Posted on: June 11, 2010 1:04 pm
In the words of Nationals' radio play-by-play broadcaster Charlie Slowes following the remarkable debut by Stephen Strasburg on Tuesday in Washington D.C., "There's a new mayor in town, and the campaign took one night."
It is permissible to let our imaginations run wild with a player like Strasburg, and not just because everyone else is doing it. However, the fact remains that it is very unlikely that there is a player in baseball right now with the potential to hit 60 home runs, which has long been the most alluring statistical figure in baseball. But the last two A.L. home run champions (37 for Miguel Cabrera in 2008, 39 for Carlos Pena and Mark Teixeira in 2009) have only totaled 76 home runs, which would break the standing home run record by only 2!
As baseball fans, we have to look elsewhere from home runs for a national story. The past few years, the age of the young pitcher has been dominating the national scene. Tim Lincecum has two Cy Young awards by age 25, Zack Grienke took home the Cy Young at age 25 and posted a ridiculous ERA for the A.L., and N.L. teams this season can speak to the utter dominance by 26-year-old phenom Ubaldo Jimenez.
The strikeout has become the new home run. The last generation of great pitchers (Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, Randy Johnson) have now been replaced by a younger ensemble of hard-throwing hurlers. It is obvious to say that every team wants Stephen Strasburg, and not so that local diners can cash in on a wide variety of sandwiches called "The Strasburger." Every teams wants him for the national draw that he is getting, in addition to the seemingly limitless pitching talent.
So, the question is: Who would you be willing to part with for Stephen Strasburg?
The Boston Red Sox have 25 players on their active roster, and a total of 34 players have donned a uniform so far this season. They have seven minor league affliates, which would put the total number of payers affliated with the Boston Red Sox at around 200.
There is only one player that I would not give up under any circumstances, even if the trade was 1 to 1, and that is Jon Lester. Lester has, believe it or not, the exact same potential that Strasburg does, except that Lester has already begun to follow through with success. Does this sound crazy?
The sport of professional baseball is over 150 years old. Using <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/stats/historical/player_stats.jsp?c_id=mlb&baseballScope=mlb&teamPosCode=all&statType=Overview&sitSplit=&venueID=&timeFrame=3&timeSubFrame2=0&Submit=Submit" target="_blank">mlb.com's historical statistics page , they list approximately 17,200 hitters who have recorded an at-bat in the majors and about 8,350 pitchers who have recorded an out, with incomplete records dating back to 1871. Yes, there will be some duplicates, but we can very roughly estimate that somewhere around 20,000 people have played professional baseball. Of that number, who has the highest winning percentage with at least 100 starts?
If you guessed Stephen Strasburg, well you'd be wrong. If you guessed Jon Lester, you've earned a sticker for today. With a career record of 49-18, Lester's .731 winning percentage is higher than anybody with at least that many starts. Oh, and he also happens to be leading the A.L. in strikeouts.
Lester has everything that Strasburg has - the size, the pitching repertoire - without the same fanfare because he wasn't the number one overall pick. Lester also has done all of his work in the best division in baseball since he came up, so imagine what his numbers would have been like if Boston played in the N.L. West. Lester has not pitched his last no hitter, and he will win at least one Cy Young Award. At 26 and with the record he has already acquired, Lester is Boston's Strasburg.
As for the rest of the players in Boston, it would depend on what else was included in the deal, but the only other player I would not trade, unless it was 1 to 1 (which would never happen), would be Dustin Pedroia. Rookie of the Year, MVP, and a Gold Glove already, he has batting titles and several more GGs in his future.
The next closest player that I would have initial problems dealing away would be Kevin Youkilis. He plays two positions, is a very consistent .300+ hitter with one of, if not the best, eye in the game, he has the potential to hit 40 home runs and is the cleanup hitter on the team that has scored the most runs in the A.L. this year. But, and this is somewhat surprising, Youkilis is already 31, which means that he is in his prime right now. Nobody expects him to fall off anytime soon, but we said the same thing about David Ortiz, whose last impact year came when he was 31, and we all feel that at 34, he is exceptionally over the hill.
I was thinking that, with respect to the almost 200 players in the Sox farm system, there would be some that I would hold onto. I might have to hold onto Casey Kelly, but he is only in his first year being a full time pitcher, while around the same age as Strasburg.
Lester is a dominant pitcher already, and he would be the one player from this Red Sox team that I would not give up for Stephen Strasburg. <!-- EndFragment-->
Tags: Boston Red Sox, Carlos Pena, Casey Kelly, Charlie Slowes, Cy Young, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Greg Maddux, Jon Lester, Kevin Youkilis, Mark Teixeira, Miguel Cabrera, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Stephen Strasburg, Tim Lincecum, Tom Glavine, Ubaldo Jimenez, Washington Nationals, Zack Grienke
Posted on: March 2, 2010 6:23 pm
OK guys, I've got a fantasy baseball situation I need you to diagnose:
I signed up for a free league on the cbs website. I could have sworn that it was an AL/NL league, but when I got into the draft room, I noticed that Albert Pujols was not listed as the top player projected for 2010. A guy named John was already in the draft room, and he had just asked the question, "where is Pujols, Manny Ramirez, etc.?"
