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MLB Daily Balk 5/19 and the Red Sox Lose Two Starters

Peavy's impressive return makes the Sox a potential AL favorite

Red Sox Lose Their Two Worst Starting Pitchers

This should actually be a blessing, not so disguised for the Red Sox. John Lackey and his 8.01 ERA and Daisuke Matsuzaka with his 5.30 ERA were sent to the DL over the past few days. These two are a combined 5-8 on the season with an ERA well over 6.00. In addition, the lack of innings that these two logged has taken its toll on the already overused bullpen. Whatever is wrong with them, the Red Sox need them to find out while on the DL, not on the mound against the American League.

The Red Sox have this issue because of their fascination with having a veteran pitcher filling the back of their rotation. While having one of these ERA arsonists in the rotation as a fourth starter, the fifth starter needs to be reserved for one of their highly regarded prospects.

The Red Sox have 23-yr old Felix Doubrant down in AAA where he has pitched well almost every time he’s pitched since arriving in the middle of 2010. Doubrant started this season in the Red Sox bullpen where he was only used for a few innings. This led to him being used cautiously in AAA and he’s now on the 7-day minor league DL. They need to give him a real chance when he’s back healthy.

Trying to buy championships doesn’t work, especially if a team has the resources to develop its own talent and have it in place. Out of the 5 starting pitchers for the Red Sox, the two that are on the DL are the only two acquired through free agency. Lester and Buchholz were drafted and Beckett was acquired for Hanley Ramirez.

The Red Sox only need Dice-K healthy so they can somehow trade him. Lackey will need more for him to regain his status but if h ever becomes in demand again, the Sox need to pull the trigger on a deal.

Michael Bowden appears to be getting an opportunity to show what he’s got. It can’t be worse than the two veterans that got hurt, right?

 

Best of Yesterday May 18

Last Night’s Games  
American  
New York 4 Baltimore 1 F/15
Tampa Bay 6 Toronto 5
Detroit 0 Boston 1
Cleveland 0 Chicago 1
Texas 5 Kansas City 4 F/11
Minnesota 4 Oakland 3 F/10
Los Angeles 0 Seattle 3
National  
Colorado 1 Philadelphia 2
Pittsburgh 5 Cincinnati 0
Washington 0 New York 3
Chicago 7 Florida 5
Houston 1 St. Louis 5
Atlanta 4 Arizona 5 F/11
Milwaukee 5 San Diego 2
San Francisco 8 Los Angeles 5

 

Top Aces    
Player Team Stats
Jake Peavy W (1-0) CWS 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 8 K
Charlie Morton W (5-1) PIT 9 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 5 K, 2 BB
Jonathan Niese W (3-4) NYM 7 IP, 0 ER, 6 H, 7 K, BB
Cole Hamels W (5-2) PHI 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 8 K, BB
Bartolo Colon NYY 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 7 K, BB
Jason Vargas W (3-2) SEA 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 9 K, 2 BB
Clay Buchholz BOS 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 7 K, BB

 

Hitting Heroes    
Player Team Stats
Cody Ross SFG 2-4, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R
Justin Upton ARI 2-6, HR, 2 RBI, R, GW 1B
Koyie Hill CHC 3-3, 3 R
Ryan Ludwick SDP 2-3, HR, 2 RBI, R
Eliot Johnson TOR 2-3, 3 RBI, R

 

 

What Happened (!!)Yesterday?

Red Sox and White Sox both win 1-0 on Wednesday, 1st time that’s happened on same day since April 26, 1909 (from Elias). Anything that happens for the first time since 1909 is unbelievable. Putting this into perspective, Babe Ruth didn’t debut with the Red Sox until 1914.

Both Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman left the Cardinals game last night with injuries. Berkman hurt his wrist and Holliday has a tight quad. There’s not much worse that could happen to the Cards then these two going down, especially since Albert Pujols hasn’t started hitting like Prince Albert this season.

Fourteen starting pitchers last night threw at least 6 innings and gave up no more than 1 earned run. Where’s the hitting?

 

AL News/Notes

The Athletics Adam Rosales was cleared to go to extended spring training and Andrew Bailey is going to pitch in AAA on Friday in a rehab outing.

Travis Hafner was scratched from the Indians lineup due to soreness in his right side. He probably swung his bat too much during the Tribe’s shellacking of the Royals on Monday.

The Orioles Cesar Izturis is going to miss up to eight weeks due to surgery on his elbow. First baseman Brandon Snyder replaced him on the roster.

  

NL News/Notes

The Braves will send Wednesday’s starter Julio Teheran back to AAA because they don’t need a 5th starter until May 31.

Colby Rasmus was out of the Cardinals‘ lineup for the fourth straight game with pain in his stomach and rib area. He’s being overly cautionary to avoid a stint on the DL.

Jamie McCourt is looking to force her ex-husband to sell the Dodgers immediately. I’m willing to bet that Bud Selig has his fingers crossed here.

The Diamondbacks have called up former Padres prospect Sean Burroughs from AAA. Burroughs has been hitting well in AAA, but hasn’t appeared in the big leagues since 2006.

The Nationals Stephen Strasburg will be throwing off of the mound “any day now” for the first time since Tommy John surgery last September.

The Reds Mike Leake gave up a grand slam during his first ever minor league appearance on Wednesday. He gave up 5 runs in 5 1/3 innings.

