ALOHA JOSE-To Trade or Not to Trade That is the Question pt. 1

Filed Under (NL East Chatter, Uncategorized) by davidw on 16-05-2011

Tagged Under : American League, Jenry Meija, Jose Reyes, Minnesota Twins, MLB trades, National League, New York Mets, Sandy Alderson, Tamba Bay Rays, Texas Rangers

Reyes pondering future?



The big buzz right now is Jose Reyes trade talk. Everyone is coming up with ideas, painting doom and gloom scenarios for the Wilpon-owned Mets and generally running off the rails with ludicrous suggestions. The Mets GM Sandy Alderson is considered a very smart baseball man and usually highly intelligent baseball executives don’t make dumb decisions.

Would trading Jose Reyes be a bad move? And if not, what team would you trade him to? Who do you ask for? Who would you be offered in return? Should they even be entertaining the idea of trading Reyes at all? These are fundamental questions the Mets braintrust are probably asking themselves.
 
Trading a 27 year old 3x All-Star off to a career year start who plays a position with few high level players doesn’t make a lot of sense. Especially considering that the team in question plays in baseball’s #1 market. I mean come on this isn’t a Tampa Bay or Kansas City-it’s New York freakin’ City. If the Mets say they can’t afford Reyes they’re liars, especially considering $60 million + is coming off the books for 2012. I think the impending Madoff lawsuit is overplayed too. Even if the Wilpon‘s are sued for $1 billion dollars they’d most likely file a counter claim. The mess would probably be dragged out in the court for years at that point and have no bearing on the team’s financial ability to sign Reyes.



But we all know trade speculation can be fun and despite logic there’s no guarantee Reyes won’t be traded. Recent season-ending injuries to Jenry Meija and Chris Young leave the Metropolitans razor thin in the pitching department. They’re best pitching prospects are 2-3 years away. So Alderson could look to stock up on quality arms. I’d have to believe New York would need to be blown away by a deal to push the button. But anything is possible.

I’m going to take a look at the teams in each league who I believe would be most likely to make a move for Reyes. The teams I chose are lacking at SS, have the horses to swap and are in a situation where Reyes could potentially make a significant difference in a team’s playoff aspirations. The American League is up first. By my count there are four teams in the junior circuit who would fit the criteria above. A few teams came close to making the cut but for various reasons I don’t consider them a serious bidder for Reyes services during the 2011 season. We’ll look at these ballclubs briefly.


First up is Minnesota. Despite their obvious SS need I leave the Twins out because they’re short on pitchers themselves and can ill afford to trade away any of that AA or AAA talent. Besides first they need to get Liriano straightened out to have any shot at playing in October.


With Reid Brignac far beneath the Mendoza line the Rays definitely have a need at shortstop. But they’re not the rent-a- player type of team and their own budget limitations hinder any real chance of locking Reyes up long-term. Tampa Bay definitely have the talent to trade but just not enough dinero for olé Jose.


I almost included the Rangers because they’re aggressive, finally had a whiff of postseason success and have high-caliber AA and AAA talent (pitching and otherwise) to center a deal around. But Andrus is locked into SS, is just 22 and has immense upside. If he were to get hurt or the Rangers struggle with injuries as well as mediocre play I believe they’d be more than willing to rent Reyes for a couple of months in the quest for the crown. But for now I don’t consider them players in any Reyes trade talks.

That leaves what I see as four American League teams who I believe could pull a trigger on a Reyes deal. I will look at each of these teams. Talk about possible trading chips and trade scenarios. Wrapping it up with what I think the actual chances of a trade between the Mets and that team for Jose Reyes.

(we’ll start by looking at those teams in the next blog. Then after we finish the AL we’ll check in on possible NL teams vying for Reyes’ services.)

 

NL East Recap 6-26

Filed Under (Daily Recap, NL East Chatter) by Chris Comando on 27-06-2010

Tagged Under : Adam Dunn, Adam Jones, Adrian Gonzalez, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Billy Wagner, Bobby Cox, Carl Pavano, Chipper Jones, Cole Hamels, Delmon Young, Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins, Heath Bell, Ivan Rodriguez, Jason Kubel, Jerry Hairston, Joe Mauer, Joel Zumaya, Johan Santana, Johnny Damon, Jon Garland, Josh Johnson, Kenshin Kawakami, Livan Hernandez, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Stanton, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, peter moylan, Philadelphia Phillies, Roger Bernadina, Ryan Howard, San Diego Padres, Shaun Marcum, Takashi Saito, Toronto Blue Jays, Washington Nationals

Mets vs. Twins

Johan Santana faced his former team for the first time as the Mets hosted the Twins at Citi Field on Saturday afternoon.   Minnesota jumped on Santana early and the Mets couldn’t solve Carl Pavano as the Twins went on to win 6-0.

