Tag:Los Angeles Dodgers
Posted on: April 1, 2009 9:43 pm
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Posted on: February 8, 2009 3:56 am
Furcal is one of the few players that could play less than 40 games a season ago with a back injury and still manage to get 10 million a year. Before falling victim to injury last season, Furcal was hitting a remarkable .357/.439/.573 in just under 150 at bats. While it's unrealistic to expect anything along those lines for Furcal this season, he still will be an important part of the Dodgers lineup. The team will be counting on him to set the table for James Loney, Matt Kemp, and possibly Manny Ramirez to drive him in. It will be interesting to see if Furcal can stay off the disabled list next year as well. Usually back injuries tend to linger and don't really go away.
"Captain America" was a vital part of the Diamondbacks team when they won the division in 2007. So much in fact, that the team rewarded Byrnes with a 3 year/30 million dollar extension. However, in 2008, the first year of the new deal, Byrnes fell victim to injury and the Diamondbacks season began to fall apart. The interesting thing about Byrnes is that while the Diamondbacks gave him that contract, they still don't have faith in him. Manager Bob Melvin has said that he is going to let Byrnes compete for playing time in 2009 and that he may initially have to come off the bench in favor of Tony Clark or Chad Tracy. Makes no sense to me whatsoever.
I have no confidence in Khalil Greene becoming a solid MLB ballplayer, but the guy hit 27 homeruns and had 97 RBI's two seasons ago for the Padres only to hit 10 last year, bat a pitiful .213, and only drive in 35. The fact that he had a "good year" two seasons ago followed by a terrible season last year makes him a candidate for this award. Perhaps a change of scenery will do Greene some good as he enters his first season with St. Louis. You can't really blame PETCO that much though as Greene did worse on the road last year than he did at home.
4. Yovanni Gallardo - SP - Milwaukee Brewers
The jury is still out on Gallardo. The kid had a pretty solid rookie campaign in 2007 before missing much of last season with a knee injury. However, in the four starts Gallardo made last season, he was practically unhittable and the Brewers had enough confidence in his abilities to go with him in the first game of the NLDS last season. Many scouts think that Gallardo can be a solid number one pitcher in the majors. After all, he will only be 23 next season. Gallardo is set to be the Brewers ace in the rotation after the team saw both CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets leave in the offseason. If he can come back and be effective, it may make the loss of those two players much easier for Brewers fans to handle.
It seems I always have Nick Johnson as a potential candidate for comeback player of the year. The guy is so talented offensively, but he can NEVER stay healthy. One full season from Johnson would practically guarantee that he wins the award. Johnson has a career OPS+ of 125 and if you took his numbers throughout his career and projected them over the course of a full 162 games season, he would have a projection of .269/.396/.456 with 21 home runs and 81 RBI's. Not bad at all.
6. Jeff Francouer - RF - Atlanta Braves
Just how good is Frenchy? That is the main question that needs to be answered. Francouer showed some promise when he first came up with the Braves in 2005, but hasn't really developed over the years. He's not that patient of a hitter and very rarely walks. Francouer needs to have a high average in order to stay effective for the Braves, but that is hard to do without plate discipline. He is still young at age 25, but will need to turn it around if he wants to receive a payday when he becomes a free agent in a few years.
RHP Chris Carpenter (St. Louis Cardinals)
Posted on: January 20, 2009 1:57 am
It's been a little over a year since I did my last version of winter rankings (the first featured blog on CBS), but now that we are less than a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting, it is time to have a look at where each team stands this season. The offseason has been a long, slow, and drawn out process. Several impact players, including Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn have yet to sign with a team. It is because of this reason, that I will be continually editing this blog entry as those players sign.
While the Phillies are the defending champions, they have remained rather complacent on the free agent market which begs to question whether or not the team can repeat last years success. Meanwhile, the Yankees have had the biggest offseason of any team, but will a team full of superstars finally get the job done? Also, the Rays were baseballs surprise team of 2008. Can they repeat the success? Who will be the surprise team in 2009?......These questions and more are answered in my latest rankings.
1. Chicago Cubs
Say all you want about the Cubs playoff misfortunes, but this team is the real deal. Milton Bradley, arguably the games best offensive player last season, joins the Cubs offense that scored the most runs in baseball last year. Couple that with the teams stable pitching staff featuring Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, and Rich Harden and this team should easily run away with the National League Central for the second year in a row. I'm predicting a 100 win season.
2. New York Yankees
While the team has lost both Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi in free agency, the additions of C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira more than make up for it. The Yankees now have a well rounded team. They now have one of the best offenses in the league with Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira and the top 3 in their rotation should win them plenty of ballgames. If they can get a full season out of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, look out.
