Thursday, October 30, 2008

More on Philly

Sorry, but this article was so much fun for me to read, I had to pass it along:

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Many baseball fans here would not speak the "P" word in the anxious days leading up to the city's World Series title, lest they jinx the team.

But now that the Philadelphia Phillies have claimed their second championship, everyone is talking about a parade.

Hundreds of thousands of people could crowd the sidewalks on Friday to cheer the city's first national sports title in 25 years. A hundred thousand more are expected to pack the baseball and football stadiums to watch the festivities on big screens and rally with the players.

"This is a bright and shining moment," Mayor Michael Nutter said. "We're going to have a great time."

But he cautioned against the scattered vandalism that marred the postgame revelry late Wednesday and early Thursday. Police reported 76 arrests and several vandalized businesses; they are also examining photos and video of the crowds to identify and arrest additional offenders.

"You can be joyous; you cannot be a jackass," Nutter said. "That kind of idiotic, destructive behavior will not be accepted in the city of Philadelphia." 

Yeah, becuase it definitely hasn't been accepted in Philadelphia before.

This should be done to all Philly fans:

Goodbye, Chief

You deserved better than this. Best of luck wherever free agency takes you.

(photo-The Washington Times)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Guess what time it is?

Mailbag time!

You seem sold on John Lannan as a big part of the Nats' future. I feel that he is another Jamie Moyer. What is special about Lannan?
-- Steve L., New York

Lannan is special because, like Moyer, he does a lot with not a lot of stuff. He's remarkably consistent, with ERA's under 4.37 per every month in his career and had 21 QS in 2008. Unless he proves otherwise, he is a huge part of the future.

General manager Jim Bowden has relied heavily on former Reds players. Do you think he will acquire more Cincinnati talent this offseason?
-- Steve I., Bethesda, Md.

I'm going to refer back to what I said about 3 weeks ago when I posted up "some interesting scenarios":
Signing 1 former Red: Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, Corey Patterson (goodness I hope not), Paul Bako, Ben Broussard, Juan Encarnacion, Brett Tomko (99.9% chance of happening).

I can definitely see a Sean Casey, Ben Broussard, Juan Encarnacion or Brett Tomko signing. Not that I support them, I can see them.

EDIT: Wanted to point out 2 things:
1: Steve I. (who asks the question) calls the Cincy-turned-Nats players "talent." FAIL
2: Hendo pointed out in the comments that I didn't comment on the following statement by Ladson: "There aren't that many former Reds who played regularly on the field. As far as the position players go, you have Jose Guillen, Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez and Dmitri Young. Pitching-wise, you have Hector Carrasco and Ryan Wagner. That's not the entire Reds roster during Bowden's time in Cincinnati." I was going to save that for later (in class right now), but I guess someone didn't put on their patient pants today!

For every former Reds player Ladson names, there are a million more that were tried at some measure in the organizaiton. You've got Brandon Larson, Brandon Claussen, Tony Blanco, Jeffrey Hammonds, Phil Hiatt, Luis Pineda, Ed Yarnall, Michael Tucker, Felix Rodriguez, Jim Crowell, Chris Booker, Josh Hall, Chris Michalak, Ray King, C.J. Nitkowski, Michael Coleman, Carlos I need to go on? That's 23 guys in just a little bit of research time. I'm pretty sure I could come up with two more to complete the roster.

EDIT 2: Of course, Steven over at FJB is on the ball, naming a bunch of former Reds I inexplicably forgot: Wily Mo Pena and Aaron Boone round out the 25-man roster, plus you have ex-Reds Barry Larkin, Jose Rijo and Bob Boone stinking up the management.

What is the possibility of Mark Teixeira ending up with the Nationals? What kind of options do you think they have?
-- Kristen L., Rockville, Md.

I'll refer back to the same post:

Signing 1 of the following: C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Francisco Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Ryan Dempster, Brian Fuentes (.00000000000001% chance of happening)

If any of those 6 are signed, it will be Texiera, if that is enough of a silver lining.

