November 2011

GM for the Day: Philadelphia Phillies

After going 102-60, you’d think the Phillies were in good shape.  The team has some interesting decisions to make, though.  Ryan Howard, who tore his Achilles tendon on the last play of Game Five of the NLDS against St. Louis, could be out for an extended period, though he could be back at the end of April.  Howard is just beginning a 5-year, $125 million extension this year and he just turned 32.  It’ll be interesting to see if he can live up to that deal after this injury.  Chase Utley will be 33 in mid-December and has two years left on his deal, Placido Polanco is 36 and has an option for 2013, and Carlos Ruiz turns 33 in January and has an option for 2013.  Jimmy Rollins is a Free Agent right now and he may not be a lock to come back.  What does all of this mean?  The Phillies are getting old fast.  Time flies when you’re having fun and Phillies fans have enjoyed having four aces in the rotation.  Now, they have to wonder how they are going to compete when they need to replace players or upgrade all over the diamond in years to come.  However, it’s doubtful that they’ll be trading away all of their talent in the system and they’ll continue being major players in Free Agency.  Lets look at their current roster:

C: Carlos Ruiz

1B: John Mayberry – Howard will be here when he is healthy, of course.

2B: Chase Utley

3B: Placido Polanco

SS: Wilson Valdez

LF: Domonic Brown

CF: Shane Victorino

RF: Hunter Pence

Bench: Brian Schneider (C), Jim Thome (1B/PH), Ty Wigginton (1B/2B/3B/OF), Ben Francisco (OF), John Bowker (OF)

Starting Pitchers: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Vance Worley and Joe Blanton

Relief Pitchers: Jonathan Papelbon, Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo, Kyle Kendrick, David Herndon, Jose Contreras, Joe Savory

What can you do with this?  There is a lot of money locked up already, so I’ll keep it simple.  Clearly, the team needs a shortstop.  Wilson Valdez had a .634 OPS in exactly 300 plate appearances last year, so that isn’t going to do.  He’s useful as a reserve since he can play up the middle, but is giving a 5-year deal to Jimmy Rollins smart?  He’d be 38 at the end of the deal.  If Jeter can’t get it, Rollins shouldn’t either, right?  If Rollins would take a 3-year, $36 million deal, I’d do it, but he can probably do better than that from someone else.  I’d give Alex Gonzalez a one-year deal for $3 million.  Though he’ll be 35 and had an OPS of just .642, he managed to rip 43 XBH and his .981 fielding percentage is better than the league average at short of .971.  You can lock up other talent in the money you’re saving on Rollins in the future.  The offense is fine to me outside of short.  Domonic Brown needs an opportunity to prove himself.  He has been the “next coming” long enough to get an extended look.  If he fails miserably, Ben Francisco is solid and John Mayberry will need a place to play when Howard comes back.  I’d give Brown April to see what he can do and go from there.

The rotation is still strong.  Even losing Roy Oswalt, the team has three aces.  Halladay, Lee and Hamels is as good a 1-2-3 as Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz.  Worley was very good in 2011.  I could see the Phillies selling high on him and getting a J.A. Happ return (silly Astros, big league deals aren’t for kids), but he could be an innings eating #4 guy.  Joe Blanton used to be that.  He is supposedly over his 2011 elbow issues, but those things can flare up at times.  Trevor May, the team’s top prospect, was only in the High-A Florida State League last year, so he could get a taste of the Majors in 2012, but it certainly won’t be out of Spring Training.  I would grab Joel Pineiro as depth since we saved money on letting Rollins walk.  A one-year, incentive laden deal could get him since he is coming off of a miserable 2011 season.

