Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dickey's Deal a Good One

You know with all the bad news in Metsville, some good news went under the radar. That is the signing of R A Dickey to a two year cost effective deal for eight mil. Dickey would be a free agent after the year and would get double that if he had the same type of year he had in '10. If he struggles it is not a contract that will kill the team ala Perez's contract.

The R. A Dickey is rather incredible really. He was born without a UCL in his arm  and really shouldn't be able to turn the knob of a door let alone pitch. He went through all kinds of trials and tribulations and plenty of struggles on the mound. He decided on the advice of The Rangers pitching coach to learn a knuckler. That was five years ago and it didn't exactly work out for him until he came to The Mets.

Dickey was a guy that rode the buses and paid his dues all over the minor league levels. When he was signed to a minor led to plenty of eye rolling. He was brought in for nothing more than depth. He was one of the first cut last Spring training and nobody figured they'd  see him at the Mlb level in 2010. He drew some buzz in the minors by giving up a lead off hit and then being perfect the rest of the night in getting 27 outs. Dickey's performance in Buffalo and Perez's performance and Maine and Niese's injuries led to Dickey being called up.

No one could have expected the production the Mets got out of Dickey. I personally expected him to make a couple dozen bad to mediocre starts and get sent back down. Well he was a revelation. He started out 6-0 and besides for a few starts was as consistent as any Met pitcher. He was likely the teams best pitcher. It was incredible to see him do what he was doing. The fact that he had impeccable control(2.2 walks per nine) with a pitch with the knuckler was rather incredible. He also generated a ton of grounders while most knuckle ball guy are fly ball pitchers.

Dickey even out pitched Strasburg over the Summer. He also threw a one hitters vs The Phils. He had a no hitter going that was broken up by Cole Hamels. The Knuckler is tough enough to pick up and throws off hitters big time. Dickey throws off hitters even more by throwing two different knucklers. He throws a hard one the mid to high 70's and a soft one in the low 60's. He also throws a fastball that he throws in the mid 80's that is somewhat serviceable.

There are some that think he's a fluke and  turn into a pumpkin again. I think he's for real because he figured out how to control and command the knuckler and throws two of them. I don't think age really matters with a knuckle ball pitcher. I don't think he'll be as great as he was last year but I think he'll be a solid innings eater. He threw 230 innings between the majors and minors last year.

Omar Minaya did very little right after '06 but Dickey was one of his best. What a marveous find and what a pleasure to watch. Omar deserves credit for that find as do the scouts. Aldserson deserves credit for locking him up at a nice price. I am looking forward to seeing him pitch and imo he deserves to start on Opening Day.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I-70 Baseball: The 25 Day Inning

Reprinted courtesy of I-70 Baseball



Every baseball nerd worth his weight in Topps cards can vividly recall the events of July 24, 1983 at Yankee Stadium. Whether you were alive and in attendance or not, the film roll itself is replayed consistently for us to witness. Legendary Yankee hurler Goose Gossage was on the mound, Royal U.L. Washington was on first and future Hall Of Famer George Brett was on his way to the plate. The Yankees were ahead 4-3 in the ninth inning and with one swing of the bat, Brett sent a meaningless middle of the year game straight into history. Brett connected with a home run, Yankee manager Billy Martin protested, and the Pine Tar Incident was born.

In the midst of the tirade and subsequent arguments, Brett, Royals manager Dick Howser, Gerald Perry and Rocky Colavito were ejected from the game. Brett was called out, the home run nullified and the Yankees won. That is where most fans think the situation ended.

But the Royals protested the game. The rule at the time stated that pine tar could not be used more than 18 inches from the handle of the bat. However, the rule simply stated that if that provision was broken, the bat was to be taken out of play. There were no provisions for the hitter to be called out or there to be an ejection. The home plate umpire, Tim McClelland used his knowledge of other rules and ultimately the rule of "Umpire Prerogative" to decide the consequences of the illegal bat.

