Friday, December 22, 2006

Ken Griffey Hurt

posted by Jon Williams
According to Baseball Digest:

The Reds are reporting that Ken Griffey Jr. has suffered a broken left hand in an accident at home. He will remain in a hard cast until he is re-examined in approximately 3 weeks.
There's no word if this injury is related to Griffey's reaction to the Reds trading for Jeff Conine.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Durazo Signs

posted by Jon Williams

Durazo is tearing it up in the Mexican Winter League:

Through Wednesday, Durazo, 31, was batting .345 with 17 homers, 51 RBIs, a .454
on-base percentage and a .641 slugging percentage through 57 games with
Hermasillo.


http://oakland.athletics.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20061221 />

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Players You Should Know: Brad Salmon

posted by Jon Williams
Brad Salmon is too old to make most prospect lists and hasn't had the kind of consistent success that has fantasy geeks and the like keeping an eye on him. This is why if you try (assuming he make the Reds bullpen) you will get Brad Salmon very cheaply. If Salmon can carry what he seems to have learned in the minors last year to the majors he will be the Reds closer before the end of the 2007 season. What are the chances of that? Probably not great but for a buck at the end of my National League Auction I make take the chance.

From RotoWire: Reds manager Jerry Narron and GM Wayne Krivsky both said that right-hander Brad Salmon could be a candidate for the bullpen next season, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. In a 2006 season split between Double- and Triple-A, Salmon was 7-2 with a 2.44 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 81 relief innings. "He's 27, so he won't be intimidated by big-league hitters," Krivsky said. "He throws up 95, 96 (mph)." Salmon had five saves in the minors last year.

Salmon has always had a good strikeout rate. He gets groundballs. He doesn't allow many homeruns. His problem has always been a slight walk-rate problem and bad luck. In 2006 at Triple-A he looked like a stud pitching prospect even if he got a little good luck for a change with a 2.34 earned run average and a 1.09 whip.

2006 AA 23.1 IP/ 6.94 H9/ 0.00 HR9/ 6.17 BB9/ 9.26 K9/ 1.46 Whip
2006 AAA 57.2 IP/ 5.62 H9/ 0.47 HR9/ 4.21 BB9/ 11.24 K9/ 1.09 Whip

Check out the rest of his numbers at thebaseballcube.com.

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Players You Should Know: Kelly Johnson

posted by Jon Williams

Kelly Johnson isn't that obscure a player if you follow the minor leagues or at least team's top ten prospects. But Johnson was at one point considered among the Braves best prospects and to this point he has done nothing to be dismissed a good major league possibility. Johnson missed 2006 due to a serious elbow injury but has rehabbed well and is the leading candidate to replace Marcus Giles at second base for the Atlanta Braves. At your draft or auction it is likely he will qualify only in the outfield.

Kelly Johnson is a potential 25 homer/10 stolen base player similar to Chase Utley in a lot of ways. You will get him cheaply this season if you try and I think you will be very happy with the results.

Check out his career stats at the Baseball Cube.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Players You Should Know: Devern Hansack

posted by Jon Williams

This is the first in a series of brief blurbs about players that are likely to have an impact in the 2007 season but are even more unlikely to appear on any favorite sleeper lists. These briefs will appear every so often until I get sick of doing them anyway.

Devern Hansack RHP Boston Red Sox

Devern Hansack was originally signed by the Houston Astros, who do have a reputation of giviong up on good prospects for stupid reasons. The Astros released Hansack in 2004 most likely because of his ambiguous age (see a stupid reason) and not having an agent he ended up pitching in Nicaragua. There he was discovered and signed by the Red Sox. The Red Sox seem to have helped him improve his control and command at least slightly which has resulted in less walks and more strikeouts. The great thing about Hansack is he pitched in the majors for the Red Sox when their fans were turning off their televisions because of the Red Sox frustrating end of the 2006 season. Most probably don't even realize he pitched a five-inning complete game no-hitter in October against the Baltimore Orioles.

He throws a two different fastballs, a four-seamer (that sits around 92 mph) and a two-seamer with nice movement. He compliments those with a very good chnage-up and a tight slider. He has started and relieved in his year in the Red Sox system but is headed to the Red Sox bullpen in 2007. As crazy as it may seem he is as good an option for the Red Sox closer job as anyone on their roster at this point.

