Dugout Central’s American League East Preview

by Chuck

By: Bob Owens

Last year,  four out of the five teams in the A.L. East had at least 85 wins, and the division has earned a reputation as the toughest in baseball. Come 2011, will this division maintain its excellence, or will some of these teams fall off a cliff? In alphabetical order, let us take a look.

Baltimore Orioles

The lone team to finish under .500, the Orioles have had a busy, and by many accounts,  productive off-season, and could actuall vie for a playoff spot this year.

Infielders: The Orioles have added 3 new players to their infield with steady second baseman Brian Roberts the lone holdover. Derrek Lee will man first base, although he is not  the most adept guy from the defensive standpoint, he should  add some decent pop. J.J Hardy will cover the shortstop position.  But perhaps the key to their team is Mark Reynolds, who they acquired from Arizona in exchange for a couple of relief pitchers. Reynolds has very good power, but has led the National League in strikeouts the past three seasons. Despite that dubious distinction, he also draws a fair amount of walks. if he can cut down just a tad on the K’s the Orioles may have added themselves a solid talent at the hot corner.

Outfielders: The Orioles have a pair of very good two-way players in rightfielder Nick Markakis and up-and-coming  centerfielder Adam Jones. Although  Markakis has had a two-year decline in power numbers, the presence of Lee and Reynolds plus their new DH should/ could help his offense. Luke Scott, their DH of a year ago will probably play left field, although he may not play it well. His bat is what keeps him in the line-up. Felix Pie will most likely be their 4th outfielder.

Catcher: The other key to the line-up of the Orioles is catcher Matt Wieters. A year ago many writers were predicting he would surpass Joe Mauer as the best offensive catcher in baseball and thought he had a realistic shot at the MVP. Clearly that did not happen, although I am still high on him and think he could reach superstar status this year. Jake Fox will probably be the back-up.

Designated Hitter: In early Febuary, the Orioles ponied up 8 million dollars for Vladimir Guerrero to handle the clean-up spot. Last year he was tremendous for the Texas Rangers, but this move compells the Orioles to install the defensively-challenged Luke Scott in left field, and could also force them to play Nolan Reimhold in Triple A.  How wise was this move to do that? He is somewhat brittle now and this could be a mistake. On the other hand, he could be solid for one more year and could provide  the Orioles with one last hurrah.

Starting pitching: While the Orioles have no clear ace to anchor their rotation, that could soon change. Left-hander Brian Matusz could soon become that pitcher. Drafted 4th overall from the University of San Diego  in the 2008 draft, Matusz struggled early but turned things around after Buck Showalter took over the managerial role. In his last eleven games he posted a 2.18 ERA with 52 strikouts vs only 16 walks, and a 1.03 WHIP. He could very well join the Sabathia’s and the Price’s of the East this year as a legit contender for the Cy Young.

In addition to Matusz, the Orioles also have four other starters, who should at least be passable. The underrated Jeremy Guthrie, Brad Bergenson, Jake Arrieta and reclamation project, Justin Duchscherer, who could be a huge bargain round out the starting five. Bergeson is a lefty, while the other three guys are right-handed.  Should any of the five need a breather or get injured, the Orioles also have Chris Tillman and Zach Britton, two promising youngsters to provide depth.

Bullpen:While the Orioles bullpen has no proven closer following the arrest of Alfredo Simon in the Dominican Republic,  both Kevin Gregg and Koji Uehara could be used in that role. Former Braves’ closer, lefty Mike Gonzalez, is also a possibility. Jason Berken and Jim Johnson, barring injuries should also be locks to make the team. Jeremy Accardo, Rick VandenHurk, Troy Patton and Clay Rapada will all compete for the other two spots in the pen. (I assume a 12 man.)

Fearless prediction. The Orioles will  finish 2nd this year, and they have some talent in the minors that could allow them to make a big trade in July. Prediction. Wild card team.

Boston Red Sox

Last year the Red Sox finished the season with 89 wins, good enough for 3rd place, but their playoff aspirations were derailed by four factors; injuries to several key players, a dubious bullpen, and the prescence of the Yankees and the Rays. But all that did was persaude ownership to be pro-active, both on the trade market (Adrian Gonzalez), and with free agents. ( Carl Crawford). Will this work? While I am biased, I think it will.

Infield: Their infeld will now feature one of the best first basemen in either league in Adrian Gonzalez, a dynamic two-way player. His presence forces the Sox to play Kevin Youkilis at third base, which is actually his natural position.  He is one of the players coming off an injury, but pre-injury he also a very good two way player. At second base Dustin Pedroia is coming off of a foot injury, although he recently stated that he is in tip-top shape. The Sox badly need him in their line-up. And my guess is that Jed Lowrie will take over the shortstop position from Marco Scutaro at some point during the season. Lowrie has a very good bat, but no one knows much about his defense, although I submit he will be adequate. The aforementioned Scutaro should be a valuable reserve.

Outfield: The Sox outfield should consist of the steady, but aging and injury-prone J.D. Drew in right field, Jacoby Ellsbury in center and the newly acquired Carl Crawford in left. Both Crawford and Ellsbury are very fleet, and will cover alot of ground on defense, and steal alot of bases on offense. Drew recently however went to see noted doctor James Andrews about his hamstrings which are bothering him. If Drew is out for an extended period of time, it says here that Ryan Kalish will be their rightfielder. If Drew is healthy enough to start, Kalish will probably stay in Pawtucket while Mike Cameron will be their 4th outfielder. Darnell McDonald will probably be their 5th outfielder. Daniel Nava and Josh Reddick could also see time in Boston this year.

Catcher: The weakest spot for the Sox, both on offense and defense is at catcher. Jason Varitek is returning, but is 39 years old and another one of the players coming off an injury. Their starter most likely will be Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a guy that general manager Theo Epstein has been high on for awhile.

Designated hitter: Their DH will be David Ortiz whose option was picked up by the Sox in early November. He is clearly declining, but also could be motivated to put up huge numbers as he has said he wants to play for 2-3 more years.

Starting pitching: The Red Sox on paper could have the strongest rotation in the East, featuring two guys, lefty Jon Lester and righty Clay Bucholz, who both recieved votes  last year for the Cy Young. Josh Beckett also returns and wants to reclaim his spot as the best pitcher on the team. John Lackey reported to camp having lost 15 pounds, hoping to put a somewhat disappointing first season in Boston behind him. Diasuke Matsuzaka  will again be their 5th starter. Should any of the 5 get injured, Felix Doubrant, a young lefty will probably be the guy who gets the most spot starts this season.

Bullpen: Assuming a seven-man bullpen, Jonathon Papelbon will close, but if he falters, Daniel Bard could surpass him. Boston signed former White Sox closer Bobby Jenks, leading some to believe Paplebon may be on his way out. Tim Wakefield and Dan Wheeler are also locks with Hideki Okajima probably making the team cause he is left-handed. That leaves Alfredo Aceves, Matt Albers, Scott Atchinson and  Denys Reyes contesting for one spot. Aceves could also go to Pawtucket and try to start for their minor league team. Barring a trade or injury, I would venture that Aceves or Atchinson gets the last spot.

Two fearless predictions. The Sox win the East, and with Crawford and Ellsbury leading the way, they lead the league in stolen bases.

New York Yankees.

Last year the Yankees made it to the second round of the playoffs. Did they have have a productive enough off-season to take it one ( or two) steps further? Let’s find out

Infield: If the Yankees infielders were in their prime this year, they would be incredible, but alas Derek Jeter their Gold-Glove winning shortstop is aging and hit a career low .270 last year. But he is only 74 hits away from reaching the coveted milestone of 3000 hits for his career. I have no doubt he will reach that level this year, and will naturally do it against Boston.  At third base the Yanks have another future HOFer in Alex Rodriguez. While his skills are also eroding, he should continue to put up viable numbers. They just will not be elite anymore.  Mark Teixiera and Robinson Cano are now the infielder on the Yankees who are two-way stalwarts, although  Teixiera is coming off an injury. Two veterans who could make the team as back-ups include Eric Chavez and Ronnie Belliard.

Outfield: The outfield of the Yankees is nothing special, although I suppose centerfielder Curtis Granderson still has some upside. Right-fielder Nick Swisher, in the last year of his contract and the speedster Brett Gardner  will  play, although he is also capable of playing center field. Andruw Jones was signed to a free-agent contract, and could see alot of time as their 4th outfielder. If the Yankees decide to carry five outfielders, it will most likely be a battle between Greg Golson and Justin Maxwell. If Maxwell is healthy come the end of March, I suspect he will prevail.

Catching: The Yankees signed former Dodger star Russell Martin to handle the bulk of the catching. While inconsistent with the Dodgers, he embarked on an off-season  regimen that entailed  him exercising with stars of the mixed martials arts. It says here that Martin will be the second best catcher in the East this year, behind Matt Wieters of Baltimore. Francisco Cervelli will most likely be their reserve catcher, although Jesus Montero, their prized prospect could get a look-see as well.

Designated Hitter: The veteran catcher Jorge Posada has been relegated to full-time DH as his body can no longer handle the rigors of catching.

Starting pitching: This could be their undoing. Obviously the Yanks have a stud in lefty C.C. Sabathia and perhaps a star-in-the-making in Phil Hughes, but the rest of their staff is mediocre at best. A.J.Burnet has shown flashes of brilliance but has just been too unpredictable. The other two spots will be a 4 -way toss-up between Sergio Mitre, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia and  Bartolo Colon. Not about to hazard a guess as to who the victors will be.

