Posts Tagged ‘Florida Marlins’

The Five Best Free Agent Pitchers Left On The Market

February 7, 2010

While everyone is getting ready for the big game, I am writing about baseball. Such is the life I have chosen.

Yesterday, I wrote about the five best hitters left on the free agent market, so today I will focus on the five best pitchers who have yet to find a home for the 2010 season.

Here are the top-five free agent pitchers left on the market:

1. Kiko Calero, Relief Pitcher. At 35-years-old you would think that Calero has been around for forever, but he hasn’t. Kalero has only been in the majors for seven years and perhaps his 2009 season was his best.

In 60 innings pitched with the Florida Marlins, Calero had a 1.95 ERA, 69 strike outs, and only allowed 36 hits in those 60 innings. Those are some impressive numbers.

What was just as impressive was that Calero was equally effective against righties and lefties. He held lefties to a .187 batting average and righties to a .176 average.

Calero would be a valuable addition to any bullpen. The Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays were rumored to be interested earlier in the offseason.

2. Jarrod Washburn, Starting Pitcher. Washburn was off to a fast start in 2009 and then he was traded to the Detroit Tigers at the trading deadline and things fell apart.

Washburn may be forced into retirement

Washburn suffered a knee injury down the stretch and stumbled to a 1-3 record with a 7.33 ERA with the Tigers. His last start was Sept. 15 against the Kansas City Royals and lasted an impressive one inning and gave up four runs.

Washburn is 35 now and is now even considering retirement if he can’t get an offer from either the Minnesota Twins or Seattle Mariners.

3. Joe Beimel, Relief Pitcher. Beimel is the youngest of any pitcher on this list (32), but his value is not really strong. He is coming off a year where he had a 3.58 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP with the Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies, which is not bad at all.

However, there is one is problem with Beimel–he doesn’t do anything particularly well.

He doesn’t strike anyone out and as a left-handed pitcher, he isn’t that effective against left-handed batters. Lefties actually had a higher OPS (.781) against Beimel than righties did (.741) in 2009.

A lefty who can’t get left-handed batters out is like a pass rusher, who can’t sack the quarter back. Beimel is like the Vernon Gholston of baseball.

4. Chan Ho Park, Relief Pitcher. It seems like Park has been around forever. It was a really long, long, long time ago that Park was an up-and-coming pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Park is 36 now and is coming off a year where he had a 4.43 ERA in 83.1 innings with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was actually used as an old-fashioned swing man last year. He was used in relief and made seven starts.

Park is much better suited to be a reliever at this stage in his career. Park had a 2.52 ERA last year in relief and pitched rather well for the Phillies out of the bullpen in the playoffs. He had a three ERA in nine innings during last year’s World Series run.

I wouldn’t trust him in a big spot to save my life, but he should find a home pretty soon.

5. Braden Looper, Starting Pitcher. Looper went 14-7 with the Milwaukee Brewers last season, but don’t be fooled by those 14 wins and his 194.2 innings pitched. Looper was pretty bad last year.

Looper was not impressive with the Brewers in 09'

Looper led the National League in runs allowed (113), home runs allowed (39), and finished fourth in hits allowed (216). He also had an ERA of 5.52. It was like he was going for the anti-triple crown of pitching.

I think Looper will have a hard time getting a major league contract and will most likely sign a minor league deal with incentives.

That’s all for today. Enjoy the Super Bowl everyone!!!

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

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The Five Best Free Agent Hitters Left On The Market

February 6, 2010

Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in less than two weeks. Can you believe it!!! It seems like yesterday the World Series was being played.

Despite the fact that spring training starts in less than two weeks, there are still a lot of quality major league hitters who still have not found a home. Due to the economy, teams are trying to wait out players as much as possible (unless you are the Houston Astros, who gave $15 million to Brandon Lyon).

Everyone is looking for a bargain these days.

Here are the five best free agent hitters remaining on the market.

Hitters

1. Johnny Damon, OF. Damon hit .282 with 24 home runs, 36 doubles, 12 stolen bases, and .365 OBP in 143 games for the New York Yankees last year. Damon priced himself out of New York and now his options are limited.

Damon is a terrible defensive outfielder and his power numbers were just a product of playing in a ballpark perfectly suited to his swing. His agent Scott Boras is trying to get the Detroit Tigers to bite on Damon, but I see the Atlanta Braves as a darkhorse for his services.

