Wassup Sports!?!?!?!?

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

Posts Tagged ‘Cliff Lee

MLB Season Preview: #26 Cleveland Indians

with one comment

Overview: Two seasons ago, the Indians had the likes of players like P C.C. Sabathia, C Victor Martinez, and P Cliff Lee. Now that those players (and many others) have been traded, the Indians are clearly in a rebuilding mode. They will center the franchise around CF Grady Sizemore. However, Sizemore was injured most of last year, and Cleveland was terrible. Expect more of the same this year from the Tribe.

Offseason Moves: The Indians made very few significant moves this offseason. Their biggest acquisition was 1B Russell Branyan, who is coming off a career year in Seattle. Cleveland also brought in veterans, such as OF Austin Kearns, 2B Mark Grudzielanek, C Mike Redmond, and P Saul Rivera. None of these players will have a great impact, and will serve as mentors and stop-gap players waiting for Cleveland’s young talent to progress through the minor leagues.

Projected Lineups and Pitching Staff:

1. LF Michael Brantley (.313, 0 HR, 11 RBI)

2. 2B Asdrubal Cabrera (.308, 6 HR, 68 RBI)

3. CF Grady Sizemore (.248, 18 HR, 64 RBI)

4. 1B Russell Branyan (.251, 31 HR, 76 RBI)

5. RF Shin-Soo Choo (.300, 20 HR, 86 RBI)

6. SS Jhonny Peralta (.254, 11 HR, 83 RBI)

7. DH Travis Hafner (.272, 16 HR, 49 RBI) —- Will platoon with OF Matt LaPorta

8. 3B Andy Marte (.232, 6 HR, 25 RBI)

9. C Lou Marson (.246, 0 HR, 4 RBI)

Backup C: Mike Redmond (.237, 0 HR, 7 RBI)

Backup IF: Luis Valbuena (.250, 10 HR, 31 RBI)

Backup OF: Matt LaPorta (.254, 7 HR, 21 RBI)

Backup OF: Austin Kearns (.195, 3 HR, 17 RBI)

1. Jake Westbrook (No Stats in ’09)

2. Aaron Laffey (7-9, 4.44 ERA)

3. Justin Masterson (4-10, 4.52 ERA)

4. Fausto Carmona (5-12, 6.32 ERA)

5. David Huff (11-8, 5.61 ERA)

CP: Kerry Wood (3-3, 4.25 ERA, 20 SV)

SU: Rafael Perez (4-3, 7.31 ERA)

SU: Chris Perez (1-2, 4.26 ERA)

MR: Joe Smith (0-0, 3.44 ERA)

MR: Saul Rivera (1-3, 6.10 ERA)

LR: Jensen Lewis (2-4, 4.61 ERA)

LR: Jamey Wright (3-5, 4.33 ERA)

Player to watch: OF Matt LaPorta was the center-piece of the C.C. Sabathia trade a couple of years ago. After a decent rookie campaign, LaPorta finds himself in a log-jam for a spot in the Indians’ outfield, and possibly splitting time at DH with Travis Hafner. If LaPorta lives up to his ability and forces his way into the lineup, it will be interesting where the Indians put him in the field. LaPorta has the potential to be a 30 HR, 100 RBI hitter, and be the right-handed power bat in the Tribe’s lineup for years to come.

Prediction: 60 – 102, 5th in AL Central

The Indians will be the 2nd worst team in MLB this season. They simply have no pitching, and a lineup that will be suspect at times. You need pitching to survive in the American League, and Cleveland doesn’t have it. Not to mention that every other team in the division has good if not great pitching, which will help shut down the Tribe’s offense.

The Roy Halladay – Cliff Lee Blockbuster

with 3 comments

This was not supposed to happen. The Phillies were supposed to have a super rotation, led  by Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, that would overtake the Yankees in next year’s World Series. Now, that will not happen.

The news broke late on Monday that Roy Halladay was in Philadelphia,

A video game simulation of new Phillies' pitcher Roy Halladay (above).

 negotiating a 3 year, $60 million dollar deal, after he was finally traded to Philadelphia. However, Phillies owner, David Montgomery, set a strict and tight $140 million dollar payroll, and keeping ace Cliff Lee would not allow that to happen. So, Lee was traded to Seattle. However, the trade leaves many in the city of Brotherly Love puzzled.