I checked the rest of the lists and realized that the league was A.L. only, and I told him. I was upset because I wanted to use all players, as did John. He said that he was going to join another, but there is no way to leave this league. I told him I'd probably do the same thing, but we both drafted seriously. Only one other member showed up for the draft.
So the next day, that guy John offers me a trade, Mark Teixeira for Ian Snell. He told me in the comments that he released all of his other players, but Tex was on the list of un-droppables. If I accept the trade, he can drop Snell and then he'll have an empty roster.
I assume that he picked me because I talked to him on the draft. I don't know this person and did not insinuate this trade at all. I assumed that he was going to just keep his players and not pay any attention to the league, as I was planning on doing.
Well, I accepted the trade. Now, the other people from the league are sending out messages to the league saying how this is bullcrap, and that I had two accounts in the same league, etc. When I replied that I didn't know the guy, they said that I should've not accepted the trade, and Tex should've gone to free agency, and then the team who was in last after 6 weeks gets to claim him.
What is fair in this situation? Was it really that bad that I accepted this trade? What would you guys have done?
I posted this on the Fantasy community boards as a poll question, "what should I do with Teixeira?" and the answers I put where
1. Drop him
2. Trade him for full returns - meaning I trade him for what someone might normally trade Tex for (i.e. not Ian Snell)
3. Trade him for an average player - meaning someone like Snell - a bench player, or a fourth or fifth starting pitcher
4. Keep him - do nothing
By the way I remind you that only one other person came to the draft, and only one person objected the trade...
Posted on: July 31, 2009 5:11 pm
The Boston Red Sox were one of the busier teams leading into today’s 4pm trading deadline.
The major deal was the Sox acquiring Cleveland Indians All-Star catcher Victor Martinez, and the minor deal was swapping first basemen to get Casey Kotchman from the Atlanta Braves.
Martinez is the biggest offensive pickup of the 2009 trading deadline. Martinez had a injury plagued 2008 season that lead to mediocre numbers, but he has picked it up again in 2009 and reestablished himself as one of the best offensive catchers in the game.
A switch-hitter, he gives the Sox excellent versatility in the line-up and on the field. While not official, it is expected that he will play predominantly at catcher and designated hitter. He is a better left-handed hitter, and that will allow the Sox to rotate Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek in the line-up against lefties.
The Sox gave up RHP Justin Masterson, who had been splitting the year in the bullpen and rotation, and minor league pitchers Nick Hadagone and Bryan Price.
Masterson was a solid cog of the Red Sox team, but often found himself as the odd man out. The Indians will probably utilize him as a starter, which is where most scouts see him headed, but the Sox were never in the position to give him a chance to develop in that respect.
Hadagone was the biggest chip the Sox gave up. A left-hander in class-A Greenville, Hadagone underwent Timmy John surgery and recently returned from the disabled list and was very impressive. Price is a right-handed pitcher also in Greenville.
The other trade, while it possesses less excitement, was much more peculiar. The Sox obtained Kotchman, traded as the major component of the deal that brought Mark Teixeira to the Angels, for recently acquired Adam LaRoche.
It is odd not because LaRoche only spent a few days with the Sox, or that the Sox traded him because of the surplus of first basemen the Sox possess after getting Martinez. It is strange that the Sox would trade him, an everyday player, for another left-handed first basemen used to playing everyday.
Terry Francona is going to have to do an incredible job of juggling the line-up to make sure everyone gets enough at-bats to be happy. Kevin Youkilis has to play everyday, an one would expect that Martinez is also going to be in the line-up everyday.
This means that somehow Francona has to rotate them so that Varitek, Mike Lowell and David Ortiz get playing time. Lowell’s time figures to be cut the most, as Youkilis will likely play most of him games at third base for the rest of the season.
Given Martinez’s poorer numbers against lefties, and Lowell and Varitek’s success, they will be playing against left-handers. But while Varitek has been described as a walking ice-pack and Lowell is coming off of hip surgery, they can’t be thrilled at the prospect of their playing time being reduced.
Kotchman has likely drawn the shortest straw. His playing time will be significantly reduced as virtually every other player in this rotation can play multiple positions, where Kotchman is relegated to first only.
Back up catcher George Kotteras will return to triple-A Pawtucket. He is the personal catcher for knuckle-baller Tim Wakefield, who is on the disabled list. He won’t be activated for a few weeks, at which time the Sox will have to decide who should catch him.
