Posted on: March 1, 2012 10:33 pm
By Matt Snyder
All of a sudden, in just one offseason, the Miami Marlins have undergone a complete makeover. They have a new name, logo and stadium. New, more colorful uniforms are part of the deal as well. Still, that's all window-dressing if the on-field product resembles the 72-90 one from 2011. And it doesn't. Not only did the Marlins bring in three highly-coveted and high-priced free agents, but they traded for fiery Carlos Zambrano and brought in one of the most outspoken -- and, at times, effective -- managers in baseball. How Ozzie Guillen's new-look troops fare in the 2012 season remains to be seen, but two things are certain: More people will be in attendance to find out and it's not going to be boring.
Major additions: SS Jose Reyes, LHP Mark Buehrle, RHP Carlos Zambrano, RHP Heath Bell, LHP Wade LeBlanc
Major departures: RHP Javier Vazquez, C John Baker, RHP Burke Badenhop, RHP Chris Volstad
1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Emilio Bonifacio, CF
3. Hanley Ramirez, 3B
4. Giancarlo Stanton, RF (a.k.a. Mike Stanton)
5. Logan Morrison, LF
6. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
7. John Buck, C
8. Omar Infante, 2B
1. Josh Johnson
2. Mark Buehrle
3. Anibal Sanchez
4. Ricky Nolasco
5. Carlos Zambrano
Wade LeBlanc is the injury replacement.
Closer: Heath Bell
Set-up: Edward Mujica, Mike Dunn
Important bench players
C Brett Hayes, IF Greg Dobbs, OF Scott Cousins, OF Bryan Petersen
Prospect to watch
For this year, there really aren't many guys on the radar ready to jump in and immediately help. Third base prospect Matt Dominguez is in Triple-A, but he's now blocked by one of the team leaders in Hanley Ramirez. All the other highly-ranked Marlins prospects are in the lower-levels of the minors. So we'll go with Dominguez here for this reason: Should he have a big first three months in Triple-A while the Marlins are in the thick of the pennant race, he makes for good trade bait at the deadline. Maybe they could use him to upgrade the bridge to Heath Bell or even as part of a package to landing a really good center fielder.
Fantasy breakout: Logan Morrison
"Morrison's track record suggests both his walk rate and BABIP should rebound, and in fact, his .268 BABIP from a year ago looks like the result of some horrendously bad luck. He is a strong bet to improve on his OBP and, at worst, maintain the home run power he displayed in 2011. Add in some improvement and subtract out his minor league demotion and DL time from last season, and Morrison suddenly profiles as a No. 3 mixed league OF." - Al Melchior [Full Marlins team fantasy preview]
Fantasy bounce-back: Hanley Ramirez
"Ramirez had a miserable first half last season, and just when he started to get untracked, he suffered a shoulder injury that led to season-ending surgery. As the season progressed, Ramirez adjusted and started hitting more line drives and flyballs, and his batting average and power numbers rose accordingly. Even though his overall stats were pale compared to his norms, a good sign for Ramirez was that his home run per flyball rate was not much lower than usual." - Al Melchior [Full Marlins team fantasy preview]
Everyone behaves, Ramirez and Johnson stay healthy and have big seasons while the youngsters (Stanton, Morrison) develop into stars. Especially now that there are two wild cards, the Marlins have a great shot at the playoffs with this group. And once you get there, anything can happen, so I'd say an optimistic outlook has them winning the third World Series in franchise history. If you look at the upside in the offense and rotation in particular, it's hard to argue against a best-case scenario being a championship. Then again ...
Utter disaster. The club doesn't respond to Guillen, Johnson injures his arm again, Zambrano melts down, Morrison quibbles with management over Twitter, Ramirez starts slow and demands a trade due to wanting to play shortstop again ... you get it. I can't think of another club with such high-peak and low-valley potential entering the 2012 season. This group of personalities could be the new Bronx Zoo champion or a catastrophic mix on the field that finishes last. Almost literally, anything could happen. As I said in the intro, it certainly won't be boring. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the show.
