Tag:A.J. Ellis
Posted on: September 14, 2011 9:46 am

Pepper: Writing on wall for Guillen

By Matt Snyder

Is there any question this is Ozzie Guillen's last season as the White Sox manager? I'd say no.

The latest report is that Guillen emailed White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf two weeks ago and texted general manager Kenny Williams Tuesday morning. He received replies from neither (Chicago Sun-Times). Granted, I've never been a major-league manager (I'm willing to give it a shot, if any GMs are interested), but I'm gonna go ahead and guess that being ignored when trying to correspond with your bosses is a pretty bad sign.

Remember, in recent weeks Guillen said he wanted to stay in Chicago, but not without a contract extension. And there was a report that indicated the relationship between Guillen and Williams had been irreparably damaged.

Guillen said he's ready for anything.

‘‘My family is ready for everything,’’ he said Tuesday (Chicago Sun-Times). ‘‘It’s like when a hurricane is coming and they say, ‘Hey, it’s Venezuela now, and it’s going to be in Miami in seven days.’ We pack everything, we have everything set up, for good or for bad.’’

The two cities he used in his example aren't just gathered at random. Venezuela is his home country. He also owns a home in Miami, but ... what else is there? Why, the Marlins, of course. A team Guillen helped coach to the 2003 World Series championship before being hired by the White Sox as manager. It's also a ballclub that is said to covet Guillen and is looking for a new manager this offseason before moving into a nice, new home.

It makes too much sense, doesn't it?

Tempers (kind of) flare in L.A.: So Dodgers reliever Hong-Chih Kuo threw an errant (and it appeared accidental) pitch near the head of Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra. And then Parra hit a home run and took his sweet old time starting his home run trot. And then Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said a few words as Parra crossed the plate -- he looked more annoyed than angry, for whatever it's worth. A few Dodgers and Parra yelled back and forth while it appeared D-Backs manager Kirk Gibson said a few things, too, but then benches were warned and nothing else happened. I have to say, I'm with Ellis on this. I was watching live and sitting here thinking that it's just lame. Enough with the posturing. Play baseball.

Exit strategy? Potential new Astros owner Jim Crane has yet to be approved, even though it should have happened back in August. The approval process has been continually delayed and there are two separate camps of reports as to what the holdup is. One side says that Crane needs to accept a move to the American League West -- which would clear the way for season-long interleague play and likely an additional playoff team -- and the other says that this is not the specific holdup. Biz of Baseball wonders if Crane is just seeking a way out without being turned away by the MLB due to character concerns that have been raised during the approval process. In other words, if he backs out and uses not wanting to move to the AL as his reason, he was never turned down and saves face.

Braun accountable, even in victory: "Tonight was not a pretty game ... We didn't play well ... I think I probably played my worst 10 innings of baseball of the year ... I don't think we really deserved to win ... we really didn't play a good basball game." Those quotes are all cherry-picked from Ryan Braun's post-game comments (Brewers Blog). Oh, by the way, Braun hit a walk-off home run to win the game in the 11th. And in the parts of the above quotes I removed, Braun was saying to give all the credit to the pitching staff for keeping them in the game (the final score was 2-1). We're big fans of accountability here, so major points to Braun for not forgetting the rest of the game just because the team pulled out a victory. He could have easily only focused on being the hero in the 11th, instead he owned up to playing poorly for most of the night and instead wanted the pitchers to be viewed as the heroes of the game. That's an MVP teammate. While we're here, CBSSports.com's Scott Miller has a great feature on the Brewers. Check it out.

Great day for stat-heads: SeamHeads.com has now finished work on a Negro League database, so you can search for stats from players like Oscar Charleston, who by many accounts was one of the best players to ever play the game -- he just never had a chance to do so on the big stage due to unfortunate bigotry.

Mauer understands backlash: Joe Mauer has made quite a few commercials in the past few years and he has received some criticism over them during this season -- easily the worst of his career. He said that he understands this and he's not going to take on any more commercials for the time being (StarTribune.com).

Some "Moneyball" reviews: Here's a glowing review of the upcoming movie ... and here's a not-so-great review (he does say it's entertaining, just questions the direction taken). While I greatly respect the work of both writers, I don't really care what anyone says. I'm seeing it. If I don't like it, that's on me. 

St. Louis North? The Chicago Sun-Times floats a rumor that has the Cubs landing Reds' general manager Walt Jocketty -- who used to be the Cardinals' GM -- and then bringing Tony La Russa to manage the Cubs ... and then signing free-agent-to-be Albert Pujols. Of course, the report only said "could" and mentioned it was a scenario floated only on the Cubs' end, not mentioning whether or not all three parties would be interested in this. I personally think I have a better shot at winning the lottery than this happening.

No surgery for Dickey: Mets starting pitcher R.J. Dickey has suffered from a partially torn plantar fascia most of the season, but it has subsided enough that he won't need surgery this offseason. (MLB.com)

Happy Anniversary: On this day 25 years ago, Bo Jackson launched his first career home run ... all 475 feet of it. Also, Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg made his major-league debut 81 years ago and on this day in 2008, Carlos Zambrano threw his only career no-hitter. If you'll recall, it was a game in Milwaukee against the Houston Astros, as a hurricane moved the series. (Hardball Times)

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Posted on: November 26, 2010 6:38 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:13 pm

Dodgers still shopping

The Dodgers made today's big news, signing free-agent starter Jon Garland, but the team isn't finished spending.

