Wednesday, January 30, 2008
There's a good chance you only know Sean Williams as the troubled kid out of Boston College that the Nets took a chance on with the 17th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. Soon enough however, more people are going to know Williams for his play on the court, specifically his freakish ability on the defensive end.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
In the biggest trade this off season, and arguably in a while, the Minnesota Twins have agreed to trade Johan Santana to the Mets for outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey.
FANTASY IMPACT NEW YORK METS
With the New York Mets, expect Johan to win 18-23 games. He will thrive playing in the NL without a DH, playing in a pitcher's ballpark. He will also have the benefit of a rather potent Met offense, which will offer him very good run support. Johan was a round 1 or 2 draft pick before this trade, and going to the Mets only increases his value.
You can also expect a very good rebound season from Pedro Martinez. While he isn't what he used to be, he is still a great 6 inning pitcher, and will now be facing the number 2 starter on most teams. Expect Pedro to possibly miss a start here and there as we are accustomed to seeing, but he is a near shoe in for 15 wins and 190Ks.
FANTASY IMPACT MINNESOTA TWINS
The Twins get 2 pitching prospects in Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey who probably won't see the majors in 2008, so lets move on.
Carlos Gomez should probably play center field for the Twins next season. Expect many growing pains from Gomez, he won't hit for a high average, and his power will be suspect. He can steal a base, and if you can tolerate the weaknesses will be a good source to puck up 30-40sb.
Phil Humber will probably slide into the 5 hole into the rotation, while the rest of the Twins rotation moves up a slot. Humber is not worth drafting or even having on your draft board. In fact if he is on your draft board, throw your draft board away.
Francisco Liriano will move up a slot in the rotation and despite coming back from Tommy John surgery will be counted on to be the ace of a staff. We broke down what to expect from Liriano here.
Boof Bonser will be looked to pick up some slack as well as become the number 2. Bonser in his first full season as a starter had an up and down year for the Twins. He enters this year, with a lot of hype, stirred up by the news that he has lost 20lbs. Bonser has decent stuff, and is worth a late round flier as a sleeper, if he can find consistency and the strike zone.
Scott Baker pitched well for the Twins last season. He took a Perfect game into the 9th inning against the Kansas City Royals last season, giving up a walk to John Buck and then a hit to Mike Sweeney. Baker is a guy who should be a mid-round pick guy, but he will go much later. He is a great sleeper for late in the draft.
Omar Minaya got his ace. MetsBlog is reporting that the Mets have landed Johan Santana for a package of players whose names are being withheld until New York can agree on a contract extension with the left hander.
Buster Olney is reporting that Fernando Martinez was not included in the deal so my guess is the package for Santana contains 4-5 guys among the group of Carlos Gomez, Arron Heilman, Kevin Mulvey, Deolis Guerra, Phil Humber, Mike Pelfrey and Ryan Church.
Once Santana is signed (a formality at this point) the Mets will boast one of the deepest pitching staffs in the National League featuring Santana, Pedro Martinez, John Maine and Oliver Perez. The combination of that staff with a powerful and dynamic lineup make the Mets the team to beat in the National League entering the 2008 season.
UPDATE 4:35 - USA Today reports that the Mets gave up Kevin Mulvey, Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra and Phil Humber in the deal. If this report holds up, this is a steal for the Mets in that they keep their top young pitcher (Mike Pelfrey) and hitter (Fernando Martinez).
Get excited New York Mets fans!! Buster Olney is reporting that according to his sources around baseball, the Mets have made the strongest offer for Johan Santana thus far. With Santana already having rejected the Twins 5 year-100 million dollar offer, it looks like the Mets might be in the drivers seat to land the ace.
Something tells me that once a Santana trade to the Mets is finalized, the happiest people outside of Queens will be situated in the Bronx and Boston respectively.
For our full archive of Santana coverage click here.
WFAN's Mike Francesa is reporting that Santana recently rejected a 5 year-100 million dollar offer from the Twins which has persumably lead to the club stepping up their efforts to facilitate a trade.
If this news is true, (Francesa tends to be a buzz generating blowhard at times) two things are now all but certain - Santana will be in a new uniform come opening day and will accept nothing less than a 6-7 year extension at around 20 million.
