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Truth, Rumors and Lies September 2, 2011

Truth, Rumors and Lies September 2, 2011

Nick Athan

Under The Dugout

Truth, Rumors and Lies September 2, 2011

Truth:

Today, major league baseball franchises can bring up a plethora of bodies from their respective minor leagues so they can get a glimpse of their future.

It’s the time of the month reserved for teams out of the playoff race to bring up their prospects so they can gauge the progress of their minor league systems.

However, this can place a heavy burden on some teams. Even with the expanded rosters, General Managers and Coaches have to find a path to insuring they get plenty of time for veterans, who might be pending free agents in 2012.  And to shove them out of the way in favor of a green wet behind the ears rookie is a balancing act that could backfire.

Nonetheless there are few names to keep an eye on in the next few days that could impact some major league rosters this September.

Brad PeacockIn Washington, the Nationals could promote hard throwing right-hander, Brad Peacock.  The 23 year-old has a blazing fastball that tops the radar gun at 97 miles an hour.  Between AA and AAA he’s a combined 15-3.  His ERA is an impressive 2.39 and at two levels he’s whiffed 177 minor league batters while walking just 47 batters.  Is he the next Stephen Strasburg?  Nope but he’s a cheaper prospect who long term, might be as good or better than the $15 million dollar man. That is if he can avoid Tommy John surgery.

In New York, the Yankees are expected to promote prized catching prospect Jessie Montero to the big league club.  Montero has been a burning topic in the Hot Stove League.  At one point he was linked to numerous trades including one that included Kansas City Royals closer, Jokim Soria.

Jessie MonteroAt AAA, Montero hasn’t exactly caught the world on fire.  And many in big league circles don’t believe he can be a starting catcher for the Yankees or any other team in baseball.  Still his numbers were strong this year but they didn’t set the world on fire.  He hit .288 with 18 home runes and 67 RBI.  Not something that’s going to yield you a strong pitching prospect in return when Montero is dealt this winter. 

The Yankees are in a tough position with Montero.  They really don’t see him long term as a fit for their ballclub.  And without a solid September in New York, his trade value isn’t what it once was for a Yankees team that has to get some solid starting pitching in 2012.

Rumors:

What’s up with the St. Louis Cardinals? 

First they botch contract extensions with all world First Baseman, Albert Pujols last spring.  Now comes the saga of Lance Berkman.  The Cardinals have been trying to sign to a long-term contract since the All Star break.  But those talks hit a wall that forced St. Louis to put Berkman on waivers prior to Wednesday’s trade deadline.

Lance BerkmanBerkman, who has been an iron man for St. Louis this season, cleared waivers but wasn’t traded.  And now rumblings suggest that the Cardinals will try to sign the 35-year old to a long-term contract before he opts out for free agency.  Though he’s no Pujols and I shutter at the sheer idiocy of any baseball team paying big bucks for a mid thirty-something, the Cardinals are likely going to lose Pujols in free agency so they best get busy and get Berkman under contract before the end of September.

Because he might be the only true power bat they have in their lineup in 2012.  Ouch!

In Seattle the Mariners ownership reportedly awarded General Manager Shannon Drayer with a multi-year contract extension.  For a team that is roughly 60 games under .500 the last two seasons combined, this move makes no sense. 

The Mariners are one of the worst teams in baseball.  They placed their entire future on the bat of Ichiro Suzuki.  And that backfired.  Sure he’s been a great player for Seattle for 11 seasons.  But how many World Series titles did he net the Mariners?  Sure for a time he sold tickets but those days are gone.

Drayer now has to rely on a minor league system that has some fruit to harvest.  But there is so much pressure to win in Seattle and with division rivals Texas, Anaheim and Oakland likely to spend wildly this offseason in free agency, the Mariners are still two or three years away from fielding a contending team.  And I’m not sure Drayer won’t trade away some of those prospects to win now. 

So I ask the question?  Is Drayer the long-term answer?  Apparently ownership thinks so and that’s all that matters for now.

Lies:

Not to knock one of my baseball heroes but ESPN Insider, Buster Olney had Kansas City fans in a tizzy this week. 

He indicated in his Pay-Per-View Blog that Royals 3B prospect Mike Moustakas, might be dealt to the Atlanta Braves this winter. 

Say it isn’t so Buster! 

Well it isn’t going to happen.  In a matter of six months, Kansas City Royals General Manager Dayton Moore has an infield that he’ll have under lock and key for the next five years.

Eric HosmerFirst baseman Eric Hosmer came up in May, second baseman Johnny Giavotella came up last month, shortstop Alcides Escobar, sans of the Zack Grienke trade, has started virtually every game for the Royals this season and Moustakas has been on the hot corner since his call up in early summer

Add that with the infusion of 20-year old catcher, Salvador Perez, the Royals have the makings of one of the best infields in all of baseball in 2012 and beyond.

So the thought that Moore would ship Moose to any team for starting pitching makes little sense.  Especially when you consider the Royals don’t have another third baseman in the pipeline that could fill the void left by shipping of one of their most highly touted prospects.

Granted the young third base prospect hasn’t adjusted to major league pitching.  However over the last two weeks, his bat has come alive.  And that has the organization drooling at his potential.  Sure he may never be a 30 home run a year guy but his defense is as good as or better - than the legend he draws many comparisons to at the moment, Hall of Famer George Brett, when he was called up. 

And remember when he Brett was called up back in 1973, he didn’t exactly hit major league pitching any better than Moose has this season.

By NickAthan
Friday, 2 Sep 2011

 

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Tagged:
Albert Pujols, Alcides Escobar, Anaheim Angels, Brad Peacock, Eric Hosmer, George Brett, Hot Stove League, Ichiro Suzuki, Jessie Montero, Johnny Giavotella, Jokim Soria, Lance Berkman, Mike Moustakas, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Salvador Perez, Seattle Mariners, Shannon Drayer, St. Louis Cardinals, Stephen Strasburg, Texas Rangers, Tommy John, Zack Grienke

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