Tag:AL East
Posted on: January 31, 2012 11:15 am

Indians trade for Russ Canzler

By Matt Snyder

Corner infielder/corner outfielder Russ Canzler was designated for assignment last week by the Rays in order to make room on the 40-man roster for new signee Jeff Keppinger. Tuesday, Canzler was traded to the Indians, the club announced.

Canzler, 25, was the MVP of the Triple-A International League last season when he hit .314/.401/.530 with 18 homers and 40 doubles for the Durham Bulls. He played 41 games in right field, 40 at third base, 33 in left field and 17 at first.

Assuming Carlos Santana stays behind the plate, first base might be Canzler's best path to regular playing time in Cleveland, but he'll likely get shots all over the place as a right-handed bat -- the Indians are loaded with lefties. He could spell Lonnie Chisenhall at third, Shin-Soo Choo in right or Michael Brantley in left, all of whom are left-handed.

In exchange for Canzler, the Rays will get cash considerations.

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 9:46 pm

Blue Jays president optimistic on near future

By Matt Snyder

The Blue Jays held their "State of the Franchise" event with fans Monday night in Toronto. It was the opportunity for fans to ask questions of -- or yell at -- team president Paul Beeston, general manager Alex Anthopolous and/or manager John Farrell.

A variety of topics were discussed, obviously, but the money quote came courtesy of Beeston (pictured right), when he said he expects the Jays to make the playoffs "two to three times in the next five years." (Mike Cormack via Twitter)

"Could start this year, could start next year," Beeston said (Mike Cormack via Twitter).

Now, there is nothing wrong with confidence, but this is a bit ambitious. The Jays went 81-81 last season, which was good for fourth place in baseball's toughest division. In 2010, they won 85 games and still came in fourth. In 2008, the win total was 86. And, again, the Jays finished fourth. That wins other divisions some seasons. In the AL East, it makes you an afterthought.

Further clouding matters is the front office's refusal to dole out big-time contracts. Both Beeston and Anthopolous said the club would not give out a contract of longer than five years. That is what eliminated them in the Prince Fielder sweepstakes, for example, as Beeston specifically told fans money wasn't the issue and they were interested in Fielder on a deal from one through five years.

The Blue Jays do have a good amount of young talent and I fully expect them to be better in 2012 than they were in 2011. With the playoffs expanding to allow two wild cards, that helps, too. But making the playoffs three times in the next five years is pretty tough for anyone, let alone a team competing against the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox in the AL East. 

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 2:11 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 3:58 pm

Giants OF Pat Burrell will retire

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Just days after J.D. Drew said he was retiring, Pat Burrell is also ending his career in baseball. It seems only fitting that the two will go out after the beginnings of their career were intertwined. CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports Burrell will retire.

The two were picked within the first five picks of the 1998 draft, but the story goes back to 1997.

The 1997 Golden Spikes Award winner from Florida State, Drew was taken by the Phillies with the second overall pick in 1997. However, Drew and agent Scott Boras wanted a record $10 million contract from Philadelphia, which wouldn't meet that demand. Instead of relenting, Drew went to play in an independent league and re-enter the 1998 draft.

It just so happened the Phillies had the top pick in that draft as well. But instead of trying their luck with Drew, they took Burrell, the 1998 Golden Spikes Award winner, out of Miami. Drew went to the Cardinals with the fifth pick.

Burrell signed quickly and was immediately cast as the anti-Drew.

While Drew would make his big-league debut in 1998, Burrell spent two more years in the minors before appearing with the Phillies in 2000. That year he finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting after hitting 18 home runs and driving in 79. In nine years with the Phillies, he hit .257/.367/.485 with 251 homers, winning the World Series in 2008, his final season in Philadelphia.

The Phillies didn't have need for the outfielder anymore in 2009, letting him sign with the Rays as a DH in 2009, but he struggled in that spot, hitting just .218/.311/.361 with 16 homers in 2009 and the first part of 2010. Hitting .202 with two homers in his first 24 games in 2010, the Rays released him.

