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Tag:Alfredo Simon
Posted on: February 10, 2012 10:59 am
 

Spring position battles: American League East



By Matt Snyder


Here we are for the fifth of six installments of spring positional battles. This one is the mighty AL East, the most polarizing and probably best division in the majors.

Previous spring position battles: AL West | NL West | AL Central | NL Central

New York Yankees
Designated Hitter: Andruw Jones vs. Russell Branyan vs. Free Agent vs. Revolving Door

I still feel like the Yankees will sign either Johnny Damon, Raul Ibanez or Hideki Matsui -- any of whom likely nails down this job full-time. But it's undecided as of right now, and wide open. Will Andruw Jones or Russell Branyan hit well enough to justify being the full-time DH? Maybe, or maybe they platoon -- as Jones hits from the right side while Branyan is a lefty. Or maybe the Yankees use bench players like Eduardo Nunez, Bill Hall and Chris Dickerson in the field while using starters like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher at DH a few times a week in order to keep guys healthy and in tip-top shape.

Tampa Bay Rays
No. 4-5 starters: Jeff Niemann vs. Wade Davis vs. Matt Moore vs. Six-man rotation

Talk about a nice "problem" to have. The Rays obviously have David Price, James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson as the top three in the rotation. While there isn't a big problem with either Niemann or Davis, it's time to find a place in the rotation for Moore and I'm certain they will. The 22-year-old left-hander was awesome in his limited time in the majors last year, including a stellar outing against the Rangers in Texas for Game 1 of the ALDS. Moore's already received the type of team-friendly contract Evan Longoria got when he was a rookie -- as Moore is signed through 2016 with club options running all the way through 2019. So the question is, do the Rays demote either Niemann or Davis to the bullpen or trade one of them? Niemann would be the trade candidate, as Davis also has a team-friendly contract with club options that take him through 2017. And I doubt this happens, but the Rays could always go with a six-man rotation. Seeing how this plays out will a big spring storyline.

Boston Red Sox
Shortstop: Nick Punto vs. Mike Aviles vs. Jose Iglesias

After trading both Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie this offseason, the Red Sox are left with what appears to be Mike Aviles against Nick Punto at short. Punto had a good offensive campaign by his standards last season, when he hit .278 with a .388 on-base percentage. He only had six starts at shortstop, though, and his career numbers don't indicate he's worthy of an everyday gig at shortstop. Aviles also only started six games at short last season, and he only hit .255/.289/.409. He did hit well for the Red Sox, but it was a small 107 plate appearance sample. So the choice between Punto and Aviles is dubious defensively and neither is a good offensive option. Enter Iglesias, the dazzling defensive prospect. He's a dreadful hitter -- his line in Triple-A was .235/.285/.269 last season -- but it's not like Aviles or Punto are going to be confused with Troy Tulowitzki or anything. Maybe the Red Sox just plant Iglesias in the nine-hole and enjoy the exceptional defense?

Corner Outfield spots: Cody Ross vs. Ryan Sweeney vs. Carl Crawford and his health

Crawford is said to be questionable for the start of the season after undergoing minor wrist surgery a few weeks ago. If he's healthy, he starts in left easily while Sweeney and Ross battle it out for the right field job. If Crawford can't start the season, Ross and Sweeney are the corner outfielders, yet still fighting for the right field job for when Crawford returns. At some point, Ryan Kalish will return from offseason shoulder surgery and could eventually fight for playing time in right field as well.

Toronto Blue Jays
Outfield logjam: Colby Rasmus vs. Eric Thames vs. Rajai Davis vs. Travis Snider

We know who mans right field, but these four guys are competing for the other two spots. Thames in left field and Rasmus in center seem the most likely, but Davis will get a shot at either spot and Snider is in the mix for left.

