Tagged: John Lackey

Red Sox Rumors: Ubaldo Jimenez

Could Ubaldo Jimenez Play For The Team That Cost Him A World Series Ring Back In 2007?

Ubaldo Jimenez

Unlike Hiroki Kuroda (Another starting pitcher that the Red Sox have been rumored to be interested in), Jimenez’s contract could last anywhere from 2012 to 2014. You see, Jimenez has team options for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, with one million-dollar buyouts both seasons. His salary for the 2013 season could be increased from $5.75 million-dollars depending on Cy Young results. In 2014, his salary would be eight million-dollars, but unlike the 2013 season, the “Cy Young bonus” could be voided if Jimenez is traded.

It has been reported that there are four main players in the Ubaldo Jimenez sweepstakes. One of those teams, is the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are supposedly the furthest along as they have already talked prospects. The Rockies are reportedly interested in starting pitchers Homer Bailey, Mike Leake, and Travis Wood, all have major league experience. Another player the Reds are looking at is twenty-four year old, Yonder Alonso.

With Joey Votto locked up until 2013, the Reds decided to move Alonso to left-field. When the Reds traded Jonny Gomes to the Nationals the other day, they made it clear, at least to me, that Alonso is untouchable. Mild-infielder Billy Hamilton and catcher Devin Mesoraco are also supposedly untouchable.

According to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, Mesoraco is the Reds number one prospect, followed by Alonso and Hamilton. Also, according to Mayo, Mesoraco is the second best catching prospect, Alonso is the third best prospect at first-base, and Hamilton is the second best prospect at second-base. But, with the Reds now 6.5 games behind the Brewers in an already crowed National League Central, this deal might be more focused on the future than the present.

Another team that has interest in Jimenez is the Detroit Tigers. Yet, it doesn’t look like that they are willing to trade starters Max Scherzer or Rick Porcello. The Rockies have inquired about both players. It looks like Detroit is more likely to go after someone like Erik Bedard or Jeremy Guthrie.

The third team looking at Jimenez, is none other than the New York Yankees. The Yankees have the first, fourth, and sixth rated catching prospects in Jesus Montero, Gary Sanchez, and Austin Romine. Therefore, it makes since to trade one of them.

Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports that the Yankees won’t trade Manny Banuelos (the fourth rated left-handed pitching prospect in MLB according to Mayo), Dellin Betances (the eighth rated right-handed pitching prospect in MLB, also according to Mayo), and rookie Ivan Nova, who was recently sent down to AAA, but had an eight and four record in sixteen games started up in the big leagues. Unless the Yankees part with a pitcher, Jimenez won’t be wearing pinstripes.

The last major player for Ubaldo Jimenez are none other than the Boston Red Sox. Unfortunately for Boston, it doesn’t look like Clay Buchholz will be back soon. Yet, Boston is more likely to trade for a rental player, as their first four starting pitchers for next year are set (Beckett, Buchholz, Lackey, and Lester) and Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller, and Tim Wakefield (Unless he retires) will battle for the fifth spot until Dice-K returns. A Major League executive said that the Red Sox are most likely to trade for Kuroda followed by Guthrie and Bedard.

Photo Credits

Ubaldo Jimenez

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Red Sox Rumors: Jose Reyes

Could Jose Reyes Be Playing In A Red Sox Uniform In October?

With the trading deadline less then two weeks away, leading up the the trading deadline, Soxoholics will be taking a look at some guys the Red Sox reportedly have their eye on.

Jose Reyes

Even though according to various sources it is looking less and less likely that the Mets will be trading their star shortstop, an all-star with an expiring contract on a sub .500 team can never be counted out until August 1st. Jed Lowrie has been on the disabled list for a month now and he’s, “. . . growing stronger, may swing bat soon,” who knows how long he’ll actually be out. Every American league team at least five games back has a better shortstop than Marco Scutaro (no disrespect). Derek Jeter (NYY), Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE), Jhonny Peralta (DET), Alexi Ramirez (CWS), Elvis Andrus (TEX) and Erick Aybar (LAA) are all significantly better than Sctuaro.

