Tagged: Manny Ramirez

All Decade All the Time

It’s 10:14am here in the east and I’m three days removed from my college graduation. So this is what “the real world” is like, huh? I’ve heard about this for what seems like forever. Colleges, these days, pride themselves on preparing us for the great wide world that is going to crush us if we’re not ready.

My opinion.. honestly? Kinda boring.

Okay, I don’t have a “job” yet, but I do have several things going on. I’m attending the Allentown Bartending School after the new year. That should be fun. My ultimate goal would be to get a job in a nice sports bar where I could talk sports all day long. I do that already, but my fiancee is not very receptive unless it about the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I’m also working in a new web series that I’m trying to pitch. It’s called Guys With Girl Problems (cheap plug) and I think people will find it funny. I’ve spent the last 4 1/2 years in college working my tail off toward something I have little interest in. If I’ve learned anything in that time, it’s that I need to be working toward something I believe in.

Wait a minute. This is a baseball blog, right? Sorry. On to baseball!

To quench my winter thirst for baseball in the wake of the Roy Halladay trade, I’m fixed on mlb.com eying the next big moves. One of today’s headlines was regarding the fan voted “all-decade” teams. So I thought I’d weigh in.

Now I don’t know all the rules here. From what I gather, this is like an AL/NL all-century team except just the 2000-2009 decade. So here goes.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

1B: Albert Pujols – No surprises here. They don’t call this guy a machine for nothing. since breaking into the league in 2001, Pujols has hit .334 with 366 dingers and 1,112 RBI on his way to 3 MVPs and a World Series. Some guys would sell their soul for the career this guys has had in 9 years. If Ryan Howard had come into the league earlier than 2006, this might be a more difficult discussion, but Pujols is just undeniable right now.

2B: Chase Utley – Here comes the homer! Okay, yes I’m a Phillies Phanatic but you really can’t argue with Utley at all. I don’t even need to throw out numbers with him. He’s going to go down as the greatest second baseman of all time, even better than Ryne Sandberg.

3B: Chipper Jones – This was a little tougher decision. Chipper has battled some injuries which kept him out the better of one or two seasons and he’s getting up there in age. But I’ve been following his career since he was a rookie in 1995, A lot of people want to shy away from him but at the end of the day you can’t deny what he brings to the plate. Yes, he moved around position wise, playing LF for a couple years, but he’s always been a third baseman.

SS: Jimmy Rollins – This was by far the toughest decision because SS seems to be a forgotten position anymore. It was sexy in the 90’s with Ripken, Jeter, A-Rod and Garciaparra but now I can only name maybe 5 starting shortstops in all of baseball without really thinking hard. For me, it came down to Jimmy Rollins and Rafael Furcal. I went with Rollins because he’s been consistent and clutch and he’s got an MVP trophy and a World Series ring. Furcal has neither. Plus, Rollins and his club have come up victorious in the last 2 NLCS of the decade.Compelling.

LF: Barry Bonds – I’ll take the 2001-2004 Bonds who hit a billion home runs and won 4 consecutive MVPs. Not the 2005-2007 Bonds who played every other day and walked more than he ran. Literally. Steroids or not, the games count so he counts. He never could win a championship but he was playing in San Francisco. Gary Sheffield was a close second, but he spent a lot of the decade in the AL with New York and Detroit.

CF: Jim Edmonds – I had three choices for best CF of the decade. Edmonds, Andruw Jones and Carlos Beltran. Beltran only came to the NL at the trade deadline of 2004 so he’s out. That left Jones and Edmonds. Both of these guys were staples in CF for one teams nearly the whole decade. There was a time where no fly ball was safe in St. Louis or Atlanta. I gave the nod to Edmonds because his numbers were a bit more consistent whereas Andruw Jones was more of a bell-curve. 

RF: Gary Sheffield – Yes, I know I mentioned him in the Left Field discussion, but Sheff really did spend more time in Right than Left until recently. I re-thought his career and despite spending 2004-2008 in New York and Detroit, he is still hands down better than the youngsters that have been in right for the rest of the decade. A shout out goes to Will Ferrell, i mean, Adam Dunn.

