AL West Commentary
Zach Links at MLB Trade Rumors notes that, “in an article for ESPN Insider, Dan Szymborski examines MLB teams that have seen large drop-offs in a recent update to ESPN’s Future Power Rankings scoring system, which projects overall franchise strength for the next five seasons. The Angels top the list following disappointing seasons by Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, but it’s too early to declare that Pujols won’t return to being an offensive contributor, Szymborski says. He also advises that the club make a play for free-agent pitchers such as Matt Garza or Hiroki Kuroda this offseason to bolster a struggling rotation.”
Mariner’s potential off-season targets
Phil Hughes can become a free agent in October. His tenure as a Yankee appears headed to an inglorious conclusion. It is unlikely the team will risk tendering him a qualifying offer, meaning Hughes can depart without returning draft-pick compensation. Another executive noted Hughes’ age, 27, and his ability to maintain useful fastball velocity. Perhaps, in another uniform, Hughes may shine. But it’s unlikely the Yankees will ever employ that pitcher.
—By Andy McCullough/The Star-Ledger
The Rangers aren’t expected to make the same kind of push for Masahiro Tanaka that they did for Yu Darvish prior to the 2012 season, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports. Though they’ve scouted the right-hander, the Rangers don’t see Tanaka as being a Darvish-caliber pitcher at the present. As Sullivan notes, Darvish had a 1.99 ERA in seven seasons in Japan, averaging 2.4 BB/9 and 8.9 K/9. Tanaka’s Japanese stats – 2.32 ERA in seven seasons, 1.9 BB/9 and 8.5 K/9 – are similar, but reports suggest he doesn’t have Darvish’s overpowering fastball.
—By Zach Links at MLB Trade Rumors
So they said
“There’s just a huge amount of unpredictability in baseball. You can do all the right things and have it not work.” – Dave Cameron at FanGraphs
“The tough part is, it’s a young team. We make a lot of young mistakes. That part of it obviously is tough to watch, but it’s also tough for Robin (and the coaches). You can teach it all you want. When you don’t have the experience, the instincts yet, things like that happen. . . . Anything you can do (wrong) on the base-paths, we’ve done.” – Adam Dunn to Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports
“I’m not actively trying to get to free agency, but trying to get what you are worth is important. It would be foolish not to at least pay attention. I’m not going to sell myself short.” — Chase Headley” href=”http://www.latimes.com/topic/sports/baseball/chase-headley-PESPT000010105.topic”>Chase Headley to Bill Shaikin at LA Times
“It’s like a dog who has never had table scraps. I really don’t know what it (the playoffs) tastes like. I would love to get a taste of the playoffs. I hope I will get to, and I hope it’s this year. I am not on the three-year or four-year plan to get to there. I am on a one-year plan.” — Todd Helton” href=”http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=heltoto01″>Todd Helton in Baseball Digest (May 2004) from Baseball Almanac
“The key to good management is keeping the nine guys who hate your guts away from the nine guys who haven’t made up their minds.” – Casey Stengle
By the numbers
Kendrys Morales tie-breaking HR in 9th inn ended longest homer-less drought of his career. —Elias via ESPN Stats & Info
The San Francisco Giants in 2012 finished last in their division the year after winning the World Series. The only other team to pull that of was the 1997 Marlins. —From Baseball Reference
.600 is the winning percentage (18-12) in Mike Zunino’s starts behind the plate this season. —From Mariners MLB
Jesse Burkett hit 55 inside-the-park home runs, not surprising that this was the most ever in a career. —From Wikipedia
David Ortiz homered twice, and six of his Red Sox teammates went deep once as Boston crushed the Tigers, 20-4, at Fenway Park. It was the first time in Red Sox history that they had seven different players hit home runs in one game and the first time any major-league team did so since seven Yankees homered in a game against the White Sox in the Bronx on July 31, 2007. The Red Sox tied the American League record for most players with home runs in one game but fell one short of the major-league record, eight, set by the Cincinnati Reds in their 22-3 win at Philadelphia on Sept. 4, 1999, exactly 14 years before Boston’s seven-player trick. —From Elias via ESPN Stats & Info
Feeling left out? The mighty Yankees hold the record for the most men left on base in a game with 20, against the Red Sox on September 21, 1956. 1,334 LOB is the record for a season by the St. Louis Browns in 1941. —From Baseball Almanac
Matt Adams hit a solo home run in the top of the 14th inning to give the Cardinals a lead in their game at Cincinnati, and after the Reds tied the score in the bottom half of the inning, he did it again in the 16th inning with his second home run proving decisive in a 5-4 St. Louis victory. Adams is the first player in major-league history to hit two home runs in the 14th inning or later in one game. —From Elias via ESPN Stats & Info
Baseball Best Practice
“Average is a fluky stat on a year-to-year basis and RBIs are a team stat that don’t reflect an individual’s talent. Martin’s value comes from plus defense and strong on-base skills as a catcher. Homers are a fine piece, but they don’t tell the whole tale by themselves. Paying guys for RBI totals leads to contracts like Carlos Lee‘s $100MM behemoth with Houston.” — Steve Adams at MLB Trade Rumors
In their enthusiasm, what fans and media often do not grasp is real baseball teams are not constructed like rotisserie teams. “It takes a lot more time and a lot more of a developmental and maturity process than it appears, and I get that,” says Huntington. “Dayton Moore got hammered for saying that it takes six to eight years to build a solid organization. But he’s right. I’ve told people, it’s one thing to build a team to win once. What’s really hard is to build an organization where you can sustain winning. We’re not there yet, so I can’t speak to it.” — Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington at Gammons Daily
Chat Review – Dave Cameron of FanGraphs
To aid those who don’t have time to read through an entire chat and miss a lot of good commentary, I’ve selected some questions and responses that relate to the Mariners, possible Mariners off-season acquisitions and best-practice baseball:
Comment From JES: Schoenfeld thinks M’s should have made Franklin the shortstop rather than Miller because of defense-thoughts? Future of Dustin Ackley?
Dave Cameron: That’s crazy pants. Nick Franklin is a lousy second baseman and would be cover your eyes terrible at shortstop. (This is probably his best chat response ever.)
Comment From Tim: Is there a realistic series of moves the M’s can make that would put them in position to contend next season (even if you wouldn’t necessarily view them as reasonable or beneficial in the long-term)?
Dave Cameron: Realistic? Probably not.
Comment From Gson: Franklin Gutierrez, history in Seattle or do the M’s work out a deal without picking up the option?
Dave Cameron: I’d say there’s zero chance he’s back next year.
Comment From Derp: Following up on another reader’s Franklin Gutierrez question, is he done with baseball? Or does he take a minor league deal somewhere?
Dave Cameron: He’ll get a big league contract from someone.
Comment From Chris: Do the M’s hopefully let Kendry’s walk?
Dave Cameron: Doubt it. I think they make the QO and he takes it.
Zach Links at MLB Trade Rumors reports that Tigers pitcher Jeremy Bonderman has left The Legacy Agency and is now represented by SFX, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Bonderman, who was moved to the bullpen after signing a minor league deal with Detroit, will be a free agent this winter.
Jeff Todd at MLB Trade Rumors notes that the Orioles have designated outfielder Eric Thames for assignment, the team announced via press release. Thames was acquired from the Mariners by trade in late June, but hasn’t notched an MLB at-bat this season. He has seen his big league playing time dwindle consistently since a nice rookie campaign with Toronto in 2011, when he slashed .262/.313/.456 and hit twelve long balls in 394 plate appearances. In the Seattle and Baltimore minor league systems this year, Thames has a collective .283/.367/.432 line across 420 plate appearances.