Tag:2012 MLB Hot Stove
Posted on: December 20, 2011 3:28 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 3:32 pm
 

Derek Holland talks 'Yu' on Twitter

Darvish to Texas
By Matt Snyder

Late Monday night, we learned that the Rangers had submitted a record posting bid -- upwards of more than $51 million -- just for the right to negotiate with Japanese phenom Yu Darvish, the 25-year-old ace of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

The Rangers now have 30 days to agree on a contract with Darvish, as the $51 million-plus is the fee they'll pay directly to the Fighters, not a dime of which goes to Darvish.

Still, there's some excitement about the prospects of getting Darvish, including by his potential future rotation-mate: Derek Holland. The young left-hander took to Twitter to use a few of the plays on words with "Yu" we're sure to be saturated with probably before Darvish even throws a big-league pitch. See below ...






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Posted on: December 19, 2011 11:15 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 7:31 am
 

Rangers have highest bid for Yu Darvish



By Matt Snyder


Yu Darvish could be headed to America very soon. The Texas Rangers have won the bidding for the Japanese phenom, Major League Baseball announced late Monday night. The Rangers did so with a bid of more than $51.7 million, sources told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler (Jeff Passan of Yahoo first reported exactly $51.7 million). That money will be paid to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters once a contract -- independent of the posting fee -- is agreed upon with Darvish. The Rangers have 30 days to agree to terms with Darvish, otherwise they won't pay the posting fee and Darvish remains the property of the Fighters.

"We were pleased to learn that the Texas Rangers were the high-bidders for Yu Darvish," agent Arn Tellem said in a statement. "The Rangers are an extraordinary franchise in an exceptional city with equally exceptional fans. Yu is honored to be prized so highly and recognized as a once-in-a-generation pitcher. We look forward to getting negotiations underway."

Darvish to Texas
Darvish, a 25-year-old right-hander, has been the ace of the Fighters for five years. In those five seasons, Darvish is 76-28 with a sparkling 1.72 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. He's struck out 9.5 batters per nine innings and walked just 1.9 per nine. He's also thrown 50 complete games and 15 shutouts. In 2011, Darvish went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 276 strikeouts in 232 innings with 10 complete games and six shutouts.

Darvish may very well serve as the ace for the Rangers, though they seem to not really need titles on that rotation. Darvish will join Colby Lewis, Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison to form a pretty solid 1-5 rotation for the two-time defending AL champs.

Also, this means the Rangers can leave both Alexi Ogando and Scott Feldman in the bullpen in front of eight-inning man Mike Adams and closer Joe Nathan, giving them a very formidable final four to close out games. Nothing is set in stone yet, as the Rangers could still elect to use Ogando in the rotation. They certainly have options.

Darvish actually has some family roots in America. His Iranian father attended high school in Massachusetts and played soccer at Eckard College in Florida, which is where he met Darvish's Japanese mother.

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 6:32 pm
 

Darvish much better than past imported pitchers



By Matt Snyder


With Yu Darvish soon headed to America, the standard generalization from many seems to be that we have to lump him in with the other starting pitchers who have come over from Japan. Hideo Nomo and Daisuke Matsuzaka had good starts but didn't sustain it long-term (though Dice-K still has a chance to change that and Nomo had a very good year for the Dodgers late in his career) while Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa were unmitigated busts.

As unfair as it is to assume all pitchers coming over from Japan will be a bust based upon four cases -- and it's incredibly unfair -- it's even more unfair to assume everyone coming over is created equally. Look at the position players: Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki panned out while a decent amount of position players have failed to meet expectations. We need to judge every player on an individual basis.

With that in mind, here's a chart comparing Darvish's Nippon Professional Baseball stats with the four previous big-name starting pitchers to come to Major League Baseball. I used only the pitchers' last five seasons in Japan, as Darvish has only been in the league for five years. Also, I was unable to find hits allowed in every season for all pitchers so unfortunately we had to leave WHIP off the chart. I can tell you with much confidence, however, that Darvish's career 0.89 WHIP would have dwarfed the respective marks posted by the other four here.

Pitcher Years W-L IP ERA K/9
Hideo Nomo
1990-94 78-46 1051.1 3.13 10.3
Hideki Irabu
1992-96 46-39 787 2.87 9.8
Daisuke Matsuzaka
2002-06 63-33 814.2 2.62 9.3
Kei Igawa
2002-06 75-43 997.1 3.14 8.6
Yu Darvish
2007-11 76-28 1024.1 1.72 9.5

Seriously, just look at the ERA, winning percentage -- and again keep in mind his WHIP is greater by a large margin -- and ask yourself if you really want to use how those first four fared in America as a fair baseline for how the 6-foot-5 Darvish will translate. He's obviously been the much greater pitcher in Japan, so it's not fair to believe he's Fat Toad 2.0 ... or even Dice-K 2.0. Darvish is better than each of these four ever was. Period.

