The Toronto Blue Jays traded a significant amount of their minor league talent to the Miami Marlins this past offseason in a huge trade that netted Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson among others. Despite the deal, their cupboard is far from bare. Outfielder Kevin Pillar is one of the organization’s best young players and may also be the most underrated hitting prospect in all of baseball. (more…)
Dan Marino is trekking through each division in the major leagues and giving you one player he thinks is the: Rookie to Watch, Breakthrough Player, The Party’s Over, Non-Roster Invitee Most Likely to Stick, and Just Not Seeing it.
In part one of six he brings you the American League East:
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Aaron Sanchez, Alex Rodriguez, Austin Romine, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Brett Cecil, Brian Matusz, Brian Roberts, Bryce Brentz, Dan Jonhnson, Daniel Schlereth, David Phelps, Dustin McGowan, John Lackey, Jonathan Schoop, Jose Iglesias, Kevin Youkilis, Kyle Drabek, Kyle Farnsworth, Lyle Overbay, Matt Barnes, New York Yankees, Nolan Reimold, Ryan Lavarnway, Ryan Schimpf, Sam Fuld, Shelley Duncan, Stephen Vogt, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Wil Myers | 5 Comments »
Willie Mays Aikens once had a promising major league baseball career that came to a premature end in 1985 because of his personal demons. Although his problems robbed him of his career and led to serving a 14-year prison sentence, he pushed through and is finally back on track after a detour that lasted more than two decades.
Aikens grew up in difficult circumstances in South Carolina. He attended South Carolina State University, but when the school dropped its baseball program after his freshman year, he wound up playing semi-pro ball. His talent saw him through, and in 1975 the California Angels made him the second overall selection in that year’s draft.
A left-handed hitting and right-handed throwing first baseman, Aikens made his MLB debut in 1977 and went on to have an eight-year major league career with the Angels, Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays. He hit a combined .271 in 774 career games with 110 home runs and 415 RBI. His best season came in 1983, when he hit .302 with 23 home runs and 72 RBI for the Royals.
Aikens was also the star of the 1980 World Series, hitting .400 with four home runs in a six-game loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Despite the great numbers, 1983 ended horribly for Aikens. Following the season, he and teammates Jerry Martin and Willie Wilson pled guilty to attempting to buy cocaine, and were sentenced to three months in prison. (more…)
Filed under: Down and Dirty - Interviews, Book/Game Reviews | Tagged: Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Book Review, Interview, Willie Mays Aikens, California Angels, Hal McRae, Gregory Jordan, Willie Mays Aikens: Safe at Home, Willie Wilson, Jerry Martin | Leave a Comment »
By trading R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays, Sandy Alderson has officially conceded that the Mets will be in a major rebuild mode and will not contend for the postseason in 2013. By dealing Dickey for a group that includes highly touted players Travis d’Arnaud, and right-hander Noah Syndergaard, Sandy Alderson did well in securing two potential impact players.
Despite not wanting to see Dickey dealt, I have to admit the deal makes sense from a baseball standpoint. But in the process, he traded away 15-20 wins that the 2013 Mets will not be able to recoup. Alderson is conceding the 2013 season, despite his assertion that the Mets are still wanting to win in 2013. Alderson has gone “old school rebuild” with the Mets, and is stockpiling young talent. The question we have to ask is: when will enough be enough, and when will the Mets start complimenting the young talent with major league players? (more…)
The baseball offseason is a busy time. Really, no further introduction is needed for the notes from this past week.
***The hyperbole machine has been revved up to a fevered pitch now that the 2013 National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot has gone out and people have started debating the merits of various candidates. I will surely go into who I would vote for at a later time, but for now can offer up these thoughts: (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Boston Red Sox, Free Agents, Hall of Fame, Josh Hamilton, Kevin Youkilis, Los Angeles Angels, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Noah Syndergaard, R.A. Dickey, Ryan Dempster, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, Trades, Travis d'Arnaud | 1 Comment »
On July 26, 1977, Jack Morris took the hill for the very first time at Comiskey Park against the Chicago White Sox. The 22-year-old Morris pitched four innings of relief and gave up two hits and two earned runs while striking out three in his major league debut.
