Posted on: January 25, 2012 3:26 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 4:41 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
With Prince Fielder finally off the market, we're officially in free-agent left-over time, with most of the big-name, big-money guys enjoying new contracts.
So, who is left? That's a good question. The best players available are starting pitchers -- with Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt leading the charge -- but in our free-agent tracker, only one position player (Derrek Lee) among the top 25 free-agent position players is available, while three top 25 pitchers remain (Jackson, Oswalt, Javier Vazquez).
Here's the best player -- and the rest -- among the remaining free agents at each position as we get closer and closer to spring training:
Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez. OK, he's a big name, a future Hall of Famer, but he's also 40 -- and a catcher. Rodriguez, 156 hits from 3,000, adjusted to being a backup catcher last season and it's the role he'll play if he can find a team for 2012.
Others available: Jason Varitek, Ronny Paulino, Ramon Castro, Jason Kendall.
First base: Derrek Lee. The 36-year-old finished the 2011 season in Pittsburgh and had a nice finish to the season, hitting .337/.398/.584 with seven homers in his return to the National League Central after struggling in Baltimore for most of the first half of the season. However, he did miss nearly a month after breaking a bone in his left wrist shortly after joining the Pirates. Lee could retire, CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman reported.
Others available: Casey Kotchman, Conor Jackson, Ross Gload, Russell Branyan.
Second base: Jeff Keppinger. The Giants non-tendered the 31-year-old infielder who struggled in his 56 games in San Francisco. Keppinger hit just .255/.285/.333 as the team's everyday second baseman, well off his career .281/.332/.388 line. Keppinger brings versatility with the ability to play any of the infield positions, and he's also played in the outfield. He could be a fit with the Mariners, Yankees or Rays.
Others available: Aaron Miles, Carlos Guillen.
Third base: Mark Teahen. Our top third baseman was recently released to make room for a 41-year-old relief pitcher, what does that tell you? The Blue Jays acquired the 30-year-old Teahen in three-team deal that sent Edwin Jackson and others to St. Louis and Colby Rasmus to Toronto. Teahen hit .200/.273/.300 with the White Sox and Blue Jays, playing both corner infield and outfield spots, in addition to handling some DH duties. Another positive is that he often tweets pictures of his two adorable boxers.
Others available: Eric Chavez, Bill Hall, Alex Cora.
Shortstop: Ryan Theriot. Theriot is versatile, with the ability to play pretty much anywhere on the field -- but he's best suited, defensively, to second base. He started the 2011 season as the Cardinals' starter at shortstop, but there's a reason the team went out to get Rafael Furcal. He hit .271/.321/.342 for the Cardinals last season, but at this point he's likely best suited as a utility player.
Others available: Edgar Renteria, Miguel Tejada, Felipe Lopez.
Outfield: Yoenis Cespedes. While we have J.D. Drew ranked higher, he's expected to retire soon, leaving the extremely talented Cespedes as the top available outfielder. Cespedes has just recently acquired citizenship in the Dominican Republic, so now the official courting of the Cuban center fielder can begin. The Marlins, of course, are said to be very interested, even if Cespedes is less interested in Miami. Both Chicago teams are said to have interest in him as well.
Others available: Kosuke Fukudome, Raul Ibanez, Juan Pierre, Magglio Ordonez, Corey Patterson, Rick Ankiel, Marcus Thames, Jeremy Hermida, Jay Gibbons, Milton Bradley.
Designated hitter: Johnny Damon. The 38-year-old Damon is hardly the prototypical slugging designated hitter, but he still has some value. Last season he hit .261/.326/.418 for the Rays with 16 home runs. He could be a fit in Detroit, where he hit .271/.355/.401 with eight home runs in 2010.
Others available: Hideki Matsui, Vladimir Guerrero.
Starting pitcher: Edwin Jackson. At 28, Jackson has already pitched for six different teams and could be looking at his seventh. With the White Sox and Cardinals, the hard-throwing right-hander went 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA in 31 starts and 199 2/3 innings. He struck out 148 batters while putting up a 1.437 WHIP. There are recent reports that he's willing to sign a one-year deal, and is drawing interest from the Tigers. He was 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA for Detroit in 2009.
Others available: Roy Oswalt, Javier Vazquez, Rich Harden, Jeff Francis, Brad Penny, Chris Young, Brandon Webb, Jon Garland, Livan Hernandez, Tim Wakefield, Scott Kazmir, Rodrigo Lopez, Kyle Davies, Ross Ohlendorf, Doug Davis.
