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Gary Brown Video, Hall of Fame Game, Forgotten Yankee, Yanks Should Wait Till August



By Mike Silva ~ July 24th, 2011. Filed under: Morning Digest.

Reports are swirling that Carlos Beltran is headed to San Francisco. The main piece in the deal could be San Jose outfielder Gary Brown.

Brown is the first round pick of the Giants from 2010. He was the Big West Conference Player of the Year for Cal State Fullerton that year as well.

John Klima of Baseball Beginnings rated Brown as a “mild prospect,” which means he is likely to be a solid starter, but lacks one tool or intangible to be a premium player. They are everyday regulars for contending teams. The premise of his report is that Brown has the defensive ability to be a Gold Glove outfielder, but needed to make offensive adjustments with his swing. Offensively it doesn’t appear he will have a tremendous amount of power, but will put the ball in play with a low walk/low strikeout rate.

My biggest concern with Brown is why he’s spent the entire year at High-A. Clearly his production deserved a promotion to Double-A Richmond. Are the Giants afraid to expose his offense at a higher level? I still think the Mets need to nibble for an arm in the deal (LHP Eric Surkamp would be nice) since Brown is a step below their top offensive prospect Brandon Belt.

Here is a video from May 13th of this year where Brown went 3 for 5, including a home run.

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When talking about potentially acquiring Brown you can look towards the future because the present centerfielder, Angel Pagan, doesn’t appear to be in the front office’s long term plans. Joel Sherman of the NY Post had this to say about Pagan on Friday:

The defensive miscue yesterday was symptomatic of too many absent-minded plays by Pagan. In addition, club officials portray Pagan as selfish, absorbed with his results. Collins has publicly taken the blame for hitting Pagan leadoff (.217 in 14 starts) against the player’s will. But behind the scenes the Mets were annoyed Pagan did not see how much the team needed him with Reyes out and embrace the role.

Pagan is making $3.5 million dollars this year and is arbitration eligible this winter. He probably will command somewhere in the $4-5 million dollar range. That is a decent chunk of money for a centerfielder that is hitting .250, has a bad attitude, and has regressed on the defensive end. I was bullish on Pagan last summer and even compared him to Johnny Damon:

Damon in 1999 had 14 homers, 77 RBI, 36 SB, and OPS of .856. That is roughly the type of numbers that Pagan (9/47/.850) will put up this season. Thinking big I can see Pagan developing into the Red Sox/Yankees version of Damon with 20 home run power. There is no doubt he would see a jump in home runs playing in the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium. Defensively Pagan is clearly the superior player.

Of course, by 28 years of age Damon was an established commodity where Pagan is having his first full healthy season. If this version of Angel Pagan is here to stay he could soon join Wright and Reyes as the homegrown stars to build a team around.

Pagan finished 2010 with 11 homers, 67 RBI, .765 OPS, and 39 stolen bases. After a solid June where he hit .300, July has seen him produce a .173 batting average. I am not sure Angel Pagan can be considered a future component going forward.

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In prior years fans would be treated during the summer to the Hall of Fame game at Doubleday Field. The ground which the stadium is built has been used for baseball since 1920 and holds about 9,700 fans. I got to thinking about this game with all the festivities going on in Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame game.

I visited the field in 1989 and it truly takes you back the beginnings of baseball. Ballpark Reviews has great shots of the park for you to view. BR also gives us a quick description:

The park does not have lights, the covered grandstand behind home plate probably looks the same as it did 50 years ago. There are no individual seats – just wooden benches with backs. Down both lines are bleacher seats with no backs. The outfield also contains bleachers about 10 rows deep from right field to center. In left field is a small scoreboard and a 20 foot high fence, as the dimensions are very small to that part of the park. There are no concession stands inside the park – just vendors wandering around both inside and outside the park

In 1940 they started a tradition with the “Hall of Fame Game.” The first edition happened that year on June 13th, as the Cubs beat the Red Sox 10-9 in a 7 inning rain-shortened game.

The Yankees played in five contests, winning four

1947- Lost to the Boston Braves 4-3 in 10 innings

1954 – Beat the Cincinnati Reds 10-9

1965 – Beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-4

1972- Beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-3

1987 – Beat the Atlanta Braves 3-0

The Mets were in the game five times as well and have gone 1-2 with 2 ties:

1964 – Lost to the Washington Senators 6-4.

1976 – Lose to the Milwaukee Brewers 9-3.

1978- Tied with the Detroit Tigers 4-4 after 6.5 innings due to rain.

1982- Tied with the Chicago White Sox 4-4 after 8 innings due to rain.

1992- Beat the Chicago White Sox 3-0 (a certain top prospect named Bobby Jones pitched for the Mets in that game).

The game was cancelled after 2008 due to scheduling concerns. It’s difficult for a professional team to get into Cooperstown since they have to fly into New York and then take a bus upstate. Obviously, using regular pitchers is a concern as well. Since 1989 there has been a minor league game played there on induction weekend. College teams use the park during the summer.

