Posted by Antonio Antenucci on December 14, 2010
Tonight is the first time I remember the term “Mystery Team” meaning more than just poppycock.
The Philadelphia Phillies have swooped in last minute and added Cliff Lee to their mega rotation for . Think about this rotation for a minute, Roy Halladay-Cliff Lee-Cole Hamels-Roy Oswalt. That is insanity. The National League now has permission to take the 2011 season off.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are in dire trouble. If Pettitte retires, theircurrent rotation looks like Sabbathia-Hughes-Burnett-Nova-Mitre. Ouch. Brian Cashman has some work to do.
I think the Rangers will now go hard after Zach Grienke. I don’t believe Grienke is an option for the Yankees given his anxiety past.
I will never discount the term “Mystery Team” again.
Posted in Baseball News | Tagged: Cliff Lee, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers | Comments Off
Posted by Antonio Antenucci on December 7, 2010
Relatively slow day in the first day of the Winter Meetings, especially compared to this past weekend and Jayson Werth’s ridiculous deal. A quick recap of today:
- The Diamondbacks traded third baseman Mark Reynolds to the Orioles for a pair of pitching prospects, David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio, and a Player to be named later. Nice pick up for the O’s, they needed the extra power in their offense. Baltimore fans now get to witness an offensive player rack up more strikeouts than their entire pitching staff.
- The D’Backs continued their busy day by signing J.J. Putz to be their new closer and Melvin Mora to replace Reynolds at third base. I’m not certain Putz will be able to eclipse his 2010 number of 3 saves while closing in Arizona.
- The Brewers and Blue Jays officially announced the trade of Toronto starter Shawn Marcum for Milwaukee prospect Brett Lawrie. Jays may have a big trade up their sleeve.
- The Boston Red Sox introduced their new first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez continued the tradition of showing love and admiration for Boston’s friendly neighbor to the south when he channeled his inner Schilling and said, “I’m ready to beat the Yanks,” at his press conference. Let the “who’s better, Adrian Gonzalez or Mark Teixeira?” debate commence.
Posted in Baseball News, Hot Stove | Tagged: Adrian Gonzalez, Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Brett Lawrie, J.J. Putz, Jayson Werth, Mark Reynolds, Melvin Mora, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, Off-Season, Shawn Marcum, Toronto Blue Jays | Comments Off
Posted by Antonio Antenucci on December 3, 2010
Ron Santo died this morning due to complications of bladder cancer. The longtime Chicago announcer and Cub great never lived to see himself inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame, despite coming close several times. The former All-Star third baseman was beloved by Cubs fans and he never hid his admiration for the team. Below is a example of his strong Cub loyalty while announcing a game where the Phillies tie the game up in the 9th. Santo was 70 years old.
Posted in Baseball News | Tagged: Chicago Cubs, Ron Santo | Comments Off
Posted by Antonio Antenucci on December 2, 2010
The hot stove is starting to heat up with the Winter Meetings about to start in four days. Free agent #5 on my list, Adam Dunn, has reached a four-year deal $56 million with the Chicago White Sox. It’s a good deal for the White Sox who has sought to acquire Dunn since the summer. Dunn can now play DH along with 1B/OF, he’s been adamant about not wanting to be a full-time DH.
I’m not sure if the Dunn signing signals the end of Paul Konerko’s 12-year reign as Chicago’s primary first baseman. Konerko, who had a career year in 2010 and was #6 on my list, had a slightly better year than Dunn. But, I believe Dunn, who is 3 years younger than Konerko, will duplicate his previous season’s numbers and Konerko’s will decline a bit. If Konerko doesn’t re-sign with the White Sox, Dunn will only be a minor improvement over Konerko. I believe Ken Williams’ goal is to have both Dunn and Konerko in the 2011 lineup. If he can get both sluggers, that drastically improves the White Sox’s offfense.
Posted in Baseball News, Hot Stove | Tagged: Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox, Off-Season, Paul konerko | Comments Off
Posted by Antonio Antenucci on November 15, 2010
1. Carl Crawford-LF
2. Derek Jeter-SS
3. Paul Konerko-1B
4. Adam Dunn-DH
5. Adrian Beltre-3B
6. Jayson Werth-RF
7. Victor Martinez-C
8. Juan Uribe-2B
9. Melky Cabrera- CF
C- Miguel Olivo
INF- Jerry Hairston Jr
OF- Vladimir Guerrero
1. Cliff Lee-LHP
2. Andy Pettitte-LHP
3. Carl Pavano-RHP
4. Jorge De La Rosa-LHP
5. Jake Westbrook-RHP
CL- Mariano Rivera RHP
SU- Rafael Soriano RHP
RP- Scott Downs LHP
RP- Joaquin Benoit RHP
RP- Kerry Wood RHP
RP- Grant Balfour RHP
LRP- Hisanori Takahashi LHP
Without a doubt this team would be a World Series favorite. The lineup is pretty well-balanced and potent. Nasty middle of the lineup with Konerko, Dunn and Beltre. Although, Konerko and Beltre will probably have down years after having very good seasons in 2010. The biggest weakness in the offense would be Melky Cabrera at Centerfield, but that isn’t a huge issue.The bench is very strong. I don’t believe Guerrero is a starter anymore, which is why I chose him as a pinch hitter option, though he will most likely will recieve a starting DH job this winter.
The starting pitching is good, not great. Lee is a bona fide ace at the top. Pettitte is a great #2 but has age and injury concerns. Pavano is an adequate #3. De La Rosa and Westbrook are very solid at the end of the rotation.
The bullpen is the strongest part of this team. Can’t go wrong with the immortal Rivera closing and then an all-star closer as the set-up man. With Downs, Balfour, Wood, Benoit and Takahashi as a LHP/LRP, starters only have to go 5 innings.
Posted in Analysis, Hot Stove, Rant | Tagged: 2011 Free Agency, Fantasy Roster, Off-Season | Comments Off
Posted by Antonio Antenucci on November 8, 2010
The hot stove is now burning and I’m excited. I look forward to the MLB offseason just as much as I do the regular season. Who is going where? There are some very interesting free agents again this winter. Here is how I rank the top 10 (My predicted teams are in parenthesis):
1. SP Cliff Lee (Yankees)- Obviously he is number 1 on the list. Everything may be bigger in Texas, but their bank account isn’t bigger than New York’s.
2. OF Carl Crawford (Angels)- Crawford is the most coveted hitter this winter and he won’t be cheap.
3. OF Jayson Werth (Red Sox)- Best righty bat on the market.
4. 3B Adrian Beltre (Red Sox)- Beltre had a great 2010, Boston won’t let him go.
5. OF/1B Adam Dunn (Nationals)- He doesn’t want to DH and seems to like Washington.
6. 1B Paul Konerko (White Sox)- At 35 I doubt Konerko can exceed his career year numbers of 2010.
7. RP Mariano Rivera (Yankees)- Almost forgot he was a free agent, the timeless Rivera isn’t going anywhere else.
8. RP Rafael Soriano (Rays)- The best actual available closer on the market. Since the Rays will let Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena walk, I believe they will have some money to re-sign their All-Star closer.
9. C Victor Martinez (Tigers)- Can’t catch but still very good offensively. Detroit makes the most sense.
10. SP Andy Pettitte (Yankees)- Pettitte is 39 and fragile but he’s still the second best pitcher on the market and a post season monster. It’s either New York or retirement, I think he goes 1 more year.
Posted in Hot Stove, Predictions | Tagged: Adam Dunn, Adrian Beltre, Andy Pettitte, Boston Red Sox, Carl Crawford, Chicago White Sox, Cliff Lee, Detroit Tigers, Jayson Werth, los Angeles Angels, Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees, Paul konerko, Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay Rays, Victor Martinez, Washington Nationals | 1 Comment »
Posted by Antonio Antenucci on November 3, 2010
(AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)
If you haven’t heard, Derek Jeter’s 10-year, $189 million contract is up and he is seeking to re-sign with the Yankees. Let’s not kid ourselves, Jeter isn’t going anywhere. The negotiations may be as simple as paying Jeter whatever he wants or it could get messy.
Jeter is a legacy ballplayer, right up there in Yankee lore with Lou Gherig, Babe Ruth, Joe Dimaggio and Mickey Mantle. He is the captain, holds various Yankee records and is about to hit the 3,000 hit mark, a first for a Yankee. Derek Jeter will not be playing shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011.
There is much debate to the years and money Jeter should/will get. Should the Yankees give Jeter a blank check? How do you put a price tag or years limit on such an immortal New York hero?
