Tag Archives: free agents

Baseball News: Awards, CBA, Player and Manager Moves…Why the Off Season Matters

“You win pennants in the off season when you build your teams with trades and free agents.” Earl Weaver

The World Series is in the past but the baseball world is abuzz with awards, trades, free agent offers and the possibility of a reorganization of the Major Leagues and even a new five year Collective Bargaining Agreement deal between the players union and the league.  Baseball it seems has become the model of stability and sensibility in the American sporting world.  Even as I write the Owners and GMs are meeting in Milwaukee and the Winter meetings are just over the horizon.  This is where teams are built and where the seeds of future pennants are planted.

One has to admit that the 2012 baseball season was something to behold. The record comebacks of the Rays and Cardinals and epic collapses of the Braves and Red Sox in the final month of the season that led to one of the most if not the most memorable regular season endings in baseball history.  The storybook season of the Arizona Diamondbacks going from worst to first in the NL West was another amazing story.

Awards for outstanding achievement are being given out; Tigers Pitcher Justin Verlander won the American League Cy Young Award on a unanimous ballot.  Diamondbacks Manager Kirk Gibson won the National League Manager of the Year award for leading his team to a Division Championship and Rays Manager Joe Maddon who brought his team back from the abyss to reach the playoffs on the last day of the regular season won the American League Manager of the Year.  The National League Rookie of the Year award went to the Atlanta Braves reliever Craig Kimbrel and Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson took the American League award.  The National League Cy Young still remains as well as the Most Valuable Player awards.

The Cubs and Red Sox are still shopping for managers while the Cardinals chose former catcher Mike Matheny to fill the shoes left by Tony LaRussa who retired after the miraculous finish that led to a Word Series Championship.  Pitching Coach Dave Duncan, LaRussa’s long time right hand man remains as does Hitting Coach Mark McGwire.  Former Red Sox Manager Terry Francona announced today that he will not manage in 2012 something that most baseball experts agree is a good choice.   I agree considering how exhausted Francona appeared after the end of the season and his firing.  The Orioles have a new General Manager, Dan Duquette who replaced Andy McPhail and Red So GM Theo Epstein went to the Cubs in the hopes of reversing the curse.  There are reports tonight that the Cubs will sign Dale Sveum as their new Manager.

It looks as if the sale of the Houston Astros will go through and with it the team’s move to the American League. This will balance the leagues at 15 teams each and allow for year round inter-league play and is part of the new CBA which reportedly could be signed as early as Friday.  The CBA is actually remarkable considering the great consternation caused by the NFL lockout and the probable loss of an entire NBA season due to failures to resolve collective bargaining agreements.  The baseball negotiation process has been fireworks free and negotiators from the owners and player’s union seem to remember the damage caused by the 1994 strike and what happened in the NFL and NBA seems to have learned the lessons of history.

Some of the big free agents look like they could be on the move and one, Red Sox Closer Jonathan Papelbon signed a contract with the Phillies while the Miami Marlins are making serious bids for St Louis First Baseman Albert Pujols and Met’s Shortstop Jose Reyes.  Brewers First Baseman Cecil Fielder is on the market and the Yankees appear to be looking for pitching support to complement their ace C C Sabathia who the re-signed. Plenty of other big name free agents remain to be signed and it will be interesting to see where they all land.

Even though there are no games being played in the Major Leagues baseball is making news and in the process showing how important the off season is to the regular season.  This is going to be an exciting off season for baseball and bodes well for the upcoming regular season.  What a great game.

Peace

Padre Steve+

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Loose thoughts and musings

The Change in Baltimore Begins….Now

Armando Gabino was one of 4 Orioles called up the last day of the season

This is my first post season Orioles and Tides report, it is short but as you can see the Orioles are wasting no time in getting ready for the 2011 campaign following one of the most remarkable turnarounds in baseball history.  The final day of the season the O’s called up pitcher’s Armando Gabino, Kam Mickolio and Frank Mata as well as first baseman Rhyne Hughes not to report. All are on the O’s 40 man roster.

