Posts Tagged ‘Rafael Soriano’

Who Were The Winners For This Year’s Winter Meetings

December 11, 2009

Now that Baseball’s Winter Meetings are officially over and we have all had a chance to catch our breath, lets take a look at the five teams who really improved themselves over the last four days.

5. Baltimore Orioles. I really liked the addition of Kevin Millwood for this ball club in 2010. Millwood is exactly what this team needed.

Millwood improves the O's

The Orioles only had one pitcher in 2009 (Jeremy Guthrie) throw more than 124 innings. Millwood should come in and eat some much-needed innings for the Orioles and provide some leadership for the Orioles’ young starters.

All the Orioles had to give up for Millwood was Chris Ray. Ray and his 7.27 ERA won’t be missed from the Orioles’ bullpen.

4. Detroit Tigers. I know when a team gives up the type of person and player Curtis Granderson is, they usually aren’t considered winners. But the Tigers did really well in their three-way trade with the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Tigers got three top prospects in Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer, and Daniel Schlereth and got another left-handed pitcher for their bullpen in Phil Coke.

Jackson will replace the departed Granderson in center field and Scherzer will replace Edwin Jackson, who was shipped to the Diamondbacks in the Tigers rotation.

3. Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays finally acquired a closer they so desperately needed. The Rays acquired Rafael Soriano from the Atlanta Braves for Jesse Chavez.

Soriano now gives them stability in the back of the pen. Over the last four years, Soriano has a 2.76 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, and has averaged 10.3 K’s/9 in 221.2 IP.

2. Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers went into the winter meetings wanting to improve on two areas–the starting rotation and the bullpen. In a span of about three hours, they accomplished both.

On Wednesday, the Brewers inked LHP Randy Wolf to a three-year, $29.75 million contract to improve the starting rotation and then signed RHP LaTroy Hawkins to a two-year, $7.5 million contract to improve the bullpen.

Did the Brewers perhaps overpay a little for Wolf and Hawkins? Maybe, but Milwaukee isn’t Miami, L.A. or even Chicago. The Brewers sometimes have to overpay to get people to come to Milwaukee.

In a span of three hours, the Brewers made themselves contenders again in the weak NL Central.

1. New York Yankees. The rich get richer huh? The Yankees wanted to get more athletic this offseason and accomplished that goal when they traded for Granderson.

Granderson is a perfect fit in NY

With his personality and his ability to drive the ball to right field, Granderson is a perfect fit in New York. The Yankees can now either re-sign Johnny Damon to play left or they can let Damon walk if he is asking for too much money and let Melky Cabrera play left field.

Either way, the Yankees’ outfield defense will be improved in 2010.

The Yankees were also able to re-sign LHP Andy Pettitte to a reasonable ($11.5 million) one-year deal. As I have said before, outside Mariano Rivera, Pettitte has been the second most important Yankee over the last 14 years.

There is no more reliable postseason pitcher in today’s game than Pettitte.

If you notice, I don’t have the losers of the winter meetings because I don’t necessarily feel a team has to do something during the four days. Waiting and picking your spots doesn’t make you a loser.

However, if there was one loser based on the moves they did make during the four days it would be the Diamondbacks. They gave up way too much to acquire E. Jackson and Ian Kennedy.

They better be right with their thinking that Scherzer doesn’t translate into a starting pitcher.

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

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Rays Gets Their Closer, Trade For Rafael Soriano

December 10, 2009

Finally, finally the Tampa Bay Rays get their closer.

The Rays have needed a closer for the past two years and now they finally have one–and I believe a good one.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Rays have acquired RHP Rafael Soriano from the Atlanta Braves for RHP Jesse Chavez. The Rays will pay all of Soriano’s salary. They could go to arbitration or work out a multi-year deal.

Soriano is heading south to the Rays

I wrote that Soriano was the best reliever on the market this offseason and now the Rays have him. This deal was made possible because Soriano gave his consent to a trade.

If you remember, Soriano accepted arbitration from the Braves. By baseball rules, the Braves couldn’t trade Soriano before June 15 without his consent.

This is a great move for the Rays for a couple of reasons. For one, they finally have a closer. They got away with not having one in 2008, but it really came back to bite them in the rear in 2009.

The Rays were fifth in the American League in blown saves with 22.

