* Justin Upton talks heated up in the GM meetings, with conculded yesterday. The team we heard the most were the Boston Red Sox, but according to Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman, the Arizona Diamondbacks are looking for Daniel Bard and Jacoby Ellsbury. The Red Sox are unlikely to part with those two, when they can sign Jayson Werth for just money.
Other teams interested are the Yankees, Rockies, Padres, Dodgers and Rays.
* Derek Jeter was reportedly offered a 3 year $42 mm contract by the Yankees. If I were him, I would jump on that. But according to sources, Jeter is looking for at least a four year deal, and maybe up to six.
* The Tigers began talks with Adam Dunn yesterday, and even thought reports origanlly indicated they were deep into talks, they were just preliminary. The Tigers are also known to be targeting Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez and Manny Rameriz. It is possible they could sign Martinez and Dunn
The Rockies are interested in both Upton and Gavin Floyd and Kevin Millwood
Jonathan Papelbon is unlikely to be traded
Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Rays interested in Miguel Olivo
Orioles interested in De La Rosa
Josh Willingham getting trade interest
The Washington Nationals are a very interesting case. They have been in last place in the NL East every year since moving from Montreal, and this year was no exception. However, it feels like they are a better team, with a better future.
The obvious reason there is Stephen Strasburg, but now we may not see him again until 2013. Jordan Zimmermann has returned from Tommy John surgery, and the Nationals have a load of young players. Drew Storen, Danny Espinosa, Justin Maxwell, Ian Desmond, and Roger Bernadina. They also have a stacked farm system with almost ready top prospects. I get a feeling the Nationals are going to be good in the near future.
Let’s take a look at the pitching first. They have an OK staff, with Livan Hernandez, Zimmerman, John Lannan, Jason Marquis, and Scott Olson. Hernandez is a solid veteran pitcher, and had a good season in 2010 with a 3.66 ERA. Zimmermann struggled after returning, with a 4.94 earned run average, but he will return to form. John Lannan, the Nationals opening day starter for two straight seasons, fell off the face of the earth this year, and Washington even sent him down to double A at one point. Marquis had an absolutely terrible year, with a 6.60 ERA. I thought he might have been back in form when he had a good year with Colorado, but he just tanked it in Washington. Olsen is just bad. He is just a bad pitcher, I don’t have to say any more about him.
The closer for the Nationals is their first round pick from 2009, Drew Storen. He put up an ERA of 3.58 this season, with 52 strikeouts in 55 innings. Tyler Clippard, another young pitcher in the Nationals pen, put up a good season with a 3.07. Sean Burnett, who was acquired from Pittsburgh last season, had an ERA of 2.14. Miguel Batista put up a 3.70, and Doug Slaten a 3.10. That is a very good looking bullpen right there, and one of the reasons this team has a bright future.
Going into the season I had an eye on the Nationals offense. I was curious to see what they could do. We all know that they do have some offensive stars, like Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, and Ivan Rodriguez. But what other good offensive players do they have?
Ian Desmond had a good first season, hitting .269 with 10 home runs and 65 RBIs. The OBP of .308 is a little concerning. Danny Espinosa, 23 years old, became the starting second baseman after Christian Guzman was traded. He hit only .214 in 103 at bats, but he also have 6 home runs. Willie Harris did have only 224 at bats, but he had a horrendous year. he hit .183 with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs. Nyjer Morgan did not have a good season, hitting .253 with no home runs and 24 RBIs in 509 at bats. Mike Morse had a solid season, hitting .289 in 266 at bats with 15 home runs and an OBP of .352. Justin Maxwell had only 104 at bats, but hit only .144. Bernadia hit .246 in 414 at bats with 11 home runs.
Now let’s look at some more known offensive players. Adam Dunn did not reach his 40 home runs, but he hit 38. Dunn hit for a .260 average with 103 RBIs in a contract year. Ryan Zimmerman had another MVP like season that no one noticed, hitting .307 with 25 home runs and 85 RBIs. Ivan Rodriguez did not have a fantastic year with only 4 home runs, but he got the job done for Washington with 49 RBIs.
The Nationals have an interesting future, one I will be watching very closely. They can not be fixed overnight, but I believe they took a step forward this season.
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!
Thought #1: I love the offense. It is so deep at the bottom of the order. When you have JD Drew batting eighth, you are in good shape.
Thought #2: The Red Sox signed a guy named Boof. That can’t be a good thing.
Thought #3: I am exited about the personality on the team this year. Adding a guy like John Lackey is very helpfull for that. The team is too boring, with Ellsbury, Drew, Lester, etc. Now you have personalites like Pedroia, Ortiz, Papelbon, Lackey. They need that, I think.
Thought #4: The Washington Nationals will have a better record than the New York Mets. They have better pitching, other than Santana, but he’s injury prone anyways.
