Tag:Colby Rasmus
Posted on: July 26, 2011 11:27 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 12:07 pm
 

Tuesday's trade rumor roundup

By Matt Snyder

Another day, another seemingly infinite set of rumors and reports. Let's try to tie them all together into one shiny post for you, the Eye on Baseball readers. We've got your back like that.

- On the Ubaldo Jimenez front, we started the day with Troy Renck of the Denver Post saying "chances remain slim" that the Rockies part with Jimenez. Later, however, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Rockies want to trade Jimenez, and were speaking with the Yankees, Red Sox, Reds and Blue Jays. Wait, what? Yes, the Blue Jays. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com backed up the report, as did CBSSports.com's own Danny Knobler -- who says the Yankees have the best shot at Jimenez.

MLB Trade Deadline
- CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reports the Angels are looking for a bat, preferably at third base. They covet Michael Cuddyer and Aramis Ramirez, though neither seems available at this time for different reasons -- the Twins want to hold onto Cuddyer and Ramirez won't waive his no-trade clause.

- ESPN's Jim Bowden -- a former general manager himself -- reported that he spoke with Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak and there are still no plans for the Cards to trade Colby Rasmus. Of course, Mozeliak stands nothing to gain by openly saying he's looking to offload the talented youngster, so that report isn't overly significant. Sherman notes the Cardinals are "asking for a ton" in return for Rasmus. Knobler reports the Giants and Nationals are interested in Rasmus.

- Both Knobler and SI.com's Jon Heyman pointed out the scouting section will be full Friday for Erik Bedard's first start after coming off the disabled list. The Mariners would surely move the left-hander if they can get a suitable offer. Of course, Sean McAdam of CSN adds that the Mariners are seeking "a ton" back for Bedard, which seems wholly unreasonable given his health history. Heyman named the Tigers and Red Sox as potential suitors.

- Renck reiterates what he's been reporting for weeks, which is that the Red Sox are watching Rockies' outfielder Ryan Spilborghs with a keen eye.

- As the Hunter Pence rumors continue to dry up, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the Phillies are still aggressive in his pursuit, but that's about it. We still feel like Pence isn't going anywhere. This next entry is intriguing, however ...

- Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports the Phillies are scouting White Sox right fielder Carlos Quentin, just in case he becomes available.

- Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports the Braves are looking to bolster their bullpen with either Jon Rauch or Jason Frasor of the Blue Jays.

- Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Reds are not shopping their catching tandem, so any thoughts of Ramon Hernandez giving the Giants' offense a shot in the arm can be forgotten.

- There were various B.J. Upton rumors, so here's a quick summary. Things got kickstarted when Fox Sports reported that there were at least five teams in the mix for Upton, naming the Indians, Giants, Braves and Pirates. The Brewers, Rangers and Phillies are reportedly not part of the Upton sweepstakes. Stark has the Nationals as continuing to "hover" on Upton, so maybe that's the fifth team. Heyman has the Giants as having a strong interest, too. Upton will really become sought after once Beltran is traded and even moreso if it becomes clear Rasmus isn't going to be traded.

- Stark has heard the Twins won't become sellers unless they lose every game this week.

- Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports reports the Indians and Pirates are interested in Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta, though Renck earlier in the day said the Pirates have cooled on Iannetta -- and Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit is heading to Triple-A on his rehab assignment.

- Evan Grant of Dallas Morning News reports the Rangers are monitoring several relief pitchers and are still in on Carlos Beltran.

- Knobler is reporting the Brewers are interested in Jamey Carroll, Coco Crisp and Jerry Hairston, in addition to being fringe candidates for Beltran. The most likely match for the Brewers, however, is Clint Barmes of the Astros.

- Finally, we'll leave with the Beltran rumors. Heyman has the Giants as the front-runner, but puts it with a caveat ("for the moment").  He says the Braves are still heavily in the mix, though the Phillies are kind of bowing out. Sherman reports the Mets' asking price is coming down for Beltran. Stark gets specific, naming many of the top prospects the Mets have asked for in exchange for Beltran and been shot down -- such as Julio Teheran, Domonic Brown and Jarred Cosart.