The protest was taken to Lee MacPhail, American League President, and upheld. The two teams would meet on a mutual day off to resume the game. The home run would stand, as would the ejections, and the game would resume on August 18.

Pine tar was not outlawed because it would give a player an advantage when striking the ball. It was outlawed in order to keep more balls in play and thus not use more new baseballs then necessary during a game. It was simply because of the black mark it would leave on the ball.

Billy Martin, not to be outdone, filed his own protests to attempt to intervene. In front of a new umpire crew, Martin appealed to each base prior to the first pitch being thrown to Hal McRae on August 18th. Martin contended that Brett did not touch all the bases and the umpire crew could not dispute that fact. However, a signed affidavit from the original umpire crew was produced stating that Brett had come into contact with all four bases. Obviously, the league was ready for Billy Martin.

Not able to change the ruling, Martin took matters into his own hands to make the four out affair as big of a laughing stock as he possible could by sending Ron Guidry, a pitcher, to play center field. He would also send his legendary first baseman Don Mattingly to play second base. Mattingly would become the first left handed second baseman in almost two decades due to the antics of his manager.

The Yankees would send George Frazier to the mound to retire Hal McRae almost a month after the inning started. The Royals closer Dan Quisenberry would pitch a perfect bottom of the ninth to put a win on the board for the Royals and bring to an end a game that is truly legendary.

Bill Ivie is the editor at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thoughts on Today's Mets News

The news of the day is this http://www.amazinavenue.com/2011/1/28/1961722/wilpons-looking-to-sell-20-25-of-mets Well we all suspected That The Wilpons were lying when they said The whole Madoff ponzi scheme would have no effect in spending or that they were in no trouble monetarily. Bob Klapisch mentioned that the teams revenues have been down 30-35% in the first two years of Citi Field.    That is the reason why Selig stepped in and pushed for Alderson as the next Met GM.                                                                                                                                                         
Any franchise seeing their revenue drop after getting a new ballpark is really unheard of. It just says how bad this franchise has been run. The fact that Omar was brought back after '08 was ridiculous enough but bringing them back was flat out insanity. The tickets prices and skepticism going into '09 led to empty seats and the teams play since '09 has cost the teams plenty of revenue.                                                                                                                                                      
The Franchise value has dipped the last few years according to Forbes and The Wilpons real estate business isn't doing great. The Madoff ponzi scheme and now the lawsuit from the families that were hoodwinked by Maddoff,. This all has led to The Wilpons looking for someone to buy 20-25% stake into the team. There have been rumors that The Wilpons have been looking for investors for a year.                                                                                                                                                             
There are many questions and the black cloud that we thought went away with the hiring of Alderson is now back. The Mets have sixty mil coming off the books after the year and Alderson promised to spend a good deal of that money.Well now there's reasons to be skeptical that much money will be available to Sandy. The question is will they even be able to find an investor? The Wilpons aren't willing to sell more than minority share sadly. Some wonder if Castillo and Perez will still be bought out or forced upon Sandy and Terry. Another question is if they do get an investor or investors is whether they reinvest in the team?
                                                                                                                                
The dream is The Wilpons are forced to sell the team, and we get someone that will run the Franchise better than The Wilpons have for thirty years, but it's only a dream. The team is still worth 800+ mill  according to Forbes magazine, and should be in better shape but due to bad hires, cheapness in the draft and bad investments it's pretty rough right now. The Wilpons want to own the franchise for generations, so with all the troubles they are likely going nowhere. We can hope Sandy is left alone allowed to spend in 2012 and fix this mess.  Sandy's job likely got all the more harder.                                                                                                                                                    
There are now rumors from former Mets beat writer Bart Hubbach  that the Gov't is looking for money from The Wilpons in addition to the people that are suing The Wilpons. This could get even worse. for The Wilpons if true.                                                                                                                                                         
 It is worse if you wanna believe this report http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/mets/post/_/id/13726/report-wilpons-may-owe-billion They may be forced to sell the team no matter how much they don't want to.

