Tag:NL Central
Posted on: March 9, 2011 1:24 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 1:30 pm
 

About Wainwright's two-year option

By Matt Snyder

When Adam Wainwright went down with an injured elbow -- requiring Tommy John surgery -- Cardinals camp was still recovering from the whirlwind that was the Albert Pujols situation. So it was only natural that some people began to speculate that Wainwright's two-year, $21 million club option after this season could be a way to save money. With the injury, the Cardinals could opt to let Wainwright walk and maybe that would free up enough money to afford Pujols.

It doesn't seem the likeliest of paths, and three "competing" executives told SI.com's Jon Heyman as much. The Cardinals will pick that up and it is a "no brainer" according to one of them (Heyman via Twitter ).

Considering Wainwright's age (29) and the fact that most pitchers eventually come off Tommy John surgery just as strong, I'd tend to agree it's a no-brainer. If Wainwright is back to form by 2013 -- and he should be well before that -- the $12 million he'll make that season will be a bargain. The guy finished in the top-3 of Cy Young voting each of the last two seasons. If you averaged them, his line would be: 20-10, 2.53 ERA, 232 innings, 212 strikeouts, 1.13 WHIP. Come 31 years old, he can easily be in the same form. Also consider Chris Carpenter is probably going to be long gone by then, so the Cards will need an ace.

As for how it affects Pujols, I really don't think it does. Scenarios like these are always far too simplistic. With the kind of money Pujols is going to command on the open market (assuming he even hits it), $21 million over the course of the first two years isn't likely to be a deal-breaker. The Cardinals could back-load the deal if things get to that point. The bigger issues are the money the Cards gave to Matt Holliday ($17 million a year through 2016) and filling out a roster around Pujols and Holliday, if they're able to keep Pujols.

It's pretty likely the Pujols free agency and Wainwright option are only remotely related because the Cardinals are deciding on each. Otherwise, leave them separate.

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Posted on: March 8, 2011 10:14 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 10:18 pm
 

Getting to know the Reds

VolquezBy Evan Brunell

TEAM MVP

Everyone knows the Reds can hit. But how about its pitching?

There are a ton of quality names who will pitch in the rotation for Cincinnati this upcoming season, ranging from Bronson Arroyo to Travis Wood to Mike Leake to Johnny Cueto ... the list goes on. Ah, but there really isn't an ace in that crew, one who can stand toe-to-toe with other teams, especially in October.

Cueto could be that guy, but a lot of people are looking at Edinson Volquez. The man traded for Josh Hamilton, Volquez came out strong in his first season with the Reds back in 2008. It also remains the only time Volquez has made more than 12 starts in a season, as injuries wiped out most of 2009 and 2010. He showed enough in his 12 starts from 2010 that expectations are being heaped upon him again to front the rotation even if his control will limit him to being merely a good ace instead of one of the best in the game. Hey, Cincy will take it. And Cincy needs it, especially in October.

PLAYER ORACLE -- All the way from 1892, it's Will White to Joey Votto:

  • Will White played with Tony Mullane for the 1881 Detroit Wolverines
  • Tony Mullane played with Bobby Wallace for the 1894 Cleveland Spiders
  • Bobby Wallace played with Charlie Grimm for the 1918 St. Louis Cardinals
  • Charlie Grimm played with Phil Cavarretta for the 1934 Chicago Cubs
  • Phil Cavarretta played with Minnie Minoso for the 1954 Chicago White Sox
  • Minnie Minoso played with Richard Dotson for the 1980 Chicago White Sox
  • Richard Dotson played with Jeff Conine for the 1990 Kansas City Royals
  • Jeff Conine played with Joey Votto for the 2007 Cincinnati Reds

POP CULTURE

One of the more, umm... "interesting" owners of recent times was Reds owner Marge Schott, who held the team from 1984-99. She was the brunt of many jokes, many well deserved.

One such joke came at the hands of professional wrestler Kevin Nash, also known to some as "Diesel" from his WWF (now WWE) days. Nash's claim to fame is being a founding member of the nWo, a clique of wrestlers who conducted a "takeover" of the WCW brand, rivals to WWE for quite a while before WCW's demise. The nWo was wildly popular, but the brand of wrestling continued to fall, causing Nash to brand WCW "as interesting as hearing Marge Schott reading excerpts from Mein Kampf."

Schott was also referred to in Married with Children when Al Bundy (played by Ed O'Neill, who is now the paternal figure on Modern Family) used Schott as an example of the biggest turnoff to a lesbian.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 8, 2011 9:47 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 9:54 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/8: End of line for Ollie?

