Tag:Evan Brunell
Posted on: November 15, 2011 11:38 am
 

Ryan Howard progressing from Achilles injury

HowardBy Evan Brunell

The Phillies may have signed Jim Thome, but they are still very much counting on Ryan Howard to provide Philadelphia with home-run production.

The team got good news in that area as Howard has been making progress in his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in the final at-bat of the NLDS.

"The last time I talked to him was probably about 10 days ago," manager Charlie Manuel told the Philadelphia News. "He's going to see the doctor again next week. Right now, he's doing really well. The big test for him will be probably be after about two or three months. That's when he really starts to move around and do things."

The hope is that Howard could be ready for Opening Day, although that's a long shot. A best-case scenario will have Howard returning fairly early on in the season. Any setback could leave Philadelphia trying to fill the position of first base through the All-Star Game or perhaps beyond.

Two other Phillies are recovering from injuries -- right fielder Hunter Pence and third baseman Placido Polanco, who both had surgery to repair sports hernias.

"Polly (Polanco) should be ready for spring training," Manuel said. "He said he'll definitely be ready to go."

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 15, 2011 11:13 am
Edited on: November 15, 2011 12:33 pm
 

Report: Marlins make $90 million offer to Reyes

Reyes
By Evan Brunell

The Brewers need a shortstop, but it's unlikely to be Jose Reyes, who has a lucrative offer in hand from the Marlins.

"One call," Brewers GM Doug Melvin told MLB.com. "No numbers."

Reyes is one of the hottest names on the market and has already received a six-year, $90 million offer from the Marlins, Fox Sports reports. That's not likely to be good enough for Reyes to sign, as the shortstop is seeking a contract north of $100 million. However, Miami's offer is not all that far away from Reyes' magic number, so it's easy to envision the Marlins upping the price and getting Reyes, who is intrigued by the opportunity to play in Miami and under skipper Ozzie Guillen. The appeal of Miami has to do with the city, plus the ability to play in good weather which could help Reyes avoid hamstring problems that have plagued him so far in his career.

The Brewers also need a shortstop, but it's hard to imagine Milwaukee ponying up the money to sign Reyes. In a discussion about first baseman Prince Fielder a couple days ago, Melvin indicated it was extremely unlikely Fielder would return to the Brewers because of payroll constraints. The same constraints will keep Reyes out of Milwaukee.

But Melvin is still on the prowl for a new shortstop, having lunch with Rafael Furcal's agent on Monday and reaching out to Yuniesky Betancourt's agent, MLB.com writes. While Betancourt is an awful shortstop and it was a no-brainer for Milwaukee to decline its $6 million option on Betancourt after the season, at some point, beggars can't be choosers. If Melvin can't entice Furcal or another shortstop (how about Clint Barmes?) to town, Betancourt may represent Melvin's best choice.

"I would think anybody who needs a shortstop and who is a contender has to look at [Furcal]," agent Paul Kinser told MLB.com. "Like I said, he brings the intangibles. The other guys haven't won the championships. ... He might miss a few games during the year, but when he's on the field, he's a difference-maker."

Melvin, for his part, admitted the Brewers won't be part of any free agency moves early on.

"We probably are going to be late in signing players," Melvin said. "I don't know if there's bargains at the start. ... Tell me an early signing that's a good deal."

While an early signing of Reyes by Miami will force the Marlins to give up a pretty penny, it would certainly change the complexion of the team and give the club an offensive dynamo that could be the missing piece for the offense. But would incumbent shortstop Hanley Ramirez move? The Miami Herald's Clark Spencer writes that Ramirez is not pleased about the possibility of changing positions -- and that Reyes and Ramirez aren't as friendly as reports make out.

That could potentially open the door for a Ramirez trade if Reyes is signed. The Marlins' payroll can only hold roughly one big-ticket signing in order to have money to flesh the rest of the team out. But a Ramirez trade could not only help supplement the big-league team, but would free up enough money for the club to chase down its other free agent targets, thought to be Albert Pujols, Ryan Madson and Mark Buehrle.

Those wondering if Reyes could end up back with the Mets? GM Sandy Alderson said his team wasn't out of the race to resign the shortstop.

Check out CBSSports.com's free agency tracker.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 14, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 4:01 pm
 

Why did Trumbo finish No. 2 in AL Rookie voting?

Trumbo

By Evan Brunell


One of the bigger surprises that the Rookie of the Year balloting revealed on Monday was just how much support Mark Trumbo had.

The Angels first baseman received five first-place votes, most among nominees who did not win the award. The victor, Jeremy Hellickson, snagged 17 first-place votes to run away with the award, but Trumbo was comfortably in second place as he was named on 11 ballots as the second-place finisher. All this despite posting a .291 OBP in 2011. And Michael Pineda wasn't more deserving?

