playing in the Japanese Central League.


2002-Due to 14 interleague contests all played in
National League parks, a designated hitter is not used in a full slate of major league games for the first time since 1972. Visiting hurlers will get plenty of opportunities to swing the bat as there isn’t a home game scheduled in American League park for the 10 consecutive days.


2006-Russ Ortiz (0-5, 7.54) becomes the highest paid player ever to be cut by a major league team. Although the team still owes $22 million of the $33 million of the four-year deal signed in December 2004, the Diamondbacks designate the 32-year old righty for assignment, meaning the club has 10 days to trade, waive or release the pitcher who is 1-14 record in his last 19 starts.

Do You Know How To Count To Three?

Milton Bradley doesn’t.  In the eighth inning of yesterday’s game, he caught a deep fly ball near the warning track, and tossed the ball into the stands, assuming that he had caught the third  out.  Now there was minimal impact on the play, Nick Punto had already scored via the sacrifice fly.  But runner Brendan Harris was able to move up to third because of the gaff, and if Alfonso Soriano had missed Justin Morneau’s fly ball, then well…. uh….. uh…. uh…. aha! The Cubs would have lost 8-4, instead of 7-4.  Now, Milton

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how can we teach you to count to three?  Three is the fourth number when you’re discussing outs in baseball.  The numbers for outs go 0, 1, 2, 3.  Or perhaps you prefer zero, one, two, three.


Let’s revisit that inning yesterday, when Nick Punto singled, there were 0 outs, when Luis Ayala bunted, and Punto advanced to second, there was 1 out, when Brendan Harris singled, and Punto moved up to third, there was still 1 out, when Joe Mauer hit a fly ball to you, and you caught it, there were 2 outs, and when Justin Morneau flew out to Alfonso Soriano, then there were 3 outs, and the inning was over.

A quote from Uncle Milton:

“The other fly ball [in the eighth], I turned my back to shade the sun some,” he said. “I caught it. I exhaled, and I was still seeing purple and green spots because I was looking into the sun. I sensed that something wasn’t right. My heart was in the right place, I tried to give a souvenir. It was messed up.”


At least it’s not screaming at umpires, or storming the broadcast booth, some of Bradley’s earlier exploits.



This Day In Baseball History


1905-Giants’ hurler Christy Mathewson pitches his second career no-hitter defeating the Cubs, 1-0.


1913-In the top of the ninth inning with no outs at New York’s Polo Grounds, Christy Mathewson strands a runner on third base to record his 300th career victory as the Giants edge the Cubs, 3-2. During his 17-year major league career, ‘Big Six’ will compile a 373-188 record.


1924-After Bob Meusel get hit with a pitch in his back in the top of the ninth, the Yankee outfielder hurls his bat at Tiger pitcher Bert Cole, and charges the mound. The resulting melee, including players, fans and police, lasts for nearly 30 minutes and when ump Billy Evans is unable to clear the field, he forfeits the game to New York, 10-6.


1948-With the crowd of 49,641 singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to the Babe, the Yankees celebrate the silver anniversary of Yankee Stadium by holding ‘Babe Ruth Day’. With members of the 1923 team (the first team to play in the stadium) looking on, the dying superstar’s uniform number 3 is retired and sent to Cooperstown.


1957-Red Sox outfielder Ted Williams becomes the first American Leaguer to have two three-homer games in one season. The ‘Splendid Splinter’ drives in five runs helping Boston to defeat the Indians, 9-3.


1957-At Comiskey Park, an ugly brawl, precipitated by an Art Ditmar pitch behind Larry Doby’s head, breaks out when the White Sox infielder takes exception to being the target of the bean ball and punches the Yankee hurler. Billy Martin, Walt Dropo, Bill Skowron and Enos Slaughter all actively participate in the melee.


1973-The Dodgers infield which will be together 8 1/2 years, setting a major league record for longevity, play together the first time. First baseman Steve Garvey, second baseman Davey Lopes, third baseman Ron Cey and shortstop Bill Russell are in the line up in the 16-3 defeat to the Phillies.


