Record of the Day
Most RBI by a rookie: Ted Williams, 145 (1939).
With the 64th highest RBI total of all time (including after 1939), Williams set a still standing rookie mark with 145 RBI for the 1939 Red Sox. Just 20 years old, Williams hit 31 home runs, knocked in 145, and batted .327 in 149 games to begin his legendary career. Arguably the greatest hitter of all time, even the Splendid Splinter himself would not match the total until 1949, when he knocked in 159. In 1950, 27-year-old teammate Walt Dropo knocked in 144 in his rookie season, finishing just one behind Teddy Ballgame's record.
Free Agent Signings
Yankees agreed to terms with Hideki Okajima (1-0, 4.32 ERA, .233 BAA, 2012 age: 36) on a minor league deal.
Red Sox signed Jesse Carlson (missed 2011 season, 3.63 career ERA as reliever, 2012 age: 31) to a minor league deal.
Five-year Red Sox Hideki Okajima will join the Yankees after seeing mixed success in Boston. Entering the major leagues from Japan at 31 years old in 2007, Okajima was selected to the All Star team in his very first year while helping the Red Sox to the World Series Championship, but gradually started to wear off. In 2007, the lefty posted a 2.22 ERA and .202 BAA in 66 games setting up Jonathan Papelbon, then posted a 2.61 ERA in 64 games in 2008. His numbers began to slip a tinge in 2009, where he posted a 3.39 ERA in 68 games, but ran into command issues in 2010. Issuing 20 walks in 46 innings, Okajima's ERA inflated to 4.50 and opponents batted .314 through 56 games. He didn't pitch a game after May 9th in 2011, finishing with a 4.32 ERA and five walks in his seven games. Over his five-year career, he is 17-8 with a 3.11 ERA and .238 BAA in 261 appearances.
A's traded Andrew Bailey (0-4, 3.24 ERA, .218 BAA, 24 saves, 2012 age: 28) and Ryan Sweeney (1 HR, 25 RBI, .265 AVG, 1 SB, 2012 age: 27) to the Red Sox for Josh Reddick (7 HR, 28 RBI, .280 AVG, 1 SB, 2012 age: 25) and minor leaguers Miles Head (22 HR, 82 RBI, .299 AVG, 4 SB at Class A Greenville and High Class A Salem, 2012 age: 21) and Raul Alcantara (1-4, 2.20 ERA, .208 BAA at GCL and Short Season Lowell, 2012 age: 19).
Two trends continued: The Red Sox traded for their second closer-caliber pitcher (the former being fringe-closer Mark Melancon) and the A's dealt their third big-name pitcher, with Bailey following Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez. On the East Coast, Boston acquired an oft-injured Andrew Bailey, who, when healthy, can dominate hitters, left- or right-handed. The legend of Andrew Bailey began in 2009 when he finished converting to a reliever and broke camp for his major league debut. The 25-year-old assumed the closer role and was 6-3 with a 1.84 ERA and meager .167 BAA in 68 games en route to the AL Rookie of the Year award, also saving 26 games. If injuries hadn't limited his playing time in 2010, he may have had a remarkable season. Though missing much of August and parts of July and September, Bailey posted a 1.47 ERA and limited opponents to a .199 BAA while saving 25 games in 28 opportunities in 47 games. Injuries again kept him out of action until the very end of May in 2011 and he never gained his 2009-2010 form. In 42 games, he posted a 3.24 ERA, limited opponents to a .218 BAA, and saved 24 games in 26 tries. Still very good numbers, Bailey looks to rebound in 2012. Over his three-year career, he is 7-10 with a 2.07 ERA, .188 BAA, and 75 saves in 157 appearances.
The Red Sox also acquired Ryan Sweeney who will likely replace J.D. Drew in right field. At 6'4", 225 Ibs and out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa of all places, Sweeney seems like the perfect fit for a power hitter. Instead, he is more of a contact hitter who also brings a sure glove. Debuting in 2006 at 21 years old and being traded from the White Sox to the A's after the 2007 season, Sweeney established himself in the Oakland outfield in his first full season in 2008. He hit just five home runs but batted .286 with nine stolen bases in 115 games. His best season came in 2009 as he hit six home runs and batted .293 with six stolen bases in 134 games. He also set a career high with 31 doubles. Despite missing the second half of 2010 to injury, Sweeney homered once and smacked .294 with a stolen base in 82 games. In the field, he didn't make a single error all season. Spending 2011 as a fourth outfielder, he homered once and batted a career-low .265 with a stolen base in 108 games, many of which were pinch hitting appearances. Over his six-year career, he hit 14 home runs and batted .283 with 17 stolen bases in 472 games. In the outfield, he owns a .996 fielding percentage (makes a clean play 99.6% of the time).
The key player acquired by Oakland was outfielder Josh Reddick, a young outfielder with high upside. A well rounded hitter, Reddick could never quite break in with Boston until 2011. After two seasons of shuttling back and forth between Pawtucket and Boston (which is not a very far shuttle), Reddick finally earned significant playing time in 2011. In 87 games for the Red Sox, Reddick showed what he was made of, hitting seven home runs and batting .280 with 18 doubles. Over his three year career, the 24-year-old hit 10 home runs and batted .248 in 143 games.
The A's also acquired a couple of low-level minor league prospects. One, Miles Head, is a power-hitting first baseman from the small Georgia town of Brooks, saw a breakout season last year with Class A Greenville, hitting 15 home runs and batting .338 in 66 games. Upon promotion to High Class A Salem, he hit seven more home runs and batted .254 in 63 games to finish the season with 22 home runs and a .299 average in 129 games. Only 20, he has high upside. The other prospect acquired by Oakland was Raul Alcantara, a skinny Dominican starter who made the jump from the Dominican Summer League in just thirteen starts. As a 17-year-old in 2010 in the DSL, Raul was 5-3 with a 3.28 ERA, including a complete game, which is hard to come by with players that young. Promoted to the Gulf Coast League in 2011, Alcantara posted a 0.75 ERA (48 innings, four earned runs) and .147 BAA in nine starts before being promoted to Short Season Lowell. He struggled, posting a 6.23 ERA in four starts, but finished the year 1-4 with a 2.20 ERA in 13 starts.
Alex Rodriguez will undergo experimental knee treatment in Germany.
Teams followed in this update: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves
If your team is not included, please leave a comment.
HR: home runs. RBI: runs batted in. AVG: batting average. SB: stolen bases. ERA: earned run average. BAA: batting average against. K's: strikeouts. WPCT: winning percentage