Tag:AL East
Posted on: January 18, 2012 5:21 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2012 5:23 pm
 

Report: Cubs, Red Sox ask Selig for help

Theo EpsteinBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Both the Cubs and Red Sox have asked Bud Selig to decide what the compensation for Theo Epstein's move to Chicago will be, the Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer reports.

Red Sox president Larry Lucchino initiated the move, according to the report. It's still unclear how long the ruling will take from Selig or what it will be, as there is apparently no precedent for it.

Selig had set a Nov. 1 deadline for the compensation, but that was later extended indefinitely.

Lucchino has apparently asked for the likes of Matt Garza or Cubs top prospect Brett Jackson, which the Cubs have determined to be too costly.

In 1994, the Cubs sent a Class A pitcher (Hector Trinidad) to the Twins in return for the poaching of GM Andy MacPhail. Trinidad never reached the majors.

The Red Sox -- pointing toward Epstein's five-year, $18.5 million contract -- are claiming Epstein is more valuable than a low-level prospect, while Epstein has been left to downplay his own value.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 11:31 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?



By Matt Snyder


Admission time: This is the matchup I've been most looking forward to in this series. In judging from the comments on occasion, it seems that some fans become angry when we speculate about what might happen in the future. I couldn't possibly be more in disagreement with that sentiment. Thinking is fun. There's no right answer yet, so why not just make an educated guess on which player will end up with the better career? In fact, I think it's much more boring in the offseason to discuss what has already happened than to try and surmise what is coming next.

So we're going to do some looking ahead here and ask that you do the same. We're going to go with two young pitchers who appear to have ace potential, but the sample sizes we have seen in the majors aren't very big -- and with one of these guys, he's already undergone major arm surgery.

It's Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals against Matt Moore of the Rays. A righty against a lefty -- and both with gobs of potential.

The case for Strasburg

This one could be spun whatever way one wants, based upon any preconceived biases. We could say Strasburg was the most heavily-hyped pitching prospect since Mark Prior ... And look how he turned out! Or we could say Strasburg is the most heavily-hyped pitching prospect since Roger Clemens.

Then there is the Tommy John surgery. There have been players that had their career ruined by the procedure, so focusing on them suits the Strasburg haters. Of course, nowadays the procedure is successful at a very high rate and you could go down the list of names like Tim Hudson, Chris Carpenter, John Axford, Jaime Garcia, Shaun Marcum, Brian Wilson, C.J. Wilson, etc. etc. etc.

Would You Rather Have
What if Strasburg stays healthy the rest of his career and does what he's done his entire life: Dominate the opposition. That's an ace for about 15 years.

Strasburg, 23, was the first overall pick in the MLB Draft after making collegiate hitters look silly for a few years. In 17 minor-league starts, he's 8-3 with a 1.90 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 94 strikeouts in 75 2/3 innings. In 92 major-league innings, Strasburg is 6-4 with a 2.54 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 116 strikeouts against just 19 walks. This past season, he was even more dominant upon his return from Tommy John surgery, putting up a 1.50 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and 24 strikeouts in 24 innings. He only walked two hitters.

He's going to have his innings capped at 160 this season to protect him in recovery, but starting in 2013 -- assuming full health -- watch out.

The case for Moore

Unlike Strasburg, Moore built himself into a huge prospect while in the minors. He wasn't hyped heading into the draft, as the Rays snagged him in the eighth round. Still, the 22-year-old left-hander was utterly dominant in 2011. He was promoted to Triple-A midseason, where in nine starts he went 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 79 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings. He was so good the Rays felt that was all the time he needed before hitting the bigs in September. Moore made a pair of relief appearances and then one start: Against the Yankees. He did not disappoint, striking out 11 hitters in five shutout innings, picking up in the all-important win as the Rays were chasing down the Red Sox in the wild-card race.

Then, manager Joe Maddon felt comfortable enough with the rookie (he'll still be a rookie in '12, by the way) to start him in Game 1 of the ALDS. And Moore was nails. He threw seven shutout innings against the mighty Rangers in the most hitter-friendly ballpark in the majors. He struck out six while allowing just two hits, two walks and a hit batsman.

