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Blue Jays’ acquisitions ensure hope, not division title for 2013

Once again we have found the “winners” of the Hot Stove season, this time in 2012 being the Toronto Blue Jays of all teams. Barring a veto made by Commissioner Selig for a baseball-related reason he is having trouble finding, the Miami Marlins are dealing their entire franchise up north, aside from Giancarlo Stanton.

Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck will all be ditching the hideous rainbow costumes in Florida for some classy throwback Jays jerseys in Canada.

Everyone loves to give their opinions and debate over huge deals like this during the winter, but mostly everyone is on the same page in saying the Blue Jays are now “instant contenders” in the A.L. East.

Forget about that atrocious excuse of an owner Jeffrey Loria for a second. Should the trade happen, it’s a bright new beginning for baseball’s only Canadian team, after the Montreal Expos left to become the Nationals in 2005.

Not to discredit what the Jays have done though in the 21st century – they’ve actually won at least 80 games in 9 of the 13 seasons since 2000 and in 5 of the last 7 since 2006. So they rarely have a definitive bad team, and normally they are competitive throughout the year. That’s what draws people to the conclusion that this trade finally gets Toronto over the hump to become a playoff contender for next season and beyond.

It’s a very strong point, and the Blue Jays may very well make the playoffs in 2013. But if we have learned anything in the past three seasons, it’s that no one wins a World Series on paper.

And since 1993, not on Astroturf either.

I understand each team is unique and different, and you can’t compare acquisitions fairly. But there’s now been four teams in the past two seasons that were picked to win their division, a couple to win the pennant, and of course one to capture the World Series.

What happened? All of them missed the playoffs.

The 2011 Red Sox, the 2012 Angels, the 2012 Dodgers, and [as this all has happened because of them] the 2012 Marlins are those clubs. From Adrian Gonzalez (for Boston and L.A.) to Albert Pujols and to Jose Reyes, all of these teams have made significantly huge trades and signings that seemingly put them over the top prior to season’s start.

To me it’s incredibly shocking people are once again jumping on the bandwagon of the team that has spent or acquired the most talent. This Toronto team still lost 89 games last year and has a lot to prove before they can convince me to pick them for even a Wild Card spot. 

I’m not going to go in-depth with analyzing the team, as it would be a waste of time this early in the offseason.

Don’t get me wrong, the other teams in the division are by no means head and shoulders above Toronto, but they aren’t worse either. All of them still have holes and many questions about how to improve, yet it almost feels coy of baseball analysts to be ignoring the Yankees and Orioles’ intense race this past September, the Rays ability to always hang around, and the Red Sox being destined to improve.

There’s a remote possibility that Toronto could even move down into last place in 2013. Not necessarily due to bad performance, but all of the teams are tough opponents and the division could be separated by less than ten games, from first to last. Ranking this Blue Jays team as better than most or all of their A.L. East foes is childish, and it’s a simple question of “shouldn’t baseball know better?”

No matter what, this team will be sugar-coated and hyped up through the winter and into spring by the new guys coming in, much like all the recent clubs that spent loads of money and lost out big time. Though in reality, there’s a reason this team lost 89 games in 2012. And the majority of the players are coming back, and though they are young and certainly may become a strong team soon enough, no one should be picking them [unless you’re a bias Toronto fan] to suddenly explode and over-take the Yankees, O’s, and Rays to win the A.L. East.

We saw in 2012 that anything can happen in baseball, and that’s my thinking. Anything can happen next year and it’s still only November. There’s over two months left for the rest of the A.L. East to “catch up”, and it’s doubtful Toronto’s apparent inferior opponents will be the same as they stand now come Opening Day.

Overall, there is no doubt that this is a tremendous trade for the Blue Jays, and I’m happy for them from a non-bias standpoint. But not everything works out the way it’s supposed to, and it really hasn’t for most of the “winners” of the offseason for the past decade now. Toronto has the potential to change that pattern, but until they do I will have many doubts and continue thinking realistically while people guess away for the Jays to win 95 games and take the A.L. East crown.

Just ask the past couple of year’s World Series favorites. They’ll tell ya baseball isn’t played in the winter on paper. It’s played in the summer on the diamond, and there’s nothing to point to about next season when snow is covering the ground.

I guess that’s the “beauty” of baseball – it brings out the idiot in all of us during the season, debating what we thought back when it was 30 degrees outside and all we had closest to baseball was the MLB: The Show video game is simply guessing and nothing more.

There is one thing that is for certain however – the A.L. East just got a whole lot more exciting.

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Yankees Offseason Notes: Still quiet but Marlins make it interesting

So the Yankees are still being as quiet as ever during the offseason (honestly, this is getting tedious just doing nothing) but we had a taste of the Hot Stove today (no, it didn’t happen in New York).

