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Tag:Red Sox
Posted on: November 21, 2011 6:43 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 9:40 pm
 

Red Sox narrow managerial candidates to three

By Matt Snyder

According to general manager Ben Cherington -- via ESPN Boston -- the Red Sox have narrowed their list of possible managers to three names: Bobby Valentine, Torey Lovullo and Gene Lamont.

As we've previously noted, Valentine had an all-day interview with Cherington Monday and there's much speculation that he's the favorite to land the job. But it's not a done deal and there are two other candidates.

Lamont, 64, is currently the Tigers' third base coach, but has two managerial stints under his belt. He managed the White Sox from 1992-1995, winning the AL manager of the year in 1993 as the White Sox won the AL West. Lamont's Sox were in first again in 1994, but the season was ended without a postseason due to labor strife. He then managed the Pirates from 1997-2000, never winning more than 79 games in a season.

Lovullo, 46, was the Blue Jays' first-base coach in 2011 after being the Pawtucket Red Sox manager in 2010. He also managed for several years in the Indians' minor-league system and has a pair of manager of the year awards to show for that time.

There's no timetable set for a hire, but with the list narrowed to three candidates, it's reasonable to believe a hire is coming soon.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 21, 2011 2:01 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 5:04 pm
 

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP



By Matt Snyder


Tigers ace pitcher Justin Verlander had a historic season for several reasons, and you can now add MVP and Cy Young in the same season to the list. He won the American League MVP, the Baseball Writers Association of America announced Monday afternoon. Verlander becomes the first starting pitcher to win MVP since Roger Clemens took home the honors all the way back in 1986. This also marks the first time any pitcher has won since 1992, when A's closer Dennis Eckersley won. This marks the 10th time a pitcher has won both the MVP and Cy Young in the same season.

"Not even in my wildest dreams had I thought of this," Verlander said. "I want to say this is a dream come true. I can't say that because my dream had already had come true ... to win a Cy Young. And the next dream is to win a World Series. This wasn't even on my radar until the talk started. And then all of a sudden it was a this-could-actually-happen type of thing."

Verlander, 28, was clearly the best pitcher in baseball in 2011. He went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 250 strikeouts in 251 innings. He had four complete games, two shutouts and one no-hitter. He led the American League in wins, winning percentage, starts, innings pitched, strikeouts, WHIP, ERA-plus and hits per nine innings.

Verlander racking up awards
The only real question as to whether or not Verlander would win the award was based upon his position. Pitchers only work once every fifth day, so many argued that they shouldn't be allowed to win an award that is traditionally given to players who are seen in the lineup every single game. But Verlander was so good it was tough to ignore. And he tied Jose Bautista with 8.5 wins above replacement, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

"I think that a starting pitcher has to do something special to be as valuable or more so than a position player," Verlander said. "Obviously, having the chance to play in 160-some games in the case of Miguel, they can obviously have a huge impact every day. That's why, I've talked about on my day, on a pitcher's day, the impact we have is tremendous on that game. So you have to have a great impact almost every time out to supersede (position players) and it happens on rare occasions, and I guess this year was one of those years."

This vote was probably the most intriguing of all the BBWAA votes this season because it felt wide open. Should pitchers be allowed to win? Can a player on a fourth-place team be considered valuable? Can a player on a team who had a historic collapse down the stretch win? There were arguments all over the place for the last six weeks of the season. Here's how the final vote stacked up, with the final points in parentheses:

1. Verlander (280)
2. Jacoby Ellsbury (242)
3. Bautista (231)
4. Curtis Granderson (215)
5. Miguel Cabrera (193)
6. Robinson Cano (112)
7. Adrian Gonzalez (105)
8. Michael Young (96)
9. Dustin Pedroia (48)
10. Evan Longoria (27)

In order: Ian Kinsler, Alex Avila, Paul Konerko, CC Sabathia, Adrian Beltre, Ben Zobrist, Victor Martinez, James Shields, Mark Teixeira, Asdrubal Cabrera, Alex Gordon, Josh Hamilton and David Robertson also received votes.

Verlander received 13 of the 28 first-place votes. Bautista got five, Ellsbury, four; Granderson, three; Miguel Cabrera, two and Young got one first-place vote. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News gave Young his lone MVP vote.

One voter, Jim Ingraham of the Lake Herald News (Cleveland) completely left Verlander off the ballot. Via the Associated Press, here was Ingraham's rationale:

"I'd wrestled with this for a long time. If I was ever going to vote for pitcher for MVP, it would be him this year," Ingraham said. "He hasn't appeared in 79 percent of their games, any starting pitcher really doesn't appear in 79 percent of his team's games in a year.