According to ESPN.com's Buster Olney, the Minnestoa Twins asked all the teams involved in the Johan Santana sweepstakes for their "last and best offers" yesterday. This signals that a Santana trade is nearly upon us, ending months of speculation.
According to reports, the same three teams - New York Mets, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees - remain in the running for Santana's services. The Mets presumably having the edge as they have a dire need for an ace and have shown the most willingness to include the pieces necessary to get a deal done.
As was proclaimed on FSE earlier in the month, we are confident that the New York Mets will land Santana in the end based primairily on their aforementioned need and deep pockets. This would be a coup for Omar Minaya and make the Mets the odds on favorite to win the National League.
Stay with the Fantasy Sports Experience for breaking developments and trade analysis.
For more of FSE's Santana coverage click here.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Jason Kidd, the man who single-handedly brought the Nets from a league embarrassment to a perennial contender has stated he believes his tenure with the Nets is coming to an end. ESPN.com's Ric Bucher is reporting that Kidd said, "Sometimes, when you ride a wave, you get to the end and that's all there is. That's where we are." Kidd confirmed that his agent has been speaking to Nets management about a trade before next month's February 21 deadline.
According to a source, the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks have already reached out to see what the Nets would want in return for Kidd. The trade could be tricky because the Nets still have decent talent with Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter, along with the developing Josh Boone, Sean Williams and Marcus Williams so any trade would not just be for draft picks in a salary dump, as the Nets could still contend for a playoff spot. Another problem is the Nets are planning to move to Brooklyn in 2010 and would want to have good talent to attract fans, and maybe even steal a few from the Knicks.
If the trade happens, it will hurt the value of Jefferson and Carter some, but promising point guard Marcus Williams would be in line for a starting gig and could quickly emerge as a quality fantasy point guard. We will be able to comment more when it becomes clearer who the potential trade partners will be, and what they will be willing to give up. Expect the Nets to ask for a sizable return in exchange for J-Kidd.
The Dallas Mavericks will be without talented young point guard Devin Harris for the next 2-3 weeks due to a bone bruise in his left ankle. The injury comes at a bad time for the Mavs as Jerry Stackhouse is also out for about a week nursing a strained hamstring.
According to Yahoo!, Memphis Grizzlies rookie point guard Mike Conley is expected to miss a week due to contusions suffered to his chest and rib cage which made him leave Friday's loss to Washington in the third quarter. Conley's injury coupled with the buyout of Damon Stoudamire's contract sometime today leaves scrappy youngster Kyle Lowry as the Grizzlies' starting point guard.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Many media sources, (including ourselves) reported Sunday night that the deal sending Erik Bedard to the Mariners was a done. Jon Heyman of SI.com explains here that while a deal is close, there is still a lot of internal debate going on for the Orioles, in deciding if they should pull the trigger or not.
This deal looks to be too close not to happen now. Bedard has already come out and stated that he expects to be traded, and Adam Jones certainly thinks he has already been traded.
We outlined the impact of this deal a while ago, and are hoping it actually happens for real, soon.
This fantasy stat has become ever more popular over the past decade. I think we have Tony Larussa to blame for this. Maybe it was his infection and his vertigo? This stat makes players like Roberto Hernandez and Mike Myers people you would actually draft. I personally love this statistic in my fantasy league because it allows more players to be drafted with a purpose. In many leagues without "The Hold" there would be no reason to draft people such as Mike Timlin or Scot Shields.
There are many reasons why "The Hold" is important.
1) People like Francisco Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera started off as set up men. These dominant set up men fill the role of injured or retired closers.
2) Many Set up men not only provide good holds numbers, but they can vulture wins as well.
3) Relief pitchers are great for that coveted k/9 category and can help lower ERA and WHIP.
4) Personally, I love the hold because it allows me to draft people like Roberto Hernandez and Troy Percival with a straight face.
5) Lefty specialists are whores for the hold. Mike Myers can come in and get one out and leave, thus producing a hold for you.
6) Finally, Holds guys can always be found on the waiver wire and can help your squad immediately.
