Posts Tagged ‘Johnny Damon’

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

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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

Yankees Sign Randy Winn, End The Johnny Damon Era In The Bronx

January 28, 2010

Whether you love the New York Yankees or despise them, you have to give them some credit this offseason. GM Brian Cashman had a budget and he stuck to it.

Albeit a big budget, but a budget none-the-less.

Usually when the Yankees talk about sticking to a budget, it means they are waiting in the weeds and then somehow come up with another $18 million to spend on a player. Not this year. The Yankees are sticking to their guns.

The only way Johnny Damon was going to come back to the Yankees was on the Yankees’ terms. Damon and his agent Scott Boras wanted a multi-year deal or a substantial one-year deal.

I am guessing Damon and Boras thought the Yankees would cave and come up with the money necessary to sign the outfielder. It never happened and the Yankees have moved on.

Since Damon was playing hardball, the Yankees decided to sign another outfielder. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees have signed OF Randy Winn to a one-year, $2 million contract.

Winn is the newest Yankee

Winn is an exceptional corner outfielder that is point in his career. Last year with the San Francisco Giants, Winn had a 7.9 UZR in left field. All winter Cashman wanted to get better defensively in the outfield and he has certainly done that with the additions of Winn and Curtis Granderson.

Offensively, I have always felt Winn has been vastly underrated. He usually hovers around the .300 mark, has a decent eye at the plate, and he can steal a base.

I think the reason he is underrated his because he has played relative baseball obscurity for most of his career. Eight of his 12 year career have been spent in Tampa Bay and Seattle. Not the PR capitals of the world.

Two out of the last three years, Winn has hit .300. Last year, Winn’s average dipped to .262. Because Winn had a down year in 2009, he will have to battle Brett Gardner in spring training to win the starting left field spot.

What is interesting is that neither Winn and Gardner hit left-handed pitching well. Gardner is a career .241 hitter against lefties and Winn only hit .158 against lefties in 2009.

Despite Winn being a switch-hitter, I would say it’s a safe bet that the Yankees might add another right-handed hitting outfielder in the near future. Look for them to sign someone like Rocco Baldelli to a minor league contract.

As for Damon, his market just took a massive punch to the gut. Now that the Yankees are out of the picture, his options are limited.

His realistic options are the Detroit Tigers, Oakland A’s, Atlanta Braves, or Seattle Mariners. The Tigers might be the best fit as they need a leadoff man and left-handed hitter to ironically replace Granderson.

Listen, we have no idea what Damon’s financial situation is. Despite making almost $100 million in his career, rumor had it that he has fallen on hard times financially. Allegedly, he was hurt in the Bernie Madoff scandal, which is why he is hell-bent on getting one last payday.

Whatever his financial situation is, I just have a hard time believing that the Yankees and Damon couldn’t come to an agreement. Seems very odd to me.

Winn will be entering his 13th season in the major leagues and has a career .286 average with 106 home runs, 209 stolen bases, and a .344 OBP with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Seattle Mariners, and Giants.

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

Royals Add Another Outfielder, Sign Rick Ankiel

January 26, 2010

Update

I had originally thought Ankiel would play right field for the Royals in 2010. Apparently, I was wrong. Ankiel will be playing center field for Kansas City in 2010.

“Center field. That’s why we acquired him. David (DeJesus) will move over to right and Scott Podsednik will play mostly left and Rick will be our center fielder,” GM Dayton Moore said through MLB.com.

As expected, Jose Guillen will move to DH.

Original Post

During my fantasy draft last year, I had the enviable decision of drafting either Rick Ankiel or Johnny Damon. It was my pick and I needed an outfielder and Ankiel and Damon, in my opinion, were the best on the board.

Do I draft the almost sure thing in Damon or do I draft Ankiel, who was entering his walk year and was in line perhaps for a career year? I really agonized over this decision.

I even sent my friend Tom (resident St. Louis Cardinals fan) a text during a corporate meeting to ask him what type of year he thought Ankiel would have. When it came down to it, I decided to go with Ankiel.

