Tag: John Buck

That Marlon Byrd T-Shirt Giveaway Shouldn’t Be Awkward at All After Mets Trade

If you love someone, set him or her free. At least, that’s how the New York Mets might spin Tuesday’s Marlon Byrd T-shirt giveaway in light of their trade of the outfielder to the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

Rumors of Byrd being dealt spread throughout the Internet on Monday and spawned this tweet from Mets correspondent Andrew Harts

Yes, that would be awkward, and yes, the Mets traded the 35-year-old on Tuesday. 

ESPN reports the Mets sent Byrd as well as catcher John Buck to the Pirates, who are currently in a close race with the Cardinals for control of the NL Central, for infield prospect Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later.

The Pirates get depth and the Mets get some rather befuddled fans walking through their turnstiles. Really, you have to love the wings on the Byrd T-shirt. Sure, it’s an allusion to his name, but it’s all the more fitting as the downtrodden team lets their precious Byrd fly free, off to a playoff contender. 

Some of you Blue Jays fans might recall the abrupt end to Frank Thomas’ tenure in Toronto, just a month before the team was going to hold a bobblehead night for him, via TSN

This particular trade is a double whammy of sorts, because it comes just a day after Buck was caught on television consoling New York’s injured star, which must have brought a little warmth to the hearts of Mets fans. 

On Monday, the Mets announced star pitcher Matt Harvey was diagnosed with a partial tear in his pitching arm ulnar collateral ligament. As ESPN notes, the injury will likely end his season and could possibly keep him out the entirety of 2014. 

Which led to the moment shown below: 

It was a truly beautiful and poignant moment between friends dealing with a frustrating season. Yeah, both are gone now—one to the DL and the other to Pittsburgh. 

Hey, but the Mets have some nifty T-shirts to hand out Tuesday. I really hope they go through with the giveaway, because Mets fans need a laugh right now. 


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John Buck Consoles Matt Harvey and Mets Fans Weep Openly

With a tear in his elbow and a long gaze lost on the game before him, Matt Harvey received a much-needed hug from battery mate and friend John Buck

Next Impulse Sports happened upon this video reminding us that baseball giveth and it can most certainly taketh away. 

One minute Harvey is the king of New York, dazzling fans and befuddling batters during a superb season that had him in the discussion for a Cy Young award. 

The next, the 24-year-old is faced with a partial tear in his ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, likely bringing an end to his season, via ESPN

These are the time you just need a hug. 

The Mets are 58-71 and 19.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves after dropping Monday’s game to the Phillies. Really, there is nothing more to play for this season. 

That hardly extinguishes the passion to pitch that no doubt fuels Harvey, who will now hit the disabled list

As ESPN reports, Harvey is hoping to strengthen the area around the tear, but it might be more likely that Tommy John surgery and a presumed 12-month recovery are in the young pitcher’s future. 

For those of us who watched this kid put together a spectacular season wherein he garnered nine wins, 191 strikeouts and a 0.93 WHIP, we are now reminded of the obvious notion that Harvey is human despite some of his superhuman feats. 

Perhaps Bleacher Report’s Zachary Rymer said it best when he tweeted what we were all thinking.


Sadly, no. 

Harvey is just some dude, and we are all prone to getting injured. Harvey will be back and hopefully just as good as when he left. 

Still, the fact that he has to hit the DL, well, stinks. Good thing there are guys like Buck around to lend a shoulder. 

This season has been anything but pretty for the Mets, but it was certainly beautiful in the dugout on Monday night. 


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Hitter’s Paradise: Why Marlins’ Batting Practice at New Stadium Reveals Flaw

We are still a little over a year away from the Florida Marlins entering their new stadium; however, noteworthy is their recent trip which involved members of the Marlins brass (Jeffrey Loria and David Samson) and players Hanley Ramirez, John Buck, Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan and Mike Stanton who took the unofficial first batting practice at the new stadium while being on hand for the first seat installation. 

