Posted on: December 8, 2009 3:48 pm

MLB Trade Updates

If you have been keeping up with this weeks winter meetings you should have heard about the blockbuster trade of the meetings that has occured. The Yankees aquire Curtis Granderson, the Diamondbacks get Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy, and the Tigers get Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson and prospects (I think the D-Backs got some prospects to). The Yankees probably win this trade just because they were in the best shape and improved a minor hole that they had. The Tigers also got a really good deal in my mind, i have always been a fan of Max Scherzer he has great strikout potential and could fit in solidly at number 2. Austin Jackson looks to be a good center field option, but he is a prospect and will have to prove his worth (but the Yankees thought very highly of him). I think the worst part of the deal for Tigers is that they lost such a great clubhouse presense and has such great offensive and deffensive skills. The Diamondbacks seem like they got the short end of the stick, Edwin Jackson has bounced around a lot which can mean questiable character, he wont be under team control as long as Scherzer. He is streaky but when he's on he can be as good if not better than Scherzer. Ian Kennedy can fill that 5th rotation spot or help in the bullpen, but i have never been to crazy on Kennedy just based on what ive seen of him. This trade was a good way to get the winter meetings moving, there had been a lot of talk and finally we got a big trade to talk about. The thing that makes me interested about this trade is what is going to happen to Melky Cabrera. I've heard he could be packaged in a deal for Halladay, or the Cubs may be able to go after him. Im not sure who the Cubs send over there for Cabrera, but that could be extremley benifital to the Cubs. They are in dire need of a Center fielder and he is cheap and young. That is the most important thing the Cubs need to focus on as they move forward, bringing in young players who you can keep around for a while. But as i said before i think the Yankees won this trade with the Tigers gettign a good return and the diamondbacks lossed a little bit.
Posted on: December 6, 2009 1:14 pm

Chone Figgins and the Mariners

As you may have heard the Seattle Mariners recently aquired Chone Figgins via free agency. At the end of the season i made a list of my top 10 free agents (i did not post it though) and Chone Figgins was number 2 on my list. I know that many people may disagree with me on that, but i think Figgins is more valuable than Jason Bay or John Lackey. He may not have the power needed for third base, but he plays exceptional defense, he gets on base, and is a good baserunner. Plus he is significantly cheaper than any of the other top 4 free agents. I am really begining to think that the Marniers may win the West this year, they improved last year by making some solid moves with limited payroll flexability. Now they have around $50 mill freed up, they just spent some on Figgins but if they can grab a pitcher and a power hitter they will be in good shape to contend for the AL West crown. Just take a look at their 2010 team thus far.

C- Rob Johnson
1B- Mike Carp
2B- Jose Lopez
SS- Jack Wilson
3B- Chone Figgins
LF- Michael Saunders
CF- Franklin Gutierrez
RF- Ichiro Suzuki
DH- Ken Griffey Jr.

1. Felix Hernandez
2. Ryan Rowland Smith
3. Jason Vargas
4. Brandon Morrow
5. Ian Snell

CL- David Aardsma

Felix Hernandez has finally become an ace and can be depended on to carry a rotation, and the rest of the rotation has potential. But i think they neeed to add a reliable pitcher. I have heard they are interested in Harden, he could work although he is injury prone. John Lackey has been mentioned and that might almost be the best, but he will be expensive. I really am waiting for Ian Snell to bust out, he needs to limit the walks, but he was better in Seattle. Like I said, they are just missing that number 2 pitcher.

Offensivly they need to bring back Branyan as their cleanup hitter, and they need to upgrade at LF. I have heard Jason Bay thrown around, and that could be a good move, but again he is going to be expensive. I think Jason Bay is more realistic than John Lackey. My guess is that if they are going to get a pitcher it will be some one like Rich Harden, and if they are going to get a bat it will be someone like Jason Bay. But really their focus should be on bringing back Russell Branyan. They have the top of the lineup secure they just need to get that middle of the lineup figured out. The Mariners are starting to get back to winning and in a few years they should take the place of the Angels as the class of the division. Although i do not think the Angels will ever go away and the Rangers will always be in the mix, so this should make for a competitive couple of years in the AL West.
Posted on: December 5, 2009 2:03 pm

The Perfect Small Market Team (GM/Manager)

