Tag:AL East
Posted on: January 13, 2012 7:41 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 10:39 pm
 

Yankees agree to trade Montero for Pineda



By C. Trent Rosecrans

So much for that quiet Yankees winter. New York has finally made its move for a pitcher, agreeing to trade for right-hander Michael Pineda from the Mariners in exchange for top prospect Jesus Montero, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports. The Mariners will also get right-hander Hector Noesi, while right-hander Jose Campos goes the Yankees, Heyman reports. The deal is pending physicals.

Yankees' big night

Pineda, 22, went 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA for the Mariners last season, striking out 173 batters in 171 innings. The 6-foot-7 Pineda was an early front-runner for Rookie of the Year, going 8-6 with a 3.03 ERA in 18 starts in the first half of the season, but struggled down the stretch going 1-4 with a 5.12 ERA in 10 starts, despite his walk and strikeout rates remaining relatively steady during those two stretches. He also benefitted from the spacious Safeco Field, putting up a 2.92 ERA in 12 starts at home and a 4.40 ERA in 16 games on the road.

Montero, also 22, played in 18 games for the Yankees last season, hitting .328/.406/.590 with four home runs and 12 RBI in 18 games and 69 plate appearances. He started three games at catcher and 14 as the team's designated hitter. He also appeared in a game of the American League Division Series against the Tigers, hitting two singles in two plate appearances, driving in a run. In Triple-A, he hit .288/.348/.467 with 18 homers at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. 

Montero has been seen as a finished product at the plate, but drew plenty of questions behind it. Many see the right-handed hitter as unable to catch every day in the big leagues and is better suited to being a full-time DH or first baseman.

Noesi will be 25 later this month and went 2-2 with a 4.47 ERA in 30 appearances for the Yankees in 2011, including two starts. Overal the he struck out 45 and walked 22 in 56 1/3 innings.

Campos, 19, went 5-5 with a 2.32 ERA at Low-A Everett, starting 14 games. He struck out 85 and walked 13 in 81 1/3 innings.

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Posted on: January 13, 2012 2:39 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 2:27 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Tulowitzki or Longoria?



By C. Trent Rosecrans


And once again it's time for our bloodfeud showdown in the Would You Rather Have series, and we're still not messing around. So far it's been even difficult for Matt and I to agree -- not to mention you, but that's cool, because it's the offseason and talking about baseball is always good. When there's snow outside my window, I yearn for baseball and baseball talk, so here we go with another hypothetical to keep the boredom and basketball away.

Today, we'll look at two of the best young players in the game, that although they play different positions on the infield, are still cornerstones of their franchise -- Troy Tulowitzki and Evan Longoria. So, which former Dirtbag of Long Beach State would you rather have?

The case for Tulowitzki

It's not that tough to make a case for Tulowitzki in any argument. When you bring up Tulowtizki, you're talking about a career .293/.364/.505 hitter with two Gold Gloves at the most important defensive position on the field. He's also gracious with fans and media alike, apparently a great teammate and a team player. He has a great sense of humor and has even rocked a mullet for charity. He's only 27 and is entering the prime of his career. There's almost nothing not to like about Tulowitzki.

The case for Longoria

A year younger than Tulowitzki, Longoria is one of the game's best players, regardless of position. A career .274/.360/.515 hitter, he's coming off what on first glance is a "down" season, hitting .244/.355/.495 with 31 homers. But look more closely and he had terrible luck, with a career-low batting average on balls in play of .239 -- nearly .100 points lower than his 2010 BABIP of .336. It's the first time in his four big-league seasons that he's had a BABIP less than .300. Despite the low BABIP, he increased his walk rate (13.9 percent) and decreased his strikeout rate (16.2 percent) in 2011, both career bests. Longoria didn't win the Gold Glove at third base in the American League for the first time since his rookie season, but there's no shame in losing to Adrian Beltre when it comes to fielding.

Contracts always play a big role in these kind of decisions and in most real-life decisions. That's where Longoria has the advantage. The Rays may have the most team-friendly contract in baseball, with control of Longoria through the 2016 season, making just $4.5 million in 2012 and $40.5 million due to him over the next five seasons (if the team exercises it's no-brainer team options in 2014-16.) Tulowitzki is also staying put for the near future -- and beyond. The Rockies have him signed through 2020 with a team option for 2021, when Tulowitzki will be 36, owing him at minimum $152.25 million.

Tulowitzki is aided by Coors Field, of course. That subject is going to come up anytime a Rockies player is brought up in just about any discussion -- and for good reason. As good as Tulowitzki is, he's better at Coors Field. In his career, he's a .312/.382/.549 hitter at Coors Field and a .274/.346/.462 hitter everywhere else. Last season the gap wasn't nearly as large, as he hit .310/.381/.567 at home and .292/.362/.519 on the road, with 13 of his 30 homers coming on the road.

Our call

This one may be a tad easier than our last two, but it's still a choice between two of the game's best -- but in the end, the choice is Longoria. Despite playing in fewer games by nearly a season, Longoria's accumulated a better WAR as measured by both Baseball-Reference.com (24.1 vs. 23.7) and FanGraphs (26.9 vs. 24.5), but the biggest reason is the contract status. While it's hard to fault the Rockies for locking up Tulowitzki for the better part of the rest of his career, Longoria's under contract for half the length of Tulowitzki's contract at nearly a quarter of the price. While Tulowitzki gives you positional value, it's not that much more, especially when you have elite defensive talent at both spots.

Fan Vote: Would you rather have Tulowitzki or Longoria on your favorite team?



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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 12, 2012 5:28 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 6:30 pm
 

Red Sox moving toward signing Vicente Padilla

By Matt Snyder

The Red Sox and free agent pitcher Vicente Padilla are in serious discussions about a contract and appear headed toward a deal, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has learned.

