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Jeremy Hellickson Faces Uphill Battle in Salvaging Career Post-Trade

We all knew it was a matter of when, not if, Jeremy Hellickson‘s days with the Tampa Bay Rays were officially over.

Late Friday night, ESPN reported that the Arizona Diamondbacks were to be his new home, as they dealt minor leaguers Andrew Velazquez and Justin Williams for the 2011 American League Rookie of the Year.

Initial reactions whenever a pitcher is dealt out of the American League—let alone the homer-friendly AL East—is that greener pastures certainly are waiting.

Hellickson needs those greener pastures, as he has pitched to a less-than-stellar 5.05 ERA over his last 44 starts. Of those 44, 13 occurred after offseason elbow surgery forced him to miss the first three months of the 2014 season. 

That is hardly a small sample size and something that seems to indicate his ROY form is far in the rearview mirror.

But his National League ERA is going to start shrinking like a balloon with a small hole in its side, right? Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart certainly seems to think so, as reported by Jack Magruder of Fox Sports Arizona.

“He is going to be outstanding here,” Stewart said. “I always give the guys moving from the American League to the National League a plus. Moving out of the American League East gives him another plus.”

Don’t count on it. Sure, the average NL starter’s ERA over the last three years was 0.27 runs lower than their AL counterparts, according to statistics and some quick division.

Hellickson‘s problem is the NL West is not the safest of landing zones, especially when you’re arriving at a team boasting one of the worst offenses in the sport.

In 2014, the Diamondbacks scored just 615 runs with a .678 OPS, good for No. 25 and No. 24 in MLB, respectively.

OK, so run support will not come easily for Hellickson, but what about his home ballpark, Chase Field? Leaving Tropicana Field has to be a plus, right?

Unfortunately, there isn’t much reprieve here, either.

“As for Chase Field, that doesn’t suit fly-ball pitchers well,” wrote Matt Snyder of “Only six ballparks saw more homers last season, and only Coors Field yielded more runs. On the flip-side, Hellickson is coming from Tropicana Field, which was 25th in homers and 15th in runs.”

When looking at the rest of the division, the picture gets far darker.

As Snyder references above, Chase Field allowed the seventh-most homers in baseball in 2014. Dodger Stadium landed at fifth, and Coors Field was second only to Yankee Stadium.

About half of the worst parks in MLB to be a fly-ball pitcher in happen to be where Hellickson will pitch the majority of his games.

It’s not all doom and gloom for him, however.

AT&T Park in San Francisco and Petco Park in San Diego are both safe havens for any pitcher, and a fresh start in a league where the threat of a designated hitter is long gone can only be a positive thing.

Case in point, someone who Jeremy Hellickson always reminded me of is former Diamondbacks hurler Ian Kennedy.

Tossed aside after early struggles with the Yankees, Kennedy found a home in Arizona and pitched extremely well at times.

Similar to Kennedy, Hellickson is a fly-ball pitcher who relies on good control and a feel for changing speeds to succeed. Neither has what would be confused for anything close to top-end velocity.

If Hellickson can follow a similar path, Arizona may just have a diamond in the rough that it can try to polish up and save from a downward spiral of a once-bright, young career.

If not, we may have seen the last of him as an impact pitcher at the MLB level, and the low-risk, medium-reward attempt will have failed.

Ultimately, this is a move that makes a lot of sense for a team with the No. 27 ERA in baseball last season (4.44). It did not give up a prospect in the deal that could truly damage the farm, and it desperately needs to build a young rotation for the future.

There’s no reason to fault Arizona for what it pulled off Friday night; it is just very unlikely that the final results will be glowingly positive.

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MLB-Best Oakland A’s Prove They Are Going for It All in 2014

The Oakland A’s made fireworks with a blockbuster trade to land both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel on the Fourth of July, according to ESPN insider Keith Law, giving up Addison Russell, Billy McKinney, Dan Straily and a player to be named later.

With it, they made one thing abundantly clear to the rest of baseball: The A’s are going for it all right now, and they are your 2014 World Series favorites.

This team already had MLB’s best record (53-33) and the American League’s best rotation before acquiring a dominant duo from the north side of Chicago. Oakland now has nothing short of an embarrassment of riches.

But let’s be honest—we’ve seen this all before. The A’s have always had arms for days, seemingly cornering the market in young, prized mound artists. What makes this the team that can finally break the playoff failures the franchise has seen during the Billy Beane run?

