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Tag:MLB Hot Stove
Posted on: November 4, 2011 4:55 pm
 

Nationals interested in Roy Oswalt

By Matt Snyder

After the Jayson Werth signing last season, we know the Washington Nationals aren't shy about throwing around big bucks in free agency. And just in case you aren't convinced, consider that Ted Lerner is the richest owner in baseball. So it shouldn't be a shock if the Nationals are in on some of the bigger names in the free agent market. Thus, the Friday afternoon rumor -- via Bill Ladson of MLB.com -- that they're interested in former Astros and Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt should come as no surprise.

The Nationals already have four spots on their rotation filled, assuming everyone is healthy and there are no trades involving the foursome of Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan and Chien-Ming Wang. According to Ladson's report, general manager Mike Rizzo wants to add a veteran to sit atop the rotation.

"The type of pitcher we are looking for is a good leader-type of guy that throws a lot of innings, has shown that he can win in the big leagues and really lead our staff," Rizzo said without mentioning any names (MLB.com). "It's not by having the best stuff on the staff, but showing how to be a professional, how to be a winner, how to pitch 200 innings in a season many, many times in a career. That's kind of the guy we are looking for."

Hot Stove Season
The Nats can easily fill the final rotation spot from within the organization if they so choose. Young pitchers with pretty good potential like Ross Detwiler, Tommy Milone and Brad Peacock would be legitimate options, but it appears Rizzo doesn't want to wait. After a third-place finish -- the best-ever for the Washington Nationals -- he appears ready to become a contender. And, again, factor in the deep pockets of Lerner. Why take the chance on a youngster when they could just overpay for a proven veteran? Oswalt could fit. He might not be an ace anymore, but Strasburg as a two, Zimmermann as a three, and Lannon/Wang as the four/five guys looks like a pretty deep rotation.

Oswalt, 34, was 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 93 strikeouts in 139 innings in 2011. He battled back issues and also had a family issue at one point (when a tornado ravaged his hometown). He had thrown at least 208 innings in seven of the previous nine seasons.

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 2:35 pm
 

Athletics could be ready to strip down team

Gonzalez

By Evan Brunell


Depending on what happens with the Athletics' attempted relocation to San Jose, the club could enter a rebuilding phase.

As has been reported for some time now, Oakland would strip the team and enter into a rebuilding process over the next three seasons should commissioner Bud Selig rule that the A's can move to San Jose. The issue has been on Selig's desk since March 2009 and is complicated by the Giants claiming territorial rights over San Jose. The hope is that Selig will have a ruling shortly for the A's, and it could impact the team's offseason moves.

If Selig approves the move to San Jose, any new stadium would require at least three years to be built. Oakland and GM Billy Beane would enter into a rebuilding period in the hopes of having a contender ready to go once the stadium opens. That could mean trading players such as Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Kurt Suzuki. The only person that would be unavailable in a rebuilding, Fox Sports reports, is second baseman Jemile Weeks, who debuted this season.

If there is no news, the club likely will move to younger players regardless. As opposed to last season when Beane went hard after Adrian Beltre, Lance Berkman and Japanese import Hisashi Iwakuma, and losing out on each, poor revenues could force the A's into yet another rebuilding process. Things could change, though, if Selig rules against San Jose. Faced with a long-term arrangement in Oakland, Beane could be aggressive just like last season to build a contender with the core already in place.

Should the A's rebuild, there will be no shortage of suitors, especially with a poor free agent class. Gonzalez (pictured), in particular, has been linked to the Yankees before and could be dealt to New York for top prospect Jesus Montero, which would give the A's a long-coveted elite bat they can control for some time.

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 1:46 pm
 

Agent: Mark Buehrle open to any team

BuehrleBy Evan Brunell

It's always been assumed that free agent starting pitcher Mark Buehrle would either return to the White Sox or bolt for his hometown Cardinals, but his agent assured Fox Sports that the left-hander is open to joining any team.

Buehrle should be in demand this winter as he is coming off his 11th straight season of at least 200 innings pitched. He doesn't have the stuff that makes him an ace, but he can chew up innings and with his sharp control, the 32-year-old will be coveted. Agent Jeff Berry is doing what he can to open up Buehrle's market and says he may even prefer to pitch in the National League.

“Mark is not going to eliminate any team from free-agent consideration,” Berry said. “But having pitched 12 years in the American League, the National League certainly will have some appeal to him. There is no DH. It’s obviously less of a hitter’s league. And Mark has had great success in his career against the National League.”

