Results tagged ‘ Zack Greinke ’

Episode 41 – Today’s Recipe: One Greinke Collar Bone With A Side Of Fantasy Pickups

Three Up, Three Down took in the first week of baseball and found out a few things. The Atlanta Braves are very good at baseball like activities, and that Zack Greinke isn’t as big as Carlos Quentin.  We recap our thoughts on the brawl between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres and touch on the other injuries around baseball. The classic “3U3D Fantasy Special” is back and you might like what we have to say, especially if you’re already a cellar dweller in your league. Check it out and thank us when you start your climb to the top!

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The Saga Continues: Padres CEO Caught on Tape Bashing Greinke After Brawl

Padres President and CEO Tom Garfinkel

Padres President and CEO Tom Garfinkel

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, they acquired a secret recording of San Diego Padres President and CEO Tom Garfinkel adamantly telling a group of fans that Zack Greinke intentionally hit Carlos Quentin last week. 

Click the link and listen/read for yourself. We see the same old tired points brought up from last week. For example, there’s “no way” that a pitcher with impeccable control misses his location that bad. Yeah, Tom. Because that’s never happened before. Ever.

Garfinkel not only completely dismisses the possibility that the 3-2 count and 2-1 game affects the argument, but cites an inaccurate “heat map” in explaining why it was such an obviously intentional hit by pitch. While Garfinkel also mentions that he couldn’t be sure what Greinke said that caused Quentin to charge, he says people in the Padres baseball-operations department “who can read lips” were unsure.

What does that even mean? I know how to read lips, too. Can you pay me to read the lips of pitchers for your last-place team, Mr. Garfinkel? As a Dodger fan, this doesn’t even hit me personally. It just worries me that someone can be so…idiotic. 

Obviously, as this news makes the round on social media, Garfinkel is going to get absolutely abused by fans. And it’s for good reason. Not only did he come out and spew foolish things like this in the presence of some kind of microphone, but he compared Greinke, who suffers from social anxiety issues, to Rain Man.

Good luck getting out of this one, Tom. Maybe the next intentional pitch that gets away from a Dodgers pitcher will sail through the window of your suite.

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for all your 2013 MLB news!

Insanity in San Diego: Greinke Injured in Brawl, Kemp and Quentin Fight After Game

dodgers padres brawl

Update (4/12/13): Greinke is out for approximately eight weeks. Quentin has been suspended for eight games, Hairston, Jr. for one game. Both of those players have appealed.

This blog has already morphed and transformed 100 different times tonight as more and more details are released about the ridiculous brawl at Petco Park. We have embedded videos from sources like MLB and ESPN to give you a clear timeline of what went down. Enjoy the madness, and vote in the polls below!

Bottom of the 6th inning:

Carlos Quentin, leading off the 6th for the Padres (who were down 2-1 at the time), took the count to 3-2 against Zack Greinke. That next pitch got away inside and nailed Quentin on the elbow, at which point he charged the mound. You can see the fight in its entirety here:

As many Tweeters reminded us, Quentin routinely leads the league in hit by pitches:

These things happen when a batter crowds the plate and takes away the pitcher’s inside corner. And it doesn’t help that Quentin clearly has no idea how to get out of the way of an inside pitch (from the first game of the series on Tuesday):

As you see in the video of the brawl, Quentin and Greinke collided shoulder-to-shoulder, and the 50-pound advantage of the batter definitely took its toll on the smaller pitcher. The benches cleared as Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis tackled Quentin to the ground. Many people thought Greinke may have yelled something to Quentin after the beaning, which this ESPN video shows is true (embedding ESPN videos does not work on WordPress):

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:9162952

My expert lip-reading abilities tell me that Greinke said something along the lines of “F— off.” Hardly grounds for a rage-induced attack on Quentin’s part. For all I know, Greinke may just have been tired of Quentin’s act, as a fellow NL West pitcher became last season:

Before we go any farther, let me bring you back a few years…

April 8th, 2009:

Different teams, a different division, in a different league; same matchup. In Greinke’s 2009 Cy Young year with the Kansas City Royals, he beaned then-White Sox Quentin in the 4th inning of an early-season game. Quentin took a step toward Greinke before being cooled off and taking first base.

After that outing (the Royals won 2-0), Greinke said it was an accident, and even mentioned that he was “scared” for Quentin at first, thinking it might hit his head:

“He had a reason for [being upset],” said Greinke of Quentin. “Any time you throw it that high, it’s justified. You’ve got to be better than that and not pitch like that. You’re going to make mistakes, but the last thing you want to do is hit someone where it could seriously hurt them. As soon as I let go of it, I was scared for him.”

So there was history. Whether or not it was intentional then, or intentional this year, is a matter we can likely never pinpoint. But in both instances, Greinke held a slim lead–hardly a situation in which you want to put anyone on base purposely.

