Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jays shutout again

Well, the first two games of spring better not be an indication of things to come. 

The Blue Jays were shutout again by the Detroit Tigers, this time by a 1-0 score, although the pitching looked great in the loss.

Not scoring any runs now in two consecutive games is of no concern to any of the Jays brass, but it would be nice to get the bats going early to avoid talk like this.

On a positive note, Marc Rzepcynski pitched two scoreless innings, striking out two and walking no-one.  Jesse Litsch, who is also fighting for a rotation spot this season, had two scoreless innings as well, giving up one hit and had one strikeout.

At the plate, the Blue Jays had only three hits (McCoy, Lind, Molina) all three were singles.

Anthony Gose, acquired fopr Brett Wallace (Astros) looked good in the field and had his first two stolen bases of the spring.

Toronto only has eight hits in two games this spring so far. 

Tomorrow, the Jays will face ex-Jays ace Roy Halladay and the Phillies at home in Dunedin.

Notes:

Miguel Cabrera did not play today for the Tigers, but is expected to be in the lineup Monday in Lakeland vs. the Yankees.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Number 42

When you think number 42, you think Jackie Robinson.

thescore.com talks to Ed Davis of the Toronto Raptors, Mike "Pinball" Clemons, Ferguson Jenkins and others about Jackie Robinson

Around the league

With camps in full swing around the majors, many teams are at the point where they truly believe their clubs have a legit shot at making the playoffs.  No injuries, no players complaining, it's too early for that, but not to early for owners to start talking.

Hank Steinbrenner talked about how some of the Yankees celebrated too much last year.

Chad Finn thinks Albert Pujols will end up in pinstripes.

The Angels' Bobby Abreu is fine with the full-time DH role.

Michael Hunt looks at the arrival of Prince Fielder to camp and how happy he is now, and about next season's big pay day.

The Arizona Republic looks at the Diamondbacks pitching future.

Terry Pluto, of the Plain Dealer explores how the Indians need to get their fans back; and winning seems to be the answer for the question every time

The Washington Post looks at the arrival of the number one overall pick for the Nationals, Bryce Harper.

Richard Griffin, of the Toronto Star wonders why so much secrecy on the injury to Travis Snider.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland predicts Verlander to be a consistent 20-game winner.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Central Battle

The White Sox have moved passed the failed experiment with Manny Ramirez and have completed the off-season with a roster built towards making the playoffs.  Most of the moves were made in seasons past, as this off-season only really saw the acquisition of slugger Adam Dunn and the re-signing of star Paul Konerko to big money and they let closer Bobby Jenks go to Boston.  If Jake Peavy, coming off arm surgery, can stay healthy and Edwin Jackson continues to improve, the pitching, led by ace Mark Buehrle, will be solid mixed with a lineup full of potential, gives the White Sox the early lead to win the AL Central.

Projected Lineup:

1. LF Juan Pierre
2. 2B Gordan Beckham
3. DH Adam Dunn
4. 1B Paul Konerko
5. CF Alex Rios
6. RF Carlos Quentin
7. SS Alexei Ramirez
8. C A.J. Pierzynski
9. 3B Brent Morel   

Bench: C Ramon Castro, SS Omar Vizquel, 3B Mark Teahen, INF Brent Lillibridge, Alejandro De Aza


Projected Rotation:

1. Mark Buehrle
2. Jake Peavy
3. Edwin Jackson
4. Gavin Floyd
5. John Danks

Closer: Matt Thornton

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hearing Postponed

The much-talked about hearing between the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista has been postponed until Friday, as the two sides continue to possibly work on a long-term deal. 

Just hours before the hearing was scheduled to start, reports surfaced that the two sides had requested a postponement, and that's exactly what happened.

The two sides had been trying to work out a long-term deal before the hearing, according to several reports, something GM Alex Anthopoulos said he would only negotiate (a long-term deal that is) before the hearing.  Anthopoulos had a strict rule about arbitration.  Without a deal in place before filing, Alex told the players they would be headed to a hearing unless a multi-year deal could be worked out (which is what happened with Jason Frasor)

Bautista, coming off an incredible break-out season had asked the team for $10.5 million and the Jays countered with $7.6 million.  The 54 homer man was due for a big pay raise any-way you looked at it, as he made $2.4 million the last two seasons.

The next few days will be very interesting, to say the least.

