Posts Tagged ‘Eric Byrnes’

Seattle Mariners Bring In Eric Byrnes

January 30, 2010

One of the first posts I had ever written on The Ghost of Moonlight Graham last December was that the New York Mets should trade for Eric Byrnes. At the time–and I still believe this–the Mets needed a player likes Byrnes.

Byrnes is a gritty, hard-nosed, gamer who is great for any team’s clubhouse. I thought the Mets could use a personality like Byrnes to help bring their team together. Now, a little over a year later, he was released by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Byrnes hopes to be sliding for the Mariners in 2010

Any team was free to sign the 33-year-old.

Since Arizona is paying Byrnes’ salary in 2010 ($11 million), any team could have had Byrnes for the league minimum. The team that is hoping Byrnes’ hard-nosed attitude helps them next season is the Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners signed Byrnes yesterday to a one-year deal. If Byrnes makes the team out of spring training he will serve as a backup outfielder along with Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders.

There is also the possibility that if the Mariners don’t add another outfielder this offseason, Byrnes and Langerhans could form a platoon in left field for Seattle. I am guessing the Mariners don’t want Milton Bradley in left field too often.

This is a good low-risk signing by the Mariners. Remember, this is a guy who just two years ago finished 11th in the National League MVP voting with a .286 average with 21 home runs and 50 stolen bases in 160 games.

Byrnes will be entering his 11th season in the majors and has a career .260 average with 109 home runs, 128 stolen bases, and a .763 OPS with the Oakland A’s, Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles, and Diamondbacks.

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

Diamondbacks Continue To Add Pieces, Sign Adam LaRoche

January 16, 2010

Very quietly, the Arizona Diamondbacks have had a very active offseason.

They were involved in the big three team trade with the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers that netted them Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy, they added Bobby Howry and Aaron Heilman to their bullpen, they signed Kelly Johnson to play second base, picked up Brandon Webb’s option, and now they have added a first baseman who has averaged 26 home runs over his six-year career.

LaRoche is headed to the valley of the sun

As first reported by Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Diamondbacks have signed first baseman Adam LaRoche to a one-year, $4.5 million contract. This deal also includes a $7.5 million mutual option for 2011.

This is a pretty good pickup by the Diamondbacks. And a pretty good deal for them considering it was reported that LaRoche turned down a two-year, $17.5 million contract from the San Francisco Giants about a week ago.

As long as Diamondback fans can be patient with LaRoche, they should like the end product. LaRoche is known throughout baseball as one of the slowest starters in the game.

In his career, LaRoche has a .252 average with a .773 OPS in the first half of the season. In the second half, LaRoche turns it on to the tune of a .300 average with a .909 OPS.

It’s really amazing how LaRoche starts off slow every year. It’s like once the All-Star break hits he turns into Will Clark.

LaRoche’s slow start and hot finish usually averages out to about .270 with 25 home runs every year. That’s probably what you can expect out of him at this point.

The LaRoche signing allows the Diamondbacks to do a couple of things.

First, it allows them to put Conor Jackson in left field full time. Jackson missed most of the 2009 season with Valley Fever. He appears healthy now and even tore up the Dominican Winter League to the tune of a 425/.561/.589 batting line in 94 AB’s.

Second, this move ends the Eric Byrnes’ era in Arizona. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic is the reporting the Diamondbacks have designated Byrnes for assignment. The Diamondbacks will have 10 days to either trade him or flat-out release him.

This will be a big hit to the mid-market Diamondbacks as Byrnes is set to make $11 million in 2010. Byrnes’ first two years in Arizona (2006 & 2007) were considered a success. In those two years, Byrnes played in 303 games and hit .277 with 47 home runs, 75 stolen bases, and an .805 OPS.

He even finished 11th in the MVP voting in 2007.

After the 2007 season, Byrnes signed a three-year, $30 million deal and its been all down hill from their. In the last two years, Byrnes has played in only 136 games and has amassed a .218 average with 14 home runs and a .653 OPS.

It appears his wreckless playing style has taken a toll on him. After all, his nickname was the “Crash Test Dummy.”

Byrnes could definitely latch on with another team as a fourth outfielder, who is good for a clubhouse. His style of play and personality would fit well with a team like the Minnesota Twins or Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

With the moves the Diamondbacks have made in this offseason, they have positioned themselves to make a run at the NL West division title.

