Al's Ramblings



Friday, November 30, 2007

(11/30/2007 04:39:00 PM) - Al

Lots of rumors involving the Cardinals and Brewers, mostly started by Ken Rosenthal:

The players mentioned include Scott Rolen, Ryan Franklin, Anthony Reyes, and Randy Flores of the Cards and Chris Capuano, Kevin Mench, and Tony Gwynn Jr. of the Crew.

The most commonly mentioned deal seems to have Rolen and a pitcher (maybe two) being swapped for Cappy and Mench. An offshoot mentions a Reyes for Cappy swap, which would seem to be a salary dump for the Crew, as Reyes has a ton of potential, but has never experienced success in the majors. The Cardinals have shown no interest at all in throwing in any cash, and that has been the major hinderence here, as it simply does not make much financial sense for the Brewers, as they'd be adding millions to the payroll and are taking the majority of the risk as well.

Irony of ironies, this trade might be easier to accomplish if only the Brewers had a terrible contract to ship off.


11/30/2007 04:39:00 PM



(11/30/2007 04:18:00 PM) - Al

Riske is on track to sign Monday, per Tom H, sounds like no one really felt like hurrying things along. There may be some 40 man roster implications as well, though, to be blunt, if the Brewers lose their 40th best player on waivers, it's no biggie, as Drew Anderson and Mike Rivera are both still on the 40.

Tom seems to echo Gammons that the Brewers like Scott Rolen, but not until the money gets worked out. Rolen at $12M and his health issues has very little value, possibly even negative. However, unlike what the JS printed, I think the Crew has plenty of money available, they just feel $12M is far too much for a risk like Rolen.

I'm all but positive he'd clear waivers, until he can prove himself to be nearly 100%. $12M for a spot on the DL, needless to say, has no appeal.


11/30/2007 04:18:00 PM



(11/30/2007 12:17:00 PM) - Al

Peter Gammons reported on ESPN radio this AM that Scott Rolen is likely to end up in MIL if the two teams can get the financial stuff worked out, as Rolen is due $12M each of the next 3 years, and has been plagued with injuries which have both limited his effectiveness and playing time.

I like Rolen, but he is not a good bet to play more than 125 games in a season, and may well be a guy who would be helped immensely if he was rested on turf and in most day games after night games. I'd love to have him for $7-9M per, but since Doug has not stuck the Crew with any bad long-term contracts, they have no salary to "dump".

If you click on his career numbers, he has just been a shell of his former self in 2005 & 2007, when he has been playing at less than 100%. This is one of those things where it is likely Doug will just have to get in touch with Scott or his agent and ask him if he expects to be at 90-100%, and how he feels right now.


11/30/2007 12:17:00 PM



(11/30/2007 12:12:00 PM) - Al

The Mets have dealt Lastings Milledge to DC for Ryan Church and Brian Schnieder.

Both players going to the Mets are solid big leaguers, but given Lastings standing as an uber-prospect, I would have thought he'd have garnered more youth and ceiling.


11/30/2007 12:12:00 PM



(11/30/2007 08:30:00 AM) - Al

The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with Kaz Matsui on a three-year, $15 million contract.

That according to the Daily Herald. Of course, the Daily Herald is also saying "reportedly" and not attributing the report to anyone in particular. If true, the Astros have saved the Cubs from themselves. Houston will likely have among the league's worst OBP from the first and second spots at the order, though in their case, it's business as usual.--Rotoworld


See over on the sidebar, where I talk about not spending $7M on a "good field, no hit" SS? I feel the same way about $5M and a 2B.


Geoff Jenkins is reportedly drawing interest from the Rays and Phillies now as well.


11/30/2007 08:30:00 AM



(11/30/2007 12:01:00 AM) - Al

MAILBAG PART 1

I'm going to post a few questions now, and then more on Monday.

I was wondering what you think the Brewers will do with Matt Wise? I see that he is arby eligible. I also see that a lot of Crew fans seem to want him gone. I think that for a team that needs all the bullpen options they can get why would you non-tender a guy that has been decent the last few years? I say offer him arby, hope that he has forgot about hitting that guy in the face, and if nothing else it is only a one year commitment and you let him walk next year. If the Brewers are willing to try for a Mota rebound, why not Wise?

-Josh


I would guess Wise will not be back in '08, but I agree he has value. Wise is not a Melvin "type", he lacks velocity and is not a big, bulky guy like Doug goes after. Also, his numbers are weak when used on back-to-back days, so having him is kind of like having .5 or .75 of a reliever. That said, if he's effective like he was until this past season, you can overlook that.

He will not be difficult to trade at the salary he'll get in arby, and he's good veteran depth. If he is non-tendered, I would surmise Doug and Gord may feel he was less than 100% physically in the 2nd half of 2007.

In closing, I feel he'll be offered arby, and be included in a package deal before April 1st of '08.


How much would you guess Mota would have signed for if he were a free agent?

This offseason, one bijillion dollars.

I would guess $2.25M, though he might have got an extra year, as they all seem to. He's overpaid considering his 2007, but he has the potential to be very solid and earn every penny.




Al,

You have said and showed many times that OBP x SLG is a very accurate indicator of the runs an offense will produce. Why do we not hear more about this? Why do teams talk so much about doing the little things when this is obviously key?

Thank you so much for doing the blog, I check it every day.

BSM



BSM is a fine, fine man; thanks for writing and the kind statements. I think it's not mentioned because it hurts a lot of feelings to think it's that simple. Let's not forget, we still have former players and current managers that talk about "clogging up the bases" with slower, high OBP guys. Heck, Dusty Baker also left Wood and Prior out there for what everyone knew was ridiculously high pitch counts...and he still got another job. Baseball is a sport full of cliches and traditions. I think in a decade, with almost every team changing over to stat oriented scouting with the many younger GM's now in the game, things will be different.

To be honest though, I would not even consider any other offensive stats other than the two you mentioned. I'll let the others worry about the "little things", I'll concern myself with the big things.

3 million fans in 2008?

Yep. In fact, I think the total will be closer to 3.1M than 3M. I'd set the over/under at 3.07M, myself.

Al, What do you like to watch on TV? I started watching the crab fishing show on Discovery on your suggestion, and then I went out and bought the DVD's.

I watch a lot of Discovery and TBS's sitcoms, and I do enjoy the house flipping shows, especially the one with Trademark Properties, formerly on A&E and now on TLC; and sports, of course. I can tell you my network viewing very quickly:

Amazing Race
Desperate Housewives
Two and a Half Men
Survivor
CSI
Without a Trace
Cops (700 shows, and they still say "I swear to God" right after they find the drugs in the car. You just can't look away.)

We watch 2.5 Men every night at 10:35, and it's the best show on TV since Seinfeld and the first year or two of Six Feet Under.

If I set the remote down across the room, I'll sometimes watch CSI: Miami and Extreme Home Makeover as well.

I also watch the investing shows on Fox News most Saturday mornings, and often switch over to Ghost Whisperer for a minute or two each week just to make sure Jennifer Love Hewitt's character is not on vacation at a beach somewhere.

They could not find Marshall Edwards for previous reunions, but he was at this last one, but no one ever commented on where he had been. Any ideas?

Well, I've never seen him on Cops.:)

I wondered the same thing, and I never saw it mentioned either. If anyone knows, send me an e-mail.

Al,

I like your blog a lot, and I had a question. I am a stay-at-home dad currently, and I was wondering a couple things.

If you were to start a blog to make money, what would your subject matter be?

How much do you think a high traffic blog like Aaron Gleeman brings in?

Kent


My advice would be to write about something you love and take a look at the top searched topics on Google and Yahoo. For instance, I'm sure Hannah Montana is one, and so is Lindsay Lohan, but a weblog dedicated to either would be a lot more work than I could ever handle, even though as Mr. Gleeman pointed out, if you can look like this and still be a wreck...

I do not know how much Aaron makes, but I know Dave Pinto supports himself with Baseball Musings, though I'm not sure if his wife is a highly paid supermodel or nuclear physicist or something more common. I would guess, based on my little blog, that Aaron and Dave make about $15-20K a year, based on their hits.

You often discuss poker and the like, just curious if you claim your winnings, and how much you usually end up ahead.

I do keep a journal, which the IRS requires, and claim any winnings on the "Miscellaneous income" section. As for numbers, I will only say that I started online with a $25 deposit, and have never had to redeposit, though I've moved that around an awful lot. I will also say that I made most of my profits back in the old days of sites offering bonuses to attract fresh money...I played for a couple years and never once was not working off a bonus...in fact, often times I had 3-4 going at once and would be forced to let one expire because the terms were not as good as the ones I was playing. Now, I'd give anything to have one of those "terrible" bonuses.

It sure makes you a lot better player, however. I used to play 4 or 5 tables, and while I've always been a player that folds a lot and plays good hands aggressively, I've stopped chasing. When you're getting a $200 bonus just for playing 1000 raked hands, you can chase all the time and still easily turn a profit. Without that "comfort zone", however, I now play by-the-book, and never more than 3 tables, as I use position more now, and I used to hardly ever notice, as I had other tables beeping at me.

That's all for tonight, I focused mainly on the "personal" questions, and will do my best to answer the rest for your reading pleasure Monday. Feel free to send in anything you wish to have answered before Sunday evening.


11/30/2007 12:01:00 AM


Thursday, November 29, 2007

(11/29/2007 10:02:00 PM) - Al

Since the previously unknown web site has seemingly correctly predicted Riske's signing, I should say Scott Rolen has been mentioned, as has Jonathan Broxton. I like both, but Rolen comes with massive injury baggage. Broxton is young and an absolute stud, but I imagine I'd be crushed to see the Crew deal away the talent needed to get him.

By the way, if the Crew signs Riske for exactly what Linebrink got (I think he'll get 3 years rather than 4); they will have gotten younger and picked up a pair of draft picks...guess that is far from a bad day at the office. You know, that Doug Melvin might have some sort of plan here...:)


11/29/2007 10:02:00 PM



(11/29/2007 07:32:00 PM) - Al

ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports that the Brewers and David Riske are close to an agreement on a multiyear deal.

Olney didn't have the terms, but Riske figured to get at least $12 million for three years. While Riske has a reputation for wilting under pressure, he's been a very durable and reliable setup man through the years. The Brewers figure to keep him in that role rather than turn over closing duties to him.--Rotworld


I chuckle every time I see folks think there's no pressure in the 7th and 8th inning, only the 9th. I'd have no problem with Riske as the closer, I'm sure he'll be the backup at the very least.


