Tag:Ryan Zimmerman
Posted on: August 17, 2011 9:53 am
 

Pepper: Signing deadline needs to be moved up

Bubba Starling

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The last couple of days showed us some of the best of baseball, five walkoffs on Tuesday, Jim Thome's 600th home run on Monday, triple plays both Monday and Tuesday and so much more. But Monday night we saw one of the things that needs to be fixed, and that's the signing deadline for draft picks.

Yesterday I touched on this, but I suggested just moving it from midnight to a more reasonable hour. That was a selfish wish. Hall of Famer George Brett tells the Kansas City Star that the deadline needs to be moved up more than a month to something like July 4.

The reason is simple, the development of players is stunted by a year and the posturing could hurt players. According to Brett, the Royals and Scott Boras, the "advisor" for their top pick, Bubba Starling, didn't even start talking until 10:30 p.m. on Monday night. The two sides then agreed to a deal with 20-40 seconds left, Brett said.

"If they made the deadline July 4, these guys would sign July 4 and the guy would jump on the plane and play some real baseball rather than go to Arizona when the season is almost over after not picking up a ball and a bat for how long … and playing football … he's not baseball ready," Brett told the newspaper. "It's going to take him a while." 

Instead of playing baseball and cashing checks, Starling was working out with the Nebraska football team as a negotiating ploy, showing that he was "serious" that he'd turn down millions of dollars to play football. He was also risking injury and his future with no guarantee.

That said, with the way money was thrown around on Monday night, it seems to make little sense to sign early. The teams showed that players who wait to sign until the deadline will be rewarded. An agent I spoke to on Tuesday said he's had players sign early in the past -- which is all well and good for the teams, but did he do his players' a disservice by not waiting until the end? In his previous cases, no, it was still the right thing to do. But next time? When the 27th player picked gets $800,000 above slot, the waiting game pays. That's not going to change, the way to fix that it to shorten the wait.

Pirates' booty: Speaking of the draft signings, the Pirates spent $17 million in signing bonuses for their draft picks. While there are negatives, for Pittsburgh, this is a positive. For many years teams like the Royals and Pirates wouldn't draft the best available player in the draft, instead drafting the best available player that would fit into their budget. The Royals gave Bubba Starling a huge contract and the Pirates gave out several, including an $8 million signing bonus to No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole and $5 million for second-rounder Josh Bell. Last season we heard about how the Pirates weren't spending their luxury tax gains, but now we see an actual plan and owner Bob Nutting is putting money into the team. [MLB.com]

Right player, wrong position: Living in Cincinnati I've seen this before -- teams in MLB will often pick the best player available in the draft, regardless of position, now Yonder Alonso is in the big leagues with the Reds and has little to do because Joey Votto isn't going to sit the bench for him. The Nationals saw a player some considered to be the best in the draft fall to them and couldn't pass up Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon, despite already having a 26-year-old at third base in Ryan Zimmerman. The Nationals are happy to have Rendon and let that problem play out. [MASNSports.com]

Bundy eyes 2013: Orioles first-round pick Dylan Bundy said his plan is to be in the big leagues in 2013. The right-hander would be 20 in 2013. Brett would tell him if he was serious about that, he maybe should have signed sooner. [Baltimore Sun]

Overrated Howard: Baseball-Reference.com's Sean Forman made the argument in the New York Times that Philadelphia's Ryan Howard is not an elite hitter. The bigger argument was about overvaluing the RBI -- the stat that Howard provides much of Howard's worth. It does certainly help that he plays for the Phillies and has some pretty decent players in front of him in the lineup.