Let's take a look at the holds leaders from the last two years:
2007 Holds Leaders
1) Brandon Lyon, Arizona - 35 Holds
Lyon will be the premier middle reliever in a very deep Arizona bullpen. He may have an opportunity the be the closer as well. Keep an eye on the situation during spring training.
2) Heath Bell, San Diego - 34 Holds
The New York Met castaway dominated the late innings for San Diego last season. In 93+ Innings pitches he racked up 103 Strikeouts. The K's and Innings Pitched may be a warning for possible fantasy owners. If he is striking a lot of guys out, that means he is throwing a lot of pitches.
3) Jon Rauch - Washington 33 Holds
Considering this team only wins a few games a year and this guy had 33 Holds, I would wait and wait and wait to pick him up. Many owners picked him off the waiver wire last season and were happy with his results.
4) Derrick Turnbow - Milwaukee 33 Holds
Once a closer and now a set up man. You never know with this guy and maybe the Brew crew will make him a closer again if The Gagne experiment fails. Either way he should be a solid pick and its an added bonus that if Gagne fails, your set up man becomes your closer.
5) Jonathon Broxton - Los Angeles 32 Holds
I think he may be overworked by Joe Torre this season. Torre is notorious for overworking his bullpen and even brought his own personal whipping boy, Scott proctor to LA to throw every game for him. Look for Broxton's arm to fall off by the All-Star Break.
6) Rafael Betancourt - Cleveland 31 Holds
May have a chance to close if "Stunning" Joe Borowski hits a speed bump this season. He has dual value as a set up man and possibly a closer/save vulture.
7) Scot Shields - Anaheim 31 Holds
Reliable reliever, I always try to get him as my first set up man. His body of work merits this and his stuff has only gotten better.
8) Tony Pena- Arizona 30 Holds
Pena is a part of one of the best bullpens in baseball and he has the opportunity to compete for the closer job. Watch his progress in spring training before deciding on him. He and Lyon should get plenty of holds and may steal some saves even if they are not officially the closer.
9) Hideki Okajima - Boston 27 Holds
His team should win 100 games this season and his starters should hand him the ball in the 8th with a lead early and often. Last year Okajima faded after the All-Star Break. Look for his stamina to improve after experiencing a real MLB season. I would take him right after Shields.
10) Ryan Franklin - St. Louis 25 Holds
He is setting up Izzy in St. Louis. This gives Franklin double value, he could be a dominant set up man and also be next in line to close when Izzy goes down.
2006 Holds Leaders:
Now, let's see who the leaders were in 2006. See if you can make an inference as to why the stats changed for many and why there was such a turnover among the holds leaders.
1)Scott Linebrink 36 Holds
21 Holds in 2007 and an ERA of 3.71. Not the same dominance he had in 2006, and he could have problems pitching in U.S. Cellular field in 2008.
2) Scot Shields 31 Holds
One of the best set up men in baseball had a solid 2007 season. Shields had 31 holds and is setting up for the premier closer in baseball.
3) Joel Zumaya 30 Holds
Guitar Hero, weak ligaments?
4) Aaron Heilman 27 Holds
Couldn't follow up in 2007 with the same success as he had in 2006.
5)Scott Proctor 26 Holds
I'm surprised his arm is still attached.
6) Juan Rincon 26 Holds
Yuck, 14 holds and an ERA of 5.13.
7) Justin Speier 25 Holds
In 2007, Speier almost duplicated his success from 2006 with 24 Holds and an ERA of 2.80.
8) Luis Vizcaino 25 Holds
In 2007 Luis had an 8-2 record and was a reliable member of the Yankees bullpen. Vizcaino vultured many wins, but only recorded 14 holds.
9) Kiko Calero 24 Holds
In 2007 had a bad shoulder,a bad team, and a bad ERA of 5.75. Calero only recorded one save and was not the same pitcher of the prior year.
10) Dan Wheeler 24 Holds
After his great 2006 season, Wheeler followed up with some save chances because Lidge was awful. Wheeler then gave fantasy owners a 5.30 ERA and a 1-9 record in 2007.
