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Tag:Scott Downs
Posted on: November 11, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 2:01 pm
 

Closer look at all 30 closing situations



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 and Matt Snyder

It appears the first domino in closer market has fallen (at least, we're pretty sure this time), but that leaves Heath Bell and Ryan Madson as the top relievers still available. But who needs a closer? Here's a look at the closing situation for all 30 teams.

AL East

Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gregg is still under contract -- much to the chagrin of new general manager Dan Duquette's chagrin. Gregg will make $5.8 million in 2012, not exactly ideal for a guy with a WHIP of 1.642 last season and an ERA of 4.37 while picking up 22 saves. Jim Johnson recorded nine saves and threw just 91 innings, but doesn't exactly miss a ton of bats. The Orioles could move Johnson to the rotation.
Possibilities: Gregg, Johnson, Bell, Francisco Cordero, Francisco Rodriguez, Jonathan Broxton.

Red Sox: Well, obviously Papelbon is gone. Papelbon was the Red Sox closer for the last six years, recording the final out of the 2007 World Series among other memories. Still, As untouchable as he was in his first four years as the closer (1.74 ERA and 0.917 WHIP from 2006-2009), he had a 3.43 ERA and 1.104 WHIP over the last two seasons. Daniel Bard is unhittable at times, but struggled in the last two months of the season (which certainly wasn't uncommon among Red Sox), posting a 6.95 ERA in 21 games in August and September.
Possibilities: Bard, Madson, Bell.

New York Yankees: Mariano Rivera. Enough said.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays let the Yankees overpay for Rafael Soriano and then picked up Kyle Farnsworth off the discard pile, signing him to a two-year, $6 million deal. In retrospect, it was genius -- Farnsworth had 25 saves with a 2.18 ERA in 2011 and the Rays will keep him another year and let someone else overpay him for 2013.

Toronto Blue Jays: Frank Francisco was the team's closer for much of 2011, but he's a free agent and the team could be looking to spend some money on a  closer.
Possibilities: Madson, Bell, Cordero, Rodriguez, Casey Janssen.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox: Right-hander Sergio Santos converted 30 of 36 save opportunities, liming batters to just a .181/.282/.314 slash line and he should be in line to keep his job in 2012. If he falters, Addison Reed has a chance to take over.

Cleveland Indians: Chris Perez is on solid ground as the team's closer, picking up 35 saves in 2011.

Detroit Tigers: The Tigers picked up the $9 million option on Jose Valverde.

Kansas City Royals: The Royals picked up the $6 million option on Joakim Soria and have options for 2013 and 2014.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins declined their $12.5 million option on incumbent Joe Nathan, but have expressed interest in bringing him back. Although his overall numbers -- 4.84 ERA, 1.164 WHIP, 14 saves -- weren't too impressive, he did convert all 11 of his saves in the second half of the season. Left-hander Glen Perkins had two saves in 2011 and struck out 65 batters in 61 2/3 innings. If the team doesn't sign a free agent -- or trade for someone -- Perkins would have the best shot.
Possibilities: Nathan, Perkins, Jon Rauch, Broxton.

AL West

Los Angeles Angels: Jordan Walden recorded 32 saves as a rookie and made the All-Star team. He did blow 10 saves last season, so it wouldn't be a complete shock if the team looked for an upgrade, but it's not expected, especially with tight purse strings this winter. The team could bring in a veteran for cheap that could close if Walden falters.
Possibilities: Walden, Scott Downs, Broxton, Rauch.

Oakland Athletics: Andrew Bailey is the team's closer, but a trade is always possible with Oakland.

Seattle Mariners: Brandon League had 37 saves and a 2.79 ERA in 2011.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers could be a wild card in the free agent closer market if they decided to move Neftali Feliz to the rotation. The Rangers tried that last spring but decided to keep Feliz in the bullpen. If they bring in a big-name, that would mean they believe Feliz can make the move. If not, there's still a chance of Mike Adams taking over for Feliz. Or they could bring in a low-cost veteran to have in reserve in case Feliz does work in the rotation.
Possibilities: Mike Adams, Madson, Cordero, Rauch, Broxton.

NL East

Atlanta Braves: Craig Kimbrel. Period. 

Miami Marlins: While the artist formerly known as Leo Nunez gets his name issue sorted out, the Marlins have a gaping hole at closer. The current members of their bullpen combined for four saves last season. Do the Marlins try to go with an internal option like Edward Mujica or make a splash on the free agent market (as they've been connected to several huge names already)? 
Possibilities: Nunez, Mujica, Madson, Cordero, Rodriguez, Bell.