Umps visit kids: Jerry Meals may be Public Enemy No. 1 in Pittsburgh, but not to 3-year-old Emily Berger. Berger, who had undergone surgery on Monday, was one of the children visited by a group of MLB umpires to visit a children's hospital on Tuesday. Meals, who famously blew the call at home plate to end a 19-inning game in Atlanta for Pittsburgh loss, and the rest of his crew hosted a Build-A-Bear workshop for dozens of children. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

Sizemore improving: The Indians hope Grady Sizemore can return next month after he started baseball activities on Tuesday as part of his rehab from a right knee injury and a sports hernia surgery. [MLB.com]

Granderson's rare feat: Curtis Granderson has a shot at leading the American League in homers and triples. The last player to do that was Jim Rice in 1978. [Baseball-Reference.com]

Mariners doing well: Jack Zduriencik won the offseason according to many before the 2010 season, and we saw how that worked. But even with that in hindsight, it appears Zduriencik has had a good couple of weeks despite his team's fall in the standings over the last two months. [Seattle Times]

More Thome: If you haven't had enough of Jim Thome (and really, it's not like we've even got to a tenth of the DJ3K madness yet), his hometown paper, the Peoria JournalStar put together a fantastic package looking back on his life and career. Make sure you check it out.

Give the people what they want: Nice job by the Brewers' promotion department with the announcement of  "Tony Plush Rally Towels" for the Sept. 9 game against the Phillies. "Tony Plush" is the "gentleman's name" of outfielder Nyjer Morgan. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Bashing Boise: No, not the Broncos and their "Smurf turf," but the city's Class A team -- Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said Boise's Memorial Stadium is "below standard." [Chicago Tribune]

Pros vs. G.I. Joes: Some White Sox players are playing video games with soldiers online. [MLB.com]

Hi, bye: Outfielder Jonny Gomes was traded from the Reds to the Nationals last month, but he wasn't informed until just before the Reds' game started, meaning he wasn't able to say goodbye to his teammates in Cincinnati. Now a member of the Nationals, Gomes got to say both hello and goodbye to the Reds when the team started their series in Washington. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

Cut those sideburns: Monday was the 20th anniversary of Don Mattingly sitting out a game for refusing to cut his hair. [MLB.com]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 5, 2011 10:20 am
 

Pepper: Thome's silver hammer

Jim Thome

By C. Trent Rosecrans

I know this may seem like a dead horse, but I'm still dismayed at the relative silence around Jim Thome's impending 600th home run. He hit homer No. 598 last night and it seems like it was greeted by crickets. My colleague Matt Snyder wrote about this a couple of weeks ago after I touched on it, so it may seem redundant, but is it any more redundant that the constant (and deserved) fawning over Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit?

I've said all this before, but it just feels like it needs repeating -- Thome will soon become just the eighth player in baseball history to hit 600 home runs. So why is it being overlooked?

Is it because the steroid era has devalued home run totals?

Is it because the next guys on the list are Sammy Sosa and Alex Rodriguez? And the guy atop the list is Barry Bonds?

Is it because Thome isn't a Yankee?

Is it because after 12 years in Cleveland, he's moved around, playing for the Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers and Twins?

Is it because the bulk of his productive years were in Cleveland?

Is it because he's no longer an everyday player?

Is it because there were two weeks between homer No. 595 and 596 and then another two weeks until No. 597? 

Is it because Thome has done it relatively quietly, not drawing a lot of attention to himself, therefore not receiving a lot of attention?

Or am I totally off base and blowing this out of proportion?

It could be any one of those reasons or a good combination of all of them. It just seems to me, it's something that could and should be celebrated not just in Minnesota, but all over baseball. Thome now has 598 home runs and will soon have 600 -- I'm not saying they need to dig out the dirt from the batter's box after his 600th and sell the dirt in keychains (like they did for Jeter), but it should be something we watch, anticipate and celebrate.

The long and winding road: If you don't read every word that comes out of Chris Jones' computer, you're missing out. Canada's finest's most recent piece is on the strange journey of Giants pitcher Barry Zito. I can't recommend it enough. [Grantland]

Here today: Most are assuming that Jose Reyes will re-sign with the Mets this offseason, but not so fast say Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Martino says the Mets are unlikely to give him the "Carl Crawford money" he is assumed to desire (and should be able to command). Apparently it's not just the money that the Mets are worried about, but also the number of years. The Mets aren't excited about giving the injury-prone Reyes seven years.

Get back: Ryan Zimmerman is back to his old form, even though he's been back on the field for nearly two months. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes that it took a while to break up the scar tissue that resulted from his abdominal tear and is no longer experiencing the soreness that had him skipping his post game workouts. 