Sebastian Valle is a potential stud catching prospect.  Freddy Galvis is a shortstop prospect with a slick glove and a little pop and speed, and he made an appearance at Triple-A last year at the age of 21.  May is on the rise and Phillipp Aumont is a solid future bullpen arm.  The Phillies have talent on the way if they can make do with what they have for another year.  They’ll also have to re-up Hamels since he hits Free Agency after 2012.  So, this is my version of the 2012 Phillies:

2 Catchers: Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider

1B: Ryan Howard

2B: Chase Utley

3B: Placido Polanco

SS: Alex Gonzalez

LF: Domonic Brown

CF: Shane Victorino

RF: Hunter Pence

Bench: Jim Thome (1B/PH), John Mayberry, Jr. (1B/OF), Ty Wigginton (1B/2B/3B/OF), Wilson Valdez (2B/SS) Ben Francisco (OF)

Starting Pitchers: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Joel Pineiro and Vance Worley

Relief Pitchers: Jonathan Papelbon, Kyle Kendrick, Joe Blanton, Antonio Bastardo, David Herndon, Jose Contreras and Michael Stutes.

They’ll probably sign Rollins and I’ll look like an ass clown, but I think they’ll need to simmer down on the huge extensions to aging players.  They have been successful and have a revenue machine in their ballpark and attendance, but you still have to be smart.  If I were a Phillies fan, I wouldn’t want to lock up a mid-30’s shortstop long-term, especially watching Howard collapse on the field in October.

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GM for the Day: New York Mets

Not a job that I would really want right now, but it would be interesting.  The pieces that this team has in place are useful, but not enough to build a long-term contender.  Re-signing Jose Reyes was the “priority” of the actual team and ownership, but it should probably be cutting payroll and starting over.  The Mets did a nice job snagging a future frontline starter in Zack Wheeler in the Carlos Beltran deal last season, but what more could they do?

If you read my post about what I would have done as GM of the Miami Marlins (http://thebaseballhaven.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/gm-for-the-day-flor-uh-miami-marlins/), you would have seen that I had the Mets dealing David Wright to the Fish for Christian Yelich, Matt Dominguez and Chad James.  This deal is something I would jump at in a rebuilding mode as the Mets GM.  I would also let Jose Reyes walk.  I understand that Mets fans would be upset with a rebuilding situation but the team and ownership need to take a step back and get a breath after miserable contracts to Carlos Beltran and Johan Santana come to their conclusions.

The team right now would be this:

C: Josh Thole

1B: Ike Davis

2B: Justin Turner

3B: David Wright

SS: Ruben Tejada

LF: Jason Bay

CF: Angel Pagan

RF: Lucas Duda

Bench: Mike Baxter (OF), Jason Pridie (OF), Daniel Murphy (1B/2B/3B), Ronny Paulino (C), Josh Satin (INF)

Starting Pitchers: Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, Dillon Gee and Jon Niese

Relief Pitchers: Bobby Parnell, Manny Acosta, D.J. Carrasco, Tim Byrdak, Pedro Beato, Daniel Herrera and Josh Stinson.

There isn’t a whole lot to work with here.  Again, I’d deal Wright.  You’d get Matt Dominguez to start at third immediately.  He isn’t an offensive force but Wright wasn’t last year due to back injuries, but he is just 22-years-old.  Tejada at short is fine.  He showed some nice skills last year, going .284/.360/.335 in 96 games at the age of 21.  Ike Davis is the new face of the franchise, as he showed enough in his first 183 games to prove he is legit.  Justin Turner is ok at second but he is just keeping a spot warm for Reese Havens, who, once he stays healthy for a few weeks in the Minors, will be ready to help in New York.  he’ll be valuable around the field in other ways and he showed enough to keep the job another year if Havens is hurt again.  Angel Pagan is rumored to be a non-tender candidate still and he is due a raise from the $3.5 million he made last year.  I’d give him $5 million for this year in arbitration and hope he reaches his 2010 stats, when he had 49 XBH and 37 steals.  He’d be a solid leadoff hitter with Reyes gone.  Lucas Duda could be another solid foundational guy, taking over in right with Davis back.  He posted an .852 OPS in just 347 plate appearances, including 34 XBH.

The rotation is ok.  They aren’t going to replace three starters via Free Agency with this weak class.  They have talented young arms that are coming up, including Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia, and Jenrry Mejia.  Santana still has two years and $49.5 million on his deal before they can buy him out for $5.5 million in 2014.  If anything, they should shop Mike Pelfrey and his underachieving Dumbo ears (see below)because he isn’t worth $5 million to throw two pitches as a starting pitcher in the Majors.  I could see Joel Pineiro signing for the same amount or less and his sinker would play well with a strong defense that Dominguez and Tejada provide on the left side of the infield.