In a word: offense. Oakland is leading all of baseball with 430 runs scored and has a powerful trio of Brandon Moss, Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes leading the charge with a combined 51 home runs and 178 runs batted in before the All-Star break.

Throw in 72 more RBI from the remarkable catching trio of Derek Norris, John Jaso and Stephen Vogt, and you have a team that can shut you out and put up crooked numbers all over the scoreboard.

There is one key element of this trade that needs to be discussed, however.

In the deal, the A’s sacrificed one of baseball’s best prospects in Addison Russell, a shortstop soon to be ranked No. 6 in Baseball Prospectus’ next top-50 list (per BP’s own Jason Parks):

This would be fine and dandy if Samardzija were a legitimate piece of Oakland’s future. The reality is, the ace pitcher will sprint away from the Bay Area for a $100 million contract in a little more than a year while the A’s sit back and look to execute their next move.

Hammel is a free agent following the 2014 season as well, so this smells very much like a bold rental to push for a World Series title that has suddenly fallen right into their laps.

A feel-good story for one of MLB’s most beloved underdogs has transformed into a Yankees-like championship-or-bust mentality, something this franchise is certainly not used to. A mediocre landscape of teams across the American League should give the A’s confidence, but the overhanging pressure of a bull’s-eye on their backs will be quite the hurdle to overcome.

If 2014’s bright hopes end in failure, Oakland will be just fine. The team will let Hammel walk and replace him with what it hopes is the Jarrod Parker of old—and we have no reason to believe he won’t be, even after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery.

And if all goes to hell, Billy Beane will simply hop on the telephone and trade Samardzija away to replenish the pieces he sacrificed to acquire him in the first place. The Matt Holliday experiment in 2009 provides a clear precedent there. (He was traded to St. Louis for Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen and Shane Peterson after appearing in 93 games with Oakland after signing on as a free agent.)

The benefit of acquiring a coveted pitching asset whose arm has very little mileage on it is that MLB teams will be no less desperate for his services a year from now. Samardzija can be flat-out nasty, and his body type and limited wear and tear should keep him healthy.

The A’s have identified a rare opportunity to break their 25-year title drought, and they just made the deal they had to make to build a proper postseason-ready rotation.

Some will question the forfeiture of such a dynamic prospect for what essentially amounts to a one-year rental, but it’s a rental that makes the difference between contender and clear-cut favorite in the American League, and that’s always a deal worth making.

These are not the A’s of 2002, when a 103-win team was just ninth in MLB in runs scored during the height of the steroid era. This team can mash, and it also has as deep a bullpen as anyone in the sport.

The A’s are making a stand and going for it all in 2014. When you put the pieces together, it looks like they just might succeed.

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Mike Trout’s Unique Mega-Deal Was Angels’ Strongest Chess Move

Mike Trout, the Angels’ 22-year-old phenom, and arguably (OK, not so arguably, just fact) the best player in all of baseball, will be staying in Southern California for quite some time.

On the heels of an agreement to make $1 million for 2014, Trout will now receive $144.5 million over six additional years—according to Alden Gonzalez of

After inking that earlier one-year deal, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto mentioned how he knew he had a unique situation on his hands, per Jerry Crasnick of

There are players that force you to break rules. What he did for two consecutive years forced us to break our own rule. His performance certainly merited us to do differently than any of the others.

Well, Jerry, you certainly went on to break that very rule again in a big way.

This isn’t a question of whether Trout deserves the money. After back-to-back runner-up finishes in the AL MVP voting and a 19.7 WAR over that span, per, the Angels could have handed him a blank check, and no one would have batted an eye.

After all, the guy can really do it all—such as hitting for the cycle with ease if that’s something that you happen to enjoy:

The true question is why now? Fans and writers alike will point and say the Angels are paying too much for years they already had full control over. The problem is, these same folks are failing to look at the bigger picture.

Clayton Kershaw recently received $215 million over seven years in Los Angeles. Miguel Cabrera has a total contract value of $292 million over 10 years, according to Jon Heyman of The concept of $30 million per year has gone from a fantasy to simply the next step, and Trout was a certainty to blow past that very number in free agency.

Another number he was set to blow by was Ryan Howard’s $10 million first-year salary-arbitration record from 2008.

In fact, the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin quotes sources familiar with the process that Trout would likely snag a total of $60 million over his three arbitration years.

The next step is to perform some very, very simple math. If we add that $60 million in expected arbitration salaries to the $90 million his first three free-agent years would inevitably have been worth, we arrive at a shiny new six-year, $150 million hypothetical contract.

