May 5th is one of the more celebrated days of the year: Mexico celebrates Cinco de Mayo as a great day of freedom and independence, the United States celebrates the day as an excuse to drink mojitos by the quart, and Arizona celebrates the day by deporting all non-WASPs. Nary a person will be found in North America who doesn't love the day.
May 6th, by contrast, is much less well regarded. This is probably because the most notable thing to happen on the 6th is the Hindenburg crashing over Lakehurst, New Jersey. So in an effort to add something positive to an otherwise drab day, we've decided to run the next TA. It's also apropos because currently we have only two teams in the league with more than 80 points, meaning there are ten Baby Hindenburgs out there. Let's see how the disasters were created. (El Angelo)
Oh, the Huge Manatee! (Teddy)
The Little Green One
Signed: Bad Penny (SP, SF); Kelly Johnson (2B, ATL); Carlos Silva (God Save Us All, CHC); Brett Cecil (SP, TOR); Craig Kimbrel (RP, ATL); JJ Putz (RP, CHW)
Waived: Chris Tillman (SP, AAA); Matt Guerrier (RP, MIN); Edgar Renteria (SS, SF); Aaron Harang (Gopherballer, Gophertown); Alex Gordon (3B, AAA); Michael Wuertz (RP, OAK); Mark Buehrle (SP, CHW); David Ortiz (UTIL, BOS); Daisuke Matsuzaka (SP, BOS)
It's no surprise that Kelly Johnson is lighting it up because...well, because I drafted him too early last year and cut him 3 weeks ago. What's more surprising is that he's starting for a team that already has Chase Utley. Has a second baseman ever been a regular DH for a team in the league before? (El Angelo)
Not a good team, no. KJ was on pace to salt away the Pewter Parachute before June, though he’s hitting well enough now (and provides such a fun way to needle Ang) that I expect he’ll stick here. I believe that the new Parachute leader (either Joey Devine or Michael Wuertz) hasn’t even thrown a pitch this year, which might be a record.
On a more big-picture note, this appears to be a team that’s going for it this year. We see multiple interesting prospects and veteran bounce-back plays going out, with mostly short term, hot-streak plays (and KJ, who looks like the real deal) coming in. Game on. (Teddy)
The Spam Avengers
Signed: Alex Gonzalez (The Good One, Again) (SS, TOR); Andruw Jones (OF, CHW)
Waived: Kelly Johnson (Yes, Again); Nick Johnson (1B, NYY); Lastings Milledge (OF, PIT)
Jimmy Rollins appears to be this team's Personal Hindenburg, because since drafting him last year, they've (a) finished in 8th and are occupying 11th; (b) suffered through his shitty 2009 and now his injury-plagued 2010; and (c) traded after Stephen Drew and Justin Upton with the hope that Rollins would man the 6-slot. Shockingly, Alex Gonzalez appears to have found Aaron Hill's pharmacist and has turned into a power source out of nowhere. Which is good, because the erstwhile Nick Johnson is currently on pace for 50 hits and 200 walks and a pink slip. (El Angelo)
I still cannot figure out how this team could be in 11th. Most of their lineup looks great on paper, and they even hopped on the Andruw and AGonz bandwagons at good times. But as Ang notes, it’s their first-rounders who are killing them. Last year’s pick, Rollins, has struggled as detailed above, and this year’s pick, Grady Sizemore, is currently putting up a .583 OPS. Both picks made perfect sense at the time; these guys are just a little snakebit at the moment. (Teddy)
The Revenge Society
Signed: Kevin Gregggg (CL, TOR), Brandon Morrow (P, TOR), Jose Bautista (3B, TOR), Cliff Pennington (SS, OAK); Eric Young (2B, COL); Jim Thome (UTIL, MIN); J. Honny Perlata (IF, CLE); Jason Varitek (C, BOS); Brandon League (RP, SEA); Kosuke Fukudome (OF, CHC)
Waived: Luis Castillo (2B, NYM); JJ Hardy (SS, MIN), Dexter Fowler (OF, COL), Jason “Down Goes” Frasor (RP, TOR); Todd Helton (1B, COL); Jose Bautista (3B, TOR); Peralta; Varitek; League.