Buehrle has a career 3.32 ERA against NL teams, running up a 24-6 record in 271 innings with 164 strikeouts and 50 walks. Compare that to his career, which sports a 3.83 ERA. It's no surprise that Buehrle is more successful against the NL than AL as you can say that about virtually any pitcher. But the soft-tosser may especially be suited to the NL and if he lands in a situation where his home stadium is a pitcher's park as opposed to Chicago's launching pad in U.S. Cellular Stadium, he could be in line for some impressive seasons.

The only NL team that has been attached to Buehrle other than his hometown Cardinals are the Marlins, who are on the hunt for a starting pitcher and have as manager Ozzie Guillen, who oversaw Buehrle in Chicago for eight seasons.

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Posted on: November 3, 2011 9:08 am
Edited on: November 3, 2011 5:58 pm
 

Juan Rivera returning to Dodgers

Juan RiveraBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Outfielder Juan Rivera may not know who will be signing his checks next year, but he does know he'll be getting one -- as the 33-year-old has agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Dodgers. The team officially announced the move Thursday afternoon.

Rivera was acquired in a trade from Toronto for a player to be named and cash after disappointing in his his first 70 games with the Blue Jays, hitting .243/.305/.360. In Los Angeles, he played more to his career averages, hitting .274/.333/.406 in 62 games, playing mostly right field, as well as left and at first base.

Rivera spent six years in Anaheim before being part of the trade that sent Vernon Wells to Anaheim in January. He was in the final year of a three-year, $12.75 million deal.

Free agent tracker: Position players | Pitchers | Outfield rankings 

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Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:05 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 5:00 pm
 

Predicting where baseball free agents will sign

Free agents

By Evan Brunell


This winter's free agent crop bolstered by some elite players hitting the market, led by Albert Pujols, who will hold the mantle of being the best player of the 21st century for quite some time. Where he ends up has been one of baseball's burning questions for two years, and the answer is finally here... and if my psychic chops are up to par, I have him returning to St. Louis.

As many as four contracts totaling $100 million could be handed out with Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes and C.J. Wilson all vying for the honor. (Five if you include CC Sabathia extending with New York for $122 million). For comparison, last winter saw three players score at least $100 million in their new deals -- Carl Crawford, Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth.

Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Beltran, Heath Bell, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson and Mark Buehrle round out the list of 10 predictions. Hang onto your hats, because there are a couple interesting destinations I have players ending up in. If you can't get enough free-agent news, check out the predictions by all CBSSports.com experts. Or how about the free-agent tracker?

Let's get to it.

