Tag Archives: Freddy Garcia

Season Preview: AL Central


With Spring Training well under way and the first games already in the books, I figured it was a good time to take a look at my own predictions for the league, and the changes the respective teams have made. Today’s group is the American League Central.

Last Year’s Records
Minnesota – 94-68
Chicago - 88-74
Detroit – 81-81
Cleveland – 69-93
Kansas City – 67-95

Notable Additions

Chicago - Adam Dunn, Lastings Milledge

Cleveland – Orlando Cabrera

Detroit – Victor Martinez, Brad Penny, Joaquin Benoit

Kansas City – Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeff Francoeur, Melky Cabrera, Vin Mazzaro

Minnesota – Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Notable Losses

Chicago – Andruw Jones, Manny Ramirez, Freddy Garcia, J.J. Putz, Bobby Jenks, Scott Linebrink

Cleveland – NONE

Detroit – Johnny Damon, Jeremy Bonderman, Gerald Laird, Armando Galarraga

Kansas City – Zack Greinke, David DeJesus, Brian Bannister, Gil Meche

Minnesota – J.J. Hardy, Orlando Hudson, Brendan Harris, Jon Rauch, Brian Fuentes

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Season Preview: AL East


With Spring Training well under way and the first games starting very soon, I figured it was a good time to take a look at my own predictions for the league, and the changes the respective teams have made.

Last Year’s Records
Tampa Bay – 96-66
New York – 95-67
Boston – 89-73
Toronto – 85-77
Baltimore – 66-96

Notable Additions

Baltimore – Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds, Vladimir Guerrero, J.J. Hardy, Justin Duchscherer

Boston – Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Bobby Jenks, Dan Wheeler

New York – Russell Martin, Rafael Soriano, Pedro Feliciano, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Eric Chavez

Tampa Bay – Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos, Felipe Lopez, Sam Fuld, Chris Archer

Toronto – Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Juan Rivera, Scott Podsednik, Brett Lawrie, Rajai Davis

Notable Losses

Baltimore – Kevin Millwood, Julio Lugo, Ty Wigginton, David Hernandez, Kam Mickolio

Boston – Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, Anthony Rizzo, Casey Kelly, Bill Hall

New York – Javier Vazquez, Andy Pettitte, Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood

Tampa Bay – Carl Crawford, Matt Garza, Rafael Soriano, Carlos Pena, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit

Toronto – Vernon Wells, Shaun Marcum, John Buck, Miguel Olivo, Scott Downs

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Original Draft Series – Team #16 – Houston Astros


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #15: Houston Astros

General Managers(since 1994)

Bob Watson (1994-1995): 142-117
Gerry Hunsicker (1996-2004): 793-665
Tim Purpura (2005-2007): 244-242
Ed Wade (2008-Current): 233-252

