Tagged: Dice-K

Hello Offseason: Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers truly had a bad year. They were projected by most to win the division, and they just had some terrible slumps to prevent them from doing that.

Their issue was pitching, like it is with most teams. They got Ted Lilly to help with their staff, and then signed him to a three year extension. It was a good move for a team that is having trouble making any moves at all with their ownership situation.

Lilly was good for LA, Having a 3.51 ERA in 12 games along with a 0.99 WHIP. So that is a deal the Dodgers do not regret. In fact, most of the rotation was pretty good for Los Angeles, with Chad Billingsly, Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Monasterios, and Hiroki Kuroda. All five pitchers had a sub-5.00 ERA, the highest being Monasterios with a 4.38.

The Dodgers bullpen wasn’t what they hoped for, with good seasons out of only Hong-Chih Kuo and Kenley Jansen. Jonathan Broxton and George Sherill, two former closers, had Earned Run Averages over 4.00, with Sherill’s over six.

So a lot of the blame for that falls on Sherill and Jeff Weaver, who had similar numbers as the long relief arm.

In the infield, James Loney was a disappointment, and is a possible non-tender candidate. He hit only .267 with 10 home runs and 88 RBIs. LA does not have a surplus on first baseman, but they may non tender him and just resign him after for less money.

Ryan Theriot did a pretty good job coming over from Chicago, hitting .270 with 20 stolen bases. Theriot may not always be an everyday player, but he certainly gets the job done. Rafael Furcal had a quietly good year, hitting .300 right on the button. He alos had an On Base Percentage of .366 and a .826 OPS.

Casey Blake probably was not as good as expected, hitting .248. But he did 17 home runs over at third base, and he is 37 now, so who knows what his future in Los Angeles is?

Rod Barajas was solid at catcher when he came over from New York, hitting .297 with five homers in LA. He filled in very well when Russel Martin went out in August with the torn laburem.

In the outfield, the Dodgers did have Manny Ramirez, but he went to the DL three times before being traded to the White Sox. So instead, they called up Xavier Paul who did pretty much nothing.

In the other outfields were Andre Eithier and Matt Kemp. Kemp had a down year batting average wise, but still hit 28 home runs. Eithier had another great season, hitting .300.

Is this Dodgers team going to look the same in March? Probably not. There are already rumors of them moving Eithier and Kemp. Kemp for being a distraction as of late, and Eithier because of the whole ownership situation. There were rumors of them trading for Daisuke Matsuzaka of Boston, but Seattle is now interested too so it will be interesting to see if they get him.

All in all, the Dodgers probably could make the playoffs next year, but they do have some work to do.

Hello Offseason: Seattle Mariners

Yesterday we took a look at the Pittsburgh Pirates, now it is time to look at Seattle.

The Mariners were predicted by most people to win the American League West this season, because of their off-season additions. They added Cliff Lee in the trade with the Phillies, signed Chone Figgins, and acquired Brandon League for Brandon Morrow. They were projected to be one of the best defensive and pitching teams in the league.

…..That was not really the case. The Mariners finished 10th in the American League in fielding, only Boston, Kansas City, Cleveland and Anaheim behind them. Figgins had 19 errors, primarily at second base. Josh Wilson had 20, playing shortstop and third base. Jose Lopez made 18 at third base. So that must be the primary concern for the Mariners, right?

No. Have you seen their hitting stats? They finished worst in the American League in runs scored and batting average. And can you see why? Their cleanup hitter, Lopez, hit .239 with three home runs! Their first baseman, Casey Kotchman, hit .217 with nine home runs. Other than Ichiro Suzuki, who hit .315, their highest batting average was .259, by Figgins.

The Mariners will probably look at a first baseman next season. They have Justin Smoak, but he hit only .213 on the season, in both Texas and Seattle. They have Russel Branyan, but despite the twenty five home runs, he hit only .237. And do not be surprised to see Kotchman be non-tendered.

The rest of the infield does not look so pretty. They still have Figgins locked up another four years, and they are stuck with Jose Lopez and Josh Wilson. There is not too much infield depth after that, with Chris Woodward, Matt Tuiasosopoo, and Mark Mangini. I gave you the stats on Lopez, Figgins, and Wilson. The other three? Woodward hit.158, Tuiasosopoo .173, and Mangini .211. So that infield is not looking sharp heading into 2011. They might pick up a guy like Mark Ellis or Bill Hall to backup the infield and solidify some depth.

