Posted on: August 25, 2011 9:55 am
Edited on: August 25, 2011 10:06 am
By Matt Snyder
It's that time of the baseball season. You know, we're nearing September, so in addition to watching the pennant races, it's the time when people start to pretty heavily argue about the MVP of each league. In addition to arguing which players have the best numbers, two fundamental criteria spark discussion as well.
1. Are pitchers eligible? They are. But many believe they shouldn't be (see Evan Brunell's post on this).
2. Are players on teams not in contention eligible? They are. But many believe they shouldn't be.
On No. 2, enter Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays.
He leads the majors in home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He's walked 21 more times than he's struck out. He has a cannon in right field, but can also play third if his team needs it. He's so scary to opposing ballclubs that he leads the AL with 18 intentional walks. And if you like this sort of thing, Bautista is dominating WAR (wins above replacement player), WPA (win probability added) and all other advanced value stats.
Basically, he's the most valuable player in baseball unless you discount him based upon his team.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopolous believes it shouldn't even be close.
“On and off the field you can’t find anybody more complete than him,” Anthopolous said (Slam Sports). “His work ethic, community work, character in the clubhouse, helping out teammates, they’re all first-rate. And his performance on the field has been as good as it gets ... defensively, offensively, changing positions in the middle of the season. I mean, check off all the boxes.”
It's going to be interesting to see how the votes fall, assuming things remain similar through the next five weeks of play. One thing that always makes me cringe is when people say something like "he plays for a losing team" or "how valuable can he be? They could finish fourth without him."
Look at the standings. The Blue Jays are three games over .500 and simply stuck in the wrong division. They'd only be four games out in the AL Central -- actually closer, though, because the schedule in the AL Central is worlds easier than the AL East. The Jays are most certainly not a "losing team."
And if you took Bautista off the Jays, they'd be far worse. It would be a much bigger hit to the team than if, say, the Red Sox lost Jacoby Ellsbury.
Hustle is bush league now? Evidently the Tigers were yelling at Rays' infielder Sean Rodriguez for ... hustling? Tuesday, Tigers starter -- and reportedly "possibly some others" -- took exception with Rodriguez for running hard on an infield pop out. Rays manager Joe Maddon took exception to that. "For anybody to bark at another player for … hustling is absolutely insane, ludicrous,'' Maddon said (TampaBay.com).
Canseco's life: I'd rather forget about Jose Canseco, but many aren't of that mindset -- witness his 400,000-plus Twitter followers. So if you want to read a lengthly feature on Canseco's "surreal" life, click on through to TheStar.com. It's well written and covers tons of material.
LoMo still in the dark: It was a bit odd when Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison was demoted to the minors a few weeks ago. His batting average is a bit low, but his OPS is above average (115 OPS-plus) and he has 18 home runs and 61 RBI. Many believed he was being punished for being such an outspoken person Twitter and in other circles, though it hasn't been explicitly said. But he's back now and not worried about why. "I haven't talked to anybody. I don't really care. I'm just looking to move forward," he said (Sun-Sentinel.com).
'Cry-babies:' The Mets don't win more games because they are "cry-babies," according to former big-leaguer and current Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews. "Tell them Sarge said it - the Mets are crybabies," Matthews said (NYDailyNews.com). "That's why they lose."
Bell has more on mind than possible trades: Padres closer Heath Bell has heard his name in trade talk for quite a while now, but that's not the foremost thing on his mind. Specifically, his Dad has been battled cancer for a few years and just underwent open-heart surgery Wednesday. “It’s kinda helped me get through all the trade and waiver stuff,” said Bell (signonSanDiego.com). “Everybody’s talking about that and I’m thinking, “Man, I’m just glad my dad’s doing well.’ ”
No relief yet: White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy has been pretty good in short doses this season, but he doesn't believe that means he's in need of a switch to the bullpen, as he's still technically recovering from a rare surgical procedure. "I've had people tell me, 'Oh, you look good in short stints, Have you thought about going to the bullpen?'" Peavy said (ChicagoTribune.com). "To me, that's not a thought process of mind, simply because I haven't got to where the doctors told me you're as good as you're going to get. They told me from a year to 18 months, you are where you are."
