The Detroit Tigers’ decision to trade Doug Fister was one of the more perplexing moves of this past offseason. General manager Dave Dombrowski maintained that the $7.2 million the 30-year-old Fister was in line to earn through arbitration could be used elsewhere–specifically, on a free-agent closer.
Two days later, the Tigers inked Joe Nathan to a two-year, $20 million contract. Somewhat predictably, the 39-year-old closer has fallen apart in 2014. Nathan has pitched to the tune of a 5.28 ERA (versus a park-adjusted 4.13 xFIP) and 1.92 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.
Still without a solution for the ninth inning, Dombrowski acquired Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Soria tossed 4.1 innings of 10.38 ERA-baseball until succumbing to a strained left abdominal. It’s quite possible the impending free agent will not throw another pitch in 2014.
Yet, despite wasting funds and prospect assets on finding a “proven” closer, the Tigers have continued to overlook a perfectly capable, internal option: Al Alburquerque. Continue reading
Posted in Closer Looks, Uncategorized
Tagged Al Alburquerque, Al Alburquerque Closer, Al Alburquerque Should Be Closing For The Detroit Tigers, Alburquerque, Alburquerque Closer, Ben Berkon, Detroit Tigers, Detroit Tigers Al Alburquerque, Detroit Tigers Alburquerque, Detroit Tigers Joe Nathan, Joe Nathan, Tigers Alburquerque Closer, Tigers Nathan
The 2014 MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline was arguably the most memorable deadline in recent history. With the likes of David Price, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Yoenis Cespedes, Austin Jackson and many more stars moving around, experts and fans alike were in full swoon mode.
But sometimes when All-Stars are on the move, the brilliant, lesser trades fall through the cracks. In an attempt to pay proper homage to such, below are the five deals from this past deadline that deserve to share a bit of the spotlight with the bigger fish.
Posted in Trade Deadline, Trades
Tagged 2014 MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, Abraham Almonte, Andrew Miller, Anthony Banda, Ben Berkon, Chris Denorfia, Eduardo Rodriguez, Gerardo Parra, Martin Prado, Mitch Haniger, MLB, Peter O'Brien, Sam Fuld, Stephen Kohlscheen, The Beanball, Tommy Milone, Trade Deadline
Being six games under .500 and eight-and-a-half games out of first place, the 2014 New York Mets still have a decent chance to not be a bad team this season. Especially if Jenrry Mejia’s recent comments in his SNY.tv interview are indicative of the team’s ambitions, it’s quite possible the second half of 2014 could at least be enjoyable for fans.
But if the organization’s true vision is be competitive in 2015—not this season—then general manager Sandy Alderson has about four days to decide if the Mets will be buyers or sellers at the July 31 trade deadline. And if the latter, Bartolo Colon should be playing elsewhere in August.
Colon has been solid for the Mets in 2014, posting a 4.03 ERA (versus a 3.50 FIP), park-adjusted 87 ERA+ and 5.26 strikeouts-to-walks ratio over 126.2 innings. The right-hander’s 1.3 walks-per-nine-innings ratio also ranks near the league’s finest.
The veteran’s value to pitching-starved, playoff-hungry teams is undeniable. In addition to averaging 6.2 innings-per-start in 2014, the Mets have also displayed a willingness to eat part of the $14.5 million Colon is owed between this year and next, according to NY Daily News’ Andy Martino–making the veteran that much more affordable.
Then again, Colon’s inconceivable durability and success at age 41 in many ways makes his trade value a bit more enigmatic than your average veteran pitcher. In an attempt to evaluate the potential return Colon could net the Mets, below are six summer deals (dating back to 2009) that involved non-ace, veteran starting pitchers.
Posted in Closer Looks, Trade Deadline
Tagged Bartolo, Bartolo Colon, Bartolo Colon Mets, Bartolo Colon Rumors, Bartolo Colon Trade, Bartolo Colon Trade Deadline, Bartolo Colon: So What’s The Trade Market For a 41-Year-Old Pitcher?, Ben Berkon, Colon, Colon Mets, Colon Rumors, Colon Trade, Colon Trade Deadline, Mets, Mets Colon Rumors, Mets Trade Bartolo Colon, Mets Trade Colon, Mets Trade Deadline, New York, New York Mets, The Beanball, Trade Deadline
Within the New York Mets’ community, Daniel Murphy is a polarizing figure.
