Tag:Ian Stewart
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:02 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 7:57 pm
 

Spring primer: Chicago Cubs



By Matt Snyder


After watching the Cubs go from a 97-win club to a 71-win version in just four seasons, owner Tom Ricketts took serious action in 2011. He fired general manager Jim Hendry and landed his version of a big fish, in former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. Epstein took over as club president then added Jed Hoyer as general manager and Jason McLeod as senior vice president of scouting and player development, among other front office pieces. The new management group then hired Dale Sveum as the big-league manager and started to clean house. It's going to be a long process, but said process has begun in earnest.

Scott Miller's camp report: Cubs Giddy With Optimism | Likes, Dislikes

Major additions: OF David DeJesus, 1B Anthony Rizzo, 3B Ian Stewart, LHP Paul Maholm, RHP Chris Volstad, LHP Travis Wood
Major departures: RHP Carlos Zambrano, OF Tyler Colvin, RHP Andrew Cashner, 3B Aramis Ramirez, 1B Carlos Pena, LHP Sean Marshall, LHP John Grabow

Probable lineup
1. David DeJesus, RF
2. Starlin Castro, SS
3. Marlon Byrd, CF
4. Bryan LaHair, 1B
5. Alfonso Soriano, LF
6. Ian Stewart, 3B
7. Geovany Soto, C
8. Darwin Barney, 2B

Probable rotation
1. Matt Garza
2. Ryan Dempster
3. Paul Maholm
4. Randy Wells
5. Travis Wood

Chris Volstad will also be in the mix, but I gave Wood the nod because he's left-handed.

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Carlos Marmol
Set-up: Kerry Wood, Jeff Samardzija

Important bench players

IF Jeff Baker, C Welington Castillo, OF Tony Campana, OF Reed Johnson

Prospects to watch
There are two here in particular that could make an impact in 2012: OF Brett Jackson and 1B Anthony Rizzo. It's entirely possible both are in the lineup come August. With Rizzo, it's a matter of whether or not LaHair can hit in the majors long-term -- as he could merely be one of those so-called Quadruple-A players. If that is the case and Rizzo is hitting well in Triple-A, the Cubs might well decide to turn to Rizzo. With Jackson, he's blocked all over the outfield, however, center field could easily be cleared in July. If the Cubs fall out of contention prior to the trade deadline -- and let's face it, that's a pretty good bet -- Byrd is a great trade candidate (sorry, I don't think the Cubs can deal Soriano just yet due to his contract). Byrd is in the final year of his contract and can play all three outfield positions, so surely some contender would cough up one mid-tier prospect for him. If that happens, the logical step for the Cubs would be to see how Jackson fared in center field for the final two months to determine if he can stay there or if he needs to be moved to a corner.

Fantasy sleeper: Bryan LaHair
"Usually, when a player in his late 20s puts up eye-popping numbers at Triple-A like a .331 batting average, 38 homers and 1.070 OPS, he's dismissed right away as a Quadruple-A player, but apparently the Cubs' front office thinks LaHair is different -- and not just because of his impressive 59 at-bat stint in the majors last year. The experiment could still be a failure of Kila Ka'aihue proportions, which is why you shouldn't bother with LaHair in mixed leagues, but late in NL-only formats, why not?" - Scott White [Full Cubs team fantasy preview]

Fantasy bust: Carlos Marmol
"If blown saves were Marmol's only problem, it'd be one thing, but the bottom line is he's not the efficient out-getter that Epstein and Hoyer would like their closer to be. His walk rate is as bad as it gets, and as a result, he's always pitching out of jams. Sure, his high strikeout rate helps compensate for it, but if he produces anything short of a best-in-the-league-type hit rate, his WHIP is in the danger zone." - Scott White [Full Cubs team fantasy preview]

Optimistic outlook
The deep pitching staff throws well and pays immediate dividends, as the bullpen improves with much better rest. Plus, behind the changes in right field and third base, the defense is also improved. Even Marmol's control issues drastically dwindle. LaHair and Stewart prove they can hit major-league pitching throughout the season and DeJesus turns out a perfect leadoff man for the suddenly balanced offense. And the Cubs find themselves right in the thick of the NL Central race with the Cardinals, Reds and Brewers until the end of the season, possibly even finishing somewhere in the top three.