– The Miami Marlins are close to a blockbuster trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. The details are a bit sketchy, but the Marlins are planning on sending Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle to Canada! Honestly, this is the most exciting news I’ve heard since the end of the World Series.I had to literally pinch myself to see if I was dreaming that there was still baseball news. But here’s the part where we get to play Yankees GM all over again and focus on everyone’s favorite subject: trading (or attempting to) Alex Rodriguez. With the Marlins dumping all the contracts on the Blue Jays, do you think A-Rod will waive the no-trade clause and finally go to Florida? I know Brian Cashman said that he wasn’t going to trade A-Rod but…come on now! This is tempting!

The main question I have is this: Who do the Marlins think they’re going to get for 5 players (3 of them that are superstars)? Jose Bautista?

– The Colorado Rockies signed Dante Bichette as their hitting coach for the 2013 season. Does his name sound familiar? It should. He’s friends with Joe Girardi and his son Dante Bichette Jr. plays in the Yankees organization. The kid has a great bat, he could be as good as his dad.

MoneyBall: Comparing Granderson’s Contract

In 2012, Curtis Granderson is scheduled to make $10,000,000 for doing what he does best; playing baseball. As a matter of fact, Granderson is banking some big bucks. Granderson may have good offensive power and may field the ball well, but there are other players that make less than Granderson and still have the skills that Granderson possesses. Is it really possible to find someone who has similar heart, determination and skill as Granderson for less money? Yes. Yes it is. I’ve compiled a list of outfielders who have a similar skill level as Granderson but for a more economical price (something that the Yankees are interested in all of a sudden).

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox ($2.4 Million, 2nd Year Arbitration):

I am probably going to get booed for this, but I chose Jacoby Ellsbury as

Jacoby Ellsbury doesn't make a lot; but he provides a lot

another player who has skill (and a small contract) to compare to Curtis Granderson.  Ellsbury is the center-fielder for the Boston Red Sox and even though the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry gets to the best of us, you have to admit that Ellsbury has *cough* Talent *cough.* Ellsbury was exactly what Granderson was in the beginning of 2011, a player that no one would expect to shine and do well. Here are the comparisons of Curtis Granderson & Jacoby Ellsbury’s offensive numbers, and yes Ellsbury’s numbers will surprisingly shock you:

Curtis Granderson: .262 AVG, .364 OBP, .552 SLG, .394 wOBA, 41 HR, 119 RBI, 146 wRC+

Jacoby Ellsbury: .321 AVG, .376 OBP, .552 SLG, .402 wOBA, 32 HR, 105 RBI, 150 wRC+

Looking at the numbers, Ellsbury is a big offensive force for his team and for a small cost. Now let’s take a look at Ellsbury’s and Granderson’s value and defense numbers:

Curtis Granderson: 7.0 WAR, -5.3 UZR

Jacoby Ellsbury: 9.4 WAR, 15.6 UZR

Ellsbury made $2.4 Million in 2011, but his 2012 pay has not been released yet as he is entering his second year of arbitration. It’s actually unfortunate that Ellsbury is a Red Sox. He’s very good at what he does (but seriously, Ellsbury consider changing uniforms…maybe preferably pinstripes?)

2. Jeff Francouer, Kansas City Royals ($6 Million)

We all remember Jeff Francouer as that outfielder that was on the Mets but left to go to Kansas City right? Well, Francouer…isn’t bad at his game. He has less talent as Granderson, but hey, he’s going to make $4 Million less. Here are Granderson and Francouer’s offensive numbers in comparison:

Curtis Granderson: .262 AVG, .364 OBP, .552 SLG, .394 wOBA, 41 HR, 119 RBI, 146 wRC+

Jeff Francouer: .285 AVG, .329 OBP, .476 SLG, .346 wOBA, 20 HR, 87 RBI, 117 wRC+

Now, let’s compare Granderson & Francouer some more, shall we?

Curtis Granderson: 7.0 WAR, -5.3 UZR

Jeff Francouer: 2.9 WAR, 0.6 UZR

In 2012, Francouer is scheduled to make $6 Millon. Not bad for a player who played well in 2011. Francouer is not the greatest fielder, but offensively he is fairly legit. Now, if I were the Yankees offering this to Francouer, would he like to sign now or later?

3. Logan Morrison, Miami Marlins ($414,000, 1st Year Arbitration)

Not sure why, but Logan Morrison is my favorite subject. For his first full year in the majors he has shown 2 things. One, he has power and two with a little help he can become an RBI machine. Comparing him to Granderson wouldn’t be exactly fair since he only has one year, but just for the fun of it, I would say why not. So here are their compared offensive stats.

Curtis Granderson: .262 AVG, .364 OBP, .552 SLG, .394 wOBA, 41 HR, 119 RBI, 146 wRC+

Logan Morrison: .247 AVG, .330 OBP, .468, .344 wOBA, 23 HR, 72 RBI, 115 wRC+

Now, let’s move on to comparing their value and defense:

Curtis Granderson: 7.0 WAR, -5.3 UZR

Logan Morrison: 1.0 WAR, -13.1 UZR

Logan Morrison made $414,000 in 2011 and he as well has entered his first year of arbitration. With Morrsion’s numbers looking pretty good in 2011, can we say an outburst in 2012?