Thought #5: The Orioles will be out of the cellar this season. The Blue Jays will take their place.
Thought #6: Daniel Bard is changing his number from 60 to 51. I don’t get why. I can understand Ellsbury with 46 and 2, that is a drastic difference. But 51? Really? Is that any better than 60? Fun fact: The last Red Sox player to wear #51 was Enrique Gonzalez.
Thought #7: I like Tim Wakefield’s competitive attitude. He expects to start the season in the rotation, and we all know that’s not happening. But I love the competitvness.
Thought #8: I can not believe that Randy Winn is the starting LF for the Yankees.
Thought #9: It is kind of weird having Lackey, though. I always hated him when he was with the Angels. He was always an annoying loudmouth when it came to the Red Sox. And he nearly no-hit them, which is one of my worst fears. So it’s odd rooting for him, but I’m fine with it.
Thought #10: I can’t think of anything else, so go to BestBostonSports.com for Red Sox coverage all season! Spring Training game preveiws are already up!
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)
Here is a list of every MLB free agent signing to this point. You can also see this list at Soxtime.com. I will update this with every signing.
Name: Position Old Team Rumored teams: Signed with: $:
Erik Bedard SP Seattle Boston, Baltimore
Paul Byrd SP Boston None
Aroldis Chapman SP Cuba Boston, NYY
Jose Contreas SP Colorado Colorado
Doug Davis SP Arizona Milwakee
Justin Duchscher SP Oakland Oakland, Boston, CHC
Kelvim Escobar SP Anaheim Boston
Jon Garland SP Los Angeles Baltimore, Anaheim
Mike Hampton SP Houston Atlanta
Rich Harden SP CHC Boston, Seattle
Livan Herndandez SP Washington Washington
Randy Johnson SP San Fransisco None
John Lackey SP Anaheim Boston, Texas, Baltimore, Anaheim
Brandon Looper SP Milwakee Milwakee
Jason Marquis SP Colorado NYM
Pedro Martinez SP Philadelphia Philadelphia
Brett Myers SP Philadelphia NYY, Boston
Vincente Padilla SP Los Angeles Houston
Carl Pavano SP Minnesota Minnesota
Brad Penny SP San Fransisco San Fransisco
Andy Pettitte SP NYY NYY
Joel Pinero SP St. Louis St.Louis, Boston, Seattle
Ben Sheets SP Milwakee Boston, NYY, Texas
John Smoltz SP St.Louis St.Loius, Texas
Jarrod Washburn SP Detroit Seattle
Todd Wellemeyer SP St.Louis None
Randy Wolf SP Los Angeles LA, Texas, Atlanta
Here is every off-season transaction so far. I will update this for every transaction.
Traded Hunter Jones and Jose Alverez for Jeremy Hermida
Declined Alex Gonzalez’s option
Re-signed Tim Wakefield
Picked up Victor Martinez’s option
Declined Jason Varitek’s option
Signed Marco Scutaro
Re-signed Gabe Kapler
Traded Akonori Iwamora for Jessse Chavez
Picked up Carl Crawford’s option
Declined Gregg Zaun’s option
Declined Brian Shouse’s option
Traded for Kelly Shoppach
Aquired Jake Fox and Aaron Miles
Re-signed Bobby Abreu
Re-signed Geoff Blum
Declined Doug Brocial’s option
Claimed Jarret Hoffpauer off waivers
Claimed Sean Henn off waivers
Lost Joe Inglett to waivers
Signed Alex Gonzalez
Traded JJ Hardy for Carlos Gomez
Signed Greg Zaun
Signed Scott Procter
Extended Tim Hudson
Signed Billy Wagner
Signed Takashi Saito
Picked up Brandon Webb’s option
Declined Chad Tracey’s option
Declined Jon Garland’s option
Manny Rameriz picks up his player option
Re-signed Freddy Sanchez
Claimed Yusmiero Petitt off waivers
Extended Jack Wilson
Signed Chone Figgins
Traded Jeremy Hermida for Hunter Jones and Jose Alverez
Declined option on Ross Gload
Declined JJ Putz’s option
Claimed Doug Slaton off waivers
Declined option on Austin Kearns
Picked up Cliff Lee’s option
Decline Pedro Feliz’s option
Signed Placido Polonco
Traded Jesse Chavez for Akonori Iwamora
Released Jason Grilli
Claimed Joe Inglett off waivers
Re-signed Matt Belise and Randy Flores
Decline option on Yorvitt Torrealba
Decline option on Alan Embree
Traded Mark Teahen for Chris Getz and Josh Fields
Traded Carlos Gomez for JJ Hardy
Picked up Micheal Cuddeyer’s option
Traded Chris Getz and Josh Feilds for Mark Teahen
Declined Jermaine Dye’s option
Re-sgned Mark Kotsay