Tag:Brewers
Posted on: October 30, 2011 7:32 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2011 5:57 pm
 

Sabathia, Scutaro and more free agency notes

By Matt Snyder

Sunday morning officially marked the beginning of free agency in Major League Baseball. 148 players filed for free agency, and teams now have exclusivity on retaining their free agents until Thursday at 12:01 a.m. ET. Lots of smallish news broke Sunday with nothing really major, so let's check it all out here in a fun little bullet-pointed post for your perusal.

• The Yankees were expected to offer a contract extension to CC Sabathia this weekend (Jon Heyman) and ESPN New York reports they have done as much -- citing a source who said: "We believe it is a very fair offer, but we haven't heard anything back yet.''

Sabathia is signed through 2015, but he has an opt-out clause in his contract, and he's expected to do exercise it -- per multiple reports and common sense -- in order to get a longer and more lucrative deal.

• The Red Sox announced via press release that they have picked up shortstop Marco Scutaro's option for 2012, which is for $6 million. It's a bit of a birthday present, as he turned 36 Sunday.

More Free Agency
• The Cubs and Aramis Ramirez had a $16 million mutual option. The Cubs elected to exercise it, but Ramirez -- as has been expected for months -- declined it (Chicago Sun Times). So he'll be a free agent, and he's basically the only viable everyday third baseman on the market.

• The Giants have exercised relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt's $5 million option for 2012 (Henry Schulman). You might recall Affeldt's 2011 season ended when he badly sliced open his hand while trying to separate some frozen hamburgers.

• The Giants also agreed to a two-year, $8.5 million contract with fellow left-handed reliever Javier Lopez.

• The Cardinals will exercise Yadier Molina's $7 million option, reports MLB.com's Matthew Leach.

• The Red Sox have not made an offer to Jonathan Papelbon, reports WEEI.com.

• The Brewers have declined their options on relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, making both free agents.

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

Posted on: October 30, 2011 4:24 pm
 

John Axford wins mustache award

By Matt Snyder

His team may have fallen two wins shy of the World Series, but Brewers closer John Axford came away with an October accolade of his own. He has been crowned the 2011 Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year by the American Mustache Institute.

Now, you might be thinking -- in addition to "this can't be a serious award" -- that Axford is Canadian. He is. The award is named after a Canadian, too, but it says "American" in the title. So it's a bit confusing. The AMI website even called the choice "controversial," but defended it.

“We are honored to give this award to the Ax man,” said AMI Chairman Aaron Perlut. “Even though he is Canadian, we believe John represents everything else the Mustached American community values: humor, intelligence and good looks. He is also very tall.”

I had no clue this existed, but evidently there's an audience, as there were reportedly nearly a million votes cast online, nearly half of which Axford netted. The second place finisher was Bob Kevioan of "The Bob and Tom Show."

Click here to view Axford's own twit-pic of him holding the award and wearing a crown. He received them at the "'Stache Bash" in Chicago, which is the most 'stache-friendly city in America, according to AMI's research.

Wow, you just can't make this stuff up. It's all kinds of hilarious.

Congrats to Axford on his victory.

Hat-tip: Big League Stew

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 26, 2011 2:12 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2011 4:41 pm
 

Free-agent postion rankings: Thin crop at 2B

Brandon Phillips

By C. Trent Rosecrans


For all free agency moves, check out the CBSSports.com free agency tracker.

Second base is hardly a marquee position -- there are some good players at the position, but at its core, it's a position of deficiencies. Second basemen generally aren't good enough defensively to play shortstop, or hit well enough to be a third baseman or outfielder. That's not to say there aren't some great players who play the position like Dustin Pedroia and Chase Utley, but it's not a marquee position, and it's even less so in this free agent market.

