Ruben Amaro Jr. has tried to stay patient during the MLB Winter meetings this week, hoping to not overpay and jump into a big contract just to make news. However, at this point the waiting game may start to hurt the team. Nearly all of the targets for the Phillies have signed elsewhere. Angel Pagan and B.J. Upton were the teams top targets at the beginning of the free agent period and they have signed with the Giants and Braves, respectively. There were a few plan B's for the Phillies including former Phillies Shane Victorino and Michael Bourn. Victorino has agreed to a deal with the Red Sox and Bourn remains a free agent.
After a year in which no Chicago Cubs pitcher won more than nine games, it’s hardly a surprise that the team is looking to add starting pitching help this offseason. That doesn’t mean, however, that they’re planning to dive into the multimillion-dollar Zack Greinke sweepstakes.
As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs are looking to continue last year’s approach of targeting bargain-priced free agents this offseason. The paper suggests that with the potential trade for Dan Haren having fallen through, the team’s top candidates include two more righthanders: Oakland’s Brandon McCarthy and Milwaukee’s Shaun Marcum.
All three pitchers have reasons to appeal to Cub management, though ex-Cub Haren—now a free agent after the Angels declined his option—is likely to be out of Chicago’s desired price range. Of the two more affordable starters, McCarthy appears to be the more encouraging prospect.
We are at that point in the baseball season where there are about two weeks left, and the field has been narrowed down to the best 4 teams in the League. Welcome to the Championship Series. Today we are going to breakdown the National League Championship Series, which pits the St. Louis Cardinals versus the San Francisco Giants.
This matchup has a ton of great storylines, it pretty much writes itself. (Thank you baseball Gods) On the surface, you have a matchup between the last two World Series Champions. Both teams made improbable runs in their respective Championship seasons, and both defeated the Texas Rangers in the World Series.
This year’s Cardinals are managed by first year Manager Mike Matheny, who made a name for himself playing five seasons with the Cardinals in the early 2000s. Matheny then went on to play for the Giants in 2005, where he won a gold glove and the Willie Mac Award, a team award given out to the player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership shown by Willie McCovey in his day.
The Chicago Cubs’ 2012 season mercifully ended on Wednesday, leaving Cubs fans to do what they do best: hope for a better showing next year. On the plus side, the team’s late-season performance offered some obvious reasons for optimism, and even the youngsters who arrived with the September roster expansion showed flashes of productivity.
Here are the three most promising performances from the late-season arrivals:
1. Dave Sappelt can hit major league pitching now
He’s no Miguel Cabrera, but Sappelt improved dramatically over his shaky performance with the Reds in last September’s trial run. The pint-sized outfielder—nicknamed “Mighty Mouse” by Dusty Baker while in Cincy—hit .275 and slugged .449 in 26 games in a Cub uniform.
Those numbers added 30 points in batting and 130 in slugging to what he’d shown previously at the Major League level, making Sappelt a legitimate candidate for a reserve outfield spot next season. He’s not going to be a superstar, but every team needs solid utility players of the kind he looks ready to become.
2. Chris Rusin has the mental toughness to be a starter
This award is going to be a very tough decision on who to vote for on the ballot. (Unlike the 2012 Presidential election.)
There are a boatload of guys that you can make a strong case for: R.A. Dickey, Gio Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw, Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman, Matt Cain, Cole Hamels, Kyle Lohse and Craig Kimbrel are all thankful that Kris Medlen didn't start enough games to get serious consideration for the award. (In 12 starts with Atlanta he was 9-0 with a ridiculous 0.97 ERA.)
St. Louis Cardinal fans are already nervous because they get to face Medlen in a one-game playoff on Friday.
What a year he had for the Washington Nationals. He led the Majors with 21 wins and proved the Nationals made the right move by trading four of their top prospects for him in the offseason.
Rankings among starting pitchers in the NL
21 wins (1st)
2.89 ERA (6th)
207 K's (T-4th)
1.13 WHIP (8th)
4.6 WAR (4th)
9.4 K's / 9 IP (1st)
2.72 K's / BB's (25th)
.206 opponent batting avg. (1st)
.582 opponent OPS (1st)
199.1 IP (19th)