To be honest, when Nicky J is healthy, he is almost as productive (134 OPS+ to Johnson's probably 25% of the price). Stick with Nick and a free agent (Sean Casey and his OBP might actually be a decent pick here) and you'll get a fine 1B combo.

What are the plans for Wily Mo Pena? Is he going to play every day in 2009, or will he be traded?
-- David M., Woodbridge, Conn.

Unless he is (miraculously) traded or breaks out in Spring Training, let's hope Wily Mo gets the 2005 Tony Blanco treatment. Except for the "keep Blanco and lose a SP" part.

Everyone is talking about Anderson Hernandez and Emilio Bonifacio at second, but neither of them has the experience that Ronnie Belliard has.
-- Dustin C., Halifax, Nova Scotia

I'll stick with my prediction from last week: Bonifacio does not start the 2009 season in the majors. I bet Belliard and Hernandez start in a platoon, with Hernandez facing most lefties and Belliard facing most righties. It would be nice to get a LH bat here (although Bonifacio is seemingly decent against righties).

With the Nationals needing some power from the left side, what about signing Jason Giambi?
-- Chris H., Fountain Hill, Pa.

Not a bad idea. He couldn't be worse defensively than Dmitri. He's a bum, but we could use the offense. Big question-would he accept a PH/backup role for a non-contender?

What are Nationals going to do at catcher? I'm sure Jesus Flores will be healthy for next season, but we saw some talent in Luke Montz. With a shot at more playing time, could Montz be the No. 1 catcher?
-- Justin R., Lafayette, La.

No offense, Justin, but didn't we learn in 2008 that not starting Jesus Flores is a mistake? Montz may be a #1 catcher eventually, but he didn't prove anything in AAA or the majors. This is Montz's make-or-break year in AAA.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday Roundup

Not much out today, but make sure to check out Bill Rhinehart's guest blog over at MLBlogs (from last Friday). And in case you missed them, Leonard Davis had two guest blog entries as well.

Kristen over at We've Got Heart is (as always) on the ball with stuff none of the rest of the blogosphere seems to be able to come up with. Check out the Joel Hanrahan snippet she found from the Des Moines Register as well as her Winter League updates.

That's all I've got for now. Off to work!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Get Well, JimBow

It's no secret that I haven't been a fan of Bowden's moves over the years, but cancer obviously changes things. Get well, Jim. We're on your team for this fight.

Some Deric Ladnier links

I know, I know, 3 posts in a day? I'm on FIRE!

As you may or may not know by now, the Nats hired Deric Ladnier as a National Crosschecker and Special Assistant to the General Manager. Ladnier seems to have been either loved or hated by most Royals fans. Nobody really knew exactly what he did it seems, so you can't take too much stock into what they said. In my opinion, he lasted a lot longer than expected, as Dayton Moore took over in 2006 and performed a pretty big overhaul, with Ladnier being one of the few holdovers. And he started in Atlanta...does anyone else find this an unexpected hiring simply because we thought Kasten had no power? Could this mean Kasten plans on staying and implementing his own guys (with a mix of Arizona guys too, I'm sure)? I certainly hope so.

Here are some links for you to get to know him:
Ladnier speaks (Today)
Nats add Ladnier to front office mix (Today)
Ladnier fired as Royals' Scouting Director (Oct 2008)
Ladnier dismissed (Oct 2008)
Royals dismiss Ladnier (Oct 2008)
Ladnier fired as scouting director (Oct 2008)
Can the Royals pull a "Tampa Bay?" (Sept 2008)
Ladnier discusses approach to draft
Q&A with Deric Ladnier (May 2007)
Prospectus Q&A with Deric Ladnier (Apr 2007, subscription required)

Still digging, might update this later. Doesn't look to be a threat to Dana Brown's job (which is good...I am a fan of Dana Brown). And don't be surprised if we make 1 or 2 trades with the Royals this offseason.

