Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:MLB Hot Stove
Posted on: October 29, 2011 8:01 pm
 

Owner Moreno: Angels payroll to decrease

MorenoBy Evan Brunell

Last season, Arte Moreno was willing to pay top dollar to get the best free agent. He ended up saving a dime by opting to trade for Vernon Wells... except that transaction didn't work out well.

This season, Moreno isn't as willing to flash his wallet, the Orange County Register reports. Moreno admitted that payroll got a bit unwieldy last season as payroll soared to a franchise-high $142 million thanks to Wells and two free-agent signings in Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi. And this year?

“I would say that $130 [million], $140 [million] range we’re pretty comfortable in,” the owner said.

The Angels have $99 million allocated to just nine players next season, so it will be difficult for the club to round out the squad with capable players. Losing Joel Pineiro, Fernando Rodney and Russell Branyan will help, but neither were albatrosses either. They will also shed having to pay Gary Matthews Jr. and Scott Kazmir, which works in their favor even more, but arbitration raises are due to quite a few people, and significant raises could be on the way for Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar in particular. After arbitration, the Angels could be around $120 million, which will leave them bargain-bin shopping for bullpen and rotation help.

This news likely leaves L.A. out in the cold for significant free agents, but things can change quickly.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 29, 2011 1:56 pm
 

Dempster picks up player option, stays with Cubs

DempsterBy Evan Brunell

Ryan Dempster has officially exercised his player option to stay with the Cubs, CSN Chicago reports.

New GM Theo Epstein will have to allocate $14 million to Dempster, which is way above market value and better than he could have done in the market. The 34-year-old finished 2011 with a 4.80 ERA in 34 starts, way over his 3.85 ERA from a season ago, but the righty did finish with at least 200 innings pitched for the fourth straight season.

Dempster figures to pair with Matt Garza at the top of the rotation in Chicago next year, but who fills out the rotation behind the two is anyone's guess.

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

Posted on: October 29, 2011 11:58 am
 

Rangers ace Wilson looks ahead to free agency

Wilson

By Evan Brunell


Now that the Rangers coming up short in the Fall Classic for the second year in a row, the team may be poised to lose its left-handed ace... again.

A year after failing to entice Cliff Lee back to Texas, the Rangers have new ace C.J. Wilson set to hit the market. Wilson, despite posting a 2.94 ERA in 24 starts, isn't considered by many to be an elite, ace pitcher. His performance in the postseason didn't do much to help his prospects, finishing with a 5.79 ERA in 28 innings across five starts and one relief appearance. That could hold back his market, although Wilson hopes not.

"I feel like I pitched pretty well in the World Series and I hope that rinses out the bad taste people had in their mouth from the bad inning I had in Detroit and the bad game I had against Tampa," Wilson told ESPN Dallas, noting how he finished the World Series with a 2.92 ERA over 12 1/3 innings. However, Wilson walked 11 and struck out just nine, so his World Series outings were not exactly impressive. "I feel like I made some good adjustments and got some help from some people to make those adjustments," he added. "The only thing I’m concerned with, personally, is, ‘what can I do to be a better baseball player next year?’"

But before he can play next year, he has to find a team. And Wilson has absolutely zero idea of the process.

"It’s foreign to me. I don’t know how it’s going to work," Wilson said. "I don’t know if someone is going to be like, ‘we’re going to get you your own blimp; no matter how bad traffic is we will blimp your butt to the field.’"

I think it's safe to say that no team will be offering to "blimp [his] butt" to the field, but he should be in line for a lucrative payday, even if he falls short of the $100 million mark that some have projected. If Wilson breaks that barrier, it won't be Texas doing so. The club isn't awash in finances and doesn't believe Wilson can be a front-line ace, which $100 million would demand he be. Wilson wouldn't rule out a return to Texas, crediting the organization for his success.

"The baseball angle here is very strong. Obviously, we’re a good organization. We’ve proven we can win," Wilson said. "We have guys on the team coming back. We have a lot of pieces that I think are complementary to me and vice-versa, so in that regard, that kind of speaks for itself. I like it here in that sense. They’ve treated me with a lot of respect the last two years as a starting pitcher and they’ve given me a chance to improve, given me a chance to solidify my role on the team as well as around the league as a premium starter. I feel like a lot of my success is because of the team that I’ve been playing on."

