Posts Tagged ‘Melky Cabrera’

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

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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

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

Brad Lidge Implodes, Yankees On Cusp Of World Series Title

November 2, 2009

What a difference a year makes.

Last year, the Philadelphia Phillies rode Cole Hamels and Brad Lidge to a World Series title. In this year’s World Series, Hamels and Lidge have imploded in back to back games and now the Phillies are on the brink of elimination.

In a crucial Game Four, Alex Rodriguez broke a 4-4 tie with a double in the ninth inning off of Lidge and Jorge Posada singled home two more runs to give the Yankees a 7-4 victory over the Phillies.

The Yankees now lead the best-of-seven World Series 3-1 and are on the cusp of their 27th World Series title.

While Rodriguez might have broken the tie in the ninth, it was the great AB and then some heads up baserunning by Johnny Damon that was the story of the inning.

With two outs and nobody on, Lidge was cruising. He looked like the Lidge of 2008. He was throwing wicked sliders and more importantly–he was throwing with confidence.

Johnny-Damon_2

Damon's play last night was heads up

Then Damon came to the plate.

Lidge got Damon in a 1-2 hole, but couldn’t put him away. Damon worked the count to 3-2 and then served a single to leftfield.

What happened next was stuff of legend.

With Mark Teixeira at the plate, Damon stole second. But because the infield was in a shift, third baseman Pedro Feliz took the throw to second.

With Feliz taking the throw at second, nobody was covering third base. Damon realized that and immediately took off for third base. It was one of the most heads up plays you will ever see on a baseball diamond.

Now with Damon on third, Lidge was scared to throw his devastating slider because he didn’t want to bounce it in the dirt and he had to rely on his fastball.

Lidge then plunked Teixeira and the rest was history.

Here are some other observations from last night:

I don’t know why Lidge didn’t try to put Damon away with a slider in the ninth? He kept going to his fastball when his slider was unhittable at that point.

I don’t understand the theory of “If a guy is on third, you can’t throw your slider.” When did Carlos Ruiz become swiss cheese behind the plate?

If Derek Jeter makes that Damon baserunning play, Jeter’s cleats, socks, uniform, and the base are sent to the Hall of Fame.

I have no problem with bringing Lidge into the game at that point. If he can’t pitch in that situation when can he pitch?

Now Lidge knows what Mark Wohlers feels like when you don’t get beat on your best pitch.

All seven other closers have imploded at some point this postseason. The only one that hasn’t? Mariano Rivera. There is a reason why the Yankees are one game away from winning the World Series.

There was only one pitch that Feliz could have hit a homerun on and Joba Chamberlain threw it.

The Yankees got a glimpse of their future when Rivera retires on that Chamberlain gopher ball.

Chamberlain’s “win” last night is the perfect example of why wins for a relief pitcher is one of the most overrated stats in baseball.

It’s taken Rivera only 13 pitches to retire five batters the last two nights. Amazing.

Joe Buck talked more about the NFL than he did the baseball game he was announcing through the first three innings.

Somebody should tell Robinson Cano that the World Series started.

Ryan Howard still hasn’t touched home plate.

Very good, but not great performance from CC Sabathia last night. 6.2 innings, three runs, three walks, and six K’s.

I thought Blanton was good as well last night. And yes, it was the right decision to start him instead of Cliff Lee. Someone other than Lidge needs to a win a game for the Phillies. What’s the difference if it is Game Four of Game Five?

The biggest mistake Blanton made last night was walking Nick Swisher to lead off the fifth. That just can’t happen. It was no surprise that Swisher eventually scored.

Great baserunning by Melky Cabrera scoring on that Damon blooper in that inning. Great read on the ball.

Chase Utley just hit another homerun off of Sabathia.

The last team to come back from a 3-1 World Series deficit was the Kansas City Royals in 1985. Sadly, this was the last time any Royals fan felt any joy.

I wonder if the air has come out of the balloon for the Phillies? As Bob Boone said to Don Sutton on the play ride from California to Boston after the California Angels lost an epic Game Five (the Dave Henderson game) to the Boston Red Sox in 1986–“When the air comes out of the balloon, it’s hard to get it back up.”

