With all the buzz of the Zack Greinke trade finally dying down we have a new set of news buzz to address. The Hall of Fame. On the the ballot right now is Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell, Rafael Palmeiro, Tino Martinez, and Juan “Going Going Going” Gonzales. People are already speculating that Palmeiro probably wont make it due to his activity in the steroids scandal. Which is fine with me. As far as the other guys, I think that Gonzales and Bagwell have the best chance for first time ballot.
With Doc Hallady’s playoff no-hitter topping the charts of the 2010 best gems of the season, the Phillies were still not done wheeling and dealing. With a missed opportunity to aquire Zack Greinke the Phillies moved on to signing free agent J.C Romero. J.C Romero is a left hander that is needed in the Phillies bullpen since Dennys Reyes failed to come onboard earlier in the season. Coming off an injury plagued 2009 season, Romero posted a 3.68 ERA but walked 29 batters in 36 2/3 innings.
Trevor Hoffman, the all time saves leader is protecting his return for 2011. Although he states that his health is holding up fine it is his emotional state that he is concerned about. There is also that problem if any team is willing to give Hoffman a job. If anything is for sure Hoffman claims that memorable game at Miller Park on Sept 7th that got him his 600th save will be never forgotten.
Another pitching legend looking to make a return in 2012. Jamie Moyer. Moyer pitched 19 games for the Phillies last season, and went 9-9 with a 4.48 ERA. With a career win/lose record at 267-204, and 24 big league seasons under his belt, Moyer is confident that he will get a spring training invite from someone. “Its hard to get a job at the age of 49. Or maybe its not.” Stated Moyer to the Seattle Times. “Throughout my career, Ive always had to earn the situation Ive been in. I dont expect anyone to give me anything. Its never been that way, so why now?” Moyer stated. Moyer fresh off elbow surgery will try to gauge a comeback possibility as he is expected to miss the entire 2011 season due to recovery time.
Brad Hawpe could be the latest addition to the San Diego Padres. Hawpe has spent the majority of his nine seasons in the Majors in the outfield. But posting some mediocre numbers last season has idealy been what the Padres have been looking for. A career .279 hitter, who knocked in 116 runs in 2007 with the Rockies, and hit .245 with nine dingers, and 44 RBIs between the Rockies, and the Rays in 103 games last season. Hawpe has some potential, and thats what the Padres are seeing. With the missing hole at First Base since the Padres delt away three time All-Star Adrian Gonzales to beantown, the Padres are looking to fill that hole with Hawpe. With some very impressive numbers at Petco park, not a friendly stadium for left-handed hitters but Hawpe has been able to post a .281 BA, five home runs, and 21 RBIs in 153 AB there. Not to mention a .371 OBP. Impressive? Ask Petco park.
Basically all the big name players have reached agreements on contracts, trades, and have been through the boring old rigmarole of decided their futures. One player does stand out in my mind though. Zack Greinke. Zack won the 2009 AL Cy Young Award, and concluded the season with a 16-8 W-L record, a 2.16 ERA, and 242 strikeouts last season. He also picked up league MVP, and was awarded a spot on the All-star team. In 2010 his numbers declined rapidly. So after a poor performance Dayton Moore decided it was best for Zack Greinke to find a new home in Milwaukee.
Fortunatly for Dayton Moores reputation for being a failed leader in the Kansas City Royals organization this whole thing revolving around Greinke had really nothing to do with Moore. Dayton simply pulled the trigger on the trade. Greinke wanted to leave Kansas City. Even though he was drafted by them in 2002 in the first round, from the start Grienke wanted out of Kansas City. People will argue that because he pitched his guts out last season but aside from that Greinke made a statement last week stating ” when we are 20 games out of first place its kind of hard to get excited about coming to the park.” Wow. Strong.
In 33 games that Zack has started I have sat through three of them live at Kauffman Stadium. I have witnessed Zack throw the game away at least twice out of those three games that I have sat through. It was quite common for Zack to be out of the game by the third inning in most of his starts, and leave the Royals hanging, and have the bullpen finish the work. With a 10-14 record at the finish, and a 4.17 ERA its kind of hard not to see that Zack was frusterated. Most of the Royals are. On the flip side Greinke has stated that he is excited to join the Brewers for the 2011 season.
Kerry Wood has signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs. Im sure fans are delighted to see him back. Wood is expected to be the late inning setup man for Carlos Marmol. Kerry Wood is excited to be back, and has made many statements that he never wanted to leave ( Chicago ) in the first place. He has never been about money, and that was proven when he turned down four teams willing to shell out more dough for Wood than Chicago did. It was reported that Wood signed for $1.5 Million.
Adrian Beltre is about the only free agent left in the world of baseball. Since the Texas Rangers lost out on the deal for Cliff Lee they have some money to throw around, and by asking Michael Young to DH for them Adrian Beltre wouldnt be a bad addition. Smashing 28 homeruns, driving in 102 RBIs, and batting a solid .321 average in the 2010 season Beltre is one sought after player. Rumors speculate that the Angels are also in the market for Beltre. Only time will tell.
Sitting quietly in the AL West are the Oakland Athletics, and the Seattle Mariners. None of which are making many headlines as far as trades during this offseason. Now that Cliff Lee is no longer apart of the Rangers baseball team you could probably count the A’s or the Mariners to be somewhat of a contender next season. The A’s have some strong pitching that the other teams in the division should be worried about. Trevor Cahill posted some nice numbers last season. He went 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA. Brett Anderson is another stronger pitcher the A’s have. Aside from pitching? Thats all I got for you!
Well, its Monday. Sometime today Cliff Lee is supposed to make his historical contract decision. Not really historical because C.C Sabathia was offered $161 million to come to the Yankees, and Cliff Lee wasnt offered quite that much. Whoever he signs with, whether it be with the Yankees or the Ranger,s Mr. Lee is going to be a very rich man and his wife should be pleased.
What else is going on in the Majors? Utility man Brendan Ryan found a new home today. Seattle will be his next stop. He will start opening day at second base for the Mariners, and that will move Chone Figgins to third base where he says he is more comfortable. The Mariners also picked up Designated Hitter Jack Cust from the Athletics over the weekend which will add some power to the Mariners lineup. Also seasoned veteran Miguel Olivo came over to Seattle from the Colorado Rockies to serve as the Mariners backstop. From what Ive seen on the Mariners Facebook comments page a lot of the Mariners fans are quite upset over all of these deals, and last season they were once praising John A. “Jack” Zduriencik are now holding little faith that he is making the right moves. The Mariners were slotted to win the AL West Division after much speculation that their lineup was solid for the 2010 season, and ended up being dead last at the finish. Fans are skeptical, and as they should be.
Minnesota shipped its shortstop, J.J. Hardy, and utility infielder Brendan Harris to the Baltimore Orioles for two hard-throwing but unproven relievers, Brett Jacobson and Jim Hoey.
In other Cardinal news, besides La Russa shipping Brendan Ryan off to Seattle claiming his offensive deficiencies and unpredictable decision-making wore on his nerves, Yadier Molina might be seeing his older brother at Busch more frequently. The Cardinals have sparked interest in signing Bengie Molina as a backup to Yadier Molina who is good for about 135 games out of the season. Bengie has stated he doesnt mind serving as a backup, and Im sure Yadier would rather have him looking over his shoulder than some of the current umpires that have served behind him this last season.