*Jun 26 - 00:05*The Twins scored four runs in the first inning off of Santana (5-5), and never looked back.  Joe Mauer started the scoring with a run-scoring single, and then with 2 outs, Jason Kubel hit an RBI double and Delmon Young doubled home two more runs to give the Twins an early 4-0 lead.  Meanwhile, Pavano (9-6) was dominant from the start.  Pavano went all nine innings, allowing just three singles and a walk to the Mets.  Kubel added a solo home run in the ninth inning to cap the scoring.

 

 

Braves vs. Tigers

The Braves got a timely home run from their longtime third baseman, and the team survived some shaky relief pitching to hold off the Tigers for a 4-3 victory in Atlanta.

braves-626Kenshin Kawakami came into the game winless, and though he pitched well over seven innings, left trailing 1-0.  However, the Braves finally gave Kawakami (1-9) some support in the bottom of the seventh when Chipper Jones belted a three-run home run off of Detroit reliever Joel Zumaya (2-1).  The Braves added another run in the eighth on an Eric Hinske RBI double and entered the ninth inning with a 4-1 lead. 

A day after earning his 400th career save, Billy Wagner was unavailable due to a sore left ankle, so Takashi Saito came in to try to seal the victory.   However, Saito allowed a solo homer to Miguel Cabrera and walked two more before being pulled.  Manager Bobby Cox then called on Eric O’Flaherty, but O’Flaherty proceeded to walk the next two batters, the last one forcing in a run and cutting the lead to 4-3.  Peter Moylan then came in to face Johnny Damon with the bases loaded.  With the count 3 and 2, Moylan’s offering to Damon appeared to be outside, but the Braves got the strike three call and the victory.  Moylan earned his first save on the season.

With the victory and the Mets’ loss, the Braves extended their lead in the NL East to 1.5 games.

 

Phillies vs. Blue Jays

Playing the second game of their “road” series in Philadelphia against the Blue Jays, the Phillies couldn’t take advantage of their home ballpark and fell to Toronto 5-1.

phils-626The Blue Jays touched up Phillies starter Cole Hamels (5-5) for five runs in four innings.  John Buck, Aaron Hill and Alex Gonzalez each homered off of Hamels to spark the Toronto offense.  Shaun Marcum (7-3) didn’t allow the Phillies to get back into the game, allowing just one run over six innings.  The Phillies only run came courtesy of a Ryan Howard solo home run.  In an unusual site, Howard acted as the Phillies’ DH as the game was played under American League rules in the NL ballpark.  Toronto relievers combined for three scoreless innings to close out their Philly home victory.

The teams will face off on Sunday in the rubber match of their three game set. 

 

Nationals vs. Orioles

A day after blowing a 6-0 lead to the Orioles, the Nationals jumped out to a 5-0 lead in Baltimore.   For the second straight day, however, the Nats blew a large lead and fell in the Battle of the Beltway by a score of 6-5.

nats-626Washington scored four runs in the 3rd inning, thanks to a two-run double by Adam Dunn and RBIs from Ivan Rodriguez and Roger Bernadina.  After adding another run in the fourth, the Orioles came back against Nats’ starter Livan Hernandez.  Adam Jones homered in the fourth to get the O’s on the board, and then the Orioles scored four in the fifth.  Matt Wieters  delivered the big hit, as his two-run single tied the game at 5.

The Orioles took a 6-5 lead in the seventh.  With Ty Wigginton batting, Nationals reliver Drew Storen threw a wild pitch that allowed Luke Scott to score the go-ahead run.  Jason Berken (1-1) earned the victory for the Orioles in relief, while Sean Burnett (0-4) took the loss for the Nats.  Alfredo Simon pitched a perfect ninth to earn his eighth save.

 

Marlins vs. Padres

Jon Garland and Josh Johnson faced off in a pitcher’s duel Saturday night in Miami.   Johnson pitched eight solid innings, but the Marlins couldn’t solve Garland or the Padres’ pen, and the Padres defeated the Marlins by a score of 2-1.

marlins-626The Marlins scored first in the second inning thanks to a Mike Stanton sacrifice fly.  The Padres answered back in the fourth when Adrian Gonzalez doubled home David Eckstein with the tying run.   In the fifth, Jerry Hairston Jr. tripled off of Stanton’s glove, and then scored on Garland’s fly ball to right field.   Garland’s ball took Stanton into foul ground, and Marlins players tried to yell at Stanton to let the ball land foul, but his catch turned into a sacrifice fly and scored the deciding run.

