Friday, December 31, 2010

In Memorium

As this year winds down to a close, we pause to remember the baseball greats who have left us this year.

First up: Sparky Anderson

Though he was active in baseball well before my time, I know that many of our readers here on More Hardball do remember Sparky Anderson quite well. Those who do remember him have nothing but fond memories. Indeed, not too many managers can win back-to-back World Series'. He will be missed.

Next: Jose Lima

Jose Lima's untimely death shocked many of us. It caught me off guard, simply because Lima was relatively young, and it seemed like yesterday that I was watching him pitch for the Dodgers during the playoffs in 2004. Though he eventually dropped off the baseball map, Lima had a reputation as being a fun-loving, hardworking player who was a great clubhouse presence.

Finally, Ron Santo

Though he played for a team I no longer care for, long before I was born, Ron Santo stuck out most in my mind as the greatest loss this year in baseball. As a kid, and into my teenage years, I recall listening to Santo call the Cubs games on the radio. While I didn't care too much for the Cubs, I enjoyed listening to Santo call the games because he had fun doing it, and he let anyone listening to the game know that. I remember the day Santo's funeral was held in Chicago. Though I was not there, WGN broadcast the service live over its local and national cable channels for fans to say one last goodbye to this great player/announcer, no matter where they were.

May all of these and the other baseball greats who did not make this list rest in peace. You will all be missed.


Daniel Murphy and Second Base

Every Met fan in the world rightly wants Luis Castillo gone. The Wilpons loathe to eat money but say they will if Alderson asks. We shall see many fans are skeptical and again rightfully so. Castillo got a insane 4 year 24 mil deal from Omar back in November of '07 and came into Spring training out of shape and off knee surgery. He has played terrible defense and only hit in '09 but killed ground ball pitch Pelfrey with his defense in '09. Hell Castillo was so bad in '08 that fans would rather see Argenis Reyes, Ramon Martinez, and Damion Easley play over him. Martinez had some good games in September but after a excellent '07(and coming off a serious injury), Easley gave the Mets very very little.                                                                                                                                                      
The Mets getting no production out of second base wasn't as killer as the bullpen was that year but it badly hurt them. Not surprisingly nobody bite when Castillo was put on the trade block pretty much the last three off-seasons. The Mets fans started to dream of someone anyone take over at second base. In July of '08 Daniel Murphy asked to be moved over to second base at AA. He got a few games and looked okay to some. That lead to fans like me dreaming of him coming up and playing second base and adding a potent bat. Murphy was having a breakout campaign in the minors but really didn't have a position.                                                                                                                                                  
 He got called up in August of '08 but not to play 2nd, it was to play LF to play over the ineefective('06 hero), Endy Chavez. Murphy was a house of fire pretty much right away and hit over 300 got on base and played aquete defense. He was so good at getting on base that he was moved up to the #2 spot in the line. Excepting times when brain dead Jerry had him bunt Reyes over for whatever reason.  Jerry did plenty of that over the years. Murphy was never in the lineup against lefties but was used as a pinch hitter and was very effective.                                                                                                                                                                  
The Mets feel short again in '08 but Murphy was a big reason to be excited  for '09. Everyone remembers him hitting a lead off triple vs The Cubs late in the year and being stranded and the Mets having a heart wrenching loss. Well after 130+ at bats he put up a .870 ops. We had all seen short sample all stars like Kevin Maas and Mike Jacobs come up late in a year as a house of fire and then peter out. He played some second base really in winter league in '08 and got hurt and people stated he was too big and unathletic to handle second base.                                                                                                                                                             
The '09 season was an unmitagated disaster for The Mets from the injury front to how it was handled to the managing to the bullpen again.. Murphy stumbled and bumbled in the OF and lost the manager confidence and was shifted to the bench and then 1b. He played good defense at first but struggled offensevely and put up a .740 ops inflated by a big September.  Last year he was supposed to be the starting first baseman and got hurt and by the time he was ready to come back Ike had made first base his. The Murphy second base project went back into effect but it was short lived as he was taken out on a dirty as hell slide and missed the year. He went to winter ball to play second base and got hurt yet again this winter.                                                                                                                                                       
No one knows what Murphy really is. No one knows if he can handle second base or even stay healthy. The chances of him being as good as the numbers he put up in a shot sample in '08 are pretty small. I don't think he's as bad as the .740 ops he put up in '09 either. He has a career .770 ops and maybe that's what he is. He missed pretty much a whole year so while he should be given a chance to compete for the second base job he should be on equal footing with guys like Turner and Emaus. Whether he can play defense at 2b is the biggest question but what about the patience and plate discipline that he displayed in '08 that disappeared in '09? He is a good pinch hitter and can play numerous positions so he still has uses if he can't hold up at second base.                                                                                                                                                              
The Mets second basemen put up a ops in the 500's last year. I would give Murphy a chance to platoon at second with Emaus or Turner. Maybe it'd be best if he goes to the minors for more refinement at second base but I'd try it up here. The hope is Reese Havens finally stays healthy because he has star potential and is the best of the lot at second. I believe Murphy is a major leaguer but am somewhat skeptical he can handle second base  due to his issues staying healthy, mobility and ability to turn dp's. He struggled at third base in the minors  so can he really handle second?. It won't hurt in a bridge year to see. Mets assistant Gm  Paul Depodesta has said guys that hit a lot of doubles are underrated and Murphy has hit a bunch of doubles in his 600+ at bats in the majors

