Posted on: January 25, 2012 3:26 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 4:41 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
With Prince Fielder finally off the market, we're officially in free-agent left-over time, with most of the big-name, big-money guys enjoying new contracts.
So, who is left? That's a good question. The best players available are starting pitchers -- with Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt leading the charge -- but in our free-agent tracker, only one position player (Derrek Lee) among the top 25 free-agent position players is available, while three top 25 pitchers remain (Jackson, Oswalt, Javier Vazquez).
Here's the best player -- and the rest -- among the remaining free agents at each position as we get closer and closer to spring training:
Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez. OK, he's a big name, a future Hall of Famer, but he's also 40 -- and a catcher. Rodriguez, 156 hits from 3,000, adjusted to being a backup catcher last season and it's the role he'll play if he can find a team for 2012.
Others available: Jason Varitek, Ronny Paulino, Ramon Castro, Jason Kendall.
First base: Derrek Lee. The 36-year-old finished the 2011 season in Pittsburgh and had a nice finish to the season, hitting .337/.398/.584 with seven homers in his return to the National League Central after struggling in Baltimore for most of the first half of the season. However, he did miss nearly a month after breaking a bone in his left wrist shortly after joining the Pirates. Lee could retire, CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman reported.
Others available: Casey Kotchman, Conor Jackson, Ross Gload, Russell Branyan.
Second base: Jeff Keppinger. The Giants non-tendered the 31-year-old infielder who struggled in his 56 games in San Francisco. Keppinger hit just .255/.285/.333 as the team's everyday second baseman, well off his career .281/.332/.388 line. Keppinger brings versatility with the ability to play any of the infield positions, and he's also played in the outfield. He could be a fit with the Mariners, Yankees or Rays.
Others available: Aaron Miles, Carlos Guillen.
Third base: Mark Teahen. Our top third baseman was recently released to make room for a 41-year-old relief pitcher, what does that tell you? The Blue Jays acquired the 30-year-old Teahen in three-team deal that sent Edwin Jackson and others to St. Louis and Colby Rasmus to Toronto. Teahen hit .200/.273/.300 with the White Sox and Blue Jays, playing both corner infield and outfield spots, in addition to handling some DH duties. Another positive is that he often tweets pictures of his two adorable boxers.
Others available: Eric Chavez, Bill Hall, Alex Cora.
Shortstop: Ryan Theriot. Theriot is versatile, with the ability to play pretty much anywhere on the field -- but he's best suited, defensively, to second base. He started the 2011 season as the Cardinals' starter at shortstop, but there's a reason the team went out to get Rafael Furcal. He hit .271/.321/.342 for the Cardinals last season, but at this point he's likely best suited as a utility player.
Others available: Edgar Renteria, Miguel Tejada, Felipe Lopez.
Outfield: Yoenis Cespedes. While we have J.D. Drew ranked higher, he's expected to retire soon, leaving the extremely talented Cespedes as the top available outfielder. Cespedes has just recently acquired citizenship in the Dominican Republic, so now the official courting of the Cuban center fielder can begin. The Marlins, of course, are said to be very interested, even if Cespedes is less interested in Miami. Both Chicago teams are said to have interest in him as well.
Others available: Kosuke Fukudome, Raul Ibanez, Juan Pierre, Magglio Ordonez, Corey Patterson, Rick Ankiel, Marcus Thames, Jeremy Hermida, Jay Gibbons, Milton Bradley.
Designated hitter: Johnny Damon. The 38-year-old Damon is hardly the prototypical slugging designated hitter, but he still has some value. Last season he hit .261/.326/.418 for the Rays with 16 home runs. He could be a fit in Detroit, where he hit .271/.355/.401 with eight home runs in 2010.
Others available: Hideki Matsui, Vladimir Guerrero.
