Top 10 active innings eaters

Chances are, you need a few pitchers on your fantasy baseball roster that can eat up innings. You know, that silly rule that prevents you from loading up on closers? Well, here is a list you could use, especially if your team if floundering and you need some steady pitchers to deliver quality innings of work. This is the list of active leaders in innings pitched. Some of the names will surprise you, but certainly not all of them:

1. Jamie Moyer, Philadelphia Phillies (3966 innings)—Remember when Jamie Moyer pitched for the Cubs? Yeah, neither does anyone else. He was a rookie in 1986, the year Mookie Wilson hit the ball through Bill Buckner’s legs. I know, most of you don’t remember that, either.

2. Andy Pettitte, New York Yankees (2984)—Though it’s early, Andy Pettitte is having a career year at age 38. And I’m just glad I had the foresight (errr, luck) to draft him for my fantasy team.

3. Tim Wakefield, Boston Red Sox (2980)—Remember when Tim Wakefield pitched for the Pirates? Seriously, he started out there in 1992 and joined the Sox in 1995. And dude is still beloved by the chowder heads.

4. Livan Hernandez, Washington Nationals (2795)—Two things are baffling. One, that Livan’s age is listed as 35. Thirty-freaking-five! Um, no. And two, that this guy is still getting hitters out with that blistering 80 mph fastball of his.

5. Javier Vasquez, New York Yankees (2532)—So this guy has banked $92 million in his career to date for losing as many games as he wins (145-144). That’s proof right there that innings eaters are worth something, but still sounds like highway robbery to me.

6. Jeff Suppan, Milwaukee Brewers (2437)—He’s relegated to the bullpen for the most part, but still racking up innings of work.

7. Kevin Millwood, Baltimore Orioles (2382)—Remember when Kevin Millwood was the fourth starter behind Smoltz, Maddux and Glavine in Atlanta? That was in 1997 but seems like it was 50 years ago.

8. Derek Lowe, Atlanta Braves (2191)—He may have peaked a few years ago, but this guy still has some of the nastiest stuff in the game.

9. Tim Hudson, Atlanta Braves (2124)—Through all of the injuries, it’s truly amazing that Tim Hudson has pitched that many innings. And hey, Javier, put this in your pipe and smoke it—a 153-79 career record.

10. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies (2123)—This dude just keeps winning, but even he’s only got 154 wins to date. Does that seem right?

Source: Baseball Reference

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Mikey’s MLB power rankings

Pennant races this season are not quite as exciting as last season, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have a few good races in September. The power rankings this week have not changed much, but the Rockies and Rangers swapped places. The Rays, who were on the cusp of cracking the Top 10, traded Scott Kazmir to the Angels yesterday, making us all scratch our heads and wonder if they are conceding the race.

1. New York Yankees (80-48)—The first team to 80 victories is officially in cruise control. The question is, can they carry it over into the postseason? Because we all know how you-know-who performs in October.

2. Los Angeles Angels (76-51)—If newly acquired Scott Kazmir stays healthy, this scrappy Angels team could be wearing new jewelry. Then again, October has been none to kind to them recently as well.

3. St. Louis Cardinals (75-55)—The Cardinals now have a 9 game lead on the woe-as-me Cubs. The good franchises always add the right parts when they are in a pennant race, and Matt Holliday and John Smoltz are those guys for the Redbirds.

4. Philadelphia Phillies (74-52)—The Phils may have given the slightest ray of hope to the Marlins and Braves, but then they remembered that they were the world champs.

5. Los Angeles Dodgers (76-53)—Their lead over the Rockies shrunk to 2 games this past week. It’s now back to 4, but this NL West race is not going to be a landslide as everyone thought. In fact, it’s now a 3-team race.

6. Boston Red Sox (74-54)—Don’t think the Sox can’t still catch the Yankees. If not, they should be able to hang on to the wild card, and adding Billy Wagner certainly doesn’t hurt their chances.

7. Colorado Rockies (72-57)—The wild card is not what these Rockies have in mind, and they just keep right on winning and closing the gap.

8. Texas Rangers (71-56)—Slipping in the power rankings and slipping in their quest for a wild card berth.

9. San Francisco Giants (70-59)—Got a big lift from Lincecum last night against the Rockies, but Giants need to sweep this weekend if they want to remain in contention.

10. Detroit Tigers (68-59)—T-men hanging tough, but watch out for the surging Twins, is all I’m sayin’.

MLB power rankings

We’re just six weeks away from the end of the regular season in baseball. Races are maybe tighter than they have ever been as a whole in each division, so let’s have another look at the power rankings. This week and going forward, we’ll only look at the top 10 instead of top 5 and bottom 5.

1. New York Yankees (77-45)—They’ve won 8 of 10 and show no signs of slowing down. And 20 runs against the Red Sox? Are you kidding me?

2. Los Angeles Angels (73-47)—Looks like we’re heading for an east-west ALCS.

3. St. Louis Cardinals (70-54)—John Smoltz isn’t likely to make an impact, but the Holliday trade already took care of that. This team is on fire.

4. Philadelphia Phillies (69-50)—Seriously, can Cliff Lee be pitching any better? Even Pedro has gotten into the act, and the rest of the NL has to be afraid of the defending champs.

5. Los Angeles Dodgers (73-50)—.474 ball in August (9-10) isn’t going to get it done. Not only are the Dodgers slipping in the power rankings, they’re now just 4.5 games up on the Rockies.

