The Baltimore Orioles are going all in this year. Just a couple days after the Orioles ink starter Ubaldo Jimenez for 4 years and $50 Million, Baltimore announces they signed Nelson Cruz on a one year deal for $8 Million pending a physical. You can make a case whether this was good or not for the Orioles, but I think it makes a statement saying that they are ready to make a run this season.
Nelson Cruz declined a 1 year, $14.1 million dollar qualifying offer from the Texas Rangers and it didn’t quite pay off for the 33 year old. I’m no fan of a player who gets busted with any kind of PED and realistically I don’t know what to expect from Cruz in 2014. He’s a career .268 hitter and has 5 straight seasons of 22+ homeruns including a career high of 33 in 2009. Since his new home ball park is Camden Yards and not Globe Life Park in Arlington who knows what his output can be but I can see around 25 HR’s this season.
The one negative to this deal is that the Orioles are going to give up a draft pick in compensation for Cruz, right around 55th overall. I’m one to value a draft pick but to get a corner outfielder who can probably give you 20+ bombs and has post season experience, I say it’s worth the risk. Even more so if I’m only spending 8 million for 1 year in this market.
The notable part of this deal is the dollar value the Orioles are saving on this deal. For example, Chris Young is a career .235 hitter and has 13 less career HR’s than Cruz had signed with the Mets for $7.25 and one year. The Phillies signed 36 year old outfielder Marlon Byrd to a 2 year, $16 Million deal. I’d rather have Cruz than either of these two players, as I’m sure many would.
It goes to show if you’re patient, you can wind up with a great offseason deal without breaking the bank. After all it’s all about putting up wins, isn’t it?
Oh the Philadelphia Phillies. It was announced earlier today that Phillies first basemen Ryan Howard will undergo surgery after being diagnosed with a meniscus tear in his left knee. Not exactly what General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr and the fans want to hear a week before the a week prior to the All Star break.
The Phillies have much improved this season compared to the season prior, entering today 3 games under .500 with a 43-46 record and 7.5 games behind the first place Braves. Mainly with help due to the health of their line up, break out season of Dominic Brown and Ben Revere getting on base and stealing bases after his crawling start. At the 2012 All Star break, the Phillies were 37-50 and 14 games back from first place, 2013 being a clear step up from the 2012 season. With the All Star break fast approaching and the trade deadline at the end of the month, Amaro Jr has some big decisions to make.
With Howard now needing knee surgery that will put him out at least 6-8 weeks, we’re looking at a late August or early September return. It really wouldn’t be a huge shock to me if he was out the whole year. It Looks as if they will be calling up Darin Ruf from AAA Lehigh Valley who owns a .266/.344/.408 slash line along with 7 homeruns in 82 games this year. Not a lot of Simpsons for a guy who has big power potential as he showed last year in the minors and is also striking out more than once a game.
If I’m Amaro Jr (which I am not), I would seriously consider calling this season a wash. I know, the Phillies are hanging in there but realistically do you think they can compete with with the Nationals/Braves, the tight NL West and the successful Pirates/Reds/Cardinals out of the NL Central all fighting for the 2 Wild Card spots? The competition is looking quite fierce.
The Phillies don’t exactly have the depth and let’s be honest here, their system isn’t that great after shipping some talent to try and win it all again post 2009. There’s been interest in Toronto bringing in Chase Utley as well as the Kansas City Royals and the Dodgers all interested as well. Possibly unloading guys like Cliff Lee, Carlos Ruiz and Michael Young may be a good idea as well.
The Phillies have pieces like Brown, Revere and Hamels to build off of next year and getting some fresh prospects certainly would be an improvement to their organization. They sure don’t have enough pieces to get what they need at the deadline. If they don’t make some moves, I feel that they will run into the same problem again next season. It’s not an awful thing to think about building for next year. I just don’t think the Philadelphia Phillies have it in 2013.
Fresh off a thrilling 2012 season, we are about a few weeks into spring training. Perhaps no ballplayer is as thrilled to be in Arizona or Florida than a young kid looking to better their career and showcase their talents. I love seeing the raw talent that these guys have and to watch them grow and learn right in front of your eyes. Some go on to the bigs and do great things, while some completely fizzle out. That’s what the minors are there for, right? Aside from the few top standouts like Jurickson Profar, Dylan Bundy, Gerrit Cole or Oscar Taveras, here’s some prospects I’m looking forward to see in 2013 leaving me Fully Torqued.
Jackie Bradley, CF – Boston Red Sox picked Bradley in the 1st round 40th pick in the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft out of the University of South Carolina. In his first full season, Jackie topped out at AA Portland. Between high-A and AA, Bradley hit .315/.430/.482 with 42 doubles, 9 HR, 63 RBI’s, 24 steals in 124 games. Importantly is that he can take a walk, 87 last year. He’s not overly powerful but some of those doubles could turn into HR’s. It appears he doesn’t need much more time in the minors and will be with the Red Sox perhaps by the years end. It’s been said that he will be the guy to replace Jacoby Ellsbury after the season.
Archie Bradley, SP – I love this kid. The Arizona Diamondbacks selected Bradley with the 7th overall pick in the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft right out of high school. Big frame on this kid (6’4″/225lbs). He was a quarterback in high school and some say that he probably has the highest ceiling in the Diamondbacks organization. I believe it. He’s a work in progress as he has to adjust to the game a bit more. In 27 starts at single-A last season, Archie went 12-6 and owned a 3.84 ERA with 152 K’s in 136 innings. He needs to work a bit on his control, walking an alarming 84 batters. He keeps the ball in the park though and will likely start at high A ball this season.
Jonathan Singleton, 1B – The Houston Astros nailed in on the head nabbing Singleton from the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade. In a full year (131 games) at AA Corpus Christi, Jonathan hit .284/.396/.497 with 21 HR’s and 79 RBI’s. He struck out an average of once per game but still walked 88 times. He is no doubt the franchise piece for the Astros for years to come at first base. If he hadn’t been caught with pot and being suspended 50 games, he might of seen the majors sooner. There is no need to rush him and I could see him winning the starting gig as soon as opening day 2014.
Jedd Gyorko, 2B – Perhaps the most underrated prospect on this small list. He owns a career .319/.385/.529 line in the minors and after crushing the ball in AAA last season, he doesn’t really have much left to prove. I’m hoping Jedd wins the second base job in San Diego and he sure deserves it. His defense is improving, as he was a third baseman by trade. But we know for now that Chase Headley isn’t going anywhere. Don’t expect him to hit that career minor league slash line he owns, but I can see him flirting around .280 in the majors. He doesn’t walk as much as I’d like but he’s still a fun player to watch.
There’s plenty of great young talent in baseball and this is only 4 of them. Check out MLB.com’s top 100 prospect list for 2013. It’s quite beautiful. Thanks for reading Fully Torqued.