Quite frankly, Halladay and Lee are nearly on the same level of talent. Of course, Halladay is right-handed, which favors splitting up the Phillies left-dominated rotation. However, Cliff Lee won the hearts of Philly, trotting out with one great performance after another. Lee lead the Phillies to their second consecutive World Series, albeit a loss.

The plot twist came long after the season was over. It was first reported in early December that the Phillies were working on a long-term contract extension with Lee, and he appeared to be open to it, saying that he enjoyed his time with the Phillies. Although, as the month went on, the rumors began to surface that Philadelphia was contemplating trading Lee. Actually, when I first heard this, a friend told me, and we both laughed at the crazy idea. However, it was that same day that Lee was traded to Seattle, and Roy Halladay was in Philly.

What is confusing to the public and sports experts is why the trade was made now. At the trade deadline, when Halladay was passed over for Lee, it was because the Phillies did not want to give up their top pitching prospect, Kyle Drabek. However, when Lee declined working out a long-term deal, the Phillies could not take the chance of losing him in the offseason for nothing. On the other hand, Halladay agreed to an extension before the trade was even completed. So, the deal came, in which the Phillies gave up Drabek, top prospect outfielder, Michael Taylor (who is being traded to Oakland in a seperate deal), and top prospect catcher, Travis D’Arnaud. This was a steep price for the Phillies, but they acquired prospects for Cliff Lee.

New Phillies' prospect, Phillippe Aumont (above), pitching for Team Canada in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

These prospects are all former first round picks, starting with reliever Phillippe Aumont, outfielder Tyson Gillies, and pitcher J.C. Ramirez. This group of prospects is widely regarded as worse than what the Phillies gave up, but just what Philadelphia may need. Above all, Aumont is a 6’7″ reliever who throws hard. If he has a good spring, Aumont could definitely find himself a spot in the Phils’ bullpen.

Now that the dust has settled, the Phillies made a trade that will be questioned for probably the next four months. There is no way of telling how this trade will work out, since most of the players in the deal are prospects, and there is no way of telling how Halladay or Lee will perform. It is possible that the Phillies could have created a situation similar to the Johan Santana situation a couple of years ago, in which the Twins had one offer left and were forced to take it. That would’ve enabled Drabek to possibly stay a Phillie, but Lee’s unwillingness forced this trade to happen. As of now, the Mariners look to have won this deal, as they will trot Felix Hernandez and Lee out every five days, but the Phillies may have won it both in the short and long-term. ESPN analyst John Kruk went as far as to predict that Halladay will win the NL Cy Young in 2010. No one knows what will happen, but over the next eleven months, the Phillies may show that trading for Halladay was the right move.

As the deadline passes, many players are finding new homes

with one comment

Red Sox first basemen Adam LaRoche to the Braves for first basemen Casey Kotchman: This move was strictly made to free up some money for the Red Sox, and to acquire great defense off their bench in Kotchman. Adam LaRoche now returns to Atlanta, and provides a better offense at first.

Grade : C for Red Sox, C for Braves

Indians’ catcher Victor Martinez to the Red Sox for P Justin Masterson, P Nick Hagadone, and P Bryan Price: The Red SoxVictor Martinezobviously needed another bat to make a legitimate run at the World Series. They got it in catcher/first basemen Victor Martinez. This trade also gives the Sox some versatility. Martinez can catch and spell Jason Varitek every now and then. Victor can also play first, which would slide Kevin Youkilis across the diamond if Mike Lowell continues to hurt. Martinez also provides a switch hitter with power in the middle of the lineup that balances Boston’s order. The Indians received three top prospects in starters Justin Masterson and Nick Hagadone, and a closer in Bryan Price.

Grade: A – for Red Sox, B for Indians

Padres’ pitcher Jake Peavy to the White Sox for P Clayton Richard, P Aaron Poreda, P Dexter Carter, P Adam Russell: In a surprise move, the Padres finally got the injured Peavy to waive his no trade clause, and accepted the White Sox trade. If Peavy comes back this year, this gives the White Sox a great one-two punch in Mark Buehrle and Peavy, and closes the gap between them and the Tigers. The Padres, on the other hand, dumped Peavy’s salary like they had desperately attempted to earlier. They also acquired three top prospects in Richard, who has started 26 games in the Majors this year, Poreda, a 2007 first round pick, and Carter, a thirteenth round pick in 2007. Adam Russell also has some relieving experience in the Majors. These players just add more pieces to the puzzle for San Diego, as they rebuild their team.