Let 'em in: Ozzie Guillen's time in Chicago just seems to be at a natural end -- the team has underperformed and everyone seems to be tired of the marriage. Guillen sounds like he's over managing the White Sox in this interview with MLB.com's Scott Merkin, while he tells Yahoo! (via the Miami Herald) that he'd go to the Marlins "with a lot of class," and that it'd be "an honor to manage the Marlins." With Florida moving into a new park next year, it seems like the natural fit -- and he could manage there until Jeffrey Loria loses his patience at the All-Star break next year.

Here today: Red Sox minor leaguer Brandon Jacobs has no regrets about his choice to bypass a football scholarship at Auburn to sign with the Red Sox. Jacobs was a prized running back at Parkview High School in suburban Atlanta, but was drafted by MLB -- and a $750,000 signing bonus later, he found himself on the diamond instead of the gridiron. The 20-year-old has 14 homers and 26 stolen bases at Class A Greenville (S.C.). Even though Auburn won the national championship last season, Jacobs said he watched the game and didn't feel a twinge of regret. An interesting note, Parkview is the alma mater of another prominent football player who skipped a scholarship to play baseball, the Royals' Jeff Francoeur. [Boston Globe]

It was 10 years ago tonight: The Hardball Times looks back at the Indians' rally from an 11-run deficit to beat the Marienrs on Aug. 5, 2001. One thing to keep in mind about that, the Mariners won 116 games -- if they hold a lead, it's 117, a record number of wins. The 1906 Cubs also won 116 (in 10 fewer games).

I've just seen a face: Can't get enough of of Kenta Imamura, the Ichiro impersonator? Well, you're in luck. Apparently Imamurua is a professional Ichiro impersonator and is nicknamed "Nicchiro" -- "ni" is Japanese for two. [Super Ichiro Crazy]

Maybe I'm amazed: A baseball signed by Joe DiMaggio and kissed by Marilyn Monroe sold for $59,750 on Thursday. The bidding started at $17,000 and quickly escalated. [New York Daily News]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 4:43 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 5:07 pm
 

Trade Deadline Primer: NL East

By Eye on Baseball team

Leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the National League East has an actual race -- as well as a team with a bloated payroll and no hope -- which leads to a great chance of some pretty interesting trades to and from the division. Here's a look at the five teams in the NL Eeast:

Philadelphia Phillies

Status: Buyers

Needs: Bullpen, RH bat

Notes: Manager Charlie Manuel said he'd love a right-handed bat (Philadelphia Daily News), probably in the outfield, but this is the Phillies and expect the team to focus on pitching -- at least that's what history tells us. And because their rotation is pretty good (you may have heard about some of these guys), they focus on relievers, likely ending a streak of five years of adding a starter midseason. The team is likely one of the many suitors for Padres closer Heath Bell, although some suggest the Phillies prefer Mike Adams. Padres owner Jeff Moorad has reportedly told Adams he won't be traded. However, according to Tom Krasovic of Inside the Padres, the Phillies are willing to give up Class A first baseman/left fielder Jonathan Singleton in return for Adams.

Another bullpen trade partner could be the Orioles, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler said. The Phillies could be interested in Jim Johnson or Koji Uehara.

MLB Trade Deadline

As for the right-handed bats, the Phillies are in on the same folks everyone's chasing -- Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Beltran, Hunter Pence and maybe Jeff Francouer. The biggest hurdle of all for the Phillies is money, as in they've already spent it and they're worried about the luxury tax. The team has just between $2 and $3 million to spend and avoid the luxury tax.

According to Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com, the Phillies and Royals have already exchanged names in a possible Melky Cabrera trade. Cabrera is a cheaper, younger switch hitter for those who fall short in the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes.

Now, if they're going big and bold, Buster Olney of ESPN.com, tweeted the Phillies could go for Pence, centering the deal around right-hander Vance Worley.

