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Tag:Ryan Sweeney
Posted on: February 20, 2012 6:42 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 8:49 pm
 

Crawford surpises Valentine, aims for opening day

By Matt Snyder

Just a few days ago, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he expected left fielder Carl Crawford to miss a few weeks to start the 2012 season. Crawford had surgery on his left wrist a month ago, so having him miss some time wouldn't be altogether shocking. Monday, however, Crawford surprised his new manager, who may have spoken too soon late last week.

"I didn't know (Carl) was there," Valentine said (ESPN Boston). "I walked around the corner and he was throwing the ball. It was great to see him. His health looks much better than I expected. (I was) pleasantly surprised."

And Crawford doesn't want to miss any games.

"I definitely don't want to miss any games. That's my goal right now."' said Crawford (ESPN Boston), noting that the odds of him being in the opening-day lineup are good.

After signing a seven-year, $142 million contract, the four-time All-Star hit .255/.289/.405 with just 65 runs and 18 steals. In 2010 for the Rays, Crawford hit .307/.356/.495 with 13 triples, 19 homers, 110 runs, 90 RBI and 47 stolen bases.

If Crawford does miss time, Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney would man the corner outfield spots, flanking center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. If all goes as planned for Crawford, though, Ross and Sweeney will be battling for the right field job from the outset.

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 3:37 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 6:30 pm
 

Valentine: Crawford will miss 'a few weeks'

By Matt Snyder

Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford is expected to miss "a few weeks" of the regular season, says manager Bobby Valentine (via Pete Abraham). Crawford is recovering from minor surgery on his left wrist, an arthroscopic procedure he had back in the middle of January. Abraham also reports that Crawford can currently do everything except hit -- obviously he could run, but this also means he can use his left hand in the field.

The beginning of Crawford's Red Sox career couldn't have gone much worse. After signing a seven-year, $142 million contract, the four-time All-Star had the worst season of his career. He hit .255/.289/.405 with just 65 runs and 18 steals. Now it appears he'll miss a few weeks before being able to join his teammates in 2012, as they wish to erase the disaster that was the 2011 finish.

With Crawford out -- as we pointed out in the AL East position battles -- expect Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney to man the corner outfield spots, flanking center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Darnell McDonald will then serve as the fourth outfielder.

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 10:59 am
 

Spring position battles: American League East



By Matt Snyder


Here we are for the fifth of six installments of spring positional battles. This one is the mighty AL East, the most polarizing and probably best division in the majors.

Previous spring position battles: AL West | NL West | AL Central | NL Central

New York Yankees
Designated Hitter: Andruw Jones vs. Russell Branyan vs. Free Agent vs. Revolving Door

I still feel like the Yankees will sign either Johnny Damon, Raul Ibanez or Hideki Matsui -- any of whom likely nails down this job full-time. But it's undecided as of right now, and wide open. Will Andruw Jones or Russell Branyan hit well enough to justify being the full-time DH? Maybe, or maybe they platoon -- as Jones hits from the right side while Branyan is a lefty. Or maybe the Yankees use bench players like Eduardo Nunez, Bill Hall and Chris Dickerson in the field while using starters like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher at DH a few times a week in order to keep guys healthy and in tip-top shape.

Tampa Bay Rays
No. 4-5 starters: Jeff Niemann vs. Wade Davis vs. Matt Moore vs. Six-man rotation

Talk about a nice "problem" to have. The Rays obviously have David Price, James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson as the top three in the rotation. While there isn't a big problem with either Niemann or Davis, it's time to find a place in the rotation for Moore and I'm certain they will. The 22-year-old left-hander was awesome in his limited time in the majors last year, including a stellar outing against the Rangers in Texas for Game 1 of the ALDS. Moore's already received the type of team-friendly contract Evan Longoria got when he was a rookie -- as Moore is signed through 2016 with club options running all the way through 2019. So the question is, do the Rays demote either Niemann or Davis to the bullpen or trade one of them? Niemann would be the trade candidate, as Davis also has a team-friendly contract with club options that take him through 2017. And I doubt this happens, but the Rays could always go with a six-man rotation. Seeing how this plays out will a big spring storyline.

