Posts Tagged ‘Adrian Beltre’

Starting Nine: American League East

January 11, 2010

I was rummaging through some articles last week and I came across a piece by Morgan Campbell of the Toronto Star. He gave an early look at what the Toronto Blue Jays’ starting lineup might look like in 2010.

That piece got me thinking. With all the moves that happen during the free agency period it’s hard for a casual fan to keep up with their favorite team. Why not take an early look at each lineup in baseball as presently constructed?

So what I will do give each team’s starting lineup by division for the next six days. Obviously this will change as the offseason progresses, so I will do an update to these posts as the season approaches.

We will start in the American League and with the best division in baseball, the American League East.

New York Yankees

1. Derek Jeter, SS

2. Nick Johnson, DH

3. Mark Teixeira, 1B

4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B

5. Jorge Posada, C

6. Robinson Cano, 2B

7. Curtis Granderson, CF

8. Nick Swisher, RF

9. Brett Gardner, LF

Quick Take – Best and deepest lineup in baseball. Could made even better if Johnny Damon accepts a one-year deal to play left. Cano and Posada could flip-flop between fifth and sixth in the order.

Boston Red Sox

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, LF

2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B

3. Victor Martinez, C

4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B

5. David Ortiz, DH

6. Adrian Beltre, 3B

7. Mike Cameron, CF

8. J.D. Drew, RF

9. Marco Scutaro, SS

Quick Take – Not a classic Red Sox lineup. Not a lot of high OBP guys and nobody jumps out and scares you. Terry Francona is loyal to Ortiz, so he bats fifth ahead of Beltre in the lineup.

Tampa Bay Rays

1. B.J. Upton, CF

2. Carl Crawford, LF

3. Evan Longoria, 3B

4. Ben Zobrist, 2B

5. Carlos Pena, 1B

6. Pat Burrell, DH

7. Kelly Shoppach, C

8. Gabe Kapler, RF

9. Jason Bartlett, SS

Quick Take – This lineup will go from very good to great if Upton and Burrell come back strong in 2010. Kapler will find himself in a platoon situation with Matt Joyce to start the season.

Baltimore Orioles

1. Brian Roberts, 2B

2. Nick Markakis, RF

3. Adam Jones, CF

4. Luke Scott, DH

5. Nolan Reimold, LF

6. Matt Wieters, C

7. Ty Wigginton, 1B

8. Garrett Atkins, 3B

9. Cesar Izturis, SS

Quick Take – First four in this lineup is very good, but after that, this lineup gets very weak. Orioles are still looking for a first baseman, so don’t expect Wigginton to be a starter for too much longer.

Toronto Blue Jays

1. Jose Bautista, RF

2. Lyle Overbay, 1B

3. Aaron Hill, 2B

4. Adam Lind, DH

5. Vernon Wells, CF

6. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B

7. Travis Snider, LF

8. Alex Gonzalez, SS

9. John Buck, C

Quick Take – My lineup is a little different than Campbell’s as I have Overbay hitting in the two-hole. This lineup has the potential to be good, but Gonzalez and Buck represent too many automatic outs to be really dynamic.

Tomorrow, I will cover the American League Central.

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

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Red Sox Officially Trade Casey Kotchman To The Mariners

January 7, 2010

When the Boston Red Sox signed third baseman Adrian Beltre a couple of days ago, it meant that someone was expendable on Boston’s roster. That person was Casey Kotchman.

Kotchman has been rumored to be traded to the Seattle Mariners since Beltre was signed. Today, those rumors turned into reality as Shannon Drayer of ESPN 710 radio in Seattle is reporting Kotchman was officially traded to the Mariners.

Kotchman was traded yet again

The Red Sox will be receiving Bill Hall, a minor leaguer to be named later, and cash from the Mariners.