Pessimistic outlook
By the end of July, Garza, Dempster and Byrd are all traded as the Cubs have no shot of making the playoffs. The Cubs try to avoid the cellar in a battle with the Astros, but continue the rebuilding effort and look forward to hitting the 2013 free agency class full-steam (less than $40 million is committed to 2013 payroll so far). Really, this is more realistic than pessimistic, because as much as the Cubs' coaches, players and front office say they're trying to win this year, it's obvious this is a two-year plan at the absolute minimum.

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Posted on: December 4, 2011 11:30 am
Edited on: December 4, 2011 7:25 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Colorado Rockies

Troy Tulowitzki

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.

Building a team in Colorado has been a bit of a conundrum throughout the Rockies' brief history -- the offensive numbers will come in the elevation, while pitchers have to be homegrown because free agent pitchers aren't exactly lining up to play in the high altitude.

Lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Seth Smith, RF
3. Troy Tulowitzki, SS
4. Matt Holliday, LF
5. Todd Helton, 1B
6. Juan Uribe, 3B
7. Chris Iannetta, C
8. Clint Barmes, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Ubaldo Jimenez
2. Jhoulys Chacin
3. Jake Westbrook
4. Aaron Cook
5. Jeff Francis

Bullpen

Closer - Franklin Morales
Set up - Luis Ayala, Jamey Wright, Pedro Strop, Edgmer Escalona, Rex Brothers, Matt Reynolds
Long - Juan Nicasio

Notable Bench Players

Wilin Rosario and Josh Bard give this team a good stable of catchers, while Everth Cabrera, Chone Figgins, Ian Stewart, Juan Pierre and Ryan Spilborghs give the team some veratile players in the field, with Brad Hawpe perhaps the best bat off the bench.

What's Good?

The lineup's going to score some runs, that's for sure. Especially in Colorado, having a 3-4 of Tulowitzki and Holliday is going to be impressive. Of course, there's not Carlos Gonzalez, so it's pretty much even compared to the regular team. The team is strong up the middle defensively, which it will need...

What's Not?

The pitching staff is similar to what we saw in real life in 2011, with Chacin leading the way and Jimenez struggling before being traded. Westbrook helps, but you have to remember he wasn't even on the Cardinals' playoff roster for the first two rounds and pitched two innings in the World Series. The bullpen is deep, but not overpowering.

Comparison to real 2011

The wheels fell off the Rockies in 2011, with the team going a disappointing 73-89. The offense on this team is similar, while the pitching (especially the bullpen) is not as good -- that formula adds up to another losing season and probably a 90-loss season.

Next: Arizona Diamondbacks

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 29, 2011 4:01 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 4:32 pm
 

Tuesday rumors: Dotel, Thornton and more

Rumor Mill
By Matt Snyder

There's going to be tons of rumor talk this week, as we inch closer to the Winter Meetings next week. That goes without saying. Some stuff will pan out and other rumors will never come to fruition.

Since not every reader is sitting on Twitter all day, we'll pass along as much as we can. Let's run through a quick snapshot of some of the more minor rumors from Tuesday morning and early afternoon. Remember, these are reports from other outlets that we're just passing along. Feel free to believe or ignore whatever you wish.

• Right-handed reliever Octavio Dotel -- who was an important member of the Cardinals bullpen after a midseason trade -- is drawing interest from a handful of teams, reports indicate. MLB.com says the Mets and Cardinals are in the running while FoxSports.com names the Cardinals, Reds and Tigers. Dotel is 38, but posted a high strikeout rate for the Cardinals (11.7 K/9, his best since '08) and threw well in the postseason.

