Tag:Scott Kazmir
Posted on: January 25, 2012 3:26 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 4:41 pm
 

Edwin Jackson, Roy Oswalt top free agents left



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:

Ivan RodriguezCatcher: 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.

Derrek LeeFirst 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.

Jeff KeppingerSecond 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.

Mark TeahenThird 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.

Ryan TheriotShortstop: 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.

Yoenis CespedesOutfield: 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.

Johnny DamonDesignated 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.

Edwin JacksonStarting 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.

Arthur RhodesRelief 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 WheelerDamaso 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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Posted on: October 15, 2011 1:38 am
Edited on: October 15, 2011 1:41 am
 

Errors didn't help, but neither did Greinke

Zack Greinke

By C. Trent Rosecrans

ST. LOUIS -- Among qualified starters during the regular season, no pitcher struck out more batters per nine innings than Zack Greinke, and just 11 pitchers had a higher percentage of swings and misses on their pitches than Greinke's 10.6 percent.

To say Greinke wasn't that pitcher in Game 5 of the NLCS on Friday is an understatement. He didn't record a strikeout and of the 89 pitches he threw, there were just two swings and misses by Cardinals batters. So instead of his season percentage that was better than Justin Verlander (10.2 percent), his 2.25 swing-and-miss percentage was closer to Elih Villanueva of the Marlins, and nearly a full percent less than the swing-and-miss rate recorded by Scott Kazmir. So as much as his fielders struggled behind him in the Cardinals' 7-1 victory, Greinke can shoulder plenty of blame himself.

NLCS Coverage

"Wasn’t a great game pitched for me," Greinke said afterward. "Made several mistakes that ended up costing us. They pitched a good game. Tough loss. Definitely could have done better and made it a better game. I made a couple tough mistakes."

Both of the swinging strikes came on fastballs, while his best out pitch, his slider went for 11 strikes, but none of them swings and misses. 

No batter swung and missed at a pitch until Greinke's 68th pitch of the night, a 1-1 fastball to Matt Holliday in the fifth inning. Holliday hit his next pitch to shortstop for a hit. Greinke's next swinging strike was on his 88th pitch of the night, a 1-1 fastball to Albert Pujols in the sixth. Pujols blasted Greinke's next pitch into left for an RBI single.

"I don't think his slider was biting as it usually was tonight," Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "He had velocity, but his movement wasn't there and it usually is on his slider. His best pitches are his slider and his fastball, and if his slider's not working, it takes away from his fastball."

Greinke's fastball averaged 93 mph and had a high of 95.4 mph, but the Cardinals weren't missing them. He still threw 18 sliders (20 percent), close to his usual percentage.

"The slider wasn’t very sharp at all today," Greinke said. "I kind of wanted to get it up a little more and get some weak contact with it. I did that pretty good. But whenever I needed to get it down, I had some trouble doing that. The last pitch to Albert (Pujols) was a hanging slider, and if I get it down, it’s probably a strikeout. You could say that several other times, where if I’d have gotten the slider down better, there’d have been better results."

In all, he allowed seven hits in 5 2/3 innings and five runs, although just two were earned. He actually lowered his postseason ERA to a pedestrian 6.48 -- hardly the type of production expected from a former Cy Young-winner who demanded out of Kansas City so he could pitch in playoff games. Now three games into his playoff career, he's not shown himself to be the level of Chris Carpenter, Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee, the top-line pitchers who also have proven themselves under baseball's brightest lights. And make no mistake, there were those who wondered how Greinke would fare under the glare of the postseason. While it's not appeared to be a mental block, his lack of production in the postseason will be an issue and concern until he proves he can pitch on this stage.

He didn't have help on Friday -- Jerry Hairston Jr. missed a grounder by Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia that allowed two runs to score, Corey Hart missed a ball in right field that produced St. Louis' first run, Rickie Weeks missed a tough over-the-shoulder catch in the fourth before commttin an error in the fifth and Yuniesky Betancourt's error in the sixth aided the Cardinals' final run off of Greinke. That's all true, but it's also true that Molina's double and Garcia's grounder in the second were both hit very hard. That's because Greinke wasn't fooling anybody, and like it or not, his reputation in the postseason will be based more on what he's done in his three starts this October than anything he's done in the past.