Hey Stupid- Don't Drink & Drive


Adam Kennedy is an idiot. You're a Major League Baseball player, meaning you have money. Pay someone to drive your drunk ass home!

I hope the Seattle Mariners release him, just as he was released from jail several hours after his DUI arrest.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Spare Parts: Remaining Free Agents

Rummaging through the free agent bin lead me to compile the following list of unemployed players that I feel could be useful given the right opportunity.

Bats:
Russell Branyan/1B (35)- tons of power (56 HR past 2 seasons), but is essentially limited to DH duties due to aching back.

Willy Aybar/1B/2B/3B (27)- lackluster in 2010, but a very useful piece to plug in for Maddon with the Rays the 2 seasons prior to that.

Troy Glaus/1B (34)- knocks the snot outta lefties (.273/.938 career). San Diego would have been a good fit before they signed Jorge Cantu.

Ronnie Belliard/1B/2B/3B (35)- might be at the end of his rope, but he's versatile and has had a decent stick for a utility infielder in the past.

David Eckstein/2B (36)- the little engine that could is a leader by example, but his chances to set the example are becoming limited.

Christian Guzman/2B/SS (32)- perfect for utility infielder, as he can play up the middle and still hits for average despite a poor showing in Texas to end the season.

Felipe Lopez/SS/2B/3B/OF (30)- plays all over the diamond, is a switch hitter, can swipe a bag or pop a homerun and is only 1 year removed from a great season (.310/.810 in 151 games in '09). Shocked a team with playoff aspirations has snatched him up yet. Would think he'd be a fit for the Yankees to back up their entire infield.

Aaron Miles/2B/SS/3B (34)- has hit .281 or better 3 of the past 4 seasons. Lets not forget his 5 relief appearances either (3.60 ERA/1.00 WHIP in 5 IP).

Orlando Cabrera/SS (36)- has been to the postseason 4 straight seasons with 4 different teams. He's barely above replacement value at SS, but could still be a useful bench piece.

Joe Inglett/2B/0F (32)- can play almost any position on the field if a necessity arises and has a decent slash line over the past 5 seasons- .286/.345/.397 (.742 OPS).

Scott Podsednik/OF (34)- still has speed (65 SB past 2 years) and hits for average (.300). The Angels might still throw him a bone despite the recent acquisition of Vernon Wells.

Laynce Nix/OF (30)- can play all 3 outfield spots and had been productive for the Reds the past 2 seasons (.257/.780)

Vladimir Guerrero/DH (35)- this future Hall-of-Famer can still rake, but finding an employer has proven difficult. Coming off a season in which he hit .300/.841 with 29 HR and 115 RBI should help though. Look for him to land in Baltimore or Texas.

Arms:
Jeremy Bonderman/SP (28)- Hasn't been quality since 2006 (14-8, 4.08 ERA), but this former 1st rounder is still young enough to help out a staff in need of innings ate. Seems like a good fit for the Indians or Pirates.

Dave Bush/SP (31)- his career ERA is 4.66, and that's pretty much what he is, a back end of the rotation starter.

Freddy Garcia/SP (35)- after going 12-6 with a 4.64 ERA last season for the ChiSox, it's surprising he hasn't been signed yet. The Yankees could be a landing spot for him.

Justin Duchscherer/SP (33)- was great in 2008 and 2010, but problem is he can't stay healthy. He'd be great insurance/6th starter for a contending team.

Rodrigo Lopez/SP (35)- tossed 200 innings last season, albeit with a ghastly ERA. That's gotta be worth at least a minor league contract with spring training invite.

John Maine/SP (29)- horrible 2010 that lead to a non-tender. If he can regain his health he still has 4th starter potential. Was rumored to be on the Phillies radar.

Kevin Millwood/SP (36)- he's durable and is 1 season removed from a decent campaign (13-10, 3.67 ERA in '09). Could re-sign with the O's.

