Posted on: December 8, 2011 8:43 am
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What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional?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.
No team has had as much success drafting and developing its players like the Tampa Bay Rays. The one-time laughingstock of MLB is a model franchise to even the biggest spenders. The Rays have had big name leave, but keep replacing them with younger, seemingly better players. A year ago, the Rays lost Carl Crawford because they could no longer afford him. By the end of the season, Crawford and the Red Sox were sitting at home while the Rays were in the playoffs -- again. The reason is because they grown enough crops on the farm to have a successful harvest nearly every fall.
1. Carl Crawford, LF
2. Desmond Jennings, RF
3. Evan Longoria, 3B
4. Josh Hamilton, DH
5. B.J. Upton, CF
6. Aubrey Huff, 1B
7. Reid Brignac, 2B
8. John Jaso, C
9. Elliot Johnson, SS
1. David Price
2. James Shields
3. Jeremy Hellickson
4. Wade Davis
5. Jeff Niemann
Closer - Dan Wheeler
Set up - Matt Moore, Andy Sonnanstine, Alex Cobb, Jake McGee, Jason Hammel, Jose Veras
Notable Bench Players
The Rays have a couple of decent bats off the bench in Delmon Young, Matt Diaz, Jonny Gomes and Jorge Cantu.
Crawford and Hamilton to go along with Longoria, Upton and Jennings? That helps, that's for sure. The rotation is exactly the same -- and that's a good thing. You've also got Moore sitting there. The starters are an embarrassment of riches. It's one of the main reasons the Rays can still compete in the AL East with a smaller payroll.
The bottom half of the lineup isn't great -- especially with Johnson at short. But there's enough help at the top of the lineup to make up for the bottom. The bench isn't deep defensively, but it's the American League so you don't need quite as much as you do in the National League. The bullpen isn't full of experienced relievers, but there are some quality arms that can switch from starting to relieving.
Comparison to real 2011
The same pitching staff plus Crawford and Hamilton make up for losing some of its Frankenstein bullpen and Johnny Damon. I put Hamilton at DH to try to save some wear and tear on his body, he can still play in the field every once in a while and give Jennings a day off and have someone like Young DH. Or Young can play in the outfield. The bullpen might be the most interesting question, but I think the offense and the starting pitching are enough to improve, if slightly, on the team's 91-71 finish.
Next: Philadelphia Phillies
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Tags: AL East, Alex Cobe, Andy Sonnanstine, Aubrey Huff, B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford, Dan Wheeler, David Price, Delmon Young, Desmond Jennings, Elliot Johnson, Evan Longoria, Homegrown, Jake McGee, James Shields, Jason Hammel, Jeff Niemann, Jeremy Hellickson, John Jaso, Johnny Damon, Jonny Gomes, Jorge Cantu, Jose Veras, Josh Hamilton, Matt Diaz, Matt Moore, Rays, Reid Brignac, Wade Davis
Posted on: October 28, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 1:19 pm
By Matt Snyder
If your favorite team is looking for a really good run producer to play third base next season and free agency is the route it's taking, there is only one choice. Otherwise, this free agency class is mostly backups or guys who will retire. It's a pretty embarrassing position in terms of how thin it is. How it affects Aramis Ramirez's ability to get a big deal remains to be seen, but it seems like he should have a lot of leverage, no? You need a third baseman? It's Wilson Betemit after me.
List of MLB free agents
1. Aramis Ramirez. He's only 33 and showed he can still swing the bat with authority in 2011, as he hit .306/.361/.510 with 26 homers and 93 RBI. He's also not the butcher many believe he is at third base -- though he's not exactly Adrian Beltre, either. Ramirez is unlikely to have his option picked up by the Cubs, so it seems like he'll have a new home for the first time since 2003, when he landed in Chicago on a July trade. As already stated, if someone wants to sign a good free agent third baseman, the buck stops here.
Potential teams: Marlins, Brewers, Tigers, Rockies, Angels, Orioles (mercifully making Mark Reynolds a DH) ... and the Cubs are still possible
2. Wilson Betemit. He hit .285/.343/.452 with 22 doubles and eight home runs this season in 97 games. He's a decent to slightly above-average hitter who can play several infield positions, but not really an everyday starter. The dearth of good free agent options at third base could very easily land Betemit a starting job, though. I'd just be weary of a multiple-year deal, as he hasn't played in more than 97 games since 2007.
