Posted on: February 1, 2012 3:21 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Carlos Guillen is back with the Mariners. The 36-year-old infielder signed a minor-league deal with the team on Wednesday with a big-league invite to spring training.
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Guillen spent the last eight seasons with the Tigers, making three All-Star teams, after playing parts of six seasons with the Mariners.
While he played shortstop for the Mariners and Tigers earlier in his career, he was limited to just second base, first base and DH last season, appearing in just 28 games, hitting .232/.265/.368 with three home runs. He hasn't played in more than 150 games since 2007, playing in just 177 over the last three.
The Mariners traded Guillen to the Tigers for Ramon Santiago and minor-leaguer Juan Gonzalez before the 2004 season. Santiago was a flop in Seattle, returning to Detroit in 2006, where he's played ever since.
In other minor-league deals, former Phillies reliever Chad Durbin signed with the Nationals and Rays hero Dan Johnson signed with the White Sox.
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Tags: 2012 free agency, 2012 MLB Free Agency, 2012 MLB Free Agents, 2012 MLB Hot Stove, AL Central, AL East, AL West, C. Trent Rosecrans, Carlos Guillen, Chad Durbin, Dan Johnson, free agency, free agent tracker, Mariners, MLB Free Agency, MLB Free Agents, MLB Hot Stove, Nationals, NL East, Phillies, Ramon Santiago, Rays, Tigers, White Sox
Posted on: September 29, 2011 10:20 am
Edited on: September 29, 2011 11:28 am
By Evan Brunell
The morning after baseball's latest contender for the most exciting final day of the regular season, we're left trying to figure out just which of the improbable, impossible events that led to a night to remember was best.
Rays coming back from 7-0? Evan Longoria whacking a three-run home run to pull the Rays within one? How about Dan Johnson, he of a .167 batting average in 260 plate appearances over the last four years jacking a game-tying home run in the ninth? What about Evan Longoria's game winner, shades of Mark McGwire's 62nd home run?
But there were plenty of other memorable plays. How about Robert Andino shocking the Sox with a game-winning single in the ninth? Or earlier in the game, when Dustin Pedroia whacked a homer to give the Sox a lead? The Phillies sending a dagger in the hearts of Braves with a Hunter Pence RBI single in the top 14th? But Craig Kimbrel, he of 40 saves on the year, had to blow the game for Pence to walk off. Similarly, Jonathan Papelbon imploded for the Red Sox, handing Baltimore the victory. The Cardinals razed their way to a 8-0 win, but how huge was St. Louis' five-run first on the strength of five run-scoring hits?
There are no shortage of amazing plays or occurrences from Wednesday night. We ask you: Which one was the best?
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Posted on: September 29, 2011 12:18 am
Edited on: September 29, 2011 2:17 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Evan Longoria's solo homer off of the Yankees' Scott Proctor capped what was perhaps the most exciting final day of the regular season in baseball history, and solidified two epic collapses by the Red Sox and the Braves.
Longoria's homer gave Tampa Bay an 8-7 victory just minutes after the Orioles' Robert Andino's liner scored the winning run in Baltimore to seal a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Red Sox. Longoria was in the on-deck circle in St. Petersburg, Fla., when the Red Sox score was announced. Just three minutes later, Longoria hit his second homer of the game.
It was just another comeback for the Rays, who were behind in the wild card race by as many as nine games and then were down 7-0 in the eighth inning of Wednesday's game against the Yankees. Tampa Bay scored six in the eighth inning, including three on Longoria's first homer of the night. Dan Johnson hit a two-out, pinch-hit homer in the ninth to tie the game.
While the Rays were within a strike of losing, the Red Sox were within a strike of winning.
Jonathan Papelbon, who had never surrendered an earned run at Camden Yards until Tuesday, struck out the first two batters he faced in the ninth inning trying to protect a 3-2 lead. But Chris Davis doubled and then Nolan Reimold hit a ground-rule double to tie the game and then Andino hit a sinking liner to left that Carl Crawford -- the former Ray -- couldn't catch, scoring Reimold.
