Posted on: February 7, 2012 7:38 am
Edited on: February 8, 2012 3:47 pm
By Matt Snyder
We are finally just a few short weeks away from spring training beginning, so let's continue looking at some positional battles that will unfold through February and March. Monday, we looked at the AL West and now it's time to look at the NL West.
None: None yet.
I understand this probably comes off as a bit lame, but look at the D-Backs depth chart and tell me where there are any legitimate battles. From the starting lineup to the rotation to the bullpen, it would appear the defending NL West champs have very few question marks heading into the 2012 season. I would keep an eye on last year's first-round pick, starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (maybe pushing Josh Collmenter to the long relief role at some point in June or July?), but it's very doubtful he fits in the rotation out of spring. He got knocked around (7.56 ERA, 1.68 WHIP) in four Double-A starts last season. So I've got nothing here. They are already set.
San Francisco Giants
First Base: Aubrey Huff vs. Brandon Belt
Is it time to pass the torch yet? The Giants had no patience with Belt last season, as the 23-year-old prospect was shipped back to the minors in April after just 60 plate appearances. He came back to stay in the middle of July, hitting .231/.296/.469 the rest of the way, but that was only in 142 plate appearances. And he did show good power, hitting eight homers in that stretch. In 111 career Triple-A games, Belt has a .441 on-base percentage and 20 home runs. Meanwhile, Huff is 35 and coming off a season where he hit .246/.306/.370 with just 12 homers in 579 plate appearances. With the additions of Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera, it's unlikely the Giants shove Belt back in the outfield initially, so they must make a decision here. Do they leave Belt in Triple-A again, where he's proven he's a stud, have him ride pine in the bigs, or just move on past Huff and let Belt have the job?
Shorstop: Ryan Theriot vs. Brandon Crawford vs. Mike Fontenot
The 25-year-old Crawford is easily the best defender of this group, but at some point the Giants will need some offense. Crawford is a career .234/.291/.327 hitter in Triple-A. In 220 big-league plate appearances, Crawford hit .204/.288/.296 last season, so he's a complete offensive liability. Ryan Theriot hit .271 with a .321 OBP last year, and he also has no power. He does, however, have a career .282 average and .344 OBP. Fontenot hit only .227/.304/.377 last season, but he certainly has the most power of the trio here. Basically, there isn't really a good choice, but there's still one to be made. Of note: Fontenot and Crawford hit left handed, so maybe Theriot ends up platooning with one of them.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Left Field: Jerry Sands vs. Tony Gwynn Jr. vs. Juan Rivera
Did Sands' month of September give the Dodgers confidence he's ready to take over in left right away? It's possible. After hitting pretty poorly in his stint earlier in the season, Sands hit .342/.415/.493 with two homers, nine RBI and five doubles in 83 plate appearances in the last month. He's only 24, but he's also hit for great power in Triple-A (29 home runs in 418 plate appearances in Albuquerque last year). This one is all about him, with Gwynn being the backup option and Rivera being the desperation option.
Closer: Javy Guerra vs. Kenley Jansen
Guerra is the incumbent and successfully converted 21 of 23 save chances last season. He's only 26 and posted a 2.31 ERA, 1.18 WHIP in his 46 2/3 innings last season, too. So he's the obvious closer, right? I'm not so sure. The 6-foot-5 Jansen is only 24 and has elite closer written all over him. He had a rough start, but from June on, Jansen posted a 0.55 ERA, 0.67 WHIP with four saves, seven holds and zero blown saves. His stuff is nasty, as he struck out 96 hitters in 53 2/3 innings on the season. It looks like the sky is the limit, so would the Dodgers really leave him in the eighth inning due to Guerra's 2011 performance?