Ankiel moves across the highway

Whoops a daisy.

Ankiel was terrible for the Cardinals in 2010. He was hurt all the time and even when he did play he was pretty unproductive. In 122 games, he hit .231 with 11 home runs and just a .285 OBP.

Even though Ankiel has been largely unproductive since the start of the second half of the 2008 season, he was still able to land a major league contract and even perhaps a starting job in 2010.

Ankiel agreed to terms with the Kansas City Royals on Friday to a one-year, $3.25 million contract. There is also a mutual option for $6 million for 2011.

Ankiel becomes the second outfielder signed by the Royals this winter. Earlier in this offseason, the Royals signed Scott Podsednik presumably to play center field.

With Jose Guillen being a liability in right field and more of a DH at this point, I am guessing Ankiel will be the Royals’ starting right fielder in 2010. If you are a team like the Royals, you don’t pay a guy $3.25 million to sit on the bench.

Ankiel could easily make the switch from center to right. While his range isn’t what it used to be, he still maintains one of the strongest arms in the game.

I still remember the throw he made from the warning track in center field in Colorado to nail a runner going to third. He was one of the more impressive throws I have seen.

Offensively, Ankiel’s OPS has dropped three years in a row (.863-.843-.672). From what we have seen from Ankiel over the last couple of years, the Royals can’t expect much from him.

His .285 OBP last year almost fits right in with what the Royals are trying to do offensively. With Ankiel, Guillen, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Jason Kendall, the Royals have a lot of guys who refuse to walk in their lineup. Not a way to win games in this day and age of baseball.

Ankiel will be entering his eighth season in the major leagues and has a career .251 average with 49 home runs and a .311 OBP with the Cardinals.

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

Juan Uribe The Starter?

January 6, 2010

When the San Francisco Giants re-signed Juan Uribe to a one-year, $3.25 million last week, many envisioned Uribe becoming a super-utility player for the Giants in 2010.

As the great Lee Corso always says “Not so fast my friends.”

In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Giants’ GM Brian Sabean suggested that Uribe could be the Giants’ starting third baseman in 2010. The move would allow the newly signed Mark DeRosa to play left field and Pablo Sandoval would shift to first base.

Uribe should not be starting in 2010

This suggestion stems from the fact neither Sabean or manager Bruce Bochy feel comfortable with a Eugenio Velez and Andres Torres platoon in left.

Despite Uribe having his highest batting average in 2009 since 2001 (.289) and his highest OBP (.329) of his career, Uribe can’t be the Giants starting third baseman in 2010.

Uribe is a career .257 hitter with a .298 OBP. There is a better chance of Uribe doing that in 2010 than him hitting .289 again. Some guys are just better suited to be a bench player and Uribe is one of them at this point in his career.

Like Sabean said in the interview, the Giants have until opening day to figure things out. If I was Sabean, I would figure things out by finding a scenario where Uribe is not my everyday third baseman.

There are plenty of low-cost options out there like Xavier Nady, Aubrey Huff, and Russell Branyan that would allow the Giants to maximize their roster. I think someone like Johnny Damon might be out of the Giants price range, so signing someone like Branyan would be a smart move.

Now some of you might be saying “Hey Adam, the Chicago White Sox won a World Series with Uribe as their starting shortstop in 2005.”

While that is true, the White Sox also had a very deep lineup that year. Paul Konerko hit 40 home runs, Jermaine Dye hit 31 home runs, Scott Podsednik stole 59 bases, and even “Crazy” Carl Everett hit 23 home runs. Uribe was an afterthought in that lineup.

The Giants’ lineup is so mediocre that Uribe would be exposed in 2010. He would be counted on to provide offense and I just don’t see it happening.

The Giants should exhaust all available options before deciding to hand over the starting third base job to Uribe in 2010.

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

New York Yankees Steal Javier Vazquez From The Braves

December 22, 2009

As if there is anymore reason to hate the New York Yankees.

