Posted on: February 10, 2012 10:59 am
By Matt Snyder
Here we are for the fifth of six installments of spring positional battles. This one is the mighty AL East, the most polarizing and probably best division in the majors.
Previous spring position battles: AL West | NL West | AL Central | NL Central
New York Yankees
Designated Hitter: Andruw Jones vs. Russell Branyan vs. Free Agent vs. Revolving Door
I still feel like the Yankees will sign either Johnny Damon, Raul Ibanez or Hideki Matsui -- any of whom likely nails down this job full-time. But it's undecided as of right now, and wide open. Will Andruw Jones or Russell Branyan hit well enough to justify being the full-time DH? Maybe, or maybe they platoon -- as Jones hits from the right side while Branyan is a lefty. Or maybe the Yankees use bench players like Eduardo Nunez, Bill Hall and Chris Dickerson in the field while using starters like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher at DH a few times a week in order to keep guys healthy and in tip-top shape.
Tampa Bay Rays
No. 4-5 starters: Jeff Niemann vs. Wade Davis vs. Matt Moore vs. Six-man rotation
Talk about a nice "problem" to have. The Rays obviously have David Price, James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson as the top three in the rotation. While there isn't a big problem with either Niemann or Davis, it's time to find a place in the rotation for Moore and I'm certain they will. The 22-year-old left-hander was awesome in his limited time in the majors last year, including a stellar outing against the Rangers in Texas for Game 1 of the ALDS. Moore's already received the type of team-friendly contract Evan Longoria got when he was a rookie -- as Moore is signed through 2016 with club options running all the way through 2019. So the question is, do the Rays demote either Niemann or Davis to the bullpen or trade one of them? Niemann would be the trade candidate, as Davis also has a team-friendly contract with club options that take him through 2017. And I doubt this happens, but the Rays could always go with a six-man rotation. Seeing how this plays out will a big spring storyline.
Boston Red Sox
Shortstop: Nick Punto vs. Mike Aviles vs. Jose Iglesias
After trading both Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie this offseason, the Red Sox are left with what appears to be Mike Aviles against Nick Punto at short. Punto had a good offensive campaign by his standards last season, when he hit .278 with a .388 on-base percentage. He only had six starts at shortstop, though, and his career numbers don't indicate he's worthy of an everyday gig at shortstop. Aviles also only started six games at short last season, and he only hit .255/.289/.409. He did hit well for the Red Sox, but it was a small 107 plate appearance sample. So the choice between Punto and Aviles is dubious defensively and neither is a good offensive option. Enter Iglesias, the dazzling defensive prospect. He's a dreadful hitter -- his line in Triple-A was .235/.285/.269 last season -- but it's not like Aviles or Punto are going to be confused with Troy Tulowitzki or anything. Maybe the Red Sox just plant Iglesias in the nine-hole and enjoy the exceptional defense?
Corner Outfield spots: Cody Ross vs. Ryan Sweeney vs. Carl Crawford and his health
Crawford is said to be questionable for the start of the season after undergoing minor wrist surgery a few weeks ago. If he's healthy, he starts in left easily while Sweeney and Ross battle it out for the right field job. If Crawford can't start the season, Ross and Sweeney are the corner outfielders, yet still fighting for the right field job for when Crawford returns. At some point, Ryan Kalish will return from offseason shoulder surgery and could eventually fight for playing time in right field as well.
Toronto Blue Jays
Outfield logjam: Colby Rasmus vs. Eric Thames vs. Rajai Davis vs. Travis Snider
We know who mans right field, but these four guys are competing for the other two spots. Thames in left field and Rasmus in center seem the most likely, but Davis will get a shot at either spot and Snider is in the mix for left.
No. 5 starter: Dustin McGowan vs. Kyle Drabek
This may bleed up into the No. 4 starter as well, but I'll give Brett Cecil the nod for now, since he is left-handed. The top three are Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Henderson Alvarez. So, for now, I'll guess the last spot comes down to McGowan and Drabek. McGowan was once a very promising young arm. He went 12-10 with a 4.08 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 144 strikeouts in 169 2/3 innings back in 2007, when he was 25. He then made 19 starts before falling injured in 2008 and finally just resurfaced late last season -- two shoulder surgeries and one knee surgery later. Does he have anything left? He was good in 12 minor-league starts in 2011, but had a 6.43 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in the small sample of 21 innings pitched for the Blue Jays. Drabek was a top 30 prospect each of the past two years, according to Baseball America, but he fell flat last season for the Jays. He had a 6.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP and more walks than strikeouts for the big-league club. Even worse, he was knocked around for Triple-A Las Vegas, to the tune of a 7.44 ERA and 2.03 WHIP in 75 innings. Walks, again, were an issue with Drabek issuing 41 compared to 45 strikeouts. Prospects Deck McGuire and Drew Hutchison could also figure in the mix eventually, but this feels like Drabek vs. McGowan heading into March.