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th or 6th
0 1 6 4 8 1 3 1

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C John Buck 1998 – 7th Rd 6 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to KC – 6/24/04
1B Lance Berkman 1997 – 1st Rd (16) 13 5 All Star Appearances
1569 gm, .297/.409/.549, 320 HR, 1073 RBI, 994 R
Currently with Org.
2B Julio Lugo 1994 – 43rd Rd 9 366 gm, .268/.332/.391, 28 HR, 114 RBI, 45 SB, 222 R Released – 5/9/03
3B Melvin Mora Int’l FA – 1991 6 No Major League Appearances with Org. Free Agency – 10/17/97
SS Tommy Manzella 2005 – 3rd Rd 5 66 gm, .211/.257/.253, HR, 16 RBI, 13 R Currently with Org.
LF Bobby Abreu Int’l FA – 1990 7 74 gm, .248/.325/.362, 3 HR, 27 RBI, 7 SB, 23 R Expansion Draft – TAM – 11/18/97
CF Hunter Pence 2004 – 2nd Rd 6 1 All Star Appearances
497 gm, .286/.336/.482, 78 HR, 261 RBI, 45 SB, 256 R
Currently with Org.
RF Ben Zobrist 2004 – 6th Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to TAM – 7/12/06
SP Roy Oswalt 1996 – 23rd Rd 14 3 All Star Appearances
142-80 3.25 ERA,  1570 K, 441 BB, 1907.1 IP, 1.199 WHIP
Currently with Org.
SP Johan Santana Int’l FA – 1995 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Rule 5 Draftee – MIN – 12/13/99
SP Wandy Rodriguez Int’l FA – 1999 11 55-62, 4.45 ERA, 715 K, 320 BB, 871.1 IP, 1.394 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Freddy Garcia Int’l FA – 1993 5 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to SEA – 7/31/98
SP Mitch Talbot 2002 – 2nd Rd 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to TAM – 7/12/06
RP Matt Albers 2001 – 23rd Rd 6 4-13, 5.87 ERA, 82 K, 57 BB, 125.2 IP, 1.599 WHIP Traded to BAL – 12/12/07
RP Fernando Nieve Int’l FA – 1999 10 3-4, 4.63 ERA, 82 K, 43 BB, 107 IP, 1.374 WHIP Selected by NYM – 3/14/09
RP Felipe Paulino Int’l FA – 2001 9 6-20, 5.55 ERA, 180 K, 87 BB, 202.2 IP, 1.589 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Chris Sampson 1999 – 8th Rd 11 19-15, 4.41 ERA, 172 K, 87 BB, 350.2 IP, 1.332 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Brad Lidge 1998 – 1st Rd (17) 9 2 All Star Appearances
23-20, 123 SV, 3.30 ERA, 561 K, 170 BB, 401 IP, 1.197 WHIP
Traded to PHI – 11/7/07
CL Billy Wagner 1993 – 1st Rd (12) 10 3 All Star Appearances
26-29, 225 SV, 2.53 ERA, 694 K, 191 BB, 504.1 IP, 1.039 WHIP
Traded to PHI – 11/3/03
BN J.R. Towles (C)
2004 – 20th Rd 6 101 gm, .189/.273/.327, 8 HR, 39 RBI, 29 R Currently with Org.
BN Bud Norris (P)
2006 – 6th Rd 4 8-8, 5.61 ERA, 114 K, 52 BB, 104.1 IP, 1.639 WHIP Currently with Org.
BN Jason Castro (C)
2008 – 1st Rd (10) 2 6 gm, .250/.348/.400, HR, RBI, 5 R Currently with Org.
BN Chris Johnson (3B)
2006 – 4th Rd 4 25 gm, .217/.239/.275, 7 RBI, SB, 7 R Currently with Org.
BN Juan Gutierrez (P)
Int’l FA – 2000 7 1-1, 5.91 ERA, 16 K, 6 BB, 21.1 IP, 1.453 WHIP Traded to ARI – 12/14/07
BN Chad Qualls (P)
2000 – 2nd Rd 7 23-12, 6 SV, 3.39 ERA, 218 K, 84 BB, 284 IP, 1.236 WHIP Traded to ARI – 12/14/07

June Amateur Draft

The Astros really to me look like they have had some pretty decent draft picks. Unfortunately, there really haven’t been a lot of impact players in recent years, with Lance Berkman and Brad Lidge really being the last two impact players to come out of the system. They have done well with players like Hunter Pence, and the system will be drawing players like Jordan Lyles, Jiovanni Mier, and Ross Seaton all waiting to make an impact in the lower levels of the system. They recently promoted both Jason Castro and Chris Johnson to the Majors, so it remains to be seen whether they can adapt to being Major League starters.

International Free Agency

The Astros have done pretty well in the international free agent markets, with Wandy Rodriguez and Julio Lugo being the players who made the biggest impact for the Astros themselves. They’ve also had quite a few players go through the system who have turned into excellent players, but were either allowed to leave or traded before they could make a significant impact for the Astros. These include multiple Cy Young award winner Johan Santana, All-Stars Bobby Abreu, Ben Zobrist, and Freddy Garcia.

Overall Grade

I give the Astros a C+. The players that they have developed on their own have been excellent, but the short-sighted trades that they have made to acquire pieces for playoff runs have left the team with a completely depleted farm system, with very little currently in the system besides the players I mentioned. Hopefully the Astros will be able to continue to find some quality players going forward.