Burrell signed with the Giants and rebounded, hitting 18 homers in 96 games for San Francisco, winning another World Series.

After signing a one-year deal with the Giants for 2011, he couldn't replicate his magic of the season before, hitting .230/.352/.404 with seven home runs in 92 games thanks to a right foot injury that had a large part in his retirement. In parts of 12 seasons, Burrell finishes with a career .252/.361/.472 with 292 home runs.

Drew's career line stands at .278/.384/.489 with 242 home runs in parts of 14 seasons.

While both players had good careers, neither turned out to be among the better players of their generation as so many predicted.

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 10:58 am
Edited on: January 30, 2012 6:58 pm

Vandals tag Derek Jeter's Tampa mansion

Derek JeterBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Someone in Tampa don't know what they want, but know how to get it. They wanna destroy the poster boy, because they wanna be anarchy. … Get pissed, destroy… or something.

A vandal painted a circled A, the anarchy symbol many of us had on our notebook in seventh grade to show how punk rock we were, on Derek Jeter's Tampa mansion, according to the MJ Morning Show on Florida's 93.3 FLZ radio station, which has a picture.

The house next door was also vandalized with what the story describes as the words "F*ck Pigs." I'm guessing the vandal didn't use the asterisk, but I didn't see it. But the fact another neighbor in the tony neighborhood got the same treatment as Jeter suggests it wasn't a comment on the Yankees' acquisition of Michael Pineda.

According to the report, Jeter has people to help him out, painting over the spray paint within two hours of filing a police report.

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Posted on: January 28, 2012 4:07 pm

Hall of Famer Robinson falls, breaks clavicle

By Matt Snyder

Orioles Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson was injured in a fall Friday night, reports Joe Capozzi of Fish Tank blog. Robinson fell backward off a stage at a pre-game dinner for the Joe DiMaggio Legends Game in Florida -- which is being played Saturday -- after he leaned back in his chair expecting to hit a wall. Instead, there was no wall and Robinson fell a reported six to eight feet before hitting the ground, suffering two fractures -- including one to his clavicle (commonly known as the collar bone).

Robinson was supposed to play in the game but now is obviously unable to do so.

“I understand he is doing fine but I really don’t know any more details other than that happened and he won’t be with us today,’’ Kevin Janser, the executive vice president for the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation, said (Fish Tank).

Let us send our best wishes to the 74-year-old Robinson in his recovery.

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Posted on: January 27, 2012 8:21 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 9:19 pm

Selig hopes to settle Epstein compensation soon

Bud SeligBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cubs and Red Sox have made their proposals for Boston's compensation for allowing Theo Epstein to move to Chicago, but commissioner Bud Selig said he doesn't have a timetable for making a decision.

"I'd like to get it done as expeditiously as possible," Selig said Friday night at SoxFest in Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The two teams have submitted written proposals, possibly including names of specific players, to Selig, according to the newspaper.

"The clubs tried to settle it themselves. I have a lot of patience because everything controversial generally winds up on my desk," Selig said. "In this case, I did give the clubs more latitude and hoped they could come to some conclusion. But they didn't and now it's my case."

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Posted on: January 27, 2012 6:59 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 9:18 pm

Video: Mattingly and son in trick shot video

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Warning to all bears in the greater Evansville, Ind., area -- don't wear a Giants hat. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly doesn't like that.

Or at least he doesn't in this video with his son, Preston.

These trick shot videos have been around a while, and while some of the tricks are impressive, I'm never sure why these guys are so excited about making them. If you have seven minutes worth of trick shots -- no matter how impressive -- you pretty much expect to make some, right? And doesn't it get old after a while?

Oh well, at least the younger Mattingly, 24, signed a minor-league contract with the Yankees earlier this month as a minor-league free agent. The 2006 first-round pick of the Dodgers hit .232/.281/.354 at two levels of Class A ball last season.

