Sunday, January 30, 2011

Padres look a lot different in 2011

For a team that was one win away from the playoffs in 2010, the Padres decided to go in a different direction for the 2011 and the new lineup shows that change.

The trade of All-Star Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox was almost a sign that the Padres were almost content on finishing in last in the NL West, but looking at their new, re-built lineup gives the people of San Diego a fighting chance.

2011 Projected Lineup

1. CF Cameron Maybin (from FLA)
2. SS Jason Bartlett (from TB)
3. 2B Orlando Hudson (from MIN)
4. LF Ryan Ludwick (acquired at deadline from STL)
5. 1B Brad Hawpe (from TB)
6. 3B Chase Headley
7. RF Will Venable
8. C Nick Hundley
9. Pitcher spot

Bench: Jorge Cantu, Everth Cabrera, Kyle Blanks, Aaron Cunningham, Chris Denorfia

2010 Lineup: (on Oct 3rd)

1. CF Chris Denorfia
2. 2B David Eckstein
3. SS Miguel Tejada
4. 1B Adrian Gonzalez
5. RF Ryan Ludwick
6. C Yorvit Torrealba
7. LF Scott Hairston
8. 3B Chase Headley
9. Pitcher spot

Bench: Jerry Hairston, Nick Hundley, Kyle Blanks, Aaron Cunningham, Matt Stairs

Jays looking to upgrade at third? and more

Another day, another rumour, this time involving the Mariners, Athletics and Blue Jays.

It's no secret that the Blue Jays are looking for a third baseman, it's just that there are not many left on the free agent market (only Pedro Feliz and Felipe Lopez can really still play the position) and so trade rumours are back in full swing.  The only problem with this rumoured deal is that a certain piece doesn't, and will not waive his no-trade clause.

The deal would have sent the Mariners Chone Figgins to the Athletics for Kevin Kouzmanoff, then, the Mariners would have sent Kouzmanoff to the Jays for an unknown piece, possibly Jason Frasor? Figgins doesn't want to leave Seattle, so the deal is dead, but is it?

The Jays and A's might still be talking about a Kouzmanoff deal, that would move home run king, Jose Bautista back to the position that he want to play, and is damn good at, in right field.

Kevin Kouzmanoff (.247 AVG, 16 HR, 71 RBI in 551 AB for OAK last season) would become the everyday third baseman making $4.75M.

If you were to trade Frasor in the deal and his new $3.5M deal, you would only be taking on $1.25M in salary and would solve a big problem for the Jays and in the process, keep Bautista happy.

You would have Arencibia to catch, Lind at first, Hill and second, Escobar at short, and Kouzmanoff at third.  Bautista in right, Davis in centre, and Snider in left; leaving Rivera to DH with Encarnacion, McDonald, Molina and Mike Mccoy on the bench.  This is why signing Vladimir Guerrero still works, as he would be the DH with Rivera, Encarnacion, Molina and McDonald on the bench.  That will cost an extra $5M (for Guerrero) but why not. Also, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star thinks that signing Eric Chavez is a better fit.

Add maybe a pitcher like Jeremy Bonderman to be the 5th guy and you have a team of contention.

Free agents still looking for work:

P Dave Bush
INF Willy Aybar
2B Ronnie Belliard
DH Hank Blalock
1B Russell Branyan
SS Orlando Cabrera
3B Eric Chavez
SS Bobby Crosby
P Manny Delcarmen
P Justin Duchscherer
2B David Eckstein
1B Troy Glaus
3B Pedro Feliz
P Freddy Garcia
DH Vladimir Guerrero
2B Cristian Guzman
OF Jose Guillen
1B Nick Johnson
OF Mark Kotsay
INF Felipe Lopez
P John Maine
P Pedro Martinez
OF Lastings Milledge
P Kevin Millwood
P Andy Pettitte
OF Scott Podsednik
P Jeff Weaver

Friday, January 28, 2011

The GM, one-on-one

Paul Brothers, of thescore.com, caught up with the Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos after the season ticket holders' state of the union address, and asked a few questions that weren't necessarily asked during the meeting.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jays trade Napoli, so now what does the lineup look like?

