The trade deadline is approaching, and one of the teams most likely to make some deals are the Chicago Cubs. General manager Theo Epstein has pitching to offer and will be looking to grab good prospects. Ideally he’d like those close to major league ready, but he certainly wants to add to the farm system so that when the team is ready to compete they can field a good number of homegrown players as well as having some blue chip type trading assets.
Photo by Scott LaChance816, used under creative commons license.
While they probably won’t be trading much in...
Each league features unlikely saves leaderBy Jim MancariIf you said Mariano Rivera and Jason Grilli would be leading their respective league in saves in mid June before the season started, many people would have thought you were crazy.In any other year, Rivera wouldn’t at all be a stretch, but coming off a torn ACL at the age of 43, it was difficult to predict how he would come back.
The Pirates' Jason Grilli
Photo by Sports Crazy, used under creative commons license.
But Grilli, who had never been a team’s primary closer in his prior 10 seasons, was not even supposed to...
Since the late 2000's, if your baseball team didn't have the lead after the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians, you could call it a game. The trio of right handed submarine style pitcher Joe Smith, right handed reliever Vinnie Pestano and right handed gunslinger Chris "Pure Rage" Perez have eliminated any sort of rally years in the late innings. Smith would do his thing in the seventh, dazzling Clevelanders with his unusual delivery and realease point making it very difficult for hitters to see the ball off of him. Pestano would attempt to hold to lead in the eighth....
Three years ago, Domonic Brown wasn’t really ready. Sure, there was plenty of hype -- he was tagged “a superstar in the making” -- but he was only 23 and had less than 300 ABs at Class AAA. Nonetheless fans and pundits were looking at a 22 home run season split between AA-AAA and 62 big league at bats. It didn’t matter that he was over-matched in his big league at bats, hitting just .210 in them. Everyone saw the .327 average split between AA and AAA.
Photo by Rory Connell, used under creative commons license.
So 2011 was supposed to...
Talk about bursting onto the scene.This famous cliché is always tossed around when a player has a hot start to his career. But to use another cliché, Yasiel Puig takes the cake.Through his first nine games, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 22-year-old phenom batted .471 with four home runs and 10 RBIs, including a number of clutch hits. He became just the second player since 1900 to hit four home runs in his first five games, with the other being Mike Jacobs of the New York Mets in 2005.
Photo by kla4067, used under creative commons license.
Puig, who was scratched...
There was a time when Alex Rodriguez was considered the best player in baseball. Now he’s essentially a pariah in New York. The fans want him gone, the Yankees would like him to be gone. The problem is they still owe him roughly $114 million dollars, and A-Rod doesn’t want to walk away from that.
Photo by Keith Allision, used under creative commons license.
And Alex may still be able to play baseball, even still be a very good player. But at 37 and coming back from hip surgery, he’s not an elite player. That’s not anything new. A-Rod hasn’t had...
I absolutely love the enthusiasm from one of the game’s best pitchers, but it’s tough to consider any scenario in which Justin Verlander gets voted into the Home Run Derby.About a week ago, Verlander discussed with reporters that he would participate in this year’s Home Run Derby at Citi Field if fans voted him in. He said he could probably hit about three or four home runs and called himself a batting practice hitter. In 24 at-bats this season, not only does he not have a home run, but he also doesn’t even have a hit.
Photo by Keith Allison,...
Major League Baseball needs to throw the book at the players associated with the Biogenesis Clinic and to take the offensive once again on the war on PEDs. Initial reports are that MLB has the paper trail and testimony of disgraced PED pusher Anthony Bosch, giving them enough evidence to suspend perhaps more than 20 MLB players for violating the PED policy even without any of them testing positive. And the powers that be in MLB want punitive damages added to these suspensions due to the players lying about PED use and knowingly gaming the system.
Ryan Braun is he the...
Some guys can just never please everybody.Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto has evolved into one of the best hitters in the game today. Yet, he’s recently come under scrutiny for his lack of power hitting.He has just 10 home runs and 28 RBIs this season. During his NL MVP season in 2010, he blasted 37 homers and drove in 113 runs.
Photo by Keith Allison, used under creative commons license.
But so what if his power numbers are a bit down (though based on games played, he’s still on pace for around 30 home runs this year)? The guy...
