Tagged: Free Agents

Is Sabathia the New Vlad?

If the Dodgers… Ned Colletti in particular
(i.e. the Human ****)… let Sabathia go to the Angels, it
will be deja-vu all over again. Last time we idly sat back
and let the top free agent on the market (Vlad Guerrero) go
elsewhere (who just happened to want to sign with the
Dodgers) the team was up for sale and the front office was
virtually non-existent. This time there’s no excuse… of
course, other than the front office being non-existent. The
team is not for sale this year so the Ned Colletti’s of the
world  will have absolutely no excuse whatsoever if they
sleep on Sabathia. Face it, the Dodgers thought Sabathia was
going to take a hometown discount to come play here but now
that the Angels have entered the fray… and are claiming
they will come close to Yankee money… the Dodgers cannot
lowball him with a half-*** offer. If the Dodgers want him…
which they should considering he’s by far the best pitcher on
the market and our de-facto ace, Chad Billingsley, just broke
his leg… they are going to have to play by the same rules
as everyone else. Ned can’t go cheap on Sabathia just because
he screwed up on signing Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, Jason
Schmidt, Nomar, etc… He’s going to have to open up the
checkbook, match the Yankees offer (or come close to it) and
make CC Sabathia the top paid pitcher in all of baseball if
he wants him in Dodger blue next
season. 

Dodgers Overrating Blake

Plain and simple, the Dodgers are vastly overrating veteran 3B, Casey Blake, who they acquired at the trade deadline from the Cleveland Indians last season. The prospect we gave up for Blake, catcher Carlos Santana, is now considered by many (including Baseball America) to be the Indians top prospect, over Matt LaPorta (who they got for CC Sabathia). Why would the Dodgers give up such a great prospect for a lame-fielding, light-hitting, below average OBP guy; a player that would cost most teams a C or B level prospect at best? Because the Dodgers were strapped for cash and needed the Tribe to cover Blake’s salary. So what we have here is a team totally overrating an average player and giving away a future star to get him. 

GM Ned Colletti later tried to justify the trade by claiming “Blake has been a big help to our team  with the bat and is a team leader”. First of all, Blake was NOT a big help with the bat. His post All-Star break numbers (which is when the Dodgers had him) are merely average. He hit .264 with a .327 OBP% and 29 RBIs. Not really what you’d call a game changer. On the other hand, Carlos Santana only hit .352 with a .452 OBP% in the minors last year. Sure, it was the minors vs. the majors but I can assure you that Casey Blake has never hit .352 in his professional career nor has he ever sniffed a .400 OBP%, let alone a .450+ OBP%. As for Blake being a “team leader”. I won’t dispute that but I do think the idea is overblown. These are grown men we are talking about and they make lots of money. They have plenty of reason to be motivated without having “great character guys” around them. Besides, take a look at some of the World Series teams of the past and many of them thrived off of clubhouse tension. Take Billy Martin’s Yankees for example. The feud between Thurmon Munson and Reggie Jackson is largely what drove that club. 
Recently, some alarming rumors have been spreading round the home front. Guess who are the only two clubs vying for Blake’s services? You hit the nail on the head of you said the Dodgers and Indians… Some may make the case that both teams have had him and want him back because they know he’s a good guy but others (including me) will make the case that they are the only ones who want him because the rest of the league knows he’s nothing more than a glorified backup. Ned Colletti is placing “character” and “friendship” over a player’s actual game. Then again, what’s new? 

