Articles By Charlie Miller

Path: /mlb/cincinnati-reds-mt-rushmore
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MLB Mt. Rushmores

by Charlie Miller

Major League Baseball is promoting an effort to identify the best four players in each team’s history. We selected our choices for Mt. Rushmores a few years ago. Here are updated versions for all 30 teams. Who are the four baseball players that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.

 

Cincinnati Reds Mt. Rushmore

The salad days for the Cincinnati franchise were clearly the 1970s. Of the Reds’ 15 postseason appearances in their history, six of them came during that decade. Those were the days of the Big Red Machine, artificial turf, Riverfront Stadium and doubleknit uniforms. During that decade, the Reds averaged better than 95 wins a season and had six MVPs. But the winning actually started the decade before. From 1961-81, the Reds had just two losing seasons, going 76-84 in 1966 and 79-83 in 1971. Johnny Bench, in the discussion for best catcher all-time, and Pete Rose, baseball's all-time hits leader, are clear members of the quartet. Nos. 3 and 4 require earnest study.

 

Johnny Bench
Logging close to 15,000 innings behind the plate took on toll on the Hall of Fame catcher. During his Rookie of the Year season in 1968, Bench caught in 154 games, the third-highest total since World War II. He earned MVP awards in 1970 and ’72. He led the NL in home runs twice and RBIs three times. Defensively, he is considered one of the best ever. As part of his 14 All-Star seasons, he was awarded 10 consecutive Gold Gloves. Bench hit 10 postseason homers for the Reds, five in the World Series.

 

Pete Rose
Charley Hustle has gained as many detractors over the years as he had fans in the 1970s, but there is no denying his impact on the franchise. As the leadoff hitter and catalyst for the Big Red Machine, Rose collected 3,358 hits with the Reds including hit number 4,192, celebrated at the time as the hit that broke Ty Cobb’s all-time record. He’s also the franchise record holder in runs, doubles and total bases.

 

Barry Larkin
The fourth overall pick in 1985 played his entire career in his hometown of Cincinnati. He was named to 12 All-Star teams, won three Gold Gloves and was named MVP in 1995. He amassed 2,340 hits, second in team history behind Rose, and scored 1,329 runs, which ranks third in a Reds uniform.

 

Frank Robinson
The NL MVP in 1961 scored and drove in more than 1,000 runs while with the Reds. Robby finished in the top 10 in MVP voting six times during his 10-year career in Cincinnati, including his Rookie of the Year season in 1956. A little more than three months after his 30th birthday he was traded to Baltimore in a deal the Reds would rue for years.

 

Close Calls
It’s tough to leave off a Hall of Fame second baseman with back-to-back MVP awards, but Joe Morgan was with the team for just nine seasons and his accomplishments fall just short of those of Robinson and Larkin.

 

An argument could be made that the demise of the Big Red Machine began with the trade of Tony Perez to Montreal in December of 1976.

 

One of the most charismatic, upbeat managers of all-time, Sparky Anderson led the Big Red Machine for nine seasons, winning five division titles and finishing second three times.

 

One of the first stars in Cincinnati, Edd Roush won batting titles in 1917 and ’19.

 

The shortstop of the Big Red Machine, Dave Concepcion, is second all-time in games and third in hits.

 

Eppa Rixey — one of the great names in baseball — is the all-time leader in wins for the Reds with 179.

 

Follow Charlie Miller on Twitter @AthlonCharlie or email him [email protected]
 

Other teams' Mt. Rushmores:

American LeagueNational League
Baltimore OriolesArizona Diamondbacks
Boston Red SoxAtlanta Braves
Chicago White SoxChicago Cubs
Cleveland IndiansCincinnati Reds
Detroit TigersColorado Rockies
Houston AstrosMiami Marlins
Kansas City RoyalsLos Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles AngelsMilwaukee Brewers
Minnesota TwinsNew York Mets
New York YankeesPhiladelphia Phillies
Oakland A'sPittsburgh Pirates
Seattle MarinersSan Diego Padres
Tampa Bay RaysSan Francisco Giants
Texas RangersSt. Louis Cardinals
Toronto Blue JaysWashington Nationals

 

Teaser:
<p> The question posed recently whether Derek Jeter should be considered as part of the Yankees’ Mt. Rushmore piqued my interest. Not really the Jeter-Yankees part, but the idea that teams should have their own Mt. Rushmores. Who are the four individuals that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple. Even two guys sitting in a bar can figure that out, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.</p>
Post date: Friday, July 29, 2011 - 09:03
Path: /news/ervin-santana-tosses-no-hitter
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Ervin Santana tossed a no-hitter Wednesday afternoon against the Clevelnd Indians, beating the Tribe, 3-1. Santana is the kind of pitcher who can shut down a lineup with electric stuff and the endurance to get through nine innings. He just doesn’t do it consistently. But when he’s on, he’s tough to hit. The Indians’ lone run came in the first inning after leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera reached on an error by shortstop Erick Aybar, stole second went to third on a fielder’s choice before scoring on a Santana wild pitch.

Back on May 4 in Boston, Santana was mowing down the Red Sox through four innings before rain suspended the game and ended his night. He allowed just three hits into the eighth inning in his last outing at Baltimore. So it’s not a shock.

This is the third no-hitter in baseball this season, and the ninth no-hitter in Angels’ history, four of them by Nolan Ryan.

Teaser:
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Post date: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 14:54
Path: /news/umpire-jerry-meals-call-was-horrible-not-worst-call-ever
Body:

By Charlie Miller

Call was horrible, but not worst ever

Last night I watched the last 11 innings of the Pirates-Braves game in Atlanta. And it’s the kind of game I really enjoy. I love teams using every player on the roster. I love the do-or-die at-bats every inning. I love teams playing for one run.

Then it happened. The call. A simple ground ball to third, an easy tag play at home and the Braves’ threat in the 19th inning is all but squashed. Then to the amazement of everyone involved…SAFE! Fans were stunned. Broadcasters were stunned. The Pirates were stunned. And Julio Lugo was stunned. And Lugo was the Braves’ runner in question. No one in that stadium was more surprised at the call than Lugo. His reaction was priceless.

The reaction today from fans and the media has certainly not been surprising. Calls for replays. Accusations that the umpire Jerry Meals just wanted the six-hour marathon to be over. Worst call ever. We’ve heard all those reactions.

I believe the call was horrendous. I thought that live. I believe it even more strongly now that I’ve seen replays from multiple angles. But worst call ever?

Have to disagree there.

Some of us remember the 1985 World Series. Game 6. The Cardinals were on the verge of closing out the series when Don Denkinger called Jorge Orta safe at first base. Now there were other factors at work helping the Cardinals lose, but few people doubt the series was lost on that play. It was every bit as clear that Orta was out as we saw with Lugo, but the stakes were so much higher.

Last night’s call was atrocious, but it’s not even second in recent memory. Remember last June when Armando Galarraga was spinning a perfect game against the Cleveland Indians? Remember the ground ball to first. Jason Donald is beaten to the bag, but Jim Joyce makes a safe call. End of perfect game; end of no-hitter. I know the Pirates are battling for a division title and every game is big and this was the 19th inning, but costing a kid a perfect game is worse.

So, Jerry Meals can rest assured he didn’t make the worse call in my memory. He’s all the way down to third.

Here's video of the call:

Follow Charlie Miller on Twitter @AthlonCharlie or email at [email protected]

Teaser:
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Post date: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 14:12
Path: /news/carlos-beltran-traded-san-francisco-%E2%80%94-win-win-win-deal
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Finally, a trade where everybody wins. Carlos Beltran gets his wish to play for a winning team with a shot at the playoffs--The San Francisco Giants--while playing to impress baseball executives before a winter of free agency.

The NY Mets win by getting highly regarded pitching prospect Zack Wheeler from the Giants. Wheeler was the sixth overall pick in 2009 and has been pitching at High-A San Jose.

The Mets, clearly not going anywhere this season, opted to acquire something a little more tangible than an extra draft pick for Beltran. That would have been the compensation had the Mets allowed Beltran to walk at the end of the season as a free agent. The 21-year-old Wheeler is averaging more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings in 37 minor league games.

The Giants actually win as well. With a pitching staff stout enough to repeat as World Series champions, the Giants have not been able to score runs easily this season. Beltran’s bat in a contract year could just be the final piece to the puzzle. San Francisco needs a feared run producer in the middle of the order and Beltran gives the Giants just that.

However, there is one caveat to Beltran’s run producing ability. In 22 games and 87 at-bats at SBC Park by the bay, Beltran has never homered and has just eight RBIs. But of course, that was against the Giants’ pitchers. Now he’ll be facing more hittable pitching.

Sure the Giants gave up a tremendous prospect, but one thing San Francisco has is young pitching. Assuming that Beltran walks at the end of the season, the Giants will get draft picks in return.

Teaser:
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Post date: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 10:24
Path: /news/cardinals-tony-la-russa-bail-out-colby-rasmus
Body:

Technically, this wasn’t a three-team deal, but it involved the Redbirds, White Sox and Blue Jays (techincally yes, they are the Cardinals, but Redbirds makes the trade much more patriotic-esque). The White Sox are winners because they get something for the free agent-to-be Edwin Jackson. The Blue Jays are huge winners by getting Colby Rasmus, a 24-year-old outfielder with speed and power and under team control for three years. Not bad.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, were in position for a Holliday-Rasmus-Jay outfield for the next several years. Now they must either re-sign Lance Berkman — and likely be forced to overpay him — or find another outfielder elsewhere.

Will Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel help St. Louis win the NL Central? Perhaps, and Rzepczynski especially could be helpful in the playoffs. But just how far can St. Louis expect to go against the Braves and Phillies? Jackson and two relievers shouldn’t make you want to mortgage the future.

Supposedly, Tony La Russa had grown tired of managing Rasmus. But over the next two years, the Cardinals will miss Rasmus just as they miss Chris Perez this season. Will the cycle repeat in two years? Will they trade potential ace Shelby Miller for a badly needed outfielder in 2013 to make another run at a division title?

Teaser:
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Post date: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 09:46
Path: /mlb/chicago-white-sox-mt-rushmore
Body:

MLB Mt. Rushmores

by Charlie Miller

Major League Baseball is promoting an effort to identify the best four players in each team’s history. We selected our choices for Mt. Rushmores a few years ago. Here are updated versions for all 30 teams. Who are the four baseball players that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.

 

Chicago White Sox Mt. Rushmore

Since 1901, this franchise has been to the postseason just nine times. Nine. Surprisingly, Ozzie Guillen is the only manager in history to take the team to the postseason twice. The Sox have been to five World Series winning in 1906, 1917 and 2005; losing in 1919 and 1959. The two teams with the clearest identities are the Black Sox of 1919, famous for throwing the World Series, and the 1959 Go-Go Sox, famous for flashy defense and daring, exciting baserunning.

 

Frank Thomas
The Big Hurt inflicted pain on opposing pitchers for 19 years, 16 of them spent in a Chicago uniform. Thomas was arguably the game’s best hitter for most of the 1990s, winning two MVP awards and finishing second once and third twice. During the decade, he averaged .320 with 30 homers and 104 RBIs. For eight seasons (1991-98) he had more than 100 runs, RBIs and walks in each season.

 

Luke Appling
Fans of my generation don’t remember Old Aches and Pains, but we do recall Appling leading off the Cracker Jacks Old-Timers All-Star Game in Washington in 1983 with a home run — at age 75. The shortstop was a fixture in Chicago in the 1930s and ’40s. He led the league in batting in 1943 and was second in MVP voting, then missed all of 1944 and most of ’45 while serving his country. He was 10th in MVP voting at age 40 in 1947.

 

Eddie Collins
The Hall of Fame second baseman played just 12 of his 25 seasons with Chicago, but his time in a White Sox uniform accounted for 59 percent of his games. He had 2,007 hits and 1,065 runs with Chicago and batted .331.

 

Paul Konerko
The heart of the White Sox was at first base and in the heart of their lineup from 1999 until his retirement at the end of 2014. After making $12 million (or more) a season for the past eight years, the fan favorite accepted a one-year deal from the Sox for $2.5 million for his final season. He's second in games (2,268), fourth in runs (1,141), third in hits (2,292) and first in total bases (4,010). He's also second to Thomas in home runs and RBIs. This is an extremely close call over Nellie Fox.