• The White Sox are trying to trade left-handed reliever Matt Thornton, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Thornton is owed $12 million over the course of the next two seasons. The 35-year-old was excellent from 2008-2010 but took a step back in 2011. Of course, if you look at just June 5 to the end of the season, he was back to himself (2.20 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 44 K in 41 innings).

• The Cubs have interest in Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart (via trade), reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post, though Renck notes the level of "seriousness is unclear." Stewart makes a lot of sense as a trade candidate. Once a top-10 prospect (Baseball America had him as high as fourth in all of baseball), Stewart hit 25 homers for Colorado in 2009. But he's been unable to fix his issues with strikeouts, batting average or consistency and seems to have fallen out of favor. He'd probably come cheap, so the Cubs plugging him at third base -- with Aramis Ramirez headed out via free agency -- could work. Stewart's only 26, so maybe a change of scenery would help.

• The Dodgers are speaking with representatives for Adam Kennedy, reports MLB Trade Rumors. Kennedy would simply serve as a multi-positional backup infielder. The 35-year-old hit .234/.277/.355 last season for the Mariners. He'd be shaky at shortstop, but could handle first, second or third just fine.

• The Marlins are interested in Carlos Guillen, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com. The three-time All-Star is now 36 and has only averaged 72 games a year in the past four seasons due to injury woes. He'd also likely be simply a multi-positional backup or late-innings pinch hitter.

• This isn't a rumor, but we'll throw it in here. The Phillies have released relief pitcher Scott Mathieson so he can pursue a contract in Asia, the club announced via press release.

Hat-tip: MLB Trade Rumors

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Posted on: November 7, 2011 3:00 pm
 

Monday trade sets stage for busy Hot Stove season



By Matt Snyder


Sure, Derek Lowe was dealt to the Indians in a salary dump and we've seen a few signings, but things have been pretty slow of late in Major League Baseball news. When the biggest name to sign a contract with a new team thus far is a backup first baseman/pinch-hitter (Jim Thome), it says everything you need to know about this past week in actual transactions. So forgive us for loving Melky Cabrera and Jonathan Sanchez swapping addresses. It's something, and it serves as a nice little unofficial start to the Hot Stove season.

With just one week to the general manager meetings in Milwaukee, it's time to focus on other potential trade candidates. Obviously rumors don't always come to fruition and we're shocked with non-rumored trades going down on occasion, but here are some names that either make sense or have been rumored to be on the move in the recent past.

• The White Sox's farm system is in absolute shambles and the major-league club doesn't appear ready to compete with the Tigers any time soon, so it's possible general manager Kenny Williams decides to rebuild. Since Adam Dunn and Alex Rios have no trade value, Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Carlos Quentin would be the parts most likely to move.

Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie is a free agent after the 2012 season and he could be a helpful four or five starter for a contender. He's thrown at least 190 innings in each of the past four seasons.

Hot Stove Season
• Do new Cubs executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer look to cut the sunk costs of Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano? They'd have to eat a significant portion of the remaining salaries (and for Soriano it's $54 million left on the deal), but the duo isn't helping the Cubs win in 2012. Also, Marlon Byrd only has one year left on his contract and prospect Brett Jackson will likely be ready to take over in center soon. The guess is Byrd has more value by the trade deadline in '12, though.

Rays center fielder B.J. Upton has long been rumored to be a trade candidate, and this winter it might finally happen with Desmond Jennings clearly ready to take over in center. Also, if the Rays are ready to deal a starting pitcher, Jeff Niemann is most likely.

Denard Span was rumored to be a trade candidate back in July, and the Twins could part with their center fielder to shore up the pitching staff.

We've already heard the rumors about Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado from Atlanta, but it's possible since talks fizzled with the Royals that the Braves just hold both.

• Do the Angels try to shed Alberto Callaspo and/or Maicer Izturis and then land free agent Aramis Ramirez at third? They probably would need to shed more payroll in order to do so.

• Starting pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers could easily be on the move from Houston, but the guess is the ownership situation would need to be resolved first.

