Matt Holliday has apparently been offered $130 million over eight years to rejoin the Cardinals. Why won’t he accept the deal and return to the club?
By Ray Flowers
Matt Holliday has apparently been offered $130 million over eight years to rejoin the Cardinals. Why won’t he accept the deal and return to the club?
By Ray Flowers
Jason Bay is on the verge of signing a 4-year, $66 million deal to play with the Mets. How will he do, and what does the signing mean to Matt Holliday?
By Ray Flowers
Peanut butter and jelly. Ham an eggs. Eggnog and rum.
All of those thing go together almost as well as a deal in baseball where teams swap a couple of players with big-time salaries around their necks. Just such a deal was worked out on Friday as the Mariners sent their deadweight – Carlos Silva – to the Cubs in exchange for volatile outfielder Milton Bradley. I never thought I would write the following sentence, but here it is – I love the Milton Bradley portion of this deal. I know, shocking huh? Let’s break down each guy.
The Contract: Bradley has 2-years and $21 million left on his contract. The Mariners will be Bradley’s eighth team.
The Quote: “Obviously, in this case, it did not work out how we planned, which was also the reason I sent Milton home,” Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry said. “(That’s) not going to be tolerated, to treat our fans, teammates and members of the media the way he did.”
The Numbers: I’ve written these facts time after time, but here they are again. Despite all his skills, Bradley has:
* One 20-HR season (22 in 2008).
* One 70-RBI season (77 in 2008).
* One 75-run season (78 in 2008).
* One season of more than 415 ABs – one (516 in 2004).
Doesn’t matter how talented you are skill wise if you can’t stay on the field long enough to flash those skills. To further illustrate this fact, here is a look at his pace, per 162 games, in his career:
That is certainly a fine season, but it’s no better than the kind of work the world witnessed from Mark DeRosa last year (.250-23-78-78-3) and no one was overly excited by that performance were they?
The Fit: The Mariners could certainly use a middle of the order presence as they have yet to bring back Russell Branyan or sign a big bat like Jason Bay, so the addition of Bradley is a good one. Still, if the Mariners are expecting on Bradley making it out onto the field more than 120 times in 2010 they are deluding themselves.
The contract: Silva has 2-years and $25 million left on his contract. The Mariners will send $9 million to the Cubs to help cover the cost of this contract.
The Numbers: Three times Silva has won at least 11 games, and in 2005 he posted a 3.44 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Alas, things haven’t gone well, at all, since that point. In 2006, Silva went 11-15 with a 5.94 ERA, he followed that up with a 13-14 mark with a 4.19 ERA in ’07, and then things really got ugly. Silva, in his first year in Seattle, tossed 153.1 innings, won four games against 15 loses, and posted a 6.46 ERA. Things got even worse in 2009 as injuries limited him to 30.1 innings and a 8.60 ERA. Think of it this way. Over his last 34 starts, a full season of work for a top of the rotation arm, Silva has gone 5-18 with a 6.81 ERA, 1.62 WHIP and a 1.84 K/BB rate. If you posted numbers like that in high school you’d be on the bench, but in the world of major league baseball you make millions for it.
The Fit: Terrible. Silva first has to prove he is healthy, and even if he does that the fact is that he simply isn’t anything better than an average major league pitcher – at best. With an inability to strike anyone out (3.78 K/9 in his career), and a HR/9 rate of 1.13 (far too high for a guy who will try to pitch in the Windy City), this doesn’t look like a good fit at all.
Again, no matter how much I dislike Bradley and his tired, worn out act, there is only one player here who could be an All-Star in 2010. Furthermore, there is only one player here who appears to even have a chance to be better than replacement level. I know the Cubs wanted to rid themselves of the headache that is Bradley, but they really, and I mean really, took a huge chance here in trading the talented Bradley for a guy who hasn’t resembled a big league pitcher since 2007, and even that is being kind.
