The title is self-explanatory – Rock Raines was named manager of the independent Newark Bears. What makes his story interesting is that less than a month ago the Bears ceased operations and folded. Well, since then a new ownership group swooped in and purchased the team (after bankruptcy), and the Atlantic League approved their return for 2009. So there will be baseball in Newark this year. Woo hoo. (h/t Mike Ashmore)
So how about that crazy first week of free agency, huh? Blockbuster trade after blockbuster trade and megahuge free agent deals were handed out like free samples of The Jacoby Ellsbury Eyebrow Wax Kit at Penney’s.
Okay, that was lame.
The hot stove is chock full o’ rumors but a little light on the action right now. Hell, the biggest trade action of the week came from the Knickerbockers, who completed Phase I of Operation Get LeBron by chopping like, $30M bucks off their future payroll. Not exactly what we all had in mind, but that’s just the way it goes.
Just to wrap up the action in Yankeeland, here’s a review of the week that was…n’t:
- Why hasn’t CC signed yet?
- Don’t count on Jake Peavy becoming a Yank.
- OMG why hasn’t CC signed yet???
- The Yanks might get Peavy.
- Mike Mussina retired.
That about sums up everything you need to know. It’s Friday, go do something fun. If you must be here, use this as your open thread.
Via Chad Jennings, the Yanks have added LHP Mike Dunn and RHPs Chris Garcia, Steven Jackson & Anthony Claggett to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. Notable players not protected include LHP Zack Kroenke, IF Ramiro Pena, and RHPs JB Cox & Alan Horne. Shows what I know, I thought Cox & Horne were shoo-ins to be protected. The Depth Chart has been updated.
Yesterday the Royals swung a deal for Coco Crisp, landing the man who was once traded for Chuck Finley in exchange for ex-Yankees’ prospect Ramon Ramirez. The deal gives the Boys in Royal Blue five players capable of playing the outfield everyday, meaning there’s excess to use as trade fodder. We’ve already heard rumblings about the Cubs being interested in Moneyballer Mark Teahen, although there has been no further movement on that front.
Having maintained interest in Mike Cameron, it doesn’t appear that the Yanks’ braintrust is content with Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner duking it out for the centerfield gig in Spring Training. That’s where David DeJesus comes in. The Brooklynite and Rutgers alum is one of KC’s most marketable pieces, and luckily for Dayton Moore is centerfield market is bone dry.
DeJesus offers plenty at the plate, consistently producing on-base percentages in the .350-.370 range despite minimal lineup protection. He also has a nice amount of pop, slugging at least .445 in three of his four full seasons. His line drive rate is nearly 25%, and last year he saw 3.86 pitches per plate appearances, good for tenth among AL outfielders.
If you’re down with clutchiness you’ll be down with DeJesus. The dude hit .419-.484-.562 with RISP this year, while his 2.63 WPA was 11th in league. His Clutch tied for third in the league at 1.14. Weak hacks at balls off the plate to strike out with runners on base is enough to annoy anyone, but DeJesus has incredible bat control that allows him to make contact on 89.5% of the swings he takes (good for 6th in the league), keeping his strikeouts down.
DeJesus’ defensive reputation took a bit of a hit last year when he slid over to leftfield in deference of Joey Gathright, but rumors of his defensive demise have been greatly exaggerated. Check it out:
|Revised Zone Rating||Innings per Out of Zone play|
If you’re unfamiliar with RZR and OOZ, they measure the percentage of balls hit into a player’s zone that are converted into outs, and the number of outs made on balls out the player’s of the zone, respectively. All the stats in the table are for the CF position only, and because Melky & DeJesus bounced around outfield spots, I presented OOZ in terms of innings played at the position.
Essentially what this data tells us is that DeJesus runs down balls hit into zone just as well as Melky & Coco, and that he also makes a fair number of tough plays on balls out of his zone. He’s never going to be confused for Carlos Beltran out there, but he’s fully capable of playing the position on an every day basis. Of course the Yanks always have the option of sliding him over to left late in game, allowing Johnny Damon to get a little break while Melky/Gardner shore up the outfield defense.
