Posted tagged ‘Florida Marlins’

Carlos Delgado and the Hall of Fame

April 15, 2011

In other recent news, Carlos Delgado has officially retired. He was a big time player at his peak, but is he a Hall of Famer?

Looking at his basic line, one might assume so. He hit .280/.383/.546/.390/135+. That’s pretty damn good. HOWEVER…he wasn’t a good fielder. He racked a negative 60.8 fielding runs according to fangraphs. Yikes! Moreover, he was a first baseman in baseballs biggest power era. So yeah, without context his line looks extraordinary, and it still is a good line, but relative to his era, it’s not Hall of Fame.

WAR also disagrees with Delgado’s HOF candidacy. According to fWAR, his career total was 49.1- and it’s even lower according to B-R. His WAR/700 is 3.97. That’s not cutting it. He only had 1 MVP level season (6+ WAR) and his WAE was “just” 14.3. He was an excellent player for a good bit, but he wasn’t special.

So while he enjoyed a good career, it was not quite on a Hall of Fame level. Sorry Carlos.

Divisional Preview: NL East

March 20, 2011

Not much of a prelude here, the NL East by far is the best division in the National League. The Braves and Phillies are probably the best two teams in the league, and Marlins would be competing for the divisional title in the other two divisions.So lets get to the predictions.

1) Philadelphia Phillies (93-69)

They are the best team in the league, easily in my opinion. Between Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt I just don’t see how they can falter, even if the Braves have a great season. That’s three probable HOF pitchers, still on the top of their game, and another AS-caliber pitcher. They will be contending in just about every single game they play this season. The bullpen may be the team’s weakest point, but it’s not bad enough to be of major concern. Brad Lidge may be Mr. Inconsistent, but Ryan Madson is a good reliever who will make important appearances late in games.

The biggest blow to their title run is the probable loss of Chase Utley. It’s such a shame because Utley has probably been the best player in baseball outside Albert Pujols the past half decade. Yet he never got the MVP hardware he deserved and more than ever it looks like we will never see the 7+ WAR Utley again. Don’t me wrong, the skill is still there, but he has the body of a 70 year old man. I don’t want to say his career is over, because that’s quite dramatic, but it’s on life support in my opinion. Losing Utley is devastating because Polanco and Rollins and Ibanez aren’t young doves anymore, and replacing Jayson Werth with Ben Francisco and a raw Domonic Brown isn’t going to lead to more runs. The offense has been a strong point for the Phillies during their recent power grip on the NL East, but the 2011 version could be their worst offense of the past few seasons.

That said, the Phillies should win the division once again.

Players to watch: Domonic Brown, Shane Victorino

2) Atlanta Braves (90-72)

Although the Phillies appear to be the easy favorites, the Atlanta Braves have a real chance of winning the division. The rotation isn’t as good as the Phillies ungodly rotation, but it’s still one of the best in the NL. Tommy Hanson is a stud, and as long as their healthy, Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe, and Jair Jurrjens make a good 2-4. Moreover, Mike Minor should be a big asset for the Braves at the bottom of the rotation. Last year in nine starts, he had a K rate above 9, a BB rate in the 2s, and an FIP of 3.77. Are those numbers he would have kept up across a full season? Probably not, but the point is the kid is the real deal and I expect big things from him. And despite the loss of Billy Wagner, the bullpen will be a strength once again with Johnny Venters, Craig Kimbrel, Scott Linebrink, etc.

Now here is where I make a bold prediction. The Braves offense will be better than the Phillies offense. Brian McCann is a severely underrated catcher, Freddie Freeman is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year, Uggla is one of the best hitting second baseman in baseball, Chipper Jones can still produce with the bat, Martin Prado is an above average bat, and Jayson Heyward is already an MVP candidate in just his sophomore season.The Braves can get on base, they can slug, and they can score runs.

I don’t think they’ll catch Philadelphia, but they sure will give Philly a run for their money.

Players to watch: Jayson Heyward, Mike Minor

3) Florida Marlins (84-76)

The Marlins will be 2011s biggest surprise. In the NL East they are overshadowed by Philadelphia and Atlanta, but they have a winning roster capable of contending and winning in the NL West and NL Central. The staff is led by Josh Johnson, a stud pitcher who should have won the 2010 Cy Young award if he had not hurt his back. After him, the Marlins have a pair of solid pitchers in Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez. Rounding out the rotation are question marks in Javier Vazquez and Chris Volstad, but if they work out the Marlins will have a tough rotation. Florida also completed a bullpen overhaul in the off-season and now have several good arms to complement Leo Nunez, Clay Hensley, and Burke Badenhop.

