Dave’s Free Play, Monday 6/23/14

  • June 23, 2014

I’m pretty sure nobody that matters with the Padres is reading this blog, but you never know. Nothing against Josh Byrnes, but I called for his ouster some time back. Results are all that matters, and simply stated, Byrnes wasn’t getting the job done as the GM of the Padres. The team is on pace for one of the worst offensive seasons in history, and there’s nothing of note that’s close to big league ready as far as bats are concerned. Many Padres fans and probably most of the soft San Diego media will continue crying the small market blues. Sorry, but while that might impact the franchise’s ability to hook up with big name free agents, it doesn’t excuse the lousy drafts and shaky deals.

Kevin Towers had a successful run as GM of the Padres previously, and he has already emerged as the clear favorite to move back to Petco. But as of right now, the Padres don’t have an actual GM, so I’ll play the role tonight and tell you what I’m doing first thing in the morning in my new job. I’m shopping Andrew Cashner and my initial call is to John Mozeliak.

The Cardinals are serious contenders to get back to the World Series but they got some bad news over the weekend. Jaime Garcia heading back to the DL with more shoulder problems is unfortunate, but hardly surprising. The other injured pitcher is cause for great concern. Michael Wacha is going to be sidelined with what is being called a stress reaction to the back side of his shoulder. According to Mozeliak, this “not a very common injury to pitchers and one that we don’t have a ton of experience on how to deal with it.”

Thus, the current Cardinals rotation is Wainwright, Lynn, Miller, Martinez and Joe Kelly should be back shortly. If Wacha and Garcia can return soon, that’s great. If not, this team is not getting to the playoffs with that rotation. Wainwright is awesome, Lynn is solid. After that, your guess is as good as mine.

That brings me to Cashner. He’s a legit top of the rotation hurler, if not in experience at least in terms of stuff. He’s a perfect #2 behind someone like Wainwright, who also has the rep for being a truly great teammate and mentor. Cashner on the Cardinals is an absolutely perfect fit, and that even includes his ability to hit, run and field, as the Cardinals stress this with their pitchers more than most teams.

St. Louis also has the luxury of some serious prospect sticks, with Oscar Taveras the most likely star to be. Parting with someone with sky high potential such as Taveras would never be easy, but landing a guy with staff ace stuff is supposed to be costly. To me, if I have to part with Taveras to land Cashner, it’s a move I’d be willing to make. But from the Padres vantage point, it makes even more sense. They’ve got pitching. Cashner is their best arm, but this staff would still be okay without him and the Friars do have some good young pitchers in the system. What they don’t have on the big club or at the two highest minor league levels are bats.

The bottom line for whomever ends up in charge with the Padres is that getting someone who can hit the baseball has to be the top priority and it needs to happen quickly. Cashner for Taveras is just one idea, but it’s one I think is feasible and would work for both teams.

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2-1 Sunday, so a nice little profit for the day. Monday’s card isn’t packed with some teams enjoying a day off, but I’ve already made three plays. Note that I send these out early to my subscribers, because I think it’s vital to try and get the best numbers. I will always wait for the major books both here in Nevada and offshore to put their lines up. So these plays are against real numbers, and not the soft openers that are volatile and not widely available. Just my two cents, but if you’re getting picks from someone and they’re giving out plays at beat up numbers, that will prove costly over the long haul.

Additionally, my guarantee with the current monthly special is still intact. Getting the details is a snap. Just send me an email at cokin@cox.net and I’ll explain how everything works.

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No way around it, the daily comps are struggling. They’ve mostly been narrow losses, but I’m not sure that really matters. However, I strongly recommend checking my Twitter timeline (@davecokin) to find out whether or not the daily free play ends up on my final personal card, as this info is always posted at some point during the day.

06/23  04:05 PM  MLB  (911)  NEW YORK YANKEES  (912) TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Take: (912) TORONTO BLUE JAYS -112

If you’ve followed my analysis over the years, you already know I’m fond of playing on rookie pitchers in their first journeys around the loop. Two key reasons stand out here. One is the hitters being unfamiliar with these guys, and initially at least, that’s frequently an advantage for the pitchers. Secondly, the betting lines can often be favorable to these unknown commodities. Maybe not so much if it’s a big name rookie, but when it’s a secondary guy, I think there’s value to be had backing them.

The second time around is often not so kind to the first year hurlers. Now the hitters have a book and it’s here when we start to find out if the rookie sensations have any staying power. That brings me to Chase Whitley, who will throw for the Yankees tonight as they open a series in Toronto with the Blue Jays.

Whitley has been more than a pleasant surprise for the Yankees. He is not a high end prospect, and had basically been an anonymous relief pitcher in the organization till this spring. Not anymore! Whitley has raised lots of eyebrows in his maiden big league voyage, and for the time being at least, he’s establishing himself as a fixture in this year’s Yanks rotation. Whitley has been handled very well, as manager Joe Girardi has kept him on a short leash. But there can’t be any question that Whitley has been an unexpected asset for a team that in spite of some obvious shortcomings, is very much in the AL playoff chase.

Tonight could be a different story for Whitley. The Blue Jays are facing him for the second time in succession and I’m not going to be surprised if they knock the kid around some this evening. Those veteran Jays hitters are going to adjust off what they just saw. Countering doesn’t figure to be easy for the still raw rookie.

Marcus Stroman is another rookie, albeit the Blue Jays kid has a much more public pedigree than Whitley and he looks to have a pretty high ceiling as well. Stroman struggled in his first test with the Yankees, as he had trouble with his command throughout what turned out to be a rather short stint. Prior to that poor performance, Stroman had looked very good in three straight starts, in spite of being unlucky with a bloated BABIP.

As for the rest, the Yankees are off two pretty ugly offensive games against the Orioles, and it wasn’t like those came against Adam Wainwright and Andrew Cashner (you knew I’d find a way to slip that in here someplace, right?). The Blue Jays will likely be minus Jose Bautista tonight from what I can gather and I’d check the status of Adam Lind before getting involved. But I believe this number is a little on the short side and I’m leaning toward the idea of teams catching up to Whitley the second time around. I’ll go Blue Jays as the comp play tonight.