Tag:AL East
Posted on: March 23, 2011 11:22 pm
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Injured oblique may land Granderson on DL

By Matt Snyder

This much we know: Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson has a strained right oblique muscle, as confirmed by an MRI Wednesday. From there, things get a bit cloudy.

Multiple reports Wednesday had Granderson as "maybe" being out for opening day or "maybe" being ready to play by then. The latest report brings the worst news, though, which is that Granderson may be forced to start the season on the disabled list. (Star Ledger )

The move could be made retroactively to when Granderson last appeared in the spring, meaning he'd be eligible to join the team April 4 -- which would mean the Yankees would be without their center fielder for only one series.

Granderson noted that it's most important to be healthy for the marathon of the season, not just the beginning of it.

"As exciting as [opening day] is, and as important as that is, it's still just one game out of this whole 162-game season," he told the Star Ledger.

The report likened the injury to Joba Chamberlain's recent oblique issue. He returned to action after 11 days.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 23, 2011 11:04 pm
 

Getting to know the Blue Jays

By Matt Snyder

MVP

There's just no way to pass on Jose Bautista until we know for sure last season was his Brady Anderson 51-homer season. Armed with a new swing and carrying over a late-2009 power surge, Bautista shocked the baseball world by slugging a whopping 54 bombs. He drove in 124, scored 109 and walked 100 times. He even threw in 35 doubles and nine steals for good measure. The result was a .378 on-base percentage and .617 slugging percentage. His defensive versatility allows the Jays to rest different players on different days or more easily plug injury holes, as he played four positions last season.

PLAYER ORACLE -- Dave Steib to Ricky Romero

Dave Steib played with Jimmy Key on the 1986 Toronto Blue Jays

Jimmy Key played with David Dellucci on the 1997 Baltimore Orioles

David Dellucci played with Ricky Romero on the 2009 Toronto Blue Jays

POP CULTURE

Late in the 1999 Adam Sandler comedy "Big Daddy," Jon Stewart's character reveals he got intoxicated on the heavy canadian beer in 1993 celebrating Joe Carter's World Series winning home run in Toronto and accidentally impregnated a woman -- leading to the birth of his son, a central character in the storyline. Hey, slim pickings here. At least I didn't make you watch these commercials .

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Posted on: March 23, 2011 10:22 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/23: Seven strong for Shields



By Matt Snyder


3 UP

James Shields, Rays. Roy Oswalt getting clocked in the head overshadowed this outing -- and rightfully so at the time -- but Shields threw a masterpiece against the Phillies Wednesday. It wasn't against scrubs either, as names like Rollins, Howard and Ibanez were in the order. He went seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits and one walk. He struck out four while lowering his spring ERA to 1.88.

Carlos Silva, Cubs. With Randy Wells nailing down the No. 4 spot in the Cubs' starting rotation, there's only one opening remaining. Silva had been brutal so far this spring, but he made a case to remain in consideration Wednesday. He threw six innings and coughed up just one earned run. In fact, he only allowed three hits and walked none. I still like Andrew Cashner for that job, but reports had Cubs' skipper Mike Quade very pleased with Silva's outing.

Matt Kemp, Dodgers. The 26 year old continued his torrid spring, crushing a three-run bomb off John Danks to highlight a 2-4 day. He's now hitting .320 with a 1.072 OPS this spring. He has five home runs and 15 RBI in only 50 at-bats.

3 DOWN

Matt Cain, Giants. He entered the game with five scoreless innings under his belt in the spring. He left with a 5.63 spring ERA after giving up seven hits and five earned runs in three innings. Good thing the spring games don't count.

Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks. The promising young arm for the Snakes couldn't get through three innings after allowing eight hits, two walks and seven runs. Only one of the runs was earned, but a Hudson throwing error was what helped open the door for the huge Rangers' third inning.

Ryan Doumit, Pirates. An interesting case, as you could glance at the box score and see Doumit collected two hits in four at-bats. But look deeper, as his ineptitude in everything but handling the stick was illustrated Wednesday. He allowed his third passed ball of the spring and was picked off on the basepaths -- twice! As the Pirates reportedly continue to shop him, efforts like these won't help.

