Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The New York Giants win second game in a row

The New York Giants won their second game in a row on Sunday afternoon.  They defeated the Washington Redskins 24-13 at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  The Giants started the year losing two in a row and then won three in a row before losing seven in a row.  They are now on a modest two game winning streak with two games left to play.  Eli Manning had a good game and Odell Beckham Jr. continues to be a beast as he caught three touchdown passes.  The defense was better then it has been as well. 

Eli Manning was 23-34 for three touchdowns and no interceptions.  He had 250 yards passing and a rating of 118.5 which was his second highest of the season.  Beckham caught 12 passes for 143 yards and had all three of the Giants touchdowns.  The 12 receptions were the most ever by a Giants rookie.  The other seven Giants to catch passes totaled 11. 

The running game had trouble once again which they have most of the season.  The Giants offensive line needs to improve if they are going to improve next season.  Williams had 18 carries for 44 yards and Jennings had one carry and left with an ankle injury. 

The defense was much better.  Jason Pierre-Paul and Jonathan Hankins each had 2.5 sacks to lead the defense.  Cullen Jenkins had a sack and Damontre Moore and Devon Kennard had a 1/2 sack each.  The Giants have 41 sacks this season which surpasses last year when they only had 34.  They have two games remaining so they are well ahead of last season. 

Pierre-Paul leads the team with 9.5 sacks this season and Hankins is second with seven sacks.  The Giants have won two in a row and have two games remaining.  They will play in St. Louis on Sunday late afternoon and then return home for their final game on December 28th against the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

MLB Winter Meetings Recap

It was a wild and very busy four days at the annual baseball winter meetings in San Diego, California.  The local New York teams stayed quiet but the rest of the league didn't.  It used to be just the big spending big market teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs etc would make noise but not anymore.  The Oakland Athletics have been very buys, the Chicago White Sox and Miami Marlins were very busy this week, the Red Sox and Cubs were active also. 

The Chicago White Sox signed David Robertson to be their closer.  He got a four year deal for around 46million.   They also traded for starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija from the Oakland Athletics.  The actual trade was RHP Chris Bassitt, C Josh Phegley, 1B Rangel Ravelo and IF Marcus Semien for Samardzija and RHP Michael Ynoa. 

The Cleveland Indians acquired OF/1B Brandon Moss from the Oakland Athletics for minor league second baseman Joe Wendle.  The Athletics were very busy but it appears they are in rebuild mode although Billy Beane doesn't see it that way. 

The Chicago Cubs signed Jason Hammel to a two year deal and then they signed Jon Lester to a six year deal.  The Arizona Diamondbacks finalized their six year deal with cuban Yasmany Thomas.  The Pittsburgh Pirates claimed RHP Josh Lindblom off of waivers from the Oakland Athletics.  The Toronto Blue Jays claimed 1B/OF Chris Colabello off of waivers from the Minnesota Twins.  The Chicago White Sox claimed C Rob Brantly off of waivers from the Miami Marlins.  The Texas Rangers claimed LHP Scott Barnes off of waivers from the Baltimore Orioles. 

The Pittsburgh Pirates resigned pitcher Francisco Liriano to a three year deal.  He had a very good year last year and has stabilized their rotation.  The Chicago Cubs acquired catcher Miguel Montero from the Arizona Diamondbacks for RHP Jeferson Mejia and RHP Zack Godley.  The Anaheim Angels acquired C Drew Butera from the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash considerations or a player to be named later. 

The Miami Marlins acquired second baseman Dee Gordon, RHP Dan Haren and IF Miguel Rojas from the Los Angeles Dodgers for LHP Andrew Heaney, IF/OF Enrique Hernandez, RHP Chris Hatcher and C/IF Austin Barnes.  The Dodgers then acquired second baseman Howie Kendrick from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for LHP Andrew Heaney.  The Angels acquired infielder Josh Rutledge from the Colorado Rockies for RHP Jairo Diaz. 