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

Posted on: July 24, 2011 12:21 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Cardinals could deal Rasmus to White Sox

Rasmus

By Evan Brunell

Despite constant denials, the Cardinals appear to have made center fielder Colby Rasmus available in discussions with the White Sox, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Rasmus and the Cardinals have never had a strong relationship, with the center fielder requesting a trade multiple times last season. Given his potential as a middle of the order hitter, however, it's no surprise that St. Louis has hung on. But with Rasmus struggling and recently being supplanted by Jon Jay in center field, the Cardinals may now be willing to move the 24-year-old, who is hitting just .241/.327/.402 in 374 plate appearances, a far cry from his .276/.361/.498 mark last season, when he cranked 23 homers. The Cardinals know darn well just how important Rasmus can be to a team, whether it be St. Louis or another club, so the switch-hitter will cost another team a pretty penny.

Discussions have taken place around one of Chicago's starting pitchers, especially Edwin Jackson, slated to become a free agent. It's unlikely the team would consider trading its other pitchers in Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Mark Buehrle, although the latter grew up (and remains) a Cardinals fan, with many believing the left-hander will eventually pitch for the Cardinals. Buehrle is also an impending free agent, but it's unlikely Chicago will want to part with the lefty who has succeeded for so many years in the hitter's park that is U.S. Cellular. The Post also suggests the name Matt Thornton, a left-handed reliever who could bolster St. Louis' bullpen and even serve as its closer.

The trade appears so far apart that there is talk of bringing in a third team to complete the deal. That suggests that a deal is not particularly close, but things can always change once the clock ticks closer to 4 p.m. next Sunday. Part of the issue is the White Sox trying to decide if they are buyers or sellers. The upcoming three-game series against Detroit should help determine that. If it's time to sell, a Jackson-for-Rasmus trade suddenly becomes far more possible.

Rasmus also interests the Nationals and Rays, with Tampa Bay also willing to give up starting pitching. The best piece Washington could cough up is shortstop Ian Desmond, of which there are conflicting reports as to his availability. The Nats had a scout follow St. Louis on a nine-game road trip that ends Sunday.

While it's a no-brainer for Chicago to acquire a young centerfielder of the future, especially if all they give up is a pitcher that was going to hit free agency anyway, it would represent a roster crunch. Carlos Quentin, he of 20 bombs on the season, isn't going anywhere in right field. Alex Rios has been a massive disappointment in center and could move to left to make room for Rasmus, but that would displace Juan Pierre, a personal favorite of manager Ozzie Guillen.

Also complicating matters is the presence of left-field prospect Dayan Viciedo, who deserves to be starting in the majors now, but is blocked by Pierre. Unless Viciedo is part of this Rasmus deal, he would be certain to open 2012 in left, so that may require Rios to hit the bench.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 22, 2011 12:43 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 1:08 pm
 

Trade Deadline Primer: NL Central

By Eye On Baseball Team

We're approaching the one-week mark in the countdown to the trade deadline, and on this Friday afternoon we'll take a look at the one division in baseball with six teams. In addition to having six teams, the NL Central also shows four teams that are 100 percent in contention, so things should be quite interesting here as we move closer to July 31. Let's dive in.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Status: Buyers (now that just looks weird, no?).
Needs: Big bat -- likely corner infielder or right fielder -- setup reliever, shortstop.
Notes: The best news for Pirates fans is the increased attendance will help the budget and that the Pirates are looking to buy -- and they'll even trade prospects to help the present cause. That's quite the change, but a good one. Hunter Pence is the hot name here, but there are conflicting reports about whether he's available (see Astros below). Josh Willingham and Conor Jackson have been connected to the Pirates. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN adds Ryan Ludwick to that list, and ESPN's Buster Olney throws in David DeJesus. Remember, the Pirates don't really need a right fielder, but acquiring one would allow them to move Garrett Jones to first base and take Lyle Overbay's spot. Could Carlos Beltran be a fit? It's been reported he's a possibility. At first, the Pirates are reportedly not interested in Carlos Pena (Fox Sports). They haven't really been rumored to be in on other first basemen, either, so it would appear they prefer to move Jones from right. Some relief pitching names in the mix: Koji Uehara, Rafael Betancourt, Grant Balfour, Jason Frasor and Jon Rauch (via John Perratto). Olney reports the bullpen is the main focus. Finally, as if to rain on the parade, Olney reports that the Pirates are actually being pretty careful and don't want to cough up "major assets." So if everything is true, it sounds as if we'll see the Pirates add a lesser bat and some middle relief, but not make a huge splash.

