Posts Tagged ‘Orlando Cabrera’

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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Random Thoughts From Around Baseball

January 29, 2010

Since there is nothing going on so far today in baseball, I thought I would just give some random thoughts from around the majors.

Orlando Cabrera is deciding between the Colorado Rockies, Cincinnati Reds, and Washington Nationals today. The guy is a winner and will get a chance to win next year if he signs with the Rockies.

I can’t believe there was a “sweepstakes” for Derrick Turnbow. The guy hasn’t been good in four years. The Florida Marlins were the luck winner of the Turnbow “sweepstakes.”

On this day two years ago, the New York Mets traded for Johan Santana. Despite not making the playoffs in his two years with the team, Santana has been everything the Mets hoped he would be.

Santana was acquired by the Mets 2 years ago today

I waiting in line for Shake Shack today at Madison Square Park in NYC in 16 degree weather. Yeah, it’s that good.

Sticking with the New York theme, the Mets are getting crushed in the Big Apple right now. They have had a rough offseason and a lot of fans are losing faith in his ownership group.

Ken Griffey Jr. apparently got “ripped” this offseason. I still think the Seattle Mariners need a better DH option in 2010.

Thanks to injuries, Erik Bedard has probably cost himself close to $75 million the last two years. Ouch.

I would say it would be a major upset if the Cleveland Indians land Orlando Hudson. I still think the “O-Dog” ends up on the Nationals.

Watching Nolan Ryan’s seventh and final no-hitter from 1991 on the MLB Network now. From the first pitch, the Toronto Blue Jays didn’t stand a chance that night. Glenallen Hill looked as befuddled as any hitter I have seen at the plate against Ryan that night.

Francisco Liriano was dominant in the Dominican Winter League. In the final game of the DWL World Series, Liriano struck out 10 in five innings and was consistently in the low to mid-90’s with his fastball.

The Caribbean World Series starts next Tuesday. Those games will be on the MLB Network starting at 2:30 pm ET. Always good talent in those games.

My trivia team is still in first place after two weeks. Questions are much harder than the ones we were faced with in Milwaukee.

Tim Wakefield expects to be a full-time member of the Boston Red Sox rotation in 2010. Umm yeah, I am not sure about that one Tim. Unless Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, or Clay Buchholz get hurt (knock on wood), he will be used an old-fashion swing man.

I still haven’t figured out why the Chicago White Sox didn’t bring Jim Thome back. They need a DH and he could have helped.

That’s all for now. Have a good weekend everyone!!!

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

Twins And Tigers Remind Us All What Is Great About Baseball

October 7, 2009

When people ask me what was the greatest baseball game I ever saw, I always say it was Game Six of the 1986 National League Championship Series between the New York Mets and the Houston Astros.

The Mets won that game 7-6 in 16 innings to advance to the World Series. It was a game that was filled with so much drama, passion, and intensity that you could feel it with every pitch through the television set.

It was one of those rare sporting events that was so great, you know you were watching a classic as it unfolded and you would never forget where you were that day.

Nathan played in an all-time game last night

Nathan played in an all-time game last night

Yesterday, the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers gave everyone one of those games.

The Twins beat the Tigers 6-5 in 12 innings in a one-game playoff to clinch the American League Central title. For four-hours and thirty-seven minutes last night there were no salaries, no free agency, no arbitration, and no steroids.

Last night it was about two teams playing their guts out and leaving everything on field. The Twins and Tigers not only captured the 58,088 screaming fans in the Metrodome, but they captured millions watching at home.

They captured four friends, who weren’t Twins or Tigers fan, but were so into the game that they were texting back and forth on practically every situation that occurred. We all knew we were watching one of the best games we ever saw.

They even captured non-baseball fans like the girl sitting next to me at the bar last night. I could tell she didn’t know the difference between a curveball or a beachball, but she was taken in by game. “I can’t believe they got out that” she said referring to Joe Nathan getting out of a first and third jam with one out in the ninth.

There will always be people out there who say athletes — and in particular baseball players don’t care because they get paid so much.

Tell that to Tigers’ 3B Brandon Inge, who played the majority of the second-half on a knee so bad, he will require surgery at the end of the year.

Tell that to Fernando Rodney, who gave everything he had for three innings last night when he is only used to pitching one and deserved a better fate.

Tell that to catchers Gerald Laird and Joe Mauer, who after catching nearly 400 combined pitches, were blocking balls in the dirt in the 11th and 12th innings so textbook that you could show them to any kid who wants to become a catcher.

Tell that to Orlando Cabrera, a guy, who for some reason goes from team to team and all he does is win.

Tell that to Jim Leyland and Ron Gardenhire, two of the class acts in baseball, who managed last night’s game like a father would manage his son in a Little League game.

Were there mistakes in this game? Sure there were. Alexi Casilla not tagging up properly in the bottom of the 10th. Ryan Raburn’s unnecessary attempt at a diving catch, which led to a Michael Cuddyer triple in the bottom of the 10th. Miguel Cabrera not running hard from the get-go on Inge’s chopper to second in the 11th.

In any sporting event — especially one that goes into extra innings,  you can question a play in the game or a player’s actions. However, that doesn’t take away from how great the overall game was.

The Twins and Tigers gave us a show that captivated baseball.

For four-hours and thirty-seven minutes, the Twins and Tigers reminded us all what is great about America’s National Pastime.

Live Blog: Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins

September 20, 2009

Despite not having one of the best players in baseball for the remainder of the year in Justin Morneau, the Minnesota Twins are making serious late-season push towards the playoffs.

Yesterday, the Twins cut the Detroit Tigers lead in the AL Central to just three games. With the AL Central race heating up, I thought I would do a live blog of today’s game between the two AL Central rivals.