 

Close Calls
Just edged out by Konerko, Hall of Famer Nellie Fox is second all-time in games and hits and third in runs.

 

Prior to making a brief cameo appearance in the dugout in 1968-69, Al Lopez managed the Sox from 1957-65, and led the team to winning seasons all nine years. Under his watch, Chicago won a pennant and finished second five times.

 

The poster boy for the Go-Go Sox in 1959 was shortstop Luis Aparicio. In two stints with the club, Aparicio was named Rookie of the Year and finished in the top 15 in MVP voting four times, including a runner-up finish in ’59. He led the AL in stolen bases his first nine season, the first seven spent in Chicago. Seven of his nine Gold Gloves were earned as a member of the White Sox.

 

Harold Baines could have been Mr. White Sox for all-time, but the team felt compelled to trade him during the 1989 season. The first overall pick in 1977, Baines hit better than .300 in a full season just three times for the Sox and drove in 100 twice.

 

Ed Walsh won 195 games in just 13 seasons in Chicago. He won 40 in 1908 and had three additional seasons of 24 or more. He led the AL in ERA twice, strikeouts twice and shutouts three times.

 

Ted Lyons won 260 games over a 21-season career spent entirely on Chicago’s South Side. He won as many as 12 games 13 times.

 

All 20 seasons of Red Faber’s career were in Chicago where the slender righthander won 254 games and tossed 29 shutouts.

 

 

Follow Charlie Miller on Twitter @AthlonCharlie or email him [email protected]

 

Other teams' Mt. Rushmores:

American LeagueNational League
Baltimore OriolesArizona Diamondbacks
Boston Red SoxAtlanta Braves
Chicago White SoxChicago Cubs
Cleveland IndiansCincinnati Reds
Detroit TigersColorado Rockies
Houston AstrosMiami Marlins
Kansas City RoyalsLos Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles AngelsMilwaukee Brewers
Minnesota TwinsNew York Mets
New York YankeesPhiladelphia Phillies
Oakland A'sPittsburgh Pirates
Seattle MarinersSan Diego Padres
Tampa Bay RaysSan Francisco Giants
Texas RangersSt. Louis Cardinals
Toronto Blue JaysWashington Nationals


 

Teaser:
<p> The question posed recently whether Derek Jeter should be considered as part of the Yankees’ Mt. Rushmore piqued my interest. Not really the Jeter-Yankees part, but the idea that teams should have their own Mt. Rushmores. Who are the four individuals that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple. Even two guys sitting in a bar can figure that out, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 16:46
Path: /mlb/trade-deadline-deals-not-always-worth-it
Body:

by Charlie Miller

As soon as the dust settled at the All-Star Game, the chatter around the majors turned to trade talk. Who are the buyers and sellers? Fans want to know. This season, with so many close races, the buyers may outnumber the sellers, raising the prices for prized rental players.

But fans should beware, not all trades made for the stretch run work out. And fans of sellers, beware, not all “can’t miss” prospects make it.

Here’s a sampling of history that should put any deadline deals in perspective.

In 1983, the Cleveland Indians sent pitcher Len Barker to the Atlanta Braves for Rick Behenna and two players to be named later. The Braves were in first place, but battling with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. The Indians were languishing in last place, 20.5 games out and had just recently completed a 12-game homestand that included two doubleheaders in front of crowds averaging 7,080.

The trade was made on Aug. 23, and that was the last day in 1983 the Braves would be in first place. Barker wasn’t solely to blame, but the Braves lost five of his six starts that season. His first was horrendous, but his five September starts, which yielded just one win, featured a 2.86 ERA and a .208 BAA.

Atlanta owner Ted Turner made news by telling Brett Butler he was one of the players to be named later, violating MLB rules. Brook Jacoby, a promising third baseman, was the other. Jacoby played seven solid full seasons in Cleveland averaging 16 homers and 25 doubles and hitting .276. In Butler’s four full seasons before leaving for San Francisco as a free agent, the centerfielder averaged 99 runs and 41 steals and 11 triples while hitting .288 in the leadoff position. Butler and Jacoby reported to the Indians in October.

As for Barker and the Braves? The two sides agreed on a five-year, $4.5 million deal at the end of the season — huge in those days. Two years into the deal, the Braves released Barker with a 10-20 mark in 44 starts with the team.

The lasting effect for the Braves was, after a second-place finish in 1984, fifth- and sixth-place (last) finishes in the next six seasons until a man named Bobby Cox showed up.

However, on Aug. 12, 1987, the Braves managed to redeem themselves in 1987. Doyle Alexander, signed by the Braves in May as a free agent and in his 17th major league season at the time, was toiling in the Atlanta rotation and had proven to be a workhorse for the Braves. In his 16 starts, he averaged 7.1 innings per start, never leaving before completing the sixth inning.

The Tigers were locked in a three-team race in the AL East, 1.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays and a game ahead of the Yankees.

Alexander was every bit the workhorse the Tigers expected. He made 11 starts — all Detroit wins —down the stretch, going 9-0 with a 1.11 ERA. The 36-year-old righthander averaged 8.0 innings per start for the Tigers. Manager Sparky Anderson called on Alexander to pitch on three days’ rest in back-to-back starts in September. He shut out the Red Sox at Fenway Park, then four days later pitched 11 innings of a huge 3-2 win over first-place Toronto. Going into the final weekend series of the season — a three-game tilt with Toronto — the Tigers were a game behind. Alexander defeated the Jays on Friday night to knot the division. The Tigers won 3-2 in 12 innings on Saturday, then clinched the division with a 1-0 victory behind Frank Tanana on Sunday.

Detroit fans were happy about this trade. After all, what did they give up to Atlanta? Seems there was this 20-year-old starting pitcher at Double-A Glen Falls who was 4-10 with a 5.68 ERA and a 1.631 WHIP (although that was back before any fans knew what WHIP was).

And how excited could Atlanta fans be? In three starts with Richmond in August, this young righthander was 0-1 with a 6.19 ERA. In 16.0 innings, he walked 11 and struck out five, giving up 17 hits. Bad numbers.

But all’s well that ends well. John Smoltz (right) would rebound in 1988 with Richmond and be in the big leagues with Atlanta by the end of the season.

Alexander would retire following the 1989 season after going 20-29 in 67 starts with the Tigers over the next two seasons. The Tigers didn’t sniff the postseason again until 2006. And during 19 seasons of futility, Detroit finished second twice and over .500 just three times.

Meanwhile, with Smoltz anchoring a pitching staff that included Tom Glavine and at times Greg Maddux, the Braves dominated the 1990s, going to five World Series and winning one during a stretch of 14 straight division titles.

More Deadline Deal Memories

Likely to be traded in the next week, Carlos Beltran of the Mets has been through this before. In 2004, the Royals convinced the Oakland A’s to participate in a three-way that involved Beltran going to the Astros. The Royals received Mark Teahen and Mike Wood from Oakland; the A’s got Octavio Dotel from Houston, and the Astros sent John Buck to K.C. Advantage: Astros.

In 1964, the St. Louis Cardinals acquired Hall of Famer Lou Brock, Jack Spring and Paul Toth from the Cubs for Ernie Broglio, Doug Clemens and Bobby Shantz. Brock would star in three World Series in his first five seasons in St. Louis. The Cubs wouldn’t play in a World Series, well, ever.

At the deadline in 1977, the Mets traded Hall of Famer Tom Seaver to the Big Red Machine (Cincinnati), who was coming off back-to-back World Series wins, for Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, Dan Norman and Pat Zachry. The Mets would at least win a World Series four years before the Reds.

The Cardinals, a team that could really use a closer right about now, traded Chris Perez to Cleveland in 2009 for Mark DeRosa. Since Perez evidently wasn’t enough compensation for DeRosa, St. Louis also included Jess Todd a month later as a player to be named later.

The Cleveland Indians believe they have two pretty good young players in Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley, both acquired for CC Sabathia in 2008 along with Rob Bryson and Zach Jackson from the Brewers. Sabathia was terrific for the Brewers (11-2, 1.65 ERA with three shutouts) down the stretch as Milwaukee edged New York for the NL wild card that season.

In an early-season deal in 1989, the Seattle Mariners swapped soon-to-be free agent Mark Langston to Montreal for Gene Harris, Brian Holman and some 6’10” guy named Randy Johnson (right). The Expos finished fourth, Langston signed a lucrative deal with the Angels after the season, and Johnson won the first of his five Cy Youngs in Seattle.

Nine years later, Johnson became the free-agent-to-be in a trade versus the prospect as he had been in 1989. Seattle dealt the unhappy ace to Houston for Freddy Garcia, Carlos Guillen and John Halama. Johnson was 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA in his 11 starts for the NL Central champion Astros. Garcia won 76 games in six years in Seattle then became part of another midseason deal with the White Sox. He and Ben Davis moved to Chicago and Michael Morse, Miguel Olivo and Jeremy Reed came to Seattle.

For one of the top starting pitchers in the game, Cliff Lee sure does get traded a lot. He’s been a part of three major midseason deals. The first came in 2002 when the forward-thinking (ahem) Montreal Expos traded Lee, Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore and Lee Stevens to Cleveland for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew. (Think the Indians would have pulled the trigger had Stevens not been involved?) The Expos finished second, albeit 19 games behind the Braves, and 12.5 games out of the wild card. Colon went 10-4 down the stretch, then was dealt to the White Sox in a deal that landed Rocky Biddle, Orlando Hernandez and Jeff Liefer in Montreal. Wow. For Lee, Phillips and Sizemore, oh, and Stevens.

The second Lee Trade came in 2009 when the Indians sent him to Philadelphia to help the Phillies secure a return to the postseason. Ben Francisco was also in the deal that netted Cleveland Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson.

The third Lee Trade came last season when the Mariners (having traded for Lee in the winter) sent the prized lefty to Texas with Mark Lowe for Matthew Lawson, Blake Beaven, Josh Lueke and Justin Smoak. Lueke and Smoak look like potential stars. Lee pitched in the World Series for Texas.

In 1990, the Boston Red Sox thought reliever Larry Andersen was the missing piece to a championship puzzle. So much so, they traded highly regarded Jeff Bagwell (left) to Houston for the eccentric pitcher. Andersen had a 1.23 ERA in his 15 appearances for the Sox, but the team was only 7-8 in those games. The next season, Bagwell won the NL Rookie of the Year and by 2000 was well on his way to the Hall of Fame.

It was only two years prior to that the Red Sox were desperate for another arm. In 1988, the Red Sox thought getting Mike Boddicker from Baltimore was worth giving up Curt Schilling and Brady Anderson (right). Boddicker lasted just 2.2 innings in his only postseason start in 1988. He redeemed himself (sort of) with eight strong innings in a playoff loss to Oakland in 1990. Anderson did pretty well in Baltimore and Schilling eventually found his way back to Boston.


Follow Charlie Miller on Twitter @AthlonCharlie or email [email protected]

Teaser:
<p> The MLB Trade Deadline always gets lots of pub, but are midseason trades overrated? Here’s a sampling of history that should put any deadline deals in perspective.</p>
Post date: Monday, July 25, 2011 - 13:39
Path: /mlb/san-diego-padres-mt-rushmore
Body:

MLB Mt. Rushmores

by Charlie Miller

Major League Baseball is promoting an effort to identify the best four players in each team’s history. We selected our choices for Mt. Rushmores a few years ago. Here are updated versions for all 30 teams. Who are the four baseball players that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.

 

San Diego Padres Mt. Rushmore
In the 46-year history of the San Diego Padres, the team has finished in the upper half of its division just 11 times, so winning is not necessarily synonymous with the Padres. It took seven years for the 1969 expansion team to win as many as 65 games. In its 10th season (1978) the Padres broke through the .500 barrier. But San Diego has been an easy team to root for throughout its history and has typically been loyal to leaders. San Diego is one of only two teams with just two managers since the beginning of the 1995 season. (Atlanta is the other.) There could never be a San Diego Mt. Rushmore without No. 19, Tony Gwynn, or Trevor Hoffman with his 552 saves for the franchise.

 

Tony Gwynn
Gwynn is no doubt known as Mr. Padre in San Diego. Perhaps, the only player so clearly honored for any franchise. One of only 17 players who spent an entire 20-year career with one team, Gwynn ranks 16th in major league history with a .338 lifetime average. He owns the nine highest season batting averages in team history.

