Tag Archives: New York Mets

Season Preview: NL East


Onto the National League, starting with the East division. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East, AL Central and AL West.

Last Year’s Records
Philadelphia – 97-65
Atlanta – 91-71
Florida – 80-82
New York – 79-83
Washington – 69-93

Notable Additions

Atlanta – Dan Uggla

Florida – Omar Infante, Mike Dunn, Javier Vazquez, John Buck

New York – Brad Emaus, Ronny Paulino

Philadelphia – Cliff Lee

Washington – Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche, Tom Gorzelanny

Notable Losses

Atlanta – Omar Infante, Mike Dunn, Derrek Lee, Melky Cabrera, Takashi Saito

Florida – Dan Uggla, Cameron Maybin, Ronny Paulino

New York – John Maine, Hisanori Takahashi, Pedro Feliciano

Philadelphia – Jayson Werth

Washington – Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn

My Thoughts

Atlanta – This is a playoff team from last year that has upgraded itself at 2B (Uggla), and will look for growth from Jason Heyward in his second season. The team will plug in Freddie Freeman to start at 1B, and hope that he can have even a partially similar season to Heyward’s rookie year. The pitching remains solid, behind Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson, and Jair Jurrjens. The biggest role that seems to be up in the air coming into Spring Training is the closer, with Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters competing for the job.

Florida – As they prepare to move into their new stadium in 2012, this is a young team who should continue to be exciting for the next few seasons. It appears that 3B Matt Dominguez is likely to be the starter this year, despite not playing a single day in the Majors yet. However, the loss of Dan Uggla‘s bat in their lineup could cause a major hole in terms of power and run production. They’re also hoping that Javier Vazquez will rebound with a return to the NL East, and also provide some more veteran leadership with Josh Johnson in the starting rotation. I’m not sold that they stand a great chance of winning the division, but they could surprise some people in a tough division.

New York – With new GM Sandy Alderson on board, 2011 is going to be a partial rebuilding season. They did not make any substantial changes to their roster, and will look to get bounceback seasons from players like Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes instead. Ace Johan Santana is expected to be out until midseason, and the team is going to be looking for nice performances from Chris Young and Chris Capuano.

Philadelphia – The Phillies went out and made what was probably the biggest surprise move of the offseason, inking Cliff Lee to a 5 year, $120 million contract. With their four aces in the starting rotation, they definitely look like the team to beat in the NL East. However, the injuries are already starting to pile up, as Chase Utley has yet to play in Spring Training, and potential right fielder Domonic Brown will miss 3-6 weeks after having hand surgery. If this team can stay healthy, I don’t think there’s a team in the NL that can compete with them. But that is a gigantic if.

Washington – The Nationals made one of the biggest splashes in the free agent market, and it was completely unexpected. Jayson Werth signed a 7 year contract with the team, and will play right field for the first few years of the contract. The team is still not ready to compete, but they will look for continued growth from Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa. Jordan Zimmermann will also look to have an injury free campaign, and while they will miss Stephen Strasburg this season, he should be back in 2012 from his injuries.

Overall Thoughts

The NL East really comes down to the two teams at the top of the pile. The Braves and Phillies really seem like they will be the only teams that are likely to win the division or the Wild Card. The Mets and Nationals just simply aren’t ready, and I don’t believe that the Marlins are ready to compete quite yet either.  Here’s my predicted order of finish:

1. Philadelphia
2. Atlanta
3. Florida
4. Washington
5. New York

Who Are the Faces of the Franchise? NL East Edition


Time to start looking at the Senior Circuit, beginning with the 5 teams in the East…

  • Braves – This one has to be Chipper Jones as of right now. He’s easily the longest tenured Brave, has been with the team his entire career, and has been an excellent player throughout. I could see this role going to either Brian McCann or Jason Heyward when Chipper finally decides to hang them up.
  • Marlins – For better or worse, it’s definitely Hanley Ramirez for the Marlins. The largest contract in the history of the team was given to Hanley, and was well deserved based on his performance. The only thing I can remember even remotely being negative around him was when his previous manager called him out for a lack of hustle.
  • Mets – David Wright and Jose Reyes really stand out to me for the Mets. I’d be more inclined to give the nod to Wright since he has not been injured nearly as often as Reyes in recent years, and it could continue that way with Reyes potentially being a free agent after this season.
  • Phillies – This one’s actually a lot more difficult than I would have thought it would be. There are so many big name players on the Phillies now that picking one by themselves is very difficult. Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Roy Halladay could all vie for this role, but I think for now it has to be Ryan Howard. The former MVP seems to be out front for the organization more than any other player, including Halladay.
  • Nationals – Last year, I would have said it had to be Stephen Strasburg. But with his injury, and the gigantic contract given to Jayson Werth, Werth has to be the de facto face of the franchise. It remains to be seen whether or not he can live up to the expectations that come with a contract that size, but for now it’s definitely on him to try.

Prospect Review – Wilmer Flores


Time for our first review of an international signee, with the Mets’ shortstop prospect Wilmer Flores.

