Wednesday May 22, 2013
It's been a disappointing first quarter of the season in Los Angeles, for both the Dodgers and the Angels.
Both teams have huge payrolls and big expectations in 2013, and both are struggling. They both won on Wednesday, however -- the Dodgers are 19-26 after a win at Milwaukee on Wednesday, and the Angels are 19-27 after beating Seattle.
But there's a long climb back to the top of their divisions, especially for the Angels, who are already 10.5 games behind the Texas Rangers. And the Dodgers, with the largest payroll in history, look like a fantasy team on paper but have little actual chemistry on the field. Only the Marlins have scored fewer runs, and this is a team with Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford. Kemp has hit just two home runs.
On Wednesday before the game in Milwaukee, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly seemed to be ready to crack.
It's not just all, 'Let's go put an All-Star team out there and play games, and the team with the All-Star team wins,' Mattingly told reporters. "... All grit and no talent is not going to get you there, and all talent and no grit is not going to get you there. There's got to be a mixture of both."
The Dodgers are off on Thursday, returning home. It would almost be a shock if the team didn't make a move.
Wrote USA Today's Bob Nightengale: "Mattingly will be baseball's first manager to be fired this season. He knows it. The players know it. And, yes, the front office is bracing for it."
And over in Orange County, Angels owner Arte Moreno gave Mike Scioscia a vote of confidence last week.
"Mike has zero problems, OK?" Moreno said to FoxSports.com. "This is his 14th year. Mike goes beyond what he does on the field. He's a good person. He's a good person in the community. A very good baseball guy. You don't have to ask me. You just ask other managers, other baseball people. Look at 14 years' worth of productivity. Look at his record. He has two World Series rings with the Dodgers. He has one with the Angels. We've been to the playoffs."
Wednesday May 22, 2013
Roy Halladay has played in the major leagues for 15 seasons and has one of the smallest transaction histories of any modern player. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1995 and was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009. That's all. Only franchise guys like Derek Jeter have moved around less.
With Halladay's career at a crossroads after shoulder surgery that will put him out until at least after the All-Star break, let's look at that one trade -- as part of our weekly series evaluating blockbuster trades of recent history -- and pick a winner.
Dec. 16. 2009: Toronto Blue Jays trade Roy Halladay and cash to the Philadelphia Phillies for C Travis d'Arnaud, RHP Kyle Drabek and RF Michael Taylor.
Halladay had finished in the fop five of the American League Cy Young Award voting for four consecutive years. But with his contract set to expire after 2010 and the Blue Jays languishing in the toughest division in baseball, Toronto decided to strike while the iron was hot. But Halladay actually got hotter in the National League. He threw a perfect game on May 29, 2010 against the Marlins and then just the second no-hitter ever recorded in postseason play against the Reds in the National League Division Series. He was the first Phillies pitcher to win 20 games in 28 years and was the unanimous winner of the NL Cy Young award.
The only down side? The Phillies lost in the NLCS and haven't gotten any closer to the World Series since then. So it's feasible that the upside for this trade for the Phillies is over.
So what did the Blue Jays get? It was a pretty good haul, but with a catch.
d'Arnaud was a 20-year-old catcher in Single-A at the time of the deal, a former first-round pick. He progressed through the Blue Jays' system over the next two years and had a great season in 2011 at Double-A New Hampshire, hitting .311 with 21 homers. But the Blue Jays then traded him this past offseason to the New York Mets as the centerpiece of the R.A. Dickey deal. So if Dickey ends up doing well in Toronto -- he seems to be turning things around after a slow start -- there's upside there.
Drabek was another first-rounder, and he spent chunks of the last two seasons in the Toronto rotation, going 4-7 with a 4.67 ERA in the first half last year. However, he underwent Tommy John surgery at midseason -- the second of his career -- so his future is as sketchy at this point as Halladay's, although Drabek is 10 years younger.
Taylor was dealt immediately to the Oakland Athletics in a straight-up deal for first baseman Brett Wallace, who was then traded in 2010 to the Houston Astros for outfielder Anthony Gose. Gose, 22, is currently in Triple-A in the Toronto organization, where he is batting .227 with two homers.