According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Yankees have acquired RHP Javier Vazquez and LHP Boone Logan for OF Melky Cabrera, LHP Mike Dunn, and RHP Arodys Vizcaino.

So let me understand this and I think I do.

The Braves had a surplus of pitching and were looking to trade either Derek Lowe or Vazquez to acquire a much needed bat. Vazquez had more value because he is younger than Lowe and only has one year remaining on his contract, while Lowe has three more years.

Vazquez returns to the Yankees

So the Braves trade the guy with the most value to the Yankees and are only able to get a fourth outfielder in Cabrera? My head is going to explode.

I have watched Cabrera for the last three years and I don’t need to see any stats telling me how good he is. Cabrera is a mediocre, fourth outfielder.

If Cabrera played on the San Diego Padres or the Cincinnati Reds nobody would ever hear a word about him, but because he is a “Yankee,” people think he is a good baseball player. If you think he is good, then you are just a Yankee homer, or well, that would be the only reason.

I can’t believe the Braves–a pretty smart organization–fell for it.

Like I said, I have watched Cabrera on a regular basis over the last three years and he has ZERO baseball IQ. He has zero baseball IQ and has limited ability–that is a bad combination. He was just an extreme product of the powerful Yankee lineup.

I will say one positive thing about Cabrera. He does have a very good arm.

He is going to go to the Braves and hit .265 with nine home runs and have an OPS around .700. Those are stats someone like Ryan Church could have put up.

The Braves also received Vizcaino, who was the Yankees’ No. 3 prospect according to Baseball America. Dunn hasn’t been ranked in the top-10 of Yankee prospects over the last two years by Baseball America, but was so prized he couldn’t be included in the Curtis Granderson trade.

Dunn is nothing more than a left-handed reliever. Once again, the Yankees’ hype machine of prospects does its job.

For the Yankees, this is one steal of a trade. I know Yankee fans have negative thoughts about Vazquez because he faded at the end of the 2004 season and gave up the grand slam to Johnny Damon in Game 7 of the ALCS.

But the Yankees traded for Vazquez in 2003 to be their No. 1 or 2 starter in 2004. Now they have traded for Vazquez in 2009 to be their No. 4 starter in 2010. This time Vazquez is coming here with very little pressure on him.

Think about it. There are only two pitchers since 2004 to pitch 1,000 innings and have 1,000 strike outs and Johan Santana is one. The other one is now the No. 4 starter on the Yankees.

And for those of you Yankee fans who are concerned with Vazquez going from the National League to the American League, here is a juicy nugget for you.

In eight years in the NL and four years in the AL, Vazquez has the same K/9 rate (8.1), almost the same HR/9 (1.1 to 1.2), the same hits/9 (8.9), and almost the same WHIP (1.24 to 1.26).

As you can see, there is virtually no difference between AL Vazquez and NL Vazquez.

This deal also now opens up the left field spot for the Yankees. The Yankees could bring back Damon, or of course, sign Matt Holliday or Jason Bay to really stick it to the rest of baseball.

The Yankees acquired Granderson and Vazquez and didn’t have to give up Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Jesus Montero, or even Austin Romine.

The World Series champs have gotten even better this offseason.

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

Jason Bay And Johnny Damon Find Themselves In Similar Situations

December 19, 2009

There are a lot of differences between Johnny Damon and Jason Bay.

Damon is left-handed and Bay is right-handed. Damon has two World Series rings and Bay has zero. Damon’s game is based primarily on speed and Bay’s game is based primarily on power. Damon is flamboyant and likes to speak his mind, while Bay speaks softly and carries a big stick.

Bay and Damon more similarities than you think

Despite their differences, Damon and Bay also have a lot of similarities.

Damon and Bay are both left fielders. They were both a part of Red Sox Nation. Damon and Bay both finished in the top-10 amongst American League outfielders in OPS in 2009.

Perhaps their biggest similarity is that they are both free agents this offseason and both negotiated their way off their former teams.

As I mentioned in posts before, both Damon and Bay tried to strong arm big market teams (the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees), who weren’t desperate to sign them. They both had very little negotiating power this offseason and both acted like they held all the cards.