New York Mets: If they stay internally, which is entirely possible, it looks like Bobby Parnell. But he wasn't awesome by any stretch when given save chances last season. The Mets have spent big on a free agent closer before (K-Rod), so would they be gunshy in doing so again? It's possible. But it's also possible they try to land someone like Ryan Madson. 
Possibilities: Parnell, Madson, Bell.

Philadelphia Phillies: Papelbon. 

Washington Nationals: Drew Storen closed 43 of 48 games in 2011, his first full season in the majors. One would think that would be enough to earn him at least another year on the job, but Storen's name keeps popping up in trade rumors and the Nationals have been reportedly interested in Madson. The Nats have plenty of money, so if they wanted to ink a big-name closer and deal Storen as part of a package for a center fielder (Denard Span, perhaps?), they would be able to do so. 
Possibilities: Storen, Madson, Bell, Cordero.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs: It's probably going to be Carlos Marmol again, but he better get himself in gear. Not only did he blow 10 saves, but his once-astronomical strikeout rate lowered a bit in 2011 and control continues to be a serious problem. With new brass at the helm, 2011 will likely be his last chance to get things fixed. 

Cincinnati Reds: Cordero had a great four-year run with the Reds, amassing 150 saves with a 2.96 ERA, but he's a free agent now. Fireballer Aroldis Chapman is ticketed for the starting rotation and Nick Masset seems to be awfully inconsistent. The Reds don't have the money to spend in free agency, so would they make a trade for, say, Huston Street or Andrew Bailey? Seems unlikely. Either Chapman doesn't make it as a starter and sticks as closer or someone internally (23-year-old Brad Boxberger?) gets a shot. This one is totally up in the air. 
Possibilities: Cordero, Chapman, Boxberger, Bailey, Street, Broxton.

Houston Astros: Mark Melancon saved 20 games with a 2.78 ERA last season. There are far bigger problems with this team to believe they'll try hard to make a change here.

Milwaukee Brewers: John Axford and his award-winning 'stache.  

Pittsburgh Pirates: All-Star Joel Hanrahan nailed down the job last season. 

St. Louis Cardinals: Jason Motte was never officially named closer by the stubborn Tony La Russa, but he did more than enough down the stretch and in the playoffs to earn the job for 2012, closing nine of 10 saves during the Cardinals' late run and five more in the postseason. 

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks: It will again be J.J. Putz with David Hernandez filling in if (when?) Putz falls injured.

Colorado Rockies: Street is reportedly on the trading block. If he's is dealt, look for Rafael Betancourt to take over. He collected eight saves with a 2.89 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning in 2011. 

Los Angeles Dodgers: Rookie Javy Guerra came on to save 21 games in 23 chances with a 2.31 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings in 2011. That's enough to have nailed down the job for the 2011 season, one would think. 

San Diego Padres: Bell is a free agent, but the Padres may just offer him arbitration, and he actually might accept it. If he does stay, the choice is obvious. If Bell leaves, there's a decent internal option in Chad Qualls. Qualls, 33, has 51 career saves. As far as free agency, if the Padres want to pay for a closer, they'll be paying for Bell. 
Possibilities: Bell, Qualls.

San Francisco: The Beard. 

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 12:07 pm
 

Angels won't change signs in Toronto



By C. Trent Rosecrans


The Angels are the next team headed to face the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre and manager Mike Scioscia told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register that he doesn't "anticipate" changing the team's signs in the wake of the sign-stealing allegations.

Scioscia also added that he'd never heard of the mysterious "man in white" in the stands.

"What makes that hard to believe is if something like that is going on and a player changes teams, that information would get out," Scioscia told the paper. "If you're part of a team and you know something like that that's not kosher is going on and then you change teams -- that word is going to get out."

Scott DownsLike, by say former Blue Jays pitcher Scott Downs, now an Angel.

"I played there for six years and I didn't hear anything about anything like that," Downs told Plunkett. 

Downs added -- "I'd be dumb not to say anything [to his new team.]"

Downs also defended Jose Bautista, saying Bautista is a testament to hard work, nothing else.

It could be that Downs and Scioscia are playing dumb and they're in on a vast conspiracy keeping this on the down-low -- or that only the hitters knew of the "man in white" and kept it from the pitchers, who had no need to know and could only hurt them if they went somewhere else. Or the report could just be a rumor. Or, most likely, the truth is somewhere in-between.