 

Streaks of the Day

  • Kansas City Royals have lost five straight games

 

Top Thursday Matchups

3:40 EDT Angels (Haren 4-2, 1.93) at Mariners (Fister 2-4, 3.22)

7:07 EDT Rays (Davis 4-3, 3.47) at Blue Jays (Romero 3-4, 3.35)

7:10 EDT Tigers (Verlander 4-3, 2.91) at Red Sox (Beckett 3-1, 1.75) — MLB Network

8:10 EDT Indians (Carmona 3-3, 3.94) at White Sox (Humber 3-3, 3.18)

9:40 EDT Braves (Jurrjens 5-0, 1.66) at Diamondbacks (Collmenter 2-0, 0.90)

 

Yesterday’s Balks: 0

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MLB Daily Balk 5/18 plus Pujols and A-Rod contracts

Will the Cards cite A-Rod's current performance when talking to Pujols?

Will Alex Rodriguez’ struggles have an effect on the length of Albert Pujols’ contract?

A-Rod belted two homers last night but his early season struggles at the plate at the age of 35 got me to think about how Albert Pujols, who is 4 1/2 years younger than A-Rod, might be affected by this situation. Keep in mind that A-Rod is signed through 2017, when he’ll finish the season at 42, and for salaries starting at $31M this season and decreasing to $20M in 2017.

The decreasing salary model was smart by the Yankees as they can’t possibly expect increased or even consistent production as Rodriguez’ career winds down. The biggest difference, however, when comparing Rodriguez’ contract to what Pujols will be offered is simple. The Yankees were the only team A-Rod wanted to play for and could afford his contract. Nobody else would have offered more than 80% of what he got.

With Pujols, the Yankees won’t be involved unless something crazy happens. The biggest concern for the Cardinals will be how hard the Cubs go after him. If the Cubs make a legitimate $300M over 10 years offer, it’s going to be tough to get Pujols to accept less years, even if the annual salary is the same since it would give him the first $300M contract.

I’ve maintained since the winter that I felt that Pujols would re-sign with the Cards. If he’s not hitting .300 by the All Star break, a more modest contract could be signed then. If the Cardinals are willing to still give him the January offer of a top 10 contract, Pujols might soften his stance due to his performance.

There are already people asking if Jose Bautista has surpassed Pujols as the best hitter in baseball. Are there anymore hitters better now and projected to be better over the expected lifetime of his new contract? Those are the issues that the Cardinals are undoubtedly addressing with Pujols’ agents and what caused the negotiations to break down. If this goes to November, then it becomes money versus loyalty. Cardinals’ fans want to know how much money does the greatest right handed hitter in their history really need.

 

One of the greatest power hitters ever

Harmon Killebrew Passes at 74

This is well worth the read describing how kind the “Killer” was.

 

Best of Yesterday May 17

Last Night’s Games  
American  
New York 6 Tampa Bay 2
Toronto PPD Detroit
Baltimore PPD Boston
Texas 3 Chicago 4
Cleveland 7 Kansas City 3
Minnesota 2 Seattle 1
Los Angeles 0 Oakland 14
National  
Houston 1 Atlanta 3 F/11
Pittsburgh PPD Washington
San Francisco 3 Colorado 5
Chicago 5 Cincinnati 7
Florida PPD New York
Philadelphia 1 St. Louis 2
San Diego 1 Arizona 6
Milwaukee 0 Los Angeles 3

 

Top Aces    
Player Team Stats
Gio Gonzalez W (5-2) OAK 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 7 K, BB
Hiroki Kuroda W (5-3) LAD 7 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 6 H, 7 K, 2 BB
Wandy Rodriguez HOU 8 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 6 K, 2 BB
Jaime Garcia STL 8 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 H, 5 K, BB
Francisco Liriano W (3-5) MIN 7 IP, ER, 3 H, 9 K, BB

 

Only second time a player has hit a PH homer then a walkoff HR

Hitting Heroes    
Player Team Stats
Brian McCann ATL 2-2, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, GW HR
Alex Rodriguez NYY 2-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
Mark Ellis OAK 3-4, 4 RBI, 3 R
Travis Hafner CLE 2-4, 3 RBI, R
Brent Morel CHW 1-3, HR, 3 RBI, R

  

What Happened (!!)Yesterday?

The Astros bullpen blew another save, making it 11 on the season. The Astros have only converted 5 of 16 opportunities and it no surprise that their record has fallen to 15-27. With a modest 75% conversion rate, the Astros would have SEVEN more wins on the season and be two games above .500 at 22-20. The Diamondbacks had similar bullpen issues last season and added JJ Putz in free agency. One wonders why the Astros didn’t at least try to shore up some of their bullpen deficiencies during the offseason as well. Mark Melancon is an improvement over injured/former closer Brandon Lyon, but the Astros need to be proactively trying to upgrade their pen.

 

AL News/Notes

The Royals are calling up highly regarded pitching prospect Danny Duffy to start on Wednesday.

The Orioles have Brandon Snyder available if Derrek Lee‘s oblique sends him to the DL. After Tuesday’s rainout, the O’s aren’t planning any immediate rotation changes but could make some adjustments later this week.

Dustin Ackley is tearing up AAA at Tacoma, but the Mariners don’t have any immediate plans to promote him to the majors.

The Tigers are moving Joaquin Benoit out of the setup role after a miserable start to the season. Benoit might be the second most regrettable bullpen signing over the winter behind former Rays‘ teammate Rafael Soriano by the Yankees.

The Rangers are sending reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton to AA to begin his rehab assignment on Wednesday and could return as soon as Monday.

