Posted on: August 20, 2010 7:42 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2010 7:43 pm

Vegas mayor still talking baseball

Oscar Goodman
To call Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman a showman is an understatement. And the show he wants to bring to Sin City is baseball.

Goodman has long made conspicuous his desire to see a big-league team in his city -- we're talking really conspicuous. A few years ago he hobnobbed in the busy hotel lobby at the winter meetings with a fully costumed showgirl on each arm. He wasn't invited, he just showed up to be seen and make sure Vegas was talked about.

According to bizofbaseball.com, Goodman brought the subject up again at his weekly news conference Thursday, saying there were "very serious" discussions about building a 45,000-seat domed facility on city land. When someone asked who such a building's tenant would be, he said, "I have been advised we are designated an American League city."

Hard to say who would have told him that or why, since baseball has no plans to expand or relocate any franchises. Vegas was considered, though not seriously, when the Expos moved, and there is currently talk that the A's could be on the move if they can't get their stadium issue settled. But relocation is talked about far more often than it's done -- keep in mind that it has happened exactly once in the past 38 years.

Professional leagues have shied away from Las Vegas because they don't like the idea that people gamble on their games, and because they have visions of shady characters slipping players money to throw games. Both notions are ridiculous, especially now that the internet has assured that sports betting happens everywhere.

Las Vegas is the 28th-largest market in the country, and growing fast. It supports a Triple-A team (attendance isn't great, but sitting outside in Vegas in the summer is a tough sell). The next time baseball needs a new home for a team, there's no good reason the city shouldn't be in the conversation.
Alas, it will not happen on Goodman's watch. His reign as mayor ends thanks to term limits at the end of 2011.

“We’ll never be a major-league city unless we have a major-league team,” Goodman said. “I was hoping I could have thrown out the first pitch, but I said that 11 1/2 years ago.”

-- David Andriesen

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

Category: MLB
Tags: Athletics
Posted on: August 20, 2010 3:59 pm

A's likely to pick up Crisp option

Coco Crisp The Athletics have been so pleased with Coco Crisp that it is expected the center fielder's 2011 option will be picked up, reports Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com.

The team holds a $5.75 million option on the lefty, who has impressed the team with "a terrific personality, a nice all-around game and an appropriate amount of swagger," as Urban writes.

Despite missing 48 days with a fractured left hand, Crisp has made an impact on the A's by hitting .288/.352/.473 in 213 plate appearances, swiping 19 bags and delivering 11 doubles and four triples. Crisp is also one of the best defensive center fielders in the game, which only adds to his value.

Indeed, Crisp is third on the team in wins above replacement player despite missing all that time. He's 0.2 points behind Cliff Pennington with Daric Barton pacing the position players with a 2.9 WAR. Crisp could very well end the season tops on the list if he doesn't miss any more time.

It's been a long time coming for Crisp who was acquired by the Red Sox to replace Johnny Damon for 2006. Alas, he slogged through injuries and ineffectiveness before being traded to Kansas City where he repeated his ineffectiveness and injuries before becoming a free agent, at which point Oakland bought low.

That's been to their benefit, as Crisp is hitting like he never has before, curious given that he is now playing in a pitcher-friendly park. That hasn't fazed him as he's hitting drastically better home than away -- a .311/.376/.557 line as opposed to .256/.318/.359 on the road.
It took a long time for Crisp to live up to the expectations that his bright career seemed to foretell when with the Indians, but he may have finally reclaimed that promise.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 13, 2010 4:45 pm

Top prospect Ynoa to go under knife

Bad news for the Athletics and pitching phenom Michael Ynoa -- the 18-year-old will require elbow surgery, with Tommy John surgery expected. He is expected to make a full recovery in 18 months.

The bad news comes via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle . Ynoa was one of the most hotly-sought after Dominican Republic prospects in 2008, eventually signing for $4.25 million as a 16-year-old.

