Tagged: Los Angeles Dodgers

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

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

Is He Really Done?

Is Andruw Jones really done? I think he is damn close if anything.

Andruw Jones I am one of those Braves fans that even when Andruw would strike out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th would stick up for him and mention how he makes a diving catch to save a run about every 4.3 games. Andruw was great in all but his last year with the Braves.

His spectacular defense would always make up for any mistake he made at the plate. And then that final year came. He continued to be a strikeout machine while his power numbers dwindled and his range in the outfield narrowed to the range of Johnny Damon’s arm.

His defense is not anywhere close to what it used to be and that is destroying his career. Well, his weight is destroying his career. What it really comes down to is that he gained 10 pounds and can barely get to the balls in the gaps anymore. Now when he strikes out no one can use the excuse “well, he will make a diving catch.” Cause he won’t make that diving catch. It really is a shame.

I have never seen a player physically implode the way Andruw has and it is in a way depressing. Now the Dodgers are trying desperately to get rid of him and bring in Manny Ramirez. You know you are doing bad when a team is trying to get rid of you to bring in the human wrecking ball. If Manny is happy the team is happy. If Manny is angry he will destroy everything around him. But let’s not forget that L.A. would be receiving the oh so graceful Ramirez to patrol left field.

Manny RamirezThere have been some rumors about the Braves being a possible fit for Andruw Jones. Before I say anything more about it I will let The Office say it for me. We will let the office be the clubhouse, Toby be Andruw Jones, Jim be Bobby Cox, and(insert any other Braves player) be Michael.
 

Andruw JonesAndruw is arguably one of the greatest defensive outfielders to ever grace the diamond, but he is past his prime. I know he is only 31 but he obviously has no desire to play at the top level anymore. I was so happy when a few years ago he came in 2nd in the MVP race (even though he got screwed and the writers even said they gave it to Pujols because he came in second so many times to Bonds).

He looked like he finally turned the corner and was going to become a legitimate mega star. He let me and the Braves franchise down and I think he let himself down.

I hope the Braves don’t sign him because he will only take up space on the bench and not produce. He won’t be a great defensive player and he won’t be a clutch pinch hitter. All he will be is a waste of money. It hurts to say it but I think he needs to hang up the cleats and leave on the highest note possible. See ya Druw, good luck. I hope he can have the best life possible but I doubt it will involve baseball. Maybe he can come back and be a coach or manager. I hope everything works out for him.

Sincerely,

~Ben

Oh No

Ben RoethlisbergerThis week has not been a very good week for me. If you pay attention to the NFL you probably saw Ben Roethlisberger get straight jacked up. The Steelers were playing a meaningless game and Big Ben got destroyed and suffered a “mild” concussion. I don’t really believe there is such a thing as a “mild” concussion as any concussion can ruin your playing career.

Do I blame Mike Tomlin for keeping Ben in? No, he was trying to win and that is what counts in the end. Roethlisberger should be fine for Pittsburgh’s first playoff game. That is all that matters right now. What I am really worried about is if the Steelers’ offensive line will be able to keep the defense off of Berger’s back long enough for him to throw a freaking pass.

Another depressing point of my holiday weekend came last night. USC man handled Penn State. The Nittany Lion defense didn’t show up in the first half, getting beat deep early and often. What is really making me mad though is how everyone on ESPN is saying that USC “destroyed, crushed, annihilated, rolled over, and burned Penn State.” Last time I checked they won by 14 points. Those adjectives selected by the “experts” would describe a win by at least 28 points. USC did however win every aspect of the game but in the end it wasn’t a horrible loss.

Rose BowlPenn State scored 17 points in the second half on a defense that had only allowed 3 second half touchdowns all year. How is that being rolled over? They say that Daryll Clark made horrible passes. One of his interceptions Andrew Quarless fell down, that is why the ball was picked. His throw was accurate, the receiver just fell down. That isn’t Clark’s fault. We should also remember that this was basically a home game for USC. Penn State had to travel about 2,500 miles while the Trojans traveled a whole 11 miles. You are kidding yourself if you think USC didn’t have home field advantage.

Manny RamirezI have been finding this whole Manny Ramirez thing very interesting. Where will he go? The Yankees and Angels aren’t interested and Boston definitely isn’t. The Dodgers pulled their offer and the Giants are now in the mix. He isn’t going to get the money he expected to so this will be interesting to watch. I can see that the Giants are trying to get better but I think they are just going to end up shooting themselves in the foot. They are in no way shape or form a young team. They have a few very nice, young pieces that they need to build around.

I don’t like the Edgar Renteria signing and I think bringing in Manny will just be another Barry Bonds. He will cause drama and tear the team apart in the clubhouse. He won’t get his money and we all know that he will not be a happy Manny when he does sign. And we all know that a happy Manny doesn’t play and will give up on his team. Manny isn’t exactly young either and that is exactly what that Giants team does not need. If I was a Giants fan I would appreciate them trying to get better but I don’t believe they are picking the right players.

Till next time,

~Ben

Happy Holidays

I just wanted to say happy holidays to everyone and I hope you all have an amazing weekend. I hope everything you wished for is under your tree and you have a great time with your family. We all know some people got everything they wanted and more, cough, cough Yankees, cough. Just remember that the holidays are about spending time with your family and loving life, not presents. Presents are great and all, but family is better.

Will OhmanWhat do I want for the holidays you ask? The Braves to not suck next season. They may not land any big names like Derek Lowe or Pat Burrell and Adam Dunn, but I think they can get some mid level guys that will contribute to the team.

I think signing Will Ohman would be a great piece to have come back. He isn’t Brian Fuentes but he is going to come a lot cheaper if they sign him before Fuentes lands somewhere else. Ohman was great last year as a lefty out of the bullpen and I think the Braves need to bring him back.

Ohman will be a solid piece to help anchor down the bullpen which I believe is the strength of the team. Mike Gonzalez is an excellent closer and Rafael Soriano is another closer caliber pitcher that will set up Gonzalez.

Peter Moylan is a great right handed pitcher that I think will come back from elbow surgery and dominate again. The Braves will have 3 players that could close on a lot of teams and that is their strength. Blaine Boyer is also a solid reliever but was just overworked to the point where his game suffered greatly. I think this boils back down to the weak starting pitching last year.

The starting pitching issue I think can be somewhat solved with Jon Garland. I know, I know, he isn’t a great pitcher with a sub 3 ERA. What he does do is eat innings and keep the team in the game. That is what the Braves need. Garland and Javier Vazquez will night in and night out go and throw 6 or 7 solid innings so when the bullpen does need to be used they are fresh and on top of their game.

Tommy  HansonThe Braves have some young talent like Charlie Morton and Tommy Hanson. They are going to stumble in games and need the bullpen to bail them out. That bullpen will be fresh after they get a few days off after Vazquez and Garland pitch. Morton pitched hurt most of the season which caused a lot of his bad numbers. Hanson has been dominant but we cannot count on him to do the same at the major league level. If we do we are setting ourselves up for disaster, again. 

We counted on Kyle Davies, Chuck James, and Jo-Jo Reyes to come in and dominate and it bite us in the butts.

I honestly don’t think the Braves will win the World Series next year. I don’t think they will make the playoffs. I hope they do, more than anything. But unless Atlanta lands a few more players and plays out of their minds it doesn’t look good. The Cubs, Mets, Phillies, and Dodgers are all going to be really good. So that means the Braves have to be better. Hopefully they can at least make it competitive.

Be safe and happy holidays,

~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