Personally, my offer to Jeter would be no more than 2-3 years, $30-45 million with incentives for career marks, such as his 3,000th hit. The Years are fair and the money is more than fair. Yes, it is a pay cut and probably fewer years than Jeter wants. Who cares? Giving Jeter $15 million per year will be more than any other team would offer. No team is going to give a soon-to-be 37-year-old declining Shortstop longer than a 3-year contract. I believe the most Jeter would get on the open market would be 2 years $20 million. Even though I think Jeter will have a better 2011 than 2010, he is certainly in decline and starting to live off of his name more than ability.
The fact is the Yankees have been overpaying Jeter for a while now. Jeter has never been a $20 million per year player. No reason to continue drastically overpaying him. The Yanks will be hurting themselves with giving Jeter too many years and too much money. The Yankees don’t have a bottomless payroll or available positions for more aging ball players in 2014.
If Jeter does want 4+ years and $20+ million per year, what would he do if the Yankees stand pat and offered the deal I proposed? Would he take a 1-year contract for $10-12 million to show up the Yanks and prove he’s worth more? Would he go finish out his career for the Detroit Tigers? Will he take it and mope? I seriously doubt any of those scenarios. Jeter cares about his Yankee Legacy and won’t let a few million tarnish that legacy. He just can’t let pride get the best of him.
To be fair, we don’t actually know what Jeter wants. It could be outrageous or it could be very fair. In the end I believe that old number 2 will be back in the Bronx at an above market, reasonable (for a Yankee legend) price.
Posted in Baseball News | Tagged: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees, Off-Season | Comments Off
Posted by Antonio Antenucci on October 25, 2010
Okay, in reality I didn’t even have Giants and Rangers finishing above third place in their division. My bold prediction was the same as a lot of people’s World Series prediction, a Phillies vs Yankees rematch. Almost came true, but almost doesn’t count. San Francisco’s Cody Ross pitching quieted Philadelphia’s bats and the Rangers completely dominated the Yankees.
While playoff ratings have seen a pretty sizable increase over recent year’s ratings, I don’t see how a Giants-Rangers World Series will provide high ratings. It’s great for baseball parity and baseball in general, but a ratings nightmare for the MLB. A Yankees-Phillies World Series would have been a ratings monster. Still, it’s nice to see different teams win a championship, NBA take note.
The Giants will play, excuse the pun, giant underdogs once again. Their starting pitching will have to do what the Yankee starters couldn’t do. Some timely hitting will be key again. They can’t let the Ranger offense get out of hand and score more than 4 runs.
The Rangers are now playing favorites, which is something they probably never were called before. Everything clicked for the Rangers in the ALCS. Their offense was a monster, had some big performances from their starting pitching and other than the 8th inning of game 1, a very solid bullpen. As long as their offense doesn’t turn into the Phillies against Giant pitching, they should beat San Francisco handily.
San Francisco will win if….. They can pitch their arms off. They can’t let the Rangers offense get into a rhythm. Pitching lead them to the World Series, that strategy won’t change for the World Series. A heavy dose of prayers couldn’t hurt either.
Texas will win if….. They do their annoying claw and antler routine. Those embarrassing displays of team unity mean that the Ranger offense is clicking, which would be death for the Giants because their offense can’t compete with Texas.
Giants Player To Watch: OF Cody Ross- He was Babe Ruth reincarnated so far this postseason, the Giants need a Ruth/Ty Cobb hybrid now in order to win. San Francisco’s offense will need as much production as possible against Texas, especially from Ross.
Rangers Player To Watch: SP Cliff Lee- I could have chosen Josh Hamilton as the player to watch since he had a monster ALCS. However, I think the Texas offense would still be potent without a productive Hamilton, they need a dominant Cliff Lee. Lee finally gets to pitch a game 1 of a 7 game series, that’s 3 possible times the Giants would have to face Lee, nasty. He needs to out duel Tim Lincecum and I believe he definitely will.
Prediction: Texas Rangers over the San Francisco Giants 4-1
World Series MVP: Texas Rangers SS Elvis Andrus
Posted in Analysis, Baseball News, Predictions, Preview | Tagged: 2010 Playoffs, Cliff Lee, Cody Ross, Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Tim Lincecum | Comments Off
Posted by Antonio Antenucci on October 16, 2010
I can’t remember a postseason series with two better rotations than this one. Tim Lincecum vs Roy Halladay in game 1 is probably the best pitching matchup since, well since Sabathia vs Lee in last year’s World Series. The point is that great pitching matchups happen all the time in the postseason, it’s just that this series has a lot of good pitching.