No. 5 starter: Dustin McGowan vs. Kyle Drabek

This may bleed up into the No. 4 starter as well, but I'll give Brett Cecil the nod for now, since he is left-handed. The top three are Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Henderson Alvarez. So, for now, I'll guess the last spot comes down to McGowan and Drabek. McGowan was once a very promising young arm. He went 12-10 with a 4.08 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 144 strikeouts in 169 2/3 innings back in 2007, when he was 25. He then made 19 starts before falling injured in 2008 and finally just resurfaced late last season -- two shoulder surgeries and one knee surgery later. Does he have anything left? He was good in 12 minor-league starts in 2011, but had a 6.43 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in the small sample of 21 innings pitched for the Blue Jays. Drabek was a top 30 prospect each of the past two years, according to Baseball America, but he fell flat last season for the Jays. He had a 6.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP and more walks than strikeouts for the big-league club. Even worse, he was knocked around for Triple-A Las Vegas, to the tune of a 7.44 ERA and 2.03 WHIP in 75 innings. Walks, again, were an issue with Drabek issuing 41 compared to 45 strikeouts. Prospects Deck McGuire and Drew Hutchison could also figure in the mix eventually, but this feels like Drabek vs. McGowan heading into March.

Baltimore Orioles
The entire pitching staff: Johnny Wholestaff vs. Joe Allstaff

So let's see ... the following pitchers might have a chance at the starting rotation: Zach Britton (very safe bet), Jason Hammel (safe bet), Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Dana Eveland, Wei-Yin Chen, Tsuyoshi Wada, Alfredo Simon and Tommy Hunter. That's quite a mix of pitchers to sift through, but the job isn't overwith yet, because we have to look at the bullpen.

Three pitchers -- Jim Johnson, Matt Lindstrom and Kevin Gregg -- will compete for the closer job, with Troy Patton, Pedro Strop and Darren O'Day also being part of the bullpen mix. Of course, guys like Simon, Hunter and Bergesen will get a shot in the bullpen if they miss out on the rotation, too. There are more (Willie Eyre, Armando Galarraga, etc.), but I already named 17 pitchers vying for 12 spots.

We could probably move Simon and Hunter to the bullpen while eliminating Eveland from the starting mix, but that still leaves eight guys in competition. In the bullpen, Johnson seems the best bet to win the closer gig, with Lindstrom and Gregg setting up. Add Strop, Patton, Simon and Hunter and you have your seven. But, again, we've thrown out Eveland and there would still be three extra starters along with O'Day, Eyre et al on the outside looking in.

I'll say one thing: Orioles manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair won't be bored this spring. Maybe frustrated, but definitely not bored.

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Posted on: December 9, 2011 9:19 am
 

Homegrown Team: Philadelphia Phillies



By C. Trent Rosecrans


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 schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

The Phillies recently doled out $50 million to Jonathan Papelbon and last year gave Cliff Lee $120 million -- make no mistake, the Phillies are a large-market club using its money to lure top free agents. They've also sent prospects to get Roy Halladay in recent years, so there's been enough talent in the system to lure other teams into making big trades. This team knows what it wants and goes and get it -- by any means necessary. In this exercise, that's not possible. The Phillies, in this hypothetical, aren't the prohibitive favorite they were for the majority of 2011, but they're hardly the Cubs.

Lineup

1. Michael Bourn, CF
2. Jimmy Rollins, SS
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Scott Rolen, 3B
6. Marlon Byrd, LF
7. Domonic Brown, RF
8. Carlos Ruiz, C

Starting Rotation

1. Cole Hamels
2. Gavin Floyd
3. Vance Worley
4. Randy Wolf
5. Brett Myers

Bullpen

Closer - Ryan Madson
Set up - Antonio Bastardo, Alfredo Simon, Brad Ziegler, Michael Stutes, Kyle Kendrick
Long - J.A. Happ

Notable Bench Players

Nick Punto can play a ton of positions, but, well... There's also Pat Burrell and Jason Jaramillo, which may not be deepest bench.

What's Good?

The lineup -- when healthy -- is still pretty darn good. The rotation, while not exactly the historic rotation that the Phillies rolled out in 2011, is nothing to sneeze at and the bullpen is deep and talented. There's a bit to like here in all aspects of the game.

What's Not?

The health question, and age, are huge here. Utley, while still a very good player when he's on the field, he's had a multitude of injuries. Rolen played in just 65 games last season (for the Reds). Brown has yet to establish himself as an everyday player, but he is talented. And then there's the bench, which has Punto to play every position, but not much else. 

