Results tagged ‘ Josh Hamilton ’
Move over Alicia Keys, these boys are on fire in the month of May:
Mitch Moreland, 1B, Texas Rangers
.347/.407/.796, 17-49, 11 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 8 RBI
Long overlooked as an asset in the Rangers order, Moreland appears to be establishing himself as a valuable piece to a Hamilton-less Rangers offense. His left-handed power is needed in the middle of an order that features Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz along with switch-hitting DH Lance Berkman. Moreland is 27 and in the midst of his prime. While he does feature a pretty ugly .662 career OPS against left-handed pitching, that number has bumped up to .789 in 2013, so he could still make an interesting career out of playing in Texas. He could certainly turn his recent hot streak into a total breakout.
.340/.393/.720, 17-50, 10 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 3 SB
After taking the world by storm last season, Trout started the season slower than some fantasy nerds would have liked, posting a .261/.333/.432 triple slash in the first month of the season. He is picking things up, though, in May, displaying the power and speed that made baseball enthusiasts drool last season. Trout could be on his way to posting numbers like this over the rest of the season. Just imagine what he would be doing if Josh Hamilton was alive and breathing for the Angels…if only he could pitch, the Angels might not look like such an embarrassment.
.522/.542/.783, 12-23, 3 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB
Do you need a sleeper? The Pirates are pretty loaded in the outfield with Andrew McCutchen in center and Starling Marte in left; however, right field is a little…Travis Snider-y. Snider is still just 25 but he is under-performing, again, as the Pirates primary right fielder in 2013. His .267/.347/.356 is very weak and Tabata is heating up with the weather. Tabata, himself just 24, is another floundering former top prospect, but his ability to use the gaps and his speed would make him an asset in real-life and fantasy baseball. Clint Hurdle is an interesting manager, to say the least, so it will be interesting to see if he sticks with a strict platoon or gives Tabata a chance.
Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota Twins
.447/.552/.660, 21-47, 13 R, 10 2B, 5 RBI
Mauer continues to prove that his 2009 power surge and MVP season was an anomaly. The Twins are floating around .500 due to Mauer’s production and a whole lot of crappy pitching. If the club was serious about contending, they probably would have done something about Vance Worley and Kevin Correia being their No.1 and No.2 starter prior to the season. With a lot of their talent in their 30′s, including Mauer, the club will be hard pressed for a quick recovery. Oswaldo Arcia has been a nice addition but to even float around being mediocre, Mauer may have to hit .447 over the rest of the 2013 season. He’s hot and he’s a hitting machine.
Felix Hernandez, RHP, Seattle Mariners: 2-0, 3 GS, 0.82 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 22 IP, 20:3 K:BB
Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers: 1-0, 3 GS, 0.79 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 22.2 IP, 20:5 K:BB
Chris Sale, LHP, Chicago White Sox: 2-0, 3 GS, 1.16 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 23.1 IP, 19:2 K:BB
Jordan Zimmerman, RHP, Washington Nationals: 3-0, 3 GS, 1.19 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 22.2 IP, 20:2 K:BB
Patrick Corbin, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks: 3-0, 3 GS, 0.89 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 20.1 IP, 16:10 K:BB
Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals: 2-0, 2 GS, 0.60 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 15 IP, 18:1 K:BB
Scott Feldman, RHP, Chicago Cubs: 2-0, 3 GS, 1.23 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 22 IP, 21:5 K:BB
- Why the Texas Rangers need to stick with Mitch Moreland is in Baltimore (sportsblogs.star-telegram.com)
- Beltre and Moreland lead Rangers past Athletics in 10 innings (miamiherald.com)
- Closing Time: The case for Mitch Moreland (sports.yahoo.com)
Since this was announced on Monday, which was April 1st (aka April Fool’s Day), it feels like this isn’t happening; however, after it was made official, giving a career .275/.342/.353 line an eight-year, $120 million seems like a nightmare, especially after the club was unwilling to give Josh Hamilton an extension or make the first offer when he hit free agency this winter. After allowing a player who has averaged a .305/.363/.549 line to leave for their biggest rival, they gave Andrus $15 million per season on an extension, all while Jurickson Profar waits for a position to open up in Texas.
Andrus is a fine player. Since arriving in 2009, he has posted a 13.0 WAR, which is sixth among shortstops during that time. He leads shortstops in stolen bases (123), he is second to Derek Jeter in runs scores (341), and he is 21st among shortstops in OPS (.695). TWENTY-FIRST.
Andrus provides a solid batting eye (8.4 percent walk rate vs. 13.2 percent strikeout rate) to go along with his solid speed, which allows him to utilize his skills on the base paths to score runs in a very potent offense. While he can get on base and score runs, his defense is where his true value develops.
Andrus’ UZR/150 rating is 7.8, fourth among shortstops since 2009 behind Brendan Ryan, J.J. Hardy, and Alexei Ramirez. His .971 fielding percentage is 15th among shortstops since 2009. Of the three players above Andrus in zone fielding who have higher fielding percentages than Andrus, only Alexei Ramirez has a higher OPS. If Ramirez can field better and post better numbers at short, is he worth $15 million or more per season?
Ramirez is 31 and doesn’t have the favorable upside that Andrus possesses, but we’ve seen speed become useless several times before. In 2004, Cesar Izturis had his best season at the age of 24:
While he didn’t post numbers close to what Andrus did prior to his age-24 season, he displayed solid gap power, speed, and, of course, impressive defensive skills. He won his first and only Gold Glove in 2004, posting a .985 fielding percentage and a 3.8 WAR.
