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Pro Sports Wrap - Sports Personality of the Day:Steven Stamkos

It isn't always pretty, but Francisco Cordero gets the job done, and there are quite a few teams clamoring for his services via trade. Cordero is about a league-average closer, and a solid prospect is about what the Reds should expect from a deal. However, there is a good chance that a team overpays for him and factors in his gaudy save numbers a little too much.

Although the Padres have given a two year deal to Heath Bell, they don't really like the prospects of him re-signing. Bell could stand to make more with one of the many west coast teams interested in him, and one can't rule out the Red Sox as players in the race for Bell. Even though he is a little overrated, Bell is still a pretty good closer, but a team looking to give him- as Sports Illustrated states- three years and 30 million is giving up too much.

In yesterday's post, I stated that the only way Jose Reyes will sign with the Marlins is if he plays at shortstop. People, for some strange reason, believe that Hanley Ramirez and Reyes are friends; that's not the case. Regardless, Han-Ram isn't pleased about moving over to third if Reyes is signed. A move to third would help the Marlins defensively, because it means that Ramirez has less chances to screw up in the field. It's obvious that Hanley doesn't want to move to a less prestigious position on the diamond, but I really wish he would do what's best for the team and for himself. Doesn't he want to win a ring?

Aramis Ramirez wants a four year deal (even if it's an option) according to FOX Sports, and that really seems like a stretch to me. He may be a solid hitter at a weak position offensively, but he's too old to be seeking a four years. A-Ram obviously wants the opportunity to win a ring at the age of 33, but he may want to lower his demands to make him more appealing to contenders.

The Rangers, Yankees, Red Sox, Rockies, Indians, Cubs, Phillies, and Giants all want to take a gamble on former stud center fielder Grady Sizemore. It would be a calculated risk, but I really don't think the Yanks, Phils, or Sox have a need for Grady right now.

C.J. Wilson is easily the best starter on the free agent market right now, and the rival Angels are interested in acquiring the ace to an already impressive rotation. Right now, Wilson obviously wants to make 100 million over six seasons, but I honestly think six years may be a couple of seasons too many. Five is the most I would go, and a year really does make a difference between a good deal and a bad deal when you are investing this much money per season.
Teams are calling

Guys, I am finally back from a very lengthy vacation that did not produce a single blog post. A lot has transpired in my absence from this blog, and I am going to start things off with a rumor post that details potential trades in the MLB.

The Yankees are still searching for left-handed relief help with Rafael Soriano still on the DL, and Pedro Feliciano and Damaso Marte are out for the rest of the year. Boone Logan is their only lefty in the pen, and this is certainly a pressing need for the Bronx Bombers.

Heath Bell has always made it clear that he wants to stay with the Padres, and he may get his wish. Bell is certain that he will be traded- perhaps to the Rangers with more concerns about Neftali Feliz- but he will sign with the Padres after this season. He will give them a discount, and the team getting him will most likely only be getting a rental. This is great news for the Padres, of course, because they'll get a prospect for a rental and pretty much know that Bell will return.

The Phillies have always talked about getting a deal done with the Astros for Hunter Pence. I personally don't think the 'Stros should trade their best player, and he probably won't be dealt. The Phils have until Friday to make a trade- that will likely concern three or four prospects- otherwise the Braves, Reds, and Sox will have a chance to court Pence. Don't worry Phillies fans, Domonic Brown is no longer in trade talks. Just remember though, Wandy Rodriguez is on the trading block (as well as Clint Barmes).

There is a very good chance that Carlos Quentin will be traded, but it remains unclear to which team. The Phillies really want to get Quentin, and the Braves are also suitors. Both NL East teams were also suitors for Carlos Beltran, and Pence's high price has made the Astros' outfielder Philly's backup plan.

Ubaldo Jimenez and Hiroki Kuroda are the two biggest names available for trade right now, but I don't see Jimenez going anywhere. Seriously guys, King Felix is definitely not going to get traded. Kuroda, on the other hand, will almost certainly be packing his bags by the end of July. If neither the Red Sox nor the Yankees are able to get either of those two, the AL East powerhouses will go after oft-injured starter Rich Harden. The A's pitcher has nasty stuff and racks up K's, but he is rarely ever healthy and sometimes struggles with his command.
Best Closer Available

Last season, the Padres were baseball's surprise story and were in first place in their division for most of the year. Their devastating collapse at the end of the year- and the incredible comeback by the Giants who would eventually win the World Series- has continued on to this season. The Padres are last in the poor but competitive NL West.

