Tag:Chone Figgins
Posted on: June 24, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: June 24, 2011 4:41 pm

Pepper: Oswalt hints he may be done

By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: Just why did Jim Riggleman ditch his job? CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to discuss Riggleman, Ubaldo Jimenez and more. Check it out.

OSWALT END?: It's not just that Roy Oswalt is hurt -- leaving Thursday's start with the Cardinals after just two innings -- but that he may have pitched his last game ever.

Oswalt will not only likely miss his next start, he could also be done. He's already hinted at retirement and with a back injury, it may not be worth it for Oswalt to come back.

After Thursday's outing, Oswalt sounded anything but confident in his return. David Hale of the News Journal has a full transcript of Oswalt's postgame comments, and they don't sound like the comments of someone who is confident it'll be an easy road back.

Heres' the question and answer that says it all to me:

Q: Do you allow yourself to think about your career at this point?

A: I've had a pretty good one.

That sounds like someone who is content with walking away if he gets bad news soon.

We may know more Monday after his scheduled MRI.

HOT SEAT: Edwin Rodriguez didn't last a full calendar year as the Marlins manager and the Cubs' Mike Quade could follow that lead. Quade's on the hot seat (even if general manager Jim Hendry's seat should be hotter). [Chicago Tribune]

LI'L' GOOSE: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle compared closer Joel Hanrahan to Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, and after stifling a laugh, John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times takes a look at the comparison and sees some parallels.

SCOUTING DARVISH: Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was scheduled to see Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish's start on Friday. Darvish may be the top free-agent pitcher this season if he comes to the United States, as expected. The Braves and Twins reportedly had scouts at his last start, when he picked up just his second loss of the season. It was one of his worst starts of the season and he still gave up just one earned run, allowing nine hits and striking out 10 in eight innings. [YakyuBaka.com]

A'S OPEN TO DEAL: The sharks are circling in Oakland, as scouts have been checking out outfielder Josh Willingham, infielder Mark Ellis and left-handed relievers Craig Breslow and Brian Fuentes. [San Francisco Chronicle]

ANOTHER LOOK: Diamondbacks pitcher Josh Collmenter, he of the tomahawk motion, looks forward to facing teams another time so he can prove he's more than a gimmick pitcher. We'll see. [MLB.com]

NICE RIDE: The Toledo Mud Hens players are going to miss Brandon Inge, who was activated by the Tigers on Thursday. During his rehab trip with Detroit's Triple-A team, Inge sprung for a limo for several players to take them from Louisville, Ky., to Columbus, Ohio, skipping the planned bus ride. [Detroit News]

DEJA VU: A St. Louis ace 1-7 through June? (Well, now 2-7 after Thursday night's 2-7) It's been done before. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Dispatch  compares Chris Carpenter's 1-7 start to that of John Tudor's 26 years ago. 

CABRERA'S CASE POSTPONED: The hearing for Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera's DUI arrest has been postponed again and rescheduled for July 12. That's the day of the All-Star Game. Cabrera, however, isn't required to be present for this hearing, though, so he can still go to the All-Star Game. [Detroit News]

NO DECISION: Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said he'd prefer not to negotiate during the season (and that doesn't make Jim Riggleman happy), but said it's not a rule. Pittsburgh starter Paul Maholm has said he'd like to sign an extension to stay in Pittsburgh. [MLB.com]

GARDNER'S D: A cool story here from ESPNNewYork.com's Mark Simon looking at the defense of Brett Gardner by talking to scouts, players and stats folks. 