That being said, I would be shocked if the Phillies didn’t win tonight. Lee on full rest and AJ Burnett on short rest should get them to Game Six.

Hero for Game Four – Johnny Damon

Goat for Game Four – Brad Lidge

Series MVP – Johnny Damon

Game Five is tonight at 7:57

Yankees Beat Bumbling Angels 5-2, Advance To World Series

October 26, 2009

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim found out with the Minnesota Twins already know. If you continue to make boneheaded baserunning plays and continue to play horrific defense you are going to lose in the playoffs.

The New York Yankees beat the stumbling, bumbling Angels last night 5-2 to take their best-of-seven series 4-2 and advance to the World Series for the 40th time in their history.

Pettitte was vintage Pettitte last night

Pettitte was vintage Pettitte last night

The tone of this series was set in the first inning of Game One when Erick Aybar and Chone Figgins stared at each other and let Hideki Matsui’s Little League popup fall in. Shockingly, that is the way the Angels would play for the entire series.

If you said to someone that the Angels would make eight errors in six games, that person would have said you are nuts. After all, the Angels are one of the most fundamentally sound teams in baseball.

But for what ever reason, the Angels played like the Twins did in their ALDS series against the Yankees.

Here are some of my observations from last night:

Joe Saunders played with fire for the first three inning and eventually got burned in the fourth. You can’t constantly pitch from behind in the count and be successful in the playoffs.

Saunders faced 22 batters and threw first-pitch strikes to only seven of those batters.

I can’t believe Saunders was left in the game to face Alex Rodriguez with the bases loaded in the fourth. What was the point of warming up Kevin Jepsen, if he wasn’t going to come into the game to face Rodriguez?

The 3-1 pitch to Rodriguez was a strike at any level of baseball except in Game Six of the ALCS.

As bad as Darren Oliver was in Game Five, he was great in Game Six. He kept the Angels in that game for as long as he could. Great performance.

If you are going to hand out nine walks to the Yankees in a game, I would say there is a very good chance you are going to lose the game.

Melky Cabrera (my least favorite player in baseball) really gave the Yankees a boost at the bottom of their lineup. Cabrera hit .391 for series and had a .462 OBP.

When Andy Pettitte retires, the Yankees are going to miss him just as much as Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. The guy is just money in a big spot.

Pettitte faced 25 batters and threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of those batters.

Jeter’s potential error turns out to be a positive for the Yankees. Amazing how that works out.

There is no greater weapon in sports than Rivera.

How does Vladimir Guerrero get doubled up on that flyball to right? The play was happening right in front of him. It’s inexcusable.

Did anyone else have flashbacks to the 2006 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers when the Angels couldn’t field those bunts in the eighth?

Why didn’t Scott Kazmir start the eighth inning? He was ready and the Yankees had Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Cabrera coming up.

Cano had a nice defensive game last night. Considering he didn’t show up in Game Two, he kind of owed it to the Yankees.

Some team is still going to give Figgins a four-year, $42 million deal and still regret it from the first day.

Do you know that phrase in baseball “Stay within yourself?” Apparently Torii Hunter has never heard of that phrase. He goes for the downs on every swing in the playoffs.

Why does Mike Scioscia continue to pinch-hit Gary Matthews Jr. for Mike Napoli? Napoli is a much better hitter than Matthews–even against a righty in Rivera.

Why did Scioscia pinch-hit Macier Izturis for Jeff Mathis in the seventh? I don’t care what the matchup is, Mathis is the hottest hitter on the planet outside of Rodriguez right now. Let the guy hit.

Hero for Game Six – Andy Pettitte

Goat for Game Six – Joe Saunders

Series MVP – CC Sabathia

I will be doing a World Series preview tomorrow.

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

CC Sabathia Dominates Angels: Yankees Take Game One

October 17, 2009

Here is what I wrote in my American League Championship Series Preview and Prediction post:

“But things are starting to break for the Yankees like they did in the 90’s. You can’t beat the unexplained. There will be a Joe Mauer foul ball or Nick Punto baserunning moment for the Angels in this series.”

It took all of five batters for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to have their Nick Punto moment.

