Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:27 pm
By Matt Snyder
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the entire schedule and past posts, click here.
While we slog through all the rumors and real-life moves provided by the Winter Meetings, we're here with your daily break from reality. This time around, it's the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
1. Erick Aybar, SS
2. Casey Kotchman, 1B
3. Howie Kendrick, LF
4. Mike Napoli, C
5. Mark Trumbo, DH
6. Mike Trout, RF
7. Sean Rodriguez, 2B
8. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
9. Peter Bourjos, CF
Note: Kendrys Morales is here, too, though he's been down with a broken leg for almost two seasons. If healthy, he figures in the DH/1B mix prominently, likely pushing Trumbo to the bench -- but I'd hear arguments for Kotchman to sit instead.
1. Jered Weaver
2. Ervin Santana
3. John Lackey
4. Tyler Chatwood
5. Joe Saunders
Closer - Francisco Rodriguez
Set up - Jordan Walden, Bobby Jenks, Darren O'Day, Sean O'Sullivan, Trevor Bell, Kevin Jepsen, Jose Arredondo
Long - Ramon Ortiz
Notable Bench Players
Hank Conger, Jeff Mathis, Alexi Casilla and that's about it.
The front of the starting rotation with Weaver and Santana is very good. The bottom of the lineup is pretty strong, relatively speaking, as those guys could be two-hole hitters on many teams.
There just isn't much exciting about this group. The middle of the lineup is thin, until Trout becomes a star. There is no depth and the rotation is a bit lackluster with Lackey and Saunders, at this point.
Comparison to real 2011
The real-life Angels finished 86-76 and 10 games behind the Rangers in the AL West. They hung around in the wild-card race until the last week of the season, too. While this team certainly isn't terrible, I feel like it's worse than 86 wins. Maybe they could approach .500, but there's just not enough here to be a playoff contender in this fictitious exercise.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL West, Alberto Callaspo, Alexi Casilla, Angels, Bobby Jenks, Casey Kotchman, Darren O'Day, Erick Aybar, Ervin Santana, Francisco Rodriguez, Hank Conger, Homegrown, Howie Kendrick, Jeff Mathis, Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders, John Lackey, Jordan Walden, Kendrys Morales, Mark Trumbo, Matt Snyder, Mike Napoli, Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos, Sean O'Sullivan, Sean Rodriguez, Tyler Chatwood
Posted on: September 20, 2011 1:09 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2011 2:41 pm
By Matt Snyder
Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...
Team name: Minnesota Twins
Record: 59-93, 29.5 games back in AL Central
Manager: Ron Gardenhire
Best hitter: Michael Cuddyer -- .280/.347/.460, 19 HR, 68 RBI, 66 R, 27 2B, 11 SB
Best pitcher: Scott Baker -- 8-6, 3.21 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 120 K, 131 2/3 IP
The 2011 season has to go down as one of the most disappointing in franchise history. The Twins had six division titles in the past decade, including 2009 and 2010. In 2011, they're in danger of 100 losses. And this wasn't because of sweeping losses to free agency or anything like that. In fact, the team coming back in 2011 was very similar to the 2010 AL Central champs. But we all know one major difference: Injuries.
2011 SEASON RECAP
The disastrous 13-3 opening day loss to the Blue Jays ended up being a harbinger of things to come, as the team accustomed to visiting the postseason would never even reach .500 during the 2011 season. By the middle of April, they were five games back and would never get closer. For a stretch in June and July, the Twins appeared to be returning to form. They won 15 of 17 games, but then lost six straight. They then ripped off 12 wins in 16 games to move to within five of first place on July 17. With the trade deadline approaching, it appeared a once-lost season was salvaged and the Twins were reportedly going to be buyers. Instead, they couldn't get close enough to the lead and mostly stayed pat.
And then the losing picked back up, as the Twins were 7-21 in August. In September, they've been downright awful, currently sitting at 2-14 in the month.
The highlights of the season were Francisco Liriano's no-hitter and Jim Thome slugging home runs No. 599 and 600 in the same game. But the Twins' season will be remembered for the injuries and underperformance. Only Michael Cuddyer has really had a good year for the position players. Superstars Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer only combined to play 151 games due to various lingering injuries. Even when they played, both players had the worst offensive seasons of their respective careers. Aside from Cuddyer, only Danny Valencia and Ben Revere have played in at least 100 games (Jason Kubel is sitting at 99). The lack of stability has played out on the field, as only the Mariners have scored fewer runs in the AL. Other than Scott Baker, the starting pitching has been inconsistent at best and awful at worst. And the bullpen ranks dead last in the AL in ERA.