Jumping on the Bandwagon

There are oh-so-many reasons why I am choosing to root for the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series. Some of them should be fairly obvious (they're playing the Phailadelphia Phillies, they beat the Axis of Evil, they're the only team in the AL East I don't hate). Some of my other reasons are not so obvious.

First of all, this is my first opportunity to be a true bandwagon fan. I think I deserve it, because in my lifetime, the teams I have supported have basically sucked. For the sake of comparison, I'll use 1994 as a benchmark. I was 5 years old, old enough to be a fan in my book. In that span, the Redskins are 100-123, with 3 playoff appearances (2-3 record) and 1 division championship. They hold the only sports title of any of my favorite teams in my lifespan, but it came in 1992 when I was 3 years old. The Cubs are 1147-1216 since 1994, with 4 playoff appearances, a 6-15 playoff record and 3 division championships. They were swept 3 of 4 times in playoffs and choked majorly in the 2003 postseason. The Caps are my 'winners': 443-436-97-51, 7 playoff appearances, 25-33 playoff record, advanced to Stanley Cup Finals once, 3 division championships, 4 playoff series wins out of 12. Then come the lowly Nats, who have gone 284-363 and laid goose-eggs in all of the other categories. Total: 14 playoff appearances (1 per year), 33-51 playoff record, 7 division championships (1 per every 2 years), moved to the next round of the playoffs 7 of 19 times, 1974-2189 total record (including Caps’ OT losses as L, ties as nothing). Throw in the Hokies' relative success (134-42 record, including 5-7 in bowls) and I've got a decent 2108-2231 record, but still little postseason progress.

I think that since my life has been filled with the trials and tribulations of these teams, I am entitled to "adopt" the underdog as my new third favorite team. I will not purchase any Rays clothing or say I've been a fan since 1998 (although I did buy a Devil Rays hat from the Reebok store at the Williamsburg Outlets when I was 9), but will undoubtedly root for them to defeat the hated Red $ux, AngelO's and Bankee$ (and especially now the Phailles).

You have to love the underdog story, but that's not all there is to the Rays' cinderella season. Catcher Dioner "Little Pudge" Navarro wears number 30 in honor of his wife, who on their first wedding anniversary had a brain aneuryism. She was given less than a 5% chance of surviving her surgery on September 30 (hence, #30), but beat the odds.

First Baseman Carlos Pena was cast aside by the Rangers, Athletics, Tigers, Yankees and Red Sox before his breakout 2007 season, where he hit .282/.411/.627 with 46 home runs.

Second Baseman Akinori Iwamura was (in my opinion at least) a huge catalyst to the Rays' turnaround, not necessarily because of his actual play. Simply signing a semi-big name international free agent was huge. It showed me that the Rays were dedicated to their future success.

Shortstop Jason Bartlett was one of four former Minnesota Twins known as "the Pirhanas" by Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. Guillen gave them such a nickname because of their hard-nosed play. Bartlett isn't much with the bat, but his glove, speed and clubhouse presence remind me of a more-talented Jamey Carroll.

Evan Longoria is the real "star power" guy on the team. The rookie third baseman had as many homers as Cubs star Aramis Ramirez (27) in 27 fewer games. And Eva Longoria (the actress, no relation) sent him a bottle of champagne to congratulate him on his (and the team's) 2008 success. He's one of the few centerpieces on my keeper fantasy baseball league (along with Jay Bruce and Dan Uggla).

In the outfield, there are a bunch of high-energy, athletic outfielders that Jim Bowden would love to get his paws on. I've always been a fan of Carl Crawford, the longest tenured Ray, and his skills as a stolen base/extra base hit threat, as well as a legitimate threat to reach 3000 (and probably a lot more) hits. B.J. Upton hails from the great Commonwealth of Virginia, so I have to be a fan of him.

The pitching staff is young and exciting. It features Scott "Thank God Steve Phillips is a moron and traded him for Victor Zambrano" Kazmir, James "I fought the Red Sox and nobody won, but look at this brawl!" Shields and Matt "I am better than Delmon Young" Garza.

