Posted on: November 16, 2010 8:46 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2010 10:53 pm

Tuesday evening rumor roundup

Well, the first day of the general managers' meetings in Orlando was more eventful than expected. The Braves stole Dan Uggla from the Marlins, the Cardinals re-signed Jake Westbrook and Florida overpaid for John Buck.

There's other talk 'round the meetings and here's a few of the other notes from Tuesday:

• The Marlins are looking at a multi-year deal with right-hander Ricky Nolasco. (Miami Herald )

• Reds general manager Walt Jocketty says he's spoken to the agents for free agents Arthur Rhodes and Miguel Cairo. Asked if the Reds were likely to sign any outside free agents, Jocketty said, "probably not." (Cincinnati Enquirer )

• Jocketty says the Reds are talking to teams about acquiring a leadoff hitter. (MLB.com )

• The agent for Reds right fielder Jay Bruce says his client is open to selling out his arbitration-eligible years in a long-term deal. Bruce is a Super Two player. (MLB.com )

• Free agent left-hander Jeff Francis is drawing interest from the Pirates, Mariners, Rockies, Brewers and Astros. (ESPN.com )

• The Yankees are interested in left-handed reliever Pedro Feliciano. (Newsday )

• Bill Hall could be an option for the Yankees. (FoxSports.com )

• Chad Tracy, who played for the Marlins and Cubs last season, has signed with Japan's Hiroshima Carp for about $1.3 million. (NPB Tracker )

• Former Red and Mariner Wladimir Balentien has reportedly signed to play in Japan. (NPB Tracker )

• Japan's SoftBank Hawks are working on signing Marcus Thames. (NPB Tracker )

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: November 8, 2010 6:17 pm

ESPN dumps Morgan-Miller team

Joe Morgan
The legendary booth pairing of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan is no more.

After 21 years, ESPN cut ties with the "Sunday Night Baseball" duo, deciding not to renew Morgan's contract and telling Miller he could stay on doing radio, according to the New York Times. They had been in the booth for baseball's exclusive game of the week since the program's inception in 1990.

“We’ve decided to make a change and introduce new voices and new perspective,” said Norby Williamson, an ESPN vice president. “Twenty-one years is an eternity in this business. And today is about acknowledging the contributions they made to the franchise.”

Both men are recognized in the Hall of Fame. Morgan, a 10-time All-Star second baseman for the Astros and Reds, was inducted in 1990. Miller received the Ford C. Frick award for broadcasting excellence this year. The day of his induction was the only Sunday night game Miller, who also is the play-by-play voice of the Giants, ever missed during his tenure.

The Times speculates that Dan Schulman will replace Miller, paired with Orel Hershiser, who was the third man in the booth last season.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Tags: Astros, Giants, Reds
Posted on: November 8, 2010 10:29 am
Edited on: November 8, 2010 11:49 am

Hoffman will return in 2011 if he closes

Hoffman The only way Trevor Hoffman will return for another season is if a team allows him to close, says SI.com's Jon Heyman .

Hoffman lost his closer's job to John Axford after beginning 2010 bombing in the role he had occupied for 15 seasons. He was able to notch 10 saves, however, to crack the 600-save barrier and finish with 601 saves. He finished with a 5.89 ERA, the highest of his career, although that ERA is tied up in a first-half mark of 8.33. In the second half, his ERA was back down to 2.66.

Hoffman will likely not find many offers coming his way, but his strong finish to the season and career track record could get him some nibbles from a team looking for a low-cost option to close games. If he was willing to come in and compete -- but not necessarily win the closer's job -- he would likely find more nibbles.

A list of teams that could be prepared to hand Hoffman the closer's job outright:

Arizona Diamondbacks : New GM Kevin Towers is certainly familiar with Hoffman, having had Hoffman as his closer from 1995-2008. 'Zona just so happens to have a better bullpen on its priority list. Could a reunion be in order?

Florida Marlins : Hoffman's original team has a void up top as the club soured on Leo Nunez and could non-tender him at the arbitration deadline. They have internal candidate Clay Hensley, but he isn't thought to be a viable closer and isn't banging on the door regardless. Hoffman returning to Florida to close his career could be a nice way to cap his career and give Florida a name to market in the final season of play at Dolphin Stadium.

Tampa Bay Rays : The Rays have a blank slate in the bullpen and have to rebuild it from top to bottom. Asking Hoffman to survive in the AL East may be too much to ask, but the club is slashing payroll and Hoffman could be the perfect solution.

Toronto Blue Jays : Another AL East team declined the options on Kevin Gregg, the 2009 closer. That opens up a chance for Hoffman to head north of the border on a team that could drive for a postseason spot.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 7, 2010 1:32 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2010 5:58 pm

Epic series ends in Japan

After playing 27 innings in two days, the Japan Series finally ended Sunday with the Chiba Lotte Marines winning 4-2 -- in seven games.

The Marines beat the Chunichi Dragons 8-7 on a 12th-inning triple to end Game 7. Less than 24 hours earlier, Game 6 had ended in a 2-2 tie after 15 grueling innings, the game lasting 5 hours, 43 minutes. Games in Japan end in ties after 12 innings in the regular season and 15 innings in the Japan Series. It's a good thing there is no Game 8, because you'd think the bullpens would be in pretty rough shape.

The Marines won for the first time since 2005, when Bobby Valentine was their manager. They also became the first team to finish the regular season in third place and go on to win the Series.

Game 6 was the first 15-inning tie in Japan Series history. The longest previous game was a 13-inning tie in 1975.

