Author Archive

Boston’s Bullpen Of Misfit Toys

Andrew Bailey is set to make his Red Sox debut this week. After being sidelined with a thumb injury for the entire season, the Red Sox are expected to activate Bailey on Tuesday. Bailey was acquired to take over the closer role after Jonathan Papelbon left for Philadelphia. And while his injury has certainly hurt the Sox, they’ve performed pretty well without him.

Read the rest of this entry »


What Will Melky Cabrera Make On The Market?

Melky Cabrera is having a career-year. After posting 4.2 WAR last year, Cabrera has once again been effective. The 27-year-old outfielder has already passed that total this season, accumulating 4.8 WAR so far.

Cabrera’s performance comes at a great time for him. At the end of the season, he can become a free-agent. And it looks like he’ll have a chance to hit the market, since the San Francisco Giants have put off negotiations with him until then. Cabrera’s two-year breakout is also interesting since he’s never produced like this before. All of those factors make Cabrera one of the most unique players to hit the market in quite some time. Because of that, no one is really sure how much he’ll make.

Read the rest of this entry »


Ian Desmond Has Natitude

Ian Desmond has become a legitimate threat in the lineup. This may come as a big surprise to fans of sabermetrics, as Desmond’s swing-happy approach, led to him being one of the worst regulars in baseball. Last season, Desmond finished ahead of only Yuniesky Betancourt and Alex Gonzalez in WAR at the shortstop position. This year, he trails Elvis Andrus 3.8 to 3.7. If not for a recent oblique injury, Desmond would likely be the most valuable shortstop in baseball this season. While his approach hasn’t changed much, there are some signs that he’s become a better player.

Read the rest of this entry »


Justin Upton Needs To Hit More Fly Balls

Justin Upton is still a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. During the off-season, there was no reason to think that the 24-year-old outfielder would be a potential trade candidate. Upton was coming off a phenomenal season, in which he hit .289/.369/.529, and finished fourth in the NL MVP voting. But things have changed in just a few months. While there seems to be some internal reasons for the team wanting to trade their star, Upton’s performance this season hasn’t helped matters. Upton has slumped to just .269/.358/.396. If Upton wants to dispel those rumors, he’s going to need to start producing like everyone expects. In order to do that, he’s going to have to start putting more balls in the air.

Read the rest of this entry »


Carlos Zambrano To The Bullpen

The honeymoon is over for the Miami Marlins and Carlos Zambrano. Big-Z may have gotten off to a great start in Miami, but a recent swoon, in which he has given up 35 earned runs in his last 41.1 innings, has put the 31-year-old pitcher back in the bullpen. The Chicago Cubs used the same approach in 2010, after Zambrano got off to a poor start. The experiment lasted just 16.2 innings. With the Marlins paying Zambrano just $2.55 million this year, they can justifiably move Zambrano to the pen with little argument from their fans. But even though it’s tough to complain much about the move, it doesn’t mean that it’s the right one.

Read the rest of this entry »


Cole Hamels Should Reject The Phillies’ Offer

The Philadelphia Phillies are going to make a big play to keep Cole Hamels. The team is planning to offer Hamels a six-year, $130 million extension in the coming days, according to CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman. Since 2006, Hamels has been a mainstay in the Phillies rotation, accumulating an ace-like 25.7 WAR for the team over that period. Hamels is set to be a free-agent at the end of the season, which is why the Phillies are making a play to keep him now. If Hamels declines, it’s more than likely he’ll be traded so the Phillies can receive something of value for him before he hits the market. And even though the Phillies reported offer is more than fair, Hamels should reject it.

Read the rest of this entry »


What’s Wrong With John Axford?

John Axford is struggling. After blowing another save last night, the Brewers’ closer is now tied for the league-lead with six blown saves. Over the last two seasons, Axford had emerged as one of the best relievers in baseball. Among qualified relievers, Axford rated fourth overall with 3.9 WAR. While relief pitchers are rarely able to sustain their greatness for multiple seasons, there were few signs that Axford was headed for regression. While the Brewers are losing ground this season, Axford is under team control until 2017. If the Brewers hope that Axford will continue to be a shutdown closer in the future, they are going to have to figure out what’s wrong with him.

Read the rest of this entry »


Mark Trumbo Makes a Name for Himself

Mark Trumbo was the least recognizable player in the Home Run Derby. Sure, Trumbo finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year Award voting last season, but he lacked the star power of a true superstar like Prince Fielder or Matt Kemp. But Trumbo impressed in the Derby, nearly making the finals while hitting some of the longest home runs of the night. And while the Home Run Derby doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, it’s an opportunity for players to display their talents in front of a national audience. Casual fans may not realize how good Trumbo has been this season. After last night, fans will start to take notice of his breakout.

