When is Winning 300 Second Fiddle? When it’s Family…

Yorvit Torrealba can rest more easily knowing that his son, who along with at least one uncle, is safe and home.  Apparently, his not quite teenaged son was walking to school when he and his uncle were kidnapped.  Government intervention and paying a portion of the ransom helped free them.  A couple of days ago, the Rockies announced that Torrealba was on the restricted list, but listed no details – which, as you can imagine, the team could not do.  Amazing story, and thankfully one with a happy ending.

Speaking of happy endings, Randy Johnson held Washington in check for six innings and earned his 300th career win.  It’ll be a few years before we see this again, so enjoy it while it lasts.

Wow, the Mets are truly snake bit.  You have a bunch of guys injured and sick, and now we hear that Jose Reyes may have a hamstring tear and struggling reliever J.J. Putz is getting his elbow checked out. Putz says he’s felt pain each of the last two days, causing some alarm amongst the Mets brass.  Reyes, originally thought to have a calf injury, is now believed to have torn his hamstring near the knee, which affected his calf.  Either way, the Mets can’t catch a break.  They were even swept by a heart-broken Pirates team.

Since taking on blogging full time, I hadn’t really spent any time on the White Sox.  Of course, being a Cub fan makes this especially difficult, but I’m a journalist, too.  I can be objective.  The Sox have called up last year’s #1 draft pick, third baseman Gordon Beckham.   I know what you are thinking – wasn’t he drafted as a shortstop?  He was, but the Sox have needs and right now they need to know if Beckham can play third.  A couple of years ago, the White Sox had OPTIONS at third base, but one of those (Joe Crede) is in Minnesota, and the other (Josh Fields) is apparently in the dog house.

Beckham was a stud at the University of Georgia and hasn’t done anything to dissuade the Sox from believing he’s ready.  He briefly played at A ball after signing, roared through AA and just got moved to AAA where, in just a few games, he was hitting over .400.  Hopefully this is the beginning of a long career, and not the story of a player rushed too quickly.  Playing at the level he did in the SEC, and continuing it at three levels (albeit for short times), I’m inclined to believe he’ll be okay.

A couple of other guys get the call this week, and one you might want to watch is St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jess Todd.  Todd was drafted in the second round out of Arkansas in 2007 and raced through the minors displaying control, allowing few hits, and improving his strikeout rate at every level and opportunity.  At first glance, he looks like he might stick – and working with Dave Duncan can’t hurt.  He had mostly been a starter, but this year he became the closer at Memphis and knocked out 11 saves, with 32 Ks, only 7 BBs in 24 innings.  That’s serious stuff.  Baseball America says he’s the fourth best prospect in the system.

Tiger Miguel Cabrera left today’s game with a left hamstring injury.  He tried to play through it, but left soon after he injured his leg running the bases in the second inning.  Boston’s Kevin Youkilis has a calf injury and may miss a game or two.  Youk has been knicked up a lot this year.  Today, he woke up with stiffness, tried to play, and left the game against Detroit about the same time as Cabrera.  The Rays think Evan Longoria’s hamstring will be loose enough to play on Saturday.

Just as Carlos Zambrano returns from his suspension, MLB suspended Yankee pitcher A. J. Burnett for throwing inside to Texas Ranger Nelson Cruz.  Of course, he won’t SAY that he was protecting teammate Mark Teixeira, who had been hit twice by the soon to be released Vincente Padilla, but for a guy who throws inside, throwing a little more inside and a bit higher than normal would have been expected.

Struggling Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is getting an eye exam; meanwhile “The Sports Guy”, Bill Simmons writes in ESPN The Magazine (which I finally received today) that Ortiz got old – even suggesting that Ortiz might be older than he says (just like Ortiz’s buddy Miguel Tejada).

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Rain, Not Nationals, Stops Johnson… And Other Baseball Notes

Rain prevented Randy Johnson from getting a shot at winning his 300th game.  Doubleheader tomorrow – which makes me wonder if Johnson will face the A team or the B team for Washington?

Hamstring injuries?  Evan Longoria, Tampa, and Willy Taveras, Cincinnati.  Day-to-day.  Rox shortstop Troy Tulowitski’s hand will require an MRI.

I’d be nervous playing for Cleveland or the New York Mets – a DL trip is in your future.  Goodbye, Asdrubel Cabrera – 15 days to heal a strained shoulder.  Hurry back, Ramon Martinez – 15 days to heal a broken pinky finger.  Cleveland recalls Josh Barfield to replace Cabrera, while the Mets give Emil Brown a chance at a major league paycheck.

It’s not the swine flu, the Mets say, and Carlos Beltran should return to the lineup soon.  I’m not shaking his hand until next week, though, if Beltran homers.

Speaking of a bad case of the flu, Jake Peavy left his start after an inning yesterday and has a nasty virus of some kind.

You know the Yankees are feeling it when they decide to tempt fate and give Chien-Ming Wang a start and send Phil Hughes to the bullpen.  Both had been successful in their current roles, so why is Joe Girardi switching things up?

