Tagged: Hot Stove

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. 

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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

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

Top Free Agents of ’08-’09

Key
* = player option
^ = club option

Batters/Relief Pitchers
Top Tier = Potential All-Star 
2nd Tier = Starter
3rd Tier = Bench Player
Starting Pitchers
Top Tier = Ace
2nd Tier = 2-3 Starter
3rd Tier =4-5 Starter
Catchers
Top Tier
1. Ivan Rodriguez, NYY
2. Jason Varitek, BOS
2nd Tier
3. Gregg Zaun, TOR
4. Rod Barajas^, TOR
5. Miguel Olivo*^, KC
6. David Ross, CIN
3rd Tier
7. Henry Blanco*^, CHC
8. Michael Barrett, SD
9. Paul Lo Duca, FLA
10. Toby Hall^, CWS
11. Johnny Estrada, WAS
12. Mike Redmond^, MIN
13. Jason LaRue, STL
First Basemen
Top Tier
1. Mark Teixeira, LAA
2nd Tier
2. Jason Giambi^, NYY
3. Carlos Delgado*^, NYM
4. Kevin Millar, BAL
5. Hank Blalock^, TEX
3rd Tier
6. Eric Hinske, TB
7. Nomar Garciaparra, LAD
8. Doug Mientkiewicz, PIT
9. Rich Aurilia, SF
10. Tony Clark, ARZ
11. Sean Casey, BOS
12. Daryle Ward, CHC
13. Richie Sexson 
Second Basemen
Top Tier
1. Orlando Hudson, ARZ
2nd Tier
2. Mark Ellis, OAK
3. Jeff Kent, LAD
4. Aaron Miles, STL
5. Mark Grudzielanek, KC
3rd Tier
6. Ray Durham, MIL
7. Tadahito Iguchi, SD
8. Felipe Lopez, STL
9. Nick Punto, MIN
10. Mark Loretta, HOU
11. Jamey Carroll^, CLE
Third Basemen
Top Tier
1. Chipper Jones*, ATL

2nd Tier
2. Joe Crede, CWS
3. Casey Blake, LAD
3rd Tier
4. Wes Helms^, FLA
Shortstops
Top Tier
1. Rafael Furcal, LAD
2. Orlando Cabrera, CWS
3. Edgar Renteria^, DET
2nd Tier
4. David Eckstein, TOR
3rd Tier
5. Cesar Izturis, STL
6. Juan Uribe, CWS
7. Omar Vizquel^, SF
8. Adam Everett, MIN
Corner Outfielders
Top Tier
1. Manny Ramirez, LAD
2. Vladimir Guerrero^, LAA
3. Carl Crawford^, TB
4. Bobby Abreu, NYY
5. Adam Dunn, ARZ
6. Milton Bradley, TEX
7. Pat Burrell, PHI
8. Raul Ibanez, SEA
2nd Tier
9. Ken Griffey Jr.^, CWS
10. Garret Anderson^, LAA
11. Brian Giles^, SD
12. Juan Rivera, LAA
13. Emil Brown, OAK
3rd Tier
14. Rocco Baldelli, TB
15. Moises Alou, NYM
16. Wily Mo Pena^, WAS
17. Brad Wilkerson, TOR
19. Luis Gonzalez, FLA
20. Jason Michaels^, PIT
21. Jay Payton, BAL
22. Craig Monroe, MIN
23. Kevin Mench, TOR
Center Fielders
2nd Tier
1. Mike Cameron^, MIL
3rd Tier
2. Jim Edmonds, CHC
3. Mark Kotsay, BOS
4. Corey Patterson, CIN
Designated Hitters
Top Tier
1. Jim Thome^, CWS

