Saturday, December 27, 2008

Eric Nadel Interview

TR Sullivan came to my house earlier this week to do an article on my autograph collection for the Rangers website. It was very nice of him and I would like to thank him for doing it. The article is at TR is the Rangers’ beat writer for and also has a great blog at

This week I am beginning voting for the second annual Texas Rangers Trades Broadcaster of the Year Award on the poll (on the left-hand sidebar). The winner will get an award, so please vote to make it more meaningful.

This week I did an interview with Rangers radio broadcaster Eric Nadel. He is a great guy and has always been very nice to me. He took a lot of time answering these questions and I would like to thank him for doing this interview.

1. What was your favorite team growing up and why?

I rooted for the Brooklyn Dodgers, because I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. But they moved to LA in 1958 when I was 7. I continued rooting for them from long distance. But when the N Y Mets came into existence in 1962, I became a Mets fan and went to a lot of their games. I also went to Yankee games, but rooted against them.

2. Did you play baseball growing up? If so, for how long and at what position?

Yes, I played baseball from a very early age, even sneaked into Little League one year early by writing a fake birthdate on my application. I was a first baseman and catcher, mostly. I played until freshman year in college.

3. How did you prepare yourself to be a broadcaster? What education did you have?

I first attended a broadcast summer program for high school students at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois after my junior year in high school. In college, at Brown University, I learned to be a broadcaster at the college radio station, where you learned from the upper classmen. We did not have any broadcasting courses, but I did take Voice & Diction, and lots of English classes to learn how to use the language. I learned on-the-air skills by working on the radio station, doing play-by-play of hockey and football, along with shifts as a disc jockey, newscaster and sportscaster. You can really learn to be an announcer only by doing it. I spent a lot of hours practicing play-by-play into a tape recorder at hockey practice while the team scrimmaged.

4. What are the three best things about your job?

The best thing is that my job is fun. Let's face it, I get paid to go to a ballpark and watch major league baseball games. I also love being the person who informs people about interesting events. And the job is never boring, as every game is different.

5. What are the three toughest things about your job?

The grind of 162 games in six months is difficult, physically and mentally. It is tough sometimes to make a game seem worth listening to if the Rangers are bad, or the game itself is one-sided. And finally, the travel, while fun and interesting, presents various challenges, most notably in getting enough sleep.

6. What is the most fun season you’ve announced and why?

The best by far was 1996, when the Rangers won the West and made the playoffs for the first time. It seemed truly magical, as the Rangers almost blew the lead with a week to go, but rallied again to win the title. The players on that team had a wonderful sense of togetherness and I felt personally close to many of them.

7. What is the most fun game you’ve announced and why?

I would say that the first Rangers' playoff game, a win at Yankee Stadium, was the most fun. It was an incredible feeling to beat the Yankees in their park. I had gone to many games at Yankee Stadium while growing up, so broadcasting a post-season game there was quite a thrill. Nolan's two no-hitters with the Rangers weren't bad either.

8. What is the best play you’ve announced and why?

I think the single most exciting play was David Delucci's walk-off triple against Oakland late in the pennant race in the 2004 season. The most exciting defensive play was Ken Griffey smashing face first into the wall to rob Juan Gonzalez of an extra base hit at the Kingdome in Seattle, in a game that had no bearing on the pennant race. Josh Hamilton made a very similar play last year in Oakland. And of course, there was Nolan Ryan's 5,000th strikeout, which was probably the most significant call that I have had historically. One more worth mentioning was Ramon Vazquez' 3-run homer that pushed the Rangers' run total to an all-time record 30 in August, 2007 at Baltimore.

9. Who have been the best and most fun players to interview and why?

Charlie Hough always had funny things to say, and was a pleasure to talk to. Interviewing Nolan Ryan after his 6th and 7th no-hitters, 5,000th strikeout, and 300th win, was a lot of fun. Of opposing players, Dan Quisenberry of the Royals was always clever and funny. Many opposing stars were both intelligent and friendly. Among those who stand out are Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, Wade Boggs, Don Mattingly, and Kirby Puckett.

10. What is a typical day like in your job?

I usually wake up between 9 and 10am, spend a couple of hours on the Internet reviewing what went on in baseball the previous night. I then work out, eat lunch, relax or walk or surf the web until about 3pm, then go to the ballpark. When I get there, I spend an hour or two talking to our manager, players, and also to players, coaches, and media members from the other team. I go up to the booth around 5:30, prepare my scorebook for the game by writing in the lineups and some notes, read the press notes, have a quick dinner around 6:15, then I'm ready to go on the air live at 7pm. (By then, I have already recorded the manager's show, and recorded a broadcast "open" from the booth that comes on the air at 6:30pm.) After the game it takes me a couple of hours to wind down, and I usually go to sleep between 1-2am.

11. What are some of the differences between broadcasting college hockey, college baseball, college football, major league baseball, and women’s basketball?

Baseball is different from all the other sports because of all the "dead time" when the ball is not in play. It is the most conversational sport and requires that you use much more of your personality and background materials in order to be an entertaining broadcaster. In all the other sports, there is not much dead time to fill, so your ability to do play-by-play is by far the most important part of the job.

12. What are some major changes in broadcasting since when you started broadcasting the Rangers in 1979?

The advent of the Internet changed completely the way we prepare for games. So much information is available online that it's much easier to know a lot before I even show up at the ballpark. Another major change is that the players used to hang out socially with the broadcasters and sportswriters. That is not the case anymore.

13. What is the experience of being in a movie like?

In my case, only my voice was used. I flew to Austin for the day and spent a few hours in a sound studio recording my lines. As it turned out, the script for The Rookie was poorly written when it came to the play-by-play re-creation, so the director encouraged me to re-write the lines to fit my own style, which made it a lot easier. The director did not claim to know more than me about my job, and since I was basically re-creating my job, he gave me tremendous freedom in the way I did it. The weird part was not knowing how the movie was going to turn out, until actually going to the theatre to see it when it opened.

14. What is the experience of calling games in Latin America like?

The passion of the fans in Latin America is very different than it is here, much more intense. And the ballparks are much smaller than major league stadiums, in most cases. At times, you can actually feel the ballpark moving when the fans start going crazy. The games themselves are much less disciplined, and the strategy is much less predictable.

15. Will you be putting out a new edition of your 1997 book ‘The Texas Rangers: The Authorized History’? Why or why not?

I originally planned to put out a new edition if and when the Rangers win the World Series. Now I am not sure if I will do it, even if the Rangers win the World Series. It took an entire off-season to do the book, and I don't know if I am willing to give up that much time to do another book.

16. What adjustments do you have to make when you change broadcast partners? How do you feel about Victor Rojas’ move to the MLB Network?

I am very happy for Victor as it is a great career move for him. Adjusting to a new partner is always fascinating. The main thing is getting the timing down, so that you don't talk over each other. It sometimes takes a little while for the two personalities to blend. That's why it really helps to do some spring training games with a new partner.

17. What do you think are the keys to the Rangers’ success in 2009?

I have heard that pitching might be the key. Seriously, since it appears the Rangers probably will not sign any major free agents, the development of young pitchers like Harrison, Hurley, Feldman, McCarthy, etc., will determine if the Rangers have a chance to seriously contend. I think that Nelson Cruz will be a huge factor offensively. If he can offset the loss of Milton Bradley, the Rangers will be able to contend if their pitching staff can rank around the middle of the league in ERA.

18. I’ve heard that you prefer broadcasting on radio over TV. Why is that?

The beauty of the radio job is that you get to describe everything for the audience, something that the TV announcer does not need to do. It's the most satisfying part of the job, for me. Also, on radio, there is no director telling you what to do. You have the freedom to talk about whatever you want, without paying attention to a TV monitor. And of course there is no dress code on radio, and no need to wear make-up or make sure your hair (if you have any) is combed.
I would like to thank Eric again for allowing me to interview him and for the great answers to my questions.

Results of last week’s poll:
Do you think the way Rafael Furcal handled himself (using the agreement with the Braves to up the Dodgers’ price and then signing with the Dodgers) was wrong or okay?
Wrong – 80%
Okay – 20%

Come back next week for the beginning of my list of the top 50 Rangers of all time.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Trade Analyses

This week I’m going to catch up on analyzing recent Rangers trades.

The Rangers traded Gerald Laird to the Tigers for Guillermo Moscoso and Carlos Melo on December 7th.

Guillermo Moscoso: Guillermo went 8-2 with a 2.18 ERA throughout Oneonta, West Michigan (Low-A), and Lakeland (High-A). He only pitched 90.2 innings that year, though, with 79 strikeouts and 16 walks. He had shoulder surgery in 2005 and that explains the low number of innings because they wanted to bring him back slowly. In 2008, Moscoso pitched 86.2 innings between Lakeland and Erie (AA). He struck out 122 batters and walked only 21. He was named the #10 prospect in the Detroit minor league system by Baseball America. Moscoso had a 3.72 ERA out of the bullpen and a 1.65 ERA as a starter. He has more strikeouts than innings and five times more strikeouts than walks in his career. The only downside is that he’s a fly ball pitcher, but seems like a pretty good prospect.

Carlos Melo: In 2007, the Tigers signed Carlos out of the Dominican Republic as a 16-year-old. He didn’t pitch that year. In 2008, he had a 5.14 ERA with 61 strikeouts and 20 walks in only 49 innings. He’s only 17 years old, but reportedly is already throwing 93-96 miles an hour.

Trade Evaluation:
Laird wasn’t going to be our best catcher or our catcher of the future. If I was going to trade one of our catchers it would have been Laird. Fortunately it was him (and not more). Guillermo Moscoso seems like a very good prospect who isn’t all that far away from the majors, and can both be a relief pitcher and a starter. Carlos Melo seems to have a great upside, but is far from the majors and will need a lot of attention to speed up his process and to become a successful major league pitcher. This seems like a pretty return for Laird.
Grade: A-

The Red Sox sent Beau Vaughn over to the Rangers to complete the Wes Littleton trade on December 11th.

Beau Vaughn: In 2008, Beau went 3-2 with a 2.33 ERA and 17 saves between Portland (AA) and Pawtucket (AAA). He pitched 58 innings and struck out 69, walking 24, and giving up an opponent’s batting average of .233. He is 27 years old.

Trade Evaluation:
Wes Littleton had a good year in 2006 with a 1.73 ERA in 36.1 innings. But in 2007 he had a 4.31 ERA and in 2008 he had a 6.00 ERA. I think that he could still pitch in the major leagues and that Beau Vaughn is more of a minor-leaguer-to-back-part-of-the-bullpen type guy, so I think that this trade wasn’t necessary, except to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
Grade: B-

Results of last week’s poll:
Where do you think Manny Ramirez will go?
Yankees – 62%
Dodgers – 25%
Other – 12%

Come back next week for an interview with Rangers broadcaster Eric Nadel.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Newberg Report Bound Edition Release Party

On Wednesday night Jamey Newberg held his annual Newberg Book Release Party. It started at six and ended at nine and was a blast. It was held at Sherlock’s Pub & Grill in Arlington. The crowd was the biggest yet and the players there were Michael Young, Taylor Teagarden, Chris Davis, Derek Holland, and Jeff Zimmerman. They signed autographs and did a Q&A session. They were all very nice and it was very kind of them to be there.