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jon Heyman is a tool

This is not exactly breaking news to anyone that has heard the guy on the radio, TV or read one of his ill informed articles. For whatever reason Heyman has been bashing Alderson since he was named Mets General Manager. He was pushing for Hahn or Byrnes suggested that Alderson had lost touch and been out of the game too long and was out of touch. The guy was ignoring the fact that Alderson was Padres team Pres and very much in the decision making. Heyman has gone on and on about how the Mets front office is being paid five million combined while they have five mil to spend. He has gone on and on wondering why they are being paid this much. I wonder if he checks in on other front office salaries.                                                                                                                                                    
I'm wondering why WFan, Sports Illustrated , and Mlb Network pay him big bucks to mostly confirm Joel Sherman's and Ken Rosenthal's scoops. Lets not forget his analysis is weak as heck. and leaves us wanting.. When he does break news it's always Boras clients, Hmmmm I wonder why? Heyman is widely considered a Boras hand puppet. Maybe he's getting on Alderson because he's not tossing around money and takes away a potential landing spot for a Boras client. I mean Poor Boras has one less team to play off of and inflate prices. Heyman has been known to claim teams are interested in Boras clients when they really aren't.                                                                                                                                                            
You can look no further than Oliver Perez. Heyman was the only one to suggest Perez was drawing interest and stated that the Brewers and Cards were the interested parties. It may have caused Omar to bid against himself even more who knows. I believe both teams pretty much stated they had no interest. Heyman has gone on and on calling them Harvard geniuses in a sarcastic way. Here is a guy that takes a shot at the Mets front office in article and many tweets. Who can forget his The Mets can the Mets skip to 2015 tweet? This is a guy that thins a awful Gm like Ned Colletti is a good Baseball man. Yup the guy that gave Jones, Schmidt, and Pierre those wonderful contracts is awesome. You know never mind the killer Carlos Santana for Casey Blake trade.                                                                                                                                                         
In two months Heyman's criticized Alderson more than he criticized Minaya in six years. He called the Annontini for Hiu trade a huge win for the Dodgers and called it the continuation of a curious Mets off season. When has Colletti ever gotten the better of the trade. Don't forget he said Gee is the 4th starter until Santana comes back. Huh? Pretty sure the Mets will sign a starter or two. I guess I shouldn't expect more from a guy that admits to having a personal issue with Carl Pavano and thinks Jeter plays great defense and deserved the gold glove and that Mattingly and Parker are Hall of Famers.Lets not forget that in his Offseason winners  list he had The Nats there(because they spent crazily on a Boras client) , and The Pirates for just spending money I guess.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mets smartly pass on Webb

As I've discussed the Mets need a starter or two with Johan down but having a meltdown every time a starter signs somewhere is pointless. When you have a former Cy Young Award winner like Brandon Webb signs somewhere fans are all why didn't you take a chance on him? Good risk guys! Well he'd be a fine risk if he had pitched more than four innings the past two years and had been throwing his fastball over 83 mph in the instructional league. Keith Law a man much smarter than me has mocked the signing. You can also toss in the fact that Webb doctor last year gave him a clean bill of health and he didn't throw a pitch at the major league level last year and the same doctor gave him a clean bill of health going into 2011. If you look it up pitchers rarely if ever regain their previous fastball velocity especially in their 30's. These facts won't stop some Mets fan from wailing or calling the Mets cheap in this situation. Lets not forget last year when Mets fans wailed that the Mets didn't give Sheets ten mil and were being cheap. They clearly showed no interest in Webb because they didn't feel he could either stay healthy or be effective on the oft chance he'd be able to stay on the field. Webb got three mil guaranteed and with incentives over 3 mil. I dunno after two years of not taking the mound and the lack of velocity this doesn't seem like a wise move. The Rangers lost Lee and were in need for another starter and Webb walked into a good situation. I don't see a happy ending there and I'm glad the Mets didn't take the chance. Jeff Francis doesn't have nearly the upside of Webb but I think he's much more likely to toe the rubber and be a league average starter for a better price.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Free Agent Christmas

Before we get to the fun, I would like to wish a Merry Christmas to all our More Hardball readers.

And in the spirit of the season, I would like to extend my holiday wishes to all those free agents, with visions of dollar signs dancing above their heads. Hope you all find jobs soon.


