Tag:NL East
Posted on: January 13, 2012 12:40 pm
 

Cespedes says 6 teams showing 'a lot' of interest

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes told Dominican reporter Dionisio Soldevilia (via Twitter) that the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers and Indians have "a lot of interest" in signing him.

Cespedes made his Dominican Winter League debut on Thursday night, going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and was hit by a pitch for Aguilas. Cespedes served as the team's DH and batted fifth in the team's 6-4 loss. Aguilas plays again Friday night.

It was Cespedes' first competitive game since last April when he played in Cuba's Serie Nacional. While the performance couldn't help Cespedes' bargaining power, it shouldn't hurt it too much. It is, as they say, a small sample size.

H/T Hardball Talk.

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Posted on: January 13, 2012 1:21 am
 

Report: Twins to host 2014 All-Star Game

Target Field

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Minneapolis' Target Field will host the 2014 All-Star Game, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted.

The Mets' Citi Field, as long assumed, will host the 2013 game with the Twins' new park hosting in the next season, according to Nightengale. Major League Baseball has yet to announce the awarding of the 2013 game, but it will still be held in New York at the Mets' new park. That little detail is holding up the official announcement of the 2014 game, as well.

The Mets haven't hosted an All-Star Game since 1964. Commissioner Bud Selig has hinted strongly the Mets would get the 2013 game.

The Twins haven't hosted an All-Star Game since 1985 when it was played at the Metrodome. The Twins also hosted the 1965 game at Metropolitan Stadium.

The Cubs had also been rumored to have bid on the 2014 game to celebrate the centennial of Wrigley Field. 

The National League and American League traditionally alternate hosting the game, but that tradition was broken in 2007 when the game was played in San Francisco (after being played in Pittsburgh in 2006) to accommodate the 2008 game to be held in the final season of old Yankee Stadium.

The Marlins and Rays are the only franchises to have never hosted the game, while the Nationals haven't hosted the game in the franchise's current home of Washington D.C., but the Expos hosted in 1982. Washington D.C. last hosted the game in 1969 when the current Rangers were the Washington Senators. The Padres, Phillies, Reds and Yankees haven't hosted the game at their current stadiums.

After the Mets host the All-Star Game in 2013, the Dodgers will become the franchise with the longest drought of hosting the game. The Dodgers haven't hosted the game since 1980.

The 2012 game will be held in Kansas City. That game was announced in June, 2010 -- roughly 25 months before the game was to be held. The 2013 game is 18 months away and it has yet to be announced. Last week the Sports Business Journal reported the hold up had nothing to do with the Mets ownership situation, but instead was the logistics of scheduling the event were making it difficult to make the game official. The 2008 game at Yankee Stadium was announced in January of 2007, as well.

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Posted on: January 13, 2012 1:21 am
 

Report: Twins to host 2014 All-Star Game

Target Field

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Minneapolis' Target Field will host the 2014 All-Star Game, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted.

The Mets' Citi Field, as long assumed, will host the 2013 game with the Twins' new park hosting in the next season, according to Nightengale. Major League Baseball has yet to announce the awarding of the 2013 game, but it will still be held in New York at the Mets' new park. That little detail is holding up the official announcement of the 2014 game, as well.

The Mets haven't hosted an All-Star Game since 1964. Commissioner Bud Selig has hinted strongly the Mets would get the 2013 game.

The Twins haven't hosted an All-Star Game since 1985 when it was played at the Metrodome. The Twins also hosted the 1965 game at Metropolitan Stadium.

The Cubs had also been rumored to have bid on the 2014 game to celebrate the centennial of Wrigley Field. 

The National League and American League traditionally alternate hosting the game, but that tradition was broken in 2007 when the game was played in San Francisco (after being played in Pittsburgh in 2006) to accommodate the 2008 game to be held in the final season of old Yankee Stadium.

The Marlins and Rays are the only franchises to have never hosted the game, while the Nationals haven't hosted the game in the franchise's current home of Washington D.C., but the Expos hosted in 1982. Washington D.C. last hosted the game in 1969 when the current Rangers were the Washington Senators. The Padres, Phillies, Reds and Yankees haven't hosted the game at their current stadiums.

After the Mets host the All-Star Game in 2013, the Dodgers will become the franchise with the longest drought of hosting the game. The Dodgers haven't hosted the game since 1980.