Free Agency Predictions
Player Prediction
1B Albert Pujols Cardinals
It's just too difficult to see Pujols leaving the Cardinals, and it doesn't work in his favor that many teams that could have paid for his services are all set at first base. Given the increasing likelihood that Pujols won't match Alex Rodriguez's record contract of 10 years and $275 million, it will put him squarely in St. Louis' price range, but the club has to be ready to boost its offer. If the Cards dig in and aren't willing to compromise, he will leave town. Skipper Tony La Russa retiring does throw a wrench into things, but in the end, why would Pujols leave a place he is beloved and knows he will win?
Three other possibles: Cubs, Nationals, Rangers
1B Prince Fielder Mariners
The Mariners have money -- they just haven't had an impetus to spend it just yet. But with a rapidly improving rotation, the M's are not far off from contention and can build around Fielder and second baseman Dustin Ackley, as well as Justin Smoak (they hope). Seattle's offense has been so horribly bad the last two years they really can't afford not to go after a big thumper that can change the complexion of the lineup. Having the DH works in Seattle's favor too, as they have a place to play him in the future, if and when he becomes even more of a liability on D. Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik was the one to draft and develop Fielder in Milwaukee, but has yet to really play in the free agent market since taking over the team.
Three other possibles: Orioles, Brewers, Nationals
SS Jose Reyes Giants
The Giants need a hitter and can withstand the loss of Carlos Beltran in the outfield, so expect the team to focus on a position of dire need by signing Reyes. The club has pretty much zero shortstop depth, which was exposed last year with a decrepit Miguel Tejada falling out of favor and the club cycling through shortstops the rest of the way. Reyes would be a dynamo for the Giants and would give the club the perfect leadoff man. The club has never been one to worry about losing a draft pick as compensation, and could actually work in their favor by giving them more money to allocate to Reyes.
Three other possibles: Mets, Giants, Nationals
SP C.J. Wilson Royals
Wilson is a solid pitcher, but he's a bit overrated. Teams trying to get over the hump and contend again will overlook his deficiencies to make a statement, and Kansas City is motivated to find a major-league starting pitcher that can top the rotation and bring the youngsters along. The Royals will have money to spend and can also entice Wilson by showing him how the team is on the rise, and how his signing will allow them to trade some minor-league pitchers for major-league help. He should land an A.J. Burnett/John Lackey-type deal of five years and north of $80 million.
Three other possibles: Nationals, Angels, Yankees
CL Jonathan Papelbon Papelbon
The Red Sox can't afford to let Papelbon go, not after having one of his best seasons to date. There are reports that Papelbon started emerging as a leader in 2011, which Boston obviously needs following the wake of clubhouse issues last season. In addition, retaining Papelbon allows Boston to keep Daniel Bard in his setup role where he is more valuable than he would be as a closer. Papelbon will be looking for lots of money, but will be well within Boston's price range. The club has enough issues to deal with without worrying about having to fill the closer's spot, which is one of heavy responsibility -- something Papelbon craves.
Three other possibles: Rangers, Phillies, Blue Jays
RF Carlos Beltran
Marlins
The Marlins have money to spend and will be looking to make a splash heading into their new stadium. Beltran would be a popular name, especially given he is a native Puerto Rican, which the Marlins have tried to cultivate as a fan base (and have held regular-season games in Puerto Rico). There isn't any space currently in the Marlins outfield, but nothing that can't change to accommodate Beltran. Despite Beltran's advanced age, he would fit nicely in the order on a team expected to contend.
Three other possibles: Giants, Red Sox, Pirates
CL Heath Bell
Phillies
I was tempted and go rogue here, tabbing the Phillies. I do believe that Philadelphia would love Bell to be its next closer, especially if Ryan Madson doesn't return. But I can't ignore the fact that Bell would be willing to accept arbitration to stay with the Padres, which would lock him to San Diego for just one season. The small-market Pads would love having that flexibility of an elite closer under contract for just one year. Despite Bell wanting a three-year deal, the mere fact he would accept arbitration -- and said so publicly -- means that a deal will happen between both sides.
Three other possibles: Phillies, Dodgers, Twins
SS Jimmy Rollins
Phillies
Rollins probably won't get the five-year deal he thinks he deserves, but Philadelphia can't afford to mess around here. Rollins is very popular in town and while his MVP days are behind him, he is still a very good shortstop. The Phillies could be in serious trouble if Reyes and Rollins sign elsewhere, as the club has very poor infield depth. Not getting Rollins back (or Reyes as a fallback) would force the team into making a trade for a shortstop, and this is a club that needs to start hanging onto its minor-league talent. With an entire infield in flux, it makes no sense for Philadelphia to compromise what depth they have in prospect Freddy Galvis, who is 21 and looks to need at least another full year in the minors.
Three other possibles: Giants, Brewers, Mariners
Buerhle SP Mark Buehrle Yankees
The White Sox are "letting the kids play" in 2012, but that doesn't necessarily signal a rebuilding. There is enough talent on the squad that, if things break right, could leave Chicago in contention. Any deal would likely be predicated on what Chicago does with Carlos Quentin and John Danks, the two prime pieces that could be traded. Buerhle's loyalty factors in here too -- he wants to either be a White Sox or pitch for his hometown Cards. But if St. Louis resigns Pujols and closes its checkbook and the White Sox raze the team, he'll have to seek employment elsewhere. The guess here is Buerhle comes back, even if a ring isn't likely.
Three other possibles: Yankees, Cardinals, Marlins
CL Ryan Madson Blue Jays
The Blue Jays need a closer and are an up-and-coming team. Their market is large, and that club can eventually support a payroll north of $100 million. While Toronto is better off keeping much of its finances in its back pocket until a better free-agent class, Madson makes too much sense for the Jays to pass up. His market will be depressed thanks to the amount of closers available in free agency, plus the fact he doesn't have a history of closing beyond 2011. The Jays will want a young closer, and Madson will fit the bill as one of the youngest available -- he's the same age as Papelbon, but will come at a lesser price.
Three other possibles: Phillies, Red Sox, Rangers

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Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:05 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2011 1:49 pm
 

2012 CBSSports.com free agent predictions

By Evan Brunell

Which free agents will end up where?

That's the burning question facing the CBSSports.com experts, who have submitted predictions for where some top free agents on the market will go.

Eye on Baseball's Evan Brunell further explains his predictions here, while Larry Dobrow thinks that Prince Fielder will stay in the NL Central, but move a bit south and join Theo Epstein in Chicago. Meanwhile, Gregg Doyel cheekily predicts New York and Boston will open up their wallets and dominate the market. One question, Gregg: With Derek Jeter, Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins all Yankees, where do they play!?