To replace Masterson, the Sox have several immediate choices to pick from. Southpaw Javier Lopez was optioned down at the beginning of the season because of terrible struggles, but he has turned his season down in the minors. The Pawtucket Red Sox’ closer Fernando Cabrera is mowing down hitters with an ERA under two while being perfect in save chances. Lefty Hunter Jones and righty Michael Bowden have already pitched out of the bullpen this season for the Sox, and they also have Japanese prospect Junichi Tazawa.
Until Wakefield comes back from the DL, one of those triple-A relievers figures to replace the gap in the bullpen.
Heading into tonight’s game against Baltimore, the Sox are a significantly upgraded team both offensively and defensively. The only problem will be getting a group of good players fair playing time, which any manager will tell you is a good problem to have.
Tags: Adam LaRoche, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Bryan Price, Casey Kotchman, Cleveland Indians, David Ortiz, Fernando Cabrera, George Kotteras, Greenville, Hunter Jones, Jason Varitek, Javier Lopez, Junichi Tazawa, Justin Masterson, Kevin Youkilis, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Mark Teixeira, Michael Bowden, Mike Lowell, Nick Hadagone, Pawtucket Red Sox, Terry Francona, Tim Wakefield, Victor Martinez
Posted on: January 7, 2009 4:59 pm
The New York Yankees won yet another biding war against the Boston Red Sox when first-baseman Mark Teixeira agreed to an eight-year, $180 million contract in December. Teixeira was formally introduced to the press Tuesday and his Bronx debut was heralded as the last major event at Yankee Stadium.
Yankee Stadium bows out after 85 years of memories. The Yankees clinched nine World Series titles at the Stadium, and it has also seen three perfect games (including Don Larson's gem in the 1956 World Series). It held arguably the two of the most memorable home runs in baseball history, with Babe Ruth's unprecedented 60th shot of the 1927 season, and Roger Maris' record-breaking 61th homer on the final day of the 1961 season.
Inspiring and saddening memories of Lou Gehrig delivering his "Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth" speech on Independence Day in 1939 and the game in August of 1979, held just hours after the team attended the funeral for Thurman Munson. Or, the three games of the 2001 World Series against the Diamondbacks, just six weeks after the terrorist attacks of September 11, complete with a ceremonial first pitch by President George W. Bush, accompanied by hundreds of members of the NYPD and FDNY.
So, after nearly a century of unforgettable memories in a ballpark that cost only $2.5 million to build, it seems only fitting that its last show will be the parade of a man paid $180 million to play baseball, right?
(If you hear the crickets too, you're not alone.)
Yankee Stadium is the forgotten partner of a long line of deals that have changed baseball. All of its history, all of its awe, is warped and distorted by the win-at-all-costs mentality that currently keeps the Yankee Machine afloat. While sports fans should, and in most cases would like to remember the Yankees for the history that is epitomized by The Stadium, the lasting impression of The House that Ruth Built will in fact bear little resemblance to anything that the Bambino did during his tenure in New York.
Yankee Stadium should be respected for its meaning, tradition and its importance in the history of baseball. Sadly, it has been crudely distorted.
Posted on: January 2, 2009 2:50 pm
These were the questionable free agents over which the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox renewed their rivalry in classic, off-season style. After missing the playoffs for the first time in 13 seasons, the Yankees' front office put their farm system retooling program on hold to pursue many high-priced free agents, and that Sabathia followed the money and signed a highly lucrative contract in New York came as no surprise to Red Sox Nation. The Red Sox showed no interest in acquiring Burnett, as the asking price for the oft-injured starter was far too high.
Sabathia and Burnett were not surprises, but it was the signing of Teixeira that really drew the ire of Red Sox fans at owner John Henry and other members of the front office. Big Tex was supposed to be the Sox's man, the one free agent that the Red Sox not only had a genuine interest in, but also a legitimate chance of signing. But as is the case for many of the Scott Boras-represented players, the Sox decided to play hardball and were beaten out by a few million dollars.
But secretly, Red Sox fans are smiling. Why? Because now almost a decade worth of seasons have now come and gone when the Yankees have tried to buy their way into the postseason by throwing exorbitant amounts of money at talented free agents. The Yankees went through an incredible run in the late 90s, but did so with a perfect mix of home grown talent and free agents, much like the way the Red Sox have won two World Series this decade. Yankees' GM Brian Cashman tried to stand up to the reign of Steinbrenners and prevent them from continuing to ship prospects to other teams for the superstar caliber players, or sacrifice future draft picks for major free agent signings.
Red Sox fans are in a win-win situation. While they missed out on Teixeira, and lost Manny Ramirez, they are still very much contenders for the A.L. pennant, and they have done so with farm raised players. If the Red Sox win, then all is well in the Nation, and who cares how many free agents the Yankees signed? If the Yankees win the division, then Red Sox fans will remain the leaders of a country-wide riot about the Yankees' ridiculous spending habits.
So smile, Red Sox Nation.