Posts Tagged ‘Cliff Lee’

Cliff Lee Has Minor Foot Surgery

February 9, 2010

I really don’t think that is the headline Seattle Mariner fans want to see about a week before pitchers and catchers report to spring training. But the reality is, it’s a true headline.

As the Tacoma News Tribune’s Ryan Divish first reported, Cliff Lee underwent a minor procedure in his left foot to remove a bone spur on the fifth of February. Lee is expected to resume baseball activities in two-to-three weeks and should be ready by Opening Day.

Lee had foot surgery last week

The reason Lee elected to have the surgery so close to spring training is because the injury hadn’t bothered Lee until recently. The other option for Lee would have been to pitch through the pain during the season and receive cortisone shots on a regular basis.

The injury will slow down Lee a little in spring training, but I don’t expect this to slow Lee down during the regular season. Lee is pitching for a big-time contract in 2011 and beyond and I don’t expect him to miss a beat this season.

The surgery was preformed by Dr. Bryan Burke in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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

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Mariners Bring Back Erik Bedard

February 7, 2010

Erik Bedard is one of the great teases in baseball. He is a left-handed pitcher with a ton of talent. There are very lefties in the game that have the stuff that Bedard has.

The problem is, he is always hurt. Not only is he seemingly always hurt, but some–including myself–have questioned his mental makeup. I believe he is one of the pitchers that would rather win in a small market than win in a big market.

Bedard has been a tease in Seattle

Bedard was involved in one of the most lopsided trades in recent years when he was sent from the Baltimore Orioles to the Seattle Mariners for Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Kameron Mickolio, and Chris Tillman. This trade has set the Orioles up for years to come, while Bedard has been a disaster in Seattle.

In two seasons, Bedard only made 30 starts and has gotten hurt every year. This is why Bedard is a tease. When he has been on the mound in a Mariners’ uniform he has pretty good for them.

In those 30 starts, Bedard had a 3.25 ERA, a 1.26 WHIP, and averaged 9.8 K’s/9. Not bad at all.

Bedard’s 2009 season ended at the end of July because of a shoulder injury. Bedard eventually needed shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.

The injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for Bedard. He was entering his free agent year and at 30-years-old, Bedard could have been inline for one more big pay-day.

Bedard didn’t get the big payday because his injury will sideline him until at least May. However, he will be returning to the place that I didn’t think he would return to.

According to Marc Brassard of Le Droit, Bedard has re-signed with the Mariners. The deal is for one-year and 1.5 million plus incentives with an $8 million mutual option for 2011.

If Bedard reaches all his incentives in 2010, he could earn around $8.5 million.

I am really surprised Bedard is returning to the Mariners in 2010. After his two injury plagued seasons, I didn’t think the Mariners would bring him back.

Then I got to thinking, the Mariners need all of the pitching help they can get. The Mariners actually needed Bedard.

Yes, I know Seattle has a lethal one-two punch at the top of their rotation in Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez, but what do they have after that? Ian Snell? Ryan Rowland-Smith? Doug Fister?

None of those guys strike fear in anyone. If the Mariners go into a three game series with those three pitching, they would be underdogs in all three games against most teams in the American League.

Now you can tell me that the Arizona Diamondbacks won the 2001 World Series with really only two starters and you would be correct. Outside of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, the Diamondbacks had nothing that year.

However, there is one big difference between what the Mariners have and what the Diamondbacks had in 2001–offense. Whether it was legit or not, Luis Gonzalez did hit 57 home runs that year and finished third in the MVP voting.

They also had Reggie Sanders who hit 33 home runs that year and Matt Williams, when healthy, was still capable of hitting the long ball. Mark Grace also hit .298 with .386 OBP.

Those players were able to bail their bad pitchers out because they could score more runs than their opponents. I don’t see that with this Mariners’ lineup.

If and that is a big if, Bedard can come back around mid-season, he would give the Mariners the third pitcher they need and a big lift as the season goes on.

Bedard will be entering his eighth season in the major league and has a career record of 51-41 with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP with the Orioles and Mariners.

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

Starting Rotation: American League West

January 20, 2010

Next up in the starting rotation series is the American League West. The West is a real interesting division in terms of starting rotations because there are so many young starting pitchers in this division.

This division is filled with pitchers in their mid-to-late 20’s. Pitchers like Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee, Jered Weaver, Brett Anderson make this division a nightmare for opposing batters.

Here are the starting rotations for each American League West team as presently constructed.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

1. Jered Weaver, RHP

2. Joe Saunders, LHP

3. Ervin Santana, RHP

4. Scott Kazmir, LHP

5. Matt Palmer, RHP

Quick Take – This staff lost its No.1 starter in John Lackey, but has four pretty good starters to replace him. This is a big year for Weaver. He needs to step up and pitch to his potential for a full season. Kazmir was brought in to replace Lackey, so he needs to have a big year as well.

