Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco Giants’

Minor Moves Highlight Monday In Baseball

February 2, 2010

Yesterday was my first day at my new job. First days at a new company are always fascinating. Everybody is your best friend, you do the typical HR stuff, and all the papers on your desk are all in a neat pile.

By the end of the week, you become less popular and all the papers on your desk look like a tornado (Kerry Von Erich perhaps?) just hit it. However, it took me just one day to become the least popular guy in the office.

During lunch I decided to buy a box in the company’s Super Bowl pool. And on cue, I draw the numbers four and seven. The Holy Grail of Super Bowl numbers.

I felt like George Costanza when he gave the going away speech on his first day when he was working on the Penske File. Everyone was like “Who is this guy?”

While I started a job on Monday, there were a lot of baseball players who either found a new home or were left looking for a new job or in one players case, found and a new home and in a matter of hours, needed a new home.

Here are some of the minor moves that took place on Monday.

Florida Marlins sign Seth McClung. The Marlins are desperate for bullpen help, so signing McClung to a minor league deal makes sense. McClung finished with a 4.94 ERA in 62 innings for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009.

In order for McClung to be effective, he needs to lower his walks. He almost had a one-to-one (39 BB’s/40K’s)  strike out to walk ratio in 2009. His WHIP and ERA have increased three years in a row.

Garko has a new home in Seattle

Seattle Mariners sign Ryan Garko. The Mariners signed Garko to a one-year, $550,000 contract on Monday. Garko had two productive years in 2007 and 2008 for the Cleveland Indians, but didn’t do much for the San Francisco Giants when they acquired him in July.

Garko hit only .235 with two home runs in 127 AB’s with the Giants last year. Look for Garko to be the Mariners pinch-hitter off the bench against left-handed pitching.

San Francisco Giants sign Horacio Ramirez and Byung-Hyun Kim. The Giants signed Ramirez to a minor league contract. Remember when the lefty was considered the next great Atlanta Braves starter? Yeah, that was a long time ago.

Injuries have derailed Ramirez’s career and he has been toiling in mediocrity with the Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, and Washington Nationals.

I would be very surprised if he made the Giants’ Opening Day roster.

Kim hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2007 and quite frankly, I didn’t even realize he retired. No matter what Kim accomplished in the majors, he will always be remembered for giving up those home runs in back-to-back games in the World Series against the New York Yankees.

I thought he would retire on the mound right then and there. That was brutal to watch.

Oakland A’s sign Gabe Gross. Another day, another outfielder on the A’s roster. It seems like the A’s have 10 outfielders on their roster.

The former University of Auburn quarterback hit .227 with six home runs and a .326 OBP in 115 games with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009. Gross could be the A’s fourth outfielder in 2010 and his signing could spell the end for Travis Buck in Oakland.

Oakland A’s trade Aaron Miles and a PTBNL to the Cincinnati Reds for Willy Taveras and Adam Rosales. The Reds needed to shed payroll in order to sign Orlando Cabrera, so they shipped Taveras to Oakland. Taveras’ stay with Oakland lasted about two minutes as the A’s promptly designated him for assignment.

These things happen when you have a .559 OPS.

Miles, who was traded to Oakland along with Jake Fox from the Chicago Cubs earlier this offseason, is expected to be Brandon Phillips’ primary backup next season.

One guy who didn’t sign yesterday was Johnny Damon. I got to be honest, I like Damon a lot, but I can’t take it anymore with him this offseason.

It’s getting very annoying reading article after article about what teams may or may not have an interest in him. Just sign with a team, cut your losses, and get it over with.

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

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Yankees Sign Randy Winn, End The Johnny Damon Era In The Bronx

January 28, 2010

Whether you love the New York Yankees or despise them, you have to give them some credit this offseason. GM Brian Cashman had a budget and he stuck to it.

Albeit a big budget, but a budget none-the-less.

