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Tag:Albert Pujols
Posted on: December 26, 2011 3:31 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Voting for the 2011 MLB Bloggies, Part I



By Matt Snyder


With just a few days left until 2012 brings us a whole new year, it's only fitting to look back at the year that was. Sure, there's an actual baseball season, including spring training, the regular season and the postseason, but things happen nearly every day throughout the entire calendar year. So we're going to create a fake award and call it a Bloggie.

We'll set the table with some nominations and let you, our readers, vote for the winners. This is just Part I. Tuesday, we bring you Part II. Friday, we'll post the winners and our staff picks. Without further ado ...

Best Moment(s) of 2011
No-Hitters: Justin Verlander, Ervin Santana and Francisco Liriano all tossed a no-hitter during the 2011 season, with Verlander doing so for the second time in his career.
10-year anniversary of 9/11: The Cubs and the Mets played the Sunday Night Game on September 11 in New York's Citi Field, with the game itself taking a backseat to the pre-game memorial for the victims and the honoring of service men and women. 
September 28th: Rarely -- if ever -- has the final day of the regular season provided so much drama, as the Cardinals and Rays completed epic comebacks to steal the respective wild cards. Evan Longoria put the cherry on top of an all-around amazing night of baseball with his walk-off home run.
Cooper Stone throws out first pitch: Months after losing his father, Shannon Stone, to a tragic fall, young Cooper Stone threw out the ceremonial first pitch of ALDS Game 1. The catcher? His favorite player, Josh Hamilton, who then embraced Stone just in front of the pitcher's mound.
Game 6: Eleven innings. Nineteen runs. Fifteen pitchers. Beltre and Cruz go deep back-to-back. Freese's triple. Hamilton's homer. Berkman's clutch single. And Freese's walk-off. This was one for the ages in one of the best World Series in recent memory.



Most Historic Milestone
Jeter's 3,000th: On July 9, Derek Jeter hit a home run for hit number 3,000, becoming the 28th player in baseball history to join the elite group.
Thome's 600th: On August 15, Jim Thome went deep twice, the second home run being the 600th of his illustrious career. Only seven other players in big-league history have reached that plateau.
Rivera's 602nd: On September 19, Mariano Rivera locked down the save with ease. It was the 602nd of his career, making him the all-time leader.
Triple Crowned: Verlander led the American League in wins, strikeouts and ERA. Clayton Kershaw pulled off the same feat in the National League. The last time each league had a pitcher take the triple crown was 1924.
Most Valuable: Verlander won both the Cy Young and the AL MVP awards, marking the first time a starting pitcher won the MVP since 1986 and the 10th time in history a player won both the Cy Young and MVP.



Biggest Surprise
The Cardinals: Not only were the eventual World Series champions virtually left for dead in late August, but they went all season without their ace, as Adam Wainwright suffered a season-ending injury in spring training.
The D-Backs: The Arizona Diamondbacks were predicted to finish last in the NL West by nearly everyone. They had finished last the past two seasons, too. But these Snakes came out and won the West by a whopping eight games and took the Brewers to the limit in the NLDS.
The Rays: Yes, the Tampa Bay Rays had won the AL East two of the previous three seasons, but they also lost several key pieces and the payroll was $30 million less than it was in 2010. And the Rays still took the AL wild card from the mighty Red Sox on the final day of the regular season.
Pujols to L.A.: Albert Pujols was a St. Louis Cardinals icon. While he appeared to be flirting with other teams, it only seemed like a ploy to get the Cardinals to pay him more. He wouldn't really leave, would he? Well, he did, signing with the Angels on the final morning of the Winter Meetings.
Marlins' spending spree: For years we've watched the Florida Marlins deal potential high-salary players and be one of the most notoriously frugal clubs around. And then, in less than a week, the newly-named Miami Marlins inked three big-name free agents -- Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle.



Biggest Disappointment -- Individual section
Dunn is done: Adam Dunn has one of the most historically awful offensive seasons ever, and he's a DH. And it was only the first year of a four-year, $56 million contract.
No mo fro? Coco Crisp let his dreads out twice to reveal an incredibly awesome afro. But he didn't stick with it. And, yes, we realize this is a disappointment on a different level, but the Bloggies don't necessarily have to be serious.
Fractured: Marlins bench player Scott Cousins leveled star Giants catcher at home plate, a play in which Posey suffered a season-ending broken leg.
Juiced? NL MVP Ryan Braun failed a drug test and is facing a 50-game suspension, if his appeal is not upheld.



