Posted on: November 28, 2011 11:54 am
Edited on: November 28, 2011 4:43 pm
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What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional?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 of this feature, click here.
The Seattle Mariners have finished last place in the AL West six of the past eight seasons. Would things have been different if management had done a better job of keeping the right organizational pieces? In a word: Yes. Check this out ...
1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
4. David Ortiz, DH
5. Adam Jones, CF
6. Shin-Soo Choo, LF
7. Dustin Ackley, 2B
8. Raul Ibanez, 1B
9. Jason Varitek, C
1. Felix Hernandez
2. Michael Pineda
3. Doug Fister
4. Brandon Morrow
5. Joel Pineiro
Closer - J.J. Putz
Set up - Rafael Soriano, Matt Thornton, Eric O'Flaherty, Brian Fuentes, Damaso Marte, George Sherrill
Long - Derek Lowe
Notable Bench Players
Adam Moore, Greg Dobbs, Bryan LaHair, Luis Valbuena, Jose Lopez, Yuniesky Betancourt, Willie Bloomquist, Michael Saunders, Carlos Peguero
Almost everything. The lineup is solid, the starting rotation is very good, the bullpen is great and there is some bench depth. There are superstars like King Felix and A-Rod with up-and-comers like Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Pineda. And 2011 first-rounder Danny Hultzen (starting pitcher) will soon be added to the mix.
Age in some areas. A-Rod, Ortiz, Ichiro and Ibanez are all in different levels of decline, but there's no doubt they're all certainly in decline. Catcher is also a problem, as we're left deciding between a has-been (Varitek) and a possible never-will-be (Moore). Pick your poison there.
As for the lineup, I tried to figure out how to best work it. Maybe swap Jones and A-Rod spots? I'd be OK with that, considering the seasons those two had in 2011. Also, Ichiro's OBP was terrible for a leadoff man last season (.310), but wouldn't it make the back-end of the lineup too punchless if you batted Ackley leadoff? With the way I left it, the leadoff spot is weak.
Comparison to real 2011
The 2011 Mariners lost 95 games and this team above would have a shot at winning 95. You can take away from the older stars all you want, but with that pitching staff, the offense doesn't have to be great. It only has to be good, and it's easily good enough to get plenty of wins when only needing to put three or four runs on the board. Plus, as those older guys continue to decline, the likes of Jones, Ackley and Cabrera just get better. In Sunday's Homegrown Team, I said to expect to see the Cubs toward the bottom of the rankings (when we do them). This entry is the complete opposite. Expect to see the Mariners toward the top of the rankings. This is a great team. For now.
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Tags: Adam Jones, Adam Moore, AL West, Alex Rodriguez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Brandon Morrow, Brian Fuentes, Bryan LaHair, Carlos Peguero, Damaso Marte, Danny Hultzan, David Ortiz, Derek Lowe, Doug Fister, Dustin Ackley, Eric O'Flaherty, Felix Hernandez, George Sherrill, Greg Dobbs, Homegrown, Ichiro Suzuki, J.J. Putz, Jason Varitek, Joel Pineiro, Jose Lopez, Luis Valbuena, Mariners, Matt Snyder, Matt Thornton, Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Rafael Soriano, Raul Ibanez, Shin-Soo Choo, Willie Bloomquist, Yuniesky Betancourt
Posted on: October 26, 2011 2:12 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2011 4:41 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
For all free agency moves, check out the CBSSports.com free agency tracker.
Second base is hardly a marquee position -- there are some good players at the position, but at its core, it's a position of deficiencies. Second basemen generally aren't good enough defensively to play shortstop, or hit well enough to be a third baseman or outfielder. That's not to say there aren't some great players who play the position like Dustin Pedroia and Chase Utley, but it's not a marquee position, and it's even less so in this free agent market.