The Basics
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: International Free Agent Signee by the New York Mets (2007)
Age as of 4/1/11: 19

Scouting Reports and Statistics
The Baseball Cube

Tm            Lg Lev  G  R HR RBI SB BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG
Savannah    SALL   A 66 30  7  44  2 23 37 .278 .342 .433
St. Lucie   FLOR  A+ 67 32  4  40  2  9 40 .300 .324 .415

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/17/2011.
Prospect Ranks

Hardball Times: #1 (NYM – 2011)
Deep Leagues: #90 (Overall – 2011), #10 (Shortstop – 2011)
Bullpen Banter: #2 (Shortstop – 12/2010)
Baseball America: #2 (NYM – 2011), #10 (Florida State League – 2010)
John Sickels: #1 (NYM – 2011), B+ 
Baseball Prospectus: #3 (NYM – 2011), 3 Star
Fangraphs: #1 (NYM – 2011)
Scouting Book: #10 (Shortstop – 2011), #92 (Overall – 2011)
Top Prospect Alert: #2 (NYM – 2011)

Analysis

Wilmer Flores spent the first half of 2010 repeating Low-A, which actually allowed me to see him a couple of times while I was in Savannah. While in Savannah, Flores hit well, with 18 doubles, 7 home runs, and a .278/.342/.433 line despite being in the offensive drag that is the Sally League. He did this while also being young for the league, just 18 years old through his time there. His plate discipline was solid there, drawing 23 walks to 37 strikeouts.

Continue reading

Season Preview in Review: National League East


Back during Spring Training, I took a look at each team and made predictions about how each team would do and how I thought their season would go. This was the first year doing this, and I figured now was a good time to take a look back and see how it went. I previously looked at each of the divisions in the American League, and I move now to the NL East.

Atlanta Braves

Predicted Record: 83-79            Actual Record: 91-71

At the start of the season, I just didn’t see where the Braves were going to find enough of anything to perform this well. But they got enough out of people like Troy Glaus, Martin Prado, and Jason Heyward to help carry them to the NL Wild Card. I had really hoped that the Braves would have a long postseason run to send off retiring manager Bobby Cox, but the Giants took care of them pretty quickly.

Continue reading

Trade Retrospective: Marlins Firesale Edition Part 3


For the final month of the season, I’ll be posting a slightly different set of trade retrospectives. In 1997, the Marlins, under owner Wayne Huizenga, won the whole thing, taking the World Series in 7 games in a walk-off victory over the Cleveland Indians. The team had assembled quite a collection of talented players, with Edgar Renteria, Bobby Bonilla, Moises Alou and Gary Sheffield anchoring the lineup and Kevin Brown, Al Leiter, Livan Hernandez, and Robb Nen anchoring the pitching staff. However, the team was for sale, and had been prior to the championship. From Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun, on the morning after the victory:

The Marlins are in danger of being dismantled. Owner H. Wayne Huizenga put the club up for sale last summer and — even though the Marlins reached the World Series — figures to decrease the payroll this winter.

Well, it didn’t take all that long, and the pieces started falling pretty quickly. These posts will not be just surrounding 1 trade, but rather the whole of the work related to this firesale. You can find Part 1 of the series here, Part 2 here, and this part covers the trades made through the start of the season.

The Trades

February 6, 1998 – The Marlins acquire Robert Stratton, A.J. Burnett, and Jesus Sanchez from the Mets for P Al Leiter and 2B Ralph Millard.

The Moving Pieces

In New York, Al Leiter was slotted into the starting rotation, and Ralph Milliard was slotted in as the starting 2B for their AAA team.

In Florida, A.J. Burnett was sent to the Midwest League to work in the starting rotation. Jesus Sanchez was slotted into the starting rotation for the Major League team.

What Happened Next

In New York, Al Leiter went 17-6 with a 2.47 ERA in 193 innings pitched for the Mets. Ralph Milliard received a late-season call up for the Mets, and appeared in 10 games but only got 1 at bat in 1998.

In Florida, Burnett went 10-4 with a 1.97 ERA and 186 strikeouts in 119 innings pitched. Sanchez went 7-9 with a 4.47 ERA in 173 innings for the Marlins.

The Net Moves

NY Mets – First Level

  • Al Leiter spent 7 seasons in Flushing, posting a 95-67 record with a 3.42 ERA. He threw 1360 innings total, striking out 1106 batters and helping lead the Mets to two playoff appearances in his time there. He left via free agency after the 2004 season.
  • Ralph Milliard only played in 1998 in the Majors for the Mets, and was out of the organization in 1999.

Florida – First Level

  • Jesus Sanchez spent 4 seasons in Florida, mostly in the starting rotation. He posted a 23-34 record with a 5.06 ERA and 368 strikeouts in 494 innings pitched. He was traded on December 11, 2001 to the Cubs for Nate Teut.
  • A.J. Burnett spent 7 seasons in Florida entirely in the starting rotation. He posted a 49-50 record with a 3.73 ERA and 753 strikeouts in 853 2/3 innings pitched. He left via free agency on October 27, 2005, and signed with the Blue Jays. The Marlins received 2 compensation draft picks for this, which they used to draft Chris Coghlan and Torre Langley.
  • I honestly can’t find any information about Robert Stratton, as the Baseball Reference page links to a player who played in the early 1970s.

Florida – Second Level

  • Nate Teut only made 2 major league appearances with the Marlins (or any team for that matter). He was released by the Marlins on 4/15/03.
  • Torre Langley is currently in the minor leagues with the Phillies, after spending the previous 3 seasons in the Marlins minor league system.
  • Chris Coghlan has appeared in 219 games so far for the Marlins, hitting. 299/.367/.428 with 14 homeruns, 75 runs batted in, and 18 stolen bases. He also won the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year award.