Biggest Disappointment -- Team
Red Sox: You may have heard of a collapse ...
Braves: You may have heard of a collapse ...
Twins: Lots of injuries and underperformance left the two-time defending AL Central champs with 99 losses.
Giants: The defending World Series champs finished eight games back in the NL West and four out in the wild card, sporting one of the worst offenses in baseball.



Most Bush League Moment
Weaver vs. Detroit: Magglio Ordonez watches a home run to see if it's fair or foul. Jered Weaver misinterprets it and thinks he's been shown up, so he has some words for the Tigers. Then Carlos Guillen hits a home run and basically stands still, staring down Weaver. Weaver then threw at Alex Avila and was tossed from the game while screaming at the entire Tigers dugout. You can place blame with Weaver, Guillen or both of them. However you slice it, though, at least one person was far out of line.
Big Z(ero): Carlos Zambrano gets knocked around by the Braves, throws at Chipper Jones -- getting himself ejected -- and then bails on his teammates. Some overheard him talking retirement, but he now is trying to work his way back.
Molina's "spittle:" Yadier Molina may not have intentionally spit on umpire Rob Drake back on August 2, but he did freak out far too much over a called strike and get himself suspended for five games during a pennant race.
Nyjer's mouth: Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan was a polarizing figure all season and that was solidified after the Brewers beat the D-Backs in the NLDS. Morgan was overheard screaming f-bombs right behind a field reporter. OK, maybe he didn't realize it was on live TV. But then when he was summoned for an interview on national TV, he made sure to say it loud and clear right into the microphone.



Worst Call
No pitching inside: Clayton Kershaw was ejected September 14 for (barely) hitting Gerardo Parra with a pitch on the elbow. Kershaw had been seen jawing with Parra the previous night, but he also had a one-hitter going and the pitch wasn't very far inside. It definitely seemed like an overreaction by home plate umpire Bill Welke.
Let's go home: An epic 19-inning game ended on a blown call at home plate by Jerry Meals, calling runner Julio Lugo safe at home and giving the Braves the victory over the Pirates on July 26.
Home run? On August 17, Royals DH Billy Butler hit what appeared to be a double in the gap. It bounced high off the outfield wall, hitting some fencing above padding on the wall. The umpires initially ruled a home run, but the play was put under video review. Replays pretty conclusively showed the ball staying in the park -- even the hometown Kansas City announcers were discussing that when the umpires emerged Butler would be ordered to head to second base. Butler was standing on the top step of the dugout with his helmet on when the umpires emerged and upheld the ruling.
Missed tag: In Game 3 of the World Series, Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler made an errant throw that pulled first baseman Mike Napoli off the bag. Napoli made a swipe tag that very clearly got Cardinals baserunner Matt Holliday in time. First base umpire Ron Kulpa, however, blew the call, opening the door to a big inning for the Cardinals.



Biggest "Can't-Look-Away" Character
These don't really need an explanation, so we'll jump right to the poll ...



Coming Tuesday: Part II, including Boneheaded Moves of the Year, Weirdest Injury and Most Impressive Home Run
Coming Friday: Voting results and staff picks

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:57 am
 

Homegrown Team: St. Louis Cardinals

Albert Pujols

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

While most of the teams on our list would love a do-over for 2011 -- or at least part of it, the season somehow worked out pretty well for the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that took advantage of an epic collapse and capitalized upon its chance by winning the World Series. The moves made by both the current management team and former executives, all worked out for one glorious season in St. Louis, so it's another example of why the exercise is for fun only. But there's one thing our Homegrown Cardinals have that the 2012 version doesn't -- Albert Pujols

Lineup

1. Jon Jay, RF
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Allen Craig, LF
5. Colby Rasmus, CF
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Brendan Ryan, SS
8. Skip Schumaker, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Dan Haren
2. Jaime Garcia
3. Kyle McClellan
4. Chris Narveson
5. Lance Lynn

Bullpen

Closer - Chris Perez
Set up - Mitchell Boggs, Fernando Salas, Luke Gregerson, Blake Hawksworth, Eduardo Sanchez

Notable Bench Players

The bench has some interesting players -- you have defensive replacements in Jack Wilson and Coco Crisp, some pop in Brett Wallace, J.D. Drew and Rick Ankiel, as well as some versatility in Daniel Descalso. Daric Barton's there, too, but not sure where or when he'd ever play considering Pujols is still a Cardinal here.

What's Good?