BUCCO FEVER: If you haven't noticed, the Pirates (yes, the team in Pittsburgh) are in a pennant race. Sure, it's not even July yet, but we're talking the Pirates. The folks in Pittsburgh are beginning to take notice. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

LAWRIE DELAYED: Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie was all but set to be called up at the beginning of the month, but before he could get the call, he was hit by a pitch and broke his left hand. Now he's having trouble gripping the bat and may not be ready until August. [CBCSports.ca]

FIGGINS DILEMMA: If you're following the Mariners, there's plenty of positives around the team -- including a record just a game under .500. But there's one big concern, Chone Figgins. The question for the Mariners is what to do with Figgins, who has two years and $17 million left on his contract. [Seattle Times]

BROXTON'S RETURN: Even when Jonathan Broxton comes off the disabled list, he won't automatically return to closing for the Dodgers, manager Don Mattingly said. [Los Angeles Times]

RETURN OF THE SPITTER: Here's an interesting theory (that I'm pretty sure I don't buy, but still interesting to think about) from Mat Kovach of the Hardball Times -- is the rise of pitching because of the return of the spitball?

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: June 11, 2011 1:26 am

3 Up, 3 Down: Sizemore helps stop A's skid

Scott Sizemore

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Scott Sizemore, Athletics -- Sizemore's two-out, three-run double in the ninth gave the A's a 7-5 victory over the White Sox on Friday. With the hit, the A's snapped their 10-game losing streak and gave Bob Melvin his first victory at the helm in Oakland. Sizemore was 3 for 4 on the night and is 5 for 9 since joining the A's.

Dillon Gee, Mets -- Gee became the first rookie to start a season 7-0 since Jered Weaver won nine in a row in 2006. It's the fourth-best streak to start a season in Mets history. Gee gave up a run in the first, but nothing else as he went eight innings in the 8-1 Mets victory. Gee allowed eight hits, all singles, while striking out five and walking none.

Ichiro's replacements --  Carlos Peguero started in right field for the slumping Ichiro Suzuki, while Chone Figgins was leading off instead of Suzuki. Both notched a pair of hits, with Peguero hitting a homer and a triple, scoring twice. Figgins, who entered the game hitting .187, recorded a single and a double in the Mariners' 3-2 victory over the Tigers.

Charlie Morton, Pirates -- Morton looked more like the 2010 Charlie Morton than the 2011 version on Friday, allowing seven runs -- six earned -- and nine hits in just four-plus innings. His ERA rose more than a half-run, from 2.52 to 3.08, dropping the Pirates to two games under .500 on the season. 

Carlos Zambrano, Cubs -- Carlos Marmol didn't have a chance to blow a lead as Zambrano put the Cubs in a seven-run hole in Philadelphia, exiting following Placido Polanco's seventh-inning grand slam. Zambrano, of course, criticized his teammates and closer following a blown save in St. Louis on Sunday.

Kyle Lohse, Cardinals -- Lohse gave up four runs on five hits in five innings in the Cardinals' 8-0 loss to the Brewers. He hasn't won at Miller Park since June 26, 2005, when he was a member of the Minnesota Twins and hasn't beaten the Brewers since July 25, 2007, as a member of the Reds.

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

Mariners sit slumping Suzuki

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Ichiro SuzukiFor the first time since Aug. 31, 2009, Ichiro Suzuki is not in the Mariners' starting lineup.

Chone Figgins will lead off for the Mariners, hitting third, while Carlos Peguero takes over in right field against the Tigers and Brad Penny.

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.

While Suzuki is aging, it's tough to imagine him falling off a cliff that quickly. Perhaps it's a slump and bad luck combining to hurt his production. Still, he is 37, so age may be catching up to him.

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.

"He had his greatest success in the leadoff spot," Wedge told Baker before the game. "It's a great opportunity to throw him back up there and maybe get him kickstarted. I've seen it happen before. So, that was the thought process there."

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: June 10, 2011 9:35 am
Edited on: June 10, 2011 2:57 pm

Pepper: Bautista's 'slump'

By Matt Snyder

BASEBALL TODAY: What does the managerial change in Oakland mean? What can you expect from Carlos Zambrano tonight? Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to discuss those topics and even the NBA Finals on Baseball Today. Click on the video above to check it out.