Usually when the Yankees talk about sticking to a budget, it means they are waiting in the weeds and then somehow come up with another $18 million to spend on a player. Not this year. The Yankees are sticking to their guns.

The only way Johnny Damon was going to come back to the Yankees was on the Yankees’ terms. Damon and his agent Scott Boras wanted a multi-year deal or a substantial one-year deal.

I am guessing Damon and Boras thought the Yankees would cave and come up with the money necessary to sign the outfielder. It never happened and the Yankees have moved on.

Since Damon was playing hardball, the Yankees decided to sign another outfielder. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees have signed OF Randy Winn to a one-year, $2 million contract.

Winn is the newest Yankee

Winn is an exceptional corner outfielder that is point in his career. Last year with the San Francisco Giants, Winn had a 7.9 UZR in left field. All winter Cashman wanted to get better defensively in the outfield and he has certainly done that with the additions of Winn and Curtis Granderson.

Offensively, I have always felt Winn has been vastly underrated. He usually hovers around the .300 mark, has a decent eye at the plate, and he can steal a base.

I think the reason he is underrated his because he has played relative baseball obscurity for most of his career. Eight of his 12 year career have been spent in Tampa Bay and Seattle. Not the PR capitals of the world.

Two out of the last three years, Winn has hit .300. Last year, Winn’s average dipped to .262. Because Winn had a down year in 2009, he will have to battle Brett Gardner in spring training to win the starting left field spot.

What is interesting is that neither Winn and Gardner hit left-handed pitching well. Gardner is a career .241 hitter against lefties and Winn only hit .158 against lefties in 2009.

Despite Winn being a switch-hitter, I would say it’s a safe bet that the Yankees might add another right-handed hitting outfielder in the near future. Look for them to sign someone like Rocco Baldelli to a minor league contract.

As for Damon, his market just took a massive punch to the gut. Now that the Yankees are out of the picture, his options are limited.

His realistic options are the Detroit Tigers, Oakland A’s, Atlanta Braves, or Seattle Mariners. The Tigers might be the best fit as they need a leadoff man and left-handed hitter to ironically replace Granderson.

Listen, we have no idea what Damon’s financial situation is. Despite making almost $100 million in his career, rumor had it that he has fallen on hard times financially. Allegedly, he was hurt in the Bernie Madoff scandal, which is why he is hell-bent on getting one last payday.

Whatever his financial situation is, I just have a hard time believing that the Yankees and Damon couldn’t come to an agreement. Seems very odd to me.

Winn will be entering his 13th season in the major leagues and has a career .286 average with 106 home runs, 209 stolen bases, and a .344 OBP with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Seattle Mariners, and Giants.

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

Starting Rotation: National League West

January 23, 2010

The last last starting rotations I will look at are the starting rotations of the National League West. It’s no surprise that nine out of the last 11 NL Cy Young award winners have come from the West.

With the divisions big ballparks and offensively challenged lineups, the NL West is a pitcher’s dream. Any pitcher worth their salt, would love to pitch in this division.

Here are the starting lineups for each National League West team as presently constructed.

Colorado Rockies

1. Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP

2. Aaron Cook, RHP

3. Jorge De La Rosa, LHP

4. Jeff Francis, LHP

5. Jason Hammel, RHP

Quick Take – I like this rotation, but I don’t love it. I would love for the Rockies to add one more reliable pitcher like Jon Garland. Francis returns to the Rockies after missing the entire 2009 season with a shoulder injury. Cook is really underrated.

San Francisco Giants

1. Tim Lincecum, RHP

2. Matt Cain, RHP

3. Barry Zito, LHP

4. Jonathan Sanchez, LHP

5. TBD

Quick Take – Linceum and Cain form one of the best one-two punches not only in the NL, but in all of baseball. Lincecum is aiming for his third straight Cy Young award. There is a big dropoff after Lincecum and Cain. I am not sold on Sanchez.

