Posted on: November 2, 2010 3:59 pm

Yankees favorite for 2011 World Series

You know what they say about a fool and his money… but hey, there's a couple of fools in Vegas (and some smart folks, too), but to put any money down on next baseball season before we even know what teams are going to look like?

Buster Posey Well, common sense won't stop folks from betting, and BoDog.com has its line for next year's World Series winner. And it's very little surprise that the Yankees are the favorite, while Buster Posey and the Giants are 10/1 to repeat.

Yankees 4/1
Phillies 6/1
Giants 10/1
Red Sox 10/1
Cardinals 14/1
Rays 14/1
Rangers 16/1
Twins 16/1
Braves 18/1
Rockies 18/1
Padres 20/1
Reds 20/1
Dodgers 22/1
White Sox 22/1
Angels 25/1
Cubs 30/1
Athletics 35/1
Tigers 35/1
Marlins 35/1
Mets 40/1
Blue Jays 50/1
Astros 65/1
Brewers 65/1
Mariners 70/1
Orioles 75/1
Diamondbacks 80/1
Indians 80/1
Nationals 80/1
Royals 125/1
Pirates 150/1

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 1, 2010 10:03 pm

Coaching roundup: Kranitz to Astros

Oakland named its pitching coach earlier Monday, while Davey Lopes left his position as first-base coach for the Phillies.

What else has been happening on the coaching front?

Once Seattle names its coaching staff, interim pitching coach Carl Willis will be named to the position permanently thanks to his previous history with Eric Wedge in Cleveland.

However, before Willis can be announced, Seattle needs a hitting coach. Alonzo Powell replaced Alan Cockrell as hitting coach midway through 2009, but there's no guarantee Powell remains in the role. The Seattle Times notes that Detroit's Triple-A hitting coach, Leon Durham, spoke to the Mariners. The M's also have checked in with Milt Thompson, who was the Phillies' hitting coach before being let go.

Third-base coach and bench coach are others that have to be named to the spot, and Orioles bench coach Jeff Datz may be moving to Seattle in one of those roles if and when Don Wakamatsu becomes Buck Showalter's understudy. The 3B coach position for Seattle has been in flux the last couple of seasons and Datz is seasoned in that role, so the Mariners may want Datz as the third-base coach.

The Times throws in Daren Brown as a candidate for bench coach, saying the interim manager knows many players from his time guiding the Triple-A team, plus his service to the team after Wakamatsu was fired as skipper.

The Astros have nabbed Rick Kranitz as minor league pitching coordinator as the Houston Chronicle reports. Kranitz was the Orioles pitching coach and while not fired, did not have a contract with Baltimore either. He was thought to be a candidate for the Yankees spot thanks to working with Joe Girardi in Florida. That's not the case, however.

Speaking of the opening for Yankees pitching coach, New York has received permission to speak to Gil Patterson about the job, as Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News notes.

Patterson has been a roving pitching instructor for Oakland since 2007, so isn't exactly a well-known name. He does have ties to the Yankees in that he was a pitching coach in the system from 2005-08.

The favorite for the spot appears to be Triple-A pitching coach Scott Aldred, although the team is considering bullpen coach Mike Harkey and are expected to speak to other people for the position as well.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: November 1, 2010 6:21 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2010 6:22 pm

Juan Uribe could be good fit for Astros

Uribe Juan Uribe is making a name for himself in the postseason with two big homers that have propelled the Giants to the cusp of a World Series title.

After several solid years with Colorado and the White Sox, Uribe entered free agency after the 2008 season with his stock down. The Giants inked him to a minor-league deal and brought him to spring training to compete for a job.

Uribe won a spot on the bench and increasingly played his way into relevancy as Edgar Renteria stumbled at shortstop. He finished 2009 with a .289/.329/.495 mark in 432 plate appearances. While he tested free agency again after the year, the then-30-year-old resigned with San Fran for $3.25 million for just one year.

Uribe played the bulk of the season at shortstop thanks to Renteria's ineffectiveness and injuries but moved to third base down the stretch as the team gave up on Pablo Sandoval. In 575 PA, he slashed .241/.310/.440 with 24 home runs, a career high.

Now, Uribe should enter the free agent market with a good chance of securing at least a two-year deal.

One team that could hand him just that is the Astros, as Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle believes that Uribe would be a good fit in Houston.

The Astros have Chris Johnson slated to play third, Jeff Keppinger second and either Tommy Manzella or Angel Sanchez at short. The latter two are not starting-caliber players as they contribute minimally with the bat. Importing Uribe's stick would upgrade the 'Stros shortstop position as well as give the Astros the flexibility to start Manzella and his strong defense at short when Johnson or Keppinger hit the bench as Uribe would simply shift over.

The Astros have a lot of work to do before they can return to the World Series, but the second-half play of the squad proves that Houston can still make noise at the major-league level. Uribe would certainly help raise the decibel level.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: October 23, 2010 4:56 pm

Bagwell won't return as Astros hitting coach

Jeff Bagwell
When the Astros offered two-year extensions in September to their entire coaching staff, only one didn't sign on. Hitting coach Jeff Bagwell, who was named to his position in July, said he wanted to talk it over with his family first.

Well, it looks like the family vote was for dad to stay at home, as Bagwell on Saturday informed the Astros he wouldn't be returning as hitting coach. He will go back to his old role, as special assistant to general manager Ed Wade.

Bagwell, a legendary Astros player who was in Houston from 1991-2005, was pressed into service when the team fired Sean Berry on July 11.

