Posted on: February 11, 2012 10:44 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
We finish our look at spring training's position battles with the National League East, home of some of the most intriguing teams in the game -- and the Mets.
Previous spring position battles: AL West | NL West | AL Central | NL Central | AL East
Fifth starter: Mike Minor vs. Randall Delgado vs. Julio Teheran
There's not a team in baseball that wouldn't drool over having to make this decision. The three are expected to be the keystone to the rotation in the future, but Minor's still the oldest of the bunch having just celebrated his 24th birthday the day after Christmas and therefore expected to be the first to make an impact in the majors. Delgado turned 22 on Thursday and Teheran celebrated his 21st birthday last month. The left-handed Minor made 15 starts last season for the Braves, going 5-3 with a 4.14 ERA. Meanwhile, Delgado dazzled in his seven starts, going 1-1 with a 2.83. Teheran didn't live up to the expectations many had for him -- but he was just 20 and made only three starts. He'll be fine. More than fine.
Center field: Emilio Bonifacio vs. Chris Coghlan vs. Yoenis Cespedes?
This is up in the air until Cespedes makes his decision, although it seems more and more like he'll be a Marlin. There's no question the Marlins want him and there's no question they want him in center field. If he does sign with Miami, the team will have to see how ready the 26-year-old is for the big leagues. He may not start in Miami, but the goal would be to have him there for the long-haul. Bonifacio is coming off a career-best .296/.360/.393 season with 40 stolen bases, but he was aided by a .372 batting average on balls in play -- something that will likely drop, but should still be high because of his speed. He also increased his walk rate, which helped as well. Coghlan won the 2009 Rookie of the Year, but a knee injury in 2010 has hampered him since his first season. He hit just .230/.296/.368 with five home runs and seven stolen bases in 298 plate appearances last season and his future is up in the air.
New York Mets
Second base: Daniel Murphy vs. Justin Turner vs. Ronny Cedeno
Murphy's likely to get the nod, as long as he can field the position adequately. Murphy made the majority of his starts at first base last season, but with the return of Ike Davis, Murphy needs a home thanks to his .320/.362/.448 line. Turner hit .260/.334/.356 as the team's primary second baseman (71 starts), but is probably no more than a utility player in the long run. Cedeno was signed from the Pirates to back up Ruben Tejada at shortstop, but he could figure in the second base situation if worst comes to worst.
Left field: John Mayberry Jr. vs. Domonic Brown vs. Laynce Nix
The job is probably Mayberry's to lose after hitting .273/.341/.513 with 15 home runs and 49 RBI last season. Brown, the team's former top prospect, struggled in his 56 games and 210 plate appearances with the Phillies last season, hitting .245/.333/.391 with five homers. Brown has the talent, but it has to actuate for him to earn more playing time. The left-handed Nix is a backup, but could add depth to the outfield with the absence of Ryan Howard at first base. A good fielder, Nix struggles against left-handed pitching, so he's not an everyday type player.
Center field: Rick Ankiel vs. Roger Bernadina vs. Bryce Harper
Well, Harper won't be in center field, but he's basically fighting for that spot. If he makes the team out of spring, he'll be in right and Jayson Werth will be in center. That still seems unlikely, as good as the 19-year-old is. Ankiel won a spring-training battle with Nyjer Morgan last year, leading to Morgan's trade to Milwaukee. The Nationals brought Ankiel back on a minor-league deal, but he's still probably the favorite. He hit .239/.296/.363 with nine home runs last season. Like Ankiel, Bernadina hits left-handed. Last year he put up a .243/.301/.362 line with seven home runs in 91 games and 50 starts in center field.
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Tags: Braves, Bryce Harper, Chris Coghlan, Daniel Murphy, Domonic Brown, Emilio Bonifacio, Ike Davis, John Mayberry Jr., Julio Teheran, Justin Turner, Laynce Nix, Marlins, Mets, Mike Minor, NL East, Nyjer Morgan, Randall Delgado, Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina, Ronny Cedeno, Ruben Tejada, spring position battles, Yoenis Cespedes
Posted on: January 6, 2012 5:02 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 5:30 pm
By Matt Snyder
The Mets and utility infielder Ronny Cedeno have agreeing upon a one-year contract worth about $1.2 million, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
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Cedeno, 28, hit .249/.297/.339 for the Pirates last season as their everyday shortstop (for most of the season), the same role he held in 2010 for Pittsburgh. He's spent all but 59 games of his big-league career in the NL Central, as he played for the Cubs for four years and the Mariners for about a half season.