Potential teams: Brewers, Tigers, Rockies, Marlins, Angels
3. Casey Blake. He only hit .252/.342/.371 and had serious neck issues, causing him to contemplate retirement. The Dodgers have declined Blake's option, so he's headed elsewhere. Retirement is possible, but Blake is seeking a one-year deal and probably willing to be a backup.
Potential teams: Yankees, Brewers, Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Marlins, Reds, retirement
4. Eric Chavez. He hit .263 with two homers and 26 RBI in his first non-Oakland season, but he still couldn't avoid an extended trip to the disabled list. According to various reports, Chavez isn't sure if he wants to play again in 2012 or retire. If he decides to play, he'll likely get the Yankees' backup third base job again. If he doesn't, he'll be free from the aggravation of constantly being injured. My guess is he retires and the Yankees grab Blake.
Potential teams: Yankees, retirement
5. Greg Dobbs. Dobbs enjoyed lots of playing time in 2011, gathering the most plate appearances of his career. He hit .275 with 23 doubles and eight homers while showing versatility on defense. He's not a great option to start every day, but a really good player to have off the bench. The Marlins reportedly want him back, but a dry free agency crop might land him a decent contract and starting job elsewhere.
Potential teams: Marlins, Brewers, Rockies, Phillies
6. Kevin Kouzmanoff. Once a decent prospect with power potential -- he did hit 23 home runs while playing half his games in Petco Park in 2008 -- Kouzmanoff's stock has plummeted. He hit .255 with three homers in 27 games after joining Colorado, and the Rockies reportedly haven't ruled out bringing him back. It's possible he has a good full season in a hitter's park, if he stays there (he'd only previously played extended stretches in pitcher's ballparks).
Potential teams: Rockies, Brewers, Cubs, Marlins, Reds, Tigers
7. Omar Vizquel. The 44 year old just keeps hanging on. Is he trying to get to 3,000 hits? He currently has 2,841, but only collected 42 in 2011. So it doesn't really seem to be happening any time soon. Vizquel might just love the game so much he refuses to go until someone won't sign him. And someone will this offseason. He'll be playing again in 2012, bet on it.
Potential teams: White Sox, after that it's a complete guessing game. Any team looking for a veteran backup infielder would have interest, and that could be anyone.
8. Bill Hall. At age 26, Hall hit 35 homers for the Brewers. At age 31, he finished the season in the minors after hitting just .158/.220/.211 for 16 games with the Giants. He might get a shot with the Yankees if neither Blake nor Chavez are there, or someone could use him as a pinch-hitter off the bench. Regardless, don't expect there to be tons of interest. He hasn't been a good player for five years.
Potential teams: Orioles, Nationals, Yankees, retirement
9. Jorge Cantu. The 29 year old was once a run producer, but Cantu had a dreadful 2011 season, hitting .194/.232/.285 in 155 plate appearances for the Padres. He was decent after signing with the Rockies ... in Triple-A.
Potential teams: Rockies, Marlins, Brewers -- but this would be a desperation move to start him. He's basically going to be a backup or retire.
10. Andy LaRoche. Once a top-20 prospect -- for two straight seasons -- LaRoche's career has been a monumental disappointment. The only season he approached being a decent player was 2009 for the Pirates, but last season LaRoche was designated for assignment by the lackluster A's. So that should tell you where his stock stands. It's possible a team strapped for cash attempts to catch lightning in a bottle, as LaRoche is still only 28.
Potential teams: Reds, Marlins, Brewers, Cubs, Orioles, Mariners, Red Sox, Indians, many more.
11. Alex Cora. Cora's on-field value has dwindled all the way to zero, but he's reportedly a great clubhouse guy and baseball mind. Several reporters, fellow players and coaches have noted in the recent past that Cora will make a great manager someday. Cora has said he wants to keep playing in 2012, but it might behoove him to get a start on his next career quite soon.
Potential teams: Nationals, retirement
Other free agents who could play third: Jamey Carroll, Edwin Encarnacion, Jerry Hairston, Ramon Santiago, Willie Bloomquist, Aaron Miles, Ronny Cedeno, Jack Wilson, Mark DeRosa, Nick Punto, Willie Harris, Craig Counsell, Jose Lopez, Orlando Cabrera
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Posted on: October 25, 2011 11:00 am
Edited on: October 25, 2011 4:49 pm
By Evan Brunell
For all news, check out the CBSSports.com free agency tracker.
