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: December 18, 2011 2:24 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 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/past entries of this feature, click here.
The new-look Miami Marlins went out and spent some cash on big free agents this offseason, but had that cash been around (or, you know, owner Jeffrey Loria willing to spend it before getting his new ballpark), the team could have kept some of the notable talent in South Florida. While the Marlins sent Josh Beckett and Miguel Cabrera out after winning a World Series, it's intriguing to think of what could have been had the Marlins stayed homegrown.
1. Logan Morrison, CF
2. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Mike Stanton, RF
5. Josh Willingham, LF
6. Alex Gonzalez, SS
7. Brett Hayes, C
8. Robert Andino, 2B
1. Josh Johnson
2. Josh Beckett
3. Chris Volstad
4. Jason Vargas
5. Livan Hernandez
Closer - Steve Cishek
Set up - Chris Resop, Chris Leroux, Sandy Rosario, Alex Sanabia, Rick VandenHurk
Long - Brad Hand
Notable Bench Players
The bench is deep and versatile, including young and old alike, infielders and outfielders. Some of those guys include Gaby Sanchez, Edgar Renteria, Ross Gload, Matt Dominguez, Mark Kotsay, Chris Coghlan and Jeremy Hermida. Of those, Sanchez and Dominguez are good, young players that are just blocked by superstars, while the rest are clearly bench players.
Gonzalez, Cabrera, Stanton? Does any pitcher want to face that heart of the order? That's two MVP-worthy players plus the best young power hitter in the game. The bottom of the lineup offers a respite, but it's not like it's a wasteland. The top of the rotation can stand in just about any postseason series, throwing Johnson and Beckett back-to-back.
Of course, once you get past the two Joshes, things get a little easier. And once you get past them to the bullpen, the road gets a little easier, as well. Cishek may one day be a closer, and had three saves last year, but there's a reason the team went out and signed Heath Bell. Morrison probably isn't the first choice to play center field, but he's athletic enough to do it, and having Stanton in right helps out, as well. Cabrera hasn't played third base since 2008, but it was a way to fudge the lineup a bit.
Comparison to real 2011
The Marlins were 72-90 in 2011, the same as their Pythagorean record. Of course, they didn't have Johnson for most of the season, so it's hard to really predict where he'd be with this squad. This team is probably better than the 2011 team, scoring more runs, but also struggling in the rotation, just as the regular Marlins did. Better than the 2011 team, this team is not as good as the 2012 team is shaping up to be.
Next: San Francisco Giants
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Tags: Adrian Gonzalez, Alex Gonzalez, Alex Sanabia, Brad Hand, Brett Hayes, C. Trent Rosecrans, Chris Coghlan, Chris LeRoux, Chris Resop, Chris Voldstad, Edgar Renteria, Gaby Sanchez, Heath Bell, Homegrown, Jason Vargas, Jeremy Hermida, Josh Beckett, Josh Johnson, Josh Willingham, Livan Hernandez, Logan Morrison, Mark Kotsay, Marlins, Matt Dominguez, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Stanton, NL East, Rick Vanderhurk, Robert Andino, Ross Gload, Sandy Rosario, Steve Cishek
Posted on: October 25, 2011 11:00 am
Edited on: October 25, 2011 4:49 pm
By Evan Brunell
For all news, check out the CBSSports.com free agency tracker.
The first-base crop of free agents is extremely top-heavy, boasting the best player in the game in Albert Pujols. Even without Pujols, the first-base list would still be star-studded, as 27-year-old Prince Fielder is also hitting the market and should command a sizable deal. However, after that, it drops off significantly, and by the end of the top 10 list, we're looking at someone who hit .194.
1. Albert Pujols: What more can you say about Pujols that hasn't been said already? He's the best hitter the 21st century has seen, and he may hold that mantle for quite a while. Pujols may be 31, but that shouldn't stop him from commanding a hefty contract given his strong bounceback after starting the year poorly, plus his dazzling defense. There's been a lot of talk about Pujols' failings in dealing with the media, but neither Pujols nor whichever team he ends up with will care much about his approach to the media. The team will care about homers. Pujols will care about money and winning. The media is just a sideshow.
Potential teams: Cardinals, Cubs, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Mariners, Nationals, Orioles, and because they have money: Yankees, Red Sox
2. Prince Fielder: Fielder is four years younger than Pujols, but he'll struggle to match what Pujols gets -- not just because Pujols is an elite, once-in-a-generation hitter (which, admittedly, Fielder could become), but because there are conditioning issues with his weight that lend comparisons to a late-career breakdown like Mo Vaughn. However, the lefty has appeared in 485 of a possible 486 regular-season games over the last three years, so it's hard to get too worked up about it. He's going to have a robust market and may even sign in advance of Pujols.
Potential teams: Same as Pujols -- Cardinals, Cubs, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Mariners, Nationals, Orioles, and because they have money: Yankees, Red Sox
3. Carlos Pena: Pena can hit balls a long way. It's too bad he can't make contact regularly. But there are far worse first-baseman one could have, and getting a 30-homer player with strong defense and leadership skills is something most teams will kill for; Pena will get a healthy contract this year wherever he ends up. Whichever teams lose out on Pujols and Fielder will gun for Pena, so his market figures to be late-developing and it may be into January before he signs anywhere.