Soriano now gives them stability in the back of the pen. Over the last four years, Soriano has a 2.76 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, and has averaged 10.3 K’s/9 in 221.2 IP.

Second, this allows JP Howell and Dan Wheeler to back to where they belong–as eighth inning set-up guys.

I am a big believer in putting people in roles which allow them to perform the best they can. I guess it’s a belief that I have developed managing people over the last couple of years at my real job.

But Howell and Wheeler aren’t closers. They are classic set-up guys. Now they can go back to their familiar roles and be comfortable.

As for Chavez, this is the second time he was traded his offseason. He was traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Rays in the Akinori Iwamura deal.

Chavez appeared in 73 games for the Pirates in 2008 posting a 4.01 ERA, 1.351 WHIP, and a 6.3 K/9 rate. Chavez does have a homerun problem. He gave up 11 big-flies in those 73 games, which isn’t great for a reliever.

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

Astros Add Bullpen Help, Acquire Matt Lindstrom

December 10, 2009

On a day when the Houston Astros lost relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins to their division rival Milwaukee Brewers, the Astros moved quickly to replace him.

The Houston Chronicle is reporting the Astros have acquired RHP Matt Lindstrom from the Florida Marlins for minor leaguers RHP Robert Bono and INF Luis Bryan.

Lindstrom, who is 29 and made $410 thousand in 2009 is a first-year arbitration eligible player, which is why the Marlins were looking to trade him.

Lindstom was traded to the Astros

After posting solid seasons in 2007 and 2008, Lindstrom had a disastrous 2009. Lindstrom was hurt for over six weeks with elbow inflammation and posted a 5.89 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP.

Despite his dreadful 2009, I actually like this move for the Astros. I believe Lindstrom will have a bounce back year in an Astros’ uniform.

My reasoning? There is no World Baseball Classic in 2009.

Lindstrom pitched in the event and got hurt during the game with the Netherlands. For those of you who don’t remember, Lindstrom almost started a bench clearing brawl that game.

Lindstrom never recovered from that injury.

Now that Lindstrom will go back to his normal routine, I expect to have a similar year like he had in 07′ and 08′–low three’s ERA and a WHIP around 1.35.

What role Lindstrom will serve in with the Astros is still up in the air. The Astros have two roles to fill since Jose Valverde and Hawkins departed for free agency.

Lindstrom could fill Valverde’s role as the closer or if the Astros acquire another closer (they are in the mix for Rafael Soriano), Lindstrom could fill Hawkins’ role as the eighth inning set-up man.

The prospects the Marlins received for Lindstrom are nothing special. According to Baseball America’s Ben Badler, via Twitter, both Bono and Bryan wouldn’t have made the Astros’ top-30 prospects in 2010.

It’s universally known across baseball that the Astros have the worst farm system in baseball. If you can’t crack the Astros top-30, I am not sure how much of a future you have in baseball.

The Marlins in this deal also acquired the Astros’ pick in tomorrow’s Rule 5 Draft.

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

Atlanta Braves’ Rafael Soriano Accepts Arbitration

December 8, 2009

In a very surprising move, Atlanta Braves’ relief pitcher Rafael Soriano accepted arbitration last night from Braves.

The Braves got a hint over the weekend from Soriano’s agent Peter Greenberg that Soriano might accept arbitration. However, I don’t think the Braves actually thought he was going to move forward with that decision.

Soriano accepted arbitration last night

Soriano had until 11:59 pm est last night to make a decision on arbitration.

Now the Braves have a problem–albeit a good problem to have. The Braves have one to many quality relievers and high-priced relievers in the bullpen.

The Braves just recently signed Billy Wagner to a one-year, $7 million deal and Takashi Saito to a one-year, $3 million deal to replace the believed to be departing Soriano and Mike Gonzalez.

With Soriano going to make possibly $7-$8 million in arbitration, that would be almost $20 million the Braves would have to commit to the back-end of the bullpen–way to much.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Braves GM Frank Wren said the Braves were “protected” in regards to the possibility of Soriano and/or Gonzalez accepting arbitration.

Wren believes “It’s not a big deal either way.”

By baseball rules, because Soriano accepted arbitration, the Braves can’t trade Soriano without his consent before June 15.