Atlanta Braves

Status: Bargain shoppers

Needs: Right-handed bat

Notes: The Braves need a right-handed bat like Roy Halladay needs air conditioning. Atlanta looks like the front-runner for the National League wild card, but don't have much money to spend. The biggest issue right now for Atlanta is its inability to hit left-handed pitchers. Braves hitters are hitting just .211/.285/.337 against lefties, with Jason Heyward, Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer all below the Mendoza line against southpaws. That's why Jon Paul Morosi's report of the Reds' Jonny Gomes drawing the interest of the Braves makes sense, Gomes kills lefties to the tune of a .340/.446/.547 slash line this season and .281/..377/.510 in his career. There's also the regular names such as Ludwick and Beltran.

To make room for more payroll, the team could trade right-hander Derek Lowe, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien wrote. The Tigers could be interested in Lowe, but would have to take up the rest of the $20 million he's owed through 2012.

New York Mets

Status: One-stop shopping

Needs: Young talent under team control; pitching

Notes: Outfielder Carlos Beltran is the top position player on the market, but his future is clouded by the number of teams that could use an upgrade in the outfield and the fact that he's not for sale, he's for rent. Whatever team gets him won't even get compensation picks if he leaves as a free agent after the season.

The Mets would reportedly rather pay Beltran's salary and get a good young player or top prospect in return. They could unload him to a team willing to pay the roughly $8 million left on his contract, but then they wouldn't get much in return. The Mets would prefer big-league ready pitching talent. New York seems confident it can re-sign Jose Reyes, meaning they're not ready to throw in the towel and go full-on rebuilding anytime soon. 

Beltran, however, does have a no-trade clause. According to Tim Brown of Yahoo!, Sandy Alderson gave Beltran a short list of teams interested -- the Phillies, Red Sox, Braves, Giants, Brewers and maybe the Yankees -- and Beltran hasn't ruled any of them out.

It's pretty certain now that the Mets won't deal Reyes, but it appears they may be holding on to Jason Isringhausen, too, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweets.

Washington Nationals

Status: Listening to all offers

Needs: Leadoff man/center fielder of the future

Notes: The Nationals have pieces to deal -- from catcher Ivan Rodriguez to relievers Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Todd Coffey and Sean Burnett, plus starters Jason Marquis, Livan Hernandez and Tom Gorzelanny. In short, they're open for business, with GM Mike Rizzo saying no player is "untouchable" -- but then following that up with "we're not going to touch our core." That means, "after a while, they don't ask for [Danny] Espinosa," Rizzo told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore. Ryan Zimmerman is also likely untouchable, as well as catcher Wilson Ramos.

One name to watch is shortstop Ian Desmond, but that would take quite the return for the team to move the 25-year-old.

More likely to go are some of the team's relievers. The Nats are deep in the bullpen and it's a position that's always in demand. The top tier would be Clippard or even Storen, but that would require Washington receiving a leadoff-hitting center fielder in return, someone like B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Colby Rasmus or Denard Span, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal writes.

Florida Marlins

Status: Sellers

Needs: Third baseman, starting pitchers

Notes: The Marlins have starting pitchers that would interest many teams, but they may not part with them. Next year they rename themselves the Miami Marlins when they move into a new stadium and ownership would like a competitive team on the field when that happens.

Ricky Nolasco is the top starter to be had, but Knobler says they'd have to get a younger, cheaper starter in return for the 28-year-old right-hander.

The one the team may part with is Javier Vazquez, but it's not really their decision. Vazquez has a full no-trade clause and isn't in any hurry to leave South Florida. There are few places he'd accept a trade.

Sure to be gone is closer Leo Nunez. The Phillies are interested in Nunez. The other teams desperate for bullpen help -- like the Cardinals and Rangers -- are likely to at least inquire what it may take to get him.

Randy Choate has been verbal this week about his problems with current manager Jack McKeon and could get shipped off for not being a good soldier.

Also on the block are free-agents-to-be Greg Dobbs and Omar Infante. Infante's value is a lot less than it was a year ago.