Johnson (8-3) took the loss despite striking out nine and allowing just five hits.  Garland (8-5) allowed just four hits over 6.2 innings and earned the victory.  Heath Bell pitched the ninth inning and struck out two in earning his 21st save.

NL East Daily Recap- 6/21

Filed Under (NL East Chatter) by treilly on 21-06-2010

Tagged Under : C.C. Sabathia, Chicago White Sox, David Price, Florida Marlins, Johan Santana, Josh Johnson, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, New York Yankees, philladelphia phillies, Tampa Bay Rays, Washington Nationals

Mets Vs Yankees

cc-sabathia11C.C. Sabathia shut down the Mets offense as Texeria’s grand slam took care of the Yankees offense in a 4-0 victory.

Sabathia went 8 scoreless innings allowing only 4 hits along with 6 strike outs as he improved to 8-3 on Sunday. The turning point in the game and the only run scoring play was in the third inning, when Mark Texeria hit a grand slam off of Johan Santana that made the game 4-0 Yanks .

Johan battled through 6 innings for the Mets but this is now the 3rd grand slam he has given up this season.

Phillies Vs Twins

*Sep 30 - 00:05*Carl Pavano was the star of this game throwing a complete game against the Phillies in a Twins 4-1 victory as he out dueled Roy Halladay.

Pavano improved to 8-6 on the year as he threw a gem against the Phillies, going the distance while allowing only 4 hits and one run with 2 strike outs. The only run he surrendered came in the 5th inning from a solo shot by Wilson Valdez.

The Twins got their offense going early against Halladay as Joe Mauer had an RBI single in the first to get Minnesota going. Justin Morneau and Denard Spam each hit solo shots off of Halladay as well to power the Twins Offense.

Halladay still managed to battle through 8 innings for Philly but his efforts weren’t enough as the Phillies just could not get it going as he fell to 8-6 on the year despite a 2.43 ERA.

Braves Vs Royals

2004-10-04-chipper-jonesThe first place Braves kept it going on Sunday as they defeated the Royals 8-5 with some late offense.

Atlanta got it going early in this one scoring 4 runs in the first inning off of start Kyle Davies with 2 RBI doubles by Chipper Jones and Omar Infante.

But the Royals would fight right back in the second in third inning off of Braves starter Kawakami, who lasted only 2 innings allowing 5 runs off of 6 hits. RBI Singles by Jose Guillen, Bryana Pena and two by Chris Getz lead the Royals offense. Unfortunately for them they did not score after the 5th inning leaving the door open for a Braves comeback.

In the bottom of the 6th Chipper Jones doubled home Heyward to tie the game up at 5-5, then in the 8th inning the Braves scored the winning runs off of an RBI double by Eric Hinske and an RBI single off the bat of Melky Cabrera. Billy Wagner closed the game out in the 9th to earn his 14th save of the season.

Nationals Vs White Sox

freddy-garciaFreddy Garcia went 8 strong innings for the White Sox as he earned his 8th victory of the year as Chicago defeated the Nationals 6-3.

John Lannan struggled once again for Washington going only 4 innings surrendering 11 hits and 5 runs to the White Sox. Konerko started Chicago off in the first with an RBI Single that scored Alex Rios to give them an early 1-0 lead.

Washington would fight right back however scoring 3 of their own in the 4th inning to give themselves a 3-1 lead off of RBI Singles from Willie Nieves and Bernadina. That lead would be short lived however as the White Sox would rally for 4 runs in the 5th inning, Alex Rios doubled home Juan Pierre that was followed up with an RBI single from Konerko. Rios tagged on an RBI single in the 9th inning to make the game 6-3 which was how it ended.

J.J. Putz earned his first save of the season as he came out to close it up for the White Sox.

Marlins Vs Rays

josh-johnsonFlorida Ace Josh Johnson out pitched Tampa Ace David Price in a 4-1 Marlins Victory.

Johnson was marvelous once again for the Marlins throwing 8 innings of 1 run ball with 9 strike outs lowering his era to 1.80 on the year. The only run he surrendered was a solo shot by Carl Crawford in the 4th inning.

