Tag:Brian Fuentes
Posted on: November 3, 2010 11:25 am
Edited on: November 4, 2010 9:01 pm

Predicting where free agents will land

Baseball is currently in a five-day period where teams have exclusivity to negotiate with players who have become free agents. Sunday at midnight, that period will expire and free up players to talk to any and all teams.

There's plenty to like about this free-agent crop, as the top players at each position is enough to put together a contending team. Plus, there are a good number of nice backup options, too.

Below, you can find Evan Brunell's predictions on where free agents will wind up, going position by position with two names at each position.

Martinez C: Victor Martinez -- Tigers. All the noise surrounding Detroit going hard after Martinez seems legit. It's part of Detroit's M.O., filling a position of desperate need to contend and Martinez is the best option and remains capable of catching. Plus, Detroit has no major block at first or DH for an eventual switch for V-Mart as Alex Avila apprentices.

C: John Buck -- Yankees. Jorge Posada will be receiving most of his at-bats as a DH and Francisco Cervelli certainly can't start. The Yankees will flex their financial muscles on a catcher which they can bring in on a short-term contract who broke out in Toronto last season. It solves the catcher conundrum short term and leaves the long term free for Austin Romine.

Dunn 1B: Adam Dunn -- Cubs. Another popular pairing that makes too much sense. The Cubs need to strike to stay in contention even as they try to get their minor-league system in order and producing over the next couple of seasons. Dunn's defense is minimized now that he's at first, and the Cubs need someone to sky them big flies. (And if the Cubs really are not going after big-name free agents , which I doubt is 100 percent true, I'll tab Dunn to the Athletics .)

1B: Aubrey Huff -- Giants. Unfortunately, while bringing in Huff eventually paid off big time for San Francisco, he is now overrated. With Brandon Belt tearing up the farm, there's no overwhelming reason to give Huff anything close to what he can get on the market. I have a feeling Brian Sabean will do what he always does, signing older players coming off big years to nonsensical contracts. You know it and I know it. Sleeper alert: The Giants move forward with a Mark DeRosa/Travis Ishikawa platoon at first, leaving Huff to land with the Mariners .

Hudson 2B: Orlando Hudson -- Padres. The O-Dog will be on the move again, looking for his fourth team in four seasons, fifth overall. He's long wanted to join the Mets, but Luis Castillo has prevented him from doing so. The Padres plan to contend, but still need the dollars to make sense for who they bring in, and it will for Hudson to plug a vacancy at second with no viable internal options.

2B: Bill Hall -- Twins. Hall is looking for a starting job, but there are those telling him he is best suited as a super utility player. Look for Minnesota to give him a chance at the starting 2B job, but the Twins will love moving him around once they can justify it.

Jeter SS: Derek Jeter -- Yankees. I think a lot of people are going to be a bit surprised by how long the negotiations take. Despite popular sentiment, Brian Cashman is not one to pay someone beyond actual value. What he does have is disposable income that the owners can order him to pay a premium, so Cashman will do just that -- but only at a small premium.

SS: Juan Uribe -- Giants. This is one return that makes sense. Edgar Renteria isn't being brought back, even if he doesn't retire. Pablo Sandoval's struggles at third and Uribe's ability to slide to third as need be will be coveted by San Francisco, and he deserves the deal he'll sign for. It's a very weak market for shortstops, so even those that could be available in a trade (Jason Bartlett?) may have too prohibitive a price.

Beltre 3B: Adrian Beltre -- Angels. Los Angeles makes the big strike here, importing a gifted defender who had a great season with the stick. He won't hit .321 again, but he'll be a signing on the level of Torii Hunter. He's expensive but will produce and help put L.A. back into postseason contention.

3B: Miguel Tejada -- Padres. San Diego was pleased with Tejada's production after acquiring him from Houston and will sign him to play his natural position of short even though he began the transition to third base last season.

