By Ted Keith
July 30, 2009
MLB Power Rankings
21 Toronto Blue Jays
Last Week: 20
The self-imposed July 28 deadline to deal Roy Halladay came and went and Doc was still a Blue Jay, and the constant speculation about whether the ace was going to be dealt has worn thin for his teammates. "I'm definitely ready to get this over with," Blue Jays catcher Rod Barajas told "I don't want to be checking my phone or turning on my computer and checking to see if he's still my teammate. I'm sure he's over it now. He's ready to move on, whether he's going to be here or he's not going to be here. Enough is enough for us, for me at least." The rumors haven't affected Halladay's performance at all. In his four starts since Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said he'd consider dealing his ace, Halladay has posted a 2.25 ERA and 31 strikeouts against just three walks (though bad run support has given him a 1-2 record in that time).
22 Cincinnati Reds
Last Week: 21
Hall of Fame weekend meant another round of questions about whether Pete Rose should be in inducted into baseball's shrine, but this year Rose started getting support from some unexpected sources. "I would certainly like to see him in," Hank Aaron said. "He belongs in, really. His career is one that he needs to be right here in the middle of all this." Given that so many Hall of Famers have said that those who used PEDs should not be allowed in the Hall, it was interesting to hear Aaron make an exception for a different kind of cheater. The real injustice isn't whether or not Rose should be in the Hall but that it keeps haunting the Hall of Fame weekends of those new inductees who shouldn't have to see the most important accomplishment of their professional lives overshadowed by this recurring nightmare for baseball.
23 Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 25
All told, a fairly predictable week in Oakland. Matt Holliday was traded, Rickey Henderson left 'em laughing in Cooperstown (insisting "I never talk in the third party" -- you're the best, Rickey) and the A's dropped three of four to the Yankees. But then they went and took two straight at Fenway Park, a nice boost in what should be a fairly uninteresting march to the finish line. It's hard to see how their already anemic offense can provide much pop the rest of the way. Jack Cust and Jason Giambi are now the lone power sources in that lineup, and they're batting a combined .216.
24 Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 24
There were only two potential highlights this week for the Orioles. One was the debut of top pitching prospect Chris Tillman, who had a mixed performance -- allowing three home runs in 4 2/3 innings -- against the Royals on Wednesday. The second was the news that backup catcher Gregg Zaun is one heck of a cook. Zaun cooked the winning dish (chicken enchiladas) in the first-ever Oriole Cook-off, edging out teammate Jeremy Guthrie's omelette and Brian Roberts' fish tacos. (How did no one make crab cakes? That would have been a sure winner.) Perhaps Zaun can one day challenge Boog Powell for culinary supremacy at Camden Yards. When you're further out of first place than any team in the American League, these are the things you have to get excited about.
25 Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 26
The trades of Cliff Lee and, perhaps, Victor Martinez may be necessary, but it's nonetheless a stunning reminder that this team won 97 games just two years ago and was within one victory of going to the World Series. Before Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco could head to Philadelphia, though, they were forced to endure one more Indians loss on Wednesday. Lee at least knew a trade was likely; Francisco said he was "shocked" that he was sent packing. He should also be thankful, because he'll be having a lot more fun in Philadelphia than he would have in Cleveland.
26 Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 28
No player in the National League swings and misses more often than Mark Reynolds, who has whiffed on 38.6 percent of his swings so far this season. But when he connects, it can be an awful lot of fun to watch. Reynolds took over the unofficial lead this year for longest home run of the year when he launched a moonshot off Brad Lidge of the Phillies on Tuesday that was measured at 481 feet, four feet farther than Raul Ibanez hit one at Yankee Stadium back in May.
27 Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 23
The stripping down of the Pirates is -- probably -- complete and only because there's no one else with decent big league experience left to send packing, unless Pirate Parrot is about to go as well. Now that they've dealt Nate McLouth, Adam LaRoche, Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez, they barely resemble a big league club anymore. There are two players older than 30 (pitcher John Grabow and infielder Ramon Vazquez), and among position players alone, two rookies (Jason Jaramillo and Andrew McCutchen), two others who have yet to play as many as 60 games in the majors (Luis Cruz and Garrett Jones) and only one player (Ryan Doumit) who has batted as high as .300 in a full season. This is going to be an ugly two months in Pittsburgh.
28 Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 27
For the first time in franchise history, the Royals did not record an assist in a game when they lost to the Orioles on Wednesday. Naturally it came with Zack Greinke on the mound. The All-Star righty hasn't been getting any assists from his teammates all year, especially of late. He's 0-3 in his last five starts despite a 2.53 ERA and 39 strikeouts against just 10 walks.
29 San Diego Padres
Last Week: 29
The last-place Padres may be tough to watch, but at least they're not hard to look at. Check out this gallery of the team's uniforms through the years and be grateful that the chocolate-and-mustard combo is not showing up in HD nowadays. Their current unis are decent, but I actually think the 1985-90 duds are the best shown. Their best ever, of course, are the camo unis they break out every now and again. They make David Eckstein look even grittier.
30 Washington Nationals
Last Week: 30
Your weekly Stephen Strasburg update: There is now an online petition set up by Nationals fans. I'm not exactly sure what the purpose is, since it's not like the team doesn't want to sign Strasburg and every Nationals fan in the country -- all 143 of them, at least -- wants them to sign Strasburg. I guess if they're trying to demonstrate the rabid passion of Nats fans then, sadly, this has been as much an epic failure as the team's play. So far only 80 people have signed the petition -- out of a target of 50,000. Good luck.
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