Posts Tagged ‘Troy Glaus’

Starting Nine: National League East

January 14, 2010

Isn’t it funny how a couple of minutes could change an entire post? As I started writing this post last night, I found out the news that New York Mets’ center fielder, Carlos Beltran will be out of commission for three to four months.

Within five minutes, the Mets went from having a very good lineup to a lineup with a lot of holes in it. So now that Beltran is out for a couple of months, where does the Mets’ lineup stack-up against the rest of the National League East?

Let’s take a look at each lineup in the National League East as presently constructed today. Since the pitcher will hit ninth, I just inserted the team’s top pitcher in the nine-hole.

Philadelphia Phillies

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS

2. Placido Polanco, 3B

3. Chase Utley, 2B

4. Ryan Howard, 1B

5. Jayson Werth, RF

6. Raul Ibanez, LF

7. Shane Victorino, CF

8. Carlos Ruiz, C

9. Roy Halladay, P

Quick Take – One through eight, this is the best lineup in the National League. This lineup has speed and power throughout. This lineup will be hard to shutdown in 2010.

Atlanta Braves

1. Nate McLouth, CF

2. Martin Prado, 2B

3. Chipper Jones, 3B

4. Brian McCann, C

5. Troy Glaus, 1B

6. Yunel Escobar, SS

7. Matt Diaz, RF

8. Melky Cabrera, LF

9. Derek Lowe, P

Quick Take – This lineup will only go as far as Glaus takes them. If he can come back healthy, then the Braves will have a very good lineup in 2010. It could be made even better when super stud prospect Jason Heyward makes his debut.

New York Mets

1. Jose Reyes, SS

2. Luis Castillo, 2B

3. David Wright, 3B

4. Jason Bay, LF

5. Jeff Francouer, RF

6. Daniel Murphy, 1B

7. Omir Santos, C

8. Angel Pagan, CF

9. Johan Santana, P

Quick Take – Not having Beltran will kill this lineup. The Mets could make up for the loss of Beltran by signing Bengie Molina and/or Carlos Delgado. The Mets have been rumored to be interested in both.

Florida Marlins

1. Cameron Maybin, CF

2. Chris Coghlan, LF

3. Hanley Ramirez, SS

4. Jorge Cantu, 3B

5. Dan Uggla, 2B

6. Cody Ross, RF

7. Gabby Sanchez, 1B

8. John Baker, C

9. Josh Johnson, P

Quick Take – If Uggla and Cantu stay, then this lineup becomes a lot better than most people think. This is a big year for Maybin. I think he really needs to show something this year.

Washington Nationals

1. Nyjer Morgan, CF

2. Christian Guzman, 2B

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Adam Dunn, 1B

5. Josh Willingham, LF

6. Elijah Dukes, RF

7. Ivan Rodriguez, C

8. Ian Desmond, SS

9. Jason Marquis, P

Quick Take – This lineup is certainly getting better. I like the one through five, especially Zimmerman. The Nationals are talking to Orlando Hudson, but if he doesn’t sign with them, I don’t mind Desmond as their Opening Day shortstop. I think he can be good.

Tomorrow, we will take a look at the National League Central.

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

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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

Braves Get Thier Right-Handed Bat, Sign Troy Glaus

December 23, 2009

Update: According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Braves will pay $2 million plus incentives in 2010. Are you kidding?

This is such a steal for the Braves. I hate to keep picking on the New York Mets, but put this deal in this prospective.

The Mets are paying Alex Cora $2 million in 2010 to be a nice guy. The Braves are paying Glaus $2 million in 2010 to be their starting first baseman and hit 20-25 home runs. Unreal.

It’s a safe bet to say Glaus will give the Braves over $2 million worth of production in 2010.

Original Post:

The Atlanta Braves needed a right-handed power bat and a first baseman. In one signing today, they accomplished both.

According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the Braves have signed Troy Glaus to a one-year contract. Terms of this deal have not been disclosed yet, but it seems to be a very incentive-laden deal.

Glaus is the Braves' new first baseman

I really like this move by the Braves.