AA Portland: 132.1 IP /31 games/18 starts/8.30 H9/0.95 HR9/2.45 BB9/8.43 K9/1.19 whip

MLB Boston Red Sox: 10IP/ 2 Games/ 2 starts/5.40 H9/ 1.80 HR9/0.90 BB9/7.20 K9/0.70 whip

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Catching Up and Odds and Ends

posted by Jon Williams
David Luciani of Baseball Notebook has spent his last few columns examining a new fantasy drafting strategy. He calls this strategy SSDS which stands for Stick to the Safe Draft Strategy. This method is almost exactly what it sounds like, avoiding risk at all costs. It is well worth reading even if a little obvious for those that have been doing this a while.

Although I guess this is considered bad form I'm going to apologize for my infrequent postings lately. I actually wrote a very long post last week that my computer swallowed and won't give back. I still have this hope that it's on my system somewhere and I'll find it so I haven't gone so far as to re-write it yet. I guess that's bad form too. Anyway, I have been busy. I have been doing news and a column at talentedmrroto.com and regular columns on football and basketball at sportsblurb.com. I also have a few things I'm writing for a couple of baseball annuals that will be out in February. So, I'm not just lazy, I'm also busy.

That mentioned piece that my computer ate included my analysis of all the December baseball moves so far. I will analyze all these moves (again) at some point soon but for now I thought I'd include a list of them so you can consider the implications yourself. Maybe you'll share some of your own opinions in the comments sections or send me an e-mail at jonpwilliams@gmail.com.

The Moves Made (Minus Analysis)

