East Division Playoff Teams

by on February 7, 2011   No Comments

In 2010, the best teams in all of Major League Baseball came from the East Division in each league. Both divisions were home to the wild card winners, the Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees. They were also home to baseball’s two best records, 97 by the Philadelphia Phillies and 96 by the Tampa Bay Rays. What fate awaits the monsters of last year’s regular season? Will these teams once again be playing in October?

The simple answer for the Phillies is yes. In fact, anything short of a second World Series championship in four seasons—having won in 2008—would be an utter disappointment. A starting rotation like the Phillies had last season made Charlie Manuel’s managing job easy. His club posted 14 complete games, the most in the Major Leagues. Managing a bullpen is certainly easier when your starters are going deep into games. This will not change for Manuel as he will still have the three staff aces; Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels, who carried Philadelphia to the playoffs.

The Free Agency of Jayson Werth

by on December 2, 2010   2 Comments

As a Phillies fan, I’d like to talk about Jayson Werth’s free agency, how Philadephia should and could replace him, and where he’s likely to end up.

Werth, who didn’t become a full-time starter until midway through the 2008 season, has experienced a great deal of success since coming to Philadelphia from the Los Angeles Dodgers.  In four seasons with the Phillies, Werth batted .282 with a .380 slugging percentage, an .863 OPS, hit 95 home runs and averaged 15 steals per season.  On top of his offensive skills, Werth is a solid defender who can cover a lot of ground and has a cannon of a right arm.

Throughout the last few seasons, Werth has been called a “five tool player” numerous times, and after watching him play, it’s not hard to see why.  There’s no doubt that the 31-year old right fielder is a star caliber player, so where will he end up?

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.

National League East Questions (And Answers)

by on February 26, 2010   4 Comments

With spring training now in full swing, I’ll address just a few questions about the National League East…

Will Jayson Werth shave his magnificent beard, or will he summon it’s powers to help earn a long term contract? Werth, coming off a career year in 2009, is due to become a free agent after the 2010 season.  With another year similar to the one he had last year, he could be looking at a contract similar to what Jason Bay earned this past off season.  Think something like 4 years/$60 million.  Can the Phillies afford that?  With Ryan Howard due for an extension after the 2011 season, many believe it’s one or the other.  The lanky righty, who looks like Grizzly Adams in Right Field with a cannon arm and a nice mixture of power and speed, or the slugging First Baseman who is just about a lock to smack 45 round trippers and drive in 140 runs but strikeout nearly 200 times?  Time will tell, but my money is on Howard getting the extension and Werth taking a walk, sadly.

Philadelphia Phillies 2010 Preview

by on February 15, 2010   One Comment

Three straight National League East titles, two consecutive NL pennants, and a World Series championship.  Those are the credentials for this Philadelphia Phillies ball club.  A couple of former MVPs, a few Gold Glovers, countless All Stars, a formerly perfect closer, and a former Cy Young award winner, who are all in the prime of their careers.  For this Phillies team, the time to win is now.  And winning is what they’ve done lately.