Posts Tagged ‘Bengie Molina’

Padres Ink Veteran Catcher, Sign Yorvit Torrealba

February 10, 2010

There were probably a lot of teams that could have used a catcher like Yorvit Torrealba this offseason. Off the top of my head, I could think of at least eight-10 organizations that could have benefited from signing Torrealba.

I know in that first paragraph I am making it sound like Torrealba is Johnny Bench. Trust me, he is not. But I do believe he is a very good catcher and has a lot to offer a team.

Torrealba is headed to San Diego

Thanks to the MLB Package (something I highly recommend everyone purchase), I have had the opportunity to watch the Colorado Rockies and Torrealba the last couple of years. I really like the way he handles a pitching staff during a game.

A catcher’s primary responsibility is to call a good game and be a mentor to the entire pitching staff. Torrealba has done a good job in his tenure with the Rockies doing that.

The San Diego Padres are hoping that Torrealba can help mentor their young pitching staff in 2010. The Padres have signed the 31-year-old catcher to a one-year, $1.25 million contract. The deal also includes a mutual option for 2011.

The Venezuela born catcher is expected to share the catching duties with Nick Hundley. This is something that Torrealba should be used to as he shared the catching duties with Chris Iannetta in Colorado.

Torrealba hit a career high .291 last year in 64 games. He also had a pretty good series against the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS last year hitting .357 in 15 AB’s.

Here is what was fascinating about the catching market this winter. How does Brian Schneider get a two-year deal, but Torrealba and Bengie Molina only got one-year deals? Doesn’t make much sense to me.

Torrealba will be entering his 10th season in the major leagues and has a career .255 average with 38 home runs and a .315 OBP with the San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, and Rockies.

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

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Bengie Molina Spurns Mets, Returns To The Giants

January 20, 2010

I’ll have to admit, I thought it was a foregone conclusion that catcher Bengie Molina would sign with the New York Mets. I know they have been going back and forth all offseason, but in the end, I thought Molina and the Mets would come to a happy medium.

In the end however, it was not meant to be.

Molina said no to the Mets

According to Dennis O’Donnell of CBS 5 Sports in San Francisco, Molina has re-signed with the San Francisco Giants on a one-year, $4.5 million contract. Apparently, Molina turned down more money ($5 million) from the Mets in order to re-sign with the Giants.

This is definitely a turn of events as I didn’t think there was any chance of Molina returning to the Giants. This signing has a couple of domino effects, so let’s take a look at them.

For the Giants, the re-signing of Molina means less playing time for Buster Posey. While I believe Posey should be the Giants’ No.1 catcher in 2010, I am guessing Molina didn’t take less money to be Posey’s backup.

Not only could Posey find himself out of a starting job, he could find himself out of the major leagues come Opening Day. Since the Giants now have a capable starting catcher, the Giants could have Posey start in the minors to increase his service time.

As scary as this sounds, Molina was the Giants’ main power source last season with 20 home runs and should find himself back in the middle of the Giants’ order in 2010. Aubrey Huff is penciled in as the Giants’ cleanup hitter in 2010, so Molina could be batting fifth or sixth in the Giants’ order.

For the Mets, this isn’t a crushing blow, but a blow none-the-less. Molina was the best catcher left on the market and the Mets desperately need a catcher.

The Mets currently four internal options at catcher–Omir Santos, Henry Blanco, Chris Coste, and Josh Thole–and none of them are worthy of a starting position in 2010. Thole is the Mets’ top catching prospect, but he is still a year or two away from being a No.1 catcher.

The Mets could look at the free agent market again and sign Yorvit Torrealba or Rod Barajas. I thought Torrealba would end up on the Giants, so perhaps he could switch places with Molina and end up on the Mets.

One thing to remember about Torrealba and the Mets. There is some history there. Torrealba filed a continuing grievance against the Mets after they backed out of a three-year deal a couple of years ago. I don’t know if the Mets want to go there again.

Barajas might be an option for the Mets in 2010. Despite hitting .226, he did hit 19 home runs in 125 games for the Toronto Blue Jays. I have never been a fan of his, but if the Mets really need a catcher, then he wouldn’t be the worst signing in the world.

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

New York Mets To Sign Jason Bay

December 29, 2009

Update

Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting that the deal is a four-year deal worth $66 million. There is also a vesting option for 2011.