11/29/2007 07:32:00 PM



(11/29/2007 05:09:00 PM) - Al

UPDATE: Buster Olney says a deal with Riske is all but done, which usually means both sides have agreed on money and such, and are just finalizing the legal language. Apparently "Eli" is a legitimate source and blog to check in the future.

I am thrilled to have Riske, though I would still like to have Cordero or Linebrink to go with him, there's no sense crying over a spilled reliever.


This little known blog indicates the Brewers and Riske are close to a contract, but the link provided does not, he is "going by sources", which is great, if they actually exist. The money he lists seems very high as well, more than Linebrink per year.

Time will tell.


11/29/2007 05:09:00 PM



(11/29/2007 05:04:00 PM) - Al

I forgot to mention this AM that Doug announced the club would not be making an offer for Damian Miller. He also teases fans with the possibility of a young catcher being acquired and used as Kendall's reserve in '08.


11/29/2007 05:04:00 PM



(11/29/2007 04:59:00 PM) - Al

MLBTR recaps the Brewers' news of the day nicely.


11/29/2007 04:59:00 PM



(11/29/2007 07:40:00 AM) - Al

Buster Olney is reporting Troy Percival is close to a multi-year deal with the Rays.

Geoff Jenkins met withe the Padres for hours yesterday, and may sign as early as today.

Matt Herges took a physical for the rockies, and will sign there today. The Crew had talked to him, but it is unsure if an actual concrete offer was ever made.

Dave Riske supposedly is in talks with both the Yankees and Brewers. The Crew expects a decision soon.


11/29/2007 07:40:00 AM



(11/29/2007 07:27:00 AM) - Al

Aaron Gleeman looks at the mammoth MIN/TB deal, and doesn't like it nearly as much for the Twins as I do.

Rotoworld profiles all six players as well. I still think the Twins did well, though not dealing Rincon due to injury and adding a hard throwing pre-arby youngster does tilt in decidedly back to even. I just feel Delmon Young will be a star, and while Matt Garza is Yo like, young pitchers are a huge injury risk compared to a young position player.


11/29/2007 07:27:00 AM


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

(11/28/2007 08:28:00 PM) - Al

The six-player Delmon Young trade has yet to go through because of concerns regarding medical reports on Juan Rincon's elbow, according to CBS Sportsline.

The Rays are supposed to receive Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and Rincon from Minnesota for Young, Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie. Neither team should be willing to let this fall apart because of Rincon. His WHIP has gone from 1.02 to 1.21 to 1.35 to 1.56 the last four years, while his strikeout rate has plummeted in the other direction. The Rays are getting the same haul here whether he's in the deal or not.--Rotoworld


One of the biggest trades of youngsters in years held up because of an injury to the oldest player with the lowest ceiling. Irony.


11/28/2007 08:28:00 PM



(11/28/2007 08:24:00 PM) - Al

Ken Rosenthal says the Brewers have a one year offer out to Troy Percival, with a promise to be the closer, but the Rays have a 2 year deal on the table, and the Yankees have a one year offer as well, but obviously as Rivera's set-up man.


11/28/2007 08:24:00 PM



(11/28/2007 07:56:00 PM) - Al

---As I maneuvered around today, it seemed as if every bar, regardless of how terrible it looked from the outside, were promoting the fact they had the Packers' game tomorrow night. It seems odd they all have it, yet so many homes do not.

---Subway's sign said

NEW
YOGURT
SOUP IS BACK

That is not written very well.


11/28/2007 07:56:00 PM



(11/28/2007 03:52:00 PM) - Al

Doug puts to rest that guys like Hart, Weeks, or Hardy are available in trade. Also, he seems to deny he has an offer out to Matt Herges, implying it's probably Dave Riske, who is better, but also much more in demand.


11/28/2007 03:52:00 PM



(11/28/2007 03:26:00 PM) - Al

The Twins and Rays are about to announce a huge trade, per MLBTR, and an unlikely one with many young players with huge potential.


11/28/2007 03:26:00 PM



(11/28/2007 08:36:00 AM) - Al

If the Twins deal Johan Santana, Joe Nathan will likely be the next out the door, according to FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal.

The Twins could still contend next year without Santana and Hunter if everything breaks right, but they may be better off long-term if they rebuild with 2009 in mind. If they go in that direction, it only makes sense for them to trade Nathan sooner rather than later. The Brewers could offer Corey Hart or a package built around Bill Hall. And we suppose a true blockbuster with both Santana and Nathan going to the Yankees or maybe the Red Sox can't be completely ruled out.-Rotoworld


Author speculation only, I'm sure. Corey Hart isn't going anywhere, especially not for a single season of Joe Nathan.

The original quote from Rosenthal even disputes this.

The Brewers, facing the defections of both Cordero and Scott Linebrink from their bullpen, would be the most obvious fit for Nathan. However, it is doubtful the Brewers would part with a young talent such as Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy or Corey Hart for a one-year rental.

Very doubtful.


11/28/2007 08:36:00 AM


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

(11/27/2007 10:24:00 PM) - Al

UPDATE: Just bumping this to the top, with a caveat that yes, questions on other subjects than the Brewers and the winter meetings are fine too, as someone asked. I'll talk poker, other sports, election stuff, whatever. If I'd ever get enough, I might even do it Gleeman-style, MLB stuff one day, everything else another.

Remember my begging for e-mails here, and drop me a line. Should post the completed Q&A by Friday.


11/27/2007 10:24:00 PM



(11/27/2007 09:40:00 PM) - Al

Ryan alerts me to this link from the Twin Cities.

By the way, those wondering why the newspaper industry is losing readers daily, you'll be happy to know this stupidity was in the print edition as well.

Carlos Silva, of course, is a free agent, but to be honest, that's about the 6th most ignorant thing about that little ditty.

UPDATE: Supposedly, this was written by an actual member of the staff, I was writing it off as a fan forum type of thing that made it in.

The horror.


11/27/2007 09:40:00 PM



(11/27/2007 08:35:00 PM) - Al

Looks like $4.25M for Kendall, same for 2009 if he plays enough. Almost the same as Estrada will get in arby, so considering it's a lateral move, the money makes perfect sense.


11/27/2007 08:35:00 PM



(11/27/2007 07:44:00 PM) - Al

I was checking out the Google ads listed at the top of the site, and I ended up on this page.

I realize Miley Cyrus (as Hannah Montana) is just a teenager, but I'm tired just looking at that schedule. 6 shows in 6 cities in 8 days? I mean the whole month is horrible. I seriously have to question the parental units here, at best, they should be ensuring proper time off, and at worst, they should stop counting the giant mountains of cash long enough to go buy a clue.


11/27/2007 07:44:00 PM



(11/27/2007 04:29:00 PM) - Al

Musings talks about how the Reds' trainers knew something was up 20 years ago.

That's why I can't get too excited about it. It's been going on for ages...and amphetamine use for decades before that. People conveniently ignore the fact Hank Aaron has admitted to taking "uppers" for much of his career. He's no more drug free than Bonds, he's just steroid and HGH free.

Luckily for MLB, a commissioner stepped in who got the player's union to understand it was vital for the safety of the athletes and for the integrity of the game to get a testing agreement in place, albeit a good 15-20 years late.


11/27/2007 04:29:00 PM



(11/27/2007 04:07:00 PM) - Al

The Twins cleared space on their 40 man today, seemingly indicating that a Santana trade is imminent or they know it will happen at the meetings, so they felt the time to sneak someone through waivers was now.

Hat tip MLBTR


11/27/2007 04:07:00 PM



(11/27/2007 04:05:00 PM) - Al

Now 200K people (per day) will know Bill Conlin is an idiot.

Hat tip to Dave Pinto.


11/27/2007 04:05:00 PM



(11/27/2007 03:44:00 PM) - Al

...the Cardinals are willing to deal younger pitching for expensive veteran arms. The Florida Marlins' Dontrelle Willis and the Minnesota Twins' Johan Santana will command interest at Opryland; however, the Cardinals probably will seek less glitzy targets. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers are believed among the mix.--SL Today

You can read the entire article here, hat tip to Ben Maller.

The Brewers are one of a handful of teams with excess SP, so Doug will receive a lot of phone calls between now and the winter meetings. Both Bush and Capuano would be the 2nd or 3rd best pitcher in a lot of rotations, so hopefully, Doug will be able to ask for a lot and get it from one team. A couple young pitchers, one of them a guy who can step right in and provide a steady, decent 70 frames of relief, and the other a starter at AAA with potential might well be a deal the Crew would do right now. Of course, the Crew still has a hole in LF (or 3B, as Braun has said he will do whatever is best for the team) they'd like to fill as well.

Anthony Reyes struggled mightily last year, and may not fit into the Brewers' place in the success cycle, but he'd be a guy I'd be all over if I were the Pirates or in a similar situation. Take a veteran middle man like Salomon Torres and swap him for a guy who was a top 10 prospect in MLB a year or two ago. In 251 AAA innings, he K'd 251 batters, and did that at a young age. He's a perfect change of scenery, high ceiling guy to go after.


11/27/2007 03:44:00 PM



(11/27/2007 07:30:00 AM) - Al

Horwitz would not reveal the other team, but the Milwaukee Brewers have expressed strong interest in Herges, who went 5-1 with a 2.96 ERA in 35 appearances with Colorado.--Denver Post

Or, the offer on the table may be to Matt Herges, who has had a pretty nice career, considering it got started at age 29.


11/27/2007 07:30:00 AM


Monday, November 26, 2007

(11/26/2007 09:55:00 PM) - Al

If nothing else, this will interest Ramblings' contributor Jason.

I have heard they have some very unique stuff at the sale, though the vast majority of it is related to players no longer with the team...for instance, Frankie Cordero shirts and such will be there.


11/26/2007 09:55:00 PM



(11/26/2007 09:40:00 PM) - Al

The Tuesday JS does not have any new info, except the Brewers have an offer pending to a reliever, probably Dave Riske.

Riske has been solid for several years now, so I feel Doug felt more comfortable offering him a 3 year contract. If it is not him, it almost has to be LH Ron Mahay, the only other RP the Crew has been linked to, other than the closers listed above.


11/26/2007 09:40:00 PM



(11/26/2007 08:13:00 PM) - Al

Cyber Monday hits are very heavy, we'll have to see how sales are.


11/26/2007 08:13:00 PM



(11/26/2007 07:40:00 PM) - Al

As I guessed earlier, Doug will make one year offers to the 3 biggest name closers left on the market, but all hope for multi-year deals.

Personally, I'd be going after Dave Riske and Ron Mahay while the focus is on the "proven" closers. Right now, most teams are waiting for the closers to work themselves out before going after the middle men.


