Monday, September 27, 2010

Time To Move On

  • Players and teams who would benefit from parting ways:

This isn't about players who have absurdly expensive contracts and the teams that loathe them. It's about players who have either overstayed their welcome of become cases in which a parting of the ways would benefit all involved. It may have something to do with money, but it's not the overt reason as in the case of Oliver Perez with the Mets.

Let's take a look:

Jonathan Papelbon--Boston Red Sox:

Peter Gammons mentioned something to the tune of if John Lackey and Josh Beckett's records were five or so games better in total, the Red Sox would be right near the top of the division and in the middle of the Wild Card race. They're 15-16 in games started by Lackey; 11-9 for Beckett.

But what about Papelbon? He's blown eight games this season and if he'd gotten the job done in half of those, where would the Red Sox be? To put things in perspective, he's been reliable for the most part with a few terrible games bloating his ERA to its current level of 4.02. ERA is a poor way to judge a reliever anyway. This year's overall numbers are nearly identical to last year in which he posted a 1.85 ERA and was judged to have pitched brilliantly.

To put things into an even greater context, last night Papelbon was being squeezed in the strike zone by umpire Phil Cuzzi, but so was Mariano Rivera----it's no excuse.

I'd be shocked if Papelbon is a Red Sox next year.

First, I get the idea they're tired of him and he's tired of them. The Red Sox hate to pay their closers big money and have appear entirely uninterested in a long-term deal with Papelbon; they paid him $9.35 million this year and he's a free agent after 2011. Could they keep him for one more year and get the draft pick(s) for his departure? Yes. But he's still got value on the market and they can pay Daniel Bard a fraction of what they're paying Papelbon. The Red Sox are big market but still save money where they can and one of those places in in the role of closer.

They've annually diminished the role by trying different variations such as the closer-by-committee and refusing to spend massive amounts of money for someone proven. They've done it and it worked with Keith Foulke for a year, but he got hurt----they wound up paying essentially for one year of Foulke at full strength; I doubt anyone was complaining when they won the World Series. Papelbon's salary will be north of $10 million next year----too much for the Red Sox blood.

Papelbon's stuff is still there; he's durable; and is still a top 5 closer. It's better for all parties if he's doing it in a different uniform next year.

B.J. Upton--Tampa Bay Rays:

He's played better since the dugout confrontation with Evan Longoria in June for Upton's lack of hustle, but he's still one of the more aggravating players in baseball. Like Papelbon, the Rays have not shown much interest in locking him up long term and I don't blame them. His frequent lapses and tantrums make him a risk if he's guaranteed a large paycheck.

Would he behave himself and play the game correctly in another venue? Would he listen to a different, more strident manager and veteran team? How about a likable sort like Don Mattingly with the Dodgers? I've often said that I don't blame Rays manager Joe Maddon for Upton because Upton would act the exact same way if he was playing for Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox or anyone you could name.

With MVP talent, he should be far better than he is; he's arbitration eligible and with the Rays slashing payroll after this season, he's a prime candidate to be dealt. Whether he'd mature elsewhere on and off the field is the question.

Joakim Soria--Kansas CityRoyals:

Apart from Papelbon's post-season pedigree, Soria's been better than Papelbon since he took over as Royals closer in 2007 and he's four years younger. He's also signed through 2014. Would the Red Sox move Papelbon and make a move to get Soria if they want someone established and cheap rather than to entrust Bard? Maybe.

The Royals are in perpetual rebuild mode and have a lot of good young players on their current roster and moving through their system; Soria would bring back a lot of talent because of his performance and favorable contract. Interestingly, Soria has a no-trade clause in which he can block trades to the following teams: Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Phillies, Cardinals and Cubs. An eclectic group. One would assume that the no-trade clause is in place so the big market teams that can pay him won't acquire him for the exact reasons I suggested----because he's good and cheap.

A couple of options are available to the Royals: they can trade Soria for a chunk of youngsters; or they can attach him to a Gil Meche to get rid of Meche's contract and take less return. If they're going to trade him, I'd suggest that they pursue the former and try to accrue more young players. In their current state, it doesn't do much good for the Royals to have a great closer when there aren't very many games to close.

Scott Kazmir--Los Angeles Angels:

He's guaranteed $14.5 million through next year, is not going to make it as a starter and needs to go to a team that will have the courage to put him where he belongs----the bullpen.

After all the criticism the Mets took for Rick Peterson's assessment of Kazmir that he was: A) going to need a lot of minor league seasoning; and B) might not have the size to make it as a durable, top of the rotation starter----he turned out to be right. That's not to defend trading him for Victor Zambrano----they could conceivably have packaged Kazmir for Tim Hudson after the 2004 season, but trading him wasn't the mistake; it was what they got for him that was the problem.