Boston Red Sox
Shortstop: Nick Punto vs. Mike Aviles vs. Jose Iglesias

After trading both Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie this offseason, the Red Sox are left with what appears to be Mike Aviles against Nick Punto at short. Punto had a good offensive campaign by his standards last season, when he hit .278 with a .388 on-base percentage. He only had six starts at shortstop, though, and his career numbers don't indicate he's worthy of an everyday gig at shortstop. Aviles also only started six games at short last season, and he only hit .255/.289/.409. He did hit well for the Red Sox, but it was a small 107 plate appearance sample. So the choice between Punto and Aviles is dubious defensively and neither is a good offensive option. Enter Iglesias, the dazzling defensive prospect. He's a dreadful hitter -- his line in Triple-A was .235/.285/.269 last season -- but it's not like Aviles or Punto are going to be confused with Troy Tulowitzki or anything. Maybe the Red Sox just plant Iglesias in the nine-hole and enjoy the exceptional defense?

Corner Outfield spots: Cody Ross vs. Ryan Sweeney vs. Carl Crawford and his health

Crawford is said to be questionable for the start of the season after undergoing minor wrist surgery a few weeks ago. If he's healthy, he starts in left easily while Sweeney and Ross battle it out for the right field job. If Crawford can't start the season, Ross and Sweeney are the corner outfielders, yet still fighting for the right field job for when Crawford returns. At some point, Ryan Kalish will return from offseason shoulder surgery and could eventually fight for playing time in right field as well.

Toronto Blue Jays
Outfield logjam: Colby Rasmus vs. Eric Thames vs. Rajai Davis vs. Travis Snider

We know who mans right field, but these four guys are competing for the other two spots. Thames in left field and Rasmus in center seem the most likely, but Davis will get a shot at either spot and Snider is in the mix for left.

No. 5 starter: Dustin McGowan vs. Kyle Drabek

This may bleed up into the No. 4 starter as well, but I'll give Brett Cecil the nod for now, since he is left-handed. The top three are Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Henderson Alvarez. So, for now, I'll guess the last spot comes down to McGowan and Drabek. McGowan was once a very promising young arm. He went 12-10 with a 4.08 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 144 strikeouts in 169 2/3 innings back in 2007, when he was 25. He then made 19 starts before falling injured in 2008 and finally just resurfaced late last season -- two shoulder surgeries and one knee surgery later. Does he have anything left? He was good in 12 minor-league starts in 2011, but had a 6.43 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in the small sample of 21 innings pitched for the Blue Jays. Drabek was a top 30 prospect each of the past two years, according to Baseball America, but he fell flat last season for the Jays. He had a 6.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP and more walks than strikeouts for the big-league club. Even worse, he was knocked around for Triple-A Las Vegas, to the tune of a 7.44 ERA and 2.03 WHIP in 75 innings. Walks, again, were an issue with Drabek issuing 41 compared to 45 strikeouts. Prospects Deck McGuire and Drew Hutchison could also figure in the mix eventually, but this feels like Drabek vs. McGowan heading into March.

Baltimore Orioles
The entire pitching staff: Johnny Wholestaff vs. Joe Allstaff

So let's see ... the following pitchers might have a chance at the starting rotation: Zach Britton (very safe bet), Jason Hammel (safe bet), Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Dana Eveland, Wei-Yin Chen, Tsuyoshi Wada, Alfredo Simon and Tommy Hunter. That's quite a mix of pitchers to sift through, but the job isn't overwith yet, because we have to look at the bullpen.

Three pitchers -- Jim Johnson, Matt Lindstrom and Kevin Gregg -- will compete for the closer job, with Troy Patton, Pedro Strop and Darren O'Day also being part of the bullpen mix. Of course, guys like Simon, Hunter and Bergesen will get a shot in the bullpen if they miss out on the rotation, too. There are more (Willie Eyre, Armando Galarraga, etc.), but I already named 17 pitchers vying for 12 spots.

We could probably move Simon and Hunter to the bullpen while eliminating Eveland from the starting mix, but that still leaves eight guys in competition. In the bullpen, Johnson seems the best bet to win the closer gig, with Lindstrom and Gregg setting up. Add Strop, Patton, Simon and Hunter and you have your seven. But, again, we've thrown out Eveland and there would still be three extra starters along with O'Day, Eyre et al on the outside looking in.

I'll say one thing: Orioles manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair won't be bored this spring. Maybe frustrated, but definitely not bored.

