Posted on: July 1, 2011 6:00 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 7:12 pm
By Matt Snyder
Diamondbacks' closer J.J. Putz has been placed on the disabled list, effective immediately, with tendinitis in his throwing elbow (Steve Gilbert via Twitter). The move is somewhat a surprise, as D-Backs manager Kirk Gibson said as recently as Sunday that Putz was 100 percent. Putz was fine last week, nailing down saves on three consecutive days, but then he had two straight bad outings earlier this week. In them, his velocity was noticably down. Putz reportedly received a cortisone shot Wednesday and the Diamondbacks believe he'll be ready to return immediately after the All-Star break (Nick Piecoro via Twitter).
Putz, 34, has a history of arm injuries but was cruising for the Diamondbacks before this week. Before the two bad outings when he was apparently injured, Putz had saved 21 games in 24 chances and had a 2.45 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 33 innings.
The likely replacement as the D-Backs' closer is David Hernandez. The 26 year old was the eighth inning guy and already has two saves of his own. He's been a bit inconsistent, but has struck out 41 hitters in 37 innings.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 28, 2011 9:31 am
Edited on: June 28, 2011 10:07 am
BASEBALL TODAY: Will the Boston-Philly series live up to expectations with Josh Beckett facing Cliff Lee in the first of a three-game set? Will filing for bankruptcy protection save the Dodgers? C. Trent Rosencrans joins Lauren Shehadi to break it all down. Click on the video above to watch.
By Matt Snyder
TREND-SETTERS: The White Sox made news earlier this season when they shifted to a six-man rotation, as Philip Humber has been throwing far too well to remove from the rotation, and the other five members are all certainly good enough to merit remaining in the rotation. The Giants have faced questions on doing so when everyone is completely healthy, considering Ryan Vogelsong's ascent, but manager Bruce Bochy remains steadfast that they won't be going to six. The Royals, however, are ready to jump aboard with the White Sox plan (Kansas City Star). Their rotation is a bit less formidable than the White Sox or Giants, but the move comes with good, decent reasons. Rookie Danny Duffy is making progress in his development, so the Royals don't want to send him back down to the farm. Kyle Davies and his 7.46 ERA are returning from injury, while Bruce Chen, Luke Hochevar and Felipe Paulino are out of options. Also, Jeff Francis has accrued enough service time in the bigs that he could reject an assignment to the minors and become a free agent. So if the Royals want to keep everyone, they have to go to six. Of course, they could move someone to the bullpen, but they don't want to do that. Instead they'll just carry less position players, which isn't a horrible thing in the AL, I guess. Still, seems a bit radical to force six into a rotation with so much mediocrity.
POT, MEET KETTLE? I personally stay out of the business where you label entire fan bases as more stupid, obnoxious, smart, respectful, etc. The reason is very simple: Every single fan base has morons. Every single fan base has intelligent fans. Every fan base has jerks, and every fan base has kind and respectful fans. I immediately disregard any comment that contains "all (insert team) fans are (insert insult)." This doesn't seem to be the majority opinion, however, as it's fun for fans to mock other fan bases and label them. With that in mind, I thought it was funny that a Philadelphia writer thought Boston fans have become obnoxious (Boston Herald's "Behind Enemy Lines" feature). Because, you know, tons of opposing fans point to Philly fans as obnoxious themselves. Honestly, it's too bad the Phillies and Red Sox are in different leagues. That could be a pretty sweet rivalry on many levels. I guess we'll have to settle for the World Series this year? Maybe?