The 2012 game will be held in Kansas City. That game was announced in June, 2010 -- roughly 25 months before the game was to be held. The 2013 game is 18 months away and it has yet to be announced. Last week the Sports Business Journal reported the hold up had nothing to do with the Mets ownership situation, but instead was the logistics of scheduling the event were making it difficult to make the game official. The 2008 game at Yankee Stadium was announced in January of 2007, as well.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 6:10 pm
 

Marlins to go hard after Yoenis Cespedes

By Matt Snyder

The Miami Marlins have already committed to spending $191 million through three free agent signings this winter -- Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle -- and they may not be done, if they have their choice. Marlins president David Samson said on local radio Thursday that the club will make a very strong push for Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes (via Sun-Sentinel.com):
“Aggressive right to the point of stupidity, but not quite there,” said Samson, characterizing the club’s planned pursuit. “We think he’s a perfect fit for us, but it has to be sane. [We've] expressing interest, going to visit, making it very clear to his representatives and to him and his family that we think he should not be anywhere other than Miami. As a Cuban and someone in the DR, it makes perfect sense. We have a perfect position for him to play. It would be great.

“I think that we’re right in there. There are a lot of teams who want him and we’re definitely competitive and we’re not fooling around. We expect he will be a significant sign and receive a significant signing bonus and contract, and we’re prepared for that. Again, if you’re dealing with another team who needs to make a bigger splash or wants to get irrational, we’re not going to match that.”
Cespedes, 26, is an outfielder that many scouts have said could possibly have a Bo Jackson-type power-speed combination. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Cespedes hit .333/.424/.667 with 33 homers, 99 RBI, 11 steals and 89 runs in 90 games last season in Cuba. Obviously, since he's been playing in Cuba, not a ton is known about Cespedes, but he's going to start playing in a Dominican winter league -- starting Thursday, according to ESPN Deportes.

He's not a free agent yet, but will be once his residence is officially changed to the Dominican Republic -- which should come very soon.

Lots of teams are said to be interested in signing Cespedes, so the Marlins aren't alone. As far as I can tell, the following teams have also been reported to have at least some interest: Cubs, White Sox, Tigers, Nationals, Blue Jays, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, A's, Indians, Red Sox and Yankees.

If interested, here is a video Cespedes' agents have put together to showcase his skills.



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Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:39 pm
 

Interminable Prince-to-Nationals rumors live on



By Matt Snyder


If it's starting to feel like an inevitability that top remaining free agent Prince Fielder will end up with the Washington Nationals, that's because nearly all of the chatter is focused on a Nats-Prince marriage. The funny thing is, some of the local beat writers continue to report that the Nationals won't bid on Fielder -- along with a big caveat.

Take Wednesday's report from MLB.com's Nationals beat writer Bill Ladson. The first line of the report says "there is a '99 percent' chance that the Nationals will not sign" Fielder. Of course, it later says the Nationals aren't willing to "give Fielder anything close" to the contract that the Angels gave Pujols.

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Step back and think about it for a second, though. The teams most connected to Fielder at this point are the Nationals, Mariners, Rangers and Orioles. The Blue Jays have been mentioned and Wednesday ESPN.com's Buster Olney even said the Dodgers "should" try to ink Fielder. The one thing we know about all of those teams is that -- while some of them could afford to do so -- they aren't willing to pay Pujols money for Fielder. If we can gather anything from the reports of the past six weeks, it's that Fielder isn't going to get a mega-deal.

So it's easy to say the Nationals won't sign Fielder "at his current asking price," but that doesn't mean they won't sign him. In fact, as Nationals Journal reported Thursday morning, Fielder's agent Scott Boras met with Nationals owners Ted and Mark Lerner Wednesday night.

It's going to be interesting to see what happens with the robust slugger, who will sign before spring training begins (MLB.com) -- just don't start counting teams out when you see a caveat like "at his current price." Asking prices fall. Just ask Ryan Madson -- another Boras client, by the way -- and the Cincinnati Reds.

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Posted on: January 11, 2012 3:02 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 3:39 pm
 

Astros claim Fernando Martinez off waivers

By Matt Snyder

Former highly-touted prospect Fernando Martinez was released by the Mets earlier this week and he's now been claimed by the Houston Astros, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has confirmed. Since the Astros had the worst record in the majors last season, they were first in the order of waiver claim priority. Heyman reports that the Astros were not the only team that placed a claim, so several other teams still hold Martinez in high regard.

Martinez was a top 30 prospect in all of baseball, according to Baseball America, for three consecutive seasons (2007-09) before falling to No. 77 in 2010 and then out of the rankings prior to last season. The 23-year-old outfielder has hit .183/.250/.290 with two homers and two steals in 145 plate appearances for the Mets in the last three seasons. In Triple-A, Martinez has hit .265/.326/.465 with 28 homers, 91 RBI and 43 doubles in 179 games.

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The Astros currently appear to have Carlos Lee, Jordan Schafer and J.D. Martinez forming their starting outfield with Brian Bogusevic serving as the fourth outfielder. It's entirely possible Martinez finds his way into that mix at some point, maybe even right out of the gates in 2012. Still, there is no hurry, as Martinez has an option remaining on his contract and could be sent to the minors to begin the season.