Bullpen: The Yankees bullpen has Mariano Rivera as its closer for 2 more years. Enough said there. They also acquired Rafael Soriano  to pitch the 8th inning and periodically give Rivera a breather. Pedro Feliciano and David Robertson are two other locks. Other players in the mix include Joba Chamberlain, Daniel Turpin, Robert Fish and the losers of the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation. Andrew Brackman also has a provision in his contract that compels the Yankees to keep him on their 25-man roster this year barring an (un) foreseen injury. It is also possible he becomes a starter.

Fearless prediction. The only pleasant  thing for the Yanks this year is Jeter getting hit 3000, as they finish in last place.

Tampa Bay Rays

Last year the Rays won 96 games to win the East, but faltered in the playoffs, losing in the first round to Texas. The early ouster cost the franchise a lot of money, and saw a sizable amount of talent flee Tampa for, ahem greener pastures. Did they retain enough talent to once again be a force in the East?

Infield: Last year third baseman Evan Longoria cemented himself as one of the best players in the game. This year he may prove to be the best player in either league. Reid Brignac is their shortstop and he should be solid. Dan Johnson, who is also capable of playing a corner outfield should replace Carlos Pena at first.  Their second baseman should be Sean Rodriguez.

Outfielders: While the departure of Carl Crawford leaves a glaring hole atop the batting order, the Rays do have some quality depth. Desmond Jennings is a legitimate ROY candidate, and B.J.Upton is also very talented. That leaves Matt Joyce, Johnny Damon and Ben Zobrist competing for the other outfield spot.

Catcher: The Rays have two viable catchers with John Jaso and Kelly Shoppach. Jaso will probably get the majority of starts, but Shoppach is serviceable.

Designated hitter: Manny Ramirez was signed to a one year deal in late January for this position. He has burned some bridges in Boston and LA, so perhaps he will really feel the need to produce at a high level. If his attitude and production continue to be sub-par, once again Joyce, Damon or Zobrist could fill that role.

Starting pitching: The staff should be anchored by David Price, who may be the best pitcher in baseball not named Felix Hernandez. Jeremy Hellickson is another potential ROY candidate, and could become a major force as well. James Shields, Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann round out a solid quintet.

Bullpen: No team took it harder in the off-season than the Rays when it came to losing bullpen talent Rafael Soriano, Grant Balfour , Joaquin Benoit  and Dan Wheeler  were all lost to free-agency with Soriano( Yankees) and Wheeler (Red Sox ) going straight to division rivals. This year they will feature Kyle Farnsworth, J.P Howell, Andy Sonnanstine and  Joel Peralta.

Fearless prediction: The Rays bullpen, a source of strength last year is their undoing this year, unless they trade some prospects from a very deep system for an arm or three. Finish fourth behind Boston, Baltimore and Toronto.

Toronto Blue Jays

The fourth team to finish with a record above .500, the Blue Jays had a breakout year from Jose Bautista, which allowed them to rid themselves of longtime star Vernon Wells and his contract. While they will save themselves alot of money, and will no doubt spend heavy on the draft this year, the 2011 Jays created a hole in centerfield. Let us look at the other areas of their team.

Infielders: The Jays will feature an infield  that probably has either Adam Lind or rookie Scott Cooper as their first baseman, Aaron Hill at second, Yunel Escobar at short and rookie Brett Lawrie at third. Lawrie is an interesting talent as he may be capable of playing shortstop and second as well as third.

Outfield: Two thirds of their outfield is set with the aforementioned Bautista and his league-leading 54 homers will play right field and Travis Snider will man man the other corner. The center fielder will most likely be either Rajia Davis or Anthony Gose.  Juan Rivera could be their 5th outfielder

Catcher: The starter at catcher should be J.P Arencibia, who has a chance at becoming a star this year. Jose Molina will be their very servicable back-up. They have a nice tandem.

Starting Pitching: The Jays have assembled some interesting arms for this year. The guess here is that righty Brandon Morrow becomes their best pitcher, while lefties Brett Cecil  and Ricky Romero not too far behind. Kyle Drabek will probably become their fourth starter and could vie for ROY. The fifth starter will most likely come from either Jesse Litsch, Dustin McGowan or Marc Rzepczynski. The first two are righties while Rzepczynski is the lone lefty.

Bullpen: Again, the Jays have some quality arms in the pen as well.  Frank Francisco, Jesse Carlson, Jason Frasor, Octavio Dotel and Jon Rauch should all make the roster along with whomever does not win the last rotation spot.

Fearless prediction. The Jays finish third this year.

And one last fearless prediction. Come October, I will eat alot of crow from you guys

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169 Responses to “Dugout Central’s American League East Preview”

  1. Says:

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  2. Cameron Says:

    Fun Fact: If you look at the depth chart for Toronto, it’s spelled “Centre Field”.

  3. Cameron Says:

    Add Scott Podsednik to the list of people in contention for a Blue Jays outfield spot.

  4. DPR Says:

    I mean I know the Yanks have a seim-crummy rotation this year after Hughes and Sabathia (who is still one of baseball’s best) but are they REALLY going to finish in last place? that lineup is deadly. Teixera, Cano, A-Rod, Gardner, Granderson and Swisher are all guys I’d gladly take on my team and my only thing against Jeter is his defense.

  5. Bob Says:


  6. Hartvig Says:

    Nice article Bob. You have more faith in Baltimore’s pitching than I do but if Lee & Guerrero still have something in the tank & Roberts is healthy they could have a formidable offense. I agree that the American League wild card will be coming out of the East and that Boston has to be the favorite. Going to be a fun season.

  7. Cameron Says:

    One of the frontrunners for the closer role in Tampa is Jake McGee, stud lefty start prospect, figures to slot behind Hellickson. …Dear lord, imagine that Tampa rotation in a few years.

    David Price
    Jeremy Hellickson
    Jake McGee
    Chris Archer
    (Does it really matter who’s #5?)

  8. Jim Says:

    Nice job Bob.

    Baltimore – finishes above .500, but still finishes last.

    Boston – loses at least 65 games. Their infield defense will be significantly poorer than last year (when all were healthy) and that effects Clay Buchholz the most, whose ERA jumps to over 3.00. Drew goes down for most of the season, Ellsbury reinjures his ribs and Kalish and Reddick come up and do a creditable job. Not the Gold Dust Twins but maybe silver dust.

    NYY – Jeter continues to decline defensively and ARod turns to stone at 3rd, but has a great offensive season. By the end of May Cashman is looking for a SS so Jeter can move to 3rd and ARod DH. The starting pitching will be better than expected. Burnett bounces back, Hughes develops into a solid middle of the rotation guy and Nova(?) proves to be an innings eater. The starters augmented by the best bullpen in BB, have the Yanks breathing down the RS neck going into the last weekend of September.

    Tampa – Leads the league in starters ERA but a poor bullpen and an offense that is near the bottom of the league have the Rays struggling to win 87 games. Longoria smashes the record for most IBB received.

    Toronto continues to improve. Bautista hits 38 HR, but the Jays nearly slip to last, but are able to stave off the O’s.

  9. brautigan Says:

    Cameron: If you think McGee is a stud, wait til you see Matt Moore. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take a rotation spot this year, he is that electric. And please, no one say “he needs more seasoning” as he is only a year younger than Kershaw and Kershaw will be in his 4th season.

  10. Chuck Says:

    Yankees last?


  11. Cameron Says:

    Both Moore and McGee are pretty fierce competition for Tampa’s top lefty. Not necessarily Montgomery-Lamb level competition, but thank you for reminding me of Matt Moore. Seriously, in a few years, Tampa and KC will be competing for strongest rotation.

    …If you told this to anyone five years ago, they’d laugh in your face.

  12. Cameron Says:

    …Fucking christ. Here’s the starters that Tampa’s sitting on as potential starters.

    David Price
    Jeremy Hellickson
    Matt Moore
    Chris Archer
    Jake McGee*
    Jeff Niemann
    Wade Davis
    James Shields

    *Will probably be the Tampa closer after a bullpen switch and stamina concerns after Tommy John

    That leaves three open spots, probably two if James Shields is going elsewhere. Still, having James Shields being the weakest of the crop isn’t a bad situation.

  13. Bob Says:

    “Yankees last?” I said there is a huge possibility I will eat crow.

  14. Cameron Says:

    So what win total are you talking for New York? 82? 83?

  15. Raul Says:

    I might be the biggest Yankees-hating Yankees fan there is, but I would actually love to see the storm in NY should the Yankees finish in last place this year.

    I would absolutely love it.

    200 million dollar payroll – dead last.
    CC Sabathia opts out. Mariano Rivera decides to retire. Jeter decides 3,000 hits is enough.

    The Yankees blow up the team, and rebuild with home-grown talent and shrewd trading, like they should have been doing for 10 years now.

    I am a Yankees fan. I love the team. I just hate how they are run. And I hate the NY media. and ESPN, since they’re virtually an extension of the NY media.