TRIPLE-DOUBLE: In the Cubs' 7-3 win over the Rockies, three players hit two home runs each -- Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena for the Cubs and Carlos Gonzalez for the Rockies. No, this wasn't a game played in Coors Field, but the wind blowing out at Wrigley can make things quite hitter-friendly. It was the first time this had happened since 2006 and only the 13th time it happened since 2000. (Baseball-Reference blog)
MAYBE THIS TIME: Mat Gamel of the Brewers was once touted as the next big power bat to come through Milwaukee's system, but things stalled a bit. In 2009, he was given 148 plate appearances for the Brewers and hit just .242 with 54 strikeouts. Last season he was pretty bad when given a chance, though he was only granted 17 plate appearances. Still, he's only 25 and is tearing up Triple-A so far in 2011. He's hitting .321 with 18 homers, 58 RBI, 54 runs, 21 doubles and a .957 OPS. He's especially picked up the pace in June, as he's hit 10 of his home runs this month. With six games in AL parks coming this week, the Brewers have summoned him (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) and will likely use him as a DH or first baseman -- with Prince Fielder then serving as DH. If Gamel hits well, it will be interesting to see what the Brewers do moving forward. They're going to be in contention, but there's really no good defensive place for Gamel. And it's entirely possible he's the replacement at first for Fielder, if he walks as expected, next season.
SAVING J.J.: Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz was unavailable both Saturday and Sunday, but he's not injured. Instead, manager Kirk Gibson noted he's trying to "develop a bullpen" and also make sure Putz is still in tip-top shape come August and September. Putz picked up saves on three straight days prior to being unavailable, so it made perfect sense. (MLB.com)
DAVEY'S FIRST ROAD TRIP: Nationals new manager -- and the last one for 2011, presumably -- Davey Johnson flew with his ballclub from Chicago to Los Angeles and made a point to have an individual conversation with every player on the flight. One area he wants to improve immediately is the offense. “I definitely think this club has been an underachiever offensively. I don’t like to give up outs. I’ll bunt when I have to. I’ll hit and run when I feel like it. I think this club hasn’t quite come into it’s own. It doesn’t really know how good an offensive club it can be. It definitely has a chance to be a good one.” (Washington Times) What's funny is that Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman (and maybe Ian Desmond) are due to get hot, so that should improve the offense naturally. And Johnson will get some of the credit. Which is part of the give-and-take, of course. If the team starts playing worse, he'll get the blame, too.
JONNY COOL: Jonny Gomes of the Reds broke into the bigs for the Rays. He returned to Tropicana Field Monday night in interleague play, and his former teammates had nothing bad to say about him. In fact, they really like him. Andy Sonnanstine, B.J. Upton and James Shields in particular had high praise for Gomes as a teammate (TBO.com).
FALLACIOUS CLAIM: Josh Hamilton has been awful during the day, and he actually got an optometrist to agree with his assertion that the cause of this was the fact that Hamilton has blue eyes. It sounds ridiculous, and Fangraphs.com illustrates that it is, based upon historical data of blue-eyed players hitting during the day vs. their numbers at night. Best example: Mark Grace and his deep-blue eyes. He played tons of day games for the Cubs and was great throughout his career in day games.
"NEANDERTHALS: The legalization of gay marriage in New York has been a big source of conversation, apparently, in the Mets' clubhouse. Color commentator and formet Met Ron Darling has been particularly outspoken in favor of the passage, though many of the current players are reluctant to publicly speak about the issue -- and it's hard to blame them, as any answer would likely anger at least one fan. An interesting quote from an unnamed player, courtesy of the New York Daily News, is that most players believe professional sports locker rooms aren't ready to fully accept an openly gay teammate because "most of us are still Neanderthals."
DUSTY BOBBLEHEAD: I'm not as big a fan of bobbleheads as many fans, but the Dusty Baker one the Reds are giving away this coming Saturday is pretty cool, simply because it has a bin of toothpicks on it. We'll leave you with a video of the Reds players promoting the giveaway with glasses and the signature toothpick in the video below ...
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 24, 2011 2:58 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 5:03 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Baseball's all about sentiment -- or at least it is supposed to be. It doesn't seem to be that way for Kirk Gibson, who returns to Detroit as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-game series against the Tigers.
Gibson not only played for the Tigers, but he led them to a World Series title in 1984 and is a Michigan native who played football for Michigan State. He even still lives in the area. Add to that his first professional manager was Jim Leyland, who managed him at Class A Lakeland in 1978. There has to be some excitement for Gibby going home, right?
Not so much.