Ynoa has been treated with kid gloves, and only made his professional debut in 2010 for the rookie league. He made just three starts when kicking his season off in mid-June, posting an even 5.00 ERA although he did strike out 11 in nine innings.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 11, 2010 4:20 pm

Sheets' surgery more serious than expected

Ben Sheets
It turns out Ben Sheets went for the full-meal deal on the operating table Monday, and it could mean the end of the line for the four-time All-Star.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that in addition to the flexor-tendon surgery that was expected, the A's right-hander also had to undergo Tommy John ligament replacement surgery and had a procedure on his pronator tendon.

That means the 32-year-old had work done on every major structure of his elbow, and the timetable for a return to pitching would be at least a year and a half. That means spring 2012, if he's lucky -- and with no assurances about whether he'll be effective.

Not that Sheets asked for my opinion, but here's a thought: why not hang 'em up? We've watched too many players go through too much to try to hang on. Yes, the money's good, but he's earned, according to baseball-reference.com, $52,218,000 in the major leagues. Surely with some good, disciplined budgeting, he can stretch it.

Everybody loves a comeback story, but you know what else makes a good story? A guy who gets to retire at 32 and spend the rest of his life spending time with his family and friends.

-- David Andriesen

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

Category: MLB
Posted on: August 8, 2010 9:36 pm
Edited on: August 8, 2010 9:58 pm

Carter may get call to Oakland

Chris Carter The Oakland Athletics may be about to call up one of their top prospects, as Chris Carter was removed from Triple-A's game in the fourth inning, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle .

Such a move is curious. There appears to be no obvious injury or issue requiring benching, which leaves only two options: Carter was traded or called up. (Update: Slusser says Carter was not injured and also notes that left fielder Matt Watson has been hospitalized with what is believed to be kidney stones -- so Carter's services are needed.) The former would be quite a surprise, while the latter makes sense once you consider that A's first baseman Daric Barton left Sunday's game in the fifth with left shoulder muscle spasms.

Carter was recently shifted to left field from first base as the team now seems sold on Barton's long-term viability with the franchise. Unlike Barton, whose prodigious power has yet to develop, Carter is known for his power. He bashed 27 home runs entering play Sunday, pairing that with a .262 batting average and .369 OBP.

The 23-year-old was ranked the No. 28 prospect in baseball by Baseball America prior to the 2010 season, and the former draft pick of the White Sox has done nothing to dispel thoughts he can help anchor the middle of Oakland's lineup as early as 2011.

-- Evan Brunell

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

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 31, 2010 7:11 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2010 4:19 pm

Winners/losers of trading deadline

Now that the non-waiver trading deadline is past, it's time to take a look back at the winners and losers. While players aren't done switching teams and plenty more will find new zip codes on their mailing addresses in August via the waiver process, it becomes far harder to pull trades off.

Grades are relative to the team's window of contention, goals at the deadline and outcome -- not to other teams.

Angels: L.A. imported Alberto Callaspo from the Royals to plug the dike that was the third-base gaping hole, then absolutely pilfered Dan Haren away from the Diamondbacks. They promptly lost Joel Pineiro to injury, but do have a greater chance at competing this season, even as the Rangers improved themselves. For 2011 and 2012, they kept themselves right in contention to be division champions. With money coming off the books the next season and two, they should be players in free agency and now can trumpet Haren as a front-line pitcher for free agents to play with. Grade: B+

J.A. Happ Astros: The Astros did well in the idea of trading away Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt to begin the trading process. The return for Oswalt from Philadelphia met with a few raised eyebrows. The team is high on J.A. Happ (pictured, left) even though no one else is. The deal was salvaged by flipping Anthony Gose from Brett Wallace. The Lance Berkman trade was tough to swallow. They traded a face of the franchise to the Yankees, picking up salary along the way for retread prospects. This was a deal strictly about money, not about helping the team -- although it did free up a spot for Wallace. Grade: C+