Cedeno is a decent defensive player and his value stems from being able to play second, short or third. While it's true Jose Reyes is gone, don't mistake this signing as a replacement. Ruben Tejada will be the Mets' shortstop while Cedeno serves as a backup option for Tejada, second baseman Daniel Murphy and third baseman David Wright. Justin Turner is also a backup option, so Cedeno's playing time won't be easy to come by, unless the Mets have another season chock full of injuries.
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Posted on: January 5, 2012 10:39 am
Edited on: January 5, 2012 11:38 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
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Posted on: November 27, 2011 11:28 am
Edited on: November 27, 2011 12:28 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.
When we discuss the Chicago Cubs, no baseball fan is lacking an opinion -- specifically, everyone seems to have some pet theory as to why the Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908. I've long argued with the people who believe the streak has something to do with a stupid "curse" or somehow now has something to do with playing so many more day games than everyone else. No, the real problem is they've never put a top-to-bottom management system in place that has done the job consistently for more than a small handful of seasons. It's possible current Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has done so with Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, et al (in fact, I'd argue it's likely), but that's a different discussion for a different forum.
For now, we're left looking at one of the worst Homegrown Teams in our series.
1. Kosuke Fukudome, RF
2. Darwin Barney, 2B
3. Starlin Castro, SS
4. Tyler Colvin, LF
5. Casey McGehee, 3B
6. Eric Hinske, 1B
7. Geovany Soto, C
8. Sam Fuld, CF
1. Ricky Nolasco
2. Kyle Lohse
3. Andrew Cashner*
4. Carlos Zambrano
5. Randy Wells
* - if Cashner fell injured like he did in the real 2011 season, the options would be: Jon Garland, Dontrelle Willis and Casey Coleman.
Closer - Kyle Farnsworth
Set up - Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol, Al Alburquerque, Juan Cruz, Michael Wuertz
Long - Jeff Samardzija, Rich Hill, Sergio Mitre
Notable Bench Players
Robinson Chirinos, Ryan Theriot, Ronny Cedeno, Brandon Guyer, Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, Tony Campana, Lou Montanez. In fact, feel free to grab any of these guys, plug them in the lineup and play around with it. There's really no wrong answer, because it's one marquee player (and he's only 21) amidst a heap of mediocrity at this point. Maybe Guyer proves a good player, McGehee bounces back and/or Colvin becomes a good everyday player, but we have to go on what we've seen up to this point.
The bullpen is really strong. It's well-rounded with righties and lefties, depth, power pitchers and specialists. Of course, there could be an issue with the lack of a reliable closer when it comes to either Farnsworth or Marmol, but a new-age manager might just abandon that idea and use whoever makes the most sense in the ninth.
The starting rotation doesn't have a true ace (or No. 2, for that matter). The infield defense sorely lacks range and the outfield isn't great either. The team speed is minimal, there isn't a good option at leadoff (or in the two-hole, or cleanup, or fifth ... you get the point) and who is the best power hitter? Colvin? Soto? Basically, everything other than the bullpen and Starlin Castro is lackluster.
Comparison to real 2011
You have to give former general manager Jim Hendry credit for scraping together a team good enough to win three division titles in six years, considering this bunch. Then again, he was in charge as the organization was assembling nothing more than a mediocre foundation (Baseball Prospectus now says the minor-league system is "not bad" but is more "depth than starpower."). Let's leave out the excuses, because there are far more bad picks (Montanez at third overall as a shortstop, for example) than there are instances of bad luck (Mark Prior, for example).
The amazing thing is that the 2011 Cubs were 71-91 and I actually think that team was better than this Homegrown unit. When we do the Homegrown rankings in mid-December, expect to see the Cubs toward the bottom. That probably changes in five years, but we're doing this exercise in the present. And this team would probably win somewhere in the ballpark of 65 games. Maybe fewer.
Up Next: Seattle Mariners
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Tags: Al Alburquerque, Andrew Cashner, Brandon Guyer, Carlos Marmol, Carlos Zambrano, Casey Coleman, Casey McGehee, Corey Patterson, Cubs, Darwin Barney, Dontrelle Willis, Eric Hinske, Felix Pie, Geovany Soto, Homegrown, Jeff Samardzija, Jon Garland, Juan Cruz, Kerry Wood, Kosuke Fukudome, Kyle Farnsworth, Kyle Lohse, Lou Montanez, Matt Snyder, Michael Wuertz, NL Central, Randy Wells, Rich Hill, Ricky Nolasco, Robinson Chirinos, Ronny Cedeno, Ryan Theriot, Sam Fuld, Sean Marshall, Sergio Mitre, Starlin Castro, Tony Campana, Tyler Colvin
Posted on: November 19, 2011 2:47 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The Pirates declined a $3-million option on Ronny Cedeno. Cedeno, 28, hit .249/.297/.339 last season and was a finalist for the Gold Glove.