Original Post

WFAN’s Mike Francesa said he had big news concerning the New York Mets this afternoon and big news he delivered.

Once he was done ripping New York Jets’ Head Coach Rex Ryan for no apparent reason (he is a bitter New York Giants fan), Francesa announced that he has learned the Mets will announce they have signed OF Jason Bay early next week.

Bay is coming to Flushing

The Wilpons are currently on vacation and Bay needs to pass his physical, which is why no deal has been announced already. Francesa didn’t mention any terms of the deal nor did he give an official day when the deal would be announced.

Obviously when this deal is officially announced, I will have a full write up on what this means for both parties. I will say right now that this will be bad for Bay’s career.

In other Mets’ news, Francesa did say they are still interested in catcher Bengie Molina, but Molina is steadfast on receiving a three-year deal. I don’t see Molina can get a three-year deal, but one can dream.

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

With The Events Of The Last 24 Hours, Met Fans Grow More Angry

December 15, 2009

It’s getting ugly for a baseball team in New York and it’s not the New York Yankees.

With the John Lackey signing and the potential Roy Halladay trade (I say potential because it is not official yet) taking place yesterday, New York Met fans are up in arms. Met fans are growing angrier by the minute.

Going into the offseason, I thought there were three teams whose offseason was more important than the other 27 teams–the St. Louis Cardinals, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and the Mets.

I’ll take it one step further with the Mets. I am going to say this is the most important offseason in the history if the Mets franchise.

Minaya failed to make a splash this offseason

The Mets need this offseason to wipe away the anger that Mets fans have towards this team after what happened last season. For most teams, the fan base gets frustrated with what the team does.

In the Mets case, their fans have a physical hatred toward this front office and ownership group. The Mets right now are viewed by their fans as a Mickey Mouse franchise.

Between what happened on the field last year, all the injuries, the Mets’ medical staff not being able to diagnose the injuries, the Tony Bernazard incident, the Omar Minaya-Adam Rubin incident, and all the issues with the new stadium the Mets were considered a joke last season.

Mickey Mouse franchises don’t work in New York. Just ask the New York Islanders.

The Mets needed to make a splash, not only to appease their fan base, but to help sell corporate tickets. Corporations aren’t going to buy season tickets or luxury suites to watch a mediocre Mets team in this economy when the Yankees are in town putting out a better product.

The splash the Mets needed to make was acquiring either Lackey or Halladay.

The Mets have an extreme pitchers park. The Mets need to be built on pitching, pitching, and more pitching.

The Mets could have sold or marketed Lackey or Halladay along with Johan Santana as the best one-two punch in the National League.

That would have sold tickets. That would have gotten people excited about the Mets because as we all know–pitching wins championships.

I don’t know if signing Jason Bay, Bengie Molina, and let’s say Jon Garland is going to help the Mets sell tickets in 2010. While Bay is a good player, he has zero marketing ability.

The Mets can try to sell people with the addition of those three players, plus a healthy Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes, they will be contenders in 2010. It’s a nice sales pitch or marketing ploy, but I don’t think the Mets fans are buying it.

Mets fans are too smart for that.

I don’t know what the rest of this offseason holds for the Mets. But what I do know their opportunity to make a splash this offseason went out the window with the events that took place yesterday.

The anger is only growing in New York.

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

Diamondbacks vs Giants…

April 20, 2009

With the news that Randy Johnson is working on a 3rd no-hitter, I thought I would jump in and do a live blog of the Big Unit’s attempt at making history yet again. We pick up the game with the Giants leading 1-0 in the top of the 7th inning.

Game – Diamondbacks vs Giants

Date – 4/19/09

Starting Lineups

Diamondbacks

1. Ojeda, SS

2. Byrnes, LF

3. Lopez, 2B

4. T. Clark, 1B

5. C. Young, CF

6. J. Upton, RF

7. Roberts, 3B

8. Snyder, C

9. Scherzer, P

Giants

1. Lewis, LF

2. Burriss, 2B

3. Winn, RF

4. Molina, C

5. Rowand, CF

6. Sandoval, 3B

7. Ishikawa, 1B

8. Renteria, SS

9. Johnson, P

Top 7th

So we pick up the game in the top of the 7th. Johnson has thrown 65 pitches threw 6.

Can you freakin believe this?? The first pitch Johnson throws to Augie Ojeda, Ojeda hits a double down the left field line. Unreal, talk about a jinx.

