Thursday, July 29, 2010

Necessity lead negotiator as trade deadline looms

100 games into the marathon that is a Major League Baseball season, most teams have a firm grip on the reality of their prospects to continue play into the post season and now you’re beginning to see who solidifying their position as a contender and who is desperately trying to become one.

*****UPDATE******
The NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals made a three-team trade Saturday, getting pitcher Jake Westbrook from Cleveland and sending outfielder Ryan Ludwick to NL West-leading San Diego.
The New York Yankees have completed their trade to acquire Lance Berkman from the Houston Astros.

The World Series champions sent reliever Mark Melancon and minor league infielder Jimmy Paredes to Houston for the former All-Star first baseman, who will become the Yankees' designated hitter. Houston will pay part of what Berkman is owed.On Friday, New York obtained outfielder Austin Kearns from Cleveland for a player to be named or cash.

Roy Oswalt officially has accepted his proposed trade to the Philadelphia Phillies. This was the second straight year the Phillies made a major trade for a pitcher in the days leading up to the July 31 deadline. Last season, they got Cliff Lee and he boosted them to another NL pennant -- Lee was then sent to Seattle in a separate deal on the same day the Phillies acquired Halladay.

Despite putting together a 7-3 run since the break, the Phillies still find themselves 3.5 back of the Braves for the Central crown and two back in the WC race. Falling to seventh in the National League in overall pitching Philly needs to land one more major arm to make their staff ‘playoff worthy’The Phillies and Astros have intensified talks in the last 24 hours about a deal that would send Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia, sources said. But major financial obstacles remain that could still stand in the way of this trade being completed before Saturday's trading deadline. Officials of multiple teams that have been speaking with the two clubs said Wednesday they believed the Phillies and Astros were close enough to agreeing on the players who would go to Houston that the players were no longer viewed as a major obstacle. The Astros would receive pitcher J.A. Happ, plus prospects. But the teams were said to be "not in total agreement" yet on the prospects.

The Dodgers fall under the ‘must trade’ category as they’ve watched their season prospects quickly diminish after the loss of Manny Ramirez. Just a month ago they were 2 games out of first in the NL West and 3 games up on the Wild Card and now they find themselves 6 back in the West, 3.5 games out of the WC and facing the toughest schedule in MLB. LA acquired veteran outfielder Scott Podsednik from the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday, a move designed to shore up their outfield at a time when Manny Ramirez and backup outfielder Reed Johnson are on the disabled list with no definitive indication of when either of them will be back. To get Podsednik, the Dodgers sent their top catching prospect, Lucas May, to the Royals, along with low Class A pitcher Elisaul Pimentel.

The banged-up Detroit Tigers are going to become a factor they’ll need to start making up some ground on the Sox and Twins, who unfortunately are two of the hottest teams in baseball. Detroit acquired third baseman Jhonny Peralta from the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday for minor league left-hander Giovanni Soto. Detroit also received cash considerations in the trade. Peralta will fill-in for Brandon Inge, the Tigers' injured third baseman. Who else needs to make some moves prior to the deadline? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.


Monday, July 19, 2010

With all divisions still within striking distance season gearing up for a wild finish

For the first time since the MLB re-alignment all of the divisions are within 5 games this late in the season, but is that due to parity, pitching, or lack of offense now that the players aren’t juiced? I think the answer is a combination of the three. No doubt the farm systems are working well as the young crop of talent being brought has been paying dividends both on the filed and on the ledger sheet as the ‘gap players’ are doing more than holding their own as the clubs try to stomach some the contracts of their marquis players. The Rays are still going toe-to-toe with the ‘Evil Empire’ and only have 2 players making 10 million per year. Obviously New York is the aberration having 9 at 10mil and 4 at 20 or more, and although the Sox only have 3 at 10mil milepost their 160 million dollar payroll is almost three times that of the Rays. However Pitching has been the story this season as we’ve seen more no-nos, perfect games, and near perfections than we’ve ever seen and there is no doubt that you have to give some credence to the notion that part of has to do with the fact there is going to be some lag time for the hitters to catch up and adapt to not have the juice flowing through their system. Now when you see a hitter going the opposite way for a 2-bagger or going yard you really can appreciate the natural ability rather the needles. I know I’m always ‘cappin’ on the Padres who despite not being in the top 20 in ANY meaningful offensive team statistic, and only having one player on the All-Star team have actually increased their lead in the NL West to four games due to their pitching staff. Now is this going to be enough to get them trough the Summer and into Fall remains to be seen. Lastly, there simply isn’t that one monster team anymore. The Yanks are the closest thing we have and they may still have one more gear left before the second season but they’re getting older and the arms are wearing thin. They will really face a test to their depth in the pen now that AP is going on the DL for at least a month (please see the afore mentioned roid reference). Other than NY, their isn’t one team that can’t be taken down in a seven-game series and that is why the second half of the season and playoffs promises to be unpredictable and exciting. We previously posted that prize money from the All-Star game could be the deciding factor as now the NL will host the Series and in a year where there are only two clubs playing .600 ball it may prove to be the difference. Why do you think there is such parity in MLB this year? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.


