Brewers probably won’t make big moves at Winter Meetings

November 30, 2011

> Sorry for such a late post. I’ve been busy today, but I’m just going to try and quickly go through the Brewers’ news released today.

> Doug Melvin announced earlier today that the Brewers won’t be major players at the Winter Meetings this year. I guess this was expected, although the Brewers do have a few holes to fill, such as a shortstop and relievers. Not nearly as many as they did in 2010, however.

By the way, if you don’t already know, the Winter Meetings are in Dallas this year from December 5-8.

> The Brewers just can’t get a break as far as Minor League pitching goes. Pitching prospect Santo Manzanillo separated his right shoulder in a car crash earlier today in the Dominican Republic. This came a few days after Manzanillo was put on the 40-man roster for protection from being plucked away in the Rule 5 Draft.

Anyway, who knows what this injury is going to do to his arm. It could affect him a lot because he’s a power pitcher, shown by his numbers- 1.75 ERA and 17 saves between Class A Brevard County and Double-A Huntsville.

Notice how this occurred in the Dominican Republic. At this point, I’m starting to get shaky about Major League players leaving the country to return to their native countries for offseason exercising or winter ball, because it seems like bad things continue to happen. Wilson Ramos, Greg Halman, and now this. I hope this is the end of it.

> And that’s about all the Brewers news. There were some major signings around the rest of the MLB, however.

> The Red Sox may have finally found a new manager in Bobby Valentine. Reports are saying that both sides are close to a deal. Plus, it was reported that Gene Lamont is no longer a contender for their managerial position, leaving Valentine as the only choice.

> The Royals signed former Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton to a one-year deal today. Broxton, typically a closer, is probably going to set up for All-Star closer Joakim Soria.

I’m always tempted to make jokes about Broxton’s weight (he weighs 300 pounds) even though I know I shouldn’t; then I remember his insanely high strikeouts per innings pitched. He has struck out 503 batters in just 382 innings, which is 11.55 strikeouts per nine innings.

> The Cubs are apparently interested in both Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. Hopefully they’re smart enough to know they can only sign one.

> And that’s all I’ve got right now. Again, sorry for such a late post; I’ll probably update this with more links tomorrow. But thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.

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Recap of all major awards

November 23, 2011

> Yesterday, the NL MVP was handed out. This marked the last major award of the offseason. And I’m proud to say that, for the first time ever, I got all of my predictions right. Not that I agreed with all of them, but they were probably the most logical choice fore each award.

> Anyway, here are the top finishers for each award (courtesy of Baseball Reference):

