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You get what you play for

April 27, 2010

Looks like I spoke too soon in yesterday’s edition of The Cutoff Man. April’s rainout total doubled yesterday, canceling the Citi Field showdown between the Mets and the Dodgers, and rain delays have become more prevalent over the past weekend and into this week.

For the Pirates, to quote F. Mercury and D. Bowie, “these are the days it never rains, but it pours.” After an embarrassing showing against the Brewers last week, the Pirates went into Milwaukee with a few measly goals in mind: end their six-game slide, score more than one run in a game, and maybe, just maybe, not give up 20 runs.
Well, they scored more than one, and they didn’t give up 20. The final was Pittsburgh 3, Milwaukee 17. Pitcher Yovani Gallardo and catcher Gregg Zaun combined for eight RBI.
That runs the total score so far in the season series to 53-4, Milwaukee. The Brewers have now captured 22 straight at home against the Pirates over the past few seasons, and you can see why: the Pirates look defeated before they even hit the field. It’s as if the Pirates are children who know they’ve misbehaved, and the Brewers are their old-school, stern fathers. It shows.
The Brewers’ first baseman, Prince Fielder, just got a little help in the potential money-making department when the Phillies signed their own big bopper first baseman, Ryan Howard, to a five-year extension worth $125M. Since I’m a math minor, I’ll do the division for you: that’s $25M per year. A decent amount.
This is the extension Howard has been waiting for and the one that Fielder deserves. Fielder is in the final season of a two-year deal that bought out his first two years of arbitration. This came after a few frustrating offseasons of just having his contract renewed while making around $500,000. The Brewers, who have already locked up Ryan Braun through 2015 and have been feeling the pressure on this issue for years now, had the heat turned up on them once already this year when the Twins sealed the deal with Joe Mauer for the next eight years. One wonders what they’re waiting for; maybe GM Doug Melvin has something up his sleeve, but he’s been mum on the topic essentially every single time he’s been asked about it.
What this means for Howard is that he’s not going to be entering the free agent market for the foreseeable future. Had Howard not signed the extension, he would have no doubt caused a bidding war once his current deal was up and – who knows – maybe ended up somewhere like Boston or St. Louis, if Pujols walks. He probably could have ended up with an even bigger contract than his current monster extension, but it’s good to see that he wants to stay with the organization he started with and that the Phillies share that sentiment.
Though as a Mets fan, it would be great to get that guy out of the NL East.
Jayson Werth, the Phillies’ somewhat-five-tool right fielder, is looking for a deal of his own now that Howard has his. The Phils have a dilemma here, as top prospect Dominic Brown looks like he’ll be knocking on that outfield door next season. Brown is a left handed hitter though, and Werth is a right handed hitter who last year knocked 36 out of the park to go along with 20 stolen bases. To be honest, he’s a hot commodity and if he ends this year as a free agent, there’s sure to be a heck of a lot of competition for his services. My guesses for his destination next year are the Phillies, the Yankees, the Red Sox or, depending on how this season goes, the Giants. Call it a hunch. The Mets would benefit greatly from his services, but they have no room for him right now.
As for prospects knocking on doors, the Marlins’ Mike Stanton – not to be confused with the old lefty reliever who wouldn’t go away – followed Sunday’s two-homer performance with a hat trick on Monday for Double-A Jacksonville, giving him a two-day total of five homers and eleven RBI. To put that in perspective, Dan Uggla currently leads the big league club with five homers so far this season. Stanton’s nine homers and 20 RBI so far this year would easily lead the Marlins in production, as Jorge Cantu currently leads the team with an equal RBI total.
The problem is that with Chris Coghlan, Cameron Maybin and Cody Ross, the Marlins don’t have a spot for Stanton in their outfield. The only one of those three likely to go anywhere is Cody Ross, who could likely bring in a decent prospect in a trade with a team looking for a third or fourth outfielder. That would free up right field for Stanton, but the Marlins look committed to keeping the kid in the Minors for now. A move to Triple-A doesn’t seem out of line, though. Also, if a Marlins outfielder does get injured or otherwise take himself out of the lineup, you can bet on who’s getting the call. Just look at Ike Davis and the Mets.
Short hops: Roy Halladay got beat for the first time this year by Jonathan Sanchez and the Giants. Halladay gave up five runs on ten hits in seven innings, while Sanchez danced around trouble in his five innings, giving up just one earned despite allowing six hits and five walks. … The Mets will be playing an old school doubleheader today against the Dodgers beginning at 4:10 p.m. ET. The doubleheader will be single admission, meaning only one ticket for both games. Hopefully it will indeed be a good day for baseball. … Florida’s Josh Johnson, who locked down a decent extension himself earlier this year, struck out a career-high 12 batters against the Padres en route to a three-hit complete game. Coupled with the Phils’ loss, the Marlins now sit 0.5 games out of first. … The Yankees will have a chance to catch up on the Rays the next three days. New York will take on 3-16 Baltimore, while Tampa Bay will challenge 12-8 Oakland. The Rays currently sit at 14-5, 1.5 ahead of the Yankees. The Rays also recently signed Ben Zobrist to an extension, something well-deserved and well-earned on “Zorrilla’s” part. … All-Star voting is now a week old. Check out my Modest Proposal on the All-Star Game if you haven’t yet.
Unless a miracle occurs, expect only Short Hops tomorrow. Enjoy!
As always, if you like what you read, please keep coming back and follow the blog daily (there’s a link in the sidebar), and please pass the JOB on to friends to help me get one!
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