Unless Quentin slapped Greinke’s mother years ago for some unknown reason, there is no motive for Greinke to throw at Quentin in the first place. Not to mention, that little dust-up was four years ago now. That’s a long, long time for someone to hold a grudge in sports.

Okay, memory lane was fun. Let’s bring it back to present day…

Halfway through the brawl:

In the video of the fight, you can see Matt Kemp going absolutely bonkers in the scrum (kerfuffle, if you will). At one point, he had multiple teammates restraining him after getting in a face-to-face shouting match with Padres manager Bud Black.

After it looked like the dust had settled, Dodgers utility man Jerry Hairston, Jr. took off toward the Padres dugout with his finger pointed at someone. If Don Mattingly’s postgame comments are any indication, the Padre in question was backup catcher John Baker, who was raised in my hometown of Walnut Creek, CA and does not seem the type to be involved.

But as Hairston, Jr. tweeted later, he was going at the Padres because he saw a player making fun of Greinke:

Finally, the skirmish ended and Greinke was walked off the field by head trainer Sue Falsone. The umpires eventually ejected the pitcher, along with Quentin, Kemp, and Hairston, Jr. Shortly thereafter, Chris Capuano relieved Greinke on the bump for Los Angeles, and promptly allowed a game-tying single.

Though the unlikeliest of heroes, Juan Uribe, went deep later to help seal a 3-2 victory for the Dodgers, nothing could take the sting out of the news that broke after the game.

Postgame press conferences:

As soon as the game ended, fans demanded answers. Mattingly was happy to give them his, with multiple microphones stuck in his face. But first, the Dodgers got awful news regarding their $147 million pitcher:

According to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, who is by no means a medical expert but does his research very thoroughly, the Dodgers can expect to miss Greinke for at least six weeks:

So needless to say, Mattingly was upset with the result of everything except the win. When pressed about the incident, Mattingly referred to Quentin as an “idiot” who has “zero understanding of the game of baseball,” given the situation in which he charged the mound.

Most shockingly, the skipper also declared that Quentin deserved to be suspended for as long as Greinke was on the shelf. Many writers on Twitter agreed with this sentiment, and yours truly can’t argue the idea. Of course, Quentin won’t get a lengthy suspension. Chances are, he’ll be looking at a four or five game suspension at the most. But we will have to wait and see what kind of action the league decides to take, and also to see if they discipline Kemp for his actions.

As if Quentin needed anyone else against him, A.J. Ellis told Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times that a few Padres apologized to him on their teammate’s behalf:

We also have the video of Quentin’s postgame chat with reporters here, which is full of blame deflections and question avoidance. Black, Quentin’s manager, said the history between the two players did play a part in the brawl. Greinke responded with some comments of his own, insisting he didn’t mean to hit Quentin and never has in the past. Plus, additional notes from Mattingly on the injury at the beginning of the video:

After cooling off, you’d think the situation would be put to rest. Alas, this night got crazier…

In the clubhouse tunnel:

Kemp couldn’t let the issue go, and stayed extremely fired up at Quentin for injuring Greinke. He went after Quentin by the player’s exit, reportedly asking why he charged the mound and ended up injuring Kemp’s teammate:

The Associated Press was able to snag a picture of the two players arguing (see below) before they were separated. The scene could have gotten much uglier, but it was luckily diffused in time. On one hand, you have to admire Kemp’s willingness to defend his pitcher and not back down from what he considered a threat. Leadership like that can pull a team closer together.Matt Kemp, Carlos Quentin

But on the other hand, the last person the Dodgers need getting suspended or playing upset is Kemp. The star center fielder is already struggling with the bat so far in 2013, and needs to recognize the difference between playing hard and playing pissed.

At the end of the night, Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez (who was injured in the World Baseball Classic and has been on the DL all season) tweeted a slight silver lining, apparently in an attempt to calm the angry hordes:

So the Dodgers won the game, the series, and a bit of hope from Ramirez. But losing Greinke is a huge blow for the Dodgers pitching staff, who will likely replace him with either Ted Lilly or Chris Capuano–both massive downgrades. San Diego and Los Angeles reconvene at Dodger Stadium for a three-game set on Monday, prompting the Dodgers official Twitter account to put out this gem after the game:

At the very least, that series will be under an intense microscope by fans, players and journalists everywhere. For the Padres, a chance to be relevant. For the Dodgers, a chance to prove that they are more than a rich all-star team–that they can win with talent and heart and team chemistry.

Stay tuned to Three Up, Three Down for more coverage as the news continues to roll in. Please vote in the polls below, and feel free to share your comments with us, too.

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

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Every Team’s New Years Resolution

new-years-resolutionsIt’s that time of year again. That time when you realize your resolution to lose 30 pounds failed – in fact, we gained 30, didn’t we? When your declaration that your vampire novel would finally be finished and sent to the publisher, never got off the shelf.

Or that your dream of visiting Tahiti ended up being a shady motel for a weekend in Oakland on business.

