Tag Archives: Nick Swisher

Fantasy Rankings in Review – Outfielders


Back in February, I took my first shot at attempting to rank players for fantasy purposes. After a full season, I thought it wise to take a look back at how they went, and compare them to how it actually turned out and see if there is anything to be gained from it. Next up is the review of my OF rankings. I ranked 45 outfielders originally, and you can find them here.

Yahoo’s Top 25 Outfielders

  1. Carlos Gonzalez
  2. Carl Crawford
  3. Josh Hamilton
  4. Jose Bautista
  5. Ryan Braun
  6. Matt Holliday
  7. Jayson Werth
  8. Vladimir Guerrero
  9. Alex Rios
  10. Corey Hart
  11. Shin-Soo Choo
  12. Hunter Pence
  13. Chris Young
  14. Aubrey Huff
  15. Delmon Young
  16. Juan Pierre
  17. Nick Swisher
  18. Adam Dunn
  19. Andrew McCutchen
  20. Drew Stubbs
  21. Angel Pagan
  22. Ichiro Suzuki
  23. Vernon Wells
  24. Nelson Cruz
  25. Brett Gardner

Notable Outfielders Outside the Top 25: Matt Kemp (26), Torii Hunter (27), Shane Victorino (28), Bobby Abreu (29), Andre Ethier (34), Jay Bruce (35), Justin Upton (41), Nick Markakis (46), Curtis Granderson (49), Alfonso Soriano

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Fantasy Rankings in Review – First Basemen


Back in February, I took my first shot at attempting to rank players for fantasy purposes. After a full season, I thought it wise to take a look back at how they went, and compare them to how it actually turned out and see if there is anything to be gained from it. Next up is the review of my 1B rankings.

My Preseason Rankings
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Prince Fielder
4. Mark Teixeira
5. Ryan Howard
6. Joey Votto
7. Mark Reynolds
8. Kevin Youkilis
9. Kendry Morales
10. Adrian Gonzalez
11. Derrek Lee
12. Justin Morneau
13. Adam Dunn
14. Pablo Sandoval
15. Carlos Pena

Yahoo’s Final Rankings (Top 15)
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Joey Votto
4. Paul Konerko
5. Adrian Gonzalez
6. Mark Teixeira
7. Aubrey Huff
8. Ryan Howard
9. Nick Swisher
10. Adam Dunn
11. David Ortiz
12. Martin Prado
13. Prince Fielder
14. Billy Butler
15. Adam LaRoche

I also mentioned Adam LaRoche, Paul Konerko, Billy Butler, Garrett Jones, Lance Berkman, Chris Davis, Michael Cuddyer, Todd Helton, James Loney, Justin Smoak, and Chris Carter as players potentially having value this year.
From my preseason rankings, Kevin Youkilis (19), Derrek Lee (21), James Loney (24), and Justin Morneau (25) all finished in the top 25. Mark Reynolds, Kendry Morales, Pablo Sandoval, and Carlos Pena did not make the top 25 at the end of the season.
Free Agents: Lance Berkman, Adam Dunn, Troy Glaus, Aubrey Huff, Paul Konerko, Derrek Lee, Lyle Overbay, Carlos Pena
What We Saw

Buster Posey’s season was better than anyone even thought. He finished at #23 in the 1B rankings for Yahoo, which is clearly an elite offensive position. Wow.

I thought Joey Votto would do extremely well this season, but clearly this was above and beyond what I thought either. I think he’s going to start next season as a top 10 player overall.

Talk about a walk year improvement. Paul Konerko went nuts this year, and finished with 39 homers and 112 rbi. He’s a free agent, and while they want him back in Chicago, it remains to be seen where he will end up. But he’s clearly not as done as we all thought he was.

Aubrey Huff is another free agent who should get paid this offseason after an excellent performance in San Francisco. Part of his value was having 7 stolen bases this season, which seems unlikely to continue. I just can’t convince myself that he’s particularly likely to repeat the overall performance in 2011.

