Tag:Cubs
Posted on: November 18, 2011 8:11 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 9:53 pm
 

Report: Sizemore 'close' to deal with Indians

Grady Sizemore

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Indians turned down their $9 million option on outfielder Grady Sizemore, the two sides are reportedly "close" to a new, one-year deal, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports.

Rosenthal said the talks were "serious" with one source saying it was "70-30" and another source said it was "very likely." Rosenthal reports the deal will be for less guaranteed money than his previous deal, but incentives could make it close to the $9 million he could have made in 2012.

"The Indians have come at us with an aggressive offer," Sizemore's agent, Joe Urbon, told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. Urbon added the two sides have "exchanged proposals." 

Sizemore has been limited to just 104 games over the last two seasons with serious knee injuries, undergoing surgery on his right knee on Monday. It was his fourth operation in the past two years, including micro fracture surgery on his left knee in 2010.

Sizemore, 29, hit .224/.285/.422 with 10 home runs and 32 RBI in 71 games in 2011. He won two Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger while appearing in three All-Star Games from 2006-08. 

In addition to the Indians, the Cubs, Rangers, Giants, Yankees, Phillies, Rockies and Red Sox had reportedly had interest in signing Sizemore.

Keep up with the latest free agent signings with the CBSSports.com free agent tracker. 

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Posted on: November 18, 2011 9:37 am
Edited on: November 18, 2011 9:39 am
 

Yoennis Cespedes looking for $60 million?

Yoenis Cespedes

By C. Trent Rosecrans

We've all seen the awesome Yoennis Cespedes video by now (and if you haven't, make sure you watch it -- all 20 minutes to see the cooking segment at the end), but the question of when we'll see him holding up a major league uniform in a press conference is still in doubt. Because Cespedes is in the process of gaining residency in the Dominican Republic, he is not yet eligible to become a free agent until all the paperwork is done. That could be anywhere from two weeks to two months, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports.

The 26-year-old Cuban outfielder is drawing interest from the Marlins, Red Sox, Cubs and Yankees -- so needless to say he's going to cost a couple of bucks to sign. Frisaro writes Cepedes is looking for a deal that is double the $30.25 million the Reds gave Aroldis Chapman two years ago. However, he can't begin to negotiate with teams until he is officially ruled a free agent by Major League Baseball.

The Marlins have already held a private workout for Cespedes, with other teams scheduled to follow suit in the next couple of weeks.

Frisaro writes that the Marlins want Cespedes to play center field for them, while the Red Sox are looking at him in right field.

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Posted on: November 17, 2011 5:29 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 6:43 pm
 

Would expanded playoffs change past results?



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Commissioner Bud Selig wants one more team in the playoffs as soon as the 2012 season, with the two wild card teams facing off in one game to decide which team moves on to the next round. The idea is to expand the playoffs and at the same time giving division winners an advantage over a team that doesn't win its division.

Not only does the extra team mean there's more playoffs, but the wild card teams will have to juggle their rotation to try to get their best pitcher pitch in the one-game playoff.

2011

American League: No baseball fan will forget watching Game 162 for the Rays and Red Sox -- a once-in-a-lifetime finish to the regular season that wouldn't happen under the new format. Of course, it was there only because of the wild card -- something that many people were against when Selig first introduced it. There will still be fantastic finishes -- just not one exactly like there was this year. Not that I was expecting to see anything like that ever again. If the new format eliminates the rule barring teams from the same division playing in the first round, the first-round match ups would have been different, with the Tigers and Rangers meeting in the divisional series instead of the ALCS.

National League: The Cardinals and Braves would have faced off in the one-game playoff, with the winner going on the face the Phillies. Chris Carpenter wouldn't have had to pitch the final game of the regular season and could have been held back for the wild card game.

What would have changed? Maybe Terry Francona would still have a job, but other than that, who knows? The Cardinals wouldn't have had Carpenter for the wild card game, but if they were indeed a team of destiny, who's to say they don't go on and win the whole thing? The American League is a tossup, really, it's tough to say exactly what would have happened.

2010

American League: The Red Sox beat out the White Sox for the second playoff spot and set up yet another Yankees-Red Sox showdown in the one-game wild card.

National League: Atlanta and San Diego would face off for the right to face the seemingly unbeatable Phillies, while the Giants and Reds would have met in the other division series.

What would have changed? Instead of facing the Yankees, the Twins would get the Rangers, but the result probably wouldn't have changed. As for the National League, San Diego was reeling at the end of the season and probably wouldn't have challenged the Braves. However, the Phillies wouldn't have played the Reds in the first round and we wouldn't have gotten Roy Halladay's no-hitter. Or maybe we would have, the Reds had the National League's best offense, so maybe the opponent didn't matter that day.

2009

American League: Instead of just one one-game playoff in the AL, in 2009 there would have been two. Boston and Texas would have been the two wild card teams, but both teams had better records than the Twins and Tigers, who met in a one-game playoff to determine the American League Central champ.

