Monday, July 31, 2006

Meanwhile.. the Devil Rays Have a Clue

At the same time that Hendry fucked up the Maddux trade with the Dodgers, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays made a deal with the Dodgers. They gave up free agent to be SS Julio Lugo, one of the prized trading deadline players available. In return? They got 3B/OF prospect Joel Guzman and RF prospect Sergio Pedroza. Guzman's stock has fallen in the last year, but he's 6'6" 250 lbs and still pretty athletic. He also has great power potential. He's a decent pickup even though we don't really need a 3B or OF. He has all the potential in the world and could be used in an offseason trade to get pitching help. The other player interests me a lot. Pedroza is only 22 and at A+ ball after being drafted in the 3rd round out of college last year. He seems to have a lot of power potential(He's consistantly around .280-.300 IsoP) and he walks a lot, leading to huge OBPs. He has his flaws(low contact rate, took him a 2nd trip in the Sally League(well, he got around 200 PA there last year and came back to start this season) before he exploded with his bat). He seems to be kind of far away, so they can wait for him to keep progressing without worrying about the glut of OFs. This is how a smart GM does things. He acquires two very good talents with very good potential for a future free agent. They don't go get shitty infielders, they get very good prospects. I love the direction the Devil Rays are headed.

Hendry Doesn't Dissapoint!

Just when I thought Hendry might only partially screw the deadline up by not making any moves... Hendry goes out and trades Greg Maddux to the Dodgers. Now, I suggested this so you'd think its a good idea. If Hendry had got a prospect for Maddux, even if it wasn't a top guy from their system, it would have been an alright deal. What does Hendry do? He acquires Neifi Perez v2.0... I mean Cesar Izturis. Thats right, as if we didn't have enough middle infielders that cannot hit the ball at all, we now have another one! That sub .300 OBP will fit in well with this offense-averse team. And on top of that, Izturis makes up for his absolutely terrible OBP by not hitting for any power! You can see his career numbers here. Not exactly inspiring. At least he'll have Neifi on board to teach him how to suck horribly and stick around for a long time. With Todd Walker being traded and Ronny Cedeno moving to 2B, we now have the worst middle infield in baseball and we'll probably have that same middle infield next year! God I hate you Jim Hendry.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Trading Deadline Nears... Time is Running Out on Hendry to Screw Something Up

The deadline is 18 hours away as a type this sentence. So far the Cubs have made one trade.. Scott Williamson to the Padres for two mediocre A-ball pitchers. Not exactly something to be excited about, but its better than nothing. This is a prime time for Hendry to set this team up for the future. We have many players with value now that should be traded, and most of those guys probably won't factor into our next legitimate run at the playoffs. With it being a seller's market and a lot of teams that need to make moves, this is a perfect time to do something. However, Hendry hasn't exactly been Branch Rickey the last couple years. In fact he hasn't made a good trade since 2004. Who should Hendry trade you ask? Well here's my list:

Aramis Ramirez(especially if reports that he'll opt out of his contract are true)
Juan Pierre
Jacque Jones
Todd Walker
Ronny Cedeno
Bob Howry
Scott Eyre
Ryan Dempster
Greg Maddux

Neifi Perez and Glendon Rusch should be DFA'd right this second. Angel Pagan probably shouldn't be on the 25 man roster either. I'll go through each player with possible desetinations and one(or maybe two) trades I would make with each. Minor league players have their stat page at firstinning.com linked to.


Aramis Ramirez. Possible destinations: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, San Diego Padres, Houston Astros

All 3 of those teams think they have a good chance at the playoffs and need a 3B. The Angels are the most appealing team because of their system and that they seem to have failed on going after Miguel Tejada. The Padres really need a 3B too as they're currently deploying the decaying corpse of Vinny Castilla at 3B, but I don't think they really have enough to offer to get Ramirez without seriously hurting their major league team. The Astros also need offense and would be an intriguing trade candidate, especially if Ramirez is set on opting out of his contract. The two offers I would extend:

Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Dempster to the Houston Astros for Morgan Ensberg, Brad Lidge, and Jason Lane

Aramis Ramirez and Greg Maddux to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for Brandon Wood, Ervin Santana, and a PTBNL(some low level high ceiling guy).


Juan Pierre. Possible destinations: Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Minnesota Twins

The Red Sox supposedly inquired about Pierre a few weeks ago... probably as a 4th OF/pinch runner, similar to how they used Dave Roberts in '04. That would make some sense for them, but with Pierre's hot streak his price might be too high. The White Sox like the Pierre type players and could use him in CF, especially if they acquire a better LF. Brian Anderson's defense has been great, but I have a feeling they would perceive Pierre's offense to be a huge addition to them. The Angels also like the type of player Pierre is and they don't really have a CF. Figgins is more useful to them when he can play 6 different positions than he is locked into 1. The Twins might be interested if the Hunter/Stewart injuries aren't healing that well. That team also prefers the toolsy/fast type player, so Pierre might be a good fit for them in either CF or LF. My trade offer:

Juan Pierre to the Chicago White Sox for Charlie Haeger.

