Bad Hits

Bad Game Used – Matt Cain

Player’s Name: Matt Cain

Player’s Position: P – Starter

Player’s Current Team: San Francisco Giants

Price I Paid for the Card: I paid $1.87 on eBay

Set it’s from: 2007 Topps Series one

What it’s Worth: Beckett has it listed for a very cheap $10.00, but as you can see I got it much cheaper on eBay.

Why I like this card: It’s a funny thing.  Here is a guy who has never broken the 0.500 mark pitching and everyone loves him.  From the baseball card world, to the fantasy baseball world.  The problem is his record doesn’t lie.  That’s the kind of player he is. He had a rough start to the year, but I know he’ll put together another 12-12/3.85/1.26 year, because that’s the kind of player he is.  I like the card though, because I like all the highlight cards from the Topps sets.  This year’s set I already have 5 of them and this is my 2nd from last year’s set.  I just like the card design, and I like looking at highlights from last year.  In this card it highlights his 6 game tear from August – September 2006.  I think he can do that again, but he is going to need some help.

Why it’s a Bad Hit: The problem with player prospecting is two fold. Lay down low money in hopes of a Pujols type return.  The hotter the prospect, the mosre we expect from them.  It adds pressure on a real level.  Matt Cain was certainly supposed to be something special.  I’m not saying he isn’t going to be, but to me, it looks like he has quite a hill to climb.  I could very well be wrong, but I think in the end he might win 120 games and end up with a record around 0.550, an ERA around 4.00 and a WHIP around 1.30.  Is that a bad thing?  Of course not, it means he was able to stay in the league for more than a decade.  But to us the card collector, it sucks.  That’s why I don’t prospect.  I can’t understand why some 18 year old hitting 0.350 in A+ ball is worth hundreds of dollars, when someone who is in the league hitting 0.300 isn’t even worth a 1% of that.  How can that be? Damn the rookie card!

Will it Ever be Worth Anything More that a Common?:No, I really doubt it.  I think we are looking at a career 0.500 pitcher and those cards aren’t worth much.

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April 21, 2008 Posted by | bad game used, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Cheap Game Used – Rich Harden

Player’s Name: Rich Harden

Player’s Position: P – Starter

Player’s Current Team: Oakland A’s

Price I Paid for the Card: I paid $0.15 on eBay

Set it’s from: 2007 Upper Deck Artifacts

What it’s Worth: Beckett has it listed for a very cheap $10.00, but as you can see I got it much cheaper on eBay.

Why I like this card: Every once in a while you hear about a pitcher who has the stuff of Roger Clemens or Nolan Ryan. The last guy I remember hearing about that was Josh Beckett. But then we started hearing about Harden. I think I followed him ever since he was in AA ball. He was 21 years old when he made his first start back in 2003. I knew he was going to be real good. But something happened to him along the way. It always seems to happen to young flame throwers, the hurt themselves, a lot. In 2006 he got through 9 games, in 2007 he started four games and after just two this year he is back on the DL. Sometimes you get players like Mark Prior, who never seem to overcome it. Other times you get someone like Roger Clemens and Tommy John, who not only come back, but are better than when they left. I hope Harden won’t be labeled a DL guy for the rest of his career (see Mark Prior) and becomes the pitcher everyone expects him to become.

Why it’s a Cheap Hit: This card teeters on bad hit status. I think he can be one of the most dominant pitchers in the AL, but then again, he can’t dominate anyone from the disabled list. So is it cheap or bad? For right now I am going with cheap. He is a fantastic pitcher when he is healthy. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt that he can over come this and not turn into another Ben McDonald. Million dollar arm, but kept in place with a band aid. We’ll have to revisit this one some day and see if it becomes a cheap hit or a bad hit.

Will it Ever be Worth Anything More that a Common?:Short term answer, yes, long term, probably. I just can’t see his popularity going up. Prior was popular before he got hurt, Rich is just not that popular, even when he wasn’t hurt.

April 20, 2008 Posted by | Cheap Game Used | , , , , | Leave a comment

Cheap Game Used – James Shields

Player’s Name: Jame Shields

Player’s Position: P – Starter

Player’s Current Team: Tampa Bay D…. Rays

Price I Paid for the Card: I paid $0.45 on eBay

Set it’s from: 2007 Fleer Ultra

What it’s Worth: Beckett has it listed for a very cheap $8.00, but as you can see I got it much cheaper on eBay.