Athletics: The Billy Beane-led A's did nothing at the deadline, which wasn't the wrong choice. Texas and Los Angeles made too many steps to outpace a team that was going to have a hard time keeping pace anyways. What didn't make sense was their adamant position that they wanted to keep Ben Sheets and not trade him. But whoops -- a torn flexor tendon that knocks Sheets out for about a year and causes $10 million to go down the drain in Oakland happened. Grade: D

Blue Jays: Toronto had to give up intriguing prospects Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky to ship out Alex Gonzalez to the Braves, but got back young shortstop Yunel Escobar and pitching depth in Jo-Jo Reyes. Gonzalez was a great flier for the rebuilding Jays rather than the short-term Gonzalez -- There's tons of upside with Yunel. Demerits are assessed by a reportedly high price to trade Jason Frasor, Kevin Gregg or Scott Downs. None of them will help Toronto contend anytime soon, and the fact that Jesus Montero and Casey Kelly were prices for Downs is outrageous. They should have done everything they could to move Frasor, and probably could have gotten nice value for Gregg. The only defensible non-trade is Downs, who probably will be a Type-A free agent. Grade: C+

Braves: The Braves made moves for this year, but severely damaged their long-term chances in the process. Selling Yunel Escobar off for Gonzalez, Collins and Pastornicky was questionable enough, but then turned Collins, fungible reliever Jesse Chavez and outfielder Gregor Blanco. Huh? Grade: C- ... and it's not a D because they did at least improve their chances this year.

Brewers: The Brewers did nothing except try to improve their pitching and determine whether it was time to trade Prince Fielder or not. Fielder is likely a goner in the offseason or next season's trade deadline, but there's nothing wrong with hanging onto him. There wasn't much Milwaukee was in a position to do. Jim Edmonds reportedly didn't want to ship out, and past that they didn't have much in the way of valuable trade chips. Grade: N/A

Cardinals: The Cardinals brought in Jake Westbrook. That was good. They traded Ryan Ludwick. Not so good. There are hints that the Ludwick dealing was financially motivated to keep Albert Pujols in town. That's well and good, but Ludwick-to-Westbrook is largely a lateral move, even factoring in more playing time for Colby Rasmus. Grade: C

Cubs: It's tough to begin a rebuilding process once again, but Ted Lilly was a free agent so there was no overwhelming reason to keep him. Ryan Theriot has become punchless at the plate, and they upgrade with Blake DeWitt from the Dodgers anyways. Kyle Smit and Brett Wallach -- two young, minor-league pitchers -- are decent arms. They tried to deal Derrek Lee, but Lee nixed it with his no-trade clause. Can't penalize GM Jim Hendry for that. Grade: B-

Diamondbacks: The Dan Haren trade was odd, no two ways about it. Yes, Joe Saunders won quite a few games in Los Angeles, but so what? He's a No. 4 starter who has a shot at being a No. 3 by virtue of being in the NL, but that's about it. The prospects acquired were underwhelming, although the expected acquisition of Tyler Skaggs will soothe jilted D-Backs fans somewhat. Snyder was a pure cash dump -- but not indefensible. If the team's not contending, why pay a backup catcher millions? Even without receiving anyone of true value, except perhaps D.J. Carrasco, it was high time for Arizona to move on from Snyder. They won out on Edwin Jackson big time, shedding salary for an underperforming starter and getting a young, cost-controllable starter (Daniel Hudson) along with prospect David Holmberg.

