Posted on: December 15, 2011 6:11 pm

Moneyball lands four Golden Globe nominations

By Matt Snyder

A movie about baseball has gotten some substantial love in Golden Globe nominations. "Moneyball" has been nominated in the drama category for best motion picture, best actor (Brad Pitt), best supporting actor (Jonah Hill) and best screenplay (Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian). Considering there weren't really any female parts of significance, the movie was basically nominated everywhere it could have been nominated.

The movie is based (some parts pretty loosely) on a book about Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane (played by Pitt) competing with the big boys in his small-market organization. The movie focuses on Beane putting together his 2002 roster after losing Jason Giambi, Jason Isringhausen and Johnny Damon to free agency. Lots of baseball people seem to hate the movie because it virtually ignores the "big three" starting pitchers: Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito. The movie also pretty much ignores the presence of the A's two stud offensive players in Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez.

More Moneyball
Then, of course, you have the crowd who refuse to read the book or see the movie but still hate both because they think they're for stat geeks and that somehow the movie credits Beane with inventing sabermetrics or even on-base percentage. It's fallacious thinking, but it's out there. Generally speaking, if you judge something without actually having seen/read it, you're bound to end up sounding stupid -- and there's no exception here.

Personally, I liked the movie. I know what happened in 2002 and who was on the team. But when I went to see the movie, I knew I wasn't viewing a documentary and instead a Hollywood production meant to entertain. They obviously had to take liberties and create storylines, because the book itself isn't movie-friendly. To each his own, but I loved the movie from an entertainment standpoint. Evidently I wasn't alone, as the four Golden Globe nominations are quite a feat.

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Posted on: January 14, 2011 12:29 pm

Twins bring back Jim Thome; Balfour to A's

ThomeThe Twins are bringing back DH Jim Thome, as the club's Twitter feed announces. Kelly Thesier of MLB.com reveals the deal is for $3 million, with salary incentives based on playing time.

Thome, who played for Minnesota in 2010, cranked 25 home runs and could reach 600 career blasts provided he hits 11 in 2011.

While that normally wouldn't be a problem for Thome, playing time may factor in his chase for 600. Thome largely served as a platoon DH for the Twins, playing primarily against right-handers. However, Justin Morneau's concussion opened the door to ample playing time which may be in short supply with Morneau returning and Delmon Young proving worthy of additional playing time.

While the 40-year-old can't play full-time these days, he may struggle to see 250 at-bats in 2011. The Rangers were speaking to Thome about a possible deal, but Texas would have been hard-pressed to guarantee Thome more playing time than Minnesota.

The Twins will have Morneau at first base, Young in left and Michael Cuddyer in right field. That leaves Thome frozen out along with Jason Kubel in what should be a pretty dire roster crunch.

BalfourIn other news, the Athletics are poised to sign Grant Balfour, with only a physical standing in the way as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. ESPN's Buster Olney adds that Balfour will receive $8.1 million over two years, a pretty penny for a reliever but in a market where relievers are getting outrageous deals, it's not too terrible relatively.

Balfour should setup closer Andrew Bailey and could step in for a few saves himself. The Rays will receive Oakland's second-round pick as well as a compensatory first-round pick, giving Tampa 10 picks prior to the second round.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: October 5, 2010 4:33 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2010 5:12 pm

Beane says stadium holding back A's

A's general manager Billy Beane says the Oakland Coliseum is keeping free agents away from signing with the team, but has hope that a new home is around the corner.

"I think we'll be playing in a new stadium at some point here soon," Beane said in the season-ending press conference on Monday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle . "And what's important when you enter a new stadium is preparing to go in with the best team possible."

The earliest the A's could get a new stadium is two years, so it wouldn't exactly help the A's until 2013 -- and that's being extremely optimistic.

Beane isn't a big fan of sharing the stadium, either, noting the playing surface is among the best in baseball. He tried to tell one free agent that, he said, but the player replied, "You're right … until August," referring to the start of the Raiders' season. "I didn't have an answer for him," Beane said.

Beane said he'd like to have his best team in place for a new stadium and build toward that season. It's worked for the Twins, who are in the playoffs in their first season at the new Target Field. And, while they have so many different factors and rules, the Yankees won the title in their new stadium last year. The Cardinals did the same in 2006.

