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17 year old Cale's very opinionated view on everything sports.

Posts Tagged ‘Brad Lidge

The Free Agent Guessing Game

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I am a follower of the site “mlbtraderumors.com” during the offseason and when it becomes closer to the trade deadline of the baseball season. Usually, I am very interested and agree with a lot of what the site says. However, they posted their Top 50 Free Agent Predictions, and I throughly disagree on many. Here is my list:

 

Matt Holliday (above) watches the game from the dugout.

1.  Matt Holliday – Mets.   The Mets need offense, plain and simple. They have the money, and want to add the big bat.

2.  John Lackey – Red Sox. Boston’s rotation was almost a sure thing prior to last season. Now, Beckett and Lester are the only two definite starters, so signing Lackey is a top priority.

3.  Jason Bay – Red Sox.  Boston is the only place Bay has won, and he fits in very nicely there. I expect him to wait until Holliday signs, but after realizing Boston is his best spot, he will resign.

4.  Chone Figgins – Cardinals. A bit of a surprise here, as most believe Figgins will either sign with the Phillies or return to the Angels. However, the Cardinals struggled with solidifying the top of their lineup all season, and Troy Glaus is no longer a sure thing at the hot corner.

5.  Randy Wolf – Dodgers. L.A. is in the same situation as Boston, and have no idea what their rotation will look like next season. It’s highly unlikely that the Dodgers could acquire Roy Halladay, so Wolf is a must to bring back.

6.  Andy Pettitte – Retirement. Yes, Pettitte is finally going to walk away. After winning a World Series in 2009, who wouldn’t want to go out on top?

7.  Jose Valverde – Yankees. This will be the biggest splash of the offseason in the Bronx, as the will sign Valverde to set up Rivera, and possibly be his replacement.

8.  Marco Scutaro – Red Sox. The Sox let SS Alex Gonzalez walk, and Scutaro fits nicely. He can bat at either the top or bottom of the lineup, and will help SS Jed Lowrie stay fresh throughout the season.

9.  Adrian Beltre – Angels. They will need to fill the void that Figgins leaves, and I don’t think that they are ready to hand over the job to minor leaguers yet. This signing makes much more sense if the Halos are unable to bring back OF Vladamir Guerrero.

10.  Rich Harden – Mets. I believe the Red Sox will get Halladay, and that is why I have Harden going to the Mets. In desperate need of starting pitching and a winning club, look for New York to go on a spending spree to try and fill the stands at Citi Field.

11.  Mike Cameron – Royals. Kansas City already declined Coco Crisp’s option, and they need a center fielder. Frankly, the need elsewhere for Cameron’s services is limited.

12.  Johnny Damon – Giants. The Giants need to add offense, and Damon would fit nicely by the bay. Damon would also be the final piece of an outfield that includes Aaron Rowand and Nate Schierholtz.

13.  Orlando Hudson – Diamondbacks. It was a mistake letting Hudson walk in the first place, and Arizona was a dreadful team last season. They need to make improvements, and second base is one of the many holes on this club.

14.  Miguel Tejada – Orioles. I think Tejada would be good for the Phillies,

Miguel Tejada (above) could dawn that same Orioles' uniform again.

 but I just can’t see that happening. After the relationship soured between Baltimore and Melvin Mora last season, a hole at third base opened up for Tejada to step right back into.

15.  Joel Pineiro – Mets. New York needs rotation help, and its no secret that GM Omar Minaya likes the idea of building a latin oriented team.

16.  Nick Johnson – Orioles. Baltimore let 1B Aubrey Huff go at the trade deadline, and can afford to offer an incentive laden deal to the oft-injured Johnson.

17.  Aroldis Chapman – Reds. This could be the surprise of the offseason. After all the hype, when teams actually see him throw, I believe that his value will fall in the eyes of GMs, and will join the Reds rotation of the future, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, and Micah Owings.

18.  Marlon Byrd – Rangers. It is the only place where Byrd has had success in his major league career, and there is not much of a market for center fielders, prompting the Rangers to keep Marlon.