No. 3-5 starting pitchers: Alex White vs. Drew Pomeranz vs. Juan Nicasio vs. Guillermo Moscoso vs. Tyler Chatwood vs. Josh Outman vs. Jamie Moyer
After stockpiling pitchers the entire offseason, it wasn't too surprising to see the Rockies trade away both Kevin Slowey and Jason Hammel. Of course, they got back Jeremy Guthrie and still have an absurd logjam behind Guthrie and Jhoulys Chacin. And Jorge De La Rosa will be back at some point later in the season (he had Tommy John surgery last June). White and Pomeranz are both young and inexperienced enough to justify more time in Triple-A, but they probably have the best stuff of anyone on the list. Chatwood got plenty of MLB experience last season, but he's still only 22 and his numbers weren't good. It's hard not to root for Nicasio, as he's coming back from a broken neck. He made some good starts for Colorado last summer, too. Outman's never really shown more than mediocrity and Moyer is 49. I very much like Moscoso's chances, for one, as he's 28 and had a 3.38 ERA and 1.09 WHIP last season for Oakland. The ballpark difference in home games will be bad, but the NL West has fewer fearful hitters than the AL West and some spacious parks. So I'll officially predict Moscoso gets in, but beyond him, it's a complete toss up.
San Diego Padres
Catcher: Nick Hundley vs. John Baker vs. Yasmani Grandal
Hundley has had parts of four seasons to prove himself. Last season, he did hit well, with a .288/.347/.477 line, but injuries limited him to just 82 games. His career high, due to many different circumstances, is 85. The 31-year-old Baker has had the past couple seasons ruined due to an arm injury (Tommy John surgery and rehab took out nearly all of last season), but back in 2008-09 he hit .281/.364/.423 for the Marlins. The two could actually platoon, because Baker hits lefty while Hundley hits righty. Grandal, though, has loads of talent. He was the Reds' first rounder in 2010, is a switch hitter and has a career minor-league line of .303/.401/.488. He's only played four games in Triple-A, though, so he'd probably have to go nuts with his bat in the spring to get a shot out of the gate. The smart money is on the Padres going with Hundley as the primary starter, Baker as a backup who sees a good amount of playing time and Grandal spending most of the season in Triple-A. Maybe even a platoon with Hundley and Baker. Still, there's enough here for a potentially good three-way battle this spring. And you never know on Grandal. He jumped from High-A to Triple-A in 2011 and his experience before that was just eight Rookie League games in 2010. Maybe he's one of those guys that doesn't need much minor-league seasoning.
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Tags: Alex White, Aubrey Huff, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Drew Pomeranz, Giants, Guillermo Moscoso, Jamie Moyer, Javy Guerra, Jerry Sands, John Baker, Josh Collmenter, Josh Outman, Juan Nicasio, Juan Rivera, Kenley Jansen, Matt Snyder, Mike Fontenot, Nick Hundley, NL West, Padres, Rockies, Ryan Theriot, spring position battles, Tony Gwynn, Trevor Bauer, Tyler Chatwood, Yasmani Grandal
Posted on: November 23, 2011 11:59 am
Edited on: November 24, 2011 12:26 am
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 waivers, 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.
It's late November. The awards have all been handed out. The Winter Meetings are in a few weeks. Pitchers and catchers don't report for almost three months. So it's the perfect time to kick off a fun little series. So we're starting the Homegrown series right now. We have a landing page that will be filled out as we move forward with the feature -- on which you can see the exact date we'll be posting each individual team.
What I love most about this series is that it has the potential to either enlighten or vindicate rabid fans in heated arguments. Large-market, big-spending teams are often attacked by opposing fans as simply trying to "buy championships" without having to develop their own talent. The biggest target is the Yankees, so what better team to start the series with?
The news is pretty good for the haters. You have been vindicated. This team would be ... well, you'll see.
1. Brett Gardner, LF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Robinson Cano, 2B
4. Alfonso Soriano, DH
5. Jesus Montero, 1B
6. Melky Cabrera, RF
7. Austin Jackson, CF
8. Francisco Cervelli, C
9. Eduardo Nunez, 3B
1. Ian Kennedy
2. Ivan Nova
3. Phil Hughes
4. Chien-Ming Wang
5. Jeff Karstens
Closer - Mariano Rivera
Set up - John Axford, David Robertson, Tyler Clippard, Mark Melancon, Joba Chamberlain
Long - Phil Coke? Jose Contreras?
Notable Bench Players
Jorge Posada, Dioner Navarro, Juan Rivera, Jose Tabata ... and that's about it. Unless Marcus Thames and Shelley Duncan get you excited.
