Posted on: December 29, 2011 11:36 pm
By Matt Snyder
After a 13-season career, Melvin Mora has retired from Major League Baseball, reports Rafael Rojas.
Mora, 39, initially signed with the Houston Astros as an amateur free agent all the way back in 1991, but he didn't make the majors until 1999 with the Mets. He got 19 postseason plate appearances for the Mets that season, but -- unfortunately for Mora -- that was the last time he played in the playoffs. He was a member of the Diamondbacks this past season, but was released in June.
Mora played most of his big-league career for the Orioles, spending parts of 10 seasons there. He was a two-time All-Star and won the Silver Slugger with a superb offensive season in 2004, when he hit .340/.419/.562 with 27 homers, 104 RBI, 111 runs and 41 doubles.
As recently as 2008, Mora was still a productive offensive player, but he's declined the past few seasons as he's gotten closer to 40 years old. He hit just .228/.244/.276 last season for Arizona before his release.
Mora also spent one season with the Rockies.
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Posted on: September 12, 2011 4:19 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2011 5:17 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated came up with what he calls the "Movie Plus-Minus" -- it's a stat he uses to rank movies. It's simply this: how much he expected to like a movie versus how much he actually liked a movie. It's how a good movie can still be seen as bad, because expectations were too high -- or how a bad movie can actually be good. Anyway it's all about the expectations in judging the experience, if you don't expect much and it turns out to be good you have a more favorable impression than maybe a movie that you expect to be pretty good and turns out to be about what you expected, even if that movie is much better in a vacuum.
That's exactly how it seems that the Manager of the Year Award in baseball is awarded. Manager of the Year is usually an easy formula:
(Wins) - (Expected wins) = MoY total.
The highest number of MoY gives you the hardware.
Last year nobody expected anything out of the San Diego Padres, yet they nearly won their division. So little was expected that it didn't even matter that the Giants won the division or the Padres piddled away a lead at the end, they were in it and that was enough for the voters to make Bud Black the winner. In the American League, Terry Francona may have done his best managing in 2010, but because he finished third and the Red Sox are expected to make the playoffs every year, he finished fourth in the voting with no first-place votes. Instead it was Ron Gardenhire, followed by Ron Washington and Joe Maddon.
The likely winner in the National League this year? Well, that's easy. Kirk Gibson is going to be the overwhelming, perhaps unanimous, winner because nobody expected the Diamondbacks to contend, and here they are. Manny Acta and Maddon, whose teams were picked to make the playoffs by just about nobody, are frontrunners for this year's award in the American League.
So which managers scored high on the Movie Plus-Minus? Let's look at this summer's blockbusters and who their managerial equivalents:
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson as Rise of the Planet of the Apes: In April, it sounded ridiculous -- another Plaent of the Apes reboot? Didn't anyone see Tim Burton's attempt? This was a bad idea. A horrible idea. And that's what it looked like in Arizona, where the team started the season with Armando Galarraga and Barry Enright in the rotation. How about Russell Branyan and Melvin Mora. Geoff Blum? But like Gibson, Apes director Rupert Wyatt made all the right moves, making the ridiculous exciting and harnessing the energy and genius of his enigmatic star (James Franco and Justin Upton). While it may not be the best movie or take home either an Oscar or a World Series title, it certainly had the highest Movie Plus-Minus and Gibson will take home some hardware, even if his team doesn't.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke as X-Men: First Class: The franchise has had its hits, but stumbled in its last outing (X-Men: The Last Stand and 2010). Back with a new focus (the origin story for the movie and pitching for the Brewers), the movie not only lived up to tempered expectations, it exceeded them -- just like the Brewers. A thoroughly enjoyable season for the Brewers and a fun movie, both will be punished because there were decent expectations for the movie and the season, even if they delivered the goods. As a bonus, you can also use Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to link X-Men First Class and Roenicke -- Roenicke manages Ryan Braun, who was in one of the world's worst commercials with Marissa Miller, who was on Entourage with Kevin Connolly, who was in Beyond All Boundaries with Bacon, the bad guy in X-Men: First Class.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle as Green Lantern: Neither ended up being being good, but compared to expectations, it was an Oscar and a World Series. If you weren't scared off by the words "Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan", you certainly were when you heard about the CGI suit. Expectations were incredibly low, just as they were in Pittsburgh (and after 18 losing seasons, why not?). That said, there were some bright spots -- the suit wasn't anywhere near as bad as expected and there was a sort of tongue-in-cheek nod to superhero cliches in the movie, while Andrew McCutchen is a superhero himself. Both had a decent quick start, but in the end, both suffered as time went on and some concepts (a ring given to some dude by an alien, or Kevin Correia as an All-Star), proved too ridiculous for anyone to fully get behind the movie -- or the Pirates. In the end, though, you'll remember it as "not that bad" even if the Pirates do record their 19th consecutive losing season, but Hurdle will likely have a positive MoY score.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi as Super 8: You figured it would be good -- it was from J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg, there was plenty of money behind it. Expectations are always high for the Yankees and neither Spielberg nor Abrams are strangers to hype. A solid leading man (Kyle Chandler, Derek Jeter) and surprising performances from others thrust into lead roles (the kids in the movie and the not-quite-kids like Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia in the Yankees' rotation), made it a great summer. While some expectations can never be met, the Yankees and Super 8 got the job done. Of course, rarely are awards given for merely meeting expectations.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2: Everyone knew the story coming in -- Harry would defeat Voldemort and the trio of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels would prove as unbeatable as the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone and Cloak of Invisibility. It was great fun to watch, but the source material was handed to director David Yates by J.K. Rowling, just as Ruben Amaro Jr. and Pat Gillick gave Manuel this pitching and roster. Dismissed as just a press-button manager or director, the film succeeded, but those charged with doing so will have their role in making it so diminished because the perception is that it would be difficult to screw up the hand that was dealt.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy as Cowboys and Aliens: An excellent cast, a director with a good track record, beloved source material and, well, in the end it wasn't a hit.
