Thursday, October 9, 2008

Part IV: NL East Amnesty

Jorge Says No! introduced amnesty earlier and we are happy to present to you our NL East picks. Which contract would your team want to waive at the end of this season? Lets take a look:

Let's turn back the clock to November 2006, the Phillies had just missed the playoffs by one game and attempted to address their biggest weakness, starting pitching, through the free agent market. The Phillies solution to their terrible starting pitching: SP Adam Eaton. Yup, this is the same Adam Eaton, who had just missed half of the 2006 season with a finger injury and was a notorious fly ball pitcher. Not exactly a good mix when you consider that the Phillies play in a bandbox: Citizens Bank Park. For 3 years/$24 million dollars, Eaton has won 14 games for the Phillies in two seasons while producing an ERA above 6 with the Phillies (6.29 in 2007, 5.80 in 2008). Eaton even struggled in AAA this season by going 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA. Yikes! I bet the Phillies would do anything to get rid of this stiff.

Luis Castillo. Luis Castillo. Luis Castillo. Need I say more? For some reason, GM Omar Minaya decided that the slap hitting Castillo, who offers no power to a lineup, was worth 4 years/$26 mil. Oh yeah, and to top it all off, Castillo appears to be in massive amounts of pain whenever he does anything baseball related-run, hit, field, walk, jog. It's tough to watch. I understand Castillo's value would mainly come from hitting behind Jose Reyes, but even I could see that Castillo had limited ability and that his fastball hitting days were over. Seems like a wonderful invest, right Omar?

Since Mike Hampton is going to be off the books at the end of this season, the only obvious choice is SP Tim Hudson. Hudson, who has been the ace of the Braves staff for the past two seasons, is owed $13 mil next season, but will probably not pitch. Hudson was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery in August of this year and will probably not be back until 2010. For the Braves, releasing Hudson would provide them with the relief they need to make a big splash on the free agent market.

The Marlins never spend money ($21 mil dollar payroll this season). Amnesty would do almost nothing for them.

Several options here because of stupid contracts given out by GM Jim Bowden. We could go with either OF Austin Kearns ($8 mil next season) and his .217 batting average. Or we could go with 1B Nick Johnson ($5.5 mil next season) only because of his vast injury history. Johnson missed all of 2007 and most of 2008 and has shown no ability to stay healthy. When healthy, he remains one of my favorite players because of his ability to get on base. Or finally, we could go with 1B Dmitri Young ($5 mil next season), who may struggle to provide anything in 2009 because of his diabetes. Young is a wonderful guy and a remarkable story, but his production may never approach 2007 levels.

To me, the best option for amnesty here is Austin Kearns. Even though Kearns has tons of potential, he has never shown any of it on the field and at 29, I am losing hope that he will ever reach his potential. Plus, I would rather use the $8 mil owed to Kearns to try and sign Ryan Zimmerman. That guy is the future.

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