Jacque Jones. Possible destinations: Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants

Jones was a perfect fit for the Yankees until they took the better route and acquired Bobby Abreu for practically nothing. With Nixon's injury tonight, Jones might be a nice option for the Red Sox OF, and the Red Sox would be smart enough to make sure he never got an at-bat against a left handed pitcher again. The other teams could use a decent OF that can play any 3 OF positions and hit for some power. My trade offer:

Jacque Jones to the San Francisco Giants for Eddy Martinez Estevez.

Todd Walker. Possible destinations: New York Yankees, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers, Oakland Athletics

I kind of like Walker.. his offense is good, especially at 2B. But his defense isn't that good and he seems to not be liked very well by the team. He has value to teams that need a veteran 2B/1B that can hit. With Cano hurt, the Yankees could have Walker start in the short term and he'd be a nice bench player for them after Cano comes back. The other teams are pretty much in the same boat, could use his bat to help strengthen their offense and bench incase of injuries. My trade offer:

Todd Walker to the Oakland Athletics for Kevin Melillo

Ronny Cedeno. Possible destinations: ????

I don't really know who'd want Ronny because he wouldn't be a playoff run acquisition. However, I think he has some value to teams that overvalue AVG and undervalue OBP/SLG. Unfortunately the Cubs are one of them. I'd try to find a team that'd give me something of value for him. The Royals might be a possibility. A small trade for someone like Gathright or a minor leaguer might work. Only trade offer I can think of:

Ronny Cedeno to Kansas City Royals for Jeff Bianchi

Bob Howry, Scott Eyre, and Ryan Dempster. Possible destinations: Everyone.

Everyone needs relief pitchers. Even if they aren't performing well(hello Ryan Dempster). The Reds gave up two quality players and a minor league reliever for two decent relief pitchers. Howry and Eyre have been very good this year and Dempster has.. well he has a lot of saves, which some GMs really like. I've been pleasantly surprised with Eyre, but with how volatile relief pitchers are, and how much Dusty is overworking both Eyre and Howry, I'd rather get high value now then have them flame out next year. Some possible offers:

(As mentioned earlier) Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Dempster to the Houston Astros for Morgan Ensberg, Brad Lidge, and Jason Lane

Scott Eyre to the Boston Red Sox for Michael Bowden and a PTBNL(Lenny DiNardo perhaps?)

Bob Howry and Scott Eyre to the Chicago White Sox for Josh Fields and a PTBNL(low level high ceiling type guy)

Scott Eyre and Bob Howry to the New York Yankees for Melky Cabrera and Scott Proctor

Scott Eyre to the Detroit Tigers for Wil Ledezma and Clete Thomas

Bob Howry and Ryan Dempster to the Atlanta Braves for Joey Devine and Yunel Escobar

Greg Maddux. Possible destinations: San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Every few hours it seems like Maddux is either really close to getting dealt or is absolutely not getting dealt. So its hard to say what is really going on, but the Padres and Dodgers are the clear frontrunners and I still think its likely one of them will offer something nice enough to entice Hendry. My offer to each:

Greg Maddux to the San Diego Padres for Ben Johnson and Chase Headley

Greg Maddux to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Etanislao Abreu and Greg Miller


Oh, I forgot about Phil Nevin. Attach him to any deal that might sweeten the pot for the other team. A bench player that can play a few positions(C/1B/3B/LF/RF), albeit poorly, and hit for some power could be useful, plus he won't cost them anything.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Ryan Harvey

The Daytone Cubs won a 10-9 battle with Clearwater last night.

What's significant about it? Cubs RF prospect Ryan Harvey went off. His 4 homeruns last night were obviously a career high, and he capped it off by making the last one a 3-run walkoff blast. The former #6 pick in the draft, Harvey has far from lived up to his potential thus far. He's struggled his entire time in the minors, yet has still been promoted each year by the Cubs, cumulating in an absolutely terrible year this year in Daytona. Scouts still love Harvey's raw power, which is good enough that I don't think theres anyone in the minor leagues that can top him, but the rest of his offensive skills lag far, far behind. The Cubs still have time, Harvey is only 21. Hopefully this four homer game can be a springboard to a very strong finish for Harvey, but if he doesn't start improving his contact skills and/or his plate discipline, he's never going to make it past Daytona and will be just another failed position player prospect in this organization.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Delmon Young is on fire!

Delmon Young was the consensus #1 prospect in baseball entering this year.. then he started out in a powerless funk and then took his anger out on an umpire, costing him 50 valuable games. Well he's been back from his suspension for awhile, and starting last week, the real Delmon Young is back. He went 2-4 tonight with a double, homer, and a walk. He's now hitting .556/1.222 with 9 XBH in the last 7 games and that includes an 0-5 game! Yeah yeah, small sample size, but thats still amazing. This nice hot streak has brought his season line up to .377 OBP/.538 SLG, which is pretty darn good. He still needs to improve his plate discipline as 8 walks in 220 plate apperances won't get it done. Just ask Jeff Francoeur. However, he showed good enough walk rates at A and AA ball, and with the power he has and will develop, he should be able to draw enough walks at the major league level.