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

Posted on: July 16, 2011 1:30 am
Edited on: July 16, 2011 9:38 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Phillips stings Cardinals

Brandon Phillips

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Brandon Phillips, Reds:Phillips didn't exactly enhance his standing in St. Louis. Already the most hated man in eastern Missouri, Phillips hit a two-out, walk-off homer to give the Reds a 6-5 victory over St. Louis. Phillips had an error that gave St. Louis its first lead off starter Johnny Cueto

Jeff Karstens, Pirates: The Pirates right-hander allowed just five hits and needed only 83 pitches in a shutout victory in Houston, which when coupled with losses by the Cardinals and Brewers catapulted the Pirates into a tie for first place. Seriously, a tie for first place. Karstens became  the first Pirate to win five-straight decisions since 2006 and lowered his ERA to 2.34, third-best in the National League, leapfrogging Roy Halladay.

Eric Hosmer, Royals: With two outs in the ninth, Hosmer took Twins closer Matt Capps deep over the wall in center at Target Field, giving the Royals a 2-1 lead. Closer Joakim Soria made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth, but the Royals held on for the victory. Hosmer now has nine home runs on the season.


Nationals defense: Washington had five errors in Friday's 11-1 loss to the Braves. First baseman Michael Morse had two errors on one play in the first inning and added another later in the game. Morse had just one error in his first six seasons in the big leagues. Shortstop Ian Desmond had another error in the Braves' four-run first. Ryan Zimmerman added the team's fifth miscue later when a ball went between his legs in the sixth.

Hanley Ramirez, Marlins: Usually a player's 1,000th career hit would be a time of celebration. Not for Ramirez, who was slow out of the box on a ball to the gap in the ninth inning. Cubs center-fielder Marlon Byrd made a strong throw to second to nab Ramirez. The Marlins scored their only run of the game one batter later on Logan Morrison's RBI single that should have tied the game at 2. Instead, the Cubs lifted a struggling Carlos Marmol, and Sean Marshall picked up a one-out save for Chicago, ending Florida's six-game winning streak.

Matt Tolbert, Twins: When you come in a pinch-runner, you're supposed to be smart on the basebaths. That's all the Twins ask of Tolbert -- well, that and running faster than Jim Thome -- but he didn't do his job. With one out in the ninth and the Twins trailing 2-1, Tolbert stood on third with Luke Hughes at the plate. Hughes hit a tapper back to the mound, but instead of holding at third, Tolbert was easily thrown out at the plate. One batter later Tsuyoshi Nishioka grounded out to end the game.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 30, 2011 10:16 am
Edited on: June 30, 2011 11:00 am
 

Pepper: Don't buy me peanuts or Cracker Jack

By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: Matt Snyder joins Lauren Shehadi to talk sweeps week in Major League Baseball, as the Phillies, Yankees and Mets go for sweeps in interleague series today.

BASEBALL FOR EVERYONE: A friend of mine has spent a good 15 years of his professional career around his great love, baseball. He's hoped to share that love with his son, named for his favorite player, Nolan Ryan. The two watch games on TV, but haven't been able to experience the game live.

Nolan hasn't been able to sit in the stands and wish for a foul ball to come his way or walk out of the concourse and see the field, hear the crowd roar as Ichiro Suzuki rounds second on his way to third or hear the pop of a Felix Hernandez fastball.

You see, two years ago, like any other toddler, Nolan ate some peanut butter. Soon, he could't breathe and broke out into hives. His parents loaded him into the car and rushed to the hospital. At one point, his mother decide they couldn't wait any longer and called 911 and they pulled over to the side as an ambulance rushed to their aid, closing the I-5. The paramedics were able to get it under control and doctors told them Nolan wouldn't have lasted much longer.

Nolan was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy. Since then, they've noticed symptoms in their son if there is even peanut dust in the air. Safeco Field or any stadium was like walking into a poison trap for Nolan. 

Well, that won't have to be the case -- as the Mariners are one of the teams hosting peanut-free games this season, an increasing trend according to this Reuters article. Peanut allergies have doubled over the last decade, and nobody is sure why.

Five times a season, the Tigers offer peanut-free suites at discount prices, the next is Sunday against the Giants and all 70 seats are sold, the Detroit News reports. That's a good sign and hopefully encourages more of this.

PHILLIES GOOD: OK, this is hardly breaking news, but the Phillies' rotation is really, really good -- and that's even without Roy Oswalt.

