In this week’s rendition of The Waiver Wire’s Power Rankings, we’re going to introduce a new theme.
This week, we’re going to highlight the player that is either has the most to prove to their club in the remaining six weeks (for non-playoff teams) or the player that will be most critical to a team’s run towards October. Gotta love the dog days of summer!
The obvious focus is on Stephen Strasburg and if Washington is actually going to follow through on the innings limit. So, for that reason, we’re not going to select Strasburg as the most important Nat. Instead, the responsibility is going to fall on the shoulders of Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez. Its going to be their responsibility to keep the league’s best pitching staff afloat with or without Strasburg, and they’re more than capable of doing just that.
2. Cincinnati Reds (+0, 74-48, 1st in NL Central)
With Joey Votto still injured, the Reds are continuing to mash and win ball games at an impressive clip. The offense is going to be there, so the critical piece will be coming from the pitching staff, specifically Mat Latos. His recent turnaround has fueled the Reds charge to the top of the baseball world, and if he keeps this up, the playoff rotation the Reds can put together with him and Johnny Cueto with their other-worldly bullpen is just unfair.
3. New York Yankees (+1, 72-49, 1st in AL East)
C.C. Sabathia is battling an elbow injury, so somebody needs to step up and lead the rotation in his absence. I’m not sure many people would’ve thought Hiroki Kuroda would be the guy to do it for them, but that’s what its shaping up to be. How well Kuroda pitches down the stretch and into October could dictate how far the Yankees can go this postseason.
4. Texas Rangers (-1, 70-50, 1st in AL West)
They traded a lot to get him, and Ryan Dempster has not earned his keep with his new team yet. The Rangers need Dempster to return to the form he had in Chicago. They’re not going to win with Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish alone at the top of the rotation. You can hit all you want, but if you don’t have someone that can keep runs off the board in return, you aren’t going to win anything.
5. Atlanta Braves (+0, 70-51, 2nd in NL East)
The pitching staff is very deep, so unlike the four teams ahead of the Braves in the PR, the pressure is on the offense. Chipper Jones and Jayson Heyward have been dynamic all season, but it’s Freddie Freeman who will determine how deep this Atlanta line-up can be. He has all the potential in the world, and he’s starting to live up to it with a late season surge. Read more…
Ever since Major League Baseball instituted Interleague play in the middle of the regular season, one series has always stood out: The Subway Series. It harkens back to the days when there used to be three baseball teams in New York: the Yankees, Giants and Dodgers.
When the Mets returned in 1962, the buzz throughout the city returned, and there has been a dogfight for dominance in New York ever since. Admittedly, it’s a fight the Yankees have usually dominated.
However, with Interleague play set to exist every day of next season, this could be the final year in which the New York Mets and Yankees play their home-and-home six game set. Naturally, here at The Waiver Wire, we rounded up our biggest Mets fan (Greg Kaplan) and, arguably, biggest Yankees fan (Matt McCarthy, though he has competition apparently) to jot down their thoughts and observations throughout the course of Friday night’s game.
Editor’s Note: Greg will be watching the game via SNY on MLB.tv, while Matt is tuning in on My9. I mean, what, you expected them to agree on something before the game even started?
GK: Before the game even gets started, allow me to gush about Johan Santana a little bit here. This is his first start since one of the most memorable games of my life, and he’s trying to become the first Mets pitcher to throw back-to-back-to-back shutouts. So, you know…no pressure.
MM: I knew this was going to come up sooner or later, it was certainly a big day in Mets history. I actually ended up rooting for Johan to get the no-no by the end of the game. I think he is the one pitcher I was ok with getting it on the Mets. All bets are off for tonight though, needless to say I hope he gets shelled. Now I know he got 2 extra days rest, do you think that will play a factor tonight?
GK: I really don’t. He does fine on extra rest, but today will be a litmus test of sorts. However, it will be the popular topic in both broadcasts I bet.
MM: I know on my end, they pointed it out for Kuroda already a few times, pointing out his great record on extra rest of course. I am sure it will be a point of discussion since Johan had to use a career high pitch count to record that no-hitter.
GK: Really Yankee fans? Booing David Wright?
MM: You’re shocked?
GK: A little. What did he ever do to you? Read more…
Well, that didn’t take very long.
After an offseason filled with praise for Cashman and Co. and the job they did to bring the much-maligned starting rotation up to the level of the offense, the wheels have come off big time over the first few weeks. The news came out this afternoon that Michael Pineda will miss the remainder of the year with a right shoulder anterior labral tear, and will go under the knife on May 1st. Two recent examples of pitchers that had serious shoulder surgery are Johan Santana and Chien-Ming Wang. Both needed over a year to come back, although Santana has looked better recently. The Yankees have hope that he might return to form next year, and with his youth he still has time to develop into the pitcher they thought they were getting when they traded Jesus Montero to the Mariners. But while there is still hope for the future, this is just the latest development in a rough start to the season for the starting rotation. Read more…
The New York Yankees announced midday Friday that the team had signed former ace Andy Pettitte to a one-year, $2.5 million minor league contract. The lefty from Baton Rouge, Louisiana begins his third stint with the Yankees organization early next week when he joins the team in Tampa, Florida.
When fellow WaiverWireBlog.com writer Vinny Ginardi first relayed this story to the staff, I was amazed. Happy, but amazed. How in the blue pinstriped hell was this Yankees team going to fit in another starting pitcher? They already have six hurlers in competition for five spots: CC Sabathia locked in at SP1, with Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, Freddy Garcia and Hiroki Kuroda looking to fill out the rotation. Even if this “new” hurler has won 240 regular season games and is the winningest pitcher in postseason history
Then, I noticed a tweet from @YESNetwork; Yankees GM Brian Cashman was about to partake in a booth interview during the third inning of the Yankees’ spring training game with the Washington Nationals, broadcast live on the YES Network.
With baseball season fast approaching, it is time for TheWaiverWire’s inaugural Baseball Preview package. We will look at every division in baseball, starting in the American League and moving from East to West by division. Also, we each team by who will finish last to first. So, the first team you read about from each division is in the basement, and the last is who we determine to win the division.
Division Winner: New York Yankees
Second Place: Tampa Bay Rays, WC Winner (read season preview here)
Third Place: Boston Red Sox (read season preview here)
Fourth Place: Toronto Blue Jays (read season preview here)
Fifth Place: Baltimore Orioles (read season preview here)
Yesterday, the New York Yankees traded top catching prospect Jesus Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners for All-Star right hander Michael Pineda and pitching prospect Jose Campos.
When I first learned of the trade through WaiverWire writer Zak Lansing, my initial reaction was “You cannot be serious”. A solid 18 hours later and much more time to think about it, my initial reaction stands. In fact, I went as far to say on Facebook last night that if a Yankee fan didn’t love this trade, then they need to switch the fanhood to a different team. Read more…