Tom Glavine’s release and an injury to Jorge Campillo opens the door to a Tommy Hanson start on Saturday for the Braves.  I’ll be watching – on the DVR later…  First, there’s this bachelor party…

Cardinal pitcher Kyle Lohse left his start against the Reds early – he has tightness in his forearm, near where he got hit by a pitch a few days ago.

Poor performances and a bad attitude may have Vincente Padilla on the waiver wire, according to FoxSports.  Officially, the Texas Rangers can’t say anything, but younger pitchers have fared better.

On the Mend?  Houston closer Jose Valverde feels great, and Tiger outfielder Marcus Thames is banging it around Toledo in his rehab stint.  Michael Cuddyer’s finger feels fine, which makes the Twins doubly happy.  Brandon Webb is throwing again, which is good news for Arizona.

And, buried at the bottom, Sammy Sosa says he’s going to officially retire, but remains mum as to his use of PEDs.

After Randy Johnson, Who’s Next to 300 Wins?

With Randy Johnson going for win #300 this week and Jamie Moyer winning #250 tonight, I wondered what the chances were of finding who was next. There aren’t a lot of guys who are close. Mike Mussina would have been next to 300, but he retired at 40 with 270. He would have had a fighting chance, but admittedly, he was running on a lot of guile and luck and three more years of success might have been a lot to ask for.

I’ll do them by age groups.

Over 40: Jamie Moyer would have to win 50 games more to join Johnson and that means pitching until he’s 50. I think he was lucky to get a two year deal and will not make 270, much less 275. John Smoltz has the goods but an arm that is running out of bullets. And, he’s 90 short when he finally makes it back. That’s six years from now when he’ll be 48. Not likely.

Born in 1970 – 1972: Pedro Martinez has 214 and no job, so it’s hard to see that he’ll make it. Besides, he’s not the same guy and his health hasn’t been solid lately. A year younger and still winning is Andy Pettitte, who turns 37 in a few weeks. He keeps threatening to retire, so that doesn’t bode well, but he has 215 wins, so six good years and he’s got a shot. Let’s see what he’s like two years from now and guess again.

Born 1973 – 1976: Derek Lowe has 126, Bartolo Colon has 150. Only Lowe is still going strong, but 170 wins means 10 really good seasons and he doesn’t usually win 17. Kevin Millwood is at 142, turns 35 on Christmas Eve. He’s probably going to make 200 if he stays healthy, but I doubt it.

Tim Hudson and Livan Hernandez are at 146 and 147, but only Hudson seems young at 34. Livan always seemed six years older than he is. Hudson, if he finds a second life, could make a run at 250 but would need a few really successful seasons. Javier Vasquez turns 33 this year, has always been healthy, and has 127 wins. He could make a run at 250, but he could use some help. He’s never won 20, so if he gets there, it’s by attrition.

Born 1977 – 1979: Roy Halliday (131) and Roy Oswalt (129) are 32 this summer. They’ll likely be around 145, hopefully more, by the end of the year. If it’s 150, eight more good years could get them to 270 and then it’s a matter of knowing how healthy either is at 40. My money will be on Halliday.

Barry Zito leads the 31 year olds with 123 wins. If he finds a new life – certainly possible, he could easily make a run at 250. And, if he has a Moyer resurgence, he could get further. I just don’t know if he’ll make it.

The guys who are 30 in 2009 include Mark Buehrle and Johan Santana. Guess who has more wins? If you guessed the Southsider, you’d be right. Buehrle has 122 and at this rate is well on pace for 250 by 40. If this year’s start is indicative of better things to come, he’d have a legitimate shot at 300. Santana is the better pitcher, but only has 109 wins. He’s going to need about five really good years to pass Buehrle and get on track. I like 250 as his end point, but you never know.

Born 1980 – 1984: Sabathia is already at 117 and counting. With the Yankees, he’s going to be a candidate for 20 wins a lot and if he stays healthy he could hit 35 with more than 225 wins. He’s my top pick to make 300 next. Josh Beckett has 89 wins, and should make 200, but won’t get much past it.

Carlos Zambrano turns 28 on 6/1 and already has 100 wins. He’s ahead of Halliday’s pace and is a horse. I like his chances to blow through 250 and if he stays healthy and doesn’t get too fat, he could make a run at 300. Jake Peavy is also 28 this year, but ten wins behind Zambrano. I like his chances at 250, but I’d like them better if he were on good teams.

The big winners of the 1982 birth year are Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman, neither of whom will be active in 2015. Justin Verlander has 50 wins and will be around 60 when the year is done. He could be around 200 at age 36, so 250 is not impossible. He COULD be really good, but I don’t buy it.

The guys who are 24 or 25 include too many guys with just 30 wins – Zack Greinke, Chad Billingsley, and what not. Three really good years, though, and I’ll think about it.

The one really young guy who is off to a good start is the 23 year old Felix Hernandez. He’s blown by 40 wins and should make 55 at the end of the year. Assuming any luck in good health and good teams, he could easily pass 100 wins by 27, which would make him well prepared for a run at 250 or more.

In sum:

SOLID BETS: Sabathia, Halliday, Zambrano
GOOD BETS: Buehrle, Zito, Verlander, Hernandez
LONG SHOTS: Anyone who is 25.
NO SHOTS: Everyone else.

I’d say that ONE of the guys listed here will make 300, and maybe two.