Posts Tagged ‘Carlos Zambrano’

Starting Rotation: National League Central

January 22, 2010

Today, I am going to take a look at the starting rotations for each National League Central team.

Pitchers like Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, and Roy Oswalt call this division home. This division has quality pitchers throughout.

Here are the starting rotations for each National League Central team as presently constructed.

St. Louis Cardinals

1. Chris Carpenter, RHP

2. Adam Wainwright, RHP

3. Kyle Lohse, RHP

4. Brad Penny, RHP

5. TBD

Quick Take – This rotation is very top heavy with Carpenter and Wainwright leading the way. Carpenter’s health is key. If he is healthy, the Cardinals will be favorites to win the division. I like the Penny signing. The Cardinals don’t have a candidate for the fifth starter right now, so look for them to sign someone.

Milwaukee Brewers

1. Yovani Gallardo, RHP

2. Randy Wolf, LHP

3. Dave Bush, RHP

4. Doug Davis, LHP

5. Jeff Suppan, RHP

Quick Take – With the additions of Wolf and Davis, this rotation is vastly improved from 2009. Wolf and Davis will give the Brewers innings. Look for Gallardo to continue to develop into an ace. Suppan will battle with Manny Parra for the No.5 starter spot.

Chicago Cubs

1. Carlos Zambrano, RHP

2. Ryan Dempster, RHP

3. Randy Wells, RHP

4. Ted Lilly, LHP

5. Tom Gorzelanny, LHP

Quick Take – This might be the most overrated pitching staff in baseball. Dempster has had one good year in the last seven years and was not worthy of his contract. It’s up in the air whether or not Lilly will be ready for Opening Day. I am starting to wonder if all those innings Zambrano threw earlier in his career is coming back to haunt him now?

Cincinnati Reds

1. Bronson Arroyo, RHP

2. Aaron Harang, RHP

3. Johnny Cueto, RHP

4. Homer Bailey, RHP

5. TBD

Quick Take – This rotation will really miss Edinson Volquez in 2010. Volquez might pitch in 2010, but not until towards the end of the season. Arroyo and Harang are prime trade candidates. The Reds’ No.5 starter spot is open right now. I don’t think it will be Aroldis Chapman to start the season.

Houston Astros

1. Roy Oswalt, RHP

2. Wandy Rodriguez, LHP

3. Brett Myers, RHP

4. Bud Norris, RHP

5. Brian Moehler, RHP

Quick Take – From where this rotation was at the beginning of 2009, the Astros have come a long way. Astros need Oswalt to have a bounce back year. Norris showed potential last season, but needs to cut down on his walks and needs to show development next season.

Pittsburgh Pirates

1. Paul Maholm, LHP

2. Zach Duke, LHP

3. Ross Ohlendorf, RHP

4. Charlie Morton, RHP

5. Kevin Hart, RHP

Quick Take – I really feel bad for Maholm and Duke. If they were on better teams, they would be more recognized and people would know how good they are. Morton came over to the Pirates in the Nate McLouth trade and at 26, he needs to step up and prove he belongs in the major leagues.

Tomorrow, I will have the final installment of this series and take a look at the division where pitching dominates–the National League West.

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Seattle Mariners Lockup Felix Hernandez

January 19, 2010

The Seattle Mariners invested not only for 2010, but in their future last night.

According to ESPN.com’s Keith Law, the Mariners have signed ace Felix Hernandez to a five-year, $78 million contract extension. The deal buys out Hernandez’s two remaining years of arbitration.

"King Felix" got paid last night

First, kudos to the Mariners’ front office for locking up Hernandez. It always pleases me to see when teams lock up home-grown talent to long-term deals.

The Cleveland Indians started this trend in the early to mid-90’s and it’s great to see the trend continuing into the 2000’s. We have seen over the years teams like the Kansas City Royals (Zack Greinke), and most recently the Florida Marlins (Josh Johnson) lockup young talent.

Second, kudos for Hernandez for taking a home town discount. I know it’s hard to say to a guy he just accepted a home town discount at $78 million, but the reality of the situation is, he did.