That coupled with a dominating performance from CC Sabathia made a cold night in the Bronx even colder for the Angels.

Big CC was on his game last night

Big CC was on his game last night

The New York Yankees beat the Angels last night 4-1 behind Sabathia’s eight solid innings and some surprisingly bad Angels defense to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven ALCS.

This game really reminded me of an NCAA tournament game where it’s a No. 13 seed plays a No. 4 seed.

The No. 13 seed plays all nervous through the first five minutes, makes silly mistakes, eventually settles down, gets somewhat back into the game, but at the end of the day the No. 3 seeds imposses their will and wins the game.

That was this game.

For an Angels team that is a veteran playoff team, they played like a bunch of amateurs last night. The bottom of the first inning set the tone for this game.

With Derek Jeter on first base, Johnny Damon hit a flare down the leftfield line. Jeter went to third and Damon made a wide turn but stopped at first base.

Juan Rivera decides to throw the ball to nobody in particular and allows Damon to advance to second. Who was he throwing to? He threw the ball between second and third.

As bad of a play that was, things only got worse for the Angels. Now here comes there Punto bonehead moment of the evening.

After Alex Rodriguez’s sac fly made it 1-0 Yankees, Hideki Matsui came up with a runner on second with two outs.

Matsui hit a little pop up behind third. Chone Figgins and Erick Aybar stare at each other and let the ball drop in. Damon scored and it was 2-0 Yankees.

I really thought John Lackey was going to punch Aybar after the inning. This was such a bonehead play that you would never think it would happen to the Angels.

Unfortunetly for the Angels, this wasn’t the last bonehead play of the evening.

In the bottom of the sixth, Lackey inexplicably walked Melky Cabrera with two outs. I say inexplicably because you can’t walk someone like Cabrera with two outs and no runners on base.

Let him earn his way on. He is a fourth outfielder and Lackey is throwing 3-2 curveballs to Cabrera. Terrible pitch selection.

With Cabrera now on first, Lackey tried to pick him off and throws the ball into rightfield. What was Lackey thinking? Cabrera had a two foot lead at best.

Now with Cabrera on second, Jeter lines a single up the middle. Torii Hunter charges the ball, but the ball hits off the heel of his glove, and rolls behind him. Cabrera scored to make it 4-1.

With Sabathia on top of his game, four runs was more than enough. Sabathia scattered four hits, walked one and struckout seven in eight solid innings of work.

The key for Sabathia in this game was that he was locating his fastball. Up, down, in, and out, Sabathia threw his fastball where ever he wanted to.This was by far and away the best start of Sabathia’s postseason career.

The Angels want to run on the Yankees, but if you don’t get anyone on base, it’s hard to steal. Chone Figgins, Bobby Abreu, and Erick Aybar–the three Angels who can steal a base, went 0-11 with three strikeouts.

And how about Chone Figgins? Can this guy get any worse? He is now 0-16 this postseason. The Angels won’t win this series if he doesn’t get on track.

Game Two is a must win game for the Angels. I don’t think they can go back to Anaheim down 0-2 and win this series.

Game Two is scheduled for today at 7:57 ET. It’s supposed to rain tonight, but right now as of 11:15 am ET in New York, it’s not raining. I went to get bagels this morning and it’s pretty cold however.

Of course, if the game tonight does get rained out, I will keep everyone updated.

Hero for Game One – CC Sabathia

Goat for Game One – Chone Figgins

Series MVP – CC Sabathia

American League Championship Series Preview and Prediction

October 16, 2009

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. New York Yankees

Best-of-seven series

Game One: Friday, Oct. 16 7:57 ET. John Lackey vs. CC Sabathia

Game Two: Saturday, Oct. 17 7:57 ET. Joe Saunders vs. AJ Burnett

Game Three: Monday, Oct. 19 4:13 ET. Andy Pettitte vs. Jered Weaver

Game Four: Tuesday, Oct. 20 7:57 ET. TBD vs. Scott Kazmir

Game Five*: Thursday, Oct. 22 7:57 ET. TBD vs TBD

Game Six*: Saturday, Oct. 24 4:13 ET. TBD vs. TBD

Game Seven* Sunday, Oct. 25 8:20 ET. TBD vs. TBD

*If necessary

Prediction: There are a couple of big story lines heading into this series. Can the Yankees finally beat the Angels in the playoffs? Who pitches Game Four for the Yankees? And can the Yankees neutralize the Angels running game?

