Tag:Laynce Nix
Posted on: March 4, 2011 7:21 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2011 9:00 pm
 

3 up, 3 down: Jon Daniels' best, worst moves

DanielsBy Evan Brunell

The Rangers have handed GM Jon Daniels a four-year extension, rewarding the 33-year-old for steering the club to its first-ever AL pennant in 2010. For all of Daniels' talents, however, he's made quite a few missteps along the way. Here's a look back at Daniels' three best and worst moves as Rangers GM...

3 UP

1. The Teix Heist

The reason the Rangers made the World Series is thanks to the trade that sent Mark Teixeira to the Atlanta Braves. Consummated at the trade deadline of 2007, this deal represented the first time Daniels was trading away a major piece of a team and he needed to hit a home run.

He did. By dealing Teix and left-handed reliever Ron Mahay, Daniels hauled in catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, shortstop Elvis Andrus, pitchers Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Beau Jones. The fact Salty stalled in Texas is concerning, but many viewed the backstop at the time as one of the elite young catchers in the game. Andrus would go on to blossom as Texas' starting shortstop while Feliz won the AL Rookie of the Year Award with 40 saves last season and is currently shifting to the rotation. Harrison is a young lefty who is battling for a rotation spot himself, while Jones is the one non-entity.

This deal will continue to pay dividends over time, as Andrus and Feliz will be in town for years to come while Harrison is valuable depth. Saltalamacchia's career is not yet over as he is slated to start in Boston, and the jury is out on Daniels' return for Salty in three minor leaguers.

2. Game Over

Daniels made another significant trade the day of the 2007 trade deadline when he dealt "Game Over" Eric Gagne and cash to the Red Sox for Kason Gabbard, David Murphy and Engel Beltre.

Gagne was impressive in his first season as an ex-Dodger and after missing the bulk of the 2006 season. He wasn't the lockdown closer of old, but looked as if he could be a quality part of the bullpen. Except as Red Sox fans know, he completely imploded and while he walked away with a World Series trade, he will forever be known as Gag-me in Boston. (For some reason, there are over 11,000 views of a video I took recording Gagne's Red Sox debut.) His saving grace in Boston was as a Type-B free agent, and the Red Sox would later trade the player they drafted with the compensatory pick to Cleveland as part of the Victor Martinez deal.

Meanwhile, David Murphy is one of the more valuable fourth outfielders in the game and would be a starter for many other teams. Beltre has his makeup questions but is developing nicely as Texas' center fielder of the future. Gabbard flamed out, but at the time was a possible back-of-the-rotation starter.

3. Draft Bonanza

A major reason why Daniels has stayed viable as GM of the Rangers is his drafting history. Of course, major credit goes to the people working under him that are in charge of the draft, but Daniels deserves credit for putting these people in those roles as well as having a hand in the drafting and development of these players.

His first draft pick, Kasey Kiker, has yet to develop significantly but is just 22 and does hold some promise. However, his following two have had major league time already: power-hitting Chris Davis who has unfortunately failed time and time again to lock down a starting spot in Texas and Danny Herrera, who is a member of the Reds bullpen currently and was used to get Josh Hamilton. Michael Main was used to get Bengie Molina, while Blake Beavan and Justin Smoak were packaged for Cliff Lee

Tommy Hunter was a viable member of the rotation last season and could have a nice career as a back-of-the-rotation pitcher, while Julio Borbon is prepared to start in center field. Tanner Scheppers ranked No. 77 on CBSSports.com's Top 100 Prospects and  may have ranked higher if he was clearly going to be a starter. The club also came away with an impressive haul in the 2010 draft.

Honorable Mention: One would expect the deal bringing in Josh Hamilton to be one of Daniels' better deals, but it's hard to justify that as one of his best deals simply by virtue of giving up Edinson Volquez. There's no denying Hamilton's talent -- after all, he won the AL MVP award -- but Volquez has turned out pretty well for himself. There's a similar case to be made for the trade that imported Carlos Lee and Nelson Cruz from Milwaukee in exchange for Laynce Nix, Kevin Mench, Francisco Cordero and Juan Cordero, so the honorable mention goes to signing Colby Lewis to a two-year deal prior to the 2010 season. Lewis was an utter failure stateside before heading to Japan and discovering his talent. Daniels didn't hesitate to bring in Lewis, and all he did was become the Rangers' best right-handed starter in the team's run to the AL pennant.

