Baseball Diamond News

Friday, December 31, 2004

Brian Dopirak

I have big hopes for Cubs 1st base prospect Brian Dopirak. Last season he put on a clinic in Lansing by hitting 39 hr's and having an OPS of .956. So it was nice to see that John Sickels on ESPN answer a question about him. In it he talks about how he has shown his power throughout the minors and the only major flaw in his game so far has been his strikeouts. He says Brian needs to get better command of the strike zone or in future he will be a very containable slugger. He also says that Brian is not just a hacker and has a nice swing so if he gets a better command of strike zone that he will be dangerous. I agree with this. I think that if Brian can reduces his k amount by 25 and increase his walk amount by 10-15, he won't lose as much power as expected because pitchers will have to start throwing more strikes.
Next season Brian will more than likely start in West Tennessee and probably find the pitching more difficult and not hit 39 hr's again. I think that he will have a nice OPS this year, but his main concern should be his batting eye while he is there. With the trade and the big extension to Derek Lee last season, means that for this season and next season Brian will not be seeing much of Chicago unless it is in September. So he has 2 years at least to work on his batting eye and making adjustments for his power. I fully expect to see him on the Cubs opening Day roster in 2007.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Is Boras Believable?

Well if Boras is believable the Cubs are still in the running for Beltran. I don't believe it as much as I think he is trying to use them to get a higher price for Beltran, just as he did with Arod. I do hope that I am wrong because as I have stated in past I would love to have Beltran on the Cubs. Also the Cubs have been talking to Magglio Ordonez and he is said to be interested in signing a 1 year deal full of incentives. This would be a marvelous signing for the Cubs as long as his base salary not too high. Ordonez when healthy is one of the leagues most underrated players and would be a great addition to the Cubs lineup.

*Earlier this week the Cubs officially signed Todd Hollandsworth to a one year deal for $900,000. This is smart signing only if it means he is coming off the bench. There are rumors that he might be starting in the OF. This is so wrong for so many reasons. First it would hurt a bench that already is very weak and has almost no options off the bench. Secondly Hollandsworth has over the years proven that outside of COL he cannot be a starting OF. Lastly, there are much better options left for the Cubs in the FA market.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Eric Munson a Cub?

According to Peter Gammons the Cubs have some interest in non-tender FA Eric Munson. This could be a decent signing for the Cubs if they can get him to sign a 1-2 year deal for under 1.75 million a year. He would be a good lefty bat off the bench and could give Aramis and Derek Lee some needed days off during the year to keep them less fatigued.
Looking at Eric Munson's stats one would think that it would be a waste to sign him, but remember he was playing in a pitcher's park. Also last season when we traded for Michael Barrett his batting average for a career wasn't too high either. I put Munson in the same category, I guy with the ability to do better, but needs a change of scenery for whatever reason.
If this signing happens, the Cubs still need to go out and get a LF, a closer (though looks more like Dempster everyday), and another SP (as I stated in earlier post I don't think Rusch should be in rotation). It looks like Wil Ohman will be the lefty in the Cubs pen this year and he is tearing it up in the Winter Leagues and had a brief appearance in the majors a few years ago before injuring his arm.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Where will Beltran end up?

Well that is the major question in baseball these days now that the Randy Johnson trade seems to have lost momentum after the Dodgers backed out of the trade the other day.
The media says that the Yanks George Steinbrenner had a meeting with Boras the other day and when that happens George usually gets his man. After hearing this the Astros stepped up to the plate and have offered a new contract to Beltran. The time for them to sign Astros is now because after January 8th they will not be able to re-sign him until May and the chances of Beltran waiting until May to resign with them is very slim. The Cubs have been flying low on the radar for Beltran, but I think the reason for that is simple, THEY ARE NOT TRYING... The Cubs look like they are going to run out of options soon in the FA market and with what we have seen from recent call-ups I am not so sure we have their replacements in the minors.