BeckhamBy Evan Brunell

3 UP

1. SP Kyle Davies, KC: 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. An impressive outing for Davies, who lowered his spring ERA to 2.57. This from a guy with a career 5.49 ERA, but he's just 27. The Royals could really use a leap ahead by Davies, as the rotation looks downright frightful in what is going to be a very long season for Royals fans as they await the new guard. In the same game, Dontrelle Willis hurled two perfect innings and is shaping up nicely to claim a spot in the Reds' bullpen.

2. CF Chris Young, ARI: 4 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 4 RBI, 1 HR. Young has 30-homer power, but has yet to truly break out into being a star. He doesn't necessarily need to to provide value to the Diamondbacks, especially given his strong defense, but what's holding him back is batting average with a career .241 mark. Even after Tuesday's explosion with a two-run homer, Young's at a .250 batting average. He is what he is at this point in his career, and as long as he keeps boppin' them homers, he'll do just fine.

3. 2B Gordon Beckham, CHW: 4 AB, 1 R, 3 H, 1 RBI. Great day for Beckham, who is now batting .412 on spring training. Beckham got 2010 off to a brutal start before recovering down the stretch, but his season was already ruined statistically. A great sleeper as someone who could break out into a star.

3 DOWN

1. SP Zack Greinke, MIL. The Brewers' new ace will have to wait to make his debut, as bruised and fractured ribs will sideline Greinke for the first couple weeks of the season, if not longer. Milwaukee should be very concerned about its depth, of which it has none to replace Greinke. Manny Parra is a failed starter, and going with Mark Rogers is fraught with risk. By the way, in Tuesday's game, Brewers third baseman Casey McGehee took exception to the Dodgers' Roman Colon fist-pumping after a strikeout. Benches cleared, but no punches were thrown.

2. SP Oliver Perez, NYM: 3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K. Perez had two scoreless innings to finish his outing, but that underscores how bad he got the first inning started by allowing the first four batters to reach. This figures to be the end of the line for the experiment doomed to fail with Ollie as starting pitcher. Never fear, Perez fans: the Mets will continue to give lip service toward the lefty making the team as a reliever. 

3. SP Brandon Dickson, STL: 3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K. Dickson can't be too pleased with this outing as there's a job up for grabs that he's in the running for: Adam Wainwright's replacement. The righty is battling with several other candidates, but there are no clear-cut ones, so every outing counts, even if people are still working out the kinks this early in the spring training schedule.

HONORABLE MENTION

Brian Wilson, for making his beard even more legen -- wait for it -- dary, courtesy MLB.com.

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Posted on: March 8, 2011 6:05 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 8:40 pm
 

Greinke out for beginning of season

By Evan Brunell

GreinkeSlated to be the Brewers' Opening Day ace, Zack Greinke will instead miss the beginning of the season after a MRI revealed a bruised rib and hairline fracture, which the right-hander said was suffered while playing basketball.

"I've been [playing basketball] for a couple of years now and people always said, 'You're going to get hurt,'" Greinke told reporters at the Brewers' spring-training complex. "It finally caught up to me, playing basketball. I was going up for a rebound and fell on the side. I was hoping it was just bruised. I had a lot of fun doing it, but it wasn't worth it."

Greinke is expected to miss the first few weeks of the season -- about three starts worth. That's a rather optimistic prognosis, as the bone will take four to six weeks to heal, with two weeks already out of the way. Four weeks from March 8 is April 5, otherwise known as the day before Greinke's slated second start of the year. 

Ah, but then factor in needing to build his arm back up and throw some simulated games  -- if not rehab starts in the minors -- and Greinke could be out a lot longer. CBSSports.com's Scott Miller pegs a full month of missed time as a realistic target.

"He won't be ready for Opening Day," manager Ron Roenicke said. "How far we go past that, we don't know. He'll have one week with no throwing. Then, they maybe he can play some catch. We want to make sure we get him 100 percent. That's what we're going to do."

Anyone remember how much Jacoby Ellsbury struggled to return from hairline fractures in his ribs? Ellsbury appeared in just six games prior to the injury and then 12 the rest of the way. Even Jeremy Hermida, who suffered a similar injury with Boston but to a lesser extent, missed more time than originally anticipated. Add in how much torque and rotation is heaped upon the upper body of a starting pitcher, and the outlook isn't so rosy for Greinke.

Related

In the righty's favor is that part of the injury is simply a bruised rib, which heals a lot faster than fractures. But even if Greinke has just one hairline fracture, that doesn't mean much. After all, Ellsbury had four hairline fractures while Hermida had five, and he missed 47 total days as compared to Ellsbury's 172 days.

"Until the bone heals, there's nothing you can really do except make it worse," Greinke added. "You've just got to let it heal. I'm just going to try to get back as fast as possible, healthy and ready to pitch."