 

Trevor Hoffman
The future Hall of Fame closer has the highest strikeout per nine innings ratio in team history and the lowest WHIP. Teams can win a lot of games when pitchers are not allowing runners on base and striking batters out regularly. Hoffman appeared in 902 games in San Diego, 527 more than any other pitcher.

 

Dave Winfield
The tall, talented outfielder is one of three players with more than 1,000 games with the club, joining Gwynn and Garry Templeton. He is second in runs and total bases and third in hits, one behind Templeton. Winfield, who also played more than 1,000 games for the Yankees, was the first player to be enshrined in Cooperstown as a Padre.

 

Randy Jones
The lefthander was the epitome of craftiness. Barely throwing hard enough to break a window, Jones was the first major award winner in San Diego, winning the Cy Young award in 1976. Jones pitched for some bad teams but is the Padres’ only two-time 20-game winner.

 

Close Calls
The only truly close call was franchise home run leader Nate Colbert, who once hit five home runs in a doubleheader.

 

Shortstop Garry Templeton ranks among the top three in most offensive categories.

 

Eric Show is the only pitcher in team history with 100 wins.

 

Follow Charlie Miller on Twitter @AthlonCharlie or email him [email protected]

Other teams' Mt. Rushmores:

American LeagueNational League
Baltimore OriolesArizona Diamondbacks
Boston Red SoxAtlanta Braves
Chicago White SoxChicago Cubs
Cleveland IndiansCincinnati Reds
Detroit TigersColorado Rockies
Houston AstrosMiami Marlins
Kansas City RoyalsLos Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles AngelsMilwaukee Brewers
Minnesota TwinsNew York Mets
New York YankeesPhiladelphia Phillies
Oakland A'sPittsburgh Pirates
Seattle MarinersSan Diego Padres
Tampa Bay RaysSan Francisco Giants
Texas RangersSt. Louis Cardinals
Toronto Blue JaysWashington Nationals

 

Teaser:
<p> The question posed recently whether Derek Jeter should be considered as part of the Yankees’ Mt. Rushmore piqued my interest. Not really the Jeter-Yankees part, but the idea that teams should have their own Mt. Rushmores. Who are the four individuals that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple. Even two guys sitting in a bar can figure that out, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.</p>
Post date: Friday, July 22, 2011 - 12:47
Path: /mlb/kansas-city-royals-mt-rushmore
Body:

MLB Mt. Rushmores

by Charlie Miller

Major League Baseball is promoting an effort to identify the best four players in each team’s history. We selected our choices for Mt. Rushmores a few years ago. Here are updated versions for all 30 teams. Who are the four baseball players that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.

 

Kansas City Royals Mt. Rushmore

The Kansas City franchise began in 1969 and had as much early success as any expansion team prior to free agency. Kansas City won three consecutive division titles from 1976-78, losing in the ALCS to the Yankees each year. Prior to the club's breakout season last year that ended with a Game 7 loss in the World Series, the franchise's first seven postseason appearances came within a 10-year window from 1976-85. The primary face on the Royals Mt. Rushmore, no doubt, must be George Brett. Much work must be done to determine the other three. We’ll focus our attention on the 1976-85 era.

 

George Brett
One of the greatest third basemen ever, Brett won batting titles in three decades and made 13 consecutive All-Star teams. Of the 20 best seasons in franchise history, Brett was a vital member of 16 of those. After his career ended, Brett has remained the face of the franchise. It’s impossible to imagine any player ever usurping Brett as the best in team history.

 

Dan Quisenberry
Quiz led the AL in saves in five seasons and from 1982-85 the submariner finished in the top three in Cy Young voting, the only closer ever to accomplish that four straight years. He has 238 saves, many of them in appearances of more than one inning.

 

Frank White
White is the only player other than Brett to have his number retired by the Royals. The second baseman won eight Gold Gloves and made 15 consecutive Opening Day starts as anchor of the Royals’ infield.

 

Paul Splittorff
The beloved lefthander was drafted by the Royals in 1968, a year prior to the big club taking the field for the first time. Splittorff made 392 starts for the Royals from 1970 to 1984, and his 166 wins leads the franchise. Prior to losing his battle with cancer in 2011, he was a broadcaster for the team for more than two decades.

 

Close Calls
A pharmaceutical magnate named Ewing Kaufman brought baseball back to Kansas City in 1969 and built a competitive, fan-friendly atmosphere. Under his leadership, there were innovations such as the Kansas City Royals Baseball Academy, where the Royals groomed young players outside of the normal player development channels.

 

The first Cy Young winner in franchise history, Bret Saberhagen, was the ace of the 1985 title team. He won a second award in 1989.

 

Amos Otis was a fixture in center field during the 1970s and batted .478 with three home runs in the 1980 World Series.

 

Mike Sweeney earned the respect of fans by the way he carried himself and represented the franchise during the lean years of the 2000s.

 

Follow Charlie Miller on Twitter @AthlonCharlie or email him [email protected]

 

Other teams' Mt. Rushmores:

American LeagueNational League
Baltimore OriolesArizona Diamondbacks
Boston Red SoxAtlanta Braves
Chicago White SoxChicago Cubs
Cleveland IndiansCincinnati Reds
Detroit TigersColorado Rockies
Houston AstrosMiami Marlins
Kansas City RoyalsLos Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles AngelsMilwaukee Brewers
Minnesota TwinsNew York Mets
New York YankeesPhiladelphia Phillies
Oakland A'sPittsburgh Pirates
Seattle MarinersSan Diego Padres
Tampa Bay RaysSan Francisco Giants
Texas RangersSt. Louis Cardinals
Toronto Blue JaysWashington Nationals

 

Teaser:
<p> The question posed recently whether Derek Jeter should be considered as part of the Yankees’ Mt. Rushmore piqued my interest. Not really the Jeter-Yankees part, but the idea that teams should have their own Mt. Rushmores. Who are the four individuals that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple. Even two guys sitting in a bar can figure that out, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.</p>
Post date: Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 05:00
Path: /mlb/philadelphia-phillies-mt-rushmore
Body:

MLB Mt. Rushmores

by Charlie Miller

Major League Baseball is promoting an effort to identify the best four players in each team’s history. We selected our choices for Mt. Rushmores a few years ago. Here are updated versions for all 30 teams. Who are the four baseball players that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.

 

Philadelphia Phillies Mt. Rushmore

For a franchise that’s been playing baseball in Philadelphia since 1883, it’s astounding that the organization can boast of only two World Series titles (1980, 2008). The Phillies have won 100 games in a season just twice, but lost that many on 14 occasions. I’m convinced there are two non-negotiable members in this honored quartet: Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt. Beyond that, let’s roll with the discussion.

 

Mike Schmidt
The 12-time All-Star, two-time MVP, 10-time Gold Glove winner, eight-time home run leader and Hall of Fame third baseman has a .908 OPS during a non-offensive era. He’s suited up for the Phils more than anyone else — 610 times more than anyone. Needless to say — or maybe not — he leads the franchise in home runs, RBIs, hits, runs, walks and strikeouts. Of the 35 players with more than 1,500 runs and RBIs, Schmidt is one of only 17 who have done it with one team.

 

Steve Carlton
Lefty’s tops on the all-time list with 241 wins and 3,031 strikeouts. He made 499 starts for the Phillies, 39 of them shutouts on his way to four Cy Young awards. From 1972-83, the workhorse averaged 19 wins, 274 innings and 230 strikeouts.

 

Pete Alexander
Grover Cleveland (Pete) Alexander has 190 wins with the Phils and owns the best winning percentage (.676). Perhaps the first ever steal in the Rule 5 Draft as the Phillies drafted him out of the Syracuse organization in 1910. He won 190 games in seven seasons before being dealt to the Cubs for Pickles Dillhoefer, Mike Prendergast and $55,000.

 

Jimmy Rollins
Rollins is second in games and ranks in the top three in total bases, hits, runs, doubles and stolen bases. The shortstop anchored the five straight division titles from 2007-11.

 

Close Calls
Robin Roberts, a Hall of Famer who spent the first 14 of his 19 seasons toiling for the Phillies, is second to Carlton with 234 wins. From 1949-56, Roberts was 172-111, while the rest of the team was 466-483. 

 

Chuck Klein ranks in the top 5 in many categories including home runs, runs, RBIs and total bases. He spent parts of 15 seasons with the Phillies and had 1,705 hits, batted .326 and had more than 950 runs and RBIs.

 

Richie Ashburn, a four-time All-Star with the Phillies, had 2,217 hits — 17 behind Schmidt — and batted .311 in 12 seasons.

 

The mysterious Ed Delahanty, who had four brothers in the major leagues, collected 2,214 hits for the Phillies, but 1,848 of them were in the 1800s. That’s a long time ago for fans to really embrace someone.

 

Follow Charlie Miller on Twitter @AthlonCharlie or email him [email protected]

 

Other teams' Mt. Rushmores:

American LeagueNational League
Baltimore OriolesArizona Diamondbacks
Boston Red SoxAtlanta Braves
Chicago White SoxChicago Cubs
Cleveland IndiansCincinnati Reds
Detroit TigersColorado Rockies
Houston AstrosMiami Marlins
Kansas City RoyalsLos Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles AngelsMilwaukee Brewers
Minnesota TwinsNew York Mets
New York YankeesPhiladelphia Phillies
Oakland A'sPittsburgh Pirates
Seattle MarinersSan Diego Padres
Tampa Bay RaysSan Francisco Giants
Texas RangersSt. Louis Cardinals
Toronto Blue JaysWashington Nationals

 

Teaser:
<p> The question posed recently whether Derek Jeter should be considered as part of the Yankees’ Mt. Rushmore piqued my interest. Not really the Jeter-Yankees part, but the idea that teams should have their own Mt. Rushmores. Who are the four individuals that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple. Even two guys sitting in a bar can figure that out, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 09:49
Path: /mlb/pittsburgh-pirates-mt-rushmore
Body:

MLB Mt. Rushmores

by Charlie Miller

Major League Baseball is promoting an effort to identify the best four players in each team’s history. We selected our choices for Mt. Rushmores a few years ago. Here are updated versions for all 30 teams. Who are the four baseball players that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates Mt. Rushmore
The club's recent drought of 20 consecutive losing seasons seems like distant history now that the club has made a couple of postseason appearances the past two years. But overall, Pittsburgh's success has been spotty. The team made the playoffs six times in the 1970s, which was one more time than all of their previous history. I thought the Pirates’ group was fairly straightforward, but there’s certainly room for argument. It’s clear there isn’t a strong pitching history in Pittsburgh.

 

Roberto Clemente
The greatest Pirate on and off the field. Clemente doubled off Jon Matlack of the Mets for his 3,000th hit in what would be the final regular season plate appearance of his career. In addition to his MVP in 1966 and his three batting titles, he won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves and was World Series MVP in 1971.

 

Honus Wagner
The Hall of Fame shortstop was just 33 hits shy of 3,000 for the Pirates in 2,433 games. Wagner was the first baseball hero in the city of Pittsburgh starring for the Bucs from 1900 -17.

 

Paul Waner
From 1926-40, Big Poison forged a Hall of Fame career in Pittsburgh with a .340 batting average for the Pirates. He scored 1,493 runs and drove in 1,177 while with the team and amassed 2,868 of his 3,152 career hits.

 

Willie Stargell
Pops was the inspirational leader of the “We are Family” group that won the 1979 World Series, as well as the leader on the field, batting .415 with five home runs in the 10 postseason games. He also shared the NL MVP award that season with Keith Hernandez and was instrumental in the 1971 championship as well. From 1971-73 Stargell was in the top three in MVP voting and averaged .296-42-119.

 

Close Calls
Max Carey played in Pittsburgh for 17 seasons during the Dead Ball Era and had more than 2,400 hits for the Pirates with 688 stolen bases, leading the NL 10 times.

 

A well-timed home run in 1960 made Bill Mazeroski a legend as did his steady work around the bag at second. The argument over whether he truly deserves to be in the Hall of Fame will be reserved for another day.

 

For such an historic franchise, the Pirates are short on Mt. Rushmore-worthy pitchers. Wilbur Cooper, winner of 202 games with the team, is the closest pitcher — but not a serious threat to the honorees.

 

Hall of Fame shortstop Arky Vaughan played just 10 years with the Pirates, but would be a strong candidate to have his likeness carved into the mountain for many franchises. For Pittsburgh, he’s merely the second-best shortstop.