Read the rest of this entry »


Marlins Acquire Carlos Lee

Carlos Lee is heading to Miami. While the 36-year-old first baseman vetoed a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers last week, Lee accepted a deal was sent to the Miami Marlins on Wednesday. Lee is clearly on the decline, but his .286/.336/.412 line is a nice upgrade over the .236/.292/.359 line put up by Marlins’ first basemen this season. Still, the Marlins are 39-42, and currently nine games out of first place. Lee will help, but the Marlins are going to need more if they hope to get back into the playoff race.
Read the rest of this entry »


Red Sox Have Too Many Outfielders

The Boston Red Sox will soon face some tough roster decisions. With Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury currently on rehab assignments, things are about to get crowded in Boston’s outfield. Considering the team’s terrible luck with injuries, it’s crazy to think that one of the Red Sox’s weakest spots has now become a strength. And though Daniel Nava is playing out of his mind and Cody Ross is exceeding expectations, the outfield alignment could change dramatically in the next couple of weeks.
Read the rest of this entry »


The Rockies Should Trade Michael Cuddyer

Michael Cuddyer will remain a member of the Colorado Rockies. Even though the team has allegedly received numerous calls about the veteran outfielder, Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd has insisted that Cuddyer isn’t going anywhere. But with the Rockies already 13.5 games back, and Cuddyer struggling, O’Dowd may want to reconsider.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Return of Francisco Liriano

Francisco Liriano is back. After a month-long banishment to the bullpen, Liriano has returned to the rotation looking like a completely different pitcher. In his six starts prior to his demotion, Liriano was broken. The lefty allowed 37 hits in just 26.2 innings, and racked up a 9.45 ERA. While his stint in the bullpen only lasted five outings, it seemed to be exactly what he needed. Since rejoining the Minnesota Twins’ rotation, Liriano has allowed just 16 hits in 30.1 innings, and has posted a 2.67 ERA. Even though there are some reasons to doubt Liriano’s recent performance, there are also some signs that his success could be due to an altered approach.

Read the rest of this entry »


What Is Kevin Youkilis Worth?

The trade market for Kevin Youkilis is heating up. With Will Middlebrooks playing well — and both first base and designated hitter occupied — it looks like Youkilis will be the odd man out in Boston.

But while the 33-year-old has been a strong offensive performer in the past, this year he’s been awful. Youkilis has hit just .215/.301/.341 this season, and that’s going to make it difficult for the Red Sox to get anything useful in return for him. The Sox realize this, and are reportedly willing to pay some of Youkilis’ remaining contract as an enticement to get a better package for him. But with Youkilis slipping offensively, teams will be hesitant to offer anything of value for the third baseman.

Read the rest of this entry »


The White Sox’s Biggest Surprise

Surprising performances have fueled the Chicago White Sox’s rise to the top of the division. Adam Dunn — who looked finished last season — is off to one of the best starts of his career, Jake Peavy is healthy for the first time in years and AJ Pierzynski has already clubbed eleven home runs. And while those performances were unexpected, there’s another player on the White Sox whose play has been even more shocking. At age-28, Alejandro De Aza has blossomed into one of the better center fielders in the game.

Read the rest of this entry »


White Sox Need Help at Third

The Chicago White Sox are one of baseball’s biggest surprises. While the team didn’t have high expectations entering the season, they currently have a .5 game lead in the AL Central. And with the Detroit Tigers currently struggling, the White Sox could find themselves buyers at the trade deadline. If they hope to stay in the playoff race, they might want to look at upgrading third base.

Read the rest of this entry »


Justin Upton Is Having A Rough Week

Things have not gone well for Justin Upton this season. After posting an MVP-caliber season in 2011, Upton has struggled to reach the same level this year. The situation worsened on Tuesday, when Arizona Diamondbacks’ Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick criticized Upton’s performance so far this season. Later that night, Upton left out of the Diamondbacks’ starting lineup. Upton told reporters he was not pleased about the situation. And while that should have been the end of it, Upton found himself on the bench again last night. At this point, it seems like the only thing Upton can do to repair the situation is to start producing like his old self.

Read the rest of this entry »


Mike Trout Is Pretty Good, Too

Mike Trout is off to a great start. In just 129 plate appearances this season, the 20-year-old outfielder is hitting .304/.364/.522. Combine that with his spectacular defense, and it looks like Trout is well on his way to becoming one of the best players in baseball. Although Trout has been great this season, Bryce Harper has overshadowed his performance. And while Dave Cameron recently told us that Harper could be on his way to a historic season, Mike Trout isn’t that far behind.

Read the rest of this entry »


Paul Konerko and Father Time

Paul Konerko is one of the best hitters in baseball. While he’s rarely mentioned among players like Josh Hamilton, Matt Kemp or Ryan Braun, Konerko has been a an important presence in the middle of the Chicago White Sox lineup. In fact, this season, he leads the American League with a .489 wOBA and a .399 batting average.

What’s even more amazing about Konerko’s success is that he’s doing this as a  36-year-old. Conventional wisdom says that Konerko entered his decline phase years ago — but in 2010, something changed. At 34 years old, an age where most players are struggling to stay in the majors Konerko got better and has blossomed into one of the game’s best hitters.

Read the rest of this entry »


What Is Cole Hamels Worth?

Cole Hamels is already on his way to another great season. Hamels’ performance is especially noteworthy since he’ll be a free-agent at the end of the season. While the Philadelphia Phillies have shown interest in locking up the 28-year-old lefty, talks with Hamels haven’t progressed much. If Hamels does reach free-agency, he — along with Zack Greinke — will be the most sought-after starting pitcher on the market. Based on their similarities, it wouldn’t be surprising for both players to receive similar offers.

Read the rest of this entry »


Injuries Mounting for the Red Sox

The injuries keep coming for the Boston Red Sox. The most recent victim is off-season acquisition Cody Ross, who is out indefinitely with a fractured bone in his foot. With Ross now on the disabled list, all three of the Red Sox projected starters in the outfield are currently injured. While the Red Sox have struggled this season, they are only 6.5 games out of first place. But the injuries will make it difficult to close the gap.

Read the rest of this entry »