As for Soriano, I am shocked by the move. Did him and his agent really feel that the 29-year-old flame thrower, possibly coming off his best year, couldn’t get a multi-year deal?

I thought he could have easily gotten a multi-year deal from the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, or the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I guess I was wrong.

The Braves now have by far and away the best pitching staff top to bottom in the National League. However, look for them to really push to trade Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez in order to free up some money to acquire an impact bat.

Soriano finished 2009 with 27 saves, a 2.97 ERA and had a career high 12.13 K’s/9 in 73 innings.

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

Arbitration Roundup

December 2, 2009

For those of you who are not aware, yesterday at 11:59 pm est was the last day at teams could offer their free agents arbitration. Once a team offers arbitration to a player, that player has until Dec. 7 to accept.

A team would offer arbitration to a player–especially to a Type A or a Type B free agent because that team then would receive draft compensation as a result of that player signing with a new team.

A great example of this is what we saw this morning.

Since Billy Wagner signed with the Atlanta Braves and he was a Type A free agent who was offered arbitration, the Boston Red Sox will receive the Braves’ first-round pick (20th overall) and a supplemental pick in 2010.

Here is a list of the players who were offered arbitration by their current clubs. This list is courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors.

Type A Free Agents (10 players)

Chone Figgins

Figgins was offered arbitration by the Angels

John Lackey
Jose Valverde
Marco Scutaro
Mike Gonzalez
Rafael Soriano
Matt Holliday
Billy Wagner
Jason Bay
Rafael Betancourt

Type B Free Agents (13 players)

Justin Duchscherer
Rod Barajas
Joel Pineiro
Mark DeRosa
Adrian Beltre
Ivan Rodriguez
Marlon Byrd
Brian Shouse
Gregg Zaun
Jason Marquis
Brandon Lyon
Fernando Rodney
Carl Pavano

Yesterday was a good day for guys like Bengie Molina, Jermaine Dye, LaTroy Hawkins, and Kevin Gregg, who are all Type A free agents. Since these players were not offered arbitration and will not cost a first-round draft pick, they become much more attractive for teams to sign.

My predictions are that Molina ends up with the New York Mets and Dye ends up with the San Francisco Giants.

Yesterday was a bad day for a player like Rafael Betancourt. With him being a Type A free agent and offered arbitration by the Colorado Rockies, he is going to have a hard time finding work.

It’s hard to justify giving up a first-round pick for a middle reliever, who has been up and down for much of his career. My guess is he ends up back with the Rockies in 2010.

After Dec. 7, we will start to see the dominoes start to fall in the free agent market.

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

Atlanta Braves Find A New Closer, Sign Billy Wagner

December 2, 2009

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Atlanta Braves have reached a preliminary agreement with left-handed closer Billy Wagner on a one-year, $7 million deal with a vesting option for 2011.

The vesting option is for $6.5 million and will kick in if Wagner finishes 50 games for the Braves in 2010.

Wagner will be closing for the Braves in 2010

Wagner returned last season from Tommy John surgery in August and pitched two games for the New York Mets. In those two games, Wagner struckout four batters in two innings and his fastball was consistently in the mid-90’s.

Ironically, the first team Wagner faced in 2009 was the Braves. Convinced that Wagner could help them down the stretch, the Boston Red Sox traded for Wagner to be another bridge to closer Jonathan Papelbon.

In 15 regular season games for the Red Sox, Wagner had a 1.98 ERA and had 22 K’s in 13.2 innings. Wagner appeared in two postseason games for the Red Sox and gave up two runs in one total inning of work.

Let’s talk about Wagner in the playoffs for a second.

It’s funny how players are perceived in the minds of the media and fans. When someone mentions Wagner, the first thing they think of is a 100 mph fastball. The second thing would probably be solid closer for many years.

The one thing nobody mentions is that Wagner might just be the worst postseason relief pitcher of all time. When it comes to October baseball, Mariano Rivera he is not.

In 13 postseason games with the Houston Astros, Mets, and Red Sox, Wagner has a 10.32 ERA, has a 1.941 WHIP, and has given up 20 hits in 11.1 innings pitched. He has done more harm than good for his teams in the playoffs.

While the Braves are getting the guy who is sixth all-time in saves with 385, they are also getting the guy who might cost them a playoff game if they get there.

