.

Hot Stove: 2/5

No major signings were made, but three players retired and the A's and Astros engaged in a five player trade that included three major leaguers.

Stat of the Day: Home Runs Allowed

Abbreviation: HR.  Leaders: All Time: Jamie Moyer (522).  Single Season: Bert Blyleven (50 in 1986).  Active: Jamie Moyer (522).  2012: Ervin Santana (39).

Allowing a home run as a pitcher is about as embarrassing as striking out as a hitter.  For both statistics, you just gave the opponent the stat they most crave.  Pitchers hate giving up home runs, especially in crucial situations.  Now, the offensive home run leader will usually have more home runs than the home runs allowed leader, but this is because pitchers are facing a wider variety of opponents from Cesar Izturis to Josh Hamilton.  Only twelve pitchers have allowed more than 400 long balls in their careers.  Before Robin Roberts came along, Red Ruffing held the record at 254.  Murry Dickson broke Ruffing's record in 1956 during Roberts' ninth season in the majors.  However, in his tenth season, 1957, Roberts took over the all time record just halfway through his career.  The future Hall of Famer (Class of 1976) kept allowing balls to fly over his head, and though he was a seven time All Star with the Phillies, he finished his career with an incredible 505 home runs allowed.  From 1955-1957, he allowed at least 40 home runs each year, and allowed at least 30 each year from 1953-1960.  In 1955, he broke Dickson's seven year old single season record by allowing 41 home runs.  The very next year, he broke his own record with 46 home runs allowed.  Not to worry: he was an All Star both years, combining to go 42-32 with a 3.86 ERA.  The 46 home runs held until 1986, when another future Hall of Famer, Bert Blyleven (Class of 2011), allowed 50 home runs for the Minnesota Twins, still the only pitcher ever to reach the half-century mark.  Again, he still had a good year, going 17-14 with a 4.01 ERA in 36 starts.  Roberts' 505 home runs in all still stood until 2010, when Jamie Moyer broke his record.  Moyer, a 25 year (and counting) veteran, has now allowed 522 home runs over 4074 major league innings.  His peak was in 2004, when 44 long balls flew over his head and into the stands.  It happened to be one of the worst years of his career, where he was 7-13 with a 5.21 ERA and 1.39 WHIP.  He was then 41.  Last year, eight players allowed at least 30 home runs, being led by Ervin Santana at 39.  Phil Hughes and Jason Vargas also allowed 35 apiece, though Vargas was 14-11 with a 3.85 ERA.  Edwin Jackson was the only National to allow more than 20 home runs, allowing 23 for the season.   Gio Gonzalez was the only pitcher in the majors last year to allow single digit home runs (nine) while still qualifying for the ERA title (min. 162 innings).

News

Diamondbacks signed Martin Prado to a four year, $40 million extension ($10 million per season).

Longtime starter Kevin Millwood retired after 16 years in the majors.  He is 38.

After numerous comeback attempts, Brandon Webb retired at the age of 33 after seven seasons.

The first catcher in Nationals history, Brian Schneider, retired after 13 years in the majors.  He is 36.

Kevin Millwood pitched 16 seasons for the Braves (6 yrs), Phillies (2 yrs), Indians (2005), Rangers (4 yrs), Orioles (2010), Rockies (2011), and Mariners (2012), and is now reportedly hanging up his spikes.  He was never a star in the minors until 1997, when the NC native went 7-0 with a 1.93 ERA in nine starts for AAA Gwinnett.  After a call up to his hometown Braves, the 22 year old rookie went 5-3 with a 4.03 ERA in twelve games (eight starts).  He had a solid first full season in 1998, going 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA.  By 1999, at 24 years old, he was dominating the National League.  Over 33 starts, he went 18-7 with a 2.68 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, earning the only All Star appearance of his career.  All of that was in the famous '90's Braves rotation that included Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and John Smoltz.  Despite his great 1999, the Year of the Hitter in 2000 hit him hard, as he finished 10-13 with a 4.66 ERA.  After another rough season in 2001, he bounced back considerably in '02, his final year with Atlanta.  Over 35 games (34 starts), he went 18-8 with a 3.24 ERA.  After a good, but not great, 2003 (though he did throw a no-hitter) and a rough 2004, his only two seasons in Philadelphia, Millwood joined Cleveland for the 2005 season.  In 30 starts, he was 9-11 but posted a 2.86 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.  On to the Rangers in 2006, he won 16 games, but his numbers slowly deteriorated from there.  In 2009, however, at 34 years old, he rebounded to go 13-10 with a 3.67 ERA in 31 starts.  His success did not carry over to 2010, where he was just 4-16 with a 5.10 ERA for the Orioles.  After making just nine starts in 2011, he signed with the Mariners for 2012 and made the last 28 starts of his career, going 6-12 with a 4.25 ERA and tossing seven innings of a combined no-hitter.  Over his 16 years, he was 169-152 with a 4.11 ERA through 451 games (443 starts).  