The longest World Series game was Game 3 in 2005, when the White Sox beat the Astros 7-5 in 14 innings, the game lasting 5:41. The longest U.S. major-league game by innings was a 26-inning game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves in 1920. They had to call it a 1-1 tie due to darkness.

The longest major-league game by time was a 1984 game between the White Sox and Brewers that lasted two days -- it was suspended at the old American League curfew time of 1 a.m. and completed the following day. The White Sox won on a 25th-inning homer by Harold Baines, and the total time of game was 8:06.

Want even more longest-game trivia? The longest professional game in U.S. history is believed to be a 33-inning game in 1981 between Triple-A Pawtucket and Rochester that lasted 8:25. Cal Ripken Jr. and Wade Boggs played in that game, which was suspended at 4:07 on Easter morning in the 32nd inning and completed the next day.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: November 6, 2010 1:52 pm

No Houston return for Berkman

Lance Berkman
Astros general manager Ed Wade told a Houston TV station the team has "moved past" the Lance Berkman era and has no interest in trying to reacquire the first baseman, whom they traded to the Yankees in July.

"I heard from Mike Moye [Berkman's agent] and he inquired about whether we had interest in bringing Lance back and I was candid with him and told him it didn't fit for us," Wade told Fox 26. "As much as we love and respect Lance and what he's done for our organization, we had these internal conversations in July when we made the decision to go ahead and move him.

"Lance had said he'd be open to a trade at that point in time and realistically evaluating where we thought we were going to be going into 2011 we didn't think there was going to be a fit there with regard to picking his option up."

The Yankees, for whom Berkman batted .255 after the trade, didn't pick up the $15 million option, and he became a free agent. Berkman, who played nearly 12 years in Houston, has made no secret of his allegiance to the team, saying in October "I'm a Houston Astro plain and simple, regardless of what happens going forward."

Berkman said Friday he wasn't ready to talk about his feelings about the Astros not having a place for him anymore.

"To be honest I don't know how I feel," Berkman said.  "I really need some time to digest it."

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: November 6, 2010 11:03 am

Collins could be Mets front-runner

Just when New York media types were thinking the Mets managerial job was probably down to Bob Melvin and Don Wakamatsu, it seems that there could be a new lead horse: former Angels and Astros manager Terry Collins.

Collins, who was set to meet with Mets general manager Sandy Alderson this weekend in San Diego, was the Mets' minor-league field coordinator last year, so he's familiar with the farm system. He's also got background with Paul DePodesta, who appears to be close to joining Alderson's staff. When he was Dodgers GM, DePodesta reportedly was all set to hire Collins to manage after the 2005 season, but was fired before he got the chance.

A source who has spoken with Mets officials in recent days told the New York Post that Collins could be characterized as "a strong candidate to the front-runner. I think it is possible that all the interviews are just covering bases and they already like Collins the best."

Collins' teams finished in second place in five of his six managerial seasons, but he has never managed in the playoffs.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: November 5, 2010 1:56 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2010 2:25 pm

Barnett named Astros hitting coach

The Astros stayed inside the organization for a new hitting coach, hiring Mike Barnett, who has been the Astros' minor-league hitting coordinator the past two years. Barnett replaces Jeff Bagwell, who declined to return after coaching half a season.

This will be Barnett's third big-league stint as a hitting coach. He held the position for the Blue Jays from 2002-05 and the Royals from 2006-08. When the Jays fired him midway through the 2005 season, he finished the year as a hitting instructor with the Red Sox, for whom current Astros manager Brad Mills was bench coach.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: November 4, 2010 4:19 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:32 pm

Bruce, O'Day among Super Twos

Brad Ziegler, the right-handed sidearmed reliever, is the lucky winner of the Super Two cutoff date this year with two years, 122 days of service time, according to the list sent to agents by the MLB Players Association. Super Two qualify for salary arbitration early.

The cutoff this season is lower than it has been in recent years, perhaps indicating that teams are getting more and more careful about how soon they bring up players in attempts to put off arbitration as long as possible.

Leading the list is Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria, who has already been signed to a long-term deal, a deal that's looking better and better by the day for the Rays.

Here's the list:

Jay Bruce Player 2009 Club Total Service
Evan Longoria Tampa Bay 2.170
Jim Johnson Baltimore 2.165
Felipe Paulino Houston 2.163
Josh Fields Kansas City 2.159
Kyle Kendrick Philadelphia 2.159
Sean White Seattle 2.156
Ian Stewart Colorado 2.154
Dana Eveland* Pittsburgh 2.152
Luke Hochevar Kansas City 2.151
Armando Galarraga Detroit 2.148
Burke Badenhop Florida 2.143
Ross Ohlendorf Pittsburgh 2.139
Chris Perez Cleveland 2.136
Alberto Gonzalez Washington 2.135
Jensen Lewis Cleveland 2.133
Darren O'Day Texas 2.128
Jay Bruce Cincinnati 2.125
Chase Headley San Diego 2.123
Travis Buck Oakland 2.123
Brad Ziegler Oakland 2.122

It appears that this is the best news for Bruce, O'Day and Perez, who will likely get the biggest bumps in salary from 2010 to 2011.

Of all those players, Bruce (pictured) may have had the best season, hitting .281/.353/.493 with 25 home runs. Perez recorded 23 saves and had a 1.71 ERA as the closer for the Indians once Kerry Wood was sent to the Yankees. O'Day was a valuable member of the Rangers' bullpen, appearing in 72 regular-season games and 11 postseason games. During the Regular season, he had a 2.03 ERA.

All three of those players made $440,000 or less last season.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com