Tag Archives: Matt Holliday

Knee Jerk Reactions To Knee Jerk Reactions

Man, were there a lot of knee jerk reactions this weekend. I had my share of knee jerk reactions to those knee jerk reactions. I had no other choice since I spent the majority of the weekend off the grid in spectacular Yosemite National Park. I had some spotty reception, and there was a TV in the tavern, but for the most part, I spent the weekend oblivious to what was going on in the world. The 20 minutes of sports I did catch was the SF Giants getting beat by the Astros, 5-0. I had no idea, until Sunday afternoon, once I touched back down in the California Central Valley, where there was reception again, that the 49ers – Raiders game was riddled with brawls and shootings. Well, you can’t say the Niners didn’t overreact to the incidents. So here’s my feelings on that, along with some other things….

49ers – Raiders Violence:  Why wouldn’t these two fan bases wanna brawl? Both their teams sucks donkey balls, despite plenty of means to be a contender. They’ve both been deep in the postseason numerous times, but these times are hard for Bay Area football teams. It’s no surprise that fans would want to distract themselves from the garbage going on the field. But it doesn’t take a CSI cast member to see that the fights in the stand weren’t merely Raiders vs. 49ers fans. It was one group of dudes against another group of dudes. There was plenty of red on gold violence, and silver and black evil (which we call crime). For the 49ers to subliminally claim that Raider fans were to blame is ridiculous – much like their management of the franchise over the last decade. I’m the #1 apologist for Raider fans… I won’t claim responsibility for any of them, but it’s not that serious. The incidents that occurred at Candlestick Point this past weekend had very little to do with football. Yet, the 49ers’ brass wants to suspend all future preseason games against the Raiders. Alright man, if you’d rather fork over the cash for a charter flight and 50 hotel rooms in San Diego, go right ahead. I’m pretty sure a few extra security guards would be cheaper.

Raiders Grab Terrelle Pryor: Of course they did. Everyone knew the Raiders would go after Pryor, but it almost seemed too obvious. Now the naysayers are bantering about how soon he’ll be moved to wide receiver. Yet Pryor, along with agent Drew Rosenhaus, and according to them, Raiders management, all insist that Terrelle will remain a quarterback. Whether or not that comes to fruition, it’s a low risk – high reward move for Oakland. Because let me put it this way… IF TERRELLE PRYOR PLAYED NEXT YEAR AT OHIO STATE, WOULD YOU SAY THAT HE WOULD GO LOWER THAN THE SECOND ROUND?! ….DIDN’T THINK SO. So to give up a third round pick next year for a flier on Pryor, I’m with it. Especially when I think about how they would burn the pick next year. The Raiders have become a team that takes who they want, when they want. They reached on guys like Mike Mitchell and Demarcus Van Dyke, but that’s who they wanted, so it didn’t matter what pick it was.

Earthquakes Give A’s Home Field Advantage In Yankee Stadium: A 5.9 earthquake struck the East Coast yesterday, and so did the Oakland Athletics. Two violent aftershocks were reported, but were later discovered to be Brandon Allen home runs. The first baseman, acquired from Arizona for Brad Ziegler at the trade deadline, has immediately stepped into the starting first baseman role. Though he was expected to hold down the corner until Conor Jackson came back, Allen has remained at first – while Jackson has found his playing time in the outfield. The A’s have played as good of baseball as any team since the all-star break – unfortunately they’ve been too far out of the race – but a few newcomers have of all 90 of us fans excited for the future. There’s not a lot left to play for… but a sweep, or even just a series win, in the Bronx would do wonders for this team. The Yanks were clearly shaken by the earthquake earlier in the day, but that’s just business as usual for the Northern California A’s squad.

Matt Holliday Gets Earf*cked By A Moth: I had a giant moth land on my forehead today at the office, so I can relate. This story would have never caught my attention if I didn’t have a moth run in this morning. But my moth was way bigger than Matt Holliday’s. He had one burrow into his year. That’s some horror movie type stuff. I caught the interview with Holliday on ESPN radio this afternoon. He sad he felt a bug going crazy inside his ear. The doctors couldn’t see anything, but finally they broke out the light and were able to see something moving around in there. They tried to pull it out with tweezers, but kept only getting pieces of the wings. Holliday described the wings as basically flaking off. After some time, the doctor was able to grab the insect by the body and pull him out of Holliday’s ear. Nucking futs.