Now it was just batting practice, but a few home runs throughout the process may have forecasted a potential flaw with the plans of the stadium. Of note: a few baseballs came close to leaving the stadium, specifically one hit by Mike Stanton which cleared the stadium by essentially shooting through the invisible glass panels in left field and exiting the building. 

Even Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria felt worried his “Pitcher Park” would end up being something else, perhaps being a repeat of what happened to the Yankees in their first season at Yankee Stadium.

“Some of those fly balls—I’m not sure this is a pitcher’s ballpark anymore,” Loria said. “The building is gorgeous.”

Let’s examine the future home of the Marlins and current one for a second, shall we? Sun Life Stadium, while mostly considered a pitcher’s park is really a neutral park. 

According to ESPN’s Park Factor, which measures a stadium’s ability to be a hitters paradise or a pitcher’s park, the Marlins’ Sun Life Stadium ranked 10th in runs scored but 24th in home runs per game with 0.822. 

In terms of dimensions, the Marlins new stadium will be 10 feet further in left field (340 feet), 23 feet further in left center (384), 12 feet further in center (416 feet), 17 feet further in right center (392 feet), and 10 feet less in right field (335 feet). 

Nevertheless, dimensions aren’t the full cause of a stadium’s ability to be hitter-friendly or pitcher-friendly. The Marlins haven’t truly played baseball in South Florida indoors, so only time will tell how playing indoors and outdoors in the stadium will effect playing conditions come 2012.

Last season the Minnesota Twins opened their new stadium, Target Field, and ranked last of all 30 Major league ballparks in home runs per game, with 0.641 per game. Target Field’s dimensions are a bit closer to home plate than the Marlins’ new ballpark, but again, only time will tell whether the Marlins’ new stadium is truly a hitter’s or pitchers paradise in South Beach. 

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2011 NL East Preview: Catcher Power Rankings

As we head toward the start of the 2011 MLB season, it’s time to start previewing the NL East.

Instead of just giving a projection for each team, I’ll rank all of the projected starters at every position, leading up to the final predictions.

The catchers are up first, and as with the division in general, the Braves and Phillies are battling for the top spot. Brian McCann and Carlos Ruiz were 1-2 in the National League in WAR for catchers this past season (and Ruiz actually had a higher wOBA), but who will perform better in 2011?

The WAR data used is from FanGraphs and all 2011 projections are from Bill James (via FanGraphs)

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Florida Marlins Review: Can The Fish Offense Contend In The Nl East?

The Florida Marlins enter this year with a new ball club. They have so far made some necessary subtractions and some great additions,but as the Marlins make these changes division rivals are making strong notable improvements and these worry fans within the NL East.

Never the less the Marlins have made some big moves this off-season and here we will review their importance and value to help the marlins offense secure a playoff spot this 2011 season.

This review will take an in depth look at each position and how it has changed for the 2011 season.

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Javier Vasquez Agrees To Terms with Florida Marlins

Right handed pitcher Javier Vasquez agreed to a one year deal with the Florida Marlins.

It was reported that Vasquez had turned down a multi-year deal from another team, which only shows he wants to make himself a front of the rotation guy again, and get a great offer after 2011.

But for now, the deal is known to be somewhere around $7 million, according to baseball insider Ken Rosenthal.

Vasquez, 34, joined the New York Yankees early this year, hoping to carry over his dominant stuff  from the Atlanta Braves to the American League. He failed, posting a 5.32 ERA which is certainly not impressive.

But now that he will be back in the National League, it looks as if Vasquez can regain his 2009 form, where he finished 4th in the Cy Young voting. That year, he finished at 15-10, with an ERA of 2.87. Notice the fact that all the other interested teams in Vasquez were all National League teams: the Colorado Rockies, Washington Nationals, and the Chicago Cubs.

This all makes sense for the Marlins.

The team’s priority this offseason was to add depth to the entire team, and this agreement helped.

Also, Vasquez is an experienced veteran, so this was an excellent addition to the young staff.

This $7 million deal was possible, after the Marlins let go of slugger Dan Uggla to the Atlanta Braves. At least there was some positive side to that.

Florida now has added two veterans, Vasquez and catcher John Buck. They had also received a good hitter in Omar Infante and a bullpen upgrade in Mike Dunn.

The best guess at this point is that Florida will go for a playoff run, and if that does not work, they will trade some of the players, like they did with Cameron Maybin, or Uggla and get even more prospects for the future.

It looks as if this team is up this, but it’s hard to tell this early. Only time will tell.

Javier Vasquez just needs to pass a physical, and this great deal will be official.

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Dan Uggla: Why The Florida Marlins Do Not Need Him

On Nov. 16, the Florida Marlins shocked the baseball world by trading Dan Uggla.  Despite all the rumors that have surrounded Uggla over the years, the Marlins had always neglected to move him.  Until now that is. 

Not only was the trade surprising in and of itself, but the team who the Marlins sent the mighty second baseman Uggla to was a shocker: their National League East rivals, the Atlanta Braves. 

The early consensus around the baseball blogs was that the Marlins got a poor return, that they made a bad choice, and that losing Dan Uggla will hurt them in 2011.  

Its easy to see why losing an offensive force like Dan Uggla would hurt a team.  He is the only second baseman to have hit 30+ home runs four years in a row, and has hit 27 or higher in all five years of his MLB career. 

Uggla, while not a RBI machine, has never put up fewer than 88 in a season, and he topped out at 105 in 2010.  In fact, Uggla had his best season in 2010 when you look at his WAR and triple slash line. 

In 2010 Dan Uggla put up 5.1 WAR (he was worth 5.1 more wins for the Marlins than a “replacement level player”), that 5.1 WAR was actually better than Hanley Ramirez’s 4.4 WAR season. 

Uggla put up a triple slash line of .287/.369/.508, which are all career highs except for when he slugged .514 in 2008.

However, I don’t think the Florida Marlins need Dan Uggla’s bat for the 2011 season.  I even think that the 2011 Marlins will be better without the two time All Star, according to WAR.

In 2011 the Marlins will run out a new fourth hitter on opening day because Uggla took his bat and moved up Interstate 75 to Atlanta; that man will be phenom Mike Stanton. 

In his first 100 MLB games the 6’5″ 233-pound Stanton ripped 22 home runs and doubled 21 times to the tune of a monster .507 slugging percentage (.001 less than Uggla). 

Before that, in double A ball, Stanton hit 21 home runs in only 53 games while slugging .729.  So in 2010, Stanton hit 43 home runs in 153 games over two levels. 

Mike Stanton has power that scouts have been raving about since he was drafted in the second round of the 2007 draft.  Stanton is also heralded as the strongest player in the entire MLB, and the sky is really the limit for this guy.

Stanton is projected by baseball projections guru Bill James to hit 38 jacks in 2011, more than Dan Uggla has ever hit. So, I think Mike Stanton can clearly make up for the presence that Dan Uggla used to provide the lineup.

Now I know that before the trade, Dan Uggla and Mike Stanton were both Marlins, so the fish could have run both mashers out there.  Which, using Bill James’ projections would have produced 69 home runs. 

Yet, I think, by moving Uggla, the Marlins actually will produce more wins, and a similar amount of home runs, than if they had kept him, from the positions affected by the moves. 

By trading Uggla, the Marlins added Omar Infante a solid infielder, and were able to sign slugging catcher John Buck to a three-year contract and add his power bat to the fold. 

So the savings that Florida got from moving Uggla, they smartly used to upgrade another position.

In 2010 Uggla was worth 5.1 WAR (his career high), but in 2010 Buck and Infante combined for 5.6 WAR, even though Buck only appeared in 118 games, and Infante only played in 134. 

It took Uggla 159 games to amass his 5.1 WAR.  So, if Infante appears in 150 games and Buck catches 130, they should easily beat out Uggla in terms of WAR, by a decent margin, which will result in more wins for the Marlins. 

Also Infante and Buck aren’t far off in the power department, as they are only projected to hit seven fewer home runs in 2011 than Uggla.

All in all, the Florida Marlins felt it was safe to trade Uggla. I agree, and think that it was the smart move. 

In 2011, and for his whole future Marlin career, the 2010 “should have been rookie of the year award winner” Mike Stanton will easily produce at levels that can replace Uggla’s bat in the Florida lineup. 

Also, new arrivals John Buck and Omar Infante can produce more WAR, measured in wins, for the 2011 Marlins than fan favorite Dan Uggla would have, while playing better defense and hitting a similar number of long balls.

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Fantasy Baseball Transaction Analysis: Rajai Davis, John Buck And More

There was a flurry of activity yesterday, as the General Managers Meetings were in full swing.  Let’s take a look at the fantasy fallout from the various moves:


The Oakland A’s Traded Rajai Davis to Toronto

After the acquisition of David DeJesus, we all knew that the A’s had excess in the outfield that they needed to do something about. 

This was the first strike as Oakland acquired Double-A relief pitchers Trystan Magnuson and Daniel Farquhar in exchange for the center fielder.

Magnuson, who stands at 6′7″, posted a 2.58 ERA and struck out 63 batters in 73.1 innings.  Farquhar posted a 3.52 ERA and struck out 79 batters in 76.2 innings.  Neither possess fantasy appeal.

Davis has a ton of speed, with 91 stolen bases over the past two seasons.  He hits for a decent average (.284 in ‘10, but there is room for improvement after a .322 BABIP), but he doesn’t walk nearly enough for a leadoff type (4.6% in ‘10).  The A’s clearly preferred Coco Crisp as their leadoff hitter, making Davis expendable.

With Edwin Encarnacion gone, it would appear that Jose Bautista will move to 3B.  That would free up a spot in their outfield for Davis, who also provides their best option in the leadoff spot (despite the lack of walks) given his speed. 

He should be given plenty of opportunities to score runs atop the Blue Jays lineup, which must intrigue owners. 

That makes him a good option late in your drafts if you are in need of speed (though it is a risk, one we will look at later in the offseason).


Joaquin Benoit Signs with the Detroit Tigers

According to ESPN’s Enrique Rojas (via Twitter), the deal is for three years and $16.5 million.  That just seems like an excessive amount of money, unless they view him as a potential closer at some point down the line. 

The Tigers’ closer, Jose Valverde, is signed for $7 million in 2011 with a $9 million option for 2012, so that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Benoit posted impressive numbers in 2010 with a 1.34 ERA, 0.68 WHIP and 11.2 K/9 over 60.1 innings for the Rays.  However, he benefited from a .201 BABIP and 95.1% strand rate, two numbers that are extremely unlikely to be repeated. 

His BB/9 of 1.6 is also doubtful, considering his career 3.3 mark and having only once before being under 3.1 (in 2004, when he was still spending time as a starting pitcher).

He also is two years removed from a 5.00 ERA and 1.67 WHIP for the Rangers (he did not pitch in the Majors in 2009 due to rotator cuff surgery).

A regression is coming and, as a middle reliever, he’s got no value for fantasy owners in 2011.


John Buck Signs with the Florida Marlins

Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter) reported that Buck agreed to a three year, $18 million deal with the Marlins.  Buck, like many of the Blue Jays hitters, enjoyed a big year in 2010.  He hit .281 with 20 HR, 66 RBI and 53 R in 409 AB.

He benefited from a .335 BABIP and with a 27.1% strikeout rate (right along the lines of his 27.0% career mark), and the chances of him maintaining that type of average is unlikely. 

That’s the big concern, as the power should remain.  He actually hit more home runs on the road (11) then he did at home (9).  We all figured that his average was going to regress anyways (he’s a career .248 hitter), so the way we value him should remain unchanged.

