Tag Archives: Dan Haren

CP3, Haren, and Garza’s No-No

Maverick Carter, a face I'm starting to hate more and more...

CP3 made me, and the sports-world lose a little respect for him over the weekend after making some trade demands that he can’t really force. If you have a player that is close to or at the top of their position you just don’t trade that guy away when he’s still under contract. The only time you really do is at the trade deadline when you are obviously out of it for the season, and have zero chance to re-sign the guy. I’m sure there’s something about making $14M this year and $16M next year that makes me feel he should honor his contract/commitment to the Hornets. I think the thing that bugs me the most though is that this whole ill-conceived plan to demand a trade was most likely whispered into his ear by his new buddies/agents Worldwide Wes and Maverick Carter. I’ve always been a CP3 fan, and like By, I was really looking forward to his return to greatness in 2010-2011 season. Now that he has taken the Lebron-Maverick-Wes route I’m not sure I will ever view him in the same light anymore. He’s nearly as important to New Orleans as Drew Brees, and the fans there don’t deserve to be jerked around for the next two years by James’ crew and CP3. I prey they don’t contrive some ridiculous hour special for his decision 2012. He shouldn’t have demanded a trade, especially since it sounds like he hadn’t even meet with the new coach (Monty Williams) or new GM (Dell Demps) prior to telling the world he wanted out. Just another flawed power trip by James’ gang of half wits that think they are above everyone, and are the ones pulling the strings. If this isn’t a sign to stay away from Carter and Wes, I’m not sure what will show players that they are bad for the league and a players image. They’ve done well killing Cleveland’s fan base, are they going to kill New Orleans basketball too? Let’s hope not…

Speaking of guys I used to like, Dan Haren was traded to the Angels over the weekend and made his first start last night. I had to tune in to see exactly where my sports hate of him would stand, and just like Vlad and Torii before him, I now have to root against the guy. During his stint with the A’s I didn’t think I’d ever NOT like him. He’s easily the most successful player we’ve had over the last few years. Even the players we got for him ended up being great (Brett Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez, and hopefully Chris Carter pans out too), which made me like him all the more. I had mixed emotions watching him pitch last night, and after he threw a couple of innings I realized this was the end of our relationship for awhile. It’s amazing how quickly you can turn on a player, and I admittedly cracked a small smile when he was hit by a line drive, then immediately felt a little bad I was happy that he got hurt in his first start. I guess I’m just mad that the A’s will have to face him six times a year now… Oh well, if anyone has a complete scouting report on the guy, it’s the A’s!

I was eating dinner at a bar where one of my whiffle ball buddies bartends, and last night I found out he went to Fresno State, and played baseball with Matt Garza in college. It only came up because we were watching Garza pitch the last four innings of his no hitter yesterday. It was pretty impressive as he faced the minimum amount of hitters, and only walked one guy the whole night. It had to be relieving for the Rays, and their fans to be on the right side of a no-no/perfect game as they’ve seen three thrown against them in the last two years. Anyways, my buddy who went to college with him said he wasn’t even the top prospect on their team, which makes his story a little better. He also told me that the guy “acts like a little girl when he drinks” Another thing he mentioned was that he was a really weird guy that kept to himself a lot. Anyways, just thought those might be a couple of interesting tidbits of info on Garza that you probably haven’t heard….


MLB Trade Deadline Actually Makes Sense

My favorite trade deadline in all of sports is baseball’s July deadline. Basketball might be a close second, but baseball is the most interesting for both teams involved in a trade. Pretty much anyone could go anywhere. In basketball, we only see trades that fit within contract constraints hence the creation of the ESPN trade machine. Basketball also has a lot of players that are disgruntled with their current team only to be shipped away for basically nothing, so the talent traded isn’t all that exciting except for the team that gets the big name player. In baseball, we at least see talent traded for talent. You’re either a team building for the future, and stocking the farm system with prospects or you are going to improve your team to compete for a championship that year by sacrificing your farm system. In short, you get trades that actually make sense for both clubs kind of like when your a kid trading baseball cards with a friend. Even if it’s a high risk high reward proposition for all teams involved. Sure we may not know who the AAA guys are that were in the trade off hand, but if you’re a fan of that crappy team that just gave away their star, you instantly have hope for the future, and want to see these guys called up as soon as possible. I doubt the A’s will be wheeling and dealing since they have little to offer other teams. Maybe we can get a couple of project guys for Sheets, but I’m not holding my breath at this point. Here’s a few guys that I think could make an impact on a contending team that sound like they are on the block.

Pitchers – Obviously Cliff Lee was by far the best pitcher on the market, and he was gone before we could even start the rumor mongering about him. After him there isn’t a whole lot of big names out there, but there’s a few impact players that could make a difference.

Dan Haren – It sounds like the D-Backs want more than a kings ransom of prospects for Haren, and it’s doubtful that teams are willing to give that much up to get him, but if someone can pull of a deal to grab him, he’s by far the best pitcher in the market. He usually doesn’t do as well in the 2nd half of the season, but it’s hard to say adding an ace of his status isn’t worth it for anyone seriously contending for a pennant. The Twins desperately need someone of his pedigree. He’s also not a short term fix since he’s locked up through 2012, so it’s a move that could yield more than one playoff run.

Roy Oswalt – It’s tough to see a lot of teams wanting to give up a ton of prospects, AND have to pay Oswalt $25M on top of that. Plus, he has a no trade clause that would make things even more tricky, but then again I’m sure you could persuade him to waive that clause if he has a chance at pitching some meaningful games. He made a trade demand, but made his small list of teams that he’d like to go to… Houston might have to send some cash in any deal made.

Joakim Soria – I think the Royals must be riding the short yellow bus thinking they are in the race, but somehow, in spite of their record each year, they seem to think they are. I don’t think they’ll trade away one of their only players worth having on the roster, unless they get some godfather offer from someone. They’d deal Soria five times before Grienke though, or he would be on the list as well.

Ted Lilly, Ricky Nolasco, Jake Westbrook, Edwin Jackson, Kevin Millwood, and Wandy Rodriguez – None of these starters are going to be an ace for teams, but they might be cheaper to get than the other guys mentioned above. I like Lilly and Nolasco the most of the bunch. I don’t see any of them really making a huge impact on teams unless a team like the Yankees needs to grab someone they know can hold down the fort while others get healthy from injuries.

Octavio Dotel, Jason Frasor, Kerry Wood, Brandon Lyon, Kevin Gregg, David Aardsma, and Aaron Heilman – These are all guys you could bolster that bullpen with. Everyone needs some reliable guys that they can call on in a sticky situation. Some of these guys might not be sexy names or guys you’d really be all that excited about if your team traded for them, but they will be invaluable in bridging that gap to the closer.

HittersThere aren’t a ton of teams looking for hitters, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Giants, Angels, Padres, and possibly the Cardinals try to make a move that would improve their offenses.

Prince Fielder – It’s pretty unlikely any offer they will receive would match what they want for him. He’s as big a name as you could find on the trading block, but it sounds like there’s not many ways he’d actually be traded. It’s more likely he ends up being traded over the off season than the July deadline.

Jayson Werth – The Phillies haven’t given the five tool outfielder a new contract that he was asking for. If they keep playing mediocre ball, and fall behind the Mets and Braves further than they are, don’t be shocked if Werth is moved for the right price. I can’t think of many teams in the hunt that couldn’t use an upgrade in the outfield.

Corey Hart – The more likely player to leave the Brew crew. He’s only moving if they get some pitching in return, it’s just a matter of what teams are willing to give up. The Giants sound intriguing possibly giving up Sanchez or Bumgarner, and Corey would provide Buster Posey some protection or vice versa.

David Dejesus – He’s in the same boat as Soria with a breakout season this year. It would be nice to see him in another uniform playing some meaningful games, but for some reason Kansas City’s front office always thinks it’s still in the race.

Adam Dunn – He’s the big guy that a lot of teams will look at as a rental with a solid track record of performing. I hope he doesn’t don the Angel red in place of injured Kendry Morales, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they did pull out a trade as an answer to division leading Rangers big move in acquiring Cliff Lee.

Everyone else on the Marlins, Blue Jays, Astros, Diamondbacks, Cubs, and Orioles – All of these teams have some interesting players that could help a team out. None are extremely exciting, but are guys that could mildly upgrade a position for a playoff bound team. Should be fun when it gets closer to the deadline!