The Marlins have a very young offense that has the potential to be scary good in the future, and possibly 2011. They are led by Hanley Ramirez who is already one of the best offensive shortstops in baseball history. Also leading the attack are young players in Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan, and power hitter Mike Stanton. They may not have the firepower to hang with Philly and Atlanta, but make no mistake, Florida is a good team.

Players to watch: Mike Stanton, Josh Johnson

New York Mets (79-83)

Ah, the poor old New York Mets. Between the mistakes of Omar Minaya to the Ponzi Scheme, the Mets have become a giant joke in baseball. But with the hiring of Sandy Alderson, the Mets seem serious about making a return to prominence. Unfortunately for Mets fans, that return won’t be in 2011. First off, the rotation is shit considering Johan Santana will miss most of the season. That means the Mets will have to rely on the likes of Mike Pelfrey, RA Dickey, Chris Capuano, Pat Misch, etc. I actually like Jon Niese, but he is not a top of the rotation pitcher. And outside K-Rod, the bullpen isn’t good either.

The lineup is a little bit more potent, but it’s not exactly good. Ike Davis is an up and coming first baseman, and even with “struggles” the past couple years, David Wright is a star player at third. Even Jason Bay could have a good offensive season. But what can they expect from Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Angel Pagan? Was Pagan’s 2010 season a fluke? Can Beltran still play? Will Jose Reyes return to his old self? If not, 2011 could be a long and dreary season in Queens.

Players to watch: Jose Reyes, Ike Davis

5) Washington Nationals (69-93)

The future is bright in DC. 2011- not so much. With Bryce Harper figuring to make his debut in 2012 and with Stephen Strasburg ready to return in 2012, the Nationals could soon be a contender. But for now, they are still a last place ball club.

Without Strasburg, the rotation is not good. Jordan Zimmerman has a future, and Tom Gorzelanny is okay, but they will be giving lots of starts to the likes of Livan Hernandez, John Lannan, and Jason Marquis. On a positive note, the bullpen is good, led by Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, and Sean Burnett.

The lineup should be more potent than the past with the acquisition of Jayson Werth to team up with Ryan Zimmerman, but as a whole the lineup is nothing special. The Nationals are hoping Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa can emerge as good everyday players, but they may still experience growing pains in 2011.

Players to watch: Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmerman

 

Florida Marlins extend Ricky Nolasco

December 21, 2010

The Marlins have signed pitcher Ricky Nolasco to 3/$26.5mil deal that will take him through two arbitration years and one year of free agency as well as his age 28-30 seasons. Great deal for Florida, great deal.

Supposedly he will be paid $6mil in 2011, $9mil in 2012, and $11.5mil in 2013. So how did they fare in the arbitration years? Well using the 40/60/80 scale, he would have made about $6mil in arbitration in 2011. He would have then made about $11mil in 2012. So they come out ahead there by a couple mil. Then in 2013 they are paying him $11.5mil. That is about what we would expect a 2-2.5 WAR pitcher to earn in the year 2013.

So that’s about $9mil per year they are paying him. Using a pay scale of $4.5mil per WAR, that means Nolasco needs to be about a 2 WAR pitcher per year to earn his money. I’d say the odds of him being that are high. In 2008 he had a 3.9 fWAR, a 4.3 fWAR in 2009, and 2.5 fWAR in 2010 when he missed September. So his talent level is probably around a 3 WAR. So let’s say in 2011 he is a 3 WAR pitcher, a 2.5 WAR pitcher in 2012, and a 2 WAR pitcher in 2013. We will increase $ per WAR by .5 each season. Doing that, I have his total value at $37mil.

Good job Marlins! You lock up a good pitcher for three years, a solid length for pitchers. Considering the high injury risk associated with pitchers, going longer than four years can be risky. So they save money compared to his market value, are not handicapped by years, and keep a quality starter in their rotation during his late twenties, when he should be peaking. He will probably be gone after 2013, right when he is entering his thirties so the Marlins could be cutting ties with him at the right. And if everything goes right, he should return a draft pick or two or prospects in a trade during the 2013 season.