Top 50 Free Agents

Top Free Agents

1. CC Sabathia, LHP
2. Mark Teixeira, 1B
3. Manny Ramirez, LF
4. Francisco Rodriguez, RHP
5. Ben Sheets, RHP
6. Rafael Furcal, SS
7. AJ Burnett, RHP
8. Adam Dunn, RF
9. Derek Lowe, RHP
10. Pat Burrell, LF
11. Bobby Abreu, RF
12. Ryan Dempster, RHP
13. Orlando Cabrera, SS
14. Brian Fuentes, LHP
15. Milton Bradley, DH
16. Oliver Perez, LHP
17. Kerry Wood, RHP
18. Orlando Hudson, 2B
19. Jason Giambi, 1B
20. Brad Penny, RHP
21. Brandon Lyon, RHP
22. Raul Ibanez, LF
23. Mike Mussina, RHP
24. Joe Crede, 3B
25. Juan Cruz, RHP
26. Casey Blake, 3B
27. Randy Johnson, LHP
28. Jeremy Affeldt, LHP
29. Ivan Rodriguez, C
30. Randy Wolf, LHP
31. Jamie Moyer, LHP
32. Jon Garland, RHP
33. Ken Griffey Jr., DH
34. Andy Pettitte, LHP
35. Trevor Hoffman, RHP
36. Felipe Lopez, SS
37. Greg Maddux, RHP
38. Juan Rivera, LF
39. Jason Varitek, C
40. Braden Looper, RHP
41. David Eckstein, SS
42. Kyle Farnsworth, RHP
43. Josh Bard, C
44. Rocco Baldelli, DH
45. Pedro Martinez, RHP
46. Eric Hinske, RF
47. Jim Edmonds, CF
48. Paul Byrd, RHP
49. Gabe Kapler, RF
50. Mike Hampton, LHP

To CC or Not to CC

Word on the street is super-pitcher, CC Sabathia, has his sights set on signing with the Dodgers. He has indicated that he wants to remain in the National League and has begun construction on a new house near Los Angeles. I’d take that to mean he either expects to sign with the Dodgers or the Padres… and considering the Padres’ current situation… that means the Dodgers. 

Sabathia is the type of pitcher that the Dodgers have lacked for some time now… a true ace. Judging by what he’s done in Cleveland and Milwaukee, this is a guy who will put the team on his back and do whatever it takes to win. That’s the kind of player you want on your team… someone who is dedicated and doesn’t have the “me first mentality”. The only drawbacks to Sabathia will be the enormous contract he’ll command on the open market and his weight problems. Random MLB execs expect Sabathia to be offered a contract upward of 6 years and $140 million. Many expect the Yankees to throw the bank at him and if that happens, the Dodgers aren’t likely to top their offer. It will come down to the money or hometown. He may be pressured by his agent and the Players’ Union to accept the best deal monetarily but if you look at Sabathia’s past actions, he may place comfortability over cash. Obviously, he has to know that the Yankees plan to offer more money than anybody yet he is still building a house in LA. Of course, the Yankees could afford to fly him back and forth between NYC and LA as much as they want so that may not mean as much as it seems. 
Besides the Yankees, Sabathia’s weight and conditioning could become a problem during the back end of a 6 or 7 year deal. Many scouts think that he’s much more prone to a late-career breakdown because of all of the extra weight he’s carrying (and not to mention all of the innings he’s eaten up so far). A few of those scouts claim that Sabathia could very well be the 2nd coming of Bartolo Colon and will ultimately fall apart. The assessment is a little unfair because in reality, any pitcher could fall apart… even the most conditioned and biggest workout freak of them all. 
The real problem here is offering any pitcher that much money over that many years. The last time the Dodgers gave a “true ace” a long term deal, we were stuck with Kevin Brown and Darren Dreifort for way too long. Granted, Sabathia hasn’t shown any injury problems whatsoever but the mere fact that he contorts his arm up and down in such a violent motion time after time after time means that he, like all pitchers, could break down. That’s an acceptable risk being that there’s no way around that BUT is that a risk the Dodgers are willing to take for more than half a decade? Maybe, maybe not. 
With all that being said, I’d take a chance on Sabathia if I were the Dodgers’ GM… even if it meant saying goodbye to Manny. Yes, we’d miss Manny’s bat but we have replacements for him on the bench and in the minors (even though they cannot hold a candle to him). The fact of the matter is, with Lowe, Maddux and Penny possibly leaving in free agency, we DON’T have adequate replacements for them in the minors or on the bench. If those three pitchers were to leave and we were to sign Manny instead of Sabathia, our pitching staff would be in trouble. Sure, we could make an effort to sign a lesser pitcher like Ben Sheets or AJ Burnett but they are both huge injury risks already and would likely command money similar to Sabathia’s. You tell me, which team looks better:
Team A
1. Rafael Furcall, SS
2. Russell Martin, C
3. Manny Ramirez, LF
4. Andre Ethier, RF
5. Matt Kemp, CF
6. James Loney, 1B
7. Blake DeWitt, 3B
8. Chin-Lung Hu, 2B
1. Chad Billingsley, RHP
2. Clayton Kershaw, LHP
3. Hiroki Kuroda, RHP
4. Scott Elbert, LHP
5. James McDonald, RHP
or
Team B
1. Rafael Furcal, SS
2. Juan Pierre, LF
3. Russell Martin, C
4. Andre Ethier, RF
5. Matt Kemp, CF
6. James Loney, 1B
7. Blake DeWitt, 3B
8. Chin-Lung Hu, 2B
1. CC Sabathia, LHP
2. Chad Billingsley, RHP
3. Clayton Kershaw, LHP
4. Hiroki Kuroda, RHP
5. Scott Elbert or James McDonald

