Posts Tagged ‘Zack Greinke’

Verlander Signs Extension With Detroit Tigers

February 4, 2010

Its been a pretty good winter for two out of the three finalists for the American League Cy Young award in 2009. Felix Hernandez, who finished second in the voting signed a five-year, $78 million extension with the Seattle Mariners earlier this offseason and now the third place finisher got rewarded as well.

According to FOXSports.com, the Detroit Tigers have signed staff ace Justin Verlander to a five-year, $80 million contract. The deal cancels out Verlander’s remaining two years of arbitration plus three free agent years.

Verlander became a rich man on Wed.

Verlander will be 27 in two weeks, so the Tigers should have Verlander throughout his prime years. The Tigers have handed out some pretty awful long-term contracts recently (Magglio Ordonez, Nate Robertson, etc…), but this deal should be very much worth it for Detroit.

Since being taken with the second overall pick in the 2004 draft, Verlander has been everything the Tigers hoped he would be. In his four full years in the majors, Verlander has been a flat-out stud for three of those years.

Take out his 2008 season when he went 11-17 with a 4.84 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP and Verlander has gone 54-24 with a 3.58 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. That is pretty awesome.

Like Hernandez, Verlander’s extension comes on the heals of a career year in 2009. Verlander led the American League in starts, innings, batters faced, strikeouts, and wins last season. He also led all pitchers in pitches thrown with 3,937, which might be a little concerning for 2010, but I don’t think it will have any long-term effects going forward.

What I find interesting about this deal is that Verlander got $2 million dollars more than what Hernandez got. You know that was a power play move by his agents over at SFX. They had to get more for Verlander than what Hernandez’s agent for him.

Oh and by the way, the guy who beat out Hernandez and Verlander for the CY Young award in 2009, Zack Greinke? Don’t feel bad for him. He didn’t miss the boat on signing a contract.

Greinke signed a four-year, $38 million contract extension last January.

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

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Kansas City Royals Doing Their Part To Help Haiti

January 21, 2010

I know a lot of people, including myself, have had plenty of negative things to say about the way the Kansas City Royals have operated over the last couple of seasons. However, you can’t have anything negative to say about what the Royals are doing today.

Zack Greinke and David DeJesus of the Royals will team up with Heart to Heart International to aid the Haiti earthquake victims.

They’ll be at Sam’s Club, 4100 Bolger Drive in Independence, Mo., between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. CT on Thursday to collect donations and items for Heart to Heart Care Kits.

In addition, DeJesus has pledged $2,500 to Heart to Heart, a donation that has been matched by Royals Charities. That will supply 500 of the kits.

Heart to Heart will be collecting donations and items, including towels, soap and other toiletries, at all five Kansas City area Sam’s Clubs on Saturday and Sunday as well.

Royals fans and anyone also can donate on-line by visiting http://www.hearttoheart.org.

Great job by Greinke, DeJesus, and the entire Royals organization for doing their part to help out with the crisis in Haiti. I am sure the Royals won’t be the last organization to help out Haiti.

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

Seattle Mariners Lockup Felix Hernandez

January 19, 2010

The Seattle Mariners invested not only for 2010, but in their future last night.

According to ESPN.com’s Keith Law, the Mariners have signed ace Felix Hernandez to a five-year, $78 million contract extension. The deal buys out Hernandez’s two remaining years of arbitration.

"King Felix" got paid last night

First, kudos to the Mariners’ front office for locking up Hernandez. It always pleases me to see when teams lock up home-grown talent to long-term deals.

The Cleveland Indians started this trend in the early to mid-90’s and it’s great to see the trend continuing into the 2000’s. We have seen over the years teams like the Kansas City Royals (Zack Greinke), and most recently the Florida Marlins (Josh Johnson) lockup young talent.

Second, kudos for Hernandez for taking a home town discount. I know it’s hard to say to a guy he just accepted a home town discount at $78 million, but the reality of the situation is, he did.

$78 million for a guy of Hernandez’s age (23) and caliber, is a pretty good deal for the Mariners. Just look at all the pitchers who signed contracts similar to Hernandez’s over the last couple of years.