MLB Trade Deadline
Milwaukee Brewers
Status: All in.
Needs: Shortstop, third base and outfield depth.
Notes: The most likely outcome this coming offseason is Prince Fielder signing elsewhere, so the Brewers are pushing all their chips into the pot for a run at the 2011 World Series. The farm system has very few trading chips, but the Brewers will still do pretty much anything they can to get better for the short term. Yuniesky Betancourt and Casey McGehee definitely show as weaknesses for this season, so the Brewers are looking for upgrades. They were looking at Wilson Betemit, but the Tigers snatched him up. Jamey Carroll could be a fit, and the Brewers have asked about him (Olney via Twitter). The Brewers have had "internal discussions" about Clint Barmes (Crasnick via Twitter). Also, it appears the Brewers will seek outfield help now that Carlos Gomez is injured (Tom Haudricourt), but no names have surfaced -- and they most certainly don't have the resources to get Beltran.

St. Louis Cardinals
Status: Buyers.
Needs: Pitching, possibly middle infield.
Notes: Colby Rasmus' name won't go away in terms of trade speculation, but the Cardinals continue to insist the young center fielder isn't going anywhere (Olney via Twitter). If the Rays worked up some creative proposal sending B.J. Upton and James Shields to the Cardinals for a package that included Rasmus and some prospects, however, that tune could always change. For now, though, we'll set that aside and concentrate on more realistic scenarios. The Cardinals are reportedly aggressive in trying to get a starting pitcher, with names like Chris Capuano and Jeff Francis being in the mix. Those names aren't really sexy, and that's likely because the Cardinals' budget is tight (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). Some reports make it seem as if the Cards are desperate for a right-handed reliever (Olney). How about former closer Jason Isringhausen, who said he feels as if there's "unfinished business" for him in St. Louis (Post-Dispatch)? Also, the Cards have reportedly shown interest in Blue Jays relievers -- such as Jon Rauch and Jason Frasor.

Cincinnati Reds
Status: Buyers.
Needs: Starting pitching, middle relievers, possibly shortstop or left field.
Notes: The Reds have been connected to the Rockies in the Ubaldo Jimenez rumors, but Jeremy Guthrie is much more likely, per Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. The interesting new name is James Shields, as the Rays are reportedly at least considering moving the All-Star starter who outdueled CC Sabathia last night. Hiroki Kuroda and Francisco Liriano could also surface, but those are long shots. Something to watch: Catcher Ramon Hernandez is having a good season and is a free agent after the season. Devin Mesoraco could be ready to step in, making Hernandez someone the Reds could part with, and several contending teams could use a rental catcher. The prospect-rich Reds could certainly make a huge splash if they wanted to -- and they're definitely buying (MLB.com) -- but the inability to add tons of salary might prevent a blockbuster.

Chicago Cubs
Status: Sellers, kind of.
Players available: Not nearly enough.
Notes: General manager Jim Hendry is insistent that the Cubs can be competitive next season, so he's holding on tightly to far too many players. You want left-handed reliever Sean Marshall or utilityman Jeff Baker? Nope. Can't have them. Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza are also reportedly unavailable, per Peter Gammons of MLB Network. Aramis Ramirez has publicly stated on several occasions he wants to remain with the Cubs and won't waive his no-trade clause for anyone. Meanwhile, Alfonso Soriano said he'd waive his, but he has an albatross of a contract. Still, the Cubs are reportedly willing to eat a large chunk of his remaining salary just to move him (ESPN Chicago) -- the only question is if he's attractive enough to anyone to add. An American League team could make him a DH and just hope he gets hot, as he's been known to do for stretches. Marlon Byrd and John Grabow do appear to be available, and the Indians have reportedly shown interest in Kosuke Fukudome. Still, the most interesting storyline with the Cubs appears to be Hendry holding on to so many players so tightly. Shouldn't Starlin Castro be the only truly untouchable player?