Now, it'll just be interesting to see if Moneyball lives up to Art Howe's managing.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: 2011 awards, AL East, AL West, Andrew McCutchen, Armando Galarraga, Astros, awards, Barry Enright, Bartolo Colon, Brad Mills, Brewers, Bruce Bochy, C. Trent Rosecrans, Charlie Manuel, Cliff Lee, Clint Hurdle, Cole Hamels, Derek Jeter, Diamondbacks, Freddy Garcia, Geoff Blum, Giants, Joe Girardi, Justin Upton, Kevin COrreia, Kirk Gibson, Manager of the Year, Melvin Mora, NL Central, NL East, Phillies, PIrates, Ron Roenicke, Roy Halladay, Russell Branyan, Ryan Braun, Yankees
Posted on: August 12, 2011 3:12 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 5:11 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
If newspapers still existed and you opened one up this morning, you'd open up the sports section and see that the Arizona Diamondbacks were in first place in the National League West. It's one of those things that nobody really expected to see on Aug. 12, but there it is. I sure didn't expect it, and wasn't sure I knew exactly how it happened. So, I figured I could research the whole thing and write something about it, or I could go to someone who has been there the entire season, so I e-mailed my buddy Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
Piecoro is in his fifth season covering the Diamondbacks. I first met him in the press box at Chase Field in 2007 when he was surfing my iTunes library from his computer and sought me out to talk music. Since then, we've had numerous pizzas and beers together, talking baseball and, more often, music. So when I thought about the Diamondbacks, I quickly thought of Nick. And then I thought this might be a good weekly feature looking at some of the teams around MLB from the people who see them the most and know them the best. So, for the first installment of the Beat Down, here's Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic:
Eye On Baseball: So, really, first-place Diamondbacks? Really? Give me the short version of how this happened...
Nick Piecoro: I know, right? Well, there are a bunch of reasons. I’ll start with the emergence of Justin Upton, who has turned into a force in the middle of the lineup, a threat to do damage every time he’s up. They lead the league in home runs, so there’s a real element of a quick-strike offense. And if you look at their Baseball-Reference page, pretty much everyone in the lineup is at least close to a 100 OPS+, meaning there are no black holes in the lineup.
Then there’s the pitching staff. Ian Kennedy has pitched like a No. 1, and Daniel Hudson, Joe Saunders and Josh Collmenter (he of tomahawk-throwing fame) have slotted in well behind him. In the bullpen, they no longer cough up leads every night, and that’s thanks mainly to Kevin Towers acquisitions David Hernandez and J.J. Putz.
EOB: Did you see this coming? I sure didn't. I will say, our senior writers -- Scott Miller and Danny Knobler -- did say the D-Backs would be interesting this year, but I don't think any of us expected this.
NP: No way, not me. In spring training, they were a disaster. Part of the reason they’ve been able to turn it around is because they were quick to act to make changes with guys who weren’t getting the job done, and the list is long: Armando Galarraga, Barry Enright, Russell Branyan, Melvin Mora, Aaron Heilman, Juan Miranda, Zach Duke. Some got more rope than others, but the point is, anyone making predictions before the season was looking at a completely different roster than what they have now. Heck, Ryan Roberts, who has 15 home runs, wouldn’t have made the team in spring training if not for Geoff Blum’s injury.
EOB: How much of this is Kirk Gibson? Is the attitude he brought real? Has it actually changed things?