  16. Cameron Says:

    Toronto’s working an extension with Jose Bautista. Soudns like the figure is $65 MM/5 years, with a vesting for $78MM/6 years

  17. Chuck Says:

    “David Price
    Jeremy Hellickson
    Matt Moore
    Chris Archer
    Jake McGee*
    Jeff Niemann
    Wade Davis
    James Shields”

    Compared to

    Mike Montgomery
    Danny Duffy
    John Lamb
    Chris Dwyer
    Noel Arguelles
    Aaron Crow
    Tim Melville

    Anyone would take Tampa’s guys now because they’re all in the major leagues, but in five years you’d be fucking nuts.

  18. Chuck Says:

    Sabathia’s opting out anyways, Raul.

    I’ve been telling you for a year.

  19. Chuck Says:

    Five years, $65 million for Bautista?

    Vernon Wells’ contract was better than that.

    Holy shit…

  20. Cameron Says:

    Chuck, we get a high draft pick this season. Feel free to add guys like Matt Purke and (probably, since he’s RHP) Gerrit Cole to the list. We have a solid enough core and we’re still lefty-heavy. The draft this season is heavy with pitching, count on them to add another ace.

    …And you forgot Odorizzi.

  21. Chuck Says:

    “…And you forgot Odorizzi.”

    No, I didn’t.

    Purke and Cole won’t last until the fifth pick.

    Kevin Towers loves the Jungmann kid from Texas, so that leaves the Royals’ decision to righty Sonny Gray from Vanderbilt, or possibly outfielders Jackie Bradley or George Springer if they decide to go position player.

    The Royals are loaded with pitching, and I know the old saying is you can’t have enough pitching, and the draft is freaking loaded with pitching, but I’d almost go position player on this one.

  22. Raul Says:

    That’s true, Chuck. You did say Sabathia was opting out for a while.

    Toronto’s gotta be out of their minds. 65 million for 1 great season?
    Talk about striking when the iron’s hot. I gotta say…well done, Jose Bautista (if you can get that done).

  23. Cameron Says:

    Well let’s break down the draft here.

    Pittsburgh’s gonna take Anthony Rendon. Dude’s called a second Longoria and Alvarez won’t stick at third.

    Seattle really could go any way about this… But I think my money’s either on Cole/Purke or George Springer. The rotation’s topheavy and Springer looks to be the best position player after Rendon.

    Arizona may be high on Jungmann, but I think they’ll take Springer if Seattle doesn’t nab him. Their pitching is young enough to avoid first-picking pitchers.

    Then we drop down to Baltimore and again, LOADED with pitching, I say they go position and probably say Jackie Bradley.

    Purke and Cole could very well be gone by then, but all we need to fill on the field is left field (which could very well be done with Brett Eibner) or center. Jackie Bradley is a very sexy pick and if Springer is still there, I’d say go for it.

    But with many positions set in some fashion at the major league level soon enough, pitching’s the way to go because we need to balance the left-right split. That leaves guys like…

    Sonny Gray
    Taylor Jungmann
    Archie Bradley
    Matt Barnes
    Dylan Bundy
    Bubba Starling

    …And Daniel Norris is good enough to make me ignore that he’s another lefty, kid looks like a future ace.

  24. Raul Says:

    Seattle’s taking Cole if he’s there (screw you, Cole for ditching the Yankees 2 years ago).
    And with Hernandez and Cole anchoring the rotation in Seattle, and Dustin Ackley manning 2nd, Seattle could have something.

  25. Raul Says:

    I was looking up some minor leaguers in the Yankees system and while reading up on OF Slade Heathcott, I came across this article proposing a trade for Matt Cain.

    I give the guy points for trying…lol


  26. Raul Says:

    Wait, didn’t Paul write here?

  27. Cameron Says:

    If I had to put money down, I’d actually wager Seattle taking Purke to have a viable lefty threat to sandwich between Felix and Michael Pineda.

  28. Raul Says:

    Cole may be the better pitcher and I’d lean toward taking him.

  29. Cameron Says:

    Maybe, all comes down to Jacky Z’s move.

    I saw one draft saying Pittsburgh takes Purke. I laughed.

  30. Raul Says:

    Son of a b…

    Joba showed up to Spring Training…heavier???
    There’s no hope for this kid.

  31. Chuck Says:

    “Wait, didn’t Paul write here?”


    And shit like that is why he no longer does.

  32. Chuck Says:

    I’d love to see the Royals take Starling.

    Best high school player in the draft.

    Could go as a pitcher or outfielder, (leaning towards OF).

    Not as married to his Nebraska football scholarship as one would believe.

    Seattle’s not taking an outfielder, no way.

  33. Cameron Says:

    Best high school player in the draft. Isn’t Norris a prep schooler?

  34. Chuck Says:

    “Isn’t Norris a prep schooler.”


    He’s currently ranked fourth.

    Things change alot with high schoolers because most of them have scholarships waiting for them, so teams essentially have to overpay to sign them.

    I’m not as negative as most people seem to be when it comes to high school pitchers, but, if Kansas City is overstocked in anything, it is lefthanded pitching, so Norris wouldn’t even be on my list.

    I still think Cole and Purke will be gone at #5, so if KC is insistent on a pitcher it will either be Gray or Matt Barnes, or they can go position player with Starling, Bradley or Springer.

    One of those five is a lock to be the Royals’ pick.

  35. John Says:


    At least Paul is conceding it could never happen, and unlike other Yankee fans/media/ESPN, he’s not actually suggesting that other teams are generally perfectly willing to trade their superstars for the aura of Yankee minor leaguers, straight-up. He’s saying that the main reason why it would make sense is that the Yankees would absorb the extraordinary dead-weight contract that is Barry Zito’s in exchange for making that proposed Cain deal happen.

    The problem is obvious. Between Zito AND Cain, the Giants are getting their money’s worth. They’re paying like 28 or so million dollars for the two of them, and Cain is giving them, let’s call it 24 and Zito is giving them like 4. So there’s no reason to make this deal.

    My favorite is the guys who are like, yeah, the Yankees should just trade Iva Nova, Sergio Mitre, and like, some low-A guy to the Royals and they’ll be sure to trade Greinke, because that’s why the other 28 teams exist. To fuel the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.

  36. John Says:

    “Son of a b…

    Joba showed up to Spring Training…heavier???
    There’s no hope for this kid.”



    And of course, the Yankee media’s spin: “added muscle has Joba Chamberlain eager to throw.”

  37. Raul Says:

    Damn it.

    Miguel Cabrera arrested on DUI charges. Can’t you professional athletes find drivers for when you get plastered?

  38. Raul Says:

    Today in Baseball History:

    1980 – While taping separate interviews at KNBC-TV studios in Burbank, CA, Giants coach Jim Lefebvre and Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda trade punches after a brief argument, leaving Lasorda with a bloody lip. Lefebvre had been a Dodger coach in 1979 until he was fired by Lasorda.

  39. Jim Says:

    Raul @ 35 – They do when alcohol isn’t an addiction for them, they know they’ll be partying and plan ahead. Alas for Cabrera and the Tigers…

  40. Bob Says:

    Yeah, the Tigers are screwed, although Cabrera is going to spend some time in prison I would guess.

  41. Bob Says:

    The Rockies won the John Maine sweepstakes, beating out the Royals and the Phillies.

  42. Chuck Says:

    “The Rockies won the John Maine sweepstakes..”

    If you ask me, I think it was the Royals and Phillies won.

  43. Bob Says:

    LOL, I was actually being somewhat sarcastic on a shit day. Seriously, has Cabrera ever heard of Nick Adenhardt?

  44. Cameron Says:

    “Damn it.

    Miguel Cabrera arrested on DUI charges. Can’t you professional athletes find drivers for when you get plastered?”

    I dunno if the MLB does this, but I know the NFL procides on-call limo and bodyguard service for the players. Of course the average football player seems to be dumb enough to ignore that shit and you get guys like Braylon Edwards who violates his Ohio probation by getting pulled over in New York with a BAC of .24.

  45. Cameron Says:

    Oh, dunno how this slipped through the cracks. Gary Sheffield officially retired.

  46. Chuck Says:

    Cabrera’s not going to jail.

    Although he should, the fucking dumbass.

  47. Raul Says:

    Sheffield is 41, not very likeable and didn’t play at all last year.

    Not surprising he retired.

    I’m going to leave steroids out of it just for now, but Sheffield’s career is interesting…mathematically.

    22 seasons
    OPS+ 140
    509 HR
    2,689 Hits
    1,676 RBI
    1,636 Runs
    9-time All Star
    5-time Silver Slugger
    6-time Top Ten MVP

    And my guess is he sticks on the HOF ballot for 4 years and drops off.

  48. Cameron Says:

    Very solid line, actually. If it weren’t for steroids, I’d say he’d get in fairly easily.

  49. brautigan Says:

    Who does Cabrera think he is, Mickey Mantle?

    Wait, Mantle was an alcoholic too.

  50. Jim Says:

    Yeah but Mantle was an alcoholic when athlete drunks could be considered good guys as long as they didn’t beat their wives/GFs too often, or at least in public. Times have changed.

  51. Hartvig Says:

    While I’m starting to worry that Cabrera’s career path is in danger of following Daryl Strawberry’s instead of Mickey Mantle’s on mlbTR some genius suggested that the Tigers should just release Cabrera and, I assume, eat the remaining $100 million plus on his contract. While he’s a little too old to write this off as the folly of youth, it’s also true that sometimes people just do stupid things on occasion. With last years little fracas during the playoffs he’s probably reached a point where Detroit management is going to step in and demand he get treatment, so there is reason to hope that he can keep this from getting any more out of hand.