2. Felipe Lopez, 2B. It’s pretty remarkable that a guy who is only 29-years-old and is coming off a season where he hit .310 with 9 home runs, a .383 OBP, and played outstanding defense (7.8 UZR) can’t find a job. That is the dilemma that Lopez is facing right now.

Lopez should find a home soon

You don’t hear too many teams in on his services, but this guy is too good not to have a starting job in the major leagues. The St. Louis Cardinals might be a landing spot for him, if they don’t feel comfortable with David Freese at third.

3. Hank Blalock, 1B/DH. Blalock hit .234 with 25 home runs and a .277 OBP in 123 games in 2009 for the Texas Rangers. The 123 games were the most Blalock played in since 2006.

Blalock can hit a home run, but other than that, he doesn’t do anything else particularly well. He doesn’t get on base, he is injury prone, he is not a good defensive player, and he faded in the second half last season.

He did hit 19 of his 25 home runs off of right-handed pitching, so maybe a team can use him like Mike Scioscia did 2003 All Star Game. That being a left-handed power hitter off the bench.

4. Russell Branyan, 1B/DH. Coming off of a career year, Branyan thought he would finally get paid. So far this has not been the case.

Branyan could end up with the Marlins

Branyan hit 31 home runs last year in just 116 games, but teams have been mostly scared off by Branyan’s back. A 34-year-old with a bad back and no track record prior to 2009 is not attractive to most teams.

I thought he would end up back with the Seattle Mariners at some point, but now it looks like the Florida Marlins might be interested in him.

5. Jermaine Dye, OF. Dye has finished in the top-15 in American League MVP voting two out of the last four years, but his market has been really quiet this winter.

Dye hit .250 last year with 27 home runs and a .340 OBP. Which isn’t the worst hitting line in the world. However, there are a couple of things working against Dye this offseason.

He is 36-years-old, he can’t field a lick anymore, and he is coming off a second half where he hit .179 with just seven home runs. His options are limited, so he might end up on a team as a fourth outfielder or DH-type player.

Tomorrow, I will cover the five best remaining pitchers on the free agent market.

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

Minor Moves Highlight Monday In Baseball

February 2, 2010

Yesterday was my first day at my new job. First days at a new company are always fascinating. Everybody is your best friend, you do the typical HR stuff, and all the papers on your desk are all in a neat pile.

By the end of the week, you become less popular and all the papers on your desk look like a tornado (Kerry Von Erich perhaps?) just hit it. However, it took me just one day to become the least popular guy in the office.

During lunch I decided to buy a box in the company’s Super Bowl pool. And on cue, I draw the numbers four and seven. The Holy Grail of Super Bowl numbers.

I felt like George Costanza when he gave the going away speech on his first day when he was working on the Penske File. Everyone was like “Who is this guy?”

While I started a job on Monday, there were a lot of baseball players who either found a new home or were left looking for a new job or in one players case, found and a new home and in a matter of hours, needed a new home.

Here are some of the minor moves that took place on Monday.

Florida Marlins sign Seth McClung. The Marlins are desperate for bullpen help, so signing McClung to a minor league deal makes sense. McClung finished with a 4.94 ERA in 62 innings for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009.

In order for McClung to be effective, he needs to lower his walks. He almost had a one-to-one (39 BB’s/40K’s)  strike out to walk ratio in 2009. His WHIP and ERA have increased three years in a row.

Garko has a new home in Seattle

Seattle Mariners sign Ryan Garko. The Mariners signed Garko to a one-year, $550,000 contract on Monday. Garko had two productive years in 2007 and 2008 for the Cleveland Indians, but didn’t do much for the San Francisco Giants when they acquired him in July.

Garko hit only .235 with two home runs in 127 AB’s with the Giants last year. Look for Garko to be the Mariners pinch-hitter off the bench against left-handed pitching.

San Francisco Giants sign Horacio Ramirez and Byung-Hyun Kim. The Giants signed Ramirez to a minor league contract. Remember when the lefty was considered the next great Atlanta Braves starter? Yeah, that was a long time ago.

Injuries have derailed Ramirez’s career and he has been toiling in mediocrity with the Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, and Washington Nationals.

I would be very surprised if he made the Giants’ Opening Day roster.

