(6) Luke Scott to play first during interleague playing sending Garrett Atkins to bench. David Ortiz to play some first as well.
(7) Fanball.com will have a daily, 3-hour fantasy sports show from 5-8 PM EST. Starting on June 21st Fanball’s Fantasy Drive will appear daily on Sirius Channel 125 and XM channel 210. Yours truly will be a co-host.
Around the Horn we go, and I’ll break down the following topics in today’s video.
(1) Ben Sheets still wants $8 million. (2) Chase Utley to get more time off? (3) Rick Ankiel signs with Royals. (4) Jim Thome still looking for team. (5) Carlos Delgado’s hip an issue. (6) Johnny Damon still searching. (7) Miguel Tejada to play third base for Orioles.
This is the most wonderful time of the year. Besides being lyrics from a song, it is also how I feel. I love Halloween, I gussie the place all up with scary sounds, figures, even had a fog machine cranking this year, but I still love the Christmas season the most. I even enjoy, and don’t share this with anyone, hot chocolate and those sappy holiday movies that they play on Lifetime (did I just lose my street cred?).
Before I head out to spend the next couple of days with my extended family, I thought I would list a few things that I hope people in the sports world will either find in their stocking or under their tree come Christmas morning (for those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas, Happy Holidays).
To the San Jose Sharks: Playoff success to avoid a mutiny amongst the fans.
To the 49ers and the Raiders: A winning season. Heck, even an 8-8 mark would be terrific.
To Grady Sizemore, Jose Reyes, Coco Crisp, Erik Bedard, Troy Glaus and Josh Hamilton: A full season of health. If you missed my review of the Glaus to Atlanta signing, click on Glaus Signs With Braves.
To Matt Holliday: I hope your agent, the reviled Scott Boras, can deliver the goods on what he surely promised would be a deal approaching $150 million. Right now it doesn’t seem like anyone has any interest in ponying up dollars that even remotely approach that total.
To Brandon Morrow: I hope Santa brings you a heaping helping of control for the holiday. I’m still shocked that the Mariners gave up you so easily. You can read my analysis of the trade in The Other Deal.
To the New York Yankees: I wish you — well my mother told me if I didn’t have something nice to say then I shouldn’t say it, and in the spirit of the season I’m gonna stick to that. I will list a few of my “Tweets” from the Baseball Guys’ Twitter Page that should make what I think pretty obvious.
“Yankees payroll last season was $220 mil, $77.8 mil MORE than any other club. In fact, MORE than 11 other teams payrolls!”
“Yankees only team to pay luxury tax in 2009 – $25.7 mil. They have paid all seven years of existence, $174 of $190 raised overall.”
To the San Francisco Giants: I wish you a heart like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. Hell, I wish that you also had courage like the Cowardly Lion and a brain like the Scarecrow. Are you really going to just sit there knowing full well that your offense is putrid and do nothing to improve it? Newsflash, 2-years and $12 million for Mark DeRosa likely won’t be enough for a guy who thinks he is worth 3/$30 (even if he isn’t worth that). Do something big will ya Giants? Wait, wasn’t I supposed to keep this positive? Sorry for slipping.
To Garrett Atkins: I wish a return to prominence from the one-time borderline star. I’m not talking a return to his previously phat totals (.329-29-130-117 in 2006), but a nice .285-25-85 season would be great.
To Justin Duchscherer: I wish him peace. I hope he returns to prominence on the field, be it as a reliever or a starter, and I hope he got the help he needed to deal with his clinical depression. In fact, I wish the same for Joey Votto who also dealt with some tough times after losing his father.
At this time of year it’s good to remember what is truly important in life. Homers and shutouts are great, but it’s people that truly matter. So give thanks, wish someone a happy holiday season, and don’t be afraid to extend a helping hand to someone who might need it. Tis’ the season to be jolly remember?
Today I’m going to discuss the third base position as I continue to review my predictions for the top-10 at the position to see how they panned out (the following list is taken from the 2009 Fanball Annual Guide that was on newsstands prior to the start of the 2009 season).
To read previous positional reviews click on the following link:
A-Rod rebounded from hip surgery and missing a month of action to record yet another 30-HR, 100-RBI season. That’s 12-straight years of that type of effort to tie the all-time record previously held by Jimmie Foxx. Yeah, he really slowed down didn’t he?
Wright hit .307, two points below his career mark, got on base at a .390 clip (career .389) and stole 27 bases. Yet his season was a failure. Why? A five year low in runs (88) and RBI (72) was distressing, but his simply atrocious total of 10 homers, after 26 or more the previous four seasons, rendered his ’09 after an abysmal outing for a player who wasn’t hurt.