AL MVP

1. Justin Verlander, Tigers

2. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox

3. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

4. Curtis Granderson, Yankees

5. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

6. Robinson Cano, Yankees

7. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

8. Michael Young, Rangers

9. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

10. Evan Longoria, Rays

NL MVP

1. Ryan Braun, Brewers

2. Matt Kemp, Dodgers

3. Prince Fielder, Brewers

4. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks

5. Albert Pujols, Cardinals

6. Joey Votto, Reds

7. Lance Berkman, Cardinals

8. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

9. Roy Halladay, Phillies

10. Ryan Howard Phillies

AL Cy Young Award

1. Justin Verlander, Tigers

2. Jered Weaver, Angels

3. James Shields, Rays

4. CC Sabathia, Yankees

5. Jose Valverde, Tigers

6. C.J. Wilson, Rangers

7. Dan Haren, Angels

8. Mariano Rivera, Yankees

9. Josh Beckett, Red Sox

10. Ricky Romero, Blue Jays

NL Cy Young Award

1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

2. Roy Halladay, Phillies

3. Cliff Lee, Phillies

4. Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks

5. Cole Hamels, Phillies

6. Tim Lincecum, Giants

7. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers

8. Matt Cain, Giants

9. John Axford, Brewers

9. Craig Kimbrel, Braves

AL Rookie of the Year

1. Jeremy Hellickson, Rays

2. Mark Trumbo, Angels

3. Eric Hosmer, Royals

4. Ivan Nova, Yankees

5. Michael Pineda, Mariners

6. Dustin Ackley, Mariners

7. Desmond Jennings, Rays

7. Jordan Walden, Angels

NL Rookie of the Year

1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves

2. Freddie Freeman, Braves

3. Vance Worley, Phillies

4. Wilson Ramos, Nationals

5. Josh Collmenter, Diamondbacks

6. Danny Espinosa, Nationals

7. Darwin Barney, Cubs

7. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers

AL Manager of the Year

1. Joe Maddon, Rays

2. Jim Leyland, Tigers

3. Ron Washington, Rangers

4. Manny Acta, Indians

5. Joe Girardi, Yankees

6. Mike Scioscia, Angels

NL Manager of the Year

1. Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks

2. Ron Roenicke, Brewers

3. Tony La Russa, Cardinals

4. Charlie Manuel, Phillies

5. Fredi Gonzalez, Braves

6. Bruce Bochy, Giants

6. Clint Hurdle, Pirates

8. Terry Collins, Mets

8. Don Mattingly, Dodgers

> Most of them seemed deserving enough. Although I was surprised to see Longoria even on the AL MVP ballot.

> Anyway, onto some Brewers news. They’ve offered arbitration to free agents Prince Fielder and Francisco Rodriguez. Assuming both decline it (which they probably both will), the Brewers will get four premium picks in next year’s First-Year Player Draft.

> Which brings me to my next point. I didn’t pay much attention to the small print of the labor agreement reached between MLB and the players’ union because I was celebrating Braun’s MVP award, but apparently this new agreement is creating a salary cap on how much teams can pay players to sign with them after being drafted. This will probably effect how some teams draft for the next five years, especially teams that rely on the draft in order to contend, such as the Rays.

But hey, it’s what we’ve grown to expect from Bud Selig.

> The biggest news of today was the Indians bringing back the injury-prone Grady Sizemore on a one-year deal worth around $5 million. I guess they aren’t giving up on the center fielder yet, despite the fact he’s had five different surgeries over the past three years, and has averaged below 100 games played per season during that span.

> Bruce Chen has decided to go back to the Royals for the third straight year, but this time signed a two-year deal. Chen really came out of nowhere as a solid pitcher for the Royals in 2010, and had an even better 2011. But I’m surprised Chen’s “chencision” was to return to the Royals instead of play for a contending team. (In case you haven’t noticed, I occasionally use @TrippingOlney jokes on here.)

> Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts. I’ll update again if any other big news comes out tonight.


Why Verlander deserved his MVP award

November 22, 2011

> The AL MVP was handed out today, and, as I predicted, Justin Verlander won.

> But, there are a lot of people out there who think Verlander shouldn’t have won- because he’s a pitcher. Sure, the Cy Young Award is there for the best overall pitcher in each league. And they don’t need to play for a contending team. Felix Hernandez (Mariners) and Zack Greinke (while he was on the Royals) are the two most recent pitchers to take home the Cy Young Award while sulking on last place teams.

>  A lot of people are going to disagree with this, but I think the MVP should play for a contending team. If the player couldn’t get his team into the playoffs, then was he truly that valuable?

> Anyway, regardless of my policy on the MVP, Verlander deserved the award. Let’s start with the numbers- he went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts, becoming the 11th AL pitcher in history to win the pitching Triple Crown. I know some are saying, “What’s so special about a 2.40 ERA?”  I guess there isn’t much. There were two pitchers with ERAs lower than 2.40, both in the NL- Clayton Kershaw (2.28), who won the NL Cy Young, and Roy Halladay (2.35). Verlander’s 2.40 ERA did lead the AL, however. And, he threw 250 innings and had a .920 WHIP, both of which also led the AL.

> And was there anyone more valuable to their team than Verlander? Try imagining the Tigers without Verlander and his 24 wins. Their rotation would look somewhat like this: Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Brad Penny, Phil Coke, and who knows who the fifth would have been. (I didn’t put Doug Fister in there because, with that rotation, the Tigers wouldn’t have been contending at the Trade Deadline, hence not being buyers and probably not acquiring Fister.) As I said, the Tigers wouldn’t have been contenders- maybe not even a .500 team.

> Anyhow, this is just my theory that I’ve believed in for awhile now. I can see why some disagree with it, but again- it’s my opinion; you don’t have to agree with it if you don’t want to.

> There was no Brewers news again today. Hopefully, there will be news tomorrow about Ryan Braun winning the NL MVP…

> Greg Halman has been on my mind all day, and if you know what happened to him, he’s probably been on yours as well.

Halman, who had been an outfielder for the Mariners, was stabbed to death early this morning in his native country, the Netherlands.

Sometimes, I don’t understand why our world is like this.

Halman, who was just 24 years old, had played seven Minor League seasons with the Mariners, being drafted when he was 16. This past season, he played in 33 Major League games with the Mariners, and probably had a shot at being a full-time outfielder with them next year. In fact, he was in the Netherlands preparing for that possibility.

But no. Everything- everything he worked for, everything he dreamed of- was taken away from him in an instant, because of the blade of a knife.

> This has been a scary offseason so far. First, Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped in his native Venezuela, but was rescued. Now, this. I hope nothing else like this happens for the rest of the offseason; I’ve had enough already.

But, this is my message to Major League players- don’t return to your native country. According to the events early this offseason, it can only bring bad things.

> The Rangers signed Joe Nathan to a two-year deal today. They’ve announced that they’re moving Neftali Feliz to the rotation, so this probably means that either Nathan or Mike Adams will be their new closer. But I don’t know about this- it appears Nathan is past his prime.

> The Pirates officially announced today that they signed shortstop Clint Barmes to a two-year deal. This makes the Brewers out of the running for the above-average defensive shortstop.

> Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. Feel free to leave comments, if you’ve got them.


Pujols to meet with Marlins

November 11, 2011

> Finally, some news relating to one of the best free agents on the market. Actually, the best free agent on the market, if you want to be specific.

> Albert Pujols is apparently going to be in Miami over the next few days and is going to meet with the Marlins, a source told MLB. Pujols is coming off a “down-year” (by his standards, at least) in which he hit 37 home runs with 99 RBIs and a .299 average for the Cardinals. The 31-year old, who has been considered the best player in baseball over the past 10 years, is the best free agent on the market this offseason.

The Marlins, meanwhile, are apparently in interested in every top-tier free agent this offseason (as are the Nationals). But, I didn’t think that they were actually going to take this seriously. Because honestly, who wants to sign with a team who is coming off a season in which they came in last in the NL East, and who has to compete with the Phillies every year to get into the playoffs? The only way I’ll take the Marlins seriously is if they manage to sign multiple top free agents this offseason. Which could happen, since their payroll is going to rise by about $50 million, and they’re moving into a new stadium next year.

> Anyway, onto a scarier topic. Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped yesterday in his native country, Venezuela, where he plays winter ball. Apparently, some gunmen in a green van went to his house sometime in the evening, and just left with him. They must have made some threat to kill him, because Ramos doesn’t strike me as a guy who would just give in like that.

Reports are saying that the van was found abandoned earlier today and that investigations are still going on. But, I just read on Twitter a few minutes ago that the “men from the green van” are holding Ramos for a ransom in the millions. Really? It seems like with every passing day, I begin to look down more and more on South America, Mexico, etc. These losers are ruining our world. I hate to say stuff like that about other countries, and I know there are people out there who will get on me for saying it, but what am I supposed to think of them? Am I supposed to be impressed with greedy, money-wanting idiots who probably do crap like this all the time? Because I’m not.

Anyway, my prayers are with Ramos that he gets out of this unharmed.

> So there was no Brewers’ news again today. Ugh, this is a boring week. But, they did release their 2012 Spring Training Schedule a few days ago, if you want to check that out.

> Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave comments, if you have any.