I had Glaus as my second best low-risk, high-reward hitter of the offseason. Here is what I wrote about Glaus in my free agent primer:

“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.”

Glaus will play first for the Braves and be the right-handed power source they have needed in that lineup. Glaus has only played six career games at first base in his 12 career, so there is some risk on whether or not Glaus can make the adjustment from first to third.

However, I have a theory on that. My theory has always been if you can play third, then you can play first and if you can play second, then you can play short.

I don’t foresee a problem with Glaus making the adjustment.

The signing of Glaus ends the Adam LaRoche era in Atlanta, yet again. The Braves didn’t look into re-signing LaRoche because he was reportedly asking for too much money. I think LaRoche and his agent really messed this one up.

Atlanta was LaRoche’s best chance on getting what he determined as “fair market value.” Now that Atlanta is out of the picture, where is he going to go where a team is going to pay him what he thinks he is worth? I don’t see it happening.

My guess is LaRoche is going to wait and wait and end up signing a one-year deal with a team he has very little interest in playing for. LaRoche really overplayed his had with this one.

I will say LaRoche ends up with the Kansas City Royals to replace the departed Mike Jacobs.

Glaus is a career .255 hitter with a .359 OBP and 304 home runs in 12 seasons with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Arizona Diamondbacks, Toronto Blue Jays, and St. Louis Cardinals.

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

Cardinals Face Franchise Defining Offseason

October 13, 2009

Every year, whether a team won 90-plus games like the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim or a team’s season ended in April like the Washington Nationals, every team faces major offseason decisions.

Some decisions are solely made for the next season and some decisions can shape the course of the franchise for a years to come. Decisions can be made by trades, arbitration, and of course, free agency.

For the St. Louis Cardinals, they face an offseason of free agency that will define the course of their franchise for years to come.

The Cardinals have a myriad of impending free agents, including Matt Holliday, Joel Pineiro, Mark DeRosa, Rick Ankiel, Troy Glaus, John Smoltz, Khalil Greene, and Todd Wellemeyer.

However, the most important free agent for the Cardinals is manager Tony LaRussa. LaRussa’s contract is up at the end of the month and if LaRussa doesn’t come back, it could set the Cardinals’ franchise back for years to come.

LaRussa is a free agent

LaRussa is a free agent at the end of the month

LaRussa gives the Cardinals credibility and credibility usually means winning. When players come to play for LaRussa, they know they are in a winning environment. Top players always want to play for him (unless your name is Scott Rolen).

Just think about the course of events if LaRussa leaves.

If LaRussa leaves, then pitching coach Dave Duncan leaves. Duncan is just as important to the Cardinals’ success as LaRussa. Duncan, time and time again is able to take mediocre pitchers and turn them into winners.

Dave Stewart, Bob Welch, Mike Moore, Dennis Eckersly, Jeff Suppan, and Chris Carpenter all had their careers turned around by Duncan.

That allows the Cardinals to spend their resources on offensive players such as Larry Walker, Jim Edmonds, Matt Holliday, Mark DeRosa, and Albert Pujols.

Speaking of Pujols.

If LaRussa leaves at the end of the month, it could very possibly mean Pujols could leave after the 2010 season. Pujols is a free agent at the end of the 2010 season and I would say right now there is an 85 percent chance he stays with the Cardinals.

If LaRussa leaves, then I would say that percentage goes down to 25. Pujols has only played for LaRussa in his career and has said that all he wants is for the Cardinals to put a competitive team on the field year after year. Pujols knows every year his teams have a chance of competing with LaRussa at the helm.

Do you think he is going to take a home-town discount playing for Eric Wedge (I am just throwing his name out there. He is not rumored to be going to the Cardinals if LaRussa leaves) or some second rate manager?

That is why LaRussa coming back is so important. Him leaving sets off a chain of events that could set the Cardinals into rebuilding mode after the 2010 season.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, team chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., GM John Mozeliak, LaRussa met for two hours yesterday reviewing the season.

It will be interesting to see what happens with LaRussa. If I was a betting man, I would put my money on LaRussa coming back and signing a new deal with the Cardinals.

