Tag:Evan Brunell
Posted on: October 21, 2011 1:43 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2011 7:03 pm

Free-agent position rankings: Sabathia heads SP

By Evan Brunell

As you're going to quickly realize after going through the position-by-position rankings of free agents, the market is rather poor this year. There are a couple of intriguing options at any spot, but the overall quality and depth is severely lacking. That could lead to a healthy trade market. But these players have to sign somewhere. Let's take a look at the top 20 starting pitchers and what to expect in the market...

Sabathia1. C.C. Sabathia: Sabathia may not fetch what Cliff Lee did a year ago, but there's no arguing against the lefty here as one of the best pitchers in the game. Despite his weight, Sabathia has been extraordinarily durable and there are zero questions surrounding his ability to pitch in a big-league game. He has yet to have a transcendent season as a Yankee, but is always right there in the discussion for Cy Young votes. It's hard to imagine Sabathia not doing better than four years and $92 million, which is what is remaining on his deal.
Potential teams: Yankees, Angels, Rangers, Red Sox

Wainwright2. Adam Wainwright: It's difficult to imagine the Cardinals declining their 2012 and 2013 options on Wainwright, but if they do, he'll get a pretty good deal in free agency. Waino may be coming off Tommy John surgery, but the right-hander was one of the best pitchers in the game before injury and all indications have Wainwright's rehab being completely normal. If he hit the market, he would do rather well for himself, even beyond the $21 million due him in the options. That, or he would get a pricey one-year deal to re-establish his value. If Waino hits the market, teams will be throwing themselves after him.
Potential teams: Cardinals, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Angels, Nationals

Wilson3. C.J. Wilson: Wilson has the numbers for a significant salary after posting a 2.94 ERA on the season in 223 1/3 innings pitched, but many around the game view him as more of a mid-rotation starter, which could depress his value.  While Wilson will never be an ace, those that are calling him a No. 3/4 long-term seem to be going overboard a bit. Over the last two years, Wilson has proven he should be considered a No. 2/3 team and this is someone who figures to see his market heat up once push comes to shove. Wilson has long been linked to one of the Los Angeles' teams given that's where he grew up, but he'll be looking for as much money as he can get.
Potential teams: Rangers, Angels, Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Royals, Blue Jays, Nationals, Marlins

Kuroda4. Hiroki Kuroda: Kuroda is a fantastic pitcher, but also extremely loyal. He truly bleeds Dodger blue and many reports have him uninterested in pitching for any other MLB team. In fact, he is considering a return to Japan should the Dodgers not be interested, but they would be crazy to let Kuroda go. He's willing to work on a short-term contract and can be an important front-line starter as the Dodgers limp along in an uncertain financial future. Los Angeles could potentially see both Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp depart as free agents after 2012, so the Dodgers will be motivated to get as strong a team together as they can for 2012.
Potential teams: Dodgers, Japan

Buerhle5. Mark Buehrle: The left-hander has sort of flown under the radar when it comes to free agency, but Buerhle could be in line for a big payday if he doesn't restrict himself. Buerhle has long thought to be only interested in playing for the White Sox or his hometown Cardinals. However, Chicago seems to want to "play the kids," and might prefer the compensation picks that would come with Buerhle. If the Cardinals extend Albert Pujols, they won't have the money for Buerhle, so he may have to look elsewhere for a job. He won't have difficulty finding one, topping 200 innings a season for the 11th straight season, starting as a rookie.
Potential teams: White Sox, Cardinals, Red Sox, Yankees, Angels, Dodgers, Marlins, Rangers

Jackson6. Edwin Jackson: Jackson has been around the block, already pitching for his sixth team despite being 28 years old. He'll be looking for security and money in what will be the richest contract he'll ever get, which could open up some players beyond the top teams. Jackson is a No. 4 starter who tantalizes with No. 3 potential, which will be enough to get teams to open up their checkbooks once the bigger names on the market are gone. Jackson may not be a sexy pitcher, but plenty of teams recognize the fact that without depth in the rotation, there's nothing.
Potential teams: Cardinals, Angels, Dodgers, Marlins, Royals, Twins, Rangers, Cubs, Nationals, Rockies

