Well, first off, I'd like to say that I feel much better about picking Doc Halladay as the starting pitcher on my NL All-Star ballot from a few days ago now. I think that we can safely say that I was a genius for knowing that Halladay's next start would blow him ahead of Jimenez.
But moving forward, there were a few minor moves throughout the majors in the past few days, and let's cover them now before I put on my tuxedo for tonight's graduation ceremony. Then again, it's 85 and there's no air conditioning in the arena, so I'm not exactly pumped to go sit and sweat profusely for three hours. Enough of that, though, because we need to focus on the truly big news from last night.
I know, you're a little disappointed that it didn't work, right? I mean, Willis was actually not that bad in his 9 starts, his ERA, FIP and xFIP are all under 5. But the Tigers are right in the thick of contention right now, and apparently they believe that Max Scherzer is straight again and Armando Galarraga is a better option than Willis now. The left-hander has apparently said that he'd like to sign with a west coast team, preferably Arizona. There have been a lot of people talking about Willis taking a page from Carlos Silva, seeing if he can show some sizable improvement with a move to a low-expectation environment in the National League. I mean, Willis is ONLY 28, and he's a left-handed pitcher who nearly won a Cy Young five years ago. Then again, he hasn't shown an ability to miss bats or command his pitches well in three years, so the D-Train is probably closing in on it's final destination.
These weren't corresponding moves, Gaudin replaced lefty Boone Logan in the Yankees' bullpen and Winn lost his roster spot when the Yanks needed to make room for Curtis Granderson. But they are certainly noteworthy, as these are the Yankees and both of these players have held pretty prominent roles in recent memory. Gaudin had a sub-4 xFIP in 12 games with Oakland before being DFA'd, but struggled with keeping the ball in the park. He's returning to New York, where he posted a 3.43 ERA in 43 innings last season but didn't have the peripherals to support that mark. He's always struggled with left-handed hitters, but he's quite useful against right-handers and is capable of starting if necessary. It's not surprising that the Yankees gave up on Logan for now, he walked more batters than he struck out this season and has a 5.73 ERA in 138 major league innings.
As for Winn, the Yankees have apparently opted to let Ramiro Pena and Kevin Russo take the majority of the outfield playing time behind Granderson, Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher. The Yankees hoped that Winn would rebound from a rough offensive season in San Francisco, but his .278 wOBA was even worse than his mark from 2009, and his usually sparkling defense didn't grade out as better than average, either. The Yankees gave Winn a one-year, $1.1M contract hoping that he'd give them a quality fourth outfielder, but it appears that Winn is finally entering the twilight of his career after averaging 3.7 fWAR per season from 2002 through 2008.
With the activation of shortstop Rafael Furcal, Green lost his place as a utility infielder on LA's bench, but he only made 9 plate appearances with the Dodgers anyways. A roughly replacement level player in 384 games spanning six years, Green continues to show that he's really just not all that good, especially on a team with hopes of contending. This move really shouldn't surprise anyone, Green was pretty much a lock to lose his roster spot when Furcal returned, as the Dodgers already have Jamey Carroll and Ronnie Belliard on the bench.
Ortiz proved to be the same pitcher that couldn't keep a job the past four years, a fly ball pitcher that doesn't miss enough bats or avoid walks with enough consistency to really be good enough to pitch in the majors. For those counting at home, that makes two guys named "R. Ortiz" who have lost their job in the LA bullpen since the beginning of the season. The team is apparently opting to see what they have in Justin Miller and Carlos Monasterios, who has an impressive ERA in 28 innings this year although he doesn't have the peripherals to match.
Probably best known as one of the key pieces of the deal that sent Tim Hudson to the Braves, Meyer was once one of the best prospects in baseball before injuries took a major toll on the left-hander. After toiling in the upper minors for three years, he emerged as one of Florida's best relievers last season, posting a 3.09 ERA along with solid 3.87 FIP and 4.11 xFIP marks. He used a low-90's fastball and a mid-80's slider primarily, posting an impressive 2.67 K/BB but a below average groundball rate.
He was expected to be one of the anchors of the bullpen this season, a 28-year-old lefty with a minimal platoon split and a cheap salary. But Meyer totally fell apart this season, with a double-digit ERA and FIP/xFIP marks over 8. He walked 11 in 8 innings while striking out only 3, and saw the velocity on his fastball drop over 5 MPH. His contact rate is up nearly 10 percent, and his whiff rate has been cut in half. He's just a totally different pitcher this season, one that looks like he's probably not healthy. And that wouldn't be too surprising given Meyer's rough history of health issues.