That's the exact attitude that made Gibson a fan favorite during his playing days and it's apparently working as a manager for the first-place Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks also feature former Tiger great Alan Trammell as its bench coach and two players who will point to their hand if you ask them where they're from: Saturday's starter, Josh Collmenter, and closer J.J. Putz.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 1, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 2:14 pm
By Matt Snyder
May mostly belonged to the pitcher. Sure, there were some pretty stellar performances by hitters (including our selection, Jay Bruce), but the month belonged to dominant pitching as a whole.
The following pitchers threw at least 20 innings and had an ERA below 2.00: Josh Beckett, Erik Bedard, Jeremy Hellickson, Josh Collmenter, Tim Lincecum, Anibal Sanchez, Jair Jurrjens, Gio Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw and Ryan Vogelsong. There were eight more at 2.25 or below for the month (again, with at least 20 IP). And this is only starting pitchers, as there have been several dominant relievers, too. Basically, this was a tough choice, and our variety of selections backs that up. In cases like this, there aren't really any wrong answers -- just lots of right answers.
On the offensive end, Jose Bautista continued to silence doubters. In April, he was showing 2010 was no fluke and in May he was showing April sure wasn't either. He hit .360 with 11 home runs, 23 RBI and a 1.267 OPS. We also saw Curtis Granderson and David Ortiz club 10 homers in the month while Matt Joyce hit .414. Adrian Gonzalez drove home 31 runs to go with his nine homers in the month, while Jose Reyes also starred (.364 average, nine doubles, six triples, 11 steals). Still, they all fell slightly short in our eyes to the emergence of Jay Bruce as a star.
The 24-year-old Reds right fielder has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his young career, but staying consistent has been a problem. In May, it wasn't. He led the majors with 12 home runs and 33 RBI, while also hitting .342 with a 1.140 OPS. He also led in total bases and tied for the lead in extra-base hits. Only Gonzalez, Reyes and Hunter Pence collected more total hits and only Granderson scored more runs in the month.
Click here to see last month's selections.
Danny Knobler and Scott Miller are Senior MLB Writers; Evan Brunell, C. Trent Rosecrans and Matt Snyder are Eye on Baseball Bloggers; Al Melchior is a Fantasy Data Analyst; and Scott White is a Fantasy Writer.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 29, 2011 11:33 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Welcome to first place, Arizona Diamondbacks.
Yep, you read that right, the Diamondbacks have ridden a six-game winning streak -- all on the road -- to the top of the National League West standing, moving past the Giants with their victory over the Astros and San Francisco's loss in Milwaukee.
"This is good right now, but we've got a long way to go," manager Kirk Gibson told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. "We've talked about playing good baseball. It's hard to sustain it."
But the Diamondbacks have in the last 16 days, going 14-2 since dropping five in a row earlier this month.
As for the short-term changes, Piecoro pretty much nailed it in this piece -- Josh Collmenter into the rotation, Armando Galarraga out. Juan Miranda in at first base, Russell Branyan out. And then he adds the improvement of starter Joe Saunders and second baseman Kelly Johnson.
More than just the last two-and-a-half weeks, the Diamondbacks have been much better than they were a year ago, when they were 65-97, the third-worst mark in the big leagues.
First off, a lot of credit has to go to Kirk Gibson, in his first full year as a manager. His team is playing like he did -- all out, all the time.
Secondly, the bullpen is night-and-day better, and the thanks there has to go to general manager Kevin Towers.
Last season the bullpen had a 5.74 ERA -- the worst mark in the National League since divisional play began.
This year it's 3.40 ERA. The teams four blown saves are tired for fourth-fewest in the big leagues.
Closer J.J. Putz is perfect in his 15 save attempts and has struck out 20 in 22 innings, allowing just four earned runs. He's been joined by left-hander Joe Paterson (one earned run in 22 games), Sam Demel (three earned runs in 21 appearances) and David Hernandez (five earned runs in 24 appearances). Esmerling Vasquez has been pretty good, going 0-1 with a 3.32 ERA.