Wilson didn't seem to intimate he would give Texas a hometown discount, but did make one thing very clear.

"Bottom line is, you play to win as a baseball player," he said. "You want to be putting yourself in a good position or a better position than you were in previously. I have no idea what’s going to happen."

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 29, 2011 11:31 am
 

Important offseason dates in baseball

By Evan Brunell

Baseball is set to begin free agency on 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday, October 30.

Free agency was originally supposed to begin on Saturday, October 29, but baseball pushed it back a day in conjunction with news regarding the latest labor agreement. Below, you can find baseball's most important dates:
  • All options must be exercised or declined by 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, Oct. 31. Whether it is a team, player or mutual option, the decision must be made by Monday.
  • Free agents have four days from filing for free agency in which they can only talk to their current team about a contract. On 12:01 a.m. ET Thursday, Nov. 3, players can talk with and sigh contracts with any team.
  • The last day for a team to offer salary arbitration to Type A or B free agents is midnight ET on Nov. 23. By not offering arbitration, teams would lose the right to draft-pick compensation.
  • Free agents then have two weeks to accept or reject arbitration with a deadline of midnight on Dec. 7.
  • The winter meetings, home to many trades and signings, will commence on Dec. 5 and run the whole week in Dallas, Texas until the 8th.
  • Teams have until 5 p.m. ET to outright a player off the roster in preparation for the Rule 5 draft, which takes place on Dec. 8.
  • Players with less than six years of service time must be tendered contracts by Dec. 12.

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


Posted on: October 29, 2011 11:07 am
 

Free-agent position rankings: No OF stars

Carlos Beltran

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Carlos Beltran was the hottest name at the trade deadline and he'll be the top name in free agency. Still, no outfielder will come close to matching Carl Crawford's seven-year, $142 million dollar contract -- the entire crop may not get as much as Crawford and Jayson Werth put together. 

For all free agency moves, check out the CBSSports.com free agency tracker.

Carlos Beltran1. Carlos Beltran:
Even though he'll be 35 early in the 2012 season, the switch-hitting Beltran is the top outfielder available on the market, thanks to a bounce-back (and mostly healthy) year in New York and San Francisco. Although he didn't jumpstart the Giants' offense after his trade tot eh Bay Area, he still produced his fair share, if not more. One player couldn't overcome the Giants' overall lack of offensive production. He hit .323/.369/.551 with seven home runs in 44 games in San Francisco and .300/.385/.525 with 22 homers overall. 
Possible teams: Giants, Yankees, Marlins, Cubs, Braves

Nick Swisher2. Nick Swisher: The Yankees have a $10.25 million option on Swisher, who hit .260/.374/.449 with 23 homers in 2011. The money million won't be an issue for the Yankees, who will most likely pick up the option. There has been a report that New York may exercise the option and try to sign Beltran, then trading Swisher.
Possible teams: Yankees

Michael Cuddyer3. Michael Cuddyer: Cuddyer's versatility could make him a hot commodity. He's primarily played right field, but also played first, second and has played third in the past -- he even pitched a scoreless inning this past season, hitting .284/.346/.459 -- close to his career numbers. He also hit 20 home runs this past season and hit 32 in 2009 before the Twins moved to the spacious Target Field.
Possible teams: Twins, Red Sox, Phillies, Braves, Giants, Angels, Athletics, Cubs, Cardinals, Rockies

Jason Kubel4. Jason Kubel: The 29-year-old enters free agency after playing in just 99 games due to foot problems, it was the first time since 2007 he didn't play at least 140 games, but whoever signs him will be giving that left foot a thorough inspection. Kubel can play either corner spot and give a team some pop -- and if you're into RBI, he did have 103 and 92 in his last two full seasons.
Possible teams: Twins, Red Sox, Cubs, Reds, Indians

