Tag:Javier Lopez
Posted on: January 25, 2012 3:26 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 4:41 pm
 

Edwin Jackson, Roy Oswalt top free agents left



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:

Ivan RodriguezCatcher: 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.

Derrek LeeFirst 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.

Jeff KeppingerSecond 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.

Mark TeahenThird 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.

Ryan TheriotShortstop: 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.

Yoenis CespedesOutfield: 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.

Johnny DamonDesignated 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.

Edwin JacksonStarting 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.

Arthur RhodesRelief 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 WheelerDamaso 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.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.

Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:43 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 11:02 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Arizona Diamondbacks



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

If you're exhausted by the constant rumors we're circulating at the Winter Meetings, here's your fun little break. Today's installment of Homegrown brings the most powerful team in the bigs. Everyday in Chase Field would be like this past All-Star break's Home Run Derby. And the fans wouldn't even have to boo the entire time.

Lineup

1. Stephen Drew, SS
2. Miguel Montero, C
3. Justin Upton, RF
4. Carlos Gonzalez, CF
5. Dan Uggla, 2B
6. Carlos Quentin, LF
7. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
8. Mark Reynolds, 3B

Starting Rotation

1. Jorge De La Rosa
2. Brett Anderson
3. Max Scherzer
4. Josh Collmenter
5. Chris Capuano

Both De La Rosa and Anderson had season-ending surgeries in the real 2011 season, so if they did, we'd have to turn to Brad Penny and Ross Ohlendorf. We also have first-rounders Jarrod Parker and Trevor Bauer waiting in the wings. And good ol' Brandon Webb, too.

Bullpen

Closer - Jose Valverde
Set up - Javier Lopez, Sergio Santos, Daniel Schlereth, Vicente Padilla, Esmerling Vasquez
Long - Penny, Ohlendorf, Micah Owings

Notable Bench Players

Rod Barajas, Chris Snyder, Lyle Overbay, Conor Jackson, Scott Hairston, Emilio Bonifacio, Gerardo Parra

What's Good?

Wow, that's some serious power in the lineup. If everyone stayed healthy for a full season, there's every reason to believe all eight hitters would have at least 20 home runs, with Montero and Drew really being the only questions there. A handul of them would hit more than 30. So, yes, the power of the offense immediately jumps out, but really everything is pretty good here. There is depth, a solid rotation -- albeit injury-riddled -- and a good closer with quality setup men.

What's Not?

Reynolds is a butcher at third base. If Anderson and De La Rosa both fell injured before Bauer and Parker were ready, the rotation would become awfully thin. Even if they stayed healthy, there isn't a bona fide ace. The outfield defense isn't great, with Gonzalez and Quentin, but it isn't awful either.

Comparison to real 2011

The real Diamondbacks went 94-68 and won the NL West before bowing out in Game 5 of the NLDS to the Brewers. This team would be every bit that good, if not better -- and again, being that this is a hypothetical exercise, we're hypothetically assuming health to the top two starting pitchers. If this team played like it was capable, it could very well be a World Series champion.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 30, 2011 7:32 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2011 5:57 pm
 

Sabathia, Scutaro and more free agency notes

By Matt Snyder

Sunday morning officially marked the beginning of free agency in Major League Baseball. 148 players filed for free agency, and teams now have exclusivity on retaining their free agents until Thursday at 12:01 a.m. ET. Lots of smallish news broke Sunday with nothing really major, so let's check it all out here in a fun little bullet-pointed post for your perusal.

• The Yankees were expected to offer a contract extension to CC Sabathia this weekend (Jon Heyman) and ESPN New York reports they have done as much -- citing a source who said: "We believe it is a very fair offer, but we haven't heard anything back yet.''

Sabathia is signed through 2015, but he has an opt-out clause in his contract, and he's expected to do exercise it -- per multiple reports and common sense -- in order to get a longer and more lucrative deal.

• The Red Sox announced via press release that they have picked up shortstop Marco Scutaro's option for 2012, which is for $6 million. It's a bit of a birthday present, as he turned 36 Sunday.

More Free Agency
• The Cubs and Aramis Ramirez had a $16 million mutual option. The Cubs elected to exercise it, but Ramirez -- as has been expected for months -- declined it (Chicago Sun Times). So he'll be a free agent, and he's basically the only viable everyday third baseman on the market.