I just can't stand but love this team, but there is one reason: They are what the Nats could become. They give us a Ray of hope (har har har) that one day the Nats will ditch their inept GM for a superstar young executive (and yes, I know the Mike Rizzo link is that of a DJ, not the awesome Mike Rizzo).

That's all I've got for now. Let's Go Rays!

(Picture is via Yahoo! Sports)


The one thing I'll consistently do this offseason-answer the mailbag questions!

Who do you think will be the starting second baseman between Anderson Hernandez and Emilio Bonifacio in 2009?
-- Ray U., Shrewsbury, Mass.

No love for Belliard? Here's my fearless prediction: Bonifacio does not start the 2009 season in the majors.

Shouldn't Roger Bernadina be considered as an option for center field in 2009?
-- Luis H., San Juan, P.R.

No matter what Ladson says about Bernadina's 'swagger' his second time around, he's still not an improvement over Dukes (or Milledge for that matter). He, like Bonifacio, can still benefit from additional time in AAA and should start the season there (barring an excellent Spring Training out of either).

I get the impression you are not convinced Elijah Dukes is a solid citizen. He is one of our only hitting threats. I want his bat in the lineup next season.
-- Rich R., Slingerlands, N.Y.

I don't see how going one year without threatening someone's life makes you a solid citizen. He is still not a solid citizen, but he is a darn good ballplayer.

Why wasn't Larry Broadway called up last September? Does he have a future in the Majors?
-- Daniel C., Key West, Fla.

As Ladson said, Broadway doesn't hit home runs. Ladson's sure he'll be a major league player...I'm not so sure. First basemen who can hit .266/.352/.427 in AAA aren't hard to come across.

Why did the Nats send Ryan Langerhans to the Minor Leagues? He seemed to have so much to offer.
-- James W., Warrenton, Va.

Because they can. While Langerhans is valuable in many ways, he still lacks major production with the bat (I say major because, while he does have good patience and power numbers, he still has huge holes in his swing and overall offensive game). His glove is valuable and he will be a National at some point this year...but he passed through waivers, so retrospectively, it was a good move.

Since the Nationals are looking for a veteran left-handed power hitter, what about signing Ken Griffey Jr.?
-- Nick K., McLean, Va.

Maybe as a coach, but Griffey is old, average offensively (.249/.353/.424 this year) and has lost a step in the outfield.

Is there anything to hang our hats on as far as going from worst to first in just one year? I realize this is speculation, but how likely is it that Washington will catch lightning in a bottle?
-- Brian Y., Takoma Park, Md.

No. Where we stand right now, we don't have the hitting, pitching or leadership to put up a winning record in 2009. Maybe with a few key free agents we can compete in 2010, but I'm going the pessimistic route and telling you not to get your hopes up.

I thought Boone was a good reserve. Could he still be with the Nationals for the 2009 season?
-- Megan, G., McLean, Va.

He could stick, but do we really want him back? .241/.299/.384 is pretty terrible. Even Larry Broadway could do that.

How long will it be until Ross Detwiler is in the starting rotation?
-- Andrew W., Alexandria, Va.

I can see the Nats pushing him up this September. Risky prediction, but it's just something I can see happening.

What has happened to Clint Everts?
-- Nick B., Houston

He, like 90% of high school pitchers drafted, flamed out. Watch out, Willems/Smoker/McGeary.

Are the Nationals waiting until after the World Series to interview coaching candidates?
-- Tom J., Reva, Va.

I'll let Ladson answer this one:

Oh, no. They have already contacted candidates such as former Mets manager Willie Randolph. Don Baylor could be a candidate. It's also assumed that Rick Eckstein will be the hitting coach. I also believe the Nationals will promote another coach from the Minor Leagues. Who that is, I don't know yet.

With the Padres shopping Jake Peavy, could the Nats become a serious contender to acquire him?
-- Brandon S., Easthampton, Mass.