Well i have sat around for a while thinking about who is the best GM in baseball. I looked over trades and free agent signings and im not sure there is a #1 GM at everything. But i do think there are several GM's that do well in there market size. But for our small payroll, i think i will go with Billy Bean (Oakland Athletics). There are not many GM's who are better with a small market team. I realize the A's have not been great the past few years, but they always seem to have minor league talent. I also loved the move of aquiring matt holliday, then trading him at the deadline to peak his value and gain a better return then what they gave up. Bean just seems the obvious choice to run my small market team that im creating here. I know that he can make the right trades and free agent signings the keep my team competitive year in and year out. Now the next position i have to fill is my Manager. First i have to figure out is my team AL or NL, since im not as knowledgable about the AL i'll make my team an NL team. So now i have to think who is the manager who has the National League game figured out the most. I hate to say this because im a Cubs fan, but i think Tony La Russa (St. Louis Cardinals) is the best option. He always seems to get the most out of the least talent. That will wrap up todays team decisons with the hiring of Billy Bean as the GM and Tony La Russa as our Manager.
Posted on: November 23, 2009 7:04 pm

The Cubs Farm System

Today i was at Borders and happened to see that Starlin Castro was on the cover of Baseball America this week, so i decided to buy it. After reading through it and based on what i have been hearing over the past few weeks i am really begining to feel confident about our farm system. Im wondering if the Cubs should just be patiient this year and wait for there talent to develop. Here is a little overview of their system and what i think they need to do.

First of all we need to make a list of prospects that are "Untradeable" which i think should include

1. Starlin Castro
2. Brett Jackson
3. Andrew Cashner
4. Jay Jackson
5. Chris Carpenter (Not the Cardinals version)
6. Josh Vitters

Those are the prospects that the Cubs need to hang on to for sure. They also need to continue to draft the way they have been so we have a continual base of players to call up for a long time. Im confident that they will continue this trend because the Ricketts family mentioned that they wanted to follow the Boston mold. I think Castro is probably the best prospect to come out of the Cubs farm system in a long time and he could make an impact at the end of this 2010 year. This will make Theriot expendable at the end of this coming up season similar to Alcides Escobar replacing J.J. Hardy in Milwaukee. And i think that is really the path the Cubs need to follow, develop young talent and trade away the mediocre and old veterans for quality players. Brett Jackson is my favorite prospect in the Cubs system and when he gets to the majors probably will become my favorite player. He is rated as the Cubs best power prospect and is rated as the most athletic prospect by Baseball America. He has the ability to play center well, he may strikeout a lot but he should be able to hit for power and steal bags. Maybe he will become a left handed version of Mike Cameron. He may be a year or two away but should eventualy provide stability at what has been a shakey position for the Cubs for a long time.
Andrew Cashner draws a lot of comparisons to Kerry Wood and may make the change for starter to releiver but will be given the chance to start in the minors. He pitched well in Advanced-A and AA, and may start the year in AAA. He has a good fastball and slider (again similar to Kerry Wood). I hope he becomes a starter and hopefully Cubs fans can see him in september in 2010. Jay Jackson may end up being better than Cashner although not as highly touted. He has a good arsenal of pitches and made it up to AAA at the end of the year, he is less of an injury risk than Cashner and has the chance to become a solid MLB starter. Who knew there were 2 Chris Carpenters in the majors let alone the same division. Another AA starter who is about a year away from the Majors but also looks to become a very good starter. He is a well built starter and has some nice breaking pitches, but has some command problems. Just think in a few years these 3 pitchers could be the core of the Cubs rotation.
And i cant talk about the Cubs farm system without talking about Josh Vitters the Cubs hearalded prospect, he has so much natural baseball talent. He did struggle in Advanced A but he is only 19 years old and by the time he is 23 he'll be in the majors. He projects to be a .300-30-100 guy so we can give him some time to develop.Although his main positions are blocked by starters in long term contracts, (3B- Aram, LF- Soriano) so i wonder if they'll give him a shot at first. My guess is this is Lee's last year with the Cubs unless he is going to stay for less money in 2011. So why not keep Fox at first until Vitters comes up and let him take over. Even if the Cubs struggle in 2010 (which is still the same team as 2008 for the most part) the future looks bright, here is my projected future Cubs team.

C- Geovany Soto
1B- Josh Vitters
2B- Starlin Castro
SS- Hak-JU Lee
3B- Aramis Ramirez
LF- Alfonso Soriano
CF- Brett Jackson
RF- Tyler Colvin


1. Carlos Zambrano
2. Jay Jackson
3. Andrew Cashner
4. Randy Wells
5. Chris Carpenter

CL- Carlos Marmol
SU- Esmalin Caridad
SU- Angel Guzman
Posted on: November 21, 2009 8:02 pm

The Perfect Small Market Team

I was reading Ken Berger's article about assembling his perfect NBA team. Which gave me the idea to try and do something equally as challenging. Assemble the perfect small market team, with a Payroll of $70 mill, which would cover the 40 man rosters player salaries. I will also pick the best GM, Manager and bench coaches to go along with the team. Before i post my choice for G.M. i would like to hear who you think is the best and why, please post that below. Obviously Billy Beane is one of the GM's  i am considering, but i want to take a look at every GM in Major League Baseball and find the perfect one.
Posted on: November 9, 2009 6:21 pm