Now that we’ve set a bleak mood, here’s the point: It’s New Years resolution time. We will all be making them, whether it’s private or public. And likewise, our favorite MLB teams must have one resolution they are aiming to accomplish in 2013.

Since we survived the apocalypse for now, here are Three Up, Three Down’s resolutions for every MLB team:

AL West:

Texas Rangers - Make a new friend - The Rangers either shopped in the wrong place or got screwed over for every player on their Christmas wish list. It’s not too late to snag Justin Upton from the D’Backs, though it gets less likely with each passing day. Texas should be going after the powerful right fielder hard in January.

Los Angeles AngelsMake a little money - Hear me out. Everyone knows that Arte Moreno and his Angels are filthy rich, but do they really have enough left over to re-work the decimated starting rotation? Trading for Jason Vargas was a nice touch, but will Vargas, Joe Blanton and Tommy Hanson really replace Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana?

arte morenoOakland A’sMove to a better ‘hood - Lew Wolff is fooling nobody. Because everyone and their mother knows that o.Co Coliseum is not a viable venue for a professional baseball team. Wolff claims he wants at least another half-decade in Oakland, but I’m calling his bluff. Their resolution should be to get OUT, and fast.

Seattle MarinersBulk up - No, not on the Bartolo Colon diet. The M’s took a good first step toward that workout regimen by trading for Kendrys Morales. But just because that punch-less offense now benches the bar doesn’t mean opponents will quiver with fear. The M’s need to go out and get some more power to legitimize those playoff hopes.

Houston AstrosGraduate - It’s no secret that the ‘Stros are a big work in progress. Moving to what was last year’s best division in baseball isn’t going to help things. While the other four teams in the division are – at the very least – grown men, Houston is struggling to graduate from a student to a serious businessman. Can they take that step in 2013?

AL Central:

Detroit Tigers - Learn to close – Take this as you may. There are thousands of frat boys in America resolving to improve in the same fashion next year. But I meant it as a nod to the Tigers getting handled in a sweep in the World Series in 2012. Adding Torii Hunter and bringing back Anibal Sanchez were big steps, but 2013 will be a failure without redemption.

Kansas City RoyalsBecome a “cool kid” - Oh, don’t pretend like you weren’t aspiring to be one your whole academic life. The Royals got some nice clothes and a haircut over the winter vacation, and are looking to butt their way into the “in” crowd. In baseball speak, that means they are aiming to be the new playoff darlings after adding much-needed pitching.

torii hunter

Cleveland IndiansGet along with Dad – The relationship wasn’t that bad before, but the Indians sure would like to impress new skipper Terry Francona in 2013. Cleveland is loaded with untapped potential, and they are hoping to play well for a full season to show their manager and fans that they are serious about this job.

Chicago White SoxProve everyone wrong - Wait, didn’t they do that last year? Sure, but people like me are still unconvinced. Their numbers were unexpectedly good, but that just makes the boss curious. Can they repeat? Do they actually deserve the promotion? The Chisox sure would like to move on up, but they will have a tough road.

Minnesota Twins - Get back on their feet - Plenty of people have to resolve to do this every year. Whether it be an economic downturn,  family problem, or injury, some years are just destined to be awful. The Twins know they won’t contend in 2013, but they can start the grueling process of getting back to a stable place.

AL East:

New York YankeesForgiveness – They better learn how, because former public enemy number one, Kevin Youkilis, will be manning third base for the Yanks in 2013. What this really means, is that if Youk bounces back and has a good year, the Yanks will forget all about their problems, and likely return to the postseason.

Boston Red SoxGet cleaned up - This kind of resolution is usually reserved for a junkie of some kind, but it’ll fit nicely with the BoSox here. Boston got so far off track last season that they traded away millions of dollars in bad contracts for below-average prospects. Once they finish cutting out the rot, the Sox might contend again, even in this division.

Toronto Blue JaysBuild an empire - Such a wish is much more foreboding when applied to business in the real world, but opponents of the Jays should really be terrified of the changes this team has made. Their one and only goal with so many major acquisitions must be to not only make the playoffs, but to dominate everyone on the way.blue jays new players

Tampa Bay RaysTry something crazy – I want to go skydiving, or hike a volcano, or start a band. The Rays, however, should do a whole different kind of crazy. Start Wil Myers in the big leagues, and see if it takes off. The kid is ready, and the lineup needs a boost. Anything remotely good from Myers may mean a playoff berth for Tampa.

Baltimore OriolesUpdate the security system - In this day and age, you can’t be too careful with home security. I’m not talking a drawbridge and moat, but we’ve learned that the best teams are thriving because of good pitching staffs, to protect any other weaknesses they may have. Baltimore NEEDS a couple starting pitchers.

NL West:

Los Angeles DodgersGive to charity – I swear, this isn’t even a “rich ownership” joke. Okay, it kind of is. But with all the money this team has shelled out over the past ten or so months, why isn’t their most deserving commodity seeing any of it? They keep talking about an extension for Clayton Kershaw, but show the fans you mean business!