Grade : B+ for White Sox, B- for Padres

A’s shortstop Orlando Cabrera to the Twins for SS Tyler Ladendorf: A move that was considered a lock, occurred Friday, as the Twins finally sured up the middle of their infield. The Twins, as many teams have, had a void in their middle infield and filled it with Cabrera. Orlando provides solid defense as well as a bat that can be placed almost anywhere in the lineup. The A’s got prospect Tyler Ladendorf, who was a second round pick in 2008, and who is currently at Single A.

Grade : B for Twins, C for A’s

WashburnMariners’ pitcher Jarrod Washburn to the Tigers for P Luke French and P Mauricio Robles: The Mariners decided they were not in contention this year, and traded away Washburn, in the middle of a career year. This gives the Tigers a great rotation, especially a top three of Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson, and Washburn. The interesting part of this trade is that the Mariners very well could resign Jarrod Washburn after the season. Washburn has stated that he loves Seattle, and would fit in their picture for next season. As for the players they acquired, French is a rookie this season but has been serviceable thus far. Robles is a top prospect that could be in the Majors in as soon as two seasons.

Grade: B+ for Tigers, B- for Mariners

Orioles’ pitcher George Sherrill to the Dodgers for 3B Josh Bell and P Steve Johnson: The Orioles coveted reliever was sent on his way for a top prospect in third basemen, Josh Bell. Baltimore figured that it will not be a contender for at least another year or two, so they got the best value they could for their closer, which would be the heir apparent to 3B Melvin Mora.

Grade: B for Dodgers, C+ for Orioles

Blue Jays’ third basemen Scott Rolen to the Reds for 3B Edwin Encarnacion, P Josh Roenicke, and P Zach Stewart: Reds GM Walt Jocketty had previously traded for Rolen, and now has done it again. The Reds traded young third basemen Edwin Encarnacion, along with two pitching prospects for Rolen, who is in the midst of his best season since his shoulder injury three seasons ago.

Grade: C+ for Reds, C+ for Blue Jays

Pirates’ pitcher Tom Gorzelanny and P John Grabow to the Cubs for P Kevin Hart and P Jose Ascaino: After getting a Cubs win yesterday, pitcher Kevin Hart received the news that he was traded to the Pirates. Hart and pitcher Jose Ascaino, give the Bucs some more arms to rummage through as they continue to build their team from the bottom up. The Cubs got once fourteen game winner, Tom Gorzelanny, who they believe to be on track again after struggling earlier this season. Chicago also acquired lefty reliever John Grabow, who they will pair with lefty Sean Marshall, for the stretch run.

Grade: B for Cubs, B- for Pirates

Nationals’ first basemen Nick Johnson to the Marlins for P Aaron Thompson: The Nationals dumped salary and injuries to the Florida Marlins today. Johnson, having his seemingly most healthy year, was traded to Florida for a former first round pick in pitcher Aaron Thompson. This move gives the Nats another arm on which to build their franchise. Johnson will give the Marlins a better all around player at first, as well as the versatility to play many different lineups based on match ups.

The Moves Not Made

Halladay: As I said yesterday, Toronto GM over played his hand based on the market, and ended up keeping Roy Halladay. Now he will attempt to deal him in the offseason, at much lesser value. This scenario reminds me very much of what went on with P Johan Santana, almost two years ago.

Gonzalez: In my opinion, the Padres were never going to trade first basemen Adrian Gonzalez. He is relatively young, cheap based on his talents, and someone they can rebuild their team around.

Trade Deadline Winners

Pirates Giants Trade BaseballGiants: The Giants needed offense to even make it a race against the Dodgers, who have the Majors best record. They added two bats, Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Garko. Sanchez is a former batting champion, and Garko had hit 35 home runs the past two seasons. With their already strong pitching, considerably stronger than the Dodgers, the Giants look primed to now challenge Los Angeles for the NL West crown.

Red Sox: Theo Epstein works in curious ways. When all is said and done, the Red Sox walk away from the deadline with Victor Martinez as an insurance policy for Mike Lowell, and a bat in the middle of the lineup. The Sox also gave up relatively little for Martinez, who they will also have for 2010.