Houston Astros
Status: Sellers
Players available: Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers ... Hunter Pence?
Notes: There have been conflicting reports on Pence's availability for the past week or so. Every time someone says the Astros are shopping Pence, another reporter has a source say they really aren't. Jon Heyman of SI.com reported Friday that the Astros were asking for so much for Pence that opposing general managers weren't sure he was being seriously shopped. Heyman did note the Astros are working much harder to move Rodriguez and Myers, even willing to absorb salary in order to trade either. Gammons reported the Astros want as much for Rodriguez as the Rockies do for Ubaldo Jimenez, which doesn't seem realistic. As for Michael Bourn, he doesn't seem available. One reporter noted the only reason you hear his name is that reporters keep asking about him.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 4:43 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 5:07 pm
 

Trade Deadline Primer: NL East

By Eye on Baseball team

Leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the National League East has an actual race -- as well as a team with a bloated payroll and no hope -- which leads to a great chance of some pretty interesting trades to and from the division. Here's a look at the five teams in the NL Eeast:

Philadelphia Phillies

Status: Buyers

Needs: Bullpen, RH bat

Notes: Manager Charlie Manuel said he'd love a right-handed bat (Philadelphia Daily News), probably in the outfield, but this is the Phillies and expect the team to focus on pitching -- at least that's what history tells us. And because their rotation is pretty good (you may have heard about some of these guys), they focus on relievers, likely ending a streak of five years of adding a starter midseason. The team is likely one of the many suitors for Padres closer Heath Bell, although some suggest the Phillies prefer Mike Adams. Padres owner Jeff Moorad has reportedly told Adams he won't be traded. However, according to Tom Krasovic of Inside the Padres, the Phillies are willing to give up Class A first baseman/left fielder Jonathan Singleton in return for Adams.

Another bullpen trade partner could be the Orioles, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler said. The Phillies could be interested in Jim Johnson or Koji Uehara.

MLB Trade Deadline

As for the right-handed bats, the Phillies are in on the same folks everyone's chasing -- Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Beltran, Hunter Pence and maybe Jeff Francouer. The biggest hurdle of all for the Phillies is money, as in they've already spent it and they're worried about the luxury tax. The team has just between $2 and $3 million to spend and avoid the luxury tax.

According to Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com, the Phillies and Royals have already exchanged names in a possible Melky Cabrera trade. Cabrera is a cheaper, younger switch hitter for those who fall short in the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes.

Now, if they're going big and bold, Buster Olney of ESPN.com, tweeted the Phillies could go for Pence, centering the deal around right-hander Vance Worley.

Atlanta Braves

Status: Bargain shoppers

Needs: Right-handed bat

Notes: The Braves need a right-handed bat like Roy Halladay needs air conditioning. Atlanta looks like the front-runner for the National League wild card, but don't have much money to spend. The biggest issue right now for Atlanta is its inability to hit left-handed pitchers. Braves hitters are hitting just .211/.285/.337 against lefties, with Jason Heyward, Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer all below the Mendoza line against southpaws. That's why Jon Paul Morosi's report of the Reds' Jonny Gomes drawing the interest of the Braves makes sense, Gomes kills lefties to the tune of a .340/.446/.547 slash line this season and .281/..377/.510 in his career. There's also the regular names such as Ludwick and Beltran.

To make room for more payroll, the team could trade right-hander Derek Lowe, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien wrote. The Tigers could be interested in Lowe, but would have to take up the rest of the $20 million he's owed through 2012.

New York Mets

Status: One-stop shopping

Needs: Young talent under team control; pitching

Notes: Outfielder Carlos Beltran is the top position player on the market, but his future is clouded by the number of teams that could use an upgrade in the outfield and the fact that he's not for sale, he's for rent. Whatever team gets him won't even get compensation picks if he leaves as a free agent after the season.

The Mets would reportedly rather pay Beltran's salary and get a good young player or top prospect in return. They could unload him to a team willing to pay the roughly $8 million left on his contract, but then they wouldn't get much in return. The Mets would prefer big-league ready pitching talent. New York seems confident it can re-sign Jose Reyes, meaning they're not ready to throw in the towel and go full-on rebuilding anytime soon. 

Beltran, however, does have a no-trade clause. According to Tim Brown of Yahoo!, Sandy Alderson gave Beltran a short list of teams interested -- the Phillies, Red Sox, Braves, Giants, Brewers and maybe the Yankees -- and Beltran hasn't ruled any of them out.