That bullpen is sick. It would easily be the best in baseball, with any lead past the fifth inning seemingly being safe in the hands of Clippard, Robertson, Axford and Rivera.
Anything else. Nothing is horrible, but the lineup, defense and rotation leave a lot to be desired. What's worse, there's really no depth in case of injuries. They'd have to turn to either Coke or a minor leaguer (Dellin Betances?) in the rotation -- or convince Andy Pettitte to come out of retirement -- and Ramiro Pena is the only backup infielder. There are plenty of backup outfielders, but Tabata's really the only one with upside.
Comparison to real 2011
Well, let's see. The 2011 Yankees won 97 games en route to a division title and the best record in the American League. This team is mediocre at best. The bullpen is awesome, but how many leads would there be to protect? 75? There is an MVP candidate in Cano, but having Soriano as protection isn't near as cushy as he's used to. Since this is the first team in our 30-team series, we won't reveal many other specifics, but I can tell you that this Yankees team would probably finish fourth in the AL East. Thus, it's much worse than reality. I have no way of measuring this, but I do think this team is better than many Yankee-hating fans would have guessed. Lots of those act like the Yankees have never developed anyone. This isn't an awful collection, it's just not good.
Now, it's absolutely worth noting the Yankees lost lots of draft picks as compensation for signing free agents, so that's why they don't have any depth. But let's just remember this is supposed to be a fun exercise for the offseason.
Up next: San Diego Padres
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Tags: AL East, Alfonso Soriano, Austin Jackson, Brett Gardner, Chien-Ming Wang, David Robertson, Derek Jeter, Dioner Navarro, Eduardo Nunez, Francisco Cervelli, Homegrown, Ian Kennedy, Ivan Nova, Jeff Karstens, Jesus Montero, Joba Chamberlain, John Axford, Jorge Posada, Jose Contreras, Jose Tabata, Juan Rivera, Marcus Thames, Mariano Rivera, Mark Melancon, Matt Snyder, Melky Cabrera, Phil Coke, Phil Hughes, Robinson Cano, Shelley Duncan, Tyler Clippard, Yankees
Posted on: November 3, 2011 9:08 am
Edited on: November 3, 2011 5:58 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Outfielder Juan Rivera may not know who will be signing his checks next year, but he does know he'll be getting one -- as the 33-year-old has agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Dodgers. The team officially announced the move Thursday afternoon.
Rivera was acquired in a trade from Toronto for a player to be named and cash after disappointing in his his first 70 games with the Blue Jays, hitting .243/.305/.360. In Los Angeles, he played more to his career averages, hitting .274/.333/.406 in 62 games, playing mostly right field, as well as left and at first base.
Rivera spent six years in Anaheim before being part of the trade that sent Vernon Wells to Anaheim in January. He was in the final year of a three-year, $12.75 million deal.
Posted on: October 29, 2011 11:07 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Carlos Beltran was the hottest name at the trade deadline and he'll be the top name in free agency. Still, no outfielder will come close to matching Carl Crawford's seven-year, $142 million dollar contract -- the entire crop may not get as much as Crawford and Jayson Werth put together.
For all free agency moves, check out the CBSSports.com free agency tracker.
2. Nick Swisher: The Yankees have a $10.25 million option on Swisher, who hit .260/.374/.449 with 23 homers in 2011. The money million won't be an issue for the Yankees, who will most likely pick up the option. There has been a report that New York may exercise the option and try to sign Beltran, then trading Swisher.
3. Michael Cuddyer: Cuddyer's versatility could make him a hot commodity. He's primarily played right field, but also played first, second and has played third in the past -- he even pitched a scoreless inning this past season, hitting .284/.346/.459 -- close to his career numbers. He also hit 20 home runs this past season and hit 32 in 2009 before the Twins moved to the spacious Target Field.
4. Jason Kubel: The 29-year-old enters free agency after playing in just 99 games due to foot problems, it was the first time since 2007 he didn't play at least 140 games, but whoever signs him will be giving that left foot a thorough inspection. Kubel can play either corner spot and give a team some pop -- and if you're into RBI, he did have 103 and 92 in his last two full seasons.