Barmes will be 33 in March and hit just .244/.312/.386 last season and is a career .252 hitter, but a very good defensive shortstop. Barmes made $3.93 million in 2011.
The Giants and Brewers were also interested in Barmes, who was tread to the Astros last November.
Posted on: October 31, 2011 10:43 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2011 10:58 pm
By Evan Brunell
As baseball readies for free agency, numerous decisions on options are being made. Those either free up players to hit the market or tie them to their 2011 club for one more season. Sunday's list is right here. Let's take a look at what happened Monday...
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Tags: 2012 free agency, 2012 MLB Free Agency, 2012 MLB Free Agents, 2012 MLB Hot Stove, Aaron Cook, Aaron Harang, Aaron Hill, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Blue Jays, Brad Hawpe, Brandon Phillips, Braves, Chad Qualls, Chris Snyder, Colby Lewis, Cubs, Dan Wheeler, David Aardsma, Diamondbacks, Edwin Encarnacion, Eric Hinske, Evan Brunell, Fausto Carmona, free agency, free agent tracker, Grady Sizemore, Henry Blanco, Indians, Jason Frasor, Jason Giambi, Jeff Samardzija, Joakim Soria, Jon Rauch, Mariners, MLB Free Agency, MLB Free Agents, MLB Hot Stove, MLB Rumors, Nate McLouth, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Padres, Paul Maholm, Pirates, Red Sox, Reds, Rockies, Ronny Cedeno, Royals, Ryan Doumit, Scott Atchinson, White Sox, Willie Bloomquist, Yoshinori Tateyama, Zach Duke
Posted on: July 8, 2011 5:03 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 1:05 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The National League Central has the most teams, some of the game's brightest stars and perhaps its best story in the Pittsburgh Pirates. How deep is the talent in the NL Central? The last two men to win the National League MVP are first basemen in the division and neither makes this NL Central All-Star team. The pitching isn't too deep, at least in terms of starters, but this lineup can absolutely mash the ball.
C Ramon Hernandez, Reds: This one is a surprise, as Yadier Molina -- perhaps the game's best defensive catcher -- is an All-Star and a deserving one at that. But the nod here goes to the guy Reds manager Dusty Baker calls "Clutch Man Monie." On opening day, his three-run homer gave the Reds a walk-off victory and he's been producing at the plate since, including a ninth-inning homer yesterday against Brewers closer John Axford and the delivered the game's winning hit in the 13th inning Wednesday night in St. Louis. Hernandez's overall line -- .316/.374/.526 -- makes up for the difference between his defense and Molina's. Molina is hitting a respectable .279/.329/.408, but Clutch Man Monie has been money, especially for a player who is still essentially splitting time with Ryan Hanigan.
1B Joey Votto, Reds: Votto was the National League MVP in 2010, but Prince Fielder's been the league's MVP for the first half of this season. Fielder is hitting .302/.418/.588 with 22 home runs and 71 RBI, tied for the most in the league. Votto's been good as well, but Fielder's power numbers put him over the top. So why is Votto listed here instead of Fielder? Because as I filled out the lineup card, I looked and had Votto as DH and Fielder at first. Anyone who has seen those two with gloves on their hand know you'd rather have Votto (especially with Starlin Castro also in the infield) playing the field. So Fielder wins the spot, but Votto gets the nod, if that makes sense.
2B Rickie Weeks, Brewers: Another Brewer nips a Red. While Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips is far and away a better defensive player, Weeks is having an incredible offensive season so far. Weeks is hitting .275/.345/.476 with 15 home runs. Phillips has 10 more RBI, but that's not all that surprising considering Weeks is used as a leadoff man.
3B Aramis Ramirez, Cubs: It's easy for Ramirez to get lost among the Cubs' mounting losses, but the 33-year-old is having a solid season, which may be his last with the Cubs. The Cubs hold a $16 million option on Ramirez for 2012, with a $2 million buyout. The Ricketts family may want to find a cheaper option, but Ramirez has produced this year, hitting .298/.346/.495 with 14 home runs and 49 RBI. He's also playing a decent third base, much better than his reputation would suggest.