WORRY ABOUT BAUTISTA? Talk about something I didn't expect to read. Jose Bautista's in a slump. He hasn't hit a home run in -- gasp! -- 11 games. He's 12 for his last 38 (.316). I guess that counts as a slump, considering what he was doing to the baseball before the homer drought.

"I didn't expect to continue to be doing what I was doing the whole season. That would have been pretty hard. I'm working on getting back to where I was." (Sportsnet.ca)

He was amazing and is still compiling an amazing season. He still leads the majors in runs, home runs, walks, average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS. He's still on pace for 51 home runs. I think I'd need a stretch worse than 12 for 38 before I started to worry.

HITTING STREAK ALERT: I guess it's about time to start paying attention, because Hunter Pence of the Astros has a 20-game hitting streak.

EXTRA EXTRAS: Having to stay up and make sure every game is over before going to bed, I thought maybe it only seemed like a ton of extra-inning games this season and I just never noticed before. I was wrong. There have now been 111 extra-inning games so far this season, which is the most ever at this point in the season. At this pace, the 2011 season will shatter the record. (Bob Nightengale via Twitter) I guess it's another sign of league-wide parity, but I feel like the low-scoring games helps, too.

BAY'S DAYS OFF: Mets outfielder Jason Bay is getting two days off to work on his swing. (MLB.com) It's hard to blame manager Terry Collins, because the Mets should be trying just about anything at this point. Bay hasn't had a hit in 23 at-bats. He's hitting .207 with a dreadful .279 slugging percentage in 164 plate appearances.

"It's a very difficult thing to do," Collins said. "He's proud. He's a pro. He's a star player. And when you're struggling, it's difficult."

Bay is in the second year of a four-year, $66 million contract, so he's not tradeable and the Mets are stuck with him for two seasons after this one. That's why they'll continue to try anything to get him going. In 2009, before the Mets signed him, Bay hit 36 home runs and had 119 RBI for the Red Sox.

In a possibly related tidbit, Adam Dunn sat out two games this week for the White Sox and then homered in his return to the lineup Thursday night.

MAGIC OPERATION: Joba Chamberlain's Dad believes that Tommy John surgery will restore Joba to dominance. “Pitching as well as he has with the ailment, I can only, from a positive perspective, look at it being repaired — and you’re talking about ’07 again,” Harlan Chamberlain said (NYTimes.com). I guess if Joba's been hurt the whole time since then and mishandled along the way -- with the switching between starting and relieving -- it's possible. He wasn't all bad this season before the injury (2.83 ERA, 1.05 WHIP). But that '07 season, man, was he lights out. He threw 24 innings and allowed just 12 hits and one earned run against 34 strikeouts.

MAYBIN BACK MONDAY: Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin is on the disabled list with an inflamed knee, but will go on a rehab assignment this weekend with Triple-A Tuscon. If everything goes well, he'll be back in the Padres' lineup at Colorado Monday. (Follow The Padres)

LOPEZ TO FISH: Talk about a fall from grace. Former All-Star Jose Lopez has been signed to join the New Orleans Zephyrs in Triple-A (Zephyrs Twitter) -- the Marlins' affiliate -- at age 27. He was recently cut by the Rockies after hitting .208 with two home runs and a .233 on-base percentage in 129 plate appearances. Feels like a low-risk signing in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle. In a best-case scenario, Lopez starts hitting like it's 2009, and provides an offensive upgrade at second (and maybe even third, if Greg Dobbs starts hitting like he did in '09-'10). At least until prospect Matt Dominguez is ready.

RENTERIA'S RING: Edgar Renteria finally got his World Series ring Thursday evening, as he returned to AT&T Park as a member of the visiting Reds. He was reportedly emotional and said his Game 5 home run "is still with [him] every day." I'm guessing it's with Giants fans, too, and will be forever. (Extra Baggs)

ROUGH DEBUT: Dodgers prospect Jerry Sands was demoted to Triple-A last night after his first stint in the majors. It didn't go very well, as Sands hit .200 with two home runs, 17 RBI, 10 doubles and a .622 OPS. The good news is he's still only 23. There's plenty of time to get things figured out in the minors, regain confidence and come back to hit the ball well. His promotion may have been a bit quick, as he'd only logged 10 Triple-A games.