The entire pitching staff: Johnny Wholestaff vs. Joe Allstaff
So let's see ... the following pitchers might have a chance at the starting rotation: Zach Britton (very safe bet), Jason Hammel (safe bet), Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Dana Eveland, Wei-Yin Chen, Tsuyoshi Wada, Alfredo Simon and Tommy Hunter. That's quite a mix of pitchers to sift through, but the job isn't overwith yet, because we have to look at the bullpen.
Three pitchers -- Jim Johnson, Matt Lindstrom and Kevin Gregg -- will compete for the closer job, with Troy Patton, Pedro Strop and Darren O'Day also being part of the bullpen mix. Of course, guys like Simon, Hunter and Bergesen will get a shot in the bullpen if they miss out on the rotation, too. There are more (Willie Eyre, Armando Galarraga, etc.), but I already named 17 pitchers vying for 12 spots.
We could probably move Simon and Hunter to the bullpen while eliminating Eveland from the starting mix, but that still leaves eight guys in competition. In the bullpen, Johnson seems the best bet to win the closer gig, with Lindstrom and Gregg setting up. Add Strop, Patton, Simon and Hunter and you have your seven. But, again, we've thrown out Eveland and there would still be three extra starters along with O'Day, Eyre et al on the outside looking in.
I'll say one thing: Orioles manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair won't be bored this spring. Maybe frustrated, but definitely not bored.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Tags: AL East, Alex Rodriguez, Alfredo Simon, Andruw Jones, Blue Jays, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz, Carl Crawford, Chris Tillman, Cody Ross, Colby Rasmus, Dana Eveland, Darren O'Day, Derek Jeter, Dustin McGowan, Eric Thames, Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, Jeff Niemann, Jim Johnson, Johnny Damon, Jose Iglesias, Kevin Gregg, Kyle Drabek, Matt Lindstrom, Matt Moore, Matt Snyder, Mike Aviles, Nick Punto, Orioles, Pedro Strop, Rajai Davis, Rays, Red Sox, Russell Branyan, Ryan Sweeney, spring position battles, Tommy Hunter, Travis Snider, Troy Patton, Tsuyoshi Wada, Wade Davis, Wei-Yin Chen, Yankees, Zach Britton
Posted on: February 6, 2012 9:58 am
Edited on: February 6, 2012 1:09 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The Orioles have traded starter Jeremy Guthrie to the Rockies for starter Jason Hammel and reliever Matt Lindstrom, according to CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman.
Hammel, 28, was 7-13 with a 4.76 ERA for the Rockies last season, while Lindstrom appeared in 63 games for Colorado, going 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA and two saves. The 31-year-old right-hander struck out 36 batters in 54 innings. Hamel is in the second year of a two-year, $7.75 million deal and has another year of arbitration for 2013 before becoming a free agent. Lindstrom is in the second year of his deal that will pay him $3.6 million this year with a team option for $4 million next season.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: November 29, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 2:01 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.
Another day, another entry in our series. For this one, we'll stop over in Queens and meet the Mets. We know about Wright and Reyes, but what else is there? For one, a guy who just tied the postseason home run record. Knowing that the Mets traded him for Jorge Velandia has to be a bit painful for Mets fans (don't feel too bad, though, because the A's and Brewers gave up on Cruz, too). Anyway, let's dive in.
1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Daniel Murphy, 2B
3. David Wright, 3B
4. Nelson Cruz, RF
5. Ike Davis, 1B
6. Mike Carp, LF
7. Angel Pagan, CF
8. Josh Thole, C
1. Dillon Gee
2. Jonathon Niese
3. Philip Humber
4. Mike Pelfrey
5. A.J. Burnett
Closer - Heath Bell
Set up - Octavio Dotel, Jason Isringhausen, Matt Lindstrom, Bobby Parnell, Joe Smith, Guillermo Mota
Long - Aaron Heilman
Notable Bench Players
Drew Butera, Josh Satin, Ruben Tejada, Ty Wigginton, Lucas Duda, Fernando Martinez, Carlos Gomez and the imcomparable Wily Mo Pena. Also, Scott Kazmir is on this team. If he never left, would it have been possible that he was an upper-tier starter for years? We'll never know.