C: Mike Piazza – Even though he retired in 2008, Piazza still stuck out as the best of the unsung heroes behind the plate. He was one of the few to be feared at the plate and meant a lot to the city of New York following the tragedy of 9/11. Russell Martin, Brian McCann and the Molina family are all great catchers, but Piazza is up on the pedistal in my book.

P: John Smoltz – Picking just one pitcher out of, I don’t know, A MILLION is a tall order. In the end, I went with Smoltz because he was part of what could be the greatest 1-2-3 rotation (Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz) of all time. AND he did what his team needed and stepped into the closer role and was nothing short of a lock. He was the Mo Rivera of the NL for 3 seasons.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

1B: Paul Konerko – This is tricky because the 1B/DH designation is typically one and the same. You can throw around names like Jim Thome and David Ortiz, but they were typically DH. Many First basemen in the AL are there for defensive purposes. Konerko played a lot of 1B in the decade and is one of the most overlooked players of the decade. So I’m going to show him some love in this blog at least.

2B: Alfonso Soriano – It’s hard to remember his time in the AL since his astronomical contract in Chicago and his move to LF, but he was once considered the next great Yankee. After losing the 2001 and 2003 world series respectively, New York traded him away and teams have been overpaying for him ever since. Gotta give it up to a guy who looks like he weighs 150lbs but can power it to China.

3B: Alex Rodriguez – He still seems like he doesn’t know what he’s doing at 3B but what he’s done at the plate greatly overshadows it all. A lot of his great work of the decade was done at SS but its undeniable who belongs at that designation, I had to give 3B to Rodriguez.

SS: Derek Jeter – In my book, he’s still the last true great Yankee. I think he can be mentioned in the same breath as Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle. I spent most of my life loathing the Yankee organization, but I always liked Jeter. He’s a classy, old fashioned ballplayer. I really don’t think I need to say anything else.

LF: Manny Ramirez – One of the many great products of the Cleveland Indians organization to experience success somewhere else. Manny has been Manny this whole decade and while his antics on the field have been somewhat comical, he been the best and most consistent hitter we’ve had outside of DH.

CF: Torii Hunter – Center Field used to be a premier position with guys like Mantle and Griffey Jr., but now teams usually want a speedy defensive center fielder and are lucky to find one that might be able to put the bat on the ball well enough to lead off. Hunter has done all that and more and he’s done it year in and year out.

RF: Ichiro – He largely stays out of the media because he doesn’t speak much English and he plays in Seattle. But Ichiro has started almost every All-Star game since he came into the league in 2001 from Japan and he’s the one guy you DO NOT want to see when you’re looking for a safe out. Many fans also discount his defense which is amazing. I remember watch
ing him throw out a tagging runner on a frozen-rope strike from RF to third.

C: Jorge Posada – Consistency is big in my book. There are a lot of players that are hyped up because they have 1 or 2 big months, but I like the players who get it done day in and day out. Posada is one of those players who can hit almost anywhere in the lineup from either side of the plate and put the barrel of the bat on the ball. What more do you want from a catcher?

P: Roy Halladay – Yes, I know, I’m excited to see him in Philadelphia, but he was the workhorse of the AL for the entire decade. A Cy Young in 2003 doesn’t begin to describe what he did for Toronto who otherwise had to think back to Joe Carter’s series winning home run, but Mitch Williams and I don’t want to talk about that. You could make a good case for Roger Clemens or even Andy Pettite, but both of them abandoned the AL for the NL in 2004, and Clemens has been baseball’s version of Brett Favre ever since. So I had to take points away. Halladay has pitched around 200 innings a year in 6 of the last 10 seasons on his way to winning 139 games.

So there it is. My all-decade teams for the AL and NL. Of course there are arguments to be made and I’m open to any of them.

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What’s a Guy To Do?

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I don’t know how a guy’s supposed to write about baseball at a time like this. Since the Mark Teixeira signing, little has happened. At least, little has happened that I’m interested in. The Marlins may or may not sign Pedro, Michael Young wants to be traded rather than play third base and Manny still has no place to hang his size 42 extra husky pants.

My Penn State Nittany Lions lost the Rose Bowl (to no one’s surprise) and the Philadelphia Eagles may just be following in the Phillies footsteps on the way to an unprecedented second major sports championship for Philadelphia in as many tries.

Some may find all of this incredible but I choose to envoke my signature catch phrase:

“Meh.”

The catch phrase is not as cool if you can’t see me shrug my shoulders as I say it, but this isn’t the ML-VIDEO-Blogosphere. 

In all, I am very bored right now and I must apologize to all of the dedicated fans of my blogs.

Sorry, Elizabeth and Kaybee! May your tears be dried by the man of your dreams!

The Hall-Of-Fame vote did take place earlier today and the hallowed hall will now open its doors to Ricky Henderson and Jim Rice. Congratulations to the both of you. What an incredible honor.

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Now, I don’t have a Hall-Of-Fame vote officially. Not yet, anyway. But if I did, I would still haveto write the name “Mark McGwire” on my ballot. Agrue as much as you want, but somehow we keep holding things against guys like him in the court of public opinion.

Maybe he took steroids, maybe he didn’t, I don’t know, I’m not a criminal investigator just like every other sports writer who won’t vote for Mark McGwire. But we’re still going to treat him like he did, aren’t we? We’re still going to act like it because we don’t dare risk the “integrity” of the hall-of-fame.

It’s the hall-of-fame, not necessarily the hall-of-model citizens. Many will say McGwire and Bonds cheated but all they really did was cheat better than most others. We’ll easily deem the mid 90’s to 2005 as the “steroids era” which implies that most everyone was using steroids at that time, yet we still hold it against the guys who were still the best.

If a lot of guys were on steroids when Mark McGwire was chasing Roger Maris, how come he was the only guy hitting all the home runs? Is it possible that despite the roids he may or may not have taken, Mark McGwire was still a strong and talented slugger?

Babe Ruth had his demons (most of which ran $45 an hour or came from cuba) and Mickey Mantle struggled with an alcohol abuse problem. As much as we want, expect and demand ball players to be perfect, sometimes they aren’t. Why do some make the hall-of-fame but not others?

All else aside, Mark McGwire had 583 home runs, good enough for 8th all time, better than Mantle, Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx. By that case alone, how can you not vote for Mark McGwire?

Maybe no one’s going to give me a hall-of-fame vote anytime soon, but as long as I have my opinion and as long as I still remember the summer of 1998, I will vote for Mark McGwire.


Let The Revolution Begin!

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First of all… MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!!

Second… I’m trying
really, really, really, really, really, really hard to avoid my natural habit
of commenting on the Yankees latest monstrosity signing. I shall resist. (See… I’m growing)

 

I’ve thought
a lot about the system I introduced in my last blog and I’d like to take it a
step further. I think the time has come where bantering on MLBlogs.com about
the need for a salary cap is over and someone needs to come up with an idea.

 

Is my idea
the right answer? I don’t know. I’m not arrogant enough to believe I have all
the answers, but I do believe that coming up with an idea is, at the very least,
as step toward a solution.

 

I have only
worked the system to figure out the market value of position players so far
(pitchers will be coming soon). Basically, I divide 9 positive stats and 2
negative stats into 3 tiers. The top two tiers are given a value based on
rarity and percentile, the bottom tier receives no value because it is not
considered rare.

 

The
percentile is then taken from the league minimum salary which is $390,000. The
higher the percentile, the more money the player gets. For instance: Players
who hit between 35 and 50 homeruns in 2008 makes up the top tier which is the
top 1.3% in the league. That rarity is valued at $384,800. Therefore, the 10
players that fit into that tier earn that $384,800. Make sense?

 

There are
also “Non-Performance-Based Bonuses” that can help a veteran or former
superstar whose performance may not be what it used to be.

                MVP Award:                                      $1,000,000

                CY-YOUNG AWARD:                      $1,000,000

                ALL-STAR APPEARANCE:           $364,000

                GOLD-GLOVE:                                  $380,640

                SILVER-SLUGGER:                          $380,640

                WORLD SERIES MVP:                   $2,000,000

                ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:                $250,000

                CHAMPIONSHIP RING:                 $750,000

 

                5-YEAR VETERAN                          $500,000

                10-YEAR VETERAN                       $1,000,000

                15-YEAR VETERAN                       $1,500,000

                20-YEAR VETERAN                       $2,000,000

 

Mark
Teixeira just signed an 8-year/$180million contract which makes his annual
salary somewhere around $22.5 million per year (and that’s all I’m going say
about that). Teixeira is a great player, but is anyone worth $20 million a
year?