  

NL News/Notes

Rafael Furcal has begun hitting righthanded during his rehab assignment and could be ready to return to the Dodgers lineup next week. Casey Blake could return before the end of the month.

David Wright will be placed on the DL by the Mets on Wednesday with a stress fracture in his lower back. They are calling up Nick Evans to fill his roster spot.         

The Cubs Andrew Cashner found out that he re-aggravated his shoulder injury and will have to restart his rehab.

The Phillies lost rookie reliever Michael Stutes to a back injury and will undergo tests on Wednesday back in Philly.

The Giants are discussing moving Aubrey Huff to third base until Pablo Sandoval returns from his injury. That would free up first base for the return of rookie Brandon Belt.

The Cardinals are sending second baseman Skip Schumaker to Florida for extended spring training to begin his rehab process.

Due to rainouts, the Nationals are skipping Jordan Zimmerman‘s start in order to limit his innings this season.

  

Streaks of the Day

  • Cubs Marlon Byrd ended his hitting streak at 16 games
  • The Twins ended their 9 game losing streak

 

Top Wednesday Matchups

7:05 EDT Rockies (De La Rosa 5-1, 3.70) at Phillies (Hamels 4-2, 3.19) — ESPN

7:07 EDT Rays (Hellickson 4-2, 2.98) at Blue Jays (Romero 3-4, 3.35)

7:10 EDT Pirates (Morton 4-1, 3.13) at Reds (Arroyo 3-3, 3.78)

8:10 EDT Indians (Masterson 5-1, 2.73) at White Sox (Peavy 0-0, 6.00)

10:10 EDT Giants (Cain 3-2, 3.22) at Dodgers (Kershaw 5-3, 2.75)

 

Yesterday’s Balks: 1

  • Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers against the Brewers

MLB Daily Balk 5/17

Where next for the big slugger?

Where Does Prince Fielder Go From Milwaukee?

A few weeks ago, Ryan Braun signed a long-term deal with the Brewers that will keep him in Milwaukee through at least the 2020 season. Braun expressed a desire to finish his career where he started and declared his love for Milwaukee.

Prince Fielder hasn’t signed a new contract and has not professed his desire to remain with the Brewers. Reading the baseball tea leaves, that isn’t going to change, either. Fielder is highly unlikely to remain with the Brewers for two related reasons. First, he hired Scott Boras to represent him and Boras ALWAYS takes his clients into free agency. Second, every Boras client goes on the auction block and signs with the highest bidder, period.

Click here to read the rest of this column

 

Best of Yesterday May 16

Last Night’s Games  
American  
New York 5 Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 4 Detroit 2
Baltimore 7 Boston 8
Texas 4 Chicago 0
Cleveland 19 Kansas City 1
Minnesota 2 Seattle 5
Los Angeles 4 Oakland 5 F/10
National  
Philadelphia 1 St. Louis 3
Pittsburgh 2 Washington 4
Houston 2 Atlanta 3
Chicago 4 Cincinnati 7
Florida 2 New York 1 F/11
San Francisco 4 Colorado 7
San Diego 8 Arizona 4
Milwaukee 2 Los Angeles 1

 

Top Aces    
Player Team Stats
Colby Lewis W (4-4) TEX 9 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 7 K, BB
Michael Pineda W (5-2) SEA 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 7 K
Shawn Marcum W (5-1) MIL 7 IP, ER, 5 H, 4 K, BB
Tommy Hanson W (5-3) ATL 7 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 10 K, BB
Jake Westbrook W (3-3) STL 7 IP, ER, 4 H, K, 3 BB

 

Hitting Heroes    
Player Team Stats
Henry Blanco ARI 2-3, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
Matt LaPorta CLE 4-4, 4 RBI, $
Michael Brantley CLE 2-4, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R
Ryan Ludwick SDP 2-3, HR, 3 RBI, R
Adrian Gonzalez BOS 3-5, 3 RBI, R, GW 2B

 

 

What Happened (!!)Yesterday?

The Royals let Vin Mazzaro pitch long enough to give up 14 earned runs in only 2 1/3 innings. Mazzaro was the scheduled starter for Tuesday’s game but was called into action after Monday’s starter, Kyle Davies, left in the first inning with an injury. Evidentally, Royals manager Ned Yost didn’t think that 8 or 10 or 12 runs were enough to pull the plug on Mazzaro. Yost allowed the rookie to get hammered in a game that was over long before he pulled Mazzaro. Now the Royals have a severely scarred young pitcher on their hands who may never be the same. Better discretion was needed by Yost as the manager.

Cliff Lee had only allowed 7 walks all season before Monday’s game. He ended up walking 6 Cardinals to set a personal game-high for his career. His previous high walk total for a game was 5, most recently in 2009. Lee is now 2-4 for the Phillies and his teammates have only scored 4 runs in those losses.  

 

AL News/Notes

The Orioles lost Derrek Lee on Monday night with an oblique injury and Cesar Izturis was sent back to Baltimore to get a nerve problem checked.

John Lackey is headed to the DL for the Red Sox with a strained right elbow, but it’s probably as much the strain that his starts are putting on the bullpen that led the Sox to disable him. It’s safe to say that the Sox will take their time in bringing Lackey and his 8.01 ERA back.

Adam Lind was placed on the DL by the Blue Jays on Monday and they called up power hitting prospect Eric Thames to replace him. Thames, who was ranked by Baseball America as the Jays #12 prospect, will see time in LF and at DH.

The Royals sent Vin Mazzaro to AAA after his atrocious outing on Monday and called up left-hander Everett Teaford to replace him on the roster. Kyle Davies will be getting a MRI on his right shoulder on Tuesday and will likely head to the DL as well.

