Tag: Mike Cameron

Washington Nationals: Mike Cameron or Rick Ankiel on Opening Day Roster?

This past week the Washington Nationals announced the signing of Rick Ankiel to a minor-league deal.  Along with Mike Cameron, Ankiel gives the Nationals some depth (albeit aged depth) in the outfield heading into spring training.

While neither name will shake the Capitol building, both stand a chance of making the opening-day roster.

While general manager Mike Rizzo has not found his long-term option for center field, this spring could provide for a pretty interesting competition for that spot.

Ankiel’s deal involves an invitation to spring training, and one can assume that Rizzo would like to at least retain Ankiel’s services in the minor leagues, where he would be ready for major league call-up.  Ankiel, after all, possesses the strongest arm of all the Nationals outfield options.

Camerson also has signed a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.  Cameron’s deal includes a $1 million bonus if he makes the Opening Day roster, and he can earn $750,000 in incentives as well.

Obviously, both players want to fill that center field role for the Nats, currently held by Roger Bernadina, according to the team’s depth chart.

It would appear that this is a three-dog race.

Cameron, who is 39 years old, actually has  the best overall offensive numbers going back to 2008.  Rick Ankiel has the second-best, followed by Bernadina.  The irony being  that their offensive finish came in accordance to their age from oldest to youngest.  

Here is a look at their basic batting lines:

Cameron .241 .327 .438 .765
Ankiel .243 .309 .416 .725
Bernadino .242 .304 .364 .668

At the plate, it is obvious that no one hits for average much better than the other.  The difference is minute.  However, Cameron shows the ability to get on base more often, and when he does get a hit, it usually it results in multiple bases.

Ankiel is your median player pretty much across the board.  He will be  32 years old to start the season (and will turn 33 in mid-season) and is pretty even-keeled across the board.  There is nothing that will blow your mind.  The same can be said for Bernadino.

Looking a bit more closely at the figures, Ankiel has played in 438 games since 2008.  That is 43 more than Cameron and 184 more than Bernadino.  However, Cameron has managed to eclipse Ankiel in plate appearnces by 63 (1,585 to 1,522) while Bernadino is not even in that conversation.  

Actually, the only conversation in which Bernadino belongs is age and batting line.  His offensive numbers will fall short unless prorated due to his lack of games played.  To be fair, I will do just that: prorate his numbers, which will be indicated with an asterisk from here out.

While Ankiel leads the charge with hits, Cameron is just one hit behind him:  335 to 334. Bernadino would fall short at 291*.

For power numbers, Cameron leads in home runs, hitting 62. Ankiel has managed 51 and Bernadino 27*.

In runs scored and RBI, not surprisingly, Cameron finished first as well: 198 runs, 182 RBI. Ankiel had 192 runs and 170 RBI, and Bernadino 155* runs and 114* RBI.

On the other side of the ball, age could  prove to be a negative for Cameron and Ankiel.  They have many more miles on their legs than Bernadino.  Though Ankiel has the strongest arm, he is also, as I mentioned, almost 33 years old.  Bernadino is just about four years his junior.

The three-dog race during spring training should prove to be a very interesting one.  While Cameron appears to be the top choice on paper (including an impressive resume consisting of three Gold Glove Awards), his age makes him susceptible to injury.

I find it highly improbable to not see Bernadino on the major league roster, either as the starting center fielder or fourth outfielder.  The true race comes down to Cameron and Ankiel.

Without knowing the exact parameters of Ankiel’s deal, it is hard to gauge whether the final decision will be a financial one.  While Cameron historically has been the better player, the team could opt for Ankiel if  that saves money without seeing a drastic drop in offensive numbers.

Then again, who knows? Maybe Bryce Harper comes in and  takes the job away from all three of these guys.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Boston Red Sox Prospect Preview, Vol. I: OF Ryan Kalish

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be publishing a series of article on the Red Sox farm system, profiling a dozen or so top-tier prospects that have high potentials, and will likely help the club as the next wave of home-grown talent.

