Posted on: November 11, 2010 5:24 pm

A's sign top Dominican prospect

The Athletics aren't pulling any punches when it comes to acquiring amateur talent.

A couple years after signing the coveted Michael Ynoa, the A's are at it again with the inking of outfielder Vicmal de la Cruz, as Baseball America reports.

De la Cruz bats left-handed and was considered the one of the best -- if not the best -- Dominican prospect available for signing. While he remains raw (which Dominican prospect isn't?), scouts told BA that the 16-year-old (17 on Nov. 20) has some of the best all-around tools of any international prospect this year.

De la Cruz is extremely fast and can drive the ball. When he fills out, he will lose some speed but should still swipe a healthy number of bags along with flashing strong power. He lacks discipline at the plate, which will be an important part of his development stateside.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: November 11, 2010 12:52 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2010 11:10 am

MLB Facts & Rumors American League MVP

The major baseball awards will be announced next week, and the staff at MLB Facts and Rumors is making our choices this week. Today, David, Evan and Trent name their American League Most Valuable Player selections. As with the BBWAA awards, a first-place vote is worth 14 points, second place nine, third place eight and so forth, with 10th place getting one point.

The American League MVP would have been easy if the season ended int he first week of September, but that's when Josh Hamilton crashed into a wall and broke a few ribs, sidelining him for nearly a month. Was that enough to give Detroit's Miguel Cabrera the MVP? Or was Jose Bautista's 54-homer season good enough to win the honor?


Josh Hamilton David Andriesen
1. Josh Hamilton, Rangers
2. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
3. Adrian Beltre, Red Sox
4. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
5. Robinson Cano, Yankees
6. Evan Longoria, Rays
7. Paul Konerko, White Sox
8. Carl Crawford, Rays
9. Shin-Soo Choo, Indians
10. Joe Mauer, Twins

Hamilton led all of baseball in batting average and WAR (wins above replacement), while playing center field and dealing with nagging injuries. Yes, he only played 133 regular-season games, but Joe Mauer won last year with 135. Cabrera was scary good, finishing in the top
three in every Triple Crown category, but Hamilton played better with more on the line.

Evan Brunell
1. JoshHamilton, Rangers
2. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
3. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
4. Adrian Beltre, Red Sox
5. Robinson Cano, Yankees
6. Evan Longoria, Rays
7. Shin-Soo Choo, Indians
8. Carl Crawford, Rays
9. Paul Konerko, White Sox
10. Daric Barton, Athletics

Hamilton had a sublime season, leading baseball in batting average (.359) and slugging percentage (.633). In counting stats, his 30 HR and 100 RBI don't exactly blow anyone off the map, but don't forget he missed most of September.

C. Trent Rosecrans
1.  Josh Hamilton, Rangers
2. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
3. Evan Longoria, Rays
4. Robinson Cano, Yankees
5. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
6. Felix Hernandez, Mariners
7. Adrian Beltre, Red Sox
8. Shin-Soo Choo, Indians
9. Joe Mauer, Twins
10. Paul Konerko, White Sox

Hamilton missed most of September, but it didn't really mean anything to his team, because he was so good until that point that the Rangers had a cushion. There were other players with really good years, Cabrera and Cano among them, but they were still behind what Hamilton's amazing season. I think Longoria sometimes gets overlooked, but he doesn't deserve the nod over Hamilton. I do find it interesting that I'm the only one with a pitcher listed.

MLB Facts and Rumors American League Most Valuable Player
As good a season as Cabrera had, it's a runaway for Hamilton, who was unanimous in our small poll, followed by Miguel Cabrera and Jose Bautista. That said, expect Cabrera and maybe even Cano to garner first-place votes when the BBWAA announces its winners on Nov. 23, but Hamilton will still likely win by a comfortable margin.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 10, 2010 8:44 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2010 8:57 pm

A's grab DeJesus for Mazzaro, Marks

DeJesus The Oakland Athletics struck to get a top outfielder in David DeJesus from the Royals on Wednesday, coughing up starting pitcher Vin Mazzaro and prospect Justin Marks.