Texas Rangers

1. Scott Feldman, RHP

2. Rich Harden, RHP

3. Derek Holland, LHP

4. Tommy Hunter, RHP

5. Brandon McCarthy, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation is young, but has a ton of potential. Feldman is not your classic No.1 starter, but did go an impressive 17-8 last year with a 4.05 ERA and only gave up 178 hits in 189.2 IP. The Rangers need to find a way to keep Harden healthy, which is easier said than done.

Seattle Mariners

1. Felix Hernandez, RHP

2. Cliff Lee, LHP

3. Ian Snell, RHP

4. Ryan Rowland-Smith, LHP

5. Doug Fister, RHP

Quick Take – When Lee is your No.2 starter, then you have the makings of a very, very good starting rotation. With Lee and Hernandez at the top of the rotation, they could win 35-40 games just by themselves. However, I have my doubts about the rest of the rotation. I still think they need to sign another pitcher.

Oakland A’s

1. Brett Anderson, LHP

2. Trevor Cahill, RHP

3. Justin Duchscherer, RHP

4. Vin Mazzaro, RHP

5. Dallas Braden, LHP

Quick Take – This rotation is very, very young. It’s so young that I feel they need a veteran in that rotation to lead them. Anderson and Cahill have the most potential on this staff and one of them needs to show some strides in 2010. The staff will be helped out by the A’s defensive additions this offseason.

Tomorrow, I will switch gears and look at the National League starting rotations. I’ll start with the National League East and work my way around.

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

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

Red Sox Officially Trade Casey Kotchman To The Mariners

January 7, 2010

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

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

Kotchman was traded yet again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Official: Mariners, Blue Jays, Phillies, And A’s Complete 4-Team Trade

December 17, 2009

Finally, finally, I can write about the big trade.

As I mentioned in a post earlier, I was very hesitant to write about the trade because it was never official and there were so many moving parts. Now that all the parts are in place and everything is written in stone, lets take a look at what went down between the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, and Oakland A’s.

Phillies get: RHP Roy Halladay, RHP Phillippe Aumont, RHP Juan Ramirez, OF Tyson Gillies, and $6 million from the Blue Jays.

Blue Jays get: C Travis D’Arnaud, RHP Kyle Drabek, and 1B Brett Wallace

Mariners get: LHP Cliff Lee

A’s get: OF Michael Taylor

Why Philadelphia Made This Trade: GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has been enamored with Halladay since last season. And who can blame him? For my money he is the best pitcher in the game.

When Lee–the pitcher who Amaro acquired instead of Halladay at the July 31st trading deadline last season wanted CC Sabathia type money after the 2010 season–the Phillies set their sights on Halladay again.

Halladay should dominate the NL

This time, they got him.

They got him and were able to sign him to a three-year, $60 million extension–something they weren’t going to be able to do with Lee. Now the Phillies have the best pitcher in the game to go along with the best offense in the National League.

That’s a pretty good combination.

The Phillies also got perhaps their closer of the future in 6’7″ Aumont. Aumont is 20-years-old and was the Mariners’ first-round pick (11th overall) in 2007.

Aumont struggled a little bit when he was promoted to Double-A in 2009 giving up 21 hits and 11 walks in 17.2 IP.

Aumont did strike out 24 in those 17.2 innings, so his stuff was still there. If Aumont impresses in spring training he could find himself in the Phillies’ bullpen in 2010.

Gillies was rated as the fastest baserunner in the Mariners’ farm system by Baseball America in 2009. He has stolen 80 bases in 235 career minor league games.

Gillies is 20-years-old and has a .321 average and .419 OBP in 3 minor league seasons.

Ramirez was the 5th ranked prospect in the Mariners’ system heading into 2009 by Baseball America. Since signing with the Mariners in 2006, Ramirez has given up more hits/9 each year he has been in the minors.

He has a career 4.12 ERA in four minor league seasons and projects as a relief pitcher.

This trade is a perfect example of why the Phillies have become one of the premier teams in baseball. They trade prospects, they get prospects back. They trade star players and they get star players back.

The Phillies not only make trades so they can win now, but win for the future as well.

And do you know who is going to benefit the most from this trade from a Phillies’ perspective? Cole Hamels.

Remember, Halladay turned AJ Burnett into a complete pitcher. I foresee him doing the same thing with Hamels. Look for Hamels to have a big year in 2010.

Why Toronto Made This Trade: Plain and simple, the Blue Jays had to trade Halladay.

The longer the Blue Jays held on to Halladay, the less they were going to get. If the Blue Jays held on to Halladay until the July 31st trading deadline, they probably would have gotten 10 cents on the dollar.

