Results tagged ‘ Ivan Rodriguez ’

The “Epic-ness” of David Wright

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Team USA vs Team Puerto Rico

Even if you aren’t a fan of the WBC, you have to admit that watching that game was pretty epic. It was a pitcher’s duel throughout (okay, maybe Jane didn’t like it) and I happen to really enjoy pitcher’s duels. Neither pitching staff was substantial as a total of seven pitchers was used by each side. It was the defensive plays and small ball that this game centered around.
For example, though many of you may have glanced over it, David Wright’s steal in the second inning was pretty important. Admittedly, I would have glanced over it myself if my friend hadn’t mentioned it when we were talking about it. Though I fell asleep in the top of the ninth (what can I say, long day + couch + no lights=sleep) I was up and ready for the bottom of the ninth. 
I had essentially called David Wright’s walk-off hit since Game 1 against Canada. In that game, I said that he was going to hit a home run. It didn’t happen. 
‘Fine,’ I said, ‘You owe me one”. When it didn’t happen in the next couple of games, I began to get frustrated. We had made a subconscious agreement! Finally, I compromised after he didn’t hit one against the Netherlands. 
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‘You owe me a very important hit, and you will get it at a crucial moment,” I said. Even at the beginning of the game against Puerto Rico, I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if David Wright got the most important hit of the game tonight?”
Well, when it got to the bottom of the ninth, I knew. The bases were loaded with one out, and Kevin Youkilis had just walked to bring in a run to make it a one run deficit. David Wright was up. 
I knew. I just KNEW. I had even made it my status on Facebook. Just ask Melissa! Then it happened, a bloop single to right field that scored Brian Roberts and Jimmy Rollins! I was jumping up and down like a fool, and every trace of exhaustion had left my body. I was ecstatic. Does it feel like the playoffs to you guys? 
The Red Sox
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They call it a “ferocious swing” so it looks like Dustin Pedroia’s injury wasn’t as bad as we thought it could be, but I’m glad that there was some concern. He was back in the lineup today against Pittsburgh, and went 1-2 with an RBI single. Maybe I will see him tomorrow at Spring Training (oh yes, that means pictures). 
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The biggest news I think, is that the Red Sox released Josh Bard. At first, I was very skeptical of this. ‘Why would they do that??’ I thought. He was hitting something like .429 and was doing a pretty nice job behind the plate. Doesn’t it seem right that he would catch Wakefield? 
Well, instead of just dwelling on stats, as we all normally tend to do (just out of our crazy baseball fan nature), we have to look at why we acquired Bard in the first place. The Red Sox got Bard over a month before re-signing Jason Varitek. I think that the Red Sox picked up Josh Bard as a safety net– in case agreements with Jason could not be made. 
From Bard’s perspective though, it must be though being let go– again. He is now where Ivan Rodriguez was just last week. I think that he would still serve as a great backup catcher for another team, and I wish him luck in his endeavor to find a job. 
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So, who is the backup catcher now? Who is catching Wakefield? The candidate most likely to fill those shoes is George Kottaras, who went 2-2 today against Pittsburgh with a double. He is young, and was out of minor league options (I don’t even know what that means?). Now, he is getting the chance of a lifetime. 
He did a decent job of catching Wakefield against the Yankees. Apparently, the trick is to let the knuckleball come to you, not try to go get the knuckleball. I can’t imagine how hard that must be to catch– or hit for that matter. It has no spin, and it’s already hard enough to hit a baseball. His hitting is a bit mediocre, I think he had something like a .243 average in Pawtucket. But, as we all know, a catcher’s important comes behind the plate, not next to it. Though, I don’t think Erin minds Joe Mauer’s numbers. 
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Kevin Youkilis is having this problems with his left ankle– including Achilles tendonitis (whatever that means). I don’t think it’s something to worry about. I think it’s more of a small injury that comes with getting back into the groove. I don’t blame the Classic at all, and neither do any of the injured players. 
I know that the Classic comes at an annoying time, but to be honest with you, I LOVE it. I love the pride that these players feel in representing their country, I think that’s really important, and it provides an opportunity for some of the forgotten veterans to say, ‘Hey, I’m still here!’. This is the case of Ivan Rodriguez, who signed a deal with the Houston Astros. I am really happy for him, he really deserved this deal after his astounding performance in the Classic. 
Around the League
Well, with the entire USA team basically becoming an accident waiting to happen, a few other members have been added to the roster. This includes Evan Longoria, Derek Lee, Ryan Ludwick, and AJ Pierzynski. These are all great additions to the roster, and they will provide strong depth as the US heads into the semi-finals. The first matchup is going to be incredible: Oswalt vs Dice-K!
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It looks like Chase Utley is making a very speedy recovery, much speedier th
an most expected. He could very well be ready for Opening Day. It’s great when guys like this recover successfully from surgery. Hamels being ready for Opening Days, is uncertain, as is Joe Mauer’s situation. 
Baseball in my Life
This week was a great week for talking about baseball for me. The day after the epic WBC game, everything productive that came out of my mouth was about the World Baseball Classic. And on Wednesday, my math teacher and I had a long discussion about the Red Sox and Yankees and how their lineups and pitching staff looked. 
In my debate class, I am writing a piece on the problem with steroids, and how we can fix the problem (plus, I’m relating it to school). Basically, I just get to rant for ten minutes about steroids, it should work for me.
The most important thing though, is that I got my research paper back. No grade though (my teacher doesn’t role that way), but lots of nice comments! He thought that my thesis statement was ‘great’, and he loved the quotes, and I got lots of ‘goods’ and ‘interestings’ and checkmarks. Most importantly, he liked the way that I was able to draw the parallel ideas between baseball and America, though maybe I was ranting a little bit at the end.
For the re-write, I’m going to organize it thematically rather than chronologically. Wish me luck for the game tomorrow, I’m going to have to go there and get tickets since I can’t find any online! 
-Elizabeth