Oswalt7. Roy Oswalt: Oswalt has threatened retirement and his back problems plagued his season in Philadelphia, so it would be a surprise to see his $16 million option exercised by the Phillies. Oswalt is certainly entering the phase in his career where he's going to be working on short-term injuries, especially with his back problems. It's difficult to imagine the righty deciding to hang up his cleats just yet, so should resurface somewhere on a one- or two-year deal. The Rangers, who figure to lose Wilson, could have interest in Oswalt to bring him back to Texas and have him mentor its young players.
Potential teams: Astros, Rangers, Phillies, Cardinals, Detroit, Angels, Dodgers

Dempster8. Ryan Dempster: Dempster holds a $14 million player option and it's hard to imagine him doing any better on the free-agent market on an annual basis, so you can expect this option to be picked up. If he does choose free agency, he'll command a contract similar to Edwin Jackson. The righty's ERA soared to 4.80 this season, but his peripherals were still strong, so you can bet on a bounceback season. Even though he will turn 35 next May, Dempster has shown to be very durable. There won't be any shortage of suitors for Dempster.
Potential teams: Cubs, Red Sox, Yankees, Angels, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Marlins

Hisashi Iwakuma9. Hisashi Iwakuma: Iwakuma tried to come stateside last season, but when the Athletics won his rights via the posting system, talks fell apart between GM Billy Beane and Iwakuma's agent, Don Nomura. The lefty will be an actual free agent this season, not bound by posting rights, so any team will be able to talk with Iwakuma. That should help his market, and as a left-hander with strong control, would play well in a pitcher's park. Iwakuma will likely fly under the radar as teams like Boston and New York seek more sure things.
Potential teams: Dodgers, Angels, Mariners, Nationals

Bedard10. Erik Bedard: Bedard slogged through yet another injury-plagued season but when he was on the mound, pitched rather well for the Mariners and Red Sox. His market will be depressed by his constant injuries, but at the same time, he's shown that he can still be an important part of the rotation and if he could get a full season's worth of starts for the first and only time since 2006, whatever deal he ends up signing will be a steal. Bedard will likely fall into the hands of a market that couldn't afford to sign any of the better free agents.
Potential teams: Cardinals, Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Royals, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Brewers, Tigers

Vazquez11. Javier Vazquez: Will he retire or won't he? While it sounds like the righty could be departing, the second-half he had was incredible for Florida. It showed that Vazquez may finally return to normal after his second stint in New York went terribly and he looked kaput in the early going down south. If Vazquez does return, he's going to have a very short list of teams he will pitch for, and it may only have the Marlins on it. If he considers other teams, bet on it being in the NL.
Potential teams: Marlins, Nationals

Colon12. Bartolo Colon: Colon had a nice resurgence in New York before tailing off. What he did will easily secure him another go-round with a team, but it's probably not going to be back with New York. Given what his market will be, virtually any team could be in play for Colon. We're entering the part of the starting pitching market in which these pitchers will start seeing their market develop once the top names come off the board. From hereon out, you're more likely to see small-market teams or those with an outside shot at contending come into play for these type of pitchers.
Potential teams: Padres, Orioles, Tigers, Royals, Indians, Angels, Mets, Marlins, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Astros

Capuano13. Chris Capuano: Capuano's market got a bit of an uptick as the season wound to a close given the Red Sox's attempt to acquire him for the final game of the season. Other than coming back as a reliever late in the year for the Brewers last season, Capuano hasn't been heard of since 2007. The 33-year-old showed that he still had plenty left in the tank, and, in fact, had his best season yet according to the advanced pitching metric xFIP. Plenty of NL teams, and even some AL teams, will kick the tires on Cappy.
Potential teams: Mets, Dodgers, Padres, Cubs, Royals, Twins, Red Sox

