A busy last few days in baseball….
* The Red Sox traded Dustin Richardson to Florida for Andrew Miller. An interesting trade. Boston needs bullpen help and Richardson was supposed to be a candidate next season. However, Richardson did not have the greatest stint in Boston last year. The case with Miller is very different. Miller was the #6 overall pick in 2005 by Detroit, and traded to Florida for Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera. Boston likes to take chances on pitchers with potential, so maybe a diamond in the rough.
* Florida also traded Cameron Maybin to San Diego for two prospects. This may have been to make room for Mike Stanton long term in the outfield, and the fact Maybin really needed a change of scenery. I wonder how this affects a possible Adrian Gonzalez to Boston trade, as Jacoby Ellsbury was always rumored to be a centerpiece in that deal. With Maybin now, does that change the picture for San Diego?
* The Padres have been talking with the Brewers about prospect infielder Brett Lawrie. What is Milwaukee interested in that San Diego has? Probably not Gonzalez, seeing they already have Prince Fielder. You could also say Heath Bell, but Milwaukee seems comfortable with John Axford. Now you think of starting pitching. Who could the Padres give up for Lawrie. Clayton Richard? Keep your eyes on this.
* The Blue Jays are the favorites for Dan Uggla. First thought is why, seeing they have Aaron Hill. But then you think they may move him to third base as they consider non tendering Edwin Encarnacion. It would make sense for Toronto, but they would certainly have to give up some pitching, for Florida preferably bullpen. They’ve already acquired three young relievers this week, and Toronto has plenty of them. That would be an interesting infield for Toronto with Uggla, Yunel Escobar and Aaron Hill.
The Marlins are a team that have amazed us all year after year. A team who joined Major League Baseball in 1993, they have won the World Series two times, which is more than the Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals, Anaheim Angels, Kansas City Royals, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, and Seattle Mariners.
So how is a team that has won two World Series considered a low market? The worst attendance in baseball over the last five years. But the Marlins have done a terrific job drafting and developing, bringing up players such as Josh Beckett, Miguel Cabrera, Mark Kotsay and AJ Burnett.
The Marlins looked like they might contend early in the year, as they often do. But they fell late in the season, with not enough veterans or bullpen to get into October. Will the Marlins return to the Fall Classic soon? And if so, how?
The Marlins pitching was far from fantastic. They have Josh Johnson, one of the best pitchers in the game who was a Cy Young candidate throughout. And Anibal Sanchez, acquired from Boston along with Hanley Ramirez, was pretty good as well. But it falters from there.
Chris Volstad, Sean West and Andrew Miller all had ERAs well over 4.00, with Miller over 8.00. So that will be an obvious target for Florida to fix this offseason. A low market like Florida, they will not be in the race for Cliff Lee or anyone of that caliber. A few options for them may be Freddy Garcia, Todd Wellemeyer and Jeremy Bonderman.
The Marlins bullpen was good for the most part all season. They struggled to find a true closer after trading Matt Lindstrom to the Astros in the offseason. They found a closer in Clay Hensley, who had an ERA of just 2.16. The rest of the bullpen did their jobs, especially Leo Nunez and Brian Sanches. So the Marlins might like to improve here, but it is not a necessity.
The Marlins have one of the youngest and most talented outfields in baseball with Mike Stanton, Cameron Maybin and Logan Morrison. Morrison, a true first baseman, may return there soon but then Florida would have to move Gaby Sanchez, who they like a lot.
Stanton and Morrison were two of the top prospects, and they delivered. Stanton, only 20, showed incredible power all season, while Morrison showed the ability to hit for average. So the Marlins appear all set in the outfield, but the infield needs work.
The Marlins are set at first base after trading Jorge Cantu, but other positions are in question. They do not want to go with Wes Helms or Emilio Bonifacio at third base long term. They are happy with their shortstop Hanley Rameriz and second baseman Dan Uggla. Rumors always seem to surface around Uggla, but there appears to be no reason to trade him now.
As for the third base situation, there are not many options for Florida. They would love Adrian Beltre, but they might not have the budget for him. Ty Wigginton would be an option, but he just came through with a big year for Baltimore so they may be unable to afford him.
As you can see, the Marlins have some work to do but some bright areas as well. So can the Marlins contend in the coming years? They may have the pieces to.
Here is this week’s league leaders in Total Bases :
1. Vernon Welss- Toronto- 47
2. Nelson Cruz-Texas- 41
2. Matt Kemp-Los Angeles- 41
4. Jose Gullien-Kansas City- 40
5. Albert Pujols-St.Louis- 39
5. Dustin Pedroia- Boston- 39
7. Alex Gonzalez-Toronto-38
7. Chase Utley-Philadelphia-38
9. Casey McGee-Milwakee-36
10. Jorge Cantu-Florida- 35
I made my before-Spring Training predictions, here are my Opening Day Season predictions. Plus, check out the player to watch feature which gives you a player to watch on each team during the reaguler season.