Now the outfield, which has some promise. Of course you have Ichiro, but what else? The Mariners are very high on left fielder Micheal Saunders. Saunders hit only .211 when he was up this year, with ten home runs. But it was his first year, and he is a top prospect of Seattle. He was ranked as their third prospect going into the season.

Their center fielder, Franklin Gutierrez, is an interesting case in himself. Gutierrez was acquired from Cleveland before the 2009 season. He did not hit for a high average in Cleveland, but he looked like a promising young player. When he was traded to Seattle, he had a career year, hitting .283 with 18 home runs and 16 stolen bases. Seattle had thought they had something in Gutierrez. This season, he hit .245 with 12 home runs. At age 27, in his fifth year, it’s time to say he is what he is.

The Mariners had yet another problem this season, and that is pitching. Many people,myself included, were calling Seattle the best pitching staff in the league because they had Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee. Hernandez had a terrific year, putting up Cy Young numbers with a 2.27 ERA to lead the American League. His WHIP is 1.06. Cliff Lee had himself a good season too…. Just not all in Seattle.

When Seattle knew they had no shot in mid July, they traded Lee to the New York Yankees. The deal was done all but the paperwork, and Seattle was getting Jesus Montero, one of the best prospects in the game. But Texas jumped in at the last second, and offered Justin Smoak, their top prospect. Seattle ripped up their deal with New York, and sent Lee off to Texas, who won their division.

The rest of their rotation served a problem. Ryan Rowland-Smith, who they considered a promising young player, put up an ERA of 6.35 in 27 games. He will most certainly be non-tendered. Luke French, who Seattle acquired from Detroit for Jarrod Washburn, posted a 4.83 ERA. Jason Vargas, who was acquired from the Mets, had a decent year, with a respectable ERA of 3.83. His career best before that was 4.03 with Florida in 2005. Doug Fister’s ERA soared to 4.11, after leading the American League in ERA for around three months. The last pitcher on the Mariner’s staff was David Pauly, with a 4.07. So that pitching and defense thing? Yeah… That didn’t really work.

The bullpen was not much better. David Aardsma, who was Seattle’s closer last season, five blown saves and an ERA of 3.44. Brandon League had a good year, with an ERA of 3.42 13 holds. He did, however, have six blown saves. Garret Olson, who was acquired from Baltimore, had an Earned Run Average of 4.54 with a WHIP of 1.51. Sean White had an ERA north of five. Two young pitchers who had okay years in the M’s pen were Jamey Wright and Brian Sweeny.

So, what do the Mariners have to fix? Not much, just the bullpen, rotation, hitting and defense. That’s all. Some players Seattle may target in the offseason, trade or free agency, are Daisuke Matsuzaka, Juan Uribie, or Cody Ross

 

Evaluation

This is a full evaluation of the 2010 Red Sox roster as it stands now. I will look at the lineup, defense, pitching, bench, bullpen, and minor leagues, and try to prove to you complainers that this is a good team.

Lineup: I really like the lineup. I’m not trying to be an optimist, I really like the lineup. I love the combination of speed and power. The bottom of the lineup impresses me with Drew-Cameron-Scutaro. I feel speed is going to come from Jacoby Ellsbury (duh) and Scutaro. Cameron can steal a few as can Pedroia. Don’t even say Drew, I believe he was 2-for-8 in the SB catagory.

On the power side, you got Ortiz, Youk, Beltre, Cameron, Drew, and Victor. Each one of them will hit from 15-30 HRs, maybe more for Beltre or Cameron at Fenway. I feel a big year coming from Youk, I really do.He was hurt a lot of last year, and I think it really affected him. The suspension did not help either.

I also liked the way the lineup is built. I thought last year Pedroia struggled leadoff beacuse he missed the presence of Jacoby Ellsbury. Since he is a base stealer, pitchers are going to throw more fastballs to the next batter in an attempt to pick him off. A fastball gets to the plate fatser, and the catcher can gun it down to second faster. I hope Francona keeps Ellsbury in the lead-off spot, that is where he is supposed to be.

