Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Jake Westbrook
Posted on: April 16, 2011 1:14 pm
 

Pepper: Harper in the spotlight

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Bryce HarperWhat did you do with your days off?

Me, I did what many of you probably did, went to a baseball game. I drove about an hour to go see Bryce Harper play. I was planning on going Monday, but the game was rained out and then I had an off day on Thursday, the last of a four-game series against the Lexington Legends.

On Wednesday, I got a text from a friend that said he just saw Harper's first professional home run. I did not. I did see a double and nearly saw his first fight.

After walking in the third inning, Harper was picked off third and with no chance to score or get out of it, he decided his best chance was to bowl over the catcher, Chris Wallace.

Wallace barely budged, and then got up in Harper's face. Harper, though, just walked away as soon as the umpire got between them. Both benches were warned and nothing further happened.

Harper's going to be a marked man every place he goes this year, that's part of the minor leagues. In the minor leagues you have someone very close yelling very loudly while very drunk. Harper didn't react, and that's for the best. He'll be the target for fans and players. Every pitcher will be giving him their best, every catcher will welcome a play at the plate, and everything Harper does will be magnified.

On Thursday, Harper did the smart thing and walked away. That's not to say he didn't get yelled at by drunk frat boys in the stands, but he was smart. He gains nothing by getting in a fight there, while Wallace could make his name by taking on the millionaire and most famous player in the minor leagues.

I wanted to talk to Harper about that and what it's liked being a marked man -- something he's definitely going to because of the money, his fame and the perceived arrogance (and it'd be fair to say I heard that word used several times on Thursday from folks around the ballpark). But despite the Nationals asking visiting teams to set up a press conference-type table with backdrop for Harper to deal with every night, he declined on Thursday. I'm not upset, I've been stood up by better, but I wish he would have told me earlier. Instead, I waited an hour to be blown off.

That said, I've got to give him some serious credit, as I waited for his whim, he signed autographs and posed for pictures for each of the nearly 50 people waiting by the team's bus. It's certainly going to be an interesting year for a kid who just turned 18 -- I can say I saw him when… Just like I knew I could when I went to see Gregg Jefferies back in the day when he was the top prospect in baseball.

Also, Evan posted this the other day, but here's some video I took (and the picture is from my hipster iPhone app, Instagram -- I'm ctrosecrans, if you're into that kind of thing):

Harper made his home debut on Friday, and the Washington Post's Dave Sheinin was there to see him go 0 for 3. He's now hitting .226 and I was there for his first pro double, if not the homer.

ANOTHER DOUBLEHEADER -- The Brewers and Nationals have already been rained out today and will play a doubleheader tomorrow. [MLB.com]

YOUNG TO DL -- Chris Young is headed back to the disabled list. The Mets placed the right-hander on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 11, with right biceps tendonitis. The Mets called up lefty Pat Misch. Misch has started one game for Triple-A Buffalo. The team needs a starter for Sunday.

CATCHER NEEDED -- Could Bengie Molina be a fit for the Twins with Joe Mauer on the DL? Another possibility would be Ivan Rodriguez. [St. Paul Pioneer Press]

LUDWICK STRUGGLING -- Many people -- myself included -- killed John Mozeliak for trading away Ryan Ludwick last season to get Jake Westbrook. So far, Mozeliak has looked good as Ludwick has looked bad. Ludwick is hitting .194/.296/.325 since joining the Padres. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

CHAPMAN OK -- Aroldis Chapman says he's feeling fine. His lack of velocity was just from throwing a couple of days in a row. When I talked to Walt Jocketty on Thursday, he said Chapman should be fine to pitch on Sunday. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

SMALL CROWDS -- There are plenty of good seats available at Houston's Minute Maid Parik. [Houston Chronicle]

NO APOLOGY NEEDED -- Cubs manager Mike Quade said he appreciated Carlos Zambrano's apology, but it wasn't needed. Zambrano left the mound before Quade got there when he went to the mound to take him out of Wednesday's game in Houston. [Chicago Sun-Times]

GROUNDSKEEPER OK -- We all saw the YouTube video of the groundskeeper at Kauffman Stadium get run over last week. Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan caught up with Trevor Hogan, who said he wouldn't recommend getting caught under a rolling tarp, but he's fine.