Greinke got spring training off to a poor start before the injury was discovered. In his first start over 1 2/3 innings, he walked three, then followed it up with five hits allowed in two innings Sunday.

Now, the Brewers will have to scramble to find a replacement with no overwhelming candidates to fill Greinke's spot. The Brewers have a few internal candidates, but Milwaukee may opt to scour the waiver wire later on in spring training in the hopes of finding a capable replacement. Manny Parra has proven his inability to start, while Mark Rogers is unproven and may be a better fit for the bullpen.

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Posted on: March 8, 2011 2:53 pm
 

Hart frustrated by injury

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Corey HartBrewers outfielder Corey Hart doesn't sound like he's too optimistic about his return to the field anytime soon.

Hart is scheduled to see the doctor again today because his left oblique strain doesn't appear to be getting any better.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt:

"I still get random sharp pandas in it when I make certain moves," he said. "It's still a pretty big area that's sore, so they can't really inject one spot [with cortisone]. It's very frustrating. 

"Every day is Groundhog Day. I get up hoping it'll feel better but it's the same. It's kind of plateaued. What's frustrating is that I was in the best shape of my life and this happened."

The Brewers open the season March 31 at the Reds. Hart said he still thinks he can make it, but just about everything will have to go right for the team's right fielder.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 8, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: March 8, 2011 11:09 am
 

Pepper: Paging Dr. Zambrano

Carlos Silva

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Either it's crazy or it makes perfect sense. And, in an upset, I'm going with the latter. 

After his second rough outing of the spring, Cubs starter Carlos Silva went to Carlos Zambrano for help.

Silva allowed 10 hits and eight runs in 2 1/3 innings on Monday, and his first instinct was to turn to his countryman.

"Right after I finished pitching, I texted Zambrano, and I was telling him, 'Man, I don't know what's going on,'" Silva told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. "What he told me in the text was, 'You just need to forget everything, go out there and pitch and do your thing. You know how to pitch, you did it before, so why can't you do it again.' It's true."

Silva was still frustrated, but he held back and punches this time, so there's progress.

It may seem crazy to go to Zambrano, but there are few people out there more uniquely suited to help Silva than his fellow Carlos. Both are from Venezuela, both have had trouble living up to high expectations and big contracts and both have had incidents with teammates in the dugout. But Zambrano has, at least in the last couple of months, shown signs of bouncing back. He's undergone anger management and worked hard just to get back into the Cub uniform. Sometimes when you're struggling, you just need to hear from someone who has been there. If anyone can find the right words for the talented Silva, it just may be Zambrano. And for now, it doesn't seem like it could hurt.

REMEMBERING CHRISTINA: The White Sox and Diamondbacks played an exhibition in Tucson on Monday to raise money on behalf of shooting victim Christina-Taylor Green.

Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan was there and passes on the moving story.

HAIRY BIRDS: Facial hair fans, it's time to celebrate -- the Orioles are relaxing their ban on the most manly of expressions, in response to Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero desires to wear goatees.

Luke Scott and Nick Markakis are taking advantage of the new rules, as well. (Baltimore Sun)

CONFUSING CONCUSSIONS: Sometimes there's a story that just grabs me and I read everything that comes along about it. For the last couple of years for me, that's been concussions in sports.

The New York Times looks at how no two concussions are alike, using the examples of Justin Morneau and Josh Beckett.

While Beckett bounced back from his concussion last week, Morneau still isn't back.

NAME GAME: Looking for some puny fantasy baseball names? The Orange County Register has you covered, if just for its several Shin-Soo Choo puns. I'm one of those people that have the same name every year since I've been playing -- Royal Disappointment. And I've yet to not live up to my name.

LONEY RETURNS: James Loney was back on the field Monday after missing two days with a swollen left knee. He didn't play in the Dodgers' game, but could return to the lineup by Wednesday, manager Don Mattingly said. (MLB.com)

UTLEY TO OF? Phillies senior adviser Dallas Green thinks it might be wise to move Chase Utley from second base to help save his knees. The Philadelphia Daily News' Paul Hagan disagrees.

GOOD IMPRESSION: If you haven't heard of the Braves' Julio Teheran yet, you will. The top pitching prospect in baseball made his first appearance in a Grapefruit League game yesterday and hit 96 in a scoreless inning of work. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

HOT TICKET: The Marlins have sold out the Diamond Club section of their new ballpark for next season. Now, that's just 379 seats, but they're high-priced seats, so it doesn't exactly hurt.

The team says the highest-priced seats are selling well. (MLB.com)

NO BUENO: The blog itsabouthtemoney.net takes up the case to former Cardinals minor league shortstop Lainer Bueno who was suspended for the first 50 games of this season for testing positive for clenbuterol.

