Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Twins’

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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Twins Continue To Improve, Sign Orlando Hudson

February 5, 2010

Going into the offseason, everyone knew the Minnesota Twins needed an upgrade at three of the four infield positions. The Twins were set with Justin Morneau at first, but needed to improve at second, short, and third in order to get to the next level.

Back in November, the Twins stole JJ Hardy from the Milwaukee Brewers for Carlos Gomez to upgrade their shortstop position and yesterday they upgraded at second base.

Hudson is an upgrade at second for the Twins

According to Joe Christensen of the Minnesota Star Tribune, the Twins have signed second baseman Orlando Hudson to a one-year, $5 million contract. The deal has no incentives and no option for 2011.

Hudson is a clear upgrade over last year’s starting second baseman Nick Punto. Here are their stats from last year:

Hudson: .283/.357/.417 with nine home runs in 146 games.

Punto: .228/.337/.284 with one home runs in 125 games.

Punto is a nice little player, who does a lot of things right. He is a guy that every team should have on their ball club. But he shouldn’t be starting for a team that has World Series aspirations.

Hudson will certainly lengthen the Twins’ lineup. Here is a possible Minnesota lineup against right-handed pitching:

1. Denard Span, CF

2. Orlando Hudson, 2B

3. Joe Mauer, C

4. Justin Morneau, 1B

5. Jason Kubel, LF

6. Michael Cuddyer, RF

7. Jim Thome, DH

8. JJ Hardy, SS

9. Brendan Harris, 3B

That is one stacked lineup. These are no longer your father’s punch-and-Judy Twins’ lineup. This lineup can flat-out rake.

Of course against lefties, the Twins can go with Delmon Young in left and put Kubel back at DH. That’s still a pretty good lineup.

With the additions of Hudson, Hardy, Thome, and with their above average rotation and solid bullpen, I believe the Twins are the clear favorites in the American League Central.

Their closest competition in the Central will come from the Chicago White Sox. But with a suspect lineup and very mediocre defense, I am not sure the White Sox have what it takes to overtake the Twins in the division.

Now that the Twins have added Hardy and Hudson, don’t look for them to sign a third baseman as well. I think the Twins are done spending this offseason.

They will most likely go with Harris at third in 2010. Punto and Matt Tolbert could see some time at third as well.

Hudson will be entering his eighth year in the major leagues and has a career .282 average with 77 home runs, 50 stolen bases, 50 triples, and a .778 OPS with the Toronto Blue Jays, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Los Angeles Dodgers.

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

The “O-Cab” Will Make A Stop In Cincinnati

February 1, 2010

Isn’t it amazing how Orlando Cabrera always ends up playing in the postseason? Every October I turn on the TV and there I see Cabrera playing shortstop for a team contending for the World Series. However, it seems that no team ever wants Cabrera to stick around.

Cabrera has been on six teams in the last six years. 2010 will make it seven teams in seven years. Cabrera is to baseball what the Klopecks were to the movie The Burbs’.

The Hans Klopeck of baseball?

Cabrera will make his new home in Cincinnati. That’s because the Reds have signed the 35-year-old shortstop to a one-year, $4 million contract. There is also a $3 million option for 2011.

Cabrera was deciding between the Reds and Colorado Rockies, but chose the Reds because they gave him an opportunity to play shortstop. The Rockies wanted to move him to second.

While Cabrera isn’t the prototypical top of the order batter because he is a free swinger, he does all the little things to help a team win. He’s durable (played in 150 plus games eight out of the last nine years), a good hit-and-run guy, has led his league in sacrifice flies three out of the last four years, and his teammates love him.

There is a reason why Cabrera is always playing in October.

The signing of Cabrera means that Paul Janish is out of a job. Janish is playing in the wrong era to be a no-hit, great glove shortstop. If we were still in the 70’s or 80’s, then Janish would still be starting in Cincinnati.

But we are in the 2000’s and guys like Janish don’t last long in this day and age. Janish hit just .211, but had a pretty slick 11.7 UZR last year in 90 games with the Reds.

Nothing about Janish’s offensive minor league numbers jumps out, so to see Janish struggle at the major league level is not a surprise. Janish only hit .250 in his final year at Triple-A.

Now just because the Reds signed Cabrera, doesn’t mean they are headed to the playoffs in 2010. Even with Cabrera, the Reds are still a fourth place team next year.

I think if the Reds pick up his option in 2011, then Cabrera will have a chance to return to the postseason with the Reds. I believe the Reds will be a contender in 2011 and be a World Series contender in 2012.

I know its been 20 years for Reds fans, but be patient for just a little longer. You are almost there.

Cabrera will be entering his 14th year in the majors and has a career .275 average with 114 home runs, 197 stolen bases, and a .322 OBP with the Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Chicago White Sox, Oakland A’s, and Minnesota Twins.