3 DOWN

1. The Young and Heartless

In March of 2007, Daniels signed shortstop Michael Young to a five-year, $80 million extension, a contract that was strange at the time and now has snowballed. Two seasons later, Daniels bumped Young to third base in a contentious move to free up short for Elvis Andrus. Young's bat has continued to be solid, but he remained a defensive liability at third and in a much-publicized spat, is now headed to DH and first base after demanding a trade. However, thanks to Young's contract, it will be difficult to move him.

Daniels certainly shouldn't have signed Young to this deal, but that's not why this ranks as one of his three worst moves as GM. While there's a lot of "he-said, he-said" going on by both sides, the fact remains that Young is not very keen on speaking to Daniels and feels "misled." Whether or not you believe Daniels or Young (or think the true answer is somewhere in-between), Daniels should have done a far better job managing the crisis as this has become a nightmare, both in terms of Young's trade value and in public relations. Heck, it even made a three-year-old kid very upset.

2. A-Gone

It's hard to fault Jon Daniels for trading away Adrian Gonzalez as he needed pitching and had Mark Teixeira at first. But goodness, couldn't he have done better? In his second significant trade of his GM career -- the first was also pretty bad -- Daniels shipped away someone who would become one of the best first-basemen in the game in short order in Gonzalez to the Padres along with Chris Young, who fashioned a nice run for himself in the rotation for San Diego. Terrmel Sledge was a throw-in to get Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka and Billy Killian in return.

Eaton was a disaster, making just 13 starts and moving onto the Phillies where he was even worse, while Otsuka became the Rangers' closer but fell to injury in 2007 at age 35 and has not returned to the majors since. Killian is now in independent baseball.

Hey, every GM has trades they regret. It's part of life. But this is one regrettable trade that makes one really cringe looking back on it.

3. A-Rod to Soriano to Nothing

OK, so Daniels wasn't responsible for the initial trade of Alex Rodriguez, but he certainly was responsible for turning Rodriguez's return in Alfonso Soriano into something. Unfortunately, his first major trade was a flop when he shipped Soriano to the Washington Nationals for Brad Wilkerson, Armando Galarraga and Terrmel Sledge. Sledge would be shipped in another terrible deal a month later in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, while Wilkerson couldn't arrest the decline he began in his final season for the Nats in '06. He did not top 350 at-bats in the two seasons he was a Ranger.

While Galarraga was and still is nothing to write home about, he chewed up almost 500 innings for the Tigers after the Rangers essentially gave him away, predominantly as a starter the last three seasons -- and of course, as the architect of the 28-out perfect game. He is now a Diamondback and expected to serve in the back of the rotation. These types of pitchers are far from sexy and you can't blame Daniels for tossing Galarraga in the deal, but it only serves to make this deal look even worse given he got absolutely nothing of value for Soriano, which in turn meant the team got nothing for A-Rod.

In Daniels' defense, he was handicapped by Soriano entering the final year of his deal, but Daniels should have looked for prospects in any deal, not an outfielder on the decline, a pitcher he would give away a couple years later and a bit piece that would go on to become part of Daniels' worst trade to date.

Dishonorable Mention: Not to pile on Daniels, who has turned into a very fine GM, but just like he has plenty of candidates for honorable mention, he has candidates for this category as well. Signing Kevin Millwood to a five-year, $60 million deal was head-scratching at the time and he stumbled badly on December 23, 2006 when he dealt away John Danks, Nick Masset and Jacob Rasner to the White Sox for Brandon McCarthy and David Paisano. Danks and McCarthy were two highly-regarded prospects at the time, but Danks is the one that blossomed, while Masset would go on to bust out himself as an important part of the Reds bullpen.

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Posted on: November 3, 2010 6:13 pm
 

Reds budget to increase for 2011

The Reds' budget will be "better" than last year's $72 million, general manager Walt Jocketty told CBSSports.com on Wednesday, but because of the team's large number of arbitration-eligible players, he's unsure how much money he has to spend.

"It's hard to predict what those numbers will be," Jocketty said. "We can't commit a lot of dollars right now."

The total budget, Jocketty noted, wouldn't rise dramatically, but will be more than he had for 2010.

He said that was one of the reasons the Reds declined their $4 million option on shortstop Orlando Cabrera, although the team has talked to his agent about returning to the Reds at a lower rate.