The blog notes it's possible Bueno tested positive for the drug because it is used in livestock and its possible that he ate meat in Venezuela that contained clenbuterol.

HALL OF FAME DEBATE: Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson is once again on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot. He's been on the ballot since 2007.

An All-American wide receiver at Michigan State, he led the Big Ten in receiving in league play and led the team to a co-championship in 1978. Gibson only played one season of baseball at Michigan State and was drafted in the first round of the baseball draft and seventh round of the NFL draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.

SPEAKING OF TWO-SPORT STARS: Former Hazelton (Penn.) High quarterback Joe Maddon invited Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris and two assistants to be his guests at the Rays' camp today.

Maddon said he'd like a chance to run the Bucs' scout team in practice. (St. Petersburg Times)

NG TO MLB: Dodgers vice president Kim Ng is reportedly leaving the team to join the home office of Major League Baseball under new vice president Joe Torre. (Los Angeles Times)

DEMOCRATIC CONCESSIONS: CNBC.com's Darren Rovell is asking readers to vote on the next great ballpark food and dessert -- and the winner from each category will be served at historic Grayson Stadium in Savannah, Ga., home of the Mets' Class A South Atlantic League affiliate, the Savannah Sand Gnats.

STATS TO GO: Baseball-Reference.com has beefed up its mobile site for use on your smart phone, so when you're not at home and you just have to know what George Brett's career slugging percentage is (.487), you know have hope.

SEVEN-MAN ROTATION: The Softbank Hawks of Japan's Pacific League are considering a seven-man rotation for this season. (YakyuBaka.com)


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Posted on: March 7, 2011 11:01 pm
 

Getting to know the Brewers

By Matt Snyder

TEAM MVP

Making the trade for Zack Greinke was big for the Brewers, but it didn't necessarily mean Greinke himself automatically became the most valuable player for the Brewers. It allowed Yovani Gallardo to move down to the two-slot in the rotation and -- when teamed with the acquisition of Shaun Marcum -- slotted Randy Wolf as the No. 4. That whole chain of events is huge. In terms of the position players, Prince Fielder is a monster bat in the middle of the order, but the heart and soul of the Brewers is Ryan Braun. The 27 year old rarely misses games or makes errors in the outfield. He's a clubhouse leader and is underpaid, comparing him to other perennial All-Stars, but content to stay with the Brewers and concentrate on winning. Oh, he also has a career 140 OPS-plus, which is outstanding, and steals 16 bases a year. For these reasons and many more, the MVP of the Brewers is easily Braun.

PLAYER ORACLE -- Teddy Higuera to Zack Greinke

Teddy Higuera played with Paul Molitor on the 1985 Milwaukee Brewers

Paul Molitor played with Denny Hocking on the 1998 Minnesota Twins

Denny Hocking played with Zack Greinke on the 2005 Kansas City Royals

POP CULTURE

In 2007, J.J. Hardy, Chris Capuano, Bill Hall and Jeff Suppan appeared on an episode of the "Young and the Restless." At the time the Brewers were in first place and the woman in the clip plays a rather enthusiastic fan of the four players. A few of the highlights she mentions were a stretch (Capuano as one of the best left-handed starters in the league? Really?), so maybe it's no surprise none of the four are still in Milwaukee. Seriously, weren't Braun and Fielder available?



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Posted on: March 7, 2011 4:21 pm
 

No fight this time, but Silva shelled again

By Matt Snyder

Rarely are spring outings on March 7 make or break types, but Carlos Silva desperately needed a good outing Monday. He was coming off a disaster, when he gave up six runs in one inning and sparred in the dugout with Aramis Ramirez.

He didn't fight with any teammates, but the outing was nearly as disappointing. And that's putting it lightly.

To not put it lightly: Silva was abysmal. I'm going to post the line below, but I'll warn you, it's not for the faint of heart -- reader discretion is advised.

In 2 1/3 innings, Silva gave up 10 hits and eight earned runs. He also hit a batter. Even worse, Silva actually got through the first two innings unscatched, but was obliterating in the third by the Angels. He coughed up eight earned runs by getting only one out.

What this means is that Silva is definitely fighting an uphill battle for the Cubs' rotation. Behind Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza, there are a bevy of players vying for the last two slots. For now, the front-runners appear to be Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner. Wells has been in the rotation the past two seasons. Cashner, 24, was the Cubs' first-round pick in 2008 and worked out of the bullpen last season.

Silva is due $11.5 million this season, but the Cubs actually took on the contract to get rid of Milton Bradley's deal, so the money won't factor into any decisions. He has a major uphill battle to break camp as a starter.

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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