Posted on: January 25, 2012 3:26 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 4:41 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
With Prince Fielder finally off the market, we're officially in free-agent left-over time, with most of the big-name, big-money guys enjoying new contracts.
So, who is left? That's a good question. The best players available are starting pitchers -- with Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt leading the charge -- but in our free-agent tracker, only one position player (Derrek Lee) among the top 25 free-agent position players is available, while three top 25 pitchers remain (Jackson, Oswalt, Javier Vazquez).
Here's the best player -- and the rest -- among the remaining free agents at each position as we get closer and closer to spring training:
Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez. OK, he's a big name, a future Hall of Famer, but he's also 40 -- and a catcher. Rodriguez, 156 hits from 3,000, adjusted to being a backup catcher last season and it's the role he'll play if he can find a team for 2012.
Others available: Jason Varitek, Ronny Paulino, Ramon Castro, Jason Kendall.
First base: Derrek Lee. The 36-year-old finished the 2011 season in Pittsburgh and had a nice finish to the season, hitting .337/.398/.584 with seven homers in his return to the National League Central after struggling in Baltimore for most of the first half of the season. However, he did miss nearly a month after breaking a bone in his left wrist shortly after joining the Pirates. Lee could retire, CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman reported.
Others available: Casey Kotchman, Conor Jackson, Ross Gload, Russell Branyan.
Second base: Jeff Keppinger. The Giants non-tendered the 31-year-old infielder who struggled in his 56 games in San Francisco. Keppinger hit just .255/.285/.333 as the team's everyday second baseman, well off his career .281/.332/.388 line. Keppinger brings versatility with the ability to play any of the infield positions, and he's also played in the outfield. He could be a fit with the Mariners, Yankees or Rays.
Others available: Aaron Miles, Carlos Guillen.
Third base: Mark Teahen. Our top third baseman was recently released to make room for a 41-year-old relief pitcher, what does that tell you? The Blue Jays acquired the 30-year-old Teahen in three-team deal that sent Edwin Jackson and others to St. Louis and Colby Rasmus to Toronto. Teahen hit .200/.273/.300 with the White Sox and Blue Jays, playing both corner infield and outfield spots, in addition to handling some DH duties. Another positive is that he often tweets pictures of his two adorable boxers.
Others available: Eric Chavez, Bill Hall, Alex Cora.
Shortstop: Ryan Theriot. Theriot is versatile, with the ability to play pretty much anywhere on the field -- but he's best suited, defensively, to second base. He started the 2011 season as the Cardinals' starter at shortstop, but there's a reason the team went out to get Rafael Furcal. He hit .271/.321/.342 for the Cardinals last season, but at this point he's likely best suited as a utility player.
Others available: Edgar Renteria, Miguel Tejada, Felipe Lopez.
Outfield: Yoenis Cespedes. While we have J.D. Drew ranked higher, he's expected to retire soon, leaving the extremely talented Cespedes as the top available outfielder. Cespedes has just recently acquired citizenship in the Dominican Republic, so now the official courting of the Cuban center fielder can begin. The Marlins, of course, are said to be very interested, even if Cespedes is less interested in Miami. Both Chicago teams are said to have interest in him as well.
Others available: Kosuke Fukudome, Raul Ibanez, Juan Pierre, Magglio Ordonez, Corey Patterson, Rick Ankiel, Marcus Thames, Jeremy Hermida, Jay Gibbons, Milton Bradley.
Designated hitter: Johnny Damon. The 38-year-old Damon is hardly the prototypical slugging designated hitter, but he still has some value. Last season he hit .261/.326/.418 for the Rays with 16 home runs. He could be a fit in Detroit, where he hit .271/.355/.401 with eight home runs in 2010.
Others available: Hideki Matsui, Vladimir Guerrero.
Starting pitcher: Edwin Jackson. At 28, Jackson has already pitched for six different teams and could be looking at his seventh. With the White Sox and Cardinals, the hard-throwing right-hander went 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA in 31 starts and 199 2/3 innings. He struck out 148 batters while putting up a 1.437 WHIP. There are recent reports that he's willing to sign a one-year deal, and is drawing interest from the Tigers. He was 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA for Detroit in 2009.
Others available: Roy Oswalt, Javier Vazquez, Rich Harden, Jeff Francis, Brad Penny, Chris Young, Brandon Webb, Jon Garland, Livan Hernandez, Tim Wakefield, Scott Kazmir, Rodrigo Lopez, Kyle Davies, Ross Ohlendorf, Doug Davis.