The Lunatic Fringe is Taking Over

So after Omar Minaya was mercifully fired The Mets fan base went from pure joy to whining because Alderson admitted that they don't have much payroll flexibility and won't be big players. The fact that he said that he won't make decisions that will always make the fans happy brought out the Wfan mongo callers.What he won't buy out Castillo and Perez right away? Won't give Lee a blank check either. He won't hire old '86 fave Backman? Wally will whip these softies into shape they said. Wally's grit will  make everyone better! The fact that the core of the team was surrounded by dreck mattered little. The fans blamed Wright, Reyes, Beltran  because they were soft chokers, while ignoring that the team was surrounded by a historically bad bullpen, terrible support players and a gm without a plan, and managers without a clue. Pujols the best player in the sport can't carry the Cards to the playoffs three out of the last four years but hey that gutless choker needs to lead and carry the Mota's, Newhan's and Ledee's and other dreck Omar brought in to the promise land. In six years Omar put together a real good roster one year ('06) and the team fell just short. He followed up the year with a brutal offseason replacing A gimp like Floyd with a cripple in Alou, while surrendering a draft pick. Sure even if he had that pick The Wilpons wouldn't let him go over slot anyway (which really hurt), Omar brought in Sele and Park in to compete with a not ready for prime time Pelfrey and predictably it didn't work out. He let Bradford and Oliver go as free agent 'cause he didn't wanna give relievers multi-year deals and then followed that up with giving dreck like Schoenweis and Mota multi-year deals and those guys were big reason for the collapse of '07. While the trade for Santana was a brilliant move he did nothing to fix the bullpen unless you count Matt Wise. Omar threw stupid money at Castillo and Perez and you know the rest. Yet if you listen to fans now you'd think they'd want him back because tossing around money at flawed players while ignoring other holes had worked out so well. The Wilpons re-upping Minaya with a week left in '08 season was beyond idiotic. The team missed the playoffs and Omar is rewarded and we get more dumb moves like the K-Rod deal and the killer option. Omar rushing out to give Cora millions in '08-09 was brilliant too. Who knew a guy that can't hit or field would add nothing? Last offseason Omar was given  20+ mil to use and he wasted 10- mil on Failcouer (couple fluke productive months in '09), Cora, and Maine, who hadn't been healthy since '07. That worked out and then to appease the fans they signed a flawed player like Bay to a 4 year deal. Well all that leaves Alderson with little flexibility and with a fan base with no patience. The Wilpons finally have hired a GM with a clue since Cashen but there's plenty of mistrust of them. I can somewhat understand that but Sandy would never take a job if he wasn't given autonomy. He made the right move in not hiring Backman (who manages like we're back in the dead ball era), and has made some nice under the radar signing and is waiting out the pitching market. The team has 60 mill coming off the books but fans are convinced they won't spend it in 2012. When Alderson said he won't spend all of the money there was a firestorm the payroll will only continue to go down! There is reason to worry with the whole Maddoff thing but I can't imagine that the payroll won't be high and again who says you can't win with a reduced payroll if you spend smartly? The Cliff Lee to the Phils hasn't helped with the hysteria. Jon Heyman who clearly has an agenda against Alderson is a Minaya buddy and a Boras hand puppet so there's plenty of shots coming his way on twitter and on WFAN. He is pretty unprofessional if you ask me. As is Francesa who is friends with Minaya and preached patience and was soft on the Mets until Minaya was removed from his post. For the first time since Cashen the Mets have a GM with a clue and he's being lambasted for not spending stupidly. The Guy could do for The Mets what Gillick did for The Phils. The Phils had fallen short in their playoffs quest from 01-06 but had built up a very talented core, and many called for Gillick to break them up because they weren't winners (like with the Mets core), but besides for Abreu being sent out of town he stayed the course built around the core brought in good supporting cast and the rest is history. Alderson can do the same but he needs time and patience. The Mets won 79 games last year while giving away a combined thousands to Barajas, Failcouer, Carter, Cora, Feliciano, Tejada among other dreck and had another bad pen and gave 16 combined starts to Perez and Maine. Dickey and Taka to Minaya's credit were great finds. Feliciano was good but abused and no thanks to a multi-year deal to a loogy at 4 mil per. Santana is a huge loss but he was already declining sure he's a big loss but not as big as he would be if he was still elite. The pitching is a question market but some cheap smart signing can help. Francis would be solid. Young players not being rushed will help as well as the handling of player injuries will help. I don't think it will take until 2015 to compete. I could see this team being a 83 win team  this year if things go right and compete for a playoff spot in 2012. It may not seem like it and the team will be hurt at the box office this year but things are getting better and with this front office things will be going in the right direction. Mejia won't be a mop up man. Reyes if hurt will be placed on the DL instead of hitting from the right side only while hurt or handled crazily like he was in '09.

Thoughts on The Starting pitching Market for The Mets

Clearly with Johan Santana down for at least the first few months the Mets need starting pitching help. They have limited payroll flexibility due to Omar Minaya tying up crazy money into terrible players. Chris Young has been one of the guys the Mets have interest in. Young has seen his velocity go down and walk rates go up for years now. The guy is a extreme fly ball pitcher who's numbers on the road got worse and worse as the years went on. He came back throwing his fastball 84 mph in September. He is a high rent version of Maine at this time. Maine had one and a half very good years. Young had three excellent years in a row ('05-07), he has barely taken the mound since '08. Francis was pretty solid pitcher for a few years before getting hurt a few years ago. He came back last year and put up a good strikeout to walk ratio especially in the second half. He is another fly ball pitcher that can be helped by Citi. I think Gorzelanny would be a fine pickup. He misses enough bats and had a solid enough year for The Cubs. Fangraphs has a good writeup on how he's figured it out.  He is still young and won't cost much in prospects or money. Garza is a talented pitcher with declining K rate who is prone to meltdowns at times(his nickname by Rays fans and media), is Meltdown Matt. He will also cost you a Mejia or Flores and is not worth it. If it's only one guy I would likely take Francis because he's less of an injury risk than Young and will not cost prospects like Garza and is likely better than Gorzelanny. No thanks to Garcia.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Leftovers- Remaining Free Agents

Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, Victor Martinez...all plucked from the free agent bin. There remains some quality players over the market though. I composed a full 25-man roster of the "leftovers" that have yet to ink deals and aside from the starting pitching, this squad would be very competitive. The outfield defense would suck, but whatever, they can hit at least.

Starting Lineup:
C/Greg Zaun .265/.743, but in only 28 games.
1B/Adam LaRoche .261/.788, 75 R, 37 2B, 25 HR, 100 RBI
2B/Jerry Hairston Jr. .244/.652, 53 R, 13 2B, 10 HR, 50 RBI, 9 SB
3B/Adrian Beltre .321/.919, 84 R, 49 2B, 28 HR, 102 RBI
SS/Orlando Cabrera .263/.657, 64 R, 33 2B, 42 RBI, 11 SB
LF/Johnny Damon .271/.756, 81 R, 36 2B, 5 3B, 8 HR, 51 RBI, 11 SB
CF/Scott Podsednik .297/.724, 63 R, 14 2B, 7 3B, 6 HR, 51 RBI, 35 SB
RF/Manny Ramirez .298/.870, 38 R, 16 2B, 9 HR, 42 RBI
DH/Vladimir Guerrero .300/.841, 83 R, 27 2B, 29 HR, 115 RBI

C/Josh Bard .214/.634, but in only 39 games.
UTL/Felipe Lopez .233/.656, 52 R, 18 2B, 8 HR, 37 RBI, 8 SB
OF/Andruw Jones .230/.827, 41 R, 12 2B, 19 HR, 48 RBI, 9 SB
DH/Jim Thome .283/1.039, 48 R, 16 2B, 25 HR, 59 RBI

Starting Rotation:
Carl Pavano 17-11, 32 GS, 7 CG, 221 IP, 117 K, 3.75/1.19
Freddy Garcia 12-6, 28 GS, 157 IP, 89 K, 4.64/1.38
Bruce Chen 12-7, 23 GS, 140.1 IP, 98 K, 4.17/1.38
Dave Bush 8-13, 31 GS, 174.1 IP, 107 K, 4.54/1.51
Rodrigo Lopez 7-16, 33 GS, 200 IP, 116 K, 5.00/1.42

Rafael Soriano 64 G, 62.1 IP, 57 K, 45 SV, 1.73/0.80
Takashi Saito 56 G, 54 IP, 69 K, 17 HLD, 2.83/1.07
Arthur Rhodes 69 G, 55 IP, 50 K, 26 HLD, 2.29/1.02
Jon Rauch 59 G, 57.2 IP, 46 K, 21 SV, 2 HLD, 3.12/1.30
Brian Fuentes 48 G, 48 IP, 47 K, 24 SV, 3 HLD, 2.81/1.06
Grant Balfour 57 G, 55.1 IP, 56 K, 16 HLD, 2.28/1.08
Kevin Gregg 63 G, 59 IP, 58 K, 37 SV, 3.53/1.39

Didn't Make the Cut:
Derek Lee/1B, Fred Lewis/OF, Brad Hawpe/OF/1B, Russell Branyan/1B, Kevin Millwood/SP, Jeremy Bonderman/SP, Elmer Dessens/RP, Octavio Dotel/RP.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Holeedays

Waking up this morning and heading to work not giving a care in the world for the Phillies. They let Werth slip through their hands are were just a regular team in the NL East. That was until I picked up the newspaper and saw the deal that went down. All I can say is that the Phillies have balls....BIG BALLS. For once in my life I see a player not go for the money but rather for the team and the city. Way to go Yankees... bashing Lee's wife and that could have been the deciding factor. I am happy to see the Phillies putting themselves in complete contention for another World Series push. However, there are always two pieces of a puzzle. Yes pitching is where it needs to be but that is only half of the team. The other half is hitting. Phillies need to get an outfielder to fill the void of Werth. All in all it will be a great Christmas for all Phillies fans. Screw the cold weather...for one day...all there is, is warm weather on my mind and spring training can't come fast enough. Screw you Yankees you had it coming to you.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Winter Meeting Put The Focus Back On Baseball

The final out of the World Series took place on November 1 this season.

Since that day, baseball has taken a back seat to college basketball, professional basketball, professional football, and even (I don't even want to type it) hockey.

If you are the type that feels that the National Hockey League deserves to be focused on over baseball at any point during the calendar year, Canada is North of here, feel free to drive on.

If you miss baseball, well prepare for your local news cast, national sports cast, and websites around the world to start bringing you some happiness once again. No, it's not time for those magic words of Spring, but it is time for the Winter Meetings.

The owners of the various franchises that make up Major League Baseball will spend this week discussing the game, changes that may/may not be made, and pulling each other aside to talk some business. The hot stove will fire up and warm the empty hearts of all of those that have been missing the game. New players will be acquired, old players will be seen mingling around, rumors will leak, change and come back full circle, and free agents will be signed.

For baseball fans everywhere, Christmas comes just a little early. Maybe, if you are one of the fortunate ones, you will wake up one day this week with a pretty red bow around Cliff Lee's brand new jersey with your team's name on it. Maybe that fresh wrapping paper will hide the likes of Carl Crawford. It may even be Zack Greinke.

So, kick back, baseball fans. Pop in your copy of Major League, surf the Internet for all the rumors your mind can comprehend. Warm yourself by the Hot Stove for a few days and get ready for Spring. Pitchers and Catchers report in 70 days to Florida and Arizona.

Hang in there fans, More Hardball is on its way.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Major Returns on Minor Signings

Tis the season for free agent signings. Names such as Victor Martinez, Jorge de la Rosa, Juan Uribe, and Jake Westbrook are grabbing the headlines due to their multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts. Going relatively unnoticed are a bunch of minor league contract signings. The list below is a collection of players from the 2010 season that were signed to minor league deals and made an impact/significant contribution to their team. Some playoff teams would have been lost without the contributions of some of these players (Valdez/PHI, Thames/NYY, Benoit/TBR, Casilla/SFG). There's a pair of 200 innings-eaters, a few star relievers, and even a couple useful bats. One member of this list flipped his minor league signing last winter into a lucrative guaranteed deal this offseason. Wonder what 2011 minor league contracts will make the list next year?