Michael Aubrey who led the Tides in Home Runs and Slugging percentage declared Free Agency

Gabino was the treasure of the Tides this year where he went 7-0 in spot starts and pitched well throughout the season as a starter and reliever with a 2.37 ERA. But in Baltimore he was rung up hard in 5 appearances.  Mickolio started the season in Baltimore but only made 3 appearances.  In 23 Major League appearances over the last 3 years he is 0-3 with a 4.32 ERA.  He was injury prone and went down to Norfolk. He seemed to struggle with his confidence much of the season. However the 6’ 9” right-hander was throwing hard in the 95-98 MPH range and having more good outings than bad toward the end of the season.  He finished with a 4-3 record and 6.37 ERA after a horrible start.  One place where he excelled was strikeouts where in 35.1 innings he had 48 K’s.

Big right-hander Kam Mickolio got the end of the season call up

Mata was up and down during the year but he generally has good stuff although he was not very effective in 15 games having a 7.79 ERA in the Majors. At Norfolk Mata finished with a 5-3 record and 3.16 ERA. Finally Rhyne Hughes who was acquired from the Rays organization at the end of 2009 was called up. He went to the Orioles where he appeared in 14 games and hit .213. He struggled at the plate in Norfolk much of the year and was platooned at first base and designated hitter with Brandon Snyder and Michael Aubrey. At Norfolk Hughes played in 104 games and hit .258 getting better as the season progressed. He had 10 home runs and 39 RBIs and had a .314 On Base Percentage and a .410 Slugging Percentage.

Scott Moore hitting a home run here also declared Free Agency

A number of Tides were offered minor league deals but refused the assignment and are now Free Agents.  First Baseman Michael Aubrey who led the team in home runs (22) and slugging percentage (.485) and had a .310 On Base Percentage.  However he only hit .235 in 102 games as opposed to 2009 when he hit a combined .290 with Columbus and Norfolk.  I think that he has major league potential and I expect him to find a home.  Scott Moore was on the 40 man roster and played some in Baltimore this season. Moore had spent the majority of 2009 on the DL and did very well with the Tides this year. Moore’s problem is that the Orioles don’t seem to have a place for him except in the minors. In 41 games with the Orioles this year Scott hit .209 with 3 home runs and 10 RBIs.  In 61 Games at Norfolk Scott hit .280, had a .345 OBP and a .473 Slugging Percentage. He hit 11 home runs and 45 RBIs in 225 plate appearances. I also expect Scott to find a home.

Journeyman Alberto Castillo refused a minor league assignment to become a Free Agent

Two pitchers, relievers Cla Meredith and Alberto Castillo also declined minor league deals to become free agents.  Meredith has a number of years in the Majors one of which was outstanding. In 2006 with the Padres Meredith went 5-1 with a 1.07 ERA in 45 appearances.  Since then his Major league record has gone down. In 2007 he went 5-6 with a 3.50 ERA in 80 appearances, in 2008 0-3 with a 4.09 ERA in 73 appearances and in 2009 pitching for the Padres and Orioles he went 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA.  In 21 appearances in Baltimore in 2010 he went 0-2 and had a 5.40 ERA.  His record as a reliever in the Majors is 14-14 with a 3.62 ERA. In 20 appearances at Norfolk he was 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA in 27 innings of work. I do think that he will also find a home as his numbers are not that bad all things considered. The question for me is if his performance in 2006 and 2007 is indicative of his potential or if those years were an aberration.

Demoted from the 40 man roster earlier in the season Cla Meredith declared Free Agency rather than take a minor league assignment in pitching deep Orioles organization

Alberto Castillo is a journeyman who has spent the majority of his career in the minors including 7 seasons in the independent leagues. He has played parts of 2008, 2009, and 2010 with the Orioles and for a time was on the 40 man roster. In 62 appearances during those seasons he went 2-0 and had a 4.81 ERA. His record in 3 seasons at Norfolk is 6-6 with a 3.20 ERA in 108 games.  In his time at Norfolk he pitched 118 innings giving up 111 hits, 38 walks, allowed 42 earned runs but struck out 123.  He is 35 years old but has had no injuries while with the Orioles organization and the fact that he is a left-handed reliever who can go with a submarine delivery when needed he might fit the need of an organization for a left-handed reliever.

Rhyne Hughes will get another chance with the Orioles in 2011

The Orioles will not stop here, expect them to shell out the money for some big hitters and if needed package some of their young talent to get it. I will write more as things develop.

Frank Mata got the call to Baltimore

Now back to the NLCS games.

Peace

Padre Steve+

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Baseball, Batlimore Orioles, norfolk tides