Brandon Phillips1. Brandon Phillips: If the Reds were to decide against exercising Phillips' $12 million option, he'd certainly be in demand. But that's not happening. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has said he's planning on picking up Phillips' option, while Phillips prefers an extension. Phillips has said the Reds simply picking up the option on his contract would be a slap in the face -- but maybe one day I can be slapped in the face for $12 million. Phillips said the Reds won't get the "homeboy hookup" (otherwise known as the "hometown discount") in any extension talk. So while Phillips will be in a Reds uniform on opening day, the end of the season and beyond, that may be a question.
Possible teams: Reds

Jamey Carroll2. Jamey Carroll: Yep, Jamey Carroll is number two on this list -- which should tell you as much as you need to know about the remaining 11 names on this list. Carroll is a fine player, but nothing more than that. He hit .290/.359/.347 for the Dodgers this season and hasn't hit a home run since 2009. He did put up a .383 on-base percentage as a leadoff man, something that could make him much more attractive to potential suitors. Carroll could be a good second baseman (or shortstop) for somebody, but he's not exactly the type of player that's going to turn around the team or get a fanbase fired up.
Possible teams: Dodgers, White Sox, Royals, Diamondbacks, Rockies

Jerry Hairston Jr.3. Jerry Hairston Jr.: Hairston is one of the more versatile players in the game and also had a very good postseason, so good that someone may consider him an everyday player. Hairston played second, third, shortstop, left field and center field last season, but started each of the NLCS games at third base. He played 45 games for the Brewers and 75 for the Nationals in 2011, hitting .270/.344/.383 with five home runs overall.
Possible teams: Brewers, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Mets, Royals

Ramon Santiago4. Ramon Santiago: Santiago could play shortstop as well, increasing his value. This year was the first year he played mostly second base, starting 40 games at second and 22 at shortstop for the Tigers. Still, he doesn't exactly project as a first-division starter at either spot. He hit .260/.311/.384, not too far off his average in his 10 seasons in the big leagues with the Tigers and Mariners. He's most likely a utility infielder at this point in his career.
Possible teams: Twins, White Sox, Diamondbacks, Padres, Dodgers

Mark Ellis5. Mark Ellis: Ellis certainly earned brownie points for teams watching from afar when he gracefully stepped aside for the arrival of second baseman Jemile Weeks in Oakland and was then traded to Colorado. Ellis, a good defensive second baseman, struggled offensively in Oakland before the trade but hit quite a bit better in Colorado (imagine that). Ellis is likely to return to Colorado.
Possibile teams: Rockies, Diamondbacks, Dodgers

Aaron Hill6. Aaron Hill: The Diamondbacks have options for the next two seasons on Hill, but there's close to zero chance the team will pay him $8 million for next season. Still, Arizona has expressed interest in bringing back Hill, whom the Diamondbacks got in a change of scenery trade with the Blue Jays. Hill hit .315/.386/.492 with two homers in 33 games for the Diamondbacks after hitting just .225/.270/.313 for the Blue Jays.
Possible teams: Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Cardinals

Aaron Miles7. Aaron Miles: After his disastrous turn in Chicago, Miles has rebounded pretty well the last two seasons. For the Dodgers in 2011, Miles hit .275/.314/.346 in 136 games. Miles will be 35 next season. The Dodgers have expressed some interest in bringing him back. Miles made $500,000 last season and should get a little bump, but don't look for anyone giving him a long-term deal.
Possible teams: 
Dodgers, Cardinals, Nationals

Jack Wilson8. Jack Wilson: Wilson finished last season with the Braves, playing shortstop and third base. he played mostly second base for the Mariners to start the season, but that was because the team had Brendan Ryan at short. Wilson, who has never had much of a bat, may be entering the stage of his career where he can serve as a late-inning defensive replacement at any of the infield positions.
Possible teams: White Sox, Royals, Brewers, Dodgers, Cardinals

Carlos Guillen9. Carlos Guillen: Let's just say Guillen will take a pay cut in 2012 after his four-year, $48 million contract with the Tigers has run out. In those four seasons, the Tigers got a .266/.345/421 hitter with 30 home runs and 12 stolen bases. At 35 in 2011, Guillen hit .232/.265/.368, playing second base and first base in just 28 games.
Possible teams: Blue Jays, Cardinals, Rockies, retirement

Kelly Johnson10. Kelly Johnson: Johnson was the other half of the Blue Jays-Diamondbacks underachiever swap. And like Hill, he responded well in his new home, hitting .270/.364/.417 in 33 games in Toronto, while hitting .209/.287/.412 with 18 homers in 114 games with Arizona. The Blue Jays are likely to offer Johnson arbitration, so he can take it or hit the free agent market. He's likely on the borderline between Type A and Type B, if a Type A, he'd almost be forced to take arbitration because his value on the free agent market would take a huge hit if a team had to give up a draft pick. But the class of second basemen is so weak, he may be able to go anyway. It's an interesting situation.
Possible teams: Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Royals, Dodgers