It's opposite day: Did you ever think you'd hear a player talking about feeling less pressure playing for the Yankees than the A's? Yeah, me neither. But Eric Chavez has extenuating circumstances. He went from being one of the best third basemen in baseball to never being able to stay healthy on a consistent basis, thereby creating pressure for himself when he did get on the field. He was also being paid a pretty penny. Now, as a Yankee, he's feeling fine.
“All of that [pressure] is completely gone,” he said (NJ.com). “It was so refreshing going into spring training. I don’t want to say I had to change myself as a ballplayer, but I am, I’m different now. And I’m okay with that because I don’t have that big contract on my shoulders. There’s tons of hitters in here that will produce and you just have to be part of the team.”
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL Central, AL East, AL West, Athletics, Blue Jays, Brad Penny, Eric Chavez, Gary Matthews, Heath Bell, Jake Peavy, Joe Maddon, Jose Bautista, Jose Canseco, Logan Morrison, Marlins, Matt Snyder, Mets, MVP, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Padres, Pepper, Phillies, Rays, Sean Rodriguez, Tigers, White Sox, Yankees
Posted on: July 28, 2011 2:54 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The Tigers may be in first place in the American League Central, but things still seemed a little tense during Thursday afternoon's game with the Angels when starter Brad Penny and catcher Victor Martinez got into a spat on the mound.
With Peter Bourjos at the plate, Martinez called for a ball out wide of the strike zone and Penny threw the a pitch inside that Bourjos smacked into left for a double, scoring the Angles' second run of the fourth inning. Martinez then went to the mound to talk to the pitcher and Penny appeared to take offense to whatever was said and started to walk away before getting angry.
Martinez started walking away, but with Penny yelling at him, he returned to the mound. The two were face-to-face, although it didn't appear that it was coming close to blows, just a strong disagreement. As Penny continued to yell at Martinez, pitching coach Jeff Jones got between the two.
Penny stayed in the game, getting Jeff Mathis on a sacrifice bunt before allowing another run to score on Erick Aybar's single to right. That's when Jim Leyland came out to get Penny. The Tigers brought in lefty Charlie Furbush to replace Penny, and he gave up an RBI single to Torii Hunter to close the book on Penny, who allowed nine hits and seven runs in 3 1/3 innings. He didn't strike out a batter and allowed a walk and a homer, watching his ERA rise to 4.89 this season. He's 7-7 coming into the game.
It should be noted, the Tigers have been hoping to upgrade their rotation at the trade deadline, and this outburst can't help but intensify those talks.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 3, 2011 4:57 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 5:02 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The Tigers have fired pitching coach Rick Knapp and replaced him with Jeff Jones, the team announced after its victory over San Francisco on Sunday.
Knapp had served as the Tigers' pitching coach since the 2009 season. Jones has been the team's bullpen coach since the 2007 season. Mike Rojas will join the team as bullpen coach.
This is Jones' first job as a big-league pitching coach.
The Tigers entered Sunday's game 12th out of 14 American League teams with a 4.41 ERA, which was helped by Justin Verlander's 2.32 ERA. Beyond Verlander, no other Tigers starter owns an ERA better than Brad Penny's 4.43.
