2010 Tigers Rookies: Alex Avila

by on November 30, 2010   2 Comments

This past week the Tigers signed all star catcher Victor Martinez to a lengthy four year contract. At first glance, this looked like bad news for Alex Avila, the tigers rookie catcher looking to take over the reins as the tigers number one catcher in his sophomore season. He had already started to take the job from Gerald Laird by the end of last season.

Avila doesn’t have to worry. The tigers signed Martinez for his bat, not his catching liabilities. V-Mart instead will see time in the tigers everyday line up at DH and will start at catcher only when Avila needs a rest. It gives the tigers a little flexibility with Avila, if he under performs then Martinez might see more time behind the plate.

Is the Derek Jeter-New York Yankees marriage coming to a close?

by on November 25, 2010   2 Comments

When an aging superstar who’s the face of one of the most successful and storied franchises in professional sports has a contract come to an end, and both parties would like to renew that pact, you’d think that the negotiations would be quick, painless, and anything but messy.

That has not been so with the New York Yankees and shortstop Derek Jeter, however.  Before this off season, the negotiations that were bound to take place between Jeter’s agent, Casey Close and GM Brian Cashman would’ve been predicted to be possibly the quietest and quickest of the entire year.  These negotiations, however, have been anything but.

The Yankees offered Jeter, who is coming off a 10-year, $189 million contract, a three-year deal worth $15 million per year.  Jeter, however, is believed to be looking for something along the lines of a four-year contract worth around $20 million per year.

That’s quite a difference between the two sides.

Detroit Tigers: 2010 Rookies

by on November 22, 2010   No Comments

Last season the Detroit Tigers dressed several rookies. Some were planned from day one while the rest were called up due to necessity. They could almost field a full line up of their rookies from last season. This article will look at what they did at the major league level, while later articles will look at what they did at the minor league level and the contributions we can expect from them at the majors next season.

Three rookies made the team out of camp but Scott Sizemore didn’t play well enough with the big club to remain the whole season and Alex Avalia platooned most of the year with veteran catcher Gerald Laird. Austin Jackson stuck the whole season as the primary centre fielder for the team. He led the team in many categories including games played, at bats, hits, triples and stolen bases.  He also finished second to teammate and American League MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera in runs scored and total bases.

News and Rumors: Upton, Beltre, Lee, Werth

by on November 18, 2010   4 Comments

Justin Upton trade rumors

This past spring, I wrote a short piece praising the Arizona Diamondbacks for signing young star outfielder Justin Upton to a 6-year, $51.25 million contract.  At the time, Upton was coming off a strong 2009 campaign, where he batted .300 while hitting 26 home runs, driving in 86 runs, and stealing 20 bases in just 138 games.

Upton regressed a bit during the 2010 season, but the 23-year old still had a fine season, batting .273 with 17 home runs, 69 runs batted in, 73 runs scored, and 18 stolen bases.  Upton’s numbers dropped in most major statistical categories (Upton’s walk rate rose, which is a good sign, however.), but they weren’t drastic enough to warrant any kind of panic.

When news first broke that the Diamondbacks were willing to discuss dealing Upton, it seemed like nothing but a rumor.  Perhaps it was just the Arizona front office, saying those things to let everyone know that no one is safe, warning players to not get too complacent.

But on Wednesday, Jayson Stark confirmed that Arizona GM Kevin Towers is indeed willing to discuss deals that would move the face of the franchise, saying that the Diamondbacks are “genuinely open” to moving Upton.

But why?  Why consider trading away a young outfielder who appears to have the kind of tools to build a team around?  It makes very little sense, having a young outfielder that is the caliber of Upton, who is signed to a very team-friendly contract.

The chances are slim that Upton is moved, as reports indicate that Arizona is looking for a very large haul of top of the line prospects who can help them both now and in the future, but there is still a chance that the younger of the Upton brothers gets moved.

Behold, Uggla the Brave

by on November 17, 2010   8 Comments

We Braves fans are all too familiar with Dan Uggla.  He is fondly referred to as “The Braves Killer” in Hotlanta, due to his modest .340 batting avg at The Ted.  Well, yesterday Braves GM Frank Wren traded diamond wizard Omar Infante and rookie Mike Dunn to Florida for Uggla.

Austin Jackson Should have Won ROTY

by on November 16, 2010   2 Comments

The Detroit Tigers traded away their fan favourite centre fielder Curtis Granderson last season. In return they received top Yankee prospect Austin Jackson. Scouts believed he was major league ready and the Tigers slated him in to be their 2010 opening day centre fielder. It was tough for Tigers fans to see Granderson go, but the promise of Austin Jackson was great and a solid rookie season would help ease the pain. Some analysts predicted Jackson to win the American League Rookie of the Year.

The analysts that picked Jackson to win should have been right.

Birmingham approves downtown ballbark

by on November 15, 2010   No Comments

I am a huge fan of downtown Minor League parks.  Portland, Montgomery, Memphis, Chattanooga have all done great jobs with their parks, and they seem to have all reaped some benefits of having them downtown.  There’s something incredibly picturesque about a downtown park, plus it brings tourists and money into the downtown area.

Remembering Sparky Anderson

by on November 11, 2010   One Comment

While his brief playing career may have been forgettable (.218 average over 152 games for Philadelphia in 1959), George “Sparky” Anderson was anything but.

Judging by his major and minor league statistics, Sparky wasn’t a great hitter.  He wasn’t known for his superb defense, either.  When he was hired to manage the Cincinnati Reds in 1970, the headline read “Sparky Who?”  So just what was this Sparky Anderson guy?  He was a winner.  And he proved it.

In his first seven seasons managing the Reds, Anderson led the team that would become known as “The Big Red Machine” to four pennants and back-to-back World Series championships in 1975 and 1976.

Anderson took a team that had all the talent in the world, and transformed them into not just winners, but champions.  Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, George Foster, Ken Griffey, Cesar Geronimo, Tony Perez, the list goes on.  They were “The Machine,” but Sparky was the one running that machine.  And he ran it well.

Sparky Anderson

by on November 10, 2010   One Comment

In the 1970’s the Cincinnati Reds were the team to beat. This earned them the nick name “The Big Red Machine.” They won an average of 98 games between the years of 1970 and 1976 captivated by two World Series in 75 and 76. The team had some great players on their teams including would be Hall of Famer Pete Rose and Hall of Fame players Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez. They were also managed by hall of fame manager Sparky Anderson.

American Association Continues to Gobble United, Northern League Markets

by on November 10, 2010   No Comments

It’s Thanksgiving come early for the world of independent baseball, but the gobbling is not being done by a turkey, but the American Association.