Posts Tagged ‘Adam LaRoche’

Starting Nine: National League West

January 16, 2010

Last but least in our Starting Nine series, is the National League West. Usually known as being the worst offensive division in baseball, the NL West has improved offensively this offseason.

The San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks have added offensive pieces this offseason and as long as the young Colorado Rockie hitters continue to improve, they will always be dangerous.

Here are the lineups for each team in the National League West as presently constructed today.

Colorado Rockies

1. Dexter Fowler, CF

2. Carlos Gonzalez, LF

3. Todd Helton, 1B

4. Troy Tulowitzki, SS

5. Brad Hawpe, RF

6. Ian Stewart, 3B

7. Chris Iannetta, C

8. Clint Barmes, 2B

9. Ubaldo Jimenez, P

Quick Take – This lineup is the class of the NL West. This lineup has everything you want–speed, power, and patience. Look for Carlos Gonzalez to have a breakout year and become everyone’s mancrush when it comes to fantasy baseball.

San Francisco Giants

1. Freddy Sanchez, 2B

2. Edgar Renteria, SS

3. Pablo Sandoval, 3B

4. Aubrey Huff, 1B

5. Mark DeRosa, LF

6. Aaron Rowand, CF

7. Buster Posey, C

8. Nate Schierholtz, RF

9. Tim Lincecum, P

Quick Take – It’s hard to make up a lineup when every guy in that lineup is the same. This lineup has very little power, very little speed, and not a single person that scares an opposing pitching.

Los Angeles Dodgers

1. Rafael Furcal, SS

2. James Loney, 1B

3. Manny Ramirez, LF

4. Matt Kemp, CF

5. Andre Ethier, RF

6. Casey Blake, 3B

7. Russell Martin, C

8. Blake DeWitt, 2B

9. Chad Billingsley, P

Quick Take – I originally had Ethier in the two-hole and Loney in the six-hole like the Dodgers had in the NLCS last year. I didn’t like that lineup then, and I don’t like it now. Ethier is better served in a RBI position in the lineup.

Arizona Diamondbacks

1. Gerardo Parra, CF

2. Stephen Drew, SS

3. Justin Upton, RF

4. Mark Reynolds, 3B

5. Adam LaRoche, 1B

6. Conor Jackson, LF

7. Miguel Montero, C

8. Kelly Johnson, 2B

8. Dan Haren, P

Quick Take – With the addition of LaRoche and a healthy Jackson, this lineup all of a sudden looks very deep. Upton is only getting better and he will be a MVP candidate in 2010.

San Diego Padres

1. Everth Cabrera, SS

2. David Eckstein, 2B

3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B

4. Kyle Blanks, lF

5. Chase Headley, 3B

6. Nick Hundley, C

7. Will Venable, RF

8. Tony Gwynn, CF

9. Chris Young, P

Quick Take – Kevin Kouzmanoff was traded to the Oakland A’s less than 24 hours ago, so now there is zero reason to pitch to A. Gonzalez in 2010. With Kouzmanoff gone, this is a big year for Headley. Look for newly acquired Scott Hairston to platoon with Gwynn in center.

Well that’s it for our Starting Nine series. I hoped you enjoyed it. I will update this series as the regular season approaches.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Diamondbacks Continue To Add Pieces, Sign Adam LaRoche

January 16, 2010

Very quietly, the Arizona Diamondbacks have had a very active offseason.

They were involved in the big three team trade with the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers that netted them Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy, they added Bobby Howry and Aaron Heilman to their bullpen, they signed Kelly Johnson to play second base, picked up Brandon Webb’s option, and now they have added a first baseman who has averaged 26 home runs over his six-year career.

LaRoche is headed to the valley of the sun

As first reported by Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Diamondbacks have signed first baseman Adam LaRoche to a one-year, $4.5 million contract. This deal also includes a $7.5 million mutual option for 2011.

This is a pretty good pickup by the Diamondbacks. And a pretty good deal for them considering it was reported that LaRoche turned down a two-year, $17.5 million contract from the San Francisco Giants about a week ago.

As long as Diamondback fans can be patient with LaRoche, they should like the end product. LaRoche is known throughout baseball as one of the slowest starters in the game.

In his career, LaRoche has a .252 average with a .773 OPS in the first half of the season. In the second half, LaRoche turns it on to the tune of a .300 average with a .909 OPS.