Derek Lowe – Four years, $60 million

Roy Oswalt – Five years, $73 million

AJ Burnett – Five years, $82.5 million

John Lackey – Five years, $82.5 million

Carlos Zambrano – Five years, $91.5

Now, all of these pitchers are pretty good. There is no arguing that. But, none of them at the age of 23, have accomplished what Hernandez has accomplished so far at the major league level and has the skill level of Hernandez.

Last year, Hernandez was 19-5 with a 2.49 ERA and struck out 217 in 238.2 innings of work. He also finished second in the AL Cy Young award voting to Greinke.

One could make the argument that Hernandez could have asked for a CC Sabathia (seven years, $161 million) or Johan Santana (six years, $137.5 million) like contract. But he didn’t and now the Mariners have Hernandez locked up to a reasonable contract for the next five years.

Now that they have Hernandez locked up, I wonder how this affects the re-signing of Cliff Lee? Lee is a free agent after this season and will be looking for a significant raise from his $5.75 million salary in 2010.

If the Mariners can lockup both Hernandez and Lee, then they will really have something going in Seattle.

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

Starting Rotation: American League Central

January 19, 2010

Yesterday, I looked at the starting rotations of each American League East team. Today, I will look at the starting rotations for each American League Central team.

The American League Central is home to some of the best young pitchers in the game. As a matter of fact, five out of the last six AL Cy Young award winners have come from the Central.

Here are the starting rotations of each American League Central team as presently constructed.

Minnesota Twins

1. Scott Baker, RHP

2. Nick Blackburn, RHP

3. Kevin Slowey, RHP

4. Carl Pavano, RHP

5. Francisco Liriano, LHP

Quick Take – This rotation is littered with No.2 and No.3-type starters. However, Liriano can be a No.1 if he can regain his form prior to Tommy John surgery. Despite their lack of a true No.1 starter, this rotation has plenty of depth.

Chicago White Sox

1. Jake Peavy, RHP

2. Mark Buehrle, LHP

3. Gavin Floyd, RHP

4. John Danks, LHP

5. Freddy Garcia, RHP

Quick Take – The White Sox have the best pitching staff that nobody ever talks about. Danks is a very good No.4 starter. I will be interested to see how Peavy adjusts to the AL over the course of an entire season. Garcia will battle Dan Hudson for the No.5 starter spot in spring training.

Detroit Tigers

1. Justin Verlander, RHP

2. Rick Porcello, RHP

3. Max Scherzer, RHP

4. Jeremy Bonderman, RHP

5. Armando Galarraga, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation has more questions than answers going into 2010. Verlander threw more pitches than any other pitcher in baseball last season (3,937). How is that going to affect him in 2010. Will Porcello experience a sophomore slump? Can Bonderman and Galarraga bounce back in 2010?

Kansas City Royals

1. Zack Greinke, RHP

2. Gil Meche, RHP

3. Luke Hochevar, RHP

4. Kyle Davies, RHP

5. Brian Bannister, RHP

Quick Take – This staff is led by the great Greinke, who was last year’s AL Cy Young award winner. Nobody expects him to repeat last year’s performance in 2010, but he shouldn’t be that far off. The Royals need Hochevar to step up. This is a big year for him.

Cleveland Indians

1. Jake Westbrook, RHP

2. Fausto Carmona, RHP

3. Justin Masterson, RHP

4. David Huff, LHP

5. Aaron Laffey, LHP

Quick Take – For the most part, this is a young rotation, but it’s not very good right now. Carmona has been one of baseball biggest mysteries over the last couple of years. Having watched Masterson over the last couple of years with the Red Sox, I feel be is better suited to be in the bullpen.

Tomorrow, I will look at the American League West. The West is home to one of the top young pitchers in the game Felix Hernandez. Not only will teams in the West have to worry about Hernandez in 2010, but will have to contend with him for years to come.

More on that story later.

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

Florida Marlins, Josh Johnson On Different Pages

November 21, 2009

It’s really hard to argue with the way the Florida Marlins do business.

Despite having a payroll consistently at the bottom of baseball, the Marlins in the last seven seasons have won a World Series and have had five winning seasons out of those seven.

Johnson might be the latest Marlin to be traded

They have a philosophy of building through the draft, develop their own talent, and once that talent gets to a point where they will make serious money, they trade them for more inexpensive talent.

