Thursday, July 30, 2009

One Down...Roy To Go!

Well, the Dodgers just pulled off part two of my World Series contention plan. According to, the boys in blue acquired lefty closer George Sherrill from the O’s for prospects Josh Bell (3B) and Steve Johnson (RHP).

Bell, LA’s #8 prospect according to Baseball America, was having a nice year at AA Chattanooga (.296-11-52 in 94 games) and projects as a power hitting corner man.

Sherrill would immediately become the 8th inning bridge to Broxton and gives the team another closer should Broxton need an occasional breather.

Git-R-Done Dodgers!

The Dodgers may still have the best record in baseball (tied with the Yanks at 62-39), but are they now the third best team in the National League? The Cards acquired Mark DeRosa, Julio Lugo, and Matt Holliday to give Albert Pujols some much needed offensive support. Yesterday, the Phillies went out and grabbed last year’s AL Cy Young winner from the Indians without giving up wither Kyle Drabek or JA Happ. The Dodgers must respond. The question is, how will they?

From my view, they need another starter and another strong arm in the back of the pen if they want to make a serious run at this thing. The Lee/Martinez rumors were intriguing, but not at the expense of dealing Billingsley or Kershaw. They need to add, not exchange.

St. Louis has Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, and Joel Pineiro.
Philadelphia has Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Joe Blanton / JA Happ.
LA has Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, and Randy Wolf.

Philly’s offense is every bit as potent as LA’s, and they added a front of the rotation starter. The Cardinals already have solid pitching, and they’re lineup is now much more formidable.

Word today from FOX Sports has the Dodgers in the running for Roy Halladay:
“Toronto officials have given Colletti a number of alternatives: smaller prospect packages headlined by left-hander Clayton Kershaw or right-hander Chad Billingsley, but not both; or a five-prospect package that doesn’t include either Kershaw or Billingsley.

The LA Times says:
“The Blue Jays have told the Dodgers they can get Halladay without trading anyone off their major league roster, for five or six prospects. The Dodgers have said no, arguing that would gut their minor league system.

Yeah, that makes sense. Last year was the first time the Dodgers were World Series relevant since 1988. Adding Roy Halladay guarantees the Dodgers nothing, but I’d really like their chances of holding off both the Cardinals and Phillies with Doc Halladay at the top of the rotation.
Follow that up with by trading for Baltimore's close, George Sherrill.

FOX Sports reports that:
“The Orioles are looking for a third baseman in return for Sherrill, sources said, and they are believed to prefer Josh Bell to Blake DeWitt.”

I’d work on Halladay first, obviously, and if Bell or DeWitt is still around, work something out with Baltimore. The Dodgers bullpen has been a strength, but Joe Torre has never been shy about overusing a reliever.

Closer Jonathan Broxton is still among the game’s top closers, but he needs help. Ronald Belisario should return mid-August to slot in front of Ramon Troncoso, but they still need more. Guillermo Mota has been hot lately, but how long will that last. I can’t stand the punk, and it would be just like him to crumble when needed most. Lefty Brent Leach is good for one batter a game, and Hong-Chih Kuo just returned to action for the first time since the end of April. Cory Wade and Will Ohman have been unreliable and injured, and rookie James McDonald is just unreliable.

I’m not for gutting the farm, but these guys are “prospects” for a reason. Look up “prospect” in the dictionary, and you’ll see the words chance, expectation, and potential. I’ll give up a few chances, an expectation, and some potential for one of, if not the best starter in baseball.

Remember how CC Sabathia fared in his NL stint with the Brewers?
17 starts
7 complete games
3 shutouts
11-2 record

Think Halladay wouldn’t improve upon his already dominant 11-4 record and 2.68 ERA with a move to the NL? Again, there are no guarantees with Halladay, but with the Dodgers’ World Series window being as wide open as it’s been in 20 years, now is the time to capitalize. Or they can just sit back, keep their prospects, and watch the Cardinals and Phillies slug it out with the AL for all the marbles.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bravo Buehrle!

A quick hats off to Mark Buehrle for throwing MLB’s 17th all time regular season perfect game. You like to see good things happen to good people, and Buehrle is one of baseball’s best. Congratulations! I'm glad I was able to watch the entire game today and witness (fairly) rare history.

Some eerie similarities between today’s perfect game and his ’07 no-hitter (courtesy of ESPN):
- Eric Cooper was the home plate ump for both games
- 2:03 was the duration for both games
- Buehrle faced 27 batters faced in both games

DeWayne Wise, the best late inning replacement in baseball history, made one of the most significant catches/plays in baseball history. Not only did the man make a catch in a full sprint to the wall, but he went up and took away a homerun AND secured it after a bobble and crash to the ground; tremendous dedication to preserving a perfect game in the 9th inning. Wise’s commitment to his team was evident by the 110% hustle he put into that play. Great job guys!