5. Josh Willingham: The right-handed hitting Willigham had career-bests in home run (29) and RBI (98) -- but saw his batting average (.246) and on-base percentage (.332) take a tumble from not only his lofty 2010 numbers, but also his career averages (.262, .361). Willigham is hardly a Gold Glover and there are also concerns about his durability.
6. Coco Crisp: The 31-year-old is the top center fielder available, so that should help his stock. After a hot start, Crisp struggled in 2011, putting up his lowest on-base percentage (.314) since his second season in the majors. He did lead the American League with 49 stolen bases. The A's have had some interest in re-signing Crosp, but the price could be too high. The Giants have said to have interest in him, as well.
7. Grady Sizemore: The biggest risk/reward of the free agent outfield class -- if he hits free agency. The Indians have a $9 million option on the 29-year-old, who has played just 104 games over the last two seasons because of various injuries. He hasn't played more than 110 games in a season since 2008. When healthy, he's as talented as any player in the game -- but that's a huge if. Either the Indians will gamble and exercise his option or someone else will roll the dice.
8. David DeJesus: DeJesus' first year in Oakland was a serious disappointment, as he saw his average drop .078 and his on-base percentage dropped .061, both to career-lows of .240 and .323, respectively. However, his batting average on balls in play (.271) was 45 points lower than his career mark and his walk rate increased, so it may have just bit a bit of bad luck -- and playing in the Oakland Coliseum.
9. Andruw Jones: At 34 (he'll be 35 in April), Jones is no longer the elite defensive player he once was, but he put up solid numbers as a platoon player for the Yankees, hitting .247/.356/.495 with 13 home runs in 77 games, but hit .286/.384/.540 against right-handers. He could make a decent addition as a bat off the bench and late-gaem replacement in a corner outfield spot.
10. Cody Ross: After playing a pivotal role in the Giants' run to the 2010 World Series title and winning the NLCS MVP, Ross struggled in 2011, hitting .240/.325/.405 with 14 home runs. Wherever he lands, Ross will likely have to take a pay cut from the $6.3 million he made in 2010.
11. J.D. Drew: The biggest question is whether Drew will want to play as a 36-year-old platoon or bench player. The days of Drew taking a starting spot seem to be over, as he hit just .222/.315/.302 i 81 games this season. He was close to useless against lefties, hitting just .167/.259/.292 with one homer against left-handers in the final year of his five-year, $70 million deal with the Red Sox.
12. Ryan Ludwick: Ludwick has a chance to disappoint his third team in a year -- as the 33-year-old has just not performed since taking off a Cardinals uniform. He started the season hitting .238/.301/.373 with 11 home runs in 101 games for the Padres and .232/.341/.330 with two homers in 38 games for the Pirates. In four years with the Cardinals, Ludwick hit .280/.349/.507.
13. Kosuke Fukudome: It's safe to say Fukudome's next contract will be a little smaller than the four-year, $48 million deal he signed with the Cubs before the 2008 season. Fukudome was burdened by high expectations, failing to live up to the contract, hitting .260/.361/.399 in four seasons in MLB. A pretty good on-base guy, Fukudome's best as a leadoff man, which may make him a little more valuable than his numbers suggest.
14. Eric Hinske: The Braves have an option on Hinske, and it's just $1.5 million -- so it's likely they'll pick it up. Hinske can play both outfield spots, as well as first base, so he's a useful bench player. However, the Braves are already a little too left-handed heavy and Hinske was dreadful against lefties (.118/.167/.294).
15. Raul Ibanez: The Phillies seemed to want to find anyone other than Ibanez to man left field all season, but could never find anyone that was an improvement over the 39-year-old. His average (.245) and OBP (.289) both tumbled this season, but he still hit 20 home runs and drove in 84.
16. Jonny Gomes: Goems projects as a Type B free agent and has publicly said he'd likely accept arbitration if offered. Gomes struggled in 2011, hitting just .209/.325/.389 with the Reds and Nationals, but did see his walk rate increase, although his power too a tumble, hitting just 14 home runs. He's best in a platoon situation, crushing left-handed pitchers to the tune of .311/.407/.456.