Crawford LF: Carl Crawford -- Red Sox . Crawford will spark a bidding war between the Red Sox, Angels and some other team yet to be known, plus a late charge by the Yankees (you know it'll happen). In the end, the Red Sox will win out, offering just enough to entice Crawford to Boston.

LF: Marcus Thames -- Phillies. Thames built his value this past year, establishing himself as a strong platoon option against left-handers who surprisingly held his own against righties. The Phillies are interested in bringing in another right-handed hitter to pair with Ben Francisco, and Thames seems like the perfect low-cost, high-upside option.

Damon CF: Johnny Damon -- Astros. Damon may be a center fielder, but it's in name only as he's restricted to left and DH at this point of his career. No contending team is going to be interested in starting him, but he can still land somewhere where there's a faint glimmer of a chance at the postseason. Damon can be the grizzled, scrappy veteran who can lead them to the top. Welcome to Houston, Johnny!

CF: Melky Cabrera -- Royals. Cabrera's stock is down. Way, way down. He'll have to latch on with a bottom-feeding club who gambles on his tools. Kansas City seems like the perfect place to do that. With an up-and-coming farm, he could fit in seamlessly if he takes his job seriously. If he doesn't, the Royals simply move on.

Werth RF: Jayson Werth -- White Sox. It makes a lot of sense for the White Sox to go after Werth -- they have their own bandbox and need someone who can play the outfield and who could DH in his off days. Carlos Quentin's defense needs to be hidden or moved to first if they don't bring Paul Konerko back. Helping matters is Chicago has the money to make it happen.

RF: Andruw Jones -- Braves. Coming off a strong season for the White Sox where he proved he can still bring it, just not quite as a full-time outfielder (although that possibility does exist), Jones seems like he could make a return to Atlanta. The Braves have a need to remake their outfield, and Jones seems to be a perfect piece of the puzzle.

Thome DH: Jim Thome -- Twins. No reason for Thome to leave the Twins, really. He had a strong season there, became a cult hero, has been loyal to his teams and Minnesota definitely could use this slugger back provided the two can agree on how much playing time he will get. Having Delmon Young, Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Justin Morneau doesn't leave much room for Thome, but it worked out just fine in 2010.

DH: Manny Ramirez -- Rays . Manny is a DH and probably will find the market a bit hostile towards him. He's not upper-echelon any longer, but not many teams need a DH. After long and overdrawn-out negotiations thanks to Scott Boras, ManRam will finally sign around the beginning of spring training and coast into town to help the Rays and what could be a moribund offense.

Pavano RHSP: Carl Pavano -- Brewers. Pavano is set to cash in on his success with the Twins and is certain to be in a position where he can outdo accepting arbitration thanks to a poor right-handed starter's market. Milwaukee needs to find starting pitching and fast, and the Brewers proved last year with Randy Wolf they weren't afraid to go get it. Wolf's struggles won't be enough to deter Milwaukee from Pavano, not when a Wolf-Pavano-Yovani Gallardo rotation would do wonders in the NL Central.

RHSP: Hiroki Kuroda -- Dodgers. Kuroda's been a bit overlooked on the national stage, as he truly is a strong pitcher. The Dodgers want -- need -- to contend, so they'll make sure Kuroda goes nowhere. They do need to slash salary, but a lot of that was tied up in Manny Ramirez, so there's plenty for Kuroda.

Lee LHSP: Cliff Lee -- Rangers. Buy into Texas being players for Lee and Lee eschewing the bright lights of New York just as long as the money is there. And it will be. The wife likes having him close to home, he's going to be on a contending team and get his money. There isn't much reason to move to New York.

LHSP: Jorge De La Rosa -- Tigers. Detroit has money to spend and a need in the rotation. De la Rosa will flirt with quite a few teams, Yankees included, but it's Detroit who will step up. It needs a strong pitcher in the rotation to have any hope of contending, and de la Rosa falls right into the bracket the Tigers are comfortable with.

Soriano RHRP: Rafael Soriano -- Angels . L.A. has said all the right things in moving forward with Fernando Rodney as a closer after moving Brian Fuentes, but the Angels bullpen was in tatters all season and Rodney is not good enough to block Soriano, who is one of the best closers in the game but will find a rough market.