 

The Florida Marlins busy day

November 17, 2010

The Florida Marlins stole the headlines today by trading All-Star second baseman Dan Uggla to the Atlanta Braves, and then reaching the verge of signing John Buck to a 3/$18mil deal.

Yeah, so lets start with the Buck potential signing to get it out of the way. Buck seemed destined for Boston, or even the Bronx, but will be landing in South Beach at $6mil per year. That’s about fair for him. He will just need to be average for three seasons in order to be worth the deal. However, the deal is kind of a head scratcher. It’s “only” $6mil a year, but currently he will have the third highest contract on the team. It’s also the team’s biggest FA signing since Carlos Delgado in 2005. So yeah, they “opened the bank” for John Buck. Why? By trading Uggla and potential in Cameron Maybin, it doesn’t seem like the team is desperately trying to compete in 2011, so there is no need for a veteran catcher, especially one that will be their third most expensive player. Moreover, he is a Type B free agent, which means he cost them a draft pick. So I am not a fan of the free agent signing.

Now onto the bigger news: the Dan Uggla trade. In return, they got Omar Infante and Mike Dunn. Wow. Uggla isn’t amazing, but he is better than Omar Infante and Mike Dunn. So if money was a non-issue, they would take Dan Uggla to be on their team over those two. In reality, the Marlins are picking up $6mil a year now from the Buck trade, and $2.5mil from Omar Infante, who will be gone after the season, and about $500k from Dunn. That’s $9mil for 2011. Uggla rejected a deal that would have paid him $12mil in 2011. So let’s say Uggla would have been willing to take $14mil a year. That’s $5mil a year more. For the Marlins, that is a big deal. Plus, they would be out Infante’s contract of 2011 and only owe Buck $12mil more. Uggla would have cost about an additional $42mil over three years, at which point he may not producing at a clip that is worth $42mil.

So trading Uggla makes sense, if you ask me. But I don’t know if they got the best return. They could have let Uggla walk and received two draft picks. That would be close to or around $10mil. Instead they are getting one year of Infante. Lets say he repeats his 2010 and has a 2.5 WAR season worth about $12mil. But take away his contract and his net value is $9.5mil. Or you can keep Uggla. Lets say he produces a 4 WAR season worth $18mil. Then in arbitration he will make about $14mil using the 40/60/80 scale. So, that’s a surplus of $4mil for the Marlins. But Uggla will net them two draft picks of about $10mil in value. So Uggla’s total value is $14mil, compared to $9.5 for Infante. So the smart move is to keep Uggla, or trade him for a value greater than $14mil.

It doesn’t look like the Marlins did that. Sorry, Marlin fan.

Jorge Cantu is now a Texas Ranger

July 29, 2010

It appears as if the Rangers are playing Texas Hold ‘Em and going all in for the cash prize (like the pun?!).

The Rangers acquired Jorge Cantu from the Florida Marlins in exchange for AA pitchers Evan Reed and Omar Poveda.

Overall, it’s a win-win for both clubs. While Jorge Cantu is just a mediocre hitter and worse fielder (.259/.308/.408/.313/93) he is an upgrade over Chris Davis and his .245 wOBA. Considering the Rangers seem to have the West on lock down mode, any upgrade, even if small, is important for their postseason success.

As for the Marlins, they got a decent reliever in Reed. The team doesn’t need Cantu so just the fact they got a nifty reliever for him makes the deal solid on their part. Between 2009 and 2010, Reed has only given up two homers and is a ground ball pitcher. Those are two signs that he can be an effective reliever. As for Poveda, he hasn’t pitched this year because of injury, but he is nothing special at all. He’s a mediocre starter in the minors. I doubt he’ll make an impact at the ML level.

Addressing Yankee trade rumors: Cody Ross

July 24, 2010

Along with Dan Haren, the Yankees have been linked to Cody Ross, among other players. Ross is a 29 year old outfielder on the Florida Marlins, who will be owed around $1.5mil the rest of the season, and is arbitration eligible after the season for the last time before he hits free agency. Why are the Yankees interested in him?