As expected, Oakland dealt away some starting pitching depth after winning the bid for Japanese left-hander Hisashi Iwakuma to import some offense. DeJesus isn't a middle-of-the-order hitter, but will impact the game both on offense and defense. He has $6 million due him in 2011 before he will hit free agency as a 31-year-old.

DeJesus hit .318/.384/.443 with 23 doubles and five home runs in 394 plate appearances, tearing a tendon in his right thumb just before the trading deadline where he was rumored to be headed to the Giants. That ended his season, and now we know it also ended his Royals career.

He finishes his Kansas City career with a .289/.360/.427 line, cranking 61 home runs and 187 doubles over 876 games. DeJesus was the man to replace Carlos Beltran in center field before shifting to left in 2008.

Now, he'll man left with Coco Crisp in center field and Ryan Sweeney in right, with Rajai Davis likely to be nontendered. It's hardly a murderer's row, but all are capable on offense and will allow Oakland to turn its focus towards bolstering its offense in the infield or at the DH spot.

The A's don't plan on dealing any other starters, specifically Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez or Dallas Braden, as Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse reports . The No. 5 starter will likely be filled via free agency, although Bobby Cramer may have something to say about that.

Fletcher also notes that DeJesus' salary represents one-third to the total money available for new players, Iwakuma not included. The team needs more power to be a legitimate contender for the division, and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Beane intends to address the power void.

To acquire DeJesus, the A's had to give up Vin Mazzaro, a right-hander who made 18 starts in his sophomore season, coming out of the bullpen for six additional games. He posted a 4.27 ERA, but walked 50 against 79 strikeouts in 122 1/3 innings.

The 23-year-old profiles as a back-of-the-rotation candidate, potentially ascending to the No. 3 spot. It's possible Mazzaro could spend 2011 as K.C.'s best pitcher, especially if Zack Greinke is traded. That's damning of the quality of play the Royals will be at in 2011, but Mazzaro's true value will come as being part of a rotation that incorporates players from the Royals' flush farm system.

Marks, 22, was plucked in the third round of the 2009 draft and made 24 starts and one relief appearance across Class A and high-Class A, with 109 2/3 innings out of 129 1/3 total coming in Class A. He had a 4.87 ERA, but did whiff 136 batters with decent command with a 3.4 BB/9. A left-hander, Marks will have every chance to succeed and could eventually develop into a late-inning reliever given his strikeout ability.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 9, 2010 4:06 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:28 pm

Jeter wins another Gold Glove

Oh, as we complain again and again about the Baseball Writers Association of America and their votes for MVP and Cy Young, the coaches and managers once again show they're not a better committee to choose the biggest awards in the game.

Exhibit A: Derek Jeter, Gold Glover.

Derek Jeter Yep, Jeter won the Gold Glove again on Tuesday in a vote from American League coaches and managers. Derek Jeter with a -5.4 UZR/150, -13 runs saved and -17 plus/minus, was determined by the coaches and managers to be the best defensive shortstop in the American League. Among qualified players, only Tampa Bay's Jason Bartlett (-13.8) and Kansas City's Yuniesky Betancourt (-9.2) had a worse UZR/150.

Sure, Jeter had just six errors, but the idea that errors tell you much about a player's defense is preposterous. It tells you who is able to make the routine plays best. That's well and good, but it has little to do with the best all-around defensive player. Jeter has the range of, well, a mediocre 36-year old defensive player. (You know how many times you see Jeter go into the hole and doing that leaping throw, but doesn't quite get the runner? Oh, what a gutty play, he doesn't get an E. Thing is, most other shortstops don't have to make that jump and get the runner.)

Who would be a better choice? Well, who wouldn't?