Baseball is Spoken Here

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Saturday was all about baseball for me, but in two very different atmospheres. The first, was at Spring Training, a very intimate environment. It doesn’t really matter, but the minor leaguers are trying to impress, and the major leaguers are working on their stuff. In fact, the only regular starter from the Red Sox that played was Jed Lowrie. Then at night, there was the World Baseball Classic, and that was an experience different from anything I’ve ever felt before. 

In the morning, I was forced to be a “filler” at a debate tournament– a complete waste of my time! I was able to get out by 11 though, so I was off to Fort Lauderdale stadium. I arrived there around 12:30 so I had a half an hour to get autographs. 
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The first came from Josh Reddick, and I’m pretty sure I was the only one there who knew his name. ‘JOSH!’ I yelled. I’ve been pretty impressed with him throughout Spring Training. The last time I was at a Spring Training game, I noted that Reddick needed more confidence. I think that has come. 
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Then it was Lars Anderson. I had his autograph from before, but how could I just let an opportunity pass? So I took off my hat, and when he pointed to me, I threw it at him. Lars and I definitely have a connection seeing that I have his autograph twice. 
The last autograph of that day came from Rocco Baldelli. Rays Renegade was right, Rocco does sign for the ladies :). One of my foul balls is all filled up– by minor league or bench players! It’s going to be pretty cool when I see them in the Majors so I can say: ‘Hey, I got his autograph before anyone knew who he was!’. That has already happened with Jed Lowrie. 
So what are my impressions for this Spring Training game? 
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Josh Reddick had a beautiful lead off double, and he had a great attempt at a bunt. It literally rolled perfectly down the third base line before rolling foul after he had reached first base. When a home run was given up by Adam Mills, (I’ll get to him later) Reddick wasn’t able to get it, but he climbed the wall pretty high!
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Jed Lowrie looked pretty good as he had a double and looked pretty solid defensively. Rocco Baldelli was the designated hitter and he has a pretty big swing, which later produced a nice double down the third base line and a hit through the gap to tie the game at one point. 
Chris Carter didn’t have his best day ever, but that was simply because he was swinging a bit too early at bad pitches. Josh Bard continues to make a good run for the backup catcher as he got a couple of nice hits and did well behind the plate. 
Jeff Bailey hit a triple, and had some great hustle to get there, and Nick Green looked pretty nice defensively. Mark Wagner, also competing for the backup catcher job had a great throw to get the runner out at second. 
Pitching
Besides giving up a two run homer, Adam Mills looked pretty good, I would love to see more of him. Devern Hansack followed him and gave up two home runs in his outing, and needs to work on his pickoff attempts, or just avoid them. 
Marcus McBeth had what was probably his best outing of the Spring. He didn’t even give up any home runs! He throws pretty hard, has nice placement, and struck out two. He was followed by Hunter Jones who gave up a home run, but also has nice placement and form. 
Watching Wes Littleton warm up is very entertaining. He throws from the side but has beautiful command, and spots the ball well. Despite this, he is unable to execute on the mound. 
The Sox tied up the game in the top of the ninth, but Dustin Richardson gave up a walk-off home run to end the game. I loved seeing the minor leaguers play, it was like a ‘Projects Game’. 
World Baseball Classic 
There was a beautiful juxtaposition between Spring Training and the World Baseball Classic. I had assumed that there would be one, but to actually be there was absolutely incredible. It evoked a sense of patriotism that I had never felt before. 
There were definitely more Puerto Rican fans than there were American, which was so cool because it made me realize that this is all about national pride! Before the game, as we stood to listen to each country’s respective national anthem, it made me feel really proud to be an American, it gave it a new meaning. It was the same version that Ken Burns opened his ‘Baseball’ series with. 
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The stadium erupted when the rosters were announced, especially for Puerto Rico– it was absolutely deafening. Then, as five people walked out carrying five different flags, it made me realize that I really had never been a part of something like this. 
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It was truly a playoff atmosphere, it felt I was out of the Olympics. And you know how cool it is to see all those flashes going off throughout the stands? Well, it was pretty cool to be one of those flashes. 
The game itself though, w
as a bit disappointing to say the least. After all, the United States did get mercy ruled. If you were watching the game (or even listening to it), you knew that Jake Peavy didn’t have his stuff. I have to say though, if it’s really different from me going from Spring Training to the WBC, I can’t imagine how it is for him. 
Velazquez looked great though, and so did Ivan Rodriguez. He is probably the most impressive player of the Classic thus far. The fact that he does not have a job yet is still “flabbergasting” to me (I felt I just had to use that word). 
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The coolest part though for me, was realizing how baseball is a universal language. Baseball is spoken here. It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you are from– we all know that after four balls you get walked, and after three strikes, you’re out. Everyone knows what a home run is, and everybody cheers at the same time. It is incredible what baseball does–it brings us together.
Photo Credit: me
-Elizabeth 