Compare that production to Andrus’ career stats:
Is there a whole lot of difference in the abilities of these players, outside of the fact that Andrus’ had four seasons completed prior to his age-24 season, which will be the 2013 season? Certainly, Andrus is better than Izturis, but would anyone have paid Izturis $15 million per season if every one of his seasons had been as solid as his 2004 season?
Luis Castillo was an excellent second baseman early in his career for the, then, Florida Marlins. Sure, he wasn’t a shortstop, but he had the same type of skill-set, possibly better, with more speed and on-base skills, while Andrus seems to have more gap power. Once Castillo hurt his feet, though, his 50+ steals potential was also hurt, and he became a 20 stolen base, empty .300-hitting middle infielder. If Andrus gets hurt or loses speed, where is his value? He can’t cover as much ground defensively and his ability to create runs with his legs is gone, as well.
Shortstop is a very tough position, but the value of defensive metrics have taken over the player’s ability to help the club in other ways, specifically with their bat. Cal Ripken, Jr., Barry Larkin, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra, and Miguel Tejada did a dirty, dirty thing to the position, allowing solid contribution across the board to become a reasonable expectation. Today, only Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes seem like those types of dynamic, offensive-minded shortstops, and for that reason, they appear to be worth exorbitant contracts.
The Rangers aren’t the only team that feels that defense is very important, though. When the Cincinnati Reds turned Didi Gregorius and Drew Stubbs into Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald in their trade with the Cleveland Indians this offseason, that was one thing, as Choo is a free agent after the 2013 season, but when the Indians flipped Gregorius to the Arizona Diamondbacks with Lars Anderson and Tony Sipp for Matt Albers, Bryan Shaw, and, potential ace, Trevor Bauer, the new value of shortstops in baseball was apparent. Slap-hitting, defensively skilled middle infielders now have quite a bit of value.
So, if Gregorius, a career .265/.317/.370 hitter in the minor leagues, had that sort of value, then what is Xander Bogaerts worth? Bogaerts, a Boston Red Sox farm hand, hit .307/.373/.523 with a 4.13 range factor and .959 fielding percentage as a 19-year-old over High-A and Double-A in 2012. Gregorius had a range factor of 3.96 and a .964 fielding percentage as a 22-year-old over Double-A and Triple-A in 2012.
Furthermore, if Elvis Andrus is worth an eight-year, $120 million contract, then shouldn’t Troy Tulowitzki fire his agent? His extension for the 2015 to 2020 seasons gives him roughly $19.67 million per season, which isn’t nearly enough considering Andrus can’t carry his compression shorts with cup, since jock straps aren’t used anymore.
The good news for Andrus is that he has an opt-out clause after the 2018 season, allowing him to reach free agency during his prime, potentially earning more money if he reaches higher levels of production; however, if he under-performs or gets hurt, the Rangers don’t have an opt-out clause. The question now is: Was this a good contract for the Texas Rangers?
With Ian Kinsler signed through 2017 (with a 2018 team option) and Andrus locked up, where does Jurickson Profar go? What if Kinsler has another poor season, as his .749 OPS in 2012 was the worst of his career? Can they trade him? There have been leaks of Kinsler getting moved to left field or first base, but what happen to Mike Olt, another Rangers prospect, who is blocked through 2015 at third (possibly 2016, since Beltre has a vesting option)? Can Kinsler hit enough to play left? Do the Rangers trade Olt? Does Profar move to center even though Leonys Martin is hoping to prove himself there in 2013? Should they trade Profar?
The Rangers have committed to defense by signing Andrus and they have committed to spending a lot of money on mediocre offense. After letting Josh Hamilton walk, not addressing their No.5 starter situation this winter, and building excellent talent that they seem to be unwilling to commit to from their minor league system, the Rangers, who have made three straight playoff appearances, seem to have no clear direction to their roster makeup going forward.
