Posts Tagged ‘Brett Gardner’

New York Yankees Add Marcus Thames

February 9, 2010

With the New York Yankees’ lineup and roster pretty much set, they didn’t have many holes left to fill. If they did need something, it would be a right-handed hitter off the bench.

GM Brian Cashman, not leaving any stone unturned this offseason, found his potential right-handed hitter off the bench yesterday.

According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Yankees have signed OF Marcus Thames to a minor league contract. If Thames makes the team, the deal would be worth $900,000.

Thames was signed by the Yankees

Thames, 32, hit .252 with 13 home runs and a .777 OPS in 87 games for the Detroit Tigers in 2009. The year before with the Tigers, Thames hit 25 home runs in 103 games.

What attracted the Yankees to Thames is Thames’ ability to hit left-handed pitching. For his career, Thames has a .516 slugging percentage against lefties.

With the recently signed Randy Winn and Brett Gardner still on the roster, I don’t expect Thames to get much playing time in left field in 2010. It’s not like Thames is Carl Crawford out there anyway. He has a -16.7 UZR in left for his career.

This will be Thames’ second tour of duty with the Yankees. He was drafted by the Yankees in the 30th round of the 1996 draft and had a cup of coffee with the big club in 2002. He hit .231 with one home run in 13 AB’s.

For his career, Thames is a .243 hitter with 101 home runs and a .306 OBP in eight seasons with the Yankees and Tigers.

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

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Yankees Sign Randy Winn, End The Johnny Damon Era In The Bronx

January 28, 2010

Whether you love the New York Yankees or despise them, you have to give them some credit this offseason. GM Brian Cashman had a budget and he stuck to it.

Albeit a big budget, but a budget none-the-less.

Usually when the Yankees talk about sticking to a budget, it means they are waiting in the weeds and then somehow come up with another $18 million to spend on a player. Not this year. The Yankees are sticking to their guns.

The only way Johnny Damon was going to come back to the Yankees was on the Yankees’ terms. Damon and his agent Scott Boras wanted a multi-year deal or a substantial one-year deal.

I am guessing Damon and Boras thought the Yankees would cave and come up with the money necessary to sign the outfielder. It never happened and the Yankees have moved on.

Since Damon was playing hardball, the Yankees decided to sign another outfielder. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees have signed OF Randy Winn to a one-year, $2 million contract.

Winn is the newest Yankee

Winn is an exceptional corner outfielder that is point in his career. Last year with the San Francisco Giants, Winn had a 7.9 UZR in left field. All winter Cashman wanted to get better defensively in the outfield and he has certainly done that with the additions of Winn and Curtis Granderson.

Offensively, I have always felt Winn has been vastly underrated. He usually hovers around the .300 mark, has a decent eye at the plate, and he can steal a base.

I think the reason he is underrated his because he has played relative baseball obscurity for most of his career. Eight of his 12 year career have been spent in Tampa Bay and Seattle. Not the PR capitals of the world.

Two out of the last three years, Winn has hit .300. Last year, Winn’s average dipped to .262. Because Winn had a down year in 2009, he will have to battle Brett Gardner in spring training to win the starting left field spot.

What is interesting is that neither Winn and Gardner hit left-handed pitching well. Gardner is a career .241 hitter against lefties and Winn only hit .158 against lefties in 2009.

Despite Winn being a switch-hitter, I would say it’s a safe bet that the Yankees might add another right-handed hitting outfielder in the near future. Look for them to sign someone like Rocco Baldelli to a minor league contract.

As for Damon, his market just took a massive punch to the gut. Now that the Yankees are out of the picture, his options are limited.

His realistic options are the Detroit Tigers, Oakland A’s, Atlanta Braves, or Seattle Mariners. The Tigers might be the best fit as they need a leadoff man and left-handed hitter to ironically replace Granderson.

Listen, we have no idea what Damon’s financial situation is. Despite making almost $100 million in his career, rumor had it that he has fallen on hard times financially. Allegedly, he was hurt in the Bernie Madoff scandal, which is why he is hell-bent on getting one last payday.

Whatever his financial situation is, I just have a hard time believing that the Yankees and Damon couldn’t come to an agreement. Seems very odd to me.

Winn will be entering his 13th season in the major leagues and has a career .286 average with 106 home runs, 209 stolen bases, and a .344 OBP with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Seattle Mariners, and Giants.