Eleanor Czajka, her mom, and her sister were selling the books at the party. My dad and I got to hang out with them and talk to them a lot. Eleanor is one of my friends and I always enjoy seeing her. Jamey, his wife Ginger, and his two kids Max and Erica were all at the party. Max and Erica wrote the section ‘About My Dad’ and were signing autographs at the party with Jamey and all the players. I got my first Max Newberg autograph and my second Erica Newberg autograph (she wrote it last year, too). Max is four years old, a huge baseball fan, and has a great arm. I played catch with him at Spring Training. Erica is eight years old, is very smart and has pretty eyes. Devin Pike was also there. He works for the new sports radio station 105.3 The Fan and runs the website ( Devin ran the Q&A session and let me ask four questions.

Jamey’s book is terrific as always. The forewords this year are by Nolan Ryan and Jeff Zimmerman. Jamey included his prospect rankings (top 72, plus breakdowns of the players in each position that are on those lists), his breakdown of down 2008, what to look forward to in 2009, his 20 players who could break out in 2009, all his reports for the season, the final 2008 statistics, the 2008 draft, all the transactions from November 2007 to October 2008, and the portion that Max and Erica wrote. It is well worth the $25.

My dad and I got there at about 5:30. The autograph session started at about 6:30 and went until around 8:30. After that, the Q&A session started. Below is a recap of the session.

Q&A Session:
Q: Who are the three toughest pitchers (or toughest hitters) you’ve faced and why? (This was one of my questions.)

Chris Davis:
Jon Lester – lefty on lefty – he’s got dirty stuff
Scott Shields – I remember facing Shields and walking back to the dugout several times. He has a good slider and it seems like he knew what I was thinking the whole time. It was pretty frustrating.
Dice-K: It seems like I could never really get it on the barrel with that guy. It seemed like everything he threw, I thought I was going to crush it but it just disappeared.
Those were probably my top three. I didn’t get to face Sabathia but maybe next year.

Derek Holland:
The toughest guy is probably myself.

Jeff Zimmerman:
Michael Young, of course, Bengie Molina, and Cal Ripken.

Michael Young:
Pedro Martinez, Pedro Martinez, Pedro Martinez

Taylor Teagarden:
I would go with Jon Lackey, Ervin Santana, and Joe Nathan.

Q: For Michael: Can you describe the process of being traded, like how you found out, how you felt, and how quickly you had to get to your new city? (This was also one of my questions.)

Michael: I got traded when I was in the minor leagues so that’s, first of all, a lot easier than being in the major leagues. I was in Greenville, NC. My manager brought me in about a half-hour before the bus left and told me I had been traded to Texas. I called my agent, packed my stuff, got on a plane to Knoxville, packed my stuff, got on a plane to Tulsa, played, and went 0-for-4.

Q: What would you do if you weren’t playing baseball?

Michael: If I weren’t playing baseball, I think I’d just be a full-time dad.

Taylor: I think I would be a veterinarian or something.

Jeff: I’m trying to be a full-time dad but my wife’s going to kick me out of the house. So if anyone has any suggestions, just let me know.

Derek: I think I would be a firefighter.

Chris: If I wasn’t playing baseball… I really got nothin’. I’m not very good at anything else. I guess I could… no, I got nothin’.

Q: For Michael: What was it like being on the field at Yankee Stadium during Josh Hamilton’s home run derby clinic?

Michael: It was pretty incredible. The things he does in batting practice - he really does put on an absolute show. As far as pure power, Alex and Josh are kind of in a class by themselves. It was incredible to have a Yankee Stadium crowd cheering for a guy I play with. It was pretty fun. It seemed like Josh really fed off it. The crowd was going crazy and it was just a lot of fun.

Q: For Taylor: Now that Laird’s not here, are you preparing to be the catcher on opening day?

Taylor: I’m gonna approach camp like that. I’m going to do everything I know I can do and let upper management make the decision. In my mind, I’m going in there to crack the starting lineup. That’s my mindset.

Q: For Chris: With Justin Smoak’s arrival in the organization, do you think you’ll be moving back to third base? Do you have a preference?

Chris: I’m comfortable at either position. Right now I probably have more experience at first. I played there in college and in high school. I feel I can play any position. Justin’s a good player, a good prospect for us. If our names are in the lineup together at some point in the future, I imagine I’d probably be at third. But either first or third would be a good fit for me.

Q: For Jeff: What’s your favorite memory from the 1999 season?

Jeff: Signing my first big-league autograph. I signed an autograph for a guy and he looked down to read it and said ‘Whoa! You’re going to have a great year for me. I have you on my fantasy team.’ I said ‘There’s no way. No one even knows I exist.’ He said ‘Yeah – Todd Zeile, you’re the best third baseman!’ My favorite memory was around the Fourth of July. My brother and I pitched against each other in the same game. He was with the Mariners. I pitched the top of the ninth. He came in the bottom of the ninth and gave up a walk-off double to Rusty Greer. My dad was there. He passed away a year later. It was the first time he’d seen us both pitch in the same game.

Q: For Jeff: What are the three best things and the three worst things about playing in the independent league? (This was one of my questions.)

Jeff: Wow, that’s a very insightful question. Three best things: First, it’s all about winning. There are no organizational politics or depth charts or prospects. Second, the fans are rabid and know all of your stats. They adopt you and you’re allowed to go out and drink beer with the fans after the game. I can’t think of a third. The three worst things: First, the paychecks – you make less than A-ball players make. Second, the travel is really tough with the long bus rides. I can’t think of a third. Good question – you stumped me.

Q: For Michael: For the 2009 season, what’s the most important thing for the team to move forward?

Michael: It’s really difficult to single out one thing. You always have a number of priorities to address. For me, it’s about our young players getting a lot of experience last year. Next year, we’ll have the chance to build and grow more as a team. I think the biggest thing is making sure we have a little bit of continuity as a team, with our coaching staff and the players.

Q: For Derek: Can you describe the process of moving through three levels of baseball in one season, like what were some of the biggest challenges and some of the main differences between levels? (This was my last question.)

Derek: The jumps were tough because you tried to get settled at one spot and were moved to another spot. It was rough just trying to get comfortable. The toughest would probably be when I got to double-A – the hitters are a lot smarter than in single-A. They’re a lot more patient. That was one of the biggest challenges for me.

Q: For Michael: How are your injuries?

Michael: I’m doing fine. My first break has healed. The second break is slowly but surely getting better. I can make a fist and get my hand around a bat finally. That’s a definite positive for me. I’ll be going into spring training 100%.

The party was a lot of fun as always. I would like to thank Jamey and everyone else involved in putting it on.

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think will get Mark Teixeira?
Red Sox – 33%
Nationals – 26%
Yankees – 20%
Angels – 13%
Other – 6%
Orioles – 0%

Come back next week for an analysis of all the recent Rangers trades.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Winter Meetings Preview

This week I will analyze what the winter meetings will look like and what might go down.

Hot Stove Info:
Greg Maddux will retire on Monday after 355 career wins. The Braves signed catcher David Ross to be their back-up behind Brian McCann. The Giants signed SS Edgar Renteria. Rafael Furcal rejected the A’s four-year offer. The Cardinals traded for SS Khalil Greene. The Indians signed Tomo Ohka to a minor-league deal and the Rangers signed Joe Torres to a minor-league deal. The Rangers also re-signed Elizardo Ramirez to a minor league contract.

Winter Meetings:

K-ROD: K-ROD’s agent has said that the serious negotiations would start at the Winter Meetings. It seems that there is a pretty good chance of him signing with the Mets during the Winter Meetings or shortly thereafter.

Rafael Furcal: After the Giants signed Edgar Renteria to play shortstop, it seemed like he would be going to the A’s, but he turned down the A’s offer of a four-year deal. It seems at this point that he will start over from scratch at the Winter Meetings, and the market will be wide open again.

Kerry Wood: Both the Mets and the Tigers are interested in Kerry Wood, and the Rangers have shown some amount of interest also. The market will probably be larger since the Cubs offered him arbitration which takes away the draft pick the team that signs him would have to lose in the process. He will probably come close to making a decision at the Winter Meetings.

Adam Everett: The Tigers are going after Everett hard and have a good shot at signing him during the Winter Meetings.

Mark Teixeira: Mark is looking for at least $20 million dollars a year for multiple years. He is even hoping for a ten year contract. Because of this he probably will not sign at the Winter Meetings, but only start getting into serious negotiations.

Manny Ramirez: Manny is also looking for at least $20 million dollars a year for multiple years, but he probably has a better chance at getting it in offers from multiple teams than Teixeira does. He probably will not get signed at the Winter Meetings.

Adam Dunn: The Nationals, Mariners, Cubs, Rays, and Angels are all interested in Dunn. He probably will not sign at the Winter Meetings due to the number of teams that want him, but he should get it down to two or three teams.

Bobby Abreu: Bobby only has four teams interested in him right now ( the Cubs, Mets, Yankees, and Rays). He will not get all that much money (in baseball terms) but will get a pretty decent sized contract.

Raul Ibanez: Only the Cubs and Mets are interested in him now and since he’s 36, he’ll probably sign late, after all the big-name targets are gone and he’s the last solid outfielder available.

Pat Burrell: The Phillies seem to be letting him go without even really trying to keep him in Philly. He probably will come reasonably close to signing at the Winter Meetings, but probably will still be a free agent at the end of the meetings.

CC Sabathia: There is a good chance that CC will sign during the Winter Meetings. He has probably been waiting for these meetings to see if he can get even more than $140 million, which is unlikely. If there is not a higher offer, he will probably sign at the meetings; if there is, it will probably be a long process for him to sign.

Nationals: The Nationals are expected to attempt to sign Ryan Zimmerman to a multi-year contract at the Winter Meetings. They are also trying to convince both Teixeira and Dunn to sign with them, so this might be the time to get on their list of possible teams. The Nats are also interested in Milton Bradley.

Results of last week’s poll:
Where do you think Rafael Furcal will go?
San Francisco Giants – 50%
Oakland Athletics – 37%
Other – 13%

Come back next week for a recap of the Newberg Bound Edition release party.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tom Grieve Trade Analysis Part 8

The Texas Rangers traded Wes Littleton (who was DFA’d earlier) to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later or cash considerations. It’s obviously too early to judge this trade but Littleton was a very good guy and I’m sorry to see him go. I hope he makes the Boston team out of spring training both because it would be good for Wes and because we would get more in return from the trade.

Hot Stove Rumors and Info:
Francisco Rodriguez’s agent has said that he expects that the serious talks about a contract will start at the Winter Meetings. Rafael Furcal’s agent, Paul Kinzer, said that Furcal will have it down to at least two teams on Monday or Tuesday. The A’s looked at Nick Johnson’s medical records. The Braves have increased their interest in AJ Burnett (I predicted that Burnett would go to the Braves).

This week I will complete the analysis of all the trades Tom Grieve made as the Rangers GM. I posted part 7 on August 24th of this year, if you want to see my last post of this. This time I will analyze all of the trades Tom Grieve made as GM in 1993 and 1994.

47. 7-17-93: The Florida Marlins traded Cris Carpenter to the Texas Rangers for Robb Nen and Kurt Miller.

Loss – Cris Carpenter only played one and a half seasons for us and he had a 4.22 ERA for us in his half season and a 5.03 ERA for us in his full season with the team. He had a 6-6 record with the Rangers. Robb Nen had 314 career saves and a 2.98 career ERA. He was a 3-time All-Star and led the league in saves in 2001 with 45. He also led the league in games finished in 1995, 1999, and 2001. He pitched 715 career innings while Cris Carpenter only pitched 91 innings with the Rangers. Kurt Miller really struggled, though, with a 7.48 career ERA.