"Would you vote for an NFL quarterback for MVP if he only appeared in three of his team's 16 games, which would 21 percent? So that's part of it. Another part of it is I think they're apples and oranges. The guys that are in there every day, there's a grind to a season that a starting pitcher doesn't, I don't think, experience the way the everyday position players do playing 150, 160 games."

Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal gave Verlander an eighth-place vote while both Chad Jennings of the Journal News (New York) and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle voted him sixth.

Jacoby Ellsbury was hurt by a 10th place vote from Scot Gregor of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald (Chicago).

Other pitchers to win MVP and Cy Young in the same year were Don Newcombe (1956), Sandy Koufax (1963), Bob Gibson, Denny McLain (1968), Vida Blue (1971), Rollie Fingers (1981) and Willie Hernandez (1984).

This is the ninth time a Tigers player has won the MVP. The others: Mickey Cochrane (1934), Hank Greenberg (1935), Charlie Gehringer (1937), Greenberg (1940), Hal Newhouser (1944), Newhouser (1945), McLain (1968) and Hernandez (1984).

The National League MVP will be revealed Tuesday. It's likely to be either Ryan Braun or Matt Kemp, but a few others will factor heavily in the voting.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 20, 2011 6:20 pm
 

Valentine to interview Monday with Cherington

By Matt Snyder

All of a sudden, the talk of Bobby Valentine becoming the next Red Sox manager is heating up. Multiple outlets -- both local and national -- are reporting that Valentine has an interview with Boston brass Monday (Jeff Passan of Yahoo was first to report) and that if the interview goes well, Valentine will become the frontrunner to land the job. In fact, Passan reports that Valentine will meet with Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington all day at the request of the ownership, and if Cherington approves Valentine will be named the manager.

Basically, it sounds like Cherington's guy was Dale Sveum and when the Cubs nabbed him, the Red Sox owners have pushed Valentine onto the new GM -- just as Scott Miller opined two days ago, when he said the Red Sox are "directionless."

The 61-year-old managed the Rangers for parts of eight seasons and then the Mets for parts of seven seasons. He won two NL wild cards and one NL pennant with the Mets and has 1,117 wins against 1,072 losses in his managerial career.

Valentine also served as a manager in Japan for several years and is currently a baseball analyst for ESPN.

He's also a very polarizing figure, as he's either a "love him" or "hate him" guy for baseball fans. You won't find many, if any, fans who are indifferent on Valentine. Thus, it seems pretty fitting these Red Sox are possibly going to hire him.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 18, 2011 8:11 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 9:53 pm
 

Report: Sizemore 'close' to deal with Indians

Grady Sizemore

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Indians turned down their $9 million option on outfielder Grady Sizemore, the two sides are reportedly "close" to a new, one-year deal, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports.

Rosenthal said the talks were "serious" with one source saying it was "70-30" and another source said it was "very likely." Rosenthal reports the deal will be for less guaranteed money than his previous deal, but incentives could make it close to the $9 million he could have made in 2012.

"The Indians have come at us with an aggressive offer," Sizemore's agent, Joe Urbon, told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. Urbon added the two sides have "exchanged proposals." 

Sizemore has been limited to just 104 games over the last two seasons with serious knee injuries, undergoing surgery on his right knee on Monday. It was his fourth operation in the past two years, including micro fracture surgery on his left knee in 2010.

Sizemore, 29, hit .224/.285/.422 with 10 home runs and 32 RBI in 71 games in 2011. He won two Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger while appearing in three All-Star Games from 2006-08. 

In addition to the Indians, the Cubs, Rangers, Giants, Yankees, Phillies, Rockies and Red Sox had reportedly had interest in signing Sizemore.

Keep up with the latest free agent signings with the CBSSports.com free agent tracker. 

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 18, 2011 9:37 am
Edited on: November 18, 2011 9:39 am
 

Yoennis Cespedes looking for $60 million?

Yoenis Cespedes

By C. Trent Rosecrans

We've all seen the awesome Yoennis Cespedes video by now (and if you haven't, make sure you watch it -- all 20 minutes to see the cooking segment at the end), but the question of when we'll see him holding up a major league uniform in a press conference is still in doubt. Because Cespedes is in the process of gaining residency in the Dominican Republic, he is not yet eligible to become a free agent until all the paperwork is done. That could be anywhere from two weeks to two months, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports.