Demel and Vazquez were in the team's bullpen last season, but Towers worked on remaking the team's bullpen in the offseason, signing Putz as a free agent and getting Hernandez in the trade that sent Mark Reynolds to Baltimore. Paterson is a rookie who was taken by Towers in the Rule 5 draft out of the Giants' system.
In the end, the Diamondbacks may not be able to hold onto this lead -- especially against the defending World Series champs and the powerful Rockies. But they could -- nobody thought Cleveland would still lead their division on Memorial Day, yet the Diamondbacks and Indians are, and that's pretty fun.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 20, 2011 1:05 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 1:43 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
As we're getting deeper into the first month of the season, some of the "small sample size" arguments are losing their luster and managers are getting itchy. There's no position in baseball that causes more consternation than the closer's spot -- and few are easier to change.
On Tuesday, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Ryan Franklin was out as his closer, joining Ozzie Guillen and Ron Gardenhire in making changes in closers already this season, a common April occurance.
Here's a look at where all the closers in baseball stand at this moment:
We won't know who the replacement for Franklin is until it comes to a save situation (Matt Snyder took a look at who may get the call -- and I'll agree that Mitchell Boggs gets the first shot) and even then, we'll have to have a few save situations until we get there.
Matt Capps has taken over for Nathan, who is not back 100 percent from Tommy John surgery, in Minnesota.
Thornton may get the call if the White Sox get in a save situation, but Ozzie Guillen has no confidence in anybody in his bullpen and has said he just doesn't have a closer.
Axford (pictured) started his season off by blowing a save in Cincinnati and added another Monday night. He's struggled with his command this season, but the Brewers don't have too many better options.
The Nationals have gone from no closer, to Burnett back to no set closer. After Burnett blew a save on Friday, Drew Storen closed with two innings on Sunday against the Brewers. The two are expected to share the job, but Burnett's not "out" because he's still half in.
These are three marquee names, but there's plenty of worry surrounding the trio.
Soria has struggled and has a 5.59 ERA, blowing one save, while Broxton hasn't blown a save, but has given up plenty of runs. He has an ERA of 6.14 and his manager's vote of confidence.
K-Rod, well, he's got plenty of issues, including a contract with a vesting option that the Mets aren't really interested in seeing him meet. That said, it's not like he's getting a lot of chances to close out Met victories for the team with the National League's worst record.
Rauch has been good, converting all three of his saves this season, but the return of Frank Francisco complicates things for him in Toronto.
Solid -- Mariano Rivera (Yankees), Heath Bell (Padres), Neftali Feliz (Rangers), Huston Street (Rockies), Joel Hanrahan (Pirates), Leo Nunez (Marlins), Chris Perez (Indians), Brian Wilson (Giants), Craig Kimbrel (Braves), J.J. Putz (Diamondbacks), Jose Contreras (Phillies), Jose Valverde (Tigers).
Sure, Rivera blew a save last night. I think Joe Girardi may give him another shot.
If the rest of the closers are in a "small sample size" argument right now, these guys have a "tiny sample size."For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL Central, AL East, AL West, Angels, Astros, Athletics, Blue Jays, Brandon League, Brandon Lyon, Braves, Brewers, Brian Fuentes, Brian Wilson, Cardinals, Carlos Marmol, Chris Perez, Craig Kimbrel, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Francisco Cordero, Francisco Rodriguez, Giants, Heath Bell, Huston Street, Indians, J.J. Putz, Joakim Soria, Joe Nathan, Joel Hanrahan, John Axford, Jon Rauch, Jonathan Broxton, Jonathan Papelbon, Jordan Walden, Jose Contreras, Jose Valverde, Kevin Gregg, Kyle Farnsworth, Leo Nunez, Mariano Rivera, Mariners, Marlins, Matt Capps, Matt Thornton, Mets, Mitchell Boggs, Nationals, Neftali Felix, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Orioles, Ozzie Guillen, Padres, Phillies, PIrates, Rangers, Rays, Red Sox, Reds, Rockies, Ron Gardenhire, Royals, Ryan Franklin, Sean Burnett, Tigers, Tony La Russa, Twins, White Sox, Yankees
Posted on: March 16, 2011 11:15 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2011 12:01 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
1. Ivan Nova, Yankees -- The right-hander competing for a spot in the Yankees' rotation showed he could handle AL East competition on Wednesday, dominating the Orioles. Nova didn't allow a hit in six innings, and just two O's reached base. Nova hit Robert Andino to lead off the game and Adam Jones reached on an error in the fourth inning. Nova faced 19 batters, one over the minimum, throwing 59 pitches, 41 for strikes.
