December 1, 2009
The "King" had finally taken his throne (Mark Sobba/Flickr).
Scouting Report: Felix Hernandez up until 2009 had been wildly inconsistent and hadn’t lived up to the “King” billing he received as a rookie. For some reason he didn’t seem to get up for the lesser teams as he would for the best in the league. This was a huge stumbling block keeping Hernandez from becoming one of the elite pitchers in the game.
This all changed in 2009. King Felix has seemingly finally put it all together and has his mental and physical game working hand-in-hand. Hernandez has an incredible arm and dominating, electric stuff. He attacks hitters with an over the top arm action with a devastating arsenal including a two and four seam fastball (92-97 mph), a powerful slider, two different curves and a well placed change. He uses his four seamer as his predominant strikeout pitch which gives hitters fits trying to get a piece of.
The best part of Hernandez’s awakening is the Mariners finally have a legitimate ace that they can plug in every five days and expect to win with. There are so few pitchers nowadays that you can say that about and its good to see Felix has evolved into that player.
December 1, 2009
ESPN News: “The team has asked second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who won the AL MVP Award in 2008, if he could play shortstop for the team if needed next season.”
Can Pedroia make the switch back to short? (Keith Allison/Flickr)
Diamond Cutter Spin: For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you heard me announce this news early this morning (so in other words, follow @diamondcutter on Twitter for instant news, rumors, analysis and opinions all day everyday). I for one think this could be a great move for both the Red Sox and Pedroia.
On one hand the Red Sox can try to fill out second base rather than shortstop which will be much easier particularly with this year’s batch of free agents. The in regards to Pedroia, he can return back to his collegiate days when he was an All-American shortstop at Arizona State. Plus he seems extremely excited about it. It’s a win-win.
Of course this could all go down the drain quickly as once again the Boston Red Sox are sniffing around Florida to see what it would take to bring Hanley Ramirez back to the organization to fill their shortstop needs. While this would undoubtedly take a hefty ransom, it may be worth it to get one of the game’s best players.
We’ll keep an eye on this and keep you updated if we hear anymore on this story or if Francona speaks out on the idea.
December 1, 2009
Mauer should receive his payday any day now (Keith Allison/Flickr).
It appears as if the two biggest names that have been swirling this winter, AL MVP Joe Mauer and ace pitcher Roy Halladay, have set deadlines for their teams to get something done.
The reigning American League MVP has laid down a deadline of opening day for the Twins to resign their franchise player according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. If the Twins don’t by then, Mauer will enter free agency following the season in which the Twins will have absolutely no chance to match dollars with the Yankees and Red Sox. According to reports the Twins do plan on having the issue resolved by Christmas which would make many Twins fans (including myself) sleep better at night.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Blue Jays only have until the start of spring training to trade their lanky righthander. Following that he will veto any trade attempt (a powerful clause in his contract) in order to avoid distractions during the season. If the Jays can’t get the trade done all they will get is a compensatory draft pick while one of the best pitchers in baseball walks right out the door. They need to get something done ASAP.
I agree that it is extremely important for the players to set deadlines so that it doesn’t carry over into the season. Both sides have plenty of time to make something happen and I expect to see both stories wrapped up in plenty of time for pitchers and catchers to report.
[Update @ 8:25 AM: Halladay’s friend and former teammate AJ Burnett has spoken out about his desire to see the ace land with the Yankees and pitch alongside him once more. This would give the Yankees and incredibly strong top half of the rotation most likely making them the strong favorites to win the AL East again in 2010.]