Players to Watch, NL Central

On Monday, I widened my scope on baseball and listed some players to watch for the NL West. Today, I’m gonna run down the not-too-highly-regarded National League Central Division. Despite producing a World Series winner recently–the 2006 Cardinals–fans, especially those of the AL East tend to think of the NL Central as one of the weakest divisions in the game. Regardless, there’s still some good talent there.

Let’s start, as we did with the NL West, with the 2009 division winner, the Cardinals. The guy we need to watch here is rather obvious: Colby Rasmus. As a rookie in ’09, he put up “meh” numbers at the plate overall–a .311 wOBA–but his IsoP was a respectable .156. His fielding in center field was also impressive, as he posted a 13.4 UZR/150 in 124 games. In 2010, we should watch for Colby to continue his impressive fielding and also to improve on his hitting. He’s projected to wOBA anywhere from .329 (Marcel) to .343 (CHONE).… Click here to read the rest

Jonny Gomes is still out there

As Spring Training approaches, the Yankees’ 2010 lineup, as I see it, is not yet complete. Currently, a pair of of the team’s starting outfielders – Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner – could potentially encounter issues with left-handed pitching this season. If we, for a moment, forego sample size criticism and believe that Curtis Granderson might actually experience some southpaw struggles throughout the year, and that Brett Gardner, who has yet to play a full big-league season, might also meet his share of left-handed offensive woes, then perhaps it would be wise for the Yankees to add a right-handed bat in order to “reverse leverage” a possible and significant split-based weakness. The move would not only serve as a precautionary measure, adding a pinch-hitter for critical in-game situations, but, it would also further the team’s depth, at large, which could be an issue with Nick Johnson on hand as the DH. With Reed Johnson, an ideal candidate to fulfill such a role, off the board, maybe Jonny Gomes is the next best thing?… Click here to read the rest

Reds sign Chapman for $30M

Via MLBTR, from Jeff Passan (Yahoo! Sports) we learn that Aroldis Chapman has signed a 5-year, $30 million deal with an NL Central club. Passan speculates that the Reds, who have never really been linked to Chapman outside of today, might be the team, as Chapman is actually on a flight to Cincinnati as we speak (or at least he was).

If it was going to take $6 million per to sign Chapman, an unproven pitcher, I’m glad the Yankees passed.

UPDATE – The Reds have signed Chapman. Passan has confirmed the deal.… Click here to read the rest

Did the Yankees miss out on Arroyo?

When Jeff Flecther (AOL Fanhouse) inaccurately reported that the Yankees were working on a Bronson Arroyo deal with the Reds, just prior to the trade deadline, I wrote the following:

I think this would be a terrible trade for the Yankees. Arroyo has been bad on the road and at home for the Reds. However, before condemning, let me try and understand the Yankees’ thinking for a moment. Over the past 3 seasons in particular, Arroyo has become a second-half performer. His post-AS splits include a 3.90 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP and a .254 BAA. Last season, he posted a 5.97 ERA prior to the All-Star break, and then put together a 3.47 ERA after the All-Star break. The Yankees are probably interested in those numbers.

Soon after Fletcher’s report, it was reported that the Yankees were never truly interested in Arroyo, as there were a few payroll and performance-related concerns. The team has since added Chad Gaudin, Russ Ortiz and Jason Hirsh for depth, while Sergio Mitre remains in the rotation.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks get Jerry Hairston Jr.

Joel Sherman has the news. Hairston, 33, was acquired from the Reds, where he hit .254/.305/.397. He can play the OF—all three positions—and some IF (3B, 2B, SS). Hairston isn’t as fast as Gardner (not even close), but he offers some speed and is a good OF defender while his defense in the IF is passable (I’m not sure about third, though). Solid bench move for the Yankees. I wonder if this ends Cody Ransom’s tenure with the club?

UPDATE – Jonathan Mayo is reporting that the Yankees might have sent Austin Jackson to the Reds in this deal though that hasn’t been confirmed. I refuse to believe that Brian Cashman would make such a move.

UPDATE – Mayo is now saying that the Jackson info is inaccurate. Whew…

UPDATE – The Yankees traded Chase Weems for Hairston.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks discussing Arroyo with the Reds

From Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse:

The Yankees are in serious discussions with the Reds about acquiring Bronson Arroyo, although right now the deal may be hinging on how much of Arroyo’s remaining contract the Reds are willing to eat, major league sources told FanHouse on Monday. “It will get done,” one source said.

I think this would be a terrible trade for the Yankees. Arroyo has been bad on the road and at home for the Reds. However, before condemning, let me try and understand the Yankees’ thinking for a moment. Over the past 3 seasons in particular, Arroyo has become a second-half performer. His post-AS splits include a 3.90 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP and a .254 BAA. Last season, he posted a 5.97 ERA prior to the All-Star break, and then put together a 3.47 ERA after the All-Star break. The Yankees are probably interested in those numbers. Let’s hope that, if Cashman does trade for Arroyo, his splits will translate to his old home, the AL East.… Click here to read the rest