    I’d guess that Sheffield will probably fall somewhere between Palmeiro & McGwire in the HOF voting. He was no where near as popular as McGwire when playing but he’s had the good sense (or maybe fortune) to keep his mouth shut about steroids so he won’t have the hypocrite factor to deal with like they both did.

  52. brautigan Says:

    You’re right Jim. And Hemingway would have called them out for being “sissies”.

    One of these days, I’ll have to tell you guys some drinking stories with the ball players. They are hilarious. Guys like Psycho Leskanic and Hideous Nomo. Very funny.

  53. Chuck Says:

    “One of these days, I’ll have to tell you guys some drinking stories with the ball players.”

    You ain’t lyin’, brother.

    The 1978-79 New York Rangers…us schleps would end up with the ugliest girls in the place, and they all make Miss Universe look like Larry the Cable Guy with tits.

    I spent 20+ years in the restaurant business and was known to polish off a case of Miller in a day…yet I never saw anyone drink so much in such a short period of time and not even get buzzed than Pat Burrell.

    Dickie Noles?


  54. Cameron Says:

    I’m not a very religious guy, but knowing Cabrera, maybe he should talk to his preist before Jimmy Leyland first. I know few better at straightening guys out than a good minister.

  55. Cameron Says:

    Pat the Bat? I think you mentioned him being a pretty heavy drinker before.

  56. Chuck Says:

    Burrell wasn’t a heavy drinker..he could just drink alot.

    I’ve seen him in clubs and stuff and not touch a drop.

    There’s no excuse for Cabrera and as a guy who’s had issues with booze before, he’s a fucking whackjob.

    I NEVER got a DUI.

    I RARELY drove under the influence.

    Did I? Yes.

    And obviously I got lucky, too.

    Sure, I’ve driven home from the golf course or whatever with an open beer, but I can’t even imagine drinking scotch raw from the bottle.

    Dude’s got issues.

    Without booze, Sam McDowell is an all-time great, right up there with Walter Johnson, Warren Spahn, Greg Maddux.

    Look at his record, then realize the guy never threw a pitch sober in his career.

    I sure hope Cabrera doesn’t end up like that.

  57. Raul Says:

    I love scotch.
    Scotch, scotch, scotch.

    Here it goes down, down into my belly.

  58. Chuck Says:

    I love Scotch too, but not enough to be swilling from a bottle driving through a strange city at 11 pm.

  59. Cameron Says:

    Oh, just for fun, I decided to look up the projected stats by mlb.com’s fantasy team for players in new locations. (BA/HR/RBI – BA/OBP/SLG)

    Adrian Gonzalez: .300/39/117 – .300/.385/.566
    Carl Crawford: .302/14/87 – .302./.351/.468 (45 SB)
    Adam Dunn: .257/41/109 – .257/.381/.537
    Jayson Werth: .272/26/93 – .272/.364/.490
    Victor Martinez: .295/21/89 – .298/.368/.485
    Carlos Pena: .233/30/84 – .233/.363/.479
    Mike Napoli: .250/25/74 – .250/.338/.460
    Dan Uggla: .277/34/108 – .277/.360/.509

    And here’s some pitchers by pitching triple crown (W-L/ERA/K).

    Cliff Lee: 17-10/3.11/180
    Zack Greinke: 15-9/3.20/204
    Shawn Marcum: 13-9/3.60/171
    Matt Garza: 13-11/3.74/172
    Javier Vazquez: 13-8/3.44/173
    Brandon Webb: 10-5/3.66/131

  60. Raul Says:

    I read something like Cabrera was 100 miles from camp.

    Does anyone know what Florida is?
    You go 100 miles in any direction away from like Tampa or Miami, and you’re in some backwoods shit hole, probably around a meth lab and guys that fuck children.

  61. Raul Says:

    I find it hard to believe Zack Greinke will have a worse season than Cliff Lee.

    I think it’s pretty encouraging to see those projections for Brandon Webb though

  62. Cameron Says:

    You could probably chalk that ERA difference to the Phils having a better defense. I’d call it a wash.

  63. Raul Says:

    Fair enough. I think Greinke will be distinctly better, but we’ll see.

  64. Cameron Says:

    Projection quote said “expect a middle ground between 2009 and 2010″. Sounds about right.

  65. John Says:

    So 150 ERA+?

    I’ll take it.

    I agree with Raul, I think Greinke will be better than Lee too.

    Come to think of it, I can’t stand fantasy projections. Why don’t they just say “Player X will do about as well as he did last year, with +/- 10 batting average points, 2 homers, and 8 RBI”

  66. Cameron Says:

    That was just the quote associated. It’s got numerical projections as well.

    Also, looks like LA is gonna jump the gun on the youth movement pretty soon. Xavier Paul, Trayvon Robinson, Ivan DeJesus, and Dee Gordon all look to be September callups this season.

    I don’t think Paul will stick, but Robinson could take center away from Matt Kemp and Uribe moves to third with Dee Gordon and Ivan DeJesus playing up the middle. These new-look Dodgers are a HELL of a lot more athletic than what they’ve got now.

  67. Raul Says:

    Speaking of which, it’s a bit early but are we doing a Fantasy League? I heard ideas last year about doing a Keeper League

  68. Raul Says:


    Styx wasn’t really all that bad. Mr. Roboto was pretty awesome.

  69. Cameron Says:

    That was my idea, actually. ESPN does free keepers now so I was wanting to start one up.

    And Styx is awesome, ’nuff said.

  70. John Says:

    I’m up for it if we can get enough people.

  71. Hartvig Says:

    I might be interested in joining as well. And if anyone knows of someone starting up a historical strato-matic baseball league I would be all over that. I was in one about a decade ago where we played from 1920 to 1999 (I think) over the course of about 3 years.

  72. Cameron Says:

    Isn’t Strat-o-matic pay-to-play though?

    …Wait, I have a job now.

  73. Chuck Says:


    I was dating this girl who was a huge Styx fan, so I basically blew a month’s salary on front row seats.

    The bitch broke up with me during intermission.

    Fixed her ass, though.

    I was driving.

  74. Chuck Says:

    Greinke finishes top three in the Cy voting.

    Carl Crawford gets DOUBLE the MVP votes A-Gon gets.


    LOL…damn straight.

  75. Lefty33 Says:


    Styx wasn’t really all that bad. Mr. Roboto was pretty awesome.”

    I don’t know Raul, that’s the song that pretty much broke up the band.

    Sure they still tour but DeYoung hasn’t been singing with them since ‘96 and without him it’s just a fraud.

    Having James Young and Tommy Shaw turn the group into more of a Damn Yankees type band is not my idea of good music.

    Without Roboto STYX, minus the drummer who died and the bass player that has AIDS, would still exist today.


  76. Bob Says:

    Chuck, post 71 is awesome. Your date breaks up with you during a concent, but she ends up being stranded in some pot-infested arena. How drunk was she to do something that idiotic?

  77. Cameron Says:

    Baltimore has placed Alfredo Simon on the Restricted List in order to make room for Vladimir Guerrero. Simon will not be collecting a paycheck or service time.

    …I think that signals that the Os are thinking Alfredo’s guilty.

  78. Raul Says:

    I can’t believe the Toronto Blue Jays managed to pull off the magic trick of all magic tricks and got out of Vernon Wells’ contract, only to give Jose Bautista 65 million dollars over 5 years.

    This is a guy who his entire career hit 59 homers, then hits 54 in 2010.
    This is a guy who couldn’t hack it in Pittsburgh!

    A guy who in 2,038 career plate appearances before 2010 put up a slash line of .238/.329/.400.

    I really wish my attitude didn’t get the best of me when I was younger. If this guy could get a deal? Jeez, I know I could have at least had some sort of Ron Villone-type job and ended up with the pension.

  79. Chuck Says:

    What’s the over/under on them trying to get out of Bautista’s contract?

    Trade deadline 2012 sounds about right.

  80. Bob Says:

    Jim Edmonds retired.

  81. Chuck Says:

    Edmonds retired two years ago, he just made it official today.

    Somewhere, some stathead is writing an “Edmonds for the HOF” article.

  82. Raul Says:

    I don’t know what defines a generation, exactly.
    And I don’t know what sort of cut-off a person would use for determining exactly who were the very best players of their generation.

    Suppose I took 1985-2005.

    Who were the…say…Top 5 position players, and pitchers?
    Without doing any extensive analysis:


    Roger Clemens
    Greg Maddux
    Pedro Martinez
    Randy Johnson
    Tom Glavine

    I think that’s reasonably correct.

    Position players:

    Ken Griffey Jr.
    Barry Bonds
    Alex Rodriguez
    Manny Ramirez
    Cal Ripken

    I’m just throwing names out there. I know it’s a highly debatable list. That’s not really the point.

    There are 235 players elected into the Hall of Fame.
    106 were non-Negro League players elected by the BBWAA.
    78 players were elected by the Veterans Committee.
    21 Negro League players were elected.
    The remaining players were elected via Special Election, Run Off and Old Timers — Whatever that means.

    So anyway, 106 players elected by the writers in 74 years or about 1.43 every year.