With the score tied at 1-1 in the 5th inning Gaby Sanchez tripled in Chris Coughlan to give the Marlins the go ahead run and a 2-1 lead. In the 6th inning Wes Helms gave Florida some breathing room with a 2 run shot that made the game 4-1 which is how it ended.

Leo Nunez came in to close it out for Johnson in the 9th earning his 15th save of the season.

NL East Recap 6-19

Filed Under (Daily Recap, NL East Chatter) by Chris Comando on 20-06-2010

Tagged Under : Adam Dunn, Atlanta Braves, Billy Wagner, Brad Lidge, Brian McCann, Chad Durbin, Chicago White Sox, Chris Coghlan, Chris Volstad, Cole Hamels, Curtis Granderson, Dan Uggla, Danys Baez, Florida Marlins, Fredi Gonzalez, Gaby Sanchez, Hanley Ramirez, Jake Peavy, Jayson Werth, JD Martin, Jon Rauch, Jorge Sosa, Jose Reyes, Josh Willingham, Kansas City Royals, Kris Medlen, Mariano Rivera, Mark Teixeira, Mike Pelfrey, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Nyjer Morgan, Phil Hughes, Philadelphia Phillies, Raul Ibanez, Ross Gload, Ryan Howard, Ryan Zimmerman, Tampa Bay Rays, Troy Glaus, Washington Nationals, Wilson Valdez

Mets vs. Yankees

The Mets got off to a fast start in the Bronx, but the Yankees answered back and went on to defeat their crosstown rivals 5-3 to end the Mets’ winning streak at eight games.

mets-620Jose Reyes led off the game with a home run off of Phil Hughes, and added a two-run shot in the third inning to give the Mets an early 3-1 lead.  However, Mike Pelfrey allowed two-run homers to Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson in the third and fourth innings to put the Yankees on top.  Pelfrey (9-2) settled down after Granderson’s homer and gave the Mets seven innings, but took the loss.  Hughes (10-1) shut down the Mets after Reyes’ second home run and earned the victory.   Mariano Rivera pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up his 16th save on the season.

 

Phillies vs. Twins

The Phillies and Twins played home run derby at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday afternoon.  Philadelphia was poised to take their second straight from Minnesota, but the Phillies could not hold onto a five run 9th inning lead and fell to the Twins 13-10 in 11 innings.

Twins Phillies BaseballThe Phils jumped on Twins starter Kevin Slowey for seven runs in 1 2/3 innings, powered by home runs from Wilson Valdez (yes, that’s right) and Ryan Howard.  Longballs by Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth helped the Phillies build a 9-4 lead in support of starting pitcher Cole Hamels.  Jose Contreras started the ninth for the Phillies and allowed a two run homer to Jim Thome before giving way to closer Brad Lidge.  Lidge allowed an RBI single to Denard Span and a two run shot to Joe Mauer to cap off the Twins’ five run ninth and tie the game at 9.

In the 10th, Chad Durbin allowed a solo homer to Drew Butera to give the Twins a 10-9 lead, but the Phillies answered back with a Ross Gload home run in the bottom of the inning off Twins’ closer Jon Rauch to tie it up.   However, the Twins went ahead for good in the 11th off of Danys Baez (2-3), scoring three runs thanks to a Delmon Young RBI single and a two run double from Matt Tolbert.  Rauch (2-1) bounced back from his blown save to pitch a scoreless 11th and earn the victory.

 

Nationals vs. White Sox

The Nationals and White Sox engaged in a pitcher’s duel for the second straight day in Washington.  The pitchers were different, but the result was the same as the Sox defeated the Nats 1-0 on Saturday.

nats-620Jake Peavy (6-5) was the story of the day, allowing just three hits and pitching a complete game shutout.  Nationals starter J.D. Martin (0-3) pitched well, allowing just one run over six innings, but that one run was the difference.  Carlos Quentin singled home Omar Vizquel in the fourth for the game’s only run.  The Nats threatened in the ninth off of Peavy, but couldn’t break through.  Nyjer Morgan walked to open the inning and was sacrificed to second.   However, Ryan Zimmerman struck out, and after an intentional walk to Adam Dunn, Peavy got Josh Willingham to pop out to seal the shutout.

 

Braves vs. Royals

The first place Braves hosted the Royals on Saturday night in Atlanta and used a walk-off home run to defeat Kansas City 5-4.