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Tags: 2012 spring training, Anibal Sanchez, Brett Hayes, Bryan Petersen, Carlos Zambrano, Edward Mujica, Emilio Bonifacio, Gaby Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Greg Dobbs, Hanley Ramirez, Heath Bell, John Buck, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Logan Morrison, Mark Buehrle, Marlins, Matt Dominguez, Matt Snyder, Mike Dunn, Mike Stanton, NL East, Omar Infante, Ozzie Guillen, Ricky Nolasco, Scott Cousins, spring training, spring training 2012, Wade LeBlanc
Posted on: January 3, 2012 7:22 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Dobbs, 33, hit .275/.311/.389 with eight home runs and 49 RBI in 134 games and 439 plate appearances for the Marlins in 2011. A left-handed batter, Dobbs started 84 games for the Marlins at third base last season, another six in the outfield, three at first base and two as the DH. The Marlins should have a new third baseman in Hanley Ramirez, but Dobbs' experience makes him a valuable bench piece for Miami.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 11:54 am
Edited on: November 28, 2011 4:43 pm
By Matt Snyder
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule of this feature, click here.
The Seattle Mariners have finished last place in the AL West six of the past eight seasons. Would things have been different if management had done a better job of keeping the right organizational pieces? In a word: Yes. Check this out ...
1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
4. David Ortiz, DH
5. Adam Jones, CF
6. Shin-Soo Choo, LF
7. Dustin Ackley, 2B
8. Raul Ibanez, 1B
9. Jason Varitek, C
1. Felix Hernandez
2. Michael Pineda
3. Doug Fister
4. Brandon Morrow
5. Joel Pineiro
Closer - J.J. Putz
Set up - Rafael Soriano, Matt Thornton, Eric O'Flaherty, Brian Fuentes, Damaso Marte, George Sherrill
Long - Derek Lowe
Notable Bench Players
Adam Moore, Greg Dobbs, Bryan LaHair, Luis Valbuena, Jose Lopez, Yuniesky Betancourt, Willie Bloomquist, Michael Saunders, Carlos Peguero
Almost everything. The lineup is solid, the starting rotation is very good, the bullpen is great and there is some bench depth. There are superstars like King Felix and A-Rod with up-and-comers like Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Pineda. And 2011 first-rounder Danny Hultzen (starting pitcher) will soon be added to the mix.
Age in some areas. A-Rod, Ortiz, Ichiro and Ibanez are all in different levels of decline, but there's no doubt they're all certainly in decline. Catcher is also a problem, as we're left deciding between a has-been (Varitek) and a possible never-will-be (Moore). Pick your poison there.
As for the lineup, I tried to figure out how to best work it. Maybe swap Jones and A-Rod spots? I'd be OK with that, considering the seasons those two had in 2011. Also, Ichiro's OBP was terrible for a leadoff man last season (.310), but wouldn't it make the back-end of the lineup too punchless if you batted Ackley leadoff? With the way I left it, the leadoff spot is weak.
Comparison to real 2011
The 2011 Mariners lost 95 games and this team above would have a shot at winning 95. You can take away from the older stars all you want, but with that pitching staff, the offense doesn't have to be great. It only has to be good, and it's easily good enough to get plenty of wins when only needing to put three or four runs on the board. Plus, as those older guys continue to decline, the likes of Jones, Ackley and Cabrera just get better. In Sunday's Homegrown Team, I said to expect to see the Cubs toward the bottom of the rankings (when we do them). This entry is the complete opposite. Expect to see the Mariners toward the top of the rankings. This is a great team. For now.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Adam Jones, Adam Moore, AL West, Alex Rodriguez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Brandon Morrow, Brian Fuentes, Bryan LaHair, Carlos Peguero, Damaso Marte, Danny Hultzan, David Ortiz, Derek Lowe, Doug Fister, Dustin Ackley, Eric O'Flaherty, Felix Hernandez, George Sherrill, Greg Dobbs, Homegrown, Ichiro Suzuki, J.J. Putz, Jason Varitek, Joel Pineiro, Jose Lopez, Luis Valbuena, Mariners, Matt Snyder, Matt Thornton, Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Rafael Soriano, Raul Ibanez, Shin-Soo Choo, Willie Bloomquist, Yuniesky Betancourt
Posted on: October 28, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 1:19 pm
By Matt Snyder
If your favorite team is looking for a really good run producer to play third base next season and free agency is the route it's taking, there is only one choice. Otherwise, this free agency class is mostly backups or guys who will retire. It's a pretty embarrassing position in terms of how thin it is. How it affects Aramis Ramirez's ability to get a big deal remains to be seen, but it seems like he should have a lot of leverage, no? You need a third baseman? It's Wilson Betemit after me.