Game: Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins

Date: 9/19/09

Starting Lineups:

Detroit Tigers

1. Curtis Granderson, CF

2. Placido Polanco, 2B

3. Carlos Guillen, LF

4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

5. Aubrey Huff, DH

6. Magglio Ordonez, RF

7. Brandon Inge, 3B

8. Gerald Laird, C

9. Adam Everett, SS

Justin Verlander, P

Minnesota Twins

1. Denard Span, CF

2. Orlando Cabrera, SS

3. Joe Mauer, C

4. Jason Kubel, RF

5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B

6. Delmon Young, LF

7. Jose Morales, DH

8. Brian Buscher, 3B

9. Nick Punto, 2B

Carl Pavano, P

Top 1st

Dick Bramer and Rod Allen calling the game for Fox today. Glad to see Fox has their D team doing the game today. On the mound for the Twins is Carl Pavano who is 4-0 lifetime versus the Tigers.

Every New York Yankee fan just threw their remote at the TV.

First pitch of the game to Granderson is fouled off out of play. Granderson’s average is down to .250. He really needs to pick up here.

Maybe some other time as Granderson strikes out looking on three pitches.

Polanco rips a single up the middle. One on and nobody out for Guillen. Guillen has been hampered all year by injuries.

Jim Leyland, trying to create some offense put on a hit and run, but Guillen fouls the ball off. Polanco gets to second base anyway as Pavano throws a wild pitch.

Guillen goes down swinging as Pavano throws a nasty changeup to get Guillen. Two outs now.

On an 0-2 pitch, Cabrera bloops one to center. Polanco, running all the way with two outs — scores easily. Tigers take an early lead, 1-0.

Big two-out RBI for Cabrera.

Huff pops out to short to end the inning.

The Tigers push across a run and lead 1-0 heading to the bottom of the first.

Bottom 1st

Cy Young award candidate Justin Verlander on the mound for the Tigers. He gets Span to ground out weakly to first for the first out of the inning.

Verlander pacing himself with 96 mph fastballs to Cabrera. Verlander gets Cabrera to pop up to second for the second out.

Now comes up the 2009 AL MVP and one of the nicest athletes I have ever met, Joe Mauer.

My lord Mauer is awesome. Mauer just turns on a 96 mph fastball and launches one into the upper deck in rightfield. That ball was freakin’ crushed.

Game tied at one.

Kubel rips one, but right to Cabrera to end the inning.

But the Twins pull even, and after one in Minnesota, we are tied at one.

Top 2nd

I gotta tell ya, Ordonez’s bat looks slower than Gary Carter’s did at the end of his career. The Tigers are so pleased to be paying Ordonez $18 million next year. Worst contract in baseball next year, hands down.

Ordonez grounds out to third for the first out.

Ouch! Inge gets hit right on the elbow. That’s going to leave a mark in the morning.

Laird bloops one to right for a single. Inge stops at second. First and second with one out for Everett.

Everett hits a groundball in the hole between first and second, but Punto cuts the ball off and gets Everett at first. Inge and Laird move up a base.

Granderson, not wasting any time, swings at the first pitch and lines one deep to center, but Span tracks it down to make the catch. Granderson has had two AB’s and has seen four pitches. Way to work the count Curtis.

Bottom 2nd

Awesome crowd on hand at the Metrodome. It looks like there is a sellout.

Cuddyer flies out to deep center for the first out.

The ever-so-disappointing Young hits a seeing eye single up the middle.

If I were in the Twins dugout, I would say just sit on the fastball. Verlander’s curve is all over the place and he has yet to throw it for a strike.

Verlander can’t locate his fastball either as he walks Morales. First and second with one out for Buscher.

The Twins really could use a third baseman next year. Maybe Garrett Atkins makes sense for them. Verlander just overpowers Buscher and strikes him out on three pitches.

Wow, Punto is really battling Verlander. He has fouled off pitch after pitch.

Punto hits a grounder in the hole, but is robbed by a great defensive play by Cabrera. He dove to right, caught the ball, and then made a perfect throw to Everett to force out Morales.

After two complete, it’s the Tigers one and the Twins one

Top 3rd

Pavano is a first-pitch strike throwing machine. First-pitch strikes to nine of the 11 batters he has faced so far. Yankee fans are just fuming right now.

Polanco is such a professional hitter. Pavano throws an outside fastball and Polanco just goes with the pitch and serves it to rightfield for a single.

Guillen just looks like a shell of his former self. He pops up to third for the first out. My take on the Tigers so far is that they just look like an old team.

Cabrera rips one to rightfield for a single. Polanco stops at second.

Up is Huff who is sporting a nice beard. He kind of looks like a young Bert Blyleven. Ironically, Huff isn’t going to the Hall of Fame either.

Huff becomes the third Tigers batter this inning to go to the opposite field for a single. Huff’s single brings home Polanco and the Tigers lead 2-1. Cabrera stops at second.

It’s kind of weird. Pavano appears to be pitching well, but he has given up six hits in just 2.1 innings so far.

Ordonez really does stink. He taps one back to the mound and Pavano gets the force at second. That ball was hit so slowly that the Twins couldn’t turn two on the play.

Pavano escapes further damage as Inge hits a can-of-corn to center.

But the Tigers take a 2-1 heading into the bottom of the third.

Bottom 3rd

Fox just showed Ernie Harwell’s speech from Wednesday night. What a class act he is. He looks healthier at 91 than I do at 32.

Span starts off the inning with a single to left.

On an 0-1 count, Span tries to steal second and is gunned down by Laird. Laird threw a pea to second base. Span was out by a good foot.

Verlander throws his best offspead pitch of the day and strikes out Cabrera on a wicked changeup. Two outs.

Wow, Verlander’s curve isn’t working today, but his changeup is. He strikes out Mauer on a sweet changeup down and away.