WHITHER FIGGY: Chone Figgins has completely fallen apart since joining the Mariners as a free agent after the 2009 season. Fangraphs takes a look at some similar declines in recent years.

RECKLESS TWEETING: The Nationals selected Zach Houchins in the 15th round of the draft this past week. Apparently they either didn't get a look at his Twitter account -- which has since been deleted -- or don't mind some of the bigoted remarks he made. For Love of the Nationals has a few screen grabs. I will never, ever understand how people can be so stupid with Twitter and Facebook. You've got to think things through before sending something that virtually anyone can see.

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Posted on: May 28, 2011 10:19 pm

Seattle bar prices beers on Figgins' average

By Matt Snyder

Chone Figgins' minuscule batting average is probably a sore spot for most Mariners fans, but not those who regularly attend Norm's Eatery and Ale House every Monday night. That's because Mondays are "Gettin' Figgy With It" night in the watering hole, and pints of Widmer beer are priced based upon Figgins' average. (q13fox.com)

That means, where things stood heading into Saturday night, Figgins' .202 mark would mean the price for a 16 oz. Widmer draft would be $2.02.

Sure, it's kind of funny, but isn't that bad for business? Wouldn't it be better to pick, er, wait. The Mariners are hitting .232 as a team and Ichiro Suzuki's .285 was tops on the team heading into Saturday night's tilt with the Yankees. I guess it would be a great deal no matter who Norm's chose.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 25, 2011 10:23 am
Edited on: May 25, 2011 10:52 am

Pepper: Mets on verge of accepting ownership bid

By Evan Brunell

SO THE TIME HAS COME FOR A NEW OWNER: OK, so technically a new Mets minority owner, but the move could have lasting implications.

Sources say that former commodities trader Ray Bartoszek and investor Anthony Lanza have been chosen as the preferred bidders for the available stake in the Mets' franchise. The new owners will have a say in the team's finances and path forward, as incumbent owner Fred Wilpon has promised. And if Wilpon is forced to sell the team -- a distinct possibility -- it's likely that Bartoszek and Lanza will emerge as the new owners.

It's unclear how much stake the new owners will receive, but the cost is expected to be around $200 million for up to a 49 percent stake and a deal is extremely close. First, though, negotiations on whether the minority group can purchase a small stake in SportsNet New York has to be ironed out, but could be the necessary final piece for the deal as 49 percent may not be justifiable enough for $200 million given the Mets' debt problems.

Bartoszek previously headed up oil trading for the world's biggest commodity trader, Glencore International, while Lanza is an owner of Carriage House Partners, a private equity firm. (New York Post)

: Unsurprisingly, Carlos Beltran disagrees with Fred Wilpon's comments that he's 65-to-70 percent. "I'm 100 percent," Beltran said. And he's playing like it. (Newsday)

: Chone Figgins has been a shell of his former self since arriving in Seattle, but skipper Eric Wedge thinks things are getting better. "I feel like he's been a little bit more aggressive,'' Wedge said. "I feel like he's starting to make better contact. More firm." It's still way too early to think about Figgins finally delivering on his contract, but any step forward is positive. (Seattle Times)

: CC Sabathia hurled a complete game victory Tuesday, coming away with the win. It was his first complete game win since May 8, 2009... and also the first Yankees complete-game winner since. That's the longest streak in AL history for a stretch in-between complete-game wins at 341 games. (New York Daily News)

: Until Andrew Bailey returns, Grant Balfour will be the new closer in Oakland, replacing Brian Fuentes after the flap Fuentes created with his comments Tuesday. Too bad no one let Balfour know. (MLB.com)