By Ray Flowers
I love the Winter Meetings. In fact, I’ve combined the event with Twitter to form a duo kind of like peanut butter and jelly. I admit it. I’m addicted now. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking ‘I’m sure the readers would love to hear that thought.’ Don’t worry, I keep a pad by my bed to write down the thoughts that hit me when most of the U.S. is counting candy canes in their sleep.
* Still reeling over the Three-team Blockbuster Deal between the Tigers, Yankees and D’backs? You can read my breakdown of the deal by clicking on the link, but there is still something I don’t get – why did the D’backs enter this deal as the third team? I think they will rue the day that they let Max Scherzer go for Edwin Jackson. Maybe I’m wrong here, but honestly, I have a hard time believing that. Whether Scherzer is a top of the rotation arm, or a closer (a potential given his somewhat violent delivery), as long as his arm doesn’t fly off I see this kid being something special.
* John Lackey is regarded by all as the top free agent hurler on the market. However, it doesn’t seem likely that anyone is going to fall all over themselves to throw $100 million his way. In fact, he might have to wait a bit and hope someone gets a bit desperate to hit that figure.
* I wrote yesterday how I thought it was a ruse that Rafael Soriano would accept the Braves arbitration offer in What a Great Monday. Turns out I’ve got that proverbial egg on my face as he did just that. As a result, the Braves are facing the prospect of having to trade Soriano or spend roughly a fifth of their entire payroll on Soriano, Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito. Soriano has already submitted a group of teams he would like to join with one possible destination being the Orioles who have already mentioned their intention to acquire a closer.
Have heard barely a peep dealing with Matt Holliday. The other big bopper, Jason Bay, appears to be on the short list for teams such as the Red Sox, Mariners and Angels, the club from Anaheim emerging in the last 24 hours as a potentially serious player.
I’m still completely blown away by the Cardinals give Brad Penny $7.5 million with incentives that could take the deal to $9 million. My question is a simple one – why?
If Ivan Rodriguez can get a 2-year deal for $6 million from the Nationals to be a part-timer, why are people freaking that Jason Kendall wants $5 to be a full-time starter? In an odd twist, he might get that starting role by joining Pudge’s old club, the Rangers.
Why are the Brewers looking to trade Corey Hart? Here is a direct quote from my Twitter page. “The Brewers seem intent on moving Corey Hart, though I don’t really know why. Haven’t they heard adage – buy low, sell high?”
Milton Bradley continues to have his name involved in more rumors than just about anyone else. Guess teams are really interested in adding a guy who can’t stay healthy, wears out his welcome in about four months, and constantly torments fans and teammates with his off putting attitude. Only in America can a guy like that make more money in a year, over $10 million, than 99 percent of us will make in our entire lives.
The Giants have been linked to names like Adrian Beltre, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Nick Johnson and Orlando Hudson. The club would prefer to have Pablo Sandoval to play third, but he could easily slide over to first if a third baseman is brought to town. The club could also move Freddy Sanchez over to third if they were to sign a second baseman like Hudson, but a year after struggling for any pop, do they really want a third baseman who is likely to hit about 10 bombs in Sanchez?
By Ray Flowers
Yesterday I touched on the NL MVP Race, and with things not nearly as clear cut over the AL, I thought it would be beneficial to present my thoughts for the top-10 players in the Junior Circuit for your perusal.
Like yesterday, I want to let you know that I won’t be listing any pitchers here, they already have their own season ending trophy.
10 – Bobby Abreu
Got no respect at all on the free agent market so he was forced to take a 1-year deal with the Angels. No one in Southern California is complaining now as Abreu hit .293-15-103-96-30 in a terrific all-around campaign that was his seventh straight year that he has scored at least 96 runs, while knocking in 100 and stealing 22 or more bases.
9 – Evan Longoria
The Rays fell on hard time in 2009 but second year third baseman Evan Longoria wasn’t to blame as he led AL third basemen in homers (33) and RBI (113) while finishing second in runs with 100 (Chone Figgins had 114). Still, it was a bit of a disappointing effort for Longoria since he had 13 homers and 55 RBI in his first 51 games this season.