So where do I think Beltran will end up? I think in the end he will sign a 8 year deal with the Yankees. Why? Well the Yankees always are willing to spend money and these days that is what the agents and players want.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Miller signs with Red Sox

Well the Red Sox have made what might turn out to be the best signing of the off-season, Wade Miller. The signed the ex-Astros pitcher to an incentive based deal for this year and at max will cost the Sox 4.5 million. This was about .5 million more than he would have received in arbitration with the Astros. If I was a GM there is no way I would have let Miller go, but I can say that I am happy I don't have to worry about him facing the Cubs anymore. If Miller can rehab his arm enough to get 160 innings this season the Red Sox will have found themselves a real bargain.

El Duque with the White Sox?

There are reports that the White Sox have signed El Duque to a 2 - year 8 million dollar deal with incentives that could bring in an additional 4 million for him. During these last 6 months GM Ken Williams has been trying to revamp the White Sox rotation and has come up with a pretty decent rotation of: Freddy Garcia-Mark Buerhle, El Duque-Jon Garland- Jose Contreras. Now this is a rotation that will win you the World Series, but it will eat up innings and for the most part keep the games close, well that is if you have an offense.

Here is where the Sox have major problems. First let's start with Frank Thomas, why he didn't have his surgery sooner, I don't know, maybe bad advice, but with him not going to be ready for opening day hurts. Now this might be easy to overcome by putting Carl Everett at, but now he has to play RF with the Sox letting Magglio go via FA. The Sox let Magglio loose to sign Jermaine Dye who had a decent rebound season last year, but he is nowhere near the same guy he was before breaking his leg on the foul ball. So replacing Thomas and Magglio's bats are Everett and Dye. Now if that wasn't bad enough, he goes and trades Carlos Lee to the Brewers for Podsednik and Vizcaino. This trade boggles my mind. You already have your speedy guy who can't hit in Harris, why add a CF who is a carbon copy of him, just with a rookie of the year award to his name. This now moves Rowand over to LF a position he will do well at, but he is a much more valuable in CF than in LF. So now the OF looks like this Rowand-Posdsednik-Dye. This is not an OF that puts fear into opposing pitchers. I understand wanting hard throwing Luis Vizcaino out of the pen because when he has his stuff under control he is unhittable, but with the signing of Hermanson and Walker I don't see how trading Lee for these 2 guys helps the team any. Lastly the decision to let Valentin go and put Uribe at SS is actually a good idea, seeing that offensively Valentin had been declining for a couple years, but that means that Willie Harris is the starter at 2b and his bat is usually overpower by most pitchers not sure if any gains made.

Who would you take 1-2-3?

If anyone is familiar with the old game Pursue the Pennant or even Strat-O-Matic leagues, then this question is for you. In a keeper simulation league who would you take number 1-2-3? In our upcoming draft Joe Mauer, Upton, David Wright, Zach Greinke , Gavin Floyd, Alex Rios, Nick Swisher, Jeremy Reed, Casey Kotchman, Dallas McPherson and Scott Kazmir, who would you take with the 1st three picks? I know one might say it depends on what the team already has, but we are saying everything equal who would you take 1-2-3?

If I were picking 1-2-3, my choices would be to take Upton-Greinke-Wright. The reason I would stay away from Mauer in the top 3 is because of his knee surgery and I am not sure he will be a catcher much longer and unless he acquires a lot more power he won't be as useful with the bat outside the catchers position. With Upton he has the most upside, but the Devil Rays need to let him play SS next year to see if he can field there or if they need to find him a new position. Greinke I think is going to be a great pitcher for years to come and when he becomes a free agent in years to come he will be a rich man. Wright reminds me of a Scott Rolen type player. He is very good with the bat, but will struggle at times while he is young, and a very solid defensive player.

The Cub's

This off-season the Cubs have been very quiet besides re-signing Macias, Rusch, Walker and Garciaparra. For a team that fell short of making the playoffs this is not the right direction for the team to go. Most of the media concentration has been about getting rid of Sammy Sosa, but not about doing much else to improve the team.

We have lost Grudzielanek who might not have been the nimblest out on the field, is a much better fielder than Todd Walker is there. We have no replacement for Moises Alou in LF at the moment and the longer we wait the less options there will be. I like Glendon Rusch as a guy out of the pen for long relief and a guy to step in during an injury, but he just doesn't have the stuff to be in the starting rotation for 32 starts. Also we have not done anything to improve the pen and have lost Matt Clement out of the rotation. Paul Bako is also gone, but I am sure besides Greg Maddux no one will notice.