Well that was quick.  The trade that sent Vernon Wells to the Angels last Friday also meant that the Jays were all set to bring Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera north of the border, but only one of those players remains.  Mike Napoli was traded to the Rangers for reliever Frank Francisco, giving the Jays bullpen a ton of depth and a big investment in right handed arms.

Francisco, who once threw a chair into the stands during a game back in 2007 is a solid option now for the 8th, and maybe the 9th inning.




In the 2010 season, Francisco had a 3.76 ERA with 15 holds and 60 strikeouts.  In his career he has 32 saves and a 3.75 ERA.  He accepted the teams offer of salary arbitration and will possibly have to take the case to an arbitrator.

He made $1.6M in 2009 and $3.265M in 2010, 2011 could be in the range of $4M - $4.3.

How does change the lineups and bullpen of the Rangers and Jays?

Rangers Projected Lineup:

1. 2B Ian Kinsler
2. DH Michael Young
3. LF Josh Hamilton
4. 3B Adrian Beltre
5. 1B Mike Napoli
6. RF Nelson Cruz
7. C Yorvit Torrealba
8. SS Elvis Andrus
9. CF Julio Borbon

Blue Jays Projected Lineup:

1. CF Rajai Davis
2. SS Yunel Escobar
3. 1B Adam Lind
4. 3B Jose Bautista
5. 2B Aaron Hill
6. RF Travis Snider
7. LF Juan Rivera
8. C J.P. Arencibia
9. DH Edwin Encarnacion

Blue Jays Projected Bullpen:

RP Jon Rauch
RP Frank Francisco
RP Octavio Dotel
RP Jason Frasor
RP Casey Janssen
RP Carlos Villanueva
RP Shawn Camp
LP David Purcey

Waiting in the wings:
RP Jose Roenicke
RP Jo-Jo Reyes
LP Jesse Carlson
RP Robert Ray
LP Marc Rzepczynski

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Trade reaction on Wells to Angels

Reaction around the world of baseball on the trade yesterday of Vernon Wells to the Angels for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera has not been mixed to say the least.  Everyone knows the contract he signed was going to be impossible to move, yet it was, and for that reason, the Blue Jays are being praised and the Angels are being ripped in the media.

ESPN's Buster Olney discusses that money should have probably gone the Angels way for the deal to make sense.

MLB.com's take is for the Angels

Keith Law of ESPN doesn't like the deal for the Angels

The Toronto Sun looks at the deal from a Jays perspective

Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star tweets its the best deal for the young GM ever!

The sports network thinks the Angels offseason just got worse

Getting Blanked (thescore.com) breaks down the deal  and then breaks down the Jays

Is this what happens when panic sets in?  Most believe that the Angels made this move due to the fact that they missed out on Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre, but to pick up Vernon Wells and his remaining contract (4-years and $86 million remaining) is not something you usually do, even in panic mode.

Its one of the weirdest deals ever made because NO money is being transferred in the deal.  The Angels are on the hook for a guy that won't necessarily even be playing is natural position in center field.  he might be targeted for left, with Torii Hunter in right and rookie Peter Bourjos in center.

Rumours have already started that the Angels are not done though.  They may sign Scott Podsednik to play left, moving Bobby Abreu to full time DH and Vernon to center, OR,. they might re-sign Vladimir Guerrero to DH and have Hunter in center, Abreu in right and Vernon Wells in left...Stay tuned on this one.

What does this mean for the Jays?  Simply put, they save $76 million in the deal and acquire a few pieces that might actually help them this upcoming season.  With the 54 homer man still waiting to be signed, is a long-term deal awaiting the 2010 career year third baseman slash right fielder.  Most likely!

Here is a look at the projected lineups now for both clubs following the deal.

