Tag:Mike Sweeney
Posted on: February 20, 2012 4:15 pm

Manny just the latest A's retread

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The A's adding Manny Ramirez was hardly a surprise -- it had been rumored for a while.

But it should be even less surprising considering the track record of A's general manager Billy Beane. Beane, of course, is probably the most famous general manager since Branch Rickey thanks to Moneyball (the book and the movie), in part because of his eye for a bargain. While the biggest bargains in baseball are usually young players under team control, there's also value in older players that other teams don't want anymore. Beane's had more than his share of those types of players.

In Moneyball (again, both the book and the movie), Beane's addition of a declining David Justice paid dividends as the 36-year-old hit 11 homers in 118 games (not to mention putting up a .376 on-base percentage). Last season Beane picked Hideki Matsui out of the bargain bin along with a Stephen King novel at Barnes and Noble. This season, it's Ramirez, who will get $500,000 contract with the big-league club after serving his 50-game suspension.

Manny RamirezUsually it's former corner outfielders or first basemen who can add a little slugging and some decent on-base skills (two things Ramirez should be able to add), to be used at DH and in the field in a pinch. Sometimes it works, like with Justice, other times it doesn't -- like with Eric Karros in 2004. But it's cheap, so these veterans are as disposable as a cheap razor.

Here's a list of significant players near the end of their career signed by the A's since Beane took over in 1998, followed by the season they played in Oakland, how old they were that season, their slash line, home runs and RBI.

Rickey Henderson 1998, 39, .236/.376/.347, 1, 14 (led the league with 66 stolen bases and 118 walks)
*Kevin Mitchell 1998, 36, .228/.279/.346, 2, 21
*Tony Phillips 1999, 40, .244/.362/.433, 15, 49
Tim Raines 1999, 39, .215/.337/.341, 4, 17
*Mike Stanley 2000, 37, .268/.363/.464, 4, 18
Ron Gant 2001, 36, .259,.344/.420, 2, 13
*David Justice 2002, 36, .266/.376/.410, 11, 49
*Ron Gant 2003, 38, .146/.182/.220, 1, 4
*Eric Karros 2004, 36, .194/.243/.311, 2, 11
*Mike Piazza 2007, 38, .275/.313/.414, 8, 44
Mike Sweeney 2008, 34, .286/.331/.397, 2, 12
Frank Thomas 2008, 40, .263/.364/.387, 5, 19
*Nomar Garciaparra 2009, 35, .281/.314/.388, 3, 16
Jason Giambi 2009, 38, .193/.332/.364, 11, 40
**Hideki Matsui 2011, 37, .251/.321/.375, 12, 72

* retired after their year with the A's
** Matsui is currently an unsigned free agent

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Posted on: March 25, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2011 7:12 pm

Mike Sweeney retiring

By Matt Snyder

The Kansas City Royals have announced they will make a "major announcement" at 5:00 p.m. ET involving Mike Sweeney. Reportedly, it will be the retirement of the former Royals All-Star. (Kansas City Star via Twitter)

Sweeney, 37, played 16 seasons in the major leagues, 13 of which were with the Royals. He made the All-Star team five times as a Royal, most recently in 2005.

Sweeney retires with a career .297 average and .851 OPS. He hit 215 home runs and drove in 909. He was one of the better hitters in the league in his prime, which includes a three-year stretch from 2000-2002 when Sweeney hit .325 with a .939 OPS. He averaged 27 home runs and 110 RBI per season and received MVP votes in all three of those campaigns.

Sweeney is all over the Royals' record books. His .299 average with the team is the third highest in club history. His OBP ranks seventh, slugging percentage third and OPS second. He's sixth in runs, sixth in hits, fifth in doubles, second in home runs and fifth in RBI. His 144 RBI in 2000 is the team record for a single season. His .340 average in 2002 was the second-highest in Royals' history -- after George Brett's historic .390 in 1980.

Last season, Sweeney played 30 games for the Mariners and 26 for the Phillies, hitting .252 with eight home runs and 26 RBI. He signed a one-day contract with the Royals in order to retire as a member of the organization.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: January 3, 2011 8:03 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2011 8:18 pm

DH market still crowded

Vladimir Guerrero 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

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Posted on: August 4, 2010 5:13 pm

Phillies get Sweeney from Mariners

Mike Sweeney The Phillies needed a first baseman. The Mariners needed to figure out what to do with Mike Sweeney. Problems solved.

A day after the Phillies placed first baseman Ryan Howard on the disabled list with an ankle sprain, and a day after Sweeney's rehab stint expired, the teams made a deal Wednesday to ship the 37-year-old slugger to Philadelphia for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports via Twitter that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Sweeney will be the starting first baseman in Howard's absence. Ross Gload should also get some starts there.

Sweeney has been on the disabled list since late June with back spasms, but he's basically been stashed there since the acquisition of Justin Smoak (since demoted) in the Cliff Lee deal.

In fact, he recently told the Tacoma News Tribune: "I’ve felt fine for about 35 days now. It’s a little unfortunate that I’ve been on the DL this long. I’ve been healthy pretty much since the day they put me on the DL. Really, it’s pretty much out of my control."

Sweeney is seriously injury-prone, but when he's healthy he still has some pop. In 12 games for Triple-A Tacoma, he batted .366, and in his final rehab game Tuesday he hit a pair of two-run homers. In 99 at-bats with the Mariners, he hit six homers (and batted .263/.327/.475).

Sweeney is known as one of the friendliest players in baseball (a June poll of major-leaguers by SI.com named him the nicest in the game), but there were early-season indications he'd had several disagreements with manager Don Wakamatsu.

