Posts Tagged ‘Kansas City Royals’

Mets Sign Mike Jacobs, Find Their First Baseman?

February 11, 2010

For those of you Lost fans like myself, do you ever just watch the show season and after season and ask yourself “How is this all going to come together?” I think if you religiously watch Lost, you probably ask yourself that question all the time.

I am starting to get the sense that New York Mets fans are starting to ask themselves that question in regards to the Mets’ offseason. How on Earth is this puzzle going to come together at the end?

Well, just when you think the Mets had all the pieces to their puzzle, they go ahead and add another piece to throw their fans off.

Jacobs is returning to the Mets

According to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, via Twitter,  the Mets have signed first baseman Mike Jacobs to a minor league contract. The deal would pay Jacobs $900,000 if he makes the majors as well as an additional $1.15 million in incentives.

The Mets already have Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis on the roster, so my initial take on this signing is that the Mets are hoping that Jacobs can be a left-handed power hitter off the bench against right-handed pitching for them in 2010.

Other than that, I have no idea what he can do for the Mets because he doesn’t do anything else particularly well. He can’t run, he can’t hit for average, he can’t get on base, he can’t hit lefties, and he can’t field.

Jacobs hit a healthy .178 against left-handed pitching last year. .178!!! He is an automatic out against lefties, so he can’t be an everyday player in the major leagues. He did hit 18 of his 19 home runs and his OPS was 258 points higher against righties last year with the Kansas City Royals.

I will say this about the Mets’ first base situation–Murphy better have his act together in spring training. If Murphy doesn’t hit well during the spring and Jacobs does, it wouldn’t shock me to see Jacobs as the starting first baseman against righties in 2010. Tatis would presumably play against lefties.

This scenario would lead to two things.

First, if Murphy loses out to Jacobs, his career in New York is over. There is no way he could have a career in New York after that.

Last year the Mets front office hyped up Murphy as a future star. Now a year later he gets beaten out for a job by Mike Jacobs? He would get kicked out of New York like Gregg Jefferies was years ago.

Second, if Jacobs is the Mets starting first baseman headed into the 2010 season, then the Mets are admitting they have given up on their season before it even starts. I already think the Mets have given up on the 2010 season, but this would really put the final nail in the coffin.

Jacobs has played five years in the major leagues and has a career .254 average with 99 home runs, 114 doubles, and a .313 OBP with the Mets, Florida Marlins, and Royals.

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

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MLB Network Announces Top-50 Prospects In Baseball

January 28, 2010

Last night, MLB.com announced their top-50 prospects in baseball through a special on the MLB Network. While there were few surprises on their list, there were a couple of players that caught my eye.

No. 8: Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates. When the Pirates promoted Andrew McCutchen to the major leagues last season, Alvarez became the jewel of the Pirates’ farm system. The Pirates really need Alvarez to become the player they think he can be.

No. 24: Tim Beckham, Tampa Bay Rays. Beckham was the No.1 overall pick in the 2008 draft. As a matter of fact, Alvarez was the No.2 pick in that draft.

The Rays took a chance on the less polished Beckham and he struggled somewhat in his first year of professional baseball. Beckham is only 19, so he has plenty of time to figure things out, but 2010 is a big year. The Rays could have drafted Buster Posey.

No. 28: Casey Kelly, Boston Red Sox. Kelly and the Red Sox organization were faced with a big decision in 2009. Where was Kelly going to play full-time moving forward? Shortstop or pitcher? Kelly is now a full-time pitcher and it was the right decision.

Kelly had a 2.05 ERA in 95 minor league innings last year. He could be in the Red Sox starting rotation by 2012.

No. 30: Yonder Alonso, Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are going to be faced with an interesting decision a year or two from now. Alonso is a first baseman and the Reds already have a star in waiting at first in Joey Votto.