Why I like this card: By now if you read my posts, you know I have a big time man crush on Jame Shields.  Much like Mario’s crush on Andrew Miller (except Shields isn’t quite so wild).  I think if Shields was on another team, you would see him in a different light.  It’s tough to like a guy that is on such a bad team, but give them another year and they will be battling the Yankees for second place in the east.  James though, what a gamer, he really came on last season when he went 12-8/3.85/1.107.  What those numbers don’t show is how electric his stuff can be.  He is definitively one of those pitchers that I could easily line up and pay to see pitch.  I only wish I knew about him, when he was still in Durham.

Why it’s a Cheap Hit: I think over time, he is going to be one hell of a pitcher.  Not a Hall of Fame pitcher, but I think he is going to win a lot of games and at some point might even be regarded as one of the premier pitchers in the AL.  My only hope for him is that at some point in his career, he has the sense to jump ship and get on a real contender and I hope it’s before he losses his desire to win (from being on the Rays).  My real hope is that the Yankees line up and offer the Rays a ton to get him, I think he is that good.  In the end though, he’ll find his way over to the Mets, after all the Rays owe them,for stealing Scott Kazmir.

Will it Ever be Worth Anything More that a Common?: Right now, I’d say no, but give him a few seasons and see where he is, he might just surprise you.

April 19, 2008 Posted by | Cheap Game Used | , , , , | 2 Comments

Cheap Game Used – Tony Gwynn

Player’s Name: Tony Gwynn

Player’s Position: OF

Player’s Current Team: San Diego Padres

Price I Paid for the Card: I paid $1.26 on eBay

Set it’s from: 2001 Upper Deck Legends

What it’s Worth: Beckett has it listed for a very cheap $15.00, I am not sure why but you can find a lot of Tony Gwynn Jerseys and such very cheap on eBay.

Why I like this card: I got this card as I was going through my contemporary Hall of Fame members period. I wanted to get game used cards of all players who recently got into the Hall of Fame.  I was of the age where I got to see Tony’s entire career unfold.  I watched him as a pudgy little rookie who had wheels that you would never believe by looking at him.  Until he became a stately member of baseball who was almost considered a living legend.  I just liked seeing him play even though he was on a team I cared little about.  I think the best I ever felt for him was when he walked into Yankee Stadium late in his career for a World Series game, the first time in his long career he played in a World Series and the first time in his career he played in Yankee Stadium.  That must have felt incredible.  I think as an adult I can appreciate it more, seeing that I saw him through every stage of his career.

Why it’s a Cheap Hit: It’s Tony Gwynn, the guy is a living legend in the baseball world.  I don’t quite understand why his cards (especially jersey ones) are running so cheap, but get them while you can.  He was never considered an upper echelon player and I think that is part of the reason it’s not worth as much as you would think.  He was a hits guy, with a little speed, but just a hitting machine.

Will it Ever be Worth Anything More?: No, he is done with his career and has been elected to the Hall of Fame, I think his card is about as high as it is going to get.

April 18, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Cheap Game Used – Brandon Webb

Player’s Name: Brandon Webb

Player’s Position: P – Starter

Player’s Current Team: Arizona Diamondbacks

Price I Paid for the Card: I paid $1.53 on eBay

Set it’s from: 2007 Bowman Sterling

What it’s Worth: When I went to look it up, imagine how surprised I was to find out that Webb wasn’t even considered a minor star.  Beckett has it listed for $10.00 but as you can see it is quite a bit cheaper on eBay.

Why I like this card: It is a travesty that Webb is not even considered a minor star, I mean my god Harold Reynolds and Ozzie Guillen are minor stars.  Let’s see Webb has only won one Cy Young and three All Star appearances in six years. He is considered one of the best, if not the best pitchers in the National League and if that weren’t enough, he is 4-0/1.82/0.79 so far this year.  We are talking about one of the more dominant pitchers of this era and he isn’t even a minor star.  So sad! I am sure my buddy Jeff from Arizona is going to chime in on this one.  If he doesn’t I’d be surprised.  How is Webb considered a common?  I just don;t see how that’s possible.  In fact if you have any Webb cards, let’s work out a trade.

Why it’s a Cheap Hit: To tell you the truth, I didn’t realize that it was listed as a common when I bought it.  I just liked the way the card looked and the fact that is was from the yellow alternate jersey.  Like I said before Brandon is one of the premier pitchers in baseball.  He has electric stuff and since 2005 his WHIP has never creped over 1.26 and his ERA has been below 3.60 and that is a major accomplishment considering the average of the league in this era is 4.55.  Almost a full run below the average.  It’s sad when a Bowman Sterling of Brandon Webb is considered a bad hit in that product.  Very sad indeed.

Will it Ever be Worth Anything More than an unlisted star?: Maybe with my ranting and raving, we might see him moved to minor star status.  If he racks up some more Cy Young awards (which might be difficult with Santana around now) I would think he has a shot at the Hall of Fame, maybe then he would be bumped to semi star status?