Chen14. Bruce Chen: Like Capuano, Chen has rebuilt his value the last couple of years. He came off a solid 2010 with the Royals into a free-agent market that had no interest in him, probably because there wasn't any idea if Chen could repeat his season. Well, he did, so he should be looking at a couple two-year offers on his plate this winter, and could attract attention from some wannabe contenders. Chen is still a risk, but there's a lot to like here as a backend starter.
Potential teams: Mets, Dodgers, Pirates, Royals, Diamondbacks, Padres, Marlins, Athletics, Astros

Maholm15. Paul Maholm: The Pirates hold rights to Maholm for one year at $9.75 million, but Pittsburgh is expected to decline. That would be a mistake. While Maholm isn't quite worth that amount of money, it's not all that far off, plus it gives the club a solid lefty for the price of one season under contract. That's a no-brainer, but if he hits the market, might be able to finagle a three-year deal by virtue of being one of the youngest pitchers on the free-agent market.  The lefty has shown flashes of being a very good pitcher -- including this year, and one might even argue that Maholm belongs higher on this list.
Potential teams: Mets, Pirates, Angels, Royals, Nationals, Tigers, Cubs, Cardinals, Angels, Orioles

Harden16. Rich Harden: Harden, predictably, kept on having his injury problems but when he was on the field, actually pitched rather well with command not seen since 2005, when he was one of baseball's blossoming talents. Harden can still throw gas. He may no longer be able to stick as a starter despite teams giving him every chance possible, but he has the potential to impact a game whichever inning he ends up pitching in.
Potential teams: Athletics, Rangers, Cubs, Red Sox, Padres, Dodgers, Mets, Marlins

Harang17. Aaron Harang: Harang pitched rather well for the Padres, but it's pretty easy to figure out why. His home park of Petco Park helped him immensely, so he probably won't find many offers much to his liking out on the market. He may not care, as he's made very clear that he wants to stay in San Diego. Should the Padres decline his $5 million option, he'll return -- just at a lower price.
Potential teams: Padres

Padilla18. Vicente Padilla: The Dodgers seemed to be high on Padilla last year, hoping he could serve as both a starter and reliever. That got cut short when Padilla began the season on the DL recovering from elbow surgery, then needing neck surgery mere weeks after coming off the DL. It appears as if Padilla has found a home in Los Angeles after signing a below-market deal to remain with the club. Likewise, the club also seems to like Padilla, who has struggled for years among allegations he's a heavy drinker and poor clubhouse personality, so a reunion with the cash-strapped Dodgers makes sense. A handful of other teams could be interested, but it's doubtful they will be any more attractive than L.A.
Potential teams: Dodgers, Astros, Giants, Marlins, Athletics

Francis19. Jeff Francis: At this point, Francis is pretty far off the "Jeffrey Franchise" label given to him when coming up with the Rockies. Francis rebuilt his value in Kansas City after missing all of 2009 and making 24 starts with Colorado in 2010. The lefty was able to put together 31 starts, even if he tallied just 183 innings. While he has strong control, his lack of a putaway pitch is his main drawback, and at this point, he's nothing more than a No. 4 starter. He'll find a spot this winter, but won't receive much money.
Potential teams: Royals, Cardinals, Padres, Dodgers, Orioles, White Sox, Mets, Marlins, Pirates, Astros

Garcia20. Freddy Garcia: Garcia once looked like the man whose major-league career was dwindling. But now, after the comeback he's had the last two years -- and especially in New York, where he was a more than able starter for the Yankees -- he's assured himself of at least a few more years' run in baseball. The righty is strictly a back-of-the-rotation starter who could serve as a swingman. His willingness to serve in such a role with the Yankees could have him back as a long reliever.
Potential teams: Really, he could land with any team.

