Will New York make the postseason for the seventeenth time in 18 years? And where will the rising Jays land?
By Cam Cain ◊ 3-25-12
So here we have it. It is finally spring. After a long winter break, it’s time for our nation’s pastime to be reborn for another long season. In 8 short days, the Cardinals and Marlins will play at 7:05 and kick off the new season at the new ballpark in Miami. I felt like I had to come out with my own predictions for the season. It is just human nature to feel the need to guess at these things, however accurate you may be (last year I chose Colorado to win it all.) So here are my predictions for the toughest division in the game, with 4 potential 90-game-winning teams, the American League East:
Catcher Jesus Montero sent to Seattle for Michael Pineda
By Cam Cain 1-16-12
This could be one of the most influential trades in recent memory. Just not yet. The 6’3” 22-year-old Montero has been rated the the top prospect in the New York organization and one source has him as the 6th top prospect in all of baseball. In 61 September at bats, the Venezuelan hit .328 with 4 home runs. On the other hand, Pineda, a Dominican pitcher who turns 23 this Wednesday, cemented himself the second spot in the Seattle rotation in 2011. He finished 8th in the AL in WHIP and 4th in Opposing Batting Average and won 9 of Seattle’s 67 games. Pineda pitched especially well during the first 2 months of the regular season, going 6-2 with a WHIP of 0.99 and a 2.42 ERA.
The Yanks are reluctant to trade away Montero, who has reminded many scouts. of Mike Piazza, hitting-wise at least. However, they feel the deal needed to be done. New York desperately needed a second pitcher at the top of the rotation to compliment C.C. Sabathia. They also signed Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda who has proven himself. Now, the Yankees have gone from mound questions to a solid top 4 in the rotation, with second-year pitcher Ivan Nova.
However, I think that this deal benefits the Mariners more. I think the problem with the Yankees is setting their priorities. They need a young bat in their lineup and Montero was that guy. Mark Teixeira turns 32 in April, Jeter and A-Rod turn 38 and 37 respectively over the summer. They did need a pitcher though, missing out on C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle. The Mariners already have a star young pitcher, the 25 year old 2010 AL Cy Young winner King Felix who is going into his 8th season. We are going to definitely see the benefits of this trade for each of these teams. We’ll just have to be patient.
Statistics from baseball-reference.com
Cards Manager LaRussa retires after 33 years as skipper.
By Cam Cain 10-31-11
His legacy will surely never be forgotten. Tony LaRussa spent 33 years managing ballclubs, the most recent 16 with the Cardinals. This came as a huge surprise, not 48 hours after winning the World Series for the third time, and second with St. Louis. Just like that, 33 years of baseball for him have come to an abrupt end. LaRussa becomes the first manager to retire following a World Series victory. LaRussa also retires with the third most managerial wins of all time behind Connie Mack and John McGraw.
“I think everybody was a little sad,” said Matt Holliday. “But I think at the same time, for us to see a guy that’s had such an amazing career, 33 years of managing, you don’t see it very often, where a guy gets to go out on top with a team and a run that was very symbolic of the kind of manager and the kind of leader that Tony was.
This is truly the end of an era. He leaves behind a legacy. He is beside Sparky Anderson as one of 2 managers to win a World Series in both leagues. He has also won 6 pennants, going 3-3 in those World Series. I never knew Tony but I wish him best of luck in retirement.
In other news…
The Mets have moved portions of the fences in at the very large Citi Field. It was getting to a point that these hitter-unfriendly confines were disliked by the players. A good example, David Wright has hit nearly 30 points better away from home and has also had a significant increase in slugging percentage on the road. “I really do believe a ballpark like ours has a more dramatic impact on the home team than on the visitors,” says Mets GM Sandy Alderson.
C.C. Sabathia has signed a contract extention with the Yankees until 2016. They still will need a decent no. 2 starter with Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon likely leaving. Maybe C.J. Wilson? If so, New York must hope he doesn’t turn out like another A.J. Burnett.
The Indians have made a move to acquire pitcher Derek Lowe from the Braves. Lowe is 38 years old currently and hasn’t pitched well in years. They lost a single A pitcher for him. Also, Cleveland did not pick up Grady Sizemore’s option making him a free agent. Sizemore has played 8 seasons, all with Cleveland.