Record – 10-12-25

48. 7-22-93: The Texas Rangers traded Todd Burns to the St. Louis Cardinals for a player to be named later. The St. Louis Cardinals sent Duff Brumley (July 30, 1993) to the Texas Rangers to complete the trade.

Tie - Burns only played another half-a-season in the majors and he had a 6.16 ERA in 30 and two-thirds innings, so he didn’t do much at all. Brumley only pitched 3 and a third innings in the majors and he allowed 6 runs, so he didn’t do much of anything either.

Record – 10-12-26

49. 1-13-94: The Milwaukee Brewers traded David Pike (minors) to the Texas Rangers for Jeff Bronkey.

Tie – David Pike never made it to the majors and Jeff Bronkey only pitched 33 innings after being traded.

Record – 10-12-27

50. 3-23-94: The Cleveland Indians traded Junior Ortiz to the Texas Rangers for players to be named later. The Texas Rangers sent Igor Oropeza (minors) (March 25, 1994) and Andreaus Lewis (minors) (May 9, 1994) to the Cleveland Indians to complete the trade.

Tie - Junior Ortiz only played 29 games for the Rangers and he had a .276 batting average with 9 RBI’s and no HR’s. Neither Igor Oropeza nor Andreaus Lewis made it to the majors.

Record – 10-12-28

51. 3-28-94: The Chicago White Sox traded Esteban Beltre to the Texas Rangers for Scott Eyre.

Loss - Esteban Beltre only had 223 at-bats for the Rangers split between two seasons. In ’94 he hit .282 and in ’95 he hit .217. Scott Eyre is still playing and has played for 12 seasons now. He is Willie Eyre’s brother. He has a 4.36 career ERA and 619 and a third career innings. He is a solid relief pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has had 4 years with an ERA under four, one of those years being a 2.63 ERA.

Final Record – 10-13-28

Results of last week’s poll:
Do you think the John Mayberry trade was a good or bad trade?
Good trade – 77%
Bad trade – 22%

Come back next week for a comparison of all the GM’s I’ve reviewed so far.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mayberry Trade Evaluation

This week, the Rangers traded OF John Mayberry Jr. to the Philadelphia Phillies for OF Greg Golson.

John Mayberry, Jr.: John was the Rangers 1st round pick in 2005. He has struggled very much in the minors, with just a .255 batting average in four years. He has 82 HR’s and 257 RBI’s spread throughout those years. John has struck out 243 more times than he has walked in his minor league career and his fielding percentage has had ups and downs, too. In 2006, he had a .979 fielding percentage in 114 games on the field at Clinton while in Frisco in ’08 he had a .964 fielding percentage in 20 games on the field.

Greg Golson: Greg was a first round pick out of high school in 2004. In the offseason before 2008 he was ranked the Phillies #7 prospect along with the Phillies best power hitter, fastest base runner, best athlete, best defensive outfielder and best defensive arm. Golson was playing very well at the beginning of the ’08 season as he hit .329 through May, but then it went downhill from there as he went through a major slump, got injured and then hit only .257 after the injury. He only had 13 HR’s and 60 RBI’s. In six major league at-bats in September he went 0-for-6, but stole a base and scored two runs. But after the Futures Game, Baseball Prospectus’ Joe Sheehan said that “You could actually see his trade value collapsing during the game. Golson has had the best season of his professional life, fooling some people into seeing him as a prospect. He’s not. He swings at everything, he’s an awkward outfielder and he doesn’t do anything else well enough to make up for those traits. The Phillies have about nine minutes to turn him into something of value, because by the end of the season, he’ll have been exposed again.” He is a risk.

I don’t think that Mayberry was going anywhere, or if he was it was going to take years to develop. Golson seems like a guy who has talent and potential, but needs good coaching and probably a couple years to put it all together. He will probably be in major league camp and that should tell us a lot about him.
Grade: B- - it might turn out much better, though.

Roster Moves:
John Bannister, Omar Poveda, Willie Eyre, and Jose Vallejo were all placed on the 40-man roster. Wes Littleton and Kameron Loe were designated for assignment. Kameron Loe signed a 2-year, $2 million contract to go to Japan.

I think that Willie Eyre played well enough a couple years ago to get himself a spot, so I like him getting on. Jose Vallejo was a no-brainer, and I like that Poveda made it. I do wish someone other than Littleton was DFA’d, though. I still think that he should be able to fight for a job in Spring Training, though.

I’m very sorry to see Kameron Loe go. He is one of the nicest people on the team. He always took time for the fans. He let me interview him for my blog one time. He gave me his cell phone number and let me call him while the team was in Oakland. He talked to me for 30 minutes while riding on the subway to the game. If you want to read the interview, you can see the link to it on the left side of my blog. I hope Kameron does well in Japan.

Summary of MLB Awards – actual winners compared to who I picked at the end of the season:

Actual: Dustin Pedroia, BOS
Mine: Kevin Youkilis, BOS

AL Cy Young:
Actual: Cliff Lee, CLE
Mine: Cliff Lee, CLE

AL Rookie of the Year:
Actual: Evan Longoria, TB
Mine: Evan Longoria, TB

AL Manager of the Year:
Actual: Joe Maddon, TB
Mine: Joe Maddon, TB

Actual: Albert Pujols, STL
Mine: Ryan Braun, MIL (Pujols was my runner-up)

NL Cy Young:
Actual: Tim Lincecum, SF
Mine: Tim Lincecum, SF

NL Rookie of the Year:
Actual: Geovany Soto, CHC
Mine: Ricky Nolasco, FLA

NL Manager of the Year:
Actual: Lou Piniella, CHC
Mine: Charlie Manuel, PHI

Results of last week’s poll:
Where do you think Derek Lowe will go?
Angels – 25%
Yankees – 25%
Other – 25%
Cubs – 12%
Red Sox – 12%

Come back next week for a continuation of the Tom Grieve trade analysis.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Free Agent Special Cont.

This week I will continue my analysis of free agents.

1st Basemen:

Jason Giambi, NYY:
Jason will not go back to New York and will probably stay in the AL and be a DH somewhere.
Prediction: Toronto Blue Jays - they would love to use him against the Yankees.

Kevin Millar, BAL:
Kevin will probably leave Baltimore and go to a better team.
Prediction: Florida Marlins - Jorge Cantu is now their starting 1st baseman since they traded Mike Jacobs.

Mark Teixeira, LAA:
Mark should get a huge contract and will probably be able to stay in the AL.
Prediction: Boston Red Sox - the Sox are worried about Mike Lowell’s recovery from his injury so may move Kevin Youkilis to third, creating an opening at first.

2nd Basemen:

Ray Durham, MIL:
Ray will probably just be a utility man somewhere instead of starting.
Prediction: Milwaukee Brewers - it shouldn’t cost much for them to bring him back.

Orlando Hudson, ARI:
Orlando will be the starting second baseman for a good team.
Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers - they will not have Jeff Kent, so he can take that spot.


Pudge, NYY:
Pudge will not get a big contract this year.
Prediction: Toronto Blue Jays – he would be an upgrade over Barajas.

Starting Pitcher:

AJ Burnett, TOR:
AJ opted out of his contract with the Blue Jays.
Prediction: Atlanta Braves - the Braves have been going hard after Peavy and have backed off there, so I think they’ll go hard after Burnett and end up getting him.

Bartolo Colon, BOS:
Bartolo is old and injury-prone, so he won’t get a major league deal, most likely.
Prediction: Boston Red Sox - I think he will stay in Boston because I think they’re going to be one of the only teams trying to sign him.

Ryan Dempster, CHC:
Dempster should get a big contract after the terrific year he had last season and I think that he will stay in the NL.
Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers - he would be a great replacement for Derek Lowe.

Freddy Garcia, DET:
Freddy will get an opportunity to start this year.
Prediction: Chicago White Sox - he’s already had one good stint there and I would think that they would be the most willing to give him a good amount of money.

Jon Garland, LAA:
Jon should get a pretty decent contract from a winning team.
Prediction: Florida Marlins - they need starting pitching bad.

Tom Glavine, ATL:
Tom will probably go another season or two before retiring.
Prediction: Atlanta Braves - I think that they will keep him because they’ve already shown that they want pitching this offseason.

Derek Lowe, LAD:
Derek has said that he does not want to go back to the Dodgers.
Prediction: New York Yankees - they are going hard after pitching and are interested in Derek.

Jamie Moyer, PHI:
Jamie is old but he’s still a pretty good pitcher.
Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies - they need to keep him.

Brad Penny, LAD:
Brad will not go back to the Dodgers after they declined his option.
Prediction: Los Angeles Angels - they would love to have another good pitcher.

Oliver Perez, NYM:
Oliver will probably leave the Mets for another competitive team.
Prediction: New York Yankees - they aren’t going to get all the pitchers they want, so why not get him?

CC Sabathia, MIL:
He has already gotten a huge offer from the Yankees.
Prediction: New York Yankees - nobody can outpay the Yankees.

Ben Sheets, MIL:
He is very injury-prone and that will hurt his contract.
Prediction: Los Angeles Angels - they would love to have another stud pitcher.

Relief Pitchers:

Chad Cordero, WSH:
Chad is on a number of teams’ lists of players that they want and will be a closer, most likely in the AL West.
Prediction: Texas Rangers - the Rangers are said to be going after him.

Kyle Farnsworth, DET:
Kyle should get a decent-sized contract reliever-wise and should do pretty well.
Prediction: Chicago Cubs - since they aren’t getting Kerry Woods back, he would be a pretty good reliever to take his place.

Brian Fuentes, COL:
Brian will be a closer with a very good contract come next year and he will play for a winning team.
Prediction: Los Angeles Angels - they probably will not bring K-Rod back and will get Fuentes instead.

Eric Gagne, MIL:
Eric will probably only be a spring training invitee after his terrible 2008.
Prediction: Chicago Cubs - he can fight for both a roster spot and a closer role.

Eddie Gaurdado, MIN:
Eddie will get a decent contract after how well he played for the Rangers.
Prediction: Boston Red Sox - they need more relievers to help Papelbon and Okajima.

Trevor Hoffman, SD:
Trevor is going to be leaving San Diego.
Prediction: Chicago Cubs - he can be their closer.

Brandon Lyon, ARI:
Brandon is a good, young closer.
Prediction: Arizona D’Backs - Brandon is just too good a young arm to let slip away.

K-Rod, LAA:K-Rod set the single-season saves record last year and should get crazy money.
Prediction: Cleveland Indians - they’ll be trying to get back to the playoffs this year.

Kerry Wood, CHC:
Kerry is going to be leaving Chicago. The Cubs already announced that he wasn’t coming back.
Prediction: Toronto Blue Jays - he can be the closer when BJ Ryan gets injured.

Results of last week’s poll:
Which team do you think Chad Cordero will go to?
Rangers – 67%
Other – 33%

Come back next week for a continuation of the Tom Grieve trade analysis.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Free Agent Special

This week I will list the big SS, 3B, and OF free agents and give my opinion on where they will go.


Orlando Cabrera, CWS:
Orlando should stay in the AL and be a starting shortstop.
Prediction: Chicago White Sox - he’s their only good shortstop, so they need him.

Rafael Furcal, LAD:
Furcal is a terrific young player and should get a big contract no matter where he goes and would be a big plus anywhere.
Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers, with the Dodgers probably losing Manny they have to at least keep Furcal to have a chance.

Omar Vizquel, SF:
Omar should be a utility man somewhere and probably for a competitive team. I think that he will go to the AL just to open up one more position (DH) so that he can play a few more games.
Prediction: New York Yankees - he would fit right in there as a veteran utility man.

