Monday, December 31, 2012

Hot Stove New Year's Eve Edition!

Quote of the Day


"I think after this year, everyone will think a lot differently about what type of player Stephen is and the impact he can have on a division contending team."


-- Scott Boras on his client, Stephen Drew. 

 But sorry, I will still think of Drew about the same in 2013 as I did in 2012.  Which is an oft-injured, average-hitting, decent-gloved shortstop that will be exactly that for the Red Sox.  

Boras hyperbole level = 8



Welcome to the last Hot Stove of 2011 baseball fans. It's still a slow week but as we close the chapter on 2012 and look forward to 2013, we're still gonna recap some of our favorite moments from an epic 2012 season in baseball and hope you can join in the discussion. 


It was a season to remember and if you will look back at 2012 with fondness (talking to YOU Giants fans), bitterness (Rockies/Padres/Marlins/Mariners fans?), happiness (playoff contenders), disappointment (any team that got eliminated last two weeks of September), or unfathomable sadness (Cubs fans but like, every New Year) and even puzzled bewilderment (Philip Humber?) you will NEVER forget 2012. Cheers! 


Here's to friends, family, and baseball! 


Some of our favorite and not-so-favorite moments 


• Baseball kicks off in Japan with the Mariners vs. the Athletics. Because if anyone's earned the right to piss of all of us for forgetting to set our Fantasy Baseball lines up 20 hours early, it's Ichiro


• The Marlins opened a brand new era of mediocrity with a new, taxpayer-funded ball park. It looks awesome but the team finished dead-last in the NL Central.  Somewhere opening night, Jeffrey Loria jumped into a pile of cash ala Scrooge McDuck while throwing at a dartboard of Marlins players, titled "Who to Trade Next?" 


• Speaking of Miami, Ozzie Guillen probably shouldn't start off sentences in a city with a large Cuban and Cuban refugee population with, "I love Fidel Castro." Just like you don't walk into a bar on South Side of Chicago and start with, "I love Ozzie Guillen." Or walk into my house and start with "I love the New York Yankees." 

• If anyone didn't know who Philip Humber was, they did by the time he tossed baseball's 21st perfect game on the 21st of April proving again that you don't have to have the stuff of David Price to toss a perfecto, just the luck of Dallas Braden. 

• "Father Time" Jamie Moyer proved once again how abso-freakin-lutely pointless wins are as a statistic winning at age 49 and unknowingly giving all children universal permission to call their dad's "wussies" after quitting a game of catch early. 


• Mariano Rivera tears his ACL in early May shagging fly balls in batting practice and was lost for the year prompting Tiger fans begging to have Papa Grande go out for a few shags of his own. 


• Josh Hamilton smacked four home runs in one night in May. He had seven the last six weeks of the season. 


• Jered Weaver no-hit the Twins in May which was kind of like no-hitting the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Herbert Hoover Middle School traveling team. 


• Watching Albert Pujols try and hit a home run in April was like watching Dontrelle Willis try and hit the strike zone ever. Pujols took until May 6th to smack his first home run with his new team in Los Angeles. 


• On April 28th, both Bryce Harper and Mike Trout were called up to the Nationals and Angels respectively. If I need to explain what happened after, then you really don't need to be visiting this blog. No offense. 

• The Dodgers finally got someone to buy them but that person was Magic Johnson and friends so expect them to become the Yankees of the NL as soon as Magic figures out that there's no salary cap in baseball which he apparently already has this offseason. 


• Aaron Hill of the D-Backs hit two cycles in June, and inventing the oh-so-cool-new-never-to-be-used-again baseball term "Bi-Cycle." 


• Kerry Wood stepped to the mound against the White Sox in May and ended his career the same way he began it . . . with a strikeout. God speed Kerry Wood, may your next career in State Farm commercials be injury free. 


• A-Rod hit his record tying 23rd grand slam. It was the 1st non chemically-enhanced grand slam of his career. ZING! 


• After 35 one-hitters, Johan Santana finally pitched the New York Mets' first no-hitter. If the best thing that Santana gives to the Mets is that no-hitter it would be a $137.5 million no-hitter. Congrats Mets. 


• Then the Mariners decide to tag team a no-hitter of their own against the Dodgers by six pitchers getting in on the 10th combined no-hitter in baseball history. 

• Prince Fielder won the home run derby, still my favorite All-Star event becoming the first player to win the event in each league. 