The Houston Astros signed reliever Luke Gregerson to a three year deal and reliever Pat Neshek to a two year deal.  The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired left handed pitcher/reliever Antonio Bastardo from the Philadelphia Phillies for minor league pitcher Joely Rodriguez. 

The meetings finished with a flurry on the last day.  The San Diego Padres acquired outfielder Matt Kemp and C Tim Federowicz from the San Diego Padres in exchange for catcher Yasmani Grandal, pitcher Joe Wieland and minor league pitcher Zach Eflin. 

The Detroit Tigers acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Rick Porcello.  They also received RHP Alex Wilson and LHP Gabe Speier.  The Miami Marlins acquired Mat Latos from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for RHP Anthony DeSclafani and C Chad Wallach. 

The Minnesota Twins signed pitcher Ervin Santana to a four year deal.  The Kansas City Royals signed 1B/DH Kendrys Morales to a two year deal.  The Detroit Tigers acquired Alfredo Simon a pitcher from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for RHP Jonathan Crawford and infielder Eugenio Suarez.  The Boston Red Sox signed pitcher Justin Masterson to a one year deal. 

The Texas Rangers acquired pitcher Ross Detwiler from the Washington Nationals in exchange for two minor leaguers.  The Miami Marlins acquired RHP Andre Rienzo from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for LHP Dan Jennings.  The New York Mets signed outfielder/1B John Mayberry Jr. to a one year deal. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

MLB Winter Meetings 2014

The MLB winter meetings began officially on Monday although a lot of people got into town Sunday night.  They are being held in San Diego, California this year.  The big news so far is that David Robertson signed with the Chicago White Sox and the White Sox also traded for pitcher Jeff Samardzija.  There have been lots of Jon Lester rumors but nothing as of yet.  First it was reported it was down to the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants but not they are saying there may still be four teams involved.  A decision is expected soon but we will see. 

The Diamondbacks traded catcher Miguel Montero to the Chicago Cubs for a couple of minor leaguers.  The two players are pitchers Jeferson Mejia and Zack Godley. 

The Pittsburgh Pirates resigned left handed starting pitcher Francisco Liriano for three years and 39 millions which is the largest free agent contract in team history.  The Jeff Samardzija trade was also minor league pitcher Michael Ynoa going to the White Sox in the deal and the Athletics getting back infielder Marcus Semien, right hander Chris Bassitt, catcher Josh Phegley and first baseman Rangel Ravelo. 

We learned that the Yankees never even offered Robertson a contract.  Once they signed Miller they were out on Robertson never considering having two high priced relievers.  They feel that with Miller and Betances in the back end they are fine and that they also have Justin Wilson, Shawn Kelley and Adam Warren if he isn't in the rotation.  The Yankees also have lefty first round pick from last year Jacob Lindgren just about ready to contribute.  They may still sign a traditional closer for a year or two who costs less then Robertson but if not may just mix and match with Betances and Miller at the end of games. 


Saturday, December 6, 2014

The New York Yankees become very active on a Friday

The New York Yankees had completed a minor trade and made a couple of small signing so far this off-season.  Well with all the fanbase and media kind of waiting and yelling for the Yankees to do something they woke up on a Friday.  The Yankees made a three team trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Detroit Tigers to land their shortstop and they also signed the top reliever on the market in Andrew Miller.  David Robertson who is their own closer and the top one on the board no doubt but Miller had a better year last year as a setup man.  The Yankees aren't out on Robertson yet though even though it would seem that way. 

I will start with the three way trade first.  The Yankees acquired Didi Gregorius who is 24 years old and under team control until 2020 and making around 500,000.  They gave up Shane Greene who went to the Detroit Tigers and the Tigers traded a pitcher to the Diamondbacks.  Gregorius is known for his glove which is plus but not so much for his hitting.  He does have some pop and should be able to hit 10+ homeruns with the short porch in Yankee Stadium.  He has a very high hard hit ball rate which would indicate his average last year was some bad luck.  He also may have needed a change of scenery  with the Diamondbacks not playing him every day as they had some other good shortstop prospects.  He may sit against some tough lefties early on but could end up as the full time shortstop very quickly.  Brendan Ryan is the backup and he could see some time against lefties but we will see. 

