Tagged: Boston Red Sox

What To Do Now?

Derek LoweEveryone probably knows by now that the Atlanta Braves went out and got the guy they wanted, Derek Lowe. They have gone out and solidified their starting rotation, but now what? Atlanta is still not a playoff team.

If you look at their rotation you will notice one thing they all have in common. They are all right-handed. Every single one of them. Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez, Jair Jurrjens, and Kenshin Kawakami are all right-handed pitchers. There needs to be a little variety in the starting rotation. That’s why I think they need to bring back Tom Glavine. He may not be what he used to be but the fact that he is left-handed gives him an advantage over other pitchers vying for the 5th spot in the rotation.

Tom GlavineI would think if Glavine returns he would be given the 3rd spot in the rotation just because of the fact he is left-handed. Being able to throw different styles of pitching at an opponent is an underrated part of the game. If the other team knows you only have right-handed pitchers it will make it a lot easier for them to game plan against you. Hence the idea of bringing back Glavine.

Will OhmanI also think that if Glavine is physically able to pitch and the Braves don’t resign him there is going to be an outcry from Atlanta faithful. Already this season the Braves let long time favorite John Smoltz go and now if they were to let Glavine go things could get ugly around Atlanta.

Another addition I think the Braves need to make is resigning Will Ohman. He isn’t Brian Fuentes but he is a very good left-handed reliever that played really well for the Braves last year. Atlanta’s bullpen also lacks a wide array of pitchers, seeing that they are overloaded with right-handed pitchers. The only lefty in the bullpen is closer Mike Gonzalez. Atlanta needs to have a lefty specialist that can come in to face the murder’s row of left-handed batters that the NL East is home to. They include Carlos Delgado, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard. Atlanta has to have someone that can come in and get key outs when those guys are batting.

I would really like Atlanta to add a bat like Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher but the Yankees appear to be asking too much. Nick Swisher isn’t what he used to be a few years ago and Nady is only under contract for 2009. His agent is Scott Boras so it is safe to assume he won’t be sticking around for anything less than $700MM over 8 years. If things continue the way they are it doesn’t look like the Braves will be able to add another bat. If Jeff Francoeur can produce I don’t think adding a bat would even be needed.

Jason VaritekIn other baseball news it looks like Jason Varitek could be returning to the Red Sox. He wants to come back and I think Boston knows the fans want him back. They call him “Captain” for a reason. He is the heart and soul of that team, they need to bring Tek back. This should be an easy decision.

In more MLB news where is Manny Ramirez going to end up? The Angels don’t want him and the Dodgers don’t want to give him more than three years. Will the Giants take another risk on a super star becoming a huge bust (Barry Zito)?

Everyone knows the guy can hit but if he doesn’t get his money he will not be a happy Manny. And we all know an unhappy Manny can be a cancer to his baseball team. Boston found out the hard way.

Till next time,

~Ben

Advertisements

Braves Land Kawakami

Kenshin KawakamiFinally, Atlanta was able to add another pitcher, Kenshin Kawakami. He isn’t Derek Lowe, but he could end up being a solid 3 or 4 starter in the rotation. He was inked to a 3-year deal and should be in Atlanta for his physical on Monday. The official announcement could be made Monday or Tuesday.

I haven’t seen a value on the contract, but I hope it is reasonable. Everyone knows the Braves are desperate and may be willing to over pay. They may have to to land Derek Lowe, but it would be well worth it at this point. They need Lowe badly. Some how I have a feeling that his agent Scott Boras is well aware of the desperation and will use it to his full advantage. Boras will milk the Braves for every penny he can before having his client sign anything.

 Boras is great for the players, but bad for baseball. Just the name Scott Boras turns teams away from players because they know if they become a free agent they will most likely land in New York, Boston, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

After watching the video I’m impressed by Kawakami’s stuff. I’m not blown away, but impressed. I like that he doesn’t have a crazy windup as that kind of thing always annoyed me. He looks like he can change speeds well as well as work the corners. I’m really digging that big curve ball. Nowadays you see pitchers opt for the slider as it is easier to learn than that big, looping curve. Nice pick up for Atlanta. They just need a few more pieces to put it all together.