Top MLB Free Agents

This is a list of 2009 MLB free agents. Some players included in this list have team and player options so they might not actually hit free agency. The team listing to the right denotes the player’s former team. 
Top Free Agents
1. CC Sabathia, MIL
2. Manny Ramirez, LAD
3. Mark Teixeira, LAA
4. Francisco Rodriguez, LAA
5. Ben Sheets, MIL
6. Rafael Furcal, LAD
7. Bobby Abreu, NYY
8. Orlando Cabrera, CWS
9. Raul Ibanez, SEA
10. AJ Burnett, TOR

Catchers

1. Ivan Rodriguez, NYY
2. Jason Varitek, BOS
3. Josh Bard, SD
4. Miguel Olivo, KC
5. Rod Barajas, TOR
6. Michael Barrett, SD
7. Javier Valentin, CIN
8. Paul Lo Duca, FLA
9. Gregg Zaun, TOR
10. Henry Blanco, CHC
11. David Ross, BOS
12. Jason LaRue, STL
13. Toby Hall, CWS
14. Brad Ausmus, HOU
15. Paul Bako, CIN
16. Johnny Estrada, WAS
1st Basemen
1. Mark Teixeira, LAA
2. Jason Giambi, NYY
3. Hank Blalock, TEX
4. Kevin Millar, BAL
5. Doug Mientkiewicz, PIT
6. Nomar Garciaparra, LAD
7. Sean Casey, BOS
8. Tony Clark, ARZ
9. Daryle Ward, CHC
10. Richie Sexson, NYY
2nd Basemen
1. Orlando Hudson, ARZ
2. Tadahito Iguchi, SD
3. Mark Grudzielanek, KC
4. Ray Durham, MIL
5. Nick Punto, MIN
6. Mark Loretta, HOU
7. Damion Easley, NYM
8. Craig Counsell, MIL
9. Willie Bloomquist, SEA
3rd Basemen
1. Casey Blake, LAD
2. Joe Crede, CWS
3. Russell Branyan, MIL
4. Rich Aurilia, SF
5. Aaron Boone, WAS
Shortstops
1. Rafael Furcal, LAD
2. Orlando Cabrera, CWS
3. Edger Renteria, DET
4. David Eckstein, ARZ
5. Jerry Hairston Jr., CIN
6. Ramon Vazquez, TEX
7. Cesar Izturis, STL
8. Felipe Lopez, STL
9. Juan Uribe, CWS
10. Adam Everett, MIN
11. Alex Cintron, BAL
12. Omar Vizquel, SF
Outfielders
1. Manny Ramirez, LAD
2. Bobby Abreu, NYY
3. Raul Ibanez, SEA
4. Pat Burrell, PHI
5. Adam Dunn, ARZ
6. Mike Cameron, MIL
7. Ken Griffey Jr., CWS
8. Rocco Baldelli, TB
9. Brian Giles, SD
10. Emil Brown, OAK
11. Jay Payton, BAL
12. Moises Alou, NYM
13. Jim Edmonds, CHC
14. Mark Kotsay, ATL
15. Gabe Kapler, TB
16. Jason Michaels, PIT
17. Craig Monroe, MIN
18. Corey Patterson, CIN
19. Brad Wilkerson, TOR
20. Scott Podsednik, COL
 