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Posted on: June 30, 2011 7:33 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 8:10 pm
 

Rangers looking at Kazmir

By Matt Snyder

Former Angels pitcher Scott Kazmir has worked out for the Rangers this week, several media outlets are reporting. The talks have all been very preliminary, so no deal is imminent or anything.

"We've talked with him, doing our due diligence," GM Jon Daniels said in an email (Rangers Blog on Dallas Morning News). "Not sure if anything's going to come of it, but we try to look at every opportunity to see if someone can help us."

Kazmir's a two-time All-Star and once led the AL in strikeouts. He completely fell apart the past two seasons for the Angels, though. He was 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA and 1.58 WHIP last season. In 2011, he made only one major-league start -- lasting just 1 2/3 innings and allowing five runs -- before hitting the DL. He tried to make it back to the Angels after a rehab assignment, but he was so bad the Angels just released him. In five outings for Triple-A Salt Lake, Kazmir was 0-5 with a 17.02 ERA. He walked 20, hit six and uncorked six wild pitches in 15 1/3 innings.

Still, he was once one of the top young arms in the majors and he's only 27. There's no reason to refuse to give him a shot with a minor-league contract. It's a no-lose situation with possible upside.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 16, 2011 7:17 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 7:51 pm
 

Report: Moreno says no more spending

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Arte MorenoAnaheim is hardly out of the American League West race, just three games behind leader Texas and 2 1/2 games behind second-place Seattle, but owner Arte Moreno has already told general manager Tony Reagins not to spend any more money this season, ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon writes.

Saxon cites a "baseball source" as saying the Angels won't spend any more money for the rest of the season after eating what was left of Scott Kazmir's $14.5 million salary this season and taking on the albatross contract of .193-hitting Vernon Wells. Oh, and they're still paying Gary Matthews Jr. $12.4 million this season for a grand total around $140 million for the team's 2011 payroll.

The Angels can still make move, but they won't be able to take on any payroll, so a deal would have to be a wash financially or in the Angels' favor.

Reagins has shown a willingness to deal at the deadline in recent years. The Angels added Mark Teixeira in 2008 at the trade deadline and Kazmir a year later. Last year the Angels picked up Alberto Callaspo and Dan Haren for a stretch run. 

The Angels could try to unload Joel Pineiro ($8 million) and Fernando Rodney ($5.5 million) in a search for more offense. They could also try to move Bobby Abreu, who has a vesting option worth $9 million for next season with another 147 plate appearances.

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Posted on: June 15, 2011 7:08 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 7:16 pm
 

Angels release Kazmir

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Scott KazmirAs expected, the Angels have released left-hander Scott Kazmir and will eat the rest of his $14.5 million contract for 2011, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweets.

The 27-year old made five rehab starts at Triple-A Salt Lake and went 0-5 with a 17.02 ERA and walked 20 batters in 15 1/3 innings. Tuesday night he lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on five hits and walking three. He made just one big-league start this season, giving up five runs and five hits in 1 /23 innings before going on the DL with back soreness.

Kazmir debuted at 20 for the Rays, but really made his mark the next few years for Tampa. From  2005-08, he went 45-34 with a 3.51 ERA, leading the league in strikeouts in 2007. He was traded to the Angels in 2009 for Sean Rodriguez, Alex Torres and Matt Sweeney.

With the Angels, Kazmir made 35 starts and went 11-17 with a 5.31 ERA. He was 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA last season.

At his age and with his talent, he'll certainly have several offers to sign minor-league deals around baseball, but he'll be a project -- even if the upside is enough to make it worthwhile for nearly any team.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 15, 2011 10:02 am
Edited on: June 15, 2011 10:53 am
 

Pepper: Danks discovers cut-fastball


Justin Verlander nearly pitched another no-hitter on Tuesday. NESN.com's Tony Lee joins Scott Braun on Baseball Today.

By Evan Brunell


NEW CUTTER: John Danks is finally on a roll, turning around his 0-7 start by winning his last two games. Danks pitched far better than his record indicated, but couldn't seem to figure things out and cited his cut fastball as one pitch he was struggling with.

"I play with grips a lot," Danks said. "My last game, I finally had a good one and was encouraged. Whenever I'm throwing a good one, I'm throwing it out front. That makes sense. I tend to not get on top of it and get around it, and it doesn't do anything for me. My focus is throwing it out front."