Los Angeles Dodgers

1. Chad Billingsley, RHP

2. Clayton Kershaw, LHP

3. Vicente Padilla, RHP

4. Hiroki Kuroda, RHP

5. James McDonald, RHP

Quick Take – Which Billingsley will show up in 2010? The one that was an All Star in the first half of 2009 or the one that faded in the second half? Dodgers need him to come back strong next season. This rotation will miss Randy Wolf , who pitched well for them down the stretch in 2009.

Arizona Diamondbacks

1. Dan Haren, RHP

2. Brandon Webb, RHP

3. Edwin Jackson, RHP

4. Billy Buckner, RHP

5. Ian Kennedy, RHP

Quick Take – Can Webb come back in 2010? That is the big question surrounding this rotation. If he can, the Diamondbacks will be in business in 2010. Jackson needs to pitch like he did in the first half with the Detroit Tigers, not the second half. Kennedy thinks he is a great pitcher, now he gets a chance to prove it.

San Diego Padres

1. Chris Young, RHP

2. Clayton Richard, LHP

3. Kevin Correia, RHP

4. Mat Latos, RHP

5. Tim Stauffer, RHP

Quick Take – Gone is staff ace Jake Peavy, but in is Latos and Richard. Richard pitched well last year (5-2 with a 4.08 ERA) for the Padres after coming over in the Peavy trade. Latos is a top prospect, who showed glimpses of brilliance in his first stint at the majors.

That concludes my starting rotation series for this week. I will revisit each starting rotation as the regular season approaches.

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

Bengie Molina Spurns Mets, Returns To The Giants

January 20, 2010

I’ll have to admit, I thought it was a foregone conclusion that catcher Bengie Molina would sign with the New York Mets. I know they have been going back and forth all offseason, but in the end, I thought Molina and the Mets would come to a happy medium.

In the end however, it was not meant to be.

Molina said no to the Mets

According to Dennis O’Donnell of CBS 5 Sports in San Francisco, Molina has re-signed with the San Francisco Giants on a one-year, $4.5 million contract. Apparently, Molina turned down more money ($5 million) from the Mets in order to re-sign with the Giants.

This is definitely a turn of events as I didn’t think there was any chance of Molina returning to the Giants. This signing has a couple of domino effects, so let’s take a look at them.

For the Giants, the re-signing of Molina means less playing time for Buster Posey. While I believe Posey should be the Giants’ No.1 catcher in 2010, I am guessing Molina didn’t take less money to be Posey’s backup.

Not only could Posey find himself out of a starting job, he could find himself out of the major leagues come Opening Day. Since the Giants now have a capable starting catcher, the Giants could have Posey start in the minors to increase his service time.

As scary as this sounds, Molina was the Giants’ main power source last season with 20 home runs and should find himself back in the middle of the Giants’ order in 2010. Aubrey Huff is penciled in as the Giants’ cleanup hitter in 2010, so Molina could be batting fifth or sixth in the Giants’ order.

For the Mets, this isn’t a crushing blow, but a blow none-the-less. Molina was the best catcher left on the market and the Mets desperately need a catcher.

The Mets currently four internal options at catcher–Omir Santos, Henry Blanco, Chris Coste, and Josh Thole–and none of them are worthy of a starting position in 2010. Thole is the Mets’ top catching prospect, but he is still a year or two away from being a No.1 catcher.

The Mets could look at the free agent market again and sign Yorvit Torrealba or Rod Barajas. I thought Torrealba would end up on the Giants, so perhaps he could switch places with Molina and end up on the Mets.

One thing to remember about Torrealba and the Mets. There is some history there. Torrealba filed a continuing grievance against the Mets after they backed out of a three-year deal a couple of years ago. I don’t know if the Mets want to go there again.

Barajas might be an option for the Mets in 2010. Despite hitting .226, he did hit 19 home runs in 125 games for the Toronto Blue Jays. I have never been a fan of his, but if the Mets really need a catcher, then he wouldn’t be the worst signing in the world.