Byrnes lays down a beautiful bunt down the third base line but Sandoval is there to throw him out. The bunt moves Ojeda to third.

With the infield playing in, Lopez hits a sharp grounder to Renteria. Renteria holds the runner a 3B and gets the out at first.

After falling behind 2-0, Johnson throws 3 wicked sliders to Clark and strikes him out.

I really can’t believe as soon as I start to cover this game, Johnson loses the no-hitter.

Johnson was going for no-hitter #3 on Sunday

Johnson was going for no-hitter #3 on Sunday

Bottom 7th

Fred Lewis goes down on strikes. Giants still lead 1-0. I feel every game they have is either 2-1 or 1-0. I guess that should be expected when your cleanup hitter is Bengie Molina and your home ballpark has a CF fence that is 600 ft away from home plate.

Burriss lines out to right, 2 outs. That brings up Randy Winn. I have always liked Winn, one of the more underrated players in the game. I am on point today because just as I write this, Winn whiffs on 3 pitches.

I am definitely not playing the Lotto today.

After 7, it is still 1-0 Giants

Top 8th

I just flipped on the Royals vs Rangers game and Kyle Farnsworth blows another one for the Royals. Someone should just punch Trey Hillman in the face when he says “warm up Farnsworth.”

Bobby Howry in to replace the Big Unit. The Dbacks must be thrilled that Johnson is out of the game. 7 innings, 1 hit and 7 K’s for Johnson. Not a bad day at the office

Chris Young pops up to Renteria at short. 1 out

Howry just threw a wicked slider to Upton, 1-2. Upton works the count to 3-2. They just showed a panoramic view of AT&T Park. Man, is that stadium beautiful. Upton whiffs on a 3-2 fastball on the outside corner. 2 outs.

Chad Tracy comes to the plate as a pinch hitter for the pitcher Rodriguez. Tracy pops up to 3rd to end the inning.

3 up, 3 down and we head to the bottom of the 8th with the Giants still leading 1-0.

Bottom 8th

Jon Rauch is in to the game for the Dbacks and is promptly greeting by a Molina single to left.

2 batters faced by Rauch, 2 singles as Rowand singles to left. Bob Melvin makes the signal to the pen to bring in the lefty Schoeneweiss. Every Mets is laughing right now.

Up comes Pablo Sandoval and he comes to the plate with “Shipping up to Boston” playing in the background. Huh? Sandoval rips a single to left. Bases loaded with nobody out. 3 batters and 3 singles to left.

Bob Melvin out again to make another pitching change. Shocker games last 3 and a half hours now a days.

Tony Pena comes into the game. Kind of begs the question why didn’t Pena start the inning?

Aurillia who was pinch hitting for Ishikawa hits into a 6-4-3 double play. Molina scores and makes it 2-0. That ball was hit hard enough where Ojeda, even though he was playing back,  could have gotten Molina at home.

Well Pena does his job as Renteria grounds out to Ojeda to end the inning.

But the Giants do add a run to make 2-0 heading into the 9th inning.

Top 9th

Brian Wilson is on to close the game for the Giants. This is Wilson’s 3rd game in a row so it wouldn’t shock me if Wilson wasn’t sharp today.

Wilson strikes out Snyder and a great fastball on the inside corner. Nothing Snyder could do there, just a perfect pitch.

Mark Reynolds flies out weakly to right. 2 outs

Ojeda grounds to SS to end the game. Well, Wilson was anything but not sharp. He just mowed down the dbacks hitters in the 9th.

So the Giants win 2-0 and improve to 4-8 and the Diamondbacks fall to 4-8. But the story of the game was Randy Johnson and his attempt at a 3rd no-hitter. Johnson pitched 6 innings of no-hit baseball but gave up a hit to Ojeda in the 7th. Johnson settles for the win and this is win #296 in the career of Randy Johnson.

Looking At Fantasy Catchers in 2009….

February 16, 2009

There might be no other position in baseball where the difference between #1 and #30 is so great. That is the dilemma fantasy owners face when it comes time to draft a catcher. If you don’t get one of the 10 best, then you are really stuck picking from the bottom of the barrel. To make sure you don’t draft the bottom of the barrel guy, here are the 2009 fantasy rankings for catchers.

