The Unbareable Lightness of Being

By Blaidd Drwg

…Chone Figgins. One of the worst free agenst signings in Mariners history. He basically became completely useless (although you can argue he was already there) on Tuesday when this came across the wire:

Looking to add depth to the infield, the Seattle Mariners have acquired versatile Robert Andino from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for reserve outfielder Trayvon Robinson.

Robert Andino is basically Chone Figgins with slightly more power and slightly less ability to get on base, oh, and Andino makes about 1/3 of what Figgins does. That move prompted this one on Wednesday:

Designated OF Scott Cousins and INF Chone Figgins for assignment.

Before you get too excited about effectively swapping Andino for Figgins, keep this in mind – Andino somehow managed to play in 127 games last season for Baltimore and managed an incredible .588 OPS, which is only slightly better than what Figgins posted last year.

It actually makes me wonder how the Orioles were that successful with putting Andino out there as much as they did. Hopefully Wedge does not fall in love with him and feels the need to use him even semi-regularly.

It All Comes Down to This

By Blaidd Drwg

The playoffs are set, just a few teams jockeying for position.

Yankees and Orioles for the AL East – If the Yankees win, they win the division, so they control their own destiny. If they Orioles win and the Yankees lose, we get a tie breaker on Thursday. If the Orioles lose, the Yankees win the division.

Rangers and A’s for the AL West – man, this became a race all of a sudden. Both teams go into tonight’s game tied. The A’s are on fire, the Rangers are not. It should be a fun one to watch. The winner takes the division; the loser gets the wild card and has to fly cross country to play that game on Friday in NY or Baltimore if the Orioles win tonight.

The NL is set other than the Nats and Reds battling it out for the best record.

The most intriguing story line is Miguel Cabrera and his quest for the Triple Crown. Cabrera leads Mike Trout in BA by .007, Josh Hamilton in HR by 1 and Josh Hamilton in RBI by 11.

No one is going to catch Cabrera in RBI, so he has that one locked up.

For the HR’s, basically it is up to Hamilton. He needs 2 to take the lead and 1 to tie and is facing A’s rookie A.J Griffin. Hamilton has not homered in his last 8 games and has just 1 homer in 32 AB in Oakland this year. Cabrera should know if he has the HR title locked up before his game starts – the A’s/Rangers starts at 12:35 PM PT and the Tigers/Royals starts at 5:10 PM PT. I think I put my money on Cabrera winning this title outright as Hamilton won’t be swinging for the fences as the Rangers need to win this game.

BA is where it gets interesting. Trout faces the M’s and Blake Beavan this afternoon (3:40 PM PT start). Trout is a career 0-8 against Beavan and is just 12-41 at Safeco this season. If Trout manages to pull off a 4-4 afternoon, that would raise his average to .328571. Cabrera currently stands at .330645. Assuming that Trout goes 4-4, all Cabrera needs to do is to get 1 hit. It does not matter how many at bats he has. The only way that Cabrera does not win the title with a 4-4 day by Trout is if he goes 0-4 or worse. An 0-4 day would leave Cabrera at .328526 average, just a hair behind Trout. Cabrera should win this title too.

Regardless how you feel about the Triple Crown categories being over-rated, it is really cool to have something potentially happen that has not happened in 45 years.


UPDATE 3:54PM: Simply unbelievable – the A’s sweep the Rangers and take the division. The Nats get the NL best record and Cabrera locks up the HR and RBI titles. Mike Trout was hit by a pitch in his first at bat.

And Down the Stretch They Come…

By Blaidd Drwg

The NL has 4 of its 5 playoff spots finalized, with only the 2nd wild card still remaining. Even then, the Cardinals have a 3 game lead over the Dodgers with 6 games remaining, making it unlikely that the Dodgers will catch the Redbirds.

The AL is a different story – no one has actually clinched a playoff spot and it could be an interesting last week of the season. Going into Friday’s games, the Yankees lead the east by 1, the Tigers lead the central by 2 and the Rangers lead the west by 4. The wild card also has races, with the Orioles 1 game ahead of the A’s for the first spot and the A’s 2 games ahead of the Angels and Rays for the 2nd spot.

Here is how this is going to play out:
Yankees have 6 games left – 3 at Toronto and 3 vs. Boston. They are in the best position to win the division since they play the two worst teams in the division and neither Boston nor Toronto is playing particularly well right now. As much as I know the Red Sox would like to spoil the Yankees playoff chances, I don’t think it will happen. I see the Yankees taking 5 of the 6 to win the division.