ODDITY: Here's something interesting: Curtis Granderson has smacked 16 home runs and four triples, an impressive feat so far. But it's been all or nothing, as his four doubles pop out, a rare occurrence. After all, if you hit for power, you'll have your fair share of doubles. Granderson's doubles account for just one-sixth of his extra base hits, and only two other players in history have more extra-base hits than him with a similar 1/6 ratio of doubles: Mark McGwire in 2001 and Wes Covington in 1957. (Baseball Reference)

ONE MORE: Orioles starter Brian Matusz agrees that he needs one more rehab start, so will pitch for Triple-A on Friday. But after that, he's expected to push to return to the staff for a June 1 start, which will mark his season debut. (MASN Sports)

NEW DODGER: Top prospect Rubby De La Rosa received the call to the majors, surprising the Double-A starting pitcher, who will pitch in relief. While the Dodgers contend his future is in the rotation, de la Rosa was needed to shore up a bullpen besieged by injuries and ineffectiveness. De la Rosa has the talent to emerge as closer in L.A., and the team is still in the postseason hunt, so the promotion does make some sense. (Los Angeles Times)

YER OUTTA HERE! Ned Yost isn't going to get tossed from a game anytime soon -- unless he feels one of his players are being disrespected --  but that will change in coming years. "This is the time, with a young club, that you set the tone," Yost said. "I don't want these guys complaining and moaning. An umpire's call is an umpire's call and it doesn't get changed. It's doesn't do anybody any good to whine or cry about it. So, if I'm yelling, moaning and screaming on every call, naturally they're going to follow my lead. So it's important to me, right now, to accept the umpire's calls. ... But disrespect a player one time and I'm gone." Also in the link: Stories about how the Royals are trying to help those affected by the devastating Joplin, Mo. tornado. (MLB.com)

BRING IT IN: Is it time for the Padres to bring in the fences at Petco Park? Petco has become the anti-Coors Field, and even Coors is no longer an offensive haven thanks to the effects of the humidor. There appears to be a growing groundswell to fix Petco, and it would be as simple as moving the fences in. No one advocates making Petco a hitter's park, but moving the fences in would only even the playing field just a bit -- and that's all one needs. (Rob Neyer)

FIRST WIN: Alfredo Simon nailed his first win of the season thanks to an Adam Jones walk-off home run. A relieved Simon was thrilled after the game as it was his first win since last season. He has been dealing with a murder charge in his native country since the winter and still isn't out of the woods yet. (MASN Sports)

NEW GRIP: Dustin Moseley has been a nice piece of the Padres so far this year, but the righty can't sit on his laurels when there's more to be done. He tweaked his changeup, which earned positive results after Monday's game. (MLB.com)

PATROLLING THE OUTFIELD: Josh Hamilton believes he could start playing the outfield immediately but will be held back until this weekend, where he is expected to return to left field. Once he has several games under his belt, it's possible he could start seeing some time in center. (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

BACK TO ACTION: Johan Santana finally stepped back on a mound for the first time since last season and threw 25 pitches. Santana is progressing nicely in his return from surgery and could rejoin the Mets in July. If he pitches strong down the stretch, he could be dealt after the year. (ESPN New York)

A NEW LOU: Lou is back in Chicago, and we're talking Montanez. The former Cubs first-round pick 11 years ago took a detour in Baltimore for four years, but wound up back with the Cubs this season in Triple-A. He finally reached the majors with his original club when tapped yesterday to replace Marlon Byrd on the roster. Montanez made the most of it, notching a RBI double in his first Cubs at-bat. (Chicago Sun-Times)

ON HIS WAY BACK: John Lackey pitched in a bullpen session Tuesday and came through with flying colors, setting him up for a rehab game on May 31 and a return to the Red Sox for June 5's start against the Athletics. (Boston Globe)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: February 25, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 5:07 pm

Imagining an MLB Combine

Michael Bourn

While our Eye on Football brethren are in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine not getting to watch guys run and jump, it got me to thinking how much fun an MLB Combine might be.

