Archive for the ‘MLB Offseason’ category

Kameron Loe signs minor league deal with San Francisco Giants

January 14, 2014
(Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports)

(Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports)

Kameron Loe had a rough year bouncing around from city to city last year and is looking for a change as he signed a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants and hopes to make the team out of camp.

The 32 year old right hander posted a 7.09 ERA with 5.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and a 50.5 percent ground-ball rate in 26 2/3 innings for the Mariners, Cubs and Braves last season. His homer-to-flyball ratio was 34.4 percent due to 11 homers given up in 26 2/3 frames. Loe’s career mark is just 13 percent in that category, and the league average was 10.5 percent, suggesting he’s due for some improved luck in that department. Loe has shown he can pitch in the majors, as he posted a 3.61 ERA in 229 1/3 innings from 2008-12 with the Rangers and Brewers.

The Giants pitching has always been their strength in the NL and the bullpen has always been above average each year. The organization knows how to mix pieces together in order to win World Series championships over the past 5 years. Let’s hope Kameron and his sinker can be added to that pen in 2014.

kameron loe tweet

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Prince Fielder introduced by Texas Rangers, chooses #84 as his jersey number

December 2, 2013
(AP Photo/Richard Rodriguez)

(AP Photo/Richard Rodriguez)

This week, new Texas Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder was introduced to the media after a blockbuster trade that sent second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers.

With his new team also comes a new jersey number. Fielder will wear No. 84 with the Rangers, not the No. 28 he had worn through his 1,322 career games with Milwaukee (2005-11) and Detroit (2012-13).

“It’s a new start I guess, and 84 is the year I was born. It’s just fresh,” Prince said. “I think it works.”

That also happens to be the last year the Tigers won the World Series.

(AP Photo/Richard Rodriguez)

(AP Photo/Richard Rodriguez)

Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels believes that Fielder is ready for a new beginning and can help the Rangers score runs more consistently.

“A guy of his magnitude, a perennial MVP candidate and one of the top power hitters in the game, isn’t available if he’s coming off a career year,” Daniels said. “Based on the work we’ve done and our reports on him, we’re confident there’s a lot more in the tank.”

Prince is confident, and he’s excited to get going.

“I just want to play,” Fielder said. “Right field is very nice for me, so I’m definitely going to look into that. I’m happy to be here. I just want to play hard and win some games.”

I am a jersey fanatic and I think that having the #84 in baseball is a ridiculous number. In baseball, only players from the minor leagues wear that high of a number during spring training games because the rosters are very large and the players are not guaranteed a major league roster spot. The last #84 I could think of is former Giants and Angels first baseman J.T. Snow. He wore #84 in 2006 for the Boston Red Sox in honor of his father Jack, a former NFL player.  As for the all star’s new start in Ranger blue, Prince will be at a place where he can find the power in his swing. That little league park in Arlington is going to help the slugger produce some big numbers and I expect the big fella to have success deep in the heart of Texas…

MLB Hot Stove: Moves that get overlooked so far this winter

November 25, 2013

When it comes to the MLB offseason and Free Agency everyone looks to the Jhonny Peralta’s new 4 year contract with the Cardinals or the big trade swap between Texas and Detroit involving Prince Fielder and Ian Kinsler. While those deals are significant for the 2014 season, there are moves that go on throughout the winter that doesn’t get everyone’s attention on television or in the newspaper that should be noted to all baseball fans.

Nick+Punto+Arizona+Diamondbacks+v+Los+Angeles+JTUk13Yrdh4xLet’s start with infielder Nick Punto signing with the Oakland A’s. In Los Angeles last season with the Dodgers, he had a very good defensive year at 3rd Base and Shortstop. But let’s start off with his value. He had a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 2.2 and 22 RAR (runs above replacement). He had a line of .255/.328/.327 in 335 plate appearances for the Los Angeles Dodgers but it wasn’t his bat that makes him so important because he defense makes up for that line. His Rdrs/year (Defensive Runs Saved) at 3rd and SS was 11 which is very good at the hot corner including 48 double plays turned and a .974 fielding percentage. Note, this is a utility player who will bring leadership and depth to a team that was lacking that in the postseason. Like I said, this is not a sexy signing but it is very influential to the Oakland A’s ball club in 2014.

Colby+Lewis+Toronto+Blue+Jays+v+Texas+Rangers+kQR2Vtq3VDmlNext is a signing that occurred today with Colby Lewis and the Texas Rangers. He signed a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. If Lewis makes the major league team, he’ll make $2 million in base salary and can earn up to another $4 million in incentives. He won 26 games for the Rangers in 2010-11 and in the playoffs he was 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA. Here is the important part, he started 200 innings in both of those years and had a winning record in a ballpark that is tough to pitch in. The Rangers will lose Matt Garza and lack veteran leadership in their rotation. If he can get it right after shoulder surgery in 2012, he can be an innings eater and can be that important back of the rotation guy at a very low cost compared to the Royals signing Jason Vargas for 8 million a season with a career 4.30 ERA. At the age of 34, he shouldn’t be the same pitcher we saw 3 years ago but I expect him to be effective and help the club get more wins this season. Watch for his story when Spring Training arises. I like his comeback potential.

penaCatchers are at a premium in baseball, especially defensive ones. When the Cincinnati Reds signed Brayan Pena and the Tampa Bay Rays signed Jose Molina on two-year contracts, I thought they were extremely smart moves from both clubs.

For the Tigers last season, Pena had a good percentage catching 30% of runners stealing bases. He also presented some pop in his bat with a .297 average, 4 home runs, and 11 doubles in 71 games. Not many backups catchers have those types of numbers in the big leagues and the Reds lacked a catcher with home run power and strong defense behind the dish.

molina raysOn the other side, Molina is a defensive wizard and is essential for Tampa Bay’s pitching staff. During the 2012 season he held the staff to a 3.22 ERA and a 3.74 in 2013. He had a value defensively of 6.2 compared to the league average of 0.9 in 2012 and 3.9 compared to league average 1.4 in 2013. In his two years with a Rays uniform he has had 55 runners killed on the base paths which shows how valuable he is compared to any other catcher in the market. Plus, he ranks first in framing runs above average with 33 which is 5 better than his brother Yadier Molina who is the best defensive catcher in the National League.

As for the offense, he has batted a poor .228 with the Rays but his defense is more valuable than his offense and you could see that in the 2013 Wild Card game against the Indians as he led Alex Cobb to 6 2/3 scoreless innings and striking out five.

So after reading this I hope you realize that while adding a player like Robinson Cano can make a huge difference in wins for any roster in the major leagues, it is the buying low and getting high reward players that fans don’t know about going into spring training. I hope I have kept you informed on smart deals for teams that needed improvements at those positions.