Because Wagner is a Type A free agent and the Red Sox offered Wagner arbitration yesterday, the Red Sox will receive the Braves’ first-round pick in 2010–plus a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds. The Braves have the 20th pick in the 2010 draft.

As Rosenthal mentions, the Braves will most likely recoup that pick because their former closers Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano are both Type A free agents and both were offered arbitration by the braves.

Financially, this isn’t a bad deal for the Braves because if they were to re-sign either Soriano or Gonzalez, it would have cost the Braves more money per year and more of a commitment. The Braves need all the extra cash they can get in hopes of eventually acquiring a bat.

Wagner will be 39 next year and has pitched for the Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Mets, and Red Sox in his 15 year career.

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

Free Agent Primer: What To Look For This Offseason

November 19, 2009

At 12:01 tomorrow morning, the free agent signing period begins in baseball. Will you see players signing with teams at 12:05 like in the NFL and NBA? No, you won’t.

This will be a very long offseason in baseball. Just like last year, you will see some quality players still available going into the month of February. And just like last year, you are going to see GM’s try to wait out players hoping to get their version of a Bobby Abreu deal.

With the free agent signing period just a mere 12 hours away, here is a free agent primer on this year’s batch of free agents.

Best Free Agent Starting Pitcher: John Lackey. The same people who are concerned with Lackey being “injury prone” are the same people who thought Adrian Peterson was “injury prone” coming out of Oklahoma.

Kind of silly.

Best Free Agent Hitter: Matt Holliday. Holliday is the best hitter in a weak free agent hitting class. I am not sold on Holliday being paid like a franchise player, but he will be.

Best Free Agent Relief Pitcher: Rafael Soriano. Soriano is only 30-years-old and is entering the prime of his career. 12.1 K/9 in 2009 is very impressive.

Biggest Free Agent Hitter Bust: Marco Scutaro. I am sorry, but I just don’t see it from this guy. He has been a scrub all his life and now at 34-years-old he is worth a mutli-year deal? No thanks.

Biggest Free Agent Hitter Bust II: Chone Figgins. This is Juan Pierre Part II. Some team is going to give this guy a four-year, $42 million deal and regret it from the first day. In the third year of this deal he will be a pinch runner off the bench.

Biggest Free Agent Starting Pitcher Bust: Joel Pineiro. Back in August I wrote about how teams should stay away from Pineiro. My feelings towards him haven’t changed. He has Jeff Suppan and Kyle Lohse written all over him.

Biggest Free Agent Relief Pitcher Bust: Brandon Lyon. If a team signs Lyon as an eighth inning, set-up guy, I have no problem with that. But if a teams signs him to be their closer, all bets are off.

If you go into 2010 with Lyon as your closer, you are pretty much telling your fan base we have no shot to win in 2010.

Perfect Match Most Likely To Happen: Mark DeRosa to the Philadelphia Phillies. When you look at the Phillies team and then you look at the type of player DeRosa is, this is a perfect match. DeRosa is a “baseball player” and on a team filled with “baseball players,” DeRosa fits in perfectly.

Perfect Match Most Likely NOT To Happen: Orlando Hudson to the New York Mets. Hudson wanted to play for the Mets last year and it didn’t happen. He wants to play for them again this year and it won’t happen again.

Hudson is just what the Mets need, but since Luis Castillo and his horrific contract are holding down the fort at second base, Hudson will need to look for work somewhere else.

Biggest Free Agent Surprise: Jason Bay will not be back with the Boston Red Sox. As I told my buddy Odie, Bay is like the girl in high school who appears all sweet and innocent, but has slept with the entire football team.

Bay won't be a Red Sock in 2010

Everyone thinks because Bay is a soft-spoken nice guy and has thrived in Boston, he will just accept whatever Theo Epstein offers him and money doesn’t matter–not the case. I think Bay gets a five-year deal from another team and takes the years and the money and runs.

And I wouldn’t fault him for that.

Player Who Will Make The Most Money Who You Never Heard Of: Aroldis Chapman. Chapman is the 22-year-old Cuban defector, who is a starting pitcher and just happens to throw 100 mph. It looks like it will be a two-team race for Chapman’s services–the Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

This is Jose Contreras Part II.

