Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Miranda Warnings": The Amazin' Mess!

Welcome to Week #12 of "Miranda Warnings", your weekly guide to what's happening in the world of Major League Baseball, from a fantasy baseball perspective. Every Wednesday, throughout baseball's regular season, "Miranda Warnings" will appear on I'm your host Michael Miranda.

National League East: If you've been reading "Miranda Warnings" in 2008, you know that I've been calling for the firing of Mets Manager Willie Randolph since early May. Randolph, arguably, deserved to be dismissed, as the Mets have been underachieving for almost three years, culminating in the infamous 2007 late-season "meltdown". The 2007 "meltdown" resulted in the Mets, unbelievably, missing the playoffs. Entering 2008, the message was clear: The Mets had to produce or heads would roll. On Tuesday morning, the inevitable occurred, with Randolph, pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto, all getting axed. However, although Randolph's firing was inevitable, the manner in which Mets management handled it was a damn disgrace and nothing short of repulsive! Mets GM Omar Minaya takes full responsibility for the firing, but there's more than meets the eye here. Minaya could have justified Randolph's firing at the end of 2007, following "the meltdown". Minaya could have justified a firing in late May 2008, when Randolph met with Mets ownership, amidst rumors that his dismissal was imminent. Minaya could have justified a firing when, after receiving "support" from Mets ownership in the aforementioned late May 2008 meeting, the Mets were swept in four games by the San Diego Padres, one of the worst teams in baseball. Instead, Minaya allowed Randolph (and his coaching staff) to fly 3,000 miles, from New York to Los Angeles (to face the Angels), before announcing the firing in the wee-hours of the night (3:12 a.m EST), via a press release! Although Minaya takes full responsibility for the firing, he was pressured by ownership (owner Fred Wilpon and his son Jeff, the team's chief operating officer) to fire Randolph, and to do it far away from the New York spotlight! Minaya chose LA, because that's about as far away from New York as you can get. Minaya then proceeded to botch-up the firing with an ill-timed, cowardly, unprofessional announcement. Minaya botched it up so bad that he is now public enemy #1 (see 6/18/08 "New York Newsday" front page, pictured above)! Despite rumors of his impending demise, Randolph conducted himself with dignity and class in the days and weeks leading up to his firing. Randolph, Peterson and Nieto all deserved a more professional, dignified exit and should consider themselves lucky to no longer be a part of the team from Queens, now known as the New York Mess!... Braves C Brian McCann is heating up. He went 2-for-4, including his 13th homer, in Tuesday's loss to Texas. He's hitting .310!... Marlins P Scott Olsen continued his inconsistent ways in 2008 Tuesday, lasting just 4 1/3 innings against the weak-hitting Mariners. Olsen surrendered 4 ER, a whopping 11 hits and 1 BB, as he fell to 4-4. Olsen is pitching to contact moreso in 2008, than in any of his previous seasons, which means there is less margin for error for the young lefty... Washington OF Elijah Dukes is finally beginning to strut his stuff and payback the Nats for the patience they've had with him. Dukes went 2-for-3 with a double, a stolen base and two runs in Sunday's win over Seattle. Dukes has a six-game hitting streak and is worth a look in deep fantasy leagues... Philadelphia P Brett Myers continues to struggle. Myers allowed 6 ER and 8 hits in 6 IP, while taking the loss Sunday at St. Louis. Myers has lost three in a row, with a 5.78 ERA in his last 18 2/3 innings.