3rd Base:

Note: The Rangers picked up Hank Blalock’s option.

Casey Blake, LAD:
The Indians, Twins, and Dodgers are all looking at signing Blake and he would be the starting third baseman for every one of these teams, so it should come down to money.
Prediction: Minnesota Twins - after missing the playoffs in a tiebreaker they should be looking for players who will make that tiebreaker unnecessary.

Joe Crede, CWS:
Joe will be a starting first baseman somewhere this year.
Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers - he will take Casey Blake’s spot.

Ramon Vazquez, TEX:
Ramon had a very good year and will probably get an opportunity to start, just like Mark DeRosa did. I think that he will go to the NL like Mark, too.
Prediction: Milwaukee Brewers - they need a good 3rd baseman.


Note: San Diego exercised Brian Giles' option and the Angels picked up on Vladimir Guerrero’s option.

Bobby Abreu, NYY:
Bobby is getting older and that may hurt him, especially regarding the number of years on his contract. I predict that he will end up going to the NL.
Prediction: New York Mets

Garrett Anderson, LAA:Seeing that the Angels made a $3 million buyout to make Anderson a free agent, he probably won’t be going back. He most likely will end up being a DH-4th outfielder if he stays in the AL and a starting outfielder if he goes to the NL.
Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers - I no longer think that the Dodgers will resign Manny and they need someone to at least attempt to somewhat take his spot.

Milton Bradley, TEX:
The Rangers are not going to re-sign Bradley and Bradley will have to stay in the AL so that he can DH. He had a very good year last year and should get a pretty good contract, but with lots of incentives to protect against his history of injuries.
Prediction: New York Yankees - they will be going hard after players after an extremely unsuccessful year (in Yankee terms).

Adam Dunn, ARI:
Adam strikes out all the time, but hits plenty of homers. He will probably leave the Diamondbacks for an American League team, so that he can play DH as well as play outfield.
Prediction: New York Yankees - with Bobby Abreu possibly leaving they will need an outfielder to take his place.

Luis Gonzalez, FLA:
Luis is getting old and this will probably be one of his last years to play.
Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays - with Cliff Floyd possibly leaving, he would be a terrific replacement.

Ken Griffey, CWS:
Ken is also getting old and will try to get on a team that has a possibility of winning the World Series so that he can get a ring. He will also probably stay in the AL so that he can be a DH.
Prediction: Chicago White Sox - there are no other teams that would make sense either for him or the team.

Raul Ibanez, SEA:
Raul will be leaving the Mariners and will really help a team make a playoff run. I think will have a big year.
Prediction: New York Mets - they were interested in July and I think they will be interested now, too.

Manny Ramirez, LAD:
Manny will probably leave the Dodgers to go to the team with the most money. I think he will get big money in the AL and not the NL.
Prediction: New York Yankees - they have the most money in baseball and that’s enough for Manny.

Shannon Stewart, TOR:
Shannon is getting older and will probably end up being a 4th outfielder/DH somewhere. I think that his best shot would be to stay in the AL.
Prediction: Minnesota Twins - he’s already had one stint there and I think that he’ll have another.

Results of last week’s poll:
Which team do you think Manny Ramirez will go to?
Dodgers – 50%
Angels – 25%
Yankees – 12%
Other – 0%

Come back next week for the first basemen, second basemen, pitchers, and catchers.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

World Series Recap and Free Agent Report

This week I will give my World Series awards and give a free agency report.

Game 1 MVP: Cole Hamels, PHI: W, 7 IP, 2 ER
Runner-up: Chase Utley, PHI

Game 2 MVP: James Shields, TB: W, 5.2 IP, 0 ER
Runner-up: BJ Upton, TB

Game 3 MVP: Carlos Ruiz, PHI: 2-for-3, 1 BB, 1 HR, 2 RBI’s, walk-off single
Runner-up: Jamie Moyer, PHI

Game 4 MVP: Ryan Howard, PHI: 3-for-5, 2 HR’s, 5 RBI’s
Runner-up: Joe Blanton, PHI

Game 5 MVP: Jason Werth, PHI: 2-for-3, 2 BB, 1 RBI
Runner-up: Cole Hamels, PHI

World Series MVP: Jason Werth, PHI: .444 AVG, 1 HR, 3 RBI’s, 6 BB: Jason had a .444 batting average and six walks on top of that. He played incredible and should have been the MVP.
Runner-up: Cole Hamels, PHI

Free Agent Report: Top 3 at each position (next week will be bigger)
* = option and will probably not go to free agency

* Carlos Delgado, NYM
* Jason Giambi, NYY

Mark Teixeira, LAA: I think that he will test the market, the Angels will outbid everyone else, and Teixeira will stay in Anaheim with a huge contract.

Kevin Millar, BAL: I think that Kevin will either start for a team that will have a really bad record, or be a back-up for a good or decent team.

Nomar Garciaparra, LAD: I think that Nomar will have a contract for very little money where he will have to earn his way onto the team with a minor league contract and a spring training invite.

Orlando Hudson, ARI: I think that Orlando will end up returning to Arizona, just because they need him so badly and should be willing to give him a lot of money.

Jeff Kent, LAD: I think that Kent will leave the Dodgers because he won’t be able to get the amount of playing time that he will want.

Marcus Giles, COL: I think that Marcus Giles will stay in the NL, but leave the Colorado Rockies and get a platoon/starting job somewhere else.

Rafael Furcal, LAD: I think that Furcal will return to the Dodgers because the Dodgers need him badly enough to give him the amount of money he asks for.

Orlando Cabrera, CWS: I think that the White Sox have the most legitimate starting job for him at the moment and that he will stay in Chicago.

Edgar Renteria, DET: Renteria sprobably won’t get too much money the way he played this year. He will almost certainly leave the Tigers.

* = Chipper Jones, ATL
* = Hank Blalock, TEX

Joe Crede, CWS: I think that Crede will stay with the White Sox because I don’t think that he will be able to get much money anywhere else.

Casey Blake, LAD: I think that Blake will go back to the AL because that’s where I think that he will be needed most.

Morgan Ensberg, NYY: I think that Ensberg will leave New York because he really isn’t needed there and will be needed more somewhere else.

* = Carl Crawford, TB

Manny Ramirez, LAD: I think that this will be a complete bidding contest and I also think that the Dodgers will eventually get Manny because he was their team the second half of the season and if it weren’t for him they would not have made the playoffs, much less the NLCS.

Pat Burrell, PHI: I think that Pat will end up staying in Philly because he was such a big part of the World Series team and a big reason why they got there.

Bobby Abreu, NYY: I think that Bobby will stay in New York because they will be willing to pay the money to keep him.

Adam Dunn, ARI: I think that he will stay in Arizona because the D’Backs will need to keep him if they’re going to outplay the Dodgers.

Ivan Rodriguez, NYY: I think that Pudge won’t get too much of an opportunity and will in turn retire.

Jason Varitek, BOS: Jason had a poor year so I think that the only way Boston keeps him is out of respect. But I predict he will end up somewhere else.

* = Rich Harden, CHC

Derek Lowe, LAD: I think that Derek will go to the Yankees because that will be where he should get the most money.

Ryan Dempster, CHC: I think that he will stay in Chicago because they need him too badly to let him go.

Mike Mussina, NYY: I think that Mike will stay a Yankee for the rest of his career.

Brian Fuentes, COL: I think that he will go to the Yankees because I think that they will be desperate for pitching this offseason and will give Fuentes a lot of money.

Kerry Wood, CHC: I think that Wood will stay a Cub, but will have to earn the closer role.

K-ROD, LAA: I think that he will stay an Angel because the Angels can’t afford to lose the single-season saves record closer.

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think will win the World Series?
Phillies – 75%
Rays – 25%

Come back next week for a larger edition of the free agency special.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

World Series Predictions

This week I will give my awards for World Series games 1-3, make my World Series predictions, and give my difference maker so far.

Last week I took a trip to Disney World with my dad. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it very much. My dad was there for a conference and he took me with him. We stayed at Disney’s Yacht Club hotel, which is very nice. I hung out in the room during the day and we went to Disney World at night. At MGM (now called Hollywood Studios) they have this new ride called Toy Story Mania that we had to wait for 70 minutes for before we could ride, but it was well worth it and is now my favorite ride at Disney World, closely followed by Splash Mountain. At Magic Kingdom they had a new show called the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, and they had redone Haunted Mansion. The Laugh Floor was really good, and they did some nice clean-up work in Haunted Mansion and made it better. We stayed at Magic Kingdom till 1:00 AM on Sunday because we stayed at a Disney hotel and got to use the extra hours benefit. On Sunday morning we went to Animal Kingdom and had a blast. We did Dinosaur, Kilimanjaro Safari, and It’s Tough to be a Bug. They were all really good, but Dinosaur was my favorite. In the Kilimanjaro Safari you go around and see a bunch of real animals and learn facts about them. We were in our driver’s first safari. On Monday we went to MGM and the new ride was Toy Story Mania which I already mentioned. On Tuesday, we went to Epcot and the new rides there were The Seas (Finding Nemo ride), and they redid the Mexico ride and Spaceship Earth. They made Spaceship Earth much better and Mexico rideable, and The Seas was really good. On Wednesday I had to fly out and on Thursday I had to go back to school.

Game 1 MVP: Cole Hamels, PHI: W, 7 IP, 2 ER
Runner-up: Chase Utley, PHI

Game 2 MVP: James Shields, TB: W, 5.2 IP, 0 ER
Runner-up: BJ Upton, TB

Game 3 MVP: Carlos Ruiz, PHI: 2-for-3, 1 BB, 1 HR, 2 RBI’s, walk-off single
Runner-up: Jamie Moyer, PHI

Difference Maker:
So far I think that Carlos Ruiz has been the major difference maker for this series because he’s won a game for them, and even if you take Game 3 out of stats, he’s still 2-for-5 with 4 walks and 1 RBI. He is hitting .500 and has a .667 OBP. When you can have those stats along with a walk-off, you’ve got to be the difference maker. Also, he has called three great games behind the plate, allowing 4 runs at most in a single game.

I think that the Phillies will win this series 4-3. I think it will come down to if Matt Garza’s inexperience will affect him in Game 7 (he will probably pitch game 7 against Jamie Moyer). I think that the pressure will be too large for Garza to handle and that he will allow 4 or 5 runs, which the way this series is going, will be all the runs that the Phillies will need. If the Phillies are able to hit the ball better, then they should be able to win this series easily, but if they don’t then they might lose this series. I could see either team winning the series, but I think that the Phillies will win just because of the Rays’ inexperience. But the Rays will be back sometime soon if they keep playing at this rate.

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think will win the World Series?
Phillies – 45%
Rays – 45%
Red Sox – 10%

Come back next week for more World Series coverage.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

LCS Awards and World Series Prediction

This week I will give my LCS Awards along with my World Series predictions.