After three, it’s still 2-1 Tigers

Top 4th

Just saw a commercial for Bud Light Golden Wheat. I bet that tastes awful. If regular Bud Light runs right through you, I can only imagine what Golden Wheat will do.

Laird flies out to shallow right for the first out.

Kick save and a beauty by Pavano. Everett hits one up the middle, the ball kicks off Pavano’s cleat to third, and Buscher gets Everett at first. Pavano wins that battle of former over-hyped Red Sox prospects.

Granderson singles to left. It seems the Tigers are taking an opposite field approach to hitting Pavano.

With Granderson running, Polanco just flicks his bat on a low and outside pitch and bloops one to right for a single. Granderson continues running and gets to third.

Another opposite field hit for the Tigers. The Tigers have eight hits and all of them are either up the middle or to the opposite field.

Guillen strikes out looking to end the inning. Not sure what Guillen was looking at or for. That pitch was right down the middle.

Bottom 4th

Fox just showed a view of the new Target Field. Can’t wait till Opening Day 2010 when it’s 25 degrees at game time.

Kubel grounds out to second for the first out.

Cuddyer swings at the first pitch and flies out to center for the second out.

Verlander pumps one up to 97 mph and strikes out Young. Hey look at that. Our first one-two-three inning of the day.

Top 5th

I have no idea what just happened. Cabrera hits a little flare to rightfield and Punto actually out-ran the ball, tried to turn around to catch it, and dropped the ball.

It goes down as a hit and another opposite field hit for the Tigers.

Huff chops one to short, but the ball is hit to slowly to turn two. Cabrera is forced at second for the first out.

Ordonez hits one sharply through the hole between short and third for a single. Huff stops at second. That is now 10 hits for the Tigers — all singles.

Inge bloops one down the rightfield line for a single. Good job by Kubel of trapping that ball. If that got by him, it might have gone for a triple.

Bases loaded for Laird. Pavano will try to get a double play ball from the slow footed Tigers’ catcher.

And right on cue, Laird hits into a tailor made six-four-three double play.

Pavano dances out of trouble again. It’s still 2-1 Tigers going into the bottom of the fifth.

Bottom 5th

Jose Morales leading it off for the Tigers. Morales loops one to left for a single.

Fox just showed Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants highlights. Brad Penny is getting rocked in LA. Not surprised. It was bound to happen.

Buscher has seen six pitches and six strikes. Again, he was overmatched and struck out. One out.

Punto hits a lazy fly ball to center for the second out.

Span swings at the first pitch and flies out to rightcenter for the third out. Verlander without his best stuff is shutting down the Twins.

2-1 Tigers after five.

Top 6th

Everett swings at the first pitch and pops it up to short.

Granderson hits one sharply to second, but Punto is all over it and gets Granderson at first. Two outs.

Let’s see if Pavano can get his first one-two-three inning. He does. Polanco grounds to third to end the inning.

If the Tigers lose this game they will be really kicking themselves in the but. They have had tons of chances to blow this game open.

Bottom 6th

I love Orlando Cabrera. I wish the Red Sox resigned him. He is just a winning player.

Cabrera, right on cue, singles to right.

Every time Mauer comes to the plate, there is an electricity in the air. That is how good he is right now. Every time he is up, you expect something to happen.

Good battle here between Mauer and Verlander. 3-2 count and Mauer has fouled off a couple of 97 mph fastballs from Verlander.

Another nice play by Miguel Cabrera. Mauer hit one into the hole, but Cabrera makes another diving stop. Since Orlando Cabrera was running, Cabrera just stepped on first for the out.

Great pitching by Verlander. Knowing Kubel is looking for a fastball, Verlander pulls the string and gets Kubel out in front and Kubel grounds weakly up the middle. Everett gets Kubel at first for the second out.

Cuddyer hits a two-hopper to second for the third out. The Twins strand a runner at third. This is where not having Morneau in the lineup kills the Twins

Top 7th

I can’t believe this John Mellencamp “This is our country” commercial is still playing. It’s sooooo 2007.

Pavano still in there for the Twins. Despite giving up what seems like 20 singles, he has pitched well today.

Guillen flies to Span for the first out of the inning.

Young makes a nice diving catch to rob Cabrera of a hit. Young has the fatest face with a body that doesn’t match. He is like the anti-Kirby Puckett.

Pavano gets Huff looking for strike three. That was a sweet slider that got the inside corner. So after not having a one-two-three inning through the first five — Pavano has retired six in a row.

Pavano’s day is probably done. Who do you think Yankees fans hate more? Pavano or Jaret Wright?

Bottom 7th

Holy shnikies! What a play by Inge. He extends to rob Young of a double, but Young beats Inge’s throw to first. Still, what a great play by Inge. That ball was ticketed for at least a double.

Carlos Gomez comes on to pinch run for Young. Speaking of Gomez, how bad has that Johan Santana trade been for the Twins?

Look for Gomez to steal at some point.

Morales flies out to left for the first out.

I have to tell you. I have been beyond impressed with Laird in this game. Gomez tried to steal second and Laird gunned him down. Laird has such a quick release.

Buscher grounds to second to end the inning. On a positive note, Buscher actually made contact against Verlander.

Top 8th

Jesse Crain comes in to replace Pavano. A solid effort from Pavano. Seven innings and only two runs. I think the Twins will take that every time.

Crain gets Ordonez and his beyond slow swing to ground to first for the first out.

Inge flies to Kubel in right for the second out. Crain throwing heat. He has been in the upper-90’s all inning.

Easy inning for Crain as Laird grounds out to second.

Bottom 8th

Verlander still on the mound for the Tigers. He has thrown 110 pitches so far. My guess is Leyland let’s him throw 160 pitches today if it means a Tigers win.