Relief pitcher: Arthur Rhodes. Rhodes turned 42 during the World Series and still appeared in 51 games during the regular season and eight more in the postseason. The left-hander had a disappointing run with the Rangers after signing a two-year deal with Texas. But he returned as part of Tony La Russa's bullpen in St. Louis, earning his first World Series ring in his 19 years in the big leagues.
Others available: Chad Qualls, Brad Lidge, Dan Wheeler, Damaso Marte, Michael Wuertz, Zach Duke, Javier Lopez, Juan Cruz, Jason Isringhausen, Mike Gonzalez, Todd Coffey, Shawn Camp, Scott Linebrink, Hong-Chih Kuo, Jamey Wright, Chad Durbin, Brian Tallet, Hideki Luis Ayala, Micah Owings, Dan Cortes, Sergio Mitre, Tony Pena, David Aardsma, Pat Neshek, Danys Baez, Ramon Ortiz.
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Tags: 2012 free agency, 2012 MLB Free Agency, 2012 MLB Free Agents, 2012 MLB Hot Stove, Aaron Cook, Aaron Miles, Alex Cora, Arthur Rhodes, Bill Hall, Brad Lidge, Brad Penny, Brandon Webb, Brian Tallet, C. Trent Rosecrans, Carlos Guillen, Casey Kotchman, Chad Durbin, Chad Qualls, Chris Young, Connor Jackson, Corey Patterson, Damaso Marte, Dan Cortes, Dan Wheeler, Danys Baez, David Aardsma, Derrek Lee, Doug Davis, Edgar Renteria, Edwin Jackson, Eric Chavez, Felipe Lopez, free agency, free agent tracker, Hideki Matsui, Hideki Okajima, Hong-Chih Kuo, Ivan Rodriguez, Jamey Wright, Jason Isringhausen, Jason Kendall, Jason Michael, Jason Varitek, Javier Lopez, Javier Vazquez, Jay Gibbons, Jeff Francis, Jeff Keppinger, Jeremy Hermida, Johnny Damon, Jon Garland, Juan Cruz, Juan Pierre, Kosuke Fukudome, Kyle Davies, Livan Hernandez, Luis Ayala, Magglio Ordonez, Marcus Thammes, Mark Teahen, Micah Owings, Michael Wuertz, Mike Gonzalez, Milton Bradley, MLB Free Agency, MLB Free Agents, MLB Hot Stove, Pat Neshek, Ramon Castro, Ramon Ortiz, Raul Ibanez, Rich Harden, Rick Ankiel, Rodrigo Lopez, Ronny Paulino, Ross Gload, Ross Ohlendorf, Roy Oswalt, Russell Branyan, Ryan Theriot, Scott Kazmir, Scott Linebrink, Sergio Mitre, Shawn Camp, Tim Wakefield, Todd Coffey, Tony Pena, Vladimir Guerrero, Yoenis Cespedes, Zach Duke
Posted on: November 27, 2011 11:28 am
Edited on: November 27, 2011 12:28 pm
By Matt Snyder
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 of this feature, click here.
When we discuss the Chicago Cubs, no baseball fan is lacking an opinion -- specifically, everyone seems to have some pet theory as to why the Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908. I've long argued with the people who believe the streak has something to do with a stupid "curse" or somehow now has something to do with playing so many more day games than everyone else. No, the real problem is they've never put a top-to-bottom management system in place that has done the job consistently for more than a small handful of seasons. It's possible current Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has done so with Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, et al (in fact, I'd argue it's likely), but that's a different discussion for a different forum.
For now, we're left looking at one of the worst Homegrown Teams in our series.
1. Kosuke Fukudome, RF
2. Darwin Barney, 2B
3. Starlin Castro, SS
4. Tyler Colvin, LF
5. Casey McGehee, 3B
6. Eric Hinske, 1B
7. Geovany Soto, C
8. Sam Fuld, CF
1. Ricky Nolasco
2. Kyle Lohse
3. Andrew Cashner*
4. Carlos Zambrano
5. Randy Wells
* - if Cashner fell injured like he did in the real 2011 season, the options would be: Jon Garland, Dontrelle Willis and Casey Coleman.
Closer - Kyle Farnsworth
Set up - Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol, Al Alburquerque, Juan Cruz, Michael Wuertz
Long - Jeff Samardzija, Rich Hill, Sergio Mitre
Notable Bench Players
Robinson Chirinos, Ryan Theriot, Ronny Cedeno, Brandon Guyer, Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, Tony Campana, Lou Montanez. In fact, feel free to grab any of these guys, plug them in the lineup and play around with it. There's really no wrong answer, because it's one marquee player (and he's only 21) amidst a heap of mediocrity at this point. Maybe Guyer proves a good player, McGehee bounces back and/or Colvin becomes a good everyday player, but we have to go on what we've seen up to this point.