Throughout the years, we have seen Juan Pierre, Josh Beckett, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Lowell, Derek Lee, AJ Burnett, Brad Penny, and Ryan Dempster all come up with the Marlins and all be shipped away in trades or lost in free agency.

Now, after yesterday’s meeting between the Marlins and Josh Johnson’s agent Matt Sosnick, it looks like Johnson will be the latest Marlins star to be traded away.

According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, Sosnick and the Marlins met yesterday to discuss a long-term contract for Johnson. Let’s just say the conversation didn’t go so well.

“Based on our conversations, there’s no chance of doing a long-term deal with the Marlins,” Sosnick said. “We made it clear that it was going to be this year or it wasn’t going to happen. It was now or never. And the Marlins agreed.”

According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, Sosnick was looking for a four-year, $40 million deal similar to the contract (four years, $39 million) that Zack Greinke signed with the Kansas City Royals last year.

This request is not unreasonable considering that 25, Johnson is already one of the best young pitchers in the National League. In 2009, Johnson went 15-5 with a 3.23 ERA and had 191 K’s in 209 IP.

If you were to ask me, Johnson is already on my shortlist to win the National League Cy Young award in 2010.

So what did the Marlins offer this talented pitcher? Reports have the Marlins offering Johnson a three-year, $22 million deal.

That is a joke. Johnson could make triple that on the open market.

Whether that was the Marlins final offer remains to be seen. Johnson will be a free agent at the end of the 2011 season and now will be the subject of trade talks moving forward.

If history tells us anything, the Marlins will trade Johnson for some top-level prospects and start the process all over again.

That’s the Marlins way.

After all, who can argue with success?

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

Royals’ Zack Greinke Wins American League Cy Young

November 17, 2009

My preseason pick for AL Cy Young: Zack Greinke

AL Cy Young award winner: Zack Greinke

I would like to personally thank the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and more importantly, Zack Greinke for making me look like a genius.

Today, Greinke won the American League Cy Young award in a landslide. Greinke received 25 out of 28 first-place votes to win the award. Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez received two first-place votes and the Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander received the other first-place vote.

Greinke was my preason pick for the Cy Young

When I picked Greinke to win the AL Cy Young award, I thought he would have a breakout year, but not to this extent. Greinke flat-out dominated the American League in 2009.

Greinke led the AL with a 2.16 ERA, 242 strike outs, a 1.073 WHIP, and a 0.4 HR/9 in 33 games in 2009. He also finished second in complete games with six and shutouts with three.

The only reason he had just 16 wins is because the team he was playing on was inept. By the way, those 16 wins represented 25 percent of the Kansas City Royals’ wins in 2009.

Greinke is an amazing story. Remember, four years ago Greinke lost 17 games and just three years ago this was a guy who left spring training because of a social anxiety disorder and wasn’t sure if he wanted to play baseball again.

Now he is one of the best, young pitchers in the game and should be an ace for years to come.

Greinke becomes the third Kansas City Royal to win the Cy Young. David Cone won the award in 1994 and Bret Saberhagen won the award in 1985 and 1989.

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

Looking Back On Some Baseball Bets

October 5, 2009

Before the regular season started, I gave some predictions on some prop bets for the baseball season. Now that the regular season is almost over, I thought it would be a good time today to look back at some of those predictions I made.

All lines were curtesy of Bodoglife.com

Player Bets

Aubrey Huff. Over/Under 23 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Over Huff had 15 Hr’s

Dustin Pedroia. Over/Under 40 1/2 Doubles – I like the Over Pedroia had 48 doubles

Josh Beckett. Over/Under 14 1/2 Wins – I like the Over* Beckett won 17 games

Joba Chamberlain. Over/Under 13 1/2 Wins – I like the Under Chamberlain won 9 games

Derek Jeter. Over/Under .303 average – I like the Over Jeter hit .334

Evan Longoria. Over/Under 107 1/2 RBI – I like the Over Longoria had 113 RBI

BJ Ryan. Over/Under 34 1/2 Saves – I like the Under* Ryan had two saves

Zack Greinke. Over/Under 13 1/2 Wins – I like the Over Greinke had 16 wins

Miguel Cabrera. Over/Under 34 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Over Cabrera has 33 Hr’s

