Posted on: February 21, 2012 11:46 am
Edited on: February 21, 2012 3:25 pm
 

Red Sox receive RHP Chris Carpenter for Epstein

Chris Carpenter

By C. Trent Rosecrans


In what only seems fitting, the Red Sox and Cubs have agreed upon the compensation for new Chicago president Theo Epstein, but there are still players to be named for both teams to complete the deal, dragging out the case even longer. The two teams have been trying to figure out the compensation for Epstein's move from Boston since the World Series, when Epstein was hired.

The Red Sox will receive right-hander Chris Carpenter (no, not that Chris Carpenter) and a player to be named, while the Cubs will also receive a player to be named. Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told reporters the players to be named will be decided by the end of spring training. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said the two players to be named are just a "procedural" thing to satisfy MLB transaction rules.

Carpenter, 26, was ranked the No. 13 prospect in the Cubs' system by Baseball America (and the same publication had the Cubs' system ranked No. 14 overall).

The Cubs drafted him in the third round of the 2008 draft out of Kent State. Last season he pitched in 10 games for the Cubs, putting up a 2.79 ERA in 10 innings, allowing 12 hits, a home run, seven walks and eight  strikeouts. In his first season as a reliever, Carpenter pitched in 32 games between Double-A and Triple-A, going 3-4 with a 5.91 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings. He had a WHIP of 1.617.

"I am relieved that this process is over and particularly pleased that the teams were able to reach agreement on their own without intervention from MLB," Epstein said in a statement from the Cubs. "I truly hope and believe that this resolution will benefit both clubs, as well as Chris, who is an extremely talented reliever joining a great organization at a time when there's some opportunity in the major league bullpen."

While there had been reports that Bud Selig would have to decide the matter, Selig said the two sides worked out the move on their own.

"I am pleased that the Cubs and the Red Sox have resolved this matter," Selig said in a statement realsed by MLB. "It has always been my preference that Clubs resolve matters like this amongst themselves, as they understand their unique circumstances better than anyone else could.  Though the matter required time, both Clubs demonstrated professionalism throughout their discussions, and I appreciate their persistence in finding common ground."

Cherington said he was happy to have the matter decided.

"I think it took this long because it was a unique circumstance," Cherington said, according to the Associated Press. "We talk to teams all the time about trades and it's player for player and it's pretty easy to, easier to, assign value and figure out what's fair, what's not fair. In this case it was just tougher because it involved not just an executive but a friend."

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 11:11 am
 

Phillies' Brown: 'I'm fighting to win a job'

Domonic Brown

By C. Trent Rosecrans

A year ago, the Phillies' right fielder's job was Domonic Brown's to lose. And, well, he did.

A broken hamate bone in spring training followed by a thumb sprain slowed Brown at the beginning of the season and then his lack of production led the Phillies to go out and get Hunter Pence at the trading deadline. Brown hit .245/.333/.391 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 210 plate appearances as a 23-year-old last season. He was sent to the minors after Pence joined the team on July 30 and called up in September. He struck out in his only plate appearance in September.

This season the expectations aren't as high for Brown, the team's former top prospect. He's among those in contention for the left field job, along with John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix, but it appears the deck is stacked against him.

Mayberry was the surprise breakout in 2011, hitting .273/.341/.513 with 15 homers and 49 RBI in 296 plate appearances. Nix is a veteran backup, who like Brown, is a left-handed hitter.

In October, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he wanted Brown to get another year of Triple-A under his belt in 2012.

That, unsurprisingly, isn't how Brown sees things.

"I don't know if I need at-bats in Triple-A or if I need to get used to it up here," He told reporters, including David Hale of DelawareOnline.com on Tuesday. "I just know I need to play somewhere."

Triple-A hasn't been much of a challenge for Brown, who has played 69 games over two seasons for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, hitting .298/.390/.453 with eight home runs and 17 stolen bases. Still, he's not played more than 41 games in one season at that level, so there could be some benefit to a full season at Triple-A and seeing teams and pitchers more than once.

The lack of power last season -- seven home runs in the minors and five in the big leagues -- isn't much of a surprise due to the broken hamate bone. Brown said Tuesday his hand is "100 percent" and it took months for him to get there.