Best Low-Risk, High-Reward Hitter: Xavier Nady. Last year, I correctly predicted that Russell Branyan would be the 2007 version of Carlos Pena–a journeyman guy, who finally gets a chance to start and has a big year.

Nady is that free agent this year. Let a small market team sign him to a one-year deal, let him play 1B/DH and watch him hit 30 home runs.

Best Low-Risk, High-Reward Hitter Part II: Troy Glaus. Glaus is relatively young at 33 and just two years ago hit 27 home runs and had an .856 OPS. Can he play third at this point in his career? Probably not.

But he can probably play first or DH and still be a power threat at a very low-cost.

Best Low-Rick, High Reward Pitcher: Ben Sheets. Sheets missed all of the 2009 season because of flexor tendon surgery. But Sheets should be 100 percent healthy by the start of spring training and I think could have an impact in 2010.

Remember, Andy Pettitte had the same surgery in 2004 and he has fully recovered from the injury. A team like the Texas Rangers would be wise to sign him to an incentive laden deal.

Pitchers Who Have To Stay In The NL In Order To Be Successful: Randy Wolf and Brad Penny. American League teams should really stay away from these guys. Hopefully both of these guys know where their bread is buttered and won’t pull a Jeff Weaver after the 2006 season.

Bedard won't work in New York or Boston

Big Market Teams Should Stay Away: Erik Bedard. Bedard just strikes me as a guy who would rather pitch in Kansas City and not be bothered than pitching in a pennant race in New York of Boston.

Worst Pitcher To Be This Offseason: Kevin Gregg. Gregg is a Type A free agent and he stinks. Very bad spot to be in.

Worst Hitter To Be This Offseason: Jermaine Dye. Dye is a Type A free agent, is 37-years-old, and can’t play a lick of defense. He is a DH in a strong DH market. I think it will be a while before a team looks at Dye.

Hitter Who Should Get More Love, But Won’t: Mike Cameron. Despite being 37-years-old, all Cameron is going to do is play a Gold Glove caliber center field, hit around .265, and hit 20-25 home runs.

Something tells me because of his relationship with CC Sabathia, Cameron signs with the Yankees on a one-year deal.

Pitcher Who Should Get More Love, But Won’t: Jon Garland. Why Garland was sitting the bench, while Hiroki Kuroda was starting playoff games for the Los Angeles Dodgers last year is beyond me.

I know wins for pitchers are overrated, but all Garland does is win. That does count for something. He is going to win games and pitch 200 innings. Teams could do a lot worse.

The Milwaukee Brewers would be smart to sign him.

Best Utility Player: Jamey Carroll. Great club house guy, who can play second, third, left, and right. Every team could use a player like Carroll on their roster.

Non-Tender Candidate Sleeper: Kelly Johnson. On December 12th, hundreds of players will not be tendered contracts. The sleeper out of this bunch–Kelly Johnson.

Johnson was put in Bobby Cox’s doghouse in Atlanta in 2009, but in 2007 he had an OPS of .831 and in 2007 he had an OPS of .795. He is a classic change of scenery guy.

You can find a full list of this year’s free agents here.

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

Kerry Wood: What’s His Trade Market?

November 16, 2009

Yesterday, the MLB Network replayed Kerry Wood’s 20-strike out game against the Houston Astros in 1998. I have been watching baseball for almost 25 years and in my opinion, that was most dominating regular season performance I have ever seen.

The Astros didn’t have a chance that day.

Flash forward 11 years later and Wood is still throwing 97 mph in the major leagues. Did he become the pitcher everyone thought he would be after watching him pitch in 1998? No he didn’t.

Kerry Wood

Wood is a trade candidate this winter

But Wood has made a very nice career for himself. Because of injuries, Wood moved into a relief role in 2007 with the Chicago Cubs and became their closer in 2008.

Wood excelled as the closer in Chicago and in the winter of 2008, he signed a two-year, $20.5 million deal with the Cleveland Indians to be their closer.

The Indians signed Wood expecting to compete in 2009. Things really didn’t work out that way and now the Indians are in rebuilding mode yet again.

When a team is rebuilding, they really don’t have any use for a 32-year-old closer who will be making $10.5 million in 2010. We should be hearing Wood’s name in trade rumors this winter.

