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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:25 pm 
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bucco boy wrote:
Maybe the Pirates don't want to commit money to him period. Invest in a first baseman, shortstop or right fielder. I wouldn't disagree with that.


There isn't much in the way of SS on the FA market to spend money on, you're not going to spend money on a big name, long-term RF'er with Polanco on the way, and the most realistic 1B solutions (Hart or Loney) shouldn't break the bank. No reason they couldn't add a 1B, re-sign Byrd, and re-up Burnett with the additional revenue they'll have.

My prediction is that they'll end up signing someone like Loney for 1B (because NH likes defense, I'm going with Loney over Hart or Morales and the loss of a draft pick), re-signing Burnett (very soon), and making some offers to Byrd but ultimately see him sign elsewhere for more years than they would offer. Maybe take a flyer on Josh Johnson, which would make the opening day rotation very interesting (Wandy to the pen?). I've seen a lot of talk about Peralta at SS, but given NH's premium price for defense, I see them preferring to have a glove guy like Barmes or Ryan paired with Mercer. I'd prefer Peralta if the price and term was right, but I don't see that being a very "NH" move.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:54 pm 
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mjdouble wrote:
4th starter....crazy talk. The guy had the 4th highest K/9 and 2nd highest ground ball % of all qualified pitchers. Consistently makes 30+ starts a season. This is the kind of pitcher that makes more than $14 million a season. As for tradability, Peavy is less durable and had a higher salary. White Sox had no shortage of suitors to deal him to.


He was also one of the worst in baseball after reaching 25 batters faced. And it wasn't poor luck, as his fastball velocity dropped 2+ MPH at that point. He's a fine pitcher but you can get significantly more value for 14M than AJ Burnett.

As for Peavy....the White Sox sent the centerpiece of a 3-team deal and got back a 4th OF on a good team. That's terrible return given what they were paying him. If they paid him a salary equal to his production, they'd have gotten significantly more back.

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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 5:34 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
mjdouble wrote:
4th starter....crazy talk. The guy had the 4th highest K/9 and 2nd highest ground ball % of all qualified pitchers. Consistently makes 30+ starts a season. This is the kind of pitcher that makes more than $14 million a season. As for tradability, Peavy is less durable and had a higher salary. White Sox had no shortage of suitors to deal him to.


He was also one of the worst in baseball after reaching 25 batters faced. And it wasn't poor luck, as his fastball velocity dropped 2+ MPH at that point. He's a fine pitcher but you can get significantly more value for 14M than AJ Burnett.

As for Peavy....the White Sox sent the centerpiece of a 3-team deal and got back a 4th OF on a good team. That's terrible return given what they were paying him. If they paid him a salary equal to his production, they'd have gotten significantly more back.


You said the money would make him untradeable. The White Sox were able to move Peavy who made more money, has a longer contract, a greater injury risk, and arguably less effective. Was it the greatest deal? Of course not. Was he moveable? Absolutely. And given the way the Sox butchered the Rios deal who is to say they couldn't have done better with Peavy had they played their cards right. Back to AJ, please enlighten me on where you would get the near 200 innings of quality work that Burnett provides for this team. Those are stablizing innings for a rotation. This rotation has lot more question marks without Burnett. He is well worth the money. If he really wanted to shop himself he could get that money easily from half a dozen teams. And that right there is the reason to offer him the QO. If nothing more it is protection if he changes his mind. At least they'd get a pick out of it. And it was no risk at all. No way he would have signed it. He wouldn't accept a deal that would risk him him being traded. And your stats on after 25 hitters is just flat wrong. In the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings he held hitters to averages of .226, .200, and .231.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:56 pm 
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I like way down he list Jason Vargas LA Angels. The Angels want to bring him back but are cash strapped and do not want to go over the tax threshold they are dangerously close to. Vargas wants a three year deal in the range affordable to the Pirates. I also like guys who have spent a lot of time in the AL and is unfamiliar to NL hitters. Left handed breaking ball pitcher.