3. Tampa Bay Rays
Often times one year wonders like the Rays don't return to the postseason because they remain too complacent in the offseason. However, the Rays managed to land Pat Burrell for a bargain price of 8 million a season to replace Cliff Floyd in the lineup and the teams starting rotation will naturally get better with David Price entering the rotation.
4. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox had a relatively quiet offseason with minor deals made. The team is still one of the best in the league, but has many questions to answer for 2009. Was Kevin Youkilis' increase in power for real? Can Jason Bay truly fill Manny's shoes in left? Will Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew, Brad Penny, and John Smoltz be healthy and how much can they contribute? The Sox are still a talented teams, but these factors are going to determine whether or not they win baseball's best division.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks had a dissapointing 2008 season finishing 82-80, two games out of first place in the NL West. Despite losing Adam Dunn, Orlando Hudson, and Randy Johnson this offseason the D-backs get my vote of confidence as one of the NL's top teams entering 2009. They have a solid three in the rotation with Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, and Max Scherzer. Meanwhile, I'm counting on the young stars to improve.
6. Cleveland Indians
The Indians lost C.C. Sabathia this season, but it shouldn't affect the team too much as long as Fausto Carmona gets back on track. Cliff Lee's breakout season also helps alleviate that. The team is still without a starting right fielder as Franklin Gutierrez was traded away. Adam Dunn would make more sense than Matt LaPorta as LaPorta has struggled since coming over in the Sabathia deal. The bullpen has gotten a lot better as well with the addition of Kerry Wood and I expect this team to compete.
7. New York Mets
The Mets have been baseball's biggest choke artists over the past two seasons. On paper, they certainly are a much better team than anyone in their division. Whether or not they can finally get the job done, is another question. This team should win 95 games this year, but in order for that to happen, someone on the team will have to step up as a leader. If the team is in contention in August or September, a bullpen of Wagner, Putz, and Roriguez remains the scariest 7-8-9 in the league.
8. Philadelphia Phillies
Not a good offseason for the champs. First, the team overpaid for Raul Ibanez (another lefty) to replace Pat Burrell in the lineup. Second, J.C. Romero has to serve a 50 game suspension for violating the leagues substance abuse policy. Third, No one outside of Cole Hamels scares me in that rotation. And lastly, Carlos Ruiz and Pedro Feliz still have starting jobs in baseball. Uggh....
9. Los Angeles Angels
The gap has certainly closed in on the Angels in the American League West. Without Mark Teixeira, Garrett Anderson, or Francisco Rodriguez, they certainly don't scare teams the way they used to. Brian Fuentes is an adequate replacement for K-Rod, but I can't understand why they didn't just pony up a few extra to keep their star in town. Kendry Morales and Juan Rivera remain questioable replacements and the team will once again rely on Vlad and the starting pitchers to win ballgames.
10. Chicago White Sox
White Sox GM Ken Williams is one GM whose moves I can never understand, but they seem to work out right in the end. The Sox still are without a centerfielder and a second basemen going into next season, and there are questions as to whether Carlos Quentin, Gavin Floyd, and John Danks can repeat their 2008 success. For now though, I'm giving the Sox the benefit of the doubt. I really like the Bartolo Colon signing, as it has the makings of a low risk, high reward type deal.
11. Detroit Tigers
Don't count out the Tigers. While the Tigers finished last place in the American League Central last season, they were still third in the league in overall offense. Justin Verlander, Kenny Rogers, and Nate Robertson all had their worst seasons as pros. The offense should remain just as good as it was and if Verlander can return to form, the team should be able to compete. Edwin Jackson and Gerald Laird were both nice, under the radar acquisitions by GM Dave Dombrowksi.
12. Los Angeles Dodgers
With this ranking, I'm assuming Manny Ramirez is going to be a Dodger. If it turns out to be different, I will change the ranking accordingly. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti is about to find out what life is likek without Paul DePodesta's players. The losses of Derek Lowe, Brad Penny, and Jeff Kent will affect this team greatly. Unless the Dodgers give have Jason Schmidt go to some miracle worker, I don't know where this team is going to get a rotation that will compete.
13. Minnesota Twins
The Twins offense is their weakness. Both Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez featured low on base percentages last season which isn't helping the team at all. The teams offense really is only as good as Joe Mauer's knees as Justin Morneau can't do everything on his own. However, if the team can get similar production to 2008 from it's young pitchers in the rotation for 2009, this team will always have a chance to compete.