San Francisco GiantsShare with friends - Not the World Series title itself, although this Dodgers fan would appreciate them passing that honor along next season. I’m talking about the Giants sharing with their San Francisco cohort, the 49ers. As the new year starts, the 49ers will be in contention for a title of their own, and any advice would be great.

Arizona Diamondbacks  v San Diego PadresArizona DiamondbacksCut ties with a family member - Sometimes it’s just necessary. You hate to see anyone secede from the clan, but signing free agent outfielder Cody Ross makes it inevitable. Will it be Upton? Adam Eaton, Jason Kubel or Gerardo Parra? One will need to go, and it’s only a matter of time before they get dumped.

Colorado RockiesGet health insurance - I know, I know. It’s not affordable in this country anymore. That’s one thing I won’t argue! But you have to think, given the regularity of major injuries to Colorado’s best players (Michael Cuddyer, Troy Tulowitzki, etc.) they would find any way to keep everyone off the DL.

San Diego PadresEarn a promotion - Any opponents who take the Padres lightly in 2013 are foolish. With Chase Headley, Alexi Amarista and Yonder Alonso backing an underrated pitching staff, San Diego could be the A’s of 2013. They will have to fight and scrap their way to get there, though.

NL Central:

Cincinnati RedsFollow through - This is a tough one for any given person to accomplish. We make all sorts of promises to ourselves that oftentimes go unfinished. The Reds have made a silent pact to be even better than they were last year, and finally achieve what they’ve been on the brink of for years now. They might be the team to beat in the NL next year.

St. Louis CardinalsRekindle the flame - In a non-romantic way, of course. One of the reasons the Cardinals were able to shock fans everywhere and make that insane title run in 2011 was the clutch gene. They weren’t missing it last year, but everything was just too inconsistent in St. Louis. If they rediscover their balance and passion, watch out everyone else.

2011 World Series Game 7 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals

Milwaukee BrewersBe a good parent - Confused? Good. The Brewers almost clawed their way all the way back into a Wild Card slot in 2012 after a dismal, bullpen-failure-laden start to the year. With a loaded lineup and above average pitching staff, this should not happen again. So their resolution is to help tutor young shortstop Jean Segura into a star.

Pittsburgh PiratesImprove their grades - The Pirates were so close to being eligible last year. Not for the playoffs, or any nonsense like that. But to finally getting over the hump. Pittsburgh needs a 2.0 to be eligible – in this case, they need 81 wins – to be taken seriously. Will they reach the .500 mark? A slight improvement in 2013 will do it!

Chicago CubsChange their image – There really is no changing an entire image built around loss and devastation, as Cubs fans have known all too well for over a century. But even a slight uptick in wins and a breakout season from one of their young stars (Brett Jackson, maybe?) will at least give people hope that they can change.

NL East:

Washington NationalsMake up - Adam LaRoche needs to be back in D.C. for 2013. All he wants is one extra year on a contract he has more than earned. Without a doubt, he was the most consistent hitter on the best team in the league in 2012, and should get paid as such. My New Years advice to the Nats is to make up with him. Sign the guy for three years.

Atlanta BravesLearn acceptance - I remember being taught in psychology that the standard grieving process goes Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Braves fans and any good fan anywhere are surely coming out of the Depression stage right now (I know I am) and trying to transition into Acceptance at the fact that Chipper Jones has retired.

chipper farewell

Philadelphia PhilliesBecome more patient - This is easier said than done for anyone, but it’s especially pertinent in Philadelphia. From an outsider’s perspective, I thought Philadelphia was caving into a sinkhole given the fans general reaction to last season’s debacle. Patience, Phillie fanatics. Your team is still very, very good. They are close, too.

New York MetsHave more fun - I presume life as a Mets fan hasn’t been very enjoyable for the past three seasons – well, at least after the All-Star break. But they re-signed poster boy David Wright and gained some really solid prospects in the R.A. Dickey trade. Everything is headed in the right direction, Mets fans. Just calm down and have a little fun with it.

Miami MarlinsMake amends with people - Strange, you say? Au contraire! The smaller fan base that follows the Marlins are no doubt let down by the shocking fire sale that took place this winter. No more executive-speak, front office. Give it to the fans, and your best remaining player Giancarlo Stanton, straight. What is the plan? Honesty will take you far.

Tweet @3u3d with what you think your team’s New Years resolution should be, or Facebook Three Up, Three Down with your suggestion! Don’t forget to subscribe and follow the blog and podcast here.

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Grade That Trade! Mariners Finally Make a Move Edition

I won’t lie – I have a soft spot for the Mariners. That seems a bit strange because I live near Oakland and root for the A’s in my free time. Let me explain: I went to Washington State University and spent four years surrounded by sad, wandering M’s fans.