• After a disappointing 2011 season, the Rockies have plenty of trade candidates. Chris Iannetta probably stays put, but Huston Street, Ian Stewart, Seth Smith and Ty Wigginton all make sense in potential deals.

Dodgers first baseman James Loney finished 2011 with a bang, which might mean it's the Dodgers last chance to get something of value in return for him. There are a few small-market matches, too, including the Indians.

• Finally, as we've already noted, the A's have put basically the entire team on the block.

So fasten your seatbelts, the action has only just begun.

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Posted on: October 5, 2011 2:00 pm
 

Rockies to go hard after David Wright

WrightBy Evan Brunell

The Rockies had quite a disappointing season, missing 90 losses by one measly game and extending their postseason drought to two years. Colorado's serious about arresting its decline and ensuring that the team can contend with Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez under contract and to that end plan to be aggressive in its pursuit of third baseman David Wright of the Mets, the Denver Post writes.

Heralded prospect Ian Stewart failed spectacularly, Ty Wigginton left such a sour taste in Colorado's mouth they want to deal him even it means eating money, and Jordan Pachecho isn't anyone's idea of a viable player even if he could succeed in a platoon. None of these names are the slugging right-handed bat the club craves to protect Tulowitzki in the order and drop Todd Helton to sixth. Wright can be that man, but the Mets don't intend on dealing the face of the franchise, especially with fellow star player Jose Reyes set to hit free agency. (Read Eye on Baseball's R.I.P covering the Mets, in which it is recommended the team let Reyes walk.)

The Rockies would certainly have to give up some of their starting pitching depth in any deal with the Mets, as GM Sandy Alderson is keying in on those positions. Colorado could also theoretically ship Wigginton to New York as a temporary fill-in, and the team could also discuss top third-base prospect Nolan Arenado. If Wright is a no-go, the team could revisit a trade for the Pirates' Pedro Alvarez or San Diego's Chase Headley, whom the club attempted to get earlier in the season. The Rockies would trade away Stewart in that case, although the team is loathe to part with Stewart at the nadir of his value. Still, the club is sufficiently frustrated enough with Stewart and his lack of preparation for 2011 to be ready to move on.

"He has to make baseball his first priority from the start of the winter until the end of it," Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd said. "If he's willing to do that, we are willing to give him another opportunity."

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Posted on: July 25, 2011 10:54 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 12:16 pm
 

Trade Deadline Primer: NL West

By Matt Snyder

We conclude our series of primers for the MLB trade deadline with the home of the defending World Series champions: The NL West. It feels pretty obvious here, as there are two teams in it, two definitely out of it and one just kind of lingering in mediocrity.

San Francisco Giants
Status: Buyers.
Needs: Offense. Offense. Offense.
Notes: The Giants did already trade for Jeff Keppinger and promoted prospect Brandon Belt to the majors in an attempt to jumpstart their offense. Still, they may not be done. Outfield, shortstop and catcher would seem the obvious spots where an offensive upgrade would help, and the word is they'd rather add salary than give up prospects. Carlos Beltran's name has been prominent when it comes to the Giants making a move, but B.J. Upton's name has surfaced as a possible alternative. Plus, general manager Brian Sabean told reporters the Giants aren't close to getting Beltran (SFgate.com). Ivan Rodriguez would make sense as a half-season rental behind the plate, but he's injured and not coming back anytime soon. Sabean also recently said he wants to significantly upgrade the offense, but doesn't feel as if any moves are imminent (MLB.com). So it sounds as if the Giants will be quiet at least for the first half of this week. But remember, the July 31 deadline is only a non-waiver trade deadline. Players can pass through waivers and be traded in August, and that's how the Giants landed postseason hero Cody Ross last season.