Are you kidding? He would take up like 60% of the payroll! I'd love to see it happen (and it would help the team immensely), but it's not happening.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Quick AFL Update

Here's the updating link to these stats. Sorry if it's a little bit blurry, but that's the best I can do.

Looks like Leonard Davis, Ian Desmond and Bill Rhinehart's OBP skills are present (.333, .368 and .353, respectively) but power is lacking (.400, .250 and .214, respectively, with 1 XBH by Davis). The three hitters have a combined 8 runs and 8 RBI but a ghastly 12 K's (against 13 H).

Pitching-wise, Cory VanAllen is the only National sucking it up, with 6 R (5 ER) allowed in 4 innngs. Adam Carr, Ross Detwiler and Zech Zinicola have allowed a combined 2 ER in 12 IP to go with a 9:4 K:BB ratio.

The Peoria Saguaros, who all of the Nats' AFL'ers play for, are 6-1 and in first place in both the AFL American League as well as the whole league in general.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mailbag time!

The best time of the week-MAILBAG TIME!

What do you think Austin Kearns's future is with the Nats?
-- Ryan S., Millersville, Md.

He will be back and will be the starting RF. He won't be an all-star, but he'll hit AT THE VERY LEAST .260/.340/.430 with stellar defense, assuming he's healthy (not a safe assumption). Nobody will take his salary and the Nats won't buy him out when he has the potential to come back big.

Does Willie Harris have a shot as an everyday player?
-- Tim T., Reston, Va.

No. He's an awesome utility guy, but the position he's best at, LF, demands a ton more power out of a player. If he's smart, he sticks with the Nats because they'll offer him a ton of playing time at his non-premium defensive positions (3B).

About a year ago, I asked if you thought a Chad Cordero trade for Jason Bay was a possibility. You said, "That would be a steal for the Pirates. I want to know why Bay slumped so badly for the Bucs last year." Do you think a player like Bay would have salvaged the poor offense and provided the extra power the Nationals needed throughout the season?
-- Brandon P., Bethesda, Md.

I'm LOLing at Ladson's answer: "Besides the poor offense that you mentioned, there were a lot of injuries, the team played poorly on defense and pitching was shaky, at best. Here's another thing the fans don't talk about: The base running was awful, especially during the second half. "

Yes, but trading a reliever for Jason Freaking Bay would have been a steal for the Pirates? I love the Chief, but relief pitchers are the most overpriced commodity in baseball. You have to make that trade 10 out of 10 times (if it were actually on the table, which I doubt). Bay would have made the Nats better offensively, but not enough to escape the cellar.

I have followed Levale Speigner since he was in high school. What are his prospects for next season?
-- Terri S., Lisbon, Ohio

If he makes a 40-man roster, it will not be with the Nats. If it is with the Nats, I will start weeping.

After the last four seasons, how can we view pitching as the one area not in need of a new coach? The Nationals rank near the bottom of every category in pitching as well as hitting, but we're not replacing the pitching coach during this major housecleaning?
-- Bill W., Alexandria, Va.

The problem isn't Randy St. Claire-it's the garbage he's forced to work with. Unless we're talking someone like the Leo Mazzone of the 1990s as pitching coach, our pitchers would get worse rather than better with a different pitching coach. Hope you didn't forget our one-season-wonders Hector Carrasco, Esteban Loaiza and Odalis Perez...I attribute all of their collective success to St. Claire.

What is Ryan Wagner's status with the team?
-- Ross B., Highland, Va.

According to Ladson, his shoulder is healthy and he will be ready for Spring Training. I don't see him making the ML squad unless he has a great spring training-he's behind Hanrahan, Mock, Rivera, Bergmann, Shell, Hinckley, etc. already.

Why do you keep saying that Lastings Milledge is a building block given his numbers in the Major Leagues? Compare his numbers to the center fielders on contending teams - Elijah Dukes and Justin Maxwell have shown much more potential.
-- Kimon G., Bethesda, Md.

