Friday, November 30, 2012

Daily Hot Stove Wrap Up 11/30

Ladies and Gentlemen, the last two days of Hot Stove action has been hot, hot, hot.  Today marked the last day to non-tender roster players.  Non-tendering a player means that the player will become a free agent.  Let's review everything that has gone done the past few days.

  • The Washington Nationals made a splash trading for former Minnesota Twins outfielder Denard Span.  The Nationals gave up pitching prospect Alex Meyer in the deal.  Span will slide into the lead off role and play center field.  Bryce Harper and Jason Werth will man the corner spots in the outfield.  Alex Meyer was one of the National top pitching prospects.  Meyer is a couple years away from making the big leagues, but is projected to be a top of the rotation starter for the Twins.
  • B.J. Upton signed a 5 year $75.25 million contract with the Atlanta Braves.  It didn't take long for Upton to announce his contract as he changed his avatar on his Twitter Page @BJUPTON2 to the Atlanta Braves logo.  Last year, Upton batted .246 with 28 home runs and 78 RBIs.  Upton will play center field for the Braves replacing Michael Bourn.  
  • Speaking of Michael Bourn, a few teams have interest in the soon to be 30 year old outfielder.  The Phillies and Cubs look to be the two main players.  After the Nationals traded for Denard Span and the Braves signed B.J. Upton, the market for center fielders like Bourn is slim.  This could hurt Bourn's earning potential as he will not have 4 or 5 teams bidding for his services anymore.
  • The Phillies seem to be interested in Bourn and Angel Pagan.  Pagan is asking for less money and the Phillies could use this extra cash to fill holes at third base and throughout the pitching staff.  The Giants and Phillies are the two main players for Pagan and it is rumored that both have 4 year offers out to the 31 year old outfielder.  This once again hurts the market for Bourn and agent Scott Boras is known to drive a hard bargen for his clients.
  • The Braves made a trade today acquiring Jordan Walden from the LA Angels for starting pitcher Tommy Hanson.  I see this as a good trade for both teams.  The Angels signed Ryan Madson to close moving Ernesto Frieri and Scott Downs into set up roles, ultimately leaving Walden out of the picture.  The Angels have covered their starting rotation woes if they can't sign Zach Grienke by entering Hanson into the rotation.
  • A list of players were non-tendered today.  The Orioles non-tendered 1B/3B Mark Reynolds.  This wasn't much of a shock, as Reynolds in a very replaceable piece.  The Washington Nationals non-tendered starting pitcher John Lannan.  Not much of a surprise here as well as Lannan was the odd man out in the National rotation last year.  The Chicago Cubs non-tendered Ian Stewart, SHOCKER, NOT!  Stewart was bad with the Cubs before getting hurt.  The Cubs will look to fill his spot at third base.  The San Francisco Giants will probably non-tender closer Brian Wilson.  Wilson was hurt last year and Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo filled in admirably leaving the Giants the option to non-tender Wilson.  The BRaves non-tendered pitchers Jair Jurrjens and Peter Moylan.  Jeff Karstens of the Pittsburgh Pirates was non-tendered along with Brewers left Manny Parra.  The Boston Red Sox non-tendered outfielder Ryan Sweeney.  The Texas Rangers non-tendered former Cub catcher Geo Soto.  The New York Mets have non-tendered outfielder Andres Torres and pitcher Manny Acosta.  Mike Pelfrey was informed that he will also be non-tendered by the Mets.  
  • David Wright has signed an extension with the aforementioned New York Mets.  The contract is for 7 years and $122 million.  Wright is now signed through 2020.  Good move for the Mets as in the past year fellow third basemen Ryan Zimmerman and Evan Longoria (just last week) signed similar deals to stay with their respective teams.  Wright has been a cornerstone for the franchise and now Wright will end his career in a Mets uniform.
  •  Another long-time New Yorker will be staying in the City that Never Sleeps as the Yankees have signed the legendary closer, Mariano Rivera to a 1 year $10 Million deal.  
  • The Houston Astros have claimed former perfect game pitcher, Phillip Humber off waivers from the Chicago White Sox. 
  • Catcher Russell Martin has signed a two year contract worth $17 million with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  

Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore Orioles (93-69) Second Place American League East Wild Card Berth

No one could have seen this coming.  The Baltimore Orioles shocked the baseball world in 2012 putting together one of the most memorable seasons in recent memory for the O's as manager Buck Showalter motivated his guys to play better than anyone could have imagined.  The interesting story about the Orioles is that for much of the season they were being outscored opponents and finished the regular season only outscoring opponents by a total of seven runs.  The Orioles finished the season with an astounding 29-9 record in one run games.  The blood pressure of must have been at an all-time high during the season, but looking back, it must have been totally worth it.

Pitchers- As we have gone through the season reviews, it was a common theme that a team that did not have stability in the starting rotation, was not successful, but the Baltimore Orioles started 12 different pitchers in 2012 and were able to put together a great season.  The only pitcher to start more than 20 games was rookie Wei-Yin Chen, who started 32 games.  Chen led the O's in wins with 12 and put together a season ERA of 4.02.  Chris Tillman was great during the second half of the season for the Orioles starting 14 games after the All-Star Break.  In those 14 games Tillman won 8 and only lost 3 and compiled a 3.24 ERA.  During this same time, fellow starter Miguel Gonzalez put together 8 wins and a 3.53 ERA.  The biggest shock came at the back end of the bullpen with closer Jim Johnson.  Johnson converted 51 saves in 54 chances to lead the majors.  Pedro Strop, Luis Ayala, Darren O'Day, Troy Patton, and Matt Lindstrom were all amazing out of the bullpen as they all put together seasons with over 30 appearances and ERAs under 3.00.


Infield- The offensive numbers (batting average wise) truly were not that good around the infield for the Orioles.  J.J. Hardy at shortstop was on the gold glove and hit 22 home runs.  Catcher Matt Wieters also won the gold glove, and hit 23 home runs and drove in 83 runs.  Designated Hitter/First basemen Chris Davis led the Orioles with 33 home runs and 85 runs batted in.  First basemen Mark Reynolds hit 23 home runs and drove in 69 runs.  In limited action, Manny Machado was a spark for the Orioles batting .262 with 50 hits in 51 games.  Machado is the future in Baltimore and the future is bright for this young man.  Look for big things in 2013 as Machado should see his first full season in the big leagues.

Outfield- Adam Jones was a beast in 2012 hitting .287 with 32 home runs, 82 RBIs and scoring 103 runs.   Jones not only produced at the plate, but won the gold glove in center field for the American League.  Enough can't be said about the productivity of Adam Jones in 2012.  Nick Markakis hit for a high average in 2012 at .298.  Markakis did not produce in the power categories like a lot of Baltimore fans hoped, but on a team with a lot of bombers on it.  Left field was somewhat of a turnstile in 2012 and there was not a whole lot of production coming out of left field.  Among Endy Chavez, Nate McLouth Nolan Reimoldm, Lew Ford and Bill Hall none of them really produced.