Sweeney cleared waivers, which means every American League team and every National League team with a record worse than Philadelphia passed on claiming him. Sweeney is making $650,000 this season and will be a free agent.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: June 27, 2010 12:32 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2010 8:47 pm

Branyan returns to Seattle in trade

Russell Branyan Maybe Russell Branyan can bring back the magic of the Mariners' 2009 season, the team traded two minor leaguers to Cleveland for the slugger.

Branyan hit 31 home runs for Seattle in 2009, when the Mariners, despite not making the playoffs, were a feel-good story and posted a winning record. This season, not so much. The Mariners are 30-43, Ken Griffey Jr. has retired and much of the off-season optimism has been drowned by Seattle rain.

The Indians aren't any better, boasting a 26-46 record. Cleveland received minor-league outfielder Ezequiel Carrera and minor-league shortstop Juan Diaz in exchange for Branyan and a player to be named or cash.

Carrera, 22, was named the Mariners' 15th-best prospect by Baseball America and was hitting .268 in 64 games for Triple-A Tacoma before being put on the disabled list with a left hip pointer. Diaz, 21, is playing at High-A High Desert.

More importantly for the Indians, the team called up Matt LaPorta, who will now become the team's everyday first baseman with Branyan's departure. LaPorta was the key figure in the trade of CC Sabathia to the Brewers.

LaPorta struggled in his first stint with the Indians this year, hitting .218/.290/.277 with a home run and seven RBI in 35 games. Despite struggles at the big league level, it's obvious Triple-A holds no challenge for the University of Florida product -- LaPorta is hitting .362/.457/.638 with five home runs and 16 RBI for Columbus

Branyan was signed in February to a one-year, $2 million contract and was hitting .263/.328/.491 with 10 home runs and 24 RBI. This will be his second stint with the Mariners and end his second stint with the Indians. In all, he's played for eight different teams and been with the Indians, Mariners and Brewers twice.

UPDATE: The Seattle Times ' Geoff Baker reports Branyan is expected to arrive in Milwaukee for the Mariners' game against the Brewers just after noon, Milwaukee time. If he can get to the park by the 1:10 p.m. local start time, he'll be on the roster, available to pinch hit. In that case, Mike Carp will be option to Triple-A. If Branyan's cab doesn't beat the clock, Carp gets to stay with the team one more day.

But that won't mean there won't be a move made today for the Mariners -- the team has already called up pitcher David Pauley to serve as the team's long-man out of the bullpen on Sunday and put Mike Sweeney on the disabled list with back spasms. Sweeney has a history of back problems, but this one is nowhere near as serious, the team said.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 20, 2010 2:47 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2010 3:17 pm

Which Wilson for Mariners?

Jack Wilson This much we know: On most days, "Wilson SS" will be written on the Mariners' lineup card.

The question is, which Wilson?

According to the Seattle Times , Jack Wilson will be activated from the disabled list Sunday, apparently sufficiently recovered from a hamstring problem that has limited him to 26 games this season. Playing in his place while he was gone: Josh Wilson.

It's an unwritten sports rule, or at least a common practice, that a starting player can't lose his spot just because of an injury. Josh Wilson, however, has made himself awfully difficult to take out of the lineup. He's batting .288, the highest among Mariners regulars with the exception of Ichiro Suzuki.

The Mariners are, to put it mildly, offense-challenged. They've scored the second-fewest runs in the American League and have a miserable, league-worst OPS of .660. So how do you shelve one of your few productive hitters? The Mariners are already backed up at DH with Mike Sweeney and, when he's not in the field, Milton Bradley

Jack Wilson (pictured), acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh last July, is a defensive specialist and an average hitter for a shortstop, though he has underperformed at the plate since arriving in Seattle (.236). He does, however, have a two-year, $10 million contract, so sitting him regularly would be tough.

Manager Don Wakamatsu said on June 9 that Josh Wilson would keep the job when Jack Wilson returned, with Jack being worked in "when we see the need for it." Today he said both will get time at shortstop, depending on matchups, and Josh Wilson will get some additional time as a utility player. Should be an interesting juggling act for Wakamatsu.

Matt Tuiasosopo is being sent to Triple-A Tacoma to make room for Jack Wilson's return to the active roster.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 10, 2010 9:40 am

Baseball's nice guys

Sports Illustrated surveyed 347 major league players recently, asking them, "Who is the nicest player in the game?"

The winner was Mariners DH Mike Sweeney, with 20 percent of the votes. Sort of ironic that this comes during a season in which the only news Sweeney has made was when he offered to fight any teammates who told a reporter that Ken Griffey Jr. was napping in the clubhouse during a game.

The rest of the Top 5 nice guys: Jim Thome (17 percent), Johnny Damon (5 percent), Derek Jeter (5 percent) and Raul Ibanez (5 percent).

Apparently people get nicer as they age. The average age of the top five is 36.8.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 7, 2010 12:27 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:29 am

Sweeney latest bad news for M's

Baseballmusings.com points out that the Seattle Mariners have a lower team on-base percentage (.316) and slugging percentage (.350) than the average shortstop in the American League. Ouch.

The Mariners, a trendy preseason pick to win the American League West with Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee topping the rotation, knew they were going to rely on pitching and defense. But they didn't count on being as flat-out miserable at the plate as they are. Their OPS of .666 is worst in the league and at least 25 points worse than everyone except the hapless Orioles .

Now it's being reported that DH Mike Sweeney will go on the DL today because of lingering back problems, with first baseman Mike Carp being called up to take his spot. Sweeney hasn't exactly set the world on fire this season, but his .258 average is 13 points higher than the team average and 17 points higher than the league average for DH.

Today the Mariners embark on a 10-game road trip after being swept at home by the Angels over the weekend, a sweep that left them eight games back in the division. Oh yeah, and the most popular player in the history of the city walked away last week without so much as a tip of the cap.

Tough times for Mariners fans.

Category: MLB
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