1. Brandon Phillips: If the Reds were to decide against exercising Phillips' $12 million option, he'd certainly be in demand. But that's not happening. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has said he's planning on picking up Phillips' option, while Phillips prefers an extension. Phillips has said the Reds simply picking up the option on his contract would be a slap in the face -- but maybe one day I can be slapped in the face for $12 million. Phillips said the Reds won't get the "homeboy hookup" (otherwise known as the "hometown discount") in any extension talk. So while Phillips will be in a Reds uniform on opening day, the end of the season and beyond, that may be a question.
2. Jamey Carroll: Yep, Jamey Carroll is number two on this list -- which should tell you as much as you need to know about the remaining 11 names on this list. Carroll is a fine player, but nothing more than that. He hit .290/.359/.347 for the Dodgers this season and hasn't hit a home run since 2009. He did put up a .383 on-base percentage as a leadoff man, something that could make him much more attractive to potential suitors. Carroll could be a good second baseman (or shortstop) for somebody, but he's not exactly the type of player that's going to turn around the team or get a fanbase fired up.
3. Jerry Hairston Jr.: Hairston is one of the more versatile players in the game and also had a very good postseason, so good that someone may consider him an everyday player. Hairston played second, third, shortstop, left field and center field last season, but started each of the NLCS games at third base. He played 45 games for the Brewers and 75 for the Nationals in 2011, hitting .270/.344/.383 with five home runs overall.
4. Ramon Santiago: Santiago could play shortstop as well, increasing his value. This year was the first year he played mostly second base, starting 40 games at second and 22 at shortstop for the Tigers. Still, he doesn't exactly project as a first-division starter at either spot. He hit .260/.311/.384, not too far off his average in his 10 seasons in the big leagues with the Tigers and Mariners. He's most likely a utility infielder at this point in his career.
5. Mark Ellis: Ellis certainly earned brownie points for teams watching from afar when he gracefully stepped aside for the arrival of second baseman Jemile Weeks in Oakland and was then traded to Colorado. Ellis, a good defensive second baseman, struggled offensively in Oakland before the trade but hit quite a bit better in Colorado (imagine that). Ellis is likely to return to Colorado.
6. Aaron Hill: The Diamondbacks have options for the next two seasons on Hill, but there's close to zero chance the team will pay him $8 million for next season. Still, Arizona has expressed interest in bringing back Hill, whom the Diamondbacks got in a change of scenery trade with the Blue Jays. Hill hit .315/.386/.492 with two homers in 33 games for the Diamondbacks after hitting just .225/.270/.313 for the Blue Jays.
8. Jack Wilson: Wilson finished last season with the Braves, playing shortstop and third base. he played mostly second base for the Mariners to start the season, but that was because the team had Brendan Ryan at short. Wilson, who has never had much of a bat, may be entering the stage of his career where he can serve as a late-inning defensive replacement at any of the infield positions.
9. Carlos Guillen: Let's just say Guillen will take a pay cut in 2012 after his four-year, $48 million contract with the Tigers has run out. In those four seasons, the Tigers got a .266/.345/421 hitter with 30 home runs and 12 stolen bases. At 35 in 2011, Guillen hit .232/.265/.368, playing second base and first base in just 28 games.
10. Kelly Johnson: Johnson was the other half of the Blue Jays-Diamondbacks underachiever swap. And like Hill, he responded well in his new home, hitting .270/.364/.417 in 33 games in Toronto, while hitting .209/.287/.412 with 18 homers in 114 games with Arizona. The Blue Jays are likely to offer Johnson arbitration, so he can take it or hit the free agent market. He's likely on the borderline between Type A and Type B, if a Type A, he'd almost be forced to take arbitration because his value on the free agent market would take a huge hit if a team had to give up a draft pick. But the class of second basemen is so weak, he may be able to go anyway. It's an interesting situation.
