Posts Tagged ‘Montreal Expos’

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

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Andre Dawson To Enter Hall As An Expo

January 27, 2010

When Andre Dawson was elected to the Hall of Fame earlier this month, many wondered which cap he would wear going in? Would it be the Montreal Expos or the Chicago Cubs?

That question was answered today.

According to a report by MLB.com, the Baseball Hall of Fame has decided that Dawson will enter Cooperstown as a Montreal Expo. On his Hall of Fame plaque, Dawson will be wearing an Expos cap.

Dawson will go into the HOF as an Expo

Dawson will become the second player to enter the Hall wearing an Expos cap. Gary Carter or “Pop up Gary” as my dad used to call him, was the first to enter Cooperstown wearing an Expos hat, when he did so in 2003.

While Dawson was obviously pleased with being elected to the HOF, he clearly is not pleased that he will be wearing an Expos hat. In an interview with WMVP-AM Chicago, Dawson said “I’m disappointed. I can proudly say that because Chicago was my preference.”

So which hat should Dawson being wearing? The Cubs or the Expos? Here are Dawson’s lines with both teams.

Expos: .280 with 225 home runs, 838 RBI, 253 stolen bases, and a .326 OBP in 11 years.

Cubs: .285 with 174 home runs, 587 RBI, 57 stolen bases, and a .327 OBP in six years.

It’s a tough call. Dawson played longer and was more of a five-tool-player with the Expos. However, he did have his MVP year and became a household name with the Cubs.

This whole to-do about which hat a player enters the hall with, is very silly to me. This whole Tom Foolery started when Wade Boggs wanted to enter the HOF as a Tampa Bay Devil Ray.

If that clown wanted to enter the Hall originally as a Boston Red Sox or New York Yankee, like he should have, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It was rumored that the then Devil Rays were offering Boggs monetary compensation to wear their hat on his HOF plaque.

The HOF changed their policy as to which cap a player would wear thanks to Boggs and some other players (Dave Winfield) in 2001. Boggs is wearing a Red Sox cap on his HOF plaque.

I don’t think things like this were an issue 30-40 years ago because players didn’t change teams as often as they do know. Now with players changing teams every couple of years, I don’t have a problem with the HOF deciding which cap a player should wear.

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

Andre Dawson Elected To Baseball’s Hall Of Fame, Roberto Alomar Snubbed

January 6, 2010

Perhaps one of the benefits of being unemployed, is that I get to see things happen live right before my eyes during the day.

Take today for example.

Today, it was going to be announced who the Baseball Writer’s Association of America voted into the 2010 class of Baseball’s Hall of Fame. The announcement was to be made at 2:00 pm ET today.

Fortunately or maybe unfortunately depending on how you look at it, I was around to watch the announcement as it happened. And what I heard was extremely shocking.

When it was announced that only one player was elected for 2010, I was positive it was Roberto Alomar. Instead, it was Andre Dawson.

Dawson was a beast in 1987

Dawson received 77.9 percent of the vote. Bert Blyleven just missed induction with 74.2 percent of the vote and Alomar was right behind him with 73.7 percent of the vote.

75 percent is needed for election.

First, congratulations to Dawson. Growing up in New York and without cable for most of the 80’s, I didn’t get to see Dawson play as a Montreal Expo.

The first time I got to see Dawson play on a regular basis and on a national stage was in 1987 with the Chicago Cubs. That year he terrorized pitchers to the tune of 49 home runs and won the National League MVP.

I really wish I had the opportunity to watch Dawson as a member of the Expos. When he was with the Expos, he was a five-tool player who could change the game both offensively and defensively.

As a member of the Cubs, he was more of just a power hitter, who’s legs started to fail him as the years went on. He still had a great arm with the Cubs, but he was became a one-dimensional player in the late-80’s, early-90’s.

Dawson finished his career with a .279 average with 438 home runs, 314 stolen bases, 1,591 RBI, and an .806 OPS. He is one of three players in major league history to have 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases.

Dawson will also have the lowest batting average and OBP of any batter in the Hall of Fame. Dawson’s Hall of Fame status is certainly debatable.

Now on to something that is not debatable.

Roberto Alomar is a Hall of Fame player. The fact that he didn’t get in on the first ballot is a complete joke.

Alomar is one of the top-five second baseman of all time. Did he have an ugly on-field incident when he spit in the face of umpire of John Hirschbeck? Yes, he did.

But I don’t think Alomar should be punished for that incident. There are guys in the Hall of Fame who have done worse.

I loathe the fact that some of these writers have this policy that they can’t vote in a guy on the first try. That is just utter stupidity.

I also have felt for a long time that it is utter stupidity that guys get in on the third try, the seventh try, or even the 12th try. Either you are a Hall of Famer or you aren’t a Hall of Famer.