Nick Punto11. Nick Punto: Punto hit .27 8/.388/.421 in a bounce-back year for the Cardinals, but was limited to just 166 plate appearances, so take that with a grain of salt. Punto's no longer an everyday player (if he ever really was), but is instead a utility player and there's always a place for that. He does add defensive value at most spots he plays, so there will be some demand.
Possible teams: Cardinals, White Sox, Mets, Nationals, Dodgers, Padres

Craig Counsell12. Craig Counsell: After the NLCS loss to the Cardinals, the Brewers utility man said he wasn't whether he'd return for a 17th season, but he'd certainly listen to offers. "When you're hitting .170 and you're 41 years old, you question yourself, there's no doubt," Counsell told me after the Brewers' loss to the Cardinals. It's a good question. He's had a very good career, but he did hit just .178/.280/.223 and tied a big league record with a 45 at-bat hitless streak.
Possible teams: Brewers, Diamondbacks, retirement

Jose Lopez13. Jose Lopez: The Marlins out righted Lopez to the minors in July, before calling him back up in August. With the Rockies and Marlins in 2011, he hit a combined .216/.245/.373.He did hit .273/.296/.597 with six home runs in 32 games (16 starts) after being called back up. He played third, second and first base. An All-Star in 2006 with the Mariners, Lopez will likely sign a minor-league contract to get into camp with someone, but he's no team's idea of an answer to any question other than who is on the travel roster for a split squad game.
Possible teams:
Nationals, Dodgers, Padres, White Sox, Royals, Mets

Free-agent position rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | DH | SP | RP

Free-agent overall rankings: Position players | Pitchers

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

Posted on: October 25, 2011 6:38 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 8:20 pm
 

Report: Boston unlikely to hire a current manager

Ben CheringtonBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Although there have been whispers about the Red Sox trying to hire Toronto manager John Farrrell to replace departed manager Terry Francona, the Boston Herald reports that it's a "longshot" the Red Sox would hire a current manager.

The Blue Jays changed a policy allowing its employees to interview for any opening, meaning Farrell won't be a candidate in Boston. But if the team isn't going to hire a sitting manager, that means the Rays' Joe Maddon, Padres' Bud Black and Indians' Manny Acta are out as well.

The Herald lists the Blue Jays' Don Wakamatsu, Dodgers' Tim Wallach, Indians' Sandy Alomar Jr., Phillies' Pete Mackanin, Brewers' Dale Sveum and Yankees' Tony Pena as possible candidates. Of those names, only Wakamatsu and Pena have held full-time managerial positions before. Mackanin has twice been an interim manager.

During his news conference on Tuesday, new Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told reporters he expects to begin interview soon and has a list of candidates. He did say the team would like previous managerial experience, but wouldn't require it.

"Previous managerial experience would be a benefit, but we're not going to put ourselves in a box by requiring that," Cherington said. "We'll certainly consider those that have previous managerial experience, but also those who don't. We need the right person. I don't think we can afford to put ourselves in any sort of box in our effort to find the right person."

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 22, 2011 3:28 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 4:51 pm
 

Free-agent position rankings: Papelbon leads RP



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

With the free agent reliever market, it always seems to be buyer-beware, but every year teams overspend for closers and setup men. While not exactly a bumper crop this year, there are some good arms available, even if the top closers would all prefer to stay with their current teams. Still, we all know those preferences can go out the window when a higher offer comes.