Starting pitcher: Edwin Jackson. At 28, Jackson has already pitched for six different teams and could be looking at his seventh. With the White Sox and Cardinals, the hard-throwing right-hander went 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA in 31 starts and 199 2/3 innings. He struck out 148 batters while putting up a 1.437 WHIP. There are recent reports that he's willing to sign a one-year deal, and is drawing interest from the Tigers. He was 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA for Detroit in 2009.
Others available: Roy Oswalt, Javier Vazquez, Rich Harden, Jeff Francis, Brad Penny, Chris Young, Brandon Webb, Jon Garland, Livan Hernandez, Tim Wakefield, Scott Kazmir, Rodrigo Lopez, Kyle Davies, Ross Ohlendorf, Doug Davis.
Relief pitcher: Arthur Rhodes. Rhodes turned 42 during the World Series and still appeared in 51 games during the regular season and eight more in the postseason. The left-hander had a disappointing run with the Rangers after signing a two-year deal with Texas. But he returned as part of Tony La Russa's bullpen in St. Louis, earning his first World Series ring in his 19 years in the big leagues.
Others available: Chad Qualls, Brad Lidge, Dan Wheeler, Damaso Marte, Michael Wuertz, Zach Duke, Javier Lopez, Juan Cruz, Jason Isringhausen, Mike Gonzalez, Todd Coffey, Shawn Camp, Scott Linebrink, Hong-Chih Kuo, Jamey Wright, Chad Durbin, Brian Tallet, Hideki Luis Ayala, Micah Owings, Dan Cortes, Sergio Mitre, Tony Pena, David Aardsma, Pat Neshek, Danys Baez, Ramon Ortiz.
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Tags: 2012 free agency, 2012 MLB Free Agency, 2012 MLB Free Agents, 2012 MLB Hot Stove, Aaron Cook, Aaron Miles, Alex Cora, Arthur Rhodes, Bill Hall, Brad Lidge, Brad Penny, Brandon Webb, Brian Tallet, C. Trent Rosecrans, Carlos Guillen, Casey Kotchman, Chad Durbin, Chad Qualls, Chris Young, Connor Jackson, Corey Patterson, Damaso Marte, Dan Cortes, Dan Wheeler, Danys Baez, David Aardsma, Derrek Lee, Doug Davis, Edgar Renteria, Edwin Jackson, Eric Chavez, Felipe Lopez, free agency, free agent tracker, Hideki Matsui, Hideki Okajima, Hong-Chih Kuo, Ivan Rodriguez, Jamey Wright, Jason Isringhausen, Jason Kendall, Jason Michael, Jason Varitek, Javier Lopez, Javier Vazquez, Jay Gibbons, Jeff Francis, Jeff Keppinger, Jeremy Hermida, Johnny Damon, Jon Garland, Juan Cruz, Juan Pierre, Kosuke Fukudome, Kyle Davies, Livan Hernandez, Luis Ayala, Magglio Ordonez, Marcus Thammes, Mark Teahen, Micah Owings, Michael Wuertz, Mike Gonzalez, Milton Bradley, MLB Free Agency, MLB Free Agents, MLB Hot Stove, Pat Neshek, Ramon Castro, Ramon Ortiz, Raul Ibanez, Rich Harden, Rick Ankiel, Rodrigo Lopez, Ronny Paulino, Ross Gload, Ross Ohlendorf, Roy Oswalt, Russell Branyan, Ryan Theriot, Scott Kazmir, Scott Linebrink, Sergio Mitre, Shawn Camp, Tim Wakefield, Todd Coffey, Tony Pena, Vladimir Guerrero, Yoenis Cespedes, Zach Duke
Posted on: November 26, 2011 1:46 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
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.