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

Starting Nine: National League West

January 16, 2010

Last but least in our Starting Nine series, is the National League West. Usually known as being the worst offensive division in baseball, the NL West has improved offensively this offseason.

The San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks have added offensive pieces this offseason and as long as the young Colorado Rockie hitters continue to improve, they will always be dangerous.

Here are the lineups for each team in the National League West as presently constructed today.

Colorado Rockies

1. Dexter Fowler, CF

2. Carlos Gonzalez, LF

3. Todd Helton, 1B

4. Troy Tulowitzki, SS

5. Brad Hawpe, RF

6. Ian Stewart, 3B

7. Chris Iannetta, C

8. Clint Barmes, 2B

9. Ubaldo Jimenez, P

Quick Take – This lineup is the class of the NL West. This lineup has everything you want–speed, power, and patience. Look for Carlos Gonzalez to have a breakout year and become everyone’s mancrush when it comes to fantasy baseball.

San Francisco Giants

1. Freddy Sanchez, 2B

2. Edgar Renteria, SS

3. Pablo Sandoval, 3B

4. Aubrey Huff, 1B

5. Mark DeRosa, LF

6. Aaron Rowand, CF

7. Buster Posey, C

8. Nate Schierholtz, RF

9. Tim Lincecum, P

Quick Take – It’s hard to make up a lineup when every guy in that lineup is the same. This lineup has very little power, very little speed, and not a single person that scares an opposing pitching.

Los Angeles Dodgers

1. Rafael Furcal, SS

2. James Loney, 1B

3. Manny Ramirez, LF

4. Matt Kemp, CF

5. Andre Ethier, RF

6. Casey Blake, 3B

7. Russell Martin, C

8. Blake DeWitt, 2B

9. Chad Billingsley, P

Quick Take – I originally had Ethier in the two-hole and Loney in the six-hole like the Dodgers had in the NLCS last year. I didn’t like that lineup then, and I don’t like it now. Ethier is better served in a RBI position in the lineup.

Arizona Diamondbacks

1. Gerardo Parra, CF

2. Stephen Drew, SS

3. Justin Upton, RF

4. Mark Reynolds, 3B

5. Adam LaRoche, 1B

6. Conor Jackson, LF

7. Miguel Montero, C

8. Kelly Johnson, 2B

8. Dan Haren, P

Quick Take – With the addition of LaRoche and a healthy Jackson, this lineup all of a sudden looks very deep. Upton is only getting better and he will be a MVP candidate in 2010.

San Diego Padres

1. Everth Cabrera, SS

2. David Eckstein, 2B

3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B

4. Kyle Blanks, lF

5. Chase Headley, 3B

6. Nick Hundley, C

7. Will Venable, RF

8. Tony Gwynn, CF

9. Chris Young, P

Quick Take – Kevin Kouzmanoff was traded to the Oakland A’s less than 24 hours ago, so now there is zero reason to pitch to A. Gonzalez in 2010. With Kouzmanoff gone, this is a big year for Headley. Look for newly acquired Scott Hairston to platoon with Gwynn in center.

Well that’s it for our Starting Nine series. I hoped you enjoyed it. I will update this series as the regular season approaches.

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

Giants Continue To Add Mediocre Offensive Players, Sign Aubrey Huff

January 13, 2010

Even the most casual baseball fan knows the San Francisco Giants need offense. The Giants–and in particular GM Brian Sabean–have tried to address this need during this offseason.

However, they are going about things the wrong way.

Signing mediocre or non-impact players is not the way to go. I’ve made the comparison before that the Giants are like a college basketball team after their star player leaves for the NBA. All that is left are the role players.

Huff signed with the Giants

That is the Giants right now. They have and are a bunch of role players. The team that is left with just role players can’t take things to the next level because nobody is left to make the big shot or in the Giants case, the big hit.

The Giants needed to add an impact bat this offseason and signing guys like Aubrey Huff doesn’t qualify. The Giants signed Huff yesterday to a one-year, $3 million deal. Huff, 33, is expected to play first base for the Giants in 2010.