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

“Thome’s Hommies” Are Headed To Minnesota

January 27, 2010

One of the more interesting debates that will occur six or seven years from now is the question of whether or not Jim Thome is a Hall of Famer?

Thome has all the stats you look for in a HOF’er. He has well over 500 home runs (564 to be exact), he is fifth all-time in HR/AB (13.7), 10th in walks (1,619), and 20th in OPS (.961). Those are some pretty impressive credentials.

Will Thome be a Hall of Famer?

But with only one, top-five finish in MVP voting during his career, plus playing in the steroid era, I am not sure how much love Thome will get on his first shot at the HOF.

I have the same take on Thome that I had with Barry Larkin. Yeah, the numbers might be there over a long period of time, but I never viewed either as a HOF player. I have never watched Thome play and say “There is an all-time great.”

Thome is like Fred McGriff, but with more home runs. McGriff only received 21.5 percent of the vote in this past HOF vote.

The reason I am bringing this up, is because yesterday Thome will be given another chance to add to his resumé. The Minnesota Twins inked Thome to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. Thome can earn another $700,000 in incentives.

This is a pretty sweet deal for the Twins. Despite already having a DH in Jason Kubel, the signing of Thome does give the Twins some options.

Thome’s main role will be a power source off the bench, but he could also DH against right-handed pitching. Thome hit 18 of his 23 home runs last year off of righties. The Twins could then move Kubel to left field and put Delmon Young on the bench.

I am kind of surprised there wasn’t more of a market for Thome this offseason. I know he is 40 and only is a DH at this point, which limits his options, but he was having a pretty legit year with the Chicago White Sox in 2009 before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers and just rotted on the bench.

With the White Sox, Thome hit .249 with 23 home runs and a .377 OBP in 107 games. A team like the Seattle Mariners could have certainly used Thome as a full-time DH in 2010. I would rather him getting regular AB’s at this point than Ken Griffey Jr.

This will be Thome’s third stop in the American League Central. He played with the Cleveland Indians from 1991-2002 and for the White Sox from 2006-2009. Perhaps next year he can choose between the Detroit Tigers or the Kansas City Royals so he can play for every team in the division.

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

Francisco Liriano Making Strides In Winter Ball

January 5, 2010

Minnesota Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire got some very encouraging news about one of his pitchers yesterday.

Francisco Liriano is reportedly throwing pellets in winter ball.

“I just got a report that he’s throwing the living fire out of the ball down in the Dominican (Republic),” the Twins manager said through the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “He threw eight innings the other day, and his fastball was 92 to 94 (mph) and his slider was filthy. That’s a really good thing, because he can be the bonus if we can get him on track.”

Liriano is throwing darts in winter ball

Not only can Liriano be bonus, but he can potentially be the ace the Twins need. If am firm believer that unless you have a lineup that can just bludgeon teams night after night (the Big Red Machine of the 1970’s comes to mind), you need an ace to win a World Series.

The Twins right now have a bunch of No. 3 starters on their pitching staff. Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker, Carl Pavano, and Kevin Slowey are nice pitchers to have on a staff, but none of them would be considered a No. 1 starter.

No. 3 starters get a team through the regular season, but don’t get a team to a World Series. That is why Liriano is so important to the Twins taking the next step in 2010.

Liriano can be that ace. In 2006, Liriano was 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA and looked like the second coming of Johan Santana. So the potential is there.

But Liriano had Tommy John surgery in 2006 and hasn’t been the same since.

Liriano is one of the few pitchers who has regressed since the surgery. Most pitchers who have the surgery either come back stronger or work themselves back within two years.

For Liriano its been almost three years.

Last year, I had Liriano as the “key” to the Twins’ season. Liriano went 5-13 with a 5.80 ERA, so he wasn’t as important to the Twins as I thought he would be. But I also said that with him, they would be a serious contender for the AL Pennant, which they weren’t.

Even without Liriano, I think Twins will go into the 2010 season as the favorites in the American League Central. But if Liriano is healthy and pitching like we know he can, the Twins could go from first-round fodder to a legit pennant contender.

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

Wanting On-Field Changes, Bud Selid Forms Study Group

December 16, 2009

When someone mentions the term “study group” to me, the first thing I think of is college.

I think of four or five friends getting together to study a subject they have very little interest in and after 15 minutes saying screw this and play Madden.

Hopefully Bud Selig’s “study group” is a little more productive.

The Commissioner of baseball announced today he is formulating a special committee or study group for on-field matters. These on-field matters include the expansion of instant replay, expanding the first-round of the playoffs, scheduling, the pace of the game, and the umpire’s strike zone.

