Even though previous reports on Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish weren't glowing, the Yankees are taking a second look at the 21-year-old.
Billy Eppler, the Yankees' head of professional scouting, and scout Gene Michael are in Japan, to see Darvish, who pitches for the Nippon Ham Fighters. The club isn't expected to post Darvish, but if it does the Yankees want to be in a position to judge if they make a bid for him.
The Yankees aren't interested in Junichi Tazawa, the top amateur pitcher in Japan. MLB and Japanese clubs have a loose agreement not to go after each other's amateurs, but a few MLB teams are prepared to ignore the agreement for the 22-year-old right-hander.
People have estimated that Darvish's posting fee is going to be somewhere near $75 MM, which is insane. If the Yankees are going to cough up that kind of dough, they better know if Darvish is for real or not. And i admit, after Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa, I don't have the greatest feelings regarding Japanese pitchers.
This time last year, the Yankees' season was being rescued by an ebullient group of young players.[...]
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I stated yesterday that with some luck, the Astros could actually find themselves sitting in 2nd place in the NL Wild Card... well, the Astros got that luck and beat the Pirates for their 5th straight win in a row, and both the Cardinals and Phillies lost allowing the Astros to gain a game on both of them in the Wild Card race. The Astros now sit tied for 2nd in the NL Wild Card with the Phillies and 1/2 game ahead of the Cardinals. Amazing really. Even more amazing with all of the injuries the Astros have had lately.
(updated 9.11.2008 at 6:27 AM CDT)
I went to the Yankees-Angels games on Tuesday and Wednesday. The teams split those two contests but the Halos captured the series by also beating the Bronx Bombers on Monday in the opener 12-1.In downing the Yankees on Wednesday, the Angels won their[...]
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DL: Yeah, I listen to country off the field, and then techno?Techno before the game gets the boys all excited.Link via Jon in today's comment threads.
TGR: What do you think of Tommy Lasorda?
DL: He talks a lot.
TGR: We knew that.
DL: He?s passionate about the Dodgers.
TGR: Does this generation of players listen to him?
I'm not going to get into a big NL MVP debate -- at least not yet. But I did want to point something out relating to Carlos Delgado's growing candidacy. Namely the fact that it's almost as bad of an idea as handing a Gold Glove to Derek Jeter.
Yes, Delgado has been on fire recently. But his first half was just awful -- there was even talk of cutting him. Overall, he's been very good, but nothing spectacular, and where are all the mainstream writers who like to harp on consistency? If you swap Delgado's first and second halves, the Mets would have built a five or six game lead by the All-Star break and would currently be in the midst of squandering the NL East title for the second year in a row. Any chance Delgado's an MVP candidate in that scenario? Didn't think so.
Delgado's season line is.266/.350/.518, hardly spectacular. In fact, he ranks 17th in NL WPA/LI:
What's that, you think WPA is a better stat to use for the MVP award because clutch performance adds real wins? Ok, then Delgado falls to 22nd, because he's been, well, unclutch:
I haven't even brought up defense, which is surely not a point in Delgado's favor. He's a first baseman, which are worth a full win less than than the average position over a full season. And Delgado's not really known for his glove.
Both David Wright and Carlos Beltran rank higher in WPA (Beltran is seventh) and WPA/LI (Wright is sixth) and both play more important defensive positions. Given Beltran's awesome glove and high WPA number, he's the real NL MVP candidate from the Mets.
My personal pick for MVP is Albert Pujols -- I could care less if a player is on a playoff team or not. Inspired by Baseball-Fever user STLCards2 I pulled split-half data for Delgado and Pujols using June27th as the first day of the second half. (Thanks, Day By Database.) Why June 27th? Because that's the date Pujols returned from the DL and Delgado drove in nine runs. Here's how Delgado's awesome second half compares to Pujols':
Even at Delgado's best, he's no Pujols. And how about their first halves:
Yeah, they're just not even in the same ballpark offensively. And Pujols is probably two wins better with the glove, too.
So, anyone still on the Delgado bandwagon? Sure, he's had a great second half. But his awful first half was what made his second half so important. Many players, including some on teams competing for playoff spots, have done a lot more over the course of the season to help their teams win games. Let's keep the entire season in perspective and not overreact to the last two months.