3rd Tier
2. Frank Thomas, OAK
3. Cliff Floyd^, TB
4. Mike Sweeney, OAK
5. Craig Monroe, MIN
6. Jose Vidro, SEA
Starting Pitchers
Top Tier
1. CC Sabathia, MIL
2. John Lackey^, LAA
3. Ben Sheets, MIL
4. AJ Burnett*, TOR
5. Derek Lowe, LAD
6. Ryan Dempster, CHC
7. Brad Penny^, LAD
2nd Tier
8. Oliver Perez, NYM
9. Randy Johnson, ARZ
10. Andy Pettitte, NYY
11. Jon Garland, LAA
12. Mike Mussina, NYY
13. Tim Wakefield^, BOS
14. Greg Maddux, SD
15. Randy Wolf, HOU
16. Pedro Martinez, NYM
3rd Tier
17. Brad
en Looper, STL
18. Jamie Moyer, PHI
19. Paul Byrd, BOS
20. Kenny Rogers, DET
21. Brian Moehler, HOU
22. Bartolo Colon, BOS
23. Odalis Perez, WAS
24. Tom Glavine, ATL
25. Josh Fogg, CIN
26. Mike Hampton, ATL
27. Sidney Ponson, NYY
28. Mark Hendrickson, FLA
29. Kip Wells, COL
30. Carl Pavano^, NYY
31. Jon Lieber, CHC
32. Livan Hernandez, MIN
33. Rodrigo Lopez^, BAL
34. Kris Benson 
35. Mark Prior, SD
36. Jason Jennings, TEX
37. Matt Clement 
38. Mark Mulder^, STL
Closers
Top Tier
1. Francisco Rodriguez, LAA
2nd Tier
2. Brian Fuentes, COL
3. Kerry Wood, CHC
4. Brandon Lyon, ARZ
5. Salomon Torres^, MIL
6. Trevor Hoffman, SD
3rd Tier
7. Eddie Guardado, MIN
8. Jason Isringhausen, STL
9. Todd Jones, DET
10. Eric Gagne, MIL
Relief Pitchers
Top Tier
1. Kyle Farnsworth, DET
2. Damaso Marte, NYY
3. Russ Springer, STL
4. Juan Cruz, ARZ
5. Bob Howry, CHC
2nd Tier
6. Brian Shouse, MIL
7. Darren Oliver, LAA
8. Will Ohman, ATL
9. Doug Brocail^, HOU
10. Dennys Reyes, MIN
11. David Weathers, CIN
12. Joe Beimel, LAD
13. Tom Gordon^, PHI
14. Luis Ayala, NYM

3rd Tier
15. LaTroy Hawkins, HOU
16. Trever Miller^, TB
17. Al Reyes, NYM
18. Horacio Ramirez, KC
19. Mike Timlin, BOS
20. Jeremy Affeldt, CIN
21. Alan Embree^, OAK
22. Matt Wise, MIL
23. Guillermo Mota, MIL
24. Juan Rincon, CLE
25. Joe Borowski, CLE
26. Keith Foulke, OAK
27. Matt Herges^, COL

D-Back Hope-ra

Why is it that when exploring trades other teams allegedly ask us for all of our major league talent like James Loney, Matt Kemp and Jonathan Broxton yet other teams, like the Diamondbacks, get to trade minor leaguers that are not a part of their everyday lineup? Billy Beane reportedly wanted Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw and Jonathan Broxton for Joe Blanton, who isn’t nearly the pitcher that Dan Haren is, yet he turns around and deals the better pitcher to the D-Backs for a minor leaguer and several other low-level A-ball prospects? I don’t get it. Why can’t we make a trade like that? We have more than enough prospects in the system. I’m starting to get the idea that other teams don’t respect our GM, Ned Colletti, and think they can rip him off. It just doesn’t make any sense. Why else would a team try to extort us and then turn around and deal an even better player for far less than the package they were demanding from us? It would be one thing if they dealt Haren to the D-Backs for the equivalent of major league players they asked for from us like Justin Upton, Chris Young and Conor Jackson but for a bunch of A-ballers hardly seems fair. Most of the A-ballers involved in the Haren trade aren’t even rated that highly and weren’t originally part of the D-backs system. Many of them were acquired in other trades like Chris Carter who came from the White Sox in the Danny Richar trade last season. Too bad we can’t make a trade for an impact arm without having to give up major pieces of our everyday lineup. If we could pull off a deal in which we trade minor leaguers that we don’t use for an impact arm, we would surely do it in a heartbeat. Problem is, other teams want all of our best players from our major league team.
Many analysts are handing the D-Backs the division now that they’ve traded for Haren but I think they may be jumping the gun. As good as Haren’s numbers from last year look at first glance, he fell apart at the end of the season after posting a 4.67 ERA over his last 17 starts. He may have already hit his peak. Nonetheless I have no doubt he will make an impact on that staff. The D-Backs desperately needed another pitcher because after Brandon Webb they really didn’t have anybody other than Randy Johnson who is about as sure of a bet as Jason Schmidt. Haren definitely helps round out their rotation but are the D-Backs really as good as the media would have us believe? Simply put, no they’re not. Are the Dodgers really as far behind the curve as the media would have us believe? No, that’s not quite true either. Let’s look at the situation a little bit closer. The Dodgers were in 1st place for much of the season last year and didn’t fall out of contention until their historic collapse at the very end. Just as the Rockies can’t count on winning 20 straight again, opponents better not count on another historic Dodger collapse because it’s not going to happen this year. Had the Dodgers played guys like Chad Billingsley, James Loney, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier everyday instead of burnt-out vets like Brett Tomko, Nomar, Luis Gonzalez and Juan Pierre, they would’ve finished with a much better record than they did and may have even finished the season close to the top. The D-Backs on the other hand were outscored by their opponents to the tune of 712 runs scored to 732 runs allowed. The Dodgers scored 735 runs and allowed only 727 meaning we outscored them and didn’t allow as many runs as they did. That’s pretty fluky no matter which way you look at it.