National League: The AL East isn't the only division that can squeeze three teams into the playoffs -- the Rockies and Giants would face each other for the right to play the Dodgers in the NLDS.

What would have changed? Probably little, the Yankees and Phillies would likely face off in the World Series no matter what other teams were in the mix.

2008

American League: The Twins would have been the extra wild card team, facing the 95-win Red Sox for the right to face the Angels

National League: The Brewers and Mets would have had to face off in the wild card game, with the winner getting the 97-win Cubs, while Philadelphia would face Los Angeles in the NLDS instead of the Cubs.

What would have changed? The Red Sox beat the Angels 3-1 in the ALDS, so it's not a stretch to see Boston burning a pitcher and still beating the Angels in that series. The Phillies likely would have gone on to the World Series, but the Cubs may have had a better shot to advance to the NLCS and break some more hearts by failing to reach the World Series.

2007

American League: One one-game playoff not good enough for you? How about a playoff for the playoff? The 94-win Yankees would have to wait a day to see who they'd play in the wild card game, as Seattle and Detroit both finished 88-74.

National League: This time we have a pretty good idea what it would look like -- the Rockies and Padres would face off in a one-game playoff, just as they did anyway. A 13-inning thriller, the Rockies beat the Padres to advance to the NLDS. But instead of playing the Phillies in the first round, the Rockies would have faced the Diamondbacks, who had the best record in the National League with 90 wins.

What would have changed? Probably not too much -- every series was a sweep, meaning the best teams were more or less identified.

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Posted on: November 16, 2011 11:06 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 2:48 pm
 

Sveum hired as Cubs manager

By Matt Snyder

UPDATE: 2:35 p.m. ET, Cubs have named Sveum the new manager. He'll be officially announced Friday in Chicago.

Original story below.

***********************
Before we dive into this, let's first take a deep breath and realize nothing is official and most of this is speculation. OK? Good. Now let's move on.

Several signs point to the Cubs hiring Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum to be their next manager. First of all, multiple outlets have reported all week that both the Cubs and Red Sox had Sveum toward the top of their list. The Cubs also had Mike Maddux as one of the favorites, per multiple reports. Keep those two items in mind and factor in the following:

1. Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports that Maddux is likely out of the running for the job due to family concerns. It had previously been reported that Maddux was unsure if he wanted to move his family from Texas.

2. Several outlets -- including Jon Heyman of SI.com -- have reported that the Red Sox are now going to expand their managerial search and start interviewing candidates who haven't previously been interviewed.

3. CBSSports.com's own Scott Miller is now reporting that Sveum has been offered the Cubs' job.

Do the math. The Cubs had two frontrunners. One dropped out. The Red Sox had a reported frontrunner but are now seemingly starting over just as the Cubs have reportedly offered Sveum the job. If we connect the dots here, Sveum will soon be named the Cubs manager. But things can always change and, again, it's best to remember this isn't official by any stretch.

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Posted on: November 16, 2011 4:22 pm
 

The 2011 Anti-Managers of the Year



By Matt Snyder


Some of the best managers in baseball for 2011 were listed on ballots that were revealed Wednesday. Joe Maddon and Kirk Gibson came out on top in a completely unsurprising movement. But what about the other end of the spectrum? Who were the worst managers? We'll exclude guys who were fired during the season because they've already suffered enough. But what about the managers who kept their jobs well into September despite failing to meet preseason expectations? Let's check them out.

AL Anti-Manager of the Year candidates

Terry Francona, Red Sox. No, he wasn't fired during the season. He walked away after the season, so he's "eligible" in this fun little exercise. And with the fallout of the historic collapse we've already heard far too much about, you have to question everyone in the Red Sox organization. Francona built up a ton of credibility throughout his years at the helm in Boston and rightfully so, but in looking at just 2011, the awful September is a real black eye on his resume.

Ozzie Guillen, White Sox. He wasn't fired either. He walked away to take a new job after having a colossal disappointment of a season. The White Sox were picked by many to win the AL Central with what looked like a stacked offense and very good starting pitching. Instead, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios were albatrosses, Gordon Beckham took a step backward in his development and the back-end of the bullpen was a mess for the first several weeks of the season. There were some positives, but the negatives far outweighed those on a high-priced roster that failed to meet expectations.

Ron Gardenhire, Twins. It's hard to completely blame Gardenhire for the disaster that was the Twins' 2011 season, considering all the injuries, but, frankly, I needed a third name here. And with the Twins getting 31 games worse in one season, Gardenhire has to shoulder at least some of the load.

The pick: It's gotta be Francona with that monumental collapse. And the funny thing is, I'd hire him in a heartbeat if I was running a team with a managerial opening. He just had a bad month, along with many of his players.