Why not bring the Hall of Fame game back as an event before the start of the season. Combine the Civil Rights game and Cooperstown right before the season starts. There would be less of a chance of teams and players complaining about scheduling during that time. I know the weather situation might be dicey, but even if they play a 7 inning game it’s about making it an event and bringing the current big leaguers back to the Hall of Fame.

The best scenario would be to make it part of the Hall of Fame induction weekend. Without the game as part of the festivities there is no current component to the event. I normally side with the players when it comes to schedule, travel, and taking away what little personal time they have during the season. I do, however, believe it’s important to have that current connection to the history of the game. It’s a way for the fans to interact with the players they love in a setting that takes the game back to its roots.

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Bill Pennington did a great story on Kei Igawa for the New York Times. 

The Yankees signed Igawa during the offseason of 2006 as a way to counter the Red Sox signing of Daisuke Matsuzaka. He’s been awful in a couple of short stints in the Bronx, compiling a  2-4 record with a 6.66 ERA.

One of the biggest takeaways I had from the article was Igawa describing the adjustment coming to play baseball in the States:

“America is a different world from Japan and so is American baseball,” he said. “I had never pitched out of the bullpen. I had never pitched on four days rest. The hitters here also have more power — another adjustment. I look back now and I have developed a cut fastball, I throw my changeup differently. I understand American hitters better. So I think I would have done better if I had more time the first season. And I wish I had then what I have now.”

Other nuggets from the article was how the Yankees messed around with his mechanics, ownership blocked a trade to San Diego in 2007 (have to love non-baseball people making great decisions again), the worth ethic of the Japanese player, and Brian Cashman’s blunt conversation where he told Igawa that his “abilities didn’t translate into a major league career.”

I didn’t realize how successful Igawa was in Japan as Pennington points out he won “75 games in his last five years and leading the Japan Central League in strikeouts for three of those years.”

The Yankees actually cited their own advanced statistic – QERA- a statistic that estimates what a pitcher’s ERA should be based on his strikeout rate, walk rate and ground ball-to-fly ball ratio. Although Igawa’s minor league performance has been solid (36-25, 3.81) they believe the fact he is doing it with mainly fly balls won’t translate well to the big leagues.

I can’t disagree with them on that point, but I still don’t see why they haven’t at least tried him briefly as a LOOGY. Traditionally lefties have struggled against him in MILB. Is Steve Garrison, recently called up, really any better? They are paying Igawa $5 million dollars a year to win games in Trenton and Scranton.

Give Igawa credit as he is not giving up on his dream of succeeding at American baseball. He turned down two deals that would have sent him back to Japan. He ended the piece by saying he would continue pitching in the States next year as long as a team gave him a legitimate chance to make it. Something that will not happen with the Yankees.

Oh, one more thing, Igawa commutes (via a chauffeur of course) to Scranton or Trenton (depending on where he is pitching) from Manhattan every day.

Igawa has his own personal blog which you can check out here, if you can read Japanese.

***

Wallace Matthews believes the Yankees offense needs improvement. They haven’t been aggressive in the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes, and very few bats have been connected with the team. We heard they checked in on White Sox Carlos Quentin recently to possibly use as a designated hitter.

Right now, I think they should be looking at quality arms that are an upgrade over Ivan Nova and Adam WarrenMatt Garza may fit the bill with his AL East pedigree. I am starting to come around and believe working out a deal for pitchers such as Wandy RodriguezHiroki Kuroda (who the Yankees aren’t interested in), Ted LillyRyan Dempster, or Carlos Zambrano.

I would try to buy low on Francisco Liriano, but the Twins are in the race. Ubaldo Jimenez appears more of a pipe dream.

Best move for the Yankees would be to wait till after the trading deadline and see who becomes available on waivers. Team’s demands may change when the calendar moves to the “dog days.” The market will shrink and it may throw some leverage their way. Who knows, they may be able to acquire a veteran arm for nothing more than cash.

With that said, Matt Garza would be a nice fit in the rotation. The Yankees don’t have many positional prospects they could offer (I wouldn’t make Montero part of that deal), but could see if any of their B-level pitching prospects are a match.

It doesn’t sound like Chicago is motivated to deal Garza, especially since he is controllable for another couple of years.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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2 Responses to Gary Brown Video, Hall of Fame Game, Forgotten Yankee, Yanks Should Wait Till August

  1. Chuck Johnson

    Garza’s a headcase.

    What he brings to the mound isn’t enough to compensate for what he doesn’t bring to the clubhouse.

    I’ll pass, thanks.

    The HOF game ended because of money, plain and simple.

  2. Stu B

    I agree with Chuck about the HOF game. The issue of flying into NYC is an excuse. Albany and Syracuse have international airports that accomodate jet landings.

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