Twitter Account of the Day- Gold Glove Winner Adam Jones, follow him @SimplyAJ10.

Don't forget to follow us @WadeCArthur @ TommyM44 @cniermann and our new twitter page @FullCountBlog.
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds (97-65) – First Place NL Central, Division Champions

The Reds, behind the leadership of Dusty Baker and his trusty toothpick, won an astonishing 97 games, thanks in large part to a solid lineup, a strong bullpen, and a healthy starting rotation.  Only 6 pitchers made a start in 2012 for the Reds, and the sixth only made 1 start.  When a rotation stays that healthy all year long, a team is bound for success in this league.

Even Dusty Baker's bobblehead doll doubled as a toothpick holder

Pitching- The rotation was led by Johnny Cueto, who finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting.  Cueto led the team with 19 wins, a 2.78 ERA, and threw in a team leading 217 innings.  Acquired in the off-season, Mat Latos was expected to be a second ace for the Reds.  He lived up to that hype, winning 14 games with a 3.48 ERA.  He also struck out a team leading 185 batters and opponents hit just .230 against him.  Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, and Mike Leake rounded out the rotation, all starting more than 30 games and only Leake not surpassing 200 innings.  Flame throwing Aroldis Chapman was phenomenal in the bullpen, despite experiencing fatigue part way through the season.  Chapman had 38 saves with a 1.51 ERA, all while striking out 122 batters in just over 70 innings.  Sean Marshall, Logan Ondrusek, and Jose Arredondo rounded out the bullpen with solid performances all year long.  Acquired at the deadline from the Royals, Jonathan Broxton was also good in a set-up role down the stretch.

The Reds are head over heels for Aroldis Chapman, even
when he celebrated after a save by doing a somersault

Infield- Despite injury problems, first baseman Joey Votto was still the anchor of the Reds’ infield.  In 111 games, Votto hit .337 with 14 home runs and 56 RBIs.  Perhaps the most impressive statistics were his .474 on base percentage and his OPS of over 1,000.  Second baseman Brandon Phillips had another good year for the Reds.  Phillips hit .281 with 18 home runs, 77 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.  Phillips played gold glove caliber defense again, but only lost out on the award to Darwin Barney due to Barney’s insane season in the field.  Third baseman Todd Frazier, who finished third in the NL ROY voting, had a strong season with a .273 average, 19 home runs, and 67 RBIs.  Frazier did every thing this year, including hitting a home run with no hands, and even saving a restaurant goer's life in Pittsburgh by administering the Heimlich maneuver.  

Here are some other facts about Todd Frazier

Outfield- The outfield was anchored by power hitting corner outfielders Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce.  Ludwick had a fantastic rebound season, hitting .275 with 26 home runs and 80 RBIs.  Bruce led the team with 34 home runs and 99 RBIs, and even stole 9 bases in the process.  Drew Stubbs has struggled mightily since coming up to the big leagues.  While Stubbs has also hit for some power, those numbers were down in 2012, with just 14 home runs.  Stubbs’ average was again low, as he hit just .213.  Stubbs' main asset is his speed.  He stole 30 bases, due in part to his long strides, and he chases balls down in center field with the best of them.

Twitter Account of the Day- One of my favorite players to follow, Brandon Phillips @DatDudeBP Phillips  is an entertaining follow and he even showed up to a kid's Little League game after the kid tweeted him.

Don't forget to follow our new Full Count Twitter page @FullCountBlog and the three of us @TommyM44 @WadeCArthur @cniermann Also follow our facebook page,

Check back tonight for the Hot Stove Daily Wrap Up and tomorrow with Wade's review on the Baltimore Orioles.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Daily Hot Stove Wrap Up 11/28

Following his day off, here is Chris' take on the latest Hot Stove news

Quote of the Day:

"Negotiations are progressing.  That's all I can really say about it."  
 -- R.A. Dickey on his ongoing contract situation with the Mets

Raise your hand if you're excited for Winter Meetings more than Christmas.  It's Wednesday baseball freaks and after a busy day yesterday where I wasn't able to compose a Hot Stove, I'm back today for a quick Hot Stove Update for November 28th.  On the menu today is a bunch of rumors on big name free agents left on the board in a new weekly segment, some almost-signings that will probably wind up in tomorrow's hot stove and a sad update from a guy that was instrumental to free agency, baseball and the main reason we're still talking baseball in late fall.  

  • First off, we would like to send our condolences to the family of Marvin Miller who passed away yesterday morning at the age of 95.  Miller served as the first Executive Director of the MLB Players Association.  Respected by players, feared by the owners, Miller was a key figure in forming player arbitration and was an instrumental piece in the decision that overturned baseball's reserve clause in a decision that ultimately led to free agency.  While I personally was not around when Miller was doing his work, let's just say that there wouldn't be a hot stove without Miller.  We wish his family well.  RIP.  
  • The Yankees have made it official and signed LH Andy Pettite to a one-year, $12 million contract.  Pettite pitched well last season and into the postseason, which is surprising considering that he's 40.  Who else pitched well at 40 for the Yankees?  I'm not gonna go there.  
  • Ryan Madson is off the market as the free agent reliever agreed to a one-year contract with the Angels.  Madson missed all of 2012 recovering from Tommy Jon surgery but was dominant with the Phillies the year before.  If Madson can get his velocity back, post-surgery, expect him to either be the Angels closer or set-up man depending on how the team feels about RP Ernesto Frieri who basically struck everybody out in a closer/setup role last season.
  •  Rangers have acquired RP Cory Burns from San Diego for a player to be named later.  Burns appeared in 17 games after debuting last season with the Padres.  Bullpen depth is always good so, yay Texas, I guess.
  • Pirates have acquired RH Vin Mazzaro and 1B Clint Robinson for two minor league pitchers from the Royals.  Both were fringe major-leaguers so don't expect much from them in Pittsburgh.  
  • Zach Stewart is changing uniforms yet again, as he goes from Boston to Pittsburgh for a player to be named later.  Stewart has already played for the Reds, Toronto, the White Sox and is only 26.  I suggest him and Edwin Jackson get together and chat about best practices for moving cities every six months and all that stuff.  