I like the bullpen. The bench is good, too. As a whole, one thing that stuck out to me is there aren't any really glaring holes. And assuming everyone is healthy, that's a pretty stout top four to five in the batting order. Reyes setting up for Wright and Cruz would be scary for opposing pitchers.
The starting rotation is a bunch of threes and fours. There's potential to better sure -- like if Burnett gets locked in for stretches -- but if we're looking at just the present, the lack of an ace would hurt as the season progressed, especially in terms of stopping modest losing streaks. The catcher and center field spots could be better as well, but, as I mentioned above, it's not like those are glaring holes. On the whole, while there aren't any real glaring holes, there's nothing that stands out as spectacular other than a healthy Reyes while Wright, Cruz and Bell are very good.
Comparison to real 2011
The real-life Mets were 77-85, and I think this bunch is a bit better than that. It's a team that would put up a winning record and maybe contend for a wild card. It's definitely not great, as the lack of an ace shows, but the weaknesses here are all pretty minor. I'm thinking mid-80s in wins with a ceiling of 90 and floor of high-70s? That sounds about right.
Next: Cincinnati Reds
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: A.J. Burnett, Aaron Heilman, Angel Pagan, Bobby Parnell, Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Dillon Gee, Guillermo Mota, Heath Bell, Homegrown, Ike Davis, Jason Isringhausen, Joe Smith, Jonathon Niese, Jose Reyes, Josh Thole, Matt Lindstrom, Matt Snyder, Mets, Mike Carp, Mike Pelfrey, Nelson Cruz, NL East, Octavio Dotel, Phil Humber
Posted on: July 28, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 5:38 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
It appears the Padres' Heath Bell may be the next big name off the trade board. CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller writes the talks are heating up, but there's still plenty of other trade rumors out there, so here we go:
• Have the Red Sox and Mariners matched up for a deal? FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports the Mariners had two scouts watching the Red Sox's Triple-A team on Wednesday and another eyeing the Double-A team. The Red Sox are "all over" left-hander Erik Bedard, a source told Rosenthal. Boston could also be interested in right-hander Doug Fister or closer Brandon League, too.
• Bell expects to be a Ranger by Friday. Why? His parents are flying in from Texas on Thursday to spend 10 days with his family in San Diego, Bell joked to reporters after Wednesday night's game. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune also says the Braves, Indians and Reds are the most interested in Ryan Ludwick, but you may want to cross the Indians off the list after they acquired Kosuke Fukudome from the Cubs on Thursday. Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweets that the Philles are also interested.
• After Wednesday's loss to the Rockies, Kuroda -- who has a no-trade clause -- told reporters, "My honest feeling is that I can't fathom wearing another uniform [other] than the Dodgers uniform right now." Still, MLB.com's Ken Gurick writes the Indians, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Tigers are still making a push for the right-hander.
• The Brewers are interested in the Dodgers' Rafael Furcal and Jamey Carroll, but the Dodgers will only trade one of the two, Rosenthal writes. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark said the Giants have talked to Los Angeles about Furcal.
• La Valle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune says the Twins aren't looking to deal Denard Span, but notes the Nationals may be interested in Ben Revere or prospects Joe Benson and Aaron Hicks.
• The Twins are looking for bullpen help, FoxSports.com's Tracy Ringolsby writes, and could be targeting the Rockies. Colorado could deal right-handers Rafael Betancourt, Matt Lindstrom and Matt Belisle, and could even give up closer Huston Street for the right price. The Rockies would be interested in Minnesota's Kevin Slowey.
