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Tag:Neil Walker
Posted on: March 27, 2011 11:43 am
 

Pepper: Silva released, Cubs blunder ... or not

By Matt Snyder

The Cubs just issued a press release that Carlos Silva has been, uh, released. Good riddance. Now, about how it all went down ...

I like Big League Stew and David Brown, so I hope we don't get into a whole thing here, but I have to say I don't understand this column . Brown uses a lot of words to call out the Cubs for having a pitching coach notify Carlos Silva he wouldn't make the team instead of general manager Jim Hendry doing so. I would generally agree with that sentiment, but then I see this quote from the Chicago Tribune :

"I told Carlos Silva there was not a spot for him unless there's an injury between now and Opening Day," general manager Jim Hendry said. "We will explore trade opportunities with other clubs."

A little farther down in the same article, Silva mentions that the new pitching coach, Mark Riggins, was trying to talk him up and said, "Man, you've been throwing the ball good, you can pitch, all of that, blah, blah, blah. If you go out there to Triple-A and throw some games to continue building, to continue getting better ... "

If that looks like a weird quote, it's because it was Carlos Silva discussing the situation. It's an emotional Silva, too, who already isn't going to be mistaken for Derek Jeter in terms of eloquence, professionalism or, really, anything. From that, we're to gather that was how he found out he wasn't making the team. Sorry, I'm not ready to make that leap. And if I did believe every word Silva said -- I'm trying not to laugh -- the mistake would appear to be Riggins' for letting it slip. That above quote doesn't sound like Hendry sent Riggins in to break the news.

I don't want to come off like a Hendry apologist, because he's proven himself not a very good GM. When the Ricketts family pays Kosuke Fukudome eight figures this year or Alfonso Soriano $19 million in 2014 they might agree. I'm just saying this particular call-out was a big reach. Even if Silva was telling the truth, it was a minor slip-up -- in which a rookie coach accidentally let the cat out of the bag. It's much less a big deal than giving Milton Bradley a three-year contract -- which is the whole reason Silva's with the club anyway. In fact, the funny part of this whole thing is that Silva represents an actual good move by Hendry. He saved money in trading Bradley for Silva. Granted, it was his fault he had to deal Bradley, but he patched it up as best he could. That's about all you can ask from a middling-at-best GM.

MESSIN' WITH TEXAS: The Rangers are expected to make a decision on the fifth starter Sunday. Remember, they already did, but Tommy Hunter injured himself the day the announcement was made. What about Alexi Ogando? ESPN Dallas makes a case.

FIVE GUYS: MLB.com looks at five players who need to "get it together" this season. I actually think all five will.

DEBUT ... D'OH: Chris Dickerson was making a good impression on his new team Saturday. He joined the Yankees after a trade and promptely went 3-3 with a double. His encore was leaving the game with cramps. (MLB.com )

SMACKDOWN:
Earlier this week, crotchety curmudgeon Murray Chass wrote one of the more ridiculous things anyone has ever written. He used a second-hand story of a third-hand account of an event taken out of context to say Stan Musial was racist. The hilarious part is Chass likes to talk about how he's a respectable journalist and refuses to acknowledge that he's a blogger. Anyway, I'm not going to get into bashing him any further, because the great Joe Posnanski took him down better than I could ever hope to do. And you won't find a link to Chass' blog (yep, I said it, Murray) here or there. I refuse to give hits to that clown.

PATTERSON OK: Corey Patterson took a high-90s fastball to the head Friday. Fortunately it hit his helmet, but that's still an awfully big impact. The good news is that he appears to be just fine. "I seem to be doing OK," Patterson said. "I got checked out at the hospital last night and the doctor said everything looked fine. There weren't any concussion symptoms, but it doesn't mean that it can't evolve into that. Just have to keep an eye on it and make sure I'm in regular contact with our trainers." (MLB.com )

SILENT NIGHT: The A's may not have a radio broadcast on their flagship station this season. (Mercury News )

HOME SWEET HOME: Ryan Zimmerman wants to be with the Washington Nationals for a long time. It's just a matter of whether or not the Nats will pony up the kind of dough he'd command on the open market. (Washington Post ) The smart money is on them doing so. He's the centerpiece of the team and at 26, he's hardly too old to stay for a while. Plus, unless you've been listening to me scream about it for the past few weeks, you might not realize the Nationals have plenty of money.