11/26/2007 07:40:00 PM



(11/26/2007 03:25:00 PM) - Al

BA discusses the Crew's top players still in the minors...note it seems heavy in OF's, as many of the 11-20 guys also play the OF. They may well be thinned out in deals this offseason.


11/26/2007 03:25:00 PM



(11/26/2007 03:14:00 PM) - Al

Doug said on Milwaukee radio this morning he will make an offer to Octavio Dotel. Dotel is a nice reliever, but has only thrown about 50-60 innings since 2004 due to injuries.

I would assume any offer would be one year max, or perhaps a vested option like the team gave Kendall. If Dotel wants to be a closer, MIL may well be his only chance.

EDIT: Doug did say he was also in on the Percival sweepstakes, though he has concerns about his durability. I would read between the lines to say he will not give Troy more than a one-year deal, or again, have a vested option for 2009.


11/26/2007 03:14:00 PM



(11/26/2007 02:34:00 PM) - Al

Kerry Wood stays with the Cubs, turning down 2 year offers from several clubs, including the Crew.

I agree with MLBTR, I thought he'd get about 2y/$10M, even though he is an injury risk. I feel he must feel he has the potential to really cash in if he can simply put together a single healthy campaign.


11/26/2007 02:34:00 PM



(11/26/2007 08:06:00 AM) - Al

It's been a while since we had a Q&A session here, and with the winter meetings coming up, it might be a good time to send your queries about which players the Crew might talk to and ask about next week. E-mail me here, and I'll probably use a bunch of them for an end-of-the-week post previewing what Doug might be looking for.

I'll go out on a limb here, but I would wager Doug will have one reliever on board before he leaves for the meetings.


11/26/2007 08:06:00 AM



(11/26/2007 08:03:00 AM) - Al

If you are visiting for your first time, probably due to linkage from MLBTR after your long holiday weekend, welcome, and bookmark us while you are here.


11/26/2007 08:03:00 AM



(11/26/2007 07:43:00 AM) - Al

The JS recaps an Insider article that feels Linebrink was overpaid.

Just by going off the paragraph Tom H offers up, Law seems to be stuck in 2003, yearning for the "good ol' days", when decent relievers signed 2 year deals for $3.5M...total. After the top guys filtered through the market, many decent arms could be had for $750K. Heck, guys who had experienced success in the past but coming off a down year, or returning from injury, might be available for a minor league deal come January.

Well, times change. Middle relievers such as Bob Howry and Scott Eyre, who signed 3y/$9M deals with the Cubs after 2005, have went from the top of the salary scale to bargains. Linebrink, who has been solid for ages now, took advantage of the money now flowing through the game, and got a very nice deal. If prices continue to rise, and they've shown no sign of letting up yet, in 2009, we might well be saying "I can't believe this 5y/$40M contract Jimmy Setup Man just signed. Wow, Linebrink is suddenly a bargain.

You can still build a bullpen cheaply, as you do it with pre-arby guys, a couple guys in their arby years, with a minor league free agent or two, and/or a Rule 5 pick sprinkled in for good measure to pitch those lower leverage frames. However, while this is relatively easy to do if you are the Pirates or Orioles next year, if you are a contender, it's not nearly as simple. It's a huge gamble, and if a couple guys are ineffective, you're playing uphill all year.

To bring this back to the Crew, I am sure Doug will add a minimum of a pair of new arms intended to help out in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings before April 1st. And, to be honest, decent relief help is usually available in July, though teams have been asking for the sky of late for it. All that said, I'd just as soon be looking at the Crew having "overpaid" for Linebrink, because that'd be one less hole to fill, and I honestly don't think $4.75M per is much over proper market value, although that 4th year, 2011 mind you, is the tough one to swallow.


11/26/2007 07:43:00 AM


Sunday, November 25, 2007

(11/25/2007 07:00:00 PM) - Al

I'm mentioned how disliked Ms. Clinton is, and this UK article throws out some quotes that seem even stronger than I would have guessed.


11/25/2007 07:00:00 PM



(11/25/2007 12:01:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers are in on Troy Percival after losing Francisco Cordero to the Reds. As has been said since the signing, this could also mean that Derrick Turnbow gets another shot in the closer's role.---MLBTR

I'm no psychic, but if there's a realistic option on the free agent market, the Crew would much prefer signing one of them, rather than making a trade. I seem to recall Mark A saying that you sometimes overpay for a FA just because you don't have to give up a player for them.

I love Percival, but gosh, even a 2nd year would be tough with his injury history. His career can be studied here. However, if a 1y/$5M deal would be doable (maybe with a vested option?), and would leave plenty of cash to add salary in trade and/or another reliever like Riske or Mahay.


11/25/2007 12:01:00 PM



(11/25/2007 11:43:00 AM) - Al

Hi Al,

First of all, I want to say I love your blog. I moved halfway through the season, and had a difficult time following the team the rest of the year. Your insight is far better than that of any newspaper editorial.

I want to ask you about the Inman/Linebrink trade. I am wondering what your thoughts were at the time vs. your thoughts now. Of course, hindsight is easier to evaluate than foresight, especially when a high prospect is involved. Let's say the Brewers made the playoffs with big contributions from Linebrink, but were beaten in the NLCS. What would be your judgment in this condition?

Thanks

Evan


Evan, thanks for reading and the kind words. I feel the same way now as I did then. You have to look at this deal all inclusive, of course, so the trade was:

Linebrink and 2 draft picks FOR Inman, Thatcher, and Garrison

To me, it was a simple equation, you pick up a solid reliever, and you trade some kids. Thatcher, in particular, pitched above expectations in a small sample. I liked him for what he was, and do not feel he will continue to pitch like he did in SD in 2007. I think he may well be a Shouse like contributor for years. Inman and Garrison are both nice arms, but I have no idea how they'll mature. Both have ceilings of a decent #3 SP, but are more likely to be #5 guys or relievers.

Now, while we have no idea which players the Crew will draft, but one pick will be about #40 and the other will be about #55. Both should yield very good prospects, and allow me to say, at least one of them may well have more potential than any of the triumvirate that was dealt to the Padres.

I'm almost sure Doug said at the time this trade it would have been very hard to make without the comp picks, and I agree. There is a small risk with them, because if Scott would have got hurt, the Crew may not have been able to offer him arby, as he would have accepted and got $4M to rehab. However, it's a risk you gotta take when you're fighting for a playoff spot.


11/25/2007 11:43:00 AM



(11/25/2007 09:47:00 AM) - Al

I missed this when it was posted a few days ago at Glenn's little site.

It is almost off-the-charts how every single film that could be labeled as "anti-war" or maybe "unfriendly to war" has not just done poorly of late, but barely done business.

I believe Charlie Wilson's War will be out around Xmas time, so we'll see if that breaks the trend. With Tom Hanks, it certainly has the star power, but it has nothing to do with the current war, and may well appeal to many staunch defenders of Iraq, so I'm not sure if a comparison is apt anyway.


11/25/2007 09:47:00 AM



(11/25/2007 12:33:00 AM) - Al

I forgot to mention I had a couple e-mails asking for my opinion on Prince not winning the MVP. Since he did not win, I did not mention it, as I'm admittedly a Brewers' fan, and not much into concerning myself with the other stuff.

And, as I've said annually about the Gold Gloves, I'd worry about it more if the writers who voted actually took their job seriously. Read about elderly writer Bill Conlin's e-mails with a fan and blogger here, and remember, this is who votes for these awards (that said, I do not believe Conlin himself voted for MVP).

I doubt if Rollins would have been in my top 5. Add that to Justin Morneau's win last year, when I think he was the 4th best player on his own team, let's just suffice it to say I don't take MVP voting seriously anymore, if I ever did.

Hat tip to Dave Pinto, by the way.


11/25/2007 12:33:00 AM



(11/25/2007 12:22:00 AM) - Al

Tom H talks about draft picks and scouting, Mat Gamel, and the the other top prospects in his weekly offseason column.


11/25/2007 12:22:00 AM


Saturday, November 24, 2007

(11/24/2007 03:45:00 PM) - Al

Black Friday sales up 8% according to estimates.

Obviously, the impact of lower home values and higher gas prices has devastated the econ...nevermind.

Maybe Wal Mart and Target will indeed survive the season.:)


11/24/2007 03:45:00 PM



(11/24/2007 02:43:00 PM) - Al

I see the ticker of ESPN is already listing firings of college football coaches. It's a fact of life, of course, albeit a sad one. The irony here to me is twofold:

1. Many times, coaches are let go because of unrealistic expectations...

*********cough**********
Minnesota Golden Gophers
*********cough**********

...Glen Mason turned around a program that was horrible for most of the past 25 years, and was still let go because he never made it to the Rose Bowl, I guess. Results since have been, shall we say, partly cloudy.

2. Other programs seem to be living in a world that is unrealistic. The dynasties of the past are all but over, one not need look past South Bend, Indiana for proof of that. Notre Dame, despite resources galore, tradition of being an incredibly arrogant private school, and having a national TV contract, is no longer able to just run a team out there and make a bowl game. With scholarships more limited than in the past, teams are not able to stockpile 25-30 good recruits each year.

Heck, when I was a boy, often a reserve lineman from a powerhouse like Oklahoma or Nebraska would get drafted late in the NFL draft, because they were playing behind several top players. Five years ago, if I would have said Connecticut and Central Florida would be top 25 teams, and that Hawaii and Boise State (I bet the majority of Americans can't tell you what state they are in) would have several year runs of success, I would have been laughed right off the then all but nonexistent blogosphere.

Of course, several top assistants will now get the opportunity to run their own programs, so that's good for them. Heck, if Mason chooses to coach again, he'll likely be rehired as well, as the Gophers attempt to double their wins next year, while still sucking.

And of course, no one will ever even think of making a decision based on how well the program has done academically, or if they've been of good character...it gets talked about, but that's about it.


11/24/2007 02:43:00 PM



(11/24/2007 01:37:00 PM) - Al

MLBTR discusses closer options that may be available, and thinks Doug is probably posturing a bit when he says Derrick might be the closer, in addition to linking Ramblings, a sure way to get mentioned.:).

I would say Doug is likely looking for the best relief help he can find, with money not being as much of an issue as it was a couple days ago, as he "freed up" about $10M when Frankie signed with the Reds. However, I do feel he's not married to the idea of finding a "proven closer", especially if they are overpriced. Doug has created many closers, Kold and Turnbow being the most well known. He's looking for a couple good relievers, not a closer.


11/24/2007 01:37:00 PM



(11/24/2007 10:25:00 AM) - Al

Al,

The Cordero move to the Reds got me thinking about where the Brewers end up. There's a guy on the J/S message board who sounds like he's gathering canned goods for a move to the nuclear shelter, and over at Red Reporter, the comments vary from "Way too much for a closer" to "Hey, at least we're spending money now to shore up a weakness!"