• The Mariners will be busy selling off pieces between now and Sunday's deadline, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes.@cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Aaron Harang, Aaron Hicks, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Ben Revere, Brandon League, BRaves, Brewers, C. Trent Rosecrans, Cardinals, Chris Davis, Denard Span, Dodgers, Doug Fister, Drew Storen, Erik Bedard, Heath Bell, Hiroki Kuroda, Houston Street, Hunter Pence, Indians, Jamey Carroll, Jeremy Guthrie, Joe Benson, Kevin Slowey, Kosuke Fukudome, Leo Nunez, Mariners, Matt Belisle, Matt Lindstrom, MLB rumors, National, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Padres, Rafael Betancourt, Rafael Furcal, Rangers, Red Sox, Robbie Erlin, Ryan Lurdwick, Ryan Theriot, Tigers, trade deadline, Twins, Yankees
Posted on: June 18, 2011 10:54 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2011 1:18 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez won his first game at Coors Field on Saturday, but left the game agaisnt Detroit in the sixth inning with what the team is calling a right calf cramp. Five relievers finished the game, including Huston Street, who notched his 20th save of the season after giving up a run in the 5-4 victory.
Jimenez had allowed a run on six hits to the Tigers before giving up back-to-back hits in the sixth and being checked on by the Rockies staff and leaving the game. His replacement, Matt Lindstrom, allowed both runners to score, saddling Jimenez with those two runs and three overall. In addition to the eight hits he allowed, Jimenez walked two (one intentional) and struck out five.
Jimenez came into the night 0-5 with a 7.05 ERA at home and 1-2 with a 2.06 on the road. Jimenez is now 2-7 with a 4.68 ERA overall.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 26, 2010 1:57 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2010 2:17 pm
This appears to have flown under the radar as everyone in America is enjoying a holiday weekend, but the Rockies acquired Matt Lindstrom on Christmas Eve, giving the Rockies the right-handed reliever they had been seeking all offseason.
Lindstrom flailed in his only season with the Astros after coming over from the Marlins, posting a 4.39 ERA (4.05 xFIP) over 53 1/3 innings while notching 23 saves before losing his gig to Brandon Lyon near the end of the season.
Lindstrom is miscast as a closer, but as a middle reliever, is a quality pitcher whose price tag hasn't soared despite his save totals. Lindstrom made $1.625 million in 2010, and should edge over $2 million in 2011, still an acceptable salary for someone in his role.
Lindstrom does have the capacity to improve, as he's been plagued by a poor defense behind him for his four seasons in the majors, and his ability to strike out batters (7.26 K/9 in 2010) should play well.
In exchange for Lindstrom, the Astros received righty pitcher Jonnathan Aristil along with lefty hurler Wes Musick. Both are 24 and only Musick has passing experience in Double-A. They appear to be strictly organizational arms, as this deal was about clearing salary with the Astros up for sale.
-- Evan Brunell
Posted on: December 23, 2010 5:17 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:12 pm
The Rockies did a little last-minute Christmas shopping, getting reliever Matt Lindstrom from the Astros, as reported by Thomas Harding of MLB.com.
The Astros reportedly were trying to move Lindstrom for salary reasons, as he's arbitration-eligible, but after making $1.625 million last year, he should still be fairly affordable for Colorado. Lindstrom, 30, was 2-5 with a 4.39 ERA and 23 saves in 58 appearances last season. He started the season as Houston's closer before being sidetracked by back issues.
Harding thinks Lindstrom was acquired as insurance in case Houston Street can't stay healthy. No word yet on what the Rockies gave up in the trade.
UPDATE: The Astos have announced the deal officially, and get back right-hander Jonnathan Aristil and left-hander Wes Musick.
-- David Andriesen
Posted on: December 6, 2010 11:58 am
Edited on: December 6, 2010 12:36 pm
Thought the Astros were done with their penny-pinching ways after dealing Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt?
The club is looking to move arbitration-eligible players in Matt Lindstrom and Jeff Keppinger (pictured), even though the two will only make about $2 million-$3 million in arbitration apiece as AOL Fanhouse relays. Lindstrom made $1.625 million as the Astros closer although he lost the job at the end of the year to Brandon Lyon. Keppinger, who hit .288/.351/.393 in 575 plate appearances could be attractive to teams looking for a middle infielder as he is capable of playing short as well and made $1.15 million in 2010.
Owner Drayton McLane is looking to lop payroll off even more now that the team is up for sale. That means that Lindstrom and his 23 saves along with starting second baseman Keppinger could be on the way out for a club that was 59-52 after May and 40-33 following the All-Star break. That's a playoff caliber club, but manager Brad Mills will have to work some more magic if the two are indeed traded.
-- Evan BrunellFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.