Royals Braves BaseballThe Braves jumped out to a 3-0 lead off of Royals’ ace Zack Greinke, scoring two in the first and adding one more in the fourth on Brian McCann‘s solo homer.  Braves starter Kris Medlen entered the top of the seventh with a 4-2 lead, but Medlen and reliever Eric O’Flaherty allowed two runs in the inning as the Royals tied up the game at 4 apiece.   The game remained tied until the bottom of the ninth, when Troy Glaus led off the inning with a home run off of Robinson Tejeda (2-3) to win it for the Braves.  Closer Billy Wagner (5-0) pitched a scoreless ninth and picked up the win for Atlanta.

 

Marlins vs. Rays

The Florida teams played a wild game in Miami on Saturday night.  Played to a soundtrack of vuvuzelas (you know, those air horn instruments that have been the “buzz” of the World Cup), the Marlins scored three in the 8th inning to send the game to extra innings.  Florida mounted another furious comeback in the 11th, but couldn’t bring home the tying run and fell to the Rays by a score of 9-8.

Rays Marlins BaseballThe Marlins got solo home runs from Chris Coghlan and Hanley Ramirez  off of Rays’ starter Jeff Niemann, but the Rays scored four runs against Marlins’ starting pitcher Chris Volstad and entered the bottom of the eighth with a 5-2 lead.  However, Ramirez doubled in two runs, and Ramirez scored the tying run after Evan Longoria couldn’t field Cody Ross‘ ground ball cleanly.

In the top of the 11th, the Rays scored four runs thanks to the wildness of reliever Jorge Sosa (1-2).  Sosa allowed an infield single and walked two to load the bases, and then walked B.J. Upton and Reid Brignac with the bases full to force in two runs.  Jason Bartlett added a two run single as the Rays built a 9-5 lead.

The Marlins fought back, as Chris Coghlan singled home two and Gaby Sanchez singled home another to cut the lead to 9-8.  With runners on the corners and no outs, the Rays called on Andy Sonnanstine, who had pitched 4 2/3 innings the night before.   Sonnanstine struck out two and got Dan Uggla to fly out to right to end it and earn his first career save.  James Shields (6-6), who started on Thursday for the Rays, pitched the 10th inning and earned the victory in relief.

6-12 NL East Recap

Filed Under (Daily Recap, NL East Chatter) by Chris Comando on 13-06-2010

Tagged Under : Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Billy Wagner, Boston Red Sox, Brian Matusz, Brian Schneider, Brooks Conrad, Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians, Daniel Nava, David Wright, Derek Lowe, Fausto Carmona, Florida Marlins, Francisco Rodriguez, Gregor Blanco, Hisanori Takahashi, JD Drew, JD Martin, Jeff Francoeur, Joe Blanton, Joe Mauer, Jonny Venters, Jose Reyes, Manny Delcarmen, Matt Garza, Melky Cabrera, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, Nick Blackburn, Nick Markakis, Philadelphia Phillies, Rafael Soriano, Ricky Nolasco, Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Tampa Bay Rays, Washington Nationals, Wes Helms

Phillies vs. Red Sox

The Phillies hoped for a better outcome as they took on the Red Sox in game two of their series at Fenway.  Instead, Philadelphia’s starter gave up nine runs for the second game in a row, and the Red Sox cruised to a 10-2 victory.

phils-612Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was scratched just before game time due to a strained forearm, and the Phillies took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second off of emergency starter Scott Atchinson thanks to a Brian Schneider two-run double.   However, the Red Sox jumped on pitcher Joe Blanton in the bottom of the inning.  JD Drew started off the scoring with a solo home run, and Daniel Nava hit a grand slam in his first major league at bat to give Boston a 5-2 lead. 

The Sox added three runs in the third and one more in the fourth off of Blanton (1-5), who gave up 13 hits in addition to nine runs in his four innings of work.  Boston reliever Manny Delcarmen (2-2) pitched two scoreless innings in relief and earned the victory.

 

Mets vs. Orioles

The Mets won back-to-back games on the road for the first time since last July as they defeated the last place Orioles 3-1 Saturday night in Baltimore.

mets-612Jose Reyes led off the game with a home run off of Baltimore starter Brian Matusz.  The Orioles tied the game at 1 in the bottom of the first off of Hisanori Takahashi on a Nick Markakis RBI double.   The game remained 1-1 until the top of the sixth, when the Mets took the lead.  The Orioles failed to turn a double play on a David Wright comebacker, allowing the Mets to score the go-ahead run.�� Jeff Francoeur added a solo home run in the eighth inning to cap the scoring. 

Takahashi (5-2) gave up just one run and six hits over seven innings to earn the victory, while Matusz (2-7) took the loss.  Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth for his 13th save.