Selig has put together a study group

Here are the members of the committee who will be discussing these matters:

Tony LaRussa: Manager, St. Louis Cardinals

Mike Scioscia: Manager, Los Angeles of Angels of Anaheim

Jim Leyland: Manager, Detroit Tigers

Joe Torre: Manager, Los Angeles Dodgers

Andy MacPhail: President for Baseball Operations, Baltimore Orioles

Mark Shapiro: General Manager, Cleveland Indians

Terry Ryan: Former General Manager, Minnesota Twins

John Schuerholz: President, Atlanta Braves

Paul Beeston: President, Toronto Blue Jays

Dave Montgomery: President, Philadelphia Phillies

Chuck Armstrong: President, Seattle Mariners

Bill DeWitt: Chairman, St. Louis Cardinals

Frank Robinson: Hall of Fame player and currently works in the office of the commissioner.

George Will: Political Communist

I have a couple of thoughts on all of this.

First, I love the idea, and I love the fact that Selig does his best to try to improve the game. I have said it before and I will say it again–Selig always works on improving the game of baseball.

That is one thing you can not fault him on.

I would expect that some changes come out of this meeting. Changes to instant replay and pace of the game seem to be the easiest to implement.

Pace of the game came under question when Jorge Posada seemingly went to the mound on every pitch during the postseason. I always believed that there should be a maximum of two visits per pitcher per game.

That visit includes trips made by the catcher, pitching coach, or manager to the mound. On the third trip by any of the above during a game, the pitcher has to be removed.

If you have to visit a pitcher more than twice in a game, then that pitcher is probably not having a good night.

My other thought on this is why are there no current players in this meeting? Wouldn’t the people who play the game know what changes need to be made?

If I am Selig, I would much rather get input from a Curtis Granderson or a Carlos Pena than George Will. Why on earth is Will involved in this? For some reason this guy has Selig’s ear and I still haven’t figured out why.

When I think of Will, I think of that great Saturday Night Live skit in the 80’s when they did “George Will’s Sports Machine.” Dana Carvey played Will, Corbin Burnsen played Mike Schmidt and Jon Lovitz played Tommy Lasorda.

Will kept asking Schmidt and Lasorda questions they couldn’t answer. Questions like “The precarious balance between infield and outfield suggests a perfect symmetry. For $50, identify the effect of that symmetry.”

It was just classic. That skit makes me laugh every time I see it.

The group will meet for the first time during the Owner’s Meetings next month in Phoenix.

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

White Sox Continue To Add, Trade For Juan Pierre

December 15, 2009

Guess which team has been the most aggressive this offseason?

The New York Yankees? Nope. The Los Angeles Dodgers? Not even close. The Boston Red Sox? Maybe.

How about the Chicago White Sox? Bingo.

On top of adding Jake Peavy and Alex Rios towards the end of last season, the White Sox have added Mark Teahen, Omar Vizquel, Andruw Jones, JJ Putz, and now they have added Juan Pierre this offseason.

According to various sources, the White Sox have acquired Pierre from the Los Angeles Dodgers for two minor league pitchers. The Dodgers will get to pick two minor league pitchers from a list provided by the White Sox.

Pierre is waving goodbye to LA

Pierre has two-years and $18.5 million remaining on his contract. However, the Dodgers will pay $10 million of Pierre’s contract. The White Sox will pay Pierre $3 million in 2010 and $5 million in 2011.

The White Sox are really being aggressive this offseason. There is no reason for the White Sox not to be aggressive playing in the weak AL Central.

The Cleveland Indians are rebuilding, the Kansas City Royals are a mess, and the Detroit Tigers are selling off pieces left and right. That leaves just the White Sox and Minnesota Twins to compete in the AL Central.

Does Pierre put the White Sox ahead of the Twins in 2010? Probably not because I really don’t see how the White Sox are better because of this trade.

Player A hit .308 with zero home runs, a .365 OBP, a .392 Slugging Percentage, and 30 stolen bases in 2009.

Player B hit .304 with seven home runs, a .353 OBP, .412 Slugging Percentage, and 30 stolen bases in 2009.

The difference between these players is negligible. Player A is available via trade and Player B is available via free agency. So if all things are pretty much equal, wouldn’t you go with the player that is going to cost you less?

Player A is Pierre and Player B is Scott Podsednik.

I have no idea what prospects the White Sox are giving up. But I don’t care if they include me in the deal–a prospect is still a prospect and a prospect is a commodity.

Why give up two prospects and pay Pierre when they could have had essentially the same player (Podsednik) for no prospects and probably less than what they are paying Pierre?

I don’t get it.

I like the fact that the White Sox are being aggressive, but sometimes they would be better off making the simpler move. The simple move here would be to just re-sign Podsednik.

