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December 31, 2005 - 2005 Year in Review

As the new year approaches, let's take the time to reflect on the 2005 season, which turned out to be significant on many levels. Find out what events made Asher's Top 10 Stories of 2005.

December 28, 2005 - Keith - A Glut of Corner Infielders

Despite already having Lyle Overbay at first base and Corey Koskie, Eric Hinske, Shea Hillenbrand, and Frank Catalanotto able to play either first or third, the Blue Jays traded Miguel Batista and Orlando Hudson for shortstop prospect Sergio Santos and third baseman Troy Glaus. JP Riccardi obviously has more moves to make before we can analyze Toronto's end of the deal, but the Diamondbacks seem to have an excellent nucleus of young position players in place for 2007: 3B Chad Tracy, SS Stephen Drew, 2B Orlando Hudson, 1B Conor Jackson, and CF Chris Young. They might want to look into geting a young pitcher or two to compliment them, however, as Russ Ortiz and Orlando Hernandez both qualify for senior discounts at the movie theatres.

December 26, 2005 - Ponson Ponderings

The Cardinals are hoping for a big payoff on the $1 million contract they just signed Sidney Ponson to. While Asher is skeptical, Keith believes that the power of Dave Duncan will make this a worthwhile move for the Redbirds.

December 22, 2005 - Asher - What do these five players have in common?

In a move which is destined to help neither team, nor amount to anything of significance by the end of the season, the Giants continued their death grip on the 300/300 club by acquiring Steve Finley from the Angels in exchange for the overrated Edgardo "2000" Alfonzo. The move pairs Steve Finley, who is 3 homers away from the 300 homers 300 steals club, with current 300/300 member Barry Bonds on the team for which two of the three other members, Willie Mays and Bobby Bonds, also played.

December 20, 2005 - Asher - The New Cubs Outfield??????

While the South Siders continue to improve their team with impressive efficiency, the North Siders have signed Jacques Jones to a new 3 year $16 million contract. While Jones will certainly help the Cubs defensively, whether the Cubs are improved by a move which brings another under achieving power-speed but low-average-low-OPS outfielder remains to be seen. The new Cubs Outfield provides several question marks which will probably only be answered in Spring Training.

December 16, 2005 - Keith - South Side Swindlers

Chisox GM Ken Williams continues to impress, landing workhorse pitcher Javier Vazquez and $5 million for Orlando Hernandez, Luis Vizcaino, and top-prospect Chris Young.

The Sox now have the deepest rotation in baseball, as young phenom Brandon McCarthy (3-1 1.69 Post-AS) will begin the season in the bullpen. He provides insurance should any of the Sox' overworked pitchers have health problems. If their rotation remains in tact through July, look for Garcia, Garland, or Contreras to be dealt for whatever offensive needs the team may have.

Chicago relinquished very little value in this trade, since "El Delicate" Hernandez can't be counted on, Luis Vizcaino was the least effective member of the Sox' final 2005 bullpen, and Chris Young was one of five near-ready prospect outfielders in the Sox system (Joe Borchard, Brian Anderson, Jerry Owens, and Ryan Sweeney).

December 12, 2005 - Keith - Soriano Is A Little Punk

After being traded to the Nationals for Brad Wilkerson, Termell Sledge, and a minor leaguer, Alfonso Soriano has told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he would not switch positions to the outfield. "I think that if they traded for me, it's to play second base," he told the newspaper. "Obviously, I have the control. Of course I'm not going to play the outfield."

What a punk! Second Base isn't even his natural position; He came up with the Yankees as a shortstop, and even played ten games at third base in 2000. Chipper Jones moved to the outfield to help the Braves win. Alex Rodriguez switched to third base to help the Yankees. But Alfonso Soriano? The guy who thinks that a 19-error season at second base is a sign of greatness? He's too good to be moved.

Of course, Soriano may realize that his paltry .309 OBP last year is nowhere near adaquate for a left fielder, and he is possibly rejecting the move on those grounds.

December 6, 2005 - Asher -

Don't look now, but someone forgot to tell the Toronto Blue Jays that the Red Sox and Yankees have proprietary rights to the AL East title. The Blue Jays have apparently decided that they want to be players next year, to have a place at the table, to run with the big boys, to (fill in sports cliché here). Yesterday the Blue Jays announced that they have agreed to terms on a five year deal with A.J. Burnett, the same pitcher that their division mate Baltimore Orioles failed to secure coming down the stretch last year.