List of MLB free agents
1. Aramis Ramirez. He's only 33 and showed he can still swing the bat with authority in 2011, as he hit .306/.361/.510 with 26 homers and 93 RBI. He's also not the butcher many believe he is at third base -- though he's not exactly Adrian Beltre, either. Ramirez is unlikely to have his option picked up by the Cubs, so it seems like he'll have a new home for the first time since 2003, when he landed in Chicago on a July trade. As already stated, if someone wants to sign a good free agent third baseman, the buck stops here.
Potential teams: Marlins, Brewers, Tigers, Rockies, Angels, Orioles (mercifully making Mark Reynolds a DH) ... and the Cubs are still possible
2. Wilson Betemit. He hit .285/.343/.452 with 22 doubles and eight home runs this season in 97 games. He's a decent to slightly above-average hitter who can play several infield positions, but not really an everyday starter. The dearth of good free agent options at third base could very easily land Betemit a starting job, though. I'd just be weary of a multiple-year deal, as he hasn't played in more than 97 games since 2007.
Potential teams: Brewers, Tigers, Rockies, Marlins, Angels
3. Casey Blake. He only hit .252/.342/.371 and had serious neck issues, causing him to contemplate retirement. The Dodgers have declined Blake's option, so he's headed elsewhere. Retirement is possible, but Blake is seeking a one-year deal and probably willing to be a backup.
Potential teams: Yankees, Brewers, Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Marlins, Reds, retirement
4. Eric Chavez. He hit .263 with two homers and 26 RBI in his first non-Oakland season, but he still couldn't avoid an extended trip to the disabled list. According to various reports, Chavez isn't sure if he wants to play again in 2012 or retire. If he decides to play, he'll likely get the Yankees' backup third base job again. If he doesn't, he'll be free from the aggravation of constantly being injured. My guess is he retires and the Yankees grab Blake.
Potential teams: Yankees, retirement
5. Greg Dobbs. Dobbs enjoyed lots of playing time in 2011, gathering the most plate appearances of his career. He hit .275 with 23 doubles and eight homers while showing versatility on defense. He's not a great option to start every day, but a really good player to have off the bench. The Marlins reportedly want him back, but a dry free agency crop might land him a decent contract and starting job elsewhere.
Potential teams: Marlins, Brewers, Rockies, Phillies
6. Kevin Kouzmanoff. Once a decent prospect with power potential -- he did hit 23 home runs while playing half his games in Petco Park in 2008 -- Kouzmanoff's stock has plummeted. He hit .255 with three homers in 27 games after joining Colorado, and the Rockies reportedly haven't ruled out bringing him back. It's possible he has a good full season in a hitter's park, if he stays there (he'd only previously played extended stretches in pitcher's ballparks).
Potential teams: Rockies, Brewers, Cubs, Marlins, Reds, Tigers
7. Omar Vizquel. The 44 year old just keeps hanging on. Is he trying to get to 3,000 hits? He currently has 2,841, but only collected 42 in 2011. So it doesn't really seem to be happening any time soon. Vizquel might just love the game so much he refuses to go until someone won't sign him. And someone will this offseason. He'll be playing again in 2012, bet on it.
Potential teams: White Sox, after that it's a complete guessing game. Any team looking for a veteran backup infielder would have interest, and that could be anyone.