Walt Jocketty Jocketty said the team has yet to hear word if outfielder Jay Bruce will qualify as a Super Two, which would also affect the team's bottom line. Bruce, in his second full season, hit .281/.353/.493 with 25 home runs and established himself as one of the top defensive right fielders in the game (he was second to Ichiro Suzuki in the Fielding Bible Awards). Jocketty said he expects to hear sometime this month on Bruce's status as a Super Two, though it is expected he will qualify.

Bruce won't get the biggest bump from the arbitration process, though. Likely National League MVP Joey Votto is also eligible for arbitration for the first time. In addition, the Reds have Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, Bill Bray, Jared Burton and Laynce Nix as arbitration-eligible players.

If the Reds do have some money to spend, Jocketty said he'd like to find a leadoff man.

We'd like to improve our offense," Jocketty said. "With our pitching, we like our rotation, we like our bullpen. One thing we'd like to improve upon is a leadoff hitter, I don't know that if that's possible or not."

Brandon Phillips and Drew Stubbs led off for the majority of the 2010 season.

If the team doesn't bring back Cabrera, Jocketty said he feels comfortable  with Paul Janish as the team's everyday shortstop. The Reds went into February with the plan of Janish at short last year before signing Cabrera.

Other notes from Jocketty:

• He said the team had talks with an extension for pitcher Bronson Arroyo, but hadn't reached an agreement yet, so the team picked up his option. Jocketty said they'd still like to get a multi-year deal done before 2011. Arroyo told CBSSports.com earlier today that they were working on a three-year deal.

• Sorry Louisville, Aroldis Chapman won't be back in the minors next year.

"He should be ready for the major leagues now," Jocketty said.

Whether he will be a starter or reliever in 2011, only time will tell. Longterm, the Reds believe Chapman will be a starter.

"Right now, when we get to spring training, if he's better suited for the rotation or the bullpen," Jocketty said. "It's very possible he could be back in the bullpen."

The Reds could have a crowded rotation with Arroyo, Cueto, Volquez, Bailey, Mike Leake and Travis Wood.

• Jocketty said he talked to the agent for free agent utility man Migeul Cairo on Wednesday about bringing Cairo back to Cincinnati.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 5, 2010 5:18 pm
 

Edmonds' status still in the air

Jim Edmonds The Reds aren't counting out Jim Edmonds yet.

Edmonds, who is dealing with an Achilles injury, will give the team the final word after today's workout in Philadelphia, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes .

If Edmonds can't go, the team will go with rookie Juan Francisco. The Reds sent first baseman Yonder Alonso home.

"[Francisco] can play more positions," manager Dusty Baker said. "If Scotty [Rolen] comes up sore or something, we've got another bona fide third baseman."

Baker said the team would go up until tomorrow's 10 a.m. deadline to set the roster.

However, outfielder Laynce Nix who missed much of the last month of the season with a sprained ankle will be on the roster and will likely start Friday against Roy Oswalt.

"He hits him better than anyone we've got," Baker said.

Nix is 9 for 17 with three doubles and two homers in his career against Oswalt.

The Reds will load up on the left-handers in the bullpen to face the Phillies, with Arthur Rhodes, Aroldis Chapman, Bill Bray and Travis Wood available in relief.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 6, 2010 5:12 pm
 

Edmonds has oblique tear

Jim Edmonds Jim Edmonds may not play for the rest of the season -- and that could be good news for the Reds.

Edmonds told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that he has a tear in his right oblique. He was initially diagnosed with a strained muscle.

"I'm trying, but I have to let it heal," Edmonds said. "I don't really know the timetable right now. The swelling has finally come down, it's not as bad moving around. It's coming along. I've never had a muscle tear before."

Edmonds hasn't swung a bat yet and tried throwing recently, but couldn't do it.

The Reds currently have just three healthy outfielders, as Jay Bruce is also sidelined with a side injury. He hasn't played since his walk-off single a week ago against the Brewers. Laynce Nix has been out since Aug. 25 because of a sprained  left ankle.

Utility infielder Miguel Cairo is the team's backup plan in the outfield if needed. The Reds have no healthy outfielders on the 40-man roster. The team would need to make a move -- like moving Edmonds to the 60-day disabled list -- to clear room on the 40-man roster to call up another outfielder.