Potential teams: Cubs, Dodgers, Rays, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Orioles, Indians, Twins
4. Derrek Lee: It looked as if Lee was heading the way of Vladimir Guerrero and the other aging power-hitters as of late after beginning the year in a tough spot with Baltimore. Fortunately for Lee, he got dealt to the Pirates at the trade deadline and that reinvigorated him to the point where he should be able to scrape up a starting job somewhere this winter, although Lee may struggle to land with a top-flight contender. The Pirates would like for Lee to return to the team, but unless the Pirates offer one of the only starting jobs in the game, it's tough to see the righty returning.
Potential teams: Dodgers, Pirates, Rays, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs
5. Casey Kotchman: Kotchman was once a promising up-and-coming first baseman that was part of a Mark Teixeira trade, heading to Atlanta from Los Angeles. That's where his career frayed, and the Red Sox picked him up on a lark. No go. After a forgettable 2010 in Seattle, Kotchman somehow bounced back in Tampa Bay to rake up a .308/.372/.422 line. However, batting average seems to be what's driving Kotchman, and that's one of the least predictive statistics anyone can use. This upcoming season will determine a lot for Kotchman and his future, but no one should invest heavily in him. Unfortunately, after the year he had and with the poor free-agent class, he could haul in a sizable deal.
Potential teams: Rays, Dodgers, Pirates, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Astros, Indians, Orioles
6. Jason Giambi: Giambi had a fantastic season as a pinch-hitter for the Rockies, helping to soften the blow when Todd Helton needed out of the lineup. Giambi smashed six doubles and 13 homers in just 152 plate appearances, an absolute wrecking ball off the bench. Who really knows what teams Giambi would sign with, but he'll certainly get plenty of offers to choose from. Wherever he lands, it'll be as a bench player although depending where he ends up, he could be in line to get at least 200 at-bats for the first time since 2009.
Potential teams: Rockies, Yankees, Athletics, Phillies
7. Lyle Overbay: Overbay looked cooked as a starting first-baseman, but a resurgence in Arizona after leaving Pittsburgh will help matters significantly, even if he played in just 18 games for the Diamomdbacks. A team desperate for a stopgap at first base could entice Overbay, but it figures that his biggest market will come as a platoon first-baseman. A return to Arizona to mentor and play behind Paul Goldschmidt makes sense. If he wants a shot to start, it'll be with a team that doesn't quite harbor postseason aspirations -- but things have a funny way of working out once options dwindle.
Potential teams: Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Brewers, Cardinals, Pirates, Astros, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Padres
8. Ross Gload: Gload, whose career got a late start, has been plying his trade in the NL the last three seasons, primarily as a pinch-hitter for Philadelphia over the last two years. The first-baseman actually led the NL in pinch-hits in 2011, although you wouldn't know it given his poor statistics. Gload should have no problem getting a pinch-hit gig somewhere in the senior circuit this offseason and might even be enticed back to the AL if he can get a decent amount of playing time. Gload and the remaining names on the list could conceivably end up with any team, as their role would fit virtually anywhere as a backup.
Potential teams: Any team
9. Russell Branyan: Branyan is a retirement candidate. At age 35, he took a significant step back as his trademark power was missing all year. While his .197 batting average isn't all that far from his .232 career average, that's not why teams kept playing him. No, Branyan got at-bats because of his power, but he only banged five homers and seven doubles in 146 plate appearances all season. Branyan hit 56 homers combined from 2009-10, so teams will still be willing to give him a shot. He could be entering the phase of his career where he hangs on for a few more season as a pinch-hitter in the NL.
Potential teams: Any team
10. Jorge Cantu: Cantu's going to have a lot of trouble securing a major-league deal after the awful season he had, appearing in just 55 games for the Padres and hitting .194/.232/.285 before mercifully being released and finishing out the year in the Rockies' minor-league system. It's quite the fall for the 29-year-old who hit 29 homers in 2008. Over the last two years, Cantu has regressed significantly and will have to play his way onto a team this spring on a minor-league cont
Potential teams: Any team
Others that could be first basemen: Mark DeRosa, Edwin Encarnacion, Eric Hinske, Conor Jackson, Xavier Nady Juan Rivera, Nick Swisher, Josh Willingham.
Free-agent position rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | DH | SP | RP
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Tags: 2012 free agency, 2012 MLB Free Agency, 2012 MLB Free Agents, 2012 MLB Hot Stove, Albert Pujols, Carlos Pena, Casey Kotchman, Derrek Lee, Evan Brunell, free agency, free agent tracker, Jason Giambi, Jorge Cantu, Lyle Overbay, MLB Free Agency, MLB Free Agents, MLB Hot Stove, MLB Rumors, Prince Fielder, Ross Gload, Russell Branyan
Posted on: October 8, 2011 9:23 pm
By Matt Snyder
With the Phillies 2011 season coming to a close on a 1-0 loss in Game 5 of the NLCS to the Cardinals, the focus for many players now shifts to getting ready for next season. And for a handful of them, it means having to immediately get some injuries taken care of.