I wouldn’t touch the bullpen.  Parnell has closer “stuff” and the rest of the group is a crapshoot like bullpens every year.  I wouldn’t go out and give $10 million to a set-up man like the team across town.

So, this is the 25-man roster of the Mets below.  There isn’t much to change or work with.  Building for the future would require that big David Wright deal.  Christian Yelich is the big piece in the trade and Chad James had #1 stuff coming out of high school.  It’ll be interesting to see how they handle the team in “real-life” if or when they lose out on Reyes and need to officially go in another direction:

2 Catchers: Josh Thole and Ronny Paulino

1B: Ike Davis

2B: Justin Turner

3B: Matt Dominguez

SS: Ruben Tejada

LF: Jason Bay

CF: Angel Pagan

RF: Lucas Duda

Bench: Mike Baxter (OF), Jason Pridie (OF), Daniel Murphy (1B/2B/3B), Ronny Paulino (C), Josh Satin (INF)

Starting Pitchers: Johan Santana, Joel Pineiro, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and R.A. Dickey

Relief Pitchers: Bobby Parnell, Manny Acosta, D.J. Carrasco, Tim Byrdak, Pedro Beato, Daniel Herrera and Josh Stinson.

They aren’t a great team and they weren’t with Wright and Reyes last season.  They need a lot of work, time, and patience, something fans in New York aren’t known for.  When a franchise loses it’s identity, it is tough for everyone, and the Mets are losing Reyes AND Wright based on my actions.  ESPN won’t want to show any of their games on Sunday nights and they won’t be able to pimp the “Subway Series”…what will they do!?  In 2015, the Mets will compete.  They’ll have Santana and Bay off the books, they’ll have young arms arriving and settling into their roles, and they’ll have talent all over the diamond.  Baby steps.

Jonathan Schoop

Sometimes guys show a lot of tools early in their Minor League careers, like Brandon Wood hitting 43 homers in 2005 in the California League, only to flame out, like Brandon Wood has for the Angels and Pirates at the age of 27, and never amount to anything near what they were supposed to, like Brandon Wood of the Colorado Rockies…

Then, there are other guys who show tools and work out, like Mike Stanton, who hit 39 homers in his first full season in the Minors in 2008 and now has 56 homers in 250 Major League games.

Jon Schoop was a shortstop and will probably be a third baseman for the Orioles.  He turned 20-years-old in October, so he played all of 2011 as a 19-year-old.  Keep that in mind when you see that he posted these numbers:

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
DEL SAL .316 51 212 45 67 12 3 8 34 109 20 32 6 4 .376 .514 .890
FRE CAR .271 77 299 37 81 12 2 5 37 112 22 44 6 3 .329 .375 .704
Minors .290 128 511 82 148 24 5 13 71 221 42 76 12 7 .349 .432 .781

 

So, he didn’t hit 43 homers like Wood or 39 like Stanton.  He did have solid gap power with his 29 combined doubles and triples PLUS the ability to hit for power with 13 bombs.  13 isn’t a number that would strike fear into pitchers, but it will be.  At 6’1″, 187 pounds, Schoop will fill out.  He is the type of guy that Dynasty League fantasy nerds need to check out.  He’s young, projectable and he plays for a bad team…all of that means that he will move, move quickly and earn a shot sooner than later to play in Baltimore.  Schoop showed solid plate discipline and stole 12 bases.  While his OPS and SLG could leave you wishing for more right now, he is a guy that should be tucked away.  Keep your eyes peeled to his stats.  He’ll possibly start the year in High-A again, but if he shows the same skills he did in his 77 games there in 2011, he’ll be one of the younger players in Double-A.

