Tag:Pirates
Posted on: August 3, 2011 7:14 pm
 

Stairs to retire after 19 seasons, 13 teams

Matt Stairs

By C. Trent Rosecrans


After being released by the Nationals earlier this week, Matt Stairs will retire, he told CBC News on Wednesday.

"I'm not sad. I had a great career, a long career," Stairs said. "And it's one of those things where I can walk away today and not be sad about it."

Stairs, 43, played in parts of 19 seasons for a Major League-record 13 teams -- starting his career with the Expos in 1992 and ending it with the same franchise in a different location in 2011 with the Nationals. He also played for the Red Sox, Athletics, Cubs, Brewers, Pirates, Royals, Rangers, Tigers, Blue Jays, Phillies and Padres

Stairs mostly played first base, the outfield and DH, but was best as a pinch hitter, holding the record with 23 pinch-hit home runs. He finishes his careers with 265 home runs and a slash line of .262/.356/.477.

As a side note, a year ago in spring training, I went out to dinner with a couple of other baseball writers and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! challenged us to name all of Stairs' teams -- I think the group of six other writers managed to get 12 of the 13 before we gave up. It's a fun game to try with friends.

Anyway, Stairs hit just .154/.257/.169 in 74 plate appearances for Washington this season and was designated for assignment after the Nats acquired Jonny Gomes from the Reds.

A native of Canada, Stairs said he's ready to return to his homeland and spend time with his family. He's also a shoe-in for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame when he is eligible in three years.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 2, 2011 1:17 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Two-homer edition



By Matt Snyder

Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians. What a night and what a season for the now-star shortstop. He went yard twice, including a tie-breaking two-run shot in the eighth inning. On the night, Cabrera was 3-5 with three runs, four RBI and the two homers. The Indians won 9-6 and crawled within two games of the idle Tigers in the AL Central.

Derrek Lee, Pirates. Quite a debut for Lee as a Pirate. He homered off former teammates Carlos Zambrano and Kerry Wood en route to driving in all three Pirates runs. Alas, it was all for naught, as the Pirates dropped their fourth straight, this time 5-3. They're now 5 1/2 games out and just one game over .500.

Dan Uggla, Braves and Rick Ankiel, Nationals. We'll combo these two in order to fit everyone who hit two homers in a game Monday night. These two played in the same game, so it works, right? Uggla is absolutely scorching hot, as he hit his 21st and 22nd homers of the season while also extending his hitting streak to 23. But his team came up short, while Ankiel helped his club prevail. Ankiel took All-Star pitcher Jair Jurrjens deep twice as the Nats won 5-3.



Adam Dunn, White Sox. The White Sox lost 3-2 to CC Sabathia and the Yankees Monday night and fell 4 1/2 games back in the AL Central. Maybe if Ozzie Guillen didn't insist on a hole in the middle of the lineup against lefties, they'd have found a way to score at least one more run. Dunn hit cleanup and went 0-4 with three strikeouts. Put his full season totals aside -- as ugly as they are -- and consider Dunn against lefties. He's now 3-77 (.038) with 35 strikeouts against lefties. If you figure around 650 at-bats is a full season, he'd be on pace to be punched out nearly 300 times in a full season of left-handed pitching at this pace. If Guillen absolutely insists on playing Dunn against left-handers, he should probably at least bump him down toward the bottom of the order.

Trevor Cahill, Athletics. The Mariners had failed to score at least five runs 80 times this season heading into Monday night. Cahill coughed up five to the Mariners in the second inning alone Monday. We're talking about an offense with Mike Carp and Adam Kennedy hitting fourth and fifth. We're talking about a team that ranked dead last in the majors in runs, average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage heading into the game. And Cahill -- an All-Star and fringe Cy Young contender last season -- allowed six earned runs, two walks and a career-high 12 hits in just four innings. The A's lost 8-4 and are only 2 1/2 games ahead of the Mariners, who just had a historic losing streak.