Jonathan Papelbon1. Jonathan Papelbon: After a disappointing 2010, Papelbon returned to form in 2011, despite recording his lowest save total (31) since becoming the Red Sox closer. Not only was his ERA (2.94) down from 2010, he had his best strikeout rate (12.2 per nine innings) since 2007 and lowest walk rate (1.40 per nine innings) since 2008. His xFIP was 2.16, the lowest of his career. At 31, he's still an elite closer and the best available on the market. The Red Sox had been said to be interested in bringing him back and they still have the payroll to absorb a high-priced closer. Still, don't expect Papelbon to take a home-town discount.
Possible teams:  Red Sox, Cubs, Angels, Phillies

Heath Bell2. Heath Bell: When the Padres decided not to trade Bell during the season, it appeared he would be staying in San Diego. However, when the season ended with Bell not getting an extension, things became less sure. Now, Jed Hoyer is off to the Cubs and Josh Byrnes is in as the new GM. With this much change, things could easily change for Bell, who has said all along he'd prefer to stay in San Diego. The Padres may prefer to spend their money elsewhere. Bell is 34, but coming off his third straight 40-save season. One thing that could be troubling for a team is his falling strikeout rate. After striking out 10.2 per nine innings in 2009 and 11.1 in 2010, he struck out a career-low 7.3 per nine innings in 2011. His strikeout-to-walk ration was a career-low 2.43, although that was due to the lower strikeout numbers instead of more walks. Any team considering spending big money on him will have to seriously think about his age and if he's worth what he may command based on gaudy save numbers. He's also been aided by pitching at spacious Petco Park. The Padres may decide they don't need an All-Star closer and their money could be better spent elsewhere. Bell has said he would accept arbitration if offered.
Possible teams: Padres, Cardinals, Phillies, Mets, Orioles

Ryan Madson3. Ryan Madson: After several attempts earlier in his career to serve as a closer, Madson finally showed the ability to close out games in 2011, finishing with 32 saves in 34 opportunities. He's said he'd prefer to stay in Philadelphia, but that's easy to say during the season. A Scott Boras client, the Nationals have to be considered in the mix for Madson, who struck out 62 batters in 60 2/3 innings, while walking just 16 batters.
Possible teams: Phillies, Nationals, Red Sox

Jose Valverde4. Jose Valverde: The Tigers hold a $9 million club option on Valverde, which is pretty reasonable for a guy who led the majors with 49 saves and didn't blow a single save all season. Valverde's last outing was far from ideal, allowing four earned runs in 1 1/3 innings of Game 4 of the ALCS, but he's still an elite closer (if not exactly the most comfortable guy to watch). Valverde would command big bucks on the open market, but it seems highly unlikely he'll be there.
Possible teams: Tigers

Francisco Cordero5. Francisco Cordero: The Reds probably won't pick up his $12 million option, but he could still stay a Red. Cordero's been a stabilizing influence on the Reds bullpen in his four years in Cincinnati, but for a team like the Reds, it makes little sense to have a closer as the highest-paid player. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty and Cordero have both publicly said they'd like to work out an extension for him to stay in Cincinnati. It's similar to what the Reds did with Bronson Arroyo last offseason. The team is moving Aroldis Chapman to the rotation, so there's no real in-house candidate to fill in for Cordero if he leaves, so it makes sense to work out a deal. That said, someone could still pop in and make a bigger offer. The Brewers thought they had a deal with Cordero before he left for the Reds, so history could repeat itself.
Possible teams: Reds, Nationals, Mets, Orioles, Blue Jays

Francisco Rodriguez6. Francisco Rodriguez: After being traded to the Brewers, Rodriguez was not used as the team's closer, and said as a free agent, he'd like the opportunity to close again. That's not going to come in Milwaukee, where John Axford has established himself as the Brewers closer. However, after the Brewers' loss in the NLCS, owner Mark Attanasio made sure to point out just how important Rodriguez was to the team's bullpen and how much the club appreciated what he brought to the team. Although he's clearly not going to be the closer in Milwaukee, money talks -- and enough money and he may decide he can set up Axford. Sure, he spoke of being frustrated about not closing in Milwaukee during the year, but seeing the market could open his mind to other propositions.
Possible teams: Brewers, Cardinals, Orioles, Nationals, Phillies

Kyle Farnsworth7. Kyle Farnsworth: Fransworth more than lived up to his one-year deal last season, rewarding the Rays for taking a chance on him with 25 saves and a 2.18 ERA. He struck out 51 in 57 2/3 inning and had a career-best 0.988 WHIP and also his lowest walk rate of his career (1.9 BB/9). He made $2.6 million last season and the Rays have a $3.3 million club option (with a $650,000 buyout). It's basically a no-brainer to pick it up. Even if he doesn't repeat his 2011 numbers, he has the type of arm some team will want at the deadline to fortify a bullpen.
Possible teams: Rays, Mets, Marlins