JD Martin/SP (28)- the former 1st round pick deserves a chance in somebodies rotation. I would say the Nationals are a good fit, but they're the numbskulls that left him loose.

Alfredo Aceves/RP (28)- has been good when given the opportunity (14-1, 3.21 ERA over past 3 season with NYY). He's a failed starting pitcher in the minors, but his relief stats in the majors are quality.

Joe Beimel/RP (33)- it's just a matter of time before he lands a contract. He's had a run of 5 decent seasons in a row. Has reported "several irons in the fire", so expect a signing soon.

Lance Cormier/RP (30)- pitched well enough over the past 2 years with the Rays to get a slot in someones bullpen (113 G, 3.55 ERA).

Manuel Corpas/RP (28)- has closing experience (34 SV), and his home/away splits are worth noting- 4.27 ERA at home in Colorado and 3.56 away from the thin Rocky Mountain air.

Elmer Dessens/RP (40)- has a 2.71 ERA in 81 games over the past 2 seasons with the Mets. I know he's old, but that stinginess has got to count for something.

Chad Durbin/RP (33)- has been to the playoffs 3 straight seasons with the Phillies and has a 3.62 ERA over 194 G and 226 IP. Perfect for middle relief.

Ron Mahay/RP (39)- the converted outfielder has only had 1 season with an ERA over 3.95 since 2006 (4.29 in '09). Basically he's been reliable.

Robert Manuel/RP (27)- very brief MLB experience, but has been excellent in the minors (2.25 ERA in 3 Triple A seasons).

Dennys Reyes/RP (33)- the hefty lefty failed a physical earlier this offseason in Philly, but the fact of the matter is that he's had a string of 5 consecutive productive seasons and until that arm falls off should be given a chance to pitch.

Chris Ray/RP (29)- a spotless 5-0 record with a 3.72 ERA with the Rangers and Giants last year, plus closing experience (51 SV).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rain Delay

This is clearly he best way to pass time during a rain delay...

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Tale of Two Teams Going in Opposite Directions

All winter the Angels had been blasted for doing nothing. Well, after trading for Vernon Wells, we can say they would be better off doing nothing. Wells is due 86 mil over the next four years. The fact that The Angels are taking on almost the entire contract is laughable. Wells was rewarded after a excellent '06 season and went in the tank. He had under 20 homers and played pretty bad defense the next three years.  He was worth all of 3 WAR the next three years.

Wells turned it around last year with 31 homers in 2010, but is still way overpaid.  He can't hit lefties as he hit .201 against them the last two years. The fact that The Jays were able to get rid of him (and at least part of that albatross contract) is pretty great in itself, but to be able to get a big time power bat like Napoli puts a cherry on top. Juan Rivera also adds some bop to the line up. The Angels will be paying Kazmir, GmJoke, and Vernon Wells big money in 2011. Tony Reagins hasn't impressed with some of his moves. Whether it was overpaying for Hunter or the trade for Kazmir or this move, he has had an unimpressive run as the Angel's GM.   They have little to no chance of overtaking the Rangers and this trade just adds another aging player to the roster.

The Rays many people felt were heading to a bit of a down year with all the guys they lost this off season. They lost a  cornerstone guy in Crawford and Soriano who was great last year. They also lost a couple important relievers (Choate & Balfour). Andrew Friedman is without question the best GM in Baseball and he got to work. He got four prospects for an overrated by some Garza and used the money left over to get big time offensive help.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Questionable Roster Moves

Sometimes MLB General Managers do puzzling things (ie. sign Adam Eaton to a 3 year $24M deal or allow Milton Bradley to be in your team's clubhouse). Here are some examples of questionable roster moves made within the past week.

Detroit Tigers:Starting pitcher Brad Penny is added to the 40-man roster while starting pitcher Armando Galarraga is dropped a day after signing a $2.3M contract.