MLB Trade Deadline
Arizona Diamondbacks
Status: Buyers.
Needs: Pitching. Big bat.
Notes: The Snakes are reportedly after pitching of all kinds (Fox Sports). Wandy Rodriguez's name has come up in rumors, but the Astros have been said to be asking for a lot in return. Maybe the asking price comes down as the deadline gets closer. He's really the only starting pitcher heavily involved in rumors to the D-Backs. Otherwise, it's been all relievers' names that have surfaced. Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports the D-Backs are focused on less-expensive, veteran relief pitchers. The following names have all been connected in at least semi-legitimate rumors: Jason Isringhausen, Kerry Wood, Brad Ziegler, Jason Frasor, Frank Francisco, Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch. Obviously, there are bound to be more guys on the radar of the D-Backs and not all those names would work. Wood, for example, is very unlikely to leave Chicago. Basically, it sounds as if the Diamondbacks will be relatively quiet as they tinker a bit with the bullpen. But things can easily change. UPDATE: Shortly after this posting, the Diamondbacks were reported to be a great fit for Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena.

Colorado Rockies
Status: Sellers.
Players available: Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta, Huston Street, Rafael Betancourt, Jason Giambi, Matt Belisle, Ty Wigginton, Aaron Cook ... Ubaldo Jimenez?
Notes: Well, the big name here is obviously Jimenez, but the Rockies want an absolute killing in return. It would actually be pretty shocking to see him dealt, as it seems as if his name was only floated so the Rockies could get a realistic reading of his value. Instead, the focus with Rockies rumors should be more on the players most likely to be traded. There aren't many quality catchers on the open market, and Iannetta is reportedly expendable because of minor-league backstops Jordan Pacheco and Wilin Rosario, according to Peter Gammons of MLB Network. MLB.com reports that Street, Belisle and Betancourt are available for the right price, also adding that Cook could be had -- if anyone would want him. Tracy Ringolsby of Fox Sports reported that the Rockies are fielding calls about Street and Betancourt, and also threw Ryan Spilborghs in the mix. Troy Renck of the Denver Post echoed a few of the above names and also threw in Ty Wigginton. Gammons then reported the Rockies aren't interested in moving Spilborghs. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has reported that Jason Giambi is garnering interest. Though the slugger reportedly wants to stay, he'll discuss any possible moves with the ballclub. Finally, one-time prospect Ian Stewart cannot seem to get things going and a change of scenery would probably be in the best interest of all involved parties. Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post reports the Rockies had been playing Stewart more frequently than usual because they were hoping another team saw something it liked and dealt for him. To sum things up, the Rockies are out of the race this season, but have a strong, young core and could easily compete in 2012. They'll likely only sell pieces that aren't part of the nucleus or could be replaced.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Status: Sellers.
Players available: Hiroki Kuroda, Rafael Furcal, Jamey Carroll.
Notes: If you're pining for your favorite team to land Matt Kemp in a blockbuster deal, you're going to be doing so for quite a long time. Kemp -- along with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Rubby De La Rosa and Dee Gordon -- is unavailable as part of the future nucleus (MLB.com). Note the absence of Andre Ethier's name on that list. His name hasn't popped up much in legitimate rumors, but you never know. The Dodgers are pressed for money, and he's due a decent chunk next season before becoming a free agent after 2012. Much of the focus here has centered on Kuroda, though, and he's the most likely to be moved. General manager Ned Colletti has said he's ready to start dealing and is looking at 2012 (OC Register), so any prospects coming back would have to be nearly major-league ready. The Tigers are reportedly front-runners for Kuroda (Jeff Passan of Yahoo!), with the Brewers, Rangers and Indians in the mix. The Red Sox and Yankees are also reportedly interested, but Kuroda has said he's unsure if he wants to go to the East Coast and may use his no-trade clause to avoid the situation. Of course, now he's saying he's keeping his options open (Fox Sports). CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler notes that a trade might only be for two months, as Kuroda's a free agent at season's end and the Dodgers could just sign him back. Knobler said the Dodgers expect Kuroda to be pitching with them in 2012, if he stays in America. There have been whispers about Carroll heading to the Brewers and Furcal is surely available if a contender wants to take a shot at him staying healthy. Simply put, expect the Dodgers to be aggressive in dealing parts that aren't essential to building a contender for next season.