Amongst those who lean on descriptors such as “grinder,” “gamer” and “gritty” to base their opinion of a player, Murphy is a poster child for the banal “how the game should be played” proverb.
After all, the 29-year-old owns a career .291 batting average (and a park-adjusted 109 wRC+) at a position that rarely sees such offensive output. And despite his overzealous—albeit, very poor—antics in the field, Murphy does take his defense seriously.
Yet, for the detractors who prefer to belabor Murphy’s career 6.3 percent walk rate and minus-31 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) at second base, his oft-dirtied jersey isn’t reason enough to peg him as a “core” player.
Regardless of where a fan falls on the #ImWith28 spectrum, however, Murphy’s short-lived future with the team has little to do with his positive or nonexistent skill sets. Instead, the mistreatment of Daniel Murphy—a player that, if he played in a normal environment, would be a notable role player and asset—is yet another unfortunate product and casualty of the Mets’ financial woes. Continue reading
Posted in Closer Looks
Tagged Ben Berkon, Dan Murphy, Dan Murphy Mets, Dan Murphy Mets Rumors, Dan Murphy Trade, Daniel Murphy, Daniel Murphy Mets, Daniel Murphy Mets Rumors, Daniel Murphy Trade, Mets, Murphy, Murphy Mets, Murphy Mets Rumors, Murphy Trade, New York Mets, The Beanball, The Mistreatment of Daniel Murphy
Over the past three seasons, no shortstop has hit more home runs than J.J. Hardy. In fact, The Baltimore Orioles’ star has even slugged more dingers than Troy Tulowitzki, Asdrubal Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez.
But the very shortstop with a penchant for hitting home runs has yet to connect for one in 2014. Over his first 178 plate appearances, Hardy has posted a stellar .303 batting average, park-adjusted 94 OPS+ and 11 doubles—but zero home runs.
So how is it that despite sporting a high batting average (it’s 43 points above his career rate) and reasonable OBP+ (it’s only two points below his career rate), that Hardy is sitting at zero home runs? Continue reading
Posted in Closer Looks
Tagged Baltimore Orioles, Ben Berkon, Hardy, Hardy Home Runs, J.J. Hardy, J.J. Hardy Home Runs, J.J. Hardy: Where Did All His Home Run Power Go?, Orioles, Orioles Hardy, Orioles J.J. Hardy, The Beanball
The close of the 2013 season marked the end of a long era of dominant relief pitching in the Bronx. Mariano Rivera, who reigned as the New York Yankees’ closer since 1997, decided to hang up his cleats and infamous cutter—for real, this time.
Luckily for the New York Yankees, however, the team had closer-in-waiting David Robertson in tow. Robertson, 29, owned a 1.91 ERA (versus a 2.31 FIP) and 3.58 strikeouts-to-walks ratio from 2011 to 2013 while setting up for the future Hall of Famer.
As expected, Robertson’s transition to closer in 2014 has been a natural one, tossing a 2.40 ERA (versus a 2.32 FIP), 7.67 strikeouts-to-walks ratio and 11 saves over 15 innings. Yet, even though the right-hander’s dominant performance has put the Yankees at ease, perhaps the rise of Dellin Betances has been the bigger bullpen story in New York this season. Continue reading
Posted in Closer Looks
Tagged Ben Berkon, Betances Yankees, Bleacher Report, Dellin Betances, Dellin Betances Success, Dellin Betances Yankees, Dellin Betances: The Biggest Success Story in the 2014 New York Yankees' Bullpen, FanGraphs, New York Yankees, The Beanball, Yankees, Yankees Bullpen
It feels like Joba Chamberlain has been around forever. And given how many twists and turns his career has taken him through, it’s not a farfetched notion.
But in reality, Chamberlain is just 28 years old. Continue reading
Posted in Closer Looks
Tagged Ben Berkon, Chamberlain Tigers, Joba, Joba 2014, Joba Chamberlain, Joba Chamberlain 2014, Joba Chamberlain Detroit Tigers, Joba Chamberlain is Back, Joba Chamberlain Tigers, Joba Rules, Joba Tigers, Joba Yankees, The Beanball