Posts Tagged ‘Chone Figgins’

Starting Nine: American League West

January 13, 2010

The next division up in our Starting Nine series is the American League West. This division has undergone the most change from top to bottom this offseason, so it will be interesting to see which lineup looks the best headed into the season.

Here are the starting lineups as presently constructed for the American League West:

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

1. Erick Aybar, SS

2. Bobby Abreu, RF

3. Torii Hunter, CF

4. Kendry Morales, 1B

5. Hideki Matsui, DH

6. Howie Kendrick, 2B

7. Juan Rivera, LF

8. Brandon Wood, 3B

9. Mike Napoli, C

Quick Take – This lineup will miss Chone Figgins at the top of the lineup to an expect, but despite the Angels’ losses, this lineup is still pretty deep. Any lineup that has Napoli batting ninth should be able to score some runs.

Seattle Mariners

1. Ichiro, RF

2. Chone Figgins, 3B

3. Milton Bradley, LF

4. Jose Lopez, 2B

5. Ken Griffey Jr. DH

6. Franklin Gutierrez, CF

7. Casey Kotchman, 1B

8. Jack Wilson, SS

9. Rob Johnson, C

Quick Take – This lineup after the first four hitters is pretty bad. I don’t care how many runs you prevent in the field, you need to score runs to win. The Mariners need a better DH than Griffey Jr.

Texas Rangers

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Michael Young, 3B

3. Josh Hamilton, LF

4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH

5. Nelson Cruz, RF

6. Chris Davis, 1B

7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C

8. Elvis Andrus, SS

9. Julio Borbon, CF

Quick Take – I love this lineup. I like Borbon in the nine-hole acting like a second leadoff hitter at the bottom of the lineup. The key to this lineup will be health.

Oakland A’s

1. Coco Crisp, CF

2. Rajai Davis, LF

3. Ryan Sweeney, RF

4. Jack Cust, DH

5. Daric Barton, 1B

6. Kurt Suzuki, C

7. Eric Chavez, 3B

8. Mark Ellis, 2B

9. Cliff Pennington, SS

Quick Take – This is the worst in the American League (yes, worse than the Kansas City Royals) and perhaps the worst in baseball. There isn’t a guy in this lineup that would start on the Baltimore Orioles. Michael Taylor better make it to the A’s soon.

Tomorrow, I will dive into the National League and look at the National League East.

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

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Opportunity Finally Knocks For Brandon Wood

December 28, 2009

If there is one thing I have tried to do with each job that I have had in my life is to take something away and learn something from that job. For example, I have learned two things from last job.

First, I learned that even one of the biggest companies in the world can be dysfunctional. Then again, here is a life lesson for all you kids who are reading this who are still in college or just graduated–all companies in Corporate America are dysfunctional.

The second thing I learned is how to deal with change. People at my last  company were being laid off or quitting daily. It was a constant revolving door. However, sometimes with change comes opportunity.

When someone leaves a company or an organization, it opens the door for someone else. You feel bad to get an opportunity when someone else gets laid off, but that is just the way life is.

For the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Brandon Wood, he finally might get an opportunity because of someone else leaving. Now, I am not saying the Angels are a dysfunctional organization, because they are not.

Wood will get an opportunity in 2010

As a matter of fact, I think the Angels are one of the best three or four best run organizations in baseball. But just like with every team in baseball, the Angels lose players to free agency or trade away players to try to improve in other areas.

In this case, the player that left Anaheim was Chone Figgins. Figgins left to sign with the Seattle Mariners and thus, the Angels have an opening at third base in 2010.

The player most likely to fill that spot is Wood. Wood has been one of the most hyped prospects in the Angels’ system since the Angels selected him with the 23rd pick in the first round of the 2003 draft.

He has put up some impressive minor league numbers, but he hasn’t translated that success to the major league level. In 236 AB’s over three seasons, Wood has a career .192 average.

I will give Wood a pass in those 236 AB’s because it has to be hard for a young player to perform when he doesn’t get regular AB’s and is shuffling between the minors and majors.

Wood will be given every opportunity to win the third base job in spring training and I think he will have a very productive 2010 season. Wood will bat sixth or seventh in the Angels’ lineup and should have plenty of RBI opportunities next year.

Here is what I expect from Wood in 2010. I expect a .255 average with 20-25 home runs, 65-75 RBI, and a .335 OBP. Those are good, but not great numbers.

Draft Wood as a backup third baseman and as a future starting third baseman in keeper league settings.

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

Seattle Mariners Officially Sign Chone Figgins

December 9, 2009

A deal that was seemingly consummated weeks ago, was finally made official today.

The Seattle Mariners officially announced the signing of 3B Chone Figgins to a four-year, $36 million contract. The deal also includes a $9 million option for 2014.

Figgins is officially a Mariner

My two biggest free agent bust hitters are now off the market. Marco Scutaro, who signed last week with the Boston Red Sox was the other one.

I know I am in the minority with thinking Figgins is going to be a bust. For me, Figgins is Juan Pierre Part 2.

Do I think Figgins will be good for the Mariners in 2010 and 2011? Yes, I do. Do I think he is going to have the year he had in 2009 ever again? No, I don’t.

It’s going to be in the third and forth years of this deal when he is 34 and 35 that the Mariners are going to regret this deal. I believe in those years that Figgins will be nothing more than a high-priced platoon player/pinch-runner.

The reason Mariners’ GM Jack Zduriencik was interested in signing Figgins was because Figgins fits into what the Mariners are trying to build right now in Seattle. The Mariners are building a team around speed and defense.

With Figgins at third and Jack Wilson at short, the Mariners have a vacuum on the left side of their infield. They might be the best defensive left side in baseball in 2010.

Offensively, Figgins will hit at the top of the lineup and he and Ichiro should give the Mariners a one-two punch that will put a lot of pressure on opposing defenses and pitchers.

Figgins in 2008 set career highs in runs (114), walks (101), OBP (.395), and strike outs (114). As Figgins gets older, the strike outs will pile up, the speed will decline, and then what do you have?

You have a $9 million player with little speed and little power–you have a $9 million platoon player.

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

A Perfect Fit: Bobby Abreu Re-signs With Angels

November 6, 2009

I wrote last week there were three teams whose future would be dramatically affected by what happens this offseason. Those three teams were the New York Mets, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

For the Angels, they are facing an offseason where their core group of players from years past and present were free agents to be. Chone Figgins, John Lackey, Vladimir Guerrero, and Bobby Abreu are all potential free agents.

With that many key free agents, the Angels have to figure out quickly, who is going to be part of their core group in the future.

Bobby Abreu

Abreu will be back with the Angels

Yesterday, the Angels made it clear who they want to be part of their core group for 2010 and for the future.

According to Ed Price at AOL Fanhouse, Bobby Abreu re-signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim yesterday. The deal is worth $19 million over two years with vesting option for 2012.

This was such a perfect fit for both Abreu and the Angels, that it was good business to get a deal done.

As we all know, Abreu took a discounted deal at $5 million to come to the Angels last year. For that $5 million all he did was hit .293/.390/.435 with 15 homeruns and 30 SB’s.

According to Fangraphs, Abreu’s value to the Angels last year was around $11 million. Thus making Abreu on of the best free agent bargains in baseball last winter.

But Abreu’s value to the Angels went beyond numbers. Abreu taught the Angels hitters how to be patient at the plate. He taught them how to work the count and how to look for their pitch more often.

Thanks to the Angels new found approach, the Angels led baseball with a .285 team batting average. Their team OBP also increased by 20 points from 2008 to 2009 (.330 to .350) thanks to Abreu.

Now the Angels have to figure out how to replace Figgins, Guerrero, and Lackey. Knowing how the Angels operate, I am confident in saying they will figure it out and make the best decision possible.

And one last note about this signing. Yesterday was a good day for Jason Bay and Matt Holliday. With Abreu now out of the way, Bay and Holliday are by far and away the two best hitters on the market.

Abreu’s signing only increases their leverage to teams who are looking for an offensive player.

Big Offseason Looms For The Angels

October 27, 2009

I was planning on writing my World Series preview and predictions today, but I think I am going to hold off for one more day. I want to wait until the rotations and rosters are set. I want to make sure everything is in place before I give my thoughts on the series.

As for today, I am going to write about the team I have written about the most in the past 10 months.

The New York Yankees? Nope.

The Boston Red Sox? Nope.

Perhaps the Colorado Rockies? Not quite.

Today, I will be talking about the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I have written more articles that concern the Angels than any other team.

I guess that makes sense. I have been ripping Brian Fuentes all year, they are always active in free agency and trades, and most importantly–they had a great season.

I am guessing the Angels will be around the top talked about teams next year as well. And next year for the Angels began yesterday when they were eliminated by the Yankees in the ALCS.

There are three teams in my opinion, who face massive offseason decisions. The St. Louis Cardinals, the New York Mets, and the Angels.

Listen, every team faces offseason decisions, but these three teams face decisions that could set the course of their franchise for years to come.

Vladimir Guerrero

Vlad could be moving on this Winter

The Angels have a myriad of impending free agents. Vladimir Guerrero ($15 million), John Lackey ($9 million), Kelvim Escobar ($9.5 million), Chone Figgins ($5.8 million), Bobby Abreu ($5 million), and Darren Oliver ($3.7 million) all could be available for other teams this offseason.

For those of you scoring at home the Angels could lose their No. One starter, their leadoff hitter, their No. Two hitter, and their cleanup hitter.That is a lot to replace in one offseason.