At $144.5 million and their star guaranteed not to test free agency until three years later than usual, it suddenly looks like the “why now” question has been answered, hasn’t it?

What the Angels essentially just did is three-fold:

  • They locked up MLB’s best player through the absolute creme de la creme of his prime years.
  • They did so while not risking overpaying on the back-end of his prime through his decline (a la Miguel Cabrera or Albert Pujols).
  • They ensured that Trout will avoid being tempted by the bottomless pockets of the Yankees or Dodgers before they have a chance to strike—giving them three extra years to figure things out.

Let’s be perfectly honest here, this is what you need to do in today’s MLB to lock up your young homegrown stars long-term.

The Rays did it with Matt Moore and Evan Longoria. The Cardinals did it with Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig. The Braves did it with, well, virtually their entire roster.

The contract values aren’t the same, but the principle is. You avoid arbitration headaches, you keep your best players in-house and you pay a premium in the process.

It’s always a risk to make a deal of this magnitude when you aren’t forced to, but Trout is a bet most would place any day of the week. He’s one of the game’s very few legitimate five-tool players, and his defense, speed and damage-causing contact will make him worth every penny.

Essentially what I’m trying to say is, even if his offensive output took a tiny dip, he would still keep doing ungodly things like this on a weekly basis:

Is he a lock for a 10.0 WAR every year? Will his higher-than-ideal strikeout rate eventually catch up to him a little bit? Regardless of the answers to these questions, what we do know is that Trout will be a perennial All-Star and the best player at a premier position for many years to come.

If the Angels wanted to give themselves the best possible shot of keeping what could be the best player to ever suit up for their franchise in town for his entire career, they just completed a massive step in that direction.

Kudos to you, Angels, you will not regret it.

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MLB Adds Second Wild-Card Team: 5 Reasons Baseball Made a Huge Mistake

According to reports from the NY Post, MLB is planning to add one wild-card team to the postseason format in each league.

These new wild cards will face off with the standard AL/NL wild-card teams in a one-game playoff to determine who officially moves onto ALDS play.

There are many pros and cons to this concept, but I am finding a hard time focusing on the positives. This piece will go over some of the main gripes with the second wild card in general, the one-game format and the motives behind the decision.

Feel free to comment and let me know how you feel on both MLB’s idea and the article, and I look forward to hearing from you.

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New York Yankees: 10 Nicknames for MLB’s Newest Dominant Bullpen Trio

The New York Yankees bullpen has received limitless hype and praise early in the season, and they are already being dubbed as the best in MLB—as well as the best in NY since 1996.

While the group has accomplished nothing to this point, this does not mean that a proper nickname should not be added to the front of the hype machine.

It took mere hours for “Miami Thrice” to be created, and “The Fab Five” represents a team that never won a championship in its short time together.

The Philadelphia Phillies already had “the best rotation in MLB history” on April 5th—so there is plenty of precedent to this trend.

I would normally ignore the desire to overreact and create catchy names for the Yankees trio, but then “Jo-So-Mo” suddenly jumped out of Michael Kay’s mouth and into my disappointed ear drums.

While my list is certainly no Mona Lisa, something had to be done in order to find a better option than the Yankees broadcast team could come up with on their own.

Here is a list of 10 possibilities I’m throwing onto the table, and it’s up to all of you to pick your favorites—or add others into the discussion.

Let’s have some fun with this Yankee fans!

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New York Yankees: The Mariano Rivera Trade That Nearly Halted a Dynasty

It was the spring on 1996, and the New York Yankees had just had their hearts broken in the 1995 ALDS at the hands of the Seattle Mariners.

This article will tell a tale of how those same Mariners nearly broke the Yankees hearts in a much more profound and crippling way.

While preparing for the season, they got word of some bad news regarding infielder Tony Fernandez—who broke his elbow while filling in at second base for the already injured Pat Kelly.

This left New York with no other choice but to run with an unproven yet highly-touted rookie shortstop named Derek Jeter. Though they loved Jeter as a prospect, they were understandably apprehensive about throwing him into the fire without a safety net.

As a result, the Yankees were actively seeking a short-term replacement—or at least a “Plan B”—in the event that Jeter was not quite ready for Major League Baseball.

In stepped the Seattle Mariners, who suddenly had an extra shortstop named Felix Fermin on the roster. They’d instead be going with a youngster of their own at the position—Alex Rodriguez.

Funny how things come full circle, isn’t it?

Dubbed “El Gato” as a play on words for Felix the Cat and his reflexes at shortstop, Fermin seemed like a solid short-term caddy—just a year removed from a .317 season.