While I’ve already posted a top 10 fantasy baseball player at each position piece, I figured with drafts getting underway, that a more thorough ranking would be valuable. Here are the top 250 players in fantasy baseball for the 2013 season. (5X5 leagues, All MLB)
- Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers
- Mike Trout, OF, Angels
- Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Tigers,
- Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers
- Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates
- Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees
- Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Rockies
- Prince Fielder, 1B, Tigers
- Joey Votto, 1B, Reds
- Albert Pujols, 1B, Angels
- Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies
- Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers
- Clayton Kershaw, SP, Dodgers
- Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins
- Josh Hamilton, OF, Angels
- Justin Upton, OF, Braves
- Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers
- David Price, SP, Rays
- Stephen Strasburg, SP, Nationals
- Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
- Buster Posey, C, Giants
- David Wright, 3B, Mets
- Felix Hernandez, SP, Mariners
- Jose Bautista, OF, Blue Jays
- Hanley Ramirez, 3B/SS, Dodgers
- Jason Heyward, OF, Braves
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox
- Jay Bruce, OF, Reds
- Ian Kinsler, 2B, Rangers
- Cliff Lee, SP, Phillies
- Matt Cain, SP, Giants
- Jose Reyes, SS, Blue Jays
- Cole Hamels, SP, Phillies
- Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs
- Adam Jones, OF, Orioles
- Jered Weaver, SP, Angels
- Billy Butler, 1B, Royals
- Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds
- Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Blue Jays
- Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
- Gio Gonzalez, SP, Nationals
- Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Athletics
- B.J. Upton, OF, Braves
- Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Dodgers
- Ben Zobrist, 2B/SS/OF, Rays
- Craig Kimbrel, RP, Braves
- Matt Holliday, OF, Cardinals
- Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals
- Chase Headley, 3B, Padres
- Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals
- Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Red Sox
- Yu Darvish, SP, Rangers
- Adam Wainwright, SP, Cardinals
- Madison Bumgarner, SP, Giants
- Zack Greinke, SP, Dodgers
- Matt Wieters, C, Orioles
- Michael Bourn, OF, Indians
- R.A. Dickey, SP, Blue Jays
- Allen Craig, 1B/OF, Cardinals
- Joe Mauer, C, Twins
- Brett Lawrie, 3B, Blue Jays
- CC Sabathia, SP, Yankees
- Johnny Cueto, SP, Reds
- Mat Latos, SP, Reds
- Chris Sale, SP, White Sox
- Austin Jackson, OF, Tigers
- Jason Kipnis, 2B, Indians
- Aaron Hill, 2B, Diamondbacks
- Ian Desmond, SS, Nationals
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks
- Desmond Jennings, OF, Rays
- Jordan Zimmerman, SP, Nationals
- Carlos Santana, C, Indians
- Roy Halladay, SP, Phillies
- Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Brewers
- Alex Rios, OF, White Sox
- Pablo Sandoval, 3B, Giants
- Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies
- Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Reds
- Aroldis Chapman, SP/RP, Reds
- Mark Teixiera, 1B, Yankees
- Jonathan Papelbon, RP, Phillies
- Jason Motte, RP, Cardinals
- Alex Gordon, OF, Royals
- Kris Medlen, SP/RP, Braves
- Matt Moore, SP, Rays
- James Shields, SP, Royals
- Yovani Gallardo, SP, Brewers
- Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros
- Curtis Granderson, OF, Yankees (mid-May return leaves some value)
- Max Scherzer, SP, Tigers
- Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves
- Victor Martinez, C, Tigers
- Martin Prado, 3B/OF, Diamondbacks
- Ike Davis, 1B, Mets
- Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals
- Rafael Soriano, RP, Nationals
- Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers
- Fernando Rodney, RP, Rays
- Brandon Morrow, SP, Blue Jays
- Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Indians
- Melky Cabrera, OF, Blue Jays
- Mariano Rivera, RP, Yankees
- J.J. Putz, RP, Diamondbacks
- Doug Fister, SP, Tigers
- David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox
- Ian Kennedy, SP, Diamondbacks
- Jake Peavy, SP, White Sox
- Hunter Pence, OF, Giants
- Carlos Gomez, OF, Brewers
- Josh Willingham, OF, Twins
- Joe Nathan, RP, Rangers
- Joel Hanrahan, RP, Red Sox
- Mark Trumbo, 1B/OF, Angels
- Josh Johnson, SP, Blue Jays
- Hiroki Kuroda, SP, Yankees
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs
- Angel Pagan, OF, Giants
- Tim Lincecum, SP, Giants
- Anibal Sanchez, SP, Tigers
- Dan Haren, SP, Nationals
- Jonathan Niese, SP, Mets
- Shane Victorino, OF, Red Sox
- Torii Hunter, OF, Tigers
- Erick Aybar, SS, Angels
- Neil Walker, 2B, Pirates
- John Axford, RP, Brewers
- Carl Crawford, OF, Dodgers
- Alejandro De Aza, OF, White Sox
- Carlos Beltran, OF, Cardinals
- David Freese, 3B, Cardinals
- Brett Anderson, SP, Athletics
- Jim Johnson, RP, Orioles
- Danny Espinosa, 2B/SS, Nationals
- Brett Gardner, OF, Yankees
- Lance Lynn, SP, Cardinals
- Nelson Cruz, OF, Rangers
- Paul Konerko, 1B, White Sox
- Howie Kendrick, 2B, Angels
- Ben Revere, OF, Phillies
- Denard Span, OF, Nationals
- Jon Lester, SP, Red Sox
- Addison Reed, RP, White Sox
- Huston Street, RP, Padres
- Alcides Escobar, SS, Royals
- Sergio Romo, RP, Giants
- Jeff Samardzija, SP, Cubs
- Ryan Dempster, SP, Red Sox