Verlander still has it as he blows away Punto for the first out.

Span gets the Twins going with a single down the leftfield line. Nice play by Don Kelly, who replaced Guillen in left to cut the ball off and hold Span to a single.

I am going to admit, I have no idea who Don Kelly is.

3-2 count now to Cabrera. Do you send Span? I would.

If I didn’t know who Kelly was before, I do know. Cabrera hits a routine flyball to left, but Kelly last the ball in the roof. The ball drops and Span ends up at third and Cabrera ends up with a double.

Leyland is going to ring this kid’s neck. Poor sap.

Mauer is being intentionally walked to load the bases for Kubel.

Big spot her for Kubel. Bases loaded with one out. This is Verlander’s game. He is pumping it up to 98 on the gun.

Kubel bloops one to left for a single and what great baserunning by Cabrera. He got an outstanding jump and scored behind Span to give the Twins a 3-2 lead.

And with that hit, Verlander exits the game.

Brandon Lyon comes on to replace Verlander. I don’t care what his numbers are — he stinks.

BOOM!!! Who needs Morneau? Cuddyer just crushes one to leftcenter field. 6-2 Twins. I can’t believe there are people out there who think Lyon is good.

Gomez flies to rightcenter and Clete Thomas, who replaced Ordonez for defense makes a nice running catch for the second out.

This is the problem if the Tigers even make the playoffs. Even if Verlander gives you seven, solid innings, who is going to pitch the eighth? Lyon is going to pitch the eigth in Yankee Stadium? No thank you.

Lyon gets Morales swinging to end the inning. But the damage was done.

The Twins score five big runs and take a 6-2 lead into the ninth inning.

Bottom 9th

Jose Mijares on to close out the game for the Twins. Mijares looks like a left-handed Juan Berenguer.

Mijares makes quick work of Everett, as Everett flies out to Span for the first out.

Boy, someone needs to talke to Granderson. His team is down by four runs and he goes up there swinging at the first pitch. He pops up to second for the second out.

Polanco keeps the Tigers alive as he doubles to leftcenter field.

With Ryan Raburn announced as the pinch-hitter for Don Kelly, Ron Gardenhire is going to make an unneccessary pitching change. He will bring in Matt Guerrier to face Raburn.

Can Mijares not get out Raburn? I mean come on.

Well, what I think doesn’t matter as Raburn grounds back to the mound to end the game.

Twins win 6-2 and now they are just two games back of the Tigers. The Twins won this three-game series and they will go for the sweep tomorrow.

As July 31st Approaches, What Do The Contenders Need Update..

July 28, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, I did a post on what do the contending teams around baseball need at the July 31st trading deadline. With already a couple deals taking place and the trading deadline just a couple of days away, I thought I would update this post.

Here are the needs of the 21 contending teams and who they could potentially target.

Philadelphia Phillies

Needs – Starting Pitching. The Phillies are going for it again and are looking for a big time pitcher.

The Phillies signed Pedro Martinez.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Brad Penny, Cliff Lee, Jarrod Washburn

Florida Marlins

Needs – Bullpen. With Lindstrom out, the Marlins need help in the pen.

Potential Targets – Chad Qualls, Juan Cruz, Matt Capps, John Grabow, George Sherrill

Lee is very popular these days

Lee is very popular these days

Atlanta Braves

Needs – Leftfield. The Braves have already traded for Nate McLouth and Ryan Church, but their offense could use another bat.

Potential Targets – David Dejesus, Luke Scott, Aubrey Huff

New York Mets

Needs – Leftfield, First Base, Starting Pitching. The Mets should not be contenders, but in New York, there is no such thing as sellers.

Plus, after Omar Minaya’s press conference yesterday, it’s official – Omar Minaya is out of his mind.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Adam Dunn, Nick Johnson, Luke Scott, David Dejesus, Aubrey Huff

St Louis Cardinals

Needs – The Cardinals acquired Mark DeRosa and then acquired the best hitter on the market in Matt Holliday. The Cardinals also acquired Julio Lugo from the Boston Red Sox

I don’t think the Cardinals have any prospects to deal to make another trade.

Potential Targets – None

Milwaukee Brewers

Needs – Starting Pitching. The Brewers’ starting rotation has fallen apart recently. Offense is not the issue with this team.

The Brewers have already acquired Felipe Lopez from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Jon Garland, Doug Davis, Jarrod Washburn, Ian Snell

Chicago Cubs

Needs – Bullpen. The Cubs just need the players they already have to play better. They could use another arm in the pen.

The Cubs have signed BJ Ryan

Potential Targets – Joe Beimel, Danys Baez, Jamey Wright

Houston Astros

Needs – Third Base, First Base, Starting Pitching. The Astros are now in the thick of the NL Central and Wild Card race. With Lance Berkman going on the DL, the Astros could now use a solid bench player for insurance.

Problem Astros will have making trades is that their farm system is not that good.

I love Mark Teahen for the Astros. Can play 1st, 3rd, 2nd, and the outfield.

Potential Targets – Jon Garland, Brian Bannister, Doug Davis, Bobby Crosby, Mark Teahen

Cincinnati Reds

Needs – Offense. With Jay Bruce now out six-to-eight weeks with a fractured wrist, the Reds are desperate for offense. They should really be sellers, but they are still only 7.5 games out of first in the NL Central.

Potential Targets – Mark Teahan, David Dejesus, Marco Scutaro, Scott Rolen

Los Angeles Dodgers

Needs – Bullpen. With Roland Belasario out with an inflamed elbow (it was only a matter of time before Joe Torre blew someone’s arm out) and Jonathon Broxton suffering from a toe injury, the Dodgers could use some insurance in the pen.