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Posted on: December 29, 2011 4:20 pm
 

Kalish had surgery, clearing path for Sweeney

By Matt Snyder

Newly acquired Red Sox outfielder Ryan Sweeney's path to being the starting right fielder just got a whole lot easier. With Josh Reddick out of the way, 23-year-old Ryan Kalish (pictured right) would have had a shot to win the job in spring training, but Kalish is now on the shelf. He had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left (throwing) shoulder and probably won't be ready by April.

“As far as starting the season on time, I don’t see it happening,” Kalish said (bostonherald.com). “I hope it would. That would be great. But with everything that’s happened, I just don’t know where I’ll be at come spring training. From what I’ve heard, the timetable on this type of a surgery is longer than when the season will start. Whatever happens, I’m going to be working really hard. As soon as I can get back out there, I’m going to be.”

Injuries ravaged Kalish's 2011 season, as he only appeared in 24 minor-league games. In 2010, he hit .252/.305/.405 in 179 plate appearances for the Red Sox, stealing 10 bases and showing decent extra-base power (11 doubles and a triple to go with his four homers).

Sweeney, 26, came to Boston in the Andrew Bailey trade and will likely only have to beat out Darnell McDonald to win the starting gig right out of the gate. Sweeney hit .265/.346/.341 last season for Oakland.

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Posted on: December 28, 2011 5:24 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2011 6:04 pm
 

Red Sox get Bailey, Sweeney from A's

Andrew Bailey

By C. Trent Rosecrans


The Red Sox have their closer, acquiring Andrew Bailey from the A's, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports. The Red Sox sent outfielder Josh Reddick along with minor-league third baseman Miles Head and right-handed pitcher Raul Alcantara, while sending outfielder Ryan Sweeney to Boston along with Bailey.

Josh ReddickBailey is the third pitcher the A's have traded this season, along with starters Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez

Bailey, 27, will replace Jonathan Papelbon, who signed with the Phillies, as the Red Sox closer. A two-time All-Star, Bailey has 75 saves in his first three seasons with a 2.07 ERA. He had 24 saves and a career-high 3.24 ERA in 2010.

Reddick, 24, has struggled to find time in the Red Sox lineup, but managed to play 87 games in 2011, logging 278 plate appearances, hitting .280/.327/.457 with seven home runs and 28 RBI.

The 20-year-old Head hit .299/.372/.515 with 22 homers and 82 RBI at both Class A levels, splitting his time almost equally between Greenville and Salem. Alcantara, 19, started 13 games in the rookie league and short-season Class Am going 1-4 with a 2.20 ERA, striking out 50 batters in 65 1/3 innings.

Boston also gets the 26-year-old Sweeney, who hit .265/.346/.341 last season for the A's, but has hit just 14 homers over parts of six seasons with the White Sox and A's. Sweeney is arbitration-eligible, as is Bailey.

Last week after the Gonzalez trade, A's general manager Billy Beane said the team was looking to rebuild in hopes of having a young, talented team in time for a new stadium.

Bailey joins the new-look bullpen in Boston along with recently acquired Mark Melancon, while Sweeney will work in a platoon role in the Boston outfield.  

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Posted on: December 10, 2011 12:05 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Chicago White Sox

Magglio Ordonez

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.

If there's an opposite of the Oakland A's and Billy Beane's Moneyball, it's Kenny Williams and the White Sox. The White Sox have not drafted well and searched to fill holes through free agency, spending money and taking big chances in trades. While Williams' way makes him the butt of some jokes and nobody's making a movie about him anytime soon, he does have something Beane doesn't have -- a World Series trophy.

Lineup

1. Alexei Ramirez, SS
2. Gordon Beckham, 2B
3. Michael Morse, 1B
4. Chris Young, CF
5. Carlos Lee, DH
6. Magglio Ordonez, RF
7. Ryan Sweeney, LF
8. Brent Morel, 3B
9. Chris Stewart, C

Starting Rotation

1. Mark Buehrle
2. Gio Gonzalez
3. Daniel Hudson
4. Brandon McCarthy
5. Clayton Richard

Bullpen

Closer - Jon Rauch
Set up - Matt Guerrier, Chris Sale, Addison Reed, Boone Logan, John Ely
Long - Lucas Harrell

Notable Bench Players

Not surprisingly, when looking at the state of the organization (and the state of that lineup), the White Sox are thin on bench players, with Dayan Viciedo making a push for the starting lineup as well as Chris Getz on the infield and Mike Cameron in the outfield.

What's Good?