The big one here is first baseman Ryan Howard. He was injured on the final play of Game 5 and an MRI revealed that it's bad news. He has ruptured his left Achilles tendon and will require surgery. He has to wait until the swelling goes down before the surgery and there's no timetable for his recovery until the procedure has been completed. The official line from the Phillies is that "there is no guarantee he will be ready for spring training." A reasonable expectation is about six months, which gets us into April, depending upon when Howard has the surgery. And what if there are setbacks? And whenever Howard's injury is healed enough to allow him to resume baseball activities, he'd then have to work his way into game shape. So this is already an issue for the 2012 season.
Starting pitcher Cole Hamels is also going to go under the knife. Twice. First, he's going to have "loose bodies" removed from his left (throwing) elbow on Oct. 14. Then, a week later, he's going to have surgery to repair a inguinal hernia. Expect Hamels to be ready come mid-February, though, as these aren't serious procedures like Howard is going to have.
There are more, too.
Right fielder Hunter Pence is going to have an MRI on his sports hernia to evaluate the severity of the injury. A course of action will be determined after the results of the MRI are known.
Third baseman Placido Polanco is also going to have an MRI on his sports hernia, and the Phillies report surgery is likely.
Bench player Ross Gload will have his hip injury examined, but is likely to undergo arthroscopic surgery.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 20, 2011 2:27 pm
Edited on: March 20, 2011 2:27 pm
By Evan Brunell
The Phillies are going to have to withstand the loss of Chase Utley at second base, but at least the team knows who will replace him in defensive wizard Wilson Valdez. But to hear manager Charlie Manuel tell it, the right-field conundrum may be more concerning.
"We've got guys we can put out there," Manuel told the Philadelphia Inquirer, referring primarily to Ben Francisco and John Mayberry. "But somebody's got to win that job. We've got to get some production, and we've got to play good defense. Our starting pitching, they're going to need defense. We've got to play the game right, and we've got to score runs."
Francisco has a .356 average in spring training, while Mayberry is hitting .319 but has bashed five home runs to play his way into a backup outfield job at the very least. But while Francisco has equipped himself well as a backup outfielder with a history of starting in Cleveland, it's clear that Manuel isn't sold on throwing him out there every day, noting that the option at this point appears to be a platoon.
"I don't know what I might do," Manuel said. "I do a lot of strange things, sometimes."
Manuel reveals that one of those strange things might be to give Ross Gload playing time in right field. While Gload can't play every day -- and certainly not in right field, with a career 36 games at the position -- his bat may be enough to force him into once- or twice-weekly action. As a result, Gload is going to get ample playing time in right field down the spring-training stretch.
The selection of Gload (pictured) may be odd, especially since Gload has evolved into being a pinch-hitter off the bench and only collected 138 plate appearances for the Phillies last season, but boasts a career line of .283/.328/.414, rising to .268/.329/.430 in 397 PA the last two seasons.
"He can get some playing time there," Manuel said. "Gload can hit. He can give you quality at-bats."
What Gload can't give is defense, something Manuel readily acknowledges but appears prepared to deal with, especially when talking about two games a week.
"I think defense comes first because of our starting pitching," Manuel said. "At the same time, we still have to score runs. You can have the greatest defensive player in the world, and you start losing games, the first thing you do is look at that defensive player."
Posted on: March 20, 2011 2:25 pm
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Posted on: August 25, 2010 12:48 am
Edited on: August 25, 2010 1:49 pm
It was certainly an odd thing to hear -- "now batting, the left fielder, Roy Oswalt."
But it was said and it was correct.
Oswalt then grounded out to end the game, a 4-2 Astros victory in 16 innings at Citizen's Bank Park. The game started Tuesday and finished early Wednesday morning in five hours and 20 minutes. The Astros intentionally walked Chase Utley, putting the tying run on first, to get to Oswalt with two outs in the 16th.
Oswalt entered the game as the left fielder for the 15th inning after Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard was ejected after he was called out on a check swing to end the 14th inning with two runners on.
After the checked swing, Howard flipped his bat and was tossed. Howard had already given third-base umpire Scott Barry a stare-down after a similar call. Once Howard was ejected, the first baseman stormed down the baseline toward Barry and had to be held back by his teammates.
Ross Gload, currently on the disabled list, was also ejected for his comments from the dugout.
With no position players available, Oswalt was put in left field and Raul Ibanez was moved from left to first.
"We felt like Oswalt's athletic, he catches fly balls and stuff so we put him in the outfield," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
To lead off the 15th, Houston's Jason Castro flied out to Oswalt in left. Ibanez, making his first appearance at first since 2005, then recorded two putouts, including a nice play on Michael Bourn's bunt attempt.
Oswalt became the second pitcher to record an out in the outfield this season. St. Louis' Kyle Lohse had a putout in the April 17 game between the Mets and Cardinals that went 20 innings.
Ibanez was unable to come up with a throw on a double play attempt in the 16th that led to a run.
-- C. Trent RosecransFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Posted on: August 4, 2010 5:13 pm
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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