Once a player retires, his stats don’t change.

Why is Alomar more qualified in 2011 than he was in 2010? Why was Jim Rice more qualified on his 15th try than his first try?

How does a guy get 40 percent of the vote in his first year and then 10 years later, he is a HOF’er? So less than 50 percent of the voters don’t think you are qualified for the HOF, but because of weak classes, 10 years later you are worthy?

That never, ever made any sense to me.

Five years after a guy retires, he should have one shot to get into the HOF and that’s it.

Here are some other notables and the percentage of vote they received.

Jack Morris – 52.3

Barry Larkin – 51.6

Edgar Martinez – 36.2

Tim Raines – 30.4

Mark McGwire – 23.7

Alan Trammell – 22.4

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

The Great Randy Johnson Announces His Retirement

January 6, 2010

On a conference call straight out of “The Office,” Randy Johnson announced his retirement last night.

Not wanting too much attention and not wanting to take away from the announcement of who will be elected into this year’s class of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Johnson decided to hold a conference call to say he was hanging up his spikes at around 7:00 pm ET on Tuesday.

Johnson announced his retirement on Tuesday

I say it was a scene out of “The Office” because when the call first started, it was complete chaos. Johnson started his speech and then stopped and then had to start it again. Reporters were dialing into the conference call at different times, so all you heard for the first five minutes were beeps.

I was like what is going on here?

But things got settled and Johnson went into the reasons why he was retiring. Johnson said he accomplished everything he wanted to in the game (I’ll say) and he wanted to retire on his own terms.

A lot can be said about Johnson, the pitcher. Here is what I wrote about Johnson when he won his 300th game last June:

“When he was on top of his game, there was nobody as intimidating and as dominating as Johnson. He is without a doubt a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer.

“Is he the greatest left-handed pitcher ever?

“That I can’t answer. I certainly never saw Eddie Plank, Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn or Carl Hubbell pitch. And I only saw Steve Carlton towards the end of his career when he was hanging on with Phillies, Indians and Twins.

“What I can tell you is that he is the best left-handed pitcher in the last 25 years. His only competition would be Tom Glavine and I would take Johnson any day of the week over Glavine and twice on Sunday. I am not even sure that is an argument.

“For my money, if I had to pick one pitcher in his prime to win me Game Seven of the World Series, Randy Johnson would be that pitcher. I am sure the Johnson detractors (Mostly Yankee fans who saw Johnson crumble in the postseason when he was with them) will point to his 7-9 postseason record and say Johnson didn’t do it in when it counts.

“That is the biggest bunch of Tom Foolery I have ever heard.

“In 1995 with Seattle and in 2001 with Arizona, Johnson single handily beat the Yankees in both series. He went 3-0, won the World Series MVP in the 2001 World Series, and even pitched in relief on one day’s rest.

Period. End of argument.”

Seven months later, I still stand by Johnson has the best left-handed pitcher of the last 25 years and the one pitcher I would take to win me a Game Seven.

He was truly one of the all-time greats.

Johnson will finish his career with a record of 303-166 with a 3.29 ERA, 100 complete games, 4,875 strike outs, and five Cy Young awards in 22 seasons with the Montreal Expos, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees, and San Francisco Giants.

His 4,875 strike outs rank second all time to Nolan Ryan’s 5,714. His five Cy Young awards also rank second to Roger Clemens’ seven.

Johnson will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.

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

Brandon Phillips: What’s His Trade Market?

November 17, 2009

Yesterday, I talked about one of the Cincinnati Reds trade candidates, Bronson Arroyo. Well today, I’ll talk about another Reds trade candidate, second baseman Brandon Phillips.

Phillips has had a pretty interesting career so far. He has been involved in two extremely lopsided trades.

Phillips could be traded this offseason

In 2002, Phillips was traded from the Montreal Expos to the Cleveland Indians along with Cliff Lee, Lee Stevens, and Grady Sizemore for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew.

And in 2006, Phillips was traded from the Indians to the Reds for the ever so popular player to be named later. Or PTBNL as all the cool kids say. That player turned out to be Jeff Stevens.

So Phillips has already been involved in two lopsided trades–will he be involved in a third? Let’s take a look at the pros and the cons of Phillips and what teams would be possible suitors for the man who went to high school in Stone Mountain, GA.

I wonder if he knows Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who also hails from Stone Mountain, GA?

Pros

Because Phillips hasn’t played on a national stage since joining the Reds, people don’t realize how good Phillips actually is.

Over the last three years, Phillips ranks third amongst all major league second baseman in home runs with 71, sixth in hits with 494, third in triples with 19, and second in stolen bases with 80.