National League Central: Houston is in danger of falling out of the NL Central race. The Astros have lost six straight to fall to 1/2 a game out of last-place. Despite the 'Stros struggles, OF Carlos Lee continues to produce. Lee went 2-for-4, with a home run on Tuesday versus Baltimore. Lee is one of the best producers in the Majors with 15 HR's, 53 RBI's and is hitting .277... Brewers P Manny Parra continued to improve Tuesday, versus Toronto. Parra went seven innings, allowing four hits shutout and four walks, while striking out five, to raising his record to 6-2... Cardinals P Todd Wellemeyer has been solid in 2008 (7-2, 3.67 ERA), but his recent elbow woes continue. He's been scratched from his scheduled start June 19. Wellemeyer was sidelined for seven days earlier this month due to discomfort in his right elbow. Wellemeyer was not placed on the disabled list, with rest/rehab being the current course of action... Rumors surfaced late Monday that OF Alfonso Soriano (fractured left hand) will attempt to return in time for the All-Star game! Don't believe the talk! Keep in mind, Soriano broke his hand just last week! Soriano is expected to miss at least another four weeks with the injury. Although the swelling in his hand has gone down, Soriano still has to wear a brace to avoid re-injuring his hand. He is not allowed to perform any baseball activities, until further notice... Pittsburgh P Ian Snell was ripped apart Tuesday by the White Sox, giving up 7 ER, 9 hits and a staggering 6 BB's in only 4 IP's. In 2008, Snell's WHIP is an unsightly 1.87 and the opposition is battering him to the tune of a .320 BA! Ouch!... Cincinnati P Homer Bailey's "star" has dimmed significantly. Bailey, a highly-touted prospect as recently as this spring training, got rocked by the Red Sox Sunday (2 1/3 IP, 5 ER, 3 BB's and 3 HR's) to fall to 0-3, with a ghastly 8.76 ERA and horrific 2.11 WHIP. The former first-round draft seems destined for another trip back to the minors to get himself straightened out.

National League West: It's not often that you hear this, so it's a situation that bears monitoring: Arizona P Brandon Webb got smoked (3 1/3 IP, 7 ER, 9 hits, 5 BB's, 3 K's) by the A's Tuesday! The loss drops Webb to 11-3. Is Webb's troublesome hip still bothering him? Stay tuned!... The saga surrounding Dodgers SS Rafael Furcal (back) continues. Three times (that I can remember), Furcal has been scheduled to begin a rehab assignment, only to suffer a setback. Apparently, the bulging disk rumors that surfaced a few weeks ago may be true. Furcal is currently out until, at least, early July. We shall see!... Giants stud P Tim Lincecum had his first rough outing of 2008 (7 IP, 6 hits, 4 ER, 3 BB's, 3 K's) and it wasn't really all that bad, especially considering he faced a strong Detroit lineup. Lincecum is special (8-1, 2.21 ERA)... San Diego's top-prospect, 3B Chase Headley, made his 2008 debut and went 2-for-4 (two singles) in Tuesday's loss to the Yankees. Headley's ceiling is not that high because of pitcher-friendly PETCO Park, his lack of speed and the Padres tailoring him to play outfield (i.e. his natural 3B position is blocked by Padres 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff). Headley is worth a spot on fantasy rosters in need of a 3B, just don't get carried away with your expectations. Headley was hitting .305, with 13 home runs and 40 RBIs for Triple-A... Rockies OF Willy Taveras was running wild in Saturday's win over the White Sox, stealing five bases! Although Taveras has 30 SB's in 2008, an in-depth look at his overall numbers (.239 BA, 1 HR, 32 runs, 14 RBI's) reveals that he's a below-average fantasy OF. He should only reside on fantasy rosters that are in desperate need of speed.