Three minutes later, Longoria ended Boston's season, and completed the Red Sox collapse.@eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 10, 2011 11:53 pm
By Matt Snyder
J.A. Happ, Astros. The 'Stros picked up their second win of the season, and Happ pretty much took care of everything on his own. He tossed 7 2/3 innings, allowing only four hits and one earned run (we'll just ignore those pesky four walks for now) while picking up the dubya. Just in case that wasn't enough, he swung the bat a little bit, too. In fact, he drove home enough runs to support his own victory. He went 2-3 with a double and two RBI.
Wilson Betemit, Royals. Man, what a day. Betemit came to bat five times and wasn't retired. He walked once and went 4-4 with a pair of doubles in a 9-5 victory. Considering Mike Aviles' struggles, Betemit has surely earned himself a few more at-bats in the near future.
Casey McGehee, Brewers. He only had one plate appearance Sunday, but made it count. McGehee dug in against Kerry Wood and the Cubs -- the team that cut him in 2008 -- and hit a go-ahead two-run bomb in the bottom of the eighth. It was his first home run of the young season, and pushed the Brewers to their fifth win in the past six games after starting 0-4. Interesting to note: The Brewers had three two-run home runs, which comprised all their scoring Sunday in a 6-5 win.
Blaine Boyer, Mets (well, formerly at least ... ). Rough day for poor ol' Blaine. He picked up his second loss of the season, which is really tough to do when the team has only lost five games and you're a reliever. This one came after he was touched up for four hits and four earned runs in the 11th inning -- including giving up a three-run shot to Laynce Nix. If that wasn't enough, the Mets rubbed salt in the wound by designating Boyer for assignment after the game. It's a relatively noteworthy move because in a corresponding transaction, the Mets have summoned 38-year-old Jason Isringhausen from the minors to join the bullpen.
Nick Masset, Reds. Last time out, Masset took the loss after letting the Astros get the better of him. Sunday, it happened again, only this time it was the Diamondbacks and it was much uglier. His outing against the Astros was two innings and he only gave up one run. This time he was tagged for four runs, including a big blow from Chris Young in the form of a go-ahead three-run homer. The ERA has hopped up to 11.25. As an aside, that has to be the worst part about being a reliever. One four-run inning ruins your numbers for months. He'll need a good portion of the season to work that thing back down.
Dan Johnson, Rays. With Manny gone and Evan Longoria injured, Johnson is forced to shoulder a pretty large burden in the middle of the Rays' batting order. Thus far, he's not even close to being up to the task. After going 0-4 with a strikeout, Johnson is now hitting .088 with a .147 on-base percentage. He did hit a home run Friday in the Rays' only win of the season, but it is a complete outlier at this point.
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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: April 8, 2011 6:11 pm
Edited on: April 8, 2011 6:14 pm
By Evan Brunell
Well, at least in the outset, Tampa Bay is calling up first baseman Casey Kotchman to be the starting first baseman while Dan Johnson will shift to DH. Kotchman was a former starting first baseman for the Angels and Braves before his career went into a tailspin with the Red Sox and Mariners.
He signed a minor-league contract with the Rays to open 2011 and reported to Triple-A despite putting up strong spring training numbers. The 28-year-old's best days are probably behind him, although Tampa will obviously cross their fingers and hope for the best. He is a solid fielder, so can help the Rays in that department.
However, Dan Johnson moving to DH is hardly inspired, even if it's the right move. Johnson has a few big hits with the Rays over the last few years, but struggles to crack the Mendoza Line and the jury is still out on whether he can be a viable starter. The Rays have really stretched themselves thin with Ramirez's retirement and certainly have to be thinking about out-of-organization alternatives. The team will likely give its in-house alternatives every chance to succeed, however, given the team's finances. But if Tampa stays solely in-house if its options aren't performing to par, it will be a mistake. While Tampa was thought to have been far behind the curve to make the postseason, Boston's 0-6 start to the season has really opened the door.
In the meantime, Kotchman and Johnson are the guys, but don't be surprised to see backup catcher Kelly Shoppach worked in at first base more regularly. Matt Joyce also stands to benefit from the retirement, and playing time should be much easier to come by for Sean Rodriguez once Evan Longoria returns from the disabled list.