Alonso isn’t as athletic as Votto, so I suspect Votto will be moved to the outfield. A broken bone in Alonso’s hand limited his power in 2009, but this guy can rake. Once he figures out how to hit lefties, he will be good to go.

No. 40: Drew Storen, Washington Nationals. Not only is Storen fun to follow on Twitter, but he is also on heck of pitcher. Stephen Strasburg is getting all the hype, but Storen isn’t far behind him.

Storen is being groomed at the Nationals’ closer of the future. He could be their closer by 2011.

The Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals led the way with four players in the top-50. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Chicago White Sox, New York Mets (Ike Davis could have been on this list), and St. Louis Cardinals were the only teams not to have a player in the top-50.

You can find MLB.com’s complete list of top-50 prospects here.

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

Kansas City Royals Doing Their Part To Help Haiti

January 21, 2010

I know a lot of people, including myself, have had plenty of negative things to say about the way the Kansas City Royals have operated over the last couple of seasons. However, you can’t have anything negative to say about what the Royals are doing today.

Zack Greinke and David DeJesus of the Royals will team up with Heart to Heart International to aid the Haiti earthquake victims.

They’ll be at Sam’s Club, 4100 Bolger Drive in Independence, Mo., between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. CT on Thursday to collect donations and items for Heart to Heart Care Kits.

In addition, DeJesus has pledged $2,500 to Heart to Heart, a donation that has been matched by Royals Charities. That will supply 500 of the kits.

Heart to Heart will be collecting donations and items, including towels, soap and other toiletries, at all five Kansas City area Sam’s Clubs on Saturday and Sunday as well.

Royals fans and anyone also can donate on-line by visiting http://www.hearttoheart.org.

Great job by Greinke, DeJesus, and the entire Royals organization for doing their part to help out with the crisis in Haiti. I am sure the Royals won’t be the last organization to help out Haiti.

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

Starting Rotation: American League Central

January 19, 2010

Yesterday, I looked at the starting rotations of each American League East team. Today, I will look at the starting rotations for each American League Central team.

The American League Central is home to some of the best young pitchers in the game. As a matter of fact, five out of the last six AL Cy Young award winners have come from the Central.

Here are the starting rotations of each American League Central team as presently constructed.

Minnesota Twins

1. Scott Baker, RHP

2. Nick Blackburn, RHP

3. Kevin Slowey, RHP

4. Carl Pavano, RHP

5. Francisco Liriano, LHP

Quick Take – This rotation is littered with No.2 and No.3-type starters. However, Liriano can be a No.1 if he can regain his form prior to Tommy John surgery. Despite their lack of a true No.1 starter, this rotation has plenty of depth.

Chicago White Sox

1. Jake Peavy, RHP

2. Mark Buehrle, LHP

3. Gavin Floyd, RHP

4. John Danks, LHP

5. Freddy Garcia, RHP

Quick Take – The White Sox have the best pitching staff that nobody ever talks about. Danks is a very good No.4 starter. I will be interested to see how Peavy adjusts to the AL over the course of an entire season. Garcia will battle Dan Hudson for the No.5 starter spot in spring training.

Detroit Tigers

1. Justin Verlander, RHP

2. Rick Porcello, RHP

3. Max Scherzer, RHP

4. Jeremy Bonderman, RHP

5. Armando Galarraga, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation has more questions than answers going into 2010. Verlander threw more pitches than any other pitcher in baseball last season (3,937). How is that going to affect him in 2010. Will Porcello experience a sophomore slump? Can Bonderman and Galarraga bounce back in 2010?

Kansas City Royals

1. Zack Greinke, RHP

2. Gil Meche, RHP

3. Luke Hochevar, RHP

4. Kyle Davies, RHP

5. Brian Bannister, RHP

Quick Take – This staff is led by the great Greinke, who was last year’s AL Cy Young award winner. Nobody expects him to repeat last year’s performance in 2010, but he shouldn’t be that far off. The Royals need Hochevar to step up. This is a big year for him.