New York Mets
Signed RHP Clint Nageotte, RHP Jorge Vasquez, RHP Lino Urdaneta, LHP William Collazo and OF Raymond Ambres to Minor League contracts and invited them to Major League Spring Training.
Philadelphia Phillies
Signed OF Jayson Werth to a one-year contract.
Pittsburgh Pirates
Agreed to terms with RHP Masumi Kuwata on a minor league contract, with an invitation to Major League spring training.
San Francisco Giants
Signed Ryan Klesko to a one-year contract.
Texas Rangers
Signed RHP Eric Gagne to a one-year contract.
12/18/06 Baltimore Orioles
Signed INF Chris Gomez to a one-year contract.
Pittsburgh Pirates
Signed RHP Yoslan Herrera to a three-year contract; Designated INF Craig Stansberry for assignment.
Seattle Mariners
Acquired INF Jose Vidro and cash considerations from the Washington Nationals in exchange for RHP Emiliano Fruto and OF Chris Snelling.
St. Louis Cardinals
The club agreed to terms with and extended Major League Spring Training camp invites to INF Tagg Bozied, INF Edgar Gonzalez, OF Ryan Ludwick, OF Miguel Negron, C Ryan Christianson, C Danilo Sanchez, RHP Mike Smith and RHP Kelvin Jimenez.
Toronto Blue Jays
Signed OF Vernon Wells to a seven-year contract.
Washington Nationals
Acquired RHP Emiliano Fruto and OF Chris Snelling from the Mariners in exchange for 2B Jose Vidro and cash considerations; Sent C Brandon Harper outright to Triple-A Columbus.
12/17/06 Chicago White Sox
Agreed to two-year contract with 2009 club option with C Toby Hall.
12/16/06 Chicago White Sox
Acquired LHP Andrew Sisco from Kansas City for 1B/OF Ross Gload.
Kansas City Royals
Acquired 1B/OF Ross Gload from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for LHP Andrew Sisco.
12/15/06 Boston Red Sox
Acquired RHP Brendan Donnelly from the Angels in exchange for LHP Phil Seibel; Signed LHP J.C. Romero and C Doug Mirabelli to one-year contracts.
Chicago Cubs
Signed LHP Ted Lilly to a four-year contract; Signed 1B Daryle Ward to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2008.
Los Angeles Angels
Acquired LHP Phil Seibel from Boston in exchange for RHP Brendan Donnelly.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Signed INF Akinori Iwamura to a three-year contract with a one-year club option for 2010.
12/14/06 Atlanta Braves
Invited RHP Buddy Carlyle, LHP Steve Colyer, OF Doug Clark, INF/OF Willie Harris, C Iker Franco and C Corky Miller to attend Major League Spring Training.
Boston Red Sox
Signed RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka to a six-year contract.
Cincinnati Reds
MLB nullified the waiver claim for LHP Bobby Livingston by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the subsequent trade to the Philadelphia Phillies and assigned him to the Cincinnati Reds.
Milwaukee Brewers
Signed RHP Chris Oxspring to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
Pittsburgh Pirates
Signed RHPs John Wasdin, Kip Bouknight, Allan Simpson and Jim Brower, C David Parrish, INFs Eddy Garabito and Don Kelly, OFs Michael Ryan and Chris Aguila to minor league contracts with non-roster invitations to Major League Spring Training camp.
Seattle Mariners
Signed RHP Miguel Batista to a three-year contract.
Washington Nationals
Signed RHPs Chris Schroder and Chris Booker, LHP Mike Hinckley, OF Kory Casto and C Brandon Harper to one-year contracts.
12/13/06 Baltimore Orioles
Declined to tender 2007 contract offers to RHP Todd Williams, OF David Newhan and RHP Aaron Rakers.
Boston Red Sox
Signed SS Julio Lugo to a four-year contract.
Chicago Cubs
Signed RHPs Adam Harben and Matt Harrington to Minor League contracts.
Cleveland Indians
Signed RHP Jeff Harris to a minor league contract with a non-roster invitation to Major League spring training camp.
Colorado Rockies
Signed LHP Tom Martin and C Yorvit Torrealba to one-year contracts.
Houston Astros
Signed RHP Dave Borkowski to a one-year contract.
Minnesota Twins
Signed INF Jeff Cirillo to a one-year contract.
San Diego Padres
Signed RHP Greg Maddux to one-year deal with option for 2008.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Declined to tender 2007 contract offer to OF Damon Hollins.
Toronto Blue Jays
Signed INF John McDonald to a one-year contract.
12/12/06 Atlanta Braves
Declined to tender 2007 contract offers to 2B Marcus Giles and RHP Chris Reitsma.
Boston Red Sox
Gabe Kapler announced his retirement.
Chicago Cubs
Non-tendered RHP Adam Harben and C Jose Reyes, making them a free agents.
Chicago White Sox
Non-tendered RHP Eduardo Sierra, making him a free agent.
Cincinnati Reds
Signed RHP David Weathers to a two-year contract; Designated LHP Brandon Claussen for assignment.
Colorado Rockies
Acquired CF Willy Taveras, RHPs Taylor Buchholz and Jason Hirsh from the Houston Astros in exchange for RHPs Jason Jennings and Miguel Asencio; Tendered contract offers to RHP Josh Fogg and C Yorvit Torrealba; RHP Chin-hui Tsao was not tendered a contract.
Detroit Tigers
Signed OF Jose Mesa to a one-year contract; Non-tendered OF Alexis Gomez, making him a free agent.
Houston Astros
Acquired RHPs Jason Jennings and Miguel Asencio from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for RHPs Taylor Buchholz and Jason Hirsh and OF Willy Taveras.