The Blue Jays were able to land one of the best pitching prospects in the game in 22-year-old Kyle Drabek. Drabek, the son of former major league pitcher Doug Drabek is projected to be a front-line starting pitcher in the major leagues.

In four minor league seasons, Drabek has a 3.70 ERA and an impressive 1.26 WHIP.

The Blue Jays also were able to get the catching prospect they wanted in D’Arnaud. The 20-year-old D’Arnaud was the Phillies’ first-round pick in 2007.

He has struggled some at different levels in the minors, but in 2009 D’Arnaud hit 13 home runs in 126 games at Single-A Lockwood.

I like the move by the Blue Jays of getting Wallace from the A’s. The Blue Jays already are set in the outfield for the future with Adam Lind, Vernon Wells, and Travis Snyder so they really didn’t need Michael Taylor, who they acquired from the Phillies.

Wallace fills a need at first base for the Blue Jays. Wallace, who was traded to the A’s from the St. Louis Cardinals in the Matt Holliday trade hit .302 with nine home runs in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League in 2009.

The trade for Wallace most likely means Lyle Overbay has played his last game as a Blue Jay.

Why The Mariners Made This Trade: If you are Mariners’ GM Jack Zduriencik you say to yourself “I can get one of the best pitchers in the game without giving up my top, top prospects–where do I sign?”

Lee gives the M's a solid 1-2 punch

Did the Mariners give up some good prospects? Sure they did. But they were able to get Lee and not give up SS Carlos Truinfel, OF Michael Saunders, or OF Dustin Ackley.

Lee, along with Felix Hernandez give the Mariners perhaps the best one-two punch in the American League. For one year and $9 million, Lee was certainly worth this trade for the Mariners.

Why The A’s Made This Trade: The A’s already had Daric Barton, Chris Carter and Jake Fox on the 40-man roster as first baseman. What the A’s need is a power hitting outfielder.

Enter Michael Taylor.

The 24-year-old Taylor is a man beast. He hits for average, power, he can run, and knows how to work the count–a lethal combination

In 116 games in 2009 between Double-A and Triple-A, Taylor hit .320 with 20 home runs, 21 stolen bases, and a .944 OPS. He will have a chance to win a starting outfield spot for the A’s in 2010.

I think if I was to give out grades for this trade it would go something like this:

Mariners – A

Phillies – B+

Blue Jays – B-…Giving $6 million to the Phillies is comical.

A’s – B

It will be really fascinating to look back on this trade five years from now. Of course, I will be here to write about it.

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

Someone Failed A Phsyical In The Big 4-Team Trade

December 16, 2009

For those of you who read The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on a regular basis are probably wondering why I have not yet even written a sentence about one of the biggest trades in recent memory.

What is going on today is the reason why.

There have been rumors circulating around the web that one of the players involved in the four-team trade between the Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, and Oakland A’s has failed his physical.

Larry Stone of Seattle Times, via Twitter, doesn’t believe it’s one of the Mariners’ players involved in the deal who failed their physical.

Will this failed physical ruin this trade? It doesn’t seem like it. But this just teaches us a lesson that a trade isn’t official until it’s made official.

I’ll update this story once it is announced who failed their physical or I will do a complete write up once this trade is finally made official.

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

Brandon Phillips: What’s His Trade Market?

November 17, 2009

Yesterday, I talked about one of the Cincinnati Reds trade candidates, Bronson Arroyo. Well today, I’ll talk about another Reds trade candidate, second baseman Brandon Phillips.

Phillips has had a pretty interesting career so far. He has been involved in two extremely lopsided trades.

Phillips could be traded this offseason

In 2002, Phillips was traded from the Montreal Expos to the Cleveland Indians along with Cliff Lee, Lee Stevens, and Grady Sizemore for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew.

And in 2006, Phillips was traded from the Indians to the Reds for the ever so popular player to be named later. Or PTBNL as all the cool kids say. That player turned out to be Jeff Stevens.

So Phillips has already been involved in two lopsided trades–will he be involved in a third? Let’s take a look at the pros and the cons of Phillips and what teams would be possible suitors for the man who went to high school in Stone Mountain, GA.

I wonder if he knows Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who also hails from Stone Mountain, GA?

Pros

Because Phillips hasn’t played on a national stage since joining the Reds, people don’t realize how good Phillips actually is.

Over the last three years, Phillips ranks third amongst all major league second baseman in home runs with 71, sixth in hits with 494, third in triples with 19, and second in stolen bases with 80.

Not only can Phillips do it with the bat, but he can do it with the glove. Phillips is one of best defensive second baseman in baseball.

Phillips won a Gold Glove in 2008 (not that it means much), but more importantly, Phillips has ranked at the top in second baseman UZR over the last three years.

As a matter of fact, only Chase Utley has a higher UZR over the last three years than Phillips.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Phillips is his contract. Phillips has two years remaining on his contract with a club option for 2012.