Laynce Nix/OF/Reds- 97 G, 165 AB, 16 R, 48 H, 11 2B, 4 HR, 18 RBI, .291/.805.
Marcus Thames/OF/DH/Yankees- 82 G, 212 AB, 22 R, 61 H, 7 2B, 12 HR, 33 RBI, .288/.841.
Miguel Cairo/UTL/Reds- 91 G, 200 AB, 30 R, 58 H, 12 2B, 4 HR, 28 RBI, 4 SB, .290/.763.
Corey Patterson/OF/Orioles- 90 G, 308 AB, 43 R, 83 H, 16 2B, 8 HR, 32 RBI, 21 SB, .268/.721.
Austin Kearns/OF/Indians/Yankees- 120 G, 403 AB, 55 R, 106 H, 21 2B, 10 HR, 49 RBI, 4 SB, .263/.746.
Mike Sweeney/1B/DH/Mariners/Phillies- 56 G, 151 AB, 21 R, 38 H, 5 2B, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 3 SB, .252/.765.
Wilson Valdez/UTL/Phillies- 111 G, 333 AB, 37 R, 86 H, 16 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 7 SB, .258/.667.
Matt Stairs/OF/Padres- 78 G, 99 AB, 14 R, 23 H, 6 2B, 6 HR, 16 RBI, .232/.781.
Darnell McDonald/OF/Red Sox- 117 G, 319 AB, 40 R, 86 H, 18 2B, 3 3B, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 9 SB, .270/.766.
Chris Denorfia/OF/Padres- 99 G, 284 AB, 41 R, 77 H, 15 2B, 9 HR, 36 RBI, 8 SB, .271/.769.
Shelley Duncan/OF/Indians- 85 G, 229 AB, 29 R, 53 H, 10 2B, 11 HR, 36 RBI, .231/.736.
Wilson Betemit/3B/Royals- 84 G, 276 AB, 36 R, 82 H, 20 2B, 13 HR, 43 RBI, .297/.889.
Jim Edmonds/OF/Brewers/Reds- 86 G, 246 AB, 44 R, 68 H, 23 2B, 11 HR, 23 RBI, .276/.846.

Joaquin Benoit/RP/Rays- 63 G, 60.1 IP, 75 K, 1.63/0.68.
Elmer Dessens/RP/Mets- 4 W, 53 G, 47 IP, 16 K, 2.30/1.21.
Livan Hernandez/SP/Nationals- 10 W, 33 GS, 211.2 IP, 114 K, 3.66/1.32.
DJ Carrasco/RP/Pirates/Diamondbacks- 3 W, 63 G, 78.1 IP, 65 K, 3.68/1.30.
Joe Beimel/RP/Rockies- 71 G, 45 IP, 21 K, 3.40/1.36.
Bruce Chen/SP/Royals- 12 W, 33 G, 23 GS, 140.1 IP, 98 K, 4.17/1.38.
Will Ohman/RP/Orioles/Braves- 68 G, 42 IP, 43 K, 3.21/1.50.
Guillermo Mota/RP/Giants- 56 G, 54 IP, 38 K, 4.33/1.32.
Rodrigo Lopez/SP/Diamondbacks- 7 W, 33 GS, 200 IP, 116 K, 5.00/1.42.
Miguel Batista/RP/Nationals- 58 G, 82.2 IP, 55 K, 3.70/1.33.
Dustin Moseley/SP/RP/Yankees- 4 W, 16 G, 9 GS, 65.1 IP, 33 K, 4.98/1.42.
Jamey Wright/RP/Indians/Mariners- 46 G, 58.1 IP, 28 K, 4.17/1.37.
Alfredo Simon/RP/Orioles- 4 W, 49 G, 17 SV, 49.1 IP, 37 K, 4.93/1.54.
Joel Peralta/RP/Nationals- 39 G, 49 IP, 49 K, 2.02/0.80.
Denny Bautista/RP/Giants- 31 G, 33.2 IP, 44 K, 3.74/1.55.
RA Dickey/SP/Mets- 11 W, 26 GS, 174.1 IP, 104 K, 2.84/1.19.
Santiago Casilla/RP/Giants- 7 W, 52 G, 55.1 IP, 56 K, 1.95/1.19.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Mistress

It's Monday. Just like every other Monday, you come stumbling over here to me and remember your true love of baseball. But you spent the weekend with her, didn't you? In the arms of football, telling her how much you loved her and would never leave. Yet here we are, once again, and I take you back one more time. This is getting old. Why don't you love me?

You want a story? You want the National Pastime to keep you warm now? You want to know about the past? Fine. Seriously, though, I'm worth more than this. Sit down and listen...

Two All Star Games

During the off-season of 1958, the players union and the league reached an agreement to help fund the struggling Players' Pension Fund. The fund had largely been ignored previously, so the owners agreed to give the Pension Fund 60% of the revenue from the All Star Game and the players agreed to stage two Mid-Summer Classics.

Beginning in 1959, the league would convene on two separate dates at two different fields for the All Star Game. On July 7, the tradition All Star Game was played at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. A month later, the second All Star Game of the season would break all traditions and be the first such exhibition to be played on the West Coast at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles.

The new tradition of two games would carry on for a very short four year time span. On July 30, 1962, Wrigley Field would host the second game of that season, a game won by the American League by a score of 9-4.

That winter, the players and owners reached a new agreement, giving the Player's Pension Fund 95% of the proceeds for the single All Star Game. The traditional one game per season would remain honored from then on.

Many experts have debated whether the two all star game format was a success or a failure. Some have debated that the game should attempt to return to something of this nature, while others question the legitimacy of the Mid Summer Classic all together.

What do you think? Leave a comment, tell me your opinion.

I will be here again next week, helping you recover from your pigskin hangover. I know just the cure for it. More Hardball.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving with a Dash of Baseball

From all of us here at More Hardball, we wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!

Adam Sandler- The Thanksgiving Song

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rule 5

Well, folks, it's Monday. While the guys here at More Harball will keep you entertained with thoughts of players being pimped out and some hot chick wearing your favorite team's gear, I'm a bit more of a purist that thinks you actually come here to talk baseball.

Teams made transactions within their organizations this past week to prepare for the "Rule 5 Draft". I have had many emails, texts, IMs and conversations this week about what exactly that means. Here, let me drop some knowledge...