Relief pitcher: Arthur Rhodes. Rhodes turned 42 during the World Series and still appeared in 51 games during the regular season and eight more in the postseason. The left-hander had a disappointing run with the Rangers after signing a two-year deal with Texas. But he returned as part of Tony La Russa's bullpen in St. Louis, earning his first World Series ring in his 19 years in the big leagues.
Others available: Chad Qualls, Brad Lidge, Dan Wheeler, Damaso Marte, Michael Wuertz, Zach Duke, Javier Lopez, Juan Cruz, Jason Isringhausen, Mike Gonzalez, Todd Coffey, Shawn Camp, Scott Linebrink, Hong-Chih Kuo, Jamey Wright, Chad Durbin, Brian Tallet, Hideki Luis Ayala, Micah Owings, Dan Cortes, Sergio Mitre, Tony Pena, David Aardsma, Pat Neshek, Danys Baez, Ramon Ortiz.
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Tags: 2012 free agency, 2012 MLB Free Agency, 2012 MLB Free Agents, 2012 MLB Hot Stove, Aaron Cook, Aaron Miles, Alex Cora, Arthur Rhodes, Bill Hall, Brad Lidge, Brad Penny, Brandon Webb, Brian Tallet, C. Trent Rosecrans, Carlos Guillen, Casey Kotchman, Chad Durbin, Chad Qualls, Chris Young, Connor Jackson, Corey Patterson, Damaso Marte, Dan Cortes, Dan Wheeler, Danys Baez, David Aardsma, Derrek Lee, Doug Davis, Edgar Renteria, Edwin Jackson, Eric Chavez, Felipe Lopez, free agency, free agent tracker, Hideki Matsui, Hideki Okajima, Hong-Chih Kuo, Ivan Rodriguez, Jamey Wright, Jason Isringhausen, Jason Kendall, Jason Michael, Jason Varitek, Javier Lopez, Javier Vazquez, Jay Gibbons, Jeff Francis, Jeff Keppinger, Jeremy Hermida, Johnny Damon, Jon Garland, Juan Cruz, Juan Pierre, Kosuke Fukudome, Kyle Davies, Livan Hernandez, Luis Ayala, Magglio Ordonez, Marcus Thammes, Mark Teahen, Micah Owings, Michael Wuertz, Mike Gonzalez, Milton Bradley, MLB Free Agency, MLB Free Agents, MLB Hot Stove, Pat Neshek, Ramon Castro, Ramon Ortiz, Raul Ibanez, Rich Harden, Rick Ankiel, Rodrigo Lopez, Ronny Paulino, Ross Gload, Ross Ohlendorf, Roy Oswalt, Russell Branyan, Ryan Theriot, Scott Kazmir, Scott Linebrink, Sergio Mitre, Shawn Camp, Tim Wakefield, Todd Coffey, Tony Pena, Vladimir Guerrero, Yoenis Cespedes, Zach Duke
Posted on: December 17, 2011 5:55 pm
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.
In the 90s, the Indians welcomed a new ballpark with a cast of homegrown talent and twice used that to go all the way to the World Series, losing to the Braves in 1995 and the Marlins in 1997. A core of Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle, Charles Nagy, Paul Shuey, Jaret Wright, Julian Tavarez and more helped that Cleveland team become a power in the middle part of the decade before the pieces moved on. Thome went to Philadelphia, Ramirez to Boston and others dispersed or saw their skills diminish as the window of opportunity passed. The current Indians saw the start of a new influx of talent in 2011 with the likes of Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall, but more talent needs to come out of the system for the Indians to continue the promise of the first half of the 2011 season. The franchise has shown smart drafting and good development can get them to October baseball, and that it's the best way for a team of their means to get there -- and return.
1. Jason Kipnis, 2B
2. Marco Scutaro, SS
3. Victor Martinez, C
4. Jim Thome, DH
5. Jhonny Peralta, 1B
6. Luke Scott, LF
7. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
8. Ben Francisco, RF
9. Jose Constanza, CF
1. CC Sabathia
2. Fausto Carmona
3. Jeremy Guthrie
4. Bartolo Colon
5. Josh Tomlin
Closer - Vinnie Pestano
Set up - Tony Sipp, Aaron Laffey, Danys Baez, Edward Mujica, Rafael Perez, Brian Tallet
Notable Bench Players
There are some bit pieces, but not too much overwhelming talent coming off the bench. The best pieces are Maicer Izturis, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Russell Branyan.