Oh and I also like....Justin Moreau


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:01 pm 
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I believe you can get around the 25 batter item of Burnett with a couple of adjustments by Burnett. Most specifically pitching to MORE contact than he has in the past. He spends a large part of those first 25 batters trying to K everybody... to the detriment of getting deeper into games at times.

He still has the stamina and skill to get you the occasional 8-9 inning beauty, but more often he loses effectiveness, and stresses the BP, after 5 innings.

More contact, less K, good defense = one more helluva year.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:45 pm 
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ESPN did an article on "thoroughbred" pitchers, who get better as the game wears on and "quarter horse" pitchers who get significantly worse. Burnett led the quarter horses, and this was in August.

If I wanted to sign a pitcher who could net me a 4th OF in a trade I'd just invest in a bullpen arm and flip him at the deadline and use my 13M remaining funds elsewhere.

He isn't worth a QO. Even Bartolo Colon didn't get one. It's intelligent asset management.

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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:30 am 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
ESPN did an article on "thoroughbred" pitchers, who get better as the game wears on and "quarter horse" pitchers who get significantly worse. Burnett led the quarter horses, and this was in August.

If I wanted to sign a pitcher who could net me a 4th OF in a trade I'd just invest in a bullpen arm and flip him at the deadline and use my 13M remaining funds elsewhere.

He isn't worth a QO. Even Bartolo Colon didn't get one. It's intelligent asset management.


No. He is worth more than a QO. He'd get more than the QO if wanted to offer his services league wide. Bartolo Colon isn't worth nearly as much as Burnett. He doesn't have the track record of durability that Burnett has and his peripherals aren't as good. You can sign your bullpen arm and flip him for a 4th OF if you want, but I'd rather pay the price to retain a proven innings eater with above average strikeout and groundball rates and watch my team compete for the playoffs.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:11 am 
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Keith Law -- who has a history of actually undervaluing potential free agents and low-balling the offers they'll receive -- explained that A.J. Burnett's performance the last two years would warrant an offer in the area of 3 years at $15 million per annum. Even if teams sought to limit a deal to 2 years due to Burnett mulling retirement, he could certainly receive $30 million or more for those 2 years.

Now, all of this is moot if Burnett re-signs with the Pirates for less than $14.1 million, or if Burnett retires. But if he doesn't, then the Pirates badly miscalculated and they'll have to replace his 393.1 innings the last two years, which included SO/9 numbers of 8.0 and 9.8, and a high ground ball rate. I don't see that performance being matched by Stolmy Pimentel, Phil Irwin, Brandon Cumpton, Kyle McPherson, or anyone else currently down on the farm. Burnett would slot in nice as the third pitcher in the 2014 Pirates' rotation, behind Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole. That puts Charlie Morton at the #4 slot and any number of folks at #5 (Wandy Rodriguez, Jeff Locke, Stolmy Pimentel, etc.).

We'll have to see how it plays out, but it's certainly the case that A.J. Burnett is "worth" the $14.1 million of the qualifying offer.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:52 am 
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Keith Law will also say that players have different values to different teams, depending on need and situation.

He isn't worth 14m to the Pirates. He was passed in the rotation last year and we have a bunch of guys knocking on the door. RHP isn't a need and AJ isn't a long term candidate.

Wandy was a workhorse innings eater until he blew his arm out last year. Old pitchers aren't great investments.

I'm not saying don't bring him back, just saying that if you do you need to be able to move him and make sure you aren't neglecting other areas.

Chances are that Burnett isn't going to be 14M more valuable than Taillon, his eventual replacement.

The Pirates aren't "there" yet. They need to keep thinking forward and not rest on their laurels in the hopes of catching lightning in a bottle again.

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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:28 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
Keith Law will also say that players have different values to different teams, depending on need and situation.


He expressed surprise on Twitter that the Pirates didn't extend A.J. a QO. So he clearly thought he was worth $14.1M to the Pirates.

StarlingArcher wrote:
He isn't worth 14m to the Pirates. He was passed in the rotation last year and we have a bunch of guys knocking on the door. RHP isn't a need and AJ isn't a long term candidate.