Dodgers: The Dodgers gave up quite a bit for Octavio Dotel, even if Dotel is cost-controllable through 2011 on a team option. That trade may come back to bite them hard, even if they needed Dotel to challenge for the division. The Ted Lilly acquisition was nice, and if you concede that Blake DeWitt was the price for Lilly, then Ryan Theriot wasn't a bad grab either. They definitely put the pieces together to contend, but is it too little, too late? Grade: C+

Giants: San Francisco tried to bring in a bat. They really did. They tried for Adam Dunn, David DeJesus (and if he hadn't gotten hurt for K.C., might be in San Fran right now), Scott Podsednik... but nothing came together. They instead settled for two middle relievers: Ramon Ramirez and Javier Lopez. Giving up John Bowker and Joe Martinez for Lopez is a curious move, even if they have strong outfield depth. Jonathan Sanchez was a popular name in talks for a bat, but S.F. was understandably leery of dealing the lefty. The Ramirez trade cost them an average middle relief prospect. They'll continue mixing-and-matching on offense, and the bullpen is definitely better off for the adds. Grade: B

Jake Westbrook Indians: The Indians wanted to get rid of people they didn't want and had no need for. The millions they saved in shipping Kerry Wood and Austin Kearns off -- even without getting any players of consequence in return -- were worth it. Westbrook (pictured, right) finally was shipped out as well, and while prospect Corey Kluber isn't an exciting name, he's enough of an intriguing player that the Indians clearly came out ahead in this season's trade deadline, which was all about shedding irrelevant pieces. Would have been nice for a rebuilding team to get a good prospect, though. Grade: B

Mariners: The Mariners dealt Cliff Lee to get Justin Smoak and a bevy of prospects. That was a solid deal, even if Smoak has just been demoted to Triple-A. That was it, however. While Seattle is in a different place than most rebuilding clubs because they are contenders just struggling through an awful season (advice to GM Jack Zduriencik: bring in some bats next year for a change). Still, it's surprising they weren't more active. The reason Russ Branyan was acquired and then not flipped is... heck, I don't know. Grade: C

Marlins: The Marlins shipped off Jorge Cantu, who was playing third base. That temporary lack of depth at third hurts, although Chris Coghlan will man the hot corner once he returns from injury. It was nice to see the Marlins bring in Will Ohman to contribute out of the bullpen, however. Florida was in a tough place: a team good enough to contend, but not quite good enough to be true buyers. They essentially held serve here while saving a bit of money and importing Evan Reed from the Cantu trade, who has a chance to develop into a nice arm. Grade: B-

Mets: The Mets did nothing here, even though they would have loved to get rid of Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez and Jeff Francouer. No one was having any of it, though, and New York was adamant in not trading its top prospects. You can argue they should have loosened the purse strings a bit to bring in someone, but there was no one overwhelming that made sense for a team slipping out of the division race. A middle-of-the-rotation starter would have been a lateral move, while only a major hitter could have been considered an upgrade -- and then you're back to having to deal top prospects. One problem: their window of contention is now. Grade: C-

Nationals: The Nationals failed to trade Adam Dunn. There is zero reason why they shouldn't have. Grade: F

Orioles: The Orioles are once again a team with no plan, trading away reliever Will Ohman for a fringe major-league reliever. For a squad headed to one of the worst finishes in team history, why exactly they weren't more aggressive sellers is baffling. Ty Wigginton is still on this team... why? The one saving grace is shipping Miguel Tejada off for Wynn Pelzer, who might turn into quite a relief arm. Grade: D+

Ryan Ludwick Padres: I think this Jed Hoyer guy is going to end up a nice GM. The Miguel Tejada trade was OK -- nothing special, but didn't exactly cost much either and the Padres had a real need for someone with decent pop who can play the infield. The Ryan Ludwick (pictured, right) trade was incredible -- he immediately becomes the team's second-best hitter, trading away no one of consequence. Grade: B+

Phillies: The Phillies gave up J.A. Happ and two far-away prospects for Roy Oswalt, emphatically closing the book on the idiotic idea to trade Cliff Lee in the offseason. It would have been nice if they could have imported a utility player like Ty Wigginton or Willie Bloomquist for the stretch run, as Chase Utley isn't exactly on the verge of returning and the depth on the bench is thin. However, after the initial trade for Lee and later the Oswalt deal, the Phillies are near tapped out on money and prospects. Bottom line: they did what they could. Grade: B+