Danks is using a grip taught by batting practice pitcher Kevin Hickey and has also experimented with other grips, including Mark Buehrle's.

"I will continue to work on other grips in case I lose it in a game so I have something to fall back on," Danks said. (Chicago Tribune)

ALL JETER, ALL THE TIME: Nick Swisher, for one, is tired of the Derek Jeter hoopla. Here's his response to a question about Jeter after taking out the Rangers:

"We just played a great game and you ask me that? I don't even know exactly what happened. A strain? Well, obviously, everyone knows what he's going up for, and he's the captain, we're going to miss him a lot, but then again we're trying to pick up where he left off. Gardy did a great job leading off for us tonight. I know he's excited about the opportunity to lead off for a little bit. But definitely when he's ready, we'll be ready for him to come back. He's a great player, definitely an elite, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. The show goes on.''  (ESPN New York)

BEST PLAYER IN THE GAME: How did Jose Bautista come about to be one of the -- if not the -- best players in the game? This fantastic feature explains it all, and no, steroids aren't part of it. (Yahoo! Sports)

BLANK THE GOAT: Cubs players created a stir Monday when they revealed new team shirts that read "F--k the Goat!!!" Predictably, questions arose as to whether the Cubs players are tempting fate.

"I have news for you. When you take the field, nobody is thinking about the goat, whether they're wearing the T-shirt or not," manager Mike Quade said. (Chicago Tribune)

YOUNG MILESTONE: Michael Young is now the Rangers' all-time leader in games played after Monday, passing Rafael Palmiero with 1,574 games. (New York Times)

FASTEST MAN ALIVE: Tony Campana believes he's the fastest man in the league, and manager Mike Quade concurs. Wonder if Michael Bourn might take exception to that. (Chicago Tribune)

HATED: This may come as a surprise, but the Yankees are one of the most hated teams in the game. But has anyone ever wondered who the 10 most hateable Yankees are in Rangers history? Probably not, but now you know. (Dallas News)

CLOSER IN L.A.: It appears as if Javy Guerra is quickly grasping the Dodgers' closer role. The rookie has been getting more and more late-inning, high-leverage outings lately and appears to be de facto closer, even as manager Don Mattingly refused to put a label on Guerra. (MLB.com)

BARNEY HURT
: Darwin Barney strained his right knee and will hit the disabled list for it. The second baseman leads all NL rookies in batting average with a .294 mark. (ESPN Chicago)

KAZMIR NEARING END? Scott Kazmir got raked once again in a minor-league rehab start, leaving him with a 17.02 ERA in 15 2/3 innings over five starts. It's likely that L.A. will now release Kazmir, who has a career 5.31 ERA with the Angels in 35 starts, one of the bigger busts in recent memory. (Los Angeles Times)

SECOND OPINION: Freddy Sanchez will receive a second opinion on his dislocated shoulder in the hopes of avoiding season-ending surgery. Sanchez is hoping to heal the shoulder on his own. (MLB.com)

SANDOVAL BACK: Pablo Sandoval was thrilled after his first game back from injury, saying he feels great and the surgery to repair his right wrist went well. The team, too, seems to be relieved that Sandoval has returned. (San Jose Mercury News)

GRANTED: Cole Hamels is one of the best pitchers on the field, but off the field he runs a charity that grants various amounts of money to Philadelphia schools to help them educate children in the face of budget cuts. (MLB.com)

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Posted on: June 10, 2011 12:37 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2011 2:25 pm
 

Kazmir running out of chances for Angels

By Matt Snyder

Angels starting pitcher Scott Kazmir made a rehab start Thursday night for Triple-A Salt Lake and was, once again, pretty awful. He allowed six hits, five walks and five earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings. He even hit three batters with pitches. This was his fourth rehab start after spending quite a bit of time in extended spring training. He now has a 15.15 ERA, 2.49 WHIP and has walked 17 hitters in 13 2/3 innings. Again, this is in Triple-A.

The Angels may be running out of patience with Kazmir. Mike DeGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that it's "just a matter of time" before the Angels just cut Kazmir and eat what's left of his $14.5 million contract for the season.