David Hale of the News-Journal does the math for us, the current five starters in the rotation -- Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick -- are a combined 12-3 with a 1.33 ERA in June with hitters managing just a .194 batting average against. WIth Halladay, Lee and Worley starting this month, the Phillies have gone 13-0.

BLAME BUD: While Bud Selig is 100 percent right to want Frank McCourt out as the Dodgers' owner, Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan writes that it's Selig's fault McCourt is in this position to begin with. Instead of finding the best owner for the team in 2004, Selig went with someone who would be on his side.

EXTENSION FOR HARDY: Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy is on several team's trade wishlist, but he may not be going anywhere. The Orioles have reached out to Hardy's agent to talk about an extension. Hardy is a free agent after the season. [Baltimore Sun]

NO FIRE SALE: After the Cubs released Doug Davis, general manager Jim Hendry met with the media and assured them there would be no "fire sale." While nobody wants the bloated contracts of Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Zambrano, Hendry insinuated he wouldn't trade the likes of Carlos Marmol or Ryan Dempster. [Daily Herald]

NO FIRE SALE… YET: The Dodgers haven't started "substantive" trade talks yet, but could begin doing so after the break, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets.

ZIMMERMAN'S CHANGES: Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has struggled after rebuilding his throwing mechanics during a season, including allowing the game-winning run with a throwing error on Wednesday. But Zimmerman is convinced he's doing the right thing and it'll pay off in the end. [Washington Post]

WOOD CLOSER: The Cubs could get reliever Kerry Wood back in time for this weekend's series with the White Sox, CSNChicago.com's Patrick Mooney tweets.

ROENICKE, GREINKE MEET: Brewers manager Ron Roenicke met with right-hander Zack Greinke to "clear the air" after Roenicke felt some of his postgame comments were misinterpreted by the media after Greinke's two-inning start against the Yankees. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

BUCHHOLZ OUT PAST BREAK: After throwing a bullpen Tuesday, Boston right-hander Clay Buchholz said he won't make his next start and could be out until after the All-Star break. Buchholz is dealing with a muscle strain in his back. [Boston Herald]

STRASBURG'S MECHANICS: Stephen Strasburg is back throwing off a mound, but his mechanics look the same, some observers say. Does he need a change? Sports Illustrated's Will Carroll says he doesn't know (and if Will doesn't know, I certainly don't), but it would be wise for the Nationals to look into some biomechanics analysis to make sure his mechanics weren't the reason for his arm injury.

SWISH BEING SWISH: Nick Swisher said his recent turnaround on the field has allowed him to be himself in the clubhouse. [Wall Street Journal]

ECKSTEIN NOT RETIRED: Former Angels (among other teams) shortstop David Eckstein says he's not retired, he's just choosing not to play. There are teams that would be interested in the game's leader of grit, but isn't sure if he wants to return. He sounds like he just needs to be wined and dined in the right way and he'd return. [Los Angeles Times]

NAME GAME: Just as Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle was responsible for Pete Rose's nickname, "Charlie Hustle," another Hall of Famer hung the moniker "Donnie Baseball" on Don Mattingly. Mattingly said Kirby Puckett gets credit for the nickname. [MLB.com]

NAME CHANGE: Remember the old XFL and Rod "He Hate Me" Smart? The CPBL -- the Chinese Professional Baseball League of Taiwan -- is apparently trying some sort of similar name-changing gimmick with its foreign players. One of those is former Royal Dan Reichert who is now Robert 38. [FanGraphs.com]

DODGERS DREAM TEAM: Steve Garvey has put together what he calls a "Dream Team" to buy the Dodgers, including another former Dodger, Orel Hershiser. [SportsRadioInterviews.com]

DIFFERENT DERBY: The Midwest League featured a different type of home run derby, which featured a hitting contest with more than 50 targets and prizes, including a dunk tank. Really, though, the biggest improvement over the big-league version is the absence of Chris Berman. [Benjamin Hill]

BUTCH'S TIRADE: Former big-leaguer Butch Hobson is now a manager in an Independent League, but his tirade from the other night is certainly worthy of the majors. Check him out has he does a combination of Lloyd McClendon and Terrell Owens. [h/t ItsAlwaysSunnyInDetroit.com]