 

From 1946-52, his first seven seasons in the majors, Ralph Kiner led the NL in home runs each year (sharing the title on three occasions), averaging 42 long balls a season.

 

When Pie Traynor was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1948, All Simmons, Charlie Gehringer and Jimmie Foxx were among those not elected at that time.

 

Few current Pittsburgh fans know much about Carey, Traynor, Cooper, Vaughan and even Kiner. But all remember Dave Parker. The Cobra spent just 11 years in Pittsburgh but won the NL MVP in 1978 after finishing third in 1975 and ’77.


Center fielder Andrew McCutchen is now the face of the franchise. The perennial MVP candidate should go down in history as one of the all-time greats in the Steel City.

 

Follow Charlie Miller on Twitter @AthlonCharlie or email him [email protected]

 

Other teams' Mt. Rushmores:

American LeagueNational League
Baltimore OriolesArizona Diamondbacks
Boston Red SoxAtlanta Braves
Chicago White SoxChicago Cubs
Cleveland IndiansCincinnati Reds
Detroit TigersColorado Rockies
Houston AstrosMiami Marlins
Kansas City RoyalsLos Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles AngelsMilwaukee Brewers
Minnesota TwinsNew York Mets
New York YankeesPhiladelphia Phillies
Oakland A'sPittsburgh Pirates
Seattle MarinersSan Diego Padres
Tampa Bay RaysSan Francisco Giants
Texas RangersSt. Louis Cardinals
Toronto Blue JaysWashington Nationals

 

Teaser:
<p> The question posed recently whether Derek Jeter should be considered as part of the Yankees’ Mt. Rushmore piqued my interest. Not really the Jeter-Yankees part, but the idea that teams should have their own Mt. Rushmores. Who are the four individuals that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple. Even two guys sitting in a bar can figure that out, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - 13:46
Path: /mlb/who-should-be-orioles-mt-rushmore
Body:

MLB Mt. Rushmores

Major League Baseball is promoting an effort to identify the best four players in each team’s history. We selected our choices for Mt. Rushmores a few years ago. Here are updated versions for all 30 teams. Who are the four baseball players that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.

 

Baltimore Orioles Mt. Rushmore

Born as the Milwaukee Brewers in 1901, the franchise moved to St. Louis as the Browns in 1902 and has been in Baltimore since 1954. The only real success has come during the time in Baltimore, where the club has enjoyed 12 postseason appearances with half of them coming from 1966-74. Over 52 seasons in St. Louis, there were only 12 winning seasons and eight painful 100-loss years. I suspect there will be little debate over these selections.

 

Cal Ripken

It could be argued that Ripken may even be on the MLB Mt. Rushmore. Not so much for his performance — although his numbers are clearly Hall of Fame worthy — but for what he meant to the game at a time baseball needed something spectacular. After the labor dispute debacle that wiped out the 1994 postseason, Ripken captivated fans with his tendency to show up and play every day.

 

Brooks Robinson

I can’t imagine a third baseman winning 16 consecutive Gold Glove awards. While that may not be an acceptable way to measure defensive greatness, it does mean some measure of respect among peers. Robinson could also hit. Brooks finished in the top 3 in MVP voting four times, winning the award in 1964.

 

Jim Palmer

Many women may remember Palmer for his famous Jockey underwear ads, but he was the definition of ace. He won 20 games for the Orioles in eight of nine seasons, missing only an injury-marred 1974 season. He tossed a shutout in the World Series as a 20-year-old facing Sandy Koufax in 1966, and went on to win World Series games in the next two decades.

 

Eddie Murray

He was quiet and steady. For five consecutive seasons from 1981-85, Murray finished in the top 5 for the MVP award, but never won it. Only Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Murray can claim 3,000 hits, 500 home runs and 1,900 RBIs.

 

Close Calls
There really is little argument here. Frank Robinson is a name that will come up most often. He won an MVP, triple crown and was part of four pennants and two World Series champions in Baltimore. But his time and production in Baltimore just don’t measure up to the others.

 

Earl Weaver deserves mention, for sure. He led the O’s to six division titles, four pennants, two World Series championships and won 100 games on five occasions.

 

The best the St. Louis era can offer is George Sisler. Gorgeous George hit .344 and racked up 2,295 hits in 1,647 games that spanned 12 seasons with the Browns.

 

Follow Charlie Miller on Twitter @AthlonCharlie or email him [email protected]

 

Other teams' Mt. Rushmores:

American LeagueNational League
Baltimore OriolesArizona Diamondbacks
Boston Red SoxAtlanta Braves
Chicago White SoxChicago Cubs
Cleveland IndiansCincinnati Reds
Detroit TigersColorado Rockies
Houston AstrosMiami Marlins
Kansas City RoyalsLos Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles AngelsMilwaukee Brewers
Minnesota TwinsNew York Mets
New York YankeesPhiladelphia Phillies
Oakland A'sPittsburgh Pirates
Seattle MarinersSan Diego Padres
Tampa Bay RaysSan Francisco Giants
Texas RangersSt. Louis Cardinals
Toronto Blue JaysWashington Nationals

 

Teaser:
<p> The question posed recently whether Derek Jeter should be considered as part of the Yankees’ Mt. Rushmore piqued my interest. Not really the Jeter-Yankees part, but the idea that teams should have their own Mt. Rushmores. Who are the four individuals that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple. Even two guys sitting in a bar can figure that out, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.</p>
Post date: Friday, July 15, 2011 - 05:00
Path: /mlb/who-chicago-cubs-mt-rushmore
Body:

MLB Mt. Rushmores

by Charlie Miller

Major League Baseball is promoting an effort to identify the best four players in each team’s history. We selected our choices for Mt. Rushmores a few years ago. Here are updated versions for all 30 teams. Who are the four baseball players that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.

 

Chicago Cubs Mt. Rushmore

The Chicago Cubs haven’t had much to crow about since, well, for a long time. More than 100 years, and we’ll leave it at that. So the number of great Hall of Fame players is not what you would think for a franchise that’s been around this long.

 

Ernie Banks
Anyone with the nickname Mr. Cub must be included, right? Banks played in more than 2,500 games and had more than 2,500 hits — all with the Cubs. He also had 512 home runs, most of them as a shortstop. But Chicago fans' love affair with Banks went far beyond the playing field.

 

Cap Anson
Most of the Wrigley faithful are thinking, “Who?” But Anson had 3,012 hits for the Cubbies, although 1,000 of them came before Grover Cleveland’s first administration.

 

Billy Williams
The arguments begin to get a bit dicey at this point. Williams teamed with Banks for most of 2,500 games and is ranked in the top four in many all-time categories.

 

Ron Santo
Perhaps known more for his defense than offense as a player, Santo ranks as the second best offensive player in team history behind Anson (according the Baseball-Reference.com WAR stats). Santo was a Cub through and through as a player and later as a broadcaster.

 

Close Calls
Most New Age Cubs fans probably want to chisel Ryne Sandberg’s face on the mountain rather than cut through the ivy hiding Anson’s. Granted, Sandberg’s career numbers stack up well versus Santo’s. But the gutsy Santo was a gritty player who would do anything to help his team. It's unfortunate he played prior to the WGN Era, which launched Sandberg's popularity.

 

That same group of fans would also like to see Mark Grace’s image as well. The first baseman lacked power and isn’t in the top 10 in slugging.

 

Most fans today would mention Fergie Jenkins as the top pitcher, but Charlie Root had 201 wins for the Cubs, 34 more than Hall of Famer Jenkins. It was difficult leaving both of them off the list.

 

 

Follow Charlie Miller on Twitter @AthlonCharlie or email him [email protected]


 

Other teams' Mt. Rushmores:

American LeagueNational League
Baltimore OriolesArizona Diamondbacks
Boston Red SoxAtlanta Braves
Chicago White SoxChicago Cubs
Cleveland IndiansCincinnati Reds
Detroit TigersColorado Rockies
Houston AstrosMiami Marlins
Kansas City RoyalsLos Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles AngelsMilwaukee Brewers
Minnesota TwinsNew York Mets
New York YankeesPhiladelphia Phillies
Oakland A'sPittsburgh Pirates
Seattle MarinersSan Diego Padres
Tampa Bay RaysSan Francisco Giants
Texas RangersSt. Louis Cardinals
Toronto Blue JaysWashington Nationals

 

Teaser:
<p> The question posed recently whether Derek Jeter should be considered as part of the Yankees’ Mt. Rushmore piqued my interest. Not really the Jeter-Yankees part, but the idea that teams should have their own Mt. Rushmores. Who are the four individuals that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple. Even two guys sitting in a bar can figure that out, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.</p>
Post date: Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 05:04
Path: /mlb/mlb-mt-rushmores
Body:

MLB Mt. Rushmores

by Charlie Miller

Major League Baseball is promoting an effort to identify the best four players in each team’s history. We selected our choices for Mt. Rushmores a few years ago. Here are updated versions for all 30 teams. Who are the four baseball players that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.

 

Atlanta Braves Mt. Rushmore

Hank Aaron
No argument here. He hit 733 home runs as a Brave, the most of any player for a single team. He scored 2,107 runs, had 3,600 hits and 600 doubles. This is as unanimous as you will find with any selection for any team. Aaron is a strong candidate for an MLB Mt. Rushmore.

 

Warren Spahn
Maybe not quite as much of a lock as Aaron, but close since 356 of his 363 wins came in a Braves uniform. As good as Atlanta's pitching was in the 1990s, Spahn still stands high above other starters.

 

Chipper Jones
The arguments begin with the third and fourth heads etched in the mountain. From first overall draft pick to certain Hall of Famer, Jones spent his entire professional life dedicated to this franchise. He proved himself as a leader over his last few seasons, and from a stats perspective, he has few peers. Since 1961 (Expansion Era), only seven other players have 450 homers, 2,700 hits, 1,600 runs and 1,600 RBIs. And of those, only Chipper can claim a .300 batting average (.303).

 

John Smoltz
There’s too much rich pitching history here for the fourth player not to be a pitcher. Smoltz has been closer to being Mr. Brave than his pitching cohorts (and fellow Hall of Famers) Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux. Smoltzie has 16 more wins as a Brave than Maddux and 34 fewer than Glavine. But I think his 154 saves more than make up for that. (And Smoltz didn’t succumb to the players’ union and cross over to the hated Mets as a free agent.)

 

Close Calls
Eddie Mathews is the only player to suit up for the franchise in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta. And he hit 493 home runs with the team. But Jones bests Mathews in every offensive category but home runs and triples.

 

Greg Maddux was generally considered the ace when he pitched alongside Tom Glavine and Smoltz, but Maddux won less than 200 games for Atlanta, fewer than either of his fellow aces.

 

Tom Glavine, with a Cy Young award and 244 wins, was difficult to omit.

 

Longtime Brave Phil Niekro won 268 games, and his career spanned the division winners in 1969-70 and 1982.

 

I would also submit Bobby Cox’s name for consideration. The general manager/manager turned around a floundering franchise, both with personnel moves and day-to-day moves in the dugout for 20+ seasons in addition to his first four-year stint with the team.

Fans all over the South, who fell in love with the Braves in the 1980s thanks to the Superstation TBS, would lobby hard for Dale Murphy. A terrific player and an outstanding man, Murph falls just short for this franchise.

 

Kid Nichols won 329 games, but 297 of those came prior to 1900, so few fans can relate to that.


 

Follow Charlie Miller on Twitter @AthlonCharlie or email him [email protected]

 

Other teams' Mt. Rushmores:

American LeagueNational League
Baltimore OriolesArizona Diamondbacks
Boston Red SoxAtlanta Braves
Chicago White SoxChicago Cubs
Cleveland IndiansCincinnati Reds
Detroit TigersColorado Rockies
Houston AstrosMiami Marlins
Kansas City RoyalsLos Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles AngelsMilwaukee Brewers
Minnesota TwinsNew York Mets
New York YankeesPhiladelphia Phillies
Oakland A'sPittsburgh Pirates
Seattle MarinersSan Diego Padres
Tampa Bay RaysSan Francisco Giants
Texas RangersSt. Louis Cardinals
Toronto Blue JaysWashington Nationals



 

Teaser:
<p> The question posed recently whether Derek Jeter should be considered as part of the Yankees’ Mt. Rushmore piqued my interest. Not really the Jeter-Yankees part, but the idea that teams should have their own Mt. Rushmores. Who are the four individuals that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple. Even two guys sitting in a bar can figure that out, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 15:47
All taxonomy terms: All-Star Week, MLB All-Star Game, MLB
Path: /mlb/overhauling-all-star-week
Body:

by Charlie Miller

Asserting that baseball's All-Star Week must be overhauled presumes that something is amiss with the current setup. While the All-Star festivities as they currently exist leave much to be desired for me personally, I don’t believe the situation is dire by any means, like say, with the Pro Bowl. Not even close. But here’s how I would dismantle the current system with five purposes in mind: enjoyment and engagement of the fans, fun for players, maintaining a TV spectacle, revenue for the league and protecting players for the purposes of guarding the integrity of the regular season.