It’s really amazing how LaRoche starts off slow every year. It’s like once the All-Star break hits he turns into Will Clark.

LaRoche’s slow start and hot finish usually averages out to about .270 with 25 home runs every year. That’s probably what you can expect out of him at this point.

The LaRoche signing allows the Diamondbacks to do a couple of things.

First, it allows them to put Conor Jackson in left field full time. Jackson missed most of the 2009 season with Valley Fever. He appears healthy now and even tore up the Dominican Winter League to the tune of a 425/.561/.589 batting line in 94 AB’s.

Second, this move ends the Eric Byrnes’ era in Arizona. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic is the reporting the Diamondbacks have designated Byrnes for assignment. The Diamondbacks will have 10 days to either trade him or flat-out release him.

This will be a big hit to the mid-market Diamondbacks as Byrnes is set to make $11 million in 2010. Byrnes’ first two years in Arizona (2006 & 2007) were considered a success. In those two years, Byrnes played in 303 games and hit .277 with 47 home runs, 75 stolen bases, and an .805 OPS.

He even finished 11th in the MVP voting in 2007.

After the 2007 season, Byrnes signed a three-year, $30 million deal and its been all down hill from their. In the last two years, Byrnes has played in only 136 games and has amassed a .218 average with 14 home runs and a .653 OPS.

It appears his wreckless playing style has taken a toll on him. After all, his nickname was the “Crash Test Dummy.”

Byrnes could definitely latch on with another team as a fourth outfielder, who is good for a clubhouse. His style of play and personality would fit well with a team like the Minnesota Twins or Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

With the moves the Diamondbacks have made in this offseason, they have positioned themselves to make a run at the NL West division title.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Giants Continue To Add Mediocre Offensive Players, Sign Aubrey Huff

January 13, 2010

Even the most casual baseball fan knows the San Francisco Giants need offense. The Giants–and in particular GM Brian Sabean–have tried to address this need during this offseason.

However, they are going about things the wrong way.

Signing mediocre or non-impact players is not the way to go. I’ve made the comparison before that the Giants are like a college basketball team after their star player leaves for the NBA. All that is left are the role players.

Huff signed with the Giants

That is the Giants right now. They have and are a bunch of role players. The team that is left with just role players can’t take things to the next level because nobody is left to make the big shot or in the Giants case, the big hit.

The Giants needed to add an impact bat this offseason and signing guys like Aubrey Huff doesn’t qualify. The Giants signed Huff yesterday to a one-year, $3 million deal. Huff, 33, is expected to play first base for the Giants in 2010.

Not only is Huff not the impact the Giants need, he isn’t even better than what they already have. If you compare the stats, Travis Ishikawi is coming off a better year than Huff is.

In 2009, Ishikawa hit .261/.329/.387 with nine home runs in 120 games. Huff on the other hand, hit .241/.310/.383 with 15 home runs in 150 games in 2009 with the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers.

Why not just go with Ishikawa for 2010?

My guess is Sabean is hoping Huff returns to his 2008 form where he hit .304/.360/.552 with 32 home runs in 2008. Playing in a ballpark where it is death valley for left-handed power hitters, I doubt Huff comes anywhere close to his 2008 numbers.

I am obviously not privy to the Giants’ financial records, but signing someone like Adam LaRoche or even Carlos Delgado would have made more sense for what the Giants need than Huff.

The one thing I am learning about Sabean as the years go by, is that his eye for talent–at least on the offensive side– is usually off. A GM can use stats all he wants, but he also has to use the eye test and try to figure out which players are on the decline and which players are capable of having a bounce-back season.

Sabean consistently misjudges talent on offense. The perfect example of this would be Aaron Rowand. Rowand is a classic role player or glue guy on a good team–not a star player, who can carry a team.

Sabean paid Rowand like a star player and he clearly is not one.

Despite their additions of Huff, and DeRosa and the re-signings of Juan Uribe and Freddy Sanchez, I still don’t think the Giants have enough on offense to win the NL West.

Huff is a career .282 hitter with 203 home runs and a .340 OBP in 10 seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros, Orioles, and Tigers.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Braves Get Thier Right-Handed Bat, Sign Troy Glaus

December 23, 2009

Update: According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Braves will pay $2 million plus incentives in 2010. Are you kidding?