The team also has a top outfield prospect in Desmond Jennings that they farmed out to Triple-A for additional seasoning. This move may cause the Rays to dip down and promote Jennings sooner rather than later.
Whether with or without Jennings, Ramirez's retirement could cause the Rays to move Johnny Damon out of left field, where he no longer belongs. Damon DHing would free the outfield up for either Joyce or Jennings.
Yes, the Rays are scrambling a bit to replace Ramirez. However, Ramirez looked as slow and old with Tampa as he did during his stint with the White Sox to finish out 2010. It really won't be that difficult to replace that Manny Ramirez, even if we all look at him as the home-run slugging behemoth that was feared for almost two decades.
Posted on: March 29, 2011 5:56 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 9:35 pm
By Matt Snyder
Finally, spring training is concluding. Now we have a day or two before your favorite team begins play. In the meantime, I'm here to bring you the top five teams to decline and the top five to improve upon their 2010 performances. In return, you accuse me of bias and call me names. It's fun for everyone, really. One thing to keep in mind is that improving or declining by more than 10 games is pretty drastic. On some of these, I'm looking at something like a seven-game swing.
TOP FIVE TEAMS TO IMPROVE
1. Boston Red Sox. Well, let's see ... Last season Kevin Youkilis only played 102 games, Dustin Pedroia saw action in 75 and Jacoby Ellsbury just 18. Josh Beckett was either injured or ineffective all season. Meanwhile the Red Sox added Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to a team that won 89 games, despite all those injury woes -- and some underachieving from people like John Lackey. Easiest call on the board here, and even Yankees fans would have to concede this team is loaded.
2. Oakland A's. The pitching staff is stellar, even including the bullpen. The starting rotation is already really good and only getting better. The A's won 81 with one of the worst offenses in baseball last season. A full season of Coco Crisp, Kurt Suzuki bouncing back and the additions of Hideki Matsui and Josh Willingham don't exactly sound like adding Gonzalez and Crawford, but small improvements will do wonders for the pitching staff. Slugger Chris Carter is waiting in the wings, too, and don't be surprised if Billy Beane adds a bat at the deadline.
3. Colorado Rockies. Troy Tulowitzki needs to stay healthy and Dexter Fowler needs to get closer to his ceiling. I'm going out on a limb that both happen, along with steps forward from Chris Iannetta and Ian Stewart. Watch Jhoulys Chacin's development in the starting rotation, too. He's got big potential.
4. Milwaukee Brewers. This is contingent upon the big names staying healthy and Zack Greinke getting healthy as soon as possible, because this team is paper-thin. But the top line is very impressive. Plus, the division is not very good at all. The Brewers are going to score runs, get good starting pitching (again, assuming the health thing) and have a good back-end of the bullpen. If they can overcome defense and depth deficiencies, they'll win the Central.
5. Florida Marlins. Call it a bit of a gut call, but I really like the Marlins. The rotation really has great potential with Javier Vazquez returning to a pitcher's park in the NL East (he's apparently too intimidated by being a Yankee) and Ricky Nolasco having the ability to be a true No. 2 if he can ever stay consistent. Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad have -- again, this word -- potential to be solid at the end, with stud Josh Johnson leading the five-some. I love the outfield potential of Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan and Mike Stanton, so long as all three can stay healthy. Hanley Ramirez is primed to have a big season, too.
TOP FIVE TEAMS TO DECLINE
1. San Diego Padres. Removing Gonzalez from the middle of the batting order changes the complexion of everything. And Mat Latos is already hurt, which does nothing to alleviate the concern of the huge workload increase he's experienced over the past two seasons. Most of all, the Padres just seem outmanned by the Giants and Rockies. Winning close to 90 games seems outlandish. Of course, many people said that last year, too.
