Borchering has power, but the Ks are a big red flag, not much value on D. Krauss has improved, but also 24 repeating AA. All about the bat.— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) July 29, 2012
Astros keep on dealing, send Johnson to Arizona " Tag's Lines
By Brian McTaggart
Ultimate Astros " Astros deal third baseman Johnson to Diamondbacks
By Zachary Levine
What Johnson trade means for Diamondbacks - Yardbarker
By Ken Rosenthal
This is what John Sickels had to say about the Borchering and Krauss back in January:
12) Bobby Borchering, 1B-3B, Grade C+: Paired with Davidson and a similar profile as a power hitter, but with even worse contact problems and a weaker glove. Still young enough to improve.
16) Marc Krauss, OF, Grade C+: I think he's better than he looked last year, but will be more of a platoon/role player than a future regular.
Thursday, Jul 26, 2012, 7:05 PM CDT
Minute Maid Park
Partly cloudy. Winds blowing out to center field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 85.
Jun 03, 1985
Oct 19, 1984
When I first began writing about baseball five years ago, I did so with the intention of building a network to one day work for a team in a full-time capacity. After moving from site to sit, completing various internships, interviews and special assignments, I have finally accomplished my goal of joining a team and [...]
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I can't say I didn't expect this:
1) Jeff Luhnow is about as unpredictable as they come
2) Chris Johnson has been hot lately
3) While Chris Johnson is only about league average offensively that's above average for third basemen
With the Astros Johnson has produced a 1.1 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) which would be considerably better if his defense improved. His -8 defensive runs saved (DRS) and his -6.6 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) have adversely impacted what he's done offensively in regards to WAR.
The other thing to make note of is that this might finally open up a spot for Brett Wallace to be promoted back to the Major Leagues.
More news, reaction and analysis to come.
In the dugout shortly after the trade was announced, Johnson had a classic line about this team.
"It's strange to say, because it seems like everyone is getting traded over here, but I was surprised," Johnson said. "When they called me out of the cage, I was in shock."
Johnson seemed okay with it, but obviously showed some emotion in leaving the organization he's called home for since 2006.
"It was pretty emotional in the room when I got called in," Johnson said. "I knew when they called me out of the cage that something had happened. We all knew that there were 26 guys here today, so there had to be a roster move. This is tough, this is all I've known since 2006 when I was drafted. I've called this place home, I moved here. It's tough, but that's the way the game is."
Two points besides the points Tim made.
1) Isn't it nice to see a Houston GM trade with multiple teams? So far, Luhnow has swung nine trades (eight completed with seven different teams. The only teams he's dealt with twice were Boston (Marwin's Rule 5 deal & Melancon) and the Marlins (Lee, Ruggiano).
2) This was not unexpected. The way things are going, I think Bud Norris may also get dealt. At least, he seems to be thinking about it leading up to the deadline. Maybe everyone does that on a selling team near July 31, but it sure seemed like he thinks something's coming.
If you thought the Astros offense was bad in the past month, try taking out the hottest hitter from the past couple of weeks. It could get much, much uglier.
A housekeeping point: Johnson's comment about 26 men in the clubhouse was because of the addition of Steve Pearce. But, the announcement came very, very late in the day. Even Astros PR people were commenting on how unusual it was.
The Bravos are looking for their second straight sweep against the Phillies today, but will have to do it against one of Philly's aces. Doc Halladay, who has only made one start since returning from injury takes the mound today for Philly. Tim Hudson counters for Atlanta.
There's a ton of back and forth about how much the manager influences the outcome of the ball game on a game to game basis. The focus tends to be on the negative because it's simple... a blown steal, a botched pitching change, a BUNT... These are easy to identify when they fail because the impact is immediate.
My view is the manager's job is to put his players in a position to succeed. That begins with the daily lineup card.
Ned Yost takes a ton of heat for his myriad lineups, but he faces some difficult decisions. Not to go all apologist like Steve Physioc, but I don't envy Yosty when he's sitting in his office hours prior to the game, trying to figure out who to bat fifth that night. Kind of like choosing cyanide or a bullet.
A brief look at Royals lineup construction follows...
The worst performing spot in the lineup...
Naturally is the fifth spot. Because Jeff Francoeur is a Damn Leader. Fine, we all know that Frenchy is awful. It is an indictment against Yost that he stuck with his right fielder in the same spot for so long. It's now an indictment against Yost that he's still in the lineup. I know that, you know that... the only people that don't know that are drawing a paycheck from the Kansas City Royals Baseball Club. And that sucks.
Except Yosty has finally dropped Francoeur. It's been almost a month since Francoeur struck out in the fifth spot. Since then, the Royals have employed Yuniesky Betancourt (just as bad as Francoeur), Mike Moustakas (slumping) and Lorenzo Cain and Sal Perez (interesting).
