Posts Tagged ‘Yorvit Torrealba’

Padres Ink Veteran Catcher, Sign Yorvit Torrealba

February 10, 2010

There were probably a lot of teams that could have used a catcher like Yorvit Torrealba this offseason. Off the top of my head, I could think of at least eight-10 organizations that could have benefited from signing Torrealba.

I know in that first paragraph I am making it sound like Torrealba is Johnny Bench. Trust me, he is not. But I do believe he is a very good catcher and has a lot to offer a team.

Torrealba is headed to San Diego

Thanks to the MLB Package (something I highly recommend everyone purchase), I have had the opportunity to watch the Colorado Rockies and Torrealba the last couple of years. I really like the way he handles a pitching staff during a game.

A catcher’s primary responsibility is to call a good game and be a mentor to the entire pitching staff. Torrealba has done a good job in his tenure with the Rockies doing that.

The San Diego Padres are hoping that Torrealba can help mentor their young pitching staff in 2010. The Padres have signed the 31-year-old catcher to a one-year, $1.25 million contract. The deal also includes a mutual option for 2011.

The Venezuela born catcher is expected to share the catching duties with Nick Hundley. This is something that Torrealba should be used to as he shared the catching duties with Chris Iannetta in Colorado.

Torrealba hit a career high .291 last year in 64 games. He also had a pretty good series against the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS last year hitting .357 in 15 AB’s.

Here is what was fascinating about the catching market this winter. How does Brian Schneider get a two-year deal, but Torrealba and Bengie Molina only got one-year deals? Doesn’t make much sense to me.

Torrealba will be entering his 10th season in the major leagues and has a career .255 average with 38 home runs and a .315 OBP with the San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, and Rockies.

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

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

Huston We Have A Problem: Phillies Stun Rockies In Ninth

October 13, 2009

Anyone who has read the book Moneyball knows that one of the basic theories or principles of Billy Beane and Bill James is that any pitcher can be a closer. They feel that you can pull anyone off the street and they could pick up saves.

We saw this theory or principal work this year with guys like Heath Bell, JP Howell, and Ryan Franklin.

However, I have always disagreed with this theory or principal to an extent. I say to an extent because I agree that anyone can close a game…in the regular season.

Any yodel can close a game in June against the Arizona Diamondbacks or the Kansas City Royals. However, it takes a special person to close out a game in the postseason. Not just anyone can close out a game in October.

The Colorado Rockies found that out first-hand last night.

In what was just a wonderful baseball game, the Philadelphia Phillies scored three runs with two outs in the ninth inning off of closer Huston Street to defeat the Rockies 5-4 and win their best-of-five series 3-1.

The late inning disaster by Street (we’ll get to that in a bit) overshadowed what was an old fashioned pitchers duel for the majority of the game. Starters Cliff Lee and Ubaldo Jimenez matched each other pitch-for-pitch for seven innings.

Street had a meltdown last night

Street had a meltdown last night

Jimenez made just two mistakes in seven innings. He gave up a solo homerun in the first to Shane Victorino and another solo homerun to Jayson Werth on a serious hanger in the sixth.

This game was 2-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth and then the Rockies came alive.

Thanks to some unbelievable jumping ability by Dexter Fowler, the Rockies had first and second with one out. Charlie Manuel called upon Ryan Madson to get out of the jam.

Madson got Troy Tulowitzki to fly out to left. Ben Francisco, who just entered the game for defense made a great diving catch to get the out.

Jason Giambi, who was pinch-hitting for Garrett Atkins came through with a single to left to tie the game. Yorvit Torrealba then came up and he hit a rope to right center. Todd Helton and Jason Giambi scored and the Rockies had a 4-2 lead.

Then Street came in.

Street was shaky in Game Two, he was shaky in Game Three, and he was ultra-shaky in Game Four. Street struckout Gregg Dobbs to start the inning. Then he allowed an infield single to Jimmy Rollins and then got Victorino to hit into a fielder’s choice.

And then this is where Street fell apart.

When I pitched, I always had a theory about nibbling: Nibbling leads to walks and walks lead to big innings. By nibbling, you also told the hitter that your best stuff as a pitcher couldn’t get him out.

When you nibble and try to make that perfect pitch, a pitcher has a tendency to “aim” the ball. That is what Street did last night. He tried to make that perfect to Chase Utley, nibbled, and ended up walking the Phillies’ second baseman.

Street was scared to throw the ball over the plate. He didn’t believe his best stuff could get Utley out in that situation.

Now with runners on first and second, Ryan Howard came to the plate. Then I saw Street do something and at that point, I knew the Rockies were in trouble.

With Victorino now on second, Street did one of those fake throws to second to try to keep Victorino close. At that point it was all over for Street.

One, where is Victorino going? Do you honestly think he is going to steal third with Howard at the plate? If he would have gotten thrown out at third to end the game, people in Philadelphia would have burned his house down.

And two, if Victorino wants to steal third–let him. His run doesn’t matter. What that told me was that Street was avoiding throwing the ball and his concentration wasn’t 100 percent on Howard.

So what happens? Street misses his spot by at least six inches and Howard laces a game-tying, two-run double to tie the game. If your concentration is not 100 percent focused on Howard, he is going to kill you every time.

Jayson Werth came up next and flared a single to right center and just like that the Phillies had the lead.

The Rockies tried to make a comeback in the bottom of the ninth, but for the second night in a row, Brad Lidge got Tulowitzki to end the game. This time Lidge got Tulowitzki on a wicked slider down and away.

So no Billy Beane and Bill James–not just any old pitcher can close out a game. It takes a very, very, very special pitcher to close out a game in October.

Unfortunately for the Rockies, they didn’t have that special person.

The Phillies will play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. Game One is set for Thursday. I will be previewing this series tomorrow

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

Rockies Win Game Two: Leave Philadelphia With A Split

October 9, 2009

The Colorado Rockies traveled to Philadelphia with one goal in mind: Leave the city of brotherly love with at least one win.

Mission accomplished.

The Rockies beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 yesterday in a nail bitter to even up their best-of-five series at one game apiece. This was a fascinating game to watch unfold.

This game reminded me a lot of a last week’s University of Washington-Notre Dame football game. Washington had tons of opportunities to put that game away late with touchdowns, but kept settling for field goals. They let Notre Dame stay in the game and in came back to haunt them.

Notre Dame eventually won the game in overtime.

That is how I thought this game would end. The Rockies had so many opportunities in the later innings to put this game away, that when they let the Phillies hang around, I thought the Phillies would steal it late.

But unlike Notre Dame, the Phillies didn’t have the luck of the Irish.

The Rockies jumped out to a 4-0 lead behind Yorvit Torrealba’s two-run homerun and some solid pitching from starter Aaron Cook. Torrealba had himself a great game yesterday. He played winning baseball all game both offensively and defensively.

The Phillies came back with three runs of their own in the sixth inning to make it 4-3. Raul Ibanez highlighted the inning with a two-run single off of reliever Jose Contreras.

I still haven’t figured out why Contreras pitched to Ibanez in that spot.

The Rockies then had opportunities to break this game open in the seventh and eighth innings and failed to do so. They had bases loaded and nobody out in the seventh and only scored one run. They had bases loaded and one out in the eighth and failed to score.

The eighth inning annoyed me more than the seventh inning though. With one out and the bases loaded, Clint Barmes came to the plate against Brett Myers. Myers was all over the place yesterday and yes, I am convinced he hit Troy Tulowitzki on purpose.

Myers couldn’t throw a strike to save his life and what does Barmes do? He swings at two pitches out of the strikezone and grounds to third for a forceout. I like Barmes, but that was one awful at-bat.

The Rockies had the Phillies on the ropes so bad that Charlie Manuel used potential Game Three and Four starters Joe Blanton and JA Happ in relief yesterday. I think Manuel at his old age forgot their were more games left in this series. But the Rockies could never deliver the knockout blow.

Jayson Werth’s homerun in the eighth made it 5-4 and then I was convinced the Phillies would somehow steal this game. The Phillies even got two on with two outs in the bottom of the ninth against closer Huston Street.

But Street got Shane Victorino to line weakly to Barmes to end the game. I will say this about Street–he was lucky to get out of that inning with a win. He threw some pitches to Matt Stairs and Jimmy Rollins that were meatballs.

Game Three is scheduled for Saturday at 9:37 ET. However, this game might get frozen out because it’s supposed to be like 14 degrees in Denver on Saturday night. Of course, I will keep you posted to any changes made to the playoff schedule