Tag:Reed Johnson
Posted on: December 3, 2011 4:15 pm
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Homegrown Team: Toronto Blue Jays



By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

The American League East is the biggest, baddest division in baseball -- in large part because of the deep pockets of the Yankees and Red Sox, but also because of the drafting and development from the Rays. Somewhere in the middle is the Blue Jays, a team that could be a giant in maybe any other division in baseball. In our exercise, the Blue Jays have an argument as one of the best teams in baseball, largely because of a stout rotation.

Lineup

1. Reed Johnson, CF
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Michael Young, 1B
4. Adam Lind, DH
5. Vernon Wells, LF
6. Alex Rios, RF
7. Ryan Roberts 3B
8. J.P. Arencibia, C
9. Cesar Izturis, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Roy Halladay
2. Chris Carpenter
3. Ricky Romero
4. Shaun Marcum
5. Alfredo Aceves

Bullpen

Closer - Brandon League
Set up - Marc Rzepczynski, Tim Collins, Brandon Lyon, Dustin McGowan, Casey Janssen
Long - Jesse Litsch

Notable Bench Players

Orlando Hudson, Felipe Lopez, Casey Blake, Travis Snider, Eric Thames.

What's Good?

That rotation, are you kidding?

What's Not?

There's Rios and Wells -- two of the most overpaid players in the game. Those two are not just overpaid, they're also not very good. Eric Thames could step in for either one. There are some decent players on the bench, but not a lot of pop.

Comparison to real 2011

The 81-81 season was seen as a step forward for the Blue Jays in 2011, but with this lineup the expectations would be much, much higher. The rotation alone makes this team the favorite in the AL East in our hypothetical. The offense lacks the impact of Jose Bautista, but there's enough to support the pitching staff. Not only is this team better than the real Blue Jays, they have a shot at winning it all.

Next: Colorado Rockies

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Posted on: September 27, 2011 6:50 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Chicago Cubs

By Matt Snyder

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Chicago Cubs
Record: 70-90, 24 games back in NL Central
Manager: Mike Quade
Best hitter: Aramis Ramirez -- .306/.360/.506, 25 HR, 92 RBI, 79 R, 35 2B
Best pitcher: Matt Garza -- 9-10, 3.35 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 189 K, 191 IP

After the 2008 season, the Cubs were in the middle of a bit of a golden era in the franchise. They had been division champions three times in a six-year span. That isn't saying much for a lot of teams, but this franchise hadn't had that kind of success since playing in the World Series four out of five seasons from 1906-1910. Alas, they were swept in the NLDS in 2008, despite having the best regular-season record in the National League, so general manager Jim Hendry decided to do some tinkering. The Cubs finished just five games over .500 in 2009 before coming in fifth place in 2010 and are currently in fifth again. And Hendry's out of a job, likely to be followed by Quade and some other coaches.

2011 SEASON RECAP

They were 9-8 and tied for first place after the first game of a doubleheader on April 20, but that was the high point in the standings. The Cubs would go on to lose six of seven games and never be a serious threat the rest of the way. They fell to 10 games back on June 4 and never got closer than nine back in the Central from that point forward. They actually moved up to fourth place September 19 for the first time since May 26, but the overwhelming majority of the season has been spent in fifth place, thanks to the lowly Astros. The biggest positives: Starlin Castro is well on his way to being a major-league star, Darwin Barney appears an adequate option at second base, Matt Garza had a good season, Sean Marshall is still great in middle-to-late inning relief and Jeff Samardzija finally doesn't look like a huge bust. The biggest negative is that this appears to be a badly flawed roster with not near enough help on the way from the minors.