In 2011 the Pirates extended their streak of losing seasons to 19, finishing 72-90 after a promising start. However, there are signs of the team finally putting it together, with much of their talent coming from within the organization. Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker are among the future stars the team has drafted and kept. If Pittsburgh had been able to keep a couple more of its homegrown players, the Pirates could at the very least be looking at fielding a winning team.Lineup
1. Andrew McCutchen, CF
2. Neil Walker, 2B
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B
5. Ryan Doumit, 1B
6. Jeff Keppinger, SS
7. Ronny Paulino, C
8. Nyjer Morgan, LF
1. Paul Maholm
2. Bronson Arroyo
3. Tom Gorzelanny
4. Brad Lincoln
5. Chris Young
Closer - Juan Oviedo (Leo Nunez)
Set up - Matt Capps, Mike Gonzlaez, John Grabow, Sean Burnett, Tony Watson
Long - Tim Wakefield, Zack Duke
Notable Bench Players
Pedro Alvarez, Rajai Davis, Brent Lillibridge, Nate McLouth, Alex Presley
The top of the lineup is the envy of just about any organization -- there's speed at the top and power throughout the first four batters. Jose Bautista will forever be the one that got away, but not just for the Pirates, who drafted him in 2000, but also for the Orioles, Rays, Royals and Mets, who all acquired -- a got rid of -- Bautista at some point. But still, the Pirates had him twice and are now watching him blossom as one of the game's best players while in a different uniform. In addition to the top of the lineup, the bottom of the lineup isn't too bad, while the bullpen is stout.
The rotation isn't going to intimidate too many batters, but the team will put up some runs and leads have a good chance of being held with that bullpen. Keppinger is a solid bat and makes all the plays in front of him, but doesn't quite have the range most teams look for at shortstop. He can play there, but it isn't an ideal spot.
Comparison to real 2011
The Pirates rotation overachieved in the first half of 2011 and flopped in the second -- as Pittsburgh went 25-47 after finding themselves trailing by just a game in the NL Central at the All-Star break. While this lineup would put up more runs, its starters would allow more. That said, the improved lineup and bullpen would be good for several more wins and probably even give the team a winning record.
Up next: Chicago Cubs
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Alex Presley, Andrew McCutchen, Aramis Ramirez, Brad Lincoln, Brent Lillibridge, Bronson Arroyo, C. Trent Rosecrans, Chris Young, homegrown, Jeff Keppinger, John Grabow, Jose Bautista, Juan Oviedo, Leo Nunez, Matt Capps, Mike Gonzalez, Nate McLouth, Neil Walker, Nyjer Morgan, Paul Maholm, Pedro Alvarez, Pirates, Rajai Davis, Ronny Paulino, Ryan Doumit, Sean Burnett, Tim Wakefield, Tom Gorzelanny, Tony Watson
Posted on: May 23, 2011 11:24 am
Edited on: May 23, 2011 5:24 pm
By Evan Brunell
Josh Thole kicked off the season with a nice start, collecting seven hits in 19 at-bats after finally winnng the Mets' full-time catching job at age 24.
Since then, Thole has entered a slump of staggering proportions, hitting .172/.245/.204 after the nice start. Thole isn't known for his power, but he still has registered just one extra-base hit in his last 17 games. Even Ronny Cedeno can do better than that. It's shocking that it's taken this long for New York to make a change, but finally, word comes that Thole is no longer the starting catcher, according to MLB.com.
He'll still have plenty of starts as the Mets will go to a platoon role with Ronny Paulino, who was already gathering plenty of at-bats against left-handers. Paulino will now receive a string of consecutive starts, allowing Thole time to clear his head and work on getting back on track.
"Josh is still going to play," manager Terry Collins said of the change. "He's still going to get a number of at-bats. I just want to make sure we try to keep them both as sharp as possible."Paulino has already been increasingly taking time away from Thole, hitting against lefties and catching Mike Pelfrey's starts. But now, Paulino will catch at least the series opening up Tuesday against the Cubs.
