Tag: Jake Westbrook

MLB Trade Rumors: Updating All of the Hottest Waiver-Trade Buzz

As of Aug. 23, 15 major league teams either hold a playoff spot or are within seven games of one and could be looking to improve their playoff chances by making a waiver-wire deal in the near future.

Seven August trades have happened thus far:

  • The Texas Rangers acquired outfielder Alex Rios from the Chicago White Sox for prospect Leury Garcia.
  • The Kansas City Royals picked up utility infielder Jamey Carroll from the Minnesota Twins and utility man Emilio Bonifacio from the Toronto Blue Jays, both for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays acquired lefty Wesley Wright from the Houston Astros for cash considerations.
  • The Washington Nationals acquired outfielder David DeJesus from the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later.
  • The Oakland A’s acquired catcher Kurt Suzuki and cash from the Nationals for minor league pitcher Dakota Bacus.
  • The Rays acquired outfielder David DeJesus from the Nationals for a player to be named later or cash considerations. 

With plenty of trade possibilities still lingering, here’s all of the latest waiver-trade buzz from around the league.


Will the St. Louis Cardinals Seek a Starting Pitcher?

With Jake Westbrook landing on the disabled list with a strained lower back, the Cardinals are set to go with rookie left-hander Tyler Lyons in his place on Monday. Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez, two of the better pitching prospects in baseball, are in the bullpen and could also be options down the stretch. 

Ideally, they wouldn’t have to rely on young and inexperienced pitchers, especially during a time of the season when they’re normally done throwing a baseball for awhile—the minor league season ends in early September.

General manager John Mozeliak has said that a waiver-wire acquisition would be difficult, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but that doesn’t mean he’s not looking. Former Cardinal and current Nationals starter Dan Haren has cleared waivers, along with Houston Astros lefty Erik Bedard.

I recently wrote about which of those two would be a better fit for the Texas Rangers with Alexi Ogando landing on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Westbrook’s disabled-list stint could put St. Louis in the same dilemma. The Cardinals have enough at the top of the rotation but could find it hard to hold onto a playoff spot or at least the more coveted position of going straight to the division series as opposed to a one-game Wild Card. 

Two other veterans who could hit the waiver wire later this month are Los Angeles Angels lefty Jason Vargas and Seatle Mariners lefty Joe Saunders. Both have a high enough salary that it’s likely each would clear waivers or at least drop to a contending team on the waiver wire in need of a starting pitcher.


Late-Inning Relief Options Dwindle with Betancourt Injury 

Colorado Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt (pictured) was activated from the disabled list last Saturday, recorded his first save in over a month on Tuesday, blew a save on Wednesday, was placed on revocable waivers on Thursday, blew another save later that day and then landed back on the disabled list Friday with an elbow injury that could require Tommy John surgery. 

Just like that, a top late-inning option for contending teams is off the board. White Sox right-hander Matt Lindstrom remains the lone reliever who has been reported to have cleared waivers, while there’s a chance several others could join him later this month. 

Of the soon-to-be free-agent relievers on non-contending teams, Milwaukee Brewers lefty Mike Gonzalez, Cubs closer Kevin Gregg, New York Mets closer LaTroy Hawkins and Mariners lefty Oliver Perez are the most likely to draw interest if made available.


Cleveland Indians Exploring Deals on the Waiver Wire

The surprising Indians, who are still hanging around in the playoff race, are considering all options to upgrade their roster down the stretch. According to Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti is open to pursuing an upgrade on the waiver wire if the right opportunity presented itself. 

The Tribe could look to upgrade an offense that has a .649 OPS in August with just about every hitter struggling aside from Ryan Raburn (7-for-26, 4 HR), Yan Gomes (.844 OPS in 13 games) and Nick Swisher (.720 OPS in 20 games). 

Adam Dunn of the White Sox and Justin Morneau of the Twins are the biggest-name hitters among those who have cleared waivers, although Dunn’s $15 million salary for 2014 could present an obstacle. If the Mets were to place Marlon Byrd on waivers, he’d be a potential upgrade over light-hitting Drew Stubbs in right field.

The rotation could also use a reinforcement with Scott Kazmir struggling over his past two starts and rookie Danny Salazar already at a career high in innings pitched after several injury-plagued seasons.  

Morneau’s Value Rising, but Are Trade Chances Decreasing?