- C.J. Wilson, SP, Angels
- Greg Holland, RP, Royals
- Ryan Howard, 1B, Phillies
- Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals
- Adam LaRoche, 1B, Nationals
- Jason Kubel, OF, Diamondbacks
- Rickie Weeks, 2B, Brewers
- Wade Miley, SP, Diamondbacks
- Andre Ethier, OF, Dodgers
- Mike Napoli, C/1B, Red Sox
- Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies
- Michael Morse, OF, Mariners
- Jarrod Parker, SP, Athletics
- Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates
- J.J. Hardy, SS, Orioles
- Homer Bailey, SP, Reds
- Matt Harvey, SP, Mets
- Jeremy Hellickson, SP, Rays
- Manny Machado, 3B, Orioles
- Kyle Seager, 3B, Mariners
- Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies
- Rafael Betancourt, RP, Rockies
- Tim Hudson, SP, Braves
- Dan Uggla, 2B, Braves
- Miguel Montero, C, Diamondbacks
- Josh Reddick, OF, Athletics
- Todd Frazier, 1B/3B, Reds
- Matt Harrison, SP, Rangers
- Jonathan Broxton, RP, Reds
- Chris Perez, RP, Indians
- Derek Holland, SP, Rangers
- Marco Scutaro, 2B/SS, Giants
- Wilin Rosario, C, Rockies
- Salvador Perez, C, Royals
- Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees
- Ryan Vogelsong, SP, Giants
- Chris Davis, 1B/OF, Orioles
- Grant Balfour, RP, Athletics
- Mike Minor, SP, Braves
- Alexei Ramirez, SS, White Sox
- Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Yankees
- Alexi Ogando, SP/RP, Rangers
- Nick Swisher, 1B/OF, Indians
- Tommy Milone, SP, Athletics
- Kendrys Morales, 1B/DH, Mariners
- Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox
- Colby Rasmus, OF, Blue Jays
- Adam Dunn, 1B/DH, White Sox
- Alfonso Soriano, OF, Cubs
- Phil Hughes, SP, Yankees
- Jaime Garcia, SP, Cardinals
- Andrelton Simmons, SS, Braves
- Jesus Montero, C, Mariners
- Jason Grilli, RP, Pirates
- Cameron Maybin, OF, Padres
- Corey Hart, 1B, Brewers
- Norichika Aoki, OF, Brewers
- Lance Berkman, 1B/DH, Rangers
- Kevin Youkilis, 1B/3B, Yankees
- Dayan Viciedo, OF, White Sox
- Brandon McCarthy, SP, Diamondbacks
- Kenley Jansen, RP, Dodgers
- Brandon League, RP, Dodgers
- Bobby Parnell, RP, Mets
- Michael Cuddyer, 1B/OF, Rockies
- Michael Young, 1B/3B, Phillies
- A.J. Burnett, SP, Pirates
- Jurickson Profar, 2B, Rangers (he should get enough time to have value)
- Jayson Werth, OF, Nationals
- Trevor Cahill, SP, Diamondbacks
- Justin Masterson, SP, Indians
- Glen Perkins, RP, Twins
- Casey Janssen, RP, Blue Jays
- Tom Wilhelmsen, RP, Mariners
- Everth Cabrera, SS, Padres
- Trevor Plouffe, 3B, Twins
- Justin Morneau, 1B, Twins
- Tommy Hanson, SP, Angels
- James McDonald, SP, Pirates
- Josh Beckett, SP, Dodgers
- Marco Estrada, SP, Brewers
- Jason Vargas, SP, Angels
- Zack Cozart, SS, Reds
- Mark Reynolds, 1B, Indians
- Steve Cishek, RP, Marlins
- Daniel Murphy, 2B, Mets
- A.J. Pierzynski, C, Rangers
- Nick Markakis, OF, Orioles
- Garrett Jones, 1B/OF, Pirates
- Hyun-Jin Ryu, SP, Dodgers
- Wei-Yin Chen, SP, Orioles
- Omar Infante, 2B, Tigers
- David Murphy, OF, Rangers
- Kelly Johnson, 2B, Rays
- Dustin Ackley, 2B, Mariners
- Lorenzo Cain, OF, Royals
- Carlos Marmol, RP, Cubs
- Kyuji Fujikawa, RP, Cubs
- Jon Jay, OF, Cardinals
- Brian McCann, C, Braves
- Wil Myers, OF, Rays
- Jean Segura, SS, Brewers
Mike Trout had, possibly, the greatest season that any rookie could have ever had in 2012. Taking into consideration that Trout didn’t play in his first game with the Los Angeles Angels until April 28 and he only played in 139 games while compiling:
- 129 Runs (1st in MLB)
- 49 Stolen Bases (1st in MLB)
- 10.7 WAR (1st in MLB)
- .326 Batting Average (2nd in the AL)
- .564 Slugging Percentage (3rd in the AL)
- .399 On-Base Percentage (3rd in the AL)
- .963 OPS (2nd in the AL)
- 171 OPS+ (1st in the AL)
- 315 Total Bases (6th in the AL)
One All-Star Game, One Silver Slugger, One Rookie of the Year, and finishing 2nd in the AL MVP voting, if only because Miguel Cabrera won the first Triple Crown in 45 years, were just icing on the cake for Trout.
When you look at player ratings all over the internet, whether it’s ESPN, CBS Sports, or Sports Illustrated, Mike Trout is right at the top. Is he really a top five player in fantasy baseball? In “real” baseball?
Clearly, it was hard to see many flaws in the 2012 season that Trout completed, but consider this:
- Trout’s BABIP was .383. Considering that the “normal” BABIP is .300, this figure is highly inflated.
- Trout’s strikeout rate was 21.8 percent. When you look at Albert Pujols and his career 9.6 percent career rate, Ryan Braun and his 17.9 percent career rate, Miguel Cabrera and his 17.1 percent career rate, or Josh Hamilton and his 19.7 percent career rate, and you have to wonder if Trout can maintain success if he isn’t getting lucky with where the ball lands (see his inflated BABIP) and he isn’t making contact.
- Can his speed last a full season and can he stay healthy in a full season, based on how everyone has seen him play? Trout managed 22 infield hits in 2012. If you take those away, due to a leg or foot injury, Trout would have hit .286.
It seems very unrealistic to expect that Trout will only improve on his numbers from 2012 going forward. The last Rookie of the Year to win the MVP, Fred Lynn, had some struggles in his career. Take a look at his first three seasons:
Lynn was a tremendous talent, returning to glory in 1979, when he posted a .333/.423/.637 line, with 42 doubles, 39 home runs, and 122 RBI for Boston, but prior to that, he regressed significantly from his rookie year production.