    And these are some of the players from the last 20-25 years that people have argued belong or will belong in the HOF:

    Greg Maddux
    Tom Glavine
    Pedro Martinez
    Roger Clemens
    Mark McGwire
    Barry Bonds
    Tim Raines
    Don Mattingly
    Edgar Martinez
    Randy Johnson
    Barry Larkin
    Alan Trammel
    Dale Murphy
    Dave Parker
    Fred McGriff
    Jack Morris
    Rafael Palmeiro
    Larry Walker
    Jeff Bagwell
    Craig Biggio
    Lee Smith
    Curt Schilling
    Sammy Sosa
    Mike Piazza
    Frank Thomas
    Jeff Kent
    Moises Alou

    Those are all guys that now, and in the near future, will have arguments made for them about HOF consideration.

    Exactly how many guys are you people seriously willing to consider?

    If you think the Hall of Fame has too many members NOW, I don’t even want to know what the Hall of Fame is going to look like in 5 years.

  83. Chuck Says:

    There are 27 players on the list.

    Discounting steriods, I’d vote for nine.

    Hold a gun to my head, MAYBE a dozen.

  84. Chuck Says:

    There’s been a lot of internet rumors going around lately about the Yankees trying to acquire Francisco Liriano.

    Twins shut him down today due to shoulder tightness. Liriano said he “couldn’t get loose.”

    Translation: Rotator cuff issues.

  85. Raul Says:

    And I’m sure I forgot to mention some guys, Chuck.

    Jim Thome, Gary Sheffield, Jim Edmonds, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Omar Vizquel…

    There are a lot of guys that are gonna be debated, and quite frankly, we really need to get real about some players.

  86. Raul Says:

    I read the rumors on Liriano.
    Problem is, he’s a FA at the end of the season, anyway.

    A guy who’s gonna be a FA AND he’s got rotator cuff issues? I wouldn’t be surprised if the most Liriano gets in the off-season is a minor league invite.

  87. Chuck Says:

    Liriano’s a free agent after 2012.

  88. Cameron Says:

    Just for shits and giggles, name 10 for me, Chuck (full ballot).

    Rotator cuff issues? Shoulder problems? Durability issues? …Did the surgeon who did Liriano’s TJ back in ‘06(?) completely botch it or something?

  89. Jim Says:

    Shocking, Liriano has arm issues, why the Twins floated the trial balloon about trading him and won’t sign him to a long term deal. No the surgeon didn’t botch the TJ, its simply Liriano’s violent motion and the number of sliders he throws

  90. Raul Says:

    I just want to say something really briefly…

    Frank Thomas, Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome are going to get serious HOF consideration and will probably be elected.

    But outside of hitting, none of them did anything particularly well.
    Thomas was an exceptional hitter and Thome was great. I’d lean toward voting for Thomas but not Thome simply because Thomas was a better overall hitter. But the DH has allowed them to reach milestones they never would have.

    Manny Ramirez, on the other hand, was once a serviceable/pretty good outfielder. And I’m going to give him some credit for that. But his positive test for PEDs does taint him.

    If the PEDs were absolutely no issue at all (and it’s possible they all used), I’d rank them as Ramirez, Thomas, Thome for the Hall.

    But I just want to make it clear that they have some of the best HITTERS numbers. They are not necessarily some of the best PLAYERS ever.

  91. Chuck Says:

    “But I just want to make it clear that they have some of the best HITTERS numbers. They are not necessarily some of the best PLAYERS ever.”

    I agree completely.

  92. brautigan Says:

    I came up with 5 on Raul’s list.

  93. Chuck Says:

    Some guys are just fragile, that’s all there is to it.

    The A’s shut down Rich Harden the the other day, too.

    Two guys who get hurt PLAYING F*CKING CATCH!!

    Not even throwing off a mound. Playing catch.

    I mean, c’mon.

    And if they’re stupid enough to not work out during the off-season, especially considering their past histories, then, sorry, no sympathy from me.

  94. Bob Says:

    I see 5 sho-ins myself. Alot of maybe’s. In no specific order

  95. Lefty33 Says:

    “Thomas was an exceptional hitter and Thome was great. I’d lean toward voting for Thomas but not Thome simply because Thomas was a better overall hitter. But the DH has allowed them to reach milestones they never would have.”

    Thomas also will have plenty of good will from the BBWAA as he actually talked to Mitchell and didn’t dodge it.

    To me that should offset any issues with his horrible defense and spending too much time as a DH.

  96. Lefty33 Says:

    @ Raul #80-

    To me off that list you have to ask two questions:

    1. Who do you want to see elected?

    2. Who is actually electable and has a real chance.

    For myself I’ll only answer question number 2:

    Maddux, Glavine, Pedro, Johnson, Larkin, Bagwell, Biggio, Thomas, Piazza, Kent.

    All the rest are either left over ballot dead weight, players that are not nearly good enough or are stained by PED usage and with the current environment will never be elected by the current puritanical electorate.

    That said, who do you like?

  97. Raul Says:

    From your short list:

    Maddux, Glavine, Johnson, Pedro.

    Press me, and I’ll give you Piazza.
    Press even more, I’ll give you Thomas.

    Larkin, Bagwell, Biggio, Kent are not Hall of Famers.

  98. Lefty33 Says:

    “Larkin, Bagwell, Biggio, Kent are not Hall of Famers.”

    I’m not a big fan of those four either but I think their elections are inevitable.

    I’ll eat my sock if Larkin doesn’t go in next year.

  99. Chuck Says:

    I don’t see any way Jeff Kent ever gets in.

    He was so bad defensively that it neutralizes his offense, and he was a first class asshole.

    If Albert Belle’s not in, Kent has no chance.

  100. Bob Says:

    Shit. I forgot Randy Johnson. Cut me some slack, its Friday.

  101. Chuck Says:

    Eventually, someone’s going to blow the lid off the Houston Pill Party, leaving everyone who ever spent more than three years there with no chance in hell, just like the guys in Colorado.

  102. Raul Says:

    I could be persuaded to vote for Larkin, but that’s about it.

  103. Hartvig Says:

    I have 16 plus 3 maybes with a few caveats: 1) that Bonds & Clemens will eventually get in because they already were there before they started juicing 2) that Biggio, Bagwell and maybe others that are suspected of juicing but don’t have clear cut evidence will get in 3) that McGwire, Palmeiro & Soso will not get in because without steroids they wouldn’t be in the discussion.

    I don’t think that there are too many Hall of Famers. There are are more than a few that probably shouldn’t have been elected in the first place but I think there are a greater number who are not in who belong. Organized baseball has been around in a recognizable form for over 130 years. Surely 1 player at each position for every decade played is not too many plus, over time, players positional rankings change. Home Run Baker was the best third baseman to play the game for almost 50 years. Now he’s not in the top 5. Does he belong? Of course. Jimmy Collins was probably the second best. He’s probably no longer in the top 15. Does he belong? Again, I would say yes. But when Ron Santo retired he was certainly one of the 5 best third basemen to have played in the first 90 years of the game (if you don’t agree I’ll give you Matthews, Robinson, Baker and ????) and better than Collins. But because Mike Schmidt & George Brett & several other top flight 3rd basemen came along right as Santo retired, he’s not in. Is that fair? I would argue it’s not. Not every generation (I’d call a baseball generation about a decade) is going to have a HOF worthy candidate, but most do. But you’re also going to have periods with freak concentrations of talent: the 50’s with Willie, Mickey & the Duke in just 1 city, the 30’s with Gehrig, Foxx & Greenbery, the 80’s with Ripken, Yount, Larkin & Trammell. Then you add in the pitchers…

    I’m not arguing that there be some sort of formula to get in. Darrell Evans was a hell of a ball player. He’s probably better than about half of the third basemen in the HOF right now. But even when he played, a lot of people didn’t recognize his value. He was never a key member of a great team. He never got a lot of accolades. He was clearly overshadowed by Schmidt & Brett. Does he belong? I’d say yes, probably. Will he ever get in? No chance. Does that bother me? Not much. Lefty Gomez is in the HOF. Yet he wasn’t near the pitcher that Kevin Brown was and Brown was 1 and out. Does Gomez’s being in bother me? Not really. He was a star player on some remarkable teams. He was highly visible in baseball history for decades. His skills are good enough to hitch a ride on the Fame part of the name of the Hall. There have been a lot of great players in baseball history and their stories make up the fabric & lore of the game. I would argue that there are at least 260 players (currently retired for 5 years) who belong in the Hall, plus another 15 or so that are in that you can’t now throw out. I hope that some day if I do get to visit Cooperstown that I can see a lot of their stories.

  104. Raul Says:

    I think Biggio, Bagwell, Caminiti and Luis Gonzalez all juiced in Houston.
    And I wouldn’t put it past Billy Wagner to have been on something either.

  105. Raul Says:

    Read this fluff piece on ESPN about Yankee prospect pitcher Dellin Betances.

    Anybody here seen him or know anything about him? Trying to get a more realistic opinion of him and his abilities.

  106. Hartvig Says:

    Raul, I think you’re probably right but they were never in the headlines like Bonds, etc. I’d guess in the case of Biggio & Bagwell the steroid issue will be glossed over unless either more evidence comes available or it gets back into the headlines somehow.

  107. Raul Says:

    Fair enough.

    I’m not sure that the evidence will ever come out on Bagwell.
    But the evidence never came out on OJ Simpson and I’m sure he’s guilty too.

    Not the same thing, but I’m just trying to make a point.