As Ladson hinted, Dukes and Maxwell are very injury-prone. Milledge has done a lot at a very young age. You can't help but be encouraged by a .268/.330/.402 slash line out of a 23 year old. Dukes will be the long-term CF, though, and Millz with Thrillz will be in LF.

How safe is Manny Acta's job, and how long does his current contract run?
-- Frank H., Northampton, UK

This is something that I've been struggling with. I know Manny does a great job with the guys, but there is really no way to judge a manager who is stuck with crappy players. I've never been impressed with Acta's in-game strategy, but his morale boosting is worth keeping him around for...I say hold on to him until the Baby Nats grow up and Acta actually has something to work with. If he fails then, he's gone.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Some interesting scenarios

Lots of good stuff today over at MLBTR.

In this link dump, Tim Dierkes notes that Odalis Perez wants to come back and pitch again for the Nats next year. His source, Pete McElroy of MASN also notes in the same article that Aaron Boon'e top choice is to come back to the Nationals.
Dierkes also mentions that Aaron Crow could be gone at the Royals' 12 pick next year (apparently the Royals like him). But who cares, the guy's a bum!

In a short post about A.J. Burnett, Dierkes says that in 2005, the Nats were the only team (besides the Blue Jays, of course) to offer Burnett a 5-year deal. Also mentioned is the fact that "Burnett's preference to be close to his Maryland home could be a factor." The Nats aren't listed as a potential suitor (while the AngelO's are), but I can see them being a dark-horse candidate for Burnett, Oliver Perez and even Ben Sheets. They probably won't get any of them, but I can definitely see them being in the top 3 bidders, losing out over dollars rather than years.

Last but not least, in Dierkes' chat today, he speculates the Nats might be in on Mike Hampton this offseason (presumably if Odalis leaves). A Hampton signing sounds the kind of move Bowden always makes. Not sure how much I like it, but Hampton was pretty good before his injuries (and he can hit, just like Odalis, Livan, etc...unlike Bergmann and Lannan!).

Here are some scenarios (all are pure speculation):
Signing 1 of the following: Oliver Perez, Ben Sheets, A.J. Burnett (5% chance of happening)
Signing 1 of the following: Odalis Perez, Mike Hampton, Livan Hernandez, Sergio Mitre (50% chance of happening)
Signing 1 of the following: C.C. Sabathia, Mark Texiera, Francisco Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Ryan Dempster, Brian Fuentes (.00000000000001% chance of happening)
Signing 1 former Red: Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, Corey Patterson (goodness I hope not), Paul Bako, Ben Broussard, Juan Encarnacion, Brett Tomko (99.9% chance of happening)
Trading for 1 of the following: Mark Reynolds (Diamondbacks), Nick Swisher (White Sox), Matt Holliday (Rockies), Jeremy Hermida (Marlins), various Marlins pitchers (5% chance of happening).
Trading for 1 of the following: Jake Peavy (Padres), J.J. Hardy (Brewers), Magglio Ordonez (Tigers) (.0000000000001% chance of happening)

What are your thoughts? (FYI, I think the chances of getting a Holliday or Sheets are less than an Oliver Perez or Mark Reynolds, I just felt like grouping them in the "higher chance" groups because they won't be the top players on the market, more likely a plan B for the Yankees and Red Sox of the world).

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mailbag time!

It's the most exciting part of the day for me, as I sit here waiting for the oh-so-exciting Environmental Geosciences class to convene (another movie on earthquakes!! YAYYY!!!)

Here's your non-BS mailbag answers:

Do you think Elijah Dukes will play center field and Lastings Milledge will move to left field in 2009?
-- Rich R., Slingerlands, N.Y.

As our buddy Ladson says, if Dukes' knee can handle it, he WILL be the starting center fielder and Milledge WILL be the starting left fielder. That's the way it should be, at least until Millz with Thrillz can learn how to play center.

Do the Nationals have any building blocks? This team doesn't look like a Major League roster.
-- Scott C., Washington, D.C.

