Et tu, Papi?

30 07 2009


BREAKING: NY Times reports that Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz tested positive for PEDs in 2003.

Add another to the list of fallen heroes. There’s been plenty of suspicions about that 2004 Red Sox team, and this isn’t going to do anything to quiet those voices.
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Makin’ Moves: Cliff Lee to the Phillies

30 07 2009

After weeks of speculation among national writers and fans alike that, despite all the posturing from both sides, J.P. Ricciardi and Ruben Amaro would wind up hugging it out and Roy Halladay would be heading for Philadelphia by Friday, Wednesday was a quick slap upside the head. The Phillies moved quickly to acquire reigning Cy Young winner Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco from the Indians for package of four minor leaguers, none of which were among the trio of players demanded by Ricciardi in the Halladay negotiations.

I don’t think this can be viewed as anything but a win for the Phillies, and especially for Amaro. Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Hits: Tuesday, July 28

28 07 2009

– I’m glad to see Bud Selig is continuing to resist reinstating Pete Rose for admission to the Hall of Fame, despite reports that Selig was reconsidering. I’m sorry, Rose was a great player, but exactly what part of what got Rose banned from baseball for life has become less illegal over the last twenty years? Hank Aaron and Joe Morgan have spoken out on Rose’s behalf, and while I know Selig holds Aaron in the highest regard, there’s a reason guys like Aaron and Morgan don’t vote on HOF admission. If writers can be slammed for a lack of objectivity when it comes to things like this, then other players sure as hell could too. Steroids were illegal too (albeit not tested for), and I think it’s telling that far more guys were willing to break the law of the land than the cardinal rule of the game. Inducting Rose into the Hall isn’t going to change how he’s remembered, and the rules are bigger than any one man, no matter how many hits he’s tallied.

– Josh Willingham of the Nationals hit two grand slams in Washington’s 14-6 win over Milwaukee. He’s the first to knock two slams since Bill Mueller did it almost six years ago to the day for the Red Sox, and the first in the National League since Fernando Tatis hit two in the same inning of Chan Ho Park in 1999. The fact that Park was still in the game when Tatis came up the second time remains the record for “Stupidest God-damned Thing I’ve Ever Heard.”

– In trade deadline news, Ryan Garko goes from Cleveland to San Francisco, while Brian Anderson changes footwear, going from the White Sox to the Red Sox for Mark Kotsay and a sack of money with a dollar sign on it. The Pirates, meanwhile, remain determined to trade any player in their clubhouse you may have heard of before.

– Two deadline related sentences without mentioning Roy Halladay? Suck on that! What’s that? Boston’s jumped in and made an offer centered around Clay Buchholz? Where, oh where, have I heard that before? ANALYSIS, BITCHES!!!

This Week in Crazy: J.P. Ricciardi is a Crazy Person

27 07 2009


A quick commentary on the weekend that was in wild speculation and rumor-mongering:

J.P. Ricciardi may be delusional. The Blue Jays general manager continues to say that he would be perfectly comfortable not trading Roy Halladay before his self-imposed Tuesday deadline or the actual trading deadline on Friday. While any GM worth his salt would keep up this front in order to keep the Halladay’s value in the market high, I’m starting to think he means it. It’s unusual that a talent as rare as Halladay, a perennial Cy Young contender who could write complete games into his day planner, ever reaches the trade market to begin with. What’s even more unusual is that it has been the contenders and not the Jays who have been rejecting every rumored deal to come to light thus far.

News flash to J.P. Ricciardi: Read the rest of this entry »

The One and Only Rickey Henderson

25 07 2009

“This is Rickey calling on behalf of Rickey. Rickey wants to play baseball.”

If he wasn’t one of the best players to ever step onto the field, Rickey Henderson would still be remembered as one of the most entertaining characters in baseball history for lines like the one above, which he allegedly left as a message for Padres GM Kevin Towers while looking for a team in the twilight of his career. And while there’s no shortage of great Rickey stories floating around the internet, on Sunday Henderson will be inducted into the Hall of Fame for what he did between the lines on the field. And unlike so many other players who fade into the history of the game, what Rickey did between those lines was so uniquely amazing that they’ve become even more impressive with time.

