Peter Gammons chats with Jason Heyward

I like Peter Gammons, and I like Jason Heyward. Naturally, anytime anything occurs involving both of them and I run across it, that item will end up on this blog.

Had I not made the trip over to Baseball Musings today I would have missed this. Gammons wrote on about Heyward’s injury affecting his swing last season.

In June, batting .234, Heyward went on the disabled list to try to rest and rehab his shoulder. At one point, Chipper Jones suggested Heyward might need to learn to play with pain, which was whispered behind the outfielder’s back, and in August, Heyward was struggling so badly that he played sparingly.

“I knew how I felt,” Heyward says. “I knew what I could and couldn’t do. My swing got altered. I changed my hands to make up for the shoulder by changing my base load approach, and that got me more out of line. I tried to slow down and regroup, but it never worked on a consistent basis. When things go the way they were going, it would have done no good to try to answer people, who are going to believe what they’re going to believe. It hurt me, because I love to play; I wanted to be in there every day and contributing. It would have accomplished nothing to get into some war of words. I just focused on doing the best I could do each day, and when the season ended get my shoulder healed.”

If you follow Heyward on Twitter, the guy has been working like an animal to get in great shape and I think he’s going to rebound in a big way in 2012. This is good–baseball gets back one of it’s blossoming young stars and I get a one of my keepers in my most important fantasy baseball leagues to contribute usefully once again. It’s win/win all over the place.

Jon Heyman: reliable baseball scoop-artist, snob

There’s a reason that through the years I’ve continued to check Deadspin every morning despite having less and less time to peruse sites like Deadspin. Through different editors and content and site structure, Deadspin has always been good at bringing to light items like this.

Heyman has always seemed to me to be a very tactful and reliable baseball reporter. I’ve followed him for about two years, and only today do I realize that the tone of some of his tweets would make it seem as though he’s bathing in a pile of Ben Franklin’s every night and smacking people with expensive veal cutlets when they make him angry. And thank you for this, Deadspin.

Don’t be surprised if an elitist Heyman tweet appears someday sounding something like this:

@JonHeymanCBS need to get a new dining room set. these homeless people aren’t as comfortable as the day i bought them. harder to sit on when they get real skinny. later.

  • Jon Heyman’s Tweets Make Him Seem Like the Richest Man Alive. [Deadspin]

Pat Burrell Retires–The Internet will have just a few less dirty stories now

Pat Burrell is expected to formally announce that he is retiring any day now, effectively stealing some news during Super Bowl week. He hardly leaves the game empty handed. Two world series rings, 292 career big league home runs, and he was a career .834 OPS guy.

Then there’s the stories. If we’ve heard some of them there’s a good chance there’s a bunch we haven’t heard.

Pat definitely always reminded us of that jock ballplayer who never quite outgrew the huge status he received at University of Miami. He was the high man on the totem pole there, probably pissing on freshman in the showers and bullying his way to the sack lunches of his choosing. In the minor leagues we heard tales of him casually throwing pennies at Jewish teammates as they sat in their locker. When he got to the big leagues and arrived in Philly, he was the king of the jungle. Any woman he wanted he helped himself to. And probably a few that he knew he shouldn’t have had anything to do with after the fact.

What would baseball be without guys like Pat ‘The Bat’? A career gone by too quickly to say the least.

Jay Bruce joins Twitter; is a Zips guy

Jay Bruce joined twitter over the weekend; he’s @JayABruce if you want to give him a follow. He’s up to 7,160 followers already. If he continues tweeting at this furious pace he’s been at he’ll be up to around 50,000 followers in no time.

He’s responsive on twitter too. He’s about as friendly as it gets in the pro-athlete realm.

He also declared recently that he loves Zips projection system. In case you’re wondering, Zips projects Bruce’s 2012 season to look something like this: 152 games, .260, .814 OPS, 28 HR, 90 RBI, 81 runs, 8 SB, 65 BB, 148 K’s.

Examining Bill James 2012 Mike Stanton Projection

I love me some Mike Stanton. Anytime there is a power hitting corner outfielder with youth on their side, there’s a good chance I’ll feel the exact same way about them as I do Stanton. The tape-measure video game bombs, the build, he’s got it all right now. It could be said that Mike Stanton makes our world a better place.

I knew that I was onto something with Stanton about the middle of last year, and here’s the story with it. I’m in a fantasy league where we score categories beyond the typical 5 x 5 ROTO metrics. The added categories are walks, OBA, OPS, and slugging. There’s an owner in the league that has won the league every year until finishing second last season.

I was enchanted with Stanton heading into last year’s draft and I was lucky enough to snag him in the middle rounds. It’s a keeper league, so a guy like Stanton was worth the flier over aging outfielders that were available.