This team could put up some runs, with a heart of the order featuring Martinez, Thome, Peralta and Scott, that's for sure. You've also got Sabathia leading the staff, and as the Yankees showed this past season, that can be enough to win the toughest division in baseball. Carmona is inconsistent, but still has a live arm, while Guthrie could thrive in a new environment and Colon proved he still has a little something in the tank during his 2011 season in New York.
Even if this Indians staff is a slight bump up from the Yankees' of 2011, the bullpen is a step down -- and the bullpen was one of the big reasons New York was able to win with a rotation featuring Sabathia and prayers for rain. The bench here is also thin.
Comparison to real 2011
The Indians were one of the feel-good stories for much of 2011, leading the American League Central for most of the first half of the season before fading and finishing the season 80-82. This hypothetical team has a better offense, better starting pitching and a worse bullpen. It's in no way a complete team, but it would have a chance at a winning record. The Tigers finished 95-67, well ahead of anyone else in the division. No, this Cleveland team wouldn't challenge the Tigers, but it would likely be better than the real 2011 Indians.
Next: Miami Marlins
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Aaron Laffey, AL Central, Albert Belle, Bartolo Colon, Ben Francisco, Brian Tallet, CC Sabathia, Charles Nagy, Danys Baez, Edward Mujica, Fausto Carmona, Indians, Jaret Wright, Jason Kipnis, Jeremy Guthrie, Jhonny Peralta, Jim Thome, Jose Constanza, Josh Tomlin, Julian Tavarez, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Lonnie Chisenhall, Luke Scott, Maicer Izturis, Manny Ramirez, Marco Scutaro, Paul Shuey, Rafael Perez, Russell Branyan, Tony Sipp, Victor Martinez, Vinnie Pestano
Posted on: June 22, 2011 1:20 am
Edited on: June 22, 2011 9:11 am
By Evan Brunell
Zack Greinke, Brewers -- Greinke twirled a beauty against the Rays on Tuesday, throwing seven innings while whiffing 10 and limiting Tampa to just four hits and one run. His zero walks allowed pushed his K/BB ratio on the season to a jaw-dropping 80/9. There's no way his 4.77 ERA represents what he's doing on the field, as he's making many hitters look foolish. Greinke's best performance in a Brewers uniform came when the club had lost six of eight. The victory pushed Milwaukee to a half-game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central.
Seth Smith, Rockies -- The Rockies needed two home runs from Seth Smith to eke past the Indians, with the second homer coming in the top of the ninth to break a tie. "This was a huge character game," Rockies manager Jim Tracy told the Associated Press. "To hold a first-place team hitless [into the sixth inning], give up the lead, and win like that is huge." Smith went 3-for-4 with three RBI in the night's best hitting performance, pushing his overall line to .316/.370/.555. The 28-year-old is on pace for the most at-bats in a career largely spent as a fourth outfielder.
Michael Bourn, Astros -- Bourn isn't a sexy name and will always rank low on home-run leaderboards, but he does nearly everything else just right. Armed with impeccable defense, Bourn couldn't give the 'Stros a win in an 11th-inning affair with the Rangers but did go 3 for 5 with two runs and a RBI, stroking two doubles and swiping two bases to push his MLB-leading mark to 32. The performance gave Bourn a .285/.355/.395 line on the year. Again, not flashy, but when you add those 32 stolen bases plus his defense, Bourn is quietly one of the best center fielders in the game.
Madison Bumgarner, Giants -- Bumgarner couldn't get anything going Tuesday, allowing the first eight batters to reach. After Carl Pavano mercifully struck out, Bumgarner's night was done after coughing up a double to Ben Revere for the game's eighth run. Guillermo Mota came in and saved the bullpen with 4 1/3 innings, but Bumgarner got stuck with eight runs and nine hits in just 1/3 of an inning, ballooning his ERA to 4.07 from 3.21. The S.F. 'pen held the Twins to just one more run the rest of the way but dropped the game, giving Minnesota its eighth straight win while the Giants dropped into a first-place tie with the Diamondbacks in the NL West.