BONUS -- YOU MAKE THE CALL

Francisco Liriano, Twins. He struck out nine hitters in three innings. Yes, every out he recorded was of the punch-out variety. Of course, he needed 76 pitches just to get through those three innings and along the way he walked three guys and gave up four hits. The one earned run isn't awful (it would be a 3.00 ERA), but a walk per inning is, just like the WHIP of more than two. Still, love seeing nine K in three innings. So would the outing be listed in up or down? You make the call.

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Posted on: March 23, 2011 7:23 pm
 

Orioles' Showalter rips Yankees, Red Sox

By Matt Snyder

One would think playing in the AL East with the Yankees and Red Sox -- not to mention the Rays -- would be a difficult enough task without angering the opposition. Yet that's exactly what Orioles' manager Buck Showalter decided to do in an interview for April's issue of Men's Journal . (via NorthJersey.com )
"The first time we went to Yankee Stadium, I screamed at Derek Jeter from the dugout," Showalter told the magazine. "Our guys are thinking, 'Wow, he's screaming at Derek Jeter.' Well, he's always jumping back from balls just off the plate. I know how many calls that team gets – and yes, he [ticks] me off."

Of the Red Sox, Showalter was even more candid.

"I'd like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay payroll," he said. "You got Carl Crawford 'cause you paid more than anyone else, and that's what makes you smarter? That's why I like whipping their butt. It's great, knowing those guys with the $205 million payroll are saying, 'How the hell are they beating us?' "
I'm confused here. Buck goes after the Red Sox for having a big payroll but said $205 million. That's the Yankees. The Red Sox are in the $170 million range. It's also funny he said he likes "whipping their butt." Again, not sure which team he's talking about, but it doesn't matter. Showalter's Orioles went 3-3 against both the Red Sox and the Yankees last season. That's hardly whipping anyone's backside. Maybe he meant to speak in the future tense and was talking about this season? If so, I won't be holding my breath.

Look, the Orioles are probably a good amount better than they were last season at this time, but that doesn't mean they're contenders in the AL East. I'll also give credit to Showalter for trying to establish to his players and the fans that he's not scared of the two financial powers in the division. It just seems a bit much (and going after Jeter? Really?). Plus, I've had enough with the whining about money. After all, the Orioles had an operating profit of over $25 million last season -- and the Red Sox lost money.

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Posted on: March 23, 2011 6:08 pm
Edited on: March 23, 2011 9:25 pm
 

Red Sox, Tigers, Mets lost money in 2010

By Matt Snyder

More Finances
Forbes.com has released its annual list of the values of each Major League Baseball franchise, along with the revenue and operating income for 2010. It's kind of interesting to check, especially since we're still in spring training and thus relegated to following minor injuries and battles for the final few roster spots.

Not surprisingly, the New York Yankees were the highest-valued franchise at $1.7 billion. Despite a mind-boggling payroll, the Yankees make so much money they turned a $25.7 million profit last season. Every team turned a profit except the Red Sox, Tigers and Mets, actually.

The Red Sox had an operating income of negative $1.1 million. The Mets lost $6.2 million and the Tigers were a disastrous negative $29.1 million.

Also, the Mets franchise value took a 13 percent hit, though it's not exactly the Pirates, as the Mets' value was listed at $747 million. The only other franchise to lose value was the Indians, who took a 10 percent hit. The Padres were the third team to not gain value, as there was no change.

Interestingly, the Padres had the highest operating income, at $37.2 million. The Nationals checked in second at $36.6 million. Remember, the Nationals have the richest owner in baseball -- Ted Lerner -- so the road is definitely paved for the Nats to drastically increase payroll should they decide to do so. As I've written before, don't count them out as being a major player by the end of this decade.

The Rangers saw the highest increase in value with the Giants third, which makes sense considering they played in the World Series. The Twins saw the second-highest increase in franchise value, which coincided with opening their new home park, Target Field.

After the Yankees, the rest of the top five franchises in value are the Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs and Mets.

Check out the full chart by clicking here .

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Posted on: March 23, 2011 4:45 pm
 

Twins dangling Kevin Slowey in trade

SloweyBy Evan Brunell

The Twins have mercifully made Kevin Slowey available in a deal, as they have chosen Scott Baker to be their No. 5 starter, as FOX Sports reveals.

Why is it merciful? Because Slowey deserves to start, and it is the Twins' loss to choose players such as Nick Blackburn over Slowey, who has a sterling 1.50 career walk rate per nine innings, paired with a 6.86 K/9 mark. While his 4.41 career ERA isn't great, it looks a lot better with a 4.32 xFIP and he could easily dip below 4 in the National League. Heck, as a 26-year-old, he still has the talent to do so in the AL.