More about the lineup, I would like to see JD Drew bat eighth and Cameron bat seventh. Mostly beacuse it strenghens the bottom of the lineup. Here is the lineup I would like to see:

Ellsbury

Pedroia

Victor

Youk

Ortiz

Beltre

Cameron

Drew

Scutaro.

Pitching: No one can deny this staff. Even if I am wrong and the lineup does suck, the pitching will keep you in games. Defense wins(Look how far the Jets got!). Offense is nice, but defense and pitching is more important(Unless you have Teixeira. And A-rod. And Jeter. And Granderson…..). This is no doubt about it the best staff in the game. You can say Seattle with Cliff Lee and King Felix, and I’ll give you that as the top 1-2 punch in baseball. But Lester. Beckett. Lackey. Dice-k. Buchholz. Wake. They have so much depth! I know this happened last year, and everyone got hurt to the point we needed Paul Byrd, and at least two or three of those guys are going to have to stay healthy. Ok, Lackey, out a month. Fine, Lester and Beckett. Lester out a few weeks? That’s ok, Dice-k/Wake/Buchholz might be pitching good, and Lackey might be back soon. Just theories here.

And either way, I expect some sort of reclamation/Theo Epstein projects like an Erik Bedard or Ben Sheets coming.(John Smoltz!)

Every game we are going to get a six-to-seven inning perfomrance or a quality start. Yes, Lackey has had injury problems. So has Beckett, and Dice-k, and every other pitcher in baseball. You learn to deal with it.

Defense: Joe Maddon called Adrain Beltre the best defensive player he has ever seen, and Maddon knows a damn lot about baseball. He took that team to the world series, and I think we all know who that team is. I don’t get to watch Beltre often, as he played for Seattle, but I’ll take Joe’s word for it. So on the right side of your infeild you got “The best defensive player ever” (I thought that was Darrelle Revis?) and Marco Scutaro, who should have gotten the AL gold glove for shortstop. Then on the left side you have two gold glove winners in Pedroia and Youk. In the outfield is Ellsbury, Cameron, and Drew. Pretty sick. Tell me a better defensive outfield? I think the only team that is in the same class is KC(Gasp!) with Ankeil, Posednik, and DeJesus. Fast outfield. Anyways, we have a good defense basicly beacuse Theo could not find another excuse to have a lackluster offense.

Bench: Solid bench. You got Jeremy Hermida, Bill Hall, V-Tek, and either a guy like Josh Reddick, Angel Sanchez, Gil Velezquez, or Aaron Bates. That is, unless another Nick Green type magicaly appears again. Hermida is a decent offensive player. He has some wheels and could be a good pinch running guy. He has a little pop. He was a Marlins top prospect for a while but has not really panned ouy yet. Theo was just taking a chance on some player with potential. Hall is what he is. Good defensivly(Shocker) with no bat. You all know about V-Tek. Can’t hit in the second half. look for V-Tek to have a somewhat of a bounce-back year in a limited role. He has hit well in the first half the last two years. And he may have to be Beckett’s personal catcher.

Bullpen: Who is in this bullpen? Papelbon, Bard, Oki, Delcarmen, Rameriz, the other Rameriz, Shouse, Atchison, Dustin Richardson, Fernando Cabrera, Boof. Meh. I like the top three. That’s about it. I wanted to see the Sox go out and sign either Darren Oliver or Mike Gonzalez, but that never happened. I kinda like Richardson. He dominated the AFL this season. Strikeout lefty. Casey Kelly could be up this year, but I doubt he would be ready to contribute. Shouse is no good. I have no clue who Atchison is. Rameriz is what he is. Delcarmen sucks. I never thought Boof was anything. So yeah, maybe improve the pen a bit. And when I say improve I do not mean Mike Timlin, who is looking for a major league job still.