14. Oakland Athletics
The trades of Dan Haren, Joe Blanton, Rich Harden, Nick Swisher, and Mark Kotsay a year ago have paid off. The A's enter 2009 with one of the best minor league systems in the game and an offense that's ready to close the gap in the American League West. The acquisitions of Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi give the A's a ton of power in the 3-6 spots and Eric Chavez is supposed to be fully healthy headed into next year giving the teams young pitching a better chance to win.
15. Milwaukee Brewers
While the Brewers lost both C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets this offseason, its not as if they all of a sudden have a bad team. The team didn't have Sabathia for the first half of last year anyway and they've played several seasons with Sheets on the DL multiple times. The offensive remains intact with both Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder leading the way. If Yovanni Gallardo can remain healthy, I'm sure the Brewers can put together a respectable season.
16. St. Louis Cardinals
I really don't know what to think of the Cardinals. I'm not convinced that their pitching staff can hold up all season long, even if Chris Carpenter is fully healthy. Albert Pujols remains the best first basemen in the National League, but he isn't going to get much help. The Khalil Greene trade won't improve the offense that much and who knows if Ryan Ludwick and Rick Ankiel can keep it up with their bats.
17. Atlanta Braves
What a bad offseason for Braves fans. The farm system is depleted. They missed out on both A.J. Burnett and Rafael Furcal and allowed John Smoltz to sign cheaply with the Red Sox. However, this team still remains a dark horse candidate in the NL East. The starting rotation should be pretty good still with Derek Lowe, Jair Jurrjens, Javier Vasquez, and Kenshin Kawakami manning the first four spots. If they can stay in contention until August, Tim Hudson will be on his way back.
18. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays finished 2008 with a respectable 86-76 record in the American League. However, the team has lost A.J. Burnett in free agency and hasn't made any major additions. Shaun Marcum is out for the season with Tommy John Surgery and Dustin McGowan is out at least for the first month. If they can make it past the first month of the season okay, they might be considered a dark horse candidate in the tough AL East. However, don't expect much.
19. Texas Rangers
The Rangers haven't made any major additions this offseason and have let Milton Bradley walk. 2009 will be an interesting year for the team. It will most likely be the last time we see Kevin Millwood and Vincente Padilla in a Rangers uniform and also could feature the debuts of shortstop Elvis Andrus and pitchers Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland. Also, we'll see Chris Davis mature into a solid power hitter. As always, if this team could pitch, they'd win games, but that's unlikely for 2009.
20. San Francisco Giants
With Noah Lowry coming back from injury and the addition Randy Johnson, the Giants have a pretty deep starting five heading into 2009. However, where will the offense come from? The team does not have a superstar offensive player and the market is drying up quickly. If they can't get their hands on Adam Dunn or Bobby Abreu, they might once again be wasting all that good pitching, Such a shame. Giants fans deserve better.
21. Colorado Rockies
I must be crazy, because I might be the only one that thinks the team trading Matt Holliday will help the Rockies. Huston Street replaces Brian Fuentes as the teams closer and Ryan Spilborghs, Carlos Gonzalez, and Ian Stewart now battle for time in the outfield. The rotation is better with Greg Smith in it and I don't think the offense will be affected. Not in that park at least. Ryan Spilborghs might be the best player no one knows about.
22. Florida Marlins
The Marlins might have finished 84-77 last season, but I'm not a believer in them....yet. The team foolishly traded Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham to the Nationals for nothing important. The Mike Jacobs trade will only be a good deal if Dallas McPherson can take his success from AAA last year and bring it with him to the majors. Also, there are questions as to whether this starting pitching can hold up and whether Jorge Cantu can repeat his 2008 performance.
23. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners didn't get much back in return for J.J. Putz and they haven't done anything significant to improve their lousy offense as well. The team will rely on youngsters to break through this season including Wladimir Balentien and Jeff Clement. Their pitching should keep them in ballgames with Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, and Brandon Morrow in the rotation, but if they are out of it early, you can expect the team to start shopping Bedard.
24. Cincinatti Reds
The Reds have a bright future ahead of them with young stars such as Jay Bruce, Edinson Volquez, and Johnny Cueto breaking through last season. Each of these youngsters are expected to continue to develop into solid ballplayers. The question remains as to whether or not this is the year the Reds finally start coming together as a team. They certainly have the foundations, but whether or not they are ready to translate that into a winning ballclub is up in the air.
25. Houston Astros
Ugggh. That's about all I can say about Astros GM Ed Wade. His trade of Brad Lidge for Michael Bourn last season looks worse and worse by the day. While the Astros finished strong last season, it was only because Wade's false sense of hope that they were somehow still in the race last year. Smart GM's would have sold. This team has no farm system and quite frankly, Mike Hampton isn't going to solve their pitching problems.