The Dodgers have also been linked to ace’s Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

Potential Targets – Joe Beimel, Juan Cruz, John Grabow, George Sherrill, Danys Baez, Ron Mahay, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Jarrod Washburn

San Francisco Giants

Needs – Offense. The Giants can use all the offense they can get.

The Giants acquired Ryan Garko from the Cleveland Indians last night.

Potential Targets – Jermaine Dye, Aubrey Huff, Freddy Sanchez, Nick Johnson, Alex Rios, Josh Willingham

VMart could be traded

VMart could be traded

Colorado Rockies

Needs – Bullpen, Starting Rotation. Everyone thought the Rockies would be sellers at this point, but they are the leaders of the Wild Card race. As usual, the Rockies could use some pitching help.

The Rockies acquired Rafael Betancourt from the Cleveland Indians.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Ian Snell, Matt Capps, John Grabow, Takashi Saito, Danys Baez, Miguel Batista

Boston Red Sox

Needs – Offense. I don’t want to hear the Red Sox are fourth in baseball in runs scored – they need offense.

The Red Sox acquired Adam LaRoche from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chris Duncan from the St Louis Cardinals last week.

Potential Targets – Victor Martinez, Mark Teahan, Jack Wilson, Orlando Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, Roy Halladay

New York Yankees

Needs – Starting Pitching, Bullpen. The Yankees are having back of the rotation issues right now and they could use another arm in the pen. The Yankees have been linked to Halladay, Cliff Lee, Washburn and Bronson Arroyo.

The Yankees have already traded for Eric Hinske

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Joe Beimel, John Grabow, Cliff Lee, Bronson Arroyo, Jarrod Washburn, Ian Snell

Tampa Bay Rays

Needs – Starting Pitching, Catcher, Right Field. I still think the Rays could use another solid, depandable arm in the pen, but they seem to have targeted Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

They are also looking to upgrade the Gabe Gross/Gabe Kapler platoon in right and also at the catcher position. Dioner Navarro has been disappointing this year.

Potential Targets – Jamey Wright, Danys Baez, Mark Teahan, Jeremy Hermida, Josh Willingham, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez

Detroit Tigers

Needs – Bullpen, Offense. The Tigers have two top of the rotation starters in Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson. However, after watcing them versus the Yankees, I think they could use another bat

I also think they could use another arm in the pen to go along with Rodney. Joel Zumaya recently landed on the DL.

Potential Targets – Matt Capps, Ron Mahay, John Grabow, Mike Gonzalez, Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn, Jarrod Washburn

Minnesota Twins

Needs – Middle Infield. Freddy Sanchez makes so much sense it’s scary.

Potential Targets – Freddy Sanchez, Adam Kennedy, Orlando Cabrera, Marco Scutaro

Where will Doc land?

Where will Doc land?

Chicago White Sox

Needs – Starting Pitching. Kenny Williams already tried for Jake Peavy, will he go after Roy Halladay?

The White Sox have already acquired reliever Tony Pena from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Needs – Bullpen, Starting Rotation. For the first time in a long time, the Angels offense is not the problem. The Angels need bullpen help in the worst way and of course, they might be in on Roy Halladay.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Scott Kazmir, John Grabow, Arthur Rhodes, Joe Beimel, George Sherrill

Texas Rangers

Needs – Starting Pitching. Isn’t it always about pitching with the Rangers? The Rangers have the farm system, but do they have the money? That is the question with the Rangers.

The Rangers bullpen might get a boost with Neftali Feliz. He has been pitching from the stretch recently and is preparing for a bullpen stint with the Rangers for this year.

Potential Targets – Doug Davis, Brad Penny, Brian Bannister, Ben Sheets (free agent), Takashi Saito, George Sherrill, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee.

Seattle Mariners

Needs – Third Base, Leftfield, Shortstop. The Mariners might hold the key to the trading deadline. The have potentially one of the most desirable pitchers on the market, if the Mariners should pack it in – Jarrod Washburn.

Erik Bedard picked the worst time to go on the DL for the M’s.

The Mariners are 51-47 and 7.5 games back of the Angels in the AL West. They have dropped 3.5 games in the standing since this original post. I still see them trying to add instead of giving up players.

They have already acquired 3B Jack Hannrahan from the A’s.

Potential Targets – Garrett Atkins, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Jack Wilson, Marco Scutaro, Orlando Cabrera, David DeJesus

So there are the 21 teams and the players they might be interested in. Who do you want your favorite team to target? Let’s discuss.

Where’s The Beef?….

May 13, 2009

Isn’t baseball a funny game? Everyone, including myself thought the A’s offense would be vastly improved going into 2009 and their pitching staff would struggle because they were so young across the board. I even wrote back in March a post titled “A’s beef up on offense.” Through 29 games this year, it’s been the complete opposite for the A’s.

The “beefed” up A’s offense look more like one of those Weight Watcher’s Smart One meals that the girls in my office eat for lunch on a daily basis (I could eat 10 of those things, by the way) and their pitching staff is currently 4th in the AL with a 3.88 era. The A’s offense has been dreadful. They are last in the AL in batting average (.236), home runs (18), on base percentage (.310) and runs (121). The worst of those stats is the on base percentage. Billy Beane must be hitting the bottle every night looking at that poor OBP.

A .282 OBP is not good

A .282 OBP is not good

The A’s brought in Orlando Cabrera, Jason Giambi, Nomar Garciaparra and most importantly Matt Holliday in the offseason and all of them have looked terrible so far. How terrible? Take a look at these stats…

Orlando Cabrera – .223/0/6/.278

Jason Giambi – .208/3/13/.345

Nomar Garciaparra – .231/1/7/.262

Matt Holliday – .226/4/20/.282

Ouch!! The good news for A’s fans is A. all of these guys have a track record of producing, so things should get better and B. believe it or not, Matt Holliday is on a pace for 114 RBI despite batting .226.