This is the third pitching coach change of the season. Houston fired Brad Arnsberg and Mark Connor resigned in Baltimore because of health reasons.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 15, 2011 4:22 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 4:32 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Central showdown: Detroit took round one of the three-game series between the Tigers and Indians, giving the home team a one-game lead in the division. Tonight, the Indians have their top starter on the mound, but he's been anything but an ace of late, going 0-5 with an 8.49 ERA in his last six starts. Meanwhile, Detroit's Brad Penny is 3-0 in four starts against the AL Central this season, but he hasn't faced Cleveland. Penny has just one win in his last four starts. Indians at Tigers, 7:05 p.m. ET (Follow live here)
Matchup of the night: The first game of today's day-night doubleheader in Philly was a bit of a laugher following the Phillies' six-run third en route to an 8-1 victory, but the nightcap shouldn't be a repeat with the pitching matchup of Roy Halladay vs. Anibal Sanchez. Halladay, well, is one of the game's premier pitchers, coming into the game 9-3 with a 2.39 ERA. Sanchez is having a good season so far, going 6-1 with a 3.06 ERA and for all of Florida's struggles, the Marlins have won eight of his 13 starts. Marlins at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET (Follow live here)
Streaking the other way: The Brewers' losses to the Cubs in the first two games of the teams' four-game series marked Milwaukee's first losses in consecutive games since it's seven-game losing streak from April 30-May 6, a streak of 35 games without back-to-back losses. They'll have to beat Carlos Zambrano, who beat the Brewers on April 8 and is 13-8 with a 3.73 ERA in 32 games against Milwaukee. Chris Narveson (3-4, 4.32 ERA) is on the mound for the Brewers. Brewers at Cubs, 8:05 p.m. ET (Follow live here)For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 10, 2011 5:58 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2011 6:24 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Suzuki has started 1,635 of the 1,651 games of his career, but Suzuki has just five hits this month and is hitting just .252/.306/.294 overall. He's hitting .119/.157/.164 in his last 16 games and is hitless in his last three.
Suzuki has just 66 hits this season, putting his streak of 10 straight seasons (all his seasons) with at least 200 hits in jeopardy.
His replacement at the top of the lineup, Figgins, has been worse than Ichiro, hitting .187/.232/.247 this season -- just the type of presence you want at the top of your lineup. Manager Eric Wedge told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that he hoped the move would not only help Suzuki, but also help Figgins.
Posted on: May 17, 2011 11:00 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
There's a lot of time during a baseball season -- and even more so when there are rain delays. So what do players do during a delay? Apparently they play hockey.
Whoever the goalie is in the video is doing a better job than anyone in the Bruins-Lightning game, that's for sure.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 8, 2011 10:59 am
By Matt Snyder
We've got the usual full slate of games on Sunday and expect to see a lot of pink on Mother's Day. Also, for fun, count the number of times Chris Berman says "Mother's Day" on Baseball Tonight. I would say to make it a drinking game, but I don't want to be the root of alcohol poisoning. Lots of good games today, including the ones in Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles and Texas, but here are your three storylines of the day.
CHAMPS ON THE PROWL: After back-to-back walk-off victories against the Rockies, the Giants are now only two games back in the NL West -- the closest they've been to first place since April 9. The champs have now won four of five games and are back above .500 for the first time since April 22. Meanwhile, the Rockies have now lost three straight games in walk-off fashion and five of six overall. They've been in first place since April 6, but a loss Sunday to the Giants would knock the division lead down to a mere game. Things haven't been that close for the Rocks since April 9. Jorge De La Rosa (4-0, 2.92) toes the slab for the Rockies while Ryan Vogelsong (1-0, 4.40) get the ball for the Giants. Of course, it could always come down the respective bullpens ... again.
BEST PITCHING MATCHUP: ESPN chose the correct game for Sunday Night Baseball. The Phillies enter the game with the best record in the National League while the Braves have been playing good baseball of late, having a six-game winning streak snapped Saturday night. They'll look to start another winning streak with Jair Jurrjens (3-0, 1.52) taking the hill. Jurrjens has had great success in Citizen's Bank Park. In five career starts there, he sports a 1.87 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. His counterpart Sunday night is no slouch, either, as Cole Hamels (4-1, 2.66) will go for the Phillies. If you throw out Hamels' first disastrous outing, he's 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA. He's already handled the Braves with ease this season, working seven shutout innings, allowing five baserunners and striking out eight hitters in getting the win on April 10.