It's pretty certain now that the Mets won't deal Reyes, but it appears they may be holding on to Jason Isringhausen, too, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweets.

Washington Nationals

Status: Listening to all offers

Needs: Leadoff man/center fielder of the future

Notes: The Nationals have pieces to deal -- from catcher Ivan Rodriguez to relievers Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Todd Coffey and Sean Burnett, plus starters Jason Marquis, Livan Hernandez and Tom Gorzelanny. In short, they're open for business, with GM Mike Rizzo saying no player is "untouchable" -- but then following that up with "we're not going to touch our core." That means, "after a while, they don't ask for [Danny] Espinosa," Rizzo told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore. Ryan Zimmerman is also likely untouchable, as well as catcher Wilson Ramos.

One name to watch is shortstop Ian Desmond, but that would take quite the return for the team to move the 25-year-old.

More likely to go are some of the team's relievers. The Nats are deep in the bullpen and it's a position that's always in demand. The top tier would be Clippard or even Storen, but that would require Washington receiving a leadoff-hitting center fielder in return, someone like B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Colby Rasmus or Denard Span, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal writes.

Florida Marlins

Status: Sellers

Needs: Third baseman, starting pitchers

Notes: The Marlins have starting pitchers that would interest many teams, but they may not part with them. Next year they rename themselves the Miami Marlins when they move into a new stadium and ownership would like a competitive team on the field when that happens.

Ricky Nolasco is the top starter to be had, but Knobler says they'd have to get a younger, cheaper starter in return for the 28-year-old right-hander.

The one the team may part with is Javier Vazquez, but it's not really their decision. Vazquez has a full no-trade clause and isn't in any hurry to leave South Florida. There are few places he'd accept a trade.

Sure to be gone is closer Leo Nunez. The Phillies are interested in Nunez. The other teams desperate for bullpen help -- like the Cardinals and Rangers -- are likely to at least inquire what it may take to get him.

Randy Choate has been verbal this week about his problems with current manager Jack McKeon and could get shipped off for not being a good soldier.

Also on the block are free-agents-to-be Greg Dobbs and Omar Infante. Infante's value is a lot less than it was a year ago.

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

Posted on: July 15, 2011 7:11 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 4:20 pm
 

Cards GM says Rasmus isn't on the market

Colby Rasmus

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Another year, another year of Colby Rasmus trade rumors.

Last year it was that the talented center fielder couldn't get along with Tony La Russa, this year it's that he's an underperforming malcontent that can't get along with his teammates.

The Cardinals jettisoned Brendan Ryan for that sin, but Rasmus is a better all-around player and it sounds as if St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak intends to keep him, he said as much to The Sports Edge show on Sports Radio 1380-AM in St. Louis:

"We're not trying to move Colby Rasmus, I can be very clear on that," Mozeliak said on Friday. "As you can imagine when you have the type of job I have, people call you all the time about what players you may move. There's no doubt that Colby seems to be a player that gets a lot of attention here in St. Louis and I can understand why, there's not a whole lot of incentive to move him at this time. Now, if there's a deal that made sense and we really felt it was a win, then we'd consider it. But overall, we're not actively shopping him unlike some people would want you to believe."

There's no reason to trade Rasmus now. At 24, Rasmus is still learning to be a big leaguer. He's in just his third year in the big leagues and is under team control through 2014.

Rasmus is certainly underachieving, hitting .246/.329/.413 -- all numbers well below the rates he put up a year ago (.276/.361/.498). He's hit nine home runs and stolen five bases, slightly behind last year's pace. However, he's improved his strikeout rate (20.3 percent) from a year ago (27.7 percent), while his walk rate has dropped a little, but not too much (from 11.8 percent to 11.1 percent). His batting average on balls in play is down (from .354 in 2010 to .291 this season), explaining some of the drops in his batting average and OBP.

Trading him now would be selling low. Rasmus has more than enough talent that moving him for a middle-of-the-rotation starter would be beyond idiotic.

Mozeliak did say the team is looking for a left-handed reliever and overall depth on the pitching staff, whether it's a reliever or starter.

"Unfortunately there are so many teams in this thing and everyone's looking for the same thing, it will be difficult to pull off," Mozeliak said.

So don't expect him to deal Rasmus for that relief, although he did note he could always be swayed if a team gave up enough.