• Justin Verlander's evil, elaborate plot to clinch the World Series in Detroit began when he allowed the National League to have the first five runs in the All Star game in Kansas City.  It backfired when the SF Giants won World Series games one and two so Verlander pushed his plan to 2013

• The All Star game in Kansas City was so successful that Royals owner David Glass, intrigued by what it was like to watch talented baseball teams promptly traded their entire farm system for James Shields. 

You can be perfect. . . in baseball!

• Matt Cain followed Humber by tossing a dominant perfect game against the Houston Astros. And Felix Hernandez followed later against the Rays. So make that three perfect games of the 23 in history in 2012. Pitchers must be like, "PED testing is f******g awesome!"


• Speaking of PEDs, Melky Cabrera must not have got them memo testing positive about a month after winning the All-Star Game MVP and leading the league in batting. Then again after hearing this:




You might see how some instructions about the MLB drug policy may have been lost in translation. Literally. 


• Clay Buchholz struck out the side on nine pitches which isn't that big a deal considering I've done it like, five times on MLB The Show 11 (and it was on Hall of Fame)


• Billy Hamilton, a prospect in the Cincinnati Reds organization, stole 155 to set a new baseball record. Rickey Henderson then released a statement saying he was planning to come out of retirement to "defend the record." Which was a problem considering that Henderson wasn't even the previous record holder and that second part didn't actually happen. (It sounded funnier in my head, I promise)

• Homer Bailey of the Reds threw the 7th no-hitter of the year in late September. I have nothing funny to follow that one up. 

•  The seven "no-no's" in a year were the most since 1990.  Including three perfect games, 2012 truly was the "Year of the Pitcher" and with all the young talent on the mound, expect a few more in 2013

• Oh yeah, the Red Sox shed $1 billion dollars in a trade that sent pretty much every star (Gonzalez, Crawford) they had just acquired plus Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Dodgers. Anyone else think it would have been hilarious if Nick Punto was the deal breaker?


• No but seriously, can you imagine that conversation between GM's Ned Coletti and Ben Cherington?


COLLETTI: "I don't know Ben, that's a lot of future salary to take on."
CHERINGTON: "C'mon Ned, you gotta do me this favor, just once. Hey, I can even throw in Nick Punto."
COLLETTI: "Deal." 

• The Rangers collapsed losing seven of their last nine games including getting swept by the Athletics. What's worse than blowing a five game lead with nine to play? Blowing a three game lead with four to play (damn you 2009). Blame the caffeine I guess. 

• The Orioles made a 24 game improvement on 2011 to make the postseason for the first time in 15 years, the Nationals brought playoff baseball back to DC for the first time since the Roosevelt Adminstration and the As proved again that "Moneyball" still works. 

• Miguel Cabrera won the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 and won the AL MVP over Mike Trout. Take that sabermetricians. 

•  Buster Posey caught fire during the second half of the season to win the NL MVP award, though my vote would have gone to Marco Scutaro.  

• David Price narrowly beat out Verlander for the AL Cy Young, RA Dickey used a fluttering knuckleball to capture it on the NL side.

• Guess who won the Rookie of the Year Awards? Just guess, take a wild guess. You can do it, just guess . . .  

• Bob Melvin and Davey Johnson won Managers of the Year award, also known as "Who Took a Crappy Team and Made it Decent in One Year" award. 



• We got to have a great discussion about what constitutes as an "infield fly rule" in the NL Wildcard game. We also got to have a great example on why Atlanta is literally a trashy city. See for yourself:







• Jason Werth literally had the season on his shoulders and he delivered with an epic 13 pitch at bat




Fan captures Werth's at-bat from the front row






• And apparently Raul Ibanez was able to talk to Werth about how to do that, because he did the same thing twice in the same game in the ALDS against the Orioles.

• The Nationals had the NLDS locked up, up 6-0. . . until they didn't. The Cardinals rallied in epic fashion in the deciding Game 5, stunning the home crowd and reminding them that it takes someone who's been to October baseball to win in October. Nationals have a lot of learning to do about playoff baseball and they got a lesson in rallies. NEVER SAY DIE!





• Tiger's beatdown the Evil Empire in a four game sweep to make it to the World Series for the first time since 2006. I love it when my team wins the pennant, but over New York? In a sweep? At home? The only thing else I could have asked for would be . . . 