Cody Ross would be an ideal platoon partner with Curtis Granderson. Granderson has always struggled against lefties as he has a .268 wOBA in 786 compared to a .377 wOBA in 2384 PA against righties. Ross on the other hand has a .398 wOBA in 595 PA against lefties and a .317 wOBA in 1439 PA against righties. On the surface, they seem like a perfect platoon. I mean, their wOBA difference against LHP is 130 points while their difference in wOBA against RHP is 60 points. Bat Curtis and his .377 wOBA against righties, while you bat Cody Ross and his .398 wOBA against lefties.

Well, its’ not that easy.

In order to fully evaluate whether the Yankees should trade for Ross, you need to regress to the mean to find their true platoon skill. So here is what I did step-by-step:

1) Find the observed platoon split. To do this, subtract Granderson and Ross’s wOBA against lefties from their wOBA against righties. For Granderson it would be .377-.268 and for Ross it would be .398-.317. So Granderson’s observed performance is 30.8% (.109 difference/.358 total wOBA x 100). Ross’ observed performance  is 23.6%.

2) Regress to get an estimated platoon skill. The formula is (observed performance x PA against LHP + league average platoon split against LHP x 1000)/(PA against LHP x 1000). For Granderson it would be (.308 x 786 + .086 x 1000)/(1786). For the league league average platoon, I used the average from 2007-2009 that was used in the article I linked to above. So Granderson’s estimated platoon split is 18.4% and Ross’ platoon split is 9.8%

3) Now we must center the split. To do this I used the formula x = (1-Percentage of PA against LHP) x Estimated platoon split percentage. That gives you the percentage you discount against LHP. To figure out the percentage you discount against RHP the formula is y = Estimated platoon split – x. So Granderson’s split against LHP is -13.8% and 4.6% against RHP. Ross’ split against LHP is 6.9% and -2.9% against RHP.

4) Now we figure out how well each of them will hit against lefties/righties the rest of the season. To do this, I used their ZiPS projected wOBA for the rest of the season. Against lefties, Granderson is expected to have a .297 wOBA. I did that by subtracting .297 and his overall expected wOBA, which is .344. .297-.344 gives you -0.047. I divided that by .344 to get -.137 or 13.7%, which is just about his estimated platoon split against LHP (we found it to be 13.8%). Against RHP Granderson should have a .360 wOBA. Ross’ wOBA against LHP should be .369 and his wOBA should be .327.

As you can see, a platoon of Cody Ross and Curtis Granderson would be quite useful. There is a wOBA difference of 72 points(!) between Ross and Granderson when it comes to facing LHP. The same difference between the two for RHP is a less staggering 33 points. Ross is a solid fielder, so when he starts he can play a respectable left field while Bret Gardner patrols center.

The question remains though- is Cody Ross worth acquiring for 2010 and 2011? Obviously the lineup would improve with a platoon this year. But even with Granderson playing everyday the lineup is still really good. Any added advantage is nice, but not necessary with this lineup. They can stomach a game or two a week with Curtis playing against lefties. Sure in the postseason they could face Cliff Lee, David Price, Jon Lester, and/or Francisco Liriano, but Cody Ross isn’t coming free. Reports are stating the Marlins want a hefty return for Ross. While the idea of a platoon is intriguing, I wouldn’t give up anything more than a middling prospect that has no future with our big league club anyway. Moreover, Granderson will paid $8.25mil in 2011 and $10mil in 2012. That’s a lot of money to pay a platoon player. Besides, even though Granderson has been in an extended slump, he hits well enough against righties and has a good enough glove that he deserves to be an everyday player.

If the Yankees trade for Ross, I’ll be content, but I wouldn’t make it a priority.

The best player in Florida is…

May 22, 2010

… “Evan Longoria”

“Nah, man, it’s GOTTA be Hanley Ramirez”

“You’re crazy”

“Nah, you’re crazy”

Does the above diaglouge sound like a debate you and your buddy have had? No? Okay, well it a debate some writers and I recently had. So let’s take a deep look at the two and see who is the best baseball player in the Sunshine state.

Now, considering the two play different positions and play in different leagues, it makes a straight up comparison tough. But hopefully we can find an answer in the numbers, so lets see.