Joe Nathan8. Joe Nathan: It's unlikely the Twins pick up Nathan's $12.5 million option -- that's just too rich for a guy pitching in just 48 games after missing the entire 2010 season because of Tommy John surgery. Still, both the Twins and Nathan are said to have interest in the closer returning to Minnesota. The 36-year-old has 260 of his 261 career saves in a Twins uniform and it's hard to imagine the two sides not working something out.
Possible teams: Twins

Kerry Wood9. Kerry Wood: The 34-year-old has already said he will either return to the Cubs in 2012 or retire. Count on the former. Wood was steady in the bullpen in 2011, striking out 57 in 51 innings and also showed no need to be the closer. Steady set-up men are something every team needs, and the Cubs as much as any other team. Wood took a below-market deal to return to the Cubs last season, earning just $1.5 million, and he may be open to doing it again. If so, it seems like a no-brainer to bring him back.
Possible teams: Cubs, retirement

Jeremy Affeldt10. Jeremy Affeldt: Affeldt is a left-handed reliever, but he's not just a left-handed specialist. Sure, his numbers against lefties are better (they hit just .144/.206/.200 against him), but he can also stay in and do a good job against right-handers. That versatility adds to his value on the mariet. He's been part of the very good Giants bullpen and expect him to stay there. San Francisco has a $5 million option on him after he earned $4.5 each of the past two seasons. He's earned the pay bump with his solid numbers. If the Giants don't exercise his option, they'll likely work out a multi-year deal with the team.
Possible teams: Giants

Jonathan Broxton11. Jonathan Broxton: Coming off a disappointing 2010, the hard-throwing right-hander appeared in just 14 games and underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow in September to remove a bone spur and loose bodies. Once an All-Star, Broxton's first year of free agency will likely end with a one-year, incentive-laden contract. Broxton is just 27, but if he's no longer throwing 99 mph, what exactly is his worth? It's unlikely he'll get a job as a closer, but will have the opportunity to prove himself in the spring. The Dodgers appear ready to wash their hands of Broxton, despite the right-hander's statements he'd like to return.
Possible teams: Anyone but the Dodgers

Arthur Rhodes12. Arthur Rhodes: Rhodes has said he wants to pitch one more season and then retire. Rhodes has pitched for nine clubs in his career, including two this season -- the Cardinals and Rangers. While disappointing in Texas, Rhodes has rebounded with the Cardinals after being designated for assignment by the Rangers. Tony La Russa loves playing matchups, so it wouldn't be a shock to see him stay in St. Louis. 
Possible teams: Cardinals, Reds, Cubs, Orioles, Blue Jays

Jon Rauch13. Jon Rauch: Rauch had 11 saves for the Blue Jays, pitching in 53 games for the Blue Jays this season. Toronto has a $3.75 million option on the 6-foot-10 right-hander, which is affordable enough. Rauch gave up 11 home runs, the most he's allowed since 2008. While a former closer, he's not exactly anyone's idea of a closer going forward. 
Possible teams: Blue Jays, Twins, Braves, Nationals

Darren Oliver14. Darren Oliver: The 41-year-old left-hander has said he'd like to pitch one more year. His 2011 proves he can still do it, appearing in 61 games and putting up a 2.29 ERA. His splits against left-handers and right-handers weren't too far off, with only his strikeout rates really spiking against lefties. He had 23 strikeouts of lefties in 94 plate appearances and 21 against right-handers in 121 plate appearances. Righties had an OPS of .594 against him, lefties .587. He's spent 10 of his 18 seasons in Texas in three stints. It seems like a perfect fit for him to return.
Possible teams: Rangers, Cardinals

Jason Frasor15. Jason Frasor: The White Sox hold a $3.75 million option for 2012, but the right-hander struggled after being part of the trade that sent him to his hometown at the trade deadline. Frasor was part of the massive three-team trade that sent Colby Rasmus to the Blue Jays and Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel to St. Louis. In 20 appearances for the White Sox, he had a 5.09 ERA, but did strike out more than a batter an inning (20 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings). He had a 2.98 ERA in 44 appearances for the Blue Jays. 
Possible teams: White Sox, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks

Brad Lidge16. Brad Lidge: The Phillies declined a $12.5 million option on their former closer, giving him a $1.5 million buyout. Lidge missed most of the season with a shoulder strain, but did pitch well upon his return, putting up just a 1.40 ERA in 25 appearances, striking out 23 in 19 1/3 innings. Lidge has said he's open to returning as a set-up man, but it appears his days of closing for the Phillies are done, even with Ryan Madson as a free agent. Still, Philadelphia needed several closers to get through the season and having Lidge back could be a good backup plan. Neither side has ruled out a return for Lidge at Citizen's Bank Park.
Possible teams: Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels

Dan Wheeler17. Dan Wheeler: The Red Sox hold a $3 million option on the right-hander who will be 34 next season. After coming over from the Rays, Wheeler put up a 4.38 ERA out of the Red Sox bullpen. Wheeler spent some time on the disabled list with  a calf strain and then was unavailable down the stretch with forearm stiffness. His health will be major issue Boston's decision to bring him back. If deemed healthy, it would seem he'd have a good chance of returning to the Red Sox. Wheeler had a better xFIP (3.71) than ERA, with a high BABIP (batting average on balls in play) than he did in either of the past three seasons (.272).
Possible teams: Red Sox, Phillies, Cardinals, Dodgers, Angels

Frank Francisco18. Frank Francisco: Francisco is a Type B free agent, and the Blue Jays will likely offer him arbitration. The 32-year-old right-hander came over in the Mike Napoli trade and picked up 17 saves for the Blue Jays, putting up a 3.55 ERA in 54 games. He struck out 53 in 50 2/3 innings, walking 18. He's not exactly anyone's first choice for a closer, but he could go into a camp and compete for that job, or at least be a fill-in while some team's closer is injured.
Possible teams: Blue Jays, Nationals, Astros, Padres, Phillies

Chad Qualls19. Chad Qualls: San Diego is expected to decline the $6 million option on Qualls. Qualls appeared in 77 games for the Padres in 2011, putting up a 3.51 ERA in San Diego. The Padres are reportedly interested in bringing him back, just not at $6 million. He thrived at Petco Park, earning a 2.09 ERA at home and 5.05 on the road, so it's not a stretch to expect that he would have interest in returning to the Padres.
Possible teams: Padres, Diamondbacks, Nationals, Angels

Matt Capps20. Matt Capps: Just 28, the right-hander is a former closer for the Pirates, Nationals and Twins, but saw his strikeout rate (4.7 per nine innings) and fastball velocity (92.9 mph) drop this year and his ERA rise to 4.25, hardly the way you want to enter free agency. Capps made $7.15 million last season, earning 15 saves for Minnesota. He'll take a pay cut in 2012, likely signing another one-year deal, hoping to re-establish his worth. 
Possible teams: all of them

Free-agent position rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | DH | SP | RP

Free-agent overall rankings: Position players | Pitchers

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 4:48 pm
 

Players association announces award nominees

By C. Trent Rosecrans

For those who love to debate awards selections, the players association has announced its finalist for the Players Choice Awards, voted on by the players. The winners will be announced Nov. 3 on MLB Network.

So, because you can't wait, here are your nominees:

American League
Outstanding player: Jose Bautista (Blue Jays), Adrian Gonzalez (Red Sox), Curtis Granderson (Yankees)
Outstanding pitcher: James Shields (Rays), Justin Verlander (Tigers), Jered Weaver (Angels)
Outstanding rookie: Jeremy Hellickson (Rays), Eric Hosmer (Royals), Mark Trumbo (Angels)
Comeback player: Bartolo Colon (Yankees), Jacony Ellsbury (Red Sox), Casey Kotchman (Rays)

National League
Outstanding player: Ryan Braun (Brewers), Matt Kemp (Dodgers), Justin Upton (Diamondbacks)
Outstanding pitcher: Roy Halladay (Phillies), Ian Kennedy (Diamondbacks), Clayton Kershow (Dodgers)
Outstanding rookie: Freddie Freeman (Braves), Craig Kimbrel (Braves), Vance Worley (Phillies)
Comeback player: Lance Berkman (Cardinals), Jose Reyes (Mets), Ryan Vogelsong (Giants)

Overall
Player of the Year: Gonzalez, Granderson, Verlander
Man of the Year: Paul Konerko (White Sox), Adam Wainwright (Cardinals), Michael Young (Rangers)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 17, 2011 3:45 am
 

Fielder's time in Milwaukee likely over



By C. Trent Rosecrans

There was a Fielder crying in the clubhouse after the Brewers' season was ended on Sunday night in Game 6 of the NLCS, but it wasn't the biggest Fielder. No, Prince Fielder had a bemused smile on his face and was telling his son, Jadyn, that everything would be OK.