11. Nick Punto: Punto hit .27 8/.388/.421 in a bounce-back year for the Cardinals, but was limited to just 166 plate appearances, so take that with a grain of salt. Punto's no longer an everyday player (if he ever really was), but is instead a utility player and there's always a place for that. He does add defensive value at most spots he plays, so there will be some demand.
13. Jose Lopez: The Marlins out righted Lopez to the minors in July, before calling him back up in August. With the Rockies and Marlins in 2011, he hit a combined .216/.245/.373.He did hit .273/.296/.597 with six home runs in 32 games (16 starts) after being called back up. He played third, second and first base. An All-Star in 2006 with the Mariners, Lopez will likely sign a minor-league contract to get into camp with someone, but he's no team's idea of an answer to any question other than who is on the travel roster for a split squad game.
Tags: 2012 free agency, 2012 MLB Free Agency, 2012 MLB Free Agents, 2012 MLB Hot Stove, Aaron Hill, Aaron Miles, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Athletics, Blue Jays, Brandon Phillips, Brewers, C. Trent Rosecrans, Cardinals, Carlos Guillen, Craig Counsell, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, free agency, free agent tracker, Jack Wilson, Jamey Carroll, Jerry Hairston Jr., Jose Lopez, Kelly Johnson, Mariners, Mark Ellis, Mets, MLB Free Agency, MLB Free Agents, MLB Hot Stove, Nationals, Nick Punto, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Padres, Ramon Santiago, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Twins, White Sox
Posted on: June 30, 2011 3:11 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 9:45 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Colorado has been searching for a second baseman since the offseason when the team tried to get Michael Young from the Rangers. Instead, they've gone with a mixture of Jonathan Herrera, Chris Nelson, Jose Lopez, Alfredo Amezaga and Eric Young Jr. Rockies second basemen have hit .236/.291/.319 through 80 games this season.
Ellis came off the disabled list last week only to see the emergence of rookie Jemile Weeks, who had gone from the team's second baseman of the future to its second baseman of the present in the time Ellis' 15 days on the DL for a strained right hamstring were used up.
The $1 million sent from Oakland will be used to cover some of what remains of Ellis' $6 million salary for this season. He is a free agent after this season. Ellis had a partial no-trade clause in his contract.
Billings, 25, has appeared in one game this season, allowing five hits and a run in two innings. He was 6-2 with a 4.47 ERA in 29 games and 50 1/3 innings for Triple-A Colorado Springs this season.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 10, 2011 9:35 am
Edited on: June 10, 2011 2:57 pm
By Matt Snyder
BASEBALL TODAY: What does the managerial change in Oakland mean? What can you expect from Carlos Zambrano tonight? Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to discuss those topics and even the NBA Finals on Baseball Today. Click on the video above to check it out.
WORRY ABOUT BAUTISTA? Talk about something I didn't expect to read. Jose Bautista's in a slump. He hasn't hit a home run in -- gasp! -- 11 games. He's 12 for his last 38 (.316). I guess that counts as a slump, considering what he was doing to the baseball before the homer drought.
"I didn't expect to continue to be doing what I was doing the whole season. That would have been pretty hard. I'm working on getting back to where I was." (Sportsnet.ca)
He was amazing and is still compiling an amazing season. He still leads the majors in runs, home runs, walks, average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS. He's still on pace for 51 home runs. I think I'd need a stretch worse than 12 for 38 before I started to worry.
HITTING STREAK ALERT: I guess it's about time to start paying attention, because Hunter Pence of the Astros has a 20-game hitting streak.
EXTRA EXTRAS: Having to stay up and make sure every game is over before going to bed, I thought maybe it only seemed like a ton of extra-inning games this season and I just never noticed before. I was wrong. There have now been 111 extra-inning games so far this season, which is the most ever at this point in the season. At this pace, the 2011 season will shatter the record. (Bob Nightengale via Twitter) I guess it's another sign of league-wide parity, but I feel like the low-scoring games helps, too.