The problem is the offense is dreadful. Really bad. Horrible. So you only have two guys who can produce and a couple of guys Yosty has to shuffle.
But could you guess that the worst spot in the Royals lineup relative to the league? The answer was kind of surprising.
It's the third spot in the order.
Collectively, the number three spot has hit .224/.299/.373 this season with an sOPS+ of 62. Ouch.
Where have you gone George Brett?/Royals Nation turns it's lonely eyes to you.
The culprit here has been Eric Hosmer. Butler has been fine at that spot, but Hosmer has been such a drag that even Butler being Butler for half the Royals games at the third spot hasn't been enough to overcome the horrific offensive performance of Hosmer.
The Royals have two solid bats in Alex Gordon and Billy Butler. Moustakas is slumping (and now hurt) and Alcides Escobar has been a steady, pleasant surprise wherever he hits in the order. Sal Perez has been surprisingly good, but needs to be handled with care returning from injury. Lorenzo Cain has hit .321/.361/.585 since returning from injury, so there's that. The Royals have three good bats at this moment and two more with potential to contribute. It's not enough.
Again, not to come off as a Yost apologist (because I'm not), but it feels like with the overall regression of his offense this season, there's not much he can do with the lineup. Did he stick with Francoeur for too long at number five? Certainly. However, the players he's rotated in and out of that spot over the last month haven't performed much better.
Is Yosty putting his players and team in a position to succeed based on lineup? The results would say no. Has he overlooked better options? Based on the results, again I would say no.
The Ubaldo Jimenez trade of a year ago led to a basic restructure of the team that made it more unlikely that the Rockies would win the division in 2012. Keep in mind, as long as the top team in the division lacks clear separation in talent from the rest of the teams, every NL West team will be unlikely to win the title at the beginning of the year. It will always be a safer bet to pick the field than any one team. What the Ubaldo trade did was diminish an already unlikely occurrence. The Rockies were now in the position of having to bank on the emergence of pitchers from that trade and good health or positive injury recoveries from pitchers like Jorge De La Rosa and Juan Nicasio, and/or a breakthrough from Jhoulys Chacin. Instead, maybe one small positive step at the MLB level (Pomeranz) has taken place from the potential candidates for the rotation at the start of the year, and that step combined with the return of Jeff Francis has merely given the Rockies two starters that would have been battling for the fifth starter slot a couple of years ago, with various degradations of the grotesque from there.
The options for the Rockies front office for 2012 from the point of the Jimenez trade were to go in strictly with the youth on hand and expect the season to fall flat, or to pack the team with older acquired veterans to act as a temporary bridge to the youth and hope the veterans and kids coalesced into a dark-horse contender. The front office chose the latter route, and because of a couple of awful missteps in the personnel chosen for this role (Jamie Moyer as the team's lone FA starter, trading for Jeremy Guthrie, overpaying for Michael Cuddyer, not being ready to replace Todd Helton) have the exact same results they would have with the inexperienced youth, only at a higher salary, so now Dan O'Dowd and company are in the process of undoing that veteran bridge, cutting costs and pushing forward with the young players. They've traded Guthrie for the cheaper Jonathan Sanchez, and now Scutaro for the prospect Charlie Culberson and may make a couple more moves before the trade deadline this week.
I'm recapping this because I think that "cutting costs" context might be getting lost in complaints about the returns for Guthrie and Marco Scutaro and I expect it will for Rafael Betancourt or Ramon Hernandez as well, should the Rockies trade them. The player returns in these cases are entirely secondary to the monetary returns. That money saved on 2012 payroll will accumulate and become important as the team prepares for 2013 and beyond. As I was trying to allude to on Thursday, despite a few missteps such as the Cuddyer contract, the Monfort ownership has been surprisingly successful for the Rockies on the generating revenue, controlling payroll end of running the franchise, even as they have been pretty awful on the baseball end. I don't know if you can attribute this to the general manager, as Dan O'Dowd was part of the fiscal irresponsibility of the Hampton/Neagle era, although he's probably learned from then given that the only big contracts he gives out now are to position player superstars like Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. It's obviously a small solace right now, but should the baseball end of the Rockies process ever get fixed, this team should be capable of sustained success given their business acumen.
The important next step for the front office is to not waste that saved money on intangibles like Cuddyer's clubhouse character, but to instead invest it in actual on field production somehow.
Above I linked a Troy Renck update on the Rockies trade status, and he brings up Matt Reynolds and Jonathan Herrera as known to be available besides Betancourt and Hernandez. In their cases, given that they are relatively cheap in payroll cost and the Rockies are trading them out of a surplus at their respective positions, the prospect return becomes more important.
Carlos Gonzalez is aware of the growing process that the 2012 season has become for the Rockies. Cargo's measured perspective, as well as that of his agent, Scott Boras, is refreshing to read compared to fan reactions for the time being, which are a bit more concerned with the here and now.