If the two sides are indeed close, is Bautista going to accept a deal that could be less than he might get as a free agent next season?  With Jayson Werth signing with the Nationals for over $120 million, would Bautista be able to get even close to that, or would taking the Jays possible offer of 3-years and $30 million or 4-years and $40-45 million (guaranteed!) be the route he takes.

With a rare postponement be accepted, you would think Bautista is thinking about taking the guaranteed money now, and not have to worry about the doubters that think he was a 1-year wonder.  Signing a long-term deal shows the team is committed to him, for one, and for Bautista, he won't have to prove anything this upcoming season, something the Jays like, as he can continue to build on the success from his 2010 campaign.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What are the Mariners all about?

Not to much has been said about the Seattle Mariners this off season.  The "King" Felix Hernandez won the Cy Young award in the American League last season and Ichiro Suzuki had a 214 hit season, but those two stories were the only positives in the 2010 season.

In 2011, the Mariners have a new manager in Eric Wedge and and new DH in Jack Cust.  Apart from that, not much has changed for a team that will have trouble competing in the tough AL West.

Projected Lineup:

1. RF Ichiro Suzuki
2. 3B Chone Figgins
3. CF Franklin Gutierrez
4. 1B Justin Smoak
5. DH Jack Cust
6. LF Michael Saunders
7. 2B Brendan Ryan
8. C Miguel Olivo
9. SS Jack Wilson

Bench: Milton Bradley, Josh Wilson, Mike Carp, Adam Moore, Greg Halman

Projected Rotation:

1. Felix Hernandez
2. Jason Vargas
3. Doug Fister
4. Erik Bedard
5. Luke French

Closer: David Aardsma

Outlook:

This team will have trouble scoring runs and a lot of trouble keeping runs off the board.  A 70 win season may be the best case scenario for this squad, that was once considered years ago to be a team on the rise.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Quick look at the Mets

The Mets have done very little to improve on last years' 79-83 record, although a new manger in Terry Collins and a healthy Jason Bay gives the team some positives for the upcoming season.

Here is a look at the 2011 projected lineup and rotation. (team payroll $130M)

Projected Lineup:

1. SS Jose Reyes
2. 1B Ike Davis
3. 3B David Wright
4. LF Jason Bay
5. CF Carlos Beltran
6. RF Angel Pagan
7. 2B Daniel Murphy
8. C Josh Thole
9. Pitchers' spot

Projected Rotation: (Johan Santana still recovering from shoulder surgery; $20M salary for 2011)

1. Mike Pelfrey
2. Jonathan Niese
3. R.A. Dickey
4. Chris Young
5. Dillon Gee or Oliver Perez

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Michael Young may become a Rockie

If the latest in the Michael Young sweepstakes are true, he will become a member of the Colorado Rockies by Monday, according to several reports.

Since the signing of Adrian Beltre and then the acquisition of Mike Napoli to play first, many have wondered if the idea of being the everyday DH was really part of the master plan.  The 4-years and $48 million left on his contract will be hard to trade, but the rumours are still flying that the Blue Jays, Athletics and Rockies still have interest, with Colorado being the most likely destination.

If Jose Lopez is part of the deal (just got him from Seattle and has been the piece rumoured to be going to Texas along with prospects and cash) then the projected lineup would look like this.

Projected Lineup with Michael Young:

1. CF Dexter Fowler
2. 2B Michael Young
3. LF Carlos Gonzalez
4. SS Troy Tulowitzki
5. 1B Todd Helton
6. 3B Ian Stewart
7. C Cgris Iannetta
8. RF Ryan Spilborghs
9. pitchers' spot

It seems, looking at this lineup, like they almost need Young in this lineup to score some runs.  Obviously having Tulowitzki and Gonzalez is a major boost for any lineup, but the addition of Young will help them have more RBI chances as well.

Orioles add Guerrero

The addition of Vladimir Guerrero to the Orioles lineup for the $8M (most deferred) salary, not only brings the total payroll top a staggering $93 million (up $20 million from last season) but it also brings a veteran presence, a big bat in the middle of the lineup, and a free swinger that will likely hit 25-30 home runs again.

The Orioles have had a interesting off season, actually spending money this time and hoping it makes them more competitive then most people think.Guerrero joins Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy in a projected lineup that might just actually keep them from last place in the AL East.

Projected Lineup:

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

What a difference a year makes, Reynolds' power in the 7th spot goes to show you that this lineup, if healthy, may score 6+ runs per game.  Or, maybe these players are just names and at the end of their careers time will tell.

Prediction: Orioles finish 4th in the AL East, but it will tight with the Jays and Rays as well.