8 – Adam Lind
Who saw this coming? Dude was flat out stud-like hitting .305 with 35 homers and 114 RBI. Lind also scored 93 times and produced a .932 OPS even if no one noticed because he plays for the Blue Jays.
7 – Kendry Morales
The best power hitter on the best team in the AL West, Morales came out of relative obscurity to blast his way to a .306-34-108 line as he remained a steady power bat despite injuries to Vlad Guerrero and Torii Hunter.
6 – Jason Bay
May not get the publicity of some of the other guys on this list but he was second in the league with 119 RBI as he also scored 103 times while going deep 36 times. Add into the mix a .921 OPS and you have a guy who will break the bank in free agency this offseason.
5 – Ichiro Suzuki
Once again led the league in hits with 225 as he hit .350 (actually .352) for the fourth time. Did lose his 8-year run of .300 with 100 runs and 200 hits though as the terrible offense around him plated him only 88 times despite the fact that he posted an OBP of .386, eight points above his career mark. Still he had a marvelous season doing what he does best – and he did it better than anyone else yet again.
4 – Miguel Cabrera
Was an embarrassment late in the year – you can read all about it in Around the Horn – but he still posted tremendous numbers over the course of the season as he used 198 hits to bat .324 with a .396 OBP and a .942 OPS as he slugged 34 homers, drove in 103 runs and scored 96 times for the Tigers.
3 – Mark Teixeira
It helps that he is a Yankee, but he also tied for the AL lead in homers with 39 (Carlos Pena) and led the league with 122 RBI. When you add on to that a .292 average and a .948 OPS you have yourself one hell of a season in his first year in pinstripes.
2 – Derek Jeter
Jeter scored his customary 100-runs with 107, and he was third in the league with a .334 batting average while producing 212 hits, 18 homers, 66 RBI and 30 steals. He also played much better defense than you may have thought
1 – Joe Mauer
When you set an all-time single season record for batting average by a catcher (.365), a mark that leads the league, and you also pace the circuit in OBP (.444), SLG (.587) and OPS (1.031), it’s an easy call for MVP even if you missed a month of the season with a bad back.
By Ray Flowers
With the season nearing it’s conclusion, at least from a fantasy perspective, I thought I would look forward to the 2010 season, something that Mike Sheets in Under the Tag, and Ted Carlson in Five Tool Blog have started to do. I’ll take a bit of a different take not listing my top-10′s or top-30 overall but instead I’ll hit on a some of the free agents out there that could be plying their trade for a new team come next season.
Carlos Delgado: Looks like his ’09 season might end with a mere 94 at-bats on the back of his ball card do to that right hip surgery. He hit 38 homers with 115 RBI last season but he will be 38 next year and hit just 24 home runs while batting .258 in 2007. He’ll have to sign an incentive laden deal, perhaps to DH.
Adam LaRoche: Again one of the hottest hitters in the game in the second half (.314-9-24 with a .919 OPS in 44 games). Maybe he should start training really hard in January so that he could hit like this in the first half. No reason the Braves don’t bring him back.
Placido Polanco: Anyone out there looking for the prototypical #2 hitter? His average has slipped this season (.277 versus a career .303 mark), but he is on the cusp of a career-high in RBI (just four short with 63) while producing another excellent contact rate (0.93 do to only 35 strikeouts on the year). This is likely as good as it gets at this point, but that isn’t all that bad is it?
Miguel Tejada: A huge question mark this coming offseason. Is Tejada the man who hit .329 with a .830 OPS in the first half of the aging/slowing veteran who has hit just .255 with a .645 OPS since the All-Star break? Might end up at third base wherever he signs.
Adrian Beltre: Wear a cup Adrian. That’s all I have to say.
Chone Figgins: Not the prototypical corner infielder since he has an almost total lack of pop. Still, don’t know of many teams that would turn away a .300 hitting, 40 steal, 100 run option at the top of their lineup.