26. Baltimore Orioles
The bad news? The Orioles aren't going anywhere next season. The good news? Team President Andy MacPhail knows this and is positioning the team to develop for the future. The Felix Pie trade was a great trade for MacPhail and now the Orioles have the best outfield defense in the game. I really look forward to seeing Matt Wieters transition to the big leagues this year as well. The team has no starting pitching to speak of outside of Guthrie, but help is on the way in the minors.
27. San Diego Padres
With Jake Peavy on board, the Padres still have a respectable pitching staff and an offense led by one of the games best first basemen (Adrian Gonzalez). They could compete if things fall right offensively for them, especially considering their division, but that would require Chase Headley to stop swinging blindly and actually develop offensively. The best thing for Padres fans will be to get the sale of the team done as soon as possible.
28. Kansas City Royals
Coco Crisp? Kyle Farnsworth? Willie Bloomquist? Mike Jacobs? The Royals are going nowhere. The team has completely given up on Mark Teahen ever becoming something useful and now fans are growing impatient with both Alex Gordon and Billy Butler. Zach Greinke, Joakim Soria, and Gil Meche are the few bright spots on the Royals for 2009, but it will take another two years for their farm system to catch up and replace the mismanagement of the team under former GM Allan Baird.
29. Washington Nationals
The Scott Olsen and Josh WIllingham trade with Florida was a good one for the Nats, but they need a lot of work. Austin Kearns needs to be benched, but won't because of his contract and GM Jim Bowdens obsession with his former Reds players. The team would be better off with an outfield of Elijah Dukes, Lastings Milledge, and Willingham, but it probably won't happen. Meanwhile, Nick Johnson needs to be healthy for this team to have any chance.
30. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates have done NOTHING this offseason. They enter 2009 without both Jason Bay and Xavier Nady, who they had in the first half of last season. They do get a full season of Andy LaRoche at 3rd base, but this team is going absolutely nowhere and is by far the worst team in baseball heading into 2009.
Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinatti Reds, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Power Rankings, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, Washington Nationals
Posted on: December 12, 2008 4:14 pm
They have an owner that has an ego too big to admit mistakes and they have a GM whose track shows his signings have been the worst in baseball, and the teams offseason plan is to bank on a superstar with ego problems of his own.
Yup...That's it...I'm throwing in the towel for fans of the Dodgers.
You're GM is the biggest idiot in all of baseball and this is the year that it will really show. The key elements that Paul DePodesta brought in to help your team succeed over the past couple years are gone and now the fate of your team lies with Ned Colletti.
Be afraid Dodger fans.....Be very afraid.
This is the same Ned Colletti that gave Andruw Jones a two year deal worth 36 million dollars and Jason Schmidt a 3 year, 47 million dollar deal to pitch in 5 games. This is the GM that delivered Juan Pierre a 5 year, 44 million dollar deal and signed aging veterans like Nomar Garciaparra, Luis Gonzalez, and Randy Wolf to big contracts. This is the same GM that paid the Royals 12 million to get Elmer Dessens (for Odalis Perez) and took on Esteban Loaiza's 10.5 million that the A's owed him just so he could pitch in 5 games. Colletti gave 8 million dollars to Brett Tomko.
One of his few good signings, Joe Beimel, is about to be let go via free agency. Most likely so is Rafael Furcal. The players Paul DePodesta brought in (Brad Penny, Derek Lowe, and Jeff Kent) aren't coming back either, so now Colletti has to use his brilliance to sign quality free agents.
....and he's already started.
He signed Casey Blake, one of the worst hitters with RISP, to a three year deal to play third. Meanwhile, Mark Loretta will likely get to play second base with Blake DeWitt. There is talk about him bringing in Omar Vizquel or Bobby Crosby to play short as well (good luck with those two nightmares). Now there's a scary lineup. Even if the Dodgers do land Manny, they are going to suck. Look at this potential lineup:
Who is going to pitch for them? I see Billingsley, Kuroda, and Kershaw locked in the rotation. Where do they turn to now and who is their stopper?
Even with the Dodgers playing in the WORST division in baseball, I can't envision a scenario right now that would make me think this team has a chance at the playoffs.
I know it's only December, but put a fork in them now.....This team is done.
Posted on: October 9, 2008 3:58 am
The best movie of the year has yet to come out. It is a thriller filled with suspense, action, and the sound of revenge. The numerous plot twists are what makes this storyline the best movie I will ever witnessed. I can already feel it. Of course, as most of you already know, I'm talking about "Manny Being Manny," the Manny Ramirez story. There is no Hollywood screenwriter that could have written a story as good as the one Manny Ramirez is writing this year with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Cast away after guiding the Red Sox to two World Series championships, the 2004 World Series MVP has the opportunity this postseason to stick it to his former team where it hurts the most.