The bullpen is really strong. It's well-rounded with righties and lefties, depth, power pitchers and specialists. Of course, there could be an issue with the lack of a reliable closer when it comes to either Farnsworth or Marmol, but a new-age manager might just abandon that idea and use whoever makes the most sense in the ninth.
The starting rotation doesn't have a true ace (or No. 2, for that matter). The infield defense sorely lacks range and the outfield isn't great either. The team speed is minimal, there isn't a good option at leadoff (or in the two-hole, or cleanup, or fifth ... you get the point) and who is the best power hitter? Colvin? Soto? Basically, everything other than the bullpen and Starlin Castro is lackluster.
Comparison to real 2011
You have to give former general manager Jim Hendry credit for scraping together a team good enough to win three division titles in six years, considering this bunch. Then again, he was in charge as the organization was assembling nothing more than a mediocre foundation (Baseball Prospectus now says the minor-league system is "not bad" but is more "depth than starpower."). Let's leave out the excuses, because there are far more bad picks (Montanez at third overall as a shortstop, for example) than there are instances of bad luck (Mark Prior, for example).
The amazing thing is that the 2011 Cubs were 71-91 and I actually think that team was better than this Homegrown unit. When we do the Homegrown rankings in mid-December, expect to see the Cubs toward the bottom. That probably changes in five years, but we're doing this exercise in the present. And this team would probably win somewhere in the ballpark of 65 games. Maybe fewer.
Up Next: Seattle Mariners
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Al Alburquerque, Andrew Cashner, Brandon Guyer, Carlos Marmol, Carlos Zambrano, Casey Coleman, Casey McGehee, Corey Patterson, Cubs, Darwin Barney, Dontrelle Willis, Eric Hinske, Felix Pie, Geovany Soto, Homegrown, Jeff Samardzija, Jon Garland, Juan Cruz, Kerry Wood, Kosuke Fukudome, Kyle Farnsworth, Kyle Lohse, Lou Montanez, Matt Snyder, Michael Wuertz, NL Central, Randy Wells, Rich Hill, Ricky Nolasco, Robinson Chirinos, Ronny Cedeno, Ryan Theriot, Sam Fuld, Sean Marshall, Sergio Mitre, Starlin Castro, Tony Campana, Tyler Colvin
Posted on: March 25, 2011 4:04 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2011 4:05 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
"He'll give us experience there; length there," Roenicke said in his daily media briefing (via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). "He gives us the ability for a guy to come out of the bullpen [to start] instead of bringing somebody up [from the minors] or carrying somebody extra. Having that flexibility was important."
Mitre started three games last season and 14 of his 24 relief appearances were longer than an inning.
Posted on: March 25, 2011 11:13 am
Edited on: March 25, 2011 11:56 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
UPDATE (11:39 a.m. EST): The Brewers have announced they've sent outfielder Chris Dickerson to the Yankees in return for right-hander Sergio Mitre.
Dickerson, 28, was hitting .278/.350/.389 this spring in 36 at-bats. A gifted athlete, Dickerson has struggled with injuries throughout his career. Last week Dickerson was injured in a collision with the Giants' Pablo Sandoval. Dickerson can play all three outfield spots. He has a career .267/.356/.403 slash line with eight home runs and 20 stolen bases in 527 plate appearances in parts of three seasons.
Dickerson was acquired by the Brewers last season in a trade with the Reds for Jim Edmonds.
The Brewers have acquired Sergio Mitre from the Yankees, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports via Twitter.
Mitre appeared to be the odd-man out of the Yankees' rotation, behind Ivan Nova and Bartolo Colon for the last two spots in New York's rotation. The Yankees also have Freddy Garcia and have signed Kevin Millwood to a minor-league deal.
This spring, Mitre has a 5.73 ERA in 11 innings, striking out eight and walking one. Mitre was 0-3 with a 3.33 ERA in 27 games last season, making three starts.
Mitre, 30, has started 64 games in his career and is 13-25 with a 5.48 ERA as a starter. He was 0-2 with a 5.93 ERA in eight starts last season.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 6, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: March 6, 2011 11:35 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
After nothing but (deserved) rave reviews this offseason, reality is hitting the Philadelphia Phillies.
Still the favorite in the National League East, the same problem that kept them in a division race last season is popping up again -- injuries.
And now Domonic Brown is out with a broken hamate bone in his hand. Although Brown was struggling this spring -- hitless in 15 at-bats -- and was likely headed to Triple-A, he was still part of the team's plans for 2011.
