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Archive for July, 2009

Trade Deadline Deals, Roster Moves

July 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Here are the biggest trades that occurred today on trade deadline day:

-Tigers acquired Jarrod Washburn for Luke French and a minor-league pitcher

-Redsox acquired Victor Martinez for Justin Masterson, and two minor-league pitchers

-Redsox acquired Casey Kotchman for Adam LaRoche

-Twins acquired Orlando Cabrera for a minor-leaguer

-Reds acquired Scott Rolen for Edwin Encarnacion and a few minor-leaguers.

-Brewers acquired Claudio Vargas for Vinny Rotino

-Rockies acquired Joe Beimel for two minor-leaguers

-Marlins acquired Nick Johnson for a minor-leaguer

FROM YESTERDAY:

Late last night, the Dodgers acquired George Sherrill for two minor-leaguers.

YANKEES MOVES:

Saved this for last, but the Yankees made a few moves today, only one trade.

-Yankees acquired Jerry Hairston Jr. for minor-league catcher Chase Weems

-Yankees called up Shelley Duncan.

-Yankees will have two more moves to make to free up room for Duncan and Hairston Jr.

The Yankees did add to their infield/outfield depth with Hairston and the call-up of Duncan, which is always good. Duncan plays 1b/lf/rf, while Hairston plays 2b/3b/ss/lf/cf/rf.

I would expect the Yankees to DFA Cody Ransom and option out one of Mark Melancon or Jon Albaladejo. Also, they will probably transfer Xavier Nady to the 60 day DL.

ONE LAST PIECE OF NEWS:

Shocking news out of Chicago. The Whitesox have traded for Jake Peavy….again….pending his approval. The trade has Clayton Richard, Adam Russell, Aaron Poreda, and Dexter Carter for Peavy. Richard is scheduled to start tonight against the Yankees. I’d expect Peavy to approve it if they made the deal again. When the original deal was made, the Padres had a better record than the Whitesox.

MY ANALYSIS

My immediate analysis is that the Redsox came away as the big winners of the trade deadline. The Yankees also did well, filling a utility need, but they did not acquire the starting pitcher they needed.

Josh Anderson Traded to Royals and Other Related Notes

July 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Josh Anderson was traded to the Royals for cash considerations today. If the Yankees really did want him, I feel horrible for him. Goes from being a Brave to a Tiger to a ROYAL?

John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny were traded to the Cubs today.

Jarrod Washburn is apparently available and the Mariners originally asked for one of Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes. Once the Yankees balked at that, they will now look for a B-type prospect.

David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were two of the names in the infamous 2003 “list.” The reason this isn’t going to be all over my blog today is because-well-this isn’t news. Everyone knew Manny used steroids and everyone basically knew Ortiz did but he never admitted it or was caught. Don’t go quick to call their world series “tainted”, as I would have to agree with Peter Gammons on this one. He said since 1989 all world series can be viewed as “tainted” in one way or another.

-Shelley Duncan was not in the lineup for the 2nd game of a doubleheader for AAA Scranton and appears to be headed for Chicago.

Here are two very inspirational stories, one about baseball, one about football.

Joba Chamberlain is Dealing

July 30, 2009 3 comments

Joba Chamberlain pitched 8 innings tonight for the first time since June 1st against Cleveland. Chamberlain is now 7-2 with an ERA of 3.58 and only threw 49 pitches in his first 4 innings.

Other News:

-The Yankees made a trade today acquiring RHP Jason Hirsh from the Colorado Rockies. Hirsh made 17 starts for the 2007 NL Champion Rockies and was 6-7 with a 6.66 ERA in 20 appearances with Colorado Springs.

The Yankees are attempting to make a trade with the Tigers for recently demoted outfielder Josh Anderson.

-The Mariners traded for Ian Snell today, which means you can cross his name off the list of potential players the Yankees want to trade for. The Mariners also got Jack Wilson in the trade, which could paint them as buyers. If the Mariners are buyers, the Yankees cannot trade for Jarrod Washburn.

-The Yankees released Brett Tomko.