Since becoming a Dodger at the trade deadline this year, Ramirez has a .398 batting average with 17 home runs and 53 RBI in just 180 at bats. In that time the Dodgers pushed their way past the defending NL West Champion Arizona Diamondbacks and into the postseason for the first time since 2006. Not only that, but the new Ramirez led Dodger team swept the Chicago Cubs, who had the best record in the National League in the NLDS.
It is the first time since 1988, the year the Dodgers defeated the Oakland Athletics in the World Series, that the Dodgers had won a playoff series.
Meanwhile, in the American League, Ramirez's former team knocked off the Los Angeles Angels in four games to advance to the ALCS against the Tampa Bay Rays. Both the Dodgers and Red Sox are now only just one series away from complete chaos.
"Through all the fun and games, there is always an edge about him. He's about as confident in his ability as anyone I've ever seen, but it's more than that. Whatever it is that drives him, it drives him. It is there all the time, no matter how much fun he seems to be having....This guy wants to win more than anything else, and he wants to prove himself every time up."
-Dodgers Manager Joe Torre on Manny Ramirez
Ramirez had been asking to be traded out of Boston since the 2004 season, but never got his wish until now. In the years in between, it became commonplace for Ramirez trade rumors to heat up at the deadline, but most of the time the baseball community was left disappointed as no deal was reached. Red Sox management knew that Ramirez wanted out of Boston, but when they felt they couldn't get even value in return, they played Ramirez's constant trade request off as "Manny Being Manny." Initially, Manny Ramirez had no choice but to go along with it as fans would have reacted negatively had he not.
However, as the years went on, Manny realized that this new persona he was given gave him all the power in the world. Especially if the Red Sox kept winning ballgames. In essence, Boston giving Manny the power to be a distraction a first time promoted his behavior and much of the reasoning for the manner of his departure from Boston can be accredited to the team not handling the situation well initially. They let Manny Ramirez dictate how their team was going to play and when you let the convicts run the asylum, it never ends in a good result.
Eventually many people began to question whether or not Ramirez was purposely taking days off, faking injuries, and not concentrating on winning. The "Manny Being Manny" tagline was growing tiresome among Boston fans. However, it wasn't until the persona started to wear thing on management and other players that caused the Red Sox to actively look for trade suitors.
So when Ramirez finally was traded to the Dodgers, many criticized him of not wanting to win. However, in my opinon, I think Joe Torre, who saw Ramirez plenty of times as an opposing manager, said it best. "Through all the fun and games, there is always an edge about him. He's about as confident in his ability as anyone I've ever seen, but it's more than that," Torre said of Ramirez. "Whatever it is that drives him, it drives him. It is there all the time, no matter how much fun he seems to be having....This guy wants to win more than anything else, and he wants to prove himself every time up."
Maybe that is the reason he has won two world series rings in the past four years and is on the verge of making it to a 5th. Ramirez's tarnished relationship with the Red Sox will give both sides extra motivation to stick it to the other. Amping the scenario up even more, is that the Dodger team that Ramirez joined features fellow Red Sox outcasts Nomar Garciaparra and Derek Lowe. All of which have something to prove to Red Sox Nation(though Garciaparra is out with an injury).
Manny is playing baseball as if he has a huge chip on his shoulder and I absolutely love it. It is his competitive drive to succeed that makes Ramirez's vengence with the Dodgers seem that much sweeter. I haven't watched a player play with that kind of motivation and drive to prove something in a long time.
If the two teams end up squaring off in the World Series, it will be interesting to see if the Red Sox fans embrace the man who helped them win two world titles or if they will boo him. I'm hoping it's the former, but you never know with Boston fans. Either way, if the two teams meet, the world series is sure to have a Hollywood ending.
Posted on: July 20, 2008 12:04 am
Edited on: July 22, 2008 5:46 pm
For A's GM Billy Beane, Greatness is All That Matters
With the Oakland Athletics in contention for a playoff spot this year, Billy Beane shocked all of us a week ago when he decided to trade Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin to the Chicago Cubs. So a week later, it came as no surprise when A's fans learned that Beane had made yet another trade, sending pitcher Joe Blanton to the Philadelphia Phillies for more prospects.
"Is he crazy?"
At least, that is the main question that is being floated around the baseball community right now. And the answer to it--well--is rather complicated. In most cases, making a trade like the two deals that Beane made last week could mean the end of your job if you were the GM of any other team. In fact, we've seen it before with Beane's protegé Paul DePodesta when Depodesta took over as the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"I want to be great for a long time. Not have a nice, little month and make it interesting. If we have assets, ultimately, we have to turn them into more assets. This is the way we have to run the business. For us, as a small-market team, the turnover is a lot greater."
