Dugout Central has listed its top 10 Fantasy Baseball pitchers for the upcoming season. The list finds the D-Backs’ Brandon Webb at #6 and Dan Haren at #10 and division rival Padres pitchers Jake Peavy at #2 and Chris Young at #9.
Here’s the complete list with notes on Webb and Haren (theirs not mine):
1. Johann Santana
2. Jake Peavy
3. Cole Hamels
4. C.C. Sabathia
5. Erik Bedard
6. Brandon Webb (Webb continues to find success by making major league hitters pound theball into the ground. This makes him a perennial contender for the Cy
Young award, but robs him of a little fantasy value because his
strikeout numbers aren’t quite as good as the top tier. Be that as it
may, he’s strung together three straight excellent fantasy seasons and
each one has been a notch better than the last. If he’s your number one
starter, you’re still in good shape.)
7. John Smoltz
8. Josh Beckett
9. Chris Young
10. Dan Haren (It occurs to me that there are going to be some hellacious pitchers
duels when Arizona and San Diego square off this year. Four of the top
ten spots are occupied by pitchers from those two teams. Haren comes
over to the weaker league, but the expected dip in his ERA may be wiped
out by the ballpark change. I’m less concerned by that than the
possibility his win total may take a hit unless the D’Backs can improve
their offense or defy the baseball gods for a second consecutive year.)
h/t Baseball Musings
From the December 5th Star Tribune comes this headline:
Twins In No Hurry To Trade Santana (subscription)
Seriously? Why don’t you just stick needles in my eye?
Going, Going Gonzo Once More
Last we heard from Luis Gonzalez he was a man without a team, lashing out at Dodgers management for playing younger guys more than him (sound familiar?), then saying after Joe Torre was hired as LA manager that, yes, he might like to stay in LA after all, no hard feelings or anything like that. Gonzalez is a Type B free agent. The Dodgers declined to offer him arbitration.
"I keep hearing Tampa Bay," he said. "I don’t want to play
for Tampa Bay. No knock against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays — that’s
where I grew up and I was excited when they got a team. But I’m in
my 16th year. Money is not an option for me right now. I want to
play to win."
What a difference a year makes. Now it appears Luis just wants to play.
WWJD? (What Would Jake Do?)
So, Arizona thought they’d approach Brandon Webb with the idea of a contract extension the other day. Nobody knows what numbers came up, but they apparently didn’t come up high enough, and Webb very astutely replied no thanks, he’ll let the market value for a staff ace and Cy Young winner appreciate and see what happens with, oh let’s see, someone like current Cy Young winner and staff ace Jake Peavy whose contract the D-Backs used as a guideline in discussions with Webb two years ago.
Webby, your chariot awaits. Peavy is on the verge of signing the biggest contract in San Diego Padres history, guaranteeing he will be a thorn in our side until at least 2012. According to Bernie Wilson of the Associated Press, The guaranteed money in Peavy’s extension will average $17.3 million a
season. By comparison, Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs averages
$18.3 million and Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants averages $18
Please, Brandon, let your conscience be your guide; and since your conscience tells you that you don’t necessarily need the biggest deal then please let it guide you back to Chase Field. By the way, you might want to get that deal done while you are still eligible for a Cy Young award because…
BBWAA Takes Stand On Bonuses
Meaning they don’t like them and starting in 2013 will exclude players with award clauses in their contracts from ballots for post season awards like League MVP and Cy Young. Curt Schilling has a clause in his agreement for next year
that would pay him $1 million if he receives even a single
third-place vote for the Cy Young Award.
What does Schilling think about the new rule? (Really, did you think he wouldn’t have an opinion on this?)
responded with a 1,000-word, four-font, two-color posting on his
"To think that these guys ever approached this as anything
other than them being touted as the ‘experts’ on who wins what is
(untrue)," he wrote. "Add to that I seriously doubt anyone ever
looked at this from a perception standpoint and thought wow, they
are making this guy rich. I would disagree.