• The Giants have exercised relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt's $5 million option for 2012 (Henry Schulman). You might recall Affeldt's 2011 season ended when he badly sliced open his hand while trying to separate some frozen hamburgers.

• The Giants also agreed to a two-year, $8.5 million contract with fellow left-handed reliever Javier Lopez.

• The Cardinals will exercise Yadier Molina's $7 million option, reports MLB.com's Matthew Leach.

• The Red Sox have not made an offer to Jonathan Papelbon, reports WEEI.com.

• The Brewers have declined their options on relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, making both free agents.

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

Posted on: July 29, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 6:51 pm
 

Looking back at impact of 2010 deadline deals

Westbrook

By Evan Brunell

As we hurtle toward the trade deadline on Sunday, it can be instructive to take a look back to the previous trade deadline. Looking at just the 30th and 31st, we see 13 trades were completed, with 10 on the day of reckoning. It's possible there could be a similar amount of deals this time around, but keep in mind that many teams are still in the postseason hunt, so that does limit the number of sellers and buyers.

Last season's deadline lacked one true blockbuster player, thanks to Cliff Lee being traded way back on July 9. That could change this year, with the increasing likelihood that both Hunter Pence and Ubaldo Jimenez will be traded, but last season still provides a good barometer of what to expect.

Many always think about the biggest names on the free agent market when the trade deadline rolls around, but players like Austin Kearns, Javier Lopez, Will Ohman and others were also on the move. It's not just big names teams deal for, and you'll see plenty of these small deals happen, even if they end up being insignificant in the long run.

Last year's deals can be broken up into three groups of similar size. Obviously, every team wants to be in the "paying dividends" category, but there are some that just plain "worked out," plus others that were irrelevant, either now or as early as the second the trade took place.

PAYING DIVIDENDS
There's a bit of a mix of trades in here. We've got those that instantly bore fruit for the buyer, with Jake Westbrook helping to solidify what was a flagging rotation at the time. Interestingly enough, Edwin Jackson was just acquired by St. Louis to (wait for it...) solidify a flagging rotation -- and here he is, represented in this list from a year ago when Chicago's Kenny Williams irrationally sent Hudson and Holmberg packing for Jackson, whom he hoped to flip for Adam Dunn before Washington walked away. (And that deal, by the way, has worked out just splendidly for Arizona.)

Another mid-rotation starter was dealt in the Cubs deal, but Chicago walked away the losers. They thought they were getting a possible starting second baseman in DeWitt, but instead he's been buried on the bench. (The jury is still out on Smit and Wallach, but don't hold your breath; DeWitt was the main piece) The real winner has turned out to be L.A. with Ted Lilly, who pitched well down the stretch then re-upped with the team. He's struggling this year, but is still a solid starter.

MLB Trade Deadline
You may think it odd the Royals/Braves trade is on this list, especially since Ankiel and Farnsworth are gone from Atlanta and two of three players heading back to Kansas City were no one of note, but Tim Collins is certainly of note. The fireballing lefty has been fantastic for the Royals in his rookie season, posting up a 3.49 ERA in 49 innings. If he firms up his control, he could become an elite setup man. Heck, even if not, this trade has already paid off.

Another team that considered itself buyers but ended up shooting itself in the foot was the Dodgers, who sent away James McDonald for Octavio Dotel, a pitcher that was later moved to the Rockies, signed with the Blue Jays and was dealt again to the Cardinals along with Edwin Jackson. McDonald has been a dependable middle of the rotation starter, something that was already the case when he was traded. This deal was flat out dumb, but the Pirates are certainly happy.

The last trade was a swap between two contenders hoping for fresh starts. Texas wanted its haul to help restock the farm system to deliver dividends down the road while Boston was hoping to strike gold with Saltalamacchia. After getting the year off to a bad start, Salty is hitting .287/.359/.544 since May 15.

Sometimes, it's those trades taking fliers on players or sellers taking advantage of buyers to come out ahead just a year later.

WORKED OUT
  • Yankees acquired 1B Lance Berkman and cash considerations from Houston for RHP Mark Melancon and INF Jimmy Paredes.
  • Yankees acquired RHP Kerry Wood and cash from Cleveland for a player to be named or cash.
  • Pirates acquired RHP Joseph Martinez and OF John Bowker from San Francisco for LHP Javier Lopez.
These trades here all essentially worked out, but not for typical reasons you would expect.