Craig Counsell, Brewers. It may be time for the 40-year-old veteran of nearly 1,600 career games to hang it up. He hasn't had a hit since June 10, as he's zero for his last 45. The Brewers can't continue to give him opportunities much longer, especially as the pennant race heats up even more. On the other hand, the Brew Crew did pull through again Monday evening, 6-2, have won seven straight and own a 3 1/2 game lead in the NL Central.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 1, 2011 4:19 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 4:23 pm
 

On Deck: Fresh meat takes the field

OD

By Matt Snyder

We only have 11 games Monday night, with eight teams having the day off. The big storyline of the day is obviously all the familiar names in new places, so let's take a look. And remember to follow all games on CBSSports.com's live scoreboard.

Bourn Identity: The Phillies landed Hunter Pence, so the Braves went back and took a different Houston outfielder. Michael Bourn will join the Braves, who look to both protect their 3 1/2 game lead in the NL Wild Card standings and cut into the Phillies' six-game lead in the NL East. Bourn finally gives the Braves a solid leadoff hitter and bolsters the inconsistent offense -- not to mention being an exceptional defensive center fielder. The Braves send Jair Jurrjens (12-3, 2.38) to the hill against the Nationals, who are starting Livan Hernandez (5-10, 4.19). Braves at Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET.

Break out the eye patches: The Pirates were buyers, not sellers, for the first time in ages. It was refreshing and has to send a message to the Pittsburgh fans. Now the focus turns to the Pirates playing winning baseball. They've lost three straight and are 4 1/2 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central. Of course, those three losses were to the Phillies -- who have the best record in baseball. Monday, the Pirates begin a series against the second-worst team in the majors: The Cubs. Derrek Lee will be with the Pirates to face his former team and Ryan Ludwick joins in on the fun. Carlos Zambrano (7-6, 4.59) faces off against the new-look offense, while Paul Maholm (6-10, 3.16) takes the mound for the Pirates. Cubs at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET.

Furcal joins Cards: There's a pretty solid pitching matchup in Milwaukee, as we'll see Chris Carpenter (6-7, 3.68) of the Cardinals square off against Zack Greinke (8-4, 4.50) of the Brewers, but the big news is the new shortstop for the Cardinals. Rafael Furcal was shipped to the Cards Sunday and will start against the Brewers Monday night. He'll slide into the leadoff spot, which is pretty cushy, considering the likes of Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman soon follow. Jon Jay is no slouch in the two-hole either. The Cardinals trail the Brewers by 2 1/2 games in the NL Central. Cardinals at Brewers, 8:10 p.m. ET.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 1, 2011 9:44 am
 

Pepper: Pelfrey finds sinker; Buchholz finished

Pelfrey

By Evan Brunell

SINKING: Mike Pelfrey thinks he has his sinker back and is hoping to reclaims some optimism during a season where Pelfrey crumbled under the weight of being considered an ace, regressing from a 3.66 ERA in 204 innings last night to a 4.55 mark to date.

"Mike takes such pride in what he does," pitching coach Warthen told the New York Daily News. "I see a guy who was forcing his pitches instead of throwing them."

Pelfrey, for his part, believes that mechanics were an issue. The right-hander's bread and butter has been his sinker, but that lost effectiveness when he altered his arm slot to make his secondary pitches more effective. While Pelfrey isn't scrapping his arm slot, he did say he has to make sure to get his arm out in front of his body more when he throws the sinker. Perhaps then, Pelfrey thinks, he can start racking up the numbers he produced last season even though his peripherals in both 2010 and 2011 are rather similar.

"... I've never seen anybody that can command a baseball as well as he can," Warthen added. "So when he goes out and walks three, four, five guys, I'm just baffled. It's beyond my belief that that can happen with a guy who can do the things he can with the baseball."