While I don’t have the answers to those questions, here is what I do know–Game One is key to this series. Normally, I feel Game Three is key in a best-of-seven series, but in this case Game One is key.

If the Angels win Game One, they got the Yankees thinking here we go again. And more importantly they’ll get Joe Girardi more wound up than he already is.

Girardi got torched last week on the radio and in the papers in New York about how impatient and high strung he was during the ALDS. And that is when the Yankees swept. Could you imagine if the Yankees lose Game One, what Girardi will be like in Game Two?

The Angels have the right guy going in Game One in Lackey. He looked very impressive against the Red Sox in the NLDS and Lackey is pitching for a contract in 2010. If Lackey can pitch well from here on out, he will earn himself some serious coin this Winter.

Figgins is key for the Angels

Figgins is key for the Angels

The key for the Angels offensively and for the series that matter is Chone Figgins. Can this guy show up in the postseason just once? He is supposed to be their table setter and he has a lifetime .182 avg. in the postseason.

The Angels can’t do what they want to do (run all over the Yankees) if their speed guys don’t get on base. Figgins has to show up this series. It’s a must.

If the Yankees win Game One then it does two things. 1. It puts all the pressure on Joe Saunders in Game Two and 2. Quite simply, it gives the Yankees confidence they can beat the Angels in the postseason.

I like Joe Saunders and he is a nice little pitcher. But would you trust him in a big spot with your season on the line? I wouldn’t. I don’t see the Angels winning Game Two no matter what happens in Game One.

However, if they lose Game One AND Game Two, now they have to win four out of five from the Yankees. That is going to be awfully tough to do.

I think there are two keys for the Yankees in this series. First, they need to get someone else going in the lineup other than Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

Overshadowed in the Yankees sweep over the Minnesota Twins, was the fact that Johnny Damon, Nick Swisher, Melky Cabrera, and Robinson Cano didn’t hit at all during the series. The Yankees are going to need a couple of these guys to come through in order to beat the Angels in a seven game series.

Second, this series might just come down to how well CC Sabathia pitches. With the weather concerns in New York (I will get to that in a second) and with the Girardi contemplating going with a three-man rotation, there is a chance Sabathia will pitch three times in this series.

If Sabathia pitches on three days rest, history will be against him. It’s really amazing how the Yankees don’t have a No. 4 starter. They have nobody but themselves to blame for that.

The x-factor in this series is going to be the weather for the first two games of this series. It’s miserable right now in New York. Walking to work this morning it felt like Winter.

It’s supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow. If one of these games gets rained out, that clearly favors the Angels. The Angels have their rotation set regardless of the weather. The Yankees don’t.

Everything in me is leaning towards picking the Angels. I think they are in the Yankees’ heads, they are better equiped to play in a long series than the Yankees are, they are drawing inspiration from the Nick Adenhart tragedy, and they clearly have the better manager.

But things are starting to break for the Yankees like they did in the 90’s. You can’t beat the unexplained. There will be a Joe Mauer foul ball or Nick Punto baserunning moment for the Angels in this series.

Yankees in six

MVP – Mariano Rivera

Spring Position Battles Update…

March 30, 2009

On Sunday New York Yankees Mgr, Joe Girardi announced that Brett Gardner will be the Yankees starting CF. Not surprised by this move at all. Cabrera projects to be nothing more than a 4th OF, while Gardner has a lot more speed which Girardi likes and overall had a better spring than Cabrera.

Gardner goes from projected winner to winner.

Yankees CF, Brett Gardner vs. Melky Cabrera. Cabrera and his .268 lifetime avg seems to be nothing more than a 4th OF. Gardner, who struggled in 127 ab’s last year with a .228/0/16/.283 has really turned it on this spring. Gardner has put an impressive .395/3/6 with 4 sb’s in 38 ab’s. Perhaps Gardner can be for the Yankees was Scott Podsednik was for the White Sox in 2005. Winner – Brett Gardner

Spring Position Battles…

March 23, 2009

With Spring Training more than half-way done, it’s time to look at who is winning some of the position battles that are going on this spring.