That game of poker doesn’t work with a big market team.

The big market team, who is not desperate to sign that player will always find a replacement. The Red Sox signed Mike Cameron and the Yankees signed Nick Johnson.

Whether Damon and Bay really wanted to return to their respective clubs, we’ll never know. Damon seemed like he really wanted to return to the Yankees and Bay seemed indifferent.

Right now it doesn’t matter whether or not they wanted to return to their respective clubs because they won’t. Both players will have new homes in 2010. But with limited options, both might be forced to sign with a team out of necessity.

Bay’s options seem limited. Right now his options seem to be the New York Mets and the New York Mets. Perhaps the San Francisco Giants or the St. Louis Cardinals–if they don’t re-sign Matt Holliday–will get into the mix for Bay.

My guess is Bay is hoping another team gets into the fray because I believe he has very little interest in signing with the Mets.If he really wanted to sign with them, I believe he would have done so already.

If he does sign with the Mets, he is going to make them sweat it out like CC Sabathia did with the Yankees last winter. The longer Bay waits, perhaps the more desperate the Mets will get to sign him and maybe they will give him an extra year or more money per year.

Damon has a couple of more options than Bay primarily because he is a more cost effective option. Damon could end up with the Atlanta Braves, Cardinals, Giants, or maybe even the Seattle Mariners.

I have no idea what Damon’s financial situation is–hosting Monday Night Raw this Monday might be a sign things aren’t well–but if he is expecting three years and $39 million, he is sorely mistaken.

Rumor has it Damon went to the Yankees at the last minute and said he would sign for two years and around $20 million. The Yankees were already in the final stages in negotiating the Johnson contract and told Damon no thanks.

Two years and around $20 million is what Damon should realistically expect.

Where ever Damon and Bay sign this offseason one thing is for sure. They both have more similarities than you think.

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

New York Yankees Sign Nick Johnson, End Johnny Damon Era

December 18, 2009

The New York Yankees signed a left-handed hitter to hit second in their lineup in 2010 and it’s not Johnny Damon.

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney, via Twitter, is reporting that the Yankees have signed 1B Nick Johnson to a one-year, $5.5 million contract. The deal also includes a mutual option for 2011 for $5.5 million.

Johnson returns to the Bronx

The signing of Johnson essentially ends the Damon era in the Bronx.

Damon played the same game Jason Bay tried to play with the Red Sox. Both thought they were being undervalued by their current team and wanted to get paid what they thought their market value was.

It’s fine for them to try to get what they think they deserve, but you can’t strong-arm a big market team that isn’t desperate to sign you. It just doesn’t work.

CC Sabathia was able to strong-arm the Yankees last season because the Yankees were desperate to sign him. Their entire offseason last year was based on signing Sabathia. That is why Sabathia was able to get one more year and $20 million more out of Brian Cashman.

If a big market team is not desperate to sign you, then they will just find other options. The Red Sox found Mike Cameron and the Yankees now have found Johnson.

Johnson is more than an adequate replacement for Damon in the Yankees’ lineup. Johnson will serve as the primary DH and hit second for the Yankees in 2010 and it looks like Melky Cabrera will be the Yankees’ left fielder.

Johnson hit .291 with eight home runs and an .831 OPS in 133 games for the Washington Nationals and Florida Marlins in 2009. By comparison, Damon hit .282 with 24 home runs and an .854 OPS in 143 games for the Yankees last year.

So for $7.5 million less than what Damon was asking for ($13 million, the same amount he made last year), the Yankees got a very comparable player.

Johnson played three years for the Yankees from 2001-2003 and has played eight seasons in the major leagues. He has a career .402 OBP, which is ninth amongst active players.

And for those of you who are concerned with the loss of Damon’s power in the Yankees’ lineup, remember, Damon’s power surge in 2009 was greatly influenced by the joke that is the new Yankee stadium.

Johnson could hit 10-15 homeruns in that ballpark.

