Posted on: December 6, 2010 8:02 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 8:49 pm

Monday night Winter Meetings notes

Winter Meetings Day 1 of the Winter Meetings is quieting down as most media are either posting their end-of-day wraps or schmoozing in the lobby.

While many prepare for dinner and drinks, here's the latest...
  • It's a done deal: J.J. Putz has signed to close for the Diamondbacks at two years and $10 million. In one day, GM Kevin Towers has acquired three relievers. Sounds just like him.
  • Twelve -- count 'em, 12 -- have inquired on reliever Taylor Buchholz as the Providence Journal reports. The righty was one of the better relief pitchers in 2008 but has struggled with injuries the last two seasons. Buchholz was shipped from Colorado to Toronto late in 2010 and then to the Red Sox after the season. Boston then non-tendered him and would like to bring him back but the Sox will have quite the competition to work against.
  • Rays GM Andrew Friedman had a busy first day behind the scenes, even if he didn't get anything done. But enough groundwork has been laid, as he "wouldn't be surprised" to swing a trade or two by the end of the Winter Meetings, as the St. Petersburg Times relays. He needs to rebuild a bullpen and complement the offense.
  • Speaking of rebuilding the bullpen, Friedman believes he can convince reliever J.P. Howell to rejoin the Rays on a contract by the end of the week as the Times adds.
  • AOL Fanhouse's Ed Price notes that six to eight teams are interested in reliever D.J. Carrasco, who has been among the most underrated relievers the last two seasons in this humble scribe's opinion. The Mets are one such team interested.
  • Edgar Renteria appears in an Associated Press story out of Columbia and via MLB Trade Rumors , is saying there are "three options" for a 2011 deal. All options are in the NL and one of the teams is the Giants, who are thought to be interested in Renteria as a backup infielder. Renteria has said previously that he would like to end his career playing for the Cardinals or Marlins, so those could be the other clubs in play.
  • Braves GM Frank Wren says some things have caught his attention and he would like to explore these avenues as the meetings evolve. There's no indication what those avenues are, but one such avenue in Lorenzo Cain from the Brewers is probably not happening as Milwaukee is not as interested in moving Cain as the Braves were led to believe, as MLB.com notes.
  • The Reds want Miguel Cairo back and expect things to be wrapped up by the end of the week with a big-league deal as MLB.com reports.
  • The Indians are interested in talking long-term extension with Shin-Soo Choo now that Choo has received his military exemption from South Korea. He is coming off back-to-back 20-20 seasons and is eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason as MLB.com relays.
  • Cleveland wants to find a defense-first third baseman to help take the pressure off the rotation that is built around groundballers. However, if a deal makes sense for the Indians for a defensively-challenged third baseman (like Edwin Encarnacion), GM Chris Antonetti wouldn't rule out such a move, says MLB.com .
  • The Twins have offered Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka a three-year deal worth $9 to $10 million. This is on top of the $5 million posting fee to be paid to Nishioka's Japanese team as AOL Fanhouse reports.
  • Doug Melvin refused to comment on Carl Pavano as Adam McCalvy of MLB.com tweets. "I'd rather not get into that," Melvin said. "I'll leave that to the rumors. You don't want to tip your hand." Sounds like Melvin just tipped his hand.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 24, 2010 1:04 pm

Bullington heads for Japan

Bryan Bullington
Having failed to establish a big-league career since being the top overall pick in the 2002 draft, right-hander Bryan Bullington is going to try his luck in Japan. The Royals announced that they placed the 30-year-old on unconditional waivers so that he could sign with the Hiroshima Carp.

The Pirates drafted Bullington first out of Ball State University and paid him a $4 million signing bonus, but that investment netted them just three major-league starts before they lost him on waivers in 2008. After unsuccessful stints with the Indians and Blue Jays, he signed with the Royals as a minor-league free agent last winter.

It took Bullington eight years and four organizations before he recorded his first and only major-league victory, holding the Yankees to two hits over eight innings in August. He has a 1-9 career record with a 5.62 ERA.