GM for the Day: Flor…uh…Miami Marlins

Sweet new stadium and one ugly-ass logo, welcome the new and “improved” Marlins.  After gaining ownership in 2002, the Marlins have done some crazy stuff with their payroll.  Look at their payroll and payroll ranking since Jeff Loria became owner in 2002:

2002: $ 41,979,917 – 25th

2003: $ 45,050,000 – 25th

2004: $ 42,143,042 – 25th

2005: $ 60,408,834 – 19th

2006: $ 14,998,500 – 30th

2007: $ 30,507,000 – 29th

2008: $ 21,811,500 – 30th

2009: $ 36,834,000 – 30th

2010: $ 47,429,719 – 26th

2011: $ 57,695,000 – 24th

Keep in mind that in 2006, when the payroll was under $15 million, the Marlins received $31 million in revenue sharing…POCKETING $16 million while Loria was demanding a new stadium to help draw fans, while he wasn’t giving the fans a team worth seeing AND still making money.  Shocking.  The new stadium…publicly funded.  Nice job, Loria.

Now, the Marlins are said to be talking to Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols and Mark Buehrle.  Maybe they saved up that money for this offseason!?  The Marlins have a decent first baseman in Gaby Sanchez, who hasn’t been great but he is serviceable (2nd in NL in Fielding % with .786 career OPS), and an All Star shortstop in Hanley Ramirez, who had a miserable 2011 season, but, when healthy, is a top 10 position player in baseball.  They are going after a first baseman and a shortstop in Pujols and Reyes.  The rumored Reyes signing would allow the Marlins to move Ramirez to third, where Matt Dominguez, the team’s top prospect going into last season and currently ranked #4 by Baseball America (http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2012/2612559.html), is supposed to eventually take over.  The team needs pop and more pitching.  Here is what I would do:

You want to make a big splash, Marlins? (Pun intended)  New stadium, apparently you have money to spend now…Offer the Mets Christian Yelich (#1 prospect, first baseman/outfielder), Matt Dominguez (your “future third baseman) and Chad James (LHP prospect) for David Wright.  I’m giving up excellent prospects because the Mets want to get rid of some payroll, which they are doing here, AND they’re helping out by giving us $10 million of the $30+ million they owe to Wright.  Extend Wright, who is due $15 million in 2012 and $16 million in 2013, for another five years and $85 million, giving him basically a seven-year, $116 million deal for your team.  Extend Hanley Ramirez, who has three years and $46.5 million on his deal, for two more seasons at $16 million.  He’s 27 and can move to the outfield and produce if he can’t stay at short.  You just upgraded your team without blocking and de-valuing the players you already have.  Now, you have an Opening Day lineup of:

C: John Buck

1B: Gaby Sanchez

2B: Omar Infante

3B: David Wright

SS: Hanley Ramirez

LF: Logan Morrison

CF: Bryan Peterson

RF: Mike Stanton

Buck is fine at catcher, Infante is also serviceable and can play multiple positions (in case of an injury), but we’ll need a center fielder.  You need a good defensive player since Morrison is a converted outfielder (from first base) and Mike Stanton is a big human being in right.  Coco Crisp has been around the league and still plays great defense.  Though he’ll be 32-years-old for all of the 2012 season, I would take a chance on him as a leadoff hitter and stopgap.

At pitcher, you need an arm.  Mark Buehrle would be a great signing.  His reliable arm is something the Marlins haven’t had and he could teach the younger guys how to pitch instead of just throwing.  Their bullpen is a mess if they don’t keep Juan Carlos Oviedo AKA Leo Nunez at closer.  They had depth in the ‘pen last year and good young arms that continue to come up to help out there.  Bullpens are not something that I think too much about, as many teams have given the job to young guys in recent years with success (see http://thebaseballhaven.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/contractual-nightmares-of-closers-over/).

So, trade for Wright, sign Buehrle and Crisp and have this as your 25-man roster:

2 Catchers: John Buck and Brett Hayes

1B: Gaby Sanchez

2B: Omar Infante

3B: David Wright

SS: Hanley Ramirez

LF: Logan Morrison

CF: Coco Crisp

RF: Mike Stanton

Bench: Scott Cousins (OF), Emilio Bonifacio (super-utility), Donnie Murphy (INF), Bryan Peterson (OF)

Five Starting Pitchers: Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez, and Wade LeBlanc

Seven Bullpen Arms: Juan Ovieda, Edward Mujica, Michael Dunn, Ryan Webb, Randy Choate, Burke Badenhop, and Steve Cishek.

This roster may or may not be enough to get the Marlins past the Phillies in the NL East.  They’ll have talent but not a whole lot of depth.  By making a trade that included a potential long-term centerfielder in Yelich, they’d be making a run to the top now.  They could see revenue from their new stadium and success, which, in turn, will allow for future spending to help with their depth and rotation, much like the Phillies have done in recent years with increased payroll through success and revenue.

 

GM for the Day: Atlanta Braves

The Braves are trying to save money this offseason, so they dealt Derek Lowe and ate about $10 million of the $15 million owed to Lowe in 2012.  They are looking at dealing Martin Prado, who made $3.1 million in 2011 and could make about $4.5 million in arbitration, with the Tigers and Rockies in on him.  Michael Bourn’s salary could jump from $4 million to over $7 million.  Jair Jurrjens’ salary could rise from $3.2 million to over $5 million.  Eric O’Flaherty and Peter Moylan will make over $2 million each, with O’Flaherty jumping from $895K and Moylan standing pat at $2 million after an injury-plagued 2011.

Prado and Jurrjens are on the trading block, if Bourn’s salary request is too high, they could non-tender him, and Moylan needs to prove he is healthy or they could non-tender him, too.  Based on the rumors going on, Prado to the Rockies for Seth Smith and Tim Wheeler would be a steal.  They need a centerfielder with Bourn’s contract status, this year and going forward, uncertain.  Smith would need to be a platoon player in LF, as he is very good against RHP (.287/.360/.518, 62 2B, 16 3B, 43 HR, 140 RBI in 967 AB since start of 2009) and miserable against LHP (.213/.279/.337, 9 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 26 RBI in 202 AB since start of 2009 season).  Wheeler would be a great long-term solution in center, especially if he continues to hit like he did in 2011 in the Minors, when he posted a .287/.365/.535 with 28 2B, 6 3B, 33 HR, 86 RBI and 21 SB in Double-A.

Jurrjens is rumored to be going to the Yankees, who could really use some starting pitching.  The Braves could use a shortstop and Eduardo Nunez is said to be a part of that package.  Nunez posted a .265/.313/.385 line in his rookie season, with 18 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 30 RBI and 22 SB in 309 at bats.  The Braves are said to like his bat.  That’s laughable.  He is living and breathing and younger than Alex Gonzalez.  That is about his upside.  His highest OPS in the Minors was .792 in 2005 in Rookie Ball (281 at bats) and his highest in the “upper levels” was .782 in 2009 for Double-A (497 at bats).  Outside of Nunez, they would need to get some actual talent.  Brandon Laird would be a solid-but-not-spectacular prospect.  He is a 24-year-old 3B prospect who has done well the last couple of seasons between Double-A and Triple-A, posting 98 XBH (41 HR).  Larry Jones won’t be there forever, so they need to find someone close for his first injury of 2012.  Toss in a low-level prospect or two, who are typically a crapshoot, and the Braves dump salary, while gaining some value and organizational depth in the deal.

They can make the trade of Jurrjens due to the eruption of pitching talent that the team has had in their system.  They need to be careful with the innings as they gain experience, but their rotation can be filled with Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, Arodys Vizcaino, Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado and Kris Medlen.  Whoever doesn’t make the rotation can move to the pen to limit their innings, while gaining experience against Major League hitters.  This is what I would have as the 25-man roster based on these moves:

5 Starting Pitchers: Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Mike Minor, Randall Delgado, and Julio Teheran

6 Bullpen Arms: Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters, Kris Medlen, Eric O’Flaherty, Peter Moylan, and Cristhian Martinez

2 Catchers: Brian McCann, David Ross

1B: Freddie Freeman

2B: Dan Uggla

3B: Chipper Jones

SS: Eduardo Nunez

LF: Seth Smith

CF: Michael Bourn

RF: Jason Heyward

Bench: Tyler Pastornicky (2B/SS), Brooks Conrad (2B/3B), Erik Hinske (LF/RF/1B/PH), Matt Diaz (LF/RF), Jose Constanza (OF).

The team should go young but I think they should send Arodys Vizcaino to Triple-A to continue building him as a starter.  He only has 56 2/3 IP above High-A, so he needs the seasoning.  Matt Diaz would be the platoon parter for Seth Smith, as he has hit ..329/.376/.504 against LHP since the start of 2009 with 43 XBH in 389 at bats.  Pastornicky could use more seasoning, as well, but his speed off the bench and versatility in the middle of the infield could be more valuable right now…and he is cheap.

The Braves will compete in 2012 because Jason Heyward will finally reach expectations, they’ll have a full season with Michael Bourn’s leadoff and speed skills, and they have the makings of a dominant staff if just one or two of their studly starting pitching prospects are mediocre to a little above average.  They can continue to trim payroll in the coming years by continuing to manufacture talent.  Andrelton Simmons, Sean Gilmartin, Edward Salcedo, and Joe Terdoslavich are the next wave and only Gilmartin is a pitcher.

MLB CBA C-H-A-N-G-E-S

With the NFL losing practices and an extended Free Agency period, the NHL losing a whole season, and the NBA on the verge of losing a season, it became even more important for Major League Baseball to not suffer another strike disaster like 1994.  Having just had their most eventful postseason and last day of the season that I can remember, they needed to expand viewership and hope that they could feed off of the troubles of the other major leagues.  By agreeing in principle to a new CBA in a hand-shake deal on Thursday night, they have spared themselves another embarrassment and have strengthened their standing in an eventual rebound.  What should you expect from this new Collective Bargaining Agreement?

1) The Houston Astros will move to the American League West in 2013.

2) The playoffs will be expanded to 10 teams with the addition of another Wild Card team in two, 15-team leagues.

3) The date for clubs to decide whether to tender contracts to players will move up by 10 days, to Dec. 2.

4) Teams will have to determine whether they make a qualifying offer for a free agent at a one-year guaranteed salary based on a formula. That number is likely to be upwards of $12 million, making it highly doubtful teams would use it on players who aren’t superstars. If the player rejects the offer and signs with another team, the signing team loses its spot in the first round of the amateur draft and moves to the end. Teams will no longer lose a pick for signing a premium free agent and it is believed that Type B Free Agency is completely eliminated.

5) There will be a new, hard slotting system for the Amatuer Draft.  There will be penalties for exceeding the threshold, which would range from 75-100 percent for each dollar over the line.

And most important is 6) A blood test for HGH will be used.

This is a big deal that guarantees over 20 years of labor peace between owners and players.  What more could a baseball purist want than to know that steroids and hormones won’t be involved in the numbers produced by the current crop of players?  This is a deal that will bring excitement, Interleague play every night, and validates the performance of the players…maybe even some balance in the ability to sign draft picks.  No longer can a Rick Porcello drop from a top-five pick to low-20’s due to bonus demands.  Baby steps to relevance.  In an era where people want action and results right away, the poetic and slow developments of baseball may earn back the “America’s Game” label that football has taken away.

Why the Tigers Lack the Roar

According to Fox Sports John Paul Morosi, the Tigers and Braves are working on a deal that would send Martin Prado to Detroit.  The Tigers would be sending Delmon Young back in the deal, possibly more.  Why are they doing this?  To get a leadoff hitter.  Martin Prado is apparently their goal for that.  It’s funny and sad.  Dave Dombrowski could become Dumbrowski.

Prado has a career .341 OBP, with a career low .302 OBP in 2011.  He is arbitration eligible and he made $3.1 million in 2011.  He is 28-years-old.

Austin Jackson is or was the Tigers leadoff hitter of the future when he was acquired from the Yankees in the three-way deal with the Diamondbacks (Ian Kennedy, Curtis Granderson, and Max Scherzer were also in that deal, which was a win for everyone).  Jackson turns 25 in February, isn’t arbitration eligible until 2013, and won’t be a Free Agent until 2016.  His OBP last season was an abysmal .317, still better than Prado’s, and his career .331 OBP isn’t far off considering he hasn’t had a breakout season and his speed (49 SB in 304 games) far outweighs the “danger” that Prado brings if he gets on leading off (his career 13 SB in 527 games).  Jackson brings an element that can’t be replaced, creating runs in a spacious ballpark.  He’d still be on the team, as Prado would be in left field or at third.