Kotchman has had a hard time finding a permanent home these days. He was traded from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to the Atlanta Braves in the Mark Teixeira trade, then he was traded from the Braves to the Red Sox less than a year later, and now he is traded from the Red Sox to the Mariners less than six months after his previous trade.

It’s not hard to understand why teams are always trading Kotchman. A GM probably looks at Kotchman as says, yeah he is good, but can’t we do better than him?

Kotchman is a very little hit, very good glove first baseman. He averages about .270 a season with 12 home runs and a .760 OPS.

He is a poor man’s Mark Grace. He’s even a poor man’s Lyle Overbay, which isn’t a ringing endorsement.

That being said (cue Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld), Kotchman is the type of player Mariners’ GM Jack Zduriencik is acquiring these days. The Mariners’ roster is now littered with players who bring very little power and can flash some leather.

Now that’s not the worst thing in the world. The Mariners are building their team around pitching and defense. With Kotchman, Franklin Gutierrez, Ichiro, Jack Wilson, and Chone Figgins, the Mariners have some of the best defensive players at their positions in the game.

And with the newly acquired Cliff Lee and Cy Young candidate Felix Hernandez at the top of the rotation, the Mariners should be serious contenders in the AL West.

However, and I am going to sound like a broken record here, the Mariners at some point are going to need someone to drive in some runs in order for them to take the next step in 2010. There starting rotation and bullpen isn’t that great where they can consistently win 3-2 every night.

Remember, despite winning with pitching and defense in 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays still had Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena as guys who could drive in the speedsters and average offensive players.

I don’t see those type of players on the Mariners right now. If the Mariners are going to play Milton Bradley in left, then a DH type like Jim Thome or Carlos Delgado would be perfect for Seattle.

For the Red Sox, they shed Kotchman’s salary (around $3 million), they got some money back, and were able to acquire a super-utility player in Hall. Hall can play left, right, second, and third for the Red Sox in 2010.

The acquisition of Hall, is music to my buddy Odie’s ears. He has been on the Hall bandwagon since 2005.

In 2006, Hall hit 35 home runs and had an .899 OPS and since then he has done nothing in the major leagues. It’s kind of puzzling since Hall is only 31-years-old.

Hall hit .201 last year with the Milwaukee Brewers and Mariners, so this might be his last chance to prove he can be a value major league player.

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

Red Sox Go On The Defensive Again, Sign Adrian Beltre

January 5, 2010

Theo Epstein looked at the defensive statistics and saw his team was one of the worst–if not the worst defensive team in baseball last season. His goal this offseason–to improve the Boston Red Sox overall defense.

First he added Marco Scutaro to play short, then he added Mike Cameron to play left and now he has added another superior defensive player.

According to Peter Gammons via Twitter, the Red Sox have signed 3B Adrian Beltre to a one-year, $9 million contract with a player option for $5 million for 2011. The deal is pending a physical.

Beltre is the latest free agent to join the Red Sox

This a great value signing by the Red Sox.

Beltre is one of the best defensive third baseman in the game and completely fits with what Epstein is trying to do defensively. Over the last three years, Beltre ranks fourth amongst all major league third baseman with a 23.7 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating).

Beltre replaces Mike Lowell as the Red Sox starting third baseman. Lowell was a statue last season. Lowell’s UZR last season was -10.4. Beltre’s was 14.3.

To say Beltre is an upgrade defensively is an understatement.

This move also allows Kevin Youkilis to concentrate on being the full-time first baseman rather than having to worry about shifting back-and-forth between first and third. Casey Kotchman’s reign as Red Sox starting first baseman lasted about three weeks.

With the moves Epstein has made this offseason, the Red Sox should be one of the better defensive teams in baseball next season.

Offensively, there are some concerns about Beltre. First and foremost, let’s get something out of the way–he is never, ever, ever going to have a year again like he did in 2004.

His .334 average and 48 home runs was the aberration of all aberrations. He is just not that good of a player. He is a guy who is more likely to hit .265 with 20 – 25 home runs, which is what he has done over the last five years.