The hamate injury is a tricky one -- he'll likely be able to play this season, but he won't be the same. Last year when I was around the Reds a bit, I talked to two players who were in different stages of the same injury. One, Yonder Alonso, suffered the injury in 2009, the other, Chris Dickerson, had the surgery during last season.
Dickerson was able to return and even played with the Reds and Brewers after the surgery. Alonso had the surgery in June of 2009 and was back that season, as well. However, the injury saps power. Alonso told me several times that the ball just didn't jump off his bat the same, what would be a double in the past wasn't getting past outfielders, and what was a homer in the past just died in the outfield. As doctors told him, about a year fate the surgery, his power was back.
Brown can return this season, but don't expect him to be the same player he has shown to be in the minor leagues and that he'll be in the future.
Pitching won't be a problem for Philadelphia, and it wasn't the problem last year. When the team got in trouble, it was injuries and offense. With uncertainly to the health of Utley and then general uncertainty with Jimmy Rollins, there's cause for concern in Philly.
That said, they're still the favorites, but maybe not quite the prohibitive favorites they were before.
Brian Cashman tells the Boston Globe the team is unlikely to trade for a starter before opening day.
"Can't rule it out, but it's highly unlikely," Cashman said. "Normally anything of quality doesn't become available until after the June draft. That's why you try and get as much as you can get accomplished in winter."
HOT DOG RUN: Apparently because the team mom forgot the orange slices, after his stint in Saturday's game, Boston's Dustin Pedroia ducked out of the Red Sox clubhouse to the concession stand for three hot dogs.
"They probably didn't think he was a player," Red Sox manager Terry Francona told reporters, including the Providence Journal. "Did you see that outfit he had on? He looks like he's going into second grade."
NATS OPTIMISM: A scout tells Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman (via Twitter) that Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann is "back." He's throwing 94-95 mph with a "superb" slider. Said the scout, "if they had [Stephen] Strasburg, they'd be dangerous."
The Nats don't, but Zimmermann offers hope for 2012, as he had Tommy John surgery in August of 2009, a year before Strasburg.
AMBASSADOR GRIFFEY: Ken Griffey Jr.'s new job with the Mariners is to be an ambassador of sort, but before he does that, he served the same role for the U.S. State Department in the Philippines.
Griffey just returned from working with coaches and youth players in the Philippines.
USA Today's Paul White caught up with him last week before his trip. Griffey still refuses to talk about his exit from the game, but he'll likely be seen around the Mariners some this season. His new job requires about a month's worth of work with the team, doing a little bit of everything.
More importantly, he's being a dad. His daughter Taryn recently led Orlando's Dr. Phillips High School to the Florida girls basketball championship. Taryn Griffey, a freshman point guard, had 21 points in the championship game.
His son, Trey, is a junior safety and wide receiver who is being recruited, as well.
"I think everything is timing," Piazza said. "It's an interesting time in the game. There's a lot of change going on … but as far as anything on the forefront, there's nothing. Let's just say I talked to some people that are interested in getting into the game … It doesn't cost anything to talk. At least not yet."
NO PANIC FOR Braves: Atlanta's 23-year-old Craig Kimbrel has the inside track to replace Billy Wagner as the Braves' closer, but he's not been very good so far this spring. He's struggled with his command and has allowed four runs and six hits in three appearances this spring.
"If there is a trend like this later in the spring, then you start worrying about it," manager Fredi Gonzalez tells MLB.com. "But not right now."
Cain was scratched from his last start and won't make his scheduled start on Tuesday, either. (MLB.com)
PIONEER LAID TO REST: About 500 people reportedly attended the funeral of Wally Yonamine in Hawaii on Saturday, according to Sanspo (via YakyuBaka.com). A memorial service will also be held in Tokyo later this month.
Yonamine, the first American to play professional baseball in Japan, died earlier this week at 85. The New York Times had a good obituary earlier this week, and a column in the Honolulu Star Advertiser shed light on how Yonamine dealt with death threats and other pressures when he started playing in Japan.
However, Yonamine became a star in Japan and was elected to the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994. He was also the first Asian-American to play in the NFL.
NOT THAT IT'S GONNA HAPPEN: But contraction isn't going to happen.
Union chief Michael Weiner tells the St. Petersburg Times that the union will fight any attempt to contract teams.
"Having been in bargaining in baseball since the late 80s, anything is fathomable, so we don't either take anything for granted or rule anything out," Weiner said. "All I would says is if that changes, if contraction becomes a goal of the owners in this negotiation, the tenor of the talks would change quickly and dramatically."