Gary Sheffield. Over/Under 18 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Under Sheffield had 10 Hr’s

Bobby Abreu. Over/Under 99 1/2 RBI – I like the Under Abreu had 103 RBI

Brian Fuentes. Over/Under 32 1/2 Saves – I like the Under Fuentes had 48 saves

Ken Griffey Jr. Over/Under 18 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Under Griffey Jr. had 19 Hr’s

Brett Myers. Over/Under 11 1/2 Wins – I like the Over Myers had four wins

Albert Pujols. Over/Under 117 1/2 RBI – I like the Over Pujols had 135 RBI

Adrian Gonzalez. Over/Under 29 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Over Gonzalez had 40 Hr’s

Randy Johnson. Over/Under 10 1/2 Wins – I like the Under Johnson had eight wins

Team Bets

Tigers. Over/Under 81 1/2 Wins – I like the Under* Tigers will have 86 0r 87 wins

Twins. Over/Under 83 1/2 Wins. I like the Over Twins will have 86 or 87 wins

Braves. Over/Under 84 1/2 Wins. I like the Over Braves won 86

Dodgers. Over/Under 84 1/2 Wins. I like the Over Dodgers won 95

Mets. Over/Under 89 1/2 Wins. I like the Under Mets won 70

Cardinals. Over/Under 82 1/2 Wins. I like the Over* Cards won 91

Giants. Over/Under 80 1/2 Wins. I like the Under Giants won 88

Royals. Over/Under 75 1/2 Wins. I like the Over Royals won 65

* indicates Best Bet

Not bad. I went three out of four on my “best bets.” I was really surprised the Tigers had the year they did. I definitely didn’t see it coming.

Overall, I went 16 for 25. That’s 64 percent for those of you scoring at home. If Cabrera can hit two Hr’s on Tuesday night, I can get up to 68 percent.

I think if you went to Las Vegas and won 64 percent of the time you would take it.

I will revisit the rest of my predictions after the season ends.

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.

One last thing. If you are looking for a New York Yankees Ipod protective case, or a Boston Red Sox cell phone holder, or even a Los Angeles Dodgers Blackberry case — check out Accessorygeeks.com.

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

Zack Greinke Wraps Up Cy Young Award With Victory Against Boston Red Sox

September 23, 2009

With all due respect to CC Sabathia, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Roy Halladay, and Mariano Rivera — they are not winning the American League Cy Young award in 2009. That honor will go to Kansas City Royals ace Zack Greinke.

My preseason pick to win the AL Cy Young award (I am going to take that to the grave with me.) all but wrapped up the award with a solid six inning, zero-run performance against the Boston Red Sox last night.

Greinke was the man again ast night

Greinke was the man again ast night

Did Greinke have his best stuff last night? Probably not. He did walk three in six innings of work. But Greinke proved last night why he is the best pitcher in baseball in 2009 — even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, he can still dominate one of the best lineups in baseball.

Greinke only allowed two hits and kept the Red Sox hitters off-balance all night. He made Kevin Youkilis look awful in three AB’s. He struck Youkilis out twice and in the third AB, all Youkilis could do is flick his wrists and hit a lazy fly ball to center.

Youkilis looked more confused that I did watching an episode of the X Files.

What I love about Greinke is that be makes everything look so effortless on the mound. Greinke is in such a groove that he can throw any pitch, any time in the count and it appears like it is no big deal to the viewer.

Greinke improved to 15-8 with his win last night. Greinke is now first in the AL in ERA (2.08), first in shutouts (three), first in WHIP (1.059), first in hits/9 innings (7.57), second in complete games (six), and second in strikeouts (229).

Lady’s and gentleman, your 2009 AL Cy Young award winner.

2009 All-Fantasy Breakout Team

September 17, 2009

Yesterday, I did my 2009 All-Fantasy Bust Team. So of course, it’s only appropriate for me to do the 2009 All-Fantasy Breakout Team.

Let’s not beat around the bush. Here is the 2009 All-Fantasy Breakout Team sponsored by the Jose Lima Foundation… “There’s a one-year wonder in all of us.”