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Posted on: July 11, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 9:10 pm
 

Rangers murderer's row paces AL West All-Stars

By C. Trent Rosecrans

2011 All-Star Game
SEE THE OTHER DIVISION ALL-STARS: AL East | AL Central | NL East | NL Central | NL West

The American League West may be able to put together the best rotation in baseball, but putting together a lineup from players just from the division is a little tougher. Of the four teams in the division, only the Rangers are better than league average in runs (455), on-base percentage (.332), OPS (.788) and home runs (111). That makes it no surprise that our lineup for the American League West All-Star team has a heavy Ranger lean, as five of the nine position players are from Texas, including the heart of the order from No. 3 to No. 7 in the lineup.

Kurt SuzukiC Kurt Suzuki, Athletics: There are some serious slim pickings in this category, with the only real choice coming between the A's Suzuki and Seattle's Miguel Olivo. Neither was considered a snub when the All-Star team was announced, and for good reason. Suzuki is hitting .224/.291/.342, while Olivo is hitting .223/.265/.392. Olivo does have 12 home runs and 40 RBI, but I just could justify putting someone with a .265 on-base percentage on any time of All-Star team. Suzuki also brings top-flight defense, so he gets the nod.

Mitch Moreland1B Mitch Moreland, Rangers: This is an intriguing group of young first basemen. The preseason pick would have been Daric Barton, but he's now in the minor leagues. The Angels' Mark Trumbo (.259/.303/.474) and Mariners' Justin Smoak (.232/.330/.423)are starting to put up some good numbers, but the pick here is Moreland (.279/.341/.458), whose average numbers are better, even if his counting stats aren't up to the other two. The difference is small enough to go with the Moreland.

Lineup
No. Name Team Pos
1 Howard Kendrick ANA 2B
2 Peter Bourjos ANA CF
3 Josh Hamilton TEX LF
4 Michael Young TEX DH
5 Adrian Beltre TEX 3B
6 Nelson Cruz TEX RF
7 Mitch Moreland TEX 1B
8 Kurt Suzuki OAK C
9 Elvis Andrus TEX SS

Howie Kendrick2B Howard Kendrick, Angels: Finally, a real-live All-Star. The 27-year-old Kendrick is making his first All-Star appearance, hitting .305/.361/.466 with eight home runs and 29 RBI. A very good defensive second baseman, he also adds value by being able to play all over the diamond. He's started games at second base, left field and first base this season and has also started one game in his career at third base.

Adrian Beltre3B Adrian Beltre, Rangers: You can argue he's not worth the five-year, $80 million contract given to him by the Rangers, but it's tough to argue that he's not the best third baseman in the division. Hitting .272/.314/.492 with 18 home runs and 69 RBI, plus exceptional defense, the choice here is clear.

Elvis AndrusSS Elvis Andrus, Rangers: You're not going to confuse Andrus with Cal Ripken Jr. or Alex Rodriguez anytime soon, but the smooth-fielding shortstop is getting on base at a .332 clip and also has 26 stolen bases. Erick Aybar is equal with Andrus in batting average (.283) and better slugging (.431), but lower on-base percentage (.316). I'll take Andrus' glove, as well, so he gets the call.

Josh HamiltonLF Josh Hamilton, Rangers: Hamilton missed 36 games after suffering a broken bone in his shoulder in April, but he's still accumulated 11 home runs to go along with 49 RBI and a line of .305/.359/.549. While Hamilton's played all over the outfield, he's started the most games in left, and that's probably the best spot for him. And he's certainly the best choice in the division.

Peter BourjosCF Peter Bourjos, Angels: Although he's currently hobbled by tightness in his right hamstring, Bourjos is the class of AL West center fielders, hitting .272/.323/.397. He also covers a ton of ground, which helps in this division that features some spacious ballparks. 

Nelson CruzRF Nelson Cruz, Rangers: Like Hamilton, the Rangers right fielder has missed a good chunk of games with a trip to the disabled list in May, but he's still hit 20 home runs and knocked in 55. His .293 on-base percentage is lower than you'd like to see, but his slugging (.520) makes up for it. He beats out Torii Hunter who has a slightly better on-base percentage, much better defense, but pales in comparison in slugging.

Michael YoungDH Michael Young, Rangers: The Rangers sure are glad they didn't heed Young's trade request this offseason. Filling in at various spots in the field for injured Rangers, he's also taken to the designated hitter spot without a hiccup. Young is hitting .326/.360/.486 with eight home runs and 59 RBI. He's also played 25 games at first base, 11 at second base and four at third, while the bulk of his playing time has come as a DH.