Which brings us to Delmon Young.  Young is 26, he’ll be a Free Agent after the 2012 season, and he’ll make about $7 million in arbitration in 2012 after making $5.38 million last year.  Young is taking the position player Edwin Jackson approach, playing for his 3rd team at such a young age.  While he probably isn’t worth what he’ll earn in arbitration based on his production so far in his career, he has shown glimpses of stardom and he is entering his prime.  While Young has been an enigma, he hasn’t been an enema, especially as a Tiger.  The man played in just 40 games for Detroit and if you multiply his production by four (to get to 160 games), he could have posted 112 R, 184 H, 20 2B, 4 3B, 32 HR, 128 RBI and a 120/20 K/BB with a .274 AVG and .756 OPS.  While the AVG and OPS are underwhelming, his statistics are pretty sexy.  He’d be someone who would fit in nicely by Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez in the lineup if he finally breaks out.

If the Tigers can get Prado and have him play third, that would be a solid deal.  They shouldn’t get him to play left if it means giving up Delmon Young.  They shouldn’t get him to lead off because he isn’t really a good guy to have clogging up the bases IF he even gets on.  This is another addition of a veteran who might do something to help, but probably isn’t the answer.  The Tigers had a solid team this past season.  They seem to overthink things.  They STOLE Young from the Twins for the playoff run and he did a nice job producing for them.

It’s about time they make minor changes instead of reaching for a splash.  They need to keep the players that got them to where they were last season.  They need to dump guys who are hurt and cost too much like Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen.  They don’t need to trade guys in their prime for overvalued, underproducing corner players.  Do you want a guy hitting 11-15 homers in LF/RF/1B/3B?  Especially if he is below average defensively at 3B and LF like Prado is?  Wilson Betemit is below average and has posted a .378 and .343 OBP and .889 and .795 OPS the last two years, but no one is giving him a job.  Even the Tigers, as he was allowed to walk as a Free Agent.  Seems like a bad move.

Yoennis Cespedes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kREZHmOR1bg

This is the highlight video that Cuban Free Agent Yoenis Cespedes and his agency have put together.  This is a Drew Rosenhaus meets Steven Spielberg masterpiece!  Highlights, workouts, slow motion running without a shirt on…Busta Rhymes in the soundtrack.  Just magical.

This guy is supposedly 26-years-old.  He doesn’t look like a centerfielder, but that is what he is supposed to play.  There are more people on him than athletes on Bibi Jones…nice going Gronk…with the Yankees, Marlins, Indians, Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Phillies and Pirates the likely suitors.

Chances are, Cespedes will get a contract similar to Aroldis Chapman’s 6-year, $30.25 million deal, though Chapman’s 6th year is a player option for $5 million and if he stays healthy and does well, he’ll make a ton more than that.  Based on Leonys Martin, the Cuban defector signed by the Rangers last season, Cespedes could spend a season flying through the Minors before settling in as a solid player.  Martin thrived, reaching the Majors for 8 games and playing 69 games between Double and Triple-A in 2011, and he never showed the power that Cespedes did in Cuba, AND he didn’t have a highlight video that was as wonderful, either.  He looks like an interesting talent, but you never know how to judge the talent of those he was playing.

Joe Paterno Rant

This is a baseball blog, but it is my blog, so I can go off if I choose to do so.  That is what I am doing here now.  If you don’t want to read anything but baseball, scroll down on the main page.

I am a Penn State football fan.  I latched on in the early ’90’s when I was looking for a new team to love.  Tom Osborne was leaving Nebraska and I jumped to the new Big Ten team because I never really liked Ohio State and Michigan was one of my dad’s favorite teams.  A Kerry Collins-Ki-Jana Carter team won my heart, Curtis Enis stole my soul, and the Lavar Leap won my entire being.  It hasn’t all been great, there haven’t been any “National Championships” since I jumped on the wagon, but I am here to stay…even through this.

Penn State University is in the most despicable situation that any “sports franchise” has ever been a part of.  This isn’t tattoos, strippers or cars, this is much more than that.  This is a middle-aged man raping young boys.  This is 40 counts of sexual assault.  This is a legacy that is being tarnished due to the selfish actions of a disgusting man, who used his power, money and fame in Happy Valley to create a Sorrowful Gorge.