The A’s are currently in last place in the very mediocre AL West. If their bats don’t come alive soon, that’s where they will be at the end of the year.

*Please note this post was written before last night’s game between the A’s and Royals. Ironically, the A’s torched the Royals 12-3 in Oakland. Maybe that game will get the A’s offense going.

Looking At Fantasy Shortstops In 2009….

March 28, 2009

Let’s take a look at fantasy Shortstops headed into 2009. This group is very top heavy. My strategy is, if you don’t get one of the top three, then wait. There is a Cecil Fielder sized drop off after you get past the big three. So in honor of the of some of the best (and worst) Shortstops of all-time, let’s see who are the best fantasy Shortstops in 2009.

Honus Wagner Division

The best of the best, Wagner is the greatest SS of all-time (Arod doesn’t count because he is a cheater) and these three Shortstops are by far and away the best Shortstops in this fantasy draft.

Ramirez is the #1 SS

Ramirez is the #1 SS

1. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins. One of the top 5 players in the game, Ramirez will go top 3 in most fantasy drafts. He can do it all. Hit for avg (.301 in 08), hit hr’s (33 in 08), get on base (.400 obp in 08) and steal a base (35 in 08). The only thing you can say he doesn’t do well is drive in runs. That will change in 2009 because Ramirez will be moved down to the 3 spot in the order.

2. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies. After winning the MVP in 2007, Rollins had a very disappointing 2008. I think he bounces back in 2009 and will have a better fantasy season than Jose Reyes. Look for Rollins to put up a .285/20/80 with 40+ sb’s and over 110 runs scored

3. Jose Reyes, Mets. While I question Reyes as a player (I don’t think he is a winner), there is no questioning his fantasy value. Reyes is a look for 110+ runs scored, 15+ hr’s and 50+ rbi

Alan Trammell Division

It’s not that Alan Trammell was a bad player. A matter of fact, Trammell was one of the better Shortstops in the game from 1983-1990. The point is that there is a major drop off from Honus Wagner to Alan Trammell. These next 10 guys are the last 10 guys you want to draft before you have to scramble.

4. Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks. I have Drew ranked higher than Jeter and Furcal because 1. He can stay healthy and 2. In Keeper Leagues he is a much better option due to his age (26). Drew seems to be getting better with age and it’s not out of the question that he approaches a 30 hr season.

5. Derek Jeter, Yankees. Jeter’s runs, hits, hr’s, rbi’s, avg and obp have declined in each of the last 3 years. But in the weak category of SS, Jeter still provides value. Expect Jeter to put up a .305/10/65 with 10 sb’s.

6. Rafael Furcal, Dodgers. Furcal was off to a rip roaring start in 2008 before his back gave out. Furcal hit double digit hr’s from 2003-2006 but with a bad back I am not sure he can reach double figures again. The Dodgers should have a very good offense, so 100+ runs and a .300 avg should be expected from Furcal in 2009.

7. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies.I had asked in a post, “Can Tulo Bounce Back?” My answer back then was yes and my answer no is yes. Will Tulowitzki be as good as his rookie year? Probably not but he can certainly put up a .285/20/80.

Don't sleep on Hardy

Don't sleep on Hardy

8. JJ Hardy, Brewers. Hardy has really come on with the power slugging 50 hr’s in the last 2 years. Hardy seems to be underrated in most drafts but he is good for a .280/28/80 in 2009.

9. Michael Young, Rangers. Young will qualify as a 3B and a SS but has move value as a SS. Last year was the first year since 2003 that Young didn’t have 200 hits. Will his switch from SS to 3B hurt his offense? I don’t think it will but his days of 200+ hits and 100 rbi are gone.

10. Jhonny Peralta, Indians. Peralta had a career year in 2008 putting up a .276/23/89 with 104 runs scored. Peralta is tearing up Spring Training hitting .435/3/11 in 46 ab’s. The Indians lineup looks to be improved in 2009 with the returns of Martinez and Hafner, so it’s possible Peralta could improve on his 2008 performance. If only he stole bases he would be much higher up on the food chain.

11. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox. Alfonso Soriano part 2. A tall, lanky 2B who has all the potential in the world? Sounds like Alfonso Soriano part 2 to me. Ramirez had a solid rookie year putting up a .290/21/77 in just 480 ab’s. Now moving over to SS, Ramirez still will qualify at 2B for fantasy purposes which raises his stock even more. The only stat Ramirez hurts you in is obp(.317 last season) but a .300/25/90 with 10+ sb’s is not out of the question for Ramirez.

12. Mike Aviles, Royals. Aviles qualifies at SS and at 2B but has more value at the 2B position. The New York native burst on to the scene last year and hit .325 with 10 hr and 51 rbi in just 102 games for the Royals. I like Aviles to hit .300 again but not .325. Look for a .310 avg with 15 hr and 60 rbi from Aviles in 2009.

13. Miguel Tejada, Astros. Tejada looks to be on the downside of his career as his avg, hr’s and rbi’s have declined each of the last 3 seasons. Tejada is going to bat 5th this year so a rebirth in rbi’s is possible. A .280/14/80 should be expected from Tejada this season.

Kevin Elster Division

Elster was mostly a good glove, no hit SS with the Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Rangers, Pirates and Dodgers. Elster did have one magical year by his standards in 1996, when he hit 24 hr’s and knocked in 99 runs for the Rangers. Most of these next 19 guys are either good glove, no hit or can marginally help your fantasy team in 2009.

14. Jed Lowrie, Red Sox. Now the starting SS will get you runs scored and a solid obp. Might lose ab’s when Lugo returns from the DL.