2. Houston Astros. They overachieved in a big way last season according to run differential (the 'Stros allowed 118 more runs than they scored) and aren't any better. Other than Hunter Pence, the position players are either getting old (Carlos Lee), still unproven (Brett Wallace) or just not that good (Jason Michaels, Bill Hall, Michael Bourn). I'm not a huge fan of the rotation, but it's going to have to carry the team. Good luck with that.
3. Tampa Bay Rays. This is difficult. It's hard to not love the Rays for being so good at sticking with the Yankees and Red Sox in the mighty AL East on that paltry payroll. The loss of Crawford hurts. Carlos Pena wasn't overly productive -- though he was much better than his batting average said -- last season, but his presence helps everyone else see better pitches. That goes away with Dan Johnson at first. The loss of Matt Garza isn't a big deal, so long as Jeremy Hellickson does his thing and James Shields returns to form. The bullpen is worse, though. Look, I'd pick the Rays to win the NL Central if they were in it, but the Yankees aren't any worse and the Red Sox are way better. The Orioles should be better as well. I think the Rays win in the ballpark of 86 games, but that's 10 worse than last year and good for third place.
4. Toronto Blue Jays. They're still building and are moving in the right direction, but winning 85 games again in that division is a very tall order. Any offensive bounce-back from the likes of Aaron Hill and Adam Lind is negated by Jose Bautista's return to this planet.
5. St. Louis Cardinals. If anyone can pull this off, it's Dave Duncan, but losing Adam Wainwright was a death blow. Chris Carpenter is old and injury-prone. Jaime Garcia is due a massive regression. Kyle Lohse was awful last year and Jake Westbrook doesn't have good stuff. Kyle McClellan could very well prove a solid No. 5 starter, but he hasn't exceeded 75 2/3 innings the past three seasons in the bullpen. Can he really double that and remain effective? The outfield defense won't do the staff any favors, either. The Pujols/Holliday/Rasmus combo -- and even Lance Berkman in a best-case scenario -- is very solid, but there's only going to be so much they can do on some nights. I feel like mid-to-high 70s in wins, but Duncan and Tony La Russa find ways to make people wrong often.
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Tags: Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, Adam Wainwright, Adrian Gonzalez, AL East, AL West, Albert Pujols, Anibal Sanchez, Astros, Athletics, Bill Hall, Billy Beane, Blue Jays, Brett Wallace, Brewers, Cardinals, Carl Crawford, Carlos Lee, Carlos Pena, Chris Carpenter, Chris Carter, Chris Coghlan, Chris Iannetta, Chris Volstad, Coco Crisp, Colby Rasmus, Dan Johnson, Dave Duncan, Dexter Fowler, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Hideki Matsui, Hunter Pence, Ian Stewart, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, James Shields, Jason Michaels, Javier Vazquez, Jeremy Hellickson, Jhoulys Chacin, John Lackey, Jose Bautista, Josh Beckett, Josh Johnson, Josh Willingham, Kevin Youkilis, Kurt Suzuki, Kyle Lohse, Kyle McClellan, Lance Berkman, Logan Morrison, Marlins, Mat Latos, Matt Garza, Matt Holliday, Michael Bourn, Mike Stanton, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Padres, Rays, Red Sox, Ricky Nolasco, Rockies, Troy Tulowitzki
Posted on: December 26, 2010 2:57 pm
Joyce, acquired in a deal for Edwin Jackson from the Tigers two seasons ago, cranked 10 home runs in just 261 plate appearances for the Rays with a .241/.360/.477 line. Joyce has good power potential and could help replace the void in the middle of the lineup left by Crawford and Carlos Pena.
While Joyce can play right field, the team is envisioning Ben Zobrist manning that position and making Jennings work for a spot on the big-league roster. It's possible (if not outright likely) the club will keep Jennings down until the early summer, ensuring he won't qualify for arbitration as a Super Two player.
Given the team has yet to find a solution at first base, it remains possible that Jennings could open the year with the club in left, Joyce in right and Zobrist manning first with Dan Johnson coming off the bench. Tampa also needs to find a DH and continue rebuilding their bullpen.
Most teams are done shopping and are now turning their attention to arbitration-eligible players, but the Rays still have plenty of work ahead of them.
-- Evan Brunell