NL Anti-Manager of the Year candidates

Fredi Gonzalez, Braves. His ballclub lost a double-digit lead in the NL wild card in one month. That's not always on the manager, as the offense was sputtering just as it had most of the season, but I'm placing a lot of blame on Gonzalez because the back-end of his bullpen started to falter down the stretch. All season, people had been pointing out the overuse of Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters. And all season, Gonzalez just ignored it, and continued running the duo out there, even with three-run leads. Just because the save rule says a three-run lead means a save opportunity doesn't mean you have to use your guys. What was wrong with using Scott Linebrink and George Sherrill with a three-run lead in the middle of July, for example? Plus, there were times Gonzalez used either Venters or Kimbrel with a lead bigger than three. That's just unexcusable.

Dusty Baker, Reds. The Reds got 12 games worse in a mediocre division (yes, there were two good teams, but three pretty bad ones) with very similar personnel to their division-winning team in 2010. In four seasons, Baker has only had a winning record once.

Mike Quade, Cubs. Flawed roster? Yes. Injuries? Sure. But Quade was still pretty overmatched and appeared to lose control of his locker room by July. This was coming from a guy many players endorsed prior to the season.

Jim Tracy, Rockies. The Jorge De La Rosa injury hurt, just as some underperformance from a few players, but the Rockies entered the season with far too much talent to end up a whopping 16 games under .500. Manager of the Year voting seems to always use performance versus expectations, so it's only fair the Anti-Manager does the same. Thus, Tracy's inclusion here.

The pick: Gonzalez, and I'd actually think about firing him due to the aforementioned overuse of Kimbrel and Venters. It cost his team the season. Hopefully the wear and tear doesn't alter the career paths of the young fireballers.

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Posted on: November 16, 2011 12:49 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 12:50 pm
 

Francona won't manage in 2012

Terry Francona

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Although nobody seemed to be asking him to manager in 2012, former Red Sox manager Terry Francona says he won't manage this upcoming season.

Francona told Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com that he's taking the year off "for my benefit."

Francona interviewed for the Cardinals job, but St. Louis went with first-time manager Mike Matheny instead.

"When I interviewed in St. Louis, I was genuinely excited about it," Francona told McAdam. "St. Louis was such an exiting opportunity. But we were all beaten up at the end of the year, and after [interviewing] I took a step back and began to look at things realistically."

With the Cardinals job filled, the Red Sox and Cubs are the only current openings. He certainly won't get the job in Boston and he said he won't be following Theo Epstein to Chicago.

"I've talked to Theo numerous times," Francona told McAdam. "We both know each other well enough where we can be honest with each other. I don't think it's the right opportunity."

Francona said he will "take a step back and re-energize," but may work in television. He said he's been contacted by Fox, ESPN and MLB Network. He filled in during Fox's ALCS coverage and was very good.

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Posted on: November 15, 2011 11:14 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 11:46 am
 

Cubs reportedly join list of Mark Buehrle suitors

By Matt Snyder

With the White Sox likely rebuilding and starting pitcher Mark Buehrle's hometown Cardinals not needing another starter, it would seem that Buehrle's services are completely up for grabs. Earlier Tuesday night we reported that the Nationals were among the teams vying for the services of free agent starting pitcher Mark Buehrle. Previously, Buehrle has been connected to the Yankees, Rangers and Red Sox in rumors. The Marlins are another team hot on his trail, as Buehrle visited the new ballpark in Miami last week and Marlins management met with Buehrle's agent Tuesday -- and they are reportedly optimistic as the chances of signing him (Fish Tank blog). It's been reported that Buehrle would enjoy playing for Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen again. It has also been reported Buehrle would like to stay in the midwest, and Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com is now reporting that the Cubs have had "multiple discussions" with Buehrle's agent.

Buehrle, 32, has spent his entire professional career in the White Sox organization. The four-time All-Star has an amazing track record of durability, racking up 11 consecutive seasons with at least 30 starts and 200 innings. This past season he went 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 205 1/3 innings pitched.

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Posted on: November 15, 2011 12:19 am
 

Epstein: Zambrano can earn his way back to Cubs

Carlos ZambranoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Carlos Zambrano's Cubs career may not be over quite yet -- new president Theo Epstein told reporters he met with Zambrano and didn't close the door on a return to Wrigley Field for the volatile right-hander.

"We told him we would give him the right to earn his way back to being a Cub, that nothing would be given to him," Epstein told reporters (via the Chicago Tribune) on Monday after meeting with Zambrano, agent Barry Praver and Cubs farm director Oneri Fleita.

"He could earn his way back through very hard work this winter, through rebuilding relationship man-to-man with all his teammates and through other steps we discussed," Epstein said. 

Zambrano was suspended by the team after he left during a game in Atlanta on Aug. 12 following an ejection for throwing at Chipper Jones. Epstein described Zambrano as "contrite" in their meeting.

"He expressed a strong desire to be a Cub and an even stronger desire to have a real good 2012 season," Epstein said (via the Chicago Sun-Times). "He's in great shape, working real hard."

Zambrano also encountered controversy in 2010 when he started a fight in the dugout during a game. The 30-year-old is in the final year of a five-year, $91.5 million contract. He went 9-7 with a 4.82 ERA last season and is 125-81 with a 3.60 ERA in his 11 seasons with the Cubs. He is currently playing winter ball in his native Venezuela.

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