The Mariners were seeking some bullpen help in return and had their eyes on Bob Wickman or a young prospect named Mariano Rivera.

Rivera was unproven at that point of his career—a converted starter with a limited arsenal and 5.51 ERA. He had an electric 1995 postseason but could five innings overshadow the previous 67?

The organization was “split”—to put it generously—on the idea of trading Rivera for Fermin, but there was enough support for the deal that is was on the brink of consummation in late March of 1996.

Luckily, for the fans back in New York, who had little idea of what the future held for this scrawny hurler, the trade fell through.

It is possible that a budding Yankees dynasty could have been hanging on for dear life waiting for principle owner George Steinbrenner to make the final call.

How would this have changed the course of history for New York?

The Yankees would have had virtually no chance of winning the 1996 World Series without Rivera and may have never even reached the 2000 postseason without him jogging in for the ninth inning as closer.

Felix Fermin, meanwhile, hit .125 in 16 AB for the Chicago Cubs in 1996—subsequently retiring thereafter.

Jeter hit .314 on his way to 1996 AL Rookie of the Year honors and wasted little time building the foundation for his later “Captain Clutch” nickname—hitting .361 with a .409 OBP that postseason.

It is virtually impossible to imagine Jeter not earning his way into the starting lineup by October—even with Fernandez, Kelly and Fermin all healthy and on the active roster in 1996.

Even so, it is interesting to wonder if Jeffrey Maier, Rich Garcia and Tony Tarasco would have been intertwined on that fateful October 9th night under differing circumstances.

The Fernandez injury actually helped New York in other ways as well, as it allowed Mariano Duncan to enjoy a magical and unexpected .340 season at second base in 1996.

There was something magical about that first 90s title, and the pieces to the puzzle all seemingly fit with perfection on its way to jumpstarting the last of MLB’s dynasties.

It would have never occurred, however, without the respected voice of Gene Michael chirping “hang onto our top prospects” into the ears of anyone who would listen.

While there have been countless one-sided deals over the course of baseball history, the Felix Fermin trade that never was may be one of the biggest hindsight exhales of all time.

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Matt Holliday Appendectomy: Why 2011 Warns Cardinals to Let Albert Pujols Go

According to reports by, Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday was having an appendectomy Friday and the team is unsure how long he will be out.”

While it is tentatively believed that it was caught rather early in the process and he should recover before a big chunk of the season is missed, nothing can be deemed a certainty.

This sudden bad break can be added to the growing list of hurdles being thrown in the path of the St. Louis Cardinals during the 2011 season.

First came a tough contract negotiation with Albert Pujols that ended with nothing more than an agreement to disagree until after the season concludes.

Then the Cardinals were slapped with a season-ending injury to dominant ace and Cy Young candidate Adam Wainwright—a loss that I’m not sure any contender can overcome in a competitive division race.

Next was an injury to replacement ace Chris Carpenter that had placed the beginning of 2011 in question—though it thankfully turned out to be nothing more than a tweak.

Now St. Louis must face the realization of how quickly a season can go from all smiles to trepidation, and it’s becoming more and more clear how poor a decision Pujols’ $25-30 million per year would be for the franchise.

While the Cardinals fanbase is a loyal one and the organization is one of the most respected in the sport, they remain in a “mid-market” payroll threshold. They typically hover between $85 million and $100 million in total player salaries, and this is unlikely to change in the near future.

Pujols taking up between 25 and 30-plus percent of the payroll will limit their ability to place talent around him and will leave the team even more susceptible to injuries crippling their season (due to a lack of quality depth).

Instead of paying Pujols upwards of $300 million over 10 years, they can instead split that money up into five quality pieces on a playoff-caliber roster.

A farm system ranked anywhere from 17th to 24th in MLB (according to Baseball America and AOL Sporting News) will not provide quite enough cheap aid to compensate for the lack of additional payroll, and St. Louis would struggle to compete without receiving MVP-caliber seasons every year from their 30-something slugger.

Due to Wainwright’s uncertainty in terms of 2012 performance, they will likely have to pick up Chris Carpenter’s option in order to compete—further strapping their ability to sign quality free agents if retaining “The Machine.”

This experiment has been completed before in MLB, as the Texas Rangers handed Alex Rodriguez a little less than 25 percent of their payroll in a similar situation.

While St. Louis undoubtedly possesses a larger talent pool moving forward than Texas had in 2001, the general principles of why this can create an issue rang loud and clear.