-- David Andriesen

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

Posted on: November 23, 2010 2:19 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:29 pm

Hamilton runs away with AL MVP

Josh Hamilton wins the American League MVP, and while it wasn't quite the landslide that Joey Votto's NL victory was, it wasn't close, either.

Hamilton collected 22 of the 28 first-place votes, had four second-place votes and two fourth-place votes for a total of 358 points. Detroit's Miguel Cabrera was second, finishing with five first-place votes and 262 overall points. Robinson Cano was third (229) and Toronto's Jose Bautista was fourth with one first-place vote and 165 total points.

Josh Hamilton Here's the final voting
Josh Hamilton, Rangers 358
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers 262
Robinson Cano, Yankees 229
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays 165
Paul Konerko, White Sox, 130
Evan Longoria, Rays 100
Carl Crawford, Rays 98
Joe Mauer, Twins 97
Adrian Beltre, Red Sox 83
Delmon Young, Twins 44
Vladimir Guerrero, Rangers 22
Rafael Soriano, Rays 21
CC Sabathia, Yankees 13
Shin-Soo Choo, Indians 9
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees 8
Felix Hernandez, Mariners 6
Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners 3
Jim Thome, Twins 2
Joakim Soria, Royals 1
Mark Teixeira, Yankees 1

An interesting note, both of the MVPs made their debut for the Reds in 2007, Hamilton on opening day and Votto after rosters expanded in September. The Reds traded Hamilton after the 2007 season to the Rangers for pitcher Edinson Volquez and Daniel Ray Herrera.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: November 21, 2010 1:42 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2010 5:33 pm

Could Indians sign Zach Duke?

Duke Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets that he wouldn't be surprised if the Indians signed Zach Duke to a contract after the lefty was designated for assignment by Pittsburgh.

Duke will likely come on a very low base salary as he's coming off a season with a 5.72 ERA, 5.4 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 mark.

The 27-year-old has put together some decent back-of-the-rotation seasons, but unless something changes drastically, asking Duke to play in the American League seems like a stretch.

Duke throws strikes and induces groundballs, but can't do much else. In a pitcher's park in the National League and his head screwed on straight, it's not impossible to imagine him stringing together a few solid seasons. Unless the Indians think they can fix him and improve him, however, Duke's only value to the team would be to serve as an innings eater.

-- Evan Brunell

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

Posted on: November 19, 2010 10:13 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2010 10:23 pm

Friday evening rumor roundup

Well, this week has kind of been the March of the Hot Stove League season, in like a lion, out like a lamb -- but there is still some action out there. So here's another roundup.

• The four teams on Justin Upston's no-trade list are the A's, Royals, Tigers and Indians. (FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, via Twitter )

• The Diamondbacks have made a two-year, $3 million offer for Japanese starter Hiro Kobayahsi. (NPB Tracker via Twitter )

• The Braves and Dan Uggla are both open to multiyear contract extension. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution )

• The Braves have made an offer to free agent Eric Hinske. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution )

• The Red Sox are "undecided" whether they will bid for Japanese infielders Tsuyoshi Nishioka. (WEEI.com )

• Larry Stone of the Seattle Times notes Bob Engle, the Mariners vice president for international operations, signed both Cy Young Award winners, Felix Hernandez and Roy Halladay. He's also got 2005 Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter and 1996 Cy Young-winner Pat Hentgen on his resume.

• The Yankees released reliever Jonathan Albaladejo, who signed with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan. (Star-Ledger )

• There were plenty of 40-man moves on Friday, as teams set their rosters in the deadline for the Rule 5 draft. The most interesting moves belonged to the Pirates, who designated Zach Duke, Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young for assignment. The only other name that really jumped out at me was that the Mariners put Josh Lueke on their 40-man roster. Lueke was part of the trade that sent Cliff Lee to Texas. In 2009, Lueke plead no contest to charges of false imprisonment with violence after an incident in 2008. Lueke will be a controversial figure if he gets called up to Seattle.

UPDATE: The Pirates tried to negotiate a contract with Duke, who is arbitration-eligible, and also explored a trade. (MLB.com )

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: November 19, 2010 9:51 am

Choo is free!

Shin-Soo Choo
South Korea beat Taiwan 9-3 in the Asian Games final today, earning Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo an exemption from his country's mandatory military service.