Trade Retrospective: Randy Johnson


Finishing up the review of last week’s trade retrospective about the 1989 trade of Mark Langston to the Expos, I’ll be discussing the 1998 trade of Randy Johnson from the Mariners to the Astros. Johnson was traded on July 31, 1998 to the Houston Astros for P Freddy Garcia and John Halama, and IF Carlos Guillen.

The Background

On July 31st, the Mariners were mired in another slump, 11 games under .500 and 10 games out in a poor division. Randy Johnson had made his last start as a Mariner on the 28th, pitching a complete game loss where he struck out 12 batters and only allowed 4 runs. Unfortunately for him, the Mariners only gave him 3 runs, in spite of having a lineup that included 4 hitters with OPS over .900 on that day (Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, David Segui). Johnson was a free agent at the end of the season, and was widely expected to be moved.

The Astros were in a much better place. As they entered play on July 31st, they had a 64-44 record, and were 3.5 games ahead in the NL Central. They had a brutally good lineup, with 5 players having OPS above .850 at this point in the season (Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Carl Everett, Derek Bell, Moises Alou). Their starting rotation was fairly solid, with Mike Hampton leading the way.

The Moving Pieces

Johnson slotted in for his normal turn in the rotation, bumping the modestly effective Pete Schourek to the bullpen for the remainder of the season.

Freddy Garcia was sent to AAA Tacoma where he was slotted into the starting rotation.

Carlos Guillen was also sent to AAA Tacoma, where he was the starting 2B for the remainder of their season. He also was called up for a cup of coffee in September of 1998.

John Halama was actually traded as a player to be named later, and not until October 1st. He finished the regular season with the Astros with their AAA affiliate in New Orleans, after having started the season in the rotation for the Astros.

What Happened Next

Randy Johnson really appreciated his move to the National League, and received consideration for the Cy Young award in spite of only pitching 2 months in the National League. He posted a 10-1 record, a 1.28 ERA, and 116 strikeouts in only 84 innings (11 starts), helping lead the Astros to clinch their division. In the postseason, he matched up against the Padres’ Kevin Brown in Game 1, and lost in spite of striking out 16 batters over 8 innings. He started game 4 also, and had another solid outing (6 IP, 8 K, ER), but still took the loss. Unfortunately, the Astros’ postseason ended here, as they lost the series 3-1 to the Padres.

The Net Moves

Astros – First Level

  • Randy Johnson was everything that the Astros hoped for, going 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA and 116 strikeouts in only 84 innings. After their defeat in the playoffs, Johnson filed for free agency, and eventually signed a contract with the Diamondbacks.
  • The Astros received two compensation draft picks for losing Johnson, which they used to draft minor leaguers Mike Rosamond and James Perez. Neither of these players ever made it to the Major Leagues, and both were out of the Astros system by 2003.

Mariners – First Level

  • Freddy Garcia spent from 1999-2004 with the Mariners, going 76-50 with a 3.89 ERA, 1.299 WHIP and 819 strikeouts in 1096 1/3 IP. He was dealt to the White Sox in 2004 along with C Ben Davis for IF Mike Morse, C Miguel Olivo, and OF Jeremy Reed. I discussed some of the effects of this trade as a part of my retrospective about Ken Griffey Jr.
  • Carlos Guillen was with the Mariners from 1999-2003, slotting in as their starting shortstop for a majority of the time. In 488 games, he hit a respectable .264/.335/.383 while playing solid defense. On 1/8/2004, he was traded to the Tigers for minor leaguer Juan Gonzalez (not the former MVP), and IF Ramon Santiago.
  • John Halama spent the 1999-2002 season with the Mariners. He posted a 41-31 record wit ha 4.46 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in 130 games (85 starts). He became a free agent after the 2002 season, and no compensation was received for him.

Mariners – Second Level

  • Ramon Santiago was a backup with the Mariners for the 2004 and 2005 seasons, playing in only 27 games and posting a .170/.291/.191 line. He was released on 11/18/2005.