NO NO-NO: We can safely say there isn't going to be another no-hitter in Toronto, and not simply from an odds perspective. Brad Penny (2-3, 5.23), the Tigers' follow-up act to Justin Verlander's no-hitter, has allowed 40 hits in 41 1/3 innings this season. He has had some good outings, but only three quality starts in seven tries. Jo-Jo Reyes (0-2, 4.66) gets the assignment for the Blue Jays, and he's coughed up 37 hits in 29 innings.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 29, 2011 10:49 am
Edited on: April 29, 2011 11:14 am
By Evan Brunell
RADAR GUN SHENANIGANS: As pitch F/X takes hold across all of baseball, it's meant the decline of radar-gun manipulation, which used to be an asset to teams.
While radar guns still vary from stadium to stadium (the Angels and Rangers reportedly run a bit slow), it's become difficult for teams to jigger radar-gun readings on the scoreboard to their advantage.
Current Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers recalled situations in San Diego when the team would purposely reduce the velocity of Brad Penny's fastballs, causing the hurler to get upset that he wasn't throwing as hard as he thought. That made Penny -- with the Dodgers at the time -- start throwing harder, which in turn made his fastball elevate for the hitter's liking.
The pitch F/X system is automatic and feeds directly to the scoreboard, so the lack of a middleman cuts out shenanigans that could otherwise take place. However, some stadiums may still manipulate readings despite annual reminders from the league not to do so.
Radar-gun readings became an issue last week when Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman was registered as throwing 93-94 mph with his fastball. That led to much concern, with many wondering if Chapman was injured. He's back to 100-plus these days, so everything is fine, but one can't help but wonder if San Diego was gaming the system, given their current reputation as a stadium where radar-gun readings are low despite having switched over to the pitch F/X system. (Arizona Republic)
WHAT IT MEANS TO LEAD OFF: A leadoff man is responsible for getting on base. Period. Stolen bases can be a nice luxury, but too many teams act as if the flip's true. (New York Times)
THE STATE OF ELLSBURY: Jacoby Ellsbury is currently in the midst of a hot streak which has seen his return to the leadoff spot in the lineup. But it's still unclear what Ellsbury really is as a hitter. To stay as leadoff man, Ellsbury needs to get on base. (Boston Globe)
BACK TO O'MALLEY? Former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley could be back to the rescue, as he may be gearing up for an eventual run at taking the team back. A Dodgers executive revealed that O'Malley has lined up two "big time" investors if -- or when -- Frank McCourt sells the club. (KLAC 570 AM)
SLOW GOING: Chris Snyder now has the ignominious lable of slowest runner in the game now that Bengie Molina has retired (brother Jose and Yadier are, somehow, faster). In fact, Snyder has never stolen a base in a game and should end up in second place by the end of the season behind Russ Nixon, a catcher in the 60s, for most plate appearances without a steal. (Wall Street Journal)
LAWN CARE: Former major leaguer and current minor-league manager Delino DeShields knows what its like to have a heralded prospect with his son, Delino Jr., in the Astros system. Funny thing, though -- his former landscaper does, too. Cecil Newton saw his son, Cam, go No. 1 overall in the NFL draft Thursday night. (Dayton Daily News)
HOME RUN! Only in this day and age can you read a story written by a fan -- also a ball-catcher who has over 4,000 baseballs caught -- on how he caught someone's first major-league home run and what it was like to meet the player. That's what happened here, and it's a nice behind-the-scenes telling of what happens when you catch such an important ball. Of course, it helps when the batter, Mike Nickeas, is "genuinely awesome." (MLBlogs.com)For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL Central, AL Central, AL East, AL East, Alcides Escobar, Aroldis Chapman, Brad Penny, Chris Snyder, Delino DeShields, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Freddy Garcia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Max Scherzer, Mets, Mike Nickeas, MLB Rumors, NL Central, NL Central, NL West, Padres, Pirates, Red Sox, Reds, Royals, Tigers, Yankees