Now, even though a trade like this is highly unlikely, what would the Red Sox have to give up in order to get Reyes? Well, if the Mets demanded that they get a shortstop in return, the trade would be completely off as the Red Sox see twenty-one year old, Jose Iglesias as their shortstop of the future. After that the Mets would probably ask for either Stolmy Pimentel or Drake Britton. Lastly, the Red Sox might “toss in” Lars Anderson now that his path to Fenway Park has been blocked do the the Adrian Gonzalez trade. That’s the Red Sox’s first, fourth or sixth, and their fifth ranked prospects. Obviously, that is probably a little too much which is why people negotiate.

One thing to take note on Reyes is that he was placed on the disabled list with a strained hamstring on July 7th. While it isn’t anything serious and he is due to come back within the next few days, it is just a thought that General Manager and Executive Vice President, Theo Epstein should have in the back of his head.

If the Red Sox do decide to go all in and acquire Reyes, their lineup would feature a player with all-star experience (including four players this year, not including Josh Beckett and Jon Lester) at every position with the exception of Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Personally, combined with Josh Beckett, a hot John Lackey, and hopefully a healthy Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester, I can’t see how they could be stopped.

However, with so many all-stars in one lineup, what would the lineup look like? This is what I have in mind . . .

1.) Jacoby Ellsbury: CF

2.) Dustin Pedroia: 2B

3.) Adrian Gonzalez: 1B

4.) Kevin Youkilis: 3B

5.) David Ortiz: DH

6.) Carl Crawford: LF

7.) Jose Reyes: SS

8.) J.D. Drew: RF

9.) Jarrod Saltalamacchia/Jason Varitek: C

It’s essentially the same lineup the only difference being Reyes. Crawford and Reyes as well as Drew and Saltalamacchia/ Varitek are interchangeable in my mind. And if Pedroia or Ellsbury begin to slump Reyes could bat first or second. This trade is most likely not going to happen, but if it did, it would take the Red Sox to the next level in my mind. A level that right now, no one is on.

Photo Credit

Reyes: http://www.theheckler.com/2011/06/13/reyes-contract-demands-include-changing-first-line-of-anthem-to-jose-can-you-see/

The Curious Case of John Lackey

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Physically he's fine. Mentally though, he's just not there.

3.1 innings, four hits, five earned runs, four walks, one home run (Will Venable’s first of the year), a wild pitch, two hit batters, and a big “L” in the loss column. How is it that a man can have those stats against the team that scores the least runs per game? Yet, he can pitch eight “solid” (four earned runs) innings against the N.L. Central leading Brewers.

Maybe, physically something is wrong. He did go on the D.L. on May 17th due to a right elbow strain.

However, manager Terry Francona said, “He’s more than willing to pitch through anything. He said he’s pitched through this before, and worse. But it’s May, not September. If we don’t do something now it might not get better. We talked with the medical staff. I don’t think he’s too happy about it. He’s such a competitor. But it’s the right thing to do.”

The fact that Lackey was willing to pitch through it shows that the injury was relatively minor. A big factor in Lackey’s most recent poor outing was definitely the weather though. The game had a total of four rain delays and two while Lackey was still in.

Catcher Jason Varitek said, “With the delay, it might have shown more maybe in the second inning after he sat down. It looked like he couldn’t get as loose, then once he did, it was pretty wet. It was wet and it was obvious that he was loosing some feel. There was a fastball that shot away from him, some changeups. Couldn’t quite figure out what was the best pitch to get him in the zone with in that situation. It’s a tough one for him to have to wear because he has been throwing the ball well. It was sloppy out there. It was even hard for me to throw balls back to the mound. It was that entire game.”