Let's start with the name. This one is fairly simple, the document known as The Professional Baseball Agreement lays out the rules the teams must abide by. Rule 4 is the Amateur Draft. Rule 5 is the minor league draft. Still with me? Good.

The basic premise is based on Minor League Free Agency. When a minor leaguer has been with a franchise for six years, he has the right to file for free agency. In an effort to help players move along faster, the Rule 5 draft was created. When a player signs his first contract with a team, the Rule 5 timetable begins. If the player is older than 18 on June 5 of the year he signed the contract, he becomes draft eligible in three years. Should the player be younger than 18 on June 5 of the year he signed, he becomes eligible in four years. Got that part of it? Perfect, we are almost there...

As the Winter Meetings roll around, the major league teams will participate in the Rule 5 draft. Teams will be allowed to pick, but not required to, in reverse order from the previous season's standings. If a player is chosen, he is placed on the receiving team's 25-man, major league roster. The team that loses the player is provided with $50,000 in exchange for the player. During the course of the following season, if the new team wishes to send the player to the minor leagues, he must first be offered back to the original team for $25,000.

And there it is, the Rule 5 Draft in a nutshell. Do you have any more questions? Is there something out there that just doesn't make sense to you? Well post it here or drop it in an email to me and I will cover it in a future article.

Until then, remember, there may be girls and players being pimped out, but when it comes down to it, there will always be More Hardball.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Offseason

As this offseason swings into full gear, we fans have to put up with another year of Padres 1st Baseman Adrian Gonzalez being pimped out like a $2 hooker by Jed Hoyer, San Diego's GM. In this case, literally.

While I am aware that the club exercised their option to keep Gonzalez, I have reason to believe that he won't be there by the time the 2011 season is over. For all I know, Hoyer is calling teams behind closed doors to cut a deal for when he can get rid of his most productive player. Where he'll send Gonzalez, I don't know.

Have a laugh and enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Babes of Baseball

Do you like baseball? Yes! Do you like hot women? Yes. Do you like hot women sporting your favorite baseball team's gear? Oh, hell yes!!! These titillating tasties are just what the offseason ordered. Brace yo'self...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Be Careful Not To Get Sick

Baseball has moved full force into the Hot Stove season. With the GM conferences right around the corner and the influx of ways that members of traditional and New Media can get information to you quickly, it is going to get a bit crazy out here.

We have all been there, players demand trades, general managers announce they will listen to offers about a superstar, or managers express their dislike of a player on the team. With the addition of websites like Twitter to the world of the media, it becomes increasingly hard to ensure that a reporter gets "the scoop" before anyone else. What it ends up leading to is a confusing dervish of information that can leave you looking either foolish or brilliant at the water cooler.

If you are going to follow the hot stove and use it to look like an expert in front of your group of coworkers and friends, you have to be careful. News moves quick at these meetings, even before the addition of social media sites. Players can go from on their way out, to being traded, to signing an extension with their original team within hours. Case in point right now: Dan Uggla.

The Marlins second baseman has been the subject of rumors around the Internet. This week alone, Uggla rumors have stated that he and the Marlins are working on an extension, that he refused the extension, that the Marlins have refused to continue negotiations with him, and that he is actively being shopped to multiple teams. Marlins fans must be going nuts right now.

When it comes to the hot stove, be careful. Don't tempt fate, it may bite the hand that feeds it. The Hot Stove can reward you with a new bat, provide you with a stable arm, or make your brand new jersey obsolete before you get to wear it.

Head the More Hardball warning: Exposure to the Hot Stove may induce dizziness, fatigue, or nausea. Expose yourself in small doses. Watching the transaction wire may be a more productive passing of time.

And remember, only 91 more days until More Hardball.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Which free agent would you sign?

Time for you to play general manager. Which prized free agent would you sign?

Cliff Lee/SP- 31 years old, lefty, postseason master (7-2, 2.13/0.82), all star, 2008 Cy Young. 9 seasons with Indians, Phillies, Mariners, and Rangers, 102-61 record, 3.85 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 1409 IP, 1085 K. Contract prediction- 6 years/$130M.

Jayson Werth/OF- 31 years old, great power/speed combo, solid defense, all star, postseason masher (.987 OPS). 8 seasons with Dodgers and Phillies, .272/.848, 433 R, 120 HR, 406 RBI, 77 SB. Contract prediction- 5 years/$86M.

Carl Crawford/OF- 29 years old, speed demon, tremendous defense, all star. 9 seasons with the Rays, .296/.781, 765 R, 215 2B, 105 3B, 104 HR, 592 RBI, 409 SB. Contract prediction- 6 years/$110M.

Adrian Beltre/3B- 31 years old, Gold Glove defense, all star, consistent power bat from the hot corner. 13 seasons with Dodgers, Mariners, and Red Sox, .275/.791, 912 R, 397 2B, 278 HR, 1008 RBI, 113 SB. Contract prediction- 4 years/$66M.

Adam Dunn/1B- 31 years old, premium power, poor defense, all star. 10 seasons with Reds, Diamondbacks, and Nationals, .250/.902, 865 R, 266 2B, 354 HR, 880 RBI. Contract prediction- 4 years/$60M.

Other- Rafael Soriano/CL, Victor Martinez/C, Manny Ramirez/OF, Jim Thome/DH, Paul Konerko/1B.

*Mariano Rivera/CL, Derek Jeter/SS, and Andy Pettitte/P not included because it's a foregone conclusion that they're Yankees.