Cardinals: The Cardinals got a bat to protect Albert Pujols, and set themselves up for the stretch run with the acquisition of outfielder Matt Holliday. Besides giving up top prospect, Brett Wallace, who had questions surrounding him anyways, the Cards got Holliday for barely anything. Not to mention they acquired red hot Julio Lugo, and versatile Mark DeRosa.

Phillies: Thought to be front runners for Roy Halladay, the Phillies went in and swooped up Cliff Lee for a much lesser price than what Toronto GM J.P. Riccardi was asking for. Lee gives the Phillies one of the best rotations in the NL, and cements them as serious threats to repeat.

Trade Deadline Losers

Athletics: The A’s traded away Matt Holliday and Orlando Cabrera this deadline. The boatload of prospects Oakland walked away with shows that they won’t be players anytime soon.

Indians: Although I liked the prospects the Indians acquired in both the Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez deals, you can’t trade last year’s Cy Young Award winner and the best catcher in baseball, and be considered a better team.

Blue Jays: Now that they haven’t traded Halladay, his value will go way down. One GM has even been quoted as saying that his value would drop 30-40%. Good luck getting what you ask for now J.P.

After Wednesday’s madness, Thursday is calm…

leave a comment »

Pirates’ shortstop Jack Wilson and P Ian Snell to the Mariners for SS Ronny Cedeno, C Jeff Clement, P Brett Lorin, P Aaron Pribanic, P Nathan Adcock: The Mariners proved everyone wrong when they traded for Gold Glove shortstop Jack Wilson from the Pirates. Seattle, thought to be out of the AL West race and would be sellers, upgraded their team’s defense as well as adding starting pitching depth in Ian Snell. The Pirates on the other hand acquired shortstop Ronny Cedeno, who had been a surprise thus far. The Bucs also got catcher Jeff Clement, who was a top prospect for the Mariners, but struggled mightily in the Majors. The three pitchers just add to the Pirates surplus of prospects, as they build toward a strong future.

Grade: B+ for Mariners, B for Pirates

Pirates’ second basemen Freddy Sanchez to the Giants for P Tim Alderson: Pittsburgh PiratesThe Giants added another bat Wednesday in second basemen Freddy Sanchez. Luckily for Sanchez, he didn’t have to go far seeing as the Pirates were playing the Giants in San Francisco. The Giants fill a void that they’ve had at second base all year, and build up their offense to take a run at the Dodgers in the NL West. The Pirates get yet another top prospect in P Tim Alderson, as they build towards the future.

Grade: B+ for Giants, C+ for Pirates

Blue Jays’ P Roy Halladay to…..no one: It’s sad when the most talked about deal of the deadline is one that hasn’t been made, and now most likely will not be made. The Phillies acquiring P Cliff Lee yesterday made one thing much clearer, and that is that Roy Halladay will not be moved. The Phils had been the favorite to get Halladay from the start, because they are the only team with the type of young top prospects that absolutely blew GM J.P. Riccardi away. Although, the Phillies were not willing to mortgage their future for Halladay, and got their second choice in Lee, at a much lighter price.

Grade: F for Blue Jays, for waiting to long to trade Halladay

Analyzing the Deadline Deals so far….

with one comment

Matt HollidayA’s outfielder Matt Holliday to the Cardinals for top prospect Brett Wallace, OF Shane Peterson and P Clayton Mortenson: The obvious winners of this deal are the Cardinals. In the past, Billy Beane has been known to get top value in deals such as this, but not so this time. Wallace is a top prospect, and his lit it up in the minor leagues so far. Although, there are concerns about his defense, and his body. Peterson and Mortenson aren’t even considered top prospects. So essentially, the Cardinals gave up a bat, and a couple of mid level prospects, to become NL Central favorites.

Grade: A for the Cardinals, F for the Athletics

Indian’s Ryan Garko to the Giants for P Scott Barnes: It’s been known for months now that the Giants needed a bat. Garko is young, and has the potential to be a decent power hitter. Although he’s having a down year this year, Garko will split time with Giant’s prospect John Bower at first base, supplying them with some offense they desperately needed. Scott Barnes was at Triple-A for the Giants, and led the league in wins at the time of the trade.