But, the weather on Wednesday doesn’t fully explain his 7.26 ERA. Maybe something bigger than the game of baseball is affecting Lackey. I think Chris Jones best explained it when he said, “His wife, Krista, has been fighting breast cancer. And now his right arm had failed him, too.”

When Tiger Woods went on his, “leave of absence,” many wondered why Phil Mickelson didn’t go on a tear and start racking up wins. Mickelson’s mother and wife were both fighting breast cancer.

One in two men will get cancer and one in three women will get cancer. It just so happens that his wife is one of those one in three women. When Lackey is pitching it seems to me like his body is on the pitching mound, but his mind is with his wife, wherever she may be.

Lackey is the eighth highest paid pitcher in baseball and signed a five year, $82.5 million contract on December 16, 2009. In Lackey’s last five starts against the Blue Jays, the A’s, the Blue Jays again, the Brewers, and the Padres, Lackey has an ERA of 7.89 with thirteen walks, twenty strikeouts, a record of three and two, and a whip of 1.51.

On the season Lackey is five and six, with a 7.36 ERA, a WHIP of 1.60, has given up eight home runs, and has struck out 38.

For more read the following articles by Chris Jones and Alex Speier.

Photo Credit

Lackey: http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2010/0819/bos_a_lackey_b1_300.jpg

Ideal Team Percentage

At the end of the day, sports are simple. To win you just have to score more runs than your opponent. Wether you win 100-1, 1-0, or 10-5 a win is a win. Winning by fifty counts as the same amount of wins as winning by one. When you look at the standings, it doesn’t say, On May 10th this team won by 2 runs but walked 10 batters and had fewer hits than their opponent. All it says is that this team has won so many games and lost so many.

Sports may be simple, but winning isn’t. So far this year, the Cincinnati Reds have scored the third most runs per game (4.82) and the most in the National League. Yet, the Reds are just two games above .500, are third in the N.L. Central and have the 13th best record in baseball. The reason for this is that the Reds have a team ERA of 4.13, the fourth worst in the N.L. and the twenty second worst in baseball.

A Big Reason For The Reds' Pitching Woes Has Been Edinson Volquez, Who Has An ERA Of 5.61 This Season.

As for  their ideal team percentage (ITP, Where a team ranks among MLB team in runs scored per game and ERA) the Reds are a 42%, (3+22)/60=42%. Keep in mind that the lowest, what a team wants to be, a team can be is 3.33% and the highest is 100%. And yes, I made that stat up.

But lets look at a team that is .500, like the Pittsburgh Pirates. For starters, what Clint Hurdle has done is amazing and very noteworthy, but that is a different story. The Pirates (35-35), currently rank 25th in MLB in runs scored per game (3.71) and are 8th in ERA (3.52). (25+8)/60=55%.

"So even though the Giants have four more wins than the Pirates, they have the same ITP."

One of the more interesting teams this year, are the San Francisco Giants. The Giants have been having to deal with injuries all year long, including the loss of 2010 N.L. Rookie of the Year, Buster Posey. The Giants who are currently leading the N.L. West by just half a game are scoring just 3.48 runs per game, the second worst behind San Diego in MLB. Yet, they have the fourth lowest ERA (3.28) in MLB. All this means that the Giants have an ITP of 55%. So even though the Giants have four more wins than the Pirates, they have the same ITP.

But, we wouldn’t be done if we didn’t mention the Red Sox. Boston is first in the majors in runs scored per game (5.27), but Boston’s team ERA is 3.97, or 19th in MLB. This is largely due to inconsistent  pitching by John Lackey, Bobby Jenks, and lets not forget Dennys Reyes’ three earned runs, two hit batters, and two walks in just 1.2 innings pitching. This all before being designated for assignment on April 8th. Boston has an ITP of 33%.

For more information on ITP look at the following screenshots from Microsoft Excell.

 Photo Credits

Volquez: http://nbchardballtalk.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/edinson-volquez-sitting.jpg?w=200&h=170&crop=1

Huff and Walker: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/images/201104/x20110427pirates_500.jpg