This is such a steal for the Braves. I hate to keep picking on the New York Mets, but put this deal in this prospective.

The Mets are paying Alex Cora $2 million in 2010 to be a nice guy. The Braves are paying Glaus $2 million in 2010 to be their starting first baseman and hit 20-25 home runs. Unreal.

It’s a safe bet to say Glaus will give the Braves over $2 million worth of production in 2010.

Original Post:

The Atlanta Braves needed a right-handed power bat and a first baseman. In one signing today, they accomplished both.

According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the Braves have signed Troy Glaus to a one-year contract. Terms of this deal have not been disclosed yet, but it seems to be a very incentive-laden deal.

Glaus is the Braves' new first baseman

I really like this move by the Braves.

I had Glaus as my second best low-risk, high-reward hitter of the offseason. Here is what I wrote about Glaus in my free agent primer:

“Glaus is relatively young at 33 and just two years ago hit 27 home runs and had an .856 OPS. Can he play third at this point in his career? Probably not.

But he can probably play first or DH and still be a power threat at a very low-cost.”

Glaus will play first for the Braves and be the right-handed power source they have needed in that lineup. Glaus has only played six career games at first base in his 12 career, so there is some risk on whether or not Glaus can make the adjustment from first to third.

However, I have a theory on that. My theory has always been if you can play third, then you can play first and if you can play second, then you can play short.

I don’t foresee a problem with Glaus making the adjustment.

The signing of Glaus ends the Adam LaRoche era in Atlanta, yet again. The Braves didn’t look into re-signing LaRoche because he was reportedly asking for too much money. I think LaRoche and his agent really messed this one up.

Atlanta was LaRoche’s best chance on getting what he determined as “fair market value.” Now that Atlanta is out of the picture, where is he going to go where a team is going to pay him what he thinks he is worth? I don’t see it happening.

My guess is LaRoche is going to wait and wait and end up signing a one-year deal with a team he has very little interest in playing for. LaRoche really overplayed his had with this one.

I will say LaRoche ends up with the Kansas City Royals to replace the departed Mike Jacobs.

Glaus is a career .255 hitter with a .359 OBP and 304 home runs in 12 seasons with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Arizona Diamondbacks, Toronto Blue Jays, and St. Louis Cardinals.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Lyle Overbay: What’s His Trade Market?

December 19, 2009

Now that the big four-team trade between the Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, and Oakland A’s is officially completed, it’s time to take a look at some of the fallout from the trade.

One of the players moved in the trade was 1B/3B Brett Wallace from Oakland to Toronto. While Wallace came up in the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization as a third baseman, he is widely viewed as a first baseman in the future.

With Wallace seemingly ready to take over the first base duties in Toronto, it means current first baseman Lyle Overbay might be out of a job. With just one year remaining on his contract and the Blue Jays in complete rebuilding mode, Overbay seems like a prime trade candidate either this offseason or during the regular season.

Overbay could be traded

That being said (cue Larry David), lets take a look at the pros and cons of Overbay and what teams might be interested in trading for the former University of Nevada, Reno star.

Pros

At 32-years-old, Overbay has been a pretty consistent player over his nine-year major league career. You can usually pencil Overbay in for a .275 average with 10-15 home runs and an OBP above .350.

Here is a surprise about Overbay–his OPS has increased each of the last three years (.706 to .777 to .838).

Where Overbay really shines is on the defensive side of the ball. Overbay is one of the better defensive first baseman in the game.

During the 80’s and early 90’s, guys like Keith Hernandez, Don Mattingly, Mark Grace, and Will Clark showed us the value of having a great defensive player manning first base.

The value of a good defensive first baseman was lost a little during the late-90’s and early 2000’s when slugging, DH-types were playing first base. Now with guys like Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis, and Adrian Gonzalez, playing great defense at first is in vogue again.

Overbay can help any team defensively.

The last pro for Overbay is his contract. As I mentioned above, Overbay has one-year remaining on his contract and is owed $7 million for that one year. It’s a very reasonable contract for what Overbay should produce.

Over the last three years, Overbay has been paid $13.2 million by the Blue Jays and according to Fangraphs, Overbay has been worth $18.5 million to the Blue Jays.