Bud Selig tells the Los Angeles Times it's not a goal for the owners, and it's certainly not a fight they want to take up.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: A.J. Burnett, AL East, AL West, Bartolo Colon, Braves, Brewers, Brian Cashman, CC Sabathia, Chase Utley, Chris Dickerson, Craig Kimbrel, Domonic Brown, Dustin Pedroia, Freddy Garcia, Giants, Ivan Nova, Jordan Zimmermann, Ken Griffey Jr., Mariners, Matt Cain, Mets, Mike Piazza, Nationals, NL Central, NL East, NL East, Phil Hughes, Phillies, Phillies, Rays, Red Sox, Reds, Sergio Mitre, Stephen Strasburg, Wally Yonamine, Yankees, Yonder Alonso
Posted on: February 24, 2011 4:52 pm
The Yankees have an obvious top three in their starting pitching rotation in CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett. We know that. Behind those three, however, things get a bit murky. There's a handful of relatively uninspiring candidates vying for the last two spots -- including names like Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre.
Garcia does appear to be separating himself from the group, though, and he is the favorite for the fourth spot, according to SI.com 's Jon Heyman.
Garcia, 35, was a two-time All-Star early in his career for Seattle and then a solid starter for the White Sox for two years. In fact, he was part of the historic chain of World Series shutouts for the South Siders in 2005, throwing seven shutout innings and garnering the win in series-clinching Game 4.
He was in danger of falling out of the league for good at several points throughout the 2007-2009 seasons, but caught on with the White Sox again. He started 37 games for the Sox over the past two seasons, going 15-10 with a 4.56 ERA and 1.33 WHIP.
If Garcia does lock down the fourth spot, the Yankees' question marks in the staff hardly disappear. There's still that five spot, not to mention the questions that come with Hughes and Burnett.
The 24-year-old Hughes was an All-Star last season, but faltered down the stretch. After starting 10-1 with a 3.17 ERA, Hughes went 8-7 with a 5.07 ERA the rest of the way. That could be due to normal fatigue for a youngster or teams' advanced scouting catching up to Hughes' stuff.
Burnett was flat awful for most of last season. He ended with a career worst 5.26 ERA and a dreadful 1.51 WHIP. His record was 10-15, and this for a team that won 95 games. There's no question Burnett has talent, and at age 34 he should still have some gas left in the tank. He just needs to get back on track.
As for the fifth spot in the rotation, Heyman reports it's "anyone's guess."
-- Matt Snyder
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: February 3, 2011 1:11 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2011 6:51 pm
With Andy Pettitte choosing retirement, the Yankees now go toward 2011 in the position they didn't want to face -- with an incomplete rotation.
CC Sabathia still leads the rotation, with Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett behind him. After that? Well, it's up in the air. The internal candidates are Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre. The team has added Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia to minor-league contracts and there are reports they're still interested in Kevin Millwood.
Here's a look at the 2010 seasons from those hoping to fill Pettitte's shoes:
Nova: 1-2, 4.50 ERA, 10 games, 7 starts, 42 IP, 44 H, 22 R, 21 ER, 17 BB, 26 K
Mitre: 0-3, 3.33 ERA, 27 games, 3 starts, 54 IP, 43 H, 23 R, 20 ER, 16 BB, 29 K
Garcia: 12-6, 4.64 ER, 28 games, 28 starts, 157 IP, 171 H, 85 R, 81 ER, 45 BB, 89 K
Colon: (2009) 3-6, 4.19 ERA, 12 games, 12 starts, 62 1/3 IP, 69 H, 42 R, 29 ER, 21 BB, 38 K
Millwood: 4-16, 5.10 ERA, 31 games, 31 starts, 190 2/3 IP, 223 H, 116 R, 108 ER, 65 BB, 132 K
That's not quite the Sabathia-Cliff Lee-Hughes-Pettitte-Burnett rotation the Yankees had dreamed off when their 2010 season was ended by the Rangers. But it also doesn't end the Yankees' playoff hopes, either. Sabathia and Hughes are certainly good enough to get the job done at the top of the rotation, even if Burnett is a wild card. The Yankees also have a good enough farm system now that they can go out and get a starter at the trade deadline.
No, the Yankees aren't as good as they would be with Pettitte, but it's hardly time for 29 other teams to celebrate the death of baseball in the Bronx.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: December 1, 2010 11:19 pm
The Yankees have re-signed right-handed reliever Sergio Mitre to a one-year deal worth $900,000 and could earn $200,000 in incentives, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets .
Mitre avoids arbitration with the deal and will be a free agent after the season. He was 0-3 with a 3.33 ERA in 27 appearances (including three starts) this season.
-- C. Trent RosecransFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.