AL East Player to watch:
Boston Red Sox (Jacoby Ellsbury)
New York Yankees (Marcus Thames)
Tampa Bay Rays (Ben Zobrist)
Baltimore Orioles (Nolan Reimold)
Toronto Blue Jays (Adam Lind)
Minnesota Twins (Orlando Hudson)
Chicago White Sox (Jake Peavy)
Kansas City Royals (Rick Ankeil)
Detroit Tigers (Austin Jackson)
Cleveland Indians (Micheal Brantly)
Seattle Mariners (Chone Figgins)
Anaheim Angels (Kendry Morales)
Texas Rangers (Neftali Feliz)
Oakland Athletics (Brett Anderson)
Philadelphia Phillies (Jayson Werth)
Atlanta Braves (Jason Heyward)
Florida Marlins (Mike Stanton)
Washington Nationals (Nyjer Morgan)
New York Mets (Kiko Calero)
St.Louis Cardinals (Colby Rasmus)
Chicago Cubs (Randy Wells)
Cincinatti Reds (Aroldis Chapman)
Milwakee Brewers (Alcades Escobar)
Houston Astros (Hunter Pence)
Pittsburgh Pirates (Garrett Jones)
Colorado Rockies (Jason Hammel)
Los Angeles Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw)
San Fransisco Giants (Madison Bumgarner)
Arizona D-backs (Justin Upton)
San Diego Padres (Clayton Richard)
1. Evan Longoria
2. Joe Mauer
3. Kendry Morales
1. Albert Pujols
2. Chase Utley
3. Ryan Braun
AL Cy Young
1. Jon Lester
2. Cliff Lee
3. Zack Greinke
NL Cy Young
1. Roy Halladay
2. Chris Carpenter
3. Tim Lincecum
1. Brain Matusz
2. Austin Jackson
3. Desmond Jennings
1. Jason Heyward
2. Mike Stanton
3. Madison Bumgarner
1. Don Wakamtsu
2. Ron Gardenhire
3. Joe Maddon
1. Bobby Cox
2. Tony LaRusa
3. Freddi Gonzalez
AL Comeback Player
NL Comeback Player
Those are my predicitions. My Internationl League predictions will be sometime next week.
Over the last three days, I have been to
three different Spring Training games in three different
ballparks. I was in Ft. Myers to see Red Sox-Twins, than at
City of Palms Park, also in Ft. Myers for Red Sox-Orioles. I
capped it off today with Red Sox-Astros. The Red Sox won the
first game, with Ryne Miller getting the start over Josh
Beckett, who was ill. Miller got rocked pretty hard. But, he
is just a single-A player. Aaron Bates, my player to watch
this spring, (Last year it was Jeff Bailey) doubled and
scored in the game. I pick a player every spring to watch,
this year it’s Bates and Josh Reddick. Reddick homered in the
home game vs the Orioles. Tim Wakefield pitched that game,
and was pretty shaky. David Ortiz also homered. Mike Lowell
made his spring debut, to an aplauding crowd. Rumor says that
Marlins scouts where in the crowd to watch the newly
converted first baseman. Today in Kissimee, the Red Sox lost
3-0 to the Astors and Roy Oswalt. Jon Lester pitched for
Boston, and looked good. The only negitive of his outing was
a run scoring on a wild pitch. Bates came up as the tying rin
in the ninth vs Wesley Wright, but grounded out to shortstop.
My next game is in Bradenton on Friday to see the Red Sox
play the Pirates.
Last year I went to roughly 15 spring games. I’ll go to about the same amount this year, I’ve seen Ft.Lauderdale, where the Orioles used to play. Ft.Myers, home of the Red Sox. Bradenton, where the Pirates play. Orlando, with the Braves. In Viera beach for the Nats. Lakeland, home of the Tigers. I’ve seen the Cardinals and Marlins in Jupiter. And Pt.Charlotte for the Rays. This year I will go to games in Ft.Myers(Red Sox and Twins) Pt.Charlotte(Rays), Dunedin(Jays), Kissimmee(Astros), Bradenton(Pirates) and Sarasota(Orioles). My first game is this Friday at Twins. It’s the first time I’ve seen that park. After this year the only parks I won’t have seen in the grapefruit league are the Yankees, Mets, and Phillies. I am right behind the Red Sox dugout for most games. Best seats I;ve ever had at any sporting event. I hope to get some player autographs. Last year I got Joe Maddon in Ft.Myers, and Cesar Cedeno in Viera.
I will see Lester/Wakefield Friday, and I’ll see Buchholz Sunday in Sarasota. I really want to see Kelly pitch this year. That would be so awesome! Anyways, I love spring training games. It gets you so pumped for the reaguler season. Go Red Sox! Remember to ask questions on the mailbag! I’ll post any pictures I get here at the blog! I had some I wanted to put here, but the computer is not coroperating!
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
New York Mets
San Fransisco Giants
San Diego Padres
AL MVP Top 3:
Evan Longoria- Rays
Joe Mauer- Twins
Kendry Morales- Angels
Red Sox MVP:
AL Cy Young Top 3:
Jon Lester- Red Sox
Zack Greinke- Royals
Cliff Lee- Mariners
Red Sox Cy Young:
NL MVP Top 3:
Albert Pujols- Cardinals
Jayson Werth- Phillies
Ryan Braun- Brwers
NL CY Youn Top 3:
Josh Johnson- Marlins
Tim Lincecum- Giants
Carlos Zambrano- Cubs
Desmond Jennings- Rays
Jason Heyward- Braves
The Baltimore Orioles will compete with the Rays for the #3 spot in the AL East
The Royals will have a record around .500
Mike Cameron will hit 25 HRs
The Reds will finish over .500
The Blue Jays will have the second worst record in baseball, ahead of only the Mets
I will be right about at least one thing here(I told you, bold predictions)