Andrew Miller has been dominant in the bullpen over the last three years.  He was a big prospect who signed with the Detroit Tigers but was a failed starter.  He is basically the left handed version of Dellin Betances and that is pretty scary stuff.  The Yankees are still talking to their closer David Robertson but if they do lose him they would have Miller and Betances for the last 6-9 outs and they still have Shawn Kelley, Justin Wilson and Adam Warren if he isn't in the rotation.  Jacob Lindgren is a lefty prospect who they also love who could be pitching in the majors this year also.  If the Yankees do sign Robertson though also they will have a super pen with he, Miller and Betances to lock down the final three or four innings.  It appears the Yankees strategy this winter is run prevention and they see that by getting better defensively at short and also by pitching especially in the bullpen.  The Yankees figure that if they are going to get better offensively it will be by the players they signed last year in Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran and also from Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and a full year of Martin Prado.  They also are very high on prospects Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyer who could be competing for the starting second base job. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

MLB hot stove news and notes

The Baltimore Orioles lost Nelson Cruz to the Seattle Mariners just the other day.  They have now lost long time right fielder Nick Markakis.  He signed with the Atlanta Braves for four years and around 45 million dollars.  Nelson Cruz signed with the Mariners for four years and 58 million.  The trade front has been pretty active and will be more active next week during the Winter meetings in San Diego, California.   The Toronto Blue Jays who have been very busy this off-season continue to be.  They traded pitcher J.A. Happ to the Seattle Mariners for Michael Saunders.  Saunders is a 28 year old outfielder who played in only 78 games last season.  He batted 273 with a 791 OPS and eight homeruns.  He has battled injuries over the past three seasons.  Happ is 32 years old and went 11-11 last season with a 4.22 ERA in 28 starts. 

The Jon Lester sweepstakes have really heated up and appear close to coming to an end.  The Los Angeles Dodgers have become a very late entrant and may be pushing hard for him.  The Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are believed to be the two other front runners although there are other teams in the mix as well.  There were reports that this should get done this week but now today they are saying not until the winter meetings next week most likely.  There hasn't been much talk about the other top pitcher Max Scherzer, there were some rumors about the Yankees the other day but nothing has come out of that. 

The other big pitcher that has been getting the spotlight the last couple of days is lefty reliever Andrew Miller.  It looks like it is down to just a couple of teams with the New York Yankees and Houston Astros appearing to be the favorites.  There have been conflicting reports about the Astros and Red Sox being out of it though.  I am guessing the Yankees do end up signing him.  He may get four years and around 40 million though and most believe the Yankees don't want to go to four years but maybe three and an option year.  I also wonder if this would put them out with David Robertson or if they are trying to sign both and have a super bullpen.  Can you imagine if they have Robertson, Miller, Betances and then have the next  tier like Justin Wilson, Shawn Kelley and Adam Warren.  That would be a pretty sick bullpen and shorten games to six innings and take stress off of their injury plagued starters. 

How about the Atlanta Braves and Justin Upton??  He appears likely to be traded and maybe the Seattle Mariners are a team that would match up.  They are looking for another bat to put with Robinson Cano and Cruz.  There were reports today that the Detroit Tigers are shopping David Price and Rick Porcello so stay tuned for that next week also.  The Yankees may be talking to teams about trading for a shortstop so also look for that.  Chase Headley reportedly has a four year and 65 million dollar deal in hand from a mystery team.  If that is true he will be gone from the Yankees and they will have Martin Prado as their third baseman and two rookies battling for second in Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela. 

I would expect a flurry of trades next week during the winter meetings.  I also forgot about a big trade that happened during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  Josh Donaldson was traded to the Blue Jays for Brett Lawrie and three prospects.  The Jays have some lineup now with Russell Martin, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Donaldson and now Michael Saunders also.  There was a report that Donaldson and GM Billy Beane were at war by the end of the year and that may be a big reason he traded him. 

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