Ramirez injured his shoulder which limited him to a mere 82 games played. Still, in half a season of games he hit .319 with a .905 OPS as he hit 15 long balls and 65 RBI putting his production slightly ahead of the levels we have come to expect.
Longoria had only 58 RBI over his last 105 games, but with 55 in his first 51 his overall mark of 113 was the best at the position. Evan also went deep 33 times, was one of only three third sackers to score 100 runs (100 exactly), and hit a solid .281 with a .889 OPS. Not a bad second season in the league wouldn’t you say?
Jones hit at least .324 from 2006-08, but at 37 years of age expecting a repeat was asking too much (he hit just .264). Why was he ranked fifth on my list then if I already had lower expectations for his ’09 outlook? Bottom line was that the third base position just wasn’t that deep heading into last season (and still isn’t in 2010).
Atkins was abysmal. Period. You can read all about the performance in my recent Five Questions piece.
Figgins had a terrific season and it will make him a lot of money this offseason. Chone led the position with 114 runs and 42 steals, while hitting .298 with a .395 OBP. By thaw way, he was second in the AL in runs scored (Dustin Pedroia crossed the plate 115 times).
Huff failed, miserably, to repeat his tremendous 2008 effort (.304-32-108) turning out a .241-15-85 line in a season split with the Orioles and Tigers. He didn’t play a single game at third instead seeing time exclusively at first base (93 games) and DH.
Youkilis was much more productive than I thought he would be. He failed to match his ’08 numbers (.312-29-115-91), but was pretty darn close across the board (.306-27-94-99).
Gordon was injured, had hip surgery, spent time at Triple-A and all-around was a huge disappointment. He hit only .232 with a .703 OPS in 49 games, and in the offseason the Royals brought in Josh Fields to possibly challenge Gordon for starts at third in the coming campaign.
Random homers, tipping pitches, idiotic lineup changes, injuries, playoff races and even a little NFL talk. That’s right. I’m a one stop shop in this entry.
Garrett Atkins went deep on Thursday, his first home run at Coors Field since April 25th. How the hell does anyone, let alone a perennial 20 homer bat like Atkins, go over four months between home runs at home? Simply amazing, though I’m still more shocked to see that he is hitting just .227 on the year, this after batting .329, .301 and .286 the past three years. Talk about a guy who needs a change of scenery.
Looks like Jeremy Hermida might be done for the year with that troublesome right oblique strain as he has yet to do much of anything other than shower and shave for the past week. “We’ve done as much as we can for it. It’s unfortunately one of those injuries you can’t really rush,” Hermida said. As a result, Cameron Maybin becomes a potentially big play down the stretch for those that held on to him all year or took a chance on picking him up when he was recalled recently. Over the 21 at-bats since he was recalled Maybin has seven hits leading to a .333 average, and he has gone deep once while scoring seven runs. As encouraging, he seems to have a much better grasp of what he is doing at the dish as he has walked six times with only five strikeouts, this after posting eight walks against 31 strikeouts earlier in the year. Now that’s progress.
Luke Hochevar has found out why he has been hit so hard of late- he has been tipping his pitches. So now we know why his ERA is over eight in his last eight starts. Either that or because he is just awful. I think I might lean toward option #2.
I’m glad the Phillies finally decided to bench Brad Lidge and replace him with Ryan Madson (you can read about it in Around the Horn). Oh yeah, I’m also happy that I benched Madson this week because of some struggles of late (four earned runs in his last five innings) in favor of Brandon Lyon who was supposed to take over closing duties with Fernando Rodney serving a suspension for the Tigers. Of course, Rodney appealed the suspension remaining active, and Madson was given the closing role in Philly. I’m two saves from moving into third place overall in my National Fantasy Baseball Championship league, so care to guess how many saves I’ve lost out on this week? Two of course. Ever feel like no matter what move you make that it just won’t work? So frustrating. Where is my ripple? I know it’s around here someplace.
Is it possible that the Rockies won’t just win the Wild Card in the National League, but that they will catch the Dodgers for the NL West title? Crazy as it sounds, the Rockies are now closer to the Dodgers (two games behind) and than the Giants are to them in the Wild Card standings (4.5 games back). No team has every gone from 15.5 games down in a season to capture the division title. The Rockies could be the first.
For those of you counting the seconds for the NFL to get under way —
Michael Crabtree remains on the sidelines, still unsigned as the NFL regular season begins. Don’t know how that makes any sense at all. Maybe he is being advised by Alex Rodriguez.