On top of all that, the Rays have locked Moore up with an incredibly team-friendly contract through 2016 -- but club options could keep him away from free agency until 2018. On the other hand, Strasburg's agent is Scott Boras, so the Nats won't have near as easy a time in keeping him.

Our call

I think the question comes down to if you trust Strasburg's arm to stay healthy. Moore looks like he has perennial All-Star potential, but Strasburg has Hall of Fame talent. I like gambling, so I'm going to go with Strasburg. If you're conservative with selections like this -- and want to factor in contract status in a major way -- Moore is the pick. But I'm not conservative on issues like this. Gimme Strasburg and the possibility of him winning a handful of Cy Youngs.

Fan Vote:



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Posted on: January 16, 2012 6:26 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 6:40 pm
 

Yankees might bring back Hideki Matsui

By Matt Snyder

In an interesting twist of fate, the Yankees are going to limit spending. Yes, when it comes to grabbing a designated hitter -- to put in the spot vacated by the now-traded Jesus Montero -- the Bronx Bombers are only going to spend between $1 million and $2 million on a DH, reports CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman.

Heyman also notes that won't be enough to get Carlos Pena and probably can't grab former Yankee Johnny Damon either. One guy they could probably afford? The 2009 World Series MVP, Hideki Matsui. And Heyman reports there has been some contact between Matsui's representatives and his former ballclub.

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Matsui is 37 and coming off easily the worst season of his career. He hit just .251/.321/.375 with 12 homers and 72 RBI in 141 games. He's definitely on the downside of his career, but he hit well for the Angels in 2010. Plus, playing half his games in Oakland last season sure didn't help matters. He hit a dreadful .236/.323/.340 at home.

Also to consider, if the Yankees do sign Matsui, the differences in how the home parks play will be significant. Being a left-handed hitter, Matsui would benefit greatly from playing half his games in Yankee Stadium -- a venue that is really easy on lefties and where he's hit 17 home runs in 299 career regular-season at-bats.

Further, the Yankees know Matsui can deal with playing in New York and is familiar with many of the current Yankees.

So, yes, this move would make perfect sense for both sides.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 10:35 am
Edited on: January 16, 2012 10:46 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Bautista or Braun?



By Matt Snyder

As we continue the ongoing series of Would You Rather Have, we'll tackle a PED-themed version today. As every baseball fan surely knows by now, Ryan Braun failed a drug test and is facing a 50-game suspension for the beginning of the 2012 season, unless his appeal is upheld. Jose Bautista, on the other hand, has never failed an MLB drug test. However, I'd wager a hefty sum that if the Braun news first broke as "an unnamed All-Star slugger has tested positive for a banned substance" that the overwhelming majority of people would have guessed Bautista was the culprit.

In no uncertain terms, I think it's unfair how many people -- and it's not just fans, some media members are in on the witch hunt -- seem to believe that Bautista could not possibly get better at age 29 without having cheated. I've written about it multiple times (like here) but it drives me crazy. His body type hasn't changed one bit. Then again, neither has Braun's.

Whatever the case may be, that's why I connected these two superstar corner outfielders. Fair or not, one of these players has failed a drug test and the other has the suspicions of the majority of baseball fans. Since they are both big-time power hitters and play a corner outfield position, the debate works. Let's dive in.

The case for Bautista

Last year at this time many people believed the slugger's breakout campaign in 2010 was a fluke, but then Bautista went out and had an even better all-around season. He was once again punished for not playing on a team in contention in the MVP voting, finishing third. This time around it was much more egregious, considering the batting average and on-base percentage gains made. Bautista led the AL in home runs, walks, slugging percentage, OPS and Wins Above Replacement, Baseball-Reference.com version (he actually tied Justin Verlander there with 8.5).  Bautista's 181 OPS-plus led the majors and is insane (if you aren't familiar with the stat, it's ballpark adjusted and means Bautista's OBP plus slugging percentage was 81 percent better than the league average).

Would You Rather Have
Also impressive, Bautista walked more times than he struck out, an amazing feat for a slugger of his caliber. Albert Pujols regularly does it, but not many other power hitters ever do.

While neither outfielder here is going to approach a Fielding Bible Award any time soon -- both rate out poorly in advanced defensive metrics -- Bautista has a nice arm in right field, racking up 13 outfield assists in 116 games last season (he played 25 games at third). Using the eye test, too, I'd much rather have Bautista in the outfield than Braun.

