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Tag:Alexei Ramirez
Posted on: November 21, 2008 2:33 pm
 

Viciedo: Better than Ramirez?

The White Sox have had an advantage in judging Cuban players, because general manager Ken Williams can get in-depth scouting reports from Jose Contreras and now Alexei Ramirez. So when they spend big money to sign Dayan Viciedo, as they did this week, you have to wonder if they know a little more than everyone else.

Some scouts were down on Viciedo after watching his workout in the Dominican Republic earlier this month. They said he was out of shape, and that while he has tremendous raw power, it looked like he might have to play first base, rather than third.

The White Sox reports on him were much better, so much so that it's said they like Viciedo more than they liked Ramirez, who finished second to Evan Longoria in rookie of the year balloting.

It's worth remembering that rival scouts were dismissive of Ramirez this spring, and even early this season, calling him nothing more than an extra player who wouldn't hold up over a full season.

 

Posted on: October 20, 2008 5:04 pm
 

Garza: Phils' lineup gives Rays a break

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Joe Maddon says the Phillies are like an American League team, because they have a deep lineup.

Maddon's Tampa Bay players may not agree.

"I'll tell you what," ALCS MVP Matt Garza said today. "Facing that Phillies lineup, compared to facing the Red Sox lineup, the Tigers lineup or the Yankees lineup, you get a little bit of a break with the Phillies lineup, especially pitching in Philly. There's that nine-hole guy (pitcher) I get to throw against. I'm pretty pumped. I get to be that nine-hole guy, too. I'm excited about that."

While Maddon won't announce his World Series rotation until Tuesday, Garza pitched Game 7 against the Red Sox on Sunday night, so he won't be available until Game 3, on Saturday in Philadelphia. Maddon could go with Scott Kazmir and James Shields in the first two games, on normal rest.

Garza did have nice things to say about Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino.

"(Rollins) and Victorino are their sparkplugs, man," Garza said. "Just like Boston had Coco (Crisp) and (Jacoby) Ellsbury, and Chicago had (Orlando) Cabrera and (Alexei) Ramirez. Those guys are what make it go. (Chase) Utley and (Ryan) Howard, you've got to watch out, because those are the ones who drop the big bombs. But if you keep Rollins and Victorino off the bases, you can control the running game, shut down their offense a little bit and let them rely on their big swings."

 

Posted on: September 30, 2008 1:36 pm
 

Scott's wrong -- but not on everything

The great thing about awards is that you can argue about who deserves them. And the great thing about the 2008 awards for me is that for the first time in almost 20 years, I don't have an actual vote on any of them.

That means I'm completely free to tell you what I think, and you're completely free to totally ignore it.

And as much as I respect Scott Miller, I'm also completely prepared to tell him where he's wrong.

You can read Scott's picks for the postseason awards here, if you haven't already.

To save time and avoid repetition, I'll just say I agree completely with Scott on the AL Cy Young award (Cliff Lee), and on both managers of the year (Joe Maddon, Lou Piniella). I agree with him on both rookies of the year (Evan Longoria, Geovany Soto), although the AL decision is a tough one, with Longoria getting just a small edge over Alexei Ramirez.

No argument on executives of the year, either (Andrew Friedman and Doug Melvin).

Of course, those were the easy picks.

The MVPs were the tough ones. Too many candidates in the National League, not nearly enough in the AL.

But think about who had the most effect on this season. What will you remember about 2008?

In the NL, you'll remember how Manny Ramirez changed the Dodgers into winners, and how CC Sabathia did the same for the Brewers. You'll remember all those Ryan Howard home runs that put the Phillies over the top in the East. I'd put all three of them of them ahead of Albert Pujols, who had a very nice season but only turned the Cardinals into fringe wild-card contenders. The MVP: Manny.

In the AL, Dustin Pedroia is a nice pick. But it's the wrong pick, because Francisco Rodriguez's 62 saves made the difference this year. Sure the Angels won by about 50 games, but if you don't think a closer can be valuable, ask all those teams that are sitting home in October primarily because they didn't have one. The MVP: K-Rod.

That leaves the NL Cy Young. I admire what Tim Lincecum did. I love Sabathia. But Johan Santana didn't lose after June, and he nearly pulled a flawed Mets team into the playoffs. Yes, I know that Sabathia DID pull his team into the playoffs, but I'll give the edge to the guy who was there all year. The Cy Young: Johan.

