Sorry Jose Valverde, but your Type A status makes you this year's Juan Cruz. At this point, I don't see Valverde winding up as a closer next year, at least initially. He looks to be a good fit in Arizona or Detroit among other teams, but do they have the money?
Speaking of Arizona, I was fortunate enough to run into Chads Qualls today. My seven-year old sons were finishing up baseball camp today here in Reno and Qualls, who went to school here, was nice enough to stop by. Being Chad Qualls, I didn't recognize him initially, but after the owner of the camp said "Hi Chad", the first thing out of my mouth was "Are you Chad Qualls?" Good stuff and a great guy. Even took time to give my sons a few pointers about gripping the ball and working hard.
So Matt Kemp's agent, "THE" Dave Stewart, isn't inclined to have his client sign a long-term deal with the Dodgers. Given the state of the front office, this isn't exactly a huge surprise. I'd expect Kemp to be looking for something along the lines of Nick Markakis' 6/66 deal (he also had three years service time when he signed), and right now, that may look like a huge bargain for the Dodgers in a couple years if they can get something done. It's been a tough offseason for LA this year, but locking up Kemp and Andre Ethier could go a long way towards building goodwill for the LA fanbase.
I don't get why teams don't play more hardball with Scott Boras. If I'm the Cardinals, I offer Matt Holliday $16 million a year over six years and let Boras know that said offer decreases by $1 million per year for each day it is not accepted. It's not like the Cardinals are bidding against the Mets and Yankees here.
$12 million for a soon-to-be 35 year-old utility man coming off wrist surgery. That is the Mark DeRosa deal with the Giants. DeRosa is a nice guy to have around and all, but losing Benji Molina (in favor of Buster Posey?) and adding DeRosa isn't much of an offensive upgrade for a team that finished 13th in the NL in runs scored in 2009.
I see the Padres are looking to add Brad Ausmus and Reed Johnson. Oh well, at least they still have Mat Latos. I still expect Heath Bell to be dealt prior to Opening Day, and probably to a deal that will use him as a setup man. Luke Gregerson should be targeted for keeper leagues that allow offseason pickups.
My team for the Rotowire magazine mock auction:
C - Soto (4), Posey (2)
1B - Cabrera (48)
2B - Hill (30)
3B - Longoria (47)
SS - Furcal (1)
MI - Kendrick (3)
CI - Kouzmanoff (2)
OF - Crawford (48), Kubel (5), Delmon Young (1), Maybin (2), Heyward (1)
UT - Coughlan (1)
P - Broxton (24), Peavy (19), Aardsma (24), Harden (4), Danks (2), Kazmir (2), Price (2), Webb (2), Nunez (1)
Commentary: I didn't set out to procure three $47+ guys, but in a 12-team mixed league auction, it's hard to argue that strategy. Hopefully crawford swipes around 60, as I don't appear to have a surplus of speedsters. I like my pitching despite the overpay for Broxton, and though I went young with Heyward, Coughlan, etc., the upside is certainly there, and in a shallow league, if they're not cutting it, there are plenty of waiver wire options. I really like a Soto rebound this year as well. Per the Bill James 2010 Handbook, there wasn't a player in the game whose home runs averaged more distance than Howie Kendrick. That's impressive and though that's just one piece of data, it's enough for me to target Kendrick often in 2010 drafts. Heyward will need a huge spring to break camp with the club given the OF logjam in Atlanta however.
Thoughts on my team?
If I had to guess right now, Madison Bumgarner opens 2010 in Triple-A. The Giants have a slot open for him NOW, but the second-half loss in velocity is concerning, and Bumgarner is probably best-served spending April and May in Triple-A to PROVE he deserves a spot in San Francisco. Look for the Giants to sign a veteran to a one-year deal in the next couple months and for Bumgarner to make his 2010 debut once injuries strike.
My Opening Day Top 10 Prospects:
1. Jason Heyward (ATL) - Dale Murphy comp may come to fruition eventually.
2. Stephen Strasburg (WAS) - Will the Nats do the best thing for the francise and start him in Triple-A?
3. Buster Posey (SF) - Probably not a McCann/Mauer type, but expect .300-17-80 seasons in his future.
4. Pedro Alvarez (PIT) - 1B/3B type really came on late. Probably a June 2010 debut.
5. Jesus Montero (NYY) - No, I'm not a Yankee fan. Just a huge fan of his bat and yes, I think he sticks at catcher.
6. Chris Carter (OAK) - 1B/DH type, but that bat is special.
7. Brian Matusz (BAL) - Tillman/Matusz is quite a pair.
8. Desmond Jennings (TB) - 15 HR and 60 SB is possible. I expect Carl Crawford to leave after 2010.
9. Neftali Feliz (TEX) - May be as good as #3 on this list, but is he a 200 IP SP long-term?
10. Carlos Santana (CLE) - With Russell Martin's recent regression, the Casey Blake deal continues to look more and more awful for the Dodgers.
Angels' GM Tony Reagins continues to put too much stock in the Saves statistic. Case-in-point #2: Fernando Rodney (4.38 FIP) . $11 million for two years when Kiko Calero (2.67 FIP) could have been had for a fraction of the price? Simply a poor allocation of resources.
Is James Loney going to hit 13 homers and dive in 90 again? Perhaps, but I can't get over the September he had in 2007 (.387-9-32). It's certainly possible we see 25 homers from Loney this year.
It may just be me, but Jason Bartlett's September is concerning - .232 AVG and two homers? The Delmon Young for Matt Garza-Bartlett deal was still a steal for the Rays, but I can't help think Bartlett is being overrated somewhat.
In case you were wondering, Stephen Strasburg went for $24 in the staff magazine auction. In a keeper league, that's hard to argue, but in a one-year 12-team mixed league, I think that's too much, especially when CC Sabathia goes for the same salary and Adam Wainwright goes for half the $24.
Isn't this something we hear every year?: "Why don't the XXXXX sit out this free agent class? Next year's is so much better?". That said, guys like Cliff Lee, Joe Mauer, Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, Josh Beckett, etc. could make this year's free agent class appear garbage-like.
"Avatar" was da bomb...just sayin'...
NL-only leaguers may as well try and deal Adrian Gonzalez for pennies on the dollar. I fully expect him to be dealt to the Red Sox in the next couple months. Something along the lines of Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Lars Anderson looks possible.
Unbelievable....same weekend, I flop quad aces AND hit a five-team CFB parlay. Anyone need a loan?
So I decided to try Scoresheet baseball this year. I dipped my feet in last year and now I'm all in. Nothing like being the relative-rookie in a league with Jeff Erickson, Lawr Michaels, and a host of experts. Yeah, good luck me. Oh, and the team I took over decided to mortgage the future in winning the 2009 title. Great.