There’s that, and the fact that they have an awesome stadium, badass jerseys, and a slew of fan-favorite heroes (A-Rod, Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey, Jr., Edgar Martinez, Felix Hernandez, Ichiro, etc.). Anyway, it’s been disappointing to see GM Jack Zduriencik not really pull the trigger on any big moves in which Seattle was set up perfectly to do so.

The Mariners have a decently sized payroll, plenty of minor league depth, and a desperate need for hitters. Despite a lack of offensive punch, the Mariners managed to finish just a handful of games short of .500 in 2012, albeit still in fourth place.

With Hernandez leading the rotation, and a plethora of young pitching talent in Triple-A, the Mariners have the pieces to move to acquire a big bat. Today, this theory finally came to fruition. They went out and traded 14-game winner Jason Vargas to Anaheim for Kendrys Morales.

Let’s break this thing down:

Angels Get:

SP Jason Vargas

Mariners Get:

1B/DH Kendrys Morales

It’s hard to decide who wins this trade, but my gut tells me both teams come out pretty hot. The Angels, with the losses of Zack Greinke, Ervin Santana and Dan Haren this winter were in dire need of a pitching upgrade (and no, Joe Blanton doesn’t count). They made a nifty move in acquiring Tommy Hanson from Atlanta, but it wasn’t enough.

I’m not sure if you can say Vargas is the final piece they need, but it surely won’t hurt. This gives the Angels a pair of very good lefty starters in Vargas and C.J. Wilson to pair with Cy Young candidate Jered Weaver. We know Los Angeles added Josh Hamilton to the lineup, making Morales expendable.

But is it enough? Can the Angels improve on a 90-win ball club and return to A.L. West supremacy? Having Vargas in the third spot in that rotation will help them inch closer. And you have to expect a full season of Mike Trout, plus Hamilton, Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo, that they will be a better team.

For the Mariners, who are chasing the Angels (and everyone else for that matter) in the division, this should spell the end of the long-drawn out Justin Smoak experiment. Morales is an instant upgrade in all departments over Smoak, and will provide a good source of punch to the lineup.

With the emergence of Kyle Seager and a likely improvement next season from Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero, the Mariners could be a sneaky dangerous team in 2013. As long as the rotation can pick up the slack left by Vargas, I expect an improvement for Seattle, though I don’t think they are quite ready to be a contender yet.

That being said, Zduriencik knows he needs another bat or two, and may be chasing an Andre Ethier or Michael Bourn-type player as the winter evolves. If they can pair one more veteran power bat like Ethier’s, or a good top-of-the-order guy like Bourn, without giving up too much pitching, I see no reason why the Mariners can’t make like the 2012 A’s and take the league by surprise.

As for grading this trade, I’m giving a slightly higher mark to the Mariners, simply for going out and being aggressive in adding a bat to a flat lineup. They have pitching depth and are on the right track with getting some power in there with Morales and Jason Bay (well…you know…maybe). Mariners Grade: B+

The Angels got an underrated starting pitcher, but still haven’t made up for lost talent in the rotation. Not to mention, Morales was as good a hitter as they could ask for in that DH/1B slot. The offense did downgrade with the loss of Morales and Torii Hunter, even after the Hamilton signing. Overall, it’s a good move, but they better make a World Series run before 2014 when Vargas is a free agent or be prepared to shell out a pretty hefty extension. Angels Grade: B

 

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- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Break It Down: Starting Pitcher Free Agent Pool

The offseason is upon us! We’ve already seen a few trades, like Ervin Santana heading to the Royals and Mike Aviles being dealt more than hands at a poker table. The meat that cooks deliciously on the hot stove in the offseason is free agency. Here’s the first part of what we can see cooking this winter.

The Big Catch

Zack Greinke is the best pitcher available on the free agent market after being acquired by the Angels at the trade deadline. Greinke may never reach his 2009 Cy Young form again, but he is still in his prime at 29 years old. Matt Cain’s recent extension might be the benchmark for what Greinke is looking for on the open market. Who will pay that price though? I can see the Rangers being involved, especially with Greinke’s somewhat success in the AL West the second half of 2012. They need the big name pitcher to anchor the rotation with Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, and Alexi Ogando. He could stay put in Anaheim, where the Angels have gone from a plethora of starting pitching to a need for it with Ervin Santana in Kansas City and Dan Haren’s option declined after rumors of being dealt to the Cubs. I would not sleep on the other team in Los Angeles making a play on Greinke to pair at the top of the rotation with Clayton Kershaw; that new ownership is ready and willing to spend money.

The We Wish You Were Zack Greinke, But You’re Still Really Good Tier

Hiroki Kuroda was given a qualifying offer by the Yankees, so he might not be on this list for very long. I think a better one-year offer, or even a two-year deal might be enough to pull him away from the Bronx. Would a team go to two years on a starter that will be 38 years old on Opening Day? I think so after he quelled the fears that his numbers were skewed by the NL West and finished with a 3.32 ERA and 1.16 WHIP with the Yankees playing the AL East. In the end, I think he stays with the Yankees.