The signing of Burnett means that the Blue Jays will have a starting rotation front four of Roy Halladay, Burnett, rookie phenom Gustavo Chacin, and Josh Towers. And in the bullpen, to nail down the close ones, will be B.J. Ryan, newly signed over from, that's right, the Orioles. In between the big four and Ryan, the Blue Jays will find roles for young but wild David Bush, Miguel Batista, Scott Schoenweiss, Justin Speier, and Jason Fraser. With such good news in the pitching department, the Blue Jays might not be one year away this year.

December 1, 2005 - Asher -

The moves just keep on coming. The surprise of the week, and frankly of the off-season so far, is that Paul Konerko re-signed with the White Sox. For that matter, he signed for less money that he could have gotten for the Orioles or Angels! While this move ostensibly gives the Sox their best 1-2 punch since Belle and Thomas, there is a slight reason for concern for the White Sox in 2006. Remember that the Sox finished both of their Belle/Thomas seasons under .500, whereas they have yet to finish with a losing record in this century.

In other news, the Mets look like this could be the year, especially since their acquisitions have been their division-mates' losses. Meanwhile, the Marlins continue to bleed players, but it may not completely to their detriment.

November 25 - Keith -

The Cubs continue to gobble up ex-White Sox releivers from around 1999 (The Sox worst year in the past decade) and pay them ridiculous amounts of money ($23 Million over the next three years). These are 30-something pitchers coming off career years, which are almost always anomolies for aging middle relievers. The Cubs have just two outfielders on their 40-man roster, one of which is "Tools" Patterson, and one of which has just 140 major league at bats, and they're busy overpaying for bullpen arms that aren't as good as what they've got stockpiled at AA.

Meanwhile, The Red Sox, White Sox, and Mets take vast steps to improve their teams by acquiring Josh Beckett, Jim Thome, and Carlos Delgado, respectively, moves which Asher can't help to view with skepticism.

November 21, 2005 - Pujols Wins MVP; Boneheads Abound

Albert Pujols has finally won the National League MVP, edging out Andruw Jones after having been edged out by Barry Bonds for the last few years. But, in bigger news,, in announcing Pujols' victory, inadvertantly became part of our Bonehead Sports Analyst of the Month feature when it quipped:

"When you're the only player in league history to hit 30 homers in each of your first five seasons, is there any doubt who's MVP?"

We here at are still laughing our heads off about that. Hmmm, is there anything less tied to MVP candidacy than performance over the course of several seasons? How about:

"Albert Pujols' real first name is 'Jose.' Is there any doubt who's MVP?"

There is even more boneheadedness to be had in November, however, as USA Today's Ian O'Connor and Yahoo! Sports' Ryne Sandberg each make terrible arguments in supporting David Ortiz for AL MVP.

While, Derrek Lee, Albert Pujols, and Andruw Jones made for a slightly interesting MVP race, Asher points out that there was a far more compelling race than that to watch in the National League this year, which was part of his 2005 Year in Review.

See what else Asher had to say about Albert Pujols during the playoffs.

View not only previous MVP winners, but all sorts of other awards in our brand new Award Room.

November 13, 2005 - Asher -

Now that the regular and the post-season have passed, it is time to take a look back at the season, and start handing out awards. While the BBWAA hand out their awards, the Baseball Evolution crew hands out the Fifty-Sixth Annual Dave Kingman Award.

While David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez vie for the AL MVP, Asher offers some unconventional picks for AL MVP.

Meanwhile, Derrek Lee, Albert Pujols, and Andruw Jones look to reign in the NL MVP. But Asher points out that there is a far more compelling race than that to watch in the National League this year.

Meanwhile, Asher gets a jump on his 2005 Year in Review.

October 27, 2005 - Scott -

After years of venomous assaults, and "I'll have to wait until his career is over" procrastination about Craig Biggio's place on the Top 100, Scott has finally forgiven Biggio. See why Biggio's karma has finally come back to haunt him.

October 21, 2005 - Asher -

Former Yankees Matchup in Game One of World Series While Yankees Watch from Home

Hmmm . . . The two teams in the World Series have Game One starters who are former Yankees. While the Yankees watch from their respective off-season homes. Curiously, both pitchers have been significantly better with their new teams than they were in their last couple of seasons with the Yanks. Could it be that both players just like playing in the central time zone better? Or is their a serious deficiency in the way the Yankees run their organization that does not exist in Chicago and Houston.