Pirates LINEUP SET:
Andrew McCutchen has hit leadoff for 190 games in his early career. He's batted second 17 games and third 53. This season, he's going to man the three-hole for the Pirates, following Jose Tabata and Neil Walker. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette )

THE GRITTY GRINDERS! A clash between sabermatricians and old-school baseball writers has long been the contention that players like David Eckstein are either a) severely underrated because they do things you can't measure with stats; or b) severely overrated because the numbers show they don't help a team much. Well, the New York Times tries to bridge that gap by figuring team records with and without certain players. According to the metric, Ruben Tejada was the Mets' most valuable player while Alex Rodriguez is largely irrelevant to the Yankees ("they seemed to get along just fine without [him]"). There are several other oddities, such as six Reds having better winning percentages than league MVP Joey Votto. I'd be much more inclined to jump aboard here if baseball wasn't a team sport with so many factors to take into account in each and every game. For example, if a pitcher coughs up 10 runs with Votto at first base and then someone else throws a shutout on his scheduled off-day, how in God's name does that mean the team is better off without him? There are seemingly infinite examples at hand like this.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 29, 2010 12:50 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 4:09 pm
 

Rookie all-stars announced


Topps announced its annual rookie all-star team Monday, and it's a pretty nice-looking lineup. It was a good year for rookies.

1B: Gaby Sanchez, Marlins
2B: Neil Walker, Pirates
3B: Danny Valencia, Twins
SS: Starlin Castro, Cubs
OF: Austin Jackson, Tigers
OF: Michael Stanton, Marlins
OF: Jason Heyward, Braves
C: Buster Posey, Giants
RHP: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
LHP: Jaime Garcia, Cardinals
RP: Neftali Feliz, Rangers

-- David Andriesen

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

Posted on: November 15, 2010 3:04 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:26 am
 

Two voters left Posey or Heyward off ballots

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (via Twitter ) has gotten the breakdown of the BBWAA voting for Rookie of the Year and the four voters that broke with the consensus of Buster Posey and Jason Heyward as the National League's top rookies.

Dejan Kovacevic, the Pirates beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette , didn't vote for Heyward. He voted Posey first and then a pair of Pirates, Neil Walker and Jose Tabata.

Yasuhi Kikuchi of Kyodo News voted Florida's Gaby Sanchez first, followed by Heyward and St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia.

Sanchez's other first-place vote came from Greg Cote of the Miami Herald.

Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News gave Garcia his first-place vote.

UPDATE: Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chroicle has spoken to Kikuchi about his vote. Kikuchi said he didn't vote for Posey because of his May 29 call-up.

"Obviously it was a tough decision," Kikuchi said (via Schulman's Twitter ). "To me, Rookie of the Year is the best rookie player throughout the whole season."

UPDATE: Kovacevic checks in on Twitter with his reasoning:

"Felt very firmly about Posey, thus chose him 1st. Felt Walker/Tabata had strong years, comparable to rest of class. ... Neither Walker nor Tabata is off-the-board choice, as seen from list of NL rookies with 400 PA, ranked by OPS. ... Obviously saw way more of Walker/Tabata than others, but that also gave perspective on them performing at high level in poor lineup/setting."

The one problem with that is that Heyward was second in OPS among NL rookies with 400 plate appearances or more, ahead of Walker.

He is right that Walker isn't off the board. Tabata had a .746 OPS, more than 100 points lower than Heyward. It appears Kovacevic gave the local kids some recognition with his second- and third-place votes, but wanted to make sure his idea of the "right" player won.

"
Feeling always has been with voting that broadest variety of perspectives bring best results. Few can argue final overall tally, I'd think."

I don't agree, but see where Kovacevic is coming from. As an aside, having read Kovacevic for years, he's far from a homer, although he's already been accused of being one. I don't agree with his vote or even his reasoning, but isn't that why you have a vote instead of just a decision? In the end, the trophy is going to Posey and Heyward is second.


-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: November 15, 2010 2:22 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:36 am
 

Feliz, Posey win Rookie honors

Buster Posey Rangers closer Neftali Feliz and Giants catcher Buster Posey are your Rookies of the Year. No surprise, really.

The only question about today's results was which deserving National League rookie would win. Buster Posey ended up winning, taking the award over Atlanta's Jason Heyward.