Mark Melancon was the true prize in the Berkman trade, and has established himself as the closer in Houston. Of course, he won't get many save chances, but has racked up 10 in 49 1/3 innings, posting a 3.10 ERA while Berkman was just a passing wind, but now the Yankees get to claim that yet another 90-00s star wore pinstripes if only for a second, a la Ivan Rodriguez. Ditto the Kerry Wood deal, but Wood was actually lights out down the stretch and was a major boon to New York. This is one deal that doesn't matter anymore, but was huge for the final months of 2010.

Javier Lopez, of course, walked away with a ring in San Francisco and developed into a devastating weapon in the playoffs, giving up nothing of consequence.

IRRELEVANT
  • Indians traded OF Austin Kearns to the New York Yankees in exchange for a player to be named or cash.
  • Orioles traded LHP Will Ohman to Florida for RHP Rick VandenHurk.
  • Diamondbacks acquired OF Ryan Church, INF Bobby Crosby and RHP D.J. Carrasco from Pittsburgh for C Chris Snyder, INF Pedro Ciriaco and cash considerations.
  • Rays acquired RHP Chad Qualls from Arizona for a player to be named.
  • Tigers traded OF Wilkin Ramirez to Atlanta for a player to be named or cash considerations.
  • Braves traded OF Mitch Jones to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash.
These deals are irrelevant, so we won't write much about them. But note that just as many deals paying dividends were made as irrelevant deals. Some of these, like Qualls or Snyder, were flyers that just didn't work out. It happens, but you can't blame the teams for trying. Most of these, though, were minor deals that didn't affect much of anything.

So what have we learned? The takeaways should be this: The one player that you may see in a trade deadline and not register at all may end up walking away the best player in the deal, and it may not take years for that to happen. And that for all the hubbub around big names being traded, most of the deals that go down are of the garden variety. A small deal can win a World Series (ask the Giants) just as much as a blockbuster.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 16, 2011 1:39 am
 

Bochy to use Giant bias for All-Star nods

Sergio Romo

By C. Trent Rosecrans

When filling out the roster for the All-Star team, National League manager Bruce Bochy said he'll have at least one easy tie-breaker -- if the player is a Giant, he will get the nod.

"I'll try to be fair, but I'll be biased, to be honest," Bochy told reporters, including Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. "If I can get guys from my club on there, I'll do it. That's the prerogative you get as manager."

That attitude is far from unusual, even if it's not really fair. But as long as the current system is in place, it'll continue to happen. And while I don't necessarily like it, I do understand it. As a manager, your No. 1 priority is your own team and its well-being. If you can boost the confidence or reward one of your own players and get them in your corner, you're going to do it. Bochy will do it, Ron Washington will do it and I would do it if I were in their shoes. It's just the way it is. Last season Joe Girardi named eight Yankees to the All-Star team and according to Baggarly, since 1996 pennant winners have averaged 4.7 representatives in the game.

However, Bochy is looking at doing one thing differently in picking his All-Star squad -- loading up on middle relievers. Bochy said he is looking hard at adding the likes of his set-up men, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez to the team. He also said he's giving serious consideration to Atlanta's Jonny Venters and Washington's Tyler Clippard. All four are certainly worthy, especially over a pitcher earning cheap saves for a bad team.

Really, who is more deserving of an All-Star spot -- Leo Nunez and Huston Street, or Venters and Romo?

Nunez and Street each have 19 saves -- one fewer than league-leader Brian Wilson (a Giant who will likely get an All-Star nod) -- but Nunez has a 3.77 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, while Street has a 3.69 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Meanwhile, Romo has a 2.29 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP (in fewer innings, to be sure) and Venters (who has more innings than either Nunez or Street) has a 0.44 ERA and a 0.74 WHIP. Venters may be baseball's best reliever right now, if he's not an All-Star this season, nobody is.

The All-Star manager picking more middle relievers is another move away from a reliance on the save stat -- and with expanded rosters and homefield advantage on the line, middle relievers are more likely to be used in situational moves and in the type of situations they are used to, in the middle of an inning with runners on. Closers usually come in with a clean slate in the ninth, needing just three outs to pick up the save, while a guy like Venters or Romo is used to coming in with men on and the game on the line.