That consistently successful owner came knocking at my door in the form of one text message after another with hopes to land Stanton. He told me anyone from his roster was available, but the guy he consistently asked for was Stanton. This was a condition I was not willing to accept. When this particular owner is that hot for a player, something is up. It’s like when Billy Beane saw something in Scott Hatteberg; when this guy picks up an aging player for a few weeks there’s always more perceived value in that said player in our league from that point forward.

Stanton went on to have a nice season and bigger things are in store. He’s already receiving early consideration for 2012 NL MVP; so I figure it’s time to see what Bill James sees coming for Stanton this year in that loaded Marlins lineup.

Bill James 2012 Mike Stanton Projection:

150 Games Played, 532 AB, 145 hits, 32 doubles, 4 triples, 39 HR, 88 runs, 103 RBI, 73 BB, 160 K, 5 SB, .273 AVG, .366/.568/.934

Last year Stanton posted a .356/.537/893 slash line, which is beautiful for a guy who was in his age 21 season. Mr. James is expecting Big Mike to go out and bash at a clip that is exponentially more productive than last season, which as a Stanton fantasy owner I would happily sign up for again.

If he can just stay completely healthy, Stanton is going to have an opportunity to do huge things in the Florida lineup where he’ll probably be hitting in that five slot to begin the year and work his way right into being a 22-year old cleanup hitter.

What’s not to love about this guy?

Reds Agree to two-year deal with Jose Arredondo

I’m really bullish on Jose Arredondo. I am telling you, the guy can flat out pitch and you’re going to see it in the not too distant future. About the time the Reds are closing out the NL Central this season and getting ready to earn their pennant flag to decorate the ballpark, Arredondo will have emerged as a key cog in the Reds bullpen. I think he’s the set-up man in waiting and I also believe he’s going to be the designated ‘save vulture’ in the Reds pen.

The Reds agreed to a two-year compact with terms undisclosed with the Dominican born right-hander yesterday to avoid arbitration.

Sometimes it just takes time for a seed to grow. The Reds went out and signed Arredondo a couple winters ago coming off his 2008 in which he had a 1.62 ERA in 61 innings with the Angels, knowing that he would need Tommy John surgery. Arredondo had the Tommy John, missed a year recuperating and then returned last year to post a 3.53 ERA in 53 innings for the Reds. The road back from Tommy John is  slow one but this guy flat out has the stuff to be a big time arm for the Reds over the next few seasons.

Again, I’m bullish on Arredondo. He will be an impact guy in the Queen City.

Francisco Cordero heads North of the Border

The man logged 150 saves for the Cincinnati Reds after many in baseball thought he was done. He’ll be 37 years old this season. Today, three-time All-Star Francisco “Coco” Cordero signed a one year, $4.5 million dollar contract with the Toronto Blue Jays in a move that bolsters their bullpen to one of the top pens in the American League.

Last season the Blue Jays had a stable of guys to pick from to close out ballgames. None of those guys were very good. They’ve re-stocked the cupboard with Cordero, Darren Oliver, Jason Frasor, Casey Janssen, and Sergio Santos this offseason.

While Santos is the big horse in the pen that figures to get the bulk of save opportunities, a baseball season is long and at some point the temptation to see what Cordero does in a save situation will be there. There’s likely to be a stretch of games in which Santos falters and Cordero gets an opportunity.

And that’s when Blue Jays fans will receive the feeling of horrifying dread that only a Coco Cordero blown save opportunity can evoke. Toronto, you have fun. He’s now your problem.

Detroit adds a Prince

The Detroit Tigers signed Prince Fielder to a monster, 9-year $214 million dollar contract today. While you were busy thinking of him in a lineup that already contains Miguel Cabrera, or where the Tigers will put Fielder, Cabrera, and Victor Martinez once Martinez returns from injury in a year or so; you probably didn’t realize that this deal brought Fielder to the city where the Fielder name gained fame and notoriety in the baseball world.

Prince is going to the city where his daddy Cecil hit 284 big league home runs. The Tigers were the forgotten team all along while everyone seemed to speculate about Prince signing with the Nationals, Mariners and Rangers. All the while, this move makes perfect sense for the Tigers who were likely to jump into the sweepstakes once Victor Martinez went down with season ending surgery on his knee last week.

Our opinion is while it’s a great signing for the immediate term–Fielder got too much money. He’s not like an Albert Pujols in the sense that he’s likely always to remain in peak physical condition into his middle and late 30’s. By the time this deal is done, Fielder probably won’t be worth the value. This deal is really going to see the value come to the Tigers within the first four to five years of the contract. This is not unique for a lot of baseball contracts that are signed today. How many 9-year contracts ever even see the player live out the life of the contract in the same place?

