[MLB] Riding the Pine

“We had the ‘Rally Panties’ up today. A woman’s undergarment–a large undergarment–was our rallying flag.”
–White Sox outfielder Aaron Rowand, on how teammate Timo Perez attempted to end the teams losing streak by hanging a pair of panties in the clubhouse(Chicago Tribune).

– August 30th was the last day that Major League players could be added to the 25 man rosters for post season usage. Many teams made minor moves (Kevin Youkilis added to the Red Sox roster) and very few trades were made. Many players made it through waivers for trades, but very few were executed. You will also see many players moved from the 15 day DL to the 60 day DL; players on the 60 day DL don’t occupy a space on the 40 man roster.

– More news on the Palmeiro front: he has sucked since everyone knows he is on steroids. According to the Baltimore Sun:

Sports psychologists said Rafael Palmeiro’s recent slump could be due to any number of factors, including some as basic as not being able to regain a hitting rhythm after his layoff. But they didn’t discount that Palmeiro simply isn’t used to the vitriol that followed the disclosure of his failed steroids test.

He has also decided using ear plugs is the best way to avoid jeering from the fans. I don’t see anyone taking him next year; especially since no one wanted to trade for him this week. Palmeiro reportedly cleared waivers.

The Rumors
Mike Sweeney was so close to getting out of Kansas City; the deal with the Angels died when the team formerly of Anaheim wouldn’t pick up all of his contract…The Dodgers looked into trading Jeff Weaver but decided not to move their best pitcher as of late; they thought the public would see it as conceding the division…No progress is being made in Billy Wagner’s negotiations with the Phillies for an extension…Greg Maddux is 8 2/3 innings away from his option being vested for next season.

Manager Hot Seats: Jim Tracy’s job is in jeopardy, especially if the Dodgers can’t get over .500 and don’t stop the in house fighting…The Devil Rays and Lou Pinella have not come to an agreement about letting the manager out of next years contract…The Rockies entire coaching staff was invited back next year.

The Week that Was:
The Good
The Cardinals have had 11 straight months with a winning record…Joe Nathan has not allowed a run since the All Star Break; he is 5-0 with 9 saves and a .127 BAA…Derek Lowe threw a one-hitter this week; the only hit was a lead off bloop single to Jerry Hairston Jr.

The Bad
The Royals went 5-21 for the month of August; it ties their total for most losses in a month (Aug, 99)…Mark Redman, one of the most talked about pitchers at the trade deadline, has not won a road start since April 12, a span of 13 games…The Diamondbacks have given up 106 runs in their last 13 games (8.2 per game).

The Ugly
2 weeks ago I wrote that Jason Marquis wasn’t using his pitch, the sinker; his last start (this past Saturday), Marquis was using the sinker, and looked brilliant…Carlos Pena has been on fire since his recall; Manager Alan Trammell has said Pena is playing for a spot on next years roster…Curt Schilling has given up at least 5 runs and 9 hits in each of his starts this year (5 total)…Joe Borowski had a 21 scoreless inning streak snapped this week; and just think, the Cubs let him walk…Nomar Garciaparra should have enough games at third to qualify for the position in most fantasy formats; he will continue to play there until Aramis Ramirez can return.

The Rookies
As of today (September 1st), Major League teams can expand there rosters, so many rookies can audition for next year. Here’s a quick look at some of the players that could get the call (or make an impact):

Jeremy Hermida, OF, Marlins – He was called up before roster expansion, and he is already in the record books. He is the first player to have a grand slam in his first major league at bat. He will be a starting corner outfielder next year, so try to grab him in keeper leagues.

BJ Upton, SS, Devil Rays – Upton should no doubt get the call in the next day or 2. He should also see playing time, since the D-Rays have nothing to play for this year. Watch out for the errors; he has had a problem fielding the ball all year. He may already be taken in most keeper leagues.