Comparison to real 2011

This team may be in the wild card race, but there's no way it finishes 102-60.  That said, there's a chance it could compete for the NL East title (even though I do love the Braves chances in this exercise). The starting pitching isn't as good, but the bullpen has enough arms to keep things close. There's also so depth that's not listed on this roster in guys like Kyle Drabek, Carlos Carrasco and Josh Outman that aren't going to wow you, but certainly help depth-wise and could play a role as a spot starter or in the bullpen in the course of a long season. The Phillies may buy some players, but they've also developed enough to stay competitive.

Next: Chicago White Sox

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Posted on: November 8, 2011 3:04 pm
 

Simon clear of manslaughter charges

By Matt Snyder

Orioles pitcher Alfredo Simon has been acquitted of an involuntary manslaughter charge in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He had been charged in the death of 25-year-old Michel Castillo Almonte, who was killed last New Year's Eve. Simon was initially accused of having fired his gun into the air in celebratory fashion, only to have the bullet come down and take Almonte's life. But according to the Associated Press, defense attorney Dinora Dilone said that experts testified the bullet that took Almonte's life did not come from Simon's gun and that there were no eyewitnesses who saw Simon fire his gun.

Simon, 30, was held for nearly two months in prison earlier this year while awaiting his charges. There was also a lawsuit by the victim's family against Simon but it has been dropped. He faced up to two years in prison if convicted.

Simon was 4-9 with a 4.90 ERA and 1.45 WHIP for the Orioles this season. He made 16 starts and worked a career-high 115 2/3 innings.

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Posted on: September 28, 2011 12:57 pm
 

On Deck: Wild cards hinge on final day



By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

AL wild card: It's the final game of the season, and we've got two races currently tied. The first of them is the American League wild card, where the Red Sox and Rays are knotted at one apiece. Boston will send ace Jon Lester to the mound in the hopes of downing the Orioles. Lester has never lost against Baltimore, running up a 14-0 record. On the year, he has a solid 3.49 ERA but that mark is 6.97 over his last four starts, so there's concern there. He'll be opposed by Alfredo Simon. Meanwhile, down south, the Rays offer up their own ace in David Price to take down the Yankees. New York is already in the playoffs, so they could choose to rest some players and give the Rays a weaker opponent to play against. To that end, even the Yankees don't know who will be starting Wednesday night. Red Sox vs. Orioles, 7:00 p.m. ET | Yankees vs. Rays, 7:00 p.m. ET

NL wild card: Over in the NL, the Braves are new to this. The Red Sox have had an extra day to get used to the idea of falling into a tie, but Atlanta woke up Wednesday knowing the final game of the season was crucial to the playoff hunt. After all, if they lose and the Cardinals win, they're out. Fortunately, they have a pretty good pitcher heading to the hill in Tim Hudson, who will oppose Joe Blanton in what figures to be a bullpen game for Philly. On paper it's a mismatch, but the way the Braves has been playing lately is the complete opposite of St. Louis. Meanwhile, the scorching Redbirds offer up Chris Carpenter against the hapless Astros, who will send Brett Myers to the mound. Phillies vs. Braves, 7:00 p.m. ET | Cardinals vs. Astros, 8:00 p.m. ET

StrasburgNo walks: Stephen Strasburg has a very good chance to accomplish an incredible feat in his fifth and final start of the year. So far, he's walked absolutely zero batters in his 18 innings, striking out 14. That's a K/BB ratio of infinity. Thanks to the magic that is Baseball Reference's Play Index, I ran a query of all starting pitchers who had at least five consecutive starts with no walks in the millennium. There's been plenty of streaks of no walks allowed, most namely the amazing Greg Maddux who racked up two separate nine-game streaks of no walks allowed. If Strasburg gets through the game, he'll be tied with 15 others for five consecutive starts. Interestingly, Kevin Slowey accomplished the feat earlier this season, but before that you have to go back to Cliff Lee in 009, then Curt Schilling in 2006. Strasburg himself went six straight starts without a walk last season. He's opposing Chris Volstad in Jack McKeon's final game as Marlins manager. Nationals vs. Marlins, 4:10 p.m. ET

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Posted on: September 27, 2011 10:44 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 10:54 pm
 

Playoff Race: AL wild card still knotted



By Matt Snyder


It all comes down to the last day of the regular season. After 161 games, the Rays and Red Sox have the exact same record. Tampa Bay took care of business Tuesday night, and Boston followed suit. The two ballclubs couldn't have possibly had different Septembers, as the Red Sox are now 7-19 and the Rays are now 16-10 this month, but the whole season counts, and they're both 90-71 overall now.