Pirates: The Bucs were quiet then exploded in a frenzy, acquiring Chris Snyder in a buy-low move that saw them give up absolutely no one of consequence . Ryan Church is a backup outfielder, D.J. Carrasco is a solid middle reliever and not much else and backup infielder Bobby Crosby. If he plays full-time, Snyder has a real chance to reclaim the value that made Arizona sign him to a contract extension in the first place -- which 'Zona will help pay. Pittsburgh then shipped out a lefty reliever best used against just lefties for a swingman in Joe Martinez and a solid outfielder who can give them years of cheap production, even if he never morphs into a starting regular. The Octavio Dotel trade to L.A was sublime , getting a viable starter who could end up a strong reliever and one of the Dodgers' best prospects in Andrew Lambo. Grade: A

Rangers: Boy howdy, was Texas busy. They bit the bullet to bring in Cliff Lee, which instantly made it viable World Series contenders, then continued to supplement with Jorge Cantu and Cristian Guzman. Obviously, the Rangers are going for it this year and it's hard to fault them when they have such a strong team. It hurts to lose Smoak, but there are questions about his long-term success anyways, and first-base is not exactly impossible a void to fill. Cantu and Guzman cost them a few average prospects, ones that can easily be mortgaged for a chance like this to win a ring. Grade: A

Rays: Tampa Bay brought in a reliever with an ERA over 8, and that was it. (Okay, so Chad Qualls has a chance to be a solid reliever for the team.) The team desperately needs a thumper, although Matt Joyce is currently making everyone smile since being recalled from Triple-A. Tampa is in an interesting position: able to take on payroll for a playoff push, but which is slashing payroll to around $60 million next year. Adam Dunn would have been a great fit, but Tampa can't concede future seasons just for one "win-now" year -- that would be irresponsible. Grade: C+

Red Sox: The Red Sox were largely quiet until the very end, when they shipped off Ramon Ramirez to San Francisco for an average middle-relief prospect. This trade was more about opening space for intriguing names at Triple-A. The team then struck for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, long coveted by the team, for an average first-base prospect and intriguing, but raw, Class A arm. They were unable to make anything come together to supplement the major-league roster, but figure to be active in waiver trading. For a team falling out of the race, besieged by injuries, it was probably prudent not to do anything drastic and instead build until next year while integrating its returning players and seeing who pops up in August. Grade: C

Reds: Cincy is in the hunt for the division but may have benefited by seeing the Cardinals trade away Ryan Ludwick. They have Aroldis Chapman presumably coming up to help the bullpen shortly and no overwhelming holes. Making a trade would have smacked of making a deal for deal's sake. It would not be surprising to learn that they shot high with their targets and couldn't make anything come together. They could stand to add a middle reliever, but also have Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey on the recovery trail. Staying pat was probably smart. Grade: B

Rockies: The Rockies couldn't make anything happen despite a team falling out of the race which had a really good shot at the division. They couldn't trade Brad Hawpe with Todd Helton's struggles. When Troy Tulowitzki went on the disabled list two months ago, it was very disappointing that Colorado decided to stand pat and see how the team played without Tulowitzki to determine whether to be buyers or sellers. They were already planning to buy to help the team with Tulowitzki, so it should be no surprise Colorado found itself out of the race. They should have done more. Grade: D

Rick Ankiel Royals: It's not often there are good things to say about the Royals, but there's a time for everything. Kansas City did fantastic in shedding Rick Ankiel (pictured, left) and Kyle Farnsworth to Atlanta. Farns is a strong middle reliever, but that's all he is while Ankiel was blocking other players with a better impact at helping K.C. contend in 2012. The return for Callaspo wasn't terrible, but not great. Grade: B-