Let’s look at what a team would be getting with Wood. Here are the pros and cons of trading for Wood and the teams who might be interested in trading for the former Grand Prairie High School star.

Pros

Can you believe Wood is only 32-years-old? It seems like he has been around for 20 years. Even at 32 (not that old mom!!!), Wood can still throw 97 mph.

He can still blow the fastball by hitters when he needs to. Wood still struck out 10.3 hitters per nine innings last year.

Despite getting off to a rough start in April and May (6.08 ERA), Wood had a stellar second half of the year. In the second half, Wood was eight for 10 in save opportunities and had a 2.86 ERA.

And Wood is still better than half the closers in baseball. I would take Wood over a lot of the pitchers who are closing games for contending teams.

Cons

In the last 11 years, Wood’s arm has been through hell and back. He has had Tommy John surgery, a partially torn rotator cuff, a sore elbow, a strained triceps, and blisters on his fingers.

You name the arm injury, Wood has probably had it.

Health is the number one concern for any GM who is willing to trade for Wood. The other concern with Wood, would be his relatively down year in 2010.

His WHIP of 1.382 was his highest since 2000 (1.453), his strike out rate went from 11.4/9 to 10.3/9 in 2009, his walk rate almost doubled from 2.4 in 2008 to 4.6 in 2009 and threw more pitches per inning (17.6) than at any point of his career.

Has age and injuries finally caught up to Wood?

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of acquiring Wood, let’s look at the teams that might be interested in Wood.

Atlanta Braves: Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano are both free agents and if they leave, the Braves have no internal option to replace them. Wood would be a nice replacement for the Braves.

Chicago Cubs: Could the Cubs possibly bring Wood back? It’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Wood and the Cubs had a pretty clean break and the Cubs don’t have a closer going into 2010. Carlos Marmol is much better suited to be a set-up guy than a closer on a team trying to compete for a pennant.

Houston Astros: Wood would love to follow in his idol’s (Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan) footsteps by pitching for the Astros. Jose Valverde and Latroy Hawkins are both free agents and Wood would make sense.

With Wood making $10.5 million in 2010, I am not sure the Astros have the ability to take on the salary or the prospects to acquire Wood.

I would never count out Drayton McLane though.

Tampa Bay Rays: For me, the Rays are a match made in heaven for Wood. They have the surplus of mid-level prospects and they have the need to get a deal done.

The Rays can’t go into 2010 with JP Howell and Dan Wheeler as the closers. They caught lightning in a bottle in 2008 and it’s not going to happen again.

This team needs a closer and Wood would be a great fit.

Detroit Tigers: Trading Wood within the division isn’t as crazy as it sounds for the Indians. The Indians aren’t expected to compete this year and by the time the Indians are ready to compete, Wood will be long gone from the Tigers.

I know the Tigers have said they are in cost cutting mode right now, but saying it and doing it are completely two different things. Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon are free agents and I don’t think the Tigers feel Ryan Perry is ready to close.

On the surface, Wood makes sense for the Tigers.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: The Angels are known to fix their mistakes rather quickly. Signing Torii Hunter to replace Gary Matthews Jr. is a perfect example of that.

The Angels found out first hand in the postseason Brian Fuentes might be a nice regular season closer, but he is not big time. Acquiring Wood would give Mike Scioscia options at the end of a game.

When acquiring Wood, a GM has to ask himself the tough question of which Wood am I getting? Am I getting the Wood who was rock solid in the second half of 2009 or am I getting the injury-prone closer who struggled for the first half of 2009.

My prediction is that Wood stays with the Indians through the winter and they trade him close to the July 31st trading deadline when teams are making one last playoff push.

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

Milwaukee Brewers Re-sign Trevor Hoffman

October 5, 2009

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Milwaukee Brewers have re-signed closer Trevor Hoffman to a one year, $8 million contract for 2010 with a mutual option for 2011.

When the Brewers signed Hoffman last offseason, I thought he would get his 30-40 saves and have an ERA around four. But despite his K/9 decreasing and his BB/9 increasing, Hoffman turned in one of his best statistical seasons in 2009.

Hoffman will be back with the Brewers

Hoffman will be back with the Brewers

Hoffman had 37 saves with a 1.83 ERA (lowest since 1998 – 1.48), 0.91 WHIP (lowest since 2004 – 0.91), and held hitters to a .193 batting avg. against (lowest since 1998 – .166).