If South Korea had not won, Choo would have faced the choice of suspending his major-league career (after batting .300 last season) or giving up his citizenship and applying to become a U.S. Citizen.

In five games, Choo batted .571 with three homers, six walks and 11 RBI, so you could say he did his part. The hero in the final was Jung-Ho Kang, who homered twice and drove in five runs. I bet he'll be getting a big fruit basket from Choo.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: November 18, 2010 6:53 pm

Santana, Sizemore progressing in rehab

Santana Two integral players to the future of the Indians that had their season shortened are well on their way back, but there still remains plenty of hurdles to clear.

Catcher Carlos Santana (pictured), one of the best prospects in the game, was involved in a gruesome home-plate collision with Boston's Ryan Kalish that aborted his debut season after 46 games. He underwent surgery to repair the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee three and a half months ago and has begun full lower body strength and conditioning exercises, as MLB.com notes . Santana will progress to walking and jogging at the end of this week and will launch baseball activities in early January.

Sizemore is a different story, because he had microfracture surgery on his left knee, which is not a common surgery in baseball. As a result, his timetable is a little less clear than Santana's.

"With Grady, it's a little less certain," first-year GM Chris Antonetti said. "We'll have to continue to see how he meets the individual milestones and be in touch with Dr. [Richard] Steadman [who performed the surgery] on what he feels the appropriate progression will continue to be. He's met all his checkpoints so far."

Sizemore has played in just 139 games over the last two seasons (33 in 2010), and has seen his status as an elite center fielder take a hit. Even the slightest delay could throw him off of being ready for Opening Day as he is slated to begin baseball activities in early January along with running on the treadmill. He is currently transitioning from water-based exercises to land-based.

"There's no reason to be concerned, as far as [Sizemore's] availability for us," Antonetti said. "But it's a delicate balance. Between the beginning of January or the middle of January, that's only two weeks, but it has significant implications on when he'll be ready for the season. We'll have a much better sense in January [of his timeline] than we do now."

Santana's readiness for Opening Day is more certain, but he may not play behind the dish full-time. The club indicated that they plan to play Santana at first base next season to prevent wear and tear on his body, especially coming off significant surgery.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 18, 2010 6:08 pm

Chisenhall tops Indians prospect list

Carrasco The Top 10 prospects list for the Indians is out, courtesy of Baseball America .

What separates this list from previous Indians prospect lists is how much promise there is among the top 10 in the organization. Cleveland's demise has been in large part due to its poor drafting choice before shifting gears with the plucking of Lonnie Chisenhall in 2008. Chisenhall, a raw and athletic player with makeup concerns initially wasn't a typical Indians pick but now tops the list that Carlos Santana held for two years running. He is now among the best third-base prospects in the game and should hold down the hot corner for years to come. At just 22, Chisenhall could debut in 2011.

The 2009 draft was another big step toward respectability for Cleveland's farm, with three players plucked in that year on the list at No. 2 (SP Alex White), No. 3 (2B Jason Kipnis) and No. 9 (SP Joe Gardner). The 2010 draft was ranked by BA as the best of all teams, and lefty starter Drew Pomeranz represents the 2010 class at No. 4 along with OF LeVon Washington at No. 7 and SS Tony Wolters at No. 8.

There are also players on the list that were obtained in trade, which the Indians have done successfully the last couple of years to bolster farm depth. Santana was a Dodger originally, while No. 6 SP Jason Knapp and No. 10 RP Nick Hagadone appearing on the list who are not original Indians. The club also recently graduated SP Carlos Carrasco (pictured), who was acquired along with Knapp in the Cliff Lee deal.

The Indians are in year three of a big rebuilding effort and while it will take a while for these prospects to hit, respectability could be just around the corner, perhaps as soon as 2012.

The list:

1. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3b
2. Alex White, rhp
3. Jason Kipnis, 2b
4. Drew Pomeranz, lhp
5. Nick Weglarz, of
6. Jason Knapp, rhp
7. Levon Washington, of
8. Tony Wolters, ss
9. Joe Gardner, rhp
10. Nick Hagadone, lhp

-- Evan Brunell

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