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

Diamondbacks vs Giants…

April 20, 2009

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

Game – Diamondbacks vs Giants

Date – 4/19/09

Starting Lineups

Diamondbacks

1. Ojeda, SS

2. Byrnes, LF

3. Lopez, 2B

4. T. Clark, 1B

5. C. Young, CF

6. J. Upton, RF

7. Roberts, 3B

8. Snyder, C

9. Scherzer, P

Giants

1. Lewis, LF

2. Burriss, 2B

3. Winn, RF

4. Molina, C

5. Rowand, CF

6. Sandoval, 3B

7. Ishikawa, 1B

8. Renteria, SS

9. Johnson, P

Top 7th

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

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

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

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

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

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

Johnson was going for no-hitter #3 on Sunday

Johnson was going for no-hitter #3 on Sunday

Bottom 7th

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

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

I am definitely not playing the Lotto today.

After 7, it is still 1-0 Giants

Top 8th

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

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

Chris Young pops up to Renteria at short. 1 out

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

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

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

Bottom 8th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 9th

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

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

Mark Reynolds flies out weakly to right. 2 outs

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

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

The Real 10 Most Hated Players In Baseball List

April 6, 2009

One of the great things about the internet is that any idiot like myself can pick up a laptop, start a blog or a website and give an opinion. Someone can formulate an opinion on anything from the best looking women, celebrities, recipes to who is going to be selected with the 1st pick in this coming NFL Draft. I choose to write and give my opinion about baseball. Now the things I write and give my opinions on are not gospel. Sometimes I am right, sometimes I am wrong and there are always going to be people who disagree with what I write. That is one of the drawbacks of starting a blog, you open yourself up for criticism. If you have noticed I have not commented on other people’s blogs or sites because I feel everyone is entitled to an opinion. At the end of the day it’s just someone’s thoughts, no big deal. However, I came across an article yesterday that really has me confused and I feel I need to comment on.

I was on Ballhype.com, which a site that gives you the ability to view posts from sports blogs from across the web (yes, my blog is on there). One of the posts I came across was Askmen.com’s “Top 10: Major League Baseball Players To Hate.” Interesting topic and was something I was anxious to read. After I read the article, I am wondering if the person who wrote this article knows anything about baseball or has even watched a game in their life?

On this list was Josh Hamilton?? The reason? “It’s a feel good story only Disney could concont” and “The only issue with Hamilton is that he makes a normal guy who can’t go into the office after a few too many scotch and sodas at happy hour look like a p#*sy..” Words can’t even describe how rediculous this is. Hamilton is hated so much that 50,000+ New Yorkers gave him a standing ovation during last year’s Home Run Derby. But wait, it gets better.

Also on this list is Ryan Braun. Ryan Braun? Why would anyone hate Ryan Braun? The reason…”He seems impossible to hate, which is good enough reason to hate him.” I am really starting to wonder if Askmen.com did any research prior to writing this article.

#7 on the list is Joel Zumaya. Nobody cares enough about Joel Zumaya to hate him. Really? Joel Zumaya one of the top 10 most hated players in baseball?

#5 on the list is David Wright. Now I can understand if you are a Phillies, Braves or even a Yankees fan that you might have a dislike for the Mets 3B. But here is one of the reasons that Askmen.com gave…”He collects double goody-two-shoes bonus points for his David Wright Foundation, which provides aid and assistance toward the health, emotional development and education for children in need.” Wow, the guy does charity work. What a bastard!!!

For a site that claims they get over 7MM readers a month, I would think they would have a better baseball person writing for them. Any way you slice it, this Top 10 is just not cutting it. So it got me thinking. Who are the most hated players in baseball?

Here is my Top 10 Most Hated Players In Baseball list. Teams and fans hate playing against these guys because they are the grinders, the guys who do the little things, they will always get the big hit and they will do anything for their team to win. Not because they are a great comeback story. I will do my list position by position. Of course, this is just my opinion. Disagree if you like…. 

C – AJ Pierzynski, White Sox – Just a bad-ass. He’ll fight you as Michael Barrett will point out and a noted wrestling fan, would suplex anyone on the Twins if he got a chance. Teams hate him while his teammates love him.