Pelfrey will face the Marlins on Monday night and has long struggled against Florida with a career 1-7 record and 5.25 ERA in 15 starts. He'll look to use his sinker, which pushed him to a complete-game victory last time out, to walk away with a win. (New York Daily News)

TOP GMS
: You usually see a winners or losers list come out of the trade deadline, but what about a list of best GMs for those who focused on the short-term and then long-term? Unsurprisingly, contending teams dominate the first list, rebuilding the latter. (ESPN's Jim Bowden)

BAD BACK
: Clay Buchholz appears to have a stress fracture in his back, which will shut him down for the rest of the season and most likely the postseason as well. David Wright recently missed two months with a stress fracture. (CSNNE.com)

BELL EXTENSION: Now that Heath Bell is staying in San Diego, the talk can turn toward the Padres potentially signing him to a contract extension. Bell, for his part, continues to stand by his proclamation that he will accept a three-year deal with a hometown discount to stay with the Pads. (North County Times)

Dodgers DEAL: The Dodgers are considered one of the biggest losers of the trade deadline, dealing a blue-chip prospect for three organizational players. Steve Dilbeck pens a defense, saying the blue-chipper in Trayvon Robinson clearly didn't fit in Los Angeles' plans, plus they finally got the prospect catcher they coveted in Tim Federowicz. GM Ned Coletti says Federowicz could make the roster next spring training. (Los Angeles Times)

Cubs DON'T DEAL: Carlos Pena, who is expected to resign with the Cubs should Chicago miss out on Prince Fielder in free agency, was thrilled the Cubs stood pat at the trade deadline.

"I'd rather have someone really working toward our common goal, instead of (trading players) just for show," Pena said. "Our GM is not like that. He's not trying to 'look' like he's working. He's working. It's totally different than [thinking] 'I can fool the world by switching a couple pieces here,' and it really looks like he's making moves, making changes. When in reality it's just all for show.

"He's not like that. He's doing something that's going to mean something at the end of it all, something substantial, and we're going to reap the benefits. I'd rather have that. We put all our heads together, all our energy together, and personally, I'm excited about the possibility of me being part of that team. Even with our record at this point, with our difficulties, I can say the same thing. I'm excited about what's coming."

Sorry, Carlos. Hendry still messed up. (Chicago Tribune)

THAT'S NICE: That's the reaction of columnist Dejan Kovacevic on the Pirates' haul at the trade deadline, bringing in Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick. Unfortunately, they may be arriving aboard a sinking ship as Pittsburgh's pitching regresses. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

BEHIND THE SCENES
: Here's a quick look behind the scenes of the Francisco Rodriguez trade that sent the Mets closer to Milwaukee. K-Rod requested that his vesting option for 2012 be waived so the Mets were free to make baseball decisions about Rodriguez's usage. Alderson used that information to convince other teams the closer would void the option, which is exactly what happened once the righty moved to Milwaukee. (New York Times)

LOOKING FORWARD: Manager Eric Wedge won't let the Mariners get complacent the rest of the way, even if the trades made at the deadline deleted two strong pitchers from the staff and clearly set Seattle back this season. "What we're not going to do is spin our wheels," Wedge said. (MLB.com)

TOP DH: One of the best DHs in baseball history is Frank Thomas, who wasn't afraid to proclaim David Ortiz an all-time great at the position. Also, Thomas is a believer that DH gets a bum rap when it comes to Hall of Fame voting and perception of the position. "You ask any DH in the league how tough it is to sit there and pinch hit four times a day and put up monster numbers,” he said. (Boston Herald)

OPTION VESTS: Bobby Abreu's option for 2011 vested with his 433rd plate appearance of the season, reaching the milestone in the ninth inning Sunday against the Tigers. Abreu is now tied to Los Angeles for one more season at $9 million.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 31, 2011 11:15 am
Edited on: July 31, 2011 11:24 am
 

On Deck: Verlander/Weaver highlights deadline day

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


Join Eye on Baseball for a live chat on Sunday, starting at 2 p.m. ET!