Cleveland Indians

1. Jake Westbrook, RHP

2. Fausto Carmona, RHP

3. Justin Masterson, RHP

4. David Huff, LHP

5. Aaron Laffey, LHP

Quick Take – For the most part, this is a young rotation, but it’s not very good right now. Carmona has been one of baseball biggest mysteries over the last couple of years. Having watched Masterson over the last couple of years with the Red Sox, I feel be is better suited to be in the bullpen.

Tomorrow, I will look at the American League West. The West is home to one of the top young pitchers in the game Felix Hernandez. Not only will teams in the West have to worry about Hernandez in 2010, but will have to contend with him for years to come.

More on that story later.

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

Starting Nine: American League Central

January 12, 2010

Yesterday, I took at the starting nine position players for each American League East team. Today, I will cover the starting nine position players for each American League Central team.

Remember, these lineups are as of today. Obviously these will change as the offseason continues. I will update these lineups as the season approaches.

Here are the starting lineups for each American League Central team:

Minnesota Twins

1. Denard Span, CF

2. Joe Mauer, C

3. Justin Morneau, 1B

4. Michael Cuddyer, RF

5. Jason Kubel, DH

6. Delmon Young, LF

7. J.J. Hardy, SS

8. Brendan Harris, 3B

9. Nick Punto, 2B

Quick Take – The Twins have as good a one through five as anyone in baseball. They desperately need a third and second baseman. Orlando Hudson would be a nice addition.

Chicago White Sox

1. Juan Pierre, LF

2. Gordon Beckham, 2B

3. Carlos Quentin, RF

4. Paul Konerko, 1B

5. Alex Rios, CF

6. Alexei Ramirez, SS

7. A.J. Pierzynski, C

8. Mark Teahen, 3B

9. Mark Kotsay, DH

Quick Take – Perhaps there is no lineup that is harder to put together than the White Sox’s. This lineup could go in nine different directions. They need a DH and bringing back Jim Thome would make sense.

Detroit Tigers

1. Austin Jackson, CF

2. Carlos Guillen, DH

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Magglio Ordonez, RF

5. Brandon Inge, 3B

6. Ryan Raburn, LF

7. Gerald Laird, C

8. Adam Everett, SS

9. Scott Sizemore, 2B

Quick Take – Another hard lineup to put together. Jackson and Sizemore could flip-flop in the order. I don’t see a reason to ever pitch to Cabrera.

Kansas City Royals

1. Scott Podsednik, CF

2. David DeJesus, LF

3. Billy Butler, 1B

4. Jose Guillen, RF

5. Alex Gordon, 3B

6. Alberto Callaspo, 2B

7. Josh Fields, DH

8. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

9. Jason Kendall, C

Quick Take – This lineup is going to have a hard time scoring runs. This year might be make or break for Gordon.

Cleveland Indians

1. Azdrubal Cabrera, SS

2. Michael Brantley, LF

3. Grady Sizemore, CF

4. Shin-Soo Choo, RF

5. Travis Hafner, DH

6. Jhonny Peralta, 3B

7. Matt LaPorta, 1B

8. Lou Marson, C

9. Luis Valbuena, 2B

Quick Take – I like putting Brantley in the two-hole because of the speed and high OBP ability he showed in the minors. Sizemore moves down to the three-hole and takes on the role of a run producer.

Tomorrow, I will take a look at the American League West.

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

Kansas City Royals Add Scott Podsednik

January 10, 2010

I love when fans of teams throw a hissy fit over a player signing for no apparent reason. They take a minor signing and turn it into the world’s greatest travesty.

Case in point: The Scott Podsednik signing by the Kansas City Royals.

The Royals signed Podsednik on Friday to a one-year, $1,75 million contract. There is also a club option for 2011 for $2 million.