17. Juan Pierre: Pierre stole 41 fewer bases in 2011 than he did in 2010, but he was caught stealing just one fewer time, leading the majors by being caught stealing 17 times. Pierre was once fast, but doesn't seem to be anymore, which means he has very few marketable skills. Well, he did lead the majors with 19 sacrifice bunts.
18. Magglio Ordonez: Ordonez re-fractured his right ankle during the ALCS -- the same injury that caused him to consider retirement during the season. Rehabbing that injury could be more than he would like to do at 38, especially coming off of a .255/.303/.331 season. Ordonez did look good in the ALDS victory over the Yankees, but his health just wouldn't hold out.
19. Corey Patterson: Somehow, some way, Patterson keeps popping up in the big leagues. He's kind of like a weed. He doesn't do much of anything well, but he's kinda fast. Other than that… yeah. A career .252/.290/.400 hitter, you never think you'll see him again, but ultimately, you do.
20. Juan Rivera: Rivera's 62 games with the Dodgers after being traded from Toronto showed he may just have a little something left in the tank, hitting .274/.333/.406 with five home runs for Don Mattingly. He's still likely a platoon player, but can play both corner spots and first base. The Dodgers have expressed interest in bringing him back.
Free-agent position rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | DH | SP | RP
Free-agent overall rankings: Position players | Pitchers
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Tags: 2012 free agency, 2012 MLB Free Agency, 2012 MLB Free Agents, 2012 MLB Hot Stove, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Andruw Jones, Angels, Athletics, Braves, Braves, C. Trent Rosecrans, Cardinals, Carlos Beltran, Coco Crisp, Cody Ross, Corey Patterson, Cubs, Cubs, David DeJesus, Eric Hinske, free agency, free agent tracker, Free-agent position rankings: Beltran in demand MLB Free Agency, Giants, Grady Sizemore, Indians, J.D. Drew, Japan, Jason Kubel, Jonny Gomez, Josh Willingham, Juan Pierre, Juan Rivera, Kosuke Fukudome, Magglio Ordonez, Mariners, Marlins, Marlins, Michael Cuddyer, Michael Cuddyer, MLB Free Agents, MLB Hot Stove, Nationals, Nick Swisher, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Raul Ibanez, Rays, Red Sox, Reds, Rockies, Ryan Ludwick, Tigers, Twins, White Sox, Yankees
Posted on: September 6, 2011 9:13 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Our own Danny Knobler will have more from Washington later, but if you missed it -- Stephen Strasburg didn't disappoint in his return from Tommy John surgery. In his first start in the majors just days after the anniversary of his surgery, Strasburg was dominant, throwing five shutout innings, allowing two hits, no walks and striking out four.
As impressive as the results were, so too were the brush strokes on the masterpiece -- a fastball that was clocked as high as 99 mph, the same knee-buckling curveball we saw last year and the change up that can make anyone looking for heat look silly. As many words as have been used to describe Strasburg, they all seem apt.
Last season his debut dress both viewers and raves. Strasmas went from a one-time event to a traveling carnival, and even if he didn't live up to the billing in every start, nobody walked away not understanding that the hype was justified.
Tuesday was no different.
Many pitchers have come back from Tommy John surgery, so coming back soon and even better isn't unheard of at this point. However, for most pitchers coming back requires the search for their old release point and control. In Strasburg's return, he had 14 first-pitch strikes to the 17 batters he faced and didn't seem to have an errant pitch. And that's what's always been so impressive about Strasburg, it's not just the stuff, but the command. He knows he can overpower a batter and also trick them. Set up for one and you set up for failure.
In the fourth inning, one of baseball's best, Matt Kemp, watched two strikes and a ball all at 96 mph or better and then went after a 90 mph two-seam fastball that darted down below the zone that had Kemp flailing at it for the third strike and Strasburg's third strikeout of the night.
In all, Strasburg threw 56 pitches, 40 for strikes. He gave up a leadoff double to Dodgers rookie Dee Gordon to lead off the game (on what would have been a single for anyone with mere human speed) before retiring the next 11 batters he faced. The only other hit was a grounder by Juan Rivera that shortstop Ian Desmond got a glove on, but couldn't corral.