American League East: This past weekend, Toronto OF Vernon Wells experienced soreness in his recently fractured wrist. Wells is ok though, evidenced by his 3-for-5 performance versus Milwaukee on Wednesday... Orioles closer George Sherrill collected his 23rd save of the season Tuesday, pitching a perfect ninth inning to slam the door on the Astros. Sherrill's 23 saves rank second in the Majors to Francisco Rodriguez (28 saves) of the LA Angels! Few gave Sherrill a chance of succeeding in the closer role, let alone dominating it. He has been one of 2008's major surprises... Tampa Bay OF Carl Crawford is showing signs (albeit small ones) that he's possibly ready to emerge from his June funk. Crawford went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored on Wednesday versus the Cubs. What "funk" am I referring to? Glad you asked! Crawford is hitting .195 in June!... A few weeks ago, Boston lost slugger/team-leader DH David Ortiz (wrist) for 4-6 weeks. In the 6/4 edition of "Miranda Warnings", I expressed serious concerns about the impact of such a loss. I couldn't have been more wrong! Since Ortiz' injury, OF J.D. Drew has more than picked up the slack by putting up softball-type numbers! Are you ready for this? In June, Drew is hitting .441, with 9 HR's and 21 RBI's! Drew's onslaught shows no signs of ending anytime soon as he went 4-for-5 with a homer, two runs scored and four RBI's Wednesday versus Philadelphia... The Yankees might have lost P Chien-Ming Wang (foot) for the remainder of 2008. A best-case-scenario has Wang returning in late August/early September! In a complete act of desperation, the Yankees signed P Sidney Ponson to a minor league contract.

American League Central: Cleveland DH Travis Hafner (shoulder) suffered a setback in his rehab. Hafner will now make the dreaded trip to Birmingham, Alabama, to receive a second opinion from infamous surgeon, Dr. James Andrews. I say "dreaded" because a trip to see Dr. Andrews usually (not always) ends with surgery being the solution. On the disabled list since May 30 with right shoulder weakness, Hafner and his fantasy GM's are keeping their fingers crossed!... I've said it before and I'll say it again: Don't give up on Kansas City 3B Alex Gordon. Gordon is in his second season and putting up respectable numbers (.272 BA, 8 HR's, 31 RBI's). Remember, he's only 24 years old and arrived in KC in 2007, never having played Triple A ball. In the near future, possibly as soon as 2009, Gordon will start putting up numbers comparable to Mets 3B David Wright. When (not if) KC starts winning on a consistent basis, Gordon will be one of the main reasons why. Trust me, Gordon is the real deal! Be patient!... If Detroit somehow manages to recover from their horrendous start, they'll have to thank P Armando Galarraga. Galarraga was in cruise-control versus the Giants on Wednsday (6 IP, 7 hits, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K). Galarraga, who is not a prospect, by any means, and was not even in Detroit's plans entering 2008, is now 7-2!... On the opposite end of the spectrum, one-time "can't-miss" prospect, Minnesota OF Delmon Young, continues to baffle with his nonexistent power (1 HR, 24 RBI's in 261 AB's!)... Chicago OF Carlos Quentin (17 HR's, 56 RBI's) went 2-for-4, with a homer and two runs scored Wednesday's versus the Pirates. Quentin has been very quiet lately (4-for-33), no doubt slowed a bit by a sore thumb. Quentin and Manager Ozzie Guillen both say that the injury is minor. If Quentin can remain healthy, he is very capable of launching 40+ HR's.

American League West: Usually reliable, LA Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez (1 ER, 2 hits) faltered Wednesday versus the Mets, suffering his second blown save of 2008. K-Rod leads the Majors with 28 saves and is entitled to an off-day, once in a while... Oakland closer Huston Street has quietly put together a nice 2008. Street pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 13th save Sunday against the Giants. He's a solid #1 or #2 fantasy closer... The Daily Herald is reporting that the Mariners will release 1B Richie Sexson within days. Sexson's numbers are ugly (.220 BA, .294 OBP, .380 SLG), so this should come as no surprise to anyone. If Sexson resides on a fantasy roster, it begs the question, why? Seattle owns baseball's worst record (25-47) and began making changes by firing GM Bill Bavasi earlier this week. Expect many more changes in the Pacific Northwest... Texas C/1B Jarrod Saltalamacchia is in a 2-for-21 skid and not seeing regular AB's. Salty has lots of upside, so I wouldn't give up on him in 2008, just yet. Long-term, 2009 and beyond, he's a solid investment.

See you next week!

Related Posts by Subject