The first-base crop of free agents is extremely top-heavy, boasting the best player in the game in Albert Pujols. Even without Pujols, the first-base list would still be star-studded, as 27-year-old Prince Fielder is also hitting the market and should command a sizable deal. However, after that, it drops off significantly, and by the end of the top 10 list, we're looking at someone who hit .194.
1. Albert Pujols: What more can you say about Pujols that hasn't been said already? He's the best hitter the 21st century has seen, and he may hold that mantle for quite a while. Pujols may be 31, but that shouldn't stop him from commanding a hefty contract given his strong bounceback after starting the year poorly, plus his dazzling defense. There's been a lot of talk about Pujols' failings in dealing with the media, but neither Pujols nor whichever team he ends up with will care much about his approach to the media. The team will care about homers. Pujols will care about money and winning. The media is just a sideshow.
Potential teams: Cardinals, Cubs, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Mariners, Nationals, Orioles, and because they have money: Yankees, Red Sox
2. Prince Fielder: Fielder is four years younger than Pujols, but he'll struggle to match what Pujols gets -- not just because Pujols is an elite, once-in-a-generation hitter (which, admittedly, Fielder could become), but because there are conditioning issues with his weight that lend comparisons to a late-career breakdown like Mo Vaughn. However, the lefty has appeared in 485 of a possible 486 regular-season games over the last three years, so it's hard to get too worked up about it. He's going to have a robust market and may even sign in advance of Pujols.
Potential teams: Same as Pujols -- Cardinals, Cubs, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Mariners, Nationals, Orioles, and because they have money: Yankees, Red Sox
3. Carlos Pena: Pena can hit balls a long way. It's too bad he can't make contact regularly. But there are far worse first-baseman one could have, and getting a 30-homer player with strong defense and leadership skills is something most teams will kill for; Pena will get a healthy contract this year wherever he ends up. Whichever teams lose out on Pujols and Fielder will gun for Pena, so his market figures to be late-developing and it may be into January before he signs anywhere.
Potential teams: Cubs, Dodgers, Rays, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Orioles, Indians, Twins
4. Derrek Lee: It looked as if Lee was heading the way of Vladimir Guerrero and the other aging power-hitters as of late after beginning the year in a tough spot with Baltimore. Fortunately for Lee, he got dealt to the Pirates at the trade deadline and that reinvigorated him to the point where he should be able to scrape up a starting job somewhere this winter, although Lee may struggle to land with a top-flight contender. The Pirates would like for Lee to return to the team, but unless the Pirates offer one of the only starting jobs in the game, it's tough to see the righty returning.
Potential teams: Dodgers, Pirates, Rays, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs
5. Casey Kotchman: Kotchman was once a promising up-and-coming first baseman that was part of a Mark Teixeira trade, heading to Atlanta from Los Angeles. That's where his career frayed, and the Red Sox picked him up on a lark. No go. After a forgettable 2010 in Seattle, Kotchman somehow bounced back in Tampa Bay to rake up a .308/.372/.422 line. However, batting average seems to be what's driving Kotchman, and that's one of the least predictive statistics anyone can use. This upcoming season will determine a lot for Kotchman and his future, but no one should invest heavily in him. Unfortunately, after the year he had and with the poor free-agent class, he could haul in a sizable deal.
Potential teams: Rays, Dodgers, Pirates, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Astros, Indians, Orioles
6. Jason Giambi: Giambi had a fantastic season as a pinch-hitter for the Rockies, helping to soften the blow when Todd Helton needed out of the lineup. Giambi smashed six doubles and 13 homers in just 152 plate appearances, an absolute wrecking ball off the bench. Who really knows what teams Giambi would sign with, but he'll certainly get plenty of offers to choose from. Wherever he lands, it'll be as a bench player although depending where he ends up, he could be in line to get at least 200 at-bats for the first time since 2009.
Potential teams: Rockies, Yankees, Athletics, Phillies
7. Lyle Overbay: Overbay looked cooked as a starting first-baseman, but a resurgence in Arizona after leaving Pittsburgh will help matters significantly, even if he played in just 18 games for the Diamomdbacks. A team desperate for a stopgap at first base could entice Overbay, but it figures that his biggest market will come as a platoon first-baseman. A return to Arizona to mentor and play behind Paul Goldschmidt makes sense. If he wants a shot to start, it'll be with a team that doesn't quite harbor postseason aspirations -- but things have a funny way of working out once options dwindle.
