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Stephen Strasburg Finally Signs With Nationals

Posted by Gene Morris on August 18, 2009

According to a report on ESPN.com, Stephen Strasburg, the #1 overall selection in the 2009 MLB draft by the Washington Nationals, has agreed to a record breaking deal worth a record $15.67 million over four years.

Strasburg, who pitched for the San Diego State Aztecs in the NCAA last season, throws his fastball upwards of 100 MPH.  But the real reason he smashed the record with the highest deal for a draft selection is because of his “adviser”, Scott Boras.

Before the signing period for draft picks begin, Major League Baseball announces a slotting system that they hope for teams to follow.  But big market clubs like the Yankees and Red Sox routinely blow the slot money out of the water in order to obtain the best young talent.  Teams that strictly follow the leagues slotting system put themselves at an extreme disadvantage.  Unlike the NBA and NFL draft, players are very often passed over because a team doesn’t believe it will be able to sign the prospect, and they instead go with a safer pick.

If Strasburg had not signed with the Nationals this evening, he would have been eligible to enter into the 2010 draft.  The Nationals would then be awarded a compensation pick, which in this case would have been #2 overall.  With far and away the worst record in the league, the Nationals would almost assuredly end up with the top 2 selections, but would not have been able to select Strasburg again.

The consensus #1 overall pick in 2010 is high school junior Bryce Harper, a catcher who was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated earlier this year.  Now fans in Washington can begin dreaming of a battery consisting of Strasburg and Harper.  That should be fun.

Here’s video of Strasburg striking out 23 in a game against Utah.


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Headline(s) of the Day: AL East, Tiger Woods and Rogers Cup

Posted by Daniel Aldarondo on August 15, 2009

Victor Martinez is putting on some show in Boston.  Last night with two outs and runners on second and third, Martinez lined a 2-2 pitch down the right field line off of closer Frank Francisco to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead.  They would tack on an additional four runs and increase their lead over the Texas Rangers in the AL Wild Card standings to 1.5 games.

– Not to be outdone by their rivals, Mark Teixeira broke a 2-2 tie with the Mariners, crushing a home run deep into right field to lead off the ninth inning.  The home run was Teixeira’s 30th, and the win put the Yankees at 30 games over .500 for the first time this season.  Mariano Rivera, amidst talks of  shoulder soreness, pitched a one-two-three bottom half of the ninth.

– More AL East News?!?! Felix Pie (pee-Ay, not Pie) hit for the cycle yesterday for the Baltimore Orioles.  This may be the last time the Orioles make an appearance on this blog.

Tiger Woods is leading at the PGA Tour Championships.  Surprise, surprise.  Shooting at 7-under-par for the first two days, the rest of the field will have to try and put a blemish on Woods’ 8-0 record when leading after 36-holes in a major championship.  Coming in second includes his partner for the first two days Padraig Harrington and US Open Lucas Glover.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both saw their tournament end early yesterday at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. 
The top eight players in the world competed yesterday, with Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Juan Martin Del Potro upsetting the number one and two ranked players in the world, respectively.  Federer had the win in his grasps, but sloppy play became his undoing as he went from being up 5-1 in the third set to losing in the final tie breaker.  In his first tournament since the French Open, Nadal couldn’t keep up with Del Potro’s hot play.  In the semifinals, it will be Tsonga against Andy Murray in the matinee, and Del Potro will take on Andy Roddick, who knocked off the only other grand slam winner in the last four years in Novak Djokovic, in the evening.

(Note: With Rafa’s loss, Andy Murray has a chance to take the number two rank in the world if he reaches the finals of the Rogers Cup.  It’s been a tough couple months for the Spaniard, who has already seen his French and Wimbledon titles taken away by Federer along with his number one ranking.)

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Youkilis Loses Fight, Five Games from Season

Posted by Gene Morris on August 12, 2009

Major League Baseball just annoucned that Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis and Detroit Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello have both been suspended five games for their roles in a bench clearing brawl last night at Fenway Park.

Youk must have missed UFC 101 over the weekend, because even though he had a running start and threw his helmet, the lanky Porcello still got the trip takedown directly into side control. If only he would have dropped some elbows and ended it with a KO.

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Prince Fielder is a Big, Angry Man.

Posted by Gene Morris on August 5, 2009

Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder was drilled in the leg by a pitch from the Dodgers Guillermo Mota in the ninth inning of a game in which the Dodgers were ahead 17-4 last night. It was apparently done to retaliate against the Brewers for hitting Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez earlier in the game.

After the game was over, Fielder was not happy. He tried his hardest to get into the Dodgers clubhouse to confront Mota, but was stopped by security and held back by some teammates. Video of the incident can be seen here.

It’s a good thing for Mota that Fielder couldn’t get to him. Take a look at what he does to his own teammates…

This is not the first time Mota has been involved in an incident like this. Yankee blogger Peter Abraham of the Journal News wrote about an issue former Mets catcher Mike Piazza had with Mota back in 2003.

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Report: David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez said to be on 2003 Doping List

Posted by Gene Morris on July 30, 2009

David Ortiz and the Red Sox will have a lot of explaining to do after his name has reportedly been confirmed to be on the 2003 MLB Doping List

David Ortiz and the Red Sox will have a lot of explaining to do after his name has reportedly been confirmed to be on the 2003 MLB Doping List

Just saw this on Jon Heyman’s twitter, according to the New York Times, lawyers with close knowledge of that infamous 2003 doping list say that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez’s name’s are among the 103 listed.