- A's GM Billy Beane
DePodesta traded Paul LoDuca, Juan Encarnacion and Guillermo Mota to the Florida Marlins for Brad Penny and Hee Seop Choi. And while the move didn't benefit the Dodgers immediately that season, it has paid off huge dividends for the team in the years that followed. Unfortunately for DePodesta, he was greatly criticized for the move and was run out of town by the Los Angeles media. That's just how it works. New Dodger GM Ned Colletti has made terrible signings like Andruw Jones, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Schmidt, Juan Pierre, and Randy Wolf, yet because Colletti didn't trade away the core of the team, he hasn't faced nearly the same amount of criticism that DePodesta did while being in the same city.
However, in a city like Oakland, where Billy Beane has made it to the postseason in five of the past eight seasons, all anyone can ever do is trust his reputation. As most Oakland fans would say.....
"In Billy We Trust!"
Despite losing all-star pitchers such as Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Ted Lilly, Aaron Harang, Dan Haren, Jason Isringhausen and Keith Foulke and losing solid position players like Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Jermaine Dye, Johnny Damon, Ramon Hernandez, Ray Durham, Carlos Pena, Jose Guillen, Milton Bradley, and Nick Swisher the A's still compete. Even as a small market team Billy Beane defies the odds. Since 2000, only the Yankees in the American League and the Cardinals in the National League, have made it to the playoffs more than Beane's Oakland A's teams.
"I want to be great for a long time. Not have a nice, little month and make it interesting. If we have assets, ultimately, we have to turn them into more assets. This is the way we have to run the business. For us, as a small-market team, the turnover is a lot greater," Beane said a few days ago after pulling the trigger on the Joe Blanton deal.
And such is the way Billy Beane has been able to keep the A's contenders. We saw this principle applied last offseason when Beane traded All-Star pitcher Dan Haren to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Greg Smith, Dana Eveland, Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, and two other minor leaguers. By trading away one player, Haren, Beane managed to find two quality pitchers to fill his rotation, a future superstar outfielder in Carlos Gonzalez, and some other solid minor leaguers to give the team some organizational depth.
The philosophy has kept the A's winning ballgames year in and year out, but it has grown tiresome to many of the fans who come to the ballpark because of the team has no player loyalty whatsoever. Many casual A's fans can't name a single player on their team anymore. Others, can only name a few stars like Huston Street, Bobby Crosby, and Eric Chavez. But with Chavez sidelined for most of the year, and Street and Crosby likely to be traded before the July 31st trade deadline, the A's attendance will surely drop off even lower than it already is. With the A's set to move to Fremont in 2011, no one will care about this team anymore. At least, not in the east bay area.
Billy Beane's trades of Rich Harden and Joe Blanton were meant to stock up the farm system with great prospects for the years to come. They weren't meant to keep the A's in the playoff race this season. As Beane has been quoted saying in the past, "You're not a contender unless you're in first."
While most teams would be looking to add players to make a run at the playoffs if they were in the A's position, Billy Beane decided that most likely outcome for the roster that he has now, would result in the team missing the playoffs. So instead having faith in the club he has now, Beane is constantly looking to the future.
As Beane said earlier, he wants his team to be great. Not just good for a short period of time. Beane is trying to make the A's what they were at the turn of the century. A team filled with superstars like Giambi, Chavez, Tejada, Dye, Hudson, Mulder and Zito. He wants his team to be like the team in 2001 that won 102 ballgames or the team in 2002 that won 104. You don't see that anymore in baseball. Now that the A's will have money with a new ballpark, Beane will be able to keep the future superstars around for a long time. And while everyone in Oakland is mad that Beane is looking to the future when the present team is exceeding expectations, Beane is taking the right step for the long term success of the ballclub.
Looking back at the trades, at least the Oakland fans can be happy with what they got back in return. While Rich Harden can be the best pitcher in baseball, his injury history has prevented him from doing that yet. The A's only had him locked up for two more seasons and would have been paying him a decent amount of money to pitch next season. If he would have had one more injury, the A's wouldn't have gotten anything in return and been stuck eating his contract.
Sean Gallagher is solid right hander that, like most Cubs pitching prospects, hasn't been handled right in their farm system. He has number two pitcher upside and can rack up a decent amount of strikeouts. Eric Patterson has been very good in the minors and with everyday playing time, he should develop nicely at second base for the team. Matt Murton is another underrated outfielder. Murton has a career .290 batting average, but the biggest knock on him was his lack of power. He'll make a solid 4th outfielder for the A's in years to come. As for Josh Donaldson, the former second round pick has struggled in the minors so far, but the A's needed organizational depth at catcher after Jeremy Brown retired and Landon Powell's constant injury problems.
