TTB

Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Category Archives: Chone Figgins

5 Teams to Watch in the AL

Yankees – They’re the 2009 World Series champions and still kept intact the solid nucleus that got them there. They traded top prospects to land centerfielder Curtis Granderson, a much better defensive asset than Johnny Damon. They also traded Melky Cabrera to the Braves for Javier Vazquez to bolster the starting rotation. With guys like C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Brunett, and Andy Pettitte, the Yankees boast a very good pitching unit. Mariano Rivera is still the best closer in the game and the aging offense led by Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira can still put a ton of runs up on the score board. If things go right, they could have another parade down Broadway.

Red Sox – The pitching is truly phenomenal. Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Daisuke Matsuzaka form the best top-four in baseball. The offense is led by top young stars Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. Marco Scutaro is hoping to end the revolving door at the short stop position and Adrian Beltre is an offensive upgrade at third. Offensive depth is the only thing that should concern the Sox but they have the pitching to get the job done. David Ortiz is a shell of his old self but it still the DH.

Twins – It’s safe to say that Joe Mauer is the scariest hitter in the AL. The reigning MVP is one of the reasons Minnesota is buzzing prior to the 2010 season. Along with a new outdoor park and a very dangerous lineup featuring Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, and Michael Cuddyer, the fans and Twins have high expectations for this year. The only problem with them this year though is pitching. If their starters can have decent years, they could beat out Detroit for the division.

Mariners – Seattle is truly going to be a serious contender in the AL. The addition of Cliff Lee, Chone Figgins, and Milton Bradley will revamp a pitching staff and offense in need of fire power. Lee became a hot pitcher again after his last season transformation with the Phillies and will look to create a formidable 1-2 punch with Felix Hernandez. Figgins will add speed and Bradley will look to add power to a Mariners lineup that hit 160 homer (12th in the AL) last season.

Angels – Surely they make their case for a serious playoff contender every year but there has to be a breaking point. They improved an already solid lineup with Hideki Matsui and bolstered their bull pen with Fernando Rodney but the team still doesn’t jump out at anyone. The core of the offense is aging in Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, and Matsui and they lost Figgins to the division rival Mariners. Jared Weaver, Joe Saunders, and newly acquired Joel Pineiro will need to have season like 2009 to give the Mariners a fighting chance in an AL crowded with contenders.

East: Yankees
Central: Twins
West: Mariners
Wild Card: Red Sox

Pennant: Yankees over Mariners

Free Agency Tracker

MLB.com has it’s Hot Stove Free Agency tracker fired back up. There have been no major signings yet this off season but players like Manny Ramirez, Bobby Abreu, and Ken Griffey Jr. have resigned with their former teams. The big names this year include Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, John Lackey, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Andy Pettitte, and Chone Figgins.

MLB Trade Rumors Top 50 breaks down where they think some of the top players will go. They have the Phillies projected at picking up reliever Jose Valverde and utility player Mark DeRosa. I hope they are wrong in some signings as they have the Mets getting Holliday and Randy Wolf.

Bruntlett Leads Players Dropped

The Eric Bruntlett era is over. The Phillies parted ways with their utility man after his two-year stay. Hated by many, I loved his passion and his role as a good team mate and classy guy. We will never forget his unassisted triple play or him sliding home on Carlos Ruiz’s game-winning infield single in game 3 of the 2008 World Series. We will also never forget his .217 with a .297 on base percentage in 238 plate appearances in 2008, then hit .171 with a .238 on base percentage in 118 plate appearances this past year.

Also being dropped were relievers Todd Walker and John Ennis, catcher Paul Hoover, and infielder Andy Tracy.

So with the departure of Bruntlett, that leaves a huge whole in the utility role the Phillies hope to fill. In a perfect world, the Phillies sign either Placido Polanco, Adrian Beltre, or Chone Figgins to start at third and are able to get Mark DeRosa to fill the utility role.

And in other news: Pedro Martinez wants to pitch the whole 2010 season. I don’t know if the Phillies have interest in him being the #5 starter but I wouldn’t mind it. It isn’t know whether or not he can go a whole season and be effective and if they can sign him for cheap then I say go for him. He’d be better than Chan Ho Park and Jamie Moyer as starters (I still want Park back in the pen),

Feliz’s Option Not Picked Up

The Phillies declined to pick up Pedro Feliz’s $5.5 million option today but said they will not rule him out for the hot corner position. Feliz is 34-years old and has shown a dramatic drop in power since coming to Philadelphia. He averaged 20 homers a year in San Francisco but only hit 26 in his two years for the Phillies.

Feliz batted .266 with 12 home runs and 82 RBIs in 158 games for the Phillies this season. With runners in scoring position, he hit a team-best .336. He tore it up in the beginning of the season but fell off drastically and hit a putrid .167 (9-54) in the playoffs this year.

If the Phillies are not going to bring Feliz back, they can look at free agents like Adrian Beltre, Chone Figgins, Mark DeRosa, and Troy Glaus. I would be all for Figgins but his asking price could be high. Beltre would also be a nice choice seeing that he will be can feast on the NL’s weak pitching. Bringing back Feliz is also not a bad move.

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