Among the drills the NFL draft hopefuls do that would be applicable to baseball are the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical leap and the Wonderlic Test. So who would be the best baseball players to participate? That's where the fun begins.

40-yard dash: Maybe for baseball, it'd be more fun to line the guys up and have them go 90 feet.

Favorite: Michael Bourn, Astros. A Sports Illustrated poll of players during spring training had Crawford picked as the fastest player in the majors, but the less-heralded Bourn finished second. Bourn has won two straight Gold Gloves in center, and much of it is because he can seemingly cover the entire outfield. In a division blessed with fast center fielders (Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen and Cincinnati's Drew Stubbs), Bourn covers more ground than anyone. Oh, and he's led the National League in stolen bases each of the last two seasons.

Others: Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson, Luis Durango, Juan Pierre, Jose Reyes, Andrew McCutchen, Chone Figgins, Ichiro Suzuki, Emilio Bonifacio, Carlos Gomez, Carl Crawford

Adam DunnBench press: At the combine, players bench press 225 pounds as many times as possible, testing not only strength, but endurance. For baseball, maybe the best test would be a home-run derby-like format, but adding the distances of balls hit.

Favorite: Adam Dunn, White Sox. According to HitTrackerOnline.com, Jose Bautista had more "no-doubt" home runs than Dunn (19 to 16), but Dunn's homers averaged nearly 10 feet more, with an average "true distance" of 411.1 feet. Mark Reynolds' 32 homers averaged 415.6 feet, so he's certainly in the discussion. Dunn's been consistently hitting long home runs, so he gets the nod.

Others: Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols, Mark Reynolds, Wily Mo Pena, Mike Stanton, Travis Hafner, Russell Branyan, Jose Bautista

Dexter FowlerVertical leap: While it's not something that you associate with baseball, it's a good test of athleticism, but is also practical at the wall as players just to rob home runs.

Favorite: Dexter Fowler, Rockies. At 6-foot-5, Fowler was recruited as a basketball player in high school, but he showed his leaping ability in an unusual place in the 2009 NLDS. In the eighth inning of Game 4, Fowler was on first when Todd Helton hit a grounder to Chase Utley. Fowler was running toward Utley and hurdled him. Utley then threw errantly to Jimmy Rollins and Fowler was safe. (You can see the play here.)

Others: Carl Crawford, Torii Hunter, Shane Victorino, Mike Cameron, Hunter Pence

Craig BreslowWonderlic test: A 12-minute, 50-question test used for testing applicants for learning and problem-solving. Harvard's Pat McInally is the only confirmed 50 score at the combine, while another Harvard alum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, scored either a 48 or 49 in nine minutes. So, it makes sense to look to the Ivy League for our baseball picks.

Favorite: Craig Breslow, Athletics. Breslow graduated from Yale with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. Seriously. The Sporting News called him the smartest player in sports, while the Wall Street Journal suggested he may be the smartest man in the world. Not only that, batters hit just .194/.272/.348 against him last season, with lefties hitting .181/.245/.340 against him.

Others: Ross Ohlendorf, Chris Young, Fernando Perez, Mark DeRosa

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 
Posted on: February 24, 2011 11:34 am
Edited on: February 24, 2011 3:49 pm

Honorary All-Grudzielanek team

Mark Grudzielanek played in 1,802 games over the course of 15 major-league seasons. He appeared in uniform for six different teams, making the NLCS twice -- once with the Cubs and once with the Cardinals. He hit .289 with over 2,000 hits and 946 runs scored. He earned one Gold Glove and made the All-Star team once. He was a good guy who always played hard and was generally liked by teammates. Basically, Grudzielanek had a quality major-league career, but won't be showing up on any all-time lists.