• Well, I couldn't get a World Series as the Giants led by Kung Fu Panda swept the Tigers to claim their second championship in three years. Pablo Sandoval was named MVP as he joined Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols as the only players to hit three home runs in the Fall Classic.


• The Full Count was founded as a baseball blog for us to first talk about the game and second to entertain you.  





Well, that's about it for a recap.  But we always want to hear from our readers.  What are some of your favorite moments that happened this season?  What are you looking forward to most in 2013?  Are you aware that the Yankees are the worst thing in baseball?  Which baseball player to you have a man crush on?  Or simply a crush on if you're a female reader?

So many questions to answer.  


Share with us and stay safe tonight! 
Happy 2013! 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Hot Stove Wrap Up 12/28

Quote of the Day: 

"I've said it numerous times over the years, but it's worth repeating now. I've had a lot of teammates over the years with the Yankees, but I will always consider Hideki one of my favorites.  The way he went about his business day in and day out was impressive.."

-- Derek Jeter, on Hideki Matsui's retirement yesterday.  


FRIDAY FUN FACT: Hall of Fame outfielder Dave Winfield was taken in MLB, NBA, and NFL drafts and probably got all the girls in high school. Paging Bo Jackson?  

NEW POLL >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> check it out

It's a slow week baseball fans.  We've got a quick Hot Stove and hopefully something big happens soon.  As less and less of available players stay free agents, there's obviously less and less to report so expect the next few weeks to be sporadic and we'll do our best to recap every transaction that's happened so far before we kick into our 2013 previews. (hint: I will still hate the Yankees)

Let's get into action. . . 

Uh oh, Mike Napoli.  With rumors yesterday that the Red Sox were negotiating with 1B Adam LaRoche the first reaction from most insiders were: why?  Well, it's because even though the Sox and 1B/DH/C Mike Napoli agreed to a deal 24 days ago, the deal still hasn't been finalized.   

What could the problem be?  Well, Napoli has an apparent "hip" issue.  That could be holding up the signing and the main reason the Red Sox still feel the need to talk to LaRoche.  

  • My guess is that the "hip" injury has been diagnosed as "31 years old and past its prime."    
  • Or it could be issues with contract language if the Sox want to put in a clause or something should Napoli get hurt.  A similar issue occurred a few seasons ago when the Red Sox signed J.D. Drew and held up finalizing a contract for almost two months.  In J.D. Drew's case, probably a good idea.   
  • It's clear that Napoli has some sort of problem but it could more serious than either side believed.  Or the Red Sox realized that signing a 31-year-old with health problems and mediocre defense for $39 million wasn't that good of an idea.  Bleh.  
  • Other reports indicate Napoli is already talking to at least one other team.  It could be a bluff, it could be his agents trying to gain leverage or it could be a sign the deal is really falling apart and they're looking for other options.  Maybe he can hire Anibal Sanchez agent?  
  • It kind of sucks for him, but the reality is that in today's age, teams want to know everything about the players they are about to invest millions of dollars into.  Imagine sitting at a job interview and the HR guy goes, "Well, sorry but you have narcolepsy so have fun going back to Boise.  Our $150,000 is off the table." 
  • My guess?  I'm thinking that the deal will probably fall through.  While we highlighted yesterday why it's important to use caution with "rumors" there seems too much smoke for there not to be fire.  Don't worry Mike, I don't care for Boston either.  
  • Hideki Matsui has decided to hang up the cleats.  The 38-year-old outfielder known as Godzilla in Japan retired yesterday, finishing with 175 career home runs and 1,000,000+ "what the ****'s" from Phillies fans during the 2009 World Series.  He was basically was their version of 2012 ALCS Delmon Young.  
  • Heck of a career to a guy that was pivotal in the new Asian influx of players in the MLB.  Loved in both Japan and the Bronx, Matsui had 500 career home runs in both America and Japan.  Impressive considering I have a total of 3 career home runs in summer softball leagues in the same amount of time.  All in America by the way.  
  • In terms of influence with the Asia-MLB connection, well, Ichiro obviously started it but there's only one Ichiro and Matsui proved that Japanese power hitters can do it too.  Farewell, Godzilla.  You were everything that Kosuke Fukudome was supposed to be and who could forget this?    
  • Brewers have signed RP Mike Gonzalez.  Can't get enough lefty specialists and Gonzalez was good against lefties last year.  It may help with all the Anthony Rizzo's and Joey Votto's of the NL Central.  
  • Sadly, this is like, the only transaction today worth mentioning even remotely.  Unless you want to know where Aaron Laffey signed a minor league contract.  But if you really want to know, MLB Trade Rumors is linked to your right you lazy butt  >>>>>>
  • My first thought when Russell Martin signed with the Pirates is that it would really hurt New York (Any Yankees fans feel comfortable with Chris Stewart or Austin Romine catching?).  My second thought was AWESOME! For those of you stats junkies, Pinstripe Pundits has a great article about the same thing I was thinking.  Except for the awesome the Yankees are worse part.  Check it out here and please NY bring back Jorge Posada.   
  • Another good blog post to check out (see how I'm letting other people do my work here today?) is Wahoo's on First's take about the Nick Swisher signing.  He's like their version of Torii Hunter.  But I ain't scared of the Indians.  
  • Another good baseball blog "The Beanball" says that newly acquired Red Sock Joel Hanrahan is "not a closer."  Which is what I tried telling everybody about Jose Valverde before the playoffs this year.  I'm guessing with every leadoff, 9th inning walks leading to blown saves in Boston another "Fire Ben Cherington" website will pop up.  The domain is for sale http://www.firebencherington.com/ so get it fast.  Go internet! 