Thole still is consdiered as as the Mets' long-term catcher -- someone who can hit .300 perennially. He delivered a .321 batting average in 17 games back in 2009, and was raking at a .303 clip over his first 55 games last season before falling to .277 at the season's conclusion. At this point, the book is pretty solid on Thole, so he's got to find away to adjust to the pitcher's adjustments.
"The one thing we have to do is be patient because this guy can hit," Collins said. "And he's going to hit. Right now, I just want to give him a chance to work on some things. We've got another guy we think is going to hit, too."
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 13, 2011 10:06 pm
By Evan Brunell
Josh Thole has had such a difficult time corralling R.A. Dickey's knuckleballer that he's started losing playing time to Ronny Paulino.
That poses a problem for the Mets, as Paulino is best utilized against left-handed pitchers but can't maximize his value as long as he's tied to Dickey, who can't control the pitcher he goes up against.
Dickey wanted to do a favor for the 24-year-old catcher, so phoned fellow knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who has given him pointers in the past, to see if his former personal catcher in Doug Mirabelli would be willing to speak to Thole. Mirabelli was a big part of Wakefield's career for a long time after joining the Red Sox midway through 2001 following Jason Varitek's season-ending injury. 'Belli stuck through the 2007 season with the team save for a one-month stint in San Diego back in 2006 when the Red Sox made a panic move to re-acquire the backstop after Josh Bard failed spectacularly in taking over.
“I called him and just chatted on the phone about different things,” Thole told ESPN New York. “I told him what I feel back there and then what I can do to correct it -- make my hands softer. After I called him, I caught R.A.’s bullpen. He sent me a text, ‘Hey, how did the bullpen go?’ I have plans to stay in touch with him and let him know if things are good, bad.
“R.A. had brought it to my attention and said, ‘Hey, if you want to call Doug, Doug would be more than happy to talk to you.’”
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 12, 2011 12:39 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 1:52 pm
By Evan Brunell
It's never quite made sense why intra-city rivals hate each other in baseball, especially since both teams are usually in opposite leagues.
The Mets and Yankees have a healthy dislike for each other, the Giants and Athletics don't quite have a rivalry but don't have a need for the other (especially since the Giants are blocking the A's move to San Jose) and the White Sox and Cubs take home the prize for most contentious intra-city rival.
But these fans should be thrilled to have two teams to root for. And yet, Chicago has been split between the north and south sides for years. And admittedly, both sides have ratcheted up the rhetoric in recent years. Think Michael Barrett punching A.J. Pierzynski, or when ChiSox GM Kenny Williams said "The unfortunate thing for me is it’s a shame that a certain segment of Chicago refused to enjoy a baseball championship being brought to their city [in 2005 by the White Sox]. The only thing I can say is, 'Happy Anniversary.'"
Williams was referring to the 100th year anniversary of the Cubs not winning the World Series. Safe to say, as late as a few years ago, both sides had no use for each other.
"I have a good relationship with [board chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf], same with Kenny, and it’s no secret that [manager] Ozzie [Guillen] and I have had that relationship for a while and he knows that," Cubs GM Jim Hendry said. "I talked to him before the World Series in ’05. I don’t like [the Sox] six days a year, that’s how I try to look at it."