Angels Lineup:

1. CF Peter Bourjos
2. 2B Howie Kendrick
3. 1B Kendry Morales
4. LF Vernon Wells
5. RF Torii Hunter
6. DH Bobby Abreu
7. 3B Alberto Callaspo
8. SS Erick Aybar
9. C Jeff Mathis

Blue Jays Lineup:

1. CF Rajai Davis
2. SS Yunel Escobar
3. DH Adam Lind
4. 3B Jose Bautista
5. 1B Mike Napoli
6. 2B Aaron Hill
7. RF Travis Snider
8. LF Juan Rivera
9. C J.P Arencibia

Bench: John McDonald, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Molina, Mike McCoy

Alex reacts to the Wells deal

Thanks to thescore.com for the interview with the Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos discussing how the deal sending Vernon Wells to the Angels for catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera started and ended,

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blue Jays have 6 more arbitration players left

With yet another arbitration deadline looming, the Blue Jays have six players unsigned for next season, while three others did indeed agree to terms.

Newly acquired reliever Carlos Villanueva agreed to a 1-year deal for $1.42 million) made $950,000 last season)

Injured pitcher Dustin McGowan agreed to terms on a 1-year / $450,000 deal, the same deal he's had for what seems like the last few seasons. *(actually made $500,00 last year)

Pitcher Casey Janssen agreed today to a deal worth $1.10 million, up from the $700,000 last season.

Now the real decisions must be made.  Brandon Morrow and Jose Bautista are up for raises, with Bautista ready for the biggest jump of maybe all the arbitration eligible players in the league.

Here are the salaries from last season for the remaining players and what they might be looking for in 2011.

1. Brandon Morrow: made $409,800 in 2010 (likely a 1-year deal for $1M, but may be negotiating a 2-year deal for $3.5M range)

2. Jose Bautista: made $2.4M in 2010 (looking for the mega-raise and could ask for up to $12M)

3. Shawn Camp: made $1.15M in 2010 (looking for a salary around $3M)

4. Jesse Litsch: made the minimum last season but is coming off surgery, likely a renewed deal

5. Rajai Davis: made $1.35M last season (as a fourth outfielder will ask for double or close to $3M)

6. Yunel Escobar: made $435,000 in 2010 (good season but not a lot of leverage, likely a raise but not much, say $700,000)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Votto signs long term

The Reds and MVP Joey Votto have come to terms on a 3-year / $38M contract, to avoid the arbitration process.

Votto will still be eligible for free agency after the 2013 season, but this gives the Reds and Votto the security until that time.

Last season, a MVP season that is, Votto hit .324 with 37 home runs and 113 RBI.  He made $525,000 during that season, so a nice raise for a good Canadian kid.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Soriano signs and more

Just as extrabasehit predicted, the Yankees have officially sign P Rafael Soriano to a 3-year / $35M deal.  Soriano will obviously not be the closer with Mariano Rivera still in the mix, but he got what he wanted, and that was the money.  Exyrabasehit had predicted via twitter that the Yankees would sign him to a 2-year / $20M deal last week.

Soriano didn't care if he was going to close, he just wanted to be paid, and that he was.  The Yankees are in desperate situation with the shock still intact on missing out on Cliff Lee, who went to the Phillies for less.  The Yankees, so used to getting what they want, have been striking out all off season on players, thus, Soriano wins the battle.

Notes:

The Royals signed Canadian pitcher Jeff Francis to a 1-year deal for $2 million.

The Twins sign DH Jim Thome to a 1-year / $3M deal; the Rangers had offered $4M, so he took less to go back to the Twins.

The Athletics gave into the Grant Balfour sweepstakes (not really a sweepstakes but...)giving him a 2-year deal for just over $8M.  The Rays get a first round pick out of this signing.  The A's are still not done as they are close to signing Brian Fuentes according to several reports.

It's arbitration time again, and come Tuesday, most players will have signed.  Prince Fielder ($11.5M last season) tops the list with the Jays Jose Bautista also in the mix.  Players that have not signed by Tuesday night, must submit their salary demands, as do the teams, and hopefully avoid the always nasty court case to settle the 2011 salaries.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Manny might be saying I'm done

With hardly any real rumours of Manny Ramirez signing anytime soon.  We thought we would look back at this sportscentre gig that might suit him well if he can't find a job!



Or, instead of saying I'm back! He might be saying I'm done!