Kansas City Royals
Designated RHP Brandon Duckworth for assignment.
Los Angeles Angels
Non-tendered RHP Jason Bulger, making him a free agent.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Tendered contracts to LHPs Mark Hendrickson and Joe Beimel; declined to tender contracts to OF Jayson Werth or C Toby Hall, making them free agents; announced RHP Franquelis Osoria was claimed off waivers by Pittsburgh.
Minnesota Twins
Non-tendered RHP Willie Eyre and INF Luis Rodriguez, making them free agents.
New York Yankees
Non-tendered OF/1B Aaron Guiel, making him a free agent.
Philadelphia Phillies
Acquired LHP Bobby Livingston from Tampa Bay in exchange for cash considerations.
Pittsburgh Pirates
Claimed RHP Franquelis Osoria off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Seattle Mariners
Non-tendered RHP Joel Pineiro.
St. Louis Cardinals
Tendered contracts to LHP Randy Flores and OF So Taguchi; non-tendered RHP Jorge Sosa and RHP Rick Ankiel.
Re-signed IF Aaron Miles to a one-year contract.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Claimed LHP Bobby Livingston off waivers from the Mariners and traded him to the Phillies for cash.
Texas Rangers
Signed OF Kenny Lofton to a one-year contract; Non-tendered RHP Mike Wood, making him a free agent.
Toronto Blue Jays
Signed OF Matt Stairs to a minor league contract and INF Jason Smith to a one-year contract.
12/11/06 Baltimore Orioles
Signed OF Jay Payton to a two-year contract.
Los Angeles Angels
Signed LHP Darren Oliver to a one-year contract with a club option for the 2008 season.
Philadelphia Phillies
Invited the following nonroster players to Spring Training: INF Andrew Beattie, RHP Joe Bisenius, OF Ron Calloway, RHP Ryan Cameron, LHP Jim Crowell, RHP Kane Davis, RHP Kyle Drabek, RHP John Ennis, RHP Jeff Farnsworth, OF Greg Golson, C Tim Gradoville, LHP J.A. Happ, C Jason Hill, C Jason Jaramillo, 3B Brennan King, C Lou Marson, LHP Brian Mazone, 1B Randall Simon, C Dusty Wathan.
12/9/06 Atlanta Braves
Signed OF Willie Harris to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training.
Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers named Chris Joyner strength and conditioning specialist.
Texas Rangers
Signed RHP Vicente Padilla to a three-year contract with a club option for 2010.
12/8/06 Chicago White Sox
Signed RHP Mike MacDougal to a three-year contract with a club option for 2010.
Florida Marlins
Signed OF Alex Sanchez to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League camp.
Houston Astros
Signed RHP Brandon Backe to a one-year contract.
Kansas City Royals
Designated RHP Scott Dohmann for assignment; Signed LHP John Bale to a two-year contract; Signed RHP Octavio Dotel to a one-year contract.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed RHP Jason Schmidt to a three-year contract; Signed OF Luis Gonzalez to a one-year contract.
New York Yankees
Signed LHP Andy Pettitte to a one-year contract with a one-year player option.
Oakland Athletics
Signed C Mike Piazza on a one-year contract.
San Francisco Giants
Re-signed LHP Steve Kline to a two-year contract.
St. Louis Cardinals
Signed RHP Russ Springer to a one-year contract.
Texas Rangers
Signed OF Marlon Byrd to a one-year contract.
12/7/06 Atlanta Braves
Acquired RHP Rafael Soriano from the Mariners in exchange for LHP Horacio Ramirez.
Baltimore Orioles
Selected RHP Alfredo Simon; Traded RHP Alfredo Simon to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for C Adam Donachie and cash; Designated RHP Aaron Rakers for assignment.
Boston Red Sox
Selected RHP Nick Debarr in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft; J.T. Snow announced his retirement.
Chicago Cubs
Selected OF Josh Hamilton from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays; Traded OF Josh Hamilton to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for cash considerations; Selected RHP James Henderson from the Washington Nationals; Acquired minor league RHP Kevin Hart to complete the Baltimore Orioles trade.
Chicago White Sox
Acquired LHP Gio Gonzalez from the Phillies as the player to be named in the Gavin Floyd-Freddy Garcia deal.
Cincinnati Reds
Acquired OF Josh Hamilton from the Cubs in exchange for an undisclosed amount of cash.
Detroit Tigers
Acquired LHP Edward Campusano from the Brewers in exchange for cash considerations.
Florida Marlins
Selected OF Lorenzo Scott in the Rule 5 Draft and assigned him to Triple-A Albuquerque.
Houston Astros
Selected RHP Lincoln Holdzkom from the Cubs organization in the Rule 5 draft.
Kansas City Royals
Signed free agent RHP Gil Meche to a five-year contract, pending a physical.
Selected RHP Joakim Soria from the San Diego Padres and INF Rich Lewis from the Chicago Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft.
Released RHP Runelvys Hernandez.
Milwaukee Brewers
INF Tony Graffanino accepted salary arbitration.
Selected LHP Edward Campusano from the Chicago Cubs; Traded LHP Edward Campusano to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for cash considerations; Selected INF Michael Carlin from the Pittsburgh Pirates; RHP Josh Alliston was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the Rule V draft.
