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Category Archives: Zach Greinke

Phillies in serious talks for Michael Young

IF Michael Young (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

IF Michael Young (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

UPDATE — According Jon Heyman of CBSSports, the Phillies are moving closer to a deal for Michael Young.

Heyman indicates that the Texas Rangers would need to pay $10 million of the $16 million that is owed to Young.

It sounds as though Young is heavily considering waiving his no-trade clause. Plus, the Rangers want to unload some older players and free up as much salary as possible in order to re-sign Josh Hamilton or land Zack Greinke.

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According to Comcast Sportsnet’s Jim Salisbury, multiple sources say that the Phillies are in serious negotiations with the Texas Rangers for third baseman Michael Young.

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News added that the talks are in an advanced stage and working towards a deal.

Young has spent his entire 12-year career with the Rangers and does have a no-trade clause in his contract. The third baseman is also signed for the 2013 season at a $16 million price tag.

It does sound as though Young could waive his no-trade clause because he knows that the Rangers are trying to get younger. If a deal is reached, it’s expected that the Phillies would want to perform a physical on Young before finalizing a trade.

Texas is likely going to have to eat nearly half of Young’s $16 million salary.

In 2012, Young hit .267 with eight home runs and 67 RBIs with a .682 OPS. This is just a year removed from leading the American League in hitting (.338) with 11 home runs and 106 RBIs.

We’ll have more on this story as it develops.

Series Preview: vs. Milawaukee Brewers

PHI: 10-4, 1st in NL East; MIL: 7-8, 4th in NL Central

When: April 18-20
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philly, PA)

Probable Pitchers
Monday: Joe Blanton (0-1, 10.45) vs Shaun Marcum (2-1, 2.55)
Tuesday:
Roy Halladay (2-0, 1.23) vs Randy Wolf (1-2, 4.32)
Wednesday:
Cliff Lee (2-1, 4.19) vs Chris Narveson (2-1, 1.45)

Broadcast Info
Monday, 7:05, PHL 17

Tuesday, 7:05, CSN
Wednesday, 1:05, CSN
All Games on 1210 AM

Player to Watch1B Prince Fielder: Fielder is off to one of the hottest starts in baseball, hitting .321 with four homers and 16 RBIs through 15 games. But that’s something to expect from Fielder, who has always consistently been one of the top hitting first basemen in the game.

There is a lot of boom in Prince Fielders bat. That can be a huge factor in a hitters park like CBP.

Fielder is also a monster against the Phillies, especially at CBP. In 32 games against the Phils, Fielder is hitting .339 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs. At the stadium, Fielder has an average of .345 with five homers and 14 RBIs in 17 games.

With Joe Blanton pitching today, Fielder could have himself a game. It will be interesting to see his match up against Cliff Lee on Wednesday.

Overview: The Brewers are off to a mediocre start, especially for a team considered to compete in the NL Central. But it’s still very early in the season to write anyone off (especially Boston).

They are led by Fielder as mentioned above and one of the best young players in the game in Ryan Braun. Braun is leading the team with a .329 average as well as hitting four homers and driving in nine RBIs.

They also have speed demons 2B Rickie Weeks, CF Carlos Gomez and OF bench player Nyjer Morgan.

The Phillies are still off to a very strong start offensively, especially when the bats were questioned before the season. Placido Polanco has been on a tear, hitting .373 with a homer and 12 RBIs from the two-spot. Ryan Howard has also been good to start off the season though he’s tapered off the past few games, hitting .288 with three homers and a team-high 14 RBIs.

Pitching this series again favors the Phils heavily as they have their two best pitchers going. Milwaukee is still without their newly acquired ace Zach Grienke, who is on the DL until early May.

The Phils have also dropped the first game of the past four series and with Blanton on the hill tonight, a fifth is likely if the offense doesn’t show up.

Season Preview: NL Central

Cincinnati Reds

Expectations: Aroldis Chapman throw a 373 MPH fastball.
Key addition: Edgar Renteria
Key loss: Orlando Cabrera
Projected record: 92-70
Summary: The Cincinnati Reds were among one of the biggest surprises in baseball. In 2010, the young Reds overtook the reigning NL Central champion Cardinals and made their first postseason appearance since 1995. They have a very talented young core in 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Jay Bruce. Sprinkle in veterans like Scott Rolen and Edgar Renteria and they should be back on top of the Central division. Their starting rotation is very strong and is full of veterans. Youngster flamethrowers Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto help anchor the ship. Bronson Arroyo and Travis Wood should help bring stability and gives them a very deep rotation. The Reds should get a challenge from Prince Fielder and the Brewers but no Wainwright for the Cardinals makes this division race a little less intriguing.