San Diego Padres
Status: Sellers.
Players available: Heath Bell, Ryan Ludwick, Mike Adams, Aaron Harang, Chad Qualls and maybe more.
Notes: We talked to Corey Brock of MLB.com -- the Padres beat writer -- and he said they love Adams, see him as a possible replacement for Bell, but he's not off the table. Brock also said they need a young, controllable shortstop and a catcher. General manager Jed Hoyer reportedly said he's going to make multiple deals to get prospects and the ballclub is not in the position to have any untouchables (Marty Caswell). As far as Adams goes, we've seen a report that he's not going to be traded and a report that the report wasn't true. So, yeah, your guess is as good as ours. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports that the Padres' trade talks are focusing on moving Bell, Qualls, Ludwick and Harang. Crasnick also notes that Jason Bartlett is going to remain in San Diego. On the other hand, Bell himself has said he expects to be traded. The Tigers have been said to be interested in Harang heavily, which is interesting because of the Kuroda-to-Tigers rumors. Ludwick has been connected to the Indians, Red Sox, Phillies, Reds and more. Adams and Bell have been rumored to pretty much every team in the race that is seeking bullpen help. The bottom line is that the Padres look to be the busiest team in the division and are looking to stock their farm system.

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Posted on: July 5, 2011 3:23 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 3:24 pm
 

Shorthanded, Rockies bring back Ian Stewart

By Evan Brunell

StewartIan Stewart has received the call to the majors again, but this time will only serve as a bench player, the Denver Post's Troy Renck reports on Twitter, with other sources confirming.

Stewart was once considered as Colorado's third baseman of the present and future, but that's changed as he's battled to stay relevant at the major-league level. He's hitting just .064/.154/.085 in a brutal slump on the year for the Rockies, earning two separate demotions to Triple-A. From 2008-10, Stewart racked up a .246/.334/.454 line in 1,236 plate appearances with 53 home runs, so the 26-year-old certainly looked ready for a full-time job.

Now, he's essentially a forgotten man despite ripping Triple-A up to the tune of a .269/.356/.581 in 44 games, bashing 14 home runs. This is a guy who can produce; he just needs a longer leash or a change of scenery. Unfortunately, he'll get neither as Renck says he is strictly a bench player. Colorado is shorthanded due to day-to-day injuries to Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, the team's two best hitters.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 26, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: May 26, 2011 10:43 am
 

Pepper: Assessing chances of a K-Rod trade



By Evan Brunell

K-ROD TRADEABLE? For a while now, Francisco Rodriguez's $17.5 million vesting option has been seen as a major roadblock to any trade.

Rodriguez is a fine closer, but a $17.5 million figure for a closer is rather exorbitant, especially in recent years as the market for closers has appeared to plateau. K-Rod needs to finish at least 55 games for that option to vest, and he's at 18 through almost two full months. That puts him on pace to clear the threshold by the end of the year for New York, unless the Mets trade him first.

While Rodriguez could be traded to a setup role which would take care of that pesky games-finished requirement, reporter Andy Martino writes that his value as a closer may not be half-bad after all. He cites Rodriguez's dominant on-field play with his new personality off it, with Rodriguez demonstrating remorse for previous actions. It could be a good move for a team comfortable with trading for K-Rod to head up the ninth. It also helps that Rodriguez has expressed a willingness to tear up his current option and renegotiate a new deal.

Lost in this article is the bottom line: Rodriguez won't negotiate away his vesting option unless he stands to benefit by getting an extended contract from the team dealing for him. Helping matters is that K-Rod is willing to consider any team, even one of the 10 teams that are currently blocked thanks to a no-trade clause. But the bottom line remains: there's no reason for Rodriguez to tear up his 2012 option if he doesn't get something out of it. That kind of money over one season is well worth it to Rodriguez, who could then go get another big-money deal after 2012.