That is, unless you are looking squarely at that stupendous last name.

So, in light of his retirement announcement Wednesday, it only seems fitting to put together an All-Star team of the best names in baseball. We're looking for who will carry the torch on with Grudz's departure, so it's current players only. No real criteria, other than that the name just has to sound interesting or be really hard to spell -- or both. This is completely subjective, so there's definite room for argument.

Without further ado, here is the 25-man roster (we also listed all names we considered).

CATCHER: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox. And here's the team captain. There's no better name in baseball. Backup: J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays. Also considered: Francisco Cervelli, Yankees; Taylor Teagarden, Rangers.

FIRST BASE: Pablo Sandoval, Giants. Bonus points for having an awesome nickname. Backup: Kila Ka'aihue, Royals. Also considered: Justin Smoak, Mariners

SECOND BASE: Chone Figgins, Mariners. Real slim pickings here. Nearly every name for a second basemen is bland or common. We'll go with Figgins because "Chone" is pronounced "Sean" or "Shaun" or "Shawn." Also considered: Robinson Cano, Yankees; Dan Uggla, Braves.

THIRD BASE: Kevin Kouzmanoff, A's. Also considered: Placido Polanco, Phillies.

Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies. Alliteration gets him the nod here. Backup: Yuniesky Betancourt. Also considered: Marco Scutaro, Red Sox; Ryan Theriot, Cardinals.

LEFT FIELD: Scott Podsednik, Blue Jays. Also considered: Chris Coghlan, Marlins; Chris Denorfia, Padres; Ryan Langerhans, Mariners.

CENTER FIELD: Coco Crisp, A's. Another no-brainer. Second easiest pick on here after Saltalamacchia. Backup: Colby Rasmus, Cardinals. Also considered: Nyjer Morgan, Nationals; Rajai Davis, Blue Jays; Cameron Maybin, Padres; Denard Span, Twins; Ryan Spilborghs, Rockies.

RIGHT FIELD: Brennan Boesch, Tigers. Tough call here, but I'm a sucker for the alliteration. Plus, that's just a smooth combo. Props to his parents. Also considered: Jeff Francoeur, Royals; Nate Schierholtz, Giants; Nick Markakis, Orioles.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Milton Bradley, Mariners. Personal feelings aside, this was another obvious one.

STARTING ROTATION: CC Sabathia, Yankees; Max Scherzer, Tigers; Brian Matusz, Orioles; Marc Rzepczynski, Blue Jays; Justin Duchscherer, Orioles. CC gets the nod due to his first name being Carsten. Oh, and for losing the periods to his initials. The other four are pretty obvious with those last names. Grudz is surely proud. Also considered: Bronson Arroyo, Reds; Tim Lincecum, Giants; Madison Bumgarner, Giants; Gio Gonzalez, A's; Tom Gorzelanny, Nationals.

BULLPEN: Octavio Dotel, Blue Jays; Jeff Samardzija, Cubs; Fu-Te Ni, Tigers; Boof Bonser, Mets; Burke Badenhop, Marlins. All pretty obvious great names here, and I especially love "The Hopper," as the Marlins' announcers call Badenhop. Also considered: Brian Duensing, Twins; Joba Chamberlain, Yankees; Jeremy Affeldt, Giants; Jason Isringhausen, Mets.

SETUP: David Aardsma, Mariners. Based mostly on the fact that if you listed every major league player of all-time alphabetically, only Aardsma would come before the great Hank Aaron.

CLOSER: J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks. C'mon. He uses a double initial and his last name looks like an insult (though it's actually pronounced "puts," not "putts," for those in the dark).

MANAGER: Mike Scioscia, Angels. Maybe it's all mental at this point, but spelling that thing correctly still trips me up. Give me Grudzielanek any day. Also considered: Mike Quade, Cubs; Ned Yost, Royals; Manny Acta, Indians.

-- Matt Snyder

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

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