 

According to
this system, no.

 

Mark
Teixeira would have a market value of $5,214,840. Now, this doesn’t mean the
Yankees are necessarily overpaying, all it does is give an idea as to how Mark
Teixeira compares to the rest of the league. As a matter of fact, here are a
few of the remaining free-agents on the market and how their 2008 market values
compare to their 2008 salaries.

 

Player                                                 2008
Market Value                    2008
Salary

Bobby Abreu                                     $4,248,160                                         ($16,000,000)

Manny Ramirez                               $12,982,520
                                      ($20,000,000)

Garrett Anderson                            $4,585,040                                         ($12,600,000)

Richie Sexson                                    $2,161,680
                                        ($15,500,000)

Nomar Garciaparra                        $4,167,720                                         ($9,516,697)

Ivan Rodriguez                                 $14,722,760                                      ($12,379,883)

Adam Dunn                                        $2,880,560
                                        ($13,000,000)

Ken Griffey Jr.                                   $13,925,480                                      ($8,282,695)

Pat Burrell                                         $3,156,840
                                        ($14,250,000)

Jason Giambi                                     $5,785,600
                                        ($23,428,571)

 

As you can
see, there are some players whose contracts far exceed their value and other
who are worth more. These numbers aren’t exactly going to spark inspiration
from the MLB Players Association (or Adam Dunn’s agent), but it will stabilize the
market. If this system had been in place for the last 10 years, the Yankees
wouldn’t have paid Jason Giambi $23 million a year to under-perform, nor would
the Braves have paid Mike Hampton $15 million each year to sit on the disabled
list.

 

Given this
system, would the Yankees have still paid almost half a billion this
off-season? Probably. But combine this value with a solid salary-cap, and maybe
prices won’t inflate every year and I won’t have to sit at home all summer
watching an alarming number of players earn more money in one game than I will
in the next 4-years.

 

Okay, maybe I still will (I’m still a writer), but
less people will.

 

So let this
post be the start of an official movement. The idea’s not perfect (YET!) but if
you like it, pass it on, tell anyone you feel like telling. It’s a long shot
but maybe, just maybe, someone will hear it who can actually make something
happen. We’ve always heard that the league wants to put us, “the fans,” first.
Now it’s time to see if they’ll listen to us.

 

                                               

Another Day At The Ballpark

Well, it looks like it’s shaping up to be another day at the ballpark in Major League Baseball this off-season. For some reason, football is boring to me this year, so all I have is the hope of winter transactions to keep me going until Christmas.

Here’s what I’ve gathered so far:

1. Surprise, surprise, the Yankees are after another big-time free agent.

What’s that? They’re not just trying to sign CC Sabathia? You mean they might make offers to A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe too? And they’re looking to trade for Jake Peavy?

Umm… WHAT?!?

Ok. This is getting ridiculous. I know how much Jane loves her Yankees and who can blame her? But do you all understand that Hank and Cash are destroying the game? They’re going to keep driving up the price on players until the collective salary of their AAA team is higher than the Royals’.
abner2.jpg
Would it make Hank feel better if the Yankees were the ONLY team in the league and they win the world series every year by default. Sometimes I think that’s what they’re going for. The will to win is respectable and the Yankees certainly have that, but this is getting out of control. I wonder is Abner Doubleday (right) is rolling over in his grave yet.

2. Bud Selig has determined that he is going to be “cautious” about extending instant replay in the future. As of right now, replay can only be used on homruns to determine whether the ball was over the fence or not, fair or foul and if there was fan interference.

I’m a baseball purist just like you, Bud, and I’m glad replay was accepted, it was just time. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Baseball officials have determined that there were plays in the world series that warrant further use of replay; Rocco Baldelli falsely being awarded first base even though he was not hit by a pitch, and Jimmy Rollins being called safe although he was clearly tagged on the derier.