Virtually no team can lose its ace and second-best hitter while continuing to contend, but the early misfortunes of 2011 are a clear reminder how much more it takes to win than one immortal offensive force.

Holliday will return before too long, and it is doubtful that his 2011 season will be derailed by this surgery. That said, injuries like these can ruin a team when it’s so dependent on the health and success of one high-salary player.

The Cardinals should take this as a wake-up call that as painful as it will be to watch Pujols walk out the door, letting him go may be the best thing for long-term success within the franchise.

The Seattle Mariners won 116 games the year after making that same tough decision, and the Minnesota Twins have not lost a beat after trading Johan Santana after 2007.

Additionally, the Colorado Rockies won 92 games the year after letting Holliday walk, and the Florida Marlins have done well since Miguel Cabrera left town (even while getting little help from any of their young trade acquisitions).

The decision is a very, very difficult one—one that most fans will rightfully lash out against. At the end of the day, however, it is oftentimes the right decision for small- to mid-market franchises to move on.

The Cardinals have won a championship thanks to Pujols’ immense talent, but it may be time to try winning one without him after 2011.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Mariners’ Felix Hernandez May Stay, but Not Due To No-Trade

Mariners ace Felix Hernandez has been one of the hottest stories of the MLB offseason, but not resulting from his 2010 Cy Young or his actions on or off the field.

Trade speculation has been rampant and relentless regarding the American League’s best pitcher, as Hernandez’s Mariners team walks the tightrope of adding payroll or starting from scratch in a rebuild.

FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi recently revealed eight of the 10 teams in Hernandez’s much-discussed no-trade clause, and all of them were high-profile and high-payroll organizations.

The list included the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs—which inevitably caused outcry for the “King Felix to the Yankees” talk to stop for good.

The problem with that logic is a clear misunderstanding of the no-trade process and why a pitcher of Hernandez’s skill set would construct one in this framework.

Are we to believe that King Felix, a man with ice water running through his veins and an unrelenting competitiveness, would suddenly get cold feet about large-market baseball?

Additionally, we’re to take seriously the notion he would all but eliminate every MLB team that could pay the astronomical salary he’ll command when the time comes for an extension?

This no-trade construction is simply a savvy move by an agent that is doing his job—maximizing the earning potential of his best and most desirable client.

The Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox and Cubs of the world are included not because Hernandez would never pitch there.

These teams are instead chosen for two key reasons:

1. The larger payroll markets are most likely to not only afford Felix’s salary in the short and long term, but also pursue a trade for him in order to make a run at a title.

2. Players with no-trade clauses in their contracts have the ability to be “compensated for forfeiture” of that right in order to complete a deal. As a result, Felix can essentially be “bought out” without losing a dime of his contractual value ($20.03 million per year from 2012 to 2014).

Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has repeatedly shot down any rumors of the situation, and he has no motivation to do otherwise. It is far too early to even consider moving your franchise player—especially in the most wide-open AL West in recent memory.

Felix is happy in Seattle, the Mariners are thrilled to have him and they have every reason to believe they’ll contend in the near future.

Do I believe that a trade is imminent in 2011? No, absolutely not. Do I believe a third season in four years of between 60 and 65 victories could begin to sway that opinion after 2011? Yes, I do.

If Seattle struggles as a franchise until the July 2012 trading deadline, they will be forced to reevaluate the future of the organization—including Ichiro Suzuki in his contract year and Felix representing about 50 percent of current 2013 payroll obligations.

They will have plenty of money to spend and prospects to groom over the next 12 months, but much like LeBron James in Cleveland, they’ll have to show Felix he can win a title there…and soon.

The odds of Hernandez ending up in pinstripes—or any other MLB uniform—is very slim in 2011. They are not even one percentage point lower, however, than they were before word of his no-trade reached the news wire.

If Felix stays a Mariner for the duration of his contract, it will be because they build a team around him, maintain a stable financial position and establish the groundwork for a World Series contender.

It will not, however, be based on a disinterest in pitching for large-market teams or a devout commitment to his no-trade clause.

It is important to first understand the real reasons behind a no-trade before assuming a player’s motive.

Felix would not prefer to pitch in Cleveland or Kansas City as opposed to New York or Chicago, but that does not mean he will move out of Seattle in the near future, either.

One thing can be said for certain amidst all of the speculation and frustration: Interested teams will never stop trying to change Seattle’s mind.