While it seems like Padilla has been around forever, he's still only 34 and has reportedly been throwing upwards up 96 miles per hour in winter ball. Padilla only pitched 8 2/3 innings out of the Dodgers bullpen last year before a neck injury ended his season. In 2010, Padilla was a starter for the Dodgers and went 6-5 with a 4.07 ERA and 1.08 WHIP.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

The Red Sox are obviously eyeing starting pitching depth with John Lackey out for the season and Daisuke Matsuzaka still recovering from his 2011 season-ending injury. The Red Sox recently signed Aaron Cook to a minor-league contract and now appear close to landing Padilla. Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz are obviously the front three of the rotation. Daniel Bard is going to be converted to a starter and the fifth spot might come down to Alfredo Acevas, Cook and Padilla.

On another note, if Beckett and Padilla were both in the rotation, I believe the Red Sox would boast the two slowest-to-home pitchers in baseball (in terms of how long they take between pitches).

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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 12, 2012 10:35 am
Edited on: January 13, 2012 10:50 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?



By Matt Snyder


As we continue the final trek toward spring training, we also continue the series that's gonna get us there. Our first installment of Who Would You Rather Have got some pretty good discussion going, as it pitted Roy Halladay against Justin Verlander. I believe we have an equally tough decision in front of us this time around, too.

For this installment, we look to baseball's most intense rivalry ... specifically the second basemen: Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia. I feel compelled to point out that we seemed to get a lot of non-answers on Twitter and in the comments (like "Tim Lincecum" to the Verlander vs. Halladay question), and I'm thinking those people didn't understand that this is an ongoing series. I can assure you that many big names from across America -- like Lincecum -- will be included at some point. You'll also have a decision between two young NL West sluggers Saturday, for example. Patience ...

Anyhow, it's Cano vs. Pedroia now. Red Sox vs. Yankees. Beantown vs. the Bronx. Let's get it on.

The case for Cano

While he was already a very good hitter, Cano has developed into one of the most feared hitters in baseball over the past two seasons, finishing in the top six of MVP voting both times. His triple slash line of .311/.365/.533 from 2010-11 is a beauty for a second baseman, not to mention the 28 homers, 46 doubles, 118 RBI and 104 runs he posted last season. It was good enough for Cano to bring home the Silver Slugger for the second consecutive season.

A model of durability as well, Cano hasn't played in less than 159 games in any of the past five seasons. Pedroia only managed 75 games in an injury-plagued 2010 season, so that's a point for Cano.

The case for Pedroia

On the other hand, Pedroia played in 157, 154 and 159 games, respectively, in three of the past four seasons, so it's not like he's injury prone. Pedroia, the 2007 Rookie of the Year, also won the 2008 MVP. And Pedroia can do it all. He hit 21 home runs last season while stealing 26 bases and also winning a Gold Glove (his second). His .307/.387/.474 line is competitive with Cano's, too. Where Pedroia has a bit less home-run power, he makes up for it by getting on base. He holds a .373 to .347 advantage in career OBP.

Pedroia has one World Series ring, but so does Cano.

Cano will make $14 million in 2012 while Pedroia will make $8 million, but Pedroia's salary increases in the next several years while Cano is a free agent after a 2013 club option. Age is a veritable wash, as Cano is roughly 10 months older.

Really, any which way you can divide this up, it's a very close call. Many advanced defensive metrics show Pedroia with a significant edge in range, hence the 2011 Fielding Bible award -- meaning the stat crowd views him as the best defensive second baseman in all of baseball. Cano is viewed as no better than average defensively from that perspective. Cano did win the 2010 AL Gold Glove, but Gold Glove voting has produced dubious results at times -- like Rafael Palmeiro taking the honors in 1999 while playing only 28 games in the field. Unlike many younger bloggers and writers, I don't totally discount the Gold Glove, but I do trust the Fielding Bible awards more. Of course, using either one gives the defensive edge to Pedroia -- and you could argue Cano only won the 2010 Gold Glove because Pedroia was hurt anyway, which I would.

Our call

I'm going to go with Pedroia here in a photo finish, the closest of calls, based upon the defensive separation. The two are very close across the board. Just as with yesterday's pick, I could go either way and there definitely isn't a wrong answer. In fact, we have over 20 of these posts lined up, and this may well be the hardest choice among them.

But now it's your turn. Vote and comment away.

Fan Vote:



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Posted on: January 11, 2012 4:39 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 5:53 pm
 

Emaus changes teams again, traded to Red Sox

By Matt Snyder

Brad Emaus' wild ride around the league continues. He has been traded from the Rockies to the Red Sox, the Rockies announced Wednesday. In return, the Red Sox will send either a player to be named later or cash considerations to the Rockies.

This marks the fourth time in just over 13 months Emaus has changed teams. He was selected by the Mets in the Rule 5 Draft Dec. 9, 2010, but then shipped back to the Blue Jays in late April. A day later, Emaus was traded to the Rockies. And now he's headed to Boston.

Emaus, a 25-year-old second baseman, hit .162/.262/.162 in very limited action for the Mets (42 plate appearances) before he was demoted -- and, per the rules of the Rule 5 Draft, shipped back to Toronto. In just 45 Triple-A games, Emaus hit .313/.389/.564 with nine homers and 28 RBI. He has a pretty good Triple-A line in what basically amounts to one minor-league season (.303/.393/.519 in 132 career games).

Expect him to provide nothing more than organizational depth for the Red Sox. Dustin Pedroia is obviously firmly locked in at second while Nick Punto and Mike Aviles can serve as infield backups.

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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