Hanley Ramirez: 660 G, 2934 PA, .315/.386/.527/.395wOBA/144wRC+ with 167 SB (77%)

Evan Longoria: 321 G, 1363 PA, .283/.360/.536/.382wOBA/137wRC+ with 23 SB (92%)

Offensively, Hanley has the edge. From 2007-2009 he posted three consecutive seasons of 150+ wRC+. That is insane- especially once you remember he is a shortstop. At this rate, he could go down as the best offensive shortstop in the history of the game.  Longoria is no slouch either though and is having a better 2010 in a harder division and league. In the end,  Hanley tops him in BA, OBP, wOBA, and wRC+. He also poses a threat on the bases. While a SB% of 77% isn’t anything to write home about, Hanley is capable of swiping 30+ bags in a season.

Offensive Edge: Hanley Ramirez

The next facet of the game is defense. Obviously shortstop is a harder position to play, but Hanley is simply average while Longoria is a monster. Going back to 2008, which spans close to 3000 innings, Hanley has had a UZR/150 right around 0. His +/- has been in the same range as well. Meanwhile, Longoria has arguably been the best defensive third baseman in baseball, and has a 16.4 UZR/150 dating back to 2008. Sure shortstop is harder, but Longoria gives you so much more value with his golden leather.

Defensive Edge: Evan Longoria

Now lets put it all together. One way to do this is with WAR. Using fangraphs, Hanley has already compiled 25.6 WAR in his career (164 batting runs, -30.8 defensive runs). His WAR/700 is 6.1. Evan Longoria has a career WAR of 14.5 (62.7 batting runs, 32.3 defensive runs) with a WAR/700 of 7.5.

Longo comes out on top because of his superior defense. But lets look deeper using Rally’s WAR which can be used to see how good a player is at everything.

Hanley Ramirez: 135 Bat Runs, 18 Bsr, 6 GIDP, 5 ROE, -13 TZ, 1 ifDP, 28 Pos Adj, 251 RAR, 25.5 WAR, 6.5 WAR/700

Evan Longoria: 33 Bat Runs, 5 Bsr, -5 GIDP, 2 ROE, 25 TZ, 2 ifDP, 3 Pos Adj, 104 RAR, 10.4 WAR, 6.3 WAR/700

Here Hanley edges Longoria. Offensively, we see his dominance. He is a straight up better hitter who can avoid DP, force errors, and is a better baserunner. But again, we see that Longoria is SOOOOOOOO much better defensively.

Verdict: Evan Longoria

This battle royale was extremely, extremely, extrememly close. Hanley is a better hitter. And is a better hitter at a tougher position. But Longoria is a fantastic hitter as well. What separates them is the glovework. Although Hanley is a decent fielder compared to his first couple seasons, Longoria is the definition of a Gold Glover. Using fangraphs WAR, Longo’s WAR/700 was over a run better than Hanley. When using Rally’s WAR, Han-Ram came out on top, but by the slimment margins. Give me Longoria.

This could go either way, depending on how much weight you put in the fact Hanley is a shortstop. But I’ll take Longoria- especially if outside factors were taken into consideration such as age and salary.

2010 Divisional Previews & Predictions: NL East

April 4, 2010

I round out my prediction series with the NL East. This league holds the National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves and Marlins look to challenge the Phillies for the division crown. The Mets struggled with injuries last year as well as this year but can they still contend for the division? I will do my best to project how this division will unfold.

1. Philadelphia Phillies
Key Departures: Cliff Lee, Pedro Feliz, and Chan Ho Park
Key Arrivals: Roy Halladay and Placido Polanco

I have the Phillies edging out the Braves ever so slightly for the NL East title. This division could end up coming down to a matter of games because I believe that the Braves are a little better than last season. However, the Phillies have one of the better lineups in all of baseball and posted a wOBA of .340 which was good for 6th best in the MLB last season. The Phillies also play solid defense and have some great defense up the middle. One of the Phillies weaknesses is the back end of the rotation. Can it be relied on for a full season of work? Kyle Kendrick will likely replace Joe Blanton for a little while. However, they have a good enough bullpen and offense so I think they can edge out the Braves for the NL East crown.