Johnny Bench Division

These are the best of the best at the catcher position. These are the guys you want to draft as your #1 catcher

1. Joe Mauer, Twins – Despite offseason kidney surgery, Mauer remains the #1 fantasy catcher in baseball. The 2-time batting champ won’t get you home runs, but will get you rbi’s, obp, avg and hits.

2. Brian McCann, Braves

3. Geovany Soto, Cubs

4. Russell Martin, Dodgers – Martin slipped a little in 2008 by posting lower avg, hr and rbi totals than he did in 2007. I expect Martin to have a bounce back year in 2009 and Martin does steal bases (49 career sb’s in 3 seasons) which makes him unique amongst catchers.

5. Chris Iannetta, Rockies – Ladies and gentleman, your 2009 fantasy breakout catcher. In only 333 ab’s in 2008, Iannetta posted a .261/18/65/.390 line. At 25 and now the Rockies #1 catcher headed into the season, Iannetta should break out in 2009. If Iannetta can get to 140 games caught, expect a .275/24/85/.380 stat line.

Ted Simmons Division

These catchers are a notch below the top 5 but can serve as #1 catchers on your fantasy team. Like Ted Simmons, these catchers don’t grab the headlines but can put up some nice stats for your team.

6. Bengie Molina, Giants – Quick, how many people knew that Molina put up a .292/16/95 line last year? The best hitting Molina brother had close to 100 rbi last year…amazing. The reason Molina doesn’t crack the top 5 is because he is 34 and will be hard pressed to duplicate last season. .278/15/75 is more likely for Molina this year.

7. Victor Martinez, Indians

8. Mike Napoli, Angels – Napoli smacked an impressive 20 hr in just 227 ab’s last season for the Angels. Napoli is not the best defensive catcher in the world, which hurts his playing time. If Napoli can improve behind the plate, it will mean more ab’s. 25-30 hr’s is not out of the question for Napoli in 2009.

9. Ryan Doumit, Pirates – Occasionally the Pirates will have someone who makes a top 10 list. Because Doumit plays on the Pirates, he flew under the radar last season. He posted a nice .318/15/69 while playing in a career high 116 games. Doumit never hit more than .274 with 9 hr’s in a season before last season so there is a chance that last season was a fluke. I don’t think it was. Look for Doumit to post similar numbers again in 2009.

Terry Steinbach Division

Much like Steinbach for most of his career, these catchers are good for 10-15 hr’s and 50-60 rbi.

10. Chris Snyder, Diamondbacks

11. Jorge Posada, Yankees – After having a career year in 2007, Posada missed much of the 2008 season with a shoulder injury. Now at 37, Posada is at the tail end of his career and his .338/20/90 2007 might have been his last great fantasy season. Look for Posada to have a season similar to his 1999 season. Which was a .245/12/57 line.

12. Ramon Hernandez, Reds

13. AJ Pierzynski, White Sox

14. Brandon Inge, Tigers – Inge is slated to be the Tigers opening day 3B headed into 2009 but he does qualify at the catcher position based on his work from last season. Inge has much more value as a catcher than he does a 3b. 10-15 hr’s and 50-60 rbi is realistic for Inge.

Terry Kennedy Division

The very last guys you want to take before you head down Desperation Rd.

15. Dioner Navarro, Rays

16. Kelly Shoppach, Indians – Shoppach enjoyed a breakout season in 2008 due mainly to the absence of Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner. Now with both players back, it will be difficult for Shoppach to crack the lineup. However, it’s worth taking a flier on Shoppach because if Hafner can’t make it back from injury, then he might get some time at DH.

Tony Pena Division

If any of these guys are your #1 catcher headed into the season, then you might be in serious trouble.

17. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rangers

18. Gerald Laird, Tigers

19. Jason Varitek, Red Sox

20. Yadier Molina, Cardinals

21. Kenji Johjima, Mariners

22. Kurt Suzuki, A’s

23. Miguel Olivo, Royals

24. Rod Barajas, Blue Jays

25. Jason Kendall, Brewers

26. Nick Hundley, Padres

27. Brian Schneider, Mets

28. John Baker, Marlins

29. Humberto Quintero, Astros

30. Jesus Flores, Nationals

31. Gregg Zaun, Orioles

Matt Wieters Division

32. Matt Wieters, Orioles – This is Ryan Braun and Evan Longoria part 3. Clearly ready for the majors, Wieters will most likely start the season off in AAA because the team wants to delay an arbitration year. When he is eventually is called up, Wieters has the ability to be a top 5 catcher. A switch-hitting catcher with his power comes along only so often. If you are in a keeper league and need a catcher, Wieters should be your #1 choice.