Cardinals bullpen -- A day after the Padres' bullpen gave up 10 runs to the Red Sox, the Cardinals coughed up a nine-run eighth inning to the Phillies. That allowed Philadelphia to walk away with a 10-2 victory. The inning started innocently with an out by Trever Miller, who relieved starting pitcher Kyle McClellan. But Miller then allowed a single and walk before giving way to Jason Motte, who couldn't register an out en route to hitting two batters with a pitch and exiting the game. On Monday, a Padres reliever also hit two batters in the 10-run inning. Brian Tallet relieved Motte and struck out Raul Ibanez, and it looked as if St. Louis could squeeze through the inning, giving up just one run. Nope. A Ben Francisco single chased Tallet from the game, allowing Miguel Batista to go walk-walk-single, giving up four runs. Mikael Cleto then gave up a walk and two singles to finish the scoring, finally getting Wilson Valdez (who else?), who ran for Placido Polanco earlier in the inning, to fly out. Fun.
J.D. Drew, Red Sox -- J.D. Drew's usually had one scorching hot month a year that carries the team and otherwise is a good enough contributor. But this season, not only are the BoSox waiting for Drew's breakout, he continues to be a zero at the plate. His line now rests at .230/.332/.328 after striking out three times in four trips to the plate. Drew just isn't making good contact as many of his hits end up as groundballs. Drew was already losing significant playing time against left-handers, and once Carl Crawford returns from injury could start sitting more in general, although Drew remains the best option against right-handers as both Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald are best used against lefities.
Posted on: April 13, 2011 7:14 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2011 7:15 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Both right-handers were injured in Tuesday's loss to the Diamondbacks. Augenstein suffered a strained right groin. Tallet suffered a fracture in his right hand when he and Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew collided on a play at first base (right).
The Cardinals recalled right-handers Fernando Salas and Eduardo Sanchez to replenish the bullpen.
Salas, 25, had a 3.52 ERA in 27 appearances last season for the Cardinals and made three scoreless appearances for Triple-A Memphis. Sanchez, 22, has not played in the big leagues before and hasn't allowed a run over three innings and two appearances for Memphis this season. Last season he had a 2.38 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 53 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.
Augenstein, 24, appeared in five games for the Cardinals, allowing six earned runs (seven total) and 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings. He'd also walked three and struck out six.
Tallet, 33, appeared in five games this season, allowing one earned run (two total) and four hits in 4 1/3 innings. He walked three with four strikeouts.
Posted on: April 13, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2011 7:16 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
You may remember Hamilton blamed Rangers third base coach Dave Anderson for his injury on Tuesday after trying to tag up on a foul ball to the third baseman.
On Tuesday, Hamilton said it was a stupid play and that he didn't want to go not he play, but "I listened to my coach and I went."
Wednesday, Hamilton had a closed-door meeting with Anderson.
"I appoligze to him for letting my emotions get out and getting ahead of myself and letting my emotions show through," Hamilton told reporters, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I could have taken a better route as far as cooling down before I spoke."
Hamilton added: "I see where I need to take responsibility for it. I appreciate Dave having confidence in my ability that I could make that play. I was just frustrated more for getting injured."
Earlier in the day, manager Ron Washington said he approved of the aggressive play, but didn't say much to reporters about what Hamilton said, standing by his coach.
"He's got a right to feel what he feels, but I'm certainly not going to blame David," Washington said (also from theStar-Telegram). "I think Josh has to live with what he said."
Anderson would not discuss the specifics, calling them moot. He did say he told Hamilton to be ready. He said he won't hesitate in the future because of the injury to last year's AL MVP.
"That's not going to happen," Anderson said. "Injuries are part of the game, but part of the game also is being aggressive. The issue is he got hurt. If he doesn't get hurt, we're not spending a lot of time talking about it."
Hamilton usually plays the game aggressively, as he showed the play before, sliding headfirst into third base on his triple. A player with Hamilton's speed has a good shot of beating Victor Martinez and Brad Penny -- could his concern about his own body and safety and ability to make had something to do with his inability to make it? Did he hesitate out of fear? I'm not saying he did, but I saw the play happening and thought it was a good, aggressive play that didn't work out in two important ways -- Hamilton was out on the play and now out for six to eight weeks. I'm not so sure at the time Anderson didn't make the right call.
Posted on: April 9, 2011 1:36 am
Edited on: April 9, 2011 2:08 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Dan Johnson, Rays -- Johnson's three-run homer topped off a five-run ninth, giving the Rays their first victory of the season, 9-7 over the White Sox. Not only was it the Rays' first win of the season, Johnson gave the team its first lead of the season.