While he has been consistent over the last five years, his OPS has dropped three years in a row, which is a little concerning. However, moving into a hitter friendly ballpark and hitting in a very solid lineup should help Beltre’s numbers.

It wouldn’t shock me if Beltre hit around .275 with 25 – 30 home runs in 2010.

With every signing there are two sides–the team’s side and the player’s side. And for the player’s side in this deal, this has to be considered a loss.

At the beginning of the offseason, Beltre was reportedly seeking a four-year, $40 – $50  million contract. He essentially priced himself out of the range of the Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, and maybe even the Seattle Mariners.

Now two months later, he signs a one-year deal not even worth $10 million a year. That has to be a little disheartening for Beltre’s agent.

However, this is not a total loss for Beltre. Beltre and his agent realized he wasn’t going to get the money he wanted, so why not sign what is essentially a one-year deal with a team and a ballpark that gives him the best chance to succeed in 2010.

If Beltre has a big year, he can test the free agent market again in 2011 with better stats and perhaps a better economy behind him. It’s not such a bad strategy.

And while we are on the subject of strategy, how bad does the Phillies strategy of rushing to sign Placido Polanco look right now? Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr. looks like a complete buffoon right now.

Mark DeRosa signs for two-years and $12 million, Beltre signs for one-year and $9 million, and Polanco signs for three-years and $18 million? That deal is looking worse and worse every day.

I would rather have both of those guys than Polanco.

Beltre has a .270 average with 250 home runs and a .779 OPS in 12 major league seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle Mariners.

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

Thumbs Down: Mike Lowell Needs Surgery, Trade With Texas Off

December 20, 2009

The trade that was 11 days in the making will never happen.

A major league source has told the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham that Boston Red Sox 3B Mike Lowell needs thumb surgery and the trade with the Texas Rangers is now off. Lowell will require surgery on the radial collateral ligament in his right thumb.

Lowell will have surgery after Christmas and is expected to need 6-8 weeks of recovery time.

Lowell won't be going to Texas

So what does this mean for both the Red Sox and the Rangers?

For the Red Sox, it means that signing someone like Adrian Beltre is now most likely out of the question. Even if the Red Sox did trade Lowell, I thought Beltre would have been a long shot.

I think the Red Sox will go into the 2010 season with Kevin Youkilis at third and Casey Kotchman at first. Lowell will go into the season a pinch hitter off the bench and be the occasional DH against left-handed pitching.

The Red Sox were planning on using the $3 million they would have saved on the Lowell deal on a low-cost bench player like Xavier Nady. I am not sure Nady is a possibility anymore, but they still could pursue some bench help.

For the Rangers, they would still like to add a right-handed bat. Guys like Jermaine Dye and Vladimir Guerrero are options for the Rangers.

From the beginning, I really didn’t understand this trade for the Rangers. I know they wanted a right-handed bat, but they already have plenty of injury-prone players on their roster. Lowell would have just added to that list.

Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rich Harden, CJ Wilson, and Frank Francisco are all injury risks for 2010. Lowell would have joined them on the DL candidate list for sure.

Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make. I think will be the case for the Rangers.

I would also like to use this post to congratulate UMass coach Derek Kellogg and the rest of the UMass basketball team on a great win versus Memphis yesterday–a game that Peter Abraham was at by the way.

UMass–wearing sweat throwback uniforms (which they should wear all the time)– dove for every loose ball, hustled beyond belief, and if you don’t know who Terrell Vinson is now, you will soon enough. He is a freshman, who is starting to establish himself as a man beast.

Great win boys!!! Now follow it up with a win at Boston College.

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

It’s Official: Philadelphia Phillies Ink Placido Polanco

December 3, 2009

After declining the option on Pedro Feliz, the Philadelphia Phillies were in need of a third baseman. Today, the Phillies found their man.

According to various sources, the Phillies have officially signed Placido Polanco to a three-year, $18 million deal with a mutual option for 2013. Polanco, who will be 35 at the end of next season hit .285/.331./.396 with 10 home runs for the Detroit Tigers in 2010.

I got to be honest, I am very torn on whether or not I like this move for the Phillies.

Polanco is making a return to Philly

On one hand, despite on only playing 322 games at third base in a 12-year career, Polanco is an upgrade over Feliz at third. Polanco was at 2.7 WAR in 2009, while Feliz was just at 1.3.

I don’t question whether or not Polanco can play third on a full-time basis in 2010. I think he will make the adjustment very well.

Also, signing Polanco to an $18 million deal is probably more cost-effective than signing Chone Figgins or Adrian Beltre. I am assuming both Figgins and Beltre will sign contracts in the $40-$50 million range.

Spending only $6 million on Polanco might allow the Phillies to pursue perhaps a pitcher (Brandon Lyon, Fernando Rodney, JJ Putz) or an upgrade to their bench for 2010.

Now on the other hand, giving a soon-to-be 35-year-old, who’s OPS has declined three straight years a three-year contract is a little questionable. I highly doubt Polanco is going to be worth $6 million a year at the age of 37.

Plus the Phillies have a “Polanco type” player in Shane Victorino. Do the Phillies bat Polanco second and move Victorino down in the order? If so, wouldn’t Mark DeRosa be a better fit for the Phillies in the seven hole than Victorino?

I am more of a DeRosa fan myself and thought he would have been a better fit for the Phillies overall. It will be interesting to see what type of deal DeRosa gets now that Polanco has signed.

This will be Polanco’s second stint with the Phillies. Polanco played with the Phillies from 2002-2005 hitting .297 and had a .791 OPS–the highest of his career with any team.

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

Arbitration Roundup

December 2, 2009

For those of you who are not aware, yesterday at 11:59 pm est was the last day at teams could offer their free agents arbitration. Once a team offers arbitration to a player, that player has until Dec. 7 to accept.

A team would offer arbitration to a player–especially to a Type A or a Type B free agent because that team then would receive draft compensation as a result of that player signing with a new team.

A great example of this is what we saw this morning.

Since Billy Wagner signed with the Atlanta Braves and he was a Type A free agent who was offered arbitration, the Boston Red Sox will receive the Braves’ first-round pick (20th overall) and a supplemental pick in 2010.

Here is a list of the players who were offered arbitration by their current clubs. This list is courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors.

Type A Free Agents (10 players)

Chone Figgins

Figgins was offered arbitration by the Angels

John Lackey
Jose Valverde
Marco Scutaro
Mike Gonzalez
Rafael Soriano
Matt Holliday
Billy Wagner
Jason Bay
Rafael Betancourt

Type B Free Agents (13 players)

Justin Duchscherer
Rod Barajas
Joel Pineiro
Mark DeRosa
Adrian Beltre
Ivan Rodriguez
Marlon Byrd
Brian Shouse
Gregg Zaun
Jason Marquis
Brandon Lyon
Fernando Rodney
Carl Pavano

Yesterday was a good day for guys like Bengie Molina, Jermaine Dye, LaTroy Hawkins, and Kevin Gregg, who are all Type A free agents. Since these players were not offered arbitration and will not cost a first-round draft pick, they become much more attractive for teams to sign.

My predictions are that Molina ends up with the New York Mets and Dye ends up with the San Francisco Giants.

Yesterday was a bad day for a player like Rafael Betancourt. With him being a Type A free agent and offered arbitration by the Colorado Rockies, he is going to have a hard time finding work.

It’s hard to justify giving up a first-round pick for a middle reliever, who has been up and down for much of his career. My guess is he ends up back with the Rockies in 2010.

After Dec. 7, we will start to see the dominoes start to fall in the free agent market.