Trade Reviews/Previews

Well the offseason officialy started last week and it has already been very interesting. So far the most intriguing trade to me has been the J.J. Hardy for Carlos Gomez trade. On paper right now it seems like an even deal, but after looking over the numbers, i think the Twins will benefit the most from this trade. That;s not to say i dont think Gomez will contribute, or be a valuable player but J.J. Hardy will improve the Twins more than Gomez will the Brewers. Had Hardy not crashed offensivly his value would have been a lot higher, and he might not have even been traded. So basicaly the Twins bought low on a high potential, he plays exceptioanl defense, and if he can return to his 07-08 form, he could be a 20 HR threat at SS. The aquisiton of Gomez will allow the Brewers to let Mike Cameron go, and let them use what they would have paid him to improve their pitching, which is the biggest concern for them right now. When you look at the potential the Twins have on offense with Mauer, Morneau, Kubel, Cuddyer, and now Hardy they have a serious edge in the AL Central. I already talked about the Iwamura- Chavez deal which the more i look at i think the Rays got the edge for that one.  Iwamura is kind of expensive for his production, while the Rays aquired a cheap hard throwing reliever that is under team control for a while.

Rumor Discussion-

Talking about the Cubs for the offseason, GM Jim Hendry made it clear that they are going to move some pieces around this season and that they are going to go more towards trades than spending money on free agents although he said they might still sign some people. For me that is great news, because the Cubs seem to be better traders than buyers ( We like to overpay for players). Just think about it the heart and soul of our team (Aramis Ramirez, and Derrek Lee) were aquired via trade. What i like more is the fact that the players we have given up in trades never really pan out. Lets take a look at some Cubs trades from recent years.

Aquired                                                           Recieved

John Grabow, Tom Gorzelanny                            Kevin Hart, Jose Ascanio, Josh Harrison

Rich Harden, Chad Gaudin                                  Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton, Eric Patterson

Derrek Lee                                                        Hee Seop Choi

Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton                             Jose Hernandez, Matt Brubeck, Bobby Hill

Those are 4 of the most significant, recent trades made by GM Jim Hendry, all 4 of those trades were successes to an extent. But if you compare that to his free agent signings you will understand why i am glad he wants to do more trading.

Alfonso Soriano-  8 years  $136 mill

Kosuke Fukudome-  4 years  $48 mill

Milton Bradley-  3 years  #30 mill

These 3 contracts are really holding the Cubs back from being able to due much this offseason (although i dont know who they would get). Obviously the Bradley contract is the worst, Fukudome is getting way overpaid but he does contribute. Soriano has the potential to still live up to that contract, but im not suret the Cubs should have signed him so long he is going to be in his mid to late 30's before his contract expires. Now the Cubs have made some bad trades, and some good signings but overall Hendry is a better trader than a buyer. I will be interested to see who the Cubs go after, the only thing we no for sure is Bradley is going somewhere else. I have heard the Cubs are going to go after pitching, more likely relief and insurance for the rotation. I havnt heard a ton about offensive trades, im sure Brian Roberts rumors will pop up like they usually do this time of year. The Cubs seem like they are confident in Jeff Baker at second, so it seem like they are going to try and improve the outfield. I have heard some rumors about the Cubs going after Mike Cameron, Marlon Byrd, Jason Bay, and Matt Holliday although the latter two are less likely. Cameron would actualy be a good fit, he would provide great defense in the outfield which is something the Cubs have been lacking for many years and he hits for solid power. I am not as crazy about Byrd although he did play for Jaramillo and he played well last year. If the Cubs can bolster the pen, get rotation insurrance and get at least 1 outfielder to replace Bradley they could easily be in contention especially since the Cards most likely wont retain Holliday.

Posted on: November 4, 2009 4:59 pm

The Future for the Pirates

If you havnt heard, the Pirates recently aquired Akinori Iwamura from the Rays for Jesse Chavez. Once i heard about this trade i wanted to sit down and take a look at what Neil Huntington has done and will do with the Pirates. First of all i want to say that i am a huge fan of this trade however unimportant it is in the realm of baseball. The Pirates gave up an expendable middle reliever for a solid middle infielder and a huge upgrade from Delwyn Young. Middle relievers really can be found anywhere and are very unpredictable as it is. On the other side it is difficult to find a solid defensive middle infielder who will provide solid offensive production. Here is a look at their projected depth chart.

