The records kept now for the number of home runs hit in the playoffs should not be equated with those records from back when the World Series was the only series. Playoff home runs were consequently much more valuable and important when they were all World Series home runs. An asterisk would be appropriate, just as it should have been when Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 162 games, surpassing Babe Ruth‘s 60 home runs in 154 games. I still feel Ruth has the record, as the steroid cheats accomplishments would not have been achieved without the power it provided to them. This taint does not extend to Henry Aaron’s record, although Ruth hit 714 in 2,503 games, with 8,399 AB through his age 40 season and Aaron hit 755 in 3,298 games (795 games more than Ruth), with 12,364 AB (3,965 more than Ruth) through his age 42 season. Ruth averaged a home run for every 11.763 AB, while Aaron hit one for every 16.376 AB. This is down to age, conditioning and the number of games in a season. To me Ruth’s achievement was more impressive. Ted Williams was the best pure hitter ever in my eyes but Ruth was the best power hitter and the most talented, all-around player, as he was also an elite pitcher as well.
Mariner’s potential off-season targets
Tim Dierkes at MLB Trade Rumors has written a fine Free Agent Profile on Jose Dariel Abreu in which he rounds up what seems to be everything known about the Cuban millionaire-to-be. A couple of takeaways from all of his details: One scout felt that Abreu has more power than Kendrys Morales, but is a worse hitter. Dierkes points out that, “it’s certainly possible to hit 25-30 home runs and still be replacement level, as Raul Ibanez did this year. Abreu’s market is not limited to win-now teams, given his age. Ultimately I find the oft-cited six-year, $54MM prediction to be the best bet…”
“One of the Red Sox’ veteran pitchers will likely get dealt this offseason to make room for younger ones, and [Jake] Peavy appears to be a candidate. Obviously, Ryan Dempster, John Lackey, and Felix Doubront could be vulnerable, and we’ve already discussed Lester. But Peavy, who has performed well for the Red Sox, is still in demand.” Nick Cafardo at the Boston Globe
There is going to be plenty of competition for any possible free agent or trade chip the Marines may decide to focus on.
TRS at Real Dirty Mets, in a piece on available or possibly available outfielders, suggests looking at the trade market for guys with only one year left on their deal is beneficial as well. That list is highlighted by guys such as: Colby Rasmus, Josh Willingham, Norichika Aoki, Michael Cuddyer and Alex Rios. On that note, TRS states:
“Actually all of those names have some upside. One thing is they are all most likely available. Cuddyer had an exceptional year and while playing in Coors is a red flag, it isn’t like he just started hitting when he got there. He still managed a .311 .367 .485 .852 on the road this season. I do wonder though if because of that, they will demand too much in terms of prospects? The Rockies could most likely maximize his value by trading him at next summer’s deadline. Rios is finally at the end of a terrible contract. I would expect Texas to keep him and allow Cruz to walk [Texas has indicated that they will probably make a Qualifying Offer to Cruz]. I really like Aoki. He doesn’t answer the HR threat needed but he’s almost Choo lite. In two years in the majors .287 .355 .399 .755 isn’t shabby and throw in about 30 2B, 10HR and 25 SB per season. If you could add a power hitting threat in LF or 1B he would be the perfect guy to add.
“Willingham may have finally hit the wall called old age. He didn’t have a good year at all and will be 35 to start the 2014 season. I would imagine that while he may be traded, he will stay in the AL.
“Rasmus finally put together a strong season last year. .276 .338 .501 .840 is his best season since his 2nd season in 2010. He’s still arbitration eligible so I expect him to net a hefty pay raise this year before FA. He made a little over $4.5MM this year so$6.5-7MM sounds reasonable for his final year. I expect Toronto to try and extend him to a long-term deal to add him to the core including Reyes. However, it’s also possible that the Jays decide to go the blow the damn thing up route and trade anyone over the height of a wagon wheel… sorry I have been teaching the Mongols. So now it comes to what do I expect? I expect the Mets to actually bring in two OF, one with some pop and one that fits their mold of a high OBP guy. I do honestly expect them to stay in the Choo race but pending the market ultimately bow out. So assuming they do not go that route, I could see Cruz and a trade for a guy like Aoki.”