When Red Sox outfielders starting dropping like flies last spring and summer, the Boston management scoured their farm system for fresh legs and young arms in hopes of bridging the gap to Ellsbury‘s and Cameron‘s returns without settling for mere placeholders. Darnell McDonald and Daniel Nava gave Red Sox nation memorable debuts with walk-off wins and first-pitch grand slams.

Though the offensive numbers for Boston outfielders failed to impress in 2010, the entertainment value and excitement these two brought to the team far exceeded expectations. But beyond any other call-up the team made in 2010, Triple-A stud Ryan Kalish sparked fire in Red Sox nation and recalled our memories of a similar, gritty rightfielder.

Kalish (22 years, 6’0″, 200 lbs.) started the 2010 campaign in Double-A Portland. He was quickly advanced to Pawtucket by June, and spent the better part of two months at Triple-A before his July 31 call-up. In his half of a season (293 AB) in the minors last year, Ryan compiled some impressive numbers. Between Portland and Pawtucket, Kalish produced an .884 OPS to go along with 47 RBI, and stole 25 bags in 28 attempts.

His BA/OBP/OPS line in the majors of .252/.305/.405 does not have American League pitchers quaking in their cleats at the thought of his arrival. He struck out too much, walked too little, and showed his rawness against better left-handed pitching.

But it should be noted that Kalish improved as the summer waned and September rolled around. More importantly, he dug in and came up clutch in scoring opportunities. His OPS with men on base was .893. With RISP, it was even better at .912.

Defensively, the line on Kalish heading into 2010 was plus range with an erratic arm of mediocre strength. This is one case where the scouting report probably didn’t do its homework, as Kalish showed slightly above-average arm strength and seldom missed cut-off men on extra base hits. As young as he is, there is probably still an opportunity to add arm strength like young pitchers often do.

With Drew‘s inevitable departure after 2011, the rightfield job would seem to be Kalish’s to lose. If there is a challenger to the opening, it may come from Josh Reddick. Josh has shown to be a tremendous athlete with considerable pop in his bat. But Reddick is a year older, and has not risen through the ranks with the offensive consistency needed to escape 4-A status.

On balance, I think the Red Sox will give the nod to Kalish, taking into account his impressive debut, complete skill set, and flair for the big stage.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Mike Cameron Content With Backup Role, Could Be Main Component for 2011 Sox

Last week, WEEI’s Alex Speier reported that Mike Cameron had no wish to leave Boston. Despite an offseason that clearly puts Cameron as the fourth OF on a solid outfield—both offensively and defensively—the 38-year-old vet with 16 years of MLB service is content with his role as a backup.

The Red Sox have listened to offers for Cameron and probably will continue to do so for the rest of the offseason. After all, Cameron is due a hefty $7.25 million for the remainder of 2011.

However, it’s no shock that a team might not be willing to take on the large contract of an aging outfielder, and Cameron could very well open the season on the Red Sox 25-man roster.

Last season was a bit of a struggle, to say the least, for both Cameron and the Red Sox. Cameron appeared in just 48 games all season long, the lowest total since he became a full time player in 1997 and only the second time he’s played less than 100 games in a season (2005 the only other season).

In all, he made just 162 at bats, batting .259/.328/.401/.729, with four HR and 15 RBI. He struggled with injuries for most of the season, suffering from kidney stones early on and eventually succumbing to an abdomen tear when he received the season-ending surgery in June.

Perhaps the biggest surprise, however, was Cameron’s shoddy defense. Even before injuries hampered his mobility, Cameron had problems fielding in Fenway Park. He made two errors in just 392.0 innings of work, and his UZR/150 was an atrocious -28.2.

It makes a good deal of sense for Cameron to want to stay in Boston. After a lackluster 2010, the fact that he is making a good deal of money on a championship contender is quite fortunate.

However, Cameron has an unique opportunity going forward in 2011. If he opens the season with the Red Sox, he has a good chance to make a significant impact, albeit in a reserve role.