MASCOT INJURY -- In Japan, Carrrasco, the mascot for the Rakuten Eagles injured his leg during a game and had to be rushed to the hospital where he needed surgery. He could miss the entire season. [Yakyu Baka]

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

Posted on: March 29, 2011 5:56 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 9:35 pm
 

Five teams to improve, five to decline in 2011

By Matt Snyder

Finally, spring training is concluding. Now we have a day or two before your favorite team begins play. In the meantime, I'm here to bring you the top five teams to decline and the top five to improve upon their 2010 performances. In return, you accuse me of bias and call me names. It's fun for everyone, really. One thing to keep in mind is that improving or declining by more than 10 games is pretty drastic. On some of these, I'm looking at something like a seven-game swing.

TOP FIVE TEAMS TO IMPROVE

1. Boston Red Sox. Well, let's see ... Last season Kevin Youkilis only played 102 games, Dustin Pedroia saw action in 75 and Jacoby Ellsbury just 18. Josh Beckett was either injured or ineffective all season. Meanwhile the Red Sox added Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to a team that won 89 games, despite all those injury woes -- and some underachieving from people like John Lackey. Easiest call on the board here, and even Yankees fans would have to concede this team is loaded.

2. Oakland A's. The pitching staff is stellar, even including the bullpen. The starting rotation is already really good and only getting better. The A's won 81 with one of the worst offenses in baseball last season. A full season of Coco Crisp, Kurt Suzuki bouncing back and the additions of Hideki Matsui and Josh Willingham don't exactly sound like adding Gonzalez and Crawford, but small improvements will do wonders for the pitching staff. Slugger Chris Carter is waiting in the wings, too, and don't be surprised if Billy Beane adds a bat at the deadline.

3. Colorado Rockies. Troy Tulowitzki needs to stay healthy and Dexter Fowler needs to get closer to his ceiling. I'm going out on a limb that both happen, along with steps forward from Chris Iannetta and Ian Stewart. Watch Jhoulys Chacin's development in the starting rotation, too. He's got big potential.

4. Milwaukee Brewers. This is contingent upon the big names staying healthy and Zack Greinke getting healthy as soon as possible, because this team is paper-thin. But the top line is very impressive. Plus, the division is not very good at all. The Brewers are going to score runs, get good starting pitching (again, assuming the health thing) and have a good back-end of the bullpen. If they can overcome defense and depth deficiencies, they'll win the Central.

5. Florida Marlins. Call it a bit of a gut call, but I really like the Marlins. The rotation really has great potential with Javier Vazquez returning to a pitcher's park in the NL East (he's apparently too intimidated by being a Yankee) and Ricky Nolasco having the ability to be a true No. 2 if he can ever stay consistent. Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad have -- again, this word -- potential to be solid at the end, with stud Josh Johnson leading the five-some. I love the outfield potential of Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan and Mike Stanton, so long as all three can stay healthy. Hanley Ramirez is primed to have a big season, too.

TOP FIVE TEAMS TO DECLINE

1. San Diego Padres. Removing Gonzalez from the middle of the batting order changes the complexion of everything. And Mat Latos is already hurt, which does nothing to alleviate the concern of the huge workload increase he's experienced over the past two seasons. Most of all, the Padres just seem outmanned by the Giants and Rockies. Winning close to 90 games seems outlandish. Of course, many people said that last year, too.

2. Houston Astros. They overachieved in a big way last season according to run differential (the 'Stros allowed 118 more runs than they scored) and aren't any better. Other than Hunter Pence, the position players are either getting old (Carlos Lee), still unproven (Brett Wallace) or just not that good (Jason Michaels, Bill Hall, Michael Bourn). I'm not a huge fan of the rotation, but it's going to have to carry the team. Good luck with that.

3. Tampa Bay Rays. This is difficult. It's hard to not love the Rays for being so good at sticking with the Yankees and Red Sox in the mighty AL East on that paltry payroll. The loss of Crawford hurts. Carlos Pena wasn't overly productive -- though he was much better than his batting average said -- last season, but his presence helps everyone else see better pitches. That goes away with Dan Johnson at first. The loss of Matt Garza isn't a big deal, so long as Jeremy Hellickson does his thing and James Shields returns to form. The bullpen is worse, though. Look, I'd pick the Rays to win the NL Central if they were in it, but the Yankees aren't any worse and the Red Sox are way better. The Orioles should be better as well. I think the Rays win in the ballpark of 86 games, but that's 10 worse than last year and good for third place.

4. Toronto Blue Jays. They're still building and are moving in the right direction, but winning 85 games again in that division is a very tall order. Any offensive bounce-back from the likes of Aaron Hill and Adam Lind is negated by Jose Bautista's return to this planet.