The Fielding Bible Awards had Chicago's Alexei Ramirez as its third-place finisher, and best among AL players. Ramirez's UZR/150 was 10.1, he had 16 runs saved and a 20 plus/minus.

In UZR/150, Ramirez was trailed by Oakland's Cliff Pennington (8.8), Baltimore's Cesar Izturis (5.8) and Texas' Elvis Andrus (0.3), among qualified players.

The Gold Gloves have been one of those openly mocked selections since a designated hitter won one in 1999 (Rafael Palmeiro). Defense, even in this day and age of advanced statistics, is still highly subjective, with reputation playing more of a role than production. That's what the Gold Glove tells us every year. It also tells us the coaches and managers have as much of a Yankee bias as the media is accused of having.

Alex Rodriguez was the only Yankee infielder not to be awarded, even though the advanced statistics liked Oakland's infield much more.

Mark Teixeira won at first base, even though Oakland's Daric Barton was likely the best choice. Mark Ellis had the top UZR/150 among second basemen (12.7), but the winner was Robinson Cano (-0.9).  Also deserving at second would be Minnesota's Orlando Hudson (12.0 UZR/150). Hudson was the top AL vote-getter in the Fielding Bible Awards, while Ellis was behind him.

As for the outfield, that's probably where a Yankee was actually left off. Left fielder Brett Gardner had the best UZR/150 of any qualified outfielders with a 27.9. He also won the Fielding Bible Award in left field.

American League Gold Glove winners
P Mark Buehrle, White Sox
C Joe Mauer, Twins
1B Mark Teixeira, Yankees
2B Robinson Cano, Yankees
3B Evan Longoria, Rays
SS Derek Jeter, Yankees
OF Carl Crawford, Rays
OF Franklin Gutierrez, Mariners
OF Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 9, 2010 11:52 am

Red Sox interested in Duchscherer

Justin Duchscherer
A source tells WEEI.com that the Red Sox, who drafted Justin Duchscherer in 1996 but never saw him take a major-league field, are interested in bringing him to Beantown next season.

Considering his upside and the fact that he can be signed to a low-base deal heavy on incentives, Duchscherer is an intriguing possibility for Boston or a number of other teams. When he's healthy, he's very effective -- a career 3.13 ERA and an ERA+ of 139. Problem is, he hasn't been healthy much the past couple of years. He didn't pitch at all in 2009 while dealing with elbow surgery and clinical depression. The Athletics signed him to an incentive-laden deal last year, but he made only five starts (2-1, 2.89) before having hip surgery in June.

The last time he was fully healthy, in 2008, he went 10-8 with a 2.54 ERA for the A's and was an All-Star. With the exception of 2007, when he missed most of the season due to his first hip surgery, the guy hasn't put up an ERA over 2.91 since 2004. If his health checks out, seems like a low-risk, potentially high-reward option for somebody.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: November 8, 2010 10:06 am
Edited on: November 8, 2010 11:49 am

Report: Athletics win bid for Iwakuma

Iwakuma Sounds like Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma is headed to the Oakland Athletics.

According to agent Don Nomura,, a well-respected Japanese-American agent who represents Iwakuma and also represented Hideo Nomo, tweeted Sunday that Oakland won the rights to Iwakuma via the posting process.

The A's were thought to be interested in Iwakuma despite an already deep rotation so that they could leverage their arms in trade for a bat, as the anemic offense is the only thing standing between the A's and contention in the AL West. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal dangles the name Casey McGehee from Milwaukee as a possible target for Oakland for one of its young pitchers.

Iwakuma (photo courtesy NPB), 29, posted a 2.82 ERA over 201 innings for Rakuten, which has a working relationship with the A's. As part of the agreement, the two clubs "share information pertaining to player development and data analysis, as well as exchange baseball operations staff including coaches, strength and conditioning specialists and medical personnel," as BizofBaseball.com writes.