And finally a new poll.  The last one I accidentally deleted before I could capture the screenshot but it went like this:

Which is Josh Hamilton most likely to hurt?

A. AL West Pitching
B. Ranger's fans hearts
C. Himself at some point next year
D. The Angels future payroll




About 50% of the 1 million resposes (actually ten)  answered with "D" -- 40% said "A" while a couple picked "C" and the lone Rangers fan reading this blog said "B" and none for Gretchen Weiners.  

Personally, I think that it will be "A" short term, "D" for the future, "C" very likely in the future and "B" all the time.  So congrats on everyone being right.  Now you know what it's like to be me all the time. 

Check out our new poll today.  You've got about a week to vote so use your precious democracy and never take that right for granted.  VOTE!   


I'm out for today.  I promise this is the last Hot Stove where Mike Napoli takes up half the post.  Actually, Tweet him at @MikeNapoli25 and tell him I've got some great career advice.  You don't end up in a state 2,000 miles from home and severely underemployed  like myself without making some great life decisions I'd like to pass on to him.  

My Twitter is @cniermann if you want follow me to get some great life tips as well.  And a little bit of baseball too.  If you want just the baseball follow @FullCountBlog

You were great baseball freaks, catch you soon!

-- C

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hot Stove Wrap Up 12/27

Quote of the Day

"He has already paid his debt to society. This is his home; our doors are open to Ugueth Urbina. He is a lion."

-- Juan Vincente Zapata, manager of the Leones de Caracas of the Venezuelan League.  The former All-Star closer Urbina was released from prison yesterday for attempted murder.  

Hola baseball fans.  Hope your Christmas was filled with fun, family and not as much egg nog as mine.  Today's Hot Stove is light as not many transactions have happened over the holidays, but we'll take a look at what's happened and check back on last week's Rapid Fire Rumor Report and see what ended up being "rumors" and "reality."  

Here we go...


The Red Sox trade with the Pirates for RP Joel Hanrahan was finalized and Boston will receive Hanrahan and infielder Brock Holt.  The Pirates get RP Mark Melancon, 1B/OF Jerry Sands, INF Ivan De Jesus and RHP Stolmy Pimentel.   
  • Hanrahan will help shore up the Boston bullpen, especially with incumbent closer Andrew Bailey still shaky after an injury plagued 2012.  Hanrahan has been a reliable closer the past two seasons but his conditioning and recent uptick and walks have some analysts concerned.  Still, relief pitchers are funny ball players.  We'll see how this turns out.  
  • The Pirates feel more than comfortable with Jason Grilli taking over the closer's spot but should that not work out (any Tigers fans remember how Grilli did in Detroit?) Melancon has experience closing also.  
  • Red Sox also finalized the deal for SS Stephen Drew.  Drew was a solid SS in his time with Arizona but must have received the "Drew family" gene for injuries as he missed most of 2011 and part of 2012 with a bum ankle.  His brother J.D. must be proud.  
  • Boston GM Ben Cherington continues his busy off season as he fights the wrath of Red Sox Nation after a disappointing 2012.  The rumor now is that 1B Adam LaRoche is talking with the Boston brass with his negotiations with the Nationals stalled.  
  • Why LaRoche?  Well, Mike Napoli's deal still has not been finalized because of concerns with his hip.  
  • Keep an eye on this as this could have implications with the rest of the free agent market.  Whatever happens with Napoli, more dominoes will start to fall.  
  • Jose Valverde?  Who cares?  Well, bullpen is the bullpen and someone will want the free agent reliever.  Just don't pitch him against the Yankees in the playoffs.


