Tag:Evan Brunell
Posted on: October 24, 2011 4:43 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 5:26 pm
 

Phillies decline options on Lidge, Oswalt

Oswalt

By Evan Brunell


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

Roy Oswalt and Brad Lidge are hitting the market, as the Philles declined their 2012 options on Monday.

"While we will not pick up either of their options, we will remain in contact with representatives for both players about the possibility of bringing them back for the 2012 season,”GM Ruben Amaro Jr said in a news release.  “Brad and Roy both made significant contributions to the Phillies over the past several seasons.”

Oswalt (pictured), at this point, is the better known name. The 34-year-old was acquired in a deadline deal from the Astros in 2010 and was huge down the stretch, posting a Doug Fister-like 1.74 ERA in 12 starts and one relief appearance. Alas, the righty couldn't keep it up in 2011 as he battled back problems that left him with a 3.69 ERA in 23 starts. Oswalt's option was for $16 million ($2 million buyout) and it was a no-brainer to decline. He's still plenty young enough to have several more years left in him, but has seriously considered retirement before and could choose that route.

The bet here is that he eventually signs with a team for two years on a deal worth a bit more than $20 million in total. The Phillies could elect to bring him back, but with Vance Worley's emergence, the team isn't desperate for a starting pitcher and could allocate the money elsewhere. The Astros would be an odd fit given their rebuilding, but the Rangers make sense if he's interested in returning to Texas, as the club is unlikely to bring back ace C.J. Wilson.

Lidge, meanwhile, had a 1.40 ERA in 19 1/3 innings for Philadelphia. He struck out 23 and walked 13, missing much of the year with a right-shoulder strain. His $12.5 million option was even more of a no-brainer to decline, and he'll get $1.5 million on a buyout. He had 27 saves for the Phillies in 2010, but may find the closer's market a bit frigid thanks to both a high volume of closers hitting the market, plus increased control problems since joining Philadelphia. He'll have a market as a setup man for sure, but may need to accept a make-good one-year deal to rebuild his value.

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Posted on: October 24, 2011 4:21 pm
 

Jim Thome intends to play in 2012

ThomeBy Evan Brunell

Jim Thome intends to keep playing next season, MLB.com's Jordan Bastain reports.

"I want to keep playing. I'll keep playing," Thome said. "I just have to have teams that call me. I can't go play in the backyard by myself."

The 41-year-old finished the season hitting .256/.361/.467 in 324 plate appearances and shouldn't have a problem finding somewhere to play next season. And no, it won't be his backyard. With Thome's ability to hit for power, a willingness to accept a reduced role and strong leadership skills, he should be in demand. It's possible he could stay in the AL and DH part-time, but it's just as possible he accepts a position as a pinch-hitter in the NL.

The Phillies could be a fit, as Philadelphia was linked to Thome earlier this season as a potential destination before he landed with the Indians. With Ryan Howard out due to injury and unlikely to start the season on time, having Thome off the bench could prove invaluable for Philadelphia in getting by without Howard -- and having someone to slot in the lineup if Howard struggles upon returning. A return to the Indians is unlikely given Travis Hafner's presence, but returning to the Twins is possible.

In CBSSports.com's free-agent position rankings, Thome ranked fourth among all DHs.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 24, 2011 12:02 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 4:50 pm
 

Free-agent position rankings: Thin catcher crop

Molina, Hernandez, Barajas

By Evan Brunell


The catcher's market is extraordinarily bad, and will get even worse once the top name on the board comes off. Yadier Molina is the obvious class of the market, but he has a club option and it's going to be very difficult to envision the Cards not picking it up. After that, the pickings are slim with one obvious candidate for best backstop, but even he isn't excellent. If teams are looking for an upgrade at catcher, they'd be advised to look elsewhere.

Molina1. Yadier Molina: Molina is the class of the free-agent market, but it would be shocking if the Cardinals didn't at the very least pick up Molina's $7 million option. Molina is a wizard defensively and enjoyed his best offensive season at age 29, hitting .305/.349/.465 in 518 plate appearances with 14 homers. It's anyone's guess if Molina can keep up this kind of production, but if he does, it puts him in a very rare class, indeed. If Molina sinks back to previous levels, he's still among the best catchers in the league. If St. Louis improbably lets him walk, several big-market teams will be extremely interested.
Potential teams: Cardinals, Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees, Angels, Phillies

Hernandez2. Ramon Hernandez: Barring a surprise and Molina hitting the market, Hernandez will be the class of the catcher's market... and really, that's not saying much. Don't get me wrong, Hernandez is a quality catcher. But he's also 35 and hasn't reached triple digits in games caught for three straight seasons, so he better profiles as a caddy. He could be headed to the AL where he could toggle between catcher, DH and first base. The Reds may even be interested in bringing Hernandez back to oversee Devin Mesoraco's development, although the team will likely stick with Ryan Hanigan. As a Type-A free agent, Hernandez could bring back an elite prospect for Cincinnati should he decline arbitration. It's possible he and the team have a deal whereupon Hernandez will reject arbitration, but that will chill his market as teams won't be willing to give up top picks for someone like Hernandez.
Potential teams
: Dodgers, Red Sox, Reds, Marlins, Royals, Pirates, Rays