The good news is that the Angels are also losing about $48 million in salary. Now what to do with that $48 million is the hard part.

My guess is that Abreu and Oliver come back and the Angels let Figgins, Guerrero, Escobar, and Lackey go. They should then put all of their resources into improving their bullpen and trying to sign an impact bat for the middle of the lineup.

As we saw in the ALCS, the Angels still don’t have that impact bat in the middle of the lineup that scares you. Kendry Morales and Torii Hunter are nice players, but they really don’t scare anyone.

Of course, Matt Holliday and Jason Bay come to mind for the impact bat the Angels need.

Hopefully the Angels will replace Figgins with Brandon Wood. I say hopefully because it seems the Angels are reluctant to give Wood a full-time job at the big league level.

I know he has a long swing, but Wood can hit 25-30 HR’s at the major league level.

Every team hits a “peak” with a certain group of players, then they have to rebuild or retool. The Mets peak was in 2006, the Milwaukee Brewers peak was in 2008, the Chicago White Sox peak was 2005, and the Angels peak was in 2008 as well.

The Angels were the best team in baseball in 2008 and that was their year to win the World Series. Now, they have to retool to get back to that point.

The Angels have more questions than answers going into the offseason. What ever the Angels decide to do, something tells me they will be one of the top teams in baseball yet again next year and I will be writing about them a lot again in 2010.

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

Yankees Beat Bumbling Angels 5-2, Advance To World Series

October 26, 2009

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim found out with the Minnesota Twins already know. If you continue to make boneheaded baserunning plays and continue to play horrific defense you are going to lose in the playoffs.

The New York Yankees beat the stumbling, bumbling Angels last night 5-2 to take their best-of-seven series 4-2 and advance to the World Series for the 40th time in their history.

Pettitte was vintage Pettitte last night

Pettitte was vintage Pettitte last night

The tone of this series was set in the first inning of Game One when Erick Aybar and Chone Figgins stared at each other and let Hideki Matsui’s Little League popup fall in. Shockingly, that is the way the Angels would play for the entire series.

If you said to someone that the Angels would make eight errors in six games, that person would have said you are nuts. After all, the Angels are one of the most fundamentally sound teams in baseball.

But for what ever reason, the Angels played like the Twins did in their ALDS series against the Yankees.

Here are some of my observations from last night:

Joe Saunders played with fire for the first three inning and eventually got burned in the fourth. You can’t constantly pitch from behind in the count and be successful in the playoffs.

Saunders faced 22 batters and threw first-pitch strikes to only seven of those batters.

I can’t believe Saunders was left in the game to face Alex Rodriguez with the bases loaded in the fourth. What was the point of warming up Kevin Jepsen, if he wasn’t going to come into the game to face Rodriguez?

The 3-1 pitch to Rodriguez was a strike at any level of baseball except in Game Six of the ALCS.

As bad as Darren Oliver was in Game Five, he was great in Game Six. He kept the Angels in that game for as long as he could. Great performance.

If you are going to hand out nine walks to the Yankees in a game, I would say there is a very good chance you are going to lose the game.

Melky Cabrera (my least favorite player in baseball) really gave the Yankees a boost at the bottom of their lineup. Cabrera hit .391 for series and had a .462 OBP.

When Andy Pettitte retires, the Yankees are going to miss him just as much as Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. The guy is just money in a big spot.

Pettitte faced 25 batters and threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of those batters.

Jeter’s potential error turns out to be a positive for the Yankees. Amazing how that works out.

There is no greater weapon in sports than Rivera.

How does Vladimir Guerrero get doubled up on that flyball to right? The play was happening right in front of him. It’s inexcusable.

Did anyone else have flashbacks to the 2006 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers when the Angels couldn’t field those bunts in the eighth?

Why didn’t Scott Kazmir start the eighth inning? He was ready and the Yankees had Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Cabrera coming up.

Cano had a nice defensive game last night. Considering he didn’t show up in Game Two, he kind of owed it to the Yankees.

Some team is still going to give Figgins a four-year, $42 million deal and still regret it from the first day.

Do you know that phrase in baseball “Stay within yourself?” Apparently Torii Hunter has never heard of that phrase. He goes for the downs on every swing in the playoffs.

Why does Mike Scioscia continue to pinch-hit Gary Matthews Jr. for Mike Napoli? Napoli is a much better hitter than Matthews–even against a righty in Rivera.

Why did Scioscia pinch-hit Macier Izturis for Jeff Mathis in the seventh? I don’t care what the matchup is, Mathis is the hottest hitter on the planet outside of Rodriguez right now. Let the guy hit.

Hero for Game Six – Andy Pettitte

Goat for Game Six – Joe Saunders

Series MVP – CC Sabathia

I will be doing a World Series preview tomorrow.