Oh, and Bautista isn't facing a 50-game suspension.

The case for Braun

The 2011 NL MVP, Braun had a spectacular season with 33 homers, 111 RBI, 109 runs, 33 stolen bases and led the NL in slugging percentage and OPS. His OPS-plus was 166 and WAR was 7.7, for comparison's sake. Since winning the NL Rookie of the Year (after playing just 113 games) in 2007, Braun has been one of the best hitters in all of baseball.

Again, neither is a very good defender in terms of range or saving runs for his pitching staff, but one thing Braun does very well is not commit errors. He's only made six errors in the past four seasons combined. So while he won't get to as many balls as, say, Brett Gardner, Braun is sure-handed when he does.

If you wanna use age, Braun isn't that much younger than Bautista. He does have a three-year lead, as he turned 28 in November while Bautista turned 31 in October.

Our call

You can call me petty, but I'm going with Bautista until -- if ever -- he fails a drug test of his own. I'm pretty sure I would have leaned that way in October, but it would have been incredibly tough. That's irrelevant now, though, because Braun's name is tainted, even if temporarily, while Bautista's is not.

Vote away, and I have to say, I'm very interested to see how this one goes down. Lots of different issues in play, so let's hear those opinions. Please do keep in mind this is moving forward. Even if Braun misses 50 games this year, he's signed with the Brewers into his late 30s.

Fan Vote:



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Posted on: January 15, 2012 5:02 pm
 

Showtime series considering Marlins for season 2

Jose Reyes

By C. Trent Rosecrans


The Franchise, Showtime and MLB's answer to HBO's popular Hard Knocks, is returning for a second season and a second team. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports the Marlins are under consideration to be this year's subject, following in the footsteps of the San Francisco Giants.

The Marlins would seem to be as good of a pick as any big league team as there's a new stadium, colorful new uniforms, an even more colorful new manager and new talent in the likes of Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle. The team even has the walking soap opera that is Carlos Zambrano, as well as the spotlight-seeking Logan Morrison.

If Showtime decides to go in another direction, here are some other ideas:

• The A's: It seems Lew Wolff and Billy Beane are trying to pull a real-life version of Major League, putting together a team not to win, but in preparation for a move. Heck, they already have Brad Pitt as the general manager, so we know the camera will love them.

• The Angels: It's a time-honored television tradition, the fish-out-of-story of a family packing up its modest home and heading to California. We've had the Clampetts move out to Bev-er-ly, the Walshes to 90210 and the Fresh Prince hailing a cab for Bel-Air, so why not the Pujols family dealing with the disrespect of being offered a lowly $130 million and finding love and respect in Anaheim? Oh, and there's C.J. Wilson and his race cars and Vernon Wells cashing his paychecks.

• The Yankees and Red Sox: It'd be nice to see these teams get a little attention.

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Posted on: January 15, 2012 11:11 am
Edited on: January 16, 2012 1:15 pm
 

Red Sox sign RHP Vicente Padilla

Vicente Padilla

By C. Trent Rosecrans


The Yankees add Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda, so the Red Sox have to make a move, right?

They have, but is Vicente Padilla going to move the scales on the AL East balance of power north? Doubtful, but the Red Sox have signed the 34-year-old right-hander to a minor-league contract, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports.

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Padilla was limited to just nine relief appearances for the Dodgers last season with neck problems, but there's word that he's healthy and back throwing in the mid-90s. He has already undergone a physical with the Red Sox, according to Heyman.

Padilla is 104-90 in his career with a 4.31 ERA in 237 starts and 330 appearances in parts of 13 seasons with the Phillies, Rangers, Dodgers and Diamondbacks. Although he served as a reliever early in his career, for the most part he's been a starter, going 97-81 with a 4.33 ERA and 1.362 WHIP as a starter.

As unimpressive as the signing sounds in the wake of the Yankees' moves, it's a low-risk deal for Boston. With Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox don't need help at the top of the rotation, but at the rear, and if healthy, Padilla could fit there in a competition for the fifth spot along with Alfredo Aceves, Carlos Silva, Aaron Cook and others, while Daniel Bard will be given every opportunity to win the fourth spot in the rotation during spring.