So far the big FA signing for the Cubs was Catcher Henry Blanco from the Twins, whom is Bako redux, but with some power. This would not have been a bad 1 year signing, but for some reason we gave him 2 years, maybe so Hendry does not have to look for another one next year. Blanco will play a few more games than Bako also, which will let Michael Barrett get a few more days on bench and be stronger for the last part of the year.

Now for what I think the Cubs should do:

1st) They should try to sign Beltran for a 7 years and move Patterson to LF this year. I know Hendry says that he doesn't have it in the budget, but if the Tribune company is serious about caring about its fans it should open up their wallet a little more this year and not let him get away.

2nd) Keep Sosa in RF for this year as next season. I am not a fan of Sammy Sosa, but I actually think this season he might end up hitting .275 and get 35 hr's with 95 rbi's. If this happens all parties will be happy. Though he does owe the team an apology for his selfish actions first year.

3rd) Sign Miguel Cairo to a 1 year deal and let him and Macias fight it out for roster spot. Given equal chance I would bet Cairo would be on team. He has proven to be a good utility IF and he would be a very helpful utility guy for the Cubs. Macias should not be on a team that is battling for last place let alone a team battling for 1st place.

4th) Trade Farnsworth and get some pen help. I like his talent, but I think a change of scenery is the best for both sides. By doing this we can get another dependable reliever and maybe even a prospect thrown in.

Simulation League

After 27 weeks in the simulation league I particpate in, I made the playoffs only to choke to BUF in 4 games, 3-1, in the wildcard spot. Had I managed things better in week 27, I would have been in much better shape for the playoffs, but instead vying to get homefield advantage I played my starters and lost my best player for the series, ATL/BAL Lopez. This was a major blow that my team was not able to overcome. I lost games 2 and 3 by 1 run and game 4 by 2 runs. Had Lopez not been injured we probably could have won either game 2 or 3 and anything coulda happened in game 5. During the playoff series I made a few decisions that were not ordinarly the decisions i would make and they ended up not working for me.
The next step now is build my team for next season and try and plan to make the playoffs for the 3rd straight year. The league is called IBL (Internet Baseball League) and my team is the Chicago Cougars.

We have been busy this offseason already making 2 trades and looking to make a few more. We will announce the trades here tomorrow. Next year will be a major platoon year for me as most of my guys hit one side well and the othe not so well. Also I need to pick up about 40 more starts to go with Oswalt-Carolos Zambrano-Drese-Bell as my starting 4.

JD Drew just signed

Well it looks like JD Drew has just signed a 5 year, 55 million dollar deal with the Dodgers. This is a great signing for the Dodgers. They were a team that over the last 2 years could use some more offense, and they desperately needed a signing like this after losing 3b Beltre to the Mariners early this week. This solidifies the OF Werth-Bradley-Drew and with Jose Valentin signing to play 3b the other day the Dodgers are starting to look like they will be at the top of the West again. The Dodgers do need to add another SP, but for the moment they will be able to hit and score runs at home and away from home.

Johnson Trade a NO GO

Well it looks like Depodesta got cold feet at the last minute. I think not making the trade was a very smart decision on his part. They were getting a pitcher who last year did not look like the same pitcher he was in Montreal. Maybe the innings abuse on his arm has finally caught up, maybe it was pitching in New York or maybe he just had a bad second half(it does happen). Also Navarro is not the highest rated catching prospect in the book. I can't comment on Duncan as I don't know much about him. Getting Koplove is a good addition to any pen, but by trading Yancy for him defeats the purpose of getting him. Even though Penny has had arm problems in the past, I think he will rebound nicely next season. Dumping Green's contract and getting Ishii off the roster might have been positives, but Green is not killing the team and Ishii if he could ever learn to stop walking people might be a useful pitcher.

In the end Depodesta decided that this was a trade that was not going to generally improve the team and I agree.

Welcome to my BLOG.

I'd like to welcome you to my Blog. My name is Greg Abcarian and this blog will mostly be about baseball, but will also include other topics. Hopefully my blog will include some insight on my thoughts and create some debates among the readers (if there are any) of this blog.

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