According to Peter Abraham, Joe Girardi hinted that Shelley Duncan may join the team tomorrow to give them another righty bat against the 3 lefty pitchers the Whitesox will use.

Wang to have Season-Ending Surgery

July 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Chien-Ming Wang met with Dr. James Andrews and came to the following conclusion: He will have season-ending surgery. This isn’t exactly the biggest setback, as Joe Girardi had already said that he thought Wang was out for the season. Still, surgery is never a word you want to hear. Hopefully Wang is back to form when he returns.

Categories: Chien-Ming Wang

Redsox Make Another Move…..What About the Yankees?

July 29, 2009 Leave a comment

The Redsox made another trade today, acquiring Brian Anderson of the Chicago Whitesox for Mark Kotsay.

While the Redsox are improving their depth the Yankees are sitting back and doing nothing. The Yankees NEED to make a trade for a backup OF now that Gardner is on the DL. The Yankees also need, in my opinion, two more capable MLB starters. I would like to see the Yankees trade for both Ian Snell and Jarrod Washburn. They definitely need at least one of the two.

Recent rumors saying Bronson Arroyo will soon be traded to the Yankees have been shot down by multiple people familiar with the dealings.

10 Questions with Scranton W/B Yankees Beat Writer Chad Jennings

July 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Chad Jennings is the beat writer for the Scranton W/B Yankees. He was kind enough to answer 10 questions for me. Here is the interview:

1. Out of all the players in AAA this year….who has impressed you the most? Who has dissapointed you the most?

Chad Jennings: Austin Jackson has probably impressed me the most. For a guy his age to hit like this in the International League is pretty amazing. He’s also a lot faster than I expected, and he uses his speed well on the bases and in the outfield. He’s terrific driving the ball to the opposite field. Kevin Russo, Shelley Duncan and Zach Kroenke deserve some honorable mention here. I guess there’s some disappointment in the way Doug Bernier and Justin Leone have struggled. Great guys, both of them, but the bat just hasn’t been there all season. Eric Duncan has really struggled, too.

2. Do you see Shelley Duncan as a capable MLB every day player, or just another AAAA player?

CJ: I absolutely see him as a capable MLB everyday player. I would love to see what would happen if a big league team stuck with him for a season. He would strikeout quite a bit, but he could be a 35 home run guy. And if he got himself locked in, he could be really valuable.

3. Can you give us some information on Zach Kroenke?

CJ: Lefty. Low 90s with his fastball. Mixes a slider and splitty, using both as an outpitch. He’s not a huge strikeout guy, but he doesn’t allow many hard-hit balls. And he comes from a major college program at Nebraska. There’s talent there, it’s just a question of how much the other pitchers in the system have him overshadowed.

4. The AAA Yankees got off to an 11-0 start this year and are currently the 2nd best team in the IL winning-percentage wise. Who would you attribute this to the most? The players? The manager?

CJ: I think there’s a lot to be said for this coaching staff. The Yankees have been one of the best teams in the league each of the three years they’ve been in Scranton, and that’s happened with constantly shuffling rosters. Dave Miley and Butch Wynegar really know what they’re doing and the pitching coaches the past three years — Dave Eiland, Rafael Chaves and Scott Aldred — have track records that speak for themselves. Aaron Ledesma has been a great addition this season. That staff has helped create a loose, easy going clubhouse. In the end, though, I think it falls on the players. These guys have largely bought into the idea of winning being important, even at this level, and I think that’s helped.

5. After seeing the whole Tony Bernazard and Binghamton Mets story play out and the Mets be repeatedly chastised for their lack of depth how do you feel the Yankees are at the same thing? Do you feel they have good enough depth in the system?

CJ: For the most part, yes. The Triple-A roster has long-term and short-term solutions in the infield, outfield and catcher. The relief depth is such that it’s been hard to get everyone innings. The starting pitching depth has dwindled considerably, but that’s only after a ton of injuries and just-for-now bullpen conversions. It’s deep enough to fill some holes.

6. How is the Redsox farm system this year?

CJ: I don’t really follow it too closely. I know Lars Anderson hasn’t been too good, but Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden and Daniel Bard are legit. Junichi Tazawa looks like a solid signing, as well.