Let's take a look at the pitching matchups for Wednesday. Remember, if the the Rays and Red Sox are still tied after Wednesday's action, a one-game playoff will be played Thursday at Tampa Bay (yes, it's in St. Petersburg, but I said Tampa Bay, not Tampa).

Red Sox at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. ET
Jon Lester (15-9, 3.49) is going on three days' rest, which he hasn't done all season. Of course, he was knocked from the game last time out after just 55 pitches, so fatigue shouldn't be a big issue. The real problem is he's been bad the last three times out. He's sporting a 10.54 ERA while allowing opposing hitters to have a .362/.433/.569 line against him since his last win (September 6, when he was brilliant). Lester's only faced the Orioles once this season and that was all the way back in April -- he allowed just two runs in eight innings and picked up a win. He does have a great history in Camden Yards, as he's 7-0 with a 2.47 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in nine career starts there.

Alfredo Simon (4-9, 4.85) will take the hill for the O's. The Red Sox battered him for eight hits and three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings earlier this season. It was his only career start against Boston. He has pitched better at home in his career than on the road, but this matchup still obviously favors the Red Sox. Of course, the Orioles are playing much better baseball this month (14-13) than the previous several months and anything can happen in any given game.

Yankees at Rays, 7:10 p.m. ET
David Price (12-13, 3.35) gets the ball for the Rays. He's pitched much better than the won-loss record indicates. In fact, his WHIP, K/9 and BB/9 are all improved since last season, when he finished second in Cy Young voting. He hasn't been good against the Yankees this year (4.26 ERA in four starts), but last time he saw them he went eight innings and allowed just one run in a Rays' win. And there's no telling how many regular starters the Yankees rest in a meaningless game.

The Yankees don't have an announced starter yet, and it's expected to be a group outing. "Johnny Wholestaff" is the listed pitcher name in situations like this to baseball people. The Yankees have to worry about setting up for the postseason, which begins Friday, and won't be using top relievers like Mariano Rivera or David Robertson, either. Basically, you never know what's going to happen in a given baseball game, but the Red Sox had better win if they want a chance at the postseason. This one should be very winnable for the Rays.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 27, 2011 4:50 pm
 

On Deck: Braves/Pirates meet after blown call

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

PiratesBravesONE DAY LATER: A day after the Braves essentially stole a win thanks to an umpire's blown call, the two teams will meet up with a nice pitching duel lined up. Jair Jurrjens no longer has an ERA under 2.00, but that can be forgiven as it's still low, with a 2.44 line going up against Paul Maholm and his 3.26 ERA. The Pirates are doing everything they can to stay in the NL Central hunt and must feel a bit of pressure at their backs to make up for the loss Tuesday night, as well as the knowledge the Cardinals just upgraded their pitching by adding Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepcynzki and Octavio Dotel. Pirates vs. Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET

RasmusDONE DEAL: The Blue Jays made yet another smart deal on Wednesday, yet another in a series of trades since Alex Anthopoulous took over as GM. The centerpiece in the three-team deal for Toronto is center fielder Colby Rasmus. Rasmus isn't in the lineup for the game, but it's possible he will arrive in time to make an entrance. More than likely, Rasmus' Blue Jays debut will wait until Thursday. Toronto may also be dealing with a short bullpen, having traded away Dotel and Rzepcynzki. They have Ricky Romero toeing the hill against Alfredo Simon. Romero threw eight innings of one-run ball the last time he faced Baltimore, so the Jays will be hoping for a repeat. Orioles vs. Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. ET

GiantsPhilliesPITCHING DUEL: The Giants added their own outfielder on Wednesday, agreeing to add Carlos Beltran for the Mets. There's no chance Beltran has of making it to San Francisco in time for the game tonight, largely because the deal is not yet completed thanks to some procedural moves. It's OK, though, because we've got a nice pitching matchup to make up for it. The Phillies will toss ace No. 4, Cole Hamels, who deserves much more than that label. Hamels has a sterling 2.62 ERA on the year with a 0.96 WHIP, striking out 134 and walking just 29. Tim Lincecum was supposed to go for the Giants but is ill (Barry Zito started in Lincecum's place as well Tuesday night), so Matt Cain will step in Lincecum's place. No problem: Cain's got a 3.06 ERA in 138 1/3 innings. Giants vs. Phillies, 7:00 p.m. ET

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 7:45 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 7:59 pm
 

Simon on his way back to U.S.