8. Bill Hall. At age 26, Hall hit 35 homers for the Brewers. At age 31, he finished the season in the minors after hitting just .158/.220/.211 for 16 games with the Giants. He might get a shot with the Yankees if neither Blake nor Chavez are there, or someone could use him as a pinch-hitter off the bench. Regardless, don't expect there to be tons of interest. He hasn't been a good player for five years.
Potential teams: Orioles, Nationals, Yankees, retirement
9. Jorge Cantu. The 29 year old was once a run producer, but Cantu had a dreadful 2011 season, hitting .194/.232/.285 in 155 plate appearances for the Padres. He was decent after signing with the Rockies ... in Triple-A.
Potential teams: Rockies, Marlins, Brewers -- but this would be a desperation move to start him. He's basically going to be a backup or retire.
10. Andy LaRoche. Once a top-20 prospect -- for two straight seasons -- LaRoche's career has been a monumental disappointment. The only season he approached being a decent player was 2009 for the Pirates, but last season LaRoche was designated for assignment by the lackluster A's. So that should tell you where his stock stands. It's possible a team strapped for cash attempts to catch lightning in a bottle, as LaRoche is still only 28.
Potential teams: Reds, Marlins, Brewers, Cubs, Orioles, Mariners, Red Sox, Indians, many more.
11. Alex Cora. Cora's on-field value has dwindled all the way to zero, but he's reportedly a great clubhouse guy and baseball mind. Several reporters, fellow players and coaches have noted in the recent past that Cora will make a great manager someday. Cora has said he wants to keep playing in 2012, but it might behoove him to get a start on his next career quite soon.
Potential teams: Nationals, retirement
Other free agents who could play third: Jamey Carroll, Edwin Encarnacion, Jerry Hairston, Ramon Santiago, Willie Bloomquist, Aaron Miles, Ronny Cedeno, Jack Wilson, Mark DeRosa, Nick Punto, Willie Harris, Craig Counsell, Jose Lopez, Orlando Cabrera
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 30, 2011 4:25 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
I mentioned it earlier, but Monday night there was a scary incident in New York where a young fan was hit by a Greg Dobbs foul ball in the first game of a doubleheader. On Tuesday, Dobbs visited the 12-year-old boy at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.
"I just wanted to show the kid how bad I feel for him," Dobbs told the Palm Beach Post. "Just for the kid's sake, just to show him my face and let him know I care about him and how he's doing."
According to Dobbs, the fan suffered a broken nose that needed eight stitches and had a fractured sinus over his right eye, but doctors expect a full recovery.
Dobbs said the boy was expected to be released tonight and he was going to call just to make sure he got home OK.
"They were real nice people," Dobbs said. "No animosity."@eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 16, 2011 1:55 am
Edited on: August 16, 2011 2:02 am
By Matt Snyder
Jim Thome, Twins. What a day for one of the most respected players in baseball. Thome went 3-4 with five RBI in a Twins' 9-6 victory. Among those three hits were two home runs, meaning he now has 600 in his illustrious career. He's much more than just a home run hitter, too, so let's give him all the respect and adulation he deserves.
Mike Carp, Mariners. Don't look now, but the Mariners have a cleanup hitter. Long gone is Jack Cust and they don't have to use Adam Kennedy there anymore, either. Carp has locked down that lineup slot as he's presently on fire. The 25 year old went 2-4 with a pair of home runs Monday night, including an eighth-inning shot that tied the game at five. He's now 36-for-97 (.371) with six home runs and 26 RBI since rejoining the lineup July 19. Between Carp, Casper Wells and Dustin Ackley, the Mariners seem to have a good, young core of offensive players for the future.
Ryan Doumit, Pirates. The catcher tied a career high with four hits, as he went 4-4 with a three-run homer in a 6-2 win over the Cardinals. He's now 10-for-23 (.435) since coming off the disabled list. Considering the Pirates have fallen out of the race and at least one contending team -- the Giants -- wouldn't mind an offensive upgrade at catcher for this year, he's an intriguing name in terms of a possible trade candidate through the waivers process this month.