Injuries really had an effect on the 1B depth, with Kevin Youkilis, Kendry Morales, Justin Morneau, and Troy Glaus all missed time during the season. It didn’t help that players like Mark Reynolds, Lance Berkman and Carlos Pena all struggled during the season.

Justin Morneau really concerns me for next season, due to the fact that he still has not been able to do any baseball activities since suffering that concussion in Toronto. He could potentially provide a very nice value for fantasy owners next year, but he won’t end up on any of my teams most likely.

Adrian Gonzalez will continue to be the topic of trade rumors throughout the offseason, and I think that if he gets traded to anywhere else practically, he’s going to provide even more offense than he did this season, which seems like it should be impossible.

Overall, some of these rankings were pretty easy (I’m pretty sure it takes no brains to rank Pujols at #1), but some of these players clearly underperformed (Fielder, Reynolds, Pena). I think that Youkilis would have finished above the #8 spot I had believed at the beginning of the season had he not gotten injured. Not a terrible job on these, but definitely some work to be done next season.

Preliminary 2011 Rankings (Very Raw)
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Joey Votto
4. Adrian Gonzalez
5. Mark Teixeira
6. Ryan Howard
7. Prince Fielder
8. Kevin Youkilis
9. Paul Konerko
10. Adam Dunn

Season Previews in Review: American 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’ll be going a division at a time, starting with the American League East.

Baltimore Orioles

Predicted Record: 70-92            Actual Record: 66-96

It was a tale of two seasons for the Orioles, as they spent the first half of the season clearly as the worst team in all of baseball. Nothing seemed to go right for the team, and it ended up costing manager Dave Trembley his job before too long. This left interim skipper Juan Samuel to try and right the ship, while the Orioles also continued to look for his (and Trembley’s) replacement. By the August 31st trade deadline, the team had managed to ship just one of its movable pieces for prospects with Miguel Tejada being traded to the Padres. But they had also hired Buck Showalter to manage the team, and the team has already seen a drastic improvement. This record would have actually been much further off if not for the late-season turnaround.

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The AL Stan Musial Award


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Over at the Baseball Bloggers’ Alliance, we have been voting on our award winners for the regular season. Previously I have announced my votes for the Connie Mack awards (Best Manager of the Year), the Willie Mays awards (Top Rookie), the Goose Gossage awards (Top Reliever), and the Walter Johnson awards (Top Pitcher). Only one set of awards left to give out, and it’s the big one: The Stan Musial award, given to each league’s most valuable player.

Every season there seems to be a real debate as to what should be considered for the league’s most valuable player. It’s become pretty clear that there is (or at least should be) a difference between who is the best player and who was the most valuable to his team this season. Well, here’s my criteria (at least how I see it anyway):

Value to their Team

It becomes extremely hard for me to argue that a player who has a great season on a team with a lot of great players is more valuable than a player who has a great season on a team that doesn’t have a lot of good players on it. When I look at it, I start looking at how the team would perform without the player. If the player I am looking at were to miss extended time, would their team be able to easily replace what he does, or would they struggle until he returned to form?

The Complete Player

It becomes extremely important in my opinion, that for a player to be the most valuable player, they have to provide at least some value on both sides of the game. Clearly, there is value to a player who plays excellent defense in addition to a player who hits extremely well. To me, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a player needs to steal a lot of bases and hit a lot of home runs on the offensive side, but they should clearly be pretty close to elite for what they do. And in terms of players who are primarily designated hitters, to me they have to be far and away the most obvious candidate for them to get a lot of votes. While it is a position in the game, I think that it is important to find a way to offset the value they are not providing in the field.

Pitchers

I tend to view pitchers the same way as designated hitters in terms of the most valuable player. They would need to be unbelievably dominant to move ahead of top level position players.

The Big Stats

At this point, it’s pretty much impossible to ignore what the statistics tell us overall. It becomes hard to argue that there isn’t a judgment to be made when looking at value with regard to home runs, stolen bases, runs scored, runs batted in, and batting average, among many others. That said, it is something I look at, but it doesn’t become a spot where I just make a judgment based entirely on the statistics.