After looking at the data, I believe it is obvious that many of these top relievers have a difficult time having the same success year after year. Many of these pitchers were over used and experienced arm problems. Thus, it's a good idea to look at the trends with these pitchers and the ballparks they call home. Before picking a reliever, check how many innings they threw the year before. Scott Proctor was awesome in 2006, but we all know he threw way too much and that had a negative effect on his stats.
He blew into the major leagues in 2006. A pitcher putting up numbers that made him looks more like his rotation mate Johan Santana than a young rookie fresh into the majors. Just look these numbers:
Innings Pitched 121.0
Then Francisco Liriano started to break down. He made one start in August, and then one more in September and was done. He would need Jommy John surgery on his left throwing arm, and miss all of the 2007 season rehabbing.
Recently Liriano comeback stories have been popping up, like this one today in the St.Paul Pioneer Press. In the story Liriano says that his endurance, and pitch selection are all fine and back to what they were before surgery. He says he is throwing all of his pitches well, and pain free. Another revelation is Liriano saying, that with in the last 2 weeks he has gotten some good velocity back on his fastball, and it throwing 94,95mph. He also claims that all of his pitches have the dominant movement back that helped made him so solid.
WOW! LIRIANO IS BACK 100% GO GET HIM! I'll hold off on this reaction for a bit. I do think that Liriano is recovered and took well over a season to rehab and get healthy. I hate it when players rush back from Tommy John surgery, and they are good, and then bad, and up and down and miss a start. A few things Liriano has going against him, is that he could enter the season as the Minnesota ace. The Johan Santana trade rumors look to be nearing an end and Liriano could be looked upon to fill his spot in the rotation. That is a tall order for anyone, let alone a young pitcher, coming back from massive surgery. I also think Liriano will miss the occasional start, with fatigue, but he does have a few things going for him. The first is that he is young, at 24 he still has a lot of life in that arm. Another is that his stuff is so good, he can win with less than his best stuff.
Personally I would take him in the middle rounds around like Joe Blanton and Brad Penny. I would pencil him in for about 13 wins, and 180 strikeouts, even if he does miss a few starts.
I recently posted a blog about Rich Harden and how he s being viewed in his comeback from a variety of injuries. I really like Liriano coming back from his injury more than I do Harden, because Liriano had one thing wrong and it was fixed. Now it is a matter of him making sure he is all the way back and can withstand the rigors of a full season. With Harden it seems like there is always something going wrong, and its not just one thing. He breaks down all over his body and you never know what will go wrong with him next.
Both are young flamethrowers with dynamite stuff, but Liriano is a much better calculated risk.
After almost four months of posturing Charley Waters, columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, is reporting that the trade for Johan Santana might finally be close to getting done. Buster Olney, as usual, does a great job (ESPN.com insiders only, sorry) of breaking down the rumored players in a potential Santana deal and where each teams offers stand. It comes down to the following teams:
New York Yankees
If the Yankees want to make a trade with Minnesota they could, they do have the prospects and money. As right now however, it looks like the Yankees are out. Minnesota would have to lower their trade demands for Santana or Santana would have to lower his reported asking price of 7 years and 150 million. As we have reported here before, it looks like the team without any financial constraints has some financial constraints.
Boston Red Sox
It looks like what most of Boston has done in these trade talks is just make sure the Yankees would have to give up a ton if they were to trade for Santana. Boston already has a very good 1-3 with Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Curt Schilling. This does not even include Clay Buchholz who threw a no hitter last season, or veteran Tim Wakefield. The Red Sox getting Santana would have added another ace to an already deep pitching rotation, that they really do not need.
The Mets would have to include Fernando Martinez for the Twins to even consider making a deal with the Mets. But as I said, the Mets have the need, and the Mets have money to spend for him. The Mets are the most desperate team in need of Santana. The Mets only have another 1-2 good seasons left in Pedro Martinez, and having the Santana and Martinez would give the Mets one of the most dominant top of the rotation tandems in all of baseball. The Mets are also coming off of one of the most historic late season collapses in all of baseball history. The Mets were sitting pretty atop the NL East with a 7 game lead with 17 games left to play. Then, the collapse happened and the Mets wound up missing the playoffs. Some blamed manager Willie Randolph. Yet, many held GM Omar Minaya accountable for not making moves to strengthen the Mets and their needs at the trade deadline. Look for Omar to make the right move this time and land Johan
The Twins really overplayed their hand here. The Twins were banking on the Yankees and Red Sox to constantly one up each other for Santana. However, both teams have decided to stay with what they have, and not invest the prospects and money long term. It looks like the Mets will be last team standing as we have previously reported here. There are even rumors circulating that Santana has been hurt and is hiding an injury, and that is making teams hesitant to make a deal for him.