Milwaukee Brewers

Expectations: The franchise folds as they realize they can’t move on without Cutter Dystra.
Key Addition: Zack Greinke
Key Loss: Alcides Escobar
Projected Record: 87-75
Summary: The Milwaukee Brewers finished with a record of 77-85 last season but made significant moves in the offseason. After Cliff Lee, Zack Greinke was considered the runner-up prize for many teams and the Brewers landed him. They parted with a few prospects and Alcides Escobar to obtain Greinke. Greinke brings over a boatload of talent. His career numbers are 60-67 but most of that is the product of playing on a bad team. In 2009, he boasted an ERA of 2.16 and could do more of the same in the competitive NL Central. The Brewers also added outfielder Nyjer Morgan in a trade. Morgan brings over a ton of talent and a bad rap. He is famous for charging Marlins’ pitcher Chris Volstad and plowing over catchers. Morgan will challenge Carlos Gomez for the centerfield job and can provide speed at the top of the Brewers’ lineup. They have a lot to be proud of heading into this season and should contend with the Reds for the division crown.

St. Louis Cardinals

Expectations: They amputate Wainwright’s arm and find him a new one and he wins the Cy Young.
Key Addition: Lance Berkman
Key Loss: Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery)
Projected Record: 83-79
Summary: The Cardinals finished second place in the Central last season and were hoping to take back the crown. But that became a little more difficult within the last month. With Adam Wainwright slated to miss the entire with Tommy John surgery, the Cardinals rotation will certainly be a lot weaker. Aside from Chris Carpenter, their starting rotation is very weak, especially when you compare it to some of the rotations around the National League. Behind Carpenter, they have Jake Westbrook and Jaime Garcia. Westbrook was acquired from the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline last season and signed a two-year extension. Westbrook went 4-4 with a 3.48 ERA with the Cardinals in the second half last season. Garcia had a very good rookie campaign and could be the #2 starter in the rotation. He went 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA. The young Garcia certainly has great stuff but the loss of Wainwright will just be too much. You’re replacing a Cy-Young award winner which is not easy to do. They did add Lance Berkman who should bring some more pop to their lineup. Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday should be among the most talented duos in baseball and Berkman could definitely add 60-70 RBIs to the club. But in the end, the pitching just won’t be strong enough. The Cardinals should be competitive but the other teams in the Central are very good and have made significant strides this offseason.

Chicago Cubs
Expectations: Steve Bartman is finally able to show his face in the city of Chicago again.
Key Addition: Matt Garza
Key Loss: Derrek Lee
Projected Record: 80-82

Summary: The Chicago Cubs are coming off a not-so-impressive season in which they finished in fifth place. They turned around and pulled off a blockbuster trade to acquire pitcher Matt Garza. Garza will help to anchor a solid Cubs rotation that also includes Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster. Garza was 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA in 2010 for a first place Tampa Bay Rays team. They also let aging first baseman Derrek Lee walk in free agency. They signed another former Ray in first baseman Carlos Pena. Pena is a career .241 hitter and brings some much-needed power to the Cubs lineup. In the past four seasons, Pena has hit 144 home runs and knocked in 407 RBIs. If Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez can be solid contributors along with Pena, the Cubs could stay alive in the Central. However I just don’t think they have enough offense to keep up.

Houston Astros
Expectations: Ed Wade trades with a team other than the Phillies.
Key Addition: Clint Barmes
Key Loss: Matt Lindstrom
Projected Record: 72-86
Summary: For the first time in eight years, the Astros Opening Day starter won’t be Roy Oswalt. It will be Brett Myers. Perhaps that says it all about this Houston Astros team. Their starting rotation is very weak and will be led by the former Phillies hot head. Wandy Rodriguez and J.A. Happ are both very solid but don’t strike fear into opponents. Their offense can be very good at times. Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence should combine to hit around 50 home runs and knock in 175-200 runs. Michael Bourn does a great job setting the table for the Astros. He led the National League with 52 stolen bases and also scored 84 runs last year. Their infield may hurt them this season though. Their best infielder is Bill Hall. Yes Bill Hall. The youth movement in the infield features Chris Johnson at third base, Angel Sanchez at shortstop, and Brett Wallace at first base. There isn’t much major league experience there and I think there will be some growing pains this season.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Expectations: What expectations? It’s the Pirates.
Key Addition: Lyle Overbay
Key Loss: Zach Duke
Projected Record: 67-95
Summary: The Pittsburgh Pirates begin every season thinking that this year will be better than the previous one. I actually hold that to be true. Well at least by Pirates standards. While this team is very far away from being anywhere close to a successful franchise, I think they will be better this year. Their infield is very solid and should generate some excitement. They added Lyle Overbay at first base which allows Garrett Jones to move to right field. Overbay adds some nice pop to the Bucs’ lineup. Youngsters Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker will turn some heads this season. Alvarez will get to start the year with the big club and could hit 25 home runs for a struggling Pirates team. Walker hit well last season and ended up with a .281 average. He will likely be hitting third in the Pirates lineup and could hit between 75-90 RBIs before the year is through. Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, and Jones round out a very talented outfield. Former Brave Matt Diaz will be coming off the bench. The rotation as usual, is the downfall of the team. Kevin Correia, Paul Maholm, and Ross Ohlendorf will be the top three starters for the Pirates. It’s safe to say that the Pirates could actually be decent one day if they got some good pitching.