To me, the worst news about this is that Melvin was willing to go 4 years/$42 million. Maybe my "Moneyball" side is being stubborn, but I was shocked to see Doug was willing tie up that much money in an aging closer who got run out of Texas and struggled away from home during the best stretch of his career. We have the Fielder/Weeks/Hart/Hardy contract situations looming in three years. Doesn't it make more sense to maintain at least some financial flexibility while you're getting
that offensive core on the cheap?

I would argue the Brewers can put a package together for '08 that involves one of the superfluous starters in exchange for Rafael Soriano from Atlanta. Just because he hasn't closed much doesn't mean his obvious talent wouldn't translate into being a capable finisher.

Lastly, I looked at the salaries of closers on this year's playoff teams. I'd throw out Boston and the Yankees because Rivera is the greatest ever and, obviously, the Red Sox would pay whatever it took to have Papelbon close without worrying about their other salaries. I think the real insight is found in Colorado, where Fuentes appeared in the All-Star Game after losing his closing role for the Rockies. They
found a way to patch it together and finish games. Why can't the Brewers?

Before this e-mail turns into a novel, I'd argue Fuentes is in the mold of the typical "change of scenery" guy who would probably do well in Milwaukee. I read in some places last summer that GMs thought Brad Lidge fit into that mold, and I tend to think his move to Philly will end up working out. Maybe Fuentes is the same kind of guy? Anyway, I'm not happy that Cordero left, but at that price ... 'eh, whatever.

Jim

ARIZONA
Jose Valverde $ 2,000,000

BOSTON
Jonathan Papelbon $ 425,500

CUBS
Ryan Dempster $ 5,333,333

CLEVELAND
Joe Borowski $ 4,000,000

COLORADO
Brian Fuentes $ 3,500,000
Manuel Corpas $ 382,000

LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Francisco Rodriguez $ 7,000,000

NEW YORK YANKEES
Mariano Rivera $ 10,500,000

PHILADELPHIA
Brett Myers $ 5,083,333



Nice analysis, James. I am not a fan of paying a premium for a "proven closer", because in reality, they throw 70 innings. Maybe I'm a bit of a simpleton, but I don't think it's any more difficult to throw the 9th than it is to throw the 6th, 7th, or 8th.

That said, Cordero has been one of the top 5 closers in the game this century. He had a bad month in Texas, which is not bad considering he was their guy for years. I would very much agree though, the 4th year is the biggest part of that contract, not the $11.5M per.

Also, your list of playoff closers shows some are outstanding, and some just regular guys. Valverde has not been a closer long, Borowski and Dempster are just regular pitchers thrust into the closer's role, Myers a stopgap. I tell you what, at this second, I'd be a lot more concerned about going into 2008 with a very plain, vanilla bullpen than I would with Turnbow as the closer. If they add a couple solid 70 inning pitchers, I'd feel a lot better, and I think Doug will.


11/24/2007 10:25:00 AM


Friday, November 23, 2007

(11/23/2007 09:57:00 PM) - Al

Bill Simmons is beloved by many, but I've never really "got it". Fire Joe Morgan looks at one of his many second guessing paragraphs from last year...heh.

If only Theo understood baseball like Bill. Oof.


11/23/2007 09:57:00 PM



(11/23/2007 06:51:00 PM) - Al

Doug sounds like he has offers out to almost every FA reliever on the market, but none are what he thinks are "closers".

It says the Reds gave Frankie more guaranteed money than any reliever has ever received. Jeepers.

AS I said, I see a pair of relievers being added, a free agent and one via trade. Rigth now, I would say the best FA available is Dave Riske, who is about as generic as you can get, but has also extremely been very consistent over the years. LaTroy Hawkins, Matt Herges, Ron Mahay, and Jeremy Affeldt would round out the top five.

I guess, if you're a bright side sort of guy, you could overpay Riske and Mahay at this point (3y/$15M each, and maybe even less), and still be about $16M under what the Reds just promised Cordero. At the very least, I would bet Doug will be having serious discussions with both, and maybe Hawkins as well...I'm surprised how solid LaTroy has been the last half-dozen campaigns.

I forgot to mention Octavio Dotel, and he actually has been a closer. He'd fit in just above Hawkins, I'd say, although he hasn't thrown even 35 frames since 2004.

Jon e-mails to ask about Kerry Wood...I doubt it. He'd be a one year contract to me, and I'm sure someone will give him two...heck, maybe three.


11/23/2007 06:51:00 PM



(11/23/2007 04:19:00 PM) - Al

I seem to be in the minority, but right now, I wish Linebrink was still available. Being able to sign him to act as our closer, for now at least, would be $6.5M less expensive than what Frankie got, and still leave a nice chunk of cash available to pick up a quality player who may be too expensive for a rebuilding team.

Other than the oft-mentioned Fuentes, Joe Nathan is said to be on the market, but only has a year left on his deal. Chad Cordero has been dangled, but DC is said to be asking for far too much. We'll have to see if Weathers hits the market. I would say this makes that rumored swap between the Braves and Brewers more likely, if indeed there were actual discussions taking place. Soriano is one of the top dozen or so set-up men you might look to make a closer. Also, Pirates' relievers Torres, BRabow, and Marte are all said to be up for grabs, though I would hesitate to say any would be conventional closer candidates, more middle/set-up types.


11/23/2007 04:19:00 PM



(11/23/2007 04:03:00 PM) - Al

Cordero and the Reds strike a deal, 4y/$46M. Best of luck to Frankie, who it would appear chose to take the most money, which is certainly his right.

That is oodles of cash considering his age, and that 4th year gives me the shivers. The Brewers will now have seven picks in the first 2.5 rounds, but the bullpen is going to require a pair of additions, at least. I would guess they will add a lesser known free agent and also make a trade, the most likely target being Brian Fuentes of the Rockies.


11/23/2007 04:03:00 PM



(11/23/2007 03:24:00 PM) - Al

REPORTS ON Black Friday so far. The Insta-Wife and I ventured out to the bank and the post office today; we didn't shop, but every retail parking-lot we passed was beyond full. Good retail season ahead?--Instapundit

I did head out this morning at 9:30 and returned home about 11:45. I was very impressed with Menards, who had an associate every 15-20 feet in the racetrack helping folks find what they wanted. Shopko was not overly busy, and had plenty of socks! I then went to Kohls, Sears, and Younkers all looking for the same ad item, and all were sold out. Kohls was an absolute zoo, and the others were plenty busy as well.

I was kind of surprised how few men looked to be out, just a few couples and lots of groups of women, including a huge number of mother/daughter teams. I might wander over to Best Buy tonight or tomorrow, as they had some $2 DVD's, it's hard to go wrong with that. Also, Amazon has a big sale on DVD's today, many are less than $6 and some boxed sets are 70% off.


11/23/2007 03:24:00 PM



(11/23/2007 12:50:00 PM) - Al

Ken Rosenthal is reporting the Reds are talking seriously with Frankie Cordero, and must be topping the Brewers 4y/$42M offer.

Many would say the Crew have made more than a fair offer, giving about market value for one more year that you'd really prefer. If Cordero simply wants to go where he'll get the most cash, he's likely to be gone.

UPDATE: While the article mentions Weathers as a set-up man, Dave specifically signed with the Reds to be the closer. If he requests a trade because of that, the Crew could have interest, and it would also put previous discussion of Brian Fuentes to the front burner.


11/23/2007 12:50:00 PM



(11/23/2007 12:22:00 PM) - Al

The Royals seem to be doing all they can to make Dave Dejesus available, now going after Jose Guillen after missing out on Torri Hunter.


11/23/2007 12:22:00 PM



(11/23/2007 12:16:00 PM) - Al

Lefty pitcher Joe Kennedy died this morning, he was 28.

Tragic when anyone so young passes away.


11/23/2007 12:16:00 PM



(11/23/2007 09:06:00 AM) - Al

Bill Hall might just have a big hit in tonight's classic Brewers' game on FSN, 7PM Central.

Hall also almost made a fantastic play from deep in the hole at SS to save the game in the top of the 9th.


11/23/2007 09:06:00 AM



(11/23/2007 08:57:00 AM) - Al

Charles Krauthammer with one of the most optimistic viewpoints about Iraq I've seen in about 4 years.

You may have to register to read his opinion, but it's worth it. As I've said before, I hope he's right.


11/23/2007 08:57:00 AM



(11/23/2007 08:49:00 AM) - Al

For the first time since 1992, I am not working the day after T-giving.

I am soon to be getting ready to venture out to see if I can pick up a couple "good deals", but will be far from upset if they are sold out. Sadly, the thing I saw in the ads that most appealed to me was one retailer having "all men's socks 50% off". That seemed like a strange doorbuster, but it works for me.


11/23/2007 08:49:00 AM


Thursday, November 22, 2007

(11/22/2007 11:59:00 PM) - Al

UPDATE: This will be bumped to the top until the end of the holiday.

I would like to take a couple minutes to wish all Ramblings' readers a happy Thanksgiving. Please, be sure to enjoy your time with family and friends, and keep those that protect us, including our police and firefighters, as well as the brave men and women of the United States' armed forces in your thoughts and prayers. If you know of someone who has a service person in harm's way this holiday, remember to let them know you are thinking of them.

Last year, I ran a story that resulted in many e-mails, and I will link to it here. Take a minute to read or reread it, and if you think others would enjoy it, please forward the link or the text onto them.

Finally, I forgot to mention the Bobby Warns' tribute I have permanently placed on the sidebar on Veteran's Day, and I'll make up for that oversight now. If you can watch the 5 minute video without a tear coming to your eye, you are either a heartless person full of hate or just an incredible strong human being, much stronger than myself. If you ever question the honor and sacrifice of a military family, remind yourself by watching that tribute.

UPDATE: I just checked out the page to ensure my links worked, and they have pictures of Warns' daughter Payton, who Bobby never met. She isn't even that small anymore, it's amazing how long ago that was, over 3 years ago.

As we celebrate a day of thanks, allow me to also mention that many people have to work tomorrow, and often for a rather minimal wage. A tip of the cap to them as well, and here's to a short shift.


11/22/2007 11:59:00 PM



(11/22/2007 08:19:00 AM) - Al

Torri Hunter signs with the Angels, 5y/$80-90M.

Hunter is a solid player, but that said, he does not profile much better than your average CF, mostly due to his low OBP.

I can say I'm a bit glum because I was rooting for a Royals signing, just to free up Dejesus.