Last year, the Yankees paid Hideki Matsui and Damon a combined $26 million. Their replacements in 2010–Curtis Granderson and Johnson are making a combined $11 million.

The Yankees could get more value out of Granderson and Johnson both offensively and defensively than they did out of Matsui and Damon and in the process save $15 million.

Not a bad deal for the Yankees.

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

Granderson To The Yankees A Done Deal, What Are The Diamondbacks Thinking?

December 8, 2009

The first blockbuster move of the offseason has taken place.

According to Jon Heyman, via Twitter, the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, and Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a three-way trade. The deal will be officially announced once medical records check out.

Here is the breakdown of the trade:

Yankees get: Curtis Granderson

Tigers get: Phil Coke, Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer, and Daniel Schlereth

Diamondbacks get: Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy.

My initial take on this is–great for the Tigers, very good for the Yankees, awful for the Diamondbacks.

When I wrote my “Curtis Granderson: What’s His Trade Market” piece a couple of weeks ago, I had the Yankees as a likely destination for the Tigers’ center fielder. As a matter of fact, I also had the Diamondbacks on that list as well.

Granderson is headed to the Yankees

Granderson should do extremely well in New York, both on and off the field. He is very smart, well spoken and could see his life outside the game grow.

Despite his OPS declining three straight years (.913 t0 .858 to .780), Granderson should thrive in the Yankees’ lineup. Plus, with his new power approach at the plate, Granderson should find the right field at the new Yankee Stadium more appealing than Comerica Park.

The trade for Granderson also gives the Yankees a lot of options moving forward. They can put Granderson in center and re-sign Johnny Damon or if Damon leaves, they can put Melky Cabrera in center and put Granderson in left.

This move really hurts Damon’s negotiating power with the Yankees. Now if he wants more money and more years from the Yankees, the Yankees can just walk away.

The Tigers I feel did very, very well in this deal. They were able to shed Granderson’s and Jackson’s salary and get a lot of quality back in return.

To get top prospects Austin Jackson, Scherzer, and Schlereth in return is very impressive. The acquisition of Scherzer to me was a steal by the Tigers.

Why the Diamondbacks traded him is beyond me. Scherzer was the 11th overall pick in the 2006 draft and last year in 170.1 innings, Scherzer struck out 174 batters and only gave up 166 hits.

This kid is a stud and can easily replace the production given by E. Jackson. With Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Rick Porcello in the Tigers’ rotation, the Tigers will have three flame throwers at the top of the rotation.

Schlereth, who was the Diamondbacks’ third best prospect going into 2009 according to Baseball America and Coke give the Tigers two lefties to put in their bullpen.

With Austin Jackson, the Tigers get the Yankees best prospect going into 2009 according to Baseball America and a replacement for Granderson in center. A lot people will say Jesus Montero has passed Jackson, but Jackson is a top prospect non the less.

In 2009 for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Jackson hit .300/.354/.405 with four home runs and 24 stolen bases in 132 games.

As for the Diamondbacks, this trade is a disaster for them. I have no idea what they are trying to do.

To give up two of your best prospects for two middle of the road pitchers is puzzling at best.

I have never been a fan of E. Jackson. It seems like for the last two years, he has gotten off to great starts then wilts in the second half when his teams need him the most.

I don’t want to hear about Kennedy.

Kennedy seems to me another product of the Yankee prospect hype machine–a guy who is an average pitcher that just because he is a “Yankee” people assume he will be great.

The Diamondbacks are in rebuilding mode and yet, they got older and acquired a more expensive player in E. Jackson. It makes no sense.

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

Hideki Matsui Powers New York Yankees To World Series Championship

November 5, 2009

If Mark Teixeira doesn’t beat you, then Alex Rodriguez will. If Alex Rodriguez doesn’t beat you, then Jorge Posada will. And if Teixeira, Rodriguez, and Posada don’t beat you, then Hideki Matsui will.

Playing in perhaps his final game as a New York Yankee, Matsui went 3-for-4 with a homerun, a double, a single, and six RBI as the Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-3 to win their 27th championship.