The most basic rule of offense in the game e can be summed up in one statistic: on-base percentage. The last thing a player wants to do is make an out, because there are only 27 of them to give away. OBP is the best way to figure out who did and didn't give an out away, as it's simply the sum of batting average, walks and hit by pitches, divided by the same categories plus sacrifice flies.  That means Trumbo got on base just 29.1 percent of the time. The entire league posted a .321 OBP, which is a pretty wide gap. There's no question that Trumbo failed colossally at not creating outs. He was so bad that 40 other players bested Trumbo's OBP... simply by hitting for a higher average.

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So why the Trumbo love?

Simple -- while the name of the game is to not create outs, another pretty important part is scoring runs. Trumbo's 29 homers led all rookies and tied for 25th most in baseball. Given only two players (Jose Bautista, Curtis Granderson) cracked the 40-homer barrier, Trumbo is in some elite company.

In the new era of the pitcher, the ability to crush a ball deep may appear to have heightened value. While that may be the case, the fact still remains that Trumbo simply didn't get on base enough to justify his deal. And while writers may have been drooling over his power, new Angels GM Jerry Dipoto is trying to improve Trumbo's appeal to put him in the lineup with such a low OBP. Trumbo is going to attempt to learn third base to improve his versatility and give manager Mike Scioscia a way to feed the 25-year-old in the lineup, especially given third base has been an organizational issue for years.

Trumbo's playing time next year looks to be completely blocked unless he takes to first base. Kendrys Morales is expected to be fully healthy after breaking his leg in a home-plate celebration in May of 2009. Meanwhile, Bobby Abreu has a lock on the DH job, although he could eventually lose playing time to Trumbo as the season progresses. But the mere fact that the No. 2 finisher in the Rookie of the Year voting might not even get 200 at-bats with the club next season shows that while power is nice, getting on base is nicer.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 14, 2011 2:09 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 2:40 pm
 

Hellickson, Kimbrel named Rookie of the Year

Hellickson, Kimbrel

By Evan Brunell


While the NL was saturated with quality rookies, there was one clear candidate that stood out: closer Craig Kimbrel.

On Monday, Kimbrel's excellent season was recognized as he was named NL Rookie of the Year. Over in the American League, Jeremy Hellickson took home the award.

Rookie of the Year
Miller
The Rookie of the Year award voting went exactly as Scott Miller predicted.
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Kimbrel's 46 saves blew past the previous rookie record for saves, set by Neftali Feliz in 2010 with 40 saves. While Kimbrel was lucky enough to both hold off and benefit from dominant setup man Johnny Venters, he was wholly deserving of the award. The righty struck out an incredible 127 batters in 77 innings, posting a 2.10 ERA.

The 23-year-old beat out two of his teammates in first baseman Freddie Freeman and starter Brandon Beachy for the honors. He also had to hold off Phillies starter Vance Worley and Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa. The last time an Atlanta player won Rookie of the Year was in 2000, when Rafael Furcal took home the win.

Kimbrel's victory was historic, as he paired with Freeman to finish 1-2 in the voting. It's the first time since 1989 that a team was represented with the top two finishers. The Cubs' Jerome Walton and Dwight Smith were the last to accomplish the feat, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Not just that, but Kimbrel won unanimously, handing him the first unanimous vote since Albert Pujols' victory in 2001.

Hellickson, who now pairs with teammate Evan Longoria (2008) as the only Rays to win the award, entered the season with high expectations. Tampa Bay dealt away top pitcher Matt Garza in anticipation of Hellickson stepping in seamlessly, which he certainly did. In 29 starts, he posted a 2.95 ERA. He was actually very lucky, as he struck out just 117 and walked 72, but the Rays' dazzling defense behind him didn't disappoint. Hellickson gave up just 22.1 percent of all batted balls for hits, which is remarkably below the league average of 29 to 30 percent.

But while Hellickson's peripherals pointed to a poorer season than it may have otherwise appeared, the righty still put up remarkable numbers and is poised to break out into an ace in the coming seasons. If Tampa Bay had an average defense, Hellickson probably falls out of the top spot for the award, but it's not as if Hellickson's luck wasn't deserved. He led all rookies in innings pitched and some credit for his BABIP luck has to be attributed to Hellickson, who had the lowest opponent batting average among all rookies as well.

Hellickson beat out Mariners starter Michael Pineda and Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer for the honor. His closest competition was Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo, who received five first-place votes. Hosmer received four, with Ivan Nova of the Yankees taking home one along with Mariners second baseman Dustin Ackley.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 14, 2011 2:02 pm
 

NL Rookie of the Year honor belongs to Kimbrel

By Evan Brunell

While the NL was saturated with quality rookies, there was one clear candidate that stood out: closer Craig Kimbrel.