15. Orlando Cabrera, A’s. A very consistent player, you know what you are going to get. .280 batting average with 8 or 9 hr’s, 60-70 rbi and 20 sb’s.

16. Yunel Escobar, Braves. Don’t give up on him just yet. He is still only 26 and has has shown good patience at the plate in his short time in the majors.

17. Ryan Theriot, Cubs. Good average, solid obp and will get you 20+ sb’s.

18. Elvis Andrus, Rangers. The new starting SS in Texas, Andrus has good value in Keeper Leagues. He will probably go threw some typical rookie struggles but he can run (54 sb’s in Double A). Expect 25-30 sb’s in 2009.

19. Edgar Renteria, Giants. Clearly on the downside of his career but he is back in the NL where he belongs. Still capable of hitting 10 hr’s and driving in 55.

20. Jason Bartlett, Rays. Zero power what so ever but he will get you stolen bases (53 in the last 3 years).

21. Khalil Greene, Cardinals. An obp killer (.276 combined last 2 years) but leaving Petco should help him get back to the 20 hr mark in 2009.

22. Christian Guzman, Nationals. Will get you a .300 avg and maybe 50 rbi’s and that is about it.

23. Erick Aybar, Angels. 15+ sb potential but will have to hold off Izturis and perhaps Brandon Wood for playing time.

24. Yuniesky Betancourt, Mariners. See Khalil Greene but without the 20 hr potential.

25. Cesar Izturis, Orioles. Very much like Jason Bartlett and will get you 20 + sb’s.

26. Jeff Keppinger, Reds. Will replace Gonzalez at some point during the season. Is a better offensive option than Gonzalez

27. Alex Gonzalez, Reds. After missed all of 2008 with a fractured knee (ouch!!) he will be competing for playing time with Keppinger. Gonzalez could hit 10 hr’s but is an obp killer.

28. Nick Punto, Twins. One of the dubbed “Piranhas,” Punto is a typical good glove, not hit SS. He will get your team 15 – 20 sb’s

29. Jack Wilson, Pirates.At 31, Wilson is headed towards the end of his career. Not that he was any better when he was 26. Wilson might move into a platoon role to make room for Brian Bixler.

30. Adam Everett, Tigers. The only reason he is still in the league is because of his defense. The Tigers version of Jason Bartlett?

31. Marco Scutaro, Blue Jays. A better offensive option than John McDonald and that is not saying much.

32. Luis Rodriguez/David Eckstein, Padres. Uglier and ugliest. Neither of these players add any value to your team.

Keep An Eye On

Brandon Wood, Angels. I didn’t rank Wood because I have no idea what the Angels plan on doing with this guy. He is killing the ball this spring to the tune of .347/4/13 in 49 ab’s but the Angels have Figgins at 3B, Aybar at SS and Rivera at DH. Keep an eye on this situation. If he is able to get playing time over any of the above names, then Wood is a pick up you should make.

Looking Back At Some Predictions….

March 11, 2009

Here at The Ghost of Moonlight Graham I have a section called “The Crystal Baseball.” I use this section to make some predictions on players, teams and games. I wanted to revisit some of the predictions made earlier in the year because I feel it is important to be held accountable for the predictions I make.

Here are the results of some of the predictions I made…

“Where Will They End Up?” was a post that tried to predict where the remaining top free agents will land. Here are the results

1. Derek Lowe

Predicted – Braves

Signed With – Braves

2. Oliver Perez

Predicted – Mets

Signed With – Mets

3. Adam Dunn

Predicted – Nationals

Signed With – Nationals

4. Manny Ramirez

Predicted – Giants

Signed With – Dodgers

5. Orlando Hudson

Predicted – Nationals

Signed With – Dodgers

6. Bobby Abreu

Predicted – A’s

Signed With – Angels

7. Orlando Cabrera

Predicted – Angels

Signed With – A’s

Results – 3/7 = 42%

Not bad at 42% but not great. I should have nailed the Manny to the Dodgers signing. I definitely over thought that one.

Now that the first round of the World Baseball Classic is in the books, let’s take a look how I did in my“Predictions for the WBC” post….

Round 1 Winners Predicted

Japan, Korea, Cuba, Puerto Rico, USA, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela

Round 1 Winners In The WBC

Japan, Korea, Cuba, Puerto Rico, USA, Netherlands, Mexico, Venezuela

Results – 7/8 = 88%

The Dominican Republic really let me down. I had them winning the whole tournament. It’s kind of like when the team you had going to the Final Four gets knocked out by a #13 seed.

So in the predictions that I have made that have yielded actual results I am 10/15, which is 67%. The goal for the year is to be between 55-65%. It’s a high goal but I am feeling good about this baseball season.

A’s Beef Up On Offense…

March 6, 2009

After finishing 14th in the American League in runs scored, 14th in OPS and 11th in HR’s, A’s GM Billy Beane knew exactly what he had to do this offseason. Beef up the A’s offense!! And beef up the offense he did.

In the past, Billy Beane used the offseason to trade away his top young players (Dan Haren, Mark Mulder & Tim Hudson) for younger developing players and to gain draft picks due to the loss of his top free agents (Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada & Barry Zito). This offseason was different. Beane, who had permission from A’s owner Lew Wolff to increase payroll, used this offseason to take advantage of the weak economy. He signed free agents for below market value and added a power bat to help out the offense.

Holliday adds some pop to the A's lineup

Holliday adds some pop to the A's lineup

First, Beane traded for 3-time All Star Matt Holliday to play LF. Holliday in a down year in 2008 hit .321/25/88/.409  and had 28 sb’s for the Rockies. Holliday goes from probably the best hitters ballpark in baseball (Coors Field) to one of the worst (Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum). But before you think he is going to fall apart away from Coors. Remember, Holliday did hit .308 away from Coors last season with a .405 OBP. Holliday gives the A’s a huge presence in the middle of the lineup.