2. Atlanta Braves
Key Departures: Javier Vazquez, Mike Gonzalez, Kelly Johnson, and Adam LaRoche
Key Arrivals: Melky Cabrera, Billy Wagner, Takashi Saito, Troy Glaus, and Jason Heyward

The Braves had a very busy off-season and I think it was good enough to get them into second place. They added three players in Cabrera, Heyward, and Glaus who could end up being league average, or slightly above league average hitters this season. The key to the Braves season will be if they can remain healthy. The loss of Javier Vazquez will hurt but their rotation is still one of the best in the league. Tim Hudson will make his return after missing most of last season. The emergence of Tommy Hanson and the return of Tim Hudson should make up for the loss of Javy. Their bullpen is extremely good and it could improve on a 3.68 bullpen ERA from last season. The Braves could be the sleeper team in all of baseball this year. Be on alert Phillies fans, the Braves could end up challenging the Phillies for the division crown this season.

3. Florida Marlins
Key Departures: Kiko Calero, Nick Johnson, and Jeremy Hermida
Key Arrivals: Nate Robertson

The Marlins like to keep a relatively low payroll so it is not surprising that they did not make that many off-season moves. I think they should have a similar record to the one that they posted last year. The only difference is that they won’t finish in second place. The Marlins have a very underrated offense and rotation that are led by Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson respectively. The Marlins posted a .331 wOBA in 2009 and a team FIP of 4.15. These were both in the top half in the league. I really like what the Marlins have done with their franchise and they are one of my favorite teams to watch but I just do not think that they have enough to move up in the standings any further.

4. New York Mets
Key Departures: Carlos Delgado
Key Arrivals: Jason Bay, Gary Matthews Jr., Rod Barajas, and Ryota Igarashi

Similarly to the Cubs, the Mets are poorly managed. The Jason Bay signing does not make a whole lot of sense to me. Jason Bay is a very bad fielder and that is evident in this UZR numbers. Not only his be a bad defender, but Omar Minaya got a player that hits a high percentage of fly balls in a very specious outfield. This is bound to reduce his offensive numbers just a little from a year ago. The Mets would have been better off going after someone like Mike Cameron more aggressively. This is not the only problem for the Mets. The Mets are also sending two very important offensive producers to the DL. Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes could be out for about 4-6 weeks. Now factor this in with a rotation that posted an ERA of 4.46 last season and was not improved this off-season and a team that does not play good defense and you have yourself a 4th place team.

5. Washington Nationals
Key Departures: None.
Key Arrivals: Stephen Strasburg, Jason Marquis, Chien-Ming Wang, Matt Capps, Ivan Rodriguez, and Adam Kennedy

The Nationals are in a better position than some other last place teams that we have looked at. The Nationals are lead by Ryan Zimmerman who is one of the best third basemen in the game. If you are a Nationals fan, it is time to get excited. Stephen Strasburg is the real deal and he will likely be in the rotation by June. The Nationals could very well improve on their record of 59-103 last season especially since they might have their best rotation since they moved to D.C. So Nationals fans, keep in mind that good days are ahead. This season could very well be their turning point to future success.

JeffMac’s NL East Predictions:
1. Phillies
2. Braves
3. Mets
4. Marlins
5. Nationals

ES42’s NL East Predictions:
1. Phillies
2. Braves
3. Marlins
4. Mets
5. Nationals

Disco’s NL East Predictions
1. Phillies
2. Braves
3. Marlins
4. Mets
5. Nationals

Dougbies NL East Predictions:
1. Phillies
2. Marlins
3. Mets
4. Braves
5. Nats

YC’s NL East Predictions:
1. Phillies
2. Braves
3. Marlins
4. Nationals
5. Mets

Twac00’s NL East Predictions:
1. Phillies
2. Marlins
3. Braves
4. Mets
5. Nationals

MLBN’s Franchises of the Decade

December 30, 2009

9. Arizona Diamondbacks- 805 wins, -171 run differential, 3 playoff appearances, 3 division titles, 1 WS
8. Chicago White Sox- 857 wins, +408 run differential, 3 playoff appearances, 3 division titles, 1 WS
7 Minnesota Twins- 863 wins, +310 run differential, 5 playoff appearances, 5 division titles, 0 WS
6. Atlanta Braves- 892 wins, +912 run differential, 6 playoff appearances, 6 division titles, 0 WS
5. Philadelphia Phillies- 850 wins, +479 run differential, 3 playoff appearances, 3 division titles, 1 WS
4. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- 900 wins, +691 run differential, 6 playoff appearances, 5 division titles, 1 WS
3. St. Louis Cardinals- 913 wins, +891 run differential, 7 playoff appearances, 6 division titles, 1 WS
2. Boston Red Sox- 920 wins, +1198 run differential, 6 playoff appearances, 1 division title, 2 WS
1. New York Yankees- 965 wins, +1273 run differential, 9 playoff appearances, 8 division titles, 2 WS

Honorable Mentions- Oakland Athletics, Florida Marlins

I think they got the top four right. I don’t see how an argument can be made against the top four in the order they were listed. The bottom 5 are where it gets tough. Three of the teams won a World Series and the other two did not.