On the financial side, the Phillies are paying Halladay $20 million per season. Dickey is getting $5 million from the Jays this year and $12 million in each of the next two years.
So in summary, It's now pretty much Dickey, Drabek and Gose for Halladay. It was by far a better trade over the last three years for the Phillies. But today, I'd probably rather have the Blue Jays' side of the deal. So because the Phillies haven't won a championship with Halladay (and it's very doubtful the Blue Jays would have done much better without making the deal), let's call it a fair and decent trade for both sides.
Monday May 20, 2013
It's only happened twice this year -- on Friday, April 19 and Monday, April 29.
Through seven weeks of the Major League Baseball regular season, those were the only two days in which the Houston Astros and Miami Marlins both won.
In contrast, there have been 19 dates in which both Houston and Miami lost on the same day. And there will undoubtedly be many more.
Houston's baptism into the American League has not gone well. Their roster is so young that they don't have enough wives to hold an annual charity event that's been a team staple over the years. The Astros entered Sunday dead last in pitching with a horrendous team ERA of 5.58, which was 0.73 worse than any other team in the majors. Houston has given up 261 runs; no other team has yielded more than 227.
And Miami? We all knew their lineup would be pretty bad, but they're bordering on historically bad. The Marlins' team batting average is .221, and they've scored just 115 runs in 43 games. The second-worst is the Dodgers, who have scored 140. The Colorado Rockies already have scored 101 more runs than Miami this season.
After Sunday's games, both the Marlins and Astros are 12-32, a winning percentage of .273, which projects to a record of 44-118. Only one team in the last 50 years has finished with a worse winning percentage, the 2003 Detroit Tigers (43-119, .265).
Sadly, or perhaps thankfully, the schedule doesn't call for the Astros and Marlins to play each other this season.
On to this week's Monday Morning Manager:
David Ortiz, Red Sox: Big Papi's still got the great stroke. The Boston DH hit three home runs and drove in 12 in 19 at-bats last week.
Scott Van Slyke, Dodgers: Andy's son is in the majors and off to a hot start. He hit three home runs in his first 15 big-league at-bats this season.
Bronson Arroyo, Reds: Few pitchers are as quietly good as the Cincinnati right-hander. He hasn't given up a run in his last two starts, both wins.
Ike Davis, Mets: There's talk of sending the 26-year-old first-baseman to the minors. He had an 0-for-24 skid that ended Friday and is batting just .156.
Danny Espinosa, Nationals: Washington's second baseman is in a dreadful slump, going 1 for his last 24. He's hitting .163 and has 38 strikeouts and just three walks.
Jim Johnson, Orioles: The Baltimore closer had saved 35 consecutive chances heading into the week, but the Padres and Rays each let him have it this week as he blew two chances, giving up seven earned runs in 1 1/3 innings.
1. Texas Rangers (29-15, last week No. 1)
2. St. Louis Cardinals (28-15, last week No. 2)
3. New York Yankees (27-16, last week No. 4)
4. Boston Red Sox (27-17, last week unranked)
5. Cleveland Indians (25-17, last week unranked)
26. Chicago Cubs (18-25, last week No. 28)
27. Milwaukee Brewers (17-25, last week unranked)
28. Los Angeles Angels (17-27, last week No. 27)
29. Miami Marlins (12-32, last week No. 29)
30. Houston Astros (12-32, last week No. 30)
Sunday May 19, 2013
Don't like the proposals for expanded instant replay in baseball? Blame the NFL.
"Now we're addicted to instant replay," writes Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post. "The NBA stops the flow of the game so a referee can check to see which player touched the ball last before it went out of bounds. Major League Baseball wants to greatly reduce the authority of umpires by expanding use of replay in 2014. Where does it all stop?"
The answer, nowhere yet. MLB commissioner Bud Selig says his position on instant replay has "evolved" and that the owners will hear proposals at an Aug. 14-15 meeting in Cooperstown, N.Y., according to the Associated Press.
What people are saying: Instant replay debate
You Make The Call: Instant replay expansion