Where did it go wrong for the Washington Nationals? Heading into the season they were heavy favorites not just to win the NL East, but to make a run at the World Series. Everywhere they were being discussed as possibly the best team in the game. Fifty-seven games later, they are a game under .500 and seven games behind the division leading Braves. They seem puzzled as to how this could have happened, but the reasons are obvious. In baseball the reasons often are.
Photo by Keith Allision, used under creative commons...
Tyler Kepner of Bats looks at how Nick Swisher came to the Yankees. If you think "the White Sox wanted to get rid of the contract", you are partly right, but it actually goes back to 1990:
1990 – Yankees sign Rivera from Panama.
1997 – Yankees trade Rivera to Padres in Hideki Irabu deal.
1999 – Yankees trade Irabu to Expos for Jake Westbrook (and others)
2000 – Yankees trade Westbrook to Indians for David Justice
2001 – Yankees trade Justice to Mets for Robin Ventura
2003 – Yankees trade Ventura to Dodgers for Scott Proctor
2007 – Yankees trade Proctor to Dodgers for Wilson Betemit
2008 – Yankees trade Betemit to White Sox in Swisher deal
Pretty cool in my opinion. I wonder if anyone has ever checked how many years the longest "trade streak" has lasted. I would guess you can get very, very far back. You can probably also collect interesting lists of names where superstar meet obscure utility guys.
Angels' catcher Mike Napoli hits his second home run of the day to give the Angels the 3-2 lead just after the Red Sox' Mike Lowell tied the game with a two-run bomb of his own.
Boston's pitcher Brad Penny started a bit wild, but most Angels are swinging away anyway. For example, Penny walked Chone Figgins on five pitches, but Howie Kendrick took a ball and then grounded out on a pitch on the corner. Why not wait until Penny shows he can throw two strikes in one at-bat?
The Angels really need to learn to be more patient at the plate if they don't want to rely on their pitching in every game.
Update: The Red Sox take the lead again on another two-run home run. Later Jason Bay (predictably) hits one off Justin Speier to make it 5-3 Red Sox. Papelbon will try to close it out.
Update: The Angels get another solo homer, this time by Torii Hunter and then load the bases on a double and two walks. But he gets Howie Kendrick to fly out to end the game after a ten pitch at bat on a 0-2 count (respect!).
The difference in this game is timing. Both teams had eight hits and three home runs and the Angels actually out-walked the Red Sox 4-3, but the Red Sox had a man on twice when they hit the ball out of the park.
Detroit's Justin Verlanders was ruffed up badly in his opening day start, but today, he pitched five innings, allowing three runs, but only one was earned. More encouraging, he allowed just two hits and struck out eight while walking four. The Tigers bullpen did not allow another baserunner and they beat the Rangers 4-3.
It's important that Verlander gets back to his pre-2008 form if the Tigers want to contend in the AL Central. Compared to last year when they went 0-7 to begin the season, their 3-3 start is looking pretty good.
Tragic news in the baseball world today: Nick Adenhart of the Los Angeles Angels died in a car wreck. He pitched Wednesday, allowing no runs over six innings. Adenhart was 22.
The Angels postponed their Thursday game against the Oakland Athletics.
For more information on Adenhart, ESPN.com provided a nice tribute to him.
Adenhart was a highly touted pitcher coming out of high school in Maryland. He tore a ligament in his elbow in his final start in high school and required Tommy John surgery. Adenhart planned to attend the University of North Carolina but decided to sign with the Angels.
I remember reading, but have not verified, that Adenhart revealed his elbow injury to major league teams interested in drafting him when he didn't have to. This move likely cost him money in his signing bonus but was the honest decision to make.
The prayers and condolences of everyone here with AtHomePlate.com go to the Adenhart family and the Angels in this tragic even. Baseball has lost a bright star and an even better person.
Cops say someone driving a minivan blew through a red light, causing the Mitsubishi that Adenhart was riding in to hit a light pole. Three people were killed in the crash, including Nick.
Cops say the person driving the van fled the scene -- but was later caught and charged with felony hit-and-run. The suspect is currently being treated for injuries in a local hospital.
We're told one of the other men killed in the crash was also affiliated with the Angels organization.
Nick was 22 years old.
What a tragic event. This really puts all baseball things into perspective. Angels fans (including me) were whining over the bullpen blowing Nick's great start and now that is the most irrelevant thing in the world. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.