Tigers: Detroit had far too many holes to do much of anything. They lost Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen and Brandon Inge all to the disabled list in a short span of time. They bought low on Jhonny Peralta who hammered two home-runs in his Tiger debut. You would have liked to see the Tigers be a bit more aggressive with the AL Central division crown available, but it's hard to blame them for holding onto their major prospects. There is no silver bullet available to make up for all the losses. Grade: C +

Twins: The Twins really love saves, as they traded one of the best prospects in Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps of Washington. Take the saves out, and Capps is an approaching-overpriced solid middle reliever. Even though Ramos had lost his luster somewhat, it's still a confusing move. They didn't get the starting pitcher they coveted either. Grade: D

White Sox: The ChiSox did everything they could and more to bring in Adam Dunn, but refused to sacrifice their future in Gordon Beckham. They acquired Edwin Jackson for Daniel Hudson and a minor leaguer, perhaps hoping to flip Jackson to the Nationals. That's a no-go, so while the White Sox did technically upgrade their rotation, it's unclear whether they would have done so if they knew they wouldn't get Dunn. Plus, Jackson makes $8.35 million next year. Grade: C

Yankees: The Bronx Bombers wielded their financial might to bring in Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns and Kerry Wood at minimal cost. Berkman has the most chance to make an impact, taking on the role the Yankees thought Nick Johnson would. Kearns and Wood are supplemental pieces to the bench and bullpen, respectively, and won't be a huge loss if they don't work out. Overall, they gave up next-to-nothing in talent and cash they could burn anyways. The team made an aggressive push for Cliff Lee, but fell apart. In a market with no other clear upgrade than Lee, the Yankees decided to play it safe and keep their minor-league chips. Grade: B

-- Evan Brunell

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

Posted on: July 30, 2010 12:13 am
Edited on: July 30, 2010 12:17 am

A's closer Bailey likely headed to DL

Oakland closer Andrew Bailey, the 2009 American League rookie of the year, appears headed to the disabled list after being diagnosed with an intercostal (rib) strain.

Bailey hasn't pitched since July 20, sidelined by back spasms. But, as he told MLB.com, "Once the back spasms kinda relaxed and got pushed aside, my ribs started hurting." He was examined by the Rangers' medical staff in Arlington and given the diagnosis.

If Bailey does go on the DL, Michael Wuertz and Craig Breslow look like candidates to close.

-- David Andriesen

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

Posted on: July 28, 2010 6:05 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 9:41 pm

Sheets done for season, possibly career

Ben Sheets It was the worst-case scenario for Ben Sheets: a torn flexor tendon that will require surgery to fix, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle .

Sheets missed all of 2009 with the exact same injury and surgery, so the road back will be rough. In 20 starts on the year, Sheets had a 4.53 ERA for the Athletics, making $10 million in his first season not with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The 31-year-old will likely not pitch until the end of the 2011 season, and even that is optimistic. It's possible the surgery could be a career-ender, although Jason Jennings had the surgery twice and is rehabbing with the Athletics. Jennings cobbled together several solid seasons for the Rockies before going under the knife for the first time in August 2007 after starting the season poorly with the Astros.

Jennings then joined the Rangers and underwent surgery again without throwing an official major-league pitch. He was able to return later in the season and make six (terrible) starts. In 2009, he was converted to relief and appeared out of the bullpen through August. He was so bad in August, however, that he was designated for assignment.

He signed a minor-league deal with the Athletics for 2010 and is currently on a throwing program -- he has not thrown an official professional pitch at all after imploding in spring training. Coming back from a second torn flexor tendon certainly requires quite a lot of work and time away from the game.

It's a tough blow for Sheets, and no one would blame him for walking away from the game. He's made millions, been considered one of the best pitchers in the game and has put his arm on the line twice now. He'll have a rough go of it in 2011, as he will be a free agent. It will be tough to find someone willing to ink him to a minor-league deal and pay a salary on top of all the rehabilitation work.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com