Overall Reactions

The clear piece of most value to the Marlins was A.J. Burnett, which is still a lot more of a return than the players that they got in return for a lot of their other stars. Leiter became one of the more famous players for the Mets, and ended up being known for representing the Mets. Burnett gave them 7 seasons with a lot of inconsistency, but a lot of upside as well, and the draft picks he netted the team when he left definitely helped to bring in current talent in Chris Coghlan. This is one of the few trades that went well for the Marlins overall.

The last post in this series will be up next Saturday, and will cover the trades made through the 1998 season and part of the 1998-1999 off season.

Week in Review – August 16 to August 22


If the Playoffs Started Today

Tampa Bay Rays (76-48) vs. Texas Rangers (69-54)
Minnesota Twins (71-52) vs. New York Yankees (77-47)

Philadelphia Phillies (70-53) vs. San Diego Padres (74-49)
Cincinnati Reds (72-52) vs. Atlanta Braves (73-51)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Josh Hamilton (TEX) .357
Runs – Mark Teixeira (NYY) 92
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) 38
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) 102
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) 49

Wins – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL), C.C. Sabathia (NYY), and Adam Wainwright (STL) 17
Saves – Rafael Soriano (TAM) and Heath Bell (SD) 37
ERA – Adam Wainwright (STL) 2.06
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) 188
WHIP – Adam Wainwright (STL), Cliff Lee (TEX), and Mat Latos (SD) 0.98

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Eric Patterson, Nelson Cruz, Jason Berken, Gabe Kapler, David Purcey, Dustin Pedroia, Carlos Guillen, Brian Bannister, Troy Glaus, Chris Ray, Sean West, Lance Berkman, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Josh Willingham, Tony Gwynn, Matt Lindstrom, Jeff Keppinger, Vicente Padilla, Nick Punto, Kevin Slowey, Maicer Izturis, Alex Rodriguez,

Return from the Disabled List:  Carlos Pena, Joaquin Arias, Martin Prado, Dustin Pedroia, Chase Utley, Juan Gutierrez, Nyjer Morgan, Tommy Manzella, Rod Barajas, John Buck, Andrew Bailey, Jeff Weaver, Ryan Howard, Manny Ramirez

To the Minors: Chris Carter, Jose Morales, Tyler Greene, Brandon Hicks, Greg Dobbs, J. P. Arencibia, Fernando Martinez, Taylor Tankersley, Nick Stavinoha, Everth Cabrera, Jeremy Hellickson,

Called Up: Travis Buck, Rich VandenHurk, Ryota Igarashi, Daniel Nava, Bryan Anderson, Jhoulys Chacin, Will RhymesAlex Sanabia, Travis Wood, Ryan Webb, Sam Fuld, Andrew Miller, Jeff Larish, Jordan Walden

Other Roster Moves:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • Francisco Rodriguez will miss the rest of the season after injuring his thumb in the incident involving his girlfriend’s father. He had surgery on the thumb earlier in the week, and should be ready for 2011. But it remains to be seen where that could happen, as the Mets placed him on the disqualified list, and will try to avoid paying him the remainder of his salary for this season. There was talk of trying to void his contract for 2011, but that seems pretty unlikely to happen in my opinion.
  • In a rather unusual turn of events, Diamondbacks 1st round draft pick Barret Loux was granted free agency, rather than being placed back into the draft eligible pool for following seasons. This occurred it appears because of the fact that the player was ready to sign, but failed his physical exam. Throw in that he would no longer be eligible to play in college because of his contact with an agent for these proceedings, and it actually looks like MLB made a very good decision here. The kid probably won’t get the same kind of money he would have had he passed his physical, but he should still get a chance to start his career in short order.
  • White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen had a bit of a meltdown on Wednesday in front of the media. You can google it to find the video, but it was pretty much standard fare coming from Ozzie. Always a good show with Ozzie.
  • Ronny Paulino was suspended on Friday for 50 games after testing positive for a banned substance. According to him, the substance in question was a diet pill he had taken during the offseason. Tough break for him, as he’s probably cost himself money on next year’s salary as well as the money for this year.
  • Derrek Lee was finally traded on Thursday, going to the Braves in exchange for 3 prospects. Clearly, going to Atlanta has a much higher potential to be in the playoffs than the Angels did, and I was actually surprised that the Cubs got back 3 players in return for him.
  • The amateur signing deadline came and went, and nearly all of the top picks ended up signed. You can read my thoughts on ways to fix the draft here.
  • The biggest story of the week has to be the indictment of Roger Clemens on charges that he lied to Congress when he testified before them back in 2008. Not sure where I stand on this one yet, but it will be interesting to see how it all turns out.
  • It was known that this would be Lou Piniella’s last season as a manager, but we found out on Sunday that the game against the Braves would be his last, as he has a situation involving his mother’s care which requires his attention more than managing does. I think that this might have gone a little differently had the Cubs been in the race, but this is clearly the right move for Piniella personally. Kudos to him for a great managerial career, and hopefully the Cubs will bring him back before the end of the season to have a planned out going away/retirement day for him at Wrigley Field.
  • Vin Scully announced that he had signed a contract for the 2011 season, and will broadcast for the Dodgers again. To me, there’s no one better to listen to that Scully, and next season will be his 62nd behind the mike for the Dodgers. Just one of the greats of all time.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday and Wednesday: I’ll be continuing on with the Original Draft Series, posting teams #9 and 8.