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

Sabathia, Rodriguez Give Yankees 3-1 Series Lead

October 21, 2009

So much for CC Sabathia not being able to pitch in the postseason huh?

On just three days rest, New York Yankees’ ace CC Sabathia dominated the feeble Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim lineup and Alex Rodriguez hit yet another homerun, as the Yankees crushed the Angels last night 10-1 to take a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven ALCS.

The Yankees celebrate after a Game 4 win

The Yankees celebrate after a Game 4 win

However, before I get to my observations of last night’s action, I have to talk about something else first. I hate to talk about something outside the game itself, but in this case–it’s necessary.

Major League Baseball has a serious umpiring issue.

Throughout this postseason we have seen some atrocious umpiring and last night it came to a head. There were three brutal calls that is turning the baseball postseason into a circus.

In the fourth, Scott Kazmir appeared to pickoff Nick Swisher at second base, but Swisher was called safe. Swisher was tagged about a foot before the base with umpire Dale Scott looking right at the play.

I find it hard to believe he could miss something so easy.

In the same inning, Johnny Damon hit a ball to centerfield. With Swisher now on third, he attempted to tag-up on the ball. Hunter threw the ball home, but Swisher beat the play.

Swisher was called out because third base umpire Tim McClelland deemed he had left before Hunter caught the ball. Replays showed Swisher did no such thing.

This was a clear and blatantly obvious make up call.

McClelland said “In his heart he felt Swisher left early.” Really? In your heart?

I want to know what your eyes tell you, not your heart. In my heart, I am married to Jennifer Aniston. The reality is that is not the case.

I didn’t know umpires are making calls with their hearts these days.

The very next inning, McClelland was at the center of attention again. Swisher hit a ground ball back to Darren Oliver. With Posada at third, he broke for home.

Oliver threw the ball home and had Posada in a rundown. Mike Napoli ran Posada back to third and Robinson Cano, who was on second ran to third base.

Both runners were standing by third base and not on the bag. Napoli tags both runners, but somehow Cano was called safe. What???

I can handle bang-bang calls at first base. Those get missed all the time and in my opinion is completely understandable. Those calls come down to a half a second either way.

I can tolerate that.

But what I, and I think most baseball fans can’t tolerate, is obvious missed calls. It’s ridiculous.

Bud Selig really needs to address this issue. He can’t let this fester like he did with the steroid issue. Selig has a tendency to let things linger until it gets to a point where it becomes a mockery.

This is why David Stern is such a great commissioner for the NBA. Say what you want about him, but if there is an issue, he addresses it and sweeps it under the rug.

Stern had a referee (Tim Donaghy) possibly throw games in his league, which is the most egregious thing in sports. Stern addressed the issue and it really became a non issue.

To this day, I still can’t believe what a non issue it was. Do you know why it was a non issue? Because Stern cut it off at the head before it festered.

This is what Selig needs to do. He needs to address this issue and recognize that there is a problem before it gets out of hand.

And here is another thing that vexes me about baseball umpires and umpires or referees in general. Why are they all older than my dad (59)?

Why aren’t these umpires younger? Why can’t a 30-year-old be an umpire in the major leagues?

I would think younger umpires would be sharper, quicker and more attentive than a guy who is 65-years-old.

If someone could give me a logical explanation for that, I would love to hear it.

Baseball is held in higher standards in America than football or basketball (I don’t mention hockey because Gary Bettman has made that league irrelevant).

Get new umpires. Use instant more instant replay. Do what whatever you need to do.

Just fix it!

Now let’s get to the game. Here are my observations from last night:

How awful was Scott Kazmir last night? Did he talk to Steve Trachsel before the game? I never want to hear him talked about as an “elite starter” ever again.

CC Sabathia was great last night. After getting in a little bit of trouble in the fifth and sixth, he settled down and get out of the jams.

He finished strong by getting the final six batters in the seventh and eighth.

Sadly as great as Alex Rodriguez has been, if the Yankees don’t win the World Series, he will still be blamed for it. It’s sad, but is true.

I have been watching baseball for 25 years and I can’t remember a time where there have been so many pitcher-catcher meetings on the mound. It’s a trend that I would like to have come to an end.

The Angels won the game in Tim McClelland’s heart.

The Angels don’t have enough “hot” players in their lineup right now to beat the Yankees.

How bad has Juan Rivera been in this series? He is the human rally killer. His double play in the sixth ended the game for the Angels.

It’s amazing how talent can make Joe Girardi look like a good manager.

Where was Jorge Posada’s head last night? Running off the field with two outs and not scoring from second on a double. Very odd game for Posada.

Some team is going to give Chone Figgins a four-year, $42 million deal and regret it from the first day. I am not a fan at all.

Hero for Game 4 – CC Sabathia

Goat for Game 4 – Scott Kazmir

Series MVP – CC Sabathia

Game Five is Thursday at 7:57 ET.