Kim hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2007 and quite frankly, I didn’t even realize he retired. No matter what Kim accomplished in the majors, he will always be remembered for giving up those home runs in back-to-back games in the World Series against the New York Yankees.

I thought he would retire on the mound right then and there. That was brutal to watch.

Oakland A’s sign Gabe Gross. Another day, another outfielder on the A’s roster. It seems like the A’s have 10 outfielders on their roster.

The former University of Auburn quarterback hit .227 with six home runs and a .326 OBP in 115 games with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009. Gross could be the A’s fourth outfielder in 2010 and his signing could spell the end for Travis Buck in Oakland.

Oakland A’s trade Aaron Miles and a PTBNL to the Cincinnati Reds for Willy Taveras and Adam Rosales. The Reds needed to shed payroll in order to sign Orlando Cabrera, so they shipped Taveras to Oakland. Taveras’ stay with Oakland lasted about two minutes as the A’s promptly designated him for assignment.

These things happen when you have a .559 OPS.

Miles, who was traded to Oakland along with Jake Fox from the Chicago Cubs earlier this offseason, is expected to be Brandon Phillips’ primary backup next season.

One guy who didn’t sign yesterday was Johnny Damon. I got to be honest, I like Damon a lot, but I can’t take it anymore with him this offseason.

It’s getting very annoying reading article after article about what teams may or may not have an interest in him. Just sign with a team, cut your losses, and get it over with.

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

Random Thoughts From Around Baseball

January 29, 2010

Since there is nothing going on so far today in baseball, I thought I would just give some random thoughts from around the majors.

Orlando Cabrera is deciding between the Colorado Rockies, Cincinnati Reds, and Washington Nationals today. The guy is a winner and will get a chance to win next year if he signs with the Rockies.

I can’t believe there was a “sweepstakes” for Derrick Turnbow. The guy hasn’t been good in four years. The Florida Marlins were the luck winner of the Turnbow “sweepstakes.”

On this day two years ago, the New York Mets traded for Johan Santana. Despite not making the playoffs in his two years with the team, Santana has been everything the Mets hoped he would be.

Santana was acquired by the Mets 2 years ago today

I waiting in line for Shake Shack today at Madison Square Park in NYC in 16 degree weather. Yeah, it’s that good.

Sticking with the New York theme, the Mets are getting crushed in the Big Apple right now. They have had a rough offseason and a lot of fans are losing faith in his ownership group.

Ken Griffey Jr. apparently got “ripped” this offseason. I still think the Seattle Mariners need a better DH option in 2010.

Thanks to injuries, Erik Bedard has probably cost himself close to $75 million the last two years. Ouch.

I would say it would be a major upset if the Cleveland Indians land Orlando Hudson. I still think the “O-Dog” ends up on the Nationals.

Watching Nolan Ryan’s seventh and final no-hitter from 1991 on the MLB Network now. From the first pitch, the Toronto Blue Jays didn’t stand a chance that night. Glenallen Hill looked as befuddled as any hitter I have seen at the plate against Ryan that night.

Francisco Liriano was dominant in the Dominican Winter League. In the final game of the DWL World Series, Liriano struck out 10 in five innings and was consistently in the low to mid-90’s with his fastball.

The Caribbean World Series starts next Tuesday. Those games will be on the MLB Network starting at 2:30 pm ET. Always good talent in those games.

My trivia team is still in first place after two weeks. Questions are much harder than the ones we were faced with in Milwaukee.

Tim Wakefield expects to be a full-time member of the Boston Red Sox rotation in 2010. Umm yeah, I am not sure about that one Tim. Unless Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, or Clay Buchholz get hurt (knock on wood), he will be used an old-fashion swing man.

I still haven’t figured out why the Chicago White Sox didn’t bring Jim Thome back. They need a DH and he could have helped.

That’s all for now. Have a good weekend everyone!!!

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

Starting Rotation: National League East

January 21, 2010

Earlier in the week, I took a look at the starting rotations for each American League team. Now it’s time to switch gears and focus on the National League.

I will start in the National League East and go from there. The NL East is home to perhaps the two best pitchers in baseball in Roy Halladay and Johan Santana. Not only are there superstar pitchers in this division, there are also some great young arms like Josh Johnson and Tommy Hanson.