SS Starlin Castro, Cubs: Sure, he's a mess defensively, but the kid can absolutely rake. Castro is hitting .305/.334/.428 with two home runs and 38 RBI, while stealing 10 bags as well. The 21-year-old is the player the Cubs will build around in the future, and for good cause. He also doesn't have a lot of competition in this division. The Pirates' Ronny Cedeno has been good defensively, but lacking offensively. The Cardinals' Ryan Theriot is hitting well, but was a below-average defensive second baseman and now he's playing short and then there's Yuniesky Betancourt, who has been terrible offensively and defensively.
LF Ryan Braun, Brewers: Talk about a stacked offensive division -- in left field you've got Matt Holliday and Braun. Braun, though gets the nod. He's been healthy (of course, Holliday's problems may make his numbers more impressive) and produced, hitting .320/.402/559 with 16 home runs and 62 RBI. He's also stolen 19 bases to boot.
CF Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: If Bruce Bochy doesn't want him, I'll sure as heck take him as my starter in center. A Gold Glove-caliber fielder, plus a .291/.389/.491 slash line and 12 homers and 15 stolen bases. McCutchen should be in the MVP discussion with the season he's had. If it weren't for McCutchen, Michael Bourn would be the pick. Bourn's hitting .288/.350/.399 with 35 stolen bases. Between those two and Cincinnati's Drew Stubbs, you could put together a heck of a relay team.
RF Lance Berkman, Cardinals: Sure he's a first baseman playing in the outfield, but who cares because he's made up for his atrocious defense with an offensive rebirth. The Cardinals gambled on Berkman this offseason and have been rewarded to the tune of .287/.399/.598 with a league-leading 23 home runs and 62 RBIs. The division also has Jay Bruce, Corey Hart and Hunter Pence, so it has right fielders to spare (not to mention Jon Jay, who played right field while Berkman was playing first for Albert Pujols.)
DH Prince Fielder, Brewers: This is a bit of a cheat, since I initially picked Fielder at first base. The decision here was between Votto and Holliday, and in a toss-up, I went with the reigning MVP, although either has a good case. Votto's hitting .319/.434/.497 with 12 home runs and 52 RBI, while Holliday is hitting .320/.417/.570 with 13 home runs and 46 RBI. Votto's seen fewer pitches to drive than he did a year ago, but is still producing. And once I was filling out the lineup card, I went with Votto at first base and Fielder as the DH.
SP Johnny Cueto, Reds: This division doesn't have a Cy Young candidate in the bunch, but does have several good young pitchers, including the 25-year-old Cueto, who started the season on the disabled list but is 5-3 with a 1.77 ERA in 11 starts this season. The Cardinals' Jaime Garcia is 8-4 with a 3.23 ERA and one of the best young left-handers in the game and Chicago's Matt Garza has been a victim of pitching for the Cubs, going 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA and an xFIP of 2.86.
RP Sean Marshall, Cubs: The Cubs' left-hander is 5-2 with a 2.40 ERA, striking out 43 in 41 1/3 innings, while walking just nine. His xFIP is 2.27 and he's induced ground balls on 60.4 percent of the balls put in play, a good characteristic for a middle reliever, who will often come into the game with runners on base. Apologies to the Reds' Bill Bray and the Cardinals' Jason Motte.
CL Joel Hanrahan, Pirates: Hanrahan leads the division in saves with 25 and hasn't blown a single save this season. Of the eight runners he's inherited this year, none of scored. He has 33 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings and eight walks. He's allowed just six earned runs (good for a 1.37 ERA). The division has several good starters, including the Reds' Francisco Cordero (17 saves, 1.69 ERA), the Brewers' John Axford (23 saves, 2.90 ERA) and the Cardinals' Fernando Salas (15 saves, 2.41 ERA).For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Andrew McCutchen, Aramis Ramirez, Astros, Bill BRay, Brandon Phillips, Brewers, Cardinals, Corey Hart, Cubs, Drew Stubbs, Fernando Salas, Francisco Cordero, Hunter Pence, Jaime Garcia, Jason Motte, Jay Bruce, Joel Hanrahan, Joey Votto, John Axford, Johnny Cueto, Lance Berkman, Matt Garza, Matt Holliday, Michael Bourn, NL Central, Pirates, Prince Fielder, Ramon Hernandez, Reds, Rickie Weeks, Ronny Cedeno, Ryan Braun, Ryan Theriot, Sean Marshall, Starlin Castro, Yadier Molina, Yuniesky Betancourt
Posted on: May 4, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 1:09 pm
By Evan Brunell
The Giants' shortstop crisis has taken another turn toward utter disaster.