There are some darkly comedic places to trade him----the Mets could use him in a salary exchange and as a set-up man/closer; the Brewers because Peterson's there (that's if he's still there after the season)----and there are teams who have similar salaried players for whom to deal.

The Angels would love to be rid of him and perhaps after the way his career has spiraled, Kazmir might be agreeable to a move to the bullpen.

Ichiro Suzuki--Seattle Mariners:

Never mind the "debate" (about which I'm right) that he does nothing to help the Mariners with his lust for singles and hit records. He's making $34 million through 2012 and it's hard to see the Mariners in any kind of contention before 2013. The front office loves the fans Ichiro brings to the park, but if they're interested in a team-concept, they should explore moving him. Would he waive his no-trade clause? Who knows with him? But the clause is limited to ten teams. (I don't know which teams they are.)

For all the mistakes GM Jack Zduriencik has made, I believe ownership has interfered with him and what he wanted to do. Do you really think Zduriencik wanted to bring Ken Griffey Jr. back? I can't imagine he wants to keep Ichiro either. Zduriencik's capital for doing what he wants in other areas is just about exhausted after the Josh Lueke affair; he's already seen his loyalist and director of professional scouting Carmen Fusco fired in what appeared to be an organizational sacrifice different to the "blame-firing" of former manager Don Wakamatsu.

I'll guess that Zduriencik will survive and stay as GM, but Ichiro's not going anywhere.

Ryan Doumit--Pittsburgh Pirates:

Doumit could be a consistent All Star if he was playing for a team other than the Pirates and stayed healthy.

He's signed to a team-friendly contract ($5.5 million in 2011; team options at $7.25 million in 2012 and $8.25 million in 2013); many teams can use a catcher who can hit. His throwing has been awful this year----he's only thrown out 12% of basestealers, but he's been good in the past which tells me it's not a lack of ability that's causing the problem. Maybe the pitchers are bad at holding runners on; maybe he's having injury issues----he had a concussion earlier this year.

He's a switch-hitting catcher with pop----who couldn't use that?

Carlos Beltran--New York Mets:

Beltran's a free agent after 2011 and the consensus is----considering his recent solid play and that he's going to want to have a big year to get another contract----that the Mets should hang onto him. He's making $18.5 million next year and has a full no-trade clause. He's said he'd consider waiving it to get away from the Mets.

Of course it's going to depend on who's running the show for the Mets before any decision is made, but they'd be remiss in their duties to shun a team that approaches them about Beltran. If anything, the hot streak should make it easier to trade him. Judging Beltran on a small sample is part of the reason the Mets are in the trouble they're in to start with. I'd listen and seriously consider trading him if a team is willing to offer anything decent and absorb his whole salary. In fact, I'd pursue it avidly.

Jonathan Broxton--Los Angeles Dodgers:

He's lost his closer's job and pitched poorly. His confidence appears shot. If I were the Cardinals or Mets----teams with questions in the bullpen, I'd go hard after Broxton. This is a similar situation as that which got Armando Benitez for the Mets. Benitez, despite contrary assertions, was a solid closer for years. The Orioles front office was in disarray and they wanted to get rid of Benitez; the Mets got him for essentially nothing.

Broxton is due $7 million next year and if the McCourts still own the team, they're going to be dumping payroll. I think he's going to get traded either way.

  • Viewer Mail 9.27.2010:

Anonymous writes RE Ichiro:

Really, you are full of it. Ichiro is one of the greatest baseball players of all time in two countries and the pitching in Japan is just as good or even better than the USA. YOU go and collect 200+ hits for 10 years straight and then talk. Otherwise, shut your mouth, idiot! You don't understand baseball, you silly little blogger/keyboard warrior!

In the film Donnie Darko, the following phrase was uttered: "This famous linguist once said that of all the phrases in the English language, of all the endless combinations of words in all of history, that Cellar Door is the most beautiful."

I never understood what that meant....until now.

The above comment is the most poignant and beautiful I have ever received.

I'm taking the advice to heart. I'm gonna do it.

Ted Williams book on hitting? Check.

Map of Japan? Check.

Bats, batting gloves, cannister of dip, eye-black, jockstrap, cup? Check.

Blank notebook to detail my travels and inevitable adventures? Check.

Ready to rock. I'll see you and respond after year 5 or hit 1000----whichever comes first.

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE the Mets and Phillies:

So I'm anticipating a brawl between the Mets and Phillies today? If the Mets read your post, that is.

Alas, no. But the Mets showed something foreign to them in recent years----pride. Maybe it'll carry over. Then again, this is the Mets; they seem to think that a small accomplishment is an end unto itself rather than part of a larger goal. Are they going to be self-satisfied after playing hard and defending one another (to the point that they did anyway)? Again, this is the Mets. But maybe it was a long-needed wakeup call.