Williams concurred earlier this season, saying that he would pull for the Cubs to win the World Series if the White Sox were out of it due to how much the community and fans would profit from such a win. Could there be a thaw in the rivalry? Stay tuned... (Chicago Sun-Times)
NO GRAY HAIR: Guillen is a fan of new Cubs skipper Mike Quade (both of them are in the photo), who is an unusual choice to manage the club given the team's more recent high-profile selections. While Guillen admitted managing in Chicago is tough, he feels Quade can get through it, and guaranteed something Quade probably appreciates. "I know [Quade] is not going to lose his hair, that's for sure," Guillen said. "I guarantee that he won't lose his hair. And he's not going to get gray." (ChicagoBreakingSports.com)
SCANDAL? WHAT SCANDAL? Even though the Bernie Madoff fallout is threatening the Wilpons' hold on the Mets, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber believes the Wilpons would be "a great fit" for a MLS team. The league is hoping to add a second team into New York City. (New York Times)
MOR(S)E IS BETTER: Waiting with baited breath to find out who wins the left field job for the Nationals? It's not Roger Bernadina or Rick Ankiel, at least so far. Manager Jim Riggleman tabs longtime utilityman Michael Morse the favorite, who is having a hot spring and showed life in his bat last season. Don't worry Roger and Rick, you're still in the hunt for the center field job, competing with Nyjer Morgan. (Washington Post)
IT'S TIME TO SEE ADRIAN: Adrian Gonzalez will make his spring training debut for the Red Sox Saturday at 1:05 p.m. Gonzalez has been slowed by rehabilitating his surgically-repaired right shoulder but is still expected to be ready for Opening Day. (MLB.com)
NUMBER 42: For those that are fans of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Larry Granillo is here for you. Penning his Wezen-Ball blog, Granillo comes up with some Vogon poetry on baseball. You'll have to click through for the rest, but here's the opening verse: "Oh round orb, An epidermis-bovine corpuscle, Sutured in red, Resembling the estrused stripplegrats of Kria." Yep, Vogon poetry -- the third-worst poetry in the universe. (Baseball Prospectus)
PUT ON YOUR MEAN FACE: Kevin Jepsen is likely to setup for the Angels this season, but could eventually take the ball at the end of games. However, ex-Angels closer Troy Percival thinks Jepsen needs to stop being so nice if he wants to succeed as a closer. And you can bet Jepsen is listening. (Los Angeles Times)
HEEEEERE'S RONNY: Slowed by visa issues, Mets backup catcher Ronny Paulino finally arrived in camp. The Mets plan to be aggressive with him so he is ready to go, but still has to serve the final eight games of a 50-game suspension for violating the substance abuse program last season. (New York Post)
I'M A GIANT NOW: Longtime Padres player, coach and broadcaster Tim Flannery followed Bruce Bochy to San Francisco after the 2007 season and now considers him a true Giant. "It's black and white, cut and dried," Flannery said. "We're Giants. I had nice experiences down there, but it was all to prepare me to be a San Francisco Giant." (San Jose Mercury News)
'ZONA'S NOT GETTING YOUNG: These Michael Young-to-Diamondbacks rumors won't die and recently surfaced a few days ago. And yet, word is still trickling down to reporters that a trade is unlikely to happen for a variety of reasons. For those rooting for Young to head to the desert, look elsewhere. (Arizona Republic)
Tags: Adrian Gonzalez, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Angels, Bryce Harper, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Giants, Kevin Jepsen, Mets, Mets, Michael Young, Mike Morse, Mike Quade, MLB Rumors, Nationals, Nationals, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Ozzie Guillen, Padres, Red Sox, Ronny Paulino, Troy Percival, White Sox
Posted on: January 17, 2011 7:01 pm
Terry Collins revealed his batting order to ESPN Sunday, with the first six spots etched in stone.
The skipper also promised that there would not be significant adjustments on a day-to-day basis.
That means, for a large percentage of Mets games, the lineup will kick off with:
There's two more spots up for grabs, but those will change depending on who wins the second base and catcher's roles. Josh Thole is expected to pair with Ronny Paulino behind the dish and the batting order could change depends on who starts. Paulino would make sense in the No. 7 spot against left-handers, for example, given his prowess against them.
The second-base job is less clear, with Luis Castillo, Ruben Tejada, Luis Hernandez, Brad Emaus and Daniel Murphy all battling for playing time. Murphy appears the heavy favorite and would likely bat seventh against right-handers with Thole eighth.
-- Evan Brunell
Posted on: December 7, 2010 11:05 am
Edited on: December 7, 2010 11:29 am
The Mets are on the verge of signing Ronny Paulino, which would be GM Sandy Alderson's first major-league contract as Mets GM as Jorge Arangure of ESPN reports.