Overall Reactions

This to me is one of those trades that worked out pretty well for both teams. The Astros knew that they were likely just renting Randy Johnson for a stretch run, and he pitched beyond their wildest expectations. It would have been interesting to see if they could have gotten further in the playoffs, as Johnson showed in 2001 that he can carry a team on his back in a postseason. The Mariners I thought did pretty well, as they got a top-tier starting pitcher in Freddy Garcia, and a solid if not amazing shortstop in Carlos Guillen.

Next week’s trade retrospective will be about the trade that brought 2-time MVP Juan Gonzalez to the Motor City.

Trade Retrospective: Ken Griffey Jr


I always find it extremely interesting to see how trades worked out for the teams involved, and what effects the trade had on both teams’ fortunes. I’ll be doing one of these each week, as there have been so many blockbuster trades that happened in recent years.

One of the first blockbuster trades of the 2000s was the requested, and achieved trade of Ken Griffey Jr to the Reds for OF Mike Cameron, SP Brett Tomko, IF Antonio Perez, and P Jake Meyer.

The Background

Griffey requested a trade to Cincinnati so that he could be closer to his home and his family. Griffey had posted 3 consecutive seasons of 45+ home runs and 134+ RBI, and was going to be 30 years old in 2000. Griffey was going to be a free agent after the 2000 season, and the Mariners must have known that they were unlikely to keep Griffey.

The Mariners were coming off of a 79-83 season where they finished in 3rd place, and also knew that young SS Alex Rodriguez would also be a free agent after the 2000 season. The team would most likely have to begin a rebuilding effort based on the rest of the competition in the division, and moving Griffey would help to move that forward.

The Reds had finished 1999 with a 96-67 record, losing a play-in game against the Mets for the Wild Card playoff spot. I imagine that they had to feel that bringing the elite Ken Griffey Jr in would be enough to help put them over the top in their division.

The Moving Pieces

Griffey went to Cincinnati, and almost immediately signed a 9 year, $112.5 million contract extension. The Reds slotted him in to play CF, and were hopeful that he would help to bring them closer to a championship. With 398 career homeruns, it was widely expected that he would be able to compete for the all-time home run record in Cincinnati, and reach that number before the end of the contract.

Mike Cameron was slotted in by the Mariners to replace Griffey in center field. Cameron had been the starting center fielder in Cincinnati, and posted a .256 batting average with 21 HR, 66 RBI and 38 SB. While he wasn’t going to be Griffey in the outfield, he still had the potential to be a very solid center fielder and was also under team control for 4 more seasons.

Brett Tomko was 26 and coming off of a 5-7 season record with 132 strikeouts in 172 innings (33 appearances).

Jake Meyer was a 24 year old minor leaguer who had finished the season with the Reds’ AA team. He had posted a 3.57 ERA with 16 saves between A and AA.

Antonio Perez had been an international signing by the Reds, and was a 19 year old shortstop who had dominated the Midwest League with a .288 batting average, 7 home runs, and 35 stolen bases.

What Happened Next

Ken Griffey had another excellent season, although slightly below his previous levels. He hit .271/.387/.556 with 40 HR, 118 RBI, and 100 runs scored. Unfortunately, this didn’t lead to the improvement that they had hoped, and the Reds finished 85-77, 10 games back in the division and out of the playoffs.

The Mariners, almost surprisingly, went in the opposite direction, finishing 91-71 and winning the AL Wild Card. Mike Cameron hit 19 HR and stole 24 bases while playing a solid center field.

The Net Moves

Cincinnati – First Level

  • Cincinnati had Griffey for the 9 seasons of the contract, but it didn’t quite play out the way they had hoped. Griffey spent large portions of the 2001-2007 seasons on the disabled list, and the contract hamstrung the team. The performance surrounding Griffey was poor also, as they never won more than 80 games while Griffey was with the team.
  • At the end of his stint with the Reds, Griffey had hit 210 home runs, but had only averaged 105 games per season there.
  • In 2008, he was traded to the White Sox in the hope that he could compete for a championship. The Reds acquired P Nick Masset and IF Danny Richar for him.