The Cowboys have the most expensive ticket in the NFL this season at $159.65 according to Team Marketing Report’s survey. To compare, the average NFL ticket will set you back about $75. There is no truth to the rumor that Cowboys games are twice as fun, that the team will be twice as good, or that the seats are twice as comfortable. You will get to look at a massively oversized television screen that hangs above the field and interrupts play when hit by punts though. Only in Texas.
Apparently I have no sway with anyone. Yesterday I gave my thoughts on who the fans should vote for the final spot for the AL and NL All-Star team’s in The Last Man, but I guess no one ha any faith in my analytical abilities. Of course, there were nearly 69 million votes cast, and I’m willing to bet that at least 7.3 million of those votes came from people who have never read my work which must be the reason my choices weren’t the winner. In case you were wondering, the winners were Shane Victorino, who I had fourth, and Brandon Inge who I had third.
Chad Ocho Cinco made some comments about how he was going to revolutionize the “Twitter” craze from the sidelines this season, that is before the NFL stepped up and squashed that one before it got started. “We already have a rule that prohibits the use of cell phones or other hand held devices in the bench area during games,” spokesman Greg Aiello said. Too bad. I was really looking forward to the pearls of wisdom this buffoon was likely to share from the sidelines. I could just see a string of things like “I shook that guy out of his jock with that move” or “I look pretty when I score.” If only the NFL would have let him go forward with it.
Reports have the Reds heavily interested in adding Garret Atkins to their club. Two things. (1) That wouldn’t be bad news at all for Atkins as Cincinnati is still a great hitter’s park as his current home in Colorado also is. (2) With Joey Votto locked in at first, does that mean that Edwin Encarnacion would be the part of any potential deal, and if not, where would they both play if they were on the Reds? There isn’t a rover in baseball like softball – unless Mr. Selig decided to add it for the good of the game.
Pedro Martinez is one step closer to returning to the big leagues as he apparently is nearing an agreement with the Phillies. Good. Baseball needs Pedro. Let’s just hope he is healthy.
Manny Parra, banished to the minors after posting a 7.52 ERA and a 7.65 BB/9 mark in 13 starts, returned triumphantly on Thursday as he held the Cardinals scoreless for seven innings to lower his ERA to 6.78. Parra struck out seven, allowed only three hits, and most importantly walked only a single batter. I’m not ready to give up on the lefty, but even with today’s performance it’s not like you should be running to the waiver-wire to pick him up. Make the kid earn it.
Joel Pineiro continues to dazzle with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP after a complete game three hitter against the Brewers in which he allowed only one run while needing just 100 pitches. The man has 48 strikeouts in 115.1 innings or the same total as David Aardsma in his 38.1 innings. Still, he is proving to the world that he should have been selected as a starter for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic over Jonathan Sanchez who has 68 Ks but a 2-8 record along with a 5.30 ERA.
Chris Shelton has been recalled to the Mariners. It’s about time isn’t it? I mean he hit .460 in Spring Training and then has blasted Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .319 mark with a .906 OPS through 76 games. I know Mike Sweeney is a great clubhouse guy, but come on, the man is hitting .250 with three home runs and a .678 OPS in 120 at-bats with the Mariners this season (he is on the DL now). That doesn’t seem like that type of performance should have kept Shelton down does it? Oh, in other Mariners news, Ichiro is still hitting .356 with a .388 OBP yet he is on pace for 80 runs, and Russell Branyan is on pace to push 40 home runs, he has 21, though his average has dipped to .287 thanks to a mere .237 average over his last 114 at-bats.
With a home run on Thursday, Mark Teixeira ended a 96 at-bat stretch without a home run. How in the world can a guy who has hit at least 30 home runs in each of the last five seasons go a sixth of the year without hitting one? Even crazier, how can he have gone that long and still be on pace to reach the upper 30′s (he has 21)?
By Ray Flowers
The FSWA winner of the Best Baseball Series of 2011, BaseballGuys.com is the only source you will need for your fantasy baseball knowledge. OK, you might need other sources, but BaseballGuys.com should be on your daily list of must reads for the insights an analysis it provides on the world of baseball.
About Ray Flowers...
The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: M-F at 5-8 PM EDT), Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three. Ray's work can also be found as feature writer for: Fantasy Alarm, Rotoinfo, Rotowire and Sports Illustrated.
You can contact Ray through e-mail at fantasyfandom@yahoo(dot)com or on Twitter.