Kazmir, 27, made only one big-league start this season before being placed on the disabled list with back soreness. In that start, he lasted just 1 2/3 innings and coughed up five hits, five earned runs, two walks and two hit-by-pitches. He even balked, just for good measure.

The decline of Kazmir has been a bit amazing. From 2005-2008, he went 45-34 for mostly bad Rays teams with a 3.51 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. He struck out 9.7 batters per nine innings in that four-season span and looked destined for stardom, considering he was still in his early 20s. Last season, however, he was 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA and 1.58 WHIP. His strikeout rate dwindled all the way down to 5.6 per nine innings and his control -- which was always suspect -- has actually gotten worse.

Should the Angels cut Kazmir, he'll get another shot elsewhere. He's still too young to be completely given up on, but it would be hard to blame the Angels for just cutting their losses at this point.

Hat-tip: Hardball Talk

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 30, 2011 11:43 am
Edited on: May 30, 2011 12:10 pm
 

Pepper: Could Teddy Roosevelt finally win?

Presidents

By Evan Brunell


RUN, TEDDY, RUN: "Teddy Roosevelt" has never won one of the Presidents Races the Nats have held since arriving in D.C. Roosevelt is working on a losing streak of over 300 games, but that could change on Memorial Day.

Some major reasons it might change include Jayson Werth's surprising interest in the race. Werth has spoken before about how Roosevelt never gets to win and is disappointed by that fact. He's also been caught on camera disgusted when Roosevelt doesn't win the race. A bit odd, but the Nats have to pay attention to their face of the franchise, who is soaking up over $100 million of Ted Lerner's money. Maybe the Nats should give Roosevelt a victory to placate Werth.

"Roosevelt" tweeted after Sunday's race that he had "a good feeling" about the Memorial Day race, which will come as the Nats hold a fundraiser to benefit the military by allowing those who make a donation to Hike for Heroes to run the bases. It's as good a day as it will get for a changing of the guard, as the actual Teddy Roosevelt has a connection to both the military and Memorial Day. And since no other D.C. sports teams are active on Monday, a Roosevelt victory could land on the front page of the papers. Yes, really. (Washington Post)

VOTE FOR THE FAT MAN
: GQ is pulling out a call to decide who the fattest baseball player of 2011 is. Named after Rich Garces, does Garces still deserve the mantle, or will someone like Jonathan Broxton carve out his own legacy? (GQ.com)

POSADA DONE: As a full-time player, that is. Manager Joe Girardi has chosen to permanently sit Jorge Posada against lefties, allowing him to rotate Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez in the DH spot, giving them essentially a half-day off. (Lohud.com)

CLOSING TIME: Ryan Franklin isn't giving up on an eventual return to the closer's role in St. Louis. He mopped up on Saturday with 2 2/3 scoreless innings, which represented a major step forward. Next up: Doing more of the same until he proves he can get batters out consistently. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

SANDS OF LEFT: The Dodgers' motley crew of left-fielders hasn't been up to snuff so far this season, but Jerry Sands is hoping to fix a position that has been in flux for L.A. for years with no long-term answer. GM Ned Colletti believes that Sands will be in left for years to come, but his slow start this season suggests he has a ways to go. (Los Angeles Times)

ROUGH RETURN: J.P. Howell, one of the Rays' best relievers over the last several years, is finding the going difficult after missing 2010 and a chunk of 2011 in his recovery from a torn left labrum. In 2 1/3 innings, he's posted an 11.57 ERA -- but that figures to change once Howell gets back into the groove. (St. Petersburg Times)

THE TRAVELS OF BRANYAN: Russell Branyan has been around, as his 11 teams in his career can attest. Check out Branyan's ride through a major-league career in photos. (Orange County Register)

SHELLED: Check out this box score from the Salt Lake Bees, the Angels' Triple-A affiliate. Notice who pitched -- Scott Kazmir, who fell to 0-2 with a 36.00 ERA by giving up 10 earned runs in 2 1/3 innings. Kaz's career has plummeted so far down the rabbit hole it's probably never coming back. (MiLB.com)

COBB TIME: Yet another heralded Rays prospect will hit the majors as Alex Cobb will replace Andy Sonnanstine in the rotation starting Tuesday. It's anyone's guess how long Cobb will stick, but Jeff Niemann isn't anywhere near a return from injury, so Cobb could pick up a few starts. (Tampa Tribune)

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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