Delmon Young, OF, Devil Rays – Young, Dmitri’s little brother, is right there with Upton in terms of talent, but his path could be blocked this year. With solid outfielders in Carl Crawford and Aubrey Huff, and the emergence of Jonny Gnomes as a ROY candidate, Young may not see time until next year.

Hanley Ramirez, SS, Red Sox – Ramirez is the reason the Red Sox should have passed on Edgar Renteria; he is the top prospect in the organization. He should see a little time, but not much in a playoff race. Renteria has also been on record saying he would move to 2B once Ramirez was ready, but that would block Dustin Pedroia, another talented prospect.

Justin Verlander, P, Tigers – With the Tigers out of the race, they will let Verlander have a real crack at the rotation. He had struggled in his only 2 Big League appearances, but he has the stuff to be a solid pitcher. He just needs the experience.

Billy Butler, OF, Royals – The one bright spot people have in Kansas City is knowing Butler will be in the outfield next year. The Royal’s first round pick from last year has been on fire in Double A, and may think he is ready for a job now.

Anthony Reyes, P, Cardinals – Reyes showed in his Major League start a few weeks ago that he can handle pitching in the show (or at least against the Brewers). Look for Reyes to make a few spot starts to give the Cards rotation an extra day or two rest.

Andy Marte, 3B, Braves – He did fairly well when Chipper Jones was hurt before, and he has the opportunity for more playing time now. Marte, Baseball Prospectus #1 Minor League Player at the beginning of the season, is worth a keeper spot for next year.

Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals – Washington’s first round pick this year has shot up to Double A quickly and could be the first one from the draft class called up. He has also been working at shortstop, since Christian Guzman has been horrible (actually, the worst everyday player in the Majors). Zimmerman will most likely play everyday and may not be on minor league rosters for most fantasy teams.

Other Possible Call Ups: Hayden Penn (P, Orioles), Walter Young (1B, Orioles), Jairo Garcia (P, Athletics), Matt Diaz (OF, Royals), Justin Huber (1B, Royals), Jesse Foppert (P, Mariners), Juan Cruz (P, Athletics), Jason Botts (1B, Rangers), Jeff Mathis (C, Angels), Melky Cabrera (OF, Yankees), Gavin Floyd (P, Phillies), Adam Wainwright (P, Cardinals).

Guys Who Will Miss the Call: Daric Barton (1B, Athletics), Jared Weaver (P, Angels), Stephen Drew (SS, Diamondbacks), Francisco Loriano (P, Twins), Felix Pie (OF, Cubs – Done for the season with an injury), Andy LaRoche (3B, Dodgers), Ian Stewart (3B, Rockies), Lastings Milledge (OF, Mets), Carlos Quentin (OF, Diamondbacks).

The Injuries
Kerry Wood is officially done; he has surgery Wednesday to clear out his shoulder (similar to what Matt Morris had done)…Dallas McPherson also had surgery; his was to repair his injured hip…Bobby Crosby is on the DL again; Oakland is saying that his broken ankle should be healed in 3 weeks…Barry Bonds could be back with the Giants next week…Gary Sheffield is playing through pain; he will have his knee examined after the season…Roy Halladay is officially done for the year; I traded 2 good starters for his to ride my bench this year…Reggie Sanders should return next week…JD Drew is hitting a ball of a tee; he could still make it back this year…

Links
RotoChamps can take care of all your fantasy needs.
Slayer reviews all 119 Division 1 football teams.
Steve looks at Bristol.
Oli’s announces this weeks Monkey.
Dr. Jay talks Boomer, Wild Card, and more baseball.
Nick breaks down pre-season games, and drafts half of my fantasy team.
Phillip looks at the worst NBA off season moves.
Like Dr. Jay said, “Patrick is the Franchise”. Don’t miss what he started with IP Radio, with guest Steve and Oli (this is edition 4, 5 should be up soon). Patrick has also been working on getting me on. Time will tell on that.
Don’t forget the forums

Next week I will give my post season awards (I know its early, but I like to rub it in when I’m right). E-mail or post your picks.