Bonus pick: Yu Darvish: If Darvish gets posted, it will give teams an opportunity to get the best pitcher on the free agent market. The only thing that will hold Darvish back is skepticsm as to how his game translates to America, but he is just 25 and put up video-game numbers in Japan, so even if teams talk Darvish down publicly, there will be no shortage of bids. He will also be attractive to teams who covet draft picks, as he won't cost one to sign. Anyone with funds will make a play, even teams who aren't currently competitive. Given his age, Darvish might even work best on a building club, as he would be able to debut on a team with minimal expectations and get his feet wet.
Potential teams: Blue Jays, Cubs, Mets, Nationals, Rangers, Red Sox, Royals, Yankees

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 20, 2011 3:24 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 5:03 pm

Angels could be looking at Rays GM Friedman

FriedmanBy Evan Brunell

The Rays' general manager, Andrew Friedman, met with Angels owner Arte Moreno this week, a source confirmed to ESPN Los Angeles. On the same trip, Moreno and team president John Carpino also spoke to Yankees executive Damon Oppenheimer, as the team searches for a new general manager.

This report confirms an earlier Friedman sighting made by blog DRays Bay. Friedman has built a successful team in Tampa Bay, but the club is held back by poor attendance, a lousy stadium and restrictive revenues. He has previously been linked to the Cubs and Astros (from hometown Houston) job, but it looks as if he's willing to consider other jobs. Friedman is thought to be close with team owner Stuart Sternberg, but even Sternberg has come out in saying the Rays can't last the way they are, so Friedman may have Sternberg's blessing to look for better opportunities.

Los Angeles is also looking into Diamondbacks' assistant GM Jerry DiPoto, and potentially Rangers assistant GM That Levine, whom the organization cannot interview until the World Series concludes given Texas' involvement. The interview process is also expected to include Kim Ng, a longtime assistant GM who is currently working in the MLB offices and would be baseball's first female GM.

Friedman would be the clear get, but would he be willing to go to an organization dominated by Moreno and manager Mike Scioscia? Moreno is very involved and the Angels have made some major missteps as of late. Scioscia, meanwhile, also wields a big amount of power. However, the club seems motivated to show that it's not a show run just by Moreno and Scioscia, so Friedman could be entering a good situation with the ability to put his own stamp on a team with competitive resources.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 20, 2011 1:30 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 1:35 pm

Buchholz speaks on Red Sox controversy

BuchholzBy Evan Brunell

Clay Buchholz appeared on WEEI on Thursday, speaking about the controversy that has followed the Red Sox since their September collapse left them out of the postseason.

Buchholz adamantly denied seeing beer in the dugout as Rob Bradford of WEEI tweets, but did seem to admit to drinking beer in the clubhouse, as Jon Lester has also admitted to. "It was maybe a bad decision on our part [to drink], but you've got to live with what you've done," he said on the radio according to the Boston Herald's Scott Lauber.

"The big problem with this team this year was that everybody on the team knew how good we were on paper," the Herald relayed Buchholz saying. He spoke about how pitchers hung out together in the clubhouse, and that was a good thing. He admitted to being "baffled" as to the reports of the schism in the Sox clubhouse, specifically defending fellow starter Josh Beckett, who has come under fire as of late. On WEEI, Buchholz says it is hard for him to grasp the criticism of Beckett.

"If anything, I would think Josh Beckett was different in a good way this year," he said, as the Herald writes.

Buchholz also added that pitching coach Curt Young and former coach John Farrell, now managing in Toronto, had "two different personalities." It seems as if Young was more genial as a coach and less restrictive, following in manager Terry Francona's footsteps. Meanwhile, Farrell was more strict with the pitchers.

Can't get enough booze? Read more about the beer-drinking controversy.

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

Posted on: October 20, 2011 11:57 am

Red Sox pitching coach Young could return to A's

YoungBy Evan Brunell

The Athletics are searching for a new pitching coach and it could end up being their old one, MLB.com reports.

The Athletics fired pitching coach Ron Romanick after the season, having promoted him from bullpen coach to fill the void left by Curt Young, who left to Boston after a contract dispute. Young had worked as pitching coach in Oakland for seven years, and 27 years in all inside the organization. In Boston, Young oversaw a Josh Beckett resurgence, and Clay Buchholz was pitching well before falling to a back injury. However, John Lackey's struggles plus a lack of a big season out of Jon Lester shone a spotlight on Young, who also had to battle with ineffectiveness all over the staff. It's difficult to determine how much blame Young serves, but after seeing skipper Terry Francona and GM Theo Epstein leaving, Young may prefer to return to Oakland.