Not only is Huff not the impact the Giants need, he isn’t even better than what they already have. If you compare the stats, Travis Ishikawi is coming off a better year than Huff is.

In 2009, Ishikawa hit .261/.329/.387 with nine home runs in 120 games. Huff on the other hand, hit .241/.310/.383 with 15 home runs in 150 games in 2009 with the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers.

Why not just go with Ishikawa for 2010?

My guess is Sabean is hoping Huff returns to his 2008 form where he hit .304/.360/.552 with 32 home runs in 2008. Playing in a ballpark where it is death valley for left-handed power hitters, I doubt Huff comes anywhere close to his 2008 numbers.

I am obviously not privy to the Giants’ financial records, but signing someone like Adam LaRoche or even Carlos Delgado would have made more sense for what the Giants need than Huff.

The one thing I am learning about Sabean as the years go by, is that his eye for talent–at least on the offensive side– is usually off. A GM can use stats all he wants, but he also has to use the eye test and try to figure out which players are on the decline and which players are capable of having a bounce-back season.

Sabean consistently misjudges talent on offense. The perfect example of this would be Aaron Rowand. Rowand is a classic role player or glue guy on a good team–not a star player, who can carry a team.

Sabean paid Rowand like a star player and he clearly is not one.

Despite their additions of Huff, and DeRosa and the re-signings of Juan Uribe and Freddy Sanchez, I still don’t think the Giants have enough on offense to win the NL West.

Huff is a career .282 hitter with 203 home runs and a .340 OBP in 10 seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros, Orioles, and Tigers.

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

With Recent Moves, Russell Branyan’s Options Dwindling

January 8, 2010

After 11 years of injuries and being considered a bench player/pinch-hitter, Russell Branyan finally got everything he wanted in 2009.

For the first time in his major league career, Branyan got an opportunity to be an everyday player. In 2009 with the Seattle Mariners, Branyan played in a career high 116 games and had a career high 505 AB’s.

Branyan's options seem limited in 2010

In those 116 games, Branyan hit .251 with 31 home runs and an .867 OPS. His .867 OPS ranked seventh amongst American League first baseman.

It was a pretty good time for Branyan to have a career year as he was a free agent after the 2009 season. However, things haven’t gone according to plan since Branyan filed for file agency back in November.

Branyan thought he was worthy of a multi-year deal and rejected the Mariners’ one-year deal early in the free agent period. As it appears right now, the Mariners’ offer might have been Branyan’s best.

A lot of teams have filled their first base or DH hole with low-cost options this offseason limiting Branyan’s options. The Atlanta Braves filled their need by signing Troy Glaus, the Mariners traded for Casey Kotchman, and the A’s re-signed Jack Cust.

These moves, coupled with a bad back, have seriously limited Branyan’s options in 2010. So where could Branyan end up? Here are a couple of landing spots for the 34-year-old.

New York Mets – I don’t think they will go into the 2010 with Daniel Murphy as their first baseman. However, I would be shocked if the Mets didn’t bring back Carlos Delgado.

San Francisco Giants – GM Brian Sabean is talking about putting Juan Uribe in the starting lineup and moving Pablo Sandoval to first and Mark DeRosa to third. If the Giants come to their senses, they will leave Uribe in the utility role.

If this happens, the Giants could have an opening at first. Branyan would bring some power and some plate discipline to the lineup.

Pittsburgh Pirates – The Pirates have talked about moving Adam LaRoche to first once Pedro Alvarez is ready. However, Alvarez isn’t ready yet and the Pirates have an opening at first.

Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles would rather move Garrett Atkins to first, but if they can’t find another third baseman, then they will keep Atkins at third and look for a first baseman.

Like the Mets, they are interested in Delgado, but if they can’t land him Branyan could be a nice fallback option.

Kansas City Royals – I would give Kila Ka’aihue a chance, but I get the sense he is not a favorite of GM Dayton Moore. The Royals could leave Billy Butler at first and sign Branyan to be their DH.