Twins first baseman Justin Morneau (pictured) has already cleared waivers, and he has not cooled off one bit during an August hot streak in which he’s posted a .928 OPS with seven homers and eight multi-hit games. Still, general manager Terry Ryan told Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune that he didn’t see anything happening at this point. 

He didn’t rule out the possibility, of course, but Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports is hearing that money is the biggest obstacle. If that’s the case, the Twins might not be willing to eat enough of Morneau’s remaining salary, which is approximately $3 million. 

The Baltimore Orioles, who have gone with Ryan Flaherty, Steve Pearce, Brian Roberts and Danny Valencia at the designated hitter spot over the past week, still appear to be a fit, as do the Indians. 

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Cardinals Sign Jake Westbrook Through 2013 with Option for 2014

Starting pitcher Jake Westbrook and the St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to an extension that will keep him in St. Louis through next season and possibly 2014.

The Cardinals tweeted the news: 

CBS’ Matt Snyder also passed along this statement from Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak: 

Jake continues to be a steady and sturdy part of our pitching staff and we are pleased to announce his extension. His veteran presence is important to the makeup of our team. Jake has demonstrated his leadership with his commitment and hard work, resulting in both a terrific 2012 season and career.

This extension is not a shock; Westbrook looks comfortable with the Cardinals. He’s providing them with some very solid innings, and they’re wise to lock him up before he hits free agency at the end of the season. 

This season, the 6’3″ right-hander is 12-9 with a 3.50 earned run average and has 95 strikeouts in 154.1 innings.

He is now 28-22 with a 4.02 ERA ever since coming to St. Louis in a three-team, trade-deadline deal in 2010. 

What likely got the Cardinals moving on this deal is that starter Kyle Lohse’s contract is up at the end of the season, and he is going to command a ton of attention and a lot of money on the open market. 

Having Westbrook already in the fold for next season limits the damage that would occur if Lohse should leave, and it takes the pressure off the front office to re-sign him if the dollars he is seeking rise beyond his value. 

Time will tell where Lohse ends up, but Westbrook is in St. Louis to stay. 

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Cleveland Indians Year in Review: Top 9 Pitching Performances of 2010

Some writers—no doubt emboldened by four no-hitters, two perfect games and one near-perfect game—have christened 2010 as the “year of the pitcher.”  (Never mind that 1968 was really the “Year of the Pitcher,” with four no-hitters, one perfect game and a scoring environment nearly a run per game lower.)

The Indians witnessed perhaps the best-pitched game of 2010, when Armando Galarraga dispatched the Tribe with great haste.  Had Jim Joyce gotten the call right, Galarraga would have completed a perfect game in just 83 pitches. Even if every Indians hitter had looked at three straight strikes, they would have spared Galarraga only two pitches of effort.

Tribe hurlers were rarely so commanding or efficient last season, but they had their moments.  Here are the top nine pitching performances by Indians of 2010.

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St. Louis Cardinals Lock Up Jake Westbrook With Two-Year Deal

The St. Louis Cardinals officially kicked off their hot stove season with their first major move of the off-season, inking mid-season acquisition Jake Westbrook to a two-year deal worth $16.5 million. The deal includes a full no-trade clause and a mutual option for 2013.

The deal takes care of one of the items on this offseason’s agenda: finding a fourth starter. If Westbrook can replicate his second half numbers from 2010, the deal could pay off big for the Cardinals in the future.

After coming over in a three-team deal that sent All-Star right fielder Ryan Ludwick to the San Diego Padres, Westbrook dominated the National League. His 4-4 record was not indicative of how well he pitched. He posted an ERA of 3.48 and far outpaced his career strikeout rates. What he really excelled at was getting groundballs. Had he mustered enough innings to qualify, his stellar groundball rate would have only been equaled by Braves ace Tim Hudson.

With the free agent market for pitchers very thin beyond  Cliff Lee, who the Cardinals had virtually no chance of signing. With that in perspective, this deal looks like a bit of a steal for St. Louis. Perhaps, because of his much-improved performance after moving into the National League and under the tutelage of masterful pitching coach Dave Duncan, Westbrook felt he needed the Cardinals as much as, if not more than, they need him.

“I didn’t want it to get to the point where I had the [possibility] of the Cardinals maybe finding somebody else and thinking that I didn’t really want to be there,” Westbrook said. “I knew I wanted to be a part of this team, and I was glad to get something done now. Now I can just not worry about it. I’m looking forward to a full season with the Cardinals.”