With the New York Mets, expect Johan to win 18-23 games. He will thrive playing in the NL without a DH, playing in a pitcher's ballpark. He will also have the benefit of a rather potent Met offense, which will offer him very good run support. Johan was a round 1 or 2 draft pick before this potential trade, if he goes to the Mets his value only increases.
Welcome to Desperation Station, your weekly destination for stopgap fantasy basketball options to get you through the week. Check out this column every weekend to get you prepared for the fantasy matchup ahead.
The Cubs have Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome both locked up to big money contracts to man their corner outfield spots. This leaves Matt Murton as the odd man out and without a place to play going into 2008. Murton is still a relatively young player (26) who could turn into a solid everyday player if he is traded to the right place.
Murton needs to go to a place where he can play everyday. ESPN.com has the Rangers, Orioles and Padres listed as his main suitors. Murton is a guy who I think could hit .285 with 20 home runs, 10 stolen bases and 80-90RBIs if he lands with an A.L. team who plays in a smaller ballpark. These are by no means All-Star stats, but they are solid stats that could certainly help out a fantasy team.
If/when he gets traded, target Murton as a late pick in your draft. He has good potential to help out your squad in the right situation. If he goes to the Padres or Giants (just a hunch) I wouldn't take a flier on him at all.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Oakland A's manager, Bob Geren, recently declared that Rich Harden would be his number two starter when the season begins. This is interesting for a few reasons.
First, Geren expects Harden to be healthy enough to start the season. Harden's career began with huge expectations, electric stuff and a full speed ahead attitude. However, he has never taken off the way A's management or their fan base hoped. They were expecting a pitcher who could fill the void left when Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder were traded. Instead, they got a player who is quickly becoming a Mark Prior type pitcher; lots of stuff but never healthy enough to stay on the mound for an extended time. Here are his innings pitched since 2004:
Harden bottomed out in 2007, that is clear. During this time period he's had a variety of injuries including an inflamed shoulder, strained muscle in his back, oblique strain, and strained lat. Yet, over this time he still boasts a record of 26-14, with 364 strikeouts in 390 innings pitched. It is these results that have become a tease not only to the A's organization, but to fantasy baseball owners everywhere. I found this article from the San Fransisco Chronicle that does a good job of explaining Harden's injuries while discussing the cause and how the organization might try to prevent further injury. (Note: the article is from early in the 2006 season, so apparently their ideas to prevent further injury didn't work.)
Another reason this announcement is interesting is because Harden as the #2 means Joe Blanton enters the season as the number one starter. Blanton is good at what he does, throw 200 innings, have an era in the mid to high 3s and win about 15 games. However, he is not the true ace of a pitching staff and could wind up having some hard luck outings against the aces of other teams.
This development also indicates that Oakland plans to hold onto Blanton, eliminating the possibility of an offseason trade. They could enter the season with Blanton and see what teams would be willing to give up the most for him at the trade deadline; when he might actually have more value. Teams like the Yankees, Mets, Phillies, Reds, Dodgers, Rangers and White Sox could all be looking to add a starter at the deadline to help remain in the wildcard/playoff mix.
Harden is a stud, in Mark Prior clothing. The bad thing about Harden is that every time out, you will worry if he'll get hurt and miss 2 months. The good thing is that he might become an afterthought in your draft and be a decent sleeper pick late. His injuries and lack of stats might make people forget about him, turning him into one of those guys taken in the last 5 rounds causing others to say things like "Oh, I totally forgot about him."
Blanton, is a workhorse but be weary of drafting him too early as an "ace." He is a good pitcher, and should make a good selection in the middle rounds with guys like Andy Pettitte and Gil Meche.