If the D-Backs expect to face another broke-down, washed-up, geriatric team they are in for a rude awakening. This season the Dodgers will do what they should’ve done all of last season…play the kids. Teams like the D-Backs and Rockies were able to make the playoffs last season because they turned it over to the youth movement and didn’t rely on guys who couldn’t get it done anymore. Finally after much heartache and a new manager, it sounds like the Dodgers will finally do the same. If you look at our lineup top to bottom, it is very strong. Every single player in the lineup is capable of 20 or more HRs (except for Rafael Furcal) and all tend to get on base much more often than the average MLB player. I expect guys like James Loney and Matt Kemp to have breakout years this coming season. When you project either of their numbers over a full season, the results are very encouraging. Loney projects as a .333 hitter capable of hitting 25+ HRs. Matt Kemp projects to have an even better batting average and should be a 30/30 guy next year, putting him in the “elite offensive weapon” category. Pair that with the continued development of players like Russell Martin, Andre Ethier and Andy Laroche as well as solid veteran bats like Andruw Jones and Jeff Kent and this lineup looks like it will be the strongest the Dodgers have had in over a decade.

One thing I hope the D-Back trade doesn’t do is pressure Ned Colletti into making brash decisions to counter the move. Trading Matt Kemp for anybody would be a mistake and I’m not sold on the idea of trading for a pitcher like Erik Bedard in the first place. He didn’t even breakout into the league until he was 27 and was a little better than average until last season. Beyond that he’s already 30 and isn’t getting any younger. Pitchers are notoriously fragile and Bedard has dealt with injuries throughout his career. He even missed the end of last season due to left shoulder problems, which isn’t a good sign for a left-handed pitcher. The main problem with the Dodgers’ pitching staff is the unavailability of Clayton Kershaw. He has ace-caliber stuff but is still too young to pitch for the big league club. His stuff is good enough but his endurance and durability isn’t up to par quite yet. It will likely take another year or two of development before he’s ready to join the big league staff. Technically he’s another ace for the staff but we just can’t use him yet. That presents us with a dilemma, especially now that the D-Backs have pulled the trigger on Haren. Guys like Matt Kemp and Jonathan Broxton shouldn’t even be part of the equation but the real question is, “should we trade Clayton Kershaw for an impact arm”? My answer is an emphatic no! When you let other teams dictate your moves, you’re in trouble. Just because they D-Backs dealt away the farm doesn’t mean we should. Kershaw projects as a better starter than anything we could get via the trade market. He’s extremely young and has an excellent contract. Look at the future. When Kershaw does come up, we won’t be paying him much and will be able to afford to add even more players to the lineup. If we deal Kershaw for an expensive veteran, that payroll flexibility will be gone.

The Dodgers are easily my favorites to win the West this year, even if they don’t make a move for another pitcher. It’s been rumored for several days now that Japanese star starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda has decided to sign with the Dodgers. If those reports are true, he instantly gives us the depth we need in our rotation, without having to trade anyone. Of course, all Japanese players translate to the majors differently but Kuroda does have a few things working for him. First of all Dodger stadium is clearly a pitchers park…and so are most of the other NL West ballparks. Pitching in places like Petco and Pac-Bell (or whatever the Giants call their stadium now) should help him. Also, the offenses of the NL West aren’t nearly as dangerous as the lineups of the AL Central or AL East. It’s not like he’s going to have to face the Tigers, Yankees and Red Sox all the time. I expect a reasonable amount of success from him at least in his first year or two since batters will not be used to his stuff. He could very well end up as a legitimate #3 starter in time. For $11 million a year, that would have to be considered a bargain in today’s market.

In the end it all comes back to Arizona. No doubt the Dan Haren trade was a big move for the D-Backs. As I previously stated, they desperately needed the depth at pitching and other than Johan Santana, Haren may very well have been the best pitcher available this winter. If I remember correctly, he’s under contract for another 3 years at a reasonable price, meaning the D-Backs will still have enough flexibility to make more moves in the future. In a way, that makes Haren an even more attractive target than Santana since you don’t have to lock him up to a Barry Zito-busting contract. In today’s game, that’s what it’s all about; payroll flexibility…at least for a team that doesn’t have unlimited cash to throw away like the Yanks and Sox. There is no question now that the NL West is the toughest division in baseball pitching-wise and is starting to catch up offensively as well. When you look at the bigger picture the D-Backs matchup the best with the Dodgers but the Padres are not far behind. The only team in the division that is weak on pitching is the Rockies but if guys like Ubaldo Jimenez and Franklin Morales continue to develop, they’ll quickly catch up to the big boys. I expect an extremely competitive division next year but I fully expect the Dodgers to finish on top. When you factor in the things like the youth movement, the depth in the rotation and the new manager, future Hall of Famer Joe Torre, I don’t think there is any question we will be much better off than we were last year. Factoring in these elements, the Dodgers are the team to beat.

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