Joe Mauer is heading to extended spring training and the Twins hope that the warm weather will speed up his recovery time from his leg weakness.

  

NL News/Notes

According to Pirates GM Neal Huntington, there are no plans to send Pedro Alvarez to the minors. Also, Evan Meek pitched a perfect inning in a rehab appearance.

The Phillies Roy Oswalt comes off the DL to start on Tuesday against the Cardinals. Oswalt struggled with his velocity during his rehab outing last week. Placido Polanco got a day off on Monday because manager Charlie Manuel felt that he needed a day off.

Injured Cubs pitcher Andrew Cashner had a setback and is going to get another MRI on his shoulder. After Monday’s game, Tyler Colvin was optioned to AAA to get more consistent playing time.

Chipper Jones received two cortisone shots in his right knee and felt better on Monday. He could return to the lineup on Tuesday for the Braves.

Pablo Sandoval‘s rehab is going really well and he could be able to return to the Giants in a month from his broken hand.

 

Streaks of the Day

  • Cubs Marlon Byrd extended his hitting streak to 16 games
  • Marlins Logan Morrison hitting streak ended at 13 games
  • The Twins lost their 9th straight game on Monday night
  • Angels Erick Aybar ended his hitting streak to at 13 games

 

Top Tuesday Matchups

6:40 EDT Yankees (Nova 3-3, 4.70) at Rays (Shields 4-1, 2.08)

7:05 EDT Blue Jays (Litsch 4-2, 4.14) at Tigers (Porcello 3-2, 3.67)

7:10 EDT Cubs (Garza 2-4, 4.17) at Reds (Volquez 3-1, 5.74)

8:15 EDT Phillies (Oswalt 3-1, 3.33) at Cardinals (Garcia 5-0, 1.89) — MLB Network

10:05 EDT Angels (Chatwood 2-1, 3.67) at Athletics (Gonzalez 4-2, 2.68)

 

Yesterday’s Balks: 1

  • Chris Richard of the Padres against the Diamondbacks

Where Does Prince Fielder Go From Milwaukee?

The price will be high for the 27-yr old slugger

A few weeks ago, Ryan Braun signed a long-term deal with the Brewers that will keep him in Milwaukee through at least the 2020 season. Braun expressed a desire to finish his career where he started and declared his love for Milwaukee.

Prince Fielder hasn’t signed a new contract and has not professed his desire to remain with the Brewers. Reading the baseball tea leaves, that isn’t going to change, either. Fielder is highly unlikely to remain with the Brewers for two related reasons. First, he hired Scott Boras to represent him and Boras ALWAYS takes his clients into free agency. Second, every Boras client goes on the auction block and signs with the highest bidder, period. The only player that Boras has recently negotiated a contract for without being a free agent was Carlos Gonzalez last winter. But CarGo only gave up three free agent years to get his $80M guaranteed and he wasn’t scheduled to be a free agent until after the 2014 season.

Boras’ history is to negotiate landmark contracts both in terms of length and money. Notable contracts negotiated by Boras include both of Alex Rodriguez’ free agent contracts, Mark Teixeira, Matt Holliday, every JD Drew contract since he was drafted, and most recently, Jayson Werth’s contract with the Nationals. In addition, Boras has represented the past two #1 picks in the draft, Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper of the Nationals.

Boras makes no bones about his negotiating style and teams know exactly what his stance will be with his clients. Unless the Brewers are willing to outbid the entire market for Fielder, they will be looking for a new first baseman during the winter.

In Fielder’s first five full seasons before 2011, he averaged 38 HR, 105 RBI, and 95 R along with 32 doubles. His percentages are .279/.386/.536. There aren’t many better hitters in baseball over the past five seasons than Fielder and he just turned 27 earlier in May. That kind of production and the potential for even more improvement is what Boras will be selling to all 30 teams in the winter.

Fielder is going to command a contract in the 8-year, $200 million or more area. If Boras can entice a second team into the bidding, either real or imagined, the contract could approach $250M and be worth over $30M annually. Those aren’t numbers that the Brewers or most teams are going to be willing to spend. But some team will step up. With Boras, that’s always the case.

So who might spend that kind of money on a superstar with prime years remaining?

1. Washington Nationals

Don’t laugh. Historically, Boras deals with a small handful of teams and he’s developed a very nice relationship with the Nationals over the past few years. As mentioned earlier, Strasburg, Harper, and Werth are all Boras clients and while Werth’s signing seemed to come out of nowhere, observers should have seen it coming due to Boras’ recent relationship with GM Mike Rizzo and the Nationals owners. That budding relationship will enable the Nationals to be ”in the loop” on Fielder and they could either drive up his price or become his eventual destination.

The Nationals will be looking to make a big splash in the offseason with Strasburg expected to return from Tommy John surgery next season. In addition to a big bat like Fielder, expect the Nationals to target a free agent pitcher, like Edwin Jackson, to bolster their chances for success in 2012. Jackson, coincidentally, happens to be represented by Scott Boras. Jackson and Fielder to the Nats could become a package deal.

 

2. Chicago Cubs

The Cubs currently have a Boras client, Carlos Pena, manning first base on a one-year deal. The Cubs are also the team most-rumored to likely pursue Albert Pujols when the season ends, but it might make more sense to target the first baseman on their NL Central rivals to the north.