Bonus Up: Jason Isringhausen of the Mets recorded his 300th career save Monday night in San Diego. He's the 23rd man in baseball history to achieve the feat and only Mariano Rivera and Francisco Cordero among active players have more.
Brian Wilson, Giants. The Giants were all set to move within 1 1/2 games of the Diamondbacks in the NL West when Wilson coughed this one up. He was spotted a 4-2 lead, but ended up walking off the field with a 5-4 loss. Three singles and two walks amounted to three earned runs, the blown save and the loss for The Beard.
Marlins' 9th inning. It was a rough inning for Jack McKeon's club. The Marlins went into the ninth with a 4-3 lead over the Rockies and closer Leo Nunez coming into the game. Dexter Fowler hit what reads in the box score as a double, but it was actually a flare that no one could get to. When Marlins third baseman Greg Dobbs ended up with the ball at second base, Fowler was slipping between first and second and was a sitting duck. Dobbs then fired an errant throw in an attempt to cut down Fowler, which instead allowed Fowler to reach second base. “Hindsight being 20-20, I should have held the ball and ran at him,” Dobbs said after the game (Fish Tank). A Carlos Gonzalez double plated Fowler to tie the game. McKeon then elected to intentionally walk Troy Tulowitzki and bring in left-handed specialist Randy Choate to face left-handed hitting Jason Giambi. It was certainly the right move on paper, but Giambi hit a three-run, walk-off homer. Basically, Lady Luck was not on the side of the Marlins in the ninth.
The Angels. They lost a young starting pitcher to a groin injury in the first inning, gave up eight runs on 14 hits and committed three errors against the Rangers Monday night. Oh, and the Angels also fell five games behind the Rangers in the AL West. There are three games left in the series, but that could mean bad news if the Angels don't wake up. Otherwise they're liable to see themselves eight games back by the weekend, especially if they play the way they did Monday.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 4:43 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 5:07 pm
By Eye on Baseball team
Leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the National League East has an actual race -- as well as a team with a bloated payroll and no hope -- which leads to a great chance of some pretty interesting trades to and from the division. Here's a look at the five teams in the NL Eeast:
Needs: Bullpen, RH bat
Notes: Manager Charlie Manuel said he'd love a right-handed bat (Philadelphia Daily News), probably in the outfield, but this is the Phillies and expect the team to focus on pitching -- at least that's what history tells us. And because their rotation is pretty good (you may have heard about some of these guys), they focus on relievers, likely ending a streak of five years of adding a starter midseason. The team is likely one of the many suitors for Padres closer Heath Bell, although some suggest the Phillies prefer Mike Adams. Padres owner Jeff Moorad has reportedly told Adams he won't be traded. However, according to Tom Krasovic of Inside the Padres, the Phillies are willing to give up Class A first baseman/left fielder Jonathan Singleton in return for Adams.
As for the right-handed bats, the Phillies are in on the same folks everyone's chasing -- Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Beltran, Hunter Pence and maybe Jeff Francouer. The biggest hurdle of all for the Phillies is money, as in they've already spent it and they're worried about the luxury tax. The team has just between $2 and $3 million to spend and avoid the luxury tax.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com, the Phillies and Royals have already exchanged names in a possible Melky Cabrera trade. Cabrera is a cheaper, younger switch hitter for those who fall short in the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes.
Status: Bargain shoppers
Needs: Right-handed bat
Notes: The Braves need a right-handed bat like Roy Halladay needs air conditioning. Atlanta looks like the front-runner for the National League wild card, but don't have much money to spend. The biggest issue right now for Atlanta is its inability to hit left-handed pitchers. Braves hitters are hitting just .211/.285/.337 against lefties, with Jason Heyward, Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer all below the Mendoza line against southpaws. That's why Jon Paul Morosi's report of the Reds' Jonny Gomes drawing the interest of the Braves makes sense, Gomes kills lefties to the tune of a .340/.446/.547 slash line this season and .281/..377/.510 in his career. There's also the regular names such as Ludwick and Beltran.