With all that (phew!), here’s my top candidates for the AL Stan Musial award. Players are listed from east to west, and my vote will be at the bottom. For this award, it’s a 10 person ballot. Also, when you’re talking about the best of anything, it invariably ends up a bit nit-picky when it comes to differentiating candidates. Everyone on this list had a great season, and it just comes down to trying to determine small ways in which one was better than the rest. There’s not a whole lot to say about each player as a result, and so instead here are the statistics that I looked at for each player, and then I’ll go into my logic for my decision.

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Original Draft Series – Team # 22 – Oakland Athletics


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

Team #22: Oakland Athletics

General Managers(since 1994)

Sandy Alderson (1994-1997): 261-321
Billy Beane (1998-Current): 1051-891

Team Performance

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

My hometown Athletics generally tend to have spurts of excellence. They had 4 playoff appearances in a row from 2000-2003, and another in 2006. The Athletics generally have been able to develop some players, but the depressing part is that almost invariably they have moved these players to acquire younger, cheaper players in order to stay competitive.  All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Kurt Suzuki 2004 – 2nd Rd 6 410 gm, .272/.329/.404, 37 HR, 199 RBI, 11 SB, 176 R Currently with Org.
1B Jason Giambi 1992 – 2nd Rd 7 + 1 2000 AL MVP, 2 All Star Appearances
1036 gm, .300/.406/.531, 198 HR, 715 RBI, 9 SB, 640 R
Free Agency – 11/5/01
2B Bobby Crosby 2001 – 1st Rd (25) 8 2004 AL Rookie of the Year
677 gm, .238/.305/.378, 61 HR, 263 RBI, 34 SB, 320 R
Free Agency – 11/5/09
3B Miguel Tejada Int’l FA – 1993 10 2002 AL MVP, 1 All Star Appearances
936 gm, .270/.331/.460, 156 HR, 604 RBI, 49 SB, 574 R
Free Agency – 10/27/03
SS Cliff Pennington 2005 – 1st Rd (21) 5 164 gm, .253/.329/.367, 7 HR, 50 RBI, 20 SB, 68 R Currently with Org.
LF Ryan Ludwick 1999 – 2nd Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to TEX – 1/14/02
CF Nick Swisher 2002 – 1st Rd (16) 5 458 gm, .251/.361/.464, 80 HR, 255 RBI, 4 SB, 267 R Traded to CHW – 1/3/08
RF Andre Ethier 2003 – 2nd Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to LAD – 12/13/05
DH Mark Teahen 2002 – 1st Rd (39) 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to KC – 6/24/04
SP Tim Hudson 1997 – 6th Rd 7 2 All Star Appearances
92-39, 3.30 ERA, 899 K, 382 BB, 1240.2 IP, 1.222 WHIP
Traded to ATL – 12/16/04
SP Barry Zito 1999 – 1st Rd (9) 7 2002 Cy Young Award, 3 All Star Appearances
102-63, 3.55 ERA, 1096 K, 560 BB, 1430.1 IP, 1.250 WHIP
Free Agency – 11/1/06
SP Dallas Braden 2004 – 24th Rd 6 18-27, 4.47 ERA, 231 K, 108 BB, 368.2 IP, 1.373 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Joe Blanton 2002 – 1st Rd (24) 6 47-46, 4.25 ERA, 431 K, 202 BB, 760.2 IP, 1.330 WHIP Traded to PHI – 7/17/08
SP Rich Harden 2000 – 17th Rd 8 36-19, 3.42 ERA, 523 K, 232 BB, 541.2 IP, 1.244 WHIP Traded to CHC – 7/8/08
RP Kevin Gregg 1996 – 15th Rd 6 No Major League Appearances with Org. Free Agency – 10/15/02
RP Vin Mazzaro 2005 – 3rd Rd 5 6-10, 5.30 ERA, 78 K, 52 BB, 120.2 IP, 1.732 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Tyson Ross 2008 – 2nd Rd 2 1-4, 5.77 ERA, 28 K, 16 BB, 34.1 IP, 1.485 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Brad Kilby 2005 – 29th Rd 5 1-0, 1.07 ERA, 28 K, 4 BB, 25.1 IP, 0.829 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Huston Street 2004 – 1st Rd (40) 4 2005 AL Rookie of the Year
21-12, 94 SV, 2.88 ERA, 271 K, 78 BB, 269 IP, 1.071 WHIP
Traded to COL – 11/10/08
CL Andrew Bailey 2006 – 6th Rd 4 2009 AL Rookie of the Year, 1 All Star Appearance
6-5, 39 SV, 1.84 ERA, 113 K, 31 BB, 112.1 IP, 0.899 WHIP
Currently with Org.
BN Trevor Cahill (SP) 2006 – 2nd Rd 4 16-15, 4.24 ERA, 132 K, 93 BB, 246 IP, 1.354 WHIP Currently with Org.
BN Eric Chavez (3B) 1996 – 1st Rd (10) 14 6 Gold Gloves (3B), 1 Silver Slugger (3B)
1320 gm, .267/.343/.478, 230 HR, 787 RBI, 47 SB, 730 R
Currently with Org.
BN Ramon Hernandez (C) Int’l FA – 1994 9 1 All Star Appearance
595 gm, .253/.322/.400, 60 HR, 263 RBI, 241 R
Traded to SD – 11/26/03
BN Jeremy Bonderman (SP) 2001 – 1st Rd (26) 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to DET – 8/22/02
BN Travis Buck (OF) 2005 – 1st Rd (36) 5 167 gm, .255/.335/.432, 18 HR, 71 RBI, 7 SB, 74 R Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