There's no Adam Dunn, for starters. The rotation is good, especially at the top with Buehrle and Gonzalez. The rest of the rotation is good enough, as well. While Rauch isn't the top closer around, the rest of the bullpen is talented.

What's Not?

The lineup isn't going to strike fear into too many pitching staffs, even though there are nice pieces. The corner outfielder and DH are all on the down side of their career. There's also not much depth on the roster among position players.

Comparison to real 2011

The White Sox finished 79-83 in 2011, thanks to poor seasons from Dunn, Morel, Beckham and Alex Rios. The rotation is likely a little better in real life than this team, while the bullpen is better here than in real life, evening out. The lineup may not put up a lot of runs, but the White Sox didn't, either. The real team has an impact bat in Paul Konerko and a good complimentary piece in Carlos Quentin. This lineup doesn't have those kinds of weapons, so I'm not so sure our hypothetical team could match the 79 wins the White Sox finished with in 2011.

Next: Baltimore Orioles

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Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:31 am
Edited on: June 7, 2011 11:25 am
 

Looking back at second-round picks

Joey Votto

By C. Trent Rosecrans


While the first-round of the MLB Draft is gaining more attention in the last couple of years, the later rounds are where most of the work is done. 

The second round starts today at 11 a.m. ET, so here's a look at some of the best second-round picks in recent memory.

Angels: In 1999, the Angels took John Lackey out of Grayson County Community College with the 68th overall pick in the draft. In 1995, they took Jarrod Washburn with the first pick of the second round.

Astros: Perhaps the team's best player right now, outfielder Hunter Pence, was the 64th overall pick in 2004. 

MLB Draft

Athletics: The A's took Vista, Calif., high schooler Trevor Cahill with the 66th overall pick in 2006. Two years before that they took Kurt Suzuki in the second round and in 2003 they took Andre Ethier in the second round. They traded him for Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez in 2005.

Blue Jays: Right-hander Dave Bush in 2002 is probably the team's best second-round pick since taking Derek Bell in 1987.

Brian McCannBraves: Current first baseman Freddie Freeman was selected with the 78th overall pick in 2007, but the best pick was easily 2002's No. 64 overall pick, a local high school catcher named Brian McCann.

Brewers: The Brewers took Yovani Gallardo with the fifth pick of the second round in 2004.

Cardinals: In 2001, the team took Dan Haren with the 72nd overall pick. More recently, Jon Jay was taken in the second round of the 2006 draft.

Cubs: You have to go back pretty far -- unless you go with Bobby Hill -- to find much success with the Cubs' second-round pick, but if you go as far back as 1984, they took Greg Maddux with the third pick of the second round and he turned out OK. Also among their second-round picks is former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Quincy Carter (1996).

Diamondbacks: A's starter Brett Anderson was Arizona's second-rounder in 2006. He was part of the big trade that send Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks.

Dodgers: The Dodgers got future closer Jonathan Broxton with the 60th overall pick in 2002.

Giants: Of recent vintage, the Giants have taken Nate Schierholtz in 2003 and Fred Lewis in 2002, but the most interesting second-round pick by San Francisco was in 1982. That year they took the son of a team legend with the 11th pick of the second round (39th overall), but Barry Bonds went to Arizona State instead.

Indians: Jason Kipnis is one of the team's top prospects, taken in the second round in 2009. In 1995, the Indians took first baseman Sean Casey out of Richmond with the 53rd overall pick.

Mariners: Recently-demoted Orioles starter Chris Tillman was taken in the second round of the 2006 draft. Keep an eye on 2009 second-rounder Rich Poythress, who had 31 homers in Class A last season.

Mike StantonMarlins: It wasn't until the 12th pick of the second round -- and 76th overall -- for someone to pick up Mike Stanton in 2007. 

Mets: There's some slim pickins for the Mets recently, but few Mets fans would trade their second-rounder of 1977, Mookie Wilson. (Seriously, this one was tough, the only players the Mets have picked in the last 15 years who have made the majors were Kevin Mulvey, Neal Musser, Pat Strange and Tyler Walker -- maybe that explains some things.)

Nationals (Expos): Jordan Zimmermann was the team's second-rounder in 2007. Current Reds All-Star second baseman Brandon Phillips was taken by the Expos with the sixth pick of the second round in 1999.

Orioles: Nolan Reimold was taken 61st overall in 2005, but if you want to go back a few years, the team took Cal Ripken with the 22nd pick of the second round in the 1978 draft. Ripken was the third of four picks the Orioles had in the second round that year.