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

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

Hideki Matsui Powers New York Yankees To World Series Championship

November 5, 2009

If Mark Teixeira doesn’t beat you, then Alex Rodriguez will. If Alex Rodriguez doesn’t beat you, then Jorge Posada will. And if Teixeira, Rodriguez, and Posada don’t beat you, then Hideki Matsui will.

Playing in perhaps his final game as a New York Yankee, Matsui went 3-for-4 with a homerun, a double, a single, and six RBI as the Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-3 to win their 27th championship.

Matsui did the majority of his damage against Phillies’ starter Pedro Martinez, who didn’t have much last night. Martinez, who was pitching on five days rest, which was short rest for him, really couldn’t get going.

In the second inning, after walking Rodriguez to lead off the inning, Martinez missed his spot by at least four inches to Matsui on a 3-2 pitch and Matsui promptly hit one into the rightfield seats.

In the third inning, with the bases loaded and two outs, Matsui came up to the plate again. And again Martinez missed his spot. Martinez, trying to throw a fastball high and outside, threw a fastball outside, but not high enough.

Matsui served a single to left-centerfield to make the score 4-1 and that was the back breaker in my opinion.

While Matsui was driving in the runs, Andy Pettitte wasn’t allowing any runs to the Phillies. So much for not being able to pitch on three days rest.

Andy Pettitte

Pettitte came up big for the Yankees yet again

Pettitte pitched with a bend, but don’t break mentality last night. Pettitte walked five and gave up four hits over 5.2 innings, but never gave up the big hit.

Here are some other observations from last night:

The Phillies biggest fear in this World Series came to light last night–nobody except Cliff Lee could win a game for the Phillies.

After Matusi’s two-run single in the third, I couldn’t believe Charlie Manuel left Martinez in the game to face Posada.

Ryan Howard struck out for a 13th time last night breaking Willie Wilson’s World Series record of 12 set back in 1980.

I can’t believe that more was not made of Shane Victorino’s misplay on the Derek Jeter linedrive in the third. That was a huge play. The way the Yankees were playing, you can’t give them four outs in an inning.

Great job last night by Chad Durbin keeping it close. 0.1 innings, two hits, one walk, and three runs.

While Matsui might have won the World Series MVP award, Damaso Marte was just as valuable in this series.

Marte’s strike out of Chase Utley in the seventh was the nail in the coffin for the Phillies.

Of course, Marte came on to clean up Joba Chamberlain’s mess. How many times did I have to write that this postseason. Someone explain to me why Chamberlain is the most hyped pitcher in the game again?

Melky Cabrera has a World Series ring and Barry Bonds, Ted Williams, Ernie Banks, and Don Mattingly don’t. Unreal.

Back in March, Gary Sheffield was deciding between the New York Mets and Phillies. The Phillies really could have used him as their DH in this series.

Both teams were playing eight on eight tonight. Brett Gardner = automatic out for the Yankees. Ben Francisco = automatic out for the Phillies.

The Yankees become the first team since the 1991 Minnesota Twins to win a World Series using a three-man pitching staff.

5,000 kids in Long Island, who were Mets fans yesterday, are now Yankee fans today. They came into class today wearing red Yankee hats and a fake Chamberlain jersey.

Matsui will be replaced in the Yankees’ lineup next year by Matt Holliday. Damon will move to DH.

Now all of a sudden Joe Girardi is a genious.

Yankees’ President Randy Levine said in his post-game interview that George Steinbrenner was the first owner to go into Japan when they signed Matsui. Somebody should tell him A. Hideki Irabu played for the Yankees in 1997 and B. Ichiro Suzuki came into the league two years before Matsui.

How many times did the Yankees’ front office try to get rid of Pettitte over the last 10 years? Just proving that they are good business men, but terrible baseball men.

Pedro Feliz killed the Phillies this game. Three times up with RISP and 0-for-3. He gets a hit in any of those AB’s, it’s a different game.

How awesome was Carlos Ruiz this postseason? Just awesome. Such a good little player.

Raul Ibanez had a tremendous AB versus Rivera in the eighth inning. He worked hard for that double.

For the final out of the World Series, the Yankees had Jerry Hairston Jr., Gardner, and Nick Swisher in the outfield. Just goes to show you, you never know who is going to play a role in the World Series in April.

Well, with that the baseball season officially comes to an end. I’ll be doing a year in review in the upcoming days and I will be doing a what to look for this offseason post as well.

It’s one in the morning and I need some sleep. Have a good night folks.

Phillies Hold Off Yankees, Force Game Six

November 3, 2009

Like George Costanza, the Philadelphia Phillies did the opposite last night.