Any lineup with Pujols is not bad -- but it's not overwhelming, either. While lacking some of the firepower from Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman, there are still some passable players. While there's no Chris Carpenter or Adam Wainwright, there is Dan Haren and the top two of the rotation are good. The strength of this team -- and Tony La Russa would certainly love this -- is the bullpen. Not only are their Cardinals holdovers of Motte, Boggs, Salas and Sanchez, you also add Perez, Gergerson and Hawksowrth, giving this team plenty of relief options. 

What's Not?

After the top two in the rotation, the rest are pretty pedestrian. McClellan is not only in the rotation -- where he started in 2011 -- but he's also going to be either a No. 3 or No. 4. The outfield isn't terrible, but when you take away Berkman and Holliday, it's going to pale in comparison.

Comparison to real 2011

Let's just get to the point, the margin for error for the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals was razor thin, but they stayed on the right side of it just enough to go on to one of the most exciting, improbable runs of all time to capture the World Series title. There is no way this hypothetical team could do anything close to what the real Cardinals did. The offensive firepower isn't the same and there's no Chris Carpenter. No, this team doesn't just fail to win the World Series or make the playoffs, it fails to reach .500 and probably finishes in the bottom half of our made-up NL Central.

Next: Ranking the Homegrown teams.

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 2:56 pm
 

Former manager questions Marlins' moves

Edwin Rodriguez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Even before the Marlins signed Jose Reyes, the questions about Hanley Ramirez's willingness to move to third base were raised. And since Miami signed Reyes, those questions have remained unanswered.

There's been speculation, of course, but there's only been cryptic Twitter responses from Ramirez himself.

At this month's winter meetings in Dallas, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen did his best to put aside the rumblings that Ramirez would refuse to move from shortstop and create a problem -- "I only care about what Hanley says on Feb. 20, when we start spring training," Guillen said earlier this month. "I mean, from now on, people can say whatever."

One of the people saying "whatever" is former Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez, who spoke to MLB Network Radio on Wednesday about Ramirez and third base.

"I think it's going to be [a] very interesting situation to say the least," Rodriguez told Jim Memolo and Todd Hollandsworth (via the Sun Sentinel). "Knowing Hanley, he's a very proud player. It's going to be very hard for him to move out of shortstop. He's a big league shortstop. He's an All-Star shortstop. In my opinion I think they are going to have a tough time trying to convince him to move to third base. Even if he does that, move to third base, beginning of the season, I think it's going to be very interesting to watch how everything develops, how Reyes takes the front pages and how the people start talking about the All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes. It will be very interesting to see how Hanley will handle all that."

Rodriguez, also said he thought it was a mistake to sign Reyes instead of using that money to increase the offer to Albert Pujols.

That said, Rodriguez, who will manage in the Indians' minor-league system next year, said he believed the Marlins were approaching Ramirez's move the right way and if Ramirez buys in, it would be a successful move.

Ramirez backed Rodriguez before the Marlins replaced him with Jack McKeon.

Ramirez will be 28 on Friday, which is the same age Alex Rodriguez was when he traded from Texas to the Yankees. As good as Ramirez is, he's not as good as Rodriguez or as good defensively as Reyes. At some point, you'd hope he'd just set aside his pride and play the position that gives his team the best chance to win. With Reyes on board, that's third base.

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Posted on: December 16, 2011 12:06 pm
 

La Russa talks about 'unavoidable' Pujols signing



By Matt Snyder


The Cardinals losing Albert Pujols was "unavoidable," says former manager Tony La Russa, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The now-retired manager seemed to defend both the Cardinals and Pujols -- who signed a 10-year, $254 million contract with the Angels -- and La Russa instead specifically blamed "the system."

"I know it was a painful decision and it pains [Pujols] now," La Russa said (Post-Dispatch). "He deserves what he got. He earned it. There's no bad guy here. I think the Cardinals went where they thought they should go. If they can't go farther, they shouldn't."

Albertageddon
The full story, written by Joe Strauss, is definitely worth a read and I'm not going to sit here and copy and paste the thing. Just go read his original version. La Russa was mostly being political in trying to defend both sides, though he certainly seemed intellectually and emotionally honest. It sounds like he truly loves the Cardinals organization, Cardinals fans and Pujols, so La Russa obviously wasn't going to bash anyone. He did point out one glaring mistake, though.

"I think he made a mistake when he said it wasn't about the money," La Russa said (Post-Dispatch). "If the Angels had offered the same exact thing he would have gone back to the Cardinals. I think his point was he was ready to sign for less than the best offer. I think he's sincere. I think he was trying to make it work. But you had a club that made an overwhelming offer."