First of all, in order to execute recommended changes, we need four days. So, take a four-day break. Many teams already get Thursday off, so give all teams that extra day. This is not a huge departure, so there should be little opposition.

Hold two Futures Games. One for lower-level prospects, say, Rookie League and Single A; one for higher level players, more like AA, AAA. Fans would be treated to two fabulous games and get a glimpse into the future of the sport. One game would basically be 18- to 21-year-olds with enormous talent still finding their way in pro ball. A second game would feature more mature players closer to the big leagues. Players would be eager to play, and the risk/fear of injury would be no more than regular season minor league games. These players would be on a national stage trying to prove themselves in front of scouts, executives, managers, peers and fans. This would satisfy all five criteria outlined above.

Trim All-Star rosters to 25. This is not Little League where every player gets a trophy and everyone gets to be an All-Star. Being an All-Star should mean something. But having 84 players claiming All-Star status waters down those truly deserving. And 15 years from now when we’re voting for the Hall of Fame, seeing that Scott Rolen is a seven-time All-Star makes that criteria sketchy (not that too many voters look at that anyway, but it could make a difference). In the Rolen example, I would submit that in his previous six All-Star appearances, he was worthy five times. He was voted onto the team by the fans in 2005, so we’ll count that. But he’s hitting .241 with a .276 OBP this season. And he’s probably fifth in the pecking order at his position. Yet, now we must call him a 2011 All-Star.

Why do we need 13 pitchers? How many times in real life would a team use 13 pitchers in a game? Even preserving pitchers’ arms should be no reason to use 13 pitchers save an extended extra-inning game. Here’s how the new scenario would work: The starting pitcher goes three innings, two more starters go two innings each, have four closers, at least one from each side, to close out the final two innings. This idea would have managers gameplanning to use seven pitchers under normal circumstances. Now add two emergency starters and two setup/specialist relievers. That’s 11 total. Generally fans can expect to see seven to nine pitchers from each team. The two emergency starters and two or three relievers probably would not get in the game. But, hey, this is the majors, not everybody gets to play. This gives managers legitimate options to play matchups and actually manage for the sake of winning as opposed to managing to get every pitcher in the game. I probably don’t have to remind fans who witnessed the 2002 game why I’m suggesting two emergency starters. But, by all means, I would have position players pitch before calling the game a tie. I just don’t see how any of this really compromises the players’ regular season. And the upside is huge.

This leaves 14 position players, which means only six backups. How that is configured is up to the manager, but this allows for the top players to play the entire game. If Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial and Ken Griffey Jr. could do it, then so can Albert Pujols, Jose Bautista, Robinson Cano, Matt Kemp and others. Fans would love that. TV would love that. And really, would that cost those guys a regular season game? If so, then don’t show up, but another change I would make is that only players who show and are ACTIVE are credited with being All-Stars. If you’re not available to play for whatever reason, you can’t carry the name All-Star with you.

Two rules I like are having every team represented. There are only a few instances every 10 years or so that an undeserving player makes the team in order to satisfy this rule. Keeping the rule that allows a catcher to re-enter would also be a good thing.

Host a good old-fashioned Old-timers Game. Forget softball, fans want to see Ozzie Smith, Fred Lynn, Rollie Fingers and Ricky Henderson play a real game. Who can forget the moment when Luke Appling, at age 75, blasted a home run in an old-timers All-Star Game off Warren Spahn in 1982. This would keep the history of the game alive, connect former players with current players and boost the pension fund. Play seven innings with younger guys playing the first few innings and have cameos by older guys later in the game.

Incorporate a few more skills competitions. I know since Barry Larkin blew out his elbow, this has been taboo, but I’d watch Michael Bourn and Nyjer Morgan race around the bases, or from home to first or first to third.

Maybe incorporate more players in home run derby. I don’t have the answers yet, but maybe its having three All-Star outfielders in play and outs are only recorded for foul balls, balls that don’t reach the grass in the air, or are caught by the outfielders. Wouldn’t this be much better than watching kids stumble all over themselves and not making any catches?...Maybe there could be a competition that has hitters of one team try to hit ground balls – not line drives – by infielders of the opposing team….Dare we pit pitchers against a radar gun? Or maybe pitchers should throw to small targets around the plate. Hockey seems to make that work for shooters. Let's get creative here.

Shorten the HR Derby. Not that I'm a fan anyway, but 10 outs is a lot per round. Put outfielders in play and give hitters five outs. Let’s move this along. Adrian Gonzalez waiting an hour and 45 minutes to hit his second time is probably not a good idea. Plus I’d love to see outfielders robbing home runs during the derby. That makes it even more of a team thing.

Schedule:
Monday: HR Derby, Skills competition, Celebrity BS
Tuesday: Futures Games – Doubleheader
Wednesday: All-Star Game
Thursday: Old-timers Game, to include HR Derby and skills competition

Am I the only one?

Follow Charlie Miller on Twitter @AthlonCharlie or email [email protected]

Teaser:
<p> Athlon Sports Editor Charlie Miller shares a few ideas to add excitement and meaning to MLB's All-Star Week.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 13:43
All taxonomy terms: MLB All Star Game, MLB
Path: /mlb/athlon-sports-mlb-all-star-teams
Body:

The voting is in and MLB has tallied up America’s wishes for the starting lineups for the All-Star Game next week. Managers Bruce Bochy of the Giants and Ron Washington of the Rangers have selected their reserves.

While fans clearly see this as a popularity lineup (despite Bud Selig’s attempt to convince us otherwise with the whole World Series home-field shenanigans), not a real All-Star lineup, we seldom agree with the voting results. And, we can’t say that we always agree with the managers either.

We like to select teams that would give us the best chances of winning a real game in view of this season’s performance. We think that should be what an All-Star Game is about.

So, here are Athlon Sports All-Star teams for 2011 — based on production, not reputation.
These are 34-man rosters with every team represented. And we like to emulate real teams as much as possible so we have setup men and closers in the bullpen.

(Stats are current through July 3.)


National League
Starters and batting order

SS Jose Reyes, New York
Maybe the biggest no-brainer in either league, Reyes leads the NL with a .351 average and leads shortstops in most every major category expect RBIs. His 120 hits and 65 runs are dominant.

CF Matt Kemp, Los Angeles
Currently in the top three in all triple crown categories, Kemp leads the discussion for MVP honors. His defensive focus has been renewed this season as well.

LF Ryan Braun, Milwaukee
Among players with enough at-bats to qualify, Braun leads leftfielders in OPS and average. Braun easily leads leftfielders in hits, home runs, RBIs, runs and even stolen bases.

1B Prince Fielder, Milwaukee
The MVP candidate is leading the NL in RBIs and is just one off the pace in home runs. He’s third in OPS and is batting .296.

DH Matt Holliday, St. Louis
Falling just shy of enough plate appearances to qualify, Holliday is a tad higher than Braun in average and OPS, but way short in homers, ribbies and runs.

RF Lance Berkman, St. Louis
The Yankees declined a $15 million option on Berkman, who is still in the MVP talk this season. He’s moved to first base in Albert Pujols’ absence, but spent most of the season in right field. He has 58 RBIs and a .999 OPS.

C Brian McCann, Atlanta
Clearly deserving to start this season, not because he was the hero last the 2010 game, but because he leads NL catchers in home runs (14), RBIs (47) and OPS (.907).

2B Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee
Leads NL second basemen with an .839 OPS and 57 runs.

3B Placido Polanco, Philadelphia
Polanco is third in most offensive categories, but he has been the catalyst for the NL’s best team all season. He’s hit second, third and fifth in the lineup. The former Gold Glove second baseman will also serve as out utility man off the bench.

NL Reserves

C Miguel Montero, Arizona
The rising Arizona star leads NL catchers with 21 doubles and 37 runs.

1B Todd Helton, Colorado
Recently played in his 2,000th game as a member of the Rockies. Enjoying a fine comeback season that has been relatively injury-free.

1B Joey Votto, Cincinnati
Tough to leave the reigning MVP off the team, especially when he’s been hitting over .300 all season and has reached base via hit or walk in all but seven starts through June.

2B Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati
Phillips has scored 52 and driven home 45. His Gold Glove defense would come in handy late in a close game.

3B Aramis Ramirez, Chicago
In a down year for NL third basemen, Placido Polanco, Chipper Jones and Chase Headley all received attention. Ramirez owns the best OPS at the position and is second in runs, RBIs and average.

3B Chipper Jones, Atlanta
Okay, a) this is a sentimental pick in Jones’ finals season; b) it gives the NL a second third baseman if Polanco is the backup at second, and; c) Jones has been clutch, hitting .409 with runners in scoring position.

SS Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado
Leads NL shortstops with 50 ribbies and plays spectacular defense, but falls way short of Reyes.

SS Starlin Castro, Chicago
The youngster should have many All-Star appearances — and even starts — in his career, but for now he’s a pinch-runner and may get in an inning on defense.

OF Mike Stanton, Florida
The Marlins’ representative is the young Stanton, who leads the team in home runs and tied with Gaby Sanchez for the team lead in RBIs and OPS.

OF Andre Ethier, Los Angeles
He had a torrid April that included a 30-game hitting streak, and leads rightfielders with a .320 average.

OF Hunter Pence, Houston
Pence is hitting .318 and we must have an Astro on the team.

OF Justin Upton, Arizona
The home fans should enjoy watching the rising star and offensive leader of the Diamondbacks

SP Jair Jurrjens, Atlanta
His recent 1-hit shutout of Baltimore cemented his position as our starter. He’s 11-3 with a 1.89 ERA after 15 starts.

SP Roy Halladay, Philadelphia
The steady perennial Cy Young candidate has completed 15 of his first 51 starts with the Phillies. He’s 11-3 this season and his 2.44 ERA is second in the senior circuit.

SP Cole Hamels, Philadelphia
He may get third billing on his own team behind Halladay and Cliff Lee, but Hamels has a 0.94 WHIP with 110 whiffs in 116 innings.

SP Cliff Lee, Philadelphia
Could manager Bruce Bochy just run out Philadelphia pitchers for the entire game? Yes, and would probably do quite well. Prior to his loss to Toronto on Sunday, Lee tossed three complete game shutouts in which he allowed just 10 hits and five walks. In 42 innings in June, he gave up one run (0.21 ERA).

SP Tommy Hanson, Atlanta
Hanson is fourth in the league with a 2.62 ERA.

SP Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles
With a borderline ERA at 3.23, Kershaw is fourth in the league with a 1.06 WHIP and leads the senior circuit with 138 Ks.

SP Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco
Vogelsong — not Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain or Madison Bumgarner — has been the most consistent starter this season. He leads the Giants with a 2.13 ERA (0.2 shy of enough innings to qualify for the league lead) and Cain is his only teammate with a better WHIP.

SU Tyler Clippard, Washington
The league leader in holds, Clippard has 57 strikeouts and has 40 hits plus walks in his 46 innings.

SU Jonny Venters, Atlanta
Venters would be the key lefty in our pen. He has dominated over 51 innings with 54 whiffs and has allowed just 48 hits and walks.

CL Joel Hanrahan, Pittsburgh
The Pirates’ closer has been perfect in 24 save chances and has a 0.97 WHIP.

CL Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta
No National League rookie has ever recorded 20 saves prior to the All-Star break. Kimbrel has 24 and counting. He sports an impressive 1.12 WHIP.

CL Heath Bell, San Diego
Bell has blown just one opportunity this season and saved 24 games. This may be his last All-Star appearance in a San Diego uniform.

CL Huston Street, Colorado
Tied for the league lead in saves, Street has blown just two and even has one hold.