  • Jonathan Broxton decides to go ahead and sign with Cincinnati for a three-year, $21 million contract.  The more interesting story is what the Reds will do with Aroldis Chapman and his 104 mph fastball.  Rotation or closer?  
  • The Chicago Cubs get Scott Feldman on a one year deal.  This could be a steal signing as Feldman has been reliable and comes at a bargain price.  Dave Cameron of Fangraphs recently compared Feldman to Brandon McCarthy (minus the hilarious Twitter) while the Cubs shore up their rotation depth. 
And now our weekly "Rapid-fire Rumor Report" -- a new weekly segment where we list ten of the rumors we hear and then compare them to actual signings the next week.  Hope you enjoy this as much as I do.  Here we go...

  1. Seattle, Yankees, and Pittsburgh interested in C Russell Martin.
  2. Mariano Rivera to complete deal with Yankees? 
  3. Braves or Yankees both have interest in BJ Upton? 
  4. Upton and Atlanta interest mutual? 
  5. Rockies interested in RHP Kevin Correia and P Jeff Francis 
  6. Red Sox the front-runner for Mike Napoli?  
  7. Braves talking to RP Chad Durbin
  8. Marlins will not trade Giancarlo Stanton 
  9. Dodgers the leader for Zack Greinke?   
  10. Dodgers also want Kyle Lohse
We will check back on these next Wednesday and see how these rumors turned out over the next week.  

Thank you guys for tuning in, and since I was busy and didn't get to post a Hot Stove Update yesterday, I'll give you a Kate Upton.  (This is as much for me as for you so don't get ahead of yourself)

Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers (93-69) Second Place American League West Wild Card Berth

The two-time World Series runner-up Texas Rangers looked to get over the hump in 2012, but the Rangers ended up falling short, losing in the wild card round to the Baltimore Orioles.  To say the 2012 season was a disappointment would be harsh, but to say it was a success, would be a lie.  After being in first place for the majority of the year, the Rangers lost the last game of the season to the Oakland Athletics, to slide into the Wild Card game.  The Rangers underachieved in 2012, but the players put up great numbers in 2012.

Pitchers- The starting staff was depleted due to injuries as 11 different players made starts on the bump.  The best of the bunch was Matt Harrison who started 32 games and put together 18 wins with a 3.29 ERA.  The big lefty struck out 133 batters in just over 213 innings.  Rookie Japanese sensation, Yu Darvish was awesome in 2012.  Darvish won 16 games and struck out 221 hitters in 191.1 innings.  Darvish also had a 3.90 ERA.  Darvish finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting behind phenom Mike Trout and Oakland A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.  The experiment of Neftali Feliz moving to the rotation looked like a great idea through 7 starts before Feliz went down with an injury.  Feliz was 3-1 in his 7 starts.  Derek Holland made 27 starts for the Rangers and won 12 games.  Look for Holland to break out in 2013.  Joe Nathan was brilliant closing converting 37 saves out of 40 chances.  Nathan sported a 2.80 ERA.  Alexi Ogando and Mike Adams were once again great for the Rangers.


Infield- Adrian Beltre was absolutely brilliant in 2012.  Beltre lead the Rangers in average hitting at a .321 clip.  Beltre hit 36 home runs and drove in 102 runs.  Beltre also scored 95 runs.  Beltre also won the gold glove at third base in the American League.  Elvis Andrus was once again good for the Rangers hitting .286 and scoring 85 runs.  Andrus stole 21 bases.  Andrus was also great in the field for the Rangers as he was a gold glove finalist.  Ian Kinsler only batted .256 but it 19 home runs and drove in 72 runs.  Kinsler also stole 21 bases tying Andrus as the team leader.  Kinsler led the Rangers in runs scoring 105.  Mike Napoli was the ghost of himself in 2012.  After a career year in 2011, Napoli disappeared in 2012.  Napoli only hit .227 but hit manage to hit 24 home runs, but only drove in 56 runs.  Utility man Michael Young gave the Rangers exactly what he has done consistently over the past five years.  Young batted .277 and scored 77 runs for the Rangers.  Jurickson Profar was brought up late in the season and did not perform up to what most would have liked.  He will only get better as time goes and look for Profar to make a big impact in 2013.


Outfield- Josh Hamilton is a stud.  There is always a concern when it comes to Hamilton, but he did not disappoint in 2012.  Hamilton led the Rangers with 43 home runs and 128 RBIs.  Hamilton also scored 103 runs.  Hamilton only batted .285, but that is not the stat that matters.  Hamilton's OPS was .930.  The outfield production does not stop after Hamilton, Nelson Cruz is also a a great hitter. Cruz belted 24 home runs and drove in 90 runs.  David Murphy was great for Rangers as well.  Murphy batted .304.  Murphy is a great average hitter, but that is about all he brings to the table.


Twitter Account of the Day Follow Pitcher Derek Holland @Dutch_Oven45.


Don't forget to follow us on Twitter @WadeCArthur @TommyM44 and @cniermann

We are also proud to announce we now have a twitter page.  Follow us @FullCountBlog for all the latest news and our thoughts on what is going the baseball world.

Check back all week as we continue our Hot Stove Wrap Ups and our 2012 Season Reviews.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves (94-68) – 2nd Place NL East, Wild Card Berth

Today we begin our look at the playoff teams.  As always, the pitching staff led the Braves in 2012.  While they were not the second coming of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz, the Braves rotation, led by youngsters like Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen, propelled the Braves into the new wild card game, where they lost following a somewhat controversial infield fly rule call against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Atlanta fans were not happy following the controversial infield
fly rule call and decided to take it upon themselves to throw
anything they could find onto the field.

Pitchers-The Braves staff was phenomenal in 2012, finishing 5th in the Major Leagues with a 3.34 ERA.  The most ridiculous story this past season was Kris Medlen.  He was 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA in 12 starts.  The stat that sticks out the most is the amount of games.  At one point, the Braves won 23 consecutive games in which Medlen started, setting a new Major League record.  Brandon Beachy was also ridiculous prior to getting injured.  Despite a 5-5 record, he had a 2.00 ERA.  Tim Hudson was also very good, winning 16 games with a 3.62 ERA.  The Braves bullpen was among the league’s best for the 2nd year in a row.  Closer Craig Kimbrel had 42 saves in 45 opportunities, paired with a 1.01 ERA and 116 strikeouts in just over 60 innings.  Eric O’Flaherty was also fantastic for the 2nd straight year, with a 1.73 ERA.  Although he wasn’t as good as he was in 2011, Jonny Venters was also solid, with a 3.22 ERA.