Instead of having tuna on toast, with coleslaw, and a cup of coffee and trying to wait out AJ Burnett, the Phillies had chicken salad, on rye, untoasted, and a cup of tea and jumped all over Burnett.

The Phillies were aggressive and ambushed Burnett in the first inning thanks to a Chase Utley three-run homerun and eventually held on for an 8-6 victory to force a Game Six back in the Bronx.

The Yankees now lead the best-of-seven World Series 3-2.

What ever respect Burnett earned in his gutsy performance in Game Five of the ALCS and his brilliant performance in Game Two of the World Series, he lost last night.

Yankees Orioles Baseball

Burnett gave the Yankees nothing last night

To go out in a World Series game and give your team absolutely nothing, is pathetic. At least battle like you did against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Here is all you need to know about where Burnett’s head was last night.

In the bottom of the third, Burnett was facing Jayson Werth with two on and nobody out. Burnett gets to 0-2 on Werth on two fastballs. The second fastball he blew by Werth.

Now one of the first things you learn when you become a pitcher is if a guy can’t catch up to your fastball, don’t throw anything offspead.

So what does Burnett do? He throws a tumbling curveball right over the middle of the plate. Werth was all over it and ripped the ball right back up the middle.

You can’t throw that pitch, if a guy just couldn’t catch up to your fastball on the pitch before. Let him prove that he can hit your fastball.

Burnett was then taken out of the game.

Just a terrible performance.

Here are some other observations from last night.

When Shane Victorino got hit on the finger squaring to bunt in the first inning, it reminded me of David Cone breaking his finger in 1987 on a bunt attempt.

In a potential clinching game in the World Series, the Yankees had Nick Swisher batting fifth.

Lee was good last night, but wasn’t great. He walked three guys last night and had only walked three guys in his previous four starts.

Lee only threw first-pitch strikes to 18 out of the 31 batters he faced. Very uncharacteristic for him.

I was very surprised to see Lee come out for the eighth inning. I thought Charlie Manuel should have gone to Chan Ho Park to start the inning and preserve Lee for a relief appearance in a potential Game Seven.

Great job by David Roberston and Alfredo Aceves to keep the Yankees in the game. Four innings, two hits, and three strike outs.

The Yankees have to be encouraged by Phil Hughes’ performance last night. 1.1 innings and looked sharp.

I guess we now know why Damaso Marte is ahead of Phil Coke on the depth chart.

With five homeruns, Chase Utley has tied Reggie Jackson for most homeruns in a World Series.

Why does Swisher look up at the scoreboard before every pitch? If this was the 1960’s, he would be accused of stealing signs.

Can someone please teach Brett Gardner how to bunt? This guy is one of the fastest players in baseball and he is hitting the ball in the air every AB.

I had no problem with Manuel going with Ryan Madson in the ninth. Lidge threw 30 pitches the night before and Madson was solid in Game Four.

Whatever praying the Phillies’ dugout did before the Derek Jeter AB–it worked. Jeter hitting into a 6-4-3 double play is more than anyone could have expected.

Say what you want about Johnny Damon–when the game and season is on the line, he shows up to play.

You can make all the great defensive plays you want, but Mark Teixeira’s postseason honeymoon is over. He has been awful in this World Series and for the most part, the entire postseason.

Hideki Matsui leads the Yankees in total bases this World Series (11) and has only started two games.

Citizens Bank Park has an X-Ray machine in the stadium. How far have we come in terms of technology? It really is amazing and we all, including myself take it for granted.

Hypothetical here: Let’s say Teixeira tied the game with a two-run HR in the ninth and Brett Gardner wins the game for the Yankees in the 15th inning. Does Utley still win the MVP award?

Ryan Howard has struck out 12 times this postseason tying Willie Wilson’s World Series record. I am confident that he will break that record in Game Six.

Another hypothetical here: Game Six, the Phillies are up 4-3, and heading into the ninth inning–who close’s for the Phillies?

If there ever was a “good loss” last night was it for the Yankees. They took the Phillies best punch last night and managed to get back up and make a fight out of it.

The Yankee teams from 2001-2008 would have taken that punch and not gotten back up.

Hero for Game Five – Chase Utley

Goat for Game Five – AJ Burnett

Series MVP – Chase Utley

Game Six is Wednesday at 7:57 ET.

Yankees Steal Game Two From Twins

October 10, 2009

The Minnesota Twins begged the New York Yankees to win Game Two of their American League Division Series last night at Yankee Stadium and the Yankees took them up on their offer.