With the injuries to Mark DeRosa and Pablo Sandoval, S.F. has thankfully moved a slumping Miguel Tejada to third base, which improves the defense at shortstop even if his bat remains a complete zero. In lieu of Tejada, Mike Fontenot has stepped into the breach, but Fontenot remains a bench infielder with 20 career games experience at short -- seven this year.
Even when DeRosa and Sandoval return, allowing Tejada to slide back to short, the Giants need to find a better replacement, which will have to come via trade. But who?
Jose Reyes: The Mets' Reyes has been a popular link given the shortstop's perceived availability. An impending free agent, Reyes is showing how he can impact a game when healthy, but can the Giants afford both what it would cost in a deal for Reyes, plus what it will cost to retain him? CSNBayArea.com reports that while Reyes' name has been kicked around internally, that's as far as it's gotten so far. Helping matters is that the Mets wouldn't ask for any of the Giants' current starting pitchers, which has constantly eroded trade talks elsewhere. New York would focus on San Francisco's better prospects, like pitcher Zack Wheeler, outfielder Gary Brown or shortstop Ehire Adrianza.
Problem: The Giants already have a franchise-record payroll in the $120 million range, and Reyes' pro-rated $11 million salary would have to be absorbed with no guarantee of retention after the year. And retention could be a problem, as reports surface that Reyes will ask for a deal similar to Carl Crawford's seven-year, $142 million pact. Without Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand on the team, maybe S.F. could foot the bill, but a deal of that magnitude is likely not feasible. Compounding matters is that GM Brian Sabean will not trade top prospects for a "loaner," as CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports. Makes sense, and is the right idea.
ESPN's Buster Olney counters this, saying Reyes could be convinced to stay with a solid multi-year offer. If Reyes agrees to a deal that pays him $15 million, the Giants could find the funds for 2012 by the expiring deals of Tejada, De Rosa and Cody Ross. The team could then start Brandon Belt in right or left-field, with Pat Burrell returning for another year in the outfield or a similar low-cost solution found. Both Aaron Rowand and Aubrey Huff's deals expire after 2012, which would then really free up cash for San Fran, so it's still entirely possible the Giants go after Reyes. Still, it's a big enough stretch financially and what type of talent would have to be surrendered that one has to question if it's the right call.
Marco Scutaro: That could cause the Giants to explore alternatives, and Scutaro is one known to have come up in Giants circles. Scoot is making just $5 million on the year and the Giants would hold a $6 million club option if it wished to keep the infielder around another year. With Jed Lowrie's emergence in Boston, Scutaro is certainly available despite his ability to function as utility infielder. The Red Sox have depth down in Triple-A for that role, so if they can find a fit, would not hesitate to move their 2010 starting shortstop.
The Red Sox wouldn't require a top prospect in return for Scutaro, so a fit could be easier reached. The Red Sox could pursue bullpen options or settle for acquiring a blue-chip prospect. This is the most likely outcome: Scutaro fits the Giants' budget, holds potential 2012 value and has a motivated seller.
Maicer Izturis / Erick Aybar / Alberto Callaspo: The Angels love their infield depth, and it's been a major help so far. Still, if and when Kendrys Morales returns to first base, someone has to hit the bench. That won't be Howie Kendrick, who is currently batting No. 3 in the order and in the process of breaking out. That leaves one of the three mentioned as bench candidates. At that point, the Giants would be interested in one of the three. Aybar is the one whose job appears most secure, although he's the worst hitter to date. Callaspo is in the midst of a hot streak but is falling back to earth and has only 32 games played at short in his career. That leaves Izturis, who is in the middle of his own hot streak and the one who has consistently been the bench player of the group, although it could be Callaspo this season.
But a fit is less clear. The club can't justify asking for one of San Francisco's best starting pitchers and there's no obvious fit on offense. It's tough to imagine the Angels agreeing to trade for a prospect to sacrifice that quality infield depth.
Jack Wilson / Brendan Ryan: When the Mariners finally promote Dustin Ackley to man second, it will relegate a good fielding, no-hit shortstop to the bench. Take your pick in Jack Wilson or Brendan Ryan. Either can easily go, and Seattle wouldn't put up too much of a fuss in the return price. While Marco Scutaro would represent the best investment both from a financial and production perspective, acquiring one of Wilson or Ryan remains the most likely outcome simply because the price would be lower for one of the two. Plus we need the humor of the sad-sack Pirates' double-play combo in Wilson and Sanchez being reunited on the World Series-defending club.
There are other options too, but they're hardly anything to get excited about. Ronny Cedeno, Cesar Izturis, Angel Sanchez, or even a return engagement by Edgar Renteria would fill a gap, but nothing more.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.