5. St. Louis Cardinals. If anyone can pull this off, it's Dave Duncan, but losing Adam Wainwright was a death blow. Chris Carpenter is old and injury-prone. Jaime Garcia is due a massive regression. Kyle Lohse was awful last year and Jake Westbrook doesn't have good stuff. Kyle McClellan could very well prove a solid No. 5 starter, but he hasn't exceeded 75 2/3 innings the past three seasons in the bullpen. Can he really double that and remain effective? The outfield defense won't do the staff any favors, either. The Pujols/Holliday/Rasmus combo -- and even Lance Berkman in a best-case scenario -- is very solid, but there's only going to be so much they can do on some nights. I feel like mid-to-high 70s in wins, but Duncan and Tony La Russa find ways to make people wrong often.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 28, 2011 10:24 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/28: Orioles version

By Matt Snyder

3 UP

Luke Scott, Orioles. By the end of the second inning Scott had two home runs and seven RBI after a three-run bomb and a grand slam. Have a day, Luke!

Jake Fox, Orioles. He was outdone by Scott Monday, since Fox only mustered one home run and RBI -- but let's tip our collective hats to the spring Fox put together. He came in fighting for a roster spot, he left with 10 home runs in 73 at-bats, with a 1.137 OPS. Basically, he was the most feared slugger in the Grapefruit League.

Kila Ka'aihue, Royals. Though overshadowed by Fox, the Royals' first-sacker is having quite the spring of his own. Ka'aihue hit his seventh home run of the spring Monday and drove home three -- running that total to 20 RBI in 56 at-bats. He's hitting .411 with an amazing 1.351 OPS.

3 DOWN

Max Scherzer, Tigers. If the Orioles' hitters went that bonkers, someone had to bear the brunt of it, and it was Scherzer. He was dismantled. The ugly line: 2 1/3 innings, nine hits, 11 earned runs, three home runs (see above for the Baltimore culprits). He was already having a rough spring, but now the ERA sits at 10.38. On the bright side, last season Scherzer had a 6.23 ERA and he went on to put up a 3.50 ERA in the regular season.

Jake Westbrook, Cardinals. Only four guys crossed the plate, but Westbrook allowed 13 baserunners in 4 1/3 innings. That's a WHIP of 3.00 and he won't always be able to strand so many runners -- especially with zero strikeouts.

Bud Norris, Astros. The Phillies -- sans Ryan Howard and, of course, Chase Utley -- had their way with Norris Monday. Six hits, four walks and a three-run Ben Francisco bomb doomed Norris, as he allowed six earned runs in five innings and saw the spring ERA balloon to 7.71. Much like Scherzer, however, Norris was brutal last spring and much better when the games actually mattered. Fortunately for the two, the slates wipe clean in just a few days. And fortunately for the rest of us, too, because we need some games that mean something.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 16, 2010 6:29 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2010 8:08 pm
 

Cardinals ink Westbrook


Th Cardinals, who traded for right-hander Jake Westbrook at the trade deadline, liked what they saw enough to sign him to a two-year contract Tuesday. The deal has a mutual option for a third year.

Westbrook went 4-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 12 starts after coming to St. Louis in a three-team trade with his old team, Cleveland, and the Padres. Westbrook, who missed the 2009 season after Tommy John surgery, went 10-11 overall in 2010 with a 4.22 ERA. He made $11 million in the final year of a three-year deal.

Financial terms weren't immediately available.

"Having Jake signed is a great start to our off-season," general manager John Mozeliak said in a release issued by the club.  "We witnessed first-hand last season what a terrific competitor he is and how well he fits in with our pitching staff."

The Cardinals now have a solidified five-man rotation of (in some order) Westbrook, Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Kyle Lohse and Jaime Garcia.

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com (via Twitter ) reports the deal is worth $16.5 million over two years.

UPDATE: Westbrook will earn $8 million in 2011 and $8.5 million in 2012, with a mutal option worth $8.5 million in 2013, Matthew Leach of MLB.com reports . If the Cardinals decline his 2013 option, they'll owe Westbrook another $1 million. He also has a no-trade clause.

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


Posted on: November 12, 2010 10:16 am
 

Indians can't afford Westbrook, but call anyway

Jake Westbrook The Indians have talked to free-agent right-hander Jake Westbrook about returning to Cleveland, the Plain Dealer 's Paul Hoynes writes .