Anibal Sanchez appeared to be a bust after going 3-6 with a 4.55 ERA in his first ten starts in a Tigers uniform. But something finally clicked on September 25th with a 10-strikeout, shutout performance against the Royals. Sanchez used that momentum into the playoffs making himself a ton of money, having a 1.77 ERA in three starts. He doesn’t have #1 starter potential, but could make for a great 2/3 for a team. Early rumors have him sticking around in Motown, but I’m sure there will be other teams offering up a deal.

The only other pitcher with the potential to be a staff ace on the free agent market is Dan Haren. Haren had a rough 2012, with his worst ERA and WHIP since 2004. Haren also landed on the disabled list for the 1st time in his career. The Angels bought him out instead of picking up his $15.5 million option. Unlike Greinke, don’t expect him back with the Halos. Like Greinke, I could see the Dodgers interested in bringing Haren back to the NL West where he was an ace for the Diamondbacks. I see the Cubs, who tried to deal for Haren, making a play for him. And there are even rumors of another NL West team, the Padres, making a play for Haren’s services.

What Pitcher are we Getting Tier?

No starting pitcher made themselves more money in 2012 than Kyle Lohse. He went out to prove he was a top of the rotation pitcher, but I would rather take my chances on Haren returning to ace form, than Lohse staying there. Has he learned how to pitch and has full control of his pitches now? Or is he going to return to the terrible form he just had in 2009-10? Someone is going to pay to find out. The Cardinals made a qualifying offer to Lohse, but I think at his age, he is looking to cash in on a long-term deal at big money coming off a career year.

Full disclosure: Brandon McCarthy is one of my favorite players in the league. From his hilarious Twitter account to his great production on the mound and even his value in fantasy baseball leagues, I just plain like the guy. The questions do arise from his recovery after sadly being hit in the head with a line drive this season. It might be that injury though, that gets a team a discount on a solid pitcher that has #2 starter potential. I think the Athletics would like to bring him back at the right price, but if they see the value, I’m sure other teams will too.

What to do with Ryan Dempster? Are you getting the pitcher that led the National League in ERA for the 1st half of 2012? Are you getting the pitcher that had an ERA north of five for the Rangers in their 2nd half collapse? There’s not a doubt in my mind that Dempster has eyes on a return to the National League. Going back to the Cubs is a real possibility, especially if he has his killer Harry Caray impersonation still in his repertoire.

Will Edwin Jackson land on his 8th different team, all while still being under 30 years old? He’s nothing spectacular overall, but does have his flashes of brilliance. I could see a playoff potential team like Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, maybe even Boston taking a chance on Jackson. We’ll see if he gets more than a one-year deal, but he will end up getting around and probably more than the $11 million he made in 2012.

No pitcher had a more Jekyll and Hyde season than Jeremy Guthrie. He was unable to adjust to pitching in Colorado (6.35 ERA/1.69 WHIP), but was a great pickup for the Royals (3.16 ERA/1.13 WHIP), who dumped Jonathan Sanchez. If teams believe in the sea level Guthrie, he could be a solid pickup for an American League team, where he seems comfortable between his time in Kansas City and Baltimore. Based on his dominance of the White Sox, giving up just one earned run over 29.2 innings in 2012, I could see the entire AL Central having interest.

The Wild Cards

Scott Baker’s $9.25 million option was declined by the Twins after he had Tommy John surgery. He could stay in Minnesota as one of the best pitchers in that rotation, but there are contenders that could take the chance on him regaining his form to be a middle of the rotation starter.


This years “coming to America” sweepstakes? Hyun-Jin Ryu of South Korea. Ryu has a career 2.80 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in his career in Korea with the Hanwha Eagles of the KBO. He’s not as sought after as Darvish a year ago, but he could be a solid middle of the rotation starter for a team willing to put up the posting fee for the 25-year old.

The Aren’t You Retired? Tier

I’m pretty sure that Andy Pettitte and Roy Oswalt have retired a combined 435 times, but there they are in the free agent pool.  I can’t see Pettitte going anywhere besides the Yankees and we’ll see if Oswalt decides to pick and choose his spot once the season starts.  Kevin Millwood was a servicable starter for the Mariners, but those numbers may be skewed by Safeco Field.  Derek Lowe was seemingly out of baseball after being released by the Indians, but was solid with the Yankees in a mop-up reliever role.  Ben Sheets showed some magic for a stretch with the Braves, oh wait he actually did retire.  Good for him.

Which starters do you think are the most important of this year’s free agent crop? Let us know in the comments or let me know on Twitter!

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

Episode 23 – The Morning After…. The Trade Deadline

Trades! Trades! Trades! You’ll get all the MLB trade talk you want on this week’s podcast. We recap just about every trade that happened in the last week before the trade deadline.  Greinke? Dempster? Pence? We have them all. And to cap it all off, the gang gives you some bad injury news.  Hope you enjoy!