Cons

Overbay has been consistent alright–consistently average. Wasn’t this guy supposed to be a big star? He is a poor man’s John Olerud.

Perhaps Overbay was never supposed to be a star. Perhaps he was just meant to hit like I said, .275 every year.

While Overbay’s contract doesn’t seem prohibitive at $7 million, in this economy it might be. $7 million in today’s economy is probably the equivalent to $12 million a couple of years ago.

Every team is looking for a bargain these days and the Blue Jays might have to eat a couple of million on Overbay’s contract in order to trade him.

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of Overbay, lets take a look at what teams might be interested in the native of Centralia, WA.

Atlanta Braves: Talks between Atlanta and Adam LaRoche seem to be going nowhere. The Braves need a bat and could replace LaRoche with Overbay.

New York Mets: The Mets have current first baseman Daniel Murphy still on the roster, but I don’t think Murphy will be the Mets’ full-time first baseman in 2010.

The Mets are talking about bringing Carlos Delgado back, which would be a mistake. Overbay would help improve the Mets’ below average infield defense.

San Francisco Giants: I have no idea what Brian Sabean is doing at this point. The Dan Uggla to the Giants trade, which seems like has been rumored to be happening for the last five months, is on life support.

Overbay wouldn’t be a bad Plan B. The Giants need a first baseman and a gap-to-gap hitter like Overbay could hit 40+ doubles in AT&T Park.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox are in full defense first mode this offseason. GM Theo Epstein is determined to improve the Red Sox defensively in 2010.

The talk now is that the Red Sox are comfortable going into 2010 with Casey Kotchman as their first baseman. Overbay is just as good defensively and is a better offensive player.

Seattle Mariners: The Mariners could be waiting for last year’s first baseman Russell Branyan to lower his demands of a two-year deal. Overbay could be a nice fallback option.

Overbay fits GM Jack Zduriencik’s defense first mentality.

I am going to say there is a very good chance Overbay gets traded at some point. However, he’s more likely he gets traded during the regular season.

The Blue Jays will most likely have Wallace start the season in the minors in order to increase his service time. Overbay will start the season as the first baseman and then will be moved in June or July once Wallace is ready.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Dan Uggla: What’s His Trade Market?

November 16, 2009

Outside of Roy Halladay, the player we are most likely to hear involved in trade rumors is Florida Marlins 2B Dan Uggla. This really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone as any player on the Marlins making more than $1 million is a trade candidate.

Dan Uggla

Uggla is most likely to get traded this offseason

So if the Marlins are to trade Uggla, what type of player are they trading and what type of return should they expect? As always, here are the pros, the cons, and the potential suitors for Uggla.

Pros

In terms of being an offensive second baseman, Uggla ranks right at the top. In the last three years, Uggla leads all major league second baseman in home runs with 94 and ranks fourth in OPS with a .829 mark.

Uggla also knows how to work the count, which is ever so important in today’s game. Over the last three years, Uggla ranks second amongst all second baseman in walks with 235.

Last year, Uggla set a career high in walks with 92.

Cons

Poor Danny Uggs. Uggla was rolling in 2008 to the tune of a first half line of .286/.374/.605 with 23 home runs. Then the night of July 15th happened.

That night was the All Star Game at Yankee Stadium.

Uggla had perhaps the worst All Star Game for a position player in the history of the game. Uggla struck out three times and committed three errors in the 4-3 National League loss.

Uggla hasn’t been the same since that night.

Since that night, Uggla has hit only .235 with a .774 OPS. I don’t think we can attribute all of Uggla’s struggles to that faithful night in the Bronx, but I don’t think it is just a coincidence either.

Uggla was embarrassed on a national stage and you never know how that will affect someone in the long-term.

Not only has Uggla dipped offensively since that night, but Uggla is a terrible defensive second baseman. Uggla consistently ranks towards the bottom amongst all second baseman in fielding.

2009 was no exception.

In 2009, Uggla made 16 errors which was the second most by second baseman and had a -10.1 UZR. His -10.1 UZR ranked him second to last amongst second baseman, only ahead of Luis Castillo.

Uggla will probably have to move to third base, first base, or even DH. However, Uggla and his agent don’t see it that way. Here is what Uggla’s agent told Yahoo! Sports.