By the numbers
You have to go back to 2003 to find the last time the Mariners were looking down at the Angels in the AL West standings. It only seems longer.
“Over the last five seasons, the Braves have the best ERA in baseball at 3.44, and did not get past the LDS in any of those years.” The Bill Chuck Files
Dan Connolly at the Baltimore Sun reports that, “Outfielder Michael Morse, who finished the season hitless in his last 10 games with the Orioles, will undergo surgery Wednesday to fix a bone outgrowth in his left wrist, according to an industry source. Dr. Richard Berger of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota will perform the arthroscopic surgery, which will shave the bone. The source said Morse should be able to begin using the wrist again in four weeks and should be back to baseball activities in six to eight weeks, so the pending free agent should be a full go by the start of spring training. Doctors estimated that the outgrowth of the capitate bone that runs down through the hand was caused by trauma and probably occurred sometime in May, which likely affected his power and extension during his swing. Morse, 31, had hit 11 homers and had 21 RBIs through May, but he hit just two more home runs and compiled a .165 average after June 1.”
While most M’s fans won’t be interested in Morse going forward, he very well could be a buy-low candidate with pay determined by performace.
Blue Jays outfielder Ryan Langerhans elected free agency earlier this month, according to MLB Transactions. Langerhans, 33, posted a .748 OPS in 248 PA with Triple-A Buffalo this season between two minor league stints in Toronto’s system. The outfielder also spent some time playing for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters, hitting .287/.420/.500. —MLB Trade Rumors
Outfielder Stefen Romero finished second with 1,250 points during the Arizona Fall League’s inaugural Bowman Hitting Challenge on Saturday night at Salt River Fields. The competition, a home run derby-like event, featured one slugger from each Major League club currently playing in the AFL. Following four un-timed bunts at designated objectives, every hitter received two minutes to bat against live pitching with the goal of striking as many targets dispersed around the infield, outfield and home run grass as possible. Point values varied from 100 for hitting over-sized baseball cards, giant inflatable boxing rings, and towers of ball buckets to 600 for depositing a ball into an enclosed trampoline in deep right-center field. Homers ranged in value from 100-500 depending on where they were hit. At the end of the two-minute period, each contestant got one final swing off a tee, and any target hit with the “Bowman Bonus Ball” resulted in double points. Any foul ball hit at any point during the derby resulted in a 50-point deduction from the player’s tally.
“While not many Mariners prospects have begun play in Winter League action, left-hander Anthony Vasquez took advantage of an early start to post an excellent outing for Cardenales de Lara in the Venezuelan League.
“Vasquez missed much of this past regular season while recovering from a ruptured blood vessel in his brain, but the 27-year-old held Aragua to one hit with one walk and three strikeouts in six scoreless innings in his VWL debut on Sunday.
“Vasquez started seven games for the Mariners at the end of the 2011 season, then sat out most of 2012 with a shoulder injury and was hospitalized in Arizona following brain surgery during his recovery process. He came back to go 2-6 with a 4.08 ERA in 15 starts between Class A Clinton and Double-A Jackson last year and now is getting extra work this winter in Venezuela.” —Greg Johns at MLB.com
In Arizona Fall League (AFL) action, shortstop Chris Taylor’s patience helped the Javelinas eke out a tight victory
The Mariners prospect’s bases-loaded walk brought home the decisive run in the seventh. Taylor—who finished the game 0-for-2 with two walks—has always been a patient hitter. His 84 walks this season led the organization and helped him post a .409 on-base percentage in 134 games between Class-A Advanced High Desert and Double-A Jackson. —Based on a piece by Teddy Cahill at AFL MLB