NLCS Awards:

NLCS Game 1 MVP: Chase Utley, PHI: 2-for-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI’s
Runner-up: Cole Hamels, PHI

NLCS Game 2 MVP: Brett Myers, PHI: 3-for-3, 3 RBI’s, 5 IP, 5 ER, 6 K
Runner-up: Shane Victorino, PHI

NLCS Game 3 MVP: Rafael Furcal, LAD: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Runner-up: Hiroki Kuroda, LAD

NLCS Game 4 MVP: Shane Victorino, PHI: 1-for-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI’s
Runner-up: Matt Stairs, PHI

NLCS Game 5 MVP: Cole Hamels, PHI: 7 IP, 1 ER, 5 K
Runner-up: Ryan Howard, PHI

NLCS MVP: Cole Hamels, PHI: 2-0, 1.93 ERA, 14 IP, 13 K: Cole won two out of four wins and definitely deserves the NLCS MVP, which he did actually get.
Runner-up: Shane Victorino, PHI

ALCS Awards (so far):

ALCS Game 1 MVP: Dice-K Matsuzaka, BOS: 1 W, 7 IP, 0 ER, 9 K
Runner-up: Kevin Youkilis, BOS

ALCS Game 2 MVP: Evan Longoria, TB: 3-for-5, 3 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI’s
Runner-up: Carl Crawford, TB

ALCS Game 3 MVP: BJ Upton, TB: 2-for-5, 1 HR, 3 RBI’s
Runner-up: Matt Garza, TB

ALCS Game 4 MVP: Erick Aybar, TB: 4-for-5, 1 HR, 5 RBI’s
Runner-up: Carl Crawford, TB

ALCS Game 5 MVP: JD Drew, BOS: 2-for-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI’s
Runner-up: Scott Kazmir, TB

ALCS MVP (as of Game 5): BJ Upton, TB: .400 AVG, 3 HR’s, 10 RBI’s: BJ Upton is leading the team in ALCS RBI’s, and is second in both batting average and home runs.
Runner-up: Carl Crawford, TB

Rays/Red Sox Prediction:

I think that the Rays will win Game 6 because they will be facing Josh Beckett, who they scored 8 runs off of in Game 2, and the fact that the Rays will have James Shields on the mound. But I think that if the Rays lose Game 6, then they will lose the series because Jon Lester pitches Game 7.

World Series Prediction:

Phillies over Rays: 4-3

Both teams are hot right now, but the Phillies have more experience and will pull it off. I think Cole Hamels will have to pitch three times (Games 1, 4, and 7) and will have to win all three games for the Phils to win. And I think that this will happen. Even though the Rays have homefield advantage, I’m going with the Phillies.

Come back next week for World Series coverage.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Championship Series Predictions

This week I will make my championship series predictions. The poll is not working so there will be none for this week.

Phillies vs. Dodgers: Phillies lead 2-0
Game 3: Jamie Moyer (PHI) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (LAD) in LAD
Game 4: Joe Blanton (PHI) vs. TBD (LAD) in LAD
*Game 5: Cole Hamels (PHI) vs. TBD (LAD) in LAD
*Game 6: Brett Myers (PHI) vs. TBD (LAD) in PHI
*Game 7: TBD (PHI) vs. TBD (LAD) in PHI

I think the Phillies will win this series 4-2. If the Phillies can just win one game at Dodger Stadium they should be able to wrap it up at home fairly easily. Game 3 is a must-win game for the Dodgers and Hiroki Kuroda isn’t the guy you’d want in that kind of game as he went 9-10 with a 3.73 ERA in the regular season and is going against Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, Ryan Howard (who’s still a threat even though he’s cold), and a very hot Shane Victorino. If the Dodgers lose that game they will almost certainly lose the series, seeing that they will face Cole Hamels, if they get past game 4, and then if they beat Hamels then they will face Brett Myers in Philadelphia. That will be two very tough games for the Dodgers. Although Joe Blanton went 9-12 on the season, he can also throw a gem. The Dodgers really put themselves in a bad position and will really have to step it up to win the series. The Phillies are the overall better team, pitching-wise, because there is only one Dodger pitcher I would trust every time out and that’s Derek Lowe, who probably won’t pitch again until game 5. The only way I see the Phillies losing the series is if the passing of Charlie Manuel’s mother and Shane Victorino’s grandmother impact their focus.

Red Sox vs. Rays: Red Sox lead 1-0
Game 2: Josh Beckett (BOS) vs. Scott Kazmir (TB) in TB
Game 3: Jon Lester (BOS) vs. Matt Garza (TB) in BOS
Game 4: Tim Wakefield (BOS) vs. Andy Sonnanstine (TB) in BOS
*Game 5: Dice-K Matsuzaka (BOS) vs. James Shields (TB) in BOS
*Game 6: TBD (BOS) vs. TBD (TB) in TB
*Game 7: TBD (BOS) vs. TBD (TB) in TB

I think the Red Sox will win this series 4-1. I don’t see Jon Lester losing and I don’t see Andy Sonnanstine winning in BOS, and I think both Game 2 and Game 5 are up for grabs. The Rays really needed to win game one at home when you’ve then got to face Josh Beckett and Jon Lester and go to Fenway for three. Jon Lester will throw a gem again, Josh Beckett could throw a gem or could get destroyed, Tim Wakefield could throw a gem, and Dice-K Matsuzaka will probably throw a gem. The Rays could be shut out every single game with the Red Sox pitching and the Rays offense, even more specifically Evan Longoria, needs to step it up. In Game 1 Akinori Iwamura, BJ Upton, Carl Crawford, and Cliff Floyd were the only ones to get hits and only got one hit each, all singles. Evan Longoria went 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts and grounded into a key double play in a scoring situation. The Red Sox are just too good a team, both pitching wise and hitting wise for the Rays to catch up after losing their first home game. The only way I see the Rays winning is if BJ Upton hits more home runs and Evan Longoria gets more RBI’s and if Carlos Pena gets more hits.

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think should be the AL MVP?
Kevin Youkilis – 40%
Justin Morneau – 40%
Other – 20%
Josh Hamilton – 0%

Come back next week for championship series recaps and World Series predictions.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

End-of-Season Awards

This week I will give out my awards for the MLB 2008 regular season.

Rangers Awards:

Rangers MVP: Josh Hamilton, TEX: .304 AVG, 32 HR, 130 RBI: Josh led all of the AL in RBI’s, had a batting average over .300, and had over 30 home runs. It’s pretty obvious that he should be the Rangers MVP for this season.
Runner-up: Ian Kinsler, TEX

Cy Young: Vicente Padilla, TEX: 14-8 W-L, 4.74 ERA, 127 K: Vicente didn’t really have that great of a year at all. He just was the best Rangers pitcher due to a lack of competition.
Runner-up: Scott Feldman, TEX

Rookie of the Year: David Murphy, TEX: .275 AVG, 15 HR, 74 RBI: David Murphy only held on to the Rangers ROY Award because he has 19 more RBI’s than Chris Davis, even though Chris has two more home runs and a better batting average. David also has more at-bats, more total bases, and more doubles.

AL Awards:

AL MVP: Kevin Youkilis, BOS: .312 AVG, 29 HR, 115 RBI: To me it comes down to Josh Hamilton, Justin Morneau, and Kevin Youkilis. Josh leads the three in both home runs and RBI’s, and is second in batting average, although last in OBP. Youkilis is leading the three in both batting average and OBP, while second in home runs, but last in RBI’s. I think Kevin gets the edge only because his team made the playoffs.
Runner-up: Josh Hamilton, TEX

Cy Young: Cliff Lee, CLE: 22-3 W-L, 2.54 ERA, 170 K: Cliff Lee should obviously be Cy Young, as he leads the AL in both wins and ERA, and has only lost three games on a losing team.
Runner-up: Roy Halladay, TOR

Rookie of the Year: Evan Longoria, TB: .272 AVG, 27 HR, 87 RBI: It’s pretty clear that Evan Longoria should be rookie of the year, because he has great numbers, and the Rays probably wouldn’t have won the division without him, and might not have even made the playoffs.
Runner-up: Alexei Ramirez, CWS

Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon, TB: Joe took a team that hadn’t had a winning record in franchise history and made them the AL East champs over the Red Sox.
Runner-up: Ron Gardenhire, MIN

NL Awards:

NL MVP: Ryan Braun, MIL: .285 AVG, 37 HR, 106 RBI: The Brewers wouldn’t have made it to the playoffs without CC Sabathia, nor Ryan Braun. Ryan put up huge power numbers for them, and had a very good batting average, not to mention his two key homers down the stretch, one a walk-off shot, and another a game-winning, playoff-clinching homer in the 8th inning in the last game of the year. Albert Pujols would be the Most Outstanding Player, but not the Most Valuable Player.
Runner-up: Albert Pujols, STL

Cy Young: Tim Lincecum, SF: 18-5 W-L, 2.62 ERA, 265 K: Tim won 18 games this year, while only dropping five on the Giants, has a 2.62 ERA, and has struck out 265 batters in just 227 innings. It’s hard to go against Webb and Santana, but Lincecum has had the better year.
Runner-up: Johan Santana, NYM

Rookie of the Year: Ricky Nolasco, FLA: 15-8 W-L, 3.52 ERA, 186 K: Ricky has been the Marlins only reliable pitcher that pitched throughout the whole year, and is probably one of the main reasons that they stayed in the playoff race so long into the year.
Runner-up: James Loney, LAD

Manager of the Year: Charlie Manuel, PHI: Charlie and the Phillies just had a great year and won the NL East.
Runner-up: Fredi Gonzalez, FLA

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think will win the Dodgers/Cubs series?
Cubs – 55%
Dodgers – 45%

Come back next week for divisional series recaps as well as championship series predictions.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Divisional Series Predictions

This week I will give my predictions for all the AL and NL divisional series.

Red Sox vs. Angels:
The Angels should be able to win this series based on the regular season, having beaten the Red Sox 8 games to 1 this year. But the Angels have struggled against the Sox in the playoffs, as the Red Sox swept the Angels in the ALDS last season. The Red Sox also have a rotation of Jon Lester, Dice-K, and Josh Beckett to lead off the series, while the Angels have two inexperienced playoff pitchers in Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana. The Red Sox will win the series 3-1.

White Sox vs. Rays:
If the White Sox beat the Tigers today and then beat the Twins on Tuesday, which is unlikely, then they will play the Rays. I think that the White Sox would lose this series due to their pitchers of Jon Danks, Javier Vazquez, Mark Buerhle, and Gavin Floyd. The Rays have Scott Kazmir, James Shields, Matt Garza, and Edwin Jackson if necessary. You can make a case that the Rays aren’t experienced enough, or that the White Sox are too old, with the exception of John Danks. Even though the Rays are so young, I think that they’re a better team even without Carl Crawford because the White Sox have lost their best player, Carlos Quentin. The Rays will win 3-1 if they play the White Sox.

Twins vs. Rays:
If the White Sox either lose to the Tigers or lose to the Twins, then the Twins will play the Rays. I think the Rays will beat the Twins because the Twins’ starting pitching is lacking. Their rotation is Francisco Liriano, Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, and Scott Baker. They are all young guys. Also, maybe more importantly, the Twins’ two big offensive weapons (Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer) are both cold, while Carlos Pena is hot. The Rays should win the series 3-1 if they play the Twins.

Dodgers vs. Cubs:
Although the Dodgers are hot and they have Manny Ramirez, I still think that the Cubs will win the series, just because they’re the better team. The Cubs will be able to throw Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, and Ted Lilly out on the mound this series, and the Dodgers will only be able to throw Derek Lowe, Greg Maddux, and Chad Billingsley on the mound. The Cubs have much better pitching than the Dodgers, especially with Brad Penny out with an injury. Also, the Cubs have no weak spot in the line-up, with the exception of the pitcher. Even Carlos Zambrano can hit well. The Cubs should be able to win this series 3 games to 2.

Brewers vs. Phillies:
The Phillies should be able to win this series, even with CC Sabathia pitching against them. Ben Sheets is pitching through an injury and I think that’s why the Phillies will win the series. The Phillies have Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Joe Blanton, and Jamie Moyer. The Phillies were in the playoffs last year, so they have some playoff experience, while Milwaukee hasn’t been to the playoffs since 1982, and have no playoff experience. The Phillies also have a hot Ryan Howard, who hit double-digit homers in September and has raised his batting average a lot lately. CC should win all the games he pitches, but the Phillies should win all the others, so I think the Phillies will win the series 3 games to 2.