Since it’s inception in late August, instant replay has been used 16 times. So instant replay, which was supposed to be a huge time waster, added a grand total of about 45 minutes to the 2008 season. Big deal. Get the calls right.

3. It’s almost Thanksgiving and for some reason, football (even the Steelers), is boring me to tears. ‘m holding on to the possibility of some early winter transactions to keep be going and so far… Not much.

What gives?

Aside from some awards, a few big offers, the Matt Holliday trade and a whole lot of rumors, absolutely nothing has happened, yet. So here’s my plan to get the ball rolling:

manny3.jpgManny, you’re gonna pick a team, I don’t care who. (preferably Philadelphia) But no matter who, I’m not gonna be mad. Just pick one. The rest of baseball is waiting to see what happens with you before they make their moves, so keep it moving.

The Yankees have until Friday to pick ONE free agent, and one free agent only. Whoever that may be gets ALL THE MONEY! But enough of this offering contracts to everyone available just to keep other teams away. Quit hogging all the potato chips!

Clearly I’m bored. Clearly I’m frustrated so please, someone, give me something to write about before I have a hissy fit over here!

~ SL

In other news: The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the San Diego Padres 11-10 yesterday in a wild finish… Oh wait, correction, that was the Pittsburgh STEELERS who defeated the San Diego CHARGERS 11-10… My bad.

Is it just me, or does the baseball offseason seem just as exciting as the regular season?

Maybe I’m still riding a high from the Phillies world series victory, or maybe I’m just crazy.

But here it is mid-November, a time when baseball is on sleep-mode, and I am still glued to MLB.com (cheap plug), ESPN.com and any other web-site that could potentially provide info on recent free-agent news.

I’m excited because this is such an exciting time of year for so many teams, a time when everyone can put last years failures behind them and look forward to 2009 with all the hope in the world. It is a time of year where the makeup of a team can change over night and one player added or subtracted can turn a pretender into a contender.

Here are a couple of off-season stories that I find particularly interesting:

Holliday to the A’s, who’d-a-thunk it?
I really wasn’t aware the A’s were a player in the Holliday sweepstakes, but then again, none of the Oakland A’s transaction make sense to me. What blows my mind every season is how the A’s can trade away another solid player (Jermaine Dye, Miguel Tejada, Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, Rich Harden, Dan Haren) and somehow replace him with someone you’ve never heard of who’s just as good. There’s something in the water in the Oakland farm system because it appears anyone you plug into the A’s lineup comes out solid.

The problem is while the team always come out solid, it’ amounted to a big goose-egg in the playoff series win column. This year, however, they’re the ones adding the all-star and former MVP candidate. Maybe this can give them the spark they need to put them over the hill. Who knows?

Is Peavy going to the Braves or not?
Atlanta is another one of those teams in the NL that looks good on paper but just doesn’t seem to be able to pull it together at the same time. They’re another one of those teams with a solid farm system to plug in a new guy when an old guy leaves, most recently, Jeff Franceour. But most of that farm system, if not a whole Single-A franchise, went to Texas for Mark Texieira last season, so that’s another big question mark.

Chipper Jones could have hit a bottle cap with a pencil in April-early June, and they’re hoping he can do that for a whole season again in ’09. Hampton’s contract is up so he’s looking for somewhere else to go collect $100 million for doing absolutely nothing.

Simply put, they need pitching to compete in their division against the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies (I’ll take any excuse to throw that in there) and the New York Mets who are becoming the Junior Yankees by spending ridiculous amounts of money each season resulting in absolutely no change. Peavy might be a good fit, but they have more problems, like finding a new Single-A team.

Who are the Yankees gonna buy for Joe Girardi for Christmas this year?
“The Boss Jr.” seems to be sticking by George’s old philosophies that haven’t worked since the 90’s and this offseason shows no indication of that changing. In my mind, I see Hank going after Merk Texieira and C.C. Sabathia who might be the two best free agents not named Manny Ramirez. Both players fit their needs (a power-hitting first baseman and a solid starter) and Texieira gives them the powerful switch hitter they haven’t seen since Bernie Williams. But he’s not the second coming of Mickey Mantle and won’t hide the fact that the team is not as much of a team as they are a collection of All-Stars wearing the same uniform. There’s a reason they haven’t won it all since 2000. It’s time for a change in philosophy from the top-down.

Manny will be Manny no matter where he is.
LA wants him, there’s no doubt about it, but like I’ve said before, the Dodgers need more than him to get any further than they did last year. Manny’s probably the best hitter in baseball, but if I were the Dodgers, I think I’d rather spend $100 million on 3 or 4 solid players than one superstar. Maybe they can get him to sign for less, maybe not, but Manny wants years.

Yes, I’d love to see him in a Phillies uniform, there’s no doubt about it. Anyone have a problem with that?

Manny’s won rings, so he’s not looking to get any monkeys off his back. He wants a home. He wants to settle in somehwere to end his career on a high-note instead of becoming a slugger-for-hire. Whoever can offer him five years or moe will get him regardless of the dollar figure, I think.

Any disagreements? I would love to start a discussion. Please comment.

~SL

Why The Phillies Need to Make a Play on Manny

Ok.
In case you have never read my blog, I am a Phillies fan, so I am predicting some of you may chalk up this post as bias, but I pray you, read on.

The Phillies have just come off of a World Series Championship, and what has been a trend for world series teams the year after?

They dismantle.

Colorado, Detroit, St. Louis, Houston, Chicago, Florida, San Francisco, the list goes on.
The exceptions are Boston and Anaheim, who were able to stay in contention following a world series appearance. The Rays are a young team under contract and look to remain a core group for at least the next couple seasons. The Phillies, however, have the potential to be broken up and sold piece by piece withing the next year or two. Their time to win is now or they may suffer another rebuilding phase.

The funny thing about Philadelphia is once we get a few wins under our belts, we are spoiled. It happened with the Flyers, Sixers, the Eagle most recently, and now the Phils. So my guess is that anything less than another championship next year will be seen as failure in the eyes of Philadelphians.

What can I say?
We have high standards.

I know a little too much about sports business to know that’s much easier said than done; and while my love for the team is greater than most, it isn’t enough to blind my judgment.

I heard someone on ESPN say that the Phillies dubbed Manny Ramirez as “too expensive” for the club. Well, that may be, but now is not the time to get cheap, Ruben. If it’s money you’re worried about, don’t. Philly fans would hand over their mortgage to see him in left field. I know I would (if I had one). We’re that phanatical.

Pat Burrell may or may not sign. If he does, great, he’s a cornerstone to the organization. But if he doesn’t, they need to go after Manny and go after him aggressively. Burrell leaves a big hole in the field and in the lineup. Manny’s not the type of player to fit into the 5-spot but that’ll be Charlie manuel’s problem.

The Phillies would also need more power from the right side of the plate without Burrell. Utley and Howard who provide most of the lineup’s power hit from the left and the switch-hitting Rollins and Victorino hit for more power from the left as well. Werth is a solid role player but isn’t consistent enough as a power-hitter to fit the need. If they can’t replace Burrell with a righty of comparative power, they’ll have more trouble against leftys in 2009 than in 2008. Overall, even the left-handed hitters in their lineup had good numbers versus southpaws in ’08, but the absence of a righty may change that.

If I were in Ruben Amaro Jr.’s position, I would want Manny just to show the organization, the team and the fans that winning is his prime objective.

But I’m not Ruben Amaro Jr., and maybe I’m not in his position because I’m a complete moron and I should stick to blogging. I have faith that the team will do what they can to continue to win championships. I don’t want to see a great team like the 2008 Phillies  be dismantled like the 1997 Marlins. I know that won’t happen this year, but I am more than familiar with the rise and fall of Philadelphia teams.

The window of opportunity is small and closes fast. That is what I think the true curse of Billy Penn. The Phils were able to get a championship in before the window closed but who knows how much longer it will be open?

As a fan of the game, I normally advocate a different team win every year, but that was before my team won it all. I don’t want to be a spoiled fan, but I know in the back of my mind that if we don’t win another one soon, it could be another 28 years.

I don’t want this city to go through that again.
Make a play.

~SL