$78 million for a guy of Hernandez’s age (23) and caliber, is a pretty good deal for the Mariners. Just look at all the pitchers who signed contracts similar to Hernandez’s over the last couple of years.

Derek Lowe – Four years, $60 million

Roy Oswalt – Five years, $73 million

AJ Burnett – Five years, $82.5 million

John Lackey – Five years, $82.5 million

Carlos Zambrano – Five years, $91.5

Now, all of these pitchers are pretty good. There is no arguing that. But, none of them at the age of 23, have accomplished what Hernandez has accomplished so far at the major league level and has the skill level of Hernandez.

Last year, Hernandez was 19-5 with a 2.49 ERA and struck out 217 in 238.2 innings of work. He also finished second in the AL Cy Young award voting to Greinke.

One could make the argument that Hernandez could have asked for a CC Sabathia (seven years, $161 million) or Johan Santana (six years, $137.5 million) like contract. But he didn’t and now the Mariners have Hernandez locked up to a reasonable contract for the next five years.

Now that they have Hernandez locked up, I wonder how this affects the re-signing of Cliff Lee? Lee is a free agent after this season and will be looking for a significant raise from his $5.75 million salary in 2010.

If the Mariners can lockup both Hernandez and Lee, then they will really have something going in Seattle.

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

Starting Nine: National League Central

January 15, 2010

Next up in our Starting Nine series is the National League Central. Outside of the St. Louis Cardinals re-signing Matt Holliday, there haven’t been any big-time offensive additions to this division. As a whole, this might be the weakest offensive division in baseball (yes, even passing the NL West).

Let’s take a look at the starting lineups for all six teams in this division as presently constructed.

St. Louis Cardinals

1. Skip Schumaker, 2B

2. Brendan Ryan, SS

3. Albert Pujols, 1B

4. Matt Holliday, LF

5. Ryan Ludwick, RF

6. Yadier Molina, C

7. Colby Rasmus, CF

8. David Freese, 3B

9. Chris Carpenter, P

Quick Take – Re-signing Holliday was crucial to this lineup. Despite having Holliday and Pujols in the three-four spot, this lineup will only be as dynamic as Rasmus and Freese takes them.

Milwaukee Brewers

1. Rickie Weeks, 2B

2. Alcides Escobar, SS

3. Ryan Braun, LF

4. Prince Fielder, 1B

5. Casey McGehee, 3B

6. Corey Hart, RF

7. Gregg Zaun, C

8. Carlos Gomez, CF

8. Yovani Gallardo, P

Quick Take – The Brewers sacrificed some offense for defense in 2010. This isn’t the powerful Brewers’ lineup of the last couple of years. There are a lot of automatic outs from seven through nine.

Chicago Cubs

1. Alfonso Soriano, LF

2. Kosuke Fukudome, RF

3. Derek Lee, 1B

4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B

5. Marlon Byrd, CF

6. Geovany Soto, C

7. Ryan Theriot, SS

8. Mike Fontenot, 2B

9. Carlos Zambrano, P

Quick Take – This lineup is getting old in a hurry. If Soriano, Ramirez, and Soto can come back from disappointing 2009 seasons, the Cubs could be in business in 2010. However, I still think they are going to be hard pressed to score runs in 2010.

Cincinnati Reds

1. Drew Stubbs, CF

2. Brandon Phillips, 2B

3. Joey Votto, 1B

4. Jay Bruce, RF

5. Scott Rolen, 3B

6. Ramon Hernandez, C

7. Paul Janish, SS

8. Chris Dickerson, LF

9. Bronson Arroyo, P

Quick Take – This lineup looks good for now and even better for the future. If Bruce can stay healthy, he could have a breakout year in 2010. I would like someone better than Janish at SS, but top prospect Todd Frazier isn’t ready to take over just yet.