Fred Lynn never lived up to the hype that he created in his dynamic rookie season, despite being a very productive player, being eliminated from the Hall of Fame ballot after his second year of eligibility, after receiving just 4.7 percent of the vote in 1997.
Calling Mike Trout the next Fred Lynn is not an insult, as anyone who plays 17 seasons and is a part of nine All-Star games is a fantastic player. The issue is that Mike Trout has unrealistic expectations being placed on him going into the 2013 season. Bill James has Trout going:
.325/.402/.564 with 122 runs, 30 home runs, 87 RBI, and 53 stolen bases, while maintaining an inflated .379 BABIP.
Ryan Braun, Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Josh Hamilton, Derek Jeter, and Robinson Cano should be expected to maintain their career norms, but fantasy baseball players could be making a huge mistake by taking Trout 1st overall in 2013. While the skills and tools are there for the 21-year-old to continue thriving and become a future Hall of Famer, he will need to repeat his 2012 numbers for several seasons before being labeled the top player in baseball.
Is he the most exciting player in baseball…absolutely. Should everyone subscribe to MLB.TV to have an opportunity to tune in a few times per season…definitely. Are we asking too much for a 21-year-old to become the face of an entire league…without question.
When the Texas Rangers signed Lance Berkman to a one-year, $10 million deal (with a $12 million option for 2014, which vests at $14 million for 550 plate appearances in 2013), they really caused some chaos on their roster.
Berkman will be the primary designated hitter in 2013, at least for as long as his ailing knees will allow him to after he missed 117 games in 2012 due to injuries to both knees and his left calf. The Rangers are making a very questionable decision in this signing.
Texas has been linked to deals with the Arizona Diamondbacks all offseason, as Arizona GM Kevin Towers continues to shop Justin Upton. While Rangers GM Jon Daniels has refused to create a package around top prospect Jurickson Profar, the club may have just blocked their prized possession by signing Berkman.
Daniels announced on January 7 that with the signing of Berkman, the club was going into the 2013 season with Ian Kinsler at second base and Mitch Moreland at first base. Daniels confirmed on December 9 that Kinsler was an option at first base, which would have opened second base for Profar or allowed the club to keep Profar at short and move Elvis Andrus to second.
With Adrian Beltre entrenched at third base for the Rangers, Mike Olt, another top prospect for Texas becomes expendable, even after the club traded Michael Young to Philadelphia. Olt could play some first base, but with Moreland, Kinsler, and Berkman (possibly) capable of handling the position, he’ll probably head to Triple-A Round Rock for the start of the 2013 season…if he isn’t traded.
While the club mentioned Kinsler as an option at first, he could still make sense in left field. With Josh Hamilton signing with the Los Angeles Angels, the Rangers outfield is suddenly very weak, at least on paper. The top four outfielders are David Murphy, Nelson Cruz, Leonys Martin, and Craig Gentry. If Kinsler played left, where his bat could play well still, it would open the door for Profar at second, at least, and the club could still hope that a package featuring Mike Olt could still land the club Upton. Kinsler could handle center, possibly, as an up-the-middle player with solid speed (157 steals in seven seasons), which would allow the club to move Cruz to left.
While Berkman has been a fantastic player over his career, a club with so many options offensively should not have locked up a player for, potentially, two season if “Big Puma” were to actually hit his vesting option. Even a rotation of players would have been a solid use of resources, possibly DHing Nelson Cruz to keep his legs, which have kept him out of 83 games since the start of 2010, fresh.
What would the best-case scenario be for Berkman and the Rangers? With Murphy in left full-time and Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt in Triple-A, all because of Berkman’s inability to play the field at this point of his career, the Rangers are not better. They have de-valued one of the top prospects in baseball by tying Ron Washington‘s hands with a player in the decline of his career.
Jon Daniels has done nothing to help the Rangers this offseason. While we don’t know if it was his call to hope that Josh Hamilton called the Rangers to allow them to match an offer, only to lose out to their division-rival, the fact that the club continues to hold onto Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar instead of upgrading by getting Justin Upton continues to be the driving mistake of the offseason for the club. At least Upton is someone to build around, as he is 25 years old and signed through 2015.
Jon Daniels may have just blocked Jurickson Profar AND Mike Olt for the next two seasons. There is no excuse for that, even for a team that had the money to spend.
According to ESPN Dallas, free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton signed a five-year, $125 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels was apparently upset that he wasn’t able to match the offer, but the team could have been more aggressive, rather than waiting to see the maximum contract another team was willing to pay the five-time All-Star, rather than regretting now.
After yet another offseason with a huge, offensive acquisition, this following the Albert Pujols signing last year, the Angels have reloaded for the 2013 season. After losing starting pitcher Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Angels are now able to keep some attention on their roster, as the Dodgers continue to spend big bucks.
Hamilton brings a tremendous amount of ability with him, and while it is easy for some to question the length and commitment due to his prior drug use, the fact remains that some team was going to pay him $25 million per year, so why not the Angels? They were able to explain paying Pujols $30 million in the final year of his contract (age 41), so they should be able to do the same thing here, discussing marketing and TV contracts and all of the forms of revenue streams that Hamilton will increase.
So, what do the Angels do next? Hamilton and Pujols are just as scary as the 3-4 punch that Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder provide in Detroit, but the Angels have something more to offer. Mike Trout. And, you can’t forget that the team still has solid production coming from DH Kendrys Morales, outfielder Mark Trumbo, and occasional outbursts from lesser hitters like second baseman Howie Kendrick and shortstop Erick Aybar.