Here's a look at how teams have done in their first year in new stadiums since 1989 (current stadium names used for simplicity):

2010 -- Target Field, Twins 94-68, division winner
2009 -- Yankee Stadium, Yankees 103-59, division winner, won World Series
Citi Field, Mets 70-92, fourth in NL East
2008 -- Nationals Park, Nationals 59-102, fifth in NL East
2006 -- Busch Stadium, Cardinals 83-78, division winner, won World Series
2004 -- Citizens Bank Park, Phillies 86-76, second in NL East
Petco Park, Padres 87-75, 3rd in NL West
2003 -- Great American Ball Park, Reds 69-93, fifth in NL Central
2001 -- Miller Park, Brewers 68-94, fourth in NL Central
PNC Park, Pirates 62-100, sixth in NL Central
2000 -- AT&T Park, Giants 97-65, win division, lost in LDS
Comerica Park, Tigers 79-83, third in AL Central
Minute Maid Park, Astros 72-90, fourth in NL Central
1999 -- Safeco Field, Mariners 79-83, third in AL West
1998 -- Chase Field, Diamondbacks 65-97, last in division (first year of franchise)
1996 -- Turner Field, Braves 96-66, division winner, lost World Series
1995 -- Coors Field, Rockies 77-67, wild card winner, lost in LDS
1994 -- Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Rangers 52-62, leading AL West at time of strike
Progressive Field, Indians 66-47, second in AL Central at time of strike
1992 -- Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Orioles 89-73, third in AL East
1991 -- U.S Cellular Field, White Sox 87-75, second in AL West
1989 -- Rogers Centre, Blue Jays 89-73, won division, lost in ALCS

The list doesn't include expansion teams that moved into existing structures, i.e. the Marlins, Rays and Rockies.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Tags: A's, Billy Beane
Posted on: October 4, 2010 11:19 am
Edited on: October 4, 2010 12:05 pm

Manager watch 2010

So, what's up with the manager shuffle?

Here's the latest, that will likely be updated throughout the day:

Ken Macha, Brewers
John Russell, Pirates
Jerry Manuel, Mets

Dead men walking
Jerry Manuel, Mets
John Russell, Pirates

Interim guys with their fingers crossed (in order of those likely to get the job)
Mike Quade, Cubs
Edwin Rodriguez, Marlins
Daren Brown, Mariners

Cito Gaston, Blue Jays
Bobby Cox, Braves
Joe Torre, Dodgers

Up in the air
Tony La Russa, Cardinals
Ozzie Guillen, White Sox -- isn't Guillen one step from doing something crazy?
Joe Girardi, Yankees -- listen, I don't think he's going anywhere, but until the Cubs decide their future, his name's going to be thrown out there. And the Cubs should make a run at him, just to make sure.

Likely back
Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks

Already on the hot seat for 2011
Jim Tracey, Rockies
Jim Leyland, Tigers
Bob Geren, A's
Jim Riggleman, Nationals
Ned Yost, Royals

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 17, 2010 7:02 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2010 7:25 pm

Strong interest in former D-Backs pick

Remember Barret Loux?

Loux was the sixth overall pick in June's draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Loux, a right-hander out of Texas A&M, failed his physical and the Diamondbacks decided not to sign him. Instead, Arizona was awarded compensatory draft picks in 2011 and Loux was given free agency.

Anyway, Loux worked out for "about 15" teams in College Station, Texas, on Friday. Among the teams there was Loux's hometown Astros.

"The fact there were 15 teams there today and the fact some clubs didn't sign their first-round [picks] showed there was some interest," Astros director of scouting Bobby Heck told MLB.com . "The fact we have somewhere [shows] our interest is sincere. We'll do our work on it. You have to have balance, not only the evaluation process, but because of the medical circumstances [team medical director] Dr. [David] Lintner becomes part of our process as well as we gauge where we can or can't go on this."

Loux was 11-2 with a  2.83 ERA for the Aggies last season and is currently in school finishing up his degree. According to Heck, Loux and his people aren't in a  rush, they just what something "in place later in the fall and know where their landing place is for spring training."