The Pirates won 94 games last year, plus three playoff games. It's not all about "long term candidate[s]" anymore, my friend. It's about 2014. And in 2014, there is NO DOUBT that A.J. Burnett is a better option for the rotation than all but two of the Pirates' currently slated starters (Liriano and Cole).

StarlingArcher wrote:
Wandy was a workhorse innings eater until he blew his arm out last year. Old pitchers aren't great investments.


A.J.'s right arm has been durable throughout his career. There is no reason to believe he'll suffer an injury in 2014, and a one-year deal makes all the more sense given your "old pitcher" concern.

StarlingArcher wrote:
I'm not saying don't bring him back, just saying that if you do you need to be able to move him and make sure you aren't neglecting other areas.


There simply aren't any free agent pitching options better than A.J. Burnett on a one-year deal. The risk is low and the reward is there for all to see.

As for "moving him," there is no reason for the Pirates to be concerned about that if he's signed to a one-year deal. He'll pitch for the Pirates for 2014.

StarlingArcher wrote:
Chances are that Burnett isn't going to be 14M more valuable than Taillon, his eventual replacement.


This is a false comparison. Jameson Taillon is a great pitching prospect, and he can bolster the rotation without displacing A.J. Burnett. The Pirates used a DOZEN starting pitchers in 2013, and suffered myriad injuries. You can't expect the same five guys who take the ball in April to take the ball in September and October. Pitching depth is EVERYTHING. Without it, the Pirates wouldn't have sniffed the playoffs in 2013.

Simply put, the 2014 Pirates would be a better, deeper team with A.J. Burnett in the fold than without him. Signing an alternative like Josh Johnson (who will probably still get more than a one-year deal) is a gamble. You know what you're getting with A.J.

StarlingArcher wrote:
The Pirates aren't "there" yet. They need to keep thinking forward and not rest on their laurels in the hopes of catching lightning in a bottle again.


I'd say 94 wins plus taking the pennant winners to a fifth game in the NLDS is "there." The Pirates need to keep thinking forward and avoid trading their top prospects, but they also need to continue to invest in solid veteran players. Look at what the Red Sox did to build a World Series winner -- they signed a bunch of good veteran ball players. Keeping A.J. Burnett allows the Pirates to maintain a solid veteran core, particularly in its pitching staff. And that has value as well, over and above A.J.'s stellar SO/9 rate, ground ball rate, and other solid peripherals.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:43 pm 
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J_C_Steel gets it. Bucs can position themselves for now without giving away the future. But to do that you have to pay the price. It can't be completely about getting the most value. Yeah, a pitcher that gives you 1 WAR for $2.5 million is great value. But spending $14 million for a 3.5 WAR pitcher makes you a stronger contender. As long as it is only 1 year deal the risk isn't that great. It certainly doesn't kill the franchise if he breaks down. The reward outweighs the risk. They might land AJ for less than the QO. It won't be a whole lot less than that though. The alternative free agent that I think would make a good replacement for AJ would be Tim Hudson. Should cost a few million less than AJ and gives you the same steady presence in the middle of the rotation.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:55 pm 
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I don't think they were a 94 win team last year.

I think they got lucky with Locke and the bullpen. Once those 2 areas normalized they were around a .500 ball club.

They need to keep building. Not clinging to the past.

Last year was a blast but the rotation is ridiculously crowded with Wandy being unmovable and AJ isn't a centerpiece anymore. Nor will he be one moving forward.

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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:06 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
I don't think they were a 94 win team last year.


The standings tell me otherwise.

StarlingArcher wrote:
I think they got lucky with Locke and the bullpen. Once those 2 areas normalized they were around a .500 ball club.


And the Pirates got unlucky with Walker's injury, the first base platoon breaking down, Marte's injury, and injuries to starting pitchers.

StarlingArcher wrote:
They need to keep building. Not clinging to the past.


No one is suggesting otherwise.

StarlingArcher wrote:
Last year was a blast but the rotation is ridiculously crowded with Wandy being unmovable and AJ isn't a centerpiece anymore. Nor will he be one moving forward.