Also Read:
Athlon's 2011 All-Star Game Snubs

Teaser:
<p> The voting is in and MLB has tallied up America’s wishes for the starting lineups for the All-Star Game next week. Managers Bruce Bochy of the Giants and Ron Washington of the Rangers have selected their reserves.<br /> While fans clearly see this as a popularity lineup (despite Bud Selig’s attempt to convince us otherwise with the whole World Series home-field shenanigans), not a real All-Star lineup, we seldom agree with the voting results. And, we can’t say that we always agree with the managers either.<br /> We like to select teams that would give us the best chances of winning a real game in view of this season’s performance. We think that should be what an All-Star Game is about.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 14:01
All taxonomy terms: MLB
Path: /mlb/ranking-mlb-managers
Body:

 

1. Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay
A master with youngsters and at convincing players to believe in themselves and their team.

 2. Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels
His teams are aggressive and will play the game at a high intensity. Not afraid to make mistakes.

 3. Bruce Bochy, San Francisco
Has an old-fashioned, gut-it-out style and teams that take on that persona. Can win with less.

 4. Terry Francona, Boston
Proven he can lead good teams; had trouble motivating teams with less talent.

5. Tony La Russa, St. Louis
Rubs just enough players the wrong way not to be higher on the list. But he wins.

 6. Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia
Won’t wow anyone in an interview, but his players always play hard for him.

7. Jim Leyland, Detroit
Old-school baseball leader will protect his players to no end. Guys always know where they stand with him.

8. Rod Gardenhire, Minnesota
Well versed in the “Minnesota Twins Way” dating back to Tom Kelly. Good fundamentals and few mental mistakes — not talent — are hallmarks of his teams.

9. Bud Black, San Diego
Has proven he can win with low expectations.

10. Joe Girardi, New York Yankees
Still learning and finding out that winning in New York isn’t as easy as Joe Torre made it look.

11. Dusty Baker, Cincinnati
Good winning track record, but not exactly a pitcher’s manager.

12. Buck Showalter, Baltimore
Buck does things Buck’s way. Has prepared teams to be winners, but never actually managed his own winner.

13. Ron Washington, Texas
Rocky start in Texas, but proved he could take a team to the Series last season.

14. Ozzie Guillen, Chicago White Sox
Never know what you’re get with Ozzie. Sometimes good; sometimes bad. Mostly good.

15. Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh
Maybe the best fit in Pittsburgh since Jim Leyland.

16. Jim Tracy, Colorado
Calm, stoic and in need of good players.

17. Kirk Gibson, Arizona
Too early to tell, but indications point to a bright future at the helm.

18. Ned Yost, Kansas City
Got a raw deal in Milwaukee; needs to be given time in K.C. (just like the young players).

19. Ron Roenicke, Milwaukee
The jury hasn’t even begun to deliberate, but we like his pedigree and the fact that the Brew Crew is winning.

20. Manny Acta, Cleveland
Has enjoyed short-term success in Washington and now Cleveland; most teams prefer long-term success.

21. Jim Riggleman, Washington
Always says yes to jobs, but rarely No. 1 on teams’ lists.

22. Edwin Rodriguez, Florida
Players seem to respect coaches and front office more than E-Rod.

23. Fredi Gonzalez, Atlanta
Popular choice to succeed Bobby Cox in Atlanta, but didn’t exactly prove himself in Florida.

24. Eric Wedge, Seattle
May not be given many more chances.

25. John Farrell, Toronto
Much like most of Toronto’s team: Unknown.

26. Don Mattingly, Los Angeles Dodgers
Very little about the Dodgers has improved under his watch; then again, the organization is in turmoil from the top down.

27. Mike Quade, Chicago Cubs
Probably won’t be in uniform much longer.

28. Brad Mills, Houston
Will probably suffer same fate as most managers with mediocre players.

29. Terry Collins, New York Mets
Not a good fit in Anaheim or Houston. Certainly not in New York.

30. Bob Melvin, Oakland
Midseason fill-in trying to earn a job in 2012.

Teaser:
<p> Who's the best manager in baseball? The ageless veteran La Russa? The edgy Maddon? New York's Girardi? Francona of Boston?</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 17:51
All taxonomy terms: MLB
Path: /mlb/mlb-draft-history-best-pick-each-slot-1-50
Body:

With the 2011 Major League Draft final, let’s take a look back through history at the top picks at each slot 1-50. There are some Hall of Famers on the list, but some had to be left out. And there are a few slots that make you scratch your head and ask, “Who’s that guy?”

50
Dennis Eckersley, Cleveland, 1972

Became a Hall of Fame closer with Oakland after a 150-win career as a starter. The Indians received Bo Diaz and Rick Wise from Boston among others for Eck in a 1978 trade.

49
Carlos Beltran, Kansas City, 1995

Rookie of the Year for the Royals; too bad they couldn’t afford to keep him.

48
Cal Ripken, Baltimore, 1978

Seven shortstops were drafted ahead of Cal in 1978, including Buddy Biancalana, Lenny Faedo and Rex Hudler. Evidently, the Orioles thought more of Robert Boyce, Larry Sheets and Edwin Hook, who were drafted ahead of the Iron Man.

47
Tom Glavine, Atlanta, 1984

Five high school hurlers were selected ahead of Glavine, including Greg Maddux. Glavine wore his draft slot number on his back for 305 major league wins with the Braves and Mets. An Atlanta legend.

46
Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia, 1995

Two years before taking Rollins at No. 46, the Phillies grabbed Scott Rolen with the same number. Give Rollins the edge here due to loyalty to the franchise. He has meant more to the Phillies than Rolen. The Brewers nabbed Yovani Gallardo here in 2004. He may replace Rollins on this list someday.

45
Tom Gorzelanny, Pittsburgh, 2003

So, what did you expect? Gerald Laird? Jed Lowrie? You find a better guy.

44
Joey Votto, Cincinnati, 2002

There were no good options at No. 44 until Votto showed up in 2002. He rewarded the Reds with an MVP in 2010 and likely will win another.

43
Bob Knepper, San Francisco, 1972

Knepper won 47 games for the Giants before being traded to Houston for Enos Cabell. I guess the Giants wish they had taken Eckersley with this pick, you think?

42
Dennis Leonard, Kansas City, 1972

As tempting as it was to put Mookie Wilson here, we just couldn’t ignore Leonard’s 144 wins for the Royals during their glory years in 1970s. The three-time 20-game winner played his entire career in Kansas City.

41
Fred Lynn, Boston, 1973

Two years later, the former USC star would be named Rookie of the Year and MVP for the AL champion Red Sox. Oddly enough, every season from 1980 until his retirement after 1990, Lynn hit below his career average.

40
Huston Street, Oakland, 2004

Street earned the 2005 Rookie of the Year award. He was traded with Carlos Gonzalez for Matt Holliday after the 2008 season. How’d that work out for ya, Oakland?.

39
Don Baylor, Baltimore, 1967

Baylor played 511 games over six seasons with Baltimore, getting some MVP votes in 1975. He was then a part of six-player deal just prior to the start of the 1976 season that brought Reggie Jackson to Baltimore. Baylor was named MVP in 1979 with the Angels.

38
David Wright, New York Mets, 2001

Of the 37 players drafted ahead of Wright, 14 have yet to see time in the big leagues. His 175 home runs and 682 RBIs are second to Mark Teixeira’s 293-947 among players drafted in ’01.

37
Frank Viola, Minnesota, 1981

Sweet music won a Cy Young in 1987, helping the Twins to the World Series championship. Mike Scott won a Cy Young in 1986 helping the Astros to the playoffs. Adam Jones of Baltimore may trump both in a few years.

36
Johnny Bench, Cincinnati, 1965

In the first draft ever, the Reds called Bench’s name in the second round. Bench holds the distinction of being the first Hall of Famer drafted. Among the seven catchers selected ahead of Bench were Ray Fosse, Gene Lamont and Ken Rudolph. Twenty years later the Montreal Expos would call Randy Johnson’s name at No. 36.

35
Johnny Damon, Kansas City, 1992

Economics lesson: In six seasons with the Royals, Damon played in 803 games, scored 504 runs and racked up 894 hits and made a total of $7,089,000. In one season with Oakland he played in 155 games, scored 108 runs, with 165 hits, and made $7,100,000.

34
Mark Gubicza, Kansas City, 1981

Gubicza won 14 games for the 1985 champion Royals and won 20 in 1988. After making 327 starts for Kansas City he ended his career with two forgettable starts for the Anaheim Angels in 1997.

33
Dave Burba, Seattle, 1987

Somehow Burba managed to win 115 and lose only 87. That seems better than Milt Wilcox’s 119-113 career record. Those were the best choices.

32
Dave Magadan, New York Mets, 1983

Magadan made history with eight consecutive hits to begin the College World Series. Actually received some MVP votes in 1990 after hitting .328 for the Mets.

31
Greg Maddux, Chicago Cubs, 1984

Perhaps the best pitcher of his generation, the Professor won 355 games and logged more than 5,000 innings. He won four consecutive Cy Young awards from 1992-95, and finished in the top five another five times.

30
Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia, 1971

The Hall of Famer hit 548 home runs for the Phillies with three MVP awards over an 18-year career. He anchored a lineup that won five division titles, two pennants and the 1980 World Series.

29
George Brett, Kansas City, 1971

Two Hall of Fame third basemen were drafted back-to-back in 1971. Brett is Mr. Royal — with three batting titles, 3,154 hits and a .305 lifetime average. He was the heart and soul of the best teams in franchise history.

28
Lee Smith, Chicago Cubs, 1975

Smith made closing look excruciating and painful, but he mastered it to the tune of 478 career saves. He had just 180 saves for the Cubs before a trade to the Red Sox for Al Nipper and Calvin Schiraldi.

27
Vida Blue, Kansas City Athletics, 1967

Of his 209 career wins, 124 of them came with the A’s. He was named MVP and Cy Young winner in 1971 and was a mainstay in the rotation that won three straight World Series titles from 1972-74.

26
Alan Trammell, Detroit, 1976

Two shortstops were selected ahead of Trammell in 1976. Neither reached the major leagues. Trammell played 2,293 games, all for the Tigers. He hit .419 in the 1984 postseason with three home runs, nine RBIs and seven runs in eight games.

25
Bill Buckner, Los Angeles Dodgers, 1968

Forget about the error and remember the 2,715 hits over a stellar 22-year career. Buckner had 837 hits in 773 games for the Dodgers prior to being traded to the Cubs in a deal that brought the Dodgers Rick Monday, the first player ever drafted in 1965. Buckner was then dealt to the Red Sox in a trade for Dennis Eckersley.

24
Terry Mulholland, San Francisco, 1984

Mulholland played for 11 different teams in a 20-year career that lasted until he was 43. He went from front-line starter to lefty specialist. I suspect Chad Billingsley will make this list here by 2015.

23
Mo Vaughn, Boston, 1989

Mo was one of the most feared hitters in the American League for a short period of time. Owns an MVP and was a member of three All-Star teams. Jacoby Ellsbury is right on his heels.

22
Craig Biggio, Houston, 1987

Two years earlier the Cubs drafted Rafael Palmeiro in this slot, and although Palmeiro has huge numbers, he wasn’t half the gamer that Biggio was. Biggio made the All-Star team as a catcher and second baseman, and owns 3,060 hits, 668 of them doubles.

21
Rick Sutcliffe, Los Angeles Dodgers, 1974

After winning Rookie of the Year with a 17-10 mark for the Dodgers in 1979, two years later Sutcliffe was dealt to the Indians for Jack Fimple, Jorge Orta and Larry White. Oops. He later won a Cy Young with the 1984 Cubs.

20
Mike Mussina, Baltimore, 1990

Mussina narrowly missed winning 20 games five times before accomplishing that feat in his 18th and final season. He rewarded the Orioles with a 147-81 mark over 10 seasons, then dissed them by signing a huge deal with the Yankees. He made 21 postseason starts, but never won a ring.

19
Roger Clemens, Boston, 1983

However tainted you may believe Clemens’ record is, he won seven Cy Young awards, an MVP, finished third in Cy Young voting another three times. He retired with 354 wins, 4,672 strikeouts, 46 shutouts and a 3.12 ERA. In 34 postseason starts, he was 12-8, including 3-0 in eight World Series starts.