So as you can see, Branyan doesn’t have too many options out there. If I was a betting man, I would say he ends up with the Giants.

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

Juan Uribe The Starter?

January 6, 2010

When the San Francisco Giants re-signed Juan Uribe to a one-year, $3.25 million last week, many envisioned Uribe becoming a super-utility player for the Giants in 2010.

As the great Lee Corso always says “Not so fast my friends.”

In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Giants’ GM Brian Sabean suggested that Uribe could be the Giants’ starting third baseman in 2010. The move would allow the newly signed Mark DeRosa to play left field and Pablo Sandoval would shift to first base.

Uribe should not be starting in 2010

This suggestion stems from the fact neither Sabean or manager Bruce Bochy feel comfortable with a Eugenio Velez and Andres Torres platoon in left.

Despite Uribe having his highest batting average in 2009 since 2001 (.289) and his highest OBP (.329) of his career, Uribe can’t be the Giants starting third baseman in 2010.

Uribe is a career .257 hitter with a .298 OBP. There is a better chance of Uribe doing that in 2010 than him hitting .289 again. Some guys are just better suited to be a bench player and Uribe is one of them at this point in his career.

Like Sabean said in the interview, the Giants have until opening day to figure things out. If I was Sabean, I would figure things out by finding a scenario where Uribe is not my everyday third baseman.

There are plenty of low-cost options out there like Xavier Nady, Aubrey Huff, and Russell Branyan that would allow the Giants to maximize their roster. I think someone like Johnny Damon might be out of the Giants price range, so signing someone like Branyan would be a smart move.

Now some of you might be saying “Hey Adam, the Chicago White Sox won a World Series with Uribe as their starting shortstop in 2005.”

While that is true, the White Sox also had a very deep lineup that year. Paul Konerko hit 40 home runs, Jermaine Dye hit 31 home runs, Scott Podsednik stole 59 bases, and even “Crazy” Carl Everett hit 23 home runs. Uribe was an afterthought in that lineup.

The Giants’ lineup is so mediocre that Uribe would be exposed in 2010. He would be counted on to provide offense and I just don’t see it happening.

The Giants should exhaust all available options before deciding to hand over the starting third base job to Uribe in 2010.

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

Rockies Add A Catcher, Sign Miguel Olivo

January 5, 2010

Tired of haggling over contract specifics with Yorvit Torrealba, the Colorado Rockies decided to move in another direction to fill their need for a catcher.

According to Thomas Harding of MLB.com, the Rockies have signed former Kansas City Royals’ catcher Miguel Olivo to a one-year, $2 million contract. The Rockies also have a club option for $2.5 million for 2011.

Olivo will replace Torrealba in Colorado

The Olivo signing means that Torrealba will have a new team in 2010. While it might be tough for Olivo to replace Torrealba’s leadership, this is not a bad signing for the Rockies.

Olivo will compete with Chris Iannetta to be the Rockies’ starting catcher in 2010. Last year, Olivo hit 23 home runs with a .249 average in 114 games for the Royals last season.

Yeah, I know he refuses to walk. But not everyone in a lineup can be Jack Cust. If Olivo can hit a home run every 18 AB’s like he did last year and play decent defense, the Rockies will take it.

Defensively, Olivo threw out 28.2 percent of the base runners attempting to steal a base last season. That percentage ranked third amongst American League catchers last season.

To put in perspective, the Rockies signed Olivo to a one-year deal and the team he left–the Royals–signed Jason Kendall to a two-year deal. I believe Olivo is the better player.

I wrote about the differences between Olivo and Kendall here.

As to where this leaves Torrealba? I think he will have a couple of options.

I believe the New York Mets could be interested if they can’t come to terms with Bengie Molina. I also believe the San Francisco Giants could be a possibility as well. I believe they don’t think Buster Posey is ready to be a full-time starting catcher yet and Torrealba could serve as a nice mentor to Posey.

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