1994-At the age of 34, Cub second baseman Ryne Sandberg suddenly retires walking away from $16 million.


1998-The first triple play ever completed at Dodger Stadium is turned by Darren Dreifort, Eric Young, Jose Vizcaino and Bobby Bonilla.


1999-With his Astros ahead 4-1 in the 8th inning, the game is suspended when Houston manager Larry Dierker can’t speak, falls and begins shaking violently due to a gran mal seizure.


2003-On his fourth attempt, Roger Clemens becomes the 21st pitcher and the first since 1990 to record 300 career wins as the 40-year-old righty goes 6 2/3 innings in the Yankees’ 5-2 inter-league victory over the Cardinals. In the second inning when Edgar Renteria swings through full-count fastball, the ‘Rocket’ also joins Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Steve Carlton (4,136) as just the third hurler to record 4000 career strikeouts.



Glavine The Complainer, And A Marathon

  • When Will The Tom Glavine Drama End?

Tom Glavine is moaning that the Braves released him for purely financial reasons, and is demanding an apology.  Sure there was some financial motivation, minor league salary over 5 million dollars.  But who would you rather have, a 43-year old pitcher who’s averaging 82 mph on his fastball, or a 22-year old with a blazing fastball, and one of the top pitching prospects ever.  The Braves have tried to cling to the past for too long, it’s time for Atlanta to move on.

  • D-backs 9   Padres 6

A win is a win, or so it is said.  A comfortable 5 run, traditional 9 inning win; is different from a 18 inning marathon, where you can’t score until you’re opponent has to bring in an infielder to pitch.  Arizona better hope that their starter goes the distance tomorrow, or they’re in trouble.

  • MLB Draft Notes
  1. Stephen Strasburg will break the bonus slot system
  2. The Padres are fools if they take Donovan Tate at number 3
  3. Redrafts Aaron Crow, and Tanner Scheppers will be top 10 selections

This Day In Baseball History

1927-Tony Lazzeri becomes the first Yankee to hit three home runs in one game, including a ninth inning blast that ties the game. The four-bagger closes a five-run deficit, and New York goes on to beat the White Sox in the 11th inning at the Stadium, 12-11.

1961-Becoming the first major league team to accomplish the feat, Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock and Frank Thomas hit four consecutive home runs for the Braves in the seventh inning off Reds’ pitchers Jim Maloney (2) and Marshall Bridges (2) at Crosley Field. Despite the home run barrage which also included another by Mathews and one by Warren Spahn, Cincinnati still manages to win the game, 10-8.

1965-In the first major league free-agent draft of students and sandlot players, the A’s select Arizona star Rick Monday making him the first player ever to be drafted.

1968-Don Drysdale’s scoreless streak ends at a record 58 2/3 consecutive innings as Phillies’ Tony Taylor is driven in by Howie Bedell’s sacrifice fly in the fifth inning. It will be Bedell’s only RBI for the season.

1979-Future NFL stars, Dan Marino (4th) and John Elway (17th), are selected by the Kansas City Royals during the free-agent baseball draft.

1989-After the Pirates take a 10-0 lead in Philadelphia by sending 16 batters to the plate in the first inning, Pirates’ broadcaster Jim Rooker announces if the Bucs lose the game he’ll walk back to Pittsburgh. True to his word, the radio by-by-play man organizes a charity walk from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh after the season as a result of the Phillies comeback win over the Pirates, 15-11.

2001-Damion Easley becomes the ninth player in Tiger history to hit for the cycle, and the first Detroit player since 1993 when Travis Fryman accomplished the feat. The New York City native’s eighth inning right-field triple completes the deed in the 9-4 victory over the Brewers.

2007-In the third inning of a 10-3 loss to Boston at Chase Field, a surprised Alberto Callaspo is tagged by Julio Lugo as he dusts off his uniform taking a lead from second after Chris Snyder’s base hit. The Diamondbacks’ third baseman is the victim of the hidden ball trick as he doesn’t realize the Red Sox shortstop had never returned the ball to the pitcher.

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.