Now that Westbrook has been inserted into an already strong rotation that consists of former Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter, this year’s runner-up Adam Wainwright, dazzling prospect Jaime Garcia, and former 16-game winner Kyle Lohse, the Cardinals seem to be ready to sit pat on the starting rotation.

“We’re all thrilled,” General Manager John Mozeliak said. “We really think it sets up our rotation to be very strong in 2011.”

However, Mozeliak hints that the Redbirds may be in the market for a sixth starter, to provide extra depth for a rotation that has experienced some injury issues in the past, although not enough to make adding another starter a necessity.

The Cardinals’ first order of business, however, remains signing an extension with star first baseman and three-time Most Valuable Player Albert Pujols.

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Philadelphia Phillies Should Target These 10 Free Agents

As the Philadelphia Phillies’ season came to an abrupt end against the Giants in the NLCS, the offseason went about itself the next day.

We have already seen J.C. Romero’s $4.5 million option not picked up and heard from Jayson Werth about him testing the free agent waters. All odds are pointing toward him not being in a Philadelphia uniform in 2011. With that being said, there are definitely some needs that this Phillies team has to address, and the most likely way to address that is through free agency.

We don’t have any major flaws and we don’t have much payroll that were going to want to add, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be aggressive in the free agent market for the positions that we need to address.

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Baltimore Orioles: Potential Free Agent Targets

The Orioles will go into this offseason happier than any 90-plus loss team has in the history of baseball.

They might have ended the season with 96 losses, but they were 34-24 in August, September and October and under new skipper Buck Showalter, the young players that the organization was beginning to worry about, stopped the regression that was frustrating every fan in Baltimore.

Because of this recent play, general manager Andy MacPhail will almost certainly make a bigger splash in the free agent market this year.

Of the holes to fill, the Orioles would like a solid corner infielder–Josh Bell is not panning out like the organization thought he would–a power hitter and a inning-eating pitcher that can replace Kevin Millwood.

The Orioles would also like a shortstop to replace Cesar Izturiz, who is a liability at the plate, but the pickings are very slim.

Not on this list are the big names of Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford and Jason Werth because the Orioles would have to drastically over pay for these players and I don’t see any of those guys going from Playoff stud, to leader of a rebuilding club.

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Pat Burrell and Two-Start Pitchers: Week 21 Fantasy Baseball Forecast

Lately a lot of the fresh faces in new places are making the most out of their change of scenery. This week it’s time for you to take advantage! Let’s stroll though and see who to sit and who to start.

Start ‘Em

Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals, 23 percent owned

As long as your league doesn’t count fielding percentage or errors, then Desmond is your man this week. He’s been hot after the break, hitting .304 with a .790 OPS since. All of his games next week are at home where he’s hit all but one of his home runs. Against his team’s two opponents next week (CHC, STL), Desmond’s hitting .500 through 20 at-bats this year.

Ryan Theriot, Chicago Cubs, 84 percent owned

You can expect this new acquisition to pay some major dividends this week for the Dodgers. First up, he plays in Milwaukee against the Brewers, where he has a career mark of .368 and a .451 OBP through 102 at-bats—great numbers with a large sample size. 

He also has a .400-plus average against three of the five Brewers starters. His numbers against the Rockies and at Coors Field are great too. Lifetime he’s hitting .327 at Coors Field and .299 against the entire current staff.

Pat Burrell, San Francisco Giants, 18 percent owned

“The Bat” has been on fire since being acquired from the Rays. Five of the six pitchers that he faces this week are right-handed (40 points higher against righties, and 11 of 14 home runs). Against Cincinnati’s pitching, Burrell has a career mark of .333, in 33 at-bats, with great individual numbers against Arroyo (.333, two HR in 18 AB).

Sit ‘Em

Jason Kubel, Minnesota Twins, 94.8 percent owned

This week is going to be Jason Kubel’s gauntlet. He’s hitting .200 with a .290 OBP against lefties this year (a career-long weakness of his). Four of the seven starting pitchers that Kubel will face this week are left-handed. Included in those four are Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson.

Against both the Rangers pitchers and Mariners pitchers, Kubel has a combined career line of .206 in 102 AB and only one home run. This might be a career year for him, but this week showcases his career weakness.

Jorge Posada, New York Yankees, 92.6 percent owned

Posada’s numbers away this year are dismal and his numbers at both the Rogers Centre and Kaufman Stadium fall in line. In away games Posada is hitting .197, 101 points lower than at home. This year at both fields he’s a combined two for 19 (.105).