4. Hunter Pence, Philadelphia Phillies ($6.9 Million, 1st Year Arbitration)

Hunter Pence has the bat and the skills, but his price range is slightly lower than Granderson

Okay, so Hunter Pence isn’t all that cheap but what he did with the Phillies in 2011 was pretty sweet right? Coming from the last place Houston Astros to the 1st place Philadelphia Phillies was a big transition for him but he adjusted well.  When comparing Curtis Granderson to Hunter Pence, Pence’s numbers are a little lower than Granderson but he’s still a dynamic force. Here are Granderson & Pence’s numbers compared.

Curtis Granderson: .262 AVG, .364 OBP, .552 SLG, .394 wOBA, 41 HR, 119 RBI, 146 wRC+

Hunter Pence: .314 AVG, .370 OBP, .502 SLG, .378 wOBA, 22 HR, 97 RBI, 141 wRC+

Now let’s compare Hunter Pence’s value & defense to that of Curtis Granderson.

Curtis Granderson: 7.0 WAR, -5.3 UZR

Hunter Pence: 4.1 WAR, -4.8 UZR

When comparing Granderson’s contract to the other contracts out there in the league he makes quite a bit for doing what he does best, but we can all be fortunate that he doesn’t make an absurd amount of money.

I’ve only included just a few outfielders that are comparable in skill and money to Curtis Granderson. Feel free to discuss other comparisons in the below comments section!

Around The League

Around The League

By Delia E.
  •  The Houston Astros were given permission to interview Tampa Bay Rays general manager Andrew Friedman as the Astros front office goes into a new transition. Ed Wade who was the Astros GM was fired on Sunday Night in the first of changes. Friedman has been known to take the Tampa Bay Rays to the playoffs three out of four years even though they have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball.
  • The Kansas City Royals have signed former Los Angeles Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton on a 1 year, $4 million deal. Broxton will set up for Royals closer Joakim Soria in the 2012 season. Broxton was recruited to the team by Royals LF, Jeff Francoeur who went on a hunting trip with him and Kansas City manager Ned Yost.
  • C.J Wilson was in Florida talking to the officials of the Florida Marlins. Wilson had already met with the Los Angeles Angels while the Rangers have stated that they were still interested in C.J Wilson.
  • The Chicago Cubs have signed Astros bullpen coach Jamie Quirk as their new bench coach for the 2012 season. Quirk is a former MLB player, playing 18 years in the major leagues mostly as a catcher with a career .240  AVG.
  • The Chicago Cubs have also reached out and spoke to the representatives of Albert Pujols. Pujols has already gotten an offer from the Miami Marlins and the Cardinals have experienced interest to bring him back. There is also speculation that the Cubs are interested in former Milwaukee Brewer 1st baseman, Prince Fielder.
  • The San Francisco Giants have extended the contracts of GM Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy. Both contracts have been extended to the 2013 season with an option for the 2014 season. This move was expected this winter.
  • Greg Maddux has said that he will not return as the Cubs special assistant to the Chicago Cubs due to taking an offer with the Rangers in a similar capacity. Maddux would help the Rangers young pitchers in development as a part of his job description.
  • The Red Sox have narrowed their list down to two candidates for the managerial job: Bobby Valentine & Gene Lamont. Both candidates have experience with managing teams. Valentine has managed both the Texas Rangers & New York Mets while Gene Lamont has managed the Chicago White Sox & the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Around The League: Marlins, Rays, Astros

Around The League

By Delia E.
  • The Miami Marlins have revealed that they had just finished building all the seats in their new ballpark, which is scheduled to be finished in 2012. Here is the picture of the stadium via @MarlinsBallpark’s Twitter account.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays have picked up free agent catcher Jose Molina with a 1 year, $1.8 Million deal with an option for 2013. The signing comes a day after the Rays traded catcher John Jaso to the Seattle Mariners for pitcher Josh Lueke and a player to be named later or cash.
  • The Houston Astros fired their GM Ed Wade and the team president Tal Smith on Sunday night in the first of changes promised by new owner Jim Crane. The Astros had the worst record in franchise history 56-106 in 2011.

Miami Marlins offer Jose Reyes 6 years, $90 Million

Miami Marlins offer Jose Reyes 6 years, $90 Million

By Delia E. 

I’m painfully aware that this is not Yankees news but it has been a very slow news day so far. The Miami Marlins have offered ex-New York Mets SS Jose Reyes a 6 year and $90 Million contract yesterday, reported Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. They claim that Reyes is intrigued in playing in warm weather & under the arm of new Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen. Reyes however wanted a contract that was worth at least $100 Million.

Many in the MLB industry believe that the contract offer does sound good on paper, but they are unsure if it would be intriguing enough for Reyes to take. Reyes finished the 2011 season playing for the New York Mets who are a crosstown rival to the New York Yankees.

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