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.
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
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.
A few days ago, I considered writing about how David Ortiz’s career was over because of his hitting troubles.
Guess not. With 3 homeruns in the past week, and pushing his BA above the Mendoza Line, Papi’s proving everyone wrong. Slowly but steadily, Ortiz is crawling back.
- Interleague Play Again
Some hitters and pitchers primed for big days today:
Alex Rodriguez- 10-16, 3 HR, 2.122 OPS against Livan Hernandez
Vladimir Guerrero-7-16, 3 HR, 1.533 OPS against Chad Gaudin
Paul Konerko-14-34, 2 HR, 1.105 OPS against Jeff Suppan
Ian Snell against Tigers
Vicente Padilla against Dodgers
Roy Halladay against Marlins
This Day In Baseball History
1907-The Yankees commit eleven errors and lose to the Tigers,14-6.
1939-In front of a record crowd of 23,864 fans at Ruppert Stadium, Lou Gehrig plays his last game as a Yankee during an exhibition game against the Kansas City Blues, their AA farm team. Playing only three innings and batting eighth, the’ Iron 71-Horse’ grounds out weakly to second base in his only at-bat.
1939-The Baseball Hall of Fame opens in Cooperstown, New York.
1940-In a trade which stuns the baseball world, the Dodgers obtain Ducky Medwick and pitcher Curt Davis from the Cardinals for outfielder Ernie Koy, pitcher Carl Doyle, two minor leaguers and $125,000; the deal signals the emergence of Brooklyn as a serious contender.
1941-The Braves break up the Waners’ brother act sending Lloyd to the Reds for pitcher Johnny Hutchings; ‘Big Poison’ Paul will stay in Boston.
1954-Braves’ hurler Jim Wilson pitches the season’s only no-hitter as he blanks the Phillies, 2-0.
1959-Despite giving up a hit in the sixth, Giant Mike McCormick was credited with a no-hitter when the game is rained out later in that same inning.
1967-In a 22-inning game which takes six hours, 38 minutes and ends at 2:43 in the morning, the Senators defeat the White Sox at R.F.K. Stadium, 6-5. The marathon causes the American League to adopt a curfew stating that no inning may begin after 1 00 a.m.
1970-Dock Ellis throws a 2-0 no-hitter against the Padres in San Diego during the first game of a twin bill. The former Pirates’ right-hander, later an adovocate of anti-drug programs claims he was under the influence of LSD while tossing the most memorable game in his career.
Dock Ellis died on December 19, 2008 R.I.P.
1971-Padre Clay Kirby one-hits the Giants; the no-hitter is spoiled by a Willie McCovey homer.
1981-Major League Baseball’s first strike which begins after the start of a season cancels thirteen regular-season games.
1983-Hall of Famers Charlie Gehringer and Hank Greenberg have their uniform numbers retired by Detroit in a ballpark ceremony. The digits 2 and 5, respectively, will join Al Kaline’s #6 (1980) as the only numbers retired by the Tigers.
1983-Before the game against the Giants, Dale Murphy visits with a six-year old in the stands who recently lost both arms and a leg due a power line accident and is asked by the girl’s nurse if he could hit a home run for the injured child. The outfielder modestly answers “Well, Okay”, and then proceeds to hit two homers in the 3-2 Braves victory at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
1988-Mike Scott’s attempt for his second career no-hitter is spoiled with two outs in the ninth inning by a Braves infielder Ken Oberkfell’s line drive single down the right field line. The right-hander, who settles for a 5-0 one-hitter, tossed a no-no in 1986 which clinched the Nation League West division for the Astros.
1997-After 126 years of major league play, the first interleague games in history are played as the Giants defeat the Rangers, 4-3, at the Ballpark in Texas. Glenallen Hill becomes the National League’s first regular season designated hitter.
- 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
- Stephen Strasburg will break the bonus slot system
- The Padres are fools if they take Donovan Tate at number 3
- Redrafts Aaron Crow, and Tanner Scheppers will be top 10 selections
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.
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.
It’s still early in the season, but when your offense can’t score, when your marquee player is injured, and when this happens you’re sunk…
- Indians demote Fausto Carmona to Rookie League to “Work on his mechanics and mental approach”
What has happened to the 2007 version of Fausto Carmona? As a quick reminder, that year, Carmona went 19-8, with a 3.06 ERA, and pitched 215 innings, more than he’d ever pitched in a single season. Carmona’s performance came with an abnormally low BABIP. What could be so bad in his mechanics to justify sending him down to Rookie league. Sending a player to Rookie League to work on something, not rehabilitation, but i.e. mechanics, does not motivate a player, to try harder, it makes him feel insulted, and work less. Back to the main question, what was his mechanical problem?
- Grady Sizemore’s injury
Elbow inflammation+possible hamstring injury = bad. Now he may have surgery and miss six weeks . I’ts time for Cleveland to sell players like Mark Derosa, and Cliff Lee.