What If?

I saw this site posted over at ITI and thought it was really neat. It's called WhatIfSports.com. You can use it to simulate games between any two teams in history. It only spans the MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, and College Basketball. I found it to be very fascinating and could easily lose myself in it for hours. My favorite team to match up with was the 1928 Philadelphia Athletics. Easily one of the most star-studded teams ever, I had to use them. I had to change their lineup a bit to get maximum-star power, and this was the result:

1. Max Bishop, 2B
2. Ty Cobb, RF
3. Jimmie Foxx, 3B
4. Al Simmons, LF
5. Mickey Cochrane, C
6. Tris Speaker, CF
7. Joe Hauser, 1B
8. Joe Boley, SS
9. Lefty Grove, SP

Quite impressive, eh? 6 of 9 Hall of Famers is amazing. On top of that, Max Bishop is one of my all-time favorite players. Check out his numbers to see why. Boley was the only real weak link in the group, but the team can't be perfect. I decided to put them up against the best of the best, at least in conventional thought. First challenger? 1998 New York Yankees. 114 wins and a World Series. Lets see what happens!

The A's win a 3-1 thriller

Great game for Mr. Cobb, 2-3 with a walk and a double. Grove came out after 7 with only 100 pitches, but still threw very well. only 4 hits, 1 walk, and struck out 8. What team is next? How about those pesky '27 Yankees. That should be quite a challenege. And man was thier offense good. Their first 6 hitters, by their batting lines:

Bob Meusel .393 OBP/.510 SLG
Earle Combs .414 OBP/.511 SLG
Babe Ruth .487 OBP/.772 SLG
Lou Gehrig .474 OBP/.765 SLG
Tony Lazzeri.383 OBP/.482 SLG
Pat Collins .407 OBP/.418 SLG

Holy crap. Poor Gehrig, hitting .474/.765 and being second on his own TEAM in both categories. Crazy. Anyway, on to the game!

Well this I certainly wasn't expecting. The A's drill the '27 Yankees 21-2

I guess when they say anything can happen in baseball, they're damn right. Wow. Beating that offense 21-2. Too many great performances to single out really, but I just have to say that Cochrane went 1-4 with a triple and two walks and probably had the worst offensive output of the bunch. Insanity. Next team in line? How about the Big Red Machine. I'll take the '75 version, they appeared to be slightly better by actual and pythagorean record. So here we go!

A's thrilling comeback topples Big Red Machine


Now THAT'S a game. Up 4-0 going into the 9th, it all falls apart for Don Gullet and co. Funny that the two outs made in the 9th were by Speaker and Cobb, the two great deadball CF on the team. Any other suggestions for teams I should put up against the '28 A's?

For one last matchup, I'm going to switch to Football. I was trying to think of a fantastic matchup, and the only thing that could come to me is the '04 Colts offense vs the '85 Bears D. Peyton vs Payton. So here we go:

'85 Bears take a close one in the RCA Dome

Peyton and the Colts did better against that defense than just about anyone did in '85, but it just wasn't enough. 19-34 for 235 yards and just 1 TD is very un-Peyton like, likely due to that defense. The Bears seemed to control the game on the ground, grinding out 166 yards on 36 rushes. MVP would have to be Walter Payton.

Any other ideas for matchups? The NFL simulated lets you choose weather conditions too, which could make things interesting.

Welcome!

Welcome everyone to my Blog. Some of you may know me as Kyle, or kmanning, or Dolgare, or UZ, or Wolverineman, or maybe even as "that arrogant asshole". Either way you're here, so thanks for visiting my little corner of the net. Over the next few days, weeks, months, and hopefully even years, I'll be sharing with you my thoughts about the two greatest sports the world has to offer, Baseball and Football. I'm only a big fan of 3 major teams.. the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Chicago Cubs, and Michigan Wolverines. Besides that I have no real allegience, so expect a wide variety of articles.

One important thing to know about me is I am a very analytical person. I have a very hard time believing something that can't be proven, and if I can get any facts to support a position, I'm much more inclined to take that position than one without any evidence. This transfers over to sports very well in statistical analysis. I'm firmly entrenched in the Sabermetric camp when it comes to baseball, and I'm a big fan of the advanced statistical analysis done over at FootballOutsiders for the NFL and 82games.com for the NBA(though I'll probably never talk about basketball on here except maybe for the NCAA Tournament). If I quote a statistic that you haven't heard of, I'll try to reference where I found it so that you can easily find the link on my sidebar and figure out what the hell I'm talking about.

I think that is all for now. I'll try to post daily at least. I encourage you to comment on any posting I make. I set it so you don't have to make an account here to post, but I'd like to at least know who it is that is responding. This info is in my profile, but if you need to contact me, I can be reached at kmanning@gmail.com or through AIM at TheOutsider85.