Josh Willingham5. Josh Willingham: The right-handed hitting Willigham had career-bests in home run (29) and RBI (98) -- but saw his batting average (.246) and on-base percentage (.332) take a tumble from not only his lofty 2010 numbers, but also his career averages (.262, .361). Willigham is hardly a Gold Glover and there are also concerns about his durability.
Possible teams: Athletics, Reds, White Sox, Twins, Orioles

Coco Crisp6. Coco Crisp: The 31-year-old is the top center fielder available, so that should help his stock. After a hot start, Crisp struggled in 2011, putting up his lowest on-base percentage (.314) since his second season in the majors. He did lead the American League with 49 stolen bases. The A's have had some interest in re-signing Crosp, but the price could be too high. The Giants have said to have interest in him, as well.
Possible teams: Athletics, Giants, Marlins

Grady Sizemore7. Grady Sizemore: The biggest risk/reward of the free agent outfield class -- if he hits free agency. The Indians have a $9 million option on the 29-year-old, who has played just 104 games over the last two seasons because of various injuries. He hasn't played more than 110 games in a season since 2008. When healthy, he's as talented as any player in the game -- but that's a huge if. Either the Indians will gamble and exercise his option or someone else will roll the dice.
Possible teams: Indians, Mariners, Giants, Marlins, Cubs, Reds

David DeJesus8. David DeJesus: DeJesus' first year in Oakland was a serious disappointment, as he saw his average drop .078 and his on-base percentage dropped .061, both to career-lows of .240 and .323, respectively. However, his batting average on balls in play (.271) was 45 points lower than his career mark and his walk rate increased, so it may have just bit a bit of bad luck -- and playing in the Oakland Coliseum. 
Possible teams: Padres, Orioles, Braves, Red Sox, Phillies, Athletics

Andruw Jones9. Andruw Jones: At 34 (he'll be 35 in April), Jones is no longer the elite defensive player he once was, but he put up solid numbers as a platoon player for the Yankees, hitting .247/.356/.495 with 13 home runs in 77 games, but hit .286/.384/.540 against right-handers. He could make a decent addition as a bat off the bench and late-gaem replacement in a corner outfield spot.
Possible teams: Yankees, Braves, Rays, White Sox, Reds

Cody Ross10. Cody Ross: After playing a pivotal role in the Giants' run to the 2010 World Series title and winning the NLCS MVP, Ross struggled in 2011, hitting .240/.325/.405 with 14 home runs. Wherever he lands, Ross will likely have to take a pay cut from the $6.3 million he made in 2010.
Possible teams: Giants, White Sox, Braves, Reds

J.D. Drew11. J.D. Drew: The biggest question is whether Drew will want to play as a 36-year-old platoon or bench player. The days of Drew taking a starting spot seem to be over, as he hit just .222/.315/.302 i 81 games this season. He was close to useless against lefties, hitting just .167/.259/.292 with one homer against left-handers in the final year of his five-year, $70 million deal with the Red Sox.
Possible teams: Rockies, Pirates, retirement

Ryan Ludwick12. Ryan Ludwick: Ludwick has a chance to disappoint his third team in a year -- as the 33-year-old has just not performed since taking off a Cardinals uniform. He started the season hitting .238/.301/.373 with 11 home runs in 101 games for the Padres and .232/.341/.330 with two homers in 38 games for the Pirates. In four years with the Cardinals, Ludwick hit .280/.349/.507.
Possible teams: Pirates, Braves, Reds

Kosuke Fukudome13. Kosuke Fukudome: It's safe to say Fukudome's next contract will be a little smaller than the four-year, $48 million deal he signed with the Cubs before the 2008 season. Fukudome was burdened by high expectations, failing to live up to the contract, hitting .260/.361/.399 in four seasons in MLB. A pretty good on-base guy, Fukudome's best as a leadoff man, which may make him a little more valuable than his numbers suggest.
Possible teams: White Sox, Indians, Reds, Athletics, Japan

Eric Hinske14. Eric Hinske: The Braves have an option on Hinske, and it's just $1.5 million -- so it's likely they'll pick it up. Hinske can play both outfield spots, as well as first base, so he's a useful bench player. However, the Braves are already a little too left-handed heavy and Hinske was dreadful against lefties (.118/.167/.294). 
Possible teams: Braves, Pirates, Mariners