This Day In Baseball History
1920-The Cardinals play their last game at Robison Field (renamed Cardinal Field in 1917), their home field since 1893, beating the Cubs, 5-2. One of new owner Sam Breadon’s first decisions is to agree to a ten-year lease for $20,000 annually allowing his team to move six blocks to share Sportman’s Park with the Browns, and then using the money from selling the aging ballpark to finance Branch Rickey’s idea of establishing a farm system by investing in a club afflilation with a minor league team in Houston, Texas.
1925-White Sox Eddie Collins, at the age of 38, becomes the sixth major leaguer to collect 3000 hits when he doubles off Washington’s Walter Johnson.
1934-Myril Hoag becomes first Yankee in franchise history to collect six hits in one game, a major league record of six singles. The 26-year old outfielder’s 6-for-6 performance helps the Bronx Bombers rout Boston at Fenway Park, 15-3.
1939-Bert and George Bebble and Carl Stotz form the Little League organization in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The three youth teams in the league have uniforms thanks to a $35 donation.
1940-Warren Spahn, who will become the winningest left-hander in baseball history with 363 victories, signs a contract with the Boston Bees (Braves). Due to a clash with manager Casey Stengel and his enlistment in the U.S. Army, the 19-year old southpaw will have to wait six years before he gets his first major league win.
1941-The New York Giants become the first team to wear protective headgear as they don plastic helmets in a game against the Pirates.
1957-After an 86-minute delay, the first fog out in major league history occurs at Ebbets Field when the umpires call off the Dodgers’ game against the Cubs due to poor visibility.
1958-Osvaldo ‘Ossie’ Virgil becomes the first black player to appear in a Tigers’ uniform. The versatile Dominican will eventually play every position but pitcher during his nine major league career.
1965-Tom Tresh hits three consecutive home runs as the Yankees blast the White Sox, 12-0.
1976-After a storm drops seven inches of rain causing floods in Houston, twenty fans canoe to the Astrodome to get rain checks for the canceled game at the enclosed stadium.
1986-Before the game against the Braves, Padres’ skipper Steve Boros tries to give ump Charlie Williams a videotape of a disputed play from the previous night and is ejected prior to the first pitch of the game.
1992-Eddie Murray drives in two runs against the Pirates to surpass Mickey Mantle (1,509) as the all-time switch-hitter RBI leader.
2002-The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission agrees to drop its lawsuit against the Twins and Major League Baseball. The deal settles a lawsuit blocking baseball’s contraction plan and removes the Twins from consideration for elimination for the 2003 season.
2006-When Eric Gagne, who will earn his first save in over a year, throws his first pitch to his receiver Russell Martin, the pair become the first All-French-Canadian battery in major league history. The pitcher and catcher both attended Polyvalente Edouard Montpetit High School, one of the few schools in Montreal which had a baseball program.
2007-At Petco Park, Trevor Hoffman becomes the first reliever to save 500 games. It takes the all-time saves leader 10 ninth inning pitches, including an 87 mph fastball thrown past Russell Martin for the final out, to reach the milestone in the Padres 5-3 victory over the Dodgers.
One no two no three big things happened in baseball yesterday…
- The Pirates Trade Nate McLouth to the Braves
I will start off by saying that I am of the opinion that Nate McLouth is overrated. He creates runs with his power bat, (which I am skeptical of), and his base running intuitiveness, but gives up runs with his poor defense. However, he is still an excellent partial fix to the Braves’ outfield problems. Atlanta was able to give up some good, but expendable prospects, to get McLouth. The Pirates were able to get three players:
- Pirates Promote Andrew McCutchen
Well, the Pirates did promote Andrew McCutchen, to replace McLouth. What else were they supposed to do.
- Sammy Sosa Retires
Sammy Sosa you helped save baseball in 1998. PED’s or not, you belong in the Hall Of Fame.
- White Sox Promote Gordon Beckham
Welcome to the first player from the 2008 draft to reach the majors. Beckham’s here to stay, mark my word.
- Geographical Interleague “Rivalries”
I understand that MLB is trying to create local rivalries, and some, like the Subway Series, and the Windy City Series are actually interesting, but others, such as the Battle Of The Beltway, the Rays-Marlins Series, and the Rangers-Astros Series are ridiculously one-sided. For the 2010 season maybe MLB should try something different, perhaps Classic World Series matchups, like Red Sox-Cardinals, Twins-Braves, or Orioles-Pirates.
- Mets 3 Red Sox 2
What does it take for a injury-depleted team working with a two-man bench to beat one of the best closers in the game? Answer: A miracle
- Diamondbacks 8 A’s 7
This game turned out to be a thriller at the Oakland Coliseum, the D-backs scored four runs in the 8th inning on key hits by Eric Byrnes, and Chad Tracy, tying the score at 5-5. The game went into extra innings, and the D-backs appeared to seal the game when they scored 3 runs in the top of the 11th inning, but Oakland came back in the bottom half, scoring a pair of runs off D-backs closer Chad Qualls, and had runners at the corners with one out, when Jack Hannahan grounded into a double play to end the game. The Diamondbacks won their third straight, but are still 10 1/2 games back of the Dodgers in the NL West.
- Two More Interleague Shutouts
White Sox 4 Pirates 0