The Braves streak of consecutive wins in Kris Medlen's starts
was absolutely ridiculous and may never be topped

Infield- You can’t talk about the Braves infield over the last 20 years without talking about Chipper Jones.  2012 was Chipper’s final season in the big leagues, and he will be sorely missed.  His final year was a great one, as he hit .287 with 14 home runs and 62 RBIs in just 112 games.  The shortstop to start the year, Tyler Pastornicky struggled, leading the Braves to bring up prospect Andrelton Simmons.  Before getting hurt, Simmons hit .289 in 49 games.  Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman struggled hitting for average, but they both hit for power, Uggla hitting 19 home runs, and Freeman hitting 23.  Catcher Brian McCann, despite having trouble with his vision, still managed to hit 20 home runs, but only to the tune of a .230 average.

Chipper Jones will go down as one of the best players of
this era and one of the best third basemen of all time

Outfield- Right fielder Jason Heyward had a great bounce back 2012 season following a sophomore slump in 2011.  Heyward hit .269 with 27 home runs and 82 RBIs.  He won a gold glove because of his great defense and he also added 21 steals, which was good for 2nd on the team to center fielder Michael Bourn, who had 42 steals.  Bourn also hit .274 and led the team in runs with 96.  Left fielder Martin Prado did what he does best in 2012, continue to hit for average.  Prado led the team with a .301 batting average to go along with 10 home runs, 70 RBIs, and 17 steals.  Perhaps the most impressive stat for Prado was his 42 doubles, which was good for 6th in the National League.

Jason Heyward is known for his sweet swing and his cannon 
of an arm in right field

Twitter Account of the Day- Chipper Jones @REALCJ10 Everyone take the time to follow this future Hall of Famer.  Let me leave you all with Chipper Jones' farewell speech, enjoy!

You can also follow us @TommyM44 @cniermann @WadeCArthur

Join us tomorrow as Wade takes on the first AL playoff team with the Texas Rangers

Monday, November 26, 2012

Daily Hot Stove Wrap Up 11/26

Here is what Chris has for you all today, Monday November 26th

Quote of the Day:"Evan has all of the attributes we seek in a player,"-- Andrew Friedman, Executive VP of Baseball Operations for the Tampa Bay Rays.

It's Monday which is my 7th favorite weekday.  Fortunately there was plenty of baseball news over the weekend for today's Hot Stove Update, which I'll try to post at evening so that you guys can catch it after work, instead of when you're about to get out of work.  Hopefully it makes it easier to SHARE, but I won't force anyone to do it if my writing is garbage, which it probably is.

  Here's your Hot Stove Daily Update, enjoy.
  • Like Wade mentioned this morning, Evan Longoria has become a much richer individual as he and the Rays have agreed to an extension that adds 6 years and over $100 million to his existing contract.  I'd figure out exactly how much money, but it makes me sick.  For now, we'll have to wait and see if Longoria lives up to his end of the bargain, but I wouldn't be complaining too much if I were him.
  • The Red Sox are rumored to be having serious talks with Mike Napoli.  The free agent catcher/1B/DH has a big bat but just because he's listed as a "three position player" doesn't exactly mean he's the most versatile defender.  I'd expect the two sides to hammer out an agreement by the end of this week, though it's still possible that Texas might jump back in the conversation, depending on how their talks with Hamilton are going.
  • Speaking of Josh Hamilton, the free agent is reportedly asking for a lot of money...don't expect him to get everything he wants.  Most executives think that Hamilton would get money in the range of $25 million a year if he asks for something in the range of 4 years. 
  •  If you had asked me at the beginning of the season, I would have expected the Rangers to be the favorite to sign Hamilton but now the word around the league is that it's anyone's guess.  The Brewers could be serious contenders but a long-term contract is scaring them off.  Still it's fun to dream about a lineup with Ryan Braun, Hamilton, and Aramis Ramirez in the middle...unless you're a pitcher for an NL Central team.  Then it probably isn't fun to think about that.  
  • The Orioles have also been mentioned as suitors, but don't expect them to be serious contenders.  When the consensus about a free agent is that it's anyone's guess, usually that player ends up re-signing.  I still think at the end of the day, Hamilton will be a Ranger next season.  
  • The Mets have signed LH reliever Tim Byrdak to a minor-league deal.  Byrdak, 39, just underwent surgery in September but has been a reliable situational lefty throughout his career and could have a future with the team's short term plans.  If you're a dad and have a son, make him be a lefty.  It will be a smart investment.
  • Reds may be thinking about moving fireballer reliever Aroldis Chapman to the rotation and if they re-sign Jonathan Broxton, that would make their plans a lot easier.  The two sides were reportedly close to a three year deal but a pitcher like Joakim Soria or Ryan Madson could still be a possibility for the NL Central reigning champs.  
  • The Mets have acquired Brandon Hicks from the As.  Hicks played in 22 games with the Athletics and will be with New York until he becomes really good and then the Mets will likely send him off for cash.  Like they always do.  
  • And finally, please join me in wishing David Freese and Jeff Keppinger speedy recoveries.  Keppinger had a career last year with the Rays and broke his fibia falling down a flight of stairs in a super untimely event.  David Freese was unhurt in a car accident a couple days ago but still, car crashes are scary so hopefully he's mentally okay.   
Hope this made your Monday slightly better, unless you're not a baseball fan in which case I hope it made your Monday even worse.  Until next time fans, I'm out.

Tampa Bay Rays

Welcome back baseball fans.  I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving.  I am happy to be back with you all as we continue our 2012 season reviews.

Tampa Bay Rays (90-72) Third Place American League East

Winning 90 games and missing the playoffs just isn't fair, especially with the added Wild Card for the 2012 season, but that is exactly what happened to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012.  The Rays missed the playoffs by 3 games, but the team played great for Manager John Madden all year.  The amazing seasons from the Baltimore Orioles kept them out of the playoffs.  The Rays pitching staff was great throughout the year and the offense was also above average.

Pitchers- The Rays starting staff is the backbone of the team, as the starting staff goes, the Rays go.  The amazing staff is led by David Price.  David Price is a dude.  Price led the Rays with 20 wins and a 2.56 ERA.  For his efforts in 2012, Price took home the American League Cy Young, finishing ahead of Justin Verlander.  Price is not the only "ace" on the Rays staff, as James Shields was once again spectacular in 2012.  Shields led the Rays in strike outs with 223.  Shields also put together 15 wins and a 3.52 ERA for the Rays and led the team in starts and innings.  Jeremy Hellickson was also great for the Rays.  The youngster made 31 starts and sported a 3.10 ERA.  For as good as Hellickson was, he only accumulated 10 wins.  Matt Moore, another youngster, made 31 starts and put together a pretty good season with 11 wins and a 3.81 ERA.  The future of the Rays starting staff is bright as James Shields is the eldest at age 30.  The big surprise of the season came from the back end of the bullpen.  After closer Kyle Farnsworth went down early in the season, ex-Tiger Fernando Rodney became the closer.  As Tiger, Rodney found himself as an inconsistent reliever and was let go.  Rodney has found a home in Tampa Bay as he was ridiculous converting 48 saves in 50 chances.  Rodney had a stunning 0.60 ERA, leading all relievers in baseball.