6. Boston Red Sox (69-52)—And they thought they had the Yankees’ number. Not this year, unless they make a huge surge in September.

7. Texas Rangers (68-53)—A mediocre August, but still keeping pace with the Red Sox for wild card.

8. Colorado Rockies (68-54)—Forget the wild card, the Rockies have a legitimate shot at the NL West crown.

9. San Francisco Giants (67-55)—With their pitching staff, they are never out of any race.

10. Detroit Tigers (65-56)—The Tampa Bay Rays have a slightly better record, but Tigers get the nod because, well, they’re in first place and the Rays are in third in that ridiculous AL East.

John Smoltz to sign with Cardinals

Starter John Smoltz has found a new team in the St. Louis Cardinals.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Free agent pitcher John Smoltz will accept the Cardinals’ offer to join the club as its fifth starter after clearing waivers at noon (St. Louis time) today, barring an unforeseen waiver claim, multiple sources said Tuesday.

Smoltz, the only pitcher in major-league history to achieve both 200 wins and 150 saves, becomes eligible to join his new club after clearing release waivers. The Boston Red Sox designated the former NL Cy Young Award winner for assignment Aug. 7 before placing him on waivers Monday. Teams have 48 hours to place a claim in the unlikely event they are willing to assume the balance of Smoltz’s $5.5 million contract.

Since the Red Sox released him, the Cardinals will only have to pay the prorated portion of Smoltz’s contract, which is roughly $100,000.

This isn’t a bad signing for a club that is trying to add talent to make a World Series run. While Smoltz certainly looked washed up in his brief stint in Boston, he might be rejuvenated pitching in the NL again and is certainly worth a look considering the other fifth-starter candidates for the Cardinals are Todd Wellemeyer, Brad Thompson, P.J. Walters and Mitchell Boggs.

There’s also speculation that Smoltz could wind up being a potential setup man for Ryan Franklin in the bullpen.

Is John Smoltz worth the risk?


It’s funny, because nobody was asking this question at the beginning of the season. Every baseball fan thought the Red Sox made a wise move in signing Smoltz. Unfortunately, after a disastrous return from the DL, the Red Sox decided to place the future Hall of Famer on waivers. Down but not out, the 42 year-old Smoltz is essentially saying, “F-that” and is looking for a new team.

The Dodgers, Rangers, Cardinals and Marlins are among the teams that will be interested in Smoltz if he becomes a free agent, sources said.

A trade is possible because Smoltz has cleared waivers, but the bonuses in his contract would complicate negotiations with the Red Sox.

A release is more likely, according to major-league executives.

Smoltz receives about $35,000 for each day he is on the active roster and other appearance-based bonuses. He also receives a $500,000 bonus if he is on the active roster and not the disabled list on the last day of the season and a $500,000 bonus if he is traded.

If Boston releases Smoltz, the Red Sox will be obligated to pay the remainder of his one-year, $5.5 million contract he signed in the offseason.

Wow. Looks like Smoltz and his agent worked out a pretty sweet deal during the offseason. In the twilight of my career, I’d love to make $35 grand a day and not have to do anything. Joking aside, I know Smoltz still wants to play. Just because he came back and was disastrous as a starter doesn’t mean he couldn’t help a playoff contender in a relief role. People forget that before joining the Red Sox, Smoltz had spent his entire career in the National League. He has plenty of experience as both a starter and closer. In 21 seasons, Smoltz has earned eight All-Star selections, 212 wins, 154 saves, 3,044 strikeouts, a Cy Young award, and a World Series ring. Not to mention, as we head down the stretch, the guy has more post-season wins than any pitcher in the history of baseball. Hmm, I think somebody will pick him up.

But who? It’s obvious no American League team will take a crack at him considering how hitters in that league owned him. He’s still owed a couple million dollars from his contract, so Smoltz is only desirable to a serious World Series contender from the NL. That being said, I doubt the Rockies, Giants, Brewers, Cubs, Marlins, or even the Braves, his old club, will bite. The way the Phillies have been playing, they look like the most stable team in the National League. Even though Brad Lidge is currently as good as a human tee, manager Charlie Manuel has kept his faith in the troubled closer. Besides Lidge, the rest of the Phillies relief has been solid. As for the Marlins, they could use Smoltz in the closing role, as both Matt Lindstrom and Leo Nunez have been shaky all year. Still, they are the Marlins, and I can’t see them spending the money. That leaves the Cardinals and Dodgers. Ryan Franklin has been a pleasant surprise as the Cardinals closer, but the team could use Smoltz in their middle relief. I just wonder how much much they’re willing to invest in a risk like Smoltz, especially after picking up the $6 million left on Matt Holliday’s contract.

Before the trade deadline, the Dodgers acquired Orioles closer George Sherrill for next to nothing. He’s currently being used as a setup man for Jonathan Broxton. After being so dominant at the beginning of the season, Broxton is now struggling, and the Dodgers are in need of another reliever familiar with high-pressure situations. This is where John Smoltz and the Dodgers make sense. When Manny Ramirez was suspended earlier this season for steroid use, he had to return $7.7 million of his contract to the Dodgers. This money could be used to sign the veteran pitcher.

I’d love to see Smoltz pitch again in the playoffs so I hope a deal gets done. We’ll find out soon enough, as the Red Sox need to either trade or release him by Monday.

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