Wladimir Balentien had a great season at Triple-A Louisville, hitting .282/.337/.536 with 25 home runs and 78 RBI, but he was recently diagnosed with a strained oblique. The team could call up Dave Sappelt, who has played well at Triple-A -- .324/.365/.481 with a homer and eight RBI in 25 games -- but started the season in Class A.  Another possibility is Daniel Dorn, who has played first this season but also has played the corner outfield positions. Dorn is hitting .302/.398/.545 with 13 home runs and 56 RBI for the Bats.

Both third baseman Juan Francisco and first baseman Yonder Alonso were tried out in the outfielder in spring and earlier this season, though both of those experiments were deemed failures.

Edmonds played in just nine games for the Reds after the team traded outfielder Chris Dickerson to Milwaukee for him on Aug. 9. In 24 plate appearances, Edmonds had just three hits -- all for extra bases, two doubles and a homer.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: August 24, 2010 1:51 am
 

Reds OF suddenly thin

As if the scoreboard wasn't bad enough for the Reds Monday night in San Francisco, the National League Central leaders lost two outfielders with injuries in their 11-2 loss in San Francisco.

Laynce Nix left the game in the third inning after spraining his left ankle going from first to third on Joey Votto's ground rule double.

In the sixth inning, Jim Edmonds left mid-at-bat with a strained right oblique and was replaced by Drew Stubbs.

The Reds entered the game with six outfielders and left with four -- Stubbs, Jay Bruce, Chris Heisey and Jonny Gomes. The team doesn't have any more outfielders left on their 40-man roster, which was already stretched thin with the Major League deals given to two of the last three first-round draft picks -- first baseman Yonder Alonso (2008) and catcher Yasmani Grandal (2010).

Former Mariners prospect Wladimir Balentien is having a very good season at Triple-A Louisville (.284/.342/.532 with 22 home runs and 71 RBI), but isn't not he 40-man roster. Alonso and Juan Francisco have played the outfield this season, but those experiments were abandoned.

The Giants have  surplus of outfielders now that Cody Ross joined the team, perhaps they can loan one to the Reds for a game or two.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: June 24, 2010 7:07 pm
 

Minor leaguer Lindsay getting around


Shane Lindsay At this rate, Shane Lindsay may get a complex.

On Thursday, the Indians designated Lindsay for assignment to make room for infielder Jayson Nix, claimed off of waivers from the White Sox.

Lindsay, a 25-year old right-hander from Australia hasn't spent a day in the big leagues, but he would have spent his fair share of time in the transactions section of the sports page if those things still existed.

Lindsay had pitched in four games for Double-A Erie since the Indians claimed off of waivers from the Yankees on June 1. He was with the Yankees for just two weeks after he was claimed off of waivers by the Rockies. He appeared in 14 games for the Rockies' Triple-A squad in Colorado Springs, allowing 10 runs in 13 2/3 innings  (6.59 ERA) with 17 walks and 19 strikeouts.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: June 24, 2010 5:59 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2010 6:52 pm
 

Reds sign Matthews to minor-league deal

Gary Matthews Jr. In a move that has been rumored since spring training, the Reds signed outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. to a minor-league contract, the team announced on Thursday.

Matthews played 36 games for the Mets this season and hit an abysmal .190/.266/.241. While Matthews was being mentioned as a trade candidate for the Reds this spring, some inside the organization scoffed at the thought of Matthews making the big league squad.

Center fielder Drew Stubbs has struggled so far this season -- .231/.306/.382 -- but that's still better than Matthews, and Stubbs' defense is monumentally better at this point than the former Gold Glove-winning Matthews. The Reds also have another better option in Chris Heisey (.280/.368/.600 in 57 plate appearances), who is more natural at a corner outfield spot, but both of those are taken in Cincinnati with Jay Bruce and Jonny Gomes. Laynce Nix is the fifth outfielder.

Matthews fits only where he'll be -- at Triple-A Louisville. The Bats haven true center fielder. Michael Griffen and utility man Chris Burke have been manning the outfield for Rick Sweet. The team has little other outfield depth, using two other part-time infielders, Todd Frazier and Yonder Alonso, in the outfield, along with one-time prospect Wladimir Balentien.

Sure, the usual suspects will cry Dusty Baker and bring up Corey Patterson and Willy Taveras, and that could be an issue if Patterson were to make the roster, but that's not happening. There's no place for Matthews in Cincinnati and baring and injury, don't expect to see him there anytime soon.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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