"When I talk about prospects in general, I try never to use the phrase 'untouchable' there's always a deal that would make you want to move somebody, that's just natural," Mozeliak said. "There are players that unless you're blown away, you're not going to make a move."

And that player is Colby Rasmus.

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Posted on: July 14, 2011 11:09 am
Edited on: July 18, 2011 4:20 pm
 

Cardinals may trade Rasmus; Rays interested?

Rasmus

By Evan Brunell

This is the third season for Colby Rasmus, and yet he's well into his second year of trade rumors.

Last season, Rasmus reportedly requested a trade multiple times after clashing with manager Tony La Russa, but to no one's surprise the Cardinals retained the center fielder, whose burgeoning career sparked a .276/.361/.498 line last season. That painted Rasmus as a valuable commodity because of his league-minimum salary and talent at such a young age as he doesn't turn 25 until next month.

Despite that, however, trade rumors have continued to persist, and despite denials to the contrary, it's clear that the Cardinals both seriously considered moving Rasmus this season and are now closer than they've ever been to dealing the 2005 first-round selection given his slide back this year. He's currently struggling with a .246/.329/.413 line.

Part of his failings can be pointed to making contact with pitches outside the strike zone at a higher rate than before despite swinging at a similar percentage of these pitches. That means that Rasmus is making poorer contact, as it will always be difficult to get a good swing on a pitch that would be called a ball. That would explain why his groundball numbers are higher, coupled with a major jump in infield pop-ups.

On one hand, that does suggest that Rasmus can improve. All it would take is an adjustment to laying off these out-of-zone pitches more, but there could be other factors at work that aren't easily discerned by statistics that point to Rasmus not quite reaching superstardom that he appeared ticketed for. Plus, by all accounts, Rasmus is not popular in the clubhouse -- and wasn't right from the start. In a chat, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rasmus "received a cold clubhouse reception when he arrived in 2009."

Strauss adds that "the club insists it's not shopping Rasmus but would listen to offers, as it would for any player not under a no-trade [clause]. Others familiar with the situation say that Raz is more 'live' than the club portrays, and that if he's not traded by Aug. 1 should be elsewhere before next season."
Later, on Twitter, he revealed that the Rays and Cardinals had extensive discussions about Rasmus last season. These talks could pick back up as Tampa Bay could be without a center fielder next season; B.J. Upton is expected to either be traded or leave as a free agent. Acquiring Rasmus would allow for a low-cost option to man center moving forward with quite a bit of upside. But just because Rasmus seems certain to leave doesn't mean St. Louis will give the left-hander away.

That's why they're "coveting" starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, who would be a fantastic young pitcher to pair with Jaime Garcia and could allow the club to let Chris Carpenter walk after the season. Of course, Tampa Bay subscribes to the same reasons St. Louis does in wanting Hellickson, so although a Rasmus-for-Hellickson swap makes sense, Tampa may not be keen on giving up on a budding pitcher who has already cut his teeth in the AL East; plus, the Rays would be down a starting pitcher.

Fortunately, a solution for Tampa could rest in Upton. The Rays could dangle Upton for a young pitcher in return, and there are several teams who would love a center fielder, including Washington and Atlanta, which have been pursuing one for some time. While the requirement of a good, young pitcher would likely knock out the Nationals as contenders, the Braves would be a fit if Atlanta deems the risk of not signing Upton acceptable toward giving up one of its young pitching commodities. The Giants could also be a fit if they offered Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez is a bit wild but is a quality pitcher with a rising salary as he heads to his final year of arbitration next season.

Increasingly, it appears that Rasmus just isn't a ft in St. Louis, whether La Russa sticks beyond the season. Given Rasmus' talent and age, that could set up a significant trade that could impact St. Louis and another team for years.

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

Posted on: June 4, 2011 9:52 pm
Edited on: June 5, 2011 5:29 pm
 

Best first-round picks of the last decade



By C. Trent Rosecrans

With the MLB Draft beginning Monday night at 7 p.m. ET, the Eye on Baseball crew is going to look at the best -- and worst -- first-round draft picks by each team in the last 10 years. 