While I would have voted for Heyward, I have zero problem with Posey winning. Both were incredible. What strikes me as interesting is the voting results, as Posey won comfortably, getting 20 of the 32 first-place votes and finishing with a total of 129 points. Heyward got nine first-place votes and 107 total points. I honestly thought it would be closer.

Three voters didn't vote for either, one voter went with Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia, while two voted for Gaby Sanchez.

The American League spread was about the same, as the National League. Feliz received 20 first-place votes and finished with 122 points. Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson finished second, with eight first-place votes and 98 total points. Twins third baseman Danny Valencia was third.

Pedro Feliz The difference, as discussed last week, was the caliber of candidates in both leagues. Feliz had a good year, but he's a closer, and that's a different role. Just for the record, let's look at the stats from the American League Rookie of the Year:

69 1/3 IP, 43 H, 21 R, 21 ER, 18 BB, 71 K, 2.73 ERA, .880 WHIP

Not bad numbers. Now let's look at a rookie in the National League who didn't garner a single vote.

68 IP, 56 H, 25 R, 22 ER, 17 BB, 92 K, 2.91 ERA, 1.074 WHIP

How about that? How did that guy not even get considered for the National League Rookie of the Year?

That's because he got hurt -- and he was a starter.

Stephen Strasburg made just 12 starts, but still pitched nearly as many innings as Feliz, who was the Rangers' closer. He didn't have 40 saves.

That said, Feliz definitely deserved the award.

The voting:
National League (points)
Buster Posey 129
Jason Heyward 107
Jaime Garcia 24
Gaby Sanchez 18
Neil Walker 3
Starlin Castro 3
Ike Davis 2
Jose Tabata 1
Jonny Venters 1

American League
Neftali Feliz 122
Austin Jackson 98
Danny Valencia 12
Wade Davis 11
John Jaso 3
Brandon Boesch 3
Brian Matusz 3

The National League Cy Young Award will be announced tomorrow.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 13, 2010 6:33 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:56 am
 

R.I.P. Pirates: 18 losing seasons and counting

As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Now: the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Oh, Pirates. So sad. But hey, you've got one of the best ballparks in Major League Baseball, maybe one day you'll have a real major league team.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Where to start?

Well, let's avoid the debacle that was the Akinori Iwamura trade, and go straight to the biggest problem.

The Pirates' starting rotation was Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf and Charlie Morton -- each lost at least 10 games. Now, I know we're smart enough here not to judge a pitcher based solely on his W-L record. But all but Ohlendorf had an ERA+ of 83 or lower. That ain't good.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

James McDonald Several young players showed glimpses of being productive big leaguers in the future. Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata and Neil Walker (pictured, lower right) join Andrew McCutchen as a lineup that can play.

How about the trade of Octavio Dotel and cash to the Dodgers for right-hander James McDonald (pictured, left)? McDonald, 25, started 11 games for the Pirates after the trade and went 4-5 with a 3.52 ERA. McDonald has impressive stuff and is one of the few strikeout pitchers on the roster.

HELP ON THE WAY

Stop me if you've heard this one before, but the Pirates do have some good, young talent. Unfortunately, not much of it is ready for the big leagues.

One of the few that could help soon is Bryan Morris, a 23-year old right-hander who went 6-4 with a 4.25 ERA at Double-A Altoona.

There will certainly be players to watch in the team's minor league system, but it'll be in the lower levels in guys like Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie and Luis Heredia.

Neil Walker EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

It's the Pirates, the expectations don't change. There are none besides playing 81 home games.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

Oh, how about this crazy idea. You know that money you get from other teams in revenue sharing? Why not spend it on players? Radical, right?

Now, who do you sign? Right now you go for bargain innings-eaters. Maybe someone like Kevin Millwood or Brad Penny. They're not great, but they can be had and could stick around a little longer.

It's not like Carl Crawford is going to sign in Pittsburgh, but that's not the type of player the Pirates need to target at this point, instead it's filler until the real talent comes along.

2011 PREDICTION

The Pirates will record their 19th consecutive losing season and finish at the bottom of perhaps the weakest division in baseball once again.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here .

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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



Posted on: September 22, 2010 12:50 pm
 

Pirates management seems to have rabbit ears

You'd think a team with the record of futility of the Pirates would be a little more used to criticism.

If you're a player, apparently your job is to shut up and take it. Of course, for Jose Bautista, all's well that ends well -- namely getting the hell outta Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 's Dejan Kovacevic runs down the history between the Pirates and Bautista , and notes the Pirates have made a similar mistakes recently with Neil Walker and Garrett Jones.