Melvin Mora: Trying to prove that he still has some game left in that soon to be 38 year old body of his. After a pathetic first half (.259/.326/.335) he has been pretty solid the past two weeks (.405-3-7 in 11 games).
Jason Bay: The Sox won’t let him go, not after another big-time offensive season (.261-31-98-87-12 in just 456 ABs).
Johnny Damon: Will he remain with the Yankees? Since he scores 90 runs every year and will be coming off the best power season of his career he will likely get one more major dollar deal. Still, he is likely best suited for DH at this stage of his career. My brother’s 16 month old daughter almost throws as well.
Matt Holliday: A Scott Boras client, Holliday has hit like Stan Musial since joining the Birds (.378-11-39-31 with a 1.125 OPS in 156 ABs). Don’t know the last time you checked, but in case you hadn’t heard, Boras is the biggest pain in the a – - in the universe, that is if you are a team trying to sign a player. Boras/Holliday won’t be giving the Red Birds a discount, and Boras will get his man the money he “deserves” on the market. Still, the Cardinals simply can’t let him go can they?
Jermaine Dye: Five straight years of at least 25 homers and 75 RBI (once he knocks in three more runs this year), Dye is as consistent a run producing right fielder as there is in the game. He will be 36 in June but he should still have a few productive years left despite his profound struggles of late (.184 in his last 185 ABs).
Vlad Guerrero: Injured to start the year Vlad has been, well Vlad, hitting .298 with a .904 OPS since the All-Star break. He may be limited to DH duties the rest of his career but the man can still hit .300 with 25 home runs if healthy.
Aubrey Huff: Hasn’t lived up to last season’s huge effort (.304-32-108-96) and has looked lost at the plate of late (he has hit just .215 over his last 44 games and .210 since the start of August). He’ll be hard pressed to sign a deal that exceeds a couple of years at anything remotely approaching his current level of pay ($8 million).
By Ray Flowers
The Pirates are at it again, and by “it” I mean the systematic dismantling of their major league roster as they plan for the mythical “future” when at some point they will be a good club once again. I don’t know when that will happen, hell I don’t know if will ever happen, but they are certainly giving it the old college try. Before I get to that, and is it just me or have the Pirates sucked up and abnormally huge portion of media attention of late, I want to let you all know that I’m not just going to bash the Pirates today, I’ll also bash other figures in the game of baseball as well. Maybe one of your “guys” will be on the list and you can leave a comment for me either agreeing or disagreeing with me on my take on each guy.
Today the Pirates dealt John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny to the Cubs for Kevin Hart, Jose Ascanio and Josh Harrison. The people in Pittsburgh are going to need to have their players to wear neon signs with their names as they likely have no idea who and the heck the majority of these guys are at this point. I don’t have the list in front of me, and frankly I’m past the point of really caring, but off the top of my head the Pirates have given up the following players recently.
1B: Adam LaRoche
2B: Freddy Sanchez
SS: Jack Wilson
OF:Jason Bay, Nate McLouth, Xavier Nady, Nyjer Morgan
P: Ian Snell, Grabow, Gorzelanny
I’m sure there are guys I’m leaving out, but honestly, can the Pirates really say they are a better organization without those men? They might be a stronger organization, but their major league club is much, much worse. If “they” try to claim otherwise I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see their noses grow like Pinocchio’s.
Oh, and before I leave the Pirates just thought I would point out that Nyjer Morgan is hitting .482 since the All-Star break. I’m just saying.
David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez reportedly tested positive for steroids back in 2003. What a shock. Still, how is this information becoming public? Why did the court bother to make the records secret if people were going to openly flaunt that secrecy ruling and just leak out the info? Speaking of that list, why don’t the powers that be just dump out the whole list rather than one or two names leak out every month? Bottom line for me is that there is no way to verify what happened in 2003 and if players tested “positive” for something that was legal in baseball at the time, why is everyone flipping out? If you look hard enough you can probably find an NFL player who tests positive for steroids every week, yet no one seems to care in that sport do they?