RHRP: Joaquin Benoit -- Rays . Benoit's price tag is going to be high, but the Rays will be faced with a barren bullpen. Why not bring back someone they know can do it for them? They can entice Benoit with the possibility -- probability -- about taking over as closer.

LHRP: Scott Downs -- Red Sox. Downs is a Type-A free agent, but Boston will gladly fork over its second-rounder after Crawford gives Tampa Bay its first-rounder. The Red Sox want to beef up their bullpen after years of trolling through cast-offs. Downs has been coveted for a while, and Boston will take the plunge.

LHRP: Brian Fuentes -- Marlins. Florida wants to contend, but needs some help in the bullpen to do so. Knowing the Fish, they won't be looking to spend big at the position, but Fuentes is a nice, safe and affordable pick to be the new closer they want.

-- Evan Brunell

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

Posted on: September 3, 2010 12:12 am
Edited on: September 3, 2010 1:57 am

Some explaining to do in Minnesota

Scott Baker
You could almost hear the entire state of Minnesota screaming at the TV set Thursday night: "How in the %#@* do you run out of pitchers in September ?!?"

There were some extenuating circumstances, but it's still pretty much inexcusable that the Twins got caught short-handed in the bullpen two days after they had the ability to import as much pitching depth as they wanted thanks to roster expansion.

Starter Scott Baker left the game against Detroit after two innings with elbow pain, and the game went extra innings. So atop the mound in the 11th inning appeared Brian Duensing -- who started and threw 103 pitches on Tuesday in the opener of this very series, and promptly gave up the go-ahead run Thursday. The Twins came back and tied it, and Nick Blackburn, the scheduled Friday starter, pitched the 13th -- and promptly gave up what would be the winning run.

The Twins used five relievers between Baker and Duensing, two of them for less than an inning. Matt Capps and newest Twin Brian Fuentes were unavailable with medical issues. So why in the world would a team in a pennant race not have half its Triple-A pitching staff dispatched to Minneapolis? I count seven pitchers on the 40-man roster who aren't on the 25-man, and all were available to be called up.

Obviously it's not every day you get two innings from your starter and play into the 13th, but with so much at stake and so many people being paid to cover all the bases, the Twins should have had extra arms available. There are going to be some tough questions for Bill Smith and Ron Gardenhire after this one.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 1, 2010 1:48 am

Injuries loom over Twins victory

Jason Kubel
The Twins got an important, come-from-behind victory over Detroit on Tuesday night, but injury concerns kept them from celebrating it too much.

Outfielder Jason Kubel was hit on the left wrist with a fastball in the seventh. X-rays didn't show anything broken, but it sounds like it's something that will cost him at least a few days.

Brian Fuentes, the reliever acquired from the Angels just three days earlier, was unable to enter the game after his lower back froze up while he was warming in the bullpen. He's had trouble with the back in the past, but doesn't think this tweak is going to be a long-term setback.

Second baseman Orlando Hudson has been struggling with a foot injury for a few days, and manager Ron Gardenhire sent him for another examination after watching him hobble around during Tuesday's game. Hudson made an error that allowed an unearned run.

"I think we all saw that he wasn’t moving very well," Gardenhire said. "He says he’s fine, but that’s not fine. That’s not good enough for me."

The Twins are already playing without All-Star Justin Morneau, who is out indefinitely with a concussion, and have starter Kevin Slowey and infielder Nick Punto on the disabled list as well.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: August 27, 2010 9:11 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2010 11:29 pm

Twins bolster bullpen with Fuentes

Brian Fuentes While Manny-mania engulfs most of the trade talk leading up to Aug. 31, the Twins may have improved their roster the most, acquiring left-handed reliever Brian Fuentes from the Angels for a player to be named on Friday.

Fuentes was the Angels' closer, but will be used as a set-up man for Matt Capps in Minnesota. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the team could use Fuentes as an "occasional closer" if needed.