Brandon Webb was on the fast track to super-stardom when a 2009 shoulder injury all but ended his career.  He wasn't even 30 years old and he was making an Opening Day start for Arizona against Colorado in search of his 88th victory.  After four innings and six earned runs, he was pulled because of pain in his shoulder.  It would be the last game of his major league career.  Webb had surgery on his shoulder and tried to come back multiple times, most recently with the Rangers in 2012, but failed.  Almost four years after the initial injury, Webb is calling it a career.  It all dates back to 2003 when he debuted at 23 years old, going 10-9 with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in 29 games (28 starts).  He was solid in 2004 and 2005, then shot off in 2006.  Over 33 starts, the 27 year old went 16-8 with a 3.10 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, earning the NL Cy Young Award.  He was arguably even better in 2007, going 18-10 with a 3.01 ERA and 1.19 WHIP.  Tying it all together in 2008, Webb was 22-7 with a 3.30 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, earning his third straight All Star appearance and pushing his career wins total to 87 at 29 years old.  Then, of course, was that fateful last start in 2009, ending it all.  Over his seven years, he went 87-62 with a 3.27 ERA and 1.24 WHIP over 199 games (198 starts).  He also tossed 15 complete games, eight of which were shutouts.

Free Agent Signings

Red Sox signed Lyle Overbay (2 HR, 10 RBI, .259 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 36) to a minor league deal.

Reds signed Manny Parra (2-3, 5.06 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 2013 age: 30) to a minor league deal.

Angels signed Bill Hall (1 HR, 1 RBI, .222 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 33) to a minor league deal.

Trades

Astros traded Jed Lowrie (16 HR, 42 RBI, .244 AVG, 2 SB, 2013 age: 29) and Fernando Rodriguez (2-10, 5.37 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 2013 age: 29) to the A's for Chris Carter (16 HR, 39 RBI, .239 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 26) and minor leaguers Brad Peacock (12-9, 6.01 ERA, 1.58 WHIP at AAA, 2013 age: 25) and Max Stassi (15 HR, 45 RBI, .268 AVG, 3 SB at High A, 2013 age: 22).

The A's upgraded their infield with this trade, as Jed Lowrie will join Jemile Weeks, Eric Sogard, Andy Parrino, and Scott Sizemore in the Oakland middle infield.  Lowrie is a five year veteran who came into his own last year with increased playing time.  His previous best year had been 2010, when he hit nine home runs and batted .287 in 55 games for Boston.  In a career high 97 games for Houston in 2012, he hit 16 home runs and batted .244.  The switch hitter will likely start at shortstop in 2013, forming a solid double play combination with Jemile Weeks.  The Standford alumni has 35 home runs and a .250 average over his five year, 353 game career.  Fernando Rodriguez also gives the A's another arm in the bullpen.  The righty from El Paso had a solid rookie year in 2011, going 2-3 with a 3.96 ERA and 57 K's in 52.1 innings.  In a full season last year, his record dropped to 2-10 and his ERA inflated to 5.37, but he still struck out 78 batters in 70.1 innings.  He does have command issues, but at 28 years old, he can get those ironed out.

Chris Carter will be the main return to Houston.  He shows tremendous power potential, evidenced by 182 minor league home runs in 826 games, including 39 for High Class A Stockton in 2008.  His best minor league season was 2009, when he hit 28 home runs, knocked in 115, and batted .329 with 13 stolen bases for AA Midland and AAA Sacramento.  His minor league success could not be translated to the majors in his first two seasons, hitting three home runs and batting .167 over 39 games from 2010-2011.  In 67 games last year for Oakland, he came into his own, hitting 16 home runs and batting .239.  First base is jammed in Houston with Brett Wallace and Carlos Peña, so it will be interesting to see what the Astros do with him.  The reason Brad Peacock's name sounds familiar is that he was sent from Washington to Oakland in the Gio Gonzalez trade.  Not really a notable prospect coming up through the lower and middle levels of the minors, Peacock's talent exploded in 2011, as he was 17-3 with a 2.27 ERA between AA Harrisburg, AAA Syracuse, and the Nationals.  The Washington resume comprised of just three games (two starts), but in those, he was 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA.  He struggled in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League last season, going 12-9 with a 6.01 ERA and 1.58 WHIP over 28 games (25 starts) for AAA Sacramento.  The last player joining Houston is minor league catcher Max Stassi, a High A catcher that can hit.  He cut down on his K's in 2012, and he was rewarded with his best minor league season.  Despite playing in only 84 games for High A Stockton, he hit 15 home runs and batted .268 while adding 18 doubles.  He turns 22 in March and will likely start the season at AA Corpus Christi.

-- 
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, Colorado Rockies

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. WHIP: walks/hits per innings pitched.  K's: strikeouts. WPCT: winning percentage

Zack Silverman

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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