Gammons- Future of game looks promising

Go down

Gammons- Future of game looks promising

Post  RedMagma on Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:06 am

Gammons- Future of game looks promising

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=gammons_peter

For Henry Waxman, Tom Davis and members of the House Oversight Committee, truths have become murky, sometimes convoluted, mostly repulsive. They are asked to disclose funding for the Clinton Library and campaign -- and other endeavors -- from the Middle East, and now to sort out why Brian McNamee or Roger Clemens would risk prison time by lying to Congress, much less why McNamee would store gauze and syringes for seven years or why Clemens wouldn't have a legitimate doctor do the B-12 and lidocaine injections.

As it unravels just miles from where the 2008 baseball season will open in the U.S. with the March 30 unveiling of the Nationals' new ballpark, the sordid McNamee-Clemens war may be a defining moment in the Steroid Era. Baseball then hopes that after nearly a decade of minor league testing and newer, more stringent regulation of enhancers and enhancements that the McNamee-Clemens war and the Barry Bonds trial will be the doors slamming shut on the past.

Because on this upcoming Wednesday, pitchers and catchers begin reporting to spring training with their sights set on a season in which Major League Baseball claims more tickets have been sold at this time then any time in its history. It may be hard to know whom and what to believe in the past, but baseball is counting on the court of public opinion believing that Bud Selig and his game are doing everything to make the present and future believable, and legitimate.

Spring training may allow baseball to turn from HGH to OPS, Clemens and Bonds to Johan Santana and Ryan Howard. As for the future, these are the weeks when we will start to view what lies ahead.

Which is why the future lists are so fascinating, from Keith Law here on ESPN.com to Baseball America's prospects book to Kevin Goldstein on Baseball Prospectus to John Sickels' minor league blog.

To begin, Baseball America rates, in order, the Rays, Red Sox, Reds, Rangers and Yankees as the five best minor league organizations in terms of talent. Think about that. Think about where the Rays and Reds were five years ago. What the Red Sox and Yankees were in terms of mortgaging their futures for the wars of the present. And where the Rangers have come from since the debacle of the Alex Rodriguez signing and departure.

Then, for the sake of outside objectivity, take Goldstein's top 100 prospects. The Rangers, Athletics and Red Sox have the most players on that list, with seven apiece, followed by the Rays, Yankees and Braves with six. Some, of course, has to do with years of high picks based on bad performance; Tampa Bay has two of the top six prospects in third baseman Evan Longoria and left-handed pitcher David Price because they made the right choices at the top of their drafts; some of them are thanks to the work, grit and creativity of scouts, which is how Clay Buchholz and Joba Chamberlain are at the top of the list after being sandwich-round selections.

And some are the work of general manager rebuilding through trades. Billy Beane knew the Athletics had hit a crossroads, and of those seven players the A's have in the Baseball Prospectus Top 100, all but right-handed pitcher Trevor Cahill came by way of for trades involving Mark Mulder, Dan Haren and Nick Swisher; of course, the A's No. 1 prospect,Daric Barton and Haren came to the A's in the Mulder trade, while Haren in turn brought three top 100 youngsters from the Diamondbacks. As for the Rangers, GM Jon Daniels has three top 100 prospects from last July's deals involving Mark Teixeira and Eric Gagne.

Tampa Bay may not leap into the playoffs because the Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays can be three of the four or five best teams in the American League, but because of their offseason decisions and the ready supply of young pitchers they are on the brink of being really good. The first vital decision came during last season when B.J. Upton found his role in center field and rolled up 24 homers and an .894 OPS (highest of any player under the age of 26) and gave glimpses of legitimate stardom, emerging as Carlos Pena became the star player (and presence) for the Rays that many believed he would become. Then came the decision to make trades that would lighten Joe Maddon's firefighter role and deepened the pitching. Then came the acquisition of Jason Bartlett, a legitimate shortstop.

If Longoria is the 30-home run third baseman many predict he will become, catcher Dioner Navarro fulfills Maddon's expectations and Rocco Baldelli can at least DH, then the team in the field will be extremely competitive (David Pinto figures they will be up to nearly 5.5 runs per game, roughly the equivalent of the Tigers in 2008). Now with Troy Percival, Dan Wheeler and Al Reyes in the bullpen, there is maturity and responsibility to preserve what Scott Kazmir, James Shields and Matt Garza start. Maddon will look at Edwin Jackson, Andy Sonnanstine, Jason Hammel and Jeff Niemann at the end of the rotation, but it won't be long until Price, Jake McGee and Wade Davis -- all top 25 prospects -- will be knocking on the door.

Can the Rays catch the Yankees and Red Sox and keep their players? The answers will come, in time, but this is the year Tampa Bay will go into spring training considered far superior to the rebuilding Orioles and with none of the big-market teams wanting to play them.

As he has done his entire tenure as general manager of the Yankees, Brian Cashman has spent the offseason doing what he believed was in the best long-term interests of the Yankees. Because he eschewed the Santana trade, Cashman's job now is likely tied to Phil Hughes, Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, et al. But Cashman wants to build a long-term pitching staff, then take money and fill where he needs to build as the Yankees see a number of big contracts go away in the next two offseasons. With close to a half-dozen pitchers making less than $500,000 in 2009, Cashman next winter will be able to go get Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia and even Joe Nathan, if he so chooses.