11/22/2007 08:19:00 AM



(11/22/2007 08:06:00 AM) - Al

Best link about Linebrink's signing would appear to be this one. Another link is here from the team site.

Just under $5M per seems to be the going rate for solid middle relievers. The cost of business has gone up, I'm afraid.

I am surprised that he did not sign with a Texas team, and also, not with a club who planned to use him as a closer. It looks like he just took the money, which is his right, but seeing as this will probably be his last big contract, I expected him to choose differently.

Thanks for the early report, Jason. I was watching the late night Two and a Half Men by then.


11/22/2007 08:06:00 AM


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

(11/21/2007 10:38:00 PM) - Jason Christopherson

I'm looking for a credible link, but according to some comments on mlbtraderumors.com, Scott Linebrink has signed with the White Sox for 4 years/$19M. That's probably about right in terms of dollars, but I have a hard time giving a reliever a four year deal.


11/21/2007 10:38:00 PM



(11/21/2007 03:48:00 PM) - Al

I've lived in an agricultural state all my life, and I've never heard of anything like this. Rivets giving way like machine guns? Huh.


11/21/2007 03:48:00 PM



(11/21/2007 02:28:00 PM) - Al

Per a trusted source, the Brewers have signed Jason Kendall. More as it is released, later this afternoon I would guess.

UPDATE: Tom H has heard the same thing.

UPDATE2: Being reported as a 1 year contract with a "vesting option" for 2009.


11/21/2007 02:28:00 PM



(11/21/2007 02:25:00 PM) - Al

Billy Beane is rumored to be considering tearing it all down and building it back up in OAK. Joe Blanton, Dan Haren, and Huston Street might all be available for youngsters.

Beane is, of course, a different breed of GM, but it's refreshing to see a guy not worry about being politically correct and saying the right things to the fans. It's kind of funny, as both the Royals and Pirates have avoided this proper rebuilding method for the past decade, and are no closer to contention than ever. 70-75 wins don't win you a single thing, but teams often act like that's the prize, terrified of losing 100+ games, when in reality, the best way to build is from the ground up.


11/21/2007 02:25:00 PM



(11/21/2007 02:21:00 PM) - Al

No news on Kendall, but add Troy Percival to the list of free agents the Crew has talked to, the JS reports.


11/21/2007 02:21:00 PM



(11/21/2007 06:35:00 AM) - Al

No, there is nothing new at this minute about Jason Kendall, but supposedly, he is mulling between a pair of offers, a long-term (probably 3 years) contract and a one-year deal, during which he can attempt to bounce back from a subpar 2007 and make more.

Kendall already made a zillion dollars in his expired deal, so I cannot believe money is an issue. He may simply want to play on the West Coast, which has been rumored, but at this moment, his only suitors appear to be the Cubs, Rockies, and Brewers, all far removed from the Pacific.

If anything goes down today, perhaps Jason or Robert will be near a computer, as I will not until at least 2ish.


11/21/2007 06:35:00 AM



(11/21/2007 06:33:00 AM) - Al

I'm surprised Mike Vick volunteered to go to prison early, apparently in an attempt to be out in time to play in 2008.

I simply cannot imagine a team signing Vick, but especially not next year.


11/21/2007 06:33:00 AM



(11/21/2007 05:53:00 AM) - Al

My Sunday paper also said that more people will travel for Thanksgiving that ever before. This is why I simply do not get the "high gas price" concerns...short-term, it has no effect at all.

It has a minimal effect as far as mid-term planning. Long-term, it may lead to people buying more fuel efficient cars and fewer commuters, as well as the obvious less driving around for recreation. History has proven people drive a bit less when the prices get up to $3.50 a gallon or more. That's why some want to increase the gas tax to artificially keep demand down. I feel that's about the most regressive tax you can come up with, but do understand the idea.

I think it will be a huge retail season as well, with the early Thanksgiving and stores being very aggressive with their discounts. I think the last two weeks will see some of the biggest sales, due to the retailers competition and all being afraid to carry over excess inventory.

I would say the final weekend before Xmas might see discounts we're used to seeing in the days after, 50-70% off. You can thank me later.:)


11/21/2007 05:53:00 AM


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

(11/20/2007 07:23:00 PM) - Al

Yahoo mentions the Brewers as Torri Hunter players, though I doubt it immensely. I cannot imagine what the Brewers can offer than 10 other clubs cannot.

Hunter is a bit of an enigma, I've mentioned him as being overrated many times, but as with Derek Jeter, he's both overrated and a solid player. I would have to believe Miller Park would help him as well, but I very much doubt we'll ever find out.

I'm still hoping Hunter ends up in KC, which might well free up Dave Dejesus, who would be much cheaper and several years younger...and about 95-98% as effective.


11/20/2007 07:23:00 PM



(11/20/2007 06:51:00 PM) - Al

Thanks to Robert for picking up the slack while I had a some appointments this afternoon. I'm not sure why he is not a fan of Mota, who had several good to mediocre campaigns before having a subpar 2007. Mota's career numbers can be found here, and while he struggled last year, his secondary stats were fine, good K/BB ratio, and a lower WHIP than he had in '05 or '06, so I would say it is likely his high ERA was because of bad luck (some bunched up hits)and some poor relief appearances following him.

At worst, he seems like an expensive version of a Seth McClung or Greg Aquino, and hopefully, he'll be a solid high 3/low 4 ERA set-up man.

Taking a "big picture" viewpoint, they Crew added some depth in the 'pen and improved their catching by a very small margin. Allow me to repeat what I said earlier...if not for Kendall's horrible first half in OAK last year, we'd be jumping up and down about picking up a catcher who gets on base at a .350 clip. Given Jason's age and poor start, however, many will expect him to not live up to his career numbers, and to be honest, I would probably project a 5% decline as well. Still, given his ability to "not get out" at a nice level for a catcher, it's a risk I'll gladly take.

By the way, it sounds like a Kendall deal is all but finalized, except for the details. Doug would not have dealt Estrada had he his alternatives been Rivera and Munson, trust me.

Best of luck to Mr. Estrada, as I expect him to return to his norms if indeed he is healthy in 2008. I'm sure he's giddy about going to a contender, though his offense might be hurt a bit by Shea, not good prior to his walk year.

FYI, Mota's numbers are a bit skewed by a single game last year, as he allowed a half-dozen runs in 2/3rd's of an inning on the 4th of July last year. If you take that game out, his ERA falls to a 4.91 level, right in line with what you'd expect from a guy who missed the first couple months of the season.

Mota also is a "Melvin-type", a hard throwing, large-framed pitcher. Doug is happy to have a skinny fella like Wise around, but you'll see he prefers guys that, at the very least, make you hit a 93+ mph fastball.


11/20/2007 06:51:00 PM



(11/20/2007 06:02:00 PM) - Robert R.

The Brewers and Mets exchanged Guillermo Mota and Johnny Estrada today.

I'll be honest, I don't like Mota one bit and think there are guys out on the waiver wire that are likely to be just as (in)effective for about 1/6th the cost. If Mota was all I could get for Estrada, I'd probably have just non-tendered him and saved the $3 million to apply towards someone good.

Just for fun 2008 ZIPS Projections

Estrada .266/.320/.373 (likely to go down in Shea)
Mota 65 IP, 4.85 ERA (likely to go up in Miller Park and with the Brewers defense)


11/20/2007 06:02:00 PM



(11/20/2007 12:40:00 PM) - Al

Radio stations are reporting the Kendall agreement is imminent.

WSSP in Milwaukee has reported Prince will not be named MVP today, as they give the team a heads up for press conferences and the like.

FYI.


11/20/2007 12:40:00 PM



(11/20/2007 09:01:00 AM) - Al

Doug comments on Kendall for the first time, and all indications are positive.

Unless another team swoops in, a deal may well be announced soon.

I think Estrada got a bit of a bad rap by many, as he played hurt all year and never complained. His numbers were off a tad from his career norms, but very close as well. It will be interesting to see what the market is for a mediocre catcher making $4-5M per.


11/20/2007 09:01:00 AM


Monday, November 19, 2007

(11/19/2007 11:59:00 PM) - Al

Welcome to the latest sponsor of Ramblings, theseats.com, which will be available on the sidebar for at least the next year.

Thanks for joining the team, folks.


11/19/2007 11:59:00 PM



(11/19/2007 09:35:00 PM) - Al

Wren said the Braves don't plan to add more starting pitchers, and the fifth rotation spot should be a four-way battle between James, rookies Jo-Jo Reyes and Jair Jurrjens (recently acquired from Detroit in the Edgar Renteria trade) and Jeff Bennett, who's been outstanding so far in the Venezuelan Winter League.

That would seem to indicate a deal with Sheets involved will not occur...but the 4th spot is apparently Mike Hampton...heh. I think I'd wait for him to, you know, throw a pitch before I count on him for a rotation spot.

By the way, Tom Glavine, former (and maybe current) head of the player's union, turned down a $13M option to pitch in New York next year to sign a $8M deal with the Braves. I find that very funny. It's a new worldm of MLB, as many players are simply not taking the most money.


11/19/2007 09:35:00 PM



(11/19/2007 05:22:00 PM) - Al

Tom H also reports that the Brewers may be very close to signing Jason Kendall, hinting a signing could happen anytime. The fact he can't get any comment from the Brewers is plenty of proof, actually.

I discussed Kendall here, and I stated a slight preference for him over Estrada, money being close to equal, of course. I prefer OBP over all other facets of the game, so Jason's ability to "not get out" led me to his side. That said, much of his value to the Brewers may well be in his reputation as being a fine handler of pitchers, many A's pitchers were very unhappy when he was dealt, even though he was awful at the plate in the first half of '07.

The JS is not one to even mention rumors, so when they do, you have to think they are pretty sure something is going to occur.

UPDATE: If this goes through as suggested, Estrada may not be offered arby, especially not coming off surgery. Other teams may not offer much for him not being certain he is healthy, and he'll get $4-5M. With catching as weak as it is sport-wide, I would risk it, but Doug may not feel he has $4M to gamble with.


11/19/2007 05:22:00 PM



(11/19/2007 05:18:00 PM) - Al

Tom H tells us of which players were added to the 40 man here.

I would say the most likely minor leaguers to be plucked away are OF Charlie Fermaint and RP Marino Salas, and I doubt either is a guy with the high ceiling that teams look for. Still, someone might take a flyer on one of them, as Fermaint would have some value as a 5th OF and Salas would not embarrass himself as the last reliever by any means.


11/19/2007 05:18:00 PM



(11/19/2007 03:37:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers will be finalizing their 40 man roster before tomorrow, as they have to submit it for the rule 5 draft. Thus far, only pitcher Luis Pena has been added, but they will likely be putting a few more youngsters on.