Oh yeah, all 30 MLB teams have released new batting practice caps and there are some good ones.  A few favorites?  

Toronto

Simple but so cool, this is a cap I can get behind.  And if you're a hockey fan too, it will double well with a Maple Leaf jersey.  Baseball in Canada is looking up both on and off the field.


Tampa Bay

Sunburst logo is a good move away from that girly looking Devil Ray of the early 2000s.  If you're going to change the name and brand, change it in every way.  The Rays nail this one.  


 Arizona 
Great blend between the old logo and new colors.  I loved the "A"design but the purple and teal colors symbolized everything wrong with expansion franchises.  Imagine how Randy Johnson and Curt Shilling would have looked with this hat.  Perfect.  


Colorado

What's better?  Two letters of your team name or a design with everything that you think of when the state "Colorado" pops in your head.  If your team name is "Rockies" then own it.  They did!


And now some of the not-so-great designs in my opinion.  



Texas 
Way too much going on here.  I like the red brim but just a simple "T" or even the Texas flag would make this a favorite...but why both?  


Atlanta
I can't see this going over very well with Native Americans.  Terrible.  


Cleveland
Well, at least Chief Wahoo didn't make a return (take a lesson Atlanta) but you can get more creative than a letter that looks like it took a graphic design intern five minutes to photoshop


New York
Just not a fan of the Yankees....sooooo yeah.  


But don't take my word for it.  Catch all of the designs here and see which caps you'll be rushing to buy this Spring.  

Side note: even if you collect all hats, not just that of your favorite team, try to stay away from rivals and teams you dislike.  So unless you want the Angels to steal your favorite free agent, think twice before giving Arte Moreno your hard-earned $30, no matter how much you like their designs.  

Side-side note: Wouldn't it make more sense for the MLB to release these like a month ago?  So many of these would have made perfect Christmas presents.  I want to talk to their marketing director now!

And now we move to the weekly "Rapid Fire Rumor Report".  Last week was mostly bat-s*** as the rumors killed reality 9-1 to move to 14-6 on the season.  Let's see if we can trust the "experts" this week and get this started.  

1.  Andre Ethier on the move? Or are the Dodgers finally realizing that they spend a lot of money? 
Well Ethier is still a Dodger so we'll have to chalk this up to rumor. Rumor 1, Reality 0.



2.  Curtis Granderson still on the trading block? 
Technically Granderson is on the trading block but he's still a Yankee.  This can change though but until that happens... Rumor 2, Reality 0.

3.  Edwin Jackson going to either the Cubs or the Rangers.
Reality finally scores as Jackson signed last week.  Rumor 2, Reality 1.

4.  Could Cody Ross be the mystery outfielder that the Mets are close to signing?
Ross goes to Arizona, so I have clue where this came from.  Rumor 3, Reality 1. 

5.  The Rangers want AJ Pierzynski bad even though they just resigned Geovany Soto. Can they make that happen?
They did make that happen.  Score one for reality.  Rumor 3, Reality 2. 

6.  Philadelphia talking about Vernon Wells and may actually want Vernon Wells. 
I can't see any GMs wanting Vernon Wells.  Rumor 4, Reality 2.

7.  Mariners don't get Josh Hamilton but now do they want Michael Bourne? 
Not enough to sign him last week. Rumor 5, Reality 2. 

8.  Joel Hanrahan could be on the move as the Pirates looking to move the reliever.
See first paragraph of this post.  Rumor 5, Reality 3.  

9.  Tigers listening to calls on Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly. Good luck with that.
This will probably happen.  But not last week.  Rumor 6, Reality 3. 
10. Marlins must like washed up infielders because they have been linked to Brandon Inge, Miguel Tejada and Placido Polanco. Good luck with that too.
Polanco is a Marlin, so we'll chalk this up as a W for Reality.  Rumor 6, Reality 4.