Houston Astros

1. Michael Bourn, CF

2. Kaz Matsui, 2B

3. Lance Berkman, 1B

4. Carlos Lee, LF

5. Hunter Pence, RF

6. Pedro Feliz, 3B

7. J.R. Towles, C

8. Tommy Manzella, SS

9. Roy Oswalt, P

Quick Take – This six through nine is brutal. It’s hard to have a top offense when the bottom part of your lineup is this bad. Top catching prospect Jason Castro is not too far away, so this is Towles’ last stand with the Astros.

Pittsburgh Pirates

1. Andrew McCutchen, CF

2. Akinori Iwamura, 2B

3. Garrett Jones, 1B

4. Ryan Doumit, C

5. Andy LaRoche, 3B

6. Lastings Milledge, LF

7. Ryan Church, RF

8. Ronny Cedeno, SS

9. Zach Duke, P

Quick Take – I think in order to maximize their offense’s potential, the Pirates will play Jones at first and Church in right instead of playing Jones in right and Jeff Clement at first. The Pirates’ offense will be better in 2010, but will still have a hard time scoring runs on a consistent basis.

Last, but not least, tomorrow we will take a look at the National League West.

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

Roy Halladay: What’s His Trade Market?

November 18, 2009

I apologize for the late post today, but it was a long, long, long night last night for The Ghost of Moonlight Graham. Beer and late-night eating don’t mix to well anymore after the age of 30.

That being said, I thought I would take it easy on myself today. Today, I am going to take a look at the most coveted player on the trade market this winter–Toronto Blue Jays’ Roy Halladay.

With Halladay a free agent after the 2010 season, the Toronto ace was the hottest name on the trade market during the days leading up to last year’s July 31st trading deadline.

Halladay can be had this offseason

Blue Jays’ GM JP Ricciardi could have traded Halladay at last year’s deadline and have gotten maximum value for him. But he didn’t and that’s one of the many reasons he is no longer the Blue Jays’ GM.

This winter will be the last time the Blue Jays will have the opportunity to trade Halladay and receive top value back. If they wait until the 2010 trading dealine, then teams won’t have to give up the farm because they know the Jays will be forced to trade Halladay.

Now let’s take a look at the pros and the cons of Halladay and what teams would be interested in trading for the native of Denver, CO.

Pros

Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball. Period. End of sentence.

Any team he gets traded to, he becomes that team’s ace. And that’s ANY team including the New York Mets, who have Johan Santana.

Not only will you get an ace, but you are also going to get a guy who is going to save your bullpen. Halladay has led the American League in complete games five out of the last seven years.

As a matter of fact, Halladay’s nine complete games in 2009 were more than 27 teams in baseball. That’s probably the greatest feat in baseball that nobody ever talks about.

Cons

There are only two cons for acquiring Halladay.

First, you are going to have to give up some top prospects to get him. In terms of prospects, Halladay is not going to come cheap.

Second, you might only have him for one year. Like I said, Halladay is a free agent after the 2010 season and at 32-years-old, he will be looking for one last payday.

Now that we looked at the pros and cons of Halladay, let’s look at the teams who have the resources to acquire Halladay.

Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies were in on Halladay last year, but they acquired Cliff Lee instead. The Phillies are a win now team and acquiring Halladay would give the Phillies the best one-two punch in the National League.

The Phillies still have the top prospects to pull off a deal for Halladay.

New York Mets: After a disastrous 2009 season, the Mets are desperate to make a splash this offseason. Halladay would not only be a splash, but he would be a Ron Burgandy cannonball.

The Mets are hoping the same scenario plays out with the Blue Jays that helped them land Santana from the Minnesota Twins. The Twins didn’t want to trade Santana to an American League team and they accepted a penny on the dollar for Santana.

Chicago Cubs: The Cubs have a new owner who wants to win. I think the Cubs have finally realized Carlos Zambrano is not an ace and Halladay would give the Cubs the ace that Kerry Wood and Mark Prior were supposed to be.

Remember, they were hot on Jake Peavy last year, so they know they need a number one. They are my sleeper to land Halladay.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers are an interesting team because they clearly have the need for an ace. Clayton Kershaw clearly isn’t there yet and I have no idea what happened to Chad Billingsley in the second half.