C- Ryan Doumit
  - Jason Jaramillo

1B- Garrett Jones
    - Steve Pearce

2B- Akinori Iwamura
    - Delwyn Young

3B- Andy LaRoche
    - Ramon Vazquez

SS- Ronny Cedeno
    - Brian Bixler

LF- Lastings Milledge
CF- Andrew McCutchen
RF- Brandon Moss

This is a completley different team from the 2009 opening day roster, its younger and has a lot more potential. I love Doumit at catcher if he is healthy this season he could be one of the top catchers in the league. Garrett Jones really broke out this year, he has decent speed and good pop and projects to be the Pirates #3 hitter. As i said ealier i like Iwamura, he has speed and is an average/above average defender, who hits for decent contact (career .281 hitter). Now i am not a fan of Andy LaRoche, he doesnt poscess the power to play a corner infield position. Offensivly he just isnt that exciting for a third baseman, although he is pretty good defensivly. Ronny Cedeno is one of those players that i root for (probably because he's a former Cub). He is an average to below average hitter at SS and is below average defensivly. Realy he isnt that valubale but he is young and still has potential to be better. The Pirates pocess a speedy outfield with Milledge in left and McCutchen in center. Milledge is another high potential guy and hit fairly well once he came over to Pittsburgh from Washington. Andrew McCutchen was in my mind the Pirates best player last season. He put up a .286/.365/.471 stat line in under 500 AB. It will be interesting to see him in a full season my projection for him next season is  .290 avg  15 HR  50 RBI  30 SB. In right the Pirates have Brandon Moss who is mediocre offensivly but is a quality deffender. The Pirates are going the full rebuilding route so i would doubt they make any big free agent signings. But if Pedro Alvarez comes up and takes over 3rd and plays the way everyone thinks the Pirates will have their corner infielders set, and LF and CF are in good shape right now. The Pitching staff looks viable right now with Maholm, Duke and Ohlendorf at the top who are all decent pitchers, if their farm system can develop another good starter in 5 years they could be competitive. One thing you may see the Pirates do a lot of is trading, Matt Capps will probably get traded this season, maybe Maholm. Neil Huntington has this team on the right track, like i said in 5 years the Pirates may not be the worst team in baseball anymore.
Category: MLB
Posted on: November 2, 2009 8:44 pm

Profesional Baseball needs a salary cap

Well the Yankees are about to prove for about the millionth time (exagerated number) that you can buy yourself a championship in baseball. If you have enough money you can get all the best players on one team. I think that is the major reason why football has beat out baseball as the most popular sport in the U.S. There is such parity between the good and bad teams in MLB. The same 10 teams are good every year, while the small market teams have to get really good G.M.'s just to make the playoffs. Severe measures need to be put in place to correct the failing system that is currently in place or baseball will continue to lose fans. It gets really boring when the same franchises dominates the league year after year. I realize the players union will freak out if a salary cap is put in place because then Mark Teixera couldnt make the $180 mill he needs to live off of. The players in Major League Baseball are the most overpaid of any sport, the amount of guaranteed money these guys are getting is crazy. 10 years ago this wasnt really a problem, yes the Yankees were very succesful but small market teams were still able to compete against the bigger markets. But now with the minor league talent being treated like free-agents, the big market teams are spending tons of money are foreign prospects and draftees. Thus preventing the smaller markets from building through player development. Lets take a look at the teams that were over .500 and how big their markets are.

New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays*

Minnesota Twins*
Detroit Tigers

Los Angeles Angles
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners

Philadelphia Phillies
Florida Marlins*
Atlanta Braves

St. Louis Cardinals
Chicago Cubs

Los Angeles Dodgers
Colorado Rockies
San Francisco Giants

With the exception of the Rays, Twins, and Marlins the teams over .500 all have pretty high salaries and fairly large media markets. Teams like the Rays and Marlins have been able to build through the draft, the Rays due to the fact that they were awful for a long time and were able to get high picks. The Marlins have always been smart in analyizing talent and trading their good players for prospects. The Twins are just good at making trades and they have done some building through the draft. The rest of the teams have for the most part built themselves by dominating the free agent market and making trades. Now that does not apply to all of these teams (Giants, Rockies, Braves) but again many of the teams i am listing that arnt that way didnt make the playoffs. Out of the Playoff teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Twins, Angels, Phillies, Dodgers, Cardinals, Rockies)  6 of those teams have high salaries or made big trades for expensive players. Basicaly what im tryig to say is that the big market teams are really dominating the rest of the league and need to be restrained, thats why i believe there needs to be a .....$120 mill salary cap. That way it still gives the better teams some room to get the bigger players but not enough to complete dominate them. And with some shrewd managing any team could have a shot at the World Series. And im not saying all of this because im a fan of a small market team, cause im not im a cubs fan we have a $135 mill payroll. I just want the sport to be fair. And if your a Yankee fan who wants to bash on this post because you are nieve enough to think that the Yankees dont buy themselves championships. Please dont post on here because i am not going to read it.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com