Matsui did the majority of his damage against Phillies’ starter Pedro Martinez, who didn’t have much last night. Martinez, who was pitching on five days rest, which was short rest for him, really couldn’t get going.

In the second inning, after walking Rodriguez to lead off the inning, Martinez missed his spot by at least four inches to Matsui on a 3-2 pitch and Matsui promptly hit one into the rightfield seats.

In the third inning, with the bases loaded and two outs, Matsui came up to the plate again. And again Martinez missed his spot. Martinez, trying to throw a fastball high and outside, threw a fastball outside, but not high enough.

Matsui served a single to left-centerfield to make the score 4-1 and that was the back breaker in my opinion.

While Matsui was driving in the runs, Andy Pettitte wasn’t allowing any runs to the Phillies. So much for not being able to pitch on three days rest.

Andy Pettitte

Pettitte came up big for the Yankees yet again

Pettitte pitched with a bend, but don’t break mentality last night. Pettitte walked five and gave up four hits over 5.2 innings, but never gave up the big hit.

Here are some other observations from last night:

The Phillies biggest fear in this World Series came to light last night–nobody except Cliff Lee could win a game for the Phillies.

After Matusi’s two-run single in the third, I couldn’t believe Charlie Manuel left Martinez in the game to face Posada.

Ryan Howard struck out for a 13th time last night breaking Willie Wilson’s World Series record of 12 set back in 1980.

I can’t believe that more was not made of Shane Victorino’s misplay on the Derek Jeter linedrive in the third. That was a huge play. The way the Yankees were playing, you can’t give them four outs in an inning.

Great job last night by Chad Durbin keeping it close. 0.1 innings, two hits, one walk, and three runs.

While Matsui might have won the World Series MVP award, Damaso Marte was just as valuable in this series.

Marte’s strike out of Chase Utley in the seventh was the nail in the coffin for the Phillies.

Of course, Marte came on to clean up Joba Chamberlain’s mess. How many times did I have to write that this postseason. Someone explain to me why Chamberlain is the most hyped pitcher in the game again?

Melky Cabrera has a World Series ring and Barry Bonds, Ted Williams, Ernie Banks, and Don Mattingly don’t. Unreal.

Back in March, Gary Sheffield was deciding between the New York Mets and Phillies. The Phillies really could have used him as their DH in this series.

Both teams were playing eight on eight tonight. Brett Gardner = automatic out for the Yankees. Ben Francisco = automatic out for the Phillies.

The Yankees become the first team since the 1991 Minnesota Twins to win a World Series using a three-man pitching staff.

5,000 kids in Long Island, who were Mets fans yesterday, are now Yankee fans today. They came into class today wearing red Yankee hats and a fake Chamberlain jersey.

Matsui will be replaced in the Yankees’ lineup next year by Matt Holliday. Damon will move to DH.

Now all of a sudden Joe Girardi is a genious.

Yankees’ President Randy Levine said in his post-game interview that George Steinbrenner was the first owner to go into Japan when they signed Matsui. Somebody should tell him A. Hideki Irabu played for the Yankees in 1997 and B. Ichiro Suzuki came into the league two years before Matsui.

How many times did the Yankees’ front office try to get rid of Pettitte over the last 10 years? Just proving that they are good business men, but terrible baseball men.

Pedro Feliz killed the Phillies this game. Three times up with RISP and 0-for-3. He gets a hit in any of those AB’s, it’s a different game.

How awesome was Carlos Ruiz this postseason? Just awesome. Such a good little player.

Raul Ibanez had a tremendous AB versus Rivera in the eighth inning. He worked hard for that double.

For the final out of the World Series, the Yankees had Jerry Hairston Jr., Gardner, and Nick Swisher in the outfield. Just goes to show you, you never know who is going to play a role in the World Series in April.

Well, with that the baseball season officially comes to an end. I’ll be doing a year in review in the upcoming days and I will be doing a what to look for this offseason post as well.

It’s one in the morning and I need some sleep. Have a good night folks.