However, a return to Cleveland seems unlikely, as new Indians general manager Chris Antonetti has been given the charge of cutting payroll from $61.5 million at the start of 2010 to somewhere between $40-$50 million.

The Indians are committed to $26.6 million to three players for 2011 -- Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore and Fausto Carmona and have six players eligible for arbitration -- Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jensen Lewis, Chris Perez, Rafael Perez and Joe Smith.

If the Indians tender contracts to all six, well, it'll be interesting if they have enough money to fill out the rest of their roster, much less sign a free agent pitcher who is looking for a two-year deal. Westbrook has reportedly turned down a one-year offer from the Cardinals.

The Denver Post 's Troy Renck says the Rockies are interested in Westbrook, as well.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: October 14, 2010 10:39 am
Edited on: October 14, 2010 10:48 am
 

Westbrook underwent surgery

Pitcher Jake Westbrook underwent surgery on his left shoulder after the season, but it shouldn't impact the righty's offseason workout.

No Cardinal officials would speak about the injury given rules restricting discussion on pending free agents, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was able to confirm the repairing of a "minor tear" in the left shoulder, the non-throwing arm. He pitched with the tear in the second half before having it repaired by Dr. James Andrews.

The Cardinals are hopeful they can bring the sinkerballer back to town after acquiring him at the trade deadline from the Indians.

-- Evan Brunell

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

Category: MLB
Posted on: September 30, 2010 1:24 pm
 

Westbrook hoping to stay with Cardinals

Jake Westbrook Jake Westbrook knows exactly what he wants, and that's a return to St. Louis.

"If they had interest, I've definitely enjoyed my time here," Westbrook told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch . "I've gotten to know the guys well. The organization is definitely one that everybody knows about, that I've certainly heard a lot about, and now, firsthand, I've gotten to see that everybody was right."

The Cardinals acquired Westbrook from the Indians at the trade deadline before going into a swoon that took the Cards out of the postseason race. That's no indictment on the righty, however, as he's put up a 3.88 ERA in 11 starts for his new team. Overall, his 2010 season has seen Westbrook make 32 starts of 195 innings, posting a 4.38 ERA. Not too shabby for someone who missed all of 2009 and made just five starts in 2008.

"I wanted to make every start and try to accumulate all of the innings I could, to try to get over that 200-inning threshold," said Westbrook, who will make his final start of the season Friday. "I'm close. That was my goal. If you can make every start and get to that 200 innings or around it, that means you're in a lot of ballgames, you're giving your team a chance to win. That's all you can ask for as a starting pitcher [when] healthy. I've been able to do that this year, and my arm feels great."

The Cardinals have been fans of Westbrook for a while, and pitching guru Dave Duncan is making no secret that he wants the 33-year-old who had a birthday Wednesday to return. The Cardinals have to watch their wallet, however, with Matt Holliday making megabucks, Albert Pujols in line for the biggest deal in baseball history and rising price tags for Adam Wainwright and down the road, Colby Rasmus.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Category: MLB
Posted on: September 10, 2010 12:35 pm
 

Cards: No regrets on trading Ludwick

Ryan Ludwick
Despite the Cardinals' offensive struggles since trading outfielder Ryan Ludwick, manager Tony La Russa maintains that the team had little choice but to sacrifice to acquire a starting pitcher.

The July 31 three-team trade, which sent Ludwick to San Diego and brought Jake Westbrook to St. Louis, left a hole in a lineup that already had problems. A serious ankle injury later suffered by third baseman David Freese only compounded the effects of Ludwick's loss. Prior to Thursday's 11-run outburst, the Cardinals had scored just 23 runs in their previous 10 games.

La Russa said the plan had been to replace Ludwick with another bat, but no trade ever materialized.

"The best answer was to bring in a legitimate starting pitcher, keep Ludwick, trade somebody young," La Russa told reporters Thursday. "Or bring the pitcher in, use Ludwick, and get somebody else to replace him, which is what we tried to do. But if it came down to one or the other and if you could play the rest of the year with Ludwick and without the starting pitcher, we didn't think that gave us the best chance to win."

Westbrook has been decent if not spectacular for the Cardinals, going 1-3 with a 3.89 ERA in six starts. He has given St. Louis needed innings, going at least six every time out.

It's cold comfort to the Cardinals, but Ludwick has been a bust for the Padres, putting up a miserable .225/.306/.364 line since the trade.

-- David Andriesen

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