It's easy to blame everything on injuries, but it's pretty evident a healthy Twins team still wouldn't have been able to keep up with the Tigers. Still, just having better fortune with health would drastically improve the product in 2012. Neither Mauer nor Morneau is really old, so one would expect bounce-back seasons from both -- though there's definite concern with Morneau's concussion issues and Mauer's durability behind the plate. Having full seasons from people like Denard Span, Jason Kubel and Alexi Casilla would be a huge boost as well.
Assuming natural progression to the norm from the players who underpermed and relatively better health in 2012, the Twins are still set up quite well. They have a strong farm system (ESPN.com had it ranked seventh before the season and Baseball America ranked it 12th, though Baseball Prospectus had it 15th) and a good core at the big-league level. The one issue that needs fixing from outside the organization is the pitching staff, specifically the bullpen. Still, do not be surprised to see the Twins right back in the thick of the AL Central race next season. They need some tweaks, but not wholesale changes.
Michael Cuddyer, OF
Jason Kubel, OF
Matt Capps, RP
Joe Nathan, RP (team option)
Clay Condrey, RP
The first thing the Twins need to decide is where Mauer and Morneau fit. It's been reported that Morneau might be forced into mostly being a DH, due to lingering effects from his concussions. From there, the bullpen must be addressed and probably the starting rotation as well. Here are five main things that could help the Twins compete in 2012 with an eye on the future.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 29, 2011 4:27 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2011 4:41 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The Twins just won another 1-0 game, their seventh overall 1-0 game and fifth victory in a 1-0 contest. Five of the seven games came at Target Field and the only two losses were on unearned runs.
Here's all of their 1-0 games this season:
June 29: Twins 1, Dodgers 0: Scott Baker went 7 1/3, allowing six hits and a walk, striking out 9. Rubby De La Rosa allowed just one run on six hits in seven innings for the Dodgers to get the hard-luck loss. The only run came in the first after Ben Revere led off the game for the Twins with a triple and Tsuyoshi Nishioka knocked in the game's only run with a dribbler down the first-base line.
June 18: Twins 1, Padres 0: Another great start by Baker, who allowed just four hits and a walk in eight innings, striking out 10. Padres starter Tim Stauffer went seven innings allowing six hits, one of them a Danny Valencia homer in the seventh inning.
June 16: Twins 1, White Sox 0: Right fielder Michael Cuddyer homered off of Mark Buehrle in the second for the only run of the game and one of three hits Buehrle surrendered in seven innings. Nick Blackburn gave up seven hits (all singles) in eight innings, walking one.
June 7: Indians 1, Twins 0: In Cleveland, Indians starter Carlos Carrasco held the Twins to just three hits in 8 1/3 innings, while Chris Perez came in for the final two outs. Minnesota starter Francisco Liriano went 5 innings, giving up three hits and an unearned run. Cleveland scored in the fourth when left fielder Delmon Young's throw allowed Carlos Santana to advance to third on his leadoff double, followed by an RBI groundout by Shelley Duncan.
May 28: Twins 1, Angels 0: Anthony Swarzak took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and Valencia's RBI single in the 10th gave Minnesota the victory. The Angels' Jered Weaver allowed just two hits in 9 innings, but Hisanori Takahashi gave up a single in the 10th inning and Jason Repko came in, Takahashi allowing three straight singles to decide the game.
April 9: A's 1, Twins 0: With two outs in the sixth, Blackburn gave up a single to Kurt Suzuki who moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error by shortstop Alexi Casilla for the game's only run. Minnesota used five relievers, while Gio Gonzalez allowed four hits in six innings for Oakland.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL Central, AL West, Alexi Casilla, Angels, ANthony Swarzak, Athletics, Ben Revere, Carlos Carrasco, Carlos Santana, Chris Perez, Danny Valencia, Delmon Young, Dodgers, Edwin Jackson, Francisco Liriano, Gio Gonzalez, Hisanori Takahashi, Indians, Jason Kubel, Jason Repko, Jered Weaver, Kurt Suzuki, Mark Buehrle, Nick Blackburn, NL West, Padres, Ruby De La Rosa, Scott Baker, Shelley Duncan, Tim Stauffer, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Twins, White Sox
Posted on: June 23, 2011 12:43 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 12:58 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Last night a fan caught a foul ball at AT&T Park in San Francisco and was booed, chastised by the Giants' announcing crew and had to be reseated for his own safety. And anyone who did one of those things and mentioned the name Steve Bartman is wrong.