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Posted on: January 11, 2012 2:51 pm
 

Report: Strasburg will have innings capped at 160



By Matt Snyder


Just as the Nationals did with Jordan Zimmermann last season, they will handle Stephen Strasburg with kid gloves in 2012. Strasburg, about 17 months removed from Tommy John surgery, will head into the season with an innings cap of 160, reports Bill Ladson of MLB.com.

Presumably, this is a soft cap in the sense that he could go an inning or two over in his final outing of the campaign. Zimmermann, who had Tommy John surgery roughly a year earlier than Strasburg, threw 161 1/3 innings last season before being shut down as a precautionary measure by Washington. So it's no surprise that the Nats will handle their future ace in the exact same manner.

Zimmermann had a very promising season, too, and it looks like the young duo will join Gio Gonzalez for a formidable threesome atop the rotation for years to come. The 25-year-old Zimmermann had a 3.18 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 124 strikeouts in his return to the hill.

Strasburg, 23, has been dominant at every level in his career. He's 6-4 with a 2.54 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 116 strikeouts in just 92 major-league innings. Upon returning last September on a very strict pitch count, Strasburg was even better. He had a 1.50 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and 24 strikeouts against just two walks in 24 innings.

With the 160 innings, give or take, Strasburg will still be under wraps a bit this coming season before he's given a chance to fully break out in 2013, assuming full health.

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Posted on: January 11, 2012 8:10 am
Edited on: January 13, 2012 7:45 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Halladay or Verlander?



By Matt Snyder


So, the Winter Meetings are far in the rearview, the Hall of Fame voting results have been revealed and we're just over five weeks away from the day when pitchers and catchers report to camp. With a very few free agents still lingering on the market -- I'm looking right at you, big boy -- we can't exactly start ramping up predictions, either. So let's do this instead: Argue. We'll start a series of posts where we set the table for you fans to vote in a poll and then argue below in the comments section. Who would you rather have? We'll pit two players of close value against each other and let you make the call.

Today, since it's the start of the series and we need something explosive, how about deciding if you'd rather have Roy Halladay or Justin Verlander.

The case for Halladay

Doc has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball for the better part of a decade. If you didn't know much about him until he was traded to the Phillies, you either live in a very limited baseball world, don't play fantasy baseball or both. All the way back in 2002, a young Halladay was going 19-7 with a 2.93 ERA (a freaking 159 ERA-plus, people). The following year he won the Cy Young award. After injuries sidetracked him a bit for the next two seasons, Halladay went on a ridiculous run.

For the past six seasons, Halladay has averaged the following line (again, this is an average): 18-8, 2.86 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 187 strikeouts, eight complete games, two shutouts and 236 innings. His finishes in Cy Young voting in those six years: 3, 5, 2, 5, 1, 2.

He's doing it in the playoffs, too, as Halladay threw a no-hitter in his first career postseason start and has a 2.37 ERA and 0.74 WHIP in 38 postseason innings. This is something you could use to denigrate Verlander, too, as he sports a 5.57 ERA and 1.55 WHIP in 42 career postseason innings.

The case for Verlander

Much like Halladay, Verlander keeps his bullpen well-rested. He's averaged 238 innings pitched the past three seasons with 11 complete games and three shutouts (two of those no-hitters).

Verlander is coming off a transcendent season, one in which he won the Cy Young and MVP, while leading the leads in wins, ERA, innings, strikeouts, WHIP, hits allowed per nine innings and 100-mph fastballs later than the seventh inning (among starters). Just watching this guy work leaves you in awe. How can he crank it up to 100 in the eighth or ninth after having thrown over 100 pitches in 95-degree heat in the middle of the summer? He's like a freak of nature for avoiding injury with that kind of action, too, as he's made at least 30 starts every year since being a full-time starter (when he won Rookie of the Year in 2006). And while Halladay is pretty much already guaranteed a spot in Cooperstown, it's easy to see Verlander heading that way as well.

Finally, while their salaries are a wash (both making right around $20 million per year for the next two -- Verlander for a third and Halladay has a vesting option for a third), Verlander will be 29 this season. Halladay will turn 35 in May. So if you're saying who would we want from this point forward -- which, I mean, that's pretty obvious, right? -- do you want a 29-year-old Verlander coming off the best season in recent memory or a 35-year-old Halladay?

On the other hand, Verlander's ERA hovered between 3.37 and 3.66 in his good seasons before last year -- we'll even do him the courtesy of throwing out that dreadful 2008 season. You could argue last season was his career year and he'll regress from being out-of-this-world dominant back to merely (please note sarcasm) being a stud who makes the All-Star Game and gets Cy Young votes every year.

Our call

Man, it's just such a toss up. I think I'd go with Verlander only because of age, but if he ends up being more 2009-10 again instead of the monster we saw in 2011, Halladay is better. We started off with this one because it's one of the toughest calls, pitting the current two best pitchers in baseball. There definitely isn't a wrong answer. Vote and discuss with impunity.

Fan Vote:



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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