John Buck might be an affordable option to back-up since most teams only have one catcher on their roster and Buck is only owned in 12.2 percent of leagues. Over the last month he’s quietly hit .297.

Two-Start Pitchers To Use

Jake Westbrook, St. Louis Cardinals, 16 percent owned

Since being acquired from the Indians, Westbrook has thrown four consecutive quality starts. He has amassed 26 strikeouts in only 25 innings, while walking only four, and has posted a phenomenal 3.5 ground to fly-ball ratio. While he is not likely keep that rate up, this week shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for him to maintain those numbers.

PNC Park provides Westbrook with the fifth-worst place for home runs and the Pirates lineup is virgin to Westbrook, limiting their scouting of him. Washington doesn’t fare much better against Westbrook. While their park isn’t as good at containing the yardball, their lineup has only 22 hits in a career 97 at-bats against him.

Gio Gonzalez, Oakland A’s, 29.9 percent owned

Gio’s week from a distance may look like a bumpy one since they face the powerful Rangers. Yet with good, current-year numbers, Gio should make it through this week easily. So far this year Gio has pitched two shutouts against the Indians (13.2 innings total). As for the Rangers, in three starts he has maintained a 2.65 ERA and has kept the batters in check throughout his career (.227 average through 75 ABs, only two home runs).

Two-Start Pitchers To Avoid

Fausto Carmona, Cleveland Indians, 23.6 percent owned

This week a large sports website posted an article about using Carmona because of his two-starts. I’m here to tell you why you should do just the opposite. As a team, the A’s are hitting .344 against Carmona, with the bigger bats crushing him. Cust is hitting .500 against him with two home runs in 10 at bats. Carmona’s BAA post all-star game is a disgusting .335. He’s given up seven earned runs in 10 innings against Kansas City previously this year.

Huroki Kuroda, Los Angeles Dodgers, 86.7 percent owned

Unfortunately for Kuroda owners, he’s taking a trip to two of the top 10 homer-friendly parks in the bigs (third place for Coors Field and seventh for Miller), and his career numbers at both places are horrendous. His career ERA at Coors is 9.00 and his career ERA at Miller is 20.25!

Adding to his troubles are his career numbers against the players of both teams. Colorado players have a combined career .325 average against Kuroda through 83 at-bats. Milwaukee players are hitting .294, however in his defense, this is only through 17 at-bats.

All Statistical Information was obtained through ESPN.com

Written exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com by James Bryce. James is a grad student at UCSD and is currently in his 13th year of fantasy sports.

Follow us on Twitter@TheFantasyFix


Here are some more articles that will smack some sense into you…

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MLB Trade Deadline: Padres, Cardinals, Indians Complete Three-Team Deal

The St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, and Cleveland Indians got together on Saturday and made a nice three team trade that I believe benefited all three teams.

Let’s see what each team got in the trade…


Cardinals receive Jake Westbrook


With the uncertainty surrounding Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse, the Cardinals needed another starter to go along with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. Westbrook fits exactly what the Cardinals needed to a tee.

Pitching coach Dave Duncan likes guys who throw groundballs and pound the strike zone. Westbrook certainly does that. He has a groundball rate of 53 percent.

I would imagine if the Cardinals fend off the Cincinnati Reds and make the playoffs, Westbrook would be their Game Three starter and Jaime Garcia would slide into the Game Four spot.

Greenwood was a 14th round pick of the Padres in the 2009 Draft and posted a 4.15 ERA in 95.1 IP for Single-A Fort Wayne this season.

Padres receive Ryan Ludwick and minor leaguer Nick Greenwood

The Cardinals must really like Jon Jay in order to part with Ludwick. Ludwick is a solid player who has always produced since coming over to the Cardinals in 2007. Now he will go to San Diego, a team that really could use his services.

Padre right fielders rank 11th in the NL with a .758 OPS. Ludwick will certainly help improve that. Ludwick put up a .281/.343/.484 hitting line with 11 HR in 281 ABs for the Cardinals.

He should fit in nicely behind Adrian Gonzalez in the Padres lineup and will be under the Padres’ control for 2011 as well.

Indians receive Corey Kluber

Kluber was a fourth round pick of the Padres in the 2007 draft and has shown tremendous ability to strike people out in four seasons in the minor leagues. Over the course of four seasons, Kluber has a 9.5 K/9 rate, mostly as a starter.

This year, Kluber has a 3.45 ERA and 136 K’s in 122.2 innings for Double-A San Antonio.