On the conference call announcing the move, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said he's still looking for a bat and a reliever. He's also needs to decide on what to do at catcher, according to this tweet from Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times .

The Dodgers were expected to be hamstrung by the divorce of owner Frank McCourt, but they've re-signed Ted Lilly and Hiroki Kuroda in addition to signing Garland.

It's unlikely the Dodgers can afford one of the higher-priced free agents like Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth or Adam Dunn.

The Dodgers have three catchers on their 40-man roster, but could choose to non-tender Russell Martin. The team also has A.J. Ellis and Hector Gimenez on the 40-man roster. The team didn't offer arbitration to free-agent catcher Rod Barajas this week.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans 

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Posted on: August 22, 2010 1:24 pm
Edited on: August 22, 2010 1:27 pm

Dodgers claim Mets catcher

Rod Barajas In a classic late-season move for two teams playing out a disappointing stretch, the Dodgers have acquired catcher Rod Barajas from the Mets for cash. The Dodgers had claimed Barajas off of waivers.

That leaves the Mets with Josh Thole as their starting catcher and Henry Blanco as his backup.

Barajas was on a one-year deal with the Mets worth $500,000, but did have a $400,000 bonus for making the Opening Day roster and up to $1 million in performance bonuses.

Barajas is a classic journeyman catcher, playing with Arizona, Texas, Philadelphia and Toronto before signing with the Mets this past offseason. In parts of 12 seasons, he's hit .237/.282/.408. This season, he's hitting .225/.263/.414 with 12 home runs and 34 RBI.

The Dodgers had been using Brad Ausmus and A.J. Ellis as their catchers since Russell Martin went on the disabled list. While Barajas doesn't exactly have the world's biggest bat -- he's Mike Piazza compared to the other two. The 41-year old Ausmus has been the better offensive player of the two, hitting .196/.275/.217, while Ellis is hitting .174/.237/.203. Neither has a homer.

The Mets recalled outfielder Jesus Feliciano from Triple-A Buffalo to take Barajas' roster spot.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: August 5, 2010 8:24 pm

Dodgers' Martin likely out for the season

Russell Martin Add Russell Martin to the list of players we won't see the rest of this season.

"It looks like it's going to be the rest of the year," the Los Angeles Times ' Dylan Hernandez tweets .

Martin is not only done for the Dodgers' season, but also could be done with the Dodgers. Martin was scheduled to undergo an MRI a torn labrum in his right hip.

The Dodgers will use Brad Ausmus and A.J. Ellis -- a 41-year old and a 29-year old rookie -- to fill Martin's catchers pads.

Neither is the long-term solution for the Dodgers, especially since Ausmus has announced he'd retire after the season.

The Dodgers have to make a choice on whether to tender Martin a contract. He's eligible for arbitration, but could be more expensive than he's worth, especially considering his recent decline.

Here's a look at his last four seasons:
2010: .248/.347/.332 5 home runs, 26 RBI
2009: .250/.352/.329 7 home runs, 53 RBI
2008: .280/.385/.396 13 home runs, 69 RBI
2007: .293/.374/.469 19 home runs, 87 RBI
Martin had been approached earlier in his career about an extension, but chose year-to-year deals. That seems to have backfired on him, not only did he not strike when his performance made him the most valuable, his future is also uncertain. Because he's not under contract for next season, he won't have access to the Dodgers' trainers or facilities as he rehabs from his injury. A team could sign him to an incentive-laden deal and he'd find a place to rehab and work back from his injury. Catchers are still a premium, so someone should take a chance, but it's still an uncomfortable situation for Martin.

Earlier today, the Red Sox said Kevin Youkilis was done for the season and the Indians said goodbye to the rookie season of Carlos Santana.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: August 5, 2010 12:02 am

Dodgers stuck with Martin injury

Russell Martin The Los Angeles Dodgers today got bad news when learning that Russell Martin tore the labrum in his left hip. The injury plants him on the 15-day disabled list and may wipe him out for the season.

This makes Brad Ausmus the de facto starter, even though the club also recalled A.J. Ellis. Ellis has a tremendous eye, but is also 29 and has yet to nail down even a backup job in the majors. If the Dodgers were more concerned with getting its internal, viable options playing time, Ellis might be able to step into the breach. Instead, he's working on a .204/.286/.224 line in 58 plate appearances during an earlier stint. That comprises 82 percent of Ellis' major-league experience.

Ellis also has minimal time at Triple-A this season in the amount of 10 games, so it will be difficult for the Dodgers to justify putting him in the starting lineup, even if he is their best option. (As good as Ausmus has been defensively over his career, he's made just four appearances on the year prior to Wednesday's game thanks to injury and hit .218/.303/.296 in his last extended time at the plate for the Padres in 2008.)

Due to the ill-advised trading of Carlos Santana for Casey Blake in the 2008 season, the Dodgers suddenly find themselves with minimal depth at the catching position. (One can't assume Santana would have been barrelled over by the NL version of Ryan Kalish and been placed on the disabled list as well.)

The Santana-Blake deal was derided from Day One even though Blake has been a solid contributor for the Dodgers as Santana has morphed into one of the best prospects in the game. Compounding things is a deal the Dodgers made with the Royals, shipping Lucas May and an additional prospect for Scott Podsednik. Good job, Ned Colletti!

The Dodgers could, of course, strike to deepen their catching through a waiver trade, although it's unclear who would be on the block. Even the rebuilding teams don't have much flexibility in this area, so Mr. Ned has his work cut out for him. Given his track record, don't bet on a smart solution.

-- Evan Brunell

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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