Halladay would thrive in Dodger Stadium. Of course, the big question will be whether or not the Dodgers can add payroll in 2010.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox were all over Halladay at last year’s trading deadline. The Red Sox realize that offense might be a problem going forward, so they might try to win with pitching.

The Red Sox have the prospects and the money to get a deal done. Halladay, Josh Beckett, and Jon Lester would give the Red Sox a formidable three-headed monster.

Yesterday, the Blue Jays made it even more appealing for teams to trade for Halladay by saying they would allow another team a window to negotiate a contract extension with Halladay and his agent.

All signs are pointing towards the Blue Jays trading Halladay this winter. I am going to say there is a 85 percent chance Halladay gets traded this winter.

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

When It Comes To Player Suspensions In Baseball, Your Guess Is As Good As Mine

September 17, 2009

After Tuesday night’s bench clearing brawl between the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees, Major League Baseball handed down suspensions for the two main culprits — Jorge Posada and Jesse Carlson.

For their part in Tuesday night’s fracas, Posada and Carlson each got four-game suspensions. Their suspensions were reduced to three games because neither Posada and Carlson appealed the suspension.

If someone can explain to me how Major League Baseball came up with four games each I would greatly appreciate it.

When it comes to how many games a player gets for his actions, it’s anyone’s guess. It seems to me there are no set guidelines for suspensions. That is a huge problem in my eyes.

Let’s take a look at some non-steriod related suspensions that have been handed out so far in 2009:

Josh Beckett – Suspended for six games for intentionally throwing at Bobby Abreu. Suspension reduced to five games.

Carlos Zambrano – Suspended six games for “inappropriate and violent actions on the field.” Essentially Zambrano was suspended six games for beating up a water cooler with a bat.

Kevin Youkilis – Suspended for five games for his actions in a bench-clearing brawl against the Detroit Tigers.

Rick Porcello – Suspended for five games for his actions in a bench-clearing brawl against the Boston Red Sox.

Fernando Rodney – Suspended for three games for throwing ball into the stands. Suspension later reduced to two games.

Does anyone else see what is wrong here? There is no rhyme or reason for any of these suspensions.

How does Youkilis and Porcello get five games for inciting a bench-clearing brawl, but Posada and Carlson only get three games? What did Youkilis and Porcello do differently that their brawl resulted in two extra games?

In my opinion, a bench-clearing brawl is a bench-clearing brawl. They are like coincidences — there are no levels.

How does Beckett get a six-game suspension for throwing at someone’s head, but Zambrano gets the same game suspension for beating up a water cooler? I didn’t know potentially ending someone’s career is just as harmful as beating up an inanimate object.

This isn’t a Red Sox-Yankee issue — this is a common sense issue. I feel like I am talking crazy pills even writing something like this. If you do A, you get B. It’s as simple as that.

Major League Baseball — and I mean you Bob Watson, needs to come up a standard suspension for each infraction.

It just makes sense.

Zambrano Heads To DL….

May 5, 2009

According to ESPN.com, the Chicago Cubs will put Carlos Zambrano on the DL with a strained hamstring. Zambrano will miss 2-3 weeks. The Cubs will call up Randy Wells from Triple A to take Zambrano’s spot in the rotation.

For fantasy purposes, I wouldn’t rush to pick up Wells. Despite his 3-0 record with a 3.13 era in Triple A, Wells is not a Cub’s top prospect. Unless Wells pitches like Zack Greinke in his first 2 starts, he is not worth the pick up.

Fantasy Week In Review 4/27-5/3

May 4, 2009

The first weekend of May got off to a flying start thanks to a record tying performance from Carl Crawford. Crawford wasn’t the only player who had a good week. Here are the fantasy studs, players we are concerned about and some other fantasy news from the week of 4/27-5/3

Fantasy Studs

Raul Ibanez – .500/3/9. Ibanez is quickly making everyone forget about Pat Burrell.

Todd Helton – .478/1/7. My pick for NL Comeback Player of the Year is starting to rake.

Jorge Cantu – .346/4/14/.432. Cantu is out to prove last year was no fluke.