Here's the video:
Cody Ross isn't too happy about the fan making the play, and I understand that. That said, the fan was only reacting like any sane human would. The fella was there with his lady friend, and if you look here, the ball appears to be headed straight at the guy's said lady friend (cowering to the right in some sort of headband as the ball -- the white streak at the top of the picture -- heads toward her). For as far as the guy knows, the ball's going to hit his lady friend and he's protecting her.
See, I've sat in seats a lot like those, and you've got to be alert at all times. The ball can come to you at any time. This fan was watching the game and saw the ball coming at him. With no wall to worry about, the fan watched the ball the whole way, just as you're taught all your life. He didn't know someone was getting that close to him, and it doesn't appear Ross calls him off. The fan doesn't reach over the railing; he had position; and Ross runs into him (and he still makes the catch!)
In the end, the fan did nothing wrong (unless you count violating my rule that you don't take a glove to the game if you're old enough to drive yourself to the game). He realized he may have cost the team an out, and you can see by the words he mutters to himself, he's not happy with that as a fan. That's all the penance needed.
Posted on: May 4, 2011 10:44 am
Edited on: May 4, 2011 2:49 pm
By Evan Brunell
LATIN Phillies: When Orioles third base coach Juan Samuel played for the Phillies in the late 80s, he was lucky if he had one teammate of fellow Latin descent. There were years when he was the lone one. Those were the memories Samuel recalled all these years later, even as Philadelphia has changed its fortunes with eight Latin representatives on the active roster.
"When I came to spring training, I'm like, 'We have our own little neighborhood over here,' " Samuel said earlier in the season. "I was joking with Danys Baez and Carlos Ruiz in spring training. I called that end of the clubhouse the barrio. 'Let me go to the barrio and talk to the guys.' "
Most of that increase comes with the explosion in the game of Latin players, which has increased the level of talent and given these players more teammates to identify with. That's important to these players.
"Every organization has a signed a lot of players from Venezuela, Panama, Dominican Republic, Cuba, everywhere," reliever Danys Baez said. "So most of the time there are a lot of guys to talk to and share experiences from when you were a younger age.
"It's very important. Sometimes it's good even when you're supposed to talk in English. When you're learning, it's important to have somebody to talk to. Again, you can tell them about how it was when you were younger and how things were in your country. What it's like. Because every [Latin] country is different. So it's good to have somebody to share that kind of experience with."
The increasing globalization of the game is a good thing. Hispanic players now are a healthy percentage, but there is still much work to be done. Japanese players are coming to the states with increasing frequency, but the decline of African-Americans is concerning. MLB is to be commended for its efforts so far to reverse that trend, though, and are also making significant in-roads in European markets. (Philadelphia Daily News)
WHIZ KID: Growing up a Red Sox fan, I'm not a fan of Sports Illustrated covers because of its featuring of Nomar Garciaparra in the famous (at least, it's famous locally) "A Cut Above" cover; that cover ran around the time Nomar's career took a permanent turn for the worse after being hit by a pitch on the wrist. SI also predicted a World Series victory in 2000 for Boston with yet another cover... except it would take four more years for that ring. (And yes, I remember both covers well.) Ah, the Sports Illustrated jinx... well, anyways, SI.com is touting Starlin Castro on its next cover. Manager Mike Quade was quick to speculate on whether the dreaded jinx applied to Castro.
