Josh Beckett was hit with a six-game suspension after throwing at the head of Bobby Abreu. He appealed it right away. He’ll miss a start and is expected to make his next start at home in Boston against Baltimore.
Is it even reasonable to even issue this suspension to Beckett?
I don’t think it is. There’s a reason he wasn’t ejected from the game. The umpires didn’t feel it was necessary, and it wasn’t. Beckett says he wasn’t intentionally throwing at Bobby’s head. But even if he was, that’s the way it used to be. If a player waited a while to throw the pitch and then after an extreme amount of time the batter finally calls a timeout, the batter should expect one in his ear.
Throughout baseball history, there have been many players that return the “favor” to the teams and players that deserve it. Roger Clemens is one of the most recent to throw up and in. When he nailed Mike Piazza once he said after the game, “I pitch the way I pitch.” Clemens has plunked 159 batters in his career. Ironically enough, Beckett’s idol growing up was Roger Clemens.
The most notable pitcher to drill batters is Bob Gibson. The hall of famer was fiery pitcher who loved to knock down batters. Hitting 102 batters in his career, it’s said that they lowered the height of the mound for Gibson.
A current pitcher that has been known to to brushback hitters in his presumable hall of fame career is southpaw Randy Johnson. The Big Unit leads all active players with hit by pitches with 188 and is in third place all-time, trailing HOFers Eddie Plank (196) and Walter Johnson (203).
It’s part of the game, and some of the best pitchers of all-time are on the leaderboard for career hit batsmen. So even if it was intentional, it’s justifiable by the unwritten rules of the game. For now though, I’ll believe Beckett, he’s my favorite major leaguer.
HAPPY JACKIE ROBINSON DAY
Writing a paper last night about the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and whether it was ethically right, I came further to realize what Jackie did for not only the game, but the country. In the experiment, scientists used uneducated, illiterate blacks in the south to let their syphilis go untreated so the scientists could see the later stages of the disease. The experiment lasted forty years from 1932 to 1972. And it’s ironic that during that span of time, the country saw the likes of Jackie, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr. come across the civil rights scene.
Jackie joining Major League Baseball formed this country to become the way it should be. It was the first of the historical events and the most respected by myself.
All of Major League Baseball is expected to wear Jackie’s 42 on their jerseys today, which is nothing new for Yanks closer Mariano Rivera, who is the last player who wears the number.
Season Preview: Los Angeles Angels
Projected MLB Rank: 5th — AL Rank: 2nd — AL West Rank: 1st — Record: (93-69)
American League West Champions
So where’s the competition out west for the Angels? The A’s could be considered a challenge, but I think they’re too young this year. The Rangers will never win become a playoff threat until they get some pitching. Then the Mariners, well, I have them ranked last in the league.
So that provides the Angels with a bunch of wins even if their number one and two pitchers are out until about May. Those pitchers, John Lackey and Ervin Santana are two of the best pitchers in the AL. While they’re on the DL, there are five others who will need to fill the void for the time being. Jered Weaver should improve on his 4.33 ERA and 11-10 this season, but nothing drastic. Joe Saunders did a great job for the Halos last season winning 17 games. The lefty also posted a 3.41 ERA in 31 starts. Dustin Moseley will probably be the fifth starter once Lackey and Santana return. Moseley does get roughed up once in a while so there are other options. Nick Adenhart is one of those options, he’s still 22 years old and has some good stuff to do well in the majors but he hasn’t had too much success recently. Shane Loux is another option and will probably start the season in the rotation but once everyone is healthy and back–Loux will be back, in the minor leagues.
Don’t be suprised if Brian Fuentes posts over 50 saves this season. The way the Angels play baseball provides the closers with many chances for saves. Fuentes saved 30 games for Colorado last season along with a 2.73 ERA and almost 12 strikeouts per nine innings. Scot Shields has great stuff and should continue to be effective coming out of the bullpen as he posted a 2.70 ERA last season. Jose Arredondo may be the seventh inning guy. In 52 games last year, the 25 year old compiled a 1.62 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP. Then there’s Darren Oliver who posted a 2.88 ERA last season. Very reliable bullpen.
This lineup is great. Bringing in Bobby Abreu to replace Garrett Anderson was a nice move. The Angels are so outfield heavy now (as Gary Matthews Jr. now has no place to start). Then there’s Torii Hunter, Vlad Guerrero, Chone Figgins and Juan Rivera. The household names.
The players that fly under the radar out in LA will not go unnoticed this season. Secondbaseman Howie Kendrick is a hitter. If he can stay healthy, expect an average over .300 with stolen bases and great defense. Kendry Morales finally gets the firstbase job all to himself. So he will develop this year getting the chances everyday. Mike Napoli presumes to be the starting catcher. He hit 20 homeruns in 78 games last season. If he played a full season, he could even hit 35 homers and put up 75 or so RBIs. He compiled a .586 slugging percentage with an on base percentage 100 points higher than his batting average. Erick Aybar has had a nice spring training and will be at short for his defense this year, but if he starts to get hot at the plate–he will definately be the starter.
All in all, the Angels have the offense and are in the division that can afford to lose their top two starting pitchers for about a month. There’s really not much to the story here. Division champs.
Bobby Abreu has signed a one-year deal with the Angels, reportedly at five-million dollars plus incentives. Abreu will be 35 years old on opening day and may have lost some pop and production but his career numbers don’t lie.
Abreu will fit nicely into a lineup that boasts of veteran right-handed power and the Angels desperately needed to replace at least a chunk of the production they lost when Mark Texeira signed with the Yankees.