Barajas3. Rod Barajas: Barajas isn't anyone's idea of a quality catcher but with so few available in free agency, Barajas is rated high virtually by default. He does have some pop and could bang 20 homers given a full season's worth of at-bats, but he also can't get on base to save his life either. In such a poor market, Barajas will land somewhere, but he's just not anyone's idea of a strong catcher. That could lead some clubs in the market for catching to play more aggressively on the trade market once Hernandez comes off the board. The Dodgers might bring him back, but seem more interested in an A.J. Ellis and Tim Federowicz pairing.
Potential teams
: Dodgers, Marlins, Astros, Pirates, Royals, Rays

Doumit4. Ryan Doumit: Doumit's in a tough spot. On one hand, this is a guy that can rove all over the diamond and is able to catch, too. That's valuable. He can also hit -- the 30-year-old cranked out a .303/.353/.377 line when he was able to get in the lineup. The negative, though, is that Doumit has been plagued with injuries and his defense is so poor behind the dish that he gets exposed over a full season. Still, with the catcher's market as poor as it is, and his ability to play first and right, he should attract some interest from a team interested in using him all over the field. Heck, even a team with little to no catching could stick him behind the plate all season.
Potential teams
: Astros, Royals, Pirates, Twins, White Sox, Athletics, Mariners, Cubs, Dodgers

Posada5. Jorge Posada: Posada spent all season DHing for the Yankees, but this is a guy whose heart still belongs behind the plate. He may be able to find a spot, but it's probably only going to be a bench player who can fill in at catcher, first and DH. Posada doesn't quite deserve full playing time, but he did hit right-handers well and could work in a platoon situation. Still, his market might be so weak, or his options so limited and unappetizing that he may simply opt for retirement.
Potential teams
: Orioles, Royals, Athletics, Marlins, Dodgers

Snyder6. Chris Snyder: Snyder is a pretty good catcher, he just can't seem to catch a break. After three consecutive solid years in Arizona and inking a three-year deal prior to his last good year, Snyder was one of the better catchers in the game. Alas, injuries and ineffectiveness caused him to be a salary dump just a year and a half after inking his lucrative extension. This season, in Pittsburgh, he looked like he was recovering his lost value... until he was felled by injury. He'll draw interest from teams looking for a low-risk, high-upside investment. At worst, Snyder is a quality backup.
Potential teams
: Red Sox, Pirates, Brewers, Reds, Cubs, Astros, Rockies, Mariners, Twins

Shoppach7. Kelly Shoppach: Shoppach had a beyond-awful year offensively, the second straight year he's done so. And yet... that power bat is awfully tantalizing from a catcher. It's tough to tell whether or not Shoppach can recover to be a catcher who can slug 20 homers, but he's a lot more exciting than the likes of Barajas and Posada, especially to teams that might be looking to capture a bit more upside at the expense of instant production.
Potential teams
: Rays, Pirates, Royals, Mariners, Astros
Rodriguez
8. Ivan Rodriguez
: OK, we're really getting into the dregs here. Rodriguez would love a chance to get hit No. 3,000, so given he already has a World Series ring, might prefer to go somewhere where he can get the bulk of the starts and march toward 3,000, just 156 away. With a good year, he could reach it. At the same time, Rodriguez can reach that mark over a period of a couple seasons, and with his leadership and defense should hang on for a couple more years. Here's betting he goes after a starting job to all but ensure reaching No. 3,000 even if he doesn't do so this year, but we'll list a couple places he could land as a backup.
Potential teams
: Royals, Astros, Phillies, Brewers, White Sox, Rays

Laird9. Gerald Laird: Laird is coming off a solid year with the Cardinals. There isn't much to know about Laird -- he's a strong defender who struggles with the bat. He's pretty much settled into the backup phase of his career and there are so many options when you get this low in the market. Laird will probably return to St. Louis, and it seems like both sides have been a good match, but really, he could go anywhere.
Potential teams
: Cardinals, any other team

10. Jason Varitek
: The Captain may have seen his time run out in Boston. If so, it's doubtful that 'Tek will play for another team. Varitek has all the money he could ever need and two World Series rings. He doesn't need to play out the string for a lousy team. The only way Varitek will return is if it's in Boston, potentially hometown Atlanta (if they trade backstop David Ross) or if another team throws enough money at him (not happening). Varitek's bat is largely gone, but his power still shows up from time to time. He's never had a good arm, but his ability to work with pitchers and game preparation is unmatched.
Potential teams
: Red Sox, Braves

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

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

Posted on: October 23, 2011 9:49 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 1:31 pm
 

Red Sox, Cubs must complete Theo deal by Nov. 1

By Evan Brunell

The Red Sox and Cubs must decide on compensation for GM Theo Epstein soon to avoid Bud Selig stepping in, as Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reported Saturday.