Orioles have 6 games left – 3 vs. Boston and 3 at Tampa.
Rays have 6 games left – 3 at Chicago and 3 vs. Baltimore.
The final TB-Baltimore series could really put a monkey wrench in the playoff chances for one of the two teams. Both the O’s and the Rays are hot and they both need to sweep their weekend series. It is entirely possible that both of these teams could make it to the playoffs, and I wouldn’t be shocked if they do.

Last week, the White Sox had a 3 game lead in the division. This week, they are trailing the Tigers by 2.
The White Sox need to take at least 2 out of three from the Rays (they really need a sweep) and then sweep the Indians in their last series. Why? Well the Tigers benefit from the most favorable remaining schedule of all the contenders – the have 3 at KC and finish with 3 vs. Minnesota. That is going to make it very tough on the Sox.

The Rangers are in the driver’s seat, but by no means have it locked. They play 3 vs. the Angels and 3 at Oakland. Basically if they take 2 out of 3 from the Halos, the Rangers win the division and the Angels go home for the season.

The A’s are playing the Mariners for 3 and then finish with the Rangers. They really need to sweep the M’s and hope that either the Rangers fell apart against the Angels or have won the division and decided to monkey with their rotation to get it set for the playoffs. The A’s are a longshot to win the division but are in a pretty good spot for a wild card, even with their all-rookie rotation.

The Angels just basically need to win out against the Rangers and the Mariners. It could mean that there is meaningful baseball played in Safeco field in October, just not for the Mariners.

My Prediction:
East Winner: Yankees
Central Winner: Tigers
West Winner: Rangers
Wild Card 1: Orioles
Wild Card 2: A’s

Depending on everyone’s final record and how the wild card standings finish, you could actually end up with this nightmare scenario:

Oakland wins the 2nd wild card and flies to Baltimore, arriving sometime in the wee hours of the morning on Thursday

Oakland at Baltimore for the wild card game on Friday if Baltimore ends up with the best wild card record.

New York at Baltimore for the ALDS on Sunday if NY ends up with the best record.

MLB has decided in its infinite wisdom that the team with the best record gets to play the wild card winner (great), but the series format is 2 games at the WC winner and 3 at the Division Winner. So, the Yankees might not know that the need to get on a flight to Oakland until late Friday night. As much as I hate the Yankees, I don’t understand how that makes any sense. It probably negates any advantage they gain from playing the wild card winner. Of course, this gets much more interesting if there is a tie anywhere and we need a playoff to determine the winner.

Is the End Near for Methusela?

By Blaidd Drwg

The ‘real’ Methuselah rookie card. I am not sure he was old enough to drive when that picture was taken. Heck, I am not sure they had cars when that picture was taken.

I think it is time for Jamie Moyer to hang it up. He has had an interesting career and a strange ride this season:

  • Signed minor league contract with the Rockies in the off-season with an invite to spring training.
  • Makes the Rockies opening day roster.
  • Pitches poorly (like anyone is surprised that this happened) with the Rockies and is released.
  • Signed by the Orioles and assigned to AAA.
  • Pitches pretty well but the Orioles are not planning on calling him up, so he is released.
  • Signed by the Blue Jays and assigned to AAA.
  • Pitches poorly in AAA and is released by the Jays.

The Rockies have been so bad that their starters have an ERA somewhere around 7 this season, so that gives you an idea how bad Moyer was in Colorado. That is not really a surprise – a guy who tends to give up a ton of fly balls pitching in the best hitters park in the league, well, you get the idea.

I will admit, the Orioles release was a bit of a surprise – Moyer pitched well at AAA Norfolk, but the Orioles wanted to go in a different direction, so they released him. The funny thing is, the Orioles have actually demoted 3 of their starting pitchers since Moyer was released.

The Blue Jays experiment was also no surprise – Moyer pitching in the PCL, at altitude, in a small ballpark; that is Colorado part 2.

I haven’t seen any indication that Moyer is ready to give it up. I bet he is just waiting for someone to need an arm and give him a call. I honestly think he is done, but teams might get desperate

What I really would like to see when Moyer is ready to hang it up, is to sign with the Mariners. Not just a symbolic deal – I want to see him sign a deal where he starts one final game at Safeco Field, has an agreement with the opposing team to throw one pitch for a strike where the batter won’t swing and then pull him out of the game and have him walk off the mound to a standing ovation from a sold out crowd.

I think that would be a fitting career end for a pitcher that had one of the most improbable careers I have ever seen.