The Mariners would demand a player ransom that could make the Twins feel like they got fleeced in the AJ Pierzynski deal, but this would be one occasion where a US organization would negotiate with terrorists.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Will Phillies Chase Aramis Ramirez If Utley Injury Worsens?

Chase Utley is a ballplayer who should at the very least be respected and admired—even in the eyes of opposing fan bases.

A tireless worker, Utley is a rare breed of middle-infielder with the ability to hit for both power and average.  Additionally, he is a very reliable defender and is known to raise his level of play at the largest of moments.

Unfortunately for the city of Philadelphia, this battler has another fight on his hands—though this one is not taking place between the white lines of Citizen’s Bank Park. It is instead an internal war with cartilage, bone and tendons in his balky right knee.

The Phillies already have lost promising rookie Domonic Brown, and are looking for ways to compensate for the loss of clutch slugger Jayson Werth.

Add in uncertainties over Raul Ibanez’ age and Jimmy Rollins’ injury history, and question marks have suddenly been placed next to one of baseball’s most imposing offensive attacks.

Utley is a tough man, and one who would refuse to let down his teammates under any circumstances. As such, let us assume he attempts to tough it out with injections and rehabilitation over the season’s opening months.

Here we are now in the middle of June, and the situation has simply deteriorated too far for Utley to ignore further. Doctors recommend a procedure that could have him ready for the postseason, but he is otherwise lost for the regular season.

Simultaneously, a struggling Chicago Cubs team is mired in fourth place in the NL Central and looking for a way to shed salary in a season lacking playoff contention.

Needing some added pop in a solid but inconsistent lineup, would the Phillies make a call to Jim Hendry for third base slugger Aramis Ramirez?

Current Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco is truly a second baseman by trade—earning two Gold Gloves in his time at the position in Detroit. He could very easily transition back to his old home to leave room for a power hitter at a traditional power position.

Philadelphia is far from a small-market team, and they will have virtually no issue taking on the then $7-8 million left on his deal (one that can be bought out for $two million after the season). They would essentially be renting a quality hitter who can handle big cities in a risk-free scenario.

A team that has previously been exposed in the heart of their lineup by left-handers (Howard and Ibanez vs. Pettitte, Sabathia, Marte) would now have replenished the righty power they lost in Werth’s defection to Washington.

Their lineup would be more balanced, and they would have some added firepower to knock out a stubborn Giants team likewise loaded with pitching talent.

While the Phillies could potentially boast the best pitching staff since the 90s Atlanta Braves, there is nothing wrong with ensuring a few more runs will be thrown up on the scoreboard in postseason action.

Another option in this midseason scenario would be Texas Rangers infielder Michael Young, but the $32 million left on his deal beyond 2011 makes him an unrealistic and irresponsible trade target for Philadelphia.

The deal would also make sense for the other franchise involved, as the Cubs are looking to get younger and cheaper in some areas to entertain making a push for Albert Pujols’ services at first base.

Chicago could request a quality but unproven arm like Kyle Kendrick from an already crowded and star-studded rotation—while also discussing the inclusion of supplementary prospects.

An expiring contract attached to an aging player would not provide a large haul in return, but grabbing a back-end starter like Kendrick while receiving added payroll relief would be a solid move for the Cubs if in fourth place come June.

Hopefully this will not come into the equation for the Phillies in 2011, and perhaps Utley will make it through 140 plus games with consistent production in the middle of the lineup.

Vegas odds would likely not lean in favor of that scenario, however, and it is not unreasonable to expect a risk-free splash like this one to take place midseason.

Fans in Philadelphia should keep a very close eye on the standings in the NL Central throughout the early months of the season, as a dangerous veteran like Ramirez could be re-energized by a change of scenery and World Series contention.

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New York Yankees ‘Lucky 13’: Derek Jeter and All-Time Most Hyped Prospects

The New York Yankees are proud to display their best collection of minor league talent since the early-to-mid 1990s. They also have a fan base that is now more abreast on prospects than ever before, which inevitably causes love affairs and limitless hype thrust in the direction of teenagers.

There has been a heightened interest in young stars across the MLB landscape in general, as players such as Stephen Strasburg, Buster Posey, Jason Heyward, Bryce Harper, and Aroldis Chapman have captivated baseball circles.

All of this prospect hysteria has inspired me to create a list of the most hyped Yankees in team history—representing a caveat that cliffs lay waiting at each turn on the way to the mountain top.

These prospects will span more than six hype-filled decades, and will tell stories of both immortalized success and unbridled failure. Without further ado, let’s dive into the archives of Yankees minor league development:

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