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Enjoy!

Grade That Trade! Angels Get Stronger. Brewers Get Young Again.

It doesn’t come as a surprise to most of Brewer Nation that their acquired pitching ace, Zack Greinke, wasn’t going to be around forever.  Having not lost at Miller Park in almost a year and a half, it was almost too good to be true.  Alas, every good thing in Milwaukee (except Ryan Braun) comes to an end. (Read: CC Sabathia, Prince Fielder).  And just like that, Greinke was shipped off to his first large market team in the form of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  Not without cost however, as the Brewers acquired three strong prospects from the Angels’ organization. Let us recap:

Angels Acquired:

SP – Zack Greinke

Brewers Acquired:

SS – Jean Segura
RHP – John Hellweg
RHP – Ariel Pena

An outside observer might think that this would be unbalanced, and for the time being, it is.  It will help an Angels team that is currently 5 games back of their division and surging as of late behind the AL Rookie of the Year leader, Mike Trout, and the big man on campus, Albert Pujols.  If they catch the Rangers by seasons end, that would be a big plus, but with the moves that are being made, a Wild Card spot may be all LAA needs to make a strong run to the World Series.

The Angels aren’t at that point yet. They got a 9-4 would be All Star who had countless blown saves behind him, who also posted a 3.39 ERA with a K/9 of exactly 1.00.  Now when you put it like that, the Angels padded their already stellar rotation with one more right handed mastermind. I’m not worried about him not performing in Los Angeles, he will.  It’s the people behind him and possibly the spotlight that would make him flinch, but I don’t see the stone faced Greinke flinching anytime in the near future.  After posting a solid first outing for them, I think they’ll be glad with their trade.  Now can they resign him? That’s a question we’ll have to see after the season.

Over in the Midwest, the Brewers are collapsing behind their bullpen who has managed to ruin win after win for their starters.  With the current state of affairs in Milwaukee, this was a great rebuilding trade for a team that probably wasn’t going to resign Greinke at the end of the 2012 season anyway.  Plus, being 16 games back never helped anyone. They acquired three top prospects from the LAA farm system and will be looking to make a lot of noise in 2013 or possibly when the rosters expand to 40 at the end of the season.

Jean Segura, the 22 year old Dominican and a career .311 hitter in the minors, was one of the Angels top prospects.  He’s certainly going to battle for Alex Gonzalez’s spot in 2013 as Segura has the power and speed to make a difference right away.  His base stealing alone will bring an aspect that the Brewers have focused on under Ron Roenicke.  On top of that, he can swing a quick bat, and will strive for 15 home runs and around 30 doubles a season.  Segura is pretty sure handed with the glove as well, posting a .971 fielding percentage over 6 seasons.

Let’s head to the pitchers.  It would be hard to miss John Hellweg in the halls of Miller Park as he stands a tall 6’9″.  He packs a fastball that tops out at just under 100 mph on some days, but usually hovers around the mid to upper 90s.  Locating that fastball however has been the problem.  Hellweg’s pitching arsenal and control aren’t quite mature enough to be a prolific starter just yet.  With some crafting at AA-Huntsville, he could lower the 1.378 WHIP, strike out more batters, and depending on how his stamina develops, we could see John make a debut in the majors sooner rather than later.

Ariel Pena has the potential to make an impact in the Brewers’ organization as he has improved his statistics each year and his pitches have matured quite well.  As with any young pitcher, he does have control issues, but his BB/9 has gone down every season and his ERA/WHIP have both trended downward.  Pena also needs to change his “miss” pitch, as it tends to float up in the zone, which at Miller Park, is never good.  We’ll keep an eye on him as he has yet to make his first start for AA-Huntsville.

Side Note: The Brewers also traded C George Kottaras to Oakland for RP Fautino De Los Santos.  Two mainly backup players for both teams.  Kottaras is best known for catching Randy Wolf every fifth day while also tallying one of the Brewer’s elusive cycles.  De Los Santos has always been seen as a potential closer for Oakland, but didn’t pan out early this season and has spent his time in Sacramento.  Keep an eye on Kottaras as he’ll be Suzuki’s backup in Oakland, but De Los Santos will start in the minors.

So? What do you think? Who came out on top? That kind of depends if you live in the present or the future. Feel free to let me know in the comments or on Twitter – @FalconKP

The All-Star Game Snub-O-Meter

Another year, another All-Star Game announcement with the usual outrage.  There were many surprises for the 2012 all-star teams including Pablo Sandoval starting, plus Brian LaHair and Ian Desmond making the team.  I understand Ron Washington taking his guy in Matt Harrison, but I think there were better options, including everyone who ended up in the A.L. Final Vote.  For the Snub-O-Meter, I will not include any player that made the Final Vote.  P.S. #VoteChipper!

Johnny Cueto, Reds

In my opinion, the most egregious snub for the 2012 All-Star game.  Cueto is 4th in ERA in the National League and only trails R.A. Dickey in WAR among N.L. pitchers.  Cueto has the top ERA in the National League over the past two seasons and deserved to go over Jonathan Papelbon or Lance Lynn.

Snub-O-Meter Rating: 10 of 10

Zack Greinke, Brewers

The other big name N.L. pitching snub and from my projected roster last week I had a feeling this was going to happen.  Greinke is 3rd in WAR behind Dickey and Cueto, but isn’t in the top 10 in either ERA or WHIP.  Looking deeper into the numbers though shows that Greinke has been great with an xFIP 2.72 and is top ten in K/9.  If the players didn’t vote in Lynn, he still would’ve been snubbed by Cueto.

Snub-O-Meter Rating: 7 of 10

Brandon Phillips, Reds

Phillips has a case that he should be going to Kansas City, not just for his offensive numbers, but for being one of the top defensive players in the game.  Dan Uggla got the fan vote, while Jose Altuve was a well-deserving All-Star from the Astros.  Aaron Hill also has a case over Phillips, but still has a chance in the Final Vote.  Phillips got squeezed in a deeper than you think National League second base pool.

Snub-O-Meter Rating: 3 of 10

Jed Lowrie, Astros

Lowrie’s case is tied into his better power numbers than other N.L. shortstops as he leads them in home runs and OPS.  Ian Desmond goes to K.C. over Lowrie as a 3rd shortstop.  Hard to make a case to have to Astros on the team.  I can’t believe that Desmond went as a 3rd SS over this next player as a utility player.

Snub-O-Meter Rating: 3 of 10

Martin Prado, Braves

Why take Desmond who can only play one position over a guy who is versatile and has played the outfield, third base, second base, and first base over his career.  He’s definitely more worthy than actual backup first baseman Brian LaHair.  Prado is top ten in batting average, hits, and position player WAR in the National League.

Snub-O-Meter Rating: 8 of 10

Tyler Clippard, Nationals

Player A: 34.1 IP, 39K, 1.83 ERA, 0.90 WHIP  Player B: 29.2 IP, 37K, 3.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP  Want to take a guess on who is who?  Player A is Tyler Clippard who has been the go-to guy in the bullpen for the Nats with the absence of Drew Storen, the implosion of Henry Rodriguez, and the expulsion of Brad Lidge.  Player B is Jonathan Papelbon who is going to Kansas City over Clippard.  It’s not Clippard’s fault that he wasn’t the closer for the saves the entire season.  The first-place Nationals have three All-Stars, while the last-place Phillies also have three All-Stars.  Makes no sense to me either.

Snub-O-Meter Rating: 8 of 10

A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox

I understand the picks of Matt Wieters for his defense and Joe Mauer for his offense at American League catcher, but Pierzynski is having the best overall year of any catcher in the A.L.  Pierzynski knows he’s unliked and that it played a factor into him not making it.  If only the fans hadn’t voted in Mike Napoli he might have had a chance.

Snub-O-Meter Rating: 9 of 10

Josh Reddick, Athletics and Josh Willingham, Twins

I feel bad that these two get lumped together just cause of their first name, but oh well.  I thought Willingham was going to be Twins lone representative over Joe Mauer.  While Ryan Cook from the Athletics is deserving from the Oakland bullpen.  Here’s how it should’ve played out.  Pierzynski goes for Mauer, Willingham goes for Wieters, not sure why they need three catchers when two will suffice.  I can’t fault Mike Trout or Mark Trumbo going to the game over either of these two or the next player on this list.

Snub-O-Meter Rating:

Reddick: 4 of 10

Willingham: 6 of 10

Austin Jackson, Tigers

An injury probably cost Jackson his chance on the team, but he’s been no less deserving.  Jackson is top 5 in the American League in both batting average and on-base percentage.  He also plays a Gold Glove center field in spacious Comerica Park.  If a spot opens up, I could see Jackson being scooped up as a replacement.

Snub-O-Meter Rating: 6 of 10

Jason Kipnis, Indians

Ian Kinsler has been solid this season for the Rangers, but I thought there were enough already on the squad.  Kipnis has been a great power-speed combo for the Indians and I believed he would make his first appearance.  The players voted Kinsler and Kipnis’ teammate Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop instead.  Can’t really hate on that too much.

Snub-O-Meter Rating: 4 of 10

Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays

Encarnacion was on the ballot as a designated hitter, but he’s less of one than David Ortiz or Adam Dunn who made the team are.  Encarnacion could fill-in at third base or first base.  His credentials are pretty amazing too.  5th in slugging, 6th in OPS, 3rd in runs created, 5th in RBI, and 5th in home runs.  That sure sounds like an All-Star to me.

Snub-O-Meter Rating: 10 of 10

Who were your biggest snubs for the All-Star Game?  Let me know in the comments!

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

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