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Manny Ramirez found Jesus – but did Jesus help Manny find his swing?

5 Mar

There is a part of me that is happy to see Manny Ramirez back in baseball. He’s a cheat for sure, and as much as I hate that, he’s also entertaining as all get out to watch. Manny had one of the sweetest swings I’ve ever seen. Manny can flat out rake. Not enough to even consider drafting him in my fantasy league, but enough that he can provide some value for a team – particularly one like the A’s that needs anything to draw people. Let’s not kid ourselves – the deal is as much PR as wished for production. After a year away from the game though, what can we expect?

Supposedly, Manny is much calmer and quieter. he has formed a strengthened relationship with Jesus. Good for him! If that provides him peace and makes him a better person that is awesome. As Pedro Cerrano once said though, “I like Jesus very much but he no help me hit the curve ball.” I’m hoping Manny won’t need prayer to catch up to the nasty breaking stuff, but lets be honest – his production was sliding with age. He’s missed as many games as he’s played with suspensions, retirement and injuries. His power is not what it used to be. He wasn’t peppering the gaps with line drives. he was more or less a serviceable hitter.

Manny can’t play the outfield too much. He isn’t running well. His arm is said to be a bit off from where it was. He’s been calm though and maybe he’ll be a good mentor. One can only hope so. More than likely, he’ll sell some tickets. Will he be an impact player? Probably not, but he’ll be fun to watch hopefully.

Johnny Damon to KC? It’s a real possibility now

23 Feb

With teams tightening up their rosters quicker than usual, Johnny Damon has found himself in the odd position of looking for work. Of all the players that hit the market this year in the over 35 DH genre, Damon was easily the most productive offensive weapon. Still, it is not easy being one of the old men on the block who isn’t expected to get better. Since Ibanez went to NY for pocket change and ManRam hit Oakland for the equivalent of bus fare, Johnny has got to be willing to work on the cheap – and that is why KC makes semse.

The Royals are cheap bastards – let’s not beat around the bush. The Royals are also an organization neck deep in crap on and off the field. Nobody outside of KC notices though because the Royals have sucked for so long. George Brett is being sued for his magic bracelets that aren’t magic. The team has talent but it only seems like a matter of time until they scrap them for more prospects. The Royals need good PR and Johnny Damon can provide that.

Cheap as the Royals are, they can go a million bucks to sign him. Damon is chasing down history – 3,000 hits being the biggest of them. he won’t make it this year, but next year is a solid bet. They can tie Johnny up for two years, get some good press, get a productive player and seel a pile of seats and memorabilia next year when he approaches and hits #3000.

Of course it won’t happen because it makes sense on and off the field.

The DH glut – who will hit when the music stops?

22 Feb

With raul Ibanez tucked away in new york for just over $1 million and Manny Ramirez bringing whatever the hell it is he has left to Oakland, three big names are looking for a job and there aren’t many buyers left. Vlad Guerrero, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui are all seeking suitors. Is there any hope for them?

For Matsui, yes. Matsui can produce, despite an early 2011 slump, and will likely be willing to sign for a fair price. teams like Matsui because he doesn’t cause waves, he just shows up to work. That is always going to help him sell himself. I’m thinking Baltimore will give Godzilla a go at around $800k plus heavy incentives.

Johnny Damon will get a job because he can technically play the outfield still meaning the NL is not off limits. I’m not saying he can play it well, but enough to make it a reasonable thing to do. His real value though is at the plate and he is going to want a team that let’s him DH everyday. Kansas City seems right – back where it all began and he’d fit in well. Even if he sucked, he’d be sucking in KC so no one would notice it anyway.

Vlad Guerrero is the odd man out. he has nowhere to go and wants $5 million to sign. No one really wants him at $5 mil. Actually, no one really wants him. All he can do is hit and that isn’t really working out well for him right now either. I love the guy, but no one needs him and his ego is too Jermaine Dye to “sign for less” so he is screwed. I hope he does well in retirement.

In short look for this:

Hideki Matsui to Baltimore

Johnny Damon to KC

Vlad Guerrero – Somewhere near Santo Domingo

Yankees complete deals for Chavez and Ibanez

22 Feb

The Yankees have reportedly completed the deals to bring Raul Ibanez to new York and Eric Chavev back to pinstripes. Each deal is reportedly in the $1 million range with heavy incentives – Ibanez about $1.1m and Chavez around $900k. It is expected that these will be the last two significant signings or deals before the beginning of the Yankees 2012 season.

Chavez is expected to fill the same role he had in 2011 which is to play some third base to spell ARod and possibly put in some innings at first as an extra defensive option. Ibanez is expected to get the bulk of the time at DH against righties unless one of the other starters is getting a half say off from the field. Andruw Jones is expected to still be primary DH against left handed pitchers.

These signings all but close the door on a long rumored deal for Chase Headley whom the Padres were said to be asking too much for. Similarly, Vlad Guerrero who openly lobbied for the Yankee DH job for around $5m/yr is now going to have to take the begging bowl somewhere else. With Oakland having signed Manny Ramirez to a $500k deal, there is plenty of competition for DH jobs.

Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui are both still on the market, but the Ibanez signing leaves no room for either on the roster.Damon was the most productive of the three and will likely land a job somewhere first. Matsui and Guerrero may however be out of luck – particularly Guerrero as it has been said by one GM that based on this winter’s dealings, Vlad is about a $750k signing at best – a far cry from his demands.

AJ Burnett dealt to Pittsburgh – for free almost

20 Feb

A deal sending AJ Burnett from the Yankees to Pirates is now a done deal – aside from King Selig approving the deal because it involves a gaudy amount of money. It was no secret NY wanted to move Burnett ASAP, but no one knew how badly Yankee ownership wanted it to happen. Burnett isn’t free to Pittsburgh by any means, but geez…. how much closer can you realistically get to it?

Burnett was dealt for two prospects – and prospects is perhaps a generous term. Diego Moreno is a 25 year old righty pitcher and Exicardo Cayones 20 year old outfielder. Cayones has less than 150 ABs in his minor league career with no pop in his bat and no promise of it showing up. He has some tools, but at best he’s projected as a utility type swing guy on a team like – the Pirates! In a few years at that and at best. Most scouts think he is a career minor league type guy.

Moreno is a relief pitcher that got to AA but had an ERA just under 5.00. He isn’t seen as much of a prospect either. No one has him on the radar anywhere. With the Pirates who are nursing 19 straight losing seasons – he had a shot to play at some point. Everyone in the organization does. With a decent team he is a long shot. With the Yankees? They might be able to trade him somewhere. 25 years old and just cracking AA, ineffectively at that, with one good pitch and no decent secondary is not a bright prospect.

Of the $33 million on Burnett’s deal, NY is going to eat about $20 million of it – which is why Selig needs to approve the trade. Pittsburgh gets Burnett for $13 million over two years and they gave up no prospects of any value whatsoever. On top of that, if Burnett performs halfway decent, particularly up to the trade deadline, you can bet Pittsburgh will spin him off for prospects – it’s the Pirate way these days.

It was believed Cashman would be allowed to absorb maybe $13 million of the deal, but that he was able to go as high as $20 and get nothing that is going to factor into the Yankee’s future plans in return just shows how badly they wanted him out of NY. Pittsburgh didn’t get a freebie, but when they spin Burnett off you can bet they likely will not have parted with more than a couple million. Not a bad deal for a former ACE that should still be able to throw pitches with as much control as he does cream pies.

Yankees ink Russell Branyan – World wonders why

10 Feb

The Yankees signed Russell “The Muscle” Branyan to a minor league deal which guarantees pretty much nothing but a chance to hit live pitching for a week or two. At least that’s all it should entail since Branyan hasn’t been much to talk about since Obama took office. Actually, since before Obama even began running for the Oval office. Why would the Yankees make a move like this?

The book on Branyan is that he has a lot of Pedro Cerrano in him – and if you don’t know Cerrano, Google him! The straight pitch, he hits very much, but the curveball – bats are afraid. That in large part accounts for the sub.200 average. He can still yank a breaking ball left up, but his bat speed is nowhere near where it once was. Even with the short porch, he’s no guarantee of serious power. You have to make contact to do anything, and that is not his forte.

He doesn’t run well, his arm is strong enough, but nothing that strikes fear into the hearts of anyone faster than a wounded armadillo. He hasn’t played the outfield in about 4 years. He can play first enough, but so can several other Yankees, and much better. He can play some third, and let’s give him credit for not having spiked himself fielding a ball. And they signed him because…?

Let’s face it – the Yankees need someone to DH about 110 games – possibly that could shrink to 90-95, but let’s be real – Jeter is not going to DH 20 times this year, nor will Tex or Cano. A-Rod on the other hand may live there once a week. Branyan has power – he crushes the ball in Yankee Stadium – once every couple seasons. Actually it has more to do with he’s cheap, he’s available and he’ll sign a minor league deal. Until something for Headley works out or maybe Matsui or Damon re-joins the team, Branyan may actually DH some if he can hit his weight and show some serious pop. That in and of itself speaks volumes – and they ain’t goo volumes either.

Joba Chamberlain rehabbing nicely

5 Feb

Yankee pitcher, Joba Chamberlain, has begun rehabbing his surgically repaired arm just a little bit ahead of the expected schedule the team thought he would be on. Chamberlain began throwing off a half mound and reported no unusual discomfort or problems. At this point it appears as though he will be ready earlier than expected which is good news with a twist.

The twist is that the Yankees were realistically expecting an All-Star game time frame for his return rather than a potential return in early May. With the Yankees sitting on a glut of pitchers, the expectation was that they would have a little extra time to move a piece or two before Joba returned to the roster. While no official comment has been issued, the rumor is GM Brian Cashman has been actively shopping starter AJ Burnett to clear space for Phil Hughes in the rotation and Joba in the pen. Supposedly, there have been very early preliminary talks with San Diego about some type of deal involving Chase Headley, but there is no confirmation as to whether or not Burnett is of interest to the Padres brass.