Now Atlanta needs to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Derek Lowe. I know it will take that much to lure him to Atlanta. He can easily opt for less money and go back to Boston or jump on the Yankee bandwagon along with Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett. After all, his agent is Scott Boras, anything can happen when that man is pulling the strings.

Sincerely,

~Ben

Whats Next?

What is next for the Atlanta Braves? That is the question of the day. They let a fan favorite in John Smoltz pack up and head to Boston. They lost out on Jake Peavy, A.J. Burnett and finally Rafael Furcal.

Kenshin KawakumiNow they are after Japanese pitcher Kenshin Kawakami. Here is the scouting report for everyone. His fastball tops out in the low 90’s and he mixes in a slow curve with a cutter. I haven’t heard of any crazy sounding pitches like the gyro ball that Daisuke Matsuzaka has. He sounds like a normal pitcher to me. He doesn’t have the typical deceptive delivery that is normally seen from Japanese pitchers, this guy just relies on his natural stuff. That could be good, then again, it could be bad.

Heard of that Kei Igawa guy? That turned out great didn’t it? (Laughs to self)

Japanese players can be really good like Matsuzaka, or they can be a complete bust like Igawa. I’m hoping he isn’t the later if he signs with the Braves. Baltimore however is also interested so don’t get your hopes up Braves fans. The Orioles have already signed Koji Uehara who is also a Japanese pitcher. Playing with another Japanese player may sway Kawakami’s decision to the Orioles. The Braves are apparently really close, but it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.

Derek LoweThe other pitcher Atlanta is going hard after is that Derek Lowe guy. I hear he isn’t bad either. That’s just what I heard though. Atlanta is apparently getting ready to propose an offer, but how do we know Lowe won’t turn around and use that as leverage for the Mets? (cough, cough Rafael Furcal, cough.)

Signing Lowe would be HUGE for the Braves. They would fill a need while stealing him away from those darn Metropolitans. They have made major changes, especially in the bullpen. They are already making me sweat with J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez in the 8th and 9th innings.

The Braves can also have that luxury in the bullpen with Mike Gonzalez, Peter Moylan, and Rafael Soriano. If that darn Soriano would just stop having mysterious injuries that won’t allow him to pitch but are invisible to MRI’s. He has been leaving the team doctors puzzled and the Braves’ fans pissed. Oh so convenient that right after you sign an extension you “get hurt.” Prove it bud and you can sit all you want. Ask Mike Hampton, he did it.
Confused doctor

This off season the Braves have been all talk and no action. They talk of great things, but get nothing. As a fan, I am hurt by this. It really hurts when your team does nothing to make the team better. Sure, they signed Javier Vazquez. That is nice and all but it isn’t what they really need. Now I know what the Nationals, Marlins, Blue Jays, Padres, and Twins feel like. Every year they sign a whole bunch of nothing and their fans have to watch that bunch of nothing try and compete in a league stocked with talent. That talent is just stacked in a handful of places, not everywhere like it should be.

Maybe Atlanta can pull some strings and pry Xavier Nady away from the Yankees for less than they want. Fill a team need and make the Yankees worse, sounds like a deal to me. I doubt the Braves will get him as I have heard New York wants some top of the line prospects for him. Every Braves fan already knows Frank Wren won’t dare trade a prospect that may or may not suck. We learned the hard way in the Jake Peavy deal.

By the way, congratulations to Florida on winning the BCS National championship game and being voted the #1 team this year. Utah deserved both of those and got neither but whatever. That’s sports politics for ya.

Have a nice day,

~Ben

Ridiculous

Ridiculous, that is what the Atlanta Braves are. This was an organization that prided itself on fielding a winning team year in and year out. It was an organization that treated it’s players with the utmost respect. That organization is long gone and I want it back.

John SmoltzThis off season has been a compete disaster from the word go. Jake Peavy slipped through Atlanta’s fingers, just as A.J. Burnett and Rafael Furcal would later do. Now John Smoltz, a guy who wanted to be a Brave for life has slipped through Atlanta’s fingers.

Smoltz basically begged the Braves to bring him back. Atlanta couldn’t even beat Boston‘s offer of $5MM guaranteed with incentives that could bring his contract up to $10MM. That is a load of bull if you ask me. The guy loved the Braves and the city of Atlanta. John Smoltz is one of a very select few that can be called a true Atlanta Brave.