I'm sorry, Scott, but that's an ignorant question. A "building block" is a player who the team can use as a centerpiece. An entire team is not made of "building block" players. The Nats have building blocks in Zimmerman and Dukes, that's all. Flores, Lannan, Milledge, etc. have the chance to become centerpieces with solid 2009 campaigns, but only Zimmerman and Dukes seem like they're on the fast track to stardom.

Is right-hander Jason Bergmann still a part of Nats' long-term plans?
-- Frank H., Northampton, UK

I don't see how anyone in their right mind would put Martis into the 2009 rotation plans as Ladson suggests (he still needs a LOT of seasoning), but I see Lannan, Redding, Zimmermann and Balester getting guaranteed rotation spots and various major and minor league FA's competing with the likes of Bergmann and Hill (if healthy) and others for the 5th spot.

Now that he has shown a 91-92 mph fastball and command of two other pitches, is Mike Hinckley a candidate for the rotation in 2009?
-- Roger B., Bethesda, Md.

No. He had 7 seasons in the minors to prove himself as a starter. He had success in relief in 2008 and will stick there as long as he has success.

The Nationals have made a lot of player moves in the past 12 months. What grade would you give them in that regard?
-- Mike E. Springfield, Va.

On a 5 point grading scale:
5.0-Dukes, Wee Willie
4.0-Odalis, Milledge
3.0-Gonzalez, Hernandez
1.0-Mackowiak, Estrada, Lo Duca

Average grade-2.7, around a C average.

Can you update us on the contract status of players after this season?
-- Rich R., Slingerlands, N.Y.

From Ladson:

Free agents: Aaron Boone, 1B; Odalis Perez, LHP
Eligible for arbitration: Jesus Colome, RHP; Chad Cordero, RHP; Willie Harris, OF; Ryan Langerhans, OF Tim Redding, RHP; Zimmerman, 3B.
Player options: Wily Mo Pena, OF, $2 million.
Club options: Pena, OF, $5 million.

What about Orr?

I'm a big supporter of Cordero. Can you tell me what his future is with this team?
-- Heywood U., Tampa, Fla.

He won't be back.

Why hasn't there been any love for right-hander Steven Shell? His ERA is one of the lowest on the squad. He seems to be a quiet kid. Shell does his job and has been a rock since his June callup.
-- Matt E., Washington D.C.

He's the man. I love him. Oddly, he hasn't been tagged here, so he has flown (flied? flew?) under the radar (so much I didn't include him in the offseason acquisitions). So I'll tag him here and say he's a very pleasant surprise.

Bowden and manager Manny Acta said they want to obtain a slugging left-handed bat. What are the chances of them obtaining first baseman Mark Teixeira to fill that roll?
-- Jim T., Beaufort, S.C.

Are you kidding? Lerners open their wallets? 0%.

Also-required reading. Will probably comment more later.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Playoff Predictions

Brewers 3 Phillies 2
This series will go to 5. The Brewers have better pitching in Sabathia, Gallardo and any effect of Sheets. Hamels is real good, but the Brewers beat up lefties. Lefthanded pitchers (such as Sabathia) beat up the Phillies. The key for the Phillies is Wifebeater Myers.

Cubs 3 Dodgers 0
The Cubs will sweep the other boys in blue.

Angels 3 Red Sox 1
This is more emotional than anything. I'd rather the Sawx go up 2-0 and then lose on 3 straight 9th inning homers than anything.

Rays 3 White Sox 1
The Rays will be a force to be reckoned with this postseason.

Cubs 4 Brewers 1
The Cubs ain't gonna have a let down against the Brew Crew. Sabathia gets 1 win, 1 loss and the rest of the Crew's rotation goes 0-4 (because, do you really think Gallardo and Sheets will be healthy enough to make it past the NLDS?).

Rays 4 Angels 3
Evan Longoria hits a key homer in at least 2 of the games, leading the Rays to the World Series.

Cubs 4 Rays 0
The Cubs are going all the way!