The Athletics have had 32 draft picks in the first round since 1995, including the notorious Moneyball draft of 2002 where they had 7 picks. They’ve done reasonably well in the first round, with Barry Zito, Eric Chavez, Joe Blanton, Nick Swisher and Huston Street all showing as successes from the round. They have also seen some a lot of successful players out of the 2nd round, but not nearly as many of these players showed their success with the Athletics. Most notably is probably RF Andre Ethier, who was traded to the Dodgers for Milton Bradley before the 2006 season. The team did make a playoff appearance in 2006, and was helped by Milton Bradley’s production, but I’m guessing that they would still love to have Ethier back.

International Free Agency

The Athletics haven’t been particularly good at finding international free agents, with only Miguel Tejada and Ramon Hernandez showing up on this roster. Part of this is the fact that they were unwilling to spend money on the top tier talent, as they would use that money for other items within development instead. That policy has changed slightly in the past few years, as the A’s have signed some top prospects out of the Dominican, most notably Michael Ynoa, a very young, very projectable pitcher. Time will tell if they will continue to see some prospects out of the international markets, but to this point the return has not been all that good.

Overall Grade

I think that the Athletics get my first “C”, as they have seen some excellent success stories (Zito, Chavez, Hudson), but there are quite a few of these players who did not make any appearances at all with the big league team. The fact that the international market has been so poor of a talent pool for them is what keeps me from moving them further up in the rankings.

Trade Retrospective – Johnny Damon


Next up on the trade retro writeups is the trade that brought Johnny Damon (and Mark Ellis) to the Oakland Athletics. On January 8, 2001, as a part of a 3-team trade, the Athletics acquired OF Johnny Damon, IF Mark Ellis, and P Cory Lidle, the Devil Rays acquired OF Ben Grieve, and the Royals acquired SS Angel Berroa, C A.J. Hinch, and CL Roberto Hernandez.

The Background

The Royals had developed another fine player in Johnny Damon. In the 2000 season, he had posted a .327/.382/.495 line with 16 home runs, 88 runs batted in, and a league leading 46 stolen bases. However, they also knew that he would be eligible to file for free agency after the 2001 season, and were extremely unlikely to be able to resign Damon to a long term contract extension.

The Athletics were coming off of their first division title in over 5 years, having beaten the Mariners to the division title by a 1/2 game. However, they had been eliminated in the first round by the Yankees, and over the span of the season had not really received a lot of “leadoff-type” production from their leadoff hitters.

The Devil Rays continued to hope to improve their team, and were looking to get better production out of their outfield.