Smoltz is one of the greatest to ever put on an Atlanta Braves’ uniform and I always imagined him going out with a complete game shutout in the World Series. I mean, he is arguably the greatest playoff pitcher ever. Instead he goes out as a free agent that was thrown aside by the team that he served so well over the years.

John Smoltz

He had a menacing stare and a mischievous smile that was hard to like. He was a jokster in the clubhouse, a saint in the community, and a warrior on the ball field. But he was tossed aside as if he was a 20 year old rookie who couldn’t quite cut it. I’m sick to my stomach from watching a first ballot Hall of Famer be handled this badly. Not just a first ballot Hall of Famer, but a great human being that deserved to be resigned as much as any player.

John SmoltzI had assumed through this whole thing that if there was anyway possible that Smoltz could take the field and be productive the Braves would resign him. Well I was dead wrong. I know that he is a big question mark. He is over 40 and is coming off of major shoulder surgery. But the key fact you are missing is that he is John freaking Smoltz. The man is a physical freak that can defy age and health like he is was a direct descendant of Hercules himself.

The Red Sox are obviously a storied franchise that doesn’t exactly take crazy risks and sign players just for the heck of it. Boston is trying to build a winning team and they felt that Smoltz could be part of that. Some how the Braves missed that and decided to offer him basically nothing or let him go. Shame, shame Atlanta, you guys are pathetic. Step your game up before the rest of the NL East completely tramples your crappy team.

Atlanta’s front office talked of great things this off season, I have seen nothing even close to great. They won’t trade prospects, they won’t pay the superstars, and now they won’t bring back a Hall of Famer that was loved by ever damn person in the city of Atlanta. It sounds to me like the Braves don’t want to win. Please Ted Turner, buy the team back becasue they are headed in a horrible direction. Personally, I don’t know if I want to be a part of it. This is coming from a guy who if you cut him open, he would bleed Atlanta’s colors year round. Year freakin’ round.

Over and out,

~Ben

Hot Stove Happenings

Mark Teixeira ~ Boston is out of the running, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Washington are still in the hunt. I see the Angels coming out on top for Teixeira. Baltimore and Washington aren’t anywhere near winning anytime soon. I think he would take a little less money and play for a good team.

Greg Norton ~ signed a one-year contract worth $800K to remain with the Braves. Good switch-hitting, pinch hitter. Good signing.

Juan Rivera ~  has agreed to a three-year deal worth $12.75MM to stay with the Angels. Good signing if he can keep up his production. Maybe in case they can’t sign Tex?

Padres ~ signed Jody Gerut to a one-year deal for $1.1775MM. Odd signing to me. Aren’t they supposed to be cutting salary? Solid year, not bad for the money.

Cincinnati ~ are interested in Jerry Hairston Jr., Rocco Baldelli, and Willy Tavares. I like Baldelli best out of the group. He has the most upside of the three. Especially since his health issues are treatable.

Bobby Crosby ~ was placed on outright waivers by the A’s. Who’s going to play shortstop?

Mets ~ looking to acquire 2 of Derek Lowe, Oliver Perez, or Randy Wolf. Order is by preference.
Lowe is obviously the best pitcher of the 3. Perez has the most left in the tank, Wolf has the least value.

Randy Wolf ~ is seeking 3 years and $30MM. Not worth it to me.

Randy Johnson ~ has received several offers. The Dodgers are expected to place an offer while the Cubs were rumored to be interested if they didn’t land Jake Peavy. I think he lands with the Dodgers or stays with Arizona.

New York Yankees ~ could be avoiding signing Ben Sheets. Smart? Maybe. We will see.

Cheers,

~Ben

AHH! That’s Hot!

Hot Stove talk from around the MLB.

A.J. Burnett Burnett has been offered a deal from the Atlanta Braves. It is supposed to be worth about $15MM per year. Frank Wren says it doesn’t include a guaranteed 5th year but would most likely have an option for one. Wren will push Burnett to sign before C.C. Sabathia. If Sabathia doesn’t land with the Yankees they will most certainly turn to Burnett.