The video, though, is for a good cause. The group, which also includes Orioles minor leaguer Kipp Schutz and Indiana tight end Max Dedmond, used the video to sell T-shirts raising money for Evansville Boys and Girls Club, according to the Evansville Courier & Press. The T-shirts feature the bear mascot of Mattingly's alma mater, Central High School. The bear is named Bearwinkle, hence the Trickwinkle name of the group raising money. The group has already donated "around $1,000" to the Boys and Girls Club, with more on the way.

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Posted on: January 27, 2012 11:11 am

Would You Rather Have: Granderson or Ellsbury?

By Matt Snyder

So here we are, the final entry in our series. For those who have enjoyed the series and taken part in the discussion, we thank you. For those who hate fun, remember to kick and scream about how it's absurd to "compare" the two when someone asks you if you would rather eat Mexican or Chinese food.

Anyway, we'll close the series with a meeting between MLB's two biggest rivals of the past decade. Maybe Rangers-Angels or something else supplants the Yankees-Red Sox intensity/hatred moving forward, but what we've seen in the recent past isn't paralleled.

So we'll check out the respective left-handed center fielders who each placed in the top four of AL MVP voting last season. Yes, it's Curtis Granderson vs. Jacoby Ellsbury.

The case for Granderson

Would You Rather Have
We've known Granderson could play for a while. Back in 2007, he had an insane stat-filling season, with 122 runs, 38 doubles, 23 triples, 23 homers and 26 stolen bases while hitting .302 with a .913 OPS. In 2009, however, his average dipped all the way down to .249 and, despite hitting 30 home runs, his inability to hit left-handers became a huge problem.

Now, we know that Granderson hit 41 homers last season while driving home 119 and scoring 136. But it's a myth that this power surge came from out of nowhere. He made major adjustments to his swing in August of 2010 and started the heavy hitting before that season ended. In the last 46 games of '10, Granderson hit 14 home runs, which prorates to a pace of 49 in a 162-game season.

In addition to that, he's cured his woes against lefties. In fact, Granderson hit for better rate stats against left-handers (.272/.347/.597) than against righties (.258/.372/.531) in 2011.

Also, if you wanna whine about Yankee Stadium being friendly to left-handed hitters -- which, yes, it is -- please at least note that Granderson hit 21 home runs at home and 20 on the road last year.

Finally, durability is in Granderson's favor. From 2006-11 he averaged 152 games per season while Ellsbury only played 18 games in all of 2010.

The case for Ellsbury

After a lost 2010 season, Ellsbury ended up being perhaps the best offensive player in the American League in 2011. He led the majors with 364 total bases while hitting .321/.376/.552 with 32 homers, 105 RBI, 119 runs, 46 doubles and 39 stolen bases. This guy was a fantasy baseball players' dream last season.

Similar to Granderson, Ellsbury has to fight the stigma that his power surge was either a fluke or "came from out of nowhere." With Ellsbury it pretty much did, though. He only hit 10 career home runs in 259 minor-league games. He entered 2011 with 20 home runs in 1,510 big-league plate appearances. The explanation is that Ellsbury's home runs per fly ball went all the way up to 16.7 percent. That's a large figure for a guy his size, but it's certainly possible he developed power while in the majors. He wouldn't be the first guy to do so.

Ellsbury also took home the Gold Glove in center, while most advanced defensive metrics scored him as one of the very best defensive players in baseball.

Age is in Ellsbury's favor, too, though it's not near as big a deal as one might think. Ellsbury turned 28 in September while Granderson will turn 31 in March. So it's a difference of 2 1/2 years.

Our call

I believe it comes down to if you believe Ellsbury's power in 2011 was real. He's superior everywhere else, but power was a huge reason Ellsbury had a far better WAR than Granderson in '11 and finished higher in MVP voting despite the Red Sox's collapse. Next year at this time it will be a much easier answer, but for now I'm rolling the dice and going Ellsbury.

Fan Vote:

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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