2012 AUDIT

This is the toughest assignment of the R.I.P. series, because there's no way to know the direction of the ballclub until a new general manager is hired. The club is not immediately set up to compete, but there's a stipulation: With more than $50 million in payroll falling off before 2012 and even more off the books before '13, the Cubs could decide to be a major player in free agency. The franchise has enough money to grab, for example, Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson and still have money left over to bolster the bullpen and find a fill-in at third base. On the other hand, many would argue that still isn't enough to make the Cubs immediate contenders in the National League. If the new GM agrees, he might be more in favor of leaving the payroll low for a season or two while building the system with a youthful foundation before pouncing on big-name free agents to fill holes in 2013 or 2014. One thing that should scare fellow franchises in the NL Central if the Cubs choose to spend big in the near future, is that the Cubs are clear of all big contracts except Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Marmol (and Matt Garza likely has a deal by then, too, I'd guess) prior to 2013 and Marmol's off after '13. They have the resources to be the Red Sox of the NL. It's just a matter of if the Cubs can put the correct plan in place, and that all comes down to who chairman Tom Ricketts hires as his next GM.

FREE AGENTS

Aramis Ramirez, 3B (mutual option)
Carlos Pena, 1B
Reed Johnson, OF
Ryan Dempster, SP (player option for '12)
John Grabow, RP
Jeff Samardzija, RP (club option for '12 and '13)

OFFSEASON FOCUS

Where to even begin? This roster is a mess. First of all, I'd listen to offers for everyone except Starlin Castro. That doesn't mean you have to trade guys like Barney, Marshall or Soto, but you never know if the return might work with the game plan of the new GM. Let's sort through some of this and see what can be done short-term with the eyes on the future. My goal would be to contend in 2013. If it happens in 2012, that's just gravy.
  • Get Prince Fielder. He's 27 and incredibly durable (has never played less than 157 games in a full season). He'd then be the anchor for the Cubs for the foreseeable future, even if it takes a few years to build around him and Castro. Also of importance, if you bat Castro second and Fielder third, Castro's strike zone woes become less an issue (though he has walked more times than he's struck out in September, so it's getting better already).
  • Give Andrew Cashner one last shot to stay healthy in the rotation and also see if Samardzija can be successful as a starter. Having a rotation of Garza, Dempster, Randy Wells, Cashner and Samardzija won't be winning any championships, but Dempster is gone after 2012 and there'd be plenty of money to go after free agents. By then, they Cubs will know if they need just one guy or up to four with Garza. And the list of free agent starters after next season could have some big names -- assuming they aren't granted contract extensions -- like Matt Cain, Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, Shaun Marcum and James Shields.
  • Read the riot act to Carlos Marmol. Considering the Cubs likely can't contend in 2012 and Marmol is signed through 2013, he has one year to fix himself. Marmol has blown an MLB-high 10 saves (he's tied with Jordan Walden). You can't count on closers to be perfect, but let's say Marmol only blew four saves, which is a very reasonable percentage. The Cubs would be 76-84, which isn't awful at all considering some of the injury issues and poor roster construction.
  • Give Bryan LaHair a shot in right field. LaHair is 28, so he's hardly a prospect, but it's possible he's a late bloomer like Ryan Ludwick or Jayson Werth. LaHair had 38 home runs, 109 RBI and a 1.070 OPS in 129 Triple-A games. He's hitting .309/.391/.545 in 19 games for the Cubs this season. Again, the eyes are on 2013 here, so if he flames out as many expect, you can address the position next offseason. But he's at least earned the chance to get an extended look in the bigs.
  • If the Cubs do fall out of contention in 2012, Marlon Byrd needs to be traded at the deadline and prospect Brett Jackson can then take over in center field. If Jackson is deemed ready earlier in the season and LaHair doesn't pan out, Byrd could be moved to right. 
  • I'd personally bring back Aramis Ramirez for two or three years, assuming the Cubs don't have to break the bank. The last thing they need is another albatross contract, so if he's demanding something like four years and $50 million, it's time to move on. But if it's reasonable, it makes sense to keep him. He's only 33 and has shown has can still swing the bat. He's got to have two to three years left of above-average production at third base. Prospect Josh Vitters had completely fallen off all prospect rankings prior to this season, but rebounded with a decent showing in Double-A this season (.283/.322/.448 with 14 homers, 81 RBI and 28 doubles) and he's still only 21. In two years, the Cubs will have an idea if he is going to be the next third baseman or not. If not, they can look outside the organziation or perhaps someone in the farm system will have emerged. Keeping Ramirez is a natural bridge to when it comes to that.
And there's a lot more, too, but those are the big ones.