Phillips is set to make $6.75 million in 2010 and $11 million in 2011. That is very reasonable for a man who is only 28-years-old and has been worth $28 million over the last two years according to Fangraphs.

Cons

In a game where OBP is highly valued, Phillips hasn’t seen a pitch he hasn’t liked. Phillips did set a career high in walks in 2009 with 44, but that is nothing to get excited about.

Phillips ranked 12th in OPS amongst second baseman in 2009 behind guys like Alberto Callaspo and Martin Prado.

Perhaps the only other question a GM could have with Phillips is can he produce on a big stage? It’s one thing to put up big numbers when your team is 20 games out of first in August, but can you do it when your team is battling for a playoff spot?

There is only one way to figure out the answer to that question.

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of acquiring Phillips, let’s take a look at what teams would be interested in the Reds’ second baseman.

New York Mets: Obviously the Mets would have to find a taker for their current second baseman, Luis Castillo. That is a task all by itself.

However, if they can get rid of Castillo, I think Phillips would be perfect with the Mets, who should be building their team around pitching, defense, and speed.

Los Angeles Dodgers: As I mentioned yesterday with Dan Uggla, the Dodgers need a second baseman. Phillips and Rafael Furcal would be a lethal double play combination in L.A.

Unfortunately, because the McCourts are making a made for TV movie, I am not sure how much salary the Dodgers are willing to take on.

San Diego Padres: The Padres are a lot closer to competing than people think. They have talked about adding payroll in 2010 and if they feel Matt Antonelli isn’t quite ready yet to be their second baseman, Phillips could be a nice player for them.

Minnesota Twins: Nick Punto is a nice little player, but should be a utility on a good team. The Twins are moving into a new stadium, which means new revenues.

They have already added payroll in the form of JJ Hardy and Phillips fits the Twins style of play to a tee.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Are the Angels ready to give up on Howie Kendrick? Every year is supposed to be “Kendrick’s breakout year” and it hasn’t happened yet.

Phillips seems like a perfect fit in Anaheim. He is a great defensive player and can’t you see him being Bobby Abreu’s latest patient pet project?

Believe it or not, the market for second baseman these days isn’t as good as one would think. There are a lot of teams in baseball, who already have quality players at that position.

I am going to say that Phillips does get traded this offseason, with the Twins and Angels being the most likely suitors

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

Cliff Lee, Brandon Webb Have Their Options Picked Up

November 6, 2009

The hot stove is on FIRE!!!

The champagne hasn’t dried yet in the Yankee locker room and we have already seen Mark Teahen and JJ Hardy get traded and the Angels re-sign Bobby Abreu.

This afternoon, we got some more hot stove news as two of the premier pitchers in baseball had their options picked up. One move was a no-brainer and the other move I was a little surprised by.

First, the no-brainer.

According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, the Philadelphia Phillies have picked up Cliff Lee’s 2010 option for $9 million. Was there any doubt the Phillies wouldn’t pick up his option?

cliff lee

Lee had his option picked up by the Phillies

Lee has established himself as one of the top pitchers in baseball over the last two seasons. The 31-year-old lefty had his national coming out party in the 2009 postseason by going 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in five starts.

He will go into the 2010 season as the Phillies’ ace and with the Phillies’ lineup, he should have no problem winning 15-20 games next year.

Thus, making him worth a lot more than $9 million to the Phillies. Good deal for them.

The second option that was picked up today, like I said, was a little bit surprising.

According to ESPN.com, the Arizona Diamondbacks picked up the $8.5 option for 2010 on Brandon Webb.

Webb pitched in exactly one game last year before being shut down for the season and eventually opted for shoulder surgery on his pitching shoulder. Before last season, Webb was one of the best pitchers in the National League–if not the best.

brandon webb

Webb is Hershiser Part 2

Webb won the Cy Young award in 2006 and in 2007 and 2008, he finished second.

I was a little surprised the Diamondbacks picked up his option because I figured they would decline the option and hope to sign him to an incentive laden deal. However, Webb is progressing nicely according to GM Josh Byrnes.

“He’s worked very hard since the surgery,” general manager Josh Byrnes said, “and we’re confident that he’ll return to be a very healthy, effective pitcher.”

Webb’s career is really starting to remind me of Orel Hershiser’s. Hershiser was a sinker-ball pitcher, who logged a lot innings, won a Cy Young, and in the middle of his career underwent rotator cuff surgery.

Sound familiar?

Hershiser was a good pitcher after the surgery, but never was the dominate pitcher he once was. I think Webb can be the same pitcher Hershiser was post-surgery.

That means a pitcher who can still log a lot of inning, strikes out few, has a high WHIP, but can still gut his way out to 10-15 wins.