While the Yankees negotiate with Raul Ibanez, let’s turn our attention to some non-Yankee topics. You’ll remember that I did this series last year, so let’s kick it off a little earlier this year to fill our baseball void.
We’ll be starting with the last year’s defending division champion, the Arizona Diamondbacks. There’s an obvious choice here, and I’m going with it. Ian Kennedy. IPK just went off this year. He threw 222 innings, had a great 8.03 K/9; 2.33 BB/9; and 0.77 HR/9 which helped him post a fantastic 2.88 ERA (72 ERA– and a solid 3.22 FIP (79 FIP–). I don’t think we can expect a repeat of these numbers, but I’ll always enjoy rooting for and watching Kennedy pitch.
Next, we’ll go up north to San Francisco. Let’s keep our eyes on another former Yankee: Melky Cabrera. Traded to the Giants from the Royals for Jonathan Sanchez, Melky will be looking to build on a career year in 2011. He wOBA’d .349 (118 wRC+) and was worth 4.2 fWAR. Cabrera set a career high in Iso (.164), but also in strikeout rate (13.3%) and a low in walk rate (5.0%). It’s also worth watching if his BABIP from 2011, a robust .332, will hold up after Melky posted BABIP numbers of .288; .288; .271; .295; and .309 in the previous five years.
Moving down the West Coast to Los Angeles, I think we should watch Andre Ethier. Why? If for no other reason than if the Dodgers fall out of the race before the trade deadline, he’s a guy the Yankees could conceivably make a run at if they’re unhappy with their vs. RHP DH production. Ethier has been declining steadily against LHP, but has remained solid against RHP. If he keeps that up and the team trends down, as many think they will, perhaps the Yankees could swing a trade for him in July (and, yes, this is incredibly selfish and presumptuous. I don’t think this will actually happen).
Let’s blend the last three into one, shall we? For the Colorado Rockies, let’s watch former Yankee and another potential trade target: Jason Giambi. WOOO. The Giambino mashed against righties last year, so maybe there’s a reunion upcoming if the (small) cost is right. On a different note, Jamie Moyer signed a minor league deal with the CoRox this offseason, so maybe he can make another Major League appearance, which would be a lot of fun.
Last but not least, we come to the San Diego Padres. With personal favorite Mat Latos now on the Reds, let’s shift our attention to one of the players for whom he was traded: Yonder Alonso. He’ll turn 25 in April and he’s done nothing but absolute rake at just about every stop along the way in his professional career. He’ll be in an extreme pitcher’s park, but it’ll be interesting, nonetheless, to see him get a full slate of major league plate appearances.
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