Minnesota Twins
Named Perry Castellano strength and conditioning coach.
New York Mets
Re-signed RHP Guillermo Mota to a two-year contract.
New York Yankees
Selected INF Josh Phelps in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
Oakland Athletics
Selected RHP Andy Shipman from the Chicago Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft; Selected LHP Jay Marshall from the Chicago White Sox in the Rule 5 Draft; Acquired OF Ryan Goleski from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in exchange for cash considerations.
Philadelphia Phillies
Selected C Adam Donachie from the Kansas City Royals, RHP Jim Warden from the Cleveland Indians and C Ryan Budde from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheimin the Rule 5 Draft; Traded C Adam Donachie to the Baltimore Orioles for RHP Alfredo Simon; Selected OF Victor Hall from the New York Yankees.
Pittsburgh Pirates
Selected RHP Sean White from the Atlanta Braves; Traded RHP Sean White to the Seattle Mariners for cash considerations; Released INF Yurendell DeCaster.
San Diego Padres
Selected RHP Kevin Cameron in Major League portion of Rule 5 Draft; 2B Todd Walker accepted arbitration.
Seattle Mariners
Acquired LHP Horacio Ramirez from the Braves in exchange for RHP Rafael Soriano.
Acquired RHP Sean White from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for cash considerations.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Selected OF Ryan Goleski in the Rule 5 Draft; Traded OF Ryan Goleski to the Oakland Athletics for cash considerations; Released RHP Travis Harper.
Texas Rangers
Acquired SS Johany Abreu, RHP Kendy Batista and C Brian Munhall in the Triple-A phase of the 2006 Rule 5 Draft; Acquired minor league C Salomon Manriquez from Colorado in exchange for cash considerations.
Toronto Blue Jays
Selected INF Jason Smith from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft.
12/6/06 Baltimore Orioles
Signed C Paul Bako to a one-year contract.
Acquired IF-OF Freddie Bynum from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for a player to be named later.
Chicago Cubs
Traded INF/OF Freddie Bynum to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for a player to be named later.
Chicago White Sox
Acquired RHP Gavin Floyd and a player to be named from Philadelphia in exchange for RHP Freddy Garcia.
Cleveland Indians
Signed OF David Dellucci to a three-year contract; Signed RHP Joe Borowski to a one-year contract with club option for 2008.
Kansas City Royals
Acquired RHP Brian Bannister in exchange for RHP Ambiorix Burgos from the New York Mets.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed C Mike Lieberthal to a one-year contract with a club option for 2008.
New York Mets
Acquired RHP Ambiorix Burgos in exchange for RHP Brian Bannister from the Kansas City Royals.
Oakland Athletics
Signed LHP Alan Embree to a two-year contract through the 2008 season with a club option for 2009; Released RHP Juan Dominguez.
Philadelphia Phillies
Acquired RHP Freddy Garcia from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for RHP Gavin Floyd and a player to be named later.
San Francisco Giants
Signed C Bengie Molina to a three-year contract.
12/5/06 Chicago White Sox
Signed INF/OF Pablo Ozuna to a one-year contract.
Colorado Rockies
Signed RHP LaTroy Hawkins to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2008.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed RHP Takashi Saito to a one-year contract.
12/4/06 New York Yankees
Signed C Raul Chavez to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training.
Oakland Athletics
Named Ty Van Burkleo hitting coach.
San Francisco Giants
Signed INF Rich Aurilia to a two-year contract; Re-signed 3B Pedro Feliz to a one-year contract.
Seattle Mariners
Signed OF Jose Guillen to a one-year contract with an option for 2008; Designated LHP Bobby Livingston for assignment.
St. Louis Cardinals
Signed RHP Chris Carpenter to a five-year contract extension with club option for 2012.
12/3/06 Atlanta Braves
Signed RHP Tanyon Sturtze to one-year deal.
12/2/06 Baltimore Orioles
Re-signed free agent 1B Kevin Millar to a one-year contract with a club option for 2008; Sent RHP Cory Morris and RHP Brian Finch outright to Triple-A Norfolk.
Cleveland Indians
Signed RHP Roberto Hernandez and LHP Aaron Fultz to one-year contracts. Both deals include a club option for 2008.
San Francisco Giants
Signed OF Dave Roberts to a three-year contract.
12/1/06 Florida Marlins
Signed INF Jason Wood and C Paul Hoover to minor league contracts and invited them to Spring Training.
New York Mets
Signed LHP Tom Glavine to a one-year contract with a vesting option for 2008.
San Diego Padres
Padres signed free agent INF Geoff Blum to a one-year contract.
San Francisco Giants
Re-signed 2B Ray Durham to a two-year contract.
Seattle Mariners
Released RHP Jorge Campillo.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Signed RHPs Stephen Andrade and Tony Peguero, INFs Hee-Seop Choi and Jorge Velandia, OF Dustan Mohr and C Yamid Haad to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training.