18
Willie Wilson, Kansas City, 1974

The New York Mets are certainly rooting for Ike Davis to take over this slot one day, but for now it’s Wilson. The speedy center fielder stole 521 bases from 1978-87. He owns a batting title and finished fourth in MVP voting in 1980. At age 36, he stole seven bags in a six-game ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays.

17
Roy Halladay, Toronto, 1995

Drafted in the same slot as Phillies teammate Cole Hamels, Halladay is among the career leaders for active pitchers in several categories. He owns two Cy Young awards and has finished in the top 5 another four times. His average season since 2002 is 16-7 with a 3.02 ERA.

16
Lance Berkman, Houston, 1997

A Texan through and through, Houston made the former Rice star the No. 16 pick in 1997 and promoted him to the big leagues in July 1999. Enjoying a resurgence with St. Louis this season, the five-time All-Star has a lifetime .410 on-base percentage.

15
Jim Rice, Boston, 1971

Between 1975-86, the consistent Rice averaged .307-31-110 with 95 runs (excluding the strike-shortened 1981 season). He won just one MVP, but was in the top 5 six times. In 1978 he had 406 total bases.

14
Don Gullett, Cincinnati, 1969

For whatever reason, the No. 14 slot isn’t very strong. Lots of above average candidates, but no Hall of Famers. Tino Martinez, Tom Brunansky, Derrek Lee, Jason Varitek, Jeff Weaver and Jason Heyward made the short list. But Gullet enjoyed the most success with his original team. He was the ace of the Big Red Machine in 1975-76 before signing with the Yankees as part of the first-ever free agent class in 1977. He appeared in four World Series with the Reds, the first at age 19 in 1970.

13
Manny Ramirez, Cleveland, 1991

Before “Manny Being Manny” became popular, Ramirez played eight seasons with the Cleveland Indians, hitting 236 home runs with 804 RBIs. He never won an MVP, but finished in the top 10 for eight consecutive seasons.

12
Kirk Gibson, Detroit, 1978

The former Michigan State star receiver was drafted into baseball by his home-state team. In 12 seasons with the Tigers, he hit 195 home runs and batted .273. But stats don’t show the impact that Gibson had on his teams. He won the 1988 NL MVP with modest numbers (.290-25-76). Billy Wagner, Nomar Garciaparra and Jay Bruce received consideration here as well.

11
Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh, 2005

Until McCutchen was drafted, Greg Luzinski (aka The Bull) was the best here. McCutchen is the centerpiece around which the Pirates are rebuilding.

10
Mark McGwire, Oakland, 1984

Although it’s unfortunate that Big Mac has become synonymous with the Steroid Era, it’s difficult to ignore his 583 homers, 363 of which came in an Oakland uniform.

9
Kevin Appier, Kansas City, 1987

The righthander spent 13 of his 16 seasons with the Royals, with whom he earned 115 of his 169 wins. He logged more than 200 innings eight times, and had 10 seasons of double-digit wins.

8
Todd Helton, Colorado, 1995

The former backup to Peyton Manning and closer at the University of Tennessee, Helton has become the face of the Colorado franchise. He is Mr. Rocky.

7
Frank Thomas, Chicago White Sox, 1989

The Big Hurt terrorized American League pitchers for 16 seasons in a White Sox uniform. He made his major league debut 14 months after being drafted, then played eight seasons before posting his first sub-.300 batting average. He had back-to-back MVPs in 1993 and ’94, and finished his career with 521 home runs, 1,704 RBIs and 1,494 runs.

6
Barry Bonds, Pittsburgh, 1985

Two of the greatest stars of this generation (Bonds and Derek Jeter) share this slot. Bonds’ numbers are absolutely off the charts (as is his hat size). Seven MVPs — four consecutive — 2,558 walks, 762 home runs and 2,227 runs. He was walked intentionally 120 times in one season. And in his pre-bulked-up days, he won eight Gold Gloves and stole more than 500 bases.

5
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee, 2005

Mark Teixeira, Dale Murphy and Dwight Gooden all have strong cases, but Braun has become the face of a franchise and is committed to Milwaukee through 2020.

4
Dave Winfield, San Diego, 1973

Winfield made his major league debut a few weeks after the draft and 3,110 hits, 465 home runs and 1,833 RBIs later he’s in the Hall of Fame. In seven full seasons in San Diego prior to bolting for New York via free agency (when have we heard that before), he averaged .284-22-88 with 19 stolen bases.

3
Robin Yount, Milwaukee, 1973

Four years later the Brewers drafted another shortstop in the third slot, and fellow Hall of Famer Paul Molitor became a teammate of Yount’s for 15 years in Milwaukee. During their time together, the two combined for 4,736 hits. Yount gets the nod with two MVPs and spending his entire career with the team that drafted him.

2
Reggie Jackson, Kansas City Athletics, 1966

Jackson owns four home run titles and five strikeout titles, but Mr. October electrified crowds in Oakland, New York and L.A. He was at his best when the lights were the brightest. In 27 World Series games, he batted .357 with 10 home runs. Just what were the Mets thinking with Steve Chilcott at No. 1?

1
Alex Rodriguez, Seattle, 1993

As tempting as it was to go with Ken Griffey Jr., who energized baseball fans in Seattle; or Chipper Jones, who has spent his entire career with the Atlanta Braves, and most of those seasons in the postseason; the best overall player is Rodriguez. And there is no argument here. A-Rod is among the best to ever play the game.
 

Well, there you have the best players drafted at each lot, 1-50. In case you’re wondering which team seemed to be the best at spotting talent over the last 47 years, the Kansas City Royals placed seven players on this list. But of course, that is far from a reliable evaluation given that the Giants get credit fro drafting Bob Knepper and the Brewers get no credit for Paul Molitor when counting from this list.

For what it’s worth, the Yankees, Cardinals, Angels and Rangers — franchises that participated in all 47 drafts — did not show up at all. Thurman Munson at No. 4 (Yankees), Ted Simmons at No. 10 (Cardinals), Frank Tanana at No. 13 (Angels) and Mark Teixeira at No. 5 (Rangers) were close calls.

Teaser:
<p> What do Dennis Eckersley, Dennis Leonard and Bob Knepper have in common? Athlon identifies the best MLB draft picks at each slot 1-50 over 47 years of drafting. And what were the Oriles thinking by drafting three guys before Cal Ripken in 1978?</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 9, 2011 - 18:06
All taxonomy terms: MLB
Path: /mlb/13th-round-mlb-draft-picks-not-so-bad
Body:

Every year at draft time, we are reminded just how inexact the science of projecting major league really is. Mike Piazza was drafted in the 62 round by the Los Angels Dodgers, presumably as a favor to Tom Lasorda. Wasn’t there a scout somewhere that saw something in Piazza that looked like a potential major leaguer? Keith Hernandez was drafted in the 42nd round back in 1971.

And most baseball fans know that Albert Pujols was drafted in the 13th round (402nd overall) in 1999. So for all the players drafted outside the first few televised rounds of the MLB draft, take heart. The 13th can be a lucky number. In every year of the draft save 1975, some player drafted in the 13th round has reached the majors. Here’s our Top 13th Round Draft picks of All-time. Only players who signed the year they were drafted in the 13th round are included.

 

 

 

1. Albert Pujols, St. Louis, 1999

2. Jim Thome, Cleveland, 1989

3. Steve Finley, Baltimore, 1987

4. Jack Clark, San Francisco, 1973

5. Juan Pierre, Colorado, 1998

6. Lenny Dykstra, New York Mets, 1981

7. Jason Bartlett, San Diego, 2001

8. Matt Lawton, Minnesota, 1991

9. Rod Beck, Oakland, 1986

10. Danny Cox, St. Louis, 1981

Runners-up
11. Mike Stanton, Atlanta, 1987

12. Troy O’Leary, Milwaukee, 1987
 

Teaser:
<p> Every year at draft time, we are reminded just how inexact the science of projecting major league really is. Mike Piazza in 62nd round? Keith Hernandez in 42nd? Albert Pujols in 13th? Who are the best 13th round picks of all-time?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 14:37
All taxonomy terms: Joe Girardi, Jorge Posada, Ken Griffey, Yankees, MLB
Path: /mlb/jorge-posada-its-not-your-decision
Body:

Jorge Posada is batting .165. He’s a DH. Of the 13 DHs in the American League with enough plate appearances to qualify, he’s 13th in average and on-base, 10th in slugging and 12th in OPS. Has he earned the respect of fans and teammates? Absolutely. Has he earned the right to be given the benefit of a doubt by his manager? I think so. Does Posada deserve for his manager to come and talk to him about his role? Yes. But should Posada expect to determine his own place in the batting order? No way.

Judging by his reception when announced as a pinch hitter the other night, Yankee fans are obviously proud of what Posada has done for the past 15 years. And they should be. He’s earned that.

But Joe Girardi is paid to give his team the best opportunity to win the American League East division. It’s a tough division, and the Yankees can’t afford to give away games. This team needs more from its DH than a .165 batting average.

I understand that Girardi has few options right now. With Eric Chavez injured and Andruw Jones hitting a whopping .220, it’s not like he has a clear decision. But the point is that the Yankees lineup is Girardi’s decision.

About this time last season, there was an aging DH in the American League whose average had dropped to .200. He was benched, and over the last 20 days of May, he had just 21 plate appearances. That was future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, who recognized his role, didn’t complain and soon retired.

Now I’m not suggesting that it’s time for Posada to retire. He seems to have a fire that Griffey had lost by the time he returned to Seattle, not to mention better skills at this point. Clearly, what Posada has accomplished for the Yankees since 1997 has earned him a special place in the game. But it has not earned him the right to decide when and where he plays.

Teaser:
<p> I'm not suggesting it's time for Jorge Posada to retire, but has he earned the right to determine when and where he plays?</p>
Post date: Monday, May 16, 2011 - 21:25
All taxonomy terms: MLB
Path: /columns/mlb-fantasy/fantasy-spin-cycle-2
Body:

By Bruce Herman

April 15, 2011

Close-Up on Closers

Tony LaRussa says if chooses to go another way from Ryan Franklin, who’s blown three saves in four appearances, the way he’ll go is Miguel Batista, who has one more career save (41) than years he’s been on earth. Earth to LaRussa: You have Jason Motte.

34-year-old Matt Thornton is seeing his first real chance at closing slipping away, and young Chris Sale has been unhittable one day, hapless the next. Ozzie Guillen says he will now consider Sergio Santos, who’s been effective, but has zero high-leverage experience.

Scott Downs has been activated by the Angels, but while he could close later in the season, he’s well down the pecking order for the foreseeable future.

Gotta think it can’t be too long before Buck Showalter turns to Koji Uehara to save a game. Kevin Gregg has been underwhelming.

I’d predict that Joe Nathan, who squandered yesterday’s lead, would be given a temporary respite – except that Matt Capps replaced him and dished up a walk-off homer.

 

Playing for Keepers

A prospect to consider if you’re focused on the future:

Michael Pineda, SP, Mariners: Growing pains are inevitable for a 22-year-old who’s already done a lot of growing (6-foot-7, 260 pounds), but the two strong starts merit attention. I consider Pineda the top pitching prospect in the game, and he seems to be at the right place in the right ballpark at the right time.


Wired

The fantasy impact of recent transactions:

Josh Hamilton, OF, Rangers (to DL): The big winner here during Hamilton’s extended absence is Julio Borbon, who was teetering on losing his job to David Murphy. Now there’s room for both. Still-promising Chris Davis was recalled, but it’s hard to see where he fits.

Rafael Furcal, SS, Dodgers (to DL): Declared to be out more than a month and chirping about possibly retiring. Furcal gives way to Jamey Carroll who, you might be surprised to learn, is hitting .299 over the last 365 days.

Chris Snyder, C, Pirates (off DL): Ryan Doumit goes back to being the fourth outfielder and third catcher. Jason Jarmillo was optioned.

J.J. Hardy, SS, Orioles (to DL): Cesar Izturis and Robert Andino share time – to no great effect.

Rajai Davis, OF, Blue Jays (to DL): It’s time for Corey Patterson to have his annual three-week hot streak.

Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals (to DL): No natural heir, but Jerry Hairston Jr. gets some run.

Jonathan Lucroy, C, Brewers (off DL): George Kottaras will now play once or twice a week.

Joe Mauer, C, Twins (to DL): You and your batting average category want no part of Drew Butera or Steve Holm.