Selig told Comcast New England that he has set a November 1 deadline for the teams to agree.  

"They have until Nov. 1 -- Theo and [incoming Red Sox GM Ben Cherington] and all the other parties involved," Selig said.

Now that Epstein has officially moved to the Cubs, he will be negotiating with his former colleague Cherington. 

"Hopefully they can get things done," Selig added. "I always encourage clubs to try to get things done between themselves. Somehow, the commissioner has enough things of controversy [to deal with]. They'll either get it done or they won't. If they don't, then I will."

And so we're all on the same page, Selig stepping in isn't revealing a particular agenda. Well, it is, but only that he wants this transaction to be over wiith. 

Click here to stay on top of all the Theo Epstein news.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 23, 2011 7:24 pm
 

MLB to investigate Red Sox, possibly ban beer

TorreBy Evan Brunell

Major League Baseball plans to investigate the drinking that went on in the Red Sox clubhouse, and could use that as an impetus to ban alcohol throughout the game, the Boston Globe reports.

“It’s something we’re concerned about, just to make sure that we get all the facts and that’s my area,” MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Torre said. “I know I have plans just to talk to some people.”

It's unclear what the investigation would be, but it may simply have to do with checking into the situation to make sure that not only has all the information been divulged, but that it won't happen again. Given Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz both admitted to drinking beer in the clubhouse during games in which the starters didn't pitch and admitted to mistakes along with fellow starters Josh Beckett and John Lackey, that will probably be enough to satisfy Torre, especially with Boston president Larry Lucchino standing behind his starters.

Currently, the Red Sox are just one of 12 teams that allow alcohol in the clubhouse. Baseball doesn't regulate alcohol in the clubhouse, but with the latest revelations in Boston, that could change.

“If we do happen to bar alcohol from the clubhouses, you have to understand the intent of this thing and what it looks like,” Torre said. “We’re up there and we’re role models, or we should be role models for the youngsters and how they behave.

"Guys understand that if they want to do something, they’re going to do something. They’re grown-ups. It’s something where we implement rules that we feel would be best for the game and who we’re being watched by. We’ve got to look at it."

Here's the only problem with this. Why is the news of Red Sox starting pitchers drinking beer on their off-days so horrible as to merit a possible leaguewide ban... and yet DUIs are going unpunished? Through early May, there had been six DUIs by players and none missed a game for illegally drinking and driving.

The idea of investigating alcohol in the clubhouse and whether or not to ban it makes sense. The reason for it does not.

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

Posted on: October 23, 2011 3:20 pm
 

Jamie Moyer, 49, hopes to pitch in 2012

MoyerBy Evan Brunell

It's easy to forget players who haven't been heard from all season, but there are some out there still lurking that could return in 2012 and make an impact after taking a year off.

Jamie Moyer, who turns 49 in November, hopes he's one of them.

“I’d like to pitch again," the veteran left-hander told CSNPhilly.com. "I’d like to have the opportunity to walk away from the game healthy and on my own terms, and I’m willing to earn it."

Moyer was last heard from in July of 2010 as a member of the Phillies rotation. He made 19 starts, posting a 4.84 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP, the latter number the best mark he had posted since 2002, when he he was 39 and had a 3.32 ERA over 230 2/3 innings as a starter. Moyer sprained his elbow and required Tommy John surgery, which wiped out the second half of 2010 as well as all of 2011. But he's nearing a return.

“If this were the middle of July, I’d be at the stage where one more good bullpen session and I’d be ready to go out on a [minor-league] rehab assignment,” Moyer said. “I’ve gone through this rehab knowing that my arm and body will stop me if they have to. So far they haven’t.”

Moyer has never been known for his velocity, but has built a career out of being durable, with a rubber arm and spotless command. All this from someone who seemingly washed out at age 29, missing all of 1992 after a weak showing in his first six seasons in the bigs, spent with the Cubs, Rangers and Cardinals. But he bounced back with Baltimore in 1993, where he remained for three years before briefly passing through the Red Sox and landing with the Mariners in a trade. That's where Moyer took off and made his name, before joining Philadelphia partway through the 2006 season and earning a ring in 2008, when he made three starts in the team's postseason race to the World Series title. Now, he's looking to play in his 25th season.