With the way the baseball draft goes, there are plenty of busts in the first round every year, but there are a lot of great players in the game that were drafted in the first round and the supplemental first round. Tomorrow we'll look at the misses, but for today, here are the hits.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Most first overall picks make the majors and many (Alex Rodrgiuez, Ken Griffey, Chipper Jones) find their way to superstardom. Justin Upton may not be a superstar yet, but the first overall pick of the 2005 draft already has one All-Star appearance under his belt and will probably have more to come.

Atlanta Braves: With the 14th pick in the 2007 draft, the Braves took a local kid, outfielder Jason Heyward. Nice pick.

MLB Draft

Baltimore Orioles: Matt Wieters is close to taking this spot, but for now it's still Nick Markakis, who was taken with the seventh overall pick of the 2003 draft out of Young Harris College in Georgia.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox had five picks in the first round and the supplemental first round in 2005, and as good as Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie are, the pick here is right-hander Clay Buchholz, taken 42nd overall out of Angelina College.

Chicago Cubs: While his name is now a cautionary tale, it's easy to forget just how good Mark Prior was before arm trouble. Drafted with the second pick of the 2001 draft, he won six games in 2002 and 18 in 2003, his best season. Overall, Prior was 42-29 with a 3.51 ERA.

Gordon BeckhamChicago White Sox: Even with his struggles last year and this season, Gordon Beckham has been a productive player for the White Sox after he was taken with the eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft.

Cincinnati Reds: Taken out of high school with the 12th overall pick in 2005, Jay Bruce is the reigning National League Player of the Month and only seems to be getting better at 24. He already has 85 homers in his career, including a National League-best 17 this season.

Cleveland Indians: How bad have the Indians' first-round picks been the last decade? The 18 players taken by Cleveland in the first round and the supplemental first round over the last 10 years have collected just 506 games in the majors, 334 for Cleveland. Lonnie Chisenhall (29th overall in 2008) may eventually be their best in this list, but for right now it's the Orioles' Jeremy Guthrie, who at least has 40 big-league wins.

Colorado Rockies: While the Indians' choice was tough, the Rockies' wasn't -- Troy Tulowitzki was taken with the seventh overall pick in 2005.

Detroit Tigers: With the second pick in 2004, the Tigers took Justin Verlander.

Florida Marlins: The team's best pick of the last decade came in the fourth round of the 2002 draft when it took high school pitcher Josh Johnson, but as far as first-round picks, their best is right-hander Chris Volstad, taken with the 16th pick of the 2005 draft.

Chris BurkeHouston Astros: The Astros didn't have first-round picks in 2003, 2004 and 2007 and haven't had much production from any of them. There's really just two choices, Chris Burke (10th overall, 2001) and Jason Castro (10th overall, 2008). Castro has potential, but is out this season and has played in just 67 big league games, so the pick is Burke, who played in parts of six seasons with three teams, but his 18th-inning walk-off homer (left) to clinch the 2005 NLDS against the Braves is one of the franchise's signature moments.

Kansas City Royals: This choice could be much more difficult in five years, but for now it's pretty easy -- Zack Greinke. The Royals selected him sixth overall in the 2002 draft and he won the American League Cy Young Award in 2009.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Jered Weaver was the 12th pick of the 2004 draft.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers took lefty Clayton Kershaw with the seventh pick of the 2006 draft out of a Texas high school.

Milwaukee Brewers: This could change in a couple of years, but for now, Prince Fielder (seventh overall, 2002) leads Ryan Braun (fifth overall, 2005). Fielder is a free agent this offseason, while Braun is under contract through 2020.

Minnesota Twins: There were those who questioned the pick of hometown boy Joe Mauer with the first pick in the 2001 draft instead of Prior. Not anymore.

New York Mets: Fred Wilpon may not think he's a franchise player, but David Wright is the team's best first-round pick in the last decade, taken with the 38th overall pick in 2001.

New York Yankees: The Yankees have plenty of first-round picks on their roster, although few were their picks. Two key pitchers, starter Phil Hughes (23rd overall in 2004) and reliever Joba Chamberlain (41st overall in 2006), were Yankee picks. The pick here is Chamberlain, who has allowed fewer runs in a similar number of innings and is currently pitching.