The main thing here is the hire a new GM that puts the main focus on building the minor-league system. That way in a few years free agency won't be the only avenue to fill out a winning ballclub. Remember, people complain about the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies in free agency, but lots of players -- Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels and several others were developed from within the respective systems. The Cubs have been terrible at developing their own in recent years and leaned on trades and free agency to bail them out. It needs to be a combination or everything will eventually fall apart like it did this season. From there, they can start to think about breaking a faux-curse and easing the pain of the legions of true fans.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 12, 2011 9:46 am
 

Pepper: Giants, Marlins meet again

Buster Posey

By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Just when we thought we'd heard the end of the Buster Posey injury, the Giants are headed to South Florida.

For the first time since May, the Marlins and Giants will meet. You may remember Scott Cousins ran over Posey and ended the season of the reigning Rookie of the Year. In May, the Giants talked about Cousins, retribution and the rest. Well, that's not going to be a problem.

"We've moved on," Bruce Bochy told reporters, including Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. "We have bigger things to be worried about. That's trying to win and get to the postseason. What happened is behind us."

After a 3-7 home stand, the Giants take to the road as the second-place team in the National League West, a half-game behind the Diamondbacks.

Also, Cousins won't be a target, because he's on the 60-day disabled list with a back injury.

The Giants say they've moved on, so maybe we all can as well. Or at least let's hope.

(Also, that's just an awesome picture from Jason O. Watson of US Presswire.) 

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs: Blue Jays fans had some fun with the report of Toronto stealing signs. The Star in Toronto has a good photo gallery of signs the fans brought to Thursday's game.

Fast company: Justin Verlander recorded his 100th win on Thursday in his 191st career start, making him the 13th fastest to the 100-win mark since 1919. [Baseball-Reference.com]

Holliday break:  St. Louis outfielder Matt Holliday missed his second consecutive game with a back injury on Thursday, but may be ready to play Friday. Holliday is unlikely to go on the DL. [MLB.com]

Good Reed: The Cubs may be having another rough season, but outfielder Reed Johnson is having an outstanding year. He's hitting .349/.389/.566 with five homers in 75 games. In five starts since coming back from back stiffness, Johnson has gone 11 for 21 and is making himself part of next season's plans. However, he is a free agent after this season. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Vandy bound: Blue Jays first-rounder Tyler Beede will not sign with the Blue Jays, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reports. Beede, a right-handed starter, told teams before the draft that he wasn't going to sign, but the Blue Jays took a chance on him. He will be eligible to be drafted again in 2014.

Real fight: Usually baseball fights are millabouts with some shoving and little else. Not in the independent North American Baseball League. The league infamous for Jose Canseco and the Lake County Fielders, has another claim to shame -- the fight between former big leaguers Mike Marshall (the manager of the Chico Outlaws) and Tony Phillips. From the Los Angeles Times, here's the fight in which the 51-year-old Marshall suffered facial injuries.

Cop unhappy with Rays: The Cop from the Village People isn't happy with the Tampa Bay Rays. Victor Willis said he's planning on suing the Rays "within the next 30 days" for misappropriating his voice and image. The Village People performed after a Rays game last season and used video of the band performing YMCA in 1978 to promote the post-game concert. Problem is, Willis left the band in 1984 and he wasn't performing. Willis wrote the band's hits and doesn't need to perform to earn money, as he earns more than $1 million a year from royalties from YMCA alone, not to mention Macho Man, Go West and In the Navy. [St. Petersburg Times]

No pinch-hitter for Dunn: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he's not going to pinch-hit for Adam Dunn, even though he's thought about it. Guillen said he'll consider sitting Dunn against left-handed starters, but keep him in the games he starts. [Chicago Tribune]