Um, I dunno. Wish I knew.

October 17, 2005 - Asher -

By now, we all know about Albert Pujols home run last night, clutching victory from the jaws of defeat. Where this home run will go down in history remains to be seen, but even before Pujols' big home run, we had every indication that Pujols is already a very special player.

In light of Albert's big homerun, take a whack at our Post-Season Homerun Quiz.

October 16 - Asher -

So, its October again. And, once again, the Yankees find themselves NOT winning the World Series. Which, of course, means that "the Boss" is once again threatening Joe Torre's job. If we have a look at the playing careers of Joe Torre, as well as the other seven managers who guided their teams to the playoffs, what we will find is compelling evidence that Joe Torre does not have the credentials of a top quality manager.

October 14 - Keith - Cubs: Throwing Their Money Into The Dempster

The Chicago Cubs just signed closer Ryan Dempster to a 3-year, $15.5 Million contract extension. Dempster has been excellent out of the bullpen this year, going 4-0 with 33 saves in 35 chances, logging 58.1 IP with 53 K, 27 BB, 1 HR, 46 H, a 1.85 ERA and a .218 opponents' BA. However, many a closer has performed well in just 58 innings. Remember the most recent flop?

Year Tm G InnPit H R ER HR BB K W L S Bl ERA
2004 Mil 64 57.1 50 22 19 3 15 21 0 4 39 5 2.98
2005 Atl- 65 58.2 78 39 38 5 29 39 3 8 11 7 5.93

Not even Leo Mazzone could save Dan Kolb from his crash back to Earth. I'm not saying that Dempster will definitely choke, just that $15.5 Million is a pretty big committment to a pretty unproven closer.

September 20- Keith -

Here's the situation: It's September 20th, Corey "Tools" Patterson leads off of second base, Michael Barrett's on first, and hitter Ryan theriot draws a walk. Corey Patterson, so unused to the concept of bases on balls, heads back to the second base bag. It is several seconds before teammates and basecoaches convince the confused Patterson to head towards third base. I'm not making this up. Run the tape. Corey's hopeless!!!

September 17 - Keith - Chacin, Chacon, the Shocker (clap-clap!)

Shawn Chacon and Gustavo Chacin squared off today in what looked to be a showdown of two pitchers exceeding their DIPS. In other words, their peripheral stats made them look due for a fall. Insead, they amazed by combining for 15 innings of 1-run ball, efforts worthy of Urban Shocher himself. Chacon and the Yankees got the better of this one, as they edges Chacin and the Jays 1-0.

September 13 - Keith - Mark Dead(arm)man

As it appears that Pittsburgh's Mark Redman may be done for the season, it's a good time to note just how abhorrant his second half numbers were, particularly when compared to his solid first half:

Pre All-Star: 18 4 8 .249 117.1 49 8 62 35 3.76
Post All-Star 11 1 7 .340 56.0 47 10 35 20 7.55

He's a big part of the reason why my second half prediction for the Pirates went so awry.

Jeff Francoeur Update:

8 walks now, but hittting just .231 in 39 September at bats.

August 29 - Keith - Jeff Francoeur Update:

Mark Prior earned the honor of being the first pitcher to issue a non-intentional walk to Jeff Francoeur. Chris Capuano soon followed with one of his own. Should Francoeur fans be encouraged by this newfound discipline, or discouraged by his drop from a .913 SLG in July to a .539 SLG in August? With Chipper Jones' return, the Braves no longer need Jeff to perform supernaturally to win their division.

August 23rd - Keith - Go West? Bad Advice!

As the Dodgers begin a three-game series against the Rockies tomorrow, it's worth noting that new Dodger Jose Cruz Jr. has struggled against Colorado perhaps more than anyone else in baseball. In 108 career at bats against them, Cruz has managed just a .167 batting average and .585 OPS. His numbers just at Coors aren't much better, maintaining that .167 BA but complimenting it with a .627 OPS in 42 ABs. Where else has Cruz hit .167? Why, Dodger Stadium, of course, where his 60 career at bats there have yielded him just a .536 OPS. Not only is Jose in the wrong division, but he's clearly on the wrong team in that division.