Triple A: The Pawsox may have better players than last year, where they where awful. The Pawsox finished in fourth in their divison and offered no real MLB ready players. That should change this year, as a lot of prospects shoukd be ready for triple A. Here are some: Micheal Bowdon, Angel Sanchez, Gil Velezquez, Josh Reddick, Travis Denker, Josh Reddick, Lars Anderson, Aaron Bates, Ramon A. Rameriz, Bubba Bell, Darnelle MacDonald, Jeff Natle, Mark Wagner, Zach Daeges, Randor Beird, TJ Large, Kason Gabbard. Decent triple A roster. Bowdon has seen the big leagues, I honestly don’t think he is anything special. Sanchez is a terrific defensive player. Velezquez is the last minute, desprate, there is absolutly no one else in the world who can help, utility player. I like Reddick, but he’s not major league ready. Denker is a career minor leaguer. Lars is the second most overrated prospect in the system to Bowdon. I have a stupid man-crush on Aaron Bates although he hit around the medoza line in triple A last year. I don’t know anything about the other Rameriz, Bubba Bell did well in triple A last year. MacDonald can run, but that’s it. Natle is a 1B-DH type. Wagner is a catcher who should be on the MLB roster beacuse he can throw out base runners. The only thing I know about Daeges is he killed the ball in Spring Training and I never heard of him again. We got Beird for David Pauly, enough said there. TJ Large had an ERA over 6.00 last year, and Gabbard saved us from trading Lester to Texas for Eric Gagne.

Lower-leval prospects: You probally know most of the names. Jose Iglesias, Casey Kelly, Alex Wilson, Reymond Fuentes, Ryan Westmorland, Ryan Kalish, and Dustin Richardson. Some of these guys may be September callups, the most likley being Kalish. I feel these are the players to watch in the minor leagues next year. Alex Wilson is not really known like Kelly or Kalish, but I feel he has a bright future in the majors. He is a righty, and was the Red sox second round pick last year. He is often compared to AL rookie of the eyar Andrew Bailey. His one down swing, he had tommy John surgery two years ago. Has a hard fastball and his out-pitch is his slider. He spent last year with Lowell and I would be surprised to see him with Salem or Greenville next year.

 

My Red Sox Offseason Predictions and Wishes

 As my readers may know, I get rather mad when the Red Sox don’t spend their money. And this will come up again when the fail to sign Jason Bay to the New York Yankees. Yes, the Yankees. I know many people say that the Yankeeshave no interest, but I do not belive that for one second. They had no interest in Mark Teixeira either, huh? But Jason Bay will be the Opening Day starting LF for the Yankees while the Red Sox will have Jeremy Hermida or Josh Reddick. And they are the Boston Red Sox, second richest team in baseball, with Jeremy Hermida as the starting LF. Sad, ain’t it?

Why didn’t the Red Sox just keep Alex Gonzalez? I know he would be making $6mm, but your the Red Sox! Keep Gonzo for one year then call up a guy like Jose Igleasias. Just keep Gonzalez for the year, and you are solidifyed at the SS position. Sure, he dosen’t hit much, but if you have Jason Bay, that’s not a problem. Oh wait…. They should have just got Micheal Young anways, Theo Epstein.

 Ok, the pitching looks good with a top four of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Clay Buchholz. But I tell you, I would really, really like to have Felix Hernandez on this team. A lot. But I know it will never happen, beacuse Theo Epstein does not want to give up his unproven minor leaguers for an ace in Feliz Hernandez. That makes perfect sense. I’ll end the sarcasm here.

 Adrian Gonzalez is not happening, people. Period. It’s just not. Theo won’t give up his single A players first off, and having Jed Hoyer as GM of San Diego will not help things. He’s looking to turn around that franchise, and that starts with locking up Gonzalez.

 Ok Red Sox fans that are hoping to get rid of JD Drew. Sorry. According to his contract that gives him $14mm a year, if he injures his right shoulder that places him on the DL for 35 days or he ends the 2010 season on the DL and cannot play the outfield in the 2011 season, the Red Sox can buy out of his contract. Not happening, ever. But with Drew, you never know, you can only hope.

 

Discussion of the week- What will the Red Sox pitching staff look like in 2010?

 There are rumors of Jonathan Papelbon being traded, Takashi Saito’s option was declined, Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen may not be around next year, Billy Wagner is also a free agent.

 And thats just the bullpen.

 We know Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and Daisuke Matsuzaka will be back next year. Will the Red Sox be interested in Felix Hernandez and Roy Halladay? Will Clay Bucholz be that big trade chip? Will they pick up a player like Rich Harden, Ben Sheets, or Mark Mudler? Will Tim Wakefield be back?

 Write your opinion in comments.

 You can see more of my work at Soxtime.com.