Not only can Phillips do it with the bat, but he can do it with the glove. Phillips is one of best defensive second baseman in baseball.

Phillips won a Gold Glove in 2008 (not that it means much), but more importantly, Phillips has ranked at the top in second baseman UZR over the last three years.

As a matter of fact, only Chase Utley has a higher UZR over the last three years than Phillips.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Phillips is his contract. Phillips has two years remaining on his contract with a club option for 2012.

Phillips is set to make $6.75 million in 2010 and $11 million in 2011. That is very reasonable for a man who is only 28-years-old and has been worth $28 million over the last two years according to Fangraphs.

Cons

In a game where OBP is highly valued, Phillips hasn’t seen a pitch he hasn’t liked. Phillips did set a career high in walks in 2009 with 44, but that is nothing to get excited about.

Phillips ranked 12th in OPS amongst second baseman in 2009 behind guys like Alberto Callaspo and Martin Prado.

Perhaps the only other question a GM could have with Phillips is can he produce on a big stage? It’s one thing to put up big numbers when your team is 20 games out of first in August, but can you do it when your team is battling for a playoff spot?

There is only one way to figure out the answer to that question.

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of acquiring Phillips, let’s take a look at what teams would be interested in the Reds’ second baseman.

New York Mets: Obviously the Mets would have to find a taker for their current second baseman, Luis Castillo. That is a task all by itself.

However, if they can get rid of Castillo, I think Phillips would be perfect with the Mets, who should be building their team around pitching, defense, and speed.

Los Angeles Dodgers: As I mentioned yesterday with Dan Uggla, the Dodgers need a second baseman. Phillips and Rafael Furcal would be a lethal double play combination in L.A.

Unfortunately, because the McCourts are making a made for TV movie, I am not sure how much salary the Dodgers are willing to take on.

San Diego Padres: The Padres are a lot closer to competing than people think. They have talked about adding payroll in 2010 and if they feel Matt Antonelli isn’t quite ready yet to be their second baseman, Phillips could be a nice player for them.

Minnesota Twins: Nick Punto is a nice little player, but should be a utility on a good team. The Twins are moving into a new stadium, which means new revenues.

They have already added payroll in the form of JJ Hardy and Phillips fits the Twins style of play to a tee.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Are the Angels ready to give up on Howie Kendrick? Every year is supposed to be “Kendrick’s breakout year” and it hasn’t happened yet.

Phillips seems like a perfect fit in Anaheim. He is a great defensive player and can’t you see him being Bobby Abreu’s latest patient pet project?

Believe it or not, the market for second baseman these days isn’t as good as one would think. There are a lot of teams in baseball, who already have quality players at that position.

I am going to say that Phillips does get traded this offseason, with the Twins and Angels being the most likely suitors

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

Sad News Out Of Texas: John Wetteland Attempts Suicide?

November 13, 2009

Update: According to the Dallas Morning News, John Wetteland was hospitalized because of an elevated heart rate and blood pressure.

“My wife and I are very appreciative of the over-and-above care of our local officers and paramedics,” Wetteland said. “I am currently resting safely at home.”

Obviously an elevated heart is the complete opposite of someone attempting suicide. My dad gets an elevated heart rate watching the New York Mets every summer, but I don’t think my mom is calling the police anytime soon.

Who knows what really happened at the Wetteland household Thursday afternoon. That’s between Wetteland and his wife.

Either way, again,  let’s hope that Wetteland gets the help he needs.

Original Post

There is some really sad news being reported out of Texas tonight.

According to CBS 11 Dallas/Fort Worth, police were called to the house of former major league pitcher John Wetteland around 12:30 Thursday afternoon because of a possible suicide attempt.

John Wetteland

Wetteland was World Series MVP in 96

When the police arrived to the home, a man later identified as Wetteland came out with his hands in the air, saying he “needed help.”

Various reports out of Dallas claim that Wetteland’s wife allegedly called police because Wetteland had a gun and was going to attempt suicide.

Wetteland was taken to Denton Regional Medical Center Thursday afternoon. Hospital officials say Wetteland was hospitalized for a “mental health issue.”

Wetteland pitched 12 seasons in the major leagues for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, New York Yankees, and the Texas Rangers.

Wetteland was a three-time All Star, 11th in career saves with 330, and was probably best known for recording the final out for the Yankees in the 1996 World Series against the Atlanta Braves and winning the MVP of that series.

Wetteland is currently the bullpen coach for the Seattle Mariners.

Obviously this is a pretty sad story. An incident like this just proves that whether you are a doctor, janitor, school teacher, or a former major league pitcher, everyone has their own personal demons to deal with.

Hopefully Wetteland can get the help he needs and can work things out.

I will have more on this story as it develops.

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