Delusional Player of the Week – Russ Ortiz who still doesn’t get why the Astros weren’t kissing his feet for his work on the hill for them this season was released immediately after his outing on Thursday in which he allowed nine runs while recording just seven outs. With a 5.57 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Russ doesn’t think he deserves a raise.
Brandon Webb had a mysterious “setback” in his attempt to return from a shoulder issue, and at this point he is being sent for more tests. “He’s not probably making the progress we were hoping for, so I think we have to make an assessment about what to do next,” GM Josh Byrnes said. So let me see if I have this straight. Webb’s shoulder has been a concern since last off-season when the club couldn’t get insurance on a potential long-term deal with Webb when the tests raised the issues in his shoulder. No matter, Webb continued to pitch and made all of one start before heading to the DL. It now appears nearly certain that he will require surgery, and if he does it is far from certain that he will be ready to go at the start of 2010. So here is the question – (a) why didn’t Webb undergo surgery last off-season if this was a concern or (b) why didn’t he do something differently, training wise, in order to avoid this outcome (perhaps he did but there was no stopping it)? Furthermore, why hasn’t he just undergone the procedure by this point since it’s clear he is done for the year? I would avoid surgery at all costs too, but that decision may end up costing Webb all of 2009 and some of 2010.
Joel Zumaya will head under the knife at some point in August to fix his shoulder, and his 2009 campaign is over after just 31 innings. Zumaya can still rush it up there with anyone in the game, his average heater this year was an astounding 99.3 mph, but dude simply cannot stay healthy. Is all of this the result of a bad body, poor luck or too much Guitar Hero? Beats me.
By Ray Flowers
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
– Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
Written by Thomas Jefferson in the month of July, 1776, The Declaration of Independence declared that we were no longer under the tyranny of any foreign ruler and that we, and we alone, would determine our destiny moving forward. As a lad of 16 I had the privilege of visiting the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom in the National Archives where the Declaration, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights all reside. Even at a young age I was awed by the gravity of being in the presence of three of the most important documents in the history of humanity. An on this day, filled with BBQ’s, fireworks and friendship, I thought it apropos to mention how we should all pause and consider what type of lives we would be leading if not for the great men and women of this country who have come before us to forge our place in the annals of recorded history. To them my hat is off, and my eternal gratitude will forever flow from the blood in my veins.
With that, here are some of my thoughts on this most special of days.
(1) It’s not quite LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant, but in a sense it is as the top-2 men in their sport go heads up in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest as defending champ Joey Chestnut takes on Kobayashi. If you haven’t even witnessed the event, take an hour out of your day on Saturday to give it a viewing – it truly is an impressive site.. You can learn more about the event at the link to Nathan’s Famous. For those of you who have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, click on the link to Is Competitive Eating a Sport? where I reviewed the event last year (just scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the piece from July 10, 2008). That should get your juices flowin’.
(2) The original estimate for people living in the United Stated in July of 1776 was 2.5 million. That number has swelled just a tad since then up to 304 million.
(3) Jason Bay, the slugging outfielder for the Red Sox was born in Trail, British Columbia in September 1978. Bay married a US Citizen, and then had two children who are obviously US Citizens themselves. So what did the Canadian born ballplayer do this past week? He became a US Citizen himself. “It’s a very big deal, but I didn’t realize what a big deal it was,” Bay said. “A lot of people have given me congratulations. It hasn’t really hit me yet.” Bay was clear to point out that he has nothing but positive things to say about Canada “but I’m definitely proud to be an American.” Aren’t we all my friend.
(4) Even though the Declaration was adopted on July 4th, 1776, did you know that it wasn’t a national holiday until 1941? What took the powers that be so long? You’d think they’d want to set up a grand party where people would come together in celebration.