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Alfredo SimonOrioles pitcher Alfredo Simon is finished with his hearing in the Dominican Republic and is on his way back to the United States, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Simon was placed on the restricted list Sunday night and is expected to make his next start on Friday against Anaheim. 

Simon has yet to be charged with the New Year's Day shooting of his cousin, but he also hasn't been cleared, the paper reports. He could still have to return for another hearing in the future.

Simon could be back in uniform Tuesday in Baltimore.

Before the season, it was uncertain if the Orioles would keep Simon around if he was even able to return to the U.S., but the former reliever has been turned into a starter and has pitched well, allowing five earned runs in 11 2/3 innings in two starts. Overall, he's 2-2 with a 4.36 ERA in 33 innings and nine outings.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: July 17, 2011 1:10 am
Edited on: July 17, 2011 9:49 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Marlins offense explodes



By Matt Snyder


Mike Stanton, Hanley Ramirez, rest of Marlins. The Marlins dominated the Cubs from start to finish Saturday, pounding out 14 hits and 13 runs. Seven of those hits were of the extra-base variety, too, so it was quite the show. Two players in particular stood out, though. Mike Stanton clubbed a pair of homers, giving him 20 on the season and putting the league lead in his sights. Hanley Ramirez doubled three times, scored three times and drove in two. Since new manager Jack McKeon moved Ramirez to the cleanup spot in the lineup (89 plate appearances), he's hit .371/.449/.603 with six doubles, four homers, 23 RBI and 17 runs. And the Marlins have won seven of eight.

Alfredo Simon, Orioles. This is amazing: Courtesy of MASNSports.com, the Orioles had only had one starting pitcher work at least seven innings in the past 29 games. In that stretch, the starters had a 7.71 ERA, and the Orioles were 6-23 in those games. They won Saturday evening, and not coincidentally it was because they got a quality start. Simon did better than the textbook definition of quality start. He went seven innings and allowed two earned runs. It was only his second start since 2009 and fifth of his career.

Edwin Jackson, White Sox. As bad as the White Sox have been, they're now only four games out of first place (the two Central divisions are pretty terrible, aren't they?). The move forward Saturday came courtesy of an Edwin Jackson shutout. Jackson scattered nine hits and threw a complete game for the first time in a White Sox uniform. His last complete game was his 149-pitch no-hitter as a member of the Diamondbacks on June 25, 2010.



Reds' gaffes. The Reds could have won Saturday night to move within two games of first place in the NL Central, but three mistakes were far too costly to overcome. In the fourth inning, Chris Heisey ran into the third out at third base, when he essentially had no chance of making third. That meant instead of turning the lineup over, pitcher Bronson Arroyo had to lead off next inning. In that next inning, Drew Stubbs was doubled off second base on an Edgar Renteria flyout to end the inning. But those errors paled in comparison to Arroyo's two-out throwing error on a Jon Jay bunt. It extended the inning with two men on base, and Albert Pujols coming to the plate. Pujols hit a three-run home run and the Cardinals won 4-1.

Cole Hamels, Phillies. The Mets own the All-Star left-hander. Hamels came into the game Saturday 11-4 with a 2.32 ERA and 0.93 WHIP, but he had a 7.45 ERA and 1.66 WHIP in two starts this year against the Mets. Saturday was no different, as the Mets worked Hamels over. He only got through 4 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits, four walks and seven earned runs. This was a Mets' lineup missing Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, David Wright and Ike Davis.

Barry Zito, Giants. So much for the return to All-Star form. Zito was 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA since coming off the disabled list. Saturday night, he was facing off against arguably the worst offensive team in the majors and was torched. He lasted just 3 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits, four walks and eight earned runs. He gave up home runs to Jesus Guzman and Orlando Hudson. Basically, it was one of the worst outings imaginable. We'll give Zito the benefit of the doubt and say it could be a temporary setback, but I'm sure Giants fans are a bit worried.

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