If Curt Schilling is out for a prolonged period of the regular season, then Buchholz may have to jump into the fifth spot in the rotation, behind Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester and Tim Wakefield. Boston has Jed Lowrie to plug in at second base, shortstop or third base this season. Justin Masterson could be in the rotation mix by July, and Daniel Bard and Craig Hansen could be bullpen parts. And on the immediate horizon are outfielders Brandon Moss and Ryan Kalish as well as first baseman Lars Anderson, who already has a park in Brookline, Mass. named after him.

For less than $1 million, Boston has Lester, who their coaching staff believes will win big. And Buchholz, by all ratings one of the three best starting pitching prospects in the majors. Without those two, when Schilling's shoulder began hurting him, they would have had to overspend for Kyle Lohse, Jeff Weaver, John Patterson or some other free agent. Or trade Ellsbury, Masterson, Lowrie and Kalish for Santana, give him $150 million and redo Beckett's contract.

The Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers have taken advantage of other owners' enslavement to the arbitrary slot system; Kalish, Anderson and Hansen were all signed above slot, as were Kennedy, Austin Jackson, Andrew Brackman and Jesus Montero by the Yankees. But then the Tigers wouldn't have Miguel Cabrera and Dontrell Willis if they hadn't bucked the slot system for Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin, and the Pirates wouldn't be in the bind they're in had they been allowed to draft by talent, not signability.

What is remarkable is what Daniels and Beane have accomplished so quickly. Daniels acquired Elvis Andrus, Engel Beltre and Neftali Felix in trades, and has worked hard to rebuild the talent base which former general manager Doug Melvin had constructed before owner Tom Hicks got the notion that they could win quickly with the likes of Chan Ho Park. Beane will probably have Carlos Gonzalez and Ryan Sweeney playing this season, and by the end of the year have Gio Gonzalez, Brett Anderson and Fautino de los Santos in the mix, plus whatever Beane will likely extract from a needy contender in July for Joe Blanton.

This is what Andy MacPhail is trying to do with the rusted Orioles. He acquired five players for Miguel Tejada. The trade with Seattle involving Erik Bedard could net the Orioles Adam Jones (described as being somewhere between Torii Hunter and Mike Cameron), a top starter prospect in Chris Tillman and two more good young arms, plus the eminently tradeable George Sherill. "If Andy's allowed to do the Brian Roberts trade with the Cubs," says a GM, "he'll have gotten 13 or 14 young players for three guys. They haven't been .500 since 1997, it's about time."

GM Wayne Krivsky has systematically changed the Reds. Yes, they have four of the top 50 prospects, led by outfielder Jay Bruce, along with right-handed pitchers Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto and first baseman Joey Votto, and Krivsky traded Josh Hamilton to the Rangers for Edison Volquez for a rotation that is being built from years of disastrous drafts. There are some serious doubters on Bailey, but talent isn't the issue, and the Reds appear to have a direction that in the past didn't exist.

Who would have thought in the first week of last February than Ryan Braun would hit 34 home runs, and that a self-developed bunch of kids in Colorado would ride on through to the World Series?

***************************

Less than 10 minutes before the deadline to get a deal done, Santana told Mets ownership that he was not going to accept $135 million, that he was willing to go to free agency and that was that. The Mets then got the deadline extended, Santana got his deal and lots of incentives and the Mets learned how intelligent, independent and strong their new ace happens to be. Johan was not afraid of walking away.

From a former Yankees coach: "Hughes had a reputation for being a little lazy, but A-Rod was great with him. He really pushed Hughes in the weight room and helped him the way he helped Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera. Alex relishes that role and his relationship with the young players, and they know no one outworks Alex."

What pleases Tigers manager Jim Leyland most about Cabrera is how hard he's worked to get into the best shape of his career. "He looks unbelievable," says Leyland. "He's really taken to this."

Yes, Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi and New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo did play high school baseball against one another in central Massachusetts. And, yes, Jays right-handed pitcher Jason Frasor is the cousin of injured North Carolina guard Bobby Frasor, who is sorely missed these days by the Tar Heels.

RedMagma

Posts : 3654
Join date : 2007-12-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Gammons- Future of game looks promising

Post  RedMagma on Mon Feb 11, 2008 11:46 am

Because Redsox won the World Series Chris, want stick it to Clemens.They want Clemens to suffer. Mitchell is a Redsox Director.

RedMagma

Posts : 3654
Join date : 2007-12-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Gammons- Future of game looks promising

Post  RedMagma on Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:53 am

Yankees have Doug M last year? Did they won last year Evan?

Defense is overrated. Pitching wins.

Guillen is shortstop was move to First Base by tigers

Youkilis is offensive first baseman and yet He improve and won GG this year

RedMagma

Posts : 3654
Join date : 2007-12-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Gammons- Future of game looks promising

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum