Tag:Adrian Gonzalez
Posted on: September 3, 2010 2:26 pm

Checking out the NL MVP race

The NL MVP race is essentially a foregone conclusion now that the Cardinals continue to sink deeper and deeper in the NL Central Division, leaving Joey Votto's sublime season to shine as the Reds eye their first postseason appearance since 1995.

Votto is second in batting average, third in home runs and first in RBI, giving him a very real chance at the Triple Crown, although the top candidates in each category are so closely bunched together that it only takes a few games for standings to switch around.

Even if Votto has to be considered the prohibitive favorite, there are others that will leech votes from Votto. Let's break down who appear to be the strongest candidates.

Adrian Gonzalez 1B Adrian Gonzalez
San Diego Padres
.299/.388/.516, 76 R, 26 2B, 27 HR, 87 RBI, 5.5 UZR/150, 4 DRS, 4.9 WAR

Gonzalez hasn't had a season like 2009 -- but it's awfully had to replicate 2009 especially with Petco Park your home for half the games. His average is .05 points off a career high set in 2006, but his walk rate and power numbers have sank just enough that he can't be considered one of the favorites for the MVP. If -- or when -- Gonzo gets out of a Padres uniform, he'll likely win a MVP award.

Carlos Gonzalez LF/CF/ RF Carlos Gonzalez
Colorado Rockies
.332/.367/.610, 89 R, 26 2B, 8 3B, 31 HR, 93 RBI, 20 SB -6.8 UZR/150, -6 DRS, 4.5 WAR

CarGo has had a ridiculous season, and now the Diamondbacks and Athletics have to be kicking themselves for giving up on Gonzalez too soon. The knock on the outfielder was that his poor plate discipline wouldn't be enough to overcome his other attributes... except his power has taken a massive jump to elite status even as he takes a step back in walk rate from a 2009 mark of 8.8 percent to 5.5 percent. Gonzalez will lose votes thanks to his drastic home/road split. At Coors Field, he's bashing to a .391/.436/.790 mark. On the road, he's at .275/.296/.437 and has a walk rate of 3.1 percent as compared to 7.9 percent at home. Seems like he knows he doesn't perform away from Coors and is pressing as a result.

Aubrey Huff 1B/LF/RF Aubrey Huff
San Francisco Giants

.289/.385/.512, 82 R, 30 2B, 4 3B, 22 HR, 77 RBI, 11.5 UZR/150 (1B), 7 DRS (1B), 3.6 UZR/150 (OF), 4 DRS (OF), 4.7 WAR

Huff will garner a ton of "feel-good" votes as the 11-season veteran suffered through the worst OPS of his career in 2009 since his first full season in the majors with Tampa Bay in 2001. A late-season switch to Detroit only depressed his value even more, and he signed a small deal with the Giants with his tail tucked between his legs. Well, his chest is puffed out now as he's cobbled together nothing short of a fantastic year while splitting time between first, left and right and being solid with the glove. That versatility only adds to his value and he could surprise quite a few people with how high he could finish in MVP balloting.

Brian McCann C Brian McCann
Atlanta Braves
.285/.392/.492, 55 R, 21 2B, 20 HR, 71 RBI, 3 DRS, 5.1 WAR

McCann has constantly been overlooked as a premium power bat at a position where even a league-average bat is considered fantastic. Perhaps now that McCann has emerged as Atlanta's best hitter as the team leads the division will garner some MVP honors for the lefty. The scary part is that McCann hasn't even sniffed his career season, which came in his first full year as the starting catcher (.333/.388/.572) -- and no MVP votes. What does McCann have to do to get some respect? Is it the counting numbers -- runs and RBI being too low? The fact is that McCann is a catcher, and so naturally loses about 100-200 plate appearances due to needing to be rested more often. The NL lacking a DH compounds the problem for McCann. Don't hold his low counting statistics against him, not when his actual production is so high, and extraordinary for a catcher.

Albert Pujols 1B Albert Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
.313/.407/.593, 92 R, 31 2B, 35 HR, 95 RBI, 12 SB, 1.9 UZR/150, 2 DRS, 5.8 WAR

Pujols is still a fantastic hitter, but has three things working against him in pursuit of a third-straight MVP award: 1) General apathy by voters in voting for him again, 2) The Cardinals slip-slidin' away in the NL Central Division race and 3) Votto's superhuman efforts causing Pujols to no longer be head-and-shoulders above anyone else. Whether deserved or not, the first issue would probably have torpedoed his chances even if the Cards were neck-and-neck with Cincinnati.

Joey Votto 1B Joey Votto
Cincinnati Reds
.325/.424/.603, 91 R, 27 2B, 32 HR, 97 RBI, 12 SB, 3.8 UZR/150, -3 DRS, 6.3 WAR

Yep, Votto's the presumptive favorite for the NL MVP Award -- but this is far from his introduction to being a top hitter. He finished 22nd in MVP balloting last season when he checked in at .322/.414/.567 and lost out on the Rookie of the Year Award in 2008 to the Cubs' Geovany Soto. His rookie season boasted a line of .297/.368/.506 as a 24-year-old, which many veterans would kill to have in just one prime season. He doesn't show any signs of slowing down and will give Pujols a tough road to any future MVP awards.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: July 28, 2010 6:55 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 6:57 pm

Padres' Blanks done for the season

The Padres have been rumored to be searching for more offense and that's not going to change with Wednesday's news.

Kyle Blanks, on the disabled list since May 17, will undergo "Tommy John" elbow surgery on Friday, Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports .

Blanks was a blast of power last season following his June call-up, but has been a disappointment this season. He hit just .157/.283/.324 with three home runs and 15 RBI in 33 games with the Padres this season. He hit 10 homers ad drove in 22 in 54 from June to August last season. He finished 2009 on the disabled list, as well, with plantar fasciitis.

Blanks has played the outfield and first base and had been viewed as the organization as its first baseman of the future if Adrian Gonzalez were no longer in San Diego.

Return from the surgery is usually about a year, meaning Blanks can't be counted on for the better part of 2011, either.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 19, 2010 5:42 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2010 4:03 pm

This week in free stuff: July 19-26

What's better than a day at the ballpark? A day at the ballpark and free stuff.

I remember as a kid going to a Tidewater Tides (as the Norfolk Tides were called then) and getting a Tides batting glove. I wore that batting glove even though it was for my left hand and I was a left-handed hitter. I loved that thing, with the Tides logo and elastic wristband. Since then, I've loved ballpark giveaways (or SGA as you can find them on eBay) and have a collection of odds and ends such as an Endy Chavez bobblehead or a Macon Braves batting helmet (I only get them now as a paying fan, not as part of the job). As a proud owner of a Savannah Sand Gnats Gnic the Gnat bobblehead, I often check around to see what's being given away at ballparks around the country. So here it is, this week in free stuff, from the majors and minors. Keep in mind, this isn't a complete list, just the ones I find most interesting, and even if many think bobbleheads are passe, I'm still a big fan and you'll see most of them here.

Tonight, July 19
Chicago Cubs -- a Cubs mouse pad… if you still use one of those. Ask your parents, kids.
Johnson City Cardinals (Rookie Appalachian League) -- seat cushion. One of the more underrated and classic give-aways, you don't see them as much anymore, yet your butt could still use a cushion after nine innings.

Tuesday, July 20
Los Angeles Dodgers -- James Loney bobblehead
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Eastern League) -- Dustin Pedroia bobblehead
Richmond Flying Squirrels (Southern League) -- logo ball. I'm not usually a big logo ball fan, but this logo is a flying squirrel.
Lakewood BlueClaws (South Atlantic League) -- paint your own Clawd bobblehead. Clawd is the team's mascot.
State College Spikes (New York-Penn League) -- eco-friendly cooler bag. I was at a Marlins game once and they gave out gas cans. I'm usually a big fan of practical give-aways, but I didn't take that one.

Brookly Cyclones Wednesday, July 21
Baltimore Orioles -- foam finger. A classic. I'd love to see the foam finger make a comeback, even if a No. 1 is a little unrealistic for the Orioles.
Chicago Cubs -- key chain. This one is actually a nice, simple design, something that can often be done wrong and is done well here.
Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League) -- "Jersey? Sure!" Jersey. It's actually kinda great. The Cyclones are one of the minor league leaders in both quantity and quality of giveaways.

Manny Ramirez Thursday, July 22
Pittsburgh Pirates -- T-shirt. I don't normally get too excited by free t-shirts, but this one has a nice Pirate theme with a ship and all.
Los Angeles Dodgers -- Manny Ramirez action figure. Action figures are this year's attempt at replacing bobbleheads. The Dodgers went the extra mile and made each of their three action figures as superheroes, but it still doesn't quite work.
Bowie BaySox (Eastern League) -- Nolan Reimold bobblehead. The Orioles prospect is getting his own bobblehead.
Iowa Cubs (Pacific Coast League) -- Casey Blake bobblehead. Blake is an Iowa native.
Portland Sea Dogs (Eastern League) -- Adrian Gonzalez bobblehead.
Corpus Christi Hooks (Texas League) -- Aussie hat. Not bad for a day at the beach on North Padre Island.
Lakewood BlueClaws (South Atlantic Laegue) -- Dusty Wathan bobblehead. Wathan, son of former Royals manager John "Duke" Wathan, was the manager of the BlueClaws last season when the team won the South Atlantic League title and like most of his players, got called up. He's now the manager of the High-A Clearwater Threshers in the Phillies organization.
Great Lakes Loons (Midwest League) -- Bill Freehan bobblehead. The Loons are honoring Tiger legends with bobbleheads this season and Freehan is Michigan through-and-through. Freehan was born in Detroit, played football and baseball at the University of Michigan and then spent his entire 15-year career with the Tigers.
Orem Owlz (Frontier League) -- Torii Hunter bobblehead.

Friday, July 23
Evan Longoria Baltimore Orioles -- tankard. More realistic than the foam finger, Orioles fans can drink away their problems in style.
Houston Astros -- gym bag. Again, one of the practical giveaways. I have a Braves bag I still use.
Montgomery Biscuits (Southern League) -- Evan Longoria bobblehead.
Clearwater Threshers (Florida State League) -- Mike Schmidt bobblehead.
West Michigan Whitecaps (Midwest League) -- Larry Herndon bobblehead. It's a big week for former Tigers, apparently. Herndon caught the last out of the 1984 World Series.
Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League) -- Fireman Sandy bobblehead. A bobblehead of the mascot Sandy in a fireman's uniform.
Vermont Lake Monsters (New York-Penn League) -- Champ bobblehead. A friend of mine has a large collection of bobbleheads and says the mascot ones go for the most money on the secondary market.

Saturday, July 24
New York Yankees -- lunch box. I love the metal lunch boxes, they're a popular giveaway -- and for good reason.
Grady Sizemore Cleveland Indians -- Grady Sizemore bobblehead. One of the few chances to see Grady Sizemore in action at Progressive Field.
Houston Astros -- rainbow sleeve t-shirt.
Milwaukee Brewers -- grill master apron.
Las Vegas 51s (Pacific Coast League) -- wall clock.
Inland Empire 66ers (California League) -- James Loney bobblehead.
Visalia Rawhide (California League) -- beach blanket.
Kinston Indians (Carolina League) -- Lonnie Chisenhall bobblehead. The Indians prospect is nearly ready for the big leagues and he already has a bobblehead.
Hagerstown Suns (South Atlantic League) -- Little Heiskell bobblehead. Little Heiskell is a German soldier weathervane figure that has become a symbol of the city.
Rome Braves (South Atlantic League) -- Tommy Hanson bobblehead.
West Michigan Whitecaps (Midwest League) -- glow-in-the-dark baseball.
State College Spikes (New York-Penn League) -- kids fielding glove giveaway. As a kid, these always kinda bummed me out, because it's not like they have a left-handed option. Sure, they're never good enough to actually use, but that's little consolation to a sad little left-handed kid.
Everett AquaSox (Northwest League) -- fleece blanket. One of my favorites, although many teams are moving toward Snuggie-like blankets instead of the usual throw.

Sunday, July 25
Philadelphia Phillies -- Chase Utley action figure. Like the real Utley, this one no longer has a cast on his hand.
Milwaukee Brewers -- Robin Yount bobblehead. Not only is Yount wearing a great old Brewers uniform, the Yountstache is in full effect.
Albuquerque Isotopes (Pacific Coast League) -- Orbit bobblehead. Another great mascot bobblehead. Most minor league mascots are better in bobblehead form than mascot form.
Reno Aces (Pacific Coast League) -- skateboard deck. Another new one this season, the Aces deck is one of the best.
New Britain Rock Cats (Eastern League) -- paint your own bobblehead.
Greensboro Grasshoppers (South Atlantic League) -- Chris Coghlan figurine.
Bowling Green Hot Rods (Midwest League) -- lunch box.
Lake County Captains (Midwest League) -- Skipper leg lamp bobblehead. It's the leg of the mascot, Skipper, and it's a leg lamp, just like Cleveland's own A Christmas Story.
Lowell Spinners (New York-Penn League) -- Allie Gator bobblehead.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 16, 2010 11:23 pm

Padres, Gonzalez haven't discussed extension

Every story you read about the Padres at the midpoint note the team isn't trading Adrian Gonzalez before the deadline now that San Diego finds itself leading the National League West, but Gonzalez's future with the team is all but assured.

Gonzalez is a free agent after the season -- the reason most expected him to be dealt before the deadline if the Padres had performed down to their expected level. A native of San Diego, Gonzalez has expressed his desire to remain with his hometown team, but for a team not known to spend a lot of money, the possibility of that is still unsure.

It would make sense that if the Padres wanted to keep Gonzalez in town, they'd make their best offer before other teams had a chance. But the North County Times ' Dan Hayes tweets the Padres have not had any talk with Gonzalez about an extension. Gonzalez said at the All-Star Game that he's hoping for an eight-year deal.

The problem could be that the Yankees have already signed Mark Teixeira to an eight-year, $180 million deal, taking one of the big spenders out of the running. Boston has Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz as the first base/designated hitter combo and Kendry Morales looks to be a fixture in Anaheim, leaving most of the usual high-bidders out of the picture, which is what the Padres may be banking on happening.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Posted on: July 5, 2010 4:56 pm

Votto, Swisher leading Final Vote

Joey Votto Perhaps the fans have a better handle on who should be on the National League All-Star roster than Charlie Manuel.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto is leading National League portion of the All-Star Final Vote after 24 hours, Major League Baseball announced in a release on Monday. The Yankees' Nick Swisher leads the American League voting.

More than 10 million votes came in the first 24 hours, with Swisher leading Boston's Kevin Youkilis slightly, followed by Michael Young, Paul Konerko and Delmon Young.

In the National League, it's Votto, followed by Ryan Zimmerman, Billy Wagner, Carlos Gonzalez and Heath Bell.

Votto was the most obvious All-Star snub, in part because Manuel took his own player, Ryan Howard, over the more deserving Votto. The fans selected Albert Pujols at first and Adrian Gonzalez was another deserving selection at first.

But Howard, who is having a great season, was picked by Manuel over Votto, who is having a great season.

Votto leads the league in OPS (.984), is third in on-base percentage (.412), fifth in batting average (.312), third in slugging (.572), fourth in runs (53), tied for second in home runs (19), fifth in RBI (57) and fifth in walks (46).