MASCOT FAIL: Is that a sock or are you just happy to see me? Check out this independent league mascot in Amarillo, Texas. Yep. That's not good. [h/t Big League Stew]

BRING A PACKED LUNCH: I've always wanted to go see a game on one of the Wrigley Field rooftops, and I'd still like to -- I'm just not sure I would eat anything they have. Several rooftop businesses failed their health inspections recently. [Chicago Tribune]

CONGRATS CHONE: FanGraphs.com looks at the worst players in baseball based on 2010 and 2011 -- with Mariners infielder Chone Figgins edging Brewers shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt for the title.

CIVIL WAR-STYLE GAME: If you're in Savannah, Ga., this weekend, you have plenty of entertainment and dining options, but how about checking out some baseball at a Civil War fort? Fort Pulaski will host a game Sunday featuring rules from 1860. [Connect Savannah]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 12, 2011 5:42 pm
 

Several stars expected to return this week

Ryan Zimmerman

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Magglio OrdonezJoe Mauer may not be the only star returning tot he field this week -- Ryan Zimmerman, Magglio Ordonez and possibly Matt Holliday could all return this week, as well.

Zimmerman went 0 for 5 for Triple-A Syracuse on Sunday, but is expected to join the Nationals on Tuesday for their series against the Cardinals, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. Zimmerman hasn't played since April 9 and underwent abdominal surgery on May 3.

Zimmerman played six minor league games in his rehab, going 8 for 21 (.381) with three doubles and a triple, walking twice.

Ordonez is expected to return to the Tigers on Monday. He's hit .297 (11 for 37) with two homers in nine rehab games at Triple-A Toledo. Ordonez had ankle surgery in August and went on the DL in May because of the ankle.

Matt Holliday"He feels he's ready to come up here and contribute," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told Chris Iott of MLive.com.

Holliday may not go on a rehab assignment, telling Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he hopes to play Thursday at the Nationals, the day he's eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list after suffering a leg injury.

Holliday joined the team on Saturday in Milwaukee and took batting practice and went through a workout.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 3:30 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 5:00 pm
 

Agents says Ramirez wants to stay in Chicago

Aramis Ramirez

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Aramis Ramirez is still a Cub and he wants to keep it that way.

Ramirez's agent, Paul Kinzer, told the Chicago Tribune that his client doesn't want to be traded and is unlikely to OK a trade if the team asked. Ramirez has a full no-trade clause and is also a 10-and-5 player, meaning he must OK any trade because of his 10 years of Major League service time, inclujding the last five with the same team.

"He doesn't event want to take a trade. He took less years and less money to stay in Chicago [in 2006], so that is definitely his first option," Kinzer told the paper.

Ramirez makes $14.6 million this season and the Cubs have a club option for 2012 worth $15 million, one they'll no doubt decline and pay a $2 million buyout.

Ramirez is hitting a solid .288 with a .343 on-base percentage, but his slugging is down to just .394 with two homers in 216 plate appearances. Ramirez has a career slugging percentage of .495, but it has dipped each of the last seven seasons since he slugged a career-best .578 in 2004. Since then his slugging has decreased, sometimes gradually (.568 in 2005) and sometimes drastically, from .516 in in 2009 to .452 last season.

As I was watching the Cubs-Reds for a bit last night, they flashed some of Ramirez's career stats -- in his 14th season -- and ninth in Chicago, Ramirez has accumulated 291 home runs and 1,050 RBIs, all the while hitting .282/.340/.495. Even playing for the Cubs, I'm not so sure Ramirez has ever gotten his due for just how good of a player he's been over the years. He has earned just two All-Star nods.

Perhaps he has been overlooked among National League third basemen because he played in the time of Chipper Jones and Scott Rolen, as well as during the rise of David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman

Ramirez will turn 33 later this month and his power seems to be diminishing. Also, he has been at best an average defender. There's no way he makes $15 million next season and it appears his career is on its downside. Desppite that, there are teams that could use him for even his current skills. That said, it's unlikely to be the Cubs, unless he likes the team so much he'll take a huge paycut to stay in Wrigley.