Oakland Athletics: A chapter of the book Moneyball focuses on the 2002 MLB Draft and Billy Beane's distaste of drafting high school players. In the book, the team is excited the Brewers take a player they won't touch (Fielder), and the team also doesn't want Zack Greinke, Scott Kazmir, Cole Hamels or Matt Cain -- all high school player. But they get the man they want the most, Nick Swisher at No. 16. It's a good pick, as is Joe Blanton at 24 -- but it's hardly Greinke, Fielder, Hamels or Cain. The team also picked Jeremy Brown, a catcher out of Alabama, and Mark Teahen in the supplemental round. 

Philadelphia Phillies: Another pick from the Moneyball draft, the pick after the A's took Swisher, the Phillies snatched up Hamels, the left-hander from a California high school with the 17th pick.

Pittsburgh Pirates: The 2005 draft featured six players listed as center fielders taken in the first round -- and all six have made the big leagues. The second one taken was the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen with the 11th overall pick. The others were Cameron Maybin (10), Bruce (12), Trevor Crowe (14), Ellsbury (23) and Colby Rasmus (28).

San Diego Padres: The Padres may have had one of the biggest busts of the last decade in Matt Bush, the first overall pick in 2004 draft, but he's not been their only bad pick. The best of the lot was Khalil Greene, taken No. 13 in 2002, who had a promising start of his career, but his troubles with social anxiety disorder drove him from the game. Still, he's the Padres' career leader in homers by a shortstop with 84.

San Francisco Giants: Nine teams passed on the right-hander out of Washington, some scared off by his funky motion and small stature. Tim Lincecum proved them wrong.

Evan LongoriaSeattle Mariners: Adam Jones (37th pick in 2003) played in just 73 games for the Mariners, but was named an All-Star and won a Gold Glove with the Orioles in 2009.

St. Louis Cardinals: With a compensation pick for the Red Sox signing Edgar Renteria, the Cardinals used the 28th pick of the 2005 draft to take Rasmus out of an Alabama High School.

Tampa Bay Rays: Were Luke Hochevar and Greg Reynolds better than Evan Longoria? The Royals and Rockies took those two right-handers with the first two picks of the 2006 draft, leaving Longoria (left) for the Rays.

Texas Rangers: Funny story here -- in 2001 I was working at the Athens Banner-Herald in Georgia and was covering the NCAA Regional in Athens when a Teixeira-led Georgia Tech squad was bounced from the tournament. After his last game, a kid from the student radio station asked Teixeira if he thought his poor showing in the regional would hurt his draft status. The Georgia Tech coach, Danny Hall, took the microphone before Teixeira could answer and said, "No." So did the Rangers, who took him fifth overall.

Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays took lefty Ricky Romero out of Cal State Fullerton with the sixth pick in the 2005 draft.

Washington Nationals: Another pick that could change with the emergence of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, but that's still several years away because of the fourth pick of the 2005 draft,  Ryan Zimmerman.

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Posted on: May 20, 2011 1:39 am
Edited on: May 20, 2011 1:43 am
 

Injuries abound on Thursday

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Carlos GonzalezPlenty of injury news from Thursday night, here's a quick rundown:

• The Phillies are expected to put both Joe Blanton and Shane Victorino on the disabled list on Friday. Blanton was scratched from his start with elbow soreness. Victorino has been struggling with a hamstring injury since Saturday. He didn't play against until Wednesday when he was used as a pinch-hitter.

• In that same game, the Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez left with tightness in his left groin, but manager Jim Tracy said it wasn't serious and Gonzalez could be ready to play Friday in Milwaukee.

• The Rockies' Todd Helton sat out Thursday's game with a sore lower back, but his replacement, Jason Giambi, hit three homers and drove in seven. 

Red Sox starter Josh Beckett left after six innings with stiffness in his neck. Beckett downplayed it later, but he wanted to be cautious because the team already has starters John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka on the disabled list. He is scheduled to start again Tuesday in Cleveland.

Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun left the team's game against the Padres after a fifth-inning popup with left shoulder soreness. He told reporters after the game that he didn't think it was serious, but didn't know if he'd be available for Friday's game.

• As for the Cardinals outfield -- Colby Rasmus was back in the lineup Thursday and Matt Holliday (quad) told reporters he thought he should be available for Friday, even if it's just to DH. However, Lance Berkman (wrist) will not be available, but shouldn't need a trip to the disabled list.

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