Monday, July 12, 2010

This year in particular the ALL-Star Game is more than a game for show

There will be plenty of chips in the center of the table when they throw out the first pitch for the 2010 All-Star game other than upset advertisers if the game is a sleeper. Ever since they raised the stakes by awarding the winner of the game the privilege of hosting the World Series for their league champion. However this year will double down that bet as the top teams in each league (Yankees/Braves) have 2 of top 3 home records in all of baseball. NYY is 28-13 second only to the Tigers in winning percentage, and the Braves have the best home record in all of baseball at 30-10, a winning percentage (.750) that is hotter that the summers in Hotlanta. Because of this long gone are the days of playing hometown boys 5 innings, letting pitchers finish out their inning if they’re getting rocked, and, gasp! playing for the tie in order to get to the airport in time for your flight. Ok, so it improves the TV ratings, probably the game itself, and increases the revenue for the league but is it really fair to a club that bust it’s @#% for the whole year to gain best record only to have it “awarded” to the opposing team because of that outcome of a game they couldn’t control? The Braves have the most to lose with this system and even with 4 players on the NL team (second in NL to St. Louis) that only represents 10% of the team so if the other 90% decide to hit Hollywood the night before or catch some rays in Newport, and aren’t ready to play come Tuesday, the entire Braves team may be regretting the outcome that warm Summer night when the weather turns cold in October. And what if the moon’s align and the Padres continue to surprise and make a return trip for the first time in a over a quarter century with their lone representative? I’m not trying to stir things up when there’s no war to be fought, and God knows Selig is up to his Dumbo’s in rhetoric over instant replay but, remember this entry come October when game 7 is scheduled to be in Yankee Stadium and the question is raised how they were so lucky to not be staring in the face of a 25% chance of placing another trophy in the case. Do you like MLB’s position on awarding the League that wins the All-Star game home filed advantage? Let us know here and in the All-Star game chat room or quick links:


Sunday, July 4, 2010

All -Star Teams announced

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Pitchers

Clay Buchholz, Boston, player voting

Trevor Cahill, Oakland, manager selection

Fausto Carmona, Cleveland, manager selection

Neftali Feliz, Texas, player voting

Phil Hughes, N.Y. Yankees, player voting

Cliff Lee, Seattle, player voting

Jon Lester, Boston, player voting

David Price, Tampa Bay, player voting

Mariano Rivera, N.Y. Yankees, player voting

CC Sabathia, N.Y. Yankees, manager selection

Joakim Soria, Kansas City, manager selection

Matt Thornton, Chicago White Sox, manager selection

Jose Valverde, Detroit, player voting

Catchers

x-John Buck, Toronto, player voting

z-Victor Martinez, Boston, player voting

s-Joe Mauer, Minnesota, fan voting

Designated Hitter

s-Vladimir Guerrero, Texas, fan voting

David Ortiz, Boston, player voting

Infielders

Elvis Andrus, Texas, player voting

Adrian Beltre, Boston, player voting

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit, player voting

s-Robinson Cano, N.Y. Yankees, fan voting

s-Derek Jeter, N.Y. Yankees, fan voting

y-Ian Kinsler, Texas, player voting

s-Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay, fan voting

s-Justin Morneau, Minnesota, fan voting

z-Dustin Pedroia, Boston, player voting

Alex Rodriguez, N.Y. Yankees, manager selection

Ty Wigginton, Baltimore, manager selection

Outfielders

Jose Bautista, Toronto, player voting

s-Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay, fan voting

s-Josh Hamilton, Texas, fan voting

Torii Hunter, L.A. Angels, player voting

s-Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle, fan voting

Vernon Wells, Toronto, player voting

Final Man

Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox

Nick Swisher, N.Y. Yankees

Delmon Young, Minnesota

Michael Young, Texas

Kevin Youkilis, Boston
s-starter, x-replaces Victor Martinez, y-replaces Dustin Pedroia, z-injured, will not play



NATIONAL LEAGUE


Pitchers

Jonathan Broxton, L.A. Dodgers, player voting

Matt Capps, Washington, player voting

Chris Carpenter, St. Louis, manager selection

Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee, manager selection

Roy Halladay, Philadelphia, player voting

Tim Hudson, Atlanta, manager selection

Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado, player voting

Josh Johnson, Florida, player voting

Tim Lincecum, San Francisco, player voting

Evan Meek, Pittsburgh, manager selection

Arthur Rhodes, Cincinnati, manager selection

Adam Wainwright, St. Louis, player voting

Brian Wilson, San Francisco, player voting

Catchers

Brian McCann, Atlanta, player voting

s-Yadier Molina, St. Louis, fan voting

Infielders

Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego, player voting

Ryan Howard, Philadelphia, manager selection

Omar Infante, Atlanta, manager selection

x-Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati, manager selection

s-Martin Prado, Atlanta, player voting

s-Albert Pujols, St. Louis, fan voting

s-Hanley Ramirez, Florida, fan voting

y-Jose Reyes, N.Y. Mets, player voting

Scott Rolen, Cincinnati, player voting

z-Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado, player voting

z-Chase Utley, Philadelphia, fan voting

s-David Wright, N.Y. Mets, fan voting

Outfielders

Michael Bourn, Houston, manager selection

s-Ryan Braun, Milwaukee, fan voting

Marlon Byrd, Chicago Cubs, player voting

s-Andre Ethier, L.A. Dodgers, fan voting

Corey Hart, Milwaukee, player voting

s-Jayson Heyward, Atlanta, fan voting

Matt Holliday, St. Louis, player voting

Chris Young, Arizona, manager selection

Final Man

Heath Bell, San Diego

Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado

Joey Votto, Cincinnati

Billy Wagner, Atlanta

Ryan Zimmerman, Washington

s-starter, x-replaces Chase Utley, y-replaces Troy Tulowitzki, z-injured will not play
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