“Danny Uggla’s been a full-time second baseman for the last four years,” agent Jeff Borris said. “He’s performed exceptionally well at that position. Although he has the athleticism to play other positions, he’s performed remarkably over these four years at second base and there should be no reason to consider a position change at this time.”

Uggla’s resistance to changing positions could be a hinderance for the Marlins in trading Uggla.

The last con with Uggla, is perhaps his contract. Uggla made $5.3 million in 2009 and has two more arbitration eligible years ahead of him.

Are teams going to pay $9 million-$10 million in arbitration to a defensively challenged second baseman?

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of Uggla, let’s look at what teams might be interested in the former University of Memphis Tiger.

Atlanta Braves: Normally teams don’t trade within the division, but I don’t think that matters to the Marlins. The Braves need a right-handed bat and if the Adam LaRoche doesn’t re-sign with the Braves to first base, Uggla could be an option.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Orlando Hudson and Ronnie Belliard are free agents for the Dodgers, so therefore they have a need at second base.

Though, if they are going to go the Uggla route, they should just re-sign Hudson. Uggla and Hudson were of equal value in 2009 according to Fangraphs and Hudson wouldn’t cost the Dodgers any players.

San Francisco Giants: The Giants just re-signed Freddie Sanchez to play second base, but the Giants could look at Uggla as a first baseman.

Oakland A’s. Though GM Billy Beane has tried to build a more athletic A’s team recently, Uggla is a classic “Moneyball” type player–low average, high OBP, can’t play defense.

Uggla would be a nice DH option for the A’s.

Seattle Mariners: The Mariners need a third baseman and a DH. If Uggla is willing to shift over to third, Uggla could be a good fit in Seattle.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers are a little bit of a stretch, but Uggla could serve as the Rangers’ DH and insurance at second when Ian Kinsler makes his annual trip to the DL in 2010.

I am going to say there is a 95% chance Uggla gets traded this offseason. When the Marlins want to move someone, their history suggests they do.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Fantasy Week In Review, August 17-23

August 24, 2009

Lot’s of big news in the world of fantasy baseball last week. A couple of potential Keeper League players were called up, there is a new closer in Chicago (about time), and everyone’s preseason man crush will be returning in Texas.

Here are the fantasy studs, the players who have had their fantasy value fall, and the potential pickups for the fantasy week that was August 17 – 23.

Fantasy Studs

Brian Roberts – .379/4/8/.471 with three SB’s. Roberts had a MONSTER week last week. Roberts remains one of the top fantasy second basemen in the game today.

David Ortiz – .400/3/10/.500. Ortiz was hitting the ball so hard last week that he had AJ Burnett talking to himself on the mound.

Hideki Matsui – .261/4/10. Matsui won’t give you average at this point in his career, but he will still hit the long ball and can drive in runs.

Jayson Werth – .440/5/9. Werth is starting to heat up again. When Werth is hot, he brings the Philadelphia Phillies’ lineup to a whole other level.

Adam LaRoche – .419/4/9. One of the most notorious second-half hitters in the game today, LaRoche’s 2009 is no different.

Your 2009 NL Cy Young winner?

Your 2009 NL Cy Young winner?

I still haven’t figured out the Adam LaRoche for Casey Kotchman trade for the Boston Red Sox.

Chris Carpenter – 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA and 14 K’s in 15 IP. Carpenter is making a serious run at the Cy Young award and I think if the season ended today, he just might win it.

Ubaldo Jimenez – 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 14 K’s in 16 IP. Jimenez outdueled Tim Lincecum yesterday and is clearly the Colorado Rockies’ ace heading down the stretch.

Jose Valverde – Four saves with a 0.00 ERA and six K’s in four IP. Valverde is making up for the time he missed in the first-half because of a calf injury.

Reasons for Concern

Francisco Liriano – Placed on the 15-day DL because of “left arm fatigue.” I put left arm fatigue in quotes because I just think the Minnesota Twins needed an excuse not to start him.

Liriano is 5-12 with a 5.80 ERA this season and has been one of the main reasons why the Twins are not where they are supposed to be in the AL Central.

Liriano hasn’t been the same since he had Tommy John surgery and has limited fantasy value until he can prove he can pitch effectively on a game to game basis.

Johnny Cueto – Placed on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation. Cueto was terrible in his last eight starts before winding up on the DL.