UPDATE: MLB.com's Brian McTaggart lists the other teams there -- the Dodgers, Twins, Marlins, Reds, Yankees, Pirates, A's, Brewers, Mets, Angels, Blue Jays and Royals.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 11, 2010 12:33 am
Edited on: September 11, 2010 1:53 am

Rough outing bumps Buchholz from ERA lead

Clay Buchholz Clay Buchholz may want to skip his starts in the Bay Area from now on.

The Red Sox's right-hander's two worst starts this season have come in Oakland and San Francisco. On June 26 in San Francisco, Buchholz left after one inning with a hamstring strain, requiring a stint on the disabled list.

Friday night, he didn't last much longer, pitching to four batters in the second without recording an out before he was pulled. In all, he was tagged for five runs on five hits, walking four.

His ERA went from a league-leading 2.25 to 2.53, crowning Felix Hernandez as the American League's latest  leader in the category with a cool 2.30. Third is Trevor Cahill, who was opposite Buchholz on Friday. Cahill started the game with a 2.72 ERA. Cahill threw seven scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 2.61 and allowing just three hits.

Buchholz threw 39 pitches, 17 strikes in the shortest non-injury start of his career.

UPDATE: Buchholz was asked after the game if he thought the outing hurt his Cy Young chances (it did), he told the Boston Herald 's Scott Lauber (via Twitter ): "I'm not worried about the whole Cy Young deal. I'm worried about this team winning games."

The American League Cy Young looks like it'll come down to Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia. With Sabathia leading the way in wins and Hernandez leading in stats a pitcher can actually control.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 28, 2010 1:56 am

Sheets unsure what the future holds

Ben Sheets Speaking of Tommy John surgery… Ben Sheets told reporters on Friday that he doesn't know if he'll be able to pitch again.

Sheets, 32, underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this month. And when he was asked about Stephen Strasburg's upcoming procedure, Sheets told the San Francisco Chronicle , "I wish that's all I had."

In addition to Tommy John surgery on Aug. 9, Sheets also had the flexor and pronator tendons in his elbow repaired at the same time as the ulnar collateral ligament.

"They fixed it all," Sheets said. "It doesn't add more time to the rehab. It makes it tougher to come back from, the more stuff you have."

Sheets said he had a tendon taken from his hamstring, not his non-throwing arm, as is usually done. The tendon in his left arm was too small, so doctors went to his leg before taking a hamstring tendon.

Sheets signed a one-year, $10 million contract with the A's before the season. He started 20 games, going 4-9 with a 4.53 ERA. Sheets will be a free agent after the season, which makes his comeback a little tougher because he won't have access to a team's training staff and facilities.

I talked to a pitcher earlier this season that was given a minor-league deal for next season after he underwent Tommy John surgery and was ecstatic -- he said he'd have had to retire if he didn't sign with a team. He was more of a fringe big leaguer and not someone like Sheets, but the point still stands -- even if it's less extreme for someone who has made more than $52 million in his carer.

For now, Sheets is hanging around the A's and mentoring some of the team's young pitchers. But he doesn't know what's going to happen after the season ends.

"If my arm heals and feels great, I'm going to give it a shot," Sheets told the San Jose Mercury News . "But that's up in the air, it really is."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Tags: A's, Ben Sheets
Posted on: August 22, 2010 9:59 pm

A's Jackson likely done for the season

Conor Jackson A's outfielder Conor Jackson is likely done for the season, he texted the San Francisco Chronicle 's Susan Slusser .

Jackson was put on the disabled list on Friday with what the team called a "lower abdominal strain." Sunday, he told Slusser a doctor told him he's "99 percent sure" that he has a sports hernia.

Jackson was in South Carolina and was able to get vacationing  Dr. William Meyers to check him out. Meyers is a specialist in sports hernias and treated former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, whose sports hernia a couple of years ago brought the sports world's attention to the the injury.

If Jackson does have a sports hernia, he will require season-ending surgery. The good news is Jackson believes the sports hernia is the underlying cause of other problems he's had this season. Jackson hit .236/.326/..331 combined with the A's and Diamondbacks this season, with two home runs and 16 RBI in just 60 games. He managed to play in just 18 games for Oakland after going to the American League on June 15.

Jackson is arbitration eligible for 2011 after signing a $3.1 million deal this past offseason.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com