Welcome back: Left-hander Brian Matusz is pitching well in Triple-A Norfolk and could be back on his way to Baltimore in short order, manager Buck Showalter told reporters. [MLB.com]

Progressive Ice: Cleveland's Progressive Field will host the Michigan-Ohio State hockey game this winter. The ballpark started Snow Days last year with a quarter-mile ice skiing track and a tubing hill. Both will be back, but they're also be a hockey rink. [New York Times]

Coming up short: Just about every game you'll hear a fan or radio announcer groan when an outfielder pulls up and lets a ball bounce in front of him. You know why he does that? Because he's not Alfonso Soriano. As soon as I saw the way Alfonso Soriano play Ian Desmond's leadoff double in the top of the eighth inning on Thursday, I thought, "that's why you pull up." Desmond turned Soirano's bad judgement into a double. It wasn't in MLB.com's highlights (or lowlights) but it's just another in the long list of Soriano's fielding mishaps.

Cactus bringing jack: A cactus statue signed by all of this year's All-Stars is being auctioned off on MLB.com with proceeds going to the cancer charities. [MLB.com]

Great news: Finally, a personal note. You may not know Dave Cameron, a writer for FanGraphs and USS Mariner, but Dave's recently been diagnosed with leukemia. Anyway, Dave's completed his first round of chemotherapy and there's no more leukemia in his body. He'll still have to go through more chemo and will be in the hospital for another week or so, but this is great news. [FanGraphs]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 24, 2010 12:29 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2010 12:49 pm
 

Johnson, Martin blunder way to Dodgers loss

Russell Martin Jack Moore over at FanGraphs has a fantastic breakdown of the baserunning blunder that cost the Dodgers the game against the Angels on Wednesday night.

No, not the Matt Kemp pick-off at second by Brian Fuentes that seems to have been a balk -- although that certainly played a large role in how the game played out.

There were actually two blunders on the same play, as Moore shows, breaking down the actual game video and creating bird's eye views of the situation. Russell Martin and Reed Johnson were on first and second, respectively, with two outs in the ninth inning. The Dodgers were down by a run, and Jamey Carroll lifted a single that dropped just in front of oncoming left fielder Juan Rivera.

Johnson bolted for third and then eased up off the gas, expecting to coast into home plate without a throw. He was right -- except Rivera threw to second and nipped Martin (photo courtesy MLB video), who was straying off second base expecting a throw home. If that had occurred, Martin would have dashed to third. It didn't happen and the Angels squeaked out a 2-1 victory.

While Johnson's blunder was certainly what cost the Dodgers the game more, it was Martin's blunder that was more egregious. Johnson did let up on the pedal, but you can't expect ballplayers to give 100 percent on every single play. I've seen figures bandied about, one of which is that the average effort put forth on a running play is 80 percent. Going out 100 percent all the time lends oneself to more injuries, as those with "all-out" reputations can attest to.

Additionally, there was no throw to home and Johnson seemed to only speed up when the on-deck batter started urging him to do so after Rivera threw to second. Martin, however, should have been more aware of his surroundings. Yes, third base would have been nice, but there is a reason second base counts as scoring position too -- as Martin well knows.

"Now that you think about it, it’s just a dumb play," Martin told the Los Angeles Times . "Whether I get on third base or stay on second, I’m still in scoring position. It is an aggressive mistake, but it’s probably the last time I make it. I was still safe, though, you can let the umpire know."

Unfortunately, most events of this nature cause overreactions -- one reason why the Angels' patience after the Kendry Morales freak injury has been so impressive. The Dodgers will likely be one of the more conservative running teams from here on out and likely lose a couple of runs the rest of the way just from being overly cautious.

"You can't make mistakes like that at this level. You've got to know the outs, you've got to know the situation, when to take a chance and when not to take a chance," said manager Joe Torre to MLB.com. "I'm pretty sure it won't happen again. That guy's got to score to tie the game. We need to think a lot better than that."

There's no question that Johnson and Martin screwed up, but the lasting effects may be more damaging.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com