State of the Athletics’ Nation

The Classic A's fan paradox: 1/2 maybe this is our year, 1/2 wake me up when the season's over.

The turn of the decade is nearing us, and the Oakland Athletics are in a different position than they were in last year. Around this time a year ago, the A’s had made a blockbuster deal to acquire Jack Parkman Matt Holliday. This move had A’s fans excited that their team had taken the express lane on the rebuilding highway. Gone were future centerpieces Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street, and Greg Smith, and the arrival of Matt Holliday lead to the signings of veterans Jason Giambi, Nomar Garciaparra, and Orlando Cabrera. The moves had the A’s poised to challenge for the division crown, just two seasons after the rebuilding process had begun. Well, things obviously didn’t work out as planned, so we’re back to square one. Let’s take a look at the moves the A’s have made so far this offseason.

Signed Dallas McPherson – This was the first noteworthy move of the offseason for Oakland, as the A’s added some depth at Third Base, where the incumbent has become an enigma after injuries have sidelined Eric Chavez for a good portion of the last three or four years. The only real 3B prospect in the farm system, Brett Wallace, wasn’t projected to stick at third, but we’ll get to that later. The A’s took a flier on McPherson, who once was considered a top prospect. However, numerous injuries, mainly to his back, have derailed his career somewhat. Interesting that GM Billy Beane went after a third basemen whose biggest downside is his back. Hmm, thought we already were set there. Nonetheless, McPherson should play a key role in returning to the championship. The AAA championship that is.

Traded for Jake Fox and Aaron Miles – The A’s didn’t give up much in this deal. Relief pitcher Jeff Gray dominated AAA as a closer, but for some reason, never really fit in with the big league team’s plans. Outfielder Matt Spencer has produced above expectations since being acquired in the Joe Blanton deal, but never really figured to be a major league prospect. So, to get players with big league experience, such as Fox and Miles seems like a precursor to more short-term moves. The A’s got a power hitting third baseman, who, surprise, has been called a liability defensively at third. But, no one questions Fox’s power, which is the primary reason the A’s acquired him. He should see more time at DH or OF than 3B while wearing the green and gold. Miles, meanwhile, was considered a throw-in from the Cubs, since he apparently turned out to be a clubhouse cancer. Players with spotted pasts always seem to clean up their act in Oakland, largely because they’re out of the spotlight. Since the middle infield basically consists of Mark Ellis and a handful of AAAA players, such as Cliff Pennington and Gregorio Petit, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miles play a bigger role than Fox when the season gets underway.

Released Santiago Casilla – One of my favorite A’s of the last few years, Casilla threw heat and for the most part was largely effective. He lacked control at times, however, and he always seemed liable to give up the big hit. He even closed some games out nicely when called upon. Casilla, like many A’s, was on and off the shelf with injuries, but proved to be a key asset in the bullpen. The A’s have no shortage of depth in the bullpen, so he became expendable. I have little doubt that Casilla will catch on elsewhere and play a big role as a setup man.

Declined to Offer a Contract to Jack Cust – This might be the biggest move of the A’s offseason. The Jack Attack was a mainstay in the A’s lineup, leading the team in home runs    each of the last three season. His “Custian” bombs won over many A’s fans, but his strikeouts and defensive shortcomings turned off the rest. He had a love/hate following from the Oakland faithful, and many, including yours truly, are happy to see him go. Sure, his power was nice, but the A’s are forming a new identity as a speedy, defensive team. Cust, believe it or not, is neither. There is, however, still a chance the A’s could bring him back at a reduced rate, but at this time, Cust is out of the picture.

Traded Brett Wallace for Michael Taylor – In case you forgot, Wallace was the key piece in the deal that sent Holliday to St. Louis. He was considered one of the best third base prospects in baseball. Though his defensive abilities there were question, the A’s insisted they would keep him at third, as opposed to moving him to first. They kept their promise, but clearly weren’t sold on him sticking at the position. Once Toronto acquired Taylor from Philadelphia in the Roy Halladay deal, they promptly sent him to Oakland in exchange for Wallace. Taylor seems like a slight upgrade skills-wise, but he comes in at a position of strength (in numbers at least) for the A’s. I see this deal working out well for the A’s, but fear that Wallace will turn into the Blue Jays’ franchise third baseman in the coming years.

Signed Coco Crisp – This deal seemed like it was years in the making. Over the last two full seasons, we’ve heard Crisp’s name circled around the rumor mill as a potential trade target for Beane. Now that he was a free agent, the A’s were able to get him for a mere $5.5 million, instead of giving up precious prospects. What’s interesting is he was signed for the same, if not more money than they would’ve had to shell out for Cust. Instead, they’re getting a smaller, faster, better defensive player. You know, basically like another Rajai Davis. Wait, they still have Davis don’t they? Well, perhaps there are more moves in the making, but the A’s now have four quality outfielders in Crisp, Davis, Ryan Sweeney, and Scott Hairston. By the way, I use the term “quality” loosely. I just mean they’re probably too good to spend any time in Sacramento. Anyway, at this point, many figure Hairston to be the odd man out, but I still wouldn’t surprised to see Davis moved. As it stands, Crisp would take over center field, with Davis moving to left, and Sweeney staying put in right field. While not very intimidating on the offensive end, the A’s would go into the season with one of its best defensive outfields in club history.

Re-Signed Justin Duchscherer – This move was a no-brainer, just as long as you can wipe last season out of your memory. The Duke was coming off his second all-star appearance, and was penciled in as the staff ace, as he was really the only starter who had significant big league experience. Offseason surgery, however, delayed his start to the season. By the time he was ready to play physically, he had dug such a deep mental hole, that the only K’s he was throwing were to his therapist. The contract he got was a Billy Beane special, meaning it was largely incentive based. Those deals have tended to work out well for the A’s in recent memory – see Frank Thomas. Duke’s base salary is $2 million, but incentives can balloon it to upwards of $3.5 million. This signing doesn’t look too notable on paper, but if we get the old Duke back, that’s a huge addition.

This guy lost his banjo. If you find it, please return it to him.


Fantasy Baseball Awards: A Season to Remember or A Season to Forget

mlb logo baseballFantasy sports are always frustrating. A win feels mildly satisfying, but a loss can make you hate everything about the sport or want to quit fantasy sports altogether. I’ll be honest, many of my man crushes come from players I’ve had on my fantasy teams, and pure hatred for a player has also come from fantasy short comings. With the fantasy baseball championship round upon us, I find myself in the finals in one league and a battle for 5th place in my other league. I figured this would be as good a time as any to run through the fantasy MVP’s, and steals of the draft for the season. I’ll only focus on the league that I’m in the Championship for, which also happens to be the league that I’m in with the blog mates. Here was our draft results for your refrence (Chappy 81 – Salsa Valverde, MCeezy – Holy ShirtsandPants, Dyslecix – No Use For A Name)

Chappy81’s Awards

MVP’s: Hanley Ramierez, Matt Holliday, and Joe Mauer deserve  Co-MVP honors, and were three out of my first four picks.Joe Mauer Twins They are all ranked in the top twenty for the season, and undoubtedly helped my team get to the Championship round. Mauer should win the MVP award this season, but due to lame eastcoast media Jeter might skip away with the award much like Pedroia did.

Offensive steals of the draft: My team wouldn’t be where it is without Raul Ibanez (10th round) Carlos Pena (9th round), and Shin-Soo Choo (17th round). They were catalysts in my offensive power numbers combining for 86 of my teams 248 home runs on the season, which probably helped me win as nearly categories as the previous three mentioned players.

Offensive Bust of the Year: Milton Bradly. Although I didn’t pick him that high, I held onto him way too long. His season of below mediocrity explains itself.

Chris Carter fastball CardinalsPitching and Steal of the draft: This year was always changing, but Felix Hernandez and Chris Carpenter were no doubt my horses. Chris Carpenter was the biggest steal I got on draft day as I picked him in the 19th round, and he ended up being the sixth ranked pitcher in Y! games.  He is also looksing like a lock for his 2nd Cy young award this season posting 16 wins and a 2.34 ERA.

Honorable Mention: Jair Jurrens, my 16th round pick,  had an outstanding year putting up 12 wins and a 2.45 ERA with 138 K’s.

Mceezy’s Awards

MVP: Matt Kemp – This was a no brainer, as Kemp is the only player I had in the Top 25.Matt Kemp Dodgers Home Run  He’s ranked #7 overall, as he’s amassed 25 HR and 34 Steals.  He’s also on pace to eclipse 100 runs and 100 RBI as well.  Nevermind the fact that he was a steal in the 3rd round (28th overall), Matt Kemp is a definite fantasy franchise player.