Manny has already been suspended for 50 games this season for failing a drug test, but Ortiz has been been outspoken against steroid users, even telling the AP earlier this year that those who test positive should be banned “for the whole year.”

If this all turns out to be true, it’s not much of a surprise to see Manny on the list. But what about Ortiz? Boston’s folk hero, who apparently just needed a change of scenery to go from a 15-20 home run guy to a perennial 40 home run guy, has been in a terrible slump this season, is hitting only .224 with 13 home runs.

With the way the entire Red Sox lineup is slumping as the team falls further behind the Yankees, it’ll surely be an interesting weekend for the Sox.

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MLB Trade Deadline Heats Up, Phillies Get Cliff Lee, Halladay stays put

Posted by Gene Morris on July 29, 2009

2008 AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee will be pitching in Philadelphia for the rest of 2009

2008 AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee will be pitching in Philadelphia for the rest of 2009

After a long flirtation with Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay, the Philadelphia Phillies acquired reigning American League Cy Young Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco from the Cleveland Indians this afternoon in exchange for pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Jason Knapp, as well as shortstop Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson.

This is a huge deal for the Phillies, as they were able to grab another front of the rotation starter without giving up either J.A. Happ or top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek.

The move definitely cements the Phillies as the run away favorite in the NL East, and probably the favorite in the entire National League. But where does this move leave Roy Halladay and the Toronto Blue Jays?

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Josh Willingham Joins Exclusive Group With Two Grand Slams In One Game

Posted by Gene Morris on July 28, 2009

Finally some positive news coming out of Washington about the Nationals. Despite being 31-68 and 27 games out in the NL East, Josh Willingham provided some history last night for the Nats.

Willingham became one of just 13 players in major league history to hit two grand slams in one game.

The 12 others…

List of Players who hit two grand slams in one game, via Wikipedia

List of Players who hit two grand slams in one game, via Wikipedia

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Mets Fire Bernazard, Minaya Battles Reporter Adam Rubin

Posted by Gene Morris on July 27, 2009

I’ve obtained exclusive video from an interview of Omar Minaya done by Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News after Rubin’s flap with Mets GM Omar Minaya at today’s press conference announcing Bernazard’s firing.

I could really see Minaya throwing Rubin away and then professing his ideals to Bernazard in the same fashion.

But really, what the hell is wrong with the Mets organization? How bad is it that it’s not that far fetched that the actions between two high level executives looks like a late 1980’s interview of a ‘roided up pro wrestler? Minaya can’t even fire a dysfunctional hot head employee without getting into an embarrassing public spat of his own?

You’d have to think Minaya and Jerry Manuel are the next to have their heads put on the chopping block, and it’s a good thing they have a pretty new stadium in Flushing because these final two months are going to be ugly.

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Rickey Henderson Urban Legends

Posted by Gene Morris on July 24, 2009

Rickey Henderson is going to be inducted in the Hall of Fame on Sunday. He’s the best leadoff hitter in major league history, and one of the best all around players.

But his off the field antics are just as legendary.  Here’s a list of the 25 greatest Rickey moments.

4) This one might be my second favorite. This wasn’t too long ago, I think it was the year he ended up playing with the Red Sox. Anyway, he called San Diego GM Kevin Towers and left the following message: “This is Rickey calling on behalf of Rickey. Rickey wants to play baseball.”

12) San Diego GM Kevin Towers was trying to contact Rickey at a nearby hotel. He knew Henderson always used fake names to avoid the press, fans, etc. He was trying to think like Rickey and after several attempts; he was able to get Henderson on the phone.

Rickey had checked in under Richard Pryor.

20) In June 1999, when Henderson was playing with the Mets, he saw reporters running around the clubhouse before a game. He asked a teammate what was going on and he was told that Tom Robson, the team’s hitting coach, had just been fired. Henderson said, “Who’s he?”

Classic Stuff

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A’s Trade Holliday to Cardinals for Package Headlined by Brett Wallace

Posted by Gene Morris on July 24, 2009

After acquiring outfield Matt Holliday from the Colorado Rockies during the off season, the Oakland A’s shipped the free agent to be to the St. Louis Cardinals for three minor leaguers, including third base prospect Brett Wallace.

Wallace, the former Arizona State Sun Devil, was drafted 13th overall by St. Louis in 2008.  The two other prospects the A’s received were pitcher Clayton Mortenson and outfielder Shane Peterson.

Holliday got off to a slow start, hitting only .240 in April, but has raised his average to .286 on the season and is hitting .338 in July with three home runs and 14 RBI’s.

Keith Law of ESPN.com believes the deal is a win-win for both teams, noting that the package the A’s received is greater than what they gave up to Colorado in the offseason.  (Huston Street, Carlos Gonzalez, and Greg Smith.)

From Law on ESPN Insider…

In exchange, Oakland gets a strong package of prospects, headlined by third baseman Brett Wallace, the 19th-best prospect in the minors coming into this season and a top-10 prospect in the minors right now. Wallace is a left-handed hitter with a tremendous approach, above-average power, and — unlike a lot of left-handed-hitting prospects — has no trouble hitting left-handed pitching.

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