The Friday Sweep

A broad brush of fantasy-relevant notes:

Among the surprising (and impactful) batting order adjustments in the early going:

Jimmy Rollins to third: One whole RBI so far. How’s that working out?

Stephen Drew to cleanup: Small sample, but he’s 6-for-13 with 5 RBI there.

Chase Headley to second: Was just moved, but career OPS in that spot is .520.

Andrew McCutchen to third: Pegged for 30-plus steals, but as a middle-of-the-order guy, he’s tried only one and was thrown out.

The Giants are pondering switching out Aubrey Huff (to first base) and Brandon Belt (to right). Neither is swinging up to expectations, but the impetus is defensive…Jason Bay, whose return has been pushed back another two weeks, is a glacially slow healer. Between his last year’s concussion and this year’s oblique, he’ll not have played a game in nine months…Zack Greinke should be ready about the same time as Bay, but Grady Sizemore is just a few days away…A.J. Burnett still hasn’t taken a loss in 13 April starts dating back to 2008…League stat leaders include Yunel Escobar in AVG (.438), Alex Gordon in runs (11), Jorge Posada in homers (5) and Sam Fuld in stolen bases (7). Wow.

Teaser:
<p> <em><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Welcome to Fantasy Spin Cycle, AthlonSports.com’s new bi-weekly “cheat sheet” covering myriad topics in a quick-hitting style intended to help keep you in the game from the first pitch of the season to the final bubbly shower in October. On Mondays, we’ll review the hot players and the cold, the emergency free agents and timely cuts, and all the latest medical reports. On Fridays, we’ll examine the fantasy impact of the latest MLB transactions, break out some stimulating stats, turn an eye to keeper leagues, offer a few random thoughts and keep a close eye on closers. </span></em></p>
Post date: Friday, April 15, 2011 - 10:13
All taxonomy terms:
Path: /blogs/diamond-update
Body:

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 12:25
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball
Path: /college-basketball/butler-uconn
Body:

Houston — We’re told this is one of the more improbable National Championship games in the history of the sport. We have two teams that lost a combined 18 games in the regular season — the most ever in a title game. We have a No. 3 seed that went .500 in the Big East and a No. 8 seed that lost five games in the 11th-rated conference, according to the RPI.

But maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Maybe this is what we should have expected. Not back in late January or early February, when UConn and Butler were struggling, both looking like teams that would have trouble winning a game in the NCAA Tournament — if they even got that far. But maybe we should have expected this matchup when the Field of 68 was announced. By that time, both of these clubs had hit their stride, with UConn winning five games in five nights en route to an amazing Big East title and Butler capturing the Horizon League Tournament title on the home court of top seed Milwaukee with surprising ease, 59–44.

Should we be surprised when the best player in America, UConn guard Kemba Walker, has his team in the national title game? Should we be surprised when the defending national runner-up is back in the title game, even with the loss of its best player, Gordon Hayward.

We are surprised, but we shouldn’t be.

Teaser:
<p> Mitch Light previews the National Championship game for 2011.</p>
Post date: Friday, April 1, 2011 - 12:02
All taxonomy terms: MLB
Path: /mlb/athlons-2011-mlb-predictions
Body:

- by Charlie Miller (@AthlonCharlie)

Athlon Sports offers up its official predictions for the 2011 Major League Baseball season.

National League East
1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. Atlanta Braves
3. Florida Marlins
4. New York Mets
5. Washington Nationals

National League Central
1. Milwaukee Brewers
2. St. Louis Cardinals
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. Chicago Cubs
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
6. Houston Astros

National League West
1. San Francisco Giants
2. Colorado Rockies*
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. San Diego Padres
5. Arizona Diamondbacks

NLCS: Philadelphia over San Francisco

NL MVP
1. Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis
2. Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee
3. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado
4. Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati
5. Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado
6. Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia
7. Hanley Ramirez, SS, Florida
8. Buster Posey, C, San Francisco
9. David Wright, 3B, New York
10. Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles

NL Cy Young
1. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia
2. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco
3. Josh Johnson, Florida
4. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia
5. Ubaldo Jimanez, Colorado
6. Brian Wilson, San Francisco
7. Tim Hudson, Atlanta
8. Matt Cain, San Francisco
9. Zack Greinke, Milwaukee
10. Roy Oswalt, Philadelphia

NL Rookie of the Year
1. Aroldis Chapman, RP, Cincinnati
2. Brandon Belt, San Francisco
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta
4. Craig Kimbrel, RP, Atlanta
5. Jonny Venters, RP, Atlanta

American League East
1. Boston Red Sox
2. New York Yankees*
3. Tampa Bay Rays
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Toronto Blue Jays

American League Central
1. Minnesota Twins
2. Detroit Tigers
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Cleveland Indians

American League West
1. Texas Rangers
2. Los Angeles Angels
3. Oakland Athletics
4. Seattle Mariners

ALCS: Boston over New York

AL MVP
1. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit
2. Josh Hamilton, OF, Texas
3. Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay
4. Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota
5. Carl Crawford, OF, Boston
6. Mark Teixeira, 1B, New York
7. Kevin Youkilis, 3B, Boston
8. Justin Morneau, 1B, Minnesota
9. Nelson Cruz, OF, Texas
10. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Boston

AL Cy Young
1. CC Sabathia, New York
2. David Price, Tampa Bay
3. Jon Lester, Boston
4. Felix Hernandez, Seattle
5. Justin Verlander, Detroit
6. Jered Weaver, Los Angeles
7. Dan Haren, Los Angeles
8. Clay Buchholz, Boston
9. Mariano Rivera, New York
10. Trevor Cahill, Oakland

AL Rookie of the Year
1. J.P. Arencibia, C, Toronto
2. Mike Moustakas, 3B, Kansas City
3. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2B/SS, Minnesota
4. Kyle Drabek, SP, Toronto
5. Dustin Ackley, 2B, Seattle


Athlon Sports 2011 World Series: Boston over Philadelphia

 

With the additions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, the Red Sox have a lineup that can score with anyone. And the Sox pitching is clearly deeper than New York's. Philadelphia may have one of the best rotations assembled in several years, but there are holes in the lineup, especially up the middle.

Teaser:
<p> Athlon Sports offers up its official predictions for the 2011 Major League Baseball season.</p>
Post date: Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: MLB
Path: /mlb/penny-wise-dollar-foolish
Body:

Penny Wise
Contracts that make sense from the team’s perspective. Examples of owners spending cash wisely.

Jose Contreras, RP, Philadelphia
Contract: 2 years, $5,000,000
The White Sox and Rockies thought he was washed up a year ago, but the Phillies found a perfect role (setup man) for the former starter.

Carl Crawford, OF, Boston
Contract: 7 years, $142,000,000
In the prime of his career, he’s one of the most explosive offensive players and defensive outfielders wrapped into one. Seven, $161M would have even made sense to us.

Johnny Damon, OF, Tampa Bay
Contract: 1 year, $5,250,000
Since 1998 Damon’s lows are 141 games, 605 plate appearances and 81 runs. He has been durable and a valuable member of every clubhouse.

Scott Downs, RP, L.A. Angels
Contract: 3 years, $15,000,000
We agree with the Angels’ assessment that Downs hasn’t hit the “setup man wall” yet. He’s more than just a lefty specialist. Lefties hit .152 last season, and righties (.243) weren’t much better.

Adam Dunn, DH, Chicago White Sox
Contract: 4 years, $56,000,000
Finally, Dunn has the role he was made for — DH. Apparently, he has accepted the role, but only time will tell. A seven-year average of 40 HRs, 101 RBIs, 107 BBs, 180 Ks. That’s only going to get better at the Cell.

Jon Garland, SP, L.A. Dodgers
Contract: 1 year, $5,000,000
In 2009 Garland made six starts for the Dodgers, going 3–2. L.A. scored just one run in the two losses and three in the no-decision. Of course, his recent injury kills this for the Dodgers, but Garland didn’t pose an injury risk when he signed.

Kevin Gregg, RP, Baltimore
Contract: 2 years, $10,000,000
Gregg has given up just one home run to the 34 batters he has faced in his career at Camden Yards. In some setup/closer combination, Gregg and Koji Uehara should combine for 45 saves.

Ramon Hernandez, C, Cincinnati
Contract: 1 year , $3,000,000
Both Hernandez and the Reds were happy to repeat last year’s deal. Now if he can just repeat his production. We say he will.

Orlando Hudson, 2B, San Diego
Contract: 2 years, $11,500,000
Playing for three different teams in three seasons, he’s averaged .284 and 29 doubles while winning a Gold Glove. Perfect fit in San Diego; pitchers will love his defense.

Aubrey Huff, 1B/OF, San Francisco
Contract: 2 years, $22,000,000
Huff the magic slugger was the poster child for bargain in 2010 when he made just $3,000,000 and became the leader of the Giants. But Huff has proven himself over time to be a run producer and a terrific clubhouse guy.

Paul Konerko, 1B, Chicago White Sox
Contract: 3 years, $37,500,000
Konerko gave the Sox a hometown discount, which helped them sign Dunn. He’ll be only 37 in the final year of the contract, and he’s been durable — having fallen short of 600 plate appearances only three times since 2000.

Hiroki Kuroda, SP, L.A. Dodgers
Contract: 1 year, $12,000,000
Kuroda won 11 times in 2010, and left three games ahead last season and ended with a no-decision. The Dodgers were shut out in six of his starts. So the unlucky righthander takes a $3 million pay cut to stay in L.A.

Cliff Lee, SP, Philadelphia
Contract: 5 years, $120,000,000
The Phillies instantly became the NL favorite for the next couple of years. There’s little risk with Lee in five years, and he ranks among the best in the majors. Now the Phillies must hope their offense doesn’t get old too quickly.

Russell Martin, C, N.Y. Yankees
Contract: 1 year, $4,000,000
Now that he’s healthy, expect a resurgence from Martin as the everyday catcher in the Bronx.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2B/SS, Minnesota
Contract: 3 years, $9,250,000
Nishioka won a batting title in Japan’s Central League last season and won a Gold Glove at second base in 2005 and at short in ’07. But all that’s expected of him in Minnesota is to play the game the Minnesota way, which is fundamentally sound and with great effort. He’ll be a hit with the Twins’ players and fans.

Carlos Peña, 1B, Chicago Cubs
Contract: 1 year, $10,000,000
After hitting just .196 last season in Tampa, Peña couldn’t generate interest in a multi-year deal. But he still drives in runs and should thrive at Wrigley in another contract season. The slick fielder will cash in next season.

Jhonny Peralta, SS, Detroit
Contract: 2 years, $10,750,000
Peralta raised his average 13 points after Aug. 22, and made just three errors in 44 starts at short for the Tigers.

Manny Ramirez, DH/OF, Tampa Bay
Contract: 1 year, $2,000,000
While there is always baggage and other negatives associated with Manny, it doesn’t take too much offense to be worth two mil. And Manny appears to be on a mission to prove himself worthy.

Mariano Rivera, RP, N.Y. Yankees
Contract: 2 years, $30,000,000
Very quiet, uneventful negotiations reflect Rivera’s mound demeanor. Most teams would have paid more, but he would never leave N.Y.

Miguel Tejada, SS, San Francisco
Contract: 1 year, $6,500,000
We don’t believe Tejada has enough left to be an everyday shortstop, but he still hits well enough to justify $6.5 million.

Koji Uehara, RP, Baltimore
Contract: 1 year, $3,000,000
In 21 save situations last season, Uehara had 13 saves and six holds. None of his 14 inherited runners scored, and he struck out 11 per nine innings while walking just one per nine.

Javier Vazquez, SP, Florida
Contract: 1 year, $7,000,000
He’s averaged 32 starts, 204 innings and 200 hits over his 13 seasons. His career ERA is more than a half-run lower in the National League.

Jake Westbrook, SP, St. Louis
Contract: 2 years, $16,000,000
Our value matrix actually shows his value as $15,390,000 for two seasons. But pitching coach Dave Duncan should coax the extra $610,000 worth of value out of the veteran.

Kerry Wood, RP, Chicago Cubs
Contract: 1 year, $1,500,000
After a brief, but highly effective, stay with the Yankees, Wood took a 90 percent pay cut coming back to Chicago.



 

Teaser:
<p> Athlon Sports Baseball Editor Charlie Miller makes his annual evaluation of the top free-agent contracts signed over the winter. Find out which GMs spent wisely and which players should throw their agents a nice party.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 12:04

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