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Monday, December 11, 2006

The Rest of the November Moves

posted by Jon Williams
Catching Up On Moves



The Oakland Athletics sent cash to the Kansas City Royals for infielder Donnie Murphy. Trying to find info on obscure Royals' prospects is work and there isn't much to found on Murphy but I can tell you a few things. He was hurt for a good deal of 2006 but still managed to set a career high in homeruns. The Royals once considered him a top prospect but that doesn't say a whole lot about him. In 2006 for the Wichita Wranglers Murphy batted .249/.300/.437 with 14 homeruns and 25 doubles.



The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Left-handed starter Randy Wolf to a one-year contract with lots of incentives. Wolf if healthy is probably just a touch better than average and might manage to look slightly better still in Dodger Stadium. Unless he goes ultra-cheap you won't find him on any of my rosters.



The Toronto Blue Jays gave a one-year contract to Royce Clayton. Clayton has a reputation that far exceeds his performance the last few years. He's passable with the glove but you really don't want him in your lineup. He's an ok piece of filler (because of all the at-bats it looks like he'll get) but long-term he'll bring down your numbers.



The Rockies signed lefty Eric DuBose to a minor-league contract. DuBose isn't very good but he was much hyped for a few minutes a couple of years ago. But trust me he stinks.



The Phillies signed Adam Eaton to a three-year contract. I have to confess that I am an Eaton fan. He's been injured for a significant portion of the couple of seasons but I think he can still become a top notch pitcher in both real life and for our fantasy teams. In his major league career (including all those injury-marred seasons) Eaton has the following line in 861 innings pitched: 9.04 H9 (solid), 1.17 HR9 (a little high but not in an insanely bad way), 3.20 BB9 (this is a little high but not so bad when you consider the way he limits hits and especially damaging hits when healthy. I do know that some people don't believe in a hitter's ability to control the number of hits against him in any fashion other than strikeouts and walks but I'm not one of them, and hey look at Barry Zito's walk rate sometime (career 3.52)), 6.96 K9. Plus, he all the intangible qualities you want in a starter.



The Boston Red Sox signed left-hander Hideki Okajima to a two year contract with a club option for 2009. From the scouting reports I've read Okajima is a solid left-handed reliever who should have success against lefties and righties. He will probably end up as a LOOGY for the Red Sox.



The Orioles added yet another reliever to their mix in right-handed under-hand pitcher Chad Bradford. Bradford was one of the stars of money ball and is a solid set-up man. There are some becoming nervous about the hold Chris Ray will have on the Orioles' closer job should he struggle at all this coming season. Did you worry last season when you drafted a rookie to be your closer? I don't think you should worry more than you did last season. If anything its the Baltimore starters that are going to be limited. I have a feeling that any starter other than Erik Bedard is going to have to be pitching lights out to finish the sixth inning and maybe even the fifth.



I'll be finishing off the old moves in few hours. I need to get past this hurdle.

















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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Frenzied Major League Action Part One

posted by Jon Williams
You might think that taking eight days off from covering baseball moves in November and December before the start of the annual winter meetings would be a safe move. You would be wrong this year. The teams in Major League Baseball seem to be in a hurry to get their teams built this season which has resulted in an exciting and frenzied off-season thus far. But there are a ton of moves to look at and I'm trying to keep up but this may take a couple of posts over the next few days to complete. Some of this was written a few days ago but I'm not going to edit much so please bare with me on any out of date comments.