The Moving Pieces

For Oakland, Damon was slotted in as the starting center fielder, pushing the previous center fielder, Terrence Long, to the left field spot vacated by Grieve. Mark Ellis was sent to the minors, and would be sent to AAA despite only playing 7 games at AA in the previous season. Lidle was penciled in as the 5th starter for the Major League club.

In Kansas City, Roberto Hernandez was put into the closer’s role, and it was hoped would help to stabilize the back end of their bullpen. Hinch was to be the backup catcher for the Royals, while Angel Berroa was sent to the Royals’ High-A affiliate.

Tampa slotted Ben Grieve in as their every day right fielder and expected him to be a key hitter in their lineup.

What Happened Next

The A’s improved on their previous season’s win total, winning 102 games but finishing 2nd in their division to the record-tying Mariners 116. They were the AL wild card, and drew the Yankees again. While Damon did not have a season quite like his 2000 season, he still posted a very respectable .256/.324/.363 line with 9 homeruns, 49 runs batted in, 27 stolen bases and 108 runs.

The Royals continued to slide to the bottom of the standings, winning only 65 games in 2001. Hernandez pitched reasonably well, recording 28 saves, but posting a 4.12 ERA.

The Devil Rays also took a step backward, losing 100 games again in 2001. Grieve hit alright, but was not quite as expected. He hit .264/.372/.387 with 11 homeruns, 72 runs batted in, and 7 stolen bases.

The Net Moves

Oakland – First Level

  • Damon only spent the 2001 season with the A’s, before leaving via free agency. His leaving did spawn quite a few stories later on though, as the A’s received 2 compensation draft picks for his leaving. These picks were in the group that were discussed in the Moneyball book, and were used specifically to select OF Nick Swisher and IF Mark Teahen. His 2001 season posted a 2.7 WAR.
  • Mark Ellis has been in Oakland since 2002, mostly as the starting 2B. In 880 games, he has posted a .265/.333/.406 slash line with 80 homeruns, 372 runs batted in, 48 stolen bases, and 475 runs. In each full season he has played, he has posted a minimum of 1.2 WAR.
  • Cory Lidle spent the 2001-2002 seasons with the Athletics in the back end of their rotation. In the 2 seasons, he posted a 21-16 record with a 3.74 ERA in 59 starts. He threw 380 innings, struck out 229 batters and walked 86. After the 2002 season he was traded to the Blue Jays for minor leaguers Chris Mowday and Mike Rouse.

Tampa Bay – First Level

  • Ben Grieve spent 3 seasons in Tampa, but never really lived up to the expectations of his performance upon his arrival. He hit .254/.364/.399 with 34 home runs, 153 runs batted in, 15 stolen bases, and 162 runs scored. He became a free agent after the 2003 season, and left Tampa. It does not appear that Grieve earned the Devil Rays any draft pick compensation.

Kansas City – First Level

  • Angel Berroa made his debut with the Royals in 2001, but did not become a regular until 2003, when he won the AL Rookie of the Year award.  He was with the Royals through 2007, and posted a .263/.305/.384 line with 45 home runs, 235 runs batted in, 50 stolen bases and 293 runs scored in 627 games. He was traded during the 2008 season to the Dodgers for minor leaguer Juan Rivera, who has not played in the Majors.
  • A.J. Hinch spent 2 seasons as the backup catcher for the Royals, getting into a total of 117 games and posting lackluster numbers. He was released after the 2002 season.
  • Roberto Hernandez also spent 2 seasons with the Royals, both as their closer. In 116 appearances, he posted an 8-16 record with 54 saves and 185 strikeouts in 218 innings pitched. He filed for free agency after the 2002 season. It does not appear that the Royals received any compensation picks for losing Hernandez.

Oakland – Second Level

  • Nick Swisher spent 4 seasons with Oakland, mostly split between CF, RF, and 1B. He hit .251/.361/.464 with 80 home runs and 255 runs batted in. His 2006 and 2007 seasons were both 3.8+ WAR, but was traded after the 2007 season to the White Sox for OF Ryan Sweeney and minor league pitchers Fautino de los Santos and Gio Gonzalez.
  • Mark Teahen never played for the Athletics, but was included in the Carlos Beltran trade made during the 2004 season.