As for this spring, Brown trained with Gary Sheffield in the offseason and is excited about his chances to make the team out of spring.

"I'm not at peach if I start at Triple-A. … I'm coming to win a job," Brown said. "I'm fighting to win a job here. That's the big goal."

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 11:06 am
Edited on: February 21, 2012 11:18 am
 

Epstein compensation may be announced Tuesday

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Major League Baseball is expected to announce the compensation the Red Sox will receive from the Cubs in return for the hiring of president Theo Epstein on Tuesday, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports.

According to Heyman, the compensation was negotiated by both parties with input from MLB. One thing that worked in the Cubs' favor was the fact Epstein only had one year to go on his contract and his relationship with John Henry was seen as deteriorating. The Red Sox are expected to receive a minor-league player or players in compensation for allowing Epstein to go to Chicago, but the perceived value of that player or players is what has been in question since Epstein's hiring in October.

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 10:45 am
 

Braves' Hanson suffered 'mild' concussion

Tommy HansonBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Doctors diagnosed Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson with a Grade 1 concussion -- the lowest grade -- after a Monday morning car accident, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com. The concussion will keep Hanson out a few more days.

He will be re-evaluated after resting for 48 hours and if he no longer feels dizzy or shows any other concussion symptoms then, he will be allowed to start working out, but he'll still gradually move toward a full workout. The 25-year-old could be back to full workouts by this weekend or early of next week, according to the team.

"If everything progresses like we think it will, he'll be fine," Gonzalez told reporters (including Bowman). "The thing [trainers] do not want to do is bring him back too early and then he gets dizzy because of the concussion. It's just a natural progression."

Hanson blew a tire and went off the road while driving to the Braves' spring training complex on Monday morning.

As our own Jon Heyman noted on Twitter, the only "mild" concussion is one suffered by someone else. As we've come to see in baseball recently with the likes of Justin Morneau, concussions are nothing to take lightly.

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 8:23 pm
 

Rockies extend Tracy via 'handshake agreement'

By Matt Snyder

The Colorado Rockies have announced via their official Twitter feed that there's a "handshake agreement" in place to keep Jim Tracy as the manager beyond the 2012 season. His current contract is set to expire after this coming season, but with this agreement he won't be a lame duck manager.

"We expect this relationship to continue for a number of years," general manager Dan O'Dowd said in a statement. "We are building a culture of value together in a world of performance."

Tracy, 56, is 230-210 as Rockies' skipper, with a career mark of 792-782. He took over in Colorado when Clint Hurdle was fired after an 18-28 start in 2009. Under Tracy, the Rockies caught fire, going 74-42 the rest of the way, winning the NL wild card for the third time in club history. The 92 total wins were a club record. They stumbled to 83-79 in 2010 and then to 73-89 last season, finishing fourth.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 20, 2012 7:37 pm
 

Rendon, Zimmerman not battling at third base, yet



By Matt Snyder


Much of the attention in Nationals camp this spring will focus on the likes of Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Gio Gonzalez. There will surely be talk of Jayson Werth, Wilson Ramos and Mike Morse for varying reasons as well. But a major storyline that's lying in the weeds and could be an issue as soon as 2013 is Ryan Zimmerman vs. 2011 first-round pick Anthony Rendon at third base.

Rendon, 21, is a third baseman by trade, though he had played second base some in college, too. Speculation from many of the scouting websites (Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, etc.) have him being big-league ready very soon, as early as the start of the 2013 season. And they also say he's best suited for third base, even a plus defender there, while he'd be below average at second or short.

Of course, in Zimmerman, the Nationals have a 27-year-old third baseman who has won a Gold Glove. The issue, however, is that Zimmerman regressed on defense in 2011. Injuries hampered his range (Fangraphs.com's UZR/150 score for Zimmerman was 17.8 in 2010 and -4.4 in 2011) and he had to develop a new throwing motion to try and protect himself from further injury. That new throwing motion caused accuracy issues, too. The Nats Blog made a good case a few weeks ago that Zimmerman could easily be the Nationals' first baseman of the future, with Rendon sliding right in at third.