Podsednik won't be doing much celebrating in KC

This is such a nothing with nothing signing, but for some reason Royals fans are acting like GM Dayton Moore signed Podsednik to a six-year, $100 million deal. I really don’t get it.

Perhaps the real reason is that Royal fans are so frustrated with Moore, they figure any move he makes is probably a stupid one. Maybe they are right, but like I said before, this move is no big deal.

Podsednik signed for one-year, so it’s not like he is taking the spot of a top Royals’ prospect in 2010. As a matter of fact, the Royals don’t have any outfield prospects ready for the major leagues.

Who is he taking of the place of? Mitch Maier? Maier is nothing special. He was a former first-round pick in 2003, but hasn’t proven he can be an everyday player at the major league level.

Podsednik does give the Royals speed at the top of their lineup, which was something they were hoping Coco Crisp could do last year. Last year, he stole 30 bases in 43 attempts with the Chicago White Sox.

Has Podsednik declined defensively over the years? Yes he has. But the difference between Podsednik and Maier isn’t so great, where the Royals are making a catastrophic decision.

Unfortunately for Royals fans (the few they have left), these are the type of players the Royals are going to sign until they learn how to develop their own players and develop players they receive in trades.

Podsednik isn’t going to make the Royals a contender in 2010. At this point, no single player can–not even Albert Pujols. But he isn’t going to crumble the franchise either.

Moore has taken care of that.

Podsednik will be entering his ninth year in the major leagues and has a career .277 average with a .340 OBP with 266 steals in 353 attempts with the Seattle Mariners, Milwaukee Brewers, Colorado Rockies, and White Sox.

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

With Recent Moves, Russell Branyan’s Options Dwindling

January 8, 2010

After 11 years of injuries and being considered a bench player/pinch-hitter, Russell Branyan finally got everything he wanted in 2009.

For the first time in his major league career, Branyan got an opportunity to be an everyday player. In 2009 with the Seattle Mariners, Branyan played in a career high 116 games and had a career high 505 AB’s.

Branyan's options seem limited in 2010

In those 116 games, Branyan hit .251 with 31 home runs and an .867 OPS. His .867 OPS ranked seventh amongst American League first baseman.

It was a pretty good time for Branyan to have a career year as he was a free agent after the 2009 season. However, things haven’t gone according to plan since Branyan filed for file agency back in November.

Branyan thought he was worthy of a multi-year deal and rejected the Mariners’ one-year deal early in the free agent period. As it appears right now, the Mariners’ offer might have been Branyan’s best.

A lot of teams have filled their first base or DH hole with low-cost options this offseason limiting Branyan’s options. The Atlanta Braves filled their need by signing Troy Glaus, the Mariners traded for Casey Kotchman, and the A’s re-signed Jack Cust.

These moves, coupled with a bad back, have seriously limited Branyan’s options in 2010. So where could Branyan end up? Here are a couple of landing spots for the 34-year-old.

New York Mets – I don’t think they will go into the 2010 with Daniel Murphy as their first baseman. However, I would be shocked if the Mets didn’t bring back Carlos Delgado.

San Francisco Giants – GM Brian Sabean is talking about putting Juan Uribe in the starting lineup and moving Pablo Sandoval to first and Mark DeRosa to third. If the Giants come to their senses, they will leave Uribe in the utility role.

If this happens, the Giants could have an opening at first. Branyan would bring some power and some plate discipline to the lineup.

Pittsburgh Pirates – The Pirates have talked about moving Adam LaRoche to first once Pedro Alvarez is ready. However, Alvarez isn’t ready yet and the Pirates have an opening at first.

Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles would rather move Garrett Atkins to first, but if they can’t find another third baseman, then they will keep Atkins at third and look for a first baseman.

Like the Mets, they are interested in Delgado, but if they can’t land him Branyan could be a nice fallback option.

Kansas City Royals – I would give Kila Ka’aihue a chance, but I get the sense he is not a favorite of GM Dayton Moore. The Royals could leave Billy Butler at first and sign Branyan to be their DH.