The Cardinals just wouldn’t be the same without him.

Looking At Fantasy 3rd Basemen In 2009..

March 20, 2009

In honor of March Madness, I am going to do a tournament to determine who is the best fantasy 3B in 2009. This is a 36 player tournament and seeds are broken down from 1-8 in 4 regions. The 4 regions are the Mike Schmidt Region, George Brett Region, Eddie Mathews Region and the Brooks Robinson Region.

Since there are 36 players who will be participating in this tournament, the last 2 seeds in each bracket (8 players total) will play in a play-in game to determine who advances to the actual tournament. Let the tournament begin….

Mike Schmidt Region

Play In Game

Bill Hall vs Andy LaRoche. Winner – Andy LaRoche

Longoria is a #1 seed

Longoria is a #1 seed

1st Round

#1 Evan Longoria vs #8 Andy LaRoche

#2 Garrett Atkins vs #7 Scott Rolen

#3 Ryan Zimmerman vs #6 Mark Reynolds

#4 Chone Figgins vs #5 Mike Lowell

Winners – Longoria, Atkins, Zimmerman, Lowell

Analysis – Longoria hit 27 hr’s and drove in 85 runs in only 122 games in 08. Baring injury Longoria should put up 35+ hr, drive in 120+ runs and even swipe double digit steals in 09. He is the #1 seed in this region and should be one of the 1st 3B on your draft board.

Mark Reynold’s K’s (204 last year) were too much to overcome against Zimmerman, who should have a nice bounce back year. Figgins has been injury prone the last 2 years (hasn’t played in more than 116 games) and I believe his 07 season was a fluke. Lowell looks good this spring and that enables him to pull off the upset against Figgins.

Brooks Robinson Region

Play In Game

Eric Chavez vs Russell Branyan. Winner – Russell Branyan. It is pretty amazing how far Chavez has fallen in such a short period of time. Branyan qualifies as a 3B but will get 1st crack at being the Mariners everyday 1B. Maybe Branyan will be the Mariners version of Carlos Pena?

1st Round

#1 Alex Rodriguez vs #8 Russell Branyan

#2 Chipper Jones vs #7 Casey Blake

#3 Aubrey Huff vs #6 Pablo Sandoval

#4 Mark DeRosa vs #5 Carlos Guillen

Winners – Rodriguez, Jones, Huff, DeRosa

Analysis – Despite probably missing the 1st month of the season, Rodriguez still remains 1 of the 4 best fantasy 3B in baseball. He still should be able to put up 30 hr’s and 90 rbi, which is better than most.

Chipper Jones, headed into his 16th season still has a lot to offer fantasy owners. His batting avg. has increased each of the last 3 years and he can single handily win you OBP in a head to head league.

Aubrey Huff is often over looked in fantasy drafts but all he did last year was smack 32 hr’s, drive in 108 runs and hit .304. Expect the same from Huff this year, as the Orioles will have a solid lineup in 2009.

George Brett Region

Play In Game

Jed Lowrie vs Chris Johnson. Winner – Jed Lowrie

1st Round

#1 David Wright vs #8 Jed Lowrie

#2 Chris Davis vs #7 Troy Glaus

#3 Adrian Beltre vs #6 Melvin Mora

#4 Alex Gordon vs #5 Jorge Cantu

Winners – Wright, Davis, Beltre, Gordon

Analysis – David Wright goes into 2009 as the #1 fantasy 3B. Wright has finished in the top 10 in MVP voting the last 3 years and that trend should continue in 2009. What separates Wright is 1. His durability (160 games played in 3 of the last 4 years) and 2. His ability to steal a base. Wright was a 30/30 man just 2 years ago. I don’t think he will go 30/30 again but 20 sb’s can be expected.

A lot has been expected from Alex Gordon ever since the Royals drafted him the 2nd pick overall in the 2005 draft. Gordon showed some progress last season by raising his avg. 13 points and his OBP by 37 points. If he can continue this trend maybe a .275/20/80 is doable in 2009.