The Pujols/Fielder choice for the Cubs, if they have a choice is intriguing. Fielder will most likely be a few million a year cheaper and he’s four years younger. Pujols isn’t a slam dunk to leave St. Louis either and could just use a team like the Cubs to drive up his price.

So if you’re the Cubs, why not drive up his price? One of the biggest reasons why Pujols hasn’t re-signed with the Cardinals is because they don’t want to allocate such a large portion of their payroll to one player; at least not before they have to.

The Cubs could help Pujols get the $30M annually that he’s seeking, help to hamstring the Cardinals payroll, and then come in and get Fielder for $26-$27M over 7 or 8 years. They have the money available as they can use Kosuke Fukodome’s $14M and Carlos Pena’s $10M to pay for most of the salary. That would be a win-win-win for the Cubs as they would hurt two division rivals and add one of the best bats in baseball. Unfortunately, as Cubs fans know, out-strategizing other teams is not a Cubs trademark.

 

3. St. Louis Cardinals

This only becomes a possibility for Fielder if Albert Pujols leaves the Cardinals. But if he does, the Cards could go after Fielder and they already have a pair of high priced Boras’ clients on their roster with Matt Holliday and Kyle Lohse. They know his style and have been willing to play ball with him in the past and might determine that Fielder fits their payroll better than Pujols will four or five years down the road.

The Cards have money available, just not the $30M that Pujols reportedly wants. But if the bidding for Fielder doesn’t go above $25M and Pujols gets a $30M+ offer, wouldn’t it make more sense to go with the younger, cheaper option?

While the speculation regarding Fielder replacing Pujols can be fun, the only realistic way that could happen would be if the Cubs completely outbid everybody on Pujols and gave him over $300M for at least 10 years. That could be too much for the Cardinals to stomach and redirect them to Fielder. Otherwise, the Cards will most likely re-sign Pujols after both sides compromise a bit.

 

4. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers possibility is contingent on them getting new ownership before free agency begins. If they do, they have Rafael Furcal’s $13M coming off the books along with a few others and would be able to move James Loney and the $5M or so that he would probably get.

The Dodgers are a far cry from the Lasorda and Alston days when they would always have rookie of the year candidates and compete for the NL West titles and NL pennants. It’s been 23 years since their last NL pennant and they’ve only been to the playoffs six times since that 1988 World Series championship.

The Angels now draw more fans and much more successful than the Dodgers. Signing Fielder would at least help them win the offseason in Los Angeles. With all of the PR problems that the club is having under the current ownership, a new owner can begin to earn the trust of the fans with a big signing like Fielder.

 

5. Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles? Yes, the Orioles are getting better with some very good young pitching and have Derrick Lee playing first base on a one-year contract. The Orioles have close to $30M coming off of their payroll going into the winter and they will have a need for a big bat in the middle of the order.

The Orioles have a chance in the Fielder sweepstakes because their division rivals, Boston and New York, don’t have room for Fielder as a first baseman. Unless the 27-year old Fielder is interested in becoming a full-time DH, then he’s not going to those two teams, Detroit, or the Chicago White Sox.

The Orioles have couple of very good young everyday players with Nick Markakis and Adam Jones and also have a shortstop prospect that’s being compared to Alex Rodriguez, Manny Machado. Their young pitching is showing signs of becoming really good and adding Fielder would make them a winning team immediately and give them a chance to contend in the AL East.

Owner Peter Angelos has been quiet in recent years, but has a history of spending money on big name free agents. Perhaps a chance at a stud hitter in his prime will entice him to pull out his checkbook for Fielder.

 

Others

Fielder’s biggest problem will be the lack of the Red Sox and Yankees in the bidding process. It’s highly unlikely that those two teams will be involved. Also, ownership issues with the Dodgers and Mets could eliminate both of those potential big market teams. The Phillies already have a huge bat at first base and the White Sox have two players who can play there.

Even though the market will be limited, Scott Boras’ history has shown that he can create a bidding war for anybody. If he can get Jayson Werth $18M annually, he should be able to get the prolific hitting Fielder at least 30-40% more than Werth. Now he just needs to find the right owner.

MLB Daily Balk 5/16 plus Posada, Montero, and the Yankees

All of that commotion for a day off? Why not just a fake cough?

Posada, Montero, and the Yankees

Jorge Posada created a stir in the Bronx with his refusing to play on Saturday night after being dropped to 9th in the batting order. While everybody seems to be making a huge deal out of this situation, there’s really nothing to it. Posada wasn’t happy with the demotion and combined with his 2011 performance, he showed a great deal of frustration.

As long as Posada is hitting less than .200, he’s not going to be moved up in the order. He needs to understand that if he’s going to hit like a pitcher, he’s going to hit ninth. Posada is in the final year of a 4-year contract worth over $52 million and he’s earning $13.1M this season. The Yankees are going to give him plenty of opportunities to hit his way out of the season long slump. Playing DH, he’s really not impeding anybody else from making it to the big leagues.

Even though Posada isn’t catching, however, prized catching prospect Jesus Montero remains in AAA with no timetable to arrive in the Bronx. Montero’s name appears in every big trade rumor involving the Yankees, from Cliff Lee last summer to every ridiculous Felix Hernandez weekly rumor. Montero projects as a great hitting catcher with modest defensive skills. Some scouts believe that he’ll eventually end up at first base.

What’s interesting about Montero is that the Yankees seem hesitant to bring him up and play him. With the firepower in the Yankees lineup, having Montero adjust to big league pitching wouldn’t hurt them as much as other teams. But during the offseason, they signed Russell Martin and are paying him $4M this season. They also have Francisco Cervelli as Martin’s backup.