    I have my suspicions on those guys.
    Voters have weird reasons for voting or not voting though.
    I mean, Babe Ruth doesn’t get 100%? Rickey Henderson doesn’t get 100%?

    You know?

  108. Hartvig Says:

    Is Bagwell guilty of juicing? Chuck is a lot closer to events than I am and he’s certain. He’s in the Mitchell report. There were some physical changes. He didn’t hit for much power in the minors. I’d say in a court of law he probably is. But the court of public opinion, as it relates to the current crop of baseball writers? My guess is that he’s not.

    I am curious about one thing. In 88 you point out that while Thomas & Thome were great hitters but that as fielders their performance was lacking and therefor don’t necessarily qualify as great players, and presumably not at least necessarily Hall of Famers. Yet in 95 you contend that Larkin was not a Hall of Famer: a 12 time AllStar, multiple Gold Glove (and more if not for Ozzie Smith), MVP winner, Rookie of the Year, 9 times Silver Slugger winning shortstop who stole almost 400 bases at an 83% success rate doesn’t qualify either. How many current Hall of Famers do you think don’t belong? It looks to me that if you were in charge of admissions the Hall of Fame would have about a dozen members.

    I’m not saying your wrong just that we seem to differ pretty widely as to where to draw the line.

    Unless you think Alan Trammell doesn’t belong, in which case you’re clearly insane.

  109. Cameron Says:

    “But the evidence never came out on OJ Simpson and I’m sure he’s guilty too.”

    The armed robbery charges made that whole thing kind of a moot point. The earliest he gets out he’ll be in in his mid 70s and he’ll probably die in prison.

    As for saying that Bonds and Clemens get in on the first ballot (If I had a vote, they’re getting in), but given the PED stain… I’d place equal chances on them getting a first-ballot election and them falling under 5% in their first year.

    …And yes, I know Raffy Palmeiro and Juan Gone survived their first year, but they received NOWHERE near the publicity. That microscope will kill them.

  110. Raul Says:

    I went on to say that I could be convinced Larkin belongs in the Hall of Fame in post #100.

  111. Lefty33 Says:

    “As for saying that Bonds and Clemens get in on the first ballot (If I had a vote, they’re getting in), but given the PED stain… I’d place equal chances on them getting a first-ballot election and them falling under 5% in their first year.”

    Based on the precursor of what we’ve seen Mcgwire and Raffy get I think you’ll be lucky to see Clemens or Bonds get into double digits their first ballot.

    Better players with better numbers but with 100 times the embarassment, issues and baggage.

    If the BBWAA is going to crucify Mac and Raffy imagine what they’ll do with guys who clearly have lied and have are both facing legal issues because of their usage and their lies about their usage.

    If I had a vote I’m hiding behind the character clause and locking the door.

    IMHO neither guy ever sees the HOF if the current voting enviorment stays in place.

    I will bet anyone on this site or any site that there is a zero percent chance that either Bonds or Clemens get inducted first ballot.

  112. Chuck Says:

    “Anybody here seen him or know anything about him? Trying to get a more realistic opinion of him and his abilities.”

    He is probably the Yanks’ best pitching prospect since Brien Taylor.

    I’m worried about his size because tall pitchers have problems repeating their deliveries, but if he could ever become consistent with his mechanics like JR Richard or Randy Johnson…watch out.

    This is a big year for him, he’s had some injury problems early and last year was his first real, healthy year and, as usual, the Yankees babied him.

    This year, it’s gloves off.

    I think he starts the season in Double A, and if any of those retreads New York brought in to be the fifth starter run into problems, Bettances could see the rotation before September.

    If I was Cashman, Bettances is the only untradeable prospect in the whole system.

  113. Lefty33 Says:

    “I think he starts the season in Double A, and if any of those retreads New York brought in to be the fifth starter run into problems, Bettances could see the rotation before September.”

    You got to be kidding me Chuck.

    With that great bunch that Cashman brought in, Scranton should cruise to the IL title.

  114. Hartvig Says:

    Raul- Sorry, I didn’t see that. I think it may have gone up while I was writing my little missive. Good to know.

    I think Bonds & Clemens will do about the same or better than McGwire but better than Palmeiro. In both McGwire & Palmeiro’s cases you can draw a line in their careers where it divides the “not juicing/not a HOFer” and “juicing/HOF #’s” parts. While Bonds & Clemens are both a-holes & artificially inflated their totals I think there are enough voters who will understand that they would be in without steroids to offset the loss of any of the 10 to 20% that seem to be giving the steroid issue a pass entirely. I would be surprised if either gets less than 25% of the vote on the first ballot. But I wouldn’t bet with Lefty that they’ll get in on the first ballot either. This is one issue where everyone, including me, is just guessing at this point.

    “He is probably the Yanks’ best pitching prospect since Brien Taylor.”

    I hope he has a better future than Taylor turned out to have. Getting in the fight that ended his career was stupid but at least arguably defensible because he was looking out for his little brother. If what I read about happening to him afterwards though is true, his life seems to have been a series of mostly poor decisions since then.

  115. Cameron Says:

    Hartvig beat me to part of it… But do you secretly hate Bentances? The first two names you bring up in comparisons are Brien Taylor (A bigger bust than Todd Van Poppel) and JR Richard (HOF career derailed by a stroke).

    Poor bastard.

  116. Cameron Says:

    Scott Boras is now acting as Anthony Rendon’s advisor*. Pittsburgh Pirates, brace yourselves.

    * – Not his agent since that would affect his college eligibility, but I think y’all know what’s gonna happen.

  117. Chuck Says:

    “I have 16 plus 3 maybes with a few caveats..”

    Jesus Christ…I understand some people are “big Hall” supporters, but c’mon.

    Even if steriods didn’t exist, two thirds of the guys on that list have no chance, and you have sixteen??!!

    Admit it, Hartvig, you’re the guy who voted for David Segui….

  118. Chuck Says:

    Pedro Alvarez is a Boras client.

    The Pirates had no problem overpaying him.

  119. Chuck Says:

    I heard Bartolo Colon has lost 25 pounds..

    Two questions remain;

    Is he under 300 now?

    Did he sell them to Joba?

  120. Hartvig Says:

    Upon further review lets call it 15 & 4 maybes


    And it almost physically pains me to leave Mattingly off the list.

    And no, I did vote for Segui. But I would have voted for Olerud.

  121. Hartvig Says:

    That should read: “I did NOT vote for Segui”

    He burned my ass in fantasy baseball one season.

  122. Chuck Says:

    You’d vote for a designated hitter but not Mattingly!!??

  123. Chuck Says:

    In the 46 years of the draft, the Yankees have selected 23 pitchers in the first round, or the first supplemental round.

    Ten made the major leagues.

    Four never pitched for the Yankees.

    The best pitcher of them all, based on WAR, was Scott MacGregor, at 17.9.

    The best pitcher FOR THE YANKEES, based on WAR…is Phil Hughes, at 4.9.

    So, I take back what I said about Brian Taylor.

    Bettances is the Yankees best pitching prospect since Hughes.


  124. Raul Says:

    If I’m disregarding steroids use,

    Randy Johnson
    Pedro Martinez
    Tom Glavine
    Greg Maddux
    Roger Clemens

    Barry Bonds
    Ken Griffey Jr
    Mike Piazza
    Alan Trammel
    Barry Larkin
    Frank Thomas

    That’s 11 guys I would probably vote for.

    Of the remaining actives, the following will almost surely be elected by the writers:

    Manny Ramirez
    Derek Jeter
    Alex Rodriguez
    Mariano Rivera
    Albert Pujols
    Ichiro Suzuki
    Trevor Hoffman

    If I had to guess which active players (30yrs+) are close, or on their way to the HOF, I’d say:

    Roy Halladay
    Scott Rolen
    Vladimir Guerrero

    And while they probably won’t get elected, strong arguments will be made for Tim Hudson and Omar Vizquel.

  125. brautigan Says:

    Prior to the season Mantle and Maris chased Ruth, only 18 major league players had hit more than 300 career home runs. In the past 51 years, the list has grown to 129. I am under the impression that hitting homeruns is not as significant as it was in times past.

    The other weird thing, Rickey Henderson hit two less home runs than Tim Salmon.

  126. Hartvig Says:

    Raul- Off the top of my head I say you missed Chipper Jones as a sure fire bet

  127. Raul Says:

    I did miss Chipper Jones, you’re right.

  128. Raul Says:


    While it’s true that some of the older stadium had short fences down the line, Yankee Stadium for example, many of them were also very deep in between. Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth and others had a hard time hitting homers to center and to the gaps.

    Players today don’t have those obstacles.

    I think there are a number of reasons for more homers — which may de-value them a bit.

    1. Smaller ballparks
    2. Tighter-wound baseballs (if you believe it)
    3. Steroids
    4. Overall strength training and conditioning
    5. Lowering of the mound
    6. Smaller strike zones
    7. DH
    8. The practice of warning pitchers for inside pitches, which reduces the pitcher’s ability to control both sides of the plate.

  129. Chuck Says:

    You forgot the most obvious reason, Raul.

    Dog-shit pitching.

  130. Chuck Says:

    I would not vote for DH’s or closers.

    While it’s not the player’s fault for stupid rules that allow them to post numbers they otherwise wouldn’t have…it’s not the HOF’s either.