But working in favor of the Mets is Rodriguez's $3.5 million buyout. If New York agrees to fund the buyout -- which it must pay regardless of the option vesting -- other teams may change their perception of Rodriguez's value. Instead of digging into their pockets in free agency to sign the likes of Heath Bell and Jonathan Papebon, a team could address the K-Rod issue by having the Mets pick up $3.5 million at the trade deadline, giving the acquiring team one-and-a-half years of Rodriguez at a 2012 price of $14 million. Still hefty, but not outlandish and worth the price of doing business on a short deal. And as we've learned, short deals for closers is a smart route to go. (New York Daily News)

BOBBLEHEAD CURSE
: Sure, Omar Minaya was a pretty bad GM in New York and now Fred Wilpon is on a media blitz designed to tell his side of the story but is only complicating things more. And yet, what might be to blame are bobbleheads, part of a yearly giveaway. Previous bobblehead players have ended up injured or ineffective after garnering the honor. This year's recipient? Ike Davis, currently on the DL. (New York Times)

NO TROUT
: How tired do you think manager Mike Scioscia is of answering questions about 19-year-old prodigy Mike Trout? He continued to deflect any speculation that Trout would be called to the majors despite tearing up the minors and seeing L.A. limp along in left field with Alexi Amarista and Reggie Willits, although he did crack the door open for a promotion in a month. "I think that's a huge risk to take with a player with his upside," Scioscia said. "We see the growth in Mike. He's made an incredible amount of progress from last year to now. He's bridging that gap. Maybe in a month, this would be a different conversation, but right now, there's some growth he needs to be ready for that challenge of the major leagues." (Los Angeles Times)

WELLS ON MEND
: Angels left fielder Vernon Wells made progress in his return from a groin strain. He's not ahead of schedule, but underwent light agility drills and came away without complaint. (Los Angeles Times)

MY TURN: Mike Fontenot knows what groin strains feel like -- he just suffered one Thursday night that will probably get him on the 15-day DL. That's bad news for S.F., which already had a tattered left side of the infield. (San Francisco Chronicle)

RUNNER'S LUCK: The Giants also saw Darren Ford hobbled by a lateral sprain on his left ankle that will likely see the pinch-runner hit the DL. Bruce Bochy said there it would be "a longshot" for Brandon Belt to replace Ford on the roster. More likely is Ryan Rohlinger or Travis Ishikawa. (San Jose Mercury News)

STANTON'S BOMBS: Florida Marlins sluggger Mike Stanton is an attraction during batting practice these days. In San Francisco he drew applause from Giants fans as he launched home runs, including a standing ovation for a batting practice moonshot that went more than 500 feet. The applause quickly dissipated when he carried his home-run swing over into the game. (Palm Beach Post)

CASH IN THE BULLPEN
: When Andrew Cashner returns from his injury, bet on him moving into the bullpen. "When you miss a few months with an arm injury you cannot just go right back to pitching six innings or more when you return so I would think that he would be in the pen when he does come back this season," Cubs manager Jim Hendry said. If true, the Cubs are going to have to find another starting pitcher somewhere. They're so close in getting Casey Coleman out of the rotation, but still have Doug Davis to contend with, with only Coleman as depth. (CSNChicago.com)

SIZEMORE NEAR: Grady Sizemore has come through his rehab work so nicely that he may actually be activated the first game he is eligible for, which is Friday. His replacement on the major-league roster, Ezequiel Carrera, was seen shaking hands with teammates. Sizemore ran the bases prior to Wednesday's game and came through with no issues, putting him on track to be activated for the weekend series. (MLB.com)

BAD STEW: Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart pulled his hamstring in a game in Triple-A on Wednesday, so it looks like he will be out of action for a couple of weeks. Just another bad day in a line of bad days for Stewart this season. (Denver Post)

NO. 2: With the Mariners a surprising game under .500 and a weekend series with the Yankees coming up, Seattle needs to find a way to boost its offense if they hope to come away with a series win. How about batting Brendan Ryan, in the midst of a hot month, second in the order? (Seattle Times)

THOLE DIVE: In this day and age, if you mess up, you can bet everyone will soon be giggling at a .GIF of it. Josh Thole is no exception. (SB Nation)

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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