11/19/2007 03:37:00 PM



(11/19/2007 03:28:00 PM) - Al

TRADE RUMOR: Ben Sheets and Bill Hall to the Braves for Jeff Francoeur, Rafael Soriano, Kelly Johnson

This has been floating around for a week or so now, usually with a prospect or two involved, the Brewers usually giving a better one. ATL has been tied to Sheets in many a rumor this offseason. I am 99% sure the Braves are one of the teams that Ben will allow a trade to, he only has to list 8, per his contract.


11/19/2007 03:28:00 PM



(11/19/2007 03:25:00 PM) - Al

Good friend of Ramblings Mike e-mailed to say I'd only lose the classic games and the condensed games by switching to satellite. Is that true? Does Direct have the pre-game shows? Post-game shows?


11/19/2007 03:25:00 PM



(11/19/2007 03:08:00 PM) - Al

Doug has said he has no interest in Torrealba. No link, but when I find, I'll post it.

UPDATE: Found.


11/19/2007 03:08:00 PM


Sunday, November 18, 2007

(11/18/2007 09:20:00 PM) - Al

I believe at least some of these are staged, one was for a commercial I believe, but they make me feel better about myself and wonder if people are really this far gone.

Bad Day at the Office

Hat tip to Iggy, the number one poker blogger on the planet.


11/18/2007 09:20:00 PM



(11/18/2007 08:41:00 PM) - Al

Luis Castillo resigns with the Mets, 4y/$25M...I'd say that's actually kind of close to his actual value, though he's far too old to be getting that long of a deal.


11/18/2007 08:41:00 PM



(11/18/2007 07:30:00 PM) - Al

As the title implies:

---My son was unhappy when we told him that because grandma and grandpa were guests for Thanksgiving this year, we would be eating in rather than going to Golden Corral. He was so depressed we said we'd take him today. I took advantage of Jason's "eat whatever you want one day a week" rule, though my plan has been going nicely, and I hope to be at my "low weight" by the end of the month. The only reason I mention this is because I noticed today that for breakfast, they have cartons of milk out free of charge, but they remove them from the buffet once lunch starts. This is especially strange considering they charge more for lunch. Another unique thing is that my favorite food is creamed chipped beef, which I eat on eggs, chicken, biscuits, hash browns, ham, or just about anything on the breakfast line. I have always heard that it's the most hated food in the military, and I've never got that.

---Afterwards, we visited the Evil Empire of retail (how dare they make money by selling product cheaper and being more efficient!), and wandered the Rhode Island sized store trying to help Andrew come up with toy ideas, as he's 5 going on 15, and seems to be too mature for many toys designed for kids older than him. While there, I came across an endcap of cheap greatest hits CD's. I glanced at a couple, one by the J Geils Band, who had hits back in the early 80's, Centerfold being the biggest, and also Freeze Frame and Love Stinks. I glanced at the back of the CD, and saw apparently the rights to that album had not been garnered, so hence, it was the J Geils Band's greatest hits, minus the top three.

I then noticed they had one of Jim Croce, a singer who was big way back in the early 70's, who had kind of a folk rock style. I was barely around then, but the back showed his hits had actually made it onto the CD. All were marked down to the $5 range. So, if you like music from a long, long time ago, Wal Mart is the place to check out.

---I am none too happy with the fact the Badgers' basketball team has about 20 games on the Big 10 Network. Sadly, FSN-WI does not have its own channel on satellite yet, so there's no good decision to be made right now, just deciding which is the better of the bad.

---I've had a couple e-mails tell me that much of the overreaction very apparent on message boards and such is just the unknowledgeable proving it. I would tend to agree for the most part, but sadly, it's like many are just willing to mortgage a several years of success for 88 wins once. The other day I saw Yo or Carlos for "a proven closer, like Eddie Guardado". Oof.


11/18/2007 07:30:00 PM



(11/18/2007 03:12:00 PM) - Al

Al, We have spoken before via e-mail, and I was wondering if you can find one of the numbers you mentioned to me...I think you said the USA was over 50% "forested" even today, and that WI was still about 65%. I had mentioned this to some nature lovers and they said the number would be about 15%, which seems ridiculous. Keep up rambling, and have a happy Thanksgiving.

As a police officer, I will be working the overnight shift both Wednesday and Thursday, and sadly, I will be plenty busy, as both are big drinking nights, plus we have the morning crew coming on early, at 4AM & 5AM to handle the crowd calls and fender benders of the shoppers. As you told me, in a phrase I often repeat to myself, "I wish the smartest people of the generation would stop taking drugs and dying young". Ha. I always think of that when I'm taking in some idiot driving high, or when I'm cleaning vomit out of my back seat.

Bradley


Bradley, I should mention yourself and other public servants in the same breath as the military. Thanks for being there when we need you, and I hope your "domestic disturbance" calls are minimal.

I should explain that comment to Bradley was made as we chuckled between ourselves at the godlike status dead musicians seem to garner soon after death. We're talking about mindless fools so stupid they continue to shoot themselves full of drugs until they die at a very young age, but the second they pass away, fans start calling them "geniuses" and dissecting their lyrics as if they hold the secrets to life. Trust me, Kurt Cobain was so ignorant, he married Courtney Love...he didn't know the secrets of anything.

I will search for that web site, it showed each state, and it was mind boggling. Even agricultural states like Iowa, known for fields of corn that go on for miles, was over 50%. This reminds me of an article I read that blamed temperature rise on the fact we have so many trees...as dark objects hold in heat, and if you look at the Earth from space, it is now darker than ever before. I have read that a couple times, but had forgotten about it.

UPDATE: So far, I've googled that Maine has the highest forest %, followed by New Hampshire, MA is 8th, and MN is 16th, but I have not yet found a list.

UPDATE 2:If you can locate a list, send me a link. I am googled out.

Here is an interesting fact that I do not recall hearing before, however, found looking for other things.

In 1834, Michigan wanted to join the US as a state. However, Michigan declared that their border was south of Toledo. Ohio said that Toledo was theirs. The federal government said that Ohio owned Toledo, but Michigan received Upper Peninsula for their loss. While at first the Michigan government was quite unhappy, they soon learned they had gotten the better deal when large deposits of iron ore and copper were found.

I know the UP has jokingly argued they should be the 51st state (of course, considering the tax money they get from the Detroit area, that is absurd), but one look at a map brings up the question of why the UP is not part of WI. That's a subject that makes so much sense, I'm surprised it does not come up more often, even now. Of course, I'm not sure what MI would do with all its prisoners, as they have 5 prisons in the UP.


11/18/2007 03:12:00 PM



(11/18/2007 02:11:00 PM) - Al

Billy Beane made a deal with one of his former employees today, shipping utility infielder Marco Scutaro to the Blue Jays for a pair of minor league arms.--MLBTR

I do not know the quality of the pitchers, but Scooter is a quintessential utility infielder, who can hit a little as well. I would have loved to have paired him with Counsell for 2008.


11/18/2007 02:11:00 PM



(11/18/2007 01:48:00 PM) - Al

Al:

First of all, I hope you are well and enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday. I'm a long-time reader of your blog, and really value the insight and perspective you provide on the only sports team I follow.

I used to work in retail in high school, 3 years as a cashier in the local grocery store, and while we were open on Thanksgiving, I always enjoyed working that day. We were open from 6am until noon, and our manager always underscheduled help (every year he would claim that the only customers would be people who needed "a thing or two they forgot for the meal"). Inevitably, nearly every customer came through with
all the food they intended to cook that day and the following week.

But the rush of people and the size of the carts made the six hours go very quickly, and then when noon came, I headed home for a delicious meal and a nap. As a bonus, I made double-time because of holiday pay.

If the store had instead opened sometime in the afternoon and remained open until normal close (midnight), I would have quit after the first Thanksgiving.

Cheers,

Sam


Sam, thanks for reading and for the kind words.

I never complained too much about the hours I put in on the day after T-giving is because:

A. I could have turned in my keys and not worked them.

B. Some people, including many that make a lot less than me, have to work the actual day of Thanksgiving, not to mention Xmas Eve, Xmas Day, and so on.

Besides, as I always try to say every holiday, our military is not just working that day, but often far from home, and often in harm's way.

Over the years, I've known many folks who worked a part-time job at a convenience store, and without fail, they always said the holidays were when they were the busiest. One worked at a place who would get in hellishly overpriced turkey breasts and small chunks of ham, and they'd have to haul out the little freezer, plug it in behind the counter, and put it out right by the register, due to the theft possibility. So, they'd put out these things like a week before the holiday, and they'd sit, unsold, untouched, until a day or two before, and they'd start trickling out. By the holiday at noon, they were not just sold out, people would be coming in and asking for them, because so and so decided to show up, or they were going somewhere but the plans changed.

Another said they were all alone on Xmas because their shift partner had called in, and they had lines back through the whole store, as many people just came in for pop, beer, or cookies/dessert type stuff...not to mention many travel that day, and needed gas and snacks for the trip.

I do have to wonder about that manager though...you'd think he would know full well what sales would be like by looking at last year's sales. Heck, that's why they're open.


11/18/2007 01:48:00 PM



(11/18/2007 08:40:00 AM) - Al

As my wife and I discussed the other day, many retailers are now opening so early, a company that decides to open at 8 or 9AM suddenly has its own "niche"...with others running specials from 4-9 or 5-10, for example, the one with their deals from 9-2 not only has a place, but I promise you has employees that are more loyal and have far higher morale.

I found it odd Best Buy kind of brags about "family values" in the linked story, because while they do not open 'til 5, they insist their people arrive at 2 or 3...I have to believe it's kind of tough enjoying your Thanksgiving holiday with that hanging over your head.


11/18/2007 08:40:00 AM



(11/18/2007 07:46:00 AM) - Al

About the only new news this AM is I read somewhere or other that the Brewers are talking to Iguchi as a 3B, not as a utility guy. We'll see if that amounts to anything.

It has been telling to me to see the scorn with which Pedro Feliz's name has been met on the message boards. Now, to be honest, I would much prefer a more offensive minded 3B as well...as I have said many times, I would just as soon see Ryan Braun continue to work on his game. However, the angst is reminiscent of a teenage girl left for a slimmer version...off the charts.

The irony here is, many of the same people have been overreacting to how weak the infield defense is, I've seen some that said it raised the team ERA by more than a half-run, which is untrue, unless you have Braun clones playing all four spots.

Pedro is the best defensive 3B in baseball, if he weren't, he would not be anything more than a utility player with some pop. Estimates have put his defensive value at +15-20 runs over the course of 162, which is about as much as a 3B can affect the game, unless he's not wearing a glove, or you choose not to use one.