Potential teams: Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Brewers, Cardinals, Pirates, Astros, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Padres
8. Ross Gload: Gload, whose career got a late start, has been plying his trade in the NL the last three seasons, primarily as a pinch-hitter for Philadelphia over the last two years. The first-baseman actually led the NL in pinch-hits in 2011, although you wouldn't know it given his poor statistics. Gload should have no problem getting a pinch-hit gig somewhere in the senior circuit this offseason and might even be enticed back to the AL if he can get a decent amount of playing time. Gload and the remaining names on the list could conceivably end up with any team, as their role would fit virtually anywhere as a backup.
Potential teams: Any team
9. Russell Branyan: Branyan is a retirement candidate. At age 35, he took a significant step back as his trademark power was missing all year. While his .197 batting average isn't all that far from his .232 career average, that's not why teams kept playing him. No, Branyan got at-bats because of his power, but he only banged five homers and seven doubles in 146 plate appearances all season. Branyan hit 56 homers combined from 2009-10, so teams will still be willing to give him a shot. He could be entering the phase of his career where he hangs on for a few more season as a pinch-hitter in the NL.
Potential teams: Any team
10. Jorge Cantu: Cantu's going to have a lot of trouble securing a major-league deal after the awful season he had, appearing in just 55 games for the Padres and hitting .194/.232/.285 before mercifully being released and finishing out the year in the Rockies' minor-league system. It's quite the fall for the 29-year-old who hit 29 homers in 2008. Over the last two years, Cantu has regressed significantly and will have to play his way onto a team this spring on a minor-league cont
Potential teams: Any team
Others that could be first basemen: Mark DeRosa, Edwin Encarnacion, Eric Hinske, Conor Jackson, Xavier Nady Juan Rivera, Nick Swisher, Josh Willingham.
Free-agent position rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | DH | SP | RP
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Tags: 2012 free agency, 2012 MLB Free Agency, 2012 MLB Free Agents, 2012 MLB Hot Stove, Albert Pujols, Carlos Pena, Casey Kotchman, Derrek Lee, Evan Brunell, free agency, free agent tracker, Jason Giambi, Jorge Cantu, Lyle Overbay, MLB Free Agency, MLB Free Agents, MLB Hot Stove, MLB Rumors, Prince Fielder, Ross Gload, Russell Branyan
Posted on: June 21, 2011 7:03 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 7:41 pm
By Evan Brunell
The Padres optioned Wade LeBlanc to the minor leagues on Tuesday in a series of roster moves, clearing the way for rookie reliever Cory Luebke to join the starting rotation, MLB.com reports.
Luebke tossed 50 pitches in relief of LeBlanc on Monday, quieting the Red Sox for two runs over 3 1/3 innings. The lefty has posted a strong 3.23 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 39 2/3 innings, striking out 43 and walking 15, so he deserves an extended look in the rotation. Assuming he fills LeBlanc's spot, he will oppose Tim Hudson on Sunday in Atlanta. Luebke had four starts down the stretch last season with a 4.08 ERA and also boasts a career minor-league ERA of 3.49, so he's a promising player.
In other moves, first baseman turned right fielder Brad Hawpe was placed on the disabled list, with outfielder Luis Durango designated for assignment. With two open spots, the team added rookie reliever Josh Spence and catcher Kyle Phillips, giving San Diego three catchers. The team also officially released Jorge Cantu.
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Posted on: June 15, 2011 7:26 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 7:36 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The team now has 10 days to trade, release or place Cantu on waivers. It opens a spot on the 40-man roster for the Padres.
The Padres signed Cantu to a one-year deal worth $850,000 in January. He was relegated to platooning at first base with Brad Hawpe, and with the emergence of Anthony Rizzo, that's not even an option. The Padres dropped Cantu even though they are headed to Minnesota this week and will be able to use the designated hitter.
In 57 games with the Padres, Cantu started 21 at first and nine at third, hitting .194/.232/.285 with three home runs and 16 RBI in 155 plate appearances.
Cantu started last season with the Marlins -- even beginning the season with a 21-game hitting streak -- before being traded to the Rangers at the deadline. He struggled with the Rangers before signing with the Padres this offseason.