Alberto Callaspo is currently their third baseman. Trumbo has played third base for 63 innings, making four errors and posting a .714 fielding percentage. The upgrade will not involve a switch of positions for the slugger. Could the team ultimately look to deal Trumbo in a package to San Diego for Chase Headley? Headley would be a huge upgrade and another dynamic addition to the lineup.
If not a third baseman, should the Angels upgrade their starting rotation? They have added Tommy Hanson in a deal with Atlanta, while signing Joe Blanton via free agency. With Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson at the top of the rotation, could the Halos look to upgrade from Brad Mills in the fifth spot of the rotation? Maybe a deal with Cleveland for Justin Masterson or Ubaldo Jimenez makes some sense, or the team could take on someone more established by signing Kyle Lohse, Jair Jurrjens, Shaun Marcum, or Anibal Sanchez, since they apparently have the money.
Regardless, Josh Hamilton provides a star quality that is worthy of Los Angeles. While the Rangers pondered Greinke, a Los Angeles team jumped in. While the Rangers pondered on Hamilton, a Los Angeles team jumped in. The Rangers will need to jump at a deal for Justin Upton at this point, and they’ll probably have to cave in and deal Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar to make it happen. Otherwise, the team will be left with giving loads of cash to Nick Swisher, Cody Ross, or Michael Bourn to be able to compete with the Angels going forward.
Where are all of the east coast bias whiners now? The gold rush is once again going on out west, and the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels are making free agency in baseball a two coast battle, and a battle that they appear willing to spend billions to win.
Keith Olbermann reported on his MLBlog on October 17 that the New York Yankees and Miami Marlins are already discussing a deal involving Alex Rodriguez once the season is over. This is big news due to the struggles of Rodriguez during the postseason, 3-for-23 (.103) with 12 strikeouts, and that fact that the quickly aging veteran is due another $114 million over the next five seasons.
Alex Rodriguez is taking a lot of heat for his struggles, as if he is the only player currently struggling during the club’s rotten postseason. Mind you, Robinson Cano is 3-for-36 (.083) and Curtis Granderson is just 3-for-29 (.103) with 15 strikeouts, so what is the deal with the hatred for the game’s highest paid player? The Yankees have bigger issues, including, how are they going to rebuild the franchise if the potential trade of Alex Rodriguez actually does happen?
Moving Alex Rodriguez would signify a possible change in philosophy. While the Yankees have spent many hundreds of millions in payroll over the last decade, could this be the end of “buying” the talent, all because of an apparent very quick regression in some of their talent?
The Yankees have some things to look at with their current roster:
- Ichiro Suzuki, Russell Martin, Nick Swisher, Mariano Rivera, Freddy Garcia, Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez, and David Aardsma are free agents after the 2012 season.
- Robinson Cano ($15 million or $2 million buyout), Curtis Granderson ($13 million or $2 million buyout), and Pedro Feliciano ($4.5 million with $0 buyout) have options for 2013, with Cano and Granderson nearly guaranteed to be picked up, if only to allow for a trade to get value in return for those players.
- Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Brett Gardner, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain, and David Robertson are eligible for arbitration, so they will earn raises for the 2013 season.
- Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Clay Rapada, Eduardo Nunez, Chris Stewart, and Austin Romine are all pre-arbitration, so they could be renewed at or near the league minimum.
After that, the Yankees have some payroll concerns:
- Alex Rodriguez, as mentioned before, is owed $114 million over the next five years.
- C.C. Sabathia is due $119 million (counting his $25 million 2017 option) over the next five years.
- Mark Teixeria is going to make $90 million over the next four seasons.
- Derek Jeter will make $17 million in 2013 and either $8 million in 2014 or a $3 million buyout.
- Rafael Soriano is guaranteed $14 million in 2013.
The problem with trading Alex Rodriguez is that the Yankees would have to eat a huge portion of the $114 million that he is owed. Since 2007, A-Rod’s OPS has gone from 1.067 (his MVP season) to .965, .933, .847, .823, and finally .783 in 2012. At the age of 37 (turning 38 next July), why would anyone give anything of value for the declining future Hall of Famer?
Dealing Rodriguez to the Miami Marlins for Heath Bell and Logan Morrison would be a solid deal, even paying $50-70 million of his deal, so that the team gets more bullpen help and a potential replacement in an outfield corner with Swisher and Ichiro both headed to free agency. However, that deal probably would not sit well with fans.
Should the club let all of their free agents depart, will they go after Josh Hamilton in free agency? Could Hamilton’s previous off-the-field issues, which he still admits to battling, become a huge issue in the largest media market in the world?
Should the club trade Granderson and/or Cano on top of dealing Rodriguez, just to allow the franchise to make a fresh start, like the Boston Red Sox deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, which included the contracts of Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez?
For what it is worth, dealing Alex Rodriguez would open up third base in one of the weakest years for free agent third base in recent memory, including: Miguel Cairo, Mark DeRosa, Alberto Gonzalez, Brandon Inge, Maicer Izturis, Jose Lopez, Scott Rolen, Drew Sutton, and, if their options aren’t picked up, Ty Wigginton and Kevin Youkilis.
Would the club really go into the season with Eduardo Nunez at the hot corner? General Manager Brian Cashman would have to look in the mirror and commit to a potential rebuilding mode if that is the case.
While Alex Rodriguez has struggled and his value and stock has plummeted, the unfortunate facts are that the Yankees would be and will be better with him at third base in 2013 than they would be by making a trade. Unless the Bronx Bombers were able to trade Robinson Cano to Baltimore for Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado after trading Rodriguez, starting to make trades to change the structure of the team just does not make sense.
Cashman would have to make several trades involving star players and huge contracts, just to fill the several holes that would remain from the various deals. If you trade Rodriguez, he would need to trade for a third baseman. If he traded Cano, who would play second? If he traded Granderson, he could possibly get Hamilton, but what if the Red Sox or Rangers outbid him?
You can’t rebuild the New York Yankees. Brian Cashman is in a situation where he needs to win, in a market and a fan base that wants to win – see the attendance in the ALCS. The club will rebuild by reloading, like they have done, through free agency. They will acquire a top-tier or solid starting pitcher and a solid outfielder, and they will be right back where they were. They will probably have the veterans mentioned in potential deals, as well, because it is not worth the potential hassle of dealing the contracts and taking so much less in value, just to make a change.
The Second Annual Baseball Haven “I’m Always Right Before the Media Figures It Out” Awards are officially ready, just one day after the season. These guys may not win the awards below, but they certainly SHOULD.
AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit Tigers
.330/.393/.606, 109 R, 40 2B, 44 HR, 139 RBI, 4 SB
Cabrera gets the award because he won the first Triple Crown in MLB since Carl Yastrzemski won it in 1967, AND because he carried the Tigers into the postseason in September and early October, blasting 11 home runs, driving in 30 runs and posting a 1.071 OPS in 31 games. He moved to a position, third base, to accommodate the acquisition of Prince Fielder. No one ever said that he would make a difference there defensively, but his .966 fielding percentage was still better than the league average for third baseman, .952. Sure, his WAR was lower than Mike Trout, but Mike Trout is at home and Cabrera proved his worth in 2012.
NL MVP: Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants
.336/.408/.549, 78 R, 39 2B, 1 3B, 24 HR, 103 RBI, 1 SB
Posey led MLB in batting average and OPS+, handling catching duties and occasionally playing first base to give his reconfigured knee together after a devastating injury in 2011. Posey’s absence from the Giants 2011 season may have had a lot to do with their inability to make the playoffs after winning the 2010 World Series over the Texas Rangers. Posey’s transformation from a collegiate shortstop to a top-level offensive catcher has gone about as smoothly as anyone could have anticipated. Even while playing in an extreme pitcher’s park, AT&T Park, Posey is one of the most dangerous hitters in the game.
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander, RHP, Detroit Tigers
17-8, 2.64 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 238.1 IP, 239:60 K:BB
Verlander’s statistics in 2012 were not as impressive as his totals in 2011, but that doesn’t make him any less impressive. Verlander was the lone consistent starter for most of the 2012 season for the AL Central champion Tigers, and he scored a relationship with Kate Upton on top of that. The man is just a winner. The filth that he possesses rivals only Larry Flynt.
NL Cy Young: Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds
19-9, 2.78 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 217 IP, 170:49 K:BB
He pitches in an awful park for pitchers, he is on one of the best teams in the National League, and he has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the last two seasons, so Cueto deserves this award. While he doesn’t pitch in a major market and he did have a few stretches where he seemed to “lose it”, Cueto finally tossed over 200 innings, and, after suffering through a rough spot, he dominated late in the season. If you put the ballpark factor into play here, Cueto would garner many more votes. He should win, but it is unlikely thanks to the New York bias and the cool story that comes along with R.A. Dickey.
AL Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics and Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles
Who says you can’t share an award? These two managers deserve some sort of plaque and a key from their respective city’s mayors for the work that they did this season. With the high spending Angels and Rangers out west for the A’s and the Red Sox and Yankees in the east with the O’s, the teams found creative ways to maintain a solid group of players on their rosters through trading and drafting well over the last several seasons. As both teams head into the ALDS, thanks to Friday’s victory over Texas for Baltimore, this could only be the beginning for one of these teams.
Honorable Mention:Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays; Robin Ventura, Chicago White Sox;
NL Manager of the Year: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants
With his All-Star outfielder banned 50-games for a positive drug test, his one-time ace, Tim Lincecum, posting a 5.18 ERA over 33 starts, and injuries to Pablo Sandoval throughout the season, Bochy managed to lead the Giants over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. While you can question him for his lack of faith in Brandon Belt during most of the season, he seemed to make the right decision more often than not with his club.
Honorable Mention:Dusty Baker, Cincinnati Reds; Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals; Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates; Davey Johnson, Washington Nationals;
AL Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
.326/.399/.564, 129 R, 27 2B, 8 3B, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 49 SB
A WAR of 10.7 in his rookie season, which led the league, shows just how special Trout is going to continue to be. Having just turned 21 years old in early August, the future is as bright as a supernova, as Trout’s power, speed, on-base skills, and fielding ability will continue to make him a perennial MVP candidate. You can certainly argue that he should win the award this season over Miguel Cabrera, but due to the Tigers landing in the playoffs and the first Triple Crown in 45 years, it has to go with the Tigers chubby third baseman.
NL Rookie of the Year: Todd Frazier, INF/OF, Cincinnati Reds
Frazier was a monster while the Cincinnati Reds went two months without their best player, Joey Votto. He finished the 2012 season with an .829 OPS was second to Colorado catcher Wilin Rosario amongst NL rookies…I see you thought I was going to say Bryce Harper there, but he posted an .817 OPS. While Harper energized his club upon his callup and had one of the best quotes of the year (“That’s a clown question, bro), it was Frazier’s bat and versatility that helped the Cincinnati Reds win the NL Central.
Comeback Player of the Year: Chase Headley, 3B, San Diego Padres
2011: .289/.374/.399, 43 R, 28 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 44 RBI, 13 SB
2012: .286/.376/.498, 95 R, 31 2B, 2 3B, 31 HR, 115 RBI, 17 SB
Petco can put bats to sleep like the vets that work out of the back of actual Petco stores can do to your pet; however, Headley was one of the few bright spots for the rebuilding San Diego Padres, delivering MVP-like numbers for the Friars. At the age of 28 and with two years of arbitration eligibility, you have to wonder if the Padres are going to trade him this offseason for more prospects, especially after his surprising season and how often Headley’s name came up at the trade deadline.
Honorable Mention: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees;
At 8:37 on Friday night, the Baltimore Orioles look to return to glory when they head to Texas to take on the two-time defending American League champion Texas Rangers in a single-elimination Wild Card game. The winner will take on the New York Yankees. What can you expect?
THE PITCHING MATCHUP:
Joe Saunders, LHP, Baltimore Orioles2012: 9-13, 28 starts, 4.07 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 174.2 IP, 112:39 K:BB
2012 vs. TEX: No appearances against Texas during the 2012 season
Career vs. TEX: 3-7, 11 starts, 6.48 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 58.1 IP, 48:20 K:BB
Career at The Ballpark at Arlington: 0-6, 6 starts, 9.38 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 31.2 IP, 24:16 K:BB
Career in the postseason: 0-1, 4 starts, 6.00 ERA, 1.94 WHIP, 18 IP, 8:12 K:BB
Yu Darvish, RHP, Texas Rangers2012: 16-9, 29 starts, 3.90 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 191.1 IP, 221:89 K:BB
2012 vs. BAL: The first start against Baltimore of 2012 will be Friday.
Career vs. BAL: The first start in his career against Baltimore will be Friday.
Career at The Ballpark at Arlington: 10-2, 14 starts, 3.88 ERA, 1.28 ERA, 92.2 IP, 111:39 K:BB
Career in the postseason: Darvish is a rookie in MLB. Friday will be his first postseason start.
TOP PERFORMERS IN 2012:
Runs: Adam Jones, 103
Hits: Adam Jones, 186
Doubles: Adam Jones, 39
Triples: Adam Jones, Manny Machado, and Nick Markakis, 3
Home Runs: Chris Davis, 33
RBI: Chris Davis, 85
Stolen Bases: Adam Jones, 16
Average: Nick Markakis, .298
OPS: Adam Jones, .839
Runs: Ian Kinsler, 105
Hits: Adrian Beltre, 194
Doubles: Nelson Cruz, 45
Triples: Elvis Andrus, 9
Home Runs: Josh Hamilton, 43
RBI: Josh Hamilton, 128
Stolen Bases: Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler, 21
Average: Adrian Beltre, .321
OPS: Josh Hamilton, .930
What to Expect:
Texas was fantastic at home in 2012, going 50-31 (.617) and scoring 5.52 runs per game while allowing 4.62 runs per game. The Rangers went 5-2 and outscored Baltimore 56-24 in their seven meeting in 2012.
Baltimore had a fantastic season and they were written off by many, including myself, but they have hung around. They were 29-9 in one-run games, which is either luck or fantastic managing by Buck Showalter. Now with one game, they put all of their eggs in the Joe Saunders basket.
With Saunders hideous statistics in six career starts in Texas and four career postseason starts, it was a shock to see his name appear as the starter for this one-gam elimination. While the club doesn’t have many better options considering rest and results in 2012, it is still a questionable decision.
Due to the Rangers success at home and the incredible talent that they have offensively, my prediction is that the Rangers win this game 7-2, pounding Saunders, while Darvish shows that he was worth the investment.
Looking back, nothing is quite as funny as the ol’ groin shots that dads always seem to take on America’s Funniest Home Videos. Although Bob Saget made it an awful show (he’s much funnier when he is lewd), you knew the wiffleball bat to the groin was money in the bag. Still is. However, there isn’t really anything funny about pain in the groin, especially if you’re a man and even moreso if you are a Rangers fan.
Josh Hamilton’s groin is getting talked about more than Ron Jeremy’s ever was, and he isn’t even sporting a porn-stache. Hamilton has been bothered by his left groin injury for over a week, telling ESPN 103.3 FM in Dallas that he is playing at “about 50 percent” on October 16th, acknowledging the injury as far back as October 13th. His groin and Ron Washington, the Rangers’ manager, don’t seem to be on the same page, though.
Ron Washington will have Josh Hamilton playing in Game Three of the World Series Saturday night, but he won’t be the Designated Hitter…oh no…he’ll be covering centerfield for the Rangers. Michael Young will be the DH, Mike Napoli will move to first base and Yorvit Torrealba will be behind the dish at catcher. With an off day on Friday, Napoli should have been back behind the plate. If Hamilton is still one of your top hitters, even at 50 percent, but you want him around for the remaining games, why would you put him in the field when he could DH and rest his ailing groinal region?
Craig Gentry handled centerfield for Hamilton in Game Two and his speed could be valuable for the score-at-any-cost mentality of the World Series so far. Certainly the Rangers lose something by having Gentry in center and David Murphy in left, but they lose even more if Hamilton tears his groin or injures it further while playing center in Arlington. The warmer weather could help him, the adrenaline will definitely help him, but Ron Washington’s choice to mess with Josh Hamilton’s groin is a decision that I can’t agree with, and I’m not talking about religious viewpoints or anything besides baseball here.