WeaverVerlanderBEST MATCHUP: A fantastic matchup is set to take place amid trade deadline hubbub, with AL Cy Young Award favorite Justin Verlander toeing the mound. Verlander has 14 wins, just like opponent Jered Weaver, but has a higher ERA at 2.34. Weaver is at an eye-popping 1.79, but Verlander has the inside track on the award thanks to his no-hitter, plus a fantastic 4.97 K/BB ratio, with Weaver at 3.62  -- still no slouch. This is a battle between the likely No. 1 and No. 2 finishers for the Cy Young, in some order. Detroit will have reliever David Pauley, just acquired from the Mariners along with Doug Fister, to back up Verlander, but the Angels have yet to make a move at the trade deadline. Angels vs. Tigers, 1:05 p.m. ET

PiratesPhilliesNEW FACES: Hunter Pence already made his Phillies debut, but he's still a new face as he prepares for his second career game as a Phillie, and will do so against a familiar face as Jeff Karstens draws the start for Pittsburgh. Karstens' 2.41 ERA came out of nowhere and is obviously over his head, but he is pitching better this year than he ever has. He'll do so with a new first baseman, as Derrek Lee was dealt from the Orioles over to Pittsburgh late on Saturday. Karstens is opposed by rookie Vance Worley. (Sadly, Lee won't join the Pirates until Monday, so the team gets one more day of Lyle Overbay at first.) Pirates vs. Phillies, 1:35 p.m. ET

EllsburyNEW STREAK: Dustin Pedroia's attempt to run his hitting streak to 26 games the other day was snapped, but another Red Sox player is ready and willing to start getting attention for his own hitting streak. Jacoby Ellsbury is at 19 games, continuing what has been a breakout season for the center fielder. Baltimore's Nick Markakis and Kansas City's Alex Gordon are also working on 19 straight. In other news, Boston is searching high and low for a new starting pitcher to replace Andrew Miller, who draws the assignment Sunday despite a lousy 17/24 K/BB ratio. The White Sox bring their own lefty to the mound in Mark Buehrle, whose 2.45 ERA since the start of May ranks in the top 10 of baseball. Red Sox vs. White Sox, 2:10 p.m. ET

Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

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


Posted on: July 30, 2011 10:45 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 11:54 pm
 

Pirates trade for Lee

By Matt Snyder

Derrek Lee spent parts of seven seasons in the NL Central, and now he's headed back. Lee has been traded to the Pirates for a minor league first baseman, Aaron Baker, the Orioles announced Saturday night.

Lee, 35, is hitting .248 with 12 home runs, 41 RBI and a .715 OPS. He will absolutely benefit from a trade back to the NL Central from the AL East, though, and qualifies as an upgrade over Lyle Overbay at first base. Lee hit .306 with 35 homers and 111 RBI in 2009, his last full season with the Cubs. Lee has a career .297/.370/.470 line at PNC Park, with 20 doubles, eight homers and 52 RBI in just 67 games.

Baker, 23, is hitting .285/.353/.474 with 15 homers and 72 RBI for High-A Bradenton.

This is a cheap, solid move for the Pirates to solidify the middle of their batting order. It doesn't mean much for the future, either, as Lee's a free agent after this season.

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

Posted on: July 30, 2011 5:15 pm
 

Saturday's late afternoon trade rumor roundup

By Matt Snyder

We're less than 24 hours on the countdown to the MLB's non-waiver trade deadline -- 4:00 p.m. ET Sunday -- and the rumors are flying left and right. We've seen the Phillies make a huge splash by acquiring Hunter Pence, and already Saturday three trades have been agreed upon -- the Tigers getting starting pitcher Doug Fister (Knobler), the Brewers acquiring Jerry Hairston (Miller) and the Red Sox acquiring Mike Aviles (EOB). More moves are certainly on the way, if not Saturday night, sometime Sunday. Let's dive in to what we've seen since the early afternoon post -- and remember, everything is fluid right now. Things could change in a literal heartbeat, so make sure to follow us on Twitter for the latest.

• As you may have seen, CBSSports.com's own Scott Miller reports that the Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers are hot on the trail of Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda.

Miller also reported that the Cardinals and Dodgers are very close on a trade that would send shortstop Rafael Furcal to the Cardinals.

MLB Trade Deadline
Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports that the White Sox are willing to part with right fielder Carlos Quentin and left-handed reliever Matt Thornton, but the price is high. Also those are the only two pieces general manager Kenny Williams is willing to move.