Anyway, it's a great read -- make sure you go read the whole thing -- but the key part is here:
In the summer of 2008, just before a morning workout at Wrigley, Jose Bautista was told by John Russell that he had lost his job to Andy LaRoche. This was what Bautista told me that morning in the visitors' dugout.

Seem harmless?

Nevertheless, the Pirates, by several accounts, took umbrage that Bautista expressed that he still saw himself as everyday material, almost as if it were an act of insubordination.

Then, Bautista was sent to the minors.

Then, after Bautista did very well in the minors, he was traded to Toronto for third-string, since-released catcher Robinzon Diaz.
Walker apparently upset management last year when he said he thought he deserved a chance in the mjors -- instead he was told he had to be a super-utility player to make it to the majors. Walker also said Dave Littlefield players were being held down.

Walker got his chance this season and hit .296/.343/.474. The 24-year old got his chance and made the most of it, but was he right and maybe was he ready last year?

Jones may be the latest to receive the cold shoulder from the Pirates after having the audacity to believe in himself. Two weeks ago general manager Neal Huntington said Jones' disappointing 2010 means he will be considered a platoon player in 2011. That didn't please Jones.

"Yeah. My production was down this year, but nothing's set in stone," Jones told Kovacevic . "I think they're just looking at different options for next year. For me, I've got to go into the offseason and really work on my swing, find a way to get out of some of these funks I've had. I'll come in prepared for next season and, whatever decision they make … I'm going to make it hard on them to do something like that."

Or the Pirates could just trade him -- it worked last time.

 -- C. Trent Rosecrans

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


Posted on: September 22, 2010 12:50 pm
 

Pirates management seems to have rabbit ears

You'd think a team with the record of futility of the Pirates would be a little more used to criticism.

If you're a player, apparently your job is to shut up and take it. Of course, for Jose Bautista, all's well that ends well -- namely getting the hell outta Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 's Dejan Kovacevic runs down the history between the Pirates and Bautista , and notes the Pirates have made a similar mistakes recently with Neil Walker and Garrett Jones.

Anyway, it's a great read -- make sure you go read the whole thing -- but the key part is here:
In the summer of 2008, just before a morning workout at Wrigley, Jose Bautista was told by John Russell that he had lost his job to Andy LaRoche. This was what Bautista told me that morning in the visitors' dugout.

Seem harmless?

Nevertheless, the Pirates, by several accounts, took umbrage that Bautista expressed that he still saw himself as everyday material, almost as if it were an act of insubordination.

Then, Bautista was sent to the minors.

Then, after Bautista did very well in the minors, he was traded to Toronto for third-string, since-released catcher Robinzon Diaz.
Walker apparently upset management last year when he said he thought he deserved a chance in the mjors -- instead he was told he had to be a super-utility player to make it to the majors. Walker also said Dave Littlefield players were being held down.

Walker got his chance this season and hit .296/.343/.474. The 24-year old got his chance and made the most of it, but was he right and maybe was he ready last year?

Jones may be the latest to receive the cold shoulder from the Pirates after having the audacity to believe in himself. Two weeks ago general manager Neal Huntington said Jones' disappointing 2010 means he will be considered a platoon player in 2011. That didn't please Jones.

"Yeah. My production was down this year, but nothing's set in stone," Jones told Kovacevic . "I think they're just looking at different options for next year. For me, I've got to go into the offseason and really work on my swing, find a way to get out of some of these funks I've had. I'll come in prepared for next season and, whatever decision they make … I'm going to make it hard on them to do something like that."

Or the Pirates could just trade him -- it worked last time.

 -- C. Trent Rosecrans

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


Posted on: July 3, 2010 5:33 pm
 

Walker back for the PIrates

Neil Walker
Pirates second baseman Neil Walker is in the lineup for Pittsburgh tonight against the Phillies.

Walker left the game eight days ago when he suffered a concussion after colliding with right fielder Ryan Church.

"Yesterday was a big day in terms of activity," Walker told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 's Karen Price . "It was the most activity I'd done in a week. I took BP, did some running, took some extra ground balls and hitting in the cage and stayed out for the game and made sure that with the lights and noise that the headaches didn't come back or  the fatigue and it was a normal day. I woke up, felt good and it's good to be back in the lineup."

Walker, 24, has had a solid rookie season so far, hitting .295/.325/.464.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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