And when it comes down to that situation, Bochy -- or any manager -- will want to put the game on the line with someone he knows well, and that could be Santos or Lopez, and that's OK with me.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: February 27, 2011 2:16 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2011 2:29 pm
 

Are lefty specialists crucial to baseball?

Lopez

By Evan Brunell

Warning: far too many words are about to be typed in regards to lefty specialists.

As part of Nick Cafardo's weekly Sunday Notes section in the Boston Globe, the longtime reporter writes that "The Red Sox can only hope that Rich Hill, with his new sidearm delivery, is as effective as [Javier] Lopez was for the Giants last season. ... Lopez is proof how valuable a tough lefty specialist is, offsetting the biggest lefthanded bats at the most crucial times."

There's certainly no doubting that an effective lefthanded specialist can serve a major purpose, especially when it comes time for the postseason. But to emerge with a left-handed specialist takes a healthy dose of luck and constant failures on the pitcher's end -- and given how lefty specialists need to be limited in their exposure to right-handed batters, their impact on the regular season is fairly minimal.

Take Lopez, for example. Lopez (pictured) washed out of the Red Sox system after four years pitching primarily at the major league level and largely functioned as a lefty specialist, otherwise known as  LOOGY -- Lefty One Out GuY. While Lopez equipped himself ably in that role, he was never the lockdown specialist on display last October. In fact, such specialists tend to come and go, with failed histories as a starter and reliever in their past. 

This makes sense, as the best possible position one can be in as a pitcher is as starting pitcher. The vast majority of pitchers drafted that climb the ladder are pitchers, and many relievers in the game today have minor- or college-level experience as a starter. Only fairly recently has relief become specialized both in and outside professional baseball thanks to the increased emphasis on a bullpen, but the general rule of thumb of relievers being failed starters still holds true. 

Much in the same vein, relievers are tasked with getting multiple batters out, no matter the handedness. But even that is problematic for lefty specialists, who tend to bounce around from team to team or have one glaring deficiency that is masked by being an effective LOOGY. Take J.C. Romero, for example. Romero came up as a middle reliever with the Twins but near the end of his tenure had disintegrated. He joined the Red Sox but was hurriedly released after 23 games and since has settled in as a LOOGY with the Phillies. Problem: Romero walks batters at an obscene amount. Even his 5.1 BB/9 as a career mark doesn't do it justice; over the last two seasons, Romero has appeared in 81 games of 53 1/3 innings, walking 42 (7.1 BB/9) and striking out 40 (6.8 K/9). These are simply awful numbers that wouldn't fly in the majors or minors in any other capacity other than a lefty specialist.

Other LOOGYs have similar problems: some have no control (Will Ohman), some can't strike out anyone (Joe Beimel), some have seen their ability regress due to age (Arthur Rhodes) or injury (George Sherrill) and some just can't get it done against righties, period (Randy Choate). (Did you notice that all of these names have bounced around the majors and have previous histories as starters and/or effective relievers?) And yet, they're still hanging around pulling in millions of dollars. That's because they get left-handed hitters out effectively.

Back to Lopez. While in Boston, the club tried to make Lopez effective against batters from both sides of the plate. He succeeded in some aspects, proving to get timely double plays, but for the most part ended up with egg on his face. The Red Sox gave up and opted not to bring him back for 2010, so Lopez signed with the Pirates before later being traded to the Giants. And Boston is a team that values left-handed relievers to a point they strive to carry two every year, one with a specific task of getting lefties out. Yet, on a grand scale, the Red Sox have no patience for LOOGYs. Even as Mike Myers was befuddling Hideki Matsui in the glory year of 2004, Boston was trying to find a way to get Myers to soak up more innings and eventually settled on him as mopup man.

That's because LOOGYs just don't pitch enough innings over the course of a full season to make it worthwhile. Sure, a late-September matchup with a postseason spot on the line calls for a LOOGY. And where would the Giants be without Lopez's 1-for-18 showing against Ryan Howard and Chase Utley in the NLCS?