Cueto was 0-6 with a Tim Stoddard-like ERA of 10.63. This is the second year in a row that Cueto has broken down in the second half.  This is something to consider when drafted Cueto next year.

Kevin Gregg – Who in the Chicago Cubs’ front office thought it was a good idea to make Kevin Gregg their closer? I thought this would be a disaster from the beginning.

After melting down in San Diego last week (Florida Marlin fans are all too familiar with this), the Cubs have removed Gregg from his closer duties.

Gregg has zero fantasy value going forward.

Potential Pickups

Matt LaPorta – LaPorta was called up for a second time by the Cleveland Indians last week and unlike the first time LaPorta got the call, he is actually playing.

LaPorta hit .333 in four games for the Indians last week. LaPorta has a ton of Keeper League potential, so picking him up now might pay off in the future.

Drew Stubbs – If you are looking for stolen bases, Stubbs might be your guy. Another player with Keeper League potential, Stubbs had 46 SB’s in Triple-A before being called up to the Cincinnati Reds.

He projects to be the Reds’ starting centerfielder for the future.

Carlos Marmol – Thanks to Kevin Gregg’s now annual August meltdown, Marmol takes over as the closer for the Cubs.

Marmol is a little too shaky for my liking, but he should be able to pick up a couple of saves down the stretch.

Back but better than ever?

Back but better than ever?

Chris Davis – After hitting .335 with six HR’s for the Oklahoma City Redhawks, Davis is expected to be called back up to the Texas Rangers this week.

The Rangers have tweaked Davis’ batting stance and now think his early season struggles are behind him. Davis is not guaranteed to start, but could potentially take AB’s away from Hank Blalock.

Boston Red Sox Acquire Victor Martinez From Cleveland Indians

July 31, 2009

Going into today, I was pretty confident in saying that either Roy Halladay, Adrian Gonzalez, or Victor Martinez would be in a Boston Red Sox uniform on Saturday. After finding the asking price for both Halladay and Gonzalez too high, the Red Sox settled for plan A-.

Late this afternoon the Red Sox acquired All-Star C/1B Victor Martinez from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for pitchers Nick Hagadone, Bryan Price, and Justin Masterson.

If anyone has watched the Red Sox over the last month, you would know this team needed a kick in the pants on offense. Martinez or “VMart” is that kick in the pants. I said A- earlier because VMart is a wonderful offensive player who was hitting .284 with 15 HRs and 67 RBI for the Indians this year. VMart is also a switch-hitter which makes him even more valuable. He is too good to be considered a Plan B.

VMart can catch and play first base, but my guess is he will see regular time at first base (Sox already unloaded Adam LaRoche to the Atlanta Braves) or DH against righties.

The Red Sox didn’t acquire a Martinez for lifetime supply of Mentos – they gave up some good arms in Hagadone and Masterson. Hagadone was the Red Sox first-round pick in the 2007 draft and all he has done in three years of minor-league ball is compile a 1.82 ERA in 23 starts. He was Boston’s third best prospect at the start of the season according to Baseball America.

As for Masterson, with his three-quarter delivery and lack of a third or fourth pitch, I think he is more a reliever than a starter in the majors. The Indians should have a nice one-two punch for the future in the back of their pen with Masterson and Chris Perez.

My take is that the Red Sox not got Martinez for this year, but for 2010 as well and didn’t have to give up Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden, Lars Anderson, Jason Place, Casey Kelly, or Daniel Bard.

As usual, well played Theo, well played.

As July 31st Approaches, What Do The Contenders Need Update..

July 28, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, I did a post on what do the contending teams around baseball need at the July 31st trading deadline. With already a couple deals taking place and the trading deadline just a couple of days away, I thought I would update this post.

Here are the needs of the 21 contending teams and who they could potentially target.

Philadelphia Phillies

Needs – Starting Pitching. The Phillies are going for it again and are looking for a big time pitcher.

The Phillies signed Pedro Martinez.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Brad Penny, Cliff Lee, Jarrod Washburn

Florida Marlins

Needs – Bullpen. With Lindstrom out, the Marlins need help in the pen.