 

Nationals vs. Indians

Cleveland rookie catcher Carlos Santana hit his first career home run, and the Indians jumped on Washington starter JD Martin for four runs in the second inning as they defeated the Nationals 7-1 in Cleveland.

nats-612Playing in his second major league game, the highly touted Santana drove in three runs to lead the Indians offense.  Indians starter Fausto Carmona (5-5) went nine strong innings, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out seven.  Ryan Zimmerman‘s eighth inning home run spoiled Carmona’s shutout bid.  Martin (0-2) pitched into the eighth inning, but allowed seven runs and took the loss.

The Nationals hope to avoid a sweep when they send phenom Stephen Strasburg to the mound on Sunday.

 

Braves vs. Twins

For the second straight night, two first place teams played a one run game.  After falling in the series opener, the Braves rebounded to defeat the Twins by a score of 3-2 at Target Field in Minnesota.

braves-612Braves starter Derek Lowe and Twins starter Nick Blackburn each allowed only two runs, but neither factored in the decision.  After the Twins took a 1-0 lead in the second, the Braves answered with two in the fifth thanks to a Melky Cabrera solo homer and an RBI double from Brooks Conrad.  A Joe Mauer double tied the game in the sixth, and the score remained even at 2 until the top of the ninth.  With runners on the corners, Conrad successfully executed a squeeze bunt, scoring Gregor Blanco with the go-ahead run. 

Atlanta’s Jonny Venters (2-0) struck out Jason Kubel with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth to earn the victory, while Minnesota’s Matt Guerrier (1-2) took the loss.  Billy Wagner worked around a one out single to nail down his 11th save for the Braves.

 

Marlins vs. Devil Rays

After winning on Friday in Tampa, the Marlins fell 6-5 on Saturday night as the Rays evened the Battle of Florida at one game apiece.

marlins-612The Rays jumped out to an early 5-1 lead, thanks to home runs by Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, and Sean Rodrgiuez off of Florida starer Ricky Nolasco (5-5).   However, the Marlins battled back against Tampa starter Matt Garza.  Wes Helms hit a two run homer in the fourth and the Fish scored another in the fifth to cut the lead to 5-4.  After the Rays added a run in the seventh, the Marlins answered back in the eighth with one of their own, but couldn’t bring home the tying run. 

Closer Rafael Soriano pitched a perfect ninth for Tampa to earn save number 16 and preserve the victory for Garza (7-4) and the Rays.

The Florida Marlins “Model”

Filed Under (NL East Chatter) by dangeluzzi on 09-10-2009

Tagged Under : A.J. Burnett, Antonio Alfonseca, Armando Benitez, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Carl Pavano, Carlos Delgado, Chicago Cubs, Cliff Floyd, Derek Lee, Detroit Tigers, Don Levinski, Dontrelle Willis, Florida Marlins, Graeme Lloyd, Ivan Rodriguez, Jose Cueto, Josh Beckett, Juan Encarnacion, Juan Pierre, Julian Tavarez, Justin Wayne, Kansas City Royals, Luis Castillo, Matt Clement, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Hampton, Mike Lowell, Mike Mordecai, Minnesota Twins, Montreal Expos, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Preston Wilson, Ryan Dempster, Ryan Jorgensen, Ryan Snare, Todd Jones, Wilton Guerrero