Honorable Mention: Jonathan Broxton – Anchored a shaky corps of closers contributing 35 saves and 107 Ks in only 70 IP.

Steal of the Draft: Justin Verlander – I called this pick the steal of the draft before the season started, and his first few outings made me look like a fool.  However, to this point, Verlander has 16 wins and a 3.44 ERA to go with his MLB leading 245 Ks.  His slip in the draft is attributed to an injury riddled 08 campaign that produced some pretty ugly numbers.  So, getting a player of his caliber in the 11th round (124th overall) and seeing him ranked 27th in the fantasy ranks is a steal indeed!

Honorable Mention: Adam Lind – 17th round. 196th overall.  30+ HR, 100+ RBI.  None of the other 16 guys I picked before him put up bigger numbers.

David Wright hit in the headBust of the Draft: David Wright – Hard to call a guy who’s ranked #52 a bust, but when you chose him 4th overall, and you really wanted to take Braun, who ended up the 6th best fantasy player this year, it stings a little.  Actually a lot, seeing as how I don’t even want to keep the guy as one of my three keepers.  His average and stolen base totals were nice, but I was really expecting more than 10 HR and 60 RBI from my first round pick.  Could’ve been worse…. I could’ve had Jose Reyes or Grady Sizemore.

Honorable Mention: Mike Aviles – Tempting to include Nate McLouth (5th rd) or Scott Kazmir (8th rd) since they were picked higher, but Aviles’ complete lack of production gives him the nod.  I chose him in the 12th rd, two picks after Nelson Cruz, and basically handed him my SS spot.  1 HR and 8 RBI later, Aviles was done for the year, exiting with a stellar .183 batting average.

Dyslecix’s Awards

Ryan Howard Chase Utley PhilliesCo-MVP’s: Chase Utley & Ryan Howard – I remember logging on to our baseball draft at the start of the year and being sick that I was drafting at 11. Typically sitting at the backend of a draft can pay off and has its distinct advantages, however I typically want to avoid this draft spot in baseball for a variety of reasons. That despair quickly turned into optimism when big slugging Howard and his fabulous Philly counterpart Utley fell to 11 and 15 respectively. Any big baseball fan will be well aware of there numbers so I skip them, however offensively I have ridden them to a fantasy final for a 2nd time, and feel extremely good riding them the last two weeks for the title itself.

Honorable Mention: Jason Bay – Shocked he survived the entire turn back to me in the 4th round, his 35 home runs have been the perfect power addition to Utley and Howard. Although his batting average of .268 leaves much to be desired from a fantasy geek perspective, he easily deserves mention in anybody fantasy team MVP discussion.

Andre Ethier DodgersSteal of the Draft: Andre Either – At the time I thought little of this pick in the 11th round, I knew the upside was there along several different categories but didn’t think much more about it. 31 home runs and 101 RBI’s later he easily goes down as my steal of the draft. By the way are you picking up on the trend here? My fantasy team this year was sporting some real power this year!! The real question I have now with Either is what’s his possible peak? Do I keep him next year over Jason Bay? Alas, a different topic for another day.   

Honorable Mention: Heath Bell – In years past I’ve always discounted closers during my fantasy drafts, and by and large ignored them completely. However, over the last couple of years I have a new strategy with how to utilize them, and thus look for upside closers like Bell late in drafts. 37 saves later along 72 K’s he was a core aspect of my pitching staff all year long. With a price tag of a 16th round pick, he could easily have been my main steal of the draft as well.

Francisco Liriano TwinsBust of the draft: Francisco Liriano – I’ll admit I was blinded by his pre-Tommy John career and thus most likely reached drafting him in the 5th round of the draft. Granted there isn’t a way to have forecasted such a terrible year, but I most likely should have looked else where drafting my first pitcher. In hind sight Adam Wainwright was the clear choice I dropped the ball on. As the baseball season winds down, Liriano can boast a brief stint in AAA, a demotion to the bullpen, and an ERA of 5.71 in only 119 innings. The word “bust” can’t describe my draft pick any better, and maybe it’s to understated, perhaps “Nuclear Implosion” is a bit better?