Results of last week’s poll:
What do you think the Rangers have done best this year?
Hitting – 88%
Pitching – 12%
Fielding – 0%
Coaching – 0%

Come back next week for a summary of the playoffs along with more predictions.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rangers Season Analysis

Last week I put the Astros as my NL Champions. Take that out and replace it with the Cubs. I now have the Cubs winning the World Series. The Astros got moved to Milwaukee for two games against the Cubs due to Hurricane Ike and lost all of the momentum they had built up. I think this was completely wrong of baseball because:
1. That’s Cubs territory and it was supposed to be an Astros home game. Milwaukee is only 90 miles away and if you watched the games you would see about 5 Astros fans in the whole ballpark and then you see about 40,000 Cubs fans.
2. The Astros wouldn’t be thinking about baseball when there is so much destruction in Houston, where a lot of them live and have families. Their minds were on other things than the games.
3. It made a very tough travel day for Houston to go to Milwaukee in the morning and play in the night while the Cubs probably took a 30 minute plane to Milwaukee .

Congratulations to the RoughRiders on a great season. My dad, little sister and I went to all of the RoughRiders playoff games (actually I missed one but my dad and little sister were at all of them). They were a lot of fun with lots of good games and great weather (and small crowds). We got to sit and talk with Eleanor Czajka at all the games which was fun too. It was disappointing that they couldn’t win that last game to win a championship but they had a great year.

I have two Rangers games left (tonight and Tuesday) and then no more live baseball until spring training.

This week I will analyze the Rangers’ season (stats are through September 19).

Hitting: Scored 852 runs this season (most in majors by 42 runs):
The Rangers’ hitting has been incredible this season and we couldn’t have asked much more from them. The Rangers have three players batting over .300 (Kinsler, Bradley, and Hamilton) and two just 5 points away from it (Byrd and Vazquez). They are tied for the best batting average in baseball and are 3rd in OBP. They are 1st in slugging percentage, have scored the most runs and have the most at-bats in all of baseball. They are also 6th in home runs, 1st in total bases and 1st in RBI’s. They also have the most hits and the most doubles in baseball. The Rangers have the 6th most walks in all of baseball, and the 7th highest stolen base percentage in baseball. They also have the 4th most sacrifice flies, the 6th highest pinch-hitting average, and have grounded into the 8th least amount of double plays. Lastly they have the most extra base hits and the most plate appearences. The Rangers’ offense has been incredible and is the best in baseball.
Grade: A+

Pitching: Allowed 929 runs this season (most in majors by 78 runs):
The pitching has been terrible this season. If you allow 78 more runs than the Pirates, then it’s pretty bad. Also when you allow 300 more runs than three other teams or 250 more runs than 13 other teams, then you’ve got the worst pitching in baseball. And when you’ve got one pitcher with an ERA under 4.00 (of pitchers who have pitched 31 or more innings) it’s pretty bad (Frankie Francisco has a 3.28 ERA in 60.1 innings; Kameron Loe has a 3.23 ERA, but in just 30.2 innings). When you’ve got only one pitcher with double-digit wins it’s pretty bad. The Rangers have a 5.43 team ERA. All those stats make the Rangers pitching staff one of the worst (if not the worst) ones in baseball.
Grade: D-

Fielding: Commited 126 errors (most in majors by 8 errors):
The Rangers have committed the most errors and it certainly seems like it. The Rangers have three players with 10 or more errors (Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, and Ramon Vazquez). The Rangers have the worst fielding percentage in all of baseball at .978. The Rangers’ defense has certainly not helped the pitching out and really needs to improve. Out of everybody that has played 600 innings, David Murphy has the least amount of errors with two, but second is Josh Hamilton with five, which is very high being second best on the team.
Grade: D-

Rudy Jaramillo has been great, but the pitching coaches have not. Even though they’ve been trying to develop a lot of young players, whenever you’ve got the worst pitching in baseball, you’re pitching coaches have not done their job. Rudy Jaramillo is the star of the coaching staff, which is what you have to be when you’re the hitting coach of the best offense in baseball. Ron Washington is a fine manager except for when it’s time to pull a pitcher. There have been countless times when my dad, my granddad and I all knew that the pitcher was done and that he didn’t have anything left and there was nobody even warming up in the bullpen. I have also seen that Ron Washington usually doesn’t pull the pitcher until he’s given up the lead. Ron did a good job this year of pulling the team together after a rough start and getting them into the playoff race for a while. The team seems to have good morale and enjoy playing for him.
Grade: C-

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think will be the NL Wild Card?
Astros – 33%
Brewers – 33%
Mets – 22%
Phillies – 11%
All others – 0%

Come back next week for my end-of-season awards.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

NL Predictions

This week I analyzed all of the NL divisions and made predictions for how the season and playoffs will end up.

NL West:
Los Angeles Dodgers 88-74
Arizona D’Backs 79-83
San Francisco Giants 73-89
Colorado Rockies 72-90
San Diego Padres 61-101

The Dodgers are hot right now, 9-1 in September and 11-1 in their last 12 games. I think they will continue their run and go 12-3 the rest of the year. The D’Backs have gone cold, going 3-7 in September and 4-13 in their last 17 games. I think that they will also continue their stretch throughout the rest of the season. The Rockies have a very tough schedule, and so do the Giants, but I think the Giants (who are just 0.5 games behind the Rockies right now) will overcome the Rockies for 3rd in the division. The Padres have a tough schedule, and really, just aren’t very good, with a 57-91 record right now (September 13th).

NL Central:
Chicago Cubs 97-65
Houston Astros 92-70
Milwaukee Brewers 90-72
St. Louis Cardinals 88-74
Cincinnati Reds 70-92
Pittsburgh Pirates 65-97

The Cubs are cold right now, going 3-7 in their last 10, but with a 5.5 game lead over the Brewers, (who I think the Astros will pass) it would be amazing if the Cubs lost the division title. The Brewers are also cold, going 3-7 in their last 10, while the Astros are hot, going 9-1 in their last 10. They’ve won six straight, and have a 35-16 record since the All-Star break. I think the Astros will play the rest of the year 12-3 and that the BrewCrew will go 7-8 to finish the year. The Cardinals have a fairly easy schedule and will probably get closer in the Wild Card, but not close enough. The Reds and Pirates probably have the toughest schedule in the division for the remainder of the season, and will struggle.

NL East:
New York Mets 92-70
Philadelphia Phillies 91-73
Florida Marlins 81-81
Atlanta Braves 70-92
Washington Nationals 60-102

Both the Mets and Phillies have very easy schedules, but the Mets have a four-game series with the Cubs, while the Phillies play the Braves, Marlins, and Nationals for the rest of the year. I think the Phillies will creep back a little, but will fall just a game shy of tying the Mets for first place. The Marlins play the Nationals twice, but play both the Phillies and Mets once and then play the Astros in a three-game set where I think they’ll get swept. The Braves play nothing but the Phillies, Mets, and Astros the rest of the year, so they should struggle mightily. The Padres are the only losing team that the Nationals face and since they’re the Nationals and they’re only 4-6 in their last 10, the Nats should struggle to get five wins the remainder of the season.

NL Divisional Series:

Dodgers vs. Cubs: Dodgers win 3-2

Astros vs. Mets: Astros win 3-1

NL Championship Series:

Dodgers vs. Astros: Astros win 4-2:
Both teams are hot right now, but the Astros are hotter and have already been-there-done-that in the National League when they lost the World Series to the White Sox. Manny will do well, but it won’t be enough.

World Series:

Astros vs. Angels: Angels win 4-3:
The Astros will be hot, but they don’t have the great pitching rotation that the Angels do or K-Rod. The Astros hitting can match up to the Angels, but the pitching can’t. The Angels will have a rotation of John Lackey (2002 World Series champion), Joe Saunders and Jon Garland (2005 World Series champion). The Astros will have Roy Oswalt, Brandon Backe, and Randy Wolf. It just doesn’t match up. The Astros will put up a fight, but won’t win.

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think will be the AL Wild Card?
Red Sox – 50%
Rays – 21%
Twins – 21%
White Sox – 7%
Yankees – 0%
Other – 0%

Come back next week for Part 8 of my Tom Grieve Trade Analysis.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Over the past week, I went to the RoughRiders’ first two playoff games and saw both Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz pitch. Derek Holland pitched incredibly well and went 6 2/3 innings. He’s looked very good both times I’ve seen him and seems to have a really good breaking ball. Neftali Feliz threw 99 MPH at his highest on Thursday night and struck out 11 in just 7 innings. He was also very impressive. Nolan Ryan, Jon Daniels, Jim Sundberg, Thad Levine, and Scott Servais all attended the first game. They sat in the first row and had security all around them so that no one would bother them. But I got to talk to Jon for a while one time when he got up. I saw Frank Francisco sitting in the stands of the second game. We got to sit with Eleanor Czajka at both games and talk baseball with her. They were both great nights, with great games and great weather. We’ll be going to all of the championship games next weekend too.

Friday night I went to the Rangers game, and Millwood did not look impressive at all. It was not a very good game. The Rangers lost 8-1.

Saturday night I went to my first concert with my dad and my uncle. It was Squeeze, an old 80’s band and my 3rd favorite band (after the Beatles and the Beach Boys). The concert was a lot of fun. It was at the House of Blues. By the time we got tickets, all of the seats were gone so we had to get general admission tickets standing in front of the stage. It was tiring but it was neat to be just a few feet away from the band. The show started at 8:30 with an opening act called Fastball, who I had never heard of. Squeeze started at 9:45 so it was a late night. It was a great show. They played all of their best songs. They waited until the last song of their encore to play my favorite Squeeze song – ‘Pulling Mussels From the Shell’.

This week I analyzed all of the AL divisions and made predictions for how the season and playoffs will end up.

AL West:
Angels 100-62
Rangers 80-82
Athletics 75-86
Mariners 60-102

The Angels already have a huge lead and they will be facing the A's and Mariners plenty so they should get lots of wins out of those games. The Rangers face the A's a lot so that should be pretty even.

AL Central:
Twins 92-70
White Sox 86-76
Indians 79-83
Tigers 75-87
Royals 67-96

The White Sox have a very tough schedule and lost Carlos Quentin for the year. I think the Twins are better suited for the end of the season because they are a younger team and might not be as tired as the White Sox players and because they will be at home more often, not to mention the White Sox losing their best player.

AL East:
Rays 99-63
Red Sox 98-64
Yankees 86-76
Blue Jays 85-77
Orioles 72-89

The Rays have a little tougher schedule than the Red Sox, but I think they'll hold them off and win the division. They play each other 6 times and I think they'll end up going 3-3 in those games. The Yankees have a very tough schedule and will struggle.

AL Divisional Series:

Twins vs. Rays: Rays win 3-1

Red Sox vs. Angels: Angels win 3-0

AL Championship Series:

Rays vs. Angels: Angels win 4-2:
The Rays are a young team and won't be able to stand up to a veteran team like the Angels, who will probably have a playoff rotation of John Lackey, Joe Saunders, and Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana, or Jon Garland.

Results of last week’s poll:
Do you think the Guardado trade was a win or a loss?
Loss – 55%
Win – 45%

Come back next week for the NL predictions along with the World Series.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Guardado Traded and August Awards

This week I will evaluate the Eddie Guardado trade and give my August Awards.