Montero is still very young at 21. But is there something about him that the Yankees know about, either offensively or defensively, that they feel might get exposed in the majors? Montero’s value is certainly higher as a future catcher than as a first baseman. But many people expect him to make that move anyway.

Could Montero have holes in his swing that could be exposed in a big way in the majors? He struck out 91 times in about 500 plate appearances in AAA last season.

If the Yankees felt that Montero was truly their catcher of the future, he’d be up with them sharing time with Martin. GM Brian Cashman probably feels that his trade value is probably much higher as a hyped prospect than an above average hitting catcher with defensive issues. That’s why Montero probably won’t make his major league debut with the Yankees, but with the team that probably overpays to trade for him.

 

Best of Yesterday May 15

Last Night’s Games  
American  
Seattle PPD Cleveland
Kansas City PPD Tigers
Baltimore 9 Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 11 Minnesota 3
Los Angeles 4 Texas 5
Chicago 4 Oakland 3
Boston 7 New York 5
National  
St. Louis 7 Cincinnati 9
Florida 4 Washington 8
Philadelphia 2 Atlanta 3
New York 7 Houston 4
Pittsburgh 6 Milwaukee 9
San Francisco PPD Chicago
San Diego 8 Colorado 2
Arizona 4 Los Angeles 1

 

Top Aces    
Player Team Stats
Ian Kennedy W (4-1) ARI 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 8 K, BB
Jake Arrieta W (5-1) BAL 6 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 7 K, 3 BB
Tim Hudson ATL 7 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 3 K, 5 BB
Roy Halladay PHI 8 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 7 K, 2 BB

 

Hitting Heroes    
Player Team Stats
Jose Bautista TOR 3-5, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R
Justin Turner NYM 2-4, HR, 5 RBI, 2 R
Dan Uggla ATL 2-3, HR, RBI, 3 R
Ryan Braun MIL 2-3, HR, 4 RBI, R
JJ Hardy BAL 2-5, HR, 4 RBI, R

  

What Happened (!!)Yesterday?

The Reds almost imploded at the end of their game Sunday against the Cardinals. The Reds entered the ninth inning with a 9-2 lead, but Aroldis Chapman walked four and only retired one hitter before being pulled. Francisco Cordero hit Albert Pujols on the hand with a pitch and then Pujols slid hard into second base to break up a potential game ending double play. Following a strikeout to end the game, Cordero then stared into the Cardinals dugout and yelled at the Cards bench. They don’t play each other again until July, but will play another nine more times.

 

AL News/Notes

Athletics closer Andrew Bailey had no problems in his extended spring training game on Saturday. He’s probably going to start a rehab assignment early this week.

The White Sox are going to use Adam Dunn more at first base as the season goes on to give Paul Konerko a break. Mark Teahen is going to give his strained oblique a try on Monday to see if he can avoid the DL.

The Twins have placed Jose Mijares on the DL and optioned Jim Hoey to AAA. Jason Repko is getting closer to returning after playing in an extended spring training game.

  

NL News/Notes

Jason Heyward came into play defense in the 9th inning and is hoping to bat on Tuesday for the Braves. It’s starting to look like Julio Teheran will be starting on Wednesday.

Bobby Parnell is going to need to work his way back to the Mets when he gets healthy. Due to his poor start to the season, the Mets are going to make Parnell earn his way back from the minors.

The Phillies Shane Victorino has a bad hamstring but doesn’t look like he’s heading to the DL. Jose Contreras is going to begin a rehab assignment on Wednesday.

The Brewers think that Zach Greinke could have been tipping his pitches in Sunday’s game against the Pirates.

 

Streaks of the Day

  • Angels Erick Aybar extended his hitting streak to 13 games
  • Marlins Logan Morrison extended his hitting streak to 13 games

 

Top Monday Matchups

6:40 EDT Yankees (Burnett 4-2, 3.38) at Rays (Price 5-3, 3.12)

7:05 EDT Blue Jays (Drabek 2-2, 4.81) at Tigers (Scherzer 6-0, 3.20)

7:10 EDT Cubs (Zambrano 4-1, 4.35) at Reds (Bailey 2-0, 0.69)

10:05 EDT Angels (Pineiro 2-0, 1.33) at Athletics (Anderson 2-3, 3.21)

10:10 EDT Brewers (Marcum 4-1, 2.72) at Dodgers (Garland 1-2, 3.66)

 

Yesterday’s Balks: 0

MLB Daily Balk 5/14

The Rays look like they have another ace with Hellickson

Best of Yesterday May 13

Last Night’s Games  
American  
Seattle 4 Cleveland 5
Kansas City 1 Tigers 3
Boston 5 New York 4
Baltimore 0 Tampa Bay 3
Los Angeles 1 Texas 4
Toronto 2 Minnesota 0
Chicago 4 Oakland 3
National  
San Francisco 4 Chicago 11
Florida 6 Washington 5
St. Louis 5 Cincinnati 6 F/10
Philadelphia 5 Atlanta 4
New York 6 Houston 4
Pittsburgh 2 Milwaukee 5
San Diego 7 Colorado 12
Arizona 3 Los Angeles 4

 

Top Aces    
Player Team Stats
Jeremy Hellickson W (4-2) TBD 9 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 3 K, BB
Ricky Romero W (3-4) TOR 8 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 8 K, 3 BB
Clayton Kershaw W (5-3) LAD 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 11 K, 2 BB
Justin Verlander W (4-3) DET 8 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 7 K, 3 BB
Doug Fister SEA 8 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 6 K, BB

 

Hitting Heroes    
Player Team Stats
Cameron Maybin SDP 4-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R
Troy Tulowitzki COL 3-5, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, SB
Jose Bautista TOR 3-4, HR, RBI, R
Ryan Howard PHI 2-4, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R
Darwin Barney CHC 3-5, 3 RBI, 2 R

 

 

What Happened (!!)Yesterday?