Lowrie is having a great spring

Lowrie is having a great spring

Red Sox SS, Julio Lugo vs. Jed Lowrie. Early in Spring Training it appeared as if Lugo was going to win the starting SS job from Jed Lowrie. Then Lugo suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee which has knocked him out for 3-4 weeks. Lowrie has made the most of the situation by hitting the snot out of the baseball this spring. Lowrie is hitting .439/2/10 with 2 triples and 6 doubles in 41 ab’s. Projected Winner – Jed Lowrie

Yankees CF, Brett Gardner vs. Melky Cabrera. Cabrera and his .268 lifetime avg seems to be nothing more than a 4th OF. Gardner, who struggled in 127 ab’slast year with a .228/0/16/.283 has really turned it on this spring. Gardner has put an impressive .395/3/6 with 4 sb’s in 38 ab’s. Perhaps Gardner can be for the Yankees was Scott Podsednik was for the White Sox in 2005. Projected Winner – Brett Gardner

Yankees RF, Nick Swisher vs, Xavier Nady. For a team who is approaching a $200MM payroll, it seems odd that they would have 2/3’s of their outfield unsettled. Between Swisher and Nady, neither has had a spectular spring. Whoever loses this battle will be relegated to bench duty because the DH spot is being occupied by Hideki Matsui. With Swisher having the ability to switch hit and work the count (avg 93 walks the last 3 years), he might have the edge over Nady. Projected Winner – Nick Swisher

Reds LF, Chris Dickerson vs. Jonny Gomes. Dickerson, who in his end of year audition last year tore up the baseball by hitting .306 with 6 hr’s and 15 rbi in just 31 games with the Reds. He hasn’t slowed down this spring has he has hit .325/2/6 with 5 sb’s in 40 ab’s. Gomes, who was signed in the offseason can hit the long ball and also can hit left-handed pitching (.266/25/61/.369 in 414 ab’s). With the Reds now favoring speed and defense, it looks like Dickerson might have the edge heading into opening day. Projected Winner – Chris Dickerson

Giants 2B, Kevin Frandsen vs. Emmanuel Burriss. A good battle between 2 young players. Neither has hurt themselves this spring. Frandsen has hit .315/1/5 in 54 ab’s and Burriss has hit .415/1/5 with 2 sb’s in 53 ab’s. With Burriss having the ability to steal a base (117 career minor league sb’s) and to switch hit, I give him the edge over Frandsen. Projected Winner – Emmanuel Burriss

Motte has 4 saves this spring

Motte has 4 saves this spring

Cardinals Closer, Jason Motte vs. Chris Perez vs. Ryan Franklin – Jason Motte has taken this competition by the throat. Motte has looked awesome this spring to the tune of a 1.08 era with 4 saves in 8.1 innings. At 26 years old, Motte seems poised to be the Cardinals’ closer come opening day. While Motte has been dominating, Chris Perez has been sidelined with a shoulder injury and Ryan Franklin who closed games last year for the Cardinals (17/25 in save opportunities), seems destined to be put back in his familiar role of set-up man. Projected Winner – Jason Motte.

Rockies Closer, Huston Street vs. Manny Corpas. This is an interesting battle. Do the Rockies give the job to Manny Corpas who took the closer’s job from Brian Fuentes in 2007 and helped the Rockies reach the World Series but flamed out in 2008? Or do they give the job to Huston Street, a proven closer who was acquired in the Matt Holliday trade but had a below average 2008? Despite Corpas having a solid spring, I believe Street will ultimately win the job. Street has averaged 24 saves over his 4 career and I agree with Rotoworld that giving Street the closer’s job would increase his trade value. Projected Winner – Huston Street.

Also, on a side note to Spring Training congratulations to Ricky Nolasco, Dan Meyer and Leo Nunez of the Florida Marlins who combined to no-hit the Detroit Tigers on Sunday. Very impressive!!!