Which free agent would you sign?
Cliff Lee
Jayson Werth
Carl Crawford
Adrian Beltre
Adam Dunn
Other free polls

Monday, November 08, 2010

Time To Bail

From the moment the words "The Giants are World Champions" escaped Joe Buck's mouth, fans made a mass exodus to the virtual gates of baseball. This season is over and it is time to focus attentions elsewhere. The NFL is in full swing, the NBA and NHL seasons have started, and the holidays are quickly approaching. No need to worry about baseball until April.

Sound familiar? How do you ever exist without me to guide you?

Baseball does not stop. Just because the game leaves the field does not mean that there is nothing to pay attention to. There are plenty of things to focus on for the next 98 days until pitchers and catchers report. Please, of course I know how long until they report.

Arizona Fall League

A combination of players working their way up the organizational ladder and those that are trying to convince their organization that they deserve another look, the Arizona Fall League will run through November 20 and features some of the best talent the minor league system has to offer. MLB Network has announced a few games to be televised and is doing a great job bringing commentary to the world.

Free Agency
Teams were officially allowed to contact individual players as of November 7. The "Hot Stove" league immediately started heating up with teams developing their off-season shopping list and comparing their needs to the available players on the market. If you have not discovered, you either don't care or you live under a rock.

Winter Meetings/General Manager Meetings
Baseball's General Managers meet every year to discuss business and plant some trade seeds and see what grows. This year, they meet in Orlando on November 16th - 17th. In December, from the 6th - 9th, Baseball's annual Winter Meetings take place. Again in Florida, this time in Vista, deals will be made to trade players, sign free agents, and complete transactions. Twitter will have frequent updates from every major sports writer in the country trying to ensure that he or she gets the scoop before any of their counterparts.

Finally, don't forget all the great websites out there that will bring you historical coverage and walks down memory lane, their choices for great players of the past and present, and breakdowns of player signings and acquisitions. If there is any information you want to know, any thing you might have forgotten, or any statistics that will unveil the future of your favorite team, the various blogs and new media sites will keep you well informed.

Because, let's face it, there is always More Hardball.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Giants Cartoon

We here at More Hardball would like to congratulate the San Francisco Giants on their World Series win this past week, snapping a 50+-year drought.

And here's the cartoon in honor of this monumental feat.

(L-R: Tim Lincecum, Brian Wilson, Juan Uribe, Edgar Renteria)

Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Peace Out Sparky

The legendary Sparky Anderson passed away today. He was 76 years old.

George "Sparky" Anderson never really amounted to much as a player. In fact, his lone season in the majors was with the Phillies in 1959 batting a lowly .218 in 152 games at secondbase. What Sparky lacked in talent on the playing field he more than made up for in the dugout, where he gained fame. Anderson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000 as a manager for steering the Big Red Machine to back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976 and then the Tigers in 1984. In 26 years of managing he racked up a 2194-1834 record with 5 pennants and 3 championships for Cincinnati and Detroit. Holds the distinction as the only MLB player to be born in South Dakota and be a Hall of Famer. Also had his #10 jersey retired by the Reds.

*Courtesy of WSBGMs

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sweet Like SugarCAIN

Matt Cain's 2010 postseason- 3 starts, 2 wins, 21.1 innings, 0.00 ERA, 0.94 WHIP. DAMN!!!

Matt Cain is overshadowed by The Freak in San Francisco, but the 25 year old righthander is a very good pitcher in his own right. He doesn't receive much accolades because of his win-loss record (67-62), but that due to lack or run support because he boasts a solid ERA of 3.45. Cain is starting to garner attention though in the playoffs because he has yet to allow an earned run. This dominance over some of the best teams in baseball is remarkable, and he's finally getting the attention he deserves.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Polanco & Sanchez- Same Player?

It recently has occurred to me that Placido Polanco and Freddy Sanchez are the same player. Both are prototypical 2-hole hitters in that the make excellent contact and hit to all field. Both are sure-handed fielders, adept at playing both 2nd and 3rd base and have filled in at shortstop in the past. Polly is a lifetime .303/.758 hitter while Sanchez is a .298/.750. To make it more spooky- each stands 5'10" weighing 190 pounds. Also, each has some weird body abnormality- Polanco humongous head and Sanchez club-foot and facial moles. Yeah, they're the same dude!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Breaking News- Yankees Fans are Obnoxious

My level of disdain for the New York teams is no secret. The Mets have showboaters I want to punch squarely in the jaw (Francisco Rodriguez and Jose Reyes). Then there's the Yankees who just spend, spend, spend, and continue to spend in order to get the best team. Well, thankfully they're not always just handed the World Series trophy and I guess this pisses off their fans. The Yankees #1 offseason target is likely to be Cliff Lee, but their fans may have done them a disservice...
"The fans did not do good things in my heart. When people are staring at you, and saying horrible things, it's hard not to take it personal."
~Kristen Lee (Cliff's wife)

Kristen also reported ugly taunts and obscenities, cups of beer thrown, and even fans spitting from the section above.

Keep it classy NY.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Baseball is Gay?

Baseball is gay? Well, it is according to this video...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

East Coastless World Series?

With the New York Yankees on the brink of elimination (no tear shed here) and the Philadelphia Phillies down 2 games to 1, it's starting to appear as though the World Series may not have an East Coast representative in the World Series this year. The past two years have seen the right side of a America dominate the Fall Classic (Phillies, Rays, Yankees), and even 3 years ago the BoSox were in it. Since Major League Baseball began playing its championship way back in 1903, there have only been 24 out of 106 World Series that have been absent of an East Coast team. That's mostly due to the early part of the 1900's lacking any West Coast teams and the fact that New York, Boston, and Philadelphia (*Giants, *Dodgers, Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, and *Athletics) have been to a ton of World Series combined.

*= when they were with their East Coast affiliate.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Back From the Dead

Like the bloodsucking zombies of horror movie lore, the New York Yankees, once thought to be dead by time the playoffs rolled around, are alive and kicking.

And to go along with the Halloween theme, despite of my deathly absence here on MH (thank midterms and papers for that), I too am alive and kicking. Er, rather, alive and drawing!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Worst Part About October

Tired of shitty music set to slow-mo baseball in honor of the MLB playoffs? Yeah, me too, and apparently these guys as well...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Let The Ale Flow, Ginger That Is

The Texas Rangers just wrapped up their ALDS win over the team with the best record in the American League (Tampa Bay Rays) and how do they celebrate? With ginger ale of course. Wait, what? Yep, in a touching heartfelt gesture to include ex-alcoholic and drug addict Josh Hamilton in the series finale festivities the Rangers decided to douse the clubhouse with some Canada Dry rather than the alcohol infused defacto champagne. I am not a Josh Hamilton fan and do not feel we as a society should celebrate the fact that he's a rehabbed junkie, but I gotta admit it's cool to see teammates care that much about each other.

Alkaholiks- Hip Hop Drunkies

Monday, October 11, 2010

Are You A Baseball Fan?

Hello again, baseball fans. I hope everyone is enjoying what is proving to be a very entertaining post-season. What's that, you aren't watching? That is exactly what I was afraid of.

This season I have seen more writers, bloggers and general fans seem to abandon baseball as the post-season approached. As teams were eliminated from contention, so were the people associated with them. Writers became unsure on what to write about, bloggers were not fired up about baseball that they couldn't cheer for and fans were disinterested because their teams were playing golf.

Now, friends, that is exactly what bothers me. I have heard writers tell me this year that they were not a fan of the game anymore after years of covering it. I see fans that say they can't root for a team other than their own. That makes me question the term "baseball fan".

You see, I'm a fan of the game. I have had many people tell me, "I was a huge fan of baseball before the strike". If that is the case, you were not a fan of baseball, you were a fan of Major League Baseball. When the players went on strike, I purchased tickets to watch replacement players on opening day. I went down to my local park and watched Little League Baseball, High School Baseball and anyone else that stepped on a field.

When my team, which happens to be the Cardinals if you are wondering, was eliminated from play, I was unhappy. But ignoring the game was never an option. If I would have buried my head in the sand, I would have missed history as Roy Halladay threw a no hitter to start his post-season career. I would have missed what is arguably one of the best crowds in baseball as the Braves took the field at home against the Giants. I would have missed my team's rivals getting swept out of the post-season as quickly as they arrived. I would have missed a dominant performance by a Yankees team that many, including myself, had written off for dead.

You see, dear reader, baseball is a great game. A stolen base when a team is down a run, a strikeout to end an inning after an error in the field, a game deciding home run from a one time pitcher, or a deciding game five between two teams that will fight to the death to play one more series - none of these things lose their beauty based off the colors of the uniforms worn in the game.

Recently, another writers asked the question "Why Do You Love Baseball?" and I responded with a piece that is currently featured on his website. For those of us that truly love the game, we are not Cardinal fans, Yankee fans, or Braves fans, we are just baseball fans, and we are very seldom let down by the game.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Poor Brooks Conrad

The entire season Brooks Conrad was building a cult status for his late inning hitting heroics, but all that goodwill has been erased due to him being shoved into a situation he doesn't belong. Chipper Jones goes down with an injury for the upteenthbillion time in his career moving Martin Prado to 3nd and Omar Infante to 2nd full-time. Then in the last week of the season Prado breaks himself forcing Conrad into a starting role, something for which he is obviously not equipped. In that last week he botched some crucial plays and the Braves barely got the Wild Card. Now in the playoffs Bobby Cox has moved him to 2nd base away from 3rd and he's still fielding-faulty. He's now committed 4 errors this postseason, and 3 of those have come in tonight's game to the Giants. The last one was a vital blow to the Braves chance of winning as he allowed out 3 to roll between his legs while the winning running rolled across the plate.

From Facebook:
WSBGMs- Brooks Conrad with his 3rd error of the game. Better put him on suicide watch.

Steve Kapschock- he would probably botch that too.

Kurt Wilson- take his shoe laces.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Get Hype for the Playoffs has produced rally videos for all 8 of the playoff teams. Below is my favorite team, and the team favored to win it all, the Philadelphia Phillies. Get hype!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Playoff Predictions

American League:
Divisional Series-
*Twins over the Yankees in 5. I hate any New York team, so this probably clouds my judgement, but I believe the Yanks just don't have the pitching and Minnesota has a knack for pulling off the improbable.

*Rangers over the Rays in 5. Tampa Bay's starting pitching just isn't good enough outside of David Price. Look for the Rangers offense to click on all cylinders again with Josh Hamilton back in the lineup, and for their pitching to do well enough to win the series.

League Series-
Rangers over Twins in 7. Cliff Lee, CJ Wilson, Colby Lewis, and Tommy Hunter are better than Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano, Brian Duesing, and Nick Blackburn.

National League:
Divisional Series-
*Phillies sweep Reds. The Big 3 (Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels) are too much to contend with. They make short work of the Reds, and Cincy's feel good season ends abruptly.

*Giants over the Braves in 4. San Francisco finally has some power in the lineup (Huff, Posey, Burrell, Uribe) and combine that with their awesome pitching staff and the Braves are lucky to take 1 game from them.

League Series-
Phillies over Giants in 6. The Phillies are proven winners and as good as the Giants pitching staff is, it's not good enough to stop the inevitable- 3rd straight World Series appearance for the Phightins.

Phillies over Rangers in 5. The Phillies were the best team in baseball during the regular season and will continue to hold that title through the entire postseason and offseason.