Nicasio continues to push to return sometime in the fall, but it's been mostly a lost season for him. Also in that note, Jim Tracy may finally have an ideal 2nd hitter in Josh Rutledge. I say ideal because Rutledge fits both Jim Tracy's picture and is actually valuable in that slot.
A year ago tomorrow, the Rockies traded Ubaldo Jimenez.. Last night, with the home-town crowd already treated to Carlos Gonzalez bobbledheads, two of those pieces acquired carried the Sky Sox to victory. Alex White (2011, trade) worked an efficient eight innings on 99 pitches (68 strikes), allowing just four singles and one run. He struck out eight, walked one, and induced two double plays. This start comes on the heels of White tossing seven shutout innings in Colorado Springs July 23. Might as well see what we've got there.
White also performed with the bat, hitting a double, single, scoring a run and driving one home. The middle of the Sky Sox order was active, with #9 PuRP Tim Wheeler (2009, 1st round), #15 PuRP Charlie Blackmon (2008, 2nd round) and Matt McBride (2011, trade) all recording three hits, including a double. McBride is now 6th in the PCL in OPS and 3rd in batting average.
There wasn't much noteworthy in this one, but #14 PuRP Corey Dickerson (2010, 8th round) returned to action for the first time since breaking his nose on July 23. He had been considering surgery, which may have ended his season, but it looks like he is trying to play through it for another six weeks. He struck out in f our hitless at-bats. #1 PuRP Nolan Arenado (2009, 2nd round) hit a double and single, and Lars Davis (2007, 3rd round) hit his fifth home run. Jimmy Cesario (2008, 46th round) singled three times. Dan Houston (2008, 7th round) allowed five runs (three earned) and was unable to get out of the fifth inning.
Leuris Gomez (2005, DR) tossed five shutout innings for the win, allowing just two hits and striking out six. The three most exciting Nuts position player prospects led the offensive charge in Modesto. #12 PuRP Rafael Ortega (2008, VZ)homered, singled and stole his 25th base. #20 PuRP Cristhian Adames (2007, DR) tripled, singled and stole a base, though he committed two fielding errors. #10 PuRP Kyle Parker (2010, 1st round) tripled home a run as well.
The Tourists got rained out in Charleston last night. They will attempt to make up for the lost game today with a doubleheader.
Francisco Sosa (2007, DR) singled following two walks in the top of the first inning, but Zach Osborne (2012, undrafted) was thrown out at the plate trying to score. The Dust Devils never got any closer to scoring, as Sosa and Derek Jones (2012, 8th round) struck out in the ninth with the tying run in scoring position. Tyler Gagnon (2009, 15th round) was the victim of poor no run support, as he got the loss after allowing a run on six hits in six innings. He punched out four. Ryan Arrowood (2012, 28th round) dropped his ERA back under 1.00 with a scoreless inning. The Dust Devils are 1-3 in one-run games in their five second-half games.
The Rockies have never had a Pioneer League team with a winning record, but the inaugural Grand Junction Rockies had a chance to win the first half Pioneer League South Division championship last night in the half's final night. They would need to win and have the Ogden Raptors lose in Orem. The Rockies took care of their business, winning their fourth game in their last five in convincing fashion in Idaho Falls. Ryan Garvey (2012, 33rd round) homered and singled twice, driving in three. David Dahl (2012, 1st round) drove in three, and Grand Junction got 3-hit games from Corelle Prime (2012, 12th round) and Juan Ciriaco (2009, DR). Eddie Butler (2012, sandwich pick) struck out five without a walk in seven strong innings. He allowed seven singles, four of them in the third inning to allow three runs, but he induced 11 ground ball outs in a strong performance.
Down in Utah, the Orem Owlz broke the hearts of Grand Junction fans and players. Orem was two outs away from winning 7-5 and giving Grand Junction the division title. Then their second baseman committed a throwing error, allowing two runs to score on the play. The Angels' minor leaguers then walked the bases loaded in the 10th ahead of a walkoff single.
Of course, the Rockies really have themselves to blame over the Owlz. Grand Junction, whose average roster is more the a full year younger than Odgen, was winless in eight games head-to-head with the Raptors, handing the tie-breaker to Ogden. Against the rest of the Pioneer League, the Rockies were 21-9, while Ogden was just 13-17.
The Rockies had just four hits in the game, with Raimel Tapia and Miguel Dilone both having two singles. Angel Lezama had one of the roughest starts of his pro career, allowing four runs (three earned) in five innings. He struck out four and allowed the fourth home run in his career.
Derek Jeter 2012 Topps Archives – 1984 Topps Design Jeez, talk about a card that looks like it was plucked right out of 1984… This one of Derek Jeter looks like it could have easily been a re-print. And I … Continue reading →
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