BAY'S DAYS OFF: Mets outfielder Jason Bay is getting two days off to work on his swing. (MLB.com) It's hard to blame manager Terry Collins, because the Mets should be trying just about anything at this point. Bay hasn't had a hit in 23 at-bats. He's hitting .207 with a dreadful .279 slugging percentage in 164 plate appearances.
"It's a very difficult thing to do," Collins said. "He's proud. He's a pro. He's a star player. And when you're struggling, it's difficult."
Bay is in the second year of a four-year, $66 million contract, so he's not tradeable and the Mets are stuck with him for two seasons after this one. That's why they'll continue to try anything to get him going. In 2009, before the Mets signed him, Bay hit 36 home runs and had 119 RBI for the Red Sox.
In a possibly related tidbit, Adam Dunn sat out two games this week for the White Sox and then homered in his return to the lineup Thursday night.
MAGIC OPERATION: Joba Chamberlain's Dad believes that Tommy John surgery will restore Joba to dominance. “Pitching as well as he has with the ailment, I can only, from a positive perspective, look at it being repaired — and you’re talking about ’07 again,” Harlan Chamberlain said (NYTimes.com). I guess if Joba's been hurt the whole time since then and mishandled along the way -- with the switching between starting and relieving -- it's possible. He wasn't all bad this season before the injury (2.83 ERA, 1.05 WHIP). But that '07 season, man, was he lights out. He threw 24 innings and allowed just 12 hits and one earned run against 34 strikeouts.
MAYBIN BACK MONDAY: Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin is on the disabled list with an inflamed knee, but will go on a rehab assignment this weekend with Triple-A Tuscon. If everything goes well, he'll be back in the Padres' lineup at Colorado Monday. (Follow The Padres)
LOPEZ TO FISH: Talk about a fall from grace. Former All-Star Jose Lopez has been signed to join the New Orleans Zephyrs in Triple-A (Zephyrs Twitter) -- the Marlins' affiliate -- at age 27. He was recently cut by the Rockies after hitting .208 with two home runs and a .233 on-base percentage in 129 plate appearances. Feels like a low-risk signing in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle. In a best-case scenario, Lopez starts hitting like it's 2009, and provides an offensive upgrade at second (and maybe even third, if Greg Dobbs starts hitting like he did in '09-'10). At least until prospect Matt Dominguez is ready.
RENTERIA'S RING: Edgar Renteria finally got his World Series ring Thursday evening, as he returned to AT&T Park as a member of the visiting Reds. He was reportedly emotional and said his Game 5 home run "is still with [him] every day." I'm guessing it's with Giants fans, too, and will be forever. (Extra Baggs)
ROUGH DEBUT: Dodgers prospect Jerry Sands was demoted to Triple-A last night after his first stint in the majors. It didn't go very well, as Sands hit .200 with two home runs, 17 RBI, 10 doubles and a .622 OPS. The good news is he's still only 23. There's plenty of time to get things figured out in the minors, regain confidence and come back to hit the ball well. His promotion may have been a bit quick, as he'd only logged 10 Triple-A games.
WHITHER FIGGY: Chone Figgins has completely fallen apart since joining the Mariners as a free agent after the 2009 season. Fangraphs takes a look at some similar declines in recent years.
RECKLESS TWEETING: The Nationals selected Zach Houchins in the 15th round of the draft this past week. Apparently they either didn't get a look at his Twitter account -- which has since been deleted -- or don't mind some of the bigoted remarks he made. For Love of the Nationals has a few screen grabs. I will never, ever understand how people can be so stupid with Twitter and Facebook. You've got to think things through before sending something that virtually anyone can see.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: February 9, 2011 8:54 am
Edited on: February 9, 2011 12:56 pm
Throughout the offseason, just one team has expressed interest in disgruntled Ranger Michael Young, the Rockies. No more, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes .
Renck says a major-league source tells him the Rockies are out on Young and not sure a deal can be revived. The Rockies have been in and out of the Young talks since before the Winter Meetings in early December.