  131. Bob Says:

    Depends how long they DH. If ARod for example becomes a dh for good starting next year, he still gets in. Ortiz, you are right. No chance. Closers, I mean how does one say FU to Mariano? I for one could not.

  132. brautigan Says:

    Chuck: It’s called “expansion”. That is what prompts the “dog-shit” pitching.


  133. Chuck Says:

    We’re eleven years past the last expansion, Braut..getting so that excuse can’t be used anymore.

    Now, it’s called “pitch-counts.”

  134. Raul Says:

    In 2010,

    Over different 500 players hit at least 1 home run.
    651 different pitchers pitched at least 1 inning.
    179 different pitchers started at least 10 games.
    93 different pitchers logged at least 160 innings, of which 44 allowed 20 homers or more.

    I’m curious if anyone could find out the total number of homers allowed by relievers in 2010.

  135. Chuck Says:

    Apparently, Miguel Cabrera decided not to report to camp today.

    I’m betting the decision wasn’t his.

  136. Bob Says:

    If the decision was not his, then he cannot be fined.

  137. Bob Says:

    Hunter Pence won his arbitration case, and the Rangers signed Brett Tomko.

  138. Chuck Says:

    Whoa…can’t wait til Wednesday when I get out to Rangers camp. I was looking forward to seeing Hamilton, Young, Kinsler, and Feliz, but the allure of watching Brett Tomko and his 78 mph heater is too much to pass up.

  139. Chuck Says:

    The can’t fine him anyway, Bob.

    It was a non-baseball infraction.

    They can suspend him for conduct, but not fine him.

  140. Cameron Says:

    Speaking of forgetting players (oddly enough, another Brave), how are you guys not listing John Smoltz?

  141. Chuck Says:

    “how are you guys not listing John Smoltz?”

    Because we don’t think he’s a HOFer?

    I’m softening my stance on Smoltz, actually.

    A couple of years ago, I got into a no-holds barred, kick-butt discussion with my dumbass Red Sox fan cousin over Curt Schilling and the HOF.

    He kept comparing Schilling’s HOF chances to Smoltz’, and the more he talked, the more it became apparent to me Smoltz was the better candidate.

    Smoltz won’t be a first ballot, he’ll probably go in between years 10-15, like Blyleven, but he’ll get in.

    The only way Schilling gets in is if he puts all the members of the Veteran’s Committee in his will.

  142. Cameron Says:

    I’d give Smoltz less than 10 actually. At his peak he was dominant (like Bert), but he was one of the players that defined the era as part of the holy trinity in Atlanta. I’m boosting him off name value.

  143. Chuck Says:

    “but he was one of the players that defined the era as part of the holy trinity in Atlanta. I’m boosting him off name value.”

    If the BBWAA thought that mattered, then Ron Santo and Tim Raines would already be in, and Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada would be no-brainers.

    They aren’t.

    You should know that, Cameron. I know you weren’t around yet, but from 1974-1983 the Royals won more games than any AL team, and the only HOFer is Brett.

    No one else even came close…and those teams had some GREAT players.

  144. Cameron Says:

    Yeah, but at best the only other borderline candidate is Frank White (and even I wouldn’t vote for him). I’m only using the “fame” part of the hall of fame argument to reduce his time for about a year or so. I think Smoltz gets in easily regardless. He has a win total that, like Pedro, really doesn’t reflect how dominant he was.

  145. Chuck Says:

    My Prospect Handbook arrived the other day..I’m looking at Kansas City, and, damn.

    They could have as many as a dozen rookies make an appearance this year, and that’s not counting Hosmer or Myers.

    In 2021 when all those goofy ESPN suits sit down and pick the MLB team of the decade, I’m betting on the Royals.

  146. brautigan Says:

    Chuck: I’m not sure how I feel about pitch counts. There is the part of me that wants to see teams return to 4 man rotations and to do that, one must insure pitchers do not hit the 149 pitch count like Edwin Jackson did last year. On the other hand, you have minor leaguers restricted to so many pitches per outing, and in my mind, by “coddling” them, are the teams really doing themselves any favors by not encouraging endurance and stamina?

    Hard to say. On one hand, I dislike pitch counts, on the other, pitch counts are crucial to avoid fatigue injuries.

    And Chuck, it is my opinion that pitching has yet to catch up with the extra slots alloted when expansion came into play. In my lifetime, I’ve seen baseball go from 16 teams to 30. If you look at the NBA (and really, why would anyone watch that crappy product….again, you can point to expansion and Patrick Ewing for the NBA becoming a boring affair) it is easily to see that the NBA is so watered down. I am afraid baseball is close to that as well, getting watered down by expansion.

  147. Chuck Says:

    “pitch counts are crucial to avoid fatigue injuries.”

    I disagree.

    The MORE you throw, the LESS likely you are to get hurt.

    It’s not rocket science.

    Oh, I completely agree with your stance on expansion, Braut, I’m just saying that after twelve years the playing field has leveled out and it is what it is.

    Just because there are more players today than forty years ago DOES NOT mean there are more players who are better.

  148. Cameron Says:

    Oooh, the BA handbook? Did they break the record of having 9 in the top 100?

  149. brautigan Says:

    Chuck: Keith Woolsner had an interesting article some time ago in Baseball Prospectus and this was his conclusion:

    ” Long pitch count outings noticeably decrease expected short-term performance, and high stress workloads over time increase the chances for serious injury. Any strategic analysis of pitcher usage will have to consider the tradeoff between winning the current game and the long-term cost. There are clearly times when you will want to ride a workhorse hard, such as a key playoff game (though Al Leiter will attest that there are limits even in the World Series). Finding the right balance between winning now and winning tomorrow remains a interesting challenge”.

    I have to agree with him. Obviously, there are some freaks like Randy Johnson, who appear to be the type that can throw all day long without consequence. Or Sandy Koufax in 1965 who after two days rest shut out the Twins in the world series (that would never happen today). But then, you have Aaron Harang who has not been the same pitcher ever since his ill advised relief appearance a couple of years ago……….

  150. Chuck Says:

    Top 100 comes out on Feb 23rd.

  151. Chuck Says:

    I’m surprised at you, Braut, and not at you quoting Baseball Prospectus, although we can discuss that later over a bonfire.

    Pitchers are like snowflakes, no two are the same.

    Listen to Greg Maddux talk pitching sometime, what an eye-opener.

    This saber-based argument about Jack Morris having a higher ERA than his record indicates and “pitching to the score” is the biggest load of turd…EVERYONE pitches to the score.

    The things Raul pointed to earlier about hitting applies to pitching as well. Smaller strike zones, not pitching inside, bad defense…all lead to higher pitch counts.

    But if Maddux and Cliff Lee and Dan Haren can throw complete games with less than 100 pitches…why can’t everyone else?

    Because you pitch with your head, not your arm. As Maddux said, it’s OK to groove a pitch to Barry Bonds up five runs in the seventh inning, who cares if he hits it out?

    It’s mind numbingly stupid to pitch around a batter with a three run lead and no one on…you’re wasting four or five pitches. Do that four or five times in a game and that’s the difference between pitching seven innings and nine.

    Ask Keith Woolner how his sabermetric approach is benefitting the Indians.

    Better yet, look at the standings.

  152. Hartvig Says:


    ” but from 1974-1983 the Royals won more games than any AL team, and the only HOFer is Brett.”

    I used to love those teams. And damn, were they good. But it was kind of like they were jinxed when it comes to the HOF.
    Dennis Leonard was probably the most deserving but he had the most misfortune: first, he came along right at the end of the sort of brief Renaissance (1970-1975) when some teams returned to 4 man rotations and Mickey Lolich & Bert Blyleven & Phil Neikro & Steve Carleton & Wilbur Wood & a few others racked up some astonishing number of innings and by comparison his numbers didn’t look as remarkable as they actually were; and second, he had injury problems. Frank White may have the best argument of all because Bill Mazeroski is in and Frank White is actually Mazeroski in disguise after he made a pact with the devil to play 20 more years. Mayberry screwed his career up with booze & drugs. Willie Wilson screwed his career up by trying to do his own thinking. Amos Otis was Bernie Williams but with a better glove and playing in an era when batting averages were a little lower. Hal McRae was one of the best DH’s of all time-and if he hadn’t broken his leg he could have been a human highlight film in the field like his son Brain. Of course if that were the case, he would have stayed in Cincinnati and never played for the Royals.

    I can see some value in pitch counts in certain circumstances- someone fresh out of college, never pitched more than 100 innings in a season- put him on a pitch count after he reaches 130 innings pitched. With rare exception don’t let any pitcher go over 150 pitches (or maybe 140). Coming back from an injury or early in the season in cold weather maybe. But to say “No pitcher on the staff is going to throw more than 100 pitches” is just monumentally stupid and a huge waste of resources.

  153. brautigan Says:

    Dammit, you would think I would have learned by now. I think we’ve had this same conversation some time ago and it went the exact say way. I think I even quoted the Woolsner article. Deja Vu all over again.

    You know, I did watch Mickey Lolich and Wilbur Wood in the early 70’s. Juan Marichal, Denny McLain, Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale and Dean Chance in the 60’s.

    Pitch counts be damned!

  154. brautigan Says:

    I have a question for everyone. Let me know if you’re against a 4 man rotation and why.

    For the life of me, I’m not sure why there isn’t one franchise ready to try a 4 man rotation.