The 26-year-old Cuban outfielder is drawing interest from the Marlins, Red Sox, Cubs and Yankees -- so needless to say he's going to cost a couple of bucks to sign. Frisaro writes Cepedes is looking for a deal that is double the $30.25 million the Reds gave Aroldis Chapman two years ago. However, he can't begin to negotiate with teams until he is officially ruled a free agent by Major League Baseball.

The Marlins have already held a private workout for Cespedes, with other teams scheduled to follow suit in the next couple of weeks.

Frisaro writes that the Marlins want Cespedes to play center field for them, while the Red Sox are looking at him in right field.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 17, 2011 5:29 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 6:43 pm
 

Would expanded playoffs change past results?



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Commissioner Bud Selig wants one more team in the playoffs as soon as the 2012 season, with the two wild card teams facing off in one game to decide which team moves on to the next round. The idea is to expand the playoffs and at the same time giving division winners an advantage over a team that doesn't win its division.

Not only does the extra team mean there's more playoffs, but the wild card teams will have to juggle their rotation to try to get their best pitcher pitch in the one-game playoff.

2011

American League: No baseball fan will forget watching Game 162 for the Rays and Red Sox -- a once-in-a-lifetime finish to the regular season that wouldn't happen under the new format. Of course, it was there only because of the wild card -- something that many people were against when Selig first introduced it. There will still be fantastic finishes -- just not one exactly like there was this year. Not that I was expecting to see anything like that ever again. If the new format eliminates the rule barring teams from the same division playing in the first round, the first-round match ups would have been different, with the Tigers and Rangers meeting in the divisional series instead of the ALCS.

National League: The Cardinals and Braves would have faced off in the one-game playoff, with the winner going on the face the Phillies. Chris Carpenter wouldn't have had to pitch the final game of the regular season and could have been held back for the wild card game.

What would have changed? Maybe Terry Francona would still have a job, but other than that, who knows? The Cardinals wouldn't have had Carpenter for the wild card game, but if they were indeed a team of destiny, who's to say they don't go on and win the whole thing? The American League is a tossup, really, it's tough to say exactly what would have happened.

2010

American League: The Red Sox beat out the White Sox for the second playoff spot and set up yet another Yankees-Red Sox showdown in the one-game wild card.

National League: Atlanta and San Diego would face off for the right to face the seemingly unbeatable Phillies, while the Giants and Reds would have met in the other division series.

What would have changed? Instead of facing the Yankees, the Twins would get the Rangers, but the result probably wouldn't have changed. As for the National League, San Diego was reeling at the end of the season and probably wouldn't have challenged the Braves. However, the Phillies wouldn't have played the Reds in the first round and we wouldn't have gotten Roy Halladay's no-hitter. Or maybe we would have, the Reds had the National League's best offense, so maybe the opponent didn't matter that day.

2009

American League: Instead of just one one-game playoff in the AL, in 2009 there would have been two. Boston and Texas would have been the two wild card teams, but both teams had better records than the Twins and Tigers, who met in a one-game playoff to determine the American League Central champ.

National League: The AL East isn't the only division that can squeeze three teams into the playoffs -- the Rockies and Giants would face each other for the right to play the Dodgers in the NLDS.

What would have changed? Probably little, the Yankees and Phillies would likely face off in the World Series no matter what other teams were in the mix.

2008

American League: The Twins would have been the extra wild card team, facing the 95-win Red Sox for the right to face the Angels

National League: The Brewers and Mets would have had to face off in the wild card game, with the winner getting the 97-win Cubs, while Philadelphia would face Los Angeles in the NLDS instead of the Cubs.

What would have changed? The Red Sox beat the Angels 3-1 in the ALDS, so it's not a stretch to see Boston burning a pitcher and still beating the Angels in that series. The Phillies likely would have gone on to the World Series, but the Cubs may have had a better shot to advance to the NLCS and break some more hearts by failing to reach the World Series.

2007

American League: One one-game playoff not good enough for you? How about a playoff for the playoff? The 94-win Yankees would have to wait a day to see who they'd play in the wild card game, as Seattle and Detroit both finished 88-74.

National League: This time we have a pretty good idea what it would look like -- the Rockies and Padres would face off in a one-game playoff, just as they did anyway. A 13-inning thriller, the Rockies beat the Padres to advance to the NLDS. But instead of playing the Phillies in the first round, the Rockies would have faced the Diamondbacks, who had the best record in the National League with 90 wins.