And that's the point. People who make five figures a year don't want to hear about how it's not about the money when a player signs with the highest bidder. We aren't stupid. If you are going to say it's not all about the money, you better be like C.J. Wilson and actually leave money on the table -- putting your money where your mouth is, if you will. Taking the most money doesn't make someone a bad person. Far from it. I've long defended athletes who take the highest offer because most human beings would do the same. But if you sign the contract with the most money, patronize the fans in a different manner -- saying it's not about the money just doesn't sound honest. And there's no way to prove otherwise.

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Posted on: December 12, 2011 4:02 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 4:18 pm
 

Pujols' wife defends husband on St. Louis radio

By Matt Snyder

Albert Pujols signed with the Angels last week in a move that shocked the baseball world. We knew that. But his wife, Deidre (or "Dee Dee") says the people don't know the reality of the situation -- which is that the Cardinals' offer didn't come anywhere close to what has been reported, because it was only for five years. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“What I’m saying is it wasn’t a guaranteed situation,” she said. “When you have somebody say, ‘We want you to be a Cardinal for life’ and only offer you a five-year deal ... it kind of confused us. ...

“Well, we got over that insult and felt like Albert had given so much of himself to baseball and into the community that he at least deserved the opportunity to have real life-long -- you know, I tell you what -- we didn’t want to go through this again. Free agency, it’s stressful.”
The Post-Dispatch has reported that the Cardinals' initial offer -- what Dee Dee called an "insult" -- was for five years and $130 million. Of course, the Post-Dispatch is also reporting the offer grew to 10 years and $210 through the course of the negotiations -- which was widely reported during the Winter Meetings last week. On the flip-side, they also report that there was a "significant" portion of the deal in deferred, interest-free, money. So while Mrs. Pujols can say this move wasn't about the money, it's pretty evident it was very much about the money (Pujols signed for 10 years, $254 million and none of that is deferred). Not that I'm blaming them one bit, as $44 million is quite a chunk of change to think about turning down.

Deidre also mentioned that she was surprised Cardinals fans turned on Pujols so quickly upon the news of him signing to play elsewhere. I guess she didn't watch The Decision, huh?

In fairness, we must point out that Mrs. Pujols did say, "we still love St. Louis and always will."

Still, it was 20 minutes of justifications on a radio show in an argument she can't win. With Pujols signing, the fans of St. Louis are going to be angry, and nothing she can say will change that. This goes for free agents leaving places for more money in every sport.

The full interview is available on via Joy FM's website.

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Posted on: December 10, 2011 7:25 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 7:26 pm
 

Video: Angels welcome Albert Pujols




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Category: MLB
Posted on: December 10, 2011 4:48 pm
 

Albert Pujols introduced in Anaheim

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Considering Andy Messersmith signed with the Braves less than six months after I was born, it shouldn't be a shock to me to see players change uniforms, but I honestly thought I'd ever see Albert Pujols in anything but a Cardinals uniform.

While last week the news came that he was changing teams, it was still weird to see him at the Angels' pep rally on Saturday wearing a red hat with just one letter, instead of three.

Here are a couple of photos from the Angels' press conference introducing Pujols and C.J. Wilson on Saturday:

Albert Pujols

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Posted on: December 9, 2011 3:44 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 3:46 pm
 

Marlins giving mixed signals on Fielder

Prince Fielder

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Despite statements that made it sound otherwise, the Marlins may not necessarily be out of the running for Prince Fielder.

While team president David Samson said the team never "pinpointed" Fielder, owner Jeffrey Loria didn't rule him out when asked by Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post.

"I don't know about that," Loria told Capozzi. "I don't know. We'll see."

Earlier during the press conference to introduce Mark Buehrle, Samson was asked if the team turned its attention to Fielder after losing out to Albert Pujols.

"We withdrew (the Pujols) offer once we signed Buehrle," Samson said (via Capozzi). "We never had pinpointed Fielder by any stretch at all. It was always Albert from the beginning as someone we were gonna look at. The number one priority was Jose (Reyes) on the position side and Mark on the pitching side.

"Albert Pujols was an interesting fit if it worked at our parameters and it didn't. We moved on. We never viewed Prince the way we viewed Albert, either on or off the field. Albert Pujols is the best hitter of our generation, your generation and my son's generation. There's Albert and then there's everyone else when it comes to that type of franchise-changing contract."

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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