Friday:  Trade Retrospective of Josh Beckett to the Red Sox. This one really interests me because the players involved had such an impact on both their team’s futures.

One Other Thing

Lastly, I wanted to bring up a charity that the Baseball Bloggers Alliance has taken up. Here’s the official word, and what you can do:

Pitch In For Baseball is delighted to have been selected to participate in State Farm’s ‘Go To Bat’ campaign.  Now we need your
help!

‘Go To Bat’ was launched nationally during the State Farm Home Run Derby.  ’Go To Bat’ gives entrants a chance to win tickets to the upcoming World Series and selected charity partners the chance to receive significant financial support.

Here’s how to play and how to help Pitch In For Baseball:

* Go to  www.statefarm.com/gotobat to register for your chance to win World Series tickets.
* As you register, you will get a chance to designate a charity that could win up to $25,000/week.
* To designate Pitch In For Baseball as your charity, select PUBLIC GOOD as the charity category and then choose Pitch In For
Baseball from the drop down list.
* Revisit www.statefarm.com/gotobat each day and play the ‘Go To Bat’ online game to increase your chances for tickets and Pitch In For
Baseball’s chance at financial support

Thanks to all the readers who help out with this. You can find a lot more information about Pitch In For Baseball at their website

Trade Retrospective – Johan Santana to the Mets


On February 2nd, 2008, the Minnesota Twins finally decided on an offer for Cy Young winner Johan Santana, and sent the ace to the New York Mets for OF Carlos Gomez and pitchers Deolis Guerra, Philip Humber , and Kevin Mulvey.

The Background

The Twins were entering the 2008 season knowing full well that their top starting pitcher, Johan Santana, would be eligible for free agency after the season, and was extremely unlikely to sign with the team again. It was practically common knowledge by the end of the previous season that the Twins would be listening to offers for Santana, and looking back at some of them, are probably wishing that they had taken other ones instead. From an ESPN.COM article prior to the trade:

The Twins have continued to ask for Ellsbury, so the Red Sox have flipped Ellsbury back into their offer, sources say, while removing Lester, and upgraded slightly the rest of their proposed package slightly — perhaps to include right-handed pitcher Justin Masterson. Presumably, any offer with Ellsbury would not include Crisp.

As time progressed, many of the other offers began to back off from teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, and the Twins were practically left with only the Mets as an option.

The Mets were once again looking for an ace starting pitcher, as Pedro Martinez had aged quite faster than even they had anticipated. If they were to be competitive in the NL East, they would need a top-of-the-rotation starter to help lead them.

The Moving Pieces

In Minnesota, the Twins slotted Carlos Gomez into the starting CF role and gave him the tough job of having to fill the shoes of the team’s favorite player, Torii Hunter, who had signed with the Angels in the offseason. Kevin Mulvey and Philip Humber were both sent to AAA Rochester to be in their starting rotation, and Deolis Guerra was sent to the Twins’ High-A affiliate in Fort Myers.

In New York, the Mets put Johan Santana at the head of their starting rotation, and immediately signed him to a 6 year, $137.5 million contract extension.

What Happened Next

The Twins actually performed very well without their former ace, finishing with an 88-75 record and losing to the White Sox in the play-in game for the AL Central division title. Nick Blackburn started the 163rd game against the White Sox, and actually pitched extremely well, throwing 6 1/3 innings and only allowing a 7th inning homerun to Jim Thome.

The Mets were very happy with the performance of their new starting pitcher, as he went 16-7 with a 2.53 ERA. Unfortunately, the Mets fell just short of their goals for the season, as they went 89-73, finishing 3 games back of NL East winner (and eventual World Series Champ) Philadelphia Phillies, and 1 game back of the Wild Card winning Milwaukee Brewers.

The Net Moves

Twins – First Level

  • Carlos Gomez actually only spent 2 seasons with the Twins, and was a bit of a disappointment. He hit .248/.293/.352 with 10 HR, 87 RBI, and 47 SB in his time there. He was traded after the 2009 season to the Brewers for SS J.J. Hardy.
  • Philip Humber never really panned out as a prospect for the Twins. He posted a 6.10 ERA in 13 appearances with the Twins over 2 seasons, and became a free agent after the 2009 season. He signed with the Royals, and was not eligible for any compensation.
  • Kevin Mulvey did not make his major league debut until 2009 with the Twins, making just 2 appearances totalling 1 1/3 innings and 4 earned runs (ERA of 27.00). He was sent to the Diamondbacks to complete the trade which brought Jon Rauch to the Twin Cities.
  • Deolis Guerra remains with the organization, and is still very young (just 21 at this point). He has split the 2010 season between AA and AAA, but has not really had any success at either level so far, posting a 2-10 record this season with a 5.66 ERA and a 72/38 strikeout to walk rate in 111 innings.

Mets – First Level

  • Johan Santana has been a very good pitcher for the Mets, but has had his moments of lessened quality. Overall, he has posted a 37-22 record with a 2.90 ERA and 457 strikeouts in 555 2/3 innings pitched. Unfortunately, the Mets have not made the playoffs in either of the two completed seasons, and are extremely unlikely to do so this season either.