Overall, a better week for reality but rumors still take the win this week 6-4.  That runs their off season total to 20-10.  Why are we doing this?  Well, other than a very easy fill of blog space on a slow day, it's fun for us as baseball fans and bloggers to see exactly what the baseball experts throw online and then go back and see how accurate they were.  In today's social media fueled world, there's a lot of garbage.  

We're all guilty of it (Anibal Sanchez, Cubs fans?) but let's all take a step back and remember that just because you see it on Twitter definitely doesn't mean it will happen.  Now let's look to next week. 

Ten "rumors" coming at you. . .
  1. Adam LaRoche talking to the Red Sox?
  2. Related: Mike Napoli may not get a deal with Boston done after all? 
  3. Royals looking to move Jeff Francoeur?
  4. Missing out on Josh Hamilton, are the Mariners pursuing Michael Bourn?
  5. Derek Lowe coming back?
  6. Cubs looking at Yuniesky Betancourt?
  7. Jason Kubel to be traded now that D-Back have Cody Ross?
  8. Lance Berkman to DH for Astros or Rays in 2013?
  9. Mets, Twins, Padres, Cubs mostly likely to get Shawn Marcum?
  10. Joe Saunders to Twins?    
  
So we'll check back next week and see how we did.  That should be plenty of baseball for your fix today on even a slow day.  Catch you soon baseball freaks.  I'm out.  

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cleveland Indians/Cincinnati Reds/Arizona Diamondbacks Trade

Hope you all had a great holiday and enjoyed Chris' updates (A blog on Christmas!! Man, that guy is dedicated). But back to baseball!!

The Indians, Reds, and Diamondbacks pulled off one of the Winter's biggest blockbusters, with the Indians getting the young starting pitcher they've been desiring, the Reds getting their center fielder, and the Diamondbacks finally getting the shortstop they've been searching for all off-season.  Here is how the trade broke down:

Indians receive:
RH Trevor Bauer
RH Bryan Shaw
RH Matt Albers

Reds receive:
OF Shin-Soo Choo
IF Jason Donald

Diamondbacks receive:
SS Didi Gregorious
1B Lars Anderson
LH Tony Sipp

Why the Indians might have won this trade:
Trevor Bauer is one of the best prospects in baseball.  MLB.com has him ranked 5th overall among prospects, and 3rd among pitchers.  Bauer has one of the funkiest motions you will ever see and his warm-up routine is insane, seriously check it out.  He warms up by throwing foul pole to foul pole in the outfield and then does a crow hop from behind the mound to the catcher (the link is at the bottom).  Bauer has had a little trouble with walks, but his strikeout numbers are insane and he throws 97 mph.  He struggled with his command a bit in the big leagues this past season, but he is still only 21 years old and has the potential to be a future ace.  They also receive Bryan Shaw and Matt Albers, two quality relievers.  Both have had ERA's in the high 2's and low 3's the past couple of years and while neither will strike out a ton of batters, both have proven track records of being extremely effective.


Why the Reds might have won this trade:
The Reds have been looking for center fielder and a leadoff hitter that can get on base.  While Choo isn't a natural center fielder, his bat should more than make up for any drop in defense.  He has only had one season since 2006 that his on base was under .350.  Choo should fit great into the Reds' lineup.  Along with Phillips, Votto, Bruce, and others, Choo should help the Reds score a lot more runs.  Donald is also a solid backup infielder who should be able to spell Frazier, Cozart, or Phillips when needed.


Why the Diamondbacks might have won this trade:
The Diamondbacks have a plethora of young pitching talent, including Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Patrick Corbin, and Tyler Skaggs.  Having this type of depth gave the D'backs the luxury of trading young pitching for a shortstop that they have been looking for all off-season.  The D'backs were able to get this shortstop and still hold on to superstar Justin Upton.  Gregorius is more known for his speed and his defense than his bat, but he isn't awful at the plate.  He is very quick, although he won't provide a ton of stolen bases, but he has a CANNON for an arm.  With the solid pitching staff the Diamondbacks have, Didi's glove will be very useful.  If his bat can catch up, he could be a very solid player for years to come.  Tony Sipp is yet another effective reliever in this trade, and is extremely tough on lefties.