pavanoSince 1997 only one National League East team has managed to win multiple World Series titles. That team is the Florida Marlins. Despite existing in a league that features the high spending New York Mets, the consistent Atlanta Braves, and the offensive juggernaut known as the Philadelphia Phillies, Florida has managed to remain competitive and successful.
The Florida Marlins are a remarkable story not because they win but because of how they win. The Florida Marlins operate with the knowledge of two incontrovertible facts. First, the team will not spend a tremendous amount of money in the free agent market or on payroll, period. Second, low attendance at home games does not present a financial problem due to league revenue sharing and a low payroll. Thus, it is possible to still make money as a business despite the fact that no one really wants to buy your product.
However, simply having a low payroll does not necessarily equal success. The key to the Marlins success is that the Marlins maintain the team’s low payroll by combining young players still playing out their rookie contracts and questionable veterans who are willing to play for short, minimum contracts. The inherent quality in both of these types of players is that they have the need to prove themselves. Young players know that the Marlins have no desire to pay top dollar for a valuable player, but the organization is more than willing to either flip that player for prospects or let the player leave during free agency and recoup draft picks. Thus, it is in the player’s personal interest to perform at his highest possible level to ensure continued, gainful employment as a professional baseball player. The same can be said about veteran players. Guys brought in on one or two year deals for about the league minimum know that if they want to continue playing and/or get paid more money, they have to take the opportunity given by the Marlins to show that they can produce.
For example, players such as Miguel Cabrera (traded to the Detroit Tigers, signed to 8yr/$153.5 million), Dontrelle Willis (traded to Detroit Tigers, signed for 3yr/$29 million), Josh Beckett (traded to Boston Red Sox, signed for 3yr/$30 million), Mike Lowell (traded to Boston Red Sox 3yr/$37.5 million), Cliff Floyd (traded to Expos for package of prospects including Carl Pavano), Luis Castillo (traded to Minnesota Twins, signed by New York Mets for 4yr/$25 million), Preston Wilson (traded to Colorado Rockies for Juan Pierre and Mike Hampton), and Derek Lee  derrek-lee1(traded to Chicago Cubs, signed 5 yr/$65 million) all represent the Marlins’ plan to allow young players to develop and then trade them when they are at or near peak value. These players have then received more valuable contracts than the Marlins would have ever been willing to offer. In addition, players such as Ivan Rodriguez, Armando Benitez, and Todd Jones are examples of veterans who used their time as Marlins to procure more lucrative long-term deals.
Admittedly, the ability to continue to find successful and talented young players is vital for this type of organizational approach. However, to simply say that the Marlins have a talented scouting department dismisses the fact that when the Marlins trade talented players, they usually receive numerous prospects in return; thereby increasing the chance that at least one of those prospects will turn out to be talented. Prior to the 2002 season, the Marlins traded Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca to the Chicago Cubs for Julian Tavarez, Dontrelle Willis, Jose Cueto, and Ryan Jorgensen. Only Dontrelle Willis developed into an upper echelon player, albeit for a limited amount of time. Further, that same season, Cliff Floyd was traded back to the Expos for Carl Pavano, Justin Wayne, Mike Mordecai, Graeme Lloyd, Don Levinski, and Wilton Guerrero. Ryan Dempster was also traded for Juan Encarnacion and Ryan Snare. The point of this is to demonstrate that the Marlins turned 4 players into 12 players, but only two or three of those players turned out to be valuable. By trading valuable young talent at the right time, the Marlins were able to increase the quality and quantity of the talent they received in return, thus minimizing the irodriguez1impact of failed prospects.
This is one of the reasons that differentiate the Marlins from the Royals, Pirates, and Orioles. These organizations wring their hands when it comes to trading players away for fear of angering their fanbase. Thus, players are held onto longer and the team loses leverage when dealing with other teams. Another major reason these organizations have not found the success that the Marlins have is that they attempt to sign high priced free agents to give hope to their beleaguered fan bases. Without analyzing the moves of each organization, suffice to say that by paying someone drastically more than the rest of your team does not fuel the players desire to prove themselves, but rather creates questions like, “If they have the money to pay Player X, why am I not getting mine?” Not to mention that by allocating valuable resources of a small market team into such a limited asset the organization is prevented from investing throughout the team. Lastly, the Marlins traditionally do not trade for established talent by giving up prospects but vice versa. This way, the farm system of the Marlins is constantly infused with young players.
Now, this is not to say that the Marlins have not signed a high priced free agent, ex. Carlos Delgado, or that they will trade away every promising player. It is simply a unique organizational approach that may or may not change with the building of a new stadium and higher expectations. Thus, it should come as no surprise when the Marlins find success despite a meager payroll. Its not that the Marlins win, but how they win that makes them an organization that should be emulated by small market teams in both the National and American leagues.

Notes From the Underground

Filed Under (NL East Chatter) by ubermet on 08-10-2009

Tagged Under : Al Leiter, Armando Benitez, Bobby Keppel, Carl Pavano, Carlos Gomez, Curly Shuffle, Detroit Tigers, Fernando Rodney, Jim Leyland, Ken Griffey Jr., Los Angeles Dodgers, Mark McGwire, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, Rick Anderson, Ron Gardenhire, Ryan Rayburn, Seattle Mariners, Steve Miller

I was at a condo meeting until about 8:30 the other night, so I missed the first 9 innings of Twins/Tigers at the Metrodome. By the time I settled in, checked on the baby and kissed the wife, Leyland had brought in Rodney to finish the 9th and preserve the tie. I should admit that I haven’t seen or even thought much about the Detroit Tigers since they lost to the Cards in the 2006 series. As a New York fan, the world sometimes feels like it stops at the Hudson, and I feel really provincial and small about that sometimes, but it is what it is. That’s why I play fantasy baseball, I guess. Keeps me in the loop. Anyway, one lasting impression I had of the Tigers from 2006 was of this crazy guy Rodney out there on the mound rocking his psycho haircut and throwing his voodoo stink eye all over the place. I remember thinking at the time (as I thought about Armando Benitez back in the day) that a good reliever is almost always equal parts stink eye and talent and that it was cool of him to cultivate his look that way. Not so much anymore though, right? Dude looks like a banker now.