As for the Dodgers, this is a pure salary dump. The Dodgers are in such a financial mess right now that saving $8 million is a big deal for them right now.

I’ll update this story once it’s confirmed what prospects are going to the Dodgers.

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

What Each MLB Team Should Be Thankful For

November 26, 2009

For me, Thanksgiving is the best holiday of the year. It’s one of the few times of the year when all bets are off when it comes to food. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

Thanksgiving is also the time of year where we give thanks to what we have in life. It’s no different for all 30 teams of Major League Baseball. Each team has something they can be thankful for.

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies should be thankful that they have one of the best GM’s in the game in Ruben Amaro Jr. A GM who doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves.

Atlanta Braves: The Braves should be thankful the Minor League Player of the Year, Jason Heyward is on his way. The kid looks like a star.

Florida Marlins: The Marlins should be thankful they are getting a new stadium in 2012. Maybe then they can keep their young stars like Josh Johnson

New York Mets: The Mets should be thankful that 2009 is finally coming to an end. 2010 can’t be much worse.

Washington Nationals: The Nationals should be thankful that new GM Mike Rizzo has more of a clue than former GM Jim Bowden

NL Central

St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals should be thankful for the fact that they get to watch the best player in the game on a day in and day out basis.

Chicago Cubs: The Cubs should be thankful that after so many years of being labeled “lovable losers,” they are finally dedicated to winning. Whether or not they are making the right moves to win is another story.

Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers should be thankful that they have an owner in Mark Attanasio, who runs a small market team, but has a big market mentality.

Cincinnati Reds: The Reds should be thankful that Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs, and Joey Votto are young stars, who should provide a solid foundation for the future.

Houston Astros: The Astros should be thankful that Wandy Rodriguez established himself as a solid No. 2 starter in 2009.

Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates should be thankful for the fact that GM Neal Huntington has the team moving in the right direction. The Pirates are making the right moves to compete in the future.

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers should be thankful for Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, who appear to be the foundation of the Dodgers’ offense for years to come.

Colorado Rockies: The Rockies should be thankful that they have one of the best and exciting young teams in baseball. The Rockies have finally figured out how to win in Colorado.

The Giants should be thankful for Lincecum

San Francisco Giants: The Giants should be thankful for being able to watch Tim Lincecum every five days. His unique delivery continues to amaze fans and baffle hitters.

San Diego Padres: The Padres should be thankful that it appears that they will not be trading star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks should be thankful that Brandon Webb is making progress and looks to be healthy in 2010.

AL East

New York Yankees: The Yankees should be thankful that they are the Yankees. No other team in professional sports has the advantage they have.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox should be thankful for their minor-league system, which allows them to trade for players like Victor Martinez and potentially Roy Halladay or Miguel Cabrera.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays should be thankful that they have the most athletic team in baseball and after so many years of losing, they have a winner in Tampa.

Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays should be thankful for the fact they got to watch Roy Halladay pitch in a Blue Jays’ uniform for the last 12 years. He will go down as the best player in franchise history.

Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles should be thankful for that after so many years of not having a clue, they are moving in the right direction. Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, Brian Matusz, and Nick Markakis provide a solid foundation for the future.

AL Central

Minnesota Twins: The Twins should be thankful for Joe Mauer. When it is all said and done, I believe he will go down as the greatest catcher of all time.

Detroit Tigers: The Tigers should be thankful for Mike Ilitch. Despite a ravaged economy in Detroit, Ilitch does his best to put a winner on the field in the Motor City.

Chicago White Sox: The White Sox should be thankful for employing Ozzie Guillen. His press conferences have provided baseball fans with hours of comedy. Oh yeah, the guy is a pretty good manager.

Kansas City Royals: The Royals should be thankful that there is only more year left in the Jose Guillen era in Kansas City.

Cleveland Indians: The Indians should be thankful that Grady Sizemore, Carlos Santana, Azdrubal Cabrera, Matt LaPorta, and Shin-Soo Choo provide hope for the future.

AL West

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: The Angles should be thankful for that they have one of the best run organizations in baseball. The job Arte Moreno and Mike Scioscia have done in Anaheim has been impressive.

Seattle Mariners: The Mariners should be thankful for the fact that if they make a couple of solid moves this offseason, they could win the AL West in 2010.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers should be thankful for GM Jon Daniels. His trades and drafting over the last four years have the Rangers poised to make a run at the AL West crown in 2010.

Oakland A’s: The A’s should be thankful for Andrew Bailey. The 2009 AL Rookie of the Year and a great year and should anchor the backend of the A’s bullpen for years to come–or at least until Billy Beane trades him.

I would like to give thanks to all my readers for taking the time out of their days to read my blog. For that, I am truly grateful.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE AND THEIR FAMILIES!!!