Eddie Guardado Trade Evaluation:
Eddie Guardado was traded to the Minnesota Twins for Short-season A pitcher Mark Hamburger:

Mark Hamburger was 1-2 with a 4.17 ERA and 13 saves in 14 opportunities for Elizabethton. He struck out 40 batters in 36.2 innings and only walked 13. He held righties to a .221 average. In 2007 he signed with the Twins as an undrafted free agent. He went to Mesabi Range Community College. Eddie Guardado had a 3.65 ERA for the Rangers in 49.1 innings and was the Rangers’ dominant 8th inning pitcher before being named the closer recently.
Grade: B- – Eddie Guardado would have been a free agent at the end of the year so the main question is whether Hamburger is better than what we could have gotten for Eddie as draft pick compensation for losing him as a free agent. Hamburger seems like a marginal prospect.

Rangers Awards:

Rangers MVP: Josh Hamilton, TEX: .295 AVG, 29 HR, 116 RBI: Josh is what kept the Rangers in the playoff chase for a while and without him the Rangers wouldn’t have been anywhere as good this year.
Runner-up: Ian Kinsler, TEX

Rangers Cy Young: Vicente Padilla, TEX: 12-7, 4.98 ERA, 105 K: Vicente has gotten 12 wins this year, but has struggled mightily of late.
Runner-up: Scott Feldman, TEX

Rangers ROY: David Murphy, TEX: .275 AVG, 15 HR, 75 RBI: Even though Chris Davis has done so well, David Murphy still has 35 more RBI’s than him, so David is still my ROY, although that might change in a month.
Runner-up: Chris Davis, TEX

AL Awards:

AL MVP: Carlos Quentin, CWS: .290 AVG, 36 HR, 100 RBI: Carlos is leading baseball in homers, has 100 RBI’s after August and has a pretty good batting average.
Runner-up: Josh Hamilton, TEX

AL Cy Young: Cliff Lee, CLE: 19-2, 2.43 ERA, 145 K: He’s leading the league in wins, and has a great ERA and has only lost two games.
Runner-up: Roy Halladay, TOR

AL ROY: Evan Longoria, TB: .278 AVG, 22 HR, 71 RBI: Evan is having a great year and is putting up all these stats after being in the minors the first month of the season.
Runner-up: David Murphy, TEX

AL Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon, TB: He’s taken a last place team and made them a first place team in just one year.
Runner-up: Ron Gardenheier, MIN

NL Awards:

NL MVP: Albert Pujols, STL: .356 AVG, 28 HR, 87 RBI: Albert is having a good year when you just look at the regular stats, but when you look at his .464 OBP he becomes the MVP, in my opinion.
Runner-up: Ryan Braun, MIL

NL Cy Young: Brandon Webb, ARI: 19-5, 2.96 ERA, 157 K: Brandon is leading the league in wins by three wins, has an ERA under three, and has over 150 strikeouts already.
Runner-up: Ryan Dempster, CHC

NL ROY: Geovany Soto, CHC: .285 AVG, 20 HR, 78 RBI: When you’re a rookie and you hit 20 home runs and 75 RBI’s with a .280 or above batting average through August, you’ve got to be considered Rookie of the Year.
Runner-up: James Loney, LAD

NL Manager of the Year: Tony La Russa, STL: He has taken a team that really didn’t have much talent and made them a playoff contending team.
Runner-up: Jerry Manuel, NYM

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think is the best player that the Rangers traded for in 1991 and 1992?
Jose Canseco – 83%
Charlie Leibrandt – 17%
All others – 0%

Come back next week for Part 8 of the Tom Grieve Trade Analysis.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tom Grieve Trade Analysis Part 7

This week I will continue the analysis of all the trades Tom Grieve made as the Rangers GM. I posted part 6 on May 18 of this year, if you want to see my last post of this. This time I will analyze all of the trades Tom Grieve made as GM in 1991 and 1992.

41. 7-21-91 The Montreal Expos traded Oil Can Boyd to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later, Jonathan Hurst, and Joey Eischen. The Texas Rangers sent Travis Buckley (minors) (September 1, 1991) to the Montreal Expos to complete the trade.

Loss – Oil Can Boyd went 2-7 with a 6.68 ERA in only 62 innings with the Rangers. Travis Buckley never made it to the majors and Jonathon Hurst only pitched 26.1 innings in his career, but Joey Eischen had a very good career as a relief pitcher. He played 13 years and had a 3.67 career ERA.

Record: 9-9-23

42. 8-30-91 The Pittsburgh Pirates traded a player to be named later and Kurt Miller to the Texas Rangers for Steve Buechele. The Pittsburgh Pirates sent Hector Fajardo (September 6, 1991) to the Texas Rangers to complete the trade.

Loss – Kurt Miller never played for the Rangers, and Hector Fajardo played 3 and a half seasons with the Rangers and the ERA’s for the seasons he played significant time in were 5.68 in 19 innings (1991), 6.91 in 83.1 innings (1994), and 7.80 in 15 innings (1995). Steve Buechele had one more good year in ’93 when he hit .272 with 15 home runs and 65 RBI’s (after he had been traded to the Cubs.

Record: 9-10-23

43. 5-25-92 The Milwaukee Brewers traded Edwin Nunez to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later. The Texas Rangers sent Mark Hampton (minors) (September 15, 1992) to the Milwaukee Brewers to complete the trade.

Tie – Mark Hampton never made it to the majors and Edwin Nunez only played half a season with the Rangers and had a 5.58 ERA in that time.

Record: 9-10-24

44. 8-31-92 The Oakland Athletics traded Jose Canseco to the Texas Rangers for Ruben Sierra, Jeff Russell, Bobby Witt, and cash.

Loss – Jose Canseco played a little over two years with the Rangers. He hit .233 in his first partial year with the team (22 games), had to get Tommy John surgery halfway through his second season (after making a pitching appearance), and played very well in the ’94 strike-shortened season (.282, 31 HR, 90 RBI). Ruben Sierra played well with the A’s. In ’92 he hit .277 with 3 HR in 27 games as the A’s won their division and then hit .333 with 7 RBI in the NLCS. He only hit .233 in 1993 but had 22 homers and 101 RBI. He had an All-Star year in ’94 (.268, 23 HR, 92 RBI). Jeff Russell had a 0.00 ERA in 8 games down the stretch for Oakland in 1992 before becoming a free agent after the season. Bobby Witt had 14 wins and a 4.21 ERA in ’93.

Record: 9-11-24

45. 12-9-92 The Atlanta Braves traded Charlie Leibrandt and Pat Gomez to the Texas Rangers for Jose Oliva.

Win – Jose Oliva only played in 89 games in his career and had a career batting average of .178. Pat Gomez never played for the Rangers, but Charlie Leibrandt had one solid year with the Rangers where he threw 150.1 innings with a 9-10 record and a 4.55 ERA in 1993 (the last year of his career).

Record: 10-11-24

46. 12-16-92 The San Diego Padres traded Terry Bross to the Texas Rangers for Pat Gomez.

Tie – Terry Bross never played for the Rangers and Pat Gomez only pitched 79 career innings and had a 1-3 record.

Record: 10-11-25

Come back next week for my August Awards.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cincinnati/Indianapolis Trip Summary

From August 8-12th I was in Cincinnati and Indianapolis. This week I will summarize my trip.

On Friday, we had an early flight, so I woke up at about 6:20, got ready, and my dad, and my little sister, and me went to pick up my grandparents. After we picked them up we headed to the airport. We went through security and waited for our plane. Our plane took off about 20 minutes late, but it was still fine. We flew into Cincinnati and checked into an Embassy Suites in Covington, KY and went to our rooms. We hung out around there for about half an hour before heading over to the Reds Hall of Fame. Our hotel was on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River so we had to walk across a bridge to get to the Hall of Fame, which is right next to the Reds’ stadium. The Reds H.O.F. is very well done. When you first get there you go into a theatre that’s decorated like a baseball park and watch a short video about the history of the Reds. The room is very neat and so is the film. Then you go to the stairs that take you up to the main level of the museum. As you walk up the stairs, you see a collection of thousands of baseballs - one for every one of Pete Rose’s hits. It’s amazing how many hits he had. When you get to the top they have a room dedicated to the recently deceased Joe Nuxhall called The Ol’ Lefthander. Joe was a pitcher for the Reds and then a broadcaster for many, many years. They have a few other rooms, including a room that celebrates great Cincinnati teams through the years. In that room, they have a scene called the Great Eight, with life-sized statues of the Big Red Machine celebrating together. That room also has trophies for the Reds’ five World Series championships. There’s also a broadcast booth where you can make the call on some big moments in Reds’ history and people outside the booth can hear you. My dad and I made the call for Pete Rose’s 4192nd (record-breaking) hit. Lastly they have a big room with plaques for all the members in the Reds Hall of Fame, and that’s a very neat room. This year’s inductions included Barry Larkin and Cesar Geronimo. The plaques are suspended from the ceiling and are in order of when the players played. They’re a lot like the Cooperstown plaques. The Reds have done a great job on their museum and Hall of Fame.

After the Hall of Fame, we went into the stadium where we had club level tickets and ate at the 4192 Club (named after Pete Rose’s record breaking hit). They had decent food. I got a pizza and so did my sister. If you ever go there, don’t get the chili cheese dog. They are mini-hot-dogs that take about three bites to eat and the still cost $3.50. After that we went to the gift shop to get me a shirt. At the Reds, they have no adult smalls anywhere in the ballpark, so I had to get an adult medium. We went back to our seats just in time for the first pitch. The club level in Cincinnati is so much nicer than the Rangers because the concourses are air conditioned and they have TV’s so you can watch the replays of close plays (which they don’t show those on the jumbotrons anywhere).

This was our third game at the Reds’ new ballpark (Great American Ballpark) but our first since 2003 (its first year). My dad is from Cincinnati so he's a big Reds fan. The ballpark is in a good location, right on the river and on the edge of downtown. From our seats, we could look out of the ballpark and see the river. There’s a neat restaurant in the outfield that looks like a steamboat and fireworks and smoke come out of the smokestacks during the game.

We saw the Reds play the Astros. The game was a very good one that included two 4-run innings, five home runs, and 15 strikeouts by one team.

First 3 innings: In the top of the first, Kaz Matsui led off the game with a solo homer to give him 5 on the year. Carlos Lee also hit a solo homer in the top of the first off of Johnny Cueto (one of the Reds’ big pitching prospects) to give Lee 28 on the year. The Reds were scoreless in the bottom of the 1st and were also scoreless in the bottom of the 2nd. In the top of the second the Astros had men on 1st and 2nd with no outs, men on 2nd and 3rd with one out, and the bases loaded with 2 outs, but failed to score a run. In the top of the 3rd the Astros scored no runs, but in the bottom of the 3rd the Reds scored 4 runs. Here is what the Reds did play-by-play that inning:
- David Ross walks
- Johnny Cueto bunts for a base hit
- Jeff Keppinger hits a 2-RBI double
- Joey Votto grounds out
- Jay Bruce flies out
- Brandon Phillips hits his 17th home run of the year with Jeff Keppinger still on second
- Adam Dunn strikes out

Innings 4-6: Nobody scored in the 4th inning, although the Astros got men to second and third. In the top of the 5th the Astros forced a walk, got hit by a pitch and then singled with two outs to score Carlos Lee and cut the Reds’ lead to 4-3. The Reds didn’t score in the bottom half of the 5th. Johnny Cueto didn’t come back out in the 6th as he had 109 pitches through five innings. Cueto gave up 3 runs (all earned) on 9 hits in his five innings of work, but did strike out nine. Neither team scored in the sixth, although both teams got a man to at least second.