So there you have the catcher fantasy rankings for 2009. As you can see, almost half the league is undraftable. Make sure you get 1 of those top 10 guys, because if you get stuck with Brian Schneider, then it might be a long season ahead.

Baseball’s Best Defensive Catchers…

January 28, 2009

In the next installment of “Baseball’s Best” we’ll take a look at baseball’s best defensive catchers. Having a great defensive catcher behind the plate makes all the difference in the game of baseball. Having a guy behind the plate who can block balls in the dirt, throw out runners and can handle a pitching staff from top to bottom is a luxury few teams have.

However, there are 10 teams that have guys behind the plate who I consider the best at what they do. In order to see who the best is, I used a point system based on 4 categories. Unlike the baseball’s best bullpen post where the highest point total determined the best, in this case the lowest point score determined the best.

The 4 categories are as followed:

1. Errors – 10 points

2. Passed Balls Allowed – 10 points

3. Caught Stealing % – 10 points

4. CERA (Catchers ERA) – 10 points

10 – 7. Yadier Molina, Bengie Molina, Brian Schneider, Kurt Suzuki

5 (tied). Chris Snyder, Diamondbacks (24 Points) – Not only did Snyder arrive at the plate in 2008 (.237/16/68/.348 ) but Snyder also arrived withthe glove as well. Snyder was the only catcher in baseball last year who qualified for the fielding % title to have a perfect fielding % of .1000 and Snyder also finished 4th in CERA with 3.85

5 (tied). Dioner Navarro, Rays (24 Points) – Navarro isn’t spectacular in any category but is good in all 4. One of the keys to the Rays World Series run last year, Navarro threw out 38% of would-be base runners in 2008.

4 (tied). Joe Mauer, Twins (19 Points) – As we all know Mauer is one of the best hitters in baseball. His 2 batting titles in the last 3 years prove that. But what many people don’t know is that Mauer is one of the best defensive catchers in the game as well. Mauer won his 1st Gold Glove (I’ll talk about the Gold Glove later) in 2008 and only made 3 errors in 886 total chances.

4 (tied). Jason Kendell, Brewers (19 Points) –  If there was a workhorse award for a catcher, Kendell would win it going away. Kendell caught more games than any other catcher in baseball last year (149) and caught more innings than any catcher in baseball (1,328.1). Catching the most games doesn’t make you a great defensive catcher but throwing out 42% of base runners does. Kendell also had an outstanding CERA of 3.86 in 2008

2. Jose Molina, Yankees (15 Points) – Living in NY I have had the opportunity to watch a lot of Yankee games in the last couple of years and I can tell you first hand the difference between Jorge Posada and Jose Molina defensively is the difference in looks between Oprah Winfrey and Heidi Klum. Molina had a banner year defensively in Posada’s absence in 2008. Out of these 10 catchers, Molina finished 1st in caught stealing % (44%), 2nd in CERA (3.70) and 7th in errors (3). It will be interesting to see how many games Molina plays in 2009 due to a returning Posada. One thing you can’t argue, the Yankees are a much better defensive team when Molina is in the lineup.

1. Rod Barajas, Blue Jays (13 Points) – Barajas had an amazing 2008 behind the plate. Barajas finished 1st in CERA (3.31), 10th in passed balls allowed (2) and 7th in errors (4). What is impressive is that those 2 passed balls came in 785 innings. Barajas started 90 games last year but should see more playing time in 2009 with the departure of Gregg Zaun to the Orioles.

A couple of things that I realized as I was doing this:

1. How amazing are the Molina brothers? To have 3 brothers who are all in the major leagues and to have all 3 brothers play the catching position, one of the hardest positions in sports is truely amazing. Are there any 3 brothers in any sport who played the same position?

2. How on earth did Yadier Molina win the Gold Glove last year? As I was doing this I started to realize that Molina was actually pretty bad defensively last year. In just 114 games behind the plate, Molina made more errors (10) than any other catcher in baseball not named Russell Martin, had one of the worst CERA’s (4.25) and had just as many passed balls as Jason Kendell and Giovani Soto in 200 less innings caught. I guess the Gold Glove doesn’t mean as much as it used to