Jose Guillen – .357/3/10. Guillen is back with a vengeance. I watched a lot of that Royals and Twins series and Guillen was a force in the middle of the lineup. 

Chase Utley – .462/3/5. The 2nd Philly to make this list, Utley’s fast start will give confidence to other players trying to come back from hip surgery.

Dan Haren – 2-0 with a 1.59 era and 21 K’s in 17 IP. Haren is keeping the Dbacks afloat while their young hitters continue to struggle. Haren will be in the Cy Young running this year.

Verlander was lights out this week

Verlander was lights out this week

Justin Verlander – 2-0 with a 0.64 era with 20 K’s in 14 IP. Verlander dominated both the Yankees and Indians in a 7 day span. This is the type of performance that both the Tigers and fantasy owners were looking for from Verlander.

Trevor Hoffman – 3 saves with a 0.00 era and 5 K’s in 4 IP. Hoffman has come off the DL and has provided some stability to the Brewers bullpen.

Reasons for Concern

Brian Fuentes – 0-1 with a 13.50 era with 1 blown save and 4 H in 3 IP. Fuentes has been a disaster so far for the Angels. I watched his blown save against the Yankees and Fuentes was terrible. Couldn’t get anyone out and looked like he has no confidence on the mound.

Chris Davis – .158/0/1 – Everyone’s mancrush has gotten off to a slow start in 2009. Davis is too good to be this bad. He could be in line for a huge 2nd half

David Ortiz  – .208/0/12/.298 for the season. How bad has Ortiz been this year? Using Baseball Musings Lineup Analysis Tool, a lineup of the legendary Nick Green would outscore a lineup of Ortiz, 5.8-2.9. That’s right, a lineup of just Nick Green would score double the amount of runs that a David Ortiz led lineup would. Ouch!!!

Josh Beckett – 0-1 with a 13.50 era with 10 H in 4.2 IP. Outside of his first start against the Rays, Beckett has been terrible this season. By all accounts Beckett is healthy so I am really not sure what is wrong with the Red Sox ace.

Injuries

Josh Hamilton – Placed on the 15 Day DL with a strained rib cage. Eligible to come off on May 12th

Brandon Morrow – Placed on the 15 Day DL with biceps tendinitis. Hopes to return when he is eligible to come off the DL on May 9th.

Carlos Delgado – Day to day with a hip injury. This is an injury that fantasy owners hate. Not hurt enough to go on the DL but is healthy enough to pinch hit from time to time. What a waste of a roster spot. He should be on your bench until he proves to be healthy

Carlos Zambrano – Left Sunday’s start with strained hamstring. He may be in jeopardy of missing his next start.

Potential Pickups

Chris Ray – According to Orioles manager, Dave Trembley the orioles will go “day to day” in regards to their closer situation. If Sherrill ultimately losses his job, Ray would be next in line for the closers role. If you have a roster spot open, might be a good idea to pick him up now.

Homer Bailey – Bailey was rushed to the majors by the Reds when he clearly wasn’t ready to pitch in the majors and it showed. It seems like Bailey has been a “top prospect” forever but he is still only 23 years old and it looks like Bailey is starting to pitch like he is capable of. Bailey is off to a great start in Triple A going 3-0 with a 1.86 era so far. With Micah Owings struggling out of the gate (1-3 4.84 era), Bailey might take over his spot in the rotation sooner rather than later.

Luke Hochevar – I wrote a couple of weeks ago that Hochevar should be called up and with Sidney Ponson now 0-4 with a 7.16 era, I feel even stronger about that statement. Ponson is a waste and everytime the Royals send him out there, they are basically saying “we don’t want to win today.” Hochevar is 5-0 with a 1.13 era in Triple A and should take Ponson’s spot in the rotation shortly.

David Aardsma – With Morrow on the DL, Aardsma should get some save opportunities for the Mariners.

Andruw Jones – Yes Andruw Jones is alive and is actually doing quite well in Texas to the tune of .333/3/8 in 33 ab’s. With Hamilton going on the DL, a spot should open up in the Rangers lineup for Jones to play everyday.