But lefty specialists are very much so a job for the postseason, not the regular season. Most lefty specialists struggle to crack 50 innings pitched, and a fair amound settle in around 30-40 innings pitched a year. To put this in context, someone who satisfies the rule required to earn a quality start (six innings pitched and no more than three earned runs for an ERA of 4.50) will reach 30 innings pitched before the end of April. Myers is perhaps the poster-boy for LOOGYs here, pitching just 30 2/3 innings for the Yankees in 2006 despite making 62 appearances. (The year before, in his final stint with Boston, Myers pitched 37 1/3 innings in 65 appearances.)

That's simply not enough innings to help the entire pitching corps slog through the dog days. But once the bright lights turn on and every baseball game is on national TV, getting a left-handed hitter out can mean the difference between a World Series ring and heartbreak.

So how to best approach the conundrum of needing a lefty specialist during September and October but not prior? Well, the simple answer is to get a left-handed reliever that is good no matter who steps to the plate. But even then, having just one of these pitchers can be problematic. The White Sox have Matt Thornton, but signed Ohman as lefty specialist while Sherrill joined the Braves despite the presence of Johnny Venters. Why? Because skippers need these lefties to pitch later in games -- the 8th, the 9th -- as actual setup men and closers. LOOGYs, meanwhile, can be deployed much earlier for one batter in the 6th or 7th -- even the 8th, pushing back the arrival of better lefties to the ninth inning. But not a one wouldn't take a lefty that can get batters out regardless of handedness over a LOOGY. In fact, the Red Sox are hoping Rich Hill can be their lefty specialist -- but they would love to be able to deploy Hill against right-handers as well and have stated they will not pick a lefty specialist over a right-handed reliever if the latter is the better pitcher.

The answer, then, likely lies in simply acquiring these assets as the season goes on. Lefty specialists grow on trees: they're available on waiver wires all year long, can be plucked from a down-and-out team at minimal cost, promoted from the minors, cajoled out of quasi-retirement... finding a LOOGY is not difficult. After all, they washed out as a starter and as a reliever -- and some even washed out as LOOGYs. Finding one is not the issue. So why carry one which limits your bullpen and provides minimal impact until later in the season? Yes, a game in April counts just as much as a game in September, but what of bullpens that gets burned out during one particularly long game and then can't stand up to the task of winning a game the next day? (It should be noted, however, that in games after the sixth inning with one or zero runs separating both teams, a lefty specialist is important, especially with teams that have poor offenses. It's certainly not being said that lefty specialists don't have their place -- they do. But at what cost?)

The Red Sox are a good example on how they approach acquiring assets that are important down the stretch without compromising the entire season. In 2004, the club acquired Dave Roberts to be its speed demon. In both 2007 and 2008, the BoSox imported left-handed hitters to come off the bench and provide a spark. In 2007, Bobby Kielty hit what was eventually the game-winning home run to sweep the World Series. In 2008, Mark Kotsay played in 10 of 11 possible postseason games as a starter, shoring up the first base offense and defense after Mike Lowell went down -- but he was acquired for other reasons, namely outfield depth and as a left-handed bat off the bench.

Oftentimes, World Series are won by the shrewd acquisition of average players that fill a specific need. Many times, these needs don't become readily apparent to a team until the season starts, but other times, these needs are known beforehand and will be addressed during the season. Lefty specialists are one of these needs that don't need immediate addressing to start the season, especially if only contributing 30 innings a season.

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

Posted on: January 20, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Giants, Lopez avoid arbitration

Javier Lopez Arbitration hearings begin Feb. 1, but many of the remaining cases will be settled before then. Today, it was the Giants and lefty Javier Lopez, the team announced via Twitter .

Lopez filed for $2.88 million and the team offered $2 million.

You can keep up with arbitration on our arbitration scoreboard .

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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


Category: MLB
Posted on: October 15, 2010 5:44 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:10 am
 

Giants: Rowand in, Zito out


Giants manager Bruce Bochy just told reporters in Philadelphia that outfielder Aaron Rowand will remain on the roster for the NLCS.

That almost certainly means Barry Zito is still out. He was hoping to make the roster as a reliever, but the Giants already have left-handers Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt.

It's fairly amazing that Giants have made it this far considering they're paying Zito and Rowand a combined $30.5 million this season -- nearly a third of their payroll -- and both have struggled to the point that they are non-factors in the postseason. San Francisco is still on the hook for at least $88.5 million more for the duo.

-- David Andriesen

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


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com