The Yankees beat the Twins last night 4-3 in 11 innings on a walk-off homerun by Mark Teixeira to give the Bronx Bombers a two games to none advantage in their best-of-five series.

It’s very rare that the game-winning homerun isn’t the biggest story of the game. But in this game Teixeira’s homerun wasn’t even close to being the biggest story of this game. The biggest story of this game was how the Twins just imploded in every facet of the game.

I am starting to wonder if the Twins and St Louis Cardinals have a bet going on to see who can be more inept during the playoffs.

First, let’s start with Carlos Gomez’s awful awful baserunning in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Delmon Young on second, and Gomez on first, Matt Tolbert lined a single to right-centerfield.

As Young was attempting to score, Gomez rounded second, slipped, and was tagged out before Young touched home plate. The fact that Gomez slipped wasn’t the bad play–it could happen to anyone.

The blunder Gomez made was that when he slipped and was caught in no man’s land, he should have gotten in a run-down to ensure that Young would score. It was a horrible play that cost the Twins an ever so valuable run.

Nathan imploded last night

Nathan imploded last night

Second, there was the Twins pitching. I am not talking about Nick Blackburn because he was outstanding last night. I am talking about the Joe Nathan implosion that took place in the ninth.

The Twins had that game won. Up 3-1 going into the ninth and with Joe Nathan on the mound, you have to win that game. Nathan had a meltdown that would have made Trevor Hoffman proud.

Now facing Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Hideki Matsui in hopes of closing out a game is no easy task. But if you are supposed to be one of the best closers in the game, you have to get it down with a two run lead.

Nathan allowed a leadoff single to Teixeira and then came the Rodriguez AB. Nathan and Mauer’s approach to Arod made no sense. Nathan fell behind the count 3-0 and it looked like they were pitching around him.

At 3-0 to Arod, the battle is lost. I know it is a cardinal sin to put the winning run on base, but in that spot you have to do it. Nathan then proceeds to throw such a get-me-over fastball, that I am a surprised Arod didn’t come out of his shoes.

Okay, now the count is 3-1. At this point, you throw a cutter or something soft away and hope that you can use Arod’s aggressiveness against him. Maybe he will roll one over to short or foul it off to get the count to 3-2.

So what does Nathan decide to do? He throws a flat, mediocre fastball right down the middle of the plate.

Boom! Homerun and the game is tied at three.

Nathan had another meltdown again in the 10th when tried to pick off Brett Gardner at second base. Nathan threw the ball into centerfield and the Yankees had a runner on third with just one out.

After a Derek Jeter intentional walk, Nathan got Johnny Damon to line weakly to Orlando Cabrera. For some reason Gardner forgot to freeze on the linedrive and got doubled up. It was a terrible baserunning play by Gardner.

Third and finally for the Twins, there situational hitting was horrific in this game. The Twins left 17 men on base last night. 17!!! The icing on the cake was in the 11th inning.

The Twins had bases loaded and noboby out and DIDN’T SCORE! Young lined out to Teixeira, Gomez ground into a force out, and Brendan Harris flied out to center.

After watching his pathetic AB in that frame, I have come to the conclusion that Gomez is maybe the worst player in baseball. He has no skills outside of running. He would make for a perfect wide receiver on the Oakland Raiders.

Of course the biggest story of the top of the 11th besides the Twins not scoring was the inexcusable missed call by leftfield umpire Phil Cuzzi. Joe Mauer fit a flyball down the leftfield line that dropped about three feet in fair territory, but was called foul.

Mauer would have had a ground-rule double.

However, this was not the reason the Twins lost the game. You got the feeling that even if the Twins scored five runs in that inning, the Yankees would have scored six in the next.

The Twins did everything they could to give this game away. Now, their season is all but over.

Game Three is Sunday at 7:07 ET.

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

Is The Mets Loss On Friday Night The Worst In Baseball So Far?

June 13, 2009

I am speechless”

“Just Surreal”

“I just sh*t my pants”

Those were just some of the text messages I got Friday night after the Mets lost to the Yankees 9-8 in unbelievable fashion.

There have been a lot of teams who have suffered excruciating losses this year – The Rays blowing a 10 run lead against the Indians comes to mind. But there is nothing, I mean NOTHING, that can compare to the way the Mets lost to the Yankees in the Subway Series last night.

After the Mets took an 8-7 lead in the top of the 8th against the great Mariano Rivera on a David Wright double that scored Carlos Beltran, the stage was set for Francisco Rodriguez (Krod) to close out the game in the 9th.