Young is a friend of new manager Bob Melvin in Oakland and is expected to rejoin the A's by the end of the month.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Photo: MLB.com
Posted on: October 20, 2011 11:03 am
Edited on: October 20, 2011 3:37 pm

Epstein to join Cubs, bring along Pads GM Hoyer

EpsteinBy Evan Brunell

The Cubs are expected to make Theo Epstein a member of its front office on Thursday, ESPN Chicago reports.

A news conference is expected on Friday to announce the hiring, with commissioner Bud Selig having given the team permission to announce the news during the World Series. Friday is a scheduled off-day as the teams travel to Texas.

"The two sides are on the five-yard line," a source told ESPN Chicago, noting that a package of Cubs prospects will be headed to Boston. None of the prospects will be Brett Jackson, Trey McNutt or Matt Szczur. Previous attempts at compensation had included Boston asking for ace Matt Garza and even having Chicago take John Lackey's contract. However, the Cubs appear to have negotiated the Red Sox down to a more sane level of compensation. Cash is not expected to be part of the transaction.

Speaking of Lackey, there's another connection he has to all this. Epstein is expected to be named president of the Cubs, so he will need to hire a GM. His focus has been trained on the Padres, where he is expected to pilfer current GM Jed Hoyer, allowing senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes to ascend to the role. (ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes reported at 3 p.m. ET that the deal was done: Theo as president, Hoyer as GM, Byrnes replacing Hoyer in San Diego.)

The Padres will not ask compensation for Hoyer, largely because Padres CEO Jeff Moorad has long wanted Byrnes to GM again, having hired him to GM the Diamondbacks back when Moorad steered the Arizona ship. Byrnes was fired in July 2010 after originally being hired by Moorad in 2005. Cubs owner Tom Ricketts also close with Byrnes' brother in a bond business, and both Moorad and Ricketts are friends. Perhaps this is why Hoyer would leave a situation in which he would appear to have more control -- if Byrnes has an influential voice and the ear of Moorad, Hoyer's voice in San Diego may not be as powerful as previously thought. In that regard, why not take a higher-profile job working under Epstein?

Throughout all this, a report by the San Diego Union-Tribune says that the Padres have discussed internally whether or not to acquire Lackey in a trade.

The Padres would need Boston to eat most of what is remaining on Lackey's deal. He originally signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal that has three years to go. Lackey might be able to succeed in a weaker division, a friendlier home park and a manager in which Lackey is familiar with. Bud Black was the pitching coach for the Angels when Lackey came up, so all told, Lackey may be able to turn his career around in San Diego. Boston might be motivated to eat much of Lackey's deal just to get him out of town, so this bears watching once Byrnes takes over in San Diego.

Incoming Red Sox GM Ben Cherington says he has yet to hear anything, and any reports are "premature. Haven't heard anything this morning," he told the Boston Globe.

Catch up on all the Theo Epstein to Cubs madness here.

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Posted on: October 19, 2011 6:23 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 6:42 pm

Epstein-to-Cubs announcement won't come soon

EpsteinBy Evan Brunell

With the World Series beginning, it looks as if the expected move of Theo Epstein becoming president of the Chicago Cubs will have to wait.

Commissioner Bud Selig does not like teams making announcements during the World Series, as it takes away from the focus on the Fall Classic. This was violated once before when Alex Rodriguez announced he was opting out of his contract with the Yankees during the 2004 World Series, causing tremendous backlash. You won't see the news of Epstein joining the Cubs happening until at least Friday, the first scheduled off-day of the World Series -- and perhaps not until the World Series ends entirely. Selig would have to allow the announcement on an off-day.