NP: You have to give him credit, certainly. You hear people talk about a manager’s personality rubbing off on his team, it’s hard not to see some of that with this group of guys, particularly when it comes to their penchant for comebacks and the whole never-say-die stuff. They’re a hard-nosed bunch and that’s exactly the kind of player Gibson was and manager he is. Personally, I’ve always been skeptical of a manager’s impact; I mean, all the stuff above explains their status as contenders well enough in my mind. (That and the fact the NL West and the NL as a whole is mostly devoid of good teams.) A friend likes to say that players win games, managers lose them and umpires ruin them. Well, if that’s the case, Gibson is doing an excellent job of not losing them.
EOB: Is Justin Upton your MVP?
NP: Maybe not yet. But he could be.
EOB: I'm guessing he's not on the trade market this winter...
NP: Uh, no. I’m not sure I understand why he was out there last winter.
EOB: Are they set up for the long haul?
NP: You would think so, yeah. They have literally no bad contracts -- not a one -- and they have a bunch of guys coming in the system, namely a few potential frontline-type starting pitchers in Jarrod Parker, Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Bauer. They’ll have a few decisions to make in the next couple offseasons with core guys like Kelly Johnson, Stephen Drew and Miguel Montero set to become free agents, but they’re in great position to retain who they want to retain and even should have money to spend to plug whatever holes might exist.
EOB: Finally, you're perhaps the hippest beat writer in the loop, what are you listening to right now?
NP: Heh. Is that like saying someone’s the MVP of the Pacific Coast League? I’ve been fairly obsessed with the new Handsome Furs album (link to "Serve the People" with a note that the album art has a nekkid lady). And -- how’s this for timing? -- I’m actually going tonight to see Cut Copy, an awesome band from Australia that have this catchy 80s-dance-pop thing going on (link here to "Far Away"). I’ve also been really into the new ones from Cults, Destroyer, Foster the People and others I can’t think of right now.@eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Aaron Heilman, Armando Galarraga, Barry Enright, Beat Down, C. Trent Rosecrans, Daniel Hudson, David Hernandez, Diamondbacks, Geoff Blum, J.J. Putz, Jarrod Parker, Joe Saunders, Josh Collmenter, Juan Miranda, Justin Upton, Kelly Johnson, Kevin Towers, Kirk Gibson, Melvin Mora, Miguel Montero, Nick Piecoro, NL West, Russell Branyan, Ryan Roberts, Stephen Drew, Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs, Zach Duke
Posted on: July 29, 2010 12:15 am
It appears there will be no Rocktober this year, as the Rockies have stopped their pursuit of Florida's Jorge Cantu and have flipped their store's sign from "buyer" to "seller," according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal .
The Rockies have put right-hander Aaron Cook, first baseman/outfielder Brad Hawpe and left-handed reliever Joe Beimel on the trade block.
The Phillies have "limited" interest in Cook, Rosenthal tweets .
With the limited options -- and high prices -- for relievers, Beimel could be an attractive candidate for those who fall short with the Blue Jays' trio of relievers.
The Rockies are unlikely to move left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, infielder Melvin Mora and outfielder Ryan Spilborghs.
The Rockies' home series with the Pirates was seen as an indicator of which way the team would go leading up to Saturday's deadline, and dropping the first two games to the National League's worst team is hardly an encouraging sign.
Colorado has now lost eight games in a row and are 2-11 since the All-Star break. They're now 8 1//2 games behind the Padres in the NL West and also have the Giants and Dodgers ahead of them. The Rockies are six games out of the wild card, but have four teams ahead of them.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Posted on: July 8, 2010 4:46 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:56 am
Todd Helton is 36 years old, looking at his second back-injury shortened season in three years, and a year away from free agency. So as much of a blow his latest trip to the DL is to the Rockies, it's also an opportunity to begin considering Life After Helton.
Since Helton has been out of action, Brad Eldred, called up from Triple-A, and Jason Giambi have started at first. But manager Jim Tracy said as many as five people could play first in Helton's absence. Catcher Chris Iannetta (pictured, after his walk-off home run Wednesday night) played some first base in college at North Carolina, and outfielder Brad Hawpe will be taking grounders at first as well. Melvin Mora also has appeared five times at first for the Rockies this year.
But the Rockies are playing well and in position to contend for the National League West, especially if the Padres' lack of offense catches up with them. Should Colorado be looking for a more significant addition? Giambi and Mora are long in the tooth, Hawpe is falling apart physically, Iannetta is batting .217 and needed behind the plate, and Eldred hasn't shown he can be a factor at the major league level yet.
If the Rockies think Helton's health is going to continue to be a factor, they might want to consider trading for someone like Baltimore's versatile Ty Wigginton or Arizona's Kelly Johnson, who would give them some options without breaking the bank.
-- David Andriesen
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.