Infield- Evan Longoria is really good, the questions surrounding Longoria is whether or not he can stay healthy for a full year.  In 2012, Longoria only played in 74 games.  In his 74 games, hit 17 home runs and drove in 55 runs.  The surprise of the year in the infield came from utility man Jeff Keppinger.  Keppinger batted .325 playing numerous infield spots during the year.  First basemen Carlos Pena was happy to be back in Tampa Bay after spending one year in Chicago but did not play any better for the Rays as he only batted .197 with 19 home runs in 160 games.  Pena also struck out 182 times.  The middle of the infield was was not very good at the dish with a lot of guys finding there way into the line up.  At catcher, Jose Molina was not very good hitting, but his defense has always been great.

Outfield- Ben Zobrist led the outfield with a .270 average and 20 home runs.  Zobrist is an all around player and plays not only outfield, but can find himself playing numerous infield spots.  Zobrist led the Rays in doubles and runs with 39 and 88 respectively.  BJ Upton was pretty good for the Rays, but only put together a .246 average.  Upton led the Rays in home runs with 28 and in runs batted in with 78.  Upton also led the Rays in stolen bases with 31.  Youngster Desmond Jennings was pretty average for the Rays.  He tied Upton with 31 steals, and actually batted .246, the same as Upton.  Jennings was only able to scrounge up 13 home runs and some would consider it to be a little bit of a disappointing season for Jennings.

Twitter Account of the Day : Cy Young Award winning pitcher, David Price.  Follow him @DAVIDprice14 and congratulate him on his Cy Young.  After the news this morning, let's add Evan Longoria to the Twitter Account of the Day and let's congratulate him on his contract extension. Follow him @Evan3Longoria

Don't forget to check in with us tonight as we give you an update on all the free agent news and check back all week as we continue our reviews of the 2012 season.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Daily Hot Stove Wrap Up 11/25

Quote of the Day:

""There is no discussion whatsoever about Alex transitioning from third base to DH, part-time DH, first base or any other position on the field,"
Yankees GM Brian Cashman on A-Rod's future.  

Welcome back baseball fans, consider yesterday my "off day" from this "job."  And by job, I mean, hobby.  And by off day, I mean I was probably like most of you and watching some great college football games.  But back to the best sport, baseball, here's your short hot stove update for Sunday, November 25.  

Nothing really of note over a slow Thanksgiving Weekend to mention.  I'll give a full update tomorrow but today, I'll list the top free agents (in no particular order) still remaining if you were wondering who's left and who might be a good fit for your favorite ballclub.  

  • Mike Napoli, C/1B/DH
Masher, mediocre defender that has had a pretty productive last couple of seasons for the Rangers.  I wouldn't expect him to be a catcher much longer for whatever club he signs. 
  • Josh Hamilton, OF
The crown jewel of this year's free agent class.  A perennial MVP candidate that would instantly transform any team that signs him, Hamilton is still not free of concerns as he struggled badly in the second half of the season, including a weird session where he complained about caffeine.  Also his age and past history with substance abuse including several relapses make him a risky long-term signing.  Still, any MLB team would love making that risk should their budget allow for it.  
  • Zack Greinke, SP
Undoubtedly the best starting pitcher of this class, Greinke would make a contender a favorite, a fringe team a contender, and a poor team watchable.  Expect him to set the market for other free agent starters should he sign first.  
  • Anibal Sanchez, SP
Inconsistency has plagued him throughout his career, but still only 28 and has electric stuff.  Did a fine job down the home stretch for the Tigers and if the postseason was considered his free agent audition, he nailed it.  
  • B.J. Upton, OF
Still young, still inconsisent with the bat.  Still an outfielder that GM's are salivating over.  Consider Upton the best "talent" still available in a crowded outfield free agent market.  
  • Michael Bourne, OF
Fast as hell, gets on base, plays pretty good defense in the outfield.  A team looking for a pace-setter/catalyst type at the top of their order should have Bourne on their shortlist of free agents to sign.  
  • Nick Swisher, OF
Tough as nails, scrappy,cocky and brash.  A former Billy Beane favorite and versatile.  However, getting older and like, really, really sucked in the field during the Yankees disappointing finish may have hurt his stock as he's sure not to get his original asking price.  Still, would probably be an upgrade for most teams in RF.  
  • Kyle Lohse, SP
Servicable starter may be a product of Dave Duncan coaching in St. Louis for his career resurrection.  Buyer beware.  
  • Ryan Madson, RP
Injuries have plagued him recently but was a dominant reliever before.  Could be a bargain price for a team looking to upgrade the backend of their bullpen.  
  • Edwin Jackson, SP
Trying to break Reggie Sander's record for most teams played with.  Still in late 20s, with stuff that can glow in the dark.  Consistency is the biggest issue and could thrive with the right coaching, in the right situation.  
  • Dan Haren, SP
Former All-Star but injuries are a question.  Could be a low risk, high reward signing for a team looking for a back of the rotation starter.  

That's about enough for today.  I'm going to pound a beer and take a nap.  Until tomorrow, baseball freaks.  I'm out.  


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers (86-76) – 2nd Place NL West

To call the Dodgers 2012 season crazy would be a gross understatement.  First, a new ownership group bought the team, led by Magic Johnson.  Then, trying to compete with the Giants, the Dodgers took on a ridiculous amount of salary, trading for Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton from the Phillies, Brandon League from the Mariners, Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins, and Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford from the Red Sox.  Make no mistake, the Dodgers will spend the money to get the wins, making them the Yankees of the National League from here on out.

Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Hanley Ramirez, and Brandon League
were all traded to the Dodgers mid-season, but the biggest trade was
acquiring Crawford, Beckett, and Gonzalez from the Red Sox 

Pitchers- Clayton Kershaw once again was the ace of the Dodgers’ staff.  He finished 2nd in the NL Cy Young voting, compiling a 2.53 ERA and striking out 229 batters.  The staff was also anchored by two surprise candidates, Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano.  Mostly known as innings eaters throughout their careers, Harang and Capuano both finished with ERAs under 4 and both had double digit wins.  Before getting hurt, Chad Billingsley also had quite a bit of success, posting a 3.55 ERA in 150 innings.  Ted Lilly was very good before getting hurt as well, but his injury left the Dodgers with a big hole in their rotation.  Once coming over from Boston, Josh Beckett was very successful, sporting a 2.93 ERA in 7 starts.  The bullpen, led by Kenley Jansen was pretty good.  Jansen had 25 saves and a 2.35 ERA before having to shut it down for the season due to an irregular heartbeat.  Brandon League, Javy Guerra, Scott Elbert, and Ronald Belisario were also very good in the pen, all having ERAs below 3.