It’s no secret that the Red Sox have a large number of left-handed batters in their lineup. All three outfielders are left-handed, in addition to DH David Ortiz. Cameron has the skillset to fill in for all four of these players on a regular basis. He also provides a failsafe if Ortiz isn’t able to get it going, or if Ellsbury struggles initially after missing so much time.

We could see Tito use him as a regular pinch-hitter for either Ellsbury or Drew. And given Drew’s considerable struggles against left-handed pitching, Cameron has the potential to emerge in a quasi-platoon split in right field:

Against LHP 2010: 149 AB, 4 HR, 19 RBI, .208/.302/.309/.611.

Cameron has to improve his defense if he wants to be relied on as a late-inning pinch hitter. All three starting outfielders for the Sox are great defenders, so it won’t fare well for Cameron if he’s unable to perform in the field late in the game.

However, Cameron is also a three-time Gold Glove winner and has consistently been one of the better defensive outfielders in baseball. Given the fact that he was injured early on, he was never able to gain any form of consistency in the field.

His bat is exactly what they need, however: a power-hitting righty who can occasionally fill in for the numerous lefties occupying the lineup.

Cameron actually gave them pretty good offensive effort during the month of July last season, albeit in a very small sample size:

July: 60 AB, 3 HR, 7 RBI, .250/.333/.483/.817 batting line.

That’s the type of offensive production the Sox were looking for when they signed him initially. If they can get that in a backup role, then Cameron will be golden, so long as he fixes his defense.

Cameron is going to get the opportunity to become an integral part of the 2011 Red Sox championship run. Hopefully for Red Sox fans, he makes good.

Dan is a Boston Red Sox Featured Columnist. For more news, stories, and opinion, follow him on twitter at danhartelBR.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Carl Crawford Signing: What It Could Mean For Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron

The big news today is that the Boston Red Sox massively overpaid for former Tampa Bay Rays outfielder, speed demon Carl Crawford. $126 million over 7 years. Whether or not you think that Crawford is worth that kind of money, one thing’s for sure: The Red Sox are likely out of the running for Washington Nationals outfielder Josh Willingham, who once again is rumored to be on the trading block.

However, the Red Sox now have an incredibly crowded outfield. Crawford will likely be in left, JD Drew (consistently my least favorite player on the Red Sox), Jacoby Ellsbury in center, and either Mike Cameron or Ryan Kalish on the bench. Likely Cameron, as Kalish can stay down in Pawtucket for another season.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

The Dream Is Over: The 2010 Boston Red Sox Are Done

Being a fan of the Boston Red Sox is never easy. After spending decades of relishing in the role as the lovable losers, the Red Sox finally won a World Series ring. In fact they went on to win more than one championship and people began to expect them to win. As a fan, I also began to believe that every year the Red Sox, my team, could win it all.

I began a ritual of placing a wager on the Red Sox every year to win the American League East and the World Series. This year, Just Bet listed the Red Sox as 3-1 underdogs to win the A.L. East, and 10-1 to win the World Series.

I placed my bet and began to dream about a big payout, and another World Series ring for the Sox. I have come to realize that in late August, the dream is over. For those of you that still believe, you would be thrilled to know that at Just Bet.com the Red Sox are now18 to 1 to win the A.L. East and 35 to 1 to win it all!

At the beginning of the year if you were to tell me the Red Sox would have a slew of injuries throughout the year, and still have over 70 wins in late August, I would be thrilled.

That is exactly what has happened.

The problem is in the AL East that is just good enough for third place and roughly six games behind the leader. In any other division in baseball the Red Sox would own the lead, or be fighting for the lead, but not in the A.L. East.

The Red Sox are trailing both the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays as the season winds down and things are looking grim. It’s not that six games is an insurmountable lead, but the obstacles that stand in the way of the Red Sox are very daunting.

The first place to start is the schedule.

The Red Sox schedule to end the year is frightening. The Sox have struggled against the teams remaining on the schedule. That last stretch includes 12 games against division rivals the Yankees and Rays, a short six game trip to the West Coast, and seven out of the last ten games are on the road.