(Not So) Early Predictions for the Cy Young – National League

About three weeks ago, I broke down the AL Cy Young race.   I’m not so sure about my prediction anymore, as Roy Halladay has had a lackluster last few outings.  What I would like to point out, however, is that I also mentioned that if Zack Greinke were to “regain his form, his final numbers might end up too good to ignore.”  Well, at this point, that’s looking like the case.  Greinke’s numbers are now so good across the board it looks like he may be a lock, at this time, for the award.  He leads in the AL in ERA, WHIP, and Shutouts, is second in Ks behind Justin Verlander, and third in Batting Average Against, behind Matt Garza and Felix Hernandez, respectively.  There’s still a month of baseball left to be played, but he looks like the clear front runner in that race and should bring a little bit of pride to what’s left of the Kansas City Royals’ fan base.

Now, on to the topic at hand – the National League Cy Young race.  Once again, I’ve narrowed it to a group of five: Chris Carpenter, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Adam Wainwright, and Dan Haren.  We’re going to do this one by process of elimination.  Haren is probably the longest shot at this point, given his team’s standing.  He has the least impressive record of the bunch and the highest ERA.  However, I put a lot of weight on WHIP when it comes to assessing a pitcher’s performance, and in that aspect he is the best, 0.95. Like I said, though, he’s a longshot, and would need to finish out strong to have a serious chance.

That leaves us with four.  Adam Wainwright has the most wins of the bunch, racking up an impressive 17-7 record.  But, he also has the highest WHIP and BAA, along with the next highest ERA behind Haren.  His record is due in part to his team’s success.  While he’s no doubt having a great year, his numbers just don’t stack up with this bunch.

Matt Cain is also having an outstanding year for a contending club.  Historically a hard luck pitcher, Cain boasts an impressive 13-4 record.  His 2.51 ERA and 1.16 WHIP are more than respectable.  Cain, though, is supposed to be a power pitcher, yet his strikeout numbers are low, and his K:BB ratio is easily the highest of the bunch. Next.

And then there were two.  Chris Carpenter (16-3) and Tim Lincecum (13-5) are the clear front runners for the award.  I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I’m quite ready to choose between them.  Carpenter has the better record, ERA, and WHIP, but Lincecum has substantial advantages when it comes to Innings Pitched, BAA, and has 34 more strikeouts than the next guy, Javier Vazquez, in the NL, and 104 more than Carpenter.  Lincecum has thrown 34 more innings in 4 more starts than Carpenter.  Granted, a pitcher shouldn’t necessarily be punished for missing starts due to injury, but you have to look at the numbers as a whole, and overall, I think Lincecum’s numbers are slightly more impressive.  But, both guys have a few more starts to go, and that will be what separates the two.  Carpenter will have an opportunity to set himself apart, and I think he’ll need it.  Because, at this point, although unlikely, I’m predicting Tim Lincecum to be the first repeat Cy Young winner since 2002 when Randy Johnson won his fourth straight.


Renewed Faith: In Beane We Trust

Billy Beane

Although Matt already wrote about the Holliday trade today, I felt there was a need to analyze how ingenious this move was. As Matt wrote Oakland teams are never shy from making a trade to at least give us hope that we are trying to make things better. Beane has consistently been one of the masterminds behind the bay area movement to give their fans hope, and the deal today sounds like we have these new guys to once again give us that hope.Brett Wallace Oakland A's The 2009 Baseball America Prospect Handbook says, “Brett Wallace, think batting champ with the ability to be a big bopper. “ This is one of many interesting players that the A’s have acquired as the rebuilding is starting to take some shape.

The A’s have historically been a mover around the trade deadline. In the past two years Beane has been very active as he traded ace Dan Haren for Brett Anderson, Greg Smith, Carlos Gonzalez, Dana Eveland, Chris Carter, and Aaron Cunningham. He then traded Huston Street, Greg Smith, and Carlos Gonzalez, for Matt Holliday. Today he traded Holliday and cash for Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen, and Shane Peterson. Since most haven’t heard of a lot of these guys you may not understand why it’s so significant to the A’s organization. These moves have laid a solid foundation for a much more competitive team in the near future. Fans seemed to think that it was going to take a few years to rebuild, but I’m confident that we could have the next Tampa Rays on our hands within a year or two!

So far it appears that the A’s have kept the best piece in terms of major league play so far from the Haren trade, with Brett Anderson. He has been dominant over his last four starts as he seems to be figuring out the way to pitch at the major league level tossing 26 1/3 IP, 2-0, 25 K, 0.34 ERA, and a 0.69 WHIP over the last month.Brett Anderson Oakland A's Tonight he is facing the Yankees with a 21 inning scoreless streak going into the game. The guy I was excited about for awhile, Carlos Gonzalez, was traded away in the Holliday trade, and he hasn’t impressed so far hitting only .229 in 97 at bats for Colorado this season. Street is having a pretty good year for Colorado, but even when he was on the A’s last year he wasn’t even the closer as Brad Ziegler took the spot from him. Beane has never seemed to highly value the closer’s role, so losing Street and C-Gon, hasn’t hurt them.

The Holliday trade today was amazing in the sense that I don’t think they could have got any more than they did for him from any other team. Were the Cardinals that desperate to help Albert to not notice the A’s situation? They dealt away three of their top prospects that appear to be major league ready when it seemed like a week ago the A’s had no interesting offers for Holliday. The Tigers made an attempt, but it wasn’t enough for Beane. The Cardinals knew all the A’s would get was two draft picks if he left, and Holliday is very likely to accept an arbitration offer in this struggling economy. This was a match made in heaven for Beane. He escaped the trap of log jamming millions for an underachieving star next season, and now he has three promising young players to show for it. I don’t know how he does it! I wouldn’t trade Beane for any GM in the league.


Who Should Start For The NL?

The MLB All-Star Game is less than a month away, thus kicking off one of my favorite pastimes…. speculating who will be the starting pitchers for each league.  It probably has to do with the fact that the A’s usually have someone in the running – Josh Outman is 2nd in BAA!  All kidding aside, it’s the NL that has me intrigued this year.  There are five distinct candidates; few could argue that.  Although I certainly don’t consider it to be the end all gauge for pitchers, look no further than the NL ERA rankings to find these five.

The first guy I rule out is Johnny Cueto.  To be honest, I wouldn’t even include him had I not known he has the lowest ERA.  His numbers are solid, but the 6-4 record is far from sexy and let’s be real, we just don’t hear a lot about this guy.  He’s pretty much this year’s version of Edinson Volquez, and look where that got him.

The next guy I rule out is Matt Cain.  A friend actually told me today he thought Cain is the front runner right now.  His reasoning was that Cain leads the league in complete games (three), wins (nine), and is third in ERA.  All good points, but I see some things that cancel those out.  The glaring fault I see is his K:BB ratio.  68 Ks to 34 BBs.  That’s 2:1 folks.  Not only is that obviously the worst among these five guys, he’s also got the worst BAA and WHIP, not to mention the least amount of innings pitched.  That 9-1 record looks a lot luckier to me now having said that.  I’m happy for the guy though.  He’s had notoriously poor run support the last few years, so it’s good to see him make up a few wins.

The other three guys, in my opinion, all deserve it, but I reluctantly cross out Chad Billingsley next.  I’m a pretty firm believer in the old practice of taking the best pitcher on the best team.  Billingsley and the Dodgers are that.  His 9-3 record helps, but the numbers just don’t stand out above the rest of the group.  A lot of his numbers, in fact, are similar to Lincecum’s, but Timmy comes out ahead in just about every category.  Billingsley has also walked the most batters, however his 93 Ks keep his ratio out of Matt Cain territory.  Aside from the win-loss records, choosing Billingsley over Lincecum just can’t be justified.

Speaking of Lincecum, I like him a lot for the fact that he’s the reigning Cy Young winner.  Sure, that’s reflective of last season, but to me, that makes him the defending champion i.e. the “top guy.”  He’s got 10 more Ks than the next guy on this list and his overall numbers are solid.  That win total of six might be his undoing though.  To his credit, I can see at least three starts that should’ve/could’ve ended in wins.  I would give the nod to Lincecum if it weren’t for……

Dan Haren.  Has a 5-4 pitcher ever been named the starter for the All-Star Game?  There’s a good chance the answer is no.  But, if you take a look at how he got to 5-4, you quickly realize he is FAR better than the record indicates.  He has four starts where he went 6+ innings (7 in three of them) and only gave up 1 run.  With any reasonable offense, he would be 9-2.  Beyond the wins and losses though, you’ll find superior numbers.  His 2.20 ERA is second only to Cueto, and he is head and shoulders above all these guys in WHIP (0.81) and BAA (.181)  Those numbers are unreal!  You know what else is unreal?  90 Ks to only 13 walks.  That’s 6.92 K:BB people!  Throw in 94 IP – second only to Josh Johnson‘s 98 – and Haren is the clear cut favorite for the All-Star Game start.  The best part is… there’s still a month to go and this race could have five completely different guys!

NL All-Star Starting Pitcher?

NL All-Star Starting Pitcher?