Padres: San Diego took Chase Hedley in 2005.

Phillies: Jimmy Rollins was the team's second-rounder in 1996, going 46th overall.

Pirates: Last year's pick was Stetson Allie, who many expected to go in the first round. Lefty Tom Gorzelanny was taken in the second round in 2003 and catcher Ryan Doumit was taken 59th overall in 1999.

Rangers: The only player taken by the Rangers in the second round of the last decade to make the majors is Jason Bourgeois.

Rays: The Rays famously took Josh Hamilton No. 1 overall in 1999, but their second-round pick that year was pretty good too -- Carl Crawford.

Red Sox: How about Justin Masterson (2006), Dustin Pedroia (2004) and Jon Lester (2002)?

Reds: NL MVP Joey Votto (2002) was the third pick of the second round (44th overall) and Travis Wood was taken in the second round of the 2005 draft. Keep an eye on 2009 pick Billy Hamilton, who already has 45 stolen bases this season for Class A Dayton.

Rockies: For recent vintage, Seth Smith (2004) is the pick, but you can go back a few years and pick Aaron Cook (1997).

George BrettRoyals: For all the prospects the Royals have stockpiled in the last couple of years, strangely not too many are second-rounders. Outfielder Brett Eibner (2010) was the only member of the Royals' Top 10 by Baseball America taken in the second round. You have to go back to Carlos Beltran (1995), Jon Lieber (1992), Bob Hamelin (1988), Mark Gubicza (1981), Darryl Motley (1978) and Dennis Leonard (1972) to find serious big-leaguers. Oh, and also a kid out of El Segundo, Calif., in 1971 named George Brett. He was pretty good, too.

Tigers: The Tigers took Brandon Inge with the 14th pick of the 1998 draft as a catcher out of Virginia Commonwealth. In 1976, Alan Trammell was the second pick of the round.

Twins: A nice run of arms earlier in the decade with Kevin Slowey (2005), Anthony Swarzak (2004), Scott Baker (2003) and Jesse Crain (2002). Frank Viola was the team's second-rounder in 1981.

White Sox: A's outfielder Ryan Sweeney (2003) is the team's best second-rounder since Bob Wickman (1990) -- not counting Jeff Weaver, who went back to school after he was picked in 1997 and was taken by the Tigers a year later.

Yankees: In the last 20 years, only two Yankees second-rounders have made the big leagues, Shelley Duncan (2001) and Randy Keisler (1998). Catching prospect Austin Romine was the team's second-rounder in 2007. In 1982, the team did take a shortstop from McAdory High School in Bessemer, Ala., who went on to play football at Auburn instead. His name is Bo Jackson. That was the year after the team took Stanford outfielder John Elway.

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Posted on: June 17, 2010 5:24 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2010 5:42 pm
 

AL manager struggles with NL strategy


See, the way this interleague play thing works is that you play by National League rules in National League parks and by American League rules in American League parks. So, if say, you're playing at Wrigley Field, pitchers have to hit.

Oh, wait, you knew that? Oakland manager Bob Geren apparently didn't. Perhaps Billy Beane should have gotten off his exercise bike to let him know that for Thursday's game against the Cubs.

Instead Jerry Blevins was in the game in the ninth and loaded the bases with three walks before Kosuke Fukudome's walk-off single.

In the eighth inning, the A's led 2-1 when Michael Wuertz loaded the bases and with one out, Geren brought in his closer, Andrew Bailey. That sounds about right, it's the highest-leverage situation. Where he went wrong was not double-switching, knowing the pitcher's spot (in this case, the No. 6 spot) was coming up to lead off the ninth.

In fairness, Geren showed an awareness of the National League rules in the seventh inning when he had Gabe Gross hit for Dallas Braden and stay in the game in right field, replacing Jack Cust.

But in the eighth, Geren brought Bailey into the game and made no other move. Bailey suffered his third blown save of the season when he gave up a sacrifice fly to Xavier Nady, before getting Alfonso Soriano to ground out to end the inning.

Ryan Sweeney singled to lead off the inning, but the A's couldn't get him in, setting up Fukudome's heroics.

The A's bullpen blew the win for Braden, who still hasn't picked up a victory since his perfect game on May 9. Braden was in line for the win after allowing just one run on five hits in six innings.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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