Results tagged ‘ James Shields ’

Hot Stove Cooking Up Big Rumors

Maybe you are paying more attention to football.  Perhaps you are excited that the NBA is back.  Or maybe you were engrossed in another little event this week.  Something about a Presidential election.  Whatever you had going on, thanks for dropping by because the MLB General Managers’ meeting took place earlier this week.  There were lots of news and rumors over the past three days so let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

Josh Hamilton, the prize of the 2012-2013 free agent class. Image: http://www.zimbio.com

Josh Hamilton is the big prize of the free agent market.  I always though Hamilton was a lock to return to the Texas Rangers.  Then news came out that he was seeking a seven-year contract worth about $175 million dollars.  Late last night, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that Texas was only willing to give the 2010 American League MVP a three-year deal.  It would be hard for me to imagine Hamilton anywhere but the Lone Star State considering all of the demons that he carries each day.  The Rangers seem to be willing to move on without him and if there is an organization that could afford such a hit, it would be Texas.  So where would the All-Star outfielder go?  The Baltimore Orioles and Philadelphia Phillies  are the two teams that have been mentioned the most.  The Seattle Mariners have emerged as a suitor and frankly the fact their offense has been shaky for years means they should make a big run at him.  That would show ace pitcher Felix Hernandez that the organization is willing to surround him with some offense instead of struggling to get two runs per start for the King.

Rumors were flying that two top-of the-rotation guys could be dealt soon.  The Tampa Bay Rays are supposedly listening to offers for James Shields.  Also, it seems the New York Mets and National League Cy Young favorite R.A. Dickey are far apart on a contract extension.   With the expected loss of B.J. Upton to free agency, the Rays will be in the market for a bat.  Tampa’s wealth of young pitching will help absorb the loss of “Big Game James” and the team has always struggled to score runs.  As far as the Mets trading Dickey, boy what a slap that would be to their fans.  Outside of Dickey, there isn’t much to cheer about in Flushing these days and a trade of arguably the team’s most popular player will further alienate a fan base that has had nothing but rotten luck for years.  Then again, it could make sense in the long run as the knuckleballer’s value has never been higher.  If I were New York, there is not a chance I trade him.  I would make a better offer (Dickey supposedly turned down a 3-year, $30 million dollar deal) but not go crazy ($15 million per year).  Those fans have suffered long enough.

Other big-name free agents looking for homes include Torii Hunter, Nick Swisher and Brian McCannCheck out the full list here courtesy of azcentral.com.  Speaking of Arizona, the Diamondbacks are supposedly looking to deal star right fielder Justin Upton again.  On the manager front, Walt Weiss was just named the manager of the Colorado Rockies and Davey Johnson has agreed to manage the Washington Nationals for another season.  Yes, it sure was a busy week in baseball.  Expect things to heat up some more later on as the weather starts getting colder.

Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com

Houston’s Harrell and Mills Combine for One of 2012′s Best Moments

One of the best moments of this season took place in Houston earlier this week.  Rookie Lucas Harrell threw a complete game for the Astros as Houston defeated the Padres 1-0.  However that was not the most remakable part of the story.  The fact that Manager Brad Mills  let Harrell finish the game even after he loaded the bases in the 9th inning is something you do not see today.  Ever.  Just about every pitcher  today, from star to journeyman, would have been pulled after a leadoff hit.

As we all know, complete games by pitchers these days are not that common.  James Shields’s  11 complete games in 2011 were certainly the exception.  Rookie pitchers going the distance is even more rare.  Organizations tend to baby young arms to the point that it can be detrimental to the pllayer.  He will not be able to work out of his own messy situations if he is conditioned to look for his skipper at the first sign of trouble.  In the case of Harrell,  San Diego had runners on first and second with one out in the 9th.  The Padres”s Logan Forsythe  then singled but teammate Alexi Amarista was thrown out at home by J.D. Martinez.  Mills still left Harrell in the game even after he walked teh next batter, Mark Kotsay.  The game ended when Harrell got Nick Hundley to strike out swinging.  Mills showed a lot of guts leaving his rookie starter in the game and Harrell will no doubt benefit from this experience.

After losing 105 games last season, the Astros have been playing some decent ball.  They have been under the radar as another they seemed destined for another losing season.  For one night, however, their manager and their first year starter gave us one of baseball’s most memorable memories for this season while hopefully giving the rest of the teams in the game something to ponder in how they handle their pitchers.

 

Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com

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