Raul Ibanez15. Raul Ibanez: The Phillies seemed to want to find anyone other than Ibanez to man left field all season, but could never find anyone that was an improvement over the 39-year-old. His average (.245) and OBP (.289) both tumbled this season, but he still hit 20 home runs and drove in 84.
Possible teams: Phillies, Pirates, Mariners, retirement

Jonny Gomes16. Jonny Gomes: Goems projects as a Type B free agent and has publicly said he'd likely accept arbitration if offered. Gomes struggled in 2011, hitting just .209/.325/.389 with the Reds and Nationals, but did see his walk rate increase, although his power too a tumble, hitting just 14 home runs. He's best in a platoon situation, crushing left-handed pitchers to the tune of .311/.407/.456.
Possible teams: Nationals, Braves

Juan Pierre17. Juan Pierre: Pierre stole 41 fewer bases in 2011 than he did in 2010, but he was caught stealing just one fewer time, leading the majors by being caught stealing 17 times. Pierre was once fast, but doesn't seem to be anymore, which means he has very few marketable skills. Well, he did lead the majors with 19 sacrifice bunts.
Possible teams: Giants, Reds, Pirates 

Magglio Ordonez18. Magglio Ordonez: Ordonez re-fractured his right ankle during the ALCS -- the same injury that caused him to consider retirement during the season. Rehabbing that injury could be more than he would like to do at 38, especially coming off of a .255/.303/.331 season. Ordonez did look good in the ALDS victory over the Yankees, but his health just wouldn't hold out. 
Possible teams: Tigers, retirement

Corey Patterson19. Corey Patterson: Somehow, some way, Patterson keeps popping up in the big leagues. He's kind of like a weed. He doesn't do much of anything well, but he's kinda fast. Other than that… yeah. A career .252/.290/.400 hitter, you never think you'll see him again, but ultimately, you do.
Possible teams: Any

Juan Rivera20. Juan Rivera: Rivera's 62 games with the Dodgers after being traded from Toronto showed he may just have a little something left in the tank, hitting .274/.333/.406 with five home runs for Don Mattingly. He's still likely a platoon player, but can play both corner spots and first base. The Dodgers have expressed interest in bringing him back.
Possible teams: Dodgers, Padres, Pirates


Free-agent position rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | DH | SP | RP

Free-agent overall rankings: Position players | Pitchers

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 28, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 12:53 pm
 

Tigers pick up closer Valverde's option

ValverdeBy Evan Brunell

In a no-brainer move, the Tigers have exercised their $9 million club option on closer Jose Valverde.

Valverde saved every single opportunity he had in 2011, finishing with a club-recod 49 saves, besting Todd Jones' 42 in 2002. Anytime a team can re-up with a successful reliever for just one season, you have to do it. There's too much risk in long-term deals for relievers, and although the closer's market in free agency may have depressed Valverde's price due to the amount of closers hitting the market, Detroit still made the right call in picking up Valverde's deal. Now, if he has a poor season, the club can walk away after the year with no strings attached.

The club could still extend Valverde, perhaps giving him two to three years at a lesser annual salary. The righty posted a 2.24 ERA in 72 1/3 innings in his second season with Detroit. The 33-year-old is 58 saves away from 300 for his career.

For all free agency moves, check out the CBSSports.com free agency tracker.


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


Posted on: October 27, 2011 6:57 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2011 6:59 pm
 

Soriano won't opt out of contract with Yankees

Soriano

By Evan Brunell


In what had to be one of the most obvious calls in a long time, reliever Rafael Soriano will not opt out of his contract with the Yankees.

"He adjusted to the [seventh- eighth-inning] role, liked being there with Mariano [Rivera] and he adjusted to New York City," agent Scott Boras told the New York Post of Soriano, who tried to pretend this movie was about liking his situation and not about money. "The player is happy there."

Soriano signed a three-year, $35 million deal with New York prior to last season after not finding a market for his closing services. Soriano and agent Scott Boras settled for closer's money, but a setup role under Mariano Rivera. As part of the deal, the righty received the right to opt out of the deal after each of the 2011 or 2012 seasons. Soriano earned $10 million in 2011, an $11 million salary due in 2012 and then a bump to $14 million in 2013, which is not that surprising given that incumbent closer Mariano Rivera's deal runs through 2012, which could leave Soriano as closer in 2013. If Soriano opted out, he would have received a $1.5 million buyout.