After the jump, I’ll look at some of Henderson’s achievements in the context of today’s game. Hot damn, this guy was good.
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Where to, Doc? (Update!)

24 07 2009

Matt Holliday was the first big name to move before the deadline this year, but with him now in a Cardinals uniform, there’s some big names still on the block. But of the players still to change clubs, only one will vault his new team to the front of the pack among contenders for this year’s crown.

Roy Halladay is the cream of the likely-to-move crop, and while a number of teams have shown interest, Philadelphia has been and still is the most likely landing spot. The Cardinals have been thrown around, but after the Holliday deal it’s unlikely they’ve got the chips to satisfy Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi, who’s asking for the moon, sun, and constellations to be named later. The Brewers might have the prospects to get the deal done, but after trading top prospect Matt LaPorta in the Sabathia deal last year, I have a hard time believing they’d be willing to strip their farm system again. And while they’d be getting another season of Halladay, Milwaukee couldn’t come up with the cash to keep Sabathia, so if you can figure out how they’d be able to keep Doc in the fold, be sure to contact Doug Melvin ASAP.

The Dodgers have expressed interest as well, but Toronto will be asking for a package starting with some combination of Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, and Matt Kemp. LA is in the enviable position of having so much of its young talent producing at the big league level, but trading away such important parts of their big league roster just leaves another hole to fill. With a sizable division lead, and a relatively healthy squad, the guess here is that LA takes their chances with a lesser acquisition, a second-tier starter or another arm in the bullpen.

Ricciardi has expressed some reluctance to trade Halladay at all. That goes double for the teams in the AL East. Let’s face it: the Yankees and Sox aren’t trading for a year and a half of Halladay. They’re driving the Brinks truck right through his living room wall and making the Jays’ lives a living hell for the rest of Doc’s career. It’s going to take a mother lode for one of those teams to make it happen.

That said, look out for Boston.

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24 07 2009

Let’s be honest, for diehard baseball fans, a slow trade deadline is a huge letdown. Every year, the rumor mill begins churning weeks in advance, so much so that the buildup often exceeds the payoff. Last year was a notable exception; while CC Sabathia moved to the Brewers early in July, the circus that was the Manny Ramirez deal gave us a lot to talk about on that final afternoon. Even more painful are the homer gymnastics we as fans do to convince ourselves an unexciting pickups like Jeff Suppan or Kip Wells is the missing piece that’s going to put our team over the top this year. The Red Sox got the jump on the snoozer deals yesterday, bringing in Chris Duncan and the whiny LaRoche brother.

Well, with a week to go before the deadline, the first big name is on the move, as the Cardinals have acquired Matt Holliday from the A’s for a package headlined by slugging corner infield prospect Brett Wallace. Wallace is a top-flight prospect, but he projects as a first baseman. Yeah, sorry Brett, the Cards are all set with that.

As a Phillies fan, I’m not exactly thrilled with my team starting a weekend series with St. Louis right now, as Holliday should fit in quite nicely behind Albert Pujols, making it really, really tough to pitch around Pujols for three straight days. Holliday appears to have gotten hot at just the right time. As recently as a few weeks ago Oakland was said to have been unimpressed with the interest in Holliday due to his struggles to produce in the A’s lineup. Back in the NL, and back in a better lineup, a suddenly hot Holliday puts a hell of a lot of pressure on the Brewers, Cubs, and fast-charging Astros to improve and keep pace. Pirates, you can just relax. Just enjoy Lastings Milledge, seriously.

While I’m thinking this takes St. Louis out of the Roy Halladay sweepstakes, it makes this team awfully dangerous going forward.  Even without Holliday, Pujols was doing just fine with everyone trying to avoid him, and Ryan Ludwick is hitting just under .400 for the month of July with an OPS over 1.100. Yikes. Boy, Ruben Amaro, it sure would be nice to have a power righty ace to handle these three power righty bats come playoff time, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it, Rube? MAKE THE GODDAMN DEAL, RUBE!