There will be bumps along the way, that's what baseball's all about. But Tuesday wasn't one of those bumps, instead it was a triumph, one of many seemingly to come.
If everything pans out for the Nationals -- which of course will always be a huge if -- the one thing Strasburg brings is not only an ace, but maybe something just a tad more -- that ace that isn't swayed by an stage or any spotlight. Strasburg's entire career has been in the spotlight, one that has been bright and hasn't bothered him a bit.
Posted on: July 12, 2011 2:12 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 4:23 pm
By Matt Snyder
The Dodgers have acquired outfielder Juan Rivera for a player to be named later or future cash considerations, the team announced Thursday. The cash considerations are that the Dodgers are actually getting money from the Blue Jays to take Rivera.
Rivera, 33, figures to see time at first base and left field for the Dodgers, who are in desperate need of some offensive help for sluggers Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Rivera hit .243/.305/.360 with six home runs and 28 RBI for the Blue Jays in the first half. He hit 25 homers and drove in 88 runs for the Angels in 2009, so there's power potential there. It's just not a huge splash by any stretch.
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Posted on: May 14, 2011 11:42 pm
By Evan Brunell
Chad Billingsley, Dodgers -- Billingsley actually drew the loss, but it was far from his fault. He went eight strong, limiting the Diamondbacks to just one hit and an unearned run, walking two and whiffing eight. Hardly deserving of a loss, no? The "loss" dropped his ERA to 3.36, which is 21st in the NL which sounds unimpressive but the 26-year-old appears to be returning to the dominance of his 2008 season. The Dodgers are sorely in need of some good news amid the fracas surrounding the owner, Frank McCourt, and declining attendance. Billingsley is that guy.
Ramon Hernandez, Reds -- A fine performance for Hernandez, who is actually playing less than Ryan Hanigan these days. That should change, as Hernandez contributed a 3-for-3 night with two runs scored and two RBI, adding a walk and punching two home runs off of Kyle McClellan. The night, which was already high in tension given Johnny Cueto's first start against St. Louis since effectively ending Jason LaRue's career, ended in a 7-3 Cardinals victory. The win pushed the Reds to half a game ahead of St. Louis for the divison lead.
Brad Bergesen, Orioles -- Who saw this coming? Bergesen is a good-enough No. 4/5 starter, but a complete game against the first-place Rays, limiting them to four hits? Yeah, didn't see that coming. Yet, that transpired Saturday as Bergesen punched out five Rays to one walk. Sadly, this probably is his career highlight, but it's quite a fine one, indeed. The win was his first of the year against four losses and pushes Baltimore to two under .500, with Tampa Bay holding onto a two-game lead over the Yankees thanks to a suddenly surging Red Sox taking down New York.
Juan Rivera, Blue Jays -- Rivera did end up scoring a run in the 11th thanks to walking, but prior to then he was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. That's just not going to fly, especially since Toronto has been trying to deal Rivera and his slightly-bloated contract the second they gladly took it from the Angels to dump Vernon Wells. Rivera is at .217/.314/.283 on the season. At this rate, not only is he untradeable, but he's at risk of being released by Toronto if and when they deem Travis Snider ready to return.
Aaron Harang, Padres -- Harang put together his fourth straight disastrous outing by turning in a 4 1/3-inning effort against the Rockies, giving up seven runs, four walks and seven hits. He punched out a paltry seven, and Harang's ERA is all the way up to 5.05. Not exactly what people expected after his hot start to the season combined with his new home in Petco Park. He'll get a chance to right himself next week against the Brewers at home.
Gavin Floyd, White Sox -- Floyd has been pretty good for the White Sox and has been one of the saving graces of their brutal season, but Saturday he contributed to it with five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Athletics, which isn't easy to do in Oakland's park. Floyd's been so solid this season, the effort only pushed his ERA to 4.22.