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

Phillies Decline Option On Pedro Feliz

November 9, 2009

The defending National League Champions will have a new starting third baseman in 2010.

Yesterday, the Philadelphia Phillies declined the $5.5 million option for 2010 on Pedro Feliz, thus making him a free agent. Feliz hit .266/.308/.386 last year, while playing gold glove caliber defense at third base for the Phillies.

This is why the Phillies are going to be good for years to come. Instead of being satisfied with what they have and picking up Feliz’s option, they decline the option and look to improve themselves.

Pedro Feliz

Feliz will be on a new team in 2010

Because the Phillies are in the “have’s” class, they should have their pick of third baseman this winter. Adrian Beltre, Chone Figgins, Mark DeRosa and even Miguel Tejada are all free agents and all would be an improvement over Feliz in 2010.

There is a lot of speculation that the Phillies will go after Beltre this offseason.

As for Feliz, this has to be disappointing for him. For one, he is leaving an extremely successful franchise in the Phillies. And more importantly for Feliz, he probably won’t get $5.5 million on the open market in this down economy.

The Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, and St. Louis Cardinals are teams who need a third baseman and could be possible destinations for Feliz.

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

Seattle Mariners Get Some Good News

October 20, 2009

Let’s talk about an American League team other than the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for a second shall we?

There was a very small, but yet very big transaction yesterday for the Seattle Mariners.

According to the Seattle Mariners’ official website, catcher Kenji Johjima will opt out of the remaining two years on his contract and return to Japan. Now you might be asking yourself right now “Who cares? It’s Kenji Johjima.”

Johjima is heading back to Japan

Johjima is heading back to Japan

The reason this is such a big deal for the Mariners is because Johjima had $16 million remaining on his contract. $8 million in 2010 and $8 million in 2011.

How high do you think Mariners’ GM Jack Zduriencik jumped when he heard this news?

In the last two years, Johjima has hit just .235 with 16 HR’s and a .281 OBP. Johjima was so bad in 2009, he  was splitting time with Rob Johnson, a lifetime .205 hitter towards the end of 2009

$8 million in this down economy is the equivalent of maybe $15 million in a good economy. There is a lot of things Zduriencik can do with that money.

With Miguel Batista’s ($9 million), Adrian Beltre’s ($12 million), Erik Bedard’s ($7.75 million), and now Johjima’s contract off the books, the Mariners should be major players in the free agent market this Winter.

With a couple of right moves, the Mariners can be serious contenders in 2010.

Now if they can get Carlos Silva’s contract off the books, they will really be in business.

All contract information was supplied by Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

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

Adrian Beltre: No Cup, Big Problems…

August 14, 2009

There has been a lot of weird news out of Seattle lately. 

Last week the members of the Seattle Mariners’ bullpen were told they could no longer carry gladiator helmets with them and then yesterday something happened to Mariners’ 3B Adrian Beltre that has made every guy cringe.

According to the Associated Press, Adrian Beltre was put on the 15-day disabled list with a severely bruised testicle Thursday, one day after taking a hard one-hopper off the bat of Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez to his groin area in the ninth inning.

Ouch!

Beltre is not the envy of any man these days

Beltre is not the envy of any man these days

Beltre was hit so hard that surgery may be an option. According to the report, Beltre was “walking stiffly with his legs far apart on Thursday.” I am going to venture to say Beltre’s legs might be the only stiff part on his body for a very, very, very long time.

The reason this happened is because Beltre doesn’t wear a protective cup when playing. He says it’s “uncomfortable.”

Listen, I played baseball all my life and he is right – wearing a cup is not the most comfortable thing in the world. However, there is no way in hell I would ever take the field without one. That’s the height of stupidity.

What makes it even more crazy, is that he is a third baseman in the major leagues! Balls come at you around 95-100 mph off the bat. Outside of catcher and pitcher, it’s the one position where wearing a cup is essential.