Twins – Second Level

  • J.J. Hardy has been the starting shortstop for the Twins in 2010, but has missed a lot of time due to injuries. In 62 games, he has hit 4 homeruns and driven in 21 runs while hitting .258.
  • Jon Rauch was called upon to be the closer at the start of 2010 for the Twins once it was clear that Joe Nathan would need TJ surgery. In his 1+ seasons with the Twins, Rauch has posted a 7-2 record, 21 saves, and a 2.62 ERA. Unfortunately for him, he had stretch of poor outings, which led the Twins to acquire Matt Capps at the trade deadline, and relegate Rauch to the 8th inning role.

Overall Reactions

It’s still a bit early to claim that this trade has definitely had a winner, but it looks like it’s going to be the Mets. Santana has been very good and exactly what they were hoping for, and none of the players that the Twins got in return have panned out the way that they had hoped. When you start looking at some of the other offers that were out there (Ellsbury from Boston, Hughes from the Yankees), hindsight really doesn’t look kindly upon the Twins. It still remains to be seen how this will turn out, as the Mets have to be judged on the entirety of the contract extension that they gave to Santana, as it was one of the ways that he would approve the trade to begin with.

Trade Deadline Review


Well, we are now officially one day past the non-waiver trade deadline, and there have been quite a few different trades made. It was definitely one of the more active periods in a lot of years. I wrote up the major trades as they happened, and you can read my thoughts with the links below.

Major Trades

Texas Rangers acquire SP Cliff Lee and P Mark Lowe from the Seattle Mariners for 1B Justin Smoak and 3 minor leaguers
Los Angeles Angels acquire SP Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks for SP Joe Saunders and 3 minor leaguers
Philadelphia Phillies acquire SP
Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros for SP J.A. Happ and 2 minor leaguers

Semi-Major Deals

1. New York Yankees acquire RP Kerry Wood from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later or cash
2. New York Yankees acquire 1B Lance Berkman from the Houston Astros for P Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes
3. Los Angeles Dodgers acquire SP Ted Lilly and IF Ryan Theriot from the Chicago Cubs for IF Blake DeWitt, minor league P Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit
4. St. Louis Cardinals acquire SP Jake Westbrook from the Cleveland Indians and minor leaguer Nick Greenwood from the San Diego Padres, San Diego Padres acquire OF Ryan Ludwick from the St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians acquire minor leaguer Corey Kluber from the San Diego Padres
5. Pittsburgh Pirates acquire C Chris Snyder and OF Pedro Ciriaco from the Arizona Diamondbacks for P D.J. Carrasco, IF Bobby Crosby, and OF Ryan Church
6. Chicago White Sox acquire SP Edwin Jackson from the Arizona Diamondbacks for SP Daniel Hudson and P David Holmberg
7. Minnesota Twins acquire RP Matt Capps from the Washington Nationals for C Wilson Ramos and minor league P Joe Testa
8. Texas Rangers acquire IF Jorge Cantu from the Florida Marlins for minor leaguer pitchers Evan Reed and Omar Poveda
9. Los Angeles Dodgers acquire OF Scott Podsednik from the Kansas City Royals for minor leaguers C Lucas May and P Elisaul Pimentel
10. Los Angeles Angels acquire 3B Alberto Callaspo from the Kansas City Royals for P Sean O’Sullivan and P Will Smith
11. Toronto Blue Jays acquire SS Yunel Escobar and P Jo-Jo Reyes from the Atlanta Braves for SS Alex Gonzalez and minor leaguers Tyler Pastornicky and Tim Collins
12. Los Angeles Dodgers acquire RP Octavio Dotel from the Pittsburgh Pirates for OF Andrew Lambo and P James McDonald

Minor Moves

1. Texas Rangers acquire IF Cristian Guzman from the Washington Nationals for minor leaguers Ryan Tatsuko and Tanner Roark
2. Texas Rangers acquire C Bengie Molina from the San Francisco Giants for P Chris Ray
3. Toronto Blue Jays acquire 1B Mike Jacobs from the New York Mets for a player to be named later
4. San Diego Padres acquire IF Miguel Tejada from the Baltimore Orioles for minor league P Wynn Pelzer
5. Tampa Bay Rays acquire RP Chad Qualls from the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named later
6. New York Yankees acquire OF Austin Kearns from the Cleveland Indians for ?
7. Detroit Tigers acquire IF Jhonny Peralta from the Cleveland Indians for minor league P Giovanny Soto
8. San Francisco Giants acquire P Javier Lopez from the Pittsburgh Pirates for P Joe Martinez and OF John Bowker
9. Atlanta Braves acquire IF Wilkin Ramirez from the Detroit Tigers for cash or a player to be named later
10. Florida Marlins acquire RP Will Ohman from the Baltimore Orioles for P Rick VandenHurk
11. San Francisco Giants acquire RP Ramon Ramirez from the Boston Red Sox for P Daniel Turpen
12. Atlanta Braves acquire OF Rick Ankiel and RP Kyle Farnsworth from the Kansas City Royals for P Jesse Chavez, OF Gregor Blanco, and minor league P Tim Collins
13. Boston Red Sox acquire C Jarrod Saltalamacchia from the Texas Rangers for 1B Chris McGuiness, P Ramon Mendez and a player to be named later or cash

Wow. There’s still stuff coming in as I write this, and in the last hour there have been a lot of these to get done. So who did well here and who didn’t?

Winners

The Yankees – Let’s see if we have this right. The Yankees picked up Lance Berkman to be their designated hitter. They added Kerry Wood to help solidify the back end of the bullpen behind Mariano Rivera. And they got both of them for a pair of players that are of no use to the Yankees, and even got some money in the deals? Really? They already have the best record in the Majors, and have decidedly improved their team with both acquisitions. Oh, and they added to their bench depth with Austin Kearns as well.