"How many do you have to deal with?" Quade said. "You have the sophomore [jinx], the S.I. [jinx]. If there's two jinxes, do they cancel each other out?" (MLB.com)
HEART-ATTACK ROBBERY: This is a disgusting story to write, but here goes: in early April, a Pirates usher was found dead in the middle of the street with only a superficial head injury. Turns out he was suffering a heart attack in the car. Along comes a 17-year-old who pulled the usher out of his car -- not to help, but to rob him of his wallet and car, leave the usher dying in the street. That 17-year-old was just arrested for the robbery, although he will not be charged with homicide. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
EMPTY SEATS: Low attendance is starting to scare some in the game, and several St. Louis reporters write about what the 3 percent dropoff at Busch Stadium thus far might mean. Here's the thing: it's just too early. Once school comes out and the weather warms up, one will be able to better evaluate the numbers. It seems as if every April we have this discussion, although gas prices and a housing market that many predict has hit rock-bottom may prove a tipping point. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
SIX-MAN ROTATION: Rotations these days are growing, even if there isn't any clear evidence that a five-man rotation is any better than a fourth. The White Sox may try their hand at a six-man rotation when Jake Peavy returns, both to ease him back into game action and to keep an impressive Phil Humber in the rotation. (Chicago Tribune)
BANGED-UP Twins: The Twins placed DH Jim Thome on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday night and recalled shortstop Trevor Plouffe, who will handle short until Tsuyoshi Nishioka returns. Incumbent shortstop Alexi Casilla is being shifted to second where he indicates he is more comfortable. But it doesn't stop there -- manager Ron Gardenhire said that outfielder Jason Repko is probably headed to the DL with Ben Revere being recalled. (Star Tribune)
BELT'S BACK: Or rather, he will be eventually. Belt is tearing up Triple-A and with the injuries the Giants have been hit with lately, Belt could be back in the majors sooner rather than later. The only problem is who the team kicks off the squad in the outfield -- Nate Schierholtz is already going to be dumped for Andres Torres once Torres returns from the DL. It's too bad Belt can't play shortstop.
RETURNING MARINERS: Life in Seattle will only get better once the team is back at full strength. The nearing return of closer David Aardsma and progress of center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, then, are things to be celebrated. (Seattle Times)
PAY ATTENTION: The Royals are stepping up warning fans of the danger of batted balls and bats after a four-year-old suffered a fractured skull after being hit with a foul ball. There's some discussion in the article of expanding the netting behind home plate all the way to the foul poles. Sounds awful, right? Is it more awful than a four-year-old's shattered skull? (Kansas City Star)For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL Central, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Alexi Casilla, Ben Revere, Brandon Belt, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Danys Baez, David Aardsma, Francisco Liriano, Franklin Gutierrez, Giants, Jake Peavy, Jason Repko, Jim Thome, Juan Samuel, Mariners, MLB Rumors, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Phil Humber, Phillies, Pirates, Red Sox, Royals, Starlin Castro, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Twins, White Sox, Zach Greinke
Posted on: January 16, 2011 8:26 pm
Teams and players must exchange arbitration numbers on Tuesday, so it's hardly a surprise to see some agreements coming to fruition this weekend.
Of course, there was the big one -- National League MVP Joey Votto -- but there were two other agreements on Sunday:
• The Twins and infielder Alexi Casilla agreed to a one-year deal worth $865,000 (via Minnesota Twins official Twitter account ).
• The Orioles and center fielder Adam Jones agreed to a one-year deal (via Baltimore Sun 's Dan Connolly on Twitter ).
Arbitration hearings are scheduled to start Feb. 1.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: December 16, 2010 9:43 am
Edited on: December 16, 2010 9:43 am
Signs point to the Twins closing in on a deal with Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, as the Pioneer-Press reports he is scheduled to be in Minneapolis on Thursday morning, presumably for a physical. General manager Bill Smith would not confirm the report.
"I'm not commenting on any of that," Smith said. "We're still in discussions and negotiations. As I've been saying, we think he can help us, and I'm very optimistic we can sign him."
The Twins won the posting for Nishioka, 26, the 2010 Japanese batting champion, for a reported $5 million. They have until December 26 to negotiate a deal with him, and previous reports have had him around three years at $10 million. The Twins traded last year's starting shortstop, J.J. Hardy, to the Orioles last week, which seems to indicate they're confident the Nishioka deal is going to get done.
Nishioka has won Gold Gloves at both shortstop and second base, and could play either for the Twins. It seems most likely he'll play shortstop, with Alexi Casilla manning second.
-- David Andriesen
Posted on: December 11, 2010 9:30 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2010 9:33 pm
Seeking to bolster their middle infield -- and perhaps covering their bets in case they can't reach agreement with Tsuyoshi Nishioka -- the Twins are attempting to trade for the Cardinals' Brendan Ryan, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
Minnesota just traded shortstop J.J. Hardy to the Orioles, and has Alexi Casilla as its best current option. The Twins are expected to bring in Nishioka, who they are negotiating with through Japan's posting system, but Ryan would add depth at shortstop and second base. He was displaced when the Cardinals acquired Ryan Theriot as their everyday shortstop.
Ryan, 28, had a terrible 2010 at the plate, perhaps related to offseason wrist surgery, seeing his average drop 69 points to .223. But his real value is in the field, where he is as good as they get.
No word on what the Cardinals want in return for Ryan.
-- David AndriesenFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.