19.  Vladimir Guerrero – Twins. This is another surprise pick here, but Minnesota needs to add a bat to help MVP Joe Mauer and 1B Justin Morneau. Guerrero would be the perfect DH to open a new ball park in the Twin Cities.

20.  Felipe Lopez – Dodgers. With Orlando Hudson leaving the Dodgers, Lopez fits right in as a bat in the No.2 hole of the line up, or down at the bottom.

21.  Adam LaRoche – Braves. LaRoche has spent most of his big league career in Atlanta, and the Braves can’t afford to lose too much offense. Look for LaRoche to get a pay raise to ensure that he doesn’t leave Georgia.

22.  Rafael Soriano – Angels. Adding this right-handed late inning reliever will give L.A. the ability to play the numbers, and put in either Soriano or closer Brian Fuentes based on matchups.

 23. Jon Garland – Twins. Minnesota would like another arm to go in their rotation, and Garland would be a nice addition. He is one of the lower pitchers of this year’s crop, so his price will not be outrageously high.

24.  Carl Pavano – Nationals. Pavano was given a shot by the Indians last season, and was then traded to Minnesota. While Carl could still return to Cleveland, the Nationals are in need of a veteran starter, and a stop gap until all their young pitching talent arrives.

25.  Brad Penny – Diamondbacks. Arizona needs everything, and Penny would give the D-Backs a deeper rotation, as well as a veteran starter.

26.  Erik Bedard – Dodgers. Bedard is often injured, and this could lower his price. However, price isn’t much of an issue in L.A. Bedard is also rumored to be a pain in the clubhouse, in which he would fit right in with Dodgers OF Manny Ramirez.

World Series MVP Hideki Matsui (above) won't leave the Bronx.

27.  Hideki Matsui – Yankees. Believe it or not, the Yankees need the Japanese media in New York. Not to mention, Matsui was just World Series MVP, and there is no way that he is let go.

 28.  Bengie Molina – Mets. The Mets need bats, and their offseason spending frenzy will continue with the signing of Molina. Acquiring one of the best hitting catchers in baseball will help New York build a deeper line up.

29.  Mike Gonzalez – Braves. A possible destination is in the Bronx, but if Soriano leaves Atlanta, Gonzalez may like having the closer’s role all to himself.

30.  Jason Marquis – Rockies. Marquis had a stellar first half in Denver, but struggled down the stretch. I believe that he will hold out in hopes of a bigger deal, but the market will not play in his favor and force a return to the Rockies.

31.  Placido Polanco – Rays. Money isn’t a plenty down in Florida, but after trading 2B Akinori Iwamura, the Rays could use a stabalizing force at the top of their line up. CF B.J. Upton was inconsistent last season, which is why signing Polanco could happen.

32.  Tim Wakefield – Red Sox.  Boston’s rotation is very uncertain, and Wakefield has only ever played for one team. If Wakefield doesn’t return to Boston like I believe, look for retirement.

33.  Ben Sheets – Rangers. Sheets has taken a year off to recover from shoulder surgery, and looks to mount a comeback. Not many teams will be willing to offer him a contract, but the Rangers are always in need of starters, and could offer him an incentive laden deal. Not to mention, Sheets is the same kind of pitcher that owner Nolan Ryan used to be, so that must make him attractive.

34.  Doug Davis – Brewers. Davis has already played for the Brewers, and Milwaukee doesn’t have the money to sign a top-notch starter. Davis’s signing looks even more likely since the Brewers claimed him on waivers in August but couldn’t work out a deal.

35.  Jarrod Washburn – Mariners. There were no bitter feelings between the two sides after trading Washburn to Detroit, and the pitcher said that he would like to return to Seattle. The Mariners aren’t deep on pitching, so bringing back Washburn makes perfect sense.

36.  Russell Branyan – Mariners. I don’t believe that any other club will take the chance of signing Branyan, for he very likely could be a one year wonder. Also, Branyan has the desire to stay in Seattle, so why would he leave?

37.  Billy Wagner – Nationals. Wagner has questions about his health and age, which makes him an unreliable option in the late innings. However, he has stated that he wants to close for the Washington Nationals, and they have no one better. There is no reason that this deal shouldn’t get done.