Antonio Bastardo, Phillies -- The 25-year-old lefty gave up Chipper Jones' 2,500th career hit on Friday, but after that he struck out the next six batters he faced -- Brian McCann, Dan Uggla, Jason Heyward, Alex Gonzalez, Freddie Freeman and Tim Hudson.
Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals -- Not only did Zimmermann pick up his first victory since undergoing Tommy John surgery, he also threw 91 pitches, while allowing six hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings. Oh yeah, he also singled in two runs in the second inning.
Brian Wilson, Giants -- After staring in the Giants' pregame ceremonies to commemorate their World Series title, Wilson came into the game in the ninth inning to lock down another save. Instead, he gave up two runs on two hits and two walks. It was his second appearance since coming off the disabled list, allowing three runs Wednesday against the Dodgers. Manager Bruce Bochy has taken him out without finishing the inning in both outings. But hey, at least his ERA dropped from 40.50 to 33.75.
Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- You're not going to see this name in this part of 3 up, 3 down too often, but the two-time Gold Glover (including 2010) dropped a simple throw from pitcher Brian Tallet on Andres Torres' two-out grounder in the 12th inning on Saturday. That set up an RBI single by Aaron Rowand to give the Giants a 5-4 victory.
Boone Logan, Yankees -- In six plate appearances against lefties this season, Yankee the left-handed reliever has allowed three hits and two walks. Logan gave up hits to David Ortiz and J.D. Drew, with Drew's single in the seventh scoring two and locking up the first win of the season for the Red Sox. He did get Jacoby Ellsbury to ground out to end the inning, but the damage had been done by that point. With Pedro Feliciano and Damaso Marte on the DL, he's the team's only lefty in the bullpen.
Tags: AL East, Albert Pujols, Alex Gonzalez, Andres Torres, Antonio Bastardo, Boone Logan, Braves, Brian McCann, Brian Tallet, Brian Wilson, Bruce Bochy, Cardinals, Chipper Jones, Dan Johnson, Dan Uggla, David Ortiz, Freddie Freeman, Giants, J.D. Drew, Jason Heyward, Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Phillies, Rays, Tim Hudson, Yankees
Posted on: November 30, 2010 3:58 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2010 4:41 pm
The Cardinals have spent much of their offseason looking for middle infield help, and they may not have gotten the final answer, but they at least have some competition for spring training, acquiring second baseman/shortstop Ryan Theriot from the Dodgers in exchange for right-hander Blake Hawksworth.
Theriot hit .270/.321/.312 last season with the Cubs and Dodgers, faring much better in the National League Central. Theriot started 112 games at second base and 28 at shortstop last season, all 28 of his shortstop starts came with the Cubs.
The Cardinals have expressed their reservations in going into 2011 with Brendan Ryan at shortstop, while second baseman Skip Schumaker has been given a vote of confidence by Tony La Russa.
Hawksworth appeared in 45 games in 2010, going 4-8 with a 4.98 ERA. In 90 1/3 innings, he struck out 61 and walked 35.
With the Dodgers signing Juan Uribe, Theriot was expendable. He went to the Dodgers along with Ted Lilly at the trade deadline last year in exchange for Brett Wallach, Kyle Smit and Blake DeWitt.
UPDATE: The Cardinals have also signed left-hander Brian Tallet, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch . The former Blue Jay was a college teammate of Theriot at LSU.
UPDATE: Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak tells 101ESPN in St. Louis (via Twitter ) that "unless something else happens," Theriot is the team's starting shortstop.
-- C. Trent RosecransFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 22, 2010 9:30 pm
What got into Jose Lopez?
In a meaningless game in Toronto on Wednesday night, the Seattle second baseman, who entered the night with seven home runs on the season, tore off three in a span of five innings. He hit a solo shot off starter Kyle Drabek in the third, another solo shot in the sixth against Brian Tallet and a two-run homer against Shawn Camp in the eighth. All three went to left field.
Lopez is in theory auditioning for his next job -- the Mariners are highly unlikely to exercise their $4.5 million option on him for next season -- but hasn't been putting on much of a show. His season line entering Wednesday was .234/.264/.319, giving him a .582 OPS that's the second-lowest among all qualified players in the American League. He was batting an amazingly bad .169/.189/.197 in September and hadn't hit a home run since August 16.
Wednesday's outburst will make his numbers look a little more respectable, but Lopez is still likely to find the job market chilly this winter.
-- David Andriesen
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