Check the Fantasy Sports Experience frequently for more fantasy updates, player news and sports analysis as the stories break.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
FSE is proud to introduce our newest weekly column offering, Market Watch, which will take a look at the past week in each of our fantasy sports - baseball, football and basketball. The column will focus on players whose values we have upgraded and downgraded.
According to Yankees.com, the Yankees and Chien-Ming Wang recently laid the groundwork for Wang's arbitration case. Wang, who will turn 28 on Opening Day, tied his career high in victories for the second consecutive season in 2007, going 19-7 with a 3.70 ERA while establishing a career high with 104 strikeouts. He earned $489,500 last season after his contract was renewed in Spring Training and has requested $4.6 million while the Yanks are only offering $4 million.
The thought of the New York Yankees and Chien-Ming Wang going to an arbitrator lead to the following sequence in my mind. I'm pretty sure some of this will actually be said at the hearing.
Arbitrator- So Mr. Wang it appears you are asking for a pay increase from $489,500 to $4.6 million. Unfortunately, the Yankees are only offering you $4 million dollars. We are gathered here today to hear both sides of the story and come up with a solution that will appease both sides. Let's hear your case first Mr. Wang.
Wang- Hello sir my name is Chien-Ming Wang and I am a right handed starting pitcher. I have lead my team in wins for the past two years and have a devastating sinker that causes batters to hit many ground balls to my stellar infield. I will be 28 years old on opening day and believe that my statistics merit a 3.5 million dollar raise. As you can see I am 6'3" and weigh 235 lbs with very long arms. I'm sure you are familiar with my work and have seen the movement on my ball. I brought a witness here named John Sterling to tell you how great I am. He is my biggest fan and would like to share some of his thoughts if you would allow it?
Arbitrator- Thank you for coming Mr. Wang, may I call you Mr. Wang? I think I have seen some of your movies? Anyways, what else besides 19 wins for the highest paid team in baseball do you think merits a 3.5 million dollar raise? Further, I would hope you have led your team in wins the last two years, do you realize who else is in your rotation? Mr. Wang the Yankees Representative would like to state his case first before you continue.
Yankees Rep- Greetings Wang, Let's get right down to it! First, would you like to tell all of us here about your 2007 post season? Can you tell us more about any of your post seasons? Let me remind everyone in the free world that even Mike Mussina has been able to win double digits for the Yankees and he is awful. 19 wins for this Yankees team really doesn't mean much. What was that ERA? How many wins did you have in the 2007 post season? Thank you for your time Mr. arbitrator, I have nothing more to say.
Arbitrator- So Mr. Wang, it appears you had an 0-2 record last post season with an ERA around 20?! Are you serious Mr. Wang? This team doesn't care what you do in the regular season? It's what you do in the post season that counts son and if you can't get it done then, you don't deserve the money you are asking for. THIS CASE IS CLOSED!
One is an oft injured first baseman, who is coming off multiple leg injuries. The other is a former all star, whose work ethic and dedication could never be questioned, but whose off the field issues, cannot be ignored. The former is 29 year old Nick Johnson. The latter is 43-year-old Dmitri Young. They have little in common, except, come opening day, they both could be listed as the Washington National's first baseman. This possible log jam gives National's General Manager, Jim Bowden the power to do what few others do better than him. Make a trade.
Dmitri Young is a hard nosed player, who leaves whatever he can out on the field. He could be a good veteran for the young players on Washington to look up to, and provide an important leadership role. Specifically for the outfield, which could potentially feature Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge, who have each had varying degrees of maturity and professionalism issues. Young's problem with alcohol and being dumped by the Detroit Tigers is well documented and could serve as a way for him to connect to the younger players and serve as a mentor.
Nick Johnson is a few years younger than Dmitri, and having a good ability to draw walks, might have more value, despite his injury history. He could make a fine DH for an American League team, but would lack the durability to play first on an everyday basis. Seattle might be a good fit, given Richie Sexson's inconsistency and the fact their DH right now is Jose Vidro.
Most of this right now, is still in its early stages, and both players will have to show up to spring training to compete for a job, before it is just handed to them. Stay tuned to fantasysportsexperience.blogspot.com for any updates we find along the way.