In 2005, Cantu hit 28 home runs for the Rays before struggling in 2006. He was traded to the Reds in 2007. The Reds released him following the 2007 season and he signed with the Marlins, where he hit 29 homers in his first season there and then saw a dip in his power numbers. He improved his batting average and on-base percentage in 2009.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 20, 2011 12:02 am
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Posted on: January 24, 2011 11:09 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2011 11:16 pm
The Padres have added first baseman Jorge Cantu, FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal tweets . The deal, he adds , is a big-league contract.
Cantu, who will turn 29 next week, finished 2010 with the Rangers fate being traded to Texas at the trade deadline. He hit .256/.304/.392 with 11 home runs and 56 RBI with the Marlins and Rangers last season, and is a career .274/.320/.446 hitter with stops in Tampa and Cincinnati before landing with the Marlins in 2008.
Cantu hit 29 homers in 2008 and then followed that with a .289/.345/.443 season in 2009 with 16 home runs and 100 RBI.
Cantu has played first and third base, mostly, although he came up as a second baseman with the Rays. He would likely be a good right-handed platoon partner to Brad Hawpe at first and possibly spell Chase Hedley at third.
UPDATE: Corey Brock of MLB.com tweets it's a one-year deal and says Cantu will play first, second and third.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: January 3, 2011 8:03 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2011 8:18 pm
If there's a surplus of one position on the free agent market, it may be the designated hitter spot.
Jim Thome, one of last season's bargain pickups, is still unsigned, as are Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon. And then there's the not-retired Jermaine Dye, Jason Giambi, Russell Branyan, Jose Guillen and Hank Blalock.
So far this offseason, the Red Sox exercised their option on David Ortiz, the Yankees have said they'll move Jorge Posada out from behind the plate, as will the Tigers with newly-signed Victor Martinez. Adam Dunn will be a first-time designated hitter with the White Sox.
As for teams with needs, that includes the team Thome DH'd for last season, the Twins, who would like him back. Of course, after putting up the year he did, he feels like he deserves a raise -- especially with his 600th career home run likely coming this season. The Rays, Angels and Rangers also have obvious needs, while the Orioles, Royals and Blue Jays could upgrade at the spot or stay put.
As it stands, here how the current AL DHs line up:
Orioles -- Luke Scott
Red Sox -- David Ortiz
Yankees -- Jorge Posada
Blue Jays -- Edwin Encarnacion
Rays -- Matt Joyce
White Sox -- Adam Dunn
Indians -- Travis Hafner
Tigers -- Victor Martinez
Royals -- Billy Butler
Twins -- Jason Kubel
Angels -- Mike Napoli
A's -- Hideki Matsui
Mariners -- Jack Cust
Rangers -- David Murphy
And here's who is left on the market (2010 AVG/OBP/SLG HR, RBI)
Jim Thome .283/.412/.627 25, 59
Vladimir Guerrero .300/.345/.496 29, 115
Manny Ramirez .298/.409/.510 16, 42
Johnny Damon .271/.355/.401 8, 51
Russell Branyan .237/.323/.487 25, 57
Jason Giambi .244/.378/.398 6, 35
Andruw Jones .230/.341/.486 19, 48
Hank Blalock .254/.319/.349 1, 7
Jose Guillen .258/.314/.416 16, 62
Jeremy Hermida .216/.268/351 6, 29
Troy Glaus .240/.344/.400 16, 71
Mike Sweeney .252/.321/.444 8, 26
Jorge Cantu .256/.304/.392 11, 56
Jermaine Dye (2009) .250/.340/.453 27, 81
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Tags: 2010 free agency, Adam Dunn, Andruw Jones, Angels, Athletics, Billy Butler, Blue Jays, David Murphy, David Ortiz, Edwin Encarnacion, Hank Blalock, Hideki Matsui, Hot Stove League, Indians, Jack Cust, Jason Giambi, Jason Kubel, Jeremy Hermida, Jermaine Dye, Jim Thome, Johnny Damon, Jorge Cantu, Jorge Posada, Jose Guillen, Luke Scott, Manny Ramirez, Mariners, Matt Joyce, Mike Napoli, Mike Sweeney, MLB rumors, Orioles, Rangers, Rays, Red Sox, Royals, Russell Branyan, Tigers, Travis Hafner, Troy Glaus, Twins, Victor Martinez, Vladimir Guerrero, White Sox, Yankees