Krod, who had not blown a save all season, needed to retire Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher to preserve the win. First came up the quadruple A level, Brett Gardner.

Can someone tell me why Gardner is in the major leagues? Seriously, he is like an WR in the NFL who can run a 4.3 40, but can’t run a route, catch a pass or do anything else. Or every WR on the Oakland Raiders.

Krod got Gardner to pop up to the catcher for the first out. Then things got interesting.

Jeter got things started with a single up the middle. It was a solid piece of hitting by Jeter, as he stayed with a wicked changeup to get the hit.

Johnny Damon came on to pinch hit for Nick Swisher. In a tough 9 pitch AB, Krod got Damon to swing and miss on a 3-2 changeup, low and inside for the second out. Jeter, running on the pitch was able to steal second rather easily.

Now we have a runner on second with two outs for the red hot Mark “Everybody knows the Yankees paid the most” Teixeira. Despite Teixeira sporting a career 2 for 19 mark against Krod, it appeared the Mets’ closer wanted nothing to do with Teixeira.

Teixeira walked, and then the unthinkable happened.

It was Krod vs. Arod. After falling behind 3-1, Krod poured in a sinking, 94 mph fastball to Arod. Arod popped the ball up to second base (not surprising). This just wasn’t a popup, this was a pop up that most above average second baseman ages 12 and up could have caught.

Castill made the blunder of the year so far

Castillo made the blunder of the year so far

Despite winning three Gold Gloves, Mets second baseman Luis Castillo, bumbling around in short rightfield (when i say short, I mean right behind the infield dirt) DROPPED THE BALL!!! Jeter scored. Teixeira, running all the way from first scored. 9-8, Yankees win.

Not only did Castillo drop the ball, but when he recovered and picked up the ball, he threw the ball to second base instead of home. That is how Teixeira scored. Two mistakes for the price of one loss for Castillo.

I don’t think I have ever seen a routine pop up to second base dropped to lose a game. Have you?

Is this the worst loss in baseball so far this year? What do you think?

I think it is. Teams blow saves all the time, but nothing like this. Just excruciating.

PS – I was going to put this in my “Can of Corn” category, but that would be just pouring salt in the wound of Met fans.

Predicting The Rookie Of The Year Winners..

March 31, 2009

Next up in Prediction Week is the AL & NL Rookie of the Year. Winning the Rookie of the Year award can be a springboard to a great career (Albert Pujols, Mike Piazza & Andre Dawson) or it could be the one shining moment in a player’s career (Bob Hamelin, Ben Grieve & Jerome Walton). Who will win this year’s award? Let’s take a look…

Qualifications for the Rookie of the Year are a pitcher can’t have more than 50 innings pitched and a hitter can’t have more than 130 career ab’s.

NL

Candidates – Cameron Maybin, Jason Motte, James McDonald, Jordan Schafer, Chris Dickerson & Jordan Zimmermann

Can Maybin steal the ROY?

Can Maybin steal the ROY?

ROY – Cameron Maybin

WHY – Maybin will be the Marlins starting CF from Day 1 which is an important factor in considering who will win. Maybin hit .500 in a 32 ab audition last year for the Marlins and has all the tools to be a star in this game. He should hit around .260 with 10-15 hr’s, 70-80 runs scored and 20-30 sb’s. That should be good enough to win him the award.

AL

Candidates – Matt Wieters, Travis Snider, Brett Anderson, Chris Getz, Elvis Andrus & Brett Gardner

ROY – Travis Snider

Why – I know it is taboo to not to think that Matt Wieters won’t hit .450/40/140 but I like Travis Snider for a couple of reasons:

1. While Wieters will be riding buses from town to town in Triple A until May, Snider will be the Blue Jays starting LF from Day 1. This will give Snider roughly a 100-120 ab advantage.

2. I know Longoria and Braun won the ROY after being called up in May, but they weren’t catchers. Not only will Wieters lose ground to Snider because he won’t be in the majors until May (maybe even June) but he will also lose ground because even when he gets to the majors, he won’t be playing everyday because he is a catcher. Wieters would have to put up astronomical numbers to win the ROY in roughly 400 ab’s.

Spring Position Battles Update…

March 30, 2009

On Sunday New York Yankees Mgr, Joe Girardi announced that Brett Gardner will be the Yankees starting CF. Not surprised by this move at all. Cabrera projects to be nothing more than a 4th OF, while Gardner has a lot more speed which Girardi likes and overall had a better spring than Cabrera.

