Friday, June 18, 2010

Twins Blog-Making a run at Cliff Lee?

In the past few weeks most baseball insiders have been speculating as to where Seattle LHP Cliff Lee will end up prior to the July 31st trade deadline. With Seattle's nose dive in recent weeks, it has become no surprise that they will shop around the former Cy Young award winner. Those same insiders believe the Minnesota Twins are the most likely team to land Lee. Given the depth of the Twins farm system matching up with some of Seattle's immediate needs, a deal could easily be made. A likely package to offer Seattle would consist of C Wilson Ramos, either SP Scott Baker or SP Kevin Slowey, and another mid level pitching prospect. The Twins have great depth in their farm system, but do they use some of that depth to acquire a pitcher that would just be a "rental" player? Lee is a free agent this winter and would be recieving offers from the Yankees, Mets, and Red Sox upon hitting the market, so any team that trades for him would only have him for the remainder of 2010, thus the "rental" tag. The most pressing issue for the Twins right now is the lack of an ace pitcher. Their starters, minus Liriano, have lacked serious consistency. They have a couple stellar outings followed by a couple of awful outings. And the inconsistency has shown when they have played playoff caliber teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Braves). And more than likely the Twins would run into the Yankees in October again should they get that far, and last I checked, the Twins can't solve the Yankees. And if you need reminding, look at the 2009 World Series and you will see Cliff Lee as the winning pitcher in Philadelphia's only two wins in that series. So Lee fills the "We can't run with the Yankees" void. Bringing Lee to Minnesota has alot of upside. He would make the Twins not just Central contenders but World Series contenders. But when push comes to shove, no, I can't see GM Bill Smith pulling the trigger on a deal like this. You can put your money on the Twins making a deal for a relief pitcher more than making a deal for Lee. And with free agency looming this winter for Lee, it makes it all the more easy to just say no. Even if they got Lee, the Twins would have a one in five chance of keeping him here past 2010. He would demand a contract around 15-20 million dollars per year. No one would be so sure Smith makes a trade period. Last year it took the Twins All Stars to convince him that they needed to trade for SS Orlando Cabrera. So one has to wonder what it would take to convince him they need Cliff Lee. Smith just doesn't give in to the big deals. But he has to see what we all see and that is a rotation without a leader and consistency. And teams that have rotations like that take a quick exit from postseason baseball. So, it's all on Smith now. Does he get Lee and push the Twins towards the top or does he settle for mediocrity pitching and take another ALDS sweep? The time is ticking. And he has 6 weeks and counting to decide.

Monday, June 14, 2010

MLB Power Rankings-6/14

Its been a few weeks but i'm back with some power rankings. This past week saw baseball's best prospect, Stephen Straasburg, make his debut and interleague play resumed. I have a new number one atop the rankings this week. Those Yankees have been playing consistently and with Tampa Bay's struggles they had to be bumped down. I also have some teams making some big jumps in a couple of weeks. Here's the rankings:

Rank. (Previous Week) Team Record: Comment

1. (2) Yankees 40-23: Now firing on all cylinders.
2. (1) Rays 40-23: Pitching has been beaten lately.
3. (7) Braves 37-27: Has Troy Glaus gotten a second wind?
4. (10) Red Sox 37-28: Offense has come to life.
5. (9) Padres 37-26: Still holding their ground.
6. (3) Twins 36-27: Injuries have taken their toll.
7. (11) Dodgers 36-27: Swept by Angels. Not a good sign.
8. (5) Reds 36-28: Joey Votto is vastly overlooked.
9. (13) Giants 35-27: Matt Cain has been lights out.
10. (6) Cardinals 34-29: Matt Holliday needs to wake up.
11. (16) Mets 35-28: Suddenly into second place.
12. (17) Rangers 35-28: Pounded Milwaukee pitching.
13. (4) Phillies 32-29: Can they buy some runs?
14. (18) Angels 36-30: Where did they come from?
15. (8) Blue Jays 34-30: Another June flame out on the way.
16. (14) Rockies 33-30: Someone solved Jimenez...finally.
17. (12) Tigers 33-29: Miguel Cabrera is still rolling.
18. (15) A's 32-33: A very streaky team.
19. (19) Marlins 31-32: Josh Johnson is a big force.
20. (20) Nationals 31-33: Strasburg finally made it!
21. (22) White Sox 28-34: Ozzie's final days?
22. (22) Cubs 28-35: This team cannot find their bats.
23. (24) Royals 27-37: Zach Greinke got win #...2?
24. (23) Brewers 26-37: Randy Wolf has been awful.
25. (27) Mariners 24-39: Cliff Lee's final days there?
26. (26) Diamondbacks 26-38: Juston Upton is on fire.
27. (28) Indians 25-37: Carlos Santana looks good.
28. (29) Astros 25-39: Can Oswalt be traded already?
29. (25) Pirates 23-40: Nose dive!!!
30. (30) Orioles 17-46: Still down here!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

MLB Blog-Ken Griffey Jr. Retires

Today George Kenneth Griffey Jr. officially closed the book on his storied 22 year Major League Career. And one can't help but think of that sweet swing that sent baseballs farther than horizon lines. Griffey was a rare breed. A 5 tool player that made the absolute most out of his talents. He finished his career hitting .284 with 630 home runs (5th all time) and 1836 runs batted in. But what Griffey should be most remembered for was saving the Seattle Mariner franchise. For most Seattle fans 1995 would be the year the Mariners were saved, as the M's made a improbable run to the ALCS thanks to a Edgar Martinez double, scoring the speedy Griffey. But, had Griffey not blossomed into that feared hitter, he never brings the respectability back to Seattle, and Seattle probably would of up and moved to a new city (The M's were pushing for a new stadium at the time). Griffey needed Seattle and Seattle needed Griffey. And when Griffey was traded to Cincinnati in 2000, it just seemed like the wrong fit for both sides. In Griffey's first 11 seasons with Seattle he was averaging 36 HR and 104 RBI per season, but after his trade to Cincinnati he just averaged 25 HR and 67 RBI in 8 and a half seasons there. And in four of his first seven seasons in Cincinatti Griffey missed at least 50 games due to injury. It was just never right watching Griffey play for someone not named Seattle. But he made one last right in his career by playing his final year and a quarter with Seattle. But as we saw Griffey was so worn by age that the Seattle magic he once had there was gone. And he chose to ride off into the sunset on his terms. Ken Griffey was this writer's baseball icon growing up. And you couldn't of picked a better one to have during the steroid era, when all the games greats had fallen out of respectability, with the exception of Junior himself. Our final shot of Junior will be in 2016 as he recieves his plaque in Cooperstown with that infamous ear to ear grin on his face(No doubt he will have Seattle on his cap). And he will go down as one of the best centerfielders in baseball history, rivaling Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, and Ty Cobb for that honor.