Honorable Mention: Cameron Maybin – Not much to say about this one. We drafted this year with the understanding that we were going to keeping three players for the following year, and Maybin was a gamble on the keeper front. Less then a month into the season it was readily apparent he couldn’t turn on MLB pitching and was getting over powered on a regular basis. Perhaps his upside will surface in the years to come, but this year wasn’t it for him. The cost of a 14th round pick was pricy for a player who I cut less than a month into the season.


Cubs Break Out In a Big Way

The Chicago Cubs, mired in a 5 game losing streak, broke out in a big way tonight, taking advantage of the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates.  They put up 14 runs in the first two innings, chasing newly acquired Charlie Morton after just one complete inning.  Morton was torched for 7 hits, 10 earned runs, and 3 walks, before being relieved by Chris Bootcheck who surrendered 7 earned in 2.1 innings of work.  Derrek Lee led the charge, going 3-3 with 7 RBI.  Kosuke Fukudome added a 3 run home run, and Jake Fox, Ryan Theriot, Alfonso Soriano, Jeff Baker, and even Randy Wells drove in runs to lead the Cubs to a 17-2 victory.  Just when people were doubting the Chitown Northsiders, the Cubbies broke out in a major way when they needed it most.  The Cubs still trail the Cardinals, who have won 12 of their last 15 behind the hot hitting of Matt Holliday.  If Chicago is going to have any chance at catching St. Louis, they’re going to have to ride this offensive surge to hit their way into the postseason.

The Cubs will need big numbers from Derrek Lee to get into the postseason.

The Cubs will need big numbers from Derrek Lee to get into the postseason.


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.


A’s Pull Another Jack Move on the Cardinals

It seemed as though the A’s were going to deal Matt Holliday for Brett Wallace straight up.  Instead, they got two extra players.  Many would say this is a good deal for both teams, but frankly, I don’t really care what it does for the Cardinals.  I don’t care if Matt Holliday hits .220 or .330 the rest of the way.  No matter what happens, the A’s win.  Perhaps I’m overstating it, but removing Holliday from the lineup is addition by subtraction.  Seeing him up close this year has been a huge disappointment.  Many have tried to chalk it up to him being in a pitcher’s park or having little help offensively in the lineup.  The fact is, he simply wasn’t hitting.  It’s not like he was constantly hitting balls that died on the warning track.  Or that he was racking up hits but getting left on base when others failed to come through.  You can’t even attribute his struggles to seeing few good pitches, because pitchers weren’t pitching around him.  He had plenty of opportunities with runners on and saw plenty of pitches to hit.  He just wasn’t hitting them.  He filled in nicely for Mark Ellis providing the team’s bulk of infield pop-ups.  At the same time, he beat out Bobby Crosby for the title of best at hitting into inning-ending double plays.  Don’t let the past week or two fool you.  The A’s could’ve traded him for the ol’ proverbial bag of balls and come out winners.

However, Oakland didn’t receive a bag of balls in this deal, but rather two top ten prospects from the Cardinals’ system.  Brett Wallace is a supposed can’t miss big leaguer, and is probably less than a year away.  Despite being a fat gut, scouts say he is in fact athletic, and could stick at third base for years to come. Third base, as A’s fans know too well, is a huge hole for the team.  On top of that, they managed to snag St. Louis’ 2nd best pitching prospect, and 6th best prospect overall.  It’s unlikely he’ll be the next Dan Haren, but he is projected to be a future #3 starter.  The bottom line is the three players the A’s got are almost guaranteed to be better than the two compensation picks they would’ve received at the end of the season.  The added bonus is that Holliday is out of lineup two months sooner!


The Trade Deadline is Coming Who Will Find a New Home?

Stock Trading Floor

With the trade deadline approaching, it looks as though teams need to make some moves to ensure that a playoff run is going to happen. There are powerhouses (Dodgers, Phillies, Yankees, and Red Sox), that may not need to make a move to make the playoffs, but there’s a good chance they may need to make a move to win a championship. I’ve been waiting to see what prospects the A’s can pull out of it, and they do have a few bargaining chips so this may be the last time I’m excited about news from them for awhile. Aside from the Halladay sweepstakes, many say there aren’t many difference makers in the market this year. I agree to some extent that Halladay could make an impact like CC Sabathia did last year taking Milwakee to the playoffs. Then again there are the subtle differences like Boston adding Orlando Cabrera and upgrading their defense to help them push their way to breaking the curse. I will run through some other players not named Halladay, that could be a big difference maker when it’s all said and done.