The big winner is J.P. Arencibia, who made a splash in his Major League debut and now figures to get the everyday job in Toronto (barring another move). 

He hit .301 with 32 HR and 85 RBI in 412 AB at Triple-A (it was in the Pacific Coast League) and you have to figure he’ll be able to maintain that power in the Major Leagues.

Baseball America currently has him ranked as the Blue Jays’ seventh-best prospect saying, “Arencibia’s carrying tool is his power to all fields, which is at least above-average and draws 70 grades on the 20-80 scale from some scouts.” 

There are questions about his defense and we will look into him in much more detail later in the offseason.

What are your thoughts on these moves?  Who is the big winner?  Who is the big loser?

Make sure to check out our early 2011 rankings:


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Blue Jays Lose Out In Uggla Sweepstakes; Marlins Add Former Jay John Buck

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Florida Marlins announced that they traded All-Star second baseman Dan Uggla to the Atlanta Braves for utility infielder Omar Infante and left-handed pitcher Mike Dunn. In a surprising move, the Blue Jays, originally thought to be the best trade partners for the Marlins, lost out in the sweepstakes.

Uggla, who batted .287 last season with 33 home runs and 105 RBI, enjoyed a career year, but was in the midst of a nasty contract negotiation with the Marlins. Having already turned down a lucrative four-year, $48 million deal with the Marlins, the Marlins appeared willing to trade him for whatever they could get.

The Marlins received Omar Infante, who hit .321 last season with eight home runs and 47 RBI, as well as lefty Mike Dunn, who only pitched 19 innings for the Braves last season, recording a 2-0 record and a 1.89 ERA in 25 games.

As an outsider, I question the motives behind such a move for the Marlins. Why trade Uggla to a division rival? What was the reason behind straying away from their original demands of a top prospect and a starting pitcher?

I just fully question this move, and not because the Blue Jays did not get him, but rather as sympathy towards Marlins fans everywhere. Infante is a decent all-around player with good bat skills, and will probably be a good two-hole hitter for the Marlins, but in the end, they traded their All-Star second baseman for a super utility player and a reliever.

From the good old days, when they would trade soon to be free agents for young prospects, like Hanley Ramirez and others, to today, when they trade all stars for depth players, and young players for more bullpen help (Cameron Maybin trade), I really am beginning to question the Marlins management at the moment.

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Blue Jays offered prospect closers Josh Roenicke and Danny Farquhar along with the Marlins choice of shortstop Ryan Goins or center fielder Darin Mastroianni.

It’s arguable who had the better deal, but the fact remains, Infante is a defensive upgrade over Uggla; however, Infante is coming off a career season and the Braves so adequately dealt him while his value was high. Infante also has never held down a starting role with any ball club since 2005.

The Braves did not have to give up any of their talented pitching prospects, such as right-handers Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado and Arodys Vizcaino and lefty Mike Minor.

In other related Jays and Marlins news, the Blue Jays lost John Buck to the Marlins via free agency, signing the free agent catcher to a new three-year, $18 million deal.

Buck, who also hit 20 home runs for the Blue Jays last season, leaves the club for his third major league team, having played with the Blue Jays and Royals previous.

Your reaction to the no deal from the Marlins and losing catcher John Buck? I want to hear your thoughts.

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Catcher John Buck Soon to Take His Talents to South Beach

According to reports and sources, the Florida Marlins are close to finalizing a three-year deal with free-agent catcher John Buck that can be worth up to $18M.

Buck is a veteran catcher who had a career year in Toronto hitting .281 with 20HR and 66RBI. He will help out the Marlins pitching staff and provide some pop in the lineup.

Most importantly, it fills the need for a catcher. Now if the Marlins want to trade Dan Uggla, they focus on trying to get a top arm or top third baseman rather than a package with a catcher. If the Marlins get a third baseman, Chris Coghlan could go back to his natural position at second.

It will be interesting to see where the Marlins go from here.

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