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Posted on: May 10, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: May 10, 2011 10:58 am
By Matt Snyder
WEST AT IT AGAIN: Another game, another ejection by Joe West's awful excuse for an umpiring crew. Monday night, Ron Gardenhire of the Twins was West's victim. MLB Network studio analyst Larry Bowa said MLB executive Joe Torre needs to find a way to get West under control. You know I agree, and here's a link to my rant from last week on West's crew.
UH ... REALLY? During Justin Verlander's no-hitter in Toronto, Blue Jays' outfielder Juan Rivera ran by the mound and told Verlander he was just "getting lucky." Verlander even confirmed this after the game. "He was probably just trying to get under my skin," said the righty. (sportsnet.ca ) I know sometimes things are said due to frustration, so maybe Rivera backed off the comments later. Only he didn't. Instead he stood behind the remark. Look, there are certainly times where a run-of-the-mill pitcher has everything break his way and throws a no-no, but Verlander now has done it twice and is one of the elite arms in the game. There's no other way to spin the situation than to say that Rivera was just jealous.
QUITE A LEAP: From running a small hot dog stand to the Wrigley Field public address announcer within a few days? Yep, that's what Andrew Belleson did. Pretty cool story. (Chicago Tribune )
OFFENSIVELY CHALLENGED: The Twins have had a putrid offense pretty much all season. Before Monday's game against the Red Sox, a reporter asked manager Ron Gardenhire about Francisco Liriano's next start, saying "you don't need another no-hitter." Gardenhire's reply? "We don't? Who are you kidding?" (Twins Now via Twitter)
MONEY MATTERS: While Chris Young's season -- and maybe even career -- hangs in the balance, the Mets still have money woes. Thus, it's worth looking at Young's contract. He has a base salary of $1.1 million with incentives that could have pushed the deal all the way up to $4.5 million. He obviously hasn't reached any of those yet, so it's looking increasingly likely the Mets will only owe the initial $1.1 million. (ESPN New York )
MAD MILTON: When Milton Bradley was clipped by the Mariners Monday, the reaction across the baseball-loving world was anywhere from jubilation to relief to mockery. The always-great Geoff Baker of Mariners Blog (Seattle Times ) offers up a very thoughtful piece on Bradley, in that now he should be trying to figure out what makes him happy and get himself straightened out. It's very fair. While pointing out that Bradley has never been accountable for his actions, Baker also points out that teams continuing to sign Bradley have been enabling his behavior instead of forcing him to solve his personal demons. Meanwhile, Jerry Brewer of the same outlet discusses that Bradley's career is probably over. I tend to agree. When he was productive, it wasn't surprising that teams would give him a shot. But, to put it succinctly, he sucks now. There's no reason for anyone to give him a shot.
TURNIN' BACK THE CLOCK: Hanley Ramirez has had an awful beginning to the 2011 season. Back in 2009, he hit .342 with 24 home runs and 106 RBI, finishing second in MVP voting. So Hanley went back into his storage closet and found his bats from 2009. He started using them Sunday and has since gone 3-9 with two runs scored. He also scorched a pair of balls Sunday that didn't work out (one was a foul ball that easily had home run distance, the other was a line drive double-play that was right at the shortstop). Hey, if he thinks that will help, it very well might. Baseball is such a mental game, any little adjustment could get things on track. (Fish Bytes )
THE ROAD BACK: Josh Hamilton has been out several weeks with an injured shoulder, but he's going to take batting practice Friday (Evan Grant via Twitter).
MASKED MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN: "We are constantly looking for ways to connect and engage with our great fan base," said Angels vice president of sales and marketing, Robert Alvarado. And Tuesday night in Anaheim, the Angels will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for "largest gathering of people wearing costume masks." Specifically, everyone in attendance is going to get an Angels wrestling mask. Sorry, this is stupid. Can't the fans just go watch a baseball game? (MLB.com )
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Tags: AL Central, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Angels, Blue Jays, Chris Young, Cubs, Francisco Liriano, Hanley Ramirez, Joe West, Josh Hamilton, Josh Johnson, Juan Rivera, Justin Verlander, Mariners, Marlins, Mets, Milton Bradley, NL East, NL East, Phillies, Rangers, Ron Gardenhire, Roy Halladay, Tigers, Twins, umpires, Wrigley Field