April 17, 2008 Posted by | Cheap Game Used | , , , , | 1 Comment

Cheap Game Used – Cole Hamels

Player’s Name: Cole Hamels

Player’s Position: P – Starter

Player’s Current Team: Philadelphia Phillies

Price I Paid for the Card: I paid $1.37 on eBay

Set it’s from: 2006 Upper Deck Special F/X

What it’s Worth: Beckett has it listed for $12.00 but as you can see it is quite a bit cheaper on eBay.

Why I like this card: I got to see Cole pitch in Lakewood, NJ at a Blue Claws game and knew that he was going to be one of those special players. I guess the same could have also been said about Gavin Floyd as well, but we can leave that for another story. Cole though just blew away hitters in the minor leagues. He was so dominant that it was obvious that he should be pitching in the majors. He was just that much better than anyone else on that field. Since I lived in Bethlehem, PA, I also got to see him in Reading and Scranton, PA as well. So when he went to the majors, I watched every game he pitched in. Well we know what he is capable with, when he has a full season 15-5/3.59/1.12, so let’s see what he can do for his career. He is still one of my favorite pitchers to watch (also James Shields). His stuff is electrifying and I think he will only get better.

Why it’s a Cheap Hit: OK so I paid for more than a dollar for this one, but I needed it. This is the only Cole Hamels jersey card I have. So he isn’t a upper echelon veteran . . . he has all the talent that he could become one. He is already one of the highest ranking fantasy league guys, so I don’t think he is far off. Like many young pitchers, he just has to keep the injuries at bay (some how). Hopefully the Phillies will not ruin another young arm, but only time will tell.

Will it Ever be Worth Anything More than an unlisted star?: We shall see. This will be a big year for him. If he can come back and kick some tail, then yes I think he could have a higher value, if he tanks, well, so will his card.

April 16, 2008 Posted by | Cheap Game Used | , , , | Leave a comment

Bad Game Used – Carlos Guillen

Player’s Name: Carlos Guillen

Player’s Position: SS

Player’s Current Team: Detroit Tigers

Price I Paid for the Card: I paid $2.99 for the pack it was in, purchased at Target.

Set it’s from: 2008 Upper Deck Series 1

What it’s Worth: It is not listed in Beckett as of yet but last year’s version of the card would make me believe that it would book at about $8.

Why I like this card: I remember way back in the late 90s of a super hot prospect (just 22 years old!) who was going to make Mariner fans forget about Alex Rodriguez.  Yes, believe it or not, that is the same Carlos Guillen pictured above.  This is why I don’t put stock in hot hitting rookies. Carlos never became the next A-Rod, and it took him longer to mature than Mariners brass thought but finally at the age of 28, freshly traded to the Tigers, he made the leap.  He went from a 0.270/8/50 guy to a 0.310/20/80 guy.  Since it took him longer to reach his peak, he may have a few more years left in his peak, but overall, I think he has had his best seasons.

Why it’s a Bad Hit: Don’t get me wrong, I like finding jersey cards in my packs, but sometimes you get them and you are wondering why Upper Deck even bothered.  I think only the upper tier of players should get jersey cards.  You want to be excited when you get a jersey card.  You don’t want to sit there and scratch your head as to why you got it.  When I saw this one, I was like, ok, it’s a Carlos Guillen card, so now what do I do?  Well it just sits in my badhits pile until someone wants to trade me for him.

Will it Ever be Worth Anything More than a common?: Not a chance.  He is past his prime, and he can only get worse from here, which is’t wonderful to begin with.

April 15, 2008 Posted by | bad game used | , , , | Leave a comment

Cheap Game Used – Chipper Jones

Player’s Name: Chipper Jones

Player’s Position: 3B/OF

Player’s Current Team: Atlanta Braves

Price I Paid for the Card: I paid $0.99 on eBay

Set it’s from: 2001 Topps Reserve

What it’s Worth: Beckett has it listed for $15.00 but as you can see it is quite a bit cheaper on eBay.

Why I like this card: Back in 1990 when the Braves were trying to decide between Chipper and Todd Van Popel, at the time it was a difficult choice.  Todd was the consensus number one overall pick, but he threatened to go to college if the Braves drafted him (since at that time the Braves were awful).  So the Braves not knowing if they could sign Van Popel, went with a relatively unknown Chipper Jones.  I bet they look back on that and smile.  He was definitely better between the two hands down.  I have since followed his career from the minors to the majors as he has become possibly the best hitter in Braves history.  He has one MVP award and is a career 0.308 hitter.  He is probably going to the Hall when it’s all said and done.  The photo on this card is great, it’s just after he popped up with 2 aboard and 2 outs, he is taking off his gloves and waiting for his mitt. Not the picture I would choose for this card that’s for sure.