The 29 year old Galarraga is a league average starting pitcher with a lower base salary than Penny ($3M, plus another $3M in incentives) and has been more durable over the past few seasons. It is strange that the Tigers would pay Penny to do what they were already getting from Galarraga at a cheaper price. Penny has a bigger upside if healthy, but coming off a season in which he made only 9 starts, health is anything but guaranteed.

Furthermore, Galarraga's omission from the 40-man roster is also a mystery when you consider they opted to keep 30 year old no-hit outfielder Don Kelly aboard. Strange...

Oakland Athletics:
Relief pitcher Brian Fuentes was signed and placed on the 40-man roster and infielder Steve Tolleson was displaced. Fuentes obviously makes the A's bullpen better and one of the best in the Majors for that matter, but losing Tolleson isn't a good thing.

Tolleson, who made his MLB debut last season, batted .286/.748 in 25 games. His minor league numbers are even better- .284/.789, while improving over the past couple seasons. The 27 year old is versatile, playing 2nd, 3rd, SS, and OF. Seeing that Oakland is a bit lean in the infield makes this move even more questionable.

Then there's Conor Jackson. He of two awful seasons in a row, who just settled a $3.2M contract. He doesn't field well and doesn't hit well, so why exactly is he occupying a roster spot? Wouldn't Tolleson be a better fit for this club defensively, offensively, and cost-wise?

Washington Nationals:
Hello Jerry Hairston Jr, goodbye JD Martin. This is quite possibly the stupidest of all roster moves being discussed on here today. The Nationals seem to always be scrambling for starting pitching and Martin is just that. The 28 year old former 1st round pick has been good in the minors (63-33 record, 3.41 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) and passable in the Majors when given an opportunity (4.32 ERA in 24 starts). Yet, JD was taken off the 40-man roster in favor of players like Garrett Mock (a pitcher who hasn't had much major or minor league success) and outfielder Justin Maxwell.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Thoughts on the Mets signing Chris Young

While I really like the Capuano signing, this one not so much. Young has lost seven mph of his fastball since '04. He also hasn't been able to stay healthy since '07. You know pitchers with shoulder problems rarely recover. He can't get people out with an 84 mph fastball on the oft chance he stays healthy. I would like to see them bring in some more insurance.

I guess Dillon Gee could be okay insurance for Young but he had a pretty bad K-BB ratio at the MLB level and gave up a ton of homers. Citi Field should help bring down Gee's homer rate. Young is a extreme fly ball pitcher so Citi could help him but the lack of velocity and durability scares me. If he can get his fastball velocity back up to 87-88 I'd feel better but pitchers rarely regain velocity.

Capuano coming off his second Tommy John surgery did regain his velocity (which does happen after having that surgery) and that's part of the reason I feel better about him. He could also be an effective loogy out of the pen (he was  used out of the pen a bit last year) if he struggles as a starter. I doubt that Young could be moved to the pen. Capuano between the minors and majors threw 100+ innings last year , while Young made four starts. Who knows if Young even passes the  psychical.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Phone Call



Poor Jim Thome.

Though the Texas Rangers are said to be seeking the services of the journeyman slugger, I have reason to think they won't come to any sort of fruition. The fact is, Thome is well past his prime. He will have to endure another offseason of no calls, and if another team signs Thome, it will be at the very last minute, just so they can meet the salary cap.

Cartoon inspired by a MS Paint picture on South Side Sox, and is courtesy of yours truly.

tamtam

**EDITORS NOTE** Update: Jim Thome re-signed with the Twins a few days ago. In light of this update, enjoy the cartoon anyway.

Wiffleball No Longer Recreational

Saturday, January 15, 2011

For Once, Mitch Williams is Right About Something

The other night (for whatever reason) I was watching MLB Hot Stove and Mitch Williams opened his mouth and I was expecting something stupid to be said, but instead he called Angel Pagan the most underrated player in Baseball. I was shocked that he said something smart and accurate.