This is why we watch baseball!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Second Half MLB Predictions

At the halfway point, here are your current playoff teams:

Boston (East)
Detroit (Central)
Anaheim (West)
NY Yankees (Wild Card)

Philadelphia (East)
St. Louis (Central)
Los Angeles (West)
San Francisco (Wild Card)

What will change between now and the 4th of October? My thoughts:

East – Boston drops the division lead to the Yankees twice in the second half but the Sox come out on top in the end. The Rays’ pitching fizzles in the second half, and they’re not factors in the race. The Yankees take the wild card by a comfortable 5 game margin.

Central – For Detroit, I think Verlander can keep it up in the second half, but can Jackson maintain an ERA more than 2 runs less than his career number? Porcello’s already wearing down, and Galarraga’s been garbage. I have no confidence in that bullpen. I like Minnesota’s team, but I really like the White Sox to win this thing. They had a pretty poor offensive first half but got hot as of late. Quentin’s taking a little longer than expected to get healthy, but I’d like to think he’ll end up hitting a little higher than .229. They could use another starter, but Danks, Buehrle, Floyd, and a resurgent Contreras isn’t a bad first four. I like them to win a close race, by 2 games over the Twins in the end.

West – I’d love to give this to the Rangers, but I just can’t do it. Despite their offense, Millwood’s getting hit lately, and it’s hard to get behind guys like Tommy Hunter, Scott Feldman, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Dustin Nippert, and Vicente Padilla. The Angels are weathering an injured Hunter and a stick-a-fork-in-him Vlad. Weaver’s been sketchy the last month, and Saunders is the opposite of unhittable. Lackey’s still having trouble missing bats as well. The bridge to Fuentes is junk too. The Mariners are entertaining, but I don’t see them as much of a threat. Rumors have them dealing Washburn, Bedard, and/or Beltre, so are they considering themselves contenders? The A’s suck, so I guess I’ll give it to the Angels by default.

East – The Phils maintain their lead in the East for the entire second half, holding off a pesky Atlanta team. The Mets finish the season in a third place tie with the Marlins with 79 wins. Philly’s got Pedro now, and I think they’ll make a serious run at either Halladay or one of Seattle’s starters. Hamels should improve upon his 4.87 first half ERA, and I like Blanton to be a bright spot in the second half.

Central – The Cardinals finish with the second best record in the National League easily distancing themselves from the Cubs and Brewers in the final two weeks of the season. Carpenter and Wainwright are the game’s best 1-2 in the second half, and the underrated Pineiro continues to put up quality starts. Wellemeyer’s unreliable and Lohse is a question, so I wouldn’t rule out them making a move for another starter to slot in after the first three. Franklin’s lights out in the closer role. On offense, Pujols is the best player in the game, Rasmus looks like the NL’s ROY, and Ryan Ludwick seems to be getting it together. The Cubs are a mess, and I like watching them lose. I think Lilly’s numbers slide a bit in the second half, Dempster’s hurt, Zambrano’s mental, Wells is too good to be true, and Harden’s consistently erratic. I don’t think the Brewers will have the pitching to overtake the Cards, and the rest of the division is junk.

West – The Dodgers finish with the best record in baseball, winning the division by 9 games. I’d like another starter (Bedard) to go with Billingsley, Kershaw, Wolf, and Kuroda, and another bullpen arm (especially if Broxton misses time with the toe) would be nice. I’ll go with the Rockies as wild card winners over the Giants.

NL – Albert Pujols
AL – Justin Morneau

The NL vote isn’t even close as Pujols makes a serious run (but falls short) at a triple crown, but Morneau beats out Miguel Cabrera, Ichiro Suzuki, teammate Joe Mauer, and surprise 3rd place finisher, Carl Crawford in a close AL race.

Cy Young
NL – Tim Lincecum
AL – Josh Beckett

Haren and Tim Lincecum duel it out in the second half for the trophy, and Chris Carpenter and Josh Johnson finish up with award worthy years as well. I see Lincecum pulling off the back-to-back over Haren due largely to the fact that he’s on the better team and will have a better shot of getting to 20 wins. I don’t think Beckett will be the best pitcher in the second half, but I see him ending up with the most wins, helping him to the award. Verlander finishes second, Greinke third.

Rookie of the Year
NL – Colby Rasmus
AL – Matt Wieters

Rasmus wins over JA Happ, Jordan Zimmerman, and Dexter Fowler, and Wieters outperforms Ricky Romero, Gordon Beckham, Elvis Andrus, and teammates, Nolan Reimold and Brad Bergesen.

Red Sox beat Angels
Yankees beat White Sox
Red Sox beat Yankees

Dodgers beat Phillies
Cardinals beat Rockies
Dodgers beat Cardinals

World Series
Dodgers over Red Sox in 7

I think the Dodgers are a good enough team to withstand my KOD and have shown that losing one player, even their best offensive weapon, won’t slow them down. I’d really like to see them get Bedard which would give them two sick lefties (with Kershaw) behind Billingsley; not to mention Wolf and Kuroda. Bedard shouldn’t cost terribly much considering the lingering questions around his shoulder and the fact that he’ll be a free agent after the season.

The Cardinals worry me more than the Phillies, as Pujols can carry a team, and I love the 1-2 of Carpenter and Wainwright. I may have to reconsider things if Halladay ends up in Philly.