Taking a look at the bullpen arms available on the free-agent market.
Relief pitchers are always the most volatile commodity on the free-agent market, but a smart shopper with a discerning eye can separate the bad from the good and make the most of his opportunity to upgrade. Like the starting pitchers available, it is difficult to find much youth on the reliever market, and while the track record of a veteran can boost a club’s confidence in a bullpen arm, it can also come at a premium cost.
Saluting the players whose accomplishments will go unrecognized during awards season.
While the postseason is in full bloom, the winners of the regular season awards will be revealed next month. At that juncture some fans will cheer, some will cry, and others will inevitably write articles about how the BBWAA messed up by not voting Justin Morneau as sixth in the AL MVP race, or why James Shields deserves Cy Young consideration because his predictive numbers were much better than his ERA would indicate; as the co-creator of SIERA, I think I can joke about its usage in award voting. I know from experience what it’s like to write such articles, as I once nastily opined that it was a sham how Roy Halladay finished out of the top three on the AL Cy Young Award ballots of some writers in 2008. Then again, even if Cliff Lee deserved the award, how in the world did Halladay fall out of the… never mind, this is no time to dwell.
It's not getting much attention, but Adam Dunn's unwilling quest to shatter Bobby Bonds' single-season record for batter strikeouts of 189 (1970) is going to be close enough that Dave Miley is going to have to think about whether he joins the wussy Jeff Torborgs and Al Pedriques of the world and actively interferes with pursuit of a milestone for no good reason. With 12 games to go, Dunn trails Bonds by 14. It will be tight, but four of the Reds' remaining games come against Cubs flamethrowers. Prior, Wood, do your stuff, lads! GRADE: C-
As the trading deadline approaches and the hype surrounding a potential Randy Johnson deal reaches a deafening crescendo, I decided to take a look at how well the Yankees have done in dealing young players. I'm not concerned with who they get in return except as a footnote, nor do I care whether they "won" a particular trade according to a value measure. Those scales can wait to be balanced for another day. The question is whether the Yanks have let another Buhner, another unproven product of the Yankee system, slip out the door. How well did the players they traded turn out?
Last summer's trade of pitcher Brandon Claussen to the Cincinnati Reds for third baseman Aaron Boone was a rare exception, for Claussen had recently tantalized Yankee fans with a stellar nationally-televised debut. The confident young lefty looked like the ideal antidote to the struggling, enigmatic Jeff Weaver, but the Yankees sent Claussen to the Reds in favor of upgrading their offense. The outcry among Yankee fans was vociferous, if more symbolic than anything else. Since the deluge of homegrown talent which fueled their championship run--Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Ramiro Mendoza--the Yankee farm system has produced very little, so the idea that a product of the Columbus Clippers might be worthy of joining that esteemed bunch was an attractive one.
Was the Claussen trade a good one for the Yankees? Boone cemented his spot in pinstriped lore with one October swing, though he spent the rest of his time confounding the Yanks and their fans. But the real answer to that question will take several years to unearth, as Claussen does or does not develop into a major-league caliber pitcher. After much delay, he's finally off and running, winning his first start as a Red on July 20.
John Patterson and Juan Cruz: good riddance, or highway robbery? The Astros drop another roadblock in Morgan Ensburg's way. Itinerant pitcher Bruce Chen's destiny likely includes fitting for a few more major league uniforms. All this and more in Friday's Transaction Analysis.
Placed RHP Al Levine on the 15-day DL (shoulder tendinitis), retroactive to 6/27; recalled RHP John Lackey from Salt Lake. [6/28]
I don't disagree with the idea of bringing up John Lackey to move into the rotation. Lackey is the organization's best upper-level prospect, and he's obviously ready to go.
The Internet has spoken. Your choices for this year's Internet Baseball Awards.
It's time to announce the winners of the tenth annual Internet Baseball Awards. More than 2,000 cyberspace baseball fans--a new record--participated in this effort to select the baseball players whose 2001 seasons were most deserving of honors.
This year marks not only our tenth year of balloting (we started in 1991, but sat out the 1994 season in protest of baseball's rude behavior), but also our fifth year of Web balloting. A few of our readers probably remember the good old days of e-mail ballots (as we remember all the fun it was counting ballots by hand), but most of you have been treated only to the extraordinarily comprehensive user-friendly Web ballots designed by BP's Webmaster, Dave Pease. Our thanks go to Dave, who puts in a ton of work to make this process go smoothly.
In Arizona, Bob Brenly made one of the more bizarre decisions I've seen in a
while, having Tony Womack bunt two runners over with no one out in
the eighth inning of a 3-0 game. The move essentially killed a rally, as
Danny Bautista and Luis Gonzalez both grounded out, scoring a
run but leaving the D'backs down 3-1.