Gabriel (Capo) writes RE Jorge Cantu:

Did you see Cantu's homerun? It was as you said:

Cantu's the type of player who people forget about until he's hitting a clutch homer in extra innings in a big, late-season game or the playoffs. The Rangers are going for it and while the acquisition of Cliff Lee was flashy, getting Cantu may end up being more important.

It was the 8th inning, however. And he has been awful, but he will wake up in the playoffs.

The Rangers had their playoff spot locked up and Cantu's done nothing at the plate since joining them. He's still got pop in his bat and has hit in the clutch before. Teams ignoring him in the playoffs do so at their own risk.

The Brooklyn Trolley Blogger (Brooklyn Capo) also writes RE the Mets:

What immediately comes to mind is Pedro Martinez plunking TWO Yankees to start a game; one of which was Jeter who got plunked on the wrist. "Meek; the Mets"

By the way Jane, a few years ago the Wilpons forbade the reading of negative news about themselves in the clubhouse. No newspapers allowed. I would imagine that goes for blogs too. *sigh*

That's nothing. Brady Anderson of the Orioles stood frozen as a Tim Wakefield knuckleball fluttered toward him, let it hit him and went to first base. When Pedro got the chance to pitch to Anderson, it looked as if he said silently, "Okay, you wanna get on base via hit-by-pitch? Here you go!" and drilled him the back with a 95 mph fastball.

As for the forbidding of negative Wilpon news, how would they enforce such a thing? If they couldn't prevent Johan Santana from committing an alleged sexual assault and Francisco Rodriguez from beating his common-law father-in-law senseless in the team family room, how are they stopping web surfing, TV watching and newspaper reading? If they are, they need to re-prioritize, adjust their belief-system on what constitutes a club offense and implementation of security measures.

Max Stevens at The Lonely One writes RE the Mets:

You are so right, the Mets are a doormat. They get knocked down so often at the plate, and they never do anything about it. This is why Wally Backman is exactly what they need.

That's not the sole reason to hire Backman, but his teams would take out second basemen and catchers and would retaliate when called upon or else they wouldn't play.

My book is still available on Amazon, I-Universe and Barnes and It's available for download as an E-book here. You can also now get it for less that five bucks on BN via download here.


She-Fan said...

On ESPN last night, Morgan and Miller kept saying the Red Sox will look very different next year with question marks surrounding the signings of Ortiz, Martinez, Beltre (how do they not re-sign Beltre after the year he's had) plus the retirement of Lowell. And that's before the subject of Papelbon came up. Should be interesting. They've played well this year in spite of losing their stars to injuries.

Jeff said...

I don't know why the Royals haven't made a move to get something for Soria. Seems like the offers would've been there. Am I missing something or are the Royals just stubborn? I mean, what's the use of a dominant closer if your bullpen up to him blows it before he even gets a chance?

Gabriel said...

You missed Vernon Wells! If he could be moved, the Jays would have space for more pitching, Wise would be playing CF, with Snider in LF and Lewis in RF, Bautista at 3rd, and Anthopoulos would make a move for a power-hitting first baseman, trading Overbay for some fresh arm. Problem is, Wells is staying in CF for the rest of his career.

Mike; BklynTrolleyBlogger said...

Brooklyn Capo brings you news from the front: The decision to ban newspapers from the Mets' clubhouse in 2009 ~ Here's just two of many clips to chose from.;jsessionid=F1C332CE2D32D7A5028300C1415968F5

Do you think I enjoy picking on Papa 'Pon and Son of 'Pon? I honestly don't. I wish they'd give me a reason to shut-up. But until they do this is the kind of treatment Lil Jeff and Mets R Us will get. Banning papers in the clubhouse? C'mon! I don't know how this escaped you but trust me, I'm thrilled to bring you up to date regarding this. It's ponderous!

Mike ~ BklynTrolleyBlogger said...

Perhaps it's better if I linked them this way?

Read Here

Or Read Here

Anonymous said...

[quote]Never mind the "debate" (about which I'm right)[/quote]

Just to clarify, you are not "right".

What was the Ichiro quote? "I could hit 40 hr's if I batted .220". That's the thing, the .330 hitter who hits 10 hr's may be better than the .220 hitter that hits 40 hr's. So, the quote you attributed to proving your point, actually is a strike against you.

Sure, you skipped through my posts and cherry-picked, we get that. I guess it was all in the name of "being right" as opposed to actually learning something.

Like I said (and what you conveniently skipped), if you truly believe he can hit 20-30 HR's, you need to evaluate how that would affect the rest of his game. As Ichiro said himself, you might not like the "new" Ichrio that's batting .220. Which, in turn, would mean that his OBP is less than .300. Meaning that the new Ichiro just became Mike Jacobs, who stinks.

What is the point of this blog? To stroke your own ego?