“All I can do is offer a chance to come evaluate me,” Moyer said, noting he wants any opportunity to be "serious" and not a publicity stunt. “Some clubs will say, ‘He’s 49 years old,’ but some will say, ‘Let’s give it a shot. Let’s not make any assumptions until we see him throw.’ Evaluate on what you see instead of what you think.”

Moyer was able to spend three weeks with the Phillies in their spring training home of Clearwater, Fla., working with coaches and trainers despite technically being a free agency. GM Ruben Amaro allowed Moyer to spend some time in the facility but would not promise even a spring-training invitation.

“It was very gracious of the Phillies,” Moyer said. “There were no expectations. I just wanted to be overseen by people who had seen me throw before. [Athletic trainer] Scott Sheridan knows me well and was kind enough to set up a six-week protocol for me to follow. I’m just finishing that up. I appreciate what the staff and organization did for me.”

It will be difficult for Moyer to get a job, and much of his market will likely be limited to National League teams given his pitching style. He'll probably have to compromise on what type of team he signs with, as he may have to settle for a spot on a noncontending team to pitch, or agree to start the year in the minors if he can't win a spot out of spring training for whichever teams he ends up on. The Padres might be one option, as Moyer and his family live near the city and the Padres can always use low-cost options for the rotation.  It's not clear if he would accept a minor-league assignment, but Moyer realizes what he needs to do to get a spot.

"Whatever you get in this game, you have to earn. I know I need to earn it.”

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


Posted on: October 23, 2011 2:37 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2011 2:38 pm
 

Ex-Red Sox GM Epstein thanks team, fans in ad

By Evan Brunell

Theo Epstein, the outgoing Red Sox GM, took out a full-page ad in the Boston Globe to thank the Red Sox and its fans for his 10 years in town.

After nine seasons as GM, Epstein is moving on to take over the Cubs job, becoming president and luring former assistant Jed Hoyer from his GM job in San Diego to fill the same position in Chicago. You can read more about the Theo-to-Cubs madness here. Despite leaving, Epstein's reputation hasn't suffered in Boston as many have come out with favorable reviews for his time in Boston. He doesn't appear to be getting much flak for leaving, especially after Boston's 7-20 September dropped them out of the playoffs and sparked a firestorm largely centered around pitchers drinking beer during games.

Below is Epstein's advertisement, as seen on the Boston Globe:



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Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:31 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 11:50 pm
 

Epstein leaving? Don't worry, Red Sox

Epstein

By Evan Brunell


The Red Sox empire was torn asunder Friday night as Boston, in a joint press release with the Chicagop Cubs, officially announced that GM Theo Epstein was resigning in Boston and signing on in Chicago.

No one could have imagined this when the year began: the Red Sox's disgraced team stumbling to the end, capping in a sullen Jonathan Papelbon departure from the mound, claiming the lives of Terry Francona, who aged 50 years in eight seasons, and boy wonder Epstein, who is hightailing it to Chicago, desperate for a challenge. The Red Sox, who had once won two rings in a four-year span and looked like a superfranchise for a while there, couldn't hold together under explosive circumstances and, and have detonated spectacularly. Beer drinking. Clubhouse problems. Conditioning issues. Then, Francona, a manager who may or may not have had ownership backing walked away, followed by the greatest architect in BoSox history. Epstein, departs for a challenge that could land him in the baseball annals for life ... if he makes good.

And yet, funny thing is, the Red Sox will be just fine.

There is rightful doom and gloom in Boston these days. This Red Sox team will be rememberd for a long time, and not in a complimentary way. But despite the beating the Red Sox have sustained this offseason, there is still plenty of light, too. For one, the ownership is still here -- the people who have poured bag of money after bag of money into the club and let the baseball people do what they do best. Their brain trust is so strong, they resisted any overtures to allow baseball operations folks to follow Epstein to Chicago. And that could have saved a serious amount of talent -- just look at who Epstein swiped instead... current Padres GM Jed Hoyer and assistant GM Josh Bynes. No, really.

That's because there's a lot to like about the new front office, which will have Ben Cherington heading the department. Mike Hazen, Craig Shipley and Amiel Sawdaye are all rising stars. When's the last time that happened in Boston? When Epstein's regime began. And these men have studied at the feet of Epstein from the ground up, and assistant GM Allard Baird has developed into a valuable confidant. They are part of a front office that has a player-development machine humming along quite nicely, and despite Epstein's rather copious free-agency missteps as of late, are still learned from one of the best in player acquisition. That's not to say that there won't be changes. Cherington is known to be more patient than Epstein, and we don't know how that might impact the team.

Whatever patience Cherington has, Boston's farm system is starting to show signs of fruit once more, after the high minors slumped the last two seasons. The prospect tree is led by third baseman Will Middlebrooks, and incumbent third baseman Kevin Youkilis can already hear Middlebrooks' stampede coming.

So, while Epstein's departure creates a huge void, the right processes are already in place to continue winning.

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


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