To make room for more payroll, the team could trade right-hander Derek Lowe, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien wrote. The Tigers could be interested in Lowe, but would have to take up the rest of the $20 million he's owed through 2012.
New York Mets
Status: One-stop shopping
Needs: Young talent under team control; pitching
Notes: Outfielder Carlos Beltran is the top position player on the market, but his future is clouded by the number of teams that could use an upgrade in the outfield and the fact that he's not for sale, he's for rent. Whatever team gets him won't even get compensation picks if he leaves as a free agent after the season.
The Mets would reportedly rather pay Beltran's salary and get a good young player or top prospect in return. They could unload him to a team willing to pay the roughly $8 million left on his contract, but then they wouldn't get much in return. The Mets would prefer big-league ready pitching talent. New York seems confident it can re-sign Jose Reyes, meaning they're not ready to throw in the towel and go full-on rebuilding anytime soon.
Beltran, however, does have a no-trade clause. According to Tim Brown of Yahoo!, Sandy Alderson gave Beltran a short list of teams interested -- the Phillies, Red Sox, Braves, Giants, Brewers and maybe the Yankees -- and Beltran hasn't ruled any of them out.
Status: Listening to all offers
Needs: Leadoff man/center fielder of the future
Notes: The Nationals have pieces to deal -- from catcher Ivan Rodriguez to relievers Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Todd Coffey and Sean Burnett, plus starters Jason Marquis, Livan Hernandez and Tom Gorzelanny. In short, they're open for business, with GM Mike Rizzo saying no player is "untouchable" -- but then following that up with "we're not going to touch our core." That means, "after a while, they don't ask for [Danny] Espinosa," Rizzo told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore. Ryan Zimmerman is also likely untouchable, as well as catcher Wilson Ramos.
One name to watch is shortstop Ian Desmond, but that would take quite the return for the team to move the 25-year-old.
More likely to go are some of the team's relievers. The Nats are deep in the bullpen and it's a position that's always in demand. The top tier would be Clippard or even Storen, but that would require Washington receiving a leadoff-hitting center fielder in return, someone like B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Colby Rasmus or Denard Span, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal writes.
Needs: Third baseman, starting pitchers
Notes: The Marlins have starting pitchers that would interest many teams, but they may not part with them. Next year they rename themselves the Miami Marlins when they move into a new stadium and ownership would like a competitive team on the field when that happens.
Ricky Nolasco is the top starter to be had, but Knobler says they'd have to get a younger, cheaper starter in return for the 28-year-old right-hander.
The one the team may part with is Javier Vazquez, but it's not really their decision. Vazquez has a full no-trade clause and isn't in any hurry to leave South Florida. There are few places he'd accept a trade.
Sure to be gone is closer Leo Nunez. The Phillies are interested in Nunez. The other teams desperate for bullpen help -- like the Cardinals and Rangers -- are likely to at least inquire what it may take to get him.
Randy Choate has been verbal this week about his problems with current manager Jack McKeon and could get shipped off for not being a good soldier.@cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: B.J. Upton, Braves, Brewers, Carlos Beltran, Colby Rasmus, Danny Espinosa, Denard Span, Derek Lowe, Derek Lowe, Drew Storen, Giants, Greg Dobbs, Heath Bell, Hutner Pence, Ian Desmond, Jason Heyward, Jason Marquis, Jason Marquis, Javier Vazquez, Jeff Francouer, Jim Johnson, Jonathan Singleton, Jonny Gomes, Jordan Schafer, Jose Reyes, Koji Uehara, Leo Nunez, Livan Hernandez, Livan Hernandez, Marlins, Melky Cabrera, Michael Bourn, Mike Adams, MLB rumors, Nate McLouth, Nationals, NL East, Omar Infante, Phillies, Randy Choate, Red Sox, Ricky Nolasco, Ryan Ludwick, Ryan Zimmerman, Sean Burnett, Todd Coffey, Tom Gorzelanny, Tom Gorzelanny, trade deadline, Tyler Clippard, Vance Worley, Wilson Ramos, Yankees
Posted on: May 2, 2011 12:10 am
Edited on: May 2, 2011 12:21 am
By Matt Snyder
Florida Marlins' offense. Hanley Ramirez started the fun in the first inning with his first home run of the season, snapping an incredibly long drought for himself. The Marlins weren't done with the long ball, though -- far from it. Before the day was over, they'd connecting on five home runs. Greg Dobbs and John Buck went deep. Mike Stanton hit a mammoth blast to center. Even the light-hitting Emilio Bonifacio knocked one out, and it was his first career home run that wasn't of the inside-the-park variety. Meanwhile, the Marlins won 9-5 and continue to claw at the heels of the mighty Phillies in the NL East. They are certainly one of the most fun teams to watch. Too bad so few do in person. Maybe (hopefully) it changes in the new yard next season.