In the eyes of a 6-year-old, you can understand. His favorite team just lost and everyone tells him his dad is leaving the only home he's known. He's going to go to some different team, play in a different city and Jadyn will have to find new friends and live in a new world. That's big stuff when you're 6.

Full playoff coverage

Fielder comforted his son, keeping his own eyes dry -- something not all of his teammates could claim. This was more than likely Fielder's last game at Miller Park in a Brewers uniform. The 27-year-old will be one of the game's most sought-after free agents this season and will sign a contract that should make him an even richer young man.

Fielder, at times, has said he's "probably" going to play somewhere else next season and the Brewers are saying all the right things about trying to keep him ("We're planning on participating in the sweepstakes," principle owner Mark Attanasio said after the game). But nobody really expects Milwaukee, which has already ponied up $141.5 million through 2020 from Braun, to keep Fielder in Milwaukee.

The Brewer fans gave him a standing ovation when he came to the plate a final time at Miller Park in the eighth inning -- and Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols (who will receive a pay bump of his own after this season is done), called time out right before Lance Lynn's first pitch so that the fans could have a little longer to pay their respects for Fielder.

"It was awesome, just because… playing here was awesome," Fielder said. "I'm just glad I was able to have the amount of fun I had. It was cool. It was cool."

During his postgame news conference, a reporter did follow-up and ask him about his choice of tenses when talking about his time in Milwaukee.

"No, as far as this year, it's over," he clarified. "This year is over. Why are you trying to do that?"

He did add, on a subsequent question -- "Hopefully I'm here for more years to come, but if not, it's been cool."

His teammates -- or soon-to-be-former teammates -- know the score. The small-market Brewers can't afford the large-ticket price Prince. The Brewers picked their prince in Braun, so Fielder will need to move on and a squire will take his place.

"Everybody recognizes the situation, everybody understands circumstances and we'll see what happens," Braun said. "Regardless of what happens, what he's been able to accomplish here in the last six years is incredible. He's one of the greatest players in franchise history, one of the best teammates in the league, an incredible competitor and I'm proud to say I was able to be teammates with him for five years."

Fielder said all the right things -- he's thinking about returning, he loved Milwaukee -- all that. But free agency and big dollars speak other things, they'll likely lead the player the Brewers drafted in the first round of the 2002 draft to another organization. No matter what's said, actions mean more.

Haven, Fielder's other son, though, probably had the more fitting symbolic act than his older brother, as he took a giant stuffed Sully from the movie Monster's Inc. and the inspiration for the "Beast Mode" celebration decked out in a Brewers jersey out the clubhouse door.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 17, 2011 3:38 am
 

Overheard: NLCS Game 6



By C. Trent Rosecrans

MILWAUKEE -- You always see the images of the winning team's clubhouses at the end of a series, but never the losing side. What flows like the champagne on the other side is hugs. Players hug each other, at times going down a receiving line of hugs. Each of the Brewers on Sunday hugged it out as the team realized its 2011 season was over.

There were kids -- from Prince Fielder's sons, to Jerry Hairston's -- they got hugs too. There were tears, from players, from sons. And there were hugs.

But still, there are smiles. A group of players realize their season is done, but there are worse ways to end a season than in the playoffs. 

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"Ultimately we fell short of our goal, which is disappointing, but in due time we'll be able to look back and appreciate our accomplishments," Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun said.

There was little bitterness, just acceptance that defeat was earned and the other team will be moving on to the World Series.

"Really, no knock on our defense, no knock on our pitching, but they flat-out beat us -- period," Hairston said. "We ran into a hot team, a great team. They deserve to be in the World Series, no question about it. They deserve it, they won it. Once you get to the final four, just about anybody can kick in and win the whole thing. They deserved to represent the National League in the World Series."