Chris Davis has been the hot name going into fantasy drafts due to his 17 hr and 55 rbi performance in just 60 games last year. Is he another Kevin Maas or will he break out in 2009? I think hitting is contagious in that Rangers lineup and Davis will put up a nice .282/33/101 in 2009. Davis also qualifies as a 1B as well

One last note on this bracket. Jed Lowrie is probably the best #8 seed in this tournament. With Julio Lugo going down with a knee injury, Lowrie becomes the starting SS in a powerful Red Sox lineup. Lowrie qualifies as a 3B but has more value as a SS.

Eddie Mathews Region

Play In Game

Brandon Inge vs Josh Fields. Winner – Josh Fields. Fields wins based on his sleeper potential. You know what you are going to get with Inge…which isn’t very good

1st Round

#1 Aramis Ramirez vs #8 Josh Fields

#2 Kevin Youkilis vs #7 Joe Crede

#3 Kevin Kouzmanoff vs #6 Edwin Encarnacion

#4 Michael Young vs #5 Hank Blalock

Winners – Ramirez, Youkilis, Kouzmanoff, Blalock

Analysis – Aramis Ramirez has been one of the most productive 3B in the league since joining the Cubs in 2003. You can pretty much lock Ramirez in for 25+ hr’s and 100+ rbi every year.

Youkilis is the strongest #2 seed in this tournament and if Arod was out longer, would move into a #1 seed. Youkilis also qualifies at 1B but has more fantasy value at 3B. If your league has OBP as a category, then Youkilis (.380 or better 4 years in a row) is a must grab.

Blalock upsets Young in the first round because I believe Blalock will have a year similar to is .276/32/110 of 2004 season.

Mike Schmidt Region – Sweet 16

#1 Evan Longoria vs #5 Mike Lowell

#2 Garrett Atkins vs #3 Ryan Zimmerman

Winners – Longoria and Zimmerman

Analysis – Atkins batting avg, OBP, hr’s and rbi have dropped each of the last 3 years. That is not a good sign and to make matters worse, Atkins will be hitting in a lineup without Matt Holliday and has Ian Stewart breathing down his neck. Zimmerman will revert back to his 06 and 07 seasons when he averaged 22 hr’s and 100 rbi.

Brooks Robinson Region – Sweet 16

#1 Alex Rodriguez vs #4 Mark DeRosa

#2 Chipper Jones vs #3 Aubrey Huff

Winners – Rodriguez and Jones

Analysis – I will bet a lot of money that DeRosa will not have 21 hr and 87 rbi again in 2009. Last year is what we call a “career year.” I look for more DeRosa like 15 hr and 65 rbi in 2009 and thus ending DeRosa’s tournament run.

Even knowing that Jones is going to miss at least 20 games, I would still take him over Aubrey Huff and that is the reason he advances.

Wright is a top 4 3B

Wright is a top 4 3B

George Brett Region – Sweet 16

#1 David Wright vs #4 Alex Gordon

#2 Chris Davis vs #3 Adrian Beltre

Winners – Wright and Davis

Analysis – Gordon might be improving but he is no match for Wright. Davis vs Beltre is an interesting matchup because Beltre is a free agent at the end of the year and you know what happened last time Beltre was a free agent. Beltre lit up baseball with a .334/48/121. I don’t think Beltre will put up those numbers but I think Beltre will be better than he was last year. However, Davis edges Beltre in the end due to his age (keeper consideration) and his potential for a great year.

Eddie Mathews Region

#1 Aramis Ramirez vs #5 Hank Blalock

#2 Kevin Youkilis vs #3 Kevin Kouzmanoff

Winners – Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis

Analysis – Ramirez and Youkilis advance pretty easily to the Elite 8. What hurts Kouzmanoff is his OBP. Last year it was a pretty pathetic .299. If Kouzmanoff can learn a little plate discipline, he would be more highly regarded in fantasy drafts.

Elite 8

#1 Evan Longoria vs #3 Ryan Zimmerman

#1 Alex Rodriguez vs #2 Chipper Jones

#1 David Wright vs #3 Chris Davis

#1 Aramis Ramirez vs #2 Kevin Youkilis

Winners – Rodriguez, Longoria, Wright, Youkilis

Analysis – Youkilis pulls off the upset due to him hitting in a better lineup than Ramirez and Youkilis’ ability to play 1B. Having players who can play multiple positions is a bonus to any fantasy roster. So the Final 4 is set with the 4 best fantasy 3B in baseball. Longoria, Rodriguez, Wright and Youkilis. These are the 4 guys who should on the top of your list come draft day.

Final 4

#1 Evan Longoria vs #1 Alex Rodriguez

#1 David Wright vs #2 Kevin Youkilis

Winners – Longoria and Wright

Analysis – Due to Arod’s injury Longoria gets the nod on draft day. In the other matchup in the Final 4, David Wright gets the edge on draft over Youkilis. Wright’s sb potential sets Wright apart.

Finals

#1 Evan Longoria vs #1 David Wright

Winner – Wright

Analysis – Wright went into this tournament as the #1 3B and comes out of this tournament the #1 3B. If Wright is available to you on draft day, don’t hesitate to grab him.

I hope you enjoyed this fantasy 3B tournament and good luck in your NCAA Basketball bracket.

Curious Cardinals Offseason Continues….

February 11, 2009

The Cardinals finished the 2008 season with an 86-76 record, good enough for a 4th place finish in the NL Central. Going into the offseason the Cardinals needs were pretty obvious. Improve the bullpen, improve the starting pitching and perhaps add a bat.

So far the Cardinals biggest offseason move has been the addition of .213 hitting SS Khalil Greene. I am confident in saying that move will not make up the 11 games they need to catch the Cubs. They have not addressed their bullpen which blew a major league high 31 saves last season and outside of Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals starting rotation is made up mainly journey-men such as Kyle Lohse and Joel Pineiro.

I don’t blame the Cardinals for not spending big money this offseason. Besides the Yankees, no team has really broken the bank. However, don’t cry poverty and then release 2B Adam Kennedy only to eat the remaining $4MM left on his contract. Kennedy was released because him and Tony LaRussa didn’t get along. No matter if you are a salesman, a police officer or a major league 2B if you don’t get along with your boss, you are doomed.

Now the Cardinals have a hole at 3B (Glaus is out till May after shoulder surgery) and a hole at 2B. The Cardinals plan on giving OF Skip Schumaker a chance to win the 2B job. This would enable the Cardinals to move Rick Ankiel to RF and put the Cardinals top prospect Colby Rasmus in CF.

While the above plan sounds like an easy fix, I am not so sure. There are a couple of problems with this. 1. Can an OF really move into the IF and play 2B successfully?? Fangraphs doesn’t believe he can and neither do I. Usually it’s the IF moving to the OF (Ryan Braun, Robin Yount) not the other way around and especially not to a middle IF position. Can anyone think of a player who has made the transition from an OF to a middle IF? I can’t. 2. It seems Colby Rasmus has been the Cardinals top prospect for 10 years. He will be 24 in August and at this point it’s either you-know-what or get off the pot. There is only so long you can keep calling someone a “top prospect.” Maybe Rasmus will make the team out of spring training, but if he doesn’t then you have to really wonder if Rasmus will ever make it.

Wouldn’t signing Orlando Hudson for 1 year and $4MM – $5MM be the perfect solution to the Cardinals problems? I know spending close to $9MM combined on 2B is a lot but Hudson gives the Cardinals a gold glove caliber 2B, the #2 hitter they need and would allow Schumaker to play his natural position of OF. If you are not going to improve your bullpen, not improve your starting pitching and are willing to eat $4MM would spending another $4MM-$5MM on a player the caliber of Orlando Hudson really put the Cardinals owner in the poor house?

It has been a very curious offseason for the Cardinals. They haven’t addressed any of their original offseason needs and actually with the loss of both Kennedy and Glaus have more question marks now than they did at the start of the offseason. At this point the Cardinals look more like the 4th place team they were last year rather than a team that can compete for a division title.