TRS has apparently decided to follow the blueprint of last year’s runner-up by sticking to wholesale transactions in Blue Jays. The only item of real note here is that TRS was the winner of the Kevin Gregg scramble, which bumped his bullpen from solid to ridiculous. Other than that, these moves are all at the margins, as befits the only team to have broken the 90-point barrier so far this season, and the only team to have sat above 80 points for any length of time. (Teddy)
Who would have thought that Toronto lay the key to deciphering a mixed-league fantasy league? Between this and Aaron Hill, we may have to start watching our neighbors to the north more carefully. Even though they suck. And yes, I'm baiting Corey here. (El Angelo)
Le Dupont Torkies
Signed: Cameron Maybin (OF, FLA); Many Corpses (RP, COL); Ross Ohlendorf (Ohlendorf, Ohlendorf); Andy LaRoche (3B, PIT); Brandon Wood (3B, LAA); Homer Bailey (SP, CIN); Jhoulys "Ugly, But Not As Ugly As Gustavo" Chacin (P, COL); Nick Johnson (DL, NYY); Aaron Harang (SP, CIN)
Waived: Brandon Morrow (P, TOR); Pat Neshek (RP, MIN); Delmon Young (OF, MIN); JC Romero (RP, PHI); Mark DeRosa (QB, Penn); Sean Rodriguez (2B/OF, TB); Maybin; Wood.
There’s actually not much to dispute here—lots of interesting players (Andy LaRoche and Aaron Harang in particular) in, and lots of uninteresting players (is there anyone less interesting than late-career Mark DeRosa?) out. But to me, the real item of interest is the sheer length of the transactions list. Over a roughly equivalent period last season (4/16 – 5/8), this franchise added 3 guys and waived 3. This year he has added 9 and waived 8. That’s a sign of a team paddling hard against the current in the early going. (Teddy)
I applaud my co-author for doing the math, because I'm certainly not up for it. I am curious to know whether or not we've had more transactions this early in the year as compared to normal. By my calculations, teams have picked up 163 players since April 1st, about 14 per team. Is that a lot or a little? I think a lot, but I could be wrong. (El Angelo)
Jeters Never Prosper
Signed: Joey Devine (RP, DL); Carlos Gomez (OF, MIL); Mike Cameron (DL, BOS); John Buck (C, TOR); Marlon Byrd (OF, CHC)
Waived: J.D. Drew (OF, BOS); Brad Ziegler (RP, OAK); Devine; Gomez
Having acquired and discarded nearly the entire Oakland bullpen (except for the actual closer), JNP switched its focus to shoring up an outfield currently reliant on Nyjer Morgan and the tattered husk of Nate McLouth. Tough to argue with the strategic focus there. With the team currently in 4th and having an obvious place to look for an upgrade, these guys could be frisky going forward. (Teddy)
This team's dead last in runs and next-to-last in steals, meaning it may be time to get someone that steals a lot of bases and scores a lot of runs but has no power. Or just upgrade the outfield in general. Marlon Byrd, Morgan and McLouth is quite possibly the worst starting outfield for a contender since the '99 Mets. (El Angelo)
Wu Tang Financial
Signed: Rick Porcello (SP, DET); Howie Kendrick (2B, LAA)
Waived: Kevin Gregg (CL, TOR); Clint Barmes (MI, COL)
I suspect that we’ve all been there. You need to dump a guy to make room for a DL returnee, so you pick a random reliever and hope for the best. Then, probably the instant that your finger hits the mouse, the random reliever get bumped to closer.
Thus began the Great Kevin Gregg Scramble of Two Thousand Dickety-Ten (i.e. the Hindenburg Part Deux).