“This was a very difficult decision for me,” Bagwell told the Houston Chronicle. “I enjoyed my time as hitting coach a great deal. The players were great, and I can’t think of a better coaching staff to work with. They were outstanding.

"At this point in time, I’m unable to commit to a full season of putting in the time that is necessary to be effective in that role. But, I do look forward to continuing to work with the Astros.”

The Astros did not name a replacement, and said they'll begin searching for a new coach immediately.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: October 23, 2010 1:13 am
Edited on: October 23, 2010 1:26 am

Futility club down to two

Just a decade ago, more than a quarter of the teams in baseball were in the No World Series club. After Friday, membership is down to a depressing duo.

In 2001, the Diamondbacks quit the club in just their fourth season. Following them out the door were the Angels in 2002, the Astros in '05, the Rockies in '07, the Rays in '08 and now the Rangers, who had been members since they were the expansion Washington Senators in 1961.

Roll call:

Washington Nationals

Member since: 1969, when the expansion Montreal Expos, named in honor of the 1967 World's Fair, became MLB's first international franchise. They relocated to D.C. in 2005.
Playoff appearances:
1981, when they won the NL East in the second half of the strike-split season.
Closest call:
Their first postseason appearance came with the help of a labor stoppage, but the 1994 strike left Expos fans wondering what might have been. They were 74-40 when the strike hit, with a six-game division lead.
Outlook: The Nats have finished in last place five out of six seasons since moving to Washington, and have a long way to go. But they have some exciting talent on the way.

Seattle Mariners

Member since: 1977, when the Emerald City was awarded an expansion franchise due to a lawsuit over the defection of the Seattle Pilots to Milwaukee after one season in 1969.
Playoff appearances:
1995, 1997, 2000 (wild card), 2001
Closest call:
In 2001, the Mariners won an AL-record 116 games, led the majors in runs scored and fewest runs allowed, had eight All-Stars and four starting pitchers with at least 15 wins. They were dispatched by the Yankees in the ALCS in five games.
Outlook: After finishing with 100 losses for the second time in three years, not so hot. But they have revenue and payroll on their side, so getting better in a hurry is possible.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: October 14, 2010 7:21 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:57 am

R.I.P. Astros: Moving on

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 Houston Astros.

Few teams were as bad as the Astros were in the first part of the season, and then few teams were as good as the Astros in the second half of the season.


When I see Carlos Lee (pictured), I sometimes I think of the line in "Major League" when Charlie Donovan says, "I forgot about Dorn, because he's jolly high-priced." Lee owed $37 million through the next two seasons.

Lee didn't hit a homer in the season's first month, entered June with a .206 batting average and finished the season hitting .246/.291/.417 with 24 homers and 89 RBI. He's a below-average designated hitter that plays in the National League.

It's not to say Lee was all that was wrong with the Astros. Others struggled, such as Lance Berkman and Pedro Felice.

What may have been more devastating was seeing prospects the team had been counting on, such Tommy Manzella, Jason Castro and J.R. Towles struggle.


Brad Mills A lot of credit has to go to first-year manager Brad Mills. The team went 40-59 in their first 99 games of the season before finishing 36-27 the rest of the way. Mills also did it without some of his high-priced talent, as the team jettisoned Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman and Pedro Feliz.

Third baseman Chris Johnson had a good season, going .308/.337/.481 with 11 homers. Hunter Pence cashed in on the promise he'd shown early in his career, hitting .282/.325/.461 with 25 home runs, 91 RBI and 18 stolen bases.

The team relied on good starting pitching during its good streak from Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris and J.A. Happ, and all four of those starters return for 2011.


Ugh. Not really. That's the problem with cutting your losses and going young -- you need young players to replace the old ones. It's cheaper, but the Astros have one of the worst farm systems in the majors.


The second half of the season raised the bar for the Astros, so fans will be expecting at least a .500 team, if not a run at the NL Central title.


The Astros took the right direction during the season, trading Berkman and Oswalt.

Houston has Berkan, Oswalt, Feliz and Kaz Matsui off the books, but there's not a whole to to spend that money on in free agency.

Although Berkman had hinted that he wanted to return to Houston, the teams needs to resist nostalgia and give Brett Wallace a chance at first base.


The optimism from the last part of 2010 will be gone by the All-Star break and the team will finish ahead of the Pirates in the National League Central, but won't be challenging for a title.

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: October 13, 2010 8:09 pm

Minor surgery for Astros' Bogusevic

Astros outfielder Brian Bogusevic underwent minor surgery on his foot Wednesday, the team announced. The converted pitcher, who made his major-league debut with 19 appearances this season, had been experiencing pain and was scheduled to have a bone spur shaved down.

Bogusevic is expected to be ready for spring training.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: October 8, 2010 5:56 pm

Astros passing on Loux

The Astros have said they're no longer interested in former Diamondbacks draftee Barret Loux.

Loux, the sixth overall pick out of Texas A&M in June's draft, failed his physical and didn't sign with Arizona. He was declared a free agent by MLB and free to sign with any team after Sept. 1.

After seeing Loux pitch twice, Astros general manager Ed Wade said Houston was no longer interested in Loux.

"We talked about it internally and decided not to pursue it at this point," Wade told the Houston Chronicle 's Zachary Levine .

The Astros were considered by many as the favorite to ink Loux, a Houston-area native. His workouts have been watched by many teams, so it will be interesting to see how low his signing price goes. Someone will take a chance, but it's looking less likely that he'll get first-round money.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
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