Damon the actor

Free agent Johnny Damon is reportedly going to choose between the Rays and Yankees in the next week.  A Yankee decision will be a return for him while the Rays choice would be about the money.  Would acting be part of his gig like this ad from the PUMA OPEN?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hoffman retires

All-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman has retired after 18 seasons.  He was able to reach the 600 saves milestone last season and ended with 601 for his career.

After making almost $8M last season, few teams called (D'Backs and Rockies , but in the end, it was time to move on.

Hoffman pitched for the Marlins, Padres and Brewers compiling a 2.98 career ERA and 1133 strikeouts.

The closer will be remembered for "Hells Bells"


and this video:




Video Game preview

If you still like the new versions of baseball games, and haven't stopped playing because baseball stars is so hard to find and probably no longer available.  Here is a preview of the 2K11, due out in stores March 8th.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rays should add Fuentes, Bonderman and Guerrero

If the Rays really want to pretend that they can compete in the AL East, kind of like what Baltimore is doing, they should sign Vladimir Guerrero, Jeremy Bonderman and Brian Fuentes.

The loss of Matt Garza in the rotation is really not that bad, since they have rookie sensation Jeremy Hellickson waiting in the wings.  The addition of Bonderman will give them a rotation of David Price, James Shields, Jeremy Bonderman, Jeremy Hellickson and Wade Davis.

The loss of Rafael Soriano to free agency, although he hasn't signed yet, is a void they could fill by signing Brian Fuentes to be their closer.  Although he's 35 and wants $5-7M per season, he was still the AL saves leader in 2009 with 45, and it's only 2011.  He didn't fall that badly since then, did he?

The losses of Carlos Pena and Carl Crawford is where the problem is.  The addition of the free swinger, Vladimir Guerrero will help ease the pain in the lineup.

Projected lineup with Guerrero looks like this:

1. C John Jaso
2. RF Ben Zobrist
3. DH Vladimir Guerrero
4. 3B Evan Longoria
5. CF B.J. Upton
6. 1B Dan Johnson
7. SS Reid Brignac
8. 2B Sean Rodriguez
9. LF Desmond Jennings

At least Guerrero would see pitches with Longoria batting behind him.  The key to this lineup would be the success of Upton.  He would have to rebound from a .237 AVG, 18 HR, 62 RBI season for the team to score runs.  If he continues his struggles, then Longoria's numbers will decline way more then normal with Pena and Crawford gone.

The Rays are trying to save money, but they freed up some with the deal sending Garza to the Cubs.  They saved $5-8M with that trade and even though they cut the payroll from the $70-80M range (was actually $71.9M last season) to the $55-70M range, they still have about $9M to spend this off season.  So, signing these players will be tough, but since its that time of year when players take less, sign Guerrero to a incentive-based deal for 1-year and $5M (with the chance to earn an additional $3M) sign Fuentes to a 2-year deal for $8M and sign P Jeremy Bonderman to a 1-year / $2M deal.  That's $11M, two million over the budget, but it keeps them in contention for a wild-card position.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What does the Garza deal do for both clubs

When analyzing any potential deal with only one big name involved, people tend to look at what it does for the team acquiring the better player.  In this case, we look at the rotations of both the Cubs and Rays if the rumoured deal of Matt Garza to the Cubs does actually happen.

Cubs projected rotation:

1. Ryan Dempster
2. Matt Garza
3. Randy Wells
4. Tom Gorzelanny
5. Carlos Zambrano / Carlos Silva

Rays projected rotation:

1. David Price
2. James Shields
3. Wade Davis
4. Jeff Niemann
5. Jeremy Hellickson

The Cubs do get better from a standpoint of strength to their starting rotation, but the Rays did this knowing they have depth in Jeremy Hellickson, their prized rookie, and possible sensation.  The Cubs feel they are contenders now with a move like this, plus the off season move getting Carlos Pena to play first.  Will the ex-Rays make a difference? Extrabasehit still puts them in 4th behind the Cardinals, Brewers and Reds.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The latest

Since the holiday season ended days ago, not much has really been happening on the free agent front, until the last 24 hours.

The Blue Jays officially signed Octavio Dotel and Chad Cordero, after both passed their physicals.