 

Posted on: July 17, 2008 5:31 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2008 7:27 pm
 

Trade talk, and answering questions

It's no real surprise to see Tony Clark going from San Diego back to Arizona. Clark is from San Diego, but he has lived for years in the Phoenix area and very much wanted to get back there. The Diamondbacks needed help off the bench, and also the veteran presence that Clark brings, and the Padres have reached the point where they realize they don't have a chance this year.

There were those in baseball who thought Arizona would be a possible destination for Mark Teixeira, should the Braves trade him. Like Clark, Teixeira has a home in Arizona, and could possibly have been interested in staying there long-term. But Arizona didn't want a full-time first baseman who would take at-bats away from Chad Tracy and Connor Jackson. The Diamondbacks were encouraged by the 25 runs they scored in the final four games behind the All-Star break, and convinced themselves that at this point their offense doesn't need the big-time boost from someone like Teixeira.

It's also no surprise to see the Phillies trade for a pitcher, even though Oakland's Joe Blanton was far from their first choice. The Phils were looking for a difference-maker, and it's hard to see Blanton being that kind of pitcher. The one plus is that he normally pitches a lot of innings, and the Phillies might score enough runs to help him succeed.

Other talk circulating in the baseball world today:

-- The Mariners continue to be open for business, and there has been some talk that they would even be open to dealing young shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. But one official who has spoken to the Mariners said he was told Betancourt was one of four players the M's wouldn't talk about, with the other three being Ichiro Suzuki, Jeff Clement and Brandon Morrow.

-- The Rays' interest in Rockies closer Brian Fuentes has been talked about for days, but a baseball official said Tampa Bay has also talked to Oakland about Huston Street. The Rays are also in on Casey Blake, who could well be traded by the Indians.

-- Even after trading for CC Sabathia, the Brewers are well-positioned if they want to make another deal. Matt LaPorta was the key piece in the Sabathia trade, but one scout said LaPorta was no better than the fourth best prospect on Milwaukee's Double-A Huntsville club. "(Third baseman Mat) Gamel is an impact guy, and so is (shortstop Alcides) Escobar," the scout said. "And (outfielder Michael) Brantley has a chance to be an All-Star. For a lot of people, including us, LaPorta is going to be no better than an average everyday player."

-- One other Milwaukee player to watch is shortstop J.J. Hardy. The Blue Jays are very interested in him, and some people believe that if Dustin McGowan hadn't gotten hurt, a deal could have been made (the Brewers aren't interested in Burnett). There's still a chance, those same people believe, that the Jays could pursue Hardy this coming winter.

-- The Tigers haven't been saying very much about Dontrelle Willis, who was sent to Class A Lakeland more than a month ago (and more recently was in Detroit to have his knee examined). The word is that in Willis' workouts in Lakeland, his control hasn't been any better than it was in Detroit. People familiar situation said Willis has been doing a lot of running, trying to take off some of the weight he has added.

-- While the White Sox are telling people that they're satisfied with their team and unlikely to make any significant moves, there are those who wonder whether they'd deal shortstop Orlando Cabrera, who will be a free agent at the end of the year. Whether he's dealt or not, it's unlikely Cabrera will be with the Sox next year, because rookie Alexei Ramirez is expected to take over at short, his natural position.

*****

Some e-mails, and some quick responses:

From Josh T.: "Did you even watch the (All-Star) game? Did you see any other pitcher pitch? Did you see the defense on each side? All you can talk about is the freakin' Yanks and Boston"

Let's see, the All-Star Game was at Yankee Stadium, the MVP plays for Boston. No, I can't figure out why anyone would have written about the Yankees and Red Sox. You're right. Next time, I'll be sure to feature someone who had a bigger effect on the game. Cristian Guzman, maybe?

From Jason: "You're an idiot to suggest that CC Sabathia isn't an All-Star because he didn't make this year's team. I could make a team out of the players not on this year's (All-Star) roster and beat them in a game."

Sorry, but if you don't make the All-Star team, you're not an All-Star. If you don't believe me, then try to collect that All-Star bonus in your contract without being named to the team.

From Scott: "I don't understand why you included the pitcher from Kansas City (Zack Greinke) in your (On The Block), other than for filler."

We included Greinke because the Royals are willing to talk to other teams about him this month. No, he probably won't be dealt, because it would take a huge package to get KC to actually make a deal, but we thought it was interesting that they're even willing to discuss him.

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