Read quotes from Cole Hamels this morning in which he admitted he wasn’t 100% with his concentration yesterday- well, isn’t that great. Hopefully this is just a spring training issue, as he does typically have trouble this time of year. Hamels appears to have great stuff thsi spring, just like the last half of last year, but only when he focuses and treats each pitch as if it matters. I really believe he has as good a chance as anyone to win the Cy Young Award this year- but I don’t really understand why he always seems to have these periods when he gets distracted- and why Dubee hasn’t been able to do a better job of keeping him from having this type of problem repeatedly.
Very interesting to see the Rangers decide to return Feliz to closer position. I recognize how frustrating it can be to watch a bullpen blow a game late and how well Feliz did in the position last year, but a dominant starting pitcher, which Feliz certainly appears he can be, is much more important, and much harder to replace, than a relief pitcher. From all appearances, it seems this was purely a decision made to address the concerns of Ron Washington, who didn’t trust anyone else he had in the bullpen to handle the 9th inning. If I was the GM, I would have told Washington to suck it up, Feliz is starting, now you figure out, with your supposedly great pitching coach, how to put someone else in the position to handle one inning. Doesn’t make sense to have someone with the ability to go lots of innings with great pitches only throw about 50-60 innings this year, versus 200+ innings. I think the Rangers will regret this decision, given how weak their starting pitching is, and will miss the playoffs because of it.
Another sign of how far the Yankees have fallen in the pitching department after losing out on Cliff Lee- signing Kevin Millwood!! Yikes!! Millwood won only four games last year, and not just because he pitched for the awful Orioles. Millwood might make an okay 5th starter in the NL on the Pirates or Nationals, a la Livan Hernandez, but possibly pitching in the AL East for the Yankees- what’s next, the Yankees use old, over the hill pitchers like Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, yeah right… Oh, what, they already are? Wow, Brian Cashman really is a genius- not. No way, despite the Yankees great offense, they make the playoffs this year without drastic changes to their pitching staff. I’m predicting they tie for third in AL East with Toronto. Imagine what happens if Sabathia gets hurt. All that money, and this is what they have for pitching?
Well, as we start Spring Training (YAY!!!) one of the biggest questions surrounding the Phils is what to do with overpaid innings-eater Joe Blanton. Now, that probably does a disservice to Blanton, who, at times, has pitched very well for the Phillies. But, I’m sure, like most of us, Amaro wishes he had not signed off on the 3-year deal for Blanton, and realizes the best thing for all is to find a willing trade partner- and no, that isn’t the Texas Rangers and Michael Young. My recommendation, mainly because it makes the most sense, is for the Phils to trade Blanton to Toronto for Juan Rivera. Rivera makes a little more than $5 million this year, and would be off the books next year, saving $3 million this year and the whole $8.5 owed Blanton for next year. Toronto could certainly use a veteran presence, and have the money after somehow getting the not-so-bright Tony Reagins in Anaheim to take Wells and his incredibly bad contract. Rivera would be a better 4th/5th outfield option than Mayberry (no way he ever hits a major league breaking ball) and could provide surprising offense based on some good offense output in the not so distant past. The only other real option I see for a trade of Blanton right now is the Yankees, but I can’t see the Yankees viewing Blanton as much of an upgrade. What do you all think?