Honorable Mention: Billy Butler, Jason Bartlett, Adam Kennedy, Justin Upton, Ryan Franklin, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Johnson, Heath Bell, Ben Zobrist

Catcher: Joe Mauer, .373/27/85

I know it’s hard to label Mauer as a breakout player because he has already established himself as one of the game’s best offensive catchers. However, Mauer has taken his game to another level in 2009.

Mauer has flirted with .400 at times this season and has already hit more homeruns this season (27) than he has in the last two seasons combined (16).

Morales has had a breakout 2009

Morales has had a breakout 2009

First Base: Kendry Morales, .306/30/98

Coming into this season, Morales had 12 HR’s with 45 RBI and a .249 avg. in 127 career games. This year Morales has 30 HR’s and 98 RBI in 136 games.

Morales is only 26 and should be a fixture on fantasy teams for years to come.

Second Base: Aaron Hill, .286/32/86

Hill missed the majority of the 2008 season with a concussion. Hill has come back with a solid 2009 season and has given fantasy owners a legitimate power source at second base.

Hill is only 27, so he should be coming into his own at the plate.

Shortstop: Marco Scutaro, .284/12/60/.381 with 13 SB’s

Until this year, Scutaro was a fantasy afterthought. Come to think of it, he was an afterthought to most major-league GM’s. I will just come out and say it — Scutaro was a scrub until this year.

Now, Scutaro is second in the majors in walks, and has provided owners with a solid average and OBP all year.

Third Base: Pablo Sandoval, .322/21/77

Sandoval has rewarded fantasy owners who followed him at the end of the 2008 season. In 2008, Sandoval hit .345 in 41 games for the San Francisco Giants.

Sandoval has been a fantasy beast in 2009 and at only 23-years-old, he should be a force in fantasy baseball for years to come.

Outfield: Nyjer Morgan, .307/3/39 with 42 SB’s

Coming into this year, Morgan was a 29-year-old career minor leaguer, who only had 293 career AB’s. This year, Morgan has blossomed into a legit fantasy contributor.

Morgan’s greatest asset is his speed and with 42 steals this season, he won fantasy owners the stolen base category many weeks.

Outfield: Michael Bourn, .294/3/35 with 57 SB’s.

Bourn always had the speed, but the issue has always been whether or not Bourn could hit at the major-league level. Coming into 2009, Bourn was a career .237 hitter with a .299 OBP.

Bourn in 2009 has answered his critiques. Bourn has more walks in 2009 than he had in his first three seasons combined. If he is walking more, it means he is getting on base more.

Bourn is tied for second amongst all outfielders in stolen bases with 57 and tied for fifth in runs with 90.

Outfield: Nelson Cruz, .266/32/71

Cruz was labeled as a classic “AAAA” player. A great minor league player, but never could do it at the major-league level. All Cruz has done in 2009 is give fantasy owners who have him 32 homeruns.

In his first four seasons with the Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers, Cruz hit a combined 22 homeruns.

Greinke has been fantasy's best pitcher

Greinke has been fantasy's best pitcher

Starting Pitcher: Zack Greinke, 13-8 with a 2.19 ERA

Greinke lost 17 games in 2005 and pitched in just three games in 2006. Those days are a distant memory for Greinke. In 2009, he is baseball’s best fantasy pitcher.

Greinke leads the majors in ERA, WHIP, and shutouts. He is also second in strikeouts with 216. Greinke should be a fantasy ace for here on out.

Starting Pitcher: Wandy Rodriguez, 13-10 with a 2.77 ERA

Rodriguez wasn’t even drafted in my fantasy draft. Now, he is a legit No. 2 pitcher in all fantasy formats.

Starting Pitcher: Scott Feldman, 16-5 with a 3.65 ERA

Coming into 2009, Feldman had a grand total of seven wins in four major-league seasons. Now, he leads the American League in winning percentage and is tied for third in the majors with 16 wins.

What were the odds of that at the beginning of the season? Five million to one?

Closer: David Aardsma, 35 saves with a 2.09 ERA

If Feldman was a surprise, then Aardsma is five surprises wrapped into one. Nostradamus couldn’t have predicted Aardsma’s season.

Aardsma didn’t have a single save or an ERA under four coming into 2009. Now Aardsma is having just as good a year as Joe Nathan, Jonathan Papelbon, and Jonathan Broxton.

Incredible.