On Monday, Kimbrel's excellent season was recognized, as he was named NL Rookie of the Year. Kimbrel's 46 saves blew past the previous rookie record for saves, set by Neftali Feliz in 2010 with 40 saves. While Kimbrel was lucky enough to both hold off and benefit from dominant setup man Johnny Venters, he was wholly deserving of the award. The righty struck out an incredible 127 batters in 77 innings, posting a 2.10 ERA.

Kimbrel beat out two of his teammates in first baseman Freddie Freeman and starter Brandon Beachy for the honors. He also had to hold off Phillies starter Vance Worley and Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa. The last time an Atlanta player won Rookie of the Year was in 2000, when Rafael Furcal took home the win.

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

Posted on: November 14, 2011 2:01 pm
 

Jeremy Hellickson named AL's best rookie

By Evan Brunell

In a race to the end, Jeremy Hellickson has emerged as the American League's top rookie, giving their Rays their second Rookie of the Year.

Hellickson, who now pairs with teammate Evan Longoria (2008) as victors, entered the season with high expectations. Tampa Bay dealt away top pitcher Matt Garza in anticipation of Hellickson stepping in seamlessly, which he certainly did. In 29 starts, he posted a 2.95 ERA. He was actually very lucky, as he struck out just 117 and walked 72, but the Rays' dazzling defense behind him didn't disappoint. Hellickson gave up just 22.1 percent of all batted balls for hits, which is remarkably below the league average of 29 to 30 percent.

But while Hellickson's peripherals pointed to a poorer season than it may have otherwise appeared, the righty still put up remarkable numbers and is poised to break out into an ace in the coming seasons.

Hellickson beat out Mariners starter Michael Pineda and Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, among others, for the honor.

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

Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:29 am
Edited on: November 15, 2011 7:00 am
 

Dodgers, Kemp agree to 8-year, $160 million deal

Kemp

By Evan Brunell


Matt Kemp has agreed to a contract extension with Los Angeles for the next eight years, CBSSports.com's Scott Miller confirms. The deal is done, pending the outcome of a physical exam.

Kemp is set to earn $160 million on his deal with the Dodgers, which will tie Mark Teixeira for the fifth-richest contract ever signed. The deal would also become the most expensive deal in team and NL history. Teixeira's deal with the Yankees is also for eight years, running through 2016.

One interesting aspect to this deal is that the owner responsible for signing Kemp in Frank McCourt won't be around to pay the center fielder. McCourt is set to sell the Dodgers after coming to an agreement with MLB to do so, bringing to a close a saga that has plagued baseball since McCourt and his wife had an ugly divorce. Still, the incoming owner is likely to be thankful for the deal, as the Dodgers also have right fielder Andre Ethier set to be a free agent after 2012. As one of the better players in baseball, re-signing Kemp was a no-brainer although it cost a pretty penny to do so.

Previously, Kemp's agent, Dave Stewart, said that it was important for Kemp to be paid and be considered among the elite players at his position. After bouncing back from a poor 2010 to join the 30-30 club and miss out on 40-40 by one homer, Kemp certainly earned the money, but is it too much? Kemp has spent six seasons in the majors, exactly three of which delivered on expectations. It was just one year ago that Kemp, coming off a down year, was thought to have a lot to prove. Apparently, he's proven worth $160 million. With the extension, Kemp would no longer be a part of the free-agent class next winter. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal earlier reported the possibility of such a deal.

The Dodgers are also set to sign second baseman Mark Ellis to a two-year deal.

Check out CBSSports.com's Free Agency Tracker.

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


Posted on: November 13, 2011 11:13 pm
 

Report: Diamondbacks to sign Aaron Hill

HillBy Evan Brunell

Aaron Hill will be back with the Diamondbacks next season, agreeing to a two-year deal worth $11 million, SI.com's Jon Heyman reports.

Hill was left for dead in Toronto, coming to Arizona on a lark. Once someone who bashed 36 homers (2009), the 29-year-old had slid to .225/.270/.313 for Toronto this season, after yet another poor year in 2010, although he did hit 26 homers that season. Hill was sent to Arizona along with backup infielder John McDonald for another underperforming second baseman in Kelly Johnson. He liked the dry heat, breaking out for a .316/.386/.492 line in 142 plate appearances the rest of the way, slugging two homers.

However, that wasn't enough for 'Zona, who declined Hill's two-year option and set him into free agency. GM Kevin Towers declined to pay Hill an additional two years and $16 million. But a $5 million paycut was enough for Hill to agree to return as the second baseman. But Arizona won't lack for replacements just in case Hill gets off to a poor start. The club also resigned McDonald, as well as Willie Bloomquist as a hedge against Stephen Drew coming back healthy in time for Opening Day.

The team also has infielder Geoff Blum, who missed much of the season with injury. In addition, Ryan Roberts' job security at third is tenuous, so while there are quite a few infielders under contract, they don't have a sure bet at any infield position. That includes first base, which may be handed to Paul Goldschmidt after being called up in August.

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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