So, let's compare Pedro's career norms to the run-of-the-mill "average" 3B, shall we?

Average 3B--.338/.432, 770 OPS, 146 OXS, 88 simple runs created
Pedro Feliz-.288/.433, 721 OPS, 125 OXS, 75 src

So, if Feliz is indeed brought in, he would indeed be about a dozen runs under what you'd expect, but his defense would likely leave him right about where you would expect an average 3B to be. Also, I would think Miller Park, being a neutral park overall, but a HR and doubles friendly one, might just help Feliz a tad (in a small sample of 86 PA's, sure enough, Pedro has a .301/.486 line).

As I said, I would prefer a younger 3B (or preferably, a LF) with a higher ceiling, better OBP skills, and so on. But let's not pretend Feliz would devastate the team by any means. I do find it funny though, that the "we need to improve the defense" crowd only wants to do it with a guy who also hits at an above average level as well...you know, like those guys are just looking for work down in the parking lot of the Home Depot.


11/18/2007 07:46:00 AM


Saturday, November 17, 2007

(11/17/2007 08:45:00 PM) - Al

I am not sure whether Fred Goldman is a hero or if he should just step back and try to let it go.

However, I am certain OJ Simpson is a bad, bad man, and dare I say, dumb as a post.


11/17/2007 08:45:00 PM



(11/17/2007 05:35:00 PM) - Al

(David) Eckstein, the 2006 World Series MVP at shortstop, apparently is looking for a contract comparable to the four-year, $36 million deal Julio Lugo signed with the Red Sox last December, which might prove a stumbling block.

You know, Eck is a decent bet to succeed, especially if moved to 2B, as his arm has always been his weak link at SS...but a below average 2B is not worth anywhere in the vicinity of $8M per.

Maybe half that.


11/17/2007 05:35:00 PM



(11/17/2007 02:01:00 PM) - Al

Brewers manager Ned Yost is asking NL Rookie of the Year Ryan Braun to take 1,000 groundballs per day this off-season. Maybe this will help Braun improve from his poor defensive year in 2007.--Buster Olney

Doesn't sound like either Ned or Ryan plan on Braun being in the OF next year. It has crossed my mind Doug is posturing a bit to lessen the value of a LF he is chasing, but he is usually pretty open, albeit in a sly manner. He might well have just wanted to see what 3B were made available.


11/17/2007 02:01:00 PM



(11/17/2007 01:52:00 PM) - Al

Chad Tracy, RF--Arizona Diamondbacks: D-Backs are willing to trade him for starting pitcher, but recent surgery has reduced his value. The Pirates and Angels have expressed past interest with the D-Backs targeting Joe Saunders and Mike Gonzalez in return.--Ken Rosenthal, mlb4u

One of the few mentions of Chad Tracy, a guy I have had on my radar for some time. Note ARI wants pitching, which the Brewers have. I'm not sure why they have him listed as a RF, as he has played a ton of 3B and limited OF. He'd be on the absolute top of any mythical list I have for a 3B/LF.


11/17/2007 01:52:00 PM



(11/17/2007 10:24:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers, Padres, Angels and Rockies have also expressed an interest in talking with Iguchi.

Not sure if they are interested in him as a 3B or as a utility player. Iguchi's career numbers are here. Solid and unspectacular. I thought he was more of a singles hitter, but he has very good pop, and would be an above average 3B offensively.


11/17/2007 10:24:00 AM


Friday, November 16, 2007

(11/16/2007 09:51:00 PM) - Al

I barely mentioned in the last post how Jason Kendall just fell off a cliff last year. Before last year, there's little doubt we would have looked at him as being a nice upgrade over Estrada, but when a guy best known for his OBP has a .301 campaign, whispers about him aging badly are sure to become louder.

The funny thing is, if you look at Jason's 2007 stats, he reverted back to his norms in Chicago after his bad start in Oakland. To be perfectly honest, if the money is the same, I'd probably take the OBP guy, and that would be Jason, over Estrada, though as I said, it's not enough of a difference to waste as much space as I already have.


11/16/2007 09:51:00 PM



(11/16/2007 07:40:00 PM) - Al

Doug is looking at a few free agent catchers, though the names mentioned are all but identical to Estrada, or worse.

Both Kendall and Barrett are, at best, lateral moves. If they think Estrada's numbers were held down by injury, he's at least as good as either of them. Both would be outstanding backups, but with catching at a premium, both will probably make several million dollars.

They will also expand their search for a LF to a LF or 3B, as Braun has said he'll do what it takes. Pedro Feliz's name is mentioned, and while he's decent enough for a 3B, he's a step down from most of the LF's that have been looked at.

With a .288 career OBP, he's about as far from a "professional hitter" as you can get. Most of his appeal is his power numbers, which are very good, but I sure hate to see a guy who gets out 71% of the time, especially if he doesn't catch.

That said, I believe Feliz is known as one of the best defensive hot corners in the game.

UPDATE: Yep, best zone rating in the game.


11/16/2007 07:40:00 PM


Thursday, November 15, 2007

(11/15/2007 02:56:00 PM) - Al

Recap of the Doug Melvin interview on WSSP this morning:

---Matt Laporta is playing well in the AFL, had a bad stretch, but rated the #2 prospect. Could play LF or RF. Fast track like Braun, could be up as early as 2009.

---Has not contacted Torri Hunter's agent, doubts Hunter has any interest in Milwaukee either, has heard he has a list of just a few cities.

---Sheets' injuries have been "freaky", no elbow or shoulder injuries, so that's good. Need him healthy.

---Looking at a couple catchers on the free agent market, but just about all catchers have flaws. No young catchers available, as teams do not deal them. Chad Moeller was very good defensively, but did not hit, and now folks say the team needs more offense...no guys available that are real good both ways.

---Still working with Cordero's agent, talking daily, so that's a good sign. This is Cordero's big contract, at age 32.

---Matt Wise had some durability issues, and a bad stretch after the HBP incident. Wise and pitchers like him are getting several years, $2-3M per, perhaps teams are overpaying a bit.

---Brian Shouse and Derrick Turnbow were both among league leaders in appearances that they were not scored on, and Cordero as well, had 3 very good relief guys. Even Carlos V allowed runs in half his relief outings, who did a good job, the others all over 80%. Hoping to add a solid reliever or two.

---Braun will get MVP votes as well as Rookie of the Year. Credit to the system, all the young guys who have made it to the bigs.

---Ryan said he would move to LF if the team can pick up a 3B, they had a lengthy talk about it the other day. He will do what it takes if it helps the club.


11/15/2007 02:56:00 PM



(11/15/2007 09:51:00 AM) - Al

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton heads into tonight’s Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas with an opportunity: to try to erase the unflattering image that her chief rivals, and her own mistakes, have helped create.

I have two things here:

1. I wish I could be struggling like Hillary...far ahead in the polls and with cash to burn.

2. Another debate? Seriously? Have their positions changed since a fortnight ago?

I guess Clinton's has on the driver's licenses, but c'mon. I think the campaign stuff is fascinating, and I have yet to watch a single minute of any debate.


11/15/2007 09:51:00 AM



(11/15/2007 07:48:00 AM) - Al

...the Padres have their eye on Jim Edmonds and Ryan Church as center field options...Meanwhile Jim Bowden has a high asking price for Church.--MLBTR

First mention of Church on the trade market, and while I liked him, I'm surprised he is so valued by Bowden, who collects OF's like bottlecaps.


11/15/2007 07:48:00 AM


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

(11/14/2007 08:54:00 PM) - Al

The Yankees have been in contact with Mike Lowell's representatives about the idea of him signing to be their first baseman.

If they're hoping to drive up the price for the Red Sox, there's been no sign so far that the team is interested in budging of its current three-year offer. Lowell is a poor fit for Yankee Stadium (plus the new ballpark in 2009 will have similar dimensions) and much of his value comes from the belief that he's an above average defender at third. If the Yankees really want to pay $50 million-$60 million for a 34-year-old unlikely to be much more than an average regular at his new position, the Red Sox should gladly let them and take their first-round pick in return.--Rotoworld


Looks like this cements ARod is indeed going back to the Yankees. I would agree that Lowell at 1B for that kind of money is a poor fit, and I think Theo will agree.


11/14/2007 08:54:00 PM



(11/14/2007 08:49:00 PM) - Al

Adam at the team site mentions Choate signed for a split contract, $500K if he is in the bigs, $75K in the minors.

That would indicate to me they gave him a 40 man spot to get him to sign, and that he may be looked at as little more than AAA depth.


11/14/2007 08:49:00 PM



(11/14/2007 07:41:00 PM) - Al

The Mets may be spending about $8M per for 2 mediocre catchers. Estrada looks like a bargain by comparison. I would imagine Doug might inquire about LoDuca as well, though he appears to be done as a top-tier guy.

EDIT: LoDuca's career has been played in pitcher's parks, meaning he may have a bit more value than you would think:

Career--.338/.414, 752 OPS, 140 OXS
Away----.350/.422, 772 OPS, 148 OXS

2007-----.311/.378, 689 OPS, 118 OXS
'07 Away-.361/.450, 811 OPS, 162 OXS

Astounding split in 2007, and a sizable one over his career as well. I'd rather have Paul than most, as even though he was below par last year, he still wasn't much below average for a backstop.


11/14/2007 07:41:00 PM



(11/14/2007 04:47:00 PM) - Al

Keith Law discusses Frankie Cordero (scroll down to #6), and as he usually does, plays fast and loose with the facts, which explains why his MLB job was short-lived.

Cordero is a two-pitch reliever, throwing a 93-95 mph four-seamer with little movement and an 87-89 mph slider/cutter with a short break, although he'll flash an occasional splitter that he probably should use a little more. Cordero doesn't command his fastball well enough given how straight it is

As a fan who watched Frankie paint the outside corner for most of the last year and a half, this pretty much makes everything else Law says make me wonder if he's ever seen Cordero pitch.

but a major improvement in his control this year allowed him to set the Brewers' team save record. Was it real? It probably had more than a little to do with the shift from the American League to the National League, but at least part of the improvement was real and will hold next year.

I've read that several times, and I'm still not sure what he's saying. NL hitters don't take walks? It's also rather unsettling at how Law is afraid to take a stand even though no one will remember what he said in a week. He improved because of the league switch, but some will still be there...painfully written.

Cordero is one of the few "proven" closers in this winter's market, which would set him up for a four-year deal. The concern with all relievers is that they tend to have short runs of success, and the heavy usage often catches up with them via injury or a decline in effectiveness.