A.J. doesn't have to be a "centerpiece." He's a very good pitcher and he'd start the year, at worst, at #3 on the starting pitcher depth chart. The rotation is not crowded with pitchers likely to equal A.J. Burnett's performance, and, given that the Pirates used 12 starting pitchers in 2013, quality veteran depth is a very good thing -- especially on a one-year deal.

The Pirates should be contenders in 2014. And they're a better team with A.J.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:57 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
I don't think they were a 94 win team last year.


By team WAR, they weren't a 94 win team. They were an 87.4 win team. But the Cardinals were not a 97 win team. They were an 88 win team. The Reds were not a 90 win team, they were a 86.4 win team. The Braves were not a 96 win team; they were a 91.2 win team. The Dodgers slightly exceeded their WAR calculation (91.4 wins) with their 92 wins. So . . . I get your point.

But, unless Selig changes the rules and starts awarding wins upon Pythogorean Theorem calculations or awarding runs based upon offensive WAR calculations and subtracting runs based upon defensive WAR calculations, baseball remains a game of 162 individualized contests measured by actual performance.

And, historically speaking, 90 wins will get you into the playoffs.

Will some players have a worse 2014 than 2013? Yep. I'm definitely putting Liriano in that category. I'm also putting Grilli and Melancon in that category.

Will some players have a better 2014 than 2013? Yep. I'm putting Marte in that category and Walker.

The Bucs can offset some of Locke's "luck" with a full season of Cole and a full season of Morton and Liriano pitching from the start. I'm also anticipating that there may be less reliance on the 'pen which may result in better rested arms in August and September.

Will they win 94 games in 2014? I have no clue right now. Way too early to tell. But . . . they should be competitive against just about any team that they play and I see no reason why 90 wins shouldn't be on the radar screen.

I have issues with AJ because I think that his personality is challenging and it drives me crazy that his challenging personality ends up impacting how long he is left in the game. That being written . . . dollars and cents aside . . . if he is the #3 or #4 guy in the rotation . . . that's pretty good production - even at 80-90% of what he brought last year.

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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:33 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:

I have issues with AJ because I think that his personality is challenging and it drives me crazy that his challenging personality ends up impacting how long he is left in the game. That being written . . . dollars and cents aside . . . if he is the #3 or #4 guy in the rotation . . . that's pretty good production - even at 80-90% of what he brought last year.


I don't disagree with any of that. I'm not saying don't bring him back. Just that we have other areas that are bigger needs and he's not a top-of-the-rotation guy so he's not worth a QO for the Pirates. And, with the logjam of starters, I think it'd be extremely important to have the ability to move him or eat the contract if they need room for Taillon, Pimentel, etc..

I think they can contend again, I'm not saying they can't. I'm more saying that they can't take the mentality of "this is a 94 win team, we should keep it together" when they can definitely stand to improve things and keep looking towards the big years. I think it's better to take a step back now than to try to hold off on the growing pains we'll see with the young pitchers as they figure things out. Holding off the drop means one less year of having Cutch, Pedro, the young pitchers, and the Dominican OFers together clicking on all cylinders. Those are the guys who are the foundation of your team...not guys like AJ. If Wandy was moveable it'd be easier but right now, I don't know. It's just a big logjam at a position where they need to figure guys out and get them adjusted ASAP to coincide with Cutch's prime.

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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:56 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
No. 9 wrote:

I have issues with AJ because I think that his personality is challenging and it drives me crazy that his challenging personality ends up impacting how long he is left in the game. That being written . . . dollars and cents aside . . . if he is the #3 or #4 guy in the rotation . . . that's pretty good production - even at 80-90% of what he brought last year.


I don't disagree with any of that. I'm not saying don't bring him back. Just that we have other areas that are bigger needs and he's not a top-of-the-rotation guy so he's not worth a QO for the Pirates. And, with the logjam of starters, I think it'd be extremely important to have the ability to move him or eat the contract if they need room for Taillon, Pimentel, etc..