Fuentes will join the team in time for Saturday's game in Seattle.

The Twins already claimed left-hander Randy Flores off waivers this week to go along with Glenn Perkins as a lefty out of the bullpen. The team lost Ron Mahay and Jose Mijares earlier this month to injury.

Fuentes has a vesting option for 2011 (worth $9 million) with 55 games finished, a number he's unlikely to reach this season. He has finished 33 games and in his new role, it's unlikely he'll get to 55. He finished 57 last season when he had 48 saves.

UPDATE: Fernando Rodney is the beneficiary of the move, moving into the closer's role for the Angels.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 28, 2010 10:56 pm

Should Angels look to sell?

Angels general manager Tony Reagins met with manager Mike Scioscia and the team's coaching staff for 45 minutes following the team's 7-3 loss to the Red Sox. It's probable they didn't spend that time lamenting Derrek Lee's decision not to go west.

According to the Orange County Register's Bill Plunkett, neither Reagins nor Scioscia would publicly say the team is giving up on 2010.

"I don't like labels," Reagins told Plunkett. "What I would say is we're going to look to improve. If we can, we will."

Said Scioscia, "There's nobody who feels were'' out of this."

Or perhaps, there's nobody who will say it. The team lost starter Joel Pineiro for six to eight weeks with an oblique injury. Pineiro is 10-7 with a  4.18 ERA in 20 starts this season.

With Wednesday's loss, the Angels dropped to 52-52, nine games behind the Rangers in the American League West. The Angels are now 12 games back in the wild card, behind six teams.

After making some of the most aggressive moves in the post-Cliff Lee trade market by acquiring Dan Haren and Alberto Callaspo.

The Angels gave up former pinch-starter Sean O'Sullivan in the trade with Kansas City. In the Haren deal, the team gave up lefty Joe Saunders and Triple-A right-hander Rafael Rodriguez. Los Angels also gave up three Class A pitchers between the two moves. That's a lot of arms that the team could hope to replenish with some other moves.

The team could move third baseman Brandon Wood, who is being labeled as a disappointment and a "former" prospect, after hitting .168/.185/.225 in 57 games for the Angels this season. Wood is 25 and once ranked the third-best prospect in baseball by Baseball America.

Veterans Brian Fuentes, Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli could also be moved to bolster the minor league system.

The Angels have lost four in a row and seven of their last eight.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 21, 2010 1:09 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2010 1:12 pm

Fuentes still Angels closer, says Scioscia

Brian Fuentes Brian Fuentes may have racked up 48 saves in 2009 for the Angels, but he did so with fans reaching for the bottle.

Fuentes racked up a 3.93 ERA and 1.40 WHIP last season and yet blew just seven saves. As a result, he entered 2010 as the closer despite the team importing Fernando Rodney, formerly of the Tigers.

Fuentes' grip on the closer's gig may be loosening, however, despite manager Mike Scioscia's vote of confidence on Sunday.

"You’re grading on saves and save opportunities and how you’re holding leads if you’re a setup guy -- the things that are important to a team winning games and ERA’s not one of them," Scioscia said to the Orange County Register .

The skipper was referring to Fuente's implosion on Sunday, allowing three runs in the eighth inning during mopup duty. Fuentes was in the game due to not having pitched in a week, but instead saw his ERA spike to 6.23 and WHIP to 1.44.

"A couple bad outings and it’s going to take a long time to get that ERA back where it needs to be," Scioscia said.

He's right, but actions speak louder than words. He summoned Fernando Rodney for a save last Wednesday, and now has six on the season to Fuentes' 10. Rodney's WHIP is not much better than Fuentes at 1.40 but has been able to maintain a 3.29 ERA despite evidence pointing to poor play (his xFIP is 5.12).

Don't be surprised to see the Angels go get late-inning help as the trade deadline nears. The squad is just 3.5 games out of first place despite ranking 27th in baseball in bullpen ERA at 4.98.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
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