Cincinnati – Second Level

  • Richar spent the remainder of the 2008 and 2009 seasons with the Reds, appearing in only 23 games total. He was not brought back for 2010.
  • Masset has spent both the remainder of 2008 and all of 2009 with the Reds. He has posted a 6-1 record with a 2.74 ERA in 95 innings over the two seasons, and remains in the bullpen for the Reds in 2010.

Seattle – First Level

  • Mike Cameron spent the 2000-2003 seasons with the Mariners, averaging 152 games a season, hitting 87 home runs, stealing 106 bases, and posting a .256 batting average. He left via free agency, and no compensation was received.
  • Brett Tomko spent the 2000 and 2001 seasons with the Mariners, posting a 10-6 record overall in 43 appearances (12 starts) and a 4.82 ERA. He was traded in the 2001 offseason, along with C Tom Lampkin and IF Ramon Vazquez to the Padres for C Ben Davis, IF Alex Arias, and P Wascar Serrano.
  • Antonio Perez never played in the Majors for the Mariners, and was traded to the Devil Rays in part of the compensation that the  Mariners received for signing manager Lou Piniella. The Mariners received OF Randy Winn as well.
  • Jake Meyer never made it to the Majors, not with the Mariners or with anyone else. He was traded to the White Sox in 2002 as a part of a trade involving another minor leaguer.

Seattle – Second Level

  • C Ben Davis was included in the trade of SP Freddy Garcia to the White Sox. This trade netted the Mariners C Miguel Olivo, IF Mike Morse, and OF Jeremy Reed. Reed, it was thought, would be able to play CF for the Mariners and help to bring some offense to the lineup as well.
  • P Wascar Serrano and IF Alex Arias had essentially no impact on the Mariners, as neither played in a game for the team. Arias was released, and Serrano did not pitch.
  • OF Randy Winn played for the Mariners for the 2003-2005 seasons, being traded to the Giants at the trading deadline for P Jesse Foppert and C Yorvit Torrealba. Foppert played in AAA for the Mariners, never pitching in the Majors before being released. Torrealba spent the remainder of the 2005 season with the Mariners before being traded to the Rockies for a minor leaguer.

Seattle – Third Level

  • Miguel Olivo was traded to San Diego for a pair of minor leaguers (Nathaniel Mateo and Miguel Ojeda), neither of whom pitched in the Majors.
  • Mike Morse was traded in 2009 to Washington for OF Ryan Langerhans, who played in 38 games for the Mariners, and is currently on the Major League roster.
  • Jeremy Reed never really fulfilled the potential he was thought to possess, playing sporadically from 2004-2008 and posting a .255 batting average with 11 HR and 19 SB over the 4 seasons. He was traded after the 2008 season as a part of the 3 team trade with the Mets and the Indians. The Mariners sent RP J.J. Putz and Sean Green to the Mets, and IF Luis Valbuena to the Indians, and received back from Cleveland OF Franklin Gutierrez, and from New York received IF Mike Carp, OF Endy Chavez, RP Aaron Heilman and Jason Vargas, and prospects Maikel Cleto and Ezequiel Carrera.
  • Gutierrez is a fixture in the Mariners outfield, and widely considered to be the top defensive center fielder in all of baseball right now.
  • P Aaron Heilman was traded to the Chicago Cubs for SS Ronny Cedeno and P Garrett Olson without throwing a pitch for the team.
  • During midseason 2009, the Mariners moved SS Ronny Cedeno as a part of the trade that brought SS Jack Wilson and SP Ian Snell to Seattle.

Overall Reactions

This is a trade that overall, I thought would be really good for the Reds at the time. Griffey had shown himself to be an elite outfielder, and well on his way to being the greatest player of all time. Injuries derailed that thought, and the Reds spent a lot of money and unfortunately did not get nearly the production and wins that they had hoped for.

For the Mariners, this trade has eventually worked itself out to some extent. Frankin Gutierrez, Ian Snell, and Jack Wilson are all major players on the current Mariners roster, and the team was able to make the playoffs in 2000 and 2001 with the contributions of the players acquired.

I think that overall, this is one of those trades that had the potential to be really a good one for both teams, and in the end they both got lackluster results overall.