Paulino has been with the Marlins the last two seasons serving as platoon catcher as he can hit lefties rather well. His career OPS against them is .881, as opposed to .635 against right-handers. Paulino finished with a .259/.311/.354 mark in 344 plate appearances for the Fish.
Paulino will back up Josh Thole, although Paulino could eventually emerge in a platoon situation. It will have to wait until the ninth game of the season, however, as Paulino still has eight games to serve on his 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs that angered a Marlins organization already thin on backstop options when starter John Baker went down with a season-ending injury. Florida was forced to finish the season with Brett Hayes and Brad Davis, a scary prospect.
UPDATE : Hmm, not so fast. Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Mets are not signing Paulino, but has yet to verify the details. This is very hard-hitting news, so we'll be sure to stay on top of this.
-- Evan BrunellFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 3, 2010 12:28 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:37 am
The deadline to tender contracts was Thursday night at 11:59 p.m., and here's the players who were not tendered contracts and are now free agents:
A's: Edwin Encarnacion, Jack Cust, Travis Buck
Angels: Kevin Frandsen
Astros: Sammy Gervacio
Blue Jays: Jeremy Accardo, Fred Lewis
Braves: Matt Diaz
Brewers: Todd Coffey, Joe Inglett
Diamondbacks: Blaine Boyer, Ryan Church, Augie Ojeda, D.J. Carrasco
Dodgers: Russell Martin, George Sherrill, Trent Oeltjen
Giants: Eugenio Velez, Chris Ray
Mariners: Ryan Rowland-Smith
Marlins: Jose Veras, Ronny Paulino
Mets: Chris Carter, Sean Green, John Maine
Nationals: Wil Nieves, Joel Peralta, Chein-Ming Wang
Orioles: Matt Albers
Padres: Scott Hairston, Tony Gwynn Jr., Luis Perdomo, Matt Antonelli
Pirates: Lastings Milledge, Argenis Diaz, Donnie Veal, Brian Burres
Rangers: Dustin Nippert
Rays: Lance Cormier, Willy Aybar, Dioner Navarro, J.P. Howell
Red Sox: Hideki Okajima, Taylor Buchholz, Andrew Miller
Rockies: Manny Delcarmen
Royals: Josh Fields
Tigers: Zach Miner
White Sox: Bobby Jenks, Erick Threets
Yankees: Alfredo Aceves, Dustin Mosley
-- C. Trent RosecransFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: 2010 free agency, Alfredo Aceves, Andrew Miller, Angels, argenis Diaz, Astros, Athletics, Augie Ojeda, Blaine Boyer, Blue Jays, Bobby Jenks, Braves, Brewers, Brian Burres, Chein-Ming Wang, Chris Carter, Chris Ray, D.J. Carrasco, Diamondbacks, Dioner Navarro, Dodgers, Donnie Veal, Dustin Mosley, Dustin Nippert, Edwin Encarnacion, Erick Threets, Eugenio Velez, Fred Lewis, George Sherrill, Giants, Hideki Okajima, Hot Stove League, J.P. Howell, Jack Cust, Jeremy Accardo, Joe Inglett, Joel Peralta, John Maine, Jose Veras, Josh Fields, Kevin Frandsen, Lance Cormier, Lastings Milledge, Luis Perdomo, Manny Delcarmen, Mariners, Marlins, Matt Albers, Matt Antonelli, Matt Diaz, Mets, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Pirates, Rangers, Rays, Red Sox, Rockies, Ronny Paulino, Royals, Russell Martin, Ryan Church, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Sammy Gervacio, Scott Hairston, Sean Green, Taylor Buchholz, Todd Coffey, Tony Gwynn Jr., Travis Buck, Trent Oeltjen, White Sox, Wil Nieves, Willy Aybar, Yankees