Even though the Oakland Athletics did not win a World Series I would put them on this list instead of the Diamondbacks. The A’s were consistently very good in the first seven years of the decade. The Diamondbacks were up and down throughout the decade in a weak division so despite their WS title they get bumped off this list.

I would also switch the White Sox and the Twins. They both performed similarly during the decade, but the White Sox won a championship.

I would also switch the Braves and Phillies. The Braves won 42 more games, had a much better run differential, and won twice as many division titles. Basically, the Braves were better for longer at the beginning of the decade than the Phillies were at the end of the decade. The WS title the Phillies won makes them interchangeable, though.

Winter Meetings Blow in Blockbuster Proposal

December 10, 2009

According to ESPN Dallas and the Rangers’ official site, Texas offered highly touted prospects Neftali Feliz and Justin Smoak for the Florida Marlins’ studly young starter, Josh Johnson.

The deal seemed excellent for both teams.  Josh Johnson’s contract comes up following the 2011 season and it’s hard to imagine the ever-stingy Marlins meeting his demands.  Selling him now for a pair of the best prospects baseball has to offer would be a big boost to their future.  On the other hand, the Rangers are looking for that immediate boost to push them ahead of the declining Angels.  Gaining an ace in Josh Johnson would certainly help accomplish that.

The fact that Florida not only declined this deal, but also sent it back to Texas faster than Josh Johnson can throw is reason to raise your eyebrows.  In an attempt to explain that lack of interest, we have to start off by examining Neftali Feliz.

Feliz is one of the most intriguing prospects in baseball.  A consensus elite youngster, Feliz stands at 6’3″ and boasts a heater that tops out in the triple digits and is constantly in the mid-90s.  The 21-year old rapidly moved through the minors, starting in Atlanta’s system at the end of 2006 before being one of the jewels that headed to Texas in the Mark Teixeira deal.  He got the call last year and in 31 innings out of the pen, he posted a 1.74 ERA, 0.68 WHIP with 39 K to just 8 BB and a devastating .129 average against.

However, there is concern about Feliz’s chances of becoming a starting pitcher in the big leagues, let alone reaching his full potential.  Last year, he threw that fastball I mentioned earlier an unhealthy 70% of the time and has yet to acquire the complementary pitches to consistently carry him 6+ innings deep in the majors.  But if last year is any indication, he is at worst a dominant closer and that alone gives him a pretty high basement to go along with his incredibly high ceiling.

The other minor concern with the return for the Marlins is that it would create a bit of a logjam at first base.  The Marlins already have a 1B for the future in Logan Morrison, a young left-handed hitter who has displayed a tremendous eye and emerging power.  Morrison reached AA last year and in 79 games, he posted a .411 OBP.  They also have former 4th rounder Gaby Sanchez who has the potential to be a below average but serviceable first baseman in the MLB.  Neither has been held in as high of regard as Smoak, but Justin hasn’t exactly smashed his way through the minors either.  In 104 games between AA and AAA last year, Smoak hit just 10 home runs, including a .244 AVG and .723 OPS in 54 AAA games.  Surely that isn’t enough to wave away Smoak, but it could have been enough to give Florida cause for concern.

Of course, Josh Johnson being an established ace could be enough for the Marlins to decline this deal as well.  At 25-years old, the towering righty enjoyed the best year of his career, going 15-5 with a 3.23 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 191 K in 209 IP.  The Marlins finished just 6 games behind the NL West champion Philadelphia Phillies and were 5 games out of the wild card.  Making a deal to lessen their current major league roster might not be their best play.

With these three names involved, we will be able to look back on this proposal a few years from now and think what could have been, good or bad.  We can already conclude a few things from this exchange.  The first being that the Marlins are ready to make their run, and will surely do everything possible to retain Josh Johnson’s rights.  The other is that Neftali Feliz is still very much a question mark in the baseball world.