Brandon League just blew his third save opportunity in four days and has now taken the loss in 4 of the last 5 games. Prior to this horrible 4-game run, League had pitched really well. He had completed all 9 of his save chances and had a 2.08 ERA for the formerly overachieving Mariners. Now the M’s are 7 games under .500 after dropping their 6th straight game and injured closer David Aardsma is still far away from returning (see below).

 

AL News/Notes

Adam Lind was scratched from the Blue Jays lineup before the game because of lingering back soreness. The Jays have until Monday to decide to DL him. Jayson Nix began his rehab assignment in Dunedin and could rejoin the Jays on Monday.

Magglio Ordonez‘ ankle problems finally landed him on the DL. The Tigers have recalled Andy Dirks to fill the open roster spot. Carlos Guillen made an appearance at Comerica and took batting practice. There’s still no scheduled return date for the former all star shortstop.

Joe Mauer took batting practice with the Twins before their game on Friday. There’s still no timetable for his return, but he’ll head to Florida for a rehab assignment when he’s ready to go.

David Aardsma‘s will not need surgery, but he’s still not close to returning to the Mariners. The M’s could really use their closer with Brandon League‘s current struggles.

Julio Borbon injured his left hamstring in the Rangers’ win on Friday night. He’s day-to-day but a trip to the DL isn’t out of the question. Fellow outfielder, Nelson Cruz, won’t be ready to return from the DL when he’s eligible on Thursday. Manager Ron Washington wants Cruz to be able to run before sending him on a rehab assignment. Josh Hamilton took batting practice for the first time since his shoulder injury. There’s no timetable for his return, yet.

  

NL News/Notes

Brandon Beachy left his start for the Braves after only 2 innings because of a strained oblique muscle. Beachy is probably going to be heading to the disabled list. Julio Teheran, who pitched decently last weekend, could get recalled to fill Beachy’s spot.

The Cubs’ Randy Wells threw two innings in an extended spring training game and will make a rehab start in Class A on Tuesday.

The Reds activated Scott Rolen from the DL before the game and sent Chris Valaika to AAA.

The Rockies activated Ty Wigginton from the DL and sent Ian Stewart back down to AAA. Stewart continues to struggle and third base could become a “need” position for the Rockies as the season goes on.

 

Streaks of the Day

  • Phillies Shane Victorino extended his hitting streak to 15 games
  • Astros Hunter Pence ended his hitting streak at 15 games

 

Top Saturday Matchups

3:10 EDT Padres (Harang 5-2, 4.07) at Rockies (Chacin 4-2, 2.68)

4:05 EDT White Sox (Floyd 4-2, 3.67) at Athletics (Ross 2-2, 2.51)

4:10 EDT Angels (Haren 4-2, 1.87) at Rangers (Ogando 3-1, 5.18)

4:10 EDT Cardinals (McClellan 5-0, 3.30) at Reds (Cueto 1-0, 0.00) — MLB Network

7:05 EDT Red Sox (Beckett 2-1, 1.99) at Yankees (Sabathia 3-2, 2.89) — Fox

 

Yesterday’s Balks: 2

  • Dillon Gee of the Mets against the Astros
  • Ernesto Frieri of the Padres against the Rockies

MLB Daily Balk 5/13 plus Jimmy Rollins Phillies Future

J-Roll could be gone from Philly next year

Jimmy Rollins‘ Future with the Phillies

Jimmy Rollins‘ 5-year/$40M contract that included an $8.5M option for 2011 is going to expire after this season. Rollins won the 2007 NL MVP and helped the Phillies win the 2008 World Series. In his first 7 seasons, Rollins was incredibly durable as he played in at least 154 games each year for the Phils. But Rollins only played in 137 games in 2008 and was limited to 88 games last season. While most players get injured at some point in their career, Rollins’ age could play a role in his potential return to the Phillies after this season.

There appears to be three issues that should play a role in the Phillies decision with whether to bring back their unofficial captain.

The first issue is how much money Rollins is going to expect to receive and how many years he will want on his contract. Rollins enters a shortstop market that will include a 28-year old Jose Reyes as the premier player at the position. While Reyes will probably command a 5 or 6 year contract approaching $100 million, Rollins can’t realistically expect anything more than 3 or 4 years. He currently makes $8.5M and might be able to convince a loser in the Reyes sweepstakes to pay him $10-$12M annually for 4 years. Would the Phillies be willing to go to those levels?

The Phillies are tied up with contracts for fellow 30+ infielders Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Placido Polanco. They can’t realistically expect this infield to be together in another 2 to 3 years, if not sooner. The Yankees have let their core players get rich and old together and they are dealing with age related injuries and drops in production. The Phillies have to be apprehensive about duplicating that model.

Overall, the Phillies have six players under contract for at least $9.5M for 2012 and that becomes seven if Roy Oswalt returns. Cliff Lee’s annual payout increases from $11M this season to $21.5M next year. The good news is that Raul Ibanez’ $12M and Brad Lidge’s $12M are coming off the books but Ryan Madson is a free agent as well and might become a higher priority to the Phillies than Rollins, especially if he continues to excel as the closer.