Season Preview: AL Central

Chicago White Sox

Expectations: Ozzie Guillen tweets every lineup change from the dugout.
Key addition: 1B/OF Adam Dunn (.260, 38 HR, 103 RBI with Washington)
Key loss: RP Bobby Jenks (1-3, 27 Saves, 4.44 ERA)
Projected record: 92-70

Summary: Most of the puzzle pieces remain from last year’s team, with a power addition of Adam Dunn.  The team has speed (Juan Pierre, Alex Rios), power (Dunn, Paul Konerko) and pitching (John Danks, Mark Buherle).  Alexei Ramirez, Gordon Beckham and Carlos Quentin are all solid ballplayers. The White Sox have a question mark in the bullpen, as they will have Chris Sale or Matt Thornton closing.  Jake Peavy’s injury concerns are troublesome, but as an end of the rotation guy, he won’t be relied on as an ace.

Minnesota Twins

Expectations: Increased amount of man-crushes on all-star catcher Joe Mauer.
Key addition: 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka (.260, 14 HR, 41 RBI with Chiba of the Japanese League.
Key loss: 2B Orlando Hudson (.268, 6 HR, 37 RBI)
Projected record: 89-73

Summary: Mauer leads the Twins, who are bitter after two straight first round exits to the Yankees.  The core of the team returns, although key component 1B Justin Morneau missed the second half of last year with a concussion, and has only played six spring training games thus far.  The Twins rotation is decent; no stud ace, but some solid pitchers to get the job done.  One of the biggest question marks is the bullpen.  Joe Nathan is coming off Tommy John surgery, and if he is the Joe Nathan of old, the Twins will be fine.  If not, Matt Capps will be their go-to guy.

Detroit Tigers

Expectations: Leading the league in DUI arrests.
Key addition: C/1B Victor Martinez (.302, 20 HR, 79 RBI with Boston)
Key loss: OF Johnny Damon (.271, 8 HR, 51 RBI)
Projected record: 85-77

Summary: The Tigers underachieved last season going 81-81, finishing 13 games behind the first place Twins.  They added Boston’s Victor Martinez, who is a .225 career hitter at Detroit’s Comerica Park.  Will Martinez continue his struggles at his new spacious home?  He will likely DH for the team, hitting behind Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez, so RBI opportunities will be there.  Detroit’s pitching is good with Justin Verlander, Matt Scherzer and Rick Porcello.

Cleveland Indians

Expectations: The Indians beg Pedro Cerrano and Rick Vaughn to come back and play for the team.
Key addition: OF Austin Kearns (.263, 10 HR, 49 RBI with Cleveland and New York AL)
Key loss: Uhhhh…. I guess 3B Andy Marte (.229, 5 HR, 19 RBI)
Projected record: 70-92

Summary: Carlos Santana has recovered from a knee injury he suffered last August, only two months after being called up to the major league club.  The Tribe are going to rely on their young catcher and OF Shin Soo-Choo, who hit .300 last year, with 22 HR and 90 RBI.  Other offensive weapons, Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, have had trouble staying healthy in recent years.  Pitcher Fausto Carmona had a good year last season (3.77 ERA), despite losing 14 games.

Kansas City Royals

Expectations: Could contend for the AAA Championship.
Key addition: OF Jeff Francoeur (.249, 13 HR, 65 RBI with New York NL and Texas)
Key loss: SP Zach Greinke  (10-14, 4.17 ERA, 181 K)
Projected record: 65-97

Summary: The Royals fortunately have a deep minor league system, stocked up from many years of top draft picks.  However, that won’t help them this year.  They do have 1B Billy Butler, who hit .318 last year.  Top prospect 3B Mike Moustakas is ready for a promotion, and might get one this season.  Unfortunately the Royals traded away their best player, SP Zach Greinke for a boatload of prospects.  It’ll be a while before Kansas City is a competitor again.

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