Pagan rarely has gotten his due. Everyone has talked about his adventures on the bases at times in '09 or his inability to stay healthy. Pagan since the second half of '09 has been one of the mot valuable OFers in the game. He plays tremendous defense with seemingly limitless range. He has a pretty strong and accurate arm. Last year if not for Beltran's knee surgery he likely would be the 4th OFer and sitting while the vastly inferior Jeff Francoeur would play over him.  The fans and the Francoeur loving media talked about Jeff's mythic grit and edge while deriding Pagan for his mental errors (which was overblown).

Well, Pagan came into the 2010 to prove his critics wrong and become a everyday player and stayed healthy. Well, Omar Minaya threw a road block in front of him in the form on an awful Gary Matthews Jr.  He was only a road block because Jerry Manuel was dumb enough to play him over Pagan. GMJ Did nothing well and had a rather crappy career but it didn't matter.
Pagan didn't bitch or whine about it and when given the chance he never let the job go. He hit for avg, extra base power, stole bases, and was a great base runner (eliminating mistakes) and really was deserving of a GG and a case could be made that he deserved to be an All-star. He was also the teams best hitter with RISP. He was so good that when Beltran came back even Jerry Manuel figured out that Pagan deserved to play over Failcouer.

Considering how Beltran looked in CF last year you can make a very strong case that Beltran should move over to RF to take pressure off his knees. Pagan played far better D in CF than Beltran did last year. Pagan was relatively healthy last year and was a catalyst on the offensive and defensive end. He is all of 29 and in his prime and can get only better. Yes he does struggle vs lefties and really that's the only issue in his game. The only thing he needs is more attention for how good of a player he is.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Is Baseball Fruity?

Today's post might seem completely off the wall, or out of left field, if you will. That's because it is. I recently viewed a video on Youtube that was so ridiculous and annoying that I have been unable to get it out of my head ever since. The subject- a banana. I wanted to share it with all of you, but wanted it to relate to baseball in some fashion. After hours (okay, about 10 minutes) of Google image surfing I was able to link the video to baseball. Enjoy...




Monday, January 10, 2011

Pete Rose 4 Kool-Aid


The all-time hits leaders in not in the Hall of Fame. Guess he thought gambling on those games back in the day wouldn't exclude him from joining baseball's elite in Cooperstown. Looks like Pete Rose drank too much of the Kool-Aid.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Blue Jays Mom Is Oblivious


Be thankful your mom is not a Toronto Blue Jays fan. If she is a Jays fan, be thankful this is not your mom. If this is your mom...where do you live?

Monday, January 03, 2011

Alderson's gambles could really pay off

Sandy Alderson made the type of low risk high rewards signings that you can't help but like. In Taylor Buchholz, Sandy signed righty reliever that had a great '08 and has struggled to stay healthy since. He has handled righties and lefties and limited walks when he's pitched. It's a smart cheap gamble. If he can't stay healthy it's still a worthwhile risk.
                                                                                                                                                                 
 I really like the Capuano signing. He was a pretty solid starter until he missed a good amount of time having had Tommy John Surgery twice. He came back last year and pitched out of the pen and started some and was very effective especially vs lefties. He had a good K rate and his velocity was where it had been in the past (unlike Chris Young).
                                                                                                                                                        

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Not a Fan of Bud Selig

Personally, I'm okay with Bud Selig. He realigned the divisions, expanded the playoffs, and got instant replay instated. Sure, he turned a blind eye to the steroids era in its height because it was raking in the revenue, but at the time it was actually good for baseball. C'mon you know you loved watching the genetically enhanced McGwire and Sosa blastoff for the homerun title. Anyway, I digress. This dude featured below is obviously not a fan of Bud Selig. In fact I'd go as far as to say he's anti-Selig. You be the judge...

Upon further review, this appears to be Bud's nephew, Jake, holding that handcrafted sign.

Lets not forget this man is a noteworthy nose-picker...