It's no surprise that their hitting has been awful, and that's the reason why they are last in their division. Their rotation has been disappointing, especially when you consider that their ballpark is PETCO. The Padres do have one of the best bullpens in baseball with Heath Bell, Mike Adams, Chad Qualls, Luke Gregerson, and Pat Neshek.

Nick Hundley, who has been good this year, is on the 15-day DL as is free agent signing Orlando Hudson who has not been so good this year. Cameron Maybin has been great in the field and the best player on the team so far, but I really hate is contact. I think he's going to bat under .240 for the season with his strikeout rate. He's got a high BABIP, and he's still barely hitting over .250. It just shows how pathetic the Padres are offensively.

The thing is that Maybin has been the best fielder and baserunner on the team, so that's what makes his WAR 1.8. Kyle Phillips is getting more time with Hundley out. The former prized Blue Jays' prospect has shown some nice flashes of power, and I think he needs to get more playing time over Rob Johnson. What do they have to lose?

Ryan Ludwick leads the team in homers, but he also has the highest fly ball rate in the majors. He's also hitting .257 which shows you that he is still the same old Ryan Ludwick. A guy who hits fly balls and doesn't get on base. Jorge Cantu has been a bust signing so far because he's been doing nothing of note lately besides sucking.

Chris Denorfia and Chase Headley have been the only other players that have been hitting well. Denorfia has been the team's best hitter so far. He's getting on base, but he's definitely in for a huge regression on the contact side which would mean he would go back to being his usual subpar hitting self. Headley is producing runs, but he can't field. His BABIP is .347 and his BA is .275. That may seem way off, but his career BABIP is .333. So I think he'll end up hitting about .270 for the year.

On to the pitching side of the Padres. Tim Stauffer has been very unlucky so far this year, and he's been pitching better than the numbers indicate. Stauffer has been his team's best pitcher so far, but I can't see Mat Latos not getting back on track and pitching very well the rest of the way. These are both two pitchers to keep an eye on.

I think Pat Neshek will regress, and Clayton Richard is going to keep pitching poorly. There's nothing to indicate that things will improve for the young hurler. Although Chad Qualls has a .242 BABIP, he has been able to induce groundballs. I think Qualls still remains effective as the year goes on. Mike Adams is a guy who will definitely see his sub 2.00 ERA go up. He's a very good set-up man who gets K's, but he has been far too lucky this year with a .197 BABIP, a 92.1 LOB%, and a 41.3 GB%.

Pat Neshek and Chad Qualls are polar opposites in terms of pitchers whose fastballs have been more effective. Neshek doesn't use his fastball very much, and for good reason because it is barely over 85 miles an hour. Neshek does make good adjustments because his slider is his most-thrown pitch and his most effective this year. It's been downright nasty so far, while Clayton Richard has struggled with it. Well, he's struggled with all his pitches except his fastball and average curveball.

Dustin Moseley has been solid so far this year thanks to his cutter and curveball, but he should cut down on his changeup usage because he's not fooling anybody with it. Part of it may be because he hasn't successfully used his fastball to set up his change. Having an average fastball velocity just a tick under 89 miles an hour also doesn't help too much either. Mat Latos and Tim Stauffer's have also struggled because their off-speed stuff has been quite up to par yet, but I'm confident that their overall stats will get better.
Numbers Will Be Better

5/2011 Closer Rankings

May 12th 2011 14:23
1. Mariano Rivera
2. Jonathan Papelbon
3. Heath Bell
4. Brian Wilson
5. Joakim Soria
6. Carlos Marmol
7. Francisco Rodriguez
8. Huston Street
9. Jonathan Broxton
10. Joe Nathan
11. Andrew Bailey
12. Neftali Feliz
13. Daniel Bard
14. Chris Perez
15. Jose Valverde
16. Francisco Cordero
17. J.J. Putz
18. John Axford
19. Matt Thornton
20. Leo Nunez
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