Which got me to thinking. I really don’t watch ESPN highlights anymore. If I had, I’d have been in on Rodney’s extreme makeover a lot sooner. ESPN has become for sports junkies what MTV once was for music fans. A place to put names to faces. I mean, unless you went to concerts in the ’70′s, did anyone actually know what Steve Miller looked like? That’s him over there on the right and I’ll bet at least half of his fans today would trip over him in the street without recognizing him. Exposure to the MTV generation would have cured that. Anyway, it’s the same with out of town sports personalities. Thanks to highlight clips on ESPN, everyone in NY got to know just how big Mark McGwire was and how smooth and graceful Junior Griffey looked despite those awful teal Seattle uniforms. Alas, my Baseball Tonight time pretty much evaporated after I got married. What little of it that did remain got sucked out into the vortex of fatherhood. Time does indeed keep slipping, slipping, slipping into the future.

Oh yeah, Twins/Tigers at the Metrodome. Figured I’d watch just to quench my baseball Jones…now that my team’s been relegated to packing out their lockers and making tee times in Arizona. But even this one was nearly unwatchable for me because whoever did win had to travel to NY the very next night to face the Yankees. Some Golden Ticket, huh? I mean, I’m sort of happy for Twins fans and all. It’s nice to win play-in games. Al Leiter, despite his recent shacking up with the Yankees as their color man on YES, remains one of my all time favorite players for his singular, heroic feat of dragging the Mets into the postseason single handedly on the strength of his 2 hit complete game shutout of the Reds in game 163 of 1999. So yeah, I know from play-in glory. But it’s tough getting hot and heavy for all this when your licking your wounds after a season like this.

I actually did watch the rest of the game though and it actually was pretty good. I was pulling for the Tigers just because as a Met fan, I tend to hate teams like the Twins who come from behind late in the season to snatch away so ungraciously what you once thought was yours for the taking. I dunno. Call it a complex, I guess. But when Rayburn didn’t keep that sinking liner in front of him and it dropped to the turf and rolled to the wall, I experienced that same gut wrenching feeling so familiar to Met fans over the past few years. Here we go again. It was cold comfort that former Mets Carlos Gomez and Bobby Keppel played prominent roles in the Twins’ victory. In fact, looking into that Minnesota dugout last night sort of made you want to start humming “The Curly Shuffle”, didn’t it? For the uninitiated out there, Ron Gardenhire actually used to be skinny. And Rick Anderson was traded for David Cone.

So the Twins get to play the Yanks. I’ll keep track of updates from my Blackberry and will watch whatever game Pavano pitches, but that’s as close as I’ll get to this one (aside from dealing with ridiculous Yankee fans on the subway). Got a feeling the Yanks will roll the Twins pretty quickly. I guess a Yanks/Dodgers series will be nice, but that doesn’t mean I’ll root for that to happen. Nothing’s brought me more pleasure than watching the Yanks get eliminated the past 8 years. And when I say ‘nothing’…I mean…’NOTHING’. This year smells different though, so I’ll temper my expectations and keep blogging my neuroses.

Marlins Player News: Luis Ayala Signs

Filed Under (Marlins Player News, NL East Chatter) by mrose on 02-07-2009

Tagged Under : Atlanta Braves, Florida Marlins, Luis Ayala, Minnesota Twins, New Orleans Zephyrs, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals

Sure, another NL East team, why not?

Sure, another NL East team, why not?

The Marlins have signed RHP Luis Ayala Thursday after he cleared waivers from the Twins.  Ayala had pitched in 28 games for the twins while going 1-2 with a 4.18 ERA.  Most National League East fans will remember him pitching for the Mets at the end of the season and the Nationals before that.  He had a rough time as he was expected to help a bullpen that was really struggling.  His agent says that he will report to AAA New Orleans as he has not pitched in a few weeks, hoping to join the club after that and the Marlins will only pay him the prorated major league minimum, around $200,000.   Check back to NLEC for more information about the Marlins and the National League East.