Howard's only in the top 10 in one of those categories, runs (53), and even that trails Votto. And it's not as if it's Howard's glove that got him to Anaheim.

In the American League, Youkilis is clearly more deserving than his Yankee brethren. Youkilis is fourth in OPS (1.000), third in OBP (.416), first in runs (65), seventh in home runs (17) and second in walks (50). Swisher is not in the top 10 in any important category other than pinstripes.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 29, 2010 2:06 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2010 4:41 pm

Pujols leads voting, but should he?

Albert Pujols In what should be the most difficult decision among National League All-Star voters, the pick has more or less already been made.

Although online voting ends on Thursday, Albert Pujols' lead in first base voting makes it more or less impossible for him to be passed in the voting. Pujols leads Ryan Howard at first base by nearly 2 million votes in the latest numbers released by Major League Baseball . The teams will be announced on Sunday.

Chase Utley seemingly has second base wrapped up and the outfield of Ryan Braun, Jason Heyward and Andre Ethier also seems pretty much safe, as does shortstop Hanley Ramirez.

Third base is a little more interesting, as Placido Polanco leads David Wright by fewer than 23,000 votes in the tightest race and another example of Phillie ballot-box stuffing.

Yadier Molina leads Brian McCann in catcher voting by fewer than 200,000 votes.

As for Pujols, he's the easy choice at first base -- a choice most have made. He's probably the best player in the game, but he's not having the best year in the game -- or even among first basemen.

OK, this is splitting hairs, and it's by no means a mockery if he's the All-Star starter, but you can make a compelling case for two first basemen over Pujols: Joey Votto and Adrian Gonzalez. The three have pretty similar numbers, so any of the three is a solid choice, but the point is the gap shouldn't be so wide. It should be a tough decision. According to the voters, it's just not.

Here's a look at the first basemen in six categories: BA/OBP/SLG, HR, RBI and WAR (wins above replacement, an advance stat that takes defensive into consideration.

The King
Albert Pujols .305/.420/.542 16 52 2.6

The contenders
Adrian Gonzalez .306/.399/.544 16 50 3.3
Joey Votto .312/.415/.559 16 51 3.3

The usual suspects
Ryan Howard .296/.352/.517 15 50 1.4
Prince Fielder .256/.385/.463 15 44 1.8

Not that far behind
Troy Glaus .268/.373/.472 14 56 1.2
Adam Dunn .276/.366/.559 17 43 2.1
Aubrey Huff .296/.385/.512 12 42 2.3
James Loney .294/.346/.429 5 40 1.0
Ike Davis .264/.340/.442 9 37 0.9
Gaby Sanchez .302/.373/.474 8 39 1.9
Adam LaRoche .254/.342/.469 12 41 0.8
Garrett Jones .281/.352/.446 10 33 1.3

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 21, 2010 5:04 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2010 5:35 pm

Padres' bats coming around

Nick Hundley The Padres are considering bolstering their offense for the second half of the season, but maybe their best move would be to petition for a move to the American League.

Interleague play seems to have put a spring in San Diego's bats. The Padres have scored half a run more per game (4.6) against the AL than against the National League (4.1). That's not saying they've been an offensive powerhouse, but if they could score 4.6 per game all the time, that would at least put them in the middle of the pack instead of the back.

For the season, the Padres are 24th in the majors in runs scored and 26th in slugging at .369 (they've slugged .414 in the past week). They've managed to stay in first place in the NL West thanks to stellar pitching, but are not likely to maintain their winning pace -- much less have success in the playoffs -- if they can't generate some more offense.

Padres hitting coach Randy Ready told the San Diego Union-Tribune that AL teams have pitched San Diego much differently than NL clubs, and some of the hitters have adjusted successfully.

Adrian Gonzalez, who began his career in the AL with the Rangers, has had a hit in every interleague game, batting .438. Aaron Cunningham, another former junior leaguer, has batted .429 in the past week and Nick Hundley (pictured celebrating with Gonzalez after homering Sunday) has batted .417.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com