So as you can see, Branyan doesn’t have too many options out there. If I was a betting man, I would say he ends up with the Giants.

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

Rockies Add A Catcher, Sign Miguel Olivo

January 5, 2010

Tired of haggling over contract specifics with Yorvit Torrealba, the Colorado Rockies decided to move in another direction to fill their need for a catcher.

According to Thomas Harding of MLB.com, the Rockies have signed former Kansas City Royals’ catcher Miguel Olivo to a one-year, $2 million contract. The Rockies also have a club option for $2.5 million for 2011.

Olivo will replace Torrealba in Colorado

The Olivo signing means that Torrealba will have a new team in 2010. While it might be tough for Olivo to replace Torrealba’s leadership, this is not a bad signing for the Rockies.

Olivo will compete with Chris Iannetta to be the Rockies’ starting catcher in 2010. Last year, Olivo hit 23 home runs with a .249 average in 114 games for the Royals last season.

Yeah, I know he refuses to walk. But not everyone in a lineup can be Jack Cust. If Olivo can hit a home run every 18 AB’s like he did last year and play decent defense, the Rockies will take it.

Defensively, Olivo threw out 28.2 percent of the base runners attempting to steal a base last season. That percentage ranked third amongst American League catchers last season.

To put in perspective, the Rockies signed Olivo to a one-year deal and the team he left–the Royals–signed Jason Kendall to a two-year deal. I believe Olivo is the better player.

I wrote about the differences between Olivo and Kendall here.

As to where this leaves Torrealba? I think he will have a couple of options.

I believe the New York Mets could be interested if they can’t come to terms with Bengie Molina. I also believe the San Francisco Giants could be a possibility as well. I believe they don’t think Buster Posey is ready to be a full-time starting catcher yet and Torrealba could serve as a nice mentor to Posey.

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

Coco Crisp Heads To Oakland

December 24, 2009

If you need any further proof that baseball is making a dramatic shift from building a team with slugging DH-types to pitching and defense, all you need to do is look into what the A’s are doing in Oakland.

As we all know, A’s GM Billy Beane was the focal point of the book Moneyball. The “Moneyball” philosophy was to build a team around sluggers, who walked a lot and of course, hit for power. Speed and defense was not part of the equation.

Now that is all changing. Beane is building a team in Oakland that is becoming–in a word–athletic.

Crisp will be throwing punches for the A's in 2010

Recent case in point–the signing of OF Coco Crisp. Yesterday, the A’s signed Crisp to a one-year, $4.75 million contract. There is also a club option for $5.75 million for 2011.

Crisp, along with speedster Rajai Davis and Ryan Sweeney should give the A’s a very athletic outfield in 2010.

I had the opportunity to watch Crisp play every day as a member of the Boston Red Sox from 2006-2008 and I really felt sorry for the guy.

Crisp looked like a breakout star in 2005 when he hit .300 with 16 home runs and 15 stolen bases with the Cleveland Indians. Crisp really started to look like a breakout star when he got off to a great start in Boston hitting .333 in April.

Then Crisp broke his finger and it was all down hill from there.

Crisp never recovered from that broken finger in Boston and he never lived up to expectations. Jacoby Ellsbury started to emerge as the center fielder of the future in Boston and Crisp was shipped off to Kansas City for reliever Ramon Ramirez.

Crisp’s one year stay in Kansas City was uneventful as best. Crisp played in only 49 games for the Royals hitting a pedestrian .226. His season was cut short when a shoulder injury ended his season.

Crisp is healthy now and should be the A’s starting center fielder in 2010 with Davis moving to left. Scott Hairston will either move to the bench or be traded. There doesn’t seem to be a spot for him on the A’s roster right now.

Crisp will be 31 next year and has a lifetime .277 average with 137 stolen bases in eight major league seasons

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