For now, Zimmerman is saying all the right things.

“I think I want to play third base until someone is better than me at it,” Zimmerman said (Nationals Journal). “I think there’s teams that move people. I’ve said it all along — I want to be here as long as I can. I want to play my whole career here. If that means me playing third base for five more years and then moving somewhere because someone is better than me at third and it’ll help us win, then I’ll do it. If that means me playing third base for 10 years and then going to first base or wherever, then I’ll do it. I don’t care."

Rendon will be getting reps at third base, shortstop and second base in camp, and he gave the requisite due to Zimmerman.

“Oh, yeah, sure, he’s going to be here a long time, I’m pretty sure,” Rendon said (Nationals Journal). “He’s an all-star. He’s a great player. I’m not coming here to take anything away from him. He’s set in stone. I’m not trying to ruin that.”

It's very interesting to think about all the options moving forward, depending upon how things shake out. If Rendon pans out at second, Danny Espinosa could shift to shortstop and take out Ian Desmond. If Rendon needs to be at third and Zimmerman's health issues at third continue, Zimmerman could shift across the diamond. Of course, then the Nationals have nowhere to move Mike Morse when they acquire an upgrade in center field and have Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper at the corners.

This is all just something to think about, with no immediate urgency. Regardless, if Rendon develops into an All-Star-caliber bat -- as many believe he will -- Washington has a very nice problem on its hands.

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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 20, 2012 4:15 pm
 

Manny just the latest A's retread



By C. Trent Rosecrans


The A's adding Manny Ramirez was hardly a surprise -- it had been rumored for a while.

But it should be even less surprising considering the track record of A's general manager Billy Beane. Beane, of course, is probably the most famous general manager since Branch Rickey thanks to Moneyball (the book and the movie), in part because of his eye for a bargain. While the biggest bargains in baseball are usually young players under team control, there's also value in older players that other teams don't want anymore. Beane's had more than his share of those types of players.

In Moneyball (again, both the book and the movie), Beane's addition of a declining David Justice paid dividends as the 36-year-old hit 11 homers in 118 games (not to mention putting up a .376 on-base percentage). Last season Beane picked Hideki Matsui out of the bargain bin along with a Stephen King novel at Barnes and Noble. This season, it's Ramirez, who will get $500,000 contract with the big-league club after serving his 50-game suspension.

Manny RamirezUsually it's former corner outfielders or first basemen who can add a little slugging and some decent on-base skills (two things Ramirez should be able to add), to be used at DH and in the field in a pinch. Sometimes it works, like with Justice, other times it doesn't -- like with Eric Karros in 2004. But it's cheap, so these veterans are as disposable as a cheap razor.

Here's a list of significant players near the end of their career signed by the A's since Beane took over in 1998, followed by the season they played in Oakland, how old they were that season, their slash line, home runs and RBI.

Rickey Henderson 1998, 39, .236/.376/.347, 1, 14 (led the league with 66 stolen bases and 118 walks)
*Kevin Mitchell 1998, 36, .228/.279/.346, 2, 21
*Tony Phillips 1999, 40, .244/.362/.433, 15, 49
Tim Raines 1999, 39, .215/.337/.341, 4, 17
*Mike Stanley 2000, 37, .268/.363/.464, 4, 18
Ron Gant 2001, 36, .259,.344/.420, 2, 13
*David Justice 2002, 36, .266/.376/.410, 11, 49
*Ron Gant 2003, 38, .146/.182/.220, 1, 4
*Eric Karros 2004, 36, .194/.243/.311, 2, 11
*Mike Piazza 2007, 38, .275/.313/.414, 8, 44
Mike Sweeney 2008, 34, .286/.331/.397, 2, 12
Frank Thomas 2008, 40, .263/.364/.387, 5, 19
*Nomar Garciaparra 2009, 35, .281/.314/.388, 3, 16
Jason Giambi 2009, 38, .193/.332/.364, 11, 40
**Hideki Matsui 2011, 37, .251/.321/.375, 12, 72

* retired after their year with the A's
** Matsui is currently an unsigned free agent

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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