Grade: B for the Giants, B- for the Indians

Indians’ reliever Rafael Betancourt to the Rockies for P Connor Graham: The Rockies are somehow, again, in the playoff race. Their starters have been great this whole season, while the bullpen has struggled at times. They needed to add depth before the injury of Manny Corpas, who could be out for the year. The Rockies filled the void with Rafael Betancourt. The Indians got a prospect from Single-A, in Connor Graham, that has the potential to be a power pitcher in the Majors. The Indians got just what they wanted, and are building for the future.

Grade : B for the Rockies, B for the Indians

Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo to the Cardinals for OF Chris Duncan: Boston had been desperately trying to get rid of Lugo, and designated him for assignment last week. They had ten days to trade him, and completed a deal that got Boston Cardinal’s outfielder Chris Duncan, who had struggled the whole season. Boston sent Duncan to Triple-A, and he was acquired strictly for depth. Lugo on the other hand, went on a tear once being acquired by the Cardinals, and has kept it up for nearly a week. He fills the void the Cardinals had all season in the middle infield.

Grade: B for the Red Sox, B+ for the Cardinals

Pirate’s first basemen Adam LaRoche to the Red Sox for SS Argenis Dias and P Hunter Strickland: The Red Sox added some more depth in this trade, as well as a needed bat. Adam LaRoche will play first base against right handers, while Youkilis would play third. LaRoche will sit against leftys, and ailing third basemen Mike Lowell would play third, while Youkilis would slide to first. LaRoche’s stance and swing is built for Fenway, and that miniscule right field porch. The Pirates got what they wanted out of this deal, which was dumping LaRoche’s salary, and got some decent prospects for the future.

Grade: B+ for the Red Sox, C for the Pirates

Just announced and pending physicals: Phillies’ P Carlos Cliff LeeCarrasco, SS Jason Donald, C Lou Marson, and P Jason Knapp to the Indians for P Cliff Lee and OF Ben Francisco: After talks with the Blue Jays went dead, the Phillies turned their attentions to Cliff Lee. The Indians demands were not quite as high as the Blue Jays, which allowed the Phils to keep top prospect P Kyle Drabek and rookie of the year candidate P J.A. Happ. The Phillies gave up top pitching prospect Carlos Carrasco, who had been inconsistent in Triple-A for parts of the past two years. Shortstop Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson were members of the Olympic squad last year, and rose quickly through the minor league system. Donald was thought to possibly take 3B Pedro Feliz’s spot next year, and Marson could have shared catching duties with Carlos Ruiz. Pitcher Jason Knapp had been struggling at Single-A all year. The Phillies got another top pitcher that they needed in Cliff Lee, and a more effective backup outfielder in Ben Francisco.

Grade : B+ for the Phillies, B for the Indians

More analysis on the 2009 Trading Deadline is still to come, including an overall analysis after the deadline passes.

Odds and Ends

with one comment

After not posting anything in two weeks, I figure it’s time to cover up some odds and ends. First, I was totally wrong on the Penguins, and congratulations to them for winning the Stanley Cup. Also, congratulations to the Lakers for winning their 15th title.

Other things I am waiting on:

  • Stephen Strasburg to sign with the Nationals…which could never happen.
  • Brett Favre to come back… which might not happen this time!
  • Terrell Owens’ first accusation of secret meetings between Trentto Edwards and Lee Evans in Buffalo.
  • The Flyers to let longtime wing, and fan favorite Mike Knuble walk.
  • The New York Mets to somehow overcome their injuries, only to collapse to the Phillies again in September.
  • The Cowboys, even without their alleged problem in Owens, to once again lose in the first round of the playoffs.
  • Ricky Rubio to return to Spain, just because he doesn’t want to play in Minnesota.
  • Stephen Curry’s first trade request out of Golden State.lebron
  • LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Curry to unite in New York, and lift the Knicks to a title.
  • The Padres to trade Jake Peavy, for much less value then they had been asking for.
  • The Blue Jays collapse down the stretch, after they decide to keep ace Roy Halladay.
  • The Orioles to get good! Of course, this won’t happen for another five years, but they are the future of the AL East.
  • The Indians to trade Victor Martinez, Cliff Lee, and anyone else who could actually be apart of a winning ball club that they apparently don’t need.
  • The Cubs to win a World Series.

cubs

Yes, I am waiting on a lot, much of which could conceivably happen.