Who do I think won this trade:
To me, the obvious winner of this trade is the Indians.  They get an ace potential starter and two solid relievers, and while Choo is a good player, he is in the last year of his contract and he is a Scott Boras client, meaning he will command a ton of money on the open market following next season.  The runner up is the Reds.  The Reds get the center fielder and leadoff hitter that they really need and all they had to give up is a shortstop prospect who has shown that he isn't much of a hitter.  While I love his defense, I don't think that Gregorius' bat is all that good.  The Diamondbacks to me are the loser of this trade.  Although they dealt from a position of depth, Bauer is a big time prospect.  I think that the D'backs should have pushed hard to get a guy like Asdrubel Cabrera from the Indians or Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar from the Rangers.  I think the Reds are the winner of this trade this year and the Indians are the winner of this trade in the future, while I don't feel the Diamondbacks got enough in return for Bauer, even if GM Kevin Towers and the rest of the organization are in love with Gregorius.


Check back tomorrow for yet another review (don't know if it'll be from Wade or I yet), and don't forget to follow us on Twitter @FullCountBlog




Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It's Christmas and the Full Count has gifts!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Hopefully everyone is enjoying a pleasant and peaceful Christmas Day.  The presents have all been unwrapped, family is done enjoying a hearty meal and I personally am working on my 4th glass of eggnog which is kind of like drinking alcoholic pancake batter.

We didn't forget about you though and we definitely didn't forget about baseball.  If you just stumbled across our site and missed out on some of the recaps, I know if you're like me, your attention span will only see the occasional Hot Stove Update or a hot picture of Kate Upton.


DON'T KEEP BROWSING.  The Internet is full of "professional" baseball websites that only tell you what you already know about your favorite teams, key free agent signings and blockbuster trades.  If you're tired of stats, stats, names, and stats, I give you a Christmas gift from everyone at the Full Count to you...

A list of all our transaction reviews and our 2012 team recaps sure to keep your Christmas full of baseball from a different perspective (aka humorous and highly biased).  We ain't getting paid so we give our honest analysis and now that Aunt Kay has broken out the piano and singing carols.  Take your laptop to the kitchen and catch up on everything that we've covered this off-season.

From Winter Meetings to big trades, we've got it here (and super-conveniently hyper-linked, for the technologically challenged and the lazy-in-heart).  Enjoy and Merry Christmas once again.




AL East

NL East

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from The Full Count!



Quote of the Day:

"Merry Christmas!"

-- Everyone at the Full Count.

There's no Hot Stove today as literally nothing ever happens on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  Today we have our last two Christmas Wishlists from The Full Count co-founders Wade and Tommy.  Former college buddies, Wade and Tommy thought it would be more productive to blog about baseball instead of arguing about it in person.  So WALLA! "The Full Count" was born...


With Wade and Tommy being a White Sox and Cubs fan respectively, expect their wishlists to be very different but very similar.  Chicago is the best baseball town in America (in my opinion, sorry New York) so sit back with your hot chocolate and Christmas cookies and enjoy their views of some of the Second City's finest baseball minds as they contemplate what Santa will put in the Wrigleyville or South Sider's stockings this season.


All Tommy Wants for Christmas is...



"Obviously everyone is expecting me to say that I want a Cubs World Series Championship for Christmas. I'm gonna avoid that, as my Christmas wish as a Cubs fan is simple; for the Cubs to just continue what they've doing. With every move the Cubs make, I become more and more confident in the future. I trust the plan completely. It excites me that I won't have to watch Justin Germano, Jason Berken, or Brooks Raley in the rotation in 2013. 

The Cubs have already jumped in one season from a bottom third minor league system to arguably a top 10.  The future is bright in the lower levels of the minors with guys like Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, and Dan Vogelbach, also known as "Jabba the Cub" (best nickname EVER). Here are my top 3 things on my Christmas list. I have been nice this year Santa (that's not true, so let's just pretend for the sake of this list), so I think I deserve them.


1.    I wish for the Cubs to actually get some minor league pitching talent. There are some promising young arms in the system like Arodys Vizcaino, Dillon Maples, Pierce Johnson, and Paul Blackburn, but none of them are even close to a sure thing. I want that number 1 potential in the Cubs minor leagues (like Dylan Bundy, Danny Hultzen, Zach Wheeler, or Taijuan Walker).