Foxsports.com's Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the New York Yankees and All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano are closing to inking a 4 year, 30million dollar contract extension. This would be a break in protocol for the Yanks, who normally wait until a player's arbitration years are up and they are eligible for free agency before signing them. With players like Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu eligible for free agency after this season, the Yankees look to be trying to solidify the left side of the batting order before it becomes a pressing issue.
Look for Cano to go from one of the top five second baseman in all of baseball to really cementing himself as one of the top two at the position this year. Entering his third year, Cano is primed to put it all together and will no longer be looked at as an afterthought in a potent offense, but rather a vital piece expected to produce. The possible tandem of Cano hitting 3rd and Alex Rodriguez hitting 4th , could give the Yankees one of the best 3-4 combinations in all of baseball for years to come.
Luol Deng is expected to miss around 4 weeks with a sore left Achilles that has hampered him for the last month. Deng has been a disappointment thus far, failing to take the next step towards superstardom coming off a breakout sophomore campaign. His scoring, rebounding, FG% and defensive stats are all down slightly which is a product of the injury he's been playing through and his team's struggles.
Duaner Sanchez's is nearly fully recovered from a gruesome shoulder injury suffered in a cab accident in 2006 and will be ready for spring training. All reports from Port St. Lucie, where Sanchez has been rehabbing this winter, have been positive. Sanchez has been throwing comfortably off of a mound and has touched 94 mph on the radar gun. Contrary to prior rumblings that Sanchez was out of shape, two eye witnesses told MetsBlog that Sanchez looks good and is throwing well.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Jaret Wright has signed a minor league deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. What makes this potentially interesting is that the deal includes incentives for both starting and relieving.
Wright has been a fantasy bust since signing on with the New York Yankees following the 2003 season. Wright could always hit the low to mid 90's on the gun, but has trouble locating where the ball is going after he throws it. He has been rehabbing constant shoulder problems for the better part of 2 seasons now, making his health a huge question mark. The Pirates are probably hoping for Wright to fill the role Shawn Chacon held for the team last season; a middle to long reliever, who could also start in a pinch.
While I have admired Wright's moxie when on the mound, there isn't a whole lot more to him. Don't bother to worry about drafting him, as he will be a long shot to even make the major league roster let alone remain healthy for an entire season.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Jody Gerut has signed a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres that includes an invitation to spring training and shot to make the forty man roster.
Gerut hasn't done much since his first two seasons in the big leagues in 2003, and 2004. He has bounced around from Cleveland, to the Chicago Cubs and finally to the Pittsburgh Pirates where he has spent the better part of the last 2 seasons rehabbing a knee injury. This could be Gerut's last shot at making a major league ball club. If he is completely healthy, he could hit 13 home runs playing his home games at Petco ballpark and steal 20 bases. That is a big IF.
Personally I wouldn't bother to draft Gerut, let someone else take the risk. He might be worth keeping an eye on as a free agent in your league, if he makes the Padres out of spring training.
Monday, January 21, 2008
The owner of the, "Biggest home run in Cardinals history", agreed to a new four-year contract that includes a club option for 2012. Yadier, the youngest of the Molina family of catchers, and arguably the best will remain in St. Louis for four more years. Molina batted .275 last season with 6 HR and 40 RBI. The Cards didn't sign him for his bat, however he will anchor a team in transition with his game calling and his rocket arm. Molina is mostly known around baseball circles because of his older established brothers. Yadier is said the be the best of the three and is most remembered for his two run home run off of Aaron Heilman in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.
Reports indicate that Indiana Pacers' center Jermaine O'Neal might elect to miss the remainder of the season in an effort to properly heal a knee injury that has been lingering for the better part of the last two years.
Back in the 2004 NFL draft the Giants made a huge draft day trade with the San Diego Chargers. San Diego swapped the first overall selection, Eli Manning, for Phillip Rivers (the Giants selected him fourth overall), a 2004 third round pick as well as first and fifth round picks in the 2005 draft. While the Chargers would use those extra picks to land pro bowlers Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding, the Giants got Eli Manning... and nothing else.