Slowey is a flyball pitcher, so best profiles in a park that plays to his tendencies. If he can land in such a place -- Seattle is one possible destination -- it would be to his benefit. The Mariners are looking to improve their starting pitching depth and could offer up reliever Brandon League in a deal for Slowey. Working against this is the fact League is slated to open the year as closer with David Aardsma out to injury. The M's may not want to turn their bullpen into a motley crew, but frankly, if it's between League and Slowey and a poor bullpen, Slowey's the choice.

Any deal involving Slowey will require relievers in return as the Twins lost Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch and Brian Fuentes. The club does have Joe Nathan returning and Matt Capps functioning as setup man, but the rest of the bullpen is in dire straits.

Other teams currently in need of a starter include the Brewers, Cardinals, Dodgers, Blue Jays and White Sox, but some are only interested in internal options as their starting pitching depth is temporary, such as the Dodgers or White Sox. However, even for those teams, Slowey would be an intriguing add as it is not every day you get a young right-handed starter with spotless command and a track record.

The Blue Jays in particular have been linked to Slowey, but given Toronto has Octavio Dotel and Frank Francisco on the verge of landing on the disabled list, it's unclear if the Jays are interested in compromising their relief depth.

Bet on the Twins entering the season with Slowey, but it would be a surprise if he wasn't moved by July to a team in need of a starter. The Padres could end up the best fit, as they have a cavernous park and could possibly have relievers to deal.

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Posted on: March 23, 2011 3:15 pm
 

Jeter, Yankees top 2010 merchandise sales

By Matt Snyder

The Captain might have his fair share of detractors, but he's still plenty popular, as is his team.

Wednesday, Major League Baseball released its list of top selling player jerseys and team merchandise. The New York Yankees topped the list of merchandise sales and their captain, Mr. Derek Jeter, was first for player jersey sales.

Considering Jeter has been the same number on the same team in the same model uniform since 1995, it's quite the feat. It's not like he got a new number or changed teams, thus causing the masses to flock to the stores seeking his new garb (a la Cliff Lee multiple times). It's just the same ol' number two in pinstripes. And it's still moving off racks faster than any other jersey in the majors. It's a testament to how he's played the game and conducted himself for the past 16 seasons.

Joe Mauer checked in at No. 2, with Roy Halladay's Phillies jersey placing third. The rest of the top 20, in order, are as follows: Chase Utley, Cliff Lee (including Mariners, Rangers and Phillies jerseys), Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Dustin Pedroia, Alex Rodriguez, Tim Lincecum, Mark Teixeira, Jason Heyward, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Braun, Justin Morneau, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ian Kinsler, Ryan Howard, Buster Posey, Evan Longoria.

The top 10 teams in merchandise sales were rather predictable, considering the size of the markets and perceived popularity. After the Yankees, here is the rest of the top 10, in order: Red Sox, Dodgers, Phillies, Cubs, Cardinals, White Sox, Braves, Twins, Tigers.

In somewhat related news, Brand Keys released "loyalty ratings" among fan bases earlier this week. It appears not every team was included in the poll, since only the top five and then "bottom five" are listed, but the bottom five teams are numbered 16-20. The Phillies checked in at No. 1, with the Yankees, Red Sox, Giants and Dodgers rounding out the top five. The Mariners, Diamondbacks, Royals, Orioles and Pirates were the "last" five. Again, though, if only 20 teams were polled, we can't be sure if these are completely accurate. Just something worth chewing on as we wait for the real games to begin (only eight days away!).

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 23, 2011 2:47 pm
 

Morrow to start season on disabled list

By Matt Snyder

Blue Jays' No. 2 starter Brandon Morrow will be forced to start the season on the 15-day disabled list after an MRI revealed inflammation in his right forearm.

Fortunately for the Jays and Morrow, the 26-year-old right-hander can have his DL stint backdated to Monday and he might only miss one start -- assuming the injury is healed by then.

Morrow had been lights out in the spring, compiling a 0.75 ERA in 12 innings. He was 10-7 with a 4.49 ERA last season, but has shown flashes of being one of the best young arms in the majors. Note his 178 strikeouts in 146 1/3 innings last year. Or a one-hit, 17-strikeout shutout against the Rays on August 8.

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Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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