Colorado seemed like a good fit for Young, who could fill a hole at second base. Right now, the Rockies have four candidates to start at second base, Jonathan Herrera, Jose Lopez, Chris Nelson and Eric Young Jr.
The Rockies are one of eight teams on Young's approved list, but few of those teams seem to be interested in Young. The seven other teams are the Padres, Dodgers, Astros, Cardinals, Angels, Twins and Yankees.
Here's the rest of the teams and reactions to a possible Young trade:
• Ken Gurnick of MLB.com writes the Dodgers have had talks with the Rangers, but a source tells him a deal is "a very long shot."
• Young's contract makes him a poor fit for the Astros, Zachary Lavine of the Houston Chronicle writes , even if it's a swap of bad contracts with Carlos Lee headed to Texas.
• The Cardinals aren't interested in Young, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes .
• The Angels are interested in Young, but Rangers' president Nolan Ryan it's doubtful the team would send Young to a team within his own division, the Los Angeles Times ' Mike DiGiovanna writes . Another story in the Times notes the teams match up well in terms of bad contracts, but the Rangers wouldn't really want Scott Kazmir or Fernando Rodney.
• There's "zero chance" the Twins make a deal for Young, Joe Christensen of the Star-Tribune tweets , adding the teams had discussed a trade before, but the contract is too much for the Twins to add.
• As for the Yankees and Padres -- the Padres don't want to spend that kind of money on Young, while the Yankees could, but they've already got overpaid declining infielders.
• There are also reports that Young would expand his list on a "team-by-team" basis -- which he may have to do in order to play for someone other than the Rangers in 2011.
UPDATE: An executive from one of the teams interested in Young tells Sports Illustrated 's Jon Heyman , "I still don't think they'll trade him."
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: December 7, 2010 9:48 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 9:55 pm
The Mariners are talking with the Indians about bringing Luis Valbuena back to Seattle, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The Mariners need a second baseman after non-tendering Jose Lopez (Chone Figgins can now return to third base after playing second last season), and new Mariners manager Eric Wedge is familiar with Valbuena from his days in Cleveland. Valbuena started his career in Seattle, playing 18 games with the Mariners in 2008 before they shipped him out in a three-team trade with the Indians and Mets. Valbuena batted just .193/.273/.258 in 91 big-league games in 2010, so he's not exactly a solution to the Mariners' offensive woes.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes that the Mariners, along with the Astros, are also looking at outfielder/DH Jack Cust.
-- David AndriesenFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Posted on: December 2, 2010 10:48 pm
Instead of non-tendering Jose Lopez, the Mariners found someone to actually give them something for the third baseman.
The Rockies sent minor-league right-hander Chaz Roe to Seattle for Lopez, the Mariners announced Thursday night.
Roe was 9-13 with a 5.98 ERA in 27 starts for Triple-A Colorado Springs this past season. Roe was 7-3 with a 3.15 ERA at Double-A Tulsa in 2009. He was picked in the first round by the Rockies in the 2005 draft (32nd overall).
-- C. Trent RosecransFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 1, 2010 1:09 pm
Jose Lopez is headed to free agency as the Mariners will not tender the third baseman a contract, as 710AM in Seattle relays.
Lopez is just 27 but regressed significantly from his previous below-average levels in 2010, hitting .239/.270/.339 in 622 plate appearances. Lopez also saw his $4.5 million option for 2011 declined, but this breaks him apart from the team entirely as he was still arbitration-eligible and would have received a raise (even if slight) from his 2010 salary of $2.3 million had he accepted.
Lopez will likely find the going in free agency tough, as no one is going to commit dollars to who was among the worst players in the 2010 season and has trouble with conditioning. He may have to settle for a minor-league contract, but there's not enough middle infield supply to meet demand, so he may end up doing reasonably well.
-- Evan BrunellFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.