Granted, some relievers do get hurt, but so do starters, with a much higher frequency. Ditto for catchers, shortstops, and so on. It seems to me many relievers have had long runs of success, including many in the past few years, when they have been limited to fewer innings and appearances than in the past. Again, Law's analysis straddles the fence so consistently my groin is starting to chafe.

I'll say this...Cordero will get at least 4 years, and I'd say there's a small chance someone gives him five, or more likely, agrees to give him several million dollars as a buyout for the 5th year. I suppose he could agree to a 3 year deal because he likes Milwaukee so, but if that was the case, a deal would already be signed, you would think.


11/14/2007 04:47:00 PM



(11/14/2007 04:40:00 PM) - Al

Tom H reports the editors stripped his tireless effort down to shreds, and gives us some names the Crew is looking at. Nothing new to Ramblings' regulars.

Tell you what, it's no wonder newspapers are struggling so if they providing less space for the current happenings. Why pay for a paper when you get more from the internet?


11/14/2007 04:40:00 PM



(11/14/2007 04:25:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers sign Randy Choate, a LH RP from the Arizona system, who was effective in AAA last year, and has had a strong winterball season thus far. Choate was added to the 40 man roster, which means he had many teams interested in him, as this is often used as a bargaining chip by the most coveted minor league free agents. He had a 4-1 K/BB ratio at AAA in '07, and a 12-1 K/BB ratio in the Dominican, so maybe he has figured out the control aspect that bedevils many southpaws.

I would say this makes a deal with Ron Mahay or Jeremy Affeldt unlikely, but I guess that was true before the signing as well. Mitch Stetter has been very impressive in his September callup and AFL innings as well, so while unheralded, the Crew should be able to have a pair of lefties in the bullpen that are at least passable.


11/14/2007 04:25:00 PM



(11/14/2007 04:22:00 PM) - Al

New sound system and scoreboard for Miller Park, by 2010.


11/14/2007 04:22:00 PM


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

(11/13/2007 07:39:00 PM) - Al

Tom H with the "scoop" that Doug has made an early offer to Cordero, and he is going after other free agents arms.

Wow, never would have guessed that.


11/13/2007 07:39:00 PM



(11/13/2007 07:23:00 PM) - Al

Dave Pinto's range model shows Garrett Atkins below Ryan Braun at 3B, and Miguel Cabrera barely above him.

Not surprisingly, partly because these two have been mentioned as available, they are the two most mentioned as replacements for Braun, followed by him moving to LF or RF.

Yeah, that'd boost the defense. The ability to assume any change will automatically be better than staying the same amazes me. The irony here is, the mere mention of adding a player known for his defense, whether it be Tony Gwynn Jr. or Dave Roberts, is met with an immediate negative response.


11/13/2007 07:23:00 PM



(11/13/2007 04:44:00 PM) - Al

Dayn Perry thinks the Brewers should pick up Jon Garland.

If that name sounds familiar, it's because Garland & Hall were mentioned as a swap a month ago or so.

Given Ben Sheets' health issues, Dave Bush's struggles and Yovani Gallardo's youth, Milwaukee badly needs a regular in the rotation. Garland would give them that. In each of the past four seasons, Garland has worked at least 208.1 innings, and in each of the last three seasons he's posted a better-than-league-average ERA. Get him in the NL and out of hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular, and he'll look even better. Since the White Sox are starved for young talent, the Brewers should be able to accommodate. A package built around hitting prospect Mat Gamel figures to do the trick.

I continue to wonder if Sheets has indeed been discussed, that Doug has another "ace" type on his radar...that might be the case.


11/13/2007 04:44:00 PM



(11/13/2007 04:33:00 PM) - Al

Doug confirms what we have all known, he is not moving Ryan Braun to the OF unless they pick up a stellar, everyday 3B. I would go as far as say unless they can pry away the D'Backs Chad Tracy, Braun will be the 3B next March 31st, barring injury.


11/13/2007 04:33:00 PM



(11/13/2007 04:28:00 PM) - Al

A Philadelphia beat writer told WSB that a Chicago writer gave Kendrick the 2nd place vote.

Much ado about nothing, but it could have meant something, to be sure.


11/13/2007 04:28:00 PM


Monday, November 12, 2007

(11/12/2007 11:59:00 PM) - Al

I win pin this to the top for the rest of the day.

Happy Veteran's Day to all the brave men and women who have defended the United States in the past and presently. You will always be in our thoughts and prayers.

Military.com has a very nice tribute playing at their site today as well.


11/12/2007 11:59:00 PM



(11/12/2007 04:11:00 PM) - Al

One message board poster today suggested Chris Capuano and Derrick Turnbow to the Rockies for Brian Fuentes.

Considering Cappy and Turnbow both would seemingly have success in Coors (both depend on missing bats and changing speeds), that strikes me as one of the very best matches I've seen thrown out by the public in a long, long time.


11/12/2007 04:11:00 PM



(11/12/2007 03:30:00 PM) - Al

UPDATE: Tom H thinks a Philadelphia writer gave Kyle Kendrick a hometown 2nd place vote. I had not thought of that, and it makes sense.

I have to wonder who it was that gave Braun a third-place vote for ROY. I don't know if they reveal who voted for what, but my first hunch is it was an "old-school" Houston writer who didn't like how Braun admired that one tape-measure HR he hit toward the end of the year. Writers are petty like that (hard to admit since I, too, am in the non-sports side of the field). I just don't see how anyone thinking sensibly considered Tulowitzki and another guy were better than Braun last year.

Also, I don't have the link handy, but ESPN.com's report of the vote has a stats comparison of Braun with Alex Rodriguez from the point Ryan was called up through the end of the year. Braun had a superior average, 34 HRs to 37 for Rodriguez, and he had more extra-base hits. These days defense is much more appreciated than it was even a few years ago, but in my mind, Braun's rookie year was historic while Tulowitzki's was "just" excellent. I don't see how that makes the Rockies shortstop the best new NL player.

Jim


Many are saying it is a Colorado writer who wanted Troy T to win, so they also bumped Braun down a notch. If that is what happened, or if Jim's version is true, that writer should lose any voting privileges ASAP. I agree, Braun's season is truly one for the ages, and I would have voted for him. However, if you just look at Troy as a good offensive and defensive SS, while Ryan is an outstanding 3B offensively and still poor defensively; I can at least see the reasoning behind a Troy T vote. Also, many insist on looking at Troy's away numbers and degrading him, but truthfully, it is a big adjustment playing in the thin air of Coors and then not.

Braun's rookie campaign certainly deserves mention as a once every 10-20 year occurrence. What is so astounding to me is, if he learns to lay off the pitches in the dirt, and the high heat, I could easily imagine him posting some Bonds-like numbers before he's done.


11/12/2007 03:30:00 PM



(11/12/2007 03:20:00 PM) - Al

First mention of Yorvit Torrealba interest from the Crew.

I do not think he's an upgrade from Estrada, at least offensively. I liked him back when he was a reserve, but now he's certainly going to get paid.


11/12/2007 03:20:00 PM



(11/12/2007 02:13:00 PM) - Al

Ryan edges Troy for Rookie of the Year, in the closest vote ever. I wish they would have tied, to be honest, as both have plenty of merit.

The JS reports ticket sales are very brisk, which is exactly as you would expect. I'm sure a few folks will move up to full season plans, and many, many people will become partial season ticket holders as well. Also, holiday 4 packs went on sale today as well.


11/12/2007 02:13:00 PM


Sunday, November 11, 2007

(11/11/2007 10:05:00 PM) - Al

I forgot to mention I'm down 9 pounds since I got back on the wagon (off the wagon?) a couple weeks ago. I have been working out like a fool the past couple days, and hope that helps kick start things. I'll let you know when I again hit my "low weight".:)


11/11/2007 10:05:00 PM



(11/11/2007 08:33:00 PM) - Al

Ron Mahay, LHRP--Atlanta Braves: He is expected to receive a 3-year, $12-15Mish deal. Colorado, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Houston, Minnesota, Kansas City and Milwaukee interested.

Mahay is a solid relief guy, but he is 36. That seems like a hefty contract considering his lack of youth. He does do a good job against both lefties and righties though, so he is not just a loogy.


11/11/2007 08:33:00 PM



(11/11/2007 03:17:00 PM) - Al

Interesting post about the writer's strike...among other things, they mention both Carson and Letterman did shows during the strike in 1988, and implies neither Dave or Jay want to be the first to cross picket lines as the real reason for no late night shows.

I had kind of forgot about Conan taking over The Tonight Show in a couple years. Many seem to think Jay will go to ABC and dominate, as Conan and Dave (or his eventual successor, probably Jon Stewart) split the "hip" crowd.


11/11/2007 03:17:00 PM



(11/11/2007 02:02:00 PM) - Al

Saying that he was “probably going to get behind Rudy" for the White House, Mr. Surnow named comedian Dennis Miller as another entertainer who has “come out” as a conservative in the overwhelmingly liberal Hollywood environment and said that another popular comedian, Adam Sandler “is going to come out and support Rudy Giuliani.”

Surnow produces 24, by the way. I have no idea what the future will bring, of course, but considering many gave the elephant party no chance in 2008, I looked at that statement and thought to myself, "Well, if Clinton gets the nomination, a likable nominee could beat her".

I realize Rudy may not be the choice, and that he may struggle to win some Southern states, especially Arkansas, which the R's depend on. Still, I think it's enough to worry Dems, who should be feeling great, but instead have this to worry about.


11/11/2007 02:02:00 PM



(11/11/2007 09:40:00 AM) - Al

I have added some new possibilities and bumped up the LF post to here. It appears quite obvious the Crew will make a move, so I will continue to do so as rumors hit.

FYI, I am of the opinion Doug probably inquired as to what the Rays would need for Crawford, and most of this is just speculation, but I've been proven wrong many times before.


11/11/2007 09:40:00 AM



(11/11/2007 07:53:00 AM) - Al

Partially as a result of the previous regime's decision to absorb Matt Morris' contract at the deadline, the Pirates won't be pursuing any high-priced free agents this winter.

The Pirates would have to overpay to sign any quality players anyway, and with fewer gaping hopes than usual, it makes sense to sit this one out. They likely will search for a bargain starter or a reliever. The lineup should be similar unless Jason Bay, Jack Wilson or Ronny Paulino is traded. Chris Duffy, Nate McLouth and Nyjer Morgan can battle for the center-field job, with Andrew McCutchen potentially taking over before the end of the year.


Considering where they are in the success cycle, this is what they should have done ages ago. I'm afraid the Crew won't have a poor PIT team to push around for much longer, as they look to be not afraid to build the proper way now.


11/11/2007 07:53:00 AM


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