Pretty impressive for a man who will be turning 42 next week.

The Brewers definitely got their value for Hoffman. They signed him last year to a one year, $6 million contract and according to Fangraphs, Hoffman was worth about $6.9 million this year.

Will Hoffman be worth the $8 million the Brewers are going to pay him next year? Logic says no. It’s hard for a 42-year-old at any position to make significant improvements year after year.

However, if you look at the Brewers options outside of Hoffman — this deal makes sense for the Brewers. Since the Brewers have no internal options to replace Hoffman, they would have had to go shopping on the free agent market or trade for a closer.

Look at the free agent closers this year – Billy Wagner, Fernando Rodney, Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano, Kevin Gregg, and Jose Valverde.

Maybe you can argue that you would rather have Soriano or Valverde over Hoffman. But they are going to perhaps require multi-year deals  or would cost the Brewers drafts picks.  Draft picks are gold to a team like the Brewers.

On the trade front, a guy like Kerry Wood could be had, but I don’t think the Brewers want to trade prospects for a closer.

At the end of the day, there’s really nobody out there that is so much better than what Hoffman is at this point in his career. Definitely nobody worth giving up draft picks or prospects for.

The Brewers took care of their back-end of their bullpen today. Now they just need to take care of their starting rotation.

If they can do that, the Brewers will be contenders once again in 2010.

Fantasy Week In Review, September 21-27

September 28, 2009

This is it kids — the final week in the regular season and of course, the final week in fantasy baseball. For those of you playing for your league championship this week, good luck.

Here were the fantasy studs and the potential pickups from the fantasy week that was September 21-27.

Fantasy Studs

Ryan Howard: .375/2/14. It seems that the big man always heats up down the stretch. A hot Howard spells trouble for opposing teams in the playoffs.

Ortiz has bounced back from a slow start

Ortiz has bounced back from a slow start

Marlon Byrd: .320/3/11/.433. Byrd is having the best year of his career and is a free agent at the end of this season — convenient.

David Ortiz: .280/3/10/.419. Despite everything Ortiz has been through this season, he still has 27 homeruns and 94 RBI on the season.

Alex Rodriguez: .350/3/8 with three SB’s. Rodriguez and Ortiz on the same list. It’s like a PED festival here at The Ghost of Moonlight Graham.

Joey Votto: .560/1/8. Votto had 11 runs scored and 10 doubles last week. In five years he will be on the ballot for entry into the Paul Molitor Hall of Fame for players if they played in New York, Boston, or Los Angeles would be superstars.

Adrian Gonzalez: .321/2/8/.441. Six months into the season and still haven’t figured out why opposing teams pitch to him.

Zack Greinke: 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA and 13 K’s in 13 IP. Hasn’t Greinke been on this list every week? If you have a vote and don’t vote for him for the Cy Young, you should have your voting privileges revoked.

Joe Blanton: 2-0 with a 3.55 ERA and 13 K’s in 12.2 IP. Blanton has quietly been the Philadelphia Phillies most consistent pitcher this year.

Tom Gorzelanny: 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 16 K’s in 12 IP. Gorzelanny is going his best to win a spot in the Chicago Cubs’ rotation in 2010. Remember, he did win 14 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007.

Gorzelanny could be a nice sleeper in 2010.

Rafael Soriano: Three saves with a 0.00 ERA and six K’s in 3.1 IP. Soriano had 16 career saves coming into 2009. In 2009, Soriano has 27 saves and has the highest K/9 rate of his career (11.9/9).

Potential Pickups

Paul Bako: Need a catcher for the last week? Take a look at Paul Bako (something I never thought I would write). He hit .381/1/3 last week in 21 AB’s.

Ronnie Belliard: Belliard is getting regular playing time in Los Angeles. Last week he hit .409/1/3 with seven runs scored.

Jay Bruce: For those of you who dropped Bruce after his injury — shame on you. Bruce has keeper potential and has turned it on as of late.

Bruce hit .500/2/7/.611 last week in 14 AB’s.

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Good site with a ton of inventory. They have cell phones, cell phone accessories, Ipod accessories, headsets, and more.