Clayton Kershaw is the unquestioned ace of the Dodgers' staff

Infield- The Dodgers’ infield was dramatically different pre and post trade deadline.  Hanley Ramirez replaced Juan Uribe at third and Adrian Gonzalez replaced James Loney at first.  They were both pretty good post trade, Ramirez batting .271 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs in 64 games, and Gonzalez batting .297 with 22 RBIs in 36 games.  The middle infield wasn't quite as good.  Mark Ellis primarily manned 2nd base, hitting .258 in 110 games.  Shortstop was split between Dee Gordon and Luis Cruz.  Dee Gordon has insane speed, but struggles mightily with the bat.  Gordon stole 32 bases in 87 games, but hit just .228.  Luis Cruz fared much better at the plate, hitting .297 in 78 games.  AJ Ellis was the primary catcher, hitting .270 with 13 home runs in 133 games.

Outfield- Superstars Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier both played very well and got the extensions to prove it, Kemp signing an 8 year 160 million dollar extension before the season, and Ethier signing a 5 year 85 million dollar extension in June.  Kemp struggled with injuries, but he was still able to hit .303 with 23 home runs and 69 RBIs in just over 100 games.  Ethier hit .284 while clubbing 20 home runs and driving in a team leading 89 runs.  Left field wasn’t as good as right and center in 2012.  Juan Rivera started the season there, hitting just .244.  Shane Victorino played in left following his acquisition, but he wasn’t much better, hitting just .245.  However, the Flyin' Hawaiian was able to steal 15 bases in his 53 games with the Dodgers.

Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier anchor the middle of the Dodgers lineup

Twitter Account of the Day- Clayton Kershaw @ClaytonKersh22

Follow us on twitter @TommyM44 @cniermann @WadeCArthur and like our facebook page

Friday, November 23, 2012

Daily Hot Stove Wrap Up 11/23

Quote of the Day

"I'm upset with how things turned out in Miami.  Just like the fans in South Florida, I was lied to on multiple occasions.  But I'm putting it behind me and looking forward to moving on with my career."  

~ Mark Buehrle

Does anyone else think that it's ironic that the day after we're supposed to give thanks, we all rush away from family to knock over some old lady in the line at Target to grab the new iPad?  

Or waiting 12 hours in line to save $50 on something?  Why would you not just work an eight hour shift at minimum wage, make more than $50 and save four hours?  

Here's my Black Friday shopping tips.  

  1. Get out of line
  2. Go home
  3. Buy stuff on the Internet for almost the same price
  4. Read The Full Count in the time you would have been in line at the mall
  5. Enjoy the holiday.  Stay sane.  
Now that you've got that, we've got a short but fun Daily Hot Stove Update as Josh Johnson rates his iPhone apps in the order of usefulness, Jonny Gomes sells his soul, making sense of the Miami Marlins, and a few minor moves.  

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, here's your Hot Stove for November 23rd.  

The most evil man in baseball, Jeff Loria?  
Josh Johnson said he found out he was traded to the Blue Jays on his MLB Trade Rumors app.  So we have technology that alerts players they're traded before the GM even let's them know, but we can't use technology to make sure that we get correct calls at home plate?  I'm not even going to go there.

  • If you want to read Josh Joshson's reaction to the trade and his time in Miami, this might be a good read on a slow day.  He says mostly politically correct stuff and never trashes the Marlins organization, but I can't wait to hear Giancarlo Stanton's interview if/when he gets shipped out too. 
  • Speaking of Stanton, who's already voiced his displeasure at the Marlin's brass, Yahoo  Sports Jeff Passan makes the case here that Stanton should be the next Marlin to be traded if they are "serious about rebuilding."  He makes a point, you can't really piss off the fans any more than you already have.  Might as well start from scratch and Stanton's stock isn't going to be much higher.  Okay, I'll stop talking about the Marlins.  
Gomes now plays for the guys he used to beat up..literally
  • Jonny Gomes, the so-called "heart and soul" of the Oakland As during their surprising run has made himself a lot less likable by signing with a much less likable team.  His $10 million, two-year contract with the Red Sox will add outfield depth and power for Boston's outfield.  Have I mentioned I hate Boston?  

  • The Chicago Cubs have signed outfielder Brian Bogusevic to a minor league deal.  I got to see Bogussevic play a few times on visits to Minute Maid Park and while I wasn't exactly there to scout, between the second and third beers he looked like a scrappy player.  His .203 average leaves something to be desired but he can play all the outfield spots so expect him to see a bit of time at Wrigley next summer.  

  • The As make up for Gomes leaving by signing both LHP Justin Thomas and UT Darwin Perez to minor league deals (#sarcasm). The 28-year-old Thomas allowed seven runs in 7 2/3 innings for the Red Sox and Yankees in 2012.
  • The Nationals sign LHP Fernando Abad and RHP Caleb Clay to minor league contracts. Abad actually pitched in almost 85 big league innings last season.  The catch?  It was 85 innings for the Astros.  
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers continue their busy month, signing RHP Juan Abreu, LHP Kelvin De La Cruz, RHP Hector Correa, C Wilkin Castillo, IF Miguel Rojas, and RHP Gregory Infante to minor league deals.  Expect Abreu to be the most likely of these no-namers to have an impact as he struck out 12 in 6 1/3 innings.  The catch?  It was also with the Astros.  

  • Will SP Andy Pettite pitch in 2013?  Expect the veteran lefty to decide on his future plans by next week.  The 40-year-old pitched surprisingly well for the Yankees down the stretch.  While I like Andy Pettite, I also hate the Yankees.  May he struggle for them next year.  

Tis the season everyone!  Winter meetings are around the corner.  Have a happy rest of your break and I'll catch y'all tomorrow.  

And what the hell?  It was a slow day today so here's Kate Upton one more time:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers (83-79) – 3rd Place NL Central

Happy Thanksgiving readers!! Yes, that is right, us at the Full Count don’t even take Thanksgiving off (you can ignore the fact that I wrote this on Wednesday).  The off-season started off as a horrible one for the Brewers, with superstar Ryan Braun being suspended after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.  However, that suspension was appealed in late February due to a technicality (cough bullshit cough) and Braun put up another MVP caliber season.  However, the bullpen was ATROCIOUS and a late season push wasn’t enough to propel this team into the playoffs.