The signing of Abreu moves Juan Rivera to the DH spot and Abreu, with his speed, will assume left field. Abreu at age 34 stole 22 bases last year for the Yanks. Abreu can be placed anywhere between the three-hole and the five-hole in the Halos lineup. Free agent Garrett Anderson had plenty of success hitting behind slugger Vlad Guerrero so expect expect Abreu’s usual 100 RBIs and maybe high teens/early twenties in homeruns.
The only question I have to the Angels is why another outfielder? You are outfield heavy. Heavy. They’re already paying Vlad $15.5 million this year, Torii Hunter $16.5 million, Gary Matthews Jr. $9.4 million, and they also have Juan Rivera and Reggie Willits. I understand the desperate need for a lefty and a producer–but now they have five outfielders who could legitimately be starters (with the exception of Willits).
If they all stay healthy and start the season looking good, I could see the Angels dealing one of them.
Another productive lefty signed recently as well. Big six foot six inch Adam Dunn takes his powerful bat to the nation’s capital as he signed a two-year twenty-million dollar deal with the Nationals
It was a good move for the Nationals and it makes the already competitive NL East, even more competitive. I still do not see the Nationals contending but maybe they’ll produce 70 wins (still a stretch, I know). They can’t do much worse than the dismal 59 wins they squeezed out in 2008 and Dunn will be a big contributer.
Dunn, 29, has hit atleast 40 homeruns in each season since 2004. He has 278 career homers and 672 RBIs over his 8-year career (mostly with Cincinnati). The Nationals after reportedly preparing huge offers to Mark Texeira and Manny Ramirez, clearly had money and they needed to bring in some kind of production to avoid another 2008. Dunn is their solution. They are also given the option of possibly dealing first-baseman Nick Johnson for some pitching help because I assume Dunn will play first because of Josh Willingham, Lastings Milledge, and Elijah Dukes in the outfield.
The Nats still do not have the pitching to compete and still may be missing some offensive pieces, but they are taking steps in the right direction.
I haven’t written in a while, a long while. So for the few (or none) that read this, I apologize.
So Manny Ramirez turned down a one-year $25 million contract offer from the Dodgers today. He needs to realize that if he hasn’t been offered a multi-year deal at this point, he is not going to get it at the price he wants. There’s no doubt in my mind that Manny will be signed by the time Spring Training games start. He is only one of the best right-handed hitters of all time. At 36 years young, he came off a season in which he hit .332 overall with 37 homeruns. He was the most deadly hitter in the game after the deal that sent him from Boston to Hollywood.
So who wouldn’t want him in their lineup? No one. Who wouldn’t want the annoying antics that come with such a producer over several years? Everyone. But the teams that need the production have to take the good with the bad. So Manny and his career .314 average and 527 homeruns will have to either lower the price for a multi-year deal or take the $25 million for a year from LA.
Three teams where he would “fit”:
Los Angeles Dodgers
Why would they not want him back? Without him, they very well could not have made the playoffs last year. As far as I know he was appreciated in the locker room. If they fail to sign Manny, they will need to go after an Adam Dunn or Bobby Abreu because their pitching won’t be as good as it was last year.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants need some kind of offensive threat. They have some of the best pitching in the league so landing Manny would make them a contender in the NL West and would also add to the still talented veterans that they have in Bengie Molina, Randy Winn, Edgar Renteria, and Aaron Rowand.
Los Angeles Angels
Manny moving across town really makes no sense for the Angels who are outfield heavy but would like to replace the production they lost when Texeira signed with the Bombers.
So lets all watch the Manny & Boris Blues continue.
As teams were mapping out their strategies for the winter free agency wise, four others were completing deals that were necessary for most of the teams.
I really like what the Cubs did here. They solidified the back of their bullpen in acquiring Kevin Gregg. They can now afford to let Kerry Wood explore other teams and this makes losing Bob Howry less unattractive. They no longer have to worry about Kerry Wood’s injuries. I’m excited to see how the 7th, 8th, and 9th are going to set up for the Cubbies. I imagine that Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg will duke it out for the closer role and whoever doesnt become the closer will be the co-set-up man with Jeff Samardzija. Great move by the Cubs organization and GM Jim Hendry.
As for Florida, this was just another case of avoiding paying arbitration to player that they can do without. Gregg did a fantastic closer job for them up until his injury late in the year but now I imagine that role will be turned over to Matt Lindstrom who assumed the duties when Gregg couldn’t. He notched five saves in September without surrendering a run (post September 2nd). In return for Gregg, they recieve Double-A reliever Jose Ceda. In 30 innings of work, he notched 42 strikeouts and had a 2.08 ERA.
Regarding the Swisher deal, the White Sox dealt away a versatile player that hit .219 and had a down year. He didn’t fit the White Sox all too well and they have a plethera of outfielders and have Konerko at first. In return they recieved Wilson Betemit who will become the White
Sox utilityman. Jason Marquez should challenge for a spot in the rotation. He throws in the low 90’s and he is a similar pitcher to Jon Garland. Jhonny Nunez, also recieved from the Yanks, kept his ERA down coming out of the bullpen with two Eastern League teams last year.
Concerning Swisher going to the Yankees, they recieve a very versatile player with pop and he knows how to work the walk. It’s an interesting situation because if the Yanks acquire Mark Texeira, then Swisher will move to the outfield to either replace Abreu if they cant resign him or Melky Cabrera who they are looking to replace. If the Yanks lose out on the Texeira sweepstakes, then Swisher will play first. They also get a fine young pitcher in a different Texeira (Kanekoa). Last year he had a combined 1.33 ERA in Single-A and Double-A and held batters to a .205 average against.
Overall some good moves by some smart GM’s yesterday. Now, get ready for some free agent fun.