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

Posts Tagged ‘Roy Halladay

MLB Season Preview: #25 Toronto Blue Jays

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Overview: The Jays are a mess of a team. They traded away the best pitcher in baseball, P Roy Halladay, gave up on OF Alex Rios, and are stuck with the burden of contracts belonging to OF Vernon Wells and 1B Lyle Overbay. After making several moves during the offseason, it is clear that Toronto is in a rebuilding stage, and going with the youth movement.

Offseason Moves: The Jays brought in a lot of young arms this offseason. Top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek leads the group, that also consists of P Brandon Morrow, P Dana Eveland, and P Merkin Valdez. To bolster the bullpen, Toronto brought in closer Kevin Gregg. However, the biggest acquisitions may have come from within for Toronto, for pitchers Shawn Marcum, Dustin McGowan, and Jeremy Accardo are returning from injuries in 2010. On offense, Toronto made nearly no moves, only bringing in light-hitting SS Alex Gonzalez, and top prospect IF Brett Wallace.

Projected Lineups and Pitching Staff:

1. LF Joey Gathright (.267, O HR, O RBI)

2. 2B Aaron Hill (.286, 36 HR, 108 RBI)

3. DH Adam Lind (.305, 35 HR, 114 RBI)

4. CF Vernon Wells (.260, 15 HR, 66 RBI)

5. RF Travis Snider (.241, 9 HR, 21 RBI)

6. 3B Edwin Encarnacion (.225, 13 HR, 39 RBI)

7. 1B Lyle Overbay (.265, 16 HR, 64 RBI)

8. C John Buck (.247, 8 HR, 36 RBI)

9. SS Alex Gonzalez (.238, 8 HR, 41 RBI)

Backup C: Jose Molina (.217, 1 HR, 11 RBI)

Backup IF: John McDonald (.258, 4 HR, 13 RBI)

Backup IF: Randy Ruiz (.313, 10 HR, 17 RBI)

Backup OF: Jose Bautista (.235, 13 HR, 40 RBI)

1. Ricky Romero (13-9, 4.30 ERA)

2. Shawn Marcum (No stats in ’09)

3. Brandon Morrow (2-4, 4.39 ERA)

4. Marc Rzepcyzynski (2-4, 3.67 ERA)

5. Dustin McGowan (No stats in ’09)

CP: Kevin Gregg (5-6, 4.72 ERA, 23 SV)

SU: Jason Frasor (7-3, 2.60 ERA)

SU: Scott Downs (1-3, 3.09 ERA)

MR: Jesse Carlson (1-6, 4.66 ERA)

MR: Shawn Camp (2-6, 3.50 ERA)

MR: Jeremy Accardo (0-0, 2.55 ERA)

LR: Dana Eveland (2-4, 7.16 ERA)

Player to watch: Top prospect Brett Wallace has been traded twice within the past year. He also has been moved all around the infield, from third base to first base, and also spending time at DH. Toronto has decided that Wallace will be its first baseman of the future, however his road is currently blocked by 1B Lyle Overbay. Don’t expect that for too long, as the Jays will attempt to trade most of their veterans to give the young guys a shot. Of course, Wallace’s massive power and ability to hit for a high average will help move the process along.

Prediction: 58 – 104, 5th in AL East

The Jays have 2B Aaron Hill and DH Adam Lind to build around on offense. However, there isn’t much offense after that. Excluding those two players, the Jays batting average of last season was .251, which is nowhere near the average needed to compete with the pitching in the AL East. Yes, the Jays will be the worst team in baseball this season. However, if it weren’t for the division they play in, Cleveland would be the worst team. Toronto has talent coming up. Ps Kyle Drabek and Brett Cecil will be front-line starters in the future. First basemen David Cooper, Brian Dopriak, and Brett Wallace lead the way on offense. It will just take some time to develop the talent, and it’s not easy to do in the American League.

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The Roy Halladay – Cliff Lee Blockbuster

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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.

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.

Two GMs, Two Different Sports, Two Big Mistakes

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Packers’ GM Ted Thompson and now former Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi really don’t have much in common. The Packers are an age old NFL team, while the Blue Jays are in the MLB and are north of the border. Although, what they do have in common is the fact that they have both made a mistake that may stain their careers forever.

Starting off with Thompson, and he will be known as “The Guy Who Traded Brett Favre.” It began in the summer of 2008, when Favre retired, again. Of course, as training camp grew closer, Favre got the itch to play again. Being tired of the same old song and dance, Thompson felt that it was his place to put his foot down, trade Favre to the Jets, and move on with QB Aaron Rodgers as the face of his organization. This is where Thompson went wrong.

Brett Favre (left) may come back to haunt Ted Thompson (right).

Brett Favre (left) may come back to haunt Ted Thompson (right).

The Packers went 6-10 in 2008, while the Jets went 9-7. Of course, both teams missed the playoffs, but this isn’t where the story ends. So the inevitable Favre retirement occurred again, and it seemed that he may actually have been done this time. WRONG. After months of speculation, Favre signed with the Vikings, which also happened to be the team he was rumored as wanting to go to in 2008. Thompson had tried everything in his power to prevent Favre from becoming a Viking, including putting a clause in the trade with the Jets that would have sent Green Bay three first round picks if he were traded to Minnesota. Although, the Jets released Favre upon his retirement, allowing him to go where he pleases.

 

Now, Favre is with the Vikings, who are 3-0. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Favre wants to beat down his former team for letting him go. Oh, and this game will be nationally televised on Monday night. This is where Thompson will be publicly humiliated for trading a future Hall of Famer, and possibly the best quarterback of all time. I don’t care who Green Bay drafted, or if Favre retired 500 times before he came back, Thompson should have never traded Brett Favre.

On the other hand, we have ex-Blue Jays’ GM J.P. Ricciardi. Toronto letJ.P. Ricciardi Riccardi go after not trading away ace P Roy Halladay. Ricciardi never found the package of super young talent that he so desperately desired, despite receiving many offers. So, Riccardi ended up keeping Halladay, which has now drastically reduced his trade value. Halladay’s value may have decreased so much, that the Jays may just let him finish out his contract, and let him walk to the Bronx and the New York Yankees.

Ricciardi’s mistake was different from Thompson’s. J.P. had many different options, and many different packages of players. Although, he kept pushing and pushing for a team’s whole minor league prospect pull, and no one would budge. Now, Toronto is in total rebuild mode, after letting OF Alex Rios go on waivers. The Blue Jays just figured that Ricciardi was just not the man for the job, because he failed to pull the trigger.

A general manager’s toughest decision may be deciding whether or not to trade a star player. There should be some obvious ground rules about these situations, and these two GMs have failed to follow them. Now, Ricciardi is without a job, and if Favre beats down the Pack and leads the Vikings to the Super Bowl, Thompson could be without a job too.

As the deadline passes, many players are finding new homes

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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…

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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

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.