Pitchers- 2012 was the year of “Have you ever heard of this guy?” for the Brewers starting rotation.  While Zack Greinke was good before being traded and Shaun Marcum was good before getting hurt, the rotation received good performances from Mark Rogers, Marco Estrada, and Mike Fiers.  If you are not a Brewers fan and you have heard of these 3 guys, you are definitely in the minority.  The Brewers unquestioned ace is definitely Yovani Gallardo.  Gallardo led the team with 16 wins and had a very good 3.66 ERA.  He also struck out exactly a batter an inning over his 204 inning season.  The bullpen however, was historically bad.  Out of the 73 save opportunities that the team had, they only converted 44.  John Axford converted 35 of 44, which isn’t that bad, but replacement closers Jim Henderson (3 of 7) and Francisco Rodriguez (3 of 10) were just flat out awful.  I would however like a shout out for my baseball twin, Vinnie Chulk, who made me proud by having a Brewer worst 10.00 ERA.

Vinnie Chulk (Left) and Myself (Right)
The Resemblance is uncanny 

Infield- The corner infielders for the Brewers did what corner infielders are supposed to do in 2012.  First baseman Corey Hart hit 30 home runs, while batting .270 and driving in 83.  Former Cub Aramis Ramirez had a phenomenal season at 3rd base, hitting .300 and driving in 105 runs.  He also hit 27 home runs and led the National League with 50 doubles.  2nd baseman Rickie Weeks did not enjoy the same success however.  Weeks hit just .230, but did manage to hit 21 home runs.  Shortstop was a bit of a mess until the Greinke trade, when the Brewers received top prospect Jean Segura.  Segura wasn’t great, but the talented 22 year old managed to hit .264 and steal 7 bases in limited time after coming over.  Catcher Jonathan Lucroy was a great surprise, hitting .320, but he was limited due to injury.

I'd be happy too if I didn't have to play for a 100 loss team anymore

Outfield - Everything in the outfield revolves around Ryan Braun.  Take a look at this stat line: .319 batting average, 108 runs, 41 home runs, 112 RBIs, and 30 stolen bases.  Braun had a ridiculous year, and if it wasn’t for him testing positive for PEDs, he probably would have won the MVP award.  The other outfielders on the Brewers are much more known for their speed.  Right fielder Norichika Aoki had a great first year in the states, hitting .288 and stealing 30 bases.  Center fielder Carlos Gomez also played well, only hitting .260, but stealing 37 bases in the process.  The big disappointment of the season was Tony Plush, I mean Nyjer Morgan.  Morgan is a man of multiple personalities, however in 2012, neither one decided that they wanted to hit.  Morgan hit just .239 and lost a lot of playing time to Gomez in the process.   

Tony Plush decided to show up to this postseason press conference
 wearing what appears to be a Brewers army helmet

Twitter Account of the Day- Nyjer Morgan @TheRealTPlush

As always, follow us @TommyM44 @WadeCArthur @cniermann

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!! Let me leave you with this wonderful video about this amazing holiday.

We will be back tomorrow with Wade and his review on the Tampa Bay Rays

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Daily Hot Stove Wrap Up 11/21

Quote of the Day

"At the time of the signing it looked like it was going to be the right thing for all of us." 

~ Jack Zduriencik, Seattle GM on signing Chone Figgins in 2009.  Figgins, who was released by the Mariners last night, hit .227 in three season with Seattle.

Good afternoon baseball fans, it's that time again.  It will be a short Hot Stove update today as nothing really happens before Thanksgiving.  Hopefully everyone is using today to travel and meet with family.  

First though, I have a question: What is the major difference between Sweet Potato Pie or Pumpkin Pie (other than the ingredients)?  Because I literally cannot taste the difference.  Let us know in the comments.    

Today, we've got a super list of designated players as it's that time of year (right before Thanksgiving MLB?  That's cold), Hiroki Kuroda signs a new deal to make more money, a few minor moves and Wade shares what he's thankful for this year.  (hint: he's a White Sox fan so think along those lines)

Enjoy the short post and the short week! 

Hiroki Kuroda decides that being anonymous in New York is better than being famous on the West Coast as he agreed to a one-year $15 million contract to resign with the Yankees.  Kuroda was the most consistent starter on the Yankees last year.  I hate the Yankees.  Moving on...

  • The Rays have signed reliever Joel Peralta to a new two-year, $6 million contract.  Peralta at 35, was pretty decent out of the Rays pen and with his leadership to all the youngsters in that Tampa Bay bullpen, I think this was a good move by the Rays.  There ain't that many reliable relievers around these parts no more.  

It's that time of year again, here's a quick update on some rapid-fire moves made around the league as teams begin to trim their 40-man rosters.  
  • The Mariners have designated Chone Figgins and OF Scott Cousins for assignment.  
  • It has been a busy month for Cousins was only picked up by the Mariners two weeks ago, after being waived by both the Marlins and the Blue Jays in October.   
  • Red Sox designate Danny Valencia, IF Ivan DeJesus, and P David Carpenter, Zach Stewart and Sandy Rosario for assignment
  • The Cubs have designated Bryan LaHair for assignment.  LaHair had a hot first half and actually ended up making the NL All-Star team but is now expected to play in Japan.  
  • San Diego have designated P Cory Burns for assignment.  
  • Indians have designated P Fabio Martinez.
  • As designate Brandon Hicks and Jim Miller.
  • It was a busy day for the Royals, who designate pitchers Vin Mazzaro, Chris Volstad, and Ryan Verdugo. Also designated for assignment are C Brayan Pena, IF Clint Robinson and OF Derrick Robinson. 
  • The Blue Jays designate 1B Mike McDade, IF Mike McCoy and P Cory Wade.

As you can see from the above post, most of these guys who were designated, you have probably never heard of.  I'll admit it.  I'll also admit that I thought long and hard about actually looking up there positions as I was writing this.  But the truth is that most of the guys that are fringe-major leaguers are not the multi-million dollar athletes that we watch on Baseball Tonight - they are ordinary guys trying to make their dream of playing big league ball and I can't imagine being in there shoes and hearing the news that they heard this week.  Cheers to all of them and while the timing sucks, there are other options.  

After being designated, they can either return to the roster (not likely) within ten days or be played on waivers (most likely). Players will then either be traded or released. After waivers clear they are free to sign with any team after becoming free agents. I expect all of these guys to hang in there and keep working to make their dream happen. I've seen it happen all the time when career fringe players become serviceable players and even stars. That's why baseball is such a great game....anything can happen!

Okay enough of me.  Here's Wade to break down what he's thankful for in the last....