Gardner goes from projected winner to winner.

Yankees CF, Brett Gardner vs. Melky Cabrera. Cabrera and his .268 lifetime avg seems to be nothing more than a 4th OF. Gardner, who struggled in 127 ab’s last year with a .228/0/16/.283 has really turned it on this spring. Gardner has put an impressive .395/3/6 with 4 sb’s in 38 ab’s. Perhaps Gardner can be for the Yankees was Scott Podsednik was for the White Sox in 2005. Winner – Brett Gardner

Spring Position Battles…

March 23, 2009

With Spring Training more than half-way done, it’s time to look at who is winning some of the position battles that are going on this spring.

Lowrie is having a great spring

Lowrie is having a great spring

Red Sox SS, Julio Lugo vs. Jed Lowrie. Early in Spring Training it appeared as if Lugo was going to win the starting SS job from Jed Lowrie. Then Lugo suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee which has knocked him out for 3-4 weeks. Lowrie has made the most of the situation by hitting the snot out of the baseball this spring. Lowrie is hitting .439/2/10 with 2 triples and 6 doubles in 41 ab’s. Projected Winner – Jed Lowrie

Yankees CF, Brett Gardner vs. Melky Cabrera. Cabrera and his .268 lifetime avg seems to be nothing more than a 4th OF. Gardner, who struggled in 127 ab’slast year with a .228/0/16/.283 has really turned it on this spring. Gardner has put an impressive .395/3/6 with 4 sb’s in 38 ab’s. Perhaps Gardner can be for the Yankees was Scott Podsednik was for the White Sox in 2005. Projected Winner – Brett Gardner

Yankees RF, Nick Swisher vs, Xavier Nady. For a team who is approaching a $200MM payroll, it seems odd that they would have 2/3’s of their outfield unsettled. Between Swisher and Nady, neither has had a spectular spring. Whoever loses this battle will be relegated to bench duty because the DH spot is being occupied by Hideki Matsui. With Swisher having the ability to switch hit and work the count (avg 93 walks the last 3 years), he might have the edge over Nady. Projected Winner – Nick Swisher

Reds LF, Chris Dickerson vs. Jonny Gomes. Dickerson, who in his end of year audition last year tore up the baseball by hitting .306 with 6 hr’s and 15 rbi in just 31 games with the Reds. He hasn’t slowed down this spring has he has hit .325/2/6 with 5 sb’s in 40 ab’s. Gomes, who was signed in the offseason can hit the long ball and also can hit left-handed pitching (.266/25/61/.369 in 414 ab’s). With the Reds now favoring speed and defense, it looks like Dickerson might have the edge heading into opening day. Projected Winner – Chris Dickerson

Giants 2B, Kevin Frandsen vs. Emmanuel Burriss. A good battle between 2 young players. Neither has hurt themselves this spring. Frandsen has hit .315/1/5 in 54 ab’s and Burriss has hit .415/1/5 with 2 sb’s in 53 ab’s. With Burriss having the ability to steal a base (117 career minor league sb’s) and to switch hit, I give him the edge over Frandsen. Projected Winner – Emmanuel Burriss

Motte has 4 saves this spring

Motte has 4 saves this spring

Cardinals Closer, Jason Motte vs. Chris Perez vs. Ryan Franklin – Jason Motte has taken this competition by the throat. Motte has looked awesome this spring to the tune of a 1.08 era with 4 saves in 8.1 innings. At 26 years old, Motte seems poised to be the Cardinals’ closer come opening day. While Motte has been dominating, Chris Perez has been sidelined with a shoulder injury and Ryan Franklin who closed games last year for the Cardinals (17/25 in save opportunities), seems destined to be put back in his familiar role of set-up man. Projected Winner – Jason Motte.

Rockies Closer, Huston Street vs. Manny Corpas. This is an interesting battle. Do the Rockies give the job to Manny Corpas who took the closer’s job from Brian Fuentes in 2007 and helped the Rockies reach the World Series but flamed out in 2008? Or do they give the job to Huston Street, a proven closer who was acquired in the Matt Holliday trade but had a below average 2008? Despite Corpas having a solid spring, I believe Street will ultimately win the job. Street has averaged 24 saves over his 4 career and I agree with Rotoworld that giving Street the closer’s job would increase his trade value. Projected Winner – Huston Street.

Also, on a side note to Spring Training congratulations to Ricky Nolasco, Dan Meyer and Leo Nunez of the Florida Marlins who combined to no-hit the Detroit Tigers on Sunday. Very impressive!!!