Innings 7-9: In the top of the second the Astros scored two runs due to a costly error by Nick Masset. Masset is a former Ranger who was traded to the White Sox along with Jon Danks for Brandon McCarthy, but more recently traded to the Reds along with Danny Richar for Ken Griffey, Jr. Masset had two outs and nobody on and then made the error. Humberto Quintero then made him pay with his first homer of the year to give the Astros a 5-4 lead. Nick Masset would leave after the inning, going two innings, allowing two runs (0 earned) on 3 hits while striking out three. The Reds would respond quickly, though, tying it up in the bottom half of the seventh on a Jeff Keppinger sacrifice fly to give him three RBI’s on the day. The eighth and the ninth were both scoreless so it then went to extras. Mike Lincoln would leave the game for the Reds after the ninth, throwing two scoreless innings and striking out two, to give the Reds’ pitching staff 14 strikeouts through nine.

10th inning: In the top of the tenth Francisco Cordero (another former Ranger) would come on to pitch and would just get massacred. He gave up four runs in total and he had two outs and nobody on base. After that the Astros’ inning went like this:
- Miguel Tejada doubles
- Lance Berkman walks
- Carlos Lee drives in two with a double (giving him his 100th RBI for the year)
- Hunter Pence hits a two-run homer
- Ty Wigginton grounds out to end the inning

In the bottom of the tenth, Javier Valentin and Jeff Keppinger both flew out and then Joey Votto grounded out to end the game.

The final score was 9-5 Astros. It turns out that we saw one of Adam Dunn’s last games as a Red (he was traded to Arizona later that weekend) and one of Carlos Lee’s last games of the year (he was injured later that weekend).

After the game, there were fireworks and it was probably the best fireworks show I’ve seen other than Disney World and Disneyland. My little sister tried to stay awake but fell asleep before the fireworks were over. We then walked back to our hotel and went to bed.

The next morning we got up and, after a great Embassy Suites breakfast, drove to Indianapolis to see our family. My great grandparents and some of my dad’s cousins live up there and we got to see all of them. We saw the cousins once and went to see my great grandparents about five times. My great grandma was having her 91st birthday and my great grandparents were having their 70th anniversary. On Saturday I got to play with my cousin Sam (the son of my dad’s cousin), his little brother Tim, and his little sister Gracie. All three are younger than me. I played Star Wars with Tim, and bubbles with Gracie. I just talked with Sam. My great granddad really likes Snoopy, so he gave me and my sister a lot of Snoopy things to take home with us. All of my family is very nice and I’m glad I got the chance to go visit them.

On Sunday night we flew home to Dallas and drove home at about 10:00pm.

Also, on Tuesday night, my dad, my sister, and I went to a McKinney Blue Thunder game. This was our first time to see them and we wanted to check them out before the season was over. They’re a new minor league baseball team that plays in the Continental Baseball League, which only has four teams. They play at the Ballfields at Craig Ranch in McKinney. The level of play is very, very low. It’s even below the Fort Worth Cats and Grand Prairie AirHogs. The stadium is at a park with a lot of little league fields and it pretty much is like a high school field. It has a statue of Joe DiMaggio outside the stadium, which is neat. There are about 1,000 seats in the stadium. You don’t even get tickets when you pay to enter - they just stamp your hand. The players roam around the concourse and use the same bathroom as the fans. The players and employees are very friendly. It was a good place to go to once, but it’s not a place that I would ever go to again.

Results of last week’s poll:
Out of Will Carroll’s three winners of the trade deadline, which one do you think did the best?
Yankees – 60%
Dodgers – 22%
Pirates – 18%

Come back next week for a Tom Grieve Trade Analysis.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Newberg Night

This week I will document the events from Newberg Night at the Ballpark (Sunday night August 4th).

Newberg Night started at 4:00 in the Legends of the Game Museum with a Q&A session with Will Carroll and Joe Sheehan. Will does a column called ‘Under the Knife’ for Baseball Prospectus ( where he describes and analyzes different baseball injuries. He also works for as the NFL injury expert and has written a couple of books, including ‘The Juice’. For the last few Newberg Days at the Ballpark, Will has flown to Dallas to do Q&A sessions and is always very interesting. Joe is a co-founder and author of Baseball Prospectus and this was his first time to do this event

Will and Joe answered questions for about 45 minutes and here are some of the questions and answers they covered:

Q: Who were the three biggest winners and losers of the trade deadline?
A: Will did the winners and said:
- The Yankees because they got Pudge to solve their catching problem and got Nady and Marte without giving up many prospects.
- The Dodgers because they got Manny without giving up much at all.
- The Pirates because they finally made a plan

Joe did the losers and said:
- The Orioles because they didn’t trade any of their veterans who weren’t a part of their future.
- Mariners because they didn’t trade Raul Ibanez, Adrian Beltre or some of their other players.
- Giants for not trading Randy Winn or Bengie Molina and some other veterans that are on their roster.

Q: What are your expectations for Neftali Feliz?
A: Will said he has a huge upside and was the biggest part of the Teixeira trade. He also said that the Rangers are doing the right thing by not rushing him and that 2010 should be the earliest year that he’s in the bigs.

Q: How much money are Ben Sheets and CC Sabathia worth?
A: They said that with both of them (especially Sheets) you make your best offer to them, but leave without pushing too hard for them.

Q: Which team do you think will win each division and why?
AL West: Angels
AL Central: Tigers
AL East: Rays

NL West: D’Backs
NL Central: Cubs
NL East: Mets

AL West: Angels
AL Central: Twins
AL East: Red Sox

NL Central: Cubs
NL East:Mets

Q: Who will be in the World Series?
A: Will said that it would be New York and Chicago without clarifying which ones. (I think he was just joking.)

At 4:45 Jeff and Cindy Kuster did a presentation on the Hello Win Column Fund. Cindy is the daughter of Mark Holtz, who used to broadcast for the Rangers. They have a charity to help people with cancer. They talked about what the charity is for and introduced an 11-year-old girl (Chalisa Smith, 11) who had just recovered from cancer. The little girl and her family were being hosted by the Kusters for that night’s game.

Jamey then gave away a bunch of prizes to people who had donated money to the fund. You could donate money as you entered the museum and you got a raffle ticket for every $10. Also, anyone who donated $20 got a set of Nolan Ryan books donated by the Kusters. After the raffle prizes, there was an auction for some more prizes. The best prize was being in the booth for an inning with Josh Lewin and Tom Grieve. My dad and granddad tried to win it for me but it sold for 600 dollars.

At 5:00, Jon Daniels came to start his Q&A session. Here are some of the highlights:

Q: If it’s 2010, Padilla and Millwood are gone, and the only players you can get are ones that are currently in your system - who do you think would be in the starting rotation and why?
A: I asked this question and, before he answered, Jon asked me what I thought. I said Tommy Hunter, Eric Hurley, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, and Kasey Kiker. Jon said that that was a good list and also mentioned Derek Holland and Brandon McCarthy and said some of the people currently in the rotation are possibilities. Allen Cordrey filmed the Q&A session and sent me this link that shows Jon answering this question:

Q: Can you describe your relationship with Nolan Ryan?
A: Jon said that it’s a good relationship and that Nolan’s involved just the right amount. He brings Nolan in on decisions when it makes sense on a day-to-day basis. He also mentioned that people don’t realize how many things Nolan is involved in for the Rangers, including real estate, fan experience, branding, uniforms, and ticket prices.

Q: What do you plan to do with Nelson Cruz?
A: He would come up if they had an outfield injury or needed a bat.

Q: What has been the biggest surprise and biggest disappointment of the season?
A: The biggest disappointment was the start of the season because they had such high hopes out of spring training, and to start of the year so poorly wasn’t fun. The biggest surprise has been the resiliency of the players. He said they never give up.

Q: What are the priorities for this offseason?
- To sort out the catching and outfield situations
- Starting pitching
- Closer is not an off-season priority

Jon also said that:
- We shouldn’t read anything into the fact that the Rangers took a lot of college pitchers in this year’s draft. It’s not a new draft strategy. It had to do with the players that were on the board.
- He would like to have Milton Bradley back next year.
- Chris Davis is staying in the majors

At about 6:30, after the interviews, we went to our seats to watch the game. I was one row in front of Scott Lucas, Jamey Newberg, Will Carroll, Rob Cook, and Eleanor Czajka. Joe Sheehan was two rows behind us. I enjoyed talking to all of them and they were all really nice. I got to talk with them during the whole game. Will and I talked about fantasy football a lot and he helped me prepare for my draft.

It was a good game. It was close and the Rangers walked away victorious. In the top of the 1st, Luis Mendoza just didn’t have it as he allowed 3 runs to score. Joe Inglett grounded out to second to start off the game and that’s when Mendoza started to really struggle as he walked Marco Scutaro, then Alex Rios singled, then Lyle Overbay had an RBI double, Adam Lind had a sacrifice fly and then Matt Stairs had an RBI single that forced the pitching coach to the mound. After that, Mendoza got Brad Wilkerson to ground out.

In the bottom half of the inning the Rangers went down 1-2-3. So after one it was Blue Jays 3, Rangers 0. In the top of the second Luis Mendoza, really started to settle down as he got three straight groundouts in the inning. Josh Hamilton got hit by a pitch to start off the second inning, but then Marlon Byrd grounded into a fielder’s choice that was almost a double play ball and then David Murphy did ground into a double play. Both halves of the third were 1-2-3 innings. To lead off the 4th Adam Lind singled, followed by another single off the bat of Matt Stairs that moved Lind to 3rd. Brad Wilkerson then grounded out to second, but drove in Adam Lind. The next two hitters went down easily, so after the top of the 4th the Blue Jays were winning 4-0. In the bottom half, though, Ian Kinsler led off with a walk, followed by the Rangers’ first hit of the ballgame, a Gerald Laird two-run homer off of Blue Jays rookie David Purcey. Michael Young then grounded out, followed by a Josh Hamilton walk, but Marlon Byrd and David Murphy couldn’t drive him in. After the fourth it was Blue Jays 4, Rangers 2.

In the bottom of the 5th Chris Davis had a solo homer with one out, followed by Travis Metcalf hit by a pitch, and Ian Kinsler fly out and then Gerald Laird’s 2nd home run of the game. After five, the Rangers were leading 5-4. Nobody scored again until the bottom of the eighth. Michael Young singled to start off the inning, which brought the pitching change (Jesse Carlson came in). Jesse threw a wild pitch that moved Young to second and then he moved Young to third by committing a balk. Josh Hamilton then walked and Marlon Byrd had an RBI double. David Murphy then popped out and Brandon Boggs was intentionally walked. Chris Davis then got an RBI single and loaded the bases. Ramon Vazquez then had a sacrifice fly to make the score 8-4 and that would be the final score of the ballgame, as in the top of the 9th Eddie Guardado retired the Blue Jays on four batters and gave the Rangers the win.

Newberg Night was a blast and I would like to thank Jamey for organizing it and Will, Joe, and Jon for doing the Q&A sessions.

Results of last week’s poll:
Which player from each league do you think has had the best year so far?
Josh Hamilton – 100%
Both others – 0%
Brandon Webb – 50%
Ryan Braun – 38%
Jair Jurrjens – 12%

I’ll be taking a week off. Come back in two weeks when I’ll continue work on the Tom Grieve trade analysis for the first time in a while, unless the Rangers make a trade.