Realistically, the Phillies probably wouldn’t want to go more than 3 years and $27 to $30 million, giving Rollins up to $10M annually. If Rollins wants anything more than that, he’s probably going to have to look elsewhere.

The other two issues are age and his future production at the plate and in the field, which are intertwined. Rollins turns 33 in November and shortstops don’t typically retain their all star ability deep into their 30’s. Rollins hasn’t hit above .250 since hitting .277 in 2008. Rollins’ game is based on his elite speed and Gold Glove work in the field.

Rollins has led the NL in triples four times, but hasn’t gotten to double digits since 2007. What can anybody expect out of Rollins over the next 3 to 4 years? Whoever signs Rollins will most likely fail to receive commensurate production for his contract, especially as he moves into his mid-30’s.

The Phillies have light-hitting, great glove shortstop Freddy Galvis at AA Reading. He’s probably not going to be ready until at least 2013. That means the Phillies will need a shortstop for at least two more years. If the Phillies were to approach Rollins about an extension right now, would he be open to signing a two-year extension for around $20M? That would be the safest deal that the Phillies could make given their situation.

Rollins might have to change his position somewhere down the road. He’s got a rifle for an arm and wil always have good speed. Would he be able to move to center field? Shane Victorino’s contract runs through 2012 and Rollins could transition to center if Galvis’ hitting catches up to his glove and he makes the big club.

In the end, it’s probably going to come down to money and how much Rollins will be willing to leave on the table elsewhere if he’s going to be a Phillie in 2012. The Phillies chances of retaining Rollins will likely fall below 30% if they let his contract expire and give him a chance to explore the open market.  Phillies GM Ruben Amaro has appeared to have an unlimited bankroll when it comes to re-signing everybody but Jayson Werth. Will Rollins get the Werth treatment or do the Phils show him the same undying loyalty that Ryan Howard and Chase Utley have received?

 

Best of Yesterday May 12

Last Night’s Games  
American  
Tampa Bay 7 Cleveland 4
Seattle 1 Baltimore 2 F/12
Kansas City 11 New York 4
National  
St. Louis 9 Chicago 1
New York 9 Colorado 5
Arizona 2 San Francisco 3
Los Angeles PPD Pittsburgh
Washington 5 Atlanta 6

 

Top Aces    
Player Team Stats
Zach Britton BAL 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 5 K
Jason Vargas SEA 9 IP, 0 ER, 4 K, 7 H, BB
Jaime Garcia W (5-0) STL 7 IP, 1 ER, 4 K, BB
Matt Cain W (3-2) SFG 7 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 7 K, BB
James Shields W (4-1) TBD 7 IP, 2 ER, 7 K, BB

 

Hitting Heroes    
Player Team Stats
Carlos Beltran NYM 3-5, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 3 R
Martin Prado ATL 2-4, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R
Eric Hosmer KCR 3-5, HR, 2 RBI, R
Billy Butler KCR 4-6, 2 RBI, R
Jon Jay STL 3-6, 3 RBI, R

 

 

What Happened (!!)Yesterday?

Rays star Evan Longoria was drilled in the back by Justin Germano on Wednesday night and then hit again yesterday afternoon by Chad Durbin. The Rays didn’t retaliate against the Indians for either HBP. Longoria is the Rays best everyday player and old school managers like Joe Maddon typically mandate retaliation for hitting a team’s best player, but it didn’t happen. The Rays host the Indians later this month and something HAS to happen to one of the Indians better players. If not, that indicates a divide in the locker room between Longoria and the rest of his teammates.

Ubaldo Jimenez got hammered again for the Rockies and they have to be getting concerned about their ace. Since winning at Target Field on June 17 last season, Jimenez is 6-10 with a 4.80 ERA, including 6.67 this season over 25 total starts. He’s averaging fewer than 5 innings per start and those types of numbers lead to problems in Denver. The Rockies bullpen is usually very active and they need their ace to work effectively for more innings than he has.

 

AL News/Notes

It looks like the Royals will be without Bruce Chen for at least three weeks. Chen leads the club with 4 wins. Vin Mazzaro will remain in Chen’s rotation spot.

Leonys Martin made an impressive debut for the Rangers at Double A. The Cuban defector just signed on May 4 and might move quickly through the minors.

  

NL News/Notes

The Phillies had three regulars playing at single A Clearwater on Thursday. Chase Utley hit a homer, but Roy Oswalt struggled in 5 innings. Carlos Ruiz was pain free and will be activated for the weekend series with the Braves. The Phillies are unclear about Utley and Oswalt.

Zach Braddock looks to be closer to rejoining the Brewers after a dominating rehab appearance.

The Dodgers’ May payroll is still in limbo as MLB is still investigating the operations of the club.

 

Streaks of the Day

  • San Francisco Giants won their 6th straight game

 

Top Friday Matchups

7:05 EDT Red Sox (Buchholz 3-3, 4.19) at Yankees (Colon 2-1, 3.86) — MLB Network

7:10 EDT Cardinals (Lohse 4-2, 2.24) at Reds (Arroyo 3-3, 3.68)

7:35 EDT Phillies (Hamels 4-2, 2.83) at Braves (Beachy 1-1, 2.98)

8:05 EDT Angels (Weaver 6-2, 1.87) at Rangers (Ogando 3-0, 2.17)

10:05 EDT White Sox (Humber 2-3, 2.97) at Athletics (McCarthy 1-3, 3.26)

 

Yesterday’s Balks: 0