The Joe Blanton deal might actually help the A's in the short run as Blanton was having a terrible season so far. The A's have to be happy with their return after trading a guy that is a 12 game loser and has era of around five. All that while playing one of baseball's best pitchers parks. However, Blanton is an innings eater that should help the Phillies bullpen and is a sure upgrade over Adam Eaton.
The A's have chosen to start Dallas Braden in Blanton's spot for the short term, but if Braden struggles, the A's might consider calling up top pitching prospect Gio Gonzalez to fill the void. Gonzalez has been lights out this past month for AAA Sacramento.
The prospects the A's got back from the Phillies are pretty solid too. Adrian Cardenas is one of the best second base prospects in the game and pretty much guarantees that Mark Ellis won't be with the team next season as the A's also signed first round pick Jemile Weeks. Left hander Josh Outman is a great pitching prospect and the A's will likely turn him back into a starter, where he has had the most success at in the minors. As for Matthew Spencer, he probably has no chance of making the A's roster anytime soon. The A's are overloaded at the outfield position in their minor league system and their are plenty of internal options that would be ahead of him on the depth chart. It would take Spencer a lot of commitment to move up the depth charts.
While some A's fans can be mad at Billy Beane for not making a run at the postseason this year, he is the reason the A's stood a chance this year in the first place. Billy Beane might be the most hated person in Oakland right now. He is in a world of his own right now. However, if Beane's moves pay off in the near future, he will be further cementing his legacy as the greatest GM in the game.
"In Billy We Trust!"
That's all Oakland fans can do.
Tags: Aaron Harang, Adrian Cardenas, AL West, Arizona Diamondbacks, Barry Zito, Billy Beane, Bobby Crosby, Brett Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Pena, Chicago Cubs, Dallas Braden, Dan Haren, Dana Eveland, Eric Chavez, Eric Patterson, Fremont A's, Greg Smith, Huston Street, Jason Giambi, Jason Isringhausen, Jemile Weeks, Jermaine Dye, Joe Blanton, Johnny Damon, Jose Guillen, Josh Donaldson, Josh Outman, Keith Foulke, Los Angeles Dodgers, Mark Ellis, Mark Mulder, Matt Murton, Miguel Tejada, Milton Bradley, New York Yankees, Nick Swisher, Oakland A's, Paul DePodesta, Philadelphia Phillies, Ramon Hernandez, Ray Durham, Rich Harden, Sean Gallagher, St. Louis Cardinals, Ted Lilly, Tim Hudson
Posted on: May 31, 2008 11:55 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2008 11:59 pm
Laugh all you want, but Milton Bradley has proven to be one of the most feared hitters in the American League this season. While Josh Hamilton is getting most of the attention in Arlington these days, Bradley has been just as key to the Rangers success this past month. In fact, one could argue that Bradley has been the best free agent signing this offseason (considering the price he was signed for). Entering May, the Rangers were a pitiful 10-18 and there was already talk of 2nd year manager Ron Washington being fired by team president Nolan Ryan.
However, the strong play of Bradley coupled with the power of Josh Hamilton in the middle of that lineup and the teams improved starting pitching has helped the Rangers gain respectability. At 29-28, the Rangers were 19-10 in the month of May so far and are only 3 games back of the division leading Angels. In the month of May alone, Milton Bradley has hit .341 with five home runs and 19 RBI. On the season, Bradley is hitting .327/.435/.561 with 8 home runs, 31 RBI, 33 walks and 16 doubles. He leads the American League with a .996 OPS and is top 3 in the AL in slugging, on base percentage, batting average and doubles.
Now, the question we must ask ourselves is if this performance by Bradley is a fluke, or if we can expect it to continue throughout the season. Personally, I think he might be able to keep it up. If you recall, Bradley performed just as well in his time with the San Diego Padres last season and was the sole reason for their second half run. I think Milton Bradley is finally entering the prime of his career and is playing the type of baseball we expected from him when he first emerged as a star with the Indians back in 2002.
However, there are several limiting factors with Bradley. First, Bradley hasn't had the greatest track record in the clubhouse and one may wonder when will be the next time he blows up. In regards to this though, I think he's finally matured as a player. He hasn't had any problems since he left the Dodgers in 2006.
The other--and most important--limiting factor for Bradley has been his injury history. In his 8 seasons in the big leagues, Bradley has only played more than 140 games in a season only once and only more than 100 games only twice. Right now, Bradley is on pace to set career highs in just about every stat category, but an injury could prevent him from doing so. However, if Bradley can remain healthy all season long, the Rangers could become a darkhorse to win the American League West this season.