2. Elliot Johnson, Rays -- Competing for a spot on the Rays' bench, Johnson -- who has mostly played at second base -- made his spring debut in center field, and made quite the impression. Johnson stole three bases -- including a steal of home in the sixth inning, also had a double and as ingle, two runs and two RBI.
3. Joe Mauer, Twins -- Twins catcher Joe Mauer made his spring debut on Wednesday and singled on the second pitch he saw. Mauer served as the team's designated hitter and is expected to catch on Thursday in a minor league game.
1. Tyler Clippard, Nationals -- The reliever coughed up his team's four-run lead by walking the first two batters he faced, then giving up two doubles, a triple and an RBI single to score the winning run.
2. J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks -- Another reliever, another disaster. Putz faced five batters and didn't retire one. He did, however, get credit for 1/3 of an inning because Erick Aybar was caught stealing. He walked three, gave up two hits and four runs. He also added a wild pitch to boot. But hey, he was throwing 92-94 mph, so there's that.
3. Daniel Schlereth, Tigers -- Well, while we're at it, why not make it a trilogy? Lefty Daniel Schlereth faced four batters Wednesday against the Cardinals and walked all four of them. Coming into Wednesday's game, he'd walked just one batter and hadn't allowed a run in 2 1/3 innings.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 15, 2011 3:45 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
"I have confidence in Jon Daniels and our scouts," manager Ron Washington told reporters, including ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon on Tuesday. "If that's the case, I'm 100 percent sure they'll go out there and find somebody to close ballgames down for us."
If that's the case, the Rangers will be looking for their seventh different closer in the last seven seasons (defining "closer" as "dude with the most saves."). The last Ranger to lead the team in saves in back-to-back years was Francisco Cordero in 2004-05. Cordero has since been an All-Star for two different teams.
The Rangers' internal candidates appear to be Mark Lowe and Alexi Ogando (right). Or the team could go with a closer-by-committee until the trade deadline, also using veteran lefties Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver along with Lowe and Ogando. Prospect Tanner Scheppers is another (remote) possibility. The Rangers traded Frank Francisco, their closer in 2009, to the Blue Jays in exchange for Mike Napoli in the offseason.
As for trade candidates, the team could go out now, or wait until the trade deadline when more candidates would be available.
Among those available could be the Padres Heath Bell, the Mets' Francisco Rodriguez and the Orioles' Michael Gonzalez. The Blue Jays have several experienced closers on their roster, including Francisco, Jason Frasor, Octavio Dotel and Jon Rauch.
If the team waits until the trade deadline, if the Mariners David Aardsma could be available, as well as Cordero, who could be supplanted by Aroldis Chapman (or Nick Masset). Others that could be available include Kevin Gregg, J.J. Putz and Brandon Lyon.
However, Washington did tell reporters in the same sitting that he felt confident enough with the rotation as it is and Feliz in the bullpen. It also appears, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Jeff Wilson writes, that Washington would prefer to keep Feliz in the bullpen unless Daniels can get another closer.
Tags: AL West, Alexi Ogando, Arhtur Rhodes, Aroldis Chapman, Brandon Lyon, Darren Oliver, David Aardsma, Francisco Rodriguez, Frank Francisco, J.J. Putz, Jason Frasor, Jon Daniels, Jon Rauch, Kevin Gregg, Mark Lowe, Michael Gonzalez, Mike Napoli, Neftali Feliz, Nick Masset, Octavio Dotel, Rangers, Ron Washington, Tanner Scheppers