I think they can contend again, I'm not saying they can't. I'm more saying that they can't take the mentality of "this is a 94 win team, we should keep it together" when they can definitely stand to improve things and keep looking towards the big years. I think it's better to take a step back now than to try to hold off on the growing pains we'll see with the young pitchers as they figure things out. Holding off the drop means one less year of having Cutch, Pedro, the young pitchers, and the Dominican OFers together clicking on all cylinders. Those are the guys who are the foundation of your team...not guys like AJ. If Wandy was moveable it'd be easier but right now, I don't know. It's just a big logjam at a position where they need to figure guys out and get them adjusted ASAP to coincide with Cutch's prime.


See, I feel that the starting pitching is the biggest need. You say there is a log jam of pitching. I see it as logjam of question marks. I don't see a guy in there I'm confident will give as many quality starts and log the innings AJ will. Liriano has never put two good seasons in a row together. Cole had a big increase in innings. I think he'll be fine but it can be argued he is just as much of an injury risk because of that workload as AJ is because of his age. Morton has never logged 180 innings and never strung together two good seasons. Locke, what is he really? Wandy, I question whether he will even pitch again. The rest fall in the green category. Who knows what they'll give you next year. Taillon could be really good. More than likely he'll have some struggles. AJ provides the rotation stability. Cutch is in his prime now. You are worrying about the back end of the window when the front is already open. Not to mention taking a step back means you miss an opportunity to take advantage of a hungry fanbase that is coming alive. The fans are filling the stands. The team is raising ticket prices. They'll raise them every season if the team keeps winning. Growing the revenue now is going to help them pay contracts later and sustain success. It would be dumb to punt on that.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:29 pm 
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mjdouble wrote:
See, I feel that the starting pitching is the biggest need. You say there is a log jam of pitching. I see it as logjam of question marks. I don't see a guy in there I'm confident will give as many quality starts and log the innings AJ will. Liriano has never put two good seasons in a row together. Cole had a big increase in innings. I think he'll be fine but it can be argued he is just as much of an injury risk because of that workload as AJ is because of his age. Morton has never logged 180 innings and never strung together two good seasons. Locke, what is he really? Wandy, I question whether he will even pitch again. The rest fall in the green category. Who knows what they'll give you next year. Taillon could be really good. More than likely he'll have some struggles. AJ provides the rotation stability. Cutch is in his prime now. You are worrying about the back end of the window when the front is already open. Not to mention taking a step back means you miss an opportunity to take advantage of a hungry fanbase that is coming alive. The fans are filling the stands. The team is raising ticket prices. They'll raise them every season if the team keeps winning. Growing the revenue now is going to help them pay contracts later and sustain success. It would be dumb to punt on that.


And so I say, Amen.

Amen.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:23 am 
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Not sure this will be a very popular opinion, but would anyone else be as comfortable as I would be, bringing back Morneau for 1B to platoon with Gaby? He did not hit HR here in the month he was here, but had a decent average and a pretty good OBP while playing good defense. I think if brought in for a full season he could be a .270 with 15 to 20 HR guy with a much higher OBP than we are used to out of our 1B. Guy walked 13 times and K'd 12 while here.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:43 am 
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Certainly there is the potential for Morneu to hit a lot better than he did with us. He wasn't quite there with his swing but he wasn't far off. And he was a little unlucky. But I'm still hoping for someone better to take that spot.

With Burnett, sure I'd gladly have him back. But I'm not going to pretend that I know better than Huntington how he should run his club. He proved himself last year. I'm happy to let him make the decisions. Then I'll bitch about them next summer if they turn out wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 Free Agency Thread
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:13 am 
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Dr. Phibes wrote:
Not sure this will be a very popular opinion, but would anyone else be as comfortable as I would be, bringing back Morneau for 1B to platoon with Gaby? He did not hit HR here in the month he was here, but had a decent average and a pretty good OBP while playing good defense. I think if brought in for a full season he could be a .270 with 15 to 20 HR guy with a much higher OBP than we are used to out of our 1B. Guy walked 13 times and K'd 12 while here.

I'd be OK with bringing Morneau back if Hurdle would put him second in the lineup as opposed to hitting 4th.


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