So here comes the part none of us can answer, what would it take to get him? He comes dirt cheap, as he’s owed just $3.6M in 2009 and $4.7M in 2010 before a $6M club option (or $0.5M buyout) comes into play. Picking up DeJesus would allow the Yanks to remain patient with Austin Jackson, and also gives them some depth for when Xavier Nady, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui hit the free agent market next year.
It’s not a buy low situation like Nick Swisher, but it’s a chance at a guy who could be available because of a numbers crunch. If the price is right, say a young pitcher like Ian Kennedy plus a reliever to replace Ramirez/Leo Nunez, then you almost have to pull the trigger. He brings much needed youth and athleticism, and is a perfect two year stopgap for Jackson and replacement leadoff hitter for Damon if he leaves after ’09.
Plus, just think of how much fun Michael Kay will have mentioning that DeJesus is a local kid living out his dream every time he comes to bat.
Eh … eh … you see what I did there? I had to get one last jab in.
AzFL Peoria (5-0 win over Scottsdale) Peoria has one more game left in the season and they’re 4.0 GB of a playoff spot, so they’re basically done
Kevin Russo: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
Phil Hughes: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K, 1 WP, 1 HB, 3-2 GB/FB – 53 of 76 pitches were strikes (69.7%) … wraps up his fall league season with 21 H, 13 BB, 38 K in 30 IP with a 3.00 ERA & .198 avg against … finishes up his year at 112.2 IP … time to just go home, chill out and get ready for next year
The Hawaii Winter Baseball season is over, Waikiki took home the league title.
AzFL Peoria (10-4 loss to Mesa)
Austin Jackson: 1 for 5, 1 RBI, 1 K
Juan Miranda: 1 for 4, 1 K
Kevin Russo: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
PRWL Mayaguez (4-3 loss to Caguas in 10 innings)
Ian Kennedy: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 5-7 GB/FB – too bad these box scores don’t have strike & pitch counts
AzFL Peoria (13-6 loss to Mesa)
Kevin Russo: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 K
Austin Jackson: 0 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K – just his 6th walk with the Javelinas … his walk rate is down from 9.72% in the regular season to 5.36% in the fall league
Juan Miranda: 2 for 5, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 K – he’s got a 1.174 OPS vs RHP & .679 vs LHP
Humberto Sanchez: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1-4 GB/FB – 15 of 21 pitches were strikes (71.4%) … I’d love to see some of these kind of outings from him in the Bronx this year
With the Arizona Fall League season ready to wrap up, DotF is just about ready to shut down for the winter. Every Sunday I’ll post an update for the Caribbean leagues, and I’ll throw something up midweek if IPK throws a no-hitter or something, but that’s it. Thanks for the all the comments, see y’all in April.
He’s been in the game since 1991. He’s pitched to Bo Jackson and Dave Winfield, Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols, and everyone in between. His first start came on Game 1,674 of Cal Ripken’s streak, less than two-thirds of the way through the Iron Man’s record.
And now, 3,562.2 innings and 270 wins later, he’s calling it a career. He spent his entire baseball lifetime pitching in the hell of the American League East, and at one point threw at least 200 innings in nine straight seasons. His streak of 10 or more wins in 17 straight seasons is an American League record.
He never won a Cy Young Award, never won a World Series, never led the league in ERA, and never led the league in strikeouts. The closest he’s been is second in each instance, seemingly defining Moose’s career as “almost.”
Mussina finishes his career with a record 100 games over .500 (117 games to be exact), something only 20 other men have accomplished. Of those twenty, 16 are in the Hall of Fame. The other four (Clemens, Maddux, Glavine, Pedro) will be some day. Moose should one day make it 21 for 21.
We’ve watched him thrive and we’ve watched him struggle, but most of all we’ve watched him be nothing but a class act. Talk about the Mooseman here, or whatever else is on your mind. Keep it classy, like Mike.