Bud Norris, Astros. Even if they aren't always consistent, the Brewers have some pretty good hitters, led by superstars Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. Norris stymied the whole team for almost eight innings Sunday, working 7 2/3 innings and only allowing three hits. He did walk three, but also struck out 11 without allowing a single run. He's now thrown 13 2/3 shutout innings in his last two starts and has a 1.05 ERA in his last four starts (25 2/3 innings) after a rough first two outings.
Carl Crawford, Red Sox. There are no words that could possibly describe how abysmal the start in Boston has been for Crawford after signing his gargantuan contract. Sunday, we moved to a new month and Crawford knocked in the game-winning run in walk-off fashion against the Mariners. He got to celebrate with his teammates and hear the home crowd cheer him. I love stats, but one thing stats can't measure is the human element. Now that Crawford has had a weight lifted off his chest, the bet is he gets going. When he does, you'll hear that it was simply a regression to the mean from many, but it has to start somewhere. Breaking through with a big hit like this is something that sets a player's mind at ease.
BONUS UP: The Phillies fans -- along with a decent amount of Mets fans -- in attendance Sunday night in Philly. When news of Bin Laden's death spread through the stadium, fans stopped worrying about team allegiances and chanted "USA! USA! USA!" (There's a good video of it here , but I'm not sure it lasts too long before MLB sees it and pulls it). It's a nice reminder that, while we might bicker amongst ourselves, we're still Americans. Pass along some of that camaraderie this week.
Ryan Franklin's fortunes, Cardinals. Franklin took the loss and the Cardinals' late-inning bullpen woes continued. If you look only at the surface of what happened, that's what you'd see. But remember, you can learn a lot by actually watching games. Not only did Ryan Theriot drop a pop-up to let Alex Gonzalez on base -- who scared the game-winning run -- but the Brooks Conrad single to win the game for the Braves was a blooper with eyes. Anyone who blames Franklin for this doesn't know a lick about baseball.
Matt Harrison, Rangers. So much for that hot start. Remember, after Tax Day, Harrison was 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA. Then he had a decent outing (6 2/3 innings, three earned runs) and took the loss. Since then he's been dreadful, and that may even be an understatement. In his past two starts, including Sunday's debacle against the slap-hitting A's, Harrison has allowed 14 hits, 11 earned runs and five walks in 4 2/3 innings. He couldn't even make it through two innings Sunday. Worse yet for Harrison is the fact that Tommy Hunter, Scott Feldman and Brandon Webb are making progress in recovery from injuries -- not to mention how well Alexi Ogando is throwing the ball. Harrison could very well be pitching himself out of a job. Who woulda thought that a few weeks ago?
Carl Pavano, Twins. He's in such a bad stretch, he can't even properly throw a temper tantrum. After being rocked by the Royals to the tune of 12 hits and six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, Pavano went nuts on something in the corner of the dugout with a bat (watch it on MLB.com by clicking here ). To use one of my favorite lines from Seinfeld, Pavano failed at failing, because he was trying to break the bat: "That's why I kept wailing away, because that [expletive deleted] wouldn't break." (Twins Now via Twitter)
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