38.  Juan Uribe – Mariners. Uribe had a good season in San Francisco last season, but not good enough to demand a crazy amount of money. The Mariners will need a third basemen if Adrian Beltre opts to leave, making Uribe a fit in Seattle.

39.  John Smoltz – Retirement. Smoltz’s attempt to come back from shoulder surgery failed last season, and there is no reason to believe that he would be able to make it through a full season. I don’t believe any club in contention would take a chance on Smoltz.

40.  Jermaine Dye – Royals. Dye is in the last stretch of his career, and being a former Royal may appeal to him. His market is not that big, therefore Kansas City would be able to afford him.

41.  Mark DeRosa – Phillies.  The Phillies have tried to acquire DeRosa for years. It makes perfect sense for both sides, as Philadelphia will need a third basemen going into next season.

42.  Coco Crisp – Padres. Money is an issue for San Diego, and it helps that Crisp can’t demand a ton of it. The Padres need an outfielder, and Crisp would be a nice addition to the top of the line up.

43.  Carlos Delgado – Blue Jays. Delgado is another aging superstar, and

Carlos Delgado (above) could also be returning to Toronto.

may want to return to his old stomping ground in Toronto. The Jays are totally devoid of power, and could bring back Delgado at a low price.

44.  Orlando Cabrera – Twins. Both sides have interest, as Cabrera was the emotional leader of last season’s squad. I don’t see Cabrera going any place else.

45.  Gregg Zaun – Rays. The Rays need a backup catcher, and Zaun is cheap. Perfect fit.

46.  Jim Thome – White Sox. Thome has had a good run in Chicago, and the only other place I could see him landing would be Cleveland. I think the issue here will be money, and Thome will not get what he want, but Chicago will offer a little more than Cleveland.

47.  Fernando Rodney – Phillies. Rodney is a good fit in Philadelphia because of his versatility. He can close, set up, and pitch in middle relief. If Brad Lidge struggles again next season, Rodney would be the best insurance policy.

48.  Xavier Nady – Diamondbacks.  Nady provides corner outfield depth, and can play first base. He’s not an all-star by any means, but a decent player that could help out in Arizona.

49.  Kiko Calero – Rays. Calero would be cheap, and as I have previously said, that makes him a fit as a reliever in Tampa.

50.  Rafael Betancourt – Rockies. Betancourt was one of the Rockies best relievers last season, and there will be interest in him. However, I think Colorado will offer some decent dollars to Betancourt, and keep him around.

There is one thing that I did agree with on the site, and it is that this is a difficult puzzle. If one player signs with one team, it ultimately could effect another team’s interest in another player, and all sorts of mayhem in which is the MLB offseason. Although, I thoroughly believe that my predictions will prove more accurate.

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The Phillies’ Closer

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Over the past two months, various closer’s role ideas have been thrown around because Brad Lidge has become ineffective. First, it was setup man Ryan Madson, who did not succeed in the high pressure situations. After that, it was back to Lidge, who continued to be inconsistent. Earlier this month, lefty Scott Eyre pitched through the first two outs of the ninth against the Atlanta Braves. After giving up a double to catcher Brian McCann, Eyre was pulled and Lidge recorded the final out.

For a short while, Lidge showed signs of regaining his composure. Although, he again slipped up. This leads to about two weeks ago, where manager Charlie Manuel went into closer by committee mode. Again, Ryan Madson was given opportunities, along with Brett Myers and Lidge. Madson blew a save, Myers didn’t exactly blow anyone away, and Lidge was still inconsistent.

Brad LidgeNow we are here, the day after the Phillies bullpen blew a three run lead over the last two innings. Brad Lidge blew his 11th save of the year, and the Phillies ended up losing the series to Florida. With nine games to go, Philadelphia is almost a lock to make the playoffs. However, their bullpen may be the worst of any team heading into the postseason. 