Last year I named my fantasy baseball team the “Twisted Testicles” in honor of Felix Pie’s incident. I think now I will rename my team to the “Bruised Testicles” in honor of Adrian Beltre.

Fantasy Week In Review, June 22-28…

June 29, 2009

The last full week of June means an end to interleague play and a return to normalcy in baseball. Last week was a really interesting week for fantasy baseball. How interesting? Two words – Chad Gaudin.

That’s right, Chad Gaudin was a fantasy stud last week. Here are the other players who were studs last week, along with players who are cause for concern, and a couple of players who might be worth picking up.

Fantasy Studs

Hanley Ramirez – .385/3/15. Even if Josh Beckett helps the Red Sox win 10 more World Series, Theo Epstein would still rather have Hanley Ramirez.

Alex Rodriguez – .368/2/9/.571. Getting lap dances from Kate Hudson in Miami has really rejuvenated the “fatigued” Arod.

Ramirez had a monster fantasy week

Ramirez had a monster fantasy week

Lance Berkman – .389/2/7 with two SB’s. The “Big Puma” has finally decided to join us this year.

Aaron Hill – .346/4/8. If the season ended today, Hill would be in the top five in MVP voting.

David Ortiz – .333/2/5. All of a sudden I don’t hear anyone saying the Red Sox need a DH anymore.

Aaron Cook – 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA and eight K’s in 15 IP. Sooner or later, this guy should get the credit he deserves. He is a very good pitcher.

Chad Gaudin – 2-0 with a 1.20 and 20 K’s in 15 IP. Gaudin threw a one-hitter over eight innings in Texas. I don’t care who you are, that is impressive.

Francisco Liriano – 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA and 12 K’s in 12 IP. It’s good to finally see Liriano get back on track. His seven walks last week were not welcomed, but fantasy owners will take the wins from Liriano.

Reasons for Concern

Adrian Beltre – As I wrote earlier today, Beltre will have surgery to remove bone spurs in his shoulder. Beltre will be out six to eight weeks, thus pretty much ending his fantasy contributions this year.

Beltre is expected back in late August/early September.

Josh Outman – Outman was placed on the 60-Day DLand will visit Dr. James Andrews today. See you in 2011 Mr. Outman.

Mike Lowell – Lowell is getting an injection in his ailing hip today. That just sounds painful. If Lowell doesn’t respond to the injection, there is a chance Lowell could land on the DL.

Lowell is having a good year so far with a .282 average, 10 HR’s, and 41 RBI. Keep an eye on this situation, because losing Lowell for any period of time would be hurtful to your fantasy team.

Matt Lindstrom – Lindstrom is out for six weeks because of an elbow sprain. Lindstrom was shaky at best as the Marlins closer (6.52 ERA and walked 20 in 29 IP), so it’s not like he was pitching like the second coming of Bruce Sutter.

John Maine – Maine was supposed to start Saturday night in Brooklyn, but had to be scratched because of shoulder discomfort. Maine expects to be back after the All-Star break.

“After the All-Star break” in Mets language means Maine won’t be back until September.

Possible Pickups

Leo Nunez/Dan Meyer – Meyer has a 2.03 ERA and is a much better option at this point than Leo Nunez and his 4.01 ERA. However, with Lindstrom on the DL, both of them figure to get an opportunity to save games for the Florida Marlins.

I would wait to see how Fredi Gonzalez plays this. Once he makes his decision as to who is going to get the majority of the saves, pick up that option. Nunez or Meyer should get you some cheap saves, if you need them.

Carlos Carrasco – Carrasco is expected to be called up from Triple-A to face the Braves on Thursday night. Despite not having the greatest year in Triple-A (4.92 ERA), Carrasco has long been one of the Phillies’ top prospects.

It might good a idea to pick Carrasco up now before someone else does. With the Phillies starting staff struggling, if Carrasco pitches well, he might find himself with the Phillies longer than expected.