Potential Targets – Chad Qualls, Juan Cruz, Matt Capps, John Grabow, George Sherrill

Lee is very popular these days

Lee is very popular these days

Atlanta Braves

Needs – Leftfield. The Braves have already traded for Nate McLouth and Ryan Church, but their offense could use another bat.

Potential Targets – David Dejesus, Luke Scott, Aubrey Huff

New York Mets

Needs – Leftfield, First Base, Starting Pitching. The Mets should not be contenders, but in New York, there is no such thing as sellers.

Plus, after Omar Minaya’s press conference yesterday, it’s official – Omar Minaya is out of his mind.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Adam Dunn, Nick Johnson, Luke Scott, David Dejesus, Aubrey Huff

St Louis Cardinals

Needs – The Cardinals acquired Mark DeRosa and then acquired the best hitter on the market in Matt Holliday. The Cardinals also acquired Julio Lugo from the Boston Red Sox

I don’t think the Cardinals have any prospects to deal to make another trade.

Potential Targets – None

Milwaukee Brewers

Needs – Starting Pitching. The Brewers’ starting rotation has fallen apart recently. Offense is not the issue with this team.

The Brewers have already acquired Felipe Lopez from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Jon Garland, Doug Davis, Jarrod Washburn, Ian Snell

Chicago Cubs

Needs – Bullpen. The Cubs just need the players they already have to play better. They could use another arm in the pen.

The Cubs have signed BJ Ryan

Potential Targets – Joe Beimel, Danys Baez, Jamey Wright

Houston Astros

Needs – Third Base, First Base, Starting Pitching. The Astros are now in the thick of the NL Central and Wild Card race. With Lance Berkman going on the DL, the Astros could now use a solid bench player for insurance.

Problem Astros will have making trades is that their farm system is not that good.

I love Mark Teahen for the Astros. Can play 1st, 3rd, 2nd, and the outfield.

Potential Targets – Jon Garland, Brian Bannister, Doug Davis, Bobby Crosby, Mark Teahen

Cincinnati Reds

Needs – Offense. With Jay Bruce now out six-to-eight weeks with a fractured wrist, the Reds are desperate for offense. They should really be sellers, but they are still only 7.5 games out of first in the NL Central.

Potential Targets – Mark Teahan, David Dejesus, Marco Scutaro, Scott Rolen

Los Angeles Dodgers

Needs – Bullpen. With Roland Belasario out with an inflamed elbow (it was only a matter of time before Joe Torre blew someone’s arm out) and Jonathon Broxton suffering from a toe injury, the Dodgers could use some insurance in the pen.

The Dodgers have also been linked to ace’s Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

Potential Targets – Joe Beimel, Juan Cruz, John Grabow, George Sherrill, Danys Baez, Ron Mahay, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Jarrod Washburn

San Francisco Giants

Needs – Offense. The Giants can use all the offense they can get.

The Giants acquired Ryan Garko from the Cleveland Indians last night.

Potential Targets – Jermaine Dye, Aubrey Huff, Freddy Sanchez, Nick Johnson, Alex Rios, Josh Willingham

VMart could be traded

VMart could be traded

Colorado Rockies

Needs – Bullpen, Starting Rotation. Everyone thought the Rockies would be sellers at this point, but they are the leaders of the Wild Card race. As usual, the Rockies could use some pitching help.

The Rockies acquired Rafael Betancourt from the Cleveland Indians.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Ian Snell, Matt Capps, John Grabow, Takashi Saito, Danys Baez, Miguel Batista

Boston Red Sox

Needs – Offense. I don’t want to hear the Red Sox are fourth in baseball in runs scored – they need offense.

The Red Sox acquired Adam LaRoche from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chris Duncan from the St Louis Cardinals last week.

Potential Targets – Victor Martinez, Mark Teahan, Jack Wilson, Orlando Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, Roy Halladay

New York Yankees

Needs – Starting Pitching, Bullpen. The Yankees are having back of the rotation issues right now and they could use another arm in the pen. The Yankees have been linked to Halladay, Cliff Lee, Washburn and Bronson Arroyo.

The Yankees have already traded for Eric Hinske

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Joe Beimel, John Grabow, Cliff Lee, Bronson Arroyo, Jarrod Washburn, Ian Snell

Tampa Bay Rays

Needs – Starting Pitching, Catcher, Right Field. I still think the Rays could use another solid, depandable arm in the pen, but they seem to have targeted Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

They are also looking to upgrade the Gabe Gross/Gabe Kapler platoon in right and also at the catcher position. Dioner Navarro has been disappointing this year.