What would have changed? Probably not too much -- every series was a sweep, meaning the best teams were more or less identified.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 17, 2011 4:31 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 6:05 am
 

Report: Red Sox meet with Bobby Valentine

By Matt Snyder

The Red Sox are now the lone team in Major League Baseball without a manager after the Cardinals replaced retired Tony La Russa with Mike Matheny and with the Cubs set to name Dale Sveum as their new skipper on Friday. Reports Wednesday evening indicated the Red Sox were expanding their search, and it appears ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine is a candidate.

Valentine has met with "at least one Red Sox owner" and will continue to meet with the front office about the opening, FoxSports.com is reporting.

This is sure to trigger strong reactions across the board because Valentine is a pretty polarizing figure. He feels like a big name that could get Red Sox fans excited, but there also seem to be legions of fans who dislike him.

The 61-year-old managed the Rangers for parts of eight seasons and then the Mets for parts of seven seasons. He won two NL wild cards and one NL pennant with the Mets and has 1,117 wins against 1,072 losses in his managerial career.

Valentine also served as a manager in Japan for several years and is currently a baseball analyst for ESPN.

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

Posted on: November 16, 2011 4:22 pm
 

The 2011 Anti-Managers of the Year



By Matt Snyder


Some of the best managers in baseball for 2011 were listed on ballots that were revealed Wednesday. Joe Maddon and Kirk Gibson came out on top in a completely unsurprising movement. But what about the other end of the spectrum? Who were the worst managers? We'll exclude guys who were fired during the season because they've already suffered enough. But what about the managers who kept their jobs well into September despite failing to meet preseason expectations? Let's check them out.

AL Anti-Manager of the Year candidates

Terry Francona, Red Sox. No, he wasn't fired during the season. He walked away after the season, so he's "eligible" in this fun little exercise. And with the fallout of the historic collapse we've already heard far too much about, you have to question everyone in the Red Sox organization. Francona built up a ton of credibility throughout his years at the helm in Boston and rightfully so, but in looking at just 2011, the awful September is a real black eye on his resume.

Ozzie Guillen, White Sox. He wasn't fired either. He walked away to take a new job after having a colossal disappointment of a season. The White Sox were picked by many to win the AL Central with what looked like a stacked offense and very good starting pitching. Instead, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios were albatrosses, Gordon Beckham took a step backward in his development and the back-end of the bullpen was a mess for the first several weeks of the season. There were some positives, but the negatives far outweighed those on a high-priced roster that failed to meet expectations.

Ron Gardenhire, Twins. It's hard to completely blame Gardenhire for the disaster that was the Twins' 2011 season, considering all the injuries, but, frankly, I needed a third name here. And with the Twins getting 31 games worse in one season, Gardenhire has to shoulder at least some of the load.

The pick: It's gotta be Francona with that monumental collapse. And the funny thing is, I'd hire him in a heartbeat if I was running a team with a managerial opening. He just had a bad month, along with many of his players.

NL Anti-Manager of the Year candidates

Fredi Gonzalez, Braves. His ballclub lost a double-digit lead in the NL wild card in one month. That's not always on the manager, as the offense was sputtering just as it had most of the season, but I'm placing a lot of blame on Gonzalez because the back-end of his bullpen started to falter down the stretch. All season, people had been pointing out the overuse of Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters. And all season, Gonzalez just ignored it, and continued running the duo out there, even with three-run leads. Just because the save rule says a three-run lead means a save opportunity doesn't mean you have to use your guys. What was wrong with using Scott Linebrink and George Sherrill with a three-run lead in the middle of July, for example? Plus, there were times Gonzalez used either Venters or Kimbrel with a lead bigger than three. That's just unexcusable.

Dusty Baker, Reds. The Reds got 12 games worse in a mediocre division (yes, there were two good teams, but three pretty bad ones) with very similar personnel to their division-winning team in 2010. In four seasons, Baker has only had a winning record once.

Mike Quade, Cubs. Flawed roster? Yes. Injuries? Sure. But Quade was still pretty overmatched and appeared to lose control of his locker room by July. This was coming from a guy many players endorsed prior to the season.

Jim Tracy, Rockies. The Jorge De La Rosa injury hurt, just as some underperformance from a few players, but the Rockies entered the season with far too much talent to end up a whopping 16 games under .500. Manager of the Year voting seems to always use performance versus expectations, so it's only fair the Anti-Manager does the same. Thus, Tracy's inclusion here.

The pick: Gonzalez, and I'd actually think about firing him due to the aforementioned overuse of Kimbrel and Venters. It cost his team the season. Hopefully the wear and tear doesn't alter the career paths of the young fireballers.

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