An Ode to the Unsigned

It’s already January 24, and there are still so many un-signed free agents out there. The market has been so terrible this year, that these players are going to have to settle for less than they’re worth. I’d be willing to bet that all of Scott Boras’ clients regret signing with him. The fact that a lot of them aren’t signed yet is his fault. As an agent, he should be able to see that accepting arbitration is their best bet! 

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Orlando Cabrera hasn’t signed anywhere and he’s an above average shortstop. His batting average has never been astounding but he’s a pretty good fielder! 
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Sean Casey, the winner of the “Good Guy Award” hasn’t been signed either. He’d be a great presence to have in the clubhouse and would bring some handy veteran experience. If no one signs him, he plans on retiring. 
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Joe Crede hasn’t signed anywhere yet either, but I’m pretty sure that Jen wants him back. After all, he has played his entire career with the Chicago White Sox.
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Adam Dunn has yet to sign anywhere, and if people are so concerned with strikeouts, then why is Ryan Howard asking for $18 million in arbitration? I understand that Ryan Howard is more powerful, but Adam Dunn could be a great DH for someone who is lacking in the power department.
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Nomar Garciaparra (uh oh, call Tommy, I need support!!!) has not signed anywhere either. I know he has injuries but the Indians didn’t hesitate to sign Carl Pavano. The Red Sox signed Rocco Baldelli and he’s had more of an injury history than Nomar. It looks like the Phillies are interested in him though. (We’re sorry Nomah!!!). 
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No one has signed Ken Griffey Jr. and that guy is incredible. If you’ve seen MLB Network’s Baseball Seasons 1995, then you know what I mean. I know he’s getting old but, it’s Ken Griffey Jr.!!! I think it’d be great if he ended his career with Seattle. 
 

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Pedro Martinez hasn’t signed with anyone, and I know his talent has been dwindling away, but he could be one of those low risk high reward pickups for a team. Plus he had arguably one of the best seasons ever in 1999. 
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Kevin Millar (calling Tommy again) is also unsigned. Who doesn’t want this guy in their clubhouse? I would’ve taken him over Kotsay just so he and Pedroia could argue over 15. 
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Andy Petite hasn’t signed anywhere yet. I know he didn’t have his best season with the Yankees but it’s not like he’s a terrible pitcher. Not that I want him on the Red Sox by any means…
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Manny Ramirez–Manny frikin Ramirez hasn’t signed with anyone yet! The future HOF star, the most feared right handed hitter in the game. It’s his own fault though, knowing Manny, no one is going to want to offer him four years. He’s just going to have to accept lower than what he wants like everyone else. You may be good Manny, but you’re not God’s gift to the baseball world. 
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Ivan Rodriguez hasn’t signed anywhere! Has he even received an offer? I think not. I know he’s not the guy that he used to be, but he’s still a great catcher. He could be facing the fate of signing a minor league deal. A minor league deal!!! That’s outrageous. 
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Curt Schilling hasn’t signed anywhere, but I really think that he should retire. He’s definitely not going to be the same pitcher he used to be, and I don’t know if anyone is going to want to sign him so he can pitch half of a season. He’s all for signing Jason Varitek though. *Hint, hint Theo*
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It really surprises me that no one has signed Ben Sheets yet. If the Yankees pursued AJ Burnett without hesitation, then I don’t see why Ben Sheets is such a big deal. 
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If you didn’t know already, Jason Varitek hasn’t signed yet. There’s an offer on the table for this. I have some advice for him on this one: DO NOT CONSULT SCOTT BORAS. Scott Boras is a life ruiner, it’s as simple as that. 

Around the Hot Stove- Arbitration

The arbitration deadline was last night at midnight, and some premier free agents received the offer, others (somewhat surprisingly) did not. 

As far as the Red Sox go, only Jason Varitek and Paul Byrd were offered arbitration. It was expected that Varitek would receive the offer, but with Byrd it was not so obvious. If he accepts, it would put him and the club in an awkward position because there’s not necessarily room for him in Boston’s plans. There have been rumors that the Braves have interest in him though. 

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Brian Fuentes received arbitration from the Rockies, which may (or may not) influence the Mets’ interest in him, and as we know, they’re also interested in K-Rod. 
The Yankees did not offer arbitration to ANY of their eight eligible free agents. The Yankees have interest in holding on to Petite, but not at the same price, which could cause a conflict (perhaps even reuniting him with his former manager!).

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  Bobby Abreu did not receive arbitration because he is seeking a three year deal which the Yankees are not offering. Plus, the Yankees have a pretty deep outfield already: Deamon (sorry), Cabrera, Gardener, and Nady. The top pitching interests for the Yankees were all offered arbitration (Sabathia, Burnett, and Lowe)

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The Marlins did not offer arbitration to their Type B Free Agents Luis Gonzalez, Paul Lo Duca, or Arthur Rhodes. The Reds have reported interest in the reliever Arthur Rhodes. With the Mariners offering arbitration to Raul Ibanez, it is unlikely that the Marlins will continue seeking him because they don’t want to sacrifice a draft pick. Since the Yankees did not offer arbitration to Ivan Rodriguez (known to us as Pudge), he might be the perfect fit for the Marlins organization since they are seeking an experienced catcher to help their young pitching staff. The Marlins have also experienced interest in Carl Pavano
If the Braves want to continue pursuing Burnett, they would not have to give up their first round pick if they signed him because they have one of the first fifteen selections. Their compensation would be a “sandwich selection” between the first and second rounds, and their second round pick. 
The Phillies did not offer arbitration to Jamie Moyer or Pat Burrell. They could be interested in outfielders Juan Rivera or Rocco Baldelli seeing that those two were not offered arbitration by their teams, so Philly would not have to compensate by giving up draft picks. 
Players have until midnight of December 7 (so technically December 8) to accept or refuse these offers. 
In other Red Sox news… the Sox will officially announce their signing of the Japanese righty Junichi Tazawa sometime this week, after his physicals go through. The terms of the deal were three years at $3 million. The Red Sox also signed left handed reliever Billy Traber to a minor league contract, and an invitation to Spring Training. However, a spot on the major league roster might be difficult to attain seeing that the Sox already have two lefties in the bullpen: Okajima and Lopez. Last year with the Yankees, Traber had a 7.02 ERA in 19 outings, and in 95 career appearances (28 starts) he is 12-14 with a 5.54 ERA. The Red Sox have really gone after some pitching this offseason! 
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