Little did the people of the windy city know, that day, they were witnessing the birth of a career that would compile the most wins by a pitcher in the 1980′s, become one of the best big game pitchers in baseball history, win four World Series titles, and lead the Tigers’ staff for 14 years. (more…)
More moves and rumors are starting to come in now that the baseball offseason is in full-swing. It’s always interesting to see the jostling that takes place, as teams seek to set their 2013 rosters, while battling other teams for resources. Despite Thanksgiving dominating this past week, there was still a flurry of activity that provided a lot of fuel to the hot stove fires. (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Alex Anthopoulos, Boston Red Sox, Brad Ausmus, C.C. Sabathia, David Price, Dustin Pedroia, Jeremy Guthrie, John Gibbons, Jonny Gomes, Kansas City Royals, Mark Buehrle, Toronto Blue Jays | Leave a Comment »
Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes has reported that out fielder Melky Cabrera has agreed to a two-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays worth $16M as general manager Alex Anthopoulos is working on building a major contender in the American League East.
Cabrera is coming off of a career year that was derailed thanks to high levels of testosterone that lead to a 50-game suspension. This suspension lead many to believe Melky would only get a one year deal, for fear that he could get suspended again or that PEDs actually had a hand in Melky’s performance.
The potential threat that PEDs had a hand in Melky’s performance or that they will be a problem moving forward is obviously a non-issue for Anthopoulos, given that he gave Melky a two year deal. I agree with AA here. But where my hesitation lies in giving Melky a two year deal is that his recent success has had more to do with luck than skill and I fear regression will rear it’s ugly head. (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Alex Anthopoulos, Free Agents, Garret Anderson, Kansas City Royals, Ken Griffey Jr., Melky Cab, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays | 2 Comments »
You have probably heard by now that the Miami Marlins and owner Jeffrey Loria have fooled the tax paying citizens by robbing them of hundreds of millions of dollars to build a new stadium while promising to put a competitive team on the field.
The Marlins did spend big on free agents last offseason but only to see the team trade them, and their other high profile and high priced players, the following offseason. Oh, and the free agents they did sign were signed to such heavily back loaded contracts that, just maybe, we should have seen this type of move from Loria on the horizon.
Loria is, without a doubt, the worst owner in the game and Major League Baseball should step in and make sure this does not happen again. Loria has fooled fans and taken advantage of the system far too many times and should not be allowed to own an MLB team.
But, when you look at this trade simply as a baseball move I believe the Marlins did a fantastic job of unloading money, aging veterans with escalating salaries, expiring contracts that were expensive, and collecting talent, especially young controllable talent. Take a look at the contracts that are leaving the Marlins payroll: (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Adeiny Hechavarria, Anthony DeSclafani, Emilio Bonifacio, Henderson Alvarez, Jake Marisnick, Jeff Mathis, Jeffrey Loria, John Buck, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Miami Marlins, Prospects, Toronto Blue Jays, Trades, Yunel Escobar | 2 Comments »
Bobby Valentine’s run as manager of the Boston Red Sox came to a merciful end yesterday afternoon. By going 69-93 (the team’s worst record since 1965) and serving as a lightning rod with his blunt outspoken manner, Valentine ended his tenure as ignominiously as Nero, who allegedly plucked his fiddle as Rome burned around him. Fans are so relieved to see Valentine leave that they appear to hold a collective belief that anyone different would be better. The candidate being mentioned the most, including being linked to the front office’s wish list, is John Farrell. However, if Farrell does emerge as the front-runner, it would be a major mistake, as his hiring could prove to be just as disastrous as his predecessor. (more…)