Miller reports the Twins would like to trade pitcher Kevin Slowey to the Rockies, but the Rockies are unmotivated to make such a move at this time.

• In our earlier roundup, we noted the Red Sox have talked to the A's about outfielder Josh Willingham and starting pitcher Rich Harden, and Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston adds outfielder Coco Crisp's name to the mix, though it sounds like there's no match there.

ESPN's Jayson Stark reports the Nationals are making progress on a deal that would land Twins center fielder Denard Span, but the Twins are insisting closer Drew Storen be included in the deal. The Nationals would prefer to deal Tyler Clippard instead, reports Miller. Miller also mentioned the Twins would not trade for a setup man -- but that was earlier this morning -- so it's possible Stark's report is a signal the Nats are thinking of moving Storen or are warming up to Clippard. Also, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reported that the Twins will want center fielder Roger Bernadina along with a reliever for Span.

• The Pirates and A's are talking a bat and a reliever, reports Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports.

• Finally, the Ubaldo Jimenez rumor mill is running at full capacity. Here's what is new since earlier this afternoon: Per Morosi, the Reds aren't talking to the Rockies about Jimenez any longer. Troy Renck of the Denver Post says the Rockies haven't spoken with the Yankees Saturday, but the Yankees are unlikely to include both Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances, two of their most highly-touted prospects. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports the Rockies have a scout watching Ivan Nova Saturday night. Possibly a package revolving around Montero and Nova? We'll see ...

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

Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:53 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Renteria stings old team



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Edgar Renteria, Reds: The reigning World Series MVP stuck it to his old team with an RBI single in the 13th inning, ending Cincinnati's four-game losing skid. Renteria hasn't been very good this year -- hitting .238/.305/.298 -- but he came up big against Giants closer Brian Wilson, lining a single down the right-field line to score Jay Bruce from second for a 4-3 Reds win. It was his second walk-off RBI of the year in extras and he's now 5 for 9 in extra innings. A little extra praise here for Reds reliever Jose Arredondo, who not only picked up the victory, but also singled off Wilson in his first big-league plate appearance after the Reds had run out of position players.

Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles: With several teams scouting Baltimore's right-hander, the 32-year-old impressed, holding the Yankees to just four hits and one run in seven innings. The Cardinals, Tigers, Brewers, Rangers and Red Sox have all expressed interest in Guthrie, who lowered his ERA from 4.33 to 4.18 and improved his record to 5-14.

A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox: In a washing machine, the red socks will overpower the white ones -- but recently it's been the other way around on the baseball field. Pierzynski's two-run homer in the seventh inning led to Chicago's seventh straight victory over Boston and its 14th win in the last 16 battles of the Sox. Both teams managed just three hits, but Pierzynski made his lone hit count, homering off of Tim Wakefield to break a 1-1 tie in the seventh to deny Wakefield his 200th career victory.


Hitting streaks: Florida's Emilio Bonifacio and Boston's Dustin Pedroia both went 0 for 4 on Friday, ending a 26-game hitting streak for Bonifacio and a 25-game hitting streak for Pedroia. Both of their teams also lost while managing just three hits -- the Marlins 5-0 in Atlanta and the Red Sox 3-1 to the White Sox.

Charlie Morton, Pirates: Much has been made of the similarities between Morton and Roy Halladay -- their motions do look awfully similar. But on Friday, the results couldn't be more different. Morton allowed eight runs on nine hits in four innings, while Halladay allowed just a single hit over seven innings in Philadelphia's 10-3 victory over the Pirates.

Carlos Carrasco, Indians: After giving up his third homer of the game -- a fourth-inning grand slam by Melky Cabrera (that Cabrera admired for way too long) -- the Indians right-hander threw at the head of Royals DH Billy Butler, who had homered in the first. Carrasco was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Scott Barry. Butler was restrained by Indians catcher Lou Marson and both dugouts and benches cleared. Not to be outdone, Carrasco yelled back at Royals players as he exited the field. Carrasco took his ninth loss of the season and allowed seven runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings. Butler added his second homer later in the game.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb 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