(5) Even though we celebrate July 4th as the day of our independence, the truth is that the actual resolution for independence was taken on July 2nd. So why do we celebrate on the 4th? That was the day that the Declaration was read to the public which marked the occasion with a massive party.
So when you are stuffing your face with that hot dog or pulling back on that frosty beer in your hand, pause for a moment to given thanks to the men and women who gave us the freedom we have today. It’s the least we can do to say thanks.
By Ray Flowers
The Pirates are at it again, and that isn’t a good thing. For a proud franchise, one that has won nine pennants and five world championships in it’s illustrious history, there is no end in sight to the continual failures of the organization.
That’s the refrain the fans are fed year after year by the front office.
And year after year the refrain is repeated yet again.
For a group of fans that haven’t witnessed their team post a .500 record since Barry Bonds left the club after the 1992 season, their frustration must be at an all-time high. Why do I say that? Well beyond their unbelievable run of futility, the Pirates made a couple of moves in past day or so that has the team, once again, looking to the future. This time the players are voicing their displeasure at the moves.
“It’s not our job to understand the big plan, I guess,” first baseman Adam LaRoche said.
Here is what shortstop Jack Wilson had to say. “We know that they’re looking to the future, which doesn’t say much about 2009. We’re five games out, and we lost two or three of our everyday players…I’ve been here nine years. I’ve seen two or three of these trades every year and still haven’t had a winning season.”
Management, of course, has a different take.
“The upside that we’re gaining is something we can’t pass up,” manager John Russell said.
What moves are we talking about?
The Pirates sent OF Nyjer Morgan, RP Sean Burnett and jack of all trades Eric Hinske out of town in a couple of moves, and in return they netted the talented but enigmatic Lastings Milledge and the talented but unproductive Joel Hanrahan. It really can’t be argued that the club received the more talented players in these deals, but the questions are a plenty.
(1) Can a guy who was banished to the minors a year after hitting 14 home runs while stealing 24 bases be a difference maker? What if that guy was terribly ineffective at the dish this season (.167 in 24 at-bats) prior to his demotion? What if that guy continues to live his life as if no one else matters but himself? Milledge has 20/20 talent, but he has proven thus far to have a .20 cent head.
(2) Does the club really need a 95 mph throwing reliever who failed miserably as a closer this season for the Nationals (five saves, five blown saves)? You can’t teach 95, and Hanrahan does have 128 Ks in his last 117 innings so he certainly has talent, but he is far from a finished product with a career walk rate of 5.04 per nine innings
Beyond these two moves, which again seemed to net the club the more talented options, the question becomes one that the organization must answer to the fans – do they intend to make money or produce a winning squad? Remember, this is a team that let its best player, Jason Bay, go last year in a late season deal and then followed that move up by trading their new “best” player to the Braves when they moved Nate McLouth this season. What kind of message does a club send to it’s fan base when it trades away its number three and four hitters for a couple of prospects, a decidedly average starting pitcher (Charlie Morton), a pitcher no one has heard of in Bryan Morris, a failed reliever in Craig Hansen and a failed outfielder in Brandon Moss? Oh yeah, the club also got third baseman Andy LaRoche but I almost forgot him because he is hitting a whopping .278 with a massive three home runs and a staggeringly mediocre .750 OPS this season.
Look, I’m not a Pirates fan at all, but I can sympathize with the fans of a club that have to pay money to watch an ownership group that continues to say “wait til next year.” My question is, will they ever reach the point of “next year” or is this a conundrum in the same vein as the fact that we think we can never travel the speed of light as Albert Einstein posited many years ago (why is light speed travel not possible you ask? For those of you that care click on the link to Speed of Light and scroll down to “The Ultimate Speed of Light” for a brief description). For the Pirates sake I truly hope next year really is next year, though I still wonder if the Pirates have assembled enough talent to even return to the level of respectability and a .500 record. One can hope, and the eternal optimist in us all surely hasn’t given up on that.
By Ray Flowers