By the way, Kinzer is also the agent for Geovany Soto, Starlin Castro and John Grabow. Kinzer told the Tribune he doesn't expect the Cubs to jettison Soto or Castro (duh), but it's possible Grabow could be on the market when the trade market begins to heat up. 

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Posted on: June 7, 2011 9:10 am
Edited on: June 7, 2011 10:55 am
 

Pepper: Royals hope to shake Pujols curse



By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY -- CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller, with his belly full of Kansas City barbecue, joins Lauren Shehadi to talk about the Red Sox and Yankees, as well as Dan Haren, Ubaldo Jimenez and more.

HOMETOWN BOY STAYS -- One of the more interesting picks in the first round of the draft last night was the Royals taking Bubba Starling with the fifth pick overall. Conventional wisdom going into the draft was the team would take a college arm to help supplement its incoming wave of talent. However, the team went with Starling, the top athlete in the draft. 

Don't discount the Albert Pujols factor here. Since 2001, Royals fans and others have been asking how the Royals could have missed on Albert Pujols, who went to high school and junior college in Kansas City (don't mind the fact everyone missed on Pujols, who wasn't drafted until the 13th round of the 1999 draft.) With Starling coming out of nearby Gardner, Kan., the Royals won't have to hear that criticism if Starling lives up to his potential.

BRUIN BONANZA -- UCLA baseball coach John Savage said he knew from the day Gerrit Cole stepped on campus that he'd likely be the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft. (UCLABruins.com)

Mets MAIN MAN -- Although he's best-known as the stat geek from Moneyball, the Mets' Paul DePodesta (who looks nothing like Jonah Hill), is the key to the Mets' scouting department. (Newark Star-Ledger)

SORIA'S BACK -- If you missed it, Joakim Soria is back as the Royals' closer, even though Aaron Crow never got a chance to close a game in his eight games as the team's designated closer. (CBSSports.com)

MINDREADER -- In addition to being a columnist, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times is also apparently a mind-reader. The omniscient Cowley says Carlos Zambrano is a liar and really wants out of Chicago (or at least the North side), because Zambrano said he wants to move on from his comments that the way the Cubs are playing is "embarrassing." Even though, to be fair, Zambrano said he wanted to move on before another "embarrassing" loss in Cincinnati.

BLAME GAME -- Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan took credit for Monday's loss, even though he probably doesn't deserve it. (Seattle Times)

MOVING ON UP -- The Indians have promoted former Yankees first baseman Nick Johnson -- to Triple-A. Johnson played two games at Double-A and had one hit in nine plate appearances (with three walks). He's not on Cleveland's 40-man roster, so manager Manny Acta said not to expect him in Cleveland anytime soon. (MLB.com)

A'S SHUFFLE -- A's third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, hitting just .221. was demoted to Triple-A on Monday. Utility man Adam Rosales was activiated from the 60-day disabled list. Kouzmanoff wasn't just struggling at the plate; he also had nine errors, the second-most in the American League. (MLB.com)

ZIMMERMAN UPDATE -- The Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman played seven innings at Class A Potomac on Monday, but manager Jim Riggleman said it's "unlikely" he will return before Sunday, when the team wraps up an 11-game road trip. (Washington Post)

PEAVY AVOIDS DL -- White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy will miss a start, but isn't expected to go on the disabled list after being diagnosed with a mild strain of his right groin. (Chicago Tribune)

FLASH GORDON -- Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon made his debut last night and his father, former pitcher Tom Gordon, was in the stands to see his son enter the game as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning. Gordon scored the Dodgers' only run. While his father was nicknamed "Flash," the name may be more appropriate for the son, because it describes his blazing speed.

CARTER STARTS TREATMENT -- Hall of Famer Gary Carter began his chemotherapy treatment on Saturday and will begin radiation treatment today. (ESPNNewYork.com)

VENTURA RETURNS -- Former White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura has returned to the organization as a special adviser to player development director Buddy Bell -- that's two pretty good defensive third basemen in the front office. (Chicago Sun-Times)

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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