"The only step that hasn’t happened yet is to stop them from
voting on awards altogether. They shouldn’t do it. Anytime someone
is allowed to vote on this, on the Hall of Fame ballot, and that
person injects personal bias into their vote, they should lose the
Lucky for Curt he doesn’t get a bonus for perfect spelling. I can’t wait to hear what he thinks about the voters of Massachusetts when he runs for that Senate seat.
If the rumors are true that the Orioles are shopping Erik Bedard then the Diamondbacks, who have been rumored to be looking at free agent pitchers Bartolo Colon and Matt Clement, might do themselves a favor and put an offer for the lefty on the table.
If the Orioles would trade Bedard to the Dodgers for a package including Matt Kemp then maybe they might consider an offer of Carlos Gonzales and Carlos Quentin or a combination of several other position players. The Diamondbacks have plenty of good young bats if that’s what the O’s are looking for in return. And if other rumors are true, such as Matt Kemp and others in a package deal for Miguel Cabrera, then the D-backs could just end up with a steadily improving young pitcher who is 2 years away from free agency and many scouts think has Cy Young potential.
I know that’s a lot of "ifs", but I can’t think of a better trade. Can you?
Arizona, our long national nightmare is over. According to the East Valley Tribune, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Randy Johnson have reached a tentative agreement on a new two year contract that will bring the left hander back to the club. Finally. I swear that was more agonizing to watch than an episode of Lost.
The players going from Arizona to the Yankees are reliever Luis Vizcaino and minor leaguers Ross Ohlendorf, Steven Jackson and Alberto Gonzalez. This combination is less painful for the D-Backs to give up than some of those previously rumored. Ohlendorf didn’t make Arizona’s top 30 prospects in the 2006 edition of BA’s Prospect Handbook. Jackson was 0-2 in the Fall League with a 7.11 ERA. Gonzalez is a shortstop known mainly for his defense, but his bat has come alive as of late. Since Stephen Drew looks to be the Arizona shortstop of the future, Gonzalez was expendable.
At first glance, it looks like the Yankees made a very good deal; and this makes way for them to
bring back Roger Clemens who seems to be permanently attached to Andy Pettitte’s hip. For the Diamondbacks? MAYBE. The pitching rotation will be better with Johnson in the lineup, but it remains to be seen by how much. Time will tell if the back surgery that Johnson underwent at the end of last season will affect him. On paper, the rotation looks to have the ability to be explosive; but with Randy on board it also has the possibility of becoming implosive.
Reportedly, the deal does not include re-structuring of the $40 million in deferred salary Johnson is due from his previous six seasons with the club. Payments run through 2012.
Also, according to the report, the Yankees will NOT pick up any of the $16 million due Johnson for the 2007 season. The Diamondbacks claim they have about $10 million to spend this year without going over budget. They also made a commitment at the end of last season to bring along their younger prospects by saying goodbye to veterans Luis Gonzalez, Craig Counsell and Miguel Batista. While trading for Johnson does not seem to fit in with “The Plan” or “The Budget” it won’t matter if it ends up fitting into “The Postseason”.
Hmm…I THOUGHT I had Josh Byrnes and the D-backs plan figured out. After their efforts to land injured free agent pitcher Mark Mulder came to a merciful end when Mulder said "NO" to the club’s offer, it looked as though Arizona would be starting the season with a rotation of Brandon Webb, Livan Hernandez, Doug Davis and whatever pitchers could win the final two spots in Spring Training. Now we’re hearing that former Diamondback pitcher Randy Johnson, perhaps prompted by the death of his brother and a desire to play closer to home (Arizona) and his family, is being dangled by the Yankees as trade bait. That in itself is not surprising, but the fact that the D-backs are interested (as in REALLY, REALLY interested) is what perplexes me.
There was no love lost between Johnson and the Valley when he orchestrated a trade to send him to the Yankees at the end of the 2004 season. He said some not very nice things about the organization and the desert. It’s a bitter memory for fans that was reported by the media in much the same way as the Charles Barkley trade from the Suns to Houston in 1996. Barkley, too, was an aging superstar that was unhappy with the organization and questioned it’s commitment to winning (read: Sir Charles). He, too, went to another team full of superstars and failed to live up to the hype he made for himself or help the team win a championship.