2012 Free Agency
Position rankings
Resident baseball columnists Danny Knobler and Scott Miller agree that Pujols will return to St. Louis and Rollins to Philadelphia, but past that it's a free-for-all. The biggest surprises? Knobler has Jose Reyes joining the Tigers, presumably shoving Jhonny Peralta to third. Scott Miller likes Reyes to the Giants, while calling for Carlos Beltran to join the Pittsburgh Pirates. Yes, really. Knobler, on the other hand, tabs Beltran to the Marlins.

Eye on Baseball's C. Trent Rosecrans and Matt Snyder have their own surprise picks. For one, Rosecrans has Albert Pujols to the Marlins. Can you imagine? Snyder, meanwhile, is the only person to predict a shortstop heading to Seattle with Rollins apparently headed northwest. Brunell was the only other person to believe Seattle will play in the free-agent market, as Fielder heads to Seattle in his predictions.

Speaking of Fielder, no one could agree on his landing spot. He could be headed virtually anywhere in the United States. It will be a major surprise if he doesn't land at one of the places projected, but with Fielder, anything goes. The person with the biggest consensus as to his destination is closer Jonathan Papelbon, with five of seven experts predicting he'll return to Boston.

Oh, and that guy named Pujols? Most see him back in St. Louis.

2012 MLB free agent predictions
  Evan
Brunell
Larry
Dobrow
Gregg
Doyel
Danny
Knobler
Scott
Miller
C. Trent
Rosecrans
Matt
Snyder
Albert Pujols
Prince Fielder
Jose Reyes
C.J. Wilson
Jonathan Papelbon
Carlos Beltran
Heath Bell
Jimmy Rollins
Ryan Madson
Mark Buehrle

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 8:06 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2011 9:15 pm
 

Diamondbacks sign McDonald to two-year deal

McDonaldBy Evan Brunell

The Diamondbacks have reached a two-year agreement with utility infielder John McDonald, the team announced on Wednesday. McDonald will recieve $3 million total, split evenly over the two seasons.

More Free Agency
Position rankings
McDonald's signing likely means Arizona will wave sayonara to Willie Bloomquist, who was a utility infielder last season for the Diamondbacks, but started at shortstop following Stephen Drew's season-ending injury. McDonald has 13 full seasons in the majors, and less than two of these seasons were spent not as a member of the Indians or Blue Jays. McDonald came over from Toronto, whom he had played for since 2005, in an August deal along with Aaron Hill to shore up the infield defense.

McDonald should play the next two seasons in a backup role. He is known for his defense and is far from being a decent hitter. In fact, for Arizona, McDonald hit .169/.222/.203 as he swiped playing time from Bloomquist thanks to his ability to pick it. If he gets pressured into a starting role for 'Zona, you know things aren't going according to plan. But as a backup middle infielder, McDonald's defense gives the Diamondbacks one of the better options in the majors for such a role.

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Posted on: November 2, 2011 6:49 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2011 7:00 pm
 

Nationals re-sign Chien-Ming Wang

WangBy Evan Brunell

The Nationals have agreed to a deal in principle with starter Chien-Ming Wang, SI.com's Jon Heyman reports.

Wang has been with Washington for the last two seasons but only made his Nats debut in late July after recovering from shoulder problems that jettisoned him from the Yankees. The groundball artist made 11 starts and walked away with a 4.04 ERA in 62 1/3 innings. While his strikeout numbers have always been low, the fact he only punched out 25 is cause for concern. On the bright side, he allowed a skimpy 13 walks, which is a big reason for his success.

Now that the 31-year-old will presumably enter spring training healthy, he could enjoy a productive season. When right, Wang lets hitters beat themselves by either striking them out just enough to keep them honest or forcing batters to beat the ball in the ground. To that extent, he needs a strong infield defense behind him to get outs, and Washington's D is strong enough. What will be interesting to monitor is his fastball velocity. With a full offseason to rest and his shoulder problems finally behind him, can he tick his average fastball back up to 92 mph? That would be enough to address concerns about his long-term viability, even if he loses some control in ratcheting up the velocity. Many pitchers tend to need time to see their velocity recover after such major surgery and time away from the majors.

Wang figures to slot behind Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and John Lannan in the rotation, leaving just one spot available for competition. Wang won't just be handed a spot, though, even though he's the favorite to secure a spot in the rotation.

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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