Maybe if the flamethrower had a season reminiscent of his 2010, when he was a dominating closer for the Rays, he would have opted out. Except that Soriano had an injury-plagued year and pitched just 39 2/3 innings, coughing up a 4.12 ERA. He wasn't the same person when he was on the mound, struggling with command which may dissipate now that he has time to heal from his injuries, but either way, he wasn't going to sniff anywhere near two years and $25 million on the open market, so he is making the obvious decision to stay in New York.

This move is about money, period. If Soriano was truly interested in remaining as a setup man, these options wouldn't have been built in, and he wouldn't have taken so long to sign with a team. But that's OK -- nothing wrong with a pitcher trying to score what will be the biggest payday of his career. And the Yankees do have some optimism moving forward for Soriano to reclaim his dominance and give the club a devastating one-two punch in 2012. Once Soriano returned on July 30 from right-shoulder inflammation, he threw 24 1/3 innings, posting a 3.33 ERA and with control numbers reflecting his previous effectiveness. Between Soriano and fellow setup man David Robertson -- who emerged following Soriano's injury -- the Yankees are in great shape. And Boras credits them with starting what might be an emerging trend, utilizing two closers in the game and noting how Milwaukee followed in a similar path by acquiring Francisco Rodriguez to supplement John Axford.

"I give the Yankees a lot of credit, they used the platform well," Boras said. "At first [clubs] will say we are overpaying. Then it's oh my [gosh], we are winning a lot of games."

Except this is more of a gambit by an agent to get setup men more money than it is teams utilizing two closers. Boras is doing his job and one could argue that setup men are even more valuable than closers. I'm one of those in that camp, as setup men can be used in high-pressure situations in virtually any inning and most setup men are allowed to pitch more than one inning more often than a closer. There is a reason ex-Red Sox manager Terry Francona always called Boston setup man Daniel Bard his most valuable relief pitcher for years. But setup roles are exactly how Soriano and Rodriguez were utilized. Soriano received just two saves for the Yankees. One came on April 20 in a 6-2 Yankees win after Lance Pendleton failed at mopping up the game by allowing two batters. Rivera had pitched the day before, and three of the previous four games. The next save by Soriano came in the second game of a doubleheader on Sept. 21, when New York's playoff chances were secure and Rivera closed the first game out.

Rodriguez didn't even get one save as a Brewer. These guys may have been closers, but they served in the very specific role of a setup man. These teams did not utilize two closers; two people splitting saves. It's the same arrangement that has worked so well in Boston, and Bard has never closed. He's been a setup man. That's the very reason why Soriano is returning to New York -- if he was valued as a quality closer, he would be a free agent.

For all free agency moves, check out the CBSSports.com free agency tracker.

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

Posted on: October 27, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: October 27, 2011 6:19 pm
 

Cardinals pick up Adam Wainwright's option

Adam WainwrightBy C. Trent Rosecrans

We're going to have a lot of these reports in the next couple of days -- the things you knew would happen, but actually happened. Today's edition is that the Cardinals officially told right-hander Adam Wainwright they are picking up his 2012 and 2013 options at a total of $21 million, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Wainwright recorded the final out of the 2006 World Series for the Cardinals, but has been relegated to cheerleader in this year's World Series. Wainwright missed all of 2011 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but is expected to be fully ready to pitch come spring training.

For all the free agency moves, check out our Free Agent tracker

Wainwright, 30, finished in the top three in Cy Young voting in both 2009 and 2010, going 20-11 with a 2.42 ERA in 2010. 

With the option picked up for $9 million in 2012, the Cardinals already have more than $74 million on the books for 10 players in 2012, with Albert Pujols unsigned. The team also has an option on shortstop Rafael Furcal, while Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs and Ryan Theriot are all arbitration-eligiible. Right-hander Edwin Jackson, catcher Gerald Laird, infielder Nick Punto and outfielder Corey Patterson are also free agents.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball 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