The Nationals signed 1B Adam LaRoche to a 2-year deal.  This had been rumoured for weeks, and he now joins Jayson Werth in Washington's lineup.

The Braves signed 2B Dan Uggla to a 5-year / $62M deal. 

The Mariners thought they had an agreement with newly acquired INF Brenden Ryan on a 2-year deal, only to have their PR department let MLBTR know that no deal had been reached.

Say goodbye Blue Jay fans to the one and only Dirk Hayhurst.  He announced on his blog that he will not be returning to the organization, and gives you some insight to what it was like as an American playing in Canada.

The Orioles officially signed closer Kevin Gregg to a 2-year / $10M deal.  This one was rumoured for weeks as well, but the Orioles overpaid on this one.

The Yankees are interested in Andruw Jones, according to SI.com

The Rangers are close to announcing the 6-year / $96M deal with 3B Adrian Beltre; former 3B Michael Young has agreed to become the full-time DH; but why not at first?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Who's left?

With camps opening up in almost 6 weeks, many free agents are still looking for work.  Here is a look at the some of the remaining free agents:

P Grant Balfour - rumoured to be going to the Twins.

3B Adrian Beltre - might have a deal with the Rangers for 6 years; Mike Young not happy about it though.

P Jeremy Bonderman - no takers this off season yet.

SS Orlando Cabrera - becoming a bad trend for him signing late in the off season; the new Orlando Hudson; must be the first name.

1B / 3B Jorge Cantu - stock has dropped since the trade to Texas and the lack of RBI's

OF Johnny Damon - Yankees thinking about the return to the Bronx

2B David Eckstein - someone will take a shot at the vet.

P Jeff Francis - Jays should just give the Canadian a chance. wants a big contract though ($4M range)

P Brian Fuentes - holding out for closers money; Jays and Rays interested at lower price

P Kevin Gregg - has an offer from Baltimore for $10 million over 2 years? UPDATE *did sign with Baltimore*

OF Vladimir Guerrero - might want to hurry up on a decision for less than the $10 million he's looking for.

OF / INF Scott Hairston / Jerry Hairston - the brothers (once together in San Diego) still have no public offers.

OF Andruw Jones - might end up back with the Braves

3B Andy LaRoche - Pittsburgh let him walk, so no one wants him

1B - Adam LaRoche - Nationals may give him a 3-year / $18M deal, maybe his brother can come as a part of the package

P Carl Pavano - looking for a 4 year deal; won't get that

OF Fred Lewis - Giants and Jays both took a chance, but he just can't stay healthy

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Orioles are trying to compete

The Baltimore Orioles may just think they can compete in the AL East, but competing is one thing, and winning is a completely different ball game.  The Red Sox have been in the news almost weekly, signing ex-Rays superstar Carl Crawford and acquiring ex-Padres all-star Adrian Gonzalez this off season.  The Yankees still have a team full of superstars, the Rays have lost Carlos Pena and Crawford, but still have Matt Garza and James Shields leading their rotation and the Blue Jays have the same team has last year, minus the bullpen losses of Kevin Gregg and Scott Downs.

But what about the Orioles?  Well they acquired Mark Reynolds from the D'Backs, signed reliever Jeremy Accardo from the Blue Jays, re-signed reliever Koji Uehara, acquired shortstop J.J. Hardy from the Twins and recently, according to reports, signed Derrek Lee to play first.  Again, they look better, but will they actually win?

Here is the projected lineup they may field:

1. 2B Brian Roberts
2. SS J.J. Hardy
3. RF Nick Markakis 
4. 3B Mark Reynolds
5. C Matt Wieters
6. 1B Derrek Lee
7. DH Luke Scott
8. CF Adam Jones
9. LF Felix Pie

The lineup, if Reynolds doesn't strike out every at-bat, looks like a force, at least from a name perspective.  Luke Scott led the team in home runs last season and now looks to bat down in the lineup.  The Rays may be in trouble if the Orioles can hit, it's just that the pitching of Guthrie, Matusz, Vanden Hurk, Tillman and Arrieta is still a problem, as the rotation is young and still in-experienced.

MLB 2010 in Review

The 2010 season is reviewed by members of thescore.com team.