The Rangers – With a decent lead in the AL West, the Rangers went out and got themselves an ace starter (Lee), a solid catcher who can help them play defense at the position (Molina), a run producing right handed bat who can play two positions (Cantu), a backup infielder who will be able to spell their third baseman and shortstop, and fill in while their second baseman is on the disabled list (Guzman),  and moved a player that they had soured on for some prospects. They are the prohibitive favorite in the AL West at this point, now being 8 games ahead of the 2nd place Angels and 8.5 of the 3rd place Athletics. They plugged nearly every gap they had in their team, and will go into the pennant chase with a very good chance of being in the World Series at the end of it.

The Angels – Even though the moves may end up being more for next season, acquiring Dan Haren to give them a very good 1-2 punch in their rotation for “some magic beans” as Matthew Berry put it on the Fantasy Focus podcast was a stroke of genius. Callaspo also gives them a solid hitter to play at 3B which they had sorely been missing. While it may not be enough to catch the Rangers, they gave up very little of value to do both trades.

The Pirates – They took D.J. Carrasco, Bobby Crosby, Javier Lopez, Octavio Dotel, and Ryan Church and turned them into a major league backstop (Snyder), two solid potential major leaguers (Bowker and Martinez), and 2 higher end, albeit risky prospects (Lambo, McDonald). Someone must have put something in Neal Huntington’s coffee that helped out a lot. They did extremely well to turn a lot of random pieces that aren’t really that helpful into all that.

The Royals – Pieces that aren’t for the future: Podsednik, Ankiel, Farnsworth, Callaspo. All moved for players with varying levels of upside who can help with the rebuilding process: Lucas May, Tim Collins, Jesse Chavez, Gregor Blanco, Sean O’Sullivan, Will Smith. Not the most amazing group of players, and definitely no high-end prospects here. But the Royals have a lot of high-end prospects already, and need others to help give them some balance as well with regard to position scarcity and depth overall. Very well done today.

The Padres – They gave up a pair of pitching prospects to acquire a much needed outfield bat, and a utility player who should provide some value over the remainder of the season. Nothing too major here, and definitely nothing that mortgages the future. I like the Ludwick acquisition, as he could see an improvement with a change of scenery. I’m not 100% sold on the Tejada acquisition, but they didn’t really give up that much to get him in my opinion.

Losers

The Nationals – The trade of Matt Capps was nice, netting them a very good catching prospect in Wilson Ramos. But the way that they handled Adam Dunn leading up to the trade deadline was inexcusable. They clearly had not made up their mind as to what they wanted to do with him, and in the end they simply ran out of time. They clearly could have gotten more for him had they moved him instead of waiting for his free agency to play out, and the only reason to do that would have been to get him signed to an extension (which they didn’t do either). Not sure what happened here, but we’ll see if this was a really bad plan from the start.

The Dodgers – In a division where they are 7.5 games back of the leader and 5 games back of the wild card leader, the Dodgers decided to go for it, sending prospects Brett Wallach, Kyle Smit, Lucas May, Elisaul PimentelAndrew Lambo, and James McDonald (along with Blake DeWitt) to other teams to acquire: the remainder of this season from Octavio Dotel, Ted Lilly and Scott Podsednik, and also Ryan Theriot. I’m pretty sure that if they had offered those players to the Diamondbacks they would have been able to get Dan Haren, Kelly Johnson, and a bullpen arm. I’m also pretty convinced that they could have offered that group to the Mariners and gotten Cliff Lee, Jose Lopez and possibly David Aardsma. I’m not at all impressed with what they did here, and are only one bad week from being completely out of the race.

The Orioles – It’s a tough beat, but they were only able to move Will Ohman and Miguel Tejada, and would have been served by moving Ty Wigginton and Kevin Millwood, among others. Unfortunately, neither player has been playing well of late, and had essentially managed to knock their own values down to next to nothing.

The Twins – They needed some help in the bullpen, and really could have used another starting pitcher behind Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano. Unfortunately, they only filled one of those gaps, and at a cost that seems high even considering that the prospect that they gave up had no place to play in the Twins’ future.

Mixed Bag

The Astros – They were able to get out from under a lot of the big dollar contracts owed to Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, and got back at least a reasonable return. Brett Wallace will slot in at 1B to replace Berkman, and J.A. Happ will fill Oswalt’s slot in the rotation. But time will tell if they get anything other than salary relief for Berkman, and Happ and Wallace will have to be very good to replace the value of Oswalt in my opinion.

The Phillies – They gave up a lot more to get Oswalt than they got back in return for Cliff Lee, who would have played a similar role for the Phillies this season had he not been traded. Oswalt will need to be the piece that moves them over the top for this one to really be a winner for them.

The Diamondbacks – They acquired a pretty good young pitcher in return for Edwin Jackson (Hudson). But they practically gave away Dan Haren, a better pitcher who was not that much more expensive than Jackson. They got back a bunch of garbage essentially for their second catcher Snyder. Crosby is a free agent after the season, and Church and Carrasco are both likely candidates for a non-tender after the season. They also did not move Kelly Johnson and Adam LaRoche, both of whom had a lot of value built up despite poor performance of late. Some of the players they acquired could turn out to be good, but it remains to be seen.

The White Sox – They really could have used a bat, and it sounds like they were trying to get one by acquiring Edwin Jackson. I honestly can’t remember the last time I heard about a player being acquired with the hope of moving him to another team, only to have that other team tell them it wasn’t enough. Jackson is a nice pitcher, but is not that much better than Hudson should be.

Overall, a very exciting trade deadline, and there is still the possibility that we will see a lot more trades before the waiver deadline of August 31st.

Trade Retrospective – Frank Viola to the Mets


On July 31, 1989, the Minnesota Twins traded Frank Viola to the New York Mets for Rick Aguilera, Tim Drummond, Kevin Tapani, David West and Jack Savage.

The Background

The Twins’ pitching staff in 1988 was lead by the AL Cy

Young

winner, Frank Viola. Viola went 24-7 with a 2.64 ERA in his 6th season with the Twins. He had also been the World Series MVP in 1987 during the Twins’ world championship run. However, it appears that Viola wasn’t exactly ecstatic about how the Twins had been treating him. From the Baseball Library’s article about Viola:

Viola’s humble and enthusiastic approach to the game earned him tremendous popularity in Minnesota. However, Twins fans were greatly offended when his agent wrote a “trade-me-or-pay-me” letter to Twins management in 1989. Local hero Kent Hrbek attacked Viola in the press and third baseman Gary Gaetti chimed in with his negative feelings regarding Viola’s contract demands.

Viola signed a 3 year contract after the 1988 season, but appears to have remained unhappy with being in Minnesota.

On July 31st, the Mets were in the midst of a 7 game losing streak and were only 3 games over .500. They sat 7 games out of the NL East race, but had been right in the middle of the race prior to the losing streak. They had also lost staff ace Dwight Gooden to an injury after his July 1st start, and had struggled to replace him.

The Moving Pieces

In New York, Viola slotted into the rotation in Gooden’s spot and started two days after the trade.

In Minnesota,

  • Rick Aguilera was slotted into the rotation spot vacated by the trade of Viola.
  • Tim Drummond was sent to the Twins’ AAA affiliate in Portland, where he was used out of the bullpen.
  • Kevin Tapani had been in the Mets’ rotation, but was sent to Portland as well, where he was used in the starting rotation.
  • David West went to Minnesota, and started his stint there in the bullpen before being placed in the starting rotation in late August.
  • Jack Savage was actually a player to be named later, and was not sent to complete the trade until after the season.

What Happened Next

Viola helped an already strong pitching rotation for the Mets, but while it was strong enough to finish 2nd place, they lost out on the postseason to the Chicago Cubs. Viola finished with a 5-5 record with a 3.38 ERA in 12 starts.

In Minnesota, Aguilera went 3-5 with a 3.21 ERA in 11 starts for the big club. Drummond had a late season call up, appearing in 8 games and posting a 3.86 ERA over 16 1/3 innings pitched. Tapani also had a call up, posting a 2-2 record in 5 starts with a 3.86 ERA as well. West went 3-2 with a poor 6.41 ERA in 10 appearances (5 starts) for the Twins.

The Net Moves

Mets – First Level

  • Frank Viola made 2 All-Star appearances with the Mets in the 3 season he was there, and finished 3rd in the 1990 Cy
    Young

    award voting. He posted a 38-32 record with a 3.31 ERA and 387 strikeouts in 566 1/3 innings pitched. After the 1991 season, he left via free agency, signing with the Red Sox. The Mets received two compensation picks for losing Viola, which they used to draft Chris Roberts and Jon

    Ward

    .

Twins – First Level

  • Rick Aguilera was converted to relief after the 1989 season, and had 4 straight seasons of 30+ saves for the Twins. During the 1995 season, he was traded by the Twins to the Red Sox for minor leaguers Frankie Rodriguez and J.
    J. Johnson

    .

  • Tim Drummond was with the Twins through 1991, but only pitched in the Majors through 1990. He posted a 3-5 record with a 4.35 ERA in relief for the Twins, and it is unclear how he left the organization. He surfaced in 1992 with both the Reds and Orioles in the minor leagues, but did not pitch in the Majors again.
  • Kevin Tapani became one of the anchors of the Twins’ rotation for years, posting a 75-63 record with a 4.06 ERA in parts of 7 seasons. On 7/31/1995, he was traded to the Dodgers with reliever Mark Guthrie for Ron Coomer, Greg Hansell, Jose Parra, and Chris Latham.
  • David West was with the Twins through the 1992 season. He was not anything massively impressive overall, posting a 15-18 record with a 5.33 ERA splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen. He was traded to the Phillies on 12/5/1992 for Mike Hartley.
  • Jack Savage appeared in 17 games for the Twins in 1990, posting a 8.31 ERA. He spent the 1991 season in the minors with the Twins, but appears to have retired after that.

Mets – Second Level

  • Chris Roberts spent the entirety of his career in the minor leagues, reaching as high as AAA with both the Mets and Athletics. Unfortunately, that was his peak. Player left on the board with that pick:
    Shannon

    Stewart

  • Jon
    Ward

    did not sign with the Mets. Player left on the board with that pick: Johnny Damon.

    Twins – Second Level

    • Frankie Rodriguez went 25-32 over 4 seasons with the Twins with a 5.20 ERA. He was selected off of waivers by the Mariners on 5/26/1999, netting no compensation for the Twins.
    • J.
      J. Johnson

      was in the Twins’ minor league system until 1998, getting as high as AAA with the team, but never playing for any organization in the Majors.

    • Ron Coomer became a regular for the Twins, even appearing in an All-Star game for the team in 1999. In 676 games, he hit 77 HR, 364 RBI, and hit .278. After the 2000 season, he was granted free agency, and signed with the Cubs.
    • Greg Hansell was with the Twins for 1996, appearing in 50 games as a reliever. He posted a 5.69 ERA, and was selected off of waivers by the Red Sox after the 1996 season.
    • Jose Parra spent the rest of 1995 and 1996 with the Twins, posting a 6-10 record with a 6.77 ERA. He left the Twins after the 1997 season as a free agent.
    • Chris Latham played in 63 games spanning 3 seasons for the Twins, hitting only .152. He was traded on 12/7/1999 to the Rockies for
      Scott

      Randall.

    • Mike Hartley went 1-2 in 53 appearances with the Twins in 1993. He was granted free agency after the 1993 season, and no compensation was received.

    Overall Reactions

    The Twins initially seemed to do pretty well on this trade, getting quality value out of both Rick Aguilera and Kevin Tapani along with the partial values of the other 3 players. While the Mets got a couple of excellent seasons from Viola, they probably would have been better off long term if they had kept the players involved. The trade gets even better for the Twins when they acquired regular 3B Ron Coomer for moving Tapani to the Dodgers in the 1995 season. Definite win for the Twins.

    The Week in Review – April 19 to April 25


    If the Playoffs Started Today

    New York AL (WC) vs. Minnesota (C)
    Oakland (W) vs. Tampa Bay (E)

    San Francisco (WC) vs. Philadelphia (E)
    San Diego (W) vs. St. Louis (C)

    Last Week’s Top Performers

    Kendry Morales (LAA) – .542/.593/.917, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 7 R
    Marlon Byrd (CHC) – .500/.517/.615, 5 RBI, 6 R
    Justin Morneau (MIN) – .576/.607/.952, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R
    Ryan Theriot (CHC) – .500/.548/.643, 6 RBI, SB, 5 R
    Paul Konerko (CHW) – .450/.542/1.150, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R
    Kurt Suzuki (OAK) – .429/.500/1.071, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3 R
    Mark Reynolds (ARI) – .421/.500/1.000, 3 HR, 11 RBI, SB, 5 R
    Michael Bourn (HOU) – .316/.519/.368, 7 R, RBI, 7 SB
    Chase Headley (SD) – .364/.417/455, 5 R, 5 RBI, 5 SB

    John Danks (CHW) – 2 W, 16 IP, 1.69 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 14 K
    David Price (TAM) – W, 14 IP, 1.93 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 12 K
    Brad Penny (STL) – 2 W, 14 2/3 IP, 1.23 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 7 K
    Brandon Morrow (TOR) – W, 13 IP, 2.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 16 K
    Kevin Slowey (MIN) – W, 13 1/3 IP, 3.38 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 11 K
    Matt Lindstrom (HOU) – 4 SV, 2.25 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 2 K
    Francisco Rodriguez (NYM) – 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 7 K

    Roster Movement and Job Changes

    Disabled List:

    • Returning This Week: Aaron Hill, Brian Fuentes, Ted Lilly, Lance Berkman
    • Going On the DL: Vicente Padilla, Manny Ramirez, Jeff Mathis, Carlos Guillen, J.A. Happ, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron

    Promotions and Demotions:

    • Promoted: Justin Smoak, Ike Davis
    • Demoted: Mike Jacobs, Chris Davis

    Top Stories and This Week’s Links

    • On Monday, the Mets finally ended their experiment with Mike Jacobs, sending him to the minors and calling up top prospect Ike Davis. Davis wasted no time, going 2-4 in his first game.
    • Bleacher Report writes about their plan for ML realignment. An interesting read, but not really a whole lot more workable than any other plan that has been announced to this point.
    • Around mid-day on Tuesday, Twitter started lighting up that a Major League player was going to be receiving a 50-game suspension for violating the drug policy. As the day progressed, we were finally informed it was SP Edinson Volquez of the Reds. A little bit of an oddity, Volquez can serve the suspension while on the disabled list. Since he is recuperating from Tommy John surgery and is unlikely to return prior to August, it hurts him more in the pocketbook than anything.
    • Also on Tuesday, the Rangers went nuts on the basepaths, stealing 9 bases in the first 5 innings of their game against the Red Sox. Sadly, even though they were stealing on C Victor Martinez and SP Tim Wakefield all over the place, they ended up losing that game.
    • On Wednesday, manager Lou Piniella announced that when SP Ted Lilly returned on Saturday from the disabled list, SP Carlos Zambrano (of the $18+ M annual contract) would be going to the bullpen. Needless to say, it was a bit of a shock to the baseball world. Big Z made his first relief appearance on Saturday, getting a hold in 1 1/3 IP.
    • Thursday marked another demotion for Rangers’ 1B Chris Davis. Struggling again, the Rangers decided to bring up top prospect Justin Smoak, who had been hitting extremely well at AAA.
    • Also on Thursday, the Pirates should have stayed home. Since they lost 20-0, it probably would have been a little less painful than being there.
    • Saturday had a bit of a scary moment, as Pirates’ starter Chris Jakubaskas was hit in the head with a line drive. He was placed on the disabled list on Sunday, and I have not heard anything about him other than that.