Sources: The Baseball Cube, JapaneseBallplayers.com, Sports Nippon and Baseball-Reference.com.

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 3:56 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 5:39 pm
 

Nationals sign Mike Cameron to minor-league deal

By Matt Snyder

The Washington Nationals have agreed to sign free agent outfielder Mike Cameron to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training, the club announced Monday afternoon.

Cameron, 38, split time between the Red Sox and Marlins last season, hitting .203/.285/.359 with nine home runs in 269 plate appearances. He was once an All-Star and long a productive player, but he's certainly in the final stages of his playing career.

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The Nationals have been searching for a center fielder for quite a while, but don't expect Cameron to be their fix. Instead, unless a trade can be reached for someone like B.J. Upton or Denard Span, Cameron is simply insurance in the outfield. It looks like Roger Bernadina will be the center fielder until Jayson Werth is moved to center to accomodate the right fielder of the future: Top prospect Bryce Harper. And that could come as early as opening day, according to various reports from Nationals beat writers.

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Posted on: December 18, 2011 6:50 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 9:46 am
 

Reports: Orioles sign Endy Chavez

By Matt Snyder

The Baltimore Orioles have agreed to sign free agent outfielder Endy Chavez, several different outlets are reporting (MASN.com). The New York Daily News reports the deal is for one year.

Chavez, 33, hit .301/.323/.426 for the Rangers last season in limited duty (274 plate appearances). He also had 10 stolen bases. The Orioles will mark Chavez's seventh team in 11 seasons.

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New Baltimore general manager Dan Duquette had said earlier this offseason that a left-handed outfield bat was a need, as Felix Pie -- who has signed with the Indians -- just wasn't cutting it. Chavez is a lefty and a definite upgrade over Pie.

Chavez could even land some significant playing time for the O's. Obviously Nick Markakis and Adam Jones are firmly entrenched in right and center field, respectively, but Nolan Reimold is slotted as the left fielder. Reimold has good power, but inconsistency has plagued him the past two years. In fact, he didn't even make the team out of spring last year. He had a really good September, but who knows if that continues. With Chavez, the Orioles have a potential platoon-mate (Reimold is right-handed) or even insurance to take over. If Reimold does hit well all season and remain the starter, Chavez is a fine fourth outfielder.

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Posted on: December 17, 2011 7:49 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2011 7:56 pm
 

Brewers win bid for Japanese OF Aoki

Norichika AokiBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Brewers won the rights to negotiate with Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki, the Yakult Swallows announced (via Yasuko Yanagita of Japan's Hochi Shimbun).

Hot Stove League

Saturday (Japan time) the Swallows noted they'd accepted a $2.5 million bid on Aoki, whom Yahoo's Jeff Passan referred to as "Ichiro Lite, with an emphasis on Lite."

The Brewers will have 30 days to negotiate a contract with Aoki, who has played center field for the Swallows, but also left field for Japan's national team.

The Brewers have Nyjer Morgan in center field, with Corey Hart in right and Ryan Braun in left. Braun, of course, is facing a possible 50-game suspension to start the season.

Aoki hit .292/.358/.360 in 2011, down from his career averages in all departments. He is one of just four players to record 200 hits in a season in Japan. 

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Posted on: December 17, 2011 1:51 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2011 2:48 pm
 

Rollins, Phillies agree to 3-year deal

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jimmy Rollins will return to the Phillies, agreeing to a three-year deal with a vesting option for a fourth year, CBSSports.com's Scott Miller confirms.

Rollins was the No. 2 shortstop on the market, but saw his options dwindle after the Marlins signed Jose Reyes, the Cardinals re-sign Rafael Furcal and Milwaukee signed Alex Gonzalez.

Rollins has spent his entire career with the Phillies, who drafted him in the second round of the 1996 draft.

CBSSports.com's Free Agent Tracker

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Posted on: December 17, 2011 8:34 am
 

Yoenis Cespedes strikes back with new video

Yoenis Cespedes
By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Marlins, Red Sox, Phillies, Tigers and Cubs have all seen Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes work out -- and how do we know? Cespedes' agent has released another video on YouTube, featuring Cespedes' workouts and pictures of the 26-year-old with the likes of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and manager Ozzie Guillen, Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan, the Phillies' Pat Gillick and the Tigers' Willie Horton. There's also video of what the caption tells us is a private workout for the Cubs.

While the new video isn't as entertaining or outlandish as the one that introduced us to Cespedes last month, but it does show a lot more of why teams are interested in him -- as Cespedes not only shows off his impressive workout skills, but also baseball skills in nearly 10 minutes of batting practice footage, in addition to sprints and outfield drills.

Sadly, there are no cooking segments this time, even though the Star Wars-style intro remains, but there is a bonus scene after the credits, so make sure you stick around.

H/T: Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.

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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