Penn State University will never be the same.  Joe Paterno will never be viewed in the same way.  The man is like the Grandpa that I could see every Saturday in the fall.  His Godfather-esque voice, amazing sweaters and vulnerability with age led him to become a beloved figure in my life.  Fall was and has been a time to enjoy the “when-will-he-crap-his-pants-on-the-sideline-this-year” jokes as Paterno became the Queen Elizabeth figurehead to a college football program.  He was there, but it is debatable as to how much he was actually involved in planning from the outside looking in.  However, what should he be from the outside looking in now?

Is he a man who dedicated 61 years of his life to an institution?  A man whose philanthropy to the institution is well documented, as he and his wife have a library named for them and their lofty donations on campus.  He has stressed doing things the right way, never getting involved in crazy shenanigans like other programs.  His demise isn’t an illegal phone call, giving cash, or hiding the truth from the NCAA.

Paterno’s demise is what he didn’t do for a child.  At the age of 76, Paterno told his boss what he had been told.  At the age of 76, we are holding a man to a high standard.  I believe the media is forgetting that in 2002, things weren’t meticulously elaborated and picked apart.  I believe the media is holding Paterno to a higher standard, in that hindsight is valued over the action that was made.  If the Athletic Director had gone straight to the police, this wouldn’t have happened.  Just like if a teacher knows that a child is being abused at home and they tell the Principal, who says they will handle it.  Who is to say that the AD didn’t take responsibility for things from there?  He has, after all, already been accused of perjury.

You can’t blame someone for hindsight, otherwise people who work in Child Services that give kids back to abusive parents, only to have a repeat offense or a child’s death would be viewed in the same manner.  Why aren’t we breathing down the necks of those mistakes?  They happen daily and we always look back in hindsight to how it could have been different and should have been different.  Well, life doesn’t work that way, so you move on.

Joe Paterno was 76 in 2002.  My grandmother hasn’t been able to take care of herself since she was 63-years-old.  Everyone is different, but do you blame someone that old for not necessarily knowing or understanding the incredible atrocity that was on-going?  Did he really understand what steps to take?  Have you ever had to explain to someone over the age of 60 how to use a cell phone?  The internet?  How to upload a file to an email?

I think we’re giving Paterno too much credit.  At 85, he should have ridden off into the sunset years ago.  He didn’t.  He continued being the Queen Elizabeth figure to the Penn State University legacy that he BUILT.  61 years, 409 wins, love earned, respect earned, and a legacy earned.  You can’t take away what the man accomplished.  A hindsight reaction for an elderly man is ruthless and unforgivable.  He was a 76-year-old man going the wrong way on a road that he shouldn’t have been on in the first place.  He was a man who was respected for what he stood for and he still stands for those things.  Hindsight doesn’t change 61 years of value, dedication, success and a legacy.

#@%$ Yeah!

Ron Washington has foul language.  If you haven’t heard his Game Seven pep-talk, you can find it here: http://vimeo.com/31675320

There are a lot of F-bombs here from everyone in the clubhouse.  Who cares?  These are grown men!  These men were in a war that evening to win the first championship in franchise history.  Ron Washington messed up when he was snorting cocaine a couple of years ago, but he didn’t do anything wrong here.  If anyone was offended in that clubhouse, they could have got up and left, they could have said something to him about toning it down.  Anyone who is listening to it now and is offended by it…well, you can go $%&@ yourself because it wasn’t meant for you.  Whoever leaked this information did so to a St. Louis blog.  Do you think that Cardinals would be offended by that?  Sure…if they are as soft as a pillowtop mattress, which is their own problem.  Get over it.  People need to deal with the fact that some things aren’t meant for them.  That pep-talk was meant for 25 men on the Rangers playoff roster and the coaches in the room.  Anyone calling for Washington’s head due to his language should take a look in the mirror and ask if they’ve ever thrown up a middle finger when they got cut off in the car, if they’ve ever spoke negatively about another person, or wonder how many other people got the live shot of Tony LaRussa dropping a “God Damn!  Jesus Christ!  Get that Asshole out!” like he did during Game Six on Fox.  If you’re playing the St. Louis blog card, there you go.  If you’re playing the holier than thou card…get over yourself.

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