I know this might be difficult for some people to grasp, but the Angels just haven't been playing that good of baseball and the Athletics are more committed towards the future now that they are once again on pace to shatter their record of using the disabled list. Because of the play of Bradley and teammate Josh Hamilton, the Rangers now have the number one offense in the American League. If the pitching staff stays on par, don't sleep on the Rangers.....
Posted on: February 12, 2008 3:11 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2008 8:44 pm
Here is my National League West Preview for the 2008 season.
2007 Record: 90-72, 1st Place in the NL West, Lost to Colorado in NLCS
2008 Prediction: 90-72, 2nd Place in the NL West, NL Wild Card Winner
The Diamondbacks offense in 2008 will be depending on improvement from Stephen Drew, Chris Young, and Justin Upton.
Chris Burke, Jeff Salazar, and Mark Reynolds will be counted on in some big spots.
The Starting Rotation
Brandon Webb and newly acquired Dan Haren give the Diamondbacks a solid 1-2 punch at the front of the rotation.
Pitcher Tony Pena will be counted on more now with Jose Valverde gone.
2007 Record: 90-73, 2nd Place in the NL West, Lost to Boston in World Series
2008 Projection: 79-83, 4th Place in the NL West
The Rockies will once again be relying on Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Holliday to lead them back to the postseason.
Matt Kata to come in and compete for reserve roles, but they would be worse off if they decided to carry them. Aside from Kata and Nix, the Rockies could also give Jeff Baker a look at the role. As for Podsednik, adding him to the bench would just take away at bats from Cory Sullivan and it would leave the Rockies without a centerfield replacement if Willy Taveras went down with another injury.
The Starting Rotation
Jeff Francis and Ubaldo Jimenez will dictate the Rockies success in 2008.
Brian Fuentes and Manny Corpas hold the bullpen in check.
Los Angeles Dodgers
2007 Record: 82-80, 4th Place in the NL West
2008 Projection: 94-68, 1st Place in the NL West
James Loney and Matt Kemp bring a whole new energy to LA.
Mike Lieberthal was a year ago, but his playing time will be limited with Russell Martin as the starter.
The Dodgers Have the deepest bench in the National League.
The Starting Rotation
Esteban Loaiza to the bullpen. Loaiza can be effective for the team at the end of the rotation, but his main problem these past few seasons has also been remaining healthy. If he has a strong spring, he might be a good candidate to be dealt. Meanwhile, the Dodgers still have Clayton Kershaw waiting in the minors and it might take a few injures before we see him.
The Dodger bullpen should be strong in the late innings.
San Diego Padres
2007 Record: 89-74, 3rd Place in the NL West
2008 Projection: 85-77, 3rd Place in the NL West
Adrian Gonzalez and Brian Giles are the heart and sole of the Padres offense.
Matt Antonelli and Chase Headley in AAA to begin the season. Craig Stansberry is probably the best backup infielder the team could use, though management could also decide to go with rule 5 selection Callix Crabbe or Oscar Robles at the position. Jeff DaVanon picked the right team to sign with as he'll likely be the Padres fourth outfielder with Jody Gerut (a name that hasn't surfaced in years) competing for the 5th outfielder spot. I still think the Padres would be wise to sign a player like Shawn Green and let him platoon with Scott Hairston. Hairston has trouble hitting right handed pitching, something in which Green has done with ease throughout his career. Meanwhile, Green prefers playing on the west coast and could come cheap.
Michael Barrett and Tony Clark are the best two hitters off the Padres bench.
The Starting Rotation
Jake Peavy and Chris Young are the best 1-2 combo in the NL West.
Heath Bell and Trevor Hoffman anchor this strong bullpen.
San Francisco Giants
2007 Record: 71-91, Last Place in the NL West
2008 Projection: 67-95, Last Place in the NL West
Giants GM Brian Sabean thinks Aaron Rowand is the answer.
Matt Morris at the deadline last year, gives the team some speed of the bench. Justin Leone hasn't really been on a big league roster since 2004, but he is the team's best backup option for now. That may change if the Giants somehow acquire Joe Crede from the White Sox, forcing Kevin Frandsen back to the bench. Aurilia is the team's most versatile backup, but will also be given the chance to beat out Dan Ortmeier for the starting job at first base. Meanwhile, Guillermo Rodriguez has beaten out Eliezer Alfonso as the Giants backup catcher due to his superior defense.
The Starting Rotation
It's going to be a long season for Giants pitchers without having any offensive support.