I really like this deal for all three parties involved. The Cardinals get their No.3/No.4 starter they needed, the Padres get the outfield bat they so desperately needed, and the Indians continue to trade away assets and get decent value in return.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Why The San Diego Padres Are The Winners Of The Three Team Trade

The day after the San Diego Padres acquired veteran bat Ryan Ludwick, he went 1 for 2 with a run scored. It’s a great start.

But who came out victorious after the Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Cleveland Indians made the three team trade was a question.

Here’s what each team got:

Padres: OF Ryan Ludwick

Cardinals: RHP Jake Westbrook, LHP Nick Greenwood

Indians: RHP Corey Kluber

The Padres gave up the two minor league pitchers for Ludwick.

The Cardinals got a veteran and prospect pitcher in exchange for Ludwick.

The Indians lost Jake Westbrook and got Double A pitcher Kluber, who is 6-6, and has an ERA of 3.45. They are certainly not the winners of this trade.

That leaves us with the two division leading teams.

The Padres could use more offense, and they got a guy that can fill in the batting order in the 3,4,5 spot. Ryan Ludwick has had a 37 HR 113 RBI season just two seasons ago. Last year, he drove in 97 runs. Now, he is hitting .281 with 43 RBIs.

Kluber isn’t the greatest prospect, and so he isn’t the big part of the deal. On the other hand, Nick Greenwood is a 22 year old pitcher for Single A. It seems that he won’t reach the big leagues soon with his 4.15 ERA.

The Cardinals got Jake Westbrook, who is 6-7 with an ERA of 4.65. His last season with an ERA under 4 was back in 2004, before his injuries limited him. Even though he will fill in the back end of the rotation, there really wasn’t a need as Jeff Suppan seemed to be turning things around lately. Not only that, the Cards are leading the division by a handful of games, so there really wasn’t a need to get him, giving up a good bat in Ryan Ludwick.

San Diego seems to have pulled out a big one this time.

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Cleveland Rocks: Why the Indians’ Deadline Deals Are Huge Wins For Tribe

It’s been a whirlwind week for Indians fans.

After finally trading longtime fan frustration Jhonny Peralta on Wednesday, the Indians traded Austin Kearns to the Yankees Friday night, flipped ten-year Tribe veteran Jake Westbrook to the Cardinals Saturday afternoon, then pawned off Kerry Wood’s contract.

Most Clevelanders’ instinctual reactions to this news would be to moan and groan, to relive the moments from last year when Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez were shipped out of town and mumble something about the futility of rooting for a small-market team.

I can certainly relate to the abandonment issues my fellow Tribe fans are dealing with, and I understand the urge to crawl into a corner and sit in the fetal position for the rest of the season.

However, depression and rage are the wrong reactions to this year’s four deadline deals and the June trade of Russell Branyan.

The trading season for the Tribe can only be described with the words of a wise man from Kazakhstan: “Great success!”

Branyan, Peralta, Kearns, Westbrook, and Wood all had one thing in common: either their contracts were set to expire at the end of the season or they had options for the 2011 season that the Indians had no interest in picking up.

With the Indians already firmly out of the race, keeping these players around for the final two months would have been ridiculous. Had we just let them walk at the end of the season, we would have gotten nothing—the only ones who might possibly qualify for Type B status are Branyan and Peralta, and offering arbitration to either would be risky because they’d be likely to accept.

With the possible exception of Westbrook, who the Indians may try to reacquire in the offseason, they had no place in the Indians’ long-term plans.

We didn’t get a huge haul in return for anyone—two useful but uninspiring young position players (outfielder Ezequiel Carrera and shortstop Juan Diaz, both in the Branyan deal), a pair of solid pitching prospects (righty Corey Kluber for Westbrook and southpaw Giovanni Soto for Peralta), two PTBNLs (both from the Yankees, one each for Kearns and Wood), and at least $3 million in salary relief.

But even if the youngsters we’ve acquired don’t grow up to be All-Stars and Larry Dolan loses all the spare change in a single poorly played hand of Texas Hold ‘Em (stranger things have happened), the point is that in exchange for the outgoing veterans who weren’t helping us anyway, we got a chance to have more hope for the future—six of them, to be precise, maybe more if we put the extra money towards a solid free agent.

The Indians had five useful players who didn’t mean anything to us. All of them have been swapped for potential pieces of a future pennant-winner.

Mission accomplished.

This was outgoing GM Mark Shapiro’s last big chance to score. He brought home a winner.


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