Jack Wilson Wilson has been involved in trade talks with several teams. The newest is the Los Angeles Dodgers. L.A. is looking for a replacement for Rafael Furcal who will be leaving via free agency. The Detroit Tigers have also been involved with their search for a replacement for Edgar Renteria. I see the Dodgers making the trade as they can eat some of Wilson’s contract. They may not like it but they are more likely at this point.

Edgar Renteria Renteria has signed a 2-year contract with the San Francisco Giants. I don’t really understand this trade as the Giants are old and Renteria is old. Not a good choice in my opinion.

Derek Lowe – Lowe has drawn interest from a handful of teams. One team could possibly be the World Champion Phillies. The Yankees and Red Sox are also expected to make offers to Lowe. The Red Sox I believe are the favorites at this point as both sides have mutual interest and Lowe has a desire to return to Boston.

Khalil Greene Earlier today Greene was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. Greene was traded in the Padres‘ attempt to dump salary. The departure of Greene could increase the chances that Jake Peavy can stay. Greene is coming off a very disappointing season in which he hit just above .200 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI.

Jake Peavy – The Chicago Cubs are apparently still in talks with the Padres for a deal involving Jake Peavy. The Cubs have tried to bring in a third team that would supply them with the prospects required to land Peavy. Almost all of the reports have come out of San Diego and not Chicago. This means that Padres GM Kevin Towers could in fact be exaggerating the progress of the trade. From a prospect standpoint the Braves put the best deal on the table but pulled out of the running. This could be Towers’ attempt to lure the Braves back.

Adam DunnDunn was not offered arbitration which makes him a free agent. Dunn has not drawn much interest outside of the Washington Nationals. The Nationals can put out a competitive offer but it is unlikely Dunn would accept. The deal would most likely be in the $15MM per year range. The Nationals would be bringing in a big piece that wouldn’t be surrounded by much so it doesn’t make much sense on Dunn’s part. The Nationals have also asked about Zack Greinke from the Royals but don’t have the prospects to land him.

Later,

~Ben 

MVP

This week the National and American League Most Valuable Player Awards were released. The voters came through this year.

Albert Pujols won it for the National League while Dustin Pedroia won it for the American League. They both deserve it, hands down.

Albert PujolsAlbert Pujols is easily the best player in Major League Baseball right now. If you deny it then you are ignorant to his greatness. We are talking about someone who will go down as one of the greatest hitters of all time. This year he hit .357 while jacking 37 home runs. That is a ridiculous average while still being able to produce so many runs. He drove in 116 runs while scoring 100 on 187 hits. Guess how many strikeouts he had. 54. As opposed to 104 walks. With some simple mental math you can figure out that he walked almost 2 times for every strikeout. Albert Pujols is a pure hitter, not slugger, hitter. He can hit for contact and power at the same time while keeping up a tremendous average. Pujols deserves the MVP award hands down. A few years back I thought Andrew Jones should have won it, but I can’t complain. I would love to be able to say “I came in second in the MVP voting behind Albert Pujols.” Bow down, this guy is a freak.

I think I’ll also address everyone that says Ryan Howard should have won. Wrong, incorrect, negative, no. Ryan Howard is what I like to call a slugger.

Slugger\slug- ger, noun: someone who swings wildly at everything even remotely close to home plate and try’s to hit a home run everytime.

That is what Ryan Howard is. He try’s to hit a home run everytime he goes up and instead looks like a complete moron when someone throws a curve ball. I actually find his at bats quite humerus to be honest. Howard also has some comical defense at times.

Philly Phans can say that he lead them to the postseason and World Series and someone who wins the MVP should be in the postseason. Wrong again. Some of the greatest players ever played on terrible teams, why should that keep them from winning an award for individual excellence? It shouldn’t.

Dustin Pedroia on the other hand, did make it to the postseason. This kid is one heck of a talent. He plays the game with such a passion it is hard to not like him. He is one of the smallest guys in the game yet he makes his presence known to anyone and everyone near him. He is so small yet he hits the ball kinda like that Pujols guy I mentioned earlier. Dustin Pedroia is a damn good player.

Dustin PedroiaBig game players come up big in big situations. Albert Pujols and Dustin Pedroia are two big game players that come up big in big situations. You have to look long and hard to find another pair of guys you would rather have come to the plate in a big situation. Congrats on the hardware.