Jered WeaverSP Jered Weaver, Angels: Starting pitching is probably the deepest category in this division -- and looking at the starting pitching across the AL West may help explain the tough time finding offensive standouts (or it could be vice-versa, though I'll stick with the pitching in this division). Weaver gets the nod with a record of  11-4 and a 1.86 ERA. He's struck out 120 in 140 1/3 innings and walked just 31. Weaver lost his arbitration case with the Angels this year, he'll have a pretty good case this offseason, going into his last arbitration year. Apologies to Dan Haren (10-5, 2.61), Felix Hernandez (8-7, 3.19), C.J. Wilson (9-3, 3.20), Michael Pineda (8-6, 3.03) and Gio Gonzalez (8-6, 2.47).

Scott DownsMR Scott Downs, Angels: The 35-year-old Downs has been around so long that he's a former Expo, but he's maybe having his best season yet. Signed by the Angels this offseason, he's produced for his new team, going 5-2 with a 1.52 ERA, striking out 20 in 29 2/3 innings. He gets the nod over A's side-armer Brad Ziegler (2-1, 1.78).

Jordan WaldenCL Jordan Walden, Angels: The All-Star picked up his 20th save of the season on Sunday, closing out the Angels' victory over the Mariners by striking out the only batter he faced. His ERA is down to 2.84 and has 40 strikeouts in 37 innings, while walking 17. Brandon League is also an All-Star and his 23 saves lead the American League. His lower strikeouts and higher ERA are the reason Walden gets the nod, even though the Angel has two more blown saves than League.

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Posted on: May 4, 2011 11:56 pm
Edited on: May 5, 2011 12:20 am
 

No-hitter alert: Angels no-hitting Red Sox

By C. Trent Rosecrans 
 
UPDATE: Jed Lowrie broke up the no-hitter with one out in the seventh inning, singling to right off Downs. Downs walked Kevin Youkilis to start the inning, then got David Ortiz looking.

In the top of the seventh, Vernon Wells hit a two-run homer to give Anaheim a 2-0 lead.

Ervin SantanaA two-and-a-half hour rain delay and change of pitchers hasn't helped Boston's bats -- as the Angels have a combined no-hitter through six innings.

Starter Ervin Santana didn't allow a hit in the first four innings, striking out seven Red Sox batters in four innings before the rain delay at Fenway Park. Rich Thompson replaced Santana after the delay and held the Red Sox hitless for another 1 2/3 innings.

Thompson was pulled for left-hander Scott Downs, who came in to face Adrian Gonzalez with two outs in the sixth and Jacoby Ellsbury on third base. Downs got Gonzalez to ground out to short.

Josh Beckett gave up just one hit in 4 1/3 inning before the rain delay. Matt Albers allowed two more in his 1 2/3 innings, but no runs have scored.

Dan Wheeler has entered the game for the Red Sox in the seventh with the game tied 0-0.

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Posted on: April 15, 2011 11:04 am
Edited on: April 15, 2011 12:08 pm
 

Pepper: Feeding Harpermania

By Evan Brunell

HARPERMANIA: Eye on Baseball's C. Trent Rosecrans took in a game between the Hagerstown Suns and Lexington Legends on Thursday. This is relevant because Bryce Harper was in the game. Rosecran's video below shows Harper taking batting practice as well as some great shots of him hitting during the game, in which he went 1 for 3 with a double.

BASEBALL TODAY: How big of a blow is the Joe Mauer loss to the Twins? What is the latest with replay and Major League Baseball? Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to discuss the latest in baseball:

I AM 42: Friday is Jackie Robinson Day, where everyone will wear No. 42 to celebrate the breaking of the color barrier so notably demonstrated by Jackie Robinson. MLB.com has a website honoring Robinson, with MLB players discussing the importance of Robinson to the game. (Iam42.com)

HELLO, OLD FRIEND: John Farrell returns to Boston Friday as his Blue Jays come to town for a four-game series. Farrell made a major impact on the Red Sox during his time as pitching coach and there are nothing but good things said by his former compatriots. Now in Toronto, Farrell has to adjust to managing despite having zero experience in that role. (Boston Globe)

THE REPLACEMENT: Farrell's replacement is Curt Young, who spent years shaping the Athletics staff. While Boston's own staff is off to a poor start, you won't hear skipper Terry Francona disparaging Young. Nope; Francona believes Young is a great fit, while Young himself is still trying to figure out how to get the most out of his pitchers. He's already fixed a few mechanical tweaks with Clay Buchholz and convinced Daisuke Matsuzaka to start a different regimen. (Boston Herald)

RUN, DODGER, RUN: Davey Lopes' impact as baserunning coach for the Dodgers is already remarkable as they are tied with the Padres for most steals in the NL and could double their total from last season. The success rate is also way up. While part of that is thanks to signing the speedy Tony Gwynn, Jr., Lopes has made a big impact on the team as a whole. (Los Angeles Times)