No doubt chastened by the experience, the owner retreated into a shell of squadoosh for most of the rest of the TA period, emerging only at the very end to grab a couple of youngsters with big reps and early struggles in Rick Porcello and Howie Kendrick. Better. Not better enough to get all the way over having punted 20 saves, but better. (Teddy)
The Gregg dropping is a fuck-up, but probably not one that will cost this team too much, partially because Matt Capps is doing his best Bobby Thigpen impersonation in Washington, and partially because Gregg sucks. What's actually killing this team, not surprisingly, is Javier Vazquez, who has a 9.78 ERA and 2.04 WHIP for these guys in 6 craptastic starts. Take him away and not only would they have a few more points, they'd be closer to the rest of the pack in ERA and WHIP. Clearly Jon hasn't been to New York in 6 months, because everyone here knew this was going to happen. (El Angelo)
Signed: Brett Myers (P, HOU); Joel Pineiro (SP, LAA); Myers (again); Mitch Talbot (SP, CLE, apparently); Justin Smoak (oops); Carlos Zambrano (RP—yes, RP—CHC); Jose Lopez (2B/3B, SEA); Chris Snyder (C, ARI); Alfredo Simon (CL-du-jour, BAL); David Freese (3B, STL)
Waived: Myers; Homer Bailey (SP, CIN); Chris Davis (K, TEX); J.J. Putz (RP, CHW); James Loney (1B, LAD); Smoak ; Joel Pineiro (SP, LAA); Randy Wolf (SP, MIL)
DDDF won the other closer scramble of the period, grabbing temporary BAL closer Alfredo Simon. I also like the Chris Snyder pickup, as he may be in the process of Wally Pipp-ing Miguel Montero in ARI. I’m a little more dubious about the sheer quantity of potentially interesting arms heading out the door given DDDF’s problems in the SP-driven categories, though I guess that those very problems could also be seen as grounds for throwing the incumbent bums out and trying again. (Teddy)
True, but the roster still has Carpenter-Verlander-Nolasco up top, meaning you can be a little more callous with the Homer Baileys of the world. I actually like most of these pickups a lot, and the fact that this team is doing fairly well without Nelson Cruz and getting zero out of Nolasco says a lot. (El Angelo)
Signed: Dana Eveland (SP, TOR); Alberto Callaspo (IF, KC); Hong-Chih Kuo (RP, LAD); Jason Vargas (SP, SEA); Tom Gorzelanny (SP, CHC); Ryan Theriot (SS, CHC); LaTroy Hawkins (RP, MIL) Wade LeBlanc (SP, SD); JD Drew (OF, BOS); Jon Garland (SP, SD); Theriot (again) Gorzelanny (again)
Waived: Theriot; Eveland; Kuo; Vargas; Gorzelanny; LeBlanc; Garland; Chris Ianetta (C, AAA); Jim Johnson (RP, AAA); Will Venable (OF, SD)
Hey, can you tell that I’m having to play matchups at one SP slot and both MI positions? The plates are currently all spinning nicely, though I can’t help but think that I’m about to be surrounded by a pile of broken crockery. (Teddy)
This is actually some impressive managing, because the team is in the money at the moment despite giving real at bats to the likes of Theriot, Callaspo and Will Venable. Scary to think what might happen when Brian Roberts comes back from the DL and Adam Jones returns from whatever vortex of sucktitude has eaten him. (El Angelo)
Suck It Silver
Signed: Juan Gutierrez (RP, ARI); Koji Uehara (RP, DL); Jeff Mathis (C, DL); Jose Contreras (SP, PHI)
Waived: Sean Marshall (P, CHC); Charlie Haeger (P, LAD)
A very calm hand on the tiller for the preseason favorites, who are off to an unexpectedly soft start. Some of the problems should solve themselves --it’s tough to be tops in ERA and WHIP while near the bottom in W and SV. Because ERA and WHIP are more stable stats, you’d expect the W/SV numbers to normalize upwards. But some problems are more troubling, specifically the possible re-Aaron Hill-ing of Aaron Hill. I think there’s still too much talent on hand here to panic, and the owner seems to agree. (Teddy)
That and there's nothing out there to pick up that is better than what he has. For example, the team clearly needs a shortstop better than Ian Desmond, but that's only coming via trade of a Greggg-style screw up. Corey seems to have taken Tucker's old strategy of a short hitting bench for a lot of pitching flyers in the hope that something sticks, only without the success that Senor Torkie had the last few years. But it's still May. (El Angelo)
The Situation Room
Signed: Mike Pelfrey (SP, NYM); Matt Guerrier (RP, MIN); Edward Mujica (RP, MIN); Scott Rolen (3B, TOR); Edward Mujica (P, SD); Wilson Ramos (C, MIN); Scott Linebrink (RP, CHW); Starlin Castro (SS, CHC)
Waived: Drew Stubbs (recent 1st-round MLB pick); Rick Porcello (recent 1st round MLB pick); Kyle Blanks (recent first-round pick?); Tim Wood (just a guy, FLA); Alexei Ramirez (see below); Mujica
Traded away: Jon Lester (SP, BOS) and Alcides Escobar (SS, MIL) to Enrico Palazzo; received in return Dan Uggla (2B, FLA); Alexei Ramirez (SS, CHW)
This transaction list started out as a go-for-it-now collection of prospect drops and category-specific acquisitions. But now there might be a little bit of doubt creeping in, as Starlin Castro is brought in and some other players are cautiously dangled in trade. Not sure what the plan is at this point, but will be curious to hear below.
I suppose that I also must break my silence on the trade. In brief, I don’t like it.
I understand the motivation—the team had plenty of SP depth and nothing in the MI, which meant that the marginal value of Dan Uggla on this particular roster might well be greater than the marginal value of Jon Lester. But that sort of calculation doesn’t come into play unless you’re absolutely sure that you’re going for it. If you’re thinking towards next year, you need to walk away with either the best player or the best contract. I think Lester is the best player here by far, and his contract (+1 for next year) is still reasonable. (Teddy)
Correction: Lester's +2 next year, and was certainly not getting kept by me, who already has 10 slots occupied with Kemp, Upton, Pujols, Felix and Price. That sentence also says why I'm open to making deals. It's tough to build for 3-years out in this league, because all your players get expensive at the same time, dammit. (El Angelo)
Signed: Jeff Francoeur (OF, NYM); Nate Robertson (SP, FLA); Sergio Santos (RP, CHW); Evan Meek (RP, PIT); Sergio Romo (RP, SF); Juan Uribe (IF, SF)
Waived: Adrian Beltre (3B, BOS); Brandon Lyons (RP, HOU); Scott Downs (RP, TOR); Nate Robertson (SP, FLA); Howie Kendrick (2B, LAA); Francoeur
Traded away: Uggla, Ramirez; received Lester, A. Escobar
Well, if I didn’t like the trade from Ang’s perspective, it stands to reason that I like it very much from EP’s. Not a ton of fireworks in the other transactions, but if you win one trade per TA, you’ll end up just fine. (Teddy)
Here's another guy that's clearly spending zero time in NY, because if he was, he'd know better than to pick up any Met outfielder. Speaking of which... (El Angelo)
Signed: Hideki Matsui (OF, LAA); Pudge Rodriguez (C, WAS); Doug Fister (SP, SEA); Ike Davis (1B, NYM); Ty Wigginton (IF, BAL); Tim Stauffer (P, SD); Miguel Olivo (C, COL); Marlon Byrd (OF, CHC); Carlos Villanueva (RP, MIL); Rod Barajas (C, NYM); Jeff Francoeur (OF, NYM)
Promoted: Wade Davis (SP, TB)
Waived: Chris Coghlan (OF, FLA); Olivo; Alfredo Aceves (RP, NYY); Scott Rolen (3B, TOR); Joe Saunders (SP, LAA); Carlos Zambrano (RP, CHC); Rodriguez; Byrd
I’d laugh at the wanton acquisition of Mets if I didn’t have a couple myself. That said, this transaction list is more a symbol of bad drafting luck (Coghlan and Saunders in particular) than anything else. (Teddy)
Let us look at all the Mets here: (1) Barajas, who somehow is 2nd in the NL in home runs; (2) Francouer, who's French; (3) Ike Davis, who I like but is probably the next Lyle Overbay; (4) Ty Wigginton, who was a Met for far too long; and (5) Pudge Rodriguez, who will be a Met one day if Omar has anything to say about it. This is to a roster that already has Jose Reyes and for an owner who frequently dreams about Esix Snead.
In short, we've saved the truest Hindenburg for last. (El Angelo)