I have been a preacher this entire season of loyalty to Lidge, especially because what he did for this team last season. Unfortunately, it has gotten to the point that you cannot keep putting him out there. Even worse, the Phillies have nearly zero options to replace him. Going through every possibility, we start at Lidge. Not an option. Ryan Madson hasn’t succeeded in the role, and is better in the eighth inning. Not an option. Left J.C. Romero is still injured with a strained right forearm, and there is no telling for when he would return. Although, Romero would be the most likely choice for Manuel to throw out there, but his injury counts him out. Chan Ho Park would be another great option at this point, but his strained hamstring may keep him out until the NLCS.

The more unlikely candidates are Tyler Walker, Chad Durbin, and Clay Condrey. Walker has closed before, but just doesn’t seem like a shut down guy for the post season. Durbin has received the nickname “Home Run Durbin” this season, which is why he cannot close games. Condrey is also not a shut down pitcher. Even more surprising, I read a column today about the possibility of J.A. Happ closing games. I don’t see that happening, for he doesn’t exactly have electric stuff, and has proven to been a great starter. This all leads me to two names.

Pedro Martinez and Jamie Moyer.

Let me start with Moyer, who is the least likely of the two. Just picture Cole Hamels pitching seven strong innings with his 93 MPH fastball. Then Ryan Madson blows through batters in the eighth with a 97 MPH fastball. Finally, Jamie Moyer comes in and throws…..82 MPH? Moyer would keep batters off balance. After seeing hard heaters all game, Moyer’s change of pace would be interesting to try in the ninth inning.

On the other hand, Pedro Martinez has the perfect mentality of a closer. HePedro Martinezis scared of nothing, and no one while he is on the mound. Not to mention, Martinez is willing to close. He even said so when he signed with the Phillies. Also, at his age Martinez isn’t throwing as hard as he used to. Although, he is starting, and is stretching out his velocity over a hundred pitches. As a closer, Martinez may be able to light the gun up to 95 MPH, and blow batters away again. Even better, Pedro Martinez has tons of big game experience. Right now, he looks like the best option that the Phillies have right now, and if they want to repeat, they need to be able to close games out.

Pitching Overload?

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The Philadelphia Phillies are on a roll. Having won ten straight and extending their division lead to 6.5 games over Atlanta, they seem to be on top of the world with everything in place. Although, the rumors of Roy Halladay are still swirling and recent signing Pedro Martinez is making some people ask questions. Do the Phillies have too much pitching? Where will Pedro pitch?

Right now, the Phillies’ starting rotation consists of Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer, and Rodrigo Lopez. When Pedro rehabs, and if he is major league ready, the most likely pitcher to lose his spot is Lopez. Right now though, Lopez is 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA, and the Phillies have won everyone of his starts. There is no way they could remove him from the rotation if he stays on this roll. Next option for replacement would be Jamie Moyer, who has put up less than stellar numbers this season, although he is beginning to come around. Moyer would have to be moved to the bullpen if Martinez entered the rotation, which will just not happen.

Another discussed option is putting Pedro in the bullpen. Martinez was the closer for the Dominican Republic, and during his introductory press conference, stressed that he would do the same. The Phillies already have a closer, Brad Lidge, so Martinez would have to be more of a middle reliever. The feeling is that it would not go over well with Pedro, so that is another risky option.

Another pitcher hoping to comeback with the Phils is starter Brett Myers. He was believed to be lost for the season when he had hip surgery in June, but Myers is ahead of schedule and could return as a reliever. Brett excelled in this role back in 2007, saving 21 games for the Phillies. It is also known that manager Charlie Manuel loves relievers that can come into the game firing. If Myers does come back, who’s roster spot does he take? Eric Bruntlett has been struggling all season, but is a super utility man. Outfielder John Mayberry Jr. has been serviceable for the Phillies this year, but they are carrying five outfielders.

What I believe should happen is if the Phillies have extended their division to lead to about ten games over the second place team, why not use a six-man rotation? It’ll be the dog days of summer by August, and this will allow everyone to be rested for the postseason. With Myers, I believe the Phillies should send down outfielder John Mayberry Jr. He could use some more seasoning down at AAA Lehigh Valley.

Ruben Amaro Jr. has a lot to work out over the next few months, but isn’t the old saying ” If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”?Ruben Amaro Jr.