Esoterically, I suppose that the trade would seem good for the D-backs supposing you could get the Yankees to pick up half of his $16 million salary. The Diamondbacks claim to have about $10 million to spend; and, having been shut out of the free agent pitching market this year, the money seems to be burning a whole in their pocket. Johnson is still owed almost $40 million in deferred money from his five years with Arizona. In fact, the Diamondbacks are still paying people like Brian Anderson and Todd Stottlemyre which is why we find ourselves knee deep in the future that Jerry Colangelo mortgaged in exchange for a World Series trophy.
But Johnson will be 44 at the end of the 2007 season.The D-backs made it clear at the end of last season they were going to go young by sending veterans Luis Gonzalez, Craig Counsell and Miguel Batista packing as a result. He’s coming off of his second back surgery so there is an obvious health risk. How would he handle pitching behind Brandon Webb as the number 2 starter? He’s not been known as much of a positive clubhouse presence (something sorely needed on a team full of impressionable young players) so don’t count on "veteran leadership" to be part of the deal. Seriously, we don’t need a clubhouse full of Randy Johnsons for the next 5 years.
More importantly is what will the Diamondbacks have to give up in exchange for an aging veteran in questionable health with a 5.00 ERA? Reports are that the Yankees have expressed interest in right-handed setup man Brandon Medders in addition to several of the five starting pitchers that the D-Backs consider candidates for the two available spots in their 2007 rotation – Edgar Gonzalez, Enrique Gonzalez, Dustin Nippert, Ross Ohlendorf and Micah Owings. The Diamondbacks refused to move Medders in the 2005 deal with Atlanta for Johnny Estrada sending Oscar Villarreal along with Lance Cormier instead.
How much is too much? What if the Diamondbacks need to go to their young pitchers next season as they did last season – say, if Johnson’s health fails or one of the other starters is injured? If these young pitchers can be packaged to trade for a pitcher like Johnson then who knows what they could be worth? Even sportscaster John Gambadoro, the resident transplanted Yankee fan
in the Valley, stated last night on Fox Sports that it would be a bad
deal for the D-backs as Johnson is now just a shell of his former self.
Of course, he could be using reverse psychology although I tend to
think that Gambo is not that smart.
Of course, there is another issue. The New York Daily News is reporting that the San Diego Padres are now the front runners in any deal involving Johnson, and the two LA teams are showing interest. How much would it be worth to keep him away from Division rivals? Hmm….
There are some things that just don’t change. If Johnson does indeed come back to Arizona then fans need to greet him with eyes wide open because with athletes like Johnson and Barkley it is always about THEMSELVES.
As a footnote, I did enjoy this comment to a post regarding the possible trade at Baseball Musings:
A lot of people, including me, thought Brandon Webb may have seen the National League Cy Young award slip away after he allowed seven earned runs over four innings in the Diamondbacks’ 7-6 loss to the Padres in the season finale.
O, we of little faith.
Webb became the 40th NL Cy Young award winner which is voted annually by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He becomes the second Diamondback pitcher to win the title. Randy Johnson won four consecutive NL Cy Young Awards from 1999-2002.
Webb, 27, finished the season with a 16-8 record and 3.10 ERA in 33
starts. He tied five other pitchers for most wins in the NL. It is the
lowest win total by a Cy Young winner in any year not shortened by
labor issues. Webb went unbeaten in his first 13 starts, while posting
an 8-0 record with a 2.14 ERA. He allowed just 3.5 pitches per batter
faced and ran off a string of 30 consecutive scoreless innings.
Trevor Hoffman-SD (77)
Chris Carpenter-STL (63)
Roy Oswalt-HOU (31)
Carlos Zambrano-CHIC (6)
Billy Wagner-NYM (4)
John Smoltz-ATL (3)
Takashi Saito-LAD (1)
2006 WEBB FACTS:
- 16 wins*
- 3.10 ERA
- 235 innings*
- 33 Starts
- 178 strikeouts*
- 5 complete games
- 3 shutouts*
- 1st All-Star appearance
*denotes career high