  155. Cameron Says:

    If I had a team of my own, I’d be willing to experiment with a 4 man rotation.

    The thing is that pitchers have been pitching less since the time they pick up the ball in little league. No one’s been there to stretch them and they’re not used to it now. It’s an experiment I’m willing to try, but I’ll have swingmen to bail me out. I guess you could say a 4 and a half man rotation. Say, this order.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 4

    I just don’t know that anyone but horses like Halladay and Verlander are able to handle four man rotation duties all season long. Take a look at LCS/WS short rotations and see the fatigue they can pile up on short rest.

    CC Sabathia can pitch on 3 days rest (pretty sure I saw him pitch on back to back 2 days rest games in Milwaukee), most guys are a question mark.

  156. Cameron Says:

    Yeah, Hal Mcrae would’ve been the CF for the Big Red Machine and they probably wouldn’t have had to trade for George Foster. It would’ve been something to see.

  157. Raul Says:

    I don’t know why a 5-man rotation makes sense but a 4-man rotation doesn’t.

    Even back in the old days, pitchers were basically done by age 34, 35. That’s virtually true today.

    The 5-man rotation, I don’t believe has extended careers. And even if it did, it certainly did not extend the period of excellence, which is all that really matters.

    The biggest reason why you don’t see a 4-man rotation is because of the prominence of relievers.

    In 1955, Robin Roberts appeared in 41 games, started 38 of them and pitched 305 innings.

    In 2010, Chris Carpenter appeared in and started in 35 games and pitched 235 innings.

    That’s a significant difference.
    I’m not saying Carpenter needs to throw 305 innings, but certainly there’s some middle ground there that is better better used by Carpenter, and not Jason Motte or Dennys Reyes.

    Supposing you let Carpenter throw another 10 or 12 pitches per game — essentially another inning, for arguments’ sake — that brings him up to 270 innings for the year. Sounds like a lot, but is it really? I don’t think so.

    But I do think that 1 inning of even 35 year old Chris Carpenter is better than 1 inning of ANY RELIEVER not named Mariano Rivera. And I don’t think that workload is going to break a 35 year old pitcher — certainly not a 28 year old one.

    There are 30 teams in Major League Baseball. Basically that means that in a 4-man rotation, there are 30 starting pitchers that would either be in the bullpen or minor leagues. And if you have those guys in the bullpen, where does that put your typical reliever? The Independent League? Jiffy Lube? Wal-Mart?

    Instead of listing all thirty of the 5th starters in the game, is there any 5th starter that you could argue actually belongs in a starting rotation? Probably not. But you could argue that likely-5th-starter for the Yankees Freddy Garcia is a much better bullpen “long man” than Dustin Mosley or Sergio Mitre. And that a few extra starts during the season for CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes is ultimately better for the Yankees, and ultimately gives you a better product on the field for Major League Baseball and the fans.

    This is 2011, fellas.

    Nutrition, medicine, therapy, exercise…with all the advantages of modern technology and science, you cannot tell me that a professional athlete is going to crumble by throwing 10 more pitches per game. You simply can’t. And even if you believed that, tell these pitchers to cut back on pre-game warm-ups and in-between warm-up pitches. Pitchers waste energy there all the time — not that I really believe it has an impact. Throw more, if you can. But if you are really concerned with the workload, cut back on pointless pitches.

  158. Hartvig Says:


    “You know, I did watch Mickey Lolich and Wilbur Wood in the early 70’s.”
    “Pitch counts be damned!”

    And in the case of those 2 guys, conditioning as well. At a game where those 2 were pitching, it would have taken a while to find 2 random guys in the stands who looked less like professional athletes.

  159. Lefty33 Says:

    “is there any 5th starter that you could argue actually belongs in a starting rotation?”

    As much as he sucks dog balls, Joe Blanton would be a starter on just about every other MLB team as well.

    On some teams he might even be a #2 or #3.

  160. Raul Says:

    Joe Blanton in a league with 4-man rotations would not be a #2 starter for anyone.

  161. Cameron Says:

    He’s an ace in KC, Pittsburgh, (arguably) Baltimore, Washington, and Arizona.

  162. Lefty33 Says:

    “Joe Blanton in a league with 4-man rotations would not be a #2 starter for anyone.”

    I’d take him over Chen and Francis in KC.

  163. Cameron Says:

    Better track record than Hochevar too.

  164. Raul Says:

    Projected #5 Starters around the league:

    Yankees: Ivan Nova
    Red Sox: Daisuke Matsuzaka
    Orioles: Jake Arrieta
    Blue Jays: Jessie Litsch
    Rays: Jeff Niemann

    Tigers: Phil Coke
    Twins: Carl Pavano
    Royals: Sean O’Sullivan
    White Sox: Jake Peavy
    Indians: Josh Tomlin

    Mariners: Luke French
    Angels: Joel Pinero
    Rangers: Brandon Webb
    Athletics: Rich Harden

    Mets: Dillon Gee
    Phillies: Joe Blanton
    Braves: Mike Minor
    Nationals: Tom Gorzelanny
    Marlins: Anibal Sanchez

    Cardinals: Kyle Lohse
    Cubs: Carlos Silva
    Brewers: Chris Narveson
    Astros: Nelson Figueroa
    Pirates: Charlie Morton
    Reds: Travis Wood

    Giants: Barry Zito
    Dodgers: John Garland
    Padres: Dustin Moseley
    Diamondbacks: Armando Galarraga
    Rockies: Aaron Cook

    Two things stand out.

    1. There are a lot of really, really shitty pitchers with jobs in the major leagues.

    2. If you go to a 4-man rotation, some of these guys would end up being higher end starters on bad teams (Matsuzaka, Jake Peavy, Carl Pavano, etc).

    But even then, I suppose I have to say Blanton would fit somewhere on a bad team as a #3.

    It should be noted, however, that the teams where he’d fit, currently have a ton of better pitchers who simply aren’t ready yet.

  165. Raul Says:

    For the record, I would not take Blanton over Ian Kennedy in Arizona.

  166. Cameron Says:

    True, or Daniel Hudson. After them, it’s criminally then though.

    And I’ll shove aside projections and give you the guys I think are the ACTUAL #5s on these teams. By that, I mean worst starter.

    Yankees: Freddy Garcia
    Red Sox: John Lackey
    Orioles: Brad Bergesen
    Blue Jays: Jessie Litsch
    Rays: Jeff Niemann

    Tigers: Phil Coke
    Twins: Nick Blackburn
    Royals: Kyle Davies
    White Sox: Edwin Jackson
    Indians: Jeanmar Gomez

    Mariners: Doug Fister
    Angels: Joel Pinero
    Rangers: Brandon Webb
    Athletics: Brabdon McCarthy

    Mets: Dillon Gee
    Phillies: Joe Blanton
    Braves: Mike Minor
    Nationals: Jason Marquis
    Marlins: Chris Volstad

    Cardinals: Jake Westbrook
    Cubs: Carlos Silva
    Brewers: Chris Narveson
    Astros: Ryan Rowland-Smith
    Pirates: Paul Maholm
    Reds: Mike Leake

    Giants: Barry Zito
    Dodgers: John Garland
    Padres: Aaron Harang
    Diamondbacks: Zach Duke
    Rockies: Jason Hammell

  167. John Says:

    I mostly agree with Raul and Cameron.

    Every team should have a “swingman” who starts 10-15 games and relieves in another 30.

    Ideally, like 1992 Curth Schilling.

    It makes much mote sense to have that plus a four man rotations where your guys make 37or38 starts each.

  168. Hartvig Says:

    John- Spot on. Tim Wakefield from ‘99 to ‘02 is another good example- well, maybe not always good, but you get the drift. Firpo Marberry was one of the first. Ted Lyons didn’t pitch much relief but when he got older he became a “Sunday pitcher”-
    mostly pitching on Sundays when almost all teams had double hitters so it didn’t screw up the rotation. Casey Stengel used a lot of different pitchers that way during his tenure with the Yankees in the ’50’s & early ’60’s. In ‘58 the Yankees had six pitchers who started at least 10 games but less than 20 and all but 1 of them made relief appearances. Only 3 of the 15 pitchers who played for the Yankees that year didn’t make at least 1 start, and those 3 pitchers totaled less than 60 innings between them. Yet the won the America League pennant. And it wasn’t an aberration either. In ‘57, 11 of the 12 pitchers who pitched a single inning for them made at least 1 start and only 1 pitcher didn’t make any relief appearances. That’s maybe a bit extreme but surely there are many pitchers who could fill that role.

  169. Chuck Says:

    You see, pitch counts actually make sense with a four man rotation.

    Rounded off, a pitcher should be at no more than 13 pitches per inning, which is 117 for a complete, nine inning game.

    If everyone makes every start, the difference in starts per season would be seven (40 v. 33).

    Thirty-three complete games with 117 pitches per is 3861 for the season, forty starts at 100 per is 4000.

    The difference is basically one game.

    On paper, you’d want CC Sabathia making forty starts instead of thirty-three, right?

    But then you have to consider that in those forty starts, you’d get innings from Joba, or Pedro Feliciano, or Sergio Meat-tray (sorry, Lefty..LOL).

    Not to mention the thirty-three starts (and innings) from Ivan Nova or Bartolo Colon of Freddie Garcia.

    The forty starts with a pitch count doesn’t look so bad now, does it?

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