The Moves Made



It seems like ages ago that the Dodgers signed Juan Pierre to a stunning five-year contract worth $44 million. As a fantasy guy Juan Pierre has some serious value but I still have to wonder why the Dodgers made this move. They already had Andre Ethier established in the lineup and they have center fielder Matt Kemp just about ready to play in the majors. Kemp has been compared to slugger Dave Winfield in ability. J.D. Drew took off to earn a few million extra (most likely from the Red Sox) but the Dodgers have been hot after Manny Ramirez to take Drew's spot in the lineup. So why block Kemp with Pierre when you have his slightly better clone at shortstop in Rafael Furcal when you've already blocked first baseman James Loney who was ready to take over first base from Nomar Garciaparra? The Dodgers may be including Kemp and Loney as well as powerful relief prospect Jonathan Broxton in the trade for Manny Ramirez which I guess would be a decent use of those talents but sort of surprising from a team that could have been both cheap and good in a few years. Now the future of the Dodgers must be right now to take advantage of the prime years of Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez.



The Astros signed Carlos Lee to a huge six-year contract worth $100 million. Lee is a pretty good slugger and should be great for fantasy owners in Minute Maid Park. The Astros needed a big bat in their lineup and this allows the Astros to keep Lance Berkman at first base where he is much better defensively (not that Carlos Lee is any great shakes). Despite what fans are often led to believe the Astros can afford to make moves like this and should Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte decide to return for another season they can afford them too. The Houston Astros are cheap and miserly not poor or as small market as they'd like you to believe.



The Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks hooked up to make a six-player trade. The Brewers sent left-handed starter Doug Davis and left-handed starting pitcher prospect Dana Eveland and center fielder David Krynzel to the D'Backs for catcher Johnny Estrada, right-handed starter Claudio Vargas and set-up man Greg Aquino. My first instinct is to declare the D'Backs thieves and the Brewers robbed.



The Brewers get an upgrade at catcher with Estrada replacing the solid but ordinary Damian Miller and is an obvious defensive upgrade over Mike Rivera who was impressive with the bat in a limited audition late in the season. Doug Davis (excluding the 2006 season) has been a much better starting option than Claudio Vargas. But Vargas has better stuff and look at his numbers outside of Arizona 87.1 IP, 83 hits, 23 walks, 65 strikeouts with a 4.12 earned run average and a 1.22 whip. Those numbers in combination with a superior pitching coach in Mike Maddux and a better home park in Miller Park (Miller Park has a runs factor of 1.004 while Chase Field has a factor of 1.141) serve to make Claudio Vargas a pretty decent sleeper especially if you're only paying for a player that had an 4.83 earned run average and 1.41 whip in 2006. Greg Aquino is also a decent sleeper possibility. Aquino can hit 100 mph on the radar gun and can get big strikeout numbers. His primary problems have been walks and homeruns. Aquino will probably become Francisco Cordero's primary set-up man and could see some saves if Cordero has a slow start as he did last season. Aquino should also come cheap thanks to a 4.56 earned run average and a 1.65 whip.



The D'Backs needed some talent and youth in their starting rotation and Dana Eveland should be capable of providing it. Eveland has put up fantastic numbers at double-A and triple-A the last two seasons. In 2005 at double-A Huntsville Eveland has a 7.93 H9, 0.33 HR9, 3.14 BB9, and 8.09 K9 in 109 innings. In 2006 at tripe-A he had a 6.09 H9, 0.34 HR9, 3.51 BB9, and 9.43 K9. Eveland has been one of my favorite sleepers for a couple of seasons now despite poor showings in brief major league appearances. He also should be cheap in most leagues.



Doug Davis didn't have a great 2006 season but has been a pretty solid starter the last few years. If he can get his walk rate under control he should be a decent innings eater for the D'Backs. The Brewers only traded him because of his increasingly outrageous contract demands.



The St. Louis Cardinals signed second baseman Adam Kennedy to a a bargain three-year $10 million contract. Kennedy isn't a great player but he will provide the Cardinals with solid defense and a decent bat with some pop and some speed. A huge upgrade over Aaron Miles, of that there can be no doubt.For fantasy purposes Kennedy should be just about what he has been the last few years: a good average in the .275-.290 range, 8-10 homeruns, and 15-20 stolen bases.



The Cardinals also took a shot on Kip Wells and gave him a one-year contract. Wells has great stuff, the stuff to be a frontline starter actually but he has yet to attain that level. He is coming off a series of injuries that may scare a lot of owners off. He had a blood clot problem and a broken foot but his arm, shoulder and elbow should be okay which is all that really matters.



Much much more coming very soon including a look at some rule V sleepers.





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