The Blue Jays have turned over much of their team this winter, but they're still depending on a bounceback season by Jose Bautista. Will they get it?
Over the past few weeks, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has orchestrated an organizational overhaul of Pygmalion proportions. Essentially, he’s turned a perennial non-threat in the American League East into the division’s foremost...uh, well the baseball equivalent of Audrey Hepburn. You know, she played Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria would like to make a smash as the Fish move into their new park, but the team would be better off making only minor moves.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria wants people to forget about the Florida Marlins, forget about Sun Life Stadium, and forget about a miserable year that saw the team spend 92 of the final 105 days of the season in the cold, dark cellar of the National League East, only its second last-place finish since Loria purchased the team, unopposed, from John Henry in 2002.
Were the Mariners wise to issue a contract extension to Jack Zduriencik?
Last week, the Seattle Mariners announced a multi-year contract extension for general manager Jack Zduriencik, putting to rest the speculation that a second-consecutive losing season would put his job in jeopardy. Keeping Zduriencik in charge of the rebuilding effort for at least two more years seems like a wise decision on the surface, but how much has he really accomplished in his time with the Mariners?
An interactive visual look at Derek Jeter's first 2,998 (and counting) hits.
This interactive graphic will allow you to look up nearly anything you want about Derek Jeter’s hits. Each circle at the top of the graphic represents one of his hits. The size of the circle correlates to the value of the hit (singles are small, home runs are big), while the color throughout the graphic represents average leverage index (how “clutch” a situation the hit came in).
A new Nationals manager: the Cliffs Notes version.
On June 23rd, 2011, Jim Riggleman resigned from his post as the Washington Nationals manager, convinced he wasn’t in the Nationals’ long-term plans. The Nationals didn’t look far for his eventual replacement, spending the three games bench coach John McLaren ran the team working out the details of front office consultant Davey Johnson’s return to the dugout after a hiatus of nearly 11 years. Johnson will manage the Nationals for the rest of the season and has an option to return for 2012, according to MASN. At whatever point he is done with managing, he will stay in the Nationals front office to help hire his successor.
The Twins have been bitten by ineffectiveness and the injury bug this year, but it didn't take a magic 8 ball to foresee some of their season's troubles.
I touched on the Twins a bit over on the SweetSpot on Thursday morning, but they're a fun topic, and I can expand on it here. My hope is that you're willing to indulge me, even as the Twins retreat from San Francisco after a pair of losses to the world champs. They're 15-5 this month, so they still rate as one of baseball's hottest teams, and in a division where nobody's a good bet to win 90, they're worth listing among the living.
Can the surprising second-place Snakes make a run at the NL West, or is a .500 record a more realistic goal?
In 2007, the Arizona Diamondbacks roared back from three consecutive losing seasons to win 90 games and the National League West pennant, sweeping the Cubs in the first round before being swept themselves in the NLCS by the Rockies. Despite the disappointing end to the season, the D-Backs looked to be in solid position to contend for years to come. Six of the eight everyday players in 2007 were 26 or younger, and 19-year-old mega-prospect Justin Upton had forced his way to the big leagues to join them in August. Following the season, they acquired Dan Haren from the Athletics to pair with Brandon Webb to form one of the most imposing starting pitching duos around. As the young players matured, the idea went, the aces in the rotation would help them lead the club to glory.
In which five BPers offer some additional optimism and pessimism for 2011.
Jesus Montero Will Hit Well In The Big Leagues… …He just won't be doing it for the Yankees. The Yankees can talk all they want about how much Montero has improved defensively, but if he could really catch in the big leagues, he'd be doing it in New York instead of what's left of Russell Martin. The fact is, he's just not very good back there, and his only other options are first base, where Mark Teixeira is signed through the end of the world, and designated hitter, a position which (a) presently belongs to Jorge Posada and (b) one teams hate assigning to young players. The Yankees have holes, especially in the rotation, and when the big names become available, Montero will be the best prospect trading chip in the game. New York will put that chip on the table.—Kevin Goldstein
While some teams have been stocking up on pen help, two playoff teams have let their own veteran relievers slip away.
This winter has seen several teams stockpile relievers: the Yankees' signing of Rafael Soriano or the Red Sox adding Bobby Jenks, both in set-up roles, command the most headlines, but the Cubs and Athletics and even the Blue Jays have been active as well. But set against that activity, two of last year's playoff teams from the American League, the Twins and the Rays, have let a number of their veteran relievers walk away, with little or no effort to retain them.
Is it possible in today's prospect-stingy market that the Rays and Cubs pulled off a win/win deal?
To see the Cubs step into the shrinking market for starting pitching was a mild surprise, but not that much of one. Very early on this winter, Jim Hendry was fidgeting over getting pitching help. What we didn't know was that he would wind up landing one of the best starting pitchers in play this winter. Most of the early-Hot Stove speculation centered on Hendry magically making Kosuke Fukudome go away, say for Daisuke Matsuzaka, in the latest exchange of expensive regrets, exactly like the previous winter's banishment of Milton Bradley for Carlos Silva.