Thanksgiving Week What I'm Thankful For (in baseball)


"As a Chicago Baseball fan, there is just so much to be thankful for. I mean the city has won one World Series in the past 90 years, how can you not be thankful for that?
But the thing that I am most thankful for is that we, as Chicago baseball fans, have the honor to listen to one of the best broadcasters in baseball, Ken "The Hawk" Harrelson. Hawk is always there with great insight on what is going on in the baseball world. His unbiased opinion of the baseball world is on display nightly on Comcast SportsNet Chicago, WGN, or whatever channel the White Sox end up on. When a call goes against Hawk's beloved White Sox he is always the first one to check out the replay and give in detail what the umpire saw. Just watch this clip to see how Hawk can always keep his emotions in check.

Or maybe check out this clip

How can you not be thankful for something like that?

But in all honesty, sometimes while watching baseball you don't want to learn about what is going on in today's world, but maybe take a trip back to the times of Yaz, and Ted Williams. Hawk is always there to remind you how good Yaz was or who the best low ball hitter was, or who had the best curve ball he's ever seen.

Sometimes as a play by play guy Hawk feels a need to let the picture speak for itself and is known sometimes for letting 30 seconds and letting 3 or 4 pitches go by without saying a word.

Hawk has coined some good phrases throughout his years in the booth. "Gas.... He Gone" "Can of Corn" "Right Size, Wrong Shape" "STRETCH, STRETCH, GET ON BACK THERE, IT WILL!" "YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOARD, YES!!!!" And my all time favorite from this masterpiece.

Classic Hawk.

Hawk has had a hard time keeping his partners by his side, for the pure fact that Hawk is so grand, that it is hard for these guys to not be in awe of a true broadcasting icon.

All in all, Hawk is a legend in the game of baseball and I can truly say that I am blessed to have grown up listening to Hawk broadcast games. Hawk, never change, we love the way you don't focus on the game, we love the way you yell random things at umpires, we love the way you don't know anything about players in today's game, we love your anecdotes about Yaz and the 60's. Don't change for anyone! We all just hope you can have your dream of going out how you want.

But in all seriousness, I am thankful that Ozzie Guillen is out of baseball for the time being.

Okay, for real in all seriousness, I am thankful for my dad introducing me to the world's greatest game. For the late night stories, the numerous times we had a catch in the backyard, the numerous hours pitching batting practice, the more hours spent coaching and teaching me everything there is to know about baseball. For letting me stay up to watch Sox games,or at least getting me a radio to listen to the games in bed. I couldn't ask for much more and I hope when the time comes, I can pass on the tradition to my own son."

Thanks Wade. If you're a Dad, go out and have a catch with your son/daughter this Thanksgiving. I think all of us can be thankful for the game of baseball this year, and that's something that a White Sox fan, Cubs fan, and a Tigers fan can all agree on. Maybe the only thing.

For all of us at The Full Count, happy Thanksgiving. This terrible quality, super-tacky photo that I stole from Google Images is my personal Thanksgiving gift to you;

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (89-73) - Third Place American League West

Millions of dollars were spent and plenty of players were acquired, and what did it lead to? Missing the playoffs.  Everything the Angels did in 2012 seemed like a sure fire way to move past the Texas Rangers and onto the top of the standings in the American League West almost ensuring the Angels with a trip to the World Series.  Little did the Angels know, the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles were in for seasons that no one could see coming.  The Angels missing the playoffs was disappointing, but the future looks bright with Mike Trout leading the way.

I'd wear those shades too if I got paid like Wilson did.
Pitchers- After signing a five-year $77.5 million deal, C.J. Wilson was pretty good for the Angels in 2012 sporting a 3.83 ERA with 13 wins in 34 starts.  The big money free agent, struck out 173 batters for the Angels.  Wilson was so successful in 2012, he even opened a Mazda dealership in suburban Chicago.  Jered Weaver is awesome and no one can take that away from him.  What isn't awesome, is his hair.  Anyways, on the mound, Weaver led the Angels with 20 wins in 30 starts.  Weaver was once again a Cy Young candidate, but came up short, losing to David Price.  Weaver also had an astonishing 2.81 ERA.  Weaver not only had an awesome season, but it was highlighted on May 2, when he pitched his first no hitter.  The big story near the trade deadline came when the Angels acquired Zach Greinke from the Milwaukee Brewers for three prospects.  Greinke started 13 games for the Angels winning 6.  Greinke didn't lead the Angels to the playoffs, but the DUDE IS GONNA GET PAID!!  

Infielders- Did I mention the Angels spent a lot of money in the off-season?  Well they did, and that included signing Albert Pujols to a 10 year $254 million contract!  Pujols started the season slow, but caught fire late.  Pujols finished the season with 30 home runs 105 RBIs and a .285 average.  Now to anyone else those numbers are great, but for Pujols, that is a down year.  Only time will tell if this contract was a good one, but in my opinion after one year, it doesn't look good for the Angels.  The big surprise of the year was the production of Mark Trumbo.  The problem with Trumbo, is that he does not have a true position on the field.  Trumbo led the Angels with 32 home runs and added 95 runs batted in.  Second basemen Howie Kendrick was himself again in 2012 batting for a respectable average, but that is about all that Kendrick brings to the table.

I get this is a picture when Pujols was on the Cards, BUT LOOK AT THE PICTURE HOLY CRAP!

Outfielders- Torii Hunter had a career year in 2012, batting .313 and knocked in 92 runs.  Hunter was moved to right field and to the surprise of no one was great defensively.  What seems to be left out of a lot of conversations with fans is how likable Hunter is.  Hunter is a great clubhouse guy and someone that young players can learn a lot from.  That about wraps up the Angels season..... Oh wait, there was this rookie that played for the Angels?  What was his name again?  Mike Trout you say?  How could I go this long about the 2012 season and not mention the great Mike Trout?  Honestly, it is because words can't describe how good Mike Trout was in 2012.  Trout led the Angels in average, batting .326, stolen bases with 49 (MLB Leader), hit 30 home runs, drove in 83 runs, and scored 129 runs (MLB Leader).  Trout also played an awesome center field and for all your metrics guys out there, led all of baseball in Wins Above Replacement at 10.0, two higher than National League MVP, Buster Posey.  Now the debate could go on forever about Trout not winning the MVP, but let's enjoy the fact that at age 20, Trout is an incredible talent, won rookie of the year and it seems like the sky in the limit for this kid.  Maybe in all honestly, winning the MVP at such a young age would put too much pressure on him?  I really don't believe that at all, but if Trout performs this way for the next 15 years I am sure no one will even remember this when Trout in shining in his bust in Cooperstown. Yes, I did just go there.

Trout stealing a home run from my beloved White Sox.

Twitter Account of the Day : Mike Trout @Trouty20 

Don't forget to check us out on Twitter @WadeCArthur @cniermann and @TommyM44

Check back tonight for the Daily Hot Stove and find out what yours truly is thankful for in the baseball world!