The Giants are a very good team. They have the best pitching staff in this year’s playoffs. If only their offense wasn’t weak. If the Giants had just two more very good bats, this series could go 7 games in their favor. Lincecum & Co need to pitch for their lives in this series for the Giants to win the pennant. The Phillies have an American League offense, it won’t be easy. They especially need to win the games Lincecum starts and game 4 against Blanton.
The Phillies are one of the most balanced teams in the playoffs. They have a great offense and three great starting pitchers. The only way I see them losing the series is if their starters are either outpitched by the Giant starters or they throw some real clunkers.
San Francisco will win if……. Their pitching is outstanding, more outstanding than the Phillies. I’m talking about shut out performances.
Philadelphia will win if….. They keep doing their thing. The Giants won’t out hit the Phillies, as long as the Phillies pitch well and don’t get completely shut down by San Francisco’s starters, the Phillies will make this a short series.
Giants Player To Watch: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez- Yes, all three are the “player to watch.” San Fran needs all three to pitch their “A” game to move on.
Phillies Player To Watch: Roy Oswalt- He didn’t pitch well in his NLDS start, he needs to be better this time around. If Oswalt is lights out, so are the Giants World Series dreams.
Posted in Baseball News, Preview | Tagged: 2010 Playoffs, Joe Blanton, Jonathan Sanchez, Matt Cain, NLCS, Philadelphia Phillies, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, San Francisco Giants, Time Lincecum | Comments Off
Posted by Antonio Antenucci on October 15, 2010
If you have been watching and reading a lot of previews of this match up, you understand the headline. All the talk has been about how incredible Rangers’ ace Cliff Lee is (which he is) and about how basically overrated the Yankees are(which they are not).
The Rangers are a very formidable team. Are they better than the Rays? I still don’t think so. The Rays just ran into a short series with Lee and made some costly mistakes. The Rangers should give the Yankees a run for their money. They have a potent offense that has both power and speed. Their rotation has two very good pitchers in Lee and C.J. Wilson. I am not impressed at all with the rest of their rotation. The Rangers will do well if they can split one of the two games at home, win Lee’s game 3 start and beat up on A.J. Burnett in game 4. Then they have to just win 1 out of 2 in Texas with Lee starting game 7.
You would think the Yankees were the Pittsburgh Pirates coming into this year’s post season. Sure they limped into October with a terrible September, but they are the Yankees and you could see that after they virtually secured that playoff spot they were just concentrated on being prepared for the playoffs.
The 2010 Yankees are the best team in baseball, yes even better than those holy Phillies right now. If the Reds had the team the Yankees have, you would hear non stop about how unbeatable this team is. This happened last year and it’s happening again. It’s just good business to trash those “damn” Yankees.
The Yankees have the deepest lineup in baseball, three very good starters in Sabathia, Pettitte and Hughes, plus Sandman waiting in that 9th inning. All the Yankees need to do to win this series is at least split in Texas and avoid going to game 7 at all costs. Also, the argument about “too much rest” is more about finding a way to make the Yankees seem weak than anything else. For a young inexperienced club, too much rest could be a huge problem and mess with momentum, not with these playoff veterans. The rest helps more than anything else. I bet the old men on this team enjoyed that rest.
The Rangers will win if…. They stay aggressive. The Rangers were very aggressive against Tampa and it was very successful.
The Yankees will win if…. Their three starters pitch as well as they did in the ALDS. Burnett can’t even derail that.
Texas Player To Watch: OF Josh Hamilton- Hamilton is this team’s MVP and greatly struggles in the ALDS. You have to wonder how much his ribs are bothering him. If the Rangers hope to win, Hamilton needs to produce.
New York Player To Watch: SP Andy Pettitte- Pettitte needs to outduel Lee in a pivotal game 3 of this series and might have to do it again in game 7 with the season on the line.
Posted in Analysis, Baseball News, Preview | Tagged: 2010 Playoffs, A.J. Burnett, ALCS, Andy Pettitte, C.J. Wilson, Cliff Lee, New York Yankees, Phil Hughes, Texas Rangers | Comments Off