1B – Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox – Youkilis is so intense that he is sweating like Patrick Ewing in the 4th quarter before the 1st pitch of the game. Makes fans and players of opposing teams crazy with the way he grinds out ab’s. The modern day Paul O’Neill.

2B – Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox – Nobody likes a guy who is 5’7″ who acts like he is 6’4″. He is pesky, does all the little things and is just a winner. As small as he is, he always comes up big in the clutch. And oh yeah, he was the MVP last year.

Jeter will always be hated

Jeter will always be hated

SS – Derek Jeter, Yankees – The starting SS for the Yankees will always make a “Most Hated” list (unless you are writing for Askmen.com). Say what you want about Jeter, but when the game is on the line you can put it in the bank that he will come up with a clutch hit. I feel silly saying that Garciaparra was better than Jeter back in the day. Kind of how Yankee fans feel now when they said Cano was better than Pedroia.

3B – Chipper Jones, Braves His real name is Larry, he goes by Chipper and he is enemy #1 amongst Mets fans. Jones has killed the Mets during his career, but he has killed most teams as well during his great career. The face of those great Braves teams in the 90’s and nobody likes someone who is this good and wins all the time.

LF – Eric Byrnes, Diamondbacks – The “Crash Test Dummy” has to be on this list. He is always hurt because he plays so hard. He would literally run into a wall to win the game. 

CF – Shane Victorino, Phillies – Was a key cog in the Phillies postseason run last year. The “Flyin Hawaiian” does all the little things to win a game. Plays great defense, steals a base, hit a clutch HR, get under the other team’s skin and as the Dodgers found out in the NLCS…all of the above.

RF – Denard Span, Twins – There has to be a Twins player on this list. Teams hate playing against the Twins because they do everything right. As a fan, it’s infuriating because you know they will never beat themselves. Span fits perfectly into the Twins system of solid baseball and a guy who teams and fans hate to play against.

SP – Roy Halladay, Blue Jays – Why is Halladay on this list? Because there is a 66% chance your team is going to lose when he pitches. If he ever played on a good team it would be closer to 90%. He is the best pitcher in baseball and he makes it look so easy.

Util – David Eckstein, Padres – The pure definition of overachiever, Eckstein looks more like your accountant rather than a World Series MVP. Eckstein is famous for fouling off pitches, which drives fans and opposing pitchers crazy.

Hope you enjoyed this list and ENJOY OPENING DAY!!!

The Mets Need Eric Byrnes

December 29, 2008

If there is a team I have always rooted for to do well besides the Red Sox it has been the New York Mets. I think this is for 2 reasons. 1. I grew up 5 minutes from Shea Stadium and I probably have attended over 200 Mets games in my life. 2. Besides his family one of the things that gives my dad great joy is to see the Mets win. 

So on September 28th, when for the 2nd year in a row the Mets collapsed down the stretch the question that my dad and all other Mets fans had was “what is wrong with the New York Mets?” The common answer and the scapegoat for their collapse was the bullpen. A bullpen era of 4.27, 29 blown saves, a save % of 60% and having Louis Ayala as your closer in the final month of the season makes for an easy scapegoat.

While Mets GM, Omar Minaya has done a good job of addressing the bullpen in the offseason with the signing of Francisco Rodriguez and trading for J.J. Putz, I believe the Mets problems run a little deeper.  The Mets as currently constructed are lacking “Gamers”. Those gritty, dirtdog, get-under-your-skin types that every winning team has. The Yankees had them in the 90’s (Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez), the Phillies have them now (Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino), and so do the Red Sox (Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis). The Mets do not.

The Mets do not have a player on their roster who would punch a wall after he struck out, they don’t have a player who would take out a SS while sliding into 2nd and they certainly don’t have players who will run into walls to win a game.  This is why the Mets need to trade for Eric Byrnes.

Byrnes is a perfect fit for the Mets. Besides the Mets needing a left fielder (it was clear last year Daniel Murphy can’t play left), the Mets need a player who’s nickname is the “crash test dummy,” they need a player who is a gamer and will get his uniform dirty every game and they need a player who brings energy and intensity to the ballpark everyday. Byrnes was the heart and soul of a Diamondbacks team that made it to the NLCS in 2007 and it is no coincidence that when Byrnes was lost for the season with a hamstring injury the Diamondbacks missed the playoffs in 2008.

The Mets have the talent, now they need the heart. Eric Byrnes has the heart the Mets need.