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Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:30 pm
 

Yankees upgrade rotation in one night



By C. Trent Rosecrans

In one night the Yankees' rotation has gone from weakness to strength, adding right-handed starters Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda.

While it remains to be seen exactly how the Yankees' rotation shakes up behind CC Sabathia, it's ultimately better after Friday night's moves as Kuroda and Pineda join the rotation in the Bronx. No matter what whether it's Kuroda-Pineda or Pineda-Kuroda, it's better than the Ivan Nova-A.J. Burnett combo penciled in behind Sabathia at about 7 p.m. on Friday.

Yankees' big night

Sabathia's an ace, that's for sure, and Nova's a good, young pitcher. But Pineda's a potential ace and Kuroda is a steady starter that will certainly benefit from having the Yankees' offense in his corner.

Nova, 25, started the season in Triple-A, but established himself as one of the team's most consistent starters and should be a shoo-in to stay in the rotation. However, if he has a horrible spring training, there's a chance he could be lumped in with the competition for the fifth spot along with Burnett, Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes. The Yankees have let it be known they're willing to deal Burnett, eating a large chunk of the $33 million still owed him, but it still seems unlikely they'd find a taker. Garcia, like fellow long-shot Bartolo Colon, exceeded expectations in 2011 and the team brought him back on a one-year deal.

The team could boast five starters with at least nine wins (an average of 13.8) and an ERA under 4.00 in 2011. A total of five of their choices had at least 10 wins and four had at least 160 strikeouts, while three had as many as 190 innings pitched last season.

Here's a look at the team's improved rotation for next season with 2011 stats:

CC Sabathia: 19-8, 3.00 ERA, 237 1/3 IP, 230 K, 61 BB, 3.02 xFIP, 7.1 WAR (FanGraphs)
Hiroki Kuroda: 13-16, 3.07 ERA, 202 IP, 161 K, 49 BB, 3.56 xFIP, 2.4 WAR (FanGraphs)
Michael Pineda: 9-10, 3.74 ERA, 171 IP, 173 K, 55 BB, 3.53 xFIP, 3.4 WAR (FanGraphs)
Ivan Nova: 16-4, 3.70 ERA, 165 1/3 IP, 98 K, 57 BB, 4.16 xFIP, 1.5 WAR (FanGraphs)
Freddy Garcia: 12-8, 3.62 ERA, 146 2/3 IP, 96 K, 45 BB, 4.36 xFIP, 2.2 WAR (FanGraphs)
A.J. Burnett: 11-11, 5.15 ERA, 190 1/3 IP, 173 K, 83 BB, 3.86 xFIP, 1.5 WAR (FanGraphs)
Phil Hughes: 5-5, 5.79 ERA, 74 2/3 IP, 47 K, 27 BB, 490 xFIP, 0.7 WAR (FanGraphs)

While Hughes is most likely headed to the bullpen (or onto the trade block), it would be interesting if the Yankees decided to move Burnett there as well. With his fastball and high strikeout rate, he could be effective out of the pen. Opponents hit just .228/.302/.394 against Burnett in their first plate appearance against Burnett in 2011, .263/.332/.474 the second time through and .301/.392/.549 the third time through the lineup. If the team can't get rid of Burnett, they should at least find a place where he can succeed, and now without a glaring need in the rotation, now could be the time to experiment.

If Garcia or Hughes don't work out, it could be time the Yankees give either lefty Manny Banuelos or right-hander Dellin Betances get a shot at the big leagues. But that's now a luxury the Yankees have, not a necessity.

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Posted on: January 13, 2012 8:37 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 10:40 pm
 

Yankees add Kuroda to rotation

Hiroki KurodaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Yankees have rebuilt their rotation in one night, not only trading for Michael Pineda, but also agreeing to a one-year deal with right-hander Hiroki Kuroda worth "around" $10 million, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports.

Yankees' big night

Kuroda, 36, was 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA for the Dodgers last season. In four seasons in Los Angeles, Kuroda was 41-46 with a 3.46 ERA.

Kuroda pitched 202 innings in 32 starts for the Dodgers last season, striking 161 batters and walking 49, as his win-loss record took a major hit by bad run support from his teammates.  At one point he lost 10 of 11 decisions despite putting up a 3.12 ERA and holding opponents to just a .244 batting average.

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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