7. Who would you say is the best prospect you’ve seen this year (Yankee or non-Yankee) and do you feel he has lived up to the hype?

CJ: I missed a lot of them. Didn’t get to see Gordon Beckham or Tommy Hanson or Andrew McCutchen. I did see Matt Wieters, and what struck me was his size and athleticism. He looks like an NFL tight end. He just looks like a better athlete than everyone else. I also thought Michael Bowden looked good against the Yankees. He’s really boosted his stock the past year or two.

8. Is Kei Igawa just another minor-leaguer?

CJ: Maybe. I think Kei can get big leaguers out, but when he makes a mistake, it gets crushed. And it’s tough to learn anything new from watching him pitch in Triple-A. He’s been good at this level for three years now. He seems to be better at keeping the ball down this year, but I have no idea if that will be enough to make a significant difference at the big league level. He’s had Triple-A success in the past but not been able to carry it to New York.

9. Give us a background on Austin Jackson?

CJ: It seems most people know that he was a terrific athlete in high school who turned down a basketball scholarship to Georgia Tech, but when Tyler Kepner wrote about him in the Times, Kepner wrote about the batting cage that was in Austin’s backyard as a kid. The idea of him as a terrific athlete who just happens to be playing baseball is false. He’s always been a baseball player, he was just too good of an athlete to focus on one sport in high school. He’s doing that now and he seems to be getting better and better. Plus, he’s a good guy. He seems to work hard and his teammates seem to really like and respect him. There’s been a lot of buzz about him this season, but Austin has handled it as well as possible.

10. Last question: Give us one story that you find interesting in your time covering the Scranton Yankees?

CJ: Hard to pick one. The first that comes to mind is a story I’m working on right now about Shelley Duncan’s personality. There’s a lot more depth to him than most people realize.

I liked writing about Cody Ransom this season, simply because I like it when long-time minor league guys get a real shot in the big leagues. Cody’s not an everyday player, but I think he’s fine in that utility role and I think there are a lot of guys like him who could play a role in the big leagues if given a shot. Dan Giese did it last year. Chris Coste during the Red Barons years. Nick Green’s doing it with Boston. I’ve also really enjoyed all the random big leaguers pulled out of obscurity — Edwar Ramirez and Alfredo Aceves especially — because we all spend a ton of time reading about “prospects” but there are always guys completely off the radar who can make a surprising run to the majors. Covering last year’s playoffs was fun because there were so many walk-off wins and tide-turning moments.

Thanks to Chad for answering the questions and also to Mike Ashmore for answering his questions!

10 Questions with Trenton Thunder Beat Writer Mike Ashmore

July 28, 2009 2 comments

In my first segment of 10 questions with, I ask 10 questions to Mike Ashmore, Trenton Thunder beat writer.

1. Out of all the players in AA this year….who has impressed you the
most? Who has dissapointed you the most?

Mike Ashmore: Impressed me the most is probably Ivan Nova or Josh Schmidt. Looking
at his previous numbers, I really wasn’t expecting a lot out of
Nova…and I thought his confidence might be shot from getting knocked
around in big league camp with the Padres. While I don’t think he was
as consistent as he would have liked to have been in Trenton, he did a
lot to improve his stock while he was here.

As for Schmidt, he isn’t a guy who will ever be considered a prospect,
despite the fact he’s always put up numbers. He’s the kind of guy a
lot of fans will ignore because they don’t read about him in the
prospect books and so on…but he’s been unflappable for most of the
season, performing better than the guys with supposedly better stuff.

2. Give us some background info on Josh Schmidt?

MA: Schmidt is a great guy, and it seems you won’t find anyone who will
tell you any different. It’s not uncommon to see him chatting away
with a fan, the grounds crew, a beat writer or anyone he can find.
His engaging personality is very similar to another Californian, Phil
Coke
. Throws a mid 80’s fastball, a so-so slider and an absolutely
devastating slow curve. I’ll be very, very curious to see how his
repetoire plays against Triple-A hitters…and I think that chance
will come soon.

3. Give us some info on Zach McAllister?

MA: Z-Mac isn’t really that exciting on or off the field. He’s a quiet
kid in the clubhouse, and doesn’t really blow anyone away on the
mound, nor does he have what you could describe as one standout
offering. But he really pounds the zone, has great command of his
stuff, and flat out knows how to pitch. He’s attracted the interest
of quite a few scouts who have passed through Waterfront Park…

4. If you had to pick one player on the Thunder that will have a long
and successful MLB career who would it be?

MA: It would be hard to bet against Jesus Montero right now. I’m not sure
if that career will come behind the plate, but his bat will take him a
long way.

5. After seeing the whole Tony Bernazard and Binghamton Mets story
play out and the Mets be repeatedly chastised for their lack of depth
how do you feel the Yankees are at the same thing? Do you feel they
have good enough depth in the system?

MA: No. They’ve had to dip into the minor league free agent pool and
independent baseball recently. And even with that, some of the
options to be called up aren’t exactly very appealing. It seems that
the position player depth is a bit behind the pitching depth…and
even the pitching depth doesn’t seem to be what it used to.

6. Give us some insight on Jesus Montero?

MA: Has a big body for a 19-year-old…he could stand to improve a bit
behind the plate, but he continually works to do so. It’s not
uncommon to see him working on blocking balls in the bullpen or in the
batting cage. He struggles a bit with offspeed stuff at the plate
sometimes, but overall…the bat is absolutely there. Seems to crush
line drives with the flick of the wrists.

7. Give us the best prospect you’ve seen (thunder or non-thunder) that
has impressed you the most?

MA: Assuming I’m sticking with guys I’ve seen just this year, both Tim
Alderson
and Junichi Tazawa (who is on the Redsox AA Affiliate) were both really impressive. Had I seen
Jeanmar Gomez’s perfect game, I’m sure I’d have included him here as
well.

8. Were you surprised when you saw Francisco Cervelli and Ramiro Pena
jump from AA to the MLB? Are there any current AA players that you
think can do the same any time soon?

MA: Cervelli didn’t surprise me because they really didn’t have a choice
with the way the 40-man roster was constructed. You can’t argue with
what he did while he was there, but considering the way he was playing
in Trenton, you could make a case that he didn’t exactly earn it,
either. Pena was a surprise just because of the role he was asked to
fill. All he ever really did in Trenton was play shortstop, and there
he was filling at third base for Alex Rodriguez. I was surprised at
how well he handled it.

As far as any of the current Thunder players being able to make the
jump…honestly, I’m not really sure anyone on the current roster is
ready for that right now. I’m sure there are guys who would perform
well if they were given the opportunity…but there isn’t anyone
standing out for me. Maybe Jorge Vazquez? His age and his bat would
make him a candidate.

9. When talking about the minor leagues we always seem to use the word
“potential.” The Yankees may promote Andrew Brackman despite his
horrific numbers in Charleston because of his potential. The Yankees
were so reluctant to promote Pat Venditte because they felt he didn’t
have much potential. I think Josh Schmidt would be a good case in AA.
Can you describe the effect potential has on minor leaguers compared
to actual success?

MA: I don’t know if it’s so much that they didn’t think Venditte had
potential as it was his stuff may not have compared favorably to other
guys in the organization. And a lot of it’s financially related as
well. Look at the investment they’ve made both financially and with a
roster spot they’ve made with Brackman. They have little choice but
to keep throwing him out there, regardless of how he does.

The guy with the better stuff, sometimes regardless of results, will
likely get a look before the guy who’s getting by with average stuff
but is putting up numbers. If you were doing things based off of
numbers, Josh Schmidt and Eric Wordekemper would be in Scranton right
now.

10. What is your favorite story that you’ve had with the Thunder?

MA: This season, probably the Thunder Burger Challenge…it was an
off-beat story and had nothing to do with baseball, which was nice
because I can kind of get tired of writing about it 24/7.

Overall, probably anything regarding last year’s championship. After
they won it on the road in 2007, it was nice to be able to be a part
of it last year and see them win it in front of the home fans.

Thanks again to Mike for answering the questions!