Seven years ago today, the United States changed forever. In a few short hours, this country became a very different place to live, and our priorities as citizens of this Country changed as well. The word 'hero' received a new definition and every neighborhood block had dozens of American flags instead of just one. Relationships with loved ones supplanted professional ambition and a hug became the most important thing in the world. Personal feelings were discussed more often and mentioning God in public was once again acceptable. So many things changed that horrid day, including the game of baseball.
2008-09-10: Salt Lake did not play2008-09-10: Frisco 4, Arkansas 3 # Conger: 1-4, 2 RBI, 1 K
Trumbo: 1-4, 1 K
Pettit: 0-3, 1 K
Mosebach: (L, 0-1), 3.1 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 5 H, 1 K, 4 BB, 8.10 ERA
Browning: 1.2 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 3 K, 2 BB, 0.00 ERA
Rodriguez, R: 1.0 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 0.00 ERA
Bobby Mosebach took the loss in a very short outing, in the Travs' firstpostseason loss; the bullpenpitched scoreless ball the rest of the way, but Arkansas was unableto compensate offensively, with Frisco starter Neftali Feliz retiring13 men in order at one point in the game.
The series continues at Frisco on Friday night at Dr. Pepper Ballpark,7:00 pm CDT.2008-09-10: Rancho Cucamonga did not play2008-09-10: Cedar Rapids did not play2008-09-10: Orem vs. Great Falls: Postponed # Dueto rain; the game has been rescheduled to Thursday at 6:00 pm MDTat Centene Stadium. The rest of the schedule will not change.2008-09-10: AZL Angels did not play2008-09-10: Las Vegas did not play2008-09-10: Jacksonville did not play2008-09-10: Inland Empire did not play2008-09-10: Great Lakes did not play2008-09-10: Ogden did not play2008-09-10: GCL Dodgers did not play
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Jon toasted Manny's productivity yesterday, noting that he's now two home runs away from Matt Kemp's season total. To put that into some perspective, Manny has smashed the franchise single-season at-bats per home run rate with 9.57 HR/AB, had he enough at-bats to qualify; the previous leader was Gary Sheffield in 2000, with 11.7. He would also top the single-season OPS+ list: his 221 would easily lap Mike Piazza's 185 in 2001. Manny is just hitting out of his mind, even by his own high standards.
The lone piece of bad news — and this isn't even really bad when you think about it — was Brad Penny entering the game in the seventh and failing to record a single out. Better to know about that now rather than in the postseason, but his control was just plain missing; it's unlikely he'll see action again, even as a mopup pitcher. Penny admitted yesterday that he misread his situation earlier in the season:
"The one thing that bothers me is that I should've said something," Penny said of the shoulder problems that he claims hindered him for most of the season.That's not a surprise, frankly. I don't expect to see Penny back in a Dodger uniform next year, which is fine.
Penny said he kept quiet because he felt he had to continue pitching to secure a contract for next season. He has a $9.25-million option for 2009 that the Dodgers can buy out for $2 million.
"That's why I was out there trying to push myself -- because I didn't have a guaranteed job next year," he said. "I went about the whole situation wrong. If I had to do it over again, I would've just shut myself down."
Penny said that General Manager Ned Colletti has been non-committal in the conversations he's had about his future. "It just tells me they were never sold on me, which is fine," Penny said.
"I knew this team was so good that all we had to do was keep playing well. I'm not surprised that it's so early," Teixeira said after the Angels won the division in their 145th game, the earliest they have ever secured a playoff berth.Yesterday's win came without a number of key players, Chone Figgins (still smarting from a hit-by-pitch on the elbow) and Mark Teixeira because he had an infection and a fever. They might get away with that for one or two games, but not consistently down the stretch. The Angels need to stay focused on home field advantage, on playing well, and on keeping their key players as well-rested as they can with those two priorities intact.
"This is a great team. We have everything we need. This team is built for a full-season run and that's what we're going to focus on."
"You know you have the best team and you know it's going to happen," Torii Hunter said, "but when it happens, it lets you know all the hard work you've done during the season, everything you went through, the ups and downs, when you get it done and finally got that clinched, I got chills up and down my body.
"It never gets old. I don't care how many times you do it. This is the best feeling in the world."
It's been five years since this piece was first published: September 11, 2003. A lot has happened since then - including a very happy September 18, 2006. But this game will always remain special, and I hope you don't mind me continuing to remember it on this date.
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