Holding up talks to put Epstein in Chicago is the price of compensation heading back to Boston for releasing Epstein from his contract, which has a year left remaining. Talks, by all indication, are cordial and progressing, but is slow-going because Boston is asking a high price, while Chicago is understandably trying to hang onto its most valuable assets. The latest rumor connected prospect Trey McNutt with the Red Sox. The righty pitched on Wednesday in the Arizona Fall League, a league that starts up in October and allows top prospects to play against each other. He lasted just 1 2/3 innings for the Mesa Sola Sox, giving up two earned runs on five hits and one walk, striking out just one. An additional two unearned runs scored off of McNutt.

In the meantime, Epstein is effectively functioning as Cubs GM despite being the official Red Sox GM, while lieutenant Ben Cherington has assumed the ropes in Boston and will be formally named Epstein's replacement once the boy wonder departs to Chicago. Part of the issue in discussions is which front-office people Epstein can take with him to Chicago. It's unclear who is going, but one name has surfaced in talks, ESPN Boston writes. That would be executive vice-president of business affairs, Jonathan Gilula. Gilula played a major part in the renovations at Fenway Park, and Epstein may be eyeing him to give a similar facelift to Wrigley Field. A source added that trainer Mike Reinold may also follow Epstein, but department heads on the baseball operations side will not leave. Epstein also may target Padres GM Jed Hoyer for a similar role in Chicago, or tap Hoyer's lieutenant, Josh Byrnes for the role. Both served under Epstein in Boston.

Catch up on all the Theo Epstein to Cubs madness here.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:41 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 9:26 pm

MLB to allow Dirk Nowitzki first pitch

Dirk NowitzkiBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Update: MLB has invited Nowitzki to throw out the first pitch of one of the World Series games in Texas, ESPN reports. That would either be Games 3, 4 or 5. Spokesman Pat Courtney said that commissioner Bud Selig was unaware that Nowitzki was not involved, and felt he should be.

Read below for more on MLB not allowing Nowitzki to throw out a first pitch before reversing itself.

Apparently a guy dressed up as a cartoon character is OK for throwing out the first pitch in the NLCS, but an NBA player can't throw out the first pitch in a World Series.

Major League Baseball nixed a Rangers proposal to have the Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki throw out the first pitch in one of the Rangers' home games in the World Series. Although a report by ESPN claimed it was because of the NBA's labor issues, an MLB official denied that was the reason when asked by CBSSports.com.

The MLB official said MLB oversees the selection of the first pitch honorees and they prefer not to promote other sports, but instead promote their own sport. Each team gives the MLB office 10-15 names they are thinking about having throw out the first pitch, and MLB takes a role in saying which ones they would like. Nowitzki was on the Rangers' list and was denied by MLB. Last year the Rangers scheduled two former players and two former presidents (including one that's a former owner of the team) throw out the first pitch during their four scheduled home games in the World Series.

Nowitzki threw out the first pitch at a June 25 game after leading the Mavericks to the NBA title. Teams control who throws out the first pitch in the regular-season, but not the postseason.

Game 6 of the NLCS between the Brewers and Cardinals featured a person dressed up like the character Sully from the movie Monsters, Inc., the inspiration for the team's "beast mode" meme. While MLB oversees who throws out the first pitches in the first two rounds of the playoffs, they give the teams more leeway in their selections in the two rounds leading up to the World Series.

Nolan Ryan, Ferguson Jenkins, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush threw out the first pitches before last year's home World Series games at Rangers Ballpark.

Bob Gibson, Bruce Sutter and Adam Wainwright will throw out the "first" pitches at Game 1 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

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

Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:27 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 5:43 pm

2011 CBSSports.com World Series predictions

Since we didn't get it right the first time (be honest, you didn't either), here are the CBSSports.com updated World Series predictions:

2011 World Series predictions





World Series winner
in 5

in 7

in 7

in 6

in 7

in 6
Ian Kinsler

Nelson Cruz

Matt Holliday

Adrian Beltre

Albert Pujols

Mike Napoli

For more Eye on Baseball postseason coverage.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com