Given the close working relationship between Oakland and Rakuten, it's not out of the realm of possibility to consider that Oakland has knowledge on Iwakuma that no other club has that strengthened its confidence in posting a bid.

Despite Oakland winning the bid, negotiation for an actual contract has to begin, so it remains possible no agreement will happen and there is a deadline for 30 days for such an agreement.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 4, 2010 4:19 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:32 pm

Bruce, O'Day among Super Twos

Brad Ziegler, the right-handed sidearmed reliever, is the lucky winner of the Super Two cutoff date this year with two years, 122 days of service time, according to the list sent to agents by the MLB Players Association. Super Two qualify for salary arbitration early.

The cutoff this season is lower than it has been in recent years, perhaps indicating that teams are getting more and more careful about how soon they bring up players in attempts to put off arbitration as long as possible.

Leading the list is Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria, who has already been signed to a long-term deal, a deal that's looking better and better by the day for the Rays.

Here's the list:

Jay Bruce Player 2009 Club Total Service
Evan Longoria Tampa Bay 2.170
Jim Johnson Baltimore 2.165
Felipe Paulino Houston 2.163
Josh Fields Kansas City 2.159
Kyle Kendrick Philadelphia 2.159
Sean White Seattle 2.156
Ian Stewart Colorado 2.154
Dana Eveland* Pittsburgh 2.152
Luke Hochevar Kansas City 2.151
Armando Galarraga Detroit 2.148
Burke Badenhop Florida 2.143
Ross Ohlendorf Pittsburgh 2.139
Chris Perez Cleveland 2.136
Alberto Gonzalez Washington 2.135
Jensen Lewis Cleveland 2.133
Darren O'Day Texas 2.128
Jay Bruce Cincinnati 2.125
Chase Headley San Diego 2.123
Travis Buck Oakland 2.123
Brad Ziegler Oakland 2.122

It appears that this is the best news for Bruce, O'Day and Perez, who will likely get the biggest bumps in salary from 2010 to 2011.

Of all those players, Bruce (pictured) may have had the best season, hitting .281/.353/.493 with 25 home runs. Perez recorded 23 saves and had a 1.71 ERA as the closer for the Indians once Kerry Wood was sent to the Yankees. O'Day was a valuable member of the Rangers' bullpen, appearing in 72 regular-season games and 11 postseason games. During the Regular season, he had a 2.03 ERA.

All three of those players made $440,000 or less last season.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 3, 2010 10:52 am
Edited on: November 3, 2010 2:47 pm

A's pick up option on Crisp

Crisp Who needs mass media when Athletics can take things into their own hands on Twitter?

"I'm happy, I just found out today that the A's are picking up my option for 2011," Coco Crisp tweeted early Wednesday.

Crisp, the former Indian, Red Sox and Royal, had a $5.75 million option that Oakland unsurprisingly picked up after his most successful offensive season since leaving Cleveland after the 2005 season. Although Crisp missed time due to injury (shocker), he hit .279/.342/.438 in 329 plate appearances and provided his usual excellent defense in his first season with Oakland.

Oakland has a glut of outfielders, but none were the quality of Crisp. He figures to be flanked by Ryan Sweeney in right and a hybrid of Chris Carter and Rajai Davis in left. Oakland could yet still bring in another outfielder as well.

UPDATE : The A's have confirmed Crisp's option was picked up, adding that second baseman Mark Ellis also had his $6 million option picked up. Ellis is a defensive wizard, offers leadership and finished with a team-best .291 batting average.

In other news, the A's cut ties with Eric Chavez, bringing an end to what may have been the worst contract signed in franchise history. After Chavez posted an OPS of no lower than .850 in the five seasons preceding 2005, he signed a six-year, $66 million deal and appeared in just 451 games over these six years, hitting .249/.322/.434. Chavez is likely to retire at age 32 after suffering major injuries the last few years.

-- Evan Brunell

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com