Matt Holliday. I guess I have to start with a player from my team. Matt HollidayI’m just hoping we get something to the tune of a few major league ready minor league players, instead of two compensation draft picks when he leaves this off-season. San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, and even Boston could use some power at the moment, and are all within three games of the wild card spot at the moment.  Holliday hasn’t lit the world on fire since coming to Oakland, but is showing teams he’s still a good player as it gets closer to the deadline with 3 HR’s, 13 Runs, 14 RBI, and a .311 BA over the last month.

Justin Duchscherer. Another A’s player, and Buster Only was all over him as a poor man’s Halladay. I’m not sure I’m sold on him returning to his dominant form of last season, but the numbers don’t lie, as he’s set to make his re-hab stint and hopefully a return to the majors soon. Pitching as a reliever or a starter his ERA has never been higher than 3.27, which makes me a believer that teams would pick up his modest salary in hopes he returns to form by playoff time. It also opens the door for him to return to the bullpen when he makes it back up, which would make the likes of Wuertz and Ziegler available. I would rather have either of them that the Orioles George Sherill.

Victor MartinezVictor Martinez. He’s having a solid comeback season with 14 HR’s, 59 RBI’s and a .286 BA. Vic is a player that would be a good fit for Red Sox or the Mets with Delgado and Lowell constantly battling injuries. He would also be a solid fit behind the plate in Boston with the deteriorating Varitek.

Cliff Lee. I think the chances of Lee making as much of an impact as Halladay are fairly likely. It’s been reported that since the Sox placed Wakefield on the DL they sent their top scout to Toronto to watch Lee dominate the Jays in his second consecutive complete game. It seems like Cleveland should have plenty of phone calls for last years Cy Young award winner and Martinez.

Marco Scutaro. He’s an interesting player on the block. I think he is the ultimate team player, kind of like Mark DeRosa was to the Cubs last season. Marco ScutaroHe can play multiple positions, and can come through with clutch hits (Many fond memories of him in an A’s uniform). He’s a glue guy that every contender needs, and if a team deals for him they won’t be disappointed with what he brings to the table.

Freddy Sanchez. The Pirates failed to reach agreements with Sanchez and Jack Wilson, so it looks like once again they will be trying to trade their soon to be free agents for some more prospects. Sanchez is the most interesting of the two as he plays phenomenal defense, and gets on base with regularity hitting .311 on the season. He’d be a good fit with the Giants or the Cubs.

Only time will tell, and after July 31st we will see which teams make their upgrades, and which teams think they already have what they need. Even though I doubted there would be any fireworks this year. I think there are some good names on the market besides Halladay!


The A’s Shaky Start…

The A’s have shown signs of life the past few weeks, and I’ve wanted to write a post ripping them for this uninspired season thus far, but they just wouldn’t let me do it. The last two weeks they’ve won seven of their last twelve! So my assumption is they didn’t want me to write about how crappy their season has been going. I guess, since they are in the midst of their 2nd three game winning streak of the season, I will have to ease up on some of my feelings towards this miserable start, but for the most part it’s been about as bad as it could be…

During the first series of the year, I wanted to go to two of the four games that were in Anaheim. One of the games I went to was a come from behind win in the 9th, where they scored 3 runs in the 8th and 3 in the 9th to win the game 6-4. I was so excited that I ended up buying the MLB.com package to watch every game I could on my computer when time permitted. The second game was cancelled to the Adenhart tragedy. Little did I know that this would be their only exciting game to watch over the next month and a half. Aside from 111832Mike Ryan Sweeney’s amazing grabs in the outfield, that was about the only positive feeling I had after watching them. The offense was so bad at one point, I wouldn’t even want to look at the box score because there would be six or seven guys hitting under .200!

I WAS excited about the players that they had signed over the offseason, because it was really the first time in two years that they really seemed like they were trying to compete in the west. Many people told me that we were signing too many old players, but I didn’t really care! I was just pumped to see them actually making off-season moves that didn’t involve (insert Oakland’s best pitcher/hitter) for (three major league ready MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS)! No wonder the Rivercats are always so good… Well, here’s my understanding of what is going on with some of the players that I was convinced during the off-season would make the A’s a force in the AL West.