It was that same length and money amount that got Prince Fielder through the door in Motown. And while we all thought the market for Prince Fielder was becoming extremely thin with the Rangers throwing big money at Yu Darvish, the market all along was very much alive.

Kenny Powers returns in Eastbound & Down Season 3

Ever since the series Eastbound & Down began on HBO, readers have found their way to this site by searching for “Rod Beck/Kenny Powers” or similar searches. People, I guess I kind of see the similarity, but why the curiosity or association?

Anyhow, Eastbound & Down Season Three: Getting Wet In Myrtle Beach premieres Sunday February 19th at 10 PM on HBO. Here’s a trailer to wet your appetite:


The Baseball Show: If You Could Have a Beer With ________ Edition

Last night on another thrilling edition in the saga of The Baseball Show, Mike Rosenbaum of The Golden Sombrero and M.J. Lloyd of Halo Hangout and Off Base Percentage and I discuss the following topics:

-The Yu Darvish signing
-M.J.’s ProGUESTus Debut at Baseball Prospectus
-The Pineda for Montero trade
-Fausto Carmona is Roberto Heredia. If you had a faux name, who would you be?
-The best prospect haul for a pitcher this off-season

As always we had some laughs and got a good idea for next week’s show; memorabilia talk and Mickey Mantle stories. If you have some time to listen to this week’s show on a Friday in the office or over the weekend we will hopefully make you laugh or enlighten your day by talking baseball and a lot of other topics.

Your MLB the Show ’12 Cover

This is hot off the press–the MLB the Show ’12 cover boy will be Adrian Gonzalez. This would only be known by those who follow the Official MLB the Show Facebook Fan Page like I do. And lets be honest, I probably beat you to it for reasons I’m not entirely proud of.

Adrian replaces the cover boy for two years running Joe Mauer. It was probably time. I thought SCEA missed the boat not having Joey Votto on the cover after his 2010 MVP season, but I’m only one man.

I cannot wait until that March 6th release date when I can roll into work all red eyed because I’ve played 54 innings of Playstation 3 baseball. It’s almost like Opening Day before Opening Day, for us video game wizard folks.


ESPN Releases Sunday Night Baseball Schedule

Yesterday ESPN released their Sunday Night Baseball telecast schedule for the first half of the season. The Cincinnati Reds will host a mid-July contest at Great American Ballpark to give fans that rare Sunday game under the lights.

It seems as a whole ESPN tried to buck the typical ways of throwing the Yankees, Red Sox, or Cubs on every Sunday Night. This schedule features good variability between teams which is partly in response to the playoff field containing teams like the Rangers and Rays last season.

April 8 Chicago White Sox at Texas
April 15 L.A. Angels at N.Y. Yankees
April 22 Yankees at Boston
April 29 Tampa Bay at Texas
May 6 Philadelphia at Washington
May 13 Angels at Texas
May 20 St. Louis at L.A. Dodgers
May 27 Washington at Atlanta
June 3-July 1 TBD
July 8 Yankees at Boston
July 15 St. Louis at Cincinnati
July 22-Sept 23 TBD

I like what I’m seeing here. As usual we’ll be doing the Sunday Night Liveblogs here at Diamond Hoggers, so we do hope you’ll make a habit of joining us and commenting on the action or at least having a few new dick jokes we can all add to our repertoire.

The Return of Polygon Jay Bruce (MLB 2K12 Related)

It’s happening again. Just the mere look at that clear depiction of Jay Bruce in the batter’s box at GABP in video game format is making me want to check out MLB 2K12 on the Playstation 3 this spring. This is not good folks. I will already buy MLB The Show because it’s the best sports game on the planet, but if 2k Sports can somehow pull off any semblance of what they say they will I’m going to be in big trouble with the wife and spending nights on the couch with the dog.

They’re still giving away $1 million dollars you’ll never win, and they still promise to be the most realistic baseball game on the planet. Nothing we haven’t heard before. But these images are definitely sucking me in and intriguing me to the point where I might rent the game and if it’s bearable–without any game breaking glitches–I’ll buy it.

Friend of Diamond Hoggers Debuts at Baseball Prospectus

It’s a proud day for us here at Diamond Hoggers because our buddy M.J. Lloyd (co-host of The Baseball Show Podcast) and editor of Off-Base Percentage and Halo Hangout made his debut over at Baseball Prospectus.

M.J. brings it strong, writing about The Pitfalls of Prospect Worship; something that we can relate to pretty easily.

He begins:

Prospects are like new car smell. They’re exciting and intoxicating. They make it seem like your favorite team is about to turn the corner.

From there, M.J. brings it strong. If you’ve got a few minutes today, head over to BP and read his debut post. Way to go “MTD”. We look forward to more of it’s type.