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

Philadelphia Phillies

1. Roy Halladay, RHP

2. Cole Hamels, LHP

3. Joe Blanton, RHP

4. JA Happ, LHP

5. Jaime Moyer, LHP

Quick Take – The Phillies made the big move this offseason trading for Halladay. In doing such, they had to trade playoff hero Cliff Lee. While I have no doubt Halladay will be a Cy Young candidate in 2010, this rotation will only be as good as Hamels is. They really need him to bounce back this year.

Atlanta Braves

1. Derek Lowe, RHP

2. Jair Jurrjens, RHP

3. Tim Hudson, RHP

4. Tommy Hanson, RHP

5. Kenshin Kawakami, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation has so much depth, that the Braves were able to trade Javier Vazquez. I like this rotation because it’s a good mix of young (Jurrjens and Hanson) and old (Hudson and Lowe). If the Braves give him any run support, Jurrjens could be a Cy Young candidate in 2010.

New York Mets

1. Johan Santana, LHP

2. Mike Pelfrey, RHP

3. John Maine, RHP

4. Oliver Perez, LHP

5. John Niese, LHP

Quick Take – This rotation reminds me of those Boston Red Sox rotations back in the late-90’s. They had Pedro Martinez and a bunch of question marks. This is a big year for Pelfrey. Perez is reportedly got in the best shape of his life this offseason, so let’s see if that translates to his performance on the mound.

Florida Marlins

1. Josh Johnson, RHP

2. Ricky Nolasco, RHP

3. Anibal Sanchez, RHP

4. Sean West, LHP

5. Chris Volstad, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation is young, tall, and talented. Johnson leads this staff and is an early favorite to win the NL Cy Young award in 2010. At 6’8″, 240 lbs, West has a ton of potential. This staff also has top pitching prospect Andrew Miller waiting in the wings.

Washington Nationals

1. John Lannan, LHP

2. Jason Marquis, RHP

3. Scott Olsen, LHP

4. J.D. Martin, RHP

5. Craig Stammen, RHP

Quick Take – The addition of Marquis will help this staff, but overall, it’s still pretty weak. I really like Lannan. He is a good pitcher, who unfortunately plays on the worst team in baseball. Of course, all eyes will be on the development of Stephen Strasburg. There is a chance he could join this staff by the end of the year.

Tomorrow, I will take a look at the National League Central.

Florida Marlins Doing Some Good, Travel To Iraq

January 14, 2010

A lot people will call baseball players–and most athletes for that matter–overpaid and selfish. While athletes do make a nice living and some of them can be selfish, what usually goes unnoticed is the charitable work that athletes do.

A lot of athletes set up foundations to help raise money for their favorite cause and/or give back to the community they currently play in or grew up in by visiting hospitals or revitalizing little league fields.

Coghlan will be headed to Iraq and Kuwait

The Florida Marlins have decided to give back to the troops in Iraq and Kuwait. This is awesome with a capital A.

The Marlins will be the first Major League Baseball team to visit the troops in Iraq and Kuwait when they travel to that region on Jan. 24. The Marlins will spend about a week with the troops.

Representing the Marlins will be manager Fredi Gonzalez, reigning National League Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan, catcher John Baker, president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest, senior director of team travel Bill Beck and director of marketing and promotions Matt Britten. The club will also be sending four members of the Mermaids dance group.

First, I can’t say enough about what the Marlins are doing.  To go over to Iraq and Kuwait to meet the troops that protect our country is really a great thing. Good for the Marlins being the first team to do this.

Second, what took so long? Baseball should have been sending over players or representatives of teams for years now. If the WWE can send over wrestlers and personalities every year, so can Major League Baseball.

It doesn’t have to be a specific team. It can be volunteers from any team. They could hold clinics, autograph sessions, Q & A, etc…

Kudos again to the Marlins for doing this. Hopefully they won’t be the last team or set of players to go over to Iraq and Kuwait.

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

Starting Nine: National League East

January 14, 2010

Isn’t it funny how a couple of minutes could change an entire post? As I started writing this post last night, I found out the news that New York Mets’ center fielder, Carlos Beltran will be out of commission for three to four months.

Within five minutes, the Mets went from having a very good lineup to a lineup with a lot of holes in it. So now that Beltran is out for a couple of months, where does the Mets’ lineup stack-up against the rest of the National League East?

Let’s take a look at each lineup in the National League East as presently constructed today. Since the pitcher will hit ninth, I just inserted the team’s top pitcher in the nine-hole.

Philadelphia Phillies

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS

2. Placido Polanco, 3B

3. Chase Utley, 2B

4. Ryan Howard, 1B

5. Jayson Werth, RF

6. Raul Ibanez, LF

7. Shane Victorino, CF

8. Carlos Ruiz, C

9. Roy Halladay, P

Quick Take – One through eight, this is the best lineup in the National League. This lineup has speed and power throughout. This lineup will be hard to shutdown in 2010.

Atlanta Braves

1. Nate McLouth, CF

2. Martin Prado, 2B

3. Chipper Jones, 3B

4. Brian McCann, C

5. Troy Glaus, 1B

6. Yunel Escobar, SS

7. Matt Diaz, RF

8. Melky Cabrera, LF

9. Derek Lowe, P

Quick Take – This lineup will only go as far as Glaus takes them. If he can come back healthy, then the Braves will have a very good lineup in 2010. It could be made even better when super stud prospect Jason Heyward makes his debut.

New York Mets

1. Jose Reyes, SS

2. Luis Castillo, 2B

3. David Wright, 3B

4. Jason Bay, LF

5. Jeff Francouer, RF

6. Daniel Murphy, 1B

7. Omir Santos, C

8. Angel Pagan, CF

9. Johan Santana, P

Quick Take – Not having Beltran will kill this lineup. The Mets could make up for the loss of Beltran by signing Bengie Molina and/or Carlos Delgado. The Mets have been rumored to be interested in both.

Florida Marlins

1. Cameron Maybin, CF

2. Chris Coghlan, LF

3. Hanley Ramirez, SS

4. Jorge Cantu, 3B

5. Dan Uggla, 2B

6. Cody Ross, RF

7. Gabby Sanchez, 1B

8. John Baker, C

9. Josh Johnson, P

Quick Take – If Uggla and Cantu stay, then this lineup becomes a lot better than most people think. This is a big year for Maybin. I think he really needs to show something this year.

Washington Nationals

1. Nyjer Morgan, CF

2. Christian Guzman, 2B

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Adam Dunn, 1B

5. Josh Willingham, LF

6. Elijah Dukes, RF

7. Ivan Rodriguez, C

8. Ian Desmond, SS

9. Jason Marquis, P

Quick Take – This lineup is certainly getting better. I like the one through five, especially Zimmerman. The Nationals are talking to Orlando Hudson, but if he doesn’t sign with them, I don’t mind Desmond as their Opening Day shortstop. I think he can be good.

Tomorrow, we will take a look at the National League Central.

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

Reds Shock Baseball, Sign Aroldis Chapman

January 11, 2010

There were a lot of teams rumored to be in the hunt for 22-year-old Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman. We heard the Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, and Toronto Blue Jays all express interest in Chapman.

However, it was a surprise team at the end of the day that was able to land the left-handed pitcher. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Cincinnati Reds have swooped in and signed Chapman.

Chapman goes from Cuba to Cincinnati

The Reds have signed Chapman to a five-year, $25 million contract. There is an option for a sixth year and the Reds will pay out Chapman’s salary over a 10-year period.

I think there are a couple of ways you can look at this signing.

I think the first question people have–like my friend Justin–is why would the Reds sign Chapman? There are a couple of reasons.

First, Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo and their combined $24 million can come off the books after the 2010 season. The Reds figured they can suck it up for one year in order to give themselves long-term success in the future.

Secondly, the Reds are building a young, dynamic team for the future and Chapman can be a part of that. In 2011, the Reds could have a pitching staff that consists of Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, and Chapman.

That pitching staff along with Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs, Yonder Alonso, and Todd Frazier could make the Reds NL Central favorites for years to come.

There is also a another way to look at this signing. I think this signing is good for baseball.

I know every New York Yankee fan and Red Sox fan thinks it’s their right to sign every foreign free agent. As today proves, that is not the case.

It’s good for baseball when teams like the Reds or Blue Jays are in on a free agent like this. I clearly know that it doesn’t work this way, but the Reds signing Chapman is what revenue sharing is all about.

Of course a signing like this doesn’t come without risks. Many have questioned Chapman’s maturity and some question whether or not he is major league ready.

If you were to ask me, I believe Chapman will start the year in the minors and the Reds will gradually bring him along depending on what he does in the minors.

For those of you not familiar with Chapman, here is a scouting report by ESPN.com’s Keith Law:

“Chapman is the wild card of the free-agent market, as his track record is largely unknown, he has barely thrown for clubs since defecting and he is represented by agents who haven’t handled a free agent of this magnitude before.

“When Chapman is on, he’ll show No. 1 starter stuff, with a fastball in the mid-90s (and yes, as high as 101 mph) with good tail and a mid-80s slider that will show plus with legitimate tilt, although the latter pitch isn’t consistent. He does have a soft changeup, but he lacks feel for it and pushes it out of his hand rather than selling it with good arm speed.

“His command isn’t good, and he’s more thrower than pitcher, with a very loose arm that makes the velocity come out easily. Since defecting, he has worked on his body, and scouts who’ve seen him recently say he’s stronger and in better overall shape.

“He might be a No. 1 starter; he might be an ace closer; he might be a mountain of frustration. Is that worth $60 million? Or the fourth- or fifth-biggest contract of the offseason?

“Not to me, but he’s worth some eight-figure amount because of the almost limitless upside.”

Chapman will undergo a physical and the deal should be officially announced today.

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

The Rift Between Josh Johnson And The Florida Marlins Grows

December 23, 2009

Florida Marlins ace Josh Johnson is really not happy these days.

According to a report by Miamicityofchamps.com, Johnson is “beyond pissed” that the Marlins offered free agent Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman a five-year deal.

Johnson is not a happy camper

“We’re told that Johnson is upset because David Samson and the Marlins front office has always said that they refrain from offering five year contracts to pitchers, and now it has gone public that the team is offering Chapman a five year deal, and they were hesitant to give JJ even a 4 year deal with no team options.”

We’re also told that the Marlins have angered Johnson to the point that he is close to setting a hard-line stance and refusing to accept any offer the Marlins throw at him, and simply waiting two years until he is a free agent.”

If the Marlins’ stance on five-year contracts to pitchers is true, then I have no idea why the Marlins are taking such a hard stance with Johnson. I would think that with a new stadium on the way, the Marlins would want to start locking up their young talent.

Why the Marlins would offer Chapman a five-year deal and not a proven commodity like Johnson is confusing. I personally think Johnson is one of the top-five pitchers in the National League.

My guess this ends like another fire balling righty named Josh ended with the Marlins–with a trade.

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

Astros Add Bullpen Help, Acquire Matt Lindstrom

December 10, 2009

On a day when the Houston Astros lost relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins to their division rival Milwaukee Brewers, the Astros moved quickly to replace him.

The Houston Chronicle is reporting the Astros have acquired RHP Matt Lindstrom from the Florida Marlins for minor leaguers RHP Robert Bono and INF Luis Bryan.

Lindstrom, who is 29 and made $410 thousand in 2009 is a first-year arbitration eligible player, which is why the Marlins were looking to trade him.

Lindstom was traded to the Astros

After posting solid seasons in 2007 and 2008, Lindstrom had a disastrous 2009. Lindstrom was hurt for over six weeks with elbow inflammation and posted a 5.89 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP.

Despite his dreadful 2009, I actually like this move for the Astros. I believe Lindstrom will have a bounce back year in an Astros’ uniform.

My reasoning? There is no World Baseball Classic in 2009.

Lindstrom pitched in the event and got hurt during the game with the Netherlands. For those of you who don’t remember, Lindstrom almost started a bench clearing brawl that game.

Lindstrom never recovered from that injury.

Now that Lindstrom will go back to his normal routine, I expect to have a similar year like he had in 07′ and 08′–low three’s ERA and a WHIP around 1.35.

What role Lindstrom will serve in with the Astros is still up in the air. The Astros have two roles to fill since Jose Valverde and Hawkins departed for free agency.

Lindstrom could fill Valverde’s role as the closer or if the Astros acquire another closer (they are in the mix for Rafael Soriano), Lindstrom could fill Hawkins’ role as the eighth inning set-up man.

The prospects the Marlins received for Lindstrom are nothing special. According to Baseball America’s Ben Badler, via Twitter, both Bono and Bryan wouldn’t have made the Astros’ top-30 prospects in 2010.

It’s universally known across baseball that the Astros have the worst farm system in baseball. If you can’t crack the Astros top-30, I am not sure how much of a future you have in baseball.

The Marlins in this deal also acquired the Astros’ pick in tomorrow’s Rule 5 Draft.

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