Why it’s a Cheap Hit: 99 cents for a guy who should be heading to Cooperstown?  That’s ridiculous don’t you think?  He will get over 500 home runs, maybe even get to the 3000 hit level.  The industry should be ashamed that I can get this card as cheap as I did.  I know that there are more game used material cards on the market today than ever but come on, he’s a Hall of Fame caliber player, how can I get his card for 99 cents.  Where as if I try and get a Joba card it would gost me 30 – 40 x more.  How is that possible?  How does that happen?  Just think Chamberlain could be the next Van Popel.

Will it Ever be Worth Anything More than an unlisted star?:I don’t think so, simply because he has never been in that upper echelon group of players that command the biggest dollars when it come to cards.

April 14, 2008 Posted by | Cheap Game Used | , , , , | 2 Comments

Cheap Game Used – Victor Martinez

Player’s Name: Victor Martinez

Player’s Position:C

Player’s Current Team: Cleveland Indians

Price I Paid for the Card: I paid $2.99 for the pack it was in, purchased at Target.

Set it’s from: 2008 Upper Deck Series 1

What it’s Worth: It is not listed in Beckett as of yet but last year’s version of the card would make me believe that it would book at about $10.

Why I like this card: First off, doesn’t it look like he is doing the Hiesman stance?  Seriously though it is a nice action shop for such a small picture. Victor has become the defacto great catcher of the American League if not all of baseball at this point.  In the minors we all knew he would become a polished superstar, now we get to see just how good he is.  He is not going to be a Mike Piazza as far as his homer totals go, but he does have it in him to be a 4 tool player and I think CLeveland is happy about that.  Besides he has become the leader of that team and he is so young.  He shows maturity beyond his years and when he speaks in the clubhouse everyone listens.

Why it’s a Cheap Hit: His average over the past 4 years is 0.301/21/104, that is some pretty heady numbers.  Not the kind that you can impress at Cooperstown, but you can definitely impress opposing hitters with those numbers, that’s for certain.  It’s cheap because, even If I went to buy this online right now, I could get it for  99 cents and that is ridiculous to me. We are talking about the best hitting catcher in baseball, and unlike Joe Mauer, he doesn’t get injured all the time.  Sure he is on Cleveland which is the worst known team in baseball (even worse than Tampa at this point).  But without him, they would not be as powerful as they are.  He is not only a great hitting catcher, but he is one of the best defensively as well.  Not to mention he calls a great game.

Will it Ever be Worth Anything More than a common?: I don;t see it happening at this point.  With some more great seasons under his belt, it is definitely a possibility but right now I would have to say that these are what they are.  I doubt he is Cooperstown material, but definitely in the Hall of Very good.

April 13, 2008 Posted by | Cheap Game Used | , , , | Leave a comment

Cheap Game Used – John Smoltz

Player’s Name: John Smoltz

Player’s Position: P – Starter and Closer

Player’s Current Team: Atlanta Braves

Price I Paid for the Card: I paid $1.25 on eBay .

Set it’s from: 2005 Upper Deck Artifacts

What it’s Worth:Beckett has it listed as an unlisted semi star, it lists for $10.00. As you can see though, it can be had for less.

Why I like this card: I am not in any way, shape or form an Atlanta Braves fan.  In fact I derive no greater pleasure than to see them lose.  But I have a soft spot in my heart for John Smoltz, since I got to see him pitch as a rookie and followed his career ever since.  I don’t like the way the Braves have handled his career (Starter/Closer/Starter), since I think it stopped him from getting to 300 wins.  He missed 4 seasons (well 3.5 really) where he could have racked up some serious numbers.  He is so good, that he hasn’t had a WHIP of over 1.2 since 1995.  His ERA has not gone over 4 since 1994.  He is the model of consistency and his name is on the Cy Young ballot every year.

Why it’s a Cheap Hit: Now look I’m not going to have to twist arms to make you realize he is a first ballot Hall of Famer (and this is coming from a Yankee fan).  He just is, and just accept it.  Now knowing that in 2016 (his first year of eligibility, since I think he will retire at age 44) he will be enshrined in Cooperstown, don’t you think his card should be worth more than $1.25 on eBay?  Isn’t that just a slap in the face?  It’s crazy how low I got this card.

Will it Ever be Worth Anything More than an unlisted semi star?: Sadly, I don’t think he will.  He may be remembered as one of the greatest pitchers ever to pitch the game, but his cards won’t be worth jack because he came into the league during some down years for baseball cards.

April 12, 2008 Posted by | Cheap Game Used | , , , | 1 Comment