Oakland – Third Level

  • Ryan Sweeney has been in the Majors with the A’s since 2008, and has hit reasonably well to this point. So far, he has hit .293/.349/.395 with 12 homeruns, 15 stolen bases, and 119 runs batted in. Both of his full seasons thus far have been 2+ WAR each.
  • Gio Gonzalez had been going back and forth between Oakland and AAA Sacramento last season, but appears to have finally stuck this season. So far with the A’s, Gonzalez is 12-14 with a 5.43 ERA. He’s struck out 189 batters in 187 1/3 innings, but has also walked 105 so far.
  • Fautino de los Santos continues to be a bit of an enigma, as he is still very young, and has not pitched very much for the A’s minor league affiliates.

Overall Reactions

At the time, this seemed like a reasonable enough trade. But in the end, it really looks like the Devil Rays (now the Rays) got fleeced pretty badly. They gave up a starting pitcher who was respectable at least (Lidle), a solid all-around infielder (Ellis), and a closer (Hernandez) to get an outfielder who really didn’t play all that well once he got to Tampa (Grieve). The Royals at least got some value out of Berroa for a few seasons, and Hernandez as well. The winners of this trade, clearly, appear to be the A’s. Not only did they get a season of Damon, but they also got quite a bit of production out of the players that they received in return for losing him to free agency. Throw in that they also got Ellis who has become an all-around solid 2B for the A’s, and to me it’s a slam dunk that the A’s did the best on this trade. Unfortunately it seems that a lot of the trades that were made during the Chuck LaMar era in Tampa Bay ended similarly to this.

Team Preview – New York Yankees


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Jorge Posada SP 1 C.C. Sabathia
1B Mark Teixeira SP 2 A.J. Burnett
2B Robinson Cano SP 3 Andy Pettitte
3B Alex Rodriguez SP 4 Javier Vazquez
SS Derek Jeter SP 5 Chad Gaudin
LF Brett Gardner Bullpen
CF Curtis Granderson CL Mariano Rivera
RF Nick Swisher RP Phil Hughes
DH Nick Johnson RP Joba Chamberlain
Bench RP Alfredo Aceves
OF Randy Winn RP Damaso Marte
C Fernando Cervelli RP Boone Logan

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Javy Vasquez Trade (ATL) SP Chien-Ming Wang Non-Tender
CF Curtis Granderson Trade (DET) OF Melky Cabrera Trade (ATL)
1B Nick Johnson Free Agency DH Hideki Matsui Free Agency
RP Boone Logan Trade (ATL) LF Johnny Damon Free Agency

Top Prospects: Jesus Montero (C/DH), Austin Romine (C), Manny Banuelos (P), Slade Heathcott (OF)

2009 Review

The Yankees came into the season not knowing exactly how their year would go. Alex Rodriguez would miss the first month of the season recuperating from an injury, and it was unclear how new Yankees Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett would perform. The Yankees had outspent the entire rest of the league in the offseason, and expectations were that they would win a World Series. After a semi-slow start (12-10 in April), the Yankees went completely nuts and never really looked back. They finished the season with a 103-59 record, winning the AL East by 8 games.

The Yankees were lead by the Captain, SS Derek Jeter, who had one of the best seasons of his career (.334, 18 HR, 30 SB), and 1B Mark Teixeira (.292, 39 HR, 122 RBI). Sabathia (19-8, 3.37 ERA) led the rotation which saw a lot of movement during the season behind Burnett and Pettitte.