PAGING OSCAR GAMBLE: Coco Crisp broke out a new look Thursday, doing away with his braids and going with an Oscar Gamble-esque look. And really, there's no better team to break out the hairdo with than the Athletics, with their history of follicial accomplishments. (San Francisco Chronicle)

DOUBLE THE PLEASURE: Having two left-handers in the bullpen is something of a luxury for Angels manager Mike Scioscia, and he's enjoying the heck out of it, especially since Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi can fill several roles. (Los Angeles Times)

LONG-LASTING RELIEF: Guillermo Mota has been one of the hardest-worked relievers in the game since 1999, and he's still kicking as he's made the Giants the last two years off a minor-league deal. (San Francisco Chronicle)

HOLD ME BACK: Evan Longoria is so pleased with his rehab from a strained left oblique that he's relying on the trainers to keep him on a tight schedule instead of accelerating the process. The Rays plan to take it conservatively with Longoria so he is fully healed and can provide his bat all season. (Tampa Tribune)

UTLEY UPDATE: There's still no timetable for second baseman Chase Utley's return, but the Phillies hope he can get onto a field in May. He did some running Wednesday, but it's still anyone's guess how long Utley will be out with patellar tendinitis. Additionally, Ryan Howard deemed himself healthy after experiencing soreness when plunked on the right wrist Wednesday night by Washington's John Lannan. (Philadelphia News)

WATCH OUT! Yep, the third video in Pepper, this one showcases one of the grounds crew falling under a tarp being rolled out at the Royals game. Despite trying to warn his co-workers, he literally had the metal canister rolled over him:

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Posted on: March 31, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2011 4:39 pm
 

Scioscia: Morales closer to returning

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Kendrys Morales The latest news on Kendrys Morales is good, with the Angels expecting him to be able to be ready for a rehab assignment with the minor-league season starts on April 7.

"That would be the window we're looking at," Angels manager Mike Scioscia told the Orange County Register . "Obviously, we're not going to rush it. This jump from starting baseball activities to running 100 percent to being ready to play in games might come within four days, it might come within 10 days. You don't know."

Morales resumed batting practice on Monday and has also added agility drills and defensive work since then. Scioscia said he will "definitely" be running at some point during this road trip, which includes four games in Kansas City starting later today and two games at Tampa Bay.

Morales will be wearing new cleats and orthotic inserts when he does begin his straight-line jogging.

Scioscia also said lefty Scott Downs will also likely start the season on a rehab assignment in the minors, while Joel Pineiro is still on track to start the team's home opener on April 8.

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Posted on: March 15, 2011 9:06 pm
 

Injuries muddle Jays' closer race

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Blue Jays went into camp with no shortage of closers with experience, but no real favorite.

Jon RauchTwo weeks into exhibition games, that apparently hasn't changed much.

"It's premature to say who's in that slot," manager John Farrell said (via MLB.com). "The main thing is guys that are taking the ball and getting on the mound are certainly putting themselves in a position to establish roles. So right now, we're not here to say who has that spot locked down."

That points toward Jon Rauch, left, because of injuries to Octavio Dotel and Frank Francisco, both scratched from their next scheduled outings because of injuries. Francisco, scheduled to pitch today against the Phillies, was out with a right pectoral injury and Dotel, expected to throw Wednesday and Saturday, has a sore left hamstring.

Rauch, signed two a one-year deal with a team option for 2012 in the offseason, had 21 saves for the Twins last season. Farrell also praised his recent performance, including a scoreless inning against the Phillies on Tuesday.

All three were acquired in the offsesason -- two signings and a trade -- after the team lost Kevin Gregg and Scott Downs to free agency.

Francisco is still expected to be ready for opening day, Farrell said.

"We feel like if we can get him three or four games [more] before we leave camp, he'll be fine," Farrell said. "He's not overtly concerned or overly alarmed. He feels this is a spring training aches and pains type thing that he's going through. The red flag is not up per se with Frankie."

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More MLB coverage
Posted on: December 10, 2010 6:47 pm
 

Angels get Downs

Scott Downs
Anoher big reliever is off the market, as the Angels have signed Scott Downs to a three-year, $15 million contract. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com was the first to report the deal. Downs can earn an additional $1 million based on games finished.

Downs, 34, has been outstanding the past four years as setup man in Toronto, putting up a 2.36 ERA in 236.2 innings with 205 strikeouts against 78 walks. In 2010 he had a 2.64 ERA in 67 appearances and had a 21-inning scoreless streak.

Downs is a Type A free agent, so the Blue Jays will get two draft picks as compensation. The Angels' first-round pick next year is the second-lowest protected pick so the Jays will get their second-round pick.

-- David Andriesen

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com