Manning has been criticized for being too lanky, a poor decision-maker, regressing in talent, not being named Peyton and a variety of other things that only the New York media and fan base can think of. In addition, he was even called "skittish" in the pocket by his GM Jerry Reese earlier in the season.
Rivers would have been a terrible fit for New York. If you think his on-field shenanigans would have gone under the radar as they have in San Diego you are kidding yourself. His tenure in New York had the potential for countless petty fights with fan base and more importantly the caustic New York media. While heavily criticized, Eli has kept the focus on the other teams, deflecting attention away from himself. Rivers is a ticking time bomb and the New York media would have had a field day with him.
Affirmation of the Giants decision to trade for Eli occurred this weekend. Manning went into Green Bay and beat Brett Favre at home in what was the 3rd coldest game ever played; advancing to his first Super Bowl. Manning has lead the Giants through the playoffs playing mistake-free football (4 TDs and 0 INTs in 3 games) making big throws when needed.
Looks like Brett Tomko is headed to the Royals in a one year 3million dollar deal.
Brett Tomko has been around for years and consistently known as a guy with "good stuff" who can't figure it out. Last season Tomko went 4-12 in stints with the LA Dodgers, and San Diego Padres. Of course, some will look at that and say, "Well, he did go 2-1 in his time with San Diego" which is probably why he has hug around as long as he has.
Look for Tomko to pick up a few wins and holds, as he is a versatile pitcher who can start and relieve. There are rumors that he might get a shot at closing which would enable the Royals to move Joakim Soria to the rotation. This doesn't make a ton of sense for a variety of reasons. The first being, that Soria was very good at closing last season, so why would the Royals want to mess with that. The other is that, Tomko just can't be trusted to consistently get outs in a big spot. Tomko's strength is his durability, and his versatility, he should not be entrusted with closing duties any time soon.
If you really want to you can draft Tomko late in your draft. If your league counts holds, he could get 13 holds for the season and maybe 5 wins. Nothing overwhelming, but that's what Tomko is, given his history and past numbers.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Jeremy Affeldt has signed a one year 3 million dollar contract with the Cincinnati Reds. The move is actually a savvy deal for Wayne Krivsky, as he will look for Affeldt to compete for a spot in the team's starting rotation. At worst the Reds get a solid, left handed middle reliever signed for the going rate. At best, they have a solid number 4 starter who can eat up innings and win a few games, signed at a bargain rate given what some starter are going for. Credit Krivsky with seeing what was available out there in terms of starting pitchers and realizing that Affeldt could be just as good at a much lower cost. Krivsky already drank the Kyle Lohse Kool-Aid, once and it was enough.
I have been a big fan of Affeldt for a while now. He has good pop on his fastball, and a lollipop curve that compliment each other nicely. Affeldt's stuff has never been the question, the question has been in his ability to spot the pitches and throw then effectively. At worst he is sent to the bullpen, where he would collect a good amount of holds setting up for Fransisco Cordero. If you want to take a late round flier on him as a sleeper in your draft you can. There are plenty of worse options out there.
Philip Rivers has told ESPN's Bob Holtzman that he sees no reason why he wouldn't be able to play in Sunday's AFC Championshp game against New England. Back up quarterback Bily Volek will start on the the bench ready come in if Rivers' knee acts up.
I think San Diego will be relying mostly on their running game today, so I am not sure it is really going to matter who the starting quarterback is. The last thing San Diego wants to do is get into a high scoring, game with a lot of throws, because they would be feeding into the type of game New England thrives in.
If he is healthy, expect LaDainian Tomlinson to get some of the carries, but also expect to see a lot of Michael Turner and Darren Sproles. LT and Turner will probably be counted on to bruise up the middle and wear down veteran linebackers, Mike Vrabel, Teddy Bruschi and Junior Seau. Then, expect to see Sproles as a change of pace back used to pick up big yards, using his break away speed. Sproles is becoming a Maurice Jones-Drew type, without the hype, or expectations. Look for him to be the x-factor in San Diego's game.
I think whoever starts at quarterback won't really be counted on to make huge play, with the exception of a few 3rd and 4s to keep a drive alive. Last week we saw that both Rivers and Volek were capable of doing that.