The Yankees performed well in the postseason, sweeping the Twins before defeating the Angels 4-2 in the ALCS. While the World Series against the Phillies took 6 games to win, the Yankees did win it pretty handily, with Cliff Lee winning the only two games for the Phillies.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Yankees may have actually improved themselves this offseason, which considering that they won the World Series, is saying something. They’ve brought more stability to their rotation, adding Javy Vasquez, and replaced the production of LF Johnny Damon by acquiring CF Curtis Granderson. Whether or not Nick Johnson will provide what Hideki Matsui did remains to be seen, but he shouldn’t be a particularly big dropoff if he doesn’t. I think that their only real glaring problem could be at the very back end of the starting rotation. I slotted Chad Gaudin in there right now, although it will most likely be Joba Chamberlain. The Joba rules will probably be adjusted again this season, and allow him to get closer to 200 IP, if not going past it entirely. However, the inconsistency of that spot in the rotation could be of some concern. The good news for the Yankees is that they have lots of people that they can draw from to help fill that slot (Gaudin, Hughes, Aceves).

Brian Cashman has really done well again this offseason to help address some of the major problems that appeared with the major league team. The Yankees are constantly known for spending unbelievable amounts of money, but recently they have done well in how they have spent that money. They don’t rely too heavily on their farm system, which means that the players that they do develop (Ian Kennedy, Austin Jackson) can be moved to help get other pieces that they will need along the way. As long as the ownership continues to allow him to do his job, and trust that he and his staff know what they are doing, the Yankees will always be competitive for not only the AL East, but the American League as a whole, and the World Series as well.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Lots of fantasy goodness here, with 3B Alex Rodriguez and 1B Mark Teixeira headlining this group. Nearly every position will provide solid fantasy value, with 2B Robinson Cano, C Jorge Posada, SS Derek Jeter, CF Curtis Granderson, SP C.C. Sabathia, SP A.J. Burnett, SP Javier Vasquez, and RP Mariano Rivera all expected to be drafted in most leagues. Even players like RF Nick Swisher and 1B/DH Nick Johnson will provide value in most leagues. There’s always a lot to like for fantasy with Yankee players.

Prediction for 2010

The Yankees have to be the prohibitive favorite to repeat as World Series champs in my opinion, but I will leave my predictions for how the playoffs will work out for another day. At this point, let me just say that I think they will be right in the thick of it again this season.

97-65, 1st in the AL East

Trade Review – NYY/ATL


New York Yankees receive SP Javier Vazquez and RP Boone Logan
Atlanta Braves receive CF Melky Cabrera, RP Mike Dunn, and P Arodys Vizcaino

The Yankees
The Yankees did pretty well here in my opinion. Vazquez is coming off of what could be his best year ever, where he posted a 15-10 record with a 2.87 ERA (2.77 FIP), 238 strikeouts, and a solid .297 BABIP. While it would appear that he could potentially see a severe regression due to moving from the Braves’ home field to the Yankees, I am confident based on his groundball ratio that he will not see a huge change in stats.

2004 (with the Yankees) GB/FB ratio: 0.88
2009 (with the Braves) GB/FB ratio: 1.20

I believe that if he can maintain that groundball ratio from 2009, he should be a solid #2-3 starter for the Yankees. Which will be excellent since he’s really slotting in as the #4 starter behind Sabathia, Burnett, and Pettitte. I am inclined to believe that this move allows the Yankees to keep Philip Hughes in the bullpen where he really excelled last year. This also makes it really likely that the Yankees are going to keep Nick Swisher in the outfield, with Brett Gardner playing the other corner outfield spot. Adding Logan just gives them another arm that they can mix and match into the back end of their bullpen as well.

The Braves
The Braves had a definite excess of starting pitching, with Lowe, Hudson, Hanson, Jurrjens, and Kawakami all under contract for 2010. Moving Vazquez not only saves them some money (about $11.5 Million owed to him), but also acquires a solid young outfielder, a useful reliever in Mike Dunn (99 K in 73 IP in AAA last season), and a very young high-potential arm in Vizcaino (52 K in 42 IP at Staten Island last season).

Overall Review
This is one of those trades that looks like it really helps out both teams. The Braves move one of their excess starting pitchers for a useful outfielder and two good arms. The Yankees move one of their few excesses (corner outfielder type), and turned him into one of the best pitchers currently. And they only need him to be a 4th starter really.

Yankees win now, Braves win long-term