Potential Targets – Jamey Wright, Danys Baez, Mark Teahan, Jeremy Hermida, Josh Willingham, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez

Detroit Tigers

Needs – Bullpen, Offense. The Tigers have two top of the rotation starters in Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson. However, after watcing them versus the Yankees, I think they could use another bat

I also think they could use another arm in the pen to go along with Rodney. Joel Zumaya recently landed on the DL.

Potential Targets – Matt Capps, Ron Mahay, John Grabow, Mike Gonzalez, Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn, Jarrod Washburn

Minnesota Twins

Needs – Middle Infield. Freddy Sanchez makes so much sense it’s scary.

Potential Targets – Freddy Sanchez, Adam Kennedy, Orlando Cabrera, Marco Scutaro

Where will Doc land?

Where will Doc land?

Chicago White Sox

Needs – Starting Pitching. Kenny Williams already tried for Jake Peavy, will he go after Roy Halladay?

The White Sox have already acquired reliever Tony Pena from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Needs – Bullpen, Starting Rotation. For the first time in a long time, the Angels offense is not the problem. The Angels need bullpen help in the worst way and of course, they might be in on Roy Halladay.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Scott Kazmir, John Grabow, Arthur Rhodes, Joe Beimel, George Sherrill

Texas Rangers

Needs – Starting Pitching. Isn’t it always about pitching with the Rangers? The Rangers have the farm system, but do they have the money? That is the question with the Rangers.

The Rangers bullpen might get a boost with Neftali Feliz. He has been pitching from the stretch recently and is preparing for a bullpen stint with the Rangers for this year.

Potential Targets – Doug Davis, Brad Penny, Brian Bannister, Ben Sheets (free agent), Takashi Saito, George Sherrill, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee.

Seattle Mariners

Needs – Third Base, Leftfield, Shortstop. The Mariners might hold the key to the trading deadline. The have potentially one of the most desirable pitchers on the market, if the Mariners should pack it in – Jarrod Washburn.

Erik Bedard picked the worst time to go on the DL for the M’s.

The Mariners are 51-47 and 7.5 games back of the Angels in the AL West. They have dropped 3.5 games in the standing since this original post. I still see them trying to add instead of giving up players.

They have already acquired 3B Jack Hannrahan from the A’s.

Potential Targets – Garrett Atkins, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Jack Wilson, Marco Scutaro, Orlando Cabrera, David DeJesus

So there are the 21 teams and the players they might be interested in. Who do you want your favorite team to target? Let’s discuss.

Adam LaRoche Traded To The Boston Red Sox…

July 22, 2009

I guess Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington and Red Sox GM Theo Epstein figured they worked so well last year at the trading dealine (The Red Sox acquired Jason Bay from the Pirates in exhange for Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss at last year’s July 31st trading deadline), why not work together again this year?

According to multiple sources the Boston Red Sox have acquired 1B Adam LaRoche from the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor-league SS Argenis Diaz and RHP Hunter Strickland. I was hoping for Victor Martinez but A. it’s still early and B. LaRoche was acquired for solely depth in the lineup.

LaRoche provides insurance for the Red Sox

LaRoche provides insurance for the Red Sox

Is LaRoche the answer to the question why has the Red Sox’s batting average, OBP, and OPS gone down every month since April? Probably not. But LaRoche will give the Red Sox insurance just in case Lowell goes down again and a guy who can hit a HR off the bench.

When Lowell went down last year, the Red Sox moved Kevin Youkilis to third and put Mark Kotsay at first. I like Kotsay, but if you gave me the choice I would rather have LaRoche in the lineup.

LaRoche was batting .247 with 12 HR’s and 40 RBI in 87 games for the Pirates. The Red Sox will be banking on the fact that LaRoche is a notorious second half player. While LaRoche is a .252 lifetime hitter with a .773 OPS in the first half, he is a .296 lifetime hitter with a .901 OPS in the second half.

The two players the Red Sox gave up are nothing special. Diaz is a plus defender, but doesn’t hit much. He projects to be a backup middle infielder. Strickland is a right-handed pitcher who projects to be a reliever at best.