2.  I wish for a Cubs deal to not be falsely confirmed. Yes, this is what happens with social media, including us at The Full Count (in my defense I just put what I see from the "experts"), but it's gotten a little ridiculous for the Cubs, although they have all been for different reasons. The Dempster trade (The Braves leaked before Dempster vetoed the trade), the Marmol trade (Marmol leaked this one to the media), and the Sanchez deal (Don't even get me started on his agent) all were confirmed at some point. I just wish for people in the media to stop using words like "confirmed" "official" or "done deal."

3.  Lastly, I wish for hockey back. Yes I know it has nothing to do with baseball, but I really miss the Blackhawks.


Hope all of you have a great holiday and look for more trade and signing reviews from Wade and I starting again on Wednesday!!"

-- Tommy, Full Count co-founder


All Wade Wants for Christmas is...




"As a Chicago baseball fan, there is no doubt that our wish list should be a mile long.  As a die hard White Sox fan, my list is a tad bit shorter than those on the North Side, but only 1 World Series title in my lifetime, is not enough so my South Side Christmas wishlist follows:





1.   Losing the "win now" attitude every year.  I am sick of trading away every prospect for washed up players like Roberto Alomar (twice), (The Ghost of) Ken Griffey Jr., Nick Swisher, Javier Vasquez, and Jim Thome (Yes he helped with a division title).  The likes of Ryan Sweeney, Daniel Hudson, Brandon Allen, and the one that kills me the most Gio Gonzalez (TWO TIMES, THAT IS RIGHT TWO TIMES) have all been traded from the White Sox and Hudson and Gonzalez really hurt because they are servicable number 2 and 3 starters.  Could you imagine a team with Chris Sale, Daniel Hudson and Gio Gonzalez heading into the next 3 seasons?  I just want a little consistency, not Atlanta Braves consistency, but a few division titles every 5 years would be GREAT!  Second place has gotten the White Sox no where the past few seasons, an AL Central Title would make my year.

2.  Gordon Beckham to decide that he wants to be a major league second basemen.  I understand his defense is "the best in the league" according to Hawk, but let's be honest he is above average and I would rather have Darwin Barney.  Beckham needs to pull it together or I think Carlos Sanchez or Angel Sanchez to take over at 2b, or look for Jeff Keppinger to move to 2b and one of the Sanchez boys to move to 3b.

3.  Robin Ventura to be able to keep his cool, calm and collected demeanor and still control the team like he did last year.  It was very impressive for a first year manager to have such a great presence in the dug out and clubhouse.

4.  Paul Konerko, Chris Sale and Jake Peavy to stay healthy. Enough said.

5. Tyler Flowers to be a serviceable everyday catcher.  Replacing A.J. will be tough shoes to fill, and I just don't know if Flowers is the answer.

6. Alex Rios and Adam Dunn to have repeat performances from 2012.  If they revert back to 2011, it will be a LONG SEASON!

7. My fantasy baseball team to continue on the path to the top of the league after finishing third place in two separate leagues last year.  After putting together a good core of young players in a keeper
league, this wish should not be a tough one to come by.

And one completely non baseball related thing...

8.  For the University of Illinois basketball team to continue their success heading into the new year under the guidance of John Groce.  A 5 seed or higher in the NCAA tournament and a Sweet 16 appearance (at
the VERY least).

Happy Holidays everyone and have a safe and Happy New Year.  Let the countdown begin, Only about 48 days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training!

GO WHITE SOX!"

-- Wade, Full Count co-founder



That might be the best Christmas gift ever...less than 50 day until pitchers and catchers report.  On another note, we'd all like to thank our readers for tuning in.  Sometimes I see the traffic stats and I'm shocked that many people are actually checking out our stuff.  Then I also think about what a super-fantastically-awesomely-perfect game baseball is and I'm not surprised.  I'm more surprised I'm not driving people away. 

I'd also like to thank Wade and Tommy for inviting me to contribute.  This is their thing they started and I was stoked they thought of me to contribute to a blog dedicated to baseball (!?!?!?!).  Being a bachelor, living far away from home in Texas, I really don't have much else to do so I jumped when they invited me to help.  

I'd like to personally wish them a super Merry Christmas and cheers to old Concordia times.  I hope to catch up with them in person sooner than later.  For their Christmas gift from me to them, I'd like to give a Kate Upton JPEG in super high resolution.

Actually, that's my gift to all of you too.  Merry Christmas!!!  



Ho, Ho, HOTTTT!!!!