For those that would argue the Sox can make up games against Baltimore and Seattle, two cellar dwellers on the schedule, think again. The Sox are a woeful 8-8 against those teams this year and Baltimore is playing much better since Buck Showalter was hired as head coach.

I do applaud the way that the Sox played this year with all the injuries they had to endure, but it’s only gotten worse. Kevin Youkilis, Mike Cameron, and Jacoby Ellsbury are all done for the season taking both offense and defense away from this team. Dustin Pedroia recently returned from injury, but was placed back on the disabled list just three days later.

The injuries have dismantled the offense, and if you’re looking for pitching to bail out the Sox, guess again. The Red Sox are currently 20th in the league in Earned Run Average (ERA) behind several opponents that they play again before the year is over to include Oakland and (you guessed it) New York and Tampa Bay. The once unhittable Jonathan Papelbon has six blown saves on the year and an ERA over three. In short, the pitching is not living up to the hype.

The dream is over Red Sox nation; the 2010 version of your favorite team is not going to the post season. We as a nation can blame it on injuries, being in the toughest division in baseball, or just bad luck, but it’s over.

The best we can hope for is that we play spoiler in the last three game set of the season and stop the hated Yankees from winning another division title.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Boston Red Sox: Season May Already Be Over

Weeks ago, most of Red Sox Nation seemed to give up on the idea that the Sox could overtake the Yankees and win the AL East. The conventional wisdom was that the team was now fighting to overtake the Rays for the Wild Card spot.

But things have recently changed. 

In the last 10 games, the Yankees are 5-5, while the Rays have gone 9-1, tying New York for the AL East lead. 

For their part, the Red Sox are 6-4 in the last 10 games. But they are just 8-9 since the All Star break, putting them 6 ½ in back of the Yankees and Rays for both the AL East title and the Wild Card. 

It is increasingly looking like 95 wins won’t be enough to get the Sox into the postseason this year. To win 100 games, they will need to go 40-16 the rest of the way, which includes 10 games against the Yankees, six against the Rays, and seven against the first-place White Sox.

I’m not here to say that’s impossible, but it’s fair to say it’s highly unlikely.

The Red Sox are the walking wounded and look like a MASH unit. Last night, Eric Patterson, Ryan Kalish, and Daniel Nava played in the outfield. Who could have imagined that in April? Most fans had never even heard of any of them.

Jason Varitek, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury are all out. As customary, Terry Francona never knows when JD Drew will be hurt and unable to play.

Drew has played in 94 games so far this season. If he plays in the remaining 56 (an unlikely scenario), he will reach 150 games, or four more than he’s ever played in any season of his 12-year career.

Francona is dealing with unpredictability on a nightly basis. 

Darnell McDonald has played in more big league games this season than in his entire career with three previous clubs. And when the season started, who could have guessed that Bill Hall would have appeared in 76 games and have over 200 at-bats for the Sox? That’s more than Varitek, Ellsbury, and Cameron; simply unpredictable.

The surprising Red Sox offense has suddenly cooled. In the 17 games since the break, the Sox have scored more than four runs just six times. And they have scored three or less seven times. 

Increasingly, Red Sox starters have to be dominant, and go at least seven innings, for the team to win. The Sox’ bullpen has been lamentable, to say the least, this season.

Yes, there are still waiver deals that can be completed in August, but it’s likely that none of them will have significant impact. For better or worse, this is the team.

Yes, they will eventually see the returns of Varitek, Pedroia and perhaps even Ellsbury (don’t hold your breath). But by then, it may be too little, too late.

To further add to the team’s woes and misery, Kevin Youkilis was placed on the 15-day DL today due to a ruptured muscle in his right thumb. If the muscle fully tears, it would result in a serious injury requiring surgery. Such an injury could potentially affect his career.

As it is, Youkilis’ season, like that of the Red Sox, is in jeopardy. 

In this decade, it’s unusual to declare that the Red Sox season is over and lost in August, but at this point, that seems to be the case.

One hundred wins is just wildly unrealistic.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress