Archive for the ‘Atlanta Braves’ category

Analyzing the Joe Blanton trade, and Mike Hampton tweaks groin again

July 19, 2008

Oakland gets:

2B/IF Adrian Cardenas
OF Matt Spencer
RP Josh Outman

Philly gets

SP Joe Blanton

A couple days ago, Oakland traded away their 5th starter Joe Blanton away to Philadelphia prospects 2B Adrian Cardenas, RP Josh Outman, and a throw in OF Matt Spencer.

In a couple years, if Joe Blanton stinks up the place in Philadelphia, this could be one of these trades that keeps us asking “why?” like Larry Andersen for Jeff Bagwell, among others. And there is very real chance that this could happen, because Joe Blanton is more of a flyball, and he could get lit up in that small park they have in Philadelphia. His home/road ERA splits are 4.63/5.73, and Oakland is a pitchers park as well. This could be a very bad trade for Philadelphia. But it could also be a good one, because Oakland’s defense hasn’t exactly been spectacular this year, and defensive ERA numbers suggest that the defense behind Blanton could be the problem, and with Utley, Rollins and others behind Blanton, his ERA might actually go down slightly. So it really depends on how Blanton will do, and the numbers are so variable, because some numbers predict he will do bad, and some predict he will be decent with the Phillies, which would justify this trade. The offense behind Blanton does not suggest much, for example, Eric Milton’s 2005 Reds season where he had the great offense behind him, but was completely awful, and we all know how good the Phillies offense is this year.

Also, let’s look who the Phillies gave up for Blanton. Although there are not that many players that the Phillies could have traded for, they gave up a can’t-miss prospect in Adrian Cardenas, hitting .310/.375/.447 in High-A, which also means current Oakland 2B Mark Ellis will be gone. Cardenas was going to be blocked by Chase Utley no matter what. They also gave up a pitcher with good HR/9 rates in Josh Outman, although he got moved to the bullpen after a mediocre 2007 where his HR/9 went up while starting, and the Phillies 2007 3rd Round draft pick Matt Spencer, who has not really done much in the pro level and is hitting .249 this year in High-A ball. Cardenas is the real gem here, and although he’s only in A-Ball and is as old as we are, he has hit well in every level thus far. He was the Gatorade state High School Player of the year in Florida in 2006, and he was teammates with Chris Marrero, who is in the Washington Nationals system right now, and was the the 15th overall pick in 2006. All Cardenas has done is hit (I think Cardenas will be in the Majors in 2-3 years, not 3-4 years like some are saying), and if he turns into something great, and if Outman turns into a decent pitcher (He needed a change in scenery after the Phillies moved him to the bullpen), then we all know who got the better end of the trade. Again, this could really be one of those trades where bored sportswriters could list as “one of the worst trades in the past 20 years,” but again, if Blanton turns into something slightly useful and the Phillies make the playoffs instead of running Adam Eaton out there every 5th day, it could also be a decent trade that works out for the Phillies. Really, it can go either way. I still think the Phillies may have given up too much.

Mike Hampton injury watch: Mike Hampton injured again

Apparently Mike Hampton tweaked his groin again during a rehab start. When will this end? Certainly one of the worst contracts in history. His arm felt fine though, apparently. It just sucks for Hampton, whose body keeps taking his baseball abilities as a league-average starter away from him, and ultimately, you have to feel bad for him. It’s still funny at his expense, with the frequency of his injuries.

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The All-Realistic NL Team of 2008

July 15, 2008

So we decided to make the best starters, and put the best backup players behind them. So basically, the best realistic team of 2008. For the backup and utility players, they have to be actual backups or platooners, like Augie Ojeda, or Ruben Gotay for example. No video game rosters here.

My lineup will consist of:

2 Catchers
1 First Baseman
1 First Baseman/Third Baseman
1 Second Baseman
1 Second Baseman/Shortstop
1 Third Baseman
1 Shortstops
4 Outfielders
1 Utility Player
12 pitchers, 7 RP, 5 SP

Catcher: Brian McCann – Atlanta Braves

I made a mistake when I chose Russell Martin based on him dating Alyssa Milano on one of my older articles. Brian McCann is having the better season indeed.

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Julio Franco alive and well in Mexico

March 29, 2008

juliohitshr.jpg

In today’s New York Times, there is an article that talks about Julio Franco’s new job in Mexico. He’s a first baseman in a Mexican team. When players like Woody Williams, Jeff Conine, Shawn Green, and Javy Lopez are retiring, Julio Franco has the balls to play in the Mexican Leagues. Those other guys are just pussies.

“He doesn’t have one, but he does expect to play professional baseball on his 50th birthday. In a Mexican League season that has begun, Franco is playing first base in Cancún for Tigres de Quintana Roo.”

“Franco has another reason for continuing to play. He is serving as the team’s hitting coach as well as a player, and it’s a start to the next phase of his career. “

Julio Franco was good for a long time, hitting .270s-.300s for 20 years straight, with OPS hanging around in the .750s to the .800s in his best seasons. But the best part is that he kept these numbers for a long, long time, and he could compete with other Major Leaguers even at age 47, while guys half his age are retiring. Shows how good his batting eye really was. Maybe not a Hall of Famer at all, but thou he shall be remembered. Maybe he will be a good manager one day.

Carl Everett should have asked Julio Franco if dinosaurs existed. Julio would know.

Nearing 50, Julio Still Going Strong in Mexican League (NY Times)

Division Preview: NL East

March 12, 2008

After the Johan Santana trade, the New York Mets became the top of the heap in the NL East, and possibly all of the National League. The NL East has some very good teams in the Mets and the Phillies, an average-to-good team in the Braves, then it drops off to some slightly mediocre teams in the Nationals and the Marlins. Other than Cameron Maybin and othters of the Marlins, Fernando Martinez of the Mets, and several Braves prospects, this division is not really loaded with as many prospects as the other divisions.

1. New York Mets (2007: 88-74, 2nd)

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Johan Santana

The Mets are easy choice for the NL East as they got obviously the best pitcher in baseball in Santana, and they also traded for a few other cogs like C Brian Schneider and OF Ryan Church from the Nationals. Church is a player who has always deserved a chance in the Nationals organization but never really got one for whatever dumb reason. He really could be the Mets’ breakout player. Their pitching, other than Santana, also has El Duque, Pedro Martinez, the average John Maine, and Oliver Perez. The bullpen is decent has Billy Wagner as closer and Joe Smith, with Matt Wise added. The offense, other than Schneider and Church, does not have many notable additions, but they should be quite good, with 3B David Wright, SS Jose Reyes, OF Carlos Beltran, 2B Luis Castillo, etc. The Mets look great.

Read more for the rest of the predictions.

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Mike Hampton Warranty

March 9, 2008

What does Mike Hampton have in common with my Xbox 360?

Both lack durability and cost everyone a ton of money. This guy was incredible for a few years, and maybe he was once worthy of $121 million, but that hardly covers the medical bills on his right elbow.

His elbow is fine now, but he might need Tommy Groin

Hampton ‘cautiously optimistic’ about latest injury setback (ESPN.com)