Don't be too fooled by Chad Cordero's sub-1.00 ERA, as his Unearned Runs Allowed have pushed his RA to 2.26. Still good, but this is probably not one of the top 10 closers in baseball.

Teammate Brian Schneider, however, may be the game's most unheralded player. His .795 OPS (5th among catchers with over 300 At Bats) has been suppressed by the pitcher-friendly RFK Stadium. On the road, his OPS reaches .836. He's also the most deserving candidate for the NL's Gold Glove Award, not that he has any chance of actually winning it.

Jeff Francoeur Update:

Well, after 127 at bats and 80 outs, Jeff Francoeur finally walked. But wait! This was no display of discipline on Jeff's part, but a strategical move by Padres manager Bruce Botchy. Botchy lived up to his name this time, as the intentional pass led to four runs in the 8th inning.

August 16th - Keith - Players Know Best

Dusty Baker was about to follow his second nature and leave Carlos Zambrano and his backache to pitch the 7th inning of Friday's game when Aramis Ramirez and Neifi Perez convinced him that Carlos was done. ``His teammates, they really convinced me he had had enough,'' admitted Baker. While it's sad that Dusty needed help to realize that risking your 24 year-old workhorse's health to pitch one more inning when your team isn't in a playoff race is asenine, at least he listened to his wise chorus of players.

Mike Cameron had been requesting a trade all season long. Now a collision between he and Carlos Beltran has left both with concussions, and Cameron needing reconstructive surgery. This wouldn't have happened if they had just traded Cameron...

In the offseason, the Reds' Sean casey convinced his team to sign Eric Milton to a $32 Million 4-year deal. Milton is currently 30 years old, and 6-12 with a 6.48 ERA.

Okay, maybe players don't always know best.

We're Still Waiting Jeff, Why Aren't You?

We're still waiting for Jeff Francoeur of the Atlanta Braves to draw the first walk of his Major League Career. Friday, he went 1 for 4 to finally drop his Batting and On-Base averages both below .400. He has 94 at bats on the year, and was hit by a pitch once (by Zach Duke).

August 6th - Keith - Gotta Love Baseball Names

Actual play-by-play from Joe Buck on Fox's Game of the Week today:

"Betemit scores on the play, Orr holds at third base"

And a new Abbott and Costello routine is born.

August 1st - Asher -

Rafael Palmeiro has been busted for steroid use - Read his statement.

February 6th, 2005 - "I categorically deny any assertion made by Jose Canseco that I used steroids . . .At no point in my career have I ever used steroids, let alone any substance banned by Major League Baseball."

March 17th, 2005 - "My parents and I came to the United States after fleeing the communist tyranny that still reigns over my homeland of Cuba. We came seeking freedom, knowing that through hard work, discipline, and dedication, my family and I could build a bright future in America . . . I have never used steroids, period."

August 1st, 2005 - "I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period," . . . Ultimately, although I never intentionally put a banned substance into my body, the independent arbitrator ruled that I had to be suspended under the terms of the program."(Note the sudden use of the word "intentionally")

Does this change everything? Email us at to let us know your opinion and we'll put it on our website!

Think this will change Asher or Keith's minds about where Rafie ranks amongst the All Time greats? Check out this heated debate about steroids the two of them had a while back.

And see how Asher felt about Rafie's Hall of Fame credentials just two weeks ago after Rafie got his 3,000th hit.

See where Palmeiro fit into the Bagwell Conspiracy.

This makes David Ginsburg's case for Rafael Palmeiro as the greatest lefthanded hitter of all time even more silly.

Rafie's suspension could not come at a worse time for the Orioles, as they have already fallen into fourth place and are under .500. Read all about it in Asher's D.C. Daily Diary.

You Heard it Here First It is August 1st. There are four compelling races in the Majors – the AL and NL West divisions, and the AL and NL East divisions.

The St. Louis Cardinals would appear to have the NL Central locked up, playing at 9 and a half games ahead of the Astros, while the White Sox would appear to have the AL Central locked up, up on the Twins and the Indians by an astonishing 14 games.

But, if recent post-season history has taught us anything, it is that come October, the team that wins the World Series will be neither the Cardinals or White Sox. The teams that have had their divisions locked up early have not fared well in the post-season since the advent of the wild card.

You heard it here first.

See News and Notes from June and July of 2005.

See News and Notes from April and May of 2005.

See News and Notes from the first three months of 2005.

See News and Notes from 2004.

See News and Notes from 2003.