Designated Hitters
1. Milton Bradley, TEX
2. Juan Rivera, LAA
3. Garret Anderson, LAA
4. Cliff Floyd, TB
5. Frank Thomas, OAK
6. Mike Sweeney, OAK
7. Jose Vidro, SEA
Starting Pitchers
1. CC Sabathia, MIL
2. Ben Sheets, MIL
3. AJ Burnett, TOR
4. Derek Lowe, LAD
5. Ryan Dempster, CHC
6. Mike Mussina, NYY
7. Brad Penny, LAD
8. Oliver Perez, NYM
9. Jamie Moyer, PHI
10. Andy Pettitte, LAD
11. Jon Garland, LAA
12. Greg Maddux, LAD
13. Tim Wakefield, BOS
14. Randy Wolf, HOU
15. Randy Johnson, ARZ
16. Paul Byrd, BOS
17. Kenny Rogers, DET
18. Livan Hernandez, COL
19. Pedro Martinez, NYM
20. Braden Looper, STL
21. Odalis Perez, WAS
22. Orlando Hernandez, NYM
23. Tom Glavine, ATL
24. Sergio Mitre, FLA
25. Bartolo Colon, BOS
Middle Relievers
1. Damaso Marte, NYY
2. Russ Springer, STL
3. Juan Cruz, ARZ
4. Bob Howry, CHC
5. Doug Brocail, HOU
6. Will Ohman, ATL
7. Trever Miller, TB
8. Kyle Farnsworth, DET
9. Luis Ayala, NYM
10. Joe Beimel, LAD
Closers
1. Francisco Rodriguez, LAA
2. Brian Fuentes, COL
3. Kerry Wood, CHC
4. Brandon Lyon, ARZ
5. Salomon Torres, MIL
6. Jason Isringhausen, STL
7. Trevor Hoffman, SD
8. Eddie Guardado, TEX
9. Chad Cordero, WAS
10. Eric Gagne, MIL

Lopez in Lieu of Furcal?

Not long after the trade deadline had passed, Nationals’ GM Jim Bowden gave C/1B/OF, Paul Lo Duca and 2B/SS, Felipe Lopez their walking papers. As many Dodger fans know, Lo Duca was an all-star not too long ago and Lopez really wasn’t all that far behind in terms of talent. Obviously, the Dodgers don’t have a need for Lo Duca (and even if they did, I highly doubt they’d turn to him after the way his production has declined and the way his name’s been dragged thru the mud the last couple of years) but they do have a need for a shortstop due to the near season-ending injury suffered by star shortstop, Rafael Furcal. By no means is Lopez a long-term answer at shortstop… he’s not even a guarantee to hit at all but could be worth taking a chance on if the price is right (because even if he doesn’t pan out, he’d be a nice option to have waiting in the minors). He’s really only had one good (or great) season and pretty much fell off the map after that but he was always viewed as a player with big potential and could find his form in a new setting. To give you a glimpse of what he is capable of…take a look at his numbers in ’05:


Felipe Lopez in 2005
.291 batting average
.352 on base %
.486 slugging %
23 homeruns
85 runs batted in
97 runs scored
15 stolen bases
34 doubles
169 hits
Needless to say, those are some pretty nice numbers. After a season like that he had many a’scouts salivating over his potential. He had speed, power and a good contact rate. His OBP% could’ve been higher but really wasn’t all that bad. Strikeouts were a bit of a problem (111) but plate disciplined can be honed over time. At the time he was only 25 years old and it looked like the sky was the limit…and then he was sent from the Reds to the Nationals in what was a controversial trade at the time and hasn’t been the same ever since. Perhaps ’05 was a fluke but  he actually played pretty well in the half season when he first got to Washington posting a .281 average and scoring 43 runs. His power was sapped by what many assumed were the large confines of the ancient RFK Stadium in DC but the move to the smaller stadium hasn’t seemed to have had much of an impact on his power numbers. He really fell off the map the following season in ’07, hitting .245 with 9 HRs and has since then lost his starting job and served as a backup this season, hitting .234 with 2 HRs in 325 at-bats. 
Maybe he really is the .234 hitter that we just saw in DC but for what is mere chump change is baseball terms, isn’t he worth taking a chance on given our pressing need for a shortstop? Best case scenario is we get a revival of the ’05 version of his former self and a solid addition to our lineup. Realize that unless Edgar Renteria is put on waivers, he may be the best chance we’ll get a decent shortstop after the non-waiver trade deadline. At least we’d know that he has more pop in his bat than Angel Berroa… It’s just a thought.