Second, Beane brought back fan favorite Jason Giambi and signed him to a very cost effective 1 year $5.25MM contract. Giambi in 2008 made $23MM with the Yankees. At 38, Giambi still has something left. This was made evident by his .247/32/96/.373 season last year. Giambi won’t hit for avg. anymore but he can still hit the long-ball and draw a walk when he needs to.

Third, Beane then brought in gamer Orlando Cabrera to replace the disappointing Bobby Crosby and Nomar Garciaparra to come off the bench. I have always liked Cabrera and for 1 year and $4MM, this is a steal for the A’s. Garciaparra will come off the bench for the A’s and occasionally fill in at 3B, 1B and DH against lefties. Garciaparra still has something left and is a definite upgrade to their bench.

Here is what the A’s lineup might look like come Opening Day:

1. Orlando Cabrera – SS

2. Mark Ellis – 2B

3. Jason Giambi – 1B

4. Matt Holliday – LF

5. Eric Chavez – 3B

6. Jack Cust – DH

7. Kurt Suzuki – C

8. Ryan Sweeney – CF

9. Travis Buck – RF

Bench

Nomar Garciaparra – 1B, 3B, DH

Daric Barton – 1B

Rajai Davis – LF, CF, RF

Rob Bowen – C

Bobby Crosby – SS

Let’s talk about Crosby for a second. With the addition of Orlando Cabrera, it would seem that Billy Beane would look to trade the former Long Beach State star. Here are a couple of teams that might be in need of a SS:

Padres – There starting SS right now is career back up Luis Rodriguez. The A’s would have to eat a lot of Crosby’s $5.25MM salary but Crosby would be an upgrade over what the Padres have now. As scary as that may seem.

Royals – The Royals have been very active this offseason and adding Crosby would allow them to move Mike Aviles to 2B. How about a Teahen for Crosby trade? Teahen will earn $3.575MM in 09 and Crosby will earn $5.25MM. Teahen was originally drafted by the A’s and Beane in 2002. He would be an upgrade over Travis Buck in RF.

Nationals – As I wrote in my “Dunn signs with Nationals” post, I thought that the A’s would pursue Nationals 1B, Nick Johnson. The salaries match up for a Johnson-Crosby swap with Johnson making $5.5MM and Crosby as I mentioned before $5.25MM. Crosby would be a nice backup to Cristian Guzman or perhaps replace Anderson Hernandez at 2B. Johnson, if he could ever stay healthy, would be an upgrade over Daric Barton and Travis Buck.

Billy Beane might not be done wheeling and dealing just yet but so far he has accomplished his offseason goal of improving the offense. The A’s now have an offense that will enable them to compete with the Angels for the AL West crown.

Where Will They Land?….

January 10, 2009

With just over a month remaining until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, there are a lot of big names remaining on the free agent market.

Here are my predictions as to where some of the bigger names remaining will land:

Derek Lowe – Braves. The Braves missed out on A.J. Burnett, failed to trade for Jake Peavy and lost John Smoltz to the Red Sox. They are determined to be competitive this year and I believe they will overpay to land Lowe.

Ben Sheets – Brewers. Nobody will ever question Ben Sheets ability. When healthy he has #1 starter stuff. Unfortunately for Sheets, he hasn’t stayed healthy for a full season since 2004. Teams aren’t going to commit to a pitcher who has only started 22.17,24 & 31 games the last 4 years. Therefore, he returns to the Brewers on a 1 year deal

Oliver Perez – Mets. Perez is the ultimate pitching enigma. In the last 3 years Perez is a combined 9-2 with a 2.45 era against the Yankees and Braves but is 2-5 with a 7.47 era against the Nationals and Giants.  I am convinced he will be nothing more than a #3 starter and a .500 pitcher as his lifetime record of 55-60 indicates. After the Mets lose out on Lowe, they will re-sign Perez.

Orlando Hudson & Adam Dunn – Nationals. The Nationals should be thankful Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees. I think everyone agreed signing Teixeira would have been Arod on the Rangers, part 2. The Nationals have money to spend and in this market they will land 2 solid players for below market value.

Bobby Abreu – A’s.   With the Rays (Burrell) and Cubs (Bradley) filling their corner OF needs, the market for Abreu is shrinking by the day. Though getting up there in age (Abreu will be 35 in March), Abreu remains one of the most consistent players in baseball. With a lifetime OBP of .405 he is a typical Billy Beane player. I think he joins fellow former Yankee, Jason Giambi on the A’s.

Orlando Cabrera – Angels. I have always liked Orlando Cabrera. I think it has something to do with him being a key part of the Red Sox 2004 World Series team. Cabrera is a winner. He has been to the post season 4 times in the last 5 years and as I mentioned earlier, Cabrera was a rock for the Red Sox in their 2004 post season run. The Angels need offense and Cabrera would be an upgrade over Erik Aybar and Maicer Izturis at least until Brandon Wood is ready.

Pedro Martinez – DiamondBacks. Pedro Martinez should retire and start preparing his HOF speach but he won’t. The Mets signing of Tim Redding yesterday I believe eliminates Martinez from the Mets plans. So where does a broken down 37 year old pitcher who has only starter 48 games the last 3 years go? The retirement community of America…Arizona.

Manny Ramirez – Giants. Last but not least let’s talk about Manny. I think at this point there are 3 teams Manny can go to. The Dodgers, Giants and Yankees. I am of the theory that the longer Manny and his agent Scott Boras drag this out the more of a player the Yankees become. However, at the end of the day Manny is about money and there is only one team on this list that likely will gave Manny the years and money that he is looking for. The same team that gave Barry Zito a 7 year $126MM contract…the San Francisco Giants.