  1. Matt Holliday – He was acquired via trade, and is supposed to Oakland+A+s+v+Chicago+Cubs+TjPPLBLme86lbe our big bat in the middle of the order. Observing him closely through the first month of the year (probably even a little more because he was on my fantasy team) I noticed one main theme. He looked like Pedro Serrano from Major League, as he constantly swung at bad pitches that weren’t even hittable. I wonder if he ever watched video of himself, because if they kept a stat for swings at a bad pitch out of the strike zone, Holliday would have one per at bat! Holliday’s thought process when he goes to the plate must be something to the extent of, “Cmon Matt, hit a bomb! Swing as hard as you can at the next pitch no matter where he throws it! Then grimace and tap the bat barrel on your head.” It really makes me wonder how he could have ever won two out of three triple-crown categories in one season. I guess Coors is truly the ultimate hitters’ park, I am a believer! I can’t say I’ve been impressed with anything he’s done this year! Ok, Ok he has turned it around lately, and I truly hope he proves me completely wrong! I hope I praise him and he inspires me to write up an MVP ballot for him, but he’s got to prove that to me. The whole “not mind being traded thing”, nope, not getting into it today…
  2. Jason Giambi – I’m guessing that I must’ve set the bar a little too high for the Giambino, since my last glimpse of him in the green and gold was his MVP season, and well, that Giambi will Jason_Giambi-thumb-739x817-thumb-739x817never stroll to the plate again, unless he starts taking some PED’s again! During this A’s offensive struggles, he was slumping as bad as Holliday, I found myself wishing that he had never signed on again and we just had Cust hitting in his spot with whoever at first. My opinion has been swayed lately with his power coming alive a little bit. Part of his problem was the way his swing has looked this year. I guess I didn’t watch him much while he was on the Yankees (seeing him only on SC highlights). At times I’d say he looks about as good as David Ortiz this first third of the season, but at least Giambi has 800% more homers than Ortiz! Bottom Line, his bat speed must be slowing, if not, it must be his reflexes…
  3. Orlando Cabrera – This guy tried to find any way possible to not sign with Oakland, and in the end I can’t completely blame him, since they were low-balling him. It’s been hard for me to Athletics Angels Baseballroot for him watching him play for the Angels and Red Sox, but I’m slowly adjusting. One thing is for sure, he has been playing like an unhappy guy (.225 BA).  It’s probably like when I was answering customer calls for Oakley (I really hated the job), but I needed to work, so you just do what you gotta do. I just hope something snaps him out of his funk. I’ve watched way too much Angels baseball over the past few years living in Southern California, and when he was in Anaheim he always looked like he was having fun. In Oakland he’s had the someone just told me a relative died look on his face for nearly every game. If I was playing as bad as him, I’d probably have that look on my face too. I’ll tell you what O-Cab, we’re unhappy with your play so far this year, you need to step it up!
  4. Nomar Garciapara – Well, he’s played a lot so far this year… I guess he came to Oakland to take Chavez’s place when he’s hurt, er, uhh, I guess now Nomar is just competing with Chavez for who can spend the most time on the DL this season…
  5. Our Pitching – I’ve been excited at times, and shrugged my shoulders at times. What can you expect from a bunch of guys making their first dip in the major leagues!?! I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised. If their offense wasn’t ranked 12th out of the 14 teams in the AL we’d probably be close to .500. Ok, maybe that’s a bit hasty, but they’ve pitched plenty of games that the offense could have won if they could have scored a 9380502_36_3couple! Oh yeah, have to mention Mazzaro’s first gem in his first career start going 6 1/3 shutout innings only giving up two hits on Tuesday. Anderson and Cahill, the other two of the “big three” young guys, have pitched well on and off. Our bullpen has a lot of “live arms”. I really do like our pen, we’re full of guys with closer stuff. Between Bailey, Ziegler, Casilla, and Wuertz (even Breslow) we should be able to hold a lot of leads, if we can actually get them!

I feel at this point there’s no way to go but up! I’m finally content with the way the A’s are playing as winning will cure everything. I’m crossing my fingers that the team on the field over the last two weeks is what people were making a big fuss over during the off-season. They need to be within 5 games of first by the All-Star break or it’s going to be time for this year’s fire sale! First on the block, (Matt Holliday) for (Three major league ready minor league players). I hope this day doesn’t happen too soon, as I’m just starting to get into it again!