Also overheard after Game 6:

• Robin Yount, Brewers Hall of Famer, on losing to the Cardinals: "I was hoping to get a little playback for '82, but we didn't get it. I'm still bitter about that series."

• Tony La Russa on allowing himself to digest this incredible run the Cardinals have put together: "No. Because one of the keys is you can never allow yourself to look back because that's a distraction. We remind ourselves, even today we went around different players, it's always about maintain your edge the next game you play. Even if you for a minute do either one, look ahead or look back, you lose an edge. The guys were just absolutely relentless about today, today, today, last game of our lives."

• Albert Pujols on advancing to the World Series:  "It's awesome but your goal is to win it. Nobody talks about second place. Everybody talks about who wins it. That's going to be our main goal."

• Cardinals closer Jason Motte on Adam Wainwright's injury this spring: "It was a terrible loss. But as a team, we knew someone had to step up and do the job, get us some innings. It was an up and down season, but it wasn't just when Adam went down. Albert was hurt, Berkman, Holliday ... you name it, guys have been hurt."

• Shaun Marcum in the team's pitching in the playoffs: "One of the things that got us here was consistency, we were able to be consistent almost all year long and hand the ball over to the bullpen all year long. And aside from the starts by Yovani (Gallardo) and the one by Randy (Wolf), we didn't do a very good job of that. But we've got to give those guys credit, they're not the top-scoring offense in the league for no reason."

• Nyjer Morgan on the postseason: "It sucks when you get down and then when we swing the bats and then they put more (runs) up. Sometimes the game's going to go like that. Dr. Freeze came along at the wrong time and started chilling people's bats out, man. We've just got to keep our heads up, but looking back at it all, 101 wins, a franchise record, and a bunch of men in here that went to battle every night for the last eight months, you can't say enough about that. Everybody did what they were supposed to do, but they fell short."

• Morgan on Prince Fielder returning: "I'm hoping so, mang. Plush can't spit on that one, I'll leave that for the agents and everybody else to talk about that one. Of course I want the big man to come back, but I hope he does, but that's not for me to speculate on that, but, you know, T Plush wants my boy back."

• Brewers owner Mark Attanasio: "You can see the way Tony La Russa managed against us with a lot of urgency, you know, I'm going to view that as a sign of respect. If he brings his closer in with a six-run lead, he realizes we've scored six runs against them before. I think he's showing us respect for that. It's bitter-sweet part -- the bitter part is it's very, very hard to lose when you get this far with a team this good, but as bitter as that is, I'm proud of these guys."

• Attanasio on the Cardinals: "We and the Cardinals compete very hard, there's a lot of extraneous commentary, but I think you saw a very toughly played series -- what did we play 24 times? I guess 13 times we were on the wrong side of it -- 13-11. You give them credit, they played great."

• Attanasio on missing their shot at a World Series: "(General manager) Doug (Melvin) and I don't look at it that way. My goal has always been to build a long-term winning tradition here. I think we're off to a great start, especially being in the playoffs two times in the last four years. I'm not looking at 1982, I'm looking at right now. We've been in the playoffs the last two years and that's what we're trying to build in Milwaukee. And importantly, the whole country, including other athletes, are seeing what we're trying to do here. This is a great place to play. I think this is going to help us recruit ballplayers and we're not looking at this as our last shot."

• Brewers utility man Craig Counsell on his future: "I want to get away from it a little bit and then we'll sit down and make a decision. I've always said I'll play until they say no. You question when you're hitting .170 and you're 41 years old, you question yourself, there's no doubt. There's still that tug that you've got a great job and you love coming to work every day, so we'll think about it a little more in the winter."

• Ryan Braun on watching the World Series: "I doubt it. I'll probably get away from baseball for a while."

• Braun on the being called out on a play at first in the fifth inning of Game 6: "I don't know